31 December 2012

Tsk, Tsk, Tsk

Oh 2012.  I had high hopes for you.  You lived up to them for the first few months but somewhere around the middle you became 2008 and 2011 all over again.  Heartache, cancer, stress, mess...you were a doozer.  Will I miss you?  Yes, parts of you.  But I'll be glad to see the rest of you go. 

May 2013 bring my family less heartache, no cancer, and a bouncing baby boy!

14 December 2012

And Then the Rains Came

It was June.
The most tragic things always happen in June.
It was hot and sticky on the bank of the Mississippi.
It was there that I read it.
There that he said it.
Said 2% of me was unlovable.
And two percent was all it took.

I sat in my car for an hour
Racked with sorrow
and the horror of knowing,
knowing what my 2%
represented to him.

I screamed
and heaved
then puked
the anguish of one being placed
on the shelf next to the perpetrator.
I felt guilt
for sins I never committed.

I went home
numb and collapsing
within myself.
Did he know?
Did he know how much I too
hate the 2%?
Hate what it means?
Hate how it makes me unlovable
to him,
to my past,
to my future.

I wanted to tell him.
Tell him I was sorry.
Sorry for what the 2% meant.
What the 2% represented.
I wanted to understand
and be understood.

But the wound was old,
and deep
and he took no care when he
struck me in the one place
that had never healed.

The next morning was grey and pouring rain.
I stood on the deck in my pajamas
and cried with the storm
until the storm was all cried out.
And then I cried some more.

I wish I could say half a year later
that the thought of having my loveability
parceled out in percentage points
didn't still tear me apart.
Didn't still bring a crashing wave of burning
embarrassment and shame.
Didn't fill me with the kind of horror
that makes me feel 8.

But it does.
And it's awful.
It's a demon that's taken shelter
in my broken and fragile heart.
At times I find myself screaming,
inside my head
inside my chest
inside my heart.
My soul is tormented.
Tormented that it didn't just happen once
It happened twice.
And there's no promise it won't happen again.

So, I tell myself,
stay silent,
stay quiet,
stay still.
Let the ghosts and the nightmares
rage, as they will,
and pretend it never was.
Pretend you didn't allow yourself
to foolishly slink into vulnerability.


But remember that often the things we hate in others
is the exact thing we hate within ourselves.

12 December 2012

My LIfe of Late

It has been a frikin' zombie apocolypse over here in Carrieland.  Dead things just keep arising. 

That being said, I thought I'd do a brief catch up based on the Zombieland rules (although they are not brought to you by Twinkies...may Hostess rest in peace).

1.  Cardio
My running spree was hijacked by a massive sinus infection/cold...just when I was about to tie on the shoes and get back on track karma took me down again (see #18)

2.  Double Tap
Wiser words have never been said...even then they still come back.

3.  Beware of bathrooms
Today I found out that my building on campus is haunted...by old ladies...in the home economics department.  My classmate said, "haven't you noticed how creepy the bathrooms are?".  To which I replied, "I will now".   Jeepers, as if the U of MN wasn't bad enough...now there are geriatric ghosts in the mix?  Eek!

4.  Seatbelts
I don't know if you heard but we had a "snowpocolypse"/"snowmagedon" this past weekend.  That meant my 1 hour daily commute turned into 5.  FIVE.  I guess plowing the roads wasn't on the state's priority list this year.

7.  Travel light
One more week and I'll be home.  I'll be working my ass off on school stuff, but I'll have a nice change of scenery...I can hardly wait.

17.  Don't be a hero
B's get degrees...they may not get funded...but they can still get the hell out of dodge.

18.  Limber up
Yo.  Stress kills.  Mid day Saturday my neck/shoulders/upper back seized.  Like totally and completely cramped up.  I could barely move for three days.  What can one do but laugh.

22.  When in doubt, know your way out
I'm still working on this one...so many places so little time.  

31.  Check the back seat
Or at least don't leave your trunk open...because your car battery dies and then you have to have multiple people give you a jump so you can take it to get a new battery...where the auto guys will have to chisel the old corroded one out...thus damaging the battery cables...which cost an insane amount to replace.  7 hours of my life I'll never get back.

