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Attempt #2

31 Dec

Fair warning: Things are gonna get a tish personal.

I took a wonderful trip to Guatemala with friends back in 2010. It was totes amazeballs, fo realz. The pictures of me in Guatemala? Eeeshhh… For one, I had a remarkably icky haircut. For another, and to be 100% honest, I looked fat. And then I got home, stepped on the scale, and saw a scary number. To Weight Watchers I went. I stuck with it for a good 3 months, and I lost weight. About 15 pounds. And then for some reason I got bored with points and decided to go back to eating all the cheese. And I kept paying for my membership for a really long time – all the while still eating all the cheese. Eventually I quit the program altogether. And yup. The weight came back. And then some. Especially now that I live with Kris. It’s sooo easy to get in to that groove of thinking “Ehhh. Whatever. You’ll still love me if all my pants are sweatpants and I live off Bagel Bites and chocolate?” (side note: how delicious are Bagel Bites?) This is a relatively new thing for me. Up until Kris, I wouldn’t eat tons of bad stuff in front of a dude. Since living with Kris, it’s like bring on the Chinese takeout! Not so good for me and Mr. Scale.

For work we had to have a health risk assesment done to receive a discount on our health insurance. Mine came back. And? And I am medically, wait for it, obese. Oh.Bese. Ummm. Excuuuuse me? Maybe I’m a bit tubby. Overweight, okay. But obese?? Yikes. And wow. And ugh… And how I am going to not be considered obese? To me, obese is Fat Gina at work. Obese are the people who use scooters because they are too tubs to walk. I’m one of them? Hell to the no.

So I did it again. I signed up with Weight Watchers. And this time I went big time. Meetings too. More pressure and more $. Yesterday was my first day on it. I was within my points. But around 10 pm, as we were coming home from seeing a movie (Secret Life of Walter Mitty – screw the reviews, I thought it was wonderful) I told Kris I could seriously eat an entire other supper. I was really hungry. I rounded out my points with a carrot and a measured out tablespoon of hummus. Prior to yesterday, I don’t think I would have gone straight for a carrot. But that’s what this is all about. I think weight loss is about a million different little decisions everyday. So here I am. And I have to keep telling myself that not being obese trumps bad eating habits.

I’ve also observed a lot too. Thin people might have better metabolisms, etc, but from what I have seen, they also simply eat less. To throw out Ali as a prime example of this (sorry, Ali, just go with me) we met up for some delicious Mexican food in our college town last weekend before her flight back to Denver. True, we ordered the infamous queso, which is nothing, if not pure tastebud Heaven, but her meal was one single tamale. My point is not that all thin people are anorexic. Not at all. But they do just eat less. Which is, long story here, what I am trying to do. I trained for and ran an entire marathon, and people, I didn’t shed one pound of lard. Not one. I think, at least for me it’s got to be about food.

Pretty cliche of me to be writing this on New Year’s Eve, right? I know. It really is. My friends and I are taking a trip this spring and I don’t want to have to wear a one piece suit with a skirt like obese (ugh, I hate that word) women wear. Mayhaps I will start a separate blog to document this journey. I thought about just documenting it personally, but I fear it will get way too “Dear Diary” to be of any use to me. We’ll see. Here we go Day 2.

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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 . . .

My Bucket List

8 Apr

Stemming from my previous post about other people’s accomplishments, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on things I have done and would like to do. Because YOLO. To be honest, I don’t really get this YOLO thing, or understand why it’s popular or why some people are annoyed by it. But trying to be as un-annoying as I can be (and because you really do only live once), I think it’s good to make a bucket list of sorts to reflect on the goals you want to achieve. If I were to have made this list 10 years ago during my final year in high school, these are the things I could have crossed off by now:

