Archive by Author

Attempt #2 2: The Realities of Being A Healthy “Adult”

31 Dec

Kenz’s post got me thinking of course about health choices and how the body of a late twentysomething is far different than that of an early twentysomething. While I have to say that I did progressively become healthier after I turned 22 (and left the weird schedules of college) I feel that I have actually lost some of my good habits this year, despite what Kenz may say about my food choices. Full disclosure: the only reason I just had a tamale was because I had made a trip to La Mie, a lovely French bakery in Des Moines, that morning for some avocado tartine (not nearly as healthy as it sounds) and a chocolate brioche (just as bad as it sounds if not worse).  Also, I was planning on heading over to Funaro’s Deli afterwards for my favorite meal there: chicken salad on marble rye with pickles and lettuce, a bag of vinegar and sea salt chips, and a cream soda.  ALSO, who was the person who brought up ordering another round of queso? Yeah, that’d be me. 

It’s true that I usually budget a lot of extra calories around the holidays since I basically eat my Great Grandma Marge’s famous frosted oatmeal sugar cookies nonstop and return to all of my favorite food spots back home; however, usually “budgeting” means I eat very healthy options before the Christmas food extravaganza, but that didn’t really happen this year. I partially blame my new-found bad behavior on my schedule this past semester (Yes, semester. As a teacher I still maintain this kind of schedule). I have been teaching composition and rhetoric at a local community college and I also tutor kids with learning disabilities, and my work time was heavily tipped toward the afternoons and evenings. I really really hated it because I am by nature a morning person, and all I want to do is get all of my work out of the way first so I can do what I want the rest of the day.  You’d think that having my mornings open would make me more motivated to run but (HA!) you’d be very very wrong about that.  I usually used those mornings to catch up on How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, and The Mindy Project (yes, I know only one of those shows has been having consistently good episodes this season, but leave me alone). Not only did I hardly ever run, but my odd schedule made consistent meal times as elusive as a silver unicorn. Not so great for the ol’ metabolism. Kenz may think I’m disciplined, but which of us ran a marathon this year, hmmmm?

The other thing that I blame my laziness on (because I shift blame like the adult I am) was that I had an unexpected roommate in my boyfriend Will for just over three months.  Very sadly, Will was one of the many people here in Colorado severely affected by the September floods. In fact, his complex was THE hardest hit, and since he owned a garden-level unit, he was pretty devastated by the disaster. (On a side note, when donating money to a disaster, try to give the money directly to people who you know were affected. My faith in non-profits has plummeted since Will received nothing from those groups. Don’t even get me started on FEMA and insurance companies . . .)

Anyhoo, since Will was out of his place, and I was also out of my own place for a while since my carpet got soaked, we spent several days staying in the guest rooms of different friends and eating the (usually unhealthy) food that people so sweetly made for us.  Once we got back into my place, I think the combination of stress about rebuilding and the need for comfort food created a perfect storm of bad meal choices. Will is not a picky eater, though for some reason he claims to be, but I felt bad feeding him the kind of meals I like because he tends to eat more than I do and tends to burn it off a lot faster (I swear he loses a pound if he just bends over to pick a toothpick off the floor). This led me to make meals with a lot more carbs than I would usually ever be okay consuming, and to keep a little too much ice cream around since Will always wants dessert. We also share a deep love of ice cream which we will eat at any given time. Just a couple weeks ago we went to an ice cream shop when it was literally 11 below. Didn’t stop us. Another thing that happened was I remembered how much I love bagels. Oh bagels, how I adore thee! Once I found out that my favorite Boulder bagel place (Big Daddy Bagels, you complete me) sold day-old bags of bagels by the dozen for only $3.00, it was game over. Our routine began to be getting up, making coffee, eating bagels, Will heading off to teach, and me bumming around until I had to get ready for work. While I’m a firm believer that having serious carbs in the morning is best since you will tend to work it off throughout the day, I wouldn’t advise doing this every day like we were doing. On the whole, having Will around along with my weird schedule meant I cooked less, opted for easy (re: unhealthy) foods, and took up pilates for only a few days before getting too lazy to push my coffee table out of the way every morning so I could look like a spandexed monkey. Should we ever live together, I will need to get my willpower (get it? Will-power?) firmly in place, and he would agree that more greens and less bread would be best (which is saying something for someone who doesn’t enjoy eating green vegetables except for asparagus (yum) and frozen peas (laaaaaaaaame).

On the bright side, these days Will’s place is almost completely rebuilt, and I’m glad to have my happy, non-stressed Will back. This means that I am also not as stressed (it felt very weird to me to have stress because the guy I’m seeing was stressed -definitely a new feeling) and can focus on regaining some of my better habits in the new year. I will be teaching more in the mornings which will help a lot, and I have also shed some tutoring clients who were giving me unnecessary stress. (One lady actually called me at 7:30 in the morning after the flooding had begun and after I got about two hours of sleep from trying to stave the flooding of my own place and hearing about Will’s place getting progressively worse. Her question? If I could come in to tutor her son since there was no school. Keep in mind there was no school because we were experiencing A F*$%ING DISASTER. Will was able to remain calm about his own place, but got ridiculously angry upon hearing this story.)

Another reason I want to get back to being healthier and generally more put together is my new nephew, Nolan. He was born just a few days before the floods hit, and I started thinking about what kind of role model I want to be for him. It’s amazing how much a kid who isn’t even my own makes me want to adult-up and be a good example.


Would YOU want to disappoint that face? Surely not!

***On a side note, my family is good at making cute babies. To be super honest, I think that anyone else who proclaims that their *insert baby relative* is the cutest is just lying to themselves. Can you make a baby as cute as this? If you can’t, then quit now. (Yes, I have become THAT aunt, and I’m cool with it.)***

As far as 2014 goes, my goals are these: be healthier through my actions and what I eat, find a job that will launch me into a career I love, find more great healthy recipes and cooking tips, and to write more. I love to write, and it’s silly I don’t do more of it. Expect more from me here in the next year. With that, I am off to make some very unhealthy toffee I was given into cookies which I will make other people eat. How’s that for a healthy option? 🙂



The Internet & Me: Why I Need to Participate Less

16 Jul

Like almost any human being on the planet these days, I don’t know what I would do without the internet. There is so much awesome stuff I wouldn’t know, so many wonderful things I wouldn’t have seen. This doesn’t mean I’ve learned anything of value -far from it -but good golly Miss Molly, I have been entertained by this medium beyond comprehension. I am information-addicted, and when my web browser has ten tabs open, it actually means that I need to find more SNL videos/NPR Code Switch articles/meaningless Top 10 lists to fill it up with. I can’t help but feel enriched when I can watch a special about Titanoboa from the comfort of my bed. However, I also can’t help but feel a bit old when my Internet reference-laden vocabulary is unfamiliar to those younger than me. The other day I started talking like the Teen Girl Squad, and called something a betch, and my four years younger roommate had no idea what I was talking about. It’s devastating when the viral videos and memes of yesteryear are abandoned for something like twerking (<–not linked for a reason).

Though I love the internet, and it loves me, there are some ways that I interact with it that need to stop. I mean make like Joey Gladstone and Cut. *Scissors* It. *Index Finger* Out *Backwards Thumb*. Why, whhhhyyyyyy do I still bother to read the comments on articles –and why do I comment on them?? Comments are for trolls and people who have developed an opinion off of one badly researched CNN article. It never gives me any satisfaction or any feeling that I’ve actually contributed something to an actual conversation.

