Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Ankle Saga: A Story In Pictures

So. Okay. OH MY GOD, I have started this blog post 80 times and deleted it and started it over, because I have no idea what to talk about right now.

Do I talk about how I rolled my ankle on the way back to Chicago? Yes, let's go there, shall we? In fact, let's go there with visual aids. Because everyone likes visual aids.

On my way to the airport, I walk out the door, down two blocks...



...and then as I'm lifting my suitcase over a curb I also step in a small pothole. There was a crunching noise. It was not awesome.



After about 5 straight minutes of whispered profanity, the girl at the bus stop asked me if I was okay. I told her yes.



When the bus came, I hobbled to the back where I thought I could stretch out. I put my foot up on my suitcase for...blood flow...or whatever reason it is that you elevate a twisted ankle. But then the bus actually filled up, and I kept getting dirty looks from people who assumed I was spreading out on public transportation. I wanted to shout, "NO! I usually mock those people! I am just like you! I AM NOT AN ANIMAL! I AM A HUMAN BEING!" But I couldn't say any of that because I was concentrating so hard on keeping myself from making wounded moaning noises. I refused to be the person at the back of the bus and MOANING.




Eventually I got to the airport...




And then THIS happened.



I had to sit down on the ground like a 3 year old to take off my shoes at security.



Of COURSE I was at the furthest gate. OF COURSE I was.



In Economy with limited space and an ankle hurting like holy hell, every time I crossed my legs I kept hitting the girl next to me. She was not amused. But for some reason, "Sorry, I twisted my ankle" didn't seem like a valid excuse for why I couldn't stick to my own assigned spot.



In the end, I made it and hobbled into the arms of my parents who came to pick me up.



Luckily my family has twisted their ankles so often that we were stocked with fancy Ace bandages and ice packs. Apparently my clumsiness is genetic. And at least I had an excuse to sit on the couch and demand other people feed me cookies and milk. Nothing like being surrounded by the people you love in a warm house with plenty of food (and no joke, 5 kinds of butter) to nurse you back to health.



And hey! On a separate note--check out that survey over on the upper right. Let me know what you think. Totally anonymous even to me, so you can answer even if you think you're a stalker for being here. (By the way, you are not. OR ARE YOU?...No, you aren't.) So give it to me straight. Twitter: Y/N/Meh?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Twitter

I'm curious about something, and I'd like your opinion. So I've set up a little anonymous poll over there on the right to get some answers. What do you think??

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Penultimate Birthday

Welp! Yesterday was my birthday. I'm 27 now. And this year...I'm actually fine with it. I haven't been okay with my new age since I turned 22. But this year? Totally taking it in stride. This is for three reasons:
1. I've come to grips with the fact that I'm in my "late twenties", and as far as that goes, 27 seems young and spritely.
2. From what everyone says (and what I've seen firsthand), your thirties are when you come into your own and really figure out who you are and what you're doing. And I would like to know both of those things. So I don't mind getting closer to that.
3. It's the final year of my, and everyone's lives. Because the world will end on my birthday next year, and there are crappy Web 1.0 websites to prove it.

This year has been interesting. It started out mind-numbingly dull. This caused me to hitch up my bootstraps (or whatever) and start adventuring. I took improv classes, comedy writing classes, and then moved across the country. Which, considering my awkward neuroses, basically means it's been a year of self-doubt.

Curious about how I felt this time last year, I checked out my birthday blog entry for 2010. What I found was a list of goals. Since I wrote that list, I've expanded the goals to a Life List, which has grown to 75 since I posted it. But the first list of goals were things I was hoping to do within 2 years. I'm now halfway through those two years, so I thought I'd revisit the list. New comments are in italics.

Emily's List Of Young People Goals:

Self-Betterment
-Learn how to knit (Hmm. I started to crochet again but never counted my stitches and things went downhill from there. But there's a ball of yarn on my dresser, ever reminding me to pick it up again. Verdict: probable.)
-Take beginner photography classes, then take good photos with a good camera (I'm partway to completing this goal. I bought a Groupon for a class that doesn't expire until May. Problem is: still don't have a camera.)
-Improv classes (I did this one! I did this one! And I want to keep doing it!)
-Sculpting classes (I haven't done this one but I'd still like to. Problem is, I'd rather keep doing improv/comedy related classes. My Ghost fantasies may have to wait a while.)
-Dance classes (BAH ha ha ha ha ha....oh, ME.)

Travel
-Go to Scotland, find your ancestor's castle. (See, the problem with a lot of stuff on this list is that I didn't know what a precarious position my job was in at the time. I was running on the assumption that I had JUST been hired and there was no way we would lose the account and I would be laid off. Silly Emily. So trusting.)
-Go to Italy, eat a lot of pasta and cream. (I mean, these things are definitely on the list. But they probably won't be happening as quickly as my adorable little hopeful heart had wanted.)
-Go to San Francisco--Francisco! That's fun to say. (Well I can certainly check this one off the list with great aplomb.)

Work
-Go on a production shoot outside of Chicago
-Get promoted, earn what I think I deserve
-Write an ad that everyone loves
(................................................sigh.)

Other
-Pay off a big student loan chunk (OR defer your loans because you're unemployed. SIMILAR.)
-Buy a car (kcchhh...pfff...shah....)
-Become a roller skater (The more I think about this one, the more I fear falling and breaking my arms and knees. Also, now that I'm in San Francisco, the amount of hills makes this one a lot less likely. Sorry, 26-year-old me, I think this one is done-zo.)
-Be more stylish (I'm still determined that this will happen for me one day. I'll have money and I'll buy clothes from SUPER fancy places, like the Gap and Nordstrom. I'll have an infinity scarf that'll look really cute on me and I'll wear skirts and just generally look more like Zooey Deschanel.)
-Make more Julia Child recipes (Hmm. I STILL haven't done this yet. I just need to face my fears and channel my inner Julie/Julia.)
-Find an apartment with a reading nook for weekends--and then read on the weekends. (Well, I wouldn't say I have a "nook" but I do have bay windows? Which is closer? I don't read on the weekends but that is changing TODAY my friends. TODAY. Or tomorrow, or sometime soon.)


So all in all, I think I'm generally still on the right track. An actual income will help me accomplish a lot more of these. The question is: what will I accomplish in the next year? You know, before the world ends?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Want A Tattoo

Tattoos and I have an interesting relationship. It's like skydiving: it sounds cool in concept, it seems like the kind of thing that everyone should try once, but if I realistically think about it, there's no way I'm doing that crap.

One time in college while I was working at a sandwich shop, a grizzly old man came in. He had a fuzzy, wibbly achor tattoo on his forearm which I thought was possibly the most badass thing I'd ever seen, because you know that thing was hand-chiseled by a fellow navy man.

The first time I ever considered that I might get a tattoo myself was after seeing the episode where Rachel gets a heart on her lower back/hip:


Because I'm pretty sure that's the first time I realized tattoos could be for non-sailors/women in the circus.

So of course at first I wanted a heart tatoo on my lower back. Because I was a very original teenager, and because the word "tramp stamp" hadn't been invented yet. Or if it had, I hadn't heard of it. But eventually this idea turned into me wanting a heart that was made out of the letters of my middle name: Joy. I told Teenage Boyfriend about this, and he designed one for me. Which of course ruined it for life. I've made some relationship mistakes in my day, but at least one of them has NOT been to get a tattoo that reminds me of a boy, no matter how convinced I was that we would be married and have billions of children.

So that was out. And for seven years or so, I hadn't come up with another tattoo I would want. There was nothing that I cared about enough to emblazon it on my body and know I would still care about it at forty.

Until recently.

