Monday, February 28, 2011

On the House

I got a not-so-subtle email from my dad yesterday. In it, he basically suggested I start seriously considering buying a house. As in, a whole house. I think it’s because he is of the mindset that any adult my age should have something to call their own - besides some awesome Kate Spade bags, I guess. But I laughed out loud to myself when I read his email, and murmured, “Oh Dad…” 'Cause that is pretty much the last thing on the planet I could imagine purchasing right now. Plus, I’m almost positive I’m a lousy candidate for home ownership. Until I lived in my current place, I moved every single year since I was a freshman in college. And after being in my current house for the past 3 years, I’m more than ready to move on – pun INtended. How am I supposed to explain to my dad that I have no interest in buying a house because I am totally flaky when it comes to a permanent residence?

See, now this is exactly the same reason I lease my cars. You know what happens every 3 years? BRAND NEW CAR. I haven’t had to go get a new engine, or new brakes, or new anything on a car in like 5 years. Then by the time I get sick of a car, it’s time to trade it in anyways. So instead of buying some used car with 100,000 miles on it and keeping it until I run it into the ground, I start fresh with an upgrade every few years. Onward and upward. The same concept goes for a house. I would NEVER be able to buy a house in the perfect, safe, quiet, fancy schmancy neighborhood I live in now. Never. If I actually BOUGHT a house, I guarantee you I’d be way too far from the big city to continue having an active social life. If I bought a house now, I may as well also buy 100 cats to live in it with me.

Plus, when you buy a house, you also buy all the problems it has. I have a very dependent relationship on our handyman guy who comes and fixes everything from a clogged sink to our furnace. For free. He comes in, fixes the problem, and leaves. Sometimes, he comes over when I’m at work, which, at that point, makes him like a magical little house fairy who I can’t see, but I know he’s been hard at work when I walk in and we have new bathroom fixtures. Voila!

A few of my friends are home owners. Congratulations, dudes! How was shoveling your OWN driveway this winter? Suckers. They’re all like “nesting” and “settling down” and I guess that concept only works if you’re ready to settle down for longer than a year at time. I have NO clue where I’ll be in a year from now. None. One thing’s for certain, though: I’ll probably be ready to move again.

But this all comes on the heels of my dad’s latest hare-brained scheme. He wants to buy himself a nice, little teeny 2nd house with a two-car garage. Why? So he has a place to store his boat in the winter, and he thinks the high prices that storage places charge are absurd. That’s like buying a private jet because baggage fees get you down. I gotta hand it to him, though. The man definitely thinks outside the box. But whenever he gets into a new obsession, he likes to bring one of us kids in there with him. Since I'm the only "renter" in my family, I guess I'm the lucky one?

I haven’t responded to my dad's email yet. I don’t want to burst his bubble. He’s so earnest, and he was very encouraging in his email, too, saying things like how I might enjoy “ rehabbing old properties, bringing things up to code, whatever”. And he gives me a lot of credit (too much, probably) when it comes to home repair and maintenance. Sure I CAN get my hands dirty and solve a problem when I have to, I just don’t really WANT to. Then, as if to really drive his point home, he took a little jab at my current home city: “I will say, too, driving around Mpls was a bit eye-opening yesterday. Don't you people plow your streets? There is a LOT to be said for living in the suburbs!!!”

Schplurg. I don’t know. Maybe the antsiness I've been feeling as of late isn’t really cabin fever, but more, like, “nomadic living fever”. Maybe I’d be all calm and adulty if I wrote my name down on a mortgage and bought a lawn mower. I see the positives of home ownership, I do. I just can’t let go of the negatives. But I do know one thing: telling my dad that I don’t want to buy a house because I really don’t like mowing the lawn or snaking my own drains won’t exactly win me any points. I should probably just blame it on the market because I’m pretty sure you can’t argue with the “market”. Whatever that means...or is.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Notes on a Weekend

I'm totally distracted, yo. Sorry. I'm watching the Oscars, and I'm super pumped about it. A couple notes to the producers of the Oscars. 1) If I cared about old movies that won a certain award in 1980, I would google it and watch THAT years awards show. I have a feeling the show wouldn't constantly go over in time if they stopped "taking a look back". Booooring! 2) Let's 86 the pre-awards show interviews. Ryan Seacrest makes me squirm when he tries to make small talk with the likes of bland ol' Gwenyth Paltrow. Let's just ask 'em what they're wearing, judge them from our couches, and be done with it. I don't care about whether or not motherhood changed someone's outlook on making movies.

Moving on...I finally did my taxes, just like a real, live grown up! Got me some money too. Thanks, Government! Here are a couple notes to the writers of tax forms: Me no understandy many of your wordy things. I've been doing my own taxes for as long as I've been paying them. Back when I picked up my first 1040EZ form, my dad made me learn how to do my own. It's a good lesson, I guess. I don't own anything, or go to school, or anything crazy like that, so my taxes are still pretty simple. But I wish whoever is writing these tax questions was a little more straight forward. It took a couple readings before I understood to answer "No, I didn't win the lottery or a game show this year". Sheesh. I'd like to thank Google and the handy little "HELP" icons on the website for helping me get through my taxes every year.

On Saturday I got a little crazy. It was my aunt Karen's 70th birthday. To celebrate, I joined some of the other women in my family and went to learn how to belly dance. It was great, and so much fun. We went to this rec center place and there was a ton of food, a henna artist, a bunch of my aunt's friends and fellow belly dancing enthusiasts, jingly jangly skirty things that we wore over our jeans, and a belly dancing instructor. Note on belly dancing: It is MUCH harder than it looks. At one point, both my cousin and I had side aches. I sweated. I made the jingly jangly skirt shake and ring, so I thought I was getting the hang of it. Then I saw myself in the mirror. My body was just NOT doing the same thing as the instructor's. I looked like a crazy person. Note to self: Never EVER do any belly dancing in public.

Later on Saturday, Kim brought her Kinect over and we spent the night playing Dance Central - which, annoyingly, I had to actually BUY because Blockbuster is the worst place ever. "Well, you can't RENT games here, but we can MAIL it to you." After hearing that, I told the guy "Um, that's probably the least convenient solution ever, since, you know, you guys are a rental place." Anyway, I digress. Luckily, there were no belly dancing moves involved. But Note to everyone: Dance Central is the bombest game ever. Kim was hesitant at first and wasn't sure she'd get into it, but we had an excellent time dancing our butts off all night long. Sure, it could have had a lot to do with the rum and diet Coke's we were pounding all night, but I doubt it.

Finally, today I picked up Geo from the airport and listened patiently as he regaled me with tales from his trip to exotic Alabama. Okay, so it was 70 degrees there while it snowed all freakin' weekend here, big whoop! And yeah, I guess the malls sound really cool there. But whatever. After listening to a long story about what "ROLL TIDE" means, I was relieved when Geo finally suggested going out for a good ol' Minnesota food staple: Juicy Lucy burgers. Zummy zummy zummy. Note to my body: Sorry about all the dark liquor and caffeine on Saturday night, followed almost immediately by shoveling down a delicious, greasy burger with salty French fries. But it just couldn't be helped.

Notes on the entire weekend: Solid performance. One suggestion, though. You were far too short. Let's work on that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Cat's Away

Well, I guess I'm livin' the single life this weekend. I dropped Geo off at the airport tonight after work and he's on a plane right now, off to visit his bro in Alabama. Honestly? I got a wee bit verklempt as I sent him off. Yes, yes, that's right. This stoic blogger bid her man farewell and shed a couple tears on the car ride home. Sue me. He used to travel allllll the time when he was playing on an Elite ultimate Frisbee team, so I spent most weekends kickin' it with my friends and doing my own thing. I was used to it. But now I'm all, I don't know, NOT used to it, so I was a little surprised at my own emotions.

But he's only gone until Sunday, which leaves me man-less for a whole three nights and 2 1/2 days. So what did I do when I got home from the airport? I slapped on MY favorite - and Geo's LEAST favorite - bedazzled Vikings sweatpants and made the kind of dinner that would make a skunk blush. Yay! This weekend, I plan on living it up. And after living with Geo for the past 3 years, I'm going to try and take advantage of this "me time".

* Sweatpants. All the time. The reason this is different from any regular Sweatpant Day is that I can wear the ugly, gnarly ones that Geo usually tries to hide in garbage cans.

* There will be NO ESPN in this house at any point. No sports all weekend. No basketball, no golf, no bowling, no poker. Nope. None of it.

* I'll have the XBox all to myself. This is weird because I usually have NO desire to play XBox. But Kim and I put our heads together and discovered that I have a huge living room, but nothing to do in it. Meanwhile, KIM has an XBox Kinect, but not enough room in her house to play it. So Kim and I will be dancing our butts off in my living room all day on Saturday without any interruptions by someone wanting to play "one quick game of C.O.D."

