Monday, February 28, 2011

how i learned to stop worrying and love the oscars

So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to throw an Oscars costume party. I made the Facebook event and promptly never thought about it again. Until Sunday morning, when I realized I AM HAVING A PARTY IN 7 HOURS AND I HAVEN'T DONE SHIT. So here's what my Sunday was like. I:

1) played the piano at an 11:30 AM Catholic mass that ran late.
2) went to AMC movie theater to buy two $10 gift cards (these were prizes.. more on that later)
3) went to the supermarket to buy $25 worth of snacks plus popcorn and movie candy (for prizes).
4) went to PetSmart to buy food and bedding for Huxley the hedgie.
5) waited in the car listening to Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson while Matt went into the liquor store to buy beer.
6) cleaned Huxley's whole cage (which was really overdue for a cleaning, so it took FOREVER).
7) haphazardly wrapped up the prizes
8) de-cluttered, dusted, slightly re-arranged, and vacuumed the family room (OK fine, Matt vacuumed while I took a shower).
9) had a crisis when the super cute Oscar ballots I was going to use turned out to be printed in the faintest of gray inks (WTF were they thinking?) and so I had to use a less cute (but highly readable) ballot from
10) scrambled to put together my costume at 6:00, which ended up being comprised completely of garments that were either too small or too big for me.
11) ordered the pizza at 6:30, only to find that Matt had called the wrong restaurant branch (the right one is 4 minutes from my house, the wrong one is ...50 minutes away) and so the pizza didn't actually show up until like 7:30.
12) started to get really nervous that the party would bomb and we would all be sitting in awkward silence and my friends would pelt me with M&Ms at me at the end for wasting their time

But that didn't happen, fortunately. The point of this complain-fest is that all of that stress was negated by pretty great night. The ballots provided us (or at least me) with more of a reason to be invested in the winners, and we talked about movies almost the whole time, which is one of my favorite things to do. I'm so grateful to have friends who are willing to debate the distinction between sound editing and sound mixing.

Oh, shut up and just show us the costumes, you are saying. Happy to oblige, my friends. Happy to oblige.

Matt as R.P. McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Best Picture Winner 1975). Or MAYBE as Joe Pesci in Home Alone. The jury's still out on that.

Me, looking FLY as Frodo from LOTR: Return of the King (Best Picture 2003). Do you see THE PRECIOUS? That's my sister's earring.

Linds as Maria von Trapp from The Sound of Music (Best Picture 1965). She also brought crisp apple strudel, a brown paper package tied up with string, and some fake edelweiss-looking flowers. Unsurprisingly, she won the prize for best costume. (Do you read her blog? You should probably be reading her blog.)

Hey! It's Cait of Finding My Balance as one of the six merry murderesses from Chicago (Best Picture 2002). She also pwned all the rest of us in the Oscar ballot with 14 CORRECT PREDICTIONS. What the how does that even.

Cait's boyfriend E as Sargeant Sean Dignam from The Departed (Best Picture 2006). A very merry Sgt Dignam, if I may say!

Scotty as William Wallace from Braveheart (Best Picture 1995). This party MAY have been an elaborate set-up designed to get him to wear his kilt again. Kilts are awesome.

Jewel as Arwen from LOTR: Return of the King. Her costume is so rad. She has the Evenstar (which you can kind of see here) and a cool hooded cloak (which she took off for this picture) and everything.

Mara as Maggie Fitzgerald from Million Dollar Baby (Best Picture 2004). I have a few pictures of her pretending to punch things but I didn't think she'd appreciate me posting them for all of the Internetz to see.

And finally, my friends Katie and Kevin came dressed in all green in a satisfyingly meta if somewhat literal interpretation of How Green Was My Valley (Best Picture 1941). Unfortunately I don't have blog-worthy picture of them :(

So the moral of the story is: parties are a lot of work, but you should still have them because they're almost always worth it. Especially if you get to see your friends dressed up in funny outfits.

Friday, February 25, 2011

fridays are for filling blanks in

(I am seriously loving the chevron in this graphic, not to mention how well it matches my blog design 0_0)

1. I am currently obsessed with engagement rings. It's sick. I stalk the diamond stock at Blue Nile at least twice a day, and I've built my own ring more times than I care to mention. At the library where I work, I literally STARE at female patrons' engagement rings trying to see what they look like. I realize how creepy this is but I can't stop. I JUST WANT A DIAMOND RING IT'S A LIFELONG DREAM!

