The rest of my knowledge

 

29 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN 29 YEARS:

a list in 29  31days

Day Thirty-One: two days late – all the rest of myknowledge

6. Don’t let a boy give you a hickey.

Hickeys are really gross.  And tacky.  Don’t let them happen to you!  It’s pretty easy to tell if someone is bruising your neck with their mouth, so just make them stop.

Addendum: If by some chance you do get a hickey, it better be in the winter. Be thankful that it is winter time and you happen to have a great assortment of turtlenecks.

7. Smart girls are cool.

This will always be true. Reading is cool. Knowing things is cool. Don’t dumb yourself down.

8. Don’t let a strange man into your apartment.  

Does this really need explaining? It only takes one time to learn this lesson. (Even smart girls can make dumb mistakes.)

9. If you see a sign that says ‘Tow Away Zone’, take it seriously.

This an expensive mistake to make. (Again, smart girl – dumb decision)

10 There is a big difference between dishwashER detergent and dishwashING detergent. 

You will notice this difference by whether or not there are soap suds and bubbles all over your kitchen floor.

11. Wear a belt.

Your pants may seem to fit perfectly in the morning, but this is an illusion. By the time you get off of work, your pants will be a different size. Unless you want your pants to slowly start creeping down your ass while you are carrying groceries and cannot pull them back up again, just wear the belt.

12. Write thank you notes.

People appreciate it. Show them that you were raised with manners. I’m pretty sure my grandmother never forgave me for not writing any thank you notes after I received graduation presents when I was 18. Is 11 years too late? I really did appreciate the towels.

13. High heels aren’t really worth it.

A typical person will put up with a lot of unpleasant situations in their lifetime. It’s part of the deal – usually you just have to smile and get through it. But you do not have to consciously torture your feet. If you stand too long, even flat shoes will make your feet hurt. Screw the heels.If for some reason you do have to wear heels, put some flats in your purse.

14. If you find an article of clothing that is REALLY flattering, buy it in 3 colors.

Just don’t wear it all 3 days in a row. You’ll be fine.

15. Cooking really isn’t that hard.

This I have only learned VERY recently. I may be 29, but just six months ago I prepared most of my meals in the microwave. But guess what? There are directions for cooking. It’s called recipes. I have successfully prepared multiple meals at this point without burning my apartment building down.

16. My mother is a Saint.

She’s pretty much the best mom ever. She puts up with a lot silly shit – not only from me but from my sisters as well. I want you to imagine how awful teenage girls are….now multiply that times 3. My mother lived with that every day for approximately 10 years and didn’t murder anyone. Plus, she always has time to talk on the phone (or returns my calls promptly). Lately, most of these calls are me asking really dumb cooking questions (please see #14).

17.Your parents are not perfect.

They used to be your age. They make mistakes like everybody else.

18. Go to your college classes.

You might think that in the long run skipping class won’t matter. But there may come a day when your 26 year-old self has to explain your 21 year-old GPA.

19. Don’t take pictures holding cigarettes or beer cans.

It’s just tacky.

20. Say please and thank you.

People appreciate it.

21. Be skeptical of any man you meet on the internet.

Yes, we live in an age where internet dating is more common than ever and no longer carries a negative stigma. However, in my experience, most of the guys who converse with online will turn out to be a) dumb, b) boring, or c) looking for an excuse to send you a picture of their penis.

22.  The most perfect guy ever is Westley from The Princess Bride.

Let’s see:

  • He senses when you are in trouble (or you know, kidnapped) and drops his lucrative pirating business to rescue you.
  • He had the forethought to build up an immunity to iocaine power.
  • If you throw a hissy-fit and PUSH HIM DOWN A MOUNTAIN, he’s not even mad!
  • He will kill a large rodent to defend you, even when you are just too lazy get up off the ground.
  • He will jump into a pit of lightning sand to save you.
  • Basically every time you do something dumb, he is going to try and make it better.
  • He will come back from the dead for you, his true love. *swoon*
  • He’s smart – could you have come up with a better way to storm the castle?
  • He would never try to text you a picture of his penis.

Oh, and there is this:

 

23. Make an effort to stay in touch with your friends.

You never know when you will need them. And liking a facebook status does not count as maintaining a friendship.

