Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday Lesson: How to Lose a Finger

I wasn't planning to lose that finger. All I wanted was a few hundred dollars' worth of stuff for $3.97.

But the Black Friday Curse struck, and I'll never be the same.

You've never heard of the Black Friday Curse? Neither have I. I just named it, though, because it obviously exists -- otherwise, how do you explain how this seemingly beautiful post-holiday holiday severed the nerves in my pinky?

It wasn't the long lines or the cold weather. It couldn't have been the 80 lb. box of Oneida dinnerware I carried until all my fingers lost sensation. And I know for a fact that it wasn't the massive amounts of coffee I consumed, even though we know it constricts blood vessels and there are rumors that blood vessels are necessary.

No. The reason I can't feel my pinky finger anymore is the Black Friday Curse. And as I shake my partially numb fist at the heavens, I promise you this:

I will never shop Black Friday again.

At least not more than nine more times... because by then I'll be out of fingers.

The lesson? Fear the curses you don't even know exist, but name them well so the loss of limbs won't be in vain.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

There's No Such Thing as a Stupid Question... Right?

So, tell me again...

  • Why there is now a bench in the stall of the ladies' room in my building? Because I don't know about you, but I don't invite audiences.
  • Why I would be the resident expert on where to get a sympathy pregnancy belly? I can actually get pregnant -- I don't need to sympathize.
  • Why toothless babies are way cuter than ones with teeth? Is it because the tooth-ed ones are a little more dangerous, and some part of our subconscious has figured it out?
  • Why is Halloween way more awesome as an adult who's dressing up, than it was as a kid who could wear a burlap sack and demand candy wherever the doors open?
  • WHY didn't I call in sick so I could attend ZomBCon yesterday?
  • How come I don't have a picture in this post? I know pictures are like blog currency, so why am I not paying people to show up here?
What are you asking yourself this Saturday?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Prostitutes and Social Media

Okay. I am officially The Worst Blogger Ever.

I get on a schedule. You guys like me.

I get off the schedule. You guys find The Oatmeal.

How can I compete with The Oatmeal? I don't have a mouse for my laptop -- there's no way I can illustrate punctuation!

Here's what I can do: tweet from under Seattle. Yep, you read that right. If you follow me on Twitter, not only will you get to see the strange things that pass through my head, but this weekend you'll basically be tagging along on the Underground Seattle Tour. This one, though, features prostitutes!

That was a lie. There are no actual prostitutes, just our noble prostitute history. But because it's awesome, I think you should follow me quick to make sure you don't miss out.

Oh, and would you do me a favor? Send me a message and let me know you started following me, so I can follow you, too!

Here's to happy Seattle underground prostitutes and the people who love them!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Week So Bad a Bumper Sticker Made It Better

It's been one of those weeks.

This is actually one of the best moments... thanks to whoever found this cheesy bumper sticker profound enough to adhere to his or her car.

Disclaimer: I, too, had some terrible bumper stickers on my first car.

Since I'm out of material (thanks, cold virus and hit-and-runner), why don't you tell me in the comments about your "I'm too pretty for this" moments?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I'm Rich, Are You?

Do you have people in your life who makes it soooo much better than it seems logically possible for them to do?

I mean... let's say a person is worth 5 TPFTs (the unit of currency around this blog), and as you add up friends you see your little happiness bank account get fuller and fuller. But then you have this one friend who is magic like compound interest....!

I don't think I mentioned I finally opened a retirement account, did I?

Anyway. My point is, I am apparently a financial friendship genius, because I have several people like that in my life -- and I don't think that's common.

Here are a few of them.

Ace reporter Amy, who makes me food and hands me these never-empty wine glasses (told you: MAGIC). She is also the one who makes me buy the clothes that always end up being my favorites -- without her I'd be naked all the time.

Professor Laura, who now is far too far away from me, but loves me more than I deserve. We were roommates for several years, and she was the one who'd whisk me away when life was overwhelming... and we would just drive until things made sense. Or until we ran out of gas and got hungry. Even though the driving can't happen as often, she's still like a sister who has my back.

Carnie princess Ashley, who helped me survive the travails of grad school and living in a podunk town. Now she's off running an amusement park -- which makes sense, she's super amusing -- but is still the one I think of first when I want to plan a pirate-themed party or crave an extra-special milkshake.

Songbird Renee, who has been my sounding board through many hard moments. She's on my side all the time (even when maybe I don't want to be on my side). She also wrote my theme song. This isn't it, but you should still listen.

So many more people who love me and I love, but these are the first who come to mind. These are the people who are not obligated by blood or money to be around, but do it anyway.

