Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Snowball's Chance in Hell, The Grand Finale

  I fumbled around with all my gear with the hopes that I would just delay the inevitable forever, but everyone else in my gang was ready to go. They all got their butts in motion and took off down the first drop. I quickly got ready and maneuvered my way over to the drop, and saw everyone in my group. Nicole was helping J pizza wedge down, and the two boys had made it down and were waiting at a little plateau where the trail turned to the left and kept going. There were experienced skiers taking off all around me (including dumb little kids in dumb monster helmets). I watched everyone else, took a deep breath, and just went for it. I bent my knees, tucked my poles, and leaned forward like a big idiot.

I meant to look like this:

But really looked like this:

Honestly, I probably didn't even look as good as Goofy at his worst. I tumbled down the first drop. I lost everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Things that I had at the top of the hill that I did not have at the bottom: 
  • My poles
  • My hat
  • My skis
  • My goggles
  • One glove (OK so I didn't lose EVERYTHING)
  • The very little dignity I had
  • My cool
The second I finished rolling down the mountain, I got up and marched my ski boots right over to Guy and used every word combination possible to tell him that I was NOT OK with being at the top of the mountain. And what was HE THINKING bringing me up there? During my incredible tongue lashing, nice eye witnesses started bringing me my equipment that I left down the hill. So the whole scene went something like this:

"You &*!#%&%, DID YOU REALLY THINK I WAS- oh, thanks for getting my glove for me- READY TO SKI DOWN THIS &*()&*()& MOUNTAIN, I BARELY EVEN- yeah- that's my pole- thanks- *)(*(*^&*^*& LEARNED TO SKI THE )*)(^&^*$%^ BUNNY HILL- great- yep- that's my hat- yes, I'm ok... thanks"

I was furious and mortified and on top of a mountain on a stupid blue trail. And for all of you ski experts out there- good for you that blue trails are easy- I'm proud of you- you deserve a pat on the back. They should be easy if you know what you're doing. But if you are a girl from Louisiana who is just getting comfortable with the idea of snow and has only been on skis for a total of two hours in her life- blue trails are not so freaking easy.

Turns out we were on the wrong trail. We should have gone around the back of the restaurant to start on the green trail. But there was good news- only about 100 more yards, and then our trail overlapped with the "easy" green trail. Just to put this in perspective for you- I'll do the math. There are 300 feet in 100 yards, and I fell about every four feet, so that means I fell down about 75 times (± 5 times, CI: 99%) in the last 100 yards of the blue trail. The trail color also described my bruised ass and legs, so it was a win-win. 

Once we made it to the green trail, it got a little better. I was getting steadier on the skis and feeling somewhat more comfortable. J was having a tough time like me, but we were making progress. At one point, when I fell, my friend Nicole skied over to help me up. I excitedly told her that I was starting to like skiing and I was really getting the hang of it. She excitedly told me that she had good news for me- I had the whole rest of the mountain to ski down. My excitement quickly waned. 

We were slowly but surely making our way down the mountain when J twisted her knee and could not go any further. Nicole set up the SOS sign of the skis making an upright X and waited for the medics to get there. When they got there, J went down the mountain on the sled, and Nicole followed close behind.

It was just me and the boys. But not for long. Guy decided that he should get to the bottom to check on Nicole and J and felt OK leaving me and Mikey, the two idiots from Louisiana, on the mountain. It was pretty late in the day at this point, and the daylight was rapidly fading. I started getting pretty nervous about the situation, which forced me to lose focus and fall a gazillion more times. Mikey was tired of waiting on me and also uncomfortable with the encroaching darkness and did what all good jackass friends would do- PEACED OUT. Thanks, Mikey. I owe you one.

Mikey left me on the mountain. Well everyone left me on the mountain. Mikey was just the last to do it. As the last hope of sunshine disappeared, I tried really hard to stay calm. I realized how quiet it had gotten, and how much snow muffles sound and kept pushing images of gory horror movies out of my head. This was so uncool. Who knew that I was going to die in Vermont on a mountain? Damn you, Katrina. 

Right as my nerves got the better part of me, Ski Patrol showed up. I was so thankful. There were two guys and a girl and they quickly questioned me. My gratefulness took a U-turn to indignation that they were talking to me like I was an idiot and then another U-turn to playing the Katrina card. They didn't give a shit. There was someone legitimately lost on the mountain and the last thing they wanted to deal with was a girl who was in over her head. They mumbled amongst themselves and decided that the girl would stay with me to finish the slope. 

I tried to make some jokes. Nothing. I tried talking to her. Nothing. She tried giving me ski pointers. Nothing. I kept falling. I asked her if I could take my skis off and walk down the mountain. She said no. I asked her if she had been to New Orleans. She didn't answer. I fell. I tried to pizza wedge. I fell. She warned me that there were some frozen creeks coming up that might get a little slick, but to just ski like normal. Her warning was not unheeded, but I didn't know what skiing like normal meant. I fell. She let out a huge sigh and told me to take my skis of. She put them over her shoulder, and skied down the mountain with them. Looking totally hot with blonde braided pigtails coming out of her unborrowed ski hat. Followed by me-a Southern girl in a 90s ski get up with men's gloves on, walking like a damn storm trooper in awkward boots down the mountain. You should have seen the looks on my friends faces when they saw me coming. You should have also heard the words that came out of my mouth. 

Picabo Street can keep her stupid chapstick endorsement.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Snowball's Chance in Hell, cont.

Part 2 of one of my best moments

Once J and I gave our final unrequited smiles to Wheezy, we waited for our buddies at the lodge. They came in, all red noses and smiles, and asked us how our lesson went. We filled them in on our non hot, non male ski instructor and let them know that we were now experts at pizza wedging. Once we got all caught up, the discussion turned to what we should do next. We were at Stowe, which has plenty of trails to choose from- ranging in a variety of difficulty. Considering that J and I just mastered negotiated with the bunny hill, the rational option would have been to stay on the smaller, green trails; but what's the fun in being rational? After about 5 minutes of discussion, the group was headed over to the larger mountain to "go get lunch at the restaurant at the top" and then- oh yeah- ski down.

At this point I called my Dad to let him know that I was disregarding part of his advice- but I was not smoking weed beforehand. In fact, my exact quote was "Hey Dad- I'm just calling to tell you Picabo Street better watch out, cause I'm about to conquer this mountain, and next I'm coming for her chapstick endorsement." Untruer words have never been spoken.

We got over to the big mountain and got on the lift (which by the way, is by far the scariest part of skiing- especially when you forget to get off). Nicole and I were in a chair together and I talked 1,000 miles/minute about whatever popped into my head and if I could have bounced my leg and drummed my fingers, I would have. I was scared shitless- but totally playing it cool.

We got to the top of the lift and I ungracefully plopped off. I calmed down when I realized we still had a meal to eat before I "conquered the mountain." We made our way into the restaurant and hunkered down with an assortment of amazingly appropriate winter food- the kind we just to pretend to enjoy in Louisiana. Hot tomato soup, with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich, and hot cocoa with little marshmellows on top? Yes, please! I was too enthralled with our LL Bean ad lunch to focus on the task in front of me. When someone asked "Alright- you ready to ski down?" my heart split in two and moved to my throat and stomach, and my lunch immediately moved into my guts. It was time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Snowball's Chance in Hell

Sums up the likelihood that I was going to make it down the mountain gracefully the first time I went skiing.

I would like to let my avid fans know (all 16 of you), that this is an amazing story- but I want to keep you as fans, so I am going to break it up to really pique your interest.

During Katrina, I went to school in Boston with the hopes of experiencing a totally new culture (e.g. not making eye contact AT ALL on public transportation or talking to strangers in the grocery store) and different weather. Needless to say, my  hopes were absolutely fulfilled. I mastered the T, went to a lot of the museums, and brought a large box of cannolis home with me for Thanksgiving. I also took advantage of the cold climate and worked with my friend to get her to organize a ski trip to Vermont. (I also begged the same friend to take me to Friendly's the entire semester and when she finally did- the week before I left- I was somewhat incredibly disappointed- to which she responded, "This is why I did not want to take your dumbass to Friendly's- what did I tell you!?")

We arranged to go skiing during the first weekend of December. We put together a motley crew to head to the mountains of Vermont: Nicole, a Mass native who had been skiing her whole life; her friend J, a girl from CT who grew up going to ski resorts but never actually skied; Nicole's other friend, "Guy" who was also from Mass and an experienced snowboarder (and who I was somewhat dating at the time); Mikey, a friend of mine from Louisiana who was also a Katrina refugee who had been snow boarding once; and me- a novice to everything including mountains, the snow, and most of all, skiing.