24. When you move into your own apartment, there are a few must have items.

A broom, a first aid kit, and a plunger. Do not wait until you need a plunger, just have one!

25. Invest in good bras.

Just do it. And make sure you are buying the right size. Your boobs will thank you.

26. Lots of people have no idea what they are doing most of the time. 

Fake it til you make it is an acceptable strategy for getting through lots of things.

27. You are allowed to say no some times.

Don’t feel obligated to do things you don’t want to do. You don’t have to stretch yourself too thin. You don’t have to be the one who helps out every single time. It’s ok to hang out on the couch and do nothing on occasion. It’s therapeutic.

28. Stick to your deadlines.

Clearly, this is something I am still working on since I planned on being done with this list two days ago. I’m not perfect.

29. Change can be good.

Moving from Mississippi to Illinois might be completely terrifying. But, if you’re lucky, it just might work out okay.

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Sisterly Edition of Birthday Countdown

I hope you liked my first post about the countdown to my birthday!  Before we continue the list, I quick story.  My sister called me after reading yesterday’s post and said,

“I just read your blog post.  All this time I thought you were turning 30.”

I wish I could say my response was cool and casual.  Something like, “No 29.  Gosh, you’re silly.”  This was not the case.  I felt like she had slapped me across the face.  How could she forget!  How could she age me an extra year!?!

After I wiped the foam from my mouth, I thought about my reaction.  I was a little surprised at myself.  If this were three years ago, I don’t think I would be upset if she thought I was turning 26 instead of 25. I like to think I have a handle on this whole getting older thing.  I tell myself ‘our culture is too obsessed with youth’ and ‘age is just a number’ and other mantras to ease my transition into ALMOST 30.  Clearly, this ride could still get bumpy.

This next part of my list is dedicated to my sisters.

29 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN 29 YEARS:

a list in 29 days

Day Three: lessons from sisterhood

3. You are the oldest – it’s always your fault.

I’m the oldest of three girls. Being the oldest is pretty tough job mostly because your parents have no clue what they are doing. You are the guinea pig child, and it’s about time you got used to it.  If you’re lucky, your parents will create younger humans who share your genes and will understand the uniqueness of your childhood experiences.  Sisters (and brothers) can be the best.

BUT, if you are the oldest sibling, it is important to know that everything will be your fault*.  Growing up, every tear or scream from your little sisters is assumed to be the result of some cruel torture you have inflicted.  Guilty until proven otherwise.  Even if circumstances prove that you are not to blame for the most recent meltdown, you are still expected to make concessions.  They are younger than you after all! Plus, my baby sister had dimples and really knew how to turn on the water works.  Don’t think for one second that she didn’t abuse this superpower. This will result in countless (and seemingly unjustified) occasions of playing ‘baby’ games, giving up toys, changing the channel, or being sent to your room.

Even once all the siblings are grown, there are times when you have to step up and be a scapegoat.  ‘She’s in a mood – don’t provoke her!’ or ‘She’s sensitive about (insert the issue of the month), why did you bring it up?’  I’m sure it probably goes the other way around, but this is my list so back off!

4. Even if it sounds like fun, it might not be a good idea.

Although learned in childhood, this is a lesson that stands the test of time. One evening, my little sister (approximately 4 years old at the time) created an excellent game. It essentially consisted of spinning around until you were sickeningly dizzy. (There was a second phase of the game that involved jumping on pillows in a certain pattern, but that isn’t relevant to the story.)  While taking a break from the game, my little sister was spinning ’round and ’round (as per the rules of the game) when she fell and hit her head on the coffee table.  She stood up and I spied blood POURING down her face directly between her eyes.  I managed to walk her into the next room (very calmly for my young 7 years) where my parents were watching t.v.  Panic ensued as did a trip to the emergency room. I was yelled at because, of course, this was all my fault.  (See #3) In hindsight, spinning around until you cannot stand was probably not the safest form of recreational activity.

ps_2012_12_08___14_04_49

Except she wasn’t smiling, and her face was bloody.

This lesson can also be applied to:

  • Sledding down a giant hill directly towards a parked car
  • Staying out until 3 a.m. the morning before a final exam
  • Diving into a pool with a glass bottle of beer in my hand
  • Kissing guys who aren’t *technically* single
  • Removing items of clothing in a frat house

5. Sisters know you the best and can hurt you the worst.

ps_2012_12_08___13_49_24

Sisters!!

