Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Can't Believe It's Not Popcorn

Today at work, I was sitting at my desk, mindlessly snacking on a bag of SmartPop popcorn. Just minutes before that, I was plopping little blobs of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter into the bag. I shook the bag of hot popcorn around and headed back to my desk. Cut to 30 seconds later, when I’m sitting at my desk, mindlessly snacking on a bag of SmartPop popcorn. I picked up a healthy handful of popcorn and shoved it in my mouth. Seconds later, I thought, “Wow, this popcorn is nasty. And cold. And soggy. And, this isn’t popcorn. This is a giant blob of butter. And I just swallowed it.”

My mind is just playing tricks on me, I guess. Today, I woke up, pretty determined to conquer all obstacles that fell in my way. My brain was all, “Yeah! Pharon! You can DO this!” And I left the house. Forgetting to button my pants. That's just not okay. Whether I’m eating butter, or having difficulty figuring out how many hours are between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (BRIEFLY!), I’m just, I’m off today. My iPod ear buds are only working in one ear. Maybe that’s the reason for my imbalance.

Also? I definitely didn't win those Twins Tickets I wanted. In FACT, I’m not even sure where I got the idea that I COULD win them. I’m extremely unlucky when it comes to all that, how do I just keep forgetting that? What’s going on here, people?

Maybe it’s the time of year. This is my last week of Summer Hours at work, and maybe the long days and half-day Fridays have just burned my brain out. Or maybe it’s the fact that I brought my Kate Spade bag in to be dry cleaned on Friday, and I still haven’t heard back as to whether or not it’s even POSSIBLE to dry clean. My new, substitute bag is just a mess of crap. There are no convenient pockets, and I’m constantly digging around for a pen or my wallet or a taser.

I hate feeling off. Tonight all I made for dinner was vegetables. Say whaaaaaat? I’ve really got to pull myself together. I can’t go on constantly worried that I have put on two different shoes, or that I may eat a stick of butter. It’s inhumane. For now, I’ll blame the changing season and my M.I.A. Kate Spade. Once order is restored, and it better be restored soon Pilgrim Cleaners, I’ll have my life back. I hope.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Another week, another trip to Target. Seriously, I have a problem. But I noticed a whole lot of college freshman doing some school/dorm shopping with their parents. It was quite cute, actually. A lot of exhausted parents were strolling through the aisles with single-cup coffee makers, new bedding, and plastic little bookshelves. I heard one girl tell her defeated dad, “But dad, I NEED a blender! I can make my own smoothies in the morning!” Okay, honey. Judging by the space-saving materials your poor dad has bought for your inevitably lofted bed, there’s not going to be room for a blender. Priorities, Honey. Priorities.

I remember getting all the fun new stuff for college. I loved shopping at the Union Bookstore in Iowa City for my giant textbooks, my color-coordinated folders, and several thousand highlighters. I had a whole new basket of toiletries for my shower caboodle thing, new shower shoes, towels, everything. I brought all my new stuff to my new school and set up shop.

Cue: worst experience ever. I applied late to U of Iowa (people will tell you that I thought I was applying to Iowa STATE, not University of Iowa, but those people are jerks. Maybe they were right, but they’re jerks) and therefore was assigned to Temporary Housing. Temp Housing is just a room that is technically a shared lounge for the whole floor. They cram some people in it, and as other unfortunate freshman drop out, or don’t show up, members of Temp Housing are reassigned to the abandoned rooms. I walked into the 4th Floor Lounge in Burge Hall. It looked like an insane asylum. There were 6 bunk beds with plastic mattresses on them, 6 dressers, and mini-kitchenette off to the side. There were 4 desks lined up against a wall with dividers in between them. It was…sterile. It was small. And it was empty otherwise. Because I was rushing sororities, I was a week earlier than the rest of the students.

My parents set up my cot, we chose my dresser, taped up some pictures of friends from home, and then it was time for them to take off in the empty conversion van. I realize this sounds pathetic, but I cried like a giant baby. I begged my parents not to leave me alone there. I said I would clean my room every day if they took me home. I wasn’t ready for college. I would return all my new stuff if they would let me get back in the van. “Don’t leave me here alone!” I sobbed.

During this infantile breakdown, the first roommate, Kristen, showed up with her mom. She was going through Rush as well. After they set up her stuff, they hugged and off her mother went. Then Kristen bounced off to go shopping downtown. I was like “UM! YOUR MOTHER JUST ABANDONED YOU!”

It was bad. Then, Rush started. I stopped calling home and crying every night because I was too busy hanging out with my Rush group, and staying up late eating Mac and Cheese out of a hot pot debating which house had better GPAs and parties. I would guess it took about 2 weeks for me to forget my family altogether. Pictures of home were replaced by pictures of my new “sisters”, all my books and folders were tossed onto the floor as we converted the desks into make-up stations, and the only crying I did was when a roommate would be reassigned to another dorm. I discovered Hawkeye football. And tailgating. Oh yeah, there were some classes in there too…

I only lived in the dorms for a year (most people at Iowa only live in for a year, two tops). It was a great year. Hallways full of open doors, people walking in and out of everyone‘s room, guys and girls chatting outside the showers (co-ed floors=very Ally McBeal-ish bathroom situation). I loved it. Moving into my first apartment after that was never quite as much fun. Bills? What?

So anyway, back in Target, this girl and her poor dad were debating the blender for a good 5 minutes before compromising on a Magic Bullet. The dad tossed it in the cart, and she was going on and on about what kind of contact paper to get for her drawers. I wondered if she’d be like me or Kristen when she was left alone at college. Judging by her obvious “first time away from home” priorities, I’m guessing she’ll be a wreck like I was. Lucky girl…

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Emmy AwardZzzzz

Yay! Live blogging from the Emmys! (well, from my couch, WATCHING the Emmys). I love me some Emmy Awards Shows. I’m about 4 minutes in, and already totally in love with the opening sequence. It’s like watching a professionally-produced high school prom. “Oh my God! I know him! That’s Hugo from Lost!!” Ooooh, I just love it.

I watched the E! special before the Emmys, where a bunch of people interview the stars going in to the show. They have to compliment the royal blue seashell dress, and be cordial to the rando wife Nobody that insists on standing next to her star husband. I could not do that job. How do you stifle the laughter?? Tell me, Seacrest!

Okay, so there are a lot of acceptance speeches going on now. Snooze. I wonder what my acceptance speech would be. I’d probably say something weird like “Thank you, Spanxx, for all your support.” Crickets.

I can’t get over Neil Patrick Harris. I just love him. His suit is completely debonair. And that says something, considering all suits look exactly the same to me. But, he looks fantastic. Everybody else just looks…shiny. Speaking of which, I didn’t realize that Kim Kardashian was the unofficial mascot of the Emmys this year. She’s everywhere. Please go away.

I’m legitimately holding my breath for LOST to win everything. Like, everything. Best supporting actress in a comedy? Lost. Best 3D effects in a mini-documentary? Lost. Best show in the history of TV? Lost. Noooo! First nomination, first loss for Lost. Ugh. This had better not be a trend.

Okay, second loss for LOST. This show is clearly rigged. This is ridiculous. Meanwhile, I’ve never seen any of the shows on which the nominees for Best Supporting Actress appear. Again, snooze.

My roommate Tina correctly notes how odd it is that all these actors are so, uh, uncomfortable in front of cameras. It’s like the winner of Top Chef not being able to make Mac n’ Cheese.

Another loss for Lost. I’ve about had it with this. If it weren’t for Betty White, I would have already turned this off. Oooop, hold on. Jimmy Fallon as Elton John? Alright, I’m listening…

There’s some downtime. I find myself thinking about the dresses I saw before the show started. Lots were gorgeous (especially the gold sequined dress worn by Glee‘s Heather Morris). If I were invited to the Emmys, I feel like I’d go way overboard and wear a ginormous pink princess dress with a tiara and sceptor. Also, the more feathers and sequins, the better. It’d be a wonderful travesty. But how do you “hold back” on your first Emmys?? Yeah, I wouldn’t.

Humanitarian Award. I’ll watch because it’s George Clooney. Can he do ANYthing wrong? No, he can’t. Beautiful speech. But more importantly, beautiful face, Clooney. Thanks for that.

