June 21, 2017

Expansion Opportunities for the Visiting Angels Living Assistance Franchise

Thank you for asking me to provide an independent marketing review of Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services. As you know, with so many living assistance and nursing home options currently operating nationally, it is vital that your center offers more for the potential client. It is not enough for families to know that their loved one is being well-cared for; they must be assured that their relative will receive anything he or she could possibly need to live out his or her days in dignity and comfort. I believe, with relatively minor alterations, your organization can provide that service.

After evaluation of your facilities, financial records, and other company data, it is my recommendation that the in-home care services staff take on a variety of additional roles, including:

Guardian Angels
This one is fairly self-explanatory, and may be the easiest to implement. Clients who insist on living out their retirement in their own homes face many challenges when running errands, gardening, or performing any activity that requires sharp implements or interaction with the public. A dedicated Guardian Angel protects the client by driving her to the store, walking by her side through dicey neighborhoods, or spotting her in her weekly deadlifting regimen.

Biggest asset: Customer safety
Biggest liability: Employee overtime

Ministering Angels
Your ideal client lives alone and is able to perform most self-care, requiring only the occasional assistance typically provided by a loving family member. However, even the most patient relative will quickly tire of driving twenty miles every time Wii Bowling is on the fritz. A Ministering Angel is a one-stop shop for sage and sympathetic advice, and can step in for tech support or ensure that the client’s affairs are in order for the inevitable coming of night. What family could refuse a caregiver who can explain the difference between “reply” and “reply all” and allow surviving family members to sail through probate?

Biggest asset: Guilt-free abandonment (a marketing strategy would make this more palatable to the family)
Biggest liability: Higher salary rates for Angels who are also trained engineers/CPAs

Announcing Angels
Nobody likes being the bearer of bad news. Thankfully, there’s no reason your elderly relative should have to face the awkwardness of telling Betty that she doesn’t give a damn about her pugs, or inform a wayward granddaughter who dropped out of three different colleges that she’s out of the will. Announcing Angels deliver angry consumer feedback, letters to editors, and even hate mail to offending neighbors, allowing seniors to enjoy their twilight years comfortably self-satisfied.

Biggest asset: Client peace of mind
Biggest liability: Employee travel expenses

Avenging Angels
If living well is the best revenge, then surely the second-best revenge is living to see your enemies covered in fire ants. From childhood crushes to senior scammers, these Angels stop at nothing until those who have wronged your clients have been fully smote. While strict policies would prevent any felonious activities (murder, maiming, etc.), less injurious responses may be negotiated for elite-level clients.

Biggest asset: Justice
Biggest liability: The justice system

These chubby, winged babies can be called in on an as-needed basis when a client is feeling particularly glum, or scheduled to appear weekly / monthly for cuddles and general happiness. An employee’s own children may fill this position if the child is sufficiently adorable (or if the client’s eyesight or mental condition makes adorableness a non-issue).

Biggest assets: Senior health benefits, possible integration with company daycare system, cuteness
Biggest liability: Child labor laws

Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive; I have found many other opportunities to cut expenses and increase profit, but switching to document e-delivery hardly has the same “zing” as offering personal seraphim. If the initiative is implemented, you may also consider legally re-branding your organization as a church, as the savings in taxes and increase in charges for your services could effectively negate any increase in litigation costs. I await your enthusiastic response.

June 09, 2017

Not safe for work (or home, or the nation, really)

Things I learned from today's press conference:

You're welcosorry. (Original image here, and wow.)
1) Trump didn't do it, but even if he did, it would have been totally fine if he did, which he didn't
2) Trump doesn't know the difference between "over a short period of time" and "in a short period of time" i.e., the word "soon"
3) Trump can't go more than five minutes without mentioning selling something
4) Trump can't go more than ten minutes without mentioning the election
5) The current president's ability to let promises fall out of his liehole include prick-teasing the Democrats that he will actually testify under oath
6) When scared, Trump will turn to the nearest powerful man and attempt a joke
7) When everyone pays their fair portion to fund a business agreement, it's called burden-sharing. I was taught that it was called "taxes."
8) Trump can't stick to his talking points without at least one personal attack
9) "Tune in tonight to see if there are "tapes!" Ya Fired!"

June 05, 2017

Muu muu muuu (how d’ya like it, how d’ya like it?)

It’s been a rough few days.

If there’s on thing I’ve learned about depression, it is that you do whatever you can to forge ahead when it fills you up. That water level gets high, you go higher—and you don’t try to swim. You float. You stay calm, and you wait for your feet to touch the floor again.

In the service of finding my inner... tube (/metaphor), I always wander into my closet, because it’s warmer than wandering in the fridge and it doesn’t have calories. Being surrounded by my clothes makes me feel better for some reason I have yet to unpack. Maybe it’s the colors, maybe it’s the quiet. I just feel like I’m in good company, especially since my grandmother recently allowed me to salvage whatever I wanted from my great-aunt’s wardrobe. There were so many winners, to wit:

The moment I put it on, I knew this would be what I needed today. Now, I generally smell of patchouli, cocoa butter, lavender, tea tree oil, and other new age potions. The smell of this caftan (muumuu? is there a difference?) is equal parts forgotten cupboard, Estee Lauder, coffee, and regret. It’s a complex trifle of experience, and it is intoxicating.

