Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Double Dare the Internet to work

DUMB. My internet is down because apparently the world wide web can't get through the gale force winds that have torn through Minneapolis today. So, I've typed this up on my crap phone that won't let me type in websites, and then used said crap phone to email it to Kim and she's been so kind as to post it from her house. Love you Kim!!

Here's all I need to say tonight. Sitting around tonight, bored, I dared Claire's bf to eat a piece of cat food. I sweetened the deal with a cool $5. Best $5 I ever spent.

That's all. My crap phone is the WORST to type on, and we still are internet-less (how will I google "ways to fix my internet"?!) so I'm calling it quits for the night. Let's all have a tasty weekend, shall we?!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dear Crabby

What up, what up, what up?! Let's get crackin' with this week's Dear Crabby questions, because they are juicy!

Dear Crabby,

My ex-boyfriend and I broke up like 6 months ago. It wasn't on very good terms, and I never really got the closure I wanted. So, I found out he and his guy friends were going out one night to this bar by my house. I decided I'd "bump into" him and see if we could talk this out. (He has ignored my calls and emails ever since we broke up.) When he wasn't all that excited to see me, I decided to get him alone - you know, away from the guys. So I followed him to the bathroom. Instead of just talking it out, though, he started yelling at me and calling me a psycho. ME! So one thing led to another, and I got so mad that I punched him. Next thing I know, he's served me with a restraining order and I can't get within 500 feet of him. As if I'd WANT to! How can I make this go away? It's humiliating!

Thank you!
-Showing Restraint

Dear Showing Restraint,

You are not well. Getting served with a restraining order is like getting awarded a certificate for being crazy. Meaning: It's official. You're insane. You can't just stalk someone and then punch them because you didn't get "closure". Whatever he did, or didn't do, he doesn't like you anymore. Chances are, he's AFRAID of you because you sound - and this is putting it nicely - unbalanced. Seek professional help. And above all else, leave the poor guy alone and maybe just work on, you know, not being a psycho-punching-stalker. (Hold up. You don't know where I live, do you?!)

Dear Crabby,

I'm broke. Like...really broke. I'm no fun anymore because I'm constantly stressing about money. The real problem, though, is that I'm OBSESSED with buying those little Russian Nesting Dolls. I seek them out on eBay, Craigslist, garage sales...everywhere. And no matter how broke I am, I can always justify buying one of them. Last I counted, I had 87 of them. I don't know why I'm so obsessed, but there's something about buying them that makes me feel like, I don't know, fun. What do you think??

Thanks, Crabby!
Nest Obsessed

Hey, Nest Obsessed,

I'll keep it real with you. We all have our vices. Some people splurge on fancy dinners, furniture, or action figures. Personally, I go for shoes and stationary. I don't know why, but I can always convince myself that money is not a factor when the purchases make me feel happy. But it sounds like you're getting into trouble. First off, the Nesting Dolls thing is, uh, creepy. All you can do with them is look at them, and maybe hide things in them, or set up a little grifting situation on the street corner (you know, like people do with a ball and three cups?). Outside of that, the dolls are just kind of useless. I say you pick like 5 or 10 of your favorite ones, and sell the rest. Then you can pay your bills, start buying groceries again, and maybe you'll be able to afford a Happy Hour or two. 'Cause then you could meet some super cool guy, have a great time, and you won't have to worry about freaking him out with your doll collection. It's going to be tough, but the economy is in the sewer, and we all need to tighten our bootstraps or whatever. Once you're all old and senile, you can pick up the doll obsession again because then it'll be charming instead of freaky. Now THAT'S a financial plan...good luck, lady!

Dear Crabby,

I'll get right to the point. I'm a guy. I've lived with my girlfriend for almost a year now, and for the most part, everything is great. We get along real well, and have a great time. Recently, though, I've noticed her UNDOING or REDOING things I've done around the house. If I clean the bathroom, she'll come home from work and like REclean it. If I go to the grocery store, she'll make a second trip to get "the right" milk. And without getting too detailed, I'll just say that it's starting to affect our intimate relationship. It's just kind of like I can't do things right, so I don't want to do them at all. What can I do about this? Am I being too, like, "chick" about this?

-Please Dont' Give Me a Cheesy Nickname

Dear Boy Who Doesn't Want a Cheesy Nickname (a.k.a. Fun Hater),

(First of all, don't say things like "Am I being too, like 'chick' about this". Being a chick is not some sort of malady. Get over it.) Anyhoozle, this is a toughie. Here's a general rule I live by: If someone is SO unhappy with how you do something, stop doing it. Or? Always do it, all the time. Sound confusing? It is. Listen, You're going to have to pull yourself together here. I get that adjusting to living with a girl can be tough. And it sounds like this chick needs to lighten up a bit. But, the only behavior you can change is your own. She won't change. If she doesn't like the milk you buy? Buy separate groceries. She hates the way you fold laundry? Stop washing her stuff. Or shove it all in the bottom of the drawers...then she'll appreciate the half-a$$ed way you USED to do things. The point is you guys live TOGETHER now. And with that comes compromise. You won't like every random candle she puts in every single room, and she won't like the Godfather movie poster you have framed and insist on hanging in the bathroom. Talk it out. Pick you battles. And above all else, don't let all the drama seep into the, eh hem, boudoir. That's something I'm going to trust that you can fix yourself. But overall, remind her - and yourself - that compromises HAVE to be made. And remind her that while she might not enjoy the fact that you fix everything with duct tape, she'll certainly appreciate your creative problem solving when the plumbing goes all haywire. Stay strong, though. You guys will get through this! Or, you know, you'll break up. I don't know. But good luck!

Eeeee! I LOVE juicy/weird/psycho questions like these! Have one of your own? (You do.) Email me at and dish, sister!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lawwwww Yeah!

So, I haven't had the greatest impression of our legal system as of late. I've witnessed injustice and smarmy tactics. I've seen the toll the system can take on people. It hasn't always been pretty. But then I moved in with two lawyers, and today I had a disagreement with my former landlord, and now I'm starting to see the benefits of a litigious society. Thanks to some lovely person a long time ago who got all gypped by their landlord, I now get to reap the rewards of Accountability.

It all started almost 2 months ago, when we had to move out of our old house. You may remember my constant ramblings (and witty banter, and hilarious commentaries) about that time. All the cleaning, all the painting and repairing and sweating. It was hellish. But when we were done, Geo and I left the place in far better shape than it was in when we moved in three years before that. We felt good. We felt proud. We felt exhausted.

Cut to a few weeks later, when our (fairly sizable) deposit check still had not arrived. I had already sent my landlord one email, when I was all charming and thankful and lovely, and gently reminded her we needed that big fatty check so I could book a trip to Alabummer to see Geo. Didn't hear back. I waited another week or so, and sent another - less patient, more pleading - email reminding her again that the check had not arrived. Could I come pick it up? Did she send it to the correct address? Had she run out of checks and did she need me to send her one of those check order dealies that I get in the mail all the time? Blah, blah, blah.

She eventually responds "You're my top priority". Well, I feel bad for her other priorities, because ANOTHER week went by, and these plane tickets I'm looking to get ain't getting any cheaper. So, GEO sends an email this time. Voila! The check arrived today.

A mere (not mere) $300 short. Apparently there were some repairs that had to be done. No details, just a quick mention that she just kept some of our money, and thanks for your time. I was all uppity and stomping around my new place, complaining to no one in particular. That's when Claire and Andrew chimed in. " moved out of there like 2 months ago, right?" I nodded, angrily. "Pharon, you have to get your deposit back within three weeks, or the landlord has to pay you double. Plus interest."

Say whaaaaaaaaaat? Natch, I immediately challenged their combined years of about 15 years practicing law and said "That sounds crazy." Then Andrew informs me that apparently HE SPECIALIZES IN THIS SPECIFIC AREA, and comes at me by stating an actual STATUTE. Whatever that means... And then Claire and Andrew start doing math, so my brain starts bleeding, but eventually they say all kinds of big ol' numbers that are apparently owed. TO ME! Yay for the law!!

Okay, so I sit down at my computer, and pull together an email I'm ready to send. I quoted statutes (again, whatever those are), wrote out the math I didn't understand, peppered in a few niceties, included a fairly detailed timeline of events - including references to specific times of previous emails - and I'm pretty proud of what I've got. Then Claire, the very successful lawyer, sits down and says "Can I make a few tweaks?" Ummm...exsqueeze me? You want to tweak MY eloquent letter? Pretty sure it's perfect, and there's no room for improvement, but WHATEVS. But I say "Sure, uh, I guess go for it."

