The Y


We joined the YMCA.

As you might recall, I dislike exercise greatly, so you may be wondering why I would pay money for a thing that is mostly made for doing such dreadful things. Good question. Good question. The answer is a full two words long: child care.

The friendly woman that gave me the pre-membership tour pointed out a group of people in a large room with appropriately large windows sweating, gyrating, stretching and kicking while an enthusiastic instructor led them in their heart-pumping movements. “We have over 50 group classes each week,” she noted, to which I replied, “Well that sounds horrible.” (Though I admit “Chair Yoga” sounds intriguing.)

Eventually, I got around to my *real* concern: “Is it acceptable to drop my kid off in child care and then sit in the cafe for two hours?” The answer: yes.


We tested the Y out with a five day trial, which included some entertaining my girls in the splash pad, a lot of dropping my 2-year-old in child care, and a bit of “exercising” so as not to be discovered as an impostor.

After officially joining, I began to feel a little uncomfortable with my café camping plan. The café is really quite small—just a few tables and chairs in the foyer, in fact. I started to feel a little like I would be the resident lazy weirdo which, because of my anxiety around perceptions of me, didn’t seem great. It was time to assimilate. Kind of. With limited movement or sweating.

The plan was to walk. Just walk like I’m taking a stroll through the forest with a blue bird chirping happily from where it’s perched on my finger. At a glance I’d look I was doing a cool down, or doing some of that interval running, but you happen to just see me in the slow times. I’m just like you, fellow exerciser. Yessssss. Yes I am.

To kick it up a notch, I’d listen to audio books, because if you really let yourself get lost in it it’s almost like sitting. I saw one guy reading while pedaling his heart out on a stationary bike, which lands him squarely in the category of unbearable show-offs. No thank you, Kyle. (That was probably his name.) I instead chose to listen to the dry voice of David Sedaris squeaking the stories of Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls in my ear. It did not disappoint.

The amount of sweat pouring from my fellow Y members is remarkable. Sometimes you can see where droplets flew from their former homes onto the sides of treadmill. Can you imagine what would have had to occur to make your body start spurting sweat out like an old-fashioned sprinkler? *shudder* All around me, dedication to health and wellness beats out its call in the thump, thump, thump of fancy running shoes. And oh! their faces. They’re working so hard, friends. So very hard.

The other day, a fragrant man in his 50s climbed onto the treadmill next to me as I was executing my morning exercise saunter. He had a mustache and old brown 70s prescription eyeglasses. Surely he was one of my kind.

He started out slow enough; a reasonable pace. But then I saw him grasp the top of the machine, arm stiff, while his other hand cranked up the speed. I assumed he’d soon let go and start pumping his arms like all the rest of us (especially me at my break-neck speed), but he didn’t. He held on tight with both hands now, while the treadmill belt whizzed beneath his feet, each step a genuine surprise to his legs. It was exactly the scene I’d imagine seeing if a man was accidentally pulled across the snowy tundra by a pack of disciplined sled dogs. He wished with all his heart to stop, but had forgotten the German words for “Stop dogs, I beg of you.” I laughed out loud as David told me all about the too-gay items in his shopping cart at Costco.

After a few days I decided it was time to branch out a little. I spotted the rowing machine. A rowing machine! I’ll take my blue bird for a boat ride. Perfect.

Friends, aside from its close proximity to Kyle (*eyeroll*), the rowing machine is glorious. I closed my eyes and listened to David, my mind shouting “weeeee!” as I pulled the imitation oars to my chest. It’s the closest you can get to taking a nap while still burning calories at a decent clip.

In fact, my leisurely strokes around an imaginary lake burn 200 calories in 30 minutes. The treadmill, however, burns roughly 1 calorie for each .01 mile. Which means that if I walk at a comfortable 3/mph, 30 minutes will result in burning a paltry 150 calories. So you’re looking at 6.66 calories per minute on the row/nap machine, or 5 calories per minute on the sweat-inducing walking contraption. A 30% improvement! For all of you kids wondering what you’ll do with math when you grow up, this is it. You’ll figure out which exercise machine burns the most calories with the least amount of effort. Don’t be a fool; stay in school.

The only trouble I had was the day I forgot my earbuds. Without something to keep my mind focused on the goal of not really exercising, I got confused and thought I was there to do the stuff the other people were doing. So I ran for a mile. A whole mile. Like a mad person. I realized the error of my ways when I stepped off the treadmill and my heart slumped over with its hands on its knees sputtering, “What…*pant pant*…was that?”



“$%# you.”


