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Try not to fall off the mountain, and pass the grown-up hot chocolate

29 Nov

Believe it or not, I like to go camping. It’s not the dirt or the bugs or the sleeping outside that does it for me, it’s the being with family part that I like.

My family goes every summer (except this past year, because all the kiddos were scattered about and everyone was busy blah blah blah). But we don’t just camp anywhere, it’s always Colorado. I scoff at my friends who mention their weekend camping excursions in the smoldering Texas heat. Please, if you were any good at nature (like me) you would know that the only acceptable form of camping is that which takes place in the Rocky Mountains. Where temps are below freezing each night.

Thank God.

I was thinking about the mountains this morning, and Google was so kind as to lend me this picture.

This is the road to our campground. I’d tell you the name of the campground and the town it’s near, but you might want to go there and it’s a very small campground and you’ll probably want to go there and if you go there when I want to go there and steal my favorite camp site I will be forced to kill you (likely with a run-on sentence). So we’re going to leave secrets as they are.

This is the gorgeous waterfall we visit. It’s actually ice melt from the tops of the mountains. My cousin fell in the river one year and had to sit by the fire the rest of the day wrapped up in blankets trying to get warm. I was more concerned for our dog, who fell in with her. Both were fine.

What a gorgeous river, right? Unless of course you’re the one falling in.

Some idiot tried to kayak down the waterfall. This looks like a great way to die.

What the campground looks like inside, except with some stranger’s RV set up in the background. I am so normal, posting pics of strangerscamping. I think that’s why people don’t go camping to begin with; they’re afraid of creeps like me.

I keep telling Boyfriend that the family camping trip is actually super fun and he should be so lucky to get to go someday, but he’s not going for it. Something about anti-road trip, why don’t we fly there (am I wrong, or is it ridiculous to fly to a camping trip? Doesn’t that just seem inappropriate?), hating joy/happiness/fun, blah blah blah. I told him all about how we hike 8 miles (that’s right, be impressed) to this gorgeous lake at the summit, go Jeeping, and even visit a natural hot springs pool in a nearby town. I left out the bits about grizzly bears roaming the campgrounds and rogue mountain lions in the area. What Boyfriend doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

We have campfires every night when camping. I’m not sure which I love more, the campfires or the s’mores that go with them. And now that I’m of age, throw the grown-up hot chocolate into the equation. What’s not to love??

This is the lake at the end of the aforementioned 8-mile hike. It’s beautiful, don’t you think? Imagine you’ve just hiked 8 miles UP A MOUNTAIN in the thin air of the Rockies, you probably had to pee in the bushes (multiple times if you’re me), and your feet are covered in blisters because they’re not used to being confined by ugly hiking shoes. You get here, to this gorgeous lake, and it’s all worth it. Even if you have to pee in several more bushes on the way down.

As I mentioned earlier, Jeeping is a real thing. For those unfamiliar, you rent a Jeep, drive it through really narrow and often extremely dangerous mountain passes, and pray that you live to tell the tale. At least that’s my family’s interpretation of the pastime. On my first and only Jeeping excursion I thought for sure we were all going to die. Goodbye world, it’s been fun. I could see the headlines: “Tragic Jeeping Accident: Family Found Dead at 12,000 ft.”

So, danger and life-threatening situations aside, who *wouldn’t* love camping?!

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Good times in China – a guide to surviving, thriving, and accidentally ordering prostitutes

6 Sep

1. They’re so eco-friendly. No wasting time, space and raw paper materials on babies’ diapers, the kids just wear butt-less pants and do their business on the street. ON THE STREET. I tried to take a picture for proof, but then someone pointed out that was eerily similar to child pornography, what with the no-pants thing, and I decided not to risk that one with the Secret Police.

2. Exceptional customer service. The first night of the trip, our group had a layover inShanghai. Luckily there was a restaurant in the same center as our hotel, so we didn’t have to risk our lives getting lost en route to dinner. Unfortunately, no one who worked in the restaurant spoke English, and none of us spoke Chinese. Fantastic. I walked through the restaurant pointing at the live seafood and questionable looking pre-cooked meats that we would eat for dinner with the entire restaurant staff in tow. I thought I was finished, so I started walking back to the table; that’s when they all started talking at once to me in Chinese, and all I could do is shrug and smile awkwardly. “I don’t speak Chinese, I’m sorry.” Nothing. “No Chinese,” pointing to myself. Nada. I gave up. A few minutes later, the restaurant manager shoves a phone in my face. “Uhm, hello?” “Hello, I talk some English with you, they say you no order big food.” “What? Big food? I don’t understand.” “They say… oh, I don’t know… is not good food for so many people.” “OHHH, they are afraid we did not order enough food?” “Yes! Yes, not enough food.” “Okay, thank you, shay shay (thank you in Chinese).” Shortly after this conversation, I pointed at a picture of something that looked like beef. A cow skull covered in sliced beef arrived at our table three minutes later. The end.

3. They don’t just have wake-up calls, they have roosters that squawk and squawk and squawk starting at 4:30am. Just to make sure you’re awake in time, you know? I could have killed that stupid bird.

