Thursday, January 29, 2009

What's in a name?

Working at Starbucks, I have to write a lot of names on a lot of cups. I can’t tell you how many times people get upset when I write “Megan” instead of “Meaghan” or can’t call out “Rajhamenanae” (Yeah, that was an actual name. I wrote it down on my hand in marker so I would remember it for this exact reason.) Getting snapped at or made fun of out of frustration is really annoying, but I can totally understand. Our names are a huge part of our identity, so having someone disregard the spelling or pronunciation can feel like someone is just disregarding you. My advice? Identify with many different names.

I have 4 names that I go by, the first being the name my parents gave me at birth, Kimberly. The credit goes completely to my mom, who got to name me since my dad got to name my older sister. (Shelby, like after the car. On the up side, Sissy, he could have named you Caroll. You are so not a Caroll.) My mom decided on Kimberly because it was the name of one of her favorite characters from Days of Our Lives. Anyone who wonders about my flair for the dramatic, there’s your answer. The only people that call me Kimberly are my parents when they are angry/annoyed/frustrated with me, my brother-not-in-law Joey, bill
collectors/telemarketers, and Ernesto at work. I have no idea why he uses my full name, but I think it’s kinda funny.

The next one is Kimmi. How I got to Kimmi is long story, but basically, in the 2nd grade, there were 3 Kimberlys. One of us got to be Kimberly, one got to be Kim, and I became Kimmi. I don’t know whatever happened to Kimberly, but Kim and I are still friends to this day.

The third name I go by is Kim. Mostly, I use this one at Starbucks and other places where they need my name for something. If I say “Kimmi,” inevitably it comes out as something different. Kammie, Kally, Kayley, and Kelly most often. The only person that really calls me Kim is Cierra, and she’s been doing it ever since she met me. Sometimes she’ll call me Kimmi and it sounds weird.

The fourth is Queen Kimmi. Obviously, no one calls me that in my day-to-day routine, but it’s still a part of me. I got it because when I was working at Cold Stone the whole “Princess” trend was in full swing. There were princess bags, tees, necklaces, pillows, name tags, and everything else you could possible put it on to express that you were a princess. One of the girls I worked with wore a princess pin on her hat and I mocked her endlessly. One day, she very maturely responded to one of my taunts, “You’re just jealous because you’re not a princess.” I stopped, turned, and said, “You’re right. Why would I want to be a princess when I can be the mother fuckin’ queen?” About two weeks later, got promoted and she made me a name tag that said Queen Kimmi. I’ve gone by it ever since.

So which one do I prefer? It doesn’t matter. I’m Kimmi to most people, Kimberly to others, Kim on rare occasions, and Queen Kimmi always.

January done, February bring it on!

So it’s been a month since I started with my resolutions, which was the original amount of time I had set to reach these goals, so, naturally, it’s a time for an update!

First on the list is updating my blog. While I haven’t been updating as often as I said I would, I do feel like I’ve been doing a great job. I might not be sticking to my resolution absolutely, but I’m ok with that. Really, who wants to read my blog everyday? Other than certain family members…I have found that just the idea of updating everyday has got me thinking more about what I want to write about and it challenges me. And everyone knows I like a challenge.

Second was to quit complaining about work so much. I haven’t completely failed this one, but I do think that I haven’t done as well as I could have. I don’t complain as much to other people, but I find myself bitching in my head a lot more. Some may call it talking to myself. The problem with this, however, is that I’m still spending a lot of energy complaining about a job that I won’t have forever. I should just see it as a short chapter in my life and push all the negative thoughts out of my head. Although, I guess not complaining openly to anyone who will listen is a step in itself.

On the subject of energy, I guess I’ll talk about my daily walks around the block. Much like updating my blog, this resolution has evolved a bit. The whole point of this one was to get myself exercising a little bit each day, so that even if I can’t do a full workout in, I can do something. Plus, a little fresh air is good for me to. (Well, as fresh as the air in the Valley can get.) But, I find myself doing other forms of exercising more. I've never been much for walking, but dancing around in my room to my iPod? So much more fun. Plus, it burns a lot more calories than walking around the block.

So that brings me to making one meal a day at home. I think I have stuck closest to this one. I have been making a real effort to make stuff at home more often, which is making me even more conscious of what I’m eating when I’m not at home. My stomach can’t even take some of the things it used to, simply because it’s not used to it any more, especially fast food. I felt sick all night at work the other night from having greasy pizza, which I used to eat all the time. I guess that’s a really great sign! But I won’t give up my In-N-Out. Ever.

The last resolution I made was to read the front section of the newspaper everyday. (It was brought to my attention that calling it the “front page” implied that I was only reading the front page. Whatever.) Truthfully, I haven’t been doing this. Instead, I’ve been reading the WHOLE ENTIRE NEWSPAPER! Even the political crap that’s boring and I hate. I read the whole thing everyday, and even if I don’t have the time, I read all the stories online, even on multiple news sites. I check them every time I go online. SF Chronicle, LA Times, NY Times, USA Today, and Yahoo! News. I’ve also been watching CNN, Headline News, and Fox News Network almost religiously. Unless, Greta Van Strokemouth, er, Susteren or Bill O’Racisist, I mean, O’Reilly are on, in which case I have to turn off the TV. The trouble is, I’m horrified by a lot of what I read, especially in the Bay Area. A lesbian gets gang raped and a guy gets shot by BART cops all in the same week. But that’s a whole other issue…The up side though is that now every time a kid walks into work with one of those Obama Hope shirts, I can really embarrass him by asking if he knows the artist’s name that created that image. I have yet to find one who does.

