Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Self Inflicted Hairlip

An envelope tried to kick my ass yesterday. The tiniest paper cut on your finger alone makes you want to go on a murderous rampage against all paper products, but when it cuts your FACE, it gets personal. There may be torture involved in this murderous rampage now.
I've mentioned that my job can be more office bitchy some days rather than others. One day I might be exploring the world of Web page design and blogging and the next day I'm labeling, stamping, stuffing, and my personal favorite, licking more than 100 envelopes for the company Christmas cards. Yea! To top it off I'm sending a Christmas card with a photo of the entire company on it and I'm smack in the middle of the picture with this "der, der, der" look on my face. I usually pride myself on my dancer/sorority girl photogenic-ness, but apparently I was feeling fugly that day. It's a perfectly lovely card, I just think it would look better with a sticker of a squirrel over my face...



Anyway, you may think 100 isn't really that many and that's exactly what I thought when I started. I thought I could just work on it gradually throughout the day and that going out in 5-inches-on-the-ground-still-falling-snow just to get a little envelope moistener contraption wasn't worth it. Uh huh, good thinking.
After about 15 of them, it felt like a third grader had force fed me half a bottle of ass-mint flavored Elmer's Glue. I remember when I was little, I loved the licking-the-envelope-and-stamp job. Remember when you had to lick the stamps? My mom would sit there at the kitchen table paying bills and shit would hit the fan if she beat me to the licking - "I WANT TO LICK THE STAMP!" It all sounds so dirty. It's kind of gross really knowing that this cute Christmas card you got in the mail was thoroughly mouth molested by a perfect stranger a few days earlier. Shit, those poor people at the gas and electric companies got every grubby school-aged kid germ known to man on both the envelopes and the stamps from our household during the late '80s and throughout the early '90s. I hope they wore gloves...
So, I began to hurry through it just to get it done instead of the gradual throughout the day plan. Just when I was rolling, the envelope whipped out it's tiny switchblade and severed my upper lip.
"OH! OW! GOD!...motherFUCKER!" I yelled while I began to nurse my lip wound without even stirring the boys. I guess nobody ran to be at my side because this is exactly what I yell when the printer decides to become possessed on a daily basis and when my boss throws Jolly Ranchers at me.
A few hours later as I was driving home, I noticed my stomach hurt and went through the possible causes in my head. When I came across the fact that I had probably ingested roughly 6 pounds of envelope glue earlier that day, my mental search for the source of my stomachache was over and I laughed in that bitter, Bah Humbug sort of way.
I guess if you haven't licked envelopes until you want to puke or received a battle wound from the war 'o Christmas card sending then a.) you haven't fairly earned your wages and b.) you aren't truly embracing the Christmas spirit.

Merry Fucking Christmas and a Happy Goddamn New Year to you and yours. *kisses* Ow...watch the lip...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fun with Tacky Christmas

I walked into my parents' house one afternoon earlier this week and was greeted by Wolfgang, my parents' dog, wearing a wee red apron with a gingerbread man on it. Stranger things have happened in this house, I suppose. My mother is the same woman who surprised us one Christmas several years ago with framed photos of our old Sheltie, Bogie, wearing a pleather biker outfit (or dominatrix, depending on how you want to look at it) complete with teeny tiny chains and a hat. But, I still ventured to ask: Why in HELL is the dog wearing an apron?
My mom, standing in the kitchen with Remi skittering around and babbling at her feet, was wearing a larger version of the dog's fashion statement.
"Remi wouldn't wear her apron, so we put it on the dog," she said.
Yes, that makes perfect sense.
Apparently the plan was to have a little grandmother/granddaughter baking bonding time to prepare for the upcoming annual Holidays with the Hastings anatomically correct cookie decorating party this weekend, but somebody wasn't cooperating.
We hung out and had some lunch while Wolfie begged, tail wagging, making the little red apron swish back and forth. Not only did he not mind the torture by apron, he seemed to like it, practically prancing through the house saying, "Look at me, I'm so pretty!"
This pissed Remi right off since it was clear that the dog might be getting more attention than her and that was total bullshit. She marched up to Wolfie demanding that he take off HER apron RIGHT NOW. We diffused the situation by distracting both the dog and the kid with singing tacky Christmas.
Now, Wolfie is an extremely rare Australian Corg-a-Doo, a.k.a. the biggest super mutt to end all super mutts. My parents recently had a DNA test done just for fun and were disappointed by the results: Inconclusive. Wolfie is so far mutted out that specific breeds cannot even be detected in his DNA. My dad, the veterinarian and Wolfie's best friend prefers the term, hybrid vigor. His legs are about 2 inches long, attached to a furry black Corgi looking body with a sorta kinda Australian Shepard looking head. Funny looking, yes, but just funny looking enough to be adorable and, to top it off, he fits right in with our family because he's completely neurotic.
They adopted him while living in Reno and quickly learned that he couldn't be outside when the sprinklers came on because he would attack the sprinkler heads, biting the spray ferociously then puking up all the water he swallowed.
A black ceramic cat was perched on the railing of their deck right by the steps leading to the yard and, almost daily, Wolfie would go outside, launch his short chunk body off the deck steps and attempt to rip the ceramic cat's head off.
It was not uncommon to see him racing around the backyard with a plastic flower pot over his head or for him to go ape shit every time he would hear my parents using the plunger on the toilet.
He's perfectly sweet until you bust out the unknown, so it's not surprising that he has an unexplained vendetta against the giant stuffed reindeer that sings "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" while rocking in a tiny rocking chair in my parents' living room. We turned it on and Wolfie stood on his hind legs barking, trying to bite it and knock it off the table.
This sort of behavior is apparently quite disturbing to an almost 2-year-old, so while Mom, Dad and I laughed because it's ALWAYS FUNNY, Remi protested, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" while on the brink of tears..."Wolfgang, get away!" she whined while trying unsuccessfully to push him away from the reindeer. This in turn made us laugh even harder and by the time the reindeer had finished his delightful song, tears were streaming down our faces.
Later I discovered the aprons also had regular sized and mini sized red oven mitts to go along with them. You would have thought the tiny one was covered in Anthrax because as I approached Remi to try to get her to put it on her little hand she screamed, "NOOOOOOOOOO! DON'T LIKE!"
Well, since she didn't want to wear it, I put it on the dog...THEN she demanded I take it off of him and put it on her. Go figure.

*****

Tacky Christmas with the help of Andy has also brought a smile and a laugh to my frozen and disgruntled face the past couple of mornings. While I feel I should be buried in my nice, warm, awesome bed at 7 a.m., work and Andy feel I should be outside in the freezing cold practically sleep walking while a bastard terrier rips my arm out of the socket repeatedly. The last two mornings we've approached one of my neighbor's patios which is decorated with lights and a life size, plastic light up Santa, because, you know, giant, faded, glowy Santas waving to the parking lot are the epitome of Christmas classy along with those huge blow up snow globes. Andy immediately bristles up and starts barking at the Santa. Even after he went up and got a closer look, he still thinks it's real. It's sort of like that time he went insane over a trash bag stuck in a tree each time we walked past it for several days, except holiday style. In fact, I can't wait to go home and see if he'll do it again tonight.

****

Lacey was shocked and appalled to hear that I don't plan on shoving a Christmas tree into my tiny ass apartment. I might put a gimpy little Charlie Brown Christmas looking wreath on my door, but it has to be real and homemade and kind of ghetto looking or else I won't like it. First of all, I'm too busy getting drunk at bars to be at my apartment enjoying the festiveness and second of all, why do I need to decorate when Christmas has already exploded all around me anyway?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Strange Encounters of the Winter Holiday Kind

'Tis the season for ass busting, which I almost did about six times walking down the steps of my apartment from about Saturday night until Tuesday because of the ice - thank god for a little bit of sun and the lovely maintenance men and their rock salt. But, that's besides the point.
The point is, strange things happen around this time of year. People forget to take their Prozac or perhaps take too much of it with their whiskey and water and shit starts to get a little crazy.
Now, lets start with my own crazy ass. I've already mentioned I'm a little distressed and in disbelief that some of my friends have decided to step into the lets-have-children-on-purpose realm. My diet also mirrors that of a three-year-old, so the scene on Saturday night - eating sushi at a table with my pregnant-on-purpose friend - was one that I never thought possible.
An eight months pregnant Sarah, Anna and Lacey were all in town for Thanksgiving and we decided to have a little reunion at Kona Grill. I decided to give sushi a chance a while back and although I haven't sampled all the menu has to offer, I like a small selection in small doses and I attempt to try a new roll each time I have it. This time the surefire Atlantic and California rolls appeared with a new one, the Las Vegas roll and Anna, the sushi connoisseur and apparent eel lover, picked out the dragon roll, another new one for me. Now there's something a little crazy. Who would have ever looked at an eel and said, 'that slimy little bastard might be good to eat?' Whoever decided such a thing - I wholeheartedly disagree with. Just as Lacey was talking about how she was worried about drinking too much after eating sushi and how gross it would be to throw it up (yes, lovely dinner conversations we have), I stuffed a piece of dragon roll in my mouth and discovered that eel tastes just how I thought eel would taste - like a slimy little bastard.
As I sat there with a mouthful of assy eel and rice I wondered, 'will I be able to swallow this or will I vom eel all over this table?' I did in fact swallow it and most likely made a face as though I had just eaten a live cockroach on Fear Factor. Thank you raspberry Mojito. I'll check the dragon roll off my list now.