Due to my extreme naivete, I was really excited for the trip. I called my parents to let them know. My Dad, who had lived in Colorado for a while, gave me some words of wisdom: "Your friends will be way more experienced than you and will try to convince you to go to the top of the mountain. Don't let them do it. And when they do finally convince you, don't smoke weed before you go." ***I come from a straight-shooting family. And my parents were young in the 70s. Enough said***

Our caravan made it to the mountain, rented our gear, and got ready to go. And here I use 'gear' like I looked like I belonged there- really I was in a borrowed ski getup from my friend's mom. It was incredibly early 90s with huge pink and green color blocks. It was rad. It even had extra pockets to store my pogs in.

Since J and I had never skied before, we decided it would be best if we took some lessons. We kept talking about how hot our young instructor was going to be. Our conversations always seemed to mimic cheesy romance movies. I kept thinking how he would find my Katrina story endearing, which I would top off with a southern accent to really turn the flirt up. J and I were in the midst of one of these conversations when our ski instructor interrupted us to introduce herself. "Girls, my name's Wheezy. I've been a ski instructor for over 40 years. If you listen to what I say, you'll do just fine."

Wheezy meant business.

While our dreams slowly deflated, J and I "rode the magic carpet" a few times and learned how to pizza wedge among a gaggle of 6 year old kids with helmets that looked like monsters. Really, it should have been J and me with the helmets on. There is not much that is more humiliating than falling 5 times on the way down the bunny slope while little booger eaters speed by you. It took a lot of self control not to stick my pole out and take a few down. J and I tried to make light of everything, but Wheezy was not having it. She definitely gave us our money's worth and after her  "reminder tips" and cold goodbye, we met back up with our friends.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Friend Has Massive Sneezes

Or at least she did at one incredibly inopportune time.

In undergrad, there was an area on campus where everyone would hang out. It was great for people watching and around lunch time was always packed with kids and the inevitable weird locals (like the Uncle Rico types from Napoleon Dynamite).

My friend and I were heading back to the dorm after class, which included a stroll through the cool kids area, in front of all of the lookie-loos. Right as we made it to the exact spot where we were best exposed to all of our classmates, the wind started blowing she had a humongous sneeze. That ended up all over me.

I was mortified but couldn't figure out the most appropriate reaction. Should I play it off? How do you even play that off? Should I pretend like it didn't happen? Like no one can see the snot and spittle flecks on me? Should I return the favor and sneeze all over her when the wind was blowing just right to bring it from my mouth and nose directly to her face when we were in front of a gajillion people? That's just weird. And impossible. (But I'll pretend like the fact that returning the favor is weird is the reason that I didn't ever try to get her back).

I actually just turned really red, cussed loudly (take out "Bless" from "Bless you" and put in another word), and sped back to my dorm hoping that I was not cool enough for anyone to have actually been looking at me at that point.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Close Look at a Full Moon

In high school, I ran with a group of friends that did everything together. After school or football games, we would crash at my house and hang out. Being the teenage boys that they were, my guy friends found "mooning" simply hilarious (which I can agree with...). One of the boys, however, took more pride in showing his butt than a BBQ joint owner does in his ribs. D. would drop his pants given any opportunity or inopportunity- including the time he mooned the entire B-building because he saw us looking out of the window at him. He didn't consider that a teacher might look out of their window and not be too thrilled and storm onto the baseball team's bus and give him a detention. It's hard to have foresight when you're eagerly showing off your rear end to half of a high school.

D also took pride in mooning small groups of people, or two people, or maybe just a person. He did not discriminate when it came to how many people should see his butt.

He really took advantage of the small group situation one day at my house. There were a few of us hanging out in the den, which has two glass doors that lead to the patio. D went out the other door and surprised us by jumping in front of one of the glass doors and pushing his cheeks as hard as he could to the glass. Nothing better than a smooshed moon.... We all got a chuckle out of it (I think he did more than everyone else) and moved onto the next stupid thing or conversation or whatever it is that we did when we were in high school.

A few hours later, after my friends left, my mom got home from work. I was in the other room watching TV when I heard her call my name. "Leilaaaaaaa- what is this?" Not wanting to get off of the couch, I hoped a quick 'what' would make her move on. It didn't. "This- come see." Groaning, I walked into the room with the glass doors. "What????" "This!!" she said and pointed to one of the doors. I immediately saw it but pretended I didn't. "What are you talking about?" "Whose ass cheeks are on my door?" There were two round, slightly greasy spots that were the unmistakable imprint of butt. I couldn't help but laugh as I answered her. She couldn't help but laugh as she handed me the Windex and paper towels. "Have fun cleaning ass off of my door," she said as she walked out of the room.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Watch your step...

My roommate junior and senior year of college was one of my best friends, KTO. We have known each other since Kindergarten and made pretty good roommates. (Or at least I think we did, she might say "that bitch never rinsed her dishes before she put them in the dishwasher," which would be true.) Katie is an overall happy, sweet person. She is very smart (very smart- I won't quote her SAT score, but it was realllly high) but sometimes lacks common sense or just doesn't pay attention to things.

A prime example of her being an amazing but goofy roommate occurred Junior year. Our buddy, Mikey, was over and he and I were watching TV. Katie came out to let us know that she was changing the A/C filter in the hall (great roommate) and that we should watch our step when walking to the bathroom (considerate friend). Mikey and I nodded and immediately turned back to the TV.

A few minutes later the TV was drowned out by a large thump and a loud groan from the hall. Katie did not heed her own advice and had fallen into the A/C pit of despair in the hall (a la Indiana Jones without the whole making it across the pit thing). I have to admit that I laughed before I knew she was OK or not- but immediately stifled it realizing that she could be seriously injured. Once we pulled her out of the pit and realized she was OK and she went to work pulling the fiber glass insulation out of her leg, I laughed so hard I cried. I always blame my insensitivity with situations like that on being raised on the Three Stooges. Injuries (not serious ones) are hilarious. Especially when they involve A/C pits of doom and despair.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Screw the food pyramid

The ladies that work at the small cafeteria style restaurant next door always make me feel insecure about my orders. While the entree always looks delicious, I tend to opt for "just the veggies" to avoid the inevitable 2:00 P.M. lunch hangover. Today the passive shame was incredibly clear when I skipped on the entree (barbeque burger with swiss, onions, and bacon) and asked for the sides:

My "well rounded" lunch.

While they still load up my plate with veggies*, I usually get an indifferent response to my order. I guess the disappointed "Ohs" are fair from people that clearly know how to enjoy life and respond to orders like 'Dark meat with extra gravy' with a few "mmmmm hmmmms" and "Alright now, baby."

Let it be known that I do enjoy life- just not when I have five more hours of work to do.

*Veggies here used loosely. Can be interchanged with french fries, macaroni and cheese, or baked potato with more stuff in the middle than the potato.

I have massive sneezes, part 2

This morning, as I was walking out of my house, I had my sunglasses on my head. When I got outside- the sunlight made me sneeze.

My humongous sneeze forced my glasses to fall across my face (but remain on my ears) and magically transform from sunglasses to sneeze catcher. I guess they needed to be cleaned anyway.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Irrational Fear Revealed

In public. With people that I had just met.

Lighting gas anything has always made me a little uncomfortable. After Katrina our water heater, which had sat in Katrina water for god knows how long after the storm, needed to be relit on a regular basis. By the time the landlord installed a new water heater (about a month before our lease expired... thanks), my roommates and I had become pros at relighting it. We also stopped caring about actually getting dressed to do it and would often slam out of the backdoor in our towel, shoes, and a box of matches cursing the cold shower we almost took.

Despite my experience with this, I still flinch whenever I have to hold a lit match to a barbeque pit, stove, or anything else that is attached to a large canister of natural gas that could catch on fire. I am pretty sure there is a moment of uneasiness for a lot of people in this situation, but apparently these things make me more uncomfortable than most.

I realized this when I was out with a group of people enjoying a few drinks on a patio that was kept warm with those outdoor heaters that look like a large column with a convex fire disc (official name that I just made up) at the top, and a large space at the bottom which houses a Blue Rhino type gas tank. My chair was next to one of the heaters which ran out of gas and went out. One of my friends immediately started messing with it, trying to get it to restart. I found myself stammering like Milton in Office Space (stapler guy): "Ummm.... I don't think that is such a good idea... maybe we should just let the heater be.... I'm not cold... Is anyone cold?... It's not that cold.... Maybe we should just let it be... I don't know if you should push that button again..." She realized it was out of a gas and soon there was an employee out there to reload. Oh shit, I thought- I am about to die.