Your sisters can be the most wonderful people on the planet.  Your sisters will have the ability to drive you completely insane.  Your sisters have probably seen you at your worst but will celebrate with you at your best. They know your insecurities just like you know theirs; please use this information for good and not evil.

You don’t have to be the same people, so don’t bother trying to change them into your clones. Enjoy them when you can because they probably won’t live down the street forever.  Remember you all come from the same place, so they are the only ones who know exactly how crazy your parents truly are.

 

*Ok, the times when I would pin you down and threaten to spit on you…that was mean.  I definitely deserved punishment for that because that was really gross.  Thanks for loving me despite it.

 

Can I just hibernate through my birthday?

hi·ber·nate
1.to spend the winter in close quarters in a dormant condition, as bears and certain otheranimals. 
2. to withdraw or be in seclusion; retire.
hibernate

Wake up! Winter’s over!

I’m back.  I didn’t really go anywhere except my apartment and occasionally Wendy’s, but there was definitely a lack of activity on the interwebs.  Sorry that I went into hibernation for a few months.  Did you miss me?  It was a rough winter, and not just for Mississippi girls like me.  Everyone in Chicago was pretty miserable for a while.  But now the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising, so I figured I should reemerge.  And just in time, because in 29 days I will be turning 29.  Twenty-nine years old!!!

 

Logically, I know this isn’t a big deal, it doesn’t really mean anything, blah blah.  But the other parts of me (the non-logical ones) may or may not be freaking out.  To keep myself from having a complete existential crisis, I need a distraction.  Today’s distraction method of choice will be making a list.  Without further ado, I present:

29 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN 29 YEARS:

a list in 29 days

Day One: Lessons learned in childhood

1.  Do not cut your own bangs.  It will not end well.

…especially if you are 10 years old.  Fifth grade is definitely old enough to know what scissors can do to your hair, but did that stop me?  No, sir!  It starts out innocently enough: just the tiniest trim.  But then you have to make sure the sides are even, and before you know it your bangs are inch long sprigs standing straight up with no hope of ever covering your forehead.  Oh yeah, and it’s right before picture day.  Luckily, your sister is 5 years old so you can blame her for this unfortunate mishap.  (Did people actually believe that story?)

You would think after ‘the 5th grade bangs incident’ I would learn my lesson.  Wrong again!  There were a handful of times in high school and college where I would trim my bangs myself.  The results weren’t quite as traumatic, but of course never as good as what someone in a salon could do.  (P.S. It’s pretty embarrassing when you tell your hairstylist that you trimmed your own bangs and her response is “I can see that”.)

 2. Just ask where the bathroom is – it’s less embarrassing than the alternative.

I was a shy kid – painfully shy.  I spoke to teachers in school as little as possible.  When I was in the first or second grade, I spent almost every single recess playing with my friend, Ashley.  Ashley was an idea person.  She decided what the activity/game would be, and the rest of us would play it.  One afternoon (in the middle of what I can only assume was an awesome game), I realized that I needed to pee.  The teachers were all the way on the other side of the playground and for some reason I didn’t want to walk up to them by myself to ask if I could go inside.  In my memory, the walk to the teachers was SO FAR.

I asked Ashley to walk with me to the teacher’s playground post.  She said no, opting to continue the game instead.   I can’t blame her – it is not normal for a 6 or 7 year old to need an escort to walk across the playground – so, I pushed my full bladder from my mind and just kept playing.  I don’t know how long this went on, but soon the need to relieve myself outweighed my fear of approaching the teachers.  I struck out on my own, and when I reached the slide I realized I no longer had to pee.  Yes folks, I had peed my pants.

Now I was REALLY afraid to talk to the teachers!  So, I walked my soggy bottom back to my friends and Ashley’s game.  I was panicking!  What should I do?  I was way too old to be having accidents at school.  I confided in Ashley what had happened.  Suddenly, the teachers were blowing the whistle.  Recess was over.  I was so mortified.  Ashley’s solution (remember, I said she was an idea person): walk behind me in line so that no one would see my pee pants. Lucky for us, the school day was almost over plus my grandmother was picking me up which saved me from the shame of riding the bus in my current state.  With Ashley’s help, I made it back to the classroom with no one the wiser and sneakily positioned my backpack to cover my bum.  I left school that day without incident.

