Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No Autographs, Please

I was “discovered” in second grade. During the annual 2nd Grade Fables, a woman from a local basic cable station saw me in my groundbreaking performance as The Sun in the The Tortoise and the Hare (thinking back, I have no idea what part the Sun played, but apparently, it was a great part). So, this woman found out my name and contacted my parents about having me appear in a bumper for a show called KidsWorld on The Family Channel. National TV? Sign me up! I had, what she called, charisma.

So, there I was, a scrawny girl with a bowl cut, who didn’t know when to shut up. The world was my stage. I thought for sure this role was the beginning of a long, brilliant career in film. I was too na├»ve to be nervous. I was too young to understand embarrassment. More than that, though, I was too confident to think I could fail.

I showed up to the TV station and sat in the control room, and got to play around with the buttons and levers. I had a cue card. I read my lines like a seasoned professional. Everything was comin’ up roses. It was wonderful. I was in Rhode Island when the show aired that summer, and my mom and I watched my debut together at the neighbors house. I was elated.

Cut to 5th grade. Now, I was a scrawny girl with longer hair and glasses, who had no idea what to say in front of adults. I was nervous all the time. I started biting my nails. I wanted, no, I yearned for, the acceptance of others. I was terrified to fail. I hated what a developing self-esteem and self-awareness did to me. In 5th grade, we performed poems about insects on that same basic cable channel. I sat with my partner, staring into the endless tube of that same video camera lens. Our poem was about cicadas. We were both dressed in all green. My partner and I were supposed to alternate every couple of lines. She spoke a couple, then me, then her, then me. Well, technically, she spoke a couple, and then I froze. For probably 20 minutes. I remember the rush of self-awareness, the sharp sting of everyone’s eyes on me, and an acute awareness of every nerve in my body.

My dreams of being a famous actress were dashed with one lost line. One forgotten phrase, and I decided, right then and there, to never put myself back in that position again. And since then, I haven’t.

There are times in my life when I think about that elation I felt while watching myself on TV. I think about how easy it was for me to succeed just because I didn’t consider the possibility that I could fail. It was so…simple. I envy the girl I was on that day. Maybe it was the bowl cut, but I was empowered. Then again, maybe I’m just, like, a non-messed up former child actor who has successfully drifted into the anonymity of real life. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I am NOT a good napper. There are days that all I can think of is drifting off for a quick nap, maybe enjoying a short dream, and waking up refreshed. But the reality is this. If I’m tired enough to fall asleep during the day, it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Typically, I’ll nod off on the couch while sitting up, head thrown back, mouth wide open, and snoring. Snoring in a way that can only be described as, well, unladylike. And when I wake up, there’s no content smile, a cat-like stretch and a dewy, glowing face. No. I wake up horribly confused, unaware of what time it is, with mascara smeared down one side of my face and pillow marks denting my cheeks. And I’m cranky.

Apparently, this is nothing new. I asked my mom today if she remembers me being a good napper when I was a baby. First, she laughed pretty hard. Then she said, "No. I don't remember you ever napping. You always got by on minimal sleep." My poor parents. I was the 4th out of 5 kids and never napped? I was never quiet and calm enough to just lay down and give my parents a break? Well, what a treat I must have been...

I feel like a disappointment in a way. I come from a long line of professional nappers. My mom can close her eyes for 10 minutes, wake up immediately, and re-wallpaper a bathroom. My sisters are exactly the same. My dad is like a soldier. His eyes are closed, he may let out a deep snore, but his foot is constantly tapping to the music on the TV. He‘s pretty much existing in two conscious states at once. We have a picture of my older brother sleeping while he‘s standing up when he was an actual soldier in the Army. Seriously. Standing Up. And we’ve got a million pictures of my little brother napping in places like under a bed and on a stair. They're among the elite leaders of the world who just get it. (Smart People Nap)

As I write this, I’m fighting back the yawns. There’s a cool breeze in the room, I’ve got my perfect Nap Blanket (a very light, small, down blanket) across my lap, and the room is just starting to get dark. It’s too early to call it a night, and it’s definitely too late for an hour-long nap. And this might be the sleepiness talking, but I’m pretty sure this is the most exhausting catch-22 in the history of time. Life can be so cruel.