* Clay mud masks. I love these. When my old roommate Nick lived with us, he had a dog Payton. One day I came downstairs with the mud mask on, and the dog straight FLIPPED out and started going all nutso and trying to bite off my face. Geo has a similar reaction.

* I'm thinking I'm going to turn Geo's "office" into more of a "personal spa room" while he's gone. You know, move his desk into the hallway and replace it with a comfy chair and a foot bath, and have an adorable little table stacked with all my issues of Vogue next to the Nail Polish Basket.

* Three words: Hygiene May Suffer.

* I'll probably lose a couple lbs. Without Geo here, I won't be constantly tempted to eat mac n' cheese, pizza, burgers, fries, Baja Sol, and anything else that contains Velveeta and/or 3 sticks of butter.

* I will be singing Rihanna at the top of my lungs whenever possible. Geo is, to put it mildly, a really good singer. Like, "American Idol" good. So I usually keep my karaoke-ing to a minimum. Now that he's in Alabama, he's probably far enough away for me to safely belt out any song my little heart desires. Any requests?

Okay, so maybe a couple days on my "own" won't be so bad. (Ugh. I keep forgetting I have 2 other roommates...buzzkill.) Oh well, I'm just kind of planning hoping to have a lovely, laid back weekend. I hope you have the same, dudes!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Story Hour! Finale!

Last week on Story Hour: Louann has finally left the island and, under the cover of night, escaped to an abandoned warehouse on the mainland. She has a box of papers she managed to steal from her father’s boat. The documents include bank statements as well as her mother’s will which apparently writes out a horrible secret. Xavier is dead, though we don’t know why, and Louann’s parents don’t seem to give two hoots that Louann has been gone for four nights. Suddenly the cops show up to Louann’s parents house, alluding to the fact that Louann is not just missing: She could be in DANGER. Dun dun duuuunnnnnnn!

Lou and Ann sat with the police officers as they all sipped on the lukewarm coffee the maid had made earlier in the morning. The bigger guy, Officer Leroy, spoke first. “Ma’am, I don’t think you understand just what kind of danger she may be caught up in. She's gotten mixed up with some bad dudes. One of whom was shot dead on a boat belonging to you, Mr. Lou Reynolds.”

Lou choked on his coffee. “On...MY boat? I haven’t heard of any troubles at the yacht and we were just there a few nights ago. You’ve got some bunk info there, man.” The smaller officer, Officer Tomcat (yeah, I don’t know) continued, “I assure you, sir, our info is, eh hem, bunkless. A man was fatally shot on your boat. Come to think of it, you should probably have been contacted awhile ago and also maybe questioned, but clearly we overlooked that detail. Anyhoozle, the man’s name was Xavier.”

Ann suddenly gasped. “Xavier?? Is, he’s, wait. He’s dead? Are you sure? He just CAN’T be dead! Oh my poor Xavier! How I loved you!” Ann sobbed, the mascara dripping down her face like cobwebs. Everyone around her stayed silent.

Ann dramatically stood up and went to the window. Unprovoked, she began waxing nostalgic about her relationship her daughter’s friend. “Oh Xavier. How I loved him! He played hard-to-get with me, but I knew he’d be mine. I knew he’d fall in love with me once we were alone. That’s why I hired him to kill my husband.”

Lou frowned.

She continued, “Xavier was to come to the yacht while we were on our date and shoot Lou. Then we were to be alone together with all of Lou’s money!” She collapsed to the ground and sobbed, “But he never came! He NEVER CAME!”

Back in the warehouse, Louann was ready to set her box of papers on fire. She read her mother’s will one more time before tossing it into the flames. In it, Ann confessed that Louann was not Lou’s real daughter, and therefore deserved none of his inheritance. So if Ann dies, so do Louann’s chances at her father’s money. That’s why it was imperative for Louann to get the box that night on the yacht. She too had hired Xavier to kill someone. Her parents. Then all their money would be hers and hers alone. She would run off and live happily ever after.

But Xavier was late that night on the boat. He knew Ann wanted him to kill Lou, and he knew Louann wanted him to kill both her parents. He was confused and fell asleep. When he woke up, he sprinted to the yacht. He hadn’t decided who to kill yet, so he thought he’d just wing it. When he got there, Lou and Ann had long since gone home. He found Louann, rummaging through a box of papers. He scared her and she screamed. Xavier was both frightened and still a little bit sleepy and he reflexively shot the gun.

The bullet ricocheted around the boat. He started crying. “I don’t know what to do, Louann! First your mom wants me to kill your dad, and then you want me to kill both your parents…and you didn’t even pay me as much as your mother did!” Suddenly he composed himself. Remembering the money Louann shorted him, he held the gun at Louann’s head.

A fight broke out, with both Louann and Xavier reaching for the gun. Louann’s manicured fingers finally got a hold of the gun. She pointed it at Xavier and squeezed. He fell to the ground, and she fled for the island.

In the end, no one would be arrested for the murder of Xavier. In fact, the cops were relieved that Xavier, who had been behind many murder-for-hire cases, was finally out of the picture. As for Lou and Ann? They stayed together. Oddly enough, the excitement of everything rekindled the ol’ flame. Louann returned home to her parents house for a short time. Then, with the help of all the money she made from her Bra Brace invention she had Macgyver’d on the island, she moved out for good and went searching for her real father.

The. End.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tellin' Tall Tales

Alright, FINE. So my "woe is me" post last night didn't exactly go that well. I expected (or hoped, rather) that like everyone and their brother would have some insight on the post. But Geo read it before I posted it. I said "It's funny, don't worry!" And he read it and said, "Um, it's not like funny, you know. It's, uh, just really personal." I told him he didn't know anything about ANYTHING and I posted it. Turns out, he knows a LITTLE something about some things. The reaction to the post was, uh, underwhelming, so consider it a lesson learned. Sorry guys. I'm takin' my problems to WebMD from now on.

Alright, let's get back on track. So this afternoon, as a girl was getting off the bus, she totally wiped out on the ice. She landed flat on her back and I made a huge "O" with my mouth and stifled my giggle before asking "Ohmygod, are you okay?" She laughed at herself, stood up, brushed the snow off her butt and goes "Welp, pretty glad you're the only one who saw that!" And then, for no reason at all, I just blurted out "That SAME THING just happened to me this morning! Vwoop! Fell right on my butt." Here's what you need to know: I did NOT "vwoop...fall right on my butt". I just, like, lied. No reason at all. I guess I wanted her to feel better, even though she seemed totally fine, and instead she appeared to be uncomfortable at my alleged Story-Topping.

You guys, I do that. I kind of just LIE sometimes. Little lies, itty bitty, teeny weeny lies. And only when I'm nervous. Or to fill an awkward silence. Or to make someone feel a little better by fabricating a similar story of my own. Or to make myself sound smarter. You know in Garden State, when the illustrious Natalie Portman admits HER affinity for pointless lying? She says "I don't know, it's like, it's like a tick. It's like I hear myself say something and I think, 'Wow, that's not even remotely true!'" Yeah, I think they wrote that line about me.

I remember at my first job out of college, they wanted to have me try my hand at sales. During a couple terrifying cold calls, I counted and I had lied about 4 times. Can we do month-to-month?...Awkward silence...SUUUUURE! Will you promise that I get a 78% return on my ad? ...Awkward silence...OF COURSE! LIES, man, just flat out LIES!

It's so dumb, too. During college, a friend of mine and I decided we were going to lie our faces off and decided to tell the rest of our friends that we had met Ashton Kutcher at a downtown Iowa City bar. (He used to go to the U of Iowa, in case you were wondering, so it's really not that unlikely he could have been there.) Our plan worked. People were all "You met him!? What was he like?? Did you talk to him?" I saw my friend waiver, she was considering giving the whole thing away, so I went in like gangbusters. By the time I was done talking, Ashton had complimented me on my t-shirt, he gave us advice on different majors, bought us a round of beers AND shots, and told us all how much he missed people "like us". What, I ask you, was the point of that?

Sometimes I just lie about liking something. I lied about liking Arcade Fire a few times, actually. Sorry, but I honestly am totally indifferent about them. I guess I would even go so far as to say, straight up, I don't get the hype. But, I wanted to be considered "cool" so I said I "toooootally loved their new album!" No, I didn't. I just wanted that person to like me. Everyone? I just don't like Arcade Fire. I don't. Except that one song that's in Where the Wild Things Are. THAT is a great song. The rest of it just sounds like noise. Vanilla, boring, white noise.

Um, let's see. I've guess actually been pretty truthful lately. That's a lie. I lied about what I had for dinner last night for no reason at all. It was so dumb. I wanted my friend to think I had been eating really healthy, so instead of telling her I had 3 breadsticks and some pizza that Geo had leftover from lunch, I said I made a Cobb salad. I'm not even entirely sure what goes IN to a Cobb salad.