2. Today I am impatient  because Matt is waiting to hear back about a job offer (it's down to him and one other person AHH) and I know that as soon as he finds out, he'll call me. So instead of doing work or getting dressed I have just been sitting and staring at my phone, WILLING it to ring.

3. The age I am is 23 (24 in 2 months) and the age I feel is directly related to who I'm with and what I'm doing. When I'm with my younger sister and we're carsinging Taylor Swift songs, I feel about 15. When I'm at work answering reference questions and ordering around the teen volunteers, I feel much older than I am. When I'm with my friends and we're talking about our lives I feel like I'm exactly as old as I should be. But as soon as I hear about some distant friend getting engaged, I get anxious about moving forward to the Next Level.

4. My favorite place is Disney World. Yes. You read that correctly. I've been to Disney five times and I'm going again with Matt this May, when our cruise stops in Port Canaveral, FL. It's gonna be awesome because he hasn't been since he was like, 11, and the only thing better than going back to Disney is going back to Disney with a n00b.

5. Something I have been procrastinating on is um, everything? Grad school work, getting my eyebrows done, getting my ends/bangs trimmed, depositing my paycheck, writing an encounter for the Serenity RPG I'm running, putting together my costume for my Oscars watch party. I really am an expert procrastinator.

6. The last thing I purchased must've not been very exciting, because I can't even remember. OH. Yes I do. It was my mom's birthday present. Her birthday's on Tuesday!

7. The thing I love most about my home is that I get to live here for free. That's not to say that I don't love many other things about my home (my family is here, my doggie is here, it's 10 minutes away from my workplace, it's situated in between Philly and NYC, etc.), but the thing I love MOST about my home is definitely that I do not pay bills.

Wanna play? Pay Lauren a visit and link up.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

a quick note about ZOMBIES (and charity)

A few of you mentioned that you were interested in reading Zombicorns, esteemed YA author John Green's NaNoWriMo project. I just wanted to let you know that you can actually read it for free by downloading it from EffYeahNerdfighters.

However, the book was originally only available for download with a donation of $25 to the Harry Potter Alliance, which is this amazing charity that "fights the Dark Arts in the real world" by teaming up with non-profits that promote human rights and literacy. I care deeply about both of those two things, so I encourage you to donate if you can. But in either case, you still get the book :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

what i'd rather be doing besides schoolwork

learning how to make jewelry

watching Futurama

reading Anna and the French Kiss or John Green's zombie novella

baking brownies in a muffin tin (BRUFFINS)

browsing/choosing shore excursions for the cruise that Matt and I are taking in May

playing with Huxley the hedgehog

taking Pilates classes (or maybe yoga!)

playing The Sims 3

daydreaming about having a literary-themed wedding 

DIY-ing details for my Oscars Watch Party on Sunday
(sorry, IRL friends... my party isn't going to be as cute as Twig and Thistle's)


Alas, I am floating in a sea in post-graduate assignments. And I must tend to them. Sad face.

Indulge me: what would you rather be doing right now?

Friday, February 18, 2011


The following exchange occurred on Gchat yesterday:

Matt: friendly's is open until 11
me: :-\
i can't control myself around a friendly's
Matt: well
let me be in control then
single scoop
one topping
me: D:
Matt: no no, you're doing it improperly
it's NIIII
me: ... nu?
Matt: ni
me: ... nu?
Matt: no no no
its ni
ni ni ni
me: ni!
Matt: excuse me!
are you saying "ni" to that woman?
me: NI!
Matt: oh what dark times are these
me: LOL

Can I just say how lucky I am to be with someone with whom I can quote entire scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail? If you'd told 17-year-old me that this would be my future, I probably would have laughed in your face (and then gone and watched some toons on Homestar Runner. I wasn't a very cool 17-year-old).

P.S. My IRL best friend, Linds, just resurrected her old blog -- you should all go check her out and leave her some welcome-back love. AND Matt started one too (but his computer died recently so he hasn't posted much.) Still, go check him out as well.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

rapid-fire meme completion!

I'm feeling pretty productive tonight, so I decided to bang out two memes that the wickedly awesome Angie tagged me in. To start: A Penmanship Quiz Survey. Gah. I have terrible handwriting and this felt a lot like a second-grade handwriting test. I think knowing that this was going on the blog made me self-conscious, which translated into me adding all these weird underlines for emphasis. Blerg.

