Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One time? At Blog-Camp? I stuck a flute in my post.



Hello, dear readers of The Art of Over-Thinking (TAoOT). I feel like I've started each post in the last 2 years with something along the lines of: I'm not dead...or...Anyone there? How enthralling! How witty and just? How stupid.

No. Just no.

So, let's just start fresh-like! Here's a quick primer on the updates/the future of this blog and then I'll move onto a funny story because I'm a big winner.

Before I go there, I first want to say a HUGE THANKS to those of you who have returned numerous times to my blog to drop me a sweet comment on newer (ha! MARCH!) and older posts, encouraging me to get my ass back on here. I hope to see you back here again. A lot.

I've really missed blogging. I've never really been a "regular blogger" unless I've jumped on one of those horrid IMUSTBLOGEVERYDAYFORAMONTHORELSEYOUWONTLIKEME things. I did that twice and it ruined any spontaneity I had in me. Also, I like the idea of rules but I hate being told what to do. I'm neat. 

So, the long and the short of it is that I've been without an outlet for any story-telling or f-bomb-dropping; this has left me with a major void in the FUN department. 

(Is it just me or does "major void in the FUN department" sound like a big ol' innuendo regarding a sexless, cavernous vagina? No? Huh.) 

I'm going to do a few things differently around this joint - with the help of C, I've brought the blog to a format that's closer to 2010 than 2001. I now have an active Twitter page and have created a TAoOT Instagram page that I'll be using for a project called #365GramsofInsta. See the links on the side-bar to the left? If you'd follow me, I'd be sarcastically yours for the foreseeable future and will follow you back. Unless you're "Ahmet Jareen" constantly tweeting at me, "Your writing. It is nice and talent. Hard time with penis erection? Click here!" 

Another new feature is an occasional link to an audio-clip of me READING a post to you. I've been told that a good deal of the humor behind my story-telling comes from my actual delivery. You'll still have to imagine my hand-gestures and awkwardness. Shouldn't be a huge feat.

To hedge my bets on keeping focus, I've added a daily alarm to my phone to "get busy postin' or get busy dyin'"-- It's important to note that I also have a permanent alarm set to "get busy being dramatic." The latter alarm went off at birth and has been ringing since June of 1977.

Since I last posted, my dear Gram passed away. She was a remarkable woman who really lived each day as if it were her last. Her passing has caused me to reflect a lot on her life, traditions and the insanely funny things that came out of her mouth. Some of these gems were told to me by my mom, but many, I witnessed first-hand. As a kick-off to my return to the online world, I would like to post one of my favorite Gram-Moments. I have a ton of bust-your-gut moments of hers to share here, so maybe I'll even make her a category.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Gram was 97 at the time of this story and gave two shits about decorum or subtlety - a feature that i found hilarious and admirable. I thought she gained this filterless, feisty trait with age, but my mom says she was like that in her 20's, too.

This moment happened was she saw me for the first time after I got a pixie haircut....

I have never had my hair so short. This haircut was SHORT-short with the longest hairs being about 2-3 inches in length.  

Gram: Oh! OH! That is SHORT! Why did you do that? 

My Mom: (gives Gram an OMG look)

Me: So I take it you don't like it? 

My Mom: (utters Oh Shit under her breath)

Me: Do you EVER like my haircuts???

Gram: Well sure! It's just. Well, you remind me of someone. Now, who is it? I just...no, can't remember....


ABOUT FIVE MINUTES GOES BY....

Gram: I KNOW! You look like that gal on TV - that Maddow lesbian!

Me: Oh my GOD - 

Gram: (interrupting) - yes! That really smart lesbian! You look like her!!

Me: .....

Gram: Or - oh wait? You know, I think you look more like that Senator from, oh, where was that? She got that cute, short haircut on account of the bullet!

Me: I LOOK LIKE GABBY GIFFORD AFTER SHE HAD BRAIN TRAUMA SURGERY???

Gram: Yes! (makes a snapping noise with her fingers) That's it!

Me and My Mom: ....

Gram: Want to go get an ice cream cone at McDonalds? 


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

End.
Scene.
:-)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Cringe-Worthy Tale from the Why Does The Over-Thinker Keep Trying to Speak in Public -File

I'm pretty proficient at all things communication.

I love to write, to converse, to entertain.

