Monday, January 31, 2005


"You know, Vicki said that Tom told her 'Laurie's a great girl, we just want different things in life.' Can you believe that?" She was picking at her salad, but looking at me.

"What do you mean, can I believe it? Of course I can. It's the truth." I speared my chicken with my fork, furious that tears were beginning to well up behind my eyes.

"Well, yeah, but isn't it kind of fucked up that he would just say that?"

"I'm sure Vicki asked if we were going to get back together, and that sounded better than just saying 'no.'" I was blinking ferociously, trying to recall the tricks I'd learned to keep from crying on the job. Look to the right...Or was it look to the left? Take a deep breath. Count to ten...

"Well, if that's the case, then why did he show up? Why's he always around?"

Good question. Another good question was why was the truth hurting so much? I have spent the last three months convincing myself and everybody I know that my ex and I can "hang out" without there being any messy feelings involved. Obviously, I was wrong. Because, despite all of my big talk about being strong and unaffected, I still catch myself getting upset when he mentions how he's going to move.

"I think he showed up because he misses everybody," I offered, hoping to derail her train of thought.

"Then why doesn't he just call us instead of you?"

"I don't know why. Maybe he feels awkward." Why was I making excuses for him?

But I knew exactly why he was showing up, why he was calling me instead of the friends we spent time with, and why he's so happy to spend time with me. Because he has what he wanted all along - He has me, but none of the responsibility.

I got a comment on one of my posts that said, "Why are you hanging around with an ex anyway?" And I started to create a response comment - just a "that's a good question" sort of thing - but found that I couldn't. There was nothing I could type that could justify what I've been doing. I wrote that we're friends. That's the truth. We are. But it just seemed like an excuse, even though he's one of my best friends. And one of the biggest problems I had during and after the breakup was the knowledge that I was losing one of the only people I know who asks me how I'm doing and really wants to hear the answer. He was always the first person I'd call when something good or bad happened, the one person with whom I could share every dirty little piece of gossip I picked up because I knew it would go no further than his ears. He knew what I liked. He knew what made me laugh. He knew what made me happy. And he still does. And I'm weak beneath the weight of comfort.

But, the truth remains that he also knew what made me cry, what made me miserable, and what I hated. And I spent a lot of my time with him crying. I also spent a lot of my time with him lonely. And right now, he's as happy as a clam, because he has exactly what he's wanted all along. And I'm still crying. And it's possible that I'm lonlier than ever.

So, "Anonymous," why am I still hanging out with an ex? I don't know. I know I'm shooting myself in the foot every time I'm around him. And I don't know how to put the gun down, but I do know how to reload.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Ms. Independent

Tonight will be my first night in my new house. My bed is assembled, my TV is hooked up, and my boxes are just waiting to be unpacked. I can't wait.

I'll admit, sleeping in a new house is never easy for me; I hear every little creak and click in the house, thinking for sure it must be a burglar. I see shadows on the walls, not sure of where they're coming from but assuming they must be ghosts. I'm a scaredy cat. But my excitement is far outweighing any fears I may have.

I'm going to set up my stereo and blast my music. I'm going to organize my bathroom. I'm going to put away the very few kitchen items I use. I'm going to wash my bed sheets and my summer clothes. I'm going to decide where to put all of my furniture. I'm going to run around the house. Maybe I'll have a glass of wine. Maybe I'll be naked. Who knows? No one will...And that's the point. Tomorrow morning, I'm going to wake up, have a cup of coffee and watch TV, knowing I don't have to talk to anyone until I leave the confines of the house.

I'm already looking forward to the springtime...Not just because it means I'll finally be able to abandon my wool coat, but because I can't wait for the snow to melt in the backyard, allowing the pool to peek through. I can't wait for summer, when the pool is completely revealed, and I can swim at midnight if I want.

When I first moved out of my parents' house, I had this sinking feeling, like I wasn't going to like it out on my own. I was scared - And not of ghosts and burglars. Of failing. Of not being capable enough to survive. Of starving to death because I can't cook. Of poverty. Of having to move home one day. But I did survive, and I didn't starve. I loved it. And the prospect of moving back home felt like someone had stolen my success.

I had a rough October and November of 2004. One of my closest friends pass away, my boyfriend and I broke up, I was forced to spend an ungodly amount of money on my car, and I had to leave a beautiful home that I loved - and all of the independence it afforded me - and move back in with my parents. I don't mind the idea of being with my mom and dad. They are truly wonderful and amazing. I knew they weren't going to treat me like a child. I knew they'd let me do as I wished. But when I got there, I didn't feel very in-control. At a time when what I desired most to prove to myself that I could make it on my own - meaning in my own house and single - I was back in my old bedroom, where a giant Winnie the Pooh started at me from across the room, reminding me that I was back at square one. I knew I wouldn't be there long, and I actually enjoyed being there, but I would just prefer to be on my own.

So when the time to move back out drew near, visions of a huge kitchen, hardwood floors, a wet bar, a screened-in porch, and a spot in a garage danced in my head. I couldn't wait to call it all my own. There was no question any longer that I was capable.

So here it is, my re-entry into the world as an independent 24 year old single girl. And I'm all aflutter.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Privileged Information

I work in customer service. I sit at a desk in a bank, available to any customer who wishes to ask me questions about his or her account, back products and rates. I call my customers by name, and I know only what they've chosen to tell me about their lives. But for whatever reason, these same people think it's perfectly acceptable to press me for details of my life.

Before my boyfriend, Tom, and I broke up, we had been dating for three and a half years. Whenever a customer of mine found out how long we'd been dating, they would invariably ask me "So, when are you guys going to get married?" As if I didn't wonder the same thing myself. I'd usually give them some story about how we're just waiting, there's no hurry, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Which would be followed by "Don't you want to get married?" Of course I did, I wanted it more than anything in the world. But I just told them "Sure I do. When the time is right."

"Well, do you guys live together?"


"Why not?"

"Oh, it's just not my style."

"But why not? This isn't 1950. It's okay to live together."

As though I need their permission to move in with someone. What am I supposed to tell them? That I knew if I lived with him, he'd be getting exactly what he wanted? That he'd never marry me if I was there already? That it was the one decision I made that I could stick to?

Whenever a holiday approached, I'd get the inevitable "Maybe he'll propose!" But I was always thinking that already. I didn't need anyone else, especially virtual strangers, to reinforce my wishful thinking. I would try my hardest to not get my hopes up before a holiday, and they weren't making it any easier.

Then, when the holiday passed, they'd come into the bank, looking at me and my left hand with expectant eyes. "So did he? Did he propose?" And I'd always have to answer "No," and try to hide the fact that I was crushed, once again.

"What's wrong with him? Can't he see what he's got?" They'd say, incredulous that I was still far from betrothed.

"I don't know," I'd respond, with a smile and a shrug. But inside, I just wanted to cry. I'd asked myself that same question over and over. To hear it coming from the mouth of someone I barely knew seemed to make it real. Worse.