My hair is short (nay, gone) because my younger sister was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and it made her smile to shave my head. Looking like a nearsighted dandelion only completes the ensemble. At some point today, my husband may find me with my heels on a chair, singing Natural Woman.

February 03, 2017

Sarah and the Carbon Fiber Tit-Squisher

At my last physical, the doctor recommended I start mammograms early. Most women begin them at forty, and I’ve heard some horror stories from these ladies. Not painful enough to lose sleep over, but painful enough to be uncomfortable.

“Uncomfortable” gave me pause. Ladies know that uncomfortable, and its cousin discomfort, are code words for pain. As are pinch, poke, and in one memorable instance, “the not-fun part.” * Luckily, the tech was a riot.

ME: Do they have these for dudes? Like, for testicular cancer?
TECH: That’ll be the day.

If you’ve never had a mammogram (I hadn’t), my advice is to not look down. The plastic on top of the hydraulic press is clear, giving you full view of your flattened boob. It’s like someone accidentally put a Pyrex dish on top of the raw chicken breast instead of the other way around, but with veins.

ME: (held in place by the machine) Oh, well that’s not so bad.
TECH: I just have to go a little bit deeper...
ME: ARRRGH... (like a war-grizzled champion)
TECH: Yeah, that’s good. Just breathe.
ME: You’ve got half my lung in there, ma’am. (wincing)

Boob is numb for a moment before blood comes screaming back into it. I re-shelve it and take out the other one, imagining them crossing paths in the interrogation hallway. Just tell them anything, left soldier says.

TECH: Wait... it’s not working, hang on hang on...
ME: Hang on?!
TECH: I know, I know... (comes back to within punching range to reboot machine) okay, now just hang on. (machine buzzes for literally fifteen seconds, then releases me) Okay, done!
ME: (glowers with one boob on full display, terrifying as an amazon)
TECH: I know, I’m sorry.

It’s not the most painful thing in the world, but it’s troubling. Like, if you had accidentally shut the door on your your finger, or maybe on your gentleman’s junk. In that moment, everyone around you should be helping to free you. There is no job that is not opening the door. The pain is coupled with your inability to move even a micron. You are, in a word, vulnerable.

HIM: How’d it go?
ME: It was... extremely pinchy.

I have more to say about the events of the week, but later. My goddamn tits need ice cream.

* The “not exactly a picnic” IUD appointment.

January 24, 2017

Chapter One: Consent, Condoms, Communication.

Apparently it's on me to teach people about family planning. I'm not being paid to do so, and I'm not given any government subsidies. I'm a 35-year-old who lost her virginity at 17 and wants to make sure all people, especially young people, have access to the facts. Remember: The truth can still hurt you, even if you have never heard it.

Chapter One:
The 3 C's of good sex:
Consent, condoms, communication.

The first tip I have is that abstinence is hard. Your hormones rage like wet cats in a bag from age 12 to 20, and you're gonna wanna have sex. If you have sex, be protected. Do it with someone who respects you. Above all, make sure each step of the process is agreed upon by both parties. (Note: a person who is asleep, drunk, or coerced cannot agree to anything.)

If you want to abstain, that's awesome. You should still learn about sex, pregnancy, menstruation, birth control, and yes, abortion. It is also a good idea to keep condoms on/near you in case your hormones get the better of your cool-headed intentions. You may regret it later, but regret is part of life.

Finally, no matter what your choice is, do not let anyone shame you. Maybe someone else would have done something differently, but that holds no weight in your own life. Nobody else is you.

November 09, 2016

You Can Stay with Me

I know a lot of you are angry today. If you’re like me, you’ve been alternating between tearful and terrified, looking for that one tiny thread of hope that can console you.

For many, that thread is anger. How could so many people be convinced so easily that their feelings are worth more than facts? How do we not scream at the third-party voters who allowed their principles to supersede their reality? How do I continue to live in a country that sees me as worth less—less than a man, less than my attacker, less than my own reproductive parts?

If have thought these things, you are lucky. You have the luxury of despair.

While your feelings are completely valid, many people are going to suffer in the next four years—and some much, much more than others. Our next president has risen to power on a tide of hate, and if history has taught us anything, it is that the people who are suffering the most are the first against the wall. You may be afraid for your future, others are in very real danger of losing their lives.

The thread of hope that I am clinging to today is not anger, nor fear. It is that feeling I felt after Obama was first elected into office, the potential to change things for the better, that feeling of love for my country and all the people who are living in it—whether they love me back or not. I will continue to help others even though it is not my job, to support the rights of all humans whether I directly benefit or not, to understand those who are different than me instead of dismissing or fearing them.

