Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reverb 10: It's Not (Just) Because I'm Lazy

I've been missing the last couple of days, which has really put a damper on this whole "post everyday" thing.

The truth is, I haven't been very inspired about the prompts. They're incredibly introspective, and I have a wall built around me when it comes those things. It's not that they're bad prompts, just that they're not making me excited to write.

Plus, I've got this crazy thing called a job.


And I'm applying for this other crazy thing called graduate school.

And I have a class that I'm about four chapters behind in (and hey! finals are next week).

So, if I'm going to put time and energy into a post, I'm going to want to be in love with the topic.

I'm going to want to feel the need, the desire, and the pull to write.

And so, if I'm moved to answer one of the prompts, then I shall. If not?

Well... I'll be curled up in the corner, trying to survive the holiday season in retail and my academic induced panic attacks.

(Please: send me pretty things.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reverb 10: Wonder

December 4: Wonder
How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

In the last few months, I've allowed myself to wonder.

About the future.

About what's next.

About what I want/need/can see myself doing.

I've returned to school. I'm learning new things. I'm going to keep it up.

It felt good to wonder.

And it feels good to begin to act on it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Reverb 10: Moment

I wanted to go to bed and write today's Reverb 10 post tomorrow. My head is feeling stuffy, my body aches from being on my feet all day, and I've got a very fluffy pillow in my eye line.


I realized that today's prompt doesn't need to be long. It doesn't need a lot of description (even though it explicitly asks for it).

It just needs to be answered.

Short, sweet, to the point.

December 3: Moment.
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year.
Describe it in vivid detail (textures, smells, voices, noises, colors).

Hospital waiting room, surrounded by people who care about my family, waiting waiting waiting.

My mom is out. She's doing great. And so now we're waiting for the BIG NEWS.


The phone rings. My aunt answers. It's the nurse in the operating room.

"The kidney is in, and it's working perfectly."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb 10: Writing

It's Day 2 of the Reverb 10 project and I'm still doing it. I deserve a cookie.

December 2: Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing - and can you eliminate it?

(DISCLAIMER: I fully intended to write about why this question is bullshit and ended up answering the stupid fucking thing. Touche, Reverb 10 team. You sneaky little ninjas.)

I'm looking at this prompt from two different perspectives. If the question is asking, "What do you do that doesn't contribute to your story", then my answer is EVERYTHING contributes to the story, and nothing should be eliminated.

HOWEVER, I didn't take the prompt that way at first. I've taken it to be asking what it is we do that keeps us from physically writing each day. You might take it differently. I'm just making that clear up front because it's important to have context before reading my overly dramatic rant that follows.


It seems like most of the participants of Reverb 10 aren't happy with this prompt.

And I'm one of them.

I think that my first problem with it is that it assumes that we're all writers or want to be writers. It excludes those who want to participate as a means to reflect on their year, but don't want to write on a regular basis.

Another reason I don't really like this prompt is that it's obvious. Whether we're going to admit it or not, we all know the answer.

It's us.

WE get in our own way.

WE make excuses.

And, of course, that doesn't "contribute".

We do that for EVERYTHING we want or need to do. We don't do things (whether it be writing or exercising or learning to play the ukulele) because WE come up with reasons to avoid shit.

And even if you blame it on lack of time or lack of money (ukuleles ain't free) or too much Facebook or TV, the only thing really holding you back is YOU.

So even of you take the "writing" part out of the prompt, and add something else that you should or could be doing that you don't, you're still left with the same obvious answer.

And you know what? That's ok. I don't want to write if I'm not burning with the desire to actually do it. And truth be told, I don't want to read your stuff if you were only writing it because you HAD to.

If you have the luxury of not having to do something everyday unless you really want to, enjoy it. Don't make yourself feel like shit for not doing it.

(Unless the thing holding you back is something like fear or a lack of confidence. I encourage you to try and figure that out, especially if it's holding you back from something really important, like doing the things you care about or taking risks.)

(At least that's what my therapist mom keeps telling me.)

So maybe some people hated this prompt because they don't want to admit that they are the reason they don't write everyday, but I don't like it because there's no variety in the answers.

Like I said, the answer is obvious.

PS: I don't expect to like every prompt. That's fine and I still love the project. BUT, rather than just answer the prompt and not express my feelings about it, or ignore it all together and just post a blurry picture of my dog holding a cereal box in her mouth (aka: my first draft), I decided to answer honestly. I'm not meaning to offend anyone or be disrespectful.

PPS: If you wrote a post today saying that you're the thing standing in the way of your writing or you're the only thing holding you back - in other words: the "obvious" answer - thank you for your honesty. I'm not trying to downplay your answer at all. The answer is obvious because it's universal, and there's nothing wrong with that. The thing I have an issue with is the actual question, not your answer.

PPPS: Does this prompt make anybody else NEVER WANT TO WRITE AGAIN? I don't understand what's happened. I should have just put that stupid picture of the dog up...

PPPPS: I just saw tomorrow's prompt. I like it a lot. My emotions and opinions are impossible to keep up with.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reverb 10: One Word

So remember last December, when I blogged every day as part of Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge?

Remember how awesome that was?

Remember how it was just a handful of us at first?

Well, now it's called Reverb 10, it has its own website, and it has well over 1,000 people participating. And this time, it's not just about looking back, but also about looking forward.

How could I not do it again?

And the truth is, you should too. If you don't have a blog, do it somewhere else! Respond in a journal, post your answers on Facebook, discuss the prompts over the dinner table with your family, write it on the side of that abandoned warehouse in spray paint.

Really, it's up to you.

And now, for the first prompt, from Gwen herself:

December 1: One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you're choosing that word.
Now imagine it's one year from today. What would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

I read the prompt at 7 AM this morning in bed. It may have been the sleep deprivation talking, but my first response was "fucking crazy". But, you know, it's not one word (unless you say it really fast: "fuckingcrazy"), and it's not very eloquent.

So I decided to change it to:



Important shit happened this year.

I met important people.

I made important decisions.

I started flossing on a regular basis.

See? Important.

And? FuckingCrazy.