Tom and I broke up and reunited four times over the course of our relationship. The last time, when I knew it was for real, it was all I could do to keep the tears at bay. Someone would ask me how Tom was, and I'd feel the sting behind my eyes, the corners of my mouth quivering. I'd do my best to say a simple "We broke up," but it was never allowed to be just that.


"Oh, it's a long story."

"Well, you guys always get back together."

"No. I don't think so. Not this time."

"How do you know?"

I JUST DO, I wanted to scream. I can feel it in my body, in my heart. I know it's the end. Because if I go back now, knowing he doesn't want what I want out of life, then I'd just be with him for the sake of being with somebody, and that's just as good as wasting time.

"I just do," I'd say, with the same smile and shrug I delivered each time he didn't propose.

"Don't worry. There's a guy out there for you. You'll find him."

Well, I'm glad you can tell the future. "Yeah. Thanks."

I appreciate that they're interested enough to ask, and even interested enough to care, but it was always so personal. And, in many instances, painful. These were questions I would expect from friends, not customers. And it baffled me how they expected an answer.

Now that the end of my relationship with Tom is old news, they've moved onto other things. I've been pretty vocal about the fact that I'm moving. I can't help it. I'm excited. So when someone asks what I've been up to, I just say "Moving."

"Oh really? Where?"

"In town."


"This side of Broad Street."

"Which road?"

"Oh, I'm not sure." Honestly, shouldn't this be a hint to stop asking? How could I not be sure where I live?

"You living with your boyfriend?"

"No. We broke up."

"Oh, that's right. So are you living alone?"


"With a friend?"


"Is it a guy?"

Hesitantly, I answer "yes."

"Oooooh," they say, eyeing me suspiciously. "A new boyfriend."

"No. We're just friends."

"Sure. Sure you are." The wink and smile, and laugh to themselves as they walk away, as if they've just uncovered some huge secret I was keeping.

Little do they know, the "new boyfriend" is a gay man. But it's not my place to announce his homosexuality to whomever sits at my desk. So I let them think whatever they like. Because God knows they'll just keep on asking questions if I don't.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Crazy for feeling so lonely
Crazy for feeling so blue

My friend grabbed my hand as the guitarist perched in the corner of the bar began to play Patsy Cline's "Crazy." "C'mon," she said, "let's dance." She had to dance with me because her boyfriend wouldn't dance with her. He'd been sulking all night, staring at the basketball game playing over our heads on the TV, caressing his Vodka Tonic as though it were the only thing in the room he liked.

"I think he wants to leave me," she'd said in the bathroom earlier that night. "I feel like a loser. I don't understand why he has to be so mean. I shouldn't feel like this. If he loves me, I should be happy, right?"

I had been trying all night to explain to her that he was just grumpy, that he didn't want to go out, that he'd rather be home than here at this bar, but she wasn't listening to any of it.

"I know it's me, Laurie. I know he's mad at me. And I don't know what I did. I think I'm a good girlfriend..." She had started to cry, her voice catching in her throat, her bottom lip quivering. "I just don't know what to do. What do I do? Do I leave? I think he's going to kick me out." She grabbed toilet paper and daubed at her eyes.

I didn't know what to tell her. I didn't think he was going to kick her out, and I didn't think they were on the verge of separation. Their love life is nothing if not tumultuous, and this was just another bad mood being made into a relationship-ending fight. Her mind had been made up. He was leaving. She was inconsolable.

"He's not leaving, sweetie."

"How do you know?"

"Well, I don't know, but I don't think he's going to leave you. And if you're that worried and miserable, just leave him. Why are you waiting for him to kick you out?"

"I love him, Laurie. I just love him so much. I really do. I can't help it. I don't know what to do."

When "Crazy" started, I don't even think she saw the irony that it was the one song she wanted to dance to.

I knew
You'd love me as long as you wanted
Then someday
You'd leave me for somebody new

We danced in tentative circles. She kept her eyes on her boyfriend the whole time. She desperately wanted him to come over and cut in, to dance with her despite the fact that he wouldn't talk to her.

Her mouth barely moved as she whispered into my ear, "Do you think he has someone else?"

"No, sweetie, I don't."

She just nodded her head, accepting my words as affirmation that he's being faithful. She created more space between the two of us on the dance floor and her boyfriend by leading me toward the frosty window.

"Do you think he loves me, though?"

Why do I let myself worry
What in the world did I do

I have told my friend a million times that I truly believe he loves her. They've been together for five years, they take trips together, he buys her nice things, they go for walks in the snow. Despite the fact that he's annoyed by her neuroses and her childish desire for constant attention, he loves her. I can see it.

But all she can see is that she doesn't have a job, and how he must hate that. She can see that he's cranky, and she automatically thinks it's because of her. She sees him looking at another woman, and she instantly wonders if she's put on a few pounds. When he gets angry for no reason, she just apologizes, desperate to keep him happy.

"Yes. He loves you. I promise."

She moves us back toward her boyfriend. "Oh boys," she beckons. "Come dance with us."

Her boyfriend turns to my ex and says "I'm not dancing tonight. What about you?"

For thinking that my love could hold you
I'm crazy for tryin'
Crazy for cryin'
And I'm crazy for loving you

It's strange that my ex-boyfriend is there. When I told him I'd be going to a birthday party, he asked if I wanted company. I never believed he'd actually show up. But as I was walking into the restaurant, he drove into the parking lot and honked at me. "I'm here," his Pathfinder's horn said. "Wait for me." And I did.

"I'm surprised to see you here," I said as he walked toward me, his breath coming out of his mouth in white clouds.

"Nice to see you, too," he joked, pushing his elbow against me.

We walked in together, much to the surprise of my friends who had gathered there before me. We took our seats and basked in the awkwardness of going out as exes. Neither of us knew what to do - Do we hold hands, do we touch, do we stay separate? I'm sure that if a stranger had walked in and seen us together, he would've thought we were a couple. But that didn't mean he wanted to dance.

It was surreal, being that close to the way we were, but still a world away from the future I'd wanted. I'd driven myself mad for years trying to get him to want me as his wife, hoping that I'd be the one who could pin him down. Even when I knew it was hopeless, I toughed it out because I thought, deep down, he wanted me just as badly as I wanted him. I was wrong. He loved his freedom more than he could ever love me.

