You Are At The Archives for 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 in

Traditional Christmas (Almost)

I was asked a week ago if I had any special Christmas traditions and I couldn’t think of any. My family does all the normal stuff. We open gifts Christmas morning, eat a nice meal in the afternoon, then my mom, my brother and I usually go to my Grandma’s house later in the day. We usually end the night watching Christmas movies.

It’s always special and fun to me but nothing really out of the ordinary. Actually, it sounds like kind of like a picture perfect Christmas, right? Well, almost. 

I tend to cause a little bit of mischief every year on Christmas, usually to my older brother, Eric.  Who wants a perfect Christmas anyway?

Before I get into how I terrorized my brother every year, it’ll make more sense if you know a little bit about him. He’s only a year older than me but we are almost complete opposites.

He’s six foot and looks like he would have made a pretty good football player (if he was into sports as a kid, which he wasn’t). He has a pretty mellow nature and doesn’t get excited about anything too often.

The holiday season tends to make him a little uncomfortable because he’s not really into the whole family time “let’s get together and emote.” So basically, Eric is never very thrilled about the holidays and mostly keeps to himself trying to stay under the radar. Unfortunately for him, I know his aversion for the holidays.

Over the years my stupid pranks usual involved wrapping my Christmas gift to Eric.

Several years in a row, I got the bright idea to wrap his gift using box, packing tape instead of regular office tape. After picking out some the most feminine Christmas paper, I would wrap the entire gift with layers and layers of packing tape. Not only did this make the gift completely water resistant it also made it extremely difficult and time consuming to open. Eric never really saw the humor in this.

Then there was the year that I decided to get a little bit artsy with my wrapping. I remember looking down at his gift that year and it looked so ordinary. I couldn’t possibly let him down with a normally wrapped gift. So I made it into a Christmas origami bird.
There were the years I wrapped his gift with as many bows and ribbon as I could find making his gift the most attention grabbing and ridiculous under the tree. 

I like to think that under his disgruntled attitude, deep down he really liked the special thought I put into wrapping his gifts (Yes, I do realize I was a total brat to grow up with).

My parent’s Christmas tree is another normal yearly Christmas tradition in our family. They always buy a real tree and decorate it with white lights and red and gold ornaments, taking time every year to find new ornaments to match the color scheme. It is always very pretty and smells perfectly like Christmas.
What a lovely tradition, right? Well, I have a tradition too. You know when you’re ornament shopping and in every store you find a couple of ornaments that make you wonder, “What is it?” or “Who in their right mind would buy that?” Well, you’ve just stumbled upon my own Christmas tradition. I buy those weird ornaments and put them on my parent’s Christmas tree.

Every year I go out in search of the most bizarre ornaments (It’s really not that hard to find some really weird ones, Americans have pretty bad taste). One of my favorite parts is the look on the cashier's face while they are wrapping whatever strange ornament I picked out. It’s always the same forced bright, smile while they’re choking out, “This is... sooo cute” or “What a fun ornament! Where are you going to put it?”

This should probably embarrass me. But what makes it all worthwhile is the exasperated look on my father’s face every year as I hang whatever sequined, glittered monstrosity on the front of their carefully planned and decorated tree.

These are the ornaments I found this year. Try to guess what the second one is. Don’t worry if it takes a little bit to figure it out what it is, that’s all part of the tradition.
Glitter, feather, bright purple

The tail is the best part

Hot pink with glitter
Sequined eyes = Christmas cheer

Sunday, December 12, 2010 in , ,

Marshmallow World

As I’ve mentioned before, I really like Christmas music. But not just any Christmas music, I like the really bad pop ones. Sure the old classics like Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, and Andy Williams are great. But let’s be honest here, there's something really entertaining about bad Christmas music, right?

It's not that I go out of my way to listen to bad Christmas music, but it's kind of like that drunken co worker at the yearly Christmas party. It’s not that you want see a him get smashed, poorly try to recreate the evolution of dance, or make suggestive jokes about being Santa’s “little helper,” but it’s more entertaining if it does happen. To me, pop Christmas music is that co worker doing the stanky leg.