As for 2011? I sure hope it's AWESOMETASTIC because it's my favorite word and it would be awesometastic (see?) if the next year was great enough to be described as such.

So, what's your word for 2010? For 2011?

(PS: Tell me if you're doing this too, so I can stalk support you.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Like

I like holding a hot cup of tea when my hands are cold.

I like to change the words to songs so that they include my dog's names.

I like to walk into my favorite coffee shop and ask the barista to make me his or her favorite drink.

I like to lie under 3 blankets instead of turning on the heat.

I like watching movies on my dad's couch.

I like to reread my favorite book series, in order, over and over.

I like hot chocolate from gas stations or football games.

I like to paint my nails with clear nail polish, just so I can pick it off.

I like to listen to sad music, even when I'm depressed, and even when I know that the sad music is making me more depressed.

I like Australian accents.

I like to think that dogs have accents. (Australian and other.)

I like to write in coffee shops, and not at home.

I like superfine tip pens.

I like dangly earrings.

I like soup with rice noodles.

I like tea with steamed milk and sweetener.

I like to have the TV on when I'm at home alone, even if I'm not watching it, because the noise and movement makes me feel more comfortable.

I like new wallets.

I like clicking the next button on my e-reader.

I like cake on a stick more than cake that's not.

I like when dogs wiggle or wag their tails so hard that they look like they might fall over.

I like when little kids giggle at stupid things.

(The last time I babysat, the kids laughed for 20 minutes when I said my shoes smelled bad.)

I like really long pants.

I like to eat the inside of breakfast burritos, but leave the tortilla.

I like flowers in bright colors.

I like wearing scarves indoors.

I like rain.

I like sleeping on the couch.

I like to watch reruns of sitcoms that I've seen 35 times.

I like pouring milk on chocolate ice cream.

I like this:

I like ordering Indian food at my mom's house.

I like vintage (or vintage looking) jewelry.

I like day planners and school supplies.

I like lying on the couch when I'm sick.

I like pomegranates, even though they stain my fingers when I eat them.

I like slipper booties.

I like women who write and sing music that's so amazing it makes my body hurt.

I like waking up on Christmas morning.

I like making chili when there are clouds in the sky.

I like the feeling when all of my clothes are put away from the dryer.

I like wearing sunglasses on cloudy days.

I like dancing with boys who wear glasses.

Sometimes it's nice to write what you like.

So what do you like?

Friday, October 15, 2010

And So I'm Trying

(I feel the need to warn you that this is a weird post. In fact, you should probably just go read about shoes and true love and procrastination instead.)

So... What do you want to do with your life?

I hate this question.

It makes me panicky, and queasy, and


Because really,
I'm not sure.

I don't know.
And don't tell me that "nobody knows".

I've spent the past two years asking people about
what they want,
observing people when they
speak to me about their lives,
to what people say when they talk about
what they love and
where they want to

And the vast majority of them know. Or at least have an idea.

They have a clue.

They may not know how to get there, or have all of the specifics figured out, but the majority have a direction to go.

(I'm aware that, sadly, many of them will never get where they want to go.)

I have no direction.
I have no clue.
I am blank.

Yes, I know that I'm not
completely alone.

But this isn't about everybody else. Saying "but Ally, nobody knows" doesn't make me feel any better. That's like telling somebody who's just had a really painful root canal, "tons of people have horrifying dental surgery at some point", and expecting that to make it ok.

A few weeks ago, my mom said:

At some point, you have to move forward.
You have to make a decision.
You have to be an adult...

(Moms, right?)

I've spent the past two years

I've been stuck
I'm stuck.

[And probably because I'm scared. Of what? Not sure.]

Not because I'm lazy. Not because I don't care. Not because I want to stay a reckless, irresponsible kid.

(I've never been a reckless, irresponsible kid.)

Now, finally, I'm starting to move forward. I'm starting to push outside of my



comfort zone.

And I'm trying to answer those scary questions. The WHATs and WHENs and WHEREs and WHYs that make my tummy hurt.

I'm trying not to run away from them.

I'm trying to let those scary questions, those
GROWN UP BIG GIRL decisions,
sit on my plate for awhile.

I'm not throwing them away and ignoring them as soon as they come up.

I'm trying.

Call it a quarter-life crisis if you want.

My priorities - and the people I love - are still the same.

[Those things aren't changing.]

But I suppose it's time to move forward.

To do


I'm trying.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nancy W. Kappes, Paralegal

Today Jenny wrote that her close friend Nancy W. Kappes passed away last week.

I met Nancy in Chicago last year, at BlogHer 2009. I was scared and overwhelmed and Nancy made me laugh so hard that I almost pulled a muscle.

She had an impact on me. She made me smile. She laughed at my jokes. She looked me in the eyes and told me I was beautiful. She offered me vodka out of a water bottle.

She made me feel like I belonged in that bathroom.

Like I belonged with those people.

She had the balls to say whatever was on her mind, even though most of it was totally fucked up and made people uncomfortable WHICH IS WHY SHE WAS AMAZING.

She was totally irreverent, completely inappropriate, and unconditionally herself.

Pretty much awesome in every way.

I feel so lucky to have spent a night with her, to have hugged her, to have politely declined heavy duty pharmaceuticals from her.

I'm so sorry for her family and friends. Someone with a personality like hers leaves a huge void.

But I want them to know that she mattered, even to lil' ol' me.

Me and Nancy

Thank you, Nancy.

Now I'm going to go get drunk and possibly partake in some Nancy W. Kappes style arts and crafts.

I suggest y'all do that too.

*For Nancy.*

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kidney A-Go-Go Preview

So today my mom donates a kidney to my dad, an event we've been calling "Kidney A-Go-Go".

To read all about how this happened, please visit the blog I write with my mom, She Thinks. We have a new post up where I talk about my amazing parents and my mom talks about why she's giving a vital organ to her ex-husband.

Also, I'll be tweeting from the hospital waiting room with updates labeled #divorcedkidneys. I wanted my dad to get me some scrubs so that I could sneak into the operating room and tweet from there, but I don't think it's gonna happen. It's a total shame because I think a picture posted to Twitter of a kidney would be kind of awesome and a huge step forward for social media and journalism in general.