Yay! There’s Tom Hanks! I’ve been looking for him!

Yup, just almost fell asleep. Speeches are too long, and awards are for people I neither know nor like. God, people have pretty terrible speeches tonight. Their feigned surprise at winning the award has also gotten old and played out. I want to see a giant reaction of disappointment or joy. None of this crappy calm head-nod junk. Every once in awhile, I’d love to see someone react like a normal person. I’ve been practicing my reactions in the mirror for years. When I win? Fist-pump, self high-five, followed by finger guns at the losers. When I lose? Well, let’s be real. That’s not going to happen.

Does anyone else remember Claire Danes with Kool-Aid dyed hair on “My So-Called Life”? She was so cool. Well, she looks pretty nice tonight too. I love her dress. I miss the Kool-Aid hair, though. And Jared Leto.

I’m sorry, is that JACK KEVORKIAN? At the Emmys?! That’s just, well, that’s just wrong. Maybe he’s there to put this show out of its misery. There’s no life left. Paging Dr. Kevorkian…seriously, I’ve lost all interest in the show right now. Guess what world! I don’t have HBO. None of these awards mean anything to me. Where’s the award nomination for Lifetime’s The Pregnancy Pact? That’s a great made-for-TV movie. What a shame. They got robbed. Also? If you want to be guaranteed an Emmy win, make a miniseries about a war or an old lady (who/what is a Temple Grandin?). Apparently, that’s an automatic win. Snooze.

FINALLY. The last two categories of the night. Oh, and another loss for Lost. That seals it. This show is totally rigged. Any show that snubs Lost AND The Pregnancy Pact is not a legit awards show. I’m over the Emmys. SPOILER ALERT! Only 3 shows won anything this year. Modern Family, Mad Men, and that Temple Grandin thing. Why have so many nominees? Just pick your favorite show that I don’t watch out of each category, give them all the awards, and call it a night, Emmy staff. Then I can have my Sunday night back. Well, I blame myself. I got sucked in by the sequins and shiny skin, like a moth to a very glittery flame. All those pretty, famous people together in one place? I can't NOT watch. Ugh, I'm such a sucker for TV celebrities...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Tongue is Killing Me

So, I’ve got the urge tonight to use this blog for evil, instead of good. Lately, I’ve been biting my tongue a lot, and I’m not exactly good at that. I can’t taste spicy foods anymore cause I bit that part clean off. And now, given the platform, I’m tempted to just let loose with a list of things and people who I want to either go away or be completely different. Rude, right? Yeah, I know. But it’s who I am, people. I just can’t be hilarious and nice all the time. I am but a human.

These past few days have reaaalllly tested my “Blogger Oath” to not just write about things I hate or people who are dumb, because I‘ve found myself alternating between screaming and crying at least a dozen times. Maybe it’s because I’m a product of Minnesota Nice, but I try to avoid actual confrontation at all costs. And when someone or something really irks me, I have a really difficult time communicating that. Well, communicating that as an adult. I’ve got a biting passive-aggressiveness that makes even me uncomfortable. And usually it’s either that, or the much-dreaded silent treatment.

Okay, so I’m working on all that, obvs. No one likes a passive-aggressive mute. Instead, I’ve been trying this little thing where I DON’T get all worked up over an annoying phone call at work, or when someone is late, or when I’M late and driving behind Grandma Moses. Geo once told me that his dad says “It’s not worth getting mad at someone/something you can’t control, unless it’s costing you money.” I’m trying to live by that. But there’s this gnawing urge I have to correct people who I believe are wrong, or to explain to them how annoying they can be. Enter: Me, the passive-aggressive beyotch. “I really should tell Beatrice (not her real name) that she needs to type softer on her computer (not a real situation) because really everyone hates her. I mean IT. Everyone hates IT. And she shouldn‘t have to live like that” I feel like it’s a public service I’m doomed to fulfill.

What do other people do? Do you guys really just, like, let things go? Live and let live? Am I really that terrible for getting so frustrated about dumb (and sometimes NOT dumb, but TOTALLY legit) things? Well, I’m listening to a lot of really hardcore rap these days to calm my spazzing nerves. Listening to it makes me feel like “Hey, you know what? Life on the streets probably AIN’T easy. And none of my homies are on death row. So I guess having to sit next to Loudest Talker Ever on the bus might not be that big of a deal.” It’s quite therapeutic, actually. There’s nothing passive about their aggressiveness. Aw man, now I wish I was a rapper.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Winner

This week’s winners are two lovely, deliciously snarky girls who are living my dream. They are the bloggers over at Go Fug Yourself.

And in honor of the two brilliant minds behind GFY, my friend Liz from over at The Olive Juice Blog has agreed to tag team this post with me. I recently REdiscovered this daily dose of fashion funny, which was introduced to me by another friend, Valerie, back in 2004. Now, I’m paying it forward and indoctrinating Liz into this one-of-a-kind humor.

This week, in particular, the girls over at GFY.com have really put a smile on my face with the way they judge celebs. They really know how to make fun of jeggings, and in such a way that just makes me gush. Think you’ll get away with leaving your house in a flannel with bedazzled shorts Mischa Barton? Think again.

So Liz and I are sitting here, drinking wine, and looking at GFY. We love their wit. Their charm. Their unabashed admiration for sequins. They are the voice of common sense in an industry that seems to have thrown that concept out the window. An every day girl knows that you can’t transfer the human-hair-fur-vest to everyday wear. But apparently, folks who have appeared on a few syndicated shows on the WB seem to think you can. GFY is a gentle, yet hilarious, reminder that people should not dress like idiots...or Chewbacca.

They are normal, fashion-loving girls who also love 90210 and diet Coke and have a special place in their fugging hearts for people like this. Yes, there ARE other people who are sick of Lady Gaga. I am not alone.

Liz is an interior designer. She’s got the kind of intuition that appreciates the complexity of art vs. design vs. function vs. fashion. And when all that is executed wrongly? Boy howdy, someone should be alerted. And in this case, the Go Fug Yourself girls provide that service to the fashion industry.

I applaud their selflessness. I envy their charms, and I covet their blog traffic. And in case you’re wondering, yes. New. Fugly. Content. Daily. Thank you, GFY. I love you. And if I had a prize to give out, I'd hold an elaborate awards show just to see what you'd wear.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I've Got Spirits, Yes I Do! I've Got Spirits, How 'Bout YOU!?

I went to a psychic at the Aquatennial Block Party in Minneapolis the summer after my freshman year of college. She told me I would be a fashion designer, that I would meet my husband in college, and that I would have twins “because multiples run in my family, don‘t they, deary?”. So far: 0 for 3. But the woman behind the crackled card table couldn’t have been more believable. She wore a SCARF, on her HEAD! She had rings on each finger and turquoise eye shadow. After I forked over the $10, she asked me my name and rolled her eyes into the back of her head for a minute or so before smiling knowingly. It was so clear, all of a sudden. My entire future spilled out of her mouth like oil. And it was my perfect future.

But I didn’t have much of a poker face back then, and my ginormous smiles and anxious nods probably helped her tell me exactly what I wanted to hear. I didn’t realize that I was in the midst of a fraudulent psychic. Then tonight, I talked to Madeline who visited Allison DuBois, who is NOT a psychic, but a Medium. (The TV show “Medium” is based on her life.) Anyhoo, DuBois claims to have the ability to contact the spirits of those who have passed, and harness their energy in order to guide those of us on Earth. Madeline got the opportunity to ask her a few questions, and the responses were spot on. I think.

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a skeptic when it comes to pseudo-science. You just can’t scientifically prove someone’s abilities to speak to spirits. It’s like trying to prove that I was just thinking about a purple fish with freckles. So, I was definitely skeptical when Madeline was telling me about her session with Allison. I mean, there really isn’t anyway to prove what WOULD have happened in someone‘s life. People also tend to hear what they want to hear when they seek out someone like Allison DuBois. So, I have my doubts.