When it comes to little things like that - making myself seem healthier or more eclectic in my music tastes, or when I'm trying to be interesting or sympathetic - sometimes, yes, I lie. Should I have admitted all this? Probably not. But I assure you, every single word I write on here is straight up, in yo' face, TRUTH. Okay, that might be a lie. I don't know. I really haven't been paying too much attention to what I write anyways.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Crazy is the New Black (I Hope)

Okay, fine. I’m crazy. I get it now. My head, whirring around with constant thoughts of celebrities and shoes and schedules and lists, has taken over and it’s turning me into madwoman. Randomly, in the past month or so, I’ve just been kind of a mess of racing thoughts. I can convince myself to be paranoid about car rides or brain tumors or diabetes. I’ve literally talked myself into having everything from headaches to acne. So, natch, I decided that I’ve snapped.

Last month, I finally bucked up and visited a doctor and explained that “Doc, I've lost it, I think. I am driving myself crazy,” and then I just cried for no reason - Ugh, what a girl. She listened, was very nice, and explained that I am probably suffering from anxiety attacks. I helpfully suggested that maybe they should do a full body scan and maybe do some sort of extensive neurological testing to pinpoint exactly what is going on and how I can quit . She laughed off my suggestion and said “It’s really not uncommon. It’s not.” And then, as if to add insult to injury, she suggested that maybe working out would help. I was all “What are you, Jillian Michaels?” Instead of explaining to her that I simply don’t like working out and I don’t think it will make me feel better to do something I hate, I kind of just hung my head and nodded. Accepted my punishment.

So the doc was all “It could be stress” and “It could be a seasonal thing” and “It could be the fear of your future” and, my favorite, “It’s probably nothing.” So…uh…riiiiiiight…okay. None of that is really helping, here, lady. None of that changes the fact that all of a sudden, I’m freaking out over the protests in Wisconsin because I’m assuming they are going to lead to mutiny and then how will we stop the anarchy?! Wait, what? How did I get THERE, you ask? I have no idea…my mind just wanders and then BOOM. The worst-case scenario just sort of pops up and suddenly the purse I just bought isn’t cheering me up like it did yesterday because Wisconsin is ruining everything. RUDE. You can see why I think I’ve gone insane, right?

Anyway, so back at the doctor’s office. The very nice, patient, understanding doctor suggests I take some good ol’ anti-anxiety pills for the road. I interrupt her Rx writing, in protest. I explained that I don’t WANT to take medicine. I don’t know what it does exactly, and I’m worried it may interfere with my very infrequent use of Advil and cause a blot clot or something. She says, markedly less patient now, “You are the exact opposite of patients I typically see. But I’m giving you the lowest dose humanly possible. It’s not going to do anything except calm you down and interrupt your racing thoughts.” And, she assured me, it won’t turn me into a zombie, when I explain that my sister takes anti-anxiety medicine to fly, and then she just falls asleep for hours and that’s why she can’t fly alone.

Does this happen to any of you? Do you guys ever get into these modes where you just can't, like, LOGIC your way out of it? Good lord, I hope so because otherwise I'm a medical anomaly which greatly adds to my anxiety. I would love to hear your stories/reactions/suggestions if you've ever cartwheeled down the steep anxiety slope. You know what they say: insanity misery loves company!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Control Issues

Another weekend, another ridiculous snow storm in Minnesota. Juuuuuuuust great. I was all "Spring Fever, baby!! Time to put away the turtlenecks and bust out the strappy sandals! When do the Farmer's Markets start again?!" Blurg. Wrong again, Pharon. Wrong again.

In between fits of cursing the weather while curled up with my spring dresses and flip flops and crying, I tried to warm my frigid bones by shopping. On Saturday, I went out to the mall with my sisters and my 11 year-old niece Rachel. I had like a long list of necessities that I was on the hunt for: a grey sweater, a pair of sunglasses, a new bag, red lipstick that doesn't make me look like a lady of the evening, and possibly a nice, structured, perfect little black dress. Turns out, I was feeling very Audrey Hepburn-y for some reason.

Anyway, I did not get any of those things. I DID, however, find a silver sequined scarf at Limited Too. Yes, a child's clothing store. Uhhhh...Right. I bought one for me and one for Rachel because it's less weird to buy sequined clothes at a store for girls under 13 years-old if you also buy one for your niece, right? Guh...that's so NOT Audrey Hepburn.

Today, though, I braved the wintry storm to go out shopping and found a super cute bag and the red lipstick I wanted (after I got home and tried out the lipstick, Geo saw me and said "Oh. So. That's new. You don't usually wear lipstick. You look, um, like, really dressed up in your sweatpants." Nice.) So I at least got THAT accomplished, I guess.

See, the big plan was to treat myself because I was under the impression that I had somehow made a bunch of extra money this weekend. I went to Bingo with Kim and Claire on Friday night - where I did NOT win - and last night someone wanted to buy my Wii that I listed on Craigslist - who did NOT end up buying it - and I finally got the last form I needed to file my taxes - which I didn't end up doing, what with all the time I spent shopping. Whoops. Talk about putting the cart before the horse...

Okay, so my priorities were all messed up this weekend. What can ya do? I'm surprised I was able to reign myself in as much as I did though. I did NOT buy a knit wool winter hat at Len Druskin because I told myself winter was over, and I only bought 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, both of which I've already eaten. I'm proud of my self-restraint, though. With the shopping, I mean. Not with the cookies. That was just crazy. Geo went to open one of the boxes and said "Where did all the cookies go?" I wiped the crumbs from my face and mumbled "Don't judge me." He shook his head and sighed "Too late."

So what? I ate a couple boxes of cookies, but I ALSO ate a salad and raspberries which totally balances that out. And yes, I bought a sequined scarf I totally don't need, but I kind of HAD to because then Rachel and I could match and it's adorable when a grown up matches a pre-teen, right? I thought so.

Well, I did an okay job controlling myself this weekend and not doing anything too crazy. It would be way better if I could also control the weather, though. Stay warm and safe out there this week!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Badder Business Bureau

What is this world coming to? Seriously. I came home tonight, and one of my roommates was visibly upset. Turns out, Bally's Fitness Center is the Second Scammiest Company in the World. (I reserve that coveted top spot for one insurance company that shall remain nameless. Nope, screw it...World's Scammiest Company is Federated Insurance. Coming in a very close third behind Bally's is Comcast, for reasons I've explained before.)

But Bally's, man. They are horrible. DO NOT EVER SIGN UP for a membership there. Basically, my roommie signed up for a membership, asked if she could cancel at any time, and the dude said "Yup!" So, she signed a piece of paper and started using their crappy equipment. A few months later, she realized that Bally's is the worst gym ever. Cut to: tonight. She was looking at how to cancel her membership, and discovered the jackwad who assured her they weren't Soviet Russia had lied. She was locked in to her membership for THREE YEARS. Needless to say, she was upset.

I leapt into action, cyber-sleuthing my way through hundreds of links to people who have had the exact same life-ruining experience. Then I got Prinna to help. Within seconds, Prinna had found out who to contact, what to do, and why they make life so incredibly hard for people who pull back the curtain and discover that Bally's is just a bad, bad company.

What has happened to these companies? They SUCK. They screw with regular people all the time. They're all like "Yay! We're the best! Come work for/play with/hire us! We are awesommmme!" And then all of a sudden, something goes wrong, and they're like "FACE! PWNED YOU! You idiot! You TOOOOOTALLY trusted us and we GOT you with the fine print! Suckahhhh!" Wouldn't it just make more sense to, I don't know, not be a gnarly business?

I get so annoyed when things like this happen. I do. The average person is stressed out right now. Recession, unemployment, tech-overload, bills, trying to stay away from anything promoted by Kim Kardashian. Seriously. We don't have the capacity to also research every company ever to make sure they aren't, in reality, the worst company ever. I don't want to have to google "Target" just to make sure that by parking in their parking lot I'm not also agreeing to let them hire my car out for taxi services.

It's just so SAD and soulless. I know I'm ranting, but I don't care today. I'm annoyed that companies can abuse and harass the very people who keep them in business. It's childish. It's mean. It's, well, it would seem to me to be just Bad Business. Wouldn't it be more cost-effective to, oh I don't know, FIX a problem instead of running around covering your tracks? I didn't go to some fancy Business classes, but I DO know this: When I wear my hair in a ponytail all day and have a huge crease in it when I take it down, yes I COULD spend hours to try and straighten it and creatively braid it to hide the crease before heading out to play Bingo. But no: I wet it down in the sink wash it and get rid of the problem. Is that so hard to understand?

On the other hand, here is a quick list of companies who blow me away with their excellent service and help. They don't even have the greatest products all the time either, but I like them because if and when I have a problem, they fix it and help me understand what went wrong. They don't throw a piece of legalese my way and tell me I'm screwed before evil-laughing into the phone. Here are the Good Guys: USBank, Target, AT&T, Trader Joe's, YMCA, Kate Spade, Subaru, IKEA,, and MAC Cosmetics. I like them. You all should support places like them who are nice and curtious and not evil.