Alas, you'll get tweets like "My mom is totally high on anesthesia so I'm making her give me money #divorcedkidneys", and "My dad thinks having a female's kidney will make him more attractive to the ladies #divorcedkidneys", and "This waiting room is freezing and they don't get MTV and they won't give me Xanax. Fuckers. #divorcedkidneys".

Shit. Now I'm just giving my best material away.

So go read She Thinks and if you want to check in or are just curious, follow along on Twitter.

PS: I asked my parent's permission to tweet about this. They said if it would keep me out of trouble to go ahead. I think that they're underestimating me and my multitasking abilities. I can totally tweet while searching for all of the hot doctors who have gratuitous sex in the on-call room. It happens on Grey's Anatomy all the time, and since I'll have some time on my hands, I'm totally gonna find them.

PPS: My She Thinks post about this is way more heartfelt than this one. And I don't call anyone "fuckers". I know, what's the fun in that? You should still read it, though.

PPPS: Actually, feel free to skip mine, but you NEED to read my mom's. For serious.

PPPPS: I'm writing all of this the night before the surgery. Tomorrow I fully expect to be super emotional and hopefully sedated.

Friday, September 10, 2010

This is Why the Geeks Matter

So I was going to write this whole post about turning 25 last week and how I said I'm in my "quarter-life crisis" and my dad said, "Ally, that's ridiculous. The chances of you living to 100 are slim, so 'quarter-life' really isn't accurate."

(Thanks, Daddy.)

And I was also going to write about how my amazing, beautiful mother will be donating her kidney to my amazing, beautiful father on Monday, September 13th. The short story: he needs a kidney, my mom has a kidney, she's been through every test you can imagine to make sure she can give said kidney, and now it's happening. Little bit more info: they're divorced, which apparently makes this whole thing weird to some people.

Want the long story? I'm totally going to be a bitch and make you wait because my mom and I are publishing it on our site, She Thinks, on the day of the surgery. SO, be sure to check out She Thinks this upcoming Monday to get my thoughts on this whole thing, and my mom's side of the story (which will probably be way more fascinating than mine). I'm also going to be tweeting from the waiting room with the hashtag #divorcedkidneys, so follow along if you're so inclined.

Which brings us to why I'm not writing those posts at the moment.

Something happened on Monday, September 6th, in Boulder County, just west of the city.

It caught on fire.

Like for reals.

So I took that picture from my backyard and then wrote an extremely eloquent message and posted it to Twitter, because that's what us geeks do.

And then something happened. A LOT of us started tweeting.

People from all over Colorado started posting pictures, telling what roads were closed, and where the flames were.

And some dedicated people started listening to the police scanners and tweeting everything that was said.

And the news agencies used us to tell the public what was happening.

Because we were the ones who knew, and who needed to know.

And the community started taking care of each other. Restaurants tweeted that they wanted to offer complimentary meals to those displaced. People started offering up their spare bedrooms and couches to people who couldn't go home, or no longer had a home. Strangers tweeted offers to house pets while displaced owners figured out a place to stay.

It was incredible.

On Wednesday tweets started coming out that the firefighters needed protein bars and energy drinks to keep up their strength. Since they were defending my city, and specifically the house where my brother is currently living (he's fine, his house is fine), I decided to reach out to a couple of Boulderites who have a far more impressive reach than I do.

First, using Facebook and Twitter, I wrote to Sean Foreman from 3OH!3, who Mike and I graduated high school with. He immediately started tweeting about what was needed and where to bring it.

Then I decided that the people who have Costco packs of Powerbars might just be following someone who works as an editor at Men's Health Magazine. And thankfully I happen to know an editor at Men's Health Magazine. And he happens to be a CU graduate who loves Boulder as much as I do. So I asked Adam to tweet to his followers that we needed help.

Soon after Adam's tweet, companies started stepping up. Detour Bar reached out to me asking where they could send products to. (I honestly never, ever expected that to happen.) Adam got in touch with Team Optimum and today I received SIX HUNDRED protein bars which I brought to the Boulder Reservoir, where hundreds of firefighters are camped out.

And it felt awesome.

Hannah was obviously overwhelmed with excitement.

So the next time you hear about twitter or bloggers or those damn kids who can't stay off of their ridiculous smart phones, remember that it can be useful and amazing and a force to be reckoned with. Sure, most of the time it's silly and narcissistic, but sometimes, when it matters, the geeks online get shit done.


The fire isn't out, yet. As of this moment, 169 homes have been confirmed as destroyed, and several of those houses belonged to firefighters. There are lots of ways to help, if you're so inclined. Click here for more information.

Monday, August 23, 2010

NYC, The Bloggess, and Dild0s. Yeah...

I've been home from NYC and BlogHer for almost two weeks and I'm still having trouble digesting it all. The different parts of the trip have been bouncing around my head since I got home, and getting them all on the page has proven to be a challenge.

So I've settled for a list of my favorite highlights. Maybe you don't care and you won't find this entertaining at all, but for the sake of posterity I'm choosing to not really give a shit about that.

(If this doesn't appeal to you, might I suggest you head on over to my other blog with my mom, She Thinks? Today's topic: "Is there a correct answer to the question: 'Does my ass look too big for these jeans?'" Trust me, you want to check it out.)

And so I present:

Ally's Highlights from BlogHer '10 & New York City
What Ally Can Remember
(not because she was drunk (the whole time) but because NYC and BlogHer always tend to end up blurryish...)
("blurryish" is totally a real word.)

The hotel bathroom.
If you read about my last BlogHer trip, you know why this is a highlight. As I walked toward the ballroom for a party, I saw the closest bathroom and immediately turned for it. Of course, my most favoritest writer/blogger/comedienne/crazypersonEVER, Jenny The Bloggess, was there. What's more, she remembered me. She hugged me. She was happy to see me. It made me feel like I mattered. And I never even made it into the actual party, because I was right where I wanted needed to be. Later she called me her personal Sarah Silverman (of the bathroom). My mom hates Sarah Silverman, but I'm pretty sure Jenny loves her (as I do), so I'm taking that as an amazing compliment. Or maybe Jenny hates Sarah too and I've completely misinterpreted our relationship.

