I Am That Girl Now

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mental note:

What in the hell was I thinking, not signing up to attend BlogHer? IT'S RIGHT HERE. I could be there RIGHT NOW. Instead, I am at work, doing nothing of particular interest.

Okay, I know what I was thinking, I was thinking "Wow... I seriously don't have an extra $200 at the moment." ::headdesk:: Still. STILL. It has finally hit me that there is all this awesome stuff going on and I am not there. Grrr.

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Green & Black's chocolate = SO DAMN GOOD

God bless her, DG brought me chocolate-- a bar of Green & Black's Maya Gold chocolate. I made it one whole day before breaking off a few wee squares of it for testing purposes.

OMG. SO GOOD. ::dies:: I don't think I'll be able to face the idea of ordinary chocolate ever again. I mean, I have a serious weakness for designer chocolate already-- my love for Vosges is already documented, particularly because they do an annual batch of exotic chocolate bunnies for Easter-- but OH, MY, GOD. Orange and cinnamon and nutmeg and vanilla and AWESOME DARK CHOCOLATE, all together; genius. It's so damn good. I have no words. Usually dark chocolate is an iffy prospect for me; I like it, but it's got that harsh edge. Here: NO HARSH EDGE. Or if there is one, it's disguised brilliantly with the twist of orange and the spices. It's like if God made some kind of dark-chocolate chai tea, only more awesome.

Seriously: best gift ever. I am aswoon. I have been picking at it very gingerly, because it's the only one I've got, but now I discover that lo, they are here in the U.S.! In fact, in Chicago! At Whole Foods! I am so happy. Not really eating it any faster (although I am now grudgingly sharing with my Hub), but still, YAY.

Note to DG: while you're in town, see if you can find some Vosges bars, particularly the Black Pearl. There's a boutique in the mall at 520 N. Michigan, and I know they have them at Macy's... if I'd known you were bringing tasty treats I would have arranged an exchange!! (Oh, and re: the other stuff we talked about, check Nordstrom's at 55 East Grand Avenue.)

Anyway, my point being, DG is so incredibly adorable. SO CUTE. I had a sign all set to wave in case we didn't recognize each other, but it turned out that we did just fine; she started waving from across the courtyard of our office building and my Hub said, "Is that her?"

"Who?" I was looking in the wrong direction.

He cranked me around to look right at her. "Her! There!"

At which point I shrieked a lot and we did a hilarious run to go hug each other on sight. It is always so wacky to meet internet buddies; there's this "OH MY GOD, IT'S YOU, YOU'RE REAL!" moment, then a "...and now what do we do? Christ, there's no editing function here" moment, then eventually things settle into a groove. DG was no exception to this.

I brought my Hub along on our brief tour of Millennium Park ("This is cool. This, also, is cool. Oh, and this. Um... that's all we know.") and then we hauled DG up into our building ("This is our office. Um, it has windows... and you can see down... there's the lake!") where we snuck into an empty section so that we could look out windows with impunity. Both my Hub and DG did an excellent sneak, complete with miming guns at the ready as they went through the door, and at that point I figured out that this was definitely going to go well. We also learned that midges, which I'd always assumed were some kind of Scottish gnat, are in fact EVIL BITEY THINGS which have gnawed the hell out of poor DG's ankle.

For lack of anything more intelligent to do, we hauled her back to our place, with a short drive past Wrigley Field ("they play baseball there, and stuff!"), where DG checked out the apartment and met our cats, one of whom had to be hauled out from under the couch because there had been construction noise outside all day and she was in full freak-out mode, poor thing. Then on to the famous home of the KILLER MARGARITAS, which had the entire sidewalk outside ripped off so we had to walk in the middle of traffic to get to the restaurant, and face down a construction crew, and pick our way through gravel and sand. We must EARN the right to drink there, it seemed.

Here's the thing: I don't go to this place a lot. I need an excuse, such as visitors (strangely, both times we've gone there this summer have been to hang out with visiting Australians), and in-between visitors I remember that the margaritas are awesome, and that they taste very good, but I forget that they sneak up on me mid-way through the smallest size and knock me for a mammoth loop. So I was very enthusiastic about going, but I forgot that I would get completely hammered off of one wee margarita. Happily, DG also got completely hammered off one margarita, so it is now my belief that it's not me, it's just that those margaritas are packed with some kind of super tequila with MAGICAL DRUNKY POWERS.

