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Ender’s got game.

Now that my second semester of grad school is in full swing, people ask me about my thesis and what I want to “concentrate” on. I try to conjure impressive answers…they’re usually different every time, and rarely ever true. It’s not that I don’t like what I’m studying or where I’m at. It’s just that these questions about the future really make me wonder what I want.

After deep introspection and meditation, I realized what I want. I think I kind of reached that moment everyone talks about – when life just makes sense.

I realized that I want the life of my neighbor’s dog, Ender.

He is the cutest and LAZIEST dog you will ever meet. I kid you not. This doggie means business when he refuses to go out for a walk. He stands with his feet firmly rooted to the ground or just sits on the sidewalk. Seriously. He just sits his big butt down and looks at you like “uhhh, if you’re not gonna carry me, we aren’t gonna be moving” Not to mention, when you say “Ender, sit!,” he kind of makes an effort to look in your direction, but just continues walking until HE decides to plop down. And boy, when he does…he’s not moving any time soon.

You will see him in the supine state above most of the time. It’s awesome. And I am so jealous. I would do anything to just lounge around all day, maybe reading a book or two. MAYBE. But really, I would just curl up and take nice, long naps.

And the best thing about Ender’s life is that he gets away with EVERYTHING. Why? BECAUSE HE IS SO CUTE!

You see him?? He is adorable. And so, even if he doesn’t sit or roll over or jump with his two front paws, it’s all ok…because his cuteness balances it out.

So yeah, I’m in grad school, writing papers and making presentations when I SHOULD be just taking a nap. Oh Ender. You make me realize everyday that you are living my dream…that this is what I should be doing:

                             

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Kitten Therapy

If you haven’t gathered from my previous posts, I love cats. I just really love cats. Sometimes I make my friends take me to the animal shelter when I feel blue so that I can hold some cats. It’s a surefire way to help me feel better in no time, because I just love their little faces and paws and tails and slinky attitudes.

The summer before my junior year of college was pretty miserable. I was living in Williamsburg, VA, in a house with drafty windows and a broken air conditioner, so it was constantly a million degrees. My roommate was going through a bad breakup and I was on a diet where basically all I could eat was grass. There are no carbs in grass. This diet made me pretty unpleasant. So between the semi-constant crying, and the totally constant sweating, it wasn’t the fun-filled environment you might hope for if you were, say, a nice girl from Missouri just trying to take a few summer classes. Sorry, Sara. Also sorry, Jules. Just…sorry, everybody.

I worked as a nanny that summer, spending most of my days in silence as my 9-year-old charge rarely wanted anything to do with me. One afternoon, I got a text from my roommate Taylor saying she had a surprise for me later. My interest was piqued, since my carb-and-fat-free ways meant that it had to be something other than pizza, which was usually what we meant when we told the other we had a “surprise”.

SURPRISE!

Several hours later, I was weeping into a rapidly melting tub of fat-free cool whip when Taylor walked in with a carrying crate. She opened it up and a long hair torti kitten wandered out followed by the tiniest, lankiest, cutest little booger I’d ever seen. Immediately, I named the kittens Basket and Bruner, and commenced snuggling. Taylor maintains that those were stupid names, but she let me call them that because she’s a really good friend.  She had found the one thing in the world that would make me happier than pizza.

Amelia, me, Bruner

Basket and Bruner had the cutest little colds and the sweetest little eye infections, but they would never get better if they had stayed at the humane society, with all the cat germs floating around there. So we gave them their little medicine and hugged them and made them chase string, and soon they were ready to go back and get adopted. By then we had realized that this rent-a-kitten thing was too good to abandon, so we got more.

Next, we got four gorgeous polydactyl tabbies who needed to be socialized. At the start of their 2 and a-half weeks with us, they all hid behind the couch all the time and hissed whenever you looked at them. By the end, I didn’t even have to chase them to get them to sit on my lap! One time, Taylor made some cheesy potato soup, and all four kittens started shouting and climbing up her shoulders to try to get to the soup. In that moment, we knew they would have no problem finding families, so extra toes and all, back to the shelter they went.