4. Chinese Walmart. Everything is in Chinese and it’s three stories tall and packed with Chinese people and you can’t find anything normal. Good times.

5. We went shopping at the Bird and Flower market. Seriously, they had all sorts of animals for sale: birds, squirrels, tarantulas, scorpions, chicks, leeches, etc. You name it, it was there. The morning of our first attempted outing to the B&F market, we split up into three taxis with papers that said (in Chinese) “please drive me to blah blah blah.” Apparently that was not clear enough; we were all dropped off at different spots. I don’t know how I lost six people, but I did. Worst trip coordinator ever.

6. After our performances every evening, we got to talk with local elementary school students who were learning English. It was pretty clear they’d been coached on appropriate questions to ask us, conversation topics, etc., because I had the same conversations with about 487 children. Two little boys, though, were definitely the most memorable. After asking where I was from and me telling them, “America,” their faces exploded into huge smiles and they literally started bouncing with excitement. Then they asked, “Americais your mother land?” HOW ADORABLE. I officially love Chinese children.

7. You may think you’re ordering a personal massage in your room, but actually you’re getting a prostitute. Talk about a bonus… This guy on the trip ordered a full body massage, and after getting the go-around for about 15 minutes, turns out he ordered a hooker instead. Well you know what they say, when inChina…

Scorpions, the Great Wall and Kidnapping, oh my!

26 Jul

Tomorrow I’m going to China. See how casually I said that? Like it’s no big deal. I’m going to China, I’m going to China. I will NOT offend the communists, I will NOT get sold into human trafficking, and my plane will NOT crash down from the sky killing everyone on board. I’m going to China.

As I prepare to leave the country for three weeks – yes, I will be away and therefore you will be without any witty new musings from yours truly, I’m sorry! Please don’t lose faith in my blog – I think back on all of the hilarious/somewhat alarming memories from my last trip. Hopefully I’ll find myself in fewer compromising situations than I did during the last trip, considering this time I’m the assistant director of an international opera festival (fingers crossed). Despite the stories I’m about to tell you, I swear I will represent America well.

1. Playing dead at the Great Wall. I was pretending to fight off the Huns like in Mulan, and a friend pretended to shoot me with an arrow (naturally). I fell to the ground, giving a rather impressive death scene for tourists and locals alike. Apparently staging one’s own death is not generally done in the middle of pedestrian traffic at the Great Wall; I looked up from my scene to find everyone staring, including my “friends.” Thanks team.

2. Eating a scorpion/simultaneous emotional breakdown. There is an absolutely perfect market inBeijing called Wanfujing, where street vendors harass passersby with their wares. Silly me walking through, I was accosted by a man selling friend scorpions on a stick. The rest of my group immediately decided that yes, they were going to eat the scorpions. When in Chinado as the crazies do, and such. After much deliberation and public hysteria, I ATE THE SCORPION. Dear Lord help us all; it’s probably crawling around inside me as I type. Yep, I can definitley feel it.

3. Being totally famous. You know how inAmericait’s impolite to stare at people? And if you’re caught staring, you avert your eyes immediately so as to not appear even creepier than you already appear? They don’t have the staring taboo in China. They stare openly. At first I was taken aback by it. Then, after being told multiple times how pretty I was in broken English, I decided that the staring wasn’t so bad after all. The rest of the group and I were even asked to take pictures with locals!

4. Peeing on the ground. True story, the toilets are just holes in the ground. Our professor leading the trip actually emailed a link with a picture of the squatty-potties. Naturally I thought he was joking and deleted the email. Surprise: not joking. Finally I couldn’t hold it any more and was forced to squat. And ladies and gentlemen, there was the over share portion of the blog post. Please keep reading.

5. Ruthlessly slaughtering drunk shrimp in a public area. In Beijing the cool thing to eat is called “hot pot.” It’s a pot of boiling water, and they bring you all sorts of things to toss in and cook in said boiling water: beef, lamb, veggies, oh, and DRUNK SHRIMP. That’s right, they’re alive. The restaurant soaks them in a bowl of liquor so the shrimp can’t fight back when you throw them – ALIVE – into the boiling water to be cooked and consumed. It was so sad. I swear I could hear the poor little guy squealing “Help meeeeeeeee! Help meeeeeeeee!” when I threw him in. Ugh! The horror.

6. Bartering in the market. I found the cutest bracelets for my girlfriends, and I was all set to buy them. We were instructed to barter for cheaper prices in the market (which I kind of felt bad for, considering that the average cost of an item was approximately 1/7th the cost of said item in America), and I was doing pretty well – perhaps even getting a little arrogant. So the bracelet vendor names his price: 100 Yuen for six bracelets. Stupid obnoxious me, I was determined to get the lowest price possible: 10 Yuen (a little more than $1.50). The vendor gasped, stepped away, and refused to talk to me after that. Only with the help of a middle man did I get the world’s cheapest bracelets. My friends had better love them.

7. Singing the “Cat Duet” for an audience of around 800 people. That’s right, the Cat Duet. The whole reason I went to China last time was to perform in a concert in the city of Kunming. As a former drama major, I was selected to sing half of the highly ridiculous Cat Duet. Want to guess what the lyrics were? To the whole song?? The whole entire four minute song??? “MEEEEEEEOW. MEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOW. MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOW.” Not even kidding.

