Sins and Friends

Just a few days ago, my blog friend Erin made a very clever post that tied the seven deadly sins to American holidays. If you haven’t read it yet, click here to do so, because it’s a fun read. And then come back! I’ll be waiting with snacks.

After Erin made her post, she suggested that I take the same topic and apply it to the Friends characters. I love the show, but what I love even more is when other people humor me for my love of the show! Brilliant of her, right?! I may only know Erin online, but she would totally be my friend in real life if we lived near each other. I mean, unless she didn’t want to be my friend, because it IS a little sketchy meeting people you only know from the internet. It’s smart of her to be cautious. For all she knows, I could be a 104-year-old bearded man.

In fact, it’s more fun that way. Assume from now on that I actually AM a 104-year-old bearded man. One who depicts himself as a young blonde woman. And who is in a committed relationship with cheese.

I decided to jump on Erin’s awesome idea before she could change her mind and use it herself. I set aside important work tasks, like any true Friends fan would do, and began brainstorming which sins would apply to which characters. It goes without saying that all of the characters have their strengths and high points (yes, even Ross), but of course, they have their vices as well. They make mistakes just like the rest of us, and some indulge more often in certain areas than in others.

Although there are seven sins, there are only six main characters, so I chose to add in a not-primary-but-still-often-seen character.

SIN #1: WRATH
Character it most closely fits: Ross

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Justification:

  • He reacts with fury when he finds out that Monica and Chandler are sleeping together
  • He loses his temper at a guy who cuts in front of him (earning him the nickname “Red Ross”)
  • He becomes enraged about the unauthorized consumption of his beloved turkey sandwich.

SIN #2: SLOTH
Character it most closely fits: Chandler

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Justification:

  • He admits to never exercising, and is often teased for being physically weaker than everyone else
  • He spends entire days sitting in his recliner, eating snacks, and watching Baywatch

SIN #3: GREED
Character it most closely fits: Rachel

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Yes, I know she left her orthodontist fiancé and rich dad in an attempt to make it on her own. Yes, I know she worked hard to become successful in her own right. Clearly, the woman’s got some pluck and courage. But you can’t deny that she also had some moments of greed.

Justification:

  • Of all the Friends, she cares the most about expensive and trendy brands
  • She demands presents, and then winds up exchanging them for stuff she’d rather have
  • She encourages Monica to marry Pete for the sole purpose of having an extravagant wedding (complete with a “money salad”) – despite the fact that Monica barely knows the man and isn’t sure she wants to marry him

SIN #4: LUST
Character it most closely fits: Joey

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Justification:

  • Do I really need to provide my reasoning? Have you not watched the show?

SIN #5: PRIDE
Character it most closely fits: Phoebe

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  • She refuses to sell “Smelly Cat” to the kitty litter commercial…and then that jingle bitch screwed her over.
  • These song lyrics, which she sings with great passion: “When I play, I play for me! I don’t need no charity!”
  • She doesn’t mention to anyone that she can’t ride a bike, despite receiving one as a present

SIN #6: GLUTTONY
Character it most closely fits: Monica

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Justification:

  • I know her issues with overeating are technically in the past, but nothing else really fits Monica, okay? Plus, there is that episode where she becomes addicted to Brown Bird cookies and her friends have to cut her off.

SIN #7: ENVY
Character it most closely fits: Gunther

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Justification:

  • He was super jealous of Ross’ relationship with Rachel. That’s about it.

 

Of course, a few of these characters can fit in more than one category of sin. Joey in particular can be assigned to almost all of the sins! What do you think of my selections? Are there any ones that you would have done differently? What other examples can you think of to justify certain match-ups?

Flashing and Other Talents

On a mildly cool winter night 25 some-odd years ago, my family and I attended a Christmas music program at our church. I was going to be singing a few songs with my preschool class, so I arrived dressed to the nines in a pretty red dress, white pantyhose, and black patent shoes.

I was ready for action.

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Once my tiny classmates and I were neatly lined up on the sanctuary steps, the pianist took her seat and began playing the accompaniment. Under the direction of our teachers, my class and I sang the first of our Jesus-related songs. I don’t remember what song it was, but I’m sure we butchered it, because preschoolers are terrible but hilarious performers. I’m sure there was lots of fidgeting, blank staring, and nose-picking going on. Nevertheless, we made it through our first song, and then the music began for the second one.