And as the musician for the night sang "Crazy," my friend and I danced together, watching the men in our lives who have made us just that.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

1. I love lima beans.
2. I started kindergarten a year early, via a test to see if I could handle it. The one question I got wrong? “What’s your mom’s name?” My answer? “Mom.”
3. I was teased from kindergarten through second grade because I cried. A lot.
4. I was the only kid in my third grade class to not get a part in the school play.
5. My first love was Gentry Pelham in kindergarten. We played He-Man and She-Ra in his house together. He was dreamy.
6. My second love was Brad Tomberlin in fourth grade. He found my lost cat and rode his bike from his house to mine with my cat in his shirt.
7. I love speaking in front of large crowds.
8. My father was in the Army for 20 years.
9. My mother moved to this country when she was 13.
10. I am pro-choice.
11. I ditched school for at least two weeks in a row every year in high school.
12. When I ditched for well over two weeks during my senior year, the only teacher who bothered to call my house was Mr. Ginger. He kept me after class on the first day I begrudgingly returned to school and he said “Why do you do this Laurie? I just don’t understand. You’re so smart. Why are you making these bad decisions?” His disappointment was worse than any amount of punishment he could’ve assigned.
13. I was in Speech & Debate for three years in high school. I loved it.
14. The movie “The Sixth Sense” fucked me up. I was terrified to be alone for months afterward because I was suddenly afraid of dead people.
15. Given the choice between a good book and a good movie, I’ll always choose the book.
16. I have an obsessive personality, and I can’t let things go.
17. I was engaged at 19. One month before we were supposed to get married, we called it off.
18. My father is the greatest man I have ever known.
19. Many of my closest friends are gay.
20. When I was in high school, I was a model. I was on the Lenz Agency’s “Hot Wall” and was a favorite at bridal shows.
21. At a calling for a fashion show for Saks, I was told by the director that I should lose a few pounds. “Now,” he said, “We love your look, but you’re a bit too big in the hips for us. But I don’t want you to take that to the max and hurt yourself trying to lose weight.” “Oh don’t worry about that,” I told him. “I’m not even going to lose weight. But thanks for your time.”
22. I was a Mormon for three years. I was horrible at it – I drank and smoked and constantly argued with the Elders. I was baptized because I had a crush on a boy and knew he wouldn’t marry me if I wasn’t Mormon. I was 16.
23. My mom amazes me consistently with her selflessness and strength. I hope I can be a mom and wife like her when I grow up.
24. I never went away to college. Not because I was afraid I’d fail, but because I really wanted to be a housewife and a mother, not a career woman.
25. The only reason I took any college courses at all is because I really like to learn.
26. Because my mom was born in Serbia and my dad was born in Anna, IL and they met and have been happily married for over 30 years, I believe in true love and soul mates.
27. I love Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson, regardless of the fact that I am teased mercilessly for it.
28. I went to the National Speech and Debate tournament in 1998 for Dramatic Interpretation. I preformed an excerpt from Sophie’s Choice.
29. I witnessed my godson’s birth.
30. I really want to be a wife and mother.
31. My last boyfriend was twelve years older than I am.
32. I don’t know (or get along with) many people my own age.
33. I consider myself a nerd.
34. My memory is exquisite. I remember more than I should.
35. I cannot stand it when people talk during TV shows or movies.
36. I am not an affectionate person – I don’t like to be hugged or kissed or held unless I started it. I do love to hold hands, though.
37. I love romantic men.
38. Even though I work in a bank and am familiar with all of the new and improved electronic ways to pay bills, I still write out and mail a check for each of my bills every month.
39. I save all of my receipts.
40. I loathe Sundae People.
41. I’m terrified of going crazy.
42. Despite the fact that I have a blog and will tell almost anyone embarrassing stories about myself, I can be an extremely private person when it comes to how I feel.
43. If I’m lost, I will not stop and ask for directions.
44. Normally cool and collected, I turn into a mutant when I like a boy: I obsess over who wrote last, whether or not I should call and “what do you think [insert action or word here] meant?”
45. I love to have flowers delivered to me at work.
46. Although I am extremely social, I love to spend time alone: I love to eat alone, shop alone, and watch TV alone.
47. Music is one of the most important parts of my life.
48. I drive stick shift.
49. I drink five liters of water a day.
50. If someone has shaken a bottle of water, I will not drink from it. I don’t know why.
51. I set all of my clocks ahead by at least fifteen minutes because I try to trick myself into being early.
52. I am still usually late.
53. I still talk to three people from high school.
54. I know what many of the Army acronyms mean (AAR, HUA, OIC, TDY, NCOIC, etc.)
55. Smart men turn me on.
56. A man in a military uniform also turns me on.
57. Even though it takes its toll on my wallet, I secretly enjoy writing out a check for my car payment because it makes me feel like an adult.
58. When I’m home alone, I crank up the stereo and sing like I have an audience.
59. I hate winter.
60. I love wine, vodka and Dr. Pepper (just not all at once…).
61. I’ve always wanted an accent; I don’t have one, but I can fake a killer British accent.
62. I have never smoked pot.
63. I have a problem setting priorities. I will make time for people I just like because I know that the people I love will love me no matter what.
64. I lack both motivation and self-control.
65. My favorite feeling in the whole world is when I laugh so hard that my stomach hurts and my eyes tear up.
66. I have an unreasonable obsession with shoes.
67. I balance my checkbook weekly. If I am off by a penny, I will not rest until I find the mistake.
68. Last year, I cut off a foot of my hair to donate to Locks of Love.
69. I love going to the gym. The more I sweat, the happier I am.
70. English has always been my best subject.
71. I’ve been “let go” three times in my life: From Footlocker, Leeds Footwear, and Foot Action. And even though I was in high school and hated the jobs anyway, I was crushed.
72. I hate people who come into the bank and treat me better than they treat the tellers just because I have a desk.
73. Even though I want to have kids of my own someday, other people’s kids scare and annoy me.
74. Usually, I don’t like other people’s dogs either.
75. Because I am one, I hate the term “secretary.”
76. I love MTV’s Real World and have probably seen every episode. And if they re-run episodes I’ve already seen, I’ll watch them again.
77. I’m a brunette and have never wished that I was blond.
78. The voices of Al Green, Otis Redding and Ray Charles are so beautiful they make me cry.
79. I love red meat. I’m a total carnivore.
80. Vegetables (like celery, carrots and mushrooms) are my favorite snacks.
81. Even though I don’t know how it’s possible, I am both a night owl and a morning person.
82. I’m generally very happy.
83. When I go to a dance club, I prefer to dance by myself.
84. I have been to a Swinger Party. I didn’t love it.
85. I absolutely adore my little brother.
86. I want a Welsh Corgi. And I want to name him Ernie.
87. When I’m upset or sad about something, my greatest therapy is to go on a long drive by myself with a pack of cigarettes and a ton of music.
88. There is not one person in this world who knows everything about me.
89. I wear Chanel Allure perfume in the winter and Gucci Envy in the summer.
90. I hate to take baths (because I hate the idea that I’m sitting in my own dirty water) and I hate sitting in hot tubs (because I feel like I’m being boiled for human stew).
91. The older I get the more I notice, and the more amazed I am, how I resemble my parents: I have my dad’s fingers, my mom’s nose, my dad’s butt and my mom’s smile; My top teeth look exactly like my mom’s, and my bottom teeth look exactly like my dad’s.
92. I cannot stand when people type emails, letters or notes that are completely void of punctuation and capitalization.
93. I feel like an old soul.
94. I haven’t had a suntan since 1998.
95. I have had my gray and white cat since I was in the third grade.
96. I sing all the time. Especially at work. And my coworkers hate it.
97. I want to find a man that loves me as completely as my mom does.
98. I once took a college history course taught by an Army Colonel. He wrote a book and told us to read and do our final report on it. I never read it, but I went through it and picked three random passages to quote in my report. Between the three quotations, I used a ton of B.S. as filler – big words, generalizations, buzz words – and I got an A. On a report I did on a book I didn’t read that the teacher wrote.
99. As much as I detest winter, I love the sound of snow falling.
100. If I could have any job in the world, I would choose to be a writer.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Uh-oh. Here it comes. I've just had my first altercation with Valentine's Day as a single girl. And I'm sure I'll be attacked many, many times before February 14th actually arrives.

