cocktails and casual fridays

Thoughts that can be both irreverent and irrelevant, take it for what it is.

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Zoo-Behr-lee-zoo            
I love animals, I always have. In recent months I feel my love has become a topic of concern as my condo has been transformed into a pseudo zoo where at one time had 4 cats, 1 dog and a squirrel. This might seem like a lot of critters in one 763 sq foot condo, but to my defense only one animal weighed more than 5 pounds.
Even the word “intervention” was being thrown around from some of my friends.
I volunteer at the APA of Missouri, one of our local shelters. The volunteer coordinator was telling us how many kittens come in during the spring months, literally hundreds. (This is why neutering becomes so important). Let’s just say he was in need of more fosters. A foster’s job is to feed and basically love the kittens until they are two pounds and can have surgery and be put up for adoption. I immediately sign up. After my home visit to be sure I wasn’t some sort of hoarder and did indeed have a place where I could raise these little fur balls, I was on my way.
I got my first batch in April, two little girl kittens. I immediately re-named them Sophia Grace and Rosie after the girls on Ellen, mostly due to the fact that one kept scream meowing while the other one quietly pranced around her.  My dog didn’t know what to think of these critters and took to intensely licking their heads. One kitten must have assumed this was her new mom and tried to nurse on the dog, constantly. She was not having it.
Rosie, on the other hand, was the sweetest little kitten and was soon becoming my best friend. My favoritism was brought to my attention when I referred to Rosie as Rosie and Sophia Grace was just, “the other one.” I couldn’t help it she was nursing on my 13 year old yorkie, whose cataract had now caused her to go completely blind during this process.
When it was about time for the kittens to go back, about 2 months of having them, I had a decision to make. Was I going to be the owner of a little blue tabby? I took them back to the shelter for surgery and then just made the decision right then and there and told the coordinator that I would be back for the grey one.
I am now a cat owner. It was love at first sight.
I was then immediately given two more babies, even smaller than the first two. I was now up to three kittens. Rosie looked huge compared to the new babies and the dog was just relieved no one was trying to steal her non-existent milk. These ones were a wild batch and were EVERYWHERE.
As if 4 animals in a condo aren’t enough I get a call from my friend who is raising a baby squirrel until it can be released into the wild. She is in a dilemma. They are going to Japan and are without anyone to watch Kelvin (the squirrel). “You are the only human we trust with him,” she pleads. I am not one to say no to a friend or animal in need, so, next thing I know a 3 story rat cage, a bag with enough vegetables to stock a small salad bar and Kelvin arrives. I had done some squirrel research before he came to stay with me so I knew what to expect from him and to make sure he was getting adequate food and water. Side note: squirrels LOVE avocado just like the rest of us.
Soon my mornings as a zoo keeper got extremely busy. I have 5 animals and 4 different feeding schedules. The dog, Rosie, the babies and Kelvin all ate different food and none could eat together. I would put everyone in their designated eating areas and hope for the best.  My closet became where Rosie ate her food, the babies pretty much took over my bathroom since they arrived, Kelvin’s cage was in my living room and Tink ate her dog food in the kitchen. I had to be sure it was picked up before the cats were released because they would b-line to her food and vice versa.
Having a zoo meant having to clean and clean and clean. I cleaned my bathroom every night. The babies kicked kitty litter everywhere, spilled their food and water all over and created a daily mess.
Soon Kelvin was picked up after 12 days of me having him, looking much like a real grown-up squirrel, the babies went back to the shelter when they finally reached 2 pounds and I decided I needed a break from zoo keeping. Mostly, I wanted my bathroom back for a little bit.
So everyone I appreciated your concerns and although having 5 animals at once might have seemed like a lot, I had everything under control. My condo now only consists of one 5lb dog and one kitten that is already bigger than the dog.
So until next year, the zoo has closed its doors.  

Zoo-Behr-lee-zoo           

I love animals, I always have. In recent months I feel my love has become a topic of concern as my condo has been transformed into a pseudo zoo where at one time had 4 cats, 1 dog and a squirrel. This might seem like a lot of critters in one 763 sq foot condo, but to my defense only one animal weighed more than 5 pounds.

Even the word “intervention” was being thrown around from some of my friends.

I volunteer at the APA of Missouri, one of our local shelters. The volunteer coordinator was telling us how many kittens come in during the spring months, literally hundreds. (This is why neutering becomes so important). Let’s just say he was in need of more fosters. A foster’s job is to feed and basically love the kittens until they are two pounds and can have surgery and be put up for adoption. I immediately sign up. After my home visit to be sure I wasn’t some sort of hoarder and did indeed have a place where I could raise these little fur balls, I was on my way.

I got my first batch in April, two little girl kittens. I immediately re-named them Sophia Grace and Rosie after the girls on Ellen, mostly due to the fact that one kept scream meowing while the other one quietly pranced around her.  My dog didn’t know what to think of these critters and took to intensely licking their heads. One kitten must have assumed this was her new mom and tried to nurse on the dog, constantly. She was not having it.

Rosie, on the other hand, was the sweetest little kitten and was soon becoming my best friend. My favoritism was brought to my attention when I referred to Rosie as Rosie and Sophia Grace was just, “the other one.” I couldn’t help it she was nursing on my 13 year old yorkie, whose cataract had now caused her to go completely blind during this process.

When it was about time for the kittens to go back, about 2 months of having them, I had a decision to make. Was I going to be the owner of a little blue tabby? I took them back to the shelter for surgery and then just made the decision right then and there and told the coordinator that I would be back for the grey one.

I am now a cat owner. It was love at first sight.

I was then immediately given two more babies, even smaller than the first two. I was now up to three kittens. Rosie looked huge compared to the new babies and the dog was just relieved no one was trying to steal her non-existent milk. These ones were a wild batch and were EVERYWHERE.

As if 4 animals in a condo aren’t enough I get a call from my friend who is raising a baby squirrel until it can be released into the wild. She is in a dilemma. They are going to Japan and are without anyone to watch Kelvin (the squirrel). “You are the only human we trust with him,” she pleads. I am not one to say no to a friend or animal in need, so, next thing I know a 3 story rat cage, a bag with enough vegetables to stock a small salad bar and Kelvin arrives. I had done some squirrel research before he came to stay with me so I knew what to expect from him and to make sure he was getting adequate food and water. Side note: squirrels LOVE avocado just like the rest of us.

Soon my mornings as a zoo keeper got extremely busy. I have 5 animals and 4 different feeding schedules. The dog, Rosie, the babies and Kelvin all ate different food and none could eat together. I would put everyone in their designated eating areas and hope for the best.  My closet became where Rosie ate her food, the babies pretty much took over my bathroom since they arrived, Kelvin’s cage was in my living room and Tink ate her dog food in the kitchen. I had to be sure it was picked up before the cats were released because they would b-line to her food and vice versa.

Having a zoo meant having to clean and clean and clean. I cleaned my bathroom every night. The babies kicked kitty litter everywhere, spilled their food and water all over and created a daily mess.

Soon Kelvin was picked up after 12 days of me having him, looking much like a real grown-up squirrel, the babies went back to the shelter when they finally reached 2 pounds and I decided I needed a break from zoo keeping. Mostly, I wanted my bathroom back for a little bit.

So everyone I appreciated your concerns and although having 5 animals at once might have seemed like a lot, I had everything under control. My condo now only consists of one 5lb dog and one kitten that is already bigger than the dog.

So until next year, the zoo has closed its doors.  