But sometimes you just can’t argue when someone you just met can tell you your own secrets back to you. If someone said to me “I’m feeling an energy from you, like a walleye with melanoma. Or freckles.” I would freak! And sometimes you just need to hear some vindication about your life, and that you‘re headed in the right direction. Proven or not, I’m definitely a believer that people who have passed away look over us. Plus, I’m pretty sure there is a ghost who haunts me and follows me around tripping me. That’s the only possible explanation for the number of times I trip in a day.

Then again, I’m definitely not a fashion designer. But maybe it’s like getting a tattoo. If you visit a cartoony lady on the street for a tattoo, you almost certainly won’t get the same results as going to Kat Von D. The lady on the street could give you “NO REGETS” instead of “NO REGRETS”. I went to a sketchy woman and got a sketchy “reading”. Maybe Allison DuBois is the real McCoy. I don’t know. I’m not a mind reader. But is anybody?

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka!

There are lots of reasons why I don’t enter many contests. I generally have bad luck when it comes to winning anything, the prizes aren’t always that cool, and also some of them just take too much work. The problem is that I’m also a giant sucker. I fall for all kinds of things normal, rational people seem to avoid. Plus, numbers don’t mean anything to me, so when something says “Just fill out this quick form and you’re entered to win a Jumbotron TV. Easy, peezy, lemon squeezy. Chances of winning are 1 in a google”, I read “Pharon, you have a chance at winning this.”

Probably the best known Pharonism when it comes to “falling for promotions I do not understand” happened when I was 16. I went to get my oil changed, and drove out of the shop with 2 new, completely unnecessary, tires as well. “Mom! They were having a Buy One Get One Half Off promotion, and I was one of the lucky ones that got to take advantage of the offer! I was being economical!” After that, it took a long time for my parents to let me out in public alone. When Geo and I took a trip last year with some friends to my parents’ time share in Puerto Vallarta, my mom and dad had to very emphatically insist that I not be the one to attend the mandatory Time Share Informational Meeting. They were, rightly so, terrified that I would come back home the proud owner of a time share and newly bankrupt.

But then there are online sweepstakes. These I just love. I religiously enter Kate Spade giveaways. Recently, there was a chance to win a trip to Bali. I entered every single day for about 2 months, thinking that I was out-entering other people and would therefore surely win. I did not win. I was actually very surprised, too. It seemed like a sure thing. Next time, though. Next time, I’ll win for sure.

Then today on Twitter, I mindlessly entered a sweepstakes to win 2 Twins tickets and the opportunity to throw out the first pitch. I have no idea where all the information I submitted will end up, but my thought process is: I like the Twins. I love free tickets. Nothing about this is bad. And I wonder how the fine people at the Juvenile Diabetes Association get my phone number…I’m an idiot. But, I’m an idiot who could be watching a free baseball game next week. Take that!

As usual, in order to not make myself sound like too much of an idiot, I have to give myself some credit. I don’t fall for email scams, and I’ve never sent any money to Nigeria. I stay far far away from digital scams/promotions/sales incentives, for anything from anyone I do not know or did not sign up for. (Unlike a certain mom, who shall remain nameless, who was thisclose to clicking on one of those flashing pop-up windows that declared “You’re the 10,000,000,000th visitor! You’ve won a new iPod! Just click here!” Ha, ha…nOOb.) It’s like growing up in the digital age has ONLY prepared me to handle online sales pitches, and the face-to-face stuff kind of got lost somewhere. I just hope that when I’m sitting at the free Twins game, or strolling along the beaches of Bali that no one walks up to me and offers me free* tires.

*The asterisk, I have found out, is probably the most important thing to read, by the way. Here’s where they say things like “New tires come with lifetime subscription to Car & Driver magazine that you have to pay for and can never cancel. All tires arrive in 6-8 weeks, and will include 4 refugees who you must house, clothe, and feed for up to 18 years. Accepting tires without paying for them is a federal offense, and anyone who signs this deal is an idiot and will end up in jail. Free Tires, Inc. accepts no responsibility for any of the above mentioned, and non-mentioned, scenarios. By accepting this deal, you hereby preclude Free Tires, Inc. from all illegalities and financial wrong doing. Sucker."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cabin Fever

I finally got a tan. All summer long, the weekends have either been rainy and gross, or suffocatingly hot. So outdoors has not been my friend. But after spending the weekend at my sister's cabin in the sunshiney perfectness, my shoulders are burnt, my nose hurts when I crinkle it in disgust, and life is very good. In said sunshiney perfectness, I spent the days learning that I am good at both shooting a BB gun and fishing. I was as surprised as your are…

I love cabins. I am very disappointed that at this point in my life, I myself do not have a cabin. Though I am not a fan of bugs, the outdoors, or doing a lot of work, there is something about cabin life that agrees with me. Cabin life is much better than home life. Both mornings, I woke up with a very awesome alarm clock. My niece, Eve, would come and put her face right next to mine and just wait for me to open my eyes. Also, the lax showering rules are great, there’s always something to do, and having a beer with breakfast is not out of the question.

And no matter which cabin I’m visiting, there are things about each one that makes me feel at home. Every bathroom has the AIM toothpaste that is in the process of expiring and the one-ply toilet paper. Every living room has a handful of year-old Good Housekeeping magazines and some crossword puzzles, and it‘s decorated with wooden-carved signs that say things like We Don‘t Skinny Dip, We Chunky Dunk. And outside has the reclining lounge chairs, the fire pits, the yard games, the giant grill, and a dock leading out to a boat. Everything at a cabin suggests relaxation at any cost.

Like cabins, I also looooove me a boat. I still don’t know how to drive one, or how I would dock it, but I am a great boat passenger. What is better than a boat? You can lay around in it, catching some rays, then just roll overboard into the water for a little relief from the heat. You can sip on a beer while towing a wake boarder through the double ups. And, like this weekend, you can just hang out, listen to music, and occasionally catch huge fish. Boats are the greatest. I really need to find a way to get a sick boat, and then I’ll just need to find a place to dock it. And learn how to drive it. And save my money for gas.

So now I’m home, my skin feels like fried chicken, all my clothes smell like a bonfire, and I’ve got more bug bites than I can count (who gets a bug bite on the outside of their pinky toe!? It’s the worst place, hands down). And I’m too pooped to write too many clever, witty remarks, but I’m definitely okay with that. Maybe I should be glad I don’t have my own cabin. I’d never get anything done, and I’d probably be too relaxed all the time to care about anything other than whether or not I should bring the hammock inside at night in case of rain.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Whoa, Man.

You know what’s no fun? Getting punched in the face. I was punched once. I took it upon myself to nobly try and break up a fight, and stood between a fist and a man, and it did not go well. Right in the kisser, as they say. Immediately, the crowd around me tackled the guy who had thrown the punch (intended for the other dude) and made him pay. I’ve made it a point ever since then to avoid both fights and fists.

So last night, Geo and I were joking around and I punched him in the arm. He (very lightly) punched my arm right back. “OW! You can’t hit me! I’m a girl!” I yelped. And I punched his arm even harder than before. How is this fair? I, and pretty much all women, have this invisible force field around us at all times. We could punch a guy right in the face, and he can’t do anything. It’s like we are playing tag, and the women are always safe on base.

I don’t know who worked up the pretty sweet deal that women have these days. (CAVEAT! I know that not all women enjoy the freedoms we have. I know that there are exceptions, there’s discrimination, there’s all kinds of things that happen every day to women, simply because they ARE WOMEN. But, it’s almost the weekend, and I’m taking the light-hearted approach, so take it easy).

As I was saying, we’ve got a pretty sick deal going on. A woman can have any job she wants. She can play professional sports, she can invent something scientific-y, she can write the world‘s best novel, she can stay home with her kids if she wants, or she can skip having kids altogether. All that’s there. But there are things that women enjoy every day that I think people take for granted. So, before any one goes crazy and starts talking about women being the exact same as men, take a minute and consider these things we‘d have to give up:

1) It’s still typically frowned upon if we pay on the first date. The fact that we even do that whole “oh, here, let me pretend to dig out my wallet that I better not have to use” thing is more than enough.

2) As mentioned above, we can hit a guy whenever we’d like, and not get hit back. This is really a great thing for me, because I’m bettin’ that there’s a whole gang of people who would haul off and smack me daily if it weren’t so against nature.