Today, My MSN was kind enough to inform me that it has ways I can secure a date before V-Day. Not to say that all the advice was bad (I clicked on it purely for the purposes of this posting), but I can still feel the sting from the slap the article delivered. Its teaser beckoned: "Gals: Finding a Date Before Feb. 14." And I took the bait.

The first few suggestions were preposterous. Take up an outdoor sport. I'm fairly sure this involves abandoning my heels, and my stilettos and I are not parting ways, even for a moment. Especially in the winter. And yes, even if it means I could meet a really great guy. MSN also advised that I "ask around" and try looking online for that special someone. Not to make excuses, but Milford is fresh out of available (read: desirable) men, and I just haven't quite accepted the idea of resorting to online searches. Eliminating these three suggestions leaves me with the run-of-the-mill advice to take the plunge, turn that frown upside down, and keep on truckin'. But that's nothing I haven't heard before. In the three months since my boyfriend of three-and-a-half years and I broke up, every friend, family member, coworker and customer has bestowed upon me these nuggets of wisdom. But I know these things already. I know the breakup was for the best...I know I'll met the guy I'm supposed to be with...I know it'll all work out in the end. But that doesn't make the prospect of my first solo V-Day any more bearable.

I've spent a lot of time making myself okay with the fact that I'm single. I've spent the last six years of my life in relationships, and getting used to not being someone's other half is no small task to undertake. So it feels like I've been beat up when I open a magazine that screams "Romantic Getaway Ideas," "How to Spice Up Your Valentine's Day," or worse, "SINGLE? How To Land a Man in Three Easy Steps!!!!" Just when I thought I was really getting the hang of the whole single thing, women's magazines unite to beat me about the head with the fact that I'm single.

Look at all of these happy couples adorning our pages! Slap! Don't you wish YOU were part of one? I bet you do. Punch to the face! And you know what? We're here to help you! Kick to the groin. You know that stuff we've been saying all year about how being single is great? Those were lies. Headbutt! The only way you're ever REALLY going to be happy is by being in love. Punch to the gut! You should change yourself. Because we both know that's why you're still single. Karate Chop! I mean, you're obviously doing something wrong - So go ahead and try one of our suggestions: Change your hair! Learn about his favorite sport! Be sexy, wear lingerie, and give him head! Don't put up a fight when he wants to hang out with his boys! Wear less makeup, or wear more! Don't look like you want him, but let him know you do! Slap! Kick! Punch! Combination blow to the head and knee to the ribs!

I don't even have a defense. I'm in love with love, and I'd love to be in love on the holiday that celebrates it. So I don't even put my arms up to protect vital organs when Cosmo, Glamour and Allure ban together to assault me. I just take it like a bitch.

But I know it's bound to pass. The beating will cease as February Fourteenth finds me licking my wounds while drinking Vodka and Cranberry Juice, dancing at a gay bar, and feeling utterly fabulous. Even with a black eye.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


I haven't left my house in 36 hours. I was snowed-in and couldn't leave; Whether or not I wanted to didn't matter. All day yesterday, and the first half of today, I've watched snow pile up on our deck and cover our cars. I don't really mind being snowed in, though, because I have a ton of things to do here. This week, I'm supposed to move out of this house and into a brand new one. I've been living here, with my parents, for almost two months, and I've spent that entire time living out of boxes. I never unpacked them because I knew I'd just have to re-pack them eventually. So I took out only what I needed and let the rest of my belongings sit packed away and ready to reside in their new home.

But as it turns out "only what I need" happens to amount to quite a bit of stuff. My room is littered with purses and shoes and clothes. Coats, scarves, hats, nail polish, makeup and other little odds and ends are strewn about, creating a mess more horrible than I imagined one could create in the space of two months. If I were to actually sort through it, it's probably not all that bad, but looking at it sends waves of panic through me: I'm supposed to be moved completely into my new house by Friday. I was supposed to start this weekend. But the snow was in excess of a foot, and that excused me from having to do any actual moving. Knowing that I wouldn't be repeatedly loading and emptying my car gave me some relief, as I knew that I would be able to use this time to pack up what is my room, facilitating the move I'll have to make after work each day this week. When the snow began to fall around 11 a.m. yesterday, I said to myself "This is perfect: I'll pack up everything, and when the snow subsides, I'll be ready to move." But do you know what I did while all that snow fell? I ate.

Maybe it's not fair to say that I just ate. I ate ferociously, and I watched a lot of bad TV. I also drank wine. I spent my entire Saturday parked in front of the television, first watching VH1's I Love the 90s, Part Deux. Then I watched some TLC. Then I played some computer games. Then I watched some of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge on MTV. I watched an old episode of Desperate Housewives, and then I watched an old episode of CSI. I stayed up until four in the morning talking to my wonderful mother about everything: Her childhood, my childhood, love, life, death, pain.

Today, I woke up hungover, but not from the wine. From the complete lack of activity that yesterday involved. Too much food, too much TV and far too much doing nothing. But here it is, almost two in the afternoon, and I'm doing the same thing. I know I have boxes to pack and things to do, but I'd rather sit and type about how horrible I feel for not doing anything than actually get up and do something...

Anyway, I know what's going to happen: I'm going to wait until I have the minimum allotment of time to pack up and move. I've always been a procrastinator, and I function most proficiently at the eleventh hour. So, come Thursday night, my SUV will be creating a steady path between this house and my new one, knowing that I have no excuse to let myself wait any longer.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

I Heart Nerds

My friends, Alex and Nancy, saw a shirt in Philadelphia that they thought would be perfect for me. It was a white T-shirt, and on it was printed simply "I love Nerds." The letters were plain and black, the word "love" replaced by a bright red heart. They couldn't have been more right.

I do love nerds. I'm not talking pocket protector and glasses held together by tape. I don't mean a guy who wears his pants up around his nipples, the cuffs of his polyester pants stopping long before they reach his shoes, as if anticipating a flood, who quotes Bill Gates and does math for fun. I mean a nerd like me.