Since I haven’t yet stopped commenting on articles, the universe gave me a reason to just yesterday. I had of course commented on the soon-to-be Pulitzer winning Rolling Stone article, “The Dumbest Band Names of All Time.” Don’t ask me why I still read stuff on Rolling Stone. It used to be my dream job to work for them, and now they are basically one notch above Buzzfeed in terms of quality. Still, I shared my opinion, which I’m sure the world was waiting with bated breath for:

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

I had completely forgotten about making the comment, as one tends to forget about trivial, meaningless things, until I got an e-mail saying that someone had replied to my post. Since I hadn’t put up anything polarizing or inflammatory, I couldn’t guess why someone would actually want to interact with my milquetoast observations. This is what I got:

Idiot Stick

OH MY STARS –someone find me this adorable little devil stat so I can marry him and carry his child. Not to mention the fact that he is about as witty as they come. But seriously folks, I really need to stop doing this kind of thing. Especially on Twitter . . .

I have had a Twitter account for approximately three years. I’ve maybe posted something on an average of perhaps one post per three months, if that. Honestly, I think Twitter is a sack of garbage most of the time, except for stuff from seriously funny comedians like Mindy Kaling who are putting up solid gold pretty much constantly. Somehow I was hired as a social media guru this past year without letting on about my grumpy, grad school grandma distaste for tweeting. The only reason I took to my Twitter this past weekend was because of the ruling in the George Zimmerman case. I got home late Saturday night, and made the mistake of checking the news before I went to bed. Big mistake. Huge. I found myself feeling incredibly angry and worked up over the whole thing, which is not good, because that’s definitely when my foot-to-mouth syndrome comes into play. I went on Facebook and was about to post something angry about privilege and being very, very anti-gun and anti-violence, when I suddenly knew what would happen: my dear mother would ask me about it later on the phone, and would tell me that it was very immature for someone my age to let spew on Facebook. I knew she would be right. So I took to Twitter instead.

When I got there though, I was like an unstoppable machine. I somehow thought that because I don’t think Twitter matters, everyone else doesn’t either, which is so very wrong, especially when it comes to future employment. I put up my post, but was of course then prompted to see what other people were saying about the whole ordeal. Why did I do that? Naturally, the first neanderthal I saw who had said something betraying his ignorance, racism, sexism, I felt the need to pounce. Though I want to maintain calm and have conversations that actually get us somewhere, I have to admit that if I see or hear someone saying something ignorant (*cough*Ann Coulter*cough*), a very small (narrow-minded and size-based definitions) vengeful part of me wants to throw a rabid animal in their face. However, instead of chucking a salivating raccoon at this guy, this “conversation” ensued:

Twitter Fucker

I’m sure the world is a better place for this exchange (please note my deep sarcasm here). This went on for a couple more posts, but here’s the takeaway: I wasn’t going to make this guy a better person, mostly because I don’t think this kid had IQ enough to understand my 140 character messages. Yes, that’s me bashing him again, but what was I going to achieve? I had no chance at all. Ultimately, I had to just quit and try to go to sleep, which didn’t happen because I was still, of course, angry. I think I had to find a YouTube video of soothing nature sounds to get there.

All in all, I really need to disconnect more (she writes as she types on her blog). I went home for a visit about a month ago, and since I don’t have a smart phone and my parents’ internet service is somehow worse than the service I get from Comcast, I just went offline for over a week. It was actually incredibly easy and wonderful. I couldn’t bear to do it constantly, but it is doable. I also think I should make you a promise: I do so solemnly swear to stay away from article comments, social media rants, and anything that might lead to an awkward situation in any future interview. I’m making it sound like a freak out online on the regs, but I promise that this is not the case. I think it will pay to be overly cautious.

In closing, I would like to share with you one of my favorite things that the internet has produced: cheap scam ads. You know the ones. They have some ridiculous message next to a picture that in no way connects to said message? I’ve amassed a pretty great collection. Have a looksee:

Baby Mortgage Hate

Baby Mortgage Hate

Ever been arrested -for over-plucking?

Ever been arrested -for over-plucking?

He better hurry up and buy.

He better hurry up and buy.

Or it will turn into delicious banana bread dough.

Or it will turn into delicious banana bread dough.

So many ridiculously easy tricks, that he forgot the simple idea of not going out in a cartoon thunderstorm

So many ridiculously easy tricks, that he forgot the simple idea of not going out in a cartoon thunderstorm

Osmosis linguistics!

Osmosis linguistics!

If you are, you better put this thing on so you don't wake up your significant other in the meantime.

If you are, in the meantime you better put this thing on so you don’t wake up your significant other.

More like "Woman Looks Covered in Spray Cheese."

More like “Woman Looks Covered in Spray Cheese.”

Oh man guys, you have no idea how long I’ve been holding on to some of those. No seriously, it’s kind of embarrassing. I only want what’s best for you internet . . .

If Only They Paid Me To Do This

29 May

And speaking of “Moving Forward,” it’s been two weeks since I graduated with my master’s (yay!) and two weeks since reality hit me like a ton of bricks (the pain …). I’m in that wonderful little world right now where I’m trying to get the career that I want, but some steps still lay ahead. I want to get my teaching license and take some certifying classes so I can become a literacy specialist, but that’s still a little way off. Right now I’m trying not to think about the nitty gritty too much, otherwise I’ll just start randomly screaming. What I’m trying to think about is all the awesome things I can do now that I don’t have to read things I don’t particularly want to read, and write stuff that is, I’m sorry to say, mostly pointless.

One thing I’ve been reminded of is how much I like having projects, and how much my constant homework load was preventing me from doing many of the things I enjoy. One project I finished just today is for my future nephew (due September 8th! -that’s JTT’s birthday . . . and the Virgin Mary’s, purportedly). His name is going to be Nolan, and I was curious as to whether the name had any cool meanings. It turns out the name means “noble” or “noble one,” and I wanted to somehow incorporate that into a homemade gift. I wanted to use the book Where the Wild Things Are too, since it’s obviously the greatest, and there is also a picture in the book that fits well with the “noble” theme. Observe:

Nolan: Noble One

Nolan: Noble One

I know. Freaking cute, right? I bought a used copy of the book and took out some pictures, and I plan to give a new copy of the book as part of the gift. Here are the rest of the photos I did, and one grouping of them all. I think they would look the best hanging up, but they look cute in a cluster too.

Beginning the rumpus

“and the walls became the world all around”




Just right for a surely adventurous boy

Just right for a boy who will surely be adventurous

I hope that these will be a mainstay in his room for a while. Amazing what a little bargain hunting for frames, spray paint, and determination can do.

Something Kenz and I may have mentioned in this little blog is our hobby of reading/making fun of/parodying romance novels. This began several summers ago (it would make me feel too old to say how many) when Kenz and I were living in Chicago for a summer during college. The train station in the suburb where my parents lived had a “Take a Book, Leave a Book” shelf that was mostly populated with cheap smut, so we naturally took the opportunity to give ourselves a good laugh. And laugh we did –maybe too much for the liking of other train passengers, but thus, a tradition was born. We ended up reading at least four of these “novels” that summer (cut us some slack –we were poor college kids looking for entertainment). At one point we even got the idea to write one for ourselves, because really, how hard could it be? Sadly, we only got so far as to name the characters (obviously over-wrought, non-real people names), pick the setting (the Australian outback!), and decide on a body part to fetishize (seriously, this is something that these books always seem to do). One way the tradition has continued is by Kenz sending me these amazing postcards that feature the covers of romance novels, which can often be the best part of the book, if you ask me. Here are some of the postcards I’ve received so far:

Speech Bubble No. 1: "I stare because I have no thoughts." No. 2: "Wake up, you iiiideot!" No. 3: "I stop cats with my hand!"

