Coincidences In The Blogisphere

It's healthy to start calling bloggers I've never met by their first names, right? And to refer to them in casual conversation as if they live down the block? Whew. Good. I knew I wasn't the only one doing it.

I follow a couple of blogs and I can't help it. I read about their pets and their kids and their asinine coworkers and I feel like I actually KNOW these people. And I talk about them to my real-life friends like they're ALSO real-life friends. Lately I've been noticing that their lives parallel mine in these really weird, really uncanny ways (which makes me feel even more weirdo kinship with them). I've never said anything about it before because I've always just chalked it up to coincidence. Also? It's weird to pretend that strangers are your friends.

(Did I just really use the word "weird" eighty times in that last paragraph?)

I suppose it's not exactly earth shattering news that any of us weird enough to tell the Internet about our flatulence issues, and our not-so-secret obsessions with pop stars, and our love for extruded corn-based snacks MIGHT share a few weird personality quirks in common. And I guess it's not that uncommon to be riddled with anxiety or paranoid about geese or spiders or annoyed by coworkers who can't form rudimentary sentences. This is all part of our shared human experience, no? The more I read, though, about this shared experience on the Internet, the more weirded out I get. It's so weird it makes me say things like "weirded out".

(Seriously. Stop it with the "weird" thing.)

So, coincidence #1: Burning hot things + plastic + us. Last month, CLH sent me another text that started with the words "Uh-oh" and ended with "I'll replace it soon". I had finally mastered the art of using an electric stove (see issue here regarding never-to-be-the-same popcorn pot). CLH, however, continued to pretend like he'd received his diploma in 1960's Appliances... and last month he left the kettle on the stove so long, the plastic lid MELTED, FELL INTO THE KETTLE, and was SCORCHED into a puddle of burning hot ooze. But not before filling the apartment with an acrid smoke that took WEEKS of Febreezing to get rid of. That and burning incense. And candles. And having the windows open all day long in the middle of winter.

Allie, it seems, has had a similar incident.

And Heather, too, is in the Almost Burn Down The House Club! Hooray for us!

Okay, then there's the leprechauns.

Last night I wrote about the leprechaun-y dude who always seems to be working out at the gym at the same time as me. And today, Heather wrote about her daughter's fear of leprechauns (and Leta, I'm with you 100%. Those dudes are creep-tastic. I don't blame you for being scared). Two uses of the word "leprechaun". Two different blogs. Same 24 hour period. Weird.

Oh sure, it's March, and the whole leprechaun thing was bound to come up soon enough, right? But, still. I was referring to a small man who insists on wearing mostly green clothing to work out in and who trims his beard in a really unflattering, elf-like way. (I know I'm going to get a hundred comments about how leprechauns are NOT elves but instead belong to some other realm of magical beings... and normally I would tell those people to get a life... except I'm the one who thinks she's friends with complete strangers who blog in other states.)

Anywho, the leprechaun dude was at the gym again tonight and I wasn't even going to mention him here (instead I was going to mention the guy who got on the elliptical machine next to mine, even though ALL THE OTHER MACHINES WERE NOT BEING USED, and who began to sweat ACTUAL sour milk). But then I jumped over to Dooce's blog... and there it was: a story about a leprechaun.

Sure, I could draw conclusions about how we're all either crazy or geniuses, or crazy geniuses, and how good story ideas just seem to hang out in the stratosphere until they find the perfect conduits... and that Ally and Heather and I... we're all perfect conduits coexisting so it's not really a coincidence that we're all writing about our melted kitchenware, but still. Leprechauns? Even the Department of Revenue couldn't make THAT shit up.

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Why It Will Never Work Out Between CLH & Me: We’re Both In Love With The Same Woman


This is what happens when my suburban friends invite me to their home with their giant flat screen TV and videos on demand: we wait for their kids to go to bed, we drink copious amounts of beer, and then we all heave yourselves onto a couch and watch music videos. Because MTV did something to us when we were kids and now it's not enough to just listen to music; we have to SEE it, too. And, for different reasons, each of us is riveted to the TV screen and pointing limply and asking each other, "Duuuuuude. Did you SEE that?" Because Shakira is moving in ways that humans shouldn't be allowed to move.

And then I go home and the next day, I download her songs onto my iPod and I take her to the gym with me. And I run on an elliptical machine like I OWN IT because I think I might be able to look like Shakira one day if I just listen to her song while having my arms pumped up and down by a giant fan with foot pedals. And I justify this repetitive, inane-looking exercise with the thought that, probably, before her singing career was launched, Shakira used to sit at a computer for 9 hours a day and she got that awesome body by using an elliptical machine for 20 minutes three times a week. Yup, probably.

And I become so convinced that all it's going to take for me to be able to wear a cut up bodysuit in public (or to work! I've earned it!) is a few more weeks of pumping cable weights while that weird Leprechaun looking dude with the black dress socks pulled halfway up his calves works out on the machine next to me.

