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.

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.

For My Next Trick…

I’ve been busy, busy, busy!  Lots of people are busy – I know this to be true.  And I promise I am not claiming to be the busiest person out there, not by a long shot.  And I’m not complaining, some exciting new things are happening for me.

The exciting news: I got a new job!!  This job is fantastic and absolutely perfect for me.  I’m working at a children’s theatre in their Education department.  This job is basically everything I’ve been looking for since moving to Chicago.  And I’ll still have opportunities to teach!!

The complication: the job is only part-time (for now).  And since not-for-profit theatres are not known for an abundance of funding, my new pay is not going to equal what I’m getting paid to teach part-time at the elementary school.

My solution: I worked it out so that I could start working for the theatre and still work for the school until Christmas break.  This way for a short time I’ll be earning both incomes.  Not to mention I can still baby-sit to make a little extra cash.

Oh, and by the way: before I got the new job, I was hired to direct a children’s show in the burbs.  Rehearsals start in two weeks and go until February.  It’s great since it’s more extra money – but not the best timing in the world.

So, in case you are keeping count, here’s what the past month has looked like: teach elementary school drama part-time, learn a new (dream) job part-time, go to a baby-sitting job, work the occasional box office shift on the weekends, spend time fretting over money, watch multiple episodes of Scandal to distract from money worries, try to keep my fridge stocked, go to another baby-sitting job, determine how long I can put off laundry by the amount of clean underwear in my drawer, try to beat level 197 in Candy Crush, have auditions for children’s show, call my mom and assure her I’m still alive and well, make plans to see a friend, read Divergent and Insurgent, cursed myself for staying up too late to read Young Adult fiction, regret plans with the friend because I’m exhausted, go to one more baby-sitting job, and thank my friend for making me go out even though I’m ready to sleep by 11 o’clock.

Maybe you don’t think that sounds like too much.  Or maybe you are judging me for having priorities like watching Scandal and playing Candy Crush (it’s all about a balanced life, people).  Maybe I’m just whining because my natural state is one of complete laziness.  Whatever the case, this past month has turned me to be a master juggler.  I have a variety of different items moving swiftly through the air, never falling or colliding.  The epitome of time management.  I even made a visual aid. (Thank you clip art)

Image

But not too busy to make this image in Paint!

If I’m being honest, I’m not able to manage everything.  I’ve certainly let a few things slide.  I occasionally choose to sleep 30 extra minutes instead of showering, and the dishes in my kitchen are one chemical reaction from becoming bio-hazardous waste.  But for the most part, I’ve managed to get all the most important stuff done….I think.  Wait, am I forgetting something?  Let me check the calendar….

When I think back to a year and a half ago, my life looked nothing like this.  I’m not saying I didn’t get busy, I did.  But it was certainly a different kind of busy.  I taught during the day, and sometimes I had rehearsals at night.  Most weekends I had some time to chill – maybe at home watching reality television or at the bar with some friends.  And that was it!!  It’s hard to remember what that life was like.

The variety of things I have going on at any given time is overwhelming.  And the thing is, most of my friends have day-planners that are more filled than mine.  Day jobs, side projects, nighttime rehearsals, theatre companies – the list goes on and on.  If I want to hang out with someone, it takes lots of planning in advance.  Calendars have to be checked; dates have to be confirmed.

Something I miss:

Imagine it’s a Saturday night in my hometown.  I check the local movie times (for the only movie theatre in town) and see something I really want to see.  But the movie starts in 30 minutes.  I text a friend, and we agree to go to the film (because they aren’t busy either).  I put on pants (because odds are if it’s Saturday, I have not left the house yet).  I hop in my car and make it to the Malco in 9-11 minutes.  (I was planning on making it in 7 minutes, but the movie theater is ALL the way across town and I encounter three red lights on the way!)  I buy my ticket and see my buddy in the lobby.  We buy drinks and popcorn (or nachos if I’m feeling particularly festive) and walk into our theater.  We will not miss a single preview – we probably have to sit and watch some of those annoying commercials for at least 5 minutes before the real previews start.  Spontaneous weekend activity.  It was a simpler time.

 

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago today (right around this time actually), I was entering the city of Chicago.  My dear friend who rode with me was clutching to her door handle for dear life as we drove on I-90 pulling a small U-Haul behind us.  Although that first parking experience was traumatic, I stuck it out.  One winter, two apartments, 364 days with too many side jobs to count – Here I am!  I feel as though I should impart some great wisdom that the big city has taught me…but here’s all I can come up with:

  • When getting on a train or bus, make sure you are traveling in the right direction.  Actually, this also applies to walking.
  • If you ever find you are walking in the wrong direction: 1. Stop.  2.  Stare at your phone.  3.  If you are positive that the blue dot was moving the wrong way, pretend to type a text message.  4. Stare at your screen for five more seconds. 5. Turn around and walk in the opposite direction.
  • When the taxi light is on, it means they are available to pick someone up.  Unless they just don’t give a shit and pass you by with an empty backseat.
  • It’s probably not a good idea to let strange men into your apartment.  Especially if the man in question wants to climb through your window.
  • If you live in apartment, get used to hearing every movement of your upstairs neighbor.  More than likely, you will also smell every meal of every tenant on your hall.
  • When cars are exiting an alley, protocol is to honk their horn to warn oncoming traffic of their presence.  If you happen to be standing near the alley, they are not honking at you.  You are not as hot as you think you are.
  • Most people take their shoes off when entering someone else’s apartment/house.  If you don’t know this rule, your friends will have no problem asking you to take off your shoes that have been defiled with dirt/urine/god knows what from the city streets and sidewalks.
  • It will probably snow in April.  Prepare yourself.  Crying is a totally appropriate response.
  • Places people expect you to know in Chicago: The Art Institute, The ‘Bean’ in Millenium Park, Hancock Building, Willis Tower (sometimes Sears Tower, name varies depending on who you ask but it’s the same place!), Navy Pier, and Wrigley Field.
  • People are busy – and they live more than five minutes away from you.  Planning a social outing usually involves way more preparation than ‘Hey what are you doing tonight?’  Get a calendar so you can keep up with your obligations.
  • Repeat after me: Bears, Blackhawks, and Cubs.  For extra credit you might need to know White Sox, but this is usually not on the exam.
  • They play hockey here.  It’s kind of a big deal.
  • Remember, it’s the Midwest.  So most people (not all), are actually pretty nice….well, at least decent.

I have probably learned way more than that, but that’s all I’ve got at the moment.  I can’t believe it’s been one year.  I guess time flies when you work a billion jobs, have an unpaid apprenticeship, make new friends, assistant stage manage a show, direct three different projects (all only 10 minute plays – but still), keep in touch with old friends, schedule time to see new friends, try to see as many plays as you can afford, and every so often binge watch an entire television series on Netflix.

So I leave you with these timeless words from the prophet Ferris Bueller (ashamed to say I didn’t realize that movie took place in Chicago until after I moved here):

The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?”

Ok, I couldn’t just pick one quote, so here’s one more:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

This most certainly is not the end of my Chicago Adventures.  More to come.