*****

Kate and I decided to go out for a little drinky-poo on Monday night and shortly after we sat down at the bar in Kelly's in Westport and got our pitcher of Miller Lite, the Tootsie Roll man appeared. This guy can't be more than 4 feet tall, yet he's not a "little person/dwarf" and is maybe in his 60s or 70s. There's something not quite right with him that you can't quite place and he's been walking up to and giving me, all of my girlfriends and every girl in the bar Tootsie Rolls for as long as I've been going to the bars in Kansas City. He shows up everywhere and while I hate Tootsie Rolls and never eat them when he gives them to me, though I'm sure they're harmless, you can't exactly refuse one from a strange, tiny old man, now can you.
Two giant Tootsie Rolls were thrust in between us at the bar stools before we even noticed him standing there looking rather festive wearing a little Santa hat. Then he placed a hand on each one of our backs and gave us a scratch while letting out a little howl. At first I thought it was cute, then after about 7 seconds of scratching I began to think, 'is he going to stop?' About 15 seconds passed and Kate and I are both hunched over, laughing nervously, like seriously Tootsie Roll man, enough with the touching. He finally stopped, but then started to sing...and sing...and sing. More nervous laughing and avoiding eye contact. Finally he left, Kate turns to me and says matter-of-factly, "he just scratched our backs for an uncomfortable amount of time."
I agreed and added, "Then he sang for a VERY uncomfortable amount of time. What song was that anyway?"
We shrugged and went back to our Miller Lite.
Not 10 minutes later, a guy on the bar stool next to me turns to me and says wide eyed and fruity, "Those are very lovely scarves you ladies have!"
And the very next sentence was, "Don't you just love the gays?" As if to check and make sure we weren't the scary Jesus-hates-you-because-you're-gay-and-therefore-so-do-I hypocritical freaks that roam freely around KC.
Why yes, little scarf loving gay man, we do in fact love the gays, so no worries. We then taught him how to properly wear his scarf since he had been with his partner for five years and was "soooo out of the loop."
After he and his two lesbian pals had called it a night, Kate turns to me and says, "Wait, was that one with the shaved head a guy...or a girl?"
"A girl," I said. "But the only reason I know is because she went into the women's restroom a few minutes ago."

*****

I've recruited Kate as my driver to dance class since the studio is the ghetto, the lighting sucks, the parking is terrible and I got approached by two bums the last time I went, one of which approached my car before I got out of it and scared the living shit out of me. I mean, it would totally blow to be robbed or killed at all, but while sporting the spandex? That's just humiliating. So, I've opted to park at Kate's then have her drive me the rest of the way down the street, drop me off, then pick me up when it's over.
All the chicks in the class have been normal and perfectly nice so far and last time there was even a guy that showed up. Then things turned a bit freakish this week when a different guy showed up. He was wearing all black when he came in, then he began to strip away the layers right before class started. I turned around to put my stuff on the ground under the ballet barre and head to the center of the floor for warm-up and when I turned back around I had to do a double take. The all black ensemble had turned into thigh high red leg warmers, a long sleeve shirt with a sleeveless red with white writing shirt over it and, the best part, teeny, tiny goldish, bronze spandex shorts complete with a perfect outline of all of his "parts." I almost fell over.
Wait, were we shooting a Cher video? Why didn't anybody tell me we were auditioning for the new "FAME" movie? Now, I hate to make fun of the guy because some dancers tend to wear strange things, though everyone in this class has stuck with the standard practice dance wear, and I'm not going to shun someone just because they're wearing squeezy metallic shorts, but come the fuck on. It was totally bizarre for the usual atmosphere, but everyone just went on with class as if there wasn't a 6-foot-something balding guy wearing Britney Spears' hot pants standing in the middle of the room.
The weird part was, I'm not even sure if he was gay or just a flamboyant kind of guy. I assumed gay since he was attending a dance class in that get up and had also painted his toenails a soft yellow, but his mannerisms and his voice said straight.
I hope he becomes a regular because I'm dying to see what outfit he picks out next week.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Adventures in In-laws and Cradlerobbing

It's more fun than chasing Ambien with a healthy swig of vodka, just to wake up the next morning (or afternoon) and laugh as you count the number of Kraft single cheese wrappers laying on the kitchen floor and figure out just how many $0.99 items you purchased on eBay - Holidays with the Hastings.
Last Christmas, I wrote about my immediate family's very politically correct cookie decorating party where we took the time to make sure each gingerbread man or woman was complete with the correct genitalia and I'm sure there will be more of that in the next couple of weeks.
Thanksgivings, however, will forever remind us of the two years in a row in Reno when my mom underestimated the time it would take to cook the turkey all the way through in the high altitude. As she frantically cranked up the temperature on the stove, the rest of us were well on our way to rip roaring drunk status - playing cards and cracking up as my cousin Josh repeatedly exclaimed, "I need more wodka!" and "If it's not Scottish, it's crap!" (we're not Scottish, by the way.) Needless to say it wasn't just the tryptophan in the still-pink-around-the-edges turkey we inhaled that allowed us the best sleep of our lives that night.
Like I said in the previous blog entry, this year was the first "normal" Thanksgiving, or as normal as the Hastings family can muster, since Josh's death. My cousin Jake and his wife Nicole, who were married in Cabo earlier this year, flew in from Arizona along with Nicole's parents, Gary and Susan from California on Wednesday, followed by Nicole's brother, Matt, from Mississippi on Thursday.
Thanksgiving was actually fairly tame compared to years past - only slight drunkeness, a rousing game of Phase 10 that we didn't finish (we never do anyway) and minimal drama. I did however teach Remi how to sing, "In the Ghetto..." Why is always better when a 2-year-old says it?
The real fun started Friday night when I played tour guide to the Power & Light District for the out of towners. Jake and crew enjoyed a day filled with barbeque and cocktails before I met up with them at 8 p.m. and tequila shots were being thrown down the hatch as I walked in the door.
After piling into two cars, we hung around the heat lamps outside Ragland Road since Remi isn't quite 21 yet and wasn't allowed to roam around in what is called the "Living Room" or the outdoor bar in the middle of P&L. We strayed from Miss Thang and Scott for a bit to explore this place that made me go, "Is this really Kansas City?" during my first visit.

Nicole and her mom commemorated the event with a Jager Bomb:



Then we attempted to take a family photo:



Me = "OMG, like, totally! Yea picture!" An expertly trained dancer and sorority girl I can sense a camera, gather a group, pose them, then fling myself into the frame with a smile (or some retarded face) in two seconds flat. Others, however, need some more training. While Matt knew he had blinked, my dad apparently thought gathering this cute little pose and all the yelling about "group picture" was some sort of new drinking ritual and decided to continue his conversation.

Lets try this again:



OK, there we go.

One strange thing I noticed when I walked into my parent's house on Thanksgiving was the caterpillar on Matt's upper lip. I suppose some can pull off just the 'stache without looking like a creepy molester, but not many. I've only met Matt one other time in my life, so not knowing him very well helped me refrain from laughing and asking sarcastically why he had chosen to sport the dirty sanchez.

Here we are pre-Irish Car Bomb:



I later found out growing a mustache is a tradition for Marines in their final stages of their fighter pilot training (or something along those lines) and he couldn't wait to shave. So, Matt, not a '70s porn star, just a soon-to-be Marine fighter pilot...and a good sport. It's all very Goose-in-Top-Gun-esque. I was relieved...
After our fill of P&L booze, we zipped through the Plaza to check out the lights, which were flipped on for the 79th time by American Idol David Cook the night before - woot, woot, then piled our asses into Steak 'n' Shake around 11:30 for steakburgers, cheese fries and chocolate shakes. Ah, yes, can't you just feel the arteries hardening and the cellulite forming?
We had to say goodbye in the parking lot since they were all catching planes early the next morning. I'm actually looking forward to the next visit with Jake and his in-laws. They're just drunk and dysfunctional enough to fit right in with this family and I love it.
With all the family gathered around at these things, I usually try to keep a low profile - I didn't go into detail about my drunken escapades to certain members of the family, I chose not to discuss my ritualistic animal sacrifices in front of the children and when asked about my love life, I did not reveal that I may or may not have been spending a significant amount of time with a 40-year-old man. Wait, did I just say that out loud?
I had been eyeing him in the bar he worked in for a few months over a year ago, but never talked to him because I'm a total pansy, then he disappeared. He reappeared behind another bar a few weeks ago, although I wasn't sure it was him until he recognized me, then introduced himself. Apparently I had unknowingly been caught in the eyeing act a year and a half ago. After a couple of martinis, I'm sure I had forgotten to be stealth about it. I found it to be fairly hilarious that a bartender recognized a bar go-er he had never met just because she happened to go into the bar every weekend and stare at him while pounding, er, sipping martinis. Mutual eyeing perhaps?
At the end of the night, after some coaxing from Kate, I grew some balls and left my number on my credit card receipt and much to my surprise he sent me a message the next day. I'm so used to men and their bullshit and me thinking, 'could you just care...about something? I don't care what it is, just CARE about SOMETHING...ANYTHING!' that I just assume they'll disappoint and I'll have to dismiss them. I was shocked by the smallest gesture, the slightest inkling of "care." I may have been declared a cynic more than a couple of times in my life, but there's a reason I became this way. Yet, I'm perpetually hopeful that one day, somebody won't completely suck and I'm really not going to give a shit how old he is when that happens. Bring on the cradlerobbing!
That's enough. I've already revealed too much because I usually don't talk about specific guys in detail for the aforementioned reason - they're pleasant and in my life for an unspecified (read: Short) amount of time then they a.)disappear because I lose interest for no apparent reason, b.) disappear because I lose interest for an extremely apparent reason such as douchebaggery overload and any of the other hundred million thousand choice red flags I've come to know and loathe - see Stage 5 Clinger, or c.) disappear because they just can't handle "all of 'disssssss!" *making "the sexy face" while rubbing hands down body*
Maybe this one will allow me to add a "d.)" to my fine science of disastrous dating.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wifey Whittah

My wife left me today, but I knew it was coming. She always does this - moves in for a few days, then packs up her car and moves on to "more important things" like her family and her job in Denver. Bullshit Whittah, bullshit.
Saturday marked the day Whitney rolled up to my apartment in a miniature, white school bus (a.k.a. she felt the need to rent a Yukon to drive from Denver to Kansas City for Thanksgiving while her car was in the shop) and we were reunited once again. Whittah's actions from the previous night will remain largely undisclosed. All I will say is that her room was left in disarray, she woke me up with a phone call at 10 a.m. Denver time while she was in the McDonald's drive-thru ordering "a sausage biscuit, a hashbrown, and a giant ice water," and sent me a text halfway through her journey that said, "I puked. I feel better." A trip to and/or from Kansas is never complete without a roadside barf apparently.
I, on the other hand was completely recovered from my previous night's activities, which was quite evident when I answered the door unshowered in a bra and a white, spa facial mask. Whittah was impressed.
Lacey's birthday was Wednesday, so Kate and I had made the hour trek north to St. Joseph for the night to go on a mini bar tour. I'm not sure what it is about St. Joe that is so harsh on the skin - could it be the funny names they give their bars such as The Shaft and the Hi-Ho? Perhaps it's the Playboys they leave in the "lounge areas" for entertainment or maybe it's the abundance of mouth breathing beautiful people that lurk in the shadows of these establishments? Ooor, Lacey's cheap wine might have made me pass out in all my clothes and make-up again. Damn.
The birthday festivities continued in Kansas City both Saturday and Sunday night resulting in me being quite pissed off at myself on Monday morning.
Big Gay Andrew, while in rare form, performed a one man spelling bee Saturday night after consuming massive amounts of vodka. The butchering of such choice words as "Kalamazoo" and "homosexual" was caught on tape, yet the only two he spelled correctly, "Whittah!" and "penis" (how appropriate) were missed by Whittah the videographer.
Sunday involved dinner with Kate's dad, who suggested we smoke pot instead of drinking since all of the stories Kate told him revealed a shaky relationship with alcohol, then it was off to Tower Tavern where, as the only women in the bar, we enjoyed a night filled with sexual harassment.
I had been in a half assed battle with a sore tonsil for a couple of days and by Monday the tonsil had officially won. I now have a cold. Fuck. I'm usually good at fending these things off with Zicam Oral Mist, a.k.a. miraculous shit in a teeny, tiny spray bottle, but lets remember I said "half-assed battle" and mentioned a three-day alcohol soaked birthday party. The Zicam only has limited powers...
Whittah occupied her time while I was slumped in a chair feeling like death at work by doing all things housewifey. She left this on my Facebook wall:

"I have walked your dog, done laundry, and cleaned up your room. We are officially betrothed."

My response:

"Does this mean you're the housewife and I'm the breadwinner? Because if so, we're in deep shit."

I managed a short happy hour that night, took cold meds with sleepy stuff in them and proceeded to sleep for 16 hours, waking only to leave a few raspy voicemails for the guys at work and to attempt to blow the 600 pounds of snot out of my head. I was feeling human again, yet still a little head-detached-from-the-body, by last night and today I'm still clutching my Zicam and Tylenol Cold, but feeling as though this thing is on it's way out if it can survive Thanksgiving with my family.
Tonight the fam will start pouring in by the masses from California, Arizona and eventually Mississippi, Missouri and just across town to shack up at my parents' house for a good ole' Crown Royal guzzling, card playing, turkey eating, fighting over who gets which end of the butter-shaped-like-a-turkey, Hastings Thanksgiving - and I'm so EXCITED! While most people dread the holidays, I tend to get all sappy and I-love-my-family-tastic around this time of year. The Thanksgiving routine used to be a given every year, but things went down the shitter after Thanksgiving 2005, which is referred to as the year the phrase "Happy Fucking Thanksgiving" was coined when we all gathered for Thanksgiving at my parents' in Reno to repeat the previous year's hilarity and this happened instead: My aunt tripped over a curb, broke her hip and had to stay in the hospital forever and my cousin Josh disappeared right before he was supposed to get on a plane to Reno, then we later found he had committed suicide by jumping off a building in New Zealand - yes, shitastic and completely, randomly tragic.
I think we all swore off Thanksgiving for a bit, but things have changed - wounds have healed, my parents have moved back, there are new additions to the family and I'm just glad things seem to be headed back toward normal.
While it was pretty entertaining to see two medium-high maintenance women co-habitate in a space made for just one for four and a half days (so many heated styling tools I tell you!), I must set my wifey free to make room for the time I get to spend with my family these next couple of days. If she comes back, it was meant to be...

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Daily Grind

I've become just like the rest of you: A pissy early morning and early evening commuter that cusses at the "retards" that don't know how to drive, that wears dress pants and heels daily, takes a one hour lunch break, plays with spreadsheets, is exhausted by 10 p.m. and can often be seen wielding an insulated cup full of caffeinated beverage - a.k.a. my worst nightmare.
I'm like, shit, this wasn't supposed to happen. Now, don't get me wrong, the job is going great - My stress level has been cut in half, the guys are fun to work with and the duties of the job are manageable, with somedays a little more office bitchy than others. Like today, I actually "fetched" coffee at Target. We call it supply shopping around here, which I'm glad to do. While there I learned there is a creepy secret coffee society that actually knows and can taste the difference between ground Colombian roast and whole bean Sumatra (names I gathered on the hundreds of different packages in the half aisle completely dedicated to coffee). Since I never drink the shit unless it's in the form of a Starbucks caramel Frappuccino where the two drops of coffee placed in the bottom of the cup are almost completely masked by the half gallon of milk and sugar blended in, I've never bothered to explore the cornucopia that is the coffee aisle. Coffee in any other form tastes like dirt and asshole, so it's beyond me why this secret coffee society exists. The caffeinated beverage in my insulated mug is usually green tea with honey, thank you.
I almost feel lost without the stress of my life as a journalist and find myself worrying that I'm forgetting something. I'm like, give me a deadline so I have something to be neurotic about and give myself heart palpitations and sleep apnea at age 25, please, please, please. But I'm just really trying to give myself time to get used to this new schedule and new life, take it down the six or seven notches for a bit before I dive headfirst into this freelance writing thing. One thing at a time - a new thing for me, which probably won't last, but a few more days.
And, right in the middle of trying to decompress and reorganize my life, a tragic and untimely death just had to occur.
My sister left me a hysterical message last Saturday night and as I listened to the message, the first thing that came to mind was, "Oh shit, our parents have died in a fiery car wreck." I immediately called her back and she said, "Craig Yeager is dead," followed by sobs. He was somebody I knew decently well, through my sister's longtime friendship with him and he even lived with our family for several months when they were in high school. There had been talk of some sort of a growing addiction involving prescription narcotics, but the cause is still unclear to me. The only thing I can say about it is, he was too damn young, it could have been prevented and it's just a terrible shame.
I stayed, teary-eyed, at the visitation with my dad for a little over an hour Wednesday night. The line of heartbroken, crying people spilled out of the front doors, snaked it's way through the chapel, past his open casket guarded by his fellow firefighters, his family and girlfriend and gathered in front of a table full of all things "Yeager" and a screen playing a slideshow of photos to his favorite songs. It was absolutely gut wrenching; reminiscent of when I lost one of my longtime friends right after high school graduation, which made it even more upsetting.
The shock of something like this makes you want to live your life in a different way - stop to listen, be more generous with your time, more open with your feelings, less self-centered, more proactive and more focused on people and souls rather than a life full of just "stuff" and "things."


