Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good Deal

I love me some Groupon. It is the only reason I'm on my way to becoming a professional kickboxer, the reason I finally decided to go rent kayaks and float along the lake that I live 20 yards from, and a life saver when it comes to trying new restaurants I would not have otherwise considered. Groupons are tops, in my book.

There are limits, though. In my life, there are a few things I'd prefer NOT to use a coupon for. Things that you shouldn't skimp on. One of those services is Brazilian waxing. CrowdCut (basically Groupon Lite) sent me this "deal" today. Thanks, but no thanks, CrowdCut. I figure that if I EVER were to consider such a, uh, delicate and intimate procedure, I'd like to think I wouldn't make the decision based on a 56% discount. This is up there with the time they sent out a coupon for discounted Lasik eye surgery. Say whaaaaaa? Who uses a COUPON for SURGERY? That just, no, I think, but if, maybe when, no. Just No. That's just not right.

I used to feel utter humiliation at the mere thought of - gasp - using a coupon. What do I look like, a homeless person?! When I was younger, my sister Padrin would take me shopping, and I shuddered at the point in the trip when she'd inevitably drag me to the Marshall's in the basement of Southdale Mall. Discount shopping? In EDINA?! What if some popular rich girl from my 6th grade class saw me walking into Marshall's instead of J.Crew? I'd never live it down. I had a REPUTATION to uphold, people. And Marshall's didn't fit into my carefully crafted aura of Spoiled Brat.

These days, I obvs love Marshall's and pretty much anything that includes the words "BUY ONE GET ONE FREE" (especially when it relates to beer). Discount shopping is now an art form. (Have you ever seen the show Extreme Couponing?! Okay, personally I haven't, but I get the premise - people obsessed with coupons to the point where they get $600 worth of groceries for $6.) Hence, my appreciation for programs like Groupon.

But again, I've got my limits. I don't go for those things that are like "Free 16 oz bottle of hair spray with purchase of 16 hairbrushes". Those are just silly. And despite a deep discount on Yoplait yogurt at the grocery store, I still opt for my pricier and deliciousier Chobani yogurt. Because money can't buy happiness when it comes to yogurt.

My friend Kim has this handy dandy little mini-accordian binder thingy that she keeps in her purse. Inside, she keeps a bunch of organized coupons that she will likely use that week. I loved that idea. It was all so neat and tidy and nerdy and cost-effective. I tried copying her for like a week, but ended up with purse full of loose coupons for everything from mouthwash (which I don't use) to Jack's pizzas (which I only buy at 1 a.m. on Saturday nights) to free underwear at Victoria's Secret. Inevitably, they'd all expire or annoy me so thoroughly that I'd just crumple them up and toss 'em in the garbage. Literally throwing money away.

That's why Groupon rules. No waste, no problem. And usually I love convenient little deals sent to my email. But that Brazilian wax (and Lasik) deal really threw me for a loop. Some things just shouldn't discounted. When it comes to that kind of stuff, I'll gladly pay full price if only to give me the peace of mind that I will emerge from said service with full eye sight and no bacterial diseases. And can you really put a price on that?

(Love this song. Hate this video. Skip to 2:30 and commence rocking out.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dear Crabby

Well, no rest for the wise and all-knowing, I guess! Here are a few more responses to your burning questions!


I was searching online to find more info about massage therapy and I came across your information.
Can you tell me, are you still involved with massage therapy services? If you are, how are things going for you?
Please let me know as I may be able to help you get a lot more customers in a very short period of time.


Dear “Chris”,
Thanks for your spam inquiry. Okay, I am still involved with massage therapy services. And by “am still involved” I, of course, mean “have never been involved”. I once got a gift certificate for a massage at a fancy spa place from an old boyfriend. I hated it, if I’m being honest with you, Chris. I spent the whole time praying the woman wouldn’t touch my feet and feeling bad for her as she kneaded my back fat. So, Chris, things are really NOT going anywhere with my massage therapy information you apparently found somewhere. But hey! Thanks for promising to get me more customers to my non-existent business! Let me know how that works for you…

Pharon Square,
Have you ever used something like Proactiv? I’m a 25 year-old girl who hates breaking out, but I don’t know if I should go to such extreme measures as ordering something the TV tells me to order.
-Good Skin to Win

Dear Good Skin to Win,
I am currently suffering through an odd phase of Post Adolescent Adolescence in terms of complexion. Last night, I had broken out on my cheek so quickly that I convinced myself I had the mumps. So, I’m not your go-to gal for this one. Yes, I tried Proactiv once in my early twenties, mostly because I loved Jessica Simpson, and happily did anything SHE told me to do (Note: I usually follow any advice given to me by the TV. It’s almost never steered me wrong, so I wouldn’t call listening to TV’s advice “extreme”). Two weeks later, my face was all red and itchy and, well, SO not Jessica Simpson-y. I cancelled the auto-refilling nightmare post haste. Blech. I don’t know WHAT you should do, GSW. I’m the kind of girl who will have blemishes until the day AFTER I start getting wrinkles. So if YOU find a solution, let ME know.

Dear PharonSquare,
I really want to make the most out of this Spring and Summer. Every winter I swear I'll do more fun things outside but then I get lazy and sweaty and before you know it, it's snowing again. Any tips on how to stay active and entertained with the good weather that is upon our doorstep?
Waitin' For Spring

Dear Waitin’ for Spring,

I’m with you. I’m lazy and I hate being sweaty. That said, Spring and Summer are awesome times of year to camouflage that lazy/sweaty thing. My most important tip is to get a hammock. You can enjoy the weather while lying down and/or napping in the middle of the day. But because you’re on a HAMMOCK, no one can say squat about it. Secondly? There are lots of ways to hang out outside while also enjoying cocktails, so that’s definitely a way to get me off the couch. I suggest doing activities that combine those two things. Activities like: Golfing, happy hours, going to the park with your kids, BBQs at a lake, walking to the bar, rollerblading, reading on your hammock, going to the Farmer's Market (put a margarita in your travel mug and the Farmer's Market will turn into a Mercado Fiesta!), or just laying out catching some rays. Summer is pretty much the only time people make PLANS to go LAY DOWN, so I like to take advantage of that. As long as you try and do one of those things almost every day, you'll feel great!

Listen, people, I know you guys has some burning questions. I know you have problems, because you tell them to me all the time on the phone, or on gchat, or you post incessantly about your problemos on Facebook. So, make it easier on yourself (and all your friends) and shoot me an email at and I'll fix your problem, no charge. Unless it's like a crazy-weird problem. Then it's like $0.50 cents a sentence.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Same ol', Same ol'

Just another boring day. Doctor's appointment, kickboxing, quick nap. Not much going on today. It IS my grandmaman's birthday today, though! Happy birthday, Grandmaman!!!

I feel like there's something else, though. Something kind of big. Hmmm. OH WAIT! I have another nephew! Finally the day you've all been waiting for! That's right, guys. Without further ado, I present to you: Alec David Christopher!

He is 7lb 15oz, and 21" long. Isn't he dreamy?! (My mom took the opportunity to remind me that, out of her five kids, I was her WORST BIRTH BY FAR! Rude! I was like 9 pounds and like face-up and her longest labor and just generally horrible to deal with...some things never change, amiright? Love you, Mom!) Okay, so MAAAAYBE he looks a lot like other babies, but might I draw your attention to his perfectly shaped noggin' and his cutie pie little nose, and those widdle widdle fingers and toesies?! Now, I've seen babies that look like monkeys when they're born. Or they're all hairy or bald or wrinkly or cone-headed or whatevs. But not Alec. He was perfect. (It's okay, you guys. You can just admit that he's pretty much one of the cutest babies ever.)

Need more proof? Okay, fine.

Yeah, so, he's adorable. I got to the hospital literally TWENTY minutes after he was born and I got pretty emotional when I held him for the first time. He was so handsome and quiet and thoughtful. I fell in love immediately. Also, I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure he tried to give me a high five. Such a playa...

Prinna and Chris are doing awesomely. And despite all the commotion around them (there were a total of NINE OTHER people in the hospital room with them), they were cool as cucumbers. I haven't felt that kind of life and energy in one room since we hosted a party for the season finale of Lost at our house. It was so rejuvenating.

Being the baller that I am, I still managed to make it to kickboxing tonight. But after all that lovey dovey happy sappy time, I just didn't have the drive to punch a bag tonight. I wanted to cradle it and make googly eyes at it. German Tony was less than thrilled with my performance tonight. Whatevs. After I explained that I met my new baby nephew for the first time today, he let up on me and asked me to bring him in as soon as he could fit into a boxing glove.

Indulge me, people and sit through one more picture. It's me with Alec and his proud big sisters (I'm sure there will be many, many more pictures to come, don't worry). But this is one of my favorite pics in the bunch:

I couldn't be happier for my sister and brother-in-law. I'm so grateful that I was able to be part of it. Yay for me and my family!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Crush

Writer's Block, guys. Major, major writer's block. I've started and erased like 3 blogs. The first one was about hating Chris "Rock 'em Sock 'em" Brown. Yeah, like THAT'S news. Then came a blog about whether or not shampoo works like they say it does. I came to my own conclusion that it HAS to otherwise I've wasted a lot of money on "thickening" "smoothing" and "volumizing" nonsense. Still, not exactly page-turning stuff. Finally, the third one started (and quickly ended) with one line: "Can someone please explain the allure of bananas to me?"

