So, some of y'all might have read in Drew's blog that I was in the hospital recently.

I am still in the hospital. I've been here for a week, and will probably still be here for a few days at least.

I apologize if this blog is not meaty enough, but I am jacked up on about 80 different meds, and can barely sit up for more than a half hour without passing the fuck out.

I am in the hospital because I got a wretched case of pre-ecclampsia, which you are more than welcome to look up if you like. I've been in bed, with a catheter and an IV and hourly blood pressure readings and mechanical socks pumping the fluid out off my feet for longer than I care to remember at this point. Luckily, I am just about done with being sick. There is only one cure for pre-ecclampsia, and that is to have a baby kind of like this one...

Hey, look, it's the miniature Miss Nona! I MADE HER ALL BY MYSELF. I guess Drew helped, too, but shit. WHERE IS YOUR CATHETER, DREW??

I will post more on this later, after I get out of my premature baby/magnesium sulfate IV drip/narcotic haze. Thanks for everyone's well-wishing emails!!
Quick Note on New Stuff09/27/08

Hey, everyone... If you've tried purchasing shirts from the store lately, aside from being totally wowed by the new store layout, you probably noticed that a lot of shirts were sold out. That happens, sometimes, but you'll be pleased to know that we restocked the PERSONAL SPACE, HATE, and AWESOME shirts. So, feel free to check those out if you missed the first batches that were printed


Also, we recently had our web developer code up an RSS feed for those of you who are into that kind of thing. If you are not, that is cool, too, I don't use any kinds of feeds for my internet, either. But, if you are so swamped with sites to read that you can't even imagine having to remember coming to mine (I am touched!), then, by all means, have at. There are also feeds for Toothpaste for Dinner, Married to the Sea, and Drew's new thing, Superpoop.


Also, a reminder, if you'd like a question answered in Ask Natalie, the advice column in this here blog, feel free to send your problems to [ask natalie at natalie dee dot com]. Please be sure to put ASK NATALIE in the subject line, cause I get a TON of spam, and if it says something like PROBLEM WITH LADIES or something, I will assume that you are trying to sell me Viagra or a penis enlarger, and probably accidently delete it without noticing. Ok? OK!!

Alright, well I gotta go make a trip across town to take a shower. After the awesome week-long power outage, my water heater decided to bite the dust, and it is not gonna be replaced until tomorrow (HOPEFULLY!! PLEASE GET REPLACED TOMORROW, WATER HEATER!!) If it wasn't for my sister living in town, and living somewhere that has all the comforts of a a place people normally live, I would have had some freezing cold chattering goosebump showers in the dark, lately, I tell you what. Check y'all later!!


I mentioned in a previous blog that I have been baking bread lately... it is true. Some of you guys wrote in requesting that I blog about the bread specifically, so here I go--

I have been making two kinds of bread. The first is a standard white sandwich loaf, that makes good toast and is pretty tasty. I do not make this loaf very often, though, because it is so tasty that we will just sit around eating bread all day until it is totally gone. It usually takes us like 2 hours of bread eating to kill one of those fuckers. Seriously, homemade sandwich loaf, fresh and toasted with some strawberry jam is just about the most delicious thing in the world. OWMPH OWMPH OWMPH.

The other kind of bread I make is that ol' New York Times bread that all the bloggers make. It makes some really good bread, too, but it is a lot easier than the sandwich loaf, and it makes more bread, like a pound and a half or something. Like I said, it is also pretty tasty, but it is not so tasty that you will go into a feeding frenzy and eat the whole loaf, and you will not punch someone out for the last piece. It is still good, though, and better than what you can get in the store, hands down. It is super with spaghetti and other saucy stuff, and Drew likes cutting a slice of it, poking a hole in it, and frying an egg up in the hole. It always smells real good when he does it, but I have double-fiber Brownberry bread with my eggs in the morning, otherwise I would never poop ever. For me, NY Times bread is dinner time bread.

It is mega-super easy to make, guys. The ingredient list is so short that you feel like it is a magic trick when you make it. FLOUR WATER SALT AND A PINCH OF YEAST, HANG OUT OVERNIGHT, COOK IT UP AND WHAT THE FUCK. The only catch is that you need a dutch oven or something to cook it in. Luckily, I conned someone at some point to buy me a dutch oven (I do not remember the circumstances), so I have this bread to add to the long list of things I use it for. (Dutch ovens might seen not-so-useful, but I use mine for everything. I make some real kickass chicken in mine all the time. I almost want another one, cause I use mine so much that sometimes I am using it for one thing, and want to have it free for something else, but can't, probably because of the spacetime continuum.)