So now what? Do I give up, having found success? Nope. Instead, I stick with these and come up with more ways to improve myself this month.

Here’s the list:

1. Get up by 9 everyday. No matter what.
2. Keep my room neat. Jeliz, by the end of this, you’ll be able to walk in my room without attempting to fold clothes or shut drawers.
3. Follow more world news. I’ve got the US, California, and Los Angeles covered, so it’s onto the world.
4. Write more. Not necessarily to post, but just write more in general.
I’ll let you know in 2 weeks how it’s going!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I'll start in the year 2023...

So the other day I wrote about big girls who won’t accept their weight, and, by extension, themselves. Well then I got to thinking. Some of these women won’t accept their weight because they have high hopes of being the next Star Jones. Which is fine. If a person wants to lose weight, I am all for it, no matter what his or her motives are. However, more times than not, these same people don’t do shit about it.

They talk and talk about how they want to lose weight and how hard they are going to work to reach their “goal size.” I’ve seen it a million times and every time it’s the same: I’ll start on Monday. Wait. Monday I have a big meeting and am going to need some comfort food. Ok Tuesday. No, I have so-and-so’s dinner party. Wednesday. Yeah Wednesday is perfect. Except that on Thursday I have dinner at my boyfriend's parent's house and it would be rude to not eat the food his mom cooks. And Friday I have a wedding to go to. Ok, next week. And the cycle continues. Then, instead of going on a diet or starting a regular workout routine, she will either do it for a day or she will put it off until everyone forgets about it.

Here’s the thing: If you want to lose weight, you have to actually do something about it. It doesn’t magically come off. Unless you get some disease that doesn’t allow you to eat for weeks, then you can’t lose it by sitting around. So shut the fuck up and get up and do something. Either accept the way you look or shut your mouth, go for a run, and eat an apple instead of a bag of chips.

This brings me to my next point: Oprah. Don’t get me wrong, I love Oprah. She’s powerful and smart and entertaining, but damn if she doesn’t get on my last nerve with her whole weight gain issue. She’s been up and down for years. Every time she loses the weight, it becomes a major news story about how strong she is or how great it is that she has the discipline to do it. Then, when she gains it all back, it becomes even bigger news. Every single station has a 10 minute segment chronicling the "issue" and every critic has something to say about it. It’s always negative. No one ever admits that maybe, at 200 pounds, Oprah still looks damn good. She might not be able to wear belly-baring shirts, but honestly, her face looks healthier and younger when she has a few extra pounds on her. Plus, I think she is more outgoing and confident when she weighs more. But, for some reason, she thinks it’s best to keep losing a ton of weight, only to gain it back. If she would just pick a weight, whether it’s 150 pounds or 200 pounds, I think she would be a lot healthier. She would also be a much stronger role model.

So, whether you are like Oprah or the silly girls who can’t get themselves started or even one of those women who can’t just accept the way they look, it all breaks down to finding out who you are inside and letting that show on the outside. I had embrace many years ago that I am not perfect, inside or out. There will always be things for me to work on and challenges I have to face. It’s all a part of being human. But, it’s not about facing the challenges; it’s about stepping up and conquering them. If you’re weight is your challenge, then conquer it, don’t just talk about it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I might be big, but I think it's hot...

I was in Macy’s the other day, shopping in the “women’s” section (because “plus size” is so low class) and I overheard these two girls talking. They were both about my age and one of them was, well, um, on the large size of plus size. The other looked like she could still fit comfortably in youth sized clothes. Anyway, Plus Size keeps picking things up and making a face and putting them back while Size -3 picks up stuff and says, “This would be so cute on you!” and Plus Size makes a face so Size -3 puts it back. Finally, Plus Size finds a great electric blue wrap dress, that would, in my opinion, look fantastic with her blonde hair and fair skin, and she asks Size -3, “Do you think I would look fat in this?” I snorted so loudly to keep myself from laughing that they both looked up.

Her friend, ignoring me, replies, “I think it would look great on you. The color is great and you could wear it with a pair of tights and pumps or boots. I say try it on.”

Plus Size looks at it one more time, puts it back on the rack, and says, “I’ll think about it. Let’s go walk around a little bit.” I just shake my head and walk over to see if they had that dress in my size. (They didn't, I was a little sad, especially because it was marked down from $250 to $60!)

Now, I know it was mean of me to laugh when a fat girl asks if something will make her look fat, but come on. The dress won’t make you look fat, honey. The fact that you’re fat will make you look fat, no matter what you put on. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. I would have told her that if she had asked me. (Although, props to Size -3 for her tact and encouragement.) Here’s the thing. If you aren’t willing to embrace your body, no matter what size it is, then you will never be able to shop happily, which means you’re missing out on one of the most enjoyable activities of our society.