I also, apparently, love to embarrass myself in front of enormous crowds.

The story I'm about to tell you is so horrifyingly true, that it will forever be burned into your brain as reference for when you need something to think about after saying "Well, it could've been worse."

This story, my friends, is the epitome of "worse." I don't even need to embellish this experience with added color; no, no, this is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I have ever done. Ever. I've set the bar pretty high this time.

Let me begin by saying that immediately following this experience, I phoned my mom to vent about the mortification and halfway through my story, she said she needed to call me back because she was having trouble breathing from laughing so hard. My mom, ladies and gentlemen - a cheerleader for the ages! Truth be told, she's been clued in to my idiocy for a few decades so I think she simply chooses to see these trials as sheer entertainment, rather than supportive opportunities. She doesn't toss in "oh it can't be that bad" when I tell her she'll never believe what I just did; she knows better. Just scroll through the archives of this blog and you'll see that I've given her plenty of material.

Okay - so here's what happened....

Outside of work, I sit on a board that has a lot of ties to my alma mater - because of this, I've had opportunities to mentor students who are in the early days of entering the food industry. Mentoring is one of the BEST parts of my professional life - I love it. I have mentored formally and informally, both on and off campus, and never thought it would lead to the most awkward moment of my short-life. Pretty sure this moment actually shaved a few years off said life.

I was asked to do the following: Drive 60 miles to my former university and meet with some seniors (about 20) and give them some coaching for interviewing, experience-building, etc. After doing this, I was asked to introduce a former professor to a group of people who were going to be doing a wine-pairing/tasting with him. He is a master-sommalier as well as ridiculously well-skilled in all things culinary.

It is important to note that I was dressed very casually for this - I was not directed otherwise. I was wearing a nice pair of jeans, a white cotton dress shirt, a sweater vest and some brown heels - nothing to sneeze at but definitely nothing to write home about either; basic and CASUAL.

After I spoke to the students, I was told the wine-tasting was being held in the student center. It was raining out by now and I didn't have an umbrella so I quickly made my way over to the center, procuring a hideous, drowned-rat appearance along the way. Swell.

I walked to the room that was noted, opened the double doors and immediately thought Whoops! Wrong Room! Because there was NO FRIGGIN' WAY I BELONGED IN THIS ROOM. This room was filled with about 250+ people, dressed to the 9's in black-tie regale. The room was laid out as if there was a wedding reception about to occur - large, round, 10-top tables, scattered around the enormous room with a long table at the front. The lights were dimmed, people were mingling...I had entered FANCY-TOWN and I was NOT FANCY.

I heard someone say my name and I turned to see another gal on the board. Her outfit had SEQUINS. I DID NOT HAVE SEQUINS. I had the latest drowned-rat couture with a side of Target-shirt. Holy hell.

She said, "Oh great! You're here! Let's get you wired with a mic."
Me (outloud): Oh sure!
Me (internal): What? WHAT? 

"Did you get a chance to look at the program? Is your career-info accurate?"
Me (outloud): Oh sure!
Me (internal): What? WHAT'S HAPPENING?? There's a program? I'm in a friggin' program?

Oh my GOD - let me tell you - I'm not a big armpit sweat kinda gal. I became an armpit sweat kinda gal. The sprinklers immediately turned on with a vengeance and the top band of my non-sequined jeans became moist with the trickles. Holy hell, again.

I had not thought that I would be speaking formally, in any sense of the word; I was going to ad-lib and present my professor in a more informal (no sequins) type of banter. This would not do. At all.

I had about 10 minutes before I was up.

I had just learned, that in addition to introducing him, that I would also need to talk a bit about myself and my educational/career journey. Sounds pretty simple, but when you're drenched in rain and sweat, feeling horrendously inadequate, a simple task becomes EPIC.

What was my name? What did I do for a living? Oh my GOD, what's the name of this school???

I wrote some babble-words down on the program (the one with my name in it....gah..) and headed to the front of the room. It is important to note that I didn't have to head far - THEY HAD SAT ME AT THE FRONT TABLE - FACING THE CROWD.

I looked out at the crowd which contained the Chancellor, the Director of HR for the entire county, the Director of Education for the University, the Provost, etc. I cleared my throat and this is what followed:

Good Evening.

