Thanksgiving and Katy Perry: Like Two Peas in a Pod

It's Thanksgiving y'all, and that means I've been doing some serious reflecting. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm CONSTANTLY reflecting. Ugh. The inside of my brain is insufferable most days, and damn right claustrophobic all the other days.

Anyway, it's been a weird year, to say the least. But as with any year, I've got a whole slew of thangs for which to be thankful, so let's get this bitch started, shall we?!

I was riding around in my delivery truck the other day (don't ask) and Katy Perry's Wide Awake shuffled through. I hate this song, but my laziness got the better of me, so I sat through it and listened. I mean *really* listened. And I discovered that Katy Perry gets me, you guys. She really does. So without further ado, may I present the lyrics to Wide Awake, because I love you and also because she perfectly articulates the feelings it took me six months to reconcile.

I'm wide awake
Yeah, I was in the dark
I was falling hard
With an open heart
I'm wide awake
How did I read the stars so wrong?
I'm wide awake
And now it's clear to me
That everything you see
Ain't always what it seems
I'm wide awake
Yeah, I was dreaming for so long

I wish I knew then
What I know now
Wouldn't dive in
Wouldn't bow down
Gravity hurts
You made it so sweet
'Til I woke up on
On the concrete

Falling from cloud nine
Crashing from the high
I'm letting go tonight
Yeah, I'm falling from cloud nine

I'm wide awake
Not losing any sleep
I picked up every piece
And landed on my feet
I'm wide awake
Need nothing to complete myself, no

I'm wide awake
Yeah, I am born again
Out of the lion's den
I don't have to pretend
And it's too late
The story's over now, the end

I'm wide awake
Thunder rumbling
Castles crumbling
I'm wide awake
I am trying to hold on
I'm wide awake
God knows that I tried
Seeing the bright side
I'm wide awake
I'm not blind anymore...

During the holidays, it's difficult not to succumb to the nostalgia for holidays past, both the good and the bad. The days leading up to Thanksgiving are always weird for me, not because I loathe spending time with my family, but because my best Thanksgivings have not been spent with them. My best Thanksgivings have always included lots of food, lots of alcohol, and lots of friends, and last Thanksgiving was among the best. Looking back to that day and contrasting it with the picture of this year's Thanksgiving, I was consumed with melancholy, not because I am particularly unhappy with life today, but for the loss of all the things that could have been. Last year for the first time in a very long time I felt at peace with the holidays, with my family, with myself, and for once I felt free of the insecurities that had for so long dictated the terms of my life. There were a lot of pieces to the puzzle that fell into place for me last year, chiefly among them was perspective. Last year my personal relationships allowed me to view myself through the lens of others. Like everyone else in the goddamn free world I am always my harshest critic, and sometimes (um, ALL the time), my skewed self-perception fucks everything up. I make lame choices, I lack motivation, I am critical and judgemental. Basically I'm a grade-A asshole. But for some strange reason, my friends don't think so, and last Thanksgiving Day I got a glimpse at the person they see.

Somewhere around June, though, many of those relationships changed or disappeared, and I was back to questioning where that left me. It's weird to think that my personal relationships would dictate or drive my self-perception, but given the alternative (remember, I'm an asshole), I'd prefer to think of myself as my friends do. It's not hyperbole to say it took every ounce of my being to keep doing just that. The loss of my social circle quite literally forced me to "fake it 'til you make it" and is prolly in large part why I sit where I am today -- back in school, confidently pursuing a subject about which I am extremely passionate.

Which leads me here -- Wide Awake. Last year it was *marginally* easier to believe my own hype when I had a personal cheerleader telling me how great I was. Losing my partner in crime was one of the most emotionally jarring things I've experienced in a long time. Flip side of the coin? It was also one of the most eye-opening and empowering things I've experienced in a long time. To say I've completely altered my self-perception is a stretch, but today I sit here eternally more capable of believing in myself than I have been in a long time. And for THAT I am thankful.

I am thankful for my parents. I can't even begin to articulate how much their support means to me. I made some big life changes this year, and all four of them have been my loudest cheerleaders, seriously. I know shit has been difficult for them, especially in regards to my brother, so the fact that they are still willing to stick by me and support my choices means the world to me.

Strangely enough, I am also thankful for haircuts. It seems so cliche to say that a haircut changed my life, but goddamn, cutting off all my hair was liberating, y'all. I've never been one to equate my femininity with the length of my hair, but somehow, somewhere along the line I got caught up in that game. But you know what? With short hair, I feel like I finally look how I was always *supposed* to look. I guess it also helps that I fried my hair beyond all repair and was quite literally forced to chop that shit. It's kismet, I tell you.

(UGH. This shit got serious fast.)

Okay, I'm also thankful for a whole bunch of little things, without which I might not have made it through the year. In some random fucking order, I'm thankful for:

-Karaoke at the 'Lux (and occasionally Terry's and the 44)

-Ladies Craft Night, even if it's just Lindsay and me!

-Anatomy and Physiology, mostly because it forces me to work my ass off, which feels good. And also because all those "don't you think my mouth looks like a cat butt" jokes were confirmed when I learned about the orbicularis orbis. It's a mouth sphincter, y'all.

-Justin Stone, who makes me giggle every time we chat, and who just gets this whole "it's hard to be an adult" business better than damn near anyone.

-The Flying M Coffeehouse, for being my home away from home and my favorite venue for random study buddies.

-Facetime, which allows me to see Miss Casey Switzer's lovely mug on a somewhat regular basis (ditto, Google video).

-Netflix. Screw productivity, BINGE WATCHING FOREVER!

-The heathen nephew. I know I bitch about him ALL. THE. TIME, but living with my parents has afforded my the opportunity to get to know him so much better. And you all know how much I love me some five-year-old quality time.

-And speaking of living with my parents -- so eternally grateful for the opportunity, not just financially, but emotionally. Living with them has allowed me to see their marriage in a new light, which has most definitely repaired my relationship with my stepdad. Wins all around.