I love nerds who are really smart, who can teach me things; I love a man I can learn from. I love nerds who have drive and dedication, who are in active pursuit of more knowledge. I love nerds because if a guy qualifies as a nerd, he's certainly not cocky. He's not afraid to let it show that he doesn't know everything, but he'd like to learn. He won't make me feel stupid, and I won't have compete over who's cooler. He's a little shy, as a result of all of those years spent studying and reading. But he's most definitely not insecure (there's nothing more unappealing than an insecure guy.), because he knows, without question, who he is. I love nerds who are funny. And I mean really funny. They're funny because they don't really care what other people think. They may laugh at themselves more than other people laugh with them, but that's okay. They're not being funny because they feel like they have to, and they're not being funny in a slapstick way. They'll make obscure references to literature and history, knowing that if you don't get it, he doesn't want to hang out with you anyway. He listens to every single solitary type of music there is. He's not a fan on one genre alone - He likes it all. He knows who Muddy Waters is, and he can recognize Andrea Bocelli. He was a fan of Ray Charles long before he died, but he also has an abiding love for Gansta Rap. He doesn't have to be able to dance, but he does have to feel the music. I love nerds who are sweet. They open doors and they pull out chairs because their moms told them to when they were young, and they remembered. They're not trying to play the tough guy; They're trying to be gentlemen. I love nerds with attention to detail. They notice your singing voice, and that you have blue eyes. They say things like "Wow. You are so smart," as though they are impressed by your brain, without even knowing that hearing a guy say that turns you on.

And if all of that is wrapped up in a good-looking package, I love 'em even more.

One to Eight Inches

The weather man has been saying all week that we're in for a nightmare of a storm today. But everyone has their own theory as to how much snow we're going to get. Some say 1 to 3 inches...Some say over a foot...Some say 18 to 24 inches. I've learned in my five years here in Milford that you can never trust a weatherman. Never. Allow me to explain:

Most of the meteorologists I watch are men. They stand in front of their green screens on my local news station warning us, the trusting folks of Milford and its surrounding areas, that "this one's gonna be a whopper," or "get ready for eight inches of snow to pound the area." And we prepare accordingly: We descend upon the Grand Union grocery store like locusts, scouring the shelves for gallons of water, crackers, milk, and hearty foods that will stick to our bones should the snow wipe out power and civilization. Citizens of Milford crouch in the aisles, eating the bread right through its plastic baggie, the manic look of fear in their eyes. Then they rush home, locking themselves up tight in their mountain homes, just waiting for the blizzard.

Then an inch of snow falls and the "blizzard" is over. And all that pillaging was for nothing.

Naturally, we blame the weather man. "I guess Meteorology is the only profession where you get paid to be wrong." "Can you believe that Joel Snedeker? He said we were going to get eight inches and we barely got a dusting."

But I think men like Joel have a pretty sneaky ploy going. I think they're trying to convince all of us ladies out there that what we think is one inch, really is eight inches.

Tricky. Very tricky.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Sundae Person

"When I had my wisdom teeth removed last year, I had two dry sockets."

"Oh yeah," he replied, "when I had my wisdom teeth out I had four dry sockets."

This should've been the first sign that this was going to be a long night.

We were driving toward dinner on our first date. I was newly single, and he was one of the only local boys who was my age and happened also to be attractive. When he suggested we go out, I accepted without knowing much about him, other than his name was Joe, he had unbelievably blue eyes and told me I was beautiful. Had I known more about him, however, I probably would've told him I had to wash my hair or clip my toenails - Anything to avoid being stuck with him for four hours.

There was no denying that Joe was attractive. He had those eyes, and nice lips. He was tall and he had a great smile. But I like a man with depth, and unfortunately, there wasn't even room to wade in Joe's pool. He talked constantly about all the weight he had lost ("I used to be really fat. But now look at me. Would you believe that I was fat?") and suffered from Former Fatty Syndrome - In love with his new and improved physique, he felt the need to constantly show it off and believed that everyone with the capacity to see him was as in love with his body as he was. He laughed uproariously at his own jokes; Jokes that, by the way, didn't warrant even a grin. His laugh was that of a snooty rich person: His eyebrows contorted in an upside-down V, he would laugh "mwah-hugh-hugh" with his upper lip slightly curled.

As if those qualities alone weren't enough to think I don't care how fast this car is moving, I'm going to jump, it got worse. Not only was Joe alarmingly full of himself and far from funny, he was also what I call a Sundae Person.

The term Sundae Person was originated that night because whatever I told Joe about myself was immediately countered by something he had done or seen that was better.

I told him I had recently purchased a stereo for my car. He told me he had purchased a top-of-the-line sound system for his Jetta that included a CD player, radio, touch-screen capacity, four speakers and sub-woofers.

I told him I'd had poetry published in a local writers' book in high school, he told me he'd toured with an orchestra in London.

I told him that I enjoyed my job. He responded that he absolutely looooved his.

I told him that I had a dog and a cat. He had two dogs, two cats and a bird.

Had I lied and told him I recently inherited a million dollars, he probably would've said "I'll see that million dollars and raise you a mansion in Beverly Hills."

I understand that, when getting to know someone, you always talk about yourself. That's understandable. You share similar experiences to create a bond and you use your similarities as something to build on. But our exchange didn't mimic the ebb and flow of normal dialogue: He was competing with me, and I wasn't even fighting...I wasn't trying to WOW him with things I had done. I was only making conversation. But apparently, it was very important to him that I believe he was better than me, because he met me at every comment with something more grand and interesting.

I had survived dinner, I had swallowed all of his so-called importance and successfully refrained from constantly rolling my eyes. I was tired and unable to take even another minute with him. I just wanted to go home. He thought we should go for ice cream.

"Oh, I can't," I said, feigning disappointment. "Besides, I just had a cone of vanilla last night. I'm not really in the mood for ice cream."

"Okay," he said, bypassing the Dairy Bar. "It's probably for the best anyway. I really shouldn't eat ice cream tonight, since last night I had a banana split sundae."

Of course you did, I thought, you're a Sundae Person.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Homeward Bound

I got a call yesterday giving me permission to move into my new place.

I've spent the last two months shacking up with my parents because I was in between places of residence. And I love my parents...I adore them, actually. As far as a family goes, I believe that I hit the jackpot. They're supportive and funny and wonderful and they let me have my freedom...But the fact remains that I was living with my parents at 24. And I had been out of the house for a significant period of time, thus making me horribly maladjusted to the environment in my parents' house. Moving back home, however temporary it may be, didn't allow me to feel like a single, independent 24 year old; Instead, I felt like I was stuck in a time warp with the knowledge and experience of the aforementioned 24 year old, but with the living conditions of a 15 year old. Telling anyone that I lived with the 'rents was quickly followed by an explanation: "Oh, but only for a few months. I'm in between places right now. My new house is gorgeous: It has a pool and a hot tub and a lot of property and hardwood floors...But, yeah, I'm living with mom and dad."

In my own place, I was used to waking up on Saturday morning and watching VH1's Top Twenty Countdown and Best Week Ever before I even considered getting out of bed. I was used to watching TV alone, and in silence. I was used to not speaking to anyone unless I chose to by picking up the phone or visiting a house. I was used to not telling anyone where I was going. It's strange to have to be accountable for my whereabouts. My parents want to know where I'm going, what I'm doing, with whom I will be spending my time. My answers changed from honest ("To the Garden of Eden," "Alex and Nancy's house," "To see Patty") to smartass quips:

"I'm in trouble with my pimp."
"I'm hoping to have anonymous sex with strangers."
"To smoke some crack. But I'll be back right after, I promise."

