the healing powers of intentional hypochondria.

I’m sick, I think. By this time tomorrow, I’ll be feeling miserable.

Maybe my throat is sore, or my nose is sniffly, or I feel a twinge of unusual exhaustion. Something leads my brain to think that illness is quickly setting in, and I despair.

But here’s the thing: it never happens. Every time I think to myself I think I’m getting sick, I just… don’t.

One would think that I would have caught on to this mind trick by now, but I sure have not. Instead, whenever I actually do become ill, it seems to come from nowhere. BAM. SICK. GO TO BED NOW.

The last time I was truly ill (not counting miscellaneous tummy aches or runny noses), I was taken off-guard by how taken off-guard I was. One day, my eyes were super itchy. The next day, I could barely speak. I don’t know if the two are related – I doubt itchy eyes are a symptom of pneumonia, but I shudder to think that I somehow rubbed some germs into my eyes and that’s how I got sick. Ew.

Regardless, my point is this: I wondered this morning if I get into the habit of telling myself I have terrible diseases, if that would somehow ward them off from me entirely.

Though I suppose I think I’m getting cancer isn’t the best mantra, eh?



traveler’s mania.

Part of the allure of traveling – be it a day trip to a neighboring town or a cross-country adventure – is the ability to briefly assume the lifestyle of another. Walking or taking transit instead of driving everywhere (or vice versa, depending on what you’re used to), trying new types of restaurants or attractions, socializing with your friends’ friends – it’s all so wonderful.

I just got back from a quick 3-day trip to New England to visit my brother and his girlfriend. While there, I racked up monstrous daily step totals, ate the freshest, most delicious seafood, tried other new gastronomical delights, was crammed into a train and elbowed my way out (ok, so that’s very much an exaggeration) and just generally had a fantastic time.

Talk about refreshing. I’ve returned mentally energized and ready to basically take on the entire damn world.

That’s all I got for now!


For your consideration: a picture of my baby brudder taking a picture of the foliage.

too blocked to think of a catchy title.

They – they who? – say that when you –  you who? – are faced with the dreaded Writer’s Block to just power through. Sit right damn down and just fucking write. Anything. Everything. Just scribble out what comes into your head. Remember that conversation you had with the lady in the grocery store line a few days ago? The bits and pieces of a dream you had last night? The snappy one-liner you shot off with ease the other day? Write it out, bitch.

They – seriously, who the hell are they? – make it sound oh-so-easy. Like you – wait, is that me? – have unlimited access to some sort of great Brain Tap of words and thoughts and ideas. Turn it on and let ‘er go, fellas, and be prepared for a deluge of brilliance! They – these people are starting to piss me off – play it off like you – quit talking about me! – will flood the page or screen with metric tons of words and will be able to easily pick out the salvageable bits and use them to create Epic Works. Cast a wider net, they – go to hell! – say! You – seriously, leave me out of this – are bound to catch hold of something great!

Well, they. I’ve got some news from me. I’m going through that particular pile of brain garbage and rusty scrap metal and all I’ve got to show for it are used ideas and mental tetanus. I was planning on sharing my haul with this wider audience but I’m afraid all I’ll do is spread disappointment like… [see below*]


*choose-your-own ending!
…like gonorrhea in Utah!
…like mayonnaise on a Subway sandwich!
…like news of Frank Sinatra’s imminent departure for New York, New York.
…wildfire (Seriously? This one? DUD ALERT)



Grocerying is a word now.

Grocery shopping is very much a hit-or-miss kind of deal with me. My body must be just the right level of hungry; if I’ve just eaten or feel full then my purchases will include almost all non-food items. If I’m ravenously hungry my cart will be filled with Cheez-its of every variety and more chicken than my freezer can physically accommodate.

It’s a mental game, too: If I’m tired I rush through the aisles and forget important things, such as Everything On My List. If I’m cranky, minor setbacks send me spiraling off into an angry oblivion and I’m liable to storm out of the store with nothing while mumbling to myself. WHO THE FUCK PUTS POPCORN IN THE CEREAL AISLE? LIKE HELL I’M GOING BACK THERE TO GET IT NOW!

Ooh, ooh! Or! If I’ve just spent an inordinate amount of time on, say, Pinterest, then I end up with very specific ingredients to a half-dozen intricate meals and/or desserts that I have no time to prepare or bake and I’m asking myself six months later why the hell I bought lemon extract.

All this, and you’d think that I have some sort of elaborate mental ritual in order to prepare myself for a visit my local supermarket. Nah, fuck that. I just go and leave the rest to chance. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be a good day: I’ll remember my list and my coupons and remember to actually give  my coupons to the cashier and I’ll come home and have food – real food! Not just Pop-Tarts and strawberry jelly!