Speech Bubble No. 1: “I stare because I have no thoughts.” No. 2: “Wake up, you iiiideot!” No. 3: “I stop cats with my hand!”

The Classic Overswoon -He's just kissing your cheek, for God's sake

The Classic Overswoon -He’s just kissing your cheek, for God’s sake

You might not see it, but there is totally a voyeuristic posse of creeps on the ridge behind them

You might not see it, but there is totally a voyeuristic posse of creeps on the ridge behind them

Romance cover, or PSA for avoiding electrocution?

Romance cover, or PSA for avoiding electrocution?

The bangs. Dear Lord, the bangs!

The bangs. Dear Lord, the bangs!

I of course treasure these postcards with all my heart. Our hobby has become well-known to many of our friends, who think we’re insane, but love us anyway. One of them must have given me a romance novel as a joke at some point, because as I was cleaning out my overcrowded bookshelves, I came across this:

Wow. What a "deep" title.

Wow. What a “deep” title.

I don’t remember who had the fabulous idea to give this to me, but I’m thrilled that they did, because it has provided me the opportunity to take the hobby further. After reading literary theory for the last two years, this book has been a welcome reprieve, but I haven’t stopped my habit of writing in the margins. However, this tendency has made this book one of the most fun projects I’ve had in some time. I write commentary about the characters and the horrendous writing, correct grammar errors, play Mad Libs with the most erotic scenes, and generally just make the book approximately 110% better. The book centers on the characters Rhea and Gustavo (*snicker*) who meet on a plane to Brazil. Gustavo is from Rio, and Rhea is a photographer for a swanky magazine -something you cannot tell from the cover, since the models look like PDA-loving parents at a high school football game in Anywhere, USA. Once I am finished with it I will send it to Kenz, who mayhaps will write a review of the whole experience of reading it? Perchance? 🙂

By far the best thing so far about being done with school is being able to go up to my boyfriend’s cabin in Northern Colorado and not having to read one thing (except, of course, when I would sit in the rocking chair on the porch and giggle while making notes in Everlasting Moments). This past weekend was the first time I’d experienced that area during the summer, and it was wonderfully picturesque.


The reason the bf decided to build a cabin there was to have access to the many private lakes. He loves to fish, and I really like it too, so it was pretty amazing when we got to devote an entire day to just fishing, napping, and attending some Memorial Day parties. He started to teach me how to fly fish, which I’m not terrible at, but I am a whiz at getting basically any fishing pole to tangle horrifically at least once before an hour of use. Luckily, he’s very patient.

Adorable fisherman

Adorable fisherman

We ended up catching quite a few. Unfortunately, we didn’t think ahead very well for taking the fish back that we kept, so we ended up transporting one of the fish I caught, Todd, back to the cabin via plastic packaging for some air filters, and another one, Ted, via the top of a (new, clean) garbage can that sat on my lap. The bf loves to fish, but sadly, doesn’t particularly like eating the fishies, so we’ve been trying to come up with ways to make them more palatable. We hadn’t thought to bring up any of the makings of a good fish batter, so we ended up eating them straight off the grill. More accurately, I ate about 3/4 of them, and the bf tried valiantly to eat a few bites before switching to sweet corn as most of his meal. We’ll do better next time.



The next several months are going to be weird, interesting, and probably a bit of a roller coaster as I try to successfully move forward with being a post-school adult, but I am ecstatic about having time to write, read, take photos, and generally have my goofy hobbies again. Sweet freedom!

What’s Making Me Laugh This Week

23 Apr

Since I’m quickly coming up on finals, finding a job for the fall, and working on the details of applying to school again (Yeah, I know. I apparently love having homework in my late 20s), I naturally want to procrastinate the heck out of any time I have. It seems that the amount of funny things I find increases drastically when I’m the busiest. However, I don’t want to just enjoy all of this greatness myself -I need to take the rest of you with me. In short, I aim to provide you with at least 20 minutes worth of laughs and absolutely 0 productivity. Some of you may have already seen some of these clips, but you really want to see them again anyway, right? Each of these things is worth watching/reading over at least eight times or so. Isn’t shirking responsibility the best?

So this clip is actually from a few weeks ago when Justin Timberlake hosted SNL. I know everyone and their mom has probably seen it by now, but if you have yet to, I suggest you drop your textbook, walk out of the meeting with your boss, or leave your baby unsupervised now to watch it. You will be quite happy you did.!watch/465352

Everyone loves Stephen Colbert, that much is certain. However, this clip is a new classic not only for the poignantly hilarious commentary and incredibly awesome walk-on toward the end, but for the sheer fact that Brad Paisley and LL Cool J seem to take part in their own humiliation for the train wreck of an apologist serenade “Accidental Racist.” I would love to have those two sit in on a freshman-level race and ethnic studies class and learn just how (let’s just say it) f***ed up their song is. It was obvious to everyone else but them, but Stephen really puts a positive light on everyone’s hatred of this, this . . . travesty.–song

Kenz and I are VERY big fans of Jim Gaffigan. Don’t believe me? Well here’s a picture of us with him:
Jim & US 1

Oh, is that still not enough for you? Well here’s ANOTHER one. He loves us so much, he granted our request for a funny photo . . . so he pretended to sneeze on Kenz:
Jim & US 2

One of my favorite things about Jim is that he is not only incredibly funny, but he is also very obviously a great dad and all-around good guy. He’s from a gigantic, Midwest, Catholic family, which, in my personal experience, makes a person warped, slightly deranged, and awesome (not that I’m biased). It’s only natural that his kids would be equally awesome, so he got them in on his act to promote his new book. I can only pray that my future kids will be as cool as his are:

Sometimes things maybe aren’t that funny, but then again, maybe they are. I find myself laughing harder and harder the more I look through this photo slide show. On another note, The Huffington Post Comedy section is becoming a go-to for me:

Are you tired of me making fun of Taylor Swift yet? No? Me neither. 🙂 I knew we were soul mates, so I know how much you’ll love the Onion’s page devoted to who Taylor Swift is dating right now. That girl is always out on the town with many a handsome hunk . . . or acquatic recreation device.

I have to admit that this last one isn’t topical, and may not be funny to everyone, as it’s more in the RIDICULOUSLY CUTE category. I am a big fan of miniature schnauzers, as many people in my family have them. They are the perfect combination of cute, smart, lovable, and neurotic. When I’m missing my pup, this is what I watch. I know, I’m pathetic, but I think you’ll get it if you watch . . .

Hope you had fun! Now back to your regularly scheduled life.

I Am (NOT) A Model, You Know What I Mean/ And I Do My Little Turn On The Catwalk

16 Apr

I would like to start out this post with a little shout out to Right Said Fred for being more confident and sexy than should be allowed.

Now that you’ve got that song stuck in your head for the next four days, let me share with you my thought process for this post. I was looking through my roommate’s Marie Claire magazines, and I was kind of surprised at how many designers and major labels still use way too skinny models who mold themselves into almost sickening poses and postures. After all of the Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty” stuff, and with the general cultural awareness that has been raised in the last several years about what kind of beauty we idealize, I guess I am still (naively) shocked that women who look anything but sexy are still appearing in ads. However, there was more of a mix of body types within the magazine than I expected. Still not a great range, but better than what I remember from opening any woman-targeted magazine at the beginning of the millenium.

