My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Archive for the ‘Life’s Little Awesomes’ Category

The Heart of the Matter

 

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I was recently asked by someone if I had ever been in love. When I was forced to admit my honest answer, no, it made me think.

Granted this conversation was after one three glasses of wine, and Moscato has a sneaky way of making me get just all of the philosophical. I once had a two-hour conversation about the deeper meaning and lessons behind the Monty Python films. Hint: it involved a lot of me talking in a terrible British accent and Spam. I wish I was joking.

I’ve been on this beautiful Earth for almost 30 years now, and I’ve had many incredible life experiences, but what this particular person made me realize was that I’ve never really experienced the feeling of “being in love.”

Sure there was Kody Kremsreiter, my first “love.” We were both five, lived across the street from one another and both had the same obsession with Saturday morning cartoons, The Berenstain Bears and chicken nuggets. In 5th grade, it was Jason Kopp. He shared his War Heads with me on the playground and always picked me first when playing kickball in gym class. Guys, if that isn’t the making of true love, I don’t know what is.

I’d like to say that my dating style improved as I got older, but that was not the case.  My middle name is awkward (actually, it’s Joe, but potato poe-tah-toe) and I never aced the whole flirting thing. I still haven’t tbh. I never really had a steady boyfriend. Sure, there were guys who I dated in high school and college and even within the last few years, guys who definitely gave me the butterflies, who I would stay up late talking to on the phone eliciting all the nervous laughs and palm sweats, guys who I thought were “the one.”

But the truth is, I’ve never had that deep down, feel-it-in-your-toes, over the moon, head-over-heels, soul-gripping and down right amazing love feeling. This isn’t to say that these guys weren’t wonderful people. They were incredible! Funny, kind, smart and big-hearted. This also is in no way a rumination seeking sympathy, and it isn’t to reflect on some kind of deprivation. My life has been anything but deprived. In fact, this is just the opposite. It’s the appreciation of how full of love my life has been.

I think what my friend was asking was if I had ever experienced that stereotypical romantic love, the kind of love that makes you reminisce over who said “I love you” first, the kind of love you hear about from grandparents who’ve sustained their relationship for over 50 years, the kind of love that makes you cross continents just to be with someone. No, I’ve never personally been in this kind of love…yet. But just because I’ve never been in love, doesn’t mean I haven’t been surrounded by it.

And when I say I’m surrounded by love, I’m not necessarily referring to seeing friends getting engaged, or sending my parents an anniversary card every year (HI MOM AND DAD!!!). I’m referring to the non-stereotypical, unromantic, and yet completely unconditional love that has helped to make my life complete. I’ve never said those three magic words, “I love you” to an SO, but I have said them to people who I do in fact love, and I think those three words hold just as much meaning whether they’re said romantically or not.

I know without a doubt that this romantic love is indescribably fantastic–I’ve seen it in my grandparents, in my parents, in the relationships that my friends and other family members have.  I’m sure that there are others who are both younger and older than me who have never truly had it, but that doesn’t make their life any less complete than those who have. Don’t assume that the absence of romantic love makes the presence of loneliness that much more apparent. I don’t feel empty because I’ve never loved someone romantically, I feel grateful because I have been lucky enough to have loved and be loved in so many other ways.

When romantic love has let me down, unromantic love has been there to pick me up. When a friend understands you better than you understand yourself, that’s love. When a parent endlessly supports your passions even when you question them, that’s love. When your sibling consoles your broken heart even if theirs is hurting too, that’s love. When your dog or cat rushes over to you, tail wagging after a long day, knowing just how to cheer you up with a sloppy lick of the face, that’s love. Y’all, my life is full of love, and while it may not be romantic, it’s whole.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t incredibly excited to feel those feels one day. I think anyone would be. Being in love is an amazing thing, it’s one of the things that drives us all.

But until that happens, I will cherish the love I do have in all the different ways it presents itself. 🙂

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#DearMe

If you could give your younger self any piece of advice, any at all, what would it be? That’s the premise behind this really cool YouTube campaign which encourages people to upload a video letter to the site, addressing their younger selves and the issues they faced growing up. Coinciding with National Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8th, #DearMe is an empowering and inspirational campaign that asks the question, “What would you differently?” More importantly, it is a strong reminder that you, yes YOU, are enough. That you, yes YOU are amazing and beautiful and smart and all around kick-ass. I absolutely love this idea, and don’t feel that it should be just directed at women alone, but everyone in general.