And that’s when things got weird.

No, that’s not true. Things didn’t passively get weird. I made them weird.

Those of you who read my blog regularly might have gotten a slightly inaccurate impression of me. In my writing, particularly on a blog where I’m unidentifiable to the majority of readers, I’m free to get a little … goofy. Theatrical. Totes inapprops.  On here, I use language and make jokes that I wouldn’t typically make in person, except in the presence of my closest friends. In a way, y’all know me better than many of the people I see on a regular basis. In real life, I’m a bit more reserved and professional until I’m comfortable with you. Then I unleash the crazy.

I was just as quiet and well-mannered as a little bitty girl. I was no one’s definition of a wild child. I want to make sure you fully understand just how much of a goody-goody I was, because it makes my behavior that evening that much more bizarre.

I don’t know what happened. Maybe I zoned out and thought I was at home. Maybe I was bored and thought the music program needed a little spicing up. We will never know what was going through my warped little brain.

Okay, enough stalling. Let’s get down to it.

Pop Quiz: What did Amanda do in the middle of her conservative Baptist Christmas music program, attended by her pastor and lots of impressionable children?

A. Barked at the audience
B. Punched a kid next to me
C. Lifted my dress up above my head
D. Muttered “red rum” in a demonic voice
E. Both A and C

If you chose A, B, or D, you probably didn’t pay much attention to the title of this post. The answer, my friends, is E. While my classmates sweetly sang songs about angels and mangers, I decided to take the performance in a different direction. I began by unleashing some ferocious barks at the audience, and when that didn’t seem quite “spicy” enough, I lifted the skirt of my dress right above my head, exposing my panty-hosed little tummy and bare chest to the world.

I turned every adult in that audience into accidental and unwilling pedophiles.

Here’s a photo that my parents were kind enough to snap before they hunched down in the pews and pretended not to know me. As you can see, my teachers are frantically motioning for me to put my dress down, while my pilgrim classmates stare at me with either judgment or jealousy.

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Admirably, I was undeterred by my protestors. I didn’t let their negativity hold me back. I cared not about my family’s embarrassment, and my barking noises intimidated others from trying to remove me from the stage.

Like the determined creature I am, I continued my peepshow-slash-animal-impersonation act until my class’s performance was complete.  As the audience awkwardly applauded my religious striptease, I like to think that I took a confident bow and strutted off the stage. I also like to think that I then made a full transformation into a werewolf and began climbing on the furniture.

But I probably just stood there, unblinking, until one of my teachers hurriedly pulled me away.

We all know that the Christmas season is all about peace, joy, and junk food, but I think it should probably also be about making amends with people you’ve wronged. I’m willing to be the one to get this fad started, so here are some holiday-themed apology notes I will be writing this year:

Dear preschool classmates,
I apologize for overshadowing you in the Christmas program. I’m pretty certain NO ONE in the audience, including your own parents, was watching you be adorable and well-behaved when there was a disaster to behold two feet away. If it makes you feel any better, I’m sure your moms and dads were thanking their lucky stars that they were going home with you, and not me.

Dear preschool teachers,
I apologize for my artistic, but nonetheless unauthorized, change to your fine program. Training toddlers to memorize and perform songs is a maddening task, I’m sure. I’m certain that you wish I hadn’t chosen that particular venue to unveil my new talent, and I’m sure Jesus wishes that as well. I’m also sorry if you later had to apologize to traumatized church-goers for my skanky behavior.

Dear parents,
You probably deserve an apology for the immense embarrassment I caused, but heck – you’re the ones who raised me in the first place. You should just feel lucky that I didn’t do that shit more often.

Does anyone else have a history of flashing or streaking? What other things did you do as children that embarrassed your parents?

 

 

Hell Cats and Hives

Even though Halloween and the season of scary stories ended a few weeks ago, I was recently reminded of a terrifying, monster-filled anecdote that happened in my own life. I’ve told a story over MS Paint illustrations before, and I thought it might be fun to bring it back again.

Behold, the scariest story of all:

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I know this story has a somewhat abrupt ending, but I didn’t want to leave you all feeling tense and terrorized for too long. The quick ending was for your sake. You’re welcome.