One trend that was definitely apparent from looking through the mag is the downturn of designers using professional models, and the upsurge of them using actors and celebrities. Now, I know that many, many actors get into the business by modeling, but I wouldn’t consider them professionals at hawking labels and perfumes. This is even true when celebrities try to sell their own clothing lines and fragrances. Do I really believe that they designed the clothes and fragrances even mostly on their own? Hell to the no. I also don’t buy into it because it seems that most of the celebrities who “create” their own perfume are mostly people I certainly do not want to smell like (re: Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift . . . I can smell the mediocrity just thinking about it).

Anyhoo, the notion that got my brain turning was the process of modeling itself. More specifically, I found myself pondering: how hard could it possibly be? I decided I was going to show up these ladies by proving how ridiculous their posturing is in the context of real life, and how easy their jobs really are. However, after attempting these poses I have to admit that, while models certainly aren’t brain surgeons in terms of the difficulty of their jobs, creating a persona that people want to imitate is pretty taxing. I also learned that, after years of doing stupid faces and poses in photos, maybe my generally goofy looks aren’t so much by accident after all. I am fo’ sho a fairly awkward human being, and I can’t “do sexy” to save my dorky little life. I have to give major props to my dear roommate, Claire, who tried to coach me into at least trying to reasonably mimic these poses and looks, but the failure here is all my own. However, the following comparisons between the model photos and my photos below (I hope) will give you the best laugh you have today. If any of you happened to be wondering why my roommate and I were peeing our pants laughing on the floor last night while I was clutching a jar of Miracle Whip, wonder no more. Enjoy.

The "Apathetic, Disjointed" Look

The “Apathetic, Disjointed” Look

The "Somebody Smack Me If I Make This Face Again"

The “Somebody Smack Me If I Make This Face Again”

The "My Ankles are Broken"

The “My Ankles are Broken”

The "My Pride is Broken"

The “My Pride is Broken”

The "Questioning Tilt"

The “Questioning Tilt”

The "Dazed & Confused"

The “Dazed & Confused”

The "Smell the Hair"

The “Smell the Hair”

The "Eat the Hair"

The “Eat the Hair”

The "Intense Stare"

The “Intense Stare”

The "Impotent Glare"

The “Impotent Glare”

The "In Love With This Product"

The “In Love With This Product”

The "In Love With This Condiment"

The “In Love With This Condiment”

The "Sunny Sprawl"

The “Sunny Sprawl”

The "Dead Fall"

The “Dead Fall”

The "Whimsical Leap"

The “Whimsical Leap”

The "Barely Hop"

The “Barely Hop”

The "Girly Kick"

The “Girly Kick”

The "At Least My Leg Is Up"

The “At Least My Leg Is Up”

The "Windy Shoulder"

The “Windy Shoulder”

The "Drunken Mess"

The “Drunken Mess”

The "Sheerly Serious"

The “Sheerly Serious”

The "Sheerly Dumbfounded"

The “Sheerly Dumbfounded”

The "Shhh Up"

The “Shhh Up”

The "Almost Pick" Up

The “Almost Pick” Up

The "Sun Goddes Pout"

The “Sun Goddes Pout”

The "Sun Goddes Pout Pt. 2"

The “Sun Goddes Pout Pt. 2”

The "Dead Trout"

The “Dead Trout”

I’d say I got the closest with the leg kick up picture, but really, if I can’t do everything Jessica Simpson does and do it better, I really don’t see any reason to try anymore.

Age Appropriate

3 Apr

Going off of the theme of Kenz’s last post, being in your late 20’s as well as your early 30’s forces a lot of realizations about yourself, your family, your friends, and just the world in general upon you. It’s only natural that people in this age range feel overwhelmed, and I will fully admit that this feeling is coming a little late for our generation. I think the generations before us probably had to make these adult realizations at a younger age than we do now, but for better or for worse, we have been given a bit more carefree time. When I was a kid, I was naturally terrified of growing up since the thought of not having my parents to do everything for me was traumatic. Of course, I grew out of that stage (probably early for my generation) and now I’ve reached the point where the excitement of taking care of myself and making my own choices is SO ten years ago (I was a very independent 17-year-old). Now as a 27-year-old, I can say proudly that I’ve proven myself to be mostly an adult, but there are still some immature things that I absolutely cling to that have been particularly hard to shake. I’ve also noted some other habits of people in my peer group that have made me realize that there are some things that are essential to grow out of. Of course, not every immature thing is something to grow out of -but don’t worry, I’ll get to those too. So here is a general list of things I believe that me and my fellow late-20-somethings and early-30-somethings should try to achieve to earn our adult merit badges.

Create Mature Facial Expressions
I know how weird that sounds, but I seriously have a problem with my expression sometimes. It was really bad when I was in my teens and was a bit more introverted (I had a lot of personality waiting to come out, and sometimes it came to the surface). These days I notice it the most when I’m at my computer at work. My face twitches and responds to everything I write and read, and people must think I’m insane. I’m very grateful that I currently have a desk at one job that faces away from most other people in the office, and at the other job I’m in a side room facing away from the hallway. Last week put this habit into harsh perspective since I was using a different desk and more people could see me. I swear my face was squinched in some unnatural and Picasso-esque way pretty much 90% of the time. I had to constantly look around to make sure no one was staring. Maybe everyone does this, and they’re too busy worrying about their own face to notice everyone else. Either way, I’ve really got to stop since I just caught myself bobbing my head in agreement to myself as I wrote this.

Say Words Clearly Even If You Hate Them
Truthfully, I am mostly having this problem with one word -“boyfriend.” I hated that word when I was single and, let me tell you, I like it even less now. When people ask me what I did over the weekend and it involves the boy I’m seeing, I find myself telling a story about how me and my “befren” went on a hike or we had another failed attempt at getting him to like fish. Maybe I just don’t want to sound like one of those people who are always talking about their significant other all the time. I feel like when I say “boyfriend” I should be twirling my hair on my finger and saying the word like this: booooyfriend! We hold hands and everything! I’ve obviously just been single for a long time and need to get over it, but I’m really having a tough time with this one. If anyone else feels the same way, I completely sympathize. I wish instead of “boyfriend” I could substitute some less fluffy sounding word like “chug,” or something Seussian like “sneetch.”

Don’t Get Nostalgic All the Time
Yes, I know how fun nostalgia can be, but if I see one more Buzzfeed article about foods from the ’90s you can’t buy anymore, I’m going to throw Gak in someone’s face (because you can buy that again now!). It’s fun to reminisce, but I feel like that whole trend has gone way, way, waaaaay overboard. I think it goes back to what I said above: our generation is leery to grow up, and we want to keep pretending to party like it’s 1999. I’m sorry folks, but it’s not. Even Prince would tell you so. There are plenty of good, fun things going on now that you can get nostalgic about when you’re off at some raisin ranch eating liquified foods with the caregiver who wipes your bum for you. I don’t want to remember 2013 as the year I constantly remembered how obsessed everyone was with Titanic in 1997.

Know When To Talk, and When To Keep Your Mouth Shut
I will be the first to admit that I am a fast-talking, outspoken person. I have many things that I believe in, and there are many things (and people) in this world that I find stupid, worthless, ignorant, and just plain trashy. Do I need to call those things out all of the time? Trust me, I often want to, but what good will it do? This is the question I have begun to ask myself before voicing my opinion on something. If I am going to be hurting my cause by opening my mouth (or potentially starting an argument with someone I care about), I keep it shut. If I have valuable information to pass on in a well thought out and constructive way, by all means, I go for it. I don’t want people to disregard my ideas because I spout off at every turn. Not that I’ve done this many times, but I’ve experienced saying something that I really shouldn’t have. No fun at all, folks. No fun. It only made me more hesitant to speak out when it really mattered. I suggest everyone edit themselves in their daily conversations, e-mails, and especially social media postings (you know who you are). I won’t say “quality over quantity” here; speak as much as you want, but the quality is important. Gone are the days when you can just shout whatever is on your mind at any time you want. You’re not in a freshman year liberal arts class anymore.