8. Being kidnapped (or so I thought). Our professor/guide/only person we knew who actually spoke Chinese was sick, and told us that we were being taken shopping by a Chinese student, and told us to go get into our tour van. Words of wisdom: NEVER get into a van of any kind if you are even the tiniest bit unsure of what’s going to happen next. Oops. So we pile into the van of death, and all of a sudden a strange man climbs behind the wheel. We’ve never seen this man before. He starts driving. He’s driving us away from the hotel. He’s begins driving down the WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD. We are literally driving into oncoming traffic. And on top of that, I’m pretty sure we’re speeding. Minutes pass. Stranger says nothing as he continues driving us to God knows where. We look at each other in horror; surely this is the end. Suddenly Stranger pulls off into a very questionable-looking parking lot in front of some very questionable-looking apartments. A woman comes out and gets into the van. Stranger takes off again. Still, no one says anything to us. We look at each other again in horror. Goodbye world, it’s been fun. Finally, the woman turns around to face us and in broken English says, “Hello. You may call me Guinevere. I am told you wish to shop for flowers and exotic birds.” And that’s the time I was almost kidnapped in China.

Hopefully this trip will be equally as exciting, perhaps with fewer animal slaughters, musical impersonations or attempted kidnapping. Though I can’t promise anything about the peeing on the ground thing, we received another email link with a picture of the squatty-pottie…

Wish me luck.

Adventures of a Would-Be Foodie

18 Jul

Because I am a thoughtful and selfless person – seriously, call me Ghandi – I went to Boyfriend’s apartment to cook food for him this week. Boyfriend can’t cook and lives on typical bachelor food. (Boyfriend’s parents: I mean, erm, he cooks dinner for himself every night.) What I found in his fridge/pantry: hot dogs (but no buns, he just wraps it in bread), Spaghetti O’s, family-size Heinz ketchup (to be spread heavily over all food items), Ramen, some salad and mac ‘n’ cheese. Yum yum.

Boyfriend is currently studying for the CPA exam, which is actually four exams but they just call it one. That’s another story. As Boyfriend studies for around 11 hours each day, he doesn’t have a lot of free time for cooking; that’s where I come in. Ignoring my past record of leaving the taco shells in the oven for 20 minutes instead of two, turning the pre-cooked breadsticks into bread rocks in the microwave, and the 2/6 –not two sticks– of butter incident (and yes, I know that 2/6 is really just 1/3), I prepared to cook three separate entrees for Boyfriend to freeze as individual portions for dinner. Trust me, you want the recipes.

 

Recipe #1: Chicken Spaghetti

I realize that other people call this Chicken Tetrazzini. Sorry, not me. I see spaghetti noodles so I’m calling a spade a spade.

 

1 whole chicken

1 pack spaghetti noodles

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 white onion, chopped

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can chopped green chiles

Lots and lots of shredded cheddar cheese

 

So first you boil the whole chicken for about an hour and a half. Make sure the whole thing is submerged in water; no one likes to eat raw chicken bits (oops). Keep the broth – I accidentally threw it away the first time I tried this recipe and it was like a chicken spaghetti desert in my mouth – and boil the noodles, celery and onion in the broth until it’s all soft. You can also toss in a bouillon cube if you like, whatever helps you sleep at night. Lots of the broth will evaporate, but don’t panic. It’s going to be okay. Peel the boiled chicken meat off of the bones, and toss the meat into the pot with the noodles, celery, onion and broth. Stir in the can of cream of mushroom soup, and toss a little cheese in, then mix it all up. If it’s not juicy enough, add the can of cream of chicken soup (if it IS juicy enough, put the cream of chicken soup in the pantry; you never know when Y2K might hit). Keep mixing it up! You’re doing a great job. It looks delicious. Can I have some? When it’s all mixed and delicious-looking, pour it into a large casserole dish and cover the entire top with the shredded cheese (it’s really good for you, don’t worry about it). Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45ish minutes, until you can’t wait any more. This serves 6-8 people. Or just Boyfriend, for several meals. 

 

Recipe #2: Turkey, Ham and Swiss Casserole

This smelled AMAZING when I cooked it. Good luck getting it to your table before you devour it.

 

8 oz mini fusili/farfalle pasta/macaroni/other pasta shapes (whatever suits your fancy)

3 tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 cup diced ham

2 cups diced turkey

 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

3 tbsp flour

2 1/2 cups milk

Small pinch of thyme (if you feel so led)

Salt and pepper  (I always do garlic salt instead of regular salt because, let’s face it, it’s better)

1 cup frozen peas and carrots (if you like peas and carrots)

Lots of crushed croutons (for the yummy topping)

1 tbsp butter (also for the yummy topping)

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees; it can warm up while you’re doing the rest (work smart, not hard). Grease a 2-quart baking dish. Boil the pasta until it’s soft and edible. Drain and rinse it, then set aside for a bit. We’ll get back to that later. Heat butter in a large skillet and sauté the onion and celery over medium-low heat until soft and smells delicious. Add ham and stir in flour until it is what the official recipe calls “well combined.” Gradually stir in the milk until it thickens. Add thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cheese, turkey, and peas and carrots (if you’re using them). Add the cooked pasta and blend thoroughly. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Mix the crushed up croutons with the 1 tbsp butter and then sprinkle it over the top of the casserole. Go to town. Bake the delectable casserole for 25 to 30ish minutes, until bubbly and yummy and the topping is browned. This serves 4 to 6. (Or one hungry Boyfriend)

 

 

Recipe #3: Spicy Chicken Lasagna

This is the new love of my life. I love might love it more than Taco Bueno, and that’s really saying something.