Five minutes later, I have a document ready to go that should be transcribed on parchment paper, framed, and hung in the halls of the Supreme Court. Claire had taken out all my "I feel like", and "It seems to me", and "If you don't mind" statements and replaced them all with "This is how it is. This is what you have to do to make this go away." Then she gives me a brief, but firm, lecture on how I need to not be so Minnesota Nice.

MOI?! TOO NICE?! Excuse me while I wet my pants laughing. I'm not widely known for my pleasantness. But reflecting on my first draft, I realized that yeah, I was going very easy on her. This woman not only ignored me for 2 months, but then had the nerve to essentially steal a plane ticket to Alabummer right out of my hands!? Um, rudemuch?!

So I took off my kid gloves and deleted "Thanks so much for your time" and replaced it with a very curt "Thanks". Take THAT.

I sent the email, and immediately started freaking out. I didn't want this woman to HATE me. I didn't want her to be mad at me. It didn't help that after informing Geo of my ballsy - albeit completely JUSTIFIED - email, he told me I shouldn't have sent it, and I should have just let it go. But then Claire's all "Dude, SHE'S the one screwing YOU out of money. If you let her get away with this, she'll do it to her next tenants and then, essentially, you'll be screwing THEM out of their money. Can you live with that, Pharon?! CAN YOU!?"

No, America, I can not. I felt better immediately, and Geo later retracted his initial hesitance at my super heroic actions. Where do you think one would go to get a cape and spandex suit?

As any good Good Deed Doer, I didn't end up requesting that this woman pay me all the interest and late-payment penalties. I simply said (and this is a loose translation) "Listen here, see, you're going to pay me what you owe me, see. And there won't be any problems, see." I'm not greedy or selfish or anything, so I figured that with the compromise I offered, it should end up happily.

I haven't heard back from her yet, but I'm both terrified and excited to hear her reaction. Knowing that the law is (finally!) on MY side is a wonderful thing. I'm assuming she is researching all the super smart lawyer talk I used (and now actually understand). But I'm also terrified because, even though I play the part very frequently, I absolutely HATE being the bad guy. I didn't want to have to argue with her about money. It makes me uncomfortable. But I realized that what made me MORE uncomfortable was being broke and flying in the cargo space under the plane in a duffle bag.

Now we play the waiting game. I hate waiting. And even though I wrote "I look forward to your immediate attention to this matter", I feel like she doesn't have the same sense of urgency to pay me my money. All I know is that I'm right in this situation. And though you may be tempted to call me a hero, I am but a humble, average American, fighting injustice and stopping The Machine from keeping us down. Also? I just seriously need to book my flight...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baby, Baby, Baby, OH!

Impromptu girls night. We had fabulous intentions of watching Bridesmaids, which is a seriously awesome movie, but Kim, Liz, and I ended up totally NOT watching a movie and instead we ate low-fat ziti, drank wine, and talked about very important things.

One of the things we discussed was our friends who are new parents. Sorry for whatever offensive things come out now, but I'm three glasses of wine in, and truly fed up with friends who aren't friends anymore, but simply new parents.

Dear everyone with kids - stop being lame. Please go back to being friends with us. You are fun and clever and interesting. You know what's NOT fun and clever and interesting? Stories about babies pooping. Unless they poop a golden egg. Then by all means, let's discuss at length.

I am getting to the age wherein my friends are popping babies out of their bodies, and then acting like it's totally not DISGUSTING at all. No, now they are Miracles. And sure, babies are miracles. I get that. But what SHOULDN'T be a miracle is you showing up for the occasional Happy Hour.

Babies change people. I know that. I've seen that in my own family. You have to be all responsible and caring about another whole entire human being. I GET IT. That's heavy. But that doesn't give you a license to be completely boring. Try hanging out with adults every once in a while. We are fun too, trust me!

This is, in reality, just a vent. I just want people - a.k.a. new parents - to realize that your fun life doesn't end when your child's life begins. Kids don't remember ANYthing for like the first 10 years of our lives. Up until that point, you've got a free pass to wild out. Sure babies enjoy staring at blobby figures of you, but trust that they won't be all distraught if, every once in a while, your blob is replaced by someone else's blob.

The point is, new parents? Listen, we love your babies. And we think you are amazing for expelling that thing from you body, and we respect everything you have to do in order to raise that thing so that they aren't serial killers. We get it. But maybe stop treating us non-baby-having-folk like we couldn't possibly understand your new life. I get you have a baby, but try and not forget that one time you drank way too much and did a dance to Britney Spears on the pool table at our favorite bar. You are still THAT person, too. You just have to be more responsible now. And us "non-kid-having" people understand that, and we'll give you a bunch of leeway, because kids are awesome. But don't forget that you are ALSO awesome, new parents. You were fun, and you can be fun again. Stop fighting it, and come join the rest of the adult race and have a beer while heckling the woman in the tapered jeans and mullet. You know you want to.

I know that someday, when I'm freakishly smothering a newborn and letting my adult life pass me by because I just love my new human that I'm totally in charge of, I will look back at this post and be all "Babies change everything, you couldn't possibly understand this emotion". But if and when I do that, I fully expect YOU, fellow Squares, to call me out on that and be all "You used to be fun, now you have a baby" (best quote ever, taken from and I will proceed to eat my words.

Until then? New mommies and daddies? STOP IT and come hang out with your grown up friends for awhile. I promise you, your child will not write a book someday about how once every few weeks, you went and had dinner with your friends while the child sat staring at random black-and-white images in the distance. Give yourselves a break, and give us your attention for an hour. I PROMISE that you won't regret it.

This offcially ends this public service announcement.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hope DOES Rock!

Here's a riddle: I have a temporary tattoo on my hand, a pile of crazy colorful costume jewelry on my floor, giant blisters on my feet, and a purse full colored hair extensions. What did I do last night?

Did you guess hanging out with Snooki? WRONG. Going back in time to a late 90's rave? NOPE. Did I join some sort of weird, hyper-colorful roving gang of miscreants set on glitter bombing unsuspecting fun haters? As cool as that would be, NO. Fine, I'll tell you. I went to Hope Rocks which is this super fun, hugely fun and crazy fundraising event for Faith's Lodge. See, anytime I can combine charity with sequins and rock bands is fine by me!

So okay, it was a really fun night. We were in downtown Minneapolis on a G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. night, and were at this swanky night club that had a red carpet, tuxedo'd bartenders, and local celebrities. The theme of the event was "rocker chic" and I went all out (you know how mama loves a good theme party). I had skinny jeans. Stilettos. The aforementioned candy-colored hair extensions. Sequined shirt. Leather bomber jacket. I definitely looked the part. It started out kind of rocky, though (no pun intented). Here's who went: my mom and dad, my sisters and their husbands, and my brothers and their wives. And me. So before we left for the night, we took pics. My brother-in-law suggested getting Couple Pictures, and I shirked off to the corner. I took a picture with everyone, and then one by myself. So totally NOT rocker chic. Then we get to the club downtown, and voila! ANOTHER photo session! Everyone got their couple pictures again from a professional photographer, and my brother Perek and his wife Leah mercifully let me get in on their photograph. Awkward.

So everyone got some drink tickets. I managed to work a few extras from my sympathetic family members because I played the "my boyfriend is in Alabama, and I am a just a sad, lonely, single girl" part very well. That was a good part. The extra free drinks, I mean. They provided the necessary social lubricant I needed to relax. During one part of the event, they showed a list of people who had made some donations throughout the night, and every contributor one was a COUPLE. Then came one lady's name, and I actually CHEERED for her. I was all "I love Patrica A. Random Woman because she doesn't need to come with a man AND she's got some nice money to spend so I loved her". She might be scared of the random girl across the lobby cheering for her, though.

Fancy charity events are basically made for couples, I think. One of you drinks, the other drives. One of you mingles while the other one holds your table. One person irresponsibly bids on a signed Percy Harvin jersey, the other writes a check and carries your prize home. Luckily for me, the bands were rockers, and there were no awkward slow dance moments. Because there is nothing I'm worse at than standing on the side of a dance floor alone.

Eventually, though, enough people had used all their drink tickets and started to socialize outside of their partners. It got all mixed up and fun and I met some really fun people, held a local Emmy award (don't tell the news anchor who won it. We didn't exactly "ask permission" before opening the box we found on a cushy couch and taking pictures with it), and after I got one of the band's t-shirts, the band members all signed it for me. The band was Lynhurst (who rock) and I liked them the best because not only were they good, they consisted of a girl and her two brothers. Not a "couple" in the bunch!

