Sep 10, 2012

Goodbye, Sugar, (a breakup letter)

Posted By:

Dear, Sugar,

It's time I broke my silence. I've been avoiding writing you this letter for 32 days now, but now I'm finally strong enough to tell you exactly why I left you.

We started dating when I was just a child. Although you weren't allowed in my house (except in the Cinnamon Toast Crunch box), I found ways to meet up with you, usually while eating cake at birthday parties and buying orange slices at the gas station. I was so obsessed with orange slices that they became my signature food. My Dad even sent me a package while I was on holiday in Thailand.

But over the past few years, our relationship has become dysfunctional and disturbing. I would ignore you when I was happy and in shape and go to you when I was sad and stressed. Your presence comforted me. When times got really hard, I found solace in your chocolate cakes, your chocolate covered pretzles...well, everything chocolate, really.

It wasn't until a year ago that I realized I was truly addicted to our relationship. I would start thinking of you the second I'd sit down for dinner. While looking at what to order, I'd scan the dessert section of the menu and silently choose the dish that would ensure we'd meet again. Then, embarassingly, I'd struggle during the main course to concentrate, sometimes even shaking on the inside with anticipation for our meeting.

When Tyler and I moved to San Francisco, we met up with you several times, mostly in front of the TV while eating pints of Ben & Jerrys. I loved how your home, the corner market, was just a few short blocks away. I would always regret our meetings, though. They never left me satisfied. I now know that your influence in my life was truly determintal to my moods, my sleep and my overall happiness.

I hit the rock bottom of our relationship in Michigan, while eating 32 cookies at our summer home. Yes, 32. That was in addition to slices of pie, spoonfulls of chocolate frosting and more rice crispy treats than I'd like to admit. It was late on Monday, Aug. 6 when I knew something had to change. My stomach was hurting because I'd injested too much. I made a pact with my family that I would say goodbye to you for good in two days.

The next day was rough. I was at the airport and wanted to meet up with you one last time, so I bought a chocolate bar and ate it within an hour. I knew our end was coming quickly and I wanted one last fix.

I woke up Wednesday at my apartment with a mission in mind: not to eat sweets anymore.

It's been an interesting couple of weeks without you in my life. At first I found it easy, but then started missing you. Dinners are difficult at times. I have to force myself not to look at the dessert menu. But I know I can do it.

I've learned that when an addiction ends, unrelated good things take its place. I'm exercising more than I have in years and feeling great. I'm losing weight. I'm happier and sleeping better. My moods are regulated.

As you've probably noticed, we do run into each other when I drink wine or orange juice, but I'm OK with that. I don't think I will be able to stay away from you forever, as there will be weddings and birthday parties in my future. But rest assured that we are no longer in a relationship. I will not let myself be addicted to you ever again.

Best of luck in your quest to find new partners. I know there will be many. But hopefully for them, they will never feel as addicted to you as I once was.

No longer yours,


Aug 29, 2012

My journey to driving legally: A retrospective

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Today is a terrific day, a day I've been waiting four years for. From this point forward, August 29 will be memoralized as Regional Katie Got Her Drivers License Day. (The region is my apartment mailbox. I plan to place a flower there next year.)

I'm a 31-year-old woman exhibiting the same feelings a 16-year-old would upon getting such a gift by snail mail. I'm even mirroring teenage actions; I've already texted a picture of my licese to Tyler with the message 'Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!' Yes, I included that many h's.

It's been a long road to this point, one that involved law enforcement, tears and endless waiting in DMV lines. I'll start from the beginning.

July 2007: Tyler and I are living in San Francisco without a car. We decide to take a roadtrip up to Vancouver, Canada, so we rent a Ford Mustang and start driving. Tyler, who secretly wishes he was a race car driver, insits on taking charge of the wheel for the entire trip. The feminist in me is not OK with this, so on day four of our trip, I start this conversation:

Me: I'd like to drive.

Tyler: But I love driving and you can just sit and relax.

Me: This isn't fair. Just because you are the man doesn't mean you should be at the wheel for seven straight days.