Going to Bloomingdale's. My grandparents were New Yorkers through and through, no matter where they lived. Even though they loved Colorado, New York City was a huge part of their identity. And Bloomingdale's in NYC is a big fucking deal. So when Mike bought a pair of shoes, and they put them in that famous Brown Bag? It meant something to me. Especially since it was the day before my grandma's birthday, and I think she would have been thrilled.

Seeing some amazing girls from high school. Because Mike came with me, a pseudo-high school reunion happened in the city while we were there. One of his friends lives in Manhattan, another in Brooklyn, one came down from Boston, and another made a last minute trip in from St. Louis. I was a little nervous because I didn't actually know these ladies in high school. I knew who they were, but I never talked to them or hung out with them. (I suggest you read this to get an idea as to why I don't know many people in my graduating class.) I was afraid I wouldn't be comfortable with them. But the time spent with these girls were some of my favorite moments in NYC. We laughed our asses off. We drank our asses off. I felt like we were ALL old friends, which was wonderful.

Getting to spend time with Angela and Crystal (AKA Perckle). These ladies made me laugh and reminded me why I love to go to these blogging conferences.

I thought I saw Toby from The Office eating pizza by himself at 3 AM. Thankfully Mike convinced me it wasn't him before I asked Fake Toby if he wanted company and if he could sign my bra...

I decorated a dild0. (See how I spelled it with a zero? I'm being sneaky.) Yep, it totally happened. I fell in love the awesome girls from Eden Fantasys, and they hosted a dild0 decorating party on the last night of the conference.


I was going for "Lady Gaga" but ended up with "Drag Queen". (Yes, those are two different looks.) But trying to make a bubble dress on a sex toy is fucking hard - er, difficult - y'all. Crafts have never been my strength. This party also involved spending some more time with Jenny, Angela and Perckle, plus the awesome ladies from Twitarded. (In case you're wondering, being at a sex toy decorating party with Twilight freaks led to some interesting and awesome conversations.)

Eating with the lovely, amazing, AWESOMETASTIC Tara on the last night of BlogHer. We laughed, we walked through Times Square, and we made Mike feel uncomfortable with talks about pregnancy and vaginas. (Are you seeing a theme to my weekend?)

Seeing Wicked. This was my third time seeing it, and it's still amazing and magical.

Having dinner with my cousin and his fiance. It was the first time I've met his future wife, and it's nice to know I'll have a new cousin who I adore. Plus, we had cheese fries, which is always a big fat bonus.

Spending time with Mike. After all these years, he's still my favorite person to explore with.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On BlogHer and a New Project

Her: Why are you going to New York City?

Me: To see my friends.

BlogHer is this week and I'm so freaking excited. I'm excited to see the people that I only get to see once, maybe twice, a year. I'm excited to run around Manhattan with Mike. I'm excited to eat and drink and shop and OHMYGOD people I just want to GO already.

It's easy to get caught up in the drama of the conference. To get obsessed with free shit and private parties and who's who and where the cool people are. I'm trying desperately to stay away from it all. I'm trying to control my knee jerk reaction to grab everything handed to me (I DON'T NEED ANOTHER FLASH DRIVE), or to try to get into every party there is.

Because? It's not worth it. I'm not going for all of that. Hell, I'm not really going for the conference part at all. I'm going because I just want to see some amazing women who I love dearly. (And I'm so sad that some of them won't be there.)

I'm going because most days I feel completely lost, but when I'm with these people, I feel like maybe I get it. Maybe it'll be okay. Maybe...

And for that? I'll put up with muggy New York City in August.

Alright, enough with the sappy BlogHer crap. Onto bigger and bloggy-er things:

My mom and I started a new blogging project together. It's called She Thinks and it's now live. Every week we take a topic submitted by our readers and we each write about it and post it on www.SheThinks.com. We already have 3 posts up, and every Monday there will be a new one, so tell us what you think. We're also on Twitter and have a Facebook page, if you're into that sort of thing.

Otherwise, I'll see you in NYC.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fight or Flight

A few weeks ago Mike and I had to go downtown at 2 in the morning to help a friend with a flat tire.

(Because we're the best friends ever.)

We decided to take the dogs with us because we're also the best parents ever.

So while Mike was helping with the tire, I took the dogs out of the car so that they could roll around in the grass because rolling in the grass is apparently the best activity ever when you're a dog.

At one point I looked up and saw a deer running down the sidewalk. It was majestic and beautiful and then it turned and started to run (gallop?) right at me.

The deer was at least 6 feet tall and had fangs and foam coming from it's mouth.

(Mike tells me it was cute and little and possibly even a baby but I'm thinking he's just blocked the horrible image from his mind.)

The smart, reasonable part of my brain knew that this deer was way more scared of me and my two barking dogs than I was of it.

The other part of my brain, the part that thinks cute cuddly kittens are going to rip my throat out, was screaming THIS IS HOW YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, ALLY.

(I think I should point out that I had just seen this presentation at Ignite Boulder. Check out the whole video, but particularly the part at 2:08.)

(Thanks a lot, Josh.)

So I screamed. And Bonnie barked. And Hannah LUNGED FOR THE GOD DAMN DEER because she's cute but not exactly the smartest canine. And the deer stopped and stared because apparently that whole "deer in headlights" thing also applies to "deer being barked at while girl screams profanities".

So there I was, at 2 AM, trying to drag 100-plus pounds of dog away from Bambi on Steroids, screaming something eloquent like "HOLY-FUCKING-SHIT-MIKE-GET-IT-GET-IT-GET-IT."

He just stood there, yelled at me to run, and then laughed his ass off.

Really, Mike? If I have to get the spiders out of our house because you're busy hiding in the other room, then I think it's only fair that you take a more active role when I'm being run down by a predator.

Is that too much to ask?

(PS: I just Googled "are deer predators?" and all that came up were articles about the predators OF deer which totally isn't what I asked, Google. Apparently deer are pretty much at the bottom of the food chain and they just eat a whole lot of grass, BUT some deer consume meat when it's available. So really? I feel confident in saying that Bonnie, Hannah and I could have been eaten that night.)