I see this a lot with plus size women. They are so hung up with making themselves look thinner that they miss out on looking good. They will wear over sized shirts, baggy pants, shapeless dresses, or, on the other end of the spectrum, tops 3 sizes too small, skirts let their ass hang out, and jeans that create the ultimate faux pas, the muffin top. All of these “styles” are worn with the intention of looking thinner, which makes them not only look larger, but sloppy also.

The problem is the idea that is burned into our brains everyday: thinner equals better. I’m not saying that being thin is bad, but why am I going to judge what I think about myself based on someone else’s standards? I can wear clothes just as well, if not better, than every other woman on the planet, so I refuse to look in the mirror and think of ways I could look thinner. I am never going to be small. If I spent my whole life obsessing over that, I would never be happy. So, instead, I shop at stores that carry plus sizes, buy things that fit, and accessorize accordingly. I love the way I look and if other people don’t, then they can just look somewhere else. And if all women embraced this, maybe Queen Latifah wouldn't be the only Über successful plus size woman in the media.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ah, to be a teenager again...

I think that it’s because I’ve been working a lot of Friday and Saturday nights that I’ve really noticed it. They come in packs.

It’s not just two or three teenagers coming in together, but they literally come with no less than five people. Always. It’s like they can’t go out unless everyone in the whole school can go with them and they can’t do anything without the whole group. Like being loud and annoying.

Ok, so here’s what I see at work. It’s 3:30 pm and school has just let out. Two or three of them will walk down to beautiful Downtown Burbank and either walk around the mall or loiter on street corners or do whatever it is the kids these days are doing. These two or three will come into Starbucks and meet a few other groups and merge into one. Then, they will either hang out there for a few hours, holding tables and chatting loudly about last night’s episode of Gossip Girl and how hot the Jonas Brothers are, or they will go outside and take up the whole sidewalk walking down to the mall where they will aimlessly wander in and out of stores until their parents pick them up and force them to go home.

It wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t so loud about everything they do. Everything has to be vocalized, but instead of waiting until the others are done speaking, they just speak over each other. It gets so loud that you can barely hear, and the bits of conversation you can hear makes you understand why some teachers become druggies. (If you grew up in Burbank, then you should know some of the great stories…If not, feel lucky)

Now, I totally remember what it was like to be a teenager. But I never went out with that many people. We would go out with three or four of us, unless it was someone’s birthday, and then we would go to dinner in a big group but not walk all over town 20 people thick. I tried thinking about all the other groups I wasn’t really tight with, but even the most popular crowd didn’t go out in large groups like this. We might have all congregated at someone’s house to cause a raucous, but we never did it in public.

I asked my friend’s little sis, Sami, age 16, about it the other night before work. We were sitting there and a group of twelve kids come in, get in line, make a ton of noise and get in the way for every other customer in the store, and then only one of them actually orders something. I asked Sami if that’s what she and her friends do, and she just rolled her eyes at me.

“I’m so over that,” she said. “It turns into too many cliques and someone is always mad at someone else so you have to choose sides because there is no middle ground. I only need a few good friends to hang out with and I’m good.”

Ah, girl after my own heart.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why read the book when they are just going to make it into a movie?

I don’t know if it’s that I’ve been reading even more than usual lately, or if I just never noticed before, but I feel like there are a ton of movies based on books that have just come out or are coming out.

Not that this is a bad thing. Sometimes, when I read a book, I think about all the ways it could be made into a movie and how cool it would be. I usually have to refrain from comparing a movie to the book, though, because books can go places emotionally that movies just can’t. There are only so many voice-overs or monologues a movie can have before it becomes cheesy and unbelievable, whereas in a book, a reader connects with a character because of the thoughts and emotions that are not necessarily vocalized. Unless of course it's Morgan Freeman doing the voice-over. March of the Penguins was enjoyable just because he narrated it.

I am not one of those people who will go into a movie and be unsatisfied if the movie doesn’t completely stick to the book, either. I hate people like that, actually. There is really no way to stay completely faithful to a book, especially because it would take many hours. People do not want to sit through a 6 hour long movie because the movie makers decided to include every single scene. By cutting out unnecessary scenes, the audience can still enjoy the story without thinking about how many days they have spent in the theater.

Also, think of how much money it would take to film every single scene. The movie industry already spends massive amounts of money on these films, and to add that by filming a scene that can easily be removed or cut out would just be plain stupid.

Sometimes, however, the films just get it wrong. They will stick to the basic story but will lose the point of the novel. Or, they will change some of the main characters so much that they are longer the same character as in the book. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen movie and been disappointed by these changes.

The best example of this that I can think of is The Devil Wears Prada. (The main reason this is my example is because it was on last night.) I read the book before the rights had even been bought, so I didn’t read it because of the movie like I do with a lot of books. I really liked the characters that Lauren Weisberger created, especially Andrea and Miranda. Andrea was seen as an idealistic girl with real ambitions and, most importantly, real emotions. She is frequently angry and smokes and stresses and complains. Not to mention, she doesn’t just walk away from her job like she does at the end of the movie. She tells Miranda off and then gets fired. Who hasn’t once wanted to tell off her boss? By doing this, it allows the reader to see that Andrea is gaining back some of herself. The whole point is that Andrea changed so much because of this job and not in a good way that she has to find herself again and the movie really doesn’t convey that.

