Tag Archives: life

Mondays Aren’t that Bad (and other deeply profound observations)

Mondays are good for things like counting how many bills are past due in your head, or tallying the number of days it’s been since you’ve last moved your body in a way that could be construed as exercise. It’s also ripe with awkward exchanges: You get stuck riding the elevator with the unruly looking man who always answers your mass emails to the office with inappropriately personal tidbits about his life — “It’s Birthday cake day today? That’s funny. When me and my sister were six we also had white cake with strawberries on top. And then we swam in the lake with our grandfather who ended up having an affair with our old nanny!” Cool C-dawg, thanks for letting me know.

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Mondays are certainly not dignified days.

Round One: Monday in the bathroom

Monday morning is where I find myself, hurriedly brushing my teeth in the women’s bathroom at work because I’m late, when all of the sudden I’m listening to the primal grunts of a fellow human struggling to eliminate dead animal remnants from their bowels. Besides the twinge of jealousy I feel toward this person for producing normal bowel movements so early in the morning, I’m generally displeased with what’s happening. In these moments, there is no higher power saving us from the hideous beasts we biologically are deep down inside. Not even a courtesy flush could save me from the guttural moans of a woman thrusting aside gender norms for the chance to maintain her digestive normality— WAIT A HOT SECOND, there’s a fucking guy coming out of that stall. In a construction helmet. He smells of bologna sandwiches that have been heating up on a hot sidewalk mixed with the dirty mop water that used to collect at the end of my driveway from the makeshift car wash service that Di-Di the homeless crack addict started when I lived on “the bad side of town.”

“Uhh…ohhh…this is… Is this the girl’s bathroom?” I wasn’t buying the act. You heard me clack in here, man, all pigeon-toed in my heels like a grown-ass woman.

need-discuss-impact-workplace-ecard-someecards

I shook my head up and down as my Sonicare toothbrush glided unpleasantly over my half broken fillings. (Sidenote: It’s never worth it to go to the “wholesale” dentist just because you have a chance to win the Free Trip to Hawaii Sweepstakes. Chances are, the contest never existed in the first place.) At this point, I’m fighting the urge to spit my toothpaste all over him repeatedly as if I were filming hilarious outtakes for a show called My Life Monday (The screwball sequel to His Girl Friday).

Round two: Monday at the pump

Later that day, on the way home from work, I decided to finally acknowledge the lit up emergency light on my dashboard, indicating “Your father is not coming to do this for you. Please put air in your tires, you irresponsible brat.” Obviously, like most civilized people, I needed to buy something in the gas station to get cash back and have change for the quarter-operated air pump from 1963. As I walk out of the gas station there is a Mercedes SUV inching uncomfortably closer and closer to my car, which I have intentionally parked an inch away from the pump, until the Mercedes appears to be human centipeding my car.

“She wants your car to buy her a drink first!” I said to the woman now exiting her car and moving toward the air pump. Apparently she was not amused by the personification of my white Chevy Aveo. She was also unaware, like most Mercedes owners I’ve come across, that having a Mercedes doesn’t automatically disqualify you from having to wait in a line or you know, being a decent human being.

“I was actually about to use that,” pointing to my car that was positioned in the only spot allotted for the air pump.

10 out of 10 Mercedes are that asshole that just cut off 100 cars and is now trying to merge into your lane..

10 out of 10 Mercedes are that asshole that just cut off 100 cars and is now trying to merge into your lane..

“Yeah. Well, I’m going to go ahead and use it. And it’ll be a few minutes and then i’ll just pass it on over to you.” I was astounded and exponentially impressed by her ability to make cutting me in line sound like a favor she was doing me. When I regained consciousness as a human being able to stand up for herself, she was already discarding the pump from her hand, there was no “passing it on over” that took place. I imagined giving her an atomic wedgie in her Lulu Lemon yoga pants for most of that night. But not before I met JJ.

Enter JJ

JJ really wanted a Sirloin Sandwich combo from Jack In The Box and I was standing in his way. By standing in his way I mean I was crouching down, pumping air in my tires like a self-sufficient adult woman. That’s when he came rushing to my aid like an unkempt, hungry Prince Charming of the Streets.

“hey-hey-hey, let..let.. let me do that for ya. I got some gloves on — make this real smooth and easy for ya.” Granted it was 41 degrees in Austin, which meant there was a “Severe Weather Alert” already in effect.

“I’m actually pretty okay all by my lonesome. It’s just this tire really—“

“Aww no, ain’t no lady as pretty as you getting her hands dirty on dees tires.” As he grabbed the air pump out of my delicate lady hands I thought about how many people JJ has met at this pump. Obviously, he lived his life with intention and purpose. Instead of wasting time begging for change like others struggling to make a buck, he camped out at the one place that doesn’t take credit cards and went from there. I liked his drive, although I resented the superior demeanor he possessed when claiming my tire was “full enough, mama.”