Every one of us has our own insecurities, even the people you least expect. I think it’s up to us to help this next generation who is beaten down by bullying not to just accept who they are, but also to love who they are.

In observance of this really cool initiative, I wanted to do my own #DearMe entry. Here are just some of the things I would like to tell the younger me.

1. #DearMe, happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to others and celebrate your rocking individuality.

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2. #DearMe, Take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail. Try. Try again.

3. #DearMe, you may not be able to change the world, but you can surely try.

4. #DearMe, when you smile, smile with your whole self. When you laugh, laugh from your whole soul. When you love, love with your whole heart.

5. #DearMe, learn that it’s okay to say, “no.”

6. #DearMe, crimped hair would be a good thing to say a big, “Heck NO!” to.

7. #DearMe, your value has nothing to do with a silly size or any number on a scale. Nor does it have anything to do with the clothes you wear, the makeup applied or the way you style your hair. You are beautiful; freckles, scars, sweatpants and all.

8. #DearMe, not everyone is going to like you. And that is OKAY.

9. #DearMe, sometimes it’s okay to spoil yourself so grab that book, that bubble bath and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and go to town!

10. #DearMe, don’t ever take for granted your family and your friends. Call them just because. Pop on over to see them. Tell them you love them as much as you can. If you’re lucky enough to have people in your life who love, support you [and make you laugh and smile] unconditionally, don’t ever let them go.

11. #DearMe, just because you are an adult, doesn’t mean you can/should eat ice cream for breakfast. HAHAHAHAHA!! Just kidding. Of course that’s what it means!!!!

12. #DearMe, you will fall in love, you will get your heart broken, you will doubt if you will ever be able to fully heal. Don’t worry. You will. You will eventually meet someone who is the peanut butter to your jelly, the chocolate chip to your cookie, the Jim to your Pam. And when you do #DearMe, enjoy every damn second. When you smile with and because of this person, smile with your whole self. When you laugh with and because of this person, laugh from your whole soul. When you love and love because of this person, love with your whole heart.

13. #DearMe, relaxxxxxxxxxxx. Stop trying to plan everything, to control everything and just…be. Everything will work out. You’ve just got to have a little faith and a lot of hope.

14. #DearMe, don’t ever change. Be brave. Be strong. You got this, girl!

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If you could tell your younger self anything, anything at all, what would it be?

Life’s Little Awesomes: Making Someone Laugh When They’ve Got a Really Full Mouth

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For a moment, a brief and fleeting second, it looks as if they might burst.

Lips clenched, eyebrows raised, they’re shaking their head and looking away to avoid choking or spraying burrito guts all over the table. You know you dropped a good line when their face turns red and they start frantically waving the “Please stop! Please stop!” signal with both hands.

AWESOME!

Life’s Little Awesomes: Old School Sugar Cereals #tbtstyle

Let’s go back, shall we?

Sandy pink streaks coat the sky as the sun peeks over your backyard fence and shines on the peeling linoleum of your kitchen floor. The fridge murmurs and hums, the oven burners wobble and pop, as you spend a quiet moment alone with a box of cereal. Now anyone who knows me knows I am a cereal fan, a cereal junkie, a cereal aficionado if you will. With the amount of Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch I put back, one could say I am a cereal killer (*insert terrible but totally necessary cereal pun here*).

I could eat cereal all day, everyday (and often times, I do).

It’s just one of those things that never gets old, that is always super delish and never ceases to put a smile on my face (I double dog dare you to try and eat a bowl of Fruit Loops while maintaining a frown. It’s nearly impossible.)

Let’s count down ten of the greatest sugary cereals we as kids (and let’s face it, as adults) loved to dip our spoons into:

10. Corn Pops. The delayed time release technology would allow sticky yellow chunks to remain in your molars until you needed energy for later in the day. This was super handy because sometimes in the middle of math class, you just gotta have your pops!

9. Trix. I always felt bad for the rabbit. Frankly, it seemed like the toddlers were kind of jerks. “Silly rabbit,” they laughed with their beady eyes, right in his face. “Trix are for kids.” Come on now guys. The poor fellow only wants a bowl of cereal. I think these must be the same punks who stole Lucky’s Charms.

8. Sugar Crisp. Did anyone else think Sugar Bear was related to Chester Cheetah? Think about it–the sunglasses, the long strides, the sneakers. Both are chilled out dudes who ditched the jungle living for the big bucks of Hollywood. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were roommates.

7. Cocoa Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, or Count Chocula. These bowls of chocolate were like speed for kids. You had to pour extra milk so you could guzzle down the glimmer chocolate milk afterwards. it was like, double dessert!

