My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Archive for the ‘Randomonium’ Category

The Fix

Avila at Chestnut

A few times a month, I’ll receive a message either on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or via email asking me for help. For advice. For an opinion on what they should do.

Y’all, social media is a funny and crazy and daunting thing, but it also has this weird way of bringing people together.

It’s humbling, every time I receive one of these messages. From strangers, from friends, from strangers who become friends. And it’s flattering to think that someone somewhere might think I have some answers, or was enough of a catalyst to help someone try to find help for themselves. I don’t think it has much to do with being inspirational so much as it does that most of the issues I talk and write about are things I have struggled with, am struggling with, and am honest about struggling with. Trying to navigate work, relationships, my incessant yet incredibly annoying habit of thinking that ‘perfect’ is and should be this obtainable goal, and adulting in general are all things that I have and will always be open about. Life is hard and confusing as hell sometimes. But from my experience, there’s comfort in knowing you aren’t alone in this thang.

And when you’re a peer, an equal, another regular person who faced any given monster and is doing okay, sometimes that’s less intimidating than a therapist or a doctor or a parent or anyone else in your immediate life who might unknowingly judge you as they try to help. One of the things computer screens have given us is a little piece of illuminated hope, the kind of hope that doesn’t ever touch your real life unless you want it, and the kind that allows you to be anonymous. When you’re struggling, knowing that you’re letting that hope in on your life is sometimes the most blessed thing. It’s empowerment. And who doesn’t like a big ‘ol slice of that every now and then? I know I do, preferably covered in cheese and pepperoni.

But I hardly know what to tell people, in part because I am not an advice columnist, and because I don’t know their lives, and because I am scared to take the ownership of giving bad advice. The truth is, my life is still messy in places. I don’t have it all figured out. I’m trying, and each and every day I learn something new, and grow, but I’m still a work in progress. I think we all are in a way. Nine times out of 10, I’m making my own answers to my life up as I go.

I suppose this is an apology, in part, if you’ve ever asked me something and I didn’t respond. I probably didn’t know how. That’s hardly an excuse, because I could have tried, but I am human too. And humans get scared sometimes. Of our emotions, of our history, of our struggles and our scars. Sometimes we’re scared that if we poke the box where we packed all those bad things away, the memories of those struggles will peep their ugly heads back out. Sometimes giving advice feels like that.

But one thing I do know is that I can cheer you on. I can ask questions. I can tell you that deep down, you know what you need to do, you just want someone else to tell it to you because that’s the easy way. I can be rhetorical and tricky and universal, and it would probably seem personal because when you seek advice, you latch onto whatever you can and call it yours. And I will do all of these things, if that is what you want and need. Because I really do hope that the people who find even the smallest amount of inspiration in my own story know that someone is cheering for them. Someone always is.

But though I can root for you and tell you that if I made it through, so can you, I cannot fix you. I don’t have the answers. None of us do. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have, but the Internet and the transparency and immediacy of communication means we can do it together.

I cannot fix you. But then again, I shouldn’t. That’s not my job. The only person who can and should and might fix you is you. Trust that you’ll be able to do that.

You’re more capable than you think.

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Colorado-versary: Celebrating Six Incredible Years

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Damn, Colorado. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun.

It was at about exactly this time six years ago when I crossed the state line, my little VW Bug packed to the brim with everything I owned (give or take a few discarded cups of coffee and empty Twizzler wrappers).

I remember having a conversation with my sister two nights prior while watching The Office. I randomly looked over at her [with a mouth full of Doritos, probably) and said, “You know what? I think I’m gonna move to Colorado.” There was no defining “Ah-ha!” or moment of clarity that led me to the decision of literally packing up my life and starting fresh in a state clear across the country. It was just me, Michael Scott and some stale potato chip product. If that’s not inspiring as fuck, I don’t know what is.

As I stepped out of my car, my legs stiff and my eyes heavy from driving over 22 hours, these questions–and so many more–were running through my head on the repeat.