(PPS: Mike tried to tell me that there are so many "deaths caused by deer" because of traffic accidents that happen when deer are in the road. Yeah, nice try buddy. You're just trying to explain why you didn't rescue us. I'd like to see how many of those deaths were caused because the victim was MAULED and then EATEN.)

(PPPS: OHMIGOD, don't Google "how many people are mauled by deer?".)

(PPPPS: And the results from searching "how many people are eaten by deer?" are really disappointing.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Shouldn't Be Allowed to Talk to Children

Last week I went to a summit put on by Girls in Tech. It was all about mentoring and my mentor, the fabulous Tara Anderson, spoke. She talked about the qualities that make a good mentor, and though she left out the most important part of our mentoring relationship (booze), it was really interesting.

Part of her presentation involved an activity where each of us took a note card that had a picture of a character from a movie. Each of these characters was either a mentor or a mentee (?). So there was Harry Potter and Dumbledore, Yoda and whatshisname from Star Wars (I think the one with daddy issues), and others.

Including Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling.

Guess who I got?

So I walked around looking for who had Jodi Foster and what do ya know but my counterpart is one of the three 14 year-old girls that was there. And she had no idea who the fuck Hannibal Lecter was or what The Silence of the Lambs was about. So it fell to me to teach, or mentor, if you will, this poor soul.

This is what we were here for. To impart wisdom on bright young girls who need our guidance.

So I explained: "Silence of the Lambs is an award-winning film about this chick, Clarice Starling, who's in the FBI and she's trying to find this creepy guy who takes women and puts them in this hole and makes them put lotion on themselves so he can make a giant suit made out of their skin so he can dance around in front of mirrors and so Clarice goes to this other creepy guy named Hannibal Lecter who's in prison because he's kind of screwed up and really likes to eat people, which isn't really good, ya know? So anyway he has to help Clarice because really? What else is he gonna do with his time? And he's really smart, plus I think he kinda gets off on watching her struggle."

I paused to let the girl take it all in. She just looked at me like I was the weird one (even though she's the one who hasn't seen it), and then she decided to share what she thought a good mentor should be like.

She said that a mentor shouldn't just give their mentee (seriously, is that a real word?) the answers, but should support them and let them figure things out on their own.

Which is EXACTLY what Hannibal Lecter did for Clarice Starling, so I nodded my head and said, "You know what? You're just like Hannibal Lecter".

Looking back, maybe I shouldn't have compared her to a serial killer, but really? The resemblance in their mentoring philosophy was uncanny. It was like she was meant to be told about this shit by me, which is pretty powerful.

Basically, I'm the best mentor ever. Just think how good I'd be if there was alcohol involved.

Maybe next time...

If her mother ever lets me talk to her again.

PS: BUT REALLY? Isn't it better that she learns about this from someone like ME, in a safe environment, rather than some freak on the streets? Her mother should be thanking me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yay for YA

Yesterday I confessed something on twitter, and I feel the need to share it here, too.

I love young adult fiction.

There. I said it.

(Though if you've been paying attention to this blog, it's not really a secret.)

Harry Potter , The Twilight Saga , Percy Jackson and the Olympians , and The Hunger Games: all of these novels make me swoon. Make me happy. Make me sit on the couch for hours reading and wishing that I was a wizard who's parent is a Greek God and who has a beautiful vampire who will save me from the evil government that is trying to kill me in the Hunger Games.

I know I'm not the only one. We all have a guilty pleasure that makes us question our sanity. We all have something that we love, something that we feel a little weird sharing with others.

I admit that I feel a tiny bit ashamed to say that I'd much rather read a book written for a 14-year-old than a Jane Austen novel (unless it has zombies).

Shouldn’t I be reading something that’s full of words that I don’t know? Shouldn’t I be struggling through something written by a famous guy who died two centuries ago? Shouldn’t I be reading something that’s teaching me things other than the politics of werewolves and vampires, or the magical charm for unlocking a door?

Sure, often times I'm happy to pick up a book that's little more intellectual, a little more complicated, a little more appropriate for my age. But the truth is that I like to read for fun. I like to read to escape. I like to read because it's entertaining. I like to read to imagine. A lot of young adult fiction has all of this, and a lot of young adult fiction is written by amazing storytellers. And there's nothing wrong with liking that.


So, I'm asking you: what is your guilty pleasure. Is it trashy reality TV? Romance novels? Tabloid magazines? Justin Bieber?

You don't have to be ashamed. I won't make fun of you.

(At least not to your face.)

PS: If your guilty pleasure includes drama and awesomeness in the female blogging community, check out She Posts. I have a huge bloggy crush on the editor, Esther, and I'm running their twitter account. So why wouldn't you check it out?

Friday, May 7, 2010


The other day I spent some time pulling weeds. It had been raining, so it was easy to get the little buggers out of the ground. But with the soft, wet ground, came gross, slimy worms.

I just don't like them. They're all creepy and crawly and they come out of nowhere. Like when I pulled a large clump of dandelions from the ground and a herd? gaggle? pod? family? of worms came pouring out of the dirt. There were billions bunches 5 of them, and I was not pleased.

So I ran to the door and calmly asked Mike how he felt about worms, because I care about his emotions and all. He informed me that he didn't like them, which really fucked up my plan to pretend to care about his emotions when really I just wanted him to come outside and pull the weeds from the worm infested area. So I told him there were millions of worms crawling out of the ground and I needed his help and he asked what I needed help with and I said picking the weeds from the danger zone... and helping to save the worms.

Mike: Wait... save them from what?

Me: The concrete. They're all displaced in the sun and they're all going to burn up and die so get out here and help me save them.

Mike: But you don't like them!

Me: True, but I'M NOT A MONSTER!!! I may not be fond of them but I respect their purpose on this planet, and I don't want to be responsible for a worm massacre. WHO DO YOU THINK I AM?

Mike: So let me get this straight: You want me to go outside and re-bury them?

Me: Well, just get them back onto the grass and they can... burrow?

Mike: Yeah, no.

Me: Miiiiiiiiiikkkkkkkkeeeeee.