3) Every single month, we can say and do whatever we’d like for the week Aunt Flo’s in town. “Don’t blame me for setting all your clothes on fire, honey! I can’t help it! IT’S BIOLOGY!”

4) Men have to give up their seat to us on a crowded bus. Even if he works for a women and she pays his salary, he’ll have to stand and watch as she nestles her well-dressed booty into his seat.

5) Men still open doors for us, pull out our chair at a restaurant, and pay for our plastic surgery.

Are men suckers now? Is that what’s happening? I mean, I wish I could have been at the meeting where all this was decided.

“Okay, ladies. So here are the new rules: women can do anything we want. We don’t have to shave anymore, we can vote, we don’t have to obey our husbands, and we definitely won’t stand for being discriminated against at a job. That’s all well and good. Lovely. Wait, what’s that? Oh, yes, definitely. Old rules still apply as well. No hitting us, we birth children so a man’s pain will never EVER be comparable, and, if the ship is sinking, it’s still women and children first. We good? Great. Let‘s go out for manis/pedis.”

I mean, I love it, don’t get me wrong. But doesn’t it seem a little unfair? It almost feels like we’re cheating a bit. It would make sense if women were, say getting $.25 less than a man at a job. I’d consider that like INSURANCE AGAINST BODILY HARM. But given that the playing field is getting more and more even, I better start watching my mouth and minding my manners. Some day someone’s going to catch on to this. And on that day, I anticipate a lot of punches. Until then, though? I’m going to milk this for all it’s worth…

Yes, this is a very lame video, but it’s the best recording, so just close your eyes…

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Winner

No one likes a loser. People like winners. (I’m going to make such a great, laid-back parent). With that in mind, I’d like to present the ALL NEW weekly installment of Wednesday Winner. Every Wednesday I’ll tell you who has won my heart for the week, whether it be a celebrity, a friend, a family member. (Technically, Brett Favre should hold the honor this week, what with his heroic return to the Vikings, but I’m saving him for a special week.) And while I am susceptible to bribes by those who would like to be hailed as the winner, I am not a pawn. I am not a puppet (Sarah). To start this off, I’m setting the bar simultaneously high and shallow. I’m starting with a celeb.

This week’s prize (there is no prize, by the way) goes to none other than:

Yup. Jennifer Aniston. She’s beautiful, smart, independent, “beachy”, and she always dresses perfectly. She’s all over the place this week, what with her new movie, The Switch (co-starring JASON BATEMAN who I absolutely love) and she never disappoints. Besides my decade-long obsession with her hair, I also covet the ease with which she carries herself. Girls love her, guys love her, and I’m assuming dogs, cats, birds, and even scorpions like her too. Also, I really love that she is NOT Angelina Jolie. Blech.

One of the reasons Jen Jen (yup, I can call her that) deserves this prestigious honor is because this week she made a comment about a woman’s right to have a child, with or without a man in her life. And when crazy coot Bill O’Reilly turned that statement into some platform for him to jump off and cry that this woman was “ruining society”, she coolly and maturely responded without attacking him or his idiocy. That’s a woman.

Secondly, she has a perfume coming out too. I’ve NEVER bought into the whole Celebrity Scent scene. I wear Banana Republic. But something about the fact that it’s supposedly “beachy” and “feminine” and smells just like you think she would smell makes me want it. Actually, it makes me want to drink it. But I won’t. Probably.

Finally, she made my week because she just seems like a woman who’s got it together. I envy that. She made a hilarious appearance on Chelsea Lately, she is iconic in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar dressed and made-up like Barbra Streisand, and excepting this week, she typically stays low-key. So, props to you, Jen (yeah, she’s totally a follower of mine…) for being a great public figure and for having Victor Kiriakis from Days of our Lives as your dad.

Congratulations, Jennifer Aniston, for winning me over this week. You’re the best.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pharon Vs. The State of Denim

I hereby call this case to order. Prosecution, please proceed.

Members of the jury, we are in the clutches of evil, and I urge you to consider your children’s future when it comes to the matter at hand. We, as a People, need to stand up any say “Enough”! No more will we fall victim to your deceitful games! No more will we blindly follow your lead into the black abyss that shall become reality if we do nothing to fight the dark, washed-up Denim Empire.

My friends, we have reached an era where it is common to combine words in the spirit of efficiency. Speidi. Spork. Murse. While I whole-heartedly and emphatically agree with this practice, I find it appalling that people have used technique in such a frivolous manner, thereby inventing what can only be called fashion travesties. Please, brace yourselves as we put on trial two man-made constructions that must be stopped: Jeggings. And Jorts.

Order! Order in the court! Please, members of the jury, contain yourselves! Let us get down to the business of justice. What we are facing today is the inexplicable decision-making that has created new and dangerously tasteless trends simply by combining words. In the case of Pharon vs. Jeggings, let me please direct you to Exhibit A:

Do you see? The jean+legging combination of “jeggings”, as we are forced to call them, are simply TIGHTS, masquerading as pants. Yes, the feet have been removed, but I believe that is but a safety precaution to ensure the blood is still flowing to your feet. Also even the tall, leggy model wearing the Jeggings (who wisely has chosen to hide her face) appears to be short, and stout! The pants should be called Tea Pot jeans!

Please note that while Jeggings mimic leggings, Jeggings falsely lead the victim to have an unusually high confidence level, and wrongly encourage her that they “count” as jeans. Leggings, on the other hand, rightfully and constitutionally serve as adorable accessories. Additionally, do not confuse skinny jeans with Jeggings. Skinny jeans are actual pants that look good on a wide population of people, both men and women, and are highly acceptable in society. But the fashion industry has fooled otherwise beautiful and smart women into slipping into these atrocious Jeggings and walking around as if they are not only wearing pants, but that they look good in them! Do not be fooled, dear citizens! The Emperor has no clothes, and we all know it!

Let us move now to the disfigured and orphaned child of the Jeggings. Jorts. Jeans + Shorts. In the spirit of full-disclosure, let us all admit that we indeed own, or have owned, jean shorts. There is nothing to be ashamed of here. Jeans are great. An American standard. And taken at the letter of their name, jean shorts can be just dandy. However, by taking the next step and actually combining “Jean” and “Shorts” into Jorts makes them an entirely different garment. What we have created is the worst thing to happen to denim since the Canadian tuxedo. Members of the jury: you must not sit idly by and allow the Jorts to take over. Next thing you know, you’ll be washing your boyfriend’s Jort Zubaz, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

With that in mind, may I present Exhibits B and C:

There is no greater crime than a crime of fashion. We must put an end to Jeggings and Jorts. These “trends” have moved, and they’ve moved quickly people. And now they're knocking on the doors of Suburban America. Will you let this poison into your home? Will you allow this toxic display of “taste” to suffocate the bodies of the ones you love? Or will you stand tall, shoulder to shoulder with me, and declare “You look like a disproportionate idiot!” Who can we count on if not ourselves? Who must we trust if we cannot trust ourselves? I urge you to take a good look at the evidence. Look at these photos, and the seemingly disfigured bodies. Then do the right thing and condemn these perpetrators.

The prosecution rests.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Somebody Should Consider Putting Baby in A Corner

Hmph. I still haven’t made a decision on the grand, fabulous shoes I drooled over yesterday. The shopping high has waned a bit since my leisurely shopping trip yesterday turned me into a maniacal sociopath hell-bent on feeling incomplete without a pair of gray shoes. (This is not to say I won’t still buy them.)

Anyhoozle, I was thinking about World’s Best Game Ever that I made up on Friday night. Kim, Madeline, and I were hanging out at my house. The yawns were approaching quickly, we were slumped into the couches, and overall we were pretty pathetic. In order to get the blood pumping, I decided to invent said best game ever. Here’s the gist. Each person rolls a dice. The person who rolls the lowest number has to stand up in front of the other two and just dance to a randomly selected song for 30 seconds. And if the others didn’t think you danced long or hard enough, Mr. Jagermeister was waiting to punish you accordingly. Um, yeah. It’s pretty much the most hysterical thing ever. I mean, how often do you dance BY YOURSELF in front of other people!? But we did it. And it was oddly liberating. Sure, the others would laugh hysterically, but it was thrilling being forced to just let loose.

