stories

Calling All Humans, I Want Your Garbage

Calling all humans, I want your garbage.

No, not your actual garbage. Not your literal, tangible, probably rank garbage. I’m talking about your figurative garbage. More specifically: your morning garbage.

(How many times do I have to say garbage before it becomes a drinking game?) 

We’ve all had bad mornings. The nuclear, should have stayed in bed, can this seriously be happening type mornings. The garbage mornings, if you will. And since we’ve all had these, I thought there should be a place to talk about them. To laugh at them. To prove they are actually a thing that happened, even if it may seem impossible.

So, I’ve started This Terrible Morning. A blog dedicated to the horrible, awful and hilarious mornings that tend to haunt us every once in a while.

This is where your garbage comes in.

I want your stories, your pictures, your sarcastic turn of phrases. All of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a writer or a comedian or a photographer. The only credentials you need are an honest voice, a great story, and the willingness to share it.

So if you’ve ever had one of those mornings that started with a (maybe literal) bang and ended in a (hopefully figurative) fire, please do me and the Internet the honor of sharing it! And if you’re someone who secretly enjoys reading about those fires, please do me and the people brave enough to share theirs the honor of subscribing!

You can find the blog at www.thisterriblemorning.com

You can submit your stories/pictures/etc. to thisterriblemorning@gmail.com

Why We Can All Relate to the Gilmore Girls Revival

With the next chapter of Gilmore Girls FINALLY arriving to Netflix this fall, I’ve been very much in the Stars Hollow spirit. I recently got my mom hooked on the early seasons; she’s en route to complete her binge before the 4-episode arch launches at the end of November—which, could there be a better release date?

November 25th.

The day after Thanksgiving.

Talk about having an easy answer to the gratefulness question at the dinner table.

“Yes, I’m thankful for Lorelai and Rory and Emily and Luke and if any of you say anything different you can take your turkey and go.”

My mom had never watched the show before. Never hopped on the Hep Alien bandwagon.

Get it.

The Hep Alien bandwagon…

…LIKE LANE’S BAND…

Never mind, let’s just move on, I Dean not mean to ruin the flow.

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It wasn’t long after my mom started season 1 on Netflix that she was hooked. Suddenly I was getting texts in the late evening asking for ideas on how to fix her malfunctioning Chrome Cast so she could get her “Gilmore fix.” And now every few days I catch up with her on where she is, on how everyone in Stars Hollow is doing, and she constantly raves about her favorite character: Emily Gilmore, a.k.a Lorelai’s mother a.k.a the flawless Kelly Bishop.

As she fills me in, I always smile and shake my head, both in fond recollection of the early episodes and in amazement of how much further the characters have to go before they reach “present day” or, the start of upcoming miniseries.

There are so many emotions left to emote, so many fights left to fight, so many laughs left to laugh, so many “so many’s.” The characters essentially have multiple lives to live before they are ready to embark on the aptly titled “Year in the Life,” and this got me thinking: how many lives do we have left to live in these lives of ours?

We are all in different places, going through different things, wishing things would change, wishing things wouldn’t, and yet we have no idea how much farther we have to go, or how many more adventures we are set to face.

When we watch television shows, especially long running series’ like Gilmore Girls, we inadvertently become a part of the characters’ lives, going through everything they go through, feeling every single feel. When I think of it now, I can picture so many episodes where the characters seemed hopeless and how I sat “with them”, feeling that same feeling, wondering, “How can we fix this?” But then again, now I can also look back and think, “things get better” and “you get through this, I promise” and “the silver lining is right around the corner!”

In our own lives, we’re able to do this with hindsight, with lessons learned and memories stored. We can think back to times that were dark and wish our former selves would have known to cheer up, as better things were coming, things we never could have imagined.

So as I anxiously await the arrival of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, wondering where life will take them next and reliving—with my mom—where they’ve already been in the first seven seasons, it’s hard not to realize how much this show reflects all of our lives. How we never know what’s around the corner, whether it’s going to be light or dark or breezy or difficult, but that we can trust it’s something we need to go through in order to end up where we’re meant to be.