My all time favorite Christmas song is by Wham! “Last Christmas.” The original version, not all these modern remakes. There is something so good about hearing 80s keyboard sounds on a Christmas song. And I mean, young George Michael? What else is there to say? Just makes you want to pour some bleach on your jeans and get a bitchin’ perm.

Another awfully good Christmas song has got to be “Christmas Shoes” by Newsong. I realize this is a touching song about the true spirit of Christmas and those special moments of humanity in the world. It's a very sad story that would break anyone's heart. But did they have to make it into such a horrible, cheesy song to make sensitive, middle age women cry?

Each year driving home for Christmas I got to hear this song every 20 minutes or so on the 24 hour Christmas station. Missourians really love a country singer singing about shoes and Jesus. Basically, what I’m trying to say is I know every word of this song right down to mimicking the little boy’s voice at the end (which does make me feel like a bad person).

I was feeling a little sad about not having a Christmas tree in my apartment this year. The last few years I’ve collected some Christmas decorations but I wasn’t able to bring any of them with me. So I broke down and bought a small tinsel tree. It’s silver with blue and glittery ornaments. It’s pretty gaudy but at least I have a little bit of Christmas spirit.

Charlie Brown would be so sad
 Oh yeah, we've been getting a lot of snow. Well, it's probably normal for Madison but it seems like a lot of snow to me. Here are some pictures from the latest snow fall.

Sunday, December 5, 2010 in ,

5.5 X 3.2

I’ve mentioned before I’m not very good at cooking. I go through spurts of trying to get better at it. Like after watching Julie & Julia or reading some terrifying article about Americans slowly killing ourselves because of our high fat diets. Or seeing some consumer alert about sneezing restaurant workers and the disturbing amounts of E coli on spatulas.

It doesn’t make me proud to admit that the only good thing about my cooking is that I know I washed my hands. But I have gotten a lot better at baking. And the holiday season has always seemed like the perfect time to bake some unhealthy food.

He's a closet Paula Deen fan
I’m not too bad at baking some things. I can make a mean vanilla cupcake so by default I’m not too bad at cakes. Really I should stick with those. But every year I find these recipes and I think to myself, “Oh, that would be really good. I like cranberries and pumpkin, I’m sure they would taste great together in a cookie!”

That’s when things start going wrong. I don’t have the culinary skills to pick a recipe by just looking at the ingredients. And unfortunately I don’t have a taste tester to warn me before I take a bunch of weird cookies to school to feed some potential new friends.

That’s the thing about moving to a new town, you don’t have a special friend to taste test your experiments... ahem, cooking. A friend is going to be honest but still nice about it. They’re not going to spit it out in front of your face while making loud, theatrical, gagging noises. A kind taste tester is a true friend.

This is also a good opportunity to see how long your current relationship is going to last. For example, you’ve just spent hours trying to find the perfect recipe online. You’ve found all the ingredients at the grocery store and just spent the rest of the afternoon mixing, measuring, and stirring. You're hovering in the lava hot kitchen because it’s been preheating for the last two hours as you debated how lumpy a batter should really look.

Enter your new boyfriend. You have high hopes for this one. He’s got a great personality, clever sense of humor, and to top it all off a lush head of hair. He  tastes the food of your laborious day and remarks unenthusiastically, “Well, it’s not bad.” I give that relationship two weeks.

Since it is the holiday season, I already did a little baking. Some of it turned out good and some not so good.

Cranberry- pear crisp. Not bad.
With my apartment being so small, it makes sense to have a small kitchen. But small doesn’t even begin to describe it. My kitchen is only about 17 square feet. It has a beverage refrigerator. Yeah, just like the one you had in your freshman dorm.

So damn cozy
It’s hard to cook much of anything in such a tiny space, let alone try to mix and stir baking batter but it seemed to work out OK.

The vast counter space
Well, the pumpkin- cranberry cookies didn’t really work out but that’s not my kitchen’s fault. The cranberry- pear crisp turned out really well. However, it should have come with a warning that you’ll attract older divorced men.

Saturday, November 20, 2010 in


November is such a beautiful time of year. It’s the time when people come together. Whether it’s because of the holidays, time off work or school, or just bitching about the cold weather. Either way people always seem more friendly in the colder months.