I'm off tonight. I'm distracted by all kinds of things, and can't seem to pull together a few intriguing - or even mildly amusing - sentences. What can I say? I'm even watching Dancing with the Stars for the first time EVER trying to get inspired. But besides discovering a newfound girl-crush on Kirstie Alley (she's FUNNY you guys! Seriously! And she can actually do a decent quick-step for a bigger girl which is just icing on the cake she's not allowed to eat anymore), it's been wholly UNinspiring. Background noise.

Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays. I've even decided to tune in to a new This American Life episode on Current TV. I'm obsessed with This American Life. I've listened to pretty much every podcast online. Never heard of it? Well, I urge you to check it out at Anyways, it's ALWAYS inspiring. Each episode could set me off writing for hours. And now that it's on TV? I was tickled. But for some reason, even Ira Glass leaves me less-than-enthused, which is almost disturbing because I have this really odd crush on him too. Okay, so he can't say his "L's" but he's so interesting and dapper and likable and intelligent and kind. Anyway, I listen to him every week on T.A.L. and when he laughs really hard at something, I'm all "Aw man, I wish I could make Ira laugh like that!" Is that weird? I don't care. He is MY Anderson Cooper (admit it - you like Anderson Cooper! Everyone has a little teeny crush on that silver fox).

Yeah, so I've got nothin'. I'm too excited to meet my nephew tomorrow (Prinna didn't go in to labor, but she's going to be induced in the morning) to think about much else. I've already got a crush on a little baby I've never even met yet. Weird? Probably. Whatevs.

Uh, riiiiiiight. So basically, we've all learned tonight that I have a crushes on Kirstie Alley, Ira Glass, and an unborn baby. All totally normal things. Ugh. Writer's block really makes me admit to things I'd rather not say outloud. Sorry. I'm weird and I'm missing a filter somewhere. (As if to prove my point, I just asked Prinna to get on Skype because she's pretty sure she's having contractions and I want to see it. Seriously? Ugh...I'm awkward.)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Help Wanted

Remember on Thursday when I said "Hopefully I'll have some crazy cute pics to show on Sunday night! And, for your sake, I hope they're of an adorable baby and not me with a green balloon leprechaun hat on"?? Well, without further ado, here you go!

Yeah. No baby. My sister is still preggers. Prinna, my mom, and I walked around shopping at the Mall of America for about 6 hours on Saturday, hoping to walk the baby out of Prinna, but nothin'. I, on the other hand, seem to have given birth to an awesome new green Calvin Klein spring coat, a springy red dress, and like a zillion new shirts and some pants, though (crazy deals at Gap, BTW - just don't go there hoping to NOT do any math. "Buy One Get One" left Prinna and me scratching our heads because there were STILL all these weirdo stipulations and crazy percentages to figure out).

Today was my sister-in-law Leah's birthday. We all had a lovely bday dinner for her at my parents house. Prinna was there with her girls, and I took the opportunity to help Prinna go into labor (she's tried going bowling, acupressure on her feet, and bouncing up and down on a yoga ball, so my tactics were limited.) I tried blackmailing the baby to come out by threatening to dress him up in dresses all the time, I laced Prinna's cracker/cheese combo with a huge heap of spicy red pepper jelly hoping her heartburn would shoot through her and light a fire under that baby. I had my nieces Annabelle and Eve try and talk to the baby and ask him nicely to come on outta there and play with them. NO. BABY.

So, I tried another tactic on my way home from my parents. I swung by Target and loaded up on "prizes" for the baby (and his soon-to-be big sisters) should he decide to make his move. Now I'll sit just back and wait for a phone call.

Still waiting...

In the meantime, I had an impromptu Skype date with my friend Madeline on Friday night. We decided we both need a major vacay - all this planning and waiting for my sister to have a baby is really taking it out of me. Madeline helpfully suggested that we get outta town and go somewhere to drink margaritas by the boatload. So my new project is to find an all-inclusive paradise that is supah cheap. So far, no luck. I'm not giving up, though. I WILL find a place where room service is a given, a place that has either a pool or ocean in which to frolic, no kids, no obnoxious Spring Breakers drinking alcohol for the first time, and, ideally, with swim-up bars. Okay, so maybe I'm a little picky, but whatevs. I'm just a girl who knows what I want. Do you know of a place where we can have all that? Anyone? Bueller?

Help me help you, people. If I get to take a nice little vacation, I'll be all rejuvenated with great vacation stories to tell you. I was thisclose to posting a blog about the cavernous pot holes in Minneapolis, so to save you all from that post, I urge you to help a sister out. (Note: This is not to say I WON'T post the pot hole blog...I'm not that desperate. YET.)

So you guys get to work on planning my vacation, and I'll get back to kickstarting Prinna's labor. We've got a lot of work to do, people, so let's get to it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What to Expect When Your Sister's Expecting

ZOMG. Okay, so a couple days ago, I asked my super-preggo sister Prinna if I could come over to her house and help her with any final projects before she adds a whole other person to her brood. She’s all “Definitely! Come over on Thursday!” I was all “Super! See you then!”

It is Thursday. And now I’m scared. I’m scared because I’m pretty sure Prinna is going to have her baby WHILE I’m at her house cleaning her refrigerator or something. Here’s how I imagine it’ll go down:

Prinna: Gack! My water just broke!
Pharon: Nasty! [runs maniacally around the house screaming for the Purell]
Prinna: Calm down, Crazy.
Pharon: Boil some water! Get some clean sheets! Someone call the police! Where are your scissors?
Prinna: ............
Pharon: ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod [continues circling room at increasingly high speeds]
Prinna: Riiiiiiight. Yeah, I’m just going to drive mySELF to the hospital, thankyouverymuch.

Needless to say, I’m not exactly “cool under pressure”. Nope. I’m more like a bottle rocket. Set me off, and just watch my tear around a room screaming until I tire myself out. I mean, I’m FINE with the whole prep stage. You know, the organizing, ironing, cleaning, dusting, folding, prepping the wine rack for my sister’s grand return to it, etc. But the second she starts “heee heeee hoooooo”ing, I’m outta there.

She started having contractions as my mom and I were kind of mulling around, getting ready to leave. We stayed around for the next 9 minutes until her second one. She said "This could go on for days, and they're not even that painful yet." So I took that as my cue to hit the road. I did take my opportunity to feel Prinna's ginormous stomach during one of the contractions. It felt like her belly was full of cement. I said "I just don't see how it could hurt that bad." My mom and Prinna laughed their heads off. I said, "What, so it's like bad cramps or something?" And Prinna said "Yeah, it's cramps, but they make you feel like you're going insane. At one point when I was in labor with Annabelle, the epidural guy came in, grabbed my face, and got like 1 inch from my face. He kind of yelled at me 'I'm going to help you. My name is Doctor Something-Or-Other. I have your epidural.' You can't even process anything around you. THAT'S how bad it hurts." I decided it's probably about as bad as any hangover I've ever had. Nah, it can't be THAT bad.

Anyway, so far we are still in the pre-labor stage ("we"? Really? I have no part in this other than to show up and spoil that baby rotten as soon as I see him). Prinna and I both decided that she is GOING TO HAVE THIS BABY TONIGHT. I'm way more freaked out than she is. Prinna was googling "kids football ceiling fans" while she was timing her contractions. I just sat there holding my breath and wondering what I would do if a placenta fell on the floor. My conclusion? Puke and then start crying. But Prinna and my mom were both cool as cucumbers, so I took their lead and decided to start breathing in and out again. I got in my car to come home, and started re-planning my weekend around the inevitable arrival of a new baby.

Hopefully I'll have some crazy cute pics to show on Sunday night! And, for your sake, I hope they're of an adorable baby and not me with a green balloon leprechaun hat on. Maybe both? Let's hope so! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear Crabby

Alright guys, you asked for it, I’m bringin’ it. Here are more helpful answers to your questions.

Dear Pharon Square:

I've been friends with this chick for a really long time and she is super afraid to get pedicures. Problem is, I love pedicures. In fact, it is one of my favorite past times. Hanging out, getting pedicures, maybe singing a little karaoke and sometimes drinking at the nail place. Should I continue this friendship despite such obvious differences?


Pedi pal

Dear Pedi Pal,

Sounds to me like your friend has a totally natural aversion to having her feet man-handled and scrubbed until they’re sore by shockingly petite women. Despite your obvious love for said “past time”, I encourage you to kindly step off your high horse and plant your pedi’d feet firmly of Friendship Ground. Okay, so you and your friend don’t see eye-to-eye on YOUR favorite things. Do YOU go to her place and play Xbox Kinect for hours (er, or some similar activity) even if it’s not exactly on your Favorite Things To Do list? I tend to doubt it. Your poor pal! I would venture to guess that’s she has accompanied you on these ped-excursions more than once, and has even attempted to ENJOY having someone tend to her feet like a doctor to liposuction (seriously, if you’ve ever seen this procedure done, you know what I’m talking about) despite my her obvious discomfort and anxiety. My suggestion to you, Pedi Pal is to dive head first into one of HER hobbies and get a little taste for how she feels. Should you continue this friendship? I think the question here, lady, is should SHE continue the friendship? Because she’s obviously a kind, compassionate and forgiving friend, I would guess that as long as you stop making me her go to Goddess Nails, she’s definitely a friend worth keeping.