I extend this invitation to everyone: if the worst happens, if your world catches fire, you can stay with me. If you are thrown out of your home or lost your job because you are different, you can stay with me. If you need help, you can stay with me. If you voted for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, or even Donald Trump, you can stay with me. I will be the America that I believe in, and I know that I cannot do it without you. I need all of you to make it real.

And to the people who are going to be unable to lift their arms today, who fought so hard throughout the election, made it to the finish line, and still lost—I saved you a seat. I know it’s hard not to give up. So, go ahead. Give up. Take five minutes, take the whole morning—if you can, take the day. Tomorrow, we get up, because our work is not over. Our work has just begun.

June 12, 2015

Recent Yelp Reviews from My Bird Feeder

Cardinal - dead tree, MI (April 3, 2015)
I waited ages for this place to reopen. Decent food and quiet location. You’ll find bugs on a good day. Not a bad spot.

Black-Capped Chickadee - telephone pole, MI (April 9, 2015)

There’s nothing wrong with the food, but the atmosphere is a joke. The upside down bottle of seed on an old soap tray is so pretentious. What is this, Cloud Cuckoo-Land? Give me a pinecone covered in peanut butter any day.

House Sparrow - drainpipe, MI (April 17, 2015)

There seems to be a woman inside staring at everyone who comes in to eat. Isn’t there a registry for this sort of thing? Gave me the willies.

Robin - pine tree, MI (April 22, 2015)

If you want a hole-in-the wall dining experience that isn’t an actual hole in the wall, this is it.

Starling - attic eaves, MI (May 16, 2015)

Food is stellar, but every so often the owner’s dog walks by one of the windows and freaks everybody out. Keep your dogs inside where they belong!

Grackle - other pine tree, MI (June1, 2015)

The perching situation needs to be resolved. I circled for almost three minutes and couldn’t find a space. Not worth it.

Hummingbird - cottonwood, MI (June 9, 2015)

Nectarians beware: nothing here for a seed-free diet. More menu options please!

Golden-Winged Warbler - crack in roof, FL (June 12, 2015)

My husband and I stop here every summer! Good food, fast service, and hardly anybody knows about it--one of our secrets!

Thrush - bent willow, MI (June 13, 2015)

My meal was really dry. No water served; prepare to BYOB.

Red-Winged Blackbird - I-94 underpass, MI (June 16, 2015)

I was going to eat here yesterday, but I saw a mother bird feeding her babies and got too grossed out.

Squirrel - neighbor’s porch, MI (June 19, 2015)

What, no corn?

Blue Jay - maple tree, MI (June 20, 2015)

What’s with the tiny portions? Just because I am a bird, I’m supposed to eat like one? I left a message to make sure the owner knew what I thought about her fat shaming.

Veery - redbud, MI (June 20, 2015)

Pretty sure the poop on the facade is a health code violation. Food was good, though.

Bumblebee - mailbox, MI (June 22, 2015)


March 05, 2015

Why I’m Never Going Back

I was crushed when I got a rejection letter from grad program at the University of Michigan. I was 22, had just graduated with my BA in English Lit, and was ready to further my career as a writer by going back to school. 

You can keep laughing, as long as you keep reading. 

Sitting at my desk job, I Googled my favorite writers and looked at their career paths--something it had not occurred to me to do before applying for grad school (more on that later). None of them had gotten advanced degrees, few had degrees in a writing discipline, and many had worked a variety of jobs before truly starting their writing careers at 35, 45, 50, beyond. That was a clue, a peek at a hard truth I didn’t want to acknowledge, and wouldn’t until years later: doctors, lawyers, (some) scientists need higher education. The rest of us don’t.

Duh, you say. One of my biggest failings as a writer is my lack of perception; I see jokes coming, not trains. And like many of my peers, my desire for (and rejection by) school was entirely emotional: I loved school. I loved learning. I loved the buildings, and the books, and the freedom--nay, the expectation--that I would spend my time thinking and opining, and be celebrated for it like a baby approximating words when he speaks. The costs were treated at once as necessary and irrelevant. We were emotionally invested in what we were buying; we paid for the feeling and rationalized the debt, just as we would with our cars and wedding dresses. 

But the passionate creators who saw in-house productions of Beckett on the quad and ripped them apart in the diner afterward had to graduate--and their degrees prepared them for two things: to continue their schooling (and likely teach), or give you a leg up in the job market due to your education. Not your specific degree, necessarily, but at the very least a piece of paper from a university confers an ability to take orders, read, and follow through. Your achievements will be secondary; your interests can be entirely ignored. At this point, you may have reached the tip of the iceberg on the injustice college has done you. For all its faults, I have only one charge against higher education, and it even that only bears half the blame: college  taught us to think, to get the muscle working, but neglects the tendon that pulls it. How to think, initiating the thought process ourselves, is the gap where Sallie Mae has built her estate.

