Friday, February 25, 2005

Loving Laundry Day

One of the most dreaded rituals of every college student is doing laundry. During freshman year, my laundry room was in the basement of Forest Dorm. The laundry room was shared by about 500 students. So, basically I had to carry my laundry basket full of thongs and bras down a full elevator ride of 5 floors to the dingy basement where usually there were at least a few others doing the same dreaded ritual.

Sophomore year I moved to an apartment off campus. The laundry room was shared with my roommates and a few other apartment dwellers and is just a quick walk downstairs to our building's basement. Our one dryer we shared never blew hot air so basically our clothes were always still wet as we returned to the apartment. Maintenance could never fix the problem.

This year I moved to another apartment. However, this complex has no laundry. So, I carry my basket of thongs and bras in my car down the street to the local Laundromat. Do you ever feel embarrassed about transferring your underwear from washer to dryer and dryer to basket? I hate it. Especially when some old guy is in there too hoping you take a peek at his X-large boxer shorts. Then there are the times when you are doing laundry alongside some good-looking college guy, and suddenly you find you’re moving in slow motion removing each thong and bra from the dryer to the basket.

My Laundromat has an adequate number of washers and dryers but the décor is typical…bare, drab looking walls with, of course, no attempt at attractive décor at all. But the washers and dryers work. Still, the surroundings make for a depressing chore. Usually I bring reading, usually the current month's issue of Vogue and/or homework with me as I sit there minding my own business and do the long “wait”.

I know exactly what I would do if I owned a Laundromat. My ideas would increase sales dramatically and could actually make the place one of the hottest spots off campus. First of all, I would change the décor. I would paint with bright colors, not obnoxious ones, but definitely inviting warm shades. I would create a “like home” feel by adding framed pictures that coordinate with the wall colors. Since IU has an amazing Art Museum on campus, I would either choose framed poster artwork by Picasso or Monet. Better yet I would contact a few of IU’s outstanding Art Students to create a unique painting to go with the rest of the place. And I’d definitely get rid of that awful fluorescent lighting. Music? Ah yes…we would have taped music and different styles of music. For instance, Monday night from 7-11 pm is for Broadway Night. Some of the best of Broadway past and present would play. Tuesday is Jazz night – everything from Ella Fitzgerald to Harry Connick, Jr. Wednesday - Country Music Night, only not the old country but the more upbeat stuff…Clint Black, Shania Twain, or Lee Ann Rimes. (I couldn’t stomach much else). Thursday – Classical, yep, I’d call it “Mozart at the Mat”. Friday, well, that's easy…"Friday's with Frank", which means Sinatra all day and night. Saturday, would be either Karaoke Night or Dance Party Night. They could switch off. Winners of Karaoke or dance contests would either receive “free dry” or “free wash” coupons. Sunday is especially for Singles. We’ll call it, “Gentle Cycle Dating”. As the dryer turns, get to chat with other singles to see if you can really find love at the Laundromat. (Wine and cheese provided at an additional cost.)

Wouldn’t it be great to love laundry day.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pageant Reform

When I was young and a true girly girl through and through, I entered a few beauty pageants (which is another blog day in itself). I loved to dress up, walk the runway, pose, sing for my talent, and like the adorable flirt that I was, charm the judges by my interview. One of the typical stupid pageant questions that judges ask little girls is “Who is your favorite cartoon character and why”. Well, now that I’ve grown up, I want to revise the question for myself….Who is your favorite TV character and why? Ok, here goes and remember always answer a pageant question by repeating the question. “My favorite TV character is Carrie, from Sex in the City. (Since this is a pageant, let’s clarify the TBS version of Sex in the City). Carrie is a strong, self-confident, working woman who writes an s-e-x (never say sex during a pageant) column for the New York Star. She is single, lives in New York City, and is well-known and recognized by her readers. She has a body to die for and the greatest shoe collection on earth. She has three wonderful girlfriends who stick by her, encourage her, seek her advice, laugh with her and listen. Carrie attracts perfect men! Who wouldn’t want the sweet Aidan (John Corbett), a romp (or shall we say a “pas de deux”) with Mikhail Baryshnikov, and finally the very sexy Chris Noth, Mr. Big. Carrie has what every woman wants…a successful career, great clothes, great shoes, maintains a perfect body, and in the end finds true love.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

SRSC (Student Recreational Sports Center)

My favorite place on campus is by far the SRSC. It’s my nirvana, my heaven, my escape, my reality, oh my there are cute boys here! Anyway, I make my way to the SRSC, religiously about 4 – 5 days per week. During my years at IU, my body has been routinely exposed, exhausted and excruciated by Kickboxing, Pilates, Spinning and a general routine work out program of weights and cardio. After gaining the freshman 15, I took on a personal trainer my spring semester freshman year, which unfortunately pumped me up so big I started talking with an Austrian accent, “Hava la vista baby!” After that, I did a lot of reading on exercise, changed my eating habits, and began a serious work out regimen on my own. I have been addicted to working out ever since. I love it! I feel better than ever! I look better than ever! I’m so into my workout I recently booted out one of the hottest guys on campus who was about to put his brand new Nike running shoe on my #12 treadmill, when it was obviously my turn from the signup sheet and not his. Don’t mess with me and my #12 treadmill stud you! He sheepishly backed off.