And then I go shopping with CLH and I buy $145 worth of who knows what at Trader Joe's and I while updating my blog, from my laptop in bed, I shove handful after handful of (delicious, delicious) Sesame Seaweed Rice Balls into my mouth. And I decide that maybe the whole bodysuit in public thing is overrated.

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Warning: Side Effects May Cause You To Vividly Recall The 5th Grade

I don't know if it was because of clairvoyance or pure dumb luck that I asked for an asymmetrical haircut this last round at the salon. Because guess what's good for hiding a forehead soon to be festooned with angry red pimples? Cute, sweeping bangs, that's what.

My doctor warned me that the drugs I would be taking to help out with my poor, exhausted adrenal glands *might* make me develop adult acne. The drugs are hormones, after all. And what makes your adrenal glands able to finally put their heads between their knees and take a breather from all that running they've been doing for the last five years so also makes your skin return to its former pubescent state. Hallelujah. The body is a magical thing.

So, the diagnosis is this: I've been experiencing what's called Adrenal Exhaustion. All that crankiness, that loss of libido, that tiredness, those panic attacks, the fainting, the insomnia... it's all because my adrenal glands are overworked. Why? Because I'm a stress case. Quite literally. Most people's adrenal glands are supposed to be used every once in a while when, you know, their child is about to be mauled by, say, a saber tooth tiger. (I think that's what they told us in science class). Anywho, when your adrenal glands release adrenaline into your bloodstream you're filled with an enormous, sudden, and temporary amount of strength and energy so you can punch that sonofabitch saber tooth tiger right in the snout, grab your baby, and then run 82 miles at top speed in the opposite direction.

MY adrenal glands, because I am prone to anxiety and because I can't manage my stress properly, are squirting adrenaline 24 hours a day. And those adrenal glands are tired. Like tiiiiiiiii-red. Like dog tired. And this causes me to feel both panicked and unable to move at the same time. MY adrenal glands are exhausted from making adrenaline around the clock. To boot, the adrenaline-producing part of my brain is actually STEALING hormone-building chemicals from OTHER hormone-producing areas of my brain so it can keep making that slow trickle of adrenaline constantly. So, the hormones (like serotonin) that make me feel all good and loosey-goosey? Not being made. And the sex hormones? Well, let's just say CLH has had a very rough year.

To illustrate: Your adrenal glands are probably being manned by two 1930's era circus strongmen who smash them occasionally with comically large mallets, thus releasing adrenaline when danger approaches. My adrenal glands are manned by Droopy Dog and probably look like two crusty dried up balloons.

And there's your science lesson for the day.

Thanks to my new doctor, though, I FINALLY feel restored and alive. Eh, so what's a few pimples? I mean, sure, getting ready for work in the morning is a bit of a joke. No amount of sophisticated black dress and chunky, modern jewelry hides the fact that my skin is blotchy and red like a 13 year old's. I've never been one to wear a ton of makeup, but these days I go through several ROUNDS of cover-up.

Given all the bizarre medical tests I've had to endure, the months and years of not knowing what the hell was wrong with me, the chronic ear pain, a few zits is a very small price to pay for feeling better. And I DO feel better. That "depleted" feeling I was experiencing is all but gone. My energy levels feel restored. I'm working out at the gym several days a week. I'm seeing a new chiropractor now, too, so maybe my neck bones (which currently look like a crushed soda can) will get straightened out. And then maybe my ear will get the hint that the REST of me is tired of being broken and it will step into line.

For now, I'm reducing (at my doctor's advice) my dosage of the hormones, and I'm styling my hair so that it hides a good chunk of my face in a melodramatic, angry punk rocker sort of way. If I'm going to be sporting the skin of a 5th grader, I think I should be able to sport a hairstyle from one, too.

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And I Wasn’t Even High On Cocaine

It was a rockstar Valentine's Day weekend for me and CLH. We drove down to Portland on Friday night and we saw Echo Helstrom in a sold-out show at the Aladdin Theater. (You should buy their new EP, by the way.) Afterward, we partied like rockstars with the band. We ate, we drank, we hob-knobbed with artists and musicians from the Portland area, and then I passed out with my pants around my ankles in a bathroom stall.

I wish I was kidding about that last part. Or, at least, I wish that there were illicit drugs and hookers and the trafficking of tropical birds involved. Because THAT would make for a good story. THAT would give David Sedaris a run for his money. But, this? This is my life. And my life is not filled with gangs running cockatoos and diamonds from Bogota to the Pacific Northwest in the hollowed out carcasses of Beanie Babies. No, my life is filled with ill-timed bouts of unconsciousness followed by days of lethargy, doctor's appointments, and having to tell people to have bottles of orange juice at the ready because my blood pressure is dangerously low.

This was a different kind of faint in that I didn't feel it coming on. Normally, I feel all the "classic" signs of fainting: nausea, sweating, headache, extreme discomfort... But this time, all I had was an extreme and sudden case of nausea. I got up to pee in the middle of the night/morning, and, as I was sitting on the toilet, was overcome very suddenly by the urge to puke. I thought to myself: well, you'd better hurry up because you're gonna need to turn around to throw up in about two seconds. And the next thing I know, I'm on the floor on my back, and CLH is desperately trying to tug my pajama bottoms up over my hips. Also, my head hurts A LOT.