I hold in my possession (ie my brain) one giant, awesome idea...and I don't know how to make it: I want a tattoo that says "Keep going" if you look at it from one way and "slow down" if you look at it from the other way. Like how this Princess Bride cover mind-blowingly reads upside down and right side up.



I think it would be rad. And I NEVER say rad, so you know I'm serious about it. I also like the idea of just the words "keep going" written on my hand so it looks best while you're writing, like in this position.


I also don't really know what that would look like either.

And before you get all "yikes that sounds like a terrible idea" because I know you and that is what you are saying, consider the idea of white or light ink, and consider that it could be small and classy.




I'm not going to get a tattoo now because I am in a fragile state and I'm pretty sure 99% of my ideas right now are ill-informed. So I'm holding off. Especially because I kinda just want to say EFF THIS and go with a connect-the-dots tattoo.


But again, small and classy. Like a little connect-the-dots kermit on my inner arm. COME ON, IT COULD BE GOOD, YOU DON'T KNOW.

What tattoo ideas do you have? What do you wish you had the guts to do but never will? What have you already had done? Regrets? No regrets? Comments!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Homesick

Okay, I'm going to have to level with you guys. I just spent all weekend trying to write a normal post. I mean, as normal as it gets around these parts.

But the truth is that I'm homesick. And I want to talk about it. Because I blame Jesus.

Yeah, I said it. I mean really if you think about it, Christmas makes EVERYONE homesick, by its very nature. Even people who are currently home start to ache for the home they once had.

So now I find myself in a city I don't know with weather I don't know, with people I don't know. I even find myself getting mad at crazy people on the SF buses for not being the same as the crazy people on the Chicago buses. It's a deep homesickness.

Then add in the fact that it's Christmastime, a time when I should be surrounded by family and friends and instead find myself feeling incredibly alone. I knew this time would come, that there would be a point where the newness would wear off and I'd still be without all the familiar faces. I was aware it would happen--but I forgot to factor in Christmas, so now the homesickness goes to eleven.

I'm struck by how often I don't feel like myself, but like some really boring version of myself who spends all day watching every Stefon Weekend Update sketch and forgets to brush her teeth. Sometimes I think that just forcing myself to get up and shower and walk out the door will help. And then I'm surprised when it doesn't. Then I'm just sad...and outside. Then I get annoyed at slow walkers and people who don't leash their dogs (because WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE--shhh, breathe, Emily. They aren't here anymore. They can't hurt you.) I guess going outside only helped when my problem was laziness, not actual emotional distress.

Anyone have advice on how to climb back out? Is "time" the only solution? I hate when "time" is the only solution.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pinterest, Hot Chocolate, Stitching, And A Whale For Good Measure

I have a few things to tell you, none of which have anything to do with anything else. So I'm just going to go ahead and lay them on the table.

1.) I just joined Pinterest, so naturally my life is over. Pinterest combines two of my favorite things: sharing stupid things, and categorizing stuff. When I was young, my mom set me free in a department store, and I spent my time organizing a bunch of rings by color. Over a decade later, I realized the rings were organized by size and I just ruined some poor store clerk's night.

So yeah, I like to organize. But now it's organizing pictures into "crafts I'll never do" and "food I'll never make" and "wedding stuff" because despite my rampant feminism, I'm ONE OF THOSE. Sue me--sometimes I see cool wedding stuff by accident (cough when I'm surfing wedding blogs cough) and I don't want to forget those ideas. Like this one!



Flowers made of paper?! Paper made of flowers?! COME ON!

2.) Joe and I just walked across the street and payed $2 each for hot chocolate powder in steamed milk. I just wanted to share with you how stupid it was that we just paid for something we own, and I also want to share that it's sad how much spending $2 is affecting me emotionally. That's what my life has become now.

3) I've decided on a new hobby and I am EXTREMELY interested in it, mainly because I haven't yet learned anything about it. I am still the 3rd grade kid who decides she wants to take drum lessons until she finds out you have to practice and it isn't immediately easy. This is why I am a writer by trade. It's the only thing that didn't cause much exertion on my part.

Oh my God, I didn't even tell you what the new hobby is. ATTENTION SPAN! Sorry. The new hobby is going to be cross-stitching--HEAR ME OUT!--funny things. Like stupid quotes and swear words next to adorable embroidered squirrels. Kind of like this one:


It's what makes the sauce so awesome. They will sell like HOTCAKES on Etsy. Except I assume hotcakes do not actually sell that well on Etsy since that would be a disaster, packaging-wise. But can't you imagine a cross-stitch pattern that says:

"A real man makes his own luck. -Billy Zane, Titanic" -Dwight Schrute

RIGHT?? I WOULD BUY THAT! I know I'm not the first person to do this. There is great, funny embroidery all over the internet. I'm not suggesting that I'm original, just that I want to be part of this amazingness. I mean, if millions of people can put a bird on it, then a couple of us can cross-stitch the f-bomb onto pillows and sell them on the interweb.

4) And finally, if this picture does not instill the fear of God into you, then you have no soul.



*shudder* The only reason those people are not being drowned is because that whale has CHOSEN TO SPARE THEM.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Internet: Encouraging and Depressing At The Same Time

The internet is the reason why I am both sane and insane at the moment.

Sane, because it's my connection to people I know. Otherwise, I spend most of my time conversing with Clinton Kelly and my cat. The former never talks back and the latter is just plain cold. The internet gives me old episodes of 30 Rock (really, the only thing I'm paying Netflix for if we're all being honest with each other and I think we are) and lets me share links of stupid stuff with my family despite our distance.

It's also why I am insane as well, however. Because there are too many things I'm not seeing. Or making. Or becoming, or visiting, or buying. It reminds me of all the ways that I am not as good as other people, who are all out doing all the things. And it continues to remind me that other people have jobs and get money for doing those jobs and then spend that money on things they want to own. Seriously, how is it that LUTZ has a job, and I don't? Where did I go wrong?

It reminds me that there are all kinds of crafts that other people thought of which I never thought of and that makes me jealous and angry. It reminds me that delicious food can be made in my own home, which inevitably involves at least one ingredient I refuse to buy. (Oh, two tablespoons of buttermilk? Well I'll just run to the Tablespoons Of Stuff That Go Bad Quickly store and pick that right on up, sir.) The internet gives me all kinds of awesome hosting ideas, which reminds me that I have no one to host in a city where I know very few. It reminds me that other people are going out and exercising and I didn't. It reminds me that still other people are happily gorging on delicious things instead of exercising and I didn't do that either. It reminds me that other people are getting married and having babies and adopting dogs and finding jobs and traveling and I'm not doing any of that stuff. It reminds me that people who are famous started off when they were younger than me, and that makes me question whether or not I'll ever have any hope of being successful.

All I'm really doing, I guess, is complaining. I'm not looking for help. I know the answer--get up and go do things and quit whining about it. I know. And most days I do. But some days I get sucked in. Today is one of those days.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Why Do Girls Like Diamonds?: A Legitimate Question To Which I Demand Answers


I just don't get it.

Why am I supposed to like diamonds? What is the deep, underlying need I'm supposed to have for shiny bangles? Is it connected to the part of me that should want to wear puffy pink ball gowns all day? That would make sense, since I have never wanted either.

Maybe it's the stingy part of me that scoffs at diamonds. The part that doesn't like to overpay for things. The part that makes me not buy celery because I know it was 50 cents cheaper last week. But isn't it a known fact that diamonds are a whole...messed up Africa trade thing and they aren't actually worth that much?

So why do people keep buying them? And why do they make perfectly sensible women go crazy? For example, here are some scenes I would like explained to me:

30 Rock, 3.12
Elisa (Selma Hayak): "Okay, but I want a ring so big that it gives me back problems."

What?! You are a woman with TWO jobs. You work with your hands, caring for the elderly. In what world would that ring make sense for your life? Also, aren't you a devout Catholic? Doesn't Jesus preach all kinds of things about giving your worldly possessions to the poor and a rich man can't get into heaven and all that?