This story has a happy ending because after a shower and a few days of cortisone cream, I was good as new. Happy ending #2 – I later found a nice little desk job that didn’t involve being pelted with rocks by a couple of little hellions.

What’s the shortest amount of time you’ve ever worked at a particular job? What lead up to you quitting? Do you have any regrets for leaving so soon?

Big People, Little World

How are you doing? Yes, you. No, not the guy sitting behind you in the fedora. I’m talking to YOU. How are you? It’s been a hard week, hasn’t it? If you’re feeling disheartened, angry, sad, embarrassed, or fearful – know that I am, too. Know that you’re not alone in your feelings, in your questions, or in your feeble attempts to move forward. I’m right there with you.

I’ve been trying to make myself feel better over the past few days, as I’m sure (and I hope) you’ve been doing for yourself as well. I’m realizing more and more that I am a part of two worlds. One world is the “Big World” – it includes my state and country and Earth, and everyone living within its boundaries. It includes the ideals and people within my profession. It includes the internet and social media. It encompasses all of the outside world and every person that I come into contact with, whether physically or internet-ly.

There’s also my “Little World.” It includes my job, and the coworkers and clients I see on a regularly basis. It includes close friends and family members. But truthfully, Little World is mostly just me.  It’s my body and my brain. Little World is me when I’m alone at home, when I’m driving in my car, and when I’m at the grocery store. It travels around with me, and is never separate from me.

On a normal day, I often find myself doing things to pull myself out of my Little World. It’s hard, because I feel comfy there. But I actively make myself participate in the Big World. “Come on self, walk with confidence. Speak with confidence. If you pretend you’re outgoing and assertive, you’ll come across that way. Stop pushing down your feelings – tell people the truth. Share your ideas. Advocate! Defend! Empower! Support!”

But over the past few days, it hasn’t felt safe to be in the Big World, has it? We went out and made the choices we felt were right. We believed we were advocating for the greater good. We were being big-hearted. We were hopeful.

And then, in the blink of an eye, our hopes were dashed. And it’s been painful. And embarrassing. And infuriating. And possibly worst of all, it’s been terrifying.

So while I normally encourage myself to break out of my Little World and embrace the Big World, right now I’m giving myself permission to do the opposite. I’m allowing myself to get small – which, I want to emphasize, is not the same as feeling small.

For me, getting small and returning to my Little World means that I’m steering clear of the internet and social media – with a few exceptions. Rather than psyching myself up to break out of my shell, I’m seeking safety within it. I’m quietly checking in on my feelings and needs. I’m closing the door to the outside world when I need to.  I’m letting myself feel disappointed and worried, without trying to logic my way out of it. I’m spending time with people who feel safe and comforting to me, and politely avoiding others.

And I’m also letting myself feel content and peaceful when those responses manage to bubble to the surface. I’m re-reading a favorite book that always makes me smile. I’m continuing to crochet new rows onto a blanket that has already gotten comically large. I’ve gotten somewhat sidetracked from my “Project,” but I feel proud of the work I’ve done on it so far, and I know I’ll return to it soon.

I even unleashed my inner weirdo long enough to send a gross picture of a centipede to my family and friends. And I felt inexplicable glee at their disgust.

I know I can’t stay here in my turtle shell forever, and I wouldn’t want to. Once I’m feeling grounded and steady, I may want to poke my head out of the shell and see what the Big World is up to. Maybe I’ll feel a little stronger and better equipped to take on new challenges. Maybe I’ll see new reasons to retreat back inside for awhile, and that’s okay too.

Returning to my Little World seems to help me a little. I don’t know if it will help you. I hope you find something in the next few days to bring you comfort and light and laughter, but I understand if you can’t. Know that I support you, and that I value your worth. Know that I see your hurt and confusion and fear. Know that I understand, and I feel those things too. Know that I care deeply about the fact that children are asking you questions that you don’t know the answer to. Know that I want answers, too.

Know also that we are together in this. I see you, and I am with you.  If I have to point out the ONE aspect of beauty in this horribly ugly situation, it’s that we have each other. You and me, and our brothers and sisters with similar goals and hopes and values. We’re not alone.

