April 26, 2011


I have been working a lot of overtime. In the midst of these long days, the last thing I want to do is try to be informative, funny, or articulate . I apologize. I'll be blogging more soon.

April 22, 2011

Two Things

How great are these tassel garlands from Confetti System? I like the idea of making something like this for the new place. Maybe out of cloth. I haven't talked to Sam about glitter yet, but we have discussed our taste in decor and the fact that I want to banish his Wrigley Field poster. However, I am capable of compromise. We will be looking for an old map of Chicago or a cool black and white photo when I'm there next week.

I can't wait to start decorating. The new 12th and Tillamook me is going to be all about making random tinsel garlands, refinishing furniture, and painting and drawing weird things. Get ready.

Dark Dark Dark is playing at Mississippi Studios tonight with Y La Bamba. Accordion and plaintive vocals, bass and banjo, waltzy dream music. I'm going. You should too.

April 21, 2011

15 Styles of Distorted Thinking

I probably do at least five of these every day. I am all about catastrophe. And while I'm certainly not a crazy raving on the street to strangers about sudden infant death syndrome and plastic surgery, I am falling into these various mental traps on a daily basis. Apparently I am a distorted thinker. But is my willing embrace of this fact just another example of distorted thinking? How does one escape it?

1. Filtering: You take the negative details and magnify them, while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. A single detail may be picked out, and the whole event becomes colored by this detail. When you pull negative things out of context, isolated from all the good experiences around you, you make them larger and more awful than they really are.

2. Polarized Thinking: The hallmark of this distortion is an insistence on dichotomous choices. Things are black or white, good or bad. You tend to perceive everything at the extremes, with very little room for a middle ground. The greatest danger in polarized thinking is its impact on how you judge yourself. For example-You have to be perfect or you're a failure.

3. Overgeneralization: You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. 'Always' and 'never' are cues that this style of thinking is being utilized. This distortion can lead to a restricted life, as you avoid future failures based on the single incident or event.

4. Mind Reading: Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you. Mind reading depends on a process called projection. You imagine that people feel the same way you do and react to things the same way you do. Therefore, you don't watch or listen carefully enough to notice that they are actually different. Mind readers jump to conclusions that are true for them, without checking whether they are true for the other person.

5. Catastrophizing: You expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start "what if's." What if that happens to me? What if tragedy strikes? There are no limits to a really fertile catastrophic imagination. An underlying catalyst for this style of thinking is that you do not trust in yourself and your capacity to adapt to change.

6. Personalization: This is the tendency to relate everything around you to yourself. For example, thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you. You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who's smarter, better looking, etc. The underlying assumption is that your worth is in question. You are therefore continually forced to test your value as a person by measuring yourself against others. If you come out better, you get a moment's relief. If you come up short, you feel diminished. The basic thinking error is that you interpret each experience, each conversation, each look as a clue to your worth and value.

7. Control Fallacies: There are two ways you can distort your sense of power and control. If you feel externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless, a victim of fate. The fallacy of internal control has you responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around you. Feeling externally controlled keeps you stuck. You don't believe you can really affect the basic shape of your life, let alone make any difference in the world. The truth of the matter is that we are constantly making decisions, and that every decision affects our lives. On the other hand, the fallacy of internal control leaves you exhausted as you attempt to fill the needs of everyone around you, and feel responsible in doing so (and guilty when you cannot).

8. Fallacy of Fairness: You feel resentful because you think you know what's fair, but other people won't agree with you. Fairness is so conveniently defined, so temptingly self-serving, that each person gets locked into his or her own point of view. It is tempting to make assumptions about how things would change if people were only fair or really valued you. But the other person hardly ever sees it that way, and you end up causing yourself a lot of pain and an ever-growing resentment.

9. Blaming: You hold other people responsible for your pain, or take the other tack and blame yourself for every problem. Blaming often involves making someone else responsible for choices and decisions that are actually our own responsibility. In blame systems, you deny your right (and responsibility) to assert your needs, say no, or go elsewhere for what you want.

