A rrrrrrrubber biscuit?? And: Tribute to Poppa Pants

I wish once again that I had an audio clip to share with this post. Because the title really isn’t funny unless 1) you’re me, 2) you’ve seen the movie (which I can’t remember…Blues Brothers maybe) or possibly 3) you know Poppa Pants and have heard him say it. Hilarious. My favorite is this exchange: my mother, weary from a day of work or long to-do list around the house, inquires about dinner. “What do we want to have for dinner?” And my father’s enthusiastic response of “A rrrrrrrrrubber biscuit!?!” Giggles ensue.

Welcome, fathers of all shapes and sizes and a very Happy Father’s Day [belated] to everyone and especially my one and only Poppa Pants.

Dads are special people, especially to daughters. Mothers are there to help us grow, nourish us, give us bandaids, and talk about boys. Dads are there to lay down the law and show us how a real man treats women. They teach us how to play sports, in the hopes that we might like Barbies a little less, and play baseball with him more. Or how to properly use a power drill. If we’re lucky, they teach us what a loving marriage looks like. They are our guardians, doing the cleaning-the-shotgun routine at the door when the first boy comes calling. Dads are sort of indispensable. I’m super glad to have mine, because he taught me so much. And is still teaching, despite my new adult status as a 24-year-old. To the good dads out there, daughters are never really adults. We’re always learning, and always one or two or ten chapters behind them in the book of life lessons. And they are always more than glad to teach us, in the hopes that we can skip the painful chapters and get to the good parts. Again, if we’re lucky. And I am.

When I was three, my mother met a man who was really nice, got me awesome stuffed animals, and let me come on their dates. When I was 5, she married this man, and when I was 5 and a half, he became my daddy. I remember asking numerous times when I could officially start calling him “Daddy.” I was excited in that way that small kids get excited about things – purely and not jaded by past disappointments. When it became legally official and we three became a family, I inherited a last name that no one can pronounce or spell, an awesome dog, and a dad that loved me as his own – so much so that we never talk about it. And I don’t mean we don’t talk about it like, “we don’t discuss such things,” or, “ahem, we don’t talk about it.” It’s more like, we just don’t talk about it because it’s not important.

In my family, being a dad is not about sharing DNA, hairlines, or medical history. Though we both have to smile when people say I look just like him. It’s not about passing on the family name, and really it’s not about the name at all. No one can spell it anyway. It’s about love. Daddy has supported me in every single thing I’ve done that I can recall – except anything to do with boys, obviously. He attended swim meets, miserably taking place on weekends from dawn to dusk (looking back, I now hope my kids don’t want to swim…yikes). He attended my tennis matches even though I wasn’t ranked and only got to play fun doubles – but I think he was proud when I was awarded most spirited. Because attitude is everything to him. This is evident in how he embraced raising me as his own, and now as an adult I can say soundly that I am his. In more ways than we can both count.

He taught me how to drive, and now our habits are identical to the annoyance of my mother. He taught me to want certain things, how to choose what I want, and how to fight for the short list and get it, instead of fighting for the long list and getting nothing. “It’s all in the want to,” he’d say, when I “couldn’t” remember things, or “couldn’t” do things. He was also famous for the “you’ll know when you’re older” line, which as we’ve discussed here before is just one of those things. Because it’s true – I am older, and I do know now. I look back and shake my head, laugh, cry, and call him and say, “UGH remember when I was so annoying and did this?!” And he’ll chuckle and not even need to say I-told-you-so. Because he knew that I’d know, and now he knows that I know, and we both know. You know?

As a grown-up I’ve met a few single moms who are out there looking for a man, the baggage of their child or children dragging them down, making them wonder if they’ll be alone forever and if their kids will ever know what it’s like to have a man who loves them proper. Those girls that grow up without dads sometimes come to be known as the girl who has “daddy issues,” the ones who are on Law & Order: SVU – you know what I’m talking about. The strippers, escorts, or girls who get worked over repeatedly by the same guy, or multiple guys. These are the girls who might’ve missed having the heavy and loving hand of a father growing up, teaching them to respect themselves, and how to demand respect from others. These moms should have faith. The Man sent my mother a man when she had a toddler (for crying out loud), and he decided to stick around. And since I had no say in those happenings, I have to say thanks to both of them. Thanks to my mother for being smart and picking him, and thanks to my daddy for picking her back since she came with me, and choosing to be my father and stick around for life. It’s pretty cool.