Plus, November is the start of the holiday season. Stores are gearing up for Christmas shopping sprees and grocery stores are stocking up on holiday cookies and eggnog. But maybe my favorite part is the Christmas music.

It’s not that I want to listen to Britney croaking out My Only Wish or Mariah Carey’s overly impassioned All I want for Christmas is You, it’s that I have to. There’s just something about the unabashed, suggestive, Christmas music that puts me in the Holiday spirit.
The true essence of Christmas (in CD form)

After Thanksgiving my car radio stays on the 24 hour Christmas station.
No matter what.
You want to change the station? I hope you like walking.

Thanksgiving is such a strange holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I love every second of it. I mean what could be better? All you do is sit around with family and friends and eat a bunch of comfort food all day. It’s like the one time of year where you won’t get judged for being a total glutton. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure it says that in the bible.

While Thanksgiving will always have a special place in my heart, there is one negative thought that plagues my mind year after year. Let me set the scene for you.

Past Thanksgivings between 2004-2009:

I’m home for the Thanksgiving holiday to spend a brief couple of days with my family. On Thanksgiving morning I wake up and help my parents get the meal ready. While watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, we set the beautiful table that my mom decorated days in advance.
Even Martha would be jealous
We’re no Norman Rockwell painting but it’s still a nice family gathering.

As I sit down at this beautiful table, smell all the comforting food, I look at my lovely family and their smiling faces, I can’t help but picture this:
Yes, that is the gluttony scene from the movie Seven, in which a man is forced to feed himself until he literally bursts. It's so strange because usually if Brad Pitt is in a movie all I think about is how good his hair must smell, but not this movie. This movie has had a strange pull on my mind, particularly this gluttony scene.

Just when I couldn’t imagine how this horrible image of a large man slumped over, face- planting into a bowl of spaghetti could get any more vivid in my mind, it does. As people reach for second helpings and start bringing pies to the table, there is always someone that says, “I ate so much, I think I’m about to burst!”

This is usually the time I reach for another glass of wine.

Later in the day as everyone is sleeping in their turkey coma (and I’ve checked all their pulses), I try to distract my horrified mind by watching the news. After seeing which local redneck tried to deep fried the turkey in his garage this year, I start to feel a little better and remember all the things I have to be thankful for.

Like not having a family that plays horse shoes with toilet seats.

If you are spending the holiday with friends or family you might want to check out this website to avoid any Thanksgiving Day blunders. And to cleanse your mental palette:
Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Get Some Harmony

 A couple nights in a row my mom was teasing me about boys and told me I should join eHarmony. She mentioned the site was having a 10 day free trial. She was joking or at least that is what she claims.

But this got me to thinking, What if I actually did join eHarmony? What if I did like hundreds of other Americans and just signed up?

I could totally do this. I could make up a profile that listed weird hobbies and described my life in a vague but positive light. I can sound completely rational and normal to a stranger.

Back off haters, I can be date material.

I started to think about what I would put in my profile. I’m obviously not perfect. But really, any of my flaws could be perceived, if stated in a different light, as something cute and charming. While I hate lies, I see nothing wrong with sugar coating the truth.

Flaws = Flaws eHarmonized
• Messy eater, should really never eat in public = Enjoys quiet meals at home
• Aspiring collector of velvet, unicorn paintings = Keen eye and passion for art
• Stress is my only form of exercise = Refuses to use a Shake Weight
• Irrational fears = Dreamer that lives in a world of possibilities
• Socially Awkward = Musician
• Strange sense of humor that tends to be off-putting = Dog Person
• Unusual and creepy memory for other people’s life events = Likes board games

See? I can sound like a completely normal person. It’s all about the presentation.

But back to the plan. eHarmony? There’s where the magic happens. I mean, if you’re going to do something weird and get some good stories out of it, why not join an internet dating website?

The only problem is, my pesky, pesky conscience. It takes all the fun out of my life (but luckily keeps me from being a sociopath).

Always let your conscience be your guide...
Unlike Ted Bundy
People actually join eHarmony to find their soul mate, right? Some of these people are lonely and just want to find someone to spend their days with. There’s nothing wrong with that. Can I really just go on there to meet a bunch of weird guys so I can have some silly stories to tell?