Towards the end of the night, people were taking pictures with their new friends, so I got to be in a lot more than I was in at the beginning of the night. And when everyone went home, I stayed out with my brother Perek and his wife, and a couple of our new friends. I had no one's schedule to follow but my own. And even though I spent the night on my brother's couch, I would consider the night a smashing success. Not only did they raise a lot of money (by the way, you can still go ahead and donate some of your own - or your spouses, if that's the case - money to this incredible organization at, but I got to listen to some great music, have tons of fun with my family, and even try duck confit (Note to Self: I do not like duck confit).

All in all, I was so excited that I got to go to this super fun event. I got a bunch of awesome swag, a signed t-shirt, 2 huge blisters, and an abundance of glow bracelets that will certainly come in handy right around Halloween time. Giving has never felt so good (FINE. I guess I should mention that my parents got me a ticket to the event, I only used Free Drink tickets, and I couldn't place a bid on anything in the auction, so I guess I should say being AROUND OTHER PEOPLE who were giving has never felt so good.)

Thanks to everyone in my family for such an awesome time, and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jean Queen

I maaaaay or may not nod off during this post. I spent the night babysitting my nieces and nephew, and suffice it to say: the constant sugar I fed the kids somehow backfired, and oddly enough I ended up to be one crashing HARD. So let's get to it. As I mentioned yesterday, last night I went shopping with my friend Kim. I was on a mission for new jeans. Not just any jeans, though. I needed SKINNY jeans. I wondered briefly if they made skinny jeans in "not so skinny" sizes. Lucky for me (unlucky for everyone around me) they do!

Here's how it all started. I grabbed like 63 different styles and sizes and waist measurements and lengths and washes and ventured into a dressing room. Side note: Why is it just SOOO important for fitting room attendants to know my name? Why do they they need to write it in chalk on my door? It's really unnecessary. I'm not making reservations. I'm not waiting on a cup of coffee at Caribou. I'm just getting naked in a room by myself. So after the third woman was all "How do you spell FALRON?" I had had it. Kim was all "Just tell them your name is Sarah for crying out loud." Annoysville.)

So I'm in the fitting room. I squeegee myself into the first pair, and let out a big ol "GAH!!" And Kim calls out from her fitting room "OH NO! I forgot to tell you! NEVER LOOK DOWN WHEN YOU'RE TRYING ON SKINNY JEANS! NEVER!" Within 30 seconds, I had ruined everything. Staring downward when you are wearing skinny jeans is apparently the equivalent of staring directly into the sun.

After my first panic attack, I decided it would be super awesome to try on a pair of black pleather legging pants. Because apparently I didn't feel bad enough about myself yet. I got them on and almost ripped them open from busting a gut laughing. I looked like someone had stuffed two Labradors into a Hefty garbage bag. Nothing "skinny" about those.

Okay, so we try another store. Then another. Then I wandered into Claire's accessory store and almost bought fake hair extensions for $2.99 because, duh, that's a steal! I put them back, though, in a very brief moment of clarity. Meaning: Four 13 year-olds came in and made fun of those same extensions. #Fail.

Anyway, we try one more store in the mall. Or as I call it "Rock Bottom". I actually put on...I can't believe I'm writing this...jeggings. I called back to Kim over my fitting room door that I would never forgive myself if I got jeggings. It goes against my belief system, I reminded her. Some nosey Nelly in the fitting room next to me audibly giggled and offered "Jeggings are great! Way better than skinny jeans because they don't HURT as much!" I wanted to yell back "I think you're wearing your pants wrong if they HURT!" But I didn't. Instead I pathetically laughed back and waited in my own little private cage until I heard her leave, and wriggled my way out of the disgusting pants. As if to prove a point, I left them balled up in the corner of the fitting room instead of helpfully folding them back up. Stupid jeggings.

Last ditch effort, we go to Target to get some food and other non-essentials. We found ourselves in the denim department, and lo and behold - Skinny jeans! I tried some on, and walked out with 2 pairs. Mostly because they were like $20 and I didn't want to try any more on. I was feeling bad enough. Then Kim was all "You should bring them home and try them on with your boots anyway." MY BOOTS! Duh! I'm not going to be walking AROUND in these skin-tight monstrosities. I'd have BOOTS up to my KNEES. An anchor, if you will (and you will). So I tried them on in the comfort of my own bedroom, and I liked them! They are way too long, and already a little looser than I would have hoped, but they are skinny! Huzzah!

So as soon as I finally embraced (or gave up fighting against) the concept of skinny jeans, I READ THIS:

J Brand –"Our big story is wide-leg for fall – it's really about a '70s silhouette. They come in different fits for all body types, so everyone can wear them!"

7 for all Mankind – "Our big story for fall is 'boot and beyond' – the boot cut is our original fit and put us on the map, and it's super flattering and leg-lengthening on all body types.

Joe's Jeans – "For fall we developed some awesome new fabrications – everything from cashmere blends, to sexy animal prints, to lightweight coated pieces. We have a wide-leg trouser for fall that is in a super soft cashmere denim, and we also have a new micro-flare, which is a skinny fit throughout the leg, but it pops out right above the ankle."

WTF? RUDE. I guess the good news is that I already have these kinds of jeans, so no more horrifyingly depressing trips to the fitting rooms (I can hear Kim cheering from here)! The bad news is, the jeans I just bought last night are apparently already going out of style. Whoops. I guess I kind of missed that boat. But to me, the Skinny Jeans boat was the Titanic, so I am just fine missing out on that.

Alright, I'm taking my skinny jeans-wearing butt to bed. I'm exhausted and I think the jeans have cut off the circulation to my feet, so I should probably check in on them. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dear Crabby

Okay, so I have spent all night shopping. For jeans. SKINNY JEANS. It did not go well. But more on that tomorrow. Tonight it's all about you! Here's what's got you stumped this week.

Dear Crabby,

I have not been able to sleep lately. And none of that warm milk, soothing music mumbo jumbo stuff works. I am getting VERY cranky because I'm not getting enough sleep. What can I do?

Sleepless in Seattle (okay, not really...actually I'm in Minneapolis)

Hello Sleepless,

I go through bouts of sleeplessness myself. Usually it's because I'm frustrated or stressed or watching a Family Guy all night marathon or something. But in my insomnia, I'll do insane things like pluck my eyebrows (poorly) at 3 a.m. or try different braiding styles in my hair, or just sit and worry. I HATE it. You can't solve anything in that state. So, unless your problem is medical (wait it's not, is it?) I'll give you some tips. I like to sit and try and think of all the capitols in the country. In alphabetical order. I try and remember all the letters in the Greek alphabet. Or I add everyone's birthday to my planner that I never use. The point is, I focus on very boring things and eventually I nod off. If I get out of bed, though, I may as well drink a Red Bull because all that does is wake me up completely. Stay put, under the covers, and obsess about something mundane and bore yourself back to sleep. If that doesn't work, at least get up and get something productive done. Like laundry or the dishes or dyeing your hair. Whatevs. Then at least you'll be getting stuff done! But I say give the Bore Yourself to Sleep thing a shot, and let me know if that works. Sweet Dreams!

Dear Crabby,

I am officially one of those girls. I have too many shoes, and they are starting to completely take over my closet. I still love them, but some are kind of worn, and I know I have to consolidate, but I just don't wanna!! Do I need to buy garbage bags to toss the shoes in, or shelves to store all the shoes??

-Shoe In

'Sup Shoe In,

Okay, I'll be blunt. Throw away anything ugly. Then throw away any shoes that smell like the inside of a baby's diaper. Then throw away anything that doesn't fit. When you have your remaining shoes, just store the out-of-season shoes somewhere else. Oh, and you know those stilettos that are probably a little too worn on the heel? GREAT NEWS! You don't have to throw them away. Get yourself some new heel tips and you've got yourself a brand new pair! So, uh, I guess basically I say keep as many as you still love and wear or just enjoy looking at. It's not a CRIME to have too many shoes, is it? NO! Also, who decides how many are too many? The President of Shoes? No. Keep all the shoes you want, lady. Just keep them looking (and smelling) fresh.

Dear Crabby,

I'm going to my first big time tailgate this weekend with my very new boyfriend and his friends. I'm supposed to bring something to share, but I have a feeling the guys won't be to excited to dig in to my homemade hummus and gluten-free chips. I really don't want to embarrass my new man, so you got any tips??

Love your blog! Please help!