*Mike put his headphones on which I'm pretty sure means he wants to listen to music while talking to me, which is sort of rude but also kind of understandable, so I screamed.*


*Shockingly, that didn't work.*

So I did what needed to be done and got a stick and proceeded to pick up the squiggly bastards with the end of the stick and placed them in some dirt and covered them up so the sun wouldn't dry their slimy little bodies out because I'm a wonderful person.

And I've made my peace with the cluster of weeds sitting in that part of the yard.

It's decorative.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Free Falling

The Scene: the bus station in Denver, on our way to the bars to celebrate Mike and Mark's birthday.

I think to myself: if I continue to button up my coat while we climb these stairs I'm going to fall.

Then I fall.


On my knee.

In front of a large group of people waiting to get on the bus for Boulder.

And, because the physical pain and the humiliation is causing me to get dizzy and nauseous, I PANIC, because I'm awesome like that.

When we finally get me off of the damn death stairs and get up to street level we notice that our connecting bus is waiting on the street. Mike tells me to run and I sweetly say "are you fucking kidding me?" so he tells me to hobble instead and starts to drag me to the bus. I take a seat and realize that I'm shaking uncontrollably. I take out my trail mix (which I have in my bag because I'm a child and require snacks when I leave my house), and begin to eat.

Me: Shit, there's bus station floor all over my hands!

Mike: Wipe them on your pants.

Me: There's bus station floor all over my pants!

Mike: I can't take you anywhere.

So I have a busted knee AND I probably have some sort of horrible bacterial infection from eating contaminated trail mix.

Jump to 5 days later:

The Scene: walking the dogs down my street.

I think to myself: there's a guy pushing a little girl on a Big Wheel across the street, so I have to stay on this side, because Hannah hates Big Wheel bikes. I'll just walk up half a block and then cut across the street, then home! Thank god because I have to pee.

So I rush up half a block, check over my right shoulder to make sure the Evil Big Wheel with the Evil Child with Evil Pigtails isn't near us... and I catch a glimpse of a guy walking behind us.

So I whip my head around because the last thing I need is for Bonnie somebody to go ape shit on some Evil Man walking near us and I then proceed to miss that all important step over the uneven concrete and as I begin to fall I say "You have GOT to be kidding me..."

So I jump up as fast as I can (because when you fall in public you get up super fast and act like nothing happened EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE BLEEDING FROM YOUR ELBOW) and I limped across the street and home.

So, if you're keeping track, that's me falling in public and hurting myself TWICE in less than a week. I have so many bruises and scabs that Mike says I look like a fifth grader. My mom says that I'm making up for the fact that I never fell or injured myself when I was a kid, and Mike thinks that I just need more agility training.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's All About the Accessories

So I got the following comment in response to my latest post with pictures of my dogs:

Oh dear...a cry for help. :'( I'm sorry to break it to you, but posting pictures of your pets on your blog or web site (no matter what species) officially makes you a "cat lady" (no matter what gender you are). No one's judging you...a common affliction of those dwelling in wintry climes. And you're not alone...I once did it. I even used a photo of my cat's face for a forum avatar. (Yes, I'm ashamed...but publicly admitting to almost being a member of the plastic curler-fuzzy slipper-flannel house coat set is part of the recovery.) Sorry to be this harsh...but it's necessary.
So, dear commenter, I have a response.

I think that the most important part of this whole thing is "the look". If I'm truly a "crazy cat lady (who actually has an innate fear of cats but I guess that's beyond the point)", then I need to update my look. But (BUT), I refuse to go with your regular run-of-the-mill plastic hair curlers and fuzzy slippers and house coat ensemble. No, I need something a little more...


(Of course.)

The first step is the hair curlers. Now, I totally think it's possible to rock regular hair curlers (ahem, Jenny), but I want something that screams that I'm not your average chick who has an unhealthy obsession with my animals.

My first thought was to get some hair curlers like Lady Gaga in her most recent music video. See, she's modeling empty beer cans.

Photo found here.

They just scream AWESOME (and RECYCLING), so I thought I'd try that. Problem is that the only beer we have in the house is Pabst Blue Ribbon in glass bottles (because we're classy), and I just don't think I'll get the right curl with glass bottles. I mean, there's a reason Gaga went for aluminum, right?

(Plus, wearing glass bottles in my hair doesn't seem like the safest thing in the world.)

So I thought maybe I'd take a page from the awesome Nancy W. Kappes, (paralegal) and use empty prescription bottles as hair curlers. I got all excited and went to empty a bunch of pills when I realized that I get my medication from fucking Target, and Target decided to reinvent the prescription bottle so they're totally useless now.
This photo is from this article where the author praises all of the awesome things about it.
(Notice that using it as a hair curler is *not* on the list.)

Well, if I wanted zig-zag curls I would have kept my (kick-ass) hair crimper circa 1989.

(Shut up, it looked cool.)

Needless to say, that ain't gonna work either. Alas, I'm just giving up because I don't have beer cans and I don't have appropriate shaped prescription bottles and all of this disappointment has made me tired and I don't even want to think about the rest of my cat lady attire.

I'll just accept that I'm crazy and keep my hair and clothes the way they are, thank you very much.

(I could totally be persuaded to wear fuzzy slippers, though.)

PS: I understand that "wearing the curlers" and "actually curling one's hair" can be different. I don't know if crazy cat ladies even take out the curlers, or are worried if their hair holds the perfect curl, but (again), I'm not your average cat lady. I just figure if I'm going to all the trouble to get the damn beer cans to stay in my hair, I might as well have the end result look nice.

PPS: Comments make me happy.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What I do when it's Snowing

First of all, I'm not dead, I just haven't had the "blogging bug".

(I'm sure it'll pass.)

But for now you get pictures of the dogs with sarcastic writing on them!

You're welcome.

I don't know which they like better: the snow, or the fact that several times a day they get dried off with a towel.

I tried to get Hannah to sit while holding the towel in her mouth, but she flat-out refused. I would accept that she wasn't in the mood, but after I took all of the pictures she walked around carrying a tennis ball for about 13 minutes straight.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Just a Couch (?)

