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Neurotic As Hell

Choosing Figs Blog

On July 4, 2007, at the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Joey Chestnut ate 66 hot dogs to Takeru Kobayashi's 63. It was a historic feat: no one had ever out-eaten 6-time champion Kobayashi in hot dogs and some speculated that no one ever would. That day, Joey Chestnut did the impossible. He out-ate the man who couldn't be out-eaten. He brought the victory back to America. I watched this all go down that morning on the TV set in my parents' living room, wishing I was there, in person, to witness that historic event. Most people may think of fireworks...

It was in bar in Sevilla, Spain, many years ago now, when a fellow backpacker asked me what I liked most about traveling. I paused for a moment before saying, "When you're home and wake up the first thing you think is, 'what do I have to do today?' But when traveling you think, 'what do I want to do today?'" I've been home "for good" from traveling for over 8 months now and my life has become a list of have tos. I have to clean before guests come over. I have to do dishes before the entire place starts...

Step 1: Don't Sign Up for an Eating Contest The first step to not preparing to compete in an eating contest is to not sign up to compete in an eating contest. I suppose you can apply this logic to most anything you might (not) want to train for: marathons, SATs, dog-obedience. Whatever. Just don't sign up and you don't have to prepare. Easy. For instance, I didn't sign up to compete in the Ribmania ribs eating contest at Ribfest Chicago this past Friday. To be fair, I might have tried to sign up for it if I hadn't have been been in...

It's festival season in Chicago. At least, it is in theory. In reality the weekends have been cold or rainy or both, and every Chicagoan is waiting for consistent sun and consistent warmth. Not warm one day, cold the next. Not sunny all morning with a downpour at noon. Just warm, just sun. Summer. But in a city known to have all four seasons in one day, we might be waiting for a while. Chicago is miserable in the winter, having the kind of weather that merits not-so-cute nicknames such as "snowpocalypse" and "snowmageddon" and "Chiberia." But we brave those...

I still have trouble with balance. Even more so now that I'm home. I have work, my blog, the gym, an apartment to keep clean and to furnish. I have a million other things I want to be doing, a million other things I should be doing. Even in my most productive weeks I'll only check off a third of my to-do list only to add more for the next week. I keep telling myself that soon one thing will be finished and I'll have more free time. But then I make up some new project and am back at...

I live in Chicago. I think that's official. I've been here for seven months. I have a job. I have an apartment. I have furniture in said apartment. I think that means I really, truly, live here. It's something I'm totally fine with until those times I'm not. Until those times where I realize I could be on a beach instead. Or somewhere warmer or colder than Chicago depending on the day. Or with my friends at a conference in Spain. Or, literally, anywhere else in the world. But then I remember that even when I was traveling I spent half my...

I can't do everything. That's something hard for a control-freak like myself to admit, but it's true. I. can't. do. everything. Now, I'm the kind of girl who wants to do everything, who tries to do everything, who wants to do it all herself, even if it's beyond me. I can learn. I can do it. I can figure it out. I can. In some ways it's a good quality to have. I pick up so many more skills that way. "I'll figure it out," is one of my favorite things to say at work because I consider it a challenge if...

I've been home for six months. Six months in Chicago. I haven't even taken a vacation in that time. No flights, no weekend getaways, nothing. It's hard to believe, really. Sometimes it feels like I came home ages ago. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday. And, sometimes, it feels like I've never traveled at all. There are a lot of times where I wish I could just pick up again and move to Thailand or Colombia or travel around Africa or road trip the US. But, for now, I'm here. And I'm finally starting to feel "here." I have my apartment that's slowly...

If you've watched as many home decorating/real estate/DIY shows as I have you've surely come across an episode where a homeowner encounters a pink bathroom. And you can probably guess what's coming next. The homeowner opens the door, eyes widen, eyebrows raise, and the side of the lip stretches back. "No," accompanied by a throaty laugh is usually the first words out of his or her mouth. And then the realtor or contractor assures them it can be painted, it can be renovated, it can be masked. So you can also, probably, imagine my reaction when I was looking for an apartment,...