Anyway, here are some pictures of the last time I made bread. This loaf is not as tall as some of the previous ones I've made, but I think that might be because I added some extra water when the dough didn't look right. The bread was still really good, though.


Perhaps you have noticed a change in banners on my site. This is because some of the new shirts are going out of stock, and one of them (the SORRY shirt), will never be reprinted again. I know, I know, y'all never believe me when I say "never again", but it is true. Out of all the shirts I have ever discontinued, none of them have ever come back.

So, feel free to check out the new store! All the new shirts are modelled by my excellently cute and cutecutecute husband Drew, my sister Angela, her boyfriend Frankie, and our new model Ms. Chelsea. They are all good models, and good looking. That is why they model the shirts.

Modelling is superficial business, y'all. Not for the ugly.



So, like I was saying last time I wrote in this thing, we moved recently. We moved into a house that is smaller than our previous house, but it is all good, cause our old house was bloated, and we had rooms with nothing in them (ie The Old TV on the Floor By Itself Room, and The Two Rooms With a Little of the Landlord's Furniture and Nothing Else). Also the old place was totally ugly, and we just rented it cause we thought we'd be able to get a lot of work done in a big place, but, between the ugliness of it, and the landlord coming over to hang out in the yard whenever he wanted, we just weren't, how do you say, creatively inspired. Which is unfortunate when you rely on doing creative shit to eat.

So, we moved. Into the little house. When we moved, we had two brown couches, a matching chair, and a matching ottoman. We planned to put one couch, the chair, and the ottoman upstairs in the living room, and the second couch in the basement to watch TV and play videogames on. When the movers got the furniture to the house, the couch would not turn the corner into the basement without renovating the house and removing the walls in the kitchen and hallway. Obviously, we were not going to do this.

I was totally exhausted from the move, and the couch not fitting down the stairs was enough to put me over the edge. The upstairs was too small to have all the furniture in it, and there was no furniture in the basement. I was so tired that it seemed like the end of the world, THE NEW HOUSE WAS GONNA SUCK FOREVER. It was hopeless. Then, I remembered that my sister had a couch that kinda matched mine, so I called her up and had her boyfriend come by with his truck and take one of the couches. It was better to give the couch away than to have to think around it, you know? The couch was the personification of some kind of personal failure, and looking at it, all outta whack in the wrong room, fucking up my feng shui, was really bugging me the hell out. Angela made out and got a free couch, and I got some mental space to work with...

It sounds kinda like I over-reacted about the couch thing when I write this, but you gotta understand, it REALLY pissed me off. I try to be a rational person, BUT THE FUCKING COUCH WOULDN'T FIT DOWNSTAIRS, AND IT LOOKED TERRIBLE UPSTAIRS. Get it? I am still glad I got rid of it. I would do it again.

Anyway, I found myself suddenly in need of furniture, which I hadn't planned on at all. The timing was bad, too, since I just got done doing that first and last months rent/security deposit on the new place. That shit is expensive. So is furniture.

I looked around and couldn't find anything cheap, and whenever that happens, the only thing you can do is go to IKEA. Unfortunately, I live in Ohio, and the closest IKEAs are in Pittsburgh, which is an ambitious trip involving getting a hotel room and all that, and Cincinnati, which is a trip I like to avoid whenever possible. In order to avoid a road trip, I got online and ordered a couple Klippans to go in the basement, cause I heard they were flat-packed now, and I figured I would take 'em down a piece at a time if the whole shebang wouldn't go.

I ordered the Klippans, then I ordered some slipcovers from a different place, since all the colors IKEA had at the time were kinda booty.

OK, so, I got an email from IKEA saying to expect a call in 3-7 days to schedule delivery. 9 days later, I call IKEA to ask where my couch is. They say to call back on Monday.

I call back on Monday, and they say to call the delivery company. The delivery company says they never got anything for us, and to call back on Friday. I call back on Friday and they still never received any couches to deliver. They tell me to call IKEA.