At this point, things got wacky. I could not stop talking long enough to remember to eat the tasty food I ordered, which I'm sure contributed mightily to my continuing lack of sobriety. I honestly wasn't trying to limit my food intake, I just COULD NOT SHUT UP. ::headdesk:: On the up side, we all got to see each other's driver's licenses, which is always good fun, particularly since my Hub's picture looks like a mug shot after being nabbed for drunken disorderly, and mine looks like I have scalped myself (the problem with cutting my own hair is that sometimes, I get carried away with the cutting part). And I got to see the historic "you rawk" train ticket! Very exciting.

We picked our way very carefully out of the restaurant ("Obstacles! Oh, obstacles!") and back to solid land, where we fed the meter and then wandered off in search of shops. Did not in fact go to any of the sex shops, but did go to The Alley and Beatnix and that sort of thing. Much wandering and pointing. I think DG took a picture of someone's house. I know (for I have seen proof) that a picture was taken of us giggling our way down the street. Huzzah!

By the time we found the car again, we drunkards were getting snoozy, so it was decided to drop DG off at her hotel. My Hub, who was driving (very wise), wanted to know where the place was, and we both said "W... it has the big W." He apparently did not find this to be helpful. (Earlier in the day I had actually typed "W" into Google and hit enter before realizing that no, that's not going to find the place for me.) We cruised down Lake Shore Drive instead with our eyes peeled for the giant W, and eventually found it. Looks like a very posh place; good deal for BlogHer folks! Sad farewells &etc.

I am so damn glad I got to meet this lady, and almost just as glad that my Hub got to meet her, because I've been talking about this visit non-stop ever since and it's great to have someone to babble at. She is everything you'd expect from her blog: sweet and hilarious and brilliant and bubbly and adorable. I am still all delighted. GOOD TIMES. Must meet her again, only next time I am going to make my Hub sad and leave him behind, and keep DG all to myself. HAHAHA.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Those of you who still get acne in your thirties and beyond, like me, know of the Quest to Find the Perfect Acne Treatment. Oh yes. This week's edition began last Friday when I ran across Mindy Kaling's shopping blog, Things I've Bought That I Love. (Side note: Mindy Kaling plays Kelly Kapoor on The Office, as well as being one of the writers for the show, and I am now officially in love with her because she burbles happily on this blog and is generally awesome.) I got a little obsessed and read all the archives, and lo and behold discovered her post on Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, which I had never heard of before in my life. However, THE QUEST is always in the back of my head, so I had to check it out.

Over at their website, it said that their stuff was available at Marshall Field's. I work about two blocks away from the original Marshall Field's, the store that takes up a whole city block and is over seven stories high (I only go up to 7 because that's where I meet a friend of mine for lunch every Friday), so I thought, COOL. And then I thought, HEY, I am supposed to go over there anyway to meet K. for lunch, so we can just run downstairs after eating.

Well, that was the plan. The plan went to shit as K. and I wandered the aisles, trying to figure out where things are. Marshall Field's, which is now actually Macy's (damn you, New York, why must you intrude?) although I have yet to hear anyone call it that, has many many counters, each with a different brand, and no map; I thought it seemed rather rude to ask someone at brand X where brand Y was, so we bumbled around for a good long time. Finally we found a counter that had more than one brand, so we asked the girl there.

"Oh my God, I totally know what you're talking about!" she yelped. "The drying lotion, right? That stuff is great. I have it at home. We don't have it here, though. Nordstrom's, or Bloomingdale's, except Bloomingdale's usually doesn't have stuff that we don't have, so try Nordstrom's."

I'm mostly amazed that of all the people in the store, we found the one chick who knew EXACTLY what we were talking about even though the store doesn't stock it.

So, I went back online, thinking vaguely that I'd order it there, only I realized at the last moment that I must be strong and save my money for drinking with a certain Australian/Scottish blogger gal-pal, so instead I just got bored and filled out their skin analysis thing. Lo and behold, they send me an e-mail directly after, saying that such and such products would do well with my skin and would I like free samples sent to me?

Damn, are you kidding me? I most certainly WOULD like free samples sent to my door. I said yes, certainly, and now free samples are winging my way. I still don't know a damn thing hands-on about their products, but thus far their online customer service is AWESOME.

In the meantime, I have found that Marshall Field's now being Macy's is probably what messed me up, and that Nordstrom's does indeed have this stuff, and that their store up on Grand is having an Event for them in a week or so. Well now. If I like those free samples, I may go to that, too.

I shall update re: THE QUEST once I get my samples and find out if this stuff is indeed the bomb like Mindy Kaling says it is. WE SHALL SEE.

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I get to meet DietGirl and you don't! NEENER!