So on this week after Father’s Day (because I was too busy hanging with my Daddy to write this before), give your daddy an extra hug. Because in spite of what the DNA says, every dad chooses. Thanks to mine, for choosing to be a daddy.

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A Reading from the Diary of an American Teenager According to Facebook

Anybody been on Facebook lately? Hands in the air. Then you’ve seen all the ridiculous postings going on that are making me want to cry a thousand tears as I sit at my desk in my small corporate cubicle eating peanut butter out of the jar wishing that I too was, “so excited to be at the beachhhhhh with my babyyyy it is soOoOoOoo sunny and beautifullllllll!!!!” Gag. Good times with the alternating capital letters in the middle of a word. Anyway. I recently went on a 9 day cruise and have another mini beach vacation coming up so I can’t really complain, even though I still do while I stuff my face with peanut butter and try not to hover near the windows, gazing at the sunny parking lot.

Moving on. Through acquaintances and family, I have some friends on FB who are still in school. Like middle school. And high school. It’s so cute. It’s also terrible because I see this one girl and I’m like OMG how are you so pretty in the 7th grade, it’s not even fair. Then I realize she’s not in 7th grade anymore but practically driving herself around and I’m like holy mother I’m so old, she was like 6 years old yesterday and now she has boys chasing her and her perfect hair, probably around the mall. Ugh. My hair was so gross during that phase of life.

Reading this age-group’s statuses keeps me young though, so I torture myself by keeping them in my newsfeed when I could so easily click the little x in the corner and choose “Hide All by Anyone Still in Puberty.” Right? How cool would that option be! Anyway. These messages take me back to the days of earnest angst and crazy intense feelings for things we can’t even spell. Check out this tribute to my 12-year-old self and my loving father here. Things like this gem: “I love my baby so much she makes me so happy and I can’t wait to see her tonight!!” I want to know how long these two have been “together.” 3 days? “I have the best boyfriend in the entire universe he rox my world babyyyy luv uuuuuuu!!!” How about this one? A week? I once had a relationship last about 6 days. It was epic. We walked to the pool arm in arm and I don’t remember if we kissed, but if we did I’m sure it was record-breaking amazing, seeing as at that point I’d had so much experience kissing boys. Fun. I recall after the first 3 days how special I felt, and how I couldn’t wait for the rest of my life and being at school with him and how awesome it was going to be to eat lunch together and maybe we’d even hold hands!! Sigh. Then 3 more days went by and we had a phone call that went something like this:

“Hey.”
“Wussup.”
[30 minute convo about something random and pointless, probably gossiping]
“So.”
“So, I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”
“K, cool.”
“K, well, see you at the pool tomorrow.”
“Yeah, cool, I’m bringing pizza.”
“Sweeeeet, can you get breadsticks too?!”
“Definitely.”
“K, bye.”
“See ya.”

Completely harmless. I remember not being upset and literally hanging out the next day eating pizza. NBD. The boyfriend before this one though, my 7th grade love, was definitely more intense. We passed notes during school, and I distinctly remember one of his friends passing me in the hall and saying, “Hey, you’re Jason’s girl, aren’t you?” Duh! Jason’s girl! As if they didn’t know! [His name wasn’t Jason, natch] I died and went to heaven in that moment as I proudly answered, “Yes, I sure am.” It was probably more of a shy, meekly mumbled, “yeah,” but it was so cool to be “someone’s girl.” Looking back I try to recall how long it was after that encounter that I remained his girl, until he broke up with me in the hall after lunch. Miserable. If I had known, I wonder if I would have answered the question differently: “Yeah I am for now, until he discovers boobs then I’ll be toast. Love him though!” I think it was shortly after the breakup that I started waxing my eyebrows. Good times.

It also kills me that this age group quotes all the ridiculously romantic country songs that sing about true love when you’re 17. Name one person who had true love when they were 17 and it lasted until they were 18. Ok so I just thought of 2 couples I was in high school with who are now happily married. Point ruined. But seriously, it’s not that common. I would guestimate that maybe 90% of “relationships,” if they can even be called that, are sustainable when started at a time when girls are obsessed with Britney Spears or some equivalent, and boys are making up stories about all the sex they’re having. And now that I’ve written that, seems like not much has changed now that we’re “grown,” except we mostly dress better and maybe scream / hyperventilate a little less frequently. Still love Britney/Gaga. Still making up stories about our sex lives.  Since I’m disproving the point I’m trying to make I’ll move on. All I really want to say is that I sort of wish that someone would tell these kids to just take it easy and calm down. It must be so stressful to go from this: “this is the BEST day of my life my baby is amazing and i love him so much omgomgomg!!!” to this: “life SUX rite nowwwww UGH. [insert totally emo song lyric]” in less than an hour.

