Monday, December 5, 2016

No Peeking

One December, when we were teenagers, my brother found his Christmas present while snooping around the garage.

"I found a brand new snowboard in the loft!" he confessed to me. I mentioned the find to my mom, and she told my brother that we were hiding it for our neighbor's son for Christmas. "Aww, Trevor is so lucky."

On Christmas morning, my brother, sister, and I always got one big present from Santa. That year, my sister got a handmade jewelry box. I got a stereo that held 6 CDs. My brother got a pillow in the shape of a shark, which was his favorite animal... when he was five.

"I knew you would either love it or hate it!" my mom said to him. My brother was a good sport about it.

When we had all opened all of our other presents, we brought out the snowboard.

"I was so mad!" he said with joy.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Missing Mother Nature


Once, when I was very young, my parents took the family on a camping trip. Running through the trees was everything FernGully and Pocahontas promised it would be.

As we gathered around the campfire, my dad announced that he needed to “visit Mother Nature”. An image formed in my brain of an old lady in a wooden cabin full of talking animals—a Snow White version of Mrs. Claus in the very woods where we were going to make s’mores. I immediately insisted on accompanying my dad.

“I want to meet Mother Nature!”

“No, no. I have to visit Mother Nature on my own.”

Upset, yet determined, I began to stealthily follow my dad in the trees parallel to the path. I too would meet the elusive Mother of the Forest.

My dad’s pace quickened, and the terrain became more and more unruly. When I stopped chasing him, and watched him pace out of sight, I sat down in a ditch and cried.

The moral of the story is that sometimes the anticipation of something… No, actually, just explain things properly to your kids.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Why I wear contacts


The Missing Book

I was visiting my parents the other night in sleepy Los Alamos, and my mom was manically rummaging around the house.

"I just put my book down, and I can't find it anywhere."

"What's it called?"

"It's called Invisible."

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Reasons I Cry

I had a long drive today because my orthodontist is a few towns north of where I live. I was in the car, listening to music, and I started daydreaming. I am a vivid daydreamer, from years of experience in high school science classes. I am also PMSing. In the past, when I have been PMSing, I have cried for what some people would deem diculous reasons… sad commercials about dogs on TV, giving people compliments, and even a scene from a comedy show that wasn't supposed to be that heartfelt at all (in the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt show, when her friend is getting married, and she is upset because the groom is gay and there's nothing she can do to stop it). 
Well today, when I was driving, I started thinking about what my parents would say if they were giving me wedding toasts. And yes, I cried. I think the orthodontist was afraid that something horrible had happened (yay discounts!). My parents have very high expectations set for them now, if I ever get married.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Consequences of Resourcefulness

The other night, I went to a barbecue and my glass was continually filled, so I got pretty tipsy. I walked back to boyfriend's house, and he changed my phone password and distributed the contents of my purse onto the floor of several rooms. I decided to wait until I was sober enough to drive and deal with everything, and fell asleep until until 2:30 a.m..

At this point, I decided to just sleep there, but my eyes were killing me because I hadn't taken out my contacts. I went to the bathroom and found some extra contact solution, but I needed a container. I looked through the medicine cabinet and found an empty bottle of Pepto-Bismol. I took off the lid, which had a little bit of pink residue on it. I washed it in the sink, and then stuck my contacts in there for the night. 

The next morning, my contacts were swimming in a little pink pool of solution. Apparently I hadn't washed the lid thoroughly. I put them in, and they felt fine, but they made my eyes glow pink. I thought the color would hopefully fade and I could clean them when I got home. It wasn't that noticeable. 

"Good morning. How did you slee--OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR EYES."

It was a little noticeable.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Rat

There was a rat in my boyfriend's mother's closet, and as the bravest man in the world it was his responsibility to murder it. At the time, he had a job at a science lab where they had to suffocate mice in bags... the company later got sued for having a secret barn full of sick goats and lost their animal license. 

The rat was in an old shoe, and it actually was pretty cute. But as I remarked on this, he reminded me of all of the diseases that rats carry so I wouldn't get emotional. 

In preparation, he went to a safe and pulled out a gun. He had to defend himself. 

He scooped the rat in a bag, and he took it outside. He banged it on the ground, and the rat died instantly. 

"I kinda still want to shoot it."

"No, that will make a big mess."

And that is the story of how I aided a murder.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Killing Me Softly

My friend that had worked with me in England came to visit last week. We had a full itinerary of hiking, wine tasting, surfing, and trail running. When her last evening was upon us we decided that it was only fair to the world if we shared our musical talents. We went to a dive bar a few blocks from where I live called Bill's Place. Wine, schnapps, and beer kept us singing karaoke far too long, and it was a wonderful ending to her trip. Yet it was only the beginning of the turmoil that that night would bring.