I sat there while the guy rolled out a new gas tank and pulled out the old one and then put in the new one. I felt my heart start racing and I tried to focus on the conversation going on next to me, but all I could think of was body parts and lime slices being thrown onto the street when the heater exploded.

My friend sitting next to me realized I was uncomfortable (I think it was my rigid body position, my lack of motion, my face screwed up into a tight manic smile, and my eyes looking anywhere BUT the heater and the employee relighting it). She offered to switch chairs with me so I could be further away from the scene- to which I responded "That's OK- when it blows, were all going to die. It really doesn't matter where I sit." She encouraged me to finish my Tequila and try to relax.

I did. Well at least I finished my drink. I didn't relax until the heater was back on and the Blue Rhino tank magically disappeared into the base of the column. Until then, I sat there- my eyes getting a little more glazed over, and my palms sweating a little more, and thought "now I understand what they mean that you feel calm right before you die." (I think that was the tequila talking).

Overall, I had a wonderful night but I am not sure I made the best first impression on my friend's friends. Oh well. I am sure there will be other nights. I am just hoping they don't involve relighting outdoor heaters.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Rude Awakening

The other night I woke up to a strange noise coming from the corner of my room. I turned on the light and sat up to find Sophie managed to open the top drawer of my dresser and was vigorously digging through my bras with the apparent goal of getting everything out of the drawer and onto the floor.

I yelled her name to which she suspended her rooting long enough to twitch her ears (her way of saying "stop annoying me").

Determined not to lose the battle and get out of bed to stop this nonsense, I yelled her name again.


*Ear twitch.... more digging.... fling two more undergarments onto the floor.*

I finally got out of bed, grabbed her from the top of my dresser and put her on the bed, despite her loud protests and the two bras she had her claws in, which she carried with her.

The next day, I told my Dad this story. Given his new relationship with Sophie (from the month long cat sitting), his response was adequate.

"I'm surprised you didn't find her trying them on, smoking a cigarette, putting on lipstick, and looking at you when you told her to stop, saying in a raspy voice 'turn the lights off, bitch.'"

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Quite a puzzling conundrum

Recently at work, a few of my coworkers were discussing their love for jigsaw puzzles. The only time I remember doing puzzles was when I was really little and my family was at the beach trying to entertain themselves during a rainy day. Therefore, I associated puzzles with horribleness since we were on vacation but had nothing to do. However, my coworkers passionate discussion piqued my interest so I asked one of them to borrow a puzzle.

I got to work on a puzzle of the "School of Athens," which I immediately renamed "Jesus and his merry men."

Was Jesus actually in the puzzle? Turns out- no (who knew?). Were the other men merry? Who's to really say? Did I have a lot of fun having a few glasses of wine and then texting my friends that I was doing a puzzle of Jesus on a Saturday night? Absolutely.

A few days into the puzzle, I realized why I had never done puzzles growing up- we always owned cats. Cats and puzzles don't mix. Sophie took pleasure in knocking pieces to the ground, laying in the box top, and her favorite- laying on the puzzle as I was working on it. While all of these were annoying, my puzzling career did not come to a skidding halt until she pulled one of her best tricks and vomited on it.

I ran over to the puzzle table and tried to clean the vomit up until I realized that puzzle pieces were cardboard, and it was not coming out of them, it was soaking into them. In between audible gags and mounds of paper towels, I got on the computer and ordered my coworker a new puzzle. So much for a new pastime.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Day Full of Chihuahuas

"there are good days
and they come and go and never seem to last
and the bad days
when they come around always kick the
good days ass into the ground"
Bob Schneider

Yesterday was a bad day. It was a day full of Chihuahuas.

My family has a saying- when a bunch of little things happen that aren't much to deal with by themselves, but in succession can be overwhelming- those are called Chihuahuas. And if you give the option of having a Great Dane take a hunk out of you or a few Chihuahuas nip at you- most would opt for the Chihuahuas. But I would go ahead, grit my teeth, close my eyes real tight and go with the Great Dane. And get it over with.

Yesterday's Chihuahuas came to a head for me when, after a long day at work, I tried to parallel park in front of my house, and a douchebag in a Mercedes stopped in the perfect position to prevent me from moving. While I usually avoid any sort of confrontation with strangers (but love it with people that I know well), I had lost my sense of humor and made the best "are you f-ing joking face" and glared at the dbag. His girlfriend in the passenger seat (with huge sunglasses on... of course) just laughed. I so badly wanted to slam the door of my Honda open and scuff up his nice paint job. But I didn't.

While yesterday was a bad Chihuahua day, it doesn't top the one I had a few years ago. That day started immediately with small things that continuously built to the point that they were like a snow ball chasing me down a mountain to hell.

Angry phone calls.
Relentless emails.
Gross weather.
Non stop chihuahuas.

I stayed late at work to finish some stuff up and when I left, decided that I would treat myself to a mixed drink when I got home. I was out of vodka, so I walked to the Rite Aid by work to get some (yes- I come from the land of plenty... where they sell booze at convenience stores) and, lucky me, saw that they had SKYY on sale. Maybe my day was making a turn for the better. I purchased a handle of SKYY (it was on sale, so why not go bigger?) and a big thing of gummy worms (because very few things go better with vodka) and made my way to my car. It had started to rain when I left work, so by this point I was pretty soaked, but the treat of a drink and gummy worms was worth it.

I parked off of a fancy street and about half a block away from my car was a fancy driveway with fancy cobblestones. As I crossed the fancy (wet) cobblestones, I slipped and busted my ass. The bag o'wonderfulness was in my left hand and the driveway sloped downward from my left to right. The vodka shattered and begin pouring out of the bag and down the driveway, only slowing to soak into my pants. I sat in the rich people driveway for about a minute and tried to keep calm. I peeled myself off of the ground and made it to my car, got in, and started crying.

When I got home, I walked in- dripping rain water and vodka, carrying a bag of gummy worms and blue glass shards to find my mom, boyfriend, and his sister all enjoying drinks on the couch. Daiquiris. Finally- a silver lining to my day. After all of that, I did have a mixed drink waiting for me- in the freezer. Or I would have if they bought one for me. But they didn't.  At this point I went into my room- ripped my pants off- then put my head into my pillow and screamed. Fucking Chihuahuas.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sophie, cont.

For those of you who have not read my post introducing you to the angry cat beast that I own, let me introduce you to Sophie. She is my cat. She vomits a lot. She does not cuddle. And she sleeps at the foot of the bed and will claw the shit out of my foot if is in her space. I think this picture pretty much sums her up.

You talkin to me?
Sophie is somewhat similar to the honey badger, she doesn't give a shit.

I travel a lot for work and have to find cat sitters for Sophie. My words of wisdom for them while watching her:
  • She's mean. She will rub against you because you are feeding her, but she is still mean. She will still probably swat at you or bite you at some point. 
  • She pukes. A lot. Sorry. It's gross, but I ask that you pick it up. If not, she will just eat it again later. OK- so she's mean and nasty. 
  • She really likes canned cat food. The best way to that girl's shriveled little black heart is through the distinct pop and peel sound that only a can of cat food can make. But don't let her response trick you, she is still mean.
After a coworker of mine watched Sophie for a few days, he came to work with a scratched up arm. He showed our boss his arm and said she did that after he fed her. My boss, who also owns cats, told me that there was something wrong with her. I responded "Yeah, she's mean." He said he had never heard of a cat that will rub against you, love you when you feed it, and then scratch you immediately after. (Which is a little peculiar since she loves her food a lot... she had to take time out of eating to scratch my coworker. Maybe he was distracting her from her food and she was annoyed. Maybe she was just having a bad day.)

My parents have also had the pleasure of watching her for me. They have multiple cats, which is not OK with Sophie. When she goes home with me, she usually follows me to whatever room I am in. You can always hear her coming by the screaming and spitting act she performs each time she comes across another feline. When I am not there, though, she doesn't have anyone to follow and therefore perches herself on their stairs so she can survey the activity without a blind spot in which another cat could mosey into. My Dad let me know that she spit at him multiple times when he climbed the stairs. "I've never had a cat spit at me in my life." "Dad, I told you: She is mean."

My parents will be watching her for an extended period of time soon. When I broke the news to them (as softly as possible), my mom responded "Just remember this favor when you have to change our diapers." At first I didn't think it was an even trade and then I thought about picking up regurgitated canned cat food and cut my rebuttal short.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Walk of Shame

My first car was a Mazda 626. It was pretty amazing. Until, of course, its transmission died at one of the busiest intersections in town and when I could finally get it into drive- I could only get it as far as the donut store right next to the intersection. And then, it would only go in reverse. But before all of that, it was pretty awesome. It was so awesome, it had oscillating air vents. Boo yah.