Cuddle Pros

After that we had Phyllis and Angela, who also had colds.  They were with us for a few weeks before they were healthy and went back to the shelter. Soon after, we brought home the detectives. Detective Elliot Stabler, Detective Olivia Benson, and B.D. Wong were about 5 weeks old and needed some socialization. They were adorable, and if you’ve ever had any doubt about how cute it is to act out scenes from Law and Order: SVU with kittens,  I am here to confirm that it is very, very cute. The only downside to the detectives was that they had a serious flea issue, but they were too little for flea medicine. We gave them baths, to no avail. Soon, the whole house had fleas.

Detective Elliot Stabler; dreaming of killing perps, infesting my house.

A note about fleas: fleas don’t latch onto humans, but they do bite. Also, they get into your clothes and carpet and are just terrible. Also, people make fun of you when they find out you have fleas. Also, exterminators are expensive, but DIY flea bombs don’t really work, especially when your house has a bunch of holes in it.

At that point, school was starting, I was skinny, and our sub-letters were leaving. We were getting back to reality, so the stream of kittens ended. I think of those little guys often, though, and I completely attribute my weight loss success to them, distracting me from my misery. I could try to market it, but “The Kitten Diet” sounds a little sinister. I’ll work on it. I speak of those kittens fondly, and whenever I bring them up in conversation, whoever I’m with always is in awe of my kindness for helping foster and rehabilitate kittens in need. But to paraphrase Sandra Bullock from The Blind Side, “No. Those kittens were fostering me.”

Angela

The Girl Who Wrote a Blog Post About Her First Day of Class

In preparation for my first day of classes I  purchase a new spiral ring notebook, choose an outfit that makes me look intelligent, and arrive to class five minutes early. I sit down near the back of the class, not because I’m afraid to sit near the professor or want to look cool. I sit in the back of the class because I want a clear view of all of my classmates. The makeup of my class is typical of any English class at William & Mary, comprised of a handful of stock characters. After three and a half years here I’ve become quite adept at spotting them. Some are easier to identify than others. Some won’t reveal themselves until they speak.
I scan the room, hoping to identify a few of these characters and spot a gaggle of girls sitting diagonally in front of me. They chat quietly while scrolling through pictures of themselves on Facebook. I can’t remember taking an English class that didn’t have at least one girl looking at pictures of herself during the lecture. What luck! I’ve already spotted three of “The Girl Who’s Constantly Looking at Pictures of Herself.” I keep looking for the usual suspects of the English department but don’t find much. The girl and guy next to me might be “That Couple That Takes Every Class Together” but it’s really too early to tell.
Our professor enters the room and immediately assigns us the daunting task of selecting our favorite contemporary novel and sharing it with the class. Since everyone in the class will have to speak, this is my perfect chance to identify the rest of the characters. I’ll have to be careful about my response. This is a big decision. I’m tempted to choose The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera but worry this will mark me as “That Girl Who Tries to Sound Worldly By Referencing Novels by Czech Authors.” I don’t want to be that girl. No one speaks. We are all too busy over-thinking this decision.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.” One brave soul breaks the silence. I immediately identify him as “The Guy Who Tries to Relate Everything to Kurt Vonnegut.” I’ve seen a few of these guys before. “The Guy Who Tries to Relate Everything to Kurt Vonnegut” brings up Kurt Vonnegut every chance he gets, often referring to him as “Kurt,” like they’re old friends. Suddenly another character pops up. It’s “The Girl Who Disagrees with Everything for the Sake of Disagreeing” and unsurprisingly, she disagrees with the disciple of Vonnegut’s choice. This girl loves questioning anything from the norms of society to other peoples’ personal tastes. The girl speaks. “I’m not sure I agree that Kurt Vonnegut qualifies as a contemporary author. I mean, he’s been dead for a long time.” “The Guy Who Tries to Relate Everything to Kurt Vonnegut” slams his fists down on the table in front of him, whips his head around, and screams “THREE YEARS!” I readjust my assessment of him. I was wrong before. He is “The Guy Who Tries to Relate Everything to Kurt Vonnegut and Gets Angry When Questioned.”

As the class goes on I spot a few more characters.