Despite the fact that JJ’s help was thrust upon me like an unwanted work email at 4:59 p.m., I gave him a dollar. And when he asked me for another dollar because he’d been “dreamin’ ’bout dem Jack fries” I gave him another dollar.  It was a Monday after all, and I was happy to spend the end of it making JJ’s dreams come true. And as I drove home, weaving through the mass of deplorable Southern drivers, honking at the inevitable douchey bro in a hummer and then at the irresponsible douche with a dog loose in his truck bed, I thought, ughh, well, I guess Monday could be worse.

I’m Back and I Have Something to Share

new years 1“You guys, I’m gonna be so much better this year!” Is what I said on January 1st about writing a post every night after work instead of, for example, watching the entire season of House of Cards in one sitting while shoveling vegan, gluten-free chocolate macaroons into my abnormally small pie hole. I’m sure you’ve noticed how it’s now February. And cue what I am now trying out as the theme of my new year — the year of giving up before I even sta-, er… the year of coming back from behind!  Because what’s even better than starting off strong? Starting off horribly and still winning! That way, you already know what failure tastes like having been so close to it  — it’s sour and the texture is a lot like uncooked tofu sitting in its’ own white frothy liquid.

The underdog spirit gives you resiliency! That go-getter from college that just wrote a Facebook status about her seventh promotion doing a job she actually got a degree in can’t get you down. Never mind that  you just posted a picture of your dog curled into the “tiniest, tightest ball you’ve ever seen!” for the hundredth time. You have the determination of a chronic late bloomer and it’s going to get you places! And after you make it big (well past your physical prime, obviously), when those severely creative people come up to you with their pixie hair cuts, ironically puffing a cigarette and say, “I knew you could like, put it out there if you tried,”  you’ll curse them inaudibly under your breath for not inviting you to their writing circle and say, “cool cigarette.” like Ray said to Shoshanna in that episode of GirlsI can almost taste the delayed success now and it’s a lot like cake batter without the raw eggs.

worryIn all seriousness, I blame my struggles with moving successfully into the future on my tendency to dwell (others refer to this as “anxiety). That coupled with a crippling necessity to romanticize nostalgia relegates me to a consistent state of dwelling on why I can’t and don’t want to grow up. Then I get stuck on the what-if past, like what if my mom breast-fed me? Would I be better at math? Or what if my parents embraced my love for dramatic monologue instead of my ferociously competitive appetite for winning at organized sports? Would I feel more comfortable with imperfection?

So, basically, I’ve always got a foot in the door, just, you know, in the doorway behind me. For me, this is why I need to embrace the existence of the underdog. Because at some point my brain always stops me from playing the fun game of  “Who would I be if my parents enjoyed Scrabble as much as the Patriots?” and makes me realize “Oh yeah! Making life decisions outside of coordinating Miralax doses with my intake of cheese is actually a positive and rewarding experience!” I’m just hoping the feeling is gonna stick. And sure, hoping has turned into some actual trying. Like the other day at work, I let it be known that I have larger career aspirations outside of bringing La Croix back to the break room or finally getting Almond Milk stocked (although, good for me, right?)

And then, a few days later, driving to work, wishing I could go back to sleep, something amazing happened. I was distracted by an oddly inspirational sign:

goal

I got angry at first because obviously this was a personal attack against my tendency to delay goal-getting. Then I got nostalgic about my childhood which led to questioning my upbringing: If my parents didn’t buy me a television as a child would I have grown up to be an early bird? But then, in true underdog steed, I was like, “Fuck. That quote’s actually pretty deep. I should probably get some shit done today.” And then I did. 

 

Someday You’re Going to Be the Oldest One in the Room

adulthood-brad-pitt-demotivational1Being an adult is assembling office chairs with an Allen wrench until your thumb grows an additional layer of old man skin. It’s the sinking realization that rush hour traffic at 6:30 PM is more intense and resentful  than rush hour traffic at 5:30 PM — the man in a Men’s Warehouse suit cutting you off is more intentionally bitter about the life decisions that brought him to that very moment, being stuck in traffic with you as you suck on your e-cig, playing that Pink song “Give me Just One Reason” with the lead singer from The Format over and over again because Matti will murder you in your sleep if he hears it one more time at home. This is being an adult.