Okay, Failgate,

I'll help you, but you have GOT to trust me. Fight the urge to "healthify" anything I am about to list. When it comes to men and their tailgates, no one cares about calories, so if you want to make a good impression, let your hair down and add some good ol' fat to the mix. Here's what would be appropriate to bring: spicy buffalo wings, a case of moderately-priced beer, meatballs slathered in BBQ sauce, taco dip, fixins for grilled cheese sandwiches (only if there's a grill), a salsa and Velveeta cheese dip with chips, a few steaks or hamburger meat (again, only if there is a grill), artichoke dip with lots of cheese and gooeyness, a Costco-sized barrel of cheese balls or peanuts, one of those giant hoagies that feed 10, chocolate chip cookies, a big ol' bag of trail mix (don't get stingy with the M&Ms), or just a bottle of liquor. Anything'll do. Stick with one of those things, and you'll be totally fine. And when you get there, just relax, indulge in some awesome food and good friends and you'll be a tailGREATer! OMG, I wish there was someway I could unsay that. Like a backspace key or something. If only...

Aight, twerps and twerpettes. Go ahead and critique my advice if you must, but only if you have something better! And when you finally decide to get that help everyone's been telling you get, hit me up at and I'll make it all better!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Boys Meet Girl

Alright, listen, I'm not sitting here claiming that I had this idea first, or that I'm the only one who has ever been in this position, but I am SICK of TV shows glorifying my (former) lifestyle. It was just not the pretty, hilarious picture the big Hollywood Studio machine makes it out to be. But I will be the bigger person here, and I have decided to try and get into the show The New Girl.

This is certainly not the first show that has aggrandized the "one female living with men" situation. I watched the show My Boys, and though it was cancelled, it at least made an effort to bring some elements of reality to it. I liked that show. It was pretty funny, and not just in the cliched "Boys are smelly and girls are wimps" kind of way. So I appreciated that.

Anyhoozle, so now I feel obligated to support The New Girl, starring the alt-heroine Zooey Deschanel. So far, she's the bumbling, awkward kind of gal I think I can relate to. Although she is FAR too cute and adorable to be capable of handling typical male behavior. (Oooh, but the guys on the show have something called a "Douchebag Jar" so that's very funny.)

The problem with these shows - these of the "lone girl who's living with tons of guys" genre - is that they make the whole scenario positively flawless. Note: Guys are NOT capable of appreciating the quiet eccentricities of, say, a girl's pampering night. They don't come home and get all adorably uncomfortable when you have a face mask on. They scream bloody murder, ask what happened to your face, and then ignore you until you're made up again. They don't sidle up to you and have a touching conversation about inner beauty while they smear the goop on their own face. THEY DON'T DO THAT.

And while it's not news that guys can be stinky and messy, it's certainly not that simple. Mostly because girls - spoiler alert! - are stinky and messy too. We just aren't as, um, PROUD of it.

It's also very important to note that men who live with other men will never seek out the opinion of the lone girl. They'll have the other guys wax their backs, they'll tell the other guys about their dates and ask their advice, (clothing advice is the only possibility), and they'll never EVER be all open and helpful when a girl comes to THEM for relationship advice. Realistically, it's more like a girl has to aggressively jump into the guys' business, and pull them into hers. It's a process, people.

At best, when a girl moves in with a frat-load of boys, the only thing that happens at first is Moderate Tolerance on everyone's part. The girl stays out of their guy's nights, and the guys avoid her Book Club at all costs. There are no cute hugs, no overly-friendly long glances across the stove, no hilarious jokes. It's a dog-eat-dog world in there, and the girl is the one with catnip pants. Meaning: Your average guy will have no interest in chasing around the girl to get to know her. Unless she's Elle MacPherson when she moved in with Joey on Friends. But let's keep it real, none of us is Elle MacPherson. For the most part, guys will just be busy peeing in whatever area they'd like to mark (metaphorically speaking...mostly) and balking at the amount of hair products in the bathroom.

So far the show is pretty predictable. Poor, sad, adorably clueless girl moves in with three guys who are cliches of guys. But then just now, the scene came (already!) when the girl with glasses is suddenly H.O.T. and all the guys stop and tell her how great she looks. Again, NORMAL GUYS DON'T DO THIS. They'll be like "Whoa, you have all that eye makeup on!" or "Are you, like, going somewhere or something? And if you are, can you pick up a case of beer on your way back?"

Oh, oh, oh! Flaw #4 in the show! One of the guy roommates just gave up the opportunity to see his ex-girlfriend who he still loves because - awwww! - he has to go check up on his brand new girl roommate because she got stood up. Then all the guys rescue her from the humiliation of sitting alone at a restaurant (Knights in Shining Armor? As if!), and their bond strengthens. They say things to her like "The guy is a jerk. We care about you. We like you. Don't cry!" and....OMG. No, this is not happening. The three guys SING THE DIRTY DANCING SONG TO HER IN THE RESTAURANT.

And what?! Then they all go home and WATCH DIRTY DANCING together?! Oh h-to-the-ell no.

Well that was horribly disappointing. I have a feeling that girls everywhere will start to be all "I need to move in with guys!! They are SOOOOO awesome and funny!" But I feel completely qualified to say that Yes, living with the right guys can be awesome and funny. However, you have to work really hard because as a girl, it's primarily up to you. You can't nag. You can't be hyper-sensitive. You have to learn how to dish out clever insults, and you have to have a healthy interest in sports, reality TV, and constant competitions. Without these things, the only way you're getting in with the guys is to either be super-hot, or frequently invite over your super-hot girlfriends for pillow fights and too much wine. Sorry, but them's the rules.

I sooooo wanted to like this show. And I will probably watch it again because I'm not overly-judgmental like that, but so far I'm not impressed with the level of commitment to reality of The New Girl. It's the Melrose Place of inter-gender living situations. Wholly unrealistic, yet insanely desirable.

Anyhoozle, thanks for letting me set the record straight. Being a girl and living with guys is not for the weak. It's only for a very, very lucky - yet small - group of girls that I am proud to count myself a member of.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Oh hello there, everyone! It's me: Grown-Up Pharon. I don't believe we've met. How wonderful to make your acquaintance. PSYCH. It's still me, regular ol' Pharon Square, but with a very grown-up day under my belt. That's right ladies and germs, I - your faithful blogger - have had my very first experience with Home Buying. Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuun! This afternoon, I got all spiffed up so as to appear to be a much more responsible woman who totally does NOT still watch Jem and the Holograms, and had an actual financial conversation with a mortgage lady who did something called "pre-approval". Now, there is NOTHING I crave more than getting pre-approved, but the whole experience was, uh, foreign and all mature-y and scary.

The gist of the meeting ended up pretty well. I'm a "great candidate" for buying a home, but I'm also a little light in the pockets, which puts my immediate home options somewhere between the Crack Stacks in Minneapolis and World's Smallest House in the 'burbs. Fine. There's room for improvement. But I learned SO much! And like any good adult, I think I should pass along what I know to you!

When someone says a ton of huge numbers all together, you start to lose focus and perspective. "Give or take $300" sounds pretty minor when compared to "A bazillion dollars per month". If I HAD "give or take $300", I'd be either homeless or using Kate Spade bags as disposable lunch bags. Quite a difference. And suddenly, I'm supposed to care about fractions of percentages? Say whaaaa? I lose track of decimals when I'm adding, I can't figure out division, and what the H is an "interest rate"? Ugh. MATH rears its ugly head again. When will it just leave me alone!?

Bank/mortgage folk get lots of swag. Tucked in my neat little folder, amongst all the colorful brochures with smiley, happy homeowners, was a magnet, a pad of sticky notes, and a pen. Uh, if leave all that stuff behind, can you take $13 off my appraisal fee?

Despite the fact that I explained, at length, that I know nothing about the home buying process, they will still say things like "And obviously when you're in escrow you'll want to blah blah blah FHA blah blah blah early-payment penalty." Not one thing in that sentence is "obvious" to me. Escrow? Riiiight. Esc-no, I have no idea what you are talking about.

Is it a COMPLIMENT or PATRONIZING to be called "extremely realistic"? After dragging my mortgage lady's expectations of me down to a less ridiculous level, she called me that. I can't tell how I'm supposed to take that just yet. I was in such foreign territory, I didn't know up from down, black from white, kind from kind-of-rude. I'm sure it was supposed to be a compliment, but I guess I just can't tell when someone is also telling me that they think I'm very responsible.

Going in to get pre-approved for a home is kiiiiind of like strolling through the super-crazy-fancy designer stores. You know, all the shiny expensive things are like right in front of you. You can reach out and touch and try on those Louboutins, for sure. And you can pretend for a little bit that you are definitely the kind of person who should own them, and so what? You'll have to spend more on them but they are an investment! You are at the age when you SHOULD HAVE THOSE SHOES. But at the end of it all, you don't get the shoes, just like you aren't going to buy your dream house. And even though the woman at the register says "Oh, you can just quick apply for a new credit card and save 10%. And they're on sale, which totally never happens so this really is the best time to buy", just FACE IT. You still can't get the shoes.