32.  Enjoy the little things
Like throwing snowballs at stop signs with your classmates.  Highlight of my week!  (and if any of you have ever seen me attempt to throw something you know it was also the highlight of everyone's week...I'm pathetic)

05 December 2012

The Horror, The Horror

Want to know what I need?  A vagenius (a.k.a a lesbian gynecologist).  Why you may ask?  Because I may or may not have lost a tampon in my very own Bermuda Triangle.  Now I usually don't talk about my lady parts in public, but I've been silently freaking out for over a week.

Over a week?  You say.

Yepper...over a week.

See, somewhere between throwing up in the middle of the sidewalk on campus and mixing four different drug classifications I remember putting in a tampon.  However, I don't remember ever taking it out.  Now, as far as I know my vagina is not known for consuming things.  In fact I'm pretty sure it's clueless when it comes to any kind of occupy movement.  It's a solitary sister.  A member's only club...with no members.  You get the point...

I finally approached a friend about it a couple of days ago.  I know I'm not the only one who may have lost a cotton boyfriend.  She assured me that it happens to everyone.  So I approached another friend...who proceeded to tell me that she often forgets she has a tampon in...and has been known to insert a second when there's already a first.

Whaaaaa?  How does one fit two tampons in at a time?

I imagine them lined up like two tiny soldiers in a foxhole.  Shoulder-to-shoulder with very little breathing space. 

That's a lot of strings.  Kind of reminds me of a pinata for some strange reason....anyway...

Friend one reminded me that tampons notoriously shoot out at various times.  Like during a vigorous cough or sneeze, or even during routine bathroom events.  So, she suggested, it may have dislodged and evacuated without me consciously knowing.

Dear creator of the universe I hope so.

I'm sure some of you are thinking, "just dig around a little and see if you find it".  And to that I say, "good girls don't dig down there".  Other's might be thinking, "grab a mirror and look"...uh...true confession...I don't know what it looks like on a normal day, there's no way I'm going to know what it looks like on an abnormal day.

So I'm just going to wait until something drastic happens.  Like something starts rotting in Denmark, or I suddenly kill over dead or start seizing and spike a high fever.

I'm just going to have to wait.

And if I end up on an episode of The Monster Inside of Me you'll know what happened.  I mean, it's not like I didn't know.  Way back in 1996 when I took winter camping at Rick's college they told me over and over and over again, "cotton kills".  Folks, it just might.

Thank you for letting me share my pubic panic publicly (I couldn't resist that alliteration).   Sometimes I just need to announce my concern.  I'm one of those people who believes that if I think the worst, the worst won't happen.

P.S.  I woke up this morning and my roommate's cat had pooped on my computer...too bad I didn't preemptively think about that.  Things are x-tra awesome over her at the House of C.

02 December 2012

One Helluva Holiday

Thanksgiving has been at the top of my "holidays I hate" list for the last 30+ years.  In fact, it's the only holiday on that list.  Ya'll can say what you want, it's just a holiday with a lot of bad, and I mean BAD, karma behind it.

This year I decided to take my hate, and bad karma, on over to DC so I could share it with Mer and the gang.  Let me just say...a fine time was had by all...mostly in the ER, because that's how well T-day 2012 went.  Mind you, my ailments did not warrant a trip to the ER but between sick babies and my bestie's bloody spouse...well, the Jensen's met their medical deductible.  But in between the coughing, fevers, congestion, and whatever it was that resulted in Dan losing 10 lbs of blood and other bodily fluids I did have a fantastic time.  I love Mer and her family.  And Topher and Jillian and in utero baby H came for a visit.  It was fabulous.

Hours after my arrival I was put on "boy duty" while Mer took Ems to the hospital.  David and I worked on his facial expressions...he basically has one face...but it works for Kirsten Stewart, I don't see why it won't work for him as well.
 Before I caught whatever it was that sent me into a fevered hot mess, I spent a lot of time running...and it was glorious.  I ran and I ran HARD...until I didn't...because I'm easily distracted and had to keep stopping to take pictures of things I found along the way.