This year, though, I'm most thankful for me. I am thankful for my triumphs and failures, my achievements and missteps. I am smart and strong and resilient. I fuck up and I move on. I try hard to evaluate where I've been and where I'm going. I still struggle to fully understand those around me, but that's mostly because I'm still learning how to be me.

If 2013 was The Great Leap Forward, then 2014 will surely be the Year of Self Improvement. (Hopefully that means a shit ton of massages and manicures, but it prolly means more gym time and a diet rich in leafy greens. LAME.)

*Just consider this an early Christmas present. Seriously, though, this video is lameballs. 

Parenthetically, I never suspected I'd keep up this annual Thanksgiving post tradition for six years. Guess time flies when you're thankful.


Dropping Truth BOMBS

A few thoughts on tonight's episode of Glee. I know, I know, PLEASE. But my morbid curiosity got the better of me and now I've been sucked into watching [live] television, and that's not the least of my rant. (So many commercials, y'all!)

I know Cory Monteith was a real person. I know the show had to address his passing in some way. And I commend them for not capitalizing on his addiction. As I watched it, though, all I could do was make jokes. I just could *not* bring myself to take any of it seriously, from Coach Beast's heart-to-heart with Puck, to Kurt's refusal to give up Finn's beloved letterman's jacket. It all seemed so fucking contrived.

And then I realized why.

For the better part of a decade my own brother has suffered from an addiction so all-consuming that more than once I wished him dead. It's taken me a long time to be able to admit that to myself, let alone to anyone else, but there it is. His addiction has ravaged our family. It has allowed him to neglect himself, his children, his wife, and anyone else who happens to come between him and his current drug of choice. (Today it's meth and bath salts.)

As an innocent bystander (or uninvolved third party), I suppose it would be easier for me to sympathize (empathize?) with the plight of addiction and how powerless it can make an individual. It might be easier for me to lend a supportive ear, attend NA meetings, or be a productive member of some support system. Maybe if this addict were my child I'd feel more compelled to, I don't know, continue to give a shit about them or their choices.

Unfortunately, that's not my position. He's not my child. He's not even my brother. He's just some seriously fucked up stranger who continues to wreak havoc on my family. He's a selfish, self-serving, immature asshole who's all-too-aware of his actions. When he's sober, he makes empty promises to "meet up for dinner", or "take the kids camping". When he's high as FUCK, he attacks his family members and blames them for the poor choices he's made over the past fifteen years. And the thing is, we've *never* been close. As a child, he would lock himself in the bathroom with a pair of scissors and threaten suicide. Once, he killed a neighbor's cat. He traded his crushed up Ritalin for stereo parts. His behavior was erratic, unpredictable, and frustratingly difficult to manage. Hell, THAT'S STILL TRUE. Millions of times I've questioned how we could have come from the same womb, been raised in the same household. I'm far beyond the point of blaming my parents for my troubled relationships and inability to trust, but dammit if my fucked up brother isn't the reason I'm so painfully afraid of disappointing my parents. Can't have TWO non-contributing members of society to your credit, amiright, Mom and Dad?! (Also, he's prolly the reason I've never so much as even smoked a joint -- not in high school, not in college, not even when I dated James the Drug Dealer. I guess that's a good thang, right?)

The icing on the cake to all this is the last time my brother got clean, sometime last month, after my parents bailed him out of jail AGAIN, he promised the judge, his wife, and all four of our parents that he'd check himself into a 28 day program and get clean. For really reals. And then he turned to me and said:
 "You know Mindy, you're one of the people I want to get clean for. To show you I can do it."
I couldn't even look him in the eye. I just wanted to scream at his face, "GO FUCK YOURSELF!"

So yeah, tonight's episode of Glee. It's unfortunate that Cory Monteith died from a drug overdose. I feel immense sadness for his friends, family, loved ones, and his fans. But speaking as the loved one of an addicted asshole, I gotta say, maybe it was for the best. Don't hate me, internet.


The Summer of My (Sex)Content

All I want to do is eat, drink, and hook up. Your patience is appreciated while I work through this difficult time.



I Wanna Get Down, But Not the First Night?

100 men were asked "Would you date a woman who slept with you on the first date?" Here are a few of the choice answers:

"That kind of beginning doesn’t bode well for the girl.

"The guy will forever be thinking 'How many times has she done that?'"

"The thought is hard to shake – would she sleep with anyone?"

And my personal favorite:
"I would love to have sex on the first date BUT if it happens I will probably look at her in a different way. I like girls who can hold themselves and value themselves more than the average ones so when I’m with one I can feel that I have caught something rare or something hard to find."

The idea that having sex with YOU means I don't value myself?!?! What the fuck does that say about YOU? Mayhaps the question should have been, "Should a woman date you if you slept together on the first date?" 


Arrested Development, Party of One

For the first time in a *VERY* long time I am not dreading the end of summer. I am not concerned with writing curriculum and lesson planning; preparing a classroom and neatly labeling every goddamned thing in my room with a student's name. I am not bothered with school shopping or first day jitters or making nice with the new principal. I am not troubled with behavior plans and the inevitable "my child is very special" conversations.

In short, I am in full "fuck this shit, I'm going to GRAD SCHOOL!" mode, and it feels so good. It's like grad school is a free pass to check out of adulthood for a minute. And I, for one, am so. damn. ready.

Let's do this shit.


Chopped: One Woman's Journey Through the Costco Fruit Section

I made this fruit my bitch. Happy 50th birthday, Kent.

Cantaloupe vagina. It's a real thing.


Friends: Everyone Needs 'Em

You know, it takes a lot of time for me to start referring to a casual acquaintance as a friend. Recently, an acquaintance of mine referred to me as her friend and I was genuinely taken aback. Not necessarily because I don't like this person (although, to be fair, I DON'T really like this person all that much), but because it made me wonder how people define that word -- friend.