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Names of Grey’s Anatomy Characters Match their Personalities

For ten or so years now, one of my TV-related guilty pleasures has been Grey’s Anatomy. “Guilty pleasure” may not be the right phrase for it, because a) I don’t feel guilty about it, and b) it’s really not all that pleasurable, since the show’s creator Shonda Rhimes keeps killing off my favorite characters and writing stories that make me want to pull my hair out. But I admit that the madness makes for good TV, or else I wouldn’t keep watching it.

Instead of guilty pleasure, let’s call it “bittersweet torture.”

A few evenings ago, I was watching my bittersweet torture when I had a couple of epiphanies. You know that one episode where Meredith is irritable and says cranky things and makes poor decisions? Just kidding – she’s that way ALL THE TIME. Anyway, while I was sitting back and judging our favorite grumpy surgeon from the comfort of my own sofa, this occurred to me:

Mere’s personality is accurately summed up by her last name – Grey

If you don’t watch the show, I’ll tell you that Meredith Grey exists in a “dark and twisty” place a lot of the time. She’s compassionate and hard-working, but she’s also a bit of a rain cloud, and she openly admits to being distrustful of any hope or light that enters the picture. She frequently talks about not seeing things as black & white, or good & bad. She sees the in-between. She thinks in grey. And that’s a mature position to take, except when it leads to her making some terrible-ass decisions.

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Then, I started thinking about other characters’ last names, and I had Epiphany #2. Or really, it was Epiphany #1, Part B:

Many of the characters’ last names have meanings that represent the personalities and values of the characters themselves.

Have I been living under a rock? Has everyone else been aware of this connection the whole time? Suddenly, I’m questioning everything – including my own name. What day is it? Where am I?

These first few examples had me absolutely convinced that Shonda and the other writers knew exactly what they were doing when they named their characters. Admittedly, some of the names didn’t seem to fit with this theory at first, at least not off the top of my head. Enter Google.

Yang (Cristina)
The “yang” side of the yin-yang symbol is said to represent passion, logic, and strength. The yang is also technically considered the “male side” of the Tao symbol, but I still think this works for Cristina. No, I don’t consider her masculine, but her character did frequently confront stereotypical views of femininity.

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Shepherd (Derek)
Simply enough, a shepherd is a leader and protector. Sounds a bit like Derek, doesn’t it?

Bailey (Miranda)
A “bailey” is an outer enclosure of a castle. How perfect is this? If the hospital were a castle, Bailey would most certainly be the strong, protective barrier.

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O’Malley (George)
I didn’t expect for this name to work with the theory, but a quick Google search taught me that it’s Gaelic for “gentle.” (If you just cooed, “Aww, George!” after reading this, you’re not alone.)

Hunt (Owen)
Focused like a hunter. Pursues what he wants. Dominant.

Burke (Preston)
Possibly my favorite meaning on this list, Burke means “to murder by suffocation.” No, seriously! Now, did Preston literally (or even televisionally) commit homicide? No. But did Cristina’s personality and identity get suffocated in her relationship to him? Definitely.

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As I kept gleefully Googling name meanings, the last-names-match-personalities concept started to lose some of its strength. These names and their meanings are a bit more of a stretch:

Robbins (Arizona)
A robin is an energetic, lively bird, and the name also means “bright and shining.” These both fit pretty well with what we know of Arizona, but it seems a bit too… easy.

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Stevens (Izzie)
Means honorable, which does kinda work for Izzie, but is a bit vague. This meaning could have just as easily been applied to any other character.

Sloan (Mark)
In the UK, “sloan” is apparently a slang term for a rich person. Hmm. This is technically true of Mark, but was probably not an intentional move by Shonda.

Torres (Callie)
Spanish for “towers.” Callie is sort of… mighty and… tower-like, I guess.

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Yeah, okay, that last one was pushing it.

Last but not least, I’d like to give honorable mentions to the names that didn’t fit with this theory no matter how much I manipulated them:

  • Karev means positivity… I know, I’m laughing too.
  • Kepner means weaver of cloaks. Weird. Also, don’t confuse this with Webber, which means weaver of cloths. Big difference.
  • Avery apparently means Elf Ruler. Bahahaha! You know Jackson would be PISSED about that.
  • Also, since the Grey theory doesn’t work with Little Grey’s personality at all, I was hoping that maybe the name Lexie would mean, “weasels her way into Meredith’s heart and everyone else’s” or even, “photographic memory.” No such luck.

