You Are At The Archives for 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011 in


Thanksgiving has come and passed, and the horrid memory of Black Friday is becoming less vivid, officially marking the Christmas Season. I've got the puny tinsel tree out of the closet, Christmas music blaring from the radio, cards and gift buying on my to do list, and a long list of holiday recipes ready to fill my tiny apartment with Christmas joy. It truly is the best time of the year.

But every year there's one thing that tries it's hardest to dampen my Christmas spirit. My car. It's the Scrooge to my Tiny Tim.
...nope {via}
The Christmas season is it's favorite time of year to break down. And right on cue, it broke down last week. 

For about a week it took it's pretty little time starting up. It would groan and shake for about five minutes but finally start so I could drive to work. On a Friday, it decided 20 degrees was just too cold, sputtered then died, refusing to restart. Leaving me with public transit to get to work.

It's been awhile since I've rode the bus and I'd forgotten all the characters you meet. As I waited at the bus stop, I remembered an episode of the Late Show in which David Letterman was giving relationship advice. To paraphrase, he said if you can't find a date you should just ride the bus around and you're bound to find someone.

After paying the fare, I made my way to the middle of the bus. After deciding not to sit by the twitching guy, I found a seat by young man. He was drooling. Letterman has clearly never ridden the bus.
Don't follow relationship advice from this man {via}
After a weekend of public transit, I took my car to the repair man on Monday morning. He has long hair pulled back into a ponytail, listens to screaming 80s heavy metal, and doesn't have all of his teeth. There's an assortment of half naked girls on the walls and a pirate flag hanging from the ceiling of his shop.
Doppelganger {via}
He's also the best repair guy I've ever had and at the top of my Christmas card list.

So I've got my wheels back and it's back to listening to the 24 hour Christmas music station, God Bless us, everyone.

Oh, and what says Christmas more than Bing Crosby and young Bowie dueting? You're welcome.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm not 21

Here are 10 reasons why (or Reasons I'm not aging gracefully):

1. After four hours of sleep I no longer have the stamina to jump out of bed, pound a couple espressos and then run around like I'm hyped up on meth. Instead, I do a very good impression of a zombie.
She's not 21 anymore either... {via}
2. Instead of dreaming about Ryan Gosling, I now dream about a dish washer.
3. Common Saturday night at 21: Going out. Common Saturday night at 25: Sitting in a chair, feet in a lavender foot soak, falling asleep at 7:30.
4. Credit cards no longer seem like a magical, wish granting, VIP card.
5. At 21 I wanted a boyfriend. At 25 I would be just as happy with a masseur, a personal grocery shopper, and a chef (I got 99 problems but a ...).
6. I no longer get food poisoning from my own cooking (on average). Expiration dates, unlike speed limits, are not suggestions.
7. Eating three pieces of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory (Year 2007) is no longer an epic account of youthful metabolism, but a cautionary tale of "Minute on the lips, forever on the hips."

8. Some shoes have such a thing as arch support. I now know about it. 
9. The allure of apartment living loses it's luster when you can hear bathroom sounds from the upstairs neighbors. Ew.
10. I used to wear one carefully planned outfit all day. Now when I get home it's elastic waist sweats. Next step: Uggs. Aging truly is scary.
Please, no. {via}

Friday, October 14, 2011 in ,

Scary and Not

Remember in Scream when Drew Barrymore is blond and she's on the phone with Ghostface and he asks, "Do you like scary movies?" And then there's the crazy chase scene through the house, fire, blood and finally ending with (spoiler alert!) a hanging?!

I don't watch scary movies because I can't handle them. And by scary, I am including movies shown on the Lifetime channel and anything with Christopher Walken (he creeps me out). But once a year, I make an exception. In the weeks leading up to Halloween I really get into the spirit. Not in a gothy, hang out in morgues, seance kind of way but in a much more normal way like decorating your house and watching people do weird things, like this:
Pig tails were a good choice {via}
geez {via}
I admit, I haven't watched any scary movies lately (besides Muriel's Wedding which was scary in a very different way) but I have been appreciating all the spooky and bizarre decorations popping up around town. It seems decorations can go two ways: scary or disappointing. One example: a couple streets from my parent's home there is a family that puts out a cemetery every year. I know what you're thinking. Cemetery? That sounds creepy. But no, this fake cemetery is not creepy. Why? It's tiny. Not Steven King Pet Sematary...
Cujo: The Conclusion? {via}
but smurf graveyard.
picture true to size
From what I learned last year, Madison loves it's Halloween. They really do it up right. I've tried to take some pictures of some good ones.
Time to share: (this could be as bad as any slide show vacation pictures...)

