Thursday, March 31

30 days of false schizophrenia, comin' right up.

You know that weird feeling you get when you think you hear someone say your name? Welcome to my life for the next month: April.

April, April, April.

Tomorrow's my favorite. Every year, somebody thinks they're the first person ever to have come up with this:
"Hey, April!"
(Okay, maybe it's a little funny.) (Heh. I need more friends named April so I can do this to them.)

It gets really interesting when I have to wear a name tag, like when I had a restaurant job. At least 5 times a night throughout the month of April, people would crack little jokes like "Hey! Your name tag is also a calendar right now!"

It was so relentless that on April 29th, an old man looked at me with a mischievous sparkle in his eye and said, "You're almost over," and I didn't even think for a second that he was some sort of doomsday prophet.

I also get a lot of: "What's your middle name? Mayyyy?"

Or: "What month were you born in? April???"

Oh, Mom and Dad. It's as if you two prophesized that, although I was due to be born in March, I would hang out two extra weeks to be born in... April.

And it's as if my parents knew that I'd grow up to be a big ol' barefooted hippie whose favorite animals, in all seriousness, are ducks:

and bunnies. 
Soooooo fluffy I'm gonna die.
Good call on the name game, you two.

And then May rolls around, and I realize I must be more narcissistic than I realize: because I kind of miss hearing my name all the time.

So, I will secretly enjoy the false attention for the next 30 days. (And then there will be an awkward one-week period where I accidentally ignore people who really are saying my name.)

Photo cred: (1) (2)

Monday, March 28

Pest Protection: Tales of a Tiny Triage

Oh, spring break. What a marvelous vacation from the computer screen you were. Relieved my bloodshot eyes, you did. A huge backlog in blog posts I need to read, you caused. Made me talk like Yoda, you did.

So, you know those little habits you don't think much of, until you hang out with your parents and see the same quirk mirrored in an older version of yourself? Last week, I experienced yet another epiphanous moment of proof that I'm turning into my Mama & Papa Bear: we save bugs.

For as long as my memory stretches, I've rarely been able to talk my conscience into ending a tiny little life just because it annoyed me or creeped me out. (Sorry PETA, eating them is another story. Yes, I'm a hypocrite.) Eventually, it got to the point where I wasn't just letting them live-- I was going out of my way to save them. 

I think it's part of living in the country, but my parents' house has always had ants. Little tiny ants (that are actually pretty cute compared to the gnarly carpenter variety). Little tiny ants that get into everything.

The purpose of this photo was to show you that they were the cute ones, not the creepy ones. But apparently it's impossible to take a non-creepy photo of an ant. So I tried to show you how cute and tiny they are with that little zoom-out, but it isn't working. I can feel your judging eyes.

Holy long photo caption, Batman. So anyway-- in the high school years, I once left a jar of honey open on the counter at my parents' house. And of course, I returned an hour later, horrified to find dozens of tiny little ants writhing helplessly in the jar's golden death bait (yes, my inner dialogue is always this dramatic).

It was my fault, clearly, for leaving it open. I grabbed a plastic fork, and snapped off all but one tong. Dipping the point into the honey, I pulled up one of the victims, holding it close to my face to assess its welfare.

Assessment: not good. Pulling it out of the honey had further entangled its limbs in the viscous bee-barf, and its tiny antennae were flailing in panic (because I know how to interpret antennae movements, yes).

I transferred the honey-and-ant conglomeration onto a napkin, set the faucet on a slow dribble, and rinsed the honey off the ant, hoping it could hold its breath. I set the tortured insect on a second, dry napkin, and watched it instantly soak all the water off the ant. He scurried off in a frantic zig-zag. Success.

[Repeat for forty-five minutes, or until all helpless little anty-lives have been spared.]

When I moved off to college, there weren't as many ants, much to the relief of my over-active conscience-- but there was a Jason. And it took months to convince him to let me take the spiders, ants, and flies outside instead of him killing them, but I did it. 

Fast-forward to last week, while visiting my dad's house over spring break: We went out to dinner, and somehow a stowaway ant made it onto the table in front of my dad. He let it climb onto a napkin, and pondered out loud if the restaurant would make a happy home for it. 

Lots of food? Plus. Lots of cleaning with bleach? Uh-huh. Not ideal in a happy ant home. And with a quick shake of his wrist, he flicked the ant off of the napkin onto his lap

To take it "back home."

One of the funniest things I've ever seen? Yes. One of the most ridiculous things? Especially yes. 

But also? One of the sweetest things I've ever seen. What can I say? I'm glad to be turning into my parents.

Monday, March 21

Is it "unfair" to blog about Japan?

My friend Lauren started a forum on "20-Something Bloggers," posing the question:  "Have you posted something about the tsunami in Japan?" A handful of people* responded that they hadn't-- and in fact, they were morally opposed to doing it.

To paraphrase, they explained that there are many ongoing humanitarian crises that bloggers and everyday media completely ignore, and so it seems unfair to bring more attention to Japan's tsunami when it has already completely saturated the news.

