Death By Miss Dior

Dear Mrs. Church Lady,

I know you don’t know me, but I am well acquainted with you now when you sat just two rows ahead of me today and your lovely, undoubtedly expensive perfume wafted my way.

Actually, wafted sounds much too delicate. It was more like a steam engine running down a fragile wildflower. (And yes, I did just equate my double-digit dress sized self to a tiny plant.)

I felt your perfume before I smelled it. The only other experience I have to compare it to was when one high school girl decided to “cover up” the smell of Axe body spray in the hallway with copious amounts of Lysol. The stench that ensued almost brought one to their knees in nostril pain. It was simply awful.

Today, my head immediately started hurting, its M.O. whenever it smells anything above vanilla on the scent scale. My eyes burned, and my throat cried out for mercy. I tried to cough delicately because church, but I ended up sounding like a rabid sea lion instead. It was quite embarrassing.

(No one looked at me or acted like they heard anything of consequence, but I’m sure it was to minimize my shame.)

So, I know it’s Sunday and  you want to be at your very best, but if you could please stick with the lovely pantsuit and pearls and leave J’adore by Dior at home where it doesn’t assault my senses, I’d very much appreciate it.

Thank you, and God bless!


The woman in Row 13, seat 2

Chronicles of the Perpetually Impatient

It hardly seemed possible that so many people could be packed into such cramped quarters. I looked around me briefly to take in their face: a cross-section of humanity, bumping elbows as they shuffled along or sat waiting indefinitely to be summoned. Every nationality seemed to be represented among the masses squeezed inside the room’s four grey, dreary walls.

The heat was overwhelming. It was over 80 degrees outside already, but the room seemed ten times hotter. I grabbed a stray piece of paper I had brought along to use as a fan and tried futilely to cool my red face. There were no windows to open, and when another person joined the line snaking to the front, it only seemed to increase the insufferable heat.

Occasionally, a large policewoman, stocky, tall, and menacing, would pace down the corridor of people, reminding all of us of to not get out of hand. Most people avoided eye contact with her, even though she seemed to be doing more corraling of people than law enforcement as she directed the overwhelmed newcomers.

And as for the noise? It was deafening. One could barely hear anything above the screaming children, running half-naked between rows of chairs, the half-yelled conversations between the staff and the citizens, and the ever-present hum of conversations of strangers all around you.

As for me, I had brought my book along to distract me. I’m currently on a classics kick, having just finished Fahrenheit 451, I decided to bring George Orwell’s novel 1984 along and read about Big Brother and telescreens while I watched government bureaucracy at its finest. I rubbed the receipt between my fingers, distracted monetarily from Winston’s certain and hopeless death by a little girl. I sighed when I realized I smudged my fingers on the bold-faced R 228 printed on the receipt and hoped I’d be called next.

Of course, who knew how long it would be till you were called up to the front and finally complete whatever business brought you to this place on a Friday afternoon. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the order, but each time the letters and numbers were called, all heads lifted up from books, smartphones, and napping to see if they were finally finished waiting. One especially impatient child chanted A 21 loudly in hopes of confusing the clerks into calling he, his mom, and his sister early, but to no avail. It seemed as though time had slowed, and we’d all be stuck here forever.

“Now calling R 228!”

After 60 pages of my book and what seemed like hours (even though it was only about 60-70 minutes), I was called to desk #3 to replaced my expired plates and registration. The young, friendly African-American lady handed me plates, tags, and registration, and I, forty dollars lighter, left the DMV to breathe the fresh spring air and enjoy a beautiful Friday evening off.

I’m Getting Older

How in the world did I get to be almost 27? I still feel just as immature as I did at 21, but before I know it I’m going to be 30. I remember my parents being in their thirties. (Well, my mom insists she is still 29 and a half, so I’ll soon be older than her.)

Mind. Blown.