The morning my friend had left (got to the train station with 3 minutes to spare) I hungoveredly dropped my phone into my coffee. There didn't seem to be much damage. I showed it to my boyfriend, and while he fiddled with it, he came across a poorly filmed selfie video of my friend and I, silently and with much exaggerated expressions, singing "Killing me Softly".

"Man, I wish I could hear this," he said while I sat back, relieved. A little while later his phone buzzed, and I heard my friend and I drunkenly butchering lyrics, one could say killing people softly with our words. He had sent the video to himself.

Every night since, whenever I see my boyfriend or his housemate, they start singing it. Next time I drink schnapps (which is hopefully never), the phone stays at home.

Slumber

I was visiting my friend and her family, planning her wedding that's set for November. It felt like being a kid again, sitting in the living room with her dad in charge of the remote to the television (Television! Pff! So '90s).

While my friend and I gabbed about decorations, my friend's dad drifted off and began to snore. There's something about the way peoples' chins drop when they're sleeping upright that gives even the most dignified people drooling expressions.

While he slept, clutching the remote to his chest, Antique Road Show blurred in the background. After several episodes, my friend's brother said, "Why is this on?" which prompted my friend's father to stop snoring and contribute with a resounding "I HAVE NO IDEA" before continuing to snore with the next breath.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Old Hag Problems

I never thought that I'd ever be worried about wrinkles or aging, but they seem to become concerns overnight. I haven't been sleeping as well as I used to since I got my puppy around Christmastime. My dark circles seem prominent, so I decided to use the trusty interwebs to find some solutions. The cheapest, and seemingly easiest remedy was to put cold teabags under my eyes. Cool.

I decided to chill my tea in the freezer to speed along the process. The teabags froze together, and when I took them out to put them on my face, I had to pull them apart. Unknowingly, I must've ripped one of them in the process. After a few minutes of feeling the cold tea on my face, using magic to change the color of my skin, I began to feel something else too... little grains of tea that had somehow migrated over my entire face. I got up to rinse my face, and I felt like I had sand in my eyeball. Tea grains had collected and formed the shape of the grim in my eye, and it took awhile to flush them all out...

My dark circles seem less prominent now, but only because my flaming red, irritated eyes are drawing more attention.

If you want to learn from this, just pay $12 for a cream.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Harry Potter Betrayed Me

My friend and I were making Harry Potter wands for the release of 'The Cursed Child' this month. We used dowel rods, and we covered them with hot glue and beads before painting them to look like tree branches.

We used acrylic paints, and I got a big red cup with water for our paintbrushes. Halfway through telling a joke, I got thirsty and instinctually reached for the cup of water. I took a big ol' swig of dirty paint water.

The best part was that my friend was so polite that she said she was going to pretend that she hadn't noticed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fort

On my grandfather's ranch there are a bunch of barns. Sometimes horses are boarded there, and some of them are used for storage. In the biggest barn there is a ladder into a closed-off part of loft. The entrance at the top of the ladder is a barn door that opens from the top and the bottom. Inside, my brother and I had made a fort. "Home Sweet Home" was written in chalk on the wall, and we had some ropes and slingshots up there.

After a long absence from California, when I was around thirteen and my brother was ten, my family came to visit my grandparents. My brother was chasing me for some reason, and I ran to the barn. I knew I could climb the ladder faster than him. So I scurried up. The door had been left open since our last visit. I grabbed the bottom half and swung it closed. Happy at my victory, I leaned out of the top part of the door to mock my brother. The door was moving.

During our absence, hundreds of small bats had made their nest between the open door and the barn. The bats, being disoriented from the light, began flying in all directions--most notably upward, into my face.

Soon after this experience, maybe in that moment, I outgrew the fort in the loft.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fleece

I fell in love for several reasons, a noteworthy one was a mutual fluency in Spanglish. Another was our impressive usage of puns.

I visited him in San Francisco the autumn we started dating, and it was cold. I hadn't brought a proper jacket, but along the pier there are loads of shops selling inexpensive fleece sweaters that have San Francisco logos on them.

"I think I'm going to get a fleece," I said.

"But I thought you already were happy."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Vans

Two of my Irish friends were in San Francisco with their work visas the summer after I graduated college. I met them in the bay for a period. We were walking around Palo Alto one day, and we saw a pair of shoes on top of one of those newspaper boxes. I think they were Vans.

My friend's current shoes were in far worse of a condition as the ones on the box. We checked, and they were his size.