They also pointed out that the tsunami was an unpreventable natural disaster, unlike the smaller-scale genocides, false imprisonments, etc. that are caused by people (and therefore preventable), and have been going on for years.

They brought up some good points, and I had gone through a similar train of thought before I wrote last Monday's post. I ended up posting about it anyway, because blogs are about sharing our personal perspectives on the world-- and because I lived in Japan for a while, that day my thoughts were all about Japan.

At the same time, though, I heard many people say they didn't post anything because they had no connection to Japan, and they were worried that people would judge them as 'insincere' if they did. We ALL have a connection to Japan;
** we are fellow human beings. When we hear graphic stories of their struggles, we imagine ourselves in their place. Empathy is in our nature.

However, it's also in our nature to be more moved by natural disasters that kill thousands of people in one day, than ongoing atrocities such as kidnapped children being trained as genocidal soldiers. While it's projected that the tsunami has killed 20,000 people, over 4 million people have died of hunger since I started writing here in October. 

Yet even if some people blog about natural disasters, and never once write about anything more preventably human-caused, I've realized: only good can come out of empathizing with fellow human beings, whether it's "fair" or not.

Sadly, sometimes it's seeing graphic, disturbing disasters on the news--like the latest in Japan-- that help us realize how many living, breathing people there are in the world. Real people, who suffer, love, lose, and rejoice; rather than just abstract countries like "Japan" or "Libya" or "Chile" that we once memorized in high school Geography class.

Me writing about the tsunami was unfair. But it wasn't last Monday's post that caused the unfairness. It's the fact that I've never written about anything else that's pulled on my heartstrings. 

So while this blog isn't going to turn into a "cause-of-the-week" depress-fest, and while I certainly don't think I have the answers to any humanitarian issue, I do think it's important for all of us to stand on a soapbox every now & then and speak to our passions. So, every now and then, I will.

*I'm not sure about how to credit this discussion/the people involved in it. If you were involved in this part of it & want some credit, email me at and I'll link to your blog or profile.

**I don't mean to say that everyone with a URL to their name should write something about Japan-- different stories affect different people.  But I do think it would be cool if we would start speaking up when things do affect us.

Photo credit.

Wednesday, March 16

Battle of the Fonts

Pros of graduating with a degree in a design-oriented field:
  • Your resumes, cover letters, and other employment paraphernalia have a decent chance at being really pretty.
  • You've developed a nervous tic which manifests itself in perfectionistic over-design mania.
Or, in other words, a five-hour long tic deciding what font to set my resume/cover letter in.

After the first full hour of staring at little letters, I gave up and got on the fbook resourcefully consulted my peers:

And it goes on for 21 comments. I love it when the geeks come out to play.

The following represents an incredibly abbreviated account of my struggles, once I hunkered back down into the world of productivity:

(Look out, world, I discovered how to embed animated .GIF files into cover letters.)

Monday, March 14


My heart is breaking to look at footage of the murky water, and realize there were people in it. Their houses, their belongings, their pets, their photos, even many of their lives; all swept away by the wall of ice-cold, salty water.

Honestly, most of the time it's hard for me to feel genuine, sincere empathy in reaction to something that happens across the planet. But for a place that I called home for six weeks, it horrifies me to imagine the cheerful, friendly, tidy, calm yet bustling neighborhoods and cities transformed into the wreckage I see in the news.

Wishing them peace and strength.
Help here if you can.

A few more posts on the topic from fellow writers:
10,000 and One
Quote of the week
There are no words... 
the news sucks.

Friday, March 11

Things I have in common with Tinkerbell

I vividly remember boxing up my shoes when I moved out for college, and being struck with the realization that I didn't own a single pair that would look strange if a man wore them.
{click to zooooom in on those flying mud globules}
Running shoes, Birkenstocks, and trashy Goodwill boots. That was it.


You know where this is going: I've come a long way in four years (or should I say, 10 pairs of girly flats later).
Surprise! I had two extra legs you didn't know about. And no, of course I don't have time to shave all of them.

Honestly, though, it's times like these I really appreciate the fact that Jason is extremely secure in his masculinity. And wears the same shoe size as me.

So, while I realize the following will irrevocably tarnish my tomboy reputation, I've just gotta say... THESE are now my favorite pair of shoes that I've EVER owned:
EVER. Which will forever be the one & only thing I have in common with Tinkerbell.*

I can't write about girly shoes without quoting a hilarious little musing from my pal, Kristie:
"Today I wore some flats (the cute ballet-looking ones that have been in style for a little while now) that I stole from my sister. I rarely wear flats because they give me the distinct impression of cross-dressing. I feel like a drag queen right now."
She nailed it! That's exactly what had constrained me to man-shoes the first two decades of my life. And PERHAPS this is even the same reason I had to bribe Jason to wear them...? Eh. Who knows.

I distinctly remember the first time I wore a pair of girly flats: Jason looked at me all day with a slightly-smiling, head-tilted-to-the-side "awwww" face, and I got over my macho complex. Apparently I'm a sellout for the "awwww."