The Office, 7.11
Pam: "Is it pebbles from that beach in Jamaica? *Opens box* *Silence* Oh my God. *Tears* I love it."
Jim: "Yep, I do make great Christmas gifts. But I couldn't make that."

COULDN'T YOU? Well then, what if you just stuffed a teapot with all kinds of things that remind you of each other to secretly show her that you love her? Oh, you already did that. Okay fine. Then just spend all your money on a trinket for your wife when you have a family to feed. No need to put any thought into the gift--just toss money at her. Because that's the kind of person Pam is. The kind of girl who appreciates expensive gifts over thoughtful ones and LITERALLY CRIES over a diamond bracelet. That's the person we've all come to love for seven years, sure.

Up All Night, 1.11
Reagan: "The fact that you went through whatever you went through is enough for me. It's the thought that counts."
Chris: "Well then I got you two gifts. The thoughtful thing and, well, and also this."
Reagan: *GASP!* Oh my God! Oh my God! *GASP!* Look at this! Look at it! Look at this!...Look how hot my wrist looks! Oh, f*ck you, everybody! My husband ROCKS!"

Okay first of all, you need to breathe, Christina Applegate, although those last two sentences were hilarious. Secondly, you are the one technically making money. So you just bought yourself that bracelet. And again, with the family to feed. And REALLY does your wrist look that hot? Because I'm pretty sure your FACE looks hot and you are an awesome, powerful, smart woman who is better than that reaction. And what happened to the thought that counts then? Is this some funny way for us to all see that it really isn't?

Sex And The City, 3.9
Trey: "I think we should stop here for a minute. Maybe we should go in and find you the most beautiful ring they have."

Charlotte, I know that you are image-obsessed. And I know it took Harry to knock out the crazy. And I know this ring came from a proposal from a guy who says "alrighty." But you have an amazing sense of style, and THIS is how you show it? Trey lets you choose the ring, and you go with just a silver band with a rock on top of it? I guess I just had higher hopes for you, that's all. There's no more thought to this ring than there was to the "alrighty." He just sent you in to pick out something you can wear that proves how rich you're going to be. Where's the love? Why is this scene supposed to make the "alrighty" better?


I wish I could say that these shows are all just men writing what they think women want. But all four of these shows are either written, helmed, or overseen by women. So either we're letting these stereotypes happen, or they're actually true: it doesn't matter the circumstances, throw an expensive bunch of diamonds at it and it'll purr like a kitten.

Why? What is it? Are we distracted by shiny things? Do we just like to show off how much money our partner has?

Maybe I have such apathy because I don't have super nice clothes and I'm not a particularly elegant person. I don't like diamonds because I know how insane they would look next to my $10 Old Navy dress (DON'T HATE, I bought it in three colors). It's like when I was little and I had short hair so I hated wearing girly things because I thought it made me look silly, not fancy.

My thing is, I would just rather have something more sentimental or at least more useful, like a plane ticket to Italy, or some of that anti-wrinkle cream that actually works. Diamonds? You never get any use out of them unless you attend galas often (which I clearly don't--my god, the shattered champagne glasses...) or unless your engagement or wedding ring has them. And if you have a big rock like all the girls apparently want, you have to worry about snagging it on stuff or getting yourself hijacked when you go to Guam or blinding yourself from the glare reflecting off the sun.

So has my ranting terrified everyone from fighting for the other side? Anyone want to argue for diamonds in all their pretty, sparkly glory? Or does anyone want to join me in my confusion?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When I Believed In Santa Claus


I remember exactly where I stood in my kitchen as I told my friend, Courtney, "Well I don't believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, but I'm not sure about Santa Claus."

My parents are notorious for forgetting that our teeth were hiding anxiously under our pillows. I had taken to writing notes on scraps of paper and taping them--facing out--onto the window. You know, just in case she just happened to fly by. Then there was the fact that all the richer kids in my school bragged about getting twenty dollar bills under their pillows. I hadn't even SEEN a twenty dollar bill, let alone owned one. Suddenly my excitement over having my very own silver dollar seemed silly. I couldn't even buy a Ninja Turtle with it. It didn't take long to put two and two together: a real fairy would be more scrupulous.


The Easter Bunny took a little longer. Easter had been my favorite holiday. It had the early morning excitement of gifts and surprises, with the creativity of dying your own eggs just the way you want them and not sharing them with your siblings, with the shrewdness-showboating of finding things someone had meant to hide from you. Also, there were Cadbury eggs. Santa and his plain ol' walnuts just couldn't compare. But slowly, the excitement began to erode. A bunny? Carrying all this heavy stuff? And how could he get an egg on top of the clock? And how does he get in, anyway? Problem was, there weren't a jillion movies, books, and old-timey newspaper articles to reassure me, give me insider knowledge, or promise that the non-believers can't hear the sleigh bell. That's all saved for Christmas. So Easter was a slow dwindling. I don't remember going from believing to not. Reason just kind of seeped its way in.


But Christmas was different. Each knock-down of Santa Claus was like a little slap to the brain, strong enough that I remember those little moments even now. Like the conversation with Courtney. Or the time I pulled my older sister, Katie, into the bathroom, closed the door, and demanded to know if she believed in Santa Claus. "No," she said. "Phew. Okay. Neither do I," I exhaled. Finally, the truth from someone reputable. I had been lied to for so long by all the people I thought I could trust, I didn't know where to turn. Yet I also knew to keep my mouth shut about it. This was private conversation, not meant for the impressionable ears of John or Hannah who still had a chance at believing. While still unsure myself of the truth, I understood that this was an okay lie, a fun lie, a lie meant for the smallest among us. It never upset me to find out that I'd been lied to. Maybe because I was happy to be on the other side with the adults. The Truth-Knowers.

It feels like a decade later, although it was probably just the following year, my mom came into my room and asked to borrow my green pen "for signing Santa's presents" she said. "You're old enough to know by now," she said, smiling. I smiled back. Of course. Of course I knew. Duh. Pff. Silly. And even though I thought I did, even though I'd already gotten the confirmation from Katie, it was that moment that made it reality. There was no chance now that, like the movies said, I had simply stopped believing. Tim Allen would never give me the weenie whistle to make be believe again. It was a fact: there is no Santa Claus, and my mother was responsible for the swirly green handwriting on all my favorite presents.


There is a magic lost that you never get back when you stop believing. Waking up that morning with proof--tangible proof--that magic exists (and it ate your cookies) is an amazing feeling. It might even be the first strong emotion I ever remember having. The four of us would sit at the top of the stairs of our split-level, surveying the gifts now overflowing from under the tree. Trying to guess whose gifts were whose, and who was the lucky duck to get the one enormous, wrapped present inevitably laying there. Finally, after 25 days of my eyes playing tricks on me, my stocking was definitely full this time. And look! He gave Rudolph the carrot we left, and he even left a note! I'm not sure what kept us from running down immediately. It might have just been our parents demanding we stay there until the coffee had brewed. Whatever it was, I never minded sitting there for a few minutes. After all, we'd been waiting for this moment all year; why let it pass by so quickly?


Of course, it's always nice to get presents, even when you know who really gave them to you. But those first few years have something special to them. It's the only time when you know--for a fact, with proof--that someone is out there who knows you intimately, and is watching over you. It's an innocence you never get back, and a feeling that many people spend their whole lives striving to find again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Fall Or Whatever

The weather in San Francisco is in the upper 50s. Always. Europeans reading this right now are like "SWEET JESUS, ARE YOU OKAY?!" so let me clarify I'm talking Fahrenheit here.