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"This is dum, which is mud spelled backwards"- Dan Scaglione (do not try and steal his intellectual property) 
Mud, Music, Mayhem otherwise known as Governor’s Ball 2013. 
Of course no one planned on a tropical storm hitting the island of Manhattan or the lesser known Randall’s Island which only houses an Insane Asylum but, for the weekend, hosted Governor’s Ball. So actually, both places featured varying amounts of insanity, (I’m talking about you, white pants girl.) 
This storm was no joke and I was trying to ignore all the talk about 2” of rain per hour nonsense the weather channel was spitting out at us on Thursday. We had rain boots and ponchos and umbrellas, a little rain was not going to hurt us. (*this is probably the most positive thinking I had exuded in years, I hate the rain.) 
Friday arrived and we outfitted in our gear not looking dissimilar to the cast of Outbreak. (I have been to three music festivals in the pouring rain, why I keep coming is still a mystery) We headed down towards the ferry since the event pushed this being the “only possible” way to really make it to the festival in a timely and organized manner. The rain was not letting up; I guess this was how a tropical storm works. The line for the ferry looked about 3 hours deep. NO WAY, I told everyone. 
"I am not going to get stuck on a ferry with a ton of people to get there and have all the acts cancel because bands do not want to ruin their equipment playing in a downpour, only to get stuck with the same people, who are now angry, trying to get back to Manhattan, I’m out. Plus Kings of Leon is headlining, there is no way they will attempt to play, pigeon poop scared them off in St. Louis so I do not think a tropical storm will be their forte." 
In unison everyone agreed and back to the bar we went, thoughts of roofs and cocktails dancing in our heads. We found a bar that offered skee-ball and lots of pickle back shots, we were totally content. About 9 pm we get a breaking news announcement from the GovBall App, KINGS OF LEON HAVE CANCELED THEIR SET. (duh). After a good 9 hours of drinking I was in bed wondering how fast land can dry. 
Saturday the rain has subsided. The ferry nightmare stories we heard from people about town led us uptown to take the foot bridge over. Though since our cab driver refused to get on the swiftly moving FDR highway, we might as well have taken the ferry. We make it. It is a muddy mess. It is so sloshy and thick it is like treading through brownie batter and you have to keep moving, if you get too comfortable in one spot you run the risk of having the mud dry around your boots concrete style. The most alarming part of the mud was the people who must not have any sort of access to social media, the television, the ground, people who were in flip flops, girls in white jeans (WHITE FREAKING JEANS, I secretly hoped she’d fall, I lied, it wasn’t a secret at all, I told everyone I hoped she’d fall). 
My friend had gotten me a badge from one of her reps that said “Constituent” we had no idea where these got us, but all I cared about was getting over to see Alt-J. We trudge on over and pick a spot. After getting situated we go find what these badges get us. Apparently no one else knows either, who is running this place? They did get us inside the VIP access tent. (VIP = same drinks, same price, better bathrooms and a barricade to see the band SLIGHTLY closer). We squeeze through to get backstage; no one knows what the badges mean so we get on in, only to get kicked out 30 seconds later by a guy who took his job way too seriously. Right before ALT-J starts we see Adrian Grenier and his long curly hair making his way right in front of us and here is where we watched the entire Alt-J set and looking around realized this was a very attractive festival, even in the mud, most people were good looking. 
We then trudge all the way over to Cut Copy and set up shop for Kings of Leon that no one is that pumped to see but since they actually stayed an extra day to play an actual set we listened. Caleb is looking old. He probably is old now, I am. Sorry Caleb. During the KOL set I realize I am starving I have had one Luna bar today. It is 6:45. Right after their set I down two tacos and one veggie dog. I have now had 2 meals in two days. 
We head to Animal Collective who blames their bad sound on not having a sound check, dude, do not do that. And then we head out skipping Guns and Roses and skipping Nas in order to leave these muddy grounds before it gets dark and creepy scary things like mud baths start to occur. 
On the walk back all the way from 125th street a nice FDNY fire station hoses all of our boots off and we are now wet but not as muddy and a bar might actually let us in the door. We head to Brother Jimmy’s. I’m pretty tired again but do not even attempt to yawn I will stay out with my friends, ignore the fact that it feels like there is kitty litter in my boot and I am pretty sure my sock is disintegrating in there. After about 2 hours of non-stop bar “hits” blasting through the speakers and after the Blackhawks win we are on to the next place. The next place is a place I do not want to be in the least bit especially not in rubber boots and especially not when I am fantasizing about my bed and showering. I duck out after about 20 mins of being there, I was so tired I was an effort for me just to sing one line of Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat,” with my friend who is going to be pretty disappointed that I couldn’t stay out any longer. We still had Sunday Mud day ahead! 
After making the shower turn black and realizing my sock did indeed try and disintegrate, I was sleeping, finally. 
Sunday, it’s sunny! Let’s do this all over again. There is one band I wanted to see the most at Governor’s Ball, it is HAIM. They are new and only have an EP out. These facts mean they are playing early. 1:30. At 11 most are still in bed. I offer to go alone to the ferry and see them. Surprisingly everyone is on board with this time schedule. We get to the ferry with no wait, get to the gate with 15 mins to spare. This is of course, way too easy. The scanners aren’t working and they aren’t letting anyone through. By the time they realize this is idiotic to hold all these people, who took a ferry over here and have tickets in their hands they let us in, we get to the stage, 1 minute to spare. Haim is awesome. Best show so far. It is three sisters. They each play an instrument, they each sing, they each participated in a drum line at the end of their set. They are awesome and funny. I am a sucker for a good girl band anyway, but everyone I was with agreed these girls were great. 
The mud had dried up a little bit which I do not know if it was practice from the day prior but walking became easier. We had down time and could actually sit at a picnic table for like 15 minutes and eat. I had two meals this day already! We head over to see the Cold War Kids. Here is where the Lumineers production manager met up with us. My friend had met him randomly at a show she was at in Minnesota a week prior, this turned out to work out so well for us. He told us he basically swiped two artist wrist bands for us and we could now go anywhere. This included places that were not covered in mud and did not smell like a barnyard. I forgot to mention after all this time, the entire grounds smelled like horse manure. Why? I have no idea. This was not a farm yet you would not be able to convince this to a blind person.
After Cold War Kids’s not so great set, well that’s harsh I wasn’t really paying attention, we were so far from the stage it was hard to concentrate. Our new friend took us to the other stage where the Artist “Freeloaders Lounge” was located. I loved the named, no beating around the bush, everyone in there was a freeloader and everything in there was free. We had decided we weren’t really going to drink today. This was before the freeloaders lounge was introduced into our lives and the fact that red bull had all their flavors and Skyy vodka was a sponsor, so when in Rome, or out of the mud and free booze is practically forcing itself on you, you give in. Red bull lemon line and vodka is a true treat people. Taking a tour of the backstage and the yard games set up for the bands and their friends we spotted the girls from Haim. We talked to Este a bit, she is hilarious. We had to geek out a bit and tell her it was the best set we had seen, but it really was. She told us, “We are playing Letterman tomorrow, yes, I just pooped myself.” She also said she heard a rumor Daft Punk was coming out during Kanye’s set, I said I would die and she said likewise. It was time to find our other friends and tell them that Kanye might actually be cooler than we think.
After about an hour of not being in the mud and whiffing shit smells we were back out in it. God, we laughed, poor commoners. (It was a joke, we do not think we were any cooler that we had these passes, however it is always hard to have them and then watch the shows, well, like a commoner).
We walked back with our new friend in tow; he had to get the Lumineers set up. We needed to find our friends. We met them at Yesayer in a very sweaty tent. I felt like the girl’s hair that kept brushing up against my arm was skin burning acid, I did not want anything or anyone touching me, at all. Yeasayer played a great, I couldn’t see them over the bouncing heads and I couldn’t get on my tip toes because my calf muscles said, don’t you even think about it.
We proceeded over to where the Lumineers were setting up to play. Our new friend told us we could meet him in the back, so we sashayed our way through the security gate and this time did not get kicked out. He situated us on stage in front of a fan, a true god send. Now, if there is an act you really want to see, the stage is not great. I have seen shows from the stage and the sound isn’t good and you aren’t really seeing the show. Did I care? No, we were away from the crowds for a bit. We had a fan. Life was good. The Lumineers had a kids choir come to the stage while they sang “Stubborn Love” and “Hey, Ho.” It was the cutest thing that I could barely see. Our other friends did not realize we were on the stage until they saw us from the crowd, good thing I was not trying to hide since I was wearing florescent pink shorts. The Lumineers are a cute band; they played a couple songs out in the crowd, had a kids choir and just seem like all around nice folks, nice folks that play folksy music.
After their set all talks were on Kanye. We needed to get a good spot. We trudge to the other end of the festival and get through the barricade hoping to score some free cocktails but the free loaders lounge was closed, I think probably a Kanye request, heaven forbid anyone see him in his dressing trailer. I grabbed some free pop chips and made our way to the barricade where we could brace ourselves and not get trampled. He came on 15 mins late, it might not have been him, it could have been the screen technology, regardless, everyone else was on time. He opened with “Black Skinhead” then went into “New Slaves” played a couple of crowd pleasers, a super long version of “Heartless.” Then addressed the crowd, with “ this is when I decide to rant.” He ranted a bit saying he does what he wants and no one is going to tell him different. He plays a few more new songs, ends with “Black Skinhead.” He walks off the stage without even a goodnight or a thank you or Daft Punk. I never liked Kayne West; everyone is all, wait until you see him perform. It was lack luster at best. He stood off the stage where most people couldn’t even see him. He just did an article for the New York Times where he describes himself as awesome; I think he needs to look up the definition of the word.
After the show, I realized I have been in rubber boots for 3 straight days and standing an average of 12 hours a day. My feet and calf muscles were going to retaliate in the worst way.
Governor’s Ball over all was fun. I am not sure I’ll rush back. I have done it two years in a row and I expected a little more organization from them, but then again who predicted a tropical storm to come ripping through the island.
Here is my list of my favorite acts in order,
1.)    Haim
2.)    Alt-J
3.)    Lumineers
4.)    Cut Copy (would have been higher if I would have seen more)
5.)    Kings of Leon (it was nostalgic, kinda like listening to Sweet Caroline in a bar, no, better than that)
6.)    Yeasayer (also might have been higher had I not been suffocating in a tent surrounded by bouncing  sweaty twenty somethings)
7.)    Bloc Party
8.)    Kanye West (get over yourself)
9.)    Animal Collective (don’t blame your sound on the lack of sound check)
*Foals, I caught two songs but they were pretty awesome as well I wish I would have seen more.