Aside from that little slip up, I love the Y and want to kiss its face. It shines like a beacon in my otherwise choppy days. It embraces me with its child care, its air conditioning, and even its occasional free, horrible Colombian coffee with powdered creamer. Oh, YMCA, you sexy beast you.

image cc-by-nc 2.0 IvanClow at Flickr

The Y

Re: Dear Jerrod (Or Horse Mouth Balls)

Say, "cheese!"
Remember yesterday when I put up that faux-post that was basically a letter to Jerrod? He and I had a little follow-up convo which produced these gems:

Jerrod: Thinking about you friend. Every day is a day to smile bigger.

Me: “Every day is a day to smile bigger.”? That’s about the cheesiest advice ever. And it totally worked.

Jerrod: I punched my dumb face in the balls after I sent it. My apologies.
And I’m glad it did.

Me: Hey, it worked. Don’t punch a gift horse in the mouth balls.

Jerrod: I’m a horse? With gifts?

Me: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth
Me: I guess that would mean *I* punched the gift horse in the mouth balls.

Jerrod: See. Smiles all around.

I’ve got the best friends.

photo CC BY-SA 2.0 by SirPecanGum at flickr

Re: Dear Jerrod (Or Horse Mouth Balls)

Here, Let Me Help: Mascara Edition

If you’ve never noticed, the subtitle of my blog is, “A Guide to Life and Other Quandaries.” As you can tell from previous posts, I am full of all kinds of knowledge. And you should definitely listen to me because, as I’ve mentioned before, I have a website. On the internet. That’s basically like a Ph.D.. So, perk those ears up people, ’cause you’re about to get a dose of the ol’ Crutchfield learning magic.

I’ve decided to start a new series called “Here, Let Me Help,” wherein I give you all kinds of advice you didn’t ask for. You’re welcome, kittens. I know there aren’t enough people with opinions this days. I’m here to fix that.

First up in the “Here, Let Me Help” catalog: mascara.

Now, now, not everyone uses mascara, but if you do, you’ve likely run in to a host of problems. The mascara must be scrubbed from your face like barnacles from a ship’s hull. The mascara flakes and leaves black streaks like you’re a member of KISS. It gets all clumpy and looks like you put fake spider legs on your eyes. “Bahhhh!” you say as you shake your fist at the sky.

KISS members in full make up on stage.
The KISS look may not be the one you’re aiming for.

Well, fist-shake no more, readers. Instead, let me help. This mascara here, L’oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara, to-ta-lly works.


L'oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara
This business is legit.

This will not flake. At all. Like, not even after you leave it on for three days because you’re too lazy to wash your face. (Not that I’ve done that.) It also won’t run, not even a little!, if you cry in your kid’s pediatrician’s office. (Not that I’ve done that either, I just think maybe you’ll  do that some day.) You don’t have to break out crazy chemicals to get it off either. Just put some warm water on your closed eyes and pull it off gently.

I don’t know what’s in the stuff—probably fairy blood and magic spells from Michelle Obama—but it’s so great that I don’t even care. (Sorry innocent fairies.)

So there you go. You’re all squared away with your mascara needs, ladies and gents. Need advice on something else? Ask away. I’m here to help.

I didn’t get paid to write any of this because that’s not a thing around these parts. (That doesn’t mean you *can’t* pay me, L’oréal. Especially if you use chocolate as currency. Preferably this.) These are my honest little opinions straight from my heart/brain area. If you could gaze into my perky little perfectly-mascaraed eyes you’d see nothing but sincerity. 

Here, Let Me Help: Mascara Edition

Admit You’re a Feminist for International Women’s Day

Back in 2012 I realized I am a feminist—albeit with a little hesitation. Claiming to be a feminist, after all, can carry a lot of pressure, and a good deal of judgement. People see feminists as shrill, bossy, angry hordes of women coming to rip men apart with their pointy feminist teeth. Snap!

I am a feminist graphic with empowered fist

So I thought, “I’m not shrill or angry. I don’t want to chew on the souls of men…maybe I’m not a feminist.”

We’re also in a really interesting time in history. It’s like the smelling salts have been snapped, and we’re all getting a jarring new look around. Organizations like Miss Representation, Feminist Frequency, and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media are doing the painstaking work of really inspecting what we see and hear in TV, film, and advertising. Through that process a lot of really normal and accepted stuff is being called out as sexist. Misogyny lurks under so many things we really dig (Blurred Lines, anyone?), and one of the roles of feminism is to really look at our world, and call creepy, sexist BS for what it is. But if you’re in the shower singing Blurred Lines and thinking, “This is my jam!” and then you read about how it’s a bunch of creepy, sexist, BS that normalizes rape, suddenly you feel like a creepy sexist who normalizes rape culture. Hmm…(It’s okay. You probably aren’t.)