It’s walking into a bar and not immediately crying when you realize you’re the oldest one there. It’s putting on your big girl panties and apologizing to that one person you work with that you have dreams about publicly humiliating even though it should really be the other way around. It’s figuring out the best way to outsmart your insurance so you can pay the lowest possible deductible when you go in for a colonoscopy. It’s coming to terms with having to get a colonoscopy at age 24. It’s accepting the fact that you’re going to hear a lot of people poop in the bathroom at work because not everyone cares enough to find an underused bathroom on the 2nd floor to take care of business in. And it’s learning to appreciate those casual poopers with enough empathy to give a few courtesy flushes as you innocently pee in the stall next door because in the end, we’re all in this together.

welcome-to-adulthood_o_1955335Most of all, however, being an adult is realizing that most things aren’t going to go your way. And you’re just going to have to deal with it. And when someone at work speaks to you like that bitch second grade teacher you still have nightmares about you’re going to have to cry in that same stall you go to for strictly poop business because crying in public at work is unprofessional and you’re not a baby. And when you come home to your apartment to find that your prince of a puppy has had a poop party while you were gone, well you’re also going to have to deal with that (but crying is okay, because you’re home and you’re only human after all). And yeah, maybe you didn’t realize that being an adult would require so much thinking about poop.

It’s accepting failed expectations and tricking yourself into believing it’s never too late (because it’s never too late to start saying it’s never too late).

Like when you have intentions of seeing people over the weekend outside the confines of the barely functioning heat box you call your computer because your trying this new thing where you “break routine” and do things you normally only watch people do on television, like go to work Happy Hours and take a shower more than twice a week.

But then adulthood pays you a visit by asking you, “were those two pieces of pizza you siphened from Matti tiny adorable bite by tiny adorable bite really worth it?” And of course they weren’t because now your writhing on the couch like your trying out for the lead in the Exorcist. Friday then turns in to “remind Aly why being adult is more than casually going to drinks with friends” day. And this of course, only happens when you have grand plans to meet and exchange hilarious stories with the amazing people behind the blogs you read at an awesome event called Blogger Interactive. And you’re going to cry on the couch about it as Matti asks, “are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital because your pain tolerance really scares me sometimes?”

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Being an adult is realizing that time is not going to magically multiply, allowing you to complete the tasks that are actually important to you, like say, writing posts for your blog. And you’re actually in charge of your own life now. Which means choosing to buy a half gallon of coconut milk cookie dough ice cream is ALL on YOU and you have to deal with the repercussions. It’s appreciating the small things like when you finally get health insurance and your doctor uses the phrase “stupid anemic.” It’s realizing that not every single thing you do is going to be flawlessly brilliant and witty and that you still need to try to be a successful, compassionate human being. People will forgive you for your imperfections, mainly because they’re too worried about how bad they will look judging you.

Being an adult is finally accepting yourself for the flawed but hilarious person you are because at this point, what choice do you have?

Have you guys been hanging out without me?

I have officially relegated ya’ll to second cousin I don’t keep in touch with status and I’ve had enough. (I’m beginning to think my digestive system is punishing me for not posting in the form of it no longer working.)

work ecardI got a job, everyone. I started on Monday and deciding what to wear each day has felt like one of those choose your own adventure dates where I ultimately will end up wearing a short skirt in a trampoline factory with my laundry day panties on.

The problem is I hadn’t stepped in the office yet to observe the casual dress cues, the dos and don’ts, the don’t-ever-wear-as-much-cheetah-print-as-Susan-from-Finance-has-on warning. I was interviewed through the interwebs, with two people that work in the New York headquarters, not even the Austin office. The women’s top half, from what I could tell, was dressed with a simple peach/beige button up shirt, presumably from Banana Republic or Ann Taylor. I would have to start becoming okay with shopping at the Loft. I could do this. I was a shopper at heart, anyways.

It was also just a few weeks ago when I realized it was no longer appropriate for me, as a 24 year old, to shop at Forever 21. This was a tough call to make — I had just bought a super cute Mexican inspired high-low skirt and was wearing it doing errands when I was stopped by an eleven-year-old girl who asked me where I got such a cute skirt. Instead of acknowledging the compliment, I stopped, as if  I was tapped by a five year old playing freeze tag, and hoped she’d move on to mortify the next 24 year old dressed like a preteen, who might not take it as such a vitriolic personal attack.

But before the whole I-got-a-job-and-the-world-is-right-again attitude, I had a few breakdowns. Hence the not posting for two weeks. The last two weeks can be characterized by images of Matti playing me the song “True Colors” and “Hakuna Matata” while I watch Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, and by me buying eight of the same Banana Republic cardigans in different colors and trying on twelve different variations of the same outfit for my first day of work like I was trying out for the lead part in Working Girl 2. There would also be a picture of me shamefully discovering and subsequently, devouring the reality show Below Deck with Matti in the background cupping his face in his hands defeatedly because he’d rather read Murakami while listening to Joni Mitchell than watch most television programming (hands off, ladies).