It's awesome, the weather. You can go outside in jeans and a moderate jacket and be comfortable. In Chicago, we have days like that. They are always days where you are cooped up at work or school. On the weekends, it rains. Like whiskey for the Irish, it is God's way of keeping Chicagoans from ruling the world.

But in San Francisco, every day is in the upper 50s. (BLAH BLAH sometimes it gets hot and sometimes there's fog but WORK WITH ME HERE, it's call hyperbole) I'm really--and I mean REALLY--excited for it to be 58° in late January. I might put on my swimsuit and run around outside just for kicks. But it's December. And as I've said before, it's the only month where cold is acceptable because you get to do all these Christmassy things (if you celebrate Christmas) that make the cold kinda nice.

I'm doing what I can to make the place feel like Christmas around here. Paper snowflakes on the window, pine scents coming at you from every room in every method of fragrance possible, and an alarm system set in my phone for Christmas movies on TV. T-Minus 5.5 hours until Charlie Brown Christmas, BTW.

But there really is no replacement for snow to make it feel like the season is upon us. And yet I'm about to go running in knee-length stretch pants. It is extremely bizarre for me.

I don't really have a conclusion for you. Just wanted to inform you that California is weirding me out this month. Luckily I come back to Chicago in time for Christmas and snow and all that jazz. So Chicago--YA'LL better deliver on this snow stuff, OR ELSE. Except not enough to ruin my flight or put me in peril. Just enough to make it pretty.



Always.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

5 College Courses I Wish I'd Taken

In college there are a certain number of prerequisite classes you have to take to graduate. Colleges realize that they only offer you about 6 classes at most (for me, it was 3) that pertain to your hopeful occupation, and they really want to squeeze as much money out of you/your parents/Richard & Emily Gilmore as they can. So they pile on all these classes you supposedly MUST take to graduate, claiming they'll make you well-rounded. Then, depending on your major, they add and subtract to these prerequisites at whim. For example, as an Advertising major, I fulfilled my math requirements with "Intro To Statistics" and "Teaching Elementary School Math." I doubt my Engineering compadres got away so easily.

The thing is, I'm not entirely convinced that these classes actually helped us in life. Some did, sure. Without Sociology, I would have no idea how racist I am. And Psych 100 was the only reason I understood the Office episode where Jim trains Dwight with Altoids. But do I really need to know how shale is created? And yet I took Geology. Do I really need to know about the many forms of the Venus? And yet I took "Women In Prehistory". *Sigh*...I has almost forgotten. So close.

So here are a few classes that I didn't take in college, but wish I had.


Cinema Studies
I actually did take a few of these classes. We didn't have any filmmaking courses, so I thought these might be useful for a future ad producer. I even considered it as a minor until I realized that I didn't need a minor. Then I decided not to bust my hump all the way to graduation. But looking back on those classes, they were 90% movie watching. Most of my movie knowledge comes from either these classes, or Joe forcing me to watch the Godfather. I wish I'd kept with these classes, because this still happens way too often-
Friend: "Have you seen _______ ?"
Emily: "No, sorry."
Friend: "WHAT?!?!?!?!??!?!!" *Fire*
Emily: "But it's been in my Netflix queue for two years...does that help?"

Mental Math
I've said it before and I'll say it again. There is absolutely no reason I should have taken pre-calculus in high school, except for the fact that it helped me and Kim become better friends again. The class I wish I'd taken in college to compensate is one that I'm not sure exists. Anywhere. But that class is called "Mental Math" and you come in every day and learn how to pay restaurant bills with a large group and how to tip cab drivers after they press that button and the number goes up and you had already planned out how much you owe with tip but wait now the price is back down to its original number and you can't think on your feet like that and GAAAAH just give me two back.

Political Science
Oh, you better believe I avoided this plague like the class--I mean--this class like the plague. OR DO I. Why in the holy hell mother of house minority leaders would I have subjected myself to discussing politics....and then being TESTED on it? What kind of ruthless, Godless world would I have to live in? Well the answer is: this one. And it sucks. But as an adult, I've realized that I can't run from politics. They find you. They hunt you down. And they make you SO. ANGRY. And a class about Political Science or Government (I mean besides the one I took in high school where my teacher showed us related films every day, including The American President and NO, I am not joking) might have turned out to be good for me.

Photography
I never took these classes because they required you to buy all the equipment yourself. Art majors took some pretty awesome classes, but JEEZ do they have to pay for it. Literally. Well anyway, I wish that I did take a class in photography for the obvious reason that I wish I took awesome photos on purpose. Anyone can point, shoot, and accidentally catch their cat in a hilarious position. But I want to be able to do that a LOT. I want to know how photographers can make their images so sharp and poignant and I'm stuck with a bunch of washed out photos of my friends in bars. This is the one class that I'm actually working toward taking. I bought a Groupon the other day for a single Digital Photography For Beginners class. Problem: I don't have a digital camera yet. I'm waiting until I have a job, and the Groupon doesn't expire until May.

Wine Tasting
This was actually an offered class at Illinois. Given the name, of course it was filled up by 5th year seniors with early-early-early-insanely-early registration and I never bothered. I hear it was actually a very hard class. I believe it, considering how little I know about wine: a) Does it cost under $5? b) Mmm, this tastes like wine--more please. Obviously there are also plenty of Groupons for this, too. Joe and I got one once, but never used it because it turned out to be vaguely shady. We're pretty sure the guy comes to your home and gives you a private tasting. Which is SUPER WEIRD. We didn't know that when we bought it because they didn't specify that. It just said "Wine Tasting for Two" which we assumed meant "The coupon pays for two people to come to our class" not "For Two and ONLY two." So that one is moot. We'll have to get on that one eventually.

Those are my classes. How about you? Any classes you regret not taking, real or imaginary?

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Light Is Waiting To Carry You Home, Everywhere You Look

I just got back from Washington DC this week. We spent the Thanksgiving holiday there thanks to Carey and Niles, Joe's sister and brother-in-law. They moved to DC about 2 years ago. Neither of us had been there since our respective 8th Grade field trips. I'd like to say I remember a lot from that trip...and I do remember some things. I remember seeing the Lincoln Memorial at night, I remember being disappointed by how far away the White House was from the gate. I remember seeing the original ruby slippers at the Smithsonian. But I also remember listening to Backstreet Boys on my discman while pining for Kevin W, the boy I liked who wasn't on the trip. And I remember Emily H and I spending all our parent's money on Beanie Babies, which we named after our 8th grade science teacher. MONEY WELL SPENT.

So this time around was really interesting, having personal tour guides in Carey and Niles, and without all the pining because the boy I liked was sitting right next to me (Sigh, being an adult is awesome sometimes.) One of the biggest highlights of the trip was going into the White House. OH YES WE DID.

QUESTION AND ANSWER TIME!

Question: Did you meet the President?
Answer: No. Despite all my dreams of shaking his hand and making him laugh with an uproarious joke I would make up on the fly, I did not see him. I guess he was there somewhere, though, because it was the day he pardoned the turkey.

Question: Well did you at least meet anyone famous and/or important?
Answer: DID WE EVER! We met Bo!

Question: ...Jackson?
Answer: No.

Question: ...Do you mean Boo, the poofy pomeranian?
Answer: No.

Question: Wait, who's Bo?
Answer: Bo! Bo! The President's dog, Bo! The First Woof! Bo!

Question: Ohhhhhh.
Answer. Yeah.

Question: Go on.
Answer: Well, right when we got inside the East Wing, about 4 amiable security guards pulled our group aside and wouldn't tell us why. Of course we're all racking our brains for what in our murky pasts has caused the hold up, while some guy walks around with a device that tests the amount of radiation coming off you (weird). Finally they took some old lady away. I wanted it to be a whole thing where it turns out she's got a criminal record, but I guess it was just because she had a pacemaker. BUT! While we were being detained, in strolled Bo and his dog walker! Carey nearly fainted. He bounded up the stairs and out of sight, and we weren't allowed to take photos in the White House, so there is no proof. But I swear it happened.

