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Seriously, what is the deal? I thought we started a new year. Doesn’t that mean everything resets and we slowly begin weaving our lives back into the messed up ball of complication we all found ourselves entwined in at the close of 2010? Well, my hairball is still here. And so is that of all my friends. I freaking love my hairball.

Is it an age thing? Is mid-thirties just a big truckload of freaky occurrences, unexpected let downs, and sharp turns in a deceivingly straight road along side a big bucket of manic episodes? And why oh why does the person five feet away from me in this coffee shop smell so bad?

I guess what I am saying is that life is still ludicrous. For you Spaceball fans, I’ve gone plaid. And I don’t seem to be the only one. Maybe its because our astrological signs changed… or maybe it’s because we welcome the chaos.

Sure I stress. I’m having a war of intelligence with squirrels. I’m running a business, seeking love, looking for a get skinny quick fix and kicking myself for constantly forgetting people’s birthdays and children’s names. But if I didn’t have all these things going on, where would I be? Constant change and uncertainty seems to be what I thrive on. It motivates me. It challenges me. It pushes me to tackle it like a New York Jets linebacker. We all freak out and say “Look at the clusterfuck that is my life!” But, didn’t we make all of the decisions that put us on that island? You are in control of your own clusterfuck.

I chose to live a dual life in Austin and Denver. Why? Because after four years of constant travel and movement, I settled down and spent six months straight at home in Austin. I had to stir the pot. Keep things in a constant state of motion.

Will I ever get the urge to truly settle in? Don’t get me wrong, the calming image of coming home each night to share stories of my day with the love of my life over a homemade pot roast and a glass of wine while watching the evening’s prime time sitcoms or a movie that was delivered to our mailbox by Netflix that morning does pop up in my head and strike an envious cord once in a while… Then two days later when I paint my wall purple on a whim, hop a plane to NYC or change out of my PJs at midnight to run down the street and catch a great band that is playing, I realize that my version isn’t so bad either.

I guess ultimately, whether we care to admit it, we all find ourselves in the environment we designed. Sure, we can accidentally take on too much, or chemicals in our brains may shift or an entirely unexpected event can make an unexpected impact on our lives, but day in and day out, we have control over the larger portion of our decisions and averages say we end up right where we should have predicted.

Take for instance these crazy people, also sitting by me at the coffee shop. They brought with them a phone. Not a cell phone or even a satellite phone. This is the same phone I had in my bedroom in 7th grade. It has a curly cord attaching plastic handset to plastic cradle and copper wire waiting to be connected to a landline somewhere. They keep talking on it, but I cannot determine if it is plugged into a jack or anything. It’s just on the table. Is this some sort of theater production? They may have been dealt an unfortunate hand that resulted in this interesting set up in the corner of the Hideout where they talk with imaginary business partners. Or hell, maybe they are in the CIA and someone is really on the other end of that line. What I am willing to bet is that they likely made several life decisions that brought them to this point. And all I know is that I chatted with them for a bit, and they are downright happy. They are happy with their hairball and so am I.

And also notice the big boots… that are not on the big feet they belong to. Stench revealed.

I may go off the deep end here and there, but a bit of the crazies usually comes along with people who are creative and brilliant. I’m going to embrace my crazy as an indicator of something fantastic. Welcome to clusterfuck island. If you don’t like my hairball then I guess we just weren’t meant to be. Sad Land next door is accepting new residents.

(Wow, Doc, these little white pills really do the trick.)

Oh, and I have a confession to make… I had no freaking clue where the Poconos were until I Googled it 10 minutes ago. I knew they were a “vacation destination” but I didn’t even know if they were mountains or islands, skiing or surfing. I wasn’t even totally sure if they were in the US. Hey, you can’t be super smart about everything. I reserve my brain for things that are much more valuable to me. (They are mountains in Pennsylvania).

I’m just sitting here at home, enjoying a lamb and goat burger from the East Side Show Room, with a glass of champagne and my new records playing on the turntable. I texted practically everyone I know in Austin and no one was available to go out for a celebratory drink and pizza. It’s ok though, I’m actually enjoying this moment of peaceful solitude. What am I celebrating? Ah, who needs a reason to pop a cork?