I wish I could say this was the only pee pants incident in my childhood – but alas, it takes me some time to learn.  Most others involved being at a slumber and laughing too hard.  However, almost every one that I can remember could have been solved by just asking where the bathroom is!

Also learned:  It is a true friend who comes to your aid when you have wet your pants and smell like urine.

Producing a Play is Like Having a Baby

[According to a person who has never, ever had a baby.  But I have watched Father of the Bride Part II multiple times.  So, I’m basically an expert.]

Let’s have a baby – The Beginning

The part when everyone is excited.  The happy couple tells everyone they know that they’re expecting and people crying and congratulating and then crying some more.  

You are a part of a small theatre company.  There’s this wonderful little play that you are all crazy about.  So everyone agrees, we should produce this play!  What a wonderful idea.  Auditions are held, designers are hired, and everyone marks their calendar.  You start to make plans, but no need to rush things.  Opening night seems really far away.  There’s plenty of time to get everything done!  Isn’t this going to be great?

The Pregnancy – The Rehearsals

Maybe being pregnant isn’t the best, but it’s not all bad.  You’re nesting and painting a nursery.  Maybe you feel a little sick sometimes and your feet are swollen….but you’ll survive.

Before you know it, it’s time to start rehearsing the play.  This is the time for everyone to buckle down and have some meetings and get a few things figured out.  You’re going to need costumes, lights, props, a set, a place to rehearse, a place to perform, a photo shoot for marketing, and money (cause that’s how you pay for all those other things).  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  But nobody’s worried. You open in 6 weeks…you got this.  That’s lots of time.

Sure, going to rehearsals every night can get a little tiring.  Eventually you will get sick of telling your friends you have no time to go out.  You have to go to rehearsals.  And if you aren’t rehearsing, you’re working at your second job (because ‘following your dream’ meant accepting a job that couldn’t possibly support you completely).   And you are really, really tired.  Just one night you would like to get home before 11 p.m.

But you shouldn’t complain; you should be thankful.  This is what you love.  This is what you want to do for the rest of your life.  This makes you happy.  You should just think more positive.

Child Labor – Tech Rehearsals

Hold the phone!  This is awful.  Why did no one tell you about the pain?  

How did this happen!?!?!?  You have less than a week before an audience will see this production, and let me tell you: it’s a mess.  The lights look shit, the set is only partially constructed, and how did nobody know the floor needed to be painted?  Is that in the budget?  But it has to get done.  You thought you were tired before – you weren’t even in the same time zone as tired.

You’re staying at the theatre until 2 a.m. to put one more coat of paint on the set, and then going to your ‘real’ job because you still have to make money.  But sure, you’ll run by the dollar store to look for that very specific prop, and you’ll stop by Subway next door to grab your dinner.  Is it unhealthy to eat Subway for dinner 5 nights in a row?  Doesn’t matter, because your bank account couldn’t afford any other establishment.  You would bring your dinner except your fridge is empty and when are you supposed to go to the grocery store?!?!?!

And the baby is breach??  And it’s too late for an epidural??  Is it too late to change your mind?

But it gets better.  One of the designers is mad at the director, and almost the entire cast has a cold.  And every department is over budget.  And you watch rehearsals, but you doubt every decision that has been made up until this point.  Maybe this is all really dumb and no one will like it and maybe this was the wrong play to do.  Ahhh!

At some point during all of this madness, you start to wonder why you decided to be a theatre artist.  This is insanity.  Who would choose this for their life?  So, you secretly promise yourself that you won’t do this ever again.  Maybe you’ll just become a kindergarten teacher or a banker or a barista and live a normal life.

It’s a Baby! – Opening Night

But then, something kind of crazy happens.  Everything gets done, and the audience shows up.  And they seem to like the show – so maybe it’s not a mess.  And when you watch the show, you feel kind of proud.  This actually is a pretty good piece of theatre.  Wow, this production has really come a long way.  And now people are applauding!  That’s pretty awesome.

You go to the party and have a great time.  Then, you sleep for 12 hours straight.  Hmmm…what play should you work on next??