My name is Over-Thinker (not really) and I'm a graduate from the Class of....uh....2000....uh...4? 
At this point, I looked at my professor who was standing next to me, for help. I COULDN'T REMEMBER WHEN I GRADUATED. He looked at me, shrugged, and had to look down at the floor because he started laughing. LAUGHING. The little-shakes kind of laugh.

(throat clearing from me and murmuring from the crowd)

Yes, 2004. I currently work at XXX as a Culinarian and I couldn't have professionally achieved what I have without the solid poly-technic foundation that I was given here.

This is the last lucid thing I said. For sure. I would've been better off if I did a jig, a la Ashley Simpson, and somersaulted out of the room. Instead, I decided to keep talking. Fatal flaw. FATAL.

This is also the point where my mic became HOT.

I am proud to introduce EEEEEEEEEE!! um, introduce EEEEEEE!!!! Um, oh boy. Um EEEEEE!!! 

At this point, I thought it would be a great idea to just pull my mic off and basically scream the rest of my intro at the crowd. You know, like how you talk louder when someone doesn't speak English. Totally works, I'm pretty sure. 

Nightmare.

The crowd is now looking bewildered that they asked someone like me to talk. LOTS of murmurs.

My professor stepped closer to me, unclipped his mic, pulled some slack on the wire and held it out for me to use. Brilliant. Although now I was saying the rest of my intro, with my face about a foot from his chest, appearing as if I had my hair caught in a button. 

Okay, this next part really sucked. (I know, you're thinking - HOWISTHATPOSSIBLE?)

Here's what I had WANTED to say: Working in the Culinary industry is very challenging and can be physically and intellectually demanding. Professor X's challenging course-work more-than prepared me to be at the top of my culinary game when entering the workplace.

INSTEAD - here is what came out of my stupid mouth:

Professor X's classes were tough. He's a great teacher - very talented and wants to make others, uh...talented. He shared his skills and we took them to heart (?????). Anyone knows, if you can get through Professor X's class, you can get through anything. Yes you can.

Shoot me. Oh sweet, sweet Jesus, take me now.

At this point, my professor is shaking so hard with laughter that I was having a hard time speaking into his chest - it was bopping around so much. How rude. Yes - if only he would've stood still, it would have been perfect. (thought no one)

I chose to beat a hasty retreat to my seat and wrapped it up right then an there, with the following words:

Um, so.....well, here he is.

Remember that scene in Bridget Jones' Diary where she's introducing Mr. "Titspervert" - yup, just like that. The crowd reaction was THE EXACT SAME. 

I think 2 people in the crowd clapped. 

Worst part? I couldn't leave. I had to sit at that head table FACING the crowd that I'd just completely accosted with my verbal diarrhea. Thank God it was a wine-tasting. I tasted THE SHIT out of that wine - couldn't drink it fast enough.

Okay. Are you ready for the worst part? Because that's what happened next.....

After the event, we were all mingling about, putting on our coats and, for some reason, a ton of people were semi-circling around me. Probably wanted to see the freak close-up.

One person spoke up from the crowd and said: 
"Your professor is such an interesting person - so well-spoken and knows so much about wine, travel, food...I would love to talk to him about my recent trip to India but I'd be so intimidated."

I looked and her WHAT I WANTED TO SAY was: Oh he's great, no need to be intimidated, he'll make you feel like the smartest person in the room!

What I ACTUALLY SAID was: Oh he's great, no need to be intimidated, he'll make you smell like the fart in the room!

I SAID SMELL. THE. FART.
I SAID SMELL. THE FART.
I had reversed the consonants - feel like the smartest.....smell like the fart....

It got super quiet and everyone just stared, open-mouthed at me.

I tried to recover by correcting myself and said: I'm sorry, I meant smell the fart....

BLOODY HELL! I SAID IT AGAIN!!

I felt the blood drain from my face and knew it was over. Still, I made one final attempt to "fix" the situation and started to correct myself again. An older lady put her hand on my arm and quietly said, "I think you're done here."

I couldn't have said it better myself.


-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`

This concludes one of the most heinous experiences of my life. It's important to note that it's been 3 years since this happened and I still get sick to my stomach thinking that whenever I go back to mentor or talk that there's someone in the audience that probably knows me as the "smell the fart"-girl.

END. SCENE.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Changes....David Bowie was onto something....Also probably on LSD. I am not. Though you might contest that after reading this post.