“But my company offered me money to go back to school," you may say. "That’s encouraging me to do what I always wanted!” Well, no. Firstly, many companies are affiliated with the universities offering tuition reimbursement. They’re selling you their own product at a discount, and calling it a perk. Second, they want you to further your skills in order to be more valuable to them--not more valuable as a person. While you can go for any degree or subject you want, the STEM classes are highly encouraged, because they are more marketable. 

Lastly--and perhaps most importantly--no matter what your major, going back to school means you will be taking on more debt. You’re not going to quit your high-paying job after graduation to take an entry-level position in your field unless you’re still in deferment, young, childless, or all three. And if you do leave your job, your company will have a slew of applications for your old job--many of whom are your age and attracted to the posting because it will allow them to go back to school to “do what they really want.” I’m not saying you can’t win, I’m saying that in all instances, who is guaranteed to win? The employer, and the school.

I’m not going to be naive enough to say that schools are failing us. Schools are a business, and their key priority is to make money. I could blame career counselors, those people who should be telling us to find our ideal careers and work backward, not encouraging our ability to take $200 classes on classic literature and assuming we only ever wanted to teach. I won’t, because many such people are employed by the very universities taking our cash, which is at best a conflict of interest, and at worst, a scam. Independent career counselors will be limited to the knowledge and experience you have, meaning the education you have already undertaken, and with their hands tied will likely tell you to return to school, because it’s still considered the magic pill of bettering oneself. Telling you to “Google It,” while exactly the right answer, doesn’t have the same billable hours as flipping through course catalogs--and won’t be as profitable for the system, either.

You may have guessed by now that your best career counselor has been, and always will be, you. 

You want to do what you really want? Do it. Don’t know how? There’s the internet. Go.

[Cost: the Comcast bill you were paying anyway, supplies (if needed), time.]

Your lumps of clay, your abandoned songs, your retouched artwork, the manuscript you will never, ever finish--it may never get graded, never get a gold star. It is gorgeous and worthy because it is something you really wanted. It broke out, and got done. Even if it comes to nothing, does not improve your worth as an employee, does not earn you one additional cent, you are still thousands of dollars up on your investment--which is, and will always be, you.

February 16, 2015

A few notes on the cold...

1) At 6 degrees, there is no call to ride a motorcycle. That shit is just foolishness that ends in hypothermia-induced loss of a nose.

2) This is no time to be standing in line for a new bar to open. They have beer at the store, and you can drink it in your home--which is warm, and the dress code is casz.

3) Nobody needs to work out when it is fewer than 10 degrees outside, because your body is already burning extra calories to keep your hair growing and your fingers attached.

4) Showering is optional, because the thought of being in warm water is negated by the fact that you'd have to take off clothes.

5) Most cars won't start in negative temperatures, because that's nature's way of telling you to live somewhere inhabitable.

6) RE: #5: Your battery is actually dead.

7) It forces you to reconsider Jimmy Buffet as a person and a musician, because dignity is for people who are brave enough to shower.

8) Productivity is halted by searching for Groupon getaway deals / selling things on ebay to afford flights / typing in mittens.

9) Holding a frightened dog over the toilet is preferable to taking him outside to pee.

January 27, 2015

Check-Up (Check It)

Me: Watch out for my arms, they gave me shots.
Bacon: Jeez, how many?
Me: One in each arm. Flu and TDAP.
Bacon: Sounds like a rapper.
Me: "Immunize," by TDAP feat. Flu.
Bacon: Flu mostly produces.
Me: You have no idea. Speaking of, do we need to stop and get more Dayquil?
Bacon: I'm feeling okay today, but I wanted to try that honey.
Me: I don't think it's gonna do what you think it's gonna do.
Bacon: It's black magic honey.
Me: It's expensive-ass honey.
Bacon: Because of the magic!
Me: I can't really get behind spending 1/5 of our bank balance on mystical shaman honey when we have an entire cupboard of honey at home.
Bacon: "I'm droppin' hundies / on honey / droppin (UNGH!) hundies!"
Me: If you let me record your TDAP impression, we'll get the shaman honey.
Bacon: "UNGH! No / No / No DEAL."

June 16, 2014


My husband walked out of the bedroom and mooned me. I responded with finger guns, as I was occupied. And by that I mean "sitting on the toilet with the door open."

The first year of marriage has been a success.

March 19, 2014

On the Radio (Kind Of)

Shameless plug alert! My good friend Jeff and I are opining on all things geek over on the Geek Feed podcast. Disagree with us at work or at home! Or, if you like what you hear, please comment, become a fan, and share the love!

June 01, 2012

Effigy: A Love Story

Me: Don't forget to take the rent over to the office.
Bacon: I'll do it on my way to work.


Me: Seriously, don't forget the rent.
Bacon: I won't.
Me: It's raining, and I'll be working and I'm not going to remember...
Bacon: I'll do it, honey.

A little later...