6. Grape Nuts. Okay, this isn’t a sugar cereal, but didn’t you always have a stale box kicking around from that time Grandma came to visit? Nobody could ever explain what a Grape Nut was either. We’d just quietly pass the box around on those cold and dark mornings, when the sugar ran dry and we all took our colo-rectal health seriously for a day with Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, or All Bran. Yes, Grape Nuts made us dream big dreams about tomorrow’s Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They’re on the list because they made the next bowl taste that much sweeter.

5. Honeycomb. Remember the TV commercial where the angry Viking biker storms the kid’s forest hideout and starts a group sing-along with a dancing robot? Combine that with some Smurfs episodes and you’ve got a pretty trippy Saturday morning. “Honeycomb’s big…yeah, yeah, yeah! It’s not small…no, no, no!”

4. Lucky Charms. First off, the gang at General Mills redefined marshmallow to mean rock-hard bits of dyed, packed sugar. And the result was ahhhmazing! Plus, they reinvented new shapes all the time which was equally ahhhmazing! Do you remember pink hearts and yellow moons? These days we’re chomping on hourglasses and shooting stars while doing our best Irish accents. Of course, we can’t forget that Lucky Charms still turns milk magically deliciously orange.

3. Cap’n Crunch. My friend Tyler didn’t know how to spell ‘captain’ until he was twelve. On other news, Cap’n Crunch was one of few cereals to feature an arch nemesis in their ads. Yes, first there was Jean LaFoote and then The Soggies came around and tried to prematurely dampen your cereal. To stop them, you had to scarf down your bowl in forty-five seconds and completely shred the roof of your mouth for the rest of the day.

2. Cookie Crisp. Honestly, it was just a big box of cookies. If your mom fell for this, do you think she’d let us sneak into an ‘R’ rated movie and borrow her car too?

1. Honey Nut Cheerios. Most kids had a good five year run with this faithful classic. Smooth corners made for easy chomping, you could toss a handful in a baggie for a takeout snack and they were healthy enough for parents to keep buying year after year. Of course, like many other cereals, Cheerios were famous for that glimmer patch of sugar powder at the bottom of the box. Remember to play it safe on that last bowl or you could end up polluting your breakfast.

Depending on how you grew up, eating some sugary cereal might have been a little bit of quiet time before the day began. While parents rushed around and the radio blared traffic reports and the weather, you read the back of the box over and over, fished around for the sticker at the bottom, and read about the competitive spirit inside Tony the Tiger and the tragedy of the Trix bunny.

Sure, old school sugar cereals weren’t the healthiest thing we could have eaten, but those vitamin-fortified sugar punches made for mighty fun childhoods (and let’s face it, adulthoods.)

AWESOME!

Life’s Little Awesomes: Laughing at a stranger with another stranger

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They’re on every bus we ride, sitting in every doctor’s office, and standing behind every take-out counter. They’re beside us on the sidewalk, in front of us at the ballgame, and behind us at the movies.

Yes, you all know who I’m talking about.

Weirdos.

Weirdos are holding kittens on leashes on the bus wearing giant fur hats, weirdos are talking gossip on their cell phones in the library, weirdos are wearing headphones and singing the Step By Step theme song.

And you know how I know weirdos are everywhere?

Because we’re weirdos too, my friends.

I’m a weirdo. You’re a weirdo. So let’s just accept it and move on.

Nothing’s more fun than spotting a weirdo and trading the classic “Do you see what I see?” look with another stranger. When that connection snaps, it’s like you’re suddenly surrounded by a close friend and chuckling at a little absurdity in the middle of the big absurdity of it all. Laughing at a stranger with another stranger makes your sighting a little more real, a little more funny, and a lot more…

AWESOME!

Life’s Little Awesomes: That last crumbly triangle in a bag of potato chips

Kick-starting a bag of potato chips is pretty much standard–you open with the double-pincer, squeeze-and-pop technique, start fishing out the prime, full-bodied  chips at the top of the heap, and then start working your way down to the half-broken chips in the middle of the bag. A few minutes in, you’ve chomped your way down to the bottom and you might think you’re pretty much done.

But oh no, my friends.

That is just the tip of the salty, barbeque and ruffled chip ice berg.

You have just arrived at the best part.

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This is when you get to that last, crumbly triangle of potato chips wedged right in the corner of the  bag. You know what I’m talking about. Usually at this point, your lips and face are covered in grease-crumbs and your fingers are neon orange, coated in a film of salty saliva.