Despite the blatant reality checks I got today, I also learned real things too. Like, I totally can get a house on my own, if I'm really ready for it. And even though it sounds like a crap-load of work to get a house, I did get the sense of satisfaction just taking the first step. I felt very mature and responsible. Almost like a girl who WOULDN'T put four Miley Cyrus songs on a "Best of Summer" mix. Then again, it also means that I have to actually do RESEARCH, which is just a fancy word for "homework". And I think I'm a little old for homework, don't you?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Step Away from the Musician, Miss

There are two important lessons I learned this weekend. One: My body doesn't appreciate the amount of vodka tonics I present it with anymore. Hater. And two: A glass of Absolute vodka with an eensy weensy splash of tonic does not a "vodka tonic" make. Ugh. Let's just say Saturday night, forgettable? The deal was my brother, my sister, our friend Nick, and I went to see a friend of Perek's open for Tim Mahoney, who is an awesome local musician who appeared on The Voice too. It was at a casino like 45 minutes away from the Cities. We drank, gambled (Prinna won me $40 on 2 hands of black jack!), and other sinful things. I knew I was in trouble, though, when I had the chance to meet Tim Mahoney. Prinna walked me up to him, and I shook his hand and for some reason proceeded to give him a hug. (What? Why? I don't know) And what did the Absolute-soaked Pharon say in the midst of my starstruck-ness? "Whoa, your hands are sweaty." Classy, you idiot.

Despite my stupid faux-pas (yet another reason I should never be allowed to be near even minimally famous people), the night was fun and exciting. Great music, fun people, free money. A pretty successful way to spend an evening, I'd say.

Okay, not that I'm dwelling, but allow me to dwell. I don't know what happened to me when I felt myself embracing a man I'd never met. Poor Tim Mahoney. It's like, I felt myself getting all up in someone else's space, and just decided to go with it. And even though I had a few charming, witty comments prepared in advance (for instance "You totally got gypped on The Voice. You ruled!" or "Is Adam Levine as cute in person as he is on TV?! SQUEEE!" or "I think you write some of the best songs I've ever just heard for the first time tonight." And then there was "You played in a band with a guy I went to high school with a zillion years ago and I mistakenly went to see you guys play during my first year of college, when I accidentally went to Malone's instead of Martinis to meet friends. But you guys were great!"), all I could come up with "Whoa. Your hands are sweaty." I shudder to think what was going through his mind at that moment.

As if to rub it in, I've been watching The Emmys all night, where everyone is chic, knows what to say, doesn't talk about how sweaty someone is. I have a very new respect for Ryan Seacrest. So far, he hasn't been pried off of any stars, or commented on the glandular excretions of anyone. Such a professional! Although, I'm pretty sure he hasn't put away 2 glasses of vodka. I'd like to see what he says to Sofia Vergara THEN!

Well, I'm going to continue dwelling on what I SHOULD have said, and SHOULDN'T have drank last night. In the meantime, I wanna say a quick Happy Belated Birthday to Geo! His birthday was on Thursday, and to my knowledge, no one made him a poorly-decorated, under-cooked Funfetti cake like I usually do. But he might be thankful for that.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Worlds Collide

Well, that seals it. Liz and Claire - both are my very dear friends - have developed some freaky dumb friendship that has nothing to do with me. And now I'm the odd man out. The lone wolf. The single hand clapping.

Here's the sticky. I am friends with Liz. She came over to hang out with me tonight. Then she and Claire decided they were besties, and that's when my worlds collided. I started very maturely complaining that they weren't allowed to be friends with each other, because I'm the Connector, and you can't leave the Connector out. Then Claire's boyfriend made fun of me for calling Claire and Liz "Friend Poachers". I guess he doesn't seem to understand the trauma that goes on when two girls meet each other, and the Connector Friend gets left in the lurch.

It all started with the GYM (doesn't it always?) See, I hate the gym. It's dumb. All that sweat and germs? Gnarly. Anyway, so Claire was trying to get me to go her fancy-shmancy gym with her. I said "No". Because, you know, the sweat and germs. Then she recruited Liz to join her fancy gym, and before I knew it, they were making plans to go swimming and Zumba-ing together. Rude! I wanna go!

So then I'm all "No, you guys are MY friends. Not EACH OTHER'S friends!" (Again, so mature.) No one seemed to notice or care. They just kept making fun "we're new friends" plans and then they started playing Scrabble together.

Is this something any other women do? Get all boundary-crazy with your pals? I'll admit it. I'm very protective of my friends. And I don't like to Ven Diagram them (yay for math!) I like it when all my ducks are in a row, and I'm the puppeteer (I apparently also love mixing metaphors). When I was in college, there were horrible situations wherein my High School friends would meet my College Friends and no one would like each other, and I turned into the rope in a tug-o-war. They all fought for my attention. I loved it.

But now, as adults, it turns out all my friends somehow like each other. I'm pretty sure that means that I've gotten really awesome at choosing friends. The bad side is that now, not only do they LIKE each other, but they, like, wanna HANG OUT TOGETHER. Without Me. How rude is that? I prefer my friends to be at an arms length from each other. Otherwise, how am I going to pit them against each other if we end up in a full-on war?!

But now, Liz and Claire are happily playing Scrabble together, and making me watch The Shining even though I voted for Futurama. It's like I'm not even here. What happened?

I'll tell you what happened: Friend Poaching. Claire and Liz stole each other from me, and now they are fun Gym and Scrabble friends and I'm just sittin' here. Watchin' the Scrabble.

Oh, and I'm definitely not helping the situation, because I just read them this blog and now they have both decided I'm crazy and are laughing at me. Together. Worlds collided. KA BOOM!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dear Crabby

Squares, I've heard your pleas for help all the way from here. We've got some toughies this week, so let's not waste any time with clever intro paragraphs!

Dear Crabby,

I just spent a crazy amount of time trying to find a couple good pictures of me to put on my new account. I hate the way I look in EVERY SINGLE ONE, though! My eyes are half-closed, I'm making a weird smile, or I've got a big double chin. How can I take a good picture?!

PhotOh No!

Hey Photoh-no,

Here's a secret. I'm completely incapable of taking a normal picture. My eyes either disappear or bug out of my face like a cartoon. Or I hate the way my neck looks, or any number of nit-picky things. My solution? I never just normally smile in pictures. I open my mouth up wide and give an obnoxious wink. I'm what you call a Face-Maker. Once, I went through a "smizing" phase - you know, smiling with your eyes? (Thanks, Miss Tyra!) But that ended poorly, with lots of angry, confused Pharon's staring back at me. To be honest, lady? I don't know how to take a good picture. I've heard to push your shoulders back, tilt your head either up or down, bug out your eyes, squint, never smile too big, always smile enormously. It would seem that in most professional photos, the subjects never look TOO stoked to be there, so maybe try looking "mildly amused" and see if that works? I don't know. I guess you should should practice in front of the mirror, and drag one of your friends in there with you to give you some honest feedback. Whatever you do, go ahead and send us one of your best shots when you're done! Then WE'LL find you a date!

Dear Crabby,

Oh. Mah. Gah! Long story short, I went out with my co-workers this weekend. We ended up drinking a lot, and then I decided it was a great idea to sing a very NC-17 song at karaoke. I have NO idea what to do in terms of damage control. No one has mentioned it at work, yet, except to ask me if I was hungover on Saturday, so I don't know if I need to apologize or say anything. Help!

Thanks loads, Crabby!

Oh dear, Sungover,

There's nothing like making an idiot out of yourself in front of the people you're supposed to be all mature and put-together around. I would guess that most people have done something at a Happy Hour that they'd prefer not show up on their annual reviews. In terms of damage control, though? I don't know, lady. I would say that you just need to pull yourself together, and move on. Unless you did something super bad or unforgivable, I would just really work to move on. Admit that yes, you were hungover the next day, because you are not used to drinking that much or something. And if it's appropriate, maybe make a joke out of it and start humming that same NC-17 song while heating up your lunch or something. That could ease the tension! It'll blow over, I'm sure. One big thing, though: What SONG did you karaoke?! I gotta know!

Dear Crabby,



First off, Send Help?