I don’t know exactly when or if it happened, but I’m concerned that I’ve turned into a bad dancer. I remember in high school cheerleading I was put at the very front for dance routines because I was actually pretty good. Also? I won a Running Man contest in 6th grade. I mean, that SAYS something, you know? I could do any dance, I could release and restrict my body parts appropriately, and I had range. Now, I just hop up and down on a beer-soaked dance floor at the bars. I do the totally skill-less “punching my arms repeatedly up and down in the air to the beat of the song”. Sometimes I’ll do two arms, other times just one. If I’m really feelin’ it, I’ll alternate. There was also a time when I thought I could pop-and-lock. No. Just, No. People probably considered bringing over a wooden spoon for me to bite on.

I don’t get it. I’ve got rhythm, I’m entirely mobile, I’m pretty good at following directions in a song (“Two hops this time, criss cross! Now, Charlie Brown. Everybody clap your hands!” - Yup, real song. Real AWESOME song!) I feel like I’ve got what it takes, Coach. Yet, when the music comes on, up go my arms and down goes any chance of being cast in Step Up: 3D.

I will offer this one explanation. A few years back, I lived by myself. I loved the freedom. I was watching So You Think You Can Dance, and I, inspired by the music, decided that Yes. I think I can dance. So I flung myself around my apartment, spinning and jumping, shaking my, well, everything. I was sweaty and laughing at myself. It was great. And then. Behind the cords of the TV were two beady eyes staring at me. Mocking me. It wasn’t until after I had silently shamed myself that I realized it was a mouse. I screamed. Whether it was the fact that it was the first mouse I had ever seen, or the humiliating feeling that the mouse was laughing at me and judging my dancing, who’s to say? But I screamed, and hopped up on my bed, and never danced like that again.

Maybe it’s like what happens in the movies. Julia Stiles gives up dancing because her mother was in a car accident in “Save the Last Dance“. Channing Tatem gives up dancing (for a second) in “Step Up” because his rep as a tough guy was seriously in jeopardy. And hello? Maureen gives up dance for L.O.V.E. love in “Center Stage” (and because the poor girl just wanted to eat a piece of pizza without the constant fear of having to wear Spanx under her tights and tutu). Perhaps I too have had to make the selfless sacrifice. I shall dance alone no more, lest I risk infesting my home with snarky, judgmental mice. The only thing my milk shake brings…is mice.

However, I’ll make an exception in the case of World’s Best Game. Yeah, I’m dancing by myself, but I’m not alone. My only regret is that I didn't perform my award-winning Running Man that night. Oh well, there's always next time. And there WILL be a next time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sole Search

The good news is: I made it through the weekend alive. It was incredibly rejuvenating, and exhausting, being with great friends and laughing until my stomach hurt.

The bad news is, once left alone, I went ahead and fell in love. His name? Metallic Gray Stilettos (I think it‘s Dutch). Anyway, these shoes found their way into my heart this morning, and I’ve been obsessing every since. I can’t stop dreaming about outfits they’d complete, jeans they’d transform, and the adrenaline rush I got holding them in my hands. But, like many summer romances, that rush had to end. I wore them around the store, with my dirty red pants cuffed up to my knees, and I knew the second I looked at the price tag, this was but a fling.

I’m not the kind of girl who spends ridiculous amounts of money on shoes. I’m pretty sure I’ll never own a pair of Christian Louboutins. I can’t afford that kind of love. But I’ll salivate over the Gucci heels Victoria Beckham wears, and secretly kiss the Jimmy Choos featured in Vogue. I mean, they are positively tasty.

Guys may not appreciate the love a girl has for the leathery deliciousness wrapped around a foot. Last summer, I asked Geo to bring me a pair of shoes at work when we were on our way to a party. I specifically said “the black heels, with the little braid-y thing up the foot.” He showed up with a bag of 4 different pairs of black heels, with little braid-y things up the foot. He was astonished. “How could you have 4 pairs of shoes that are identical?” I was shocked. They were NOT identical. One pair has a strap around the ankle that I only wear with pants, another has an extremely skinny heel that only works when worn for very short periods of time, then there’s the patent leather pair, and finally the ones with tiny silver accents. See? Tooooootally different.

The guys I know have a similar relationship with their baseball hats, for example. You don’t have to explain it to me guys, I know. Each gnarly baseball hat serves a different purpose. One has the best fit, another is your favorite color, another your favorite team, and another one that’s just funny. I’ve known guys who actually have a “formal” baseball hat. The point is, I have zero baseball hats. I don’t see why you need 12 different hats, but hey, that’s just how you roll. I get it.

I’m ridiculous, I know. I’m still pining for the pair of Marc Jacobs Mary Jane’s (that’s a style of shoe, guys. Strap across the top of the foot. Very Catholic-schooly) that I found on CLEARANCE for almost HALF of what they were worth last year, and didn‘t buy them because I was trying to be “responsible“ with money. But oh my God. Perfect height heel, perfect patent leather black, and only one size left. Size 6. MY SIZE. I am obsessed with my shoe size. It’s display shoe size. That’s amazing. I’m not “display size” in anything. But with shoes, I can walk around any store and slip into any shoe I’d like. My shoe size never changes. I don’t have “fat foot days”, my feet are the most reliable thing about me. It’s so easy to find shoes that look cute on small feet, too.

But back to these shoes. If you didn’t know, gray is the new neutral. I mean, I can pretty much wear them with anything. It would almost be irresponsible NOT to buy them. But I’m giving myself 24 hours to decide. I’m going to take the time to weigh the options of paying my phone bill or buying a pair of shoes. Just don’t be surprised if you try and call me later this month and you can’t get through.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


After a brief appearance at work tomorrow (Can I get a ‘what-what‘ for summer hours?!), my weekend will begin. My friend Madeline is making a guest appearance, coming all the way from Chicago, IL. I’m ecstatic to see her, especially after getting bailed on last night by two separate, yet equally guilty, friends who shall remain nameless. Ouchie.

Madeline and I met in college and have survived exactly one fight, numerous personal tragedies, and more tailgates than 90% of the population. She doesn’t come to the Cities a lot, because she’s lived in Chicago for too long and is now a bonafide Chicago Snob. But I don’t care, because 24 hours from now, Madeline and I will be in Minneapolis, at the same time, in the same house.

The aforementioned ONE fight we’ve ever been in was because of $10. That’s it. I thought she owed me, she (wrongfully) disagreed. We didn’t talk for weeks. We are both that stubborn. People we hardly knew referred to that time as “when the world fell apart”. It shook the very foundation on which the school stood. Friends were divided, bars were claimed, territories were marked. Then, we got over ourselves and pretended like it never happened. I like that in a person.

But overall, we don’t fight. When we disagree, we change the subject. We don’t silently stew about the wrongs the other one has committed, we tell each other. I’d love it if all my relationships were like that. We can yell and scream at each other one night, and then the next day hug it out and move on. Because when it comes right down to it, we have too much fun together to throw it away because of bickering. We protect each other, we care about each other, and we trust each other. Plus, we have very different taste in men, which solves like 80% of problems most women our age have. At the end of the day, I laugh hardest with her, I’ve cried hardest with her, and I’ve probably partied hardest with her.

And I won’t bore you, or embarrass myself, with the gagillion stories of the fun we’ve had, but I hope you’ll take me at my word when I say that they were great. Lately, Madeline has been going through a wide variety of transitions in life. I’m boring and I haven’t changed in, well, too long. But there is something so exciting about seeing someone you’ve only seen a couple times since the “glory days”, no matter how different you may be. I feel invincible, like those days of terrorizing a town together are right at my fingertips. And disappointed as I was to learn that she may want to just stay at my house all night because she’s bringing her dog and doesn’t want to leave her alone, I have a feeling Minneapolis just isn’t ready for us yet.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Baby Got Back (Pain)

"You are saying the change has to first occur in the brain?"