Monday, June 28, 2010

PHARON = Eleven Points in Scrabble

This afternoon, I got a phone call at work. I answered methodically, “Hello, this is Pharon” and they asked, “Can I speak with Pharon?” I was quiet for a moment, biting my tongue, and replied, “Yes, this is Pharon”. Duh. “Oh,” he continued, “I thought you were a guy”. Now, if this were a rare occurrence, I probably wouldn’t write about it. But the fact that it happens a handful of times every week got me thinking. Then this link came up on Twitter from Mental Floss (a HIGHLY enjoyable time-waster!) Baby Naming Laws How appropriate! An article on names that are off-limits in other countries? Yes please! Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the name Pharon wasn’t listed anywhere as an off-limit name. Not even in Japan! But I gotta wonder, “what’s in a name”? Or more importantly, “What’s in MY name”?

My name is made up. The way I’ve heard the story, my parents used Scrabble tiles. They put a ‘P’ down, and just went to town adding letters after it. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters, all of whose names start with P. It’s a tradition that I used to think was lame and contrived. But now, I have every intention of carrying that tradition on in my own family. But still, “Pharon”? I mean, what does that even mean? The answer, of course, is Nothing. It doesn’t mean anything. I have been burdened, or blessed, with the responsibility to define my own name. No one grew up with a zillion Pharons in their class. And no one knew a Pharon who pushed a helpless girl off the top of the twirly slide in third grade just because the poor girl wasn’t paying attention and didn’t go down the slide fast enough, which caused her to skin her knee, miss recess, and have to sit in the nurses office while all the other kids played kickball outside. No. As far as I’m concerned, there is not another Pharon, evil or otherwise.

So all my life, I’ve been like this ambiguous mystery. Am I a boy or a girl? Do I have a good sense of humor because my name is weird, or am I just weird? Am I clever or am I automatically a disappointment because I’m not as creative as my name? It’s all there. And for all intents and purposes, I am solely responsible for the definition of myself. Because no one knows what to expect from a Pharon, do they?

Well, I’ve gone ahead and decided what to expect if you ever meet a girl named Pharon. Pharon’s are sometimes lazy. We like pretending we know how to do stuff, like write in HTML, change a flat tire, or walk with grace. We are loyal, and sometimes jealous. We’re dog people. We are thoughtful when necessary and can be downright nasty when angry. We’ve got freakishly small feet. And we know what counts: our family, our friends, and a hammock on our front porch.

But I’m pretty happy to be the only Pharon I’ll probably ever know. No one compares me to someone else, no one confuses me with that other Pharon, and no one ever says, “Wow, you do NOT seem like a Pharon.” ‘Cause honestly, who else would I be?

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Man Plan

I’m live blogging directly from the Party Planning Headquarters - our house. We are hosting a Minute to Win It party tomorrow night at our house. (Based on the TV show of the same name. It’s basically a bunch of minute-long games where you try and do pretty straightforward challenges. Complete them in a minute or less, and you move on). It’s 11:00 p.m., and the boys who are planning the party (my roommate/boyfriend, my brother, and their friend Chad) just got home and are ready to begin preparations. It’s become wildly clear that men and women plan parties verrrrry differently.

The meeting is kicked off when the guys get home from Target, and dump a shopping bag full of ping pong balls on me. “Yeaaaa!“ they exclaim. Meeting shall come to order.

They each open a beer and get to work. “Planning” consists of playing all the games that we’ll play tomorrow - just to make sure they are doable. They talk about how much beer we‘ll need. They decide on the best Buzzer noise to use when a minute is up. So far, no talk of decorations, hors d’oeuvres, or ice-breakers. None of the bowls, plates, and boxes they are using match at all.

As they move from event to event, they decide to drink a beer before each one. Performance is suffering. Tables are leveled, trash is talked, logistics are calculated. Still, not one mention of crepe paper or cute things to do for a welcome sign. What will people think when they get here, and there are NO decorations?! No appetizer table?! The humiliation…

I’m fighting the urges to comment on the zillion things I would do differently. The suggestions are spilling around in my head. “Why don’t you…”, “maybe you should…” and then they all start laughing hysterically. A banana hangs from a string around Chad’s waist, and the buzzer goes off. In between man-giggles, one of them gasps, “this is going to be the best party ever!” and they all emphatically agree. And somehow, even though there is no themed music mix made, and no creative ways of displaying the ice and straws, I’m pretty sure they’re right. (OMG, seriously, WHAT is that smell?!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Being an adult means making tough choices...

Tonight I am confronted with one of human’s hardest decisions. Many legendary women have no doubt stood in my shoes before. Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, Marie Curie…I even imagine Michelle Obama, standing at her window, contemplating this great decision.

