Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Beard December

I’ve never known what to truly think of the tradition that embodies the month of November. 

Most people are familiar with No Shave November in which guys don’t shave for an entire month.  Girls can participate if they want, but I’m sure most of them a) don’t have facial hair to shave and b) wouldn’t want to be a part of it anyway. 

There are some guys who can’t grow any facial hair, and some that can grow facial hair like no one’s business.  By the end of the month some are unrecognizable, while others haven’t changed at all.

It all depends on the guy, but I guess some of them look a little too wild for me to handle.  On the other hand, some of them look better with a beard than without one.

I’m not sure why they do it, or how it even started, but I wanted to casually point out that today is, in fact, the last day of November. 

Which means, bring on No Beard December.    

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Power of Baking Soda

It just so happens I rely heavily on my scent of smell and, as of late, I haven’t been able to smell anything because of a terrible cold I have.

This is both good and bad.

Bad because there are things I would love to smell such as fresh baked cookies, or the morning air.  I would also like to be able to smell whether or not I need to wash certain shirts or not.  When I do my laundry I always smell everything first, just to make sure I actually have to wash all of it.

I can’t do that right now.

However, it is good I lost my sense of smell for one reason especially.

This reason would be called the fridge in my dorm room that I hate opening because it smells so bad.

I should point out that this unfortunate smell is due entirely to my negligence and no one else’s. 

Earlier this quarter I bought a carton of eggs, and a carton of milk.  For a while I used them as much as I should have and then I forgot that they existed.  Which means that there were at least a dozen rotten eggs in the fridge, and expired milk. 

It turns out that I’m not very good at knowing how to take care of food.  Back home my Mom was the one who made sure the fridge was cleaned out and, to be honest, I had no idea how long eggs actually lasted in the fridge.  We always kept extra cartons in our fridge in the basement, and then used them when we ran out of eggs in the upstairs fridge.  However, there were seven of us in the house and I’m sure we went through a dozen eggs in 2 days.

 I left a carton of eggs in my dorm room fridge for at least 2 weeks (maybe more).  Thank goodness my roommate is extremely tolerant and loving, because it’s not even my fridge… it’s hers.     

I’ve offered to drag it outside and hose it down, or at least clean it out somehow, but neither of us really have the time or the means to do it well.  So as I did a Safeway run yesterday to pick up some medicine for my cold, I also grabbed a box of baking soda.

(I must say, I have no idea what I would do if I couldn’t Google things like “how to fix a stinky fridge”.) 

Believe it or not, some genius decided to make a box specifically for the purpose of sitting in a fridge.  So I bought it, dutifully carried it back to my dorm, and placed it in the mini box that keeps our food fresh. 

I am hoping it will help fix the problem.

I currently have no idea how it’s working.

As I said, I can’t smell a thing. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

That Familiar Blanket of Cold

A beautiful
fall day.

it seems i’ll take a walk
on my own—
and breathe
the fresh air.

no one is here
to tell me
where to go.

so I go,

The air tastes of
suddenly it’s changed
since a few
days ago.

and all I want is

that familiar blanket
of cold, but warming
for my soul.

I’ll dream,
in Seattle.

but I won’t kid myself.

When the snow does come
It will be
in Colorado.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Really Good Liar

For the past 5 weeks (maybe a little more) I had been lying to everyone on my Dad’s side of the family, and most people on my Mom’s side of the family. 

I was sitting in Sea-Tac airport, getting ready to board a flight to Los Angeles, and my Grandma from Ohio was texting me about Thanksgiving and asking about where I was going.

I texted, I’ll be at a friends house.  I leave this afternoon, without a second thought.  I still had to be careful.  I had kept my secret this long and it wasn’t going to be unveiled until I was standing on my cousins’ doorstep. 

All my friends from school knew.  I had to explain why I wasn’t going back to Colorado, but to California instead.

I had done a pretty good job of texting my cousin and telling her how much I was going to miss her, and I occasionally posted the same message on her Facebook wall.  I did it to my brothers as well, telling them how jealous I was that they got to be in Cali and I didn’t. 

I did more than just lie.  I was downright conniving. 

I could hardly contain my excitement as I boarded the flight, and I texted my Dad, “I’m leaving school now, have a great Thanksgiving!”  My Dad and Mom actually knew I was coming, so those were simply code words just in case someone over read the text on accident. 

I had the very last seat on the plane.  20D and I ended up sitting next to a couple with a six year old girl across the isle, and a 2 year old ginger-haired boy that they were keeping on their laps. 