This goes on and on until we've been waiting for almost a month for the couches to be delivered. I couldn't have anyone over to visit, because we took the chair and ottoman to the basement so we could sit down there sometimes (one person got the chair, the other, less fortunate person, got to sit in the beanbag.) Upstairs, we just had the one couch, which is fine for two people and two dogs, but a little too intimate, yet unconversational for more any more than that. I was getting pretty angry!

I called IKEA the last time, and they told me that they didn't know where the couches were (how do you lose TWO couches?), and that they had to file a report. I told them I wanted my fucking furniture. They said I could cancel the order, and place it again... I asked if they would be able to rush ship it. They said no. I asked if they would even be able to guarantee that it would be delivered ever, at all, and they said no. I had them just cancel the order completely, and fuuuuuuck you IKEA.

So a month later I am left with no couch. Bummed out. I checked on Craigslist, and found a nicer sectional that had small sections that would fit in my station wagon, and made a few trips and took it home. It cost less than the original couches, but is a lot fancier-looking, and I don't think the dude ever even sat on it. Pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, now I have two custom-made slipcovers for couches I don't own. They are brand new slipcovers, and they look like this:

Do you want a slipcover for your Klippan? I have TWO that I will sell you for cheaper than I bought them, and they are brand new. I haven't even opened the box yet. I will even just sell you one, if you want one. Then, hopefully, someone else will want to buy the second one. I bought them for 129.00 each, but I will sell them to you for whatever price you name that is not insulting. The slipcovers are for the 2-seater Klippan. They are popular couches, so I hope some of y'all are in the market for some slipcovers.

I also paid out the nose for shipping from Sweden or some shit, but that is my problem.

Write to me at nataliedee (at) nataliedee dot com to talk to me about couches and their slipcovers.



Q: I, like you, love purses. To unnatural degrees. Problem is, I spend too much money and time trying to find that one-size-fits-allpurse, the one that'll work for day, night, work, and hanging out and suits my requirements (outside pockets, comfy strap, etc). I tend to lean towards the fancier/designer bags when the budget allows, but I get conflicted. I feel bad spending so much money on a bag, and feel like I am somehow showing off since it's a 'status' brand. I could justify it more if I knew I'd carry the bag until it fell apart, but I know I won't. The flip side is that cheaper bags sometimes look-- well, cheap-- and while I don't want to look like some uptight rich society lady or something, I do want to look nice.

Should I just buy a purse and be done with it, telling myself no more bags for a really long time, or maybe rotate between, say, five bags? And should they all be super nice ones or one nice and the rest cheaper ones?

A: I think that nice bags are worth it... As you will read in the next question, I hate cluttering my house up with crap. As such, I save a lot of money by not buying tons of crap, and reinvest it in things that are nice that will last me a long time.

My angle on the high-end designer bags is this-- there are status bags, and there are really nice, well-made bags by good designers that are just really nice bags. When I buy a bag, I usually try to find a good deal on it (but not so good that the bag might be fake, cause paying a lot for fakes is a sucker move), and then buy something that is CLASSIC looking, instead of the it-bag of the day.

Nobody has to know the brand of your bag. If you buy something simple and well made, with no logos or flim-flam on it, nobody will think you are flossing. They might think you have a nice purse, then, a couple years later, they will notice just how nice your purse is when you still have it, and it still looks good. Buying something nice and simple and as plain as possible will also ensure that it will not look out of style in a year or two.

My original angle was to just get one nice purse and have that be it, but unfortunately, sometimes you need to have options. So, I started with a nice brown leather bag, cause I thought that would match everything. Then I started wearing more black, and the brown didn't look as nice with the black, so I got a black bag. Then, I came into some unexpected money around the same time as my birthday, and got a grass green bag, since that is my favorite color, and then at some point I got a blue one. I think I am done for now. I have one nice, well-made bag in all the colors I wear. I maintain them, and treat them with respect, and keep them in the dustbags when I am not carrying them, and they all look as nice as when I bought them. A couple of them are a few years old at this point, and still look great, so I do think they are good investments. And, in buying classic designs instead of logo-bombs, they look nice instead of gauche when I carry them.

It is a lot more worthwhile to spend extra for something nice that will stand the test of time than it is to buy something cheap, that will wear out and look bad in a couple months, and have to be thrown away in less than a year. You can shell out the extra dough, and have something very nice that will ALWAYS look good, for as long as you have it, and when wear does begin to show, it looks nice and loved instead of crappy. This doesn't pertain to EVERYTHING, but purses are something that is worth making an investment, since you carry one everyday.