My treadmill time is the first thing I take care of when I arrive at the SRSC. I sign up for two spots so that my invisible friend and I can be sure to get the “extra time” we need to run for at least 30 minutes. Right now, I’m running up to about 4.5 miles per session. Wow, you say? How do I do it, you ask? Well it’s all about concentration. I’ll let you in on a little secret. And the next time you see a lineup of 10 girls running like they are being chased on their treadmill, you’ll ask yourself I wonder if they are thinking about that too. Trust me, they are not thinking about homework, or about food, or about class, or about family or good friends, or about how great they’re going to look by working out, or even about buying those fabulous new pair of shoes. What gives me my 5.0 mile inspiration is concentrating on my horrific past relationships and other jerks I’ve dealt with throughout my life. These thoughts empower women to be tough, be strong, be mad and get passed the hurt, and I don’t mean the hurt that your ankles are feeling by running so much. Like Christina sings, “Thanks for making me a fighter”, cause when I’m on that treadmill I am fired up like…well, like did you ever watch Cape Fear with Deniro playing Max Cady? And remember when Cady was doing that extreme workout in his cell? Yeah, like that! So now here’s some advice for the men. When you see an attractive girl getting off the treadmill after an extreme work out, trust me, that is NOT the time to flirt with her. Stay clear! She has just set up all her ex’s like bowling pins and got a STRIKE!

No matter how many complaints people have about our beautiful SRSC, my main gripe is not only the lack of treadmills available and spinning classes that fill up too quick, but first and foremost with parking. It irks me that I am paying out of state fees of $25,000 per year to attend this fine institution, plus the normal athletic fees to use the SRSC, plus an annual fee for my “E“ lot pass, but I am also fined every time my work out goes over a two hour parking limit. This is the most ridiculous rule I know! I’m a maniac ok? My usual workout lasts two hours. If I have to wait for a treadmill I am surely going to run over my parking limit outside. This school is so money hungry it’s ridiculous. Last week, I was fined $1.50 for coming out of the SRSC 15 minutes late. I don’t carry money on me when I work out since there has been a known theft problem at the SRSC. Not only are there thieves inside the SRSC but obviously the people working the outside parking lot are there to “steal” your money as well. The parking attendant saw my face contorting and turning to a greenish hulk-like color with steam shooting out my ears and proceeded to give me the phone number of someone to contact since I was obviously ready to explode. Trying to compose myself, I called the number she gave me to find a man who could only recommend that I get involved with the IUSA Board and change the rules. That’s funny, since when did the IUSA Board care about anything but lowering the price of a keg in Bloomington?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day with my Lesbian lover, Alexis

Now that I’ve gotten all of your attention, I have to laugh. No, I’m not a lesbian and neither is Alexis. We’re best friends…girl friends. It doesn’t matter that we say “I love you” with an additional sharing of “mwa mwa” kisses in mid air to each other at the end of our phone conversations or when we say goodbye. We are quite frankly two healthy All-American heterosexual females who have no physical attraction towards each other. Even though, quite a few out there have questioned us and hinted at the possibility. We don’t hold hands or walk with our arms around each other. We don’t even rub noses in public. We have coffee together, watch movies together, go out to eat together, and, of course, talk in half sentences to each other. We remember each other’s birthday and share gifts with each other at Christmas even though Alexis is Jewish. Yeah, I guess that does sound a little serious.

Since neither of us is currently boyfriend-endowed, Alexis and I will spend Valentine’s Day together. Actually this is our second Valentine’s Day together. That’s pretty sad, huh? It’s our least favorite day of the year. A day in which we huddle together and reassure each other that there is nothing wrong with either of us, that men are non-essential beings, and that this day is nothing more than a way for Hallmark to make money. Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge lovers on Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing wrong with avoiding Hallmark Stores and even drug stores, between New Years and February 14. Any necessary medications are purchased prior or after those dates. I did have one really nice Valentine's Day in my poor, pathetic life. And I’ll try not bash any ex’s today, but he surprised me with beautiful red roses and then we went to a park at night, swung on a swing together and then made-out in his car for a while. Yeah, that was nice. Until 1 week later he freaking broke up with me. Ugh! Don’t get me started. Haha, get this, he used male excuse reason #25… “I’m going away to college in 4 months and I don’t want to get in a serious relationship”. Aren’t men grand?

Anyway, Alexis and I are taking each other out to a nice candlelit restaurant and then afterwards we’ll come back to my apartment and watch some sappy chick-flick together. I’ll take her home and then return and proceed into my normal bedtime routine remembering to say my prayers thanking the Lord that He got me through another Valentine’s Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Happy Birthday Abraham!