But, my Public Service for the weekend is this: If you can at all help it, do NOT, and I repeat do NOT give your business to Bally's (or Federated or Comcast). They're bad, bad people. See you guys? I'm helping here. I'm providing a service to my faithful readers. And I urge you, if you are dissatisfied with your service or if I can improve your experience in any way, I look forward to speaking with you. I honor your patronage and will do everything in my power to give you the product and service you expect from us here at Pharon Square. (Bally's, are you writing this down?)

Peace out, guys. This weekend, do something nice for someone else. Because hey, SOMEone's gotta do it...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Story Hour! Part Four

Last week on Story Hour: Louann is still stranded on the island because she broke her own leg and is an idiot. We find out that Louann and Xavier were in cahoots to do something bad, and also Louann hates her parents but she had suspiciously - and not so subtly - planned a romantic evening for them on her father's yacht, and she gave her father's gun to Xavier, along with some of the money she owes him. Okay, moving on:

Louann had no idea how long she had been asleep on her yoga mat on the island. A day? Two days? It had to have been quite a long time, because her skin smelled like fried chicken. She had passed out in the sun, and quickly realized what a spectacular tan she’d have when this was all over. Melanoma be damned! She winced at the pain of her broken leg, but was able to finally stand up. The lake around her was silent. How no one saw her escape her parents boat on the dinghy would remain a mystery to her. Louann looked at her infected leg. It was pretty gross. Suddenly she was overwhelmed by a craving for Taco Bell. “I have to get off this island,” she thought as she tied her long, gnarly hair into a ponytail. She decided she would paddle back to the main land after dark, because she would be way too embarrassed to run in to someone she knew in her current state. Oh, yeah, and also the police were probably still looking for her.

As the sun set, Louann gingerly hopped into her boat and started paddling back across the huge lake. It would take hours to make the trip. Halfway across the lake, Louann took a break and set down the paddle. She started thumbing through the box of files she had stashed in the boat. Her bank records showing a $0.16 balance, the receipts from all the withdrawals Louann had made from her mother's "rainy day" accounts with forged signatures, and, of course, her mother's Will with the damning evidence written in black and white. She tucked all the papers back in the box and rowed harder than ever.

Louann's mother was no saint. She was, in fact, kind of skanky. Ann had cheated on Lou many times in the course of their marriage. Sometimes it was a tawdry affair with the acne-scarred boy at the grocery store, sometimes it was as cliche as a quickie in the pool shed with Ricardo. But Lou had never caught on. He was brilliant in his job, but when it came to Ann, he was an idiot. He figured he was the only one who could ever love Ann, you know, looking the way she did. Ann had to wear an eyepatch to hide her horribly disfigured right eye and had one leg that was much longer than the other (4 3/4 inches). Yet she still managed to attract men with low self-esteems and very specific turn-ons. For the entirety of their marriage, Ann had cheated on Lou at every chance she got. And one of those times was 19 years and 9 months ago. Louann's 20th birthday was next week.

When Louann felt the bottom of her boat skidding along the rocky sand of the shore, she stared into the pitch black night. No sirens. No police lights. She picked up her box and started running as fast as she could. The abandoned warehouse she had seen on her way to her parents yacht a few nights ago stood in the distance. She ducked under bushes and rusty fence posts whenever headlights peaked over the hill on the busy street separating her from her safehouse. Finally she heaved open a heavy wooden door that led to a machine-y type room in the warehouse. She set the box down and immediately collapsed to the ground. She'd sleep here during the day and then plan her next move. First though, she picked up a discarded piece of sandpaper and went to work fixing up her broken, brittle finger nails. A girl's got priorities.

Back at her parent's house, Lou and Ann had finally started to wonder where their good-for-nothing daughter was. Lou needed her help changing his ringtone on his phone from Ascending Chimes to Starlight, and Ann was sure Louann had hidden her strawberry gin somewhere and she needed it. Even on the worst weekends, Louann never stayed away from the house for more than a couple nights before coming home and getting money or clothes. It had been 4 nights since either one of them had seen Louann. Lou started to call Louann's cell phone when someone suddenly banged on their front door.

Ann opened the door and was delighted to see two strapping young police officers who tipped their cute little hats in her direction. "Oh my, can I help you officers?" She batted her one good eyelash and stood up straight on her one tall leg. "Mrs. Reynolds?" the first officer asked. She batted her eyelash affirmatively. "We're actually, uh, looking for your daughter, Louann. We think she's involved in a very dangerous situation."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chef Boyarduhhhhs

Ooof, I've failed again. I brought my laundry over to my parents house AGAIN to get a little caught up in the "clean clothes" arena. I've straight up decided that I can't NOT do it though. It's so easy. It's so mouse-less. Plus, I like the way my parent's laundry room smells. So fresh, so clean, so lacking of moldy onions (our neighbors keep a bucket o' onions in the basement. It's like they're TRYING to to raise stinky-breathed mice).

I went over there tonight to pick up a form I'll need to file my taxes, but they haven't sent it yet. [Blogger Edit: I'm NOT waiting for the actual tax form, as many of you assumed, because it's 2011 and I do my taxes online.] Allow me to quote the infamous Stephanie Tanner here: HOW RUDE! It's FEBRUARY, people! Some of us who use the whole taxy thingy as our own little savings account need to FILE taxes so we can GET OUR MONEY BACK. I pride myself on filing my taxes every January. But noooooo, not this year. Now I have to wait until God-knows-when for one stupid form. Foiled again, American Tax System.

Anyway, so I hung out and had dinner with my sister Prinna and one of her daughters, Eve (in case you were wondering, yes, Eve is the best child in the world. Better than any child you ever were, or have, or could imagine. Sorry to break the news to you.) We decided to try and make dinner. Prinna and I have the same level of cooking skills (read: none) so making dinner together was, uh, interesting. Me: "Uh oh. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of broccoli. The bag says 12 oz. Is that the same?" Prinna: "I dunno. Probably. Also, are onions the same as garlic?" Me: "What do I look like? Betty Crocker?" When Prinna suggested going "off-recipe" and adding red pepper flakes to our broccoli, I was really scared. But we both shrieked when we read the notes on the recipe and it said you could, in fact, ADD RED PEPPER FLAKES for more spice! Prinna had gone all rogue, and it turns out, she was right. Touche, Julia Child.

I like making dinner with Prinna. She's funny, she's smart, and she appreciates a good ol' fashioned swear word every now and then. But more importantly, we both suck at cooking, and neither one of us cares. I'm frequently with people who either LIKE cooking or KNOW HOW TO DO IT. People who stare into a food cupboard and make up a meal in their head. People who know when something is missing, or something's too salty. People who know what "broil" means. It's frustrating. I hate being so willfully ignorant about cooking. I'm psycho about timers, I measure every single ingredient, and I will follow a recipe down to the letter even if it means ruining the meal. That chicken looks done? Well, the recipe says it shouldn't be done for 15 more minutes, so I'm going to leave it on. Wait, what's that burning smell? Crap, what's the number for Pizza Luce?

On nights like tonight, when I'm making food with someone who is my equal, I have way more fun. No pressure. No expectations. No superior knowledge that garlic and onions are not interchangeable. It's refreshing. When we were finally done making the food, we sat down and ate. Technically, it could have been a subpar meal, but we'd never know it. It was delicious. I guess two heads ARE better than one. Especially when the combined culinary knowledge of the two heads equals about one teenager taking Home Ec.

I'm pretty sure I'll never be good at cooking. I don't really care. I know how to make pasta and bagels and roasted broccoli, and that's like 90% of my diet, so I'm set. Plus, as soon as I can find person who can write a decent recipe for idiots like me, I'll be just fine. I'm also kind of assuming that food will start to be made available in pill form sometime in the near future, so what good will cooking be then? Answer: No Good.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Anniversary of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre!

Well, well, well. Here it is Valentine's Day, and this girl's got plans. Even though I've been dating someone on Valentine's Day for a number of years, I've never had the desire to really DO anything that exciting for it. Sure, a girl loves eating chocolate, but I hardly need an actual HOLIDAY to indulge. But this year, I forced this celebrated day of love into mine and Geo's schedules. Sweet, sweet, love.

I came home from work today to this, though:

Awwww! What an awesome boyfriend I have!

So, Geo and I are going to dinner. When I started nagging him about it last week, I don't think Geo was exactly stoked about it, but it turns out he's not as opposed to it as most guys. He recommended a dinner spot that would have cost more than my car insurance bill, so I could at least tell he didn't hate me for wanting to go out. We settled on a happy medium of good food/not going into debt for a meal. I even went out this weekend and bought a dress - an actual DRESS! - that I didn't even try on, so I can only guess that it will look fabulous. I also spent all day Sunday hunting for a Valentine's Day present (yes, it was very last minute, lay off me).  I ended up waaaay outside my comfort zone. I was the only chick to enter Golfsmith on a Sunday, and walked out after getting LOTS of help picking out white golf club grips. Nothing says "romance" like the purchase of a gift that will ensure we spend at least a few hours apart every week.