But as I think about it, I do see the signs of becoming the older, more mature Mrs. Balding as I see the peak of middle-age looming in the distance. Here are a few examples:

1. I get excited over appliances. The husband surprised me the other day with a vacuum, and I was excited. EXCITED. My 18 year old self would come up and smack me, but the old vacuum I was given when we married just wasn’t cutting it anymore so I really needed it. And because romance is still alive after nearly three years, Ryan washed the dishes and announced that my beautiful Shark would be at our doorstep in a couple days.

Keep your hands to yourselves, ladies. He’s all mine.


2. My body creaks now. I don’t creak when I get up from the couch or anything (yet), but when I’m trying to reach a low shelf at the library, my knees sound out the alarm like a creaky, old rocking chair. I’m able to create several different tones in my back and neck joints, and even my jaw bone occasionally decides to get in on all the action. I’m well on my way to playing musical joints in the next decade.

3. I yell at kids on my front yard. Eventually, the punk teenager that parks in front of my house in such a way that Ryan can’t park there is going to get the idea that I can hear his car revving and am going to continue to yell at him every time he parks. I didn’t yell at the kid who peed on our front yard, but he was 4 so he gets a pass.

For now.

When he turns five, it is on.

4. I complain about the neighbor’s excessively loud music. If you live three doors down from me, and I know what song you’re playing, your music is too loud. I start worrying about your potential hearing loss, which is a clear sign that I’m becoming an old person. I also Googled noise laws in my city, so bonus old points for me.

5. I wear comfortable shoes without my mother telling me too. I went through a phase in college where I bought any shoe that was cute and wore it despite the pain because I wanted cute shoes. I guess I wanted to prove to 10 year old Sarah that we would not always wear scary man moccasins. But, this year, I bought Clarks to wear at work, and I love them. Don’t tell my mom, though. She’s going to get that, “I told you so” look. 🙂

6. I spent my tax refund on paying off my credit card bill. It’s so responsible, but I miss the days where I spent all my money in one glorious trip to the mall.  But I’m the family bill payer now, so less cute clothes and more financial freedom.

7. The music from my childhood has moved into the retro category. I still haven’t wrapped my brain around the idea that 1995 was 20 years ago, but when you turn on the oldies and hear songs that are younger than you, it changes you.

But despite all the signs of old age I see on my body and in my life, I still am not too old yet. I still forget to fold my clothes and I will totally watch a children’s movie without the excuse of a child so I think I still have a bit of kid in me.


A Journey of Sorts

This blog post has been written and deleted about a half dozen times, scribbled in notebooks and then ripped up and thrown away. I’ve tried to make it hilarious, and I’ve tried to make it heart-wrenchingly sad. But I think now is as good a time as any to share this battle with you, my readers, and help you understand part of the reason why I’ve been MIA for so long.

This last year has been a rough one. I’m not sure I would say I was depressed as I always think of depression as not being able to get out of bed, and I’m usually able to manage that okay and laugh and feel happy most days. But, I have been stressed and sad and struggling. My weight has steadily increased, and with that, my hate of how I look. I would look in the mirror and see the pimples I never got in high school dotting my face, and despite my best efforts, they persist, mocking me. And then there’s those pesky chin hairs, dark and curly and disgusting. I thought that I wouldn’t have to worry about chin hair plucking until I was at least 40, but I have to apply nasty Nair hair removal products and burn the inside of my nose with the stench of it to get rid of them for a little while. And of course, month after month of having more days than not of my insides hurting, of worrying if my lunch was going to make me throw up, or if I was just going to feel normal miserable. And my emotions are about as crazy as the weather here in Virginia. One day I’m laughing and crazy – the next day, I’m crying my eyes out over nothing. It’s exhausting.

And to top it all off, we’ve been trying to have a baby for 15 months now with no success. It makes you feel like less than a woman to not be able to get pregnant on your own. After all, my Facebook is filled with people who have been able to get pregnant not once but for some, multiple times. And the months tick by, and the negative pregnancy tests stack up, and all you can think is “What is wrong with me?”