Miranda Priestly became human in the movie. That’s the only way I can really describe it, and I hated it. She was supposed to be this superwoman who was manipulative and snobby and bitchy and unemotional that you feel for Andrea. She does not reveal things about her personal life and certainly does not make you like her, but are totally fascinate by her. But in the movie, while Meryl Streep did an amazing job, there is too much emotion in her. She smiles with approval and pride at the end of movie after seeing Andrea. No. There is none of this in the novel. They took the strongest character in the novel and took away a lot of what she is about. Between this and the changes in Andrea’s character, I really felt the movie lost a lot of what the novel was about.

There are lot of these adaptions coming out or that are out already that I am totally looking forward to, despite my skepticism of them. He’s Just Not that Into You is going to be hilarious and since the title literally is the story, I don’t think I’ll have an issue with the point being lost. Confessions of a Shopaholic and The Reader are ones that I haven’t read yet, but am looking forward to reading and seeing. Where the Wild Things Are should be interesting, and I’m interested to see what Peter Jackson does with The Lovely Bones. And, of course, Harry Potter is at the top of my list. Now that they are all legal, I can enjoy it thoroughly…

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ornithophobia, or one of many reasons why people think I'm nuts...

Birds flew into the engines of a plane, causing said plane to crash land in the Hudson River. No one died and there were no major injuries. I now have all I need to feel that my fear of birds is
completely justified.

I can’t exactly pinpoint when this fear of birds started or what caused it in the first place, all I know is that I have never been one of those people who runs happily towards a group of birds, making them all fly in different directions. I can’t even watch people do that. If I do, I get visions of myself being that person and having my eyeballs pecked out. It’s horrifying.

A lot of people say that it would be nice to be a bird. They say that it would be so nice to fly wherever you want and do whatever you want and all of that. I think that what comes with total freedom like that is something a little scary. Without morals and guidelines, then how can you control something dangerous? Also, it has been said that birds are not the most intelligent animals. We all know how easily and quickly stupidity can spiral into terrible things. That’s what birds are to me. They are something that cannot be fully controlled and are therefore scary. (Yeah, I know I'm a control freak. Whole other issue) With all of this freedom and the lack of intelligence, what’s to stop them from flapping their wings all around me so I can’t fight them off while they rip the flesh from my body with their beaks?

Domesticated birds don’t freak me out as much. I pretty sure it has to do with the fact that there is a cage between us, I don’t feel paralyzed by fear when I am within 10 feet of them. Non-flying birds (penguins, for example) don’t necessarily make me all warm and fuzzy inside, but I don’t fear them dive bombing me, knocking me unconscious.

I was reading an article on Yahoo! News about how accidents like these have increased. I am beginning to truly believe that birds are the new terrorists. They might not be as organized or as successful as others, but they lull humans in with their beauty and then do things like suicide missions into the engines of planes.

Who can really explain fears and phobias? Fears are not logical. It’s how to deal with them that matters. I might not be running through St. Mark’s Square in Venice, delighting in the fun of making all the birds fly around, but it won’t stop me from going to see the beauty to be found there.

Although, now my fear of flying is bubbling to the surface…

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Look in the mirror before leaving the house next time, please...

I knew when I went to Saddle Ranch at City Walk on Saturday that I’d be in for a real blog-worthy treat. But really, it was more akin to diabetic shock.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a place like Saddle Ranch. I forget how bad it can be.

We went there for Flo’s birthday and had dinner, which is actually pretty good and not too expensive. The drinks are expensive, but that’s to be expected. After we ate, Flo was so full, she said we needed to dance it of, which I am always down for. So, we gave up our table and risked going out to the dance floor. We did a couple of Redheaded Sluts (the shots), gave her friend our bags and jackets, and headed to the dance floor.

It didn’t start out too bad. I knew it would be crowded, but honestly, after about five minutes of dancing, I was so smashed in that I was no longer dancing, but bouncing around to a beat with five hundred other people. We could barely move and whenever we did, there would be some short chick right at elbow level that I thought I would take out. Now, I love to go to clubs and dance because I have a lot of fun, but if I can’t even move, then it’s no longer fun. I need some space to do my thing, thank you.

We left the floor and stood outside and just people-watched for a little bit. Which, as it turns out, was a lot more fun.

It's all about the outfits. I wasn't surprised, but all of the other stuff we saw people do was not even remotely interesting compared to just looking at the clothes.

It never ceases to amaze me what girls think makes them look good. I’m all for wearing skimpy clothes when you go out, but if you’ve got a little extra, cover that shit up. There were girls wearing dresses so short that their ass was showing out the bottom. There were girls with guts bigger than Saint Nick’s wearing spandex shirts and tiny shorts. My favorite, however, had to be the 300 pound girl who was wearing a men’s white button down shirt belted and a pair of heels and nothing else. Sorry, she was wearing a red thong. I know this because I could see it through the white shirt. I get the menswear shirt and heels, but if you're not a stick, then just say no. Wear the shirt with a cute pair of jeans and it would have looked hot. And put the red thong away and pull it out for the guy who wants to see it. Cuz I REALLY don't.