Which is hopefully with Jess.

I mean, hopefully Rory ends up with Jess.

You know what I meant.

 

 

 

Unfinished

Baked Cheeto State of Mind

So first off, let’s just get it out of the way and say that yes, I LOVE Baked Cheetos, but that’s not exactly what I’m here to talk about. I’m not going to go into detail about why crunchy is better than “puffs” and why baked is better than regular or cheese explosion or whatever other flavor exists out there, even though all of that is true.

The reason I’m here today is to explain how Cheetos, yes, Cheetos, taught me a thing or two about chasing my dreams.

NO DON’T! Don’t click away yet, just give me a second (or 60). This is (maybe) worth it, I (kind of) promise.

Anyways, back to Cheetos.

So about a year and a half ago I was at Costco shopping for snacks to fill up the vending machine at work, when I came across a box of various flavored chips including, you guessed it, Baked Cheetos. At the time I probably hadn’t eaten a Cheeto in a solid 6 years, but alas, I instantly added the box to my cart. Maybe I was hypnotized by the tiger with shades, I don’t know. Regardless, I bought the box, figuring that even if no one at my work liked a single bag of chips that were in the variety pack, at least I could check out this whole Baked Cheeto scene and check one box off the Snack Food Bucket List—which I don’t actually have. (Yet.)

As you may have guessed from reading the first paragraph, I fell in love with these Cheetos. We’re talking head over heels, can’t eat (save for more Baked Cheetos), can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of stuff. (It Takes Two reference anyone?)

Needless to say, after this there was not a Costco trip that went by without purchasing these. Every couple weeks I’d stroll down the first aisle on the left—past all the non-gummy vitamins I figured I should start looking into as a 25-year-old adult—and I’d grab the brightly colored box featuring the one and only fire orange keeper of my heart.

That is, until one trip when the box wasn’t there.

What?

Yes, this is actually a dramatic pause regarding chips.

I stood in the aisle perplexed, distraught, shattered really, that Costco had essentially failed me by selling out of my favorite snack and not restocking the shelves before I arrived.

The nerve.

At the end of the day however, I knew that in the grocery store business these things happen, so I tried not to hold it against old Costco, and I grabbed a different box of chips and headed back to work.

Two weeks later, it was time. It had been a rough 9 days of work without my traffic cone colored companion and I was ready for a big cheesy reunion. Upon arrival however, I was heartbroken to find there were still no Cheetos.

I went back again two weeks later, still no Cheetos.

Turns out, they’d stopped carrying them as, apparently I was only who was buying them because apparently everyone else that shops at Costco is crazy.

But alas, this was the truth I had to live with, and, if I’m being honest, I didn’t handle it well.

I spoke of the loss to everyone I knew, suggesting Costco had given me the biggest heartbreak of my life, and wishing I’d never seen that variety pack in the first place. (As dramatic as this sounds, this is also where the whole “Cheetos helped me pursue my dreams” thing ties in.)

After a few weeks of shameful complaining and undoubtedly annoying mourning however, I decided to make it my mission to find Baked Cheetos again, whether it be for the vending machine at work or just a big ass bag for my house.

Mercifully, my friends and family actually put up with this. Supported it even. Once they learned of my ultimate goal, they did everything in their power to help me achieve it. For as ridiculous as this quest was, they knew it made me happy, and when you surround yourself with people that genuinely love you, they tend to go out of their way, regardless of the consequence, to achieve just that.

These days I’ve distanced myself from the obsession, though that’s not to say I wouldn’t buy them. I still have moments when I feel like nothing can quench my munchies like a (completely underfilled) bag of Baked Cheetos, just like sometimes I feel like nothing could make me happier than writing a blog post or visiting the world’s largest raisin box. And it’s nice to know that no matter how outlandish the goal, if I set my mind to it, I can accomplish it, if not on my own then with the help of those that love me.

So whatever your bag of Baked Cheetos is, go get it.