So it's nice to know that within a week, I'll be able to sit at home, or go out, and not have to explain anything to anyone. Except for my pimp, of course.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Icing from the Cake

I went to the gym last night after work. Then I got home, and ate a plateful of chicken fingers, tater tots and ranch dressing, and creamed corn. After that oh-so-healthy dinner, I went to the freezer looking for ice cream. But I couldn't find any. So I went to the pantry and found some Nilla Wafers. One of my favorite treats is Nilla Wafers dipped in yogurt. But I couldn't find yogurt. So I went in search of icing. Yes, cake icing. I found an old, opened tub of Whipped Vanilla in the cupboard, but it had hardened, and I was too lazy to put in the microwave to soften it up. (Plus - and this is unreasonable - I was afraid of the icing having gone bad and making me sick...) Then I found Coconut-Pecan icing hiding in the back. Ah, the kind of icing normally reserved for German Chocolate cakes. Yum. I yanked it from the cabinet, grabbed my Nilla Wafers and plopped myself right down in front of American Idol.

Even as I scooped the icing to my mouth, I realized I was undoing all of the hard work I'd just done at the gym. Then I told myself that the reason I do all of that hard work is so that I can do silly shit like this and not feel guilty. So I continued shoveling icing 'n' Nilla Wafers into my mouth and got lost in all of the horrible auditions on American Idol, indulging in two guilty pleasures at the same time. When I reached my sweetness quota, I put away the icing and the cookies, proud of myself for not having overindulged. Then my mom made popcorn. It smelled so good...I had to fight with myself to not get up and head to the microwave. But I did eat her kernels (I love the kernels...). At that point, I realized that I completely lack control. I've never been one of those people who can deny themselves. I just lack the capacity to say "No. I don't need it." Anorexics and bulimics amaze me. There's some serious control in that. And I don't even have the fucked up sense of control it takes to have an eating disorder. I think the problem is that you either have to deny yourself everything (and I'd be horrible at that, because I love food), or taste it once going down and then once coming up. And it just never tastes the same the second time. So I can't do that, either. What usually ends up happening is as follows:
My inner fatty says: Gee, I'd really like a Milky Way Midnight right now.
And my inner personal trainer says: No, Laurie, you don't need that. You're not even hungry. Maybe you should just eat a small Hershey's kiss instead. You don't need that candy bar; you don't even really want it, you don't nee-Oh, okay. Why not?
And I happily devour it, making a deal with myself that I will go to the gym in the morning. Which I also fail to do.

All this talking about food, now I'm hungry.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Butterfly Effect

You asked me if I was serious when I told you I'd go back and not get involved with a commitment-phobic 32 year old if given the chance. I told you that our three years together weren't wasted. That I probably wouldn't change all of it if I had the option. But I do wish I could've avoided all of the trauma.

It's not that we didn't love eachother. We did. We do. But I spent at least three years wondering when we'd take the next step, and why you didn't think I was worth your commitment. For a good deal of time I took your reluctance to further commit to me as proof that you were cheating, and I beat myself up constantly, worried about where you were and who you were with. Once I cleared that hurdle, I started to wonder when you were going to propose. Because you told me at my friend's engagement party that we'd be engaged by the time of her wedding. You tossed around the idea of getting married on a cruise. You kept saying "later," "soon," "not yet," and I took that to mean that it would happen, so I hung in there. But what you meant was, "I'm hoping I'll want to marry you one day, but I'm afraid to tell you that I'm pretty certain it's not what I want because that may be the one thing that will actually make you leave. And I don't know if I want to marry you, but I do know I don't want to be without you." And I guess, deep down, I knew that. But I was starving, and the morsels you fed me were just enough to keep me from dying.

As time went on, you stopped mentioning marriage, and you began again to avoid the subject altogether. You started to refer to your future and leave me out of it. I noticed it. My mother noticed, my friends noticed, everyone did. And they told me "Watch out, be careful, don't get hurt again," and I said "Oh, don't worry about me, I'm fine, I know what I'm doing..." as I laid myself down in front of the speeding train of our relationship. Then, the impact: "I don't want this, Laurie. The marriage, the kids. I just don't." And there I was, mangled and bleeding, knowing that I could've spared myself all of this.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Crank it up

I thought that once I was able to burn CDs right from my home computer, I would never again purchase a potentially disappointing $12.00 CD. That notion was further solidified when I installed Sirius Satellite Radio in my car. I figured that the $9.99 I spend a month for 120 channels of uncensored music and talk radio would surely replace any CD I could want to purchase...

But as it turns out, I just can't break the buying habit. See, I'm a hoarder. I don't check out books from the library - I like to own the book; either so that it can sit on a shelf as evidence that it's been read, or so that I may pick it up again a few years down the road. I have never purchased an item of clothing with the intention of returning it. First of all, I know I'd choke when giving the salesperson an excuse: "Oh, uh, well, you see...Uh, really, ummmm, it didn't fit?" But also, I like to amass sweaters and pants and dresses...Numerous evening gowns adorn my closet: I will not sell them, and I will not give them away. I like to look at them and think "Oh, I remember when I wore that. I danced all night and got blisters on my feet and it was an amazing night." (In fact, I lent out one dress in my whole life to a girl named Amber in the 12th grade. She never returned it. I still fantasize about finding her and asking for it back.) And don't even get me started on shoes. I don't know how many pair I have, but do I know that at least 2/3 of them are black stilettos. Many of them have only been worn once. But I won't lend them out and I won't give them away. I like to see all of those boxes at the foot of my closet. I like knowing I have options.

Which brings me to the CDs. I still buy one or two a month, even though I can listen to an entire channel of any genre music I choose OR go onto the internet, download and burn a fabulous mix CD. I still drive to our local record store, The Gallery of Sound, and buy the collected labor of just one artist. And I still have every CD I've ever purchased. Some of them are in CaseLogic cases, alphabetized and conveniently stored away. Some are in their original jewel cases. But they're all little pieces of my life from one era or another. And they're all with me.

To me, there's just something about a brand-new CD. Carefully choosing which one to purchase, paying the hard-earned money, walking out of the store knowing that whatever is on that compact disc will be a complete surprise. The tearing open of the cellophane, the impossible removal of that damn sticker that runs along the top of the case. And finally, opening it: You get to see how they've decorated the CD itself. What pictures of the artist are there? Are the lyrics included? (Please, please, please say the lyrics are included!) Is there a hidden track? Will they use profanity? Will I find my theme song on this album? God, I just love a new CD. I've purchased a few in the past month - One was the Killers, a band from my native Las Vegas. It's okay, but I haven't given it a good enough chance yet, because I bought number two, Howie Day, which I bought because I was sad, and when I previewed the CD, it seemed to match my mood. Then I bought number 3, Kelly Clarkson's new CD, "Breakaway." Wow. I am in love. What a great voice, and what a great CD. It really is wonderful. The booklet included lyrics, all of the songs are great, and I found a theme song. And what a great feeling it is, driving around, listening to a new CD, getting introduced to the music, the mood, the words. Learning the words: There's another great part. What a feeling of accomplishment when you sing a new song all the way through for the first time.