When Casey the Human and I first met she took me to coffee in the heart of Seoul. There we chatted over the usual thangs -- Korea, teaching, our coworkers -- which then naturally led to a discussion of friendship. This is when she took the opportunity to tell me she wasn't really looking for new friends. See, this was also her second time around on the peninsula and she had established a circle of friends outside of work. In Korea, this is the holy grail. I mean really, who wants to spend their free time hanging out with the same group they are PAID to hang out with 40 hours a week? Certainly not me. Anyway, although I was initially a little put off by her comment (as if I was applying for friendship), I understood and respected where it came from. Friendship is an emotional investment, one not afforded to just anyone, and Casey's emotional bank account was full. Casual acquaintances were really all she was willing to take on at the moment. Lucky for me my sparkling personality, winning good looks, and knowledge of internet memes won her over! Today I count Casey among just a handful of people with whom I share true friendship.

Recent life events have allowed me the opportunity to take stock of the people with whom I surround myself. Everyday I come into contact with students, parents, coworkers, etc. I am friendly and engaging and generally outgoing. I talk to them, I ask questions, I empathize -- you know, all the hallmarks of adult interaction. Does this mean any of them are my friends? No. No it does not. Why, you ask? Because another hallmark of adult interaction is the setting of boundaries. Boundaries serve a very specific and useful purpose with regards to interpersonal relationships. Boundaries help us understand our roles and the roles of others. They let us know that no, you CANNOT hit on that lovely lady at the bar as she is married and that would be overstepping a defined boundary. (Or more often than not in my case, no you CANNOT tell me your ex-husband cheated on you with your best friend. WTF?! I am your child's daycare provider, this is not okay.) Boundaries make us feel safe and secure. But perhaps the most important purpose of establishing boundaries is that they teach others how to treat us. When you have ill-defined boundaries, or no boundaries at all, it's like saying "HERE I AM! TREAT ME LIKE SHIT!"

Normally I am very up front about my boundaries. This is prolly why it takes me so long to go from casual acquaintance to friend. Being picky about one's friends is not necessarily a bad thang, though. Being picky and methodical about entering into an emotionally invested friendship has some fucking awesome rewards, like reciprocated emotional investment, long-term/long-distance investment, loyalty, comfort, and perhaps the biggest one, mutual respect. (Coincidentally, these are also things I look for in a partner.) And because I am very up front and honest about my boundaries with others I tend to make friends of the same ilk. Occasionally, however, someone comes along who challenges my boundaries and forces me to rethink how I approach relationships. Sometimes it's for the best, as was the case with Jamie, my best Korean friendo. My initial reaction to all Jamie's attempts to hang out was, "EW, NOPE." But I gave him (and myself) a chance and what I got was a fucking awesomely open-minded, non-judgemental, hysterical friend. Wins all around.

But sometimes someone comes along who pushes too hard, is just a bit too needy, wants just a bit too much of my time and attention. This has happened to me twice in the past year and both times I had MANY reservations about both individuals. On the one hand, YAY, someone likes me! But on the other hand, JESUS CHRIST WHY DO YOU NEED SO MUCH VALIDATION?! So I kept one of these acquaintances at arm's length -- she was just a bit too over-the-top disingenuous for me. And the other? Against my better judgement I took a risk, let him in, and shared all the things. For a while it seemed he, too, was fully invested. But then something changed and all his insecurities that initially turned me off reared their ugly heads. Gone was our fantastic friendship and partnership, replaced with indifference, annoyance, and distance. And I was pissed. This was not MY fear! These were not MY insecurities! It felt as if I was being punished for having boundaries of my own and asking him to acknowledge and respect them. And in the end he couldn't follow through because he lacked ANY boundaries.

I know friendships (and partnerships) are not in a constant state of awesome; they take work. And maybe I'm being too harsh, my expectations too high, but I just don't think so. I suppose I'm just frustrated that I didn't listen to my gut on this one: that someone with such ill-defined boundaries wouldn't know how to understand or respect mine.

I didn't listen to my instincts when they told me, "EW, NOPE".


Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

Now this is the story all about how 
My life got flipped, turned upside down 
And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there 
I'll tell you how I became the princess of a town called bitter. (I'm not really bitter, I swear!)

I initially started this blog post nearly a month ago. It was all about friendship and boundaries and interpersonal relationships. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Then my life really did get flipped, turned upside down. (Hyperbole? Maybe. But just go with it.) I realized, however, that writing about all those things was not going to make me feel any better, as my mind grapes were in overdrive. For the past six months my mind has been a well of self-doubt; the kind of crippling, all-consuming, walking-around-on-eggshells sort of self-doubt that seems to bleed into everything you do. It's been a month since the big bang and time has afforded me a bit of perspective. And you know what I realized? That self doubt wasn't mine to carry. I was shouldering someone else's fears in the name of... love? Companionship? Friendship? Who knows. What I do know is that for all of my bitching and whining and bemoaning my station in life, I discovered I am a relatively well-adjusted adult capable of adult relationships, emotions, conversations, and sex. I stick up for myself. When something (or someone) hurts me or threatens me or just doesn't feel right, I let others know. I am my best and sometimes ONLY advocate, and if sticking up for myself makes me appear needy and possessive (or bitchy and overbearing), well, that's just, like, you're opinion, man. 

Now on to the real reason for this post: Sex

Someone very wise once said when the sex is good, it's 10% of a relationship and when the sex is bad, it's 90% of a relationship. But what if the sex is just NONEXISTENT? Like, robotic, perfunctory, let's-just-get-this-over-with kinda sex? Sex like that has a way of fucking with one's mind, forcing one to internalize all that rejection and indifference in a way that is indeed crippling. There is nothing so demeaning and demoralizing as when a lover withholds intimacy and physical interaction. But what if that withholding is out of fear? Does that make it easier to swallow? Does knowing that your partner is consumed by a fear of sex and intimacy make it easier to externalize (rather than internalize) that fear? 