Great googly-moogly, people. The above quote is in an article attempting to explain lower back pain. That’s right. Back Pain. I clicked through to the article because my stupid back hurts again, and I thought I’d find some helpful hints in the article called “Low Back Pain: Is It Really All In Your Head?” I was, of course, expecting the answer to this rhetorical question to be “OF COURSE NOT, YOU POOR SUFFERING SOUL!” But no, no, no. That was not the case.

Blah, blah, blah, the article was all “the suffering starts in your head because that’s where movement begins: in the brain” or some such way of complicating the fact that your brain controls your body. If you don’t already know that, I don’t know how to talk to you.

I find both great enjoyment and frustration in articles like this. On the one hand, sometimes these articles provide very helpful information (make gentler movements). On the other hand, there’s a lot of jargony nonsense that can suffocate the factual text and confuse readers (said example of it being in your head).

I don’t know if any of you has back pain, but mine started in high school and randomly and angrily flares up without warning. Sure, the lifting of heavy boxes and walking a couple miles every day in high heel wedges may not help, but I’m certain the pain existed long before any of these other things happened. It’s a back spasm that shakes me into a contorted position for a few seconds, and is followed by anywhere from an hour to 5 days of soreness.

But enough about me. Back (ha!) to the articles. More and more people are visiting websites for help and treatment of pain. You just can’t visit the doctor every time something comes up, though, right? Sometimes, one must Google. But I’m scared for people who don’t take the time to rummage through all the prosaic babbling to get to the proverbial meat of the matter. For instance, Web MD’ing “dark bruise” suggests that I may have rectal problems. What? No, try again, website. Mongolian Spots? Nope. In this case, I’m guessing it’s best to rely on our own brain. (Then again, can I trust my brain? I mean, it may be the thing that’s responsible for my back pain, after all.) It takes a bit of thinking. “This deep dark bruise on my thigh has been there for a few days now. Hmmm. Maybe it has something to do with repeatedly running into the corner of the dining room table whenever I sprint into the kitchen for a slice of cheese.” Guess what, Contestant! You’ve won a million dollars.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m all for healing yourself in the best way possible. If it’s medication, meditation, or ignorance, I say go with what works for you. I’ve always been fascinated by the ways in which people diagnose and heal themselves. When I was very young, my parents gave me the Mayo Clinic Family Health book. It was chock full of diseases and pictures. My favorite? Hairy Tongue. Yeah, that one’s a doozy. But the language is so methodical and technical, I trusted it. There was no suggestion that any physical disfigurement may simply be due to the way I think. It was just the facts. And it was a great relief to know that I wasn’t suffering from internal bleeding. (I used to think, “How would I ever know if I was bleeding INSIDE?! I can’t see in there!” Thanks to the book, though, I realized it is highly unlikely that there would be no physical manifestation of said bleeding. Case closed.)

None of this helps me with my back, though. I don’t want to visit a doctor; it’s a recurring pain that I can handle. Googling “back pain” is useless, as there are too many causes and treatments for me to sort through. And I definitely won’t stop wearing high heels. I don’t know. I guess I’ll just request a new chair from HR and hope that fixes it. And if that doesn’t work, maybe I’ll head into a clinic for a lobotomy and get the masochistic part of my brain that is causing my own pain removed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Thoughts, New Roommates

Much like the weather in Minnesota, my living situation has changed, again.

After a long day of stifling heat, now it’s raining, our house is cooling off, and the perks of a female-dominated home are really coming to fruition.

Our new roommate Tina moved in last week, and the house is clean. It smells good. The TV is off, and Tina and her boyfriend just opened a bottle of wine. Tina and I are chillin’, Sanna is probably reliving her day at work where she served coffee and a turkey sandwich to THE Josh Harnett. (Apparently, he is even cuter in real life. Swoon!) The boys are just chatting about the good ol’ days of playing Halo in college. And now there is talk of playing Scrabble.

This is nothing like living with boys. Again, I want to reiterate my preference of living with boys, but nights like this really give the male species a run for their money. I can’t remember the last time any of my roommates were all in the same room, talking, no TV, playing some nice, wholesome board games.

Something keeps tugging at me though. The TV remote? Facebook? The desire to perform senseless acts of push-ups? I don’t know, but it’s almost a little alarming at how quiet and peaceful our house is right now. I’m used to the sounds of ESPN, or arguing about politics, or just general noise. So now that everything is as I used to believe it should be, it strikes me as odd that I’m so distracted by the sheer newness of it all. Also, the boys talking about Halo makes me want to play Halo. And that, my friends, is something I just don’t typically do.

There’s no competition around me. There’s no testosterone brimming at the edge of every comment. I have a feeling that if I wanted to, I could talk about my feelings, and people just might listen. Is it wrong that I feel a little out of place?

But then again, maybe being around all that masculinity has tamed my feminine prowess to the point of non-existence. But I have a dress on right now, people. And I like it. Sure I’m sipping a cold beer, but I’m doing it with jewelry on. I don’t know, I think this is a good thing. I think I need to regain some feminine skills, like communication and compassion. And showering.

And just now I realized that this might just work after all. Sanna turned on the TV, the Scrabble game seems to be getting quite tense, and I’m sitting in front of the fan while the wind blows up my dress without a care in the world. If men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, I do believe I may have found Earth. (Plus, neither Tina nor Geo had any problem telling me how dumb that last line was, and it felt good.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dye Job

This weekend I dyed my hair. My sister Padrin got hers done and I loved it, so I copied her. I opted for Coffee Crème, by Natural Instincts. The reason I chose the Natural Instincts brand is because, like my desire for a new hair color, it’s temporary. So, now I’m a slightly darker brunette than before. Pretty much no one noticed it, but I totally love it. I woke up this morning, forgetting I had done it, and as I brushed my teeth in the mirror I was totally checking myself out.

I’ve gone through some unfortunate hair coloring phases in my life. In middle school, some of my friends and I would have Glints parties. We’d get together for a sleepover and dye our hair in each other’s bathrooms. Glints was a semi-permanent color, with very limited color options available. For a week, I’d have this very awkward shade of like reddish-orangey-brown. I thought I looked fantastic. But I’m guessing between the odd hair color, the glasses, and the braces, I was quite a sight. I don’t seem to remember having too many boyfriends around that time.

During my freshman year of college, I went to Mexico with my family. I returned to school with the most perfect, deepest, darkest brown tan. After showering one day, I noticed how good my hair looked wet. A deep, rich black against my deep, rich brown skin. When my hair dried, though, it was back to a watery brown and looked so blah. So, I went ahead and used a permanent hair dye called Blackest Black. For the first couple weeks, it looked awesome. My friend Madeline called me a Hawaiian Princess. It was lovely.

The tan faded, the hair did not. I went from Hawaiian Princess to Dark Princess of the Underworld. My paling skin was emphasized by the black and it was, to say the least, unfortunate. It took two trips to the salon to have the dye “stripped” because black does not fade or grow out well at all. By the time the blah brown returned, though, I was ready for another change.

I love blonde hair. I’m fascinated by celebrities who walk into a salon with drab brown hair, and come out looking like the sunshine is growing from their head. So, I went to a salon and said “Make me a blonde”. The girl did the best she could. She herself has gone from brown to blonde and back to brown. I trusted her. It was a mistake. I came out with a mix of very light brown hair with highlights of orange Kool-Aid sprouting from my scalp. I was not blonde. I was blorange. Unfortunately, being in college, I couldn’t afford to get it fixed, and I didn’t trust myself to buy a box of brown and fix it myself. So I painfully grew it out. It took a looooooooong time.

After I returned, again, to the poop brown hair, I dyed it black again. I do not learn from my mistakes. This time, though, I bought a black hair dye that said “Semi-Permanent”, but that would be what is called “false advertising”. Black doesn’t wash out. It doesn’t gradually fade. Just ask anyone who’s accidentally written on a dry-erase board with a Sharpie. Again, I let it grow out, suffering through the inclinations to start drinking from a chalice and holding séances.

A few years back, there was a 3 week period where I had 8 hot pink extensions woven into my brown hair. Yikes. Let’s move on…

For the past few years, I’ve been pretty good about leaving my hair alone. I haven’t chopped it all off in a moment of tangled frustration, and it’s been humdrum brown ever since. Once I let my sister-in-law highlight it for her testing interview at a hair salon. It looked wonderful. Subtle, but beautiful. But I just couldn’t justify paying a bunch of money to make changes that made virtually no difference. So it faded back to dry-dirt brown.

