Thursday, February 25, 2010

"I've got friends/in all the right places..."

My blog title, while being an oft-used phrase, is also a lyric from one of two songs that I'm totally obsessed with, appropriately titled I've Got Friends, by Manchester Orchestra. You can find it here, just so it can get stuck in your head too. Yeah, you're welcome. The other song I'm obsessed with is what I would describe as the perfect spring/summer pick-me-up-but-in-a-chill-kind-of-way song. It's not getting a ton of radio play, which I like because while video killed the radio star, radio has a way of killing almost every song I like by playing it

Not cool, radio.

So here's the second song, Sweet Disposition, by The Temper Trap, off the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack. Please, do yourself a favor if you're able to - turn it up loud. And get ready to be obsessed. Or to leave me a comment and tell me I have crappy taste in music. Whichever.

Anyways, the blog post title came from how damn nifty all of you are. I wanted to say thanks for all your lovely comments over the past few weeks as life keeps punching me in the back of the head (not cool, life) but knowing that you guys are out there and being supportive and awesome and that some of you are going through similar shite helps a lot. You really have no idea how much you guys make my day.

This is a bit belated but I've got some specific gratitude to offer up to some bloggers that have shown me some extra love over the past few weeks - first a quick thank you!! to Anne and Carissa, both of whom sent me very cool items of lust from giveaways that I had won from them. Anne painted a cute little canvas square with flowers and a shooting star and decorated it with glitter, and then included a box of Sweethearts candy for me to get addicted to, (my favorite, Anne!) and Carissa sent me a bucketload of awesome stuff from Etsy, including a desktop calendar from this amazing photographer. Seriously, staring at these photos all day makes my happiness scale almost explode. Carissa, thank you again.

I also got awards from two bloggers that I am in awe of: Darcy and Jonas. Darcy writes with a striking honesty and humor that simply blows me away and makes me rethink why the hell I blog in the first place. Her candor and her willingness to look life straight in the eye just completely inspires me, so when she gave me the Best Blogger award, all I could do was humbly sneak off into a corner and try to convince myself that maybe I actually deserved it. A couple weeks later, I'm still not convinced, but here it is in all its glory:

And the second part of the award asks that I name 15(!) new blogs that I enjoy. Which I'll leave for another day because this is getting long-winded already.

Jonas is also an incredible writer - if you haven't checked him out do I say this? He writes a very fine line between fact and fiction and lets his readers choose to parse out what is truth and what is not... I have a feeling that Jonas might be a bit of a trickster/scoundrel in real life and I gotta tell you, I don't think I mind that one bit.

So thanks, everyone :) I feel very loved on the blogosphere.

And to spread that love...I know it's not much, but I updated my blog roll so that it's pretty much up to speed with what blogs I'm following and loving right now. As I am starting to get more followers (hi guys! I'm so excited to meet you all and read your blogs!) I want more than anything for visitors and new followers to get a sense of my fabulous taste in other people's blogs and go check them out. I love reading your guys' posts and I've been slacking on promoting y'all properly until now. So sorry about that, but better late than never, right?

Have a wonderful rest of your week, everyone!

PS I also want to thank my bestie Radical Bradacal and one of my newest favorite bloggers, B. Nagel, for playing along and posting images of what makes them happy. Thanks guys! I loved them :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

happiness: a collage

Some days I feel a little defeated, a little discouraged, and like I'm running out of breathing room. There's anxiety I can't shake, bad dreams that follow me throughout the day like smoke clinging to my jacket, and frustrations that I can't just empty my life of, like tipping a trashcan upside down. The trash is still there; it's just changed venues.

Today might be such a day - so instead of blogging and swimming in the cesspool of negativity (dude, totally my next Rockband group name!) I went to Google and put in "happiness" and then clicked on images I liked.