I was terrified.

But I was also incredibly happy. Like, eating a giant ice cream cone on a sunny Saturday afternoon in a park full of puppies, happy.

Taking in that first sight of majestic Rocky Mountain goodness in front of me, I felt like I was home.

When I decided a little over six years ago to take a giant leap of faith and make the big move, I really had no idea what was in store for me. I did something so very unWendi-like and jumped without looking. I stuck a giant middle finger up to any kind of plan, any premeditated form of action. I felt, and I did. I didn’t have a job lined up, I knew just a handful of people and wasn’t even sure if I would like living in the Mile High City. All I really knew for sure was that if I didn’t try, if I didn’t take this chance now, I might never get the opportunity to do so again. I also knew that if I fell back on that fear of things not working out, if I chose instead to remain forever in my comfort zone, there would be some serious regret-age going on.

And if there is one thing I have learned in my 30 years thus far, it’s that regret is no friend of mine.

So I jumped.

Shit, I jumped hard.

And that by far has probably been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made to date.

For six years I have been lucky enough to call Denver my home.

For six years, I have been able to call the mountains my playground, my weekend escape. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets imaginable, I’ve hiked some of the most challenging and breath-taking trails, explored the urban jungle that is downtown Denver and tasted some of the best food (And beer! Yes, I am now a beer fan! Well, getting there anyway) that I’ve ever had.

Professionally I’ve had some very challenging and rewarding opportunities that have really helped to shape not only me as a social media/writer/boss chic, but also have served as a reminder that I’m damn good at what I do, that I love what I do, and to never, ever never stop pursuing that dream of mine no matter what obstacles may get in my way. I’ve worked with some strong-willed and big-hearted people, have helped to inspire some incredibly talented and motivated students, and have learned and grown from each and every one of them.

Personally, I’ve broken out of this silly shell I’ve been hiding behind. Moving somewhere new by yourself kind of forces you to put your badass self out there and meet people, no matter how you end up doing that. I’ve met some incredible new friends, have reconnected with old ones and have made too many memories to count.

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The late-night conversations, the too-close-to-call softball games, the good first dates and the ones you wish you could Ctrl Alt Delete. The summer baseball games at Coors Field and Packer games at Badgers, the bike rides, snowball fights and Harry Potter movie-marathons. The pool parties, happy hours, road trips and barbeques.

The smiles.

The hugs.

The uncontrollable laughter.

These past six years have made my heart so incredibly full, nearly as full as my ever-shrinking apartment—the number of books I’ve accumulated since I’ve been here is embarrassing, guys. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next 2, 5, 10 or 15 years to come.

I’ve come a long way since making the decision to start this grand adventure—over 8,000 miles and an immeasurable amount of self-growth, courage, spontaneity and a ‘You only get one life so you better damn make it the best possible life there is’ mentality. If I can take just one thing away from this is that it’s never to late to make a change, to face that fear or worry and do the damn thing! You’ll never know the amazingness that awaits you on the other side if you never try.

Cheers to six years, y’all!

But first, let me ask the moms

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My name’s Wendi, and I am a strong, independent and intelligent 31 year-old woman. I know how to change my own oil, can bake the shit out of some chocolate-chip cookies and even have my own 401K.

Impressive, I know.

I’d like to think that I’m somewhat of a fully-functioning adult, most of the time, however there’s one thing that I still find myself doing pretty much on the regular, one thing that I probably will never stop doing no matter how old I get, or how much fully-functioning adult experience I put behind me…

…and that’s going to the moms for advice.

I’m extremely lucky in that my mom and I have always had the strongest of relationships. She has always been my rock, my inspiration, the person I would go to first whenever I had a problem or a big decision to make. From first-day-of-school outfits and major hair transformations (thank GOD you talked me off of that perm ledge) to college choices and major job opportunities, my mom has been there with me through it all. She has been the voice of reason, of wisdom when I needed it the most.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much I still rely on me madre for things.