 

 10-15ish lasagna noodles, cooked al dente (drain them and set them aside)

 1 tbsp olive oil

 2-3 lbs boneless chicken breasts (depending on how much chicken you want in your lasagna)

 salt and pepper

 chili powder

 6 tbsp butter

 6 tbsp flour

 3 cups milk

 2 cups tomatillo salsa verde

 7ish green onions, thinly sliced (no one wants a mouth full of thickly slicked green onions)

 3 tbsp cilantro, chopped

 4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

 1 cup salsa (DON’T get that nasty Pace crap. I will personally beat you up if you ruin my lasagna)

 10oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

 2 large tomatoes, diced (if you want – personally I hate them so they are NOT in my lasagna)

 

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Wash chicken, pat it dry, then slice each chicken breast into chunks. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and chili powder then sauté in the hot oil, turning frequently until it’s cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes (then set it aside for now). In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until bubbly. Add the milk and tomatillo salsa and stir until thickened. Stir in the green onions, cilantro, and cheese. CAUTION: this mixture will be delicious, but do not eat it all; it has to go in the lasagna! Next, heat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a 9×13 baking pan or casserole dish, spread about half of the salsa. Lay 3-5 lasagna noodles side-by-side over the salsa layer. Top the lasagna noodles with half of the spinach, half of the cooked chicken, and half of the diced tomatoes. Spread with about 1/3 of the heavenly cheese sauce mixture. Repeat with 3-5 more noodles, the remaining spinach, the remaining chicken, and the remaining tomatoes. Spread with another 1/3 of the cheese sauce mixture. Top with the remaining noodles, then spread with the remaining salsa and the remaining delicious cheese sauce mixture.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer. This serves ONLY ME. GIVE IT ALL TO ME. Just kidding, it should serve about 6. 

You’re welcome. Now invite me over for yummy dinner.

That Darn Cat

24 Jun

It’s 1:21am. Am I in bed? Am I dreaming happy dreams? Am I snoring softly and drooling on the pillow? No. I’m sitting on the couch waiting for my stupid cat to come back inside.

The naïve among you might ask, Why don’t you just go outside and get her? Because I value my hands, that’s why. I’m not about to risk losing a finger to that horrible animal because I think it’s bedtime and she’s not ready for lights out.

I swear I’m not exaggerating. Sometimes I am, but this is not one of those times. As I’ve mentioned before, Cat is mean. Terrible, actually. One Christmas she bit the hand of an unsuspecting family member; said family member was later found in the hospital getting stitches on aforementioned hand. See? Demon cat.

Cat also has a habit of sneak attacking guests as they sit innocently in the living room. Guest is sitting, conversing and being perfectly pleasant, and all of a sudden Cat appears next to Guest’s head. Cat sniffs, draws back, hisses, and bares teeth. Guest runs away screaming. Don’t you want to come over now?

1:29am. Cat sits in the yard and stares at me in an I-am-absolutely-not-ready-to-come-inside-and-go-to-bed-thank-you-very-much kind of way. I swear I’m not making this up.

Cat is occasionally friendly to me. Somewhere in the 4-6am window she generally decides it’s cuddle time. Cat jumps on top of me while I’m sleeping innocently beneath my – VERY normal – pillow fort, and climbs up my chest so that we’re nose-to-nose. Her whiskers tickle my face, rousing me from deep sleep. Once I stir and she is satisfied that I am no longer asleep, she licks my nose one time, then proceeds to place her (claw-free, thank Heaven) front paws on my neck and knead my air tube so that I cannot breathe. Cat is trying to kill me, I’m sure of it. Instead of panicking, I calmly prop my head up. I know her tricks. I’m onto you, Cat. I pet her, she purrs and continues to knead my neck, then eventually bites me and jumps down. Of course, she might pounce at any time, so falling back asleep is out of the question. I have to be on guard.

1:34am. You’re probably thinking the late hour is making me paranoid and dramatic, but it’s the truth. Cat stalks her prey and pounces the exact minute you drop your guard.

Further proof: Cat’s favorite game is called Trap Unsuspecting Human in the Bathroom Until they Scream and/or Cry. Human enters bathroom to take care of business. Cat sneaks up to the door where she sniffs, sits, and waits. Her tail thumps the door. Human knows there’s trouble. Human finished business, opens door, Cat hisses and bares teeth. Human has nowhere to go; Cat is blocking the door and is clearly about to attack. Human begins making Help-I’m-scared sounds, but I can do nothing. It’s between Human and Cat now. I hope Human makes it, I can’t afford a lawsuit right now. Human eventually leaps over Cat, Cat swipes and claws at Human, and Human takes off running down the hall towards freedom. Cat follows in hot pursuit. Human leaps onto couch, Cat enters the room pretending to look innocent and calmly sits down, but never takes her eyes off of terrified Human. Visit ends early, Human never returns. This is why I don’t have any friends.