Tyler: OK, fine. We'll switch at the gas station up here. (we switch about a mile later)

(Now on the road, I'm behind the wheel) Me: This is great, I just love driving through the forest.

(3 minutes later) Tyler: You might want to slow down, I think the speed limit is about 10 miles below what you are going right now.

We pass a cop at this EXACT moment. I get pulled over and given a ticket for driving 15 miles over the speed limit. Oops.

Me (now in the passenger's seat) to Tyler: Don't, just don't.

Tyler: (similing, says nothing and starts driving)

August 2007: I receive a ticket from the State of Oregon for $75 and promptly ignore it, thinking it won't matter because, well, I don't live in Oregon. I subsequently get two more invoices and throw them both away. (stupid, stupid)

October 2007: I receive a bill for $695 from the State of Oregon. Shit. Tears ensue. I come up with an elaborate plan. I write a check for $75, date it for August, tear it up and then tear off the carbon copy and put it in an envelope. Then, I include a new check for $75 and a letter to the State explaining that my first check must have gotten lost in the mail. Genuis!

November 2007: My phone rings at work on a Tuesday afternoon.

Me: Hello?

Caller: Hi, this is Sheriff so-and-so from Marion County, Oregon and we just received your letter, check and carbon copy in the mail. Ya know, I've seen a lot of scams in my day but this one tops then all. You are going to have to pay that $695, ma'am.

Me: (heart pounding, starting to sweat) Oh no. I'm so sorry for the confusion...I...I mean...I'm not lying...I really think the check got lost....

Sheriff: (cutting me off) Ha! I'm just messing with you. I thought I could get a rise out of you. Not much happens up here, so getting you in a tizzy was the excitment of my day. Don't worry about a thing. You know the mail system, they always screw things up. I'll process your check and clear this matter up right away.

Me: (dumbfounded) OK, thank you, sir.

I look down at my phone in disbelief and then literally start jumping for joy around my office.

June 2008: We leave for Asia, my license is still valid.

June 2009: We return from Asia, my license expires within a few days. Without a car or any plans to buy one, who cares?

February 2010: I apply for a new Social Security card (I lost it), but don't get it in the mail. I need one to get a license.

February 2010-February 2012: Tyler and I rent multiple cars. He gets annoyed that I can't drive anywhere. I'm also annoyed but too lazy to go to the SS office/DMV. My passport is now my only form of ID. Tyler's blood pressure rises at this fact. Mine stays the same (note: laziness).

March 2012: We buy a Honda Civic and drive out to San Francisco. At this point, I'm really wishing I had a license. I go to the Social Security office.

May 2012: My SS card comes in the mail. Celebrations ensue around my mailbox. A few days later, I go to the DMV only to find out that I have to stand in a line that is (not an exaggeration) 120 people long. I'm told to make an appointment online. I go home and do that. 

June 2012: I go back to the DMV, stand in line and wait for my apointment. Once I'm at the counter, the clerk looks at my passport and after several keystrokes tells me that my license is suspended because of "something in Oregon."

WHAT?! Karma is a bitch.

I calmy explain that I paid my ticket back in 2007. She smiles, tells me that she will wipe it from my record and hands me a temporary license. "You should get your permanent license in less than six weeks," she says. I walk away, floating on air.

Late June: I stalk the mailbox. No sign of my license.

Early July: Stalking continues.

Late July 2012: Still stalking, now beginning to worry.

Mid-August: I call the DMV's customer service line and after 35 minutes on hold am told that my license is backed up because I'm under suspension in--you guessed it--Oregon. I spend the next seveal days on the phone with Oregon and finally get everything settled.

Which brings me to today, when, upon bringing Lucy in from a walk, I open the mail box to find a beautiful white envelope from the DMV. YAY!!!

I plan to celebrate this weekend by taking the car out for a spin. I'll make sure to obey the speed limits...or come up with a new lie to get me out of a ticket.