The past week alone I’ve called/texted her in a sweaty panic, asking her what she thinks I should do about:

  • My leaky kitchen faucet (Broken valve thingy – technical term)
  • That sore throat/cough/swollen ankle/weird rash on my neck thing (Whatever you do, DO NOT WebMD it!)
  • Boys (You can’t live with them, can’t live without them)
  • And general adulting (Yogurt that’s three days past its expiration is still safe to eat, right? Huh, coconut oil works on that? So about that fitted sheet sitch…)

I may be a 31 year-old strong, independent and intelligent woman, but I still very much appreciate advice from the moms. And I don’t think I will ever stop appreciating it.

Mom, if you’re reading this, thank you! A million times thank you! If I grow up to be half of the incredible woman you are, I would consider myself lucky.

*And I will call you later. My stomach is seriously turning cartwheels and I think it may have been because of that yogurt.

Confessions of a Booknerd

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My name is Wendi, and I am probably most definitely absolutely 110% the biggest booknerd you will ever meet.

*And damn proud of it, my friends!

When it comes to reading, I’m Tom Hanks at Denny’s right after he got off that island with Wilson. I’ll read almost anything and everything–mysteries, serious literary fiction, fluffy chic-lit fiction, biographies, memoirs, and of course one of my favorite genres, young adult fiction. I’d like to think of myself as a flexible, curious reader, always looking to learn something, feel something and discover something new.

That being said however, I do have a few quirky reading habits that I just can’t seem to shake.

And I know I’m not the only one—Joey, I’m looking at you buddy.

These eccentricities just go to show that reading is such an intensely personal activity; no one person does it the same way.

Here are just a few of the things I find myself doing when I’m knee-deep in a good page-turner.

  1. Before I actually dive into a good book, I always read the very first sentence and the very last.

When I shared this little quirk of mine with the librarian who I work with, she was a teensy bit horrified. What about the potential for spoilers? I get what’s she putting down, I do. But for me, reading the last sentence gives me just a hint of what’s to come, and piques my interest to find out how it fits in with the beginning of the book. I’m very careful to read only the very last sentence, and I try to avoid looking elsewhere on the page. There’s something suspenseful and thrilling about peeking ahead—but only just a little bit.

And you thought reading wasn’t badass.

The one time I can remember this backfiring on me is with the J.D. Salinger short story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” If you’ve read the story, you understand.

  1. I hate folding down the page corners of a book.

Hate it! I will try to McGyver a bookmark out of just about anything before taking the drastic step to dog-ear a page; old receipts, a penny, a bobbi pin, even a butter knife (don’t ask).

  1. I also hate it when books get reinvented, new and flashy covers.

Some are more heartbreaking than others, like when the Harry Potter series was updated. The new covers seemed so strange and foreign to me; it was almost like it was a completely different book. The first edition I own or read will always be the best. No special new editions for this girl.

  1. I will go out of my way to get the hard cover versions of a book, even if I already own it in paperback or on my Nook.

There is just something about a hard cover; it’s hard binding, it’s strength, it’s durability. Just thinking about one gets me all flushed. Some Many Most think I’m crazy-sauce for buying a book if I already have it. But it’s kind of the same thing as buying that second pair of identical jeans that you’ve already got hanging in your closet, right? Which reminds me, I need to buy more jeans. As you can imagine, I am beginning to accumulate a lot of books. A lot of books.

  1. And finally, I love when books have a price sticker on the back of the cover that you can peel off.

My favorite local bookstore when I was a kid had those types of labels, and I loved bringing home a new book and peeling off the sticker. This childhood ritual has manifested itself in other areas of my life — I also love peeling the plastic protective sheet off of electronic devices and the labels off of water bottles. And don’t even get me started on those little stickers that come on your apples or bananas! I know, I don’t really get it either.

But we all have our little quirks, don’t we?

Question of the day: Do you have any unique quirks, reading or otherwise?