Craig Yeager

Funeral services for Craig Martin Yeager, 30, Kansas City, Mo., will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Mustard Seed Christian Fellowship in Lawrence.
Mr. Yeager died Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008, at his home from accidental causes. He was born July 25, 1978, in Point Pleasant, W.Va. He graduated from Olathe South High School and Johnson County Community College.
Mr. Yeager was a firefighter/paramedic for the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical Department. He also taught emergency medical classes at Johnson County Community College.
He loved sports of all kinds, particularly KU basketball. He played league soccer when he was a youngster. He enjoyed spending time with friends and was proud to be a firefighter.
Survivors include his parents, Vicki and C.W. Kimball, Olathe, and Charles Martin Yeager, Mason, W.Va..; a twin sister, Erin Smith and husband Aaron, Olathe; his aunt, Pam Gillham and husband, Cliff, who helped raise Craig and his twin sister when they were infants; a cousin, Kamryn, of Virginia; three half brothers, Jeff Kimball, of Kansas, Chad Kimball, Texas, and Heath Yeager, of West Virginia; and two half sisters, Haley Yeager, West Virginia, and Lauren Kimball, Olathe. Other surviving aunts and uncles include Sally and Ralph Ross, West Virginia, Carl and Susan Kimball, Colorado, Don and Carolle Weissinger, Missouri; Dan and Cathy Fogle, Oklahoma; Richard and Claudia Bowe, Oklahoma, and many other cousins including Katie and Doug Bowe, Danny and Brian Fogle, Kristin Ferretti, Amy Cremeans and Shawn Ross.
He is also survived by his grandmother, Pat Burton, grandfather, Charles Yeager, Mason, W.Va; and his girlfriend, Janine Patsch, of the home. He also leaves behind his English bulldog, Dakota.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Lewis D. Burton, paternal grandmother, Lavera Yeager, and half sister, Jaselyn Kimball.
The family will greet friends from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
The family suggests memorials to Fallen Firefighters Fund Inc., the Burnett Burn Center at the Kansas University Medical Center, or Kansas Safe School Resource Center, sent in care of the mortuary.


Life never slows down, no matter how much we concentrate on trying to make it so. We just have to enjoy it when the events are good, deal with it when they're bad and be grateful we have been privileged to experience it all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ow My Ass!...Doesn't really hurt that bad...

One day my friend Shaunna posed an interesting question: "Why would you ever stop doing something you love so much?" Referring to dancing. I gave my usual excuses: Lack of opportunity, lack of money, lack of time.
The life, which gradually filled my closet with t-shirts bearing such kick ass sayings as, "Dancing isn't just a sport, it's an attitude," which I wore with pride, allowed me to become way too comfortable and spend far too many hours of the day in spandex and forced me to be under Nazi rule for more than three years of my life, began when I was about 13. Now, the actual dancing began long before that, but I didn't start living "the life" until the early teens.
High school is when I was introduced to the infamous Blonde Bomber, also known as my high school drill team coach as well as the "Nazi" and "the life" kicked into high gear. The fact that this woman used every scare tactic just short of strapping alcohol monitoring bracelets to us and having drug sniffing dogs follow us around, made us an incredible team, but mostly because we were all pretty sure she was somehow above the law and misbehaving team members would actually be shackled upside down to the brick wall of a secret dungeon never to be seen again. I suppose it's the only way to get a mob of bitchy, hormonal teenage girls to do anything besides be a gigantic pain in the ass.
Sometimes, to this day, I wake up late and my heart stops for a second until I realize that if I'm a few minutes late to work, my employer will not publicly humiliate me by making the rest of my co-workers run laps around the parking lot while I watch them as punishment. Yes, that woman had and probably still has the compassion and the vengeance of a dictator.
However the upside is that it's that same "mediocrity is unacceptable" attitude that was drilled into our minds and bodies during that time that now never allows me to half ass anything...an upside, except when it runs my life and causes me to kick my own ass.
Doing nothing except dancing was quickly, but not completely replaced with going to the gym, drinking beer, being a sorority girl and playing with boys once I hit college, with only a few opportunities through the university's dance program and sorority events to dance. Then it completely disappeared when I became an "adult" (the meaning of which has not yet been defined), until I stumbled upon an adult jazz class last year. Now we're back to the not half assing anything again because I took the class as if I had never taken a hiatus from the sport - kicking to my face, leaping to the height of skyscrapers, forcing my now less flexible legs into the splits....and while I was complimented by the instructor and other students, I couldn't walk for three days afterwards. My body said "fuck you old woman, you're not 17 anymore" then sent shooting pains through my neck, legs, abs, arms, ass everytime I attempted to do anything remotely human such as breathe...or just exist. I considered investing in a wheelchair by the second day, but held onto the fact that I knew shit would buff itself out eventually.
However, my horrendous work schedule made sure that was the first and only class I attended. I couldn't afford to pay 450 million dollars in tuition to show up late and kick my own ass with a bunch of annoying 16-year-olds, which are apparently that studio's definition of adults.
Since high kicking in my kitchen and pirouetting in my socks across my parent's hardwood floor wasn't cutting it anymore, I recently decided to look for another option.
A few weeks ago I discovered a studio in Westport called City in Motion that not only offers adult jazz class, but a burlesque workshop session. Factor in the time and money excuses, both of which I have more of now, and I decided to check it out last night. Besides the fact that my once graceful body used to practically lift itself off the ground and I now have the urge to release a loud "UUUUUHHH!" everytime I flung myself somewhat gimpily into the air, and the slight fear that I would be robbed at gunpoint by a group of 13-year-old thug ganstas while walking to the front door of the studio, this class is exactly what I'm looking for. The cost is reasonable, I'm definitely not the oldest one in class and while I was pretty sure I could feel my legs starting to separate from my pelvis last night and would wake up today wanting to do nothing but lay in a vat of IcyHot, I'm surprisingly just fine. There's a little tightness here and there, but no shooting pains in my ass. Score! I suppose warming up for 45 minutes probably helped. I'm officially dancing again - only once a week, but you have to start somewhere.
I'd like to try the burlesque class, but I'm a little scared since the class description specifically says "women only" and "all comfort levels welcome," which makes me wonder: Will there be live lesbian sex scenes and bare boobies flopping about?
Eh, what's life anyway if you don't take a risk once in a while right?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ooo Baby, Bay-bay

Much to my shock and horror, the number of babies in my life is starting to multiply and thankfully none of them will be made up of my DNA or rely on my full time care giving anytime soon. But, the baby-tastic-ness that was this weekend jammed this harsh reality down my throat: We are 25, 26, 27, 28 years old, we're getting married, we're having babies (not necessarily in that order and that's OK) and sometimes even on PURPOSE, we're by far "old enough" and "qualified" to do such things, that's the natural flow of life and we better just get used to it. Oh holy shit...
Saturday evening was spent with my No. 1 baby, Miss Remi. I always feel like I'm "Oooing and Ahhing" over her constantly because I truly believe she's an advanced and highly intelligent child. She's just such a charismatic little shit. I saw this personality start to develop long before she could communicate with words and now just a few months shy of 2-years-old, it's larger than life.
Everytime I go over to my sister and brother-in-law's house, she's doing something that makes me go, 'wait, you're not supposed to know how to to do that yet,' such as have the motor skills to hold a crayon and color in a coloring book.
First I was shown a device relating to one of her most recent triumphs - her faux flushing, musical, talking potty chair. Yes, apparently they do such things now, which is sort of terrifying, although not quite as terrifying as the toilets that spray your ass with water as an alternative to wiping. Gross.
She then lead me to her plastic picnic table in the living room where she proceeded to literally and repeatedly slap six or seven little Jayhawk stickers on her chest and proclaim "all gone!" while flinging the blank sticker sheet into the air all before I could snatch them away from her impressionable eyes and burn them. I did however teach her to point at the sticker and say, "fake bird."
Then the coloring commenced while we chatted about the finer things in life such as what color each crayon was and the difference between Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster in the books. I'm anxious to watch as our conversations evolve from crayons and Sesame Street charaters to school, hopes and dreams and world politics. At the rate she's going, we'll have all that covered by the time she's 6, and I just have to hope that I and the world grow just as fast as she does.
And with a new activity comes a new adorable behavior such as feeding Lucie Liu the black Lab crayons, which she gladly gobbles up since colored wax and paper covered in grubby toddler fingerprints never tasted so good or made the backyard so colorful.