My ears are bleeding from all that yelling. Let's just calm down here, shall we? I'm sure your hair isn't that bad. And if it is? It'll come as good news to you then that it is Hat Season. After you calm yourself down, though, get thee to a salon. The only thing that'll fix a bad dye job is a good dye job. Pull your pennies together, and get it fixed by a professional. If you don't have time or money for that, I guess you just have to do what you'd do if you were painting over a color in your bedroom. Choose something darker, and then just cover it up. (Note: This method does not work if you dye your hair "JET BLACK". Sure the box SAYS it's "non-permanent" but that was a huge lie and my mom got SUPER mad at me. Errr....anywaaaaaay...)

Well I Am Beat. Good questions, guys! Did I miss anything? Get anything wrong? Slap your advice in the comments if you think you can do better! And, as usual, email me your problemas at if you need my help, which I'm sure you probably do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brainstorming: Better Take Cover

Okay, how do I put this gently? Uh. Okay. Geo is not exactly good at "brainstorming". We could be walking around Target, and I'll be all "What should I get my niece for her 6th birthday?" or whatever. And he'll just start saying the names of things he sees, as if they are good ideas. "Dog treats? Travel grill? Gallon of milk?" Most of the times, though, he'll eventually stumble on a really great idea. So tonight as I was fumbling for a good idea for a blog, I went to the "master" (via Skype, of course). As soon as he started rattling off his "helpful" ideas, I decided I shouldn't waste these gems. So I started recording them so you can see what I'm dealing with here. Here is the transcript of Geo's suggestions:

* Mountains
* Snowballs
* Dragons
* Dragons on license plates ("Saw one today...really cool.")
* Southern accents
* How they sound stupid
* Slinkies, and the multiple uses of Slinkies. Like holding pictures, or multiple CDs
* [In a very Seinfeld-y voice] And what's the deal with soft-bristle toothbrushes?! Every toothbrush is eventually soft-bristle, why would you waste money on an already soft-bristle?!
* How much Donovan McNabb sucks. Me: I disagree. I'm keeping the faith in McNabb. For now.
* I got a fortune cookie today with no fortune in it. Which is fine, because I only like the cookie part.
* Guys who fly remote control airplanes. Me: What?! Why? Geo: Okay, maybe just uncool hobbies in general.
* Pumped up kicks. That's a good topic. Then you can link to the new Back to the Future Nikes
* Do-It-Yourself projects
* Talk about how I just got a cool new watch-makers kit. Next time you need work done on your watch, just call me and I'll fix it.
* Car fresheners. The only good car freshener flavor is Vanilla. It's not worth buying anything else.
* Fantasy Football? Me: No, no one invited me to be in any leagues, so I'm mad at everyone.

I asked for one more. I said " Come on, any last good ones? A final zinger?" And he said "No, I've only got so many good ideas."

Cool, so where are you keeping those?

So I asked him for title suggestions. He came up with three "winners": Bloggity Blog Blog Brainstorm. Phree Association. Something with GEO in it. Well, I obviously came up with my own title, but as you can see, Geo pretty much always comes up with a good suggestion. This isn't exactly what he's expecting, but you just can't ignore inspiration when it hits.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Naturally Unnatural

Never a dull day at the new Pharon Square abode! Tonight, after an exceptionally mundane day filled with work and a boring trip to Target, I found myself in my room, admiring Claire's new Compression Nylons. What are those, you ask? Well, apparently Claire broke my cardinal rule of never buying a Groupon for a "procedure" and used a Groupon to get some gunk shot into her legs to cover up some teeny, dark veins, and now has to wear these tights to keep all the gunk in place or something. It's a purely cosmetic procedure, but now she's all laid up, in her tight tights, with her new pretty legs. I'm an eensy weensy jealous. Claire has legs for days, whereas I have the legs of a Troll doll. So her walking around in tights is a very different scene than me walking around in tights. Her legs are long and normal. Mine would look like summer sausages. But I digress...

So it occurred to me that women do some ca-raaazy things to keep ourselves in top-notch shape. I'm not even talking about, like, diets or anything. (Because trust me, there are plenty of people - not just women - who obsess over every morsel of food they put in their mouth. Is it organic? Is it low-cal? Psht. Public Service Announcement: That behavior is very annoying to your friends.) Anyway, no. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about compression nylons, scalding wax, and internal-organ-crushing intimate wear. It's painful. It's intense. It's insane.

Now don't get me wrong. I love me some Spanx. They work hard for their money by sucking me into prime curvatures. But they are annoying and unattractive and expensive. But do YOU know any girl who doesn't have a pair? If you do, count yourself among the very teeny minority. Now think, for a second, if a man were to slap on that flesh-toned masochistic torture device. They don't. They just buy bigger clothes, or wear a basketball jersey and giant shorts everywhere.

Then there's the medieval devices known as "straighteners" or "curling irons". Basically we suffer through hours of the intensely high heat of these hair styling devices only to end up with a very vulnerable, carefully crafted coif that comes completely unraveled at the mere hint of a breeze. Plus, I've gotten literally dozens of burns on my forehead and neck while trying to achieve the perfect "effortless, breezy waves". "Effortless" my Aunt Fanny. Now luckily, I've not enjoyed the chance to have my scalp pounded by formaldehyde, but apparently, women are now doing this - the Brazilian Blowout - to achieve the much-coveted straight hair.

And if you are a chick who can make it through one month without having your feet attacked and mutilated by some pedicurist/torture expert, you can go ahead and pat yourself on the back.

Claire and I were just brainstorming ideas of more of the crazy, insane procedures women have to go through to have that "natural beauty" look, and we ran into a brick wall of sorts. I offered "lip injections, boob jobs, and Botox" and she countered with "Well, they're all injections, like my legs, so maybe that's redundant." Then she came up with "waxing, laser hair removal, and bleaching". While these are all completely relevant, I have already discussed these ridiculous procedures.

The fact that so many of these womanly practices have become redundant is just so...sad. Hey men and judgmental ladies? Quit it with the crazy standards. There is only so much a body can go through before you become the horribly disfigured face of the tragic, pre-teen Ali Lohan. Yes, I know it says she hasn't had any "procedures" done, but COME ON!

It's crazy. There's too much that women can or are supposed to do just to look "natural". Natural means laugh lines and frizzy hair on humid days, and thighs with a bit more, uh, texture than we'd like. Natural is the occasional stray hair, or the double-digit jeans sizes. Natural is a big laugh, or a smart retort. It has nothing to do with constriction, or injections, or pain. I wish more people could embrace that concept.

I think the dumbest part of all this is that when I told Claire she was an idiot for getting some random substance shot into her model-worthy legs, she laughed and said "Why not?! I like how it looks!" And she has a point. Turns out, some of the torture we put ourselves though is for ourselves alone. I personally like it when my hair is wavy and sleek. So what if it takes me 1.5 hours and 6.5 burns to get that? I like it when it's all done and I'm the first to fondle my own curls. I just kind of hope that we are going through all this malarkey for vanity alone. Then it's fine because all that stuff hurts, and then we are the only ones who can truly appreciate the effects.

So keep that in mind, people. At the end of the day, you're the only one dissecting your pores and veins and wrinkles in the mirror. My money is on the fact that everyone else just sees You. And if you read this blog, I have no doubt that you are already totally awesome. Never change, guys. Never change.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget to Remember

Unless you were under a rock today, you couldn't escape the patriotism and camaraderie that seeped into an otherwise uneventful day. On this day, ten years ago, September 11 became a day that would live in infamy, if I may steal the words of FDR. The tragedy of that day is certainly not lost on me.

I started watching football today (in my adorable Vikings tee, with a beer and wings...all by my lonesome. All my "football friends" were otherwise engaged or lame, and Claire said she'd be upstairs watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills if I decided to become a girl again) and the first of the many, many 9/11 Tributes came on. I will admit I got a little misty. It was touching and tragic, and I got all goose-bumpy for America.

Ten years ago, I was coming home from class, already thinking about going out that night. Everything was the same. No one was taking their shoes off at the airport, there were no Terror Alerts, and Iraq was just another country I couldn't locate on a map. Then it all happened, and everything changed.

Without dwelling on the obvious, though, I will just say that it was and continues to be a day that people will never forget. And so, I took a little extra pride in my day today. American beer, American football, a good ol' American nap, and a very patriotic trip to Dairy Queen. Not exactly the ideals set forth in the American dream, but hey. We all have our own ways.

Anyway, it was all very touching and proud. And despite the fact that the Vikings lost (boo!) it was still a good day to remember all heroes from that day. And also I realized that the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys song "Empire State of Mind" is still a totally rad song.