Our assignment from the Inspiration Workshop at BlissDom:

"In her amazing book, What It Is! writer/artist Lynda Barry shares (among other flashes of genius!) a simple exercise she learned from her college professor and mentor Marilyn Frasca. It's one I use all the time to get my mind in gear.

Here's how it goes: With pen and paper, make a list of ten couches you've known in your lifetime. (This also works with other words, but couches are my favorite because they are central to many moments in your memory.)

When you've made your list, take a deep relaxing breath and find the couch that has the most powerful emotional charge for you. Then begin writing about it...

Keep writing for three minutes until you've reached the end of the vignette. Keep the pen moving. Three minutes will seem like a long time. But don't stop. If you run out of words, doodle a little till they come again.

Don't edit! Keep the memory and emotion there in all its raw glory!"

There's really only one couch to write about.

One couch that matters.

That represents an entire chapter of my life.

It was covered in duct tape and chewed on by puppies.

It was sticky and gross and falling apart.

It was over my head and everywhere.

It was dirty.

It was a conversation piece.

It was important because it was ours. And it was sad when it was (finally) gone.

It was our

badge of honor.

It proclaimed to all the world that we were poor, sad college students getting useless degrees and we had this shitty couch to prove it, god damn it.


I wrote that down in three minutes.

(I don't write very fast, so it's not very long. Also? Three minutes isn't that much time.)

When I came to post it I edited certain things (even though the rules say not to) because I could make them sound better here (and because I'm a hard core bad ass who doesn't listen to rules)

.... then I went back and took the edits out, and wrote what I wrote on paper with pen.

Word for word.

(It was really hard to do.)


When they first told us about this assignment I laughed to myself.

The first post I ever wrote was about that same stupid couch.

Come play this game yourself here, or on your own, and let me know if you do...

Friday, February 26, 2010

So Not Pretty... *At All*

When I brush my teeth, I get toothpaste everywhere.

I don't know why. I don't know how.

Somehow, toothpaste gets on the mirror, on my shirt, around the sink...


And now it's even worse because my dentist insisted that I get an electric toothbrush, (you know, because apparently I am incapable of thoroughly cleaning my teeth the old fashioned way?) which means that the toothpaste is churned to the point of full on toothpaste froth.

When I brush my teeth, it looks like I'm a rabid dog.

It's not cute.

Mike isn't allowed to watch me as I brush my teeth because he just laughs and points.

Laughs and points.

Which makes me laugh, which means even more toothpaste ends up covering the bathroom walls and floor and ceiling.

He's also not allowed to watch me wash my face.

Because when I wash my face, water also gets


The counter, my shirt (again), the floor...

And Mike says things like, "Ally, I know you're a smart person, but you do not look like it right now."

But this all works just fine because I just wash my face AFTER I brush my teeth, then the water just washes all of the toothpaste froth off of everything.

(Who's not smart, now, Michael?)

Except the mirror.

I have no idea how I get toothpaste on the mirror...

(PS: I'm trying out a new commenting system that's dynamic and shit (that's the technical term). All you need is a name and email, or you can sign up for a Disqus profile (so I can see your pretty little face next to your note) here, so please say "hi" to Bonnie and Hannah, because they don't think anyone cares about them.)

(PPS: That's a lie. Bonnie and Hannah don't even read this blog.)

(PPPS: Bitches.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blurg: It's how I feel.

I am sick.

Have been since I got back from Blissdom.

That's almost TWO WEEKS.

(And I'm not the only one. Which means that there was obviously some sort of terrible germ bomb released during the conference.)

(Alert the officials.)

I lie in bed every morning, taking stock of how I feel, and think to myself "Today. Today I will feel better. Today I will walk the dogs. I will go to the gym. I will clean the house. I will be productive."

And then I realize that I can't breath through my nose.

So I take another shot of nasal spray.

(I should buy stock in the stuff.)

And then I sit up and cough up a lung.

And then I brush my teeth.

And then I have to lie down for a few minutes because standing up is hard.

And then I heat some water up for another cup of tea, pour another serving of orange juice, swallow another multivitamin, and watch a ridiculous amount of Law and Order: SVU.


And although I am now qualified to solve some pretty fucked up crimes, I don't really think it's that productive.

(Depends on how you define "productive", I guess.)

(But really, if you need someone to solve some crazy-ass crime involving drag queens or strippers or guys with foot fetishes, I am ON IT.)

Yesterday I decided to not be sick anymore, so I took the dogs for a walk. This was partly to assert my control over this wretched illness, and mostly because Bonnie had that look in her eye that said "I know you're sick, mama, but if you don't get me out of here today, I will cut you."

And I went to class where I started to see dots because there is NO OXYGEN getting to my brain because my nose is trying to murder me through suffocation.

And I realized that I can't push it. I need to make peace with that fact that my body will heal in time.

But that's bullshit, so instead I'm sitting here, wallowing in self-pity, because that's how I role.

PS: I thought it would make me feel better to buy things, but I can't really leave the house. And I have no money. So I downloaded a million free books for my Kindle.

PPS: Most of the books that are $0.00 on Amazon for the Kindle are either classic novels or Christian romance novels.

PPPS: I don't know why either.

PPPPS: So I have a ridiculous amount of classic novels on my Kindle now. I may never read them, but I feel way smarter.

PPPPPS: Feeling "way smarter" does not make up for the fact that my right nostril has been stuffed up for 12 days, but today... my left is more stuffed up. The hell nose?

Monday, February 15, 2010


I've never been fond of Valentine's Day.

The pressure (the pressure!) to be romantic, in love, nice, just sets couples up for disaster.

(Meaning, I usually overreact about something which ruins everything.)

(I take full responsibility.)

It never turns out like it's supposed to.

(The same goes for anniversaries and birthdays or any other "special occasion".)

Inevitably, someone will say something that causes their other half to role his or her eyes, to grit his or her teeth in frustration, to scream something regrettable.

The dishes will sit dirty. The trash won't be taken out. Something will go wrong.

Something starts the fight.

(And no, it's not because of PMS.)

(At least not completely.)

This year we made plans to go to dinner and then dancing Saturday night, and then for a massage on Sunday.