No actually, I’m just celebrating joy. I’ve found my happy place. I’m in balance and I didn’t even have to travel for a year in Italy, India and Bali to find it. I’ve been here before and I know it never lasts forever, so I am going to make sure to relish every second of it. Things are just going my way right now. Stuff is aligning. When I cook I don’t burn things. My DVR worked appropriately while I was out of town. I went to the dentist today and I had no cavities. My plants are alive. Business is good (i.e. I paid myself this month). Family and friends are good.

I’m finding myself remembering to smile at little things. I really enjoyed the dentist today. I know, who in their right mind honestly enjoys going to the dentist? Well… I do. It goes like this… My mother was a dental hygienist and she cleaned my teeth until I was 18 years old. She was very thorough because she didn’t really care if I cried bloody murder (Michelle and I were her worst patients). She didn’t allow us to eat sugar cereal or candy and helped my sister with a science experiment where she rotted real teeth in cups of Pepsi. She spoke to my first grade class about how to brush your teeth and demonstrated Dr. Oz clown prop style with a pair of giant teeth and a big red toothbrush. Then she passed around those chewable pink tablets that show where you missed plaque when you brushed. That’s how Todd got the nickname poopy mouth (it stuck with him through highschool). Therefore, I am obsessed with teeth and the health of said teeth.

For 12 years after my mom retired I went to other dentists. I never found a single one to my liking. The hygienists were never thorough enough and the dentists tried to make me undergo unnecessary procedures. Until now. I have found the greatest hygienist ever (besides my mom of course). She is the exact replication of my Mom the Hygienist. She is super thorough. And so friendly. And I tell her everything.

Plus, and here’s the kicker, I told her I went to see “Eat. Pray. Love.” last night. She asked how it was. I hesitated in fear of being ostracised by all the “Eat. Pray. Love.” lovers, then gave her my honest opinion… It was meh. Her response? “Yeah. Those people need to get over themselves. I think it’s ridiculous these people who think they need to go travel the world for a year to ‘find themselves’. It’s not all about you. Get over it.” I love her. Take that Oprah.

She also told me she had a hot dream about the young Brad Pitt last night and another one where Mel Gibson was cutting her hair while sitting behind her in a roller coaster. How could you not love going to this dentist?

So that started off my day on the right foot. I stepped out with shiny teeth and things continued to progress without a hitch. Don’t worry. Cranky, venting, bitchy Jen will be back in no time. For now, I’m just going to flip some vinyl and enjoy this “episode.” 😉

I have an addiction. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I watch an infomercial, I buy the product. They get me every time. I can’t think of one I have watched that didn’t end in a burning desire to dial that 1-800 number.

It all started when I was growing up in Toledo. My Grandmother had this infomercialitis too. We would go over to her house and she would have every weight loss gadget that ever got air time on her 1960-something television in the back room. The rest of my family would roll their eyes, but I would squeal with glee. It was a playground of Ab Rollers, Thigh Masters and that weird thing with metal springs and plastic handles, like Brandon on The Goonies works out with.

What is that thing called?

Then, in my highschool years, I had insomnia and found myself staring at hour long commercials for kitchen gadgets and massive workout machines with smart cards! All I wanted for my Sweet 16 was the Magic Hand Blender or the Snack Master.

Over the years, I have sucked my friends and roommates into this addiction. At one point I learned you can save a boat load of cash by purchasing these things on eBay instead of through the product number or site. One of my roommates was obsessed with the Ronco Pasta Maker (Ron Popeil is the king of the infomercial kitchen). She bought it. We used it. Once. That was the same time that I bought the food dehydrator. I used it to make the worlds best beef jerky and dried apples. Once.