Today is February 12. The day we traditionally celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. And even though my ancestry connects me to one of the Lincoln Conspirators who was tried and thrown in prison as a conspirator, aka Dr. Samuel Mudd, you know, “your name will be Mudd", I have always had a soft spot for Abe. First of all, his wife was a little crazy but then you would be too if you’d lost a couple of children, was obsessed with the possibility of someone killing your husband (which proved right), had everyone criticizing the way you dressed (which is political suicide), and then have your oldest son commit you to a mental institution. Abe was constantly tortured by nightmares, usually of his own death. The stress of war paid its toll on Abe as well…Thousands and thousands of young men dead, brother killing brother, cousin killing cousin. His own cabinet of long beards was against him. The North hated him. The South hated him. Thank god Abe believed in preserving our union. Thank god, the slaves are free. Thank god, we have great movies like Gone With The Wind. Thank god, Mammy got an academy award. Thank god, for Stephen Sondheim. Wait a minute, what was I talking about again?

Oh yeah, the man couldn’t even watch a play without some crazy, starving for attention actor coming in and rudely upstaging a great performance (one which Lincoln was enjoying, by the way) to shoot and kill him.

Did you know this country had Abe exhumed in 1901, 36 years after his death just to identify the poor man’s body in the casket because rumors surfaced that his body had been taken? Good thing Mary wasn’t around when that happened! That would have really sent her off the deep end.

And finally, remember Shirley Temple in the Little Colonel when she sat on Abe’s lap and he shared his apple slices with her and then he freed her father in prison….How can anyone not love this man?

Abe, Happy Birthday. Rest in peace.

Friday, February 11, 2005


One of the more practical things I have learned by living away at college is how to kill a spider or this other ugly thing I’ve heard called a “silverfish”. As a child, I would see a spider in my bedroom or bathroom and scream like I was being attacked so that my father would come rushing upstairs to save me. He always did. He was and still is my hero. But since Daddy doesn’t live here in Bloomington, I have learned to fend and fend off for myself. Therefore, when I see a bug of any kind…even a knat, I can put it to its death. It’s hard, but I manage. I am woman, here me roar….For I am Tara…brave daughter of Mark, Famous Bug slayer of Cherry Hill.

Recently I saw a couple silverfish in my apartment. After I slapped them silly with a shoe, I called my landlord and they immediately came out and sprayed enough to almost kill their tenant. Anyway, things are good.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

What I've Learned from My Dating Internship Study at IU: A Pschological Comparison of East Coast Males vs. Mid-West Males

After three years of high school dating east coast males, I entered college in the beloved Mid-west believing in my heart that I truly needed to see what was on “the other side of the fence”. Unknowingly, I had always perceived Midwestern males to be made up of simpler, kinder, down-home spirits, who would treat their women with a non-“Soprano style” harshness that east coast girls have become accustomed to. Yes, east coast males love a good fight and an “in your face” argument. They build up this muscle-bound defense system (MDS, for short) however, when they want you, they make it clear, they want you! And, when it’s over, you’ll not only receive your typical top ten male excuses but you’ll also receive as a parting gift this lovely east coast proverbial addition, “But I’ll always love you” as a finale’. On the other hand, Mid-west boys are vague. They leave you hanging…tell you nothing…AWOL is the name of their game. They are non-confrontational, and have little or no verbal skills, which is probably why SAT’s are not taken into consideration when applying to IU. Midwest males from Detroit, through Chicago, and down to our beloved Bloomington, have that natural down-home glow, but are more in a rush to get you into the “haystack” than your east coast boys who can “at least count” to 7 or 8 dates before pushing the…well, let’s just say we don’t have “haystacks” in New Jersey. A mid-west boy finds out you’re from the east coast and it’s a sure thing they’ll be screaming “run for your lives!” I think they truly believe brunettes are from outer space and want to capture the Midwest male and transport them via UFO (aka black BMW) to their unknown atmospheres known by some as…New York. (Scary thought…just frightening!) Midwest males believe east coast girls are shrewd, crude, can probably beat them in arm wrestling (they’re probably right) and are all Jewish…or maybe Italian with papas in the Mafia.


I’ve learned so much from living amongst Midwestern males these past three years. Blondes, I’ve finally figured out the way you’ve survived your men all these years. I’ve learned “when in Bloomington, do as the Bloomington-ites do”. I’ve learned to hit the eject button so fast that I can survive the Midwestern male without a scratch. Honey, you won’t need to say a word. Trust me, when high noon comes, I can pull the trigger faster, shoot ‘em dead before they even had a chance to “pull back” and run.

For me, after graduation, I’m going back…..back to that far distant planet where men are real men…Men like Rocky Balboa, Tony Soprano, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Willis and Billy Joel. I’m leaving the wimpy David Lettermans, the annoying Tom Arnolds, and the light-weight, brooding, insecure actor-types like James Dean without regret. I tried to take on your Midwest girly ways by idly sitting back and remaining…sweet. Without dying my hair blonde, I thought I would perhaps stand out in a crowd, however, being a brunette in the mid-west makes you virtually…invisible to the Midwest male. So how did I go about attracting a few Midwest males to complete this comparison? Trust me, it’s never hard to find a male willing to bite in the Midwest, in fact, that’s all they can do is bite…no talk…just bite…no explanation…just bite. Beam me up Scotty!