Pharon Square

Dear Pharon Square,

What are your thoughts on the situation in Libya, and how do you feel about our country’s current level of involvement?

Thank you,
Politic Chick

Dear Politic Chick,

Who invited you to this party? ‘Cause you’re kind of bringin’ it down. My thoughts on the situation in Libya? I don’t know, it sucks, I guess? Or it’s awesome? I don’t know. I’m more concerned with our country’s current level of involvement in whether or not there will be an NFL season this fall. Sheesh.

Dear Pharon Square,

I should probably start by saying I'm a guy. Sorry. But I enjoy your blog very much, and I realize I'm probably walking into dangerous territory here, but I'd like an honest opinion. I've been watching the show Mad Men a lot, and I've kind of gotten into that whole male-dominated environment. It just looks like it was SO much better back in the 60's. But I think it's having a negative impact on the way in which I interact with women. The whole "men in power" concept is, to be honest, intriguing. I'd like to know how far off base I am in envying that time period. Thoughts?

Thanks, and I'm ready for the worst.
-Pretty Interested in Genre HBO Entertainment And Don Draper


Thanks for your bravery. It takes a certain, um, man(?) to admit these kinds of thoughts. That being said, I'd like you to briefly remove your head from your hindquarters so you can hear me a little better. You Are Not Don Draper. If you were, you wouldn't make it 2 days in the current decade. You want to sit and drink scotch all day while you work and then maybe stop off for a quickie with your mistress before heading home to your wife and kids? Well, fine, Mr. Draper, go right ahead. Here's the downside, which I think you're failing to see. One: This is 2011, and syphilis is everywhere. Good luck with that. Second: If you want that life, you're not allowed to go shoe shopping or listen to Coldplay or wear any pink or drink light beer or talk to your mother, because Don Draper doesn't do that kind of "girlie" stuff. Finally: You must be prepared to suffer an inevitable mental breakdown because you won't be allowed to talk openly about any emotion besides "hungry". Good luck with that, too. Are your current relationships with women REALLY THAT DIFFICULT for you? Do you REALLY want them to never speak up or go after what they want? Do you REALLY think that women are better seen than heard? If that's truly the case, then you need therapy. Big time. Women are better than we've ever been. We're smart, hilarious, interesting, and fun, not to mention completely capable of cleaning and cooking just like your precious little Betty Draper (plus, um, don't they get DIVORCED?!) So if YOU can't handle the heat, PIGHEADD, perhaps you should consider getting out of our kitchen.

Pharon Square

Okay, I'm beat. All that doling out of totally awesome advice really takes it out of a girl. Shall we say same time next week? Okay. Well, then you'd better send any questions my way at

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kickin' This Cold!

I'm in MUCH better shape this week after my kickboxing class than I was last week. Okay, so I WAS sweating like a pair of feet in tights and heels on a 90 degree day, but the recovery period was much quicker. And just like last week, I felt sooooooooooo good. The following things really helped:

* Tony (who is German, not Russian. Whoooooops) was impressed with my fighting stance. Yeah, my hands are constantly up at my chin, so what? So WHAT if I'm perpetually in attack mode, what of it? So when Tony said "Niiice! You'll be ready to spar in 2 weeks!" I was hardly surprised. I DID grow up with 2 brothers and 2 sisters, you know. I'm like a cat: always ready to pounce. I was pretty stoked - and a wee bit scared - that it came pretty natural to me.

* I'm still pretty dern flexible. Okay, so I haven't bent down to even tie my shoes in a couple years (stilettos have no laces, you know) but shockingly, I still got it. Tony had me demonstrate a stretch and almost laughed when I sat on the ground and leaned all the way between my legs and basically kissed the ground. Aw yeah!

* We learned how to wrap our wrists like real live boxers! Sanna and I agreed that having our hands wrapped up made us feel more coordinated and controlled. Plus, I got BLUE wraps and they were totally cute with my pink fingernails!

* I have recently decided to abandon all plans to lead a nice, normal life and start training to become a professional kickboxer. I'll be the greatest senior citizen to punch the bags in the world.

The problem is, after class, we stood around talking to Tony and the cold I thought I had successfully squashed reared its ugly head and I left in a fit of hacking dry coughs.

I had a nasty little realization today, you guys. It's bad. So my sister Prinna is due with baby Alec, like, ANYDAYNOW. While yes, THAT is great news, I won't be able to get my germ-ridden body anywhere near the hospital or a newborn until my immune system bucks up and kicks this stupid cold out for good. Rude! I wanna snuggle that baby so much! I need to get rid of this stupes cold! STAT!

I'm going to take a kickboxing approach to this, I think. I'm not quite sure what that means, you know, because I've only ever taken a total of TWO classes as of yet, but I imagine it'll go a little something like this.

* For the stuffy nose: One-Two Punch approach. First I'll blow my nose, then I'll punch myself IN the nose.

* For the hacking cough: Breathing and Stretching approach. I'm going to have to learn how to breathe in air to my lungs, but bypass the back of my throat 'cause that's where the problem seems to be. Then I'll just stretch it all out until it's all nice and loose and then my chest won't feel so tight and congested.

* For the watery eyes: Hydrate. I know that as I sweat, I need to rehydrate. I think my eyes are just really sweaty.

* Finally, for the incessant sneezing: Two words. Roundhouse Kick. I'm not sure how that's going to stop the sneezing, but I'm pretty sure it's going to work.

So, I've got a plan now, and that's the start to any positive recovery. Now, I just need PRINNA to take a little tip from my kickboxing expertise: PATIENCE. (Get it, Prinna? Just wait a few more days!)

Alright, time to get this aged - yet still very flexible, might I remind you! - body to bed. And Good News! We here at Pharon Square continue to get pleas for help and advice, so if you have any questions or need advice on anything, Dear Crabby will be back tomorrow! Send your inquiries to If you have any questions on kickboxing or treating a cold, though, I encourage you to wait a few weeks until I understand either enough to confidently make fun of your question.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sick in Stepford

Well, hello there, Martha Stewart. When did you jump into my body? Look at me - I’m all in an apron and makin’ dinner for mah man when he gets home from work. What’s gotten into me, you ask? I don’t know, guys. I think the medical term is “nesting” but I’m waiting on a second opinion. Geo’s been travelling a bunch lately, and just last night got home from a week-long “guys trip” which typically wouldn’t leave me feeling all sorry for him. A week-long funfest with your friends? Poor thing! (/sarcasm). But sadly, Geo was sick the whole time and is still sick today. Pretty much the only time I snap to Good Girlfriend Attention is when he’s sick. So, I’m making him one of his favorite dinners and I’m going to try and not make fun of him for repeatedly commenting on his “chills.”

Meanwhile, I’ve also come down with a cold. Is there anything more annoying than only having the capacity to breathe in and out of ONE nostril? Guh. It’s turned me into a mouth-breather, and that’s not a good thing. Although, I usually like to take advantage of a cold. Meaning: because my voice gets all deep and gravelly and raspy, I like to re-record all my voicemail greetings. I sound like a late-night DJ who encourages listeners to “have a sensual night while you listen to jazz…after dark.” I sound wiser or something. And instead of my shrill cackle at any old poop joke, my laugh becomes a stifled, wispy thing that says to people “I understand the humor in that amusing anecdote, but I also love Jack Kerouac.”

Plus, what with all the mouth-breathing I’m doing, my lips get chapped and I’m forced to remember to put on some lip balm. Then they’re all shiny and I look like I’ve done it to look nice, and not because I’m freaked that my lips will split open at the mere sight of a chilly wind.

But back to my nesting. Maybe it’s the light-headedness, or the fact that I’m all gravelly-voiced and lip-balmed, or maybe because I ran out of clean pants wore a nice, black Banana Republic dress to work, but I feel like it’s my duty to be all perky and Rachael Ray about everything. Birds chirping? Lovesies! Get to use my new umbrella today? Yummers! Making Geo something nummy for din-din? Zippy!

The problem, though, is that he wants chicken. And anyone who’s anyone knows that that’s pretty much one of the many the only meat I cannot cook. I like my steaks and burgers bloody, but the slightest hint of pink in a chicken breast sends me into a Salmonella Frenzy and I inevitably overcook the hell out of the little bugger. Determined (and slightly medicated), though, I’ve decided to tackle the elusive Well-Cooked Chicken Breast in the form of Chicken Cordon Bleu. Since I’m playing the role of a domestically-capable human tonight – and wearing an APRON, might I remind you! - it was destined for success.

And here's the proof!

Geo even casually mentioned, as I brought him his plate of food at the dining room table wearing an apron, "Hey, have you ever seen the show Mad Men? 'Cause back then, women did this whole dinner thing all the time..." I spit in his food.

Okay...not really, but my hacking cough probably made its way into his food at some point, so I guess we're even now.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Ol' Switcheroo

Another Sunday, another day spent recovering from the weekend. Mercifully, all my roommates were gone on Friday night, leaving me to my own devices. I did everyone a big favor by attempting to pass all "hard" songs on Dance Central. On Saturday, I shopped 'til I dropped (finding adorable Polo rain boots for like 80% off the original $120 price tag) and then prettied up and went to Lana's St. Patrick's Day party. Irish Car Bomb cupcakes? Yes please! I had a great time meeting new people and drinking my weight in Finnegan's and whiskey. After a quick recovery brunch date with Kim this morning, I found myself camped out on my couch watching movies. (And wearing my rain boots. Seriously, they are so adorable.) Between the head throbs and overall achy body, I managed to watch two movies today. Job well done, I say.