Kate and I dragged our asses out of bed at the crack of noon Sunday to attend the baby shower of Sarah, one of our sorority sisters and somebody I've known since before kindergarten. It's surreal when your childhood friend decides to take on such adult responsibility like marriage and children especially when you've seen them at every stage of their life, from second grade cake walks at the Blackbob School fair, gymnastics and cheerleading, to heading off to college and yanking her drunk ass off the top bunk in a sleeping dorm during a frat party our freshman year.
This shower was surprisingly painless. Unlike some where you're required to play games with smashed up candy bars and diapers when you'd rather be doing more productive things with your life like scrubbing toilets or walking over hot coals, this one was eat food, open presents, eat cake, leave - my kind of baby shower - and Sarah just tore through the gifts too, making it go even more quickly. While everyone else showered her with cards and gifts of "sweet little girl" and "Heaven sent," Kate and I carefully chose a card that showed the same picture of a baby screaming over and over again with different "moods" printed above each picture and a bag that had the words, "Who needs sleep?" under a photo of a wide eyed baby because we're THOSE friends. You know, the asshole kind that are like, 'bundle of joy my ass. Have fun the with the pooping, barfing, screaming machine.' Plus, we had the cutest baby gift - a little K-State cheerleader outfit. We totally win.



The last time we saw Sarah was right after we found out she was preggers on 4th of July (in which we replied, wait, you meant to do that?) and she told us tales of vomiting in an Applebee's parking lot and using baked potatoes and milk as weapons against her husband, Jeff. Oh hormones, just when we thought we were through the worst of you once puberty ended, we decide to get pregnant and find you make us resort to violence with food.
This time she told us how she had to use her purse as a barf bag in a Mexican restaurant because she couldn't make it to the bathroom, then how Jeff went to throw it away in the men's bathroom only to have to go back, fish the purse back out of the trash and retrieve her cell phone. Sarah also made a trip back to the trashed purse as they were leaving to find her keys. Pregnancy just sounds fucking awesome, doesn't it?
Only slight weight gain seems to be the trend with the pregnant women around me rather than blimping out like a beached whale, yet knowing this only slightly eases my irrational fear that while pregnant, my ass will grow to epic proportions. I'll be normal everywhere else with a little basketball belly then *WAH-BAM* montrous ass the size and shape of Mount Rushmore that takes up the entire width of an aisle in the grocery store. Oh god, please no...

Immediately after the shower, we headed to Shaunna and Andrew's house to hang out with this guy:



Peyton
And, in case you're wondering, he is indeed posing for the camera, so I can only be given slight credit for my kick ass photography skills.
I remember when Shaunna told Kate she was pregnant and Kate was like, 'Um, wait, you're, like, happy this has happened?' Now, we've watched him grow to almost a year old, Shaunna and Andrew are gettting married in April (Kate, the maid of honor and I, a bridesmaid) and it just doesn't seem like the big fiasco it once did at all. In fact, it all seems strangely...normal. Imagine that, giving birth, raising children and getting married, all perfectly acceptable events in the lives of humans seeming normal. I just never thought this day would come. Of course, these are the lives of others we're talking about here. I'm still "oh no fucking way" about the whole thing when it involves me.
We sat on the floor while Peyton entertained us with his constant single-toothed grin and the fastest and most amazing Army crawl I've ever seen. The kid slithers across the floor like a snake and can get from one side of the room to the other in 2 seconds flat - something I'm sure mom and dad are thrilled about - but made me crack up every time. He's a perfect example of how we can learn from babies and rather than giving in and buying all the expensive toys and clothes advertised all over the place, we should be enjoying the simple things in life. In Peyton's world, a high chair doubles as a jungle gym, the coffee table is a tunnel to crawl through and nothing makes a tastier teething ring than a tube of chapstick.



Hooray for mom's toothbrush!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Now That is Patriotic

The first black president was elected Tuesday night and do you know what Kate, Sam, Baron, Andrew and I will say when somebody asks us where we were the night this historic event took place? In my living room sucking down red and blue Jell-o shots. Yes, leave it up to the alcy to make election coverage into a drinking game. Everytime Barack Obama won a state, a *ding* would sound on CNN, we'd cheer and take a Jell-o shot...or everybody would cheer and then I would take a Jell-o shot...
Andy enjoyed the company...and the Jell-o shots. I think he was just ecstatic to see another human being besides me since my apartment is not usually the meeting place before nights out nor do any boys love me right now and want to come over. Plus, like I said before, living alone has been a positive experience for me after the trainwreck that was living with somebody and my attempt at a "domesticated lifestyle." Fuck that.
Anyway, the little bastard got so excited that he pissed all over Baron and attempted to piss on Sam, except Sam jumped out of the line of fire just in time. Then Andy proceeded to wallow around all over everybody and steal their plates of food off the table.
My dog is an asshole. However, my friends are good sports.

In other animal news, my neighbor lost his cat Tuesday night and the only reason I know this since I've never spoken to him in my life until today is because I went to walk Andy Wednesday morning and his front door was wide open, a can of cat food was sitting in the doorway and he was in there sleeping on the couch. The sight was on my top 10 list of the most pitiful things I've ever seen. I'm pretty sure he even stayed home from work on Wednesday since his car never left the garage. Signs with a picture of an orange cat were posted by Wednesday night in the mail room and on his door and I saw him wandering around the complex when I got home from work today. Then, he caught me as I was getting out of my car and chatted with me about keeping an eye out for his orange calico kitty.
"I knew I loved him, but I didn't know how much I loved him until now," he told me.
God, just rip my heart out and stomp on it please. Asshole or not, I would literally curl up in a ball and die if Andy ran away and I couldn't find him for more than a few hours. In otherwords, the kitty search party is on.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Is Vaca a Career Option?

What am I doing?
It's the question I've asked myself several times throughout this past week of vacation. As in, what am I doing drinking myself into a blackout oblivion?
I was so productive all week - cleaning, laundry, organizing - and then my friend Kendall won a happy hour in a drawing at McFadden's Thursday night and productivity and drinking got in a fight...drinking won.
To top it off, she knew the VIP coordinator at Mosaic ("Mah" stick nose in air and act like you're better than everybody else) Lounge and we got bottle service for FREE. Four mixers and a bottle of P.I.N.K. Vodka, a.k.a. Satan's elixir, were delivered to the table and all hell broke loose. Apparently this shit is infused with caffeine and guarana and then I was also mixing it with Monster because I was about a vat of regular vodka and a couple of beers in from happy hour and didn't realize what I was actually doing. I'm a pretty energetic person as it is - add "energy" drinks and I resemble a goddamn back flipping, hoop jumping terrier.
After my fill of poison, we dove into Rock Bar where I ran into my childhood friend Colin, who I knew was a bartender there, but hadn't run into yet. I haven't seen him for a couple of years and while he used to be a Marine, he now has the largest and pointiest blond mohawk I have ever seen.
A few more beers and I vaguely remember pouring down the stairs at P & L to have Baron drive Smash and me home, but then I ran into the 37-year-old mimosa guzzling bartender from the bar tour and my crazy night out that was supposed to be a chill night out, along with his some of his co-workers.
Apparently I made the executive decision to stay longer because all three of us ended up at 37's table inside Tengo Sed. Conversation? Don't recall. I just remember thinking, 'god, everything's all squiggly,' which didn't stop me from drinking more vodka.
The next thing I knew, I was collapsing on my futon. I woke up in my living the next morning in all my clothes, walked into my bedroom and screamed because Smash was in my bed and I had no recollection of her staying at my apartment, then I crawled in bed with her without bothering to change out of my clothes and fell back to sleep. I woke up a few hours later to roll around and moan about "the worst hangover ever" and crawl to the bathroom to do the morning after puke - that's the worst.
What the HELL am I doing? PINK vodka is a dick...and I'm a dumbass.

*****

Friday, the day of "the worst hangover ever" was Halloween and I started to feel human again just in time to transform myself into old school Gwen Stefani and start drinking again. Seriously, I may need an intervention.
I got a trial run of the Gwen costume last Friday for a friend's costume party, so putting it all together again for the real thing was fairly painless. My first mission was to try to catch Gina and Remi "the bumble bee" trick-or-treating since my drunkard ass decided to be hungover that morning and missed the family Halloween "oh my god she's so adorable" costume viewing. I pulled up in my car and they didn't even recognize Auntie Harn in my blond wig in the dark. Check out Miss Thang and her hot aunt:



Cutest. Child. EVER.
She knocked on a couple of doors with her tiny fist and squeaked out "trick-or-treat!" and I pretty much almost died.
Then I went inside and caught a glimpse of her daddy Scott and "Uncle" Joe:



Hottest. Costumes. EVER.

Then it was off to the annual Terror Party, which never seems to go without a hitch whether it be a car puker, an asshole boyfriend or a booze shortage, the fun is always mixed with a touch of bullshit. This year, my third year to attend, seemed promising. It was moved from Union Station to the Midland Theater, the tickets were a little bit cheaper, the party was longer, free booze promised until 11 p.m....and it was pretty amazing when we first walked in...until they promptly ran out of "free" booze at 9:30 and several free bars were reduced to three cash bars to serve 3,000 people. We decided to leave before the mob of "not quite drunk enough" costumed 20-somethings rioted. There will be hate mail sent and I believe we'll be taking a hiatus next year.
But both P & L and Westport were hoppin' so we had nothing to complain about. The most popular costumes were Sarah Palin, the Joker, Michael Phelps and the assorted ho bags dressed as "sexy" whatevers. When will this trend end? There was a time my senior year in college when I won $250 in a sexiest costume contest as Little Red Riding Whore, but those days have passed. I'm just waiting for others to follow suite because I'm sick of seeing chicks' butt cheeks. Let's try a little creativity next year ladies. I didn't see any other Gwens and while there were a few other Amy Winehouses, Kate's was by far the best.