There are 20 million registered users on eHarmony. Granted, at least 10 million of them are probably perverts. Four million are either of gold-diggers, con artists, or people with strange robot fetishes and sadly least one million are senior citizens, mistakenly signed up because they thought it was the AARP website.

So I’m betting at least five million of these people are really trying to find their special someone. The Sonny to their Cher. The Cheech to their Chong. The Ernie to their Bert. Um... none of those really made any sense as successful couples. oh wait! how about:
I can’t just go online willy nilly, signing up for an online dating site that I have no intention of being realistic about. I can’t just make a mockery of the 5 million people and their dream to find their true partner. No matter how silly I think it may be, eHarmony has helped some people find the love of their lives.

I mean, we did have a theory teacher that found his perfect match on some Catholic Singles website (He really shouldn’t have shared that in the school newspaper... ).

So, for any of you out there, joining or thinking about joining eHarmony, I sincerely wish you luck. And just a few words of advice, if a guy tells you his favorite movie is Weird Science, move along.

Saturday, October 30, 2010 in

A Look Back: Halloween

Happy Halloween! I can’t really say that I’ve celebrated Halloween in a few years or even remember most of my Halloweens past the age of 13.

Well, except for Halloween Car-Gate of 2008. Two years ago on Halloween someone tried to steal my car. I was at an old boyfriend’s house in Kansas City and some hooligans wedged the window open, tore into the steering wheel column and tried to hot wire my car. I don’t know anything about stealing cars but apparently they did a poor job. I was left with a busted up car that is still trying to recover from the trauma. Isn’t it strange that after living four years in St. Louis, which ranked in the top five most dangerous city in America all four years, someone tried to steal my car in K.C.?

But most of my Halloweens have been pretty nice. Like most American children, I loved dressing up in costumes. My brother and I always had interesting costumes, that were usually made by my mother. Eric, my older brother, usually went as something weird or scary and I always went as something cute. Pretending to be something scary was... well just too scary for me. I’ve never had a very firm grip on reality.

My favorite one from my childhood was probably the year I went as a unicorn. It was pink and purple (because I was girl) with a hood that had a gold horn attached. My brother went as a dinosaur.

Couple of Extinct Animals
Best Unicorn Eva
I think my poor mother had a hard time figuring out how to make her one- year- old daughter into a unicorn but she was a magic worker.

Then there was the year that I went as a blue and yellow butterfly. I remember really loving this costume too. Actually I loved it so much that a few weeks after Halloween I tried to duplicate it by taking fingernail polish and making circles all over my face.  The end result was probably pretty terrifying. As was getting the fingernail polish off my face.

As I look back on all the costumes I’ve been over the years, I noticed a common trend. One year I went as a gypsy, another as a pirate, then there was the red-wig/Elvira costume.
Living a life of crime

Now, that's some good hair.

What do all these costumes have in common? An emphasized dark, well manicured eyebrow. My mother didn’t just make my costumes she also did my makeup for Halloween too. And the one thing that stayed consistent as the finishing touch to each costume was the thick, cakey layer of mascara lavishly applied to my young brows. I’m not really sure what this was or how it went with each costume but year after year, a thick eyebrow I had.

Maybe the funniest costume this was applied to was the year I went as a gypsy. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this but I still remember the costume. I wore a long colorful skirt with a white shirt, big hoop ear rings, and lots of bracelets. As my mother painted my face with colorful eye shadows and added a “Marilyn” mole, she topped it all off with a very thick, stereotypical, politically incorrect layer of mascara to my eyebrows.

Here are some of the other costumes from my past. I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween.

Spiderman and a Precious Ballerina

Oh Eric...

Why did the ghost go into the bar?  For the Boos
(Warning: this joke is not going to make you any friends)

Sunday, October 24, 2010 in ,

Irrational fear #2

So I’m not much of a cooker.

Single girl, living alone, I don’t need a lot of leftovers in the refrigerator judging me. But being single isn’t the only reason why I don’t do a lot of cooking. I have a pretty short attention span so I tend to forget about whatever is on or in the stove (smoke alarms are horrible cooking timers). As you can guess, I haven't always had the best luck at cooking.