Since a lot of them were images of people throwing up money in the air and looking doofy (Google is a shallow mistress, apparently), I also added some images from my own personal preferences. Enjoy - and if you're having a crappy Monday, by all means, I invite you to do the same. And please, let me know if you do - I'd love to look at all the things that make you guys happy too. :) (Pssst: click on any of the images to make them bigger.)

photo credit: I got it here

photo credit: I got it here

photo credit: I got it here

photo credit: I got it here

photo credit: I got it here

photo (and website credit): I got it here

photo credit: I got it here

cartoon credit: I got it here

photo credit: I got it here

photo credit: I got it here

photo credit: I got it here

photo credit: I got it here

photo credit: I got it here

photo (and website credit): I got it here

Friday, February 19, 2010

Seattle's (and Tacoma's) Best

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a lovely week...and now that it's the weekend, I leave you with oodles of pictures of my trip up to Seattle. As I said earlier, Benni surprised me with a trip up to Washington for Valentine's Day, and I got to meet some of his family and they took us all around downtown Tacoma and Seattle. So I apologize if I don't know the names of places I went - I'm a bad tourist! (except for how many pictures I take everywhere I go. Yeesh.)

Gidget, the family dog, was understandably skeptical of my mad photo skills.

At the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Benni feeds the goats.

Suki, the 43(!) year old elephant. She was a rescue from a circus that physically tortured her, but now she's happy and healthy. And a diva.

That tiger is headed

I am the walrus...

We couldn't ever quite figure out what that polar bear was looking at...unless it was trying to trick us...tricksy polar bears!

The high school from 10 Things I Hate About You. Yes, I'm a dork.

Just like the one at the Bellagio in Vegas! But, you know...rainier.

Rock...candy? Really big rock candy? For the troll?*

Downtown Tacoma at dusk. Notice I didn't say sunset...silly, there is no sun in Tacoma!

View of Union Station from the Not Bellagio Glass Sculpture Thing. Er....yeah.

Pike Place Market in Seattle!

Original Starbucks. Hells yeah!

Red Hot Chili Peppers

*Stupid trolls...always hanging out under bridges. And eating really big rock candy.

I bet the security deposit is huge. Plus, your neighbors might be loud and eat children. Washington State. Of that I am sure.

So that was my trip, nutshelled into pictures! I hope you all have a lovely weekend and I will catch you on Monday...with more tattoo details ;)

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to piss off an entire Catholic congregation

So before I get started on this (sadly) true story, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy...good lord, how many events can we pack into one weekend? Okay, here we go: Happy belated Lincoln's Birthday, Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year, and President's Day; and Happy Mardi Gras today. And Happy Ash Wednesday tomorrow.

Also, Benni surprised me and planned a getaway to Seattle for Valentine's Day weekend, so tomorrow or Thursday I should get around to posting the three gazillion pictures I took during our trip, only I promise I'll narrow it down. To one million. But is a story about Ash Wednesday.

What you should know from the beginning is that I'm not Catholic. I was not raised Catholic, I have very little experience with Catholicism besides debating my two best friends in high school (both of whom were raised Catholic) about the nature of birth control and suicide (in that order) and while I have nothing against Catholicism, as some of my nearest and dearest are Catholic, I am woefully ignorant when it comes to Catholic beliefs, practices, and rituals.

This would become painfully clear on one fateful Ash Wednesday.

In seventh/eighth/ninth grade (it all blurs together after awhile) we had a sort of cultural exchange project that we had to undertake - which meant we, sheltered junior high students that we were, were charged with the assignment to go outside our comfort zone by going to a restaurant that served different food, partaking in worshiping a religion different from the one we were raised in, or attending any other type of cultural event with which we were not familiar. Most students hated this project because the goal of it was to make yourself uncomfortable. But me? I was all for it.

See, I have this really cute personality trait that most people call "Leaps Before She Looks," which usually ends up with me having egg (or blood) on my face and my feet in my mouth. I rush in, totally confident and enthusiastic, to less than stellar results sometimes. It's why in my profile I took the time to mention I was "accident-prone."

One of my Catholic best friends kindly took it upon herself to invite me to her church's Ash Wednesday service, which I attended with her immediate family and grandparents. We settled in to church and things seemed to be going well enough (lots of standing up and sitting down, do they do that to keep you awake?) when the hitch in the plan was revealed: no one took the time to explain to me what the hell was going on.

