Friday, October 14, 2011

Reason #8: Crazy Older Sisters

There are a few things you should know about my sister, the first being that, like the rest of my family, she is absolutely insane. She’s a bit of a tomboy, her clothes never match, and she always has energy to spare. Once, when we were little, she duct taped me to a tree in my grandparents’ yard. We’re total opposites.
But it didn’t take long for us to realize that, with two younger brothers and a house full of Crazies, if we were going to survive, we needed each other. We developed a strong and strange bond throughout our lifetime, and one year after she graduated high school, I followed her to University (Okay, so not intentionally—it was either University with Brittany or community college with the rest of my family).
Looking back, one of my absolute favorite stories between us has everything to do with the bond of sisterhood and everything to do with a potato.
From the time we were in diapers until the day Brittany left for college, we shared a bedroom. It was a renovated attic that split into two separate rooms at the top of the stairs. On the left side of the stairs was our brothers’ bedroom. On the right side was ours. The separate rooms didn’t have doors. We had a curved curtain that acted as a blind to give us some privacy, but that was the only thing that separated us from the two preteen boys whose relation we often denied.
One year, when Brittany was in 7th grade, she completed a science project in which she measured the electricity or volts in potatoes. When she was finished with the project, instead of throwing out all of the mutilated vegetables, she chose one to keep as a friend. She carried it upstairs and set it on a hope chest beneath the window, where it was bathed in sunlight every day.
It didn’t take long for me to spot the potato and corner Brittany, demanding to know what it was there for.
“It’s my potato,” she’d said. “Leave it alone.”
“It’s my room,” I countered back at her. “And I don’t want a potato in it!”
Needless to say, Brittany was older and stronger, and more defiant, and she often got her way; the potato stayed. It wasn’t long before the thing began to spout buds and eyes that grew long and ugly like twisted brown tentacles, and again I pleaded for it to be thrown out to no avail.
Eventually clothing and papers and knickknacks began to cover the hope chest, and they hid the potato from view. In a short amount of time, we both forgot about it.
It wasn’t until a month and a half later when Brittany decided to clean her hope chest that we found the potato again.
“What is this?” She pondered aloud. I stopped what I was doing to take a peek and immediately began emitting peals of laughter.
“It’s… the… p-potato!” I shouted, unable to stop myself. The thing had grown fuzzy with mold and its tentacle-y arms were a good six inches long. “That’s disgusting! HAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Brittany gingerly picked it up and examined it as it were the results of an interesting experiment and then proceeded to toss it in the trash without another word.
I’m still not sure why this particular story is still so amusing to me; I feel as if it captures both of our personalities, and the challenges that we each faced in being so different and living together for so long. Insane or otherwise, she’s still my sister, and I wouldn’t change that for the world!

That's Brittany in the green, and me in the reptile-print at jr-sr prom


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reason #7: Simplicity

Don’t you love when things go the way they’re supposed to? Yeah, me too.
Being a college kid sometimes seems enough of an excuse in itself to eat quick, unhealthy foods. Some days, I have just enough time to heat up a can of Chef Boyardee and scarf it down before I have to run to class. Some days, I have just ten minutes to cross the entire campus to get to work on time after class ends. Some days, I have to take my unhealthy food with me and eat in public. Other days, I’m just too lazy to walk to the dining hall.
Eating unhealthy food all alone in your dorm room isn’t that bad. What can be tiring sometimes is the lack of variety available in dorm food. My cooking supplies include a minifridge, a microwave, plastic silverware (which I often snag from the college cafeteria because I’m too lazy to use my own silverware, which I’d have to wash after every use), Tupperware containers that do double duty as plates and bowls, and a couple of plastic bins full of non-perishable food. So you see, I’m limited as to what I can create on those days when I choose to chow down in my room.
The options usually consist of the following: Chef Boyardee, canned soup, Ramon Noodles, ham sandwiches, or PB&J. That said, I always try to look for new options when I’m grocery shopping. Last week, I discovered the BumbleBee Lunch-To-Go packs, which are my new favorite.
Coming from a family that eats cheese by the ton, I quickly recognized the off-brand of Easy Mac as a great addition to my list of lunchtime options when I saw it in the store.
The instructions on the packaging read as follows:
1.       Pour Macaroni into 2-cup microwaveable bowl. Add 2/3 cup water.
After asking my roommates and everyone next door if they had a measuring cup, I decided I’d just have to eyeball the water. So I pour out the little macaroni noodles into a small plastic container and add some water.
2.       Microwave, uncovered, on high 3 ½ to 4 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Do not drain. Remaining water will be used to make the cheese sauce.
After pulling my noodles out of the microwave, I had to ask myself, “What water?” It seemed to me that the noodles had absorbed it all. Not knowing what else to do, I added a little extra water and moved on to the next step.
3.       Add cheese sauce mix and stir until smooth. If cheese sauce appears thin do not microwave. Cheese sauce will thicken upon standing.
Then I really had to wonder what was going on. As I attempted to mix in the cheese sauce, I realized that the noodles were glued together in the shape of my bowl, which made mixing extremely difficult. I added more and more water until I could finally stir in the neon-orange powder.
Though it didn’t look great, I told myself it was still edible. Edible, as in, the noodles were a mixture of over-cooked chewiness and under-cooked hard, and the cheese powder was mixed so poorly that it added a nice bitter crunch to the dish. I ate the whole thing.
I’ve tried multiple times to make Easy Mac since then, but it just hasn’t worked. I’ve tried adding more water, pausing the microwave every 30 seconds to give the noodles a stir, adding the cheese mix a little at a time, etc.
In the end, I simply come to the conclusion that sometimes, even Easy Mac is hard.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reason #6: Abs of Steel