1:44am. The still sane among you (let’s face it, if you’ve stuck with the blog this long – or worse, we have things in common – you might want to double check) may wonder why I cannot just leave Cat outside and go to sleep. Because despite my fear of/occasional hatred for Cat, I do not want her to get eaten by the Chupacabra. Which in the country, where I live, just means coyotes. Don’t laugh, it happened to my family’s old cats when they were left outside overnight. That’s right, it’s a hard knock life out here. Though at this point I’m so sleep deprived and mad at Cat for toying with me (and still a little bit for sending that lady to the ER on Christmas) that I don’t care. If she wants to get eaten by coyotes, let her. Fine. I’m going to bed and that’s that.

2:01am. I open the back door. “Here kitty kitty kitty! Here kitty kitty kitty! Here kitty kitty kit—”

A bug just flew into my face. A BUG JUST FLEW INTO MY FACE. Whatever psycho Cat, I’m going to bed. Don’t get eaten. Love you. Sort of.

2:14am. I bet even the coyotes are afraid of her.

2:16am. Yeah, she’s fine.

2:17am. Until I get a hold of her tomorrow, at least.

2:21am. Actually no, she can totally take me. Cat wins again.

How to Win Friends and Influence McDonald’s

15 Jun

Yesterday I took lunch to my mom at work. A simple enough undertaking, yes? No. I don’t know why these things always happen to me; I’m nothing but pure joy and sunshine every waking hour.

Mom wanted a salad. I was indifferent. Because of a hopeless caffeine addiction (no sassy comments, Boyfriend) I chose McDonald’s – they have a $1 any size drink special going on that I was more than ready to shamelessly exploit.

I pulled up to the window.

“Welcome to McDonald’s, would you like to try our new Frozen Strawberry Lemonade?”

No, I have tried your Frozen Strawberry Lemonade. All of the $1 drinks in the world cannot atone for the nastiness that was McDonald’s new Frozen Strawberry Lemonade.

“No, thank you. Can I please have a Southwestern salad, a large Coke, a Spicy McChicken (YUM), small fries and a large Diet Coke?”

Pause. Paaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuusssseeeeeeeee. Christmas came and went in the time it took for her to comprehend my order.

“Ma’am, you want an Asian salad?”

“No ma’am, I want a Southwestern salad. Plus a Spicy McChicken, small fries, large Coke and a large Diet Coke.”

There goes Christmas 2012.

“Okay ma’am, your total is $8.43. Please pull forward.”

“Thank you very much.” See? Pure joy and sunshine. Told you.

I pulled forward, ready to happily pay for Mom’s and my food. After handing over my money, I pulled up to the second window.

“Here you go ma’am, have a nice day.” Says the alarmingly perky attendant at the window.

I check for the most important items: napkins, straws, salad dressing.

“Excuse me,” I say, “Could I please get a couple extra Southwestern salad dressings?” Mom will NOT be satisfied with one measly microscopic salad dressing packet.

Cue awkward pause and awkward staring (the drive-through attendant, not me).

“Oh, ummm, ma’am, I’ll have to charge you 63 cents for two extra salad dressing packets.”

“Excuse me?” I say with semi polite/casual disbelief.

“Yes ma’am, I’ll have to charge you extra.”

“You have to charge me extra?”

“Yes.”

“For salad dressing?” I ask in a voice dripping with disdain. How dare she?!

“Erm, uh, yes, ma’am.”

“And why, pray tell, do you feel led to charge me for salad dressing?” Despite the joy and sunshine, my patience is wearing thin. Perky Attendant is about to get it.

“It’s company policy, ma’am. Each salad comes with one dressing packet.”

Mom will have none of this.

“That is absolutely ridiculous. The Southwestern salad is large. The dressing packet is small. It makes logical sense that I would need more than one small dressing packet to accompany my rather large salad, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Um, yes ma’am. I’m very sorry, ma’am. Would you like to speak with the manager? He’s right here.”

Yes, thank you, I am aware of how obnoxious I am, as well as the fact that I am now holding up a line of people. But this is a matter of principle, people!

“Yes, that would be nice. Bring him to me.” I quickly remove my sunglasses, fluff my hair, and reapply lipstick quickly. I pout towards the window.

“Hello ma’am, I understand you’re having a dressing-related problem?”

“Yes,” I pout, “First of all, I’m so sorry for holding up the line. I hate to do that.” (Am I good, or am I good?) “I wanted a couple extra salad dressing packets for my dear, sweet mother, but I’m having trouble getting them.”

“Well ma’am, I can give you extra salad dressing, but I have to charge you 63 cents.”

“That’s very interesting, because I’ve received extra salad dressings at this McDonald’s for free many times before.” Technically a lie, but hey, it could’ve been true.

Manager stares at me for a long minute. I continue to pout, this time adding in batting my eyelashes.

We wait.

He stares.

I pout.

There goes Christmas 2013.