(calling Bacon's cellphone)

Bacon: So, I totally forgot the rent.
Me: Yes.
Bacon: I'm sorry, I was thinking about work and I didn't see it--
Me: On the table, where I left it, in the envelope.
Bacon: Yes, because you are wonderful and awesome and I didn't do it on purpose and I'm sorry and I forgot and I'm sorry.
Me: I'm going to build an effigy of you now.
Bacon: I forgot.
Me: Beat it up, set it on fire, maybe wee it out.
Bacon: It's raining, isn't it.
Me: YES.
Bacon: Sorry. Very sorry. I'll kill myself immediately.
Me: Before you do, start thinking of ways you'll make it up to me.
Bacon: (laughing) Yes ma'am.
Me: (losing her anger and getting annoyed by it) I'm laughing, but I'm serious.
Bacon: Okay. I know. Massage.

May 28, 2012

Taper? I hardly knew 'er!

There's weird ethos among runners before a race day. I don't mean the beatific sweaty grins we give each other, like oh my, why do people do drugs when they can just make their glands open up and soak them in endorphins, won't we just all live forever.

I mean the more you run, the more you feel weird when you're not running.

For those unfamiliar with marathon terminology, the taper is the time at the end of your training in which you do not run. This is an important thing to do, not running. The theory goes that by not running, your body is saving up all of its energy, which will burst forth like the Kool-Aid Man through a brick wall and allow you to gallop across the finish line as though you were a horse with a handful of ginger up its deuce.


Now, I made a personal goal to run every day in April. I did just that, and the final tally was 115 miles run in the course of a month. Depending on your level of activity, you may pshaw or be shocked at the number; my physical fitness level is former-fatty-turned-athlete gone to seed, I say it like this: A HUN-dred and fif-TEEN MILES-uh.

And actually, it was fine. I even lost about four pounds.

By comparison, I ran the last of my long training runs last Sunday. Ten miles, 75 degrees, overcast skies. It took slightly over two hours, and I even managed not to walk at all for the last two miles (finishing strong, in sadistic runner parlance).

I spent the rest of the day bent over as my body freaked the hell out, burning sugar in any form it could find and putting twinkly lights in front of my eyes. As my body shook its head with rancor and chucked another kidney on the fire, I tried to keep some muscle mass intact by chugging apple juice and packing away protein. The next day, my knees hurt, but I was otherwise fine.

Conclusion: Running is good for you. Racing is finding out how good you are at it.

There's nothing wrong with being a slow or infrequent runner, because in the end, you'll lose more weight and get more cardiovascular fitness by taking a short run every day than limping through distance races. So if I see you with my fellow tortoises on Sunday, I'll give you a plastered-haired wave as the sinewy eight-minute group sails past us, happy in the knowledge that running is a noun that doesn't give a shit about adjectives.

May 03, 2012

Michigan Wine: The Mitten May Surprise You

A year or so ago, I was fortunate to meet with Channing Sutton, tasting room manager at 45 North winery in Suttons Bay, MI. The article was delayed several times, but is up now in full at AnnArbor.com.

45 North Interview with Channing Sutton

I'm so glad this is now live, and I hope it gives 45 North the exposure they deserve for letting me tour their property and wares. I've already been relinked by the good folks (and wine locavores) at Michigan by the Bottle; let's hope more oenophiles follow suit!

April 19, 2012

Stress: It Gives You Wiiiings

Hola! Yo soy pooped. But just look at that mileage!

Total Runs: 18
Total Distance: 75 Miles

Friday's supposed to be rainy, so I'm off to do my 5 miles today. I'm actually surprised by how hard this whole running project hasn't been. Maybe it's the stress, but the hardest part of banging out 7 miles yesterday was the ensuing blood sugar crash. I'm still working on getting over the post-run exhaustion; I'm thinking a Tylenol-high protein cocktail of some sort. Thoughts?

Also, I've got an article up on AnnArbor.com about how estrogen and tulle are a deadly combination.

You read, I run. Enjoy!

April 11, 2012

At it Like a Rabbit

We are ten days into April, and I must say it's going swimmingly. There have been a few setbacks, but here I am, and I haven't missed a day yet.

Total Runs: 10
Total Distance: 39 Miles

Most of these were done 4 miles at a time. On good days, I could do 5; on really good days, I could push it to 6. I think the variance has gotten me back in shape, since I'm back below an 11-min mile. I know that's practically walking for some of you hardcore runners, but when you're a little woman with non-optional chest weight, speed is not a priority.

The first monkey wrench in the plans happened early: the spring cold. Why is it when you start a new workout routine you always get sick three days in? It's the body's way of sabotaging you, of saying "look, we've evolved; we have takeout and duvets and we don't need to run from lions anymore, so take a load off."

I did not take a load off. I took a Benadryl and ran two miles. I don't recommend pigheadedness in the face of adversity, but... actually, yes I do. Within reason. Obviously, if you're too ill to run, then don't. But if you're a little ill, if your allergies are a little strong, I say fight through it. You could be worse tomorrow, so get it in today.