So it seems I had been out of the game too long. And by game I mean getting dressed and leaving the house. Monday would be interesting. And it was. Mainly in the sense that I didn’t ruin everything I touched. Oh, and being an Office Coordinator AKA Pam Beasley (more glamorous) is nothing like being an After school Director — it seems that children need more directing and coordinating than adults. Also, childcare employees need to get paid more like a billion yesterdays ago. Basically, I spent most the of the first day amazed at the socially accepted practice of writing an email message solely using the subject line. Come to the front office for your package, you animals!

oh, and I also learned this

oh, and I also learned this

I think I’m gonna really jazz the place up and hopefully get some of those “health benefits” I’ve heard so much about over the years. I feel a little rusty, but the Leslie Knope inside of me cannot be silenced–but If I don’t witness some serious office hijinks soon I’m gonna be so pissed.

Yeah Write…it feels so good. 

Saying it Out Loud and Meaning it

Following your dreams is super sticky, tricky stuff. In one moment, you’re Julie Andrews prancing around the house like it’s your first time without a girdle and the next second you’re curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, shaking like a newborn deer, crying into a dirty towel you’ve been using as a bath mat. It’s emotional stuff.

julia andrews

This is what following your dreams looks like…

You know what the hardest part is sometimes? Saying it out loud. Admitting that you’re pathetic enough to dream. You have a childhood dream that you still strive to achieve!?! Off with your head, stupid, naive one! How dare you believe life should be filled to the brim with meaning and intent! Become a receptionist! Go into childcare — you’re a woman, you’d be super good at it! Well yeah, I am super good at it. But I’m also super good at eating an entire box of almond milk ice cream bars and blowing bubbles off my tongue so what are you trying to say?

The first step is saying it out loud and meaning it and not caring about that time Amy Poehler joked in an interview about there being no more room for funny writers in Hollywood. So yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do.

Fabrice Tourre

Shoulda given him to Nascar…

Your dream also can’t be getting filthy stinkin’ rich the quickest way possible because that’s a cop out and it’s a destination not an action. Being able to pay your bills, sure that’s a dream. Buying your mom a house to repay her for her love and support, of course that’s a dream. But allowing “getting rich” to be a dream is only allowing people like Fabrice Tourre to exist. Fabrice Tourre — you can call him “Fabulous Fab” — didn’t dream of making millions of dollars by selling bogus mortgage bonds to, in his words, “widows and orphans that [he] ran into at the airport.” Do you think this little sleezeball was using his Monopoly money at age six to trick people into buying shit? No, he was driving toy cars around his mother’s couch. Fabrice and guys like him were risk takers as little boys but instead of telling them to follow their dreams as Nascar drivers or Hollywood stunt men we allowed them to play risk with our money. And then we got mad when they lost it all.

So dreams will save us in the end…. Dreams help us not be douche bags in that they’re meaningful goals. Kanye and Jay-Z may sing about all the cash money they’re making but you know what? They’re living out their frigan dreams, man. (And if you’ve seen the Keeping up with the Kardashians scene with Kim and Kanye organizing her closet, you know he’s an actual human being and not just a bloated head with metal chains hanging down.

dream spongebobPeople are more genuine and honest following their dreams. They may be honestly douchey or genuinely a dick but at least it’s transparent — at least they’re not massaging your shoulders as they slowly steal the wallet out yo’ pocket.

Hello, my name is Aly and I have a dream. I dream about writing words and making people laugh. I dream about writing a show that a sixteen-year-old girl and a thirty-year-old guy can both laugh at. I dream of creating the next Abed character and working with Amy Poehler and maybe someday showing her my “Kaitlin” impression because it used to make the kids at work laugh.

And if you still don’t believe me, watch this guy change your mind/life (SO WORTH IT):


What’s your real dream?

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Shhhhh….I’m dreaming

“Don’t get anxious but…”

Was the preface to a story Matti told me the other day that got me thinking about how my boisterous little companion affects my everyday life. Obviously, one of the funnest things in the world is being a person with anxiety (said no one, ever). The best part about anxiety is the surprise factor, it’s so fun and unpredictable! Take for instance, bringing Tengo to Petsmart to get food:

Me: “Come on, Tengo, I’m supposed to be getting my period soon, my legs feel like I spent the last week in an uncertified trapeze training class and I’m trying awfully hard to retain my calm, assertive pack leader energy. I need to make The Dog Whisperer proud, damn it! Stop getting so excited! You’ve seen dogs before!”

If any of you know who Maria Bamford is, at the moment, I’m trying my best to to manipulate my voice into calmness. Homegirl can throw her voice like no one I’ve ever heard.

one-of-my-favorite-comedians-maria-bamford

Tengo’s tail is pinwheeling and he has his eye on the German Shepherd puppy approaching the store. As I take three deep breathes, he lunges for the dog, clearly sensing my impending menstruation and intuiting it as weakness.

“HEY! SIT!” Cesar Millan urges us to find a sound that reaches our dog like his “shhh” so mine is “HEY!” It’s more embarrassing for me then attention-grabbing for Tengo. At this point instead of projecting calm and assertive energy, I’m laser-beaming it out through my eyes. Cesar would tell me to envision the result. I’m envisioning the result. Tengo is now running in circles. I’M ENVISIONING THE DAMN RESULT. I’M ENVISIONING TENGO NOT BEING SUCH A FUCKING DOUCHE BAG.