In an effort to share my film savvy with you, I've decided give you a full movie synopsis and analysis of the critically underrated and ignored film, The Switch starring the timeless Jennifer Aniston and totally lovable Jason Bateman. Why didn't this movie get better reviews? Seriously, it's totally watchable and very entertaining. Without further ado, I give you: The Switch.

Scene opens to a homeless man with Tourette's syndrome yelling at people on a NYC street "Seven Years Ago". Jason Bateman - a.k.a. Wally - passes by him and take great offense to the homeless man's repetitive comment that he's a "beady-eyed man boy". Sad. Poor Jason Bateman and his beady eyes. But he meets up with Jennifer Aniston - a.k.a. Kassie - for a friendly lunch or something. We learn that Aniston is a self-sufficient, normal human being, and Bateman is a hypochondriac who doesn't like to take chances and doesn't want to be a real adult. They've been besties for lots of years. Now, if When Harry Met Sally taught us anything, it's that men and women cannot have a platonic friendship. So, duh, we know immediately Wally and Kassie won't be "friends" at the end of this particular flick.

Then Aniston drops a big bomb on Bateman. She's a strong, independent woman, and her baby clock is a-tickin'. She's going sperm shopping. After telling Bateman he's too "neurotic" to procreate, Aniston begins her search for the perfect, uh, charitable giver. Because it's a rom-com, Kassie has the wacky best friend (Juliette Lewis) and a weird list of stipulations for her upcoming donor. Lewis throws Aniston a very weird party to celebrate the impregnation of her bff.

Here's where the movie lost me a bit. Wally suddenly feels jealous about this whole situation. Because Kassie is weird, she invites the donor to her "I'm Getting Pregnant" party where he's going to make his, uh, contribution. Yeah, like, RIGHT AT THE PARTY. Anyway, Wally meets the guy who is allegedly "handsome" (though I didn't get it), and is all confused about his wacky feelings toward his little bestie's decision to use this guy's DNA to make a kidlet. He gets super drunk at the party, and stumbles into the wrong bathroom. There, in a little cup is the boy part of the upcoming baby omelet. Bateman, not knowing what to do with his crazy mushy feelings, and is suddenly the MOST impulsive person ever, switches his OWN secret recipe with the poor donor dudes. Get it? The Switch?!

Whoops, Bateman is soooooo totally hungover the next day. He doesn't remember anything because he just can't hold his liquor. So life continues as normal. Aniston gets pregnant, and moves back to Minnesota (w00t!) to be with her family. Their friendship is basically over because technology apparently sucks 7 years ago and they don't stay in touch. Tear.

Okay, back to present day. Hey, guess what! Kassie's coming back to NYC! Bateman is cautiously stoked. He gets all gussied up and goes to meet Kassie and her son - the stupidly named Sebastian - for lunch. This kid, I swear, is hysterical. He's adorable. He's articulate. He's so sad, though, that he doesn't really know his dad. Then, shocker! We find out he's all neurotic and a hypochondriac, just like another certain adorable man-child in the film. Odd.

Anyway, Sebastian decides he really connects with Uncle Wally, even though he hates every other person in the world. Despite his original aversion to rugrats, Wally finds himself really drawn to Sebastian too. BUT WHY!? Okay, so then the other weird part happens. Kassie reconnects with the man who she thinks holds the other half of Sebastian's DNA. That's right. She starts dating the donor dude. Wally is upset at this, because, hey! He loves Kassie now and he's just realized it, even though we've known that for like the entirety of the movie.

Meanwhile, Wally has some random epiphany which results in his remembering what he did on that one night seven years ago. Then comes a lot of "Hey, wait a minute. I can't...this means...that couldn't be...but...whaaaaaaaaaaaa?" Cut back to all the shenanigans of the cute kid. He's all adorable and inquisitive and just a mini little Bateman. Awww...then Sebastian gets lice, and Aniston is out of town with her skanky new boyfriend, so Bateman comes to the rescue. Despite his hypochondria, he successfully delouces his kid and they make pancakes. Double awww...

Then the climax. Donor guy is going to propose to Kassie, even though it's clear that her kid hates him (despite everyone thinking he's the real dad) and they've only been dating for like 5 months. So at this big party, Donor Guy is all ready to propose, but Wally can't contain himself anymore. He totally breaks in on the dudes speech, and tells Kassie that Sebastian is really his. Oh no! Party foul! Kassie hauls off and slaps Wally, essentially ruining everyone's fun at the party.

After an indeterminate amount of days/weeks of not speaking to each other, Kassie shows up at Wally's job. She's still pretty ticked off. And there's a whole speech about Wally only being able to see Sebastian on HER terms. Sad...poor Wally. He loves that little guy. But turns out? "Her terms" are that he's ALWAYS around because - Spoiler Alert! - Kassie loves Wally! I actually think she just falls in love with whomever she thinks is the father of her fast-talkin' kid, but whatevs. Then the movie closes with a montage of all the happy shiny pictures of the new happy shiny family. Yay!

See? It's not all that bad! It's got some little twists and turns, and more importantly, Jason Bateman rules. And Jennifer Aniston is just lovely. So there ya go. The Switch. I give it an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up (that's out of 4 thumbs).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pharon Go Bragh

Ay! Top o’ the evenin’ to ya! Yup, that’s my best attempt at an Irish accent. A few more words and I go all Australian/Pirate (adding “Mate”, “Matey”, and “Arrrr!” to everything). I’m a-not-a so good with the accentos. Anyway, Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Are you enjoying a green beer? Dancing a jig? Punching out a fellow unruly partier?

Same here!

Oh, wait. No, I’m not doing any of those things. Besides the green shirt I accidentally wore to work today (I mean I accidentally wore GREEN, not “I accidentally wore a shirt”) I really didn’t indulge in anything too Irishy. I grabbed a beer at a decidedly non-Irish bar with my friends Nick and Liz, and the brew was just the familiar honey-wheat color. Not a green river or leprechaun or clover or kilt in sight.

I love St. Patrick’s Day, usually. I mean, what’s not to love? It’s always Spring-like outside for the first time (not unlike TODAY! 45 degrees? Break out the SPF!), so everyone comes running out their houses to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. And then heads promptly inside to a dark, dank pub. And then it’s just a day of drinking, yelling, occasional punching, and GREEN. As you probs know, I have a very unhealthy love for the color green. Like, Spring/grass/Kate Spade/4-leaf clover green. Everything is better in green. Even holidays. So, I’ve got a very substantial supply of appropriate party clothes to wear on SPD. Today, though, I didn’t even consider my IRISH I WERE DRINKING glittery green t-shirt. Green argyle socks? Never even crossed my mind.

I hate that SPD falls on a stupid weekday this year. Dumb. [Side Note: Is it just me, or does it feel like St. Patrick’s Day is ALWAYS on a Thursday?!] So my Irish debauchery is on hold until Saturday, when Lana and her husband are holding their annual Irish Fest. I’ll be there, shoving my face with Irish Car Bomb shots and cupcakes. Slainte! Until then, though, I’m just doing my best to avoid the drunken mobs in downtown Minneapolis. Yeah, they’ve been out since the top o’ this morning.

So I guess I’ll have to keep my clever Irish-isms to myself for the next couple days. That shouldn’t be too hard, considering I only have like 3 of them. And – whoops - I’ve already used them up in this blog. Blarney!

Well, I hope you find a 4-leaf-clover, rub it, and make three wishes on the leprechaun that lives under a bridge (wait, that IS what this day is all about, right?!) Arrr! Matey!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dear Crabby

I've gotten a lot of really awesome questions lately. I've reworked them and offered my two cents, whether they like it or not. Have a question? I've def got the answers!

Dear Pharon Square,

I have a coworker who has this habit of petting my hair. She'll come up to my desk, or while I'm talking to someone else and just pet my hair. I spend a lot of time washing and drying my hair every day, so there's no need for her to man-handle my dome. I feel like a monkey getting the once-over from a beau monkey. Any tips to get this girl off my proverbial back?

Picked On

Dear Picked On,

Gross. That's gnarly. Based on my conversations with a few friends, though, it sounds like it's a pretty common problem. My question is: Who raised these people who think it's all good to get all up people's business? Guh! Anyway, you're correct to feel uncomfortable. This person is not right. I think, though, it's not necessarily worth a big ol' discussion with the offender. You don't need to have a whole sit-down and discuss your boundaries with her, because it's not like she's your pal. No. Instead, maybe just karate chop her hand the next time she gets anywhere near your head. When she coils back like a snake, apologize, and say "Sorry, I've been really involved in Mixed Martial Arts lately, and sometimes, my muscles just have minds of their own." Then shrug your shoulders and walk away. Smiling. She'll never touch your head again.

Dear Pharon Square,

So, I'm a teen mom. I've been struggling with my baby's father to keep up with his child support, because he's all "I spent it all on a tattoo of a can of PBR on my bicep." How can I work things out with him so that we can provide a loving, safe environment for our child?"

Teen Mom

Dear Teen Mom,

Step One: Purchase Time Machine. Step Two: Develop some common sense. Step Three: Avoid this entire situation. No access to a time machine? Okay, Plan B. Contact MTV immediately. They thrive on teen drama.