The 10 Commandments of Dating/Being Friends With an Uber Sports Fan

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Y’all, big news. HUGE! OPENING DAY FOR THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS IS JUST 4 (4!!!) VERY SHORT DAYS (and 9 hours and 26 minutes and 15, 14, 13…seconds) AWAY!!!!!!

Not that I’m counting or anything.

Totally not counting.

Okay. I’m definitely counting. For those who don’t know, I’m kind of a big Brewers fan[atic]. Like, the biggest. I’m not even gonna try to sugarcoat it. And this madness, this undeniable fandom that I have? It’s a crutch. Being so emotionally invested in a handful of professional athletes who don’t even know you exist is a torrid addiction. This is a sports fan’s cross to bear. But here’s the thing you have to understand: If we’re going to have this as a vice, it’s much better than any other vices we could possibly adopt. Really. You’re lucky it’s sports we love.

But please don’t ever say it’s “just” a game.

  1. Thou shalt not interrupt the game.

It’s sneaky and disingenuous to ask us to take out the trash, or what we want for dinner, and especially if it’s okay if your mother comes to visit. Please save all questions on how our day was until the final buzzer/inning/quarter. We appreciate that you care, but how we feel about our day is wholly dependent on this game. We will be able to tell you how our day was afterward. Also, if you RSVP or plan an event or date at the same time a game is on — especially when you know the game is on — you waive all rights for being angry when we explain why we just can’t even.

  1. Thou shalt not tell us we’re getting too loud in the bar.

If the bar did not want us to be loud, they would not be playing the game on one of the TVs and encouraging us with loads of alcoholic beverages. WTF!!! ARE YOU CRAZY, UMP?!!? HE WAS TOTALLY SAFE!!!

  1. Thou shalt not record your show when the game is on.

Hulu and HBOgo exist for reasons. The game takes precedence. This is why it’s wise to invest in the kind of DVR that can multitask recording one show while you’re watching another. Really, it’s worth the money for all parties involved.

  1. Thou shalt not call us crazy when we stay up late or wake up early to watch a game.

Sssh, babe, go back to sleep. We need to watch this in real time. It’s not our fault time zones absolutely suck.

  1. Thou shalt not question absurd team-related purchases.*

Such items include: $300 for an autographed picture; a signed ball; a vintage, collector’s jersey; ridiculously exorbitant tickets when our team is finally in town; tickets to the championship, etc. If this is our one chance to spend hundreds of dollars on a playoff game? Yeah, we’re going to do it. When else would we have $900 lying around for no reason? This might not happen ever again!

*This does not apply to cardboard cut-outs of our favorite player as living room decor. Really, it’s for our own good. We’re gonna want to do it, but don’t let us do it, because if you do, pretty soon we’re inviting Lucroy to the dinner table and saying that “Lucroy and I agree” when we disagree with you and really, nobody wins in this scenario.

  1. Thou shalt not try to understand why we are so emotionally invested in a game whose outcome we have no control over.

Look, rooting for sports is like loving movie stars in that there is really less than 0.00005% chance that having a crush on Chris Pratt or Chris Evans (call me!) is going to result in holy matrimony, and there’s less than 0.00005% chance that our undying love for our team is going to help them win a game. But, you know, there’s a chance. We like to think there’s a chance. It gives us the will to go on.

  1. Thou shalt not question our “odd” pre-game rituals.

Up to and including: sitting in the same chair every night; live-tweeting the game like it is the second coming of the Oscars; or wearing the same, grubby jersey/pair of socks every time. We will take care of that sacred piece of laundry when we see fit.

  1. If we are in a fight, thou shalt not begin rooting for the rival team just to piss us off.

And if we go into this relationship already rooting for bitter enemies, well, get ready for some really passive-aggressive, irrational arguments. (And you’re not allowed to introduce us to your friends as “She’s great, even for a [____] fan!”)

  1. Thou shalt not complain when all of our friends always come over to watch the game.

The rules of Sportsfanship™ clearly stipulate that the house with the biggest TV and appropriate cable package hosts any and all game viewing. If you really want to see less of the rowdy couch cheering section, get a smaller TV… actually, no, please don’t do that.