But that’s the beauty I guess of that time of our lives. When you’re in it, everyone is telling you it’s no big deal, he’s not that great, you’ll get over it, and my favorite: “When you’re older you’ll look back on this and laugh.” If I had a penny for every time I heard that in middle and high school, my retirement fund would be double it’s current size. And of course now I see all these things happening to other “kids” the same way it happened to me, and I see their reactions giving me dejavu of my reactions, and what do I think? I shake my head and say, oh when they’re older they’ll look back on this and say “WHY the heck did I post that jank on the world wide web!?” AKA you’ll look back and laugh. And then apologize to your parents for being such drama queenz. I did.

It’s my birfday!

Happy birthday to me! That’s right ladies and gentlemans, today is the 24th anniversary of my birth. 24 years ago at 4:30am, Momma Sassy brought me into the world after 2 seconds of easy labor, which I heard her describe once as feeling like “a tiny little menstrual cramp” but “not a big deal or very painful.” Those are not direct quotes even though I used quotes. But I guess easy labor is what happens when you’re in shape and give birth to a tiny pint sized baby. Maybe you’re chuckling, but really I was pint sized, weighing in at around 5 pounds, which I guess technically is more like 5 pints but whatever. PintS plural sized. But no one cares about how much I weighed 24 years ago except my mom so let’s move on.

Birthdays really are special and I super love birthdays, especially my birthday. Ha. Who doesn’t love their birthday. Actually I guess plenty of people don’t like their birthday if they don’t want to get old. Or if perhaps there is a bad memory associated with birthdays, but seriously. No other time in the year can one celebrate their own being. No other time is as good for celebrating someone else’s actual being. I think about it like this: celebrating a birthday is like affirming someone’s existence. By wishing them a happy birthday, you’re essentially saying, “hey friend, I’m glad you exist!” And who doesn’t love this kind of existence affirmation?! Like It’s a Wonderful Life. The world would be a vastly different place if you did not exist, no matter what you think or how depressed you are or how big of a pity party pit you have dug for yourself. Whenever I get down and dirty in my pity party pit, I wallow in the dirt for a few minutes (everyone loves a good pity party) and then I think about all the good things in my life (that I wouldn’t enjoy if I didn’t…exist) and it helps me climb out. Likewise, if you’re in your pity party pit (PPP? Hm.) and even those positive thoughts aren’t helping, you can take the slightly more selfish tactic and think about all the people and things you positively impact. Personal connections, volunteer work, enriching your parents’ and family’s life. It’s a fun exercise. Just don’t talk about how great you are to your friends because then you’ll seem like a self-centered douche bag. No one likes those. But everyone likes a happy, appreciative person, and today, that is what I am. Happy and appreciative. Among other things.

23 has been a great year for me. Let’s review. This year, since last June 8th, I have: spontaneously chopped all my hair off with my own pink-handled scissors. I then repeatedly chopped hair off until I was satisfied with my curly-haired homemade version of Posh’s pixie cut. Then a week later I realized it doesn’t fit my face and hated it and have been waiting for it to grow out ever since. When I was 23 I did some dumb things involving boys, numerous times. So dumb. Really, really dumb. For real. Also when I was 23 I went on an awesome cruise with my mother. I lived outside of San Francisco for 6 months. I went on a whole bunch of spontaneous road trips solo. I made a bunch of new friends out west who I will probably never see again. I planned a girls weekend. Went to NYC. Attended a bachelorette party for a close friend. When I was 23 I spent a gagillion dollars more than I should have on shoes (something I will more than likely continue to do now that I am 24). When I was 23 I realized I am no where near being ready to get married, and when I was 23 I watched a gagillion of my friends get engaged and/or married. Another trend that will continue in my 24th year. And probably my 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, and into my 30th year and beyond. Though hopefully at some point in those years I will also be ready. No one wants to be The Single One when we’re all 40 years old. Yikes. 23 years is also the last of the “early twenties.” 23 years is the last of the college age-group. 24 and over is the graduate programs and the law schools and the med schools and the I’ve-been-working-a-long-time-and-already-got-a-promotion-and-a-family-to-feed time. Yikes / it’s exciting. Also 24 makes me the same age as my bff Le Fox. Being a different age than her makes me feel like a small child so I’m glad that’s over. Also “24” is a much more respectable number when hanging out with my primarily late-twenties to thirties friends. When asked, saying “I’m 23” always gets a response like “Awww that’s so cute! When did you graduate, like last year?! Ugh I remember 23..those were the days!” This, said by a 28-year-old is as obnoxious as it sounds but I feel like saying “I’m 24” will not garner such awkward responses. I know I’m cute, but I’m not a puppy. Though who knows. When I go out tonight to celebrate I’ll see what kind of responses I get.

