Category Archives: Story of My Life

2011: The Laziest Retrospective Ever

I know this is the time where I’m supposed to be looking back on my year and learning lessons, making plans for next year and spouting out inspirational quotes and whatnot. But instead of doing all that, I’m going to be lazy and make a list of my favorite things from this year. No need to dwell on all the crap that it seems we all have been through over the last 365 days. So here are the best things from my 2011.

  • As much as I think weddings can be over the top and ridiculous, my first bridesmaid experience was awesome and I’m so glad I got to see two of my favorite people get hitched (plus there was SEERSUCKER!)
  • My second successfully planned and executed commuter train pub crawl (complete with dead rapper buttons). Plus nobody puked in anyone else’s hand AND I didn’t wake up with a mysterious giant bruise this time
  • Weekend at Bernie’s 3: The Roadtrip. Just when you thought the San Diego Zoo couldn’t get any better, you realized they sell beer.
  • My third trip to NYC, in which I packed an actual suitcase, went to Citi Field, hung out on a roof, ran on the Westside Highway and drank at a place where they actually just “put a bird on it”
  • 4th of July weekend, where we learned that all it takes to mobilize a large group of  guys is finding out that Round Table’s buffet is available on the weekend.
  • Making my way through the Warrior Dash – 5k, 10 obstacles, 1 slightly undignified slide down the front of a climbing wall, 1 visit to the first aid tent and lots of mud and fun
  • Being a good big sister and helping my sisters outfit their first apartment
  • Developing my cooking and baking skills. Big ups to Nicole on that one.
  • My ridiculous dating stories. Favorites because they make good party tales.
  • All of the awesome things and people on the internet. I’ve connected with some amazing new tweeps/bloggers this year and y’all are the best (and share the best cat videos)
  • Starting a new game where I don’t send email to my brother without at least one link to a cat doing something weird on the interwebs
  • Falling in love with my Roku Player (and embracing my geek girl status). It has brought me so many amazing things, including Doctor Who and an even deeper love for Parks and Rec. And yes, I believe this confirms I will die alone. At least I’ll have streaming video on my TV.

And as for 2012? I plan to keep the same resolution I’ve had for the last two years: pants are for suckers (continued props to Rachael for that one)

Happy New Year!

PS – Be safe y’all! There is absolutely no excuse for driving drunk or even tipsy. Especially not when AAA is offering Tipsy Tow in a lot of areas. And if friends won’t listen and hand over their keys, tell them about Britain, who we barely met just weeks ago but made a lasting impression and was killed by a drunk driver. Sleeping in your own bed isn’t worth the risk.

Advertisements

On Santa (Literally-ish)

There’s no time quite like the holidays to cause people to sit around reminiscing on Christmases, Hanukkahs and New Year’s Eves past. For some reason, each year we make it through the holidays marks another milestone and another “this time five years ago” moment to remember.

But I’m not going to sit around here telling you depressing stories about how old the holidays should make you feel or about all the things I didn’t do in the last year that I should have done. Instead, I’ve been thinking about kids and Santa and the hilarity that can ensue when the two meet.

Last week I was watching old episodes of the Graham Norton Show and he had a segment featuring awkward photos of kids with Santa. The annual trip to the mall or visit from Santa at school for some reason is a polarizing event. Kids are either pee-their-pants ecstatic or utterly terrified of jolly old St. Nick.

Elf - Santa's coming!

SANTAAAAAA!

As it so happens, you can stick me in the “utterly terrified” category. Despite the fact that I, like any kid who believes in Santa, was beyond excited to let the guy break & enter and eat cookies in exchange for gifts, meeting him in person became quite the ordeal for three-year-old Kelly.

Such a seemingly quiet, helpful child...

Although I appeared to be just a quiet, average kid (and clearly helpful and outdoorsy), my meeting with Santa in preschool revealed my utter awkwardness and possibly a slight dramatic streak at a very early age. Upon Santa’s arrival in our classroom, we were all excited, if a little bit nervous because we were all well aware of STRANGER DANGER (and he probably smelled of beef and cheese). However, after finding out that we would each sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what we wanted for Christmas, my anxiety grew.