My car first started showing signs of a dying transmission through minor tantrums. For example, one time it wouldn't accelerate on the interstate. Another time, it took a few tries to get it started. One other time, it just wouldn't start at all. This time just happened to be in the grocery store parking lot.

My parents sent me on an errand to our neighborhood grocery store to get a few items. I can only remember one item on the list so I will go ahead and make up the rest:
  • Mustard
  • One onion
  • 12 pack of toilet paper

I went to the store, purchased said items, and then walked out to my car. I got in, and tried to start it with no luck. I sat there for a while, and tried again. Nothing. One last time. "SERIOUSLY!? UGHHHH!!!" (I am trying to recap what an anxiety ridden teenage Leila would sound like- but it kind of sounds like an anxiety ridden late 20s Leila. Shit.)

I called my parents and let them know. They were busy cooking dinner. Could I please walk back to the house?

"With the groceries. We are completely out of toilet paper."


I gave up the negotiation (which lasted all of two loud sighs and three drawn out 'moms') and pulled my sorry ass out of the car... with the bag of toilet paper and two other small unnoticeable things and started to walk home. It wasn't the walk itself that was bad, it was the route that I had to take.

The walk took me over the "Overpass" which is just a bridge that goes over a few shops and a train track. The problem with it is that the sidewalk is narrow and when you drive over it, you notice every single pedestrian (which are few and far between).

I made my way out of the grocery store parking lot and got to the bottom of the Overpass. With my head held incredibly low and my hair pushed across my face, I made my way across the bridge knowing that every single student in my high school class was currently making their way over the overpass and figuring out my family's secret as they drove.... we wipe our butts. How humiliating. At that point in my life, it was the equivalent of having going to Walgreens to pick up Monistat, Preparation H, and cheetos (because you're hungry but didn't realize how embarrassing your purchase combo is until you are in the incredibly slow moving checkout line).

I couldn't believe my parents put me through that. I swore I would never run to the grocery store for them again. I didn't care if we were out of toilet paper, and down to our last shred of kleenex... I was not EVER going to the grocery store again. NO WAY.

Needless to say, I was 17. Again, my negotiating powers failed me a few days later when we were out of milk. Except this time, my mom let me take her car, which trumped my car with the whole ability to start thing. That way, none of those classmates of mine would have any chance of spotting me walking home only to discover that we tried to maintain our Calcium as much as our hygiene.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Recently, I had to visit a city I had never been to before for work. I was trying to figure out how much time it would take me to get there and exactly where I needed to go once I arrived. My mom had been there before and started giving me instructions. Very specific instructions- that included gas stations and a Burger King as landmarks. I interrupted her to tell her I was just going to use my Iphone and she didn't need to keep explaining.

She kept explaining. I just let her finish. Once she was done, she proudly said "See- you don't need your Iphone at all. You have your mother."

One small step for Momma, one large step for all the omniscient mothers out there that have always been able to guide their kids, decades before those godforsaken Iphones came out. If only we could use them to make calls.

That would just be awkward....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wise Behind His Years

When I was young, a dinosaur craze swept the nation. Jurassic Park came out, TV shows recreated the dinosaur eras, and sit coms featured lively dinosaur family's with their own curmudgeon grandmothers (if you never saw an episode of Dinosaurs, you need to go watch one now).

Part of this craze also include whole animatronic set ups where you could walk amongst the beasts. They would roar and slowly move their heads side to side with little mechanical jerks here and there as their eye lids opened and closed. It was incredibly life like, except they never walked and they never ripped anyone's arms off or anything. But other than that, it was pretty life like. Or at least it seemed life like to me when my parents took me to see a dinosaur show that was traveling across the country. When I was four.

I don't remember the emotions building up to going to see the show, but I am pretty sure I was down with going to see the monsters. I was a pretty cool kid. Or maybe my parents just didn't tell me what we were about to do. That could have also been the reason I agreed to do it.

Regardless, I went to see the dinosaurs and immediately flipped out. There was nothing neat about these huge man eaters standing on a platform with nothing tethering them down. They scared the shit out of me. They roared and looked straight at me and they were huge. What was wrong with  my parents!? They were putting my life in danger. Through tears, I told them I wanted to leave. They wanted to see the exhibit they just paid to get into, so they had to figure out a way to get me to stay. Bribes were not part of their parenting. Neither were negotiations (especially not when I was younger than 13 18 27). They had to figure out a way for me to overcome my fear. Immediately, my dad thought of something.

He told me he wanted to show me something and took me by the hand. He walked me up to a dinosaur and continued walking to the back of the display. Then he showed me its butt. "What do you think comes out of there," he asked. Confused and tired from crying, I tried to figure out what he was saying. Then I got it. That's where the dinosaurs pooped. Given my obsession with "stinky things" at this point in my life and my continuous love of bathroom humor, I cracked up. Silly dinosaurs. You think you're all bad ass. But you poop and fart just like the rest of us. The fact that their excrement was made up of flesh and bones completely escaped me. I just found it hilarious that these huge creatures made huge poops (and this was years before Jurassic Park came out).  That's all it took. My dad just had to insert a little bathroom humor into the Jurassic Era to get me to enjoy it.

Not afraid anymore...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Taste this and tell me if it tastes funny to you...

Before I even get into my asinine story, can we ponder why we ask for others input this way? I mean, really, why does the two week old Chinese food need to be confirmed "stinky" by two people? Is it that we like sharing unpleasant experiences that much? Given what I know about other people, yes.. I think we like finding someone to wallow in the mess with us. Or, from my past experiences, I like to measure exactly how stinky the expired milk is by their facial expression. That's always a fun experiment. It is somewhat like the little pain scale at the doctor's office.

0- Hmm, this milk smells delightful. Please pass the cheerios.
10- BLAHGJKLDJFA; Why did you get me to smell that? Why is that still in there? That is from last year. It's hard!

Anyway, on to the real story. I was home from college one winter break, and was on my typical "break" schedule of wake up late, maybe work out, and then watch TV while taking breaks every hour to see what my parents had to eat (like it was going to change from the last hour). During my first day home, I started my grazing immediately when I woke up. I came downstairs and laid on the couch for a while, and then started pestering my mom about food.

She let me know that we had some "Mississippi State Cheese" in our fridge.

No, this is not the joke in the story. We really did have some cheese from Mississippi State. It is a luxury my grandparents send us during the holidays and it is sommmmmmeee good. You should contact your local A and M and see what type of dairy delicacies you could be sending your loved ones this holiday season.

The words "Mississippi State Cheese" had me off the couch and into the kitchen immediately. I rummaged around in the fridge until I found the beautiful wheel. I cut off a few bites, ate them in the kitchen and then grabbed a hand full of crackers and headed back into the living room with some more hunks of cheese. I was a few pieces in when I realized that something was awry. Something was wrong with that cheese. It was just a little off.

I interrupted my mom's emailing again and asked her to taste a piece of cheese.
"Cause it tastes funny, that's why. Here- just taste it. Tell me what you think."

My mom took a bite of the cheese and looked at me with a mixture of pity and sheer humor.

I got impatient with this smarter than you/you are a dumbass look and demanded to know what it was all about.

"Leila, that cheese tastes funny because it's not cheese.

It's butter."

I immediately realized how greasy my mouth was and tried to spit out the nastiness with a couple of expletives as my mother cracked up (rightfully so).

In my defense (not like this is an appropriate time to try to defend myself, but I am stubborn and don't like to look too stupid), the butter I was eating was in the shape of a wheel. It looked like a stupid cheese wheel. It was the holidays and my mom was cooking a lot, and she decided to buy some fancy butter, which I then decided to eat...... like cheese.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

That Time I Became a Jesus Lizard

I think it is fair to say that everyone has an irrational fear of something. For some, it is heights. For others, it is bugs. And for others, it is snakes. For me, it is sea creatures.

I HATE THEM. Anything that lives in the ocean. Alright, let me rephrase that. I hate to be in the ocean next to anything that lives there naturally. Dolphins and seals are cute and whatnot, but I will pay to stay my happy ass on the boat rather than swim with Flipper. Flipper can go screw himself.