Dear Pharon Square,

My boyfriend is driving me nutso! He plays video games all the time, and never wants to do things I want to do, like go to museums or have long walks on the beach. How can I tell him that spending time alone with me is just as fun as shooting fake people on a video game???????

Girlfriend Who Wants More Cuddling Time


First of all, let me start by saying that video games are built into a guys DNA. Don't fight it. Embrace it. Maybe learn how to play the game, and then his fun hobby turns into YOUR fun hobby. Admittedly, playing a shooter game is not very fun unless you have hours of time on your hands with which to waste learning how to move two doo-hickeys at the same time just to move your video guy forward. But trying to learn says a lot. It says "This little habit of yours isn't the saddest thing ever". Plus? Talking on the headset thingamabob is really fun. No other guy who is playing the game is ever expecting to hear a girl's voice, so you can have lots of fun messing with them. That being said, if the alternative to playing video games is a museum? Thanks, but no thanks. Think of something more fun.

Dear Pharon Square,

No matter how much I scrub my dishes and pots and pans, they're always dull and gross. I feel like they're never quite clean. They get spots and little marks all over. Is there a product you recommend to get rid of the spots? Or should I be using a different technique? What can I do?

Love always,

Dear OCD,

Throw all your dishes away. Start fresh.

Do you guys have a question for Pharon Square? Go ahead and send your problemos to I've got an opinion on everything, so chances are, I will either hate or love your question. Care to take a chance?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Rule of Fight Club

I'm struggling to write. Physically, I mean. My arms are all jelly-like and my fingers are shaking from being clenched for a couple hours straight. Them's the brakes of a being professional fighter, I guess. Tonight, Sanna and I went to our very first kickboxing class. We. Were. Terrified. We spent a good hour freaking out about what it would be like, if we'd be able to do it, what the other people in the class would be like, if there were going to be boys in the class, what to wear...all that stuff.

Being anxious, we arrived at the class a good half hour early. We sat in the car, nervously checking our phones and trying to research some reviews on the gym we were going to (an ACTUAL BOXING GYM). Finally we pysched ourselves up and walked in to the gym. First thing we see: two other girls, grasping the very same Groupon we were holding. They were like golden tickets, and we all had 'em. It was also a sign that they, like us, were n00bs. Yes! So a total of 5 chicks sat around waiting for God-knows-who to come in and whip our saggy scrawny butts into shape. While we waited, we sat watching some dude who may as well have been Rocky Balboa, punching the crap out of the bags. He bopped around, listening to his iPod. He looked positively focused and determined. I knew my inspiration.

Then he walked in. Russian Tony. He was late, and he breezed in the gym in a suit, and said "One minute, ladiezz, I've got to go change eento somesing a little more appropriate for bohxing." Twenty seconds later, Tony reappeared. "Let's get to wohk ladies, come out here. No shoes. I once [something non-understandable because of his accent] and my ankle just POP! Anyway, line up." We all uncomfortably lined up, facing a mirror. I immediately regretted my clothing decision which consisted solely of clothes that accentuated anything that bounced - purposely or not. Gross, I thought. I shifted uncomfortably as Tony stared at me and said "First eez the jab. Watch my stance." Turns out, I caught on. He pointed at me and said "Yes! Yes. Good!" I beamed, unfortunate clothes be damned! Five seconds in and my Xbox Kinect Dance Central skills are already paying off. Score! And only once did I make an uncomfortable joke (Tony: "Clench your feests like zees, and punch like zhat." Me: "What about this? What's this called" - I start playfully girl-slapping the air in front of me. Tony was not amused. "Zhat's nothing".)

I was like a troll in that class, though. I was roughly 3 feet shorter than everyone else, and I am, uh, sturdy. But I will tell you one thing: I can punch and kick with the best of them. And thanks to my extensive (read: 2 years) training in cheerleading in high school, I can kick and balance and control my bod. So, yeah. I stopped dissecting myself in the mirror and started punching right at my own reflection and exhaling a little "Oosh! Oosh!" with each jab and cross, just like Russian Tony did. It felt great.

Then came the best part. The GLOVES. While I was utterly gnarled out at the sweaty, grainy insides of the gloves, Tony insisted, "Yes, theeeze gloves are sweaty, but they are a DIFFERENT kind of sweaty! Eeet's a GOOD sweaty!" So I sucked it up and clenched a loose fist inside the glove. First, we had to pair up and one person punched/kicked, and the other blocked. It was not ideal, as my partner (NOT Sanna) was def not as coordinated as me and kept getting too close to me. Space, woman! Don't make me TKO you! (I don't know what TKO means, btw.) But OMG, you guys. The punching bags! Punching a giant bag with giant, padded gloves on is positively empowering. I felt stronger than ever. Plus, Tony kept saying "Excellent!" to me, so I'm pretty sure he's going to recruit me for a women's boxing team. Coooool!

So we punched bags and kicked bags and I wiped my sweaty brow with the back of my gloves. I felt like a pro. Tony strolled around, fixing our techniques, and then declared "Eet's too quiet in here! Let's leesten to some music!" And cranked up something pounding and loud. "Eef you don't like techno, get out now! Hahahahahahaha!" Did I mention I love Tony? 'Cause I do. My hips, shoulders, calves, and big toes were aching. An hour after we started, we were already finishing up. I was beat, but I was so into it that I wanted to keep punching and kicking and checking out my "mean face" in the mirror. Tony ran through some totally awesome things we'd learn "in the next couple classes". Little things like, oh, ROUNDHOUSE KICKS and some move that allegedly could break someone's back. Yes, yes, yes! When is the next class!?

Luckily, Sanna and I have agreed to go every week for the next ten weeks (NOTE: Sanna is NOT as beat as I am. She is in markedly better shape than me). By the end I will probably be the best boxer ever. That is, if my legs ever stop shaking and my hips ever stop aching. I have sore muscles that I didn't even know I had, and they are clearly muscles I haven't worked in, oh, the past decade. But I'm hungry for more already. I don't know if it's the aggression I worked out, or the bod I worked out, but whatever it is, I feel good.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Don't Think We're in Kenwood Anymore, Toto

You know what's scary? North Minneapolis. I'm still recovering from my brief trip into this neighborhood-less-traveled this weekend. And it's occurred to me that I'm either way too naive or an idiot. It could very well be a combo of the two. On our way to my friend Ally's house this weekend, Geo and I had to make a quick stop at what I thought "looked like a nice enough place". It was this out-of-the-way "Market" that was called Penn-Wood. "Hey!" I piped up happily, "that rhymes with Kenwood," which is the neighborhood we live in. "It's gotta be an okay place". It was NOT okay. Did YOU know that you can buy mugshots at convenience stores? I did not know this, and I'm still not even sure WHY you'd want to do that. My guess is that a lot of the people that frequent places like Penn-Wood are featured in the grainy Glamour Shots and want a copy for their portfolios. I waited patiently in line, oddly it was super busy, desperate not to make eye contact with anyone. Especially the girl buying Swisher Sweets, tinfoil, a giant bag of cheddar popcorn, and what I assumed was a gun or shiv or something. She was screaming on her phone that she "ain't afraid to go to back to jail". I stared in her exact opposite direction at a wall of mugshots.

As soon as I realized I was staring at a wall of pictures of known criminals, I panicked. What if everyone in there thought I was a "narc" or a fine member of law enforcement or something? I immediately dropped my eyes to concentrate aggressively on my fingers and tried to not let anyone see how nervous I was. The place was getting crowded, and the line was moving painfully slow. The girls in front of me were chatting with the clerk about someone named Nookie (not Snookie as I had hoped) who was apparently a dad again, and none too happy about it. "Hurry up! COME ON!" I wanted to say. I fought the reflex to loudly tap my foot and sigh in annoyance at their dawdling like I would normally do, and instead made sure to neither stare at nor avoid the man who had obviously just pocketed a handful of Snickers bars. I found myself wanting to run out of there screaming, but that would probably have caused a scene.

I don't know what goes through my head sometimes. I've never really been the kind of person who makes snap judgments on people or places unless he/she/it smells really bad. That's my only sensory perception that comes in to play. I'm like a dog or something. Penn-Wood didn't smell fishy, so I decided (wrongly) that everything was fine.

I was reminded of when I went apartment shopping by myself after moving home from college. Single girl, suburban born-and-raised, studied in Iowa City, and now wants to be in the "cool" part of a city she's not too familiar with? Sounds like a recipe for complete success, right? Wrong. I came home gushing to my parents about a place I found. I loved it. "First month's rent is FREE!! Can you believe that!?" My dad shuddered, while my mom explained to me that my dream apartment was smack dab in one of the absolute worst parts of the city (but it smelled so bleachy!!) I spent the next few hours driving around with my mom and dad, until we found a place that had locks on the doors, off-street parking, and was closer to a bus stop than a crack house, so that was pretty nice.

Sometimes I scare myself with my total lack of awareness when it comes to situations like this. I give too many people the benefit of the doubt. My mom likes to say I prefer "Reach-In-And-Steal-My-Wallet purses". You know, purses without zippers or other closures. I always shoot back with some excellent retort like, "Who would want to steal MY crap? I almost never carry cash, and I don't even have a checkbook!" Plus, I continue, it's not like I wouldn't be able to tell if someone was elbow-deep in my Kate Spade. Then again, I can't even feel my phone ring when it's in there and on Vibrate. Meh, she may have a point.