As my turn to visit with Santa drew closer, I began to panic while my parents got the video camera ready. Finally, my turn was here and the panic and anxiety broke through my three-year-old cool, calm and collected exterior in the form of sheer terror and tears. Not just tears, but uncontrollable sobbing with plenty of snot and slurping. There may have also been screaming as my teachers and parents tried to coax me into being lifted onto this stranger’s lap to share my desire for a mouse stuffed animal that smelled like grape (completely serious, does anyone else remember these? mine smelled like dimetapp aka heaven).

With all the hysterics of my fit, the adults in the room quickly realized there was no way they were getting me to sit with the big guy alone. Thanks to some creative thinking and complete openness to humiliation, one of my teachers hatched a plan that would allow me to share my Christmas wish AND avoid getting to close to the scary man in the red suit. In a thankless act of complete dedication to children and the spirit of Christmas, my teacher plopped herself down on Santa’s lap before allowing me to be placed on her lap to ensure delivery of the Christmas gift without having any physical or eye contact with the scary stranger.

Eventually, I got over my fear of old men in red suits, probably just in time to realize his hand writing looked A LOT like my parents’ and grandparents’. Regardless, this Christmas instead of worrying about how many Christmases have passed, how many presents I’ve given or whether things will be different next year at this time, I’m going to think about my preschool teacher (who even allowed herself to be filmed during the ordeal) and that three-year-old version of me giving everyone a preschool holiday party to remember. I am her and she is me. We share the same mind – inquiring and skeptical, yet full of joy – and the same ability to bring a little laughter to everyone’s day, even if it’s unintentional.

So, if anyone needs me this Christmas, I’ll be re-channeling that three-year-old (minus the hysterics). And snuggling with a stuffed animal that smells like artificial grape, of course.

Happy Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa!

The Terrible Twosome

So, I was thinking we should pack some tall boys in our purses to make this trip to the zoo better.

Today is my Partner In Crime’s birthday. Anna is the other half of The Terrible Twosome and has been since early 2004. And, before you ask, we didn’t give ourselves the name, but that’s another story for another time.

For a friendship that began as mutual dislike, at best, and mutual hatred and desire to choke a bitch, at worst, I’d say we’ve made some amazing progress since we first met at the radio station in the fall of my sophomore year.

Our friendship has evolved from drinking peppermint schnapps chased with Hansen’s raspberry soda (the only chaser we could find) to sloppy seconds (her) to bestie sweatshirts to slow-pitch softball to zamboni-ing green beer (me) to long car trips through Central California in vehicles equipped only with radio to Drinking Decathlon (champion) to Nigerian princes (me) to cross-country gchat drinking games to real jobs and the real world (although honestly, not much has changed).

We’ve survived her insistence that we listen to Christmas music year-round, drinking rum with dead ants in it, multiple Assassins water gun ambushes, a year sharing the smallest bedroom in Isla Vista – where we discovered that Cap’n Crunch starts to smell & look like tuna after sitting in a bowl long enough (her) – two years of living in the Dirty South (me), too much food and too many road trips and boys to count.

Looking back, it’s clear that our friendship was built and continues to thrive on sports, laughter and (mainly) booze. So, because it’s like your death birth birthday, let’s party like it’s Mardi Gras baby!

These tell you everything you need to know about our friendship.

Happy birthday buddy!

Love and Loss and the Stuff In Between

My grandmother has been in the hospital lately after breaking her hip in two places. Over the past three weeks, she’s been on morphine, OxyContin, Tylenol and under anesthesia for surgery.

You know what those drugs (maybe not Tylenol) will do to a person? Make them absolutely hilarious! I’m not talking about knock-knock jokes here, either, I’m talking about the delusions and false-rememberings of a person with the many memories of a life very well-lived.