A new CD is like a new relationship. You go through the dating stages, where you just peruse the tracks, trying to find qualities you like. You're hopeful, you're excited. And then you find the songs you like, the ones that speak to you, make you cry, make you mad, make you feel better, make you feel anything. And you fall in love. And you commit memories to each track of your new CD. You may not take it out of your player for weeks, assigning songs to ex-boyfriends, new relationships, places, times, parents, friends. You bond faces to each song, and you can't sing it without thinking of that face. And it feels good, comfortable, safe to be wrapped in the words that tell your story that someone else has thought to put to music. You feel like someone understands. You crank it up and sing at the top of your lungs. You feel it. And it feels good.

Over time, you grow weary of the same 12 tracks over and over. Maybe you're no longer seeing the person that CD reminded you of, or maybe you finally stopped crying over them. Either way, the CD finds itself out of your player, and tucked away with a hundred other CDs that you never listen to anymore. But the best part of it is that one day, maybe a year down the line, you put that CD back in, and memories pour from the speakers, flooding your ears with how you felt. It's a picture of who you were, but better because you can feel it all again, like it was yesterday.

There's just nothing in the world better than that.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Seven Degrees of Unsexy

There are plenty of things I love about men. Broad shoulders, nice arms, beautiful eyes, a great laugh, an incredible sense of humor. I love smart men, tall men, funny men. I love a man who makes me feel safe, who takes care of me, who treats me like I'm the most amazing woman to ever walk the face of the earth. I love a man who smells good, kisses great and takes control. I love a nice smile, a strong jaw, a good dresser. But in the past few days, I have become keenly aware of certain things that, without fail, will turn me off completely.

One: A man who cannot drive manual transmission. I drive stick shift. My mom drives stick shift. If she and I, two extremely prissy women, can manage the shifting of gears, a man should be able to as well. Not to mention that driving stick shift is probably one of the sexiest things a man can do. He's in control, he's powerful and he's managing to be aware of the pedals, the gear shift, the wheel, the road and hopefully you all at the same time.

Two: A man who cries often and gratuitously. Don't get me wrong, I love a sensitive man just as much as the next woman. Nothing is more touching than to see a tough man shed a tear out of great love or great pain. But the tears should be sparse and silent. Nothing is more disgusting than to see a man blubber without reason. Leave the cryin' to the ladies, gentlemen. Because trust me, I can cry enough for the both of us. I don't need help.

Three: A man who wears his cellular phone affixed to his belt. I just don't get it. Do you really need everyone to think you're that important? Is it really that much more convenient there? Would it be that difficult to reach the extra four inches and retrieve a ringing cell phone from your pocket instead of your belt? Look, everybody has a cell phone these days - There's no need to show yours off. Really, you're not impressing anyone.

Four: A man who treats a waiter horribly. It's been said so many times that it's almost embarrassing that I believe it. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, and waiters and valets and sales girls are included.

Five: A man who expects the girl to pay. Regardless of whether he expects her to pay for half of the dinner or the whole thing, the very fact that he expects it at all is just plain gross. Not that I think a woman should never pay, but don't tell me when it's my turn. First of all, I just don't like to be told that I have to pay for someone. Secondly, if you're keeping track of who has paid for what, does that mean that you're keeping a scorecard on our relationship and we have to be even at all times?

Six: A man who will not stand up to me or anyone else. Confidence is about as sexy as it gets. And control is right up there with it. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but in some arenas, the man is just supposed to be in control. And I love it when he is. A sub-category of #6 is The man who always says "I don't know, what do you want to do?" Pick the restaurant, choose a seat at the movies, tell me when you'll pick me up. The control is yours. Take it. Or somebody else will.

Seven: A man who refuses to befriend a gay man, or says anything like "I don't want to hang around gay men; I feel like they're always checking me out." Newsflash: Just because you have a penis does not - I repeat, does not - mean that a gay man will be attracted to you. To disqualify a potentially amazing person as friendship material based on sexuality alone is ignorant, small-minded and boorish. And, according to some great thinkers, a hatred of homosexuals is only a fear that somewhere deep down, you're gay too.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


When we were kids, my little brother Chase and I hated eachother. We fought constantly and ferociously, barely even able to stay in the same room for any extended period of time. I'm not sure where the loathing came from - I don't know that one of us ever gave the other a real reason to be so angry. Sure, we picked on eachother, and told on eachother, but we never committed sins great enough to warrant such wrath.

Chase is 6 years younger than me. Born premature, he was teeny tiny when we first brought him home, and I made it my duty to be the best big sister I could. I learned how to change his diaper, I pushed him around in the stroller and I did my best to take care of my new little brother. He was so small and delicate. I adored him.

But then he grew up and somewhere, something changed. We moved from Hopkinsville, KY to Las Vegas, NV when I was 11, and our relationship didn't survive the relocation. Our demise started slowly...At first it was just a few commands to "shut up" or "stop touching me." Harmless sibling rivalry. But it began to morph and change and take on a life of its own. We started to detest even looking at eachother, choosing to make faces rather than say anything pleasant. Rules were made at the house to keep us from torturing one another. "You are not allowed to go into eachother's rooms without permission," my mother said. "You have to knock, and you have to be told it's okay to go inside. Chase, if you want to go into Laurie's room for something and she's not home, you'll either have to wait or ask me to go in for you." This came after a series of vandalism attacks committed in my absence: silly string covering my precious CDs, random items stolen from my bookshelves, the scattering of my precisely placed makeup, and gross things - like fake rats and clumps of hair - hidden beneath my pillow. I retaliated by stealing GI Joes, hiding his beloved video games and excluding him from any activity in which I was involved and thought he may enjoy.

During my senior year in high school, the fighting escalated. My father had taken a job in New York and had to leave immediately, so my mom, brother and I stayed behind in Vegas so that I could finish my senior year. My mom worked until late in the day, leaving my brother and I to our own devices between the hours of 3 and 6. What would almost always begin as a fight about the TV or an after-school snack would accelerate into an all-out war. After the name-calling and the door slamming would come the physical altercation: A series of shoves and near punches that would invariably end with me pinning my little brother to floor to avoid being hit. I'd sit on top of him, stifling his kicking legs with my own, and restraining his flailing arms with my hands until my mom came home.

Back then, he was small and skinny. He was short, no muscles on his pre-pubescent arms and easy to overtake. Now, he's a muscular man, well beyond my five feet and nine inches in height, who has been a football player and will be an officer in the Army. For me to pin him to the floor now would be impossible. But I haven't even fought with him in years.

Somewhere along the line, we became friends. And not just friends, but best friends. I call him Scorpion and he calls me Sissy. We share all of our stories, gripes, complaints, successes. He can make me laugh like no one else in the world can. He's a freshman in college now, and I'm overwhelmed by how proud I am of him. I tell everyone that my brother is a cadet at Norwich University, a military academy. He's been home from school for about three weeks and will be leaving tomorrow, and I've been fighting tears all day, wondering what I'll do without him when he's gone. Who watch ridiculously pointless movies with me? Who will make me laugh until tears pour from my eyes and I can no longer breathe? Who will go with me to Wal-Mart when I just need to get out of the house? I can't believe I don't want him to go...I can't believe how much I'll miss him.