My earliest cooking experience was in high school. I was cooking bacon and was getting really impatient.  Impatience seems to the key factor with most of my poor choices. So I turned the heat up to high (bad decision) and walked away, probably to do something important like watching reruns of Boy Meets World.

Shawn Hunter, what a dream boat
When I returned to the kitchen the bacon was a smoking pan of fire.

As one bad decision usually leads to another, I went screaming out of the kitchen. The only way I can explain this is by my overzealous Fight or Flight response, which for me is 90% flight and a pitiful 10% fight. But on a positive note, it’s the main reason why I’ve lived to the prime age of 24 and escaped natural selection so far (fingers crossed for another 24 years).

Anyway, my brother put out the fire while my mother fanned the smoke alarms. From then on I was banned from the kitchen.

My next cooking experiences came when I moved out of my parent’s house. As I’ve mentioned, I was living off campus in an apartment with a pretty nice kitchen. Oh yeah, and it had a really old gas stove. Welcome to irrational fear #2: Gas Stove.

I still remember my mom showing me how to light the burners. You just turn the knob over to light and then adjust the temperature. “It’s just that easy,” she said.

Just that easy? Oh really.

The first time lighting the burner I almost caught my eyebrows on fire. I kept turning the knob to light, but it never started. So giving it the ol’ college try, I kept turning the gas knob over and over and over, until finally the burner did light. The spark ignited the 2 minutes of gas I had been releasing and exploded with a giant burst flame. To make matters worse I had a pan on the burner which deflected the fire directly to my face. That demonic burner almost got me. 

From that day on, it seemed as though the stove was toying me. Lighting easily some days and stubbornly not lighting others. Then there were the days where it would light so quickly that the flame sparked 12- inches above the burner.

Even the ticking sound as it tried to light sounded demented, mocking me and my pathetic culinary skills, waiting for it’s chance to melt my face off. This stove was playing a deranged game of cat and mouse, and I was terrified of the day when I was bound to get caught. It looked a little something like this:

This is offensive to anyone who has a mustache

Fast forward to August 2010. I’m moving into my new apartment and as I looked around, to my horror, there stood a gas stove.

Unlike the old stove this one is shiny and relatively new. It’s also about half the size of my old gas stove. But it's size seems strange to me, almost child- like. And by child- like I mean the Satan child, Damien from The Omen.

That's not fruit punch
I really shouldn’t be so hard on this stove. It hasn’t once tried to catch my eyebrows on fire. And it lights within seconds, never toying with me but calmly sizzling to a low flame.

Got any weird birthmarks?
But I just can’t seem to get over my fear of it burning my face off.
I guess like all relationships, it'll take time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Getting Lost

I have a horrible sense of direction. I get lost ALL the time.

Like the time I was going to an audition at Powell Hall in St. Louis and found myself cruising the streets of East St. Louis.

Or when I was playing a concert in Illinois with the Youth Symphony and got lost somewhere in very rural Illinois. Did you ever see the that X- Files episode with the incest family? (click here to watch the trailer to the episode) I think it was filmed in Illinois...
Hey, families are complicated. Don't judge.

But the worst part is, it seems to be contagious.

Like the time Ann and I were meeting this guy outside of Kansas City and we took the same wrong turn four times (I still have no idea how that even happens?).

My parents have supplied me with all the special equipment to help me get around: an iPhone, GPS, city maps, AAA card.

The problem is I tend to get overconfident in my abilities to navigate my way around. In the last month I haven’t gotten lost once, not once. So, naturally I was starting to feel comfortable, a little too comfortable.

I went to the store yesterday and on my way home I came across some traffic. Being the impatient driver that I am, I thought to myself, “I’ll just take a short cut!” So I took the first right turn that approached.

And this is how every “And then I got lost...” story happens. Once one random turn happens, I compulsively make another and then another... until I am in the middle of no where. At this point my mind conjures up the chase scene from Jeepers Creepers (click here to scare yourself) and I spend half the time trying to find a familiar landmark and the other looking over my shoulder for creepy scarecrow vans.
Oh shiz
While driving around aimlessly, I always look at the gas gauge. And without fail, every time I get lost my gas is on a quarter of a tank. To a normal person, with a normal car, this would be totally fine. But my car, Ol’ Reliable, is not a normal car. It is a 1995 Jeep Wrangler with over 200,000 miles on it.