Big huge mondo thanks and hugs to everyone who has called, texted, emailed, Facebooked, and g-chatted me today! It is so wonderful that we all have this one day a year to be appreciated and feel the love, and I am definitely feeling the love. Even at work, where no one knows my birthday, I feel the love. Mostly because I’m wearing a pin that says “Happy Birthday MSP!” Prompting people to say “Oh! Happy birthday!” which is extremely rewarding for me. My grandmother always said, it’s your own fault if people forget your birthday, and I aim to help everyone out. So, thanks to everyone who didn’t forget me. I love you all dearly. And to those of you who did forget me, my pin will remind you. I’m blessed to be surrounded by such love!

Cruisin for a bruisin

Yes, that is a Grease reference. My second favorite line is the bit about the hickey from Kenickie being like a Hallmark card. Teehee.

I have now been at work for a few days post my epic cruise vacation with Momma Sassy. And let me tell you, is it depressing or what. Originally I had thought I’d return to the office rejuvenated, refreshed, relaxed, and ready to re-work. And I was wrong. All I have been thinking about these past days is the cruise, the awesome times I had, the multiple naps per day, and the room service. I still haven’t gone grocery shopping because I can’t stop thinking about the food. And more than ever I’m wanting to leave work the minute I arrive and go sit by the pool. My neighborhood pool isn’t nearly as nice as the ship’s pool obviously, but it’s a pool nonetheless and I want to sip a frothy drink next to it. Or in it. Maybe this is coming off as complaining. Which is fine, because that’s basically what it is. Ha.

Moving on. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been on a cruise. Hands in the air people. I can see you through your webcam. The internet is a scary place. And so is a cruise ship when it comes to scary people. A cruise ship is better than Myrtle Beach on spring break for people watching. There are all kinds of people, ranging from first-time cruisers buried in their deck 2 stateroom with just a port hole to look out of, to the super swanky rich people throwing cash about at the Craps table in the casino. Big families with lots of small children, old retired couples who have been on 50 plus cruises just in the last 15 years. Newlyweds. Mother-daughter duos. The clientele runs the gamut, and provides ample entertainment outside of the theater for all aboard.

My first cruise-clientele-related observation involved the number of old people on our ship. Since this cruise took place at the end of May, I had assumed and been told to expect lots of college students. Graduations had just happened up and down the east coast, and fresh coeds were sure to populate the tiny staterooms and fill the dining room with raucous laughter. Wrong. Graduations may have just occurred, but the only people celebrating that on this cruise were the grandparents. And great-grandparents. And possibly even great-great-grandparents. I’m telling you, these people are old. There was a daily and nightly parade of Hoverounds and walkers, with wheels and without. Instead of complaining about strollers rolling away and hitting me, it was walkers. And automatic wheelchairs with occupants who have poor to terrible eyesight, much less depth perception. Have you ever seen one of these things pull a U-y? Probably not, since they pretty much all require a 9 point turn. I don’t want to bash Hoveround. Maybe it’s like we say at the office: Problem exists between keyboard and chair. In automatic wheelchair turns, it might be simply: Problem exists…in chair. Or something. Anyhoo, this provided us with a total of at least 10 cumulative hours of entertainment over the 9 days.

And I don’t want to hate on the elderly who have trouble getting around and need assistance. The chair is an awesome idea and I saw it work well for many elderly folks who otherwise couldn’t get from dinner to the show in under 45 minutes, traveling down a flight of stairs and a short hallway. But some of these jokers in automatic wheelchairs really don’t need them, and it really sticks in my craw. To me, those kinds of conveniences and services should be provided to those who really need it – like the old folks with bad knees and hips, arthritic joints, etc. If you are not elderly and disabled, you are just a lazy fatass. And if you walked rather than rolled yourself around, I bet you wouldn’t be so large. I’m not sorry.