Sorry to get all Serious Man on you guys, but it just didn't feel right being all jokey and desperate for laughs and attention today. Tomorrow, though, I'll get back to the business of making fun of someone/something/myself/you. In the meantime, I WILL leave you with this little tidbit. I leaned down to swat a fly off my foot today, and smashed my forehead into the wooden banister in the backyard. After I cursed at my klutziness, I then smacked my head on a low-hanging planter. I'm pretty sure that the injuries have not caused any major damage - a la brain trauma - but green desks pouch-face horse diet. Slurp!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Shot of SmEARnoff Vodka, Please

Well, that seals it. I'm a lost cause. Not five minutes ago, I was standing in the basement, swabbing my ear with vodka. It's not normal adult behavior, I know. But I've got an excuse. Kind of.

It all started when I cheaped out and bought $5 earrings at a Claire's-esque store, instead of either 1) Not buying any earrings or 2) Seeking out a pair with sterling silver posts. But I was whim-shopping. You know. Just buying stuff to buy stuff. I didn't want it to make a big dent in my wallet, so I just got a few super inexpensive things to quell my Shopping Appetite. So, la la la, I take them out of their package and stick 'em right in my ears. Did I take the time to disinfect them? No. Did I consider that any number of grimy little fingers have touched them? Double no. They were cute, they matched my outfit, and I was probably running late.

Cut to this morning. I kept tugging on my earlobe. It hurt a little and I could feel the tiniest little bump in there. It was annoying. I figured I slept on it wrong. Wait, Pharon, did you say that you thought you SLEPT ON YOUR EAR WRONG?! Yes. Yes I did. So all day I'm tugging on it. Poking it. Pinching it. Squeezing it. And after a good 6 hours of this, it hit me. Ugh. Stupid cheap, dirty earrings. My desire to accessorize my ear dangly bits with subpar metals has angered my lobes.

It happens to me quite a bit. My ears, just like my feelings (not), are sensitive and get all uppity at the slightest little annoyance and then my lobes get infected. Not like gross, gnarly infected. Just annoying and kind of itchy for a day or two.

I apparently couldn't be bothered to wait a couple days for it to go away, so I just kept messing with it. Now I've got one normal, adorable ear lobe, and another that looks like it's pregnant or something. It's all big and swollen. I briefly remembered my mom telling me over and over and over as a kid to "just stop picking at it" before I continued to pull and pinch my ear.

Claire and Andrew came home from dinner, and I asked "Claire, do you have any rubbing alcohol?" Before she could ask why, she was all "Whoa. Your right ear is all red and big." I replied "Thanks, Sherlock. Now, about that rubbing alcohol...?" She didn't have any, because we're not doctors or whatever, so she said "Put some vodka on it."

I wasn't too sure about this, so I googled it, and according to a large number of nameless people on many unfamiliar websites, vodka is totally the same thing as rubbing alcohol. So, there I was. Dumping vodka (and, intermittently, drinking vodka)onto a cotton ball and rubbing it on my ear lobe. Will it work? I have no idea. I hope so though.

I asked Claire what made her think of using vodka, and she replied "Well, that's what they did in the old-timey days, so I figured it was okay." Not quite the scientifically-based answer I was hoping for. I said "Yeah, well, old-timey people also put leeches on burn victims and drowned witches." Her boyfriend Andrew said "And they still died from things like the dreaded Splinter." Claire shrugged and was unwaivering, so I can't help but completely trust her.

What about you? Did you ever have to use something weird to cure what ailed you? Or is your go-to cure-all something that isn't exactly FDA approved? Chris Rock had his Robitussin and the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding used Windex. Is vodka MY new thing now? I mean, I guess I hope so, because otherwise, I'm going to have a seriously drunk ear lobe that still doesn't look or feel any better.

On that note, go out and have nice screwdriver in honor of my ear this weekend. And if this works, I'll let you all know! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dear Crabby

Well color me excited! It's time for Dear Crabby! And awaaaaaaay we go!

Dear Crabby,

I've been a hard-working chump for my whole adult life, and still live within the bounds of a pretty strict budget. But I have a friend who doesn't work and throws money around like it's super fun glittery confetti. She's always trying to get me to come out for dinners, and cocktails, and diamond-shoe shopping, but I have to say no because I just haven't built it into my budget. I feel bad, though. I kind of judge her because she's so free with her money, and it makes me feel stingy. What can I do even our playing fields?

Thanks mucho,
Hard-Working Chump

Oh Chump,

I'm sorry that your friend is so unimaginative and boring. Just because she has money doesn't mean she's any more fun than you are! I personally think that people who have to count their pennies are more exciting. Wanna make a fun game out of a dirty sock, three pennies, and an ace of spades? DONE! I'm betting that it's way more fun than paying $45 for a cocktail while sitting at some shishi (French for "fancy") club waiting for someone to compliment me on my diamond tiara. The point is: You just straight up shouldn't compare yourselves. So she's rich. Big whoop! You're probably awesome and funny. I'd call it a toss up. The best thing you can do to "even the playing field" is to invite her to a backyard BBQ and night of card games. It won't matter how much money she has, and it will free you both to have fun. Until she complains that the steaks are not filet mignons. Then you can go ahead and punch her in the throat.

Dear Crabby,

I've got a problem. I like your blog (that's NOT my problem, BTW), and I appreciate your candor, so I'm giving this whole "advice column" thing a shot. Here's the sticky. I don't know what has happened lately, but my friends have kind of decided I'm their dumping ground. Everyone yells at me and blames me for things that are like, so totally dumb. Like "I ask too many questions when I'm nervous". What!? What kind of dumb criticism is THAT?! Anyway, then they'll go through this phase where they ignore me one minute and the next they are telling me that I'm a bad person for any number of reasons. It's like they all got together and decided to collectively point out all my flaws - but only after just pretending I don't exist for a few days. I used to be very straight-forward and brash and aggressive with them, but now I don't KNOW what's happened! Am I pathetic? I'm not saying these people are right, so what can I do to shut them all up?!

Thank you, Crabby,
Dumping Ground

Oh Dumping Ground,

My guess is that your friends are honing in on an insecurity that already exists. If you are the straight-forward, straight-talking kind of girl you think you are, they'd never get away with all their crazy, misdirected bull$hit. If there is a little crack in your Awesome Armor, it sounds like, for whatever reason, your "friends" have flooded that little crack with a giant load of their own crap. I'll tell you this, my lovely Square, they are dumb, and you are not. Somewhere inside of you there is an awesome, butt-kicking girl that is very tired of being ignored. Don't let these jerkwads take THAT away from you. My advice? The next time you experience one of your "friend"'s berating tirades, come back at them, guns blazing. Maybe it'll teach them that they shouldn't dish that which they can't take. Also, maybe then punch them in the throat. That's always helpful, and very therapeutic. Finally, if you don't want to throw them away altogether - which is another good solution - suggest to them that they should check themselves, lest they wreck themselves.

Dear Crabby,, I hate my boyfriend's name. Is that bad? It's a really, really bad name though! Chip! His name is CHIP! As in "chocolate CHIP cookies"! That's bad, isn't it?! I mean, listen. I'm not, like, totally shallow. He's hot, and has a good job, and he tans like nobody's business. But I just can't bring myself to call him "Chip". What can I do?!

Chip For Brains

Dear Chip for Brains,

Uh, yeah. You are pretty shallow, and should maybe be punched in the throatish region. That is all.

So? SO??!?!?! How'd I do? Do you have better advice than this? If so, holla back in the comments. If you've got some more questions for the Queen of all Questions (a.k.a. ME!) shoot 'em my way to I'll either fix or ruin your life. Care to take a chance?!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Getting Schooled

I headed over to my sister's house tonight, to celebrate my niece Annabelle's 6th birthday. It was not only her golden birthday, but it was her first day of Kindergarten! Chances are, if you are in school and haven't started already, today was YOUR first day of school too! How exciting! Wait, did I say "exciting" or did I say "a completely terrifying event when experienced by yours truly"? My first days of school were mild panic attacks interrupted by brief moments of a false sense of security.

So, Annabelle goes to a Spanish immersion kindergarten. The teachers all speak completely and only in Spanish. The kids are told that while teachers UNDERSTAND English, they don't speak it. This is, duh, untrue. The teachers are completely bilingual. Anyhoozle, I was all asking about what it was like to be at a Spanish preschool. I wanted to hear about las maestras and sus amigas and lo que sea. Instead, she wanted to talk about every normal first day of school thing I had experienced.