"This is dum, which is mud spelled backwards"- Dan Scaglione (do not try and steal his intellectual property)

Mud, Music, Mayhem otherwise known as Governor’s Ball 2013.

Of course no one planned on a tropical storm hitting the island of Manhattan or the lesser known Randall’s Island which only houses an Insane Asylum but, for the weekend, hosted Governor’s Ball. So actually, both places featured varying amounts of insanity, (I’m talking about you, white pants girl.)

This storm was no joke and I was trying to ignore all the talk about 2” of rain per hour nonsense the weather channel was spitting out at us on Thursday. We had rain boots and ponchos and umbrellas, a little rain was not going to hurt us. (*this is probably the most positive thinking I had exuded in years, I hate the rain.)

Friday arrived and we outfitted in our gear not looking dissimilar to the cast of Outbreak. (I have been to three music festivals in the pouring rain, why I keep coming is still a mystery) We headed down towards the ferry since the event pushed this being the “only possible” way to really make it to the festival in a timely and organized manner. The rain was not letting up; I guess this was how a tropical storm works. The line for the ferry looked about 3 hours deep. NO WAY, I told everyone.

"I am not going to get stuck on a ferry with a ton of people to get there and have all the acts cancel because bands do not want to ruin their equipment playing in a downpour, only to get stuck with the same people, who are now angry, trying to get back to Manhattan, I’m out. Plus Kings of Leon is headlining, there is no way they will attempt to play, pigeon poop scared them off in St. Louis so I do not think a tropical storm will be their forte."

In unison everyone agreed and back to the bar we went, thoughts of roofs and cocktails dancing in our heads. We found a bar that offered skee-ball and lots of pickle back shots, we were totally content. About 9 pm we get a breaking news announcement from the GovBall App, KINGS OF LEON HAVE CANCELED THEIR SET. (duh). After a good 9 hours of drinking I was in bed wondering how fast land can dry.

Saturday the rain has subsided. The ferry nightmare stories we heard from people about town led us uptown to take the foot bridge over. Though since our cab driver refused to get on the swiftly moving FDR highway, we might as well have taken the ferry. We make it. It is a muddy mess. It is so sloshy and thick it is like treading through brownie batter and you have to keep moving, if you get too comfortable in one spot you run the risk of having the mud dry around your boots concrete style. The most alarming part of the mud was the people who must not have any sort of access to social media, the television, the ground, people who were in flip flops, girls in white jeans (WHITE FREAKING JEANS, I secretly hoped she’d fall, I lied, it wasn’t a secret at all, I told everyone I hoped she’d fall).

My friend had gotten me a badge from one of her reps that said “Constituent” we had no idea where these got us, but all I cared about was getting over to see Alt-J. We trudge on over and pick a spot. After getting situated we go find what these badges get us. Apparently no one else knows either, who is running this place? They did get us inside the VIP access tent. (VIP = same drinks, same price, better bathrooms and a barricade to see the band SLIGHTLY closer). We squeeze through to get backstage; no one knows what the badges mean so we get on in, only to get kicked out 30 seconds later by a guy who took his job way too seriously. Right before ALT-J starts we see Adrian Grenier and his long curly hair making his way right in front of us and here is where we watched the entire Alt-J set and looking around realized this was a very attractive festival, even in the mud, most people were good looking.

We then trudge all the way over to Cut Copy and set up shop for Kings of Leon that no one is that pumped to see but since they actually stayed an extra day to play an actual set we listened. Caleb is looking old. He probably is old now, I am. Sorry Caleb. During the KOL set I realize I am starving I have had one Luna bar today. It is 6:45. Right after their set I down two tacos and one veggie dog. I have now had 2 meals in two days.

We head to Animal Collective who blames their bad sound on not having a sound check, dude, do not do that. And then we head out skipping Guns and Roses and skipping Nas in order to leave these muddy grounds before it gets dark and creepy scary things like mud baths start to occur.

On the walk back all the way from 125th street a nice FDNY fire station hoses all of our boots off and we are now wet but not as muddy and a bar might actually let us in the door. We head to Brother Jimmy’s. I’m pretty tired again but do not even attempt to yawn I will stay out with my friends, ignore the fact that it feels like there is kitty litter in my boot and I am pretty sure my sock is disintegrating in there. After about 2 hours of non-stop bar “hits” blasting through the speakers and after the Blackhawks win we are on to the next place. The next place is a place I do not want to be in the least bit especially not in rubber boots and especially not when I am fantasizing about my bed and showering. I duck out after about 20 mins of being there, I was so tired I was an effort for me just to sing one line of Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat,” with my friend who is going to be pretty disappointed that I couldn’t stay out any longer. We still had Sunday Mud day ahead!

After making the shower turn black and realizing my sock did indeed try and disintegrate, I was sleeping, finally.

Sunday, it’s sunny! Let’s do this all over again. There is one band I wanted to see the most at Governor’s Ball, it is HAIM. They are new and only have an EP out. These facts mean they are playing early. 1:30. At 11 most are still in bed. I offer to go alone to the ferry and see them. Surprisingly everyone is on board with this time schedule. We get to the ferry with no wait, get to the gate with 15 mins to spare. This is of course, way too easy. The scanners aren’t working and they aren’t letting anyone through. By the time they realize this is idiotic to hold all these people, who took a ferry over here and have tickets in their hands they let us in, we get to the stage, 1 minute to spare. Haim is awesome. Best show so far. It is three sisters. They each play an instrument, they each sing, they each participated in a drum line at the end of their set. They are awesome and funny. I am a sucker for a good girl band anyway, but everyone I was with agreed these girls were great.

The mud had dried up a little bit which I do not know if it was practice from the day prior but walking became easier. We had down time and could actually sit at a picnic table for like 15 minutes and eat. I had two meals this day already! We head over to see the Cold War Kids. Here is where the Lumineers production manager met up with us. My friend had met him randomly at a show she was at in Minnesota a week prior, this turned out to work out so well for us. He told us he basically swiped two artist wrist bands for us and we could now go anywhere. This included places that were not covered in mud and did not smell like a barnyard. I forgot to mention after all this time, the entire grounds smelled like horse manure. Why? I have no idea. This was not a farm yet you would not be able to convince this to a blind person.

After Cold War Kids’s not so great set, well that’s harsh I wasn’t really paying attention, we were so far from the stage it was hard to concentrate. Our new friend took us to the other stage where the Artist “Freeloaders Lounge” was located. I loved the named, no beating around the bush, everyone in there was a freeloader and everything in there was free. We had decided we weren’t really going to drink today. This was before the freeloaders lounge was introduced into our lives and the fact that red bull had all their flavors and Skyy vodka was a sponsor, so when in Rome, or out of the mud and free booze is practically forcing itself on you, you give in. Red bull lemon line and vodka is a true treat people. Taking a tour of the backstage and the yard games set up for the bands and their friends we spotted the girls from Haim. We talked to Este a bit, she is hilarious. We had to geek out a bit and tell her it was the best set we had seen, but it really was. She told us, “We are playing Letterman tomorrow, yes, I just pooped myself.” She also said she heard a rumor Daft Punk was coming out during Kanye’s set, I said I would die and she said likewise. It was time to find our other friends and tell them that Kanye might actually be cooler than we think.