This fine day is also my anniversary of being friends with Kim. About ten years ago, Kim and I got together for the first time and threw an Anti-Valentine's Day party. We drew black hearts all over the place, bought V-Day decorations and ceremoniously cut them up, blacked out Cupid's teeth, and just celebrated hating this wretched day with friends. It was crazy fun. It was more fun hating the day than celebrating it.

It hasn't always been like that, though. I LOVED Valentine's Day when I was a kid. My mom would plan a nice dinner for all of us rugrats, and after soccer practice or band rehearsal, we'd all finally enjoy a great dinner together. We'd get to the table and my mom had always set the table with heart-shaped box of chocolates on each of our plates, and a little gift too. I think it was the only time of year I looked forward to getting new pajamas. And then we'd eat, and show each other our gifts and trade chocolates. I always LOVED that. I guess that's why I've always associated Valentine's Day with family, moreso than romance. Thus, the historical lack of forced romantic plans.

Even when Geo and I had our first Valentine's Day together, it couldn't have been more appropriately romance-less. Perek's girlfriend was out of town for the weekend, so Perek was flying solo.  Geo and Perek went and bought lobsters for each of us. Giant, live lobsters. Perek set his lobster on the ground and we watched it crawl around our kitchen. Hilarious. Then they killed the lobsters and they were deeeelicious. Geo and I brought our food upstairs to the office and enjoyed a "romantic" dinner there while Perek was downstairs. We opened our lobsters with wrenches. Yes, as in: actual monkey wrenches. Then we all regrouped and spent the rest of the night watching TV and playing a drinking game that consisted of tossing cards into a bowl across the room. Be Mine indeed.

So I don't know why I suddenly got the urge to be all sugary and sweet and romantic. It kind of came out of nowhere. Maybe it's the Spring-like weather outside, but I'm in the mood for some love. Or at least a fancy schmancy dinner while I play dress-up in a new dress.  And maybe it's the fact that I've been really trying to up my game this year when it comes to feminizing myself.  All the make-up and brushing of my hair must have shook something loose in my brain:  High Maintenance Girl Behavior.  Careful what you wish for, men...

On that note, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day. And whether you're cutting up Cupids, or eating lobster with your friends, or sitting on the same side of a restaurant table with your lover (that's really annoying to everyone around you, by the way) exchanging "I love you's", or not doing anything at all, I hope you guys have a loverly Valentine's Day!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gram(my) and Eggs

I guess I didn't realize how much I love awards shows. But the Grammy Awards are here, people! I'm posted up on the couch, watching the 2 hours of Red Carpet pre-show. So far, I'm impressed with No One. But really, Lady Gaga? REALLY?? She arrived in an egg. Yes. A giant egg. "She's incubating", her handlers reiterated over and over on the red carpet. Talk about hitting someone over the head with a metaphor...sheesh. I get it. Her new single, Born This Way, is about, you know, being who we are since birth. (P.S. It sounds EXACTLY like Madonna's Express Yourself in case you were wondering.) Anyway, okay, so now she's "incubating" until her performance where she'll be "born", I'm assuming. She's not subtle.

Nothing exciting is happening yet on the Grammys. So, I'll dazzle you with the deets from my weekend. Friday night was a disgusting amount of fun. We went out for Kim's birthday. We went to a German bar, drank German beer, sang German songs, and took some sort of minty snuff stuff that they catapult up your nose. Crazy Germans. But then I finally made my way out to the dance floor with Kim's friend Stephanie and we went cray-cray. I LOVE dancing. It was so fun. So much fun that I needed to take a little nap on the way home. And then I spent like 14 hours sleeping on Saturday. I needed my rest.

Grammys Update: Blah. Everyone is wearing a gold dress or a leopard print dress. Everyone except Rihanna. Rihanna is wearing an outfit made entirely out of white Hawaiian leis.

Okay, so Saturday was a waste. I peeled myself out of bed with a throbbing German headache at about 3:30 p.m. I came downstairs and Geo, Perek, and their friend KG were playing Settlers of Catan - that nerdy game I mentioned awhile ago. They wanted to have a "crown" that the winner could wear, so I made them one out of a hard hat, Mardi Gras beads, sharpies, and pink bows. It was fabulous. Then I made a horrible, rash decision and watched Sex and the City 2 . I ended up sick as well because it's a terrible movie. For the love of God, don't watch it.

Grammys Update: Pretty disappointed with Gaga. She was "born" from said egg, but she looks, uh, normal. We are wondering if her outfit is made out of butter or something. If not, it's totally blah. Thanks for nothing, Meat Dress.

Okay, so it was incredibly nice outside today. After spending yesterday in bed, I needed to get out. So I went to the mall to find Geo a Valentine's Day gift. Instead, I just so happened to find clothes for me. Yay! So spending the rest of the day looking for Geo's gift was a lot easier knowing I had my own cute new stuff. Welp, that brings us up to now and these Grammy's. So far, it's kind of a Snoozefest.

Grammys Update: I must have fallen asleep because I've only seen like 3 awards handed out. They keep saying "Winners already tonight" but I haven't seen ANY of them. BUT! Me lovey Mumford & Sons and The Avett Bros. and Bob Dylan. That was definitely a great performance. Okay, Grammys, well done.

Grammys Update: CeeLo. Thank you. I love a man in head-to-toe feathers. But NO thank you Gwenyth Paltrow for not embracing the Muppet theme of the song. Geo just said she looks like she was CONTROLLING one of the Muppets because she's just dressed in black. Hater.

Geo and I just now made dinner reservations for tomorrow. Leave it to him...I was all "We'll never get reservations the NIGHT BEFORE Valentine's Day. Never." Turns out, we decided on a place, called, and got dinner for 2 at the exact time Geo requested. Maybe I need to lay off him a bit.

Grammys Update: I want to marry Rihanna's performance dress (the one with Eminem). OMG. It's gorgeous! So much better than the Hawaiian lei number she had on before. I tried to find a link to show you, but it's not up yet. Go find it. And I wouldn't be mad if you bought it for me. Thanks.

Grammys Update: Who is Esperanza Spalding? Uggggghhhhh.

Grammys Update: I'm officially checked out. Between the Aretha Franklin tribute and Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand performances, I've invested far too many hours listening to music I don't like tonight. Blech.

Grammys Update: Oh, hello Nicki Minaj! Loves it! And she's presenting for a category I'm excited about! Best Rap Album. EMINEM! Oh yes. Yes yes yes. I'm obsessed with his album. Will he say something crazy? Let's see...oh, bummer, nope. That's okay. w0000t!

Grammys Update: Yup, I'm officially declaring this awards show BUNK. None of the good people won (except Eminem, and arguably Lady Gaga). And I could not be more bored. Where's Ke$ha? Where's Britney for crying out loud?! Zzzzzz...Well, with that, this blogger is off to bed to dream of what Could Have Been in this show. It started so promising, with that crazy Gaga Egg, but it ended up a big, fat dud.

Ugh. Stupes Grammehs.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Don't

Business, business. Big ups to my friends Miss Valerie and Miss Kim for being born this weekend 20-30something years ago. This weekend, I'll be celebrating Kim's birthday by drinking German beer from glass boots and possibly polka dancing at a German bar. But last night, I celebrated Valerie's birthday with Lana by eating zummy food, exchanging Silly Bandz (awww yeah! I gave them each a set, and I'm sure their lives will never be the same), and drinking wine while discussing everything from boutiques to whacked out female hormones. Juicy stuff, people. JUICY.

Oh GIRL TALK. You're so fun. The night started with Lana's hubby Phil making some extremely good Indian food in the kitchen while Lana and I discussed various locations at which we could find adorable jewelry. Lana made these killer Salty Sweet Brownies that I wanted to take home with me and cuddle with. When Valerie got there, Phil brought us the food (I've never scarfed down tofu quite so quickly before) and we just chatted like normal human beings. It was lovely.

Lana is the only one of us three who is married (yeah, Valerie and I are, in fact, the sane ones). And she did it in like the lowest-maintenance way possible. She and her then-fiancee were already planning a vacation to Scotland, and just straight up decided to say their I Do's amongst a couple of kilt-wearing, scotch-drinking, bagpipe-playin' Scots. Easy peezy. They've always kind of been like that, and as I told Lana last night, it's just one of the zillion reasons I love them.

