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Monday, April 28, 2008

History of My Love Life, Episode 3: Like Me, But Not in Love With Me

You never quite know when you're going to find love, and that's why it's paramount to always be honest in your dealings with people.

I hooked up with Like Me, But Not in Love With Me following my graduation from the University of Utah in May 2005. I was planning to finally make my escape from the Beehive State at the end of Summer -- the plan was to pull up stakes at the end of August and drive across the country to seek new adventures and a new permanent residence in Boston. But in the meantime, I was eager to set aside the shy girl who used to stalk her crushes at the University campus, and instead try to find a nice Summer fling to have fun with before I left.

I didn't have to look far. My roommate LaNae had been having a minor fling with a boy at the time, and when he was over at our apartment one night, he told me that I reminded him of one of his roommates, and asked me whether I'd want to be set up with him. Sure! I said. So I told him to give his roommate my number and have him call me.

Turns out his roommate, Like Me, was just about as shy as I was, and so the call I received a day or so later to set up a date was not actually from Like Me, but from another roommate pretending to be him. We set up the date for the following night, and I agreed to drive down to Draper to meet Like Me at his apartment, and from there we'd go down to Provo for his friend's birthday party.

I knocked on the apartment door and was greeted by a boyish face matured by the Abraham Lincoln scruff on his chin. We introduced ourselves and then headed out to the party. "If you'd like, we could take your car," Like Me said, "Mine's a Jeep and it gets pretty windy on the freeway with the roof off." No way, I thought, I drove all the way to Draper from Salt Lake, YOU can drive us to Provo! "That's alright," I said, "I don't mind the wind." When we got to Provo, after having my hair whipped around my face for half an hour, I said, "Good thing I'm sporting the messy hair look these days!" We had a nice time getting to know each other at the party and then finished off the night with a game of Boggle back at Like Me's apartment. I appreciate a guy who appreciates word games. And that was the beginning of my relationship with Like Me.

As an aside, I'm choosing to call this guy Like Me for the purposes of this story for a couple of reasons. First, he was, as his roommate had claimed, very much like me -- it was almost startling how similar we were. Our friends seemed to think so too, calling us perfect for each other. But secondly, although he did end up liking me, he didn't end up loving me. At least not how I loved him.

After about a month into our relationship, I made the decision to cancel my plans to move to Boston so that I could stay in Salt Lake and see where this relationship with Like Me would go. "That makes me very happy," Like Me said to me one night in June, when I told him that I had decided to stay.

But I had already doomed our relationship to failure before this night. Before I had decided to take this relationship seriously -- in other words, before I had fallen in love with Like Me -- I made a couple serious errors that I believe were the cause of our relationship's downfall. The first is that I rushed the physical aspect of the relationship, which is normally not a problem for guys, but it was for Like Me. He wasn't ready to take things to that level so soon, although that didn't stop him from participating. Still, I think it colored his view of our physical intimacy from that point on.

The second is that I misrepresented (or lied about, depending on your point of view) an important element of my past in order to make him feel more comfortable with moving forward quickly. Keep in mind that when I jumped into this relationship, I was only looking for some post-collegiate and pre-escape-from-Utah fun. I didn't count on finding Like Me to be so like me. I didn't count on falling in love with him. So I didn't see that there was a problem with taking liberties when relating my past.

Normally, I'm a staunch advocate for honesty. To me, life is more rewarding and respectable when you are honest with other people, and especially when you are honest with yourself. It's just a mode of living that I prefer. But even the most honest person lies once in a while. Usually they are the little-white kind, "No, those pants don't make you look fat!" But sometimes they are the protect-your-privacy kind -- the kind where telling the truth reveals something about you that you'd rather keep to yourself, but refusing to answer basically confirms the truth, so your best option is to conceal the truth by misdirection, misrepresentation, deception -- in short, by lying. But this type of lie is a matter of self-protection, and therefore it has its justifiable uses.

Whether my use of such a lie was justifiable is a matter of opinion. I believe that it falls more on the justifiable end of the spectrum than on the unjustifiable end. But that's easy to say when you're the one protecting your own privacy. When you're on the receiving end of the deception, the justifiability of a lie seems irrelevant.

I could have stuck to my story and kept the truth of the matter to myself. There was no reason the truth ever had to be revealed, even though I had felt bad about being deceptive once I had fallen in love with Like Me. But one night I was having dinner with Like Me at a restaurant in Provo and he told me something that prompted me to come clean. He told me about a couple he knew who were engaged to be married, and he knew that the girl had kept a secret from the guy -- something the guy ought to know. (I believe that couples don't need to tell each other everything, and sometimes it's better not to, but there are some things that partners in a relationship deserve to know, and this particular secret was one of them.) Listening to Like Me describe how much he valued honesty and how much it would bother him if he were that guy made me realize that in order to not be a hypocrite, I was morally obligated to divulge my secret.

Like Me could tell something was wrong after he had finishing telling that story, and so he asked me if something was up. "Just made me think of something," I said, "I'll tell you about it a little later, ok?"

Back at his apartment after dinner, Like Me embraced me and kissed me in an uncharacteristically passionate fashion. I think he had finally gotten to the point where he liked me enough that he didn't have to force physical intimacy. We took our make-out session into his bedroom, where I stopped him before things could go any further, "Look, I have to tell you something," I said, lying next to him on the bed. "Uh oh," he said, "It's going to be bad isn't it?" He was reading my demeanor. "It's not very good, but it's not as bad as it could be," I tried to reassure him. And that was true, things could always be worse.

I said that something I had told him before wasn't exactly true, but that I believed I had good reasons for lying. I rationalized aloud, saying that I didn't think we'd be in a position where we were trying to have an actual maybe-stay-together-forever type of relationship. I didn't think he'd ever have to know and so I didn't think about the consequences of lying. But after hearing his story that night, I wanted him to know the truth. And so I told him.

He was not pleased. How can you feel pleased when you've just found out you've been lied to by someone you trusted, even if the lie isn't a huge deal? It was such a justifiable lie in my mind, and I thought our love was strong enough to get past this revelation. But watching his reaction, the disappointment on his face, I thought that night might be the end of us. I went home, giving him space to process everything, but hoping that he'd give me another chance.

A day or so later, he did give me that chance. He said he understood the reasons that I lied, and he forgave me. But things were never the same after that. He had lost whatever respect he had had for me, and that's not exactly something you can get back. Maybe he knew that I was a very honest person, and that the deception was a one-time thing that would never happen again. But there's always the "what if?" It happened once, so how can you ever trust that it won't happen again? I knew it wouldn't happen again, but he could never again trust me without that doubt in the back of his mind.

That incident happened two months into our four-month relationship, and in retrospect, I saw that that was the effective end of it. He grew more and more emotionally and physically distant after that, but I was so in love with him that I didn't think anything was wrong until one day in possibly late August or early September I started to cry while we were making love. It finally sunk in to me that there was a great imbalance in the dynamic of our relationship. I loved him deeply, wanted him passionately, but he didn't love me that same way. It was tangible. Girls can fake orgasm all the time, and guys never know the difference, but if a guy tries to fake affection and love, a girl eventually catches on, because that is basically the crux of what a girl needs.

And that was the beginning of the painful end. A week later, we had our break up talk in the coffee shop.

I had many regrets, yes. I regretted lying. I regretted not leaving to Boston and thereby saving my heart from the pain of knowing that I destroyed something that I had thought was special. I regretted losing my fairytale image of love -- the illusion that true love transcends all, that there is nothing that can bring it down. That's simply not true. True love takes respect, honesty, reciprocity, sacrifice, communication, and trust. I failed on at least three of these items, possibly four, and that was enough to break the love. But I don't regret coming clean, and I don't regret the experience as a whole. It was a valuable life lesson. I learned never to lie like that again, and the next time I started a fresh relationship, I was upfront about the truth of the matter when the time was right.

As for Like Me, I can only wish him the best and thank him for providing the inspiration for the first song I ever wrote for the guitar. I was going to leave you with an early recording of me singing and playing this song, but I listened to the three cuts I have, and decided they were all crap. So I'm leaving you with just the lyrics. Not as interesting without the music, but oh well. Maybe I'll do a better recording someday and put that up, but for now, this is all you get:

Me Over You

I'm having trouble
letting go of you
even when it's obvious
that there's something missing
between the two of us

It's just hard to know
you know sometimes
how to be alone again
So please forgive my desperation
I'm not letting go yet

Do you think that this is over?
Well I'd like to think you mean to
try to figure out a way through all of this
No one said it would be easy
but I'd like to think it's worth it
cause with you and I there must be more than this
don't you think?