After about an hour of not being in the mud and whiffing shit smells we were back out in it. God, we laughed, poor commoners. (It was a joke, we do not think we were any cooler that we had these passes, however it is always hard to have them and then watch the shows, well, like a commoner).

We walked back with our new friend in tow; he had to get the Lumineers set up. We needed to find our friends. We met them at Yesayer in a very sweaty tent. I felt like the girl’s hair that kept brushing up against my arm was skin burning acid, I did not want anything or anyone touching me, at all. Yeasayer played a great, I couldn’t see them over the bouncing heads and I couldn’t get on my tip toes because my calf muscles said, don’t you even think about it.

We proceeded over to where the Lumineers were setting up to play. Our new friend told us we could meet him in the back, so we sashayed our way through the security gate and this time did not get kicked out. He situated us on stage in front of a fan, a true god send. Now, if there is an act you really want to see, the stage is not great. I have seen shows from the stage and the sound isn’t good and you aren’t really seeing the show. Did I care? No, we were away from the crowds for a bit. We had a fan. Life was good. The Lumineers had a kids choir come to the stage while they sang “Stubborn Love” and “Hey, Ho.” It was the cutest thing that I could barely see. Our other friends did not realize we were on the stage until they saw us from the crowd, good thing I was not trying to hide since I was wearing florescent pink shorts. The Lumineers are a cute band; they played a couple songs out in the crowd, had a kids choir and just seem like all around nice folks, nice folks that play folksy music.

After their set all talks were on Kanye. We needed to get a good spot. We trudge to the other end of the festival and get through the barricade hoping to score some free cocktails but the free loaders lounge was closed, I think probably a Kanye request, heaven forbid anyone see him in his dressing trailer. I grabbed some free pop chips and made our way to the barricade where we could brace ourselves and not get trampled. He came on 15 mins late, it might not have been him, it could have been the screen technology, regardless, everyone else was on time. He opened with “Black Skinhead” then went into “New Slaves” played a couple of crowd pleasers, a super long version of “Heartless.” Then addressed the crowd, with “ this is when I decide to rant.” He ranted a bit saying he does what he wants and no one is going to tell him different. He plays a few more new songs, ends with “Black Skinhead.” He walks off the stage without even a goodnight or a thank you or Daft Punk. I never liked Kayne West; everyone is all, wait until you see him perform. It was lack luster at best. He stood off the stage where most people couldn’t even see him. He just did an article for the New York Times where he describes himself as awesome; I think he needs to look up the definition of the word.

After the show, I realized I have been in rubber boots for 3 straight days and standing an average of 12 hours a day. My feet and calf muscles were going to retaliate in the worst way.

Governor’s Ball over all was fun. I am not sure I’ll rush back. I have done it two years in a row and I expected a little more organization from them, but then again who predicted a tropical storm to come ripping through the island.

Here is my list of my favorite acts in order,

1.)    Haim

2.)    Alt-J

3.)    Lumineers

4.)    Cut Copy (would have been higher if I would have seen more)

5.)    Kings of Leon (it was nostalgic, kinda like listening to Sweet Caroline in a bar, no, better than that)

6.)    Yeasayer (also might have been higher had I not been suffocating in a tent surrounded by bouncing  sweaty twenty somethings)

7.)    Bloc Party

8.)    Kanye West (get over yourself)

9.)    Animal Collective (don’t blame your sound on the lack of sound check)

*Foals, I caught two songs but they were pretty awesome as well I wish I would have seen more.

0 notes

Handy Girl.

You know when you have been invited to about 15 baby showers in two years, No? Well consider yourself lucky. When you have had the pleasure of having new invitations flood your mailbox every couple of months announcing the latest bundle of joy that is going to end up costing you a bundle of cash, you start to get baby gift jaded. (Seriously though, why did they never tell you in college that you better start a 401K annnnnd save money for all of your friends’ major life decisions?!)

Well, I had definitely become jaded. I was already on a Gymboree mailing list and was a regular fixture at Babies-R-Us for a while. I soon realized how marketing was out of control on these baby items, things every mom swore they needed but never used. If I was going to spend money on a gift it better be for something they actually used.

Shower after shower I heard new mothers comparing what their precious terror used and what everyone HAD to have. Do you know what a Sophie giraffe is? I do. What about a sleep sack? What about non suffocating blankets? Okay that last one is probably a good idea, but I still have mixed feelings on the fact that every stroller has cup holders.

As I get invited to my latest shower it is for a friend who isn’t all goo-goo-gaga over every baby product on the market. This new baby’s nursery I could live in, which I probably have while staying with them in Chicago. This is also not your typical baby shower. My friend has a mother-in-law that runs with a group of women who we have dubbed, “the ladies” and take party planning very seriously, baby showers included. My friend had given me fair warning that this was not going to be a tea and crumpets (I don’t know what those are still) and watch me open gifts type of shower.

“I hope people do not think I asked for this type of shower Kelly, I mean it is really above and beyond what any baby shower should be.”

“What are we talking here? A large guest list? A fancy hotel?”

“No, let’s just say, the theme is Cirque de Bebe”

“Excuse me?,” I said trying not to let the amusement show all over my face, I was already getting so excited for the circus that was about to take place, literally.

“Yeah, there are 90 women invited and I heard a mention of Cirque de Solis dancers.”

“What?! At your shower, professional dancers?” Thoughts of the Bridesmaids bridal shower came to mind and I secretly hope for a giant cookie sabotage and maybe instead of a golden retriever puppy we would be given little monkeys as party favors and I prayed to God they would be wearing clothes.

“Yes, it was supposed to all be a surprise but they told me that much.”

So knowing what kind of shower I was going to be attending and the fact that my friend’s anxiety could possible be approaching an all time high, I wanted to get her something more unique than nipple pads and more sustainable than organic diapers.


I had seen the baby’s nursery in person and I knew what a good job she had done putting it together, I thought maybe I should get her a chest to use as storage for things, babies require a lot of “things.”

My google search was alive and I came across nerdy toy chests, expensive toy chests, but nothing grandiose. Then I saw a blog where a girl had made a toy chest. My wheels started turning, if this chick on the internet could make a chest than so could I! I mean she provided the shopping list and step-by-step instructions. My father, being a self proclaimed handy man, had a plethora of tools so this idea seemed less and less far-fetched.

I brought my plan to my dad and let him look it over. “Do you think I can do this?” His answer to everything is yes and he volunteered to help. I met him at Home Depot with my list in hand. Being new to the carpentry business a few things surprised me, first large pieces of plywood are much heavier than they appear, the kids who work there are about as helpful as a blind person directing traffic and they have hand saws you can use to cut trim that look like they were taken from my middle school shop class (seriously, it took so much effort to cut that trim that my arms were on fire when I left the store). Thank goodness for my dad who knew his way around the place to help pick out the supplies I needed.

Walking out with a cart I thought how most real carpenters probably do not drive hatch back hybrids, I thought for a moment if I was going to get serious, maybe I would need a truck. For now, I loaded the stuff into my dad’s slightly larger sedan and watched him drive off while trying not to let a piece of trim stab him in the face.

Sunday, our workday, decided to be glorious and warm. I had a good feeling my box was going to actually turn out okay. We drug the table saw and jig saw outside and started to measure. I was scared to death to rip by first piece (that is real carpentry lingo). I was scared it would shift and I would ruin it but low and behold it went through that blade as smooth as silk.

My dad helped me with all the tools as we clipped and glued the pieces together before we could nail them. A nail gun is pretty awesome, my dad was like wait until you try the ‘bammer” I thought he had made up a pet name for his nail gun, but it was seriously called the bammer and it was awesome as promised.

Step by step we went through to make this box, each one a new adventure for me, I learned so much, like my arms aren’t strong enough to use a jigsaw to cut arches, any mistake made with wood can be fixed and the internet girl who said this toy chest would only take 6 hours was a liar.

Eight hours later it was built, ready to be sanded and painted. I was spent, my arms were exhausted and I need to break from building.

The next night when putting on the paint I admired the chest I had created and I do not toot my own horn often but this chest was toot worthy. It was painted and the baby’s name was added from letters my mother found for me at Hobby Lobby. I think she was just excited I had given her another excuse to go back there. The chest was complete. The real test came when I went to see if this thing was going to fit into my small roller-skate of a car, it did, thank god. I do not think Amtrak would have been too impressed if I showed up with a chest in tow looking for a ride to Chicago.