There once was a girl from Minneapolis....

She loved the idea of blogging....

As much as she loved the idea of canning her own vegetables....

She didn't like the idea of actually having to contribute to the effort....

So she just watched another episode of Revenge and added 406 more things to her Pinterest boards.

THE ENDish...



I've learned that I love the idea of starting fresh - of doing-over what I've previously messed up. I love New Years' Day. The First Day of School. The First Day of Summer. Firsts of all kinds. Most of my thoughts begin with "THIS time, I'll....."

I've made many resolutions in my life to make changes, to be better. Some stick - most do not. Most end up falling off the cliff the moment I eat too many Doritos, bite ONE nail, etc.

CHANGES - The Bod

Would you believe that my latest "change" began with the flu? And not just any old flu - the epic Franken-Flu that was crossing North America this past November/December. I ended up with both pneumonia and a flu virus of ridonkulous proportions. Between December 1st and January 1st, I lost nearly 25 pounds. JOY JOY JOY!!! (well, JOY, mixed with maniacal, fever-provoked thoughts of wanting to crawl out of my skin). I decided to not let this weight loss go to....well, waste; I decided to make a resolution to get to my goal weight this year. FINALLY. I will turn 36 in June and have spent the last 15 years being unhappy with my appearance. WHAT. A. WASTE. I have a husband (whom I've mentioned is referred to as "Hot Husband" by all of my girlfriends and a few guy friends, to be honest) who says I'm beautiful and perfect the way I am. I am eternally grateful for his compliments, loyalty and encouragement but I also understand that, until I'M okay with how I look, his opinion will not sink into my brain - and stick.


CHANGES - The Brain

Same goes for writing - cooking - work - play......until I feel like I've done my best at life, others' praise isn't fully appreciated or believed. In the same breath, I know I need to let-up on myself a bit and realize that not every box needs to be checked and not every goal has to be met by the due date. The fine balance of tight vs. slack is an art - one which I do not even pretend to understand.

Ramble on....

Thusly....

I intend to be more mindful with what I say I will do. I will not promise to be on here X number of times a week/month/year. I WILL promise that when I'm on here, it will be because I have something to say (probably neither pertinent nor deep) that I WANT to share. I intend to do this in life as well - I'm backing off from my professional memberships and fringe-friendships. I'm saying Yes to the things and people that matter most to me. Quality not quantity.

CHANGES - Family

I have talked a bit on here about our desire to start a family and the hurdles (the size of a friggin' mountain) we've experienced. C and I have decided to become better PEOPLE. Healthier, happier, kinder, wiser, more responsible-ier. We've decided to approach this mountain-sized hurdle with quite a lot of gusto and believe that the reason we've not been able to get pregnant is because neither of us (nor our current circumstances - money, health, timing, etc.) is aligned with this wish. We're not in the best shape, in more ways than just the physical, to bring another person into the world. We've made some very large changes in our lives in the past 1-2 years and feel we're on a fantastic path to being, well, BETTER people. Don't get me wrong, we're still idiots, but we're, uh, BETTER idiots. Uh. Moving on.

To show him some love, here is a link to C's blog (he's a great writer and talks about boy-stuff like sports and baseball). And here is a picture of him. At a (shocker) baseball game.



CHANGES - Forgiveness 

I am more forgiving to myself. I don't fret (as MUCH as I used to) about pushing back, saying no. Especially to myself. (My inner-monolgues lack Shakespearean focus but tend toward a more vaudevillian verse.....Who's on first? Oh who the hell knows....probably some asshole encouraging me to eat a pound of Doritos)

I will not continue to Pinterest-life. Unless I'm on Pinterest, which is entirely acceptable. What I mean by this is that I will not view others' lives/interests/appearances/relationships/talents/accomplishments as anything other than what they are: THEIR LIVES. I will focus on what I CAN do - not what I've NOT done (yet). I will check myself before I wreck myself. I have accomplished a great deal in my life - professionally and personally and will not feel like a jerk for being proud of that. I will also continue to be humble and not "in yo face!" with the good (or the bad) of my experiences. I will not overlook the good stuff - just because it isn't GREAT (at least by Pinterest/Hollywood/Public Standards).