Stage Left... Packers?
Stage Right


The last one is my favorite because it reminds me of a scene from my favorite movie growing up, The Last Unicorn. Yeah, it's got unicorns, wizards, Mia Farrow. If you've never seen it, drop what you're doing right now, call your parents and demand to know why they ruined your childhood. Then watch this:
Hope everyone is enjoying their fall. I have to include one more picture. This one isn't a Halloween decoration it's just a painting I found in an antique mall. I think that makes it scarier.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 in ,

Creepy and Old

It's almost October and while Halloween is over a month away, creepy things are happening in Madison.

Heard singing outside my window on a Tuesday night.
Troubling: I thought I was having an "In your eyes" Lloyd/Diane moment.
Troubling#2: Feeling crestfallen when I realized it was just my drunken neighbors having a karaoke patio party.
Love is: an unforgettable boombox serenade. {via}
Still being completely grossed out by Silence of the Lambs.
Troubling: Finding this in an antique mall.

Midnight on a Friday. New neighbors are having a party. It's loud.
Rant: New freshman class of UW, if you're going to listen to 70s rock, know it don't blow it. AND it's not cute to loudly group sing Bad Romance, that retched Barbie song or anything by ABBA. And please. If you're going to keep me up when I work at 7am, I prefer if you didn't act like you were an extra on a Disney sitcom. I want to hear name calling, trashy fights, a colorful array of bad choices and the next morning, I want to see someone passed out near my car. I was not only tired the next day, but disappointed.

Having a bad day.
Troubling: That frown is turned upside down just by hearing Hall and Oates on the radio.
Now that's good stuff.

While jogging at night, realizing a lot of people leave their blinds open and you can see straight into their house.
Troubling: Making eye contact with someone realizing they should start closing their blinds.

Having a day job.
Troubling: Becoming one of those crotchety old people that grumble about rowdy parties and the future of America's youth.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

There'll be days like this

I can cause accidents, too {via}
Ever get the feeling you're at the wrong place at the wrong time? I do, every time I drive into the Wal-mart parking lot (just look at

But seriously, I have been in the wrong place at the wrong time many, many times. Like the time I was robbed of a foot modeling career. Robbed, you say? Yes, my friends, pull up a chair and brace yourself for a tragic story of broken dreams, damaged limbs and the most horrifying of all, cheap pumps.
But not with a spider man t-shirt {via}
It was early summer, before the mosquitoes arrived in swarms and the humidity thankfully hadn't had it's protein shake. The college student career had sputtered to a humdrum end and a very similar career had seeped in, unemployment.

The next weeks were filled with hand cramps from filling out job applications and tired, blood shot eyes from scouring career websites. That is until one day a craigslist ad jumps out of the computer screen and with it fancy daydreams of grocery shopping and change for laundry.

Female Foot model wanted.
Pay is cash, same day. Mail me for more info or to apply. 
Compensation: $5000

Now I wouldn't say I have attractive feet but they're not disgusting either. I have ten toes, none of which are pointing in weird directions. But more importantly, how hard could it be to be a foot model? I 've considered a lot worst jobs. Like the lengthy time I considered being part of a three night clinical trial for untested medical supplements or the much shorter time I spent considering being an egg donor. So I don't have to swallow unpatented drugs with the possibility of lifelong side effects or have to worry about an "Are you my mommy?" moment? Sign me up. 
That night I put aside my unemployment woes and went out with some friends. As I step through the doors and onto the dance floor of a local club, fate snatched the dream of summer leisure right out of my grasp. 

It's dark. There are strobe lights. Grinding, gyrating and pose striking are happening. Madonna, Lady Gaga and Ke$ha are crooning. Welcome to Plan B. After getting a drink, the group makes our way to the dance floor. Within minutes a drunk slip of a girl lashes out. As she stumbles around to whatever her drunken mind is hearing, she stomps, in a pair of cheap, patent leather (plastic), platform stilettos onto my right foot. Cheap Heels never realized that her 115 lbs had safely snuffed out my modeling career. Wrong place: Me on a dance floor. Wrong time: Any time after Cheap Heels consumed her second, third or fourth drink.

The next morning I awoke with a swollen green, blue and grayish limb that was once a well proportioned foot.
It swelled up to resemble something Detective Briscoe and hunky Chris Noth would have found in the Hudson River.
Detective Mr. Big and Briscoe {via}
Did I go to the doctor? No, because hospitals smell, I don't like needles, and relaying this stupid story seemed embarrassing and kind of pathetic (Obviously I've lowered my standards since then).