Then this weekend, I fell off the wagon. I waltzed in to Target and chose the darkest brown that did not have the words “ebony”, “blackest”, “raven”, “ink”, or “jet” in the name. With nary a thought, I started slicking the gooey dye all over my head. Ten minutes later, voila! Coffee crème was achieved. It looks darn good, too. I’m just bummed it’s temporary. Although, knowing me, I’ll want to be a red head in two weeks anyway. I hear it’s a great color for fall.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Farkle Family Goes to the Races

The Farkle Family went to the races this weekend. The Farkle Family is what we’ve always called my family. We are a big ol’ group of people who all look alike and always seem to be clueless about our surroundings. We piled into the ridiculously gigantic conversion van that my little mom drives around town, and headed out in search of big bucks at the horse races at Canterbury Downs.

I initially thought it was just going to be Padrin and Prinna and me. Then Perek and his wife Leah decided to join us. Then came my mom. And after a little encouragement, my Dad agreed to come too. I noticed, on our way there, my dad knew exactly where to go. The exits, the parking lot, everything. And my dad is not a gamblin’ man. But, we pulled up and parked the crazy big van in a handicapped parking spot (my mom had foot surgery several weeks ago, and was rewarded with a handicap parking pass. She is currently without cast, and appears to be walking just fine). So, already we’re “that family".

As we walk in, my dad picks up a brochure for a Yearling Sale. My dad went through a phase a long time ago when he was obsessed with the horse business. To this day, I’m surprised we don’t have one. But when he picks up the brochure, I saw the spark in his eye that gave me hope that it could still happen.

We wandered around, spreading out across walkways and blocking doorways, taking a quick little tour of the place. We don’t really know where to sit, where to go, or what to do. In times like this, it’s customary in my family to wander aimlessly, blocking doorways and TVs, and just generally get in people’s way.

So we get a quick bite to eat, and then it’s time to place some bets. Ooooh Lordy. The Farkle Family does not bet outside of family blackjack games. But my mom (thankfully) hands me $20 and wishes me good luck. So we each go up to the little automated betting machines, and we are a bee hive of questions for Perek, who’s the only one who actually knows what to do. Perek gets a little stressed with the 5 women each poking him saying “Perek, what is this? How come there are no horse names on here? Why won’t it let me bid just $1?” He’s bouncing in between us all answering our questions, looking like he’s trying to teach a dog to do algebra. My dad, in true Kip fashion, sits off to the side and minds his own business.

At this point, I’m already stressed out. I do not like being in a big group of confused people. I think, ‘This is gonna be a looooong night‘. We take our places outside, filling 2 rows of seats. By this time, my mom and Prinna have somehow managed to gather up about 100 different newspapers and booklets about the races and are reading them diligently (I think it‘s important to note here that after the first race, my mom and sisters discovered the Recycling Bin of discarded programs and race info. They picked up some booklets from the GARBAGE and I immediately distanced myself from them. After about 30 seconds of them being very proud of themselves, Prinna declares “Wait, these are from last night!” and my humiliation dissipates into red-faced giggling).

It’s about at this point I learn that my dad worked at Canterbury Downs. He was the doctor who rode in the ambulance after the horses to clean up any carnage that may happen, though he assured me nothing ever really happened. I was like, “What? You WORKED here? Well, I must not have been born yet, then.” No, I was 5 at the time. This happens a lot. My dad could be Batman for all I know. I’m told he’s a doctor, and that he works at some hospitals. But that’s about all I know about his job. I kind of like it that way. He’s not one of those men who takes work home with him and gets distracted by it. But every once in awhile, I’ll find out something like this, and it connects so many puzzle pieces. THAT’S why he knew exactly where to go, where the horses come out, and it definitely explains his fascination with horses.

After the first race, I’m crushed to find out there’s a LOT to know about horse racing, and it all involves stupid numbers. And when I won, I won like my original bet back plus $0.40. But it was cheap to bet, and every once in awhile, I’d “go with my gut” and pick horses like Red Shoes because, well, I love shoes. I started getting into it, and snatching up a racing guide for myself (NOT from the garbage). In between races, we’d each study the next group, make some notes, and then head inside to bet. By the third race, I feel like a pro at using the machines.

I was no longer distracted by the constant chatter among us, and my mom’s combination of confusion and oddly high level of confidence is the hit of the night. She was standing alone at a table, with all her racing info spread out, studying it and making notes, with her reading glasses on her head, and a bystander commented to Leah, “Wow, she really knows how to play the horses!” No, Sir. She doesn’t, but it’s working for her. I mean, she looked like Rainman. It was awesome.

By the end of the night, I didn’t want it to end. It was so fun. Padrin and my mom each won big a couple of times, we sat around talking about who picked which horses, and it was an excellent way to spend a Friday night. When we left, we walked back to the ginormo-van and I was soooo happy that we were able to park so close. As we drove home, high on our modest winnings, I thought about how great the night ended up to be, and let the thought wash over me that maybe I’m a little too hard on the Farkle Family. Maybe.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Friday: So Close I Can Taste It!

We’ve all had a pretty long week, right? I just have this gut feeling that everyone is pretty ready for the weekend. It doesn’t matter if you worked 12 hour-days, stayed home with the unruly kids, went hiking in Appalachia and got stranded and had to be picked up by a helicopter, or just sat around all week waiting for other people to be free, the point is: it’s been a long week. I will not cry why I say goodbye to this week.

On that note, I’m phoning this one in. Go ahead, do a minimal amount of thinking, and tell me:

What Would You Like to Do This Weekend?

Feel free to explain any decisions or offer your own in the comments.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Titles are Hard

(Quick Prologue: This has GOT to be fate! As I was writing my blog tonight, I got an email from Kate Spade alerting me that they now have BOOK OF THE MONTH clutches. PURSES, shaped like NOVELS. Seriously. It simply doesn't get better than Book Clutches.) Okay, continuing on...

Should I be writing a memoir? I learned today that Justin Bieber has a memoir coming out (First Step 2 Forever. Um…okay). Really? Really, Justin Bieber? Okay, well, it seems that I too am qualified to pen a memoir.

First thing’s first. I have to have a great title. It should be punny, as I just really love puns. Pharon Nuff (say it fast)? I could also name it something really heavy and serious to totally mess with the readers. The Tragedy of Misfortune – and it’d be, like, hilarious. Or maybe something like Eat Drink Love (Then Eat Again…and Probably Drink Again)? I don’t know. Okay, let’s not start with the title. Titles are hard.

Now, what’s happened in my life that warrants a good memoir? My sister Prinna is working on hers. She’s one of those pesky “legitimate writers” who has all this "talent" and “material” to put down onto paper that actual people will want to “read”. Annoying.

The problem is, I haven’t learned any great truths in my life (yet), and I’m not a multi-millionaire, platinum-record selling, international superstar (yet). If I were to write a memoir right now, it’d be about what I’m having for lunch today and what my lunch may consist of tomorrow. Not exactly page-turning stuff, folks.

Yes, I realize there is irony in blogging daily about things that basically boil down to things like “what I had for lunch”, and then writing about how I’d have nothing to write about if someone actually asked me to write about something. I get it. But penning an actual BOOK, on paper, that has a binding and sticker price slapped on it seems so different to me. I’ve always had a love affair with books. I love the smell of the binding, I’m one of those hated – and misunderstood – “page-folders” who turns down a corner of the page to mark my spot, and I love running my fingers over books on the shelf and feeling their rough, tangible covers.

So, to put something together that would sit on someone’s bookshelf seems like such an incredible feat to me. I wonder if people think about this when they write their memoirs. Did Paris Hilton take note of the texture of the pages as she signed the zillions of copies she sold? I doubt it.

But I started reading a memoir tonight called The Glass Castle (which I HIGHLY recommend!) and I caught myself remembering the way my mom’s top dresser drawer always smelled just like her Estee Lauder perfume, and I couldn’t stop myself from writing down all the contents of that drawer. Which led me to write about her pair of black patent leather high heels with leaf-shaped cut-outs that I used to put on and pretend I was at a gala of some sort. I loved those shoes. And I loved that drawer. And I really loved writing about them.