Married couples. I tell ya, you can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em. Well, I guess mostly you can't live with them because they probably only want to live in their house with each other. Anyway, I'm starting to see this weird-o line in the sand that married couples inadvertently draw. I realize that many of my readers are married. YOU must realize, therefore, that the chances are very high that you've started to, uh, suck a little bit. You may think you're all "La la la, let's merge our finances and never change." But reality check: You've changed.

I am the sole remaining survivor of Wedded Bliss Syndrome in my family. Yup, I'm the only unmarried one in the clan, and I'm pretty sure I'm the most hesitant about the whole concept. Arguably, I'm also still the most fun (according to me). Most of my friends remain untainted by a wedding band, but one by one, I see them - willingly! - flinging themselves from the safety and security of Singledom into the deep, weird abyss that is Marriage. I'm not one of those people who gives marriage a bad rap because my parents had a bad marriage or something. Nope, my parents have, from my point of view, the world's BEST marriage. I idolize the relationship that they have. So much so that is seems like an impossible act to follow.

So, now that you realize I'm not just bitter about marriage, I hope you'll trust me when I explain my side. I have two friends, Lana and Kelly, who have the kind of marriage I would hope to have. They are still very much the same people, and they kept all their friends. They hang out with us poor, sad, single folk all the time (when possible), separately or together, They don't sit and refer to themselves as "we" all the time. You know, "WE just don't like that restaurant anymore." Or "WE have to think about finances." Or "WE think Pharon needs to stop calling so much."

At Book Club, I mentioned once, in the aftermath of a disappointing phone call with a Married, that "Married people are SOOOOOO lame!" In the midst of my self-righteous rant, I failed to recognize that at least 4 of the girls in my club are married. So I got the third degree from them. I know now that it could actually be my bad. When people I know get married, I still want to keep them to myself. I want them to still do the same crap we did before, without having to "answer" to anyone else. But now Marrieds either bring along their Life Partner which jeopardizes the flow of conversation, or they look at me with sad pity when I threaten to break up with Geo if he leaves his macaroni pan out ONE MORE TIME. Marrieds? DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT. I'm aware that your version of "breaking up" is "Divorce", so my version of "problems" don't amount to donkey poop compared to mortgages and baby fever and that awkward ring finger tan you'll get.

Having said all that, Marrieds need a bit of a reality check. They're all living with their husband/wife/"best friend" (puke), way separated from the Singles and assume we are immature and you falsely think you've grown out of the fun we used to have. But guess what, Marrieds? You LOVE the Single's lives. You do. You're scared to admit it, I know, but you love it. Your lives are HARD and, well, kind of like written in stone. Mine? Not so much. My relationship could fail at like, ANY second. BUT I don't have to ask anyone about anything when I buy an Xbox Kinect. It's all a crazy, crazy world where anything could happen.

In closing, I urge you this weekend, if you're a Single, to explain to your Married friends to lighten up. And if you're a cool Married, I urge you to take minute and thank the Singles in your life for keepin' it real.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Story Hour! Part Three

Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Xavier and Louann spent most of the night side by side at the bar, reminiscing about their brief, but passionate, secret love affair. He teased her about her incessant whining and humongous feet, and she poked fun at the way he cried after both movies and love making. For an hour, they laughed and had an okay time before they fell silent, each silently cursing the other for bringing up the ridiculous past.

Louann gulped down the last of her Vodka-Mountain Dew and smiled smugly. “Poor Xavier,” she started. “You poor man. You’re so devoted to me, and yet so, so alone. I guess I owe you one more unforgettable night.” Xavier choked on his Cosmopolitan. He was embarrassed for her, and a little hurt at her implications. She still didn’t realize it was HE who was taking pity on HER, not the other way around. “You idiot,” he laughed. “What makes you think I want anything from you? You’re the one who will be sleeping alone tonight, honey.” He had spoken so loudly that the bartender chuckled to himself behind the bar. Both stared stubbornly at the other before Louann, humiliated, pulled on her horrendous zebra-striped fur coat and stomped out of the bar.

She hadn’t gotten more than 10 feet from the bar before she was jumped. One of the men poked a gun in her back, while the other snatched her Prada bag. The men were young, Louann noted. And kind of cute. As the two men debated whether or not to make her hand over her tacky – and probably fake – jewelry, Louann batted her eyelashes and tried asking the gun dude for his number. “Is this broad crazy, bro?” he asked his accomplice. “I don’t know, yo, but we better get outta here before we find out for sure!” Louann chased the two men for 5 blocks, pleading for both her purse and a date, before giving up and walking home.

She had no money. No ID. No Tic Tacs. It was near dawn when she arrived back at her house. She walked inside and expected an avalanche of insults and punishments to be hurled at her by her parents. But it was quiet.

A couple hours later, Louann sat at the breakfast table eating her usual dodo bird eggs and unicorn sausage. Her dad, Lou, came in the kitchen and asked, "What the hell are you looking at?" Louann shrugged. She could tell he had been up late, fighting with her mother. His eyes were puffy and glassy and his voice was hoarse from yelling. She asked her father if he wanted any juice. He ignored her.

“Where the hell did your money-grubbing mother go?” he finally demanded. Louann finished her eggs. "All I know is that she is supposed to be going to yogilates this morning and then having a long, solo day at a super fancy spa on the other side of the tracks before meeting you and you alone for a private dinner on your private yacht.” Lou considered this, and silently wondered why Louann suddenly had taken such an interest in her mother’s schedule. He also wondered why Louann had gone to such lengths to plan this crazy, whacked out private date night for her parents, when he knew all too well how much Louann hated them both. He brushed aside his suspicions and went back to ignoring Louann.

When she heard her father’s car drive away, Louann breathed loudly. She had set the trap. The neighbors would know her parents had fought that night. She had gotten the gun to Xavier, and though she had lost her purse with the rest of Xavier’s money in it, she felt confident that he would do what she asked. And if all went according to her haphazard, blatantly obvious plan, her mother would be dead by sundown, Xavier would be headed to prison, and Louann would finally have everything she ever wanted.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Teacher's Pet

So tonight I was working on a little blurbity writing thing for my mom. She asked me to write a little farewell thing to her good friend, and my former band director. He actually taught every kid in my family. So at first, I was all “Hmm…I don’t really remember high school all that much. Wait, I WAS in band, wasn’t I?” Needless to say, it was a slow start. But then all of a sudden, I started having these memories of all the things, I guess you could call them LESSONS, I learned in school. And wouldn’t you know it? Apparently TEACHERS had something to do with it.

A few of my friends now are teachers. It. Is. Weird. First off, I always assumed all my teachers (until college) were like 100 years old and had no life outside of ruining my day with tests. I have a distinct memory of imagining my 5th grade English teacher – who was my favoritest teacher ever – grading papers all night every night and perusing the yearbooks to get to know her students in her spare time. But now, I know the truth: some of them sit down with a bottle of wine, and mindlessly assign B’s and D’s to papers while they watch American Idol. But then they also say things like “I need to think of a good way to explain fractions.” And then they brainstorm all these crazy fun things I would have LOVED to have done in my math classes as a kid. I find myself wishing my friends could have been my teachers. That would have ruled.

I had World’s Worst Teacher in first grade who smacked me on the knuckles with a ruler because I colored something wrong (my mom promptly removed me from the class), and then there was Every Single Math Teacher I Ever Had who I hated, but besides them, I’ve totally loved my teachers. Not surprisingly, the best one (mentioned above) was my first English/Writing teacher. She smelled like cigarettes all the time and had these long pointy finger nails that she’d poke into your head if you goofed off. But guess what? No one ever goofed off twice. Anyway, she taught me about prose and imagery and tone and using adjectives effectively. She picked me to read the part of Juliet when we started reading Shakespeare, and then, as if she were my own little Cupid, picked the boy I had a crush on to read Romeo. I just loved her.

In high school, there was my teacher who announced, on the very first day, “About 90% of you will fail my class. If you think you are in that 90%, please get out.” And then like 5 kids dropped the class because they believed him. But he was lying, and he was hilarious, and he was one of my greatest teachers. He taught me AP European History and I think I understood that better than regular ol’ American History.

In college, my writing classes were taught by grad students. One of them was actually a “working writer”, in that she was actually writing for publications on a regular basis. AND GOT PAID! She wrote (under a pseudonym) for various, eh hem, adult magazines. I was like star struck by her. And when she complimented me on the story I wrote about how much I loved my own butt – yup, that’s Big Ten University education right there, folks – I knew she just got me and I loved her ever since.

There's something really comforting about finally realizing that all those teachers who I loved and admired so much actually had lives outside of me. You know, they didn't just sit alone and concern themselves with what I was going to wear to school the next day like I used to assume. And then all day they'd be all inspiring (and a little scary sometimes). After I graduated and told people I got my degree in English, people always asked "So, are you going to be a teacher?" (as if that's all English majors are good for) and I'd be all disgusted and say "Ugh, no way! Work with kids all day?! PUKE." But I don't think very many people sit around and wax nostalgic about how a Sales Coordinator changed their lives as a kid. Consider this my good deed for the day, though: Thanks, teachers. I guess you're pretty okay. Now, if only you'd just shut up about getting summers off...