Way back in April, approaching senior week was enough motivation for me to begin working out. I would do a cardio workout each day (which usually consisted of walking, jogging, zumba, or Just Dance) along with an ab workout. The ab workout routine worked my upper, lower, and middle abs, and I was increasing the number of reps that I did with each day. Can I just say that I’m still extremely proud of myself for having stuck to my workout routine for so long? By the time it was senior week, I almost had abs. Okay, so not really. But I certainly burned some belly fat.
While I was bragging about my intense workout routine one day, my friend Sarah agreed that she wanted to start working out too. We were going to be beach babes come June. We excitedly started planning our group workouts over lunch when our friend Bri overheard us.
Now let me try to put my friend Bri into words. Bri is this totally crazy, totally awesome, totally buff woman. She grew up in Georgia and moved up here a couple of years ago with her dad. She’s always got energy to spare, she’s a terrific cook and baker, and she’s uber smart. Bri is… Bri. A totally unique and loveable individual.

So anyway, Sarah and I are discussing the idea of having a workout session together. And Bri chimes in with some awesome advice.
Bri: “Hey guys! You should do the Insanity workouts! You can find some of the videos on youtube.” She then proceeded to tell us how good the workouts were and show us her own abs of steel, at which we poked and prodded and smiled and nodded and agreed that it would be nice to have abs like those.
So Sarah and I set up a time and date for our workout. We met at my house and began with some stretching. We played some Just Dance and went through my ab routine. Then we opened up youtube and embarked on a journey that was far far beyond our years.
We typed in “Insanity Workout Video” and followed along with the ten-minute workout, at the end of which we lay on my carpeted floor in puddles of our own sweat. Craning my head just enough that I could see Sarah laying beside me, I uttered, “Never. Again.” And Sarah nodded in agreement.
When we had recovered enough to sit up, I immediately grabbed my phone and texted Bri. “Are you nuts?!” I asked her. “That killed us!” In a minute, I had a reply from Bri laughing mercilessly at us (I believe her exact words were “lol”) and asking which workout we had chosen. I sent back the title of the video that we had watched and received another round of merciless laughing (this time it was more like “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! YOU GUYS!!!!”). She then informed us that the workout video that had practically killed us was simply the Insanity WARM UP, rather than the actual WORKOUT!
Needless to say, I never tried Insanity again.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Reason #5: Dream Interpretation

I have crazy dreams. Bizarre dreams. Over-the-top-I-must-be-on-drugs dreams. I am sure that this won’t be the only dream that I blog about because, the truth is, my brain just knows how to put on a really good show while I’m asleep.
So a few nights ago I have this dream that I’m at a farming and agricultural show (again, I live in a hick town – farming conventions are common occurrences). At the event, there was a hedgehog table. I don’t know about you, but I think hedgehogs are the darned-cutest things in the world.

Darned Cute
 There were two hedgehogs that people were allowed to pick up and play with and race on this awesome little hedgehog racetrack there. Unable to resist, I picked up both and played with the adorable things.
When I was done, I went to the bathroom to wash my hands. Glancing at the mirror above the sink, I noticed that my cheeks were abnormally large. Not only that, but so were my lips. And my ears. My whole face was swelling at an alarming rate! My family, when I showed them, found the whole thing hilarious. “You must be allergic to the hedgehogs!” my brother howled.
And it was there that my dream ended. Upon waking, I immediately posted my dream on facebook as more of a reminder to myself to look up what it supposedly meant. Wouldn’t you be curious if you dreamt you were allergic to something as cute as a hedgehog?
 Later that day, I went on and looked up the words “allergy” and “hedgehog”.
DreamMoods so kindly informed me that, “To dream that you have allergies signify your sensitively to some situation. You may feel that you are physically or emotionally restrained from doing something.” It also told me, “To see a hedgehog in your dream suggests that you are being overly sensitive. You are taking everything too personally. Alternatively, it refers to losing your soul.”
I kid you not.
Sooo… basically, I am overly-sensitive to sensitivity. Oh, and I’m going to lose my soul. Great. Thank you, DreamMoods, for putting a smile on my face.
What bizarre dream interpretations have you had? I'd love to hear about them!