I'm excited about all this mileage, but it's been unseasonably warm in the first part of the month--and my Weather Channel app says clouds and rain for the next four days. I might have to keep it to 1-2 mile sprints on rainy days, because I HATE running in the cold. I'm also fighting the well-endowed-lady's frenemy, lower back pain, which my boyfriend has been obliged to stick his elbow in every night, which is not remotely as sexy as it sounds.

If you're thinking of doing a similar daily run schedule, here's a tip: look at the weather for the week on Monday. Pick the nicest day, and use it to do your longest run. That way, if it starts hailing on Friday, at least you conquered Wednesday. It all adds up.
Oh... and on Thursday, I got engaged.

All this running just got way, way easier. A wedding? Running behind me? Look out, lions; I'm passing on the left.

P.S. Thanks to all you wonderful people who have left us well-wishes. You're all pretty, even without makeup.

April 02, 2012

30 Days of Running: This is not an April Fool's.

If you're like me, you're a woman. And as we all know, women are vain, selfish, and like to buy shoes.*

I'd like to talk a little about vanity, because that's what vanity's all about: at the beginning of the year, a few family members and I founded a Weight Watchers-type group to keep an eye on our overdeveloped waistlines. It has worked pretty well; members have lost between 8-25 pounds thus far, and everyone has remained focused and mostly positive.

But there are times when the weight feels overwhelming. Those crazy people, those uterus-havers, those People Like Me: we have days where we are haunted by our fat. It follows us, hangs over us and off of us, and it makes us afraid to leave the house, as if the very act of wearing a 12 will have the neighborhood grabbing their pitchforks to spear our tent-curiosity-sized jeans.

Of course, it's not true. But when it comes to self-hatred, women's brains can't be buggered with things like the truth. This spectre does not leave us, ever. The fat comes and goes, but the fear of the fat is ever-present. And that day will come every month or so where you overeat, hate yourself, and spiral ever lower until you're pricing colonics on the internet.

Yesterday, I stared that day in the face and told it to do untoward things to itself.

You see, in addition to being a woman, I'm also a runner. I'm not an athlete, but I can go a few miles for cardio and I enjoy it, which I believe are the only requirements. And yesterday, after coming back from a calorie-packed weekend, I dropped my bag, put on my shoes and ran 5 miles... and thought, "Why can't I do this every day?"

Now, I'm slow. I run an 11-min mile on average, which most websites consider to be "walking." That means if I run four miles every day, I'm spending 45 minutes getting a workout.

45 minutes is a drop in the bucket of a 24-hour day. It's less than an episode of Downton Abbey; less time than it takes to bake a potato. And after that, I can do whatever I want--even eat whatever I want, within reason. That does not seem like a high bar to clear.

Which brings me to the point: I'm going to run every day in April. A short run, a long one, it doesn't matter how far, it matters that it happens every 24 hours. And that's where I'm headed, right now.

* Kidding! I just read that in Cosmo. While I was getting my pedicure. Stereotypes: truer than we'd like.

March 14, 2012

Crafty Blogger: Making a Laptop Sleeve

After much deliberation, I bought a MacBook Air. I say "deliberation," but mostly mean "eating of my own words," since I have long been opposed to the slick world of aluminum computers with cartoony interfaces that are so easy to use it's impossible to eff it up. As a PC user, I saw effing it up as the natural course of personal computing. Alas, I could no longer deal with the (lack of) power options and slow movement of my PC. Hypocrite? Sure. Hipster? Maybe. But being online in six seconds makes it pretty easy not to hear the objections.

Said new laptop needed a sleeve, since I am one of the clumsiest people living. A very nice lady at my favorite cafe and workspace let me have one of the burlap coffee sacks, as it was too holey to reuse.

I washed it, sliced it into bits, and chose the orange logo for the front of the sleeve.

A trip to JoAnn's netted me some yellow felt for the batting, a bright orange patterned fabric for the lining and a yellow zipper (that I didn't use).

I saved the bigger, more colorful pieces for another project. Pillow covers? Not sure yet.

All measuring was done using the laptop itself, since I was paranoid that it wouldn't fit at the end. First, I laid the laptop over the double-layered felt, leaving about an inch and a half on each side.

Next, I pinned the burlap to the front and back sides, making sure they would be right-side-up when the bag was folded in half.
Then, sewing.

The back panel had to be pieced together due to fraying and aforementioned holes. I liked the look of the crest and recycling logo, and I decided I didn't care about the back seam. The important thing was to keep the front logo as centered as possible, which I did a lot of flipping in and out to accomplish.

I was going to use trim along the bottom, but I though when pinning that the yellow felt would look pretty cute peeking out on the bottom edge. Not bad from the remnant bin.

Next, I turned the sleeve inside out on the bottom fold and pinned the sides, leaving the laptop inside for paranoia and to make sure it would slide out again. Sewing.
As a nice bonus, the burlap sewed incredibly well. I expected to wrestle with it, but was pleasantly surprised.