He stares more.

I pout more.

I swear, this is like an old western movie. Surely one of us will draw our pistols soon enough.

“Fine,” he sighs, “Give her two extra Southwestern salad dressing packets.”

VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like the Mavs in the NBA finals, I win!

And that, my friends, is how to win friends and influence McDonald’s. Also, I can never go back there again. $100 to the first person to verify (with photographic evidence) that my picture is on the McDonald’s Most Wanted list in the back of the restaurant.

Jesus is Coming and He’s Bringing all His Hot Centaur Friends

8 Jun

Let me preface this post by saying tat I am not now, nor have I ever been on hallucinogenic drugs of any kind. I cannot eat shrooms, I hate mushrooms; they’re slimy like boogers. Plus I don’t know of any other hallucinogens, so drugs are out of the question.

Let me also say that soon, you might not believe me. Dream Me is beyond crazy.

Here’s how it started. Dream Me was sitting in Dream Me’s house, which was identical to Real Me’s actual house. So far not crazy.

Then, out nowhere, a tornado is coming. And not just any tornado, it’s a magical tornado that forms out of nowhere and it’s sparkly and a very alarmingly technicolor shade of purple, and I just know.

It’s Jesus.

The tornado is Christ’s second coming and OHMYGOSH it’s happening right now. Dream Me immediately starts thinking of all the people to say goodbye to, because Dream Me is obviously about to be raptured up into Heaven with Jesus and his technicolor tornado.

The Jesus tornado is getting closer, but Dream Me isn’t scared because Jesus has no malicious intent. Duh, he’s Jesus. The tornado is right over my house, circling all around, but it’s not doing any damage and no one is getting hurt. Dream Me is even standing by the big window watching Jesus and His technicolor tornado.

As if the crazy train wasn’t crazy enough already, CENTAURS appear out of the tornado and land in Dream Me’s backyard.

CENTAURS. Really.

And the centaurs were hot: totally ripped, very good looking men. Well, for actually being centaurs. But because they came out of the technicolor tornado, they were technicolored centaurs. Naturally.

Still believe I’m not on drugs? I swear.

So the centaurs are in the backyard, and they start knocking on the window asking to come in. Though they are ridiculously hot technicolor centaurs, Dream Me gets a little freaked out, and runs to hide from the horsemen in the yard. They get in anyway. Dream Me comes back out to find the centaur leader sitting on the couch, rubbing his horse butt all over the throw pillows, but Dream Me doesn’t mind because he’s Jesus’ centaur. Speaking of, Dream Me hasn’t actually seen Jesus. Dream Me just divinely knows it’s the rapture.

The hot centaur leader is not only technicolor, but leopard and zebra print as well. Dream Me only notices this up close. Ever the perfect hostess, even amidst Christ’s technicolor second coming, Dream Me offers the hot centaur leader a drink or snack or something. The rapture is really not the time to be hungry or thirsty; there’s stuff to do.

The hot centaur leader requests waffles. Technicolor centaurs love waffles.

So let’s recap: Christ’s second coming is happening, and He brought a friendly tornado to announce His return, plus His sexy technicolor centaur pals. And they’re on Dream Me’s lawn, and one is on my couch. And I’m definitely still not on drugs. Leave a comment regarding whether you believe me.

Bigfoot is real, and working under the name Hairy Man

31 May

Have you ever seen the show Monster Quest? Crazy people swear they’ve seen/encountered monsters, then this “scientific” team from the History Channel investigates. Of course, no one ever has any hard proof. Just the super dramatic close-up interviews where some strung out psycho says, “I saw it with my own two eyes.” It’s pure gold. My dad and I watch it together sometimes; because I am such a thoughtful daughter, I got him two seasons of the show on DVD. I can now shamelessly mock the crazies who think they saw such-and-such monster whenever I want.

Apparently the northern Pacific coast Bigfoot is known as The Hairy Man. No wonder he’s reportedly so angry all the time. Wouldn’t you be if you were called The Hairy Man?

Right now the “scientific” team is on location in some forest inWashington. I’m pretty sure this is where they filmed Twilight. But this time they’re searching for a “great ape,” not Robert Pattinson. (Too bad.)

So they’re setting up motion-sensing cameras by attaching them to 12 feet in the air to random trees, hoping The Hairy Man is tall enough to do a little dance in front of the camera, and we can all go home happy knowing that Bigfoot is real.

The cameras capture 314 images overnight. 314. That’s one camera whore-y Bigfoot. When are they going to show the images?! Ohmygoshohmygosh I have to know.

Raccoon, no. Deer, definitely not Bigfoot. Cougar, too feline-y to be the ape man.

And then, uh- oh- ohhh- what’s that the camera captured? There’s a close up blurred (shocker)  image of something large and brown… The series of images show that it’s moving…

A bear. Yes Dr. Don’t-Quit-your-Day-Job, very similar Bigfoot.

Cue denouement.

“We’ll never know for certain until we get some hard evidence.” Thank you Dr. Common-Sense-on-a-Stick, they must pay you the big bucks for analyses like that gem.

