Wow, Y'all. This got long (but it's bullet points so relatively a quick read?). I think I need some new things to do. But also what are you doing, watching Gilmore Girls for the eighth time? You've got time to read this. I mean, if you want. No pressure. OK here we go!
Five things I'm good at
- Petting cats (no, really, though. My methods are fine tuned, and even timid felines respond well)
- Making someone I've only just met feel very safe and welcomed
- Letting people say something they are scared to say because it's not widely welcomed and not run away screaming
- Talking to anyone about anything anytime
- Writing (not always coming up with something interesting to say, but sentence structure and such I have down)
Five things I'm not good at
- Volleyball (or being competitive/taking an interest in winning in sports)
- Asking for a raise
- Telling people that they have hurt my feelings
- Putting letters I write in the mail within a reasonable amount of time
- Convincing myself that I will be OK and content and confident one day
Five things that frighten me in general
- Belly dancers (they are very sexually forward)
- Peacocks (same reason)
- Using street drugs
- Embarking on a new career/job (fear that it will be too hard, I won't like it, etc.)
- Bungee jumping. No thank you.
Five things that frighten me in current circumstances
- The nature of communication and relationships in our country
- The election in November
- Not having a job
- Monotony/social isolation
- Being misunderstood, I guess
Five foods that I love
- Watermelon (even though I rarely eat it, or any fruit)
- Kraft macaroni & cheese, the spiral kind, with black pepper on top
- Pizza -- any kind will do, but pepperoni/pineapple/jalapeno is a personal sweet spot for me
- Restaurant pancakes, with a tiny hint of saltiness, melted butter and sweet syrup. Never mind that I can only down about four bites of a short stack before I'm totally full. Yasss.
- Ridged potato chips with French onion dip
Five items in my closet that I love
- The color block cardigan sweater from ModCloth
- My "All I want for Christmas is Celine Dion" sweatshirt
- The dalmatian belt I found at a thrift shop in Kansas
- The Hawaiian print maxi dress I got a year ago and still haven't worn but I bet looks even better now since I've lost weight
- The Sally dress I made for Halloween last year
Five people outside of my family who have seen me cry (or at least listened to me do so over the phone)
Five vacations that were especially memorable/hold an extra warm, cozy, happy place in my heart
- When my family went to various towns and scenic points in Colorado, summer of 1998
- Chicago, October 2014. First time I met my bestie's husband, surprised Dad who was running the marathon, made soup for old college buds, sleepover and manicures with Michelle, and an "autumnal lunch" together as she described it, my first Rachael Yamagata concert with Nick. I had just adopted Max and would soon start dating Alex, though I didn't know that. I was at a good, happy, independent spot in my life, and I remember that trip as a moment in time, sandwiched between good things just happened and about to happen, oozing with cozy Midwestern gooeyness and people I love to pieces.
- Table Rock Lake, summer 2011. I was taking a summer class in grad school, and I drove to meet up with my bestie who had just gotten married, her husband and parents. My favorite day was when we took the boat out to a cove, anchored, wore life jackets as diapers so we could sit and bob in the water, turned on the radio and just sipped beers and talked and laughed.
- Centerville, Iowa, summer 1996 (?). I could be overlapping a few trips into one melded memory, but they always involved radishes dipped in salt, games of Uno at the kitchen table, indoor golf putting, trying to stack blocks on uneven carpet, and my grandparents who always smiled and joked and laughed and made us feel good. This particular summer was one of the supercharged, brushed-with-pink-highlighter ones, because COUSINS were there. It was a family reunion year, I believe I was the owner of a bottle cap smiley face necklace, and while the boys were away fishing or something, the aunts and nieces prepared a water fight heist for their return. It was epic and perfect.
- Spring break, 2001. I was a sophomore in high school, and I chose to spend part of my week off with my grandma, simply because I enjoyed her company. I think maybe my brother drove me there and stayed for a day or two. While Grams had a doctor's appointment I went to the mall and bought a Dido CD and some clothes, she took me out on her gravel country roads and taught me to drive her red Jeep Cherokee, and after she went to bed I stayed up late and watched Gilmore Girls, allowed to eat all the ice cream I wanted. Epic and perfect.
Five weddings I've attended that I loved
- My "Uncle" Dan and his wife Pam. At sunset in Missouri, no more than 30 - 40 people in attendance. A three-piece band playing "Play that funky music" and "Mustang Sally" while I cut a rug with the minister (Dad). My mom and I each got a glass of red from the bar and clinked together in a Cheers. Later the best man came over and said he had watched our moment from across the room and found it really special and moving.