Like this leaf
 And fungi
 And this AWESOME big log I spent a good 10 minutes walking up and down.
And how can one not stop and marvel at moss?  It reminds me of the carpet that was in Topher's room growing up.
 And well, the sun was doing all sorts of famazing things.
I was pretty excited about what nature had to offer so I ran back to the house to pick up David so he could explore with me.
He did not find the log as cool as I did.   Truth be known he was more interested in stretching (the kid is pretty flexible)
And while Mer had warned me that 2.5 miles was going to be too long for a 3-year-old I didn't believe her...until I ended up carrying him on my shoulders for 1.5 of those miles. 
 He did love finding holes in trees and wiggling himself in them.
But what he loved the most, and what we spent a good hour doing, was this...
Yep, he was bound and determined to take all of the leaves off of all of the trees...that's a lofty goal when you're wandering through the forest.  After about 10 minutes I joined in to help and it was actually really cathartic.  So we beat up trees for an hour, until both of our sticks broke and we moved on...to the playground. 
The playground was packed with kids but David wanted to swing.  So I was pushing him and he was having a blast when all of a sudden he points up at the moon and says, "Look, a half moon".  I looked up and sure enough, it was a half moon.  He then says, "my favorite moon is the crescent moon".  

Now, I have a lot of friends with kids.  And all of those friends will tell me that their kid is the brightest thing to hit the earth since Einstein.  I usually just smile as if agreeing but in my mind I always think, "your kid is an idiot compared to David".  David is insanely bright, he always has been.  So, being the proud auntie at the park I wanted to make all of the other mothers in the park question the intelligence of their child.  So I said, "David, the crescent moon is lovely.  Now, what's your favorite planet?".  "Jupiter"  he answered.  "And why do you love Jupiter?" I said, looking directly at the mom pushing her kid in the swing next to us.  "Because it has a lot of moons" he said.  I smiled at the mom next to me.  "Yes, it does have a lot of moons doesn't it".  "Yep" he said.  I looked looked over at the mom and gave her a nod, as if to say, "don't feel bad your kid is dumb, they can't all be like mine".

After that David and I made our way home...but not before Mr. Brilliant insisted on walking up the stairs like an ape.
I mean, he is 3.

The next morning he put on a scary "mask" to scare me...
I love that kid.

I also love his little sister, because she is a productive little squirt.  Give her a phone book and five minutes and this...
Becomes this...
So much fun.

...I realize I'm missing pics of Thomas...and Mer...and Dan..and Topher...and Jillian...and the baby bump that is my nephew...

Next time. 

I didn't always wake from sleep screaming
covered in sweat
and tears
aspirating and gulping for air

I didn't always wake drowning in fear
confused by nightmares
and reality
and the blur between the two

I didn't

I didn't always have to take drugs
to bypass the monsters
waiting to accost me
in the state of paralyzed dream

But now I do
Because dead things don't remain dead
They haunt me at night
and seep into my days

Nightmares are no longer just at night.
They walk besides me under the sun
permanant fixtures
Atomic shadows

01 December 2012

This Semester's Drug

Music is my drug, my love, my savior...and this semester belongs to Muse.

29 November 2012

Posts That Haven't Quite Made It

I write.  A lot.  And I share.  A lot.  But I also write a lot that I don't share.  Sometimes it's for the best, sometimes it's because I start a really great post and then get sidetracked.  It's the sidetracked posts I miss the most.  And I say "miss" because sometimes I have no idea what I was thinking when I started writing them.  Take for instance this one...it was started sometime in October and was titled "Uh-Oh":
I've been having a lot of, "folks, shit just got real" moments lately.

Yep, that's all that was in the entire post.  I have no idea where I found that picture, but it is a doozer.  And obviously I'd just had some sort of wake up call...I just don't remember what it was.

Here, let me share more.

This one was from February and is titled "Vegetable Fail"

So I bought collard greens, and they rotted before I ate them.  So I basically jumped off the vegetable bandwagon and at this point I have no intention of going back.

That one I do remember.  Nasty greens...ick, ick, ick.  While I stopped doing a new vegetable a week, I didn't give up vegetables completely.  I've had more of them in the last year than I'd had in the previous four...overall I think my 2012 New Year's resolution was a success.

This one was titled "Grrrr" and fell somewhere in March

Once again, not sure what was the inspiration behind it, but I was obviously in a good mood that day.

This one is from June...I remember what it's about.  It's title: "Mill Weight"

You've become the mill weight.  So they cut you loose.  And you spend your time wondering how you went from being something good to something discarded.

You think after 36 years heartache wouldn't affect a person...yet it's always a new, and rarely less painful experience.