Well, in February, I finally got my answer. After a horrendous January, I broke down and got a new OBGYN who didn’t just tell me to lose some weight, and you’ll get pregnant. (Oh, I was thinking Cheetos were my ticket to babyland. Thanks for the heads up.) She had me poked, prodded, and scanned until she figured out what was going on and diagnosed me with polycystic ovarian syndrome. It explained the hairy chin, the acne, the crazy weight gain and the vertically uphill battle to lose weight, the stomach pain, and the crazy emotional roller coaster of the last year. My hormones in my uterus are out of whack, and the whole body pays the price. Apparently, I’ve got a ring of pearl-sized cysts just chilling around each of my ovaries, though I’d personally prefer the oyster kind around my neck instead.

So, I’ve got pills to take, and a low-carb, low-cal diet to follow. Luckily, I have the best husband in the world, who also wants to lose some weight himself, to tackle this journey with me. And I have a mom who texts me almost every day reminding me to go work out even when I feel like crap. And I have friends who make me laugh and don’t make me feel like an over-sized beached whale when I’m with them.

And that tells me that, baby or not, I’ll be okay.

Planet Faking Fitness

I joined Planet Fitness two days after New Years’ Day, joining up with the masses as we all resolve to lose weight – finally – in 2015. As my butt is large enough to start exerting its own gravitational pull on surrounding objects, knocking them over, I decided I should probably spend more time on the stationary bike and less time devouring doughnuts.

Joining a gym was a big first step for me. I’ve never joined a gym, preferring to show off my poor form in the comfort of my own home with only the screams of Bob Harper to keep me company during my “Body Boot Camp” or whatever the DVD was called. A huge motivation was the lack of a sign-up fee, and we all know momma can’t pass up a sale. 😉

So after purchasing said membership for $10 a month, I did the next natural thing one does when one joins a gym: I bought workout clothes. I found the softest, most comfortable yoga pants ever to pretend that they were worn by a fitness guru and a neon lime green shirt that promised to “wick away moisture” since I tend to sweat like a pig. It also matched my shoes so I could pretend I have my act together. And my mother-in-law bought me the cutest Thirty One bag that screamed, “This sexy, classy, graceful woman with her act together is going to the gym. Don’t hate.”

Spoiler alert: the bag is a big fat liar. But don’t tell the gym people that.

I still remember the first day I went to the gym. I was all by myself, and the Planet Fitness gym near me is huge and filled with all kinds of foreign objects that supposedly are supposed to make me buff, or at least buff lite since, according to some, it’s not a real gym. (Apparently, real gyms don’t have Pizza Mondays and Bagel Tuesdays, nor do they put buckets of Tootsie Rolls near the front entrance. But Planet Fitness has a lot of purple equipment, and purple is like my second favorite color so I keep going anyway.) Anyway, I was completely overwhelmed. I clutched my plastic water bottle for dear life and hoped my wide eyes of fear were not blatantly obvious to everyone else. I then spent the next couple minutes in the locker room, examining my reflection and preparing myself for working out. And no, that preparation wasn’t stretching. I forgot to stretch, okay? It was more of a pep talk between perfectionist me and motivational me, and it went something like this:

Perfectionist Me: Ugh, look at all those fat rolls. You are seriously going to go out there and make a fool of yourself? Why don’t we just go home and eat an entire pie? Chocolate with whipped cream pie sounds amazing. Let’s go.

Motivational Me: No, we are going to do this. We will feel better physically and emotionally, plus Ryan loves how we look in exercise clothes.

Perfectionist Me: But you have no idea what you are doing out there. You’ll probably not know how to use the machine, and you’ll look stupid. Looking stupid is practically death. Seriously, if you just army crawl, the employees will never know you left, and we can go home and eat a block of cheddar cheese. Cheddar cheese is the bomb.