But! I did use a fun green pen, so you get to enjoy that. Anyway, here are the rules:

Answer the following questions using regular old pen (or other writing implement) and paper:
1. What's your name/your Blogger name?
2. What's your blog's name/URL?
3. Write "the quick fox jumps over the lazy dog" [I may have taken creative liberties with this one]
4. Favorite quote?
5. Your favorite song?
6. Your favorite band/singers?
7. Anything else you want to say?
8. Tag 3-5 other people

Here's how it went for me:

Bahhh I hate my handwriting!


I got an award! 

The Honest Scrap award! Angie says getting this award means that you don't hold back and you tell the truth, which may or may not mean that you guys think I'm oversharing and need to stop the TMI. That's entirely possible. Regardless, I get to share 10 absolutely honest things about myself now!

1) When I daydream about my future kids, I hope for girls. This is more than likely because girl names are SO MUCH MORE FUN to pick out than boy names.
2) I have tried on three separate occasions to learn how to knit, and it's never gone well. I tried to crochet a couple times, too, and I sort of learned, but all I can do is make rows and rows of double stitches. Not very impressive.
3) I'm not really a picky eater, but there are few relatively innocuous foods that I just don't understand: capers, pickled ginger (the pink stuff you get with sushi), and olives. 
4) I have an unhealthy addiction to overpriced beauty products. (Philosophy, I AM LOOKING AT YOU.)
5) If I could eat macaroni and cheese for the rest of my life and never gain weight, I would already be eating it right now. At 12:46 AM. 
6) Even though I haven't written creatively since college, I still hold onto the hope that I'll be a famous author one day. It was my dream growing up! Some things are hard to let go of.
7) Once I left a bag of strawberries in my work tote for over a week and then it exploded rotted berry pulp all over my library books. 
8) By "once," maybe I mean "last week." Err.
9) I am a closet fan of Nicki Minaj. Wow, did I really just admit to that in a public forum?
10) What do you think I should do about the library books? I should probably offer to replace them, right? I mean, I hate when people just leave their damaged books in the book drop and run. Own up to your sins! 

OK, clearly I'm getting tired. I should wrap this up. Instead of tagging people, I though I'd just link to some of my favorite bloggers that embody the spirit of "Honest Scrap":

Jas is trying to break into SHOW BUSINESS and she shares every sordid detail of her rise to the top-ish area.
Heather's old blog has been reborn into this cozy den of self-affirmation and self-actualization. Reading her blog reminds me that you should be your own biggest supporter.
To fully understand me as a blogger, you MUST READ this blog. I discovered Linda back when I was a pimple-faced thirteen year old who had just started up an "online journal" on Diaryland, the now-essentially-defunct hosting platform. She's hilarious, an amazing writer, and a pretty cool mom to boot.

Friday, February 11, 2011

my life in labels: librarian training

I know I have 3 memes/awards to work on, but I feel compelled to write an actual post about my life before I tackle all of that. So.

MY LIFE. It can be roughly broken up into four categories:


Sometimes there are more, of course, depending on the seasons. And of course the categories bleed into one another -- life can't be neatly compartmentalized, I don't really have that mindset -- but those are truly my four biggest priorities at the moment. So, do you want to know what's happening? Of course you do, otherwise you wouldn't still be reading. Now, this is a lot, so we'll start with the first category:


For those of you who are new: I want to be a librarian for children and teens. I'm literally obsessed with it -- I have never been this determined to reach a goal in my life. So I'm in graduate school for my Master's in Library and Information Science, and I've been working as a Youth Services Assistant in my local library for the past year and a half. This week though, I had kind of a huge breakthrough that I really want to share with you guys.

This year, I'm running the library's teen creative writing club. We got snowed out of our first two meetings of the year, and though I acted frustrated when I had to cancel, I have to say I was profoundly relieved. Both times I was insanely nervous -- not looking forward to it at all. Part of it was that I felt kind of unprepared and clueless (I'd run teen programs before, but never on my own!), but on a whole different level, all of these latent bad memories from my disastrous student teaching experience in college were rising to the surface. Remember how you choked? this insidious version of myself was whispering to me in my head. They must have thought you were such a joke. Maybe you just don't give off the right vibe for teens. The worrying grew louder and louder for two weeks.... up until yesterday.