Next, I made an envelope out of the liner fabric and inserted it into the bag right-side-out. At this point, I started to feel like the liner was wasted by not being seen and decided to scrap the zipper, folding the liner over the burlap and hand-stitching it down.

It's snug enough that it doesn't need a closure, but a toggle or strap could easily be attached. The whole thing took about two hours without a pattern. I've used it about a week, and it hasn't disappointed!

August 31, 2011

In which I am crazybags

New post on AnnArbor.com, wherein I admit to having a case of The Crazies and hope my friends don't look at me differently (though, if they haven't up to this point, we're probably good).

30 Before 30: Living with an Anxiety Disorder

Comments on the story online give you good karma!

April 30, 2011

Notes on the Royal Wedding

The Wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton

Harry has become the looker of the family.  Who knew the little prince who was born looking like Alfred E Neuman would sprout into Colin Firth?  MeeeeOW!

Catherine Middleton is pretty.  I don't remember ever seeing her before this day, but she's nice looking.  In fact...

There is no need to gild the lily.  She is so pretty you don't have to make the obvious dress parallels to Princess Grace, stylists.  She's royal: we got it.

I'm not the only one who noticed.  Right as she gets to the altar, William smiles and looks proud--but Harry seems to be, I dunno... not leering, exactly, but definitely lingering on the lithe form of soon-to-be-Mrs.-his-brother.  Could be the fact that they've dressed Harry in all black with caution-yellow bondage gear, so I could just be painting him with Richard III overtones.  Maybe. 

Prince William has a lovely voice  I never thought he was particularly dreamy, but I had also never heard him speak.  His clipped accent is the lovechild of double-cream and a bassoon--a weapon he's never really had to pull out, understandably, because of the whole "you're a princess if you marry me" thing.  It's a shame he'll never have to work in this life, because he could make a killing as a voiceover actor.

It's a good thing I wasn't invited.  For several reasons, but most notably because I got a serious case of the church giggles 1) at the mention of the Holy Ghost and 2) at the Bishop/Vicar/Officiant's mad-scientist miter-hair.  Yes, I'm five, and there's not a frilly Ascot Hat big enough to hide my inappropriate laughter.

The Queen is a lot like my dog.  Old, nearly blind, naps when she pleases.  This is my new goal in life.

Church is always boring.  I really wish all those masses I attended as a kid had YouTube slider bars.  Three minutes after loading, I could Amen-it to the pancake brunch.

Cate has a much better poker face than I do.  I assume she has people coaching her on all things princessy, because whereas she seems to dislike the tedious church readings as much as I do, I can see her catching herself before rolling her eyes.  William must be of the same opinion, as his reaction is to take very long blinks.

... but she can't unpause it.  William is nodding off a bit (understandably, since this ceremony is three hours and several months of news coverage too long), but he at least reacts when the Bishop/MiterMan brings it home.  Cate... seems to be frozen in Botox propriety mode.  I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and call it nervousness / proximity to her new Nan, the Effing Queen.

'Jerusalem' will always make me think of Calendar Girls.  Speaking of, why is Helen Mirren not here?  Wait, there she--oh, it's Camilla.  Oh, well.  Nice that she got invited, though.

It was pretty cute.  All right, I'm not made of stone.  Will & Cate seem to like each other, his smirking his way through the vows was pretty damn endearing.

April 22, 2011

Madagascar: Beware the Vanilla Bearcat

Sarah: What is this about, now?

Bacon: Madagascar broke from India and Africa, so everything there evolved specifically to suit the island. All the wildlife was marooned. There are species there that don't live anywhere else.

Sarah: Like the Kardashians?

Bacon: No, like the giant mongoose.

Sarah: Dude. I've seen a mongoose. It was the size of a ferret. That shit is a bearcat.

Bacon: It's just really big and superadapted.

Sarah: Into a bear-nosed giant sloth.

Bacon: ...-Lion.

Sarah: See? Mongoose my balls.

David Attenborough: "A still greater predator lurks in the marshes."

Sarah: The hippotiger!

Bacon: The crocobat!

Sarah: Eh. It's just a lemur. Doing... Tai Chi.

Bacon: Nothing is normal there. Nothing.

Sarah: Seriously, it's like the wild kingdom version of Lord of the Flies. Two ton ferrets!

Bacon: The fish swim upside down!

Sarah: No they--oh my god, they do. And they're blind.

Bacon: And the lemurs eat plants full of cyanide. And live!

Sarah: I feel like there's a cure for everything on that island. Plus vanilla.

Bacon: Which is a cure for ice cream.

Sarah: And unsweetened catbears.

Bacon: I wonder if the mongooses eat the fish, or just the lemurs.

Sarah: It's part bear, it'll eat anything. It'd eat you.

Bacon: Bacon doesn't go with fish.

Sarah: It goes with scallops, though. And shrimp.

Bacon: Those aren't fish, those are sea insects.