Motivational Me: Cheddar cheese is amazing, but you know we’ll regret doing that later. Instead, let’s turn on Pandora and show off our swag on the treadmill. If we work out for at least 30 minutes, we can go home and watch an episode of Bones and eat our frozen grapes, ok?

Perfectionist Me: Fine, but only if I get to choose the Pandora station. I’m feeling like some Pop Fitness and channeling my inner diva tonight. And no scary ab machines, okay? I’m not ready for that level of coordination tonight.

So I headed out into the main gym area, and I picked a treadmill, trying not to pick one next to someone too fit because they would totally judge me or one right next to someone else because it’s weird to pick a piece of equipment right next to someone when there are like four other machines further away. It sends off the “I’m a creeper” vibe, ya know? I held my head up high, trying to pretend that I’ve programmed this machine a million times and am not just pressing random buttons to get it started. And except for pulling out the emergency cord and stopping the machine suddenly in the middle of my walking and knocking over a stationary bike later that evening, I didn’t do too shabby. 🙂

Boom. I got this gym thing in the bag.

And even though I’ve been going semi-regularly for the last month now, I still feel like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, but I keep going and I keep pretending like I have clue. Because that’s what gym people do, right?  Fake it until you make it and your butt looks amazing?

Inside the Head of the Blogger: Reader, Beware

So my dear friend Sarah of The Sadder but Wiser Girl challenged me to fill out this questionnaire. I contemplated it, decided I’d do it, then promptly forgot it existed until today  –  when, bored out of my mind from being flat on my back due to messing up my back at work and then getting rear-ended to add insult to injury, I found it and decided to share a bit of what is going on in my head. I also thought it might buy me some time while I try to get my blogging act back together.

1. What am I working on?

Currently, I’m trying to keep my head above water at work. I have lost or will lose a couple key employees that I supervise, which means I’ve basically been running around like a crazy person all this month. I am also about to take on a paying project outside the library designing an online class for my former employer because “I am the best he’s had.”

*Cue warm and fuzzy feelings*

However, this will mean that I’ll probably be working about 60 hours a week. I have agreed to such a schedule because I am, in fact, insane. Once I figure out my way through all that, I’m starting the process of getting another master’s degree, this time in library science, on the city’s dime because they just reinstated tuition reimbursement. Boo-ya! One of my co-workers tells me that the online program at the University of Washington is the way to go so wish me luck, peeps!

And if you were talking about writing, not much in that area due to my brain turning to mush. Recently, I have exchanged my writing time for mindless reality TV, but I’m trying to get back to writing consistently again. I have thought about possibly saying goodbye to this blog and starting up a new one with a niche and other such fanciness, but we’ll see. 🙂 It is hard to come up with a niche when you are horrible to average at just about everything. 😛

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Well, if I had to put myself into a niche, I’d probably find myself with the humor bloggers. I usually just write about things that make me laugh, so my work differs from everyone else because I have a weird, dry, twisted sense of humor. Usually, this involves either library-related humor or stories about the stupid stuff my klutzy self does, like drop popsicles on my chest or get my keys caught on my pants zipper.  I think there are plenty of humor bloggers that are leaps and bounds funnier than I could ever dream of, but I simply write and hope that somebody laughs.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Life is stressful, y’all, and we all need a laugh, myself especially. I find it very easy to get down and depressed, convinced that everyone hates me and I suck at life. Instead of drowning my sorrows in strawberry ice cream, I try to write humor. Sometimes, this is hard when I’m feeling crummy, but I am determined to keep trying. I hope that my blog posts reach you, my readers, when you are feeling down. Whether you laugh with me or at me, if you are laughing, I’ve done my job well.

4. How does your writing process work? 

Step 1 – Open up browser – one tab for WordPress, one for Facebook, one of cute cat pictures, and one for Pinterest.

Step 2 – Get distracted by Facebook and/or cat pictures for at least an hour.