Feminism also tackles a whole host of topics, some of which might make you uncomfortable. Like the roles of women (and men) in the workplace. The roles of women (and men) in the home. And reproductive rights, which necessitates the use of the word vagina. (Why is vagina such a scary word, you all? 7th graders say it in health class.)

And that stuff? That makes feminism feel like a club that you’re not in.

But unless you’re the mayor of Crapville, you’re probably a feminist. Here’s a test to find out:

  1. Do you think women are just as important as men?
  2. Do you think it’s wrong and bad for women to be beat, groped, harassed, or raped?
  3. Do you think that babies need parents, and that women and men should be allowed to take time off from work when said babies are born or adopted?
  4. Do you think men can be whatever kind of person they want to be? That they don’t have to be strong, or violent, or void of emotion?
  5. Do you think women can be whatever kind of person they want to be? That they don’t have to be subservient, or demure, or “pretty”?
  6. Do you believe that all people are valuable and we should treat them that way?

Did you answer “yes” to most of those? Well, friend…you’re a feminist.

We’re not going to agree on everything. We feminists—we’re going to have differences and diversity just like anyone else. We’re going to muddle through all of these topics, push back on norms, and bumble around quite a bit. And you’re not going to feel like you’re doing it right.

But you don’t stop being a parent because you don’t know all the answers. You don’t stop voting just because the issues are complicated. You don’t stop shopping until you straighten out your economic theory. You dive in. You work it out. You take it easy on yourself and your fellow humans. You know there’s room to grow.

It is actually important to use the F word

The more people freely say, “I’m a feminist,” the less people will associate feminism with harpy witch women who hate men. The more men say, “I’m a feminist,” the more we can use feminism to improve men’s lives too. (Want to see a man doing some badass work for feminism? Look no further than your favorite Star Trek captain.) The more people throw their weight behind feminism, the faster we’ll progress.

And you know what? We need feminism in a bad way. Click that link and check out aaaaaall those reasons.

I promise once women get equal pay, I won’t care if you call yourself a feminist or not. When women and girls stop getting raped, then executed for it, I’ll leave you alone. When girls don’t get shot in the head for wanting education, when parenthood and earning a living can co-exist, when johns are prosecuted more than the underage prostitutes they rape, when women earn the same pay for the same work—WHEN I DON’T HAVE TO MAKE A LIST OF THIS CRAPPY STUFF, we can abandon the word feminist on the side of the road. It will have served it’s purpose. Until then—and it’s gonna be a while—pretty pretty please use that F word.

So, congratulations! You’re a feminist!

Go celebrate International Women’s Day by claiming feminism as your own. Tell your friends and family to join in on the fun. Let’s make a ruckus and do some good work. I’ll raise a fist in the air for you.

Admit You’re a Feminist for International Women’s Day Now Supports Embed of Getty Images; I Blow Up Your Eyeballs

I love putting pictures in my posts. Because pictures are pretty. And sometimes you can find a picture of a red panda cracking up at your jokes.

So imagine my delight when the News blog made this little announcement:

Earlier today, Getty Images announced a new embed feature that will allow people to access and share photos from its extensive library of images for non-commercial purposes. We have been working with Getty Images over the past few weeks and are excited to bring this feature to!

I was like this:

And this:

There are so many images at my fingertips! The whole attribution thing is SOOO much easier! Plus, you never know when you’ll need a picture of a robot, getting ready to have a great time with a beach ball.

Not all of the images are available to embed in this super fancy way (getting a little greedy if we want that, no?), so every now and again you’ll have to deal with the disappointment of not being able to embed a picture of a cat raising it’s arms like it’s saying Hallelujah in a Pentecostal church…but pfft, you’ll get over it. Because there’s kitty with a tiny hat on:

And a kitty whose super power is being cute:

And, if you’re feeling a little crazy, this kitty:

There’s also a lot of non-kitty images (but seriously, there are so many kitties).

In fact, the other day Getty Images announced the Lean In collection, “a library of images devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls and the people who support them.” I commented on Facebook that I wanted to start a business, just so I could use all those badass images of women being awesome and showing normal signs of aging, and girls doing stuff other than wearing dresses. Like so:

Now I don’t need to start a hair-combing karate machinery business. I can just use the images in a meandering blog post. Total win.