The thing that got me even more was the fact that for every group of girls in these outfits, there was at least one girl who looked put together. Either these chicks want their friends to look like idiots so they look good, or the genuinely think their girls look hot with their flabby asses and sagging bellies hanging out.

When I used to go out more, I knew what to show off and what I needed to cover up. I have great boobs, so I would buy shirts that would show them off. I had no problem going out with a ton of cleavage because if I’m going to wear something slutty, they are my best assets. I would then cover up the rest with jeans or shorts with an appropriate length. I would also never tell my friends that they looked good if they looked like a streetwalker. I might say, “C, my love, you look like a streetwalker” and then she chose to go out looking like that, but I would never let her wear something truly unflattering.

This is proof of why I don’t like to hang out with girls. Girls will play games where they try to make their friends look less hot in order to make themselves look better. It’s the Ugly Bridesmaid Theory, and I don’t like it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I totally get why it's called popcorn now...

I have a lot of stories from when I was living in Berkeley. There is one in particular that my dad loves to tell and since I have nothing better to write today, I am going to share it with you.

I lived in a house with 60 girls, and we had an industrial sized kitchen. We had a ton of stuff, like 5-gallon tubs of flour and sugar and salt and Costco sized things of spices and basically all the other essentials you would need for cooking, but on a much larger scale. We also had a 3-gallon tub of popcorn. The kitchen manager and I were sitting in the dining room one night talking about why we have so much popcorn, since no one ever uses it. One of the other girls says that it would probably get used more often if someone actually knew how to make popcorn on the stove top. If ever there was a moment that a cartoon light bulb would appear above my head and go off, this was it.

I remembered that my dad used to make popcorn for us when I was younger, so I pulled out my cell and called him up.

“Dad, how do you make popcorn?”

“You put it in the microwave and push the popcorn button.”

“Dad, I know how to make microwave popcorn, but how do I make it on the stove? Like in a pan?”

Pause. “You mean that in a house full of Berkeley students, there is not one among you that knows how to make popcorn on the stove top?”

“Yes, Dad. We are a bunch of idiots. If you won’t tell me then I’ll just go get my computer and look it up on the Internet, but I was just trying to show you that there are times when I still need to ask my Daddy for help.”

“Ok…put a few kernels in a pot, pour the oil up to the top of the few you put in, then put in one layer of kernels on the bottom. Turn on the heat, then shake the pot to keep them moving so they won’t burn. “

“Thanks, Daddy. I’ll call you and let you know how it goes.”

I walk into the kitchen, along with about 5 other girls, grab one of our big saucepans, and follow my dad’s directions. I’m standing around with my audience, watching the oil get hot and then…POP! A kernel pops and makes that fluffy delicious thing we call popcorn. Only, it popped out of the pan. Then, more kernels began to pop out of the pan. Along with hot oil. Now, there are five girls running and screaming in the kitchen because there is popcorn flying everywhere. One of them grabs a lid while I turn off the heat and move the pan to hopefully stop the popping.

After putting a lid on the pan and cleaning up all the popcorn on the floor, I call my dad again.

“Hey Dad. There was a very important part of the popcorn-making-process that you left out.”

“I forgot to tell you put a lid on it didn’t I?”

“Yeah. Thanks a lot, Dad.” I hang up the phone with my Dad’s uncontrollable laughter loud enough for everyone to hear.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To Grandmother's house we go....Part 2

Next on the agenda was dinner. Grandma had decided early to get take-out from a Mexican place because it was easier than taking everyone out. HA! First, there was the issue of the menu. Grandpa wanted to just get a platter for everyone to share, but Grandma was arguing that maybe not everyone would like something off the platter and would like to get what he or she wanted. She wrote down everyone’s order and then couldn’t read her own writing, so she had to go around and ask what everyone wanted again. Which no one could remember, so the menu had to be passed around again. Lisa and I asked her to get extra salsa and guacamole, which started an argument about how we are too picky because we don’t want the salsa she bought at the store. Which then transformed into an argument about how judgmental Lisa is towards Grandma and how Lisa just needs to relax and stop worrying. I added my two cents by reminding Grandma that she once attempted to serve me moldy bread so maybe all of Lisa’s worrying about Grandma’s lack of attention towards expiration dates wasn’t actually judgment, which only fed the fire. Finally, Grandma kicks me out by telling me to go with Grandpa to pick up the food.

Which didn’t happen. Grandpa had insisted on going because Grandma won’t be able to find the place. His words, not mine. So he insists on going and just as we are about to walk out the door, he says he needs to change his hat. This sets of an impatient Grandma who grabs her coat and me and says, “That’ll take forever, let’s just go.” Grandpa comes out all angry and I try to diffuse the situation by telling him to go make the margaritas because we all know Derek’s just won’t be as good, further substantiating my argument that alcohol is the remedy to any situation.

We get back with the food and everyone is starving, but Grandma is having issues with everything. “Do we want them on plates?” “Is yours cold, because I think this one is cold?” “Maybe we should put them all in the microwave.” “Who’s is this?” “Where does this go?” I finally get so irritated that I just take mine, in its Styrofoam container, and say, “I don’t care. I’m hungry, so I’m eating” and sit down and begin eating.