“I SAID SITTTTTTTTTTTT!” At this point, calm is not happening, especially not for someone with anxiety that hasn’t been on medication for years and that counts being a recluse as a valid reaction to societal pressures.

We are now in Petsmart — I refuse to back down, he needs to be fed and I’m not getting the puppy police called on me for leaving Tengo in the car in 150 degree heat. We make our way to the food aisle, Tengo is thankfully submissive, his tail is lowered like we practiced, and I’m confident I have shaken my negative energy off at the door. Tengo has other plans. As he sniffs some plush toys in the middle of the main aisle, he lifts his leg up and starts pissing like a drunk guy in an alley way. Everywhere. On my feet and ankles.

cesar“Are you ffffffffffffff-kidding me!” I start to beg Tengo, “Please, please stop being such an asshole. I even picked you out chicken treats, how could you do this to me?” His face is how I imagine Anthony Weiner’s to be when looking at his wife.

The worst part about all of this is the employee’s acceptance of my dog’s inability to understand  my feelings.

“Oh, it’s okay! It happens all the time! He’s just soo excited” Says Carol, from dog grooming. You’re not fooling me Carol, I can sense you only got this job after you retired and realized spending time with pups was easier than being around your husband all day.

Really Carol, is it okay? So will you come to the vintage furniture store that Tengo shit in and explain that to them, too? Actually, matter of fact, come to the park with me too and tell everyone it’s okay as I start screaming his name to come but he’s too busy humping the other dogs.

Anxiety: 1 Aly: 0

Matti and I are driving to the supermarket when we park and the plans for the night are brought up, specifically, the lack of there being any plans.

peanutsparade-18

You always get me, Charlie

Me: “I CAN’T HANDLE THIS WHY AREN’T YOU COMMUNICATING BETTER I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE LET ME OUT.” I get out of the car, walk two cars down, and walk back to the car and get inside.

Me: “I HATE THE GROCERY STORE. I DON’T WANT TO GO IN. I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY. YOU’RE JUST GONNA GET FROZEN CHEESE PIZZA AND I CAN’T HAVE ANY BUT YOU’LL GET IT ANYWAY AND I’LL EAT IT AND THEN I’LL BE DEPRESSED AND BLOATED WITH THE RUNS FOR THE NEXT WEEK.”

(Matti sits there calmly like a good fiancée who works as an intake specialist with mentally unstable people every day would.)

Me: AHHHH BUT I’M SO HUNGRY. WHY ARE YOU STILL IN HERE!? WHAT ARE WE EVEN DOING TONIGHT? HAVE WE FIGURED OUT A PLACE.?GAHHHH I CAN’T HANDLE THIS PRESSURE. (Starts sobbing while thinking about how good frozen cheese pizza would be right now.)

Anxiety: 2 Aly: 0

Tune in next time to see how I dealt with unexpected car trouble! Spoiler alert: Car seats survive after being assaulted by upper leg sweat!

How do you deal with life’s little surprises?

Wait, People Actually Live Like This?

littleprincessEver since I saw The Little Princess as a girl I dreamed of sitting atop an Indian idol, being splashed by an elephant with magical people painted blue surrounding me chanting my name. Needless to say, this never happened. The closest I ever got was a trip to Mexico with an old best friend and her family — to be fair, I did have a canopy bed for a while as well. My dad would castigate me later, holding the pictured proof in his hand, that I did indeed ride an elephant in Maine once, though this memory, like most happy, childhood moments were repudiated in favor of the more painful, gritty reflections that would provide better writing material in the future.

I was sixteen years old, a little bit squishy, with fake black hair and braces. So, I had a lot going for me (essentially just boobs). The trip was intense to begin with, mostly because my friend’s mom was the manicured fingers, Bebe-bejeweled rhinestone studded shirt, I-spent-a-thousand-dollars-just-shopping-for-this-trip type of woman. But she was super fun! I spent most of the trip in an awkward state of not wanting to get in the middle of Mary and her mom’s intense tiffs about who got to wear the most bedazzled Guess shirt. My mom had me when she was forty, so we never really had the sharing closet luxury (or curse), although I do now have an extensive collection of her vintage leather boots, shoulder-padded blazers and one kick-ass pair of high-waisted, checkered, pleated pants so, I win.

me-hotel-cancunWe stayed at the Omni hotel in Cancun. I thought it was so fancy that I would see a celebrity but imagine my dismay when instead, I learned the time-honored lesson that there is more than one type of rich person in the world. In Mexico, you can drink at 16, or I’m making that up to feel better about fact that I drank on a family vacation at sixteen. Either way, me and Mary had margaritas on the beach while Mexican men ogled our underdeveloped goodies (‘sup puberty?). We even danced like no one was watching.