I can remember that day when
you and I tried just being friends
and it broke my heart
Because being with you
always made it flutter and I
don't know how to change that fact
I can't hide myself from you

Do you think we could start over?
or I'd like us to agree to
at least try to take things one step at a time
After all that we have been through
I would think it's worth the trouble
taking time to find out where it all went wrong
don't you think?

The days grow short
and the nights grow long and I'm
wondering how long it's been
and how much longer I can take this time apart

It's just hard to know
you know sometimes
how to get me over you
And I don't want to face the fact that
I must let you go now

Well I guess it's really over
and I told you I have closure
but I'm missing you more every single day
Letting go is never easy
but I know it will be worth it
when I finally find there's something more than you
don't you think?

Me Over You lyrics (c) 2005 Sra

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

History of My Love Life, Episode 2: Specialized A-hole, Part 3

There's something so idealistic about first love. The loss of innocence that accompanies the loss of that first love can permanently change your views about love for the rest of your life. In a way this loss of innocence is necessary -- it's a graduation from fantasy fairytale views of love into a more realistic view. Reality is less romantic than fairytale views of love, but it's much more rational -- it's about respect, reciprocity, and companionship, and I think that's an acceptable exchange. I didn't lose that innocent view of love after the first two tries with Specialized, though. No, I left those experiences behind with my hopeless romantic side still intact. That loss of innocence would come before the beginning of part 3 of my experience with Specialized. In fact, the break up that caused reality to crash through my idealistic view of love is what prompted me to initiate part 3 with Specialized. I was crushed, vulnerable, and needed a way to heal. I needed comfort and familiarity. So I turned to the comfort and familiarity of Specialized.

Part 3

Fall 2005. I had graduated from the University of Utah the prior Spring and had spent the prior Summer in a relationship that would change my view of love forever. It was the night of my break up with Like Me, But Not in Love with Me, and I had just returned home from the coffee shop where the break up was finalized. Being in an emotionally fragile state is like being drunk, but less fun. Still, they both cause you to do stupid things. Like, when you're drunk, maybe you'll drunk dial or text someone. I wouldn't do this until the end of part 3, though. When you're emotionally fragile, on the other hand, you might reach out to people that you shouldn't reach out to with a 10-foot stick in your hand. That's what I did at the beginning of part 3.

I went right home from the coffee shop from my break up with Like Me and tearily typed up an email to Specialized. I don't remember most of what I said, but I know I basically told him the truth: that it was probably weird that I was contacting him, but I had just broken up with my boyfriend, was feeling emotionally vulnerable, and wanted the comfort of talking to a familiar person. When you don't know what to say, sometimes candidness is the only thing that makes any sense.

He replied kindly the following day, telling me he was glad to hear from me. That's all I know he said. Maybe he also said he was sorry about my break up, I'm not sure, but all I know is that he didn't shoot me down or ignore me, and that was important to me. We sent another couple emails updating each other on what had happened over the past year since we'd seen each other, and then we agreed to meet up for coffee.

Deja vu.

Except this time, when I looked up from my magazine, I saw those familiar steel eyes shrouded in a less-familiar bearded face. It was the beginning of full woolly man beards coming back into fashion, and Specialized always seemed to be at the forefront of fashion trends. I had previously been a shirker of facial hair of any kind, but Like Me had sported an Abraham Lincoln style jaw beard that I grew to like, and so by that time, I was prepared to find Specialized's new hairy face still attractive.

We did the basic catch up for an hour or so, and then decided to take a short drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon to see the Autumn colors and to drive by Specialized's family cabin. Then we went to see where Specialized was shacking up these days. Turned out to be a crusty little duplex roughly half a mile away from my mother's house, where I had been staying for about 5 months. I was introduced to Specialized's roommates, a couple of whom I had met previously during part 2 of our relationship -- the part Specialized couldn't remember --, and I was also introduced to several friends who were regular visitors at the duplex, and who I came to enjoy being around over the following four months.

But, though hanging out with Specialized again was a welcome distraction from my broken heart, I didn't exactly jump right into a relationship. For one thing, I was still pretty hung up on Like Me, and though I spent a few weeks maintaining very minimal contact with Like Me, I did get together with him a few times during September, mostly trying just to be friends, but also trying to figure out if there was a way we could possibly get back together again. But that's a story for the next episode.

The point is, I kept a friendly distance from Specialized at first, still trying to keep one foot on Like Me's side of the court in the chance that we could work things out. But when it became clear that we couldn't, I let down my barriers. I invited Specialized to come with me up to my old roommate LaNae's cabin to hang out at one of her infamous overnight parties, and that's when we rekindled our romance.

For the first month or two after that, things seemed to go ok. Specialized told me about his time in Southern California and said he felt badly that he had behaved like such a douche bag. I told him that I had sold his Nintendo games and had given his system to Paula, and he said he deserved that.

But it quickly became apparent how little of a priority I always would be to him. Still working more than full time at the bike shop, Specialized eventually decided to add a second job at a car racing facility. He worked so much that I rarely got a chance to see him, and when I did get to see him, he was so tired that he'd often fall asleep while I was there. It was like I was having a relationship with myself. I eventually told him that I didn't want to dictate what he should do in life, but that his working all the time wasn't conducive to the type of relationship I wanted to have. He said he needed to figure out what he was trying to do.

And this is when our relationship turned into a "relationship". Any self respecting girl would have bailed the moment reciprocity vanished from the relationship, but guys like Specialized have an intoxicating way of making you feel like you need them, even while it's blatantly obvious that they don't need you. They throw out just the right amount of sweetness, affection, and complimentary words to keep you willing to suffer their emotional neglect.

And suffer it I did, even willingly. Even after I knew that the "relationship" was a ticking time bomb that would go off in only a matter of time. Luckily, Specialized had introduced me to the world of MySpace, and so I spent a lot of time meeting new people through the month of December.

Then New Year's Eve came, and I knew that night would be the end of our "relationship". But I made a grievous error in judgment by getting good and drunk at the New Year's party at the duplex before initiating the break up. My memory of the evening is choppy, partially from the alcohol, and partially from my attempt at blocking the night out, but I know that at one point early in the night, I was sitting on a couch, and when Specialized walked past, I grabbed his leg, and he bent down so I could whisper in his ear, "You're an asshole."

More drinking and partying ensued and then at some point, both Specialized and I ended up alone in the other half of the duplex, and the argument began. I had wanted the break up to be a calm, rational discussion, but in my drunken state I became very emotional and angry. So we ended up shut up in a back bedroom with me sobbing on the floor and him staring at me speechless through those steel eyes, no longer swoon-inducing, but cold and heartless.

And that's when I made another error in judgment and told him that I loved him. I think I remember rationalizing that this was the last time I would see him, and though I didn't actually love him anymore, I wanted him to know that he was one of the people who I did, at one time, love. Oh, the things you think are good ideas when you're drunk! This broke his stoic silence into an angry spew of words in which he eventually said, "Have I ever, at any time, told you that I love you?" No, he hadn't, and I knew that he didn't love me, but that wasn't the point. I had loved him and wanted him to at least know that. I think he needed to lash out at me, because what was the alternative? To feel guilt at my admission?

So it was over, and I could hear that people had reentered that half of the duplex, and I was too ashamed to face them. So I said, "I'm going to jump out the window." Luckily it was a first floor window, but it was raining cold and hard, and I was drunk and coatless, and I ended up falling into the bushes and scraping my shin -- a scar that will always stand as a cruel reminder of that night. I walked around to the front of the duplex where my car was parked, and put my key in the lock, almost free from the sounds of the party, when two of Specialized's friends yelled from the patio, "Hey, Sra, are you alright?" I froze and looked at the ground, watching my tears fall like the drenching rain into the puddles at my feet. "No," I said. And then Specialized appeared with my coat. I don't remember if I said anything then. There was nothing left to say, not that that had prevented me from running my mouth off earlier. I got in my car and drove home, and was lucky enough not to get into trouble or kill anyone else or myself on the way.