Also, grab me one. An actual bag of Baked Cheetos that is, I’m starving.

 

 

 

World’s Largest Roadside Attractions

In my July/August Favorites I made mention of loving the Netflix Original film The Fundamentals of Caring. In it a boy suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, who has made a list of America’s “worst” roadside attractions, gets the opportunity to take a road trip with his caretaker to see a few.

Inspired by this list, I researched every roadside attraction in America that has been deemed the “World’s Largest” and made it a goal of mine to see them all.

(I also took note of those outside the US, but I figure my chances of seeing those are much slimmer, so I won’t count it against my list if I don’t, but rather mark them as bonus points, because who doesn’t love a little extra credit?!)

This past week, while my family and I were en route to a glorious weekend in Lake Tahoe, we were able to see two of the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions (WRLA’s) (pronounced Wool-Rahs) on my list, and let me tell you, the excitement. Was. Real.

First off, the World’s Largest Swedish Coffee Pot.

Even as someone who hates coffee, I had quite the time of containing my excitement wiggles as we came up Highway 99 and saw this beauty:

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And while I know this was our first one, so you’ll probably take the next thing I say as a result of the novelty but…THIS WAS THE COOLEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN. It was so cute. It was so quaint. It was so THE COOLEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN. Not to mention the fact that the town of Kingsburg, CA (where it is located) is about the cutest place I’ve ever been to. It was one of those towns you see in a feel good family sitcom that probably has citywide garage sales and a guy at the bank that gives you a lollypop. My brother almost moved there on the spot.

Next on our list of WRLA’s, which also happened to be located in Kingsburg—only adding to my brother’s obsession—was the World’s Largest Raisin Box:

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And while yes, the Raisin Box was only our second WRLA, thus is still had novelty status, and yes, aside from the Swedish Coffee Pot I’d seen only 30 minutes prior, I might consider it THE COOLEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN, I think the real treat, not only for us but for Kingsburg, came in the way of us going HAM in and around the Sun-Maid Raisin gift shop.

I’m not joking.

We bought t-shirts, we bought snacks, we bought postcards, we took a picture with Mrs. Sun-Maid herself:

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My brother became Mrs. Sun-Maid herself:

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If I were to venture a guess, I’d say we spent 40 minutes on the Sun-Maid property, which has to be a record for anyone that doesn’t work there.

That being said, I cannot emphasize enough how much these two side trips were worth it. When we got to Tahoe, I already began plotting when I could visit my next WLRA, and believe me, there will be a next one, and a next one, and a next one.

For anyone who is interested in following my quest or seeking out the attractions yourself, I’m going to paste the full list as well as pictures of those I’ve been to on this page.

Here’s to a life full of WRLA’s!

 

 

**In other exciting news, I was published on The Mighty today, check that post out here.

 

July/August Favorites (feat. The Demogorgon)

So remember that blog I posted a couple months ago about a few of my favorite things for the entire first half of 2016, the title of which—2016 Favorites (So Far)—suggested that I might post a “part 2” at the end of 2016? Well I’m finding that impossible.

You see, posting that blog seems to have opened up some sort of sharing door (sharing window?) (sharing sun roof?) that my body refuses to shut and I constantly find myself wanting to talk about how great things are! Which, seeing how easy it would be to discuss how much things suck, I feel as though doing the latter is a far better use of my time. Thus, behold a second—and let’s be honest, nowhere near the last—edition of Favorites.

 

Cooking!

I know, I’m as surprised as you are. But after months of buying random ingredient-ish things from the grocery store and being consistently disappointed they didn’t conjugate in the pantry to form a heart healthy, hip friendly and Heaven flavored meal, I decided it was time to change my methods. So last month, after my sister and I got back from our vacation in Ireland and were looking for a way to shift our diet away from beer and café pastries, we started scouring cookbooks and Pinterest for relatively easy-to-make and cheap-to-buy-for recipes and made grocery lists.