  1. Thou shalt order the pizza and wings to show that you care.

Truly clutch people also buy the beer, but really, if you just respect that this time is sacred time between us and a motley crew of athletic spectacle, that is more than we could ever, ever ask for, amen.

**Cubs and/or Cardinals fans need not apply.

15 Signs You Literally Don’t Give a F@*& Now That You’re Almost 30

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Ugh.

I’m getting old, guys.

Like, ‘in bed by 9 o’clock, gets hurt while playing kickball, can’t remember if I ate lunch so I eat second lunch’ old.

I’m more than half way into my 29th year and while for the most part I still feel and look my age, I definitely have my moments where I can’t help but feel like I’m inching ever so slightly over that damn hill. Despite my incessant complaining however, I’m glad I’m in the place in life that I am. It may have taken me a while to get here, but I finally have learned to embrace the things I want, and don’t want. The things I like, and don’t like. Life is way too short to worry about things that aren’t worth worrying about.

Ya dig?

Here are just 15 signs that you literally don’t give a f@*& now that you’re almost 30.

1. When people invite you to social outings that you don’t want to go to, you don’t come up with any particular excuse. You just say, “No.” And it feels glorious.

2. When you experienced a friend getting engaged for the first time, you were like, “OMFG WEDDINGS YASSS LOVE!!!” But now when it happens, you’re just like, “Aw. I’m so happy for you. Brb. I need to order a pizza.”

3. Forever 21 is a young man’s game. If a retail store stresses you out and only carries clothes that seem to be made for American Girl dolls, you’re donzo.

4. You’ve started referring to high school students as “children” or “youths.”

5. You don’t make any attempts to hide your hangovers anymore. They happen so easily (like, 2-3 beers easily) that you don’t even fight them. You just let them take over your soul.

6. Your weight fluctuates more than Chandler’s. And it’s whatever.

7. In your opinion, looking like you showered is the same thing as actually showering.

8. “Does anyone have any Pepto?” is something you frequently utter during dinner with your friends.

9. Brunch has become more about the quality of the bacon than about the deals you can get on bottomless mimosas.

10. Nope. Scratch that. It’s still all about the mimosas.

11. When someone tries to start a political discussion at a party, you just look at them like:

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12. Dressing uncomfortably is awkward for tweens. These days, you’re all about wearing your favorite t-shirt during a night out.

13. You’re less concerned with how good you look for work today and more concerned with how long you can hit the snooze button before you have to crawldrag yourself kicking and screaming out of your bedroom cave.

14. Life is stressful these days. So if you need a good cry while riding public transportation, you’re damn well certain you’ll make it happen.

15. Joining a gym is for recent college grads. You’d prefer to just live in a 4th-floor walk up and leave the house every once in a while.

Or, I mean, you could just join a debilitating kickball team.

QOTD: What are some things that you just don’t give a f@*& about now that you’ve reached a certain age?

So Call Me Maybe?

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I know I’m probably in the unpopular opinion here, but guys, I kinda love talking on the phone, having actual conversations with people sans emojis. There’s something really exciting about curling up on your favorite chair, with your favorite glass of Mascato, chatting it up with your favorite person. The butterflies, the nervous laughs, the incessant blushing. Don’t get me wrong, my texting game is on point, and there’s definitely a time and place for it, for surely. But in general, I’m pro-phone call.

I hate to break it to you, but we as a society have lost the art of communication, my friends. We want things to be quick, to be simple, 140-characters or less. We crave connection in all things–Facebook, Instagram and Twitter enveloping us all in this 24/7, 365 loop of status updates, pictures and tweets–yet, we do so in a way that’s so informal, so impersonal that it makes us question how real that connection is in the first place.

I may be swinging for the fences majorly here y’all, but I think we need to petition to bring back–along with Dunkaroos and scrunchies–the phone call.