The way I think of it is that these animals have a total unfair advantage over me. They can see well under water, swim fast, and can sneak up on you. I am not just talking about sharks. I am talking about the stupid crabs that you accidentally step on or the dumb needle fish that will nibble at your thighs while youre standing waist deep, non chalantly chatting with your friend, while also emptying your bladder, but pretending that it is just a "warm spot" that you just walked through.

I am afraid of all of them, but sharks really take the cake. You always hear of shark attacks and then the story is followed up with how rare attacks are, and how sharks really don't intend to chew on people. To be quite honest, I don't give a shit. I don't want to take my chance and bump into the one inbred, stupid ass shark that got kicked out of his mother's protection too early because he was too retarded for her to deal with. No thank you. That's all I can think about any time I wade into the water--- please god, don't let me meet the shark that is a few eggs short of a caviar tray.

They also say that sharks generally only feed at dawn and dusk. What about the shark that stayed up all night partying and woke up around noon and is really hungover and just wants a good piece of meat? What about that shark, hmm?

I've imagined every possible way that I can be defeated by sea creatures and take EXTREME caution when beaching it. I make as much noise as possible in the water when I walk out. I kick up a bunch of sand to let those dumb sting rays know to get out of my way. I also never turn my back to the great wide open. That just puts you in a vulnerable position. It's like "Hellllooo sea creatures, I am not paying attention. Come get my ass." Oh yeah, I also never go out alone. And I am also never out further than anyone else in my group. That old saying- you don't have to be the fastest, you just have to be faster than the slowest guy- I repeat that to myself anytime I am splashing around, trying to enjoy myself. (I realized that I have this thought even when it is me and the most loved of my loved ones. That's not good. But I guess that's why they call it irrational).

This extreme fear came to a head a few summers ago when I was at the beach on vacation with my family and some family friends. I was about 100 yards out with my then boyfriend and the youngest member of the family we were vacationing with, a 16 year old boy. We were just chatting and I was acting like I wasn't afraid to be in the water when I saw it. A big dark shadow. Dan and Harrison noticed it about the same time I did and before Dan could turn around to see my reaction, I was already half way to the beach. I'm not sure if I channeled my inner Jesus Lizard (cause we all know it is much more likely for me to channel a lizard and not Jesus), and ran on top of the water, but I got my ass out of there faster than you can say "holy shit- look at that shark swimming up to us."

When I made it to the sand, I crumpled over and tried to catch my breath. Through my gasping, I heard laughing. I looked up to see my mother laughing so hard she was about to cry. "Was it even that big of a fish?" she choked out to me. "Yeah, it was a huge fucking shark, Mom. And it was right by us." Apparently, my Mom and the momma of the other family were watching the whole thing from the beach. They watched all three of us see something, followed by our responses. The boys' was something like: "Hmmm... I wonder what that is" while my response was "OHMYGODIAMABOUTTODIEGETMETHEFUCKOUTOFHERE." And apparently, my extreme freakout was quite obvious from the shore.

All my mother could do, after I just saw "my life flash in front of my eyes," was laugh her ass off and ask me to go into the condo to make her another drink.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Division of Labors of Parenting

Apparently, very early on in my parents wedded relationship, they made the deal that each one of them would tackle one of the "tougher" obstacles of parenting. My mom would handle the "birds and the bees" talk while my dad would teach me how to drive.

Unfortunately, I don't remember my first awkward "sex" conversation with my mom. I do, however, remember many other awkward conversations- not her explaining "it" to me, just her giving TMI about anything and everything (not just about sex... about any subject that there can be TMI about). I am a better person for those conversations.

While I don't remember my mom's end of the bargain, I certainly remember my Dad's.

Like most teenagers, I started working toward my learner's permit when I was 15. My parents knew this was on the horizon, so my dad started giving me brief lessons a few months before my 15th birthday. We would go to large empty parking lots, and I learned how to go and stop and go and stop. The key word in that sentence is 'stop.'

The first time I ever got behind of the wheel of a car was at my Uncle's house. My Uncle lives outside of the city in a very secluded, wooded area. My parents and I were hanging out there one Sunday afternoon when my dad offered his first driving lesson. I was really nervous but excitedly accepted, and we took off in his Ford Explorer. He drove down the gravel road leading away from my Uncle's house, to a large field. As he did this- he explained the necessary components to me- the gas, the break, and the wheel. Simple enough.

When we got to the field, we switched seats. I buckled in, adjusted the seat, grabbed the wheel and turned the key. And then I hit the gas. Hard. My dad started telling me to slow down. I completely panicked. Despite the size of the field, the tree line seemed to be coming at us fast. My dad's voice got serious "HIT THE BREAKS, HIT THE BREAKS!" I couldn't. I didn't remember how to. I didn't comprehend that all I had to do was take my foot off of the gas. Any reasoning and experience and life lesson and anything that made sense immediately left my 14 year old skull. I freaked the fuck out. My dad, realizing that the situation was a little out of control (or completely out of control, depending on your perspective... if you were the tree I was about to run into, it is fair to say 'completely'), reached across the console, leaned under the wheel, and slammed his hand on the break. All while emptying his full beer into my lap. We came to an abrupt halt.

I don't remember what happened immediately after, but I am pretty sure it involved a lot of crying. I was doomed. I would never learn how to drive. My dad and I switched seats and rode back to my Uncle's house in silence.

When we walked upstairs to rejoin the party, the rest of the adults took one look at us- me, with red eyes, looking like I peed my pants from my dad's spilt drink, and him- partly laughing, partly panicked, and partly relieved- and knew that my first lesson had not gone well.

I can't insert a mom quote here (because I really don't remember one), but I am certain it went something like "That's why I chose the sex talk."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"IM" me later...

True story. I am a nerd.

When I was in middle school, IMing (Instant Messaging) was big. We were all coming up with screen names so we could gossip with each other via the internet (it was a pretty big deal).

Mine was Chewiesgal.

Wookiewoman was taken.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"My nose itches."

"So someone must be thinking of you."

I never really understood this bit of superstition. I think it is right up there with kissing your hand and touching the ceiling of your car when you go through yellow lights.

Despite the lack of understanding, I have fully bought into the bogus idea and find myself secretly thinking "hmmm... I wonder who it is..." when I am scratching away at my nose (or picking a booger).

I recently spoke to one of my avid blog readers (that is... one of my avid blog readers that I am not related to) and she told me about a recent conversation she had with another one of my fans (another non relative- I am really racking up here):

"Do you think Leila knows when someone is laughing their ass off at her blog?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know, deep down inside- do you think she senses it?"

I gave this some thought and figured that there probably is some cosmic shift that gives me a slight inclination that I am bringing joy and light to someone, somewhere. After pondering it for a while, I figured there could only be one thing that tells me this... a wedgie.

Now, you may be thinking that I am just making this up so I can feel good about myself next time I have to pull my high riding underwear down. But I am not. There is no other possible explanation for my wedgies other than my positive impact on someones life. It's just that simple.

I am sorry to cut this blog short, but I have to go. It is really hard to type and readjust all at the same time....guess I am just making someones life a little better.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Herppy Mernday!

Please let me introduce you to the best "word game" ever. If you are ever in a silly mood, and are hanging out with people that have a sense of humor- this will entertain you for hours. You simply add the "er" sound to each and every word you are saying. I will go ahead and give you some examples:
  • Road rage, immediately diffused:
    • "God Honda- why can't you pick a lane!?"
    • "Gerd Hernda- whery cernt yer perck er lern!?"
  • Guy at bar repellant:
    • "No thanks, I already have a drink."
    • "Ner thernks, Er erlready herve er drernk."
  • Liven up basic conversation:
    • "Hello, how was your weekend?"
    • "Herllo, her wers yer werkend?"
Still don't get it? Let me provide you with one of the best sentences said using the "er" accent. I was watching a Harry Potter movie*- the one where Ron is starting to feel his teen hormones kicking in and sneaks off to another part of the castle with a girl- and my friend looked at me and whispered "Theyre gerna der it in the turret!" Perfect.

Now that you are fluent in Leila language, please spread the knowledge to anyone who is willing to listen (or to people that you can physically over power... just tie those people up and make them learn). 