Monday, February 7, 2011

9021Ohhhh! I Get it Now!

Eeee! My friend Taylor is, at this very minute, having a baby. Gross! I mean, yay! I asked her how it was going, and she texted me back, "I just got an epidural. I love the epidural man." Haha. I'm so excited for her! I can't wait to see a bunch of naked baby pictures very very soon. Congrats, Taylor!

Welp, it's another night indoors, safe from the frigid biting wind that eats my face off every time I even look out a window. Sanna and I are crashed in front of the TV watching World's Girliest Shows. It's been made glaringly obvious to me lately how different TV has been since the boys moved out. With them, it was all MANswers and reality shows and Family Guy (oh my!). But now it's E! News, Teen Mom, and Lifetime movies. Tonight is the girliest night of all though. Later is Gossip Girl, but first is the train wreck that is the revamped 90210. To give you an idea of what we're dealing with here, I just heard this line from a girl who recently gave her illegitimate child up for adoption: "I am a teen former drug addict pop star on the cover of all the tabloids. I can't be a MOM, but I can be a reality star." Right.

So yeah, the new 90210, just like the old one, has the liars, the cheaters, the drug addicts, and the money. The premise is the same, too. The hilariously naive family from the Midwest moves out to West Bev, and gets a serious reality check when they see how them rich folk live. Poor, dumb Midwesterners. Then, voila! They are beautiful and end up fitting in just fine, because they are also rich. But this new 90210 has more gay people and celebrity scandals and fewer Jason Priestly's and old lady Ahhhhndreas. More trust funds, less side burns. Most importantly, though, the new one has no Ian Ziering, and I think we can all appreciate that.

Full disclosure: I lost interest in the original 90210 after probably the second season or so. Yes, I totally loved Brenda and the whole Walsh clan, because they were fresh off the Minnesota toboggan - Minnesota? They're just like me! And I thought I was destined to marry Luke Perry. But I didn't understand the entire context of the show. Like what "abortions" were, or what it meant that Dylan "cheated on" Brenda. What, like in Scrabble? That just didn't sound like such a big deal, geeeeez. So I bailed on the gang at the Peach Pit and went back to my obsession with Paula Abdul.

When I joined my sorority like 10 years later, the show was still on, but it had gone through quite the transformation and I was more disinterested than ever before. Now the whole gang was all living on their own, and wearing lots of dark eyeshadow, and just sleeping around. Plus, Kelly Kapowski had joined the cast, and it would appear that the virginal Donna Martin was no longer virginal, and we were expected to take Brian Austin Green seriously as a DJ and/or rapper. Really? Riiiiiight. But I forced myself to watch it, because all the girls in my house loved it. I had missed the last decade of the show, so I was a wee bit behind. I sat there in the informal living room at the House, surrounded by girls who were saying things like "Wait, didn't he JUST have a baby with so and so?" or "God, I can't stand the way she did that one thing to that guy and then they both got that disease!" I never spoke a word, but uttered fake gasps of disbelief as needed. I still just didn't get it.

Alas, I FINALLY got sucked in to the new 9-0. I've seen exactly 2 1/2 episodes but I'm pretty caught up, and I already know that Silver used to sleep with Teddy, who just came out and is now dating Ian, and Naomi was raped by some dude who then tried to blackmail her and attack her, but she took him down by - crazy! - spraying hair spray in his face. Girl power! And it actually makes so much sense to me this time around. And while I could appreciate the adorable floral print overalls and kicky sunflower hats of the old episodes, the fashion on the new version is far superior. Balenciaga AND Givenchy? Yes, please!

And to think, I could have missed out on yet another interpretation of life in good ol' Beverly Hills. But thanks to the overflow of estrogen seeping in to every nook and cranny of my house, I was spared the humiliation of not knowing what Lori Laughlin is up to these days.

Okay, I know that I've probably lost 90% of you by now. I know many of you are all "Uh, I could not care less about this show, and I have no idea what the Peach Pit is." And, like you, I used to think I was better than those crazy kids at West Beverly. But like the eternal love of Dylan and Kelly, once I got a fresh taste I just couldn't stay away. Stupid fake teens, with your fake problems, and fake noses...why can't I quit you?

I will say this for sure, though. The old theme song is WAY BETTER than the new, waterier version. Sometimes you just can't improve on the original.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Was There Some Sort of Sporting Event On Tonight?

So, the Super Bowl is over. I'm drained from eating my face off and cheering for a losing team I have nothing invested in. In lieu of a traditional blog, I'm posting pics from our Super Bowl party. Note: My camera is jacked. I don't know what I did to it, but I messed up the settings so the pics are questionable. Oh well, enjoy this little peek-a-boo into my life. Also, it's like proof that I have friends. Yay!


Well, yes, as a matter of fact I DID make these wontons myself!

Based on my availability of black and yellow socks (go Hawkeyes!), I decided to be a Steelers fan for the night. That didn't work very well.

So then a few peeps decided to shotgun a beer outside. Here they are, pulling the triggers.

The knife they used to open the beer cans was carefully placed in the porch.

Here are a few of my loverly friends who came by: Allyson, me, Liz, and Kim.

Here's the group.

This is Geo's friend KG's dog, Grey, snoozin'.

Just when we were almost ready to fall into a food coma, these guys came on the TV and spiced up my life. I'd like one of these outfits for when I go walking at night.

Through it all, though, I represented my Vikings.

Then the food was gone...

The beer cans were empty and stashed all over the house...

And night was a huge success. I don't care who won, actually. I just don't. But I'm going to miss football every Sunday. How long until preseason starts???

Welcome back to the week, everyone. Let's do it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Future's so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Halleluiah! You guys? The SUN...was OUT...TODAY. I dug around in my purse, and had to take out my Kindle, my planner, my phone charger, my Kate Spade card holder/wallet, my keys, my iPod, a coin purse, a pair of mittens, and a pack of gum, but I finally found them. My Sunglasses. I haven't gotten to use my sunglasses in, well, many many moons. But oh! The glorious sun has decided to make a much anticipated cameo in Minnesota. And believe you me, I was in desperate need of the Vitamin D. I ran outside during lunch, with my mittens on, my full-length, down, enormo-coat zipped up, and the hood pulled up over my head, and just stared straight up at the sun. I willed the 4 square inches of my visible face skin to absorb all the vitamins and warmth and loveliness possible. I put my sunglasses on and it felt almost alien to have them on my face again. But there they sat, for 7 glorious minutes before I had to run back inside and thaw out my eyelashes.

That's something I always forget about in winter: sunglasses. I NEVER need to use my sunglasses in winter, unless I'm driving and the hazy sun somehow still manages to bounce right off the snow and directly into my corneas like I'm an ant at the mercy of some bratty kid with a microscope. But that almost never happens anyway. Usually I'm tucked inside work or my house or a bar, far away from the bitter cold of the ruthless Outdoors. So when I put my sunglasses on today, I was finally convinced that Spring is definitely right around the corner.

I need to buy new sunglasses, though. The ones I have now are, obviously, Kate Spade. And though I love them, due to my habit of tossing them into my purse with keys, pens, and apparently open switchblades, the lenses of the glasses are totally scratched beyond repair. There is nothing, in this blogger's humble opinion, dumber than dropping a huge chunk of dough on sunglasses. Sure, they may be cute or cool or like 3-D or something, but unless it says "Will not Break When Your Friend Ally Sits on the Them" or "Lenses Are Made Out Of Diamond", it's such a waste. I love the $5 sunglasses at Heartbreaker. Soooooo cheap! Sooooo cute! And somehow, they NEVER BREAK. I just straight up lose them. I'd go into cardiac arrest if I bought like a $750 pair of sunglasses and accidentally left them in the bathroom McDonald's. Good bye, money. Good bye, useless status symbol.

I bought Geo a pair of sunglasses for Christmas. He is a legit sunglasses hoarder. He has at least 6 pairs just in his car at any given time. Anyway, so Geo and I watch this show called Sons of Anarchy on FX (if you aren't watching this show, you are bad at life). It's about a motorcycle gang who have hearts of gold. (Sort of. They like deal drugs and run guns and hang out with, eh hem, ladies of the night, but it's SOOOOOOO good.) Whatever, the main character, Jax - played by the very yummy and drool-worthy Charlie Hunnum, wears these sunglasses on the show whenever he's on his Harley. Geo wanted them soooo badly. So one day, I looked them up. I found them, and they are legit. They are old-school authentic motorcycle glasses that have been around since the 50's. The best part? Eight dollars. Eight little bitty dollars. So, I ordered them and was ready to lie my face off and tell Geo they were mad expensive. However, apparently he had already done some of his OWN research, and confessed that he was already planning on ordering like 10 pairs of them so he had them every where at all times.