So tell me in the comments: who in your life has enriched you so much more than makes sense? I want to know!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Beauty Is Transformative, or, What I Learned From a Recent Zombie Experience

DISCLAIMER: My Twitter followers did not find my tweets about this interesting. HOWEVER, my Facebook pals thought it was hysterical... all that to say, it's kind of a toss-up how you'll feel about this post. You're free to stop reading and I'll forgive you.

Now on to the story...

Two nights ago, I dreamt I was being chased by zombies. Luckily zombies are super slow in more than half the films documenting their existence, so I actually wasn't aware I was being pursued... until I decided to hang out in a dark, Tim Burton-esque meadow. Smart.

Tip for zombie interactions: don't acknowledge them, it only encourages their behavior. Just keep pretending they don't exist.

So I saw a zombie coming up to me. Did I run? Shoot her in the head? Scream for a hero to help me?

No. All my zombie escape training went out the window.

I gave her a makeover.

In dreams, it's amazing how much you can carry without even knowing it. I gave this girl a whole new look -- everything from a blow-out to new makeup.

(The blow-out actually turned her hair pink and then it melted -- I'm not sure we're calling that a success.)


She wasn't a zombie anymore!

What does this dream mean? It means that beauty is transformative. That unexpected love can heal what nothing else can help.

Way to go, subconscious!

Now, if I can only figure out why the makeover turned her from zombie into a talking coffee mug...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How to Be an Online Stalker Without Being a Real-Life Creep

Over Labor Day weekend, I was thrilled to play [an often-lost] tour guide to a friend who visited me from Virginia. We went on the Seattle Lust Tour, the Underground Seattle Tour, shopped till I really thought I might drop, wine tasted, visited Lenin and the Fremont Troll, and got caught in a spontaneous dance party in the middle of downtown Seattle one night.

It was great.

But one activity was marred by the Weird.

Megan and I decided that we’d take the ferry out from the Seattle waterfront to Bainbridge Island, so we bought tickets and boarded.

“Do you have a sister named Katie?” Some guy popped into my line of vision, seemingly from nowhere, to ask me this question.

“Yes. Who are you?” I demanded in a pleasant fashion.

“I’m her friend!” he chirped. “Can I take your picture?”

Megan and I looked stupidly at one another, wondering what was happening. We took too long to formulate an answer, however, because he whipped out a professional-looking camera (also the type used by paparazzi and stalkers – zoom lens) and snapped several pictures.

“Thanks! Bye!”


I spoke to my sister this past weekend to ask her how this buddy knows who I am. She puzzled for a moment, then admitted it was probably through Facebook pictures.

Commence learning moment. Not for people like me who post pictures, but for people like him who act like they KNOW PEOPLE they’ve NEVER MET because they’ve MEMORIZED PICTURES OF STRANGERS.

It doesn’t go over well.

Moral of the story is, if you’re going to do this -- and I’ve heard quite a few people do… I have no personal experience as I’m too busy living a life of glamour and excitement – make sure you stay anchored to reality enough to remember with whom you’ve actually had conversations, and with whom you’ve only imagined entire conversations/friendships/relationships/movies.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

One Year

Today is the anniversary of something terrible. But, for me, it's also the anniversary of something good. One year ago today, I clicked "Publish Post" on my first Too Pretty for This blog post.

I don't think I would've started this blog on September 11 if it hadn't been for Christopher Penn and his Twitter challenge (you can read about it in my first post). I would've started it eventually, because I knew I needed it.

"Kairos" can be defined as the right word at the right moment.

I needed the right words in those moments a year ago. I had left a job I was good at and enjoyed (for reasons I won't go into). I was reeling from shattered relationships that were important to me. I was a writer who didn't write.

And for goodness' sake, I had swine flu and was in quarantine.

It was important to state with some sort of action that I was more than my circumstances, so I started Too Pretty for This. I never expected people -- you -- to connect to what I was saying, to email me during my extended blog absences, and to share your own stories with me.

It's amazing what happens in a year.

Wine tasting happens in a year... Sorry, most recent photo I have.
Also: I am bad at captions.

So although today is a sad day, for me it has a twinge of the beautiful, too. Thank you for a year of caring about why we are Too Pretty for This.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Take Notes

So because I'm super organized and have an iPhone, I regularly take cell-notes so I don't forget important things. These are a few of the items I felt it was important to record for future reference:

"Jews don't use reindeers, they drive Subarus." --my brother on the difference between Hanukkah and Christmas

"Hey! A finger peeler!" --my sister, on receiving a vegetable peeler

"We have a saying... 'It's like a dead man talking about cold butt cheeks.'" --a student, talking about who knows what

"Business opportunity: flame retardant underwear." --this seemed reasonable after the roller derby bout...