Then the adventures began. You know what’s not the funnest thing in the world when you’re paralyzed by heights? Parasailing. Do you know what they frown upon when you’re parasailing? Peeing in the air directly into the water. We only went on one parasailing trip.

If people said YOLO back when I was on this trip I would’ve spent most days saying YOLO (to be ironically non-ironic). Next on the Kardashian summer getaway, were were to go four-wheeling and then finish off the day horseback riding into the ocean. Just like any middle class American family desperately holding on to their Bill Clinton wealth would do.

“Will my personal assistant meet us there?” I thought out loud, to the amusement of no one except Ian, a friend of Mary’s family who would later invite me to his senior prom because I was “the type of girl who could burp in front of guys.” I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I had game even with braces. Mona, Mary’s mom, was complaining about the heat and her hair, which consistently looked better than mine, when I saw the machines we would be riding.

We took the bus to the spot where our day adventure would take place with the help of my high school spanish and false sense of gumption.

“Are we going sand-duning?” I asked. Our safety instructor, a mix between Antonio Banderas and Beaker, was not amused.

“What about racing? Can we race?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Let’s pick teams. Can I be the captain?”

“Everyone ready to go?” Asked Beaker, clearly practiced in the art of debbie-downering.

I can make it through most days without feeling pathetic and insignificant by saying out loud to myself “I four-wheeled in the Mexican jungle.” But that’s also because I leave out the part where I’m a complete asshat:

My interpretation of how I looked attempting a wheelie

My interpretation of how I looked attempting a wheelie

We had been wheeling through the jungle for a while when I wanted to kick things up a notch, you know, YOLO and all. Carl, Mona’s fiancée was behind me, rounding out the troops, being a typical man. Until I fooled myself into thinking I was trying out for the X-games, attempted a wheelie, and tipped over while still on my four-wheeler as me and the machine both rolled off the track and into a Mexican mud pile. Carl raced to me like any adult chaperoning an underage child that is not his or her own would.

“So, horseback riding should be fun?” I said, assuring everyone I was fine and no I wouldn’t be suing them when I got home.

At the end of the trail we arrived at the spot where we would hop on horses and ride into the sunset. Just without saddles and all that other stuff that makes riding a horse safe, enjoyable, and not feel like your hoo-ha is being assaulted by bony, four-legged beast.

Mary hopped on her horse first only to have it immediately buck her off and start naying incessantly as Mary curled into a ball screaming “Get it away! Get it away!”

This isn’t me but it is how I imagine I looked minus the clothes and dignity.

But I was promised a kodac moment of me gracefully entering the water, barebacking a horse with my new blue Quicksilver bikini. I did not anticipate the reality of me being in the sitting position for the picture — the kryptonite to any self-aware stomach-conscious teenage girl. And although I relish the memory of my horseback ride into the Mexican ocean, the superfluous amount of times my mom exhibited the picture of squishy-stomached Aly for any and everyone to see was more painful then holding in my poop all vacation for fear of the boys hearing me.

It’s always fun going on trips with other families because you get to see a new brand of dysfunction completely different from your own. Your brand is comfortable, familiar, but for everyone else it’s an episode of Intervention without the hope of someone going to rehab at the end. Whether conscious or not, I was never invited to another one of Mary’s family vacations.

Did you ever travel far with a friend’s family? How’d it go? What about vivid memories of family trips gone wrong?

Shut Up, I’m Trying to Dream Over Here!

Bed_of_roses_Milan34863I remember the sound of the movie, the soundtrack, playing like a hopeless romantic lullaby to young 6-year-old ears. This was my introduction into the world of entertainment and hollywood. It was the movie Bed of Roses. OKAY, I realize that at six years old, you probably shouldn’t be watching an idyllic romance about a lonely woman who finds herself with the help of a mysterious florist who delivers her flowers after peering into her window and watching her cry. (Christian Slater at his best.) But to me, the movie was enchanting, mostly because Mary Stuart Masterson had my haircut and there was an actress named Aly. By age seven, I had grand ambitions of being Mary Stuart Masterson, starring in my own movie, and producing and recording the soundtrack.

I wanted to be an actor, a singer, a purveyor of twisted plot lines and quick witted retorts. I wanted to make everyone laugh but not in the way everyone laughed when my brother shoved cake in my face at my fifth birthday party. I wanted to be in all of the televisions!

I had an explosive imagination — I believed I could fly up until about age seven because I would climb my picnic table in the backyard and think really hard as I flapped my arms like bony little girl wings, fooling myself into believing I got a little higher each time. So becoming the female lead in a major motion picture didn’t seem too farfetched — I was already a little obsessed with myself and had already proudly garnered the nickname Ms. Photogenic. The amount of times my mother would explain to me, after I came home crying because the popular girls wouldn’t let in their beanie baby club, “Oh! They’re just jealous of you because you’re so special and beautiful and talented!” may have had something to do with my attitude.