And then that's when the drunk dialing happened. Apparently I called my friend Sov and sobbingly related how I had just broken up with Specialized. I don't remember doing this, but I do remember drunk dialing and texting Specialized so that I could tell him that he was a fucking jerk, and that I hated him.

I did hate him, too. Third time was enough to break the spell, and this time I knew that chapter of my life was closed for good. But after awhile my bitterness waned, and I stopped hating him. It's too much energy to carry on hating someone. I still think Specialized was an asshole to me, and I have no doubt that that is the only way he could ever be. But, believe it or not, I feel bad for him. I feel bad for him because I believe he can't feel. I believe he knows that he can't feel, and tries to behave in ways that people who can feel behave. But he knows no love, neither for himself nor for anyone else. And that is enough to warrant a little pity.

Next time: Episode 3: Like Me, But Not in Love With Me

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

History of My Love Life, Episode 2: Specialized A-hole, Part 2

What is it about boys who treat girls badly that makes them utterly irresistible? This is a universal truth -- all girls are attracted to bad boys. And yes, we do know better. But we also all know that sometimes heart and head don't listen to each other. Sometimes you're willing to follow your heart when your head knows the heart is in for a good thrashing. But we do it anyway. Maybe it's the excitement of an unpredictable boy, or maybe it's the asinine belief that we can actually tame the wild man. Who knows? It's one of the great mysteries of life. The only hope for girls is that they will learn their lesson after dabbling with boys who treat them badly. Luckily, I did learn that lesson, but it took me three tries with the same guy to do it. You know as they say, third time's the charm. But the second time? More of the same.

Part 2

I did my best to forget about Specialized, and as Spring blossomed into Summer, I concentrated on my forthcoming study abroad trip to Kiel, Germany at the end of the Summer of 2004. My decision to travel to Kiel was a brave move for me, because I would be traveling alone for the first time in my life to live for a month in a country whose language I technically spoke, but not very fluently. I had studied abroad in Berlin a couple years earlier, but I did that trip with a friend. Flying off to Kiel by myself was something that I might not have felt prepared to do if it weren't for my first experience with Specialized. After the heartache he caused, I needed a way to escape, so I felt like throwing all caution to the wind and branching out on my own adventure. That trip to Kiel turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.

By some registration accident, I was not assigned to live with a German family, as I had signed up to do. Instead, I was assigned to live on the top floor of one of two student housing buildings for the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel -- the WAK (pronounced vey-ah-kah in German, but we all called it the Wack). So instead of being immersed in the German language through a German family, I had my own room and bathroom in a student dormitory full of American students who spoke a nice mix of German and English that we called "Denglisch" (because the word for "German" in German is "Deutsch"). This was a very fortuitous error, however, because the friendships I made with the other students on my floor were what made the trip so memorable. I'm still good friends with a couple of those people -- Arminka, the Bosnian who later advised me to go on a date with "Eye-an", and Johnny, a marine who was the only student on our trip not from Utah, but whom I still maintain a written correspondence with.

On the trip, I talked to these friends about the bad experience I had just had with Specialized, and Arminka told me that she could see my love was strong, and that because of that she thought Specialized and I would see each other again. I didn't think she was right at the time, but Arminka is very perceptive, it turns out. Or maybe just more experienced in love than I. Or perhaps just a lucky guesser.

But she was right.

A few weeks after I returned from Kiel, I received something I never expected to receive -- an apology from Specialized. When a boy mistreats you the way Specialized mistreated me, the one thing you want is an apology, but you never expect to get it. So when I saw the email with the subject line "an apology" in my inbox one Fall morning, I felt the familiar tightness in my throat associated with the heartache that I had just barely put behind me with the help of the great friendships I forged in Kiel.

I was genuinely touched that he cared enough to apologize, and so I kept the email. Even now, even though my experiences with Specialized would ultimately end on a very sour note, I still keep a copy of that email. Maybe it's because I saw in that email a touch of what I had seen in Specialized months before when we first met. Maybe it's because an apology like that takes a lot of guts, when it would have been much easier to just forget the whole thing. Maybe it's because I liked the poetic nature of the apology. But for whatever reason, I kept it. Here's what it said:

Subject: an apology
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2004 21:00:07 -0600

i went to church today for the first time in 8 months i saw
your roommates and i started thinking anyway a lot of shit
happened when i went to california it was not a fun time
anyway i wrote this the other week when death cab was in town

an apology for dreaming of you.

and i am eleven, as you are thirteen.

compose your own to focus into certainty.

i see you everywhere, and i see everything
but i'm sick of this

so i suppose i'll stop running.

am i whole?
or infinitely lost?

my watch tells me we're moving
but only through thin ice.

and when it comes to contact,
i feel nothing at all
i am the only important entity
in this fascist hall.
so perhaps if i center myself
around this bit of string

these groping murmuring movements
will begin to mean something.

but as far as i know
as far as i know you
lost is the only word that comes to mind

This email was an invitation to open the doors of communication again. But reconnecting was a slow process, and there was a lot of space between emails. Maybe one day I'd send an email asking Specialized what the name of that transvestite comedian was that we once watched together on DVD. (Indeed, I have Specialized to thank for my discovery of Eddie Izzard. That alone might have been worth the heartache!) Maybe a few weeks later he'd send a similar mundane greeting.

And then one day, once again assuming the role of the initiator in the exchange, I sent him an email letting him know I'd be at the Salt Lake Roasting Company on a certain day at a certain time, and that if he wanted to meet up, he'd know where to find me. I sat alone at my upstairs table with my latte and my book for a good hour or two, and was just thinking about leaving when I glanced up from my book and saw Specialized's familiar face appear on the stairway. It had been a long time since I had been under the spell of those eyes, but their steel gaze still mustered a bit of an internal swoon in me. Good thing I was sitting down.

We talked for two hours, mostly about music and movies -- interests we held very much in common, but also about what we had been up to. I told him about my Summer in Kiel, and he told me about his job working in a bike shop (hence the moniker "Specialized"). But I didn't ask him why he had left or what he had been doing in Southern California. I wasn't ready to open up those wounds. When we left the coffee shop, Specialized walked me to my car where we hugged and exchanged phone numbers. And that kicked off a short-lived fling which I consider part 2 of the relationship.

The funny thing is that Specialized later admitted to me, during our third attempt at a relationship, that he couldn't remember part 2. He knew we had hung out once or twice, but honestly couldn't remember anything else about the experiences we had during the next couple of months. That's because he had been wacked out on shrooms, beer, and marijuana most of the time, unbeknownst to me. I really was naive.

Be we got in deep enough, in my lucid memory, for me to rediscover my feelings for Specialized, which only set me up to be broken down again when he disappeared for the second time. That's right, he did it twice, and no, that wasn't enough for me to learn my lesson. Just in case you're wondering what could have possibly made me so dense, once again that sweet side of Specialized came out. He told me how much he had missed me and that he had felt really bad about leaving. I forgave him, and like any girl with hope, I focused on the positive parts of our interactions and ignored the parts where he disappointed me. You know as they say, love is blind.

Part 3 would show me that love is also stupid.

Next time: Episode 2: Specialized A-hole, Part 3

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Friday, April 25, 2008

History of My Love Life, Episode 2: Specialized A-hole, Part 1

Last time I told the story of how my lovely beau Ian and I got together. This time, I relate the three-part saga of Specialized A-hole. Yes, girls really do go for jerks. Read on:

Part 1

It was one of the heaviest winters in recent years, the winter of 2003. I was finishing up my Junior year as a full-time student at the University of Utah, while working part time as a file clerk at a medical malpractice law office. I went to school all day Tuesdays and Thursdays, and worked at the law office Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So it must have been a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, because I was leaving my apartment for work one morning following a very snowy night.

There were four of us girls living in my apartment at the time, and we had only one covered parking space which we shared weekly. It wasn't my week, so my car was parked half a block away on a side street. That winter had so much snow that there was always a danger of snow plows blocking in your parked car when they cleared the road. This is what had happened the morning I met Specialized.