Well maybe Pop-Tarts. Let’s not get crazy here.

Okay. Off to get my grocerying done! Suck it, Noah Webster!




Damnit, Phyllis.

I spoke to a Very Angry Person on the phone at work a few nights ago. And while she was not irrationally, wtf lady angry, she also was not accepting my information, apologies and suggestions. I was at a loss – one of those times when I was genuinely stuck as to resolving her problem and was fumbling and inarticulate on the phone. It was a terrible, diarrheal shit fuck of a situation and at the end of our conversation came a dreadful, soul-crushing pause.

“I see. And you said your name was Phyllis?”

I at once wanted to laugh (Phyllis? How did she hear Phyllis?), sigh (complaint naming me specifically a’comin!), and rage (I was nice to you, lady. I didn’t have to be. But I fucking was). Instead, I ended the conversation, scraped this little encounter off the top of my conscious mind, and slathered it onto the shit cake I’ve been baking in that hot, angry place deep inside of me.

And instead of detaching myself from it, I retracted into that particular hole and threw myself in, funeral-pyre style, so that I could self-immolate in my misery and gorge myself on my perceived failures and shortcomings as a human person. I let it blind me to everyone else: me! me! me! I am miserable! I am the worst! Nobody likes me! Guess I’ll go eat worms!

One three-minute conversation is not to blame for this, of course. I am not myself these days.* In the past days, weeks, months (?), to those whom I’ve seemingly ignored, blown off or acted anything less than warmly toward, I am sorry. I have recently been reminded that I am never, not ever, alone in this world and am taking itty-bitty-baby steps to straighten out my sometimes neuro-chemically-confused head. In short: It’s not you, it’s me.

But I still blame Phyllis.



*With apologies to Josh Kilmer-Purcell, from whose memoir I stole this line. You should read it. I’ll lend you my copy. It’s very, very good.

Pokémon or IKEA product?

  2. WERNA
  4. LOTAD
  6. EKBY
  7. UTTER
  8. NUMEL
  10. HOPPIG
  12. INGO
  15. ODDA
  17. JOLTIK
  19. INKAY
  20. CILLA
  21. ROTOM
  23. BELDUM
  26. BLADIS
  28. HOPPIP
  29. TURBO
  31. ABRA
  32. CLEFFA
  33. NUTID
  34. JONILL
  35. EKANS
  36. KLEFKI
  39. SPARKA
  40. PAJMIX



Answers in comments

The Rev. Dr. Hon. Douche McBag, J.D., Esq.

Here’s a question for yas: If you have some kind of title associated with your profession/education, do you include it on things like your credit card, library card, return address labels, etc;? I’m torn on this.

When someone’s name pops up at work and it includes the “Dr.” in front of it, I immediately think this person is a pretentious asshat. Really, dude? You took the time to include that when you filled out your information? And then when I call them and they answer “This is Dr. Blah-de-Blah” and rage bells go off in my head and I think CHANGE YOUR OWN GOTDAM TIRE, DOUCHE-O-DOUCHEY.

Of course this person could be a perfectly sane, not pretentious, human person. I could be calling a number he gives out for work-related purposes. He could be just super-extra proud of his accomplishment (I think of everyone I know personally who’s got a PhD or been through medical/dental/vet/law school and how freaking ecstatic they – rightly – are once that degree was in their hands. Hell yeah, I’d be asking people to call me Doctor too, after years of torment!).

There’s not really a point to this. I’m just sort of expelling my own biases here.

All I ever do is write about doctors. Subtitle: wtf Janine?

Sometimes I feel like all I ever write about is going to the doctor. I think I could fill an entire book with essays on dental checkups.

Saw Eye Doctor today, and apparently this insurance kerfuffle is water under the bridge. Great. Maybe insurance isn’t the epitome of evil after all. Okay.

His office is in one of three Doctor’s Building(s) on the campus of a hospital that grows exponentially each time I visit (Brother, if you’re reading this you’d barely recognize the place). Everything is under perma-construction there (actually has there ever been a hospital not under perma-construction?). I think the hospital grew another parking garage and sprouted a Cancer Center while I was there.

I actually got a little lost trying to find the office (another side note: is there some kind of trend in architecture/construction where every doctor’s office building is just 492 miles of shittily-lit beige corridors? We can’t come up with something a little more inviting? This isn’t a place most people enjoy visiting. Come on). Thankfully, I found a point around which to orient myself:


Pepsi and Coke in the same machine? Wha?


This used to be the Coke machine where my Mom would purchase a soda for my brother if he behaved himself. I took this picture to send to him. Oh, memories.