Now that I’m living on my own, I’ve convinced myself that I will use exercise DVDs and gadgets in the privacy of my own home. I am a proud owner of the Ab Circle Pro. DID YOU HEAR ME? I HAVE THE AB CIRCLE PRO. How does this happen? I need to go back and watch the show again. I need to dissect it and figure out exactly how they convinced me that sliding around on this ridiculous and clunky disc-like thing would be beneficial and fun. Fact is, it does work your abs. But even in the privacy of my own home, I can’t bring myself to throw myself around on that thing. I’m embarrassed to do that in front of myself.

I also have Barry’s Bootcamp DVDs (I followed up the once used “Slim in Six” system with this). It kicks your ass. I used it… once. No matter how much you tell yourself that you are going to pop these 20 minute DVDs in every day, it just doesn’t happen. Unless the real Barry is going to physically come into my home and yank me off the couch, his digital version is going to remain in the DVD case under my TV. That one came with a giant exercise ball, that is really a giant cylinder… We call it the “giant pill” because that is exactly what it looks like. It now sits in my guest room and haunts my visitors. Paint half of it another color and Dr. Oz could use it for one of his giant clown props.

The Giant Pill

I guess what I am saying is, if I had all the money back from these items gathering dust in my apartment (I also have the neck line slimmer, sheer beauty products and the bullet blender), I’d probably have enough money to order those P90X DVDs…

I can’t help it. It’s like a car wreck or a giant mole, I just can’t look away. The danger of working from home is that I am now becoming intimately familiar with daytime television, and quickly realizing that there is a definite need for a new talk show that targets smart/witty people who happen to work from home or have the luxury of a flexible schedule. I mean, I am entertained as much as the next person by Kathy Lee’s drunken behavior and Kelly Ripa’s sinewy arms. But holy Lord are they all stupid. I don’t really think they are stupid, they are just catering to what networks believe are the general viewing public on a weekday morning. That was likely the case 10 years ago, but these days, not all the smart people go to work at an office from 9-5.

I just watched Dr. Oz break out some more clown props. This time it was giant thermo gloves to explain how frostbite works. Yep. It’s June. This is a very timely segment. He chose a woman from the crowd to help with the demonstration. She about broke the stage jumping up and down in excitement like the next contestant on the Price is Right. Except there is no opportunity here to come on down and win a dining room set, spin the big wheel or go to the showcase showdown. All she gets to do is get on stage with the Doc and make an ass of herself. She briefly donned the clown thermo gloves and manhandled some dry ice. Then, she also got to be timed to goofy music while dressing a mannequin for winter from a pile of hats, gloves and scarves. Lame.

They then moved to the Q&A portion of the show and a woman in the audience asked Dr. Oz why her eyelashes were falling out. Hello? It’s called the Internet. Google “thinning eyelashes” and go with the most frequent answer. Don’t go on national television to get the answer from clown doctor.

I’m proposing a new daytime show that makes us feel smarter, and cooler, and funnier and more appropriately entertained. Stop treating people like they are morons. We’ll make fun of people with a humor that may fly over the heads of the target audience of The People’s Court, but it’ll provide a channel that keeps the stay at home smarties from getting dumber. Oh, and there will be people on it that are under 40 (yes, I know Elisabeth Hasselbeck is only 33, but do not even get me started on The View here). I’ll let you know how I get on with the networks. Feel free to email me with suggestions.

This might well be the most ridiculous hour of television I have ever seen. I am now dumber for having watched it. And he’s a doctor. It’s like a childrens’ show, but its for adults that sit around all day. It has sound effects. And they talk to each other like they are 4 year olds. My niece would even think this is dumb. I mean, he just demonstrated how to pull out a tick… with giant clown scissors and a giant clown model tick and let us not forget the giant clown band-aid. I was waiting for him to pull out a giant clown match to smoke the tick out of the giant clown arm, but noooooo, that would have made things interesting. He also said that showering wards off tick problems (Jason, I’m worried about you, stay out of wooded areas).

It’s been since college that I got to watch daytime television. And, let’s be honest, in college I was either fading in and out of sleeping off a hangover or too messed up to realize that the shows were making me stupid. Or have these shows just gotten that much worse in 12 years? Its like that Mike Judge movie, Idiocracy. Sorry Mike, terrible movie, but it proves your point. What are we going to do about this?

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