10. Shoulds: You have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act. People who break the rules anger you, and you feel guilty if you violate the rules. The rules are right and indisputable and, as a result, you are often in the position of judging and finding fault (in yourself and in others). Cue words indicating the presence of this distortion are should, ought, and must.

11. Emotional Reasoning: You believe that what you feel must be true-automatically. If you feel stupid or boring, then you must be stupid and boring. If you feel guilty, then you must have done something wrong. The problem with emotional reasoning is that our emotions interact and correlate with our thinking process. Therefore, if you have distorted thoughts and beliefs, your emotions will reflect these distortions.

12. Fallacy of Change: You expect that other people will change to suit you if you just pressure or cajole them enough. You need to change people because your hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them. The truth is the only person you can really control or have much hope of changing is yourself. The underlying assumption of this thinking style is that your happiness depends on the actions of others. Your happiness actually depends on the thousands of large and small choices you make in your life.

13. Global Labeling: You generalize one or two qualities (in yourself or others) into a negative global judgment. Global labeling ignores all contrary evidence, creating a view of the world that can be stereotyped and one-dimensional. Labeling yourself can have a negative and insidious impact upon your self-esteem; while labeling others can lead to snap-judgments, relationship problems, and prejudice.

14. Being Right: You feel continually on trial to prove that your opinions and actions are correct. Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to any length to demonstrate your rightness. Having to be 'right' often makes you hard of hearing. You aren't interested in the possible veracity of a differing opinion, only in defending your own. Being right becomes more important than an honest and caring relationship.

15. Heaven's Reward Fallacy: You expect all your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, as if there were someone keeping score. You fell bitter when the reward doesn't come as expected. The problem is that while you are always doing the 'right thing,' if your heart really isn't in it, you are physically and emotionally depleting yourself.

*FromThoughts & Feelingsby McKay, Davis, & Fanning. New Harbinger, 1981. These styles of thinking (or cognitive distortions) were gleaned from the work of several authors, including Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck, and David Burns, among others.

April 20, 2011


I'm pleased to announce that we found an apartment. It's on 12th and Tillamook, which is a great quiet street and a bike path. It has high ceilings, hardwood floors, big windows, built-ins, storage space, and a garage. I'm really excited. I spent the last couple of days being a complete ball of nerves, totally convinced that the nice landlord named George had discovered some dark secrets in my past and decided not to rent to us. It was completely unfounded.

Now that I know I have a place to live, I'm thinking about how to decorate and arrange the incredibly random furniture that I've managed to acquire over the years. So far we have a really ugly reclining love seat (Sam's), a strange little chair (Sam's), a pink vinyl love seat that resembles a gigantic butt (mine), a few potted plants (both), and a massive television (Sam's).

If anyone has favorite home inspiration blogs, send them my way. I'm going to be all about DIY home decoration for at least the next .. . two or three weeks.

April 18, 2011

An explanation for the cryptic toilet post

So, Sam and I are looking for an apartment. We looked at this one last week that had many redeemable qualities. Random house in industrial area, up a flight of creaky wooden stairs, hardwoods, lots of space, good light, and a whole loft space for the master bedroom. But, it was carpeted. Which I'm trying to avoid due to year-round allergies. But, it had skylights. Which I love. And weird sloping ceilings and cubby-hole spy windows right where the bed would be. Which I also love. But here's the crazy thing. It had a toilet. A full size working toilet and a sink, just sitting there on the west side of the room. I'm assuming they meant to put a wall up at some point. But they didn't. So it's just you in this great space, and a horrible, super obvious toilet. I have never felt so conflicted. It was just so weird. It worked by the way. We flushed it.

The good thing is that we looked at two more places that we absolutely loved and we put in applications. The bad thing is that we haven't heard back on either. I'm getting anxious. Checking my email every five minutes. Send out some good luck for us.

April 15, 2011

Bathroom Humor

When I was in sixth grade I planned on being in a band called "The Toilets" with my two best friends. We developed a song on the Fourth of July while riding home from the St. Paul Rodeo in the back of a truck. The road was gravel and extremely bumpy and someone had to pee. The song's lyrics went as follows:

I wish I was a toilet
With all the water going through it
Trickle trickle splash splash
Swirl swirl swish swish

Is this relevant? It may be. It may not be. Only time will tell.