For all intents and purposes, sunglasses are basically disposable, though. That's why I think spending a ton of hard-earned cash on something you're just going to sit on anyway is crazy. That doesn't change the fact, though, that I need some new ones. I like the obnoxiously large ones, too. Geo says they make my freakishly small head look smaller. I'm pretty sure that's an insult, but whatever. They also leave horrible sunglasses tans in the summer. But I just figure it's a highly effective way of preventing premature aging of my eyes, and also hiding hangovers . And Punxutawney Phil basically guaranteed that I'll be laying out and drinking Mojitos by the Lakes in no time, so I need to be ready!

Alright, loveys. I'm signing off for now. I hope you have a bright, sunny, and wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Story Hour! Part Two

Last week on Story Hour: We met Louann, a seemingly idiotic woman who, until recently, lived a charmed life. She has been on the run from law enforcement and finds herself on a deserted island. She broke her own leg and keeps having flashbacks to Xavier and a mysterious murder.

After a night of disturbing dreams, Louann awoke with the sun. She fondly recalled the mornings in Bali when she watched the sunrise after a night of partying with the sketchy locals she had met in town on her frequent solo visits out to the bars. The headache she had now, though, was not from tequila and rum, but from the throbbing pain in her leg. The bone was reset but her leg was covered from knee to ankle in deep bruises. When she tried to stand up, she collapsed the moment she put weight on her scrawny little leg. She sat back down on the yoga mat she had stashed in her boat. Defeated, she knew she would have to stay put for awhile.

Back on the main land, Louann's parents hardly noticed she was missing. Her father, Lou, had been crazy busy at his job in Nigerian Business Opportunities. He had perfected his "I need your help getting my money out of a trust, and as thanks, I will give you $4.2 million!" emails and was well on his way to acquiring the company who makes those "Congratulations! You just won an iPad!" pop up ads. Louann's mother, Ann (see what I did there?) had always been crazy harsh on Louann. Instead of feeding her that fatty baby formula as a baby, Louann's mother instructed the nanny to feed Louann Slimfast. She didn't want no chubby baby. When Louann started growing in to her looks at 16, her mother got insanely jealous of the youth and beauty of her daughter and vowed to ruin Louann's life. After trying to poison Louann's vodka smoothie one morning, Ann was admitted, for the first of many times, to the looney bin.

The night Louann stole the rowboat and left, her parents had had a huge fight over finances. They were hemorrhaging money after Louann's mother had started paying off the doctors who kept insisting she needed to stay in the hospital. Lou had threatened to cut Ann off. Ann threatened to cut Lou up. They argued all night, and didn't notice Louann stealing her dad's glock and strolling out of the house at 3 a.m.

While Louann was leaving her house, Xavier was across town at a hipster bar, drinking PBR ironically, smoking a cigarette, and listening to bad hipster-y live music. He was handsome, no doubt. He had broad shoulders, the slightest hint of a 5 o'clock shadow, and thick black hair. That he could charm the robe off a nun would not be an overstatement. He, not surprisingly, worked in some obscure position at some generic advertising or marketing or graphic design company or something similarly cliche. But he made good money that he spent lavishly on skateboards and faberge eggs. Was he gay? No one knew for sure. Xavier was a lifelong bachelor, who was rumored to have bedded both Blake Lively and James Franco. But that night, at that hipster bar, he was interested in one thing, and one thing only. Louann and the money. Oh, wait. Two things. I guess he was interested in TWO things.

As Xavier finished his beer and his smoke, the bar door swung open and all the hipsters in the bar groaned as the outside noise interrupted their self-obsessed conversations. As Louann walked in the door, the terribly whiny band (mercifully) stopped playing and stared at the creature before them. Her long black hair tumbled past her slim shoulders, and her skin was smooth and golden - but kind of orangey too. Like the inside of Butterfinger. She looked around and her glassy, bright green eyes spotted Xavier. As she walked towards him, every one in the bar stared. She was beautiful, but she also looked like she'd be sticky.

Louann air-kissed his cheeks in that super stupid way people who want to appear rich and cool do, and then she pulled the gun out of her Prada bag to show Xavier. He nodded, took it from her and dropped it in his pocket. Then she handed him a crumpled up wad of cash. "Is this all of it?" he asked. "No," Louann said, "but you'll get the rest when it's done." Before she could walk out, Xavier invited her to sit for a drink. She hesitated, briefly remembering their passionate history together, but decided one drink wouldn't kill anyone, would it?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful...Unless I'm Also A Bad Person

I’d like to talk to you today about chicks. Ladies. Broads. Muchachas. The Fairer Sex. Uh, has anyone else noticed how BRUTAL we can be to each other? We can find something physically wrong about ANY OTHER GIRL. Cankles. Muffin Top. Horse Face. Stretch Marks. My roommate Sanna insists that this negative behavior only happens in Middle School, but I totally disagree. I think it happens all the time, but now that we’re adults, we’re much more covert about it. We’re like stealth little beyotches, set on tearing other women down flaw by flaw. I’ll admit it: I’ve done it. And trust me, YOU do it too. But I’m going to stop doing it. It’s just so cruel.

Here’s the thing. Last night, my mom emailed me and she was all “OMG, loved your blog tonight! Hilarious! Um, but do you think you could maybe lay off yourself for a minute? You know, stop making fun of yourself nonstop and maybe try saying something nice about yourself every once in a while?” I thought about it. I fell asleep being like “You know, I’m going to blog tomorrow about awesome I am. Like, how funny I think I am, and how I can be smart, and how I can cheer almost anyone up at anytime, and also? I clean up pretty good too.” But I woke up this morning and I was all “Hold on there, Vanity Kane (OMG, if you got that pun, I’ll love you forever), none of that is exciting at ALL.”

Seriously, would you guys read a blog about someone who loves themselves way too much? No, because then it would be written by Angelina Jolie. Or Gwenyth Paltrow. Or that chick Sarah I went to middle school with. The point is: No one is perfect. And people who THINK they’re perfect are in for a big wake up call. I mean, okay I probably should try and lighten up when it comes to myself, but that’s not the problem out there. The problem is that we just annihilate each other’s self esteem whenever humanly possible. Women have it hard enough trying to take over the world from those violent, non-feeling menfolk, getting good roles in Hollywood that don‘t involve naked dancing scenes, and trying to make a decent lasagna without fending off criticisms of our body or face or other physical attributes. Yet, all over the place, I hear girls talking about the physical flaws or differences of other women, which apparently gives us free reign to rip them apart. Like someone's size, or how bad her eyebrows look, or how they’d never be caught dead wearing those shoes. Really, ladies? REALLY?

Now, I’m not going to go all “I’m awesome because of these 638 reasons” because that’s just not me. I really enjoy making fun of myself. I definitely don't need someone ELSE to help me out. But I’m also not going to sit and listen to a girl say “Well of course she was mean. Did you see her thighs?!” I heard someone say that about a stranger not too long ago and I wanted to slap the girl who said it. I blame her parents. The problem is, we’ve all said something like that, and someone somewhere has said something like that about each one of us. But I just don't get where we get off putting someone down flat out because they have messy hair, or wear jeggings.

With that said, I'm not all "La la la, everyone is awesome." Here are the things that ARE legitimate reasons to dismiss someone from your life. (I base these solely on the behaviors of the men around me. They have great friendships, and they don’t talk about each other‘s back fat.) I will choose to not be friends with someone if: They have a really horrible sense of humor. They can’t carry on an intelligent conversation (or at least pretend to). They think they are perfect. They can’t admit when they’re wrong. They complain all the time. They are racist or sexist or other similarly hate-fueled “-ist” that just makes them a horrible person. These are all personality traits that say a lot about a person. Guys will be friends with other guys if they like the same things or can make an awesome joke. Simple as that. You just don’t hear guys being like “Yeah, he’s cool and everything, but have you seen his GUT? Gross. He sucks.”

Yeah, I think it’s fine to rib on someone because of the person they ARE. It’s just so….so, CLICHÉ to rib on physical traits. Aren't we more creative than that? There are enough things wrong with everyone without having to point out things that unchangeable or different. I’d rather be hated for my moodiness than my hips. I think I’ve earned it. I think I’m pretty good at getting to know someone before I decide why I can’t stand them. And I’d expect people to do the same for me. Believe me, I’ll give you plenty of reasons to go running for the hills. But (here you go, Mom) despite my many, many flaws, I'm loyal and kind, and I'll make you laugh (or I'll make you enough vodka tonics until I make you laugh).

Maybe it's not just a girl thing. Maybe I've been lucky enough to know a bunch of guys who aren't shallow. (Maybe that's WHY they're friends with me.) But I think we should just all take a deep breath and stop picking each other apart based on genetics. Maybe we should pick on people who deserve it. You know, like Fun Haters. Man, I hate those guys...