You know what else is funny? The showers. And you know what got old after the 200th time? The jokes about the showers. People love making these cracks on how small the staterooms are and how tiny the bathroom is. I’ll admit. It is pretty darn small. Last entry I compared the bathroom we had to a port-o-john plus a shower. That is a pretty accurate estimation. And yes, the shower was ridiculously small, but Momma and I are pretty small ladies, both measuring under 5’2 and weighing in at…um let’s just say we both weigh under 122. Accurate? Yes. Precise? No. Moving on. This means the shower, while a little tight (TWSS) was a decent fit (TWSS). But we’re not overweight. I would guestimate that roughly 90% of the cruisers on this ship were at least considered overweight, if not outright obese or morbidly obese. Mum and I puzzled over how some of these people even bathed at all during this trip, seeing as they were all SO LARGE.

Other things cruisers love: free stuff. Or close to free stuff. On the last day at sea, the shops on board had a crazy sale in which they sell things for $10, ranging from hats and scarves to necklaces, bracelets, watches, clutches, and other goodies. It is an awesome sale. Except I saw a couple old ladies being trampled by larger, more robust old ladies. And I was shoved out of the way so one woman could examine a necklace/earring combo in front of me. I mean it was straight up out of a movie where the women are like jungle cats pouncing on innocent antelope/necklaces. Never have I seen a woman horde handfuls of jewelry and clutch 7 clutches to her chest like it’s the food that will save her from starvation. Trife.

Unrelated: tomorrow is my 24th anniversary of being born. Get excited.

Mother Daughter Cruise Extravaganza 2011 In Review

Last Saturday I returned from a 9 day hiatus vacation and cruise extravaganza with Momma Sassy. We had a FANTASTIC time, to put it simply. The cruise vacation really is one of the best vacations one can take as far as cost, food, quality of service, and fun for the money. Unless you go on a Carnival cruise, then I’d say there are no guarantees. My family is a big fan of Royal Caribbean, and after experiencing my second RC cruise, I’m super hooked as well. This is not an endorsement for RC nor is it a bashing on Carnival. To each his own. Just saying.

This 9 days of ridiculously radical relaxation gave me ample fodder for this publication, but in this first edition of my Mother Daughter Vacation 2011: Cruise In Review, we’ll talk about everything that is completely awesome about cruising and specifically our trip. It’s a long list and there were many laughs but here we go.

The first thing I super love about our cruise: having a suite room with a balcony. Everyone knows that cruise staterooms are ridiculously minute, hardly bigger than the cubicle I am writing this from, plus a bathroom that is basically the size of a port-o-john. Yes, including shower. Pleasant. Some say it’s cozy. Some say it doesn’t matter because you spend almost no time in the room. And some, like Momma and me, say it is totally worth the upgrade to get the couch and extra space and wonderful balcony. We took breakfast on the balcony, and it is the perfect spot to sit and read with a light breeze, giving respite from the searing Caribbean sun. It also provides an escape from all that comes with lounging on the upper decks by the pool, namely loud children, dudes walking around yelling “bar service!!!” far too loudly every 5 seconds (not conducive to napping), extremely large people in extremely small swim suits, and Bob Marley’s greatest hits on repeat (for 9 days…oy). Not complaining whatsoever. The balcony is wonderful. Also gives one a chance to take in the gorgeous sunrise (at 5:50am!) and/or gorgeous sunset from the comfort of your room in undies. Winning!

Next super awesome thing: group dining. The family we sat with at dinner was super awesome. Nothing is worse than taking the risk of potluck dinner mates and end up with duds or bratty children for 9 whole days of dragging dinners. I mean. If you’re not a risk taker, invite your own friends and form your own dinner table. It’s like getting a random roommate at a large university. You never know what you end up with…best friends, or an enemy after 1 meal. Momma and I ended up with new friends, and thanks to Facebook we can keep in touch. How awesome is that. Where would we be without Facebook?? We’d have to exchange emails. Or phone numbers. Or, gasp, snail mail addresses! Then you know we’d never speak again. Good dinner mates always makes for an enjoyable cruise.