*I have recently started scanning my growing collection of posts and realized that I a) mention sea creatures, b) reference some dorky sci-fi movie or movies based on magic or c) talk about my obsession with food in pretty much every post (in some, I do more than one). Think what you would like of me, but I would like my loyal readers to know that 50% 40% 30% of my day to day operations are not based on one of those three topics. When I do achieve my destined cat lady status, this percentage might change. I mean- dream big or go home, right.... gotta have something to look forward to?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Things NOT TO DO when you are hungover

Since I started drinking in college, I have been trying to figure out if there is a way for me to make money for the monstrous hangovers I get. I have yet to meet anyone that can match my ability to almost die after a night of heavy drinking. If you are thinking to yourself "why do you keep drinking like that if it makes you feel that way?" you need to stop reading right here. I don't need your negative rationale on my blog. Well, actually, I will answer your question and then you need to stop reading. First of all, when I drink I become very good looking. A few libations also give me the ability to reveal my amazing dance moves. My smile becomes brighter, and my eyes become a little bluer. Also, I become wicked funny and smart (which is pretty tough because I am already pretty funny and smart as is, so I guess I can just go ahead and call alcohol 'magic juice' because it brings me to a level that would be seen if Tina Fey and Stephen Hawking had a kid). So, there is your answer. If you asked that question, you can go ahead and leave my blog now. Go read The Wall Street Journal or something.

For those of you who understand the beauty of things like Irish Car Bombs followed by shots of Goldschlager, please continue reading because I am about to bestow another life lesson on you. The next time you find yourself in a blurry haze trying to piece together the remnants from the night before, figure some things out before proceeding with your day.

One: How hungover are you? Wait, that shouldn't be number one.
One (take two): Are you still drunk? If you are, you might think that you are going to have a fine day because you still feel a little good and you don't realize that the ethanol poisoning has not kicked in yet. BEWARE. Don't make any plans to do anything quite yet. Let that buzz make its way through your body and THEN decide if you have the capability to be a functioning member of society that day.

Two (once you have answered one as a 'no'): How hung over are you? Now this is a tricky question. Much like Dante's Inferno, there are many different levels to a hang over. They range from fuzziness that will recede in a few hours (this would be the first level, where you hang out with the unbaptized or those virtuous pagans, which sounds a lot like my typical Friday night) to an all out knocking on death's door hang over, making atheist bargain with God, where your head may explode at any moment and you can vomit at the drop of a hat or by seeing fake blood on TV (this would be the center of Hell, where the worst of the worst are being chewed on by Satan himself).

Once you determine which level you are on, you can figure out how to proceed with your day.

Levels One through Three: Go ahead and get your shit done. If you have an option for a little more sleep, take it. If you don't, be forewarned that you will probably feel pretty crummy after your very unproductive day at work or what not.

Levels Four through Six: BE CAREFUL. These are some tricky hang overs. They will allow you to get out of bed and function, but will catch up with you very quickly and unexpectedly (much like a bad burrito). They also come with physical signs that make you appear incredibly "torn up" to the rest of the public. These include (but are not limited to): smeared makeup (even if you put on fresh makeup before you left), mismatched clothing, clothing worn incorrectly, sloppy ass hair, squinty eyes, terrible breath, and body odors that strongly resemble the bar you were in the night before. When you find yourself experiencing one of these hangovers, please make a note of some of the worst things you could possibly do at this point (and these are all from past experience):

  • Going to a Mardi Gras warehouse that sells every form of bead, trinket, and bullshit that can be thrown from a float in quantities from one to a gross. I did this and decided to buy my mom a $10 necklace (which I refer to as Hoo Hoo beads). You can only guess her response if you have read this post. If you can't guess, it was something along the lines of "Why did you waste your money on this shit? I am not wearing these heavy things anywhere. I'll just give them to a stranger or something."
  • Going anywhere with fluorescent lighting. This includes Wal-Mart, the mall, the grocery store, etc.
  • Going anywhere that might contain children. This includes Wal-Mart, the mall, the grocery store, etc.
  • Going anywhere that might contain other people. This includes Wal-Mart, the mall, the grocery store, etc.
  • Going to the Gynecologist. True story. Horrible, but true story. 
  • Going to the gym. 
Levels Seven through the Center: DON'T DO ANYTHING. 
  • Pull the blinds down. Put the A/C on real high and get some heavy blankets. 
  • Turn whatever crappy TV marathon on (my personal choice is Real Housewives of Anywhere or America's Next Top Model) and put the volume on low (just in case NeNe starts yelling, you don't want to have to find the remote- which is usually right next to you or underneath you). 
  • Eat things that will be OK coming back up. My personal preference is spaghettios or plain potato chips. 
  • Don't watch or look at anything that could make you queasy. One time, my roommates and I were watching an episode of VH1 "I love the 90s" and they showed a clip from Nickelodeon Double Dare- the show where kids would compete and if they lost, some green gooey liquid would be dropped on their head (aka Gak). The instant the Gak appeared on our screen, I high tailed it to the bathroom and lost the Mexican food I had put down as a base the night before. 
Please keep this post in mind the next Sunday (or Tuesday) morning when you wake up feeling like hell. 

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Crap My Mom Says, Part Dos

    One time Anne, Dan's sister (get all of your rhyme jokes out now), came over to our house for something. My mom was the only one there at that point. As Anne let herself into my house, my mom, who was hanging out on my couch, was caught off guard.
    Mom: Who's there!?
    Anne: Just me, sorry- I am just coming over for a little bit.
    Mom: Oh- yeah- that's fine. I just don't have any pants on.
    *Remains on couch watching TV.*

    While my coworker was on her honeymoon, I volunteered to "pet sit" her leopard spotted gecko, Karl. My mom was in town on a night that I had to go feed Karl, and I convinced her to come with me. I threw his mealworms into his terrarium and excitedly stood there, waiting for him to come do his lizard thing and sneak up on them all slow like and then WHAM eat an unsuspecting worm.
    Mom: What are you doing? You fed him, let's go.
    Me: Wait a few minutes. Don't you want to see him eat one? It's awesome.
    A few minutes seconds pass.
    Karl does nothing.
    Mom: This is the dumbest pet I have ever seen. Let's go.
    Me: Come on, wait a few more moments.
    Mom: No, I have so much better shit I could be doing.
    Me: Like what?
    Mom: ANYTHING other than watching some stupid lizard. Let's go.
    Me (defeated): Alright... Bye Karl...

    During a family trip to the beach, my parents and I went to eat at McGuire's- the best Irish restaurant in the Redneck Riviera! One of my many talents includes being able to find the biggest, sweetest, most potent drink on any menu and our trip to McGuire's allowed me to show off my skill by ordering an "Irish Wake" (please see below).

    My parents must be so proud of me. No, seriously- they must be because
    they are the ones who took the picture.

    Needless to say, after one Irish Wake, I was feeling pretty good and I ordered one "to go." I put it in the console in the front seat on the way home and planned on finishing it at the condo. Well, my eyes were much bigger than my liver that night and I barely made it a few sips into my second drink. The next morning, I sadly poured out my bad decision only to find a hair clip in the bottom of the jar. And I am talking a serious hair clip.
    Me: Gags audibly.
    Parents: What?
    Me: What the fuck!? Look at what was in my drink. That is disgusting! Do you think that the waitress did that!? I am disgusted. Why would anyone put that in someones drink!?
    Parents walk over to the sink.
    Mom: Ohhhh- that's where my clip went. I took it off in the car last night and put it down but then couldn't find it. I guess I put it in your drink.
    *Picks it up and fixes her hair.*

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Two animals you NEED to know about

    Last summer my family took a trip to the beach. My mom went in early on Friday and my Dad and I met her out there later that night. It got dark before we got there and we took a road in that skirted the coast. The only lights on the road were our car lights and the reflection of the moon in the ocean- I know this all sounds romantic, but it was me and my dad, and we had just inhaled a huge quantity of Taco Bell and were now suffering the consequences. Anyway, sand crabs kept running across the road and through our headlights. I laughed and told my Dad that we were lucky they weren't those crabs that could pop your tires.

    "What are you talking about?" he asked.

    "You know- those huge crabs that can do damage to your car."

    "No I have no idea." (Or maybe his response was "You just made that story up, there ain't no girl crab like that.")

    When we got to the condo, I immediately pulled out my ipad and started doing some research. My parents and I were hanging out on the balcony, watching a storm come in, when I finally found what I had been looking for- the coconut crab. These are huge crabs that live on islands in the Pacific and eat fruit (hence 'coconut' crab) and dead animals. They also like shiny things (that is the only thing I have in common with them) and have been known to steal pots and pans out of people's windows (ok, well make that two things I have in common with them). Once I found all of this out, I immediately added "Places where coconut crabs live" to my list of "Places I NEVER want to go." My dad, however, said they were awesome and he would like to meet one and just tap it on its head.

    I apologize in advance, but I am going to include a picture of one. You can call me in the middle of the night if you wake up in a cold sweat from this.

    Does this give you goose bumps? I think I would opt to never
    take out the trash again (which really wouldn't be very different from
    what I do now).