Why? Because without sex and sexual intimacy a sexual relationship becomes a sort of weird, twisted "friendship" where one party is getting their needs met emotionally and intellectually (because apparently the physical need is nonexistent), and the other party is left scrambling for ANY sort of attention. And scrambling for attention is so unbecoming...

Sex is an incredibly important and integral part of any intimate partnership and sexual intimacy is kinda the most awesome part of being in a committed relationship. It is a safe place for both parties to really just be themselves, no pretense, no expectation, no guile. Sex can be empowering and awesome. It's fantastic after a great week, and comforting after a shitty week. It's fun and silly and erotic and messy and emotional. And when it's missing it's like a giant gaping hole that sucks out all the good along with it. 

So here I am, single again, but so very relieved to be out from under someone else's fears and insecurities. I suppose each failed relationship is really just a learning opportunity, and this one is no different. So what did I learn? I think my father said it best: "You don't put up with that shit."



A Post for Mom

My mom made the best Hamburger Helper. She used to buy the the Beef Pasta flavor, the one with the giant egg noodles. I remember her preparing this decidedly mundane dinner in the most exotic way -- in the wok. My parents received a wok as a wedding gift and I think my mom considered it the greatest culinary invention. She was also really great at oatmeal. For breakfast, she'd prepare the old fashioned oats on the stove and toast an entire loaf of white bread. Then she'd sit my brother and I down at the table, each in front of a steaming bowl of mush. In the center of the table she'd place a towering stack of white bread toast and plenty of cinnamon and sugar, the better to flavor our bland oatmeal. From there it was a free for all. To this day I can't eat oatmeal without plenty of white bread toast to sop up the mushy dregs.

My mom was a great babysitter. During the summers of my childhood, she often babysat a handful of neighborhood kids, in addition to my brother and I. (Although, is it really babysitting when it's your own kids...?) She was always searching for activities to occupy our time until the pool opened at noon. One particularly creative morning she decided to clear out the kitchen cupboards, eradicating any canned goods past their expiration dates or deemed unworthy of gracing our kitchen table. The morning was fruitful, as she found buried at the back of the cupboard a can of Campbell's Nacho Cheese Soup (which, ew, really does exist), and a can of pickled beets. In a stroke of motherly genius, she donated these two items to my game of "house". And because every good mother wants their child to have the tools to succeed, she also offered up a can opener. WHY? The world may never know. But man, oh man, were we glad she did. That day the Yokom girls and I created the culinary delight known as Beet Cheese Surprise. Lacking bowls or cups, we dumped the contents right on the pavement, using sticks to stir up the lumpy mass. When my mom discovered our masterpiece, she checked the clock, announced the pool to be open, and sent us on our way. She must have felt somewhat responsible for the unpalatable mess as I'm pretty sure she hosed that shit down and never spoke of it again.

My mom was a fantastic cheerleader. As a precocious first grader, I had the dubious honor of receiving an award for excellent spelling. I say dubious because first grade spelling is not really all that difficult. Either that, or I was matriculating with a class full of morons. Anyway. I was set to receive this award at an all-school assembly, which also happened to fall on "crazy clothes day". My mom, not wanting me to miss an opportunity to express my individuality, enthusiastically applauded my decision to wear long johns covered in tin foil topped with an antenna headband. Crazy, right?! The school administration thought otherwise and ordered my mom to bring a change of clothes, post haste, which she also did enthusiastically.

My mom was a great storyteller. At night, after tucking my brother and me in, she'd pull out the chapter book and read until I drifted off. Most of the books are a jumbled mass of lost memory floating in my brain, but the night my mom finished Charlotte's Web made an indelible mark on me. Mom's voice was calm and soothing as she read of Charlotte's imminent demise and Wilbur's panic and dismay. Like every other night, my mom closed the book, checked once more on my brother, and went off to bed herself. But that night I lay weeping, sad for Charlotte's death, sad for all that Wilbur had lost, confused at why anyone had to die. I snuck out of bed and tiptoed to my parent's room, looking for answers. I crawled in next to my mom and sobbed, "WHY DID CHARLOTTE HAVE TO DIE?" My mom, ever the compassionate woman, replied, "Because all things die." Her answer was so succinct, so honest and true. She hugged me close and let me cry until I couldn't cry anymore.

My mom was never the soccer mom. She never carpooled the neighborhood kids or baked elaborate birthday cakes or volunteered as art mom or joined the PTO. She never scheduled her life around my brother and I. What she gave was time, and sometimes her time was precious. My mom gave of herself in a way that fostered a deep and lasting relationship, and we have weathered some storms. She has always been my loudest cheerleader and a seemingly bottomless well of support. I don't always say it and sometimes I'm quite terrible at showing it, but mom, I really do think you're the greatest. And you still whip up a wicked Hamburger Helper.

Happy Mother's Day.


Born This Way

A few years back a young, talented pop star emerged and captured the attention of, well, everyone. Everyone but me, that is. I loathed this woman. She sang about dancing and paparazzi and poker and telephones. She dressed like a fool. Nothing she did or said appeared to contain any real substance -- it was all for shown. And I hated it. I hated her hoof heels and meat dresses and her "Born This Way" anthems. Everything about her was contrived and fake. To me she was a walking punch line. Why couldn't she just be REAL, I moaned.

Then, by chance, I caught an interview with the loathsome star on 60 Minutes. And I fell in love with Lady Gaga.

I have always been unapologetically in lurve with pop culture. I read fashion and gossip blogs obsessively. I consume pop culture like some people consume food. But I don't fucking care. It fills an entertainment void AND does double duty as trivia fodder. When Unsuspecting Fred Meyer Clerk challenges me to a pop culture duel, look out, because OF COURSE I know Joe Pesci released an album in the 60's, thankyouverymuch.