I tried digging, and removed much of the snow from around my car, but couldn't get it out of its parking spot. The wheels just kept spinning on the slushy ice beneath them. So I went in search of help. Wait, no, first I called my dad, because whenever something wrong happened with my car, I always called my dad so he could make it right. Even once when my car broke down in Chicago on a cross country road trip I called my dad. As if he could somehow help me from across the country. Anyway, he said to me, "Well, what you should do is find a couple big strong guys to help you get your car out." Click. Thanks, dad. So I went in search of help. The only guy I knew in my apartment complex was my roommates' home teacher, Michael ("home teacher" is Mormon-speak for friendly priesthood watchdog, making sure you're on the right track). So I knocked on Michael's apartment door, and Specialized opened the door.

"Hi, you don't know me, but I live over there," I said, pointing across the center courtyard. "My car is stuck in the snow on 11th, and I was looking for a big strong guy to help me push it out." I explained that Michael was my roommate's home teacher, and I thought he might be home. But he wasn't. Specialized kindly agreed to help me out instead.

I'll admit, I was immediately attracted to Specialized. He was tall, broad, and handsome, with a bit of a fashionably sensitive appearance. Although not in a gay way. More of an alternative/punk way, which was pretty cool in 2003.

While we walked down to 11th, we introduced ourselves, and I learned that Specialized came from Cedar City. This was a major connection point for me, because I have gone to Cedar City literally every summer of my life for the Utah Shakespearean Festival. I mean, even when I was in the womb, I was there, so I've had a lot of experience with Cedar City and Southern Utah in general, and I love it down there.

Down at my car, I climbed into the driver's seat and tried the gas while he tried pushing from behind, but still no dice. So I got out and we tried rocking my car together. It looked like we might be able to push it over the hump, but we could only get it just so high before the weight of the car was too much for us. So Specialized suggested that we go back and get his car and a rope and tow me out. Up in his apartment while he was digging out a rope, I noticed he had an old school NES and a huge game collection (which would later become mine, sweet sweet revenge!). I thought this was pretty awesome, because I love old school NES. So this was another connection point. Silly little things, these, but these and many other little things helped build upon my attraction so that by the time my car overcame that hump thanks to Specialized's towing, I was smitten. I thanked him for his help, and told him we'd have to play some NES some time. Then I went to work.

Over the next couple days I wracked my mind trying to figure out how I could see Specialized again. Doesn't seem like rocket science now, does it? But back then I was still rather nervous and unsure about how to express romantic interest in boys. (I used to "stalk" boys I had crushes on in my college classes. A little high school-esque? Maybe even a little junior high? Yes, yes, but I was a late bloomer, what can I say? More on this stalking in a future episode.)

So anyway, I finally told my roommate LaNae about my dilemma, and she helped me come up with a suitable stratagem: I would invite Specialized to dinner at my place as a way of thanking him for his help, and LaNae would invite her boyfriend over as well, so it wouldn't be awkward just being the two of us. Perfect! But now I had to invite him, and that made me a little scared. So I settled on leaving a note on his apartment door, because, as you know, I handle things much better in writing than in person.

The day of truth came, and Specialized actually showed up! I had made my specialty: Tahitian Stir Fry. It was delicious. After dinner, we opted to watch a movie. Specialized was impressed at my large collection of illegal Divx movies. He was also impressed by my collection of music DVDs. "I thought I was the only one who bought these," he said. By the end of the night, I concluded that the attraction was mutual, and indeed that night kicked off the first part of our relationship.

We had great physical chemistry, and many common interests. And Specialized was very sweet. Well, he knew how to behave sweetly, let's just say that, because after parts 2 and 3, I concluded that he doesn't actually have the ability to feel. I suppose I should have seen the warning signs that showed me that this relationship wasn't entirely healthy. Specialized was very flaky. He'd commit to things and not follow through, and he'd disappear for several days without a word only to reappear as if nothing happened. One day he disappeared for good. Just up and left without a word. I understand that it's not altogether unusual for boys to disappear like this. I suppose they figure it's easier just to leave than to face the person they're leaving. (Note to boys: man up and at least say something to the girl instead of just disappearing, alright? Save her a little hurt.)

At first I was worried about Specialized. He had recently moved into his sister's house to save money, and so I couldn't just knock on his door. And he wouldn't answer my calls or return my messages. What if something had happened to him? We had tickets to go to the Death Cab For Cutie concert, and the day of the show, I still hadn't heard from him. I ended up going with my roommate Katie instead. It was a great show, but it was harder to enjoy with a lump of worry in my throat. I also was in possession of his hiking backpack full of his NES and game collection at my apartment. I didn't think he'd just leave without retrieving them.

I eventually looked up his folks in Cedar City and called down there. I asked for him without identifying myself. I just wanted to gauge whether they were worried about him. They didn't seem to sound as if he had been involved in a terrible accident or anything, so I was relieved that he was at least probably not dead. A few days later I received an email from Specialized saying he heard I had called down to his parents, and he wanted me to know he was ok. He had gone down to Southern California to help a friend in crisis.

And that was the end of it. He didn't write, call, or attempt to see me again.

I was very hurt and angry at the whole situation. Eventually I decided that as revenge I would keep his game collection for myself, and give his NES to my roommate Paula, since I already had a system. I sold many of those games for a nice profit. Mike Tyson's Punchout and Contra are reasonably rare and desirable games, so I got quite a bit for those. I also still have the backpack. It's a great hiking pack that probably cost a lot of money. But it's mine now.

The stupid thing was, in those short months before he disappeared, I had fallen in love with the guy. But I didn't tell him that, not then. I didn't tell him I loved him until it was no longer true. That happened in part 3.

It took me several months to get over Specialized after part 1. I should have left well enough alone, but a year later, part 2 began.

Next time: Episode 2: Specialized A-hole, Part 2

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

History of My Love Life, Episode 1: Ian

This is the first part of a partial telling of the history of my love life. Hey, it's a personal blog, right? Why not get a little personal from time to time. This episode is effectively the beginning of the end of the story so far -- the story of how Ian and I got together.

It was a dark and stormy night...

(Sorry for stealing that joke from you, heidikins.)

Well, it probably was dark and stormy, because it was the middle of December when I first met Ian on MySpace. Yes, we met through the "place for friends (and stalkers)" social networking site. How nerdy is that, right? Luckily, vegging out in front of the computer for hours upon hours every day while you stalk people online is now pretty normal, so I think I shouldn't really feel ashamed about how we met.

I got my first message from Ian while I was actually at the end of a four month "relationship" with someone who I had dated twice before and who I got involved with again, against all better judgment, as a means of healing my heart from a wrenching break up that previous summer. We will call those people "Specialized A-hole" and "Like me, but not in love with me" respectively. More on those two in future episodes.

At the time I was very interested in meeting new people through MySpace -- a practice which I now view as something people do only if they potentially want to meet and date those new people. When I'm in a serious relationship, I don't think it's appropriate to try to meet new people on MySpace. But my "relationship" with Specialized was, as you can see, a relationship in quotation marks. The entire month of December was spent waiting for the culmination of my break up with Specialized. I knew it was only a matter of time, but wasn't too keen on initiating the process for some reason. Still, I didn't feel that it was wrong to meet new people online. I wasn't actively looking, though. As a girl, you don't have to. You get plenty of solicitations without even trying. Just like the real world, right?

So anyway, I had placed a little javascript bunny on my MySpace page that you could pet and feed carrots. I named him Thlayli, and wrote beneath him that I'd buy lunch for anyone who could tell me why I named him that. I also added a list of my favorite types of cheese to my interests side bar.

Both of these things caught Ian's attention, and he sent me a message, declaring that I was the only person he'd seen who had listed her favorite types of cheese, and correctly identifying Thlayli as being a character from Richard Adams' Watership Down. If not for these two things, he might not have sent me a message, and we never would have met.

We exchanged several get-to-know-you messages in which I said I guess I owe you lunch, and he said whoa, slow down, turbo, we don't even know each other, how about some coffee instead? But we didn't meet in person until several weeks later. In fact, by January, I had almost forgotten about him entirely. During our exchanges in December, I had learned that Ian was an amateur musician who liked recording songs. He promised he'd send me some of his songs by email, but he never did, and after awhile I stopped hearing from him. So I wrote him off and continued meeting and dating other new people.