    After we finished googling "coconut crabs," my dad told me about pistol shrimp. This animal is not nearly as disgusting as a the coconut crab and certainly lives up to its bad ass name. These little guys are kind of like normal shrimp, but have one big ass claw. They can snap this claw to produce a bubble that zooms out and reaches temperatures of over 8000 degrees F, and a pressure level of over 200 decibels (whatever the hell that means). They sneak up on their prey and shoot a big ass bubble at them, and stun the shit out of them and then eat them. Now, that is pretty bad ass.

    I was giddy with my new knowledge and couldn't wait to start incorporating the idea of these two animals into my everyday life. When I got back to work, I immediately told everyone about the coconut crab and the pistol shrimp (which comes with its own sound effects: peow peow).

    A few weeks after we went to the beach, a new cat made its way into my parents life. As often happens, he adopted them, and after feeding him (and swearing that they wouldn't keep him), they named him and took him in. He was young and was not neutered. One day, while I was home, my mom was bitching about having to take him to the vet to have him "fixed," or in my mom's terms "have his nuts chopped off." I suggested that she just find a pistol shrimp and let it take care of the job. We could hold Rastus in place, lift his tail up, and 'peow peow,' he would be fixed. My mom said no.

    Now that I have introduced you to two of the most amazing creatures ever, you should spread the crustacean love even further. Tell your friends about pistol shrimp and tell people you dislike (especially little children) about coconut crabs. You can thank me later.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Fish are people too...

    Well, kind of.

    If you haven't noticed, I am quite the animal lover. I come by it honestly- from both my mom and my dad. One of the family friends always says that if she is reincarnated, she wants to come back as one of  my family's pets. They have it good. Even the fish.

    When I was a junior in college, I hit a little bit of a low point and decided that I needed something to cheer me up. My friend, KTO, and I were at Wal Mart when we found the solution. Bettas! Almost simultaneously, we picked out our fish and had the same exact thought "I shall name you ------ and you will be the best Betta ever." Well, I don't really know if that is what she thought, but since she doesn't have her own blog, we won't ever find out.

    My fish was Levi the Leviathan (swimming in the sea of Galilee... glub glub glub) and hers was Moto.

    Little did I know Levi the Leviathan was about to teach me a big ass life lesson. When you are depressed, buying a fish will not fix anything. It only makes things worse. Especially if they are an anorexic fish and your roommate's fish is a huge fatty. Katie and I would feed our fish at the same time and you could hear Moto chomping down on his fish niblet from the next room over. Levi, on the other hand, would suck in a pellet and then, in a French accent, spit it out and say "peh... you call this food?" I hated him and his stupid fish guts.

    At some point, I tired of my Betta and passed it on to my mother. She says she can't remember what happened to him, but I am pretty sure he was given a funeral at sea... before his time.

    I don't know what happened to Moto either, but at some point KTO purchased another Betta, whom she named "Blech." Her reasoning was that she would never have another fish as good as Moto, so why even try. Blech didn't wait around for Levi's fate. He went ahead and did the job himself by jumping out of his bowl. I would too, if my owner named me Blech.

    I reestablished my relationship with the fish world last December. Around Christmas, my mother made the mistake of sending me to PetCo with her credit card. I purchased what was on her list, but also came home with two Bettas. One for me and one for her. My parents' cats immediately tried to befriend the fish:

    As you can see, Coconut was incredibly friendly. She was just trying to say 'hello':

    Rastus, on the other hand, was just a little thirsty. I mean, can't a cat catch a break?

    My mother laughed at the inter species interactions for about thirty minutes straight and then immediately got over the idea of owning a fish. She selected her fish (the red one) and walked to the neighbors house. She let herself in and told the two girls that lived there (ages six and nine) "look at what I got y'all for Christmas!" This was immediately met by squeals of delight and their mom looking at my mother with a real sarcastic "Thanks, Cathy." (Sorry, Sherry...)

    While my mom's run of owning a fish lasted less than an hour, my fish, Frederick, made it back to New Orleans, where he is alive and well.

    No fish were hurt in the writing of this blog.****

    ****Except for these:
    Mmmm mmm KTO says. Gimme that fish/seaweed.

    Mmmm Mmmm some bigger fish says. I already got your fish.
    Mmmmm Mmmm I say. I like Modelo.

    A Direct Message from the Karma Gods...

    My parking situation at work is not ideal. There is only street parking and when school is in session, finding a parking place within a five minute walk to work is a blessing. In fact, one time I almost killed a biker while I was pulling into a spot. I was too busy trying to beat my coworker to the spot to notice any pedestrian action going on around me. We both saw the open space and made U-turns to get it, and I pulled out in front of a car and zoomed into the spot. Was it worth almost knocking that man straight off his bike? Maybe.

    Needless to say, summer brings the joy of a few extra minutes of sleep and access to a lot more parking. However, my coworkers and I still get excited when we see that perfect spot- NOT in a 2 hour parking zone, and only a stone's throw away from the front steps of work.

    Therefore, a few months ago, when I saw one of these parking spaces that came with a "is this too good to be true" moment, I pinched myself- realized it was true- and then put on my blinker to parallel park.

    At this point in the story, I think you should know that my "Driver's Education" consisted of me driving my "instructor" to the mall and us going shopping for a cowboy hat for his girlfriend. The majority of that two hour driving session was spent between Spencer's and PacSun. Needless to say, parallel parking was not a high priority in my education. This does not mean that I do not know how to parallel park. I can and I often do. But if I am in a high stress situation (e.g., the Mercedes SUV behind me pulls straight up my butt and then loses patience and speeds around me while scraping their wheels on the curb by the street car line), I get a little unnerved and don't perform my best p-park job ever.

    So after the Mercedes a-hole sped away, I calmed down and backed my car into the spot and slightly bumped the car behind me. (They're called bumpers for a reason, right? Right?) I got out of my car- looked for any scuffs or scrapes and saw nothing. I exhaled out of relief and leaned into my car to grab my bag as I noticed something move out of the corner of my eye.

    A bobble head doll.

    Of Jesus.

    On the dashboard of the car behind me.

    Shaking his head while casting his judgmental gaze upon me.

    "Awww Christ," I murmured as I walked my incredibly short walk to work, "this is going to be a really bad Wednesday."

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    My favorite "room service" ever

    No, it's not what you're thinking- that is, if you are thinking something gross. If you are thinking something along the lines of an individual sized pizza, some tater tots, and a hot fudge sundae, you are close- but no cigar. The best thing I ever had delivered to my hotel room was a live gold fish. Or at least it held the "best room service" title for about two hours.

    During one of my work trips, I found a great deal on The Hotel Monaco in downtown Portland. If you have not had the chance to stay at one, a Hotel Monaco is pretty swanky. Almost to the point that I felt like someone would escort me to my room while holding a stereo that was playing a walking theme song of my choice. Mine probably would have been Gangsta's Paradise. Just saying.

    After my usual 'scope out the room and then flop on the bed for ten minutes' routine, I picked up the hotel's guide book. I was thumbing through it when something caught my eye.

    Whhaaaattttt!!!???? Now this really tickled my fancy. I immediately threw the book on the floor and, trying to hide the high level of excitement and anticipation in my voice, called down and requested a fish.

    I eagerly paced the room while I waited for my new friend to arrive. I already imagined all of the things I was going to tell him about and all of the great photos I was going to take of him. It was a dream coming true- a pet of my own on the road with me.

    When there was a knock on the door, I made myself wait for at least five seconds before I opened it. "Yes?" (I pretended to have forgotten why someone might be knocking). "You called for a fish?" "Oh yeah- just put it over there." The dream deliverer set up my new best friend on my bed side table and then put a little placard next to the bowl: the fish's name. Andy Warhol. Clever.

    I was so excited. I called my then boyfriend and woke him up (it was pretty late his time).
    "Guess what!?"
    "I got a gold fish delivered to my room!!!!!"
    "No- you don't get it. He is a real fish and his name is Andy Warhol."
    "It's midnight."

    While he was right- it was getting late, and I had a lot to do the next day, I just couldn't sleep. I stayed up and watched tv and kept stealing glances at Andy.

    Me: furtive glance


    Me: another furtive glance


    Things were going well between me and my new friend.

    I finally started to calm down and realized how worn out I was, so I decided to get ready for bed. At this point, I noticed that Andy was not looking so hot. He was swimming kind of funny like. Really fast spurts, then not at all. Then for a while on his side. Also, the water had changed colors pretty quickly. Now I'm no goldfish expert, but I knew something was not right.