  • Live in London for a semester – During the fall semester of 2005 I studied abrad through my college in London. The only regret I have of that time is that I didn’t go with friends. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, and though eventually I did make some pretty great friends, the first half or so of the trip I hung out with/traveled with my roommates. I call them the 2 H’s from Hell as both had H names (which you probably deduced using your context clues…you so smart). I also hung out with a dude who I liked for the most part, but due to his crush on H#1 became a total wet blanket. But despite the bitches, which could honestly be a blog post in itself (filing away for later), the trip was amazing. I would LOVE to just pick up and vacate my life for a few months, traveling and discovering things about myself and this incredible world we live in. I got to do a lot of traveling throughout Europe during my time in London and I believe it truly shaped the person I am today. I know my desire to travel will never go away, and I hope to always make it a priority in my life.
  • Lived in Phoenix – The summer after graduating college I took a job as an intern with a theatre company in Phoenix. I discovered my talent and excitement for arts management and somehow found the courage within myself to live in such a new place alone, as in not with family or friends nearby, though I did meet some amazing people during that time.
  • Traveled to Guatemala – Seeing a theme here? My first “solo” vacation, as in not with my family or through school. My friends and I planned the entire thing ourselves and paid for the whole thing ourselves. How grown up!
  • Moved to St Paul/Got into grad school – When I was living in Des Moines, a cool city – I don’t care what you say!, I didn’t like the way my life was heading. I had a good job, but working in insurance was not what I saw for my life indefinitely. I had a strong “now or never” gut feeling, applied for my current grad program, got in, packed up my things, and headed north. This move, honestly, was harder than Phoenix. Though closert to home, I had an inexplicable home sickness that took a while for me to get over. I’ve got my groove back eventually and now love where I live. Of course, Des Moines, will sort of always feel a little like home to me.

And for the things I hope to do while I’m still kickin’ it:

  • Sky Dive. Maybe cliche. But honestly, I’ve wanted to sky dive for a very long time. Just need the occassion and someone to experience it with me.
  • Graduate with MA – One year left and so much work to go. I need to complete an extensive (more than likely unpaid) residency and finish a Capstone class and huge paper. Daunting. But I will be quite proud of myself when it’s over.
  • Get a job I love – I left insurance in Des Moines only to end up in, what do you know, insurance…and with a paycut wah wah… BUT… I’m in grad school and I feel like that’s a good justifier of my present circumstances. The arts are a clique-y, clique-y group here in the cities and it’s quite difficult to break into the scene. Even with the grad school connections, I have about, um, zero time to volunteer. You know, got to work with bills and all that nonsense. So to get a job I am excited about is my version of total awesomeness. I have a lot to give, a lot of knowledge, and a lot of enthusiasm. So yeah. It’s just got to work out eventually, right?
  • Travel even more! Places I have yet to go, but want to with a huge passion include: Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Croatia, Peru, Hawaii (and tons more if I was to reeeally dream big)
  • Married/Babies – If Kris is reading this right now, don’t have a heart attack. This is a while away, but these are things I really want someday.

And you guys, here is one that I will accomplish soon. Scarily soon. I’ve been nervous to announce because of some obvious reasons, but yours truly will be running in the Chicago Marathon on Oct 13 of this year. I KNOW! WHAAA? This coming from the girl who totally chickened out of the half I said I would do last year. Just in November, I huffed and puffed my way through a 7 miler. How will I do a marathon? Well training has begun, my friends. Starting slowly with dedication, adding distance, resistance, and strength training will get me there. This is a big one for me, and frankly, something I would never, never, never have thought for myself just a few years ago. So yeah. I’ll keep posting about it because that will help my accountability. photo[1]

Scariest/Most thrilling email EVER. Just ever. But here I go! It’s time for this non-runner to just keep running.

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.

The stuff of entertainment

15 Mar

Despite not having cable (sad thing, yes, I know) I can generally fulfill my entertainment needs with Netflix, Hulu, and Redbox. Actually, I find myself invested in a lot of different shows. Some shows are difficult for me to explain why exactly I watch them. Take, for instance, the teen drama Pretty Little Liars. I know the show’s target audience is about 12-16 years old, but what can I say? I totally watch it every week. About a month ago, I went to Macy’s out of boredom (shush you!) and bought a new jacket. As I tried it on I thought to myself, “This is such a Hannah jacket.” As in Hannah from Pretty Little Liars. Sometimes I can be a real gomer.