That's right,  I could be lounging on a beach, slipping a classy cocktail (like a sidecar) and avoiding the calls of Gisele and Heidi because let's face it, my career has a much stronger life line. My manservant would inject the money makers with botox, followed by a rejuvenating honey and crush pearl rub down (clearly I have no idea how models spend their time... but I can't be that far off...). But no. I don't have a manservant and not even the models in a Sears catalog would be jealous of my life.

Instead I'm working at one of the stores in the mall. I guess I should be thankful, usually models end up with some horrible cocaine addiction or married to Charlie Sheen. And being a foot model? That's like being the Assistant to the Manager instead of being the Assistant Manager. Just the thought of being like the lady in this video is horrifying enough to make me reconsider the medical supplement testing. All's well that ends well.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 in

Working Girl

Before we get started, breathe in deeply my friends. Can you smell it? Can you smell the sweet and glorious scents of apple pie, caramel, and cinnamon? Can you feel the crisp breeze and hear the crunch of colorful dried leaves? OK OK, I've been drinking caramel lattes and found an apple cinnamon air filter in the back of my closet. But you can't deny it, fall is in the air.
Hello, handsome {via}
So I've gone from being college girl to working girl. In the past when I heard "working girl," I always thought Hilary suits paired with white socks and walking orthopedic sneakers or well... a lady of the night. But that's not me, I'm not a mall walker and I haven't completely given up on life yet.

It's not that I've never had a job in my life. I've had quite a few actually, and they've all had their interesting tid bits and quirks. Like when I worked in that crafting supply store and had to memorize the all the sale items for the week. My favorite part was all the religious pamphlets I received from customers in prairie dresses on how my soul was weeping or the dangers of living a life of disobedience. Strangely, I was the only employee to receive these. Must be the reddish hair.

Witches come in many shapes and sizes. Damn bigotry {via
I never really thought about working. Which is probably not good considering I spent the last seven years trying to study my way into employment. Not such a bad way to spend seven years. I mean, I could have spent it chasing the dragon or filling my body with poorly drawn unicorn tattoos.
deserving of a religious pamphlet {via}
Back up plan? I always thought I'd just marry rich but everyone knows that's for the 24 and younger crowd. I seemed to have missed that youthful bus.
... Sorry, sister suffragette {via}
Is this my dream job? Am I fulfilling some life goal of being a customer service representative? No, and no one appreciates your sarcasm.

But for now it barely pays the bills. Really isn't that the 'Murican dream? I did get the urge to replace the rear window of my car with a patriotic decal, bald eagle soaring across a waving flag.
Holy future, Batman {via}
The best part about having a job, besides the ability to buy a toothpaste and no longer having to contemplate if a spit bath is a real thing, is the new found camaraderie I've found with other employed persons. You get to listen to stories about people's pets/kids/fishing trips, have hearty belly laughs about activities planned for days off, and best of all, listen to forced conversations about the weather.

Is this adulthood? I googled bunions yesterday.

Thursday, August 4, 2011 in ,

Measuring a Year

Five thousand, twenty-five hundred, six hundred minutes... how long will it take you to get that song out of your head?

It's reflection time. Just fair warning, there is probably going to be a lot of over sharing in this one.
Reflections. Think Christina Aguilera, pre-dirty years {via}
This post makes me wish I kept one of those creepy diaries that documents every minute and every detail, of every day (I know you people are out there with your closets full of weird notebooks), but I don't like diaries. While I do love The Notebook (explanation: I'm a girl, Josh Gosling),
'nuff said {via}
I haven't had a love affair worth recording and frankly, I do a lot of things I hope to immediately forget.

But I digress, this is a reflection on the last year living in a 240 square foot apartment and the beginning of a new life in yet another city.

Let's begin with living in this apartment, the center of this blog. It hasn't been easy. I've never lived in such a tiny space for such a long duration of time. Have I kept my sanity? What little I started out with, probably (it's not like I think there is a little man living in my head with a pick axe, whistling dwarf tunes, slowly chipping away at my sanity). I've never had a problem with claustrophobia before, but some days it does feel like the walls are suffocating me and I just have to get out for awhile. I thought of a good simile for claustrophobia, but during editing found it a little heartless.
give it a rest
When I left Kansas I made an oath... well, to summarize: to stay single for a year. It might surprise you but since I was eighteen, I've either been in a relationship or dating someone, never staying single for more than a month or two. So, how did this year go? Unfortunately, it was incredibly easy to stay single (besides one little, tiny, three week long, snafu... but let's just ignore that one...).

Fun Fact! Parking tickets: over 20. Preposterous? Not exactly. 
No, this doesn't make me (or my parents) proud.