Then there are posts I haven't quite worked through yet.  I'm still milling them around in my head, teasing through the thoughts, organizing the confusion.  I hope to finish and post those.  Maybe not on this blog, but maybe on my other, nameless, secret blog (because that's where my deepest thoughts go).  But maybe some of them will make it here.

There is one from July titled "Truth".  It contains a list of things I've come, or am coming, to accept about myself.  Like I bite my lip when I'm nervous...or insecure...and I'm nervous and insecure a lot.

There is another one from August titled "Drifting Into Darkness".  It was inspired by a drive home from Duluth and my oversensitivity to the changing light as the day settled from afternoon to evening to night.  Life drifts into darkness a lot, almost imperceptibly.  I'm definitely going to finish that one.

Then there is one from September.  It's titled "Truth, Trust, Trauma & Trees".  It was born from a long walk taken on a beautiful fall day.  In it I talk about the big (T)'s and little (t)'s of truth and how truths don't always match up.  I talk about the interlude of trauma that transpires between the gap, the breaking of trust, and how that all ties back to the symbolic nature of trees.  I don't know if I'll finish that one.  It may be too much.  To close.  To raw.

But raw is exactly what a writer should be.  A good writer anyway.  Writers are suppose to be the brave ones.  The ones who say what many of us think.  The ones who put the words down and speak for the rest of us.

I made a commitment to myself, years ago, that I would be a good writer.  In some ways I am, but in many I am not.

It's interesting for me to reflect inwardly on the things I share, and the things I do not.  The ways I share, and the ways I do not.  Believe it or not, there is plenty I keep to myself.  But there is even more that boils inside of me and begs to be put on the page.  They may or may not make it to print.  I may or may not be able to write them.

For writing makes them real.

And some things are too real.

Even for me.  Especially for me.

So what does the writer do when the writer can't bear the burden of writing?

Because that is where I've found myself.

22 November 2012

My Favorite Little Turkey

A year ago she was a moody little peanut that spent two weeks cradled in my arms.  This year we cuddled quietly on the couch.

I love little Lou (and the rest of her family for that matter).

19 November 2012

The Reward for Curiosity

This past week I was the moderator of an online discussion about suicide assessments.  While responding to one of the commentators I was struck by the thought, "how many questions do we not ask, because we can't bear the responsibility of what we may hear".  I was thinking about this question in terms of my professional life, but then I started thinking about the questions I don't ask in broader terms, in terms of me, in terms of my private life.

I can tell you that in many ways my curiosity to ask questions has been squelched.  I either can't bear, or simply do not want, the responsibility for what I may hear.  Because hearing means accepting, and sometimes I just don't want to know.  I just don't want to accept.

So I stay silent.

I don't ask.

Somewhere along the line I learned that in some situations the less I knew, the safer it would be.

In fact there have been moments, when I can literally see my house of cards crumbling, that I tell myself to stay quiet, to not ask, to just sit back and watch as life falls in around me.

As if silence is the brave thing to do. 

As if silence will make things easier.

As if silence will stop my heart from breaking.

But at that moment, the moment when the first card is pulled, I freeze.  I can literally feel the icy hands of silence gripping my throat.

We call that the Fight, Flight, or Freeze response.

It's a reptilian reflex buried deep inside the primitive part of our brain.

I don't fight.

I don't flight

I freeze.

I don't ask because I fear the answers.  I fear the responsibility.  I fear what it would mean to be left holding the truth. 

The ugly, unchangeable truth.

One day I hope to be safe enough that silence isn't needed.  And brave enough to bear the responsibility of what I might hear. 

10 November 2012


I have been a gremlin this week...depending on who you are that either means this...
or this...

Either way it is U.G.L.Y.

In fact it's like the 16-year-old me is back...only I can't blame puberty for my irrational orneriness...maybe it's the fact that no matter what I do, peaceful sleep evades me...maybe it's the Minnesota winter that's creeping in...maybe it's year 3 of this PhD...maybe it's the fact that I have zero time to entertain my right brain and I'm suffocating from lack of creative time.

Ugh.  Whatever it is, I am impossible to be around.


I need my funny back...or a good scream in a subway station.
Today at the Costco pharmacy I saw a special dog coat that guaranteed to "calm the anxious, barking pooch".  If they'd had one in my size I would have bought it.

But they didn't.