My lack of cable also is a factor in my watching of tv shows on Netflix. One that I’ve watched about half of the first season of is Hart of Dixie, a ree-dic-u-lous show about a sassy New York doctor and her trials and tribulations working at a family practice in (I kid you not) the town of Bluebell, AL. Her arch-rival is a southern debutante named Lemon. (Don’t you just hate when that happens?) This town seems to live for floral prints, drawled out expressions like, “Daddy, I’m so excited for the sweetie pie dance!”, and having aligators as pets. Okay – don’t get me wrong – I’ve never been to Sweet Home Alabama, but I’m fairly certain Hart of Dixie’s portrayal is rather off.

Recently through Netflix I watched Heavenly Creatures. Released in 1994, (I’m really convinced that 1994 was one of the best years for film) it stars a young Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey as 2 young girls in New Zealand who form an obsessive attchment to each other, and through a series of events, plot and execute the murder of one of their mothers.This is based on a true story! Which then prompted my fingers to Wikipedia that shit with great fervor. Sidebar: every time I watch a movie about a real killer, I have to research them on the Intenet. It’s way creepy, but seriously fascianting stuff to me. Can’t really explain it, but I swear I’m not a killer! There is a line in the film in which Lynskey’s character says, “We have decided how sad it is for others that they cannot appreciate our genius.” That’s so Ali and me. Ha. Kidding. (shhh not really)

It has been many years since I decided to purchase a movie I had never seen before, but yesterday at Target I purchased Life of Pi on a whim. I knew I wanted to see it and just decided to go for it. I watched it last night and loved it! I know it’s gotten mostly good reviews, but there are some that are bad. And not to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen this film, but if you are frustrated by the ending because it’s not wrapped up in a neat little bow, I’ll probably think you’re dumb. Yes, the girl who openly admits to watching Pretty Little Liars and Hart of Dixie will think you’re dumb. I don’t like it when Life of Pi is compared to Avatar because Avatar sucked enormously. Life of Pi had stunning visuals with really intellectual themes. Even now, a day later, I’m still thinking about it. So watch it if you can. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen in a while. The director, Ang Lee, is just such an interesting guy. I think he’s got an amazing storytelling ability. Here you have this funny little Taiwanese man who has beautifully told Jane Austen’s English period drama Sense & Sensibility with as much richness as the western Brokeback Mountain, and now weaves the wonderful story of survival, the inter-connectedness of life, and fantasy/reality in such an incredible way.

In other events, T-Minus one week until Ali and her gentleman caller pay a visit to Minnesota. Wooo!

A Year In Review

31 Dec

2012. How on earth did it go by so quicky?

It was a strange, yet really great year for me. Strange because I was unemployed more months out of the year than I was employed. Yikes. Let’s not let that happen again, eh? So for as much complaining as I do about work, one resolution is to remember to be ever so grateful to have this job. Seriously, I am ever so grateful for it.

Some highlights of my year:

January 2012. At my friends Karla and Krystal’s apartment ringing in the new year with some of the best friends a girl could ask for.

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Minorly obsessed with a certain guy who I thought was pretty dang great. He wasn’t. Turns out after some serious Googling (turns out I am a master Googler) this Grade A asshole was married with a preganant wife. I didn’t blog too much about it at the time because it hurt a lot. Lots of tears. But in the words of Ms. Clarkson, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Right? Let’s hope so.

Started a new job as receptionist administrative assistant reader of blogs at a semi truck dealership. It basically sucked.

Oh, and I also started this little thing called grad school.

February. After only about 2 months at the dealership, my position was eliminated. Thus began my foray into the world of extended unemployment.

After some convincing and maybe a glass of wine, I joined the oh-so-scary world of online dating. This, mind you, was something I never thought I would “stoop” to, but I went out a lot. And when you’ve got more than enough free time, leaving one’s apartment is a very good thing.

March. A lovely visit from Ali! Had a blast spending time with her over St. Patrick’s Day. This is probably the most notable thing that happened in March. Kind of a boring month otherwise.

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April. On a random Sunday morning I headed out for brunch to meet this guy from match. This was one of the best days of 2012 because it’s the day I met one of the best guy I’ve ever dated. So it was a pretty good day. And my skepticism of online dating softened.