I also had no problem rationalizing my dreams — it is what I wanted to do therefore it would happen (American attitude, much?). Oddly enough, I still have this outlook — If you can’t believe in yourself how do you expect your seventh grade Creative Writing teacher to choose your story for the famed wall of story-telling?

So, I did a lot of things to reach my dreams. Mainly I begged my parents to let me take lots of lessons — I had just learned the word novice from watching Family Feud and it did NOT seem like something I wanted to be. Guitar lessons, or the worst idea for a young girl with bony, child fingers were first and I quit after it hurt my fingers too much to play with my polly pockets. All the while I wrote plays in my journal where I was the star and my older brother’s cute best friend was the male lead. I had my priorities straight at a young age.

After guitar lessons, however, my parents were a little less inclined to drop serious cash to suit the whims of their seven-year-old soon-to-be starlet. Singing lessons were off the table so I’d have to settle for wearing glittery, blue, borderline Show Girl costumes at dance competitions like I was trying out for Toddlers and Tiaras. However, I did get some encouragement from Kaitlin, the overweight girl from down the street I played with before I became a social-standing-obsessed preteen (I’m sorry, Kaitlin). I was singing Mariah Carey’s “Always be My Baby” when Kaitlin looked at me and asked if I took lessons.

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How to make your child have self-esteem issues volume one.

“No,” I said, my head inflating with every breath, “you know, I just think raw talent works itself out.” I was an awful ten-year-old egotist with larger than life dreams and a My-Size Barbie to offer emotional support.

Acting didn’t come till middle school (which is also where it ended) when I joined the improv club after school because Mr. G was the hip new teacher and my parents still didn’t take my hollywood hankerings seriously. I pretty much sparked a riot of hilarity with my impression of a person doing the backstroke! It was GOLDEN.

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Hit role in elementary school play, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise”

Obviously the next step was to try out for the school musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown with a rendition of Britney Spears’ “Hit me Baby One More Time.” I remember staring into the trash can my entire performance and thinking to myself, I bet Mary Stuart Masterson didn’t have to go through this shit. Britney let me down that day, like she would in a year’s time when my mom, brother, and I went to meet her at Copley Square only to find out she cancelled the performance due to post-Rosie O’Donnell lip-syncing rumors. Apparently, I wasn’t meant to be the next Kristen Chenoweth either.

Chasing boys on the playground, becoming “Aly Dicky” at my new school and the burgeoning prevalence of kids in after school sports overtook my performance pretensions for a while. My writing never stopped, however, and I took every opportunity available to make people laugh — I still can’t believe LaToya beat me out for “Best sense of humor” in high school (she was just louder not funnier).

Although I no longer want to be the next Mary Stuart Masterson — let’s face it, she went way downhill after Fried Green Tomatoes anyway — I still dream of being the woman in the television inspiring a young, quixotic, Tweety bird-obsessed girl (probably more like One Direction obsessed these days) to follow her larger than life dreams no matter how tone deaf she is, no matter how often no one laughs at her jokes, no matter how many times she gets beat out for class clown and no matter how stupid she feels during after school improv class.

Dreams are there for a reason, you idiots, now go do something about it.

Daily Post Memory Challenge

Customer Service Karma and Becoming a “Gym Person”

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Anna has witnessed by bangs do the exact same thing (minus the man protein).

It’s as simple as when you wake up, go pee and then jump back in bed and spoon with your dog instead of staying awake. You pray you can get your shit together by 10:30 because at the moment, your right arm is entirely asleep and your hair is an enviable remake of Cameron Diaz’s in Something About Mary. Ughhh but there’s so many more episodes of Hell’s Kitchen to mindlessly stare at and having the queen bed to yourself for a few hours in the morning is just, everything.

This guilty, self-indulgent feeling is the mark of some serious karma coming your way. Feel bad about spending three hours of your life watching The Bachelorette? Of course you do. This week’s karma special: customer service.

***

“Where has she been the last few days?” is the question none of you are asking yourself right now and yet, I’m going to tell you. It all started with Groupon. Moving closer to my goal of a fulfilling career where I wear pencil skirts and Chiffon tops, I decided it was time to purchase the proper self styling tools — namely, a hair straightener. When I was an adorable four year-old camera leech, I had hair like Shirley Temple in the best way possible — all curls, no frizz. As an adult, my hair is more like Sarah Jessica Parker’s in Square Pegs.

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I’m happy that my life decisions have led me to a place where this split image can exist.

Like most services you pay for, you expect a package to arrive to its intended destination, especially when Groupon has already told you it’s been delivered. But somewhere in between pissing off everyone that works in my apartment’s office, getting to know Carol the USPS lady better than i’d like, Jim, also from USPS telling me I need to “open up an investigation,” and then giving me a non-working number to contact,  I started to feel like I wasn’t going to get my package but that I might finally get to engage in a revenge plot fantasy. So I did what any white girl with a dwindling savings account and business women aspirations would do: go buy a cheap straightener at Target.