Don’t Believe All of the Junk You Hear
If there’s one thing that we’ve learned in the age of the internet, it’s that there is a lot of blatantly false information flying around. We all pride ourselves on our ability to throw the BS flag, but honestly, I’ve seen far too many very smart people repeat information or share an article that even the tiniest amount of Googling would discredit. Remember how we all hate stupid people? Well you’re making them stupider. Those dullards will believe anything -especially if you have a reputation for being intelligent (NOTE: Please don’t try to make a zombie mob with this tactic.) But this believing of just anything isn’t limited to the internet. Sometimes you hear something about a friend of a friend from another friend, but this information turns out to be false. Maybe you’ve spread that information. Maybe that information was about a co-worker, and you are about to be fired. I’m just sayin’. The stakes are higher when you’re older, and we have to be even more aware of the consequences. Having worked at an institution that was absolutely riddled with gossip and whispers, I can tell you now that, even if the information is partially true, spreading it is a great way to get people to hate you.

Don’t Get Annoyed At Everything
There are a lot of annoying things in this world. And yes, sometimes they need to be acknowledged. However, we shouldn’t always be looking for situations that we can complain about, or finding people to be superior to. I’ve owned up to my own superiority complex, and I still find myself rolling my eyes at the ineptitude of others, but I have begun to check myself at just what I get annoyed at. Take for example the other day on the bus (I find my attitude gets about 150% worse on buses). When I boarded, the driver had some very fuzzy radio station on at a decibel that would have been uncomfortable even for Helen Keller. I found myself sitting and stewing about what an idiot the driver was to not realize how uncomfortable he was making the riding experience. A few minutes in though, I checked myself and decided to let it go. I had an iPod after all, and my ride never lasts over 10 minutes. Certainly not something I should let affect my mood. And knowing my face, I’m sure my annoyance was out for everyone to read. No one likes a sour puss. However, I do find that I can correct many annoying situations with staring. Undergrad in the library with music on too loud? I stare. Someone talking too loud in a public space? I stare. People whose kids are being allowed to run crazy and wreck the world while I’m trying to enjoy a meal? I stare. It may not work all the time, but I just can’t let everyone get away with this shit. They must be stopped.

Say “No”
Some people have always been good at doing only what they want and need to do. I have not ever been one of those people. I like helping people, and helping is something I want to do, but it took me a very long time to stop feeling like I needed to bend over backwards for everyone. I wanted to be the person who got stuff done and who people could rely on. It took about 25 years to realize that I could still be relied on to get important things accomplished without being stepped on or used by opportunistic folks. Ultimately, saying no to something you really don’t want to do shows self-respect and honesty. If you say “yes” too often people will either suspect you just like everything, or that you’re just a pushover. I doubt you’re a pushover, so stop it.

Be Done With Drama
Let’s play a game. I had a friend tell me that she was at a party where a few peers of ours were intoxicated and hanging out. Two of these peers were in a relationship, but were having trouble. The friend of one of these peers started hitting on their friend’s significant other. One half of that couple started screaming, freaking out, and carrying on, ending the party with tears, vomiting, and general unhappiness. This situation occurred A) When I was in high school. B) When I was in college. C) Just after college. D) Two weeks ago. If you guessed D, go get yourself an Oreo and commence feeling sad about the state of “adulthood.” Granted, two of these peers have just finished college, and one has been a graduate student for many years. Still, the behavior in this scenario is just generally unacceptable, even for just after college. Stop being that girl. Stop being that boy. Be a woman, and be a man, for crying out loud.

Don’t Find Yourself In These Places
If you’re in your late 20s, you are free to be anywhere. HOWEVER, there are some places you just shouldn’t be. Just . . .no. One of these places is a bar that has a reputation for catering to the cougar/older creeper crowd. You aren’t 21 anymore, but you certainly aren’t a 50-something divorcee. You also shouldn’t be at any bar where 21-year-olds are braving creepers more in their age-range to get a specialty shot that anyone with seasoned drinking habits wouldn’t drink for all of the microbrews in Colorado (and there are a ton!). As far as clothing, I shouldn’t catch you at Sears/Coldwater Creek or at Vanity (or Hot Topic, or Wet Seal, or Maurices). Oh, is my snob showing? Trust me, I don’t have much money, but I can be thrifty and still look better than I did in high school. Kenz could show you too. (Look for that future blog post!) And as for concerts, I would like to prevent you from attending anyone in the Taylor Swift/Carly Rae Jepsen/Miley Cyrus family, but I can only go so far. I know you’ll do it anyway, just like you drank in high school even when you told you told your parents you didn’t. I promise I’ll still love you, kind of.

Just Have Some Confidence Already!
I am very fortunate to know many cool people whose coolness partially comes from the fact that they don’t give a flying fudge if people think they are cool or not. Part of the beauty of this age is that all of the things that you might have been insecure about when you were younger are now probably traits you would never give up. In my experience, some of my favorite things about me were what made me an oddball in high school and slightly beyond. However, I am always amazed to find people who are still worried about how “cool” they come off to others. It is a widely known fact that worrying about your coolness is the least cool thing you can possibly do (see: every movie ever where the dumb sidekick friend cares too much). Everyone since you were a kid has told you to “be yourself,” and it’s actually really great advice because you are bound to feel awkward and out of place at some time during your life (if you haven’t, I just don’t understand you). As long as you are being yourself, you are not being a fake, a follower, or just a goon. And trust me, all of those things are worse than being uncool. Self-Respect: Just Do It. (Sorry to get nostalgic there with that ’90s Nike tagline).

In general, I have compiled this list to help you feel confident in your role as an adult, but truthfully, it is also to help you successfully blend into the adult world. Most of these habits or tendencies I’ve listed are worth shedding anyway, but there are some things you should never, ever stop doing. However, you might have to acquire some extra skills and finesse to maintain them. Never fear though, I am the master of maintaining the habits that some adults consider “juvenile” (or as I call them, fun).

Don’t Give Up Your Snark, Get Better At Hiding It
I know how it feels to have a witty comment or hilarious thought, but not be able share it because of my environs or the people I am with. It’s absolute agony to have your genius go unnoticed. So what do you do? Well, why do you think any number of electronic communication gadgets have been invented? Text a friend, e-mail them (NOT on work e-mail!!), keep a running list of scenarios and your reactions to them, start a semi-anonymous blog . . . Anything that gives you that gratification, but doesn’t put you in a bad position with the people in your life or your job is just fine. You certainly shouldn’t chastise yourself for having these thoughts. Celebrate your snark! What would the world be without it?

Maintain Your Hobbies, Loves & Guilty Pleasures
I know that sometimes the tendency for people to be nostalgic stems from the fact that they yearn for a time when they were free and encouraged to do all of the things they loved (college, anyone?). However, in the midst of graduate school, new jobs, bad jobs, evolving careers, new relationships, and more responsibilities, you really should prioritize doing what you like. There’s no downer feeling like when someone asks you what you’ve been up to, and all you can say is that you’ve been in a rotation of school, work, etc. Isn’t that the lifestyle we always said we would avoid? Don’t make excuses. If you really like something, you’ll find a way to do it, and you’ll be happier for it. And let yourself have those guilty pleasures too. I know I gave some of you Taylor Swift/Miley/Carly fans a hard time back there, but if it makes you happy, you have my consent. I will always have my Presidents of the United States of America CD to rock to (Kick out the jams!!) In a crappy economy, and in a time when the plans that you had made may be starting to take another direction, this is where you have control, and it can make you very happy. You may not always make your money doing exactly what you love, but as long as you’re doing it, you have made yourself accountable for your own happiness.