By the way, the official break up with Specialized happened on New Years Eve, and that's a fun story which I shall tell next time. But perhaps no more than a week or two later I had started up a minor fling with a Mormon boy during January. I attempted to corrupt him, and though he was eager, I was never successful in sealing the deal. I generally have a rule that No-Mos shouldn't date Mos, and I'm really not the type who wants to disrespect people's religious beliefs, but, what can I say? I was looking for a challenge after my two tumultuous breakups the previous year, and I suppose I was being a little vindictive. So I played with that poor boy's heart while casually dating a handful of other boys at the same time. This was the first time in my life I had ever gone out with more than one person at a time. Never was my style, but at this point, I suppose I just needed distraction.

But then sometime near the end of January, out of the blue I received an email message from Ian with two or three songs attached. This rekindled our communication, and I got a little more serious about getting to know him. That is, after I got over our age difference. I was 23 at the time and was accustomed to dating people within 2 years of my age. So I hesitated a little when I saw Ian was 28. But given my lack of luck with people in the 2-year range, I decided that it was acceptable to extend the range to 5 years. Beyond that I wasn't willing to do. So it was lucky that it was January and not April at the time, because Ian's age would have shown up as 29 in April, and I still would have been 23, so I'd have dismissed him as outside my age range. Incidentally, I now believe that it takes a guy who is about 5 years older than you age-wise to be about the same age as you maturity-wise. At least that's true when you're a girl in your 20's. Not sure if it extends to other decades, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

So we proceeded with our online flirtations for a few weeks.

Then one day, I was having a beer with my Bosnian friend Arminka at Piper Down. She was telling me about her new relationship with a great Austrian man, and I was telling her about my prospects. I told her that I was feeling a real connection with this guy I had been talking to online named Ian, and after I described our exchanges, she said to me, "I think it's time you and this Ian get together for a date." (Except she pronounced it Eye-an, and still almost always does. It's cute.) Just as she said this, however, my cell phone buzzed with a text from Ian. It said something along the lines of "One of the girls I go out with is such a drama queen!" My heart sank. To me, this is not the type of thing you say to a girl you are interested in going out with. Sure, I had been dating many people simultaneously, and that's acceptable, but one of the unspoken rules is that the other people you are dating remain unspoken. If he was telling me about other girls, then obviously he didn't see me as a romantic prospect. So again, I wrote Ian off.

So I was slightly surprised when a few days later I received a text invitation to meet for a beer with Ian soon. It was a Friday, so I said, how about tonight? And we agreed to meet at Piper Down. We talked for several hours about many things. The only thing I really remember talking about, though, was western religious history. Well, Ian did most of the talking. He knows a fair amount about the subject, and I know probably a bit less, but enough to keep up. Still, as an Atheist, I generally don't like to get involved in religious discussions. But Ian's religious convictions seemed compatible enough with my own, and I was impressed at his intellectual prowess, so I thought the night went fairly well. I still wasn't sure if he saw me as anything more than a friend, though.

A few days later, Ian invited me to get some coffee with him and some friends. I accepted, but told him that I was going to watch a friend play a gig at a bar later that night, and so I'd have to work around that, and then added that he could of course join me. Big mistake.

I've made a few love blunders in my day, but this was an error in judgment that nearly cost me my chances with Ian. You see, this musician friend was also a person I had been exchanging messages with on MySpace, and there was potential interest involved there as well. Never, I mean never, put two of your love interests in the same place at the same time. It seems so obvious now, but I somehow thought it was alright, because I still thought Ian probably was only interested in a friendship. But I was wrong, and the tension of competition was palpable when I got those two together that night. It was a very uncomfortable situation for everyone.

As I watched Ian grow more and more quiet and distant, I knew I had made a big mistake. I tried to play it off as not a big deal, but when Ian dropped me off at my car later that night and drove off, I received a text from him that bitterly expressed his feelings about how he had never before been treated that way and that he wasn't going to compete for me.

I felt awful. I mean, really really awful. I had felt great chemistry with Ian, and was really interested, but was unsure about how he felt, and so I made a mistake. I tried to explain myself and asked him to forgive me and give me another chance, but he refused.

So that night I had a long conversation with my friend Sov via IM. I described everything that happened, including the misunderstandings and miscommunication, and my horrible blunder, and how I felt like I really blew it with someone who could have been really great. Sov is a great listener, and the conversation was very cathartic, even though I still felt bad afterwards. But by that point, I decided I had nothing to lose, and so I sent the IMed conversation to Ian via email, with the words "For what it's worth." I figured he could see how I felt and then make up his mind whether he wanted to forgive me.

And wouldn't you know it, it worked! Ian described how he feels powerful emotions but has difficulty expressing them, and the whole thing was a painful little misunderstanding, but we could start again.

So we did, and from that point on, I stopped seeing other people and I've been seeing only Ian for over two years now -- my longest relationship ever by about 22 months. But who's counting?

So that's the story of how my true love could have gotten away.

Next time: Episode 2: Specialized A-hole, or "yes, girls really do go for jerks"

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Worst Feelings in the World

Feelings are an interesting phenomenon. Some of them are a nice little reward, like love, elation, orgasm, laughter, the "running high", or "food euphoria". Other feelings are a wretched experience. This is a list of those feelings that I deem to be the Worst Feelings in the World.

1) Funny Bone

There's nothing funny about the sensation you get when this elbow nerve is stimulated. To me, the funny bone is compelling evidence against intelligent design, because there's nothing intelligent about putting so sensitive a nerve in a place that is prone to being knocked by airplane carts coming down the aisle. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the theory that we are god's little science experiment, and he has a nasty sense of humor.

2) Tummy Sticks

Ian and I got this term from the movie Wedding Crashers. We aren't quite sure what it's supposed to mean in the context of the movie, but we've adopted it as our euphemism for ... well ... the feelings associated with diarrhea. See why we needed a euphemism? Cause that other word is nasty! And so is this subject. So we'll move on--

3) Free Fall

Some people would probably argue that this is one of the most exhilarating feelings you could possibly experience. Those people are adrenaline junkies, and they can't be trusted. Free Fall is associated with butterflies in the stomach -- a nasty sensation in and of itself. Infatuation junkies will object that the feeling of butterflies in the stomach is the impetus behind their obsession with love, but they are as fickle as infatuation is fleeting, and are likewise not to be trusted.

The sensation of Free Fall is something you can experience in dreams when you find yourself somehow hurtling over the edge of a cliff. It's sheer terror. I imagine falling from a great height would be a horrifying way to go.

4) Getting in Trouble

If at any time in your life you could have been described as a "goody-two-shoes", then you are probably familiar with this awful feeling. It's the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you've done something wrong (or even when you haven't but are being called out for something anyway). It's that fear of authority that some people become instilled with in their youth.

You know this feeling if you are the type who usually does no wrong. In Grade School, getting your name written up on the board was a foreign experience that only happened to the class clowns and average kids in the class. You didn't get pink slips or invitations to visit the Principal's office. You never got detention or a grade lower than a B. You respected and even liked your teachers. Your classmates called you "teacher's pet" behind your back, and sometimes even in front of your face. So when you were scolded for doing something wrong, you experienced this feeling.

As an adult, it's the feeling many people get when they are pulled over by cops, (that is, until you adopt the general disdain for cops that most people achieve at some point). It's basically the feeling of having your tail between your legs. Sadness, humiliation, and shame all rolled up into one gut feeling.

5) Wet Underwear and Socks

I don't particularly like being wet, which is one of the reasons I only shower every other day and don't own a swimming suit (the other reasons are that second day hair looks better than first day hair, and swimming suits look better on the ridiculously thin). But the worst kind of wet is the kind where only part of you is wet, and the disparity in wet versus dry causes you terrible discomfort. Maybe you stepped in a puddle and got your socks all wet, or maybe you sat in somebody's spilled coke. Maybe you forgot to put your clothes in the dryer the night before and are forced to wear wet panties beneath your jeans. No matter what caused your under things to become wet, you will never be able to concentrate on anything until they are dry.

6) Broken Heart

Ah, the quintessential feeling of lost love. I think the crux of this feeling is the hurt of rejection. Even if you know you and your ex weren't good together, there's still a feeling of hurt and rejection when you learn that they prefer the company of others to your exclusive company... oh, sorry, that was a Nada Surf song popping into my head. But really, it's the hurt that comes from knowing you weren't good enough in someone else's eyes. Why not? What's wrong with me? you might ask. And the answer is probably nothing. No guarantees, because you know, maybe you were needy, or an emotional vampire, or abusive, or a promiscuous gutter slut. Then, yes, there is something wrong with you. But often no one is at fault for a relationship breaking up. Sometimes two good people just aren't good for each other. But a broken heart still feels like the end of the world.

