Crippling Social Awkwardness
Dooce and Me!

Thursday, Boyfriend and I (okay, mostly me) got a wild hare and decided to drive down to LA to a book signing by my favorite blogger, Heather Armstrong of  Reading her blog is actually what inspired my own, and now that things are starting to roll a little bit on, I thought it would be fun to meet her and introduce myself.  

I'm such a dork -  I may as well have been meeting the Dalai Lama, I was so starstruck.  I tried to use the ride down to come up with a good question - Boyfriend kept asking me, "Are you going to ask her anything?"  I couldn't come up with a thing, but I figured I'd just tell her I started my own blog, and reading her blog inspired me to do it.  I was going to get my picture taken with her and write about it on my blog, it was going to be great!

We arrived at the bookshop just after seven, and the place was packed.  Heather was toward the front - I bought her book, then we made our way to the back to get a spot to listen.  Oh, good, I'll have time to think of something to ask while standing in line.   Suddenly the question-and-answer was over, and she was on her way to the back of the store to sit down and sign books.  Wait, I was already there!  So there I was, first in line to get my book signed, and I hadn't worked out what I was going to say.  Here I was about to meet someone who had inspired me to start writing, to open up about my life, and...

"Are you Erik?"
"Wha - oh - no, I'm not.  That's my brother...he actually turned me on to your site a couple of years ago."  Brilliant. 
"A boy?  Wow, I don't have many boys reading my site."  Wow, she's really pretty in person...say something!  
"Yeah, he really likes it."  Genius.  Act normal!  Make eye contact!
"Well thank you so much for reading, and thank you for coming."
"Thank you so much.  Good luck and travel safe."  But wait - you forgot to mention the weather, you idiot!

Boyfriend and I rounded the corner and I stopped.  "Oh, man, I kinda got all flaky-like."
"Yeah, you kinda did."  
"Shoot - I forgot to get my picture with her!"
"Do you want to stand in line again?"
"Kind of...but that's so dumb.  And I think I want my own book, too."
"Will you regret it if you don't?"

So we did.  We bought another book and stood in line again.  And the second time, I got my picture taken, but the dialog wasn't much improved.  I did manage to spit out the fact that I had started my own blog, but forgot to mention that I was inspired by her.  I think I started to say it, but my brain censored it at some point with, "Shut up!  She doesn't care about that.  She's probably tired and just wants you to get the hell out of there!"

This is the ongoing battle between my optimistic self and the part of me that wants to curl up on a dark cave somewhere and hide from the world.  The world that could judge me, that could think I'm wrong, that I would feel inferior to.  Even though the same world could support me and love me, I assume the worst.  

So Heather Armstrong is signing her books at a bookstore, she's probably like anyone, humbled and surprised that someone would look up to her and admire her and BUY HER BOOK, of course she's going to be nice to me. And I may as well have just let her kind words lift me up.  But I didn't, I assumed that she would judge me and I stumbled fearfully through what could have been a networking opportunity.  

So this is exactly what has inspired me to write, that just like Heather, I struggle with things that paralyze me, things that would roll off a normal, sane person.  Things that would bounce of a person without crippling her with social anxiety.  So I choose to write about it.  Because I can't be the only person who's struggled with anxiety, depression and the fallout of a divorce, just like Heather's not the only person who's fought the demons of chronic and post-partum depression.  Just like Heather has chosen to share her story, I want to share mine.  If only to show myself that I can.

Sun, 04/05/2009 - 3:23pm | geekiness, personal growth | 4 comments | Leave a comment
I'm so excited - isn't this EXCITING? is all NEW and IMPROVED-like.  Check out the new features added:

  • Readers may create their very own account.  Why would a person want to do this, you might ask?  And I'd say, "So that your comments might include a custom signature and photo of your very own self.  Or perhaps you'd like to contribute a recipe to Girlbert's recipe collection?  NOW YOU CAN, provided you've created a FREE online account at"
  • Readers who've created an account may contribute recipes to the recipe section of this site.  Recipes are subject to approval and editing by Recipes with fresh ingredients are most likely to meet approval requirements - it has to be something that Girlbert would actually try and test!  You will receive acknowledgement for your recipe, and you can share it with your friends.  So next time somebody asks you for the recipe of your favorite casserole, you can tell them, "It's on"  Everybody wins!

I may have mentioned this before, but this website is a creative outlet for me.  Most of this is covered in my day-to-day chronicles, sharing my thoughts, photography and recipes.  But I'm a web designer as well, and this site will be an ever-evolving web application, as I learn more about working with a Drupal content management system.  So the site design and features are subject to change the more I learn.  Enjoy the ride!

Sun, 03/29/2009 - 1:10pm | drupal, web design | 0 comments | Leave a comment
What's the opposite of writer's block?
Green on BLUE

Warning: This is a stream of conciousness with periods and the occasional line-break.  Good luck...