As you can see, I never forget a good idea. What are some of your winners?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We Almost Froze to Death in a Blizzard

I promised you video, and it only took a month for me to follow through.

But so worth it.

Here, you will see me talk to you in a pompous way with my weirdly moving lips (seriously, everyone else learned to talk and look normal at the same time... but not me). You will hear poor Laura's lament about our misadventure. And you will learn the dark secrets of Yellowstone.

How can you not watch?

We survived, but JUST BARELY.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Christina Cross Country


This was supposed to be updated long before now, but my new camera -- the one with a YouTube sticker on the front -- apparently creates HUGE files when taking video. Not all that YouTube friendly, despite the misleading sticker. I tried uploading yesterday for an HOUR, and only got 45% of the way through a short clip.


I feel angry (cue the T-Rex stomp), frustrated (do I even *have* two hours to upload a minute-long clip?), and completely unequal to the task of explaining how lovely it was to drive across the country with no real plan.

You know, other than to make it home alive.

On the way, I got sunburned by Lake Michigan...

Met the King of the Corn Palace...

Got stuck in a blizzard in Yellowstone...

And spent time with Laura Lee, who not only helped drive (like when I pulled over and said, "It's too windy! I've driven four miles! It's your turn again!") but also let me drag her everywhere in the name of sightseeing.

If I can ever get the video loaded, you will laugh and weep and experience every human emotion and feel a deeper connection to humanity. In the meantime, you can suffer and thank my stupid camera for it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Adventure Cometh

Tomorrow, the adventure begins.

Stay tuned. I'll hopefully have video.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Stranger Dream

Ever have a dream that is so, so real that you wake up still half believing it?

I had one last night. But it was a nightmare. One that I pray will never come to be; it involved so much pain that I don't know I would survive it if I couldn't wake up.

SO, for those about to leave this Depression Alley, never fear. I want to tell you about a more entertaining dream I had last week -- both so you can enjoy the science fiction nature AND to train my brain toward happier (stranger?) thoughts.


The house was dark, the only light flickering in from outside the windows. We stayed inside because we thought... or hoped... we were safe.

There were creaks. Huge eyes stared stricken at one another, as we hoped the sounds were out beyond our walls. We whispered conversations, and pretended whispering was normal and that sitting in the dark was normal and that nothing at all was out of the normal.

It started with an orange. It rolled off the counter and hit the floor. As if tied by the same string, our heads whipped around in unison to watch it pick up speed as it rolled down the hallway.

Another orange, and then an apple, rolled off the counter and through the hall, and we knew the house was infected. Jumped off the floor. Someone grabbed a shopping cart and began throwing food into it that we could take with us as we fled.

Electronic humming started low, but grew louder in proportion to our panic. It was as if they knew we were attempting escape, and they'd have nothing of it. Moving grew harder, as the magnetic current, or gravitational pull -- or whatever term they'd used on the newscast -- pulled us strongly toward them. We leaned into our strides toward the door, the biggest one pushing the cart of food. I watched one slide and skid backward -- we couldn't save her, so we tried to move faster so we wouldn't succumb.

The machines. The DVD players, and iPods, and refrigerators, and light switches, and space heaters, and laptops, and irons... they were drawing us in with increasing force. We escaped this home, but would we escape it in the next?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thanks For Keeping Us Alive

I'm kind of selfish.

I don't want to share things.

I don't like being nice to people who annoy me.

I like sleep more than most things.

I love beautiful shoes and clothes more than sleep, though.

I have a temper.

People who manage to REALLY rile me (like to the point of The Silent Stare Angry) probably should watch their backs.

I don't like volunteering to help out. Unless it's finishing up some ice cream.

Housework is not my thing. Neither is laundry. Or really... anything that has to do with house stuff.

I like to point at people.

I drive too fast (or so I've been told).

Given the chance, I will *always* do something to make one or both of my siblings irritated... because it is the most fun thing to do in the world.

These are all good reasons why I'm not a mother. And while my own mom doesn't hate beautiful clothes and will occasionally bug one of my siblings (who could blame her when it's the most fun thing to do in the world?), she's put similar preferences aside to be a parent. She managed to corral me and keep me from pissing anyone off so badly as a child that someone strangled me. She force-fed me foods that made me grow really tall (wait...), and she convinced me to eat when I just wouldn't eat at all. And when problems came up that she couldn't fix, she gave me a hug and told me she loved me.

Thanks, Mom. Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"No Subject"

Take a look at my shapely leg.

Wait, you didn't notice the lovely curve of my calf, did you? What you were probably noticing was the result of intense determination without a lot of physical coordination.