7) Right Before You Vomit

Ugh, I HATE vomiting. I hate it so much that I will generally do anything I can to avoid it. I will suffer the nausea just so I don't have to endure the sensation of my insides trying to turn into my outsides. But sometimes there is nothing you can do to tamp it down, so your throat begins to constrict and your mouth begins to water and you know you don't have long before the retching ensues... wretched indeed.

8) Urinary Tract Infection

I've experienced two of these in my life, but you only need to feel it once to know that this is one of the worst and most recognizable feelings in the world. You feel like you have to pee all the time, even when you don't. And then there's the burning and pain when you actually do have to pee. And all the blood in the urine. And the general feeling of fever and discomfort. It's nigh impossible to ignore.

What are some of your Worst Feelings in the World?

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Alone with my thoughts

I walked to work today for the first time. My apartment is only about a mile or a mile and a half from my office, which is very convenient, because I hate commutes like I hate hobos. But I have never walked to work before, mostly because I'm not a morning person, so getting up early enough to walk is a bit of a stretch. Hell, I've just accepted the fact that I'm going to always be about a half hour or so "late" to work. It doesn't really matter, though, because I work in a very laid back office in which people seem to just arrive whenever they want. Except the other secretary. She is always there long before anyone else. What does she do during that time, I wonder? I'd be bored out of my mind, and a little afraid of being alone in a big Victorian house that is purportedly haunted and that has a bus stop right out front that gets a lot of hobo business. Did I mention that I hate hobos? I know, I'm a bad person. But an honest bad person, so that must count for something.

So anyway, I had to walk because I blew out a tire on my car yesterday on the way to work. The damn thing had practically no sidewalls left! I'm impressed it didn't blow out much sooner. And I blame it all on Jiffy Lube, who didn't rotate my tires last July when they changed my oil, even though I had paid for them to do so. I knew they didn't rotate them because at the time my front brake pad had almost worn entirely away on one side, and the residual dust from the pad had been collecting on the front tire, which was still in the same place after they were supposed to have rotated them. Jiffy Lube totally owes me a free rotation. Ok, so I should have returned to Jiffy Lube and told them they forgot to rotate them, but I was already upset because Ian had yelled at me for paying for a rotation at all, because I'm not supposed to pay for any extras, just oil changes, even though it's my car and my money and none of his business. (Yes, dear, I still feel that way.) But, really, Jiffy Lube just should have done what they were paid to do without my having to ask them. I know, I know, the world is never going to work the way I want it to. But I'm so stubborn about what is right that I keep holding out hope.

So I'm finally getting to the point of this post: I opted not to use my ipod during my walk to work, but just to allow my thoughts a little time to themselves. We are in such a hurry all the time and rarely give our minds a chance to relax. When I was in college, I walked almost everywhere, most of the time without headphones, and I did some of my best thinking that way. When I had to write a paper, I'd often walk down to the coffee shop to write it, and I'd organize my outline in my head on the way. It's a great way to get some serious thinking done.

I can't do that thinking while biking. For one thing, it's best to keep your attention on the road and not let your mind wander, and for another thing, I'm accustomed to having a soundtrack in my head whilst I ride. When I was a kid it was the Neverending Story theme. (Dooo, do do do do do dooo dooo dooooooo! Falcor, it's like The Nothing never was!) I think that's a perfect theme for any circumstance in which the wind rushes by your face as if you were flying on a Luck Dragon. Today I use my ipod.

I think it's rather tragic that people don't seem to want to be alone with their thoughts these days. Even in the car people don't want to be alone with themselves, so they all have their cellphones stuck to their heads. Going somewhere by yourself? Well, then you'll have to fill your alone time by texting all your friends. After all, you don't want to seem like a loser who doesn't have any friends. Why this need to always be connected to someone or something? Why this fear of being alone?

Sometimes you just need to sit, walk, or ride, without being connected to anyone or anything besides your own mind. I'd like to start doing that more often so I can get a break from this crazy hectic world.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Noncents: Makes sense to me!

Every now and then I come up with a million dollar idea. It's the result of my desperation to leave behind the slavery of 9-to-5-dom.

In reality, I know that the only way to escape the track of getting other people rich while I scrape by on my meager salary is to try to become the person on top who is getting rich from the work of other people. That's one reason I'm doing the law school thing. Oh don't get me wrong, lawyers do work hard. Many are known to be workaholics. But not all of them work hard, I can attest, and those that do at least get the satisfaction of being in control of their lives. So that's where my reality is taking me.

But in my dreamland, I like to come up with ideas that are sure to break Ian and I out of our poor middle class state (because in this country the middle class really is poor). Ian likes to do this too, so we have a good time sharing our ideas with each other. But we don't always like each other's ideas.

Like my brilliant invention which I like to call the BlankCape: It's a cross between a blanket and a cape. I constantly have a small blanket draped around my shoulders at home, because I'm always cold. Even at 71degsF I'm cold. 72 is a bit more manageable, but a nice toasty 75 is even better. But anyway, I get tired of having to hold the blanket with my hands, or having the knot I tie to keep it around my neck coming undone while I'm trying to use the stove. My blanket now has a nice burn scar from such an incident. So my invention would be a cape that is made out of a blanket so that my hands will be free whilst I walk about the house in warmth and comfort. I could even see taking the BlankCape to work, because, like so many places, my office is always over air-conditioned in the Summer. (Just because it's hotter than Hades outside doesn't mean it needs to be colder than the North Pole inside, people! Seriously, my body could go into shock with those kind of temperature differentials!)

Ian thinks the BlankCape is a weird idea.

He wasn't too fond of the Tea Globe either.

And then there was the time I came up with one of my cleverest ideas, methinks. It's a store called Noncents, and it doesn't deal in change. Everything costs even dollar amounts, even with tax. And that way, there's no more of this funny business of $2.99 bullshit. When I see $2.99, I think $2, because I just look at the first number, even though I know better. But $2.99 still seems a lot cheaper to me than $3. I think this practice is deceptive and maybe even false advertising. Noncents would do away with this nonsense altogether.

Ian hates the Noncents idea too.

What do you guys think? And what are your stupid million dollar ideas? I promise I won't steal them. (Don't have to, cause Noncents and the BlankCape are gonna make me Rich!)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Home Brew

I know more about coffee than the average coffee enthusiast, although not much more than what you can learn by reading the article about coffee in The Joy of Cooking (thanks for the book, Mom). Turns out The Joy of Cooking is not just a cookbook. It is a cookbook that is filled with very informative articles about foods and cooking techniques in addition to all its recipes. I suppose that's where the "joy" part comes in -- celebrating food instead of just providing an instruction manual for its preparation.

Anyway, the article about coffee taught me a number of interesting things:

  1. There is no difference between Coffee Beans and Espresso Beans. The difference between coffee and espresso is in both the grind and the brew method. The finer the grind, the stronger the coffee, so espresso is generally ground to a very fine grain. And whereas coffee is a slow drip brew that takes several minutes, espresso is a high pressure brew that takes about 30 seconds.

  2. There are two major species of coffee beans: Arabica and robusto. Arabica is the higher quality of the two because, although it has about half as much caffeine as robusto, it has much richer flavor. Cheap grocery store coffee is most likely robusto, as are flavored coffees. Coffee house coffee is generally Arabica. Check the bag before you buy.

  3. The fresher your coffee is, the better it tastes. Coffee may be kept in the fridge or freezer to help maintain freshness; however, coffee is about as absorbent as the baking soda you keep in your fridge to ward off stink, so unless you want your coffee to taste like stink, you'd better make sure there isn't stink to begin with. If you really want to capitalize on freshness, you should grind your own beans as you need them.

Bullet point number 3 is something I have ignored up until now. But, fortuitously, I accidentally bought a package of whole bean coffee from Caffee Niche. I don't think it was really my fault. I think the girl who sold me the beans ought to have asked me if I would like them ground. But she didn't, and when I got to work and started the process of making coffee, I discovered the whole beans in my bag.

Desperate for my morning fix, I wondered for a moment if I could brew a decent tasting cup of coffee using whole beans. But since I know about bullet point number 1 up there, I quickly dismissed these thoughts and proceeded to curse the girl who sold me whole bean coffee without first pointing out that it was whole bean coffee. (Of course, it hadn't occurred to me to ask, or better yet, to check the damn package. Note to self: never trust a salesperson to do your thinking for you.)