Most people would have mentally prepared themselves for disaster, but I hadn’t interacted with kids nearly at all since I left for school.  I was more than thrilled to talk to him and I eventually got to hold him for a while. 

Eventually, he got worn out and fell asleep, which allowed me time to read for school.  I read more in those 2 hours than I would have read in 6 had I still been in my dorm. 

After I landed I called my Dad, made my way to the baggage claim, and then out the sliding doors to stand on the gray sidewalk of terminal three.  I had a long sleeve gray shirt on, a Rockies baseball cap, and jeans.  It was 72 degrees out and I felt like I was suffocating.  

When my parents pulled up in a mini van a huge grin spread across my face, and when my Mom got out I pulled her into a hug and didn’t want to let go.  I had seen my Dad a few weeks earlier in Seattle, but I hadn’t seen my Mom in months. 

My Dad threw my suitcase in the back and we were off.  I had a plan about how I wanted to surprise everyone, but since it didn’t happen that way I won’t bother to explain it. 

I’m not one that normally asks, “Are we there yet?”  I tend to leave that job to my six-year-old cousin, and youngest brother, but I recall asking it at least twice on the ride to my cousins’ house, which was pointless since I knew almost exactly where we were the whole ride back. 

As we pulled up to the side of the house I slid down between the seats just in case someone was outside, and my parents went into the house to scope out where everyone was. 

My Dad texted me:  Everyone is all over the place.  Come ring the doorbell. 

I opened the van door, and climbed out feeling like a stowaway or criminal.  I walked across the street as casually as I could and walked up to the front door.  Then I rang the doorbell, which was an odd feeling because whenever I had arrived in the past it had always been wide open to greet me.

My dear cousin Mackenzie answered the door (I had been pulling her leg the most) and when she saw me she said, “What?” and backed away from the door.  I yelled, “Surprise!” and then we were laughing and hugging and my youngest cousin Ruby joined in on the hugs as well. 

My brother Robert was standing there, just staring at me.  I’m pretty sure he went into shock and remained in that state the rest of the night.  He told me later he had been super confused because he was absolutely certain I should still be in Washington and not in California.  That’s how good I had been at lying.  It took him a while to adjust to the fact I was actually present.

After surprising those three, I walked out back to where the pool is.  Sure enough, Mark and Xander, the inspirable family members, were floating on inner tubes in the pool.  I was walking toward them and they were looking at me when I got tackled by my sister, and engulfed in a hug.  Then the boys were yelling and climbing out of the pool and joining in and soaking everyone. 

I couldn’t believe it was finally happening!

Next I surprised my Grandparents, who were next door in the guesthouse practicing for the “Battle of the Bands” which ended up not happening because I showed up.  My Grandpa was the first to realize that it was me standing there and not one of the other grandchildren.  He started saying, “Oh my goodness!” while my Grandma continued to bang on the drums.  When she finally saw me she covered her mouth and got up to come hug me.   I definitely can’t count on all my fingers and toes how many hugs and kisses I received within the first 10 minutes of arriving.

I still had to surprise my Aunt and Uncle, and within a few minutes my Uncle came back to the house after a run.  I hid behind a wall and jumped out as he rounded the corner. 

“Elisabeth!  Wow!  Don’t hug me!”  He was pretty sweaty after his run, but I proceeded to hug him anyway. 

Surprising my Aunt was possibly the funniest.  Everyone sat down around the dinner table, and I had my back to the entry of the kitchen.  My brothers, sister, and cousins then began improvising a discussion about what would happen during “Battle of the Bands” later that night.  As they were talking my Aunt walked into the kitchen. 

“Hey guys!” she said as she placed some groceries on the counter.

Everyone responded through a mixed chorus of hellos and continued to talk, and snicker.  In the reflection of the French doors by the table I caught my Aunt leaning toward my Uncle and asking, “Who is that at the table?” 

I started laughing, I couldn’t help it, and I turned around to reveal myself.  My Aunt was definitely surprised, and both of us had tears in our eyes as we hugged.  At that point everyone was screaming and laughing and some of us were crying.  My sister had been crying throughout the whole thing, so I made sure to give her another hug.

Everyone began to ask me about all of the texts and Facebook posts and how long have you known you were going to do this again?  How did you manage to hide it from us? 

“Guys!”  I laughed, “I guess I’m just a really good liar.”  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Bathroom Wallpaper

I went on a run with one of the girls from my floor this morning and after we returned we decided to stretch before we went inside.  We were talking about our families and telling different stories of the pranks we’ve played on them.