I worried once that we would never be friends - I was truly terrified that we'd grow up and grow apart and never talk, save for holidays and birthdays. Recently, I told my dad how worried I'd been that I'd never get along with Chase. In his sweet southern drawl he said, "Aw, I never worried much about that. You guys may have fought like cats and dogs, but God forbid anybody picked on one of you guys - The other one would run right after 'em and give 'em hell. I think that was a pretty good sign. You didn't always get along, but you always loved eachother."

He may not be small and delicate anymore, but I still want to help take care of him.

I adore him.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Feel the Burn

This morning, for the fourth morning in a row, I talked myself out of getting up and going to the gym before work. And now I feel like shit.

I don't go to the gym with the intent to meet a man. I live in Milford, PA, and if a man's not gay, he's married. If he's not married, he's missing a few teeth and the concept of class. And if there is a good looking, smart, sophisticated man in Milford, he certainly is not hanging out in the gym - I know, I've looked. The men who are in the gym, especially the ones who step on the treadmill before 7:00 in the morning, are well over 60 and way beyond acceptable dating material.

Neither am I on a weight-loss mission; I don't count calories and I don't say things like "I'm on a diet," or "I couldn't possibly eat that bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup all over it." I don't watch the calories tick off on the Precor machine and think "Yessss! I can have TWO tablespoons of dressing on my salad today!" I've never measured my salad dressing.

I go to the gym because it makes me feel good; Because I can sweat out my aggression and the toxins in my skin. When I leave the gym drenched in perspiration, my legs and arms tired from all of the lifting, I feel cleansed. It's the one part of my day where I don't have to talk to anyone, or impress anybody but me. I can see the definition in my shoulders, my arms, my legs, and I like it. And, I won't lie: I don't mind the fact that going to the gym keeps me from having to say things like "Is this meal Atkins friendly?"

But it becomes an obsession. And not finding the motivation to go makes me feel like I'm failing at something. No one but me is making me go...and I can't even follow my own instructions. So all day long, I carry around the scorching guilt of the unmotivated and unorganized. God forbid I run into a fellow gym-rat. "Where were you this morning," they chirp, "we missed you." I feel my face burn red as I offer them some sorry excuse ("I'm fighting a cold," "I had a late night," "I think I pulled a hamstring."), knowing deep down that the alarm went off and I woke up, but I chose to roll over and continue dreaming.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


I've just realized what a galoot I am when it comes to computers. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have been fiddling with this damn computer for what feels like hours just trying to post a fucking picture. I have resorted to clicking the help button and sending off an email...That I'm sure will be replied to with a message like:
"Dear Idiot.
You are the only person in the world who cannot figure this out. You do not even deserve to have this explained to you. If you can't figure it out, you are out of your league.
Someone Smarter Than You"
I'm an intelligent chick, but when I start delving into anything beyond Word and Outlook, I turn into a buffoon.
Gosh. The internet is intimidating.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Welcome to the North East

My drive to work takes me seven minutes on a good day.

Today, it took me 25.

Why would a seven-minute, three-mile drive take me 25 minutes, you ask?

My answer is simple: Winter.

Yesterday, we here in Milford were warned that we would be hit with "4 to 7" inches of snow. As it turned out, we were instead hammered by 8 to 10 inches of snow, followed by sleet, with a grand finale of freezing rain. Commuting even a measly three miles is treacherous and anxiety-inducing. Public transportation isn't offered in a booming metropolis boasting only about 3,000 citizens, so elevated trains and underground railways aren't options for us; We're forced to clean off our cars, pile into the driver's seat bundled in our winter-weather gear and take to the streets. A litany of Four Wheel Drive vehicles crawl through the mush and ice toward their destinations...And even though I, too, own a 4WD automobile, I find myself terrified to drive in even the threat of snow. Anyone who lives in a winter climate suddenly becomes an expert in the freezing patterns of winter weather: We're wary of an unseasonably warm day, because that means whatever has thawed will inevitably freeze. We know that where there's unplowed snow there is always packed ice. We worry about black ice and snow drifts. We pray for snow plows and sand trucks to make traveling easier. We watch the weather channel "On the 8s" with baited breath, hoping that tomorrow's forecast will not include the words "Wintry Mix." Or at least I do.

I can't make plans more than a few days in advance during the months of December through March. And I if I'm feeling crazy, and make a date for a week from now, my confirmation is always followed by a disclaimer. "Okay, so we're set for a week from Thursday. As long as it's not snowing." I feel betrayed by Mother Nature when an event is cancelled due to inclement weather, hating the idea that I'm being forced to stay home.

Winter also brings with it gloomy, dark mornings that make it nearly impossible to get up on time. I'm a faithful gym attendee. I go five times a week (three mornings, two days after work), and have been doing so for just about a year. But then Winter came. When my alarm goes off at 6, the winter weather outside says to me in a singsongy voice: "No, don't get up. Stay in bed. You don't want to drive in this. Give the roads time to warm up. It's too cold to go out. It's too dark to get up. Stay in bed." So I do as the weather has suggests, and I stay in my cocoon of blankets until the last possible second I can get up and get to work on time. The part I never factor in is the preparation time it takes to drive. You can't just get in your car and drive. You have to go outside, turn on the car, kick the heaters on full blast and let it warm up for at least five minutes. Then you have to scrape the remnants of the weather off of the hood and the windshield and the windows and the roof. The process is long and painful, especially when you're running late. I try to give myself plenty of time to get to work...But somewhere between starting my car, blow drying my hair, and chipping the ice from my windows, I always get hung up.

Winter has never been my favorite season. Even when I was growing up in the desert of Las Vegas, where winter meant 50 degree weather, Christmas music and little else, I resented the idea that I had to replace my belly shirts and booty shorts with pants and a coat. I thought moving to a climate with four actual seasons would help me accept Old Man Winter...But I've lived in the north east for over five years, and I still can't accept the snow and the ice and freezing temperatures. The only silver lining I can find on these snow-packed clouds is that winter affords me the ability to accessorize with hats and scarves and gloves. But that only gets you so far...Many people have suggested that I take up skiing, or sledding, or creative snowman construction. But to that I say "No Thank You." I wear high heels every day. I make no exception for the weather. I refuse to trade in four-inch heels for ill-fitting snow boots. And trust me, I am not about to put my body into one of those terribly unflattering snow suits. I prefer to enjoy winter from the warmth and comfort of my home, where I can sit with a glass of wine in hand and not worry getting snow in my pants.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


I suppose I should've started this earlier, back when I felt like my world was closing in on me...But procrastination has always been one of my strong suits. So here it is, 2005 already, and I'm only now getting started. But better late than never, right?

So now I've gone and done it. I've claimed one little corner of the internet as my own and started a blog.

And now I feel like I'm part of this little club...Less like the girl scouts, and more like AA or something.

Hello, my name is Laurie...And I'm a blogger.