Yesterday there was no snow. I couldn't hide anymore. I came to work knowing that we would be meeting no matter what, so I had better get comfy with the idea. And so my nerves sort of dissipated, or translated into nervous energy. The whole afternoon I couldn't stop neurotically looking over my agenda feeling unsatisfied with what I'd decided on. I changed my mind on my icebreaker activity about 4 times, changed the warm-up, frantically photocopied passages from books and organized all of the materials into neat little piles, to be distributed to each teen.

Before I knew it, 6:00 had rolled around and I was standing in the craft room, making small talk with Sarah, the first person to show up.

It's funny how most of the time, it's the anticipation that shuts you down. It's like a roller coaster -- that slow, creaky, uphill climb is when you panic, when you shout "I WANT TO GO BACK," when you seriously begin to doubt your judgment. But then you're rushing towards the ground and the wind is in your hair, and you don't stop to think "I WANT TO GO BACK" -- you're in it, baby!

For me, those two weeks were the uphill climb in a roller coaster car. I doubted myself and I told myself it wasn't too late to quit. But as soon as we sat down to begin the meeting, all of my nerves turned into pure adrenaline -- the good kind of adrenaline that allows you to think on your feet and say all the right things. 

(By the way, that adrenaline rush never happened to me when I was student teaching. Once we started my nerves would just get worse and worse and wouldn't relent until the class period was over.)

It didn't go off without a hitch; the icebreaker took up almost the entire hour and we barely got to the writing warm-up and prompt. But the teens were engaged, laughing, enjoying themselves. They had come to something I had put together and they were enjoying themselves.

I didn't realize until I was was cleaning up that I hadn't stopped smiling since the meeting began. I stopped and  tried to digest what had just happened. I planned, organized, and ran my own library program for teens. I got paid to hang out and talk about Lord of the Rings with a bunch of interesting young people.

And I was going to get to do it again in two weeks.

Best of all, I knew with utmost certainty that this is where I want my life to go. That I'd finally translated my interests into a viable career option  -- second time's the charm, I guess.

So, now I'm sure. I just have to get the qualifications, even if it kills me in the process. But grad school -- that is another post entirely.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

to start: a survey

Let's get things started the right way.

It's meme time, bitches.

I saw this survey on Angie's blog and found the questions quite thought-provoking -- I will tag one or two people at the end, but feel free to steal it and post it if you want.

And now. A Random Survey of Randomness.

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals, or as members of your family?
I have two pets. There's our family dog, Hickory:

He's such a sweet pup! OK, he's not really a pup (he's 11 years old) but he still acts like he's one. Hickory is definitely like a member of our family -- he eats meals with us, sleeps upstairs with us, gets birthday presents, sits for our annual family Christmas portrait. The only thing we do without Hickory is vacation, but we leave him at home and have one of our friends come play with him and feed him every day, so it's kind of like a vacation for him too, let's be honest.

Aaaand there's my hedgehog, Huxley, aka Mr. Hux-a-lux/Cliff Huxtable/Super Hux:

If Oscar the Grouch and Eeyore the Donkey had a prickly love child, it'd be Huxley. He keeps to himself and seems generally distrustful of people, even those who are nice to him and feed him worms! 

2. If you could see one of your dreams come true, which would it be?
Lately my pipe dreams revolve around winning millions in the lottery, dropping out of grad school and just working part-time at the library while pursuing my other interests on the side. But uhhh, I'm pretty sure my chances are something like 1 in 80,000,000. So I think I will stick with my current plan.

3. What is the one thing that you hate the most?
I really, really hate two things: bugs, and poop. But it's no big deal. I make it through life all right. But you should just know that if you're going to try to show me the ladybug you caught, I will shriek and run away. Likewise, if you're going to make a poop joke, just know that I won't laugh and might punch you instead.

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?
Oops... I kind of already answered this question in #2 without realizing it. But I can definitely think of more: I'd pay off Matt's student loans; I'd pay my parents' mortgage; I'd pay my sister's college tuition and set aside $100,000 for the college tuitions of my two future kids; I'd inject tons of money into local libraries; I'd buy an electric car; I'd donate to charities; I'd hire an investor so I could make more money; I'd go to New Zealand and Morocco and Ireland and Japan. I could go on...but I'll spare you :P

5. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?
I'm a very socially oriented person and I usually need to talk myself out of my bad mood with somebody else. Otherwise, I try to take a nap and just sleep it off.