I was pretty excited for the weekend, not only to present this handmade monstrosity but also to experience what this shower of the century was going to entail. I was, though, a little bummed that the invitation came by mail and was not delivered by a man on stilts, but I let that slide.

I was on the highway from St. Louis by 8:00 am. I hit my first piece of construction traffic right in downtown, but by 9:00 I was moving, losing one hour wasn’t too bad. I called my friend at 12:30 letting her know I was about 40 miles out, I would see her in an hour, I thought. I arrived at her house at 5:00pm. About 10 mins after the call I hit a stand still traffic, I put the roller-skate in park and waited and waited. I got news that they had closed the highway due to flooding and they we rerouting everyone through town to another highway to where we were passed the flooding. Over 4 hours of traffic later I was at her house, it should never take 9 hours to get to Chicago.

Upon arrival she and her husband took the weary traveler to eat and then it was time for the big unveiling. We carried the chest into her home and she thought it was great.

“Where did you find this?”

“Open the card.” The card had a montage of pictures of me building the chest. I made my dad capture every moment, I mean there is a real a possibility that my debut as a carpenter could very well be simultaneous with my retirement.

She was in shock and awe, as was I. I still couldn’t believe I pulled it off. We, her husband and my friend’s boyfriend carried it up to the baby’s room and it fit quite perfectly.

After 9 hours in the car I thought I needed a drink but it turns out I just needed to go to bed. Did I mention I had my separation anxiety ridden Yorkie with me? I did, she was quite a good road trip companion, slept the entire way and didn’t even try to entertain me while we were sitting in stand still traffic.

The guest of honor had 7 girls sleeping at her house that weekend, I opted to stay at my other Chicago friend’s house and to stay sane, that is a lot of girl talk about babies for one weekend.

The morning of the shower we had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t put much thought into planning a Cirque de Bebe appropriate outfit (what is that even?) And just hoped no one was offended that I wore colored skinny jeans and boots. I mean I built something, I decided, I deserved to be casual.

Upon arrival at Carnivale, this crazy loudly painted and decorated restaurant in Chicago we were greeted with Champagne, Mojitos, Sangria and feathers, lots of feathers. The restaurant itself was stimulation enough without the added decorations, but it wouldn’t be the shower of the century without added decorations of sequined napkin holders, personalized place settings and large feathered centerpieces now would it?

We were shown to our tables and treated to a “warm up act” before the real performance would begin. Our three-course lunch was served so there wasn’t a hunger pang in sight for the grand show. Interpretive dancing, ribbons, flips, a girl being able to hold herself in positions in mid air that I couldn’t do on the ground if my life was being threatened. This girl even inserted herself head first into a human sized balloon, I had ever seen anything like it.

There was an intermission where we were treated with homemade cotton candy. One girl couldn’t get over the fact that she was at a baby shower that actually had an intermission.

“I know, right. It is like the bridal shower Helen threw in Bridesmaids.”

“Well then Kelly, you are the one upper, whittling a gift out of freaking wood!.”

My “mom” friends made themselves very comfortable at the bar drinking Mojitos like we were on a college Spring Break in Puerta Vallarta

Needless to say, I will never attend another baby shower quite like that one ever again and truthfully I hope to be retired soon from the baby shower circuit.

But I learned that by me building that chest that anything is possible. Just like Ice Cube says, “you can do it, put your back into it.” 

Handy Girl.

You know when you have been invited to about 15 baby showers in two years, No? Well consider yourself lucky. When you have had the pleasure of having new invitations flood your mailbox every couple of months announcing the latest bundle of joy that is going to end up costing you a bundle of cash, you start to get baby gift jaded. (Seriously though, why did they never tell you in college that you better start a 401K annnnnd save money for all of your friends’ major life decisions?!)

Well, I had definitely become jaded. I was already on a Gymboree mailing list and was a regular fixture at Babies-R-Us for a while. I soon realized how marketing was out of control on these baby items, things every mom swore they needed but never used. If I was going to spend money on a gift it better be for something they actually used.

Shower after shower I heard new mothers comparing what their precious terror used and what everyone HAD to have. Do you know what a Sophie giraffe is? I do. What about a sleep sack? What about non suffocating blankets? Okay that last one is probably a good idea, but I still have mixed feelings on the fact that every stroller has cup holders.

As I get invited to my latest shower it is for a friend who isn’t all goo-goo-gaga over every baby product on the market. This new baby’s nursery I could live in, which I probably have while staying with them in Chicago. This is also not your typical baby shower. My friend has a mother-in-law that runs with a group of women who we have dubbed, “the ladies” and take party planning very seriously, baby showers included. My friend had given me fair warning that this was not going to be a tea and crumpets (I don’t know what those are still) and watch me open gifts type of shower.

“I hope people do not think I asked for this type of shower Kelly, I mean it is really above and beyond what any baby shower should be.”

“What are we talking here? A large guest list? A fancy hotel?”

“No, let’s just say, the theme is Cirque de Bebe”

“Excuse me?,” I said trying not to let the amusement show all over my face, I was already getting so excited for the circus that was about to take place, literally.

“Yeah, there are 90 women invited and I heard a mention of Cirque de Solis dancers.”

“What?! At your shower, professional dancers?” Thoughts of the Bridesmaids bridal shower came to mind and I secretly hope for a giant cookie sabotage and maybe instead of a golden retriever puppy we would be given little monkeys as party favors and I prayed to God they would be wearing clothes.

“Yes, it was supposed to all be a surprise but they told me that much.”

So knowing what kind of shower I was going to be attending and the fact that my friend’s anxiety could possible be approaching an all time high, I wanted to get her something more unique than nipple pads and more sustainable than organic diapers.

I had seen the baby’s nursery in person and I knew what a good job she had done putting it together, I thought maybe I should get her a chest to use as storage for things, babies require a lot of “things.”

My google search was alive and I came across nerdy toy chests, expensive toy chests, but nothing grandiose. Then I saw a blog where a girl had made a toy chest. My wheels started turning, if this chick on the internet could make a chest than so could I! I mean she provided the shopping list and step-by-step instructions. My father, being a self proclaimed handy man, had a plethora of tools so this idea seemed less and less far-fetched.

I brought my plan to my dad and let him look it over. “Do you think I can do this?” His answer to everything is yes and he volunteered to help. I met him at Home Depot with my list in hand. Being new to the carpentry business a few things surprised me, first large pieces of plywood are much heavier than they appear, the kids who work there are about as helpful as a blind person directing traffic and they have hand saws you can use to cut trim that look like they were taken from my middle school shop class (seriously, it took so much effort to cut that trim that my arms were on fire when I left the store). Thank goodness for my dad who knew his way around the place to help pick out the supplies I needed.

Walking out with a cart I thought how most real carpenters probably do not drive hatch back hybrids, I thought for a moment if I was going to get serious, maybe I would need a truck. For now, I loaded the stuff into my dad’s slightly larger sedan and watched him drive off while trying not to let a piece of trim stab him in the face.

Sunday, our workday, decided to be glorious and warm. I had a good feeling my box was going to actually turn out okay. We drug the table saw and jig saw outside and started to measure. I was scared to death to rip by first piece (that is real carpentry lingo). I was scared it would shift and I would ruin it but low and behold it went through that blade as smooth as silk.

My dad helped me with all the tools as we clipped and glued the pieces together before we could nail them. A nail gun is pretty awesome, my dad was like wait until you try the ‘bammer” I thought he had made up a pet name for his nail gun, but it was seriously called the bammer and it was awesome as promised.

Step by step we went through to make this box, each one a new adventure for me, I learned so much, like my arms aren’t strong enough to use a jigsaw to cut arches, any mistake made with wood can be fixed and the internet girl who said this toy chest would only take 6 hours was a liar.

Eight hours later it was built, ready to be sanded and painted. I was spent, my arms were exhausted and I need to break from building.

The next night when putting on the paint I admired the chest I had created and I do not toot my own horn often but this chest was toot worthy. It was painted and the baby’s name was added from letters my mother found for me at Hobby Lobby. I think she was just excited I had given her another excuse to go back there. The chest was complete. The real test came when I went to see if this thing was going to fit into my small roller-skate of a car, it did, thank god. I do not think Amtrak would have been too impressed if I showed up with a chest in tow looking for a ride to Chicago.

I was pretty excited for the weekend, not only to present this handmade monstrosity but also to experience what this shower of the century was going to entail. I was, though, a little bummed that the invitation came by mail and was not delivered by a man on stilts, but I let that slide.