Something that still makes me feel like a man dressing as a woman, though? PURSES. I don't care how much "awwww" gets sent my way, I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT carry a purse. I can hardly even hold them for my friends when they need a free hand... they make me feel as awkward as Sylvester Stallone in tights and a tutu.

And, while it's not exactly the shocker of the century: above all else, blonde wigs REALLY make me feel like a drag queen.

That's how this shoe thing started out.

*Unless a giant boy in green tights grabs me & shakes me up & down like a pepper shaker to get my Tinkle-powder-or-whatever-it's-called so he can fly. What a friend YOU were, Pete, what. a. friend.

Tuesday, March 8

Elevator music

It's been a busy week for me in terms of job-hunting (this is a good thing! I'm patting myself on the back!), but that doesn't mean I'm not going to skip out on giving you, dear readers, some major distraction from whatever else you were doing before you decided to visit.

First of all, prepare to never look at a plastic bag the same way again. (Note that this is voiced by Scar, which makes it all the more credible:)

Oh, yes. That really just happened.
  • Another cute little guy that I want to watch over & over & over (the first "cute little guy" being the bumbling little plastic bag, of course).




    (P.S. Cross your fingers for me!! I'm really looking forward to rockin' the cubicle life-- not even kidding.)

    Friday, March 4

    Premature Maturity

    I'm turning 24 in about a month, but lately you'd think it's four times that number.

    The last things I do before I go to bed at night include:
    • worry that I'm becoming senile. (i.e. the most recent debacle where I lost my apartment key, borrowed Jason's key to check in the storage closet, and promptly locked HIS in the storage closet. Those were our only two keys.) (I may have Alzheimers, but at least I don't have Alzheimers.)
    • trail off on long tangents. Where was I? 
    • Oh yesss, things I do before bed: take pills for my hip injury. (Not pain pills, chillax.) (Wait, Chillax sounds like some sort of anti-anxiety medication, doesn't it?)
    • slather on the anti-wrinkle cream (I'm a vain little old lady.)
    • consider seeing a doctor about my bladder issues. I wish I were kidding.
    • (as you can imagine, at this point Jason's all, "Hubba hubba, baby.")
    • and check on my beard.

    Once you consider my genetics, it's not so surprising. Meet the Papa Bear.

    Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a teeeeny little bit. It's only one (although very manly) hair under my jaw, but I like to call it my beard to make the lonely little straggler feel like it has a place in the world. (Me constantly yanking it out probably contradicts this, but no one's pointed that out to it yet.)

    So the last time I went to remove it, I could feel it with my hand, but I couldn't see it in the mirror like usual. When I finally tweezed it out, I understood why. IT HAD TURNED GRAY. I could see the exact point at which it had given up on melanin, too-- the last 25% of it was dark, and the rest of it was a bright, shiny silver. I can now tell my wee grandbabies that the first gray hair I ever got was my entire beard, all at once.

    I told Jason that I'm thinking of growing it out, just to see how long it gets. I assured him that since it's silver, people probably won't notice it. At least until someone asks me a philosophical question & I have to pause, raise an eyebrow in deep thought, and slowly stroke my 8-inch silver strand thoughtfully between my thumb and index finger. Oh, the wisdom this shall impart.

    Wednesday, March 2

    Guacamole in a Jar

    It's been bothering my OCD that I have more blog posts tagged under "FOOD" than anything else, yet have never actually shared any recipes. (Kinda came close during "Operation Thanksgiving" in Sweden, but then I got sidetracked by talking about cannibalistic crows instead).

    On that note: 
    Guacamole in a Jar
    All you really need is:
    • 1 leftover glass pasta sauce jar* & an electric mixer
    • 1 semi-smooshy avocado, cut into 1" cubes, or 1/40ths (sorry, blame the Matthews-er in me)
    • salt & pepper
    • 2 tbs (at least) of lime juice-- fresh, or from a bottle, OR you can also substitute lemon juice & it will still be awesome.
    But here's some optional awesomeness:
    • 1/4 red onion, diced (you can use other varieties, but red onion just tastes more Mexican to me. Awkward but true.)
    • finely diced jalapeño
    • chopped cilantro (I just grab a bunch in my hand and hack at it with scissors) (...the cilantro, I mean)
    • OR: a couple spoonfuls of salsa because somebody already cut all the stuff up for you.

    *Why a jar? We wash & save jars to store all our leftovers in. It's cheaper than tupperware, won't melt in the microwave, won't stain/absorb weird smells, and is probably healthier than plastic. This habit led to just making guacamole right in the jar, because doing dishes sucks.

    1. Put everything in the jar.

    2. Put one beater on the mixer, & beat away.  
    Revolutionary!! HAHAHA. Ha. Haha. So punny.

    3. I was going to say, "Don't forget to lick the beater," but it's just too awkward when it's part of something's face and makes you think of horrible, horrible conjunctivitis.
    ( Herman is special, he only needed one sticker.)

    4. Spoon onto burritos, oh heck YES.

    5. Hopefully, you saved the lid from that jar. Screw it on & stick the leftovers in the fridge!
    ...If there are leftovers.