And here’s why:

  1. A phone call is real-time.

With texting, we tend to play this ridiculous game that revolves around who has the power in the conversation. The person who has yet to respond leaves the other person on pins and needles, wondering if that was a dumb thing to say, if they were just scared off, if they’re really on a date with someone much more interesting right now — any number of possibilities, really. We’re so caught up in the fear of looking “too eager,” when every party involved knows that your phone is industrially glued to your hands at all times, and you at least know that text was received.

If you like someone, have a conversation with them — and if you’re having a conversation with someone you like, you should reply. Replying immediately to what somebody says isn’t too eager, it’s how we talk. After all, you’d look really silly if you took a 10 minute pause in a phone call just to look in demand and busy.

  1. You’re each getting each other, unfiltered and honest.

Ums, uhs, endearingly weird little laughs, the excessive use of “like” and all. There’s no first drafts, no consulting friends for what you should say, no debating over which emoji perfectly resonates with the point you’re trying to make. Sure, there’s no way to optimize all of your best jokes before you say them, but at the same time, if they can’t accept you at your subpar witticisms, then do they really deserve you at your most flawless zingers?

  1. It’s clear that you’re giving them your time.

You could, in theory, have the other person on speaker as you’re multitasking with a volley of other people’s texts, the television on mute, and cooking dinner, but you’re still on the phone with only them. And they’re going to be able to tell if your voice drops off from distraction — and I would sincerely hope that somebody would be able to tell if you disappeared to answer another phone call in the middle of your conversation.

  1. It’s clear that you value their time.

Not only are they worth all of those rollover minutes you’ve accrued, but again, you’re not frittering away 20 minutes of their time just so you can seem busy and important. We’re all busy, we all have things to do, and spending time wondering why somebody hasn’t texted you back is a pretty poor use of that time. If you’re really worried that you’re interrupting something, text the other person first to see if they’re even available to talk on the phone.

  1. Hearing someone’s voice is always that much more special.

There have been countless studies on all of the hormones and nerves that fire in our brains when we hear the voices of people we care about (I mean, this heartwarming baby is proof enough). Think about all the times your high school crush said your name in class and your heart basically leapt into your throat. You can play Instagram-tag all you want and like as many selfies as your little digital heart desires, but nothing’s going to replace hearing somebody else’s voice — and especially when that voice is saying something expressly for you to hear.

  1. There’s something wonderfully old-school about it.

We live in a world where you can order anything you could ever think of from apps and websites — taking the time to pick up the phone and call someone is special. I doubt that you have a phone cord to get wrapped up in or that you’re stuck sitting in the kitchen, tethered to the wall, but there’s still that sense of butterflies when you see somebody’s name pop up on your phone. Sure, it might seem cheesy to curl up in bed with your phone clamped to your ear, talking to someone you like – but why is being cheesy sometimes such a bad thing? It’s only viewed as overwrought because we’re so hellbent on seeming like we don’t care, and that self-preservation won’t get us anywhere in terms of relationships.

  1. There’s no way you can misunderstand someone.

All of that text sub — wait for it — text doesn’t exist in a phone call. What did they mean by ‘ha’? Did you use the wrong emoji? (Why are all the existential crises over emoji?) Did you say something that could be construed as offensive to somebody who was sensitive about it? Even if you do overstep the line, at least on a phone call, you’re more apt to hash it out right then and there, rather than stashing your feelings down and letting it fester until it blows out of proportion somewhere else.

  1. This conversation is just between you two.

You can’t screenshot the conversation to send to friends for instant textual analysis, and neither can they. Sure, you can call up your best friend afterward and dissect ever last pause and vocal inflection, but you really don’t have to. Conversations are just what they are sometimes. And if you can’t keep a few quality flirting sessions as private things between you and this other person, are you going to be able to do this when it comes time to having a real relationship?

The next time you’re thinking of constructing that novel-esque text about plans for next weekend or that awfully awful day you had at work or your thoughts on this year’s Brewers prospects, call me maybe?

 

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