All through dinner, poor Lisa was just getting hit from every direction. Lisa does love to be the center of attention and she is much too nice to turn the conversation onto someone else, but it was really funny to watch. Everyone was asking her questions about everything. Her work, how she’s feeling, when she’s due, when she’s going to come down next, when she’s going to go to Sacramento to see Shelby, why she’s going to Sacramento to see Shelby, how long her sister was sick when she was pregnant, where they were going with Derek’s friend the next night, how she’s feeling…It was like an interrogation and there was nothing she could do to get out of it. I was greatly entertained by her discomfort.

After dinner, the game-whore Lisa insists on playing Apples to Apples. Once again, my family is big on games, especially Lisa. I usually participate because it can be pretty funny and it’s a good way to get to know my family a little better. Sometimes, it’s a great way to offend my family too, which is probably my favorite thing to do. (Let’s not forget the “fuck” UpWords incident of 2002. The board said “dock” and I had nothing to put down but an “f” and a “u.” It’s in the Scrabble dictionary!!!) So we played. I sucked. I think I’m hilarious, so I put down things that I think will definitely get a laugh, but no one gets them! Come on, people. The adjective was “corrupt” so I put down “fuzz”! That’s funny (and in some parts of the country, very true). Plus, I have the worst luck in the world, so I get things that don’t make any sense with anything. Nonetheless, it was fun. I didn’t offend anyone, except maybe Grandpa with the implication that the police are corrupt, but he got over it really fast. Lisa ended up winning, and then we all went to bed.

The next day was not nearly as eventful, except for my mom asking me every five seconds about what time we were leaving.

I went to a maternity shop with Lisa so she could buy something other than sweats to wear, and I kind of offended the saleslady. She asked if I had any children while Lisa was in the changing room, and I just made a face like she had just accused me of murder and I thought she was an idiot for implying that I could do something that horrible. She wouldn’t talk to me after that. While we were inside, Derek drove around listening to the CD I made him for Christmas. Which, honestly, is not really his taste, but when we got back in and he said that he liked M.I.A’s “Paper Planes,” I knew he was coming around.

Then, we went to Starbucks and I became that annoying person I hate with 7 drinks, all of them complicated. No, I can’t just get 7 coffees. I have to get a half black, half passion iced tea with one pump of Classic, a syrup crème frap with mocha and a shot of decaf espresso, a nonfat latte with 3 splenda, a double eggnog latte….you get the picture. That’s a great example of why I hate when partners (i.e., other Starbucks employees) come in. We know all the ways to make our drinks custom and then annoy the hell out of everyone else by having them make it for us.
We were pulling up to the house and I had just finished saying how surprised I was to say that my mom hadn’t called to find out what time we were leaving, when my phone rang. I spoke too soon. As soon as we walked in the door, it became all about leaving and getting out of there so we don’t have to sit in traffic. It’s Saturday afternoon, there’s gonna be fucking traffic. Stop bitching. So we said our goodbyes, Lisa and I took a picture by the fire, and then we left. There was actually no traffic and mom slept the entire way, which was very nice. We got home fairly quickly and I promptly went to my room to upload all of my photos from the weekend.

I might complain a lot about seeing my family, but I really do love it. I love getting to see my grandparents because they are such good people and they are always willing to do anything for their family. My Aunt Kathy has been through so much and, even though she is a little, um, strange, she is nice to me and can be entertaining. My cousin Rodney is such a sweet kid and is hilarious when he sings along to his music, even if he does sing a little too loudly. Plus, he thinks I’m a riot, which I love. Derek, aka my favorite cousin, is such a great guy, I’m so glad Lisa found him. He’s really smart and I love talking to him because he reminds me a lot of my dad. He isn’t quite as antisocial as my dad, but he doesn’t talk just to talk or to have his opinion heard. When he does talk, it's worth listening to what he has to say.

Then there’s Lisa. Now, it’s kind of cheating for me to write about Lisa because I know she reads this. If I write about how amazing I think she is, she’s going to read it and then get all mushy and I don’t really do mushy. But I really do think she’s amazing. She has been through so much in her life, I am constantly in awe of the strength she possesses. I mean, just living with Grandma and Grandpa requires more strength than I have. She is also so passionate and opinionated and, just like me, she likes to be the center of attention! She is going to be such an amazing mother and I know that baby is going to have a great life because of her. This is not to say that I am not amazed by all of my family members, but going to Grandma’s and hanging out with Lisa just reminded me why I’ve always looked up to her. (Figuratively of course. I think I’ve been taller than Lisa since I was 6.)

To Grandmother's house we go....Part 1

So I’ve been putting off this post for about a week now because I figure that if I write something that will make Lisa want to kill me, she will remember what a hassle the 6 hour drive down is and restrain herself. Not that I would ever write anything embarrassing about my fabulous cousin! Plus, as I thought, it ended up being really long, so I’m making it into a two-parter.