Sure, I love my car. I think it’s cool but it’s kind of like dating a bad-boy. They’re tough, they always look good, they’re a lot of fun but at the end of the night you’re left pulling their head out the toilet and trying to get vomit out of your favorite shirt.

Anyway besides my car leaving me stranded places (and a long list of other misbehavior), the gas gauge isn’t quite right. When the gauge reads a half a tank, there is really only a fourth of a tank of gas in my car.

Of course I tend to never check any of the gauges on my dashboard and that makes for a bad combination. One of these days I’m going to be lost, out of gas, on foot and things are going to get real stupid. Hopefully, I won’t get kidnapped by one of the locals and forced to become a sister- wife ...

Needless to say, it took me an extra 50 minutes to get home last night. Next time I’ll just wait out the traffic.

Peanut Butter Finger Update: (or Peanut Butter Terrorism Update)

I took the finger-scooped White Chocolate Wonderful back to Target yesterday. Mostly I just wanted someone else to be shocked and grossed out by it too. So I took it to the customer service guy and explained and showed him the peanut butter. I was surprised, and a little disappointed that he wasn’t even shocked. It appears this wasn’t the first time a finger scoop has been found. But I wasn’t satisfied by his calm and cool attitude and I just kept saying, “Someone scooped it out WITH THEIR FINGER.”  The guy just starting laughing at me and said, “Oh yeah, that’s disgusting.” But the good news is they did let me exchange it for a new jar. Yes, I did check it for finger scoops.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Crew setting up the stage the night before.
On September 28, 2010 President Obama visited the UW Madison campus. It was an exciting day and started out as such.

In the morning, while walking to school, there were gates sectioning off Library Mall which fortunately (or unfortunately for the Debbie Downers) is across from the Humanities building. While walking through the gates I got to see the secret service huddle up while getting instructions for the day. I wanted to get a picture of them because most of them were “disguised” as college students equipped with backpacks and chucks, but I pictured myself getting chased down and tackled. This wouldn’t have been so bad but they probably would have taken my camera away (Cue Paul Simon here).

School went on as usual except my afternoon rehearsal was cancel so students could attend the Obama visit. The speech was scheduled for 5:30 and the gates opened at 3:30. I naively thought I get in line at 2:30 and be able to get through the gates. As I made my way to the back of the line, I think I passed the 24,000 people it was estimated attended the speech. I’ve never seen so many people standing in a line before in my life. This will strangely make me rethink the lengthy lines during the holiday season.

While waiting in line for two hours, I was able to do some Wisconsin people watching. There were the expected protesters, the loud supporters, and the biggest category, the people bitching about standing in line.
But there was some entertainment. Like the older gentleman making his way to the back of the line with his wife. He stopped and tried to “sell his ticket” to the group in front of me. His wife responded with dismay, “He seems to think that’s funny.” After seeing this, the older man standing behind me tried unsuccessfully to think of variations on this joke. In my opinion, when a joke is already corny, it doesn’t need variations. And then there was the guy walking to the end of the line with some little kids, who entitle the lengthy line as: “Obama’s Forever Line.” I thought this was really funny at the time because it did feel like Obama’s forever line. Looking back, it’s not so funny.

After waiting for over two hours, we were told the gates had closed and it was a free for all to sit on the hill facing Library Mall. However, the sound cut in and out and there was not a screen to view. I ended up leaving to get a sandwich.
Blood shot eyes from being among the public too long.
The day took an even worse turn when I returned home that evening to find my car had been towed. Apparently a request was made to clear the street my car was parked on because it was on part of Obama's exit. When I called to find out where my car was towed to the police women said the no parking signs had been up for the previous two days. Isn't it funny how an entire block full of cars seemed to miss these signs and were towed? (Something smells fishy to me...) 

The Obama Day started out with such promise and ended with a total disaster.

I understand that it is not Obama’s fault that I didn’t get to see him, or that I had to wait in line for hours to sit on a grassy hill, or even that my car was towed. But I can’t shake this pathetic feeling of blame. As I looked at the empty street, where my car used to be legally parked just that morning, I couldn’t help thinking, “Hilary wouldn’t have towed my car.”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...