Throughout the course of the interview, Lady Gaga was asked about her music, her fashion forays, her songwriting. Conspicuously missing from the interview was anything personal -- nothing about her love life, family, home. ZIP. ZILCH. NADA. And I realized (somewhat naively, I suppose), that Lady Gaga was a construct. Of course she was. She served as a buffer, or, more accurately, a cop conducting traffic. Every time she arrived in an egg, or eschewed pants in public, she was directing my attention to her persona, making sure I never looked behind the curtain for the wizard. The meat dress was merely guiding me in Lady Gaga's desired direction, while Stefani Germanotta was free to carry on as a somewhat normal member of society. Lady Gaga wasn't a fraud, she was a GENIUS. What better way to keep the public's prying eyes from your most intimate and private moments than to create a male alter ego named Joe Calderone?! Fucking brilliant.

Now back to my pop culture consumption. Like any bad habit, I consume(d) all that salty, delicious pop culture mindlessly, never caring for what was said or who was saying it. (Expect Britney. Man, that was hard to watch.) And while I clicked and clicked, always wanting more and more, I was completely oblivious to the fact that I, too, was being observed. Like every good twenty-something, I Facebooked, I blogged, I tweeted. Every piece of myself I put into the universe was really me offering myself up for judgement. But was I?

Every piece I put into the universe was calculated. Every piece was pointed, thought-out, crafted. Every post, tweet, and status update gave the universe fodder, but rarely did I provide a piece of myself. Save for a handful of very raw blog posts (and one "shitty" post), I have worked hard to cultivate my own (online) persona -- one of a fun-loving, outgoing, happy-go-lucky young woman. That part of me really does exist, to be sure, but it is not all of me. Not by any means. By creating this persona, though, I have been able to avoid pointed questions about my faith, my family, my love life -- all things I consider personal and decidedly NOT up for discussion.

Which leads me here. Because I offer up little of myself in initial meetings, I am invariably wary of people who say they "LOVE!" me upon first meeting. Or second meeting. Or only in certain contexts. Or because I post funny shit on the internet. I take my time getting to know people, and conversely, take my time letting people get to know me. It's rare (read: NEVER) that I let anyone know all the things initially. As a matter of fact, I feel very UNcomfortable when people know too much. Occasionally someone comes along who forces me to be socially intimate before I'm ready, shoving Stefani Germanotta behind the curtain, and thrusting Lady Gaga onto the stage. 


I inevitably become the caricature you think I am. This makes me bitter and resentful, both because I am not a caricature and because I don't like to be forced into anything. 

The very unfortunate flip side to this coin is that I am also very suspect of those who offer themselves up for consumption, seemingly without regard for privacy or mystery or self-respect. I do not understand those individuals who share willy-nilly the most intimate pieces of themselves. I do not understand how one's faith, family, or love life could be offered up as fodder for prying eyes. I do not understand why sharing (with complete or near strangers) is caring. 

But Mindy, this is at total odds with your pop culture obsession! How do you reconcile perusing gossip blogs with your seemingly unending need for personal privacy?!

I don't know. I'ma go read some Dlisted and get back to you.


Packing, Plotting, and a Whole Lotta Day Drinking

Today's word of the day comes from Dictionary.com:

Sundry (adj.) - various or diverse

I have sundry topics on which to report.

First, in an attempt to save mucho dinero, packing has commenced and I am moving AGAIN, this time back to the nest. For years my parents have jokingly referred to their spare room as "Mindy's Bedroom", a term at which I always scoffed. WELP. Joke's on them now, bitches, 'cause my shit's taking up residence in Meridian. Do not be too jealous of my awesome adult life, Internets.

I have *OFFICIALLY* finished all mah grad school apps. And now I wait. The waiting is maybe the hardest part. Ultimately I'm not terribly concerned with where I end up, I just know I am SOFA KING ready to go. Like yesterday ready. 

I crocheted my first baby beanie. I know, like, eleventy billion pregnant women, so I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone -- learn a new skill AND make cool hipster beanies for all the new babies. So far I have completed just the one, but I think it's stellar. Also, that beanie model is legit, don't ya think?

It's a hat! Or a Yurt! Or half a bikini!

Thanks to my favorite old lady, Erica, I have signed up for two courses through Coursera, the online education technology company. In order to keep my brain engaged (and keep myself from going crazy neurotic insane), I have enrolled in courses titled Synapses, Neurons and Brains; and Introduction to International Criminal Law. In the first course, "You will become intimately acquainted with the operational principles of neuronal “life-ware” (synapses, neurons and the networks that they form) as well as with recent ideas about how the dynamics of these networks generate the “neuronal code.” As an aperitif we will highlight present brain-excitements and for dessert we will discuss the future of brain research." I fully appreciate the use of "aperitif" and "dessert" in the context of learning. Food motivates me, what can I say?! The second course on International Law is simply a way for me to learn to circumvent anti-piracy law...

I have fully cemented my status as a second rate hipster by purchasing a pair of Tom's. They are squishy and fluffy and wonderfully slipper-like. And despite my best efforts to talk shit at every available opportunity, I am fully convinced they were worth every penny. Happy early birthday to me!

Finally, beer-drinking weather, ERRR, golfing weather is BACK! Game on!


Class is now in session

Look ma, I'm internet famous!

And why I save these conversations for a Sunday morning (with a Jack and Coke hangover, no less) is beyond me...


Lazy Love

Today is a day for love. Or the manufactured construct of love. I don't have time to write about that shit, though. I did, however, have time to repost some shit. ENJOY!

I have completely neglected this bitch. But don't feel bad, I've pretty much neglected e'erything else as well. As a matter of fact, dishes from my last home-cooked meal (read: the morning of Sunday, February 6th) are continuing to rot in the sink. Don't judge. I got food poisoning that night and puked so hard snot dripped outta my nose and tears streaked my face. Which leads me to today, Valentine's Day. A day for sappy sentiments and even sadder, sappier suckers. I have nothing against Valentine's Day. As a matter of fact, I've had a handful of awesomely successful Valentine's chock full of flowers and food and sex.

Today was not one of those days.