Doing Voices
So maybe doing impressions and accents isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely mine. As long as you’re not offending anyone by being sexist, racist, etc, it can be a fun way to lighten moods and give people a laugh. Back in my old job as an advertising representative, I really solidified my relationship with one of my co-workers by doing a Yogi Bear impression (I think he was mostly happy that I even knew who Yogi Bear was, but still). Even if it’s not doing voices, let yourself be funny -it makes things a lot more interesting and enjoyable. Don’t be the office stiff.

Be Open To Others
While it is harder to make friends once you get out of college, it is not impossible. Since college, I have made several friends who I absolutely love. There have also been some people who I hung out with, but later found to be not the best. Ain’t no thang. Unlike the school environment when you might constantly come in contact with these people, in the real world, you have more say about who you want in your life. It’s a good policy to always be kind, but don’t put up with people you don’t like because you think you have to. Most people have their group of friends who will always be there for them, but you should never see yourself as being “set” on friends. You don’t have to like everyone, but you never know who you might miss out on if you don’t open yourself to the people around you.

Goof Off
Some of these other categories could generally be put under this header, but I feel like I need to emphasize it. Never. Stop. Goofing. Off. Think of how much better the world would be if everyone were a little less serious. Even with my personality I find myself acting way too serious for no apparent reason. At that point, I have to ask myself what’s up my rear end, and find a way to stop it (stop being up my rear end? Don’t read too much into that). Again, don’t go getting yourself in trouble at work and blaming me, but find ways to make your environment better, or at least more tolerable. You should also goof off in big ways, like planning a weekend trip on the fly, throwing a random costume party not on Halloween, have a Pee-Wee Herman-themed movie night. Whatever you’re planning on doing, make it less mundane with a touch that will make it more memorable and more enjoyable.

In closing, you are no longer the responsibility-less spring chicken you were a few years ago, but you aren’t dead yet. Our life expectancies keep getting longer and longer; do you really want to spend 75% of your life being lame? If there’s one thing you should take away from this, it is that you should never use the “old and lame” excuse. If you’re telling your friends about how old and lame you are, and you’re not even old enough to legally be president, it’s your own damn fault. WAKE UP! You’re still in the prime of your life.

Old Emails Hall of Fame

22 Feb

If you are anything like Kenz and me, you have utilized your Gmail or Mac e-mail (seriously, does anyone use anything else? If you use Outlook for anything but work, I doubt your humanity) to store old e-mails. If you are even more like Kenz and me, these old e-mails will be filled with hilarious gems that are worthy of scrapbooking (if I didn’t think scrapbooking sounded like the worst activity ever). The best e-mails I have archived are between Kenz and me, starting from just after college up ’til now. These e-mails mark no less than 500 hours of productivity lost -but so much happiness was gained from writing and reading them, and then reading them again. Some parts of these e-mails are just too good not to share, so without further adieu, here are some of the best snippets from the Ali & Kenz E-mail Hall of Fame. And don’t ask for any explanations. You won’t get any.

Best of Quizzes
Me:What is your least favorite country?
Kenz: I guess I would have to say Belize because I never think about it. Do you ever think about Belize?

Me: Favorite Looney Tunes character?
Kenz: Would it be cliche to say Bugs Bunny?
Me: Not at all. I’m secretly kind of attracted to him.

Kenz Wants to Know: You have to name your daughter either Brunhilda or Bajessica (yes, I just made that up).

Best of Dream-Sharing
Kenz’s Nightmare: We were in this weird room in Edinburgh that was pretty big with this closet in it. I started telling you some ghost stories. I mean, obviously… I told you that the closet in our room was haunted by a really mean ghost. You walked in it, and then (guess what?) there was a really mean ghost in there. It totally beat you up.
Me Replying: Love, your friend who would never leave you alone with a Scottish Boggart, Ali

My Unhealthy Attachment Dream: I had a dream last night that I went to pick you up somewhere soon after you landed at the airport. When I picked you up, you wanted to drive so we just switched and started going somewhere and talking like normal. We talked for about 15 minutes until we realized that we hadn’t even hugged and it made us disproportionally upset.

Kenz’s Dream Interview: I had a dream that I was a frazzled mess trying to convince some kind of administrator that I should be hired as the new English teacher and drama coach at Algona High School. I was trying to convince him that “despite the fact I don’t exactly have a teaching license” he should really hire me. PS- this interview was happening in a car.

Kenz’s HORRIBLE Dream: I forgot to mention my absolutely HORRIBLE dream last night. I had this dream where I was an elementary school teacher. For some reason I had given all the kids in my class candy and beer . . . I think most of this also took place in a big European style castle. There were lots of tapestries on the walls and stone floors, obviously.
My Response: I’ll whip out the Dream Dictionary to look some of the signs up. No entry for “candy” under food, but there is one for “scrumptious avocados”. Who the hell is consistenty dreaming about avocados? And specifically scrumptious ones?

My Dream: Well, it was inevitable that I would eventually have a creepy dream about us being lesbians, right? I don’t know why it had to take place in some random Chinatown (in Iowa??).

My Dream: Had a “cuddle” dream about one of the guys at work last night. There wasn’t sex, there wasn’t even kissing, just cuddling. I say that’s almost worse than a sex dream.

Best of Kenz & Ali vs. The World
Me “All in a Day’s Work”: Since I have no one to make eye contact with, I took the things I was annoyed about and started tallying when people did them. Voila! Day is instantly more entertaining and I can feel self-righteous and bitchy without anyone knowing. Perfect.

Kenz Meets a Dumb Friend of a Friend: Sarah started talking about people she shares a birthday with, one being Sarah Palin. And I hear Eleanor say, “Yeah, I can’t believe she thinks she can see Russia from her house. Hello? She lives in Alaska…” I almost choked on my food. And I couldn’t even correct her this time because I was too shocked. She actually didn’t know that was Tina Fey in an SNL spoof. Then we were talking about how one of the other interns couldn’t make it because he was at some kind of protest about how homosexuals can’t give blood. This Eleanor starts talking about how they think it’s because if you get a blood transfusion with a gay person’s blood then you’ll turn gay. She thought she was being really clever and said, “Yeah, but if they give a gay person straight blood, then he’ll be straight….” AND she was being serious. It took me a good couple moments to tell her that actually it’s about the AIDS issue. She just started laughing and said that I was so smart. Or, I don’t know, a citizen of the United States in 2009.

Me Being Mean: His parents should have asked for a general opinion before deciding to procreate. I’m sure they wouldn’t have been deemed good-looking enough.

Me Still Being Mean: *Shudder* I can only imagine them awkwardly trying to procreate in a dingy room with empty, scattered boxes of Cosmic Brownies.

Kenz on People who work for Microsoft: Just socially awkward, paranoid freaks that can read binary, but are about as aware as the piece of gum I’m thinking about chewing.

Me About Brittany Murphy’s Widower: He looks like a dead fish some mad scientist tried to reanimate.

Me about a classless, high-strung co-worker: Hey you honky shrew, calm yo’self!

The Classics
End of Poem I wrote for Kenz: Because I miss you like C3PO misses R2D2. (Too many syllables, but I’m working. No time to rhyme . . . except for that last phrase)
Kenz: So, am I R2D2 or C3PO? I would prefer R2D2, but you can decide. Or we could just be Oprah and Gayle. I’ll definitely give you a call later tonight. I love that you know me well enough to say “call me when The Office and 30 Rock are done.”