So be on the look out for more awesome images here. I promise to slightly scale down my use of cat images (a little). If you’re a blogger you should definitely go check out the full Getty Images catalog. That’s a whole lot of fun right there. A whole lot of it.

Happy Friday, friendsies. Now Supports Embed of Getty Images; I Blow Up Your Eyeballs

Make This and Put it in Your Face

Of course you want to eat this Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast Waffle. Why wouldn't you?
Of course you want to eat this Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast Waffle. Why wouldn’t you?

Look everyone! I’m a food blogger!

Well, not really, but what am I anyway? I’m a lazy person in the throes of an existential blogging crisis of some kind, wherein I immediately convince myself not to write whatever I’m thinking of writing. It’s a jolly good time, I tell you.

So what should one do in this case? One should make this Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast Waffle and put it promptly in her face. And then one should tell you, dear reader, how to do the same thing because, in the words of Jean-Ralphio, “that shiz is straight up del-oy-cious.”

Also, one of my faves (Eden Kennedy) isn’t a food blogger either, but she managed to whip up this post/recipe thing so, you know, permission granted.

Okee dokey. So, a fab friend of mine was coming over for breakfast & I wanted to make something awesome. Naturally, french toast came to mind because it’s great. If you don’t like french toast, you should really see the doctor, because the awesome part of your tongue is broken. For shame.

My second thought was that I should make said french toast in the waffle maker for two reasons: a) I’m lazy, and it sounded easier and b) waffles have a distinct advantage over other breakfast foods, because they have neatly arranged nooks in which to store pools of butter and syrup. I bet the other breakfast foods feel a little self conscious when they think about it. (It’s okay, foods. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses.) (Except for this recipe which is all strengths, and may be my brightest moment ever.)

So, we’ve got french toast with magical waffle nooks. Sounds pretty good. But as I was perusing the internets for other little ideas, I came across a stuffed french toast recipe. And that’s when things got interesting. Because…um…well, if it’s not obvious—again—go see Ms. Doctor Lady, because you have lots of problems.

Enough Talking—Get to the Making

Step 1: Mix up the French Toast Stuff

Almost any recipe will work here. Just a couple eggs and a milk-like product of your choice…I throw in some cinnamon and vanilla because I fancy myself exotic. The only requirement is that you don’t use crusty, thick bread. Just use plain ol’ wheat or white sandwich bread slices. I think if you use anything thicker/harder you won’t be able to jam it into the waffle maker. And that would be disappointing.

Step 2: Cream Cheese Goo

Now take some cream cheese and powdered sugar and stick it in a bowl. Then mash those things together. I suppose you could use a mixer, but an enthusiastic arm with fork will do just fine. (My friend did this part, so maybe it’s INSANELY difficult, but I just didn’t notice. You all will have to let me know if that’s the case.) I don’t really have any measurements here because, let’s face it, if you can screw up cream cheese and powdered sugar you shouldn’t be in the kitchen. Like, ever. Just mix and taste and go with what feels good in your blessed heart.

Step 3: Slam the Sammie in the Waffle Maker

Spray/oil/butter your waffle maker. Just a little. Dip 1 piece of your plain Jane bread in your french toast egg/milk mix, and put it in the waffle maker. Then put a dollop of cream cheese on it. Next, dip another piece of bread and place it on top of the whole shenanigans. My waffle maker can fit four stuffed french toasts at a time because it’s the boss. Fill yours up with the desired/allowed amounts of french toast sammies, then slam that thing shut.

Step 4: Wait. Do Not Put Mouth on Waffle Maker

I tried using the auto timer thing on the waffle maker, but that didn’t totally pan out. So I just checked on it and yanked those bad boys out when they looked good and done. The cream cheese gooed out a little bit, but don’t worry about that. In a few short minutes you’ll be like, “Even if the cream cheese had sprayed on my face and burned me pretty bad, this would still be worth it.”

Step 5: Nom.

Slather it with butter and real maple syrup then try to maintain some decorum. Good luck with that part. If you have friend that will bring you tasty strawberries and a pretty tangerine, that might help you keep your business together because it feels like you should be fancy with such beautiful fruits on your plate.

That’s it! Go give it a whirl, friendsies.

Make This and Put it in Your Face

If You Don’t Live Forever, You’re a Sucker

Plastic mannequin head with futuristic v shape
Mannequins are going to have scary faces in the future. You don’t want to miss out on that. Photo by Horia Varlan, on Flickr.

