Category Archives: Lists of Lists

How to Cope with Reality after Living in a Book

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Nothing beats the depression of reading the last paragraph of a captivating novel, only to turn the page and snap back into the reality that none of it was real. The events were pretend. You are not a Geisha. “A” is no longer for Alibi. And you do not, under any circumstances, want your slimy boss to tie you up and ravage you.

Yet, somehow you need to muster up the stamina to leave the fantasy world behind, go to work, and interact with the three-dimensional people. Even as you secretly harbor anger for a world that didn’t continue into an eighth book. Even though, while you were saddened by the death of Dumbledore, the real tragedy was that the closest you’ll get to living at Hogwarts is going to Disney World and yelling Expelliarmus! at the pretzel vendor.

So how do we leave the fantasy behind? How do we begin coping with the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Novel Disorder so we can function in the real world?

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Step 1: Recognize the symptoms and admit that you have a problem. Within an hour after putting down your book, do you have to stop yourself from speaking with an accent that is not your own? Do you begin online shopping for old-timey fashion accessories, such as bloomers or Yankee Militia Jackets? Do you start paying particular attention to your co-workers’ eating happens in case they are, in fact, vampires? And most importantly, are you about to throw your squeaky-clean corporate image down the drain so you can get a tattoo and start solving mysteries?

Step 2: If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, put the book down right away and schedule a lunch-date with a friend. If your friend begins to recount details of her weekend bar crawl, and you respond with “Frankly, I don’t give a damn” while twirling your parasol, you will quickly realize that you must decide between a relationship with your friends and one with your books. Try to muster up the courage to choose the former.

Step 3: If you do choose the latter and storm away from the table demanding, from the pages of Eleanor Roosevelt’s autobiography, that “no one can make me feel inferior without my consent!” then attend a Reader’s Anonymous Meeting (a.k.a. book club). Discussing your obsession with other addicts will at least make you feel like you’re not the only lunatic in the world.
There are many others, and we are all here to support you.

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How to get the Perfect…Everything!

Media (Photo Credit: Flickr LauraLewis23)

Yes, it happened: I discovered the secret to perfection.

Tempted by “mindless” reading, I recently bought a women’s lifestyle magazine to occupy myself plane-side (and to keep my mind off the person next to me coughing the Plague into my Diet Coke). Who would decline to enrich their appearance, career, and relationships just by skimming a few pages? Dahmer party included, everyone is seeking the latest diet that will make them live forever… or at least look good in the process.

Ironically, however, choosing my “mindless” reading wasn’t easy, as each magazine professes similar go-to tips. I stood in front of the kiosk for ten minutes, feeling awkward as Creepy Jones next to me fawned over Maxim’s bare-butt women, until I viscerally settled on an issue with Hayden Panettiere gracing the cover. At least within the celebrity world, she’s relatively “real” (a.k.a she hasn’t renamed herself something like Snookie or Lady Gaga). She must have some worldly tricks up her sleeve that none of us lackeys have. Right?

So here I was, nestled in Gate  D4 between Chili’s and a pack of kids coaxing me towards alcoholism, when I opened the magazine that would transform my life from head-to-toe. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Apparently, all I have to do to achieve the physique of a Victoria’s Secret Angel is 15-minutes of squats, three times per week. In 17 days, I will have washboard abs and a derriere that would rival Beyoncé’s. Guaranteed. (Warning: nothing was mentioned about controlling my diet, so I’ll safely assume that ice cream can be included in my eating plan.)
  2. I, or someone I know, will get breast cancer. And the solution to early detection is, of course, to throw a shower party, in which everyone is invited to climb into the shower and feel their goodies for lumps. No, this isn’t just the wet-dream of a pimpled thirteen-year-old boy—this is the 21st century and the new key to prevention. So get down to your skivvies.
  3. It is of utmost importance to eat grapes, blueberries, and pomegranates to get all of my antioxidants. I also need spinach for Vitamin K, Salmon for Omega-3 Fatty Acids, oranges for Vitamin C, whole grains for Fiber, and beans for Folic Acid. In other words I should quit my job, because if I want to live a long and healthy life, I don’t have time to think about anything else.  And I should probably put down my sugary latté—at best, I’m getting a tablespoon of Vitamin D. At worst, I’m wasting an opportunity to fill-up on food that doesn’t contribute to organ deterioration and an early death.
  4. I should refrain from spending my time and money buying department store creams and Retinols. Hayden apparently gets her gorgeous glow compliments of Neutrogena. Dermatologists, facials, and access to the healthiest organic foods have nothing to do with it.
  5. The new flavour combo is walnuts, beets, and garlic. I will already look hot with my washboard abs and glowing skin, so a little constipation, stinky breath, and red urine can’t hurt, right?