April 14, 2011

Hunting Season

Well, technically spring is here and I should be saying goodbye to things like fuzzy pants, mac n' cheese, and weeping to Disney movies while wrapped in blankets. Time to move on to white or pink wines, bare legs, and tan lines. I hope.

So, the challenge is to find the best patios in town for after work drinks. Otherwise known as happy hour. I have my standards in rotation but I'm looking forward to finding some new gems. I will spend the next couple months throwing out the pros and cons of various drinking establishments and their sunny patio offerings. You recommend it, I'll review it.

First up: The Standard

This place is hard to find if you haven't been there before. It's on 22nd, across from Ole Ole, tucked behind a fence. That's where the outdoor seating is. When it's sunny they open up the garage doors in front, so there's sun pouring over the pool tables, and the jukebox warbling outside. Picnic tables are scattered across the patio, as well as a mysterious game that looked like a cross between cornhole and beer pong.

Drinks: Cheap and stiff.

Food: Hand-made mini-corn dogs! Don't order the sweet potato fries if you're hungry. Jesse did and it was a pretty stingy serving.

Service: Awesome. Old ladies with crazy laughs and lots of sass. Recently my friend Molly and I bemoaned the fate of the fortyish female bartender. She isn't getting tips for dressing in skimpy clothing and looking cute but is often still trying. She isn't old enough to get the respect gray hair inspires. She's just kind of there. These ladies are not in that category.They call you sweetie.

Patio: Not bad. Taken over by thugs, dudes in polar fleece playing the mysterious game, and old people (one had a walker). We got the table with the most shade, but it was nice to know we were outside enjoying a beer.

Random points for the photobooth, Big Buck Hunter, and the red-headed orphan who tried to get Sam and I to adopt him. We were hanging out in one of the shredded vinyl booths doing the couple in love thing, and he kept coming up to tell us how awesome we were. This culminated in him begging us to adopt him. We might have. I'm not sure how that works.

Next destination?

April 13, 2011

Social People

While I still check Facebook on a fairly regular basis, it's become this half-hearted, automatic thing that I do because it's there. Like eating ice cream for breakfast. I do find the various types of Facebook people fascinating. The various levels of engagement, the styles of communication and posts, and their general online presence. Everybody has a few of these in their feed. It's up to you whether or not you block them.

Free Dating Service!:  If only it was. Then those random messages from people you didn't connect with when you were actually in their presence would make sense. The worst is when you aren't even sure who the person is and have to search their photos to figure out when you met them. Sneak daters love using Facebook to ask people out on non-dates. You know how I feel about sneak dates.

Model Hopefuls: I can't help it. I look at all their photos. Sometimes I wish I had a million softly lit photos of myself in dramatic makeup and a headdress standing in front of frosted winter trees or the ocean, but I don't. Points detracted if they have constant duck-face. These people always have friends who are super into them and all the comments are things like "hubba hubba, you are so beautiful, OMG hot, and that sort of thing. Unfortunately most of my photos are candid and therefore tend to be unflattering and the comments below are things like, Hahahahahaha or Who's that drunk guy in the background?

The Potentially Suicidal: Facebook is the new suicide note. Watch out for posts referencing meaninglessness, the fact that the person doesn't care about this or that, random dark poetic statements, the National lyrics.

ENGAGED: You know the ones. Suddenly every post is about  the fact that they're engaged, and multiple blurry cell phone photos of THE RING and wedding plans and THE DRESS, etc. etc. I think Facebook is a fine way to make an announcement to your friends but it can go overboard. A year and a half ago, when I was sure I would die alone and be eaten by my cats, these people would have filled my already black heart with arsenic. Now I just find it irritating. Same with the baby/kid people. You know who I'm talking about.

The Wronged and the Restless: I love these people. They take their personal grudges to Facebook and do all these super dramatic posts with loaded statements and veiled references. It's so fun to figure out who they're talking about. "So tired of being confused and wish people would just be straightforward." "Going out for a MUCH needed night with the girls." "Wishes some people would stop being so BULLSHIT." "Thinks anyone who loves the Clash is a misguided asshole who cheats on his girlfriend."