Step 3 – Close other tabs after realizing I haven’t gotten any blogging done.

Step 4 – Stare at the “Add New Post” page, hoping that inspiration will strike.

Step 5 – Stare at the wall, the door, and the pile of clothes on the couch that needs folding hoping one of them will give me inspiration.

Step 6 – Either give up or write a blog post about my lack of domesticity.

Step 7 – Forget to share it with people so nobody knows I wrote anything. Sad days.

Okay, in seriousness, I usually try to take notes on Post-It Notes or in my phone of post ideas when inspiration strikes and then find a quiet place to write the whole thing in one sitting. Sometimes, I’m a good writer and let it sit for awhile and do some proofreading, while other times (like at 2 AM when I have to work at 8 AM the next day) I just send it out in the world wide web and screw all the advice wiser bloggers have given me. I love using Feedly and subscribing to all sorts of humorous blogs to get ideas for my own blog, or at least, funny things to share on Twitter. My best work is usually in the wee hours of the morning with faux rain and thunder as my background noise if I can’t get the real deal. Chocolate also helps; I’ve tried recreating these situations with hummus and Wheat Thins, and it just isn’t the same.

So that’s my four questions – and now, I am supposed to nominate three blogs I love – who can either follow in my foot steps and fill this out  or not. I don’t care. 🙂 I just want to know I think you are totally sick, awesome,, and totally rad. And if you didn’t make it on this list, don’t be sad because I’m only supposed to choose three, and that is like, super hard, y’all.

Aussa Lorens – Aussa is my hero. She’s one of those “leaps and bounds funnier than I could dream of” bloggers whose blog I stalk constantly and cry from laughter when she talks about Trash Cake or tells her tales of living at The Hovel. But even though she is BlogHer famous and I am a peon, she regularly comes over and comments on my blog posts. Which makes me love her super hard. Aussa, I am forever and always going to be one of your groupies.

Misty’s Laws  – Oh Misty, you have been here commenting and cheering me on virtually almost as long as I have been blogging on WordPress. Your blog posts make me laugh, and every time I see a poorly dressed person, I think, “Misty would love to see that.” She found out my love of Princess Bride and gave me a ROUS for Christmas. She has the biggest heart and makes me feel like I am actually good at this whole blogging thing. I heart you, lady.

Melanie Shebel of Code Gurl – Melanie is my new favorite person. She blogs about blogging, and she’s awesome. She and I have connected more over on Twitter than here on the blog, but she makes me laugh and has encouraged me to keep at the whole blogging deal. If you have any questions about how to be a better blogger, check her out!

And that’s all, folks! Hope to be back to blogging soon.




Do It Yourself Spam Comments – Not Sold In Stores

While many of us bloggers have a way with words and a few of us think we’ll be the 21st century’s T.S. Eliots and Mark Twains, many in the world are not so gifted with the art form of writing coherently. As they try to type two-finger style, they are typing “your” when they should have used “you’re” and “defiantly” writing comments that end up in our spam folders because they actually meant to write “definitely.”

There is hope for the Michael Kors enthusiasts and the penis enlargement industry thanks to a misstep from the spam community in sending me the Rosetta Stone of spam comments instead of their usual gibberish (kdjf;alkjf;ladkjf;lakdjf;ldj is not a legit comment) or telling how my article about my sudden distaste for bacon is informative to their research. As I’m not currently making any money blogging, I’m going to start a spam generating business by selling off several page long document that was hiding in my spam folder, usually retailing for $69.99, now retailing for two easy payments of $19.99 plus shipping and handling. I’ll include a teaser for all my loyal spam bots as well as my legitimate readers.