Speaking of dinner. And food. This is the other great thing about cruising. Everyone eats. For free (sorry Poppa Pants, I mean included). All the time. As in, 24 hours a day you can order food from any establishment that is open and be charged nothing. Except for room service between 1am and 5am, but something tells me that is not too much of a Debbie Downer. And the other great part about eating all the time? The food is always awesome. And if what you chose to eat isn’t completely the best thing you’ve ever had, they’ll bring you something else. And if that diamond ring don’t shine either, you get yet more food to choose from. One day for lunch I had a crazy craving for potato chips, one of the few items that wasn’t available on the lunch buffet. A server overheard me say it and brought me a plate of corn chips. Awesome. Gracias, Jorge.

And speaking of awesome service. That’s the other awesome thing about cruises, or at least RC. Everyone is SO nice. Our stateroom attendant, Moses (awesome), remembered my name seamlessly after asking only once when he introduced himself. Incredible. Same with our dining room staff. And when I say everyone is SO nice, I mean not a single grouchy worker was encountered. How many times can you say that for a regular hotel? Also it seems like the competency level of people working on the ship is exceedingly higher than other hotel-hospitality workers. How many times can you say you’ve had seamless service by competent workers who were not only nice, but seemed to be genuinely happy that you were there? If you’ve been on a cruise, you’re nodding your head. If you haven’t been on a cruise, then perhaps this is the opinion piece you need to change your mind.

Other highlights from my completely awesome 9 days with Momma: no alarm clock, but feeling so rested by 8:30am, thereby not missing out on all the gorgeous days. Learning to foxtrot with a bunch of newlyweds…I was the man, so that means I probably still can’t foxtrot with my own male partner, but what can I say? We were cute. Reading 7 books in 9 days. Working out 7 of 9 days to keep our girlish figures while consuming 2 to 3 desserts at dinner. Plus 1 or 2 ice cream cones per day. Momma Sassy wins the award for doing P90X 9 out of 9 days of our trip. High five. Finding fellow Hokies at our dinner table. Epic. Finding a whole bunch of fellow Hokies all over our ship. Loves. Getting a tan. Looking super cute for all of our pictures around the ship. Wearing matching dresses for our stroll around San Juan. Having a good hair day 9 days in a row (I know!). Breakfast room service. Cute George Clooney-esque assistant waiter. Rainbow Sherbert for dessert. Meeting the cute singers from the Unexpected Boys (don’t be jeal). Walking out of a horrible comedy/theatrics show in favor of an AMAZING steak dinner. Laughing at a great comedy show. Laughing until we cried at a Love and Marriage Gameshow (newlywed couple and a couple that had been married for 61 years…PRESH and hysterical). Being a little bit drunk after free drinks from a random old Scottish guy. And trying to play Canasta (fail). Thanks Jerry. Towel animals on our beds. Funny pictures with towel animals. Wine involved in many photos. Missing Poppa Pants even though we know he doesn’t really enjoy the heat (and was on his own epic 9 day golfing trip…to each his own). Mommy/daughter time = priceless.

In conclusion: cruising is awesome. 7 days is not enough, 9 is just right though I wouldn’t complain about more, and check back for more cruising hilarity. That’s all.

Proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free

Hellooooooo and Happy Memorial Day! Despite being a day late for this holiday, today we’re going to discuss how awesome it is to be American and talk about the things, both tangible and intangible that make America great. Oohrah!

Firstly, foremostly, and most importantly, our entire armed services are completely BADASS. As mentioned here, the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves are completely awesome and BADASS. It’s one of those times where it must be spelled in all caps all the time, because “badass” feels too small. Like it’s just kind of badass but it’s not super awesome BADASS. If you feel me. Also, name one nation who has a more BADASS military than we do. I’ll wait. Cue Jeopardy music. That’s right, you can’t. Anyone who thinks Vladimir Putin isn’t a badass is just not in the know, but he’s only one man (I mean, yikes). We have hundreds of thousands of BADASSES all over the world, many or most of which are exceedingly better looking than ol’ Vlad, AND could probably kill that tiger with their bare hands. Thanks to everyone I know and do not know who sacrifice their lives, cleanliness, pride, and all creature comforts to hunker down in the deserts and jungles and no-mans-lands of the world to keep the children of the United States of America safe from dirty commies, terrorists, and etc. bad guys. Luh you.

