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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.

Image

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? 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Run Club

28 Jun

Holy Hell. I hate run club. And I need to seriously get over that because I’ve got about oh-you-know 14 weeks left. I signed up for a marathon clinic through The Running Room. Last week it was just me and the trainer which initially I thought sucked because all the attention was focused on me. Thanks, but no thanks. Then on Wednesday of this week was a free run night which was explained to me kind of like this, “Run club meets every Wednesday and Sunday. Usually a bunch of people show up, but people go their own pace and distance.” Sa-weet. My own pace and distance? I like that talk because here’s the truth folks: I am a slooow, slooow runner. Like when I’m tired it looks like I am shuffling in a sad, depressed way down the street. In truth, I showed up with a buddy totally expecting this “your pace, your distance” thing and there were about 5 ELITE runners there. Like this one lady runs so much she has somehow modfied her feminine genitic makeup and has the body of a man. This chubby runner ain’t got nothing on her. My poor friend had to turn around early. I kept up about halfway, but then between huffing and puffing managed to tell the group to leave me. (Side note: If I ever find myself in a war movie where I selflessly tell my comrades to leave me behind as I die in the dirt, I will draw upon this experience.) These runner folks did not stop. For me? This is problematic as I love a little walk break. Hush you. I can sense your judgement.

And then the worst thing happened. Content with making it back to the store by myself (seriously, I was super happy to be alone) the leader and old man marathon dude came back for me. Cue me in my head a la White Fang, “Leeeave!” Just leave, okay?!” But no, they came back and said the dreaded words of encouragement that don’t encourage, but just make me feel pissed. “You can do it.” “Everyone has their own level.” and my personal favorite – “we just felt like running with you.” Uh huh. No you didn’t, LIARS. You felt sorry for me. It’s super lame when people feel sorry for you. I hope I can get better so that stops real soon.

Then yesterday. Oh, how yesterday sucked. Went to the clinic where there were a handful of others that had since joined the clinic. All great runners, which makes me wonder why the hell they joined the clinic. Leave the real training to couch-lovers like me! How I missed the week before when I didn’t have to worry about being the one who is slow that people are waiting on.

Remember my foot problem where it goes numb when I run? Apparently it’s a compressed nerve which my custom-made orthotics are supposed to help. Well, I picked up those orthotics on Wednesday, and um yeah. My foot totally still fell asleep, although I feel as if maybe it’s not as bad with them in? I’ll keep trying, but here is the other problem – orthotics take a bit of getting used to, and since I have only had them since Wednesday my leg muscles on day 2 of running in them were basically screaming at me. So…run with them in and have less/more manageable foot numbness, but overwhelming leg pain? Or take them out and have a foot that is dead. Super awesome predicament, eh? I am going to continue wearing the orthotics until my leg muscles get used to them. And I hope and pray so, so hard that it will help make the numbness better.

I feel like when I explain my situation to people, they look at me is if I am explaining to them that I have fibromyalgia or some other “disease” for attention seekers. No one knows my pain!

 Despite all my bitching and moaning, I want this. I want this just once. To say I ran a marathon. To say I did it and counted. Unlike all my run-happy comrades, I’m not looking to make some marvelous time. Screw that! My goal is as bottom-o-the-barrel as one can get. To run it and count. To not get kicked off the course because I was too slow to count. That’s all.

So I think I will do training club once a week and push myself super hard then. The rest of the time, I’m going to train my way.

Here we go.

Moving Forward (Literally)

28 May

Well hey there. In the theme of “I talk about nothing but The Chicago Marathon”, I went to the podiatrist today. And? And it was…um…a teensy bit of a bust. Everytime I jog/run my foot falls asleep at about 2 miles. Basically I was told that I really should just go to a running store for a proper shoe. Kind of the point was to get a doctor’s advice, but you know, sure. The only smidgen of help is that he said my feet are normal (whew! at least there is not some majorly expensive thing going on), but that somehow a nerve is getting compressed when I run. Not sure how exactly. Which is the problem. I was also told I have kind of flat feet, which did blow my mind a little bit as I always thought my arches were high. Go figure.

So tomorrow after work, I shall drive myself to The Running Room is search of the perfect shoe and upon finding it will do a quick swish of the card. Always something to pay for, right? On this tangent: yeah, this marathon is not so cheap. Really not so cheap at all what with the registration fees, travel expenses, hotel costs, running shoes, doctor’s fees, running clothes – the works. But this is my huge, huge goal and when I complete it I know it will be worth every penny.

I’m also thinking minimalist shoes. Something like this. Maybe a completely different kind of shoe is something I need.

http://us.shop.runningroom.com/shoes/minimus-trail-mt10-v2-womens.html

Well that’s about it for now. Off to my finance class which makes me want to blow my brains out of boredom. First world problems, I know.

Happy Tuesday!