Q: I just can't keep my home tidy. I don't know how to keep myself organised, I leave a trail of mess everywhere I go, the extent to which it affects my life is unbelievable...I can only have friends over to visit on the occasion that I've mustered up the energy to tidy up to an acceptable standard. I'm always late for work because I can't find anything, and though I love cooking, I never really get to enjoy it because my cupboards are empty, and besides, I don't want to make a mess because I know I won't clean it up!

I know it's not healthy to live in a dusty, dirty environment but at this point I don't even know where to start. I need some basic advice on how to keep things running smoothly so I'm not stuck with a total pigsty to deal with whenever I roll out the mop and bucket. It's weird because I do in fact enjoy cleaning up, but I'm a total procrastinator and by the time I get around to
tackling it, there's so much I get overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about it!

I should let you know I have ALOT of clothes and really need to figure out where to put them. Wardrobes and sets of drawers don't work - I don't like putting things away because I forget I have them. I live in Germany where you can barely change your curtains without mailing some paperwork so I have a serious paper organistion situation. Also working up the courage to actually chuck out
old clothes and books, I just can't bear to do it!

I can already hear the common sense solution: buy folders to file away the paper. Use see-through boxes or take poloaroids of what's inside. I know this stuff, but it doesn't help me. I guess what I want to know is, is there a philosophy to being a tidy person?

A: Here's my philosophy in regards to keeping house: Nobody is ever going to do it for you. No matter how bad I've felt, or terrible the circumstances I've fallen under, nobody has ever shown up with a bucket and said HEY, LET ME JUST CLEAN UP AROUND HERE FOR YOU.

As such, I try to make it as easy on myself as possible. It is a lot easier to take 30 seconds to sponge off the counter than it is to let all the food and dirt and crud fester on it until you need a scrubby thing and a bunch of chemicals to get it tidy. Swipe It Now VS. Project Clean-the-Counter Later. Do you want to take 20 seconds to wipe down the edges of your tub and the bathroom sink with your washcloth before tossing it in the hamper and replacing it with a clean one, or do you want to spend an hour with a bristled brush scrubbing mildew and shit off your bathroom fixtures? Would you prefer to take a minute out of your day here and there so you can have a house that is 85-90% clean, or would you rather save yourself five minutes a day out of 24 hours, and live in gross squallor?

I am not saying my house is sterile. It's not. Sometimes the dishes will pile up, but never so much and for so long that you can ever smell them, or they do not fit into one side of the sink. Sometimes I will go a little too long in between vacuums, and there will be some dog hair on the floor. BUT, my house is NEVER so dirty that I won't have people over unexpectedly, and if guests are expected, it takes like half an hour to get it looking fresh and nice.

You have to look at it as a quality of life issue... First off, your mess is already adversely affecting your quality of life, and that is a huge problem. You can't have guests over, you can't do the things you like in your own place, and your place is such a mess that it affects you even being able to leave! These are all big problems.

The main thing you need to do is get rid of your clutter. Everything you own is something you have to keep clean. Therefore, the more you like cleaning, and the more you do it, the more shit you get to keep in your house. If you don't like cleaning, and you don't like keeping up your place, THEN YOU DON'T GET TO STOCKPILE STUFF. Period. I am not balls out about cleaning, so I keep it bare-bones. If I do not keep every piece of useless crap, and give it a space in my house, I do not have to keep useless crap organized and dust it and make sure dustbunnies do not get underneath it.

If it is not a financial document, or a license or medical record, I do not keep it. If there is a question about whether or not you need it, scan it in and save it on your computer, then pitch it. If I buy a magazine, I get rid of it as soon as I finish reading it. There is no magazine rack, no saving outdated periodicals for later. WHEN DO YOU NEED OUTDATED PERIODICALS? If a piece of clothing does not fit, or is worn out, or beyond repair, I do not keep it. If I haven't worn it in a few months, or, in the case of seasonal clothes, if I take something out of storage and do not recall wearing it last winter or whatever, I do not keep it. If I have half-finished bath products that I haven't used up for whatever reason, I get rid of them. You following what is going on here?