Just got off the phone with the brilliant DG, who sounds positively adorable. Plans for tonight include touring Millennium Park and then hitting Boystown to discover margaritas the size of our heads; not generally a bright idea for mid-week when one is planning on working the next day, but what the hell, how often does DG show up in Chicago? Every day? I THINK NOT. Special occasion, then. Huzzah!

I am so bouncy and delighted that I'm having a difficult time getting anything done today. FIVE MORE HOURS and I get to meet DG! There is always the possibility that we may hate each other on sight, but I suspect this will not happen. My Hub is going to meet her, too, in order to insure that there are no axes or chain-saws about her person, and the evening will end either with a) watching fireworks or b) watching pre-recorded, downloaded television, depending on how many margaritas I consume. Considering my alcohol tolerance of late, I'd say... one should do it.


OH FUCK I FORGOT TO BRING THE CAMERA. FUCK OH FUCK. Hrm. Possibly the evening will include a run home to Casa de Veres to find the camera and introduce DG to our two cats.

EDIT: It turns out that my Hub has remembered the camera. A king among men, he is.

I have two more doses of Zoloft before being DONE. I'm actually pretty calm about this, because meditation and working to restrain my rampaging toxic perfectionism has kept me calmer the past few months than Zoloft has done anytime after the first six months I was on it.

I now own Too Perfect: When Being In Control Gets Out of Control, and my advice to you, dear readers, if you are anything like me, is to find this book as soon as possible. Alternately, if you know perfectionist people (and I know more of those than of the normal sort), there is also a guide inside for how to deal with them (us). I am very tempted to get a copy for my parents, BOTH OF WHOM exhibit these qualities, only in very different ways. (Dad: crazed perfectionist overachiever. Mom: has such high standards for doing things that often she either does things over-obsessively, or is too exhausted by the concept of such a huge undertaking that she can't do it at all.) I came by this honestly, I guess.

The author gives some instruction in how to overcome these tendencies, but also stresses that the most important thing is to learn to recognize them in yourself, and to be aware of what's going on, and to remember, when things come up, that this way of viewing the world is optional. Very good stuff. Very useful. And, seriously, I can't believe how much stuff in my life that I thought was unique to me actually fits in with this mentality-- balking and dragging my feet at the barest hint that I "have to" do something, freezing in place and procrastinating because tasks seem so big, being incapable of telling what is an important task and what isn't because it seems like they ALL need to get done, being exhausted just by all the stuff in my head when I'm really not getting all that much done... all these things are typical. All of them. I can't get over that. Finally, FINALLY, there's an answer to what the hell is wrong with me, it's understandable, it's fixable, and I don't need medication or brain surgery or years of therapy. It's a huge relief.

So, right now I'm working on that, and keeping up on the meditation, which goes very well hand-in-hand with it. My brand of mental wigginess tends to put me more inside my head than in the current moment, at any given time, so training myself to a) recognize that I've sunk back into my head and am running in little circles, and b) get out of my head and back into the current moment, is a hugely important thing.

Just as important is remembering not to use the words "I have to" or "I should" about something unless I really do, and to use the words "I want" about stuff that I do, in fact, want. Part of using "I should" for everything is that it turns everything into a chore, even the stuff that is exciting and great fun, like games and visitors and going out. Which also means that I lose touch with the sensation of what it's like to want something, which means that I can't tell what I want. Which is just not good.

Shoulder still sucks. I'm babying it. No yoga, no upper-body lifting. I went through a few weeks of sporadic gym attendance but am back to a regular schedule now, just getting on the elliptical machine. I want to get back to doing lower-body lifting again, along with the elliptical, but we shall see.

Funny thing: I used a different elliptical machine last night, due to the fact that the INSANELY LOUD MUSIC was going on in the aerobics class area again. (I now bring earplugs as a matter of course. Just in case.) This one has the heart-rate monitor thingies on the moving handles, not on the stationary ones, so it has a feature where it automatically adjusts to keep you in your target heart rate zone. I vaguely assumed that this meant that I hadn't been working hard enough and that this would keep my ass kicked, but no, turns out... exact opposite. Had been working too hard, and it kept alerting me to calm the hell down.

Seriously, the thing that I wish I'd known a long time ago (and which I wish I could remember all the time) is that I make these things out to be harder than they are, because I think I have to overachieve, when in fact I just have to do an enjoyable amount to see health benefits. I don't have to kill myself on these machines and end up dreading going back. I can do a smaller amount and want to go back.

I think I'm slowly getting back into a mental zone where I'm ready to start up some stuff again, if I can keep it in the "want to" rather than "have to" headspace. We'll see. I'm still new to this "want to" thing, so I still have to figure out what I want.

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