So when someone smeared dirt on my forehead, no one really explained why. In fact, asking questions about why there was now dirt on my forehead was being actively discouraged, so I just sat there and assumed that here I was, getting cultured, and at some point somebody would tell me something.


And this, in fact, would have been fine, it would have been perfectly okay for me to not know why there was ashes (not dirt, as I learned later) smudged onto my forehead, except that I also didn't know that I wasn't supposed to wash them off.

In the church.

Using the basin of holy water at the front.

Yeah, that happened.

So I'm splashing around in the water, rinsing off these ashes, when I start to hear what I can only liken to a dull roar, which is in fact the rest of the Catholic congregation realizing that not only am I washing off my ashes, I am in fact TAINTING THEIR ENTIRE SUPPLY OF HOLY WATER. There are screams, shouting, pointing, and I think my best friend's sweet elderly grandmother called me something bad under her breath. Those Italians, they sure can name-call, eh?

I'm steered by the elbow out to the church parking lot where the family does this James Bond-style toss of me into the minivan and off we zoom, everyone sitting there quietly with clenched teeth while I look around, confused. Was I not supposed to wash dirt off my forehead? Didn't Jesus frequently wash dirt off his forehead- no wait, that was his feet. But still?

I finally get an explanation that on Ash Wednesday, ashes are placed on your forehead as a sign of repentance for your sins. Which, incidentally enough, means that splashing around in the holy water to rub the ashes off is heavily discouraged. And in retrospect, it would have been really, REALLY good if I'd known that coming into this whole thing. Whoever said ignorance is bliss has never faced the wrath of a 90 year old Catholic Italian woman.

So every once in a while (okay, about eight times a week), my friends lovingly and half-jokingly tell me that I'm going to hell for whatever latest off-color joke or crazy scheme I've come up with. And I usually tell them, Yeah. I already know I'm going to hell. I've been headed there since seventh grade.

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine's Day: A Survival Guide

It's that time of year again, kids! It's that holiday that is supposed to be spontaneous, romantic, thoughtful, and sweet... and usually ends up being e) none of the above. After all, if everyone is celebrating being in a relationship on the Exact.Same.Day as you are, what's spontaneous or romantic about that? It's like someone running up to you and screaming, four inches from your face, Be romantic! Be spontaneous! Be loving! Right now! ALONG WITH 12 MILLION OTHER PEOPLE.

Not exactly the most sentimental of ways to spend a day telling someone you love them.

So let's face it, whether you're single, married, engaged, dating, on the rocks, on the mend, or in a nunnery, Valentine's Day becomes weird and forced and expensive and weighed down with a bunch of expectations that you didn't even know you had until the day arrived and the other girls at the office got flowers but you didn't. So I wrote up a Valentine's Day survival guide, because it IS possible to enjoy this holiday, and divided it into four sections. 1) Guys, single; 2) guys, attached; 3) girls, single; 4) girls, attached.

You're welcome.


Single: You are the luckiest man on the face of the planet. You don't have to buy flowers, take your partner out to a restaurant or make her/him some amazing dessert that took four hours of research and a ten-store hunt for something called chocolate bark, you can just sit at home and watch A-Team re-runs and laugh at all those poor fools who are marching to the beat of everyone else's high-maintenance drum and know that you were spared another year of having unrealistic ideas of romance and sentimentality forced upon you by society. In fact, this is the best night of the entire damn year to call up all your other single guy friends, go out for really messy barbecue, then come back and play Halo 3 with them until 2 in the morning. One day you will be in a relationship, and that's fine, but it's not today, and being single should be enjoyed and you should not be made to feel guilty about it. You're a rock star.

Attached: You are the luckiest man on the face of the planet. You get to spend today with the person you have chosen to be with and instead of falling for cheap commercialism or trite traditions, you have an opportunity to be totally creative with expressing your love for the girl/guy you are with. What's a more fantastic way to be romantic than to take a day to celebrate the truly unique relationship you have with a truly unique person and do something different than 98% of the rest of the world does? Just because this holiday was forced upon you doesn't mean you have to dial it in and do what everyone else does. You don't let the world tell you how to be in a relationship or be romantic any other day of the year, do you? So damn the man and plan a hike somewhere romantic, go kayaking, cook souffles together or have a Back to the Future marathon with chinese food. It's YOUR day. Don't let anyone else tell you how you should be in love.