“He’s still out there, people are still seeing him,” says the craziest-looking of all the crazy people interviewed on this show. You know what else they could be seeing? Hallucinations from the shrooms they’re all doing in the hippie woods. Ugh, if I had a nickel for every time I think I see Bigfoot after doing shrooms…

But you know what? I’ve never seen The Hairy Man (seriously, we have got to get him a better name) but who am I to say that somewhere out there, in the thousands and thousands of miles of forest, that there’s not some kind of Bigfoot?

Oh thank heaven, the vampire episode just came on. Now where did R-Patz go…?

A Fish Called Cat

27 May

As I mentioned in my last post, I am now the proud new owner of a fish. Not just any fish, an orphaned beta that I named Cat. Get it? A fish called Cat? It’s like A Dog Called Kitty, but aquatic.

Don’t worry, I am an experienced fish owner. I’ve had two beta fish in all of my 22 years. The first one I co-mothered with my sophomore year roommate. We decided that we needed something to love (besides ourselves, that is). Fish were the only pets allowed in the dorms, so that pretty much settled that. Roommate couldn’t come to the pet store the day we somewhat impulsively decided to get a fish, so I went by myself to pick out our new baby. An hour and a half later, I returned with one fish and $42 worth of random/useless fish crap. I named our new fish Fuego.

Fuego was a boy fish. He was sparkling gold and red. Since he was going to be living in a room with two women, we decided that he had to be gay. After all, he was going to see us undress and get ready in the mornings and such. We couldn’t have a straight guy fish in the room for all that; that would just be trampy. So Fuego lived his happy semi-closeted life, and Roommate and I loved him dearly. We took turns feeding him, we talked lovingly to him every day, we did all of the things that good fish mothers should do.

Then Fuego died.

I’m sorry, I– I can’t go on.

A year later I was working at the school’s student TV station. I decided that the station needed something to love – besides our expensive equipment WHICH WAS GRACIOUSLY DONATED BY AT&T (catch my subtle plug?). You know the drill. An hour and a half later, I came back with a fish and tons of crap I don’t need to go with him. This time his name was Shark. He was ferocious. Everyone laughed at me, but secretly they loved him. I caught people talking to him, standing there looking at him, waving to him through the fish bowl. Shark was beloved by all.

Then Shark died.

That week we ran spots on all the shows with his picture and a message that read, “R.I.P Shark, 2009-2009.”

So now here we are two years later. I was an RA, and at the end of the year it gets crazy when students are moving out of their rooms. One afternoon I stepped out of my door and stumbled upon a helpless fish sitting in the dorm hallway (he was in a bowl not flopping around on the ground, don’t freak out).

Seriously?! Who leaves an innocent fish there to die? (I later punched Irresponsible Student and fined him lots of money. Vigilante justice triumphs again!) Because I am a very tender and loving person, and also because I just really like pets, I adopted the fish as my own. His name is Cat. He loves me very much. I think.

The problem was, that when it came time to travel fromSan AntoniotoFort Worth, I had nowhere to put him. Someone offered to adopt him and keep Cat inSan Antonio, but we’d already bonded; that was simply out of the question. Cat had to come home. So into a Taco Cabana cup he went, and every few miles I’d hold him up by the window so Cat could take in I-35 and all of its tire-exploding glory.

I am proud to report that Cat is alive and well – for now, I must admit my track record isn’t good – and adjusting to life inNorth Texas. It’s pretty much the same, minus the breakfast tacos. Which don’t really matter to him, just to me. (I’m not adjusting well to the lack of breakfast tacos in my life, in case you were wondering and wanted to bring me some.)

The problem is my cat – the actual cat, Xena – has taken an interest in Cat – the fish. So I had to put Cat the fish in the bathroom in hopes that Xena the cat won’t find him. But I got home today to find Xena the cat silently stalking Cat the fish in the bathroom, wagging her feline tail and licking her kitty lips in depraved abandon. Stupid cat. Xena, I mean.

Also, Cat the fish won’t eat. He just looks at the food and then looks at me like I’m ridiculous for thinking he would deign to eat those tasteless multi-colored flakes. I don’t know what to do – I even got him a different kind of food, specifically for beta fish, and he was having none of that either. Stupid high maintenance Cat (the fish).

Help? Fishorexia is so last season.

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO CALL 911

18 May

On Saturday I graduated from college. Pomp and circumstance, cap and gown, the whole shebang. It was really great, my whole family got to come to the ceremony. We had a fantastic lunch – and maybe a few too many margaritas – afterward, then we packed up all of my things and I was ready to move back toFort Worth. All in one day.

Going fromSan AntoniotoFort Worth, it is only natural that one should take I-35. Also given that one is graduating from college and moving home, it is only natural that one’s car should be full of one’s crap. Good, I’m doing this right so far.

I tend to be an, erm, assertive driver – no sassy comments, Boyfriend – and don’t appreciate less assertive drivers holding me back. There I was, asserting myself all over the left lane on I-35, just north ofAustin. My car was full of my crap, and my new fish Cat – more on that later – was comfortably(ish) swimming around his Taco Cabana travel cup in the cup holder. I was jamming to radio and having a grand old time, when…

KADUNKADUNKADUNK!

That’s weird, I don’t remember that riff in this song…

KADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNK!!