It's a long story, involving my belief that desire + stubbornness + trying really hard = achieving whatever I want (thanks, after school specials for teaching me that falsehood). The story also involves me dropping a motorcycle on my leg.

I was angry with myself for not succeeding in what I wanted to accomplish the very first time (because I am Christina, the empress of awesome), I was irritated with my leg for its multi-colored status (it made swimsuit tryouts less than appealing), and the only way I reaped anything happy out of the situation was by forcing people to look at my calf when they obviously didn't want to (I even emailed pictures to friends, using deceptive email subject lines like, "no subject").

So tell me, when you hit that moment where you can give up or try again, how do you decide which one you'll do? Or do you just make everyone around you miserable with ugly pictures?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How To Make Skinny People Mad

I remember the first time I called my sister ugly. It was actually the only time, because I was in a lot of trouble. At five years of age, you remember a sound spanking, a time out, and the absolute indignity of having to pretend to be sorry and apologize.


Obviously, I was the whole package back then. There's no way my sister could live up to this look.

The good news is I learned that it isn't okay to point out flaws to people. They probably already know, and if they don't HEY! even better.

So that's why today I don't walk down the street announcing to passersby their poorly chosen outfits, body odor, crooked noses, or bad posture.

Other people, it seems, haven't learned this lesson. And it's a pet peeve.

A few weeks back, I helped out a friend who was doing a video project for school. In it, I pretended to be athletic and health conscious (ha!), explaining why I'd given up driving to the gym and jogged there instead (to reduce gas consumption -- I was pretty much the most socially responsible person ever in that video).

When my friend showed the video to her class -- filled with professionals who were earning masters degrees -- they erupted into derogatory comments when I recited my line: "I've reduced my gas consumption and feel better -- I even lost a few pounds!"

According to my friend, I was labeled anorexic and unhealthy and all sorts of other things.

Guess what, people? I'm not anorexic. I'm small, I don't exercise or even eat particularly well, but I don't think that merits vicious comments or anger. Just like someone's obesity isn't license for me to make snide comments.

I'm not the only one who tires of this. I talked to a friend recently who gave birth to her second son, and in conversation with friends she mentioned she was looking forward to getting back to her pre-baby weight. She told me she felt that her reasonable desire was dismissed... because pre-baby weight, for her, meant going from a size 6 to a size 2. Only the "normal" women were allowed to comment about weight, and she was just whining (or bragging).

Another friend deals with people constantly telling her to gain a few pounds or telling her how lucky she is to be so thin. What they don't realize is she's been trying to gain weight for years, and can't. Doctors have no idea why. So she tries to paste on a smile when people comment about her weight when it's actually a really difficult situation.

Thin women have fat days. We have body dysmorphia, we have areas of our physique that make us insecure, and we actually can't "wear anything because [we're] so tiny!"

Can we all make a pact to be nice? To be polite? I'm sure there are things you dislike people bringing up, too.

If you stop getting mad at me when I say my clothes feel tight, I promise I won't tell you what I really think of your next haircut. Deal?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Me And My Straight Teeth

Last week, a friend and I arranged to get together and make dinner. We hadn't seen one another in a long time and were looking forward to catching up.

She reminded me of a story I knew I had to tell all of you, because it really IS a "too pretty" moment.

My aforementioned friend hosted a birthday bash in early March. I knew her and a few of her friends, but having lived out of state for eight years, this wasn't a gathering of my closest and dearest.

Halfway through the evening, I was chit chatting on a couch with a few other people when I was targeted as an object of flirtation. Guy comes over, leans suavely on the back of the couch, and says:

"You have really straight teeth."

Me and my straight teeth.

What? Dude, if you want to use a memorable line, make sure it's memorable because I'm flattered and not because you come across like a moron.

I smile my tight-lipped I'm-pretending-to-be-nice smile, and told him my former orthodontist would be happy to hear it.

Since his first line didn't go over well, this guy reached into his bag of pick-up tricks for the next winner:

"You know, you look just like that girl from Sex and the City!"

Now I'm irritated, and decide that my good friend will either forgive me or stop inviting me to these things if I misbehave.

"Are you calling me a SLUT?" came the shrill response.

"What?! No, no... I meant that girl in the show! The one with the curly hair and shoes!" The guy fumbles, unsure why I'm not thrilled the way Dating for Dummies said I would be upon mention of Every Girl's Favorite Show.

"Well, now I know which slut you're comparing me to, so I guess that's good," I say, mentally adding that she's the one who cheated on Aidan and looks like a horse. "But she's not even one of the pretty ones."

"Uh..." he stutters, looking around desperately for help. His Ed Hardy-clad friends had vaporized, apparently, because he was all alone.