I was on the highway from St. Louis by 8:00 am. I hit my first piece of construction traffic right in downtown, but by 9:00 I was moving, losing one hour wasn’t too bad. I called my friend at 12:30 letting her know I was about 40 miles out, I would see her in an hour, I thought. I arrived at her house at 5:00pm. About 10 mins after the call I hit a stand still traffic, I put the roller-skate in park and waited and waited. I got news that they had closed the highway due to flooding and they we rerouting everyone through town to another highway to where we were passed the flooding. Over 4 hours of traffic later I was at her house, it should never take 9 hours to get to Chicago.

Upon arrival she and her husband took the weary traveler to eat and then it was time for the big unveiling. We carried the chest into her home and she thought it was great.

“Where did you find this?”

“Open the card.” The card had a montage of pictures of me building the chest. I made my dad capture every moment, I mean there is a real a possibility that my debut as a carpenter could very well be simultaneous with my retirement.

She was in shock and awe, as was I. I still couldn’t believe I pulled it off. We, her husband and my friend’s boyfriend carried it up to the baby’s room and it fit quite perfectly.

After 9 hours in the car I thought I needed a drink but it turns out I just needed to go to bed. Did I mention I had my separation anxiety ridden Yorkie with me? I did, she was quite a good road trip companion, slept the entire way and didn’t even try to entertain me while we were sitting in stand still traffic.

The guest of honor had 7 girls sleeping at her house that weekend, I opted to stay at my other Chicago friend’s house and to stay sane, that is a lot of girl talk about babies for one weekend.

The morning of the shower we had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t put much thought into planning a Cirque de Bebe appropriate outfit (what is that even?) And just hoped no one was offended that I wore colored skinny jeans and boots. I mean I built something, I decided, I deserved to be casual.

Upon arrival at Carnivale, this crazy loudly painted and decorated restaurant in Chicago we were greeted with Champagne, Mojitos, Sangria and feathers, lots of feathers. The restaurant itself was stimulation enough without the added decorations, but it wouldn’t be the shower of the century without added decorations of sequined napkin holders, personalized place settings and large feathered centerpieces now would it?

We were shown to our tables and treated to a “warm up act” before the real performance would begin. Our three-course lunch was served so there wasn’t a hunger pang in sight for the grand show. Interpretive dancing, ribbons, flips, a girl being able to hold herself in positions in mid air that I couldn’t do on the ground if my life was being threatened. This girl even inserted herself head first into a human sized balloon, I had ever seen anything like it.

There was an intermission where we were treated with homemade cotton candy. One girl couldn’t get over the fact that she was at a baby shower that actually had an intermission.

“I know, right. It is like the bridal shower Helen threw in Bridesmaids.”

“Well then Kelly, you are the one upper, whittling a gift out of freaking wood!.”

My “mom” friends made themselves very comfortable at the bar drinking Mojitos like we were on a college Spring Break in Puerta Vallarta

Needless to say, I will never attend another baby shower quite like that one ever again and truthfully I hope to be retired soon from the baby shower circuit.

But I learned that by me building that chest that anything is possible. Just like Ice Cube says, “you can do it, put your back into it.” 

0 notes

Trying to convince my mom to get a shelter dog

Me:
The APA has a sweet yorkie named Reba!!.... but she only has one eye.
Mom:
Just what I need, a one-eyed Yorkie who is partially potty trained and loves to be held, I already babysit one of those regularly
Me:
umm..all yorkies are partially potty trained. Tink is 13 and still likes to sneak off and pee
Mom:
Speaking of....how long do they live?
Me:
Well... there is a 15 year old German Shepherd in my buidling, he is blind and deaf
Mom:
Oh god I hope you don't put Tink thorugh that
Me:
He isn't in pain! They didn't just euthanize Helen Keller!
Mom:
I've got to go.
Me:
So that's a no?

0 notes

The Oscars.
I am not film critic, not a self proclaimed critic of anything in particular or everything at once, cause let’s be honest, we are all critics.
The Oscars. I do not know why I continue to watch them. This year my plan was to watch them to help aid in my sleep process from a rough previous night. But my neighbor called wanting to watch them somewhere since her BF informed her of game night and that the Oscars were not in their plans. So since I had company I watched them, alllll the way to the announcement of best picture a whopping 3.5 hours later (why so long academy?).
Here are my observations.
1.) Long nails, ew, are those back in style? Adele, Barbara Streisand, gross. I’ve always hated long nails and Barbara’s were close to vomit inducing, (could have been the hangover)
2.) Why do I feel the music NEVER cuts off Anne Hathaway?
3.) Thank God Catherine Zeta Jones went BEFORE Jennifer Hudson, no amount of lip synching could ever make up for how Hudson nails it every time
4.) Seth McFarlane, I expected more from you. Your jokes were mediocre at best, offensive without cause at worst. The funniest part of the entire show was a shot of a washer full of socks during the Flight puppet reenactment, so that says a lot about your material.
5.) Kristen Stewart looks like she brushes her hair as much as I do.
6.) Quentin Tarrentino looked like he had the same stylist as Kristen and were both told, look like you just got off the couch after a Walking Dead Marathon, no, tying your tie is def overrated.
7.) Jennifer Lawrence, thank you for falling, thank you for joking about it, thank you for always looking a bit confused on camera. You are great, do not change.
8.) Do all editors look like they have never been allowed to exit the editing suite for a haircut?
9.) Christoph Waltz made Django and I was happy the Academy thought so
10.) Who watches these short films?

The Oscars.

I am not film critic, not a self proclaimed critic of anything in particular or everything at once, cause let’s be honest, we are all critics.

The Oscars. I do not know why I continue to watch them. This year my plan was to watch them to help aid in my sleep process from a rough previous night. But my neighbor called wanting to watch them somewhere since her BF informed her of game night and that the Oscars were not in their plans. So since I had company I watched them, alllll the way to the announcement of best picture a whopping 3.5 hours later (why so long academy?).

Here are my observations.

1.) Long nails, ew, are those back in style? Adele, Barbara Streisand, gross. I’ve always hated long nails and Barbara’s were close to vomit inducing, (could have been the hangover)

2.) Why do I feel the music NEVER cuts off Anne Hathaway?

3.) Thank God Catherine Zeta Jones went BEFORE Jennifer Hudson, no amount of lip synching could ever make up for how Hudson nails it every time

4.) Seth McFarlane, I expected more from you. Your jokes were mediocre at best, offensive without cause at worst. The funniest part of the entire show was a shot of a washer full of socks during the Flight puppet reenactment, so that says a lot about your material.

5.) Kristen Stewart looks like she brushes her hair as much as I do.

6.) Quentin Tarrentino looked like he had the same stylist as Kristen and were both told, look like you just got off the couch after a Walking Dead Marathon, no, tying your tie is def overrated.

7.) Jennifer Lawrence, thank you for falling, thank you for joking about it, thank you for always looking a bit confused on camera. You are great, do not change.

8.) Do all editors look like they have never been allowed to exit the editing suite for a haircut?

9.) Christoph Waltz made Django and I was happy the Academy thought so

10.) Who watches these short films?

0 notes

Lena Dunham is my 2013 New Year’s Aspiration.
Aspiring to be someone who is younger than you can only really happen when you are older. Age becomes this weird paradox of numbers where after a certain age everyone blends together into, what I like to call, adulthood. When you are a kid you look up to people who are older, more established and have paved a path that you find interesting and inspiring. Then there is that time where the edge of the pendulum becomes level and then shifts downward when you learn about someone  doing amazing things and then come to find they are younger than you, either by a lot or by a little. You are then forced to look into yourself and wonder how they could have accomplished such remarkable milestones at such a young age, and then you realize they are just that talented. This happened for me in the form of Lena Dunham. She is my inspiration. She does her thing, she does it well, she is herself, she makes no apologies and because of this ease of allowing herself to do what she wants she has encountered tremendous success.  Is she the anti-girl?  Depends on your definition, but she is definitely less of a Babe Walker and more of a Dorothy Parker (should those two even be compared? Alas, I did it.)  She portrays life as a girl is not all diamonds and Rose, as another privileged Lisa Vanderpump suggests. Lena Dunham is my 2013 New Year’s resolution.  She has inspired me to write and write what I want to write about. My hard drive is filled with bits and pieces of writings, half written essays and even a start to a novel that I haven’t sat back down with after the discovery that one of the characters was so flat that I loathed her. I cannot forge ahead until I can replace her with someone that fills the pages with personality, with wit and with a purpose. 2012 landed me a freelance writing and producing job that fell out of the sky and, no, I do not think I am going on to write a series for HBO, but if I could at least finish something for someone to read my point of view of this crazy little world we inhabit, well then that would be a 2013 worth surviving the Mayan predictions for at least.
As for you Lena, you’re my hero.