So I placed my whole bean coffee on the shelf and resigned myself to doing without the morning caffeine whilst mentally noting that I would now have to shell out 20 bucks for a grinder. But it's looking like those 20 bucks were bucks well spent, because my first cup of freshly ground home brew was the best tasting home brew I've ever made! (The second cup was exceptional too!)

I had been frustrated that I couldn't seem to brew coffee as good as the coffee I can get at the local coffee shops downtown. Mine usually tastes more like 7-Eleven coffee or Village Inn coffee or -- worst of all -- hotel room coffee. That's why this past winter I usually made tea in the mornings rather than coffee. It's much easier to brew a fine cup of tea. But now I can make delicious coffee shop style coffee for a fraction of the price! And when you're a daily drinker like me, that really adds up. I reckon I'll have saved myself the cost of that grinder before the end of the month.

So if you're a daily drinking coffee enthusiast like me, do yourself a favor and get in on the whole beans and coffee grinding right now. And pick up a copy of The Joy of Cooking while you're at it.

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I want YOU to give me a bike, Uncle Sam

Happy tax day, everybody!

I've already bent over for Uncle Sam and let him rape me of about $100 dollars in taxes which apparently weren't already taken out of my paycheck. But it doesn't smart so bad this year, because I'm looking forward to receiving my $600 economic stimulus package in May.

I'd like to say that I'm going to lift my finger to George W. Bush and sock that money away in savings, but, unfortunately, I'm planning to do a little economic stimulating in the form of a Victoria's Secret clothing spree. I've recently discovered that VS clothes are both hot and flatteringly suited for a normal sized woman such as myself. (You'd think I was about as big as a woman comes with the clothing sizes in most stores out there.)

I'm also on the lookout for a new bicycle, and I'll probably spend about $600 on that, so in fact I'll be digging into my savings. Probably not the smartest of things when the U.S. dollar is currently teetering at the top of a precarious Jenga tower that has just about had all the important blocks kicked out from underneath it.

But you know what? I think even if(when) the dollar does collapse, we're all gonna be fucked whether we buy ourselves those hot new VS clothes and shiny rad bicycles or not. So I'm opting for clothing and bicycles.

What are y'all going to do with your stimulus packages?

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Must-Read Blog #3:

This is the third post in a series featuring blogs that are on my daily Must-Read list. Some of them are from people I know personally, and others are from random people I found on the internet in one way or another, but all of them are worthwhile reading. is beautifully written by one of my old roommates.

I've had many roommates since I first moved out of my mom's house 7 years ago (wow! time flies). About 8 roommates if I'm counting correctly. Well, 9 if you count Ian. But a live-in BF and a friendly roommate are two different things entirely.

I never had a long-term roommate that I didn't like. (Short-term roommates are another story. There was once this short-term roommate that we had for the summer who smelled like carcass. That's the only way I can describe it. And she stiffed me on utilities. Most unbearable summer of my life.)

Most of my roommates were very close friends of mine while we lived together, and some of them still are. heidikins was not one of those roommates.

Like I said, there was never a long-term roommate I didn't like, so I always liked heidikins just fine, but for some reason, we never bonded while we lived together. I never really got to know her and she never really got to know me. And that's why I'm really glad heidikins found me online recently so that we could sort of get reacquainted through our respective blogs.

Some people are easier to get to know in writing. I'm definitely one of those people. Chalk it up to social anxieties, or whatever, but it's generally much easier to get to know me through my writing than through interacting with me in person. Of course, once I'm comfortable with you, I'm much more open in person, but depending on how well we relate to each other, it may take a long time to get to that point.

Anyway, I'm not sure if heidikins is the same way -- if it's easier to get to know her through her writing -- but I've definitely learned more about her by reading her archives over the past couple months than I ever learned by living with her for a year or so. For one thing, I never knew she was such a great writer. I'm rather envious of her craft, actually. You are in for a very funny, heart-warming, adventurous, stylish, and emotional ride over at Let's get started, shall we?:

heidikins on shoes:

About (under construction)
2007 June 29, 7:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


I have an affinity for shoes…ok, I am obsessed with shoes. I have, as of January 2008, 176 pairs of shoes in my closet. Ok, that’s not exactly true, I don’t have a “closet”, I have an entire room for my shoes. All stacked up in their boxes with photos so I can immediately locate my red strappy sandals or my favorite peep-toe wedges.

When I say “I am obsessed with shoes” I am completely serious. And this is a far healthier addiction than say drugs, or sports cars, or man-whoring… for every new pair of shoes I get several days of “new shoe high”, so to speak. Day of purchase, day of first wear, day of first compliment… it really is an economical and efficient addiction.


heidikins on books (and a little bit more about shoes):

When Books Happen to Good People
2008 February 5, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Bookworm, Obsessions, Travel

Some people are addicted to coffee.
Some people are addicted to Diet Coke.
Some people cannot possibly imagine a day going by without a little chocolate.
Some people are completely consumed by dogs and cats and other little furry creatures.

I’m not one of those people; I used to eat chocolate daily, but a certain sweet-tooth revolution has recently curbed that craving and I can’t seem to figure out how to make my body uncurb. Other than a certain affinity to the smell of bleach and a whole-hearted obsession with stilettos, wedges and peep-toes, I am also quite addicted to books.

Stacks of paper, sewed together and filled with tiny –but particular– smudges of ink that somehow transport readers to another time, another world, another life…mmmm, is there anything more fantastic? For most of my life I have had a book tucked into my bag or under my arm. I read on the train, I read during my lunch break, I read before I go to bed and I usually try and get a few pages in while I eat my breakfast –if I eat breakfast. I am a woman obsessed! A bonafide bookworm, and proud of it.

heidikins ranting about passive-aggression:

Just gettin’ it off my chest
2008 January 31, 10:31 am
Filed under: Dear So-and-so

How is it possible that in a world more-or-less populated by adults, passive-aggressive people still exist, still thrive, and still manage to get away with these little stunts that remind me of an 8th grade gossip-fest/cat-fight thing. Seriously. I believe that the vast majority of individuals with whom I interact have mastered the English language. It makes logical sense that if/when there is any kind of issue to be addressed, regardless of the genre that issue falls under, these people can construct a passive-aggressive-free paragraph to explain their concerns and lay out a plan of action. No? And due to my status as a real life “adult”, I think it is fair to expect that from other adults. Furthermore, if an individual will not address me directly with whatever issue that is keeping them up at night, I see absolutely no reason to attempt to rectify the situation.


This is the type of conversation that is absolutely unacceptable. Please consider revising for maximum (or, rather, any type of) results.

“Ohmygosh, I am like, so mad at you right now. Like we’re totally fighting.”
….We are? Why?
“Ohmygosh, like, I can’t even talk about it. But I just wanted you to know that I am, like, so mad at you right now…”

“Heidi, what you did/said/wrote/thought/are really offended me.”
…Oh? I’m sorry. What did I say/do/write/think?
“Just think about it.” (speaker proceeded to stick her nose in the air and then snub me for the duration of the event we were both attending.)

“I can’t believe how you treated So-and-So”
….Um, I’m sorry. I haven’t spoken to or seen So-and-So for over a month. What are you talking about?
“Oh, you KNOW what I’m talking about.”
…Uh huh. Right.

Additionally, if you are the type of person who lets something fester for weeks, months, or years, please don’t expect me to know what you are talking about when you refer to “that time” from 3rd grade, or even last summer. I have a strict rule in relationships, romantic and otherwise, that I believe you may want to consider adopting.. If you (you being the other half of the relationship) do or say something that hurts my feelings, I have exactly 7 days to bring it up and resolve the issue. If this window of time passes, I am required to immediately forgive and forget and am not allowed to bring up this grievance in any argument or conversation going forward. This may not be the most brilliant or effective plan; but it sure beats holding a grudge for fifteen years.

heidikins on being in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time:

In which I discuss how I accidentally helped catch a bonafide Bad Guy
2008 April 10, 9:44 am
Filed under: Driving Miss Daisy
  • Alternate Title 1: In which I discuss how a routine trip to the airport landed me in the middle of a police chase.
  • Alternate Title 2: In which I ask the Utah Highway Patrol for diplomatic immunity for services rendered, or at least a free pass for the Carpool Lane.
  • Alternate Title 3: In which Miss Daisy takes one for the team, gets squnched, and I end up on T.V…wearing no bra.