Should I, or should I not, go out on a week night?

Surely I can’t be the only woman in this difficult position. And I’m sure it all comes down to virtues, ethics, morals…you know, all that crap. But I made a chart:

Reasons for Staying In
* I will be well-rested for work tomorrow
* I may catch up on current events by watching recordings of The Soup
* I’ll save money
* I will maintain my status as a good, responsible woman

Reasons for Going Out
* I will work off all my pent up energy from the week, making sleep tonight deep and satisfying, which will, in turn, keep me more focused at work
* I will not waste a night sitting alone in front of the TV (plus, dancing burns calories)
* I will support local businesses with my hard-earned money
* I will maintain my status as a fun, outgoing woman

Hmmm…still a toss up. I need a tie-breaker. Will Edward Khil be there?
(Sorry, you'll have to copy and paste...)

Best song ever. Puts me in the mood to dance. Decision: Made.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What a Tool!

Hey, Wednesday. I’m over you.

So, my dad is looking for a jigsaw my brother may or may not have borrowed last year, that he may or may not have left at our house when he moved out. Given my supreme capabilities in assembling complicated IKEA furniture, I thought I would know what a jigsaw was. I did not. So, like any other rational, normal person, I come home from work very angry that I’m the one who needs to look for it. I get home and tear open our front hall closet (where the jigsaw may or may not be). Now, this is no ordinary closet, with shelves, hooks, and general organization. No. It’s quite literally a death trap. I opened the door, and the bottom of a ski pole nearly stabbed me in the jugular. So, 4 poles, 6 skis, and 1 golf bag later, I had managed to get into the closet.

Long story short, I threw away FOUR large cardboard boxes filled with garbage. All of which, including the cardboard boxes, came from the closet. The good news is, I found not one, but two feather boas. Score! But my victory was short-lived. After calling my dad, I discovered that the tool I found dangling by its cord from a box of ping pong paddles was in fact, NOT a jigsaw. Silly me. I should have known that that’s where we keep our CIRCULAR saw.

Okay, so I don’t find the saw. The frustration of my fruitless search built up in me and I tore through my house throwing away everything that wasn’t nailed down. And after washing the floors, vacuuming, washing the wood, moving the rugs around, and de-stinking the couches, I finally sit down. I haven’t eaten dinner yet. My arms are weak from moving furniture around. Two and a half hours of hard core cleaning in our 80 degree house. I look around, and Nothing. Looks. Different. It was like finding the stupid Circular Saw all over again.

So, I wrapped my newly-found black feather boa around my neck, sat in the quiet living room, lit an apple-scented candle and cracked open a beer. Clean or not, it’s turning into a pretty nice night at home.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Urban Fairy Tale

So, the time has come to once again start looking for a new roommate. And today, I thought about when I moved in to this house with my brother, his friend, and another boy.

It all started with a happy girl, her brother, his friend, and a dream. A dream that would take her from the humdrum confines of quiet suburbia into the hustle and bustle of the big city. The beautiful girl, her brother, and his friend were living in a place too small for all their hopes of hosting kick-ass theme parties. So, that wonderful girl spent hours searching Craigslist and visiting places that, as Goldilocks once discovered, were just never quite right. Until she tiptoed into the fancy neighborhood they had all but dared to dream of. She peeked inside the windows and saw the original hardwood floors, the beautiful dark crown molding, and the 2 entire levels from which they could each spread their wings. And though hesitant at first, the two boys finally realized what that spectacular little girl already knew. They had found their home.

On moving day, a curious creature appeared. Next to her brother and his friend stood another boy. A boy that the gorgeous little girl immediately did not like. Turns out, the Wonderland Castle was too expensive for three people. “There shall be a third boy living with us, and the four of us shall be happy” declared the boys. The furniture went in, the ping pong table was set up, a keg was procured, and yet the bright girl was sad. She was outnumbered. The boys did not care about her new shoes, or her hair cut. They liked their new roommate the best. They started watching sports with him, instead of the dating shows she so loved. They could no longer stand the sound of the remarkable girl filing her perfect nails, and she was shunned up to the highest tower of the castle (okay, yeah it was technically her room, but still).

The weeks went by. The three boys tested her seemingly endless patience time and again. If she was reading quietly, they came home and talked loudly about stocks and other trivialities. If she spent the whole day washing the dishes, she would soon learn there were more hidden under the couches.