  1. “The Girl Who Keeps Referencing that One Article by Foucault. You Know that One Article?” She can’t remember the name. No one knows what she’s talking about but no one wants to admit he or she doesn’t know. We all nod, knowingly.
  2. “The Guy Playing Tetris or Some Other Innocuous Game On His Cell Phone”
  3. “The Girl Who Shares Too Much Personal Information, Too Quickly”
  4. “The Guy Who Shows Up 15 Minutes Late and Immediately Proceeds to Fall Asleep”
  5. “The Girl Who is personally offended by Improper Use of Grammar”

After three and a half years of college, I’ve come to know these people and sort of love them. Their presence is comforting and when I graduate this year, I will miss them all.  They are strange people but how could I not love them?  I’m one of them. I don’t know what my character is but I’m sure I have one. I’m just too close to see it, I guess. I’m probably “That Girl Who Spends Class Sizing Up the Rest of the Class” or “That Girl Who Gets Sappy at the End of Her Blog Post.”

Word of the Day: Pleasant

Hello friends and internet! I’m Julia and I’ve taken on the daunting task of corresponding on all things pleasant. I’d like to think it’s my specialty, given the sometimes outrageous lengths I will go to in order to make my life more pleasant.  Of course, when I say “all things pleasant,” I mostly mean desserts. I often bake more than is acceptable for someone that doesn’t live with an army of hungry teenage boys, but it’s the only way I know how to exist.

I graduated this past May and did what any typical college graduate seeking excitement and new opportunities would do:  I continued to live in the same apartment and go to the same school. I put off the real world just a little bit longer and went to grad school for education. I’m about to start full-time student teaching in kindergarten, which simultaneously makes me excited and exhausted. But as much as I love kindergarten, I like my kitchen the best. Unlike kindergarten, it always smells good, it’s appropriate to use knives, and I can listen to the country fitness Pandora station as loudly as I want. There’s something weirdly calming about beating your fists into bread dough, as I would imagine Carrie Underwood would be doing if “Before He Cheats” was set in a bakery and not a bar parking lot.

Since I spend most of my time alternating between grad school and my kindergarten class, I have to be even more ruthless about forcing pleasantries into my life. I’ve always gone out of my way to decorate my living space, make useless crafts, and have baked goods at the ready. Grad school isn’t gonna stop me now.  I’d like to think it’s my job on this blog to cut the sarcasm with recipes and pictures of cookies. Or add the sarcasm to the internet discourse on cookies. Maybe both.

Do I need to backup my claims of pleasantries? Here's some proof.

 

See ya soon, with cookies and pie and other delightful things.

Love, Julia

FRIENDS (*cue music*)

Yoga teacher-training class

For me, like most others, the worst part about graduation (other than the incessant questions about my future) was saying goodbye to all of my closest friends – those who I have laughed with, cried with…and those who have laughed at me while I cried. Cheesy as it sounds, I knew I was going to miss them terribly (gross, I know). And of course, being an English major, I dramatized this situation in my head by dwelling over how I’m NEVER going to find friends like this EVER again and how NO ONE is going to be as close to me…blah blah blah.

Boy was I right! Well, partly. (Don’t worry; I am not a creepy, asocial hobo-lady who rides the metro all day.)

But, I did realize that college is the one time when thousands of people, in the same phase of life, surround you at every waking moment. Though there maybe differences in personality and interests, almost everyone has come with one purpose in mind: to find his or her drinking limit.

The real world, however, is not like that. There is no perfect community of hormone-raging strangers your age, who conveniently live within walking distance. And sometimes one can be surprised, if not shocked, at the kind of friends one finds after graduation. After pursuing a few hobbies and taking up new activities, here’s a list of some of my new friends.

Gabi the Fire-dancer: Yes, she dances with fire. And I know – it’s pretty incredible. She is a dance major at our community college and does shows in DC. For all of those who are wondering, there is a special kind of insurance for this profession.  However I don’t know what it’s called – but I’m sure it sounds badass.

Tai-chi Grampa: I cannot spell/say his name, so I just refer to him as tai-chi grampa. He is a 64-year-old Taiwanese man and in my yoga teacher training program; we’ve had lunch together (yes, it was sushi). He has more strength in his left pinky then I have in my entire upper body.