Clearly, something kind of exciting has happened. Before I get into all the details, let me reassure ya’ll that I am fine. I’m a bit sore and a little achey, but I am really ok.

(From Sra: How can you compete with a blog opening like that?)

These excerpts couldn't possibly do justice to all the pure gems there are to be read at So add her feed, and get reading. This is one blog you don't want to miss.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Palomino @ Velour, Sat Apr 12, 8:PM

There's a great show at Club Velour in Provo this Saturday (135 North University Ave):

Palomino (Check them out on MySpace). This is Palomino's CD Release concert, so it's a great time to go down and get acquainted with the band, because now you can take their music home with you. Band of Annuals and Matt Hopper will also be at the show, but I'm not familiar with either of their music. That's the beauty of going to these small venue shows, though, you get to see bands that might become your next favorite thing.

As you know (if you've been following my concert posts for awhile), love Club Velour though I do, I will only go through the trouble of driving all the way down into the heart of the valley that I hate for a really great band. And Palomino is a really great band, so it's definitely worth a journey into the happy land.

I saw the frontman open as a solo act last time I went down to see David Hopkins, and I was so moved by his music that I made a mental note of the name Palomino -- and that mental note actually stuck! Usually my mental notes are written on virtual Post-It Notes that have fallen into a pile of dirt and so aren't very sticky anymore. But Palomino was so amazing that I made sure to write it down on a brand new virtual Post-It Note. You can trust that any mental note that actually sticks in my mind is a mental note worth noting.

So come on down if you have nothing else going on. Ticket prices are about $10 cash, and I've never left Velour feeling like the drive wasn't worth it, so I'm sure you'll feel that way too.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Information Overload

I feel like I've been experiencing information overload lately, and I think that has a lot to do with why I've been having a hard time blogging. I have a serious case of blogger's block, and it's not because I have nothing to write about, but I don't have that little spark that ignites under your ass and makes your fingers fly across the keyboard. Usually, my problem is I have too many ideas just needing to get out, but now I have ideas, but they are happy to stay lounged on my mental couch for now.

So the information overload part: I've dramatically increased the amount of stuff I'm reading every day. I subscribe to probably a dozen advice columns (I have a thing for them, don't ask me why), probably a dozen more personal blogs, a handful of "news" sources (which really just means fluff these days), and about 5 little joke sites. Most of these sites are updated daily, and some of them are updated multiple times per day.

But then I'm reading a lot off the computer too. The LSAT is about 2 months away now, and I'm starting to feel the heat. I've made a lot of excellent progress over the last six months, and I'm averaging in my goal range on my practice exams now, but I'm starting to feel urgent about really tightening up the loose ends in my skill set. So every day I read in my LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible, and I just ordered three new LSAT books that I plan to cover before the test.

During the down times at work, when I'm not peeking at other people's blogs, I've been reading a really interesting story called Double or Nothing online at Harper-Collins. It's free to read online until April 14, and I'm a sucker for free, especially when the free thing is interesting.

Then, of course, there's my actual work, in which I have to process pieces of mail and churn out letters and submissions to the patent office. That's nothing too mentally strenuous, but it is part of what has contributed to the effect of my information overload:

I feel unable to create anything.

It's like I'm taking so much in that I can't let anything out.

So maybe it's time to go on an information diet. There are some things in my feed reader that I don't really enjoy looking at anymore like I once did, but I still look at them anyway, so maybe it's time to cut those out altogether. (No, I don't mean your blog, or your blog, or yours either, so relax. I mean things like I mean seriously, how often do they put out something worth reading? Not often enough to justify scanning the headlines daily.) I can't really reduce the LSAT stuff until after the test, so I'll just have to hang on to that stuff. And obviously, I can't stop doing my actual work. (Can't I?)

So that's it, I'll thin out my feed reader and hope that that helps me be able to churn out my own stuff to clog up your feed readers.

Note to the feed reader unwise:

There are a few of my readers who are somewhat internet unsavvy (hi, dad). This is for you.

A feed reader is a way of subscribing to all your favorite websites without having to visit the sites themselves. Many sites such as blogs have a "feed", which is basically a syndication of the site's publications. So if you add that feed to your feed reader, then you can view it and all your other feed subscriptions in one place. It's really rather convenient, and if you are into reading internet sites but haven't jumped on the feed reader bandwagon, I suggest you put your jumping shoes on and get ready to jump!

I use Google Reader as my feed reader, and I'm happy with it.

There are many ways to subscribe to feeds. You can start from your feed reader and search for the url of the website you are interested in subscribing to, then it will take care of the rest. Or you can visit the site you want to subscribe to and look for the Feed symbol . Clicking on this or any link associated with it will take you to the feed where you will be able to select your feed reader. (Helpful hint: this symbol usually appears in the URL box on your browser too, so if you can't readily find the symbol on the site, just click it up in the URL box.)

Happy feed reading.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

a-blee, a-blee, a-blee, a-that's annoying, folks!

It has occurred to me recently that I am annoyed by a certain socially aggressive trait exhibited by one of my coworkers. I'm not sure if aggressive is actually the right word, but assertive isn't it either, because being assertive means dealing with people in a moderate, reasonable, respectful way. Most people, sadly, don't seem to use this modus operandi, but instead exhibit too passive of a nature (like me), or too aggressive of a nature (like my coworker, BLC).

BLC is one of those people who don't quite understand that conversing is a two-way street which involves taking turns. Instead, whenever BLC has something to say, he begins talking and, like a broken record, repeating the first word of his sentence until you stop talking so he can finish his sentence, which is obviously more important than yours. So important that he feels it's socially acceptable to interrupt you and not listen to what you were trying to say. You know Porky Pig? That's what he sounds like half the time he opens his mouth. He stutters his way into controlling the conversation.

It's funny that this should annoy me because his conversational personality and my conversational personality are actually pretty complementary. I tend to let other people monopolize the conversation, and am not likely to volunteer much input unless I am asked. BLC, on the other hand, wants to put his two cents into everything. But it's the way that he does it that gets under my skin. Like what he has to say is gold to your silver-plated nickel.

But the truth is that a lot of what comes out of his mouth isn't actually useful. Frequently it's obvious. Like when he brings me back some of the draft letters I put on his desk and tells me which ones he's made changes to and why, as if I couldn't just look at the damn letters and see that the changes are there without him wasting my time and patience in explaining it to me. (Sometimes I suspect that people think I am slightly retarded just because I am reticent.) In reading this back, I see that this example doesn't seem like such a big deal, but I'm just not explaining very well why his over-explicative-ness is unusual, unnecessary, and annoying. You'll just have to trust me that it is.

But my interactions with BLC do not usually invite the type of annoying interruption that is characteristic of his speech. Instead, I usually overhear those conversations through the paper-thin faux wall dividing my office and GSD's office next door. Sometimes I just want to bang on the wall and say, "For god's sake, BLC, let GSD talk!" I wonder if GSD ever feels the same way.

What about you guys, are there any annoying habits of your coworkers that you stew about?

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Chanticleer the Clever Cowboy, Thurs. Apr. 3, 7:PM, Nobrow Coffee & Tea

To my Salt Lake readers who love acoustic music, there's a free show this Thursday at 7:PM at Nobrow Coffee and Tea (300 S. 315 E., by the plant store). The show is by local musician Chanticleer the Clever Cowboy, aka Andrew Shaw formerly of The Adonis. (Check out Chanticleer on MySpace ; and check out The Adonis on MySpace.)

Andrew is quite the songwriter, and for his act as Chanticleer, he uses a foot pedal looper to build delicate and intricate songs before your very ears. Fans of indie folk-styled acoustic will enjoy this show. I recommend it.

And if you've never been to Nobrow, you might as well give it a try. It's a pretty nice coffee shop that sort of doubles as an art gallery. My only complaint is that the decor is a little industrial, which is nice aesthetically, but not very nice on your ass. But there are a couple couches, so you might not have to subject yourself to the hard communist stools. Oh, and don't order the chai, it's not very good. But the other coffee and tea is delightful.

Hope to see you there!

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