I just hate it when I lie awake for so long, ideas fluttering around in my head, that I forget what to write down.  I know, I know, - keep a notebook by your bed, Girlbert.  I do, but there are only so many times you can turn on the light and scribble something down before a) your partner wants to kill you, or b) you should just get your ass out of bed and do it justice.  And I'm too lazy to deal with the repurcussions of either of those options.

So I have a problem - too many ideas, not enough time to write it all down.  I should be grateful - at least I'm not all tapped out.  Part of it is the surrounding landscape, so rich and filled with inspiration.  I'm having serious attention deficit issues as the weather warms and nature reawakens from her winter slumber.  Hundreds of little orange butterflies swooped and flitted around our neighborhood yesterday, seeming to put on a show just for me.  And the woodpeckers are the court jesters of the forest, they were in full entertainment mode - practicing their acrobatics and heckling one another all day long.  The local turkeys are in full-on mating season the toms march by the house in full display several times a day, the hens nonchalantly following along.  The surrounding forest has become a genuine Garden of Eden - luring me from my money-making pursuits and responsibilities behind my computer.  I am highly distractable.

I'm also reading again.  I haven't read much but manuals on HTML and CSS, online tutorials on content management systems lately.  I was terribly excited when I acquired Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design.  Really?  What happened to the animal-loving, mystic who sought out nothing but feel-good, self-help books, metaphysical manuscripts, and celebrity autobiographies?  When did I learn to absorb information in textbooks?  I certainly could have used that skill in high school.  But I'm back on Memoirs-of-the-Rich-and-Famous-Train, and it's bringing me full circle on why I left Colorado in the pursuit of my happiness in California.

First came Goldie Hawn's book, A Lotus Grows in the Mud.  A fascinating journey, her life is, and who could have anything against someone named Goldie?  Of course I was open to it, as I am with most everything, particularly in the realm of alternative medicine and spiritual journeys.  I used to have a friend who would roll his eyes at my fascination with celebrities endorsing metaphysics and holistic lifestyles.  "If Shirley says it, it must be true," he would sneer, mockingly.  It's always been so funny to me what threatens people.  I mean, what's so threatening about just believing there is an easy, beautiful, happy way to live?  It's true, I know I believe a lot of what those in the spotlight have to say about such matters because I look at them as choices that the people with the most money in the world can afford.  And then I think, or do they have all that money because of the metaphysical choices they've made?  Or is it both?  The chicken or the egg? 

But no matter, the point is that when the rich and famous have health issues or get cancer, most of them turn to alternative therapies.  They can afford the best western medicine and traditional doctors in the world, but they choose energy therapy, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, instead.  And they travel around the world to learn about such therapies, other cultures and other religions.  So as much as hanging on the every word of a celebrity touting another alternative therapy makes me look like a whore to celebrity culture, it's what makes sense to me.  And as I'm now reading in Shirley's latest book (which I intend to write more about upon finishing), information that resonates with you in some way is your reality, and you should take it very seriously.

So here I am again, absorbing Shirley's wise words regarding syncronicity, spirituality, holistic medicine, and reincarnation, and thinking, this is what I'm supposed to be doing.  This is why I'm here.  On this planet.  In this lifetime.

Thu, 03/19/2009 - 11:34am | Blog Post, health, metaphysics, nature, personal growth, scenery, spirituality, wildlife | 1 comments | Leave a comment
This is for my brother
Ants on a log

Would you look at all that fiber?



Perfectly aligned ants courtesy of Boyfriend. 

Art direction and photography by Girlbert.






(Note the coordinating color scheme...)

Wed, 03/11/2009 - 5:24pm | brown, food, green | 2 comments | Leave a comment
Why I HATE Home Depot

Me, upon entering the Home Depot, to the first orange-apron-clad college student I see: "Do you have any tub mats?"

Home Depot employee #1, scrunching his face in what can only be interpreted as, Are you speaking English?: "We have welcome mats on aisle 7."

Me: "Don't you sell bath products, accessories, like shower, curtains, here?"

HDE #1:  "Hey, Brian, do we have any bath mats here?"

HDE #2, with another look that says, I need a translator: "We have front door mats on aisle 7."

I paused, pondering the Alice-in-Wonderland-ness of the moment.  Really?

At least I was only 10 feet inside the store.  Normally this type of interaction wouldn't manifest itself until I had wandered aimlessly around the store for a good fifteen minutes, usually in search of the ever-elusive Home Depot Employee.  At least I could figure out that they didn't have what I was looking for quickly, without any unnecessary walking or obligitory purchases.  Whew.

Upon exiting the store, Boyfriend offered, "Maybe they have a guy named Matt somewhere in there."



This reminds me of a similar experience with Verizon Wireless:

Verizon Wireless customer service representative: "Have I answered all of your questions today?"

Me: "No, not at all."

Verizon Wireless customer service representative: "Okay, thanks, and have a wonderful day."

Don't they record all those calls for quality assurance these days?

Fri, 03/06/2009 - 6:18pm | customer service, rant | 1 comments | Leave a comment