If you are not certain something (anything) is 100% important, get rid of it. There is no BUT WHAT ABOUT LATER? Later already came, and you didn't need it. If something happens in the distant future that makes you need junk from years ago, there are bigger problems going on aside from where all your clutter went. I have been on my "Don't Bring Anything In The House And Get Rid Of Anything That Looks At Me Crosseyed" kick for a while now, and the only thing that has resulted is a clean house. I have yet to be like OH SHIT, I ACCIDENTLY THREW THAT THING AWAY. You know what you need, and what you don't. You just have to be honest with yourself, and pitch the crap in the same way you'd rip off a bandaid.

I am not trying to sound harsh or anything, but it seems like your problem is one of two things, or possibly a combination of both. The first problem would be that your cleaning issues stem from pure laziness. The comment about not knowing where to put your clothes, and then adding that you KNOW you put them in a dresser or wardrobe, you just don't want to use them, leads me to this conclusion. You have to WANT to enact any solution to problems you have. I can't help anyone improve anything if the most basic solutions are met with a I DON'T WANNA.

The second problem might just be depression... I say this because you don't value your own well-being enough to keep things nice for YOURSELF, and your reluctance to pare down your posessions makes me think you are keeping them to fill a void rather than to meet any actual need you have. You treat your place as a place to store stuff you don't need, and as a surface to collect grime, at the expense of having a functional life, and you put your friends' perceptions of how you live ahead of actually living in a healthy way. You dig? If I am wrong about the depression thing, then it is just laziness, and I guess that's cool, too. If it's depression, though, maybe you ought to talk to someone about it who is not me (ie. a doctor or therapist of some sort.)

I guess, long story short, is you need to get into the habit of taking a minute or two out of your day here and there to tidy up a touch, and make your house nicer to be in...throw away your crap, ALL OF THE CRAP.... and be honest with yourself about WHY not getting anything done, and giving inanimate objects precedent over YOU and your quality of life, is the way you decided to live. You are a grown up now, you have total control over how you live. The cleanliness of the place you live in is an extention of your own personal hygiene. If it is important to shower and make sure you are presentable and don't stink, it is equally important to keep your home to the same standards.

This is not a situation that is outside your control, people all over the world keep up their homes, regardless of socioeconomic standing or culture. People sweep the dirt floors of huts. They prepare their own food. They understand the space limits of the place they live in, and don't fill it with cack until they can no longer function within the walls. This is a situation that is unpleasant to face, because you let your work pile up for such a long time. The only way out of it is to get to work, and establish cleaning habits so this doesn't happen again. It's only hard if you make it hard.

Holy Crud!08/25/08

Hey, everyone... 4 months ago, our store went down for a redesign, plus a changeover from Drew and I packing orders, to a professional fulfillment company packing orders. Unfortunately, the switch took a LOT longer than we had anticipated, and some snags along the way resulted in having to start over at square one back in July. SHITTY.

The good news is that we are now all set up at a super-awesome and professional fulfillment service based out of Pittsburgh, and these cats will ship stuff with great speed and skill. It costs a little bit more for us to have other people do the manual labor, but the speed and precision, and the plethora of shipping options we are now able to offer you guys makes it all worthwhile. We beta-tested everything over the last couple weeks, and were really blown away with what an excellent job they did. PLUS, the store is totally redesigned (you can shop Natalie Dee merch, Married to the Sea, and Toothpaste for Dinner all at once!) AND there are new Natalie Dee shirts, a new Married to the Sea shirt, and twenty-some new Married to the Sea prints! AND AND AND we are no longer processing orders through PayPal, so you don't need an account with them to make a purchase, and you don't need to worry if you are one of those folks who just don't trust PayPal that much.

So, please CHECK OUT THE NEW STORE!! If you are one of the million cats who have written me in the past few months begging to buy stuff, now is your chance! The grand-opening is tomorrow, but this is an opportunity for my blog-readers to check out the new store before we start linking it from the front and all that jazz. I am pretty amped, I hope y'all like the changes (and buy something, since I haven't had any income at all since April.)
Boring Summer/Ask Natalie08/20/08

I got one of those Twitter things, you can see over yonder (to the left over there.) I was wanting to set one up a few months ago, but I knew that we were going to be redoing the blog-writing program thing we use, so I waited until last week or whenever it was.

One thing I have found since firing it up is that reading people's Twitters is freaking BORING! No offense to you twittin' folk, but there is only so much intrigue you can pack into 140 characters. They are all like "@gobblefishgirl1986: LOL how was your trip to your mom's house?"

