Sunday, February 7, 2010

Life Lesson #9: Fair food.

There is a reason the fair only comes once a year. Can you imagine being able to eat like that all the time?

On Saturday, some favorites and I headed out to the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire. I know what you're all thinking... I'm the coolest kid you know. I get that all the time. Not to make you more jealous, but this was my third year in a row. I should probably be dressing up and using "ye" at this point. I'll work on that.

I can't think of a better place to people watch than a medieval fair. These are the most amazing people you'll ever see. They dance, they delight, they dig in! Finally, after back-to-back despair of not being able to get my turkey leg (how can the fair sell out of turkey legs?!), I finally got my wish. It was magnificent. I think the fact that the leg is as big as my head and literally drips grease makes it better. Especially when washed down with about five pounds of curly frys and home-brewed soda. Yeah, it's my fattest day of the year. What about it?

Maybe this was animal cruelty, but I followed my feast with a camel ride. Last year, the elephant got its chance. This year, the camel just shined. Which is good because the carny-camel-handler was not my number one fan. Who actually holds on during a camel ride, sir? Really? It's much better to squeal and wave and pretend like you're riding a rollercoaster. Duh.

Which brings me to the life lesson part:
1) You know you want the funnel cake. Just do it. How often is funnel cake an option? Exactly. So do it.
2) The five year olds in line to ride the exotic animal have it right. Bragging rights straight ahead.
3) Sometimes you just can't follow all the rules, even if that means being the brunt of some very bitter remarks from the animal handler. Maybe I wouldn't be super peppy if I had to lead a camel in a circle all day, either.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Real need.

Forewarning: This post is a departure from my typical, lighthearted blog. It's a plea.

As I read the constant updates coming out of Haiti my gut twists into a giant, aching knot. I know I'm not alone. The world is full of people asking what can they do. I feel like such a tiny little speck, but even this speck can try to help. And this speck wants you to try, too.

In church yesterday my pastor mentioned the tens of thousands of children that became orphans with that one sweeping gesture. Not only must they face their scariest days without the guiding hand we tend to think will always be there, but they do so with a frightening degree of vulnerability.

The Haitian government suspects child traffickers are taking these Haitian orphans out of the country for their own perverse use. And the knot twists again.

The United States government has issued humanitarian parole (it temporarily grants otherwise inadmissable aliens into the U.S. due to a compelling emergency) for a few hundred orphans that were already matched with adoptive parents prior to the earthquake. We can take more. Much more.

Below is a link to learn more about the situation and people that can do something about that. Let these contacts from Florida know that we need to continue to grant humanitarian parole. We need to protect these children. We need to do our part.

George LeMieux
(202) 224-3041

Cliff Stearns
(202) 225-5744

Bill Nelson
(202) 224-5274

Corrine Brown
(202) 225-0123

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life Lesson #8: Bonding with the pavement.

"They can because they think they can." - Virgil

Preach it, Virg.

I recently had a heated discussion with someone about doing. To me, taking action is nearly always the right thing to do. Personal bubbles are meant to be popped, comfort levels expanded, and dreams attained. That typically requires a decision quickly followed by an act.

I want to know what I'm made of; how can I figure that out without constantly challenging myself? Something I've learned: you are always stronger than you think. I'm a capable little girl. I figure that out more and more every day.

My friend Emily decided to do a 5K because it is far out of her realm of possibility. I joined her quest for the same reason. Before starting to train, I didn't even have a pair of intact tennis shoes. Now I will gladly talk with you about intervals, stretches, distance, hills, breathing, and any other running related topic. I feel akin to people I see running. I can't wait to cross my first finish line with my first number on my back and in first place (well that's a complete and utter lie but I wanted to keep the "first" theme going).

Realize you can do whatever you set your mind to early. You'll save a lot of wasted time that way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Life Lesson #7: The male roommate.

He sees you when you're ready for a Friday night on the town, but also when you're sick and contemplating never leaving the bed. He hears about all your big successes, but also that embarrassing moment that you never wish to relive. He knows that you sing in the shower, walk around in your underwear, eat your noodles plain, and drink coke straight out of the two liter. No, he's not your boyfriend, he's better: your first male roommate.

I just so happen to have three myself, and despite having trepidations initially, they are rather dandy. Sure they can't help me with my make-up or loan me a purse, but they keep the gags coming and always give an honest opinion on... well, everything.

In case you haven't figured it out, guys don't seem to feel the same pressure to sugar coat the truth the way girls do. If a girl doesn't like her friend's shirt, she's likely going to come up with the most roundabout way of telling her, if at all. A guy will tell his lady friend she looks pregnant in a heartbeat, if that be the case. The boys have told me I looked like crap on some days, and others they tell me I look beautiful.

So next time you go roommate shopping, don't let gender lines necessarily make or break your options. The boys need a place to rest their heads as well.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lesson #6: Not everyone had a Red Ryder.