CHANGES - This Blog

I've decided to write more about actual occurances in my life - not just inane, sarcastic story-telling. Don't get me wrong, I'll still bring the sarcasm and tripe to most everything I compose, but I will actually write about ... gasp ... EMOTIONS. AND THOUGHTS (and not only of the judgy-variety) (though, truly, I am a wizard at the judgy-variety).

Also, if readers find me, they find me. If I find other blogs, I find other blogs. I won't treat this place/the internet as a job - i.e. Oh SHIT! I haven't visited all the blogs on my sidebar and left comments! Now they'll never visit mine!....I'm sure you've all felt that at one time or another. No need here. None. This is supposed to be enjoyable - a laugh, a lark (whoa - I said lark) - not a contest. Some bloggers run their blogs like a business and forget to enjoy what they're doing: entertaining others, being entertained, written-word therapy, etc.

I'll still over-use parentheses, misuse semi-colons and start sentences with And. I will still say questionable things that make my mom cringe and will most-definitely use microsoft-paint to illustrate my thoughts. Badly.

Please return to this site (when the mood strikes, but only then). If I don't see you for a spell, no worries, I'll know you're just eating Doritos, while surfing Pinterest. In moderation. Oh wait - that would be moi.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

These things are super important, you guys.

I've noticed a terrible trend that is sweeping our roadways: People have no idea how to properly place a bumper-sticker! Geez. This is really important and needs to be addressed. Like a tattoo, a bumper-sticker is there FOREVER (well, not really, but when have I worried about being accurate on here?) I'm talking about the people who, very obviously, were attempting to place the bumper-sticker IN THE CENTER of their bumper. Did they knock back twenty fingers of Jack before thinking it through? This really irritates me--it takes away from the messages of:

"Democrats are sexy: No one ever said, 'there goes a hot elephant.'"

Sure enough--this assessment may be as factual as the day is long, but I CAN'T GET PASSED THE FACT THAT THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT CENTER-JUSTIFICATION!!!

Now, if you have a vehicle that has a good smattering of bumper-stickers, alignment is not really important. Let me use a metaphorical statement for emphasis:

Say I have 12 beautiful, Frosted Pink Lee Press-On nails affixed to my paws. Say one of them broke off, leaving my au naturel, bitten-to-the-quick fugly nail exposed. Oh the humanity. Anyhow. Wait...where the hell was I going with this? I got distracted with trying to find a good Lee-Press-On-Nail Commercial to link up and ended up watching an episode of Modern Family.

Um, okay--how about this: If you have a bright white piece of paper and a Lee Press-On falls (or flutters) onto the paper, it obviously looks amiss and you grow concerned. Now, picture a good smattering (love that word) of Lee Press-Ons, scattered on top of that paper. Now one press-on isn't a big deal. Just like a stain on a sweater. Wow--I'm really painting a fancy picture--80's nails and stained clothing.

Seriously? Wow--did I just have, like, an episode? A fugue? I'd better wrap this up before I completely reveal my alter-ego: Day-Pass Dolly.

So, please remember: Every time a Bumper-Sticker aligns, an angel gets a dime. Or something as equally rewarding.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Well, I think I've determined that I do not do what I say I will. I'm sort of the Lindsay Lohan of blogging. With slightly less alcohol dependency and minus daddy-issues.

Heh. Heh. Remember that one (ten) time that I said I was going to regularly post on here? That was super funny wasn't it? Yeah. Good times.

Well, I've decided to give it another college try. (It might be important to note that it took me 7 years to graduate with a 4-year degree,  attending courses at no less than 3 colleges. Winning.) I fly by the seat of my pants. Sometimes the pants-plane crashes. This time, it blew up.

Rather, I crashed.

I have taken a 1-2 punch to the gut through some career confusion, house/money-pit disasters and sucky news on the we'd-like-to-be-parents-front. Roll all of it into a ball and it lends to a general icky feeling and major lack of funny thoughts. And who the hell wants to visit a blog where the writer just wants to bitch about plumbing, money, fallopian tubes and accidental arson? Yeah, didn't think so.

I've had a bit of an epiphany in the last month--I've decided that I can no longer dwell on the fact that life has dropped a shit-ton (a true, metric measurement) of mess upon our lives; for my sanity and for the sanity of those around me, I need to make a game plan and go all "decision-tree" on my own ass. To incorrectly quote a favorite flick of mine about heroin addiction: I chose blogging.