I can't say that I didn't kinda know that they were boring. They have a Twitter feed on the front page of the local news website that I look at all the time, and those cats always just post what they had for lunch. In fact, I have been collecting all their lunch posts, just cause I think it is funny to post such things on the front page of a news site. BREAKING NEWS, I AM HAVING LEFTOVER FALAFELS AND A DR PEPPER.

Here are some gems from my collection:

If you work in the local newsroom, please don't think I am making fun of you. My collection is good, clean fun, like stamp-collecting. The food twitters are just like little stamps that I can screenshot, and put in my folder. Whenever there is a new food Twitter on the news site, I get all pumped and screenshot it real fast, and whenever I check the news, I go backwards through the Twitter to make sure I didn't miss anything.


I may have mentioned it before, but I kinda put myself on a news diet... I find that, if I spend a lot of time reading all the news, I get a little depressed and anxious and what-have-you. The thing is, I've noticed that when I DON'T stay obsessively up-to-date on world happenings, nothing bad happens to me. It is almost like not knowing every detail about Israel and Palestine and Africa and the Republicans and Bird Flu and whatever the hell else, doesn't matter much. I can know about all of it, and people still fight and kill each other and cause problems, and NOBODY TRIES TO KILL ME OVER IT.

I'm not saying that ignorance is bliss, but a little bit of ignorance is kinda like a Xanax. Not something you wanna get into the habit of, but really helpful when you need it. And that shit will mellow you the hell out. If there is some world situation that develops into some ongoing thing, I will familiarize myself, but if it is just some news story about something that MIGHT happen, or a teeny detail in something that has been going on forever, I just don't see the need to fret too much about it.*

*This has probably saved me thousands in psychiatrist bills and anti-anxiety meds, FYI.

My news diet has resulted in a deep interest in the aforementioned local news. Local news sometimes affects me, and the stories on local news never really have that "We're All Gonna Die!" vibe to them. It is almost like they cater to a captive audience, and don't really profit that much off terrorizing people into partaking of their media.

I check the local news website like 10 times a day, in case something happens. Whenever anything happens, it is like SOME GUY GOT HIT BY A CAR! or KIDS DON'T LIKE SCHOOL LUNCH! or YOU GUYS NEED TO BOIL YOUR DRINKING WATER UNTIL TOMORROW, CAUSE SOME CONSTRUCTION WORKER FUCKED SOME PIPES UP! I feel in touch with my fellow Columbusians (Columbusites? Columbusers? Columbusettes?), and informed enough.

I only really check one news channel website. I don't even remember how I picked it out. I think I had been visiting the site for a while when I realized that the other 2 local channels had sites, too, but by that point I was too embroiled in my current local news website. Lately, I've even taken to watching the news on TV.

I refer to it as "NBC4i-dot-com, the website that is also a TV show."

I also like looking at the weather dot com website, but lately that has been a little boring. From mother's day until June or mid-July, we had all kinds of fucked up storms and shit, and it was pretty rad to get on the weather dot com site and watch the finger of God coming straight for my house on the radar.

Recently, though, our weather has been California-esque, with nothing but temperatures in the mid-70s and low 80s, with no rain or clouds or nothing. Fucking boring as hell. Then, once in awhile, the radar will show a bunch of clouds and rain coming in, and they will just disintegrate as soon as they get to central Ohio. It's some real bullshit. And to think I was almost going to whine at my husband to buy me a gold membership to the weather dot com... YOU LOST A SALE, WEATHER CHANNEL SITE! YOUR WEATHER IS BORING, I AM GONNA SPEND MY HUSBAND'S 30 DOLLARS ON SOMETHING ELSE!!!


Did you see on Drew's blog how we moved AGAIN? Maybe I will get into that saga behind the move at a later date, but we did move. We just got done moving in December, and now we are living somewhere different. I feel like a hobo, but not really, since I just moved from house to house in the most Leave it to Beaver neighborhood in town, but still. THAT IS HOW I FEEL, AND FEELINGS ARE IMPORTANT, GUYS.

Anyway, I have been so swamped with moving, and then going on a mini-trip up north to visit some family, that I missed the goddamned-ass motherfucking State Fair. I haven't missed the State Fair in forever, and it pissed me off pretty good. I was all amped to go, and I got back to town, checked the dates, and the fucker had shut down the day before. I didn't get my yearly corndog or anything. Fuck.