In college, we never even locked our doors. You didn't want to HINDER anyone who was willing to show up for a party. Open House! We'd, in fact, prop doors open so people didn't even need to get buzzed in. It seemed like such an unnecessary precaution, so we just found ways around it. Every once in awhile, I'd think of my mom's warnings. She told me a story of the drunk man who used to stumble into her childhood house in the middle of the night. I thought, "Yeah, but that was RHODE ISLAND, and this is IOWA where nothing dangerous ever happens ever. Ugh, it's so boring!" Naive, or idiot? Who can say?

I'm older now, and presumably wiser. So our little field trip on Saturday night really annoyed me. I think it also scarred Geo, seeing as how he'd be the one who I'd expect to save me from a mugging/beating/aggressive questioning of my interest in the wall o' criminals. Alas, we made it out of there and headed to Ally's a little shaky and, hopefully, a lot wiser.

Make that: decidedly not wiser. I literally JUST realized I left my phone at work. And at the risk of being phoneless and alarm-less for fewer than 10 hours, I made the rash decision to go back into downtown Minneapolis - at NIGHT - and retrieve my phone, lest it fall in the wrong hands. I tried to get Geo all excited to come with me and serve as my Protector Against Possible Evil, but he had to play Call of Duty better things to do. So, I went alone and wrapped my keys around my fingers like brass knuckles. Fortunately, I breezed in and out unharmed. But I've decided that I've pushed my luck enough and starting right meow, I'm going to hang out on my own side of the tracks for awhile. I think my mom and dad would be proud - and Geo will definitely be happier.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gimme a Break!

The current count of my friends who have had the flu in the past week or so is up to about five now. I should count myself lucky. I woke up on Friday, sure I was getting sick. Sore throat, congested beyond all get out, and just generally yucky. I called in sick to work and braced myself for a weekend of whining and crying and overall pukiness. Alas, I made it through the weekend flu-less (thanks, flu shot!) But it didn't change the fact that I am, in fact, sick. Of this winter crap. And now everyone is talking about their Spring Break, which is something I desperately need. A week in a hot climate with not a care in the world.

The last time I went on Spring Break, Geo, Perek and his wife Leah, our friend Chad and his girlfriend Angie, and I went to Puerto Vallarta. It was glorious. We sat in the pool, swam in waterfalls, rode horses (that were very malnourished, I should add), went on a booze cruise, and spent a whole week in flip flops. In the middle of February. It was like an alternate universe. I want to go there again. The sad thing was that that was my first actual vacation that I had ever taken without parental supervision.

I went to Puerto Vallarta for the first time with my family as a freshman in college. I was 19, and of legal drinking age in Mexico. Yet, every time I'd be out to eat with my parents, I'd have to order a Coca-Cola light. Nope, no cerveza for this chica. Boo. But I returned home with a wicked tan and a zillion braids in my hair (against my better judgement), so that's all that counts.

In high school, I went to Hong Kong with our high school band for our annual tour. Yeah, when most seniors were perfecting their pre-tans and buying new bikinis getting ready to go Cabo San Lucas together, I was packing up my flute and getting my band uniform dry cleaned. But THAT was a fun trip. We visited night markets, went sightseeing, lived it up in our fancy hotel robes, and, get this, they put corn on their pizza! EXOTIC!

Before that, we never really did too much on Spring Break. My parents and Perek and I visited Gulf Shores, Alabama one year and I was about 5 yards away from a crocodile (alligator? I don't know. What's the diff?) on a golf course and drank my first "Sweet Tea". But everyone else was brushing up on their Spanish or Balinese or whatever and going somewhere real tropical-like. The contiguous 48 states aren't exactly "tropical".

I used to watch "MTV's Spring Break" every year and be all, "Aw man, I want to be in that disgusting mess of drunk people trying to eat 50 jalapeno peppers while being dowsed in foam!" It all seemed so magical. Now, I just want endless margaritas, a forced absence of internet access, and a quick dip in a cool pool after baking in the hot sun. Plus, now that I'm old enough to drink beer in every corner of the world, I'd like to go there. Anywhere. Now.

I need a break. I need a Spring. I would love to take off for a week and leave my cares behind, but I haven't got a thing planned. Today, I got a manicure with Claire and I chose the brightest, most obnoxious pink color I could find, as if that would suffice. But now I'm looking at my nails as they peek out of my fingerless gloves and, alas, it's not enough. They would look beautiful if they were building sand castles. What can a girl do, though? With no vacation in sight, and no relief from the 6 foot drifts of snow still hindering my walk to the bus, what can I do to feel all spring-breaky? The answer, of course, is to just wallow and hope for some sun. I should also consider doubling-up on the tequila.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Of Mice and Women

In T-minus 1 hour, Val and Lana will be coming over to enjoy some food, wine, and Kinect. So, I gotta make this a quickie. Luckily, the topic I want to cover is an easy one. My sister Prinna posted the following on her Facebook this afternoon: "Mouse in the house...mouse in the HOUSE...mouse in THE HOUSE...mouse IN THE HOUSE...MOUSE IN THE HOUSE!!!!!"

Her 5 year-old daughter Annabelle saw the devilish creature scamper across the floor, and according to Prinna, was screaming bloody murder for over 15 minutes. I'm with you, Annabelle! I'd be screaming too! In fact, I have discovered the kind of scream inside me that only comes when confronted with pure terror. A bunch of years ago, I came face-to-face with a mouse for the first time, in my first Minneapolis apartment. I screamed like I was being hit by a truck and then took off to spend the night at Claire's house. After that, I employed friends and family members to come to my apartment and check my snap traps and then dispose of the inevitable dead, furry body. I Hate Mice.

When the boys lived here, we had a little mouse "problem" during our first winter. I spotted the first one scurry from the kitchen to what used to be Mitch's room. I convinced myself it was my eyes playing mean ol' tricks on me. A few days later, when I was (mercifully) out of the house, the guys saw a mouse and decided to take care of business. Perek and Geo cornered the little bugger behind a heavy Tupperware container, full of old clothes Perek was going to donate to Goodwill. Slowly, they tilted up one corner of the Tupperware, and when the stupid mouse made a dash for the new space that was created, Perek and Geo smashed the mouse under the Tupperware. Mission: Accomplished.

Then we put out sticky traps. I was enjoying a lovely, calm morning by myself and stood in the kitchen waiting for the coffee to brew. I hear this teeny little "weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! weeeeeeee!!" and I look around. I saw a mouse - Alive! - stuck to one of the traps and it was screaming. I screamed right back at it and booked it back upstairs to the safety of my bedroom. I stayed up there for 8 hours until Mitch got home and threw the mouse away.

Then came the exterminator. He lined our house in poison and explained that when a mouse comes in, the poison gets on his little paws, and when he licks the poison, his body starts dehydrating. Then the mice, ideally, venture back outside for water and then die. Our mice were stupid and/or lazy though. The first time I found a mouse, he only made it as far as our kitchen rug. But he was still alive. Geo came to the rescue. He had to put it out of his misery, so he reached for my favorite weapon - he knocked the mouse out with an empty wine bottle. Weeks later, as I fell into a false sense of security, I found another mouse, recently deceased, in our living room. At first I thought it was a joke. I texted the boys "Did you guys leave a fake mouse on the floor?" They had not. It was real. And so was the scream that came out of my mouth. I spent another day hidden out in my room until the guys could come home and rescue me.

Suffice it to say, I understood my niece's terror. Annabelle had a couple gems in the wake of the experience. She explained "I just can't get this FEELING out of my head!" and "Mommy, whenever my knee touches something that isn't my body, I think it's a mouse!" Yes, Annabelle, I know exactly what you're talking about.

Finally, my sister was able to coax Annabelle out of the bedroom (the upstairs bedroom) by explaining - wrongly - that mice can't climb stairs, so they were safe on the top floor. Annabelle finally emerged and walked to the top of the stairs. There, on the stair, halfway up to the top floor, was another mouse. Now, not only did Annabelle learn that her mommy is a liar, but she probably will never go down the stairs again without thinking of that mouse. Prinna and her two daughters finally made a mad dash for the safety of my parents house. I think, though, that Prinna first had to bribe her 2 year-old, Eve, to run downstairs and get their shoes and coats. Upon hearing that, I told Prinna "Screw the shoes and coats and just haul a$$ outta there!"

At this moment, I'm sure there are zillions of mice in and around my house. As long as I don't see them, though, I remain blissfully ignorant of their existence.

Happy weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Write Stuff

Seething. I was all prepared to write a blog ranting rationally pointing out the flaws of a recent development in my living situation, but I need to just shelve that right now. I can't unwrite the things I want to write at this moment. I can't unsay that I think it's downright communism to have to pay, however LITTLE, for my neighbors use of our washer/dryer. Especially after being without HEAT for three days. Oh, didn't I mention the heat went out AGAIN? Oh, because it did. I just, I don't, I can't...I shouldn't write in this state. I have to move on.

Non sequitor! I am SO sick of my handwriting. Is that weird? This afternoon, while making a “To Do” List, I started testing out different “R”s and “E”s and “G”s throughout the list. What’s that, Charlie Sheen? You want your crazy back? Sorry, I’m kind of using it right now. I came to the conclusion, however, that penmanship (rude! – penWOMANship!) is not exactly my forte. Trying to read my writing is like trying to get through the Danger Above level in Angry Birds without cheating. That is, to say, very difficult to do, and typically not worth it in the end.