It’s the day after Christmas and my mom and I are headed down to my grandparents’ house in Palm Desert/Rancho Mirage/who the fuck cares it’s old people land. Normally this drive takes 2 hours and is excruciating because my mom can’t just sit quietly and say nothing, she has to fill any end in conversation with questions about something she’s already asked me about 5 times. Usually, though, she’ll fall asleep after about an hour and then wake up and we’re there! Well, not today. Not only was I at work the night before until about 2 am, but I didn’t have any coffee because we were running late and there are not easily accessible Starbucks on the way to the freeway. Plus, there were 2 accidents to slow things down and just straight up traffic the whole way. It took us nearly four hours to get there and we had to stop to go to the bathroom and get me some caffeine. I was so tired I had my mom drive, which is never a good thing since she tailgates and rides so closely to the car next to her, the side mirrors are almost touching. It makes me nervous.

We finally get there and walk into what feels like a furnace! I don’t know why, but old people always think it’s much warmer than it actually is, making the rest of us sweat. Then in the summer, you freeze because they are hot and turn the AC down to 65. I just don’t get it.

I should probably backtrack a little and explain why we went down. My Aunt Kathy, who lives in Concord (for you SoCal people, that’s in the Bay Area) and doesn’t get down here much, was here, along with my cousins, Rodney, Lisa, and Derek. Plus, I had two days off from work, so it seemed like perfect timing. Moving on…

So we say hi to everyone and get all our stuff in, and about that time, Lisa and Derek come back with sandwiches. Now, Lisa is pregnant for the first time and really not feeling well. Morning sickness that lasts all day, etc. Anyway, she had a craving for pastrami, so she called me and said she’d pick one up for us, too. Only, she forgot that Grandma and Rodney had wanted sandwiches, too, so she only got one for herself, my mom, and me. Being the wonderful granddaughter I am, I shared mine with Grandma, which caused my mom to go into a round of “Are you sure that’s enough for you?”

After lunch, we had talked about going to a movie, but Lisa wasn’t sure if she was going to go. She said that she was going to wait and see if she felt better before she decided, yet, everyone kept asking her if she was going. Mainly my mom, but I did hear Aunt Kathy and Derek a few times, too. Lisa was very nice about it, but if I were her, I probably would’ve snapped someone’s head off. When they had exhausted her, it was my turn, since I had said if Lisa stayed I would keep her company. “Are you sure?” “She’s probably going to just sleep?” “Don’t you want to see the movie?” “Grandma’s paying” “What are you going to do?”

So, the ladies went to the movies and the boys went to see some light show and I stayed home with the sick pregnant woman, who insisted we turn on the fire, because “it was cozy.” Being that I live very close to hillsides that are prone to fires, I’m not a fan. At all. But, she’s pregnant, so Derek turned it on before they left, while I talked Grandpa into turning the heat down to 72 (it was set at 78!). As soon as they left, Lisa fell asleep and I sat by the fire and read. I wasn’t planning on sitting by the fire, but my favorite chairs were there, so I faced my fear and sat there. About two hours later, I fell asleep too, which was great since I’d gotten a total of four hours the night before and had to deal with mother all morning.

I woke up and Lisa was gone, tossing her lunch in the bathroom, no doubt. When she came out, we talked about my future and her insistence that I go to grad school of some sort. I’m definitely toying with the idea, but, being the impatient person that I am, I don’t want to spend 2 (or more) years in school. I want my life to start already! But that’s a post for another time….
The women come back and begin to tell us how “cute” Marley and Me was. Any movie that can be described as “cute” is one that I can rent, so I was perfectly happy in my decision to stay home. Lisa and I attempt to continue our discussion, but, of course, my mom interrupts with things like “Is that the book I got you for Christmas?” or “What time do you think we’ll leave tomorrow?” If she can’t be involved, then she’ll insert herself anyway she can. The plus side of her sitting down with us was I finally got the chance to say that I was re-thinking law school. I didn’t go into details, but at the very least, she has an idea and will leave me alone about applications for now.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Follow the yellow brick road...

Lately I’ve been reading some of what I would call “intellectual” books, so naturally, I’m moving back to the trashier side of life.

I re-read The Great Gatsby for the hundredth time. I can’t pinpoint why it’s one of my favorite books, but every time I read it, I find something else I love about it. This time, it was Gatsby. I feel so sorry for this man who was in love with a woman for pretty much his whole life, then dies because of something she did. The whole time, I just can't help but feel bad because he did everything in his life because of someone he hoped would love him back, and even if she did, he never got to really be with her. It’s sad. But even still, I love it!

Then I read Toni Morrison’s new novel, A Mercy, which is about a group of people living on a farm/plantation in the pre-Revolutionary War era. It’s told through the owner of the farm, his wife, their three female slaves, two "hired" farm hands, and the mother of one of the slaves. It isn’t your typical slavery-is-bad novel, but it definitely doesn’t glorify it either. It tells the story of all these people and how they came to this farm and all the hardships they are facing while there, in addition to making a commentary on the land and the time period and human nature. I think it’s one of Toni Morrison’s best, so I understand why the New York Times named it as one of the best books of 2008.

So, after reading these two, I decided to read Chelsea Handler’s Are you there Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea. I’d read so many reviews of it online and heard about how hilarious it is, so, when I got it for Christmas, I’m began reading almost immediately. It was a really easy read and definitely funny, but I was kind of disappointed. It’s a book that’s listed as a memoir, yet it reads more like short stories. Short stories with very little cohesion other than the narrator. Now, I am really not one to talk since I write this blog and a lot of times it can be rather random, but I’m not planning on putting all of it into a book and calling it a memoir. I don’t know why it bugged me so much, maybe it’s that I felt like I missed a lot trying to look for something to connect one story with the next and it negatively affected my opinion of the book. I do, however, want to read her other book, My Horizontal Life, partly because it will be more unified, but mainly because I think I will enjoy it more.