At this point, I’m thinking that the connection between name meanings and character personalities is probably more of a coincidence than a conscious plan on Shonda’s part. I’m not sure I care though. Whether it was purposeful or happenstance, it still makes for an interesting idea!

Ketchup and Mustard

I feel like I haven’t been posting as often lately, or even putting as much time and effort behind the things I do post. I think I have some splainin to do. My world has been busier than usual, and I want to catch up with you guys. Except I don’t like ketchup, so I say we mustard up!

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I apologize if that immediately made you hungry for hot dogs. I understand.

Here are a few things that have been going on the past few weeks:

Diseases
My charming little eyelid infection both looks and feels much better, but is still technically hanging around. This little bugger is like the Donald Trump of my face. It’s arrogant, purposeless, and annoying, and yet I’m morbidly impressed that it’s still around after all this time, despite all the attempts to take it down.

It might also be sexist and xenophobic. Not quite sure yet.

On the upside of having frequent eye appointments, my eye doctor and I seem to have become bffs. We passed through small talk a long time ago, and have gone straight into serious conversations about my career plans, in which she forcefully encourages me to go into private practice. We also laugh about the intrusive nature of our small town, where neither of us can go anywhere without running into patients/clients. I assume, as her bff-patient, she’s not talking about me in those conversations.

She’ll probably ask me to be godmother to her son soon. And my answer will be yes, but only if there will be cake at the reception.

Babies
I just started volunteering in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at a hospital in Austin. Parents cannot always be with their itty bitty offspring 24/7, so volunteers are brought in to hold and rock the infants while their parents are away. Human connection is important for all of us, but it’s VITAL for the healthy development of a newborn. If you have some free time and are interested in doing something like this, contact your local hospital and see if they have a program available 🙂

I’m sure I’ll write a more detailed post about this at another time, but let me sum up the experience for you by saying it’s awesome — minus these rigid rules I have to follow:

  • Rule #1: Do not attempt to hurl tiny infant across the room like a football, despite tightly-swaddled and football-like state.
  • Rule 2: Do not kidnap infant. Despite his/her cuteness, he/she does belong to other people and is not yours to take.
  • Rule #3: Do not even joke about #1 or #2. Parents and hospital staff don’t like it.

 

Projects
As I briefly alluded to in a couple of previous posts (here and here), I’ve been doing some researchin’ and writin’ about personality disorders for a particular project that I’m patiently putting together. (If you appreciated the alliteration that occurred just now, I shall give you an internet high five. If you hate alliteration, then you’re a monster, and I hope your fingernails spontaneously fall off.)

 

…Anyway, this project is kind-of-sort-of-maybe-hopefully going to be a book. I feel very timid using the b-word for some reason, which is why I keep referring to it as The Project, which sounds vague and cool at the same time. I’ve told very few people about it – not because I’m not excited about it (because I totally am), but because I fear that, for whatever reason, it won’t come true.

 

Maybe I’ll get tired of it, and stop working on it all together. Maybe I’ll finish it, but nobody will want to publish it. Or else, maybe I’ll finish it, AND a publisher will love it, but a freak tornado will come along and wipe out the publishing company,  taking my precious manuscript with it.

 

Either way, it seems like the more people I tell about the book The Project, the more times I’ll have to explain why it didn’t come to be.

 

Does anyone else tend to keep new and exciting things to themselves, in fear that it won’t work out? Whether it’s a possible job promotion, a new hobby, or maybe even a new exercise regimen, I think a lot of us find it easier to keep quiet about these things so that we don’t have to have embarrassing conversations later. But that’s such a bummer,  isn’t it? I’m dorkally excited and hopeful about The Project, and I shouldn’t keep it to myself just to avoid an uncomfortable conversation that may not even happen.

 

Besides, if it doesn’t work out, maybe all these people I tell will say supportive and nice things, and regale me with stories of their own letdowns. They might help me feel better. And even if they don’t, I still shouldn’t view my losses as embarrassing – if nothing else, I can say I tried something new, and I learned a lot of interesting things.

 

 

Hmm. That sounds suspiciously like Therapist Me coming out, because Real Me wouldn’t have such a mature view of failure. I think I shall reward my inner therapist with some chocolate.