I remember all through middle and high school, this one group of “popular” girls all had the EXACT SAME HANDWRITING. It was like they wrote in their own, programmed font and it was kinda creepy. You could seriously tell when a girl was making the leap from “average and well-liked” to “Dudes, meet me at my Jeep Wrangler and lets just go get manicures instead of going to History”. You could tell, because all of a sudden, she’d turn in her homework (intermittently now) and her letters would be all boxy and strong, and smooshed together. Exhibit A:

You better believe I tried every day for many many moons to write like that. You know, so I could trick the other girls into thinking I was popular too. I was doing my homework one night and I tried writing the crazy hard, tight letters. It was really tough and my hand started to cramp up. I switched the pen around in my hand so that it came out between my pointer and middle finger instead of between my thumb and pointer finger (you following me?) It kind of worked, actually! I was all “Yeah! I better start saving for my leopard-print steering wheel cover today!” But then my mom walked in and said “Ugh, what are you doing? It looks like you’re writing with your FOOT!” Foiled.

I still don’t like my handwriting, popular girl or not. Lately, though, I wish it was just really freaky neat and people would say “Pharon, could you come and write this nasty hate letter to this idiot who double parked? Your handwriting is totally the best!” There are times at work when I’m filling out forms and I’ll have to go over a whole line with white-out, because by the end of the sentence, even I can’t tell what I’ve written.

The point is, when I have to start signing autographs (and I know that day will come), no one will know what I've written, which is nice. Or terrible. I haven't decided yet. But maybe I should only worry about perfecting my "Best Wishes! Hope you can read this illegible mumbo-jumbo!"

All the Best,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Show Us Your Beads!

Alert! Alert! I've been browsing the Kate Spade website for over an hour now, periodically adding items to my Shopping Cart and then quickly removing it, lest I quickly click "BUY" in a spontaneous fit of Spade Lust. I need an intervention. Aw, but those tidbit plates are sooooooooooo cute! NO! No. Must. Write. Blog.

Okay, I made it. That was close. I was thisclose to rationalizing my way into a new bag AND new rain boots. Priorities, Pharon. Anyway, Happy Fat Tuesday! Apparently, Fat Tuesday is officially the the last day to gorge yourself silly before fasting begins on Ash Wednesday (tomorrow). Silly me, I always thought it was "An awesome reason to go out in sequins and fake eyelashes on a school night". (Not that I ever really needed a reason, but oh well.)

During college, my friends and I would get all snazzed up and go celebrate this "holiday" we knew nothing about. All we knew was that it was a big night in New Orleans for some reason, and there are bands and stuff, but as far as we were concerned, it was a pre-St. Patty's Day party. But with more beads. We'd all go out and throw on 10 pounds of beads, find some feathers, trade some girl a glow bracelet for a masquerade mask, and dance around drinking fruity drinks. We may not have really known what we were celebrating, but trust that we were celebrating. Yay! Mardi Gras! (Or something!)

I don't think I've gone out for Fat Tuesday since college. Sad. Now it's just plain ol' "Tuesday". And, depending on what I've eaten that day, it may or may not be Fat. Tonight, for instance, I'm at home watching Teen Mom with the roommies in our freshly HEATED house (yes, we have heat again!). To make it worse, I missed a text from Geo asking if I wanted to go out for a late dinner/drinks, because I was too busy NOT shopping online. Laaaaaame!

There are no parades in my 'hood today, no sparklers, no sequins or feathers. The only things I indulged in today were too much Crystal Light and Angry Birds. Ah, the life of the aged. I've changed, I know it. I talked to Madeline today and we both decided our lives were sorely lacking the fun and spontaneity of our younger years. She's way out in Chicago, I'm in frigid Minneapolis, and I have a feeling neither one of us is going out and tossing beads around like it's our job. (Madeline, you BETTER not be having that kind of fun without me!)

On the plus side, I did just snag a highly coveted hair appointment at a salon Kim recommended (but is apparently impossible to get in to), so maybe my indulging will start on Friday when I'm enjoying a Stella Artois at Salon Stella, getting my burlap-y hair snipped, and gearing up for a crazy fun weekend. And before that I've got Happy Hours, shopping, and Skype dates with Madeline planned. Turns out my Fat Tuesday this year is turning into Fat Week-After-Tuesday. I'm psyched. Mardi Gr-awesome!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Didn't Realize Mars Could Be So Cold

If you could have seen me 10 minutes ago, you'd fall off your bar stool laughing, guaranteed. I just finished playing Kinect, wearing sweatpants, fleece socks, a long sleeved tshirt, fleece sweatshirt, giant abominable snowman jacket, and mittens. The good news is, I obviously look AMAZING. The bad news? It's all because our heater went out AGAIN. I grabbed the bull by the horns and called our maintenance man posthaste this morning. Good news? He came out right away. Bad news? He couldn't fix it. A "specialist" is coming...TOMORROW MORNING. So, it's a brisk 55 degrees in my stupid, old, drafty house. Sometimes I hate this place so much I would consider moving back in with my parents. But I'm not leaving tonight out of pure stubbornness.

The heater was a, uh, point of contention between Geo and me this morning. He was home when the maintenance man came, and was the unfortunate messenger of the bad news via text to me. "Heater's broken. Specialist coming tomorrow tomorrow to fix it."

Being the calm, cool, collected woman I am, I shot back "That is NOT OKAY. We can't NOT HAVE HEAT FOR A WHOLE NIGHT!" (Yes, the all caps was necessary because I was screaming inside my calm, cool, collected head.) Here's the thing: Geo is very laid back and believes there's not point in complaining about something you can't fix. I, on the other hand, believe that COMPLAINING has historically FIXED a number of problems.

Then here's where the fighting came in. Geo says "If it's too cold and you can't handle it, go to your parents house." Well, I never! I'm sorry. I must have missed the Biology class when it was explained that men's skin is made of steel and Snuggies, and women's skin is made of tissue paper and butterfly wings. (Hence, the reason I'm determined to tough it out at my house all night tonight.) Okay, so I respond to him: "Yeah, thanks for the advice." He replied with a (seemingly) patronizing explanation of how a heater works, to which I replied, "Thanks for the explanation." He told me to stop being a jerk, and I told him to stop talking to me like I was four years-old.

We had reached a stalemate. His insistence that he was just trying to make me calm down fell on deaf ears. I told him that all he needed to say was "I feel your pain" and let the whole "Hey, Crazy, you're sooooooooooo freaking out right now!" fall by the wayside. Men! I immediately dialed up Kim to vent, and SHE got it! She was all "OMG, I'd be so mad at the heater guy if I were you! I said "All I wanted was for him to just side with me and say it sucks and then act like he's upset too." She laughed and said "This whole idea was JUST on Modern Family the other night. Men just can't even PRETEND to empathize when a woman complains. A guy just launches into ways he'd fix it, or reasons why the problem wouldn't bother him like that."

I get that Geo doesn't understand the point of venting about something I can't do anything about. But what he (and the entire male population, apparently) doesn't get, is that SOMETIMES IT FEELS GOOD. I do it to express my disappointment and frustration. I like to commiserate with other people. It's fun and it makes me feel better. So I have one, teeny little outburst over a totally sucky situation, and he goes all "Operation: Immediately Point Out the Futility of Complaining".

Why, Men? WHY must you do this? Here's a hint to you: You don't sound smarter or more practical or more effective when you try to rationalize with a woman who is ranting. Sometimes, you sound like a jerk. Sometimes, it's OKAY to not have an answer/solution/response to everything I complain about. Sometimes? It's okay to just say "Ugh, that is so lame. I feel bad you have to deal with it." Or even, "I know..." paired with a sympathetic nod and maybe then like a pair of diamond earrings or something. I dunno, I'm just brainstorming here. The point is: I'm not trying to start a fight WITH you, I'm trying to get you on my side so WE can fight whatever abstract thing is ruining my day. Get on my side, would ya?

Well, Geo came home and started a fire (in the fireplace - which is, arguably, a better idea than the one I had of setting our couches on fire and breakin' out my shorts), and it's helping a great deal. I've been able to unzip my giant coat a couple inches (although he's still struttin' around in a pair of jeans and a thin hoodie, insisting it's "just not that cold"). I guess, given the great temperature gap, it only makes sense that men are indeed from Mars and women from Venus.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

That's Quite Enough

Geez, who DOESN'T have a birthday this time of year? Real quick Birthday Shout Out to my very awesome, lifelong friend CLAIRE! It's her birthday today, so feel free to call her up and harass her with birthday wishes.

Call this The Weekend of Things That Didn't Quite Happen. I was supposed to hang out with Ally on Friday night, but I didn't. I couldn't quite muster up the energy to get off the couch to go out. I'm lame. Saturday, I finally bought a Kinect. Yay! After doing the math, I believe I worked out (read: dancing/playing Kinect Adventures) for approximately 6 hours straight on Saturday. Which means I didn't quite get to the Y to open a membership. And on Saturday night, I was going to try and get out to the local legendary bar Psycho Suzi's to meet up with some disgustingly awesome chicks with whom I used to work. I didn't quite make it, what with the post-"workout" nap and impending trip to the airport to pick up Geo. Then today I had big plans to go on a little shopping spree but ended up with like 2 measly shirts. Not quite the "spree" I had anticipated. In-Between Season shopping is so not good. It's still snowing out. I can't bring myself to buy any tank dresses, Urban Outfitters. Not quite ready for that.