I just realized that this is really nothing like having a baby, because the baby is going to stick around for 18 years or more.  The play is over in just a few weeks (I’m pretty sure you didn’t just present the next Cats).  Oh well, you get the point.  

I’ve always Depended on the Kindness of Strangers

Saturday is the day I realized my car was stuck in it’s parking spot.  (Please notice that last Saturday was two days BEFORE the extreme low temperatures.)  I got into my car on Saturday and attempted to drive to my first destination of the day; I put the car in reverse, but nothing happened.  I tried to move the car back and forth, little by little, but my tires just kept spinning every time.  I put the car in park and took control of the situation: I called my mom.  But Mom couldn’t actually help me because 1) she’s 700 miles away and 2) she’s never dealt with lots of snow either. After hanging up (I’m still in my car that is going nowhere), I used my phone to Google ‘car stuck in the snow’.  Here’s an excerpt from Wikihow on ‘How to Get Your Car Out of the Snow: 12 Steps’.  (Please notice the section in bold)

Dig away excessive snow and ice. Break up the ice immediately surrounding the tires. Obviously, if you have a shovel, you can dig out the snow. (This article assumes you don’t have a shovel handy (or else you wouldn’t be stuck, would you? If you don’t have one, improvise. A trowel is a good cheap shovel that can stay in even a small car; a plastic one won’t rust.)

That is what the website says word for word. A normal reaction to all this would have been to go buy a shovel immediately, dig myself free, and find a better parking spot.  But wikihow was mocking me, so I went back inside my apartment feeling defeated and didn’t leave for the rest of the day.  There was more snow on Sunday, and I knew the situation would only be getting worse – so I watched all 10 episodes of Sean Saves the World, the new sitcom starring Sean Hayes as a single, gay dad. (Can you tell I avoid my problems?)  I even had a friend text me that she would help dig me out, but I stayed on the couch.

It wasn’t until Wednesday (when the city of Chicago reached an almost tropical 14 degrees) that I bought a shovel on my way home from work.  I had to take the shovel on the train because my car was still submerged in snow – hence the need for a shovel.  I could feel the commuters on the Red Line looking at me and my shovel and thinking, “Silly girl.  You get the shovel BEFORE the snow,” but maybe that was just my imagination.  When I got off the train, it was cold and dark outside.  So I did what I do best and decided to put the snow-shoveling off until the next morning.

I did not look forward to this whole exercise.  I’ve never actually shoveled snow before.  I got my shovel (how many times can I use the word shovel in one post?) and walked towards my car.  A man was standing in the street and asked if I needed him to dig my car out of the snow.  I wasn’t really sure what to say – did he want money?  But I said ‘Sure, some help would be great.’  (The man had 5 or 6 braids in his hair so I will refer to him as Braid Man.)

I didn’t take a picture of Braid Man, so here is my artistic interpretation using ClipArt and Paint.

knight

I had my little ice scraper, so I tried to help as best that I could but Braid Man did most of the work.  And there was a lot of work since my car had fallen victim to a snow-blower.  It looked something like this:

Wall of Snow (2)

I would have taken a real picture, but then I wouldn’t have been helping with the digging process.  However, this picture is pretty accurate, except there was even more snow.  Once Braid Man had gotten rid of most of the snow (while all I really did was clear my windshield and break my ice scraper in the process), he told me to get in the car and try to drive out.  The car moved some before getting stuck in a fresh pile of snow, but Braid Man would not be thwarted!  He pushed my car from the front and then the back, and continued to clear the snow and ice each time the car stopped moving.  A gentleman walking by on the sidewalk stopped to watch our maneuvers and give some helpful tips on which tire was stuck. He eventually lost interest – I’m not sure Braid Man appreciated his comments.

Finally, after close to 30 minutes my car was free!  During the digging process, I tried to express my gratitude. ‘You’re an angel’, ‘What would I have done without you’, ‘I appreciate this so much’.  Once I was out of my parking spot, I wanted to thank him one more time.  But he just handed me my shovel and walked away before I could say anything.  Kind of like a cowboy walking into the sunset at the end of a movie.  OR like my own personal Dennis Quaid (another Day After Tomorrow reference!)- conquering the frozen elements to come to my rescue.  Thank you Braid man, wherever you are.

And thank you Dennis Quaid, just for being handsome.