Me: Here’s some food for thought. Des Moines and some other cities seriously need to rethink the names of their roads. I get to look at addresses as well as names all day, and I’m alternately laughing or am completely appalled. Here are some of my favorites:
* Peachy Canyon Circle (not kidding)
* Oralabor Road (sometimes getting there takes work . . .)
* Lower Beaver (anyone over the age of 12 should snicker)
* Wistful Vista Dr. (just vomited)
And here is a rather awkward e-mail address I had to e-mail a proof to. May I ask what comes to mind?
Should I be reporting a sex offender, or what??
Kenz’s Finds:
* Why Worry Lane
* Blue Suede Shoes Drive

Kenz as Matchmaker: I am such an Emma Woodhouse.
Me: Just glad you’re not a Rosemary Woodhouse . . .

Me: I believe anything John Denver tells me.
Kenz: That John Denver’s full of sh*t.

Me Annie Hall-ing: It’s just this conundrum of “obviously this would be perfect because your Facebook tells all,” but I don’t want to be with anyone who automatically thinks “the Facebook page tells all, and obviously it would be perfect.” It’s like Woody Allen not wanting to belong to any club that would have him as a member.
Kenz: I think that’s about enough neuroses for one day.

Me and Romance Novel Excitement: I’ll call you sometime this week, naturally, so that we may continue our Pirate Prince adventure. I’m thinking there will be some big dramatic rescue at the end where Dariq swoops in to get Willow from Ibrahim’s seraglio. And yes, I think it will be specifically in the seraglio. It makes me feel so exotic when I say it: Seh-RAH-glee-oooooo . . .

My apology: Sorry it took me a bit to respond, but I was watching Sleepless in Seattle and eating a brownie.

Kenz’s Concern: Let’s just hope she doesn’t turn all Glenn Close/Fatal Attraction on him. I feel like her current obsession with needing to be needed is leading her down this path. Okay, maybe she won’t get shot in a bathtub… but still.

Kenz at Work: At least your name isn’t Sarah Mullet. That’s who I am talking to right now.

A normal exchange: I could work those. The boob situation would be a little bit tricky though. I don’t like the idea of going freestyle there, but I’d probably have to. I’ve tried that on other occasions, but the memory of tearing it off my nipple later makes me leery.
Kenz: I totally read “the memory of it tearing off my nipple makes me leery.”
Me: No, luckily I still have both nipples.

Kenz Nails It: Life is hard. I don’t like decisions.

Me: Yay passive aggression! Always remember the PA code: I will be pleasant to your face, but I won’t hesitate to put a grenade in your basement. 🙂

Kenz’s Mission: I’m back from my hell on earth of delivering bread.

Me on the Death of Gary Coleman: I wanted to make an Avenue Q joke here, but that would be insensitive . . .I’ll wait a week.

Kenz Bored: I’m just sitting here staring at my hands.

Best Subject Lines
* Going Gay
* Going Gay (because I miss that subject line)
* Oh, Go Barf . . .
* The word of the day is boob-doodle
* Sick. Get a room.

Best of Attached Graphics
Kenz & I Solidify Our Girl Crush

I found this picture in a Clip Art program for work. Kenz responds: In my family we always kill the turkey by chasing it while playing the recorder. The bird can’t handle the vast amounts of “Hot Cross Buns” and has no choice but to drop dead.

Our kind of limo.
Our kind of limo

Take it for what it is.

Told Kenz to Google the name of a hot guy I worked with. This is what she found:

Found Kenz’s Future Wedding Look
Beach wedding

Best Obituary Photo I’ve Ever Found
Lambi, Dorothea

A Quick, Funny Story

8 Feb

I was cleaning out my desk drawers today, and I came across one of my Christmas gifts from my stepgrandparents. I always look forward to their gift since they have a knack for getting me thoughtful things that are also really cool. Last year, it was a cheeseboard for serving fancy cheeses to guests (I didn’t even know I wanted that. Now I do!!). This year’s assortment of goodies included this little item:

Photo on 2013-02-08 at 12.06

It’s essentially a ponytail holder with fluffy furballs on it. Well, not essentially. That’s exactly what it is. I was a little perplexed as to the purpose of this (un)fashionable piece.

Photo on 2013-02-08 at 12.13

I showed it to my mom to see if she could make heads or tails of how to wear it without looking like a complete freak. She stared at it for a few seconds, then stuck it between her legs thusly:

Photo on 2013-02-08 at 12.08 #3

And yelled, “Rabbit testicles!” That be my mother.

On another note, if anyone wants a ponytail holder with rabbit test-,I mean furballs on it, I’m selling one for super cheap.

Who ARE You??

25 Jan

I would give you a bunch of apologies for not posting in ages, and believe me I am sorry, but I would rather just get to the post since I have A LOT of stuff I would like to get ya’ll updated on. My last posts were mostly DIY in nature, so I want to let you back into my fun little personal world that is ne’er understocked with unique characters.

I have just started the last semester of my masters, and I couldn’t be happier about it (despite the fact that finding gainful employment and paying loans are looming). It’s been a very interesting experience being back in school. In some ways it’s like college because school is the focus of my world, but I also bring with me the knowledge from all of college + the interim years I had as a member of real-life society (no, people in academia are not a part of this). While it has been fun, and I’ve met a lot of great people, it has also represented, well, basically the death of any remnant of my childhood. Okay, that sounded super sad and way more melodramatic than I meant, but what I mean is that there is nothing else in my life that I can look forward to as a time for spring breaks, Christmas breaks, and weeknights of debauchery. Even if I get my PhD, I will have to get it in the context of real life while having a full-time job and only getting vacations that I take off. Yes, I am super lucky to have had this time of escape, although it’s had its stressful points (see my post on taking care of senior citizens), but now it’s time to think about what I want to be when I grow up (A person who writes funny columns, books, TV shows, and movies. Duh.) and what kind of job can pay me (Phone representative for Grey & Boring, Inc. who deals with people who are somehow dumber and trashier than Jeff Foxworthy). Or, more than likely, I will end up enthusiastically teaching writing skills to college kids who think people is spelled “ppl.”

The one thing that is for once going pretty well is my romantic life. No, that wasn’t a joke. After many experiences (several of which inspired the beginning of this little blog) I have found a guy who is somehow cute, smart, funny, self-aware, and doesn’t have any habits that make me want to drive a stake through his face. What’s funny is that this stroke of good fortune came after (or somewhat during) one of my usual terrible, awful, no good, very bad dating experiences. I’m going to have to tell you about crazy guy first because I want this blog post to have a happy ending. Also, describing my experience with this crazy guy won’t take long. In fact, I will try to keep it as straightforward as I am able.

Here’s the breakdown:

We went on three dates. He texted me too much (and during the time he knew I was home for a family wedding)/ I wasn’t attracted to him. I drafted a “this isn’t gonna work” text (because I’m a klass act) and sent it to Kenz for her to look over so I could send it to this guy. I got approval (with some touch-ups, per Kenz’s suggestion) and sent it. I turned off my phone since I was busy and didn’t want to immediately deal with the aftermath. The Aftermath: I turned on my phone to 18 text messages and 6 missed calls. (*Let us pause here to marvel at the crazy*) I forwarded all 18 texts to Kenz because I was too afraid that I would read one that said something to the effect of, “I will spread your blood on toast.” Kenz assured me that this guy wasn’t going to maim me and make me into a breakfast condiment, so I sent him one last “hope you find someone great” text before signing off. After I met my current, great guy, crazy guy would still text me freakishly to ask if I wanted to hang out “as friends.” I finally had to tell him I was seeing someone and that he would find someone great. He congratulated me . . . and then texted me greetings on Yom Kippur and on January 5th to wish me “Happy New Year.” And that was that. Oh, and he invited me and the bf to a Halloween party. Needless to stay, I have yet to respond.