Aug 22, 2012

Shameless work plug: check out my new piece (about dogs) on Chevy Culture

Posted By:

I’m excited to announce that I’m now contributing to Chevy Culture, a lifestyle and auto site sponsored by Chevrolet. Click the link below for my full post and come back in the next few weeks and months for more.

Enjoy and thanks for checking out the new site!

Jul 17, 2012

Three Cheers for Marissa Mayer!

Posted By:

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's new CEO

Last night while Tyler and I were watching the news, a breaking story flashed across the screen, 'Yahoo chooses new CEO,' to which we both slightly perked up. It's been no secret that the once-dominating tech company has taken a nosedive over the past several years with falling stock prices, crappy products and executives practically running through the preverbial revolving door. But something about this announcement sounded promising.

When the newscaster came back on the air, up popped a photo of a blonde-haired, young-looking woman at a podium. It was then announced that this woman was Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo. "And she is shockingly young," said the news anchor. "Just 37 years old."

It was at this point that I almost spit out my Ben & Jerry's ice cream. WHAT?!?!?! It took me several minutes to process this news. Female CEOs are (unfortunately) a rarity; Mayer is one of only 20 in the Fortune 500. The fact that she is under 40 years old is beyond impressive.

So I got to thinking: does Mayer's appointment open the doors for other young female businesspersons? You bet it does! Regardless of how she does, she is making history and for the right reasons. People are already hoping that she has a magic touch similiar to that of Steve Jobs (i.e. Apple was a bust in the mid-90s and look where it is now). Her appointment is a win for women everywhere. By taking the top job, she is punching a massive hole in the glass ceiling so many women fight against.

This news was enough to put me in a great mood. An even better mood hit when I heard today's top story on Mayer: she's pregnant. Six months pregnant, in fact. Due in October. According to press reports, she plans to take a few weeks off and work all the way though. Good for her and best of luck. The fact that Yahoo didn't balk at a pregnant, under-40 year old for it's top job is evidence that there is progress happening at the highest levels of the business world. I hope her appointment helps pave the way for future generations of women in business.

Jun 6, 2012

Why CNN Totally Sucks

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I'm so tired of American media and, yes, I know that sounds ironic since I am technically a member of it. A lot of people complain that news is no longer news, it is entertainment. A lot of people, that is, except me...until now.

If you haven't already noticed from my previous blog posts, I'm a card-carrying liberal. I don't watch Fox News because I don't agree with the commentators and seeing their faces raises my blood pressure. But here's the thing: I would watch Fox if it was unbiased. Which is where CNN comes in. CNN claims to be an unbiased news source, and sometimes it can be when reporting exit polls or earthquakes. But outside of major events (and Erin Burnett's OutFront program), which is 90 percent of the time, CNN totally sucks.

Here's why:

#1. Wolf Blitzer needs to retire. I also think he is secretly in love with John Cafferty, which is fine, but don't flirt on the air. You are supposed to be a news anchor. Outside of his apparent love for John, he is losing his edge in reporting the news, more often than not adding his personal views into almost every story. Hate to break it to you Wolf, but no one cares about your opinions.

#2. Two straight hours of coverage on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee is completely unnecessary. The list of more important news stories is endless, starting with the plane crash in Nigeria that happened at the same time as the jubilee, but wasn't covered until later in the day. Really?

#3. CNN's election coverage is beyond nauseating. I avoid John King's larger-than-life maps at all costs. One mention per hour of elections (outside of the presidential election) is sufficient.

#4. CNN pundits need to be fired. Most of them are hypothesizing about things that aren't going to happen, just to give the network higher ratings. Last night, Tyler started yelling at the TV when one of them said something indecipherable. And Tyler is pretty level headed. Enough said.

I could go on, but these are the highlights. I want an American news program like the BBC: unbiased, investigative reporting on issues affecting citizens of the world, not just Britney Spears. And I want this station to be on TV. I like winding down in front of the TV from time to time, but when CNN and Keeping up with the Kardashians are the only things on, it gets pretty depressing.

What would you add to this list?

Katie's Blog