How did I miss that? I’ve heard this song a million times…

KADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNK!!!!!

As I was convinced my musical ear was better than that, I turned Carrie off. Sure enough, I was right about my ear. Unfortunately.

KADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNKADUNK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I look in the side mirror, and sure enough-

IhaveaflattireIhaveaflattireIhaveaflattire.

Craaaaaaap.

CRAAAAAAAAAP. I’mon35I’mon35I’mon35I’mon35WITHAFLATTIRE. And not just any flat tire, this one’s a doozy. It looked like a bomb went off inside of the tire. Is that even possible? Someone’s out to get me.

As I am apt to do, I responded in the calmest, most rational way possible. I burst into tears. Instinct took over (where on earth is my logic in times like these?) and I pulled off of I-35 into the shoulder. The left shoulder.

I stopped the car and got out to inspect the damage.

Yup, definitely a problem. Here’s a transcript of the not-hysterical-at-all conversation I had with my father. You’re welcome.

Me: Dad? I… (sniff) I… (sniff) I—- Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

Dad: Lindsay, what’s wrong? Where are you?

Me: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Dad: Calm down, where are you? What’s going on?

I can hear the panic rising in his voice and I know that I need to communicate the fact that I am not dying, but I simply cannot.

Me: Daaaaaaaad… I… I… I was driving (sniff) on 35 (sniff) and, and, and all of a sudden (sniff), my tire blew uuuuupppppppp WAAAAAAAAHHH. (cue more wailing)

Dad: Your tire blew up? Are you alright? Where are you?

Me: I’m alright (sniff), I’m on the side of the roooooooaaaaaadddddd waaaaaaahhhh.

Dad: You’re on the side of the road? Like in the grass? Where did you pull off? What exit are you on?

Me: I’m not on an exit, I’m on 35 and I’m stuck and I can’t get off because I have a flat tire and I can’t change my tire because the spare one is buried in the trunk under all my crap and I don’t know how to change the tire still and I can’t get back on 35 even if I could change the tire because I’m trapped on the left shoulder and the cars are coming really fast and- WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH (my wail is even more annoying in real life, if you can imagine).

Dad: Ok, alright, listen to me. You’re going to have to call 911.

Me: What? 911? Why?!

Dad: Didn’t you just say you’re trapped on the left shoulder of 35? You’re not going to be able to get back on the road without help; someone will hit your car. You need to call 911 so they can send a squad car to help you.

Me: But I don’t know how to call 911, you only call 911 when you’re being murdered and I’m not being murdered (yet – thanks for holding off on that despite my wails, Dad).

Dad: Lindsay, hang up the phone and CALL THEM. They will help you. This is their job.

Still boo-hooing, I hung up the phone and mustered all the courage a naïve new college grad could have. (PS 911, you really ought to work on your PR; you’ll never help anyone if they’re too intimidated to call.) Ever so slowly, my trembling, tear-soaked fingertips dialed the three iconic numbers.

Operator: 911, please state your emergency.

She really shouldn’t be so calm at a time like this. It’s a little annoying.

Me: Well, it’s not really an emergency, but it is kind of a serious problem. But I’m not dying, so if you have someone who’s dying you should talk to them first and I can hold on a minute. But don’t forget, because I do have somewhat of a situation here (imagine semi trucks whizzing past as I speak).

Operator: Ma’am, WHAT IS YOUR EMERGENCY.

Oh, well, alright then.

Me: Well, my tire blew up on I-35 and I was in the left lane and I’m dumb so I pulled onto the left shoulder and now I’m trapped and I can’t get back on the highway because the cars are coming too fast and I can’t remember how to change my tire.

Operator: You’re stuck on 35? Are you able to get to a safe place away from the highway?

Um, no, that’s why I’m calling you. Are you listening to me at all?

Me: No ma’am, I’m on the left shoulder and there are cars coming really fast and I can’t drive on my tire at all.

After what I’m sure was a sigh of derision,

Operator: Alright ma’am, we’ll have a squad car out there soon. Stay put.

Like I can go anywhere? I’M TRAPPED ON I-35.

Soon after, a semi-annoyed looking policeman pulled up. I’d be annoyed too if I had to deal with hysterical and helpless young women all day. He didn’t even let me help change the tire (probably for the best), as he parked his car halfway into the left lane with lights on to slow the traffic. What had become an hour-long ordeal had just been solved by Mr. Congeniality of the Round Rock police in under 7 minutes. He even blocked the left lane so that I could get back onto the highway safely. I ruined my makeup sobbing like a maniac for nothing.

Oh, my fish Cat was fine. No emotional trauma that I can tell.

The crazy thing is (as if that wasn’t already crazy enough), Best Friend happened to be driving along in the slowed traffic caused by Officer Congeniality and saw the whole thing. She and her parents turned around and followed me to a gas station afterwards to make sure I got air in my tires (thank you, Best Friend’s Dad) and was not too maniacal to drive.

Moral of the story: Best Friend’s Dad is totally in the CIA. But don’t tell anyone. Think about it: I was in a crisis situation, and all of a sudden there they were! Crazy. Now I’m probably going to be eliminated for blowing his cover.