I kind of want to live forever. I know it’s crazy. I just…I do. Because I just have this feeling that if I die—if I slip in the bathtub and break my neck or die from an aneurism while pooping (those are real reasons people die, y’all)—I’m going to miss out on AMAZING stuff by like 5 minutes. And wouldn’t that be terrible? I mean—to die right before life and science get REALLY cool? I don’t know if I could stand it. Even beyond the grave. I’d be haunting the crap out of a bunch of people.

I think it was the iPhone that did it. Not the first iPhone, but the comparison between the first one and the current one. Because here’s the deal: if you bought the first iPhone, you got an 8GB cool phone with texting and apps and stuff for a whopping $599. That’s a pretty penny. No subsidies. No free phones for AT&T users. You just walked up to the counter, gave them your entire wallet, coughed up a little blood, and you got a fancy doodad in return. Now—just five years later—I can get an iPhone with eight times the storage space, more battery life and a much better camera for $200 less. Or, if I don’t feel like paying ANY money for it, I can get the iPhone 3GS that’s still better than the first one for exactly zero dollars. What a difference 5 years makes. In 5 more years they’ll be stuffing iPhones in boxes of Cap’n Crunch.

And that, friends, is the world we’re living in. Except the iPhone—as cool, glorified and worshiped as it is—is no where near the coolest thing on our horizon. If we can make it another 50 years—shit’s gonna get crazy cool. And that’s why I want to live forever. Or at least for another 50 years. Or 100. Yeah, 100 sounds better. Reasonable.


For your enlightentainment (mashing words together is fun), here’s a brief review of stuff that is going to happen to you if you don’t go and die like a sucker before the tech evolves. Better go get you some vitamins, because it’s gonna be worth it.

Fix Skin Cancer with a Band-Aid

Umm…yeah. With a freaking band-aid. Or, rather, a patch. Same thing. You put the patch on your arm for 3 hours, then a few days later for another 3 hours and—shazam!—no more skin cancer. That’s being tested right now. Isn’t that crazy?! The current treatment for Basal cell carcinoma involves burning, freezing, scraping or zapping with radiation. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather slap a patch on my arm. It’s like those stickers from Trader Joe’s, except that it HEALS YOUR FREAKING SKIN.

Print Some Organs on Your Home Printer

“Keep your liver, Mr. Donor-face-guy,” said everyone on the transplant list, “I’ll just print one up after I’m done printing the banner for my daughter’s birthday party.” Okay, it might not be that simple, but I kid you not, people are PRINTING. ORGANS. Printing them! Like a coupon for Trader Joe’s. Except that it goes in your body to save your life. (Trader Joe’s really needs to up their game.)

Anthony Atala at the Wake Forest School of Medicine has done some stunning work with regenerative medicine.  The school is working on printing skin with a souped-up inkjet printer that would totally change the way wounds and burns are treated.

Skin is cool, but they’re also working on printing hearts. Hearts! It takes 40 minutes to print with a desktop printer, then 4-6 hours later the muscles are contracting. And because these things are comprised of the patient’s own cells, there’s no need for rejection meds. The body just says, “Oh, sure. That’s cool. You belong here.” Work is being done with all kinds of 3D printing, and an 83-year-old woman just received the first 3D-printed jaw transplant.

Is your mind blown? Mine is. Cra-zi-ness. This stuff is happening right now. Can you imagine how cool it’s going to be when I’m 132? Real cool, you all. That’s how cool.

Stop Driving the Car Like a Schmuck—Let the Car Drive Itself

This one’s already happening, too. Steve, the first user of Google’s Self-Driving Toyota Prius, is legally blind, and—I assume—feeling like a badass. Granted, he used the technology to drive to a Taco Bell, so clearly he needs some guidance on where to actually go (Umm…Trader Joe’s. Obviously.), but hey…we all gotta start somewhere. Clearly, the technology is perfect for people like Steve because it opens up really practical solutions to problems he faces. But it would also be perfect for people like me who are tired of wasting drive time not practicing hip-hop finger dancing. I mean, come on.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of stuff that’s being developed right now. Like I said, 50 years from now—who knows!? We’re in a time where the technologies that are being developed are working in synchrony to create exponential growth, understanding and revolution. And, dammit, if I die two years before I have a Speech Jammer gun, a cyborg mouse, or an iPhone that can cook me lasagna, I’m gonna be pissed.

So what do you think? Will you be drinking bloody marys in a space car with me? Or does a robot-filled super future scare the plasma out of you? Don’t be shy, friends, let’s talk this business out.

If You Don’t Live Forever, You’re a Sucker