Question: What else did you see in the White House?
Answer: You don't really get to see too much of the place. Definitely none of the private residence of course, none of the West Wing or the Oval Office or any kinds of offices. You really just see the rooms where they host guests. You can peek your head into the China room (dishes, not the country) and walk up to the red, green, and blue room. And you see the East Room, which is the biggest room in the White House, and which looks down the hall that the President walks when he makes big announcements.



Question: That's pretty cool.
Answer: I know, right?

OVERALL THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CITY OF WASHINGTON DC

1. No building can be taller than the Washington Monument, so the tallest "skyscrapers" are only about 12 stories. But since they still need the space, companies just build out. Meaning DC is filled with these stone and brick buildings that take up the entire city block. It all makes the city look so...so...sturdy.

2. The city has all these rules you would never know unless someone told you. For example, the statue on top of the Capitol Building represents freedom, and she faces east so the sun never sets on the face of freedom. That kind of thing. Why are lawmakers/historians/architects/artists so into this? I don't know. It makes for good tours, though.

3. DC has laws about never changing the colonial facade of buildings. But since you can do whatever you want behind the facade, these enormous buildings just use the front to look like colonial houses, and behind the entire row is just one giant, cement building.

HANGING OUT

We didn't really tour very much, at Joe's and my request. We spent the time doing more low-key, family things, like eating at fun restaurants, making Thanksgiving dinner (I contributed a few things including our candied yams which were all eaten ATHANKYOU), watching football games, drinking. Carey does a great job of decorating their apartment, and DC gets into Christmas pretty quickly, so it all felt very festive. And good god, the smells. THE SMELLS.

OH! And we also saw the Muppet movie. My non-spoiler thoughts: It was fun. I loved the callbacks to classic Muppets instead of current iterations. But they tried to pack in too much--too many story lines, which never gave any of them justice and made most of them fall flat. Also, Future Husband John Krasinski only made a fleeting appearance and I don't understand what would have been so wrong with giving him a leading role. BUT! The cameo by this guy was....*kisses fingertips* molto bene.

FINAL THOUGHT

This was my first time coming "home" to San Francisco. Which was a bit strange. It wasn't really coming home, it was more like coming back to my stuff. My pillow, my TV. And I guess my stuff is part of what makes a place feel like home. But I've come to learn that the saying is true: home is where the heart is. What's funny about that is, my heart is in a few places. I feel at home when I'm with the people I love. And those people are in a lot of places. So yes, San Francisco is home. And so is Chicago. And so is DC....and on and on.

I imagine home is a little bit of everywhere, as long as someone you love is there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When You're Lost Out There And You're All Alone

Happy Blogaversary, everyone!

Two years. Two Ron F*ing Swanson Years. Can you believe it? I can.......'t! And since it's tradition (ie, I did it last year) I am going to give you A Story In Pictures: Year Two.

A lot has gone on this year in my life. Considering where I started. About a month after I wrote the LAST blogaversary post, I found out our account was up for review and I might lose my job. So, just to give you some context, THAT has been in my life this entire blog year. Let's see where we've gone, yes?

First, on New Year's, Joe and I went to a small town, where disaster ensued, and we all had a good laugh.



Joe and I took a short vacation to LA, and I finally saw California. We were amazed at how different it feels when there's no winter.



Later, we put our stuff in storage so Joe could test out a contract-to-hire job in San Francisco. I moved to a studio on the north side of Chicago.



I started taking improv classes. I met some amazing people and had a blast, but my first time in a real scene...did NOT go well.



As predicted, I was laid off in late summer. I MAY have been there to open the bar that day.



Turns out, being unemployed while living next to the beach was pretty awesome for a little while.



But eventually things started going south after reality came back. I decided to move to San Francisco, and job hunting became overwhelming.



I got on a plane with Regina, who was not so happy to be caged and staged a coup. Twice.


Finally, I made it. When our stuff arrived, Joe and I ushered it in with the pomp and circumstance appropriate for such an occasion.



And that, my friends, has been the blog year! A lot of frustration and loneliness, and one really major change that I think will lead to bunch more minor (good) changes. Thanks, everyone, for following along as I tumble through this thing. Who knows what the next blog year will bring?!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

There's A Face Of Somebody Who Needs You

Alternate Title: Save Community, Save The World.


(From Vulture)

If you love inside jokes and hope to be a part of one someday, you need to be watching Community.

Recently, it was announced that Community would not be part of NBC's spring lineup. It isn't cancelled, it's just on hiatus I guess. I am in freak-out mode over it, even though NBC probably did it to get some buzz going for a show that isn't getting the ratings it deserves. But I'm involved regardless. Involved in the same way a grad student and professor are involved. I am neck-deep, cutting my own hair and doing an interpretive dance to show my love involved. Please, NBC! Don't take my show! My precious, precious show! It's still in the early, lovely, beautiful phase (aka 3rd season) where nothing is overdone, characters aren't played out, and Chandler hasn't started his weight fluctuations. Or was that another show?

Here's the first reason you may not watch the show: It started off MEH. And I'm with you. Community and Parks and Rec started at the same time, and my opinion of both shows was exactly the same: MEH. I could take them or leave them, and I had other shows to worry about. I GET IT. I get why you left. But you need to turn that boat around, people. Come watch this show.

Obviously I am back on the Parks and Rec train, but I was still skeptical of Community until Adrienne sat me directly in front of her television, Carl-on-LOST-style. That's when I saw it had risen to epic proportions. When it started, it was just a bunch of goofy characters who didn't mesh, and The Soup guy hitting on some blonde chick.

Now?



If you can't tell from that video, Community is superb at parody. They have done zombie movies, apocalyptic battle movies, documentaries, Christmas claymation, AND MORE!! They have these epic, absurd premises that somehow still work and feel down-to-earth. It's like they throw you into the possibilities of, say, Supernatural, but then bring it back to a group of people at a community college by the end of the half hour.

There are plenty of places you can read about Community for general overviews of characters and plot lines. But what I haven't seen is anyone talk about my theory on why the show isn't gaining more viewers:

It's filled with inside jokes. Which I love. And which might be slowly killing the show.

Sure, the main storylines live by themselves in each episode, so it is possible for you to miss one or go in random order and get the basic gist. But there are nuances that you might not catch unless you pay attention. Which means the best way to watch is from start to finish. Problem is, getting your hands on the whole series is hard (they need to get some Instant Netflix action up in here, up in here) and even if it wasn't, I don't think people know to bother with every episode anyway. That's how you miss the inside jokes, and why you might find the show confusing and too meta. And that is a TRAVESTY.

So until Community gets in on the Instant Netflix wagon, maybe it would help to have a place where people can find basic inside jokes. So I want to try--nothing seriously involved, just the basics so you could start watching. Problem is, I'm not sure I can make it all on my own, so I need some help from others who watch the show. I wanted to enlist Adrienne to help, since she is the biggest Community fan in existence, but I didn't give her enough time--bah! But anyone and everyone, please add more in the comments. Let's get Community to the viewership it deserves!

To start us off, here is my measly contribution:

Troy and Abed in the MOOOORNING:
Troy and Abed have the best friendship that has ever been. They are adorably childish in an non-naive way. They make epic forts, watch bad movies and make fun of them, and dress up as the main characters from Inspector Spacetime (ie the show's Dr. Who parody). Their biggest running gag is this:


You'll see hints of it all over. It is ALWAYS worth it.