May.

Good month. Got to hang out with this little cutie up north. We even dived into a northern MN lake together. She’s a brave soul, and I hope that a little cold water continues to not phase her.

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Got to see my younger sister graduate high school. Can’t believe she’s in college now. On the same wing and floor of my old dorm at Simpson too!

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As usual, any time my sister and are around each other we start to act like actual crazy people. Exhibit A.

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Had tickets to The Cranberries, but alas, the show was cancelled after the opener played. So lame. My 1996 self is still upset about this.

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June. Visit from my great friend Laura before she moved to this far away placed called New Jersey. I miss her. Trip out east soon? Yes, please!

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Got to see this girl again as she was in town for her aunt’s bachelorette party. Seriously, Ali. How was this 6 months ago?? Here we are in (can’t remember the name of the bar…) Nordeast enjoying the pinkie and the greenie.

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July. Got to celebrate the birth of our country and the birth of my boyfriend. Should have known this one was special when I went mini golfing on a scorching hot day. Seriously. That defines my personal hell.

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On 4th of July we headed to the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown Minneapolis for some lovely fireworks. Not onlt did we get fireworks, but we got to see an underwear bike ride and were given an ungodly amount of gummy bears. (Is there such a thing?)

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I also ran The Color Run. Super fun even if it was a ga-gillion degrees outside.

August. Still unemployed. Went to a 10 year high school reunion. Not mine. It was fun even if I didn’t lie about my identity to strangers (which was my intention going into it.)

Took a day trip to Lake Pepin where we consumed our weight in blueberries. Saw the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum (super disappointing…I know, shocking, right?) and meandered around a very quaint town.

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September. Went camping at Blue Mounds State Park in southwest Minnesota. Had a great time. Like, a really, really great time. Probably has something to do with the guy I was with.

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October. Started my new job. Oh, happy day! No longer among the ranks of the unemployed and downtrodden! Also did this for the pet costume contest in my apartment building. Crazy…adorable, right? Crazy adorable. I lost to a dog in a store bought costume. Oh, the injustice!

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November. Second time running the Living History Farm seven mile race. So fun. So out of shape. Hope to do better next year!

And then! Saw Ali in Colorado for Thanksgiving. Second year in a row we’ve doen the makeshift Thanksgiving. I had a blast visiting her. She lives in a beautiful place which makes me jealous and stuff like that.

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In a random happenstance, I was even able to see my best friend from high school, Ryan. See above photo as evidence that some things never change.

December. My 27th birthday. Christmas. Time with my boyfriend. And family. All good things. Here’s to a fantastic New Year’s Eve and even better 2013!

Oh, Happy Day!

20 Sep

I am employed.

Today’s post is brought to you by Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.

Long time, no blog.

13 Sep

Well, hey there internet world.

I’ve been quite a neglectful blogger of late.

Stuff that’s happened in my life:

  • Finished some classes
  • Started some new ones
  • Went to Wisconsin
  • Went to a 10 year class reunion (not mine)
  • Minnesota State Fair
  • Went to SW Minnesota

Class-wise, I finished Art Law, one of the most difficult classes of my life, late last month and (bum, Bum, BUM!) got an A! Shameless, shameless bragging. I know. Got a deserved B in the other class I was in, but let’s face it, I put ALL my effort into Art Law. And as much as it’s a little bittersweet to say adios to my lovely 4.0, this is grad school. One B doesn’t matter. In fact, does any employer at this point really care about GPA? It’s a pride thing. My joy with an Art Law A overwhelms my disappointing B in the other class. New classes have started, both have “Culture” as part of the title. I am going to be ridiculously cultured in a couple months 🙂

My boyfriend and I have been very busy lately. Almost a month ago we took a little day trip to Wisconsin. This involved blueberry picking, hiking, small town style eating, aaaand the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum.

We Kris purchased $16 worth of blueberries. In the world of pick your own berries, that’s alotofberries. I also would like to say that as we were walking up to pay for our bounty, I said, “I bet this is worth $16.” And I was exactly right. Why have I not been on Price is Right yet?