6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?
I don't think you can really say that one is more "blessed" than the other. I think that, when it comes to falling in love, you need both parties to be fully present for the magic to happen. If you love someone but they don't reciprocate, it can make you spiral into despair, envy, or rage. If you're not as into someone as they're into you, it can weigh you down with guilt or cause you to be careless with the person's feelings. Either way, no one's as happy as they could be. /lecture

7. What is your bedtime routine?
You know, Stephany just wrote a post about making an effort to improve her nighttime routine, and it inspired me to re-evaluate my bedtime habits, too. I don't really have a good solid "routine" -- I just head upstairs when I get tired, then read until I can't hold the book up anymore, then pass out until the morning. I'm hoping to make a change to a more structured, regular routine. But that's another post.

8. If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your partner?
Matt and I met at an IHOP. Well, technically, we met when we both took a class called "Early Modern Europe," but it was our professor's split decision to take our class to IHOP right before midterms that brought me and Matt face-to-face for the first time. We ended up sitting across from each other, and then we bonded over Homestar Runner in-jokes, and then he offered to buy me pancakes -- who can resist a Strong Bad-quoting, pancake-buying history nerd? Not me. Anyway we're coming up on four years now and we still love pancakes.

We're awkward and we don't care who knows.

9. If you could watch a creative person in the act of the creative process, who would it be?
I love movie-making, so I'd love to shadow a director -- specifically, Joss Whedon. Although I'm sure I'd only hinder his creative process because I'd just be jumping up and down and fangirl-screaming the whole time.

10. What kinds of books do you read?
I spent my whole college career reading Dead White Males and post-modernist poetry, so I have a real appreciation for literature (pronounced "LIT TRA CHA," naturally) but truth be told, the books I enjoy reading the most are comics/graphic novels, Young Adult fiction, dystopian fiction, and memoirs.

12. What’s your biggest fear?
I'll openly admit that I fear death more than anything, and I especially fear losing the people I love through unexpected and sudden circumstances.

13. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to visit outer space?
Well, it depends. I love space and I'm waiting not-so-patiently for affordable intergalactic tourism to become a reality. I would gladly train for years and eat only the most healthful foods until the end of time if it earned me a spot on a luxury space cruise liner. But if we're talking, say, a one-shot orbit around the Earth in a cramped space shuttle, no way. I love Kit Kats too much.

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?
Initially I had a problem with this question because I thought it was suggesting that being unmarried or poor is inherently bad, whereas being married or rich is inherently good -- neither statement is really true. But I gave it some thought, and realized that this question (I think) is designed to reveal something about your personal idea of happiness. I think I'd be pretty happy if Matt and I got married, and I'd also be pretty happy if someone suddenly handed me a check for 5 million dollars. I think I could get by without the 5 million, though, as long as I knew I had Matt, my best friends, and my family.

15. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Put my glasses on! I can't see anything without them.

16. If you could change one thing about your spouse/partner what would it be?
I'd rid him of his phobia of having his fingernails touched, clipped, or otherwise messed with. It's a lot more annoying than you'd think!

17. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?
I think I've answered this question in a previous meme -- I like my name well enough, but I'd be willing to change it to Keiko. Full disclosure: a classmate in high school used to call me that because I slightly resemble Keiko Agena, the actress who played Lane on Gilmore Girls.

18. Can you forgive and forget, no matter how horrible the offense is?
No. Well, yes, I often forgive people, it's an important part of being a friend. But it's the "no matter how horrible" part that gets me. I have my limits. There are some pretty horrible things out there -- betrayal, deception, sabotage -- and if one of my friends somehow morphed into the kind of person who was capable of doing any of that, I'd drop him or her like a stick of dynamite. Is that crazy of me?

19. If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?

I hope that this challenge takes place in an imaginary world where I wouldn't get scurvy if I ate the same thing for six months. Well, anyway. This is a no-brainer. I pick the Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti, this cheesy and rich noodle casserole that I seriously believe is the entire reason that humans were put on this earth. A lot of her other recipes get more publicity, but this one is the unsung hero.

OK, now for the good stuff: Cait and Matt -- tag, you're it!