SeƱor Chang:


He used to teach the group Spanish, but they've since moved on to other classes and Chang has lost his job yet somehow still worms his way onto the show constantly. He and Sherry once had sex and they all thought her baby might be his, but it turned out to be her re-married husband's.

Annie's Boobs:



The name of a monkey who now lives in the vents of Greendale.

Pierce Has Money


This isn't really an inside joke, but I've noticed it comes up often and I wanted to make sure you're with us. Pierce (aka Chevy Chase) inherited the money, and the moist towelette company that made it, from his father.

Side Characters:
The Human Being- When the Dean created a school mascot, he didn't want it to exclude any sex or race, and the monstrosity that came out of the project was the Human Being.


Starburns- He's a man with starburns. He sometimes wears a top hat and vest. He's lame.


Magnitude- Magnitude is the life of the party, but never says anything but "POP POP!"




And that's all I've got so far! Help me out, other Community Fans! And to those who don't watch? WATCH. Especially if you have one of those magic boxes that tells people that you're watching. That helps.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Everywhere You Look (Everywhere)

Joe and I finally made a video of the new apartment! It's as finished as we could make it right now, although it still needs a few homey touches, like curtains and a new comforter and rug.

We figured the best way for all parties to see it would be here on the blog--but please feel free to pass it over if you're not into an 8 minute tour of my closets. If you do watch it, you may notice Joe talking in the second person. That's for his parents. Everyone else should NOT, in fact, recognize our coffee table. In case you thought you might be forgetting something.

And to anyone who doesn't know me personally, welcome to my voice! And to Joe. And to my home, you snoopy weirdos. And to my awkward Sunday garb. Also, I was unaware of how often I sing to fill awkward pauses, but am WHOLLY unsurprised.

Without further ado, the apartment!

video

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Hand To Hold Onto

Or: "What I Remember From Indian Princesses."


When I was little, I was in something called Indian Princesses. It was a program put on through the YMCA to help build father/daughter relationships, and the glue that tied it together was a Native American theme.

I decided to write this post because I can't seem to find anything online about Indian Princesses, except a few remedial articles arguing the racial issues behind it. So I've written what I remember. Partly for posterity and partly so that people can tell me what the hell was going on. I was six, afterall.

QUICK OVERVIEW:

The program was something like this: fathers and daughters got together once a month in a small group. They were assigned a specific tribe name--ours was the Winnebago. There were also the Sioux, Cree, Blackfoot...you get the picture. Each tribe had their own costume. They were totally authentic...by which I mean they were not at all authentic. Our costume had jeans with bright red fringe running up the sides, a white turtleneck, and a rectangular red poncho. With more fringe.

The tribes gathered to discuss their lives, made simple crafts, that kind of thing. Then a few times a year, all the tribes would get together for a weekend retreat and do father/daughter activities together, all to varying degrees of Native American themes (which I'll get into later.)

A little history: Indian Princess actually started with Indian Guides, a father/son program formed in 1926. For your point of reference, the Indian Guides were featured in the 1995 JTT classic film, "Man of The House".

So to make sure we're all on the same page:
Father/son: Indian Guides.
Father/daughter: Indian Princesses.
Mother/daughter: Indian Maidens (which I learned about while researching.)

We won't get into the gender implications of these names, but suffice it to say...this was not a PC program. And I apologize for my liberal use of "Indian" over "Native American", but that was its name. Apparently the program is still running, but in a new form called "Adventure Guides" and "Adventure Princesses" and without the Native American themes. But this was how things were, as late as the 1990s when I was involved. In fact, according to the interwebs, the "Indian" theme didn't end until 2003. Was it racist? Absolutely. Did I know that? Absolutely not. Should our fathers have known better? Probably. But these were also men raised on Cowboys-and-Indians movies. Personally, I give them credit for going from shooting Native Americans to trying to honor them. I'm glad it's been changed, but I think of Indian Princesses like a Michael Scott lecture: good intentions...but somehow Tom Hanks ends up on the wall twice and everyone feels awkward.

So those are the straight facts about Indian Princesses, but it doesn't get at what this program was all about. So I'm here to give you Indian Princesses as I remember it...as a 6-year-old.

THE MEETINGS:

• Once a month, our tribe of about 8 pairs of fathers and daughters got together to...I don't remember. Talk? Draw? Eat cookies? What I'm saying is: I don't really remember what we did. I was just glad to have time with my dad and Katie. It made me feel grown up.

• We all had Native American names. I didn't like the pressure of coming up with one on my own, so I think Katie and my parents came up with it for me. My dad's name had to do with Horse, so Katie's and mine were Pony-related. Running Pony maybe? Something like that. I remember feeling like it wasn't quite the right fit for me, but was too shy to ask to change it.

• I do remember singing in a circle at the end of the meeting. We sang Taps--like the actual lyrics of Taps. We lifted our arms into the air and then back down when we sang it. It ended with the words "God is night" so I assumed it was a bedtime song. (Later, I learned the words were actually "God is nigh" and my mind was totally blown.)

• There were also sew-on badges. I think you earned them for going on retreats, unlike Boy and Girl Scouts, where you have to do stuff to earn them. So clearly this was way more awesome.


THE RETREATS:

As I explained, once (or twice?) a year, all the tribes traveled to a retreat center for added bonding and fun and friendly competition (which I even hated back then). I wish I could explain these retreats better as an adult, but all I have are my memories as seen through a small child. So here is what I've got:

• Like I said, our tribe was the Winnebago. Whenever all the tribes got together during the retreats, the other girls would make fun of the name. But they didn't mock "Winnebago" because of its associations to motor homes. No, they made fun of it because it sounded like "win a bagel." I was annoyed by their mocking. Not that I was embarrassed of the name, but I didn't think it really warranted the mockery. Sure, if our tribe name was Poop or Butt or Stupid, then you can make fun of us. But bagels are delicious. What's so wrong with sounding like one? Anyway, we got them back by saying that "Cree" sounded like "pee" so...game, set, match.

• There was one big night with games...like...games...okay clearly I don't remember what that was about. Was there a bouncy castle, or am I dreaming up memories now? Someone help me out with this.

• There was a bonfire one night where we'd do faux-Native American chants and songs. At one point, the designated "chief" for the weekend would wear a big chief headdress and call up to the spirits. He'd ask the spirits to send us a sign Then he'd secretly throw something into the fire to make sparks fly. I was in total awe of this, though a little confused about what it meant for my Sunday School lessons. I am now mildly horrified by the whole thing, especially after having gone to a college whose mascot, "Chief Illiniwek", was ousted my senior year. He was criticized for his inauthenticities, such as using chicken instead of eagle feathers in his headdress. I'm pretty sure the Indian Princess chief's feathers were made of polyester and dyed fluorescent blue.

• There was a Native American-looking doll called Puddin' Face...or Puddin' Cup...Puddin' Head? I think it was Puddin' Head. I assume it was also racist. But the doll was part of a game, where you sneak into other tribe's cabins and whoever ended up with her at the end of the retreat lost. The suspense of the Puddin' Doll gave me stomach ulcers. I was terrified of her.

• One retreat had an outdoor climbing wall. The guy in charge of the wall was TOTALLY old and mature. He was in college AND he had long hair. He was studying to be an engineer. I thought that sounded fun, but I wasn't sure why all the dads thought he had to be really good at science and math just to drive a train. True facts.

• Each tribe slept in one cabin, which meant all the dads got the bottom bunks and all the girls slept in the top bunks. This. Was. Awesome. Top bunks rule and they're really exciting. The poor dads never got the top bunks. I'm sure they were very disappointed by this.

• One retreat had a rickety old toboggan that was at least 3 stories high. It was terrifying.