"Is this some sort of trick?" he asked.

We stood around and chatted, waiting around the shoes. No one came to take them, so he just put them on. He wore them for his whole trip.

I went to visit Ireland the next year, and he was still wearing the shoes.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Dangers in the Pre-Cellphone Era

When I was in my freshman year of high school, my best friend and I had a journal that we passed back and forth between classes. It was a good way to keep in contact before cell phones became more discreet. I actually don't remember if I even had a cell phone then... Well, my friend would always write about her classes. She was a true academic, full of intellectual curiosity and brilliance. I always wrote about the boy that I liked. Well, I actually liked many boys, but I'd always like one person the most at a given time.

I liked this boy that had spoken to me maybe once. I just decided to like him for the fun of it. His dad and my dad were friends, and his dad joked around with me occasionally about his son. His son "had a good Chewbacca impression", so I drew pictures in the journal of me holding hands with Chewbacca. I have no excuses for how weird this was. I was bored, hyperactive, and obsessed with romance.

One day, my friend accidentally left the journal behind in one of her classes. Of all the people in the entire school who could have discovered this journal, it happened to be one of my crush's close friends. To my horror, his friend group read the journal.

Fortunately, my teenage self was so tactless that this didn't have too terrible an impression on my quest for love. And now, after all these years, I'm pretty sure that my Chewbacca impression is better than his was.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

COPS

I can see, objectively, that I might not be the best driver in the entire world. I might've scared one or two people with my driving in the past. BUT, I've never been in a collision... with another car. I backed into a utilities box once. Anyway--despite a couple tickets that weren't really my fault, I have an aversion to traffic police. Whenever I see them, my heart begins to flutter and I forget how cars work. This physiological response has garnered both sympathy and ridicule.

As for sympathy, I was pulled over a few years ago because I was speeding and drifting. Apparently, you're only supposed to pull over to the right side of the highway. I pulled over to the left.

"Don't you know what to do when a cop turns on sirens?" the cop said condescendingly.

"Pull over," I said, and did.

"To the right of the road. Didn't you listen in driver's ed.?" Rude. "You were swerving around blahblahblah."

"I'M LOST! I CAN'T READ MAPS! WHY AM I ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD? I'M UPSET NOW!"

And he gave me directions and let me go. Yay! I have magic tears.

One day after this encounter, I was driving down a little road by the beach, and a cop pulled out behind me, so I immediately pulled over TO THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD, turned off my music, checked my seatbelt, and tried to muster a look of remorse. The cop slowed down and pulled his car up to mine, rolled down the window, and motioned for me to do the same.

"Did you think I was pulling you over?" he asked.

"You're not?"

"No! HAHA! GUILTY CONSCIENCE, EH?!" And he drove away.

In conclusion, I hate the government.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Pigeonholing

Generally, as an English major, I've had to tone down the natural inclination to correct grammar so that I can have friends. I still occasionally find myself correcting people if they misuse a word or completely butcher a sentence. I've concluded that sometimes this is beneficial for people, even if we want to encourage the organic development of the English language.

My boyfriend's roommate was signing up for classes online, and he was audibly frustrated.

"I'm already taking a lot of credits, and my friend is trying to get me to take this class. He's totally pigeonholing me!"

"You're not using that word right."

"Pigeonholing? Yeah, he's trying to manipulate me..."

"No, 'pigeonholing' is assuming someone fits a stereotype."

"No it doesn't!" He looked up the word online, and his face dropped. "Oh." He tried three online dictionaries. Then, he looked up the word on Urban Dictionary. It said something about pooping on someone's windshield when they do something to upset you. "That's what he did. That's what I meant the whole time."

Just a Note about Query Letters

As many of you know, or don't know--I don't really know who reads my blog besides Kelli (hey, Kelli)--I've been trying to get a book published for a long time. It's hard to justify how much time I've spent writing and editing now that my other friends are starting to make money with real adult jobs.

As anyone who has tried to get traditionally published knows, you have to write a pitch, or a query, to an agent, who decides whether or not to request more of your manuscript. My first query, submitted to a rough guesstimate of sixty billion people, was apparently... not as breathtaking as the Sistine Chapel... it was actually about as breathtaking as a fat man trying to hike. That was a terrible joke. I'm so sorry you had to read that.

Anyway, I just sent out a revised query. It reads somewhat like this:

Dear any agent,

PLEASE.OH.GOD.PLEASE.ACCEPT.THIS.I'M.SO.DESPERATE.

Love,
Gina

P.S. This is also my dating technique.