    I called the front desk and let them know that something was wrong with my goldfish. I could almost hear the eye roll from the receptionist. As I waited for a knock, I gave Andy some encouraging words. "It's going to be ok, buddy. Just hang in there."

    Pretty soon the "dream deliverer" returned to check it out. He took one look at the bowl and said "ohhh yeah. Something is definitely wrong. I'll go get you a new one." A new one? I hadn't even gotten to know this one yet. Just give him some medicine and he'll perk right up. But, alas, Andy was whisked away and I waited patiently for my new friend. I wonder what he will look like. I wonder what his name is. Will he like me?

    The man returned quickly with my new fish. He got him all set up in the same place and then left the room. I went over there excitedly to meet my new friend, then I saw his name card.... Andy Warhol. Well, that was about all I could handle for one night. My first friend died after hanging out with me for only two hours and then my new friend wasn't even good enough to get his own new name. This was horrible.

    I decided enough was enough and went to sleep. As I turned the lights off and got in bed with a big sigh, I didn't even say goodnight to "Andy."

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Category: Things I Eat With a Spoon

    Some things in life are too good to enjoy as intended. There are a few delicious items that make me forego a knife, fork, or suggested "serving size." Who makes up these serving sizes anyway? THREE AND A HALF servings for basically anything you buy in an airport store? Who do they think I am? A freaking hobbit? Surely that 3 is there by mistake... it only felt like there was .5 servings of goodness in that bag of gummies.

    I digress.

    Before I even get into the food that makes me go weak in the knees, let me reveal a little quirk of mine. I HATE big spoons. HATE them. They are just unnatural. They feel weird in my mouth and hold too much. I just don't need that many cheerios at one time. I don't want that much soup in one bite. During my freshman year in college, I would stand in the cafeteria and pull spoon after spoon until I found a teaspoon. Even now, I would rather hand wash a teaspoon (and I don't hand wash anything) rather than use a big stupid clown spoon. Unless of course, it is while I consume the following items.

    Get ready peanut butter.... here I come!
    • Peanut butter. I am seriously considering naming my first child George Washington Carver (regardless of the gender) to pay my respects to the man that invented the heavenly bliss that is peanut butter. Often times, I intend to eat it with an apple, but then find myself two bites into the apple when I just turn all of my attention to the peanut butter. One of my favorite tricks when I am a few drinks in is to roll a big spoon full of peanut butter in a bag of chocolate chips. This is a move that I am always impressed with at the time, but then question later when I go to make a recipe that requires a whole bag of chocolate chips (without dried peanut butter flecks in them). 
    Screw you apple! I lurve peanut butter!!!

    • Caesar salad dressing. Thank god for the Romans for inventing this concoction. Wait, it wasn't invented by the Romans? Then why do they call it Caesar? That's plain wrong. Nonetheless, there has to be some sort of voodoo mixed into its creamy deliciousness. It's probably unicorn horns. The grocery store near me sells their Caesar salad dressing in bulk- it is there right next to the "Betta Chedda" dip (which my dad loves, but I don't really like... so I am not sure how it is Betta than anything). I sometimes find that salad needlessly limits the amount of dressing I can consume, so here I will opt for a big spoon to get the job done.
    • Chocolate syrup. If I am only given one option of the type of chocolate syrup- I will take it, regardless of the brand. But if given an option, I will always opt for Magic Shell. That shit is heart stopping, spine tingling, speech halting, universe shaking good. They really nailed it when they decided to name it Magic Shell. Actually, they probably should have just dropped the "Shell" part. Another one of my favorite tricks involving spoons and food is to fill a big spoon up with some Magic Shell and stick it in the freezer. Most of the time I get too impatient for it to freeze completely, but I am never disappointed with the results. If I have the urge to eat it as designed (over ice cream), I go with the ratio of three parts Magic Shell to one part ice cream. 
    • Soft cheese. Crackers should be ashamed of themselves for insinuating that they are the perfect accompaniment for cheese. As I mentioned in my blog, I do have a soft spot (no pun intended- get it- cause eating a lot of cheese can give you quite a few soft spots AND soft cheese is the only cheese you can eat with a spoon) for goat cheese (especially with some balsamic vinaigrette.... mmmmm mmmm). When I am at a function with other people, and have to behave like I am a part of society, I will dip a stupid cracker into the cheese. But at home, if the urge strikes, I'll go at that cheese with a big shiny spoon.

    Sunday, July 31, 2011

    A typical day in the life of...

    Yours truly. This little gem is from last summer- I wrote it to my friend after I had an amazing trip to the grocery store.

    You wanted an email so here goes. So- after I dawdled at work for a long time because I had nowhere to go and no one to go there with, I decided I would treat my self to a bottle of wine. So I went to Robert's and while I was there, I decided to buy some food, as well. Because we have very little food in the house and apparently last week, when Dan pulled some pop corn out of the box, it came out with a roach. And we all know- I don't do roaches. So until Dan is back in town- I am not consuming anything out of the pantry- unless Sophie is right there to attack if a god forsaken creature should show up. P.S. I just typed anything out of the "panty" and not pantry- and it took me a while to realize what was wrong with that sentence.

    So anyways- I am purusing Robert's, trying to decide what I will consume tonight when I decided I wanted something to go with ketchup. Naturally, I grabbed a bag of regular zapps (naturally)- and I would like to point out that I made the decision to grab the little bag (that feeds four to six) instead of the big bag (that feeds an entire village)- so I should get some credit. I was also next to the crackers, so I grabbed some so if I decided to eat some cheese, I wouldn't have to eat goat cheese with a spoon (and honestly this is just me trying to maintain the idea that I am a self sufficient, somewhat respectable adult. I really think there is nothing wrong with goat cheese on a spoon, but I am really trying at this whole adult thing).

    I was headed to the wine when I began recounting what I had eaten today: part of a blueberry muffin, some of a mocha granita, some mash potatoes, and a Popeye's biscuit (or 1.5 biscuits, or 1.7--- probably actually just two whole biscuits). So let me go over that again: carb, carb, carb, fat, saturated fat, fat, carb, fat, carb, carb, saturated fat, polymonotrioctoquadro saturated fat, carb. At this point I decided I should probably get some vegetables- just to give myself a healthy option. And in case you didn't know- I have an unending love for canned asparagus. That stuff is so good it will make you want to slap your momma (that is when I don't already want to slap her- which isn't often. Hi Mom). Sometimes Everytime I eat it in front of people, they bitch about the smell and how disgusting it is, but I think they are just jealous that I love canned asparagus more than I love them. It is especially good with French dressing. Anyway, I wandered on over to the canned asparagus and grabbed myself a few cans and then selected a fine bottle of wine (yes! Rex Goliath is on sale for $7!) and then went to check out. Well- this is when my adventure really begun.

    The girl checking me out was a young, heavy set, blond girl that kind of eye balled me when I walked up (not in a mean sort of eyeballing way, just in an eyeballing way). And she rung up my 5 items (chips, crackers, wine, and two cans of asparagus) and then looked at me and said "are you just getting off of work?" and I said "yep." And she said "getting some stuff for dinner?" And I said "actually, getting dinner, doesn't it look good?" At which point she looked through my bag, eyeballed each item (and in the bad kind of eyeballing way) and then looked at me and said "no- this is really unhealthy. The least you could have done is bought fresh asparagus." Whoa whoa whoa. Back it up here. We went from small talk to 'what the fuck' talk in about pernt five seconds. So then I told her I bought the canned asparagus because I wasn't so sure I was going to eat it tonight and didn't want it to go to waste. She then looked at me for quite a while- up and down- up and down- and goes "hmph, well at least your skinny." Which I got defensive about (like 'bitch, why you callin me skinny- you don't know me') and told her "yeah, well I work out" (because apparently I had to offer an explanation on why I could select my dinner items and maintain my girlish figure). So then she starts telling me about how she lost ten pounds and then gained it back and is trying to lose it again but her parents keep bringing her cake (.......what?).

    While she was unfolding her life story to me, I put my wallet under my armpit (as I often do, because it is really f-ing big) and collected my belongings. At the point that I was all sitcheated (read situated, but in a fun way), I tried to grab my wallet and I realized the zipper was stuck on a loop on my sleeve immediately next to my armpit. I stood there and struggled with the wallet and tried to make small talk about this girl's cake problem until it came to the point where I had to interrupt her extremely interesting story and ask her to pull it off for me. I had to lean way across the bagging area and let her rummage around my pit for a while until she got it untangled. At which point, I looked at her and said "Well that was awkward- have a nice day" and booked it home to have my chips, ketchup, cheese, and wine.