Monthly Archives: January 2010

A self-diagnosis I can live with

First the good news: I’m not dying.

I do not have some strange case of throat cancer, rotting gums or acid reflux.

Although if you had asked me yesterday, all of the above were very likely.

I mean, I wasn’t planning my funeral (yet) but I was pretty worried. That’s what happens when I turn to the InterWebs for medical guidance.

The InterWebs and chronic hypochondria are a bad combo. Possibly worse for you than the sausage burritos breakfast combo at McDonald’s. (guilty yum.)

But look, sometimes my little fingers can’t help but find their way to Google and entering in whatever random symptom I’m worrying about obsessing over.

Can I tell you how many times I’ve been pregnant? No, not in an Octo-mom kind of way. But in a Stephanie-is-crazy-and-thinks-every-odd-symptom-can-only-mean-one-thing kind of way. (Right now the fiancé is vigorously nodding his head and hoping someone reading this can cure me of this permanently. Stat.)

And yesterday, not only did I feel a cold coming on, but I was experiencing this odd taste in the back of my mouth after I ate or drank anything. (Even water!)

And according to my Google search, the outcomes of this symptom were not good. I decided to leave it alone and focus on my cold for the time being. Let’s feel sorry for ourselves one ailment at a time.

But today, with a good night of sleep behind me, my cold symptoms were feeling a lot better. I decided to return to Google to determine how long I had left to live. ( And because my coffee tasted like ass, and dying or not, I cannot live this way.)

This time, I entered the search differently by including “after I eat or drink” in my search. And by George, I found it.

A diagnosis I might be okay with.

Are you ready?

Pine nuts.

Not even kidding.

The word on the InterWebs is that for some odd reason, pine nuts (from China?) cause this bitter taste in the back of some people’s mouths days after consuming. Hey, that’s me!

I didn’t find anything on Snopes about it, so at first I thought it might be a hoax, but then I found this article called the Great Pine Nut Menace  on Food & Wine. My journalism radar told me that Food & Wine was a reputable source for information.

Diagnosis complete. I am suffering from Pine-Nuts-In-My-Gnocchi-Makes-Everything-Else-Taste-Awful Syndrome.

And you know what I think about that? (You’ve been waiting for this reference.)

Maybe I should have just said “gno.”

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Quirky Reconnection

In 1994 I did Ineke's hair for her prom at her host parent's house.

Let me tell you a story about my long lost friend Ineke. 

Ineke was an exchange student from The Netherlands at my high school. We became fast friends the year of her time here — my sophomore year/her senior year.  I remember it was heart wrenching at age 16 to say good-bye to a best friend, with not so much as e-mail or Facebook to stay in touch. (Cue the “Somewhere Out There” music.) 

We wrote occasionally and managed to stay in touch through my first few years of college. At that time, my parents lived in Germany and over my Christmas holiday, I was lucky enough to visit Ineke and meet her family in her hometown, located province of Friesland. The following summer, I took the train from Frankfurt to The Hague, where she was living and working. We stayed in her flat and she took me on a whirlwind tour of her beautiful city. 

 While she was at work, I took a train into Amsterdam. While  most 20 year-olds were probably  visiting Amsterdam for an entirely different reason that summer, I was excited to get to visit the Anne Frank House, and find a little stationery shop I had read about. 

I do recall having lunch by myself at a cafe overlooking the canals of Amsterdam. I ordered a glass of white wine, (scandalous as I wasn’t yet 21!) and felt that somehow I had discovered adulthood. 

That was the extent of my wild times in Amsterdam. A historical museum, boutique shopping and a glass of wine.  

I admired Ineke who had her own flat and a job  in such a cosmopolitan city, where she rode bicycles everywhere and did her own grocery shopping. She was my first friend to have such an independent life. 

I will never forget that time. Or my friend. 

But somehow, we lost touch. Losing touch with a friend is a funny thing. You never quite remember how you lost contact with someone, but one day, you find yourself thinking about your old friend and want to connect with her, but you have absolutely no idea where to begin. 

And in a world of Facebook, e-mail and  Google searches, it seems like it should be so easy to find someone from your past, but it’s not always so. 

Yesterday, I randomly decided to see if I could find Ineke on Facebook. It’s not the first time I’d looked for her. But I thought maybe she could have joined since my last search. I typed in her first and last name and didn’t find anyone. Then I started searching in Netherland networks for Ineke’s (no last name.) 

I found a girl who resembled Ineke, but she had sunglasses on in her photo. She also had a different last name, so I wasn’t sure if possibly my Ineke had gotten married. I sent the following message: 

Hello Ineke,
I’m looking for an Ineke friend of mine who was an exchange student from The Netherlands in Kansas one year. You very much resemble her, but it’s hard to tell b/c of the glasses. Your last name isn’t the same, but maybe married? If it is you, then my search has come to an end.