There’s truly nothing like listening to my normally very composed and sweet grandmother tell drug-induced tales of getting married without any shoes on or about the high jinks she and her sister got up to at Stanford hospital just hours after surgery. It was also highly enjoyable to hear her tell my brother that I “look good as a blonde” when she’s actually referring to my mom. Or to have her respond “they’ll do” when asked how the sweet potatoes are and ask who made the gravy on her Thanksgiving lunch tray in the hospital.

But then I turn away and a second later she’s moaning in pain, calling for her mother. I can’t blame her, I imagine I’d be in tears and calling for someone, anyone to help me, if I had metal scaffolding and pins holding my hip together. Watching someone I love who is so strong, who I’ve never even seen shed a tear, cry out in pain and confusion and being unable to do anything to help her is one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had.

Then I look over at my grandfather and he can barely get his words out because he’s silently sobbing, and I realize that I know nothing about the worst feeling in the world. I’ve never known what it’s like to love someone like that, for more than 60 years, and see them in pain. I’ve never watched, helplessly, as my one and only slipped in and out of the real world and a drug-induced haze of partial memories. And I’ve never been so scared of losing someone that it paralyzed me, took away my words and brought me to my knees.

Seeing him (and her) like that got me thinking about love and all the other stuff that comes with it. Everyone knows the saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I’ve always agreed and I still do, but seeing the depth of pain radiating from my grandparents over the past three weeks has made me question it all.

Is being alone all that bad in comparison to what I’ve seen? Is it really worth it to find love and stick with it through thick and thin only to watch your love go through the slow and often painful process that is aging? Or to force them to do the same for you? Or is it just my single, selfish mind making me think being alone is a better choice?

Watching my grandparents over the last few weeks has been a challenge to what I imagine love is supposed to be. I’m not so naive that I thought love was always roses and puppies and happiness and smiles, but knowing that I might one day have to sit by helpless and watch that love in pain or even death, scares the hell out of me.

But then I think, it’d all be worth it, right? The memories – no matter how muddled they might become, the family – no matter how dysfunctional they might end up, and the happiness – no matter how much sadness might come along with it. They’d all be the product of a life well-lived and well-loved.

And perhaps, if it all comes down to pain and suffering and aging, knowing that I could be there to distract from the pain, ease the suffering and, well, tell them how young and spritely they still look, it’d be worth it in the end. The love. The loss. And all the stuff in between.

And at the very least, maybe we could get in a few good morphine-saturated anecdotes.

Obrigada, Gracias, Grazie, Merci

I’m not really into getting all schmoopy over anything, so here’s my own take on giving thanks. And since none of us should be glued to our laptops on Turkey Day, I decided to post this now. Here’s to a fantastic, food-filled, relaxing Thanksgiving for everyone.

Thanks…

for analyzing and overanalyzing the boy stuff so that I can continue to appear apathetic about the whole thing.

for loving me even though I went off and got my nose pierced without telling you.

for reminding me on a daily basis how awesome I am at my job, even if you drive me completely crazy and push me to the brink of a meltdown.

for inviting me to play beer pong on the exact night I need it.

for going on random road trips and eating chicken and waffles with no regrets with me.

for always being there for me when I need you money advice even now that those times are becoming fewer and farther between.

for putting up with my obsession with British TV and movies and listening when I try to explain what’s going on during “Doctor Who.”

for listening to me rant and making me run and eating brunch and giving me a comfy couch to sleep on.

for making me feel less crazy and always buying me awesome sunglasses even though we both know I don’t need them.

for making me feel like I’m not really an alcoholic, just an alcohol enthusiast.

for talking about geek things with me with shared enthusiasm and without judgement.

for feeding me on a regular basis and only requiring that I bring salad or booze.

for reminding me what’s important in life: “friends,  waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. It doesn’t matter, but work has to come third.”

and last but not least, thanks to everyone for putting up with my constant tardiness and total lack of internal clock.

Gobble, gobble!