Today, I forced Ally to play Kinect with me for a little while. After my third dance performance for her, I discovered she wasn't quite as into it as I was. I cut her some slack and we went and ate wings and had a beer instead. So very ladylike.

Ally is about a year and a handful of months younger than me. I tried, in vain, to explain to her that getting older is not quite awesome. We talked about our twenties, and how awesome they are. All those life lessons, and things learned "the hard way" are so worth it, we decided. But then we were talking about our sisters who are, like, born-again twenty year-olds. We both have sisters who did the whole "marriage/house/kids" thing in their twenties, and now their kids are basically old enough to stay home alone, so now our sisters are all goin' to Mexico and staying out too late drinking mojitos. They're like rich twenty-somethings. Ally and I both wondered silently if the grass really is greener on the older other side. Who's to say? Neither me nor Ally is quite qualified to answer that question.

Anyway, I did manage to clean my room, though. I found things on my floor that have been there since Christmas. I'm not quite up to snuff on my cleaning these days. But the sun finally shone through our windows today, and the amount of dust I could see on everything instantly made my eyes water. I wanted to pre-emptively Spring Clean, but we all know it's obvs not quite time for that. So instead I made a sub-par attempt at doing laundry. I had a load of whites sitting in the washer for over 24 hours. Whoops. Meh. I don't need socks quite that badly yet.

And I made it out for my weekly excursion to Target, but, as I've mentioned before, Weekend Target is just not quite right for me. Too busy, not enough carts, too much time to browse, not enough money to buy everything I want. Left to my own devices for that long, I ended up buying the Kinect but forgetting to buy soap. So I wasn't quite as fresh-faced as I usually am.

Okay, so I didn't quite get everything done I needed to do this weekend. It's okay, though. Next weekend is jam-packed with birthday parties and fun times. But it's not quite time for that yet. In the meantime, I'm going to have to get the haircut I couldn't quite manage to schedule this weekend, and eat some vegetables that I couldn't quite work into my weekend diet of pasta and Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches (omg, they are so delicious, yet so horribly named. It's like the person who named them also named Dress Barn. It's just not quite right).

I had hoped to have a well-prepared blog for tonight, too, but, alas, I didn't quite do that now, did I? Oh wells. I think I'm going to get a couple dance routines in before bed, because I'm not quite sleepy yet.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Miss. Elaneous

Well, for the first time in the history of this blog, I'm gonna have to phone it in. I just got home from Wine Night hanging out with Lana and Val and I'm officially exhausted of good topics. I got nothin'. Between the three of us, we solved a number of world issues. From jobs to boyfriends (I believe Valerie wins all contests because her boyf works in Hollywood and I get to enjoy the perks of free pre-released DVDs of Oscar-winning movies) to appropriate wedding etiquette, we nailed 'em all.

It's late. I'm tired, and I just had a frighteningly grown-up conversation with Geo, so I'm drained. I keep sitting here, waiting to write something all clever and/or profound and yet I continue to come up short. There's something about some good ol' female conversation that knocks the complainy/deep thought out of me.

We talked about first kisses, first time we learned what really happens during birth (EWWWW), and why there are so many TV shows that feature some fatty/lazy dude inexplicably married to a clever, hot woman. I postured that we need more shows with normal, well-rounded women married to some cutey Calvin Klein models. If this TV show exists, please do tell...

We skimmed the topic of Anonymity in a Digital World, and we all realized: Privacy is Dead. So that was a lesson learned. Also, kids raised in sterile environments develop more allergies than kids raised in normal households. Yeah, it's true. Sorry, OCD parents. You're just not really helping anything.

Okay, I'm calling it a night. Do you have any insights you'd like to share with people before we embark on the weekend? If so, please share. And try and make them very prolific. We have standards here, people.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

(In this thread of random, not-quite-giving-it-your-allness, I give you a great song to blast this weekend. It's random. It's not great, but I just love it. And it's really very catchy....)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Do These Shoes Go With this Lasso of Truth?

Heeeere I come to save the daaaaaay!! Here's a little math riddle for you: If a furnace stops working on one of the coldest days of the year, and if 4 out of 4 roommates notice that the house is freakishly cold in the morning, how many of them will do anything to resolve the problem? The answer, mathletes, is One. Me. I'm the hero today. Okay, yeah, 4 out of 4 of us were out of the house at work all day and couldn't really take swift action, but still. I left the house this morning and it was 55 degrees. I came home and it was 52 degrees. For those of you keeping track, that's approximately 40 degrees too cold to function inside a house. So, my heroic fingers dialed up our brave maintenance man, and 2 short hours later, we are sittin' pretty at 53 degrees. With great power comes great responsibility, I guess.

I don't care how little recognition I'll get for this. Sure, it'd be nice to hear "Thanks for springing into action and saving our freezing, chilled bones, Pharon! What can we EVER do to repay you?!" But this will be a self-congratulatory win, I'm sure. Whatevs. You can't argue with...54 degrees!

I feel good. I feel like I've really done something to help out my fellow human. The last time I felt like this, I was helping up an older man who slipped on the ice outside of my work building. I'm expecting my Purple Heart any day now.

Now, I don't want to say I "fight crime" or anything, but yesterday a strange man got of the bus at my bus stop and I watched him walk for 3 blocks before I decided he posed no threat to me the children in my neighborhood. And when my crazy neighbor would get into juicy, screaming matches with her equally insane boyfriend, you better believe I was carefully monitoring the situation from my balcony with a bag of popcorn to ensure it did not escalate. Justice never sleeps.

You know, people throw around the term "hero" a lot. And okay, no, I haven't saved any lives, or rescued any kittens from a tree or anything, but, like, I've saved sooooo many people from embarrassment. Toilet paper stuck to your shoe? I'll sneak up behind you and tug it away with my own shoe without saying a word. Have a giant zit on your face? I will NOT look at it. I won't. And I won't be OBVIOUS about not looking, either. When I used to play Halo on XBox with the guys every once in awhile, I'd make my guy just go and hide so I wouldn't get killed 100 times to save my team the humiliation of having one of their own ruin the whole game. I'm a giver, people. And if that makes me a "hero"? Fine, I guess. I'll take it.

So saving my entire household from frozen pipes and uber-dry skin by making a phone call is but the latest in a long line of heroic activities I can't help but perform. It's like I was born to watch out for my fellow man. But I'm not going to lie. I wouldn't turn away another superhero should one come along. I could use some help every once in awhile. I can only laugh at so many bad jokes by myself. And it would be nice if I weren't the only person in the world who tries to help other drivers improve their technique by yelling helpful tips out of my window (and sometimes illustrating with equally helpful hand gestures). Anyone available to help my friends drink wine during the week? 'Cause that's a burden I've carried alone for too long.

The point is: it's 57 degrees now in my house and it's all because of me. Little does everyone know, though, that I've also bumped our "ideal" temperature from 67 to 72 degrees. Hey, I've gotta be warm if/when I must spring into heroic action.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

B Girl

FINALLY! It's MARCH. I'm so over February, it's not even funny you guys. For as long as I can remember, by the time St. Patty's Day rolls around, I've packed up my abominable snowman coat and can stagger around Irish bars in a thin jacket. I can only assume the same will be true for this March. Or else.

Anyhoozle, I'm also glad it's March because it's the greenest. I'm not talking "green" as in "earth-friendly". Blech. Dumb. I'm talking: green grass finally starts to show up, green rivers, clothes, and beer are acceptable - nay MANDATORY - and it's one of those awesome months when people who get paid every other week get THREE paychecks this month. Cha-ching! Thusly, it is one of my favorite months. I've been missing all that green lately.

Unfortunately, March is also the month for some big basketball tournament thingy, I'm told. Pretty sure basketball is the only sport I just canNOT get into. I can't. It's all backwards to me. The most exciting part of a basketball game is when someone DOESN'T score a point? Really? No, I like my athletes to EARN their points. Not just "miss". Dumb. Plus, much like The Bachelor, all that matters is the last 2 minutes of a basketball game. Snoozefest.

Having said all that, I went to the Timberwolves game with Geo tonight. The things I do for love... I was really planning on at least seeing a Kardashian sister or something, because we played the Lakers, and I thought "Hey, if I have to sit through a professional basketball game, I at least want to see someone famous". But twas not the case. I did get a good look at Kobe Bryant though. He's cute a good basketball player.

Now everyone's talking about March Madness. So, what, that's like a big college basketball tournament? FUN. My alma mater isn't even in the running to win anything. Why should I care? Whatever. I can't even muster the strength to focus on PROFESSIONAL basketball, nevermind COLLEGE basketball. I'm not looking forward to ESPN this month. And nothing is worse than Geo coming home at night and wanting to watch a basketball game. He's a big NBA fan. Big time. The problem is that the NBA plays like 12,000 games a season, apparently, so there's a lot of TV I'm trying to avoid. And Geo and his brother Jami are obsessed with the Miami Heat, because of Lebron James. So not only does Lebron play a sport I don't like, but he doesn't even play for MY TEAM. Color me uninterested.

But there was beer and fun little chants at the game tonight. Those are things I can really get behind. It was fun, actually. Of course the game itself came in a distant second to seeing my friend Ally there and talking to Geo about how cute the Lakers players are. I have a feeling Geo won't be bringing me to the next basketball game he goes to.