I think these two were my favorite. An innocent childhood icon and a priest with a boner. A boy scout was also seen lurking around.



37 also came out of the shadows at Vinino that night...and that's all I'm going to say.

*******

Aaaand third time's a charm I guess because I decided it was a good idea to answer 37's text Saturday night with "Come here!" As in, come to the Brooksider! What am I DOING? He's a 37-year-old waiter that smokes like a chimney yet I'm strangely attracted...but I'm not...but I am...I try desperately to take Bridget Jones' advice:

"...will find nice sensible boyfriend and stop forming romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workoholics, sexaholics, commitment-phobics, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits, or perverts."
...or a certain 37-year-old waiter that smokes like chimney and embodies all of these things.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Psychics, Soulmates and Lil' Wayne

"What if she tells you not to get on the plane?" Whitney asked, referring to the psychic we were about to go visit.
"Then I'm not getting on the fucking plane!" I said.

Except she didn't tell me not to get on the plane. We were all just too engrossed in a conversation involving psychic predictions and whiskey dick over the best pizza ever and Diet Cokes at the Wazee Supper Club to notice that we should probably leave for the airport, so I could get on a plane back to reality. I remember saying, "I don't want to leave!" as I got out of Whitney's car at the airport in Denver last Sunday night. And, all I have to say is, be careful what you wish for because I was right back at Whittah's apartment a few hours later when they told me I arrived too late to check in. Fuckers.
Most of the next morning was spent wringing my hands in anxiety hoping they would call "Standby passenger Hastings," all the while thinking I was surely stuck in Denver for the rest of my life. I did get home eventually...14 hours later.
Of course my little flight-missing debacle did spark the beginnings of an angry consumer letter that will promptly be sent to United Airlines, who apparently hires the biggest assholes they can find to work customer service, just as soon as I can refrain from sprinkling the letter with such choice phrases as "a bunch of fucktards" and "scruncy face fat bitch." I'll be sure to post it when that happens. I also owe Jen Lancaster, one of my favorite authors, a thank you e-mail for making me at least crack a smile (when I would usually be laughing out loud) in my zombie-like state at the airport while reading her third book, "Such a Pretty Fat," as well as a thank you note to Whittah's roommate Rachelle who literally got up at the crack of dawn, no PRE-dawn, just to drive my flight missing ass to the airport the next morning.
Damn, and to think I complained about the little shit on my flight to Denver who screamed, "LALALALALALA!" continuously the last 15 minutes of the flight. I'd take a hundred of him any day just to avoid dealing with the fucktard, scruncy face fat bitches at United...
Now that the conclusion of the trip is out of the way, let's go back to the beginning:

Thursday night was spent catching up on all the Denver news. In other words, the conversation between Whittah, me and Danielle consisted of work, men and booze...you know, the essentials...oh and there was a brief discussion about Halloween costumes and whether or not He-Man and She-Rah were brother and sister...and Whitney falling on her ass in a crowded bar...
Anyway, while inhaling hummus and wine at the Tavern Uptown, I learned that Whitney had met a guy known as "Red Hat Man" who Danielle was convinced was the male version of Whitney and therefore her soulmate. Well, I had to be the judge of this and the next night RHM a.k.a. "soulmate" allowed me to do just that...JUDGE.
After one of the best and apparently strongest margaritas in Denver at Rio and a birthday celebration for one of Whitney's friends Coral at Wazee where I discovered this pizza that may just make me move to Denver, we headed to a couple of bars Friday night.



RHM and crew were around, but I was a little distracted by the Jager bomb provided by none other than Jan Clark's Visa, usually reserved for tequila, and the rap off I

had with Whitney's cousin's husband Nick to Young MC's "Bust a Move" to pay too much attention to him. I knew quite a few of the words, but I couldn't keep up with Nick who has apparently had the song on repeat in his car on his way to and from work since it came out in the late '80s.
After we were herded out on the street by several large, yelling bouncers at 2 a.m., I began to notice that RHM was more than a bit of drunken jackass - flailing around, yelling nonsense, running out in the middle of street in front of cars, unable to form coherent sentences, especially to Whitney. We were all less than impressed and while shivering in the cold trying to hail a cab, the quote of the trip was born: "My soulmate's a douchebag."
But, since Rachelle had been talking to douchebag soulmate's friend, they all ended up at the apartment where DS left cheese wrapper carnage all over the kitchen, drank milk mixed with old beer out of a wine glass, bucking bronco-ed his ass throughout the apartment and just generally behaved like a rude, obnoxious retard. The girls escaped to the bathroom with a bottle of vodka to hide from the situation we put ourselves in and this was the result:



Peeling ourselves out of bed at a decent hour the next day was surprisingly easy especially after the night we had. We put on our purple, Andrea and Logan picked us up and we headed to Boulder for the K-State/Colorado game. Whittah and I had flashbacks from our spontaneous roadtrip to Boulder for the game in 2004, which involved a stay at our University of Colorado sorority house, freezing our asses off at the game, consuming (or trying to at least) the worst Cosmos ever made, shots of Grand Marnier, wandering aimlessly (no, really, AIMLESSLY) down Pearl Street, Whitney crying when she found out 'Ole Dirty Bastard died and an attempted hike to the Theta Xi house for a party at 4 a.m...It was the best idea EVER after all of the previously mentioned events though we only got about 14 feet down the sidewalk before giving up.
This time we settled for lunch and beers before meeting up with Whitney's friend and Colorado alum Chris, who entertained us with a tailgate...except I've never been to a tailgate that involved two grown men sharing a banana seat bicycle ride:



Logan + Chris = Bromance

Or a rousing game of donkey balls with Chris' mom:



The game was basically a "who sucks the least in the Big XII" match up and K-State lost by one motherfucking point, so I suppose we all know the answer to the question now. My Wildcats, you are absolutely horrendous at football this season, but I still love you.
After a quiet ride back to Denver, we headed out for a more chill night...that is until I met the girls' friend Ashley, who welcomed me with a lemon drop shot - my kind of girl. Douchebag Soulmate was there...again...being a dumbass...again...except this time we didn't drink enough alcohol to tolerate another night of him galavanting around the apartment, so we left him to run out in front of cars and allow natural selection to take care of him instead.
Sunday involved sleeping in (glorious!) and a small hike to Bump & Grind - a restaurant where drag queens serve you breakfast. The decorations consisted of bright colors and transgendered Barbies hanging from metal trees while "Fergalicious" blasted from the speakers. The bald headed host(ess) with yellow eyeshadow streaked up to her/his ears wearing a hot pink netted dress stuffed with Nerf ball boobs said the wait was 45 minutes to an hour - a little too long for us. As we walked out and decided we'd go to the restaurant Coral worked at instead, I saw a drag queen deliver a couple of meals to customers on the patio wearing a bikini - a very bottom lumpy bikini. Perhaps it's OK I didn't get my breakfast with a side of bulge. Just seeing the place was good enough for me.
Breakfast led into the hunt for a psychic and we ended up sitting on a couch watching the "Poseidon Adventure" with some Romanian dude (who turned out to be the psychic's dad) while waiting for said psychic to come downstairs for more than 20 fucking minutes. We knew this experience would be kind of strange, but this was just bizarre even more so because they ran this business out of their house and there was some larger than life photo of a mobster looking guy staring at us from the front hallway. Creepy.
Then, to top it off, there was no turban or scarves or robes. She totally came down the stairs in a t-shirt and sweatpants and looked like she hadn't slept in a good 48 hours or was completely strung out on meth. I suppose having other people's "energies" constantly swirling around in your head might just drive you to drugs to silence the "voices." However, she did pretty much scare the shit out of me with what she told me. It was nothing bad, she was just strangely accurate about the present. She knew I had been looking for a job, was a neurotic freak of nature, that my past love life had been filled with a slew of negative people and that dating had been particularly difficult for the past six months. If you recall, about six months ago I escaped the insane asylum that was living with my ex-boyfriend and started dating again. Apparently I'm also not destined for spinsterhood - I just have to wait six years and despite my children protest, I'm destined to pop out two of them. Well yea, hooray. A long, prosperous life is in front of me - or at least that's what the psychic envisioned in my palm.
As for Whitney, let's just say she's going to be obsessed with the initials JSM for the next year and a half. I'm sort of glad the psychic didn't give me that detailed of information about my future hubs. I'm neurotic enough as it is...
And now we're back to the end of the story where we went back to the Wazee to chat about all things innappropriate for dinner conversation...especially in public...but I think the old dudes next to us got a thrill from eavesdropping. They haven't seen that much action in years.
As for 'Lil Wayne, I discovered my hatred for this "rapper" during this trip. Whittah's ghetto children have apparently been rubbing off on her because we listened to T-Pain and 'Lil Wayne's "Can't Believe It" about 642 times. WORST. SONG. EVER. Mostly just because 'Lil Wayne comes on, you can't understand anything he's saying, and he's greasy and creepy and his "singing" voice makes my skin crawl. *shudder* Then we discovered just how many other songs 'Lil Wayne gets to chime in on and each time we heard one, I screamed and changed the station.
And, now off to craft my United Airlines hate mail. Fucktards...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Greetings from Denver