That delicious patch of potato powder is all yours, but to get it, you have to get a bit dirty.

First of all, you won’t be able to slip your fingers down that crinkly, mirror well so you have to tilt the bag sideways and size up that crumbly triangle for what it’s worth. See what you’re dealing with here. Commit to a game plan.

Next, even though your fingers might already be wet at this point, it’s best to be safe with the ‘ol Thumb Index Finger Pre-Lick. Come on, get a good lather of spit on them, don’t be shy. Remember: the crumbs are in there deep, and your slightly sticky spit-glue will help mine the greasy plunder.

Now, it’s time to ATTACK! wedge your wet thumb and forefinger in there hard and squeeze until you feel like you’ve got most of it. Then, pull out quick and in one swift move, sweep and drop that last crumbly triangle right onto your tongue, making sure to lick the stubborn remains off your fingers while saying “Mmmmmm” a lot.

And you’re done!

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Now, while the Thumb Index Corner Pinch move is grittier and more explosive, there is a backup technique that will still get the job done if you aren’t so much a fan of getting down and dirty. Those in the biz know what I’m talking about: The Dumb-Truck Bag -Tilt Maneuver. this one requires two hands, a gaping mouth, and a forty-five degree angle to turn the trick. ou can use it alone or in tandem.

Either way, almost entirely composed of salt and artificial flavorings, that last crumbly, triangle of goodness packs a full flavor finishing move, unlike the watered down sip at the end of a soft drink cup, the stump at the bottom of a muffin or the tooth breaking kernels hiding in that last handful of popcorn.

AWESOME!

P.S. Speaking of awesome, if you haven’t tried these bad boys out yet, do yourself a flavor and pick up a bad (or five). They come out only during the Holidays so be sure to snatch up this perfect mix of salty and sweet ASAP!

Life’s Little Awesomes: Getting a ‘Q’ and ‘U’ together in Scrabble

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I’m the world’s worst Scrabble player, guys.

The worst!

Which is weird because I like to think of myself as a pretty adequate Words With Friends player.

(I know; I don’t get it either.)

Every time it’s my turn, I see other players lose interest as they get ready for a lonnnnnng wait. I feel bad, so I stare intensely at my pieces trying to conjure up a word longer than three letters or else suffer their complaints that I’m really “clogging up the board.” A couple of minutes of awkward silence will pass before somebody inevitably says , “Hey you, know what this game should have? A time limit, ha ha ha ha ha!!!” And everybody laughs and laughs and smiles at me and I look up to a grin, and then stare down at my letters quickly.

The pressure is on like hot fudge on a sundae, my friends.

I stare at those letters, and I stare hard.

A few more minutes of silence will pass and then I will look up, grimace slowly, and offer up one of my two classic lines:

1. “Sorry guys, I’ve got like ALL of the vowels over here, ” or

2. “I’m really, truly, very sorry. It’s like consonant central over here! I’ll just be another minute, unless Jgrfkll is a word.”

A couple of people nod and smile at my lame joke, someone idly turns on the TV and starts flipping channels, and another will generally grab the latest issue of Cosmo and head to the can. I frantically rearrange my letters over and over again, as if by doing so, rebuke, jinxed, or fibula will appear on my little wooden tray as if my magic.

Accio 500-point word!

Nope. Not even some Harry Potter will save me now.

My nerves fraying, my heart dum-thumping, I’ll eventually put down a lame four-letter word like bill or lamp in an act of pure desperation. “Eight points,” I’ll whisper to the scorekeeper, while turning the board and nodding to the other players to move along.

….See, part of my problem is that I draw letters like j, z, or q at the beginning of the game and they end up haunting me all the way through. That big q is the worst of them all. It holds its powerful 10 points over my head, just daring me to draw one of the four u‘s in the game so I can finally, finally lay it down. I spell my letters out in arrangements like, q_uick, q_ote, and q_iet, ready and waiting for a u at any time, but generally no dice, or at least no dice for a while. I got qat or I got nothing.

And so you see that’s why, in my book, there is no better thing to happen to you in a board game than picking a q and a u at the same time in Scrabble. I say it beats building two hotels on Boardwalk in Monopoly or drawing a perfect brontosaurus in Pictionary during an All Play.

If I get a q and a u together in Scrabble, then it’s all me, all the time, baby! Doors open, and I quite quickly and quietly quash all quack queries from my competitors. And friends, you know how that makes me feel….

AWESOME!

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