When I asked Annabelle about her day, I asked "What was your favorite part?" She thought about it, and then said "Probably the bus ride! We all told the bus man it was too hot on the bus, so he opened up all the windows! Even the one on the ceiling!!" She could not have been more excited if the bus were made out of candy. She did mention the uncomfortable moment when she discovered she would not be wearing a seat belt, but then she rationalized that she rides in a boat, and THOSE don't have seat belts, so it was back to the wonderment of the bus ride.

I, on the other hand, still lose sleep over riding a new bus.

Then she talked on and on about Lunch. Kids love them some lunch. First, she tells us that she sits at a Peanut-Free table because a kid in her class is allergic to that particular legume. Call me insensitive, but a school lunch without a good ol' PB&J is like a Trapper Keeper with no pencil pouch. Sacrilege. It didn't seem to phase Annabelle one bit, which was great. My sister asked Annabelle "How did you know where to go at lunch?!" as if she was reading MY racing thoughts. Annabelle twirled her birthday tiara, and calmly said "I dunno, you just go when they tell you." As if it was simplest thing in the world...heading off somewhere you don't know because some stranger tells you to. In a different language.

My lunchtime is a gulped-down Lean Cuisine sitting at my desk working. When someone tries to tell me to do something different - like meet out at an actual restaurant, or run a few errands - I get flustered and just skip lunch altogether sometimes.

She mentioned that she met a new friend, who shared her lip gloss and gum with Annabelle, and who - upon finding out that it was also Annabelle's birthday - also gave her a dollar. Who is this girl, and where can I find her? She sounds like the kind of pal I need.

Although, today my friend Liz invited me to the Twins game tomorrow night - seats are right behind the dugout! - and I just inhaled a freshly-baked zucchini muffin that Claire just made. So, I think I probably come ahead in the whole Friends Who Give Me Things Area.

I couldn't really get over how grown-up Annabelle was about the whole First Day thing today. She's only six years-old, and already, she naturally excels at things that I struggle through daily. What a little rockstar! Despite the fact that she's 3 feet tall, I really looked up to her today. Way to go kid! Oh wait - even though she can understand and speak Spanish, shows no fear in the face The Unknown, and has no qualms about not having a peanut butter sandwich, she can't read this yet, so I totally win this one. Yeah, it may be cheap, but I'll take it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lipstick on a Pig

Aaaaaand the weekend is over. Boo. Worst of all? Geo's back in Alabummer. That's super lame. Four days and four nights was just not enough. We packed some good ol' fun times into the weekend though. I'm pretty sure that he had a great time, as did I, but the weather was NOT sweaty armpit weather like it is in Alabummer, so he was pretty stoked to wear jeans for the first time in a month. A month? Is that all he's been gone? It's going to be a long 20 - or I guess 19 now - months.

Speaking of wearing uncomfortable clothing (sort of...), Geo and I went to a crazy-fun wedding last night. His friend Dil got married in downtown Minneapolis, and I had been on a very intense dress search for the past week. After two shipments to/from Zappos, 3 shopping trips, and endless fashion shows for Claire, I had the options down to 2. One was red, drapey, Calvin Klein number that was oh-so-comfortable and just kid of fun. Very conservative, but very very comfortable. The other was a dress Claire has. It was another Calvin Klein, but was black, tight, and very very chic looking. It was much more confining and structured, so it kind of felt like wedging myself into a body corset made out of steel and concrete. But it looked pretty snazzy on. After begging for Geo's opinion for like 2 hours, he finally said "They're both fine. I guess the black one looks more Mad Men-ish though." Okay, so black it is!

So, as I'm getting ready, I found myself having to explain to Geo what Spanx are/do, which kind of ruined the illusion. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. But I got the dress on, stepped into my painfully high, yet amazingly awesome, nude stilettos, strung on a really amazing necklace (also courtesy of Claire) and looked like an actual woman. What are these thingies? Oh, curves that should be flaunted? OKAY!

And what's that, Pharon? You put on some actual makeup with some awesome smokey eyeshadow AND lip gloss? I'll bet you looked great.

And I did. I felt good. I did NOT feel good sitting down though. I had to sit like a Barbie doll - all stiff and awkward. But luckily, I spent most of the night on the dance floor and walking to and from the bar. No need for sitting! Here's the thing. The wedding was filled with Geo's guy friends who I've met and know, so I was surrounded by guys who, for the most part, would probably know me better as "one of the guys" and not a "a girlie girl", and a couple of them actually complimented me. One of them said "Whoa! You're a girl!?" Hilarious.

Anyway, it occurred to me, after a completely awesome person said I looked like a Kardashian - she was drinking a lot too - that I outta try and spruce myself up more often. Instead of opting for comfy jeans and a loose sweatshirt, it's okay to suck it all in and shake what my momma gave me. I mean, I'm a little concerned that I may have crushed a vital organ after such intense bondaging of my body, but who cares? And so WHAT if it took me 45 minutes to use the bathroom? I looked good. I felt good.

Today when I returned the dress to Claire, I commented that I should really start dressing more like her because I get a way better reaction. At that moment, Claire was wearing some cotton shorts and a big ol' corporate t-shirt. She briefly thought about me telling her I was going to start dressing like her, and then said "Okay, I guess I could try and get you another one of these t-shirts?" So sure, I guess we're not all 10's all the time. But it's good to know that deep down, under this awesomely comfortable 7, I've got a 10 version of myself that's a pretty good time too.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Mail Never Stops. NEVER! Muahahahaha!

SQUEEEEE! So, guess what everyone. Geo's coming home tonight! I'm so excited to see him, I can't even think straight! That outta go well for writing a blog...but I'm still going to tell you something tonight because it's that important. I'm pretty sure it's hush-hush, so keep your trap shut.

Okay. Between you and me? I'm pretty sure the U.S. Postal Service is up to something. Something...sinister. First stamp prices are still going up. And is it just a coincidence that Junk Mail is apparently increasing in volume? Oh, and the carriers vans are getting downright NICE. And they're cutting (or cut?) a whole day out of their delivery schedule? Something is definitely going on. And after what happened today, I think this goes further than anyone knows. MUCH FURTHER.

And remember: Because I don't know what kind of security clearance you guys have, we have to keep this on the D.L.

I had to send out 52 different items to different people. I had to send it through the mail, because UPS was too big of a P in my A to deal with when it came to that many shipments. Anyhoozle, I stuff the letters, drop in the little doohickie I was sending, and seal up all 52 envelopes. I drop them all in the mail, and never gave it another thought.

That's when it happened. It started, like all the most sinister plans, with a phone call. "Pharon, I got your letter, but there was no doohickie in there. But the little pouch that the doohickie was IN was still in the envelope, and there was a taped-up rip along the bottom of the envelope." Hmm. That's wacky, I thought. Anyway, moving on...

But then the phone rang again. And again. And before I knew it, about 10 people received envelopes in the same condition. I was scared. Could it be true that SOMEONE was messing with my mail? No. It couldn't be. The USPS is one of the most trusted, honorable organizations in the country! It how communication was...uh...communicated before computers! It couldn't be their fault, could it?!

It could! I dug deeper, you guys. MUCH deeper. Well, technically, I just looked at their website. And I asked the questions no one wanted me to ask. "Some of my mail was tampered with. Do you think there's any chance it could have been done on purpose?" DRAAAMMMAAA! I sent a complaint email, and SOMEONE must not have liked me poking around so much. I got a PHONE call from an actual Postal Office Supervisor. I told him that the damaged/stolen mail was coming in from all points of the country. I think the phones were tapped because all he said was "Okay, we'll look into this." What was he hiding?!

At this point there is no conclusion. YET. The "Supervisor" is getting back to me after some investigation. But like I said, I have the feeling that this goes all the way to the top. The President of Mail must surely be a part of this. How else do you explain the seemingly randomness - and precision - with which my mail was poked, prodded, and pilfered? Someone is pulling these strings, and I won't let them get away with it! If someone is stealing from my envelopes - which, as I mentioned, were sealed. With SPIT. Virtually impenetrable! - they could do it to you too! When will their greed stop!? First the stamp prices, the new outfits (err...uniforms), fancy dog-mace spray, flat-rate mailing of boxes no matter the weight, and now this?

No sirs, I will not roll over and be a victim to this senseless crime. I will not let you get away with robbing me! How am I ever going to feel safe when I mail something again? How will I know that no one has taken a peek at the fan letters I send to Conan O'Brien? I can't live this way, people! I WON'T live this way!!

The truth is out there, people, and I'm going to find it. You can count on me.

Now don't go calling me a hero, you guys. I'm just your average, normal, totally awesome, crime-fighting wonder woman is all. But if you MUST make a big deal about this, I can't stop you. When you get the plaque engraved, just remember it's "Pharon" with a P.H.