Yes. Actual lists. Like adults with their shit together type of lists. It was magical.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes that I followed. All of which were delicious and none of which required a degree in Culinary Latin to decipher the instructions or a black belt in Kitchen Jiu Jitsu to put together.

(All images property of the brilliant recipe creators themselves)

   kielbasa-hash     Sweet-Potato-Crust-Pizza     Pulled_Pork_Quesadillas_mobile

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 The Fundamentals of Caring

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I had heard very little about this movie before watching it, not reviews from the critics, not gif filled articles on the Internet, nothing. All I knew was that it was on the front page of Netflix and starred a few people I admired (Paul Rudd & Selena Gomez). That being said, I absolutely LOVED this movie with my whole heart. It made me feel all the feels. All of them. And after it was over I immediately wanted to watch it again, which I did. There’s really not much else I can say except stop whatever you are doing, no matter how time sensitive or crucial to the survival of mankind and watch this movie because it’s great.

 

Stranger Things

Staying on the topic of Netflix for a minute, I give you Stranger Things, the object of my obsession for the last few weeks. There is no way for me to describe to you what this show is about, as the plot is so twisted and incredible that attempting to do so would ruin it. So just take my word on this and watch it because it BLEW. MY. MIND. Also, for any of you that have already seen it, I give you this meme:

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#ElevenWillAlwaysBeMyWomanCrushWednesday

 

Bitmojis

Meet Kimoji, the bitmoji version of me:

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She laughs,

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She cries,

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She surfs,

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She poses for the cover of People magazine.

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She does it all. Including most of the talking in my text message conversations. Earlier this month, my entire family made a ‘moji and since then we rarely have a discussion without one of them making an appearance. It’s glorious. You have no idea how much time we’re saving by using our Bitmojis to express emotions that would have otherwise required minutes of thumbwork. Honestly I would go on record to say that Bitmojis are probably saving us from carpal tunnel.

 

The Olympics

I mean, how could they not be? They are arguably (though whoever wants to actually argue with me will undoubtedly lose) the greatest thing you could ever watch on television and on August 5th they finally arrived! It could never be overstated how much my family and I love the Olympics, and if you need any proof, refer to our DVR that is probably about as tired as a toddler without a nap. We spent an insane amount of hours absorbing every minute of every sport we could feast our eyes on, and expended buckets of energy screaming at the competing athletes, even though we were well aware they couldn’t hear us. And while I’m incredibly bummed they are already over, it’s important to focus on the positives…ONLY 526 DAYS UNTIL THE 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS!

Alright that’s it from me (for now). Have anything you’ve been loving lately? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See the previous favorites post here.

50 Shades of Goodbye (Last Day in Ireland)

If Day 7 was weird to wake up to, Day 8 was worse. Since Natalee and I didn’t fly out until 12:30, we were able to take our time getting ready. That morning, I woke up with my focus primarily on making sure everything was in place for our trip home. I collected my things, double, triple, quadruple checking I had my passport, and I wrapped my souvenirs tightly in the hope that none of them would break on the way home.

While I was packing my suitcase, I came to find that the only way I was going to get it to shut was if I reorganized the entire thing. When I left, everything had fit perfectly, neatly. I’d organized it down to the inch. But as I looked at it now, it was kind of a disaster. So, I sat down in the middle of the floor, removed everything one by one and put them in piles around me. And even though I grew frustrated at first, trying and failing and then trying again to making everything fit, I started to realize that I simply had to approach it differently than I had at home. Because like me, my suitcase was different than it was when I started. With each city it had collected little things, memories, pictures, souvenirs, and they changed its shape, changed how it fit together. And so as I again began to make sense of everything, I began to appreciate these differences and I was thankful for them, because I knew that when I got back home and unpacked everything, I’d still have those new pieces I’d collected here and they would stay with me. Further down the road, when the trip becomes more of a distant memory, I know I’ll come across these pieces, in perhaps the most unexpected of ways and I’ll remember how they changed me, how they helped me grow and I’ll be able to look back at them and smile.

Once I fit the last few things inside my suitcase and zipped it shut, Natalee and I did one last look around our room.