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.
http://www.hulu.com/#!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.
http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/425563/april-17-2013/-accidental-racist–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:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/22/jim-gaffigans-kids-promote-dad-is-fat_n_3134347.html

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:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/21/11-types-of-women-men-dont-want-to-date_n_3112630.html

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.
http://www.theonion.com/section/taylor-swift/

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.

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?
crm4boys@aol.com
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
Kate-Winslet-Vanity-Fair--N

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.
pilgrim

Our kind of limo.
Our kind of limo

Take it for what it is.
mail

Told Kenz to Google the name of a hot guy I worked with. This is what she found:
image002
image003
image001

Found Kenz’s Future Wedding Look
Beach wedding

Best Obituary Photo I’ve Ever Found
Lambi, Dorothea

Midtown Global Market

13 Feb

In Midtown Minneapolis there is a delightful place called Midtown Global Market. I’ve only known about it for a few months, but now that I’ve discovered it, I’ll be sure to go on a regular basis.

There are dozens of food stands along with an actual market. And when they say “global” they mean it! Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Somali, “American”, etc. Amongst the food are many little stands selling jewelry, clothes, and cultural decorative items that make me reminisce about the shopping I did in Ghana and Guatemala. And though sometimes you see signs like this… IMG_0881

 …it’s a really cool place for culture and community gathering. I wonder how many cities have places like this?

For anyone who loves to cook, it’s a great place to find ingrediants that would be uncommon at an average grocery store. There are, however, some things for sale that I have no idea who would buy.

photo

That truly makes me want to vomit. How do you even eat dried anchovies? Like chips? (Hurrrrl….)

Nevertheless, it’s a great place for food and culture. Check it out if you’re in Minneapolis.

Toodles,

Mackenzie

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.

City Livin’

1 Feb

I grew up in a town in northern Iowa. Though growing up there I never felt I was missing out, as an adult I wonder how my parents made it through. It’s not that small town living is all that bad – seriously, there are perks. Parking is always plentiful (and free!), cost of living is cheaper, I got great public education in a school system where teachers had the time and resources to truly know me, and I was able to be involved in a lot of different activities. But that was living there as a kid. 

Our town had one movie theatre with one screen. If we wanted to see a movie or go shopping at any place that didn’t sell light wash demin with an elastic waistband (ahem…Kmart), it was an hour one way to a mall that most would scoff at. The height of fine dining was Applebee’s, and the perfect night out involved putting on a hoodie with the high school mascot logo and heading over to the high school to catch “the big game.” Or…on really big occasions you could come out once a year for Band Day and have an entire day of watching mediocre high school marching bands. A night of refined culture would include taking in a performance of the one zillionth time the local community theatre has done a production of South Pacific. And many, many people are content with this. But it’s just not for me.  

I had a conversation with Ali last night and brought up a particular acquaintance from high school who I sometimes regularly poke fun at. Every.single. Facebook status is about one or a combination of the following: food she made, food she is eating, the crochet she is working on, tv, and her “hubby”. From the way she talks about her life, clearly she is perfectly content. But if the entirety of my life revolved around the pie I made for my “hubby” I think I would rather curl up and die. Side note: people seriously need to stop thinking the word hubby makes you seem cute. It truly doesn’t.

Do I sound a little like the B from Apartment 221? Okay, if I was one of my old high school classmates who now has chosen to remain or (what the what?) move back, I would be offended. Good thing we’re probably not friends anyway.

I don’t want to mislead you – I’m no Carrie Bradshaw – my life is not one big, glamorous RSVP. I, too, generally like the combination of food, being horizontal, and watching tv. But that’s not all my life is because when you live in a city so much is right at one’s fingertips. Take for example last night. I went to a Happy Hour in the Lowry Hill neighborhood of Minneapolis. It’s near Uptown and totally adorbs. There is a unique cafe, boutique, or bar tucked away in little corners of the neighborhood. Twinkle lights abound while the rush of traffic hums in your ear. Given, driving in said traffic or finding in place to park raises my stress level considerably, but tis the price I pay. It was freezing cold. Seriously. Freezing cold. Gross confession: after work I plugged in my Garmin to find this place and licked the sticky thing to, well, make it stick, and after about a minute the Garmin slid right off the dash. Why, you ask? Oh, because my spit turned to ice. To ice! That’s why.

Despite the frigid temps, as I walked from my car to the lovely Happy Hour, I just felt glad I live the cities. This one night out, underwhelming as a lot of people would consider it, was still something I could experience that would have been a big deal, a hige effort, for someone still living in my hometown. I have a need to travel, to explore, to experience. It can’t be quelled by small town living. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Also – I held a baby last night. Someone brought their baby to Happy Hour. Whatevs… Anyway, as I held the baby with her sticky-out ears, I thought, “Hmm…I want one.” Damn you, uterus! Damn you maternal instincts!