Before I even interviewed for the new j-o-b, I decided to listen to the warning e-mail from my editor that the end of the year was coming up and we could only transfer 40 hours of paid time off into 2009 (I have well over 80 hours), and take a few days off to visit Whittah in Denver again. All of girls visited back in April for my 25th birthday — best birthday ever! I need to update that entry with hilarious pictures...
Anyway...
Of course the nature of my current job (one more week left!) only allows me to take two or three days off at a time and three days is pushing it, so I took Thursday and Friday off this week. I flew out yesterday afternoon and here I am, chillin' by myself in Whittah's apartment while I wait for her to get off work. But I don't mind hanging out for a while because it lets me get some things done. The feeling of boredom is foreign to me since I ALWAYS have something I need to do especially since I just quit my job. You work two or three times harder during that two week notice period with all the catching up, cleaning up, exit interviewing, goodbyes, e-mails, organizing...and here I am on vacation right in the middle of it when I have a whole week of vacation coming up Oct. 27 through the 31st. I didn't know I was going to be saying "peace out" to this job when I booked this mini vaca and I unknowingly screwed myself. But, I'd much rather be here right now and just work a few hours longer each night next week, than be working right now because I LOVE Denver...and I guess Whitney's OK too...I joke, I joke! She's my adventurous pal and we always seem to come away from a night out with each other with an absolutely ridiculous story that would never happen to anyone else. We have a stockpile of stories already and a shitload of things planned for this weekend, but before I get into that, I would like to take a minute and share a bit of the debauchery that is "Crawl For Cancer," which happened Saturday.
Yes, I did it again. I participated in the best semi-annual fundraiser that has ever been invented — Crawl for Cancer. Millions of people form teams of 10 or 12, migrate to all the bars in Westport and drink themselves retarded with four pitchers of Coors Light at each of five bars all for the sake of kicking cancer's ass. In fact, some cancer survivors on the Crawl actually write that on their shirts and I'm sure at least a portion of the proceeds from this event are set aside specifically for liver cancer. To make a long story short, although we had the same bar schedule as last time, we grew from two to three teams, including many of my close friends, plus I know all of the people I met on the last crawl better, so it was even more insanely fun and shitfaced than it was in May. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

Go pink team!



Yes, this many of us from high school were there.



I don't know who this guy is, but he was rockin' the stilettos.



The shitfaced-ness has begun. Kate, me and Kendall stopping to capture the dance party on the bus in between bars.



Our rival flip cup team let me borrow one of their killer 'staches, which totally improved my chugging/cup flipping ability.



Dave + Sam = Hot Man Lovin'



The only time you will ever set foot in America's Pub to dance is when you're wearing a pink poodle balloon hat. (Jeff, me and Lacey)



The first pic of much of Kate and Sam's future wedding party a.k.a. their pride and joy.



Just because we graduated, doesn't mean we can't relive our college sorority days with a faux candlelighting at the bar.



Why yes Kate I will marry you. I'd rather marry you than most men.





And now back to Denver. Things have changed in six months since my last visit. Instead of south of the city, Whittah now lives near Washington and Colfax, which is apparently a bit 'hood except her apartment is gorgeous and right near downtown. She's also done with school and now social works many ghetto children in the Denver School District where tales of 16-year-old mothers dressed in blue from head to toe that come in for parent/teacher meetings reeking of weed abound. Like I've said many times before, I could never do her job. She wanted me to meet one of her favorites today that does a little dance when you ask him what he's doing over the weekend and says "paaaaartay," but he wasn't there. Gotta love ghetto children.
I had "the best burger in Denver" for lunch at Citygrille today, so I guess I can die happy now and other things on the agenda include a birthday party tonight in LoDo (Lower Downtown — look at me and my Denver lingo), heading to Boulder to tailgate and watch the K-State/Colorado game Saturday with Andrea and Logan, going back out on the town Saturday night and of course the typical visit to the neighborhood psychic on Sunday.
I love how Whitney sent me a text message Wednesday that said, "we should go to a psychic while you're here!" and I was all, "hell yeah!" So apparently I'll be taking my first trip to a psychic this weekend. I wanted to have my palm read on the street in New Orleans when we all went for our sorority senior sneak in 2004, but between the gallons of hurricanes and hand grenades along with the trip to the county emergency room, an incident with a one-armed homeless man, a run in with the cops and taking our jobs as Bourbon Street band groupies very seriously, it sort of slipped my mind. Yeah, it was a good trip...
Psychics freak people out because of the fear of bad news, but I just say, hey, if she tells me I'm going to die next week, it's just all the more reason to go skydiving, catch a plane to Vegas, marry a hot stranger in the Elvis chapel and perform during amateur night at a strip club within the next five days, right? At least that's how I see it...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bittersweet

What a day, what a day.

Today I met this woman:



U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Boyda - a Democrat for the 2nd District of Kansas. Yes, a Democrat from Kansas - imagine that - and a Christian on top of that. Not that I give a shit if she's a Christian or not - most of the ones I know are horrendous judgemental hypocrites - but she emphasized that she came from a ultra conservative family who thought you couldn't possibly be a Democrat and a Christian at the same time. Or if you voted Democrat, God would strike you dead. Then, much to her surprise, she followed what she believed in instead of the threats from her family and God didn't strike her dead leading her to believe God isn't a Democrat or a Republican.
This message wasn't one I particularly warmed to since I'm agnostic leaning more towards atheism, but I thought it was a good one for the high school kids she was talking to. Most of those babies that are just starting to form an interest in politics yet are still in the grips of their parents' beliefs rather than thinking for themselves, will be going off to college next year and hopefully forming some of their own opinions.
Later on, she answered a "are you pro-life or pro-choice" question in a way I try to explain to people when they cross their hearts and begin to pray for my soul and all of my future unborn fetuses when they hear of my "pro-choice" stance. She said, "I hate to put a label on it" especially since she doesn't endorse either side, "but if you're going to do that, I am pro-choice." She said she was there in the '70s for Roe v. Wade and back alley abortions and explained how she never wants that to be an issue for women again. She made it clear that pro choicers are not lovers of baby killing. Contrary to popular belief, pro choice does not equal pro abortion, but pro awareness, pro education, pro prevention, pro adoption and PRO CIVIL RIGHTS. The kids actually applauded after that. She has my vote.
After enjoying one of the perks of my career, I promptly quit my job. Yeah, just marched right in there and gave my two weeks. Except I didn't know it was going to be so difficult. My stomach was burning and I almost cried because my editor was more open about his disappointment than I expected - not only because he has another position to fill, but because I was leaving. It blows to feel appreciated for the first time the second after you quit a job, but somehow it always seems to work that way. I re-explained the details of the new job and re-heard the appreciation and disappointment (though not for the first time since he has always been a cheerleader for me) from the photographer on the way out. The beauty of Facebook and all of my friends congratulating me on there allowed one employee to find out a few days earlier, but the rest will find out on Monday - not looking forward to that.
The reality of not only this whole "new job" thing, but career change is starting to set in and while I wanted this and agonized over this, I'm afraid of losing my identity as a journalist. It just doesn't seem as cool to respond to the "what do you do for a living" question with: "I'm an office bitch." And, throwing on the "...and freelance writer" thing just sounds douchey. Of course "office bitch" isn't exactly true since I'm supposed to be preparing marketing material for the company as well - something only an office bitch that possesses mad skills can do - so I believe I'll now be answering that question with, "I'm an office bitch with mad skills." We'll see what kind of conversations follow that response.
After my traumatic job quitting experience, I decided to lift my spirits with a little shopping, but not crazy, just-grab-all-the-shit-off-the-rack-I-like kind of shopping - I had lists. Mainly, the trip to the mall was to start looking for Gwen Stefani attire for my Halloween costume and with her style, Hot Topic was the place to go.
I've decided they need to hand out shots of whiskey at the door to give you a little liquid tolerance to handle that store. Metal music plays over the store speakers at a volume that's on the verge of ear piercing - especially since it's terrible at much lower volumes anyway - and it's covered in clothing and jewelry you would never actually wear unless you're blatantly trying to draw attention to yourself - "look at me, look at me, I'm totally emo!" All the little emo and goth children, including the employees, stare you down in that life-is-shit-what-the-hell-are-YOU-doing-in-here kind of way. They're all, yeah, you may have black hair, but you're totally just a poser in your business casual attire. Get out of OUR store.
As I was staring up at the teeny tiny plaid school girl skirts with chains attached and matching corsets, a female employee came up to me and said, "You look like you're looking for something." After I explained that I was looking for Halloween stuff, she (looking very annoyed) gestured to her left and said all the Halloween costumes were over there.
But, wait, this whole store is a Halloween costume.
And, since they don't serve Whiskey shots, I lasted about 10 minutes and left. I'm totally dragging Kate there to help me in the next few days because that store requires moral support...and a full flask-o-booze.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Got It!