So besides unbridled optimism, why do we poison our minds with empty promises and faulty information? Even if the writers of my magazine were telling the truth—and generous enough to divulge life’s untold secrets—what am I to do next month? This issue was the unveiling of the perfect, total-body transformation and the sex-tips that will revolutionize my relationship. So perhaps next month I should only expect sub-par tips for leading a mediocre life.

Or, of course, I could take off my rose-colored glasses and concede that these magazines add nothing substantial to my life.

So next time you’re tempted by promises that you, too, could look like an Angel in 17 days, remember that exercise, a moderate diet, and finding internal happiness are still the keys to uncovering your best you—no matter how loudly the headlines declare to have unearthed Marty McFly’s secrets from the future.  There aren’t shortcuts to anything.


The [Grown-up] Girl Scout Pledge


Girl Scouts-Photo Credit: Joyner Library

Whether or not you grew up in the Girl Scouts, you’ve probably heard the Scout Pledge at least once in your life. You know… On My Honor, I Will Try, to…well, basically be fearless and fantastic?

Those were the days of sugary innocence, when you delved into day-camp and then couldn’t get “Make New Friends” out of your head, or when the Christmas ornament (which you hand-made by drenching it in red glitter) was the gift you couldn’t wait to give. And who could forget the cookies that you ran around the neighborhood selling, hyped up on Thin Mints and the prospect of winning a Lisa Frank sticker sheet?

But even though we look back and chuckle at all of that childhood innocence, I’ve discovered that our inner Girl Scouts have a lot to teach our adult-selves. In fact, those young’uns were at the pinnacle of becoming the perfect ladies, but somewhere down the road (culprit: middle school) many of us forgot about the songs, the friendship bracelets, and the mantras about loving ourselves regardless of weight or perceived rate of coolness (apparently watching the Victoria Secret Fashion Show and learning the art of self-deprecation through body-slamming comes later in life).

The proof of our evolving-selves is all over, as we see reality T.V. behavior seep into every corner of our culture. Don’t you think our inner Girl Scouts would frown if they saw us “cutting out” our best childhood friend, who we claim to have suddenly “grown out of?” Or how about when our inner-Scout sees us pinch our stomach fat the morning after a night of Screwdrivers and Sliders (I mean, you can’t have a night of fun with friends and achieve Victoria Beckham hotness-status. Duh.) Or how about when we let Mr. Suit-and-Tie tell us that we aren’t bold enough to spear-head the next presentation at work, and then we just complain about it to our friends (probably as we snowball into another night of Screwdrivers and Sliders)?