April 12, 2011


My parents come home this Sunday. I say, it's about time. Now that they're retired they can do things like take month and a half long tours around New Zealand (photo from their travels above). I don't know about you guys, but when I did the requisite study abroad (in New Zealand) I wrote these epic emails to friends and family about what I'd been up to. I've read some of them, years later, and they are sprawling, rambling, information-filled tomes filled with names of mysterious towns, new best friends, hilarity, and drama. I put some effort into those.

Do you know what I get from my parents? Three sentences, at most a small paragraph, of point-blank information with the occasional exclamation reminding me that I am at work, sitting at a desk, in a town that refuses to acknowledge spring.

Some excerpts:

We are flying to Christchurch this afternoon.  We are healthy.

We spent last night up the Hokatika River with the black flies.  They left us with fond memories.   

Just wanted to let you know we are okay.  We are in Puhrara on Gold Bay.  We waded into the Tasman Sea today.  Life is wonderful.  

While they were gone I went through a crisis with my taxes, Newt got in a dog fight, and my car broke down (my dad is my mechanic). I have to admit that I had some moments of separation anxiety but I like to think that I conquered them and found adult solutions to these problems. Or not. I took my taxes to accountant, abandoned my car and started biking everywhere, and Laurence took care of Newt. I'm glad they're finally coming home.

April 11, 2011

Psychedelic Monday

I went up to Government Camp for an impromptu girl's weekend in the snow. Eva rents this A-frame up there, it is amazing. Three stories high with these treacherous ladder stairs and random carpet on one of the beams, star lamps, and crazy dogs. We did a lot of laughing and discussed important things like shopping of the future (atomizers!), relationships and their many perils, positive thinking, making out, the best places for surf vacations, extreme snow incidents, and Jake Gyllenhaal. We also went to Charlie's, one of the two bars in Government Camp. If you are in Government Camp you have to go to Charlie's. Meagan told some guy to "beat it." Meagan is small and blond and not especially intimidating but with phrases like that, she is well on her way.  It was great.

We also discussed music and Eva introduced me to Prince Rama. They are this psychedelic band of three, including two sisters who grew up in a Hare Krishna cult in Florida. I mean, not just Hare Krishna but Florida? Whoa.

April 8, 2011


Apparently all I need to do is post some photos of sunshine and it appears. I have been dreaming of cloudless mornings. Yes, it was frosty and I had to wear legwarmers over my tights today, but it doesn't matter. I'm happy. On  a less happy note, I need to find a new place to live. Club 834 will soon be disbanded. It's an exciting new change (stay tuned on the yard sale/give-away), but finding a new place is so stressful.

I used to be an excellent consumer. In second grade I became totally obsessed with horses. Every Sunday I would lay down on the dining room floor with the Oregonian and pore through every listing in the Horses for Sale column. I would note the area codes in the phone numbers and then check the phone book to see the exact location of the listing. Look, here's a 30-year old horse of indeterminate breeding for $1500! It's in Battleground, Washington!  A saddle, bridle, and size 10 boots for $300!  Look!


It is really hard to get the same sort of enthusiasm for searching Craigslist apartments.

April 7, 2011

So Ready for Spring

Seriously. It's been nice to see all the blossoms and daffodils, but I am ready for actual warm weather and sunshine. I want to read on a blanket outside, I want to bare arms, and I want to stop wearing tights with my dresses and skirts. Last spring I went with Heidi to Sisters and we stayed at her parents' house. It was a nice break from valley weather. We hiked out to her secret spot, made a mother's day breakfast for her mom, and I found the garden rabbit at a thrift shop (its head froze and fell off this winter, RIP).

April 5, 2011

Adventure at Mt. Hood Meadows

So, you guys remember that OC when the gang was trapped in the mall and they had to crawl through the vents and then they played hockey to decide who slept in the tent and they were forced to forage for cheese and cracker gift baskets? No?

Well, that basically happened to us last weekend. Except for it wasn't Orange County, it was Mt. Hood Meadows. And it wasn't a mall, it was the Meadows lodge. Aaaaand, we aren't in high school or tan, but we were wearing snow pants and tired from our big day with amazing powder and high winds. It's like we live parallel lives.