If not, so sorry to bother you! And you are probably wondering why someone would ever go to Kansas for an exchange program. 🙂 

Best regards,
Stephanie Mitchum 

This morning, I opened my e-mail address for this blog and I saw an e-mail with the subject line: “A friend from far far away.” I opened it up and it was Ineke. But not the Ineke from Facebook. My Ineke, who had found me by doing a Google search and stumbling into this blog.

Her e-mail had nothing to do with my weird note to an unassuming Ineke in Holland. We were simplylooking for each other at the exact. same. time.

(And I’m not that hard to find.)

I had goosebumps.

It was like the Universe was whispering to us to find one another.

Somehow today, my world just seems a little more complete knowing that I have reconnected with Ineke — the right Ineke– again after all these years.

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Have Lasso Will Love Again – The Conclusion

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Sidebar

Was I ready all that this relationship entailed?  I had come so far in such a short time.

But sitting in my friend’s condo that night, tears running down my face, the uncertainty of it all hit me. The risk I was taking by ignoring every divorce guide I’d read and embracing love again so quickly.

Because I had so much to lose. There were the new friends that I was becoming attached to.  There was the heartache I could suffer. Again. Was it all worth it?

I went to bed with a headache.

And then my phone buzzed with a text. “Goodnight beautiful.”

His signature good-night to me. His affection was unwavering. Was this guy for real?

It seemed a little late to be admitting doubt in the thing. After all, we had already said those three words to one another.

But I had heard those words before. Words that had failed me so badly. Lies, lies, lies that had been told.

So I faced the ultimate issue behind my doubt and insecurities. I needed to trust.

The events that led to my divorce represented the ultimate betrayal of truth. In the span of about two weeks the reality formerly known as my marriage fell like dominoes as the truths, the real truths became revealed in very painful ways.

I wish I could say that I woke up the next morning with more certainty, but I didn’t. I can say that I woke up still in love with him, not wanting to give up on what we had. Every day that passed, that love grew deeper. At the same time, every day, I healed a little more from the pain of my divorce.

And as our love grew, so did the trust. His love was true. His words were true. The skeptical heart knew, and she began to trust.

We took a trip together to L.A. in September.  During that trip, I found the confirmation I needed to believe this was more than a summer fling.

We enjoyed Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s. The time flew by.

The past faded.

We began to plan for the future.

At the same time, I continued to find myself. This relationship was so different than the past six years of my life. I could be me. There was no criticism. No judgment. No need to get anyone’s approval but my own. Because the boyfriend loved me for me. A refreshing yet foreign concept.

And early in 2009, while I did something girly, the fiance attended Comicon in Kansas City. He called me from the event, “Babe, what are your measurements?”

What? Who knows these things off the top of their heads?

“Uh, why?”

“I’m getting you something, just need your measurements.”

“I have no idea, I’m a size 4/6.”

“Ok.”

I showed up at the mansion later  that day and he had a photo on his i-phone — he had purchased a Wonder Woman costume for me. It was being finished by the costume designer to fit me.

Um, not just any Wonder Woman costume, but a  hand-sewn sexy, satin corset with real brass accents and spandex navy panties with white stars. Now, growing up I always liked Wonder Woman. Although I can’t say that I ever really had a grasp on her story.

With my costume in progress, I decided  it was time to figure out what this Wonder Woman chick was all about.

I began reading about her. The more I read, the more I loved it. This was a heroine who fought lies and the men who told them with truth. A lasso of truth.  I could get behind this. If only I had this years ago. Scratch the “if only’s.” Those experiences made me who I am today. It was part of the beauty and quirky of me.

Tapping this story, finding my inner heroine could be the final steps I would need to conquer my divorce demons. Yes, I was divorced. But that was okay.

A few weeks later, the costume arrived.

It fit.

Suddenly, I was the girl. The girl with the courage to wear a sexy, yet powerful costume. The girl not afraid to love and trust. The girl I knew I could be.

The girl who could trust.

Because this girl had the truth. And the boy.

It was the entire package.

So, when that boy got down on one knee on a bridge overlooking the Las Vegas strip a year after that first date, and asked me to spend the rest of his life with him, I said yes.

Yes to him. Yes to us.

It’s true. I found love again.

Editor’s note: Part of why I share this story is to help other women going through the pain of divorce. If you are recently divorced or separated, I’d love to hear your story. E-mail me at queenofquirky (at) gmail.com.

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The Bachelor and Fire & Wine Night Combo Post: Jake, just say gno!

Sometimes you just have to say gno.