Lena Dunham is my 2013 New Year’s Aspiration.

Aspiring to be someone who is younger than you can only really happen when you are older. Age becomes this weird paradox of numbers where after a certain age everyone blends together into, what I like to call, adulthood. When you are a kid you look up to people who are older, more established and have paved a path that you find interesting and inspiring. Then there is that time where the edge of the pendulum becomes level and then shifts downward when you learn about someone  doing amazing things and then come to find they are younger than you, either by a lot or by a little. You are then forced to look into yourself and wonder how they could have accomplished such remarkable milestones at such a young age, and then you realize they are just that talented. This happened for me in the form of Lena Dunham. She is my inspiration. She does her thing, she does it well, she is herself, she makes no apologies and because of this ease of allowing herself to do what she wants she has encountered tremendous success.  Is she the anti-girl?  Depends on your definition, but she is definitely less of a Babe Walker and more of a Dorothy Parker (should those two even be compared? Alas, I did it.)  She portrays life as a girl is not all diamonds and Rose, as another privileged Lisa Vanderpump suggests. Lena Dunham is my 2013 New Year’s resolution.  She has inspired me to write and write what I want to write about. My hard drive is filled with bits and pieces of writings, half written essays and even a start to a novel that I haven’t sat back down with after the discovery that one of the characters was so flat that I loathed her. I cannot forge ahead until I can replace her with someone that fills the pages with personality, with wit and with a purpose. 2012 landed me a freelance writing and producing job that fell out of the sky and, no, I do not think I am going on to write a series for HBO, but if I could at least finish something for someone to read my point of view of this crazy little world we inhabit, well then that would be a 2013 worth surviving the Mayan predictions for at least.

As for you Lena, you’re my hero.

0 notes

My Giving Tree Grief
Tis the season. Tis the season for gifting and giving. Many people give time, money and resources during the holiday season for people less fortunate than themselves. This is great. I respect anyone taking the time to think of others who are struggling. However, over the years that I have been involved in Christmas giving or helping the “poor” one thing really grinds my gears, the judgment that is sometimes attached to the giving.
Throughout my youth we had the opportunity to adopt a family for Christmas every year. The best part about it was that usually it was the same 1-2 families and we were able to get to know and develop relationships with and could help them outside of the Christmas giving by doing yard work, planting in the summer, etc. These families were part of a program where they had jobs and were able to obtain a house for a lot less than market value as long as they maintained employment. These families were making it work but they did not have a lot of disposable income left over to spend on themselves or their children for Christmas. These children, some teenagers, went to “normal” public schools and were surrounded by peers from families who could afford life’s little luxuries.
We would get their wish lists which would include the normal: clothes, grocery gift cards, maybe gloves and new winter hats, but would also include what the kids actually wanted. They would write down things such as basketballs, skateboards, Barbies, cd (or now MP3) players, video games etc. These were just normal kids who wanted to be normal kids. They saw what their friends had, they knew what was available. These kids were not homeless, their parents worked and they went to school, they even had (gasp) televisions in their homes.
They would be grateful, of course, for anything we got them for their Christmas. We would arrive at their home a couple of days before and drop off their gifts and their eyes would be as wide as saucers and their faces filled with excitement. These images I was able to experience as a teen myself are a permanent part of my memories and I am thankful every day I got to partake in this.
Now, for the grief. The grief comes from the people who would criticize their wish lists. “They should be thankful we are even getting them anything! Who do these kids think they are asking for a video game?!” This person would show up with a discounted Wal-Mart sweatshirt. These are not the types of people who can’t afford a nicer gift; they are doing it on principle, that because these families dare ask for assistance their wants should not be the same as their own children. For once, this could be their opportunity to not always feel like an outsider with the lame Wal-Mart coats and shoes. Kids know. They are just kids. They are not immune to ridicule nor are they mature enough to grasp why they are never allowed to have the same things as their peers.
One year a family consisting of 2 boys wrote a Playstation down on their wish list. I convinced my parents that instead of getting them some jeans and shirts and gloves and one small toy to just get them the Playstation. They would love it and not expect it at all. Their mom worked long hours and why not just let them be the kids and have the ability to play video games at their own house for once. I was so excited to give it to them that I almost wanted them to open it right then and there when we arrived, but I knew it would create much more fun and anticipation when they opened it Christmas morning with the rest of the children around the world.
As I hear people muttering around the office about these kids expecting too much and not being grateful for the things they get, I want them to remember they are just kids, much like their own. And instead of that Wal-Mart sweater why not try Old Navy, let them fit in with their friends this holiday season. Don’t be a Grinch about it.

My Giving Tree Grief

Tis the season. Tis the season for gifting and giving. Many people give time, money and resources during the holiday season for people less fortunate than themselves. This is great. I respect anyone taking the time to think of others who are struggling. However, over the years that I have been involved in Christmas giving or helping the “poor” one thing really grinds my gears, the judgment that is sometimes attached to the giving.

Throughout my youth we had the opportunity to adopt a family for Christmas every year. The best part about it was that usually it was the same 1-2 families and we were able to get to know and develop relationships with and could help them outside of the Christmas giving by doing yard work, planting in the summer, etc. These families were part of a program where they had jobs and were able to obtain a house for a lot less than market value as long as they maintained employment. These families were making it work but they did not have a lot of disposable income left over to spend on themselves or their children for Christmas. These children, some teenagers, went to “normal” public schools and were surrounded by peers from families who could afford life’s little luxuries.

We would get their wish lists which would include the normal: clothes, grocery gift cards, maybe gloves and new winter hats, but would also include what the kids actually wanted. They would write down things such as basketballs, skateboards, Barbies, cd (or now MP3) players, video games etc. These were just normal kids who wanted to be normal kids. They saw what their friends had, they knew what was available. These kids were not homeless, their parents worked and they went to school, they even had (gasp) televisions in their homes.

They would be grateful, of course, for anything we got them for their Christmas. We would arrive at their home a couple of days before and drop off their gifts and their eyes would be as wide as saucers and their faces filled with excitement. These images I was able to experience as a teen myself are a permanent part of my memories and I am thankful every day I got to partake in this.

Now, for the grief. The grief comes from the people who would criticize their wish lists. “They should be thankful we are even getting them anything! Who do these kids think they are asking for a video game?!” This person would show up with a discounted Wal-Mart sweatshirt. These are not the types of people who can’t afford a nicer gift; they are doing it on principle, that because these families dare ask for assistance their wants should not be the same as their own children. For once, this could be their opportunity to not always feel like an outsider with the lame Wal-Mart coats and shoes. Kids know. They are just kids. They are not immune to ridicule nor are they mature enough to grasp why they are never allowed to have the same things as their peers.

One year a family consisting of 2 boys wrote a Playstation down on their wish list. I convinced my parents that instead of getting them some jeans and shirts and gloves and one small toy to just get them the Playstation. They would love it and not expect it at all. Their mom worked long hours and why not just let them be the kids and have the ability to play video games at their own house for once. I was so excited to give it to them that I almost wanted them to open it right then and there when we arrived, but I knew it would create much more fun and anticipation when they opened it Christmas morning with the rest of the children around the world.

As I hear people muttering around the office about these kids expecting too much and not being grateful for the things they get, I want them to remember they are just kids, much like their own. And instead of that Wal-Mart sweater why not try Old Navy, let them fit in with their friends this holiday season. Don’t be a Grinch about it.

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When I lived alone is there a ghost in my house? This question is both lyrics to a Band of Horses song and a legitimate thought I had last night.

I am not a scaredy cat, at all. I can take scary movies, I can handle the dark, I was even the annoying kid who moved the piece on the Ouija board to scare the other girls at the sleepovers, so maybe this is a payback but whatever it was I was freaked.

After lugging my groceries up to my condo (who am I kidding I have a granny cart that does the work), I left my door unlocked and didn’t shut it all the way. Mind you my condo door is HEAVY, like smash your fingers heavy. So even by me not shutting the door it shuts itself, but could still be pushed open if necessary without turning the handle.