Oh, and because my post has been picture free, and because you all care so much, here is a picture of my pot stickers from last night. It’s no picture of a puppy, but it’ll do.

potstickers

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?

Work and life. And other people’s relationships.

14 Dec

Let me preface with the fact that the following post is going to make me sound kind of like a bad person. I can’t seem to help myself. I’ve had my job for a few months now, and though so grateful to have a job, (remember my extended unemployment?) I already can’t wait to transition into the next phase of my career. The phase when I’m not an intern, not unemployed, not a student, not working for a corporation which gives me very little fulfillment. When I can work for a company that drives me to work towards something I am proud of. And to work with people who share my passion, goals, and values.

Big confession: When I interviewed for my current position I basically lied about what I am studying in grad school. I said I am a part-time graduate student studying management. I just left out the arts and cultural part of the management component. I confess this here because there is no way anyone I work with will read this. What I learned when applying for so many jobs is that Corporate America is not at all interested in hiring someone who is studying Arts and Cultural Management. I couldn’t get a job in the arts. SoI lied. And I got the job. I’m not proud of it, but I needed a job, and that is what I needed to do to get one. That being said, my life is very compartmentalized at the moment. I have work M-F 8-5 who think I am a quiet (maybe very dull) girl studying management. I have my classmates who I am sure cannot fathom why I would wear dress pants and heels everyday in Edina. And then I have my family, friends, and boyfriend who get to hear it all.

To be able to mesh my schoolwork and actual work sounds just lovely. I can’t wait to let my guard down and just be me when I am at a job. Given, theatre folk aren’t perfect. There are many issues and frustrations that come with working in theatre. This I know. But I also know that people who work in theatre have a profound passion for what they do. There is nothing like theatre to get people working together for a common goal. We can really know each other because we are so much alike.

Now in my job presently, this is really not the case. I am not like anyone I work with, though many in the office would categorize me along with “the girls.” In my office, there are the boys and there are the girls. There is such a transparent divide between the sexes in my office, it kind of makes me nauseous. The boys have offices, do lunches on the corporate card, and travel to Florida for golf trips…all a part of “the business” you know. The girls have cubicles, do the bulk of the actual work, and live to throw office potluck parties. The boys love the  gender divide and to generalize the girls as personality-less, boring, moms who love a good casserole. And to be honest, most of the “girls” gladly accept that as their label. I refuse (REFUSE!) to be a part of it.

I think one of the reasons the women in my office so easily accept the patronizing and condescending attitudes by the men in my office is because I think they get that from the men in their personal lives. Take my direct supervisor for instance. The way she talks about her fiancé often leaves me with my mouth gaping open in disbelief. Here are the tidbits I’ve picked up on in the course of 3 months:

  • She has been with her fiancé for 10 years. She has been engaged for 9 and a half years. She has a 9 year old daughter. You do the math. The fact that this douchemonkey she calls a fiancé will father her child and string her along for the better part of a decade makes me sick. And sad. But mostly sick.
  • The fiancé feels that if she takes a day off work, then HE should get a day off work. She gets paid. He doesn’t.
  • She made more money as a bartender than in her current job, but (in her words), “My fiancé wanted me to get a ‘real’ job, so I got a ‘real’ job.”
  • “We have a couch and a love-seat in our living room. Ryan always gets the couch and my daughter and I share the love-seat. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but I guess that’s just how it is.”
  • “I wish Ryan wouldn’t track mud and snow into the kitchen after I just cleaned it, but what can you do?”
  • After finding out a family friend died at the same time her own mother is in the hospital, “How am I ever going to get it all done?” Heaven forbid she asks the man she is supposedly going to marry for a little help with house cleaning and Christmas errands.
  • She said once Ryan would never understand if she started painting again because he wouldn’t understand the point.

I know there is more she has mentioned. I’m just having a hard time remembering them all right now. I pity this woman so much. She always looks run down because she has to do it all on her own. I also don’t think she’s in love with her job either. She said once, “I loved art in high school. But then I grew up and knew I couldn’t do it anymore.” I just wanted to scream, “No!!!  NO!!!” to her over and over again. I want to tell her that she CAN paint again. She can love art again. Being an adult doesn’t mean sacrificing your passion for a paycheck.

And while I want to tell her that , I internally remind myself of it too.

I actually am going to submit an application for a job I would LOVE (in the arts). And though I am trying to be realistic about my chances at getting it, I also know that I can’t give up. I have to keep up with school. I have to keep trying for what makes me happy. I see my supervisor as someone to be pitied because, to me,  she has given up on being with a man she deserves and  seems to have given up on herself as a person.

I know this post makes me sound ungrateful and judgmental. That wasn’t (entirely) my intention. I think it’s more for me about knowing when not to settle. To know when you’re being taken advantage of, to know what you want and never give up on that.