I know we’re not guilty of making every single one of these nauseating mistakes, but I also know that none of us are innocent either—at least not the sort of innocence that our former scrunchie-wearing selves would approve of. So here’s the new pledge, The Grown-up Girl Scout Pledge, that all women should post on their bathroom mirrors (and yes, that might mean taking down the “inspirational” photo of Jillian Michael’s abs that you torture yourself with every morning.):

On my honor, I will try:

  • To be honest with myself when assessing my personal skills (Don’t let the barista job you got because of the sinking economy make you feel like you can’t be the career-woman you dreamed of becoming.) Despite what you’re told, just because your skills don’t fall into a LinkedIn category doesn’t mean they aren’t real.
  • To be friendly to the guy in the bar who just flirted with you for fifteen minutes and then asked for your friend’s phone number. Yes, it’s a bummer, but maybe he’s shy and this is his first time ever experiencing human contact. Besides, if we’ve learned anything from Carrie and Mr. Big, it’s that love really is out there. With a lot of patience.
  • To be considerate when you get married and are tempted to require your Maid-of-Honor to wear something even tackier than the teal, taffeta dress she made you wear in her wedding. Trust me, the only victim would be you, when it looks like you’re standing next to Snuffleupagus in your wedding photos.
  • To be courageous when you ask for the raise you know you deserve at work. If your boss doesn’t give it to you, watch Office Space as a guide for what to do next.
  • To be responsible for making your life exactly what you want it to be, even if it means taking tremendous risks. Always wanted to be a world traveler? Pack a bag, get to the airport, and take the first plane outta town. (Hint: if the next plane is to Oklahoma, grab a cup of coffee and wait an hour.)
  • To respect this double dark-chocolate brownie by refusing to look at the calorie count (and reminding yourself that you are fabulous regardless of a number).
  • To use resources to move up the corporate latter, even though it feels like a boy’s club every time you walk into the office.

So go put on your (imaginary) sash, make your mark in the world, and show your former Scout-self that you haven’t given up on the Pledge you were sworn to. And if you make some mistakes along the way and feel defeated by end of the week? Well, that’s why you bought a year’s supply of Thin Mints to gorge on.

A Girl Scout knows to always be prepared.

7 Revelations of Running in a Big City

The Runner.

The Runner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  1. You’ll be forced to run in place because of stoplights on every corner. This inevitably makes me wonder why I didn’t just run at home on my treadmill where the whole city doesn’t have to see my butt jiggle in my spandex.
  2. Your music will likely cause you to  yell at people.  Not on purpose. But if I have to mutter a quick excuse me as I high-jump over someone’s dog leash, it usually sounds more like EXCUSE ME due to the blaring music in my ears. Tip: don’t make eye-contact after the jump—it will prevent the receiver from having a chance to give you a nasty look.
  3. Segways always have the right-away….but the pay-off is that you can silently chuckle inside as they wheel past you. And trust me, this should not be considered snarky and cruel—what would be cruel is if they dressed up in their helmets and fanny packs, did donuts around the park, and expected you not to be a little entertained.
  4. Most adults have forgotten how to walk in a straight line. This (surprisingly) doesn’t make me mad. But it does make me feel guilty, because on many occasions I find myself clipping someone’s suitcase as I run by like lightning (well, if lightning bolts flash by in slow motion).
  5. Never run on Sunday morning. You will be intoxicated by the aroma of brunch as it seeps out of every restaurant, which means you’ll end up thinking about bacon and eggs the entire run. No joking here: even if you’re a vegetarian, Sunday morning bacon-aroma will Take. You. Down.
  6. If you’re used to running in the suburbs, you’ll have to kick some of your old habits. As you’re pleasantly jogging by people in the suburbs, it’s nice (and polite) to nod and say “hello,” but if you do that in a big city, you’re going to feel like you’re having a seizure the entire time you’re running.
  7. Don’t use store windows as mirrors as you run by. No matter how fantastic your gazelle legs look in leggings, no matter how cute your ponytail is when it bounces up and down, please please resist the  temptation to look at yourself in store windows. Trust me, it looks stupid. I’ve done it before and I’m still judging myself for it.

NPR’s 10 Reasons Why We Love Making Lists

0610 list

0610 list (Photo credit: paloetic)

10 Reasons Why We Love Making Lists

Ahh, the irony…

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