Then we went hiking. But actual, what-the-what? legit hiking. Like, where is the trail? Why is my entire body covered in burrs? At this clearing, Kris opted for the explorer pose, while (let’s face it) this is the perfect opportunity for a fake senior picture. Am I right?

I can’t remember the name of this town off the top of my head, but it was adorbs. We had lunch and then stopped at the ma and pa-iest place ever. Pie and ice cream. Something about getting to the country, out of the metro, traffic, and noise is a bit refreshing. As obvious as it sounds, going to a town where you don’t have to pay to park everywhere is refreshing.

And then, obviously, I made Kris go to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum with me. It was hokier than I could have even imagined. Also, apparently it does not take much to be a museum. This place had a few photos, the copy of a letter LIW wrote, and a “this is what Pa’s fiddle probably looked like” fiddle. Yup. We did that.

And then I was thrown into school. Please don’t judge the wine.

I literally finished my Art Law class and immediately left to attend Kris’ 10 year high school reunion. Got to see his hometown. Tried to avoid the “What do you do?” question like the plague since it’s not exactly super impressive to say I’m unemployed and go to school part time. I thought about coming up with a new backstory, but I didn’t get the chance to use it.

And then we went to the fair. Oh, the fair. Iowans luuuurve them some Iowa State Fair. Guess what? Minnesotans love their fair with almost as fierce a passion. And me? You know, I just am not that into fairs. Here is why: it is impossible for me to go to a fair without leaving feeling DISGUSTING. It’s always hot, uncomfortable, my feet hurt, I’ve eaten fried food, and I always, always have a headache.

At least I got some Tom Thumb donuts, recommended by my mom. Those were quite tasty.

And then we went camping. Most people that know me know I am not really that into camping, but it can be fun! I practically camped the entire summer of 2005 working at Camp Wesley Woods. I got this. Kris and I went to Blue Mounds State Park, about 3.5 hours southwest of the cities. There are some cool rocky cliffs, which I obviously needed to climb around. This picture makes me think about the time my family was in South Dakota when I was a kid. Apparently I got too close to the edge for my brother’s taste and he started to cry. I get some twisted pleasure from that. (Which is the reason my siblings say I’d be in Slytherian if Hogwarts were real. Um. Maaaaybe a little chance. But please, I am obviously a Gryffindor.

After hiking I put jeans on, only to sit, catch my ass on some kind of hook, and cartoonishly rip the back of my jeans. It was one of those slow motion moments. Bye jeans, it was nice knowing you.

The next day I thought it would be good to get to Pipestone. I remember going there as a kid, but my memory is pretty vague. It’s a National Monument where Native Americans can have access to quarry specific stone to make peace pipes with. It’s a really cool place. I’ll recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in Southwest Minnesota.

Staring contest you and me. You win. You always do. (Taken at a store called Indian World. How could we not stop?)

Other than that, life is going along. It was warm today, but I can feel the air getting crisper. I think fall in the cities is going to be awesome.

Junk On Your Trunk

22 Jul

If there’s any place where you can get your fill of bumper stickers, it’s definitely Boulder.  A good drinking game would be to sit on the side of Arapahoe Avenue and take a swig every time a Subaru Outback with a “Coexist” sticker on it passes by (I said a good drinking game, not great).  In my college days, I actually sold these stickers, among others that had feminist and progressive sayings on them.  I do love and still have these stickers, but I’ll admit that I never stuck them on my car.  Even on my most zealous day, I really don’t feel like putting a sticky car tramp stamp on Rudy’s (my car) rear end.  She’s beautiful just as she is.

While I can understand why people have bumper stickers, I usually don’t find them necessary –and sometimes I even consider them a bad tactical move.  Anytime I see an a bumper sticker that is anti-choice, pro-gun, or generally small-minded, I start fantasizing about pulling up next to the person and beginning an argument.  Aggressive?  Yes.  Bad idea?  Totally.  However, it’s their fault for putting their ignorance on display for me to react to.  And aren’t you looking for a reaction when you display ridiculous ideas on the vehicle that takes you wherever you go?