My mom’s close friends: So since I moved back home, I have systematically stolen my mom’s friends. Over the summer, my mom’s stay-at-home friends invited me for lunch because they hadn’t seen me for so long. Since then, we haven’t looked back. Now, going out to lunch with them is a regular thing. When my mom calls me during the day, I say, “Hey mom. Can I call you back? I’m actually out to lunch with Smita aunty.” And of course, all we do is gossip. We gossip about all the ladies in the friend circle, most of whom I don’t know. But I still smile and nod…and gasp when something is especially scandalous. I actually feel like I’m a part of the Real Housewives of Gaithersburg (look it up…it’s not too far from Winchester). Except that I go to school…and am still unmarried. And I haven’t gotten a nose job.

the TastyKabob Vendor: There’s a food truck on GW campus called TastyKabob that serves really good kabobs in pita bread. The first month of school, I was so nervous about the whole grad school process that I didn’t really explore much. But after I started to get the hang of it, I explored straight to this one food truck. I’m quite the wild child. Anyways, I went there so often that I made friends with the vendor. Well it started out because I would always ask for “extra” hot sauce – some on the pita and some on the side. And after the first few times, he would say “Ohh you are that spicy girl!” (I know it’s a weird thing to be known by.) But yeah, we talked about our backgrounds and our favorite foods…and the next thing I knew, I was stopping by his truck on my way to the library just to say hi.

Hmm, now that I look over this list of friends…I should probably start talking to people in my classes.

 

Kitty

Well, my cat died a little over a year ago. Those of you who don’t have a cat or just hate cats (FYI, you can eat poo) might not get it, but I still miss her every day. When she was alive, I used to carry her around my apartment, stand next to my roommate, and say, “Kitty, you’re my favorite roommate…that has fur.” It was hilarious every time and never got old. Kitty was my best buddy, and seeing her get sick and die was just the worst ever. When we came home from the vet, I wrapped her in tissue paper, put her in a shoebox and buried her out back of my parents’ house under the rose bush. The rose bush had a great year. Me? The jury’s still out.

I only mean that a little. Of course I know it’s been an amazing year for me, too (suck it, rose bush). I graduated from college, I made great friends, I was gifted an iPad from a gentleman benefactor. It was just hard to lose Kitty at such a critical moment. She represented more than she knew, which is saying something because she was getting her PhD in tuna. She was home to me. She would always, no mater what, sit on my books when I needed to study, scratch at my laundry basket when I was trying to sleep, and put her little paw on my face when she woke up all snuggly and adorable in the morning before she started shouting for me to give her treats. When she died it was like the universe was telling me, “Ok now, Genny. No turning back now. Go for it.” So I did.

I moved into my Chinatown apartment  on November First. I got a bed delivered that day and settled in for my first night. Around 2 am, I woke up suddenly to the sound of a cat screaming violently. It was so loud, I thought it was in the apartment. More likely it was on the fire escape next to my head. At first, I was annoyed to be woken up. But then, I smiled. It was kind of like this feral pile of mange was welcoming me. Assuring me, “Genny, you got this. First step apartment, next step, job, dreams, life.” Again, more than likely, he was probably saying “Screw you, Rat, this is MY chicken carcass”. Whatever, I am much more sentimental than that rat.

I still hear him from time to time. Never so close as that first night, but he’s out there. Roaming the rooftops, screaming violently, truly and deeply living. Every time I hear him, I think of Kitty, and her blind, tacit support of my every move. I like to think he represents that too. He is Kitty’s successor, saying, “go for it!” I hope he knows that I reciprocate the sentiment completely.  I always hope he’s happy. Though, given the screaming, if I am being realistic, I guess he’s probably not.

And finally, a fifth introduction.

Hello, internet world.  I am Taylor and I will be the Winchester (look it up) correspondent.

Like my friends Gen and Ben, I am a recent college graduate, and while they will be chronicling their adventures in exciting, new cities, I will be recounting my experiences of returning to my hometown and back to the open arms of my parents.

After graduating a semester early from college, I spent a couple months honing my diaper changing skills as a preschool teacher in Williamsburg, while I waited for the rest of my friends to graduate.   That was pretty fun, but eventually everyone left to go on to new adventures, so I decided I had to move on to new adventures too!  So obviously I moved back in with my parents, back to the small town I grew up in.