Once I found the office (Brother, if you’re reading this: same eyeglasses on the wall! I would have taken a picture but there were 42 other people in the waiting room and I was self-conscious) and was seen to an exam room, a lady I’ll call Janine because that was her name started to go over my medical history.

The first thing she asks is if I have primary care physician. I tell her no. Okay, okay, I understand this is a thing that I should have. And that will be amended this summer, thanks to a friend who recommended hers to me (it was either that or eeny-meeny-miney-moe off of my insurance’s website. Until I can search by “not a douche” or “doesn’t make me feel like an idiot” I’ll take word-of-mouth recommendations for these things, thanks). Janine seemed confused and anxious that my answer was “no,” but she stopped wetting herself long enough to go through my medical history.

I’m not bragging – but hell, maybe once I actually see a doctor she’ll uncover dozens of problems I never knew I had – but I just don’t have much physically wrong with me. Even though I’d checked NO to 99.9% of the entries on the 83 page check-in form, Janine persisted. “Nothing? No trouble with your heart or breathing?” she asked.

What the fuck, Janine? Don’t you think I would have mentioned that? Yeah, I’m good. Except for that heart transplant last year. That was a thing that happened. Seriously, Janine. If you’re just looking for something to write on the form, wouldn’t you pick something a little less life-threatening?

“No skin problems?”

Again, Janine. No. I’m good.

“Nothing?” So incredulous. So much sadness in her eyes. I’ve hurt her. “No surgeries?”

Oh, well yeah. That’s the whole reason I’m here: a handful of eye surgeries when I was a toddler. A baby, really. We’re talking 30+ years ago. But she finally had a YES answer, and that really got Janine’s butter churnin’.

“Oh! Any other surgeries?” She’s practically licking her lips.

No. I mean, I had a hernia repaired when I was, like, 8 years old. But at this point I don’t want to give her anything else to get off on.

And Janine takes my file and scampers off in to the bowels of the office to paste my chart to the walls of her secret lair.


I’m not a quitter; I’m a realist.

…got a lot of mixed feelings about this one, folks. This morning I decided to withdraw from my current course.

I am:
Elated. For the next few weeks, there will be no more rushing home in order to turn assignments in by 1:59 am. I will be able to spend my free time not reading for un-pleasure or completing assignments. I will be able to work through my 30-minute lunch because I won’t have to spend every. spare. second. working on homework.

Disappointed. In myself. Obvs. Ya couldn’t even get one whole class in before you quit, huh? says the voice inside my head.

Angry. The deadline to withdraw with refund potential has passed. Argh.

Optimistic. As of right this very second, my intention is to pick back up when the next term starts again. I’ve honestly enjoyed what I’ve learned so far, and I genuinely look forward to applying myself when I retake the course.

Informed. Yeah, now I actually GET what this entails. The decision to enroll was initially pretty slapdash [though if I hadn’t bit that bullet right then and there I would have put it off for another year…or more] and because of this, I did not fully grasp how I’d need to more consciously organize my time. Part of my “problem” is my work schedule. Because I work an evening shift, I often feel like I have NO TIME to do ANYTHING. This is untrue, of course. I’ve been working on waking up earlier (going to bed earlier helps, ha) in order to have more time to be a functioning person before I need to leave for work at 3:00. By the time the next term starts back up again, I will have myself on a better sleep schedule.

Confident. The initial feedback I’ve gotten so far is that I will likely succeed in this once I, of course, apply myself. Shit that I’ve written at the last-minute has gotten positive peer and instructor comments (go fucking figure). Imagine what I can accomplish if I try!

Embarrassed. I guess this could also be filed under “disappointed.” Surely you don’t have that much going on that you can’t do this ONE OTHER THING, says the voice inside my head.

Shut up, voice.

Overall, I think I’ve the right decision for me. I know that no one else in this entire goddamn world cares that I’m withdrawing. In fact, I’m sure the university is salivating at the prospect of my next payment(s). Maybe withdraw from a few more after the refund deadline, Julie. You earned it, girl! 

This is a pause, not the end. And I’m okay with this.


clarification for the sake of clarification

Okay, alright. I’ve moved on from the insurance rage thing.

Okay, not really, but I have seen most of the errors of my ways. My knee-jerk reaction to confusion is anger.* Going on 35 years on this earf and I’m still trying to break myself of this. I simply didn’t understand how the process worked and yeah, that little switch in my brain clicked on like a pilot light: whoosh! 

I’m not apologizing; that’s another automatic response I’m trying to break myself of. I guess I’m just stating that I see the pettiness of my rant and am fully aware that so many others have it much, much rougher than I.

Enough of this. Here’s a picture of me and my brother, around the early 90s, to brighten your day:



*My knee-jerk reaction to almost anything is anger: Pain. Being startled. Change. Inferior macaroni and cheese. Oof.