While all of this ridiculous business was going down, my current guy had sent me a message on Match, and I didn’t respond because I was dealing with crazy face; however, for some reason, I kept his message in my e-mail inbox. Once I had shrugged off Clingy McOblivious, I came across the message and decided he was worth taking a chance on. I just really had a good feeling that a date with him wouldn’t leave me disappointed and wanting to share it with you -it would leave me joyous and still wanting to share it with you. As entertaining and fun to tell as the nightmare stories are, I found myself suddenly incredibly wishful that I had more experiences with real guys who I didn’t just see as disposable dopes. Does that make me sound terrible? I don’t care. Just wondering, because that’s just how I feel about most of the guys I’ve dated in the last several years.

As it turned out, I got my wish for a normal, cool person who I can actually talk to. The beginning few dates were great, and things moved forward -if a little more slowly than I wanted- but I appreciated very much the fact that he didn’t make it a game for me to figure out if he liked me and didn’t creep me out with over-anxiousness. When the time came to talk about continuing on more seriously, he actually sat me down to talk about it. Now, I am usually averse to sit-down talks since I’ve had several in my life that have ended with just bad news, but he scored major points with me for this. He showed me that he was an adult, and it really gave me even more respect for him. Our relationship has continued to grow from this point, and it’s made me very happy.

Here’s the catch (Ah, yes. The catch): Even though I wanted a guy who fits the bill just as perfectly as this guy does, the fact that he does scares the hell out of me. I am so used to dishing out my opinions on how a person should act in a relationship as well as dating guys who I don’t feel bad never calling again, that I have actually left myself feeling like the worst relationship person ever. Throw in the fact that this guy is used to being in long-term relationships, and you have one very distressed Ali on your hands. I have gotten over the worst of my freak-outs on this front (none in front of him. don’t worry), but I still am keeping a close eye on myself to make sure I am acting like a mature independent adult in a relationship rather than an independent, but selfish, person who doesn’t worry too long about the feelings of the people she dates. I really care about this guy’s feelings, but I think I will have to go further than just caring to be a good, well, partner . . . Geez, that sounds weird to say.

Another aspect of this concern goes back to my superiority complex. (Being in a relationship has really put my flaws in my face.) Since I am not used to dealing with a guy I’m dating being smart and a good person, I’ve started having this creeping feeling that maybe, just maybe, I’ve gotten too lucky and I’m not really good enough for him. A very stupid thought, but one that occurs just the same. The weirdest end of this feeling can best be described in a scene from Baby Mama (much love to you both, Tina Fey & Amy Poehler!) when Tina is trying to defend the ex-boyfriend who dumped her by saying that he is a good person. Amy responds thusly, “No, YOU’RE a good person. You don’t need another good person around you. That’s YOUR thing! He’s trying to take that from you!!” As hilarious/ridiculous as this line is, it’s kiiiind of how I feel. Not that I resent him for being nice, that would just be stupid. It’s that I don’t think it’s enough for me to be a good person for this guy to like me. Now I’m really sounding stupid. Are you mayhaps picking up on how stupid I’m being? I’m just hoping I’m not the only person who has ever felt this incredibly silly and skittish in a relationship. Some would say that this is a lead-in to a certain kind of feeling or expression. Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell me about it. I’ll get there in my own sweet time.

I knew I was acting especially weird when Kenz came out to visit over Thanksgiving and she got to meet the new guy. She brought it to my attention that she had never seen me with a guy I’ve actually liked before, which is true, since the last serious relationship I was in ended at the beginning of college. Anyone else I’ve dated since I really haven’t been very serious about. The real kicker was after Kenz and I went to a football game with him, and I was talking about how I felt sorry for him because he was doing all of the “moves” that fans would usually do for the home team, but they no longer do because the team is basically the worst in the NCAA. Her response to my concern serves as the title of this post. And really, I can see why she would ask such a question. Normally, I would find myself rolling my eyes big time if a guy was doing “spirit fingers” just because it would be one more thing to add in my already long list of things I didn’t like about them. The fact that I don’t feel that way should make me want to puke. But even worse, I don’t. My lack of upchuckiness is something I feel like I should be concerned about.

I’m sure my awkward struggle in reaching full maturity will continue; however, through this, I hope to maintain some of the more freakish things about myself because they are my favorite parts of me. For example, one day new guy and I were hanging out and he said, “So, what do I need to know about you?” We really hadn’t had a conversation like this yet, so I sat there dumbly for a minute, and then I enthusiastically asked, “Have I told you about my mouth trumpet?!” For those of you who don’t know, I have a talent for making a trumpet noise by setting my top front teeth on my lip and doing a kind of humming. I’m very proud of it, so naturally I did a rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In” for him, complete with trills and fade outs. He laughed and told me very politely that he liked it –then he launched into explaining his history of relationships. Oh. I guess I didn’t get the memo that “needing to know things” meant talking about past relationships. Oh well, he got to hear the trumpet, and we took another step in our relationship. And since we’ve had that talk, he will slowly but surely get to hear all of the fun stories I’ve given to all of you. How lucky for him. Anyway, the piece of advice I will still shell out very adamantly is, no matter how much you like a person, never, ever let them change you except to maybe help you shed some bad habits or immature emotions. They should leave you room to be more awesome.

. . .

Sorry this post isn’t very visually stimulating. Here’s a picture of my puppy-nephew, Gus, to make up for it, because he is cuter than snot.

Don't you love my ears?  Don't you want to gnaw on them?

Don’t you love my ears? Don’t you want to gnaw on them?

Holy Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Batman!

23 Oct

About two weeks ago, my mother forwarded me a broccoli cheese soup recipe that she has been using.  My mom is really great at modifying recipes in ever-so-slight ways to make them just that much more awesome, and true to form, she sent me the recipe with those modifications.  I made this recipe last night for the first time, and the new boy I’ve been hanging out with and I completely polished off the whole pot.  I meant to leave some for the roomie, so I promised to make her some tonight.  I did that.  And now that pot is also gone.  This soup is not messing around.

How could I keep this soup from you?  Answer: I couldn’t, so here it is:

Broccoli – Cheese Soup Ala Erin Style:

1 T chopped garlic (fresh, from a jar or substitute 1 t. garlic powder)

2 T Olive oil

1 bunch broccoli tops

2 carrots chopped or shredded

1 ½ C. Milk

1C Velveeta

1 box Chicken broth

¼ C corn starch

In soup pot, sautée garlic and carrot in olive oil. Pour in chicken broth and broccoli, cook over med-high heat until broccoli is cooked. Mash broccoli. Turn down burner. Mix milk and corn starch in a separate bowl, turn heat back up to med-high and slowly pour in milk/corn starch stirring constantly – this should make the soup thick. Turn down the heat again and stir in cubed Velveeta until melted. Add pepper to taste. (Most chicken broth is so salty no add’l salt is needed but taste it to make sure!)

Just to note: I used vegetable broth in place of chicken broth tonight, and as you heard, it really didn’t affect how awesome it was.  This soup is especially great if you have some sourdough bread to dunk in it.  Hey, if you’re going to be downing a bunch of calories anyway, why not?  I hope this soup makes you as happy as it did me!  And if you’re reading this while watching the debate, hurry up and make the soup so you can concentrate on the cheesyness rather than Romney’s utter lack of understanding of geography and Islam.