I remember my cousin's eighth birthday. As the only boy in the bunch, he always got different toys from me and my sister. Better toys. He had the Batman cape, the Legos, and on that birthday, the Red Ryder BB gun! I was sooooo jealous of his BB gun, I got one myself when my birthday came around. If I hadn't made such a fuss though, it surely would've been another Tweety-filled holiday.

I come from a family that gives the boys G.I. Joes and the girls Barbies, that doesn't drink or smoke, that goes to church several times a week, and that might not be aware that the South didn't actually win the war. Although not every family member fits this mold, I can introduce you to quite a few who do. And it's how I grew up.

This may be a given, in fact this is a given, but not every family is like that. It's almost easy to forget, but it's important to remember. I was reminded on a recent road trip.

My roommate and I drove through Florida, visiting his family and staying with friends. We spent a lot of time together in the car and talked about everything under the sun. One thing that really resonated with me, though, was something he said about families and our differences: you don't really know what people's lives were like for the first 18 years when you meet them for the first time in college.

In undergrad we don't have the luxury of seeing each others' roots. So when that roommate of yours is absolutely driving you up the wall... Well, chances are their family functioned in a totally different way from yours. And that's kind of awesome.

Matt's family was a perfect example. His parents, liberal hippies that have Grateful Dead memoribilia around the house, were so different! They taught Matt his multiples with a drinking game. He wasn't allowed to play with guns (no Red Ryder for that house!). His Dad even nicknamed me "Herpes Girl" after a few hours (and a story, of course), something my Dad would never dream of doing. I absolutely adored them.

Yeah, our backgrounds are different, but that makes life so fun! I love getting to know other families and their priorities, habits, and dynamics. I feel like I can then understand my friends on a new level. I also realize what I love about my own family and what I want to do better with them. Basically, it's a win-win realization and experience.

Thoughtfully yours,
Herpes Girl

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Life Lesson #5: Don't pick up strangers.

In fact, I think it's best not to touch them altogether. But, I may be a prude.

I feel like I could devote an entire blog (and trust me, I've really thought about it) on guys. More so, their stupid antics they actually think are a good idea while in pursuit of the nearest/cutest girl. Yes boys, I'm looking at you.

Today's winner was named Richard, I believe, and picked the same pool as me to soak up some early afternoon rays.

It all started off innocent enough. My roommate and I were laying off the edge of the pool, explaining our personal theories on love and relationships/dating. Soon, all too soon, we're joined by Richard, who was in search of a partner for chicken fight. I, being a horrible friend and roommate, give the best sales pitch I can for my dear roomie. Don't worry, the karma came around all too quickly.

She's a peach and plays along, meekly going a round with a stranger and eventually switching to bottom position for Richard to take over on top. As soon as she's freed from the game she jumps out to lay on her chair. It's much safer on land.

So there I am, laying on my own, minding my own business. Apparently that made me the next target.

After turning down offers to join the strange boys in conversation, one picks me up and brings me over. I'm not kidding.

So... at what point in his life did this work? What's worse, these guys start pulling out these cheesy lines. I look to Emily for assistance while she soaks up the fact that she actually got off easy.

I may be the size of your backpack when you were in fifth grade, but my portability should not be put into use by perfect strangers. It will not lead to a date. It won't even lead to a last name and potential facebook friend. Yeah, that's right, I said it!

So guys (and socially awkward girls), my advice is this: while sweeping a girl off her feet is easiest done in its literal sense, this will not likely lead to the sappy kind. That "air of mystery" isn't complete crock. Try it sometime.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Life Lesson #4: Badasses have more fun.

I must admit, I feel a slight swell of accomplishment when I put on my tennis shoes. I was slightly upstaged this weekend when my fantastically fit roommate decided to do her first triathlon, which she completed with a smile.

Emily's Top Gun Triathlon was in Ft. Desoto on Saturday. As the loyal number one fans that we are, Charlie and I drove down on Friday to cheer her on.

What was supposed to be a pretty chill road trip turned into a bit of an adventure. Originally, we planned on staying with my friend in Tampa, then driving out to the fort in the morning to cheer Em on. Well, we were just too close to the beach to not go on Friday, so we made a beeline for the shore. We realized that we were extremely close to the race, so instead of backtracking and going to Tampa for the night, I made the wise decision to rough it for the night. Worst decision of my life.

Charlie's snoring, which could rival the cheers on a game day, was the least of my problems. The bugs LOVED me. I suddenly suspected the nearby fishermen were just biding their time until we fell asleep so they could cut us into a million peices. We probably slept a couple of hours at best. Luckily, our 6 a.m. wake-up call came quickly.

We trekked over to the race, beating the sun up. Somehow we miraculously ran into Emily and Jenna before everything got started. We saw them at four different points throughout the race and were definitely there to watch the triumphant crossing at the finish line. They're so hardcore.

I think people earn the most cool points when they do something completely outside the typical. My Dad, for example, the coolest guy around, did a stand-up comedy routine a few weeks ago. Emily joined the ranks by doing more activity most people do in a year before 9 a.m. yesterday morning. It gives me a good push to plan my next crazy goal.