But, if I end up putting those things on paper, printing the pages out and binding them, I should probably rethink the possibility of a title like Getting’ Drunk and Bein’ Irresponsible.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ya, Sure, You Brettcha

Big news today, everyone. Like him or not, it’s been reported that Brett Favre is retiring from football. I’ve already been angry and sad today. Currently, I’m suffering through the stage of Denial. I believe Bargaining comes next.

Before you go tuning me out completely because this is sports-related, and even worse Minnesota sports-related, let me get something very clear. I hate ESPN, I have no idea who won the Super Bowl 2 years ago, and I couldn’t tell you one athlete’s name on any college sports team.

I have no retention of memory when it comes to sports. I am not one of those people who can pull facts and statistics out of their butt whenever the time calls for it. Or even when it doesn’t. I will, however, watch about 5-10 minutes of sports and then go Fact-Dropping to anyone within earshot as long as it happens that same day. Tomorrow, I’ll probably forget who even played.

Now, I don’t want to go selling myself too short here. I know the rules of the games I watch (primarily football and baseball). I know what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s just plain stupid. I know the great athletes on my team and the team’s record for the year. I have a lot of basic knowledge knocking around inside my head. And I yell at the players as much as any psycho who paints his chest and goes to a game in -30 degree weather (I was a cheerleader, after all).

Case in Point: I was watching a Vikings game two seasons ago with my friend Kim (pre-Favre). At the time, I was living with the three boys. However, on that day, I was under the impression that it was just me and Kim at my house. The Vikings were stumbling their way down the field pathetically. Then Tavaris Jackson (QB at the time) launches this huge rocket towards the end zone. The football just plummeted to the ground and I jumped up and screamed, “COME ON! UGH!! WE HAVE NO F%^&*$G RECEIVERS!” (sorry, Mom. Twas but a rare lapse in my otherwise eloquent and advanced vernacular) and just generally emphasized my displeasure with the team’s lackluster performance for several minutes.

All of a sudden, Perek came out of his room, looked around, and said “Who are you trying to show off for?” I was bright red. I hadn’t intended anyone besides Kim to be privy to my tirade. I don’t want to show off for people. I know I embarrass myself more than anything when I open my mouth, but I just can’t help it sometimes. I get realllly into games. I don’t get all bogged down by facts, performance statistics, and all that other garbage . I’m about 40% knowledge and 140% passion.

This is why Brett leaving MN is so lame. It’s like Randy Moss leaving MN all over again (he, for those who don’t know, is one of the greatest receivers to ever play, and he played for the Vikings from ‘98-‘05. He happened to have a tiny problem keeping his ego in check. People hated him. I loved him. I still wear his jersey during Vikings games). Anyway, guys like Brett and Randy make games exciting. They know how to play well, and when they do, I get to cheer for them, rather than yell at them, and that is a very good thing.

Anyway, my hope is that Brett Favre doesn’t leave. I hope he stays one more season, leads the Vikings to a Super Bowl victory, then runs for governor of Minnesota. Skol, Brett Favre. Skol.

Monday, August 2, 2010

And the Emmy Goes To...

Okay, VH1, I give. I love you and your incessant way of showing sub-par shows until my eyes glaze over and the remote drops from my hand. The way you frequently show them in marathons makes my heart swell. What they’ve figured out at VH1 is the golden rule of television programming. Air mediocre shows, and air them all the time.

Yes, any network can take a whole host of top-notch actors, pay them buttloads of money, and spend millions of dollars on writers and editors and create a great show. Go right ahead, NBC. But what VH1 has managed to do is completely remove the quality cast members, the big budget locations, and those pesky plot lines. And people flock to audition for these shows. Willingly. Repeatedly.

There are three types of shows on VH1, as far as I can tell. There’s the Redemption Shows featuring formerly quasi-famous people making one last stab at their 15 minutes of fame. This includes shows like Celebrity Rehab, Celebrity Fit-Club, Surreal Life, Flava of Love, Rock of Love. To an extent, any of the “I Love the 80‘s, 90‘s or New Millenium shows also fit in here, based on the questionable quality of social commentary given by D-listers like Hal Sparks, Mo Rocca, and Biz Markie. I wonder if they work for Rubik's Cubes and Backstreet Boys Cds.

Then there are the shows that launch the careers of so many impetuous young men and women who will eventually end up back on the Redemption shows (ah, the circle of life). These are shows like Tough Love, The OCD Project, The Pick-Up Artist, and You’re Cut Off. Personally, these are my fave. The cast members are on their way to their own show a la Flava Flav. It’s like I’m watching the process of concentrated carbon turning into a diamond. Or, whatever makes cubic zirconia. You start with no-namers, pick a quick and vague theme, have Dr. Drew appear in some way, then just throw in a twist or ten. All hell breaks loose. Stars (or black holes, whatever) are born.

Finally, there’s actual MUSIC on VH1. Yes, people. There is a Music Video Countdown Show, and every morning they air Jump Start. These are shows that feature ACTUAL MUSIC VIDEOS. A concept that once ruled the world sadly disappeared after Carson Daly started going grey. Bands pay big bucks to make videos! Where are they airing them!? The answer, my friends, is from 5 a.m. - 8 a.m. every weekday morning on VH1. And lest ye forget, VH1 also brought Pop-Up Video into my life. My one suggestion to the programming geniuses at VH1, if I may be so bold, is to bring back Pop-Up Video. Immediately.

I don’t need more medical dramas. And until they make CSI: Minneapolis and fire David Caruso, I’ll pass. My one beloved scripted show, Lost, is gone forever, and I don’t get HBO. So unless you want me to slit my wrists, please stop asking me if I watch True Blood. I don’t. I watch The Top 100 Songs of the 90s.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Plus One

I spent this weekend in Two Harbors, MN at a wedding. This time, it was two of Geo’s friends from college who took the plunge. The setting was beautiful, they said their vows at this incredible lodge overlooking Lake Superior. The bride looked spectacular, the groom was dapper and composed, the food was delicious, the music was great, and overall it was an awesome wedding (sure, we sat at dinner with Geo‘s pregnant ex-girlfriend, her new husband, and her father, but all‘s well that ends well).

I’ve been to a lot of weddings. A lot. Four just for my brothers and sisters alone. There have been traditional weddings, untraditional weddings, destination weddings, and weddings that involved pull tabs. This wedding, though, was the first one I attended as simply Guest. Now don’t hate me if I’ve been in your wedding or was the primary name on the invitation, but It. Was. Awesome. It was like I was the one with the veil on, and sister, let me tell you the view was fantastic.

I know the bride and groom a little bit, and I knew about a half dozen people there. But outside of that, I was on my own. I wasn't busy taking pictures or navigating my way through throngs of family or friends, so I actually got to look around and enjoy the little details without having intimate knowledge of why they chose white napkins over pink, how much the centerpieces cost, or whether or not the music started on time. I think this was the first wedding that I actually saw the cake. I wasn’t responsible for making sure my date was not left by himself and I didn’t have to introduce him to anyone who’s name I can’t remember. I just got to drink some free beer, dance my booty off, and drink the free beer. Yeah, the drinking beer is on there twice for a reason…

To be fair though, there are moments at the wedding of a close friend or family member when you see him/her all dressed up, and it brings you to tears. You know these people are in love and choosing to be together forever, and you get choked up when they walk down the aisle as husband and wife because you are a part of that. Yeah, for the first time I wasn’t exactly a part of it. I just kept hoping I wasn’t sweating through my dress and checking out people’s shoes. My life is much the same today as it was yesterday. And it was tough not dancing the special dances, or understanding the inside jokes, and I don’t have anyone new in my family. Sure it can be stressful and expensive to be close to the bride and groom, but at the end of it all, your life is a little bit different. It’s a little bit better having that kind of love so close to you.

So there are pros and cons. But I guess what I know now is that on my wedding day, someone will take the time to appreciate the cover of the guest book, and they won‘t know or care that I went with chocolate instead of red velvet cake because it was cheaper. And I probably won’t even know who that person is. They’ll be Guest.