Usually when I faint (Am I even typing this? "Usually when I faint"? Who freaking faints that much that they have a "usual" kind of faint?), my senses return to me one at a time. It's the strangest thing in the world, actually. Weirder than any kind of drug experience, weirder than any kind of transcendent spiritual experience. First I can hear, then I can feel, and finally, I can see. I usually come to to the sound of CLH frantically calling my name. (Geezus. HOW many times has CLH brought me back to consciousness this past year? Note to self: buy that guy a Cadillac filled with jelly beans and a robot that does his laundry and a private lap dance from Shakira to thank him.)

CLH and I were spending the night at my friend Ross's house (who happens to be the lead singer of Echo Helstrom. SO rockstar-y of us, right?) Ross was also hosting a few other folks that night, and we all headed to bed somewhere in the 3 am hour. Our bed was in the basement apartment of Ross's house, which is where Ross's sister, her boyfriend, and boyfriend's sister were also sleeping.

So this toilet, being in a basement bathroom in Portland and all, was up on a six inch platform. I'm not entirely sure why basement toilets need to be raised, but I think it involves terms like "ejector" and "up pump", and other horrifying ways of vaguely describing the movement of poop. Anyway, thanks to the miracle that is indoor plumbing, and the renovations of some prior homeowner, I fell an extra six inches into pitch blackness. With my pants down. I can only assume that unconsciousness stops the flow of urine, because, thankfully, I wasn't covered in my own pee. I'm not quite sure what I hit my head on (probably the slightly open door?) but I also managed to smash my left shoulder and my left knee into something, too, before I rolled onto the cold bathroom floor. CLH heard it and leaped out of bed immediately. Nothing says GET THE FUCK UP NOW like the sound of your girlfriend's limp body crashing onto a tile floor a few feet away. It woke up another guest staying at the house, too, and she helped with the recovery process. I should have greeted her earlier that night with, "Hi. Just so you know, you may or may not find me half clothed and unconscious in our shared bathroom in a few hours. Enjoy your stay!"

So, that was how my Valentine's Day morning started. Not with roses or chocolate, but with CLH pressing a bag of ice to my forehead while yanking up my cat-themed pajama bottoms from around my knees.

I'm the luckiest rockstar in the world.

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Illegible Scrawl, or The Work of A Genius?

I made this resolution to myself for 2010: write everything down. Everything. It doesn't matter when the inspiration strikes. Just write it down. Could be nonsense, could be genius. Just write it down.

To this end, I have stashed several notebooks around the house... and in my messenger bag, and in my purse, and in the pocket of my car door, and in the drawer of my nightstand... just in case. In case of what? I don't know. I mean, did Hemingway compose "A Moveable Feast" while stopped at a red light? Philip Roth ever map out a character sketch while checking out at Macy's? Did Kurt Vonnegut scribble down plot notes in secret under the conference table while in client meetings? Okay, maybe. I think I probably have too many notebooks.

I just figure, hey, better to be ready than not. Genius could strike at any time. Because genius? Oh, it's like lightning. It does not strike twice in the same spot. Once you miss it, it's gone forever. Preparing for genius is a lot like preparing for a nuclear holocaust, or the second coming of Christ, minus the duct tape. You must be READY! As a matter of fact, I have a notebook next to me RIGHT NOW because you NEVER KNOW. I could be in the middle of telling you what I had for breakfast and WHAM! The next War and Peace could ooze out of my skull and onto my notebook. I mean, you just. never. know.

So, a few weeks ago, I was lying in bed and WHAM! There is was this stirring in my brain... this ... string of words... starting to form... and I just knew I needed to write it down. I was all OOH! OOH! GENIUS? IS THAT YOU? That the words did not immediately appear to be genius in its pure form (or really make any sense) did not concern me. What concerned me was writing them down. So, I reached for my small reading light (because CLH HATES when I turn on my bedside lamp while he's sleeping. He's selfish that way, always wanting to sleep in the dark and all). But the light's batteries were dead. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Do you see what I mean about needing to be prepared? Jesus? He can show up whenever and it's all cool. Genius? You'd better damn well have a notebook and a flashlight.

So, instead of getting up out of bed, getting some new batteries, changing the old batteries, and turning on the light, I decide that THAT series of actions will interfere with, maybe even disable, the REALLY IMPORTANT THING that's happening in my brain. The GENIUS could be stalled.

So I decide to just lay there and write in the dark. With my left hand. Because to move even an inch to adjust my position (and get the pencil in my right hand, the hand I actually write with) might interrupt the flow of genius I am channeling. I wasn't going to get the batteries for the light. I CERTAINLY wasn't going to roll over and write with my right hand. Perhaps this will give you an idea now of just how impressed I am with my own potential for genius.

So here it is, my moment of brilliance:</p>

I assure you, none of this is genius. About the only two phrases I can make out are "time travel" and "karate chop". Yeah. 'Cause that's got best seller written all over it.

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