Bin Surprise

My boss, Jami, was probably the coolest boss in the world. She was funny, outgoing, hardworking, and nice. Being nice is a quality I admire after having done office work with a woman who hated smiling (Yes, Leslie, I'm talking about you).

Jami drove two and a half hours every weekend from LA to run the wine bar. It would've been nothing without her. Her personality brought the saloon to life--unfortunately she brought things to life that should've been left alone as well.

On one of her first weekends in the saloon, while getting accustomed to the rural atmosphere, she was preparing the bar. She realized she hadn't taken out the trash, even though she thought she'd done it the night before. She reached down into the trashcan and awoke a possum that had snuck in during the night. It woke with a fright and bit her.

She screamed so loud that she burst a blood vessel in her eye. A kitchen worker ran out and trapped the possum, and my boss had to close the bar to go to the hospital.

When recounting the horrible ordeal, she said she hadn't noticed it because it was "playing possum".

Tanning

I like my brother's girlfriend. She's the first girl he's dated that I like. They are goofy together, and they're a good pair.

She and I were talking about tanning one day, and we complained about our tan lines making our skin look like we have little white bathing suits on all of the time.

My grandfather owns a large ranch in the town where my brother and parents live. It's six square miles of rolling hills, green fields, and giant oak trees. There's farmland in the front, but it's separated by fences. There are a few houses up there. It's just my half-blind grandfather and his Hagrid-like tenant who helps manage the property.

"Why don't we just tan naked on the ranch. We'll hike up one of the trails. No one would ever find us back there."

"Are you sure?"

"Positive. I never see anyone back there." And it was agreed.

On the day that we carry our sunscreen, tanning oil, speakers, water, and snacks up the path, we are a little nervous. We find a spot on the hill with plenty of sun and start to strip down when we hear a roaring noise.

"Is that an airplane or part of the song?" I ask.

"I think it's a four-wheeler," she said. I start to dismiss the idea--of all of the space on the ranch, why would anyone be on this old, hidden trail--when there comes Hagrid-like tenant on his four wheeler! I was only wearing a sports bra and shorts. We tell him that we're tanning, and he goes away, but for the rest of our time tanning we jump at the slightest noise. I'm sure that my credibility was thrown out with my clothing.

Now, whenever I'm tanning, even with a bathing suit, I'm always nervous. Thanks, Hagrid.



Polyamory

My boyfriend acts like a child around his friends. It's sometimes endearing. Sometimes. Other times, I want to punch him in the face. Lately, he's been taking advantage of my lack of observation and handing off his phone to his friends to answer when they're hanging out together. I don't know why my brain has difficultly distinguishing my boyfriend's voice from the others.

"Hello, Spencer!"

"Hello."

"[blah blah blah, my day] Do you want me to get you anything before I come over?"

"Beer."

"Okay! Sounds good! I'll see you in a bit. I love you!"

"Okay." [hangs up]

Not realizing it wasn't my boyfriend, I go into a rage. Why wouldn't he say he loves me? How rude and unprovoked. I'm not even going to pickup beer. That'll show him. I almost immediately get a call back from him. I almost don't answer, but I give in right before it goes to voicemail.

"What?" I spit venomously.

"What the hell? You love Eric?!" Now I recognize Spencer's voice.

This was the third or fourth time this has happened with different friends. Now, whenever I'm annoyed at Eric, he asks me if I remember telling him I loved him.

The Chef

There's nothing like returning to a blog two years later. You probably think that embarrassing things stopped happening to me. That is not the case. [insert excuses]

A few months ago, I was working in a wine bar that connected to a restaurant. It was great fun, and I met an eclectic bunch of people. The restaurant, in attempt to remain on par with up-and-coming restaurants in the area, hired a new chef. She was cool. She had food-related tattoos, an energetic demeanor, and a passion for what she was doing. A refreshing breath of genuine person compared to the plastic walking platitudes that seem all too common when you're within a reasonable driving radius of LA.

One day, as I sat behind the bar during a not-too-busy moment, the chef came out from the kitchen to chat and we settled into getting to know each other conversation.

"So what do you do when you're not at work?" I asked.

"Oh, you know--hangout, spend time with my mom, spend time with my girl."

"I didn't know you had a daughter!" I said.

"I don't... My girlfriend," she corrected. And my brain went into overdrive at the sudden surprise. I am pro-gay rights, and this has never been an issue for me before, but I just felt this need to justify myself just then.

"I HAVE LOADS OF GAY FRIENDS." I (practically) shouted. She gave me a weird look.

"Uh, okay..." she said, and shortly thereafter returned to the kitchen.

I think I need to practice subtlety.