Today, I had to make a trip to Kooky Korean Doc's so that I could fish around in my own poop, so that in a week Kooky Korean Doc can tell me if I'm gonna die, or if I just have hemorrhoids. Or colon cancer. Or e.coli poisoning. (Yeah, pretty sure it's not that last one, but if it is, hooray for my new "I'm headed home soon and need to lose 20 pounds FAST" diet plan!)

So yeah, this Valentine's Day was THE SHIT!

*As much as I'd fucking love to end this post with that wildly successful pun, I can't. After I told Kooky Korean Doc about my probs, he asked me the routine follow-up questions: What did you eat? Are you feeling stress? How is your sleep? Do you have lelijun? WAIT. WHAT?

"Do you have lelijun?" he repeated. I ran the word through my Konglish Translator. Lesions? Do I have lesions?

"Like spots?" I asked, still baffled.

"You are American? Do you have L-E-L-I... I am Christian!" Kooky Korean Doc proudly proclaimed, as he pointed to the Bible on his desk.


"Uh, no, I do not have RE-LI-JUN," I enunciated carefully. But back to the potentially cancerous growth in my intestines, if you will.

"You are happy?"

Exasperated sigh. "Yes, I am happy."

"Me! I am happy or not happy?"

REALLY exasperated sigh. "Uh, happy?"

And on it went until he pulled out a sheet of paper entitled "Seven Steps to Spirituality: Reasons Mindy's NOT Getting into Heaven", or some such ridiculousness.

*Parenthetically: I am all for religious freedom -- practice it, revel in it, bathe your damn kids in it -- but for fuck's sake please, please, PLEASE keep it at church. And while we're at it, keep it off the streets of Itaewon, everyone there is already going to hell. Oh, and my front doorstep too.

Anyway, seeings how I could never say any of those things to Kooky Korean Doc, I batted my eyes, smiled politely and said, "Religion is for church. Health is for hospital. Please, no religion here."

He sat back. He smiled. Then he asked if I was ready to poop.


Signs of the Apocalypse

Search keywords that may or may not have led *YOU* here:

Cooking with sperm


Snowman of sperm

I just. I can't even. UGH.

*UPDATE. Please read this.


February, You Bitch

I want to go to bed so badly, but I just painted my nails. Ugh, why do I always do this?! First world probs, fo sho.

Also, soft core lady porn has been on permanent rotation at my house for the past three days. I'd like to personally thank Sarah Hamrick for loaning the entire series of The L Word to my roommate. (Insert sarcasm here.)

The inversion continues, but every morning I believe Erik Jones when he tells me it's just "FOG". I feel like believing his lies makes my morning commute somehow more bearable. Of course, by the time recess rolls around and the "FOG" has yet to lift, I'm cursing Erik and his bogus morning weather report. This is seriously jeopardizing our friendship, Jones.

Cabin fever has officially set in.

Goddamn you winter, GTFO.


A Little Dash of Gay

OMFG, that last blog post has been a huge point of contention between me and my GAY ASS roommate.

Sunday night I rushed home to tell her all about how I felt up my cousin at my sister-in-law's baby shower. I was so excited to finally touch some fake boobies. Now, it's not like it was a damn goal or anything, but when given the chance to compare my real set to her fake set, I jumped at the opportunity. WHO WOULDN'T?!

My roommate, and lifelong lesbian, sees it differently. Gay, totally gay, she claims. The fact that I touched my cousin (FAMILY) makes it even more gay, apparently. Like, Kentucky gay.

I, however, am much more enlightened that she. I prefer to view it as a clinical exploration of the body. I was simply interested in comparing the look and feel of my very real breasts to her very fake ones. I'm an inquisitive person. I'm also a tactile person. So the fact that I squeezed, bounced, and otherwise fondled my cousin's fake boobs all in the name of science is really not so gay to me. Is just good research, really.

What say you?


I Went to This Baby Shower and All I Got Was to Second Base With My Cousin.

This is not a New Year's resolution failure, people, I was just seriously lacking in blog fodder. As per usual, my winter times have been filled with copious amounts of beer, food, and sitting on my ass watching the Wire. (I may have also written an entire semester's worth of Kindergarten AND school-age curriculum, in addition to a grant, but that's besides the point.) What I mean to say is this -- winter is boring, y'all, and bitching about the 3-week inversion, total lack of sunshine, and sub-zero temps does not make for easy reading. So daily blogging fell by the wayside in pursuit of warmer endeavors, like sleeping.

But today I hit pay dirt. Beware, this story involves two loud-mouthed cousins, a little bit of lesbian action, and a baby shower.

My brother and his wife are pregnant with their second child. For most people, this is a joyous occasion. The promise of new life always makes people so damn happy, and to celebrate the impending birth people throw baby showers. These "showers" are really giant estrogen fests, chock full of sticky sweet treats, inane baby games, non-alcoholic punch, and a cake made of diapers. Did I mention the total lack of alcohol? Needless to say, baby showers are not really my bag, mostly because of the lack of alcohol, but also because I don't really like babies.

*Parenthetically: Oh, who am I kidding?! I don't like baby showers because I am jealous -- jealous because there is no "you made it to 30 without an expensive, unplanned pregnancy" shower. I mean damn, I could use a raft of free shit, too. But no. Good behavior is rarely rewarded. So I waltzed into that baby shower colored a lovely shade of bitter. I'm not proud of it. I know it's not a good look for me. But there it is.

After doing a lap to survey the snack/gift/prize tables, I settled into a seat near the left side of the room. I was soon joined by my mother, stepmother, cousin Rosanna, and her 8 year old daughter, Sydney. Slowly, the rest of the ladies (because it's ALWAYS ladies) grabbed seats and readied themselves for some FUN.

We played the usual baby shower games -- guess mommy's circumference (I won), baby animal match (I won AGAIN), name that nursery rhyme (second), and how many? (I won one, lost one). Normally I'm not a terribly competitive person, but timed trivia is totes my bag, so victory was really the only option. Bitterness coupled with sweet victory was not making me any friends, so I did the next best thing -- I pulled out my cell and started taking pictures -- pictures of my sister-in-law and her mountain of gifts, pictures of my half eaten plate of little smokies, pictures of the fam.