And now on to less serious and less important but perhaps more entertaining and slightly more comical but definitely still awesome things that make Amurica great. I’d like to start out by saying that pretty much everything discussed here is only available to us because we have such awesome BADASSES protecting our country. So it’s two fold: going to the beach on Memorial Day weekend is awesome but it’s even MORE awesome because we are being kept safe by men and women who can’t go to the beach because they be busy hunting terrorists. Thanks ya’ll. Ok for real here we go.

Sort of an obvious one, but going to the beach for a long weekend is totally Amurican. Wearing teeny tiny bikinis, even when you are way too large to wear such garments is also totally and completely Amurican. Wearing super skimpy banana suits is not Amurican and may I say I’m glad (for the most part). Keep your shorts on, guys. Cookouts are also super Amurican, some of which even take place on the beach, which makes it that much more Amurican. Hot dogs, hamburgers (with AMERICAN cheese, obviously), chips or some yummy waffle fries, and some Bud Light. Maybe even Corona. I hear they don’t drink that in Mexico which makes it that much more Amurican. A game of corn hole is so completely Amurican, especially when it takes place at aforementioned cookout on the beach. Beer pong also is pretty Amurican.

If you have a boat you are totally Amurican. And if you took your boat out on the lake, river, sound, bay, gulf, ocean, etc. body of water and ate hot dogs, hamburgers (with AMERICAN cheese, obviously), potato chips and washed it all down with some delicious Bud Light, perhaps while singing country music, and towing some of your buddies behind the boat in a tube or wakeboard, you are so Amurican. Boating is completely Amurican. I can’t say how many boats I saw in transit this weekend. It looks super fun. Also thanks to my cousin’s Facebook post, I saw one boat sinking off of a small island in Destin, FL. Good times. Which leads me to: it’s super Amurican to have or use a tractor. I know people use tractors all around the world. And that John Deere is basically the only American name for a tractor brand (Kubota = clearly not American) (though Caterpillar sounds pretty American), something about just the word “tractor” is super Amurican. Say it out loud. TRACK-ter. Fun, yes?

The epic 9-day cruise I took with my mother ended over Memorial Day weekend. Upon leaving and re-entering the Chesapeake Bay and the Port of Baltimore, we had a United States Coast Guard escort, complete with a completely BADASS guy holding a machine gun at the helm. The entire scene was completely BADASS and American. Also slightly sexy. Something about a man in a uniform with an automatic rifle. Is it just me? Anyway. Sexy is also super American, but I will say there are plenty of Italian and Greek and even British men I think are sexy so that’s not an exclusively American thing. I’m about to digress so lets move on…

…to more American things. Collared shirts and pleated khaki shorts with Rainbow flip-flops (or whatever the trending sandal is this season) and croakies holding your Oakleys to your face. Super Amurican. Also cute boys in pickup trucks, with massive work / cowboy boots (Tims are excluded from this), an old tshirt, and ratty baseball cap OR cowboy hat. Cowboy hats are special in that not all of them are good looking, but you know it when you see it. That’s Amurican.

Other things that come to mind: going to the pool with a cooler of beer, rooftop bars, concerts in a field (versus a fancy basketball stadium or something), waiting in line for an iPhone, waiting over 24 hours in line for whatever is trending this year, chugging beer, shot-gunning beer, dieting unsuccessfully, triathalons, building things from scratch, working hard, hiring people to do things for you and paying way too much, a good handshake, apple pie, fake ta-tas, HUGE fake ta-tas, eagles, the concept of the girl-next-door (and if this girl exists, she has very American blond highlights or dye job), corn bread muffins, sweet tea, Long Island ice tea, BBQ, back decks, wrap-around porches, hammocks and porch swings, football, baseball, catching a home run in the stands, American cheese (obviously), George Washington, patents, patent infringement, tailgating, kegs (of Bud Light obviously), hiking, coupons, suing someone, being sued, declaring bankruptcy and starting your own business the next year, bouncing back, fighting hard, and kicking ass.

Thanks to every military man and woman who has served, is serving, and will continue to serve our country, give their lives and time, and sacrifice awesome family time at the beach with a hamburger with AMERICAN cheese so we can all stay home, enjoy a terrorist free beach, a terrorist free concert, a terrorist free football game, pirate-free waters, and everything else. Go Amurica!

Raleigh To-Do List…because I love lists!