I took pity on his poor soul, and just turned around and began a conversation with a stunned onlooker. But I felt warm and fuzzy on the inside, which is what happens when you teach someone something valuable and improve their lives. Like Helen Keller's teacher, Annie Sullivan, or even Ron Clark today... same thing. This is what fulfills us.

Once an educator, always an educator.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Fallen Hero

The last few days, I've been thinking about a post I wrote a few months back. It was about being the hero or heroine in your own story and life, and I still believe there are a lot of good things about that idea, like taking action and responsibility to make things happen.

But I think there are also some potential pitfalls.

I recently started reading The Hero With a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell, which talks about the universal traits of a hero -- the characteristics that show up in every story, regardless of culture, of every man or woman who has been preserved in story. It's fascinating, but I came across something even more interesting:

The Tyrant.

Campbell refers specifically to King Minos, who started his own story as a hero. His people loved him, he won the favor of the gods... and then he started acting in selfishness.

The short version, for those who don't want an instant education in Greek mythology, is that his self-centered living resulted in the Minotaur, a monster that lived in an underground stone maze and was fed human sacrifices. And despite causing the death of countless innocents, King Minos continued to see himself as the hero.

I think that's still true today. People live their stories believing they are heroes, though they act as tyrants.

One way you can identify them is that they don't believe in other stories.

You are cast in their story, the one in which they are good and loved and wonderful even while they cause destruction everywhere. Your lack of faith in the tyrant's heroism might be seen as betrayal or disloyalty. But your choice to live your own story is one that infuriates the tyrant most.

And I think that may be the biggest fault of this fallen, misguided hero... the violence he or she commits in attempting to force one story on all.

As part of our own story and in our own journey, let us be careful in casting people too much in roles they may not want to live out.

Have you been dealing with tyrants, too?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Accident

A week ago Thursday, I was in a car accident.

Driving home from Seattle, I was taking the exit off I-5 onto Highway 540. If you're familiar with the area, you know that to make that exciting move I had to enter a one-lane tunnel that was engineered to be a downward-sloping blind curve.

It was in the tunnel I saw it -- a crumpled car, crushed against the cement wall. I braked and swerved and managed to avoid the vehicle.

"Thank God," I breathed... just as I was hit from behind by another driver.

The back of the driver's seat thumped my head forward as the sound of shattering lights and crunching metal echoed in the tunnel. I sat stunned for a moment. The driver pulled alongside me.

"Are you okay? Can you move?" he yelled.

I nodded. "I think so!" Realizing that staying still was only going to result in a dangerous pile-up, I motioned that I was going to try driving out of the tunnel. As I did, it hit me:

The tunnel leads to a bridge. The bridge has nowhere to pull over. This guy could easily drive off into the night, and I had no name, insurance policy number, not even his car's tags. There was nothing I could do to keep him from speeding off into the night.

Instead, he drove slowly behind me across the span of the bridge and to the first exit. We exchanged information, and he asked if I knew how to get home. I confessed I didn't know where the next entrance to the highway was, so he looked up directions for me before I drove off.

And then I got pulled over for a broken (let's face it -- smashed to bits) tail light.

I explained to the police officer that it had only been broken for about 15 minutes, and I was on my way home. He was very kind, but still had to run my license. While he was in his car, a truck pulled over in front of me and out stepped my unlikely friend. He walked back to the officer and explained he'd rear ended me.

On his way back to the car, he said he didn't want me to get a ticket on top of getting my car bashed. I thanked him and said I hoped the rest of his night went better, and in an attempt at cheerfulness he said, "It can't really get much worse."

But it could've been. I thought back over all the nights that had been worse than a car accident with no serious injuries. I thought of the inches and fractions of seconds that could've made that night one where someone didn't make it home.

I also thought of all the opportunities that young man had to escape. He had the opportunity to run from his responsibility. He could've chosen to do the wrong thing and thank his stars I didn't have any recourse. Instead, he chose to do the right and good thing, even when it cost him something.

It might not seem like a big deal, but in the past year I've had a lot of people choose easy instead of the hard thing that was right. How the consequences of their choices affected people like me wasn't as important as saving their own skin or priorities or story.

To me, it seemed a given that would happen again.

I am so thankful. Not for the accident itself, of course, but for the reminder that there are good people who see beyond themselves. I thought maybe they'd all disappeared.