I Know What You Cooked Last Tuesday

One would think that someone who as many burns as I have (see: element in the oven, handle of fresh-out-of-the-oven pot, pizza pan, light on a boat cruise of the Seine – not joking, etc.) would not continue to put themselves in eminent burn danger by cooking and baking. But since I’m all about bucking the trends ignoring my own personal history of clumsiness, I make sure to get cooking in the kitchen near sizzling pans and hot burners on a regular basis. As a result, I’ve been learning a lot of amazing lessons.

smores cookies collage

A few weeks ago, I decided to take on one of the recipes from Nicole’sDesserts That Will Totally Get You Laid,” despite the fact that I had nobody around to try to get laid by. Regardless, I could not wait to get down and dirty with the S’mores Cookie Bars (see what I did there?).

In classic lazy girl fashion, I decided that cutting the actual cookie bars would be too much work, so I went the regular s’mores cookie route. But instead of just using regular marshmallow, I chose to stick with the original and put marshmallow fluff into the batter.

Along the way I found out that, creaming butter and sugar would be made a lot easier if I owned a hand mixer. But, if you’re looking to make an impression with whomever you’re getting laid with, the arm strength from this task could come in “handy” (again with the jokes).

I also found pure joy in the fact that we were in possession of a rolling pin. As a result, making crumbs out of graham crackers was easy and quick. It also made me wonder how I had a rolling pin, but no hand mixer.

To be a baker, you also need patience. This is not a skill of mine. Patience is a virtue that has been completely lost on me. You know what you have to wait for when baking? Butter to warm to room temperature. Cookies to bake. Cookies to cool. These things are a struggle. Do you know how long it takes for butter from the fridge to warm to room temperature? Let’s just say, I did a lot of multi-tasking to keep from losing my mind with the waiting. And thank goodness for kitchen timers, otherwise I’d burn everything I bake on account of distractions caused by my impatience.

Despite all the learning and whatnot, I managed to make a decent batch of cookies, deemed edible and tasty by my friends – who finished them off poste haste. Plus, no burns? I’ll call it a win-win.

What have you been baking?

P.S. – Nicole seriously is a genius. So get in on these recipes! The salted caramel apple donuts are to die for. More on that later.

Why My Friends are the Best

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of rage. I’m not going to go into the possible triggers because, well, rage blackouts are just so passé. This rage is often manifested in angry rants, fist pumping pounding, yelling and heavy sighs.

Despite the relief these actions bring me, my friends are getting concerned about my well-being, as well as that of my furniture, walls and those around me. You only have to tell somebody once that you think stabbing someone in the jugular with a ballpoint pen would be very satisfying (because of the “pop”) to cause some serious concern.

Although most people might simply tell me get therapy and abandon me, my friends decided to get proactive in my rage problem. Nothing says true friend like getting your hands dirty when your someone is full of rage.

So my friends set out to re-direct my rage and started with my birthday gifts. Did they get me a pass to a yoga studio? Or a spa day? No, they know me better than that.

My first new rage-reducer: a hand mixer, which will bring me peace through cooking and baking. I’m starting to find the serenity contained within the kitchen and having a hand mixer can only help increase that serenity.

punching bag kit

This is how Ali started right?

My second rage-reducer: this lovely punching bag kit. What better way to get rid of your aggression than to punch it out on something that can’t call the cops or press charges?

My third rage-reducer: movies and TV on DVD. If nothing else, sitting me on the couch and letting me pretend I actually am on ‘Psych’ or that Hogwarts is real can at least make me forget whatever it was that got me all worked up in the first place.

And this is why my friends are awesome. Seeing me full of rage would scare others off for fear of stabbing or a black eye, but here they are, letting me punch, bake and couch potato it out. They’re in it for the long haul, even if that’s just to reap the benefits of the baking.

Will it work? Unclear. But at least they know me well enough to know, if all else fails, there’s always booze (possibly in the form of beer pong or a tall boy in my purse).