Lofty plans for someone who doesn't like Valentine's Day.

But, alas, I got sick, so Saturday was spent watching a crappy movie and ordering Chinese food, the nasal spray never far away.

(By the way, can you overdose on nasal spray?)

(I refuse to Google it because I know it's going to say "yes, you can overdose on nasal spray AND you're going to die".)

And the massage was postponed because nothing is less relaxing than dripping snot everywhere while lying naked and face-down on a massage table.

But with all of the canceled plans went all of the pressure. We just had a weekend together.

We saw the perfect romantic movie for Valentine's Day: Sherlock Holmes.

(The sexual tension between Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. was palpable.)

(There better be a make out session in the sequel.)

To be "valentines-y" we brought a heart-shaped box of chocolates into the movie theater.

(Eating a box of chocolates in a dark theater forces you to eat what you get rather than scouring that little chocolate treasure map under the lid that tells you exactly where the caramels are and how to avoid that weird coconut creme crap. This can either be exciting or stressful, depending on your various neuroses... and food allergies.)

(Also? If you bring a box of chocolates into a dark and quiet theater, maybe open it in the car beforehand because the amount of wrapping and ripping and noise involved in getting to said caramels and weird coconut creme crap is just astounding.)

(Especially since you're trying to be all covert and shit about smuggling Valentine's Day themed candy into the theater.)

Finally, we went to a crowded coffee shop where we drank tea and did the most romantic thing ever:

Mike taught me math.

(It was hot.)

And nobody fought over the dishes or the trash.

And it was good...

(AND I know how to do logarithms.)


What did you do? What didn't you do?
Do you know what log10 of 10 is?
Because I totally do.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thank You Notes: Blissful Edition

(This post is sappy, personal, and ridiculously lovey. Not your thing? Read my first Blissdom post instead.)


Dear Esther,

Thank you for being my friend, not just online, but in person.

Thank you for making me think, for sharing your stories, for sharing your insight,

for being you.

Thank you for checking on me when I got locked out of my hotel room, and thank you for *not* making me feel like a total idiot when I pocket dialed you (twice) and left you messages of me discussing the best cookie choice with the sales girl in the hotel lobby.

(It was white chocolate cherry, in case that wasn't clear from my message.)

(Sorry 'bout that.)


Dear Casey,

Thank you for hugging me when I shared one of my biggest fears with you,

for getting it,

for getting me.

Thank you for telling me to "do it" when I said I might cry. (Not in a mean way (DO IT), but in an encouraging way... I thought I should clear that up.)

Thank you for stopping me when I was leaving the party the first night, for talking to me instead of allowing me to wander around by myself.

Thank you for telling me I'm awesome, for being awesome yourself, for being my new found lobster.


Dear Mary Anne,

I hereby dub you my Fairy Blog Mother.

Thank you for hugging me, telling me you were proud of me,

being my safety net.

Thank you for telling me which side of the stage to stand on to get my picture taken with Harry Connick, Jr. You're basically the best Fairy Blog Mother ever.


Dear Steph,

Oh Steph. Thank you thank you thank you for hanging out with me.

For letting me essentially stalk you.

You are stuck with me now, my dear,

because I adore you so.

Thank you for saying hello, for dancing with me, for letting me hold that beautiful tiny dancer of yours.

Thank you for inspiring me.

(Seriously, Ivy is so freaking cute she makes my uterus hurt).


Dear Alli,

You throw one hell of a party.

I am forever in awe of you.

Thank you for letting me be a part of it,

for including me,

for stopping to hug me whenever you saw me,

for being amazing.

Thank you for saying "Ally B Speakin'" with the best southern accent ever... it makes me smile every time.


I met more women than I can thank here. They all deserve it, though, and I thank them too.

Seriously, ladies, if we talked, hung out, danced, hugged, or even rode an elevator together,

thank you

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blissdom or Bust (on The Island)

Remember last year at this time when I totally stepped out of my comfort zone and went to Nashville for a blogging conference and had an emotional break down which resulted in many tears and many anti-anxiety drugs and then I stalked Jen Lancaster and ended up having a great time and making lots of friends?

(No? Read about it here.)

Well, I'm back. Blissdom '10 is happening and I am happy to be a part of it. I would love to tell you about how I helped stuff swag bags, hung out with Carmen, and how I had an awesome evening with Esther (and how I love her so), but something else needs to be addressed.

I have entered an alternate universe, and it is called the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center.

Yes... this is the INSIDE OF THE HOTEL... and it's NOT VEGAS.

I don't think that this is even really Nashville. I think this is some weird "in-between" place that has a smoke monster lurking and possibly an entrance through a wardrobe.

It's a giant atrium with different "islands" where the rooms and restaurants are.

(I'm in the Swan Station "Magnolia".)

*Totally* looks like Nashville, right?

The inside is basically a huge rain forest with palm trees and exotic flowers and PURPLE WATERFALLS.

The first thing I thought when I saw this purple waterfall? What animal was slaughtered there that has purple blood. My mind scares me.

I'm afraid The Others will get me if I stray too far away on my own.

(And by "The Others" I mean the people who are here for The National Tea Party Convention in the same hotel.)

(Sarah Palin is their keynote speaker... you decide which Lost character she is.)

With a hotel so big and filled with greenery, I have spent an enormous amount of time trying to find my way around. When I was packing I decided to wear cute shoes because this is a conference with 500 other women and cute shoes are very important when making a first impression with this many females. I figured that it didn't matter that these cute shoes are slightly uncomfortable because I'd just we walking around the hotel...

Well, after the fucking 5K that I've walked in the past 20 hours, my feet are in so much pain.

(So much pain that I flossed (you bet your ass I did) while sitting on the edge of the tub with my feet soaking in hot water.)

But I will persevere. Not because I'm so vain that cute shoes mean more to me than saving my feet, but because the only footwear that I have that would be comfy enough for walking through this crazy place are my slippers.

And I just won't go there... yet.

This map was not helpful *at all*... and Google Maps didn't help either.
(I tried.)

PS: You might be asking "Why would you buy shoes that were that uncomfortable in the first place?" Because I didn't expect to walk a marathon in them. Also? They're pretty.