{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} {online|on-line} {more than|greater than}
{three|3} hours {these days|nowadays|today|lately|as of late},
{yet|but} I {never|by no means} {found|discovered} any {interesting|fascinating|attention-grabbing} article like yours.
{It’s|It is} {lovely|pretty|beautiful} {worth|value|price} {enough|sufficient}
for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view},
if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made {just
right|good|excellent} {content|content material} as {you
did|you probably did}, the {internet|net|web} {will be|shall be|might be|will probably be|can be|will likely be} {much more|a lot
more} {useful|helpful} than ever before.|
Ahaa, its {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {discussion|conversation|dialogue} {regarding|concerning|about|on the topic of} this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} {here|at this
place} at this {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}, I have read all that, so {now|at this time} me also commenting {here|at this place}.|
I am sure this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} has touched
all the internet {users|people|viewers|visitors},
its really really {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} on building up new {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}.|
Wow, this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} is
{nice|pleasant|good|fastidious}, my {sister|younger sister} is analyzing {such|these|these kinds of} things, {so|thus|therefore} I am going to {tell|inform|let know|convey} her.|
{Saved as a favorite|bookmarked!!}, {I really like|I like|I love} {your blog|your site|your
web site|your website}!|
Way cool! Some {very|extremely} valid points! I appreciate you {writing this|penning this} {article|post|write-up}
{and the|and also the|plus the} rest of the {site is|website is} {also
very|extremely|very|also really|really} good.|
Hi, {I do believe|I do think} {this is an excellent|this is a great} {blog|website|web site|site}.
I stumbledupon it 😉 {I will|I am going to|I’m going to|I may} {come back|return|revisit} {once again|yet again}
{since I|since i have} {bookmarked|book marked|book-marked|saved as a favorite} it.
Money and freedom {is the best|is the greatest} way to change, may you be
rich and continue to {help|guide} {other people|others}.|
Woah! I’m really {loving|enjoying|digging} the template/theme of this {site|website|blog}.
It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s {very hard|very difficult|challenging|tough|difficult|hard} to get that “perfect balance” between {superb usability|user friendliness|usability} and {visual appearance|visual appeal|appearance}.
I must say {that you’ve|you have|you’ve} done a {awesome|amazing|very good|superb|fantastic|excellent|great} job with this.
{In addition|Additionally|Also}, the blog loads {very|extremely|super} {fast|quick} for me on {Safari|Internet explorer|Chrome|Opera|Firefox}.
{Superb|Exceptional|Outstanding|Excellent} Blog!|


I know that after reading that tiny excerpt that you will be delighted to send me all sorts of money, and you can click here to wire the money to my secret PayPal account. And for those of you who comment on this blog post, you will be sent a free gift of your own personalized spam note with a variety of different wordings and endings, like your very own  choose your own Goosebumps stories. Example:


{Hi|Hello|Hi there|What’s up}, I {log on to|check|read} your {new
stuff|blogs|blog} {regularly|like every week|daily|on a regular
basis}. Your {story-telling|writing|humoristic} style is {awesome|witty}, keep {doing what you’re doing|up the
good work|it up}!|
I {simply|just} {could not|couldn’t} {leave|depart|go away} your {site|web site|website} {prior to|before} suggesting that I {really|extremely|actually}
{enjoyed|loved} {the standard|the usual} {information|info} {a person|an individual} {supply|provide} {for your|on your|in your|to your} {visitors|guests}?
Is {going to|gonna} be {back|again} {frequently|regularly|incessantly|steadily|ceaselessly|often|continuously}
{in order to|to} {check up on|check out|inspect|investigate cross-check} new posts|
{I wanted|I needed|I want to|I need to} to thank you for this {great|excellent|fantastic|wonderful|good|very good} read!!
I {definitely|certainly|absolutely} {enjoyed|loved} every {little bit of|bit
of} it. {I have|I’ve got|I have got} you {bookmarked|book marked|book-marked|saved as a favorite} {to check out|to look at} new {stuff you|things you} post…


Sarah of Sarah’s Brand New Chapter, SPAM Queen


It’s an offer you simply can’t refuse. 🙂


Love, Sarah