Aside from that, I have been baking a lot lately. I have been trying to make good bread, which has been going well, and I hope to parlay that into making good pizza dough. I also made a bunch of rugelach to give to our new neighbors, so they didn't think I am some kind of weird shut-in or something. Like I was saying, my neighborhood is pretty white-bread, middle-America, so if I don't go out of my way to prove I am not socially deviant, people just think I am weird, and their perception of my weirdness just grows and grows until they run inside if they see me standing in the yard. I give 'em cookies, though, and they will wave at me when I get my mail, or when they see me driving to the grocery store.

Shit, this is a really long-ass, yet boring blog post. Sorry about that, guys. But you can see, I have been super-busy with really boring stuff, and my English teachers always said to write about what you know, so there you go. Hopefully something amazing and hilarious and excellent will happen soon. I will keep you updated on it.



Q: I am a gay dude with a male foot fetish. It's weird to even say it, considering the way most people view things like that. I know it's not the worst thing, and that it's the most common male fetish (besides breasts), but still, it's not the sort of thing most people want to bring up in daily conversation.

Getting to the point, my question is this: I like giving massages, and most people like receiving massages. I have always had a knack for pampering others. While I massage everyone who wants one and does not have a skin-transmissible disease, I especially like giving foot massages, and especially to guys, for obvious reasons. However, I always feel creepy and/or gross afterward, like I copped a feel. I don't immediately go and pinch a quick one off after or anything, but I won't lie, I have gotten some joy from it.

Is giving a foot massage to a guy when I have an undisclosed male foot fetish comparable to molestation, or worse, rape?

A: Hmmmmm.... I don't think so.

You are not FORCING anyone to let you give them a foot massage, and they are getting pleasure from receiving said massage. You're not being lecherous, all frotting up against their ankles while giving them the massage, and you said yourself that you're not even rubbing one out afterwards. Shit, you have more self-control than most dudes, who will go rub one out if they are hanging out with someone in an especially nice pair of jeans.

I think it's all good. You like giving massages to people who want you to give them a massage. You are being respectful, even if you would engage in a little foot-disrespect in a different type of situation. I mean, I have a thing for dudes in cop uniforms, but I don't feel guilty if I do a little nod-and-hello at the policeman who hangs out in the grocery store lobby, you feel me?

Q: My mother is a strong Catholic. For the past 8 years, I have rejected the religion - privately. I never told my mother, and I continued going to church and "playing along" to keep stress out of our relationship. Now that I am in college, she knows I don't go to church while away at school, and that I have certain bones to pick with the religion. I don't mean to keep it from her forever, but is it terrible of me to play along while my parents are paying for school? Do I owe it to her to come clean and tell her how I really feel? Essentially, am I lying to her, and should I feel bad about it?

A: Here's my feelings on religion-- there is no reason at all to start beef with people about it, because it is just about as personal as possible.

Your mom was raised Catholic, and continued to practice for her whole life. There is obviously something that appeals to her about Catholicism. She shared her beliefs with you while you were growing up, and it is your choice as an adult whether or not you subscribe to the tenets of Catholicism, or any other organized religion. She can't make you believe, or make you go to church, as much as you can talk her out of believing.

The catch is, you have to be respectful of other people's beliefs. In order for you to be free to be agnostic/atheist, you have to let other people be free to be whatever religion they want. Catholicism involves a lot of God and going to church, but it also involves famliy tradition. You don't have to believe in God to have Christmas Eve dinner with your family, and go to midnight mass. You don't have to believe in God to go to a baptism, or a first communion, or church wedding in support of your family or friends. You go because you love your family. If you had a friend who was Jewish or Muslim or Baptist, you would not reject an invitation to a special religious famliy function just because you're not Jewish or Muslim or Baptist. You would go because you want to support your friends in something they feel strongly about, and you should extend your family the same respect.

As far as bringing up your religious beliefs with your mother, I would just let sleeping dogs lie. She's not going to be happy about what you have to say, and you are going to feel bad and marginalized if she doesn't respect your beliefs. She's not going to give you a Get Out of Church Free card, and if she is a seriously religious person, she will probably fret for your immortal soul. You can't start a fight about it though, because as strongly as you feel non-religious, she feels the opposite, and to try to tear away at her beliefs, especially beliefs she has held for her entire life, will be fruitless at best, and damaging to your relationship.