• During dinner, when all the tribes were in one place, the daughters would BEG their fathers to bellow out into the cafeteria, "WHO'S THE BEST TRIBE IN THE NATIOOOOONNNN?!?!?!" And then all the daughters would yell--nay--SCREAM their own tribe name. This was another very historically accurate aspect of the retreat.

• One retreat had archery. I was terrible at archery. It hurt my fingers and the string was too hard to pull. This was NOT a father/daughter bonding experience. This was a father/daughter getting increasingly frustrated experience.

• On the very last day, there was some kind of prize giveaway. There was a table with all kinds of prizes at the front that the dads would buy or make, and the girls were called up to choose a prize. I have no idea how they decided the order. One of our dads made handmade puzzles once. And one time I think we spray-painted buckets and told everyone they were chairs. One year, I took too long deciding what I wanted, panicked, and picked a bedazzled mirror. I cried the whole ride home.

And that's all I've got. I'm worried none of this made sense to anyone, or was just really boring to people who were not in the program. But hopefully there are some ladies out there whose memories are jogged. Really what I want to get across was that, despite the stereotypes of Native Americans I had to unlearn later, I'm glad it was part of my childhood. I had fun. In a family of 6, it was a time that I got to spend with just my sister and my dad. And those are the kinds of memories you learn to cherish later, even if they come with horror-inducing dolls appearing in your cabin as if from nowhere.


So?! Comment please! Tell me there were other people in Princesses or Guides who have a better memory than I do and can fill in the gaps. Specifically: Puddin' Head, The Game Night, and the Prize Table. These are my great mysteries right now.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Everywhere You Look (Everywhere) There's A Heart (There's A Heart)

I don't really write about Joe. I mean, I do in a "Joe and I went to the store and I knocked down a display" kind of way. (Speaking of which, today at the grocery store I knocked over MY OWN cart. I can't even...I don't even...)

I don't know, maybe it's to keep you from throwing up. Maybe it's because being shmoopy about the ol' BF isn't usually what this blog is about. Maybe it's because this isn't a blog about relationships since I am likely the last person to give advice about boys. ("I don't know, did you try making out with him?...Well then I'm out of ideas.") Or maybe it's to protect Joe's privacy. HA HA HA HA...that last one was just for us.

Whatever my reason for the general vow of silence, it must be stopped. Because now that I'm so far away, I want everyone to remember that I'm in good company out here. I've got a partner in crime, and he's just as weird as I am. So here are some unknown facts about Joe that I think you should know:

-He cannot say "indubitably". He pronounces it "windmeel". And when I jokingly made a "rrrrrow!" sound at him, his attempted response came out, "purr-ler-ler-ler."

-We have the same pet peeves. Seriously, how hard is it to move out of the way when people are stepping off the elevator? Who were your parents?

-Sometimes he'll order my second choice meal so I can trade if I want to. He understands my buyer's remorse.

-He rubs my back when we're just standing there. (YEAH. I can hear you say "lock that down" all the way from here.)

-We love to get each other little surprises, like fancy desserts or little toys.

-When we started dating, we felt weird about all those lovey-dovey nicknames like Honey and Baby, so we called each other "Babers babings babes babes babes". That got difficult so it turned into just "Babers" and I can't tell if it's the MOST lovey-dovey option, or just the weirdest.

-I explained to him that women just want someone to listen, not someone to solve their problems. So he starts sentences with "I'm not trying to solve your problem, BUT..." which is cute in a slightly annoying way.

-The smallest things make him happy. Like, he gets really excited about holidays and new seasons, and it's turned me into someone who gets really excited about holidays and new seasons.

-He has the perfect set of Man Thighs you will ever see. Better than He-Man.

I mean, I could clearly go on, but I think you get where I'm going. In the end, he's just a sweet, genuine, funny person and I get to see him every day again and tell him all the boring stuff that doesn't make it onto here. It's pretty great, because Regina was getting pretty fed up with my stories.

Monday, November 14, 2011

But Waiting Just Around The Bend

I know! I know! I'm sorry! I have left you all on the edge of your seat, vis-a-vis The Great Move-In Of 2011. You don't know, maybe I was going for a season finale-esque cliffhanger. Or maybe I got caught up in reprogramming the TV.

Either way, consider my couch Ross and me Rachel because after months of "will they/won't they" we are finally reunited! JK, I'm totally the Ross in that relationship, let's not kid ourselves. Regardless, it didn't cost the nominal egg we thought it would. (TIME OUT to explain a Family Inside Joke: my mom knew a woman from Boston who thought the phrase was "a nominal egg" instead of "an arm and a leg" I would laugh but it hits a little close to home.)

Wow, I am WAY off topic right now. BACK TO THE MOVE IN. So we didn't have to pay for a shuttle because the truck made it to our apartment just fine, AS I TOLD THEM IT WOULD. And right before the truck was due, Joe and I stood guard over five parking spaces out front so the truck could take over all of them. We turned away the elderly and infirm and forced them to park far away and I'm not ashamed to stand here and say it right to your face.

The movers arrived, our stuff was moved in, Joe left for work and I spent the day agonizing over the extreme amount of mugs we brought along with us. Were we planning some kind of herbal tea party? Apparently yes. Regardless, everything is almost finished at this point. We have pictures to hang and rugs to lay out and boxes to toss, but we're mostly there. We have places to sit and a bed to sleep on and Regina is enjoying her options of places to hide in/lay on top of.

The question is: Now what? I've been aiming myself toward this move for so long, now that it's done, I can finally focus on what lies ahead. And what lies ahead is looking pretty good.

I've been on a professional roller coaster this year, including one very large dip. That happened a few months ago, when I was already questioning my abilities as a copywriter (I mean, come on. Laid off twice in two years? Everyone said it wasn't my fault but...it's hard to keep telling yourself that.) I went to a gathering with ex-coworkers who told me the agency was actually hiring already. That stung. When I got home, I had an email from someone I'd sent my work to. He told me that my book wasn't good enough to get a job in San Francisco.

So...it wasn't a GOOD day.

First, I did EXACTLY what Steve Carrell did in 40 Year-Old Version and walked through my apartment yelling. Then I tried looking for work in fields other than copywriting, like everyone had been telling me to do. Turns out, those jobs all require specialized knowledge in the writing topic, like parenting or healthcare or technology. The only thing it seems I can write for is How To Be Awkward and I think I already run that blog for free. That, or you need journalism experience. Which I don't have. So the only thing I was qualified for was a job that I was apparently bad at.

I don't know the right way to handle dark times. My way involved staring into space, getting back into Grey's Anatomy, and my cat laying on my neck. Now that I think about it, it is remarkably similar to the way I handled getting dumped in Paris. Except this time I had a boy who believed in me and supported me, who told me that I should do what felt right. Including staying in Chicago.

I had a lot of reasons to stay. And I weighed all of those reasons. But my gut still told me San Francisco. This was my next step. This was my new beginning.

Now that I'm here, I feel enormously good about it. Was it definitely the right decision? Hell if I know. Hell if I'll ever know. But the city is growing on me every day: the small shops, the crazy hills, the serious amount of Asian food. I like it a lot. And I've gotten more positive feedback about my portfolio, which makes me think that I may actually get a job at some point. And with a job comes more stuff that will make everything even better, including taking improv classes again, going on road trips, and buying a bike. Plus, it's mid-November and I went jogging in short sleeves today. Hard to complain about that.

So is everything perfect now? No. But it has potential to be. And for now I have a couch, my boy, and hope.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You Miss Your Old Familiar Friends

You guys all appreciate stories about my ever-approaching demise, right? Yes? Good? On we go.

All my dreams have come true: our stuff arrives tomorrow. "But, Emily! I thought you said you'd get 2 days notice before your stuff arrived!"

...
.....
.........
............
.................DIDN'T I?!