Most bumper stickers leave me feeling good, bad, or indifferent, but there are a few stickers that just have me confused.  More specifically, there is a car that belongs to someone in my apartment building that has me really stumped.  Based on this person’s bumper stickers, I have them pegged as a sarcastic band nerd with a superiority complex, but I could be wrong.

Here’s a full view of the back end of the car:

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Can you see where I’m coming from?  Of course, not all of these stickers are hard to figure out, there are just a select few that, after almost a year of looking at them, still make not even the slightest smidgen of sense.  Allow me to show my work.

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Is this some sort of commentary on fairy tale-tainted schizophrenia?  Are we supposed to think this person is awkwardly imaginative?  A crazy rebel?  A mentally-ill descendant of the Brothers Grimm?  No entiendo.

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This sticker runs along the same lines as the first, and is just as confusing.  It reminds me of how I feel about most of the t-shirts sold at any Hot Topic store: I just don’t understand why it needs to exist.  Also, who are these people who are sticking their noses in a dragon’s business?  You would think this sticker is aimed at Arthurian knights, but I don’t know of any Arthurian knights who would know what ketchup is.  The only person who might truly understand this bumper sticker is the main character from the ’90s classic A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (fun fact: Kate Winslet is in this little gem!).

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Are you Shia LaBeouf?  Then I freaking doubt it.  (I’m operating under the assumption here that a Transformer is the same as an autobot.)  Also, if you were Shia LaBeouf, I would tell you to go back to the Disney Channel, because you peaked on Even Stevens.

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This is just unnecessarily violent.  Why the hatred for the Type A kids with caring parents?  Your giant robot is just a hater.  Also, I notice that your giant robot “steps” on said honor student.  Good for the honor student for persisting through several steppings-on.

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The pie is the truth.  The ice cream is a fallacy.  The creme brulee is a white lie to avoid telling someone how they really look in jeggings.  I’m stumped by this bumper sticker in several ways, but mostly by the fact that they have a picture of a piece of cake.  Is it just that piece of cake that’s a lie?  I don’t think I’ll ever find out unless I wait for the car’s owner and then pummel them with several pointed, and probably unanswerable, questions.

I don’t think I’ll ever unravel the mystery of the sarcastic band nerd-mobile, but if any of you have any insight, please let me know.

Big Girls Don’t Cry (Unless It’s Ridiculous)

14 Jul

I, Ali Jepsen, have an odd relationship with tears.  I almost never cry out of sadness, and when I do, it is so long after the event that I’m upset about that I almost can’t remember why I’m upset.  However, there are several things that will make me cry instantly, and they are ridiculous.  I’m not saying it’s stupid to cry, I’m saying that the things I cry at, more often than not, do not deserve to be cried over.  I know a lot of people have these “tear triggers,” but lately I’ve had a few conversations with friends over this phenomenon so I decided to compile a list of the things that consistently make me bawl.  Feel free to laugh at me about it; I do all the time.

A Little Princess: Sara & Captain Crewe Reunited Scene

If you were a girl (or maybe a guy) growing up in the ’90s, it’s highly likely that you saw A Little Princess.  If you’re like me, you probably saw it close to 500 times.  Everyone who has seen this movie knows that the scene when (spoiler alert!) Sarah’s father, Captain Crewe,  gets over his amnesia and runs after his daughter while she is being dragged off by police is a tearjerker.  You would have to be completely heartless not to be touched by it.  However, you would think that after watching this movie into the ground that I would get over intensely sobbing at this scene.  Sorry, no.  I have literally NEVER watched this part of the movie without crying at least some.  I think this moment really gets to me because my reasons for crying at it have changed over the years.  When I was younger, I just marveled at the miracle of a father and daughter being reunited.  When I got older, the thought of a cute little girl (who incidentally reminds me a lot of my cousin) nearly being taken away from her father was too much to bear.  I don’t know if I’ll even be able to handle watching this scene when I have kids.  I’ll probably break out into convulsive spray tears.