Q #1: What is the protocol on contacting/befriending/possibly asking out a former teacher? I am 18, my (former) teacher is 10 years older than me, and I haven't seen him for four years. I would contact him via email. I really want to see him again but I know that he probably won't remember me, or if he does, won't want to talk to someone who he used to teach. Now that I have actually typed my question, I see how hopeless, creepy, and dumb it sounds, but I am going to send it anyway. I hope you can give me some advice!

Q #2: I am a sophomore in college, and there's this teacher from my high school that I've had a huge crush on for years (he's ten years older than me). We still stay in contact from time to time. I recently discovered that he has a Facebook. Would it be totally weird or completely inappropriate of me to add him? I probably wouldn't even consider it if he was just, you know, that teacher from high school, but the truth is I'm incredibly attracted to him and have a much bigger connection to him than most of his ex-students probably do.

A: I've received a few of these type questions recently... here's why this will probably not work:

1. This person was paid to be nice to you. It was their JOB to make a connection with you, in order for them to be able to teach you what they were required to teach you. A good teacher will make you feel important, and like they are your friend, cause that makes it easier to teach you shit than if they were just a dick, and all like DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

2. When you were in this person's class, no matter how cool you felt, you were in a state of hormonal turmoil. Teenagers are all like this. The hormones are all in a tizzy, and they fixate on someone completely. All of the dudes in your class were probably tools, so you projected your hormonal lust on this young teacher, cause he was so mature and worldly, and (paid to be) nice to you. It is like a baby duck, when they come out of their eggs, they imprint on their mothers in order to know how to be a duck. Teenaged girls sexually imprint on some handsome young teacher guy, cause the teacher is the first nice, manly dude they've come across since coming into their own sexuality, aside from their dads. So, you probably don't really like the teacher that much, you just associate him with your panties getting wet for the first time.

3. Since this person is a professional (see item #1), the only things you know about him are the things that are appropriate to share with a student... You don't know about any of his weird hangups, substance abuse problems, relationship history, STDs, etc. Of course you think he's great, cause he is not allowed telling you about things that might make you think otherwise. Maybe he has three girlfriends, and just hops from bed to bed every night, or maybe he lives with is mother. You don't know, because being a professional person divorces you from making deep truthful connections with your charges. Being in love with your highschool teacher is only a step or two up from being in love with some dude in a teen magazine-- you probably know just as much about your teacher as you do about the Jonas Brothers, you dig?

4. If (IF!) he wanted to date you, what would that say about him? I am not saying there is anything wrong with YOU, but dating your students seems a little predatory to me... Even if you are legal now (or, in the case of question #1, barely legal), he shouldn't really be dating you. Prowling for tail in the math class you teach is skeevy, even at a college level. If he was to date you, a young former student, who is to say he wouldn't upgrade to another, younger former student once she crossed into legal-ness? Plus, a 10 year age difference isn't much when you are older, but when you are still young, it is quite a difference. I'm just saying, as a person who is 28, and has friends who are older, one would get weird looks from their friends if they started dating a teenager, or someone in their very early 20s. So, you are up against the opinions of his peers, and possibly his employer, who would probably not be psyched about your relationship, even if it is legal.

In closing, I think it would be one thing if the age gap was a lot smaller (ie. you were in his first class he ever taught when he was like 22 or 23, and you were a junior or senior then), and you ran in the same social circles after your graduated and went off to college. If you were like 24 or 25, and he was like 30, and you saw him at your favorite bar all the time, he hung out with your friend's boyfriend, maybe he was teaching at a totally different school than the one you met him at... then, sure, maybe it would be alright. But having to fish for it leads me to believe it is just infatuation, and it would probably be best for everyone involved to just leave it alone. There are a lot of hot dudes in the world for you to date. You can fuck those dudes, and have teacher/naughty student fantasy sex with them, rather than creating a giant mess, or putting anyone in a real-life awkward position.

Oh, Hey, if you have something to send in for Ask Natalie, email it to . Also, make it so the subject line of your email says ASK NATALIE, it makes my life 1000% easier, and makes it so your question doesn't accidently get deleted.

One more thing, DON'T SEND YOUR EMAIL A TON OF TIMES... I had a handful of questions this time around that were sent in 3-4 times each, and that just makes me not wanna answer 'em (so I don't.) It is the petulant teenager in me.
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