Now, you would think after reading one “entertainment” book(not quite trashy, but it’s on the yellow brick road leading to The Trashy City), I would go back to my “intellectual” books, but I figure that I should keep going on this path. So now, I’m reading a book my cousin gave me for Christmas, Salem Falls by Jodi Piccoult. Normally, I don’t like to read books by authors who come out with new books every other month because they obviously don’t take as much time as is necessary to create a truly great novel, but since my cousin recommended it and since Piccoult is becoming one of the most popular writers of recent times, I’m giving it a chance. I like to read what I call pop-culture authors because they are so popular for a reason and I feel that it is an important part of our culture, therefore it’s something I feel I should have an opinion on. I believe firmly in the “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it” philosophy, so here I am. So far I’m about a 150 pages in and it’s not as bad (read: trashy) as I thought it would be. It’s not the best writing in the world, but it’s definitely better than Dan Brown. Although, to be fair, I’m pretty sure that a 7th grader could write better than Dan Brown. But, the story is really good so far, which is something I can enjoy.

Next, I think I’m going to read Confessions of Shopoholic. Like Dorothy, I’m going to follow the yellow brick road, meet the Wizard (VC Andrews, I think) and then maybe I realize there is no place like my intellectual book loving home. Hopefully, I’ll also find something great along the way!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Haters, keep it to your damn self!

Yeah, I know I’m 6’2”

No I don’t have a need to be taller.

Yeah, I know we are just going to a movie, but I look good.

These are all answers to everyone who likes to hate on me whenever I wear heels. Every time I wear heels, all of a sudden there are tons of people who look at me like I’m crazy for wearing them. If it’s not my mom, who hardly ever wears anything other than tees, jeans, and sneakers, then it’s people who are either short and hate that I am tall or it’s people who wish they could have the confidence I have. Either way, it’s really annoying.

First, there are the people who ask me if I “really need the extra height.” First of all, if I felt the need for extra height, then I would seriously reevaluate who I am as a person. Height is something that cannot be drastically changed, so you just have to accept whatever height you’ve been given. Whether you are short or tall, you can’t change it. So get over it. Now, for women, if you are short, then wearing heels is a great option. But if you're tall, all of a sudden you have no right to wear heels. Nevermind the great posture I have in them or the way they make my legs look more toned or how much longer my legs look in them. I'm tall, therefore I have no right to wear them.

Let me tell you a little story. I spent the majority of my life being taller than everyone I knew. I’ve towered over my classmates for as long as I can remember and never had friends who even came close to my height until high school. This, coupled with the fact that I was very self-conscious about myself in general, made me slouch. I hardly ever stood up to my full height, except on the basketball floor or the softball field. Both of my grandmothers always told me to stand up tall and not slouch, but it was very hard when I was at the age where I just wanted to fit in. In about 10th grade, I started to realize that being so tall was not a bad thing and I really did need to stand up straighter. I began to realize that fitting in was highly overrated. It wasn’t until I wore heels to prom that I realized how much straighter I stood in them and decided that I should wear them more often. Ever since then, I have been wearing heels and loving the way I look in them. So, no asshole, I don’t want more height. I want to be more statuesque.

Also, I know that heels imply that I am going out on the town or something, but really, they can be just as casual as flip flops. They might not be as comfortable as sneakers, but when I feel like looking semi-cute and I want to make minimal effort, a pair of heels really does the trick. Also, when it’s cold (or coldish I should say, since I live in SoCal), a pair of boots look a lot better than Uggs. Seriously. Uggs are ugly. I get they are comfy, but if you are going to wear them in public, it had better be freezing and you had better be bundled up, not in a skirt, shorts, tank top, etc. Yeah, I know that I could get a pair of riding boots or flat boots that are cute, but like I said earlier, I walk a little taller in a high heel.

I know that a lot of people are saying things just because they like to tease me, which I don’t mind. But at the same time, it gets really annoying. I know that I am tall and sometimes overdress a little for things. But I would rather go somewhere and be overdressed then feel like I don’t look good. I have to wear black pants, a black shirt, a green apron, and a hat everyday at work, so every chance I get, I like to look good and show off my individuality. If I’m lounging around the house, yeah I love to wear sweats and mukluks. If I’m going to the gym, of course I’m wearing basketball shorts and a tee. But if I’m going to Timmy Nolan’s, I like to look like I at least made some effort. If I’m going to the movies, I don’t like to look like I rolled out of bed and threw on the first thing on my floor. If I’m going shopping, I like to look I have some sort of style. If any of this calls for heels, I’m going to wear them. And if anyone has a problem, you can just kiss my ass.

And please, keep your negativity to yourself. The media makes it hard enough to be a woman, we really don't need to help them out. If you are like me and prefer to break the mold, then don't listen to any negative things. It might get to you, but eventually, if you make the choice to just be who you are, then you will be much happier for it. I know I am...