See, don't we look nice? Everyone looks happy, there's a bit of cleavage, no one's got food in their teeth. That cleavage thang was a sticking point for my mom. Upon reviewing the picture she happily declared, "Look, I've got some cleavage!" My cousin Rosanna demanded to see the pic again, wondering if she, too, had the cleave. At which point moms turned to her and said, "You should. You paid enough for it."


My mouth agape, I was speechless for the first time that afternoon. "Didn't I tell you?!" moms questioned.


"Yeah! I got a boob job, uh, last September!" my cousin proudly declared.

The shower effectively stopped being a shower at that point, at least for me. It was now a Top Secret Exploratory Mission, wherein I was tasked with rounding second base with my cousin in the neighborhood clubhouse men's bathroom. It was, I soon found out, NOT a mission impossible.

I grabbed her arm and slyly whispered, "Can I see them?!"

"OH YEAH!" She loudly and emphatically agreed. Why buy the cow, eh?

So we snuck off to the women's bathroom, only to find it fully occupied. UGH, of course. Being related and having relatively (HA!) little shame, we both shrugged our shoulders, nodded our heads, and ducked into the deserted men's bathroom. After securing the lock and double-checking the stalls, she pulled down her tank top, lifted up her sports bra, and presented her fantastically augmented fun bags. I stared in awe -- not because I've never seen boobs (I've got a fine set myself), not because I've never seen fake boobs (porn, anyone?), and not even because they were hideously weird or deformed (although that would have been fun). I stared in awe because we were in a men's bathroom, sharing body parts like children. There was no shame or weirdness or gross-me-out factors involved AT ALL. In fact, it seemed so natural that my only response to her fake tits was, "Can I touch them?" And there, in the men's bathroom at my sister-in-law's baby shower, I felt up my cousin. I was pleasantly surprised to find them soft yet firm, with just the right amount of bounce. And my cousin being a fairly small woman, I found the upgrade suited her quite nicely. She showed me the scars, one on the underside of each breast, and claimed nipple sensation was even better than before. Gone were the bulky, padded bras of her teens and twenties, replaced with dainty, lacy sports bras or nothing at all. I nodded and mhmm'd while she discussed the finer points of her fake-boob-attaining-decision-making-process at the snacks table. Rosanna was born with a cleft lip and palate and has been visiting plastic surgeons all her life. OF COURSE she'd been looking at breast augmentation pics for ages. It was a natural choice, she explained.

After we'd both loaded up on snacks and shit, we returned to our table. Both my mom and step mom were silent on the subject of boob jobs and neither one dared ask if I'd actually completed Mission: Impossible. But for me, it was a TOTAL WIN.


Thank You for Being a Friend...

Laziest. Blog. Post. EVAR.

Ladies' craft night and shit's gettin' real... OLD. Knitting, crocheting, scones, and box wine. Golden Girls 4EVER, bitches!

Wine in mugs for old, gnarly fingers

Also, scarf number three is coming along swimmingly, thankyouverymuch.


My Dance Card is Too Full

Arrrghh. It's hard to blog everyday, y'all. Especially when you spend snow days sleeping, Friday nights karaokeing, and Saturdays day drinking (it's a thing, trust me).

Monday, I'm lookin' at you...


This is How I Know I'm Old - Part 2

This is the tale of the snake scarf and one (young) woman's journey through the nursing home...

Last night resumed Ladies' Craft Night, a regular Tuesday night gathering usually involving snacks, always involving wine, and occasionally involving crafting. Last night was an occasionally night for me as I have no current craft in which to engage. I'm done making Christmas, nay HOLIDAY cards, I gave up making earrings, and I couldn't very well bring the remainder of my grad school essays, so I asked Lindsay to bring her crochet supplies. DAMMIT, if I can get into grad school, I can fucking learn to crochet!

(*Sidenote -- turns out I could have brought my damn essays. I arrived to find Lindsay making long division worksheets for her "fucking lazy" high schoolers.)

My crochet teacher for the night, Lindsay, is a high school physics teacher. And not just any old physics, but ADVANCED PLACEMENT physics. She does more with her brain in one day than I probably do all year. Figuring she must be proficient at her job, I set about playing the role of student. I was not disappointed. In just a few steps Lindsay had me hooking like a pro (sorry mom). Within a mere ten minutes, I had what appeared to be the beginnings of a very chunky, cozy scarf.

Please do ignore the grungy kitchen rug.
 Also, I can assure you that's not a giant stain, but the shadow of my head. 
I think.

One problem. Do you see what I see? Yeah, my scarf was looking a little wonky. No worries, I figured, I'd just have to keep better count whilst I crocheted. Unfortunately red wine and teacher gossip intervened. Within a few more minutes this is what my scarf had turned into:

Nice socks, eh?

A certifiable hot fucking mess. It looked as though a very soft, flat snake had just swallowed a trio of mice and was in the midst of digesting said vermin. This was not going as planned, however I was undeterred. Erica, on the other hand, was beside herself. "You know, you could just unravel your work and start over. You could start from the beginning and keep count and have a nice, even scarf," she said very pointedly. Uniformity and strict adherence to the rules are Erica's two closest friends. The fact that my scarf more closely resembled a bloated reptile was patently unacceptable for her. Me? Meh, not so much. I was more interested in emptying my glass of red and talking shit about my students than creating a scarf opus, as it were.

As the end of Craft Night drew near, Erica's husband arrived to retrieve her. Before she left, she gave my snake scarf one last evil eye. But I had hatched a plan. As soon as she was safely out the door, I proudly informed the ladies that I would be gifting this, my inaugural scarf, to Erica. Surely she would be delighted, amiright?!

So tonight I hurried home from the le gym and worked diligently through two episodes of *Parenthood and one catch-up episode of The Daily Show (fuck yeah Jon Stewart) to finish my masterpiece.