Single: You are the luckiest woman on the face of the planet. Oh sure, for single girls, Valentine's Day is supposed to be a day or mourning, maybe even guilt. After all, you're supposed to be in a relationship, because that's how you value your worth, right? I mean, if you're not dating someone, are you even alive?? Yeah, well, screw that B.S. You and I both know that being a single girl in an attached world is freakin' awesome sometimes. Stay out as late as you want - you don't have to call anyone to check in. Watch the other girls fight over who got the best flowers, who went to the best restaurant, and who got what expensive jewelry - and watch other girls try to measure their worth against each other by using the age-old methods of competition and cattiness. Hang out with your other single friends (girls or guys) and play laser tag or pool or just hang out at home and watch Quantum Leap re-runs and eat pizza. You're not in a relationship because you have chosen not to settle and be in a relationship that makes you unhappy, and that's pretty damn awesome in a world of lonely people looking to be together for the pure, simple fact that they are terrified of being alone. You're not one of them - how cool is that?

Girls, attached: You are the luckiest woman on the planet. You're in a happy, healthy relationship, and you get to spend a day feeling completely in love and not apologizing for it. But be careful not to make Valentine's Day all about your partner working his/her ass off to make you happy - this is not your day to just be a pretty, pretty princess who expects the significant other you're dating to psychically guess exactly what feels romantic to you. Get off your in-love butt and get involved. Plan out the day with your loved ones, tell them what makes you feel loved and special and for the love of God ask them what makes them feel loved or special. This is a mutual holiday, I don't see any of those Hallmark cards referring to Valentine's Day as The Day Where the Girl Sits Upon a Pedestal and Waits For Her Partner to Make Her Happy. Take responsibility for your happiness and be engaged in making it a wonderful day for the both of you. You are 50% percent of a partnership that's being celebrated on Valentine's Day, not 100%.

So there you have it - single, dating, guy, or girl - you too can have a sane and perfectly happy Valentine's Day. Leave your expectations at the door and bring your A-game in terms of creativity, thoughtfulness, and gratitude for where you are in life on this holiday. If you're single, you might be married by this time next year; if you're married, you might be single by this time next year. Never envy other people for where they are in relationships; just be where you are, knowing that the choices you've made have lead you to this and it's the best place for you to be, and always be loving towards yourself.

PS Also, and I am 100% serious about this, if you were raised by a single mother who is still single and will probably not get any flowers this holiday, you send that incredible woman flowers (NICE flowers, and to her work, so she can brag about how awesome her kids are to her co-workers) and you thank her for being a superhero.

I'm not kidding. Do it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's Friday!!

Oh thank God.

Yesterday was one of those days where life sort of, oh I don't know, what's a good metaphor, threw up on my shoes? And then drunk dialed me at 2 am to apologize?

And today the internet at my work is acting like a temperamental four year old in line at a Disneyworld ride, so I'm keeping this post short (cue sighs of relief from my readers) but I did want to say thank you, a million times thank you, for your kick ass support. I always hesitate to blog when I'm having a bad moment or crappy day but then there you guys are, either gently chiding me to get some perspective or full on amen-ing me in all my crappy day glory - and I dig both quite a lot. It's all appreciated guys, it does not go unnoticed and your comments really and truly do make my day.

Also, to make my day better, I made an appointment to finally get my very first tattoo. Rest assured this was not in reaction to my crappy day, I've been wanting and planning and saving up for years, it does not involve the words "love" or "Bob", nor is it a dolphin diving into my butt crack. It's a word that I truly, deeply love, my friend Robert personally designed it with his mad calligraphy skills, I'm going to world-famous tattoo artist Pat Fish in Santa Barbara, and I'm about 80% excited, 20% scared.


And in other news, did anyone else know that when you add heavy cream and cheese to whatever dish you're making, your day gets approximately 83% better?

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

illegitimi non carborundum

For the past week or so, I've been feeling... shy, about blogging anything really personal.