“Is that everything?” I asked, and she nodded, opening up the door for us to roll our suitcases out the door and down the hall.

When we got downstairs, we handed the attendant our room keys and asked him to call us a taxi to the airport. Once the taxi arrived, we quickly walked outside, loaded our bags and got in, the initial action of which seemed like it had only just happened, as if this taxi driver should be that same man who talked football with us only a short time ago.

As he drove, I looked around at all the cars driving past. Some were taxis, perhaps shuttling tourists like us, some were families going somewhere on a Wednesday morning, and some were singles or couples, talking or laughing or sitting silently. In all the driving I’d done for work, I’d seen all these combinations before, and now here I was on the opposite end of the world seeing their mirror image. It made me realize how many worlds there are in our world. How many lives are all happening at the very same time, most of which we’ll never know about. But as the taxi driver continued down the highway to the airport, I realized how many lives I’d gotten to be a part of over the last week. Both those in our group, and those of people I’d met in restaurants and gift shops and pubs. We’d all shared something, even if it was brief. And I think that’s one of the greatest things about traveling. For no matter where you go, you’re going to find worlds upon worlds spinning and lives upon lives being lived, and if we’re lucky, we’ll get to be part of them, if only for a moment.

Slainte, Dublin (Ireland Day #7)

It was really strange waking up on Day 7 knowing that it was our last day as a group. When we went to bed that night, for the first time in over a week everyone would be on different schedules, all shuffling out a different times. So as we went through our morning routine and met Tim and Rob downstairs at the coach, I couldn’t help but feel a little pit in my stomach.IMG_7176

The primary item on the day’s agenda was the Guinness Storehouse a.k.a the Guinness Mecca. Similar to the Jameson Distillery, the Storehouse tour took us through the entire process of how the beer was made and how it essentially goes from a pile of plants to an Irish pub staple.

On the 5th (of 7) floors, we were given the opportunity to become certified Guinness pourers, which we did, and were then able to take our perfectly poured pints of beer to the top floor, known as the Gravity Bar and enjoy it leisurely as we took in arguably the best view of Dublin you can find.

From the Storehouse, we made our way back to the center of Dublin by foot, as we opted to forego the ride from the coach so we could have more time to enjoy the Gravity Bar’s view. And since we essentially had the rest of the day to ourselves, Natalee and I toured the city at our own pace, trying our best to follow the map Tim had given us that pointed our some key things to see.

Among the sites we were successfully able to find, despite the cities nearly impossible to follow street signage were:

Trinity College:

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O’Connell Street:

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Rosie’s Café where we got, you guessed it Panini’s with, you guessed it ddecf0ced88cca47ff9a9f32330c417bpotatoddecf0ced88cca47ff9a9f32330c417b chips.

Dublin Castle:

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And this:

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Which in case you can’t tell by its incredible architecture and overall exquisiteness is the view from a freaking bus stop. I took this picture while we waited for our own bus, shaming every other bus stop I’ve ever stood at for not trying hard enough.

At 6:00, after a few hours of intense napping/showering took place, a newly spruced and freshly groomed version of our group emerged from our hotel rooms to make our way to The Merry Ploughboy for dinner. And as if the week hadn’t been impressive enough, this dinner was the perfect way to end it. After first enjoying a three course meal, mine featuring a delicious potato cake, the lights were dimmed and the band took the stage to perform a variety of Irish songs. At somewhat of an intermission, four Irish dancers came out to blow our potato filled minds with some Riverdance, and then the band returned to close out the evening with a few last songs, including one very special to our group: “Galway Girl.”

From the restaurant the group was set to head to Temple Bar, but not before taking a family picture, all of us knowing it would be the last one. When I look at it now, it’s funny to think that there was a time when I didn’t know the people in the picture. That at one point we all wandered into a room as strangers, with no idea what to say to each other except, “hello.” Because now, as we all stood huddled together, ready to spend one last night together, we had not only gotten to know each other, but created new memories that only we would share.

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