But then something happened. Something terrible. One morning, the eternally-youthful girl saw a hideous beast tear across the kitchen floor. Oh no! The mice had come to stake their claim. She screamed for help. As the girl stood on the couch, fearing for her life, the boys took control. They hit one mouse on the head with a wine bottle, they squished one under a giant Tupperware container. They set the traps, then they took out the garbage when it contained a slain mouse, and the girl was no longer afraid. And something changed. She began to enjoy their company. They grilled her food and she made them brownies. She laughed at their disparaging remarks, they laughed at her inability to do math, and alas, they were happy.

As the weeks turned into months, then into years, something changed again. The extraordinary young girl and the strange boy who lived down the hall went to lunch. One night, they watched a movie. They chatted about hardships over cold beers. They commiserated in their shared hatred of bananas. He went shopping with her, and she watched his Frisbee games. One day, the strange boy asked the clever and intelligent girl on a date. And then another. And another. And the best part about the whole story? Nothing else changed in the enchanted castle.

Until the brother and his friend had to move out. But the moral of this story is change is only bad until someone saves your life from hideous, probably rabid, mice.

Monday, June 21, 2010


So I ran to Target tonight, because, well why not? On my car ride, I noticed an astoundingly high number of cars with vanity plates. You know, license plates that say something. On purpose. Spell check optional. As I was driving behind WWSFBD, I decided that SFB would own a red Corolla, encourage me to see motorcyclists, and ultimately cut me off. SFB is a total jerk. I hate SFB.

Vanity plates are tattoos for your car. Some plates are profound. Some are funny. Some I wish I had myself. Like PAPOU, who I had the privilege of waiting behind at a red light. I loved that plate. I had no idea what it meant, but it made me laugh. I was driving with my friend Claire, who has graciously continued to call me Papou ever since.

But I’m sorry. Some vanity plates (and tattoos) are dumb. It’s like someone had a few drinks, and decided “I just want people driving behind me to know how much I love bananas,“ and strolled on over to the DMV. All of a sudden, B4N4N4S is stealing my parking spot at the mall. And now I can get mad at you by name, Bananas. And I can’t help but conclude that the 35 year old woman driving a Wrangler has a big ol’ bunch of bananas tattooed on her ankle.

Now, I don’t have a tattoo (or a vanity plate, for that matter). I always wish I did have a tattoo though. I’m definitely the kind of person who SHOULD have one. I pierced my eyebrow on whim, on my way to Speaking and Reading class in college. I dyed my hair black. Then blonde. Back to black. Red. You get the idea. I’m a firm believer in self expression. But, I gotta say, if I was allowed to get the tattoo(s) I wanted in high school, I’d have Chinese characters up and down all my fingers. With a cross on my second toe for good measure. And that delicate little butterfly/fairy doodle on my shoulder blade. Oh, and a boys name on my hip. Basically, I’d be a mess of self-expression, and no direction.

I’ve concluded that the reason I don’t have a tattoo is the exact same reason I don’t have vanity plates. I just plain don’t have one thing I can stick with for the rest of my life. Or until my lease is up. I mean, it’s a big decision, right? What WOULD SFB Do? Obviously SFB is pretty important to someone, and I’ll let it slide. But I hope we can all agree that no one should let GAGALVR near the tattoo parlor.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Let's Do This Thing!

Oh man. The pressure of my First Post! What's a girl to say? Initially I thought about posting a video of a Brazilian toddler dancing on table. I mean, it's totally hilarious, and well worth the click. ( Okay, fine, so my first blog is a link to a You Tube video. I can't help it. I'm totally a sucker for viral videos. Let's get down to business, though.

I suppose it's only proper blog-equette (yeah, that's a word now) to pitch my blog to you, the wary reader. First, pharon square is pretty much a fun place to hang out. Someday, I would love it to be an actual place, (you know, like a gigantic square in the heart of Minneapolis, lined with Kate Spade stores, wrapping paper boutiques, and neighborhood bars that always have Happy Hour specials) but for now, it'll be a place where I write about all that good stuff. And also things that I just don't get. Like composting. More on that to come...

Basically, the gist of all this is that I'm tripping my way through the end of my twenties. I'm part of that ragtag group of women who are just getting over yesterday, and only planning what we'll doing tonight. I feel like the TMZ version of a human. Every day something happens that makes yesterday or tomorrow fall off the Top Stories list. Let's just focus on today.

So, today I started a blog.