***

Flash forward a bit to me impetuously trying to finish a post on Friday before Matti gets home from work. WordPress has always been there for me, how could it now be cutting out of connectivity, unable to load pictures, and unable to load the customer support page? The internet ganged up with karma and was sticking it’s tongue at me the only way the internet knows how: by choosing which websites it will functionally load like a security guard at the airport choosing which person to search.  That’s totally fine — I didn’t spend five hours on this post already or anything and I love dealing with technical issues more than most things… said nobody, ever.

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Even this cute little girl hates you, Time Warner Cable

I received an email (rather quickly) from my good friend WordPress telling me people with Time Warner Cable were having similar issues. Is Time Warner Cable a real company or is a big consumer April Fools joke? When I called up the big guys at TWC, aka Tim with customer support whose name was definitely not Tim, they told me that wireless internet is very “finicky” and do I have an ethernet hook up. Apparently TWC thinks 2001: A Space Odyssey is still a glimpse into the future because they are stuck in a pre 2000 dial-up, plug in internet world.

“You know what Tim? It’s weird but when I bought wireless internet I thought it meant that I would be provided with a working wireless connection. I must’ve missed that sales pitch when I chose your service: Our wireless is finicky but we still love your money! Should I assume every service you provide is “finicky” or is that just with the new and upcoming wireless technology?”

Time Warner Cable is so funny because it’s as if they don’t know how badly they suck. You’d think after losing CBS they’d be a little more self-aware. Tim told me a representative would be by in a few days to put a bandaid on my internet.

***

Cut to me on the couch watching Gordon Ramsey tell his contestants to piss off as I shove an almond milk ice cream bar down my gullet and contemplate the amount of ways you can cook beef cheeks.

“So I guess I’m not gonna go to the gym tonight,” I said out loud to myself, looking at Matti, as I grab and squeeze my tummy fat like a stress ball. Three hours earlier I told Matti he wasn’t allowed to not let me go to the gym that night — I think my overuse of negatives may have confused him into inaction. I GUESS I should also take responsibility for my own fitness…

pictures-gyms-funny_4615978502391325So I did. The next day I went to the gym and gleefully realized they have the machines with the TVs on them. After running on the treadmill for a mile, to the surprise of myself and everyone that has ever known me, I went to the elliptical and realized the ear plug jack worked! Karma be damned — I was about to burn off the 300 calories of pure olive oil I consumed that day while watching the Kardashian/Jenners pretend to be a family on a farcically posh Greece vacation. While I subconsciously tried to out-elliptical the girl next to me as we both laughed out loud individually at Kendall’s spoiled rich girl tantrum, I had an epiphany.

I always hated running and I hated every person that ever had the audacity to claim they loved doing it. I’m sorry, I don’t believe you and if I wanted to clear my head I’d take a bath. But for first time in my life I had muscles in my stomach that were almost visible and I wasn’t going to let that change! I realized I didn’t need to have a romantic parisian love affair with running or exercising to enjoy it — I just had to be watching trashy reality television (or Shark Week). I knew I would be back at the gym when I got offended by the girl next to me not wiping down her machine after she smeared her girl sweat all over the machine.

I stopped in the mailroom on my way out of the gym for no real reason besides I wanted the lady inside to see how exhausted I looked drenched in sweat to solidify my gym experience and as I opened the box I saw a slip with the words I had been waiting two weeks to see: You have a package in the office.

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Nailed it, karma.

Contest Results, Blogs You Should Read and My Favorite 90s Workout Video

Well, after surviving a customer service gauntlet the last two days I live to share my story and of course, the winner of my extremely serious and highly anticipated Prince Tengo Caption Contest. First of all, thanks to all who commented with a caption for proving people actually read my blog endorsing my absurdity.

These people rock and I’ll tell you why:

Thank you all for your seriously funny, clever captions and also for making me realize I am not meant to be a contest judge because it’s too hard. So basically you’re all winners. Okay, but I did think one was a little more clever than the others and this is mostly due to my extreme and unfounded love for creating fake sequel titles to movies. Lucky you, Lies I Wrote in My Diary, you are now the winner of some extremely cool pieces of paper  an awesome ninja star and one of a kind roll of US postmaster general stickers!

As for everyone else, I have free hugs for you! Just come to South Lamar Boulevard in Austin Texas to claim them — I’m such a good hugger.

P.S.- Just to give you a good parting visual, I’m going to share the video I’ve been sweating it out to lately. It stars Fabio’s beefier brother along with a buffer Saved By The Bell lookalike cast. Imagine me crunching it out to this while Tengo sits next to me licking my elbow each time I come down:

Happy crunching!