 

Homeward Bound: Sassy, Chance, Shadow, et al Reunited Scene

In the same ’90s vein as A Little Princess, the last scene of Homeward Bound always gets to me.  Even though one of Kenz’s and my first bonding moments was making fun of the way Shadow says/thinks “Ohhhh Peterrrrrrr . . .”, I also cry as I laugh.  I sit there and tell myself how crazy I am while tears come down my face and schizophrenic laugh/cry (craugh) noises come out of my mouth.  It’s all very attractive.  Also, “craugh” is now a word.  Feel free to use it as I just have, or you can use it as punny wordplay,”That play was so melodramatic that I nearly craughed my pants!”  (“Craugh your pants” (verb phrase): when you cry and laugh so hard that you lose your bowels.)

 

Hy-Vee Summer Olympics 2008 Shawn Johnson Commercial

Maybe it was because I was super emotional the summer of 2008 since I had just graduated from college, but this Hy-Vee commercial brought on the waterworks something awful.  Perhaps it was the mix of Olympic glory and Iowa pride that got me going.  Whatever it was, I got made fun of a lot before and during the Games because of it.  To be truthful, when I searched for the video on YouTube and watched it again, a few tears still escaped me.  You may be retired, Shawn, but you doing it all “with a smile” still makes me emotional and proud as hell.

 

Disney’s The Little Match Girl Short

Of all my tear triggers, this one in particular stands alone because it also makes me mad.  Imagine, if you will, me a couple years ago sitting on my couch and checking out the DVD extras on the anniversary edition of The Little Mermaid while waiting to go to work (as one does).  I start watching a clip where a Disney animator talks about how much he loves reading Hans Christian Andersen stories to his daughters.  He was so inspired by working on The Little Mermaid that he decided he would also make a movie short of The Little Match Girl, one of HCA’s other works.  Of course I was intrigued by this man’s love of the story, so I watched the short film which was also included on the extras.  Ho. ly. Crap.  Nothing in me was prepared for how devastating this story is.  By the film’s conclusion, I was sitting alone on my couch with my shoulders heaving and crying so hard that my throat hurt (You know the throat cry.  Sounds like: huuuuhh, huuuuhh, huuuuuuhhhh . . .).  Here I thought I would be watching a sweet little kid movie, when in reality the hopeful innocence within me was brutally beaten with a club.  Once I finally got the tears to stop flowing, I got angry.  SOMEONE should have prepared me for such unnecessary sadness!  I don’t know if I was mad at this animator, Disney for funding him and putting the film on a classic childhood movie, or at Hans Christian Andersen himself.  All this story does is kill happiness -but of course I’ve included it here so you can be mad with me.  Hopefully I’ve prepared you enough so that the morbidness of it won’t run your soul through with a steak knife.  Even now, I still tear up when thinking about the story –and that only works to tick me off all over again.

 

This Article About Santa Impersonators

I know, I just used the word “impersonator” to describe people who play Santa.  As if Santa is like Elvis, or something.  Psh, everyone knows Santa is more real than Elvis.  Or at least more real than Elvis still being alive and/or being abducted by aliens.  In any case, this article about the men who play Santa professionally got me weepy.  Perhaps it made me recall when “Santa” would come to my house and wouldn’t be quite quiet enough not to wake me up.  Ah, how I loved those times when my body would be paralyzed with the need to see Santa in the flesh, and the fear that he would yell at me for sneaking up on him and watching his magic in action.

 

Pampers/UNICEF Commercial

This commercial is so potent with cry material that I used to tear up just talking about it.  Pampers (yes, as in the diaper company, as I had to clarify with my incredulous friend Mark) partnered with UNICEF a few years back on a campaign that gave one vaccine for every pack of diapers sold.  The commercial is actually kind of bad since it perpetuates certain stereotypes and is shamefully cheesy, but I can’t help but lose it when the baby in a Siberian poncho hugs the whitey suburban mom’s leg.  Is it because of the cute, needy babies?  Or is it because I want to believe that yuppie white people can save the world?  Who knows.  I might be better off not analyzing this one.

 

If you’ve gotten through all of these articles and clips and haven’t teared up, congratulations, you are a stronger person than I am.  Either that, or someone has surgically removed your heart, and you’d better look into that.  Let me know if you have any of your own forays into ridiculous cries.  After seeing this list, you can bet that I certainly won’t judge you.