The home stretch

Unfortunately I ran into a bit of a conundrum. The ball of green yarn Lindsay had so graciously given me was disappearing quickly. And yet I was just hitting my stride. Lost to the mindless drone of TV, I had somehow managed to even out my scarf -- so neat, so orderly. It had become a thing of beauty, really. But it was still too short to really serve as a warm, snuggly, fully actualized SCARF. So I did the thing any good bullshitter does and I improvised! No more green yarn? FUCK IT! Weave in some white and, voila, instant Urban Outfitters street cred. It's as it was meant to be all along.

Just a touch of white

Sadly, the transition from green to white did not go as smoothly as I had (planned? hoped?), and the end of my scarf, once again, resembled a 2nd grade charity project. Ah well, it's the thought that counts, right?!


Obligatory Myspace bathroom pics, coming right up!

*Spoiler Alert: Drew Holt (Braverman), Lauren Graham's boring ass son from Parenthood, got his girlfriend pregnant. AND THEY HAD AN ABORTION. The damn writers on the show couldn't even let the characters say the fucking word. IN 2013. ON TV. IN AMERICA. Seriously. They merely alluded to it as "an option". These aren't even real people. Jesus, sometimes America gets it so wrong...


This is How I Know I'm Old

You guys, I'm old. Like, legit old. Today I saw on the news the most awesome show in the world, Antiques Roadshow, will be rolling through Boise this June. HELL YEAH. Also, I learned to crochet. And I'm now drinking wine from a box on a somewhat regular basis. And I've eaten Cream Of Wheat for dinner twice this week already. And I've been perusing The Economist more often than is healthy at my age.

SHIT. I blame Erica.


Do You Creak?

Today, thanks to my good friend Jeff, I stumbled across this podcast on Slate. I don't usually listen to podcasts, as I can't absorb the info all that well and usually find my mind wandering when I'm *supposed* to be listening (you can imagine what kind of student I was...). However, I was, like, totally into the subject matter and before I knew it had listened to the entire podcast -- TWICE.

According to wikipedia, vocal fry or creaky voice "is the lowest vocal register and is produced through a loose glottal closure which will permit air to bubble through slowly with a popping or rattling sound of a very low frequency." What? Here, take a quick listen. 

Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so too. Kind of sounds like every disaffected, apathetic, asshole (female) teenager I've ever worked with. According to Lexicon Valley, however, it is the speak of "contemporary, urban, upwardly mobile women" and is the result, maybe, of some perceived benefit women attain from lowering the pitch of their voices to more match that of their male counterparts, thereby producing a more authoritative, male-like sound.

I'm not sure if I believe that, but if it's true, I blame Elle Woods.


Bad Dreams

Sobotka: "You know what the trouble is, Brucey? We used to make shit in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket."

I spent the evening firmly planted on my ass, burrito wrapped on Pat's couch, watching the greatest show ever. 

Thursday night Wire time suck.



Nobody says "I want to be a word nerd" when I grow up. I know I certainly didn't. But I have always been fascinated with words. In first grade I received an award for spelling every single word on every sing test correctly, all year long. Who cares if the majority of first grade spelling lists mostly include the classic CVC words such as bat, cat, pat, rat?! Even then I knew to take victories wherever I could get 'em.

My word nerdiness took a turn for the awesome when I started doing crossword puzzles during break time in between teaching classes. Initially, the crosswords were a way for me to avoid my evil boss, Ruth, who sat perched, sans shoes, in her (very squishy) rolly chair, trilling orders at all the English teachers in the room. This woman was the embodiment of harpy and I had little patience for her bitching. Besides, I had plenty of my own complaining to do. Very quickly, however, I realized how much I loved working every crossword and giving myself a big penciled star upon completion. At some point, I even started noting any unfamiliar words and saving them in a mini notepad I christened my Word Nerd book. When I couldn't finish a crossword, I'd stuff it in my purse and save it for later perusal, usually on the bus or subway. On Fridays I'd print off multiple crosswords, knowing my weekend would be full of commuting. It became an excellent source of education and entertainment -- edutainment (a portmanteau, if you didn't know).

Which brings me to now. A few months ago I told Pat of my word nerd book. Of course he took every opportunity to badger me, proclaiming me just as nerdy as himself. (This, however, would be nearly impossible, as Patrick is the ultimate NYERD.) Inside, however, I suspect he was giddy, because on Christmas Eve he presented me with three rectangular packages. BOOKS. So obvious. But I'm a book lover, so it was a natural choice. However, one book in particular has tickled my fancy a great deal -- Word Nerd - More Than 17,000 Fascinating Facts About Words by Barbara Ann Kipfer. This book is SO FUCKING AWESOME! It's like the coolest dictionary ever, arranged alphabetically and full of facts, roots, common words, weird words, outdated words -- the works. Like any good student, I've taken to reading it in order, front to back, always with highlighter in hand. Wanna read some of my favorites?

Abligurition is the damn story of my life -- squandering my money on treats and comfort food

I like to think my students find me abubble -- full of excitement and enthusiasm

You all know I love an acomous head -- a cute word for bald

Did you know both eggs and brains are capable of being addled? An addled brain is mixed up; an addled egg is rotten. Addled also refers to mental confusion, while muddled is anything confused or messy.

Good writing on a trivial subject? Adoxography it is!

I have often used the word inadvertent (made through lack of planning). I have never found occasion for advertent (giving attention; heedful).

Did you know that aficionado means amateur in Spanish? Yeah, me neither.

Try this mouthful: agathokakological. Means made of good and evil.

There is an entire branch of philosophy dedicated to the study of human ignorance called Agnoiology.

All-overish sounds like a term my kindergarteners would use to describe coloring. For adults it relays a slight feeling of indisposition.

Did you know Amazon.com was so named because the founder wanted the store's inventory to be as deep and wide as the Amazon river?

An unpronounced letter or letter combination is an aphthong.

And my favorite find of the day? Anus. It's latin for ring (because of course it is.)