We took the Greasebus on Saturday. Check it out if you haven't. It's a great service and it's good for the environment. The only problem was that the biodiesel supplier had switched them over to the pure form of biodiesel which gels up at low temperatures. And for April, it was really cold up there. We had an amazing day, snowboarded all day with great enthusiasm, and then ended up back at the buses which refused to start. Various remedies were tried but temperatures were dropping and the likelihood of a succesful startup was getting slimmer and slimmer until it was clearly impossible. The teenage boys in the back were getting restless. Everyone was trying to "help" and were pushing their solutions on the drivers like they were actually retired biodiesel mechanics.

Finally it was determined that we would have to find another way down. The buses were retired for the evening and all the Greasebus riders were released into the closed-down main lodge. Liz and I were wandering the hallways aimlessly when we heard drumming. We ran up the stairs to find the bartender unleashing his drumming skills on the lodge's drumset (a band had been playing earlier). The bar was closed but he made us pity drinks in to-go cups and sent us on our way. We spent the rest of our time doing cartwheels, lounging on cafeteria tables, and sipping from our to-go cups. It was pretty great.

We got a ride down in a Meadow charter bus (it was a school bus and I ended up in the wheel-well seat, such a bummer) and we all made it safely home. It was actually really fun  and it allowed me to use the obnoxious OC reference you read above. How often does that happen? There's nothing like a little uncertainty to make you glad that most days go as planned.

April 4, 2011

Terror in the Streets

So, to those of you who were duped by my April Fool's post, I'm not sure if I should be flattered or offended. It's good to know my satirical powers are convincing, but it's also slightly disturbing to know how many of you are ready to believe I am one tiny step away from batshit crazy. Seriously though, if  I start talking Master Cleanse or Beyonce's groundbreaking role in Dreamgirls, feel free to stage an intervention.

Anyway, I'm totally done lying now. I am back to telling the truth. On my way to work I saw something horrible. Something that made a tiny piece of my soul die. I had a unicycle sighting. It's raining hard today and it's cold and here comes this nondescript gnome-faced guy on a giant unicycle. The worst part? He was wearing short shorts.


April 1, 2011

Big News!

I'm making some major changes in my life.

For one, I'm on the first day of The Master Cleanse. It's just cayenne, honey, and lemon juice for a while! So far I feel really great. Intestines are hopelessly inefficient and don't know how to deal with the stuff we put in them, like food and coffee and chewing gum. The Cleanse gives your body a chance to get rid of all the toxins and random stuff that it carries for no reason. Our colons are disgusting and lazy. So anyway, I will be on this for like, the next 20 days. If I seem different to you, it's because I'm Cleansing.

Also, I've adopted my neighbor's cat. I call him/her Kitty. I know it's kind of strange to take in a cat, and some people would call it stealing, but it always wants to come into our house and hang out! Why would the cat hang out all the time if he/she didn't want to live with me? I'm keeping it in my room so it doesn't try to go back across the street. Eventually it will forget that it ever lived there. There is now a litter box in the corner of my room but I stacked some shoes on it so it basically looks like a tall, slightly more odorous shoe-stand. I love him/her.

Finally, some of you guys are probably wondering why I would do something extreme like the Master Cleanse. I know there's all this hoopla about Beyonce using the Cleanse to lose 20 pounds for her groundbreaking role in Dreamgirls, so you guys are probably thinking I'm just trying to lose weight like Beyonce. Well, that's not true. I've been talking to these really nice guys who keep stopping by my house to hang out and help do my yardwork. They have convinced me that I need to give up things like alcohol and caffeine and become a better, happier person. We've been reading the gospel and learning about a man called Joseph Smith. He was basically like Jesus but a lot better because he's American. I have a bunch of immodest clothes that I'm giving away so if anyone wants my old hot pants pipe up now!  I can't wait to be baptized. Some of you may think this is crazy, but I'm really excited. I don't know if I'm allowed to say this or not, but when I die I'm going to live on a planet with my future Mormon husband and all our children and Kitty. Our own planet! In space! The afterlife can't get here soon enough.