It made me realize that there was one I would really love to share.

It involves my beloved sister Rebecca, who is quite a few years younger than me, and one of my best friends Aubrey who is now hundreds of miles from me.   

My Mom decided when I was in 5th or 6th grade that she wanted to redo what we called the “kids” bathroom.  The walls were coated with ugly wallpaper that must have dated back to the 80s.  I can still remember what it looked like, with purple flowers and blue patterns that vertically lined the wall. 

Aubrey and I were in charge of peeling all of the old wallpaper off of the wall so that my Mom could prepare it for the new paint.  My middle brother joined in on the fun and before my Mom said “Go!” we were stripping it off the wall.  It had already been peeling and the task wasn’t too hard. 

However, there were certain spots that wouldn’t budge.  I don’t remember if I went to grab forks from the silverware drawer or if my Mom provided them for us, but I remember having the silver utensil in my hand and using it to scrape pieces off the wall.

10 to 15 minutes into the task my younger sister, who must have been about 6 years old at the time, wandered down the hallway into the bathroom to see what we were doing.

She stood in the doorway in her blue floral patterned dress (she was always wearing a dress during that era of her life), and she asked, “What are you guys doing.”

Aubrey casually answered, “Taking this off because your Mom wanted us to.”

Rebecca looked as if she didn’t believe us.

I can imagine the mischievous grin that spread over my face, and Aubrey’s as well, when we decided to step it up a level and see how far we could push things.

In a sarcastic and impish tone that should have been unknown to an 11 year old I said, “No Rebecca, actually we are destroying the bathroom wallpaper because we feel like it.”

Aubrey added, “Yeah.”

Before either of us knew what was happening, huge tears began to swell in Rebecca’s brown eyes and spill over onto the rest of her face.  She ran back down the hall and down the stairs.

Aubrey and I on the other hand couldn’t stop laughing.  We never stopped to contemplate that we might get in trouble for a teasing lie. 

However, within minutes my Mom marched up the stairs, took our forks away and sent Aubrey home.  Rebecca wasn’t the only one crying after that. 

We tried to tell my Mom, “But we told her the truth before!  We were just teasing!”  She wouldn’t hear any of it and after Aubrey was out the door, I was sent to my room.

I don’t remember who took off the rest of the wallpaper after that.  I assume it was my Mom, but the rest of the details about the bathroom being redone have escaped my memory completely. 

I should have been sorry, but I don’t think I really was. 

In fact, when I called Aubrey to discuss the story with her before I wrote about it we were both laughing all over again. 

Good times.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

First Impressions

I’m pretty sure everyone who has a Facebook has stalked someone else on Facebook at some point.  Even if you’re not intentionally “stalking” by dictionary standards, you are still looking through someone’s life online. 

There was a brief spiel at registration that went something along the lines of this:  “Alright guys. When you first find out who your roommate is, please don’t look them up on Facebook first.  Try calling them or actually getting in touch before you judge them and get a first impression on the Internet.”

That seemed like a great idea to me.  I could see where he was coming from and what he was trying to get at.

Did I go about it how he recommended?


When I found out who my roommate was, I immediately got on Facebook and found her.  I wanted to at least see her profile picture so I would know what she looked like.  And then my intent was to call her and talk to her before she accepted my friend request.

That didn’t exactly happen. 

Her profile picture was of three girls.  I assumed that she was the one in the center.  She wasn’t, which left me extremely confused when I saw the rest of her pictures 10 minutes later.  I ended up talking to her on the phone a week later and I was still trying to get myself to see her as the girl on the left.

Thanks a lot technology.

I didn’t tell her this until a few weeks ago when some of my closest friends and I went out to dinner.  We all started talking about first impressions and it turns out I wasn’t the only one extremely confused by her profile picture.  One of the other girls jumped into the conversation and voiced how she also thought that my roommate was the one in the center. 

As we continued to talk more of us started to add other interesting things to the conversation.  A lot of us purposely put up a senior picture that was pretty.  We wanted the first image people saw to be a good one—we wanted to make a good “first impression”. 

The weird thing is, none of these first impressions were actually in person.  Yet we somehow still managed to jump to conclusions. 

All of us took turns telling each other what we first thought of each other after we saw pictures on Facebook, and some of the impressions were accurate, while others were way off.

I remember going through my now best friend’s photos on Facebook before I even truly knew her.  I had no idea that we would instantly click as well as we did. 

I had no idea about anyone.

I’m so happy that I now know everyone in three dimensions, not just two.