I'm glad some are still around.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Christina v. the Universe

Last week, I tried to blog. But then I got tired/busy/insane and didn't. So here's the quick update:
  • I had a birthday and I spent part of it at the DMV having infants a full decade younger than me make me feel old and tired. My effort on makeup and hair were pointless by the time I stepped in front of a camera... I looked like an irritated, shiny horse.
  • I spent a beautiful sunny day at Pike Place Market with my sister, and then later in the evening we met up with friends. After a few drinks, I demanded chocolate mousse. We tramped around downtown Seattle until we realized there wasn't any... ever again.
  • I sent my wayward vehicle to the doctor and cheated on it with a rental. It was lovely. I am now a fan of affairs, or at least car affairs. And my car is now okay and I had to take it back into my life (boo).
  • My friend Amber revealed to me that this website (yes, this one!) is blocked by morality filters, flagging it as "adult in nature." I am flattered.
  • "What idiocy can I vanquish today?" I yelled to the universe one morning. The universe yelled back, "None! Because I will overwhelm you with idiots!" Universe: 1, Christina: 0.
  • The best hockey game ever. That is all.
There were other things that would shock and horrify you, causing you to exclaim our rallying cry of "too pretty for this!" but the prettiness inside me is wilty right now. I want to take a vacation, but I want it to be to another time in my life, not necessarily another place. Trust me, though, when I say that I'm living through further fodder for this site.

If I can just survive it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Got Hit By A Bus

Yesterday, I got hit by a bus.

This is not a metaphor. It's not an exaggeration, tall tale, or even a blatant lie.

It's the truth. And I am too pretty for it.

I was driving in Seattle, on my way home from work. I innocently took a right-hand turn, which caused my lazy car to cough and stall. With the remaining momentum, I strong-armed it to the side of the road and put my flashers on (why yes, I *have* done this before).

Cars zoomed around me, shooting me sympathetic, glad-it-wasn't-me glances. I was just happy I was safe.

That lasted maybe two minutes.

As the bright lights in my rearview mirror alerted me to the bus pulling around the corner, I realized... I was sitting at a bus stop.

And Seattle's buses run on cables.


So. I'm fine, my car is okay, and now I have the pleasure of adding one more story to my repertoire. But this means that, at least for awhile, all whining I encounter gets met with, "Oh, yeah? I got hit by a BUS!"

There are perks to having public transportation vehicles plough into you, after all.

Plus, people tell you they're worried you're tweeting from the dead, and that's kind of awesome, too.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Three Discoveries To Change Your Life

This week I made some huge discoveries. The world will never recover.

Huge Discovery #1: You don't have to drink coffee for it to work its magical waking powers.
No, you can settle for pouring it down yourself at 6:35 a.m. on the way to work -- it will STILL cause increased alertness! Still to be tested: can it be used as a weapon? Jen and I may run some tests...
Today I decided to drink it...

Huge Discovery #2: If there's no street parking during rush hour, just stop your car in the middle of the road and turn on your flashers.
People will drive around you and never stop to see if you're actually in trouble. If I'd taken advantage of this opportunity, I could've walked down the street to get a cup of hot chocolate. Instead, I wasted my time calling AAA... silly me.

Huge Discovery #3: Australians think Americans smell bad.
In an email exchange with an Australian gentleman, I was called a "Septic." Urban Dictionary told me it's because "septic tank" and "Yank" rhyme -- and because the world in general has a dismal view of the USA. Luckily, I was also called a "top sheila" so I felt confident that it all evened out. At any rate, septic tanks are useful so I think it's kind of patriotic to be useful and septic and I'm calling everyone that from now. IF they love the red, white and blue, anyway.

I did the research, I wrote the report. Now make your life awesome.

You're welcome, World.

Any of you researchers make huge discoveries this week?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brush With the Underworld

Saturday morning cartoons were the best part of waking up on the weekends when I was little. Now, the best part of waking up on a non-weekday is it being past 5:30 a.m. But in an attempt to recall those golden days of youth, I'll share a Saturday Story.

A few years ago, two friends and I went to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch. It was chosen based on location and cheapiness, not on the quality of the food, but it was a good place to catch up in the midst of hectic grad school days.

While we were eating and chatting, we noticed a man in sunglasses and a suit. He walked in, flanked on either side by thug-like friends. The waiters began lining up to talk to him and shake his hand.

"Who is that?" "Why is he so important?"

In the middle of nowhere as we were, it didn't make sense for some dignitary to be around, especially at the dingy Pueblo Viejo. That's when my brilliance struck.

"Guys!" I hissed. "He's probably in the mafia! The MEXICAN mafia!"

"I don't know, that seems a little far-fetched," one friend reasonably said. "Wait, is that the manager coming out to talk to him?"

"Yes!" I whispered furtively. "Because he needs protection!"

Just then, the Mobster walked over to our table. We three froze.

"How's the food, ladies? Is it good?" he jovially called out.