You guys. I am still alive. I feel like my frequency of posting has sharply declined of late, and I’m here to tell you there is no solution in sight. My life is hunky-dory not super exciting, and I haven’t been to Jason’s Deli to get hit on lately …dude, total flashback to my very first post ever…good times. But I’ve been trying to make life interesting, I swear. Things with my man-friend are going well. Though if they weren’t going well / if we break up, you can be sure I will not be opining about the drama-dramz on this jank. BUT, much like when I moved to California for that brief moment in time, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish and I pretty much accomplished everything. In an effort to enjoy the place I am now calling home as much as the place I never intended to call home, I’ve compiled a list of things I would super love to accomplish maybe in the next year. The tricky part about this is that there isn’t really a deadline like my previous time since I am not moving away after a short 6 months. Very pleased about this, however with no deadline I find myself putting off things I really want to do. So here we go. And even though I’ve marked some things as “done,” you can be sure most of these will be repeat offenders, especially ones that involve food. Duh.

Go to the Raleigh Farmer’s Market (done). Wander the Raleigh Flea Market (done). Run a 5k downtown (June). Try as many Asian restaurants as possible (in progress). Party in Chapel Hill with one of my oldest friends (done). Get swanky and go to Solas (done). Play trivia at Flying Saucer on Tuesdays and lose weekly. Ride the R-Line at least once just because. Try everything at Sitti (in progress). Go to Raleigh First Fridays and watch Roomz kill it with the fire hoop (done). Check out as many galleries and live bands at First Fridays as possible. Hike through Umstead Park (done). Hike through Umstead Park numerous times since there are bunches of trails. Trail running near the Neuse River (done). Eat at Sono on Fayetteville Street. Find somewhere to go kayaking. Visit the museums near the Capitol (done). Get a tour of the Capitol. Walk through the gardens at the NC State Arboretum (done). Check out paintings and sculptures at the Raleigh Museum of Fine Art (done). Eat at Cookout (done, done, and done) . Bike First Fridays (tbd!). Volunteer at the Raleigh Food Bank (done…to be continued). Find the Raleigh Boys and Girls Club. Dine in downtown Apex (done). Tour NC State (done). Tour Duke. Fine Italian dining in Durham (done). Go to Durham Bulls game (done). Attend a play or musical at the Durham Performing Arts Center, or DPAC as the cool people call it. See Alison Krauss at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary. See Ray LaMontagne and Brandi Carslile at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary. Go to at least 3 country music concerts. Attend church at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart downtown (done…and yes, Ma, to be continued). Check off things from LivingSocial’s list of 365 things to do in Raleigh. Enjoy breakfast at Humble Pie (done – delish). Take in practically the only view of the downtown city-scape from Boylan Bridge Brewpub while enjoying a flight of their specialties (done). Tour the brewpub, but apparently on on a weekday. Drive the historic district of downtown Raleigh (done).  Eat fancy but extremely delicious BBQ at The Pit. Spend all day drinking Bud Light at the Triangle Beach Music Festival (done, sunburn to prove it).

In addition to all the great things there are to do in Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill, there are some fantastic little towns and cities in this state and I can’t wait to see them and buy some antiques or something. And here they are.

Weekend trip to Asheville. Visit my aunt in Boone. See if Pittsboro is nicer than its name. Explore Apex. Find out if Wake Forest University actually used to be in Wake Forest. Visit Graham, South Port, Sanford, and Smithfield…see if these places are as quaint as they sound. Try to have a celeb citing in Wilmington (are they even shooting One Tree Hill anymore?). Do as the locals do and spend the day at one of the beaches in Wilmington. Try to get to every little town on the Outer Banks, even though they are just as far away from here as they are from Richmond. Go figure. Visit Winston-Salem and Greensboro for more than a day. Taste the wines at all the local wineries…only one I’ve found so far is Iron Gate Farm in Mebane (pronounced MEH-bin, not Mee-BANE as it seems like it would be).

One additional goal I have for the next year is to get my own place of residence. I love living with Roomz and admittedly it is a pretty sweet arrangement at a pretty awesome price, and I love having Roomz as my roomz. She’s awesome. Also I love living 1.5 miles from my office. But in less than a year I would like to be the proud owner or renter of an apartment or condo downtown that I can call my very own. Can’t wait to make this a reality.

So I think I have a pretty decent list for my modest time frame of one year. Any locals please feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments! I’m always looking for new things to do and new ways to enjoy the Triangle. I love living here and can’t wait to cross more things off my list. Feel free to come visit and enjoy it with me!