- Ed & Kailey. I had only briefly met them once before, as evidenced by the fact that the name placard at my place setting said "Alex's Girlfriend," which I thought was hilarious and a once-in-a-lifetime silliness. Many of the attendees were part of the groom's softball team, and there was much raucous chatting and dancing throughout the night. I ignored Alex for much of dinner to talk deeply about all things in life to my brand new gal pal seated next to me. When "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" started playing, a film crew might as well have been present, because there was so much exuberant singing along and dinging a spoon on a plate to the beat happening that we basically created an updated music video. Also I'm pretty sure I made several requests from the DJ and I think he played all of them.
- Corie & Cyle. The whole bridal party spent the weekend in a ginormous house with like five beds crammed in each room for full-on camp experience bonding, the wedding was outside by the lake and the reception was on the lake in a cruise boat (dance floor on the roof). My pops helped with the ceremony, so I got to hang with the 'rents, my friend gave me a very fun side pony curly poof updo, we did a little joy ride out on the boat after the nuptials. And at the rehearsal, they had Amber Bock and I put pulled pork on top of a burger and dipped each bite in ranch dressing, get on my culinary genius level, people. Boom. So good.
- Jason & Laura. The first time I attended a wedding top to bottom, rehearsal through reception. My big bros and I drove up to Michigan in the snow, listening to Nickelback (yes) on the radio and I at least (yes) enjoyed the listening to Nickelback. I had never been to a wedding before to witness all the bridesmaid dresses, the dancing, the clinking of glasses to get them to kiss. It really opened up my imagination to a world of planning my own wedding, even though now I'm fine with a very bare bones (read: cheap and not intense/stressful) affair.
- Nick & Garrett. A beautiful event, for sure, and I had lots of fun with all the pre-planning and preparation, but mostly it was just a very special day to see someone I love very much live into his true being and go before as an example to me.
Five random classes I've taken in school
- History of the Middle East
- Folk guitar
- Introduction to HR
- Games (Yeah, seriously. In seventh grade I took a six-week course where I learned to play chess, backgammon, and some other things that I don't remember how to play now)
Five things I miss doing while we are waiting out Covid
- Going for long runs/hikes without a mask
- Putting on makeup, perfume, and cute clothes to go out and meet up with peeps
- In person interviews for jobs, actually. Felt like the ball was really rollin' when those were happening.
- Working out with my trainer
- Visiting KC to eat burnt ends and cheesy corn bake and have Boulevard on draft and squish nephews and have nightly happy hour with Mom and Dad
Five ways in which I've changed since my youth
- I'm much better at getting up in the morning. I'm not grouchy or unkind with those around me, and I become fully functional very quickly.
- I am open to dressing and acting and talking in feminine ways.
- I'm not nearly as willing/committed to going out of my way to make sure that everyone in the room is included and has someone to talk to. I still hate being left out and as a result am very intent on making connections between people and always hoping that my friends will hit it off with each other, but I no longer take it on as my personal responsibility to carry a conversation or babysit people. Also, I'm now super comfortable with silence and don't feel the need to talk to people sitting right next to me; if we're both choosing to simply exist nearby each other without conversation, I don't think we're necessarily being rude or shy or inappropriate in any way.
- I will actually interact with dogs now, and that was not always the case, believe me.
- I drink alcohol now. I'm not even sure I was ever at a single party in high school where it was present, and I barely drank in college and even then I waited until I was legal.
Five ways in which I've remained the same
- I still find cats to be incredible creatures and I still get very excited any time one comes in the room and talk baby talk to it, even and especially if it is the one I have lived with for six years now.
- I still love bright colors and dress in terms of comfort over style, for sure.
- I'm still "one of the guys." I can be surrounded by men and not bat an eye or feel the need to flirt or be cute. I am equally skilled at joining boys in shop talk as I am at ignoring it (as well as their burping, wrestling and toilet humor). Putting on "I have three brothers" blinders makes for a good life, my friends. :)
- I'm still loud. And hyper. And dramatic (even though I still won't actually admit I am dramatic).
- I still love the written word, and music.
Five types of cuisine I love (favorite dishes in parentheses)
- Thai (Pad Thai, spring rolls in that light dipping sauce, Massaman curry and pineapple fried rice, please. And anything with that peanut butter-y sauce or dressing, duh.)
- Bar/pub food (shoestring fries w/room temperature ketchup, chicken tenders and honey mustard, tots)
- Chinese (lo mein, cashew chicken, Beijing beef (at Panda, obvi), crab rangoon with hot mustard and sweet and sour sauce, hot & sour soup)
- Indian (chicken tikka masala, chicken korma, lots of basmati rice & chai)
- Italian (pizza, hello. Spaghetti & meatballs, fettucine, ravioli, lasagna, and all the parmesan cheese you can manage. Keep it comin', People). (Ideally this is in a red leather booth with my boo at Pinocchios with cheap glasses of wine, headphones in as we write).