We responded in unison: "Yes, it's great!"

He strolled out with his henchmen, and we stared out the window as he got into an older car with tinted windows.

"Maybe he IS in the mafia!"

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, he is. Unless he's like Erik Estrada or something, there's no other explanation."

Just then, a waiter walked by, and one of the other girls nearly grabbed him. "Who was that guy? The one in the suit?"

He looked at us excitedly. "Have you ever seen the TV show, CHiPs?!"


Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Would Text You Some Love

Aww, you all are so great!

I've been MIA the last few days because I started my new job on Wednesday, and have been busy trying to learn huge yachts of information... and then meeting up with friends after work. This is because 1) they all want to hang out now that I'm working nearby, and 2) they are worried that I will get lost on my way home from work and want to make sure I know where I'm going.

So it was AWESOME to return to this blog and, instead of dead desert with tumbleweeds rolling across the page, see all your encouraging comments. Thank you!
This would be much more impressive if I'd flipped the picture so you could read the text. Now you're going to have to try holding your screen up to a mirror or something.

About the new job: I'm conflicted about how much I should talk about it here. Not because I want to say bad things (I don't!), but because I want to take some time to decide how I'll define boundaries. I did that with my posts about teaching, too.

If you want to know the bare bones, you can get LinkedIn (shameless, but come on... you know you want to be professionally networked to me) and see where I'm working and my job title. To give that skeleton a tiny bit of cartilage, a lot of what I'll do every day involves writing, talking to people, and coming up with (hopefully) good ideas... fun stuff. Stuff I like to do even when I'm not getting paid.

How are all of you doing? Tell me in the comments! I'm trying to get caught up on reading all your blogs/Twitters/novels/etc., but even a teeny update would make me happiest of all Christinas.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mishmash, Hodgepodge & Tarnation

You wonderful people who have kept coming to read even when I've been less than faithful in my writing? I just want you to know I love you. This post is a giant "THANK YOU," catch-up, and newsy bit.


First, thank you for reading! Yes, you! Because your comments and Twitter love keep inspiring me -- love it! Second, I have to thank a few people for the blog awards they generously threw my way.

This one came from Nathanael over at This Is How It Feels. Although we've argued over the best future locale for Sara, we're generally blog buddies and this is a huge compliment. Thanks!

I don't think Monique (aka the SurferWife) meant to give me both of these, but I'm the kind of girl who takes advantage of ambiguity and will claim ownership of BOTH. That's actually why she likes me in the first place, I think.

Who gets the next round of these babies? I'm sending all three the way of Sara Spelled Without an H, the Aspiring Fashionista, and Sizzle Says.

I just wrote a review of soon-to-be published Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide? ('Cause I Need More Room for my Plasma TV) by Karen Spears Zacharias. You can see it over at my other online home, Christina is Online.

If you've been following my saga, you know I recently moved to Washington State. Yay! And while I love the carefree lifestyle of unemployment (ha), I'm also happy to say I just accepted a new job! I start on Wednesday, and am looking forward to a new challenge.

What does that mean for this blog?

It will still be here. I will still be here. And I anticipate being able to post more regularly, because I'll have a stable schedule. So don't leave me (please!), because I want to grow old with you. Or... at least keep up the conversation. Okay?

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Think I'm A Flamingo

I've always liked the word "quirky."

It sounds fun and much more positive than "weird." And it's younger than "eccentric," which is my eventual life adjective goal.

Today I read a post by Glen Stansberry over at about embracing the things that make a person unique. I admitted, in the comments and on Twitter, that lately I've been making zombie noises when I get frustrated (so basically a CONSTANT soundtrack of the undead).

And here, I reveal exclusively to you Too Pretty readers that I noticed that when I shower, I turn into a flamingo and insist upon standing on one leg. Sometimes I switch, but never do I have both legs supporting me at once. Safety first? Obviously not.

Another quirk? Taking super cheesy pictures... WHILE STANDING ON ONE LEG!

There is a part of me that does not want to embrace those quirks. Another part of me that sounds a lot like my brain says embracing the weirdness doesn't necessarily entail admitting to it on the internets. So why am I?

Because this is who I am.

And because I once got advice from someone much wiser than me when we spoke about the possibility of my non-acceptance into the doctoral program of my dreams. I explained how I was worried that maybe my area of study didn't fit the "theme" the selection committee had that year, and maybe they'd snicker at such a Scandinavian-named girl coming in wanting to research Jewish visual rhetoric.

"If those things are true, but you were accepted anyway, is that a place where you could thrive?" she asked.

I blinked uncomprehendingly. "What do you mean?"