Miss Lara the office bitch at your service. Yes, it's true, I have sold out and I couldn't be happier. The euphoric state I've been in since finding out that I got a new job last night has been like walking on air.
Even when I walked into the office today with two entire stories and a column to write, along with the paper to put together, I was stress free.
Even when the pot head douchebag I've been forced to sit next to for the past six months who has no regard for anybody but himself, is the largest dumbass to walk the face of the planet yet thinks he's motherfucking Einstein and makes me want to beat myself over the head with a blunt object, was acting even more needy and stupid as though he's never been face-to-face with anything remotely journalistic, I totally just gritted my teeth with the satisfaction that after the next two weeks, I would never have to see that face or hear that voice EVER again.
And, even when my column "didn't find a spot" on any of the newspaper pages, I just said, eh, there's always next week.
I was anxious to hear if I had gotten the job immediately after my interview last Tuesday, but I knew I had to wait until the beginning of this week. Friday evening as I was taking photos of the town's Homecoming parade while children pelted me in the face with smarties and tootsie rolls from passing "floats," I started to have second thoughts about leaving. Everyone knew me by name and said hi and one guy I had done a story on earlier that week had his car stop in the middle of the parade so he could hand me a Hershey bar the size of an encyclopedia. I thought, sometimes this job really is pretty cool...Then I sat through a dead horse beating four hour long city council meeting Monday night and came to my senses.
I was distracted the rest of the weekend with a trip to the American Royal BBQ Friday night (I've lived here my whole life and I've never been to this thing until now. What the hell kind of Kansas Citian am I?!), a life altering trip to Chuck E. Cheese for my cousin Aidan's third birthday Saturday evening (I even wrote my column about this. I'll let you know when they actually decide to publish it.)and Kate and Sam's engagement Saturday night. But, by Monday, I was jumping out of my skin to hear the news and by Tuesday afternoon, I was damn near hyperventilating. The boss man didn't even call me until quarter till six in the evening. Five motherfucking forty five P.M. By then, I was so wound up I couldn't even talk. And, just as I thought I heard him say "welcome to Level 4 Engineering," the phone started cutting out and I lost him.
GODDAMMIT!
But, then he called back, confirmed what I thought I had heard and I peed in my pants a little. Then it got even better. He told me they were impressed with me and my background and were excited to have me as the face of their company. I was all, I think I love you. Here I am, weary and defeated from my year long hunt that has only produced two interviews and one fatty fat rejection letter from a job I was highly qualified for and wanted so badly, along with the miserably failed relationship, a stint with my parents, my dating handicap and the fact that I'm the broke-est human being alive besides those that reside in cardboard boxes, I was almost convinced that I just completely sucked at life. And, here this guy was telling me I'm the shit? It couldn't have come at a better time.
While I wanted this job for the higher pay, normal hours and low stress - a.k.a. the opposite of my current job - so I could freelance and do more of the activities I want to do in life, each time I talk to him he mentions something more he'd like me to do such as use my journalism skills to their advantage - newsletters, brochures, etc...and I'll be happy to oblige just so I can do something other than book keep and shop for office supplies. It's a small, growing company open to new ideas, so I just pitch an idea and the vibe is that I'm going to get to run with those ideas. So, this job that I thought was simply going to be my escape from hell just might turn into my dream career, but I'm not banking on it quite yet. What a beautiful, beautiful thing I've stumbled upon.
I invited a few people out for some celebratory drinks tonight including my ninth grade boyfriend. Yeah, weird, right? I run into him from time to time at the bars and did so Friday night at the BBQ. Now we've been talking back and forth...
Anyway, I designated the Velvet Dog in Martini Corner as the celebratory bar for the night excect when I tried to get there, the streets were blocked off with yellow police tape and cop cars. You know Kansas City is experiencing a bit of a crime wave when you try to go to one of your favorite bars at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday and people have already shot each other in the street in front of it. Awesome.
So, I settled on another favorite, the Foundry in Westport, also the scene of the tiki tiki party hat fiasco. Westport has also been shot up the past couple of weekends, but there was no yellow tape there preventing me from enjoying a couple of my favorite beers tonight - raspberry wheat brewed at McCoy's next door - and it was glorious.
Now all I have to do is break the news to my editor, put in those two weeks and enjoy an entire week of much deserved vacation before starting my NEW JOB on Nov. 3.
I'm so fucking excited.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just a Tiny Bit Distracting...

While on the job hunt these days, you'd think getting an interview would be the hard part and believe me, with the whole two interviews I've gotten after a year of searching, it is hard. However, just when you think you're past the hard part and all you have to do is prepare a bit, the 36 hours before your interview are suddenly full of distractions such as parasites and dead bodies.
Monday began with back to back phone calls to my cell phone informing me that a dead body had been found in the town that I cover for the newspaper. Excuse me? A dead body in a town where people still "own land," where a new school is being built next to a working dairy farm and where there is only one fast food restaurant that is less than five years old? A town that you'll miss driving through if you blink? This was a big deal.
To top it off, I actually knew the people who owned the property where the body was found through past stories, so I pranced out to the woods to see and smell the scene...no, not the dead body itself, but the black spot he left in the grass after they hauled his horrendously decomposed body away. Eight arm mosquito bites later, I was back in the office fighting with the Web site to post my dead dude story. What a day for the Web site to be ghetto.
I tried to rationalize with my night owl self that night, which always sounds like a good idea in mid afternoon, but then later goes down the shitter when I look up and see the clock says 1 a.m. I didn't have a meeting to cover for work and the only thing I forced myself to do was make my apartment a little less shithole-ish. There was no excuse for me to stay up especially when I had an interview the next day other than the fact that I enjoyed wallowing in this mysterious thing called free time way too much. But, I figured 1 a.m. wasn't too bad considering some nights I casually look up from my writing or whatever project I'm working on, see a big glowing 4:30 on the clock and go, 'oh shit, perhaps I should sleep now since that's what humans are supposed to do.'
Here I am, ready for bed all "early" when I see Andy furiously attacking his ass - not exactly a normal thing - so I go over for a closer look and see a speck of dirt on his fur...Then the piece of dirt started moving. DAMMIT! I didn't even hesitate and practically flung the flailing fleabag into the bathtub, poured half a bottle of doggie shampoo on him and lathered him into a ball of suds. He must have picked up fleas from his stay at Kate and Sam's menagerie last weekend. So I spent the night with a wet dog huddled beside me and the irrational, yet possibly real fear that fleas were constantly crawling all over me. Yeah, no sleep, AT ALL.
The next morning was spent dousing Andy with Advantix, looking up ways to eliminate fleas from your home and striping my bed. I've had two people tell me they've had fleas in their house or apartment and apparently those little bastards are hard to get rid of. I didn't know if they had invaded my apartment yet, but I wasn't taking any chances. This was just what I wanted to be doing right then instead of working or prepping for my interview.
I left my sheets swirling in hot water and Tide while I went to work only to get another update from the police chief that the dead guy's cause of death was suicide by hanging...aaaaaaaand he might possibly be a murder suspect. WHAT?! I fucking sit through city council meetings and report on children raising cattle and the high school homecoming parade, not murderers who hang themselves in the woods. What the hell is going on? Why today of all days?
The chief tells me he'll call as soon as the fingerprints are confirmed, which I know will be right in the middle of my interview. After a few more hours of frantic news gathering, I head back home to continue my flea killing rampage and change for my interview.
With my mind occupied by dead dudes and jumping bugs for the past day and a half, I used my 15 minute drive to my interview as practice - posing the usual questions and working through how I would answer.
"Why would you be good for this position?"
"Why? Because I'm a fucking badass, that's why."
I literally talked out loud to myself, all the way there, blah, blah, blah, then I got into the interview, the guys were so laid back and they didn't ask me any of the usual questions. They basically just told me what I was going to do in the position and introduced me to everybody, which makes me think I got the job. Yes, I just may sell out and become more or less an office bitch for a few more dollars an hour and normal hours. The goal is to have time to get some freelance writing work and actually be able to write about what I want for once. Either I'll love it, or it will be a daily reminder of how much I loathe dragging my ass out of bed at the crack of dawn. I'll explain more once I know for sure whether I got it or not.
Sure enough when I got back to the car, there was a message on my phone from the police chief that said, "Lara, I've got your exclusive." Yeah, I choose to be a non-shitastic journalist by avoiding pissing off the important sources and it pays. After a lot of cussing through traffic, I get my story in which the dead guy actually does turn out to be a murder suspect, post it on the Web site, which finally decides to stop being an asshole and I'm Pulitzer Prize eligible.
Too bad I fully plan on selling out.
 

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