And, last night, as we devoured our delicious gnocchi (recipe courtesy of the brilliant Elise of Simply Recipes) topped with a brown butter with spinach and pinenuts sauce (recipe courtesy of Cooking Light), we were screaming “GNO!” at our bachelor friend, Jake.

I decided to compile our list of “gnos” in lieu of our usual Cheese Whiz Ratings. Because last night was gno ordinary Fire & Wine night.

Image courtesy of EW.com

Things Jake should have said Gno* to in last night’s episode – with quotes and input from DD Girl and Roomie:

1. Girls in RV’s. – Didn’t Jake watch Road Rules? He should know that nothing good ever comes out of a bunch of girls sharing an RV.

2. Carrying his date (Gia) around the vineyard like a toddler. “She probably weighs as much as a toddler – DD Girl.” Jake, that’s weird and icky.

3. Girls who wear stilletos on a camping trip. Even Roomie who always looks cute and fashionable balked at these girls.

4. Taking your dates to a whore house-looking hotel, with each room you visit getting progressively tackier than the rest. If that is even possible.

5. The “I get lost in your eyes” line as said to Kathryn. Both times. Really?

6. A tie that looks like a tablecloth during the rose elimination ceremony. What was that thing?

7. Seeking wisdom on picking your future wife from Chris – the-network-is-going-to-love-this Harrison. Of course they are going to let you not give out all your roses, silly Jakey.

8. Girls obsessed with Vienna. Ugh. Enough already. All of it.

9. Ashleigh’s post-rose ceremony departure was less than graceful, as Roomie told DD Girl who was out of the room. So this gno is to Ashleigh – say gno to snotty, tearful departure speeches.

10. Girls who freak out over a cute little family of raccoons. (Gia!) Possibly the best part of the entire episode.

*Cheese Whiz Awards will return next week.

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Pretty little thing for…

Tracy! Come on down! (er, not sure where?)  You are the winner of this beautiful hair flower. E-mail me your address at queenofquirky at gmail.com and I will send you your red flower hair clip.  Special thanks to Greta’s Pretty Things for providing this lovely accessory as a give-away.

Maybe we’ll show up out at the Brooksider or Hoopers wearing our flowers on the same night. That would be sw-eet!

Bonus points if you wear it during your marathon. (And if you do, we all want pictures!)

The rest of you: I’m working on a new give-away. Details coming soon, but, um…it’s going to be awesome. (Confession: don’t actually have anything to give away, but will find something stat.)

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What? You want a Wonder Woman at your daughter’s birthday party? That’ll be no problem.

I got a message on Facebook from a friend.

A friend of her friend was searching for a Wonder Woman to show up at her daughter’s 7th birthday party.

The friend of the friend looking for WW was named Steffany.

I love Stephanies. Even if they spell their names weird.

And I love birthdays. And I love Wonder Woman. I was so in. Seven year-old apparently lurves Wonder Woman and is having a Wonder Woman cake. So imagine how surprised she will be when Wonder Woman shows up.

I’ve never done this before. But I guess I just ring the doorbell and inside will be a bunch of squealing 7 year-olds. Then I’ll talk a little about the cool bad guys I’ve been lassoing and how I’m from the Amazon, but that doesn’t mean I don’t shave my legs. (Ok, probably TMI for this group)

Anywho, terribly excited in a way that is sure to annoy most people around me for the rest of the week.

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Return of the Nerds Rifftrax Night

A typical Friday night in our house goes one of two ways: 1. Fiance and myself  and a movie/catching up on DVR shows. 2. Our closest friends and a selection of board games/Rock Band.

We mixed it up this past Friday by hosting a viewing of the Rifftrax of Return of the Jedi. Now if I’ve already lost you, don’t worry. I can explain. Rifftrax is the name of the activity where one downloads an audiofile of comedians Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett (formerly of Mystery Science Theatre) making fun of a movie. Then, you play the audiofile on your Ipod while watching the movie.

It’s usually really funny. And the Return of the Jedi riff was no exception. After the movie, more hilarity ensued.

Like when nerds aided by brewsky became rock stars.

Or, tried to demonstrate the size of their abnormally large, smart? heads with my Rawandan basket.

But anyhow, that’s just par for the course in my life. These guys are fantastic. And I’m proud to call them my friends.

They fit into our Quirkyville quite nicely.

So does she.

Look at that hot stuff, right there!

What I love most about this picture is that her boyfriend was begging me to take it because he thought she looked cute. (I agree.)

But unlike DD Girl, I didn’t get my sing on Friday night.

Image courtesy of costumestudy.wordpress.com

Nope. I was too busy wondering how I could get my mom to come and do my hair like this like she did when I was 7…

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