"If their goal is to reproduce scholars similar to themselves, then they will do so and select the candidates they think best suited for that goal. But if they want to invest in students who will go out and find their own unique niches, they will again work to find candidates who are suited to do so. What kind of student and scholar would you prefer to be?"

"Well, obviously the second kind."

"Then whether or not you're accepted, it sounds like it will be the best situation for you."

Which is another way of saying that my quirks not only make it easier to pick me out of a crowd of bland, but they also work as a filter to protect me from people and situations and haircuts that aren't going to help. I just need to love my quirks and let them live in my life.

I guess admitting to a few of them is my first step.

I miss you all! So jump into the comments, say hello, and tell me about the quirks you're embracing.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lessons From A Dairy Farmer

Yesterday I talked to a farmer named Brock.

He grew up in the area, because generations of his family owned a local dairy farm. As we chatted, he greeted people and joked around with them. After each encounter, he told me a tiny piece of their lives... usually about their connection to the farming community.

He explained how difficult it's been to find ways to save his own farm. He hosts events, makes cheese, and used to sell raw milk before regulation made it unprofitable. His brother operates a roadside stand offering fresh produce during the summer and fall. In October, the two of them open up their pumpkin patch to families, and then chop Christmas trees in November and December.

We talked about Carnation Farms, and how sad it was when Nestle bought it more than a decade ago. It was one of my favorite places, mainly because during National Dairy Month they gave away free ice cream. I discovered that my childhood tour guide of the farm had been my new friend.

I've been gone from this community for so long.

When I run to the grocery store, I smear makeup on my face so that if I run into someone from high school I won't wonder if there are pillow creases on my face. When I see someone I knew forever ago, I wonder what they'll say to whom after we part ways.

But I forgot how nice it is to have things in common. To not have to explain my town's name, to know the same places, to share experiences common only to locals.

I realized yesterday that one branch of my family has lived in this area for about 100 years. It stopped me in my tracks. And while I don't know if I'll be here forever, I'm really glad this is where I started.

Thanks, Brock.

Monday, January 4, 2010

From Ghetto To Granny

Most of the time, I think I'm pretty awesome.

It's taken years of shaking off expectations, the weight of other people's goals, and personal insecurities to have that general attitude. But I like myself, and generally other people do, too.

Sometimes the reasons why *I* like me and *others* like me are different. This story represents one of the latter.

In grad school, I spent a lot of time in the cubicle I was given. It would've been fantastic if I'd spent all that time studying, but much of it was actually invested in grading, venting, and watching YouTube clips from "Teen Witch" and "Music & Lyrics."

But there was also a lot of singing and dancing, at least when Meng and I were in the office together. We'd take turns playing songs (or letting Jason serenade us with TLC's "Scrubs"), but one day I opted for something different.

For Meng's entertainment, I belted out Blaque's "She Ain't Got the Boom Like I Do" at the top of my lungs.

No one else was around, so I did a few gyrations to emphasize the classy lyrics... and amidst her laughter, I heard a cough.

"Um... Ms. Olson?"

How in the world did someone find his way through the cubicle jungle without a sound?

Thank goodness for teacher glasses and pulled-back hair, because it sped the transformation from ghetto to granny.

Love you, local radio station, for reminding me today of this precious memory...

Have you ever tried to regain your composure and professionalism in a split second? Tell me more, puh-lease.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Radioactivity And Lava

Now that it's been nearly two weeks since my move, I thought I'd summarize some of the activities. It might explain my less-frequent posting, my strange Tweets... or just confuse further.
  1. I watched fake snow fall in Westlake Center in Seattle... two days after the two-foot snowfall in DC that paralyzed the entire east coast. This snow at least looked radioactive to keep people interested.
  2. I met Rob Lowe's younger twin at a coffee shop when he struck up a conversation about my iPhone.
  3. I almost ended up in a ditch thanks to icy roads. I don't like icy roads.
  4. I learned how to put chains on tires (I didn't actually *d0* it, but I watched).
  5. I spent New Year's Day at my friend's house in the Cascade Mountains.
  6. At the cabin, I watched a snow plow driver nearly slide his vehicle into the house.
  7. I bought the most amazing boots with ruffles and happiness in every stitch.
  8. You may have missed the TwitPic, but Amy and Trevor and I made a gingerbread outhouse. With lava on the roof.
  9. My absence in Virginia has provoked at least one verified act of depression shopping, resulting in a huge television and Wii purchase.
  10. I launched another website,, to serve as a hub for all my online activities.
Now I've also learned that I'm kind of boring and/or forgetful.

At any rate, life is good. I'm happy about the new year, because I know if I survived 2009 then I'll be okay in 2010. Second day of the new year: how are YOU?