 

Positive Spin or Denial? You Decide

A common technique used in therapy is something called “reframing,”  where the therapist helps the client view certain concepts in a different (and usually more positive) way. What’s the purpose of this? Well, we mortal humans tend to see events or situations as being either “good” or “bad,” when most of time, they’re somewhere in between. For example, when we’re in love, we see the other person as being wonderful and perfect. We’re unable or unwilling to see any flaws. On the other hand, when we’re depressed, we experience even neutral situations as lonely and sad.

People seek therapy for themselves because they want to think and plan in new ways that will help them feel happier and healthier – and reframing is one of the first steps toward this goal. After all, if you think everything about your situation is terrible, and you don’t see anything to hope for, you’ll probably be less likely to make changes…because what’s the point, if there’s no hope?

Here are a couple examples of reframing…

“Instead of being stubborn, maybe you just know what you want.”

“You’re frustrated with yourself for feeling anxious, but feeling anxious is a normal and understandable response in your situation.”

It’s also a helpful technique in parenting – just like people get “stuck” on how to help themselves, they can also get stuck on how to handle certain behaviors in their children. Reframing can aid in increasing a parent’s compassion toward her child, and return her sense of being in control. By changing the perspective, it unlocks a new set of solutions.

Here are a couple examples of reframing in regards to parenting…

“Instead of seeing him as bossy, maybe we can see him as a natural leader.”

“The advantage to her hyperactivity is that she’s creative and energetic.”

Reframing is not dishonest, nor does it mean sweeping the core problem under the rug. It truly is just a different way to look at the same situation in order to return a sense of agency.  Of course, this wouldn’t be my blog unless I took something good and useful, and twisted it into something weird.

When I was in high school, I had a yellow shirt that read (in pink sparkly glitter): “I’m not opinionated, I’m just always right.” I cringe now to think about how obnoxious that shirt must have been.  Forgive me, fellow classmates, for inflicting that upon you. But when I push past the regret of early 2000s fashion, I can definitely see the humor in those types of mottos. They allow you to completely ignore any flaw or issue you have, in favor of seeing yourself in a more flattering light.

And I like that.

So I started thinking about some of my own weaknesses and issues, and thought it’d be fun to reframe them beyond recognition. At this point, it’s probably not “reframing” so much as it is just straight-up denial.

Some of my flaws, both before and after I “reframed” them…

 Before:

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After:

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After:

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Now it’s your turn at denial! What do you consider to be your weaknesses? How can you reframe (or twist) these flaws to get a different view of them?

Happy Birthday, Just in Queso!

This blog-child of mine has officially been in existence for one year now! Yay! In honor of this event, I’ve decided to write an EPIC  poem that shamelessly links back to previous posts.

Just to be clear, I’m not calling it “epic” in order to compliment it. (Although I DO compliment my blog. I love you, blog. You’re beautiful.) No, an epic poem is one that is long, and usually about some sort of heroic feat.  The definition doesn’t stipulate what “long” means, nor does it specify what entails a “heroic feat,” so I’m going to take advantage of this loophole and refer to my work here as epic.

After all, one MIGHT say that keeping a blog is a heroic feat. I don’t know who that person is, but they very well could exist.

I’m just going to leave this here and back away slowly before you can argue with me…

It’s my one-year blogiversary
And of that, I’m pretty proud
So I thought I’d write a little ditty
Reliving my posts out loud.

How many posts have I written?
The answer’s one hundred and seven.
And in a moment of poetic perfection,
My followers are two hundred and eleven.

As you may have figured out by now,
I am a dedicated fan of cheese
I’ve tested many quesos in this joint
In search of the ones that please.

Texican Café’s was too greasy, and
Super Taco’s was way too thin.
Chili’s was a revelation:
Calling that shit “queso” should be a sin.

Shady Grove was pretty good, but
Even better was Jack Allen’s Kitchen
I could really go for some of that right now
That pork was really bitchin’.

The most recent trip: Texas Chili Parlor;
The journey started with Kerbey Lane.
Sazon was in the lead for months,
Until Mamacita’s set us aflame.

Some quesos are spooned in tortillas
Others have been dipped with chips
Some let us make our own concoctions
But they all had us licking our lips.