After the groceries are put away I am standing on the side of the door where if it opened I would be on the other side of it out of view. I am about to take the dog out and  about a foot away from the door and I see it open about 6 inches and then slowly close, within seconds, I lock the door and look in the peep hole and see no one, I open the door and look around, no one. I am freaked. In the midst of this my mom calls and finds out I did not lock my door when I had gotten my handy grandma cart to take to the car and makes me look around to see if someone is hiding. Mind you, my condo is 800 sq feet, there is no where to hide. She makes me look under the bed which I find both ridiculous and terrifying. I almost grabbed a knife to look, but didn’t want to risk my own stabbing.  I stay on the phone with her and quickly check. She thinks it is fine and reminds me, like she does daily, to keep my doors locked.

I am so worked up that I decide to work out. My neighbors I tell, who understand the building and the door heaviness also think it is bizarre. But what can I do? I end up going to bed normally just hoping my condo doesn’t become the next set for Paranormal Activity 5.

Did I imagine the whole thing? I do not think so. My friend even sent me an encouraging text that said, yep,  typical ghost behavior as if she was some sort of medium.

Well, anyway, happy almost Halloween. Love, Kelly and Casper.

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Magic Mike: A movie starring Channing Tatum that Nicholas Sparks didn’t write 
Ahh, the world of male stripping is brought to the spotlight with Stephen Soderberg’s aptly titled Magic Mike. In this film we are lured into the club, Exquisite, where we meet a very greased up Matthew McConaughey and ripped Channing Tatum. I have not been in a male strip club myself,my only experience with male stripping was at a sorority weekend at a lake house where the girls happened to find a fraternity who was having a formal and  paid some of the guys to come and strip as a bonding exercise for all the new pledges, I still question where their dates thought they disappeared to and why one guy happened to be wearing a leopard thong.
From the start of the movie, the male stripping world already seemed less seedy than their female counterparts, based solely on the type of individual that seemed to  be in attendance at either. In the movie,  the women who came to these shows seemed to be happy and celebrating something and were there for a show, maybe a little bit of an escape but pretty much a  “ just for fun” girls night out. The men appear to love the stage time and attention, they even seemed to have more life behind them than the typical “dead eyes” female strippers give while trying to focus on anything besides the overweight hairy man who may or may not be wearing sweatpants. Regardless of the real version or the Hollywood version Channing Tatum’s dance moves were still telling of why his first main movie was Step Up.
We are soon taken backstage to a place that could rival my high school’s drama department prop room, but with a lot more grease, thongs and razors. This jilts us  to the realization that stripping is not a glamorous job, even for the guys. This movie which takes a quick solemn turn reminds the audience that a nightlife existence is usually fueled by drugs, sexual exploits, fights and that fish-out-of-water feeling when you are faced with the day-to-day life of a normal civilian in the daylight can quickly spiral out of control.  Magic Mike, played by Tatum, is not proud of his stripper persona and looks at it as only a means to an end to start his own business. Another young kid who is brought in to strip unknowingly becomes a hit and  is immediately wrapped up in the money, the drugs and the spotlight. Dallas played by McConaughey is a more artifically shiny version of his Dazed and Confused character, too old to be there but always flexing his power muscle, well, as far as that bondage strap would allow.
Having seen this movie fresh off reading, Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, by Diablo Cody, it happened to be good timing to compare the two worlds, males vs. females. Diablo was not a born stripper nor was she some basket case that needed the quick money, in fact she was a girl raised in an uber-catholic, upper middle class family from Illinois who decided to make her debut stripper appearance in, of all places, Minnesota.  She did it on her own accord without consulting anyone on her secret affair with the tepid nightclub life of Minnesota, though when she told her boyfriend at the time he was strangely super supportive. Through her eyes as a misfit stripper, not a huge money maker, one who never quite mastered the pole and only wanted to dance to rock and roll do we get a real glimpse of how this world works. What is not shown in Magic Mike but was hugely discouraging to me in Candy Girl is the amount of money the house takes from the girls every night. A certain number of lap-dances, bed-dances (gross)  and other impromptu performances an owner could make any girl do if the night seemed to  be slow are required per night, per girl and if you do not meet your quota you may owe the house. Owe the house!  After dancing for 7 hours and rubbing up on some sweaty pervert’s junk just to make 20.00 (10 after the house takes its cut) seems like a pretty hard way to make a living. The girls who made it, had, the “I’m damaged” look in their glassed over facial expressions, the smell of newly bleached hair and the willingness to do “extra favors” for their clientele after hours. Diablo fit none of these categories but still hit the stage and danced her heart out.  She knew, of course, her mundane paper pushing ad job was waiting for her in the morning and this little extra cash was allowing her a chance to buy a sensible sedan and have a little fun.
Both portrayals of the industry were wildly entertaining, though as far as writing goes I would have to give the award  to Diablo Cody. However the visuals of highly choreographed dance routines  paired with props and themed music featuring Tatum in what he does best, is worth the price of admission alone.

Magic Mike: A movie starring Channing Tatum that Nicholas Sparks didn’t write 

Ahh, the world of male stripping is brought to the spotlight with Stephen Soderberg’s aptly titled Magic Mike. In this film we are lured into the club, Exquisite, where we meet a very greased up Matthew McConaughey and ripped Channing Tatum. I have not been in a male strip club myself,my only experience with male stripping was at a sorority weekend at a lake house where the girls happened to find a fraternity who was having a formal and  paid some of the guys to come and strip as a bonding exercise for all the new pledges, I still question where their dates thought they disappeared to and why one guy happened to be wearing a leopard thong.

From the start of the movie, the male stripping world already seemed less seedy than their female counterparts, based solely on the type of individual that seemed to  be in attendance at either. In the movie,  the women who came to these shows seemed to be happy and celebrating something and were there for a show, maybe a little bit of an escape but pretty much a  “ just for fun” girls night out. The men appear to love the stage time and attention, they even seemed to have more life behind them than the typical “dead eyes” female strippers give while trying to focus on anything besides the overweight hairy man who may or may not be wearing sweatpants. Regardless of the real version or the Hollywood version Channing Tatum’s dance moves were still telling of why his first main movie was Step Up.

We are soon taken backstage to a place that could rival my high school’s drama department prop room, but with a lot more grease, thongs and razors. This jilts us  to the realization that stripping is not a glamorous job, even for the guys. This movie which takes a quick solemn turn reminds the audience that a nightlife existence is usually fueled by drugs, sexual exploits, fights and that fish-out-of-water feeling when you are faced with the day-to-day life of a normal civilian in the daylight can quickly spiral out of control.  Magic Mike, played by Tatum, is not proud of his stripper persona and looks at it as only a means to an end to start his own business. Another young kid who is brought in to strip unknowingly becomes a hit and  is immediately wrapped up in the money, the drugs and the spotlight. Dallas played by McConaughey is a more artifically shiny version of his Dazed and Confused character, too old to be there but always flexing his power muscle, well, as far as that bondage strap would allow.

Having seen this movie fresh off reading, Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, by Diablo Cody, it happened to be good timing to compare the two worlds, males vs. females. Diablo was not a born stripper nor was she some basket case that needed the quick money, in fact she was a girl raised in an uber-catholic, upper middle class family from Illinois who decided to make her debut stripper appearance in, of all places, Minnesota.  She did it on her own accord without consulting anyone on her secret affair with the tepid nightclub life of Minnesota, though when she told her boyfriend at the time he was strangely super supportive. Through her eyes as a misfit stripper, not a huge money maker, one who never quite mastered the pole and only wanted to dance to rock and roll do we get a real glimpse of how this world works. What is not shown in Magic Mike but was hugely discouraging to me in Candy Girl is the amount of money the house takes from the girls every night. A certain number of lap-dances, bed-dances (gross)  and other impromptu performances an owner could make any girl do if the night seemed to  be slow are required per night, per girl and if you do not meet your quota you may owe the house. Owe the house!  After dancing for 7 hours and rubbing up on some sweaty pervert’s junk just to make 20.00 (10 after the house takes its cut) seems like a pretty hard way to make a living. The girls who made it, had, the “I’m damaged” look in their glassed over facial expressions, the smell of newly bleached hair and the willingness to do “extra favors” for their clientele after hours. Diablo fit none of these categories but still hit the stage and danced her heart out.  She knew, of course, her mundane paper pushing ad job was waiting for her in the morning and this little extra cash was allowing her a chance to buy a sensible sedan and have a little fun.

Both portrayals of the industry were wildly entertaining, though as far as writing goes I would have to give the award  to Diablo Cody. However the visuals of highly choreographed dance routines  paired with props and themed music featuring Tatum in what he does best, is worth the price of admission alone.