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Location: PDX, United States

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Forgive me, but I judge.

I hate the Myers-Briggs test. I have a distain for both corporate and touchy-feely things and the test somehow manages to achieve both. I’ve been forced to take it in the workplace and in graduate school. While my personality apparently changed between the times I took it (though I strongly believe it was the moods I was in when I took it that influenced the way I answered the questions), the J for Judgment was consistent.

I judge food. I hate food trends, and was particularly appalled by the wrap craze that has thankfully come and gone. The syrup-infused, calorie-laden, milkshake-like drinks at Starbucks send shivers down both my spine and taste buds. I think sweet bagels (with fruit, chocolate chips, or berries) are just wrong. Anyone who knows me well has probably heard my monologue on muffins on numerous occasions. I harbor a special hatred for muffins from COSTCO. These stale monstrosities are no substitute for breakfast and I won’t eat them no matter how hungry I am.

Of course my judgment extends further than food. I judge books. In the early ‘90’s, when I worked as a bookseller, I played a little game with myself and tried to figure out what books customers would buy, just based on my first impression of them. I have to say my predictions were often right. I learned to spot little giveaway clues. Women carrying ethnic bags liked Barbara Kingsolver. Another group easy to spot were those in search of The Celestine Prophecy.

I am suspicious of best sellers, though not always above reading them. Yes, I confess I read The DaVinci Code. It’s the perfect plane book. I took the cover off so that someone like me wouldn’t spot me reading it. I am similarly judgmental of Oprah’s book club books. I recognize she has done a great thing and got people reading who otherwise might not. But I don’t want to read the same books as other people! When she switched over to classics, I couldn’t help but notice all the books were ones I’d read in high school.

I don’t really have a problem with my judgment of things like food and books. It’s not really hurting anyone and it’s kind of funny. But I am trying to be more mindful of the judgments I make about people. I’ve been hurt by snap judgments people have made about me and I don’t really want to pass this on to other people. I also love changing my mind about people I’ve initially disliked.

The other week, I had dinner with L & E. We lived together a couple of lifetimes ago and to be honest, L. and I didn’t have the best relationship. We were living in an apartment too small for four people, and we weren’t really old enough to have figured out that we could actually talk about some of the issues between us.

I’ve run into L. & E. several times in the past few years and it’s been great to discover that anything difficult between us is well in the past. We finally made a real plan, so we could actually catch up on the past 15 years.

L. is a great cook and made an insanely high-fat dinner, pasta with sausage, cream and parmesan. I ate butter on my bread and I even had gelato. The evening merited it. We had one of those symphonic conversations you can only have with people you have either just met or haven’t talked to in years.

Then I said something catty about someone we both know and I was immediately embarrassed. I didn’t want to present myself this way, when things were still new between us.

I started to apologize, but L. interrupted me, telling me that if a person finds herself at a point in her life where she is not judgmental of anything or anyone, a part of her has died.

L., I am so sorry we wasted our time judging each other in the past. I had no idea how much we had in common.



Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Control Freak

I had dinner with L. last night. Somehow the conversation turned to underwear.

I told L. about my recent discovery of drinking a glass of wine before shopping for intimate apparel. I find it makes me a little bolder.

We both agreed there was no excuse for ugly underwear, but disagreed when it came to thongs. Many women have tried to convert me over to the dark side, and I have been unhappy with the results.

L. has the most honest reason for wearing them that I’ve ever encountered. It’s all about the panty line, which she feels is the only thing in her life she has total control over.

I completely understand.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


When I told people I was going to start running a few months ago, everyone laughed at me. I can understand why. I am not the sporty type and running is completely out of character for me .But I knew I needed to exercise, and that it was ridiculous to pay for a gym I didn't go to. When B. told me she was going to start coaching a running group, it seemed like a great reason to finally quit the hated gym full of trainers I didn't relate to. Since B. lives downstairs from me, I knew she would hold me accountable. I told her she had permission to kick my ass if I got flaky.

I had no idea how naturally running would come to me, and I have been shocking myself for the past two and a half months. Today I ran my first race, the five mile Tulip Run. I was nervous, because I had never run more than four miles before and because I've had the flu this week, but B. assured me I could do it. I wore my new pink running shirt and was looking forward to seeing some tulips.

We left Seattle at 7:45 and stopped in Everett to look for coffee. We drove around for 15 minutes and couldn't even find a Starbucks. We got back on the road, and then proceeded to get lost. B. had printed out a Yahoo map that gave us the wrong directions. The race started at 9:30, and by 9:15, we were a little panicked. I called my mom and had her get online to get us directions. Just as we found the race, it started. We had to wait in the car for hundreds of runners to go by before we could even go in to pick up our numbers. It was like waiting for a train to pass.

We started running maybe 15 or 20 minutes after the race had started. About a mile into it, we passed some walkers. The track started to get pretty around the second mile, though I was surprised by the total absence of tulips.

I was really glad to see people waiting with water around the third mile, but appalled by all the cups thrown down on the ground. I had no idea this is a standard thing, or I wouldn't have stopped to drink my water and then throw it in the garbage can. Despite the stop, I was speeding up, and I have to say it felt good to pass people who had started the race on time.

I feel great about running the whole time and completing the race in less than an hour after it started, despite my late start. I couldn't run a mile two months ago. It makes me wonder what other things I can do that I've never tried before.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Spring Cleaning

I am really ready for my spring break next week. I have all kinds of organizational projects I want to work on.

I want to rearrange my kitchen, alphabetize my books, and figure out a better way of organizing my clothes in the one tiny closet I have in my apartment.

When I was thinking about how to go about accomplishing this, I started thinking about cleaning in a broader sense. I love getting rid of crap and giving myself a fresh start.

I decided it was time to clean out my cell phone. My renaming project has gone on long enough. I hesitate to call it a project, actually, since I didn't really know what I was doing when I started and had no idea I would continue it as long as I have. The whole thing began last summer, when someone I trusted entirely revealed himself to be a self-involved, immature ass. I changed his name on my cell phone to something so mean (but entirely true) I'm not even going to share it here. You'll just have to guess. I thought that was it, until I encountered the Misogynist. I loved seeing that name come up when he called. Jackass got entered that same week, and Victim is my latest victim.

I have to say the project has been, at a minimum, a conversation starter. People enjoy looking through the address book on my cell phone. But these names are taking up space, both in my phone and in my life. Besides, I’m afraid I might accidentally call one of these people when I'm trying to call someone else.

Au revoir les messieurs! I wish you greater success in interacting with women in the future.


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