Something that does make me proud? My new emerging sense of direction. I haven't been lost since that time I went to the art fair and had to circle the capital three times before I found the street I live on (OK OK, this happened a few weeks ago, I was on foot, and yes, I only live three blocks from the capitol. But that doesn't mean it isn't completely confusing, disorienting, and could happen to anyone).
Nevertheless, over the last year I think I've done some growing. Luckily because I've been exercising, it hasn't all been in my pant size but rather a growth in a more philosophical way. Or like smarts and stuff. I'm not too vain that I can't admit to some mistakes. But as I reflect on the last year, I didn't think there would be so many. Someday I'm sure I'll sit down, evaluate my poor but consistent choices, and listen to MJ's Man in the Mirror.

But for now, as a quick fix, here is a list of what I learned in the past year and my advice to anyone who might need it (...pretty much if you've read this far, that means you):

• Don't sign up for a free online dating website (Hint: it starts with OK and ends with Cupid.) No matter how much fun your friends say it's going to be, you'll find yourself shocked by graphic and crude propositions and left finding a new favorite coffee shop because one of them came from a much older barista with a memory for faces.
• Eating chili on a hot summer day, bad idea. Eating chili on a hot summer day then going out for a run, worse idea.
• Just because it's adorable and has big brown eyes doesn't mean it should live in your apartment.
This applies to men as well.
• Uggs and leggings substituted as pants makes a vein in my forehead twitch.
• Mixing cleaning chemicals while scrubbing a small bathroom without ventilation is a bad idea. 
• If someone says something mean to you but in a nice friendly way, it's still mean. Even if they wink.
• Average life of a house plant, one month.
Not even a fake bird could hold this plant to life.
• Loving 80s music is probably a little odd for a 20 something year old. Still wanting to grow up to be in an all girl, glam rock band? Depressing. 
Jem and the Holograms ruined my life {via}
• Some people love peanut butter on bread. Others love peanut butter so much that they'll scoop it out of a jar, in a store, with their grimy, heathen fingers.
• Haters love to hate.

Throughout the past year, I've had some trying times, made new friends, witnessed bizarre behavior, started new hobbies, and made my fair share of mistakes with a few minor triumphs sprinkled in to make getting out of bed everyday feasible. I haven't decided yet if moving to Madison was a good decision for me, but it's definitely given me a new prospective on life and a few good stories to make my life seem interesting. 
So here's to you: the city of Madison for not completely crushing my spirit, my "cozy" apartment for giving me shelter and not snipping those last strands of sanity, and to the all readers I've accumulated over the last year with this blog. It's been a quite a year. Let's dig deep and make it through another.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 in ,

Fuzzy and Ichy in Madison

Another week. This time, a little less nudity and a little more bizarre.

Walking to yoga class.
Troubling: Seeing a stuff tiger perched outside someones window (We'll come back to this...)
I wish it was still cheeky to say, "Hide your kids, hide your wife..." (but that's so 2010)

Finishing up an evening shift. An attractive man approaches.
Troubling: He asks where the Preparation H is located.

Going to the mall
Troubling: Going to the mall.
Troubling #2: Justin Bieber behind a perfume counter.
Troubling #3: People that walk around the mall with their bicycle helmets. Still attached (This isn't Garden State. And you're not a cute, Natalie Portman, pathological liar, pretending to have seizures. Remove the helmets).
Faces blurred because I'm not completely dead on the inside.
A 30-something couple cruising through town in a bright green, top down, Jeep wrangler.
Troubling: Spotting the 3-foot-tall stuffed Shrek sitting in the backseat. Wearing a seat belt.
Troubling #2: No children in the car.

Spotting several stuffed animals placed randomly throughout Madison. Like this one:
Spotting #3
Troubling: The 30 seconds I spent wondering if Madison had a Plushies fetish.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 in ,

Summer Heat

Hot town, it’s summer in the city.

It’s been hot. Like really hot.

When I moved into my apartment almost a year ago, I was told the building didn’t have central air. If you wanted air conditioning you needed a window unit, “Well, it doesn’t get that hot in Wisconsin, I’ll just save the money.” Seriously, nothing makes you feel more alive than an apartment without air conditioning. It’s like your own personal detox spa (without the colon cleansing). If I didn’t get out all the toxins this week, they're staying for the long haul.
Scientific drawling of a toxin {via}
Weather and I have always had a weird relationship (as you can imagine, that pretty much describes every relationship I’ve been apart of since I was eighteen). From attacking my umbrellas to sporadically burning my pastey skin some sunny days but not others, to hiding icy death traps, and my favorite, creating sudden tornado gusts on skirt days, Weather and I could write an article of warning signs for bad relationships. It's like the worst boyfriend you’ve ever had. Kind of like what I would expect dating Richard Simmons would be like.
Say what you will, but that guy's got the gams {via}
In front of people, he'll let you borrow his dolfin shorts and be all fun, dramatic and sweaty, but behind closed doors? He'll choke a bitch. Haven’t you seen the Richard Simmons outtake video? No? Oh alright...