Well, that's not the right word, exactly. It's not shyness, I don't think. I feel a little...I don't know. Silenced? Reserved? Stifled?

Tell me if this sounds familiar to you:

You blog. You open your heart. Even if you don't mention specific names or places, you talk about your life, the people you care about, the way you're feeling about what you see and experience in your daily pursuit of happiness. You reach out to other bloggers and make blogger friends (which sometimes become real-life friends, or maybe it happens the other way around) and you put your thoughts and feelings out there for the world to see.

And you trust.

Even as some of us blog anonymously or somewhat anonymously with pen names and obscure facts to draw the curtain over the most vulnerable parts of our real lives, if we have an open blog we are still doing the cyber-equivalent of walking up to total strangers and saying, Here, here is my heart. Please be nice to it.

Only some people don't know how to be nice. Or respectful. Some people walk around with anger, or sadness, or huge damn chips on their shoulders, certain that the world owed them something and they did not get it. Shattered by this thought, they don't dare risk creating something for themselves and watching it fail - how much better is it, then, to be a critic, a person who has never attempted to create anything, yet feels utterly entitled to sit back and comment on what others have made?

So they troll. They lurk. They drop by, unannounced, uninvited, into blogs where you post, quite innocuously, about your day or your dreams or your dentist appointment. And these people, these invaders, these unwelcome, ungracious guests, sit back, feeling superior in the knowledge that they will never have to risk a damn thing, and leave snide comments designed specifically to fuck with your mind, or crush your heart, or take your words, your innocent words, and twist them into something guilty and dirty.

They will never know what it's like, to put their heart on the page and offer it up to the rest of the world. They will never know what it's like to gain the respect and approval of people they've never met simply by crafting a good story or using a combination of syntax, grammar, and vocabulary to wrench peoples' hearts and make them sit back in their chair and think Holy God I thought I was the only one who ever felt that way.

They will never know anything but alone.

So here's my advice, as I watched more than a couple friends in the past month quit blogging because of bad experiences with people who do not know the meaning of words like respect or boundaries:

Pick your five favorite people in the world. They should be alive, preferably, unless you believe that after people pass away they can still be aware of what's going on here on Earth, although I'd advise you to amend that belief to not include sexual activity or showering. Otherwise things get weird, fast.

Anyways. Pick your five favorite people, and write your blog for them. It doesn't even matter if those five people actually read your blog. The point is, don't try to please everyone else, people that you've never met before who are gonna come and go and follow or not follow you. Write for the people you know, for the people you love and who love you. And let everything else go. Let everyone else go.

This above all: write for yourself. Always, always, always. Blog because you love writing or telling stories or catching up on everyone else's lives. But don't blog to make everyone happy. Because some people are determined to be unhappy, and that has absolutely nothing to do with you.

Don't let the bastards grind you down.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Disclaimer: I am the least football oriented person on the planet. I really don't give a frack what happens when men strap on 400 pounds of protective gear and about 800 pounds of ego on themselves and rush towards each other for approximately 2 and a half minutes before someone calls a time-out. Give me a hockey game, a rugby game, or a soccer (the REAL football) game any day of the week.

With that in mind:

Me: Who's playing the Superbowl this year? It's the Saints versus someone, I know that much...

Benni: You really don't know who's playing in the Superbowl? Really?

Me: No...why, is that bad?

Benni (rolls his eyes): I'll give you a hint. (Benni neighs like a horse.)

Me: The...Horses? Is that a team?

Benni: (neighs again)

Me: The...Wyld Stallyns? Please tell me they're from San Dimas. (does wicked Bill and Ted air guitar)

Benni: (looks at me like I'm the weirdest person on the planet) Okay, how's this? (pantomimes shooting a gun)

Me: The...Dead Horses? Um...the Cowboys? It's the Cowboys, isn't it. They shoot horses, don't they?

Benni: (can't take it any longer) It's the Colts. The COLTS. Get it? They're horses, but there's also a gun named the Colt?

Me: The gun you pantomimed wasn't nearly heavy enough to be a Colt.


Me: I'm just saying.
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