Well, in true "all moving companies are a bunch of assholes and there's nothing you can do about it" fashion, my driver called to inform me that I had less than 24 hours to get my affairs in order, and that he would be needing a shuttle truck (an additional $350 minimum charge) since he was sure he wouldn't be able to drive his 18-wheeler through the streets of San Francisco.

................WOULDN'T YOU?!

I started calling around to all the official city numbers I could muster. I was assured that the man could drive his truck down the necessary roads. I called him back to tell him this. He told me to call the moving company because he's done it before and gotten ticketed. FINE. I called the company. Are you grasping the number of phone calls I made today yet?

Once I assured the manager that I had all the maps and the phone numbers the driver needed to ensure a good route, he started giving stuff like "well aren't there a lot of hills?" and "you're really close to the ocean" (Side note: WHAT now?!) and "he needs a place to park" and SOOOOO many excuses, it makes me wonder if these semi trucks ever get to their destinations. Like, unless you actually live ON the highway--like, ON IT--how does a 70' truck EVER deliver your stuff to your home? How? I have no idea. None.

I called 311 about bagging a few meters so the man and his beloved truck could park. They told me I needed over 24 hours notice. "YES," I told them. "That would have been LOVELY, wouldn't it?" The officer told me that what I COULD do was just get a bunch of friends to park in the metered spots until the truck came, and then have them move. I wanted to sob to the woman, "But I HAVEN'T any friends anymore!" (When you get really overdramatic, you have to talk like Amy March from Little Women, by the way.) "I've deserted them in their wintry time of need!" I'll tell you, if absence makes the heart grow fonder, my lady friends have become superheroes in my mind. They'll do anything for me now that we're apart. Adrienne would have parked there all night for me! Laura would have parked sideways and DARED anyone to complain about it. Michelle probably would have just laid across the parking spots! And Jane would...well, she would have come with hummus to keep everyone's cars company at the very least!

Oh my god, I just had a genius idea for a comic book and it may or may not involve my friends deflecting lasers with their chest plates.

So no, Officer. I do not have anyone to help me with my ketchup/catsup problem.

All of these issues, plus a few calls made by Joe and between me and Joe in which I sobbed more or less uncontrollably into the phone, took all freakin' day. With little conclusion. We will likely be paying an amount of money (in cash) the likes of which I always thought I would pay someone someday, just while adjusting my monocle and top hat.

Oh but wait. Cash. Right. And how I need to have that by tomorrow. Hmm, that's interesting. And how my bank isn't in California. Yes yes, I see the issue now.

Well I've been needing to switch my money to a bank out here. And considering all the terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad banks out there, I thought I'd do the hippie thing and join a Credit Union. I'm still unsure of exactly how Credit Unions function. But all I know is: they aren't mean banks that do mean things with your money. Okay, cool. I'll take a hundred. A hundred Credit Unions.

After all this dealing with people who are hell-bent on taking every penny they can squeeze from me, I headed over to switch my account and take out some money.

To understand my emotions upon entering the building, please watch the following:



There were actually a couple people applying to open new accounts at the same time, so a man took all of us and explained the basis of what a Credit Union is and how it works and where to find ATMs and all this.

He was...the most wonderful, adorable 30-something gay man I have ever met. He was just so freakin' cheerful. And I say again, not fake cheerful in order to get something. He was legitimately happy. Like he hadn't just spent the last 6 hours on the phone, fretting about how to park a semi on a six-lane residential street. He took out his own debit card to show us how he'd customized it with a picture of his dog. And he said things like "Let's be frank. My name's actually Carl but...sorry, stupid joke." And when he told us there was a $5 fee to sign up, he actually APOLOGIZED about it. It took every ouce of will power in my loins not to jump wholly, trustingly, into his arms, Dance Of Joy style.

Later, I went one-on-one with another guy to actually open an account. Still untrusting about hidden fees, I ripped open a fun-size M&Ms bag on his desk and started popping them like House pops Vicodin, only with slightly less scruff and to a calmer effect. Yes, I am a stress eater. I don't need your judgement, I only need your chocolate. But the guy assured me that there were no hidden fees. He also assured me that he couldn't give me the cash I needed to pay my movers. And he sent me on my way. I took an extra bag of chocolate Vicodin for the road.

So ONCE AGAIN, here I am, stuck without a bank and with maximum withdrawal limits. I'm going to try with a real bank tomorrow, and Joe can take out a bit, too. So it's not the end of the world, but it was just one of those icing on the cake moments you really love.

It was one of those days that, despite the calming affects of the Credit Union, when I got home and saw a note by the elevator that our new washer/dryers now only use h.e. soap, I threw myself face-first against the wall and pounded on it, screaming, "WHY, GOD, WHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!" I wish it was a day ending with an ANTM potluck or a wine and cheese gathering or an Office marathon. It would have been nice to end the day laying on the floor with you guys around me, swearing to the high heavens about my woes and telling me how correct (and how pretty) I am.

And finally, I leave you with The Oatmeal, who put my day's emotional spiral into perfect words.

See you guys on the other side of Stuff-Having and Money-Haven'ting.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Evening TV

We still don't have our furniture yet. Technically it could be here as late as the 21st. THE TWENTY FIRST, PEOPLE. That's twenty-one days without a microwave or baking sheet (they are all packed and hell if I'm going to buy a new one when we have like seven perfectly good ones in a box somewhere within the continental United States) which means all our hot food is cooked in A single pot I packed. By the way, that's a short "A" as in "A gun, let alone many guns which would necessitate an entire rack."

I really do miss all my kitchen stuff, though. All my non-perishables are also lost in the abyss somewhere: my spices...my flour...that one box of Pasta-roni that I keep telling myself I'll eat someday but I haven't and now it's been 3 years and I feel bad giving it away to a food pantry because come on it's like 3 years old but why am I never in the mood for fetuccini alfredo anyway?

I wish I had all my cooking stuff because the area I live in (and possibly all of San Francisco but I don't have proof to back this up) is LITTERED with small markets. I guess my neighborhood is also considered Little Russia, so there's all this crazy Russian and eastern European food I've never tried, including a serious amount of feta. And it's California, so of course they basically throw produce at you when you walk by. "You want an avocado? Catch! *THWACK!* I said catch!"

Maybe it's good that I can't cook all the new meals I'm envisioning, because without a job I probably shouldn't be buying expensive baklava ingredients anyway. But there's one thing I miss more than anything in the whole world. And it surprised me way more than it should: my couch.


*quietly sobs into her hand*

I don't know if this is a thing, but I am a Couch Person. Not Couch Potato, because that implies that I am lazy and don't go on adventures. But what I mean is, if I'm home and it's not dark out, I'm on the couch. I nap there. I watch TV there. I look at internet there (take a look at internet, Michael!). I blog there. I work from home there. In my studio, I only had an armchair. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. You can't stretch out on an armchair. I mean, you can sit sideways, but my rickety late-twenty-something body can't handle that position all day anyway (that's what she said--HEYO). And you can't lay in bed/air mattress all day because, besides feeling insanely lazy, you will never be able to fall asleep later. I don't even understand that phenomenon. How is your brain THAT stupid? "What? You were here all day! This can't POSSIBLY also be the place you want to sleep."

But I miss the weekdays spent on that couch. Me, sprawled out; Joe, huddled in the corner of the couch, thwarting my attempts at putting my cold feet under his butt. We'd make dinner and sit down in front of the TV to watch BSG or West Wing or something else nerdy. Then eventually we'd get up and walk to a totally separate room (imagine!) and go to bed.

That's what I miss most. That's what I want my stuff here for. Not the cookware, not the chilly-weather clothes, not the cat toothpaste because, oof, that is some CAT'S BRAAAAATH. But the couch and the simple, do-nothing, relaxing times.