Sarah: Delicious sea insects.

Bacon: Icky sea monsters.

Sarah: Yes, I do believe that old-timey maps had pictures of shrimps in the margins.

Bacon: Yarr, Thar be scallops herrrre!

Sarah: Are you sure you were looking at a map, and not a Long John Silver's menu?

Bacon: Well, there was a pirate on it.

March 22, 2011

"Ahhhh, Salmon Skin Roll."

Latest AnnArbor.com column, in which our heroine plumbs the depths of her femininity by punching innocent people and having her toes painted. A typical day in the life, really.

30 Before 30: Fight Face and Fancy Feet

Comments welcome as always!

January 24, 2011

Michigan - snow = heaven

Throwing these articles out as fast as I can get them written. February's just around the corner!

30 Before 30: Say Yes to Michigan

Comments welcome. And to all my friends: You Rule.

January 19, 2011

College! W00t!

Latest installment in the 30 Before 30 series. If I offend anyone, I apologize up front. Not students, though; they know they're that annoying.

30 Before 30: Changes of Place, Part One

Comments encouraged on AnnArbor.com. Next Up: Europe!

January 05, 2011

December 16, 2010

In which my boobs make an appearance

New post at AnnArbor.com, in which the chubby girl loses weight and takes her clothes off for the camera.  Sadly, she doesn't know she can make money this way, and becomes a barista instead.

Comments welcome on the article page, as always--A2.com might be inspired to pay me if I drive up traffic.

November 23, 2010

For the discerning lady this holiday season

Burt's Bees Soap – I’ve always used a pretty stripped-down bar soap—Dial, Lever, whatever sample came in the mail, etc.  In the winter, however, I switch from rougher soaps to body wash to avoid drying out.  I was poking around looking for a midwinter replacement when I nonsensically splurged on a $4 of Burt’s Bees honey and jojoba.  You guys, I can’t stop showering.  It smells so delicious and makes my face so smooth, I feel like the Queen.

Stonyfield Mango Honey Yogurt – I think I hit it right this time: organic, no artificial colors or flavors, tastes like peaches and cream. Let’s hope the “limited time” warning stamped on the front proves untrue.  Om nom nom.

Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate – Boo.  Boo on you, Lindt, for changing your Intense Dark Chocolate recipe.  The needless addition of soy lecithin to emulsify my already perfect chocolate has rendered it creamy and uneatable.  If I wanted creamy chocolate, I’d get milk chocolate, as would any right-thinking human.  Keep your milk fat out of my cocoa.  I have to break up with you now, and test all new varieties of dark to find my perfect Emergency Chocolate.  I hope you’re happy.

OPI Only Gold for Me Nail Polish – I ended up with two bottles of this after a kind customer recommended it.  It really complements any color—dark burgundy or emerald green, especially—and when applied to the tips of polish toes can make even the sweat-shirted feel fancy.

Picnik – Well, paint me red.  A free photo editing service that doesn’t require registration, and the effects are awesome.  As a longstanding fan of free crap, I tip my hat.  My black-and-white photo wall grown ever more interesting thanks to the tints feature, and I cannot resist tweaking this page as well. 

The Big Bang Theory – Oh Sheldon Cooper, I could watch you for yours.  The way you sneer at the willfully unintelligent, the way you explain everything to the minutest detail, compelled by obsessive compulsion.  The way you are everything I would be if I hadn’t made friends.

November 17, 2010


[Last night, watching a documentary on Stonehenge]

Me: Oh, my favorite part: the weird solstice-y people coming in to feel the stones and commune with Xenu. 

Bacon: Which is dumb, since it's not all that pagan.

Me: Stones. Solstices. Beards. Pagan.

Bacon: It's a Neo-lithic structure.  Built by Neo-lithic peoples.

Me: Po-mo pagan?

Bacon: Waaay before pagan. Pre-po pagan.

Narrator: "There's no telling how the stones actually got to Salisbury Plain..."

Bacon: Psssh.  I bet they used kites.

Me: Like, 50,000 kites?

Bacon: One giant hoverkite.

Me: That they borrowed from the aliens in the pyramids:

"TCKCKC?" Can we borrow the hover kite?
"Luuuluuuu" For what? 
 "KKAAAKKK" A henge. 
"Llllloooollua" Sure. It's in the shed. 
"TCKTCK" Thanks. See you at the barbecue.

Bacon: There were no aliens in the pyramids. (pause) I bet it was the Atlantians.

Me: And how did they get all the way to England?

Bacon: The hoverkite! Geez, honey, keep up.

Me: Those pyramid aliens sure were nice neighbors. Wonder why archaeologists never unearthed a hoverkite.

Bacon: That's the kind of thing the pre-po pagans want to keep under wraps.

September 20, 2010

Sarah, meet meat. Meat, go find cake.

New post at AnnArbor.com in which I try to become a carnivore again. Sadly, meat doesn't taste any more like Ho-Ho's than it used to.