In all seriousness, moving back has been great.  And that’s what I’ll be writing about: how to survive the familiar landscapes of your childhood as a (mild) adult.  While my experiences will probably definitely be less cultured than my urban counterparts, they will most likely be equally as drunk (I’m looking at you, Gen), with probably as many embarrassing stories (again, you Gen) and hopefully as endearing.

So get ready for some awesome stuff, guys.  Seriously. It’s gonna be cool.

I think.

-Taylor

The Third Hello

Hello Internet,

Unlike my New York and Los Angeles colleagues, I do not write to you from an exciting new city. Instead, I write to you from the same small city I’ve called home for three and a half years. I’ve loved my time in Williamsburg but in less than six months I’ll move out of the colonial capital of Virginia (Drop! Haters gonna hate. I’m looking at you Richmond) and settle somewhere else.

This May, I’ll officially become a college graduate! Unfortunately, people expect college graduates to “find jobs” and “become financially independent” so I’ll have to start thinking about that very soon. Hopefully, my New York and Los Angeles  counterparts/nemeses will offer some guidance as I enter the working world (most likely they’ll try to sabotage me).  I’m excited to have an excuse to keep up with Benjamin and Genevieve because I miss them. I’m also very excited to befriend the Senior Correspondent, Catherine Gullickson.

I’ll try to take some time out of my busy schedule of attending class, enjoying my last few months with friends, and hating myself for not majoring in Objectives or Decimals at the business school to say hello!

Talk to you soon, Internet,

Williamsburg Correspondent

Amelia Bane

Hello pt. 2

What up, audience?

Not completely unlike my West Coast counterpart, when I graduated from college, I moved straight to North Carolina to live at the beach with my dad and bartend. I knew that, for what was next, it was really important to establish a strong base tan and some mild form of alcoholism. September rolled around and it was time for me to move along, so I bid adieu to my dad and my friends and about as blindly as one could, moved to NYC. After a while, I found myself in a little 5th floor walk up in Chinatown. I signed up with a temp agency. Turns out, I am a terrible receptionist. But sometimes, I figure, you have to know what you don’t want before you find out what you do want. And, hey, now we all know.

Moving to a new city is great in a lot of ways, but it can get a little lonely. It is really hard to meet people when you are not working. In my neighborhood, I often feel that I stand alone among a veritable sea of Asians. Or a veritable sea of the regularly employed. Asians with jobs can be so smug. Well I sure as shit will show them all one of these days when I’m a star (read: Administrative Assistant)! I’ll be letting you know how it goes.

‘Till we meet again,

New York Correspondent

Genevieve Blau

Welcome

Hello,

My name is Ben Gullickson.  I recently graduated from college, and like so many of my peers, I went on to move home with my parents.  Long ago I learned to live with the crippling shame of being a tall, nerdy white boy, so moving in with my parents was a natural next step.  In fact, I learned to surpress the societal shame I was experiencing, and actually enjoy my time at home.  However, sometime during the period of time where I was sharing a bedroom with my 13 year old brother, carpooling into work with my father, and spending Friday nights hanging out with my parents, I discovered my life was a living hell.  I of course do not mention that my laundry was taken care of, food was prepared, and alcohol and cable services were provided, as this is negligible.  Naturally, growing up in the internet generation, I decided to write a blog about my tribulations.

Ok, I’ll cut the crap.  In all honesty, this blog is merely a ploy to crack my friends up as I and some of my fellow peers (and one elder stateswoman who happens to be my mother) chronicle our lives and adventures after leaving the bubble of college.  Most of us have moved home, most of us are in a new city, and all of us have no idea what the hell we’re doing.  This is a venue to air our grievances, as well as provide fodder on our misadventures, and, at times, embarrassing mistakes.  It is my hope that over time, this site will provide something for everyone: humor, adventure, baked goods, music suggestions, murder plots, etc.  However, I have been known to have unrealistic expectations.  Overall, the tone will be sarcastic and biting, but you might be surprised to find (at times) some real human emotions permeating throughout the site.  We apologize in advance for this.

So, please enjoy what we have to say, and how we say it.  Whether you return to this site for sincere enjoyment, morbid curiosity, or mocking interest, we hope that we provide bountiful entertainment.

Your Los Angeles Correspondent,

Benjamin Gullickson