During the end of the fall season this last year, I went out and bought a “northern coat.” It was full of downy feathers and was reviewed as a must have of surviving a Wisconsin winter. As I zipped the coat up and tied the sash, instantly sweating, I smugly thought, “OK winter, do your worst.” About a month later, as I was walking home from school, winter smacked the smugness right off my face with a blizzard.  To say it was horrible would be an understatement. At one point during what seemed like a lifetime journey through winter wonderland hell, I was certain I wasn’t going to make it. About three steps later, I was ready to give up on life.
Made it home with a chunk of ice frozen to my lashes.

Fast forward to about a week ago. I was on the phone with my dad telling him that I thought summer was over in Madison, “The weather keeps getting colder and colder. I guess it’s time for fall!’’ This is the forecast for this week:
Getting warmer...

Oh sure, it looks beautiful outside. All sunny and green, until you walk out there. It's like regressing into a sticky four year old, you may not know why you're sticky but that's your new reality (seriously, why are little kids so sticky?).

But really I’m not so egocentric as to think the Mother of all nature is just waiting for my sass and taunts to strike with a storm or excessive heat backlash. The entire Midwest is being affected. It's not my fault.
(Actually that’s exactly what I’m saying. Mother Nature is clearly a firm believer in corporal punishment. From now on I’m going to keep my weather opinions to myself.)

OK, I’m going to put down my stick because that summer weather horse is a goner.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 in ,

No, I Can't Help You

Customer service, so we meet again.

That’s right world. I am employed once again. What does seven years college education get you?
Oh you know, just a customer representative gig at a large corporate retailer (which shall remain nameless). Jealous?
"My name is Amber, and here's how I do. I got nonstop hotness, hardcore learning disabilities, constant horniness, and I'm rockin' one leg... All I want is some medicine for my ringworm, and a cool-ass face tattoo. What-what?!" {SNL}
I hate the saying, “First impressions mean everything,’’ mostly because I like to think of myself as open- minded and non- judgemental. But when it comes to employment, first impressions mean a-hell-of-alot and recently a few things caught my attention.

Let’s get some examples up in here.

During orientation, at the new employment, we watched an educational video on the evils of unionization. While I tend to think using social networking pages to express political views is pointless, and even a little tacky (this is coming from a girl who refuses to use Twitter because it encourages narcissism, but has a facebook page with thirty, carefully edited, photo albums... Might seem just little bit ironic? Oh just shut it, Alanis), let’s get out the puff paint unicorn shirt and get political.
Turn right if you please. {via}
My dad has been an active union man since I can remember. So the first impression of my employer was not so good. As I watched the 20- minute- plus- video on how unions use clever trickery to steal your money and take way workers rights, all I wanted to do was dramatically rip off my badge, kick over a few chairs, and spew some colorful sailor talk as I stormed out. But being an unemployed liberal hero isn’t going to make my bank account any fuller. So I did my best to tune out the propaganda video and turned my attention to the company handbook to find some saving grace.

And I did.

My employer may be owned by misinformed, big business, dingle bats, but they do have high standards: Lycra pants are a dress code violation. Disapproval of lycra? Now that’s a company I can get behind.
Unless you're Bon Jovi {via}
Moving on. My past managers, stemming all the way back to my banquet serving days, seem to be cut from the same piece of bread. The easiest way to explain it: they all look like they spend a great deal of time listening to Barry White and gazing into a bathroom mirror for their daily affirmation.

With customer service jobs, your coworks make a huge difference. I've always been really lucky to get incredibly nice people to work with. But speaking of first impressions, sometimes they stunt coworker friendships.

For example, if a coworker is wearing a black, velcro, digital watch, I always assume they spend their off hours playing Dungeons and Dragons or collecting Samurai swords. While perhaps an unfair character assessment, I feel completely unable to start up a casual conversation without the urge to ask them how many comic book conventions they've attended.
(Yes, this does make me feel like a horrible person. Reformation...tedious business). Not that this makes it any better but I'm not the only one to think this is nerdy Check it Here.

In conclusion, "first impression" is just short hand for, "I'm judging you unfairly... especially if you're wearing lycra pants."

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