Let’s move on from queso now
‘Cause I could talk about it hours.
Don’t believe me? Read this love poem
That stuff has magical powers.

I’ve written about my hatred of birds
And my love for all things dolphin
I’ve admitted my desire to kidnap dogs,
Which would be an easy feat in Austin.

I’ve  penned a letter to my router
And another to my laptop
I’ve made a Christmas drinking game
And I’ve narrowly escaped a cop.

Let me think what else I’ve done
Oh! I’ve house-sat like a boss.
I’ve learned a lot from Jerry Springer,
And I’ve also defended Ross.

At times I’ve confessed to telling lies
Like that time I called 911
Or that genius scheme to steal all the chocolate,
Or what I do for Sunday fun.

My family isn’t safe from spotlight –
You’ve heard about Mom, Dad, and Grandma.
They weren’t too thrilled with my “pantyless” tale
(But they should be used to my choices by now.)

In an ideal world I’d include ALL my posts
But that poem would be meters long.
My brain is too full of useless info,
But for my finale: here’s the carb song.

Thank you to everyone who’s taken the time over this past year to read my posts, and even better, leave comments with your thoughts! I love you all, and if I were having a birthday party for my blog, I’d totally invite you over for cake. Unless the cake was that multi-layer fudgy chocolate kind, and then I’m not sharing any. You understand.

I’ve had a lot of fun so far, and am looking forward to the next kabillion years of blog-keeping! ❤

blogiversary

Queso Critique – Texas Chili Parlor

It’s been many a fortnight since my friend and I have gone on a queso quest, so we decided to pay a little visit to the Texas Chili Parlor on Saturday night. For anyone who may not know, my friend Amanda and I taste-test chips and queso at different restaurants in the Austin, Texas area. We judge the melty cheese on its consistency and flavor, and give it a score between 0 and 5.

Texas Chili Parlor is set in the spleen of downtown Austin, so naturally, our mission began with a $20 parking garage fee.  Don’t you hate parking garages? They suck you in, spin you in circles, and then spit you out on the opposite side of the building, so you have no idea where you are. They’re like concrete tornados. They’re also creepy and shadowy and murdery.

Not once have I died in a parking garage, but I’m pretty convinced that it’ll happen one day.

After leaving the concrete pit of doom, we had a short walk to the bar, which turned out to be the diviest dives of all the dives. The word “parlor” makes me think of wicker furniture and china tea sets – and this place was the exact opposite of that, complete with a flickering Bud Light sign, and a painted mural of a jungle scene. It was perfect. To add to the ambiance, a giant TV was playing the University of Texas football game, and every time they scored, the bar blared the UT fight song from the speakers. Luckily, this didn’t happen often… if you get what I’m saying.

The menu offered several different types of chili, made with various forms of animal flesh. Upon our server’s advice, we ordered our queso containing the Red XX chili, and anxiously awaited its arrival.

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Hey, Queso. How YOU doin’?

Before we mixed the chili and queso together in righteous harmony, it was important to take a few bites with only cheese. You know, for science. We both agreed that the queso had a nice cheesy flavor, but no spice. It was also rather drippy in consistency. Sans chili, this dish would’ve been ho-hum.

But the bites with chili and cheese together? An extravaganza of yum. The meat was clearly the star of the show, but the cheese was a respectable accompaniment, and together, they created beautiful music. All of my troubles melted away. I forgot all about the concrete tornado. I didn’t even touch my margarita after the food came, which should show you how distracted and in love I was.

I was fighting to keep from eating it like a soup.

This wasn’t our first experience with chili-filled queso, but this is the only one that really counts in our hearts. We gave Texas Chili Parlor an impressive 3.9 score.

The deliciousness didn’t stop there. Feeling adventurous, Amanda and I decided to order two different kinds of the Chili Mac & Cheese – one with Venison, and one with White Pork – so that we didn’t have to leave having tried only one type. Both chilis came with beans, which goes against the usual Texas tradition, though I’m not sure why.

Probably, our state just doesn’t want food to be nutritious in even the slightest of ways.

We tasted our own orders, and then quickly traded bowls and tried each other’s. It was practically an orgy of chili and cheese. If you’re disturbed by that thought, then you’ll feel even weirder to