Five things that stress me out when I think about planning a wedding (P.S. Not engaged. No rumors. Ah, whatever, this is quarantine, you're bored. Start rumors, just don't call the tabloids. Unless Bridget Jones is reporting the story, then call the tabloids).
- Picking bridesmaids and bride's boys. I do not repeat do not want to hurt feelings. Left to my own devices I could easily, truly pick 20 of y'all to come up and represent! as my crew, but realistically I'll have to pare it down to like six and. And, I just can't.
- Money. I don't have it. Next.
- Being too in my head reminding myself to enjoy the day that I can't actually enjoy a day in which every single thing in place has been hand selected by moi and, oh yeah, I'm marrying my person.
- DJ set list? I mean what if I'm being so badgered about flowers that I forget to tell Khalid that "Wannabe" and "That's the Way it is" are MANDATORY? Love has come to she who believed it and therefore we must hear the Queen declare it to us ONCE AGAIN.
- The fact that the Queen most likely will not actually be able to provide her in-person entertainment at the event itself
Five things that excite me when I imagine a wedding (still not engaged)
- Employing my brother and dad to offer their carpentry skills for a theme I have in mind
- Setting the niechews (nieces and nephews) loose to open the ceremony with their own personal dance moves (Two thousand percent this element is more important to me than having an adult bridal party)
- Having it be really small, like teeny weeny, and then spending several months afterward inviting our friends in various cities to meet up with us at pubs to have a bunch of mini receptions
- Getting ready with my girlzzzzzzzzz. And a few of my poor boys who are going to have to put up with our Valley girl fast chatter.
- Wearing my Grams' dress that Mama wore, too.
Five famous authors who I've never read
- Twain (And I have been educated in Missouri. I know.)
- Steinbeck (OK, fine, I've started, and, like, his prose is beautiful, but it cannot be sped read, OK? So I've only really scratched the surface and don't consider myself an actual "reader" yet)
Five magazines I've had subscriptions to
- The New Yorker
Five places I'd like to visit
- The Wieliczka salt mine in Poland
- The Smokey Mountains
- This place I found online once in upstate New York that has like all these brick walls half broken down, half emerging from the ground and it looks like a magical outdoor playland where my brothers would have a FIELD DAY.
- Bonus place: House on the Rock. Been there before but I will go back. I must. And there's a quirky hotel nearby where I need to lodge, plus my brothers and I have a very serious shared dream to go to this attraction during Halloween and scare the pants off ourselves. I will wear a diaper in preparation.
Five things I've never told a therapist
- As if
- I'd reveal that
- Move along, Nosey.
Five musical artists whose work I love
- This has of course been established but: Céline
- Glen Hansard
- Agnes Obel (new discovery for me. Incredible and one of a kind)
- MØ (and that's not just because someone thought I was Danish at her concert, though that certainly skews my affection)
- Mark Knopfler
Five albums I love
- Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd
- Chesapeake, Rachael Yamagata
- Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits
- By the Way I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile
- The Way I Am, Jennifer Knapp
Five shows I will likely watch over and over for a long time (favorite character in parentheses)
- Felicity (Felicity. Close second place Javier. Close second second place Noel)
- 30 Rock (Tracy, followed by Frank and Angie of course and Grizz and Dotcom and Dr. Spaceman OK this is hard)
- Friends (Joey)
- Friday Night Lights (Tami and Landry)
- Wonderland (Miranda, Harry, Maggie, Rob. And Collette and Dani. I have trouble picking favorites)
Five things that might make me a bad person
- I once broke up with someone on Christmas Eve
- I once told someone I would go to a dance with him and then later told him I wouldn't
- I kind of don't want to vote in November (I more than likely will, but I'm not feelin' real great about it)
- I don't think most puppies are very cute (and even though I'm obviously enamored with all cats, I greatly prefer the full grown kind over the kitten version)
- I used to turn in assignments torn straight from my spiral notebooks (and got real annoyed when my teachers made me cut off the edges first)
- Also I dog ear books. ...Yup....
Might make me a great person/your best friend ever
- I have edited many college essays pro bono
- I have been known to send bouquets of flowers when they are least expected
- Generally speaking, my outfit will usually not match and I will be the one speaking loudest and revealing more personal truths than I should, so if you're with me in a crowd I'm probably going to make you look better/take attention off you if you're not into that.
- I am always willing to painstakingly break down the tiniest of details within a fictional television show world. So if you need to discuss whether Felicity really made the right choice for her love life in the end and discuss how weird those Todd Mulcahy episodes are, I am here for you.
- I am pretty darn generous, with both tangible belongings and my listening ear and commitment to throwing a party for you.