So I bought bacon.  Because bacon is balm for the soul.

Let's hope it chills me out.

07 November 2012

Phun in Phoenix

Last week I escaped the frozen hell that is Minnesota and attended a conference in Phoenix where I presented some of my research findings.  It was serious business and the crowd was so wowed they didn't know what to do with themselves, and really, neither did I.  I mean, what I do is sooooo important.  I knew the trip was going to be well worth the pennies I spent when I flew over this
We don't have mountains like that in the Min.  Any kind of altitude makes me blissfully happy.  I was glued to the window the entire time...yep, I'm that person
The plane was loaded with old people and I was slightly worried God would take us all at once, out of pure economy...but alas, no such luck. 

After my research spiel I took to the streets and ran, and ran, and ran, and ran.  It was FANTASTIC.  I haven't run that far, or that fast, in years.  The warm weather was amazing and solidified what I've known for months...I am done with the cold.  Done.  Come May, when I am no longer tethered to the U of MN, I am selling my life and heading somewhere warm, maybe even hot...stay tuned....now back to Phoenix...

They have palm trees in Phoenix.  I love me some palm trees.
In fact, I love them so much that I gave one a high five as I ran by...did you know that palm trees ARE NOT the tree you want to just slam your hand against?  When I high fived it, it shot a 1/4 inch sliver back.  Son of a biz!  I then spent 5 minutes trying to dig the sliver out of my finger, blood was dripping all over...I had no idea a little sliver could cause so much damage...I'll be honest, that kind of mellowed my love for the palm trees, but on I ran.

I ran by this guy one morning
I think we went to high school together.  I stopped to ask but he didn't remember me...like all of the other guys in high school.  So on I ran...until I came upon a quaint church with a meditation labyrinth.
I haven't done one of those since Kentucky.  So I took the time to walk and contemplate...I'm sorry to report, no revelation or epiphany...so I ran on..right into this guy...
Eek!  It was Halloween so I thought it was fitting.

I also ran by some cool sidewalk art
 And roses...IN NOVEMBER!
And a basilica with this awesome woody tree
And blue, blue skies.
Phoenix was phun, yes, ph phun.

When I wasn't running I was working, or just staring into a void...in the sun.
IN THE SUN.  I have learned to actually like the sun...this new fact about myself kind of scares me and I'm not sure what to do about it.

Oh yeah...MOVE the hell out of MN.

May ya'll....May.

04 November 2012

I Miss My Cooter

Some days I miss my Cooter. 

My soft, floppy eared, Cooter.

My Cooter that loved romps through the snow. 

Up.  Down.  Up.  Down. 

I miss petting my Cooter after a long day at school.

I miss the love only my Cooter could give.

Tonight I miss my Cooter.

Best dog (and best name for a dog) ever.

Heaven is lucky to have my Cooter.

24 October 2012


I fear that so many amazing albums have been release recently that there's nothing left and it will be back to the musical desert for months, if not years.  But until then, let's squeal like tweeners at a Bieber's concert about the new Shiny Toy Guns album.

Granted, it's no We Are Pilots but Carah Faye is back and that makes the album magical.  Another thing that makes it magical?  The fact that there's a song titled Carrie...check it out:
But my favorites are:
And several more...

Sigh...music makes life worth living.

22 October 2012

Strange Shiz

So this is how my life goes....blah, blah, blah...*crazy cosmic crap* like giving CPR to a homeless man...blah, blah, blah...*crazy cosmic crap* like buying five special needs fish...blah, blah, blah...*crazy cosmic crap* like almost losing an eye in a bungee cord accident...blah, blah, blah...*crazy cosmic carp* like spending the afternoon trying to help a paralyzed squirrel.

Yes.  A paralyzed squirrel.

What can I say.  Mother Earth loves him too.  I couldn't just leave him there, clawing his way across the grass, dragging his bloody hind legs behind him.  I know.  I tried. 

But bless his little heart, he DID NOT want to get inside the cardboard box that was waiting to transport him to the Minnesota Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.  That's when I got hospital security and maintenance involved.  Oh sure, they thought I was ca-ray-zay, but honestly, it was the most pathetic thing I've ever seen.  His little paws clawing at the grass, reaching, frantically...ugh, my heart broke.  So I looked that security guard and maintenance man in the eye and said, "you'll feel good about yourself as a human being for helping this little critter out".  They rolled their eyes and reluctantly helped me wrangle him into the box.  They then proceeded to take me into the hospital to find some duck tape so I could secure the box...no one wanted a 1/2 paralyzed squirrel busting out of the box in my car. 

I think that guard and maintanance guy felt their true humanity at that moment.


So, with the squirrel in the box I started the drive to the rehab center...the entire time singing this in my head:

BUT, being a trained trauma professional I knew **** in a Box would not be the soothing sound the little varmint needed at that specific moment (although I personally think **** in a Box is fitting for just about any other moment).

So, I perused through the sounds of the Twin Cities and finally landed on MPR and a debate on the same sex marriage amendment.  THAT my friends is EXACTLY what a 1/2 paralyzed squirrel needs on his way to rehab.

I'm not entirely sure, but he may have died on the way to the facility.  I say that because the moment we sealed that box there wasn't even a slight movement inside that box.  I'd like to think he felt comforted all snuggled in my emergency fleece jacket (the one I kept in the trunk in case my car ever broke down on a -50 degree day) and fell asleep.  But chances are he went into cardiac arrest and the stress of what had just happened killed him.

I wasn't curious enough to check.

So I walked in the center, handed the box to the nice rescue lady, gave a donation, then asked what their treatment protocol was for 1/2 paralyzed squirrels.  She launched into her vet lingo and started talking x-rays, blah, blah, blah.

I cut her off.

"You're going to put him to sleep aren't you."

She looked at the floor.

"That's ok" I said, "better he die here, somewhat peacefully, than starving and freezing to death on the hospital grounds."

She gave me a small smile and I left.

And I had a slight meltdown.  Like an entire bag of cookies kind of meltdown.

Whew, sometimes life is just too, too much. 

07 October 2012

Oh What a Month It Was...

...for music that is.  I don't think I would have survived September with it's brutal return to school, eye injury, and other unpleasantries had it not been for the flood of awesome music releases.  Between Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Mumford & Sons, and an evening with Imagine Dragons and AWOLNATION I survived. 

First up was the Imagine Dragon release.  My favorite on the Night Visions album:
Up next was The Killers with Battle Born.  Brandon Flowers was/is/and always will be a #1 crush in my mind and heart.  This song gives me goosebumps.
I love this album so much my friend didn't even have to attempt to convince me to spend New Year's in Vegas at their concert.  I'm fairly certain it will be an epic way to end 2012 and to start 2013.

Mid Month I went to Imagine Dragons and AWOLNATION.  They played at a sweet little venue next to campus (it doesn't get more convenient than that!).
 Of course I went in glasses with one wonky eye...and Kit, I also went with Kit.
Imagine Dragons did not disappoint.  They are new to fame and at that precious point where they are still humbled by their success.  The energy was amazing...so was being in the 3rd row...sure, I almost got into a fist fight with a girl who thought she could push me out of the way and take my coveted 3rd row spot.  For the record, she backed down first...I'm sure my one freaked out eye helped convince her not to tangle with me.
Except for the awesome stage setup, AWOLNATION was a total disappointment.  I was so, so sad.  Their sound was horrible.  So horrible that we left early.   
While their music was unrecognizable live, there is redemption (and proof) that they are amazing.
The month ended with Mumford & Sons new album.  To say I'm in love is an understatement.  I didn't fall in love immediately but when I did fall, I fell hard.  This one grabbed me immediately... 
Oh. So. Good.

Sigh.  If only ever month was as musically grad as September was.

02 October 2012

Eye Update...

I giggle every time I look at myself.  I mean, how can I not?  I thought I struggled in the attractive department before the Great Bungee Disaster of 2012...but this...this makes me miss the good ol days when I wasn't banned from wearing contacts or eye makeup.  I mean, I look like a half stoned tree hugging circus carnie with a concussion...not exactly the look I was hoping for Fall 2012.   But it's the look I'll be sporting until the doctor says otherwise.

On the super bright side, a coworker gave me a pair of those HUGE sunglasses that fit over my regular glasses.  They make driving a lot easier, that one eye shut thing just wasn't cutting it during my early morning commute.

So twhoot to compassionate coworkers and old lady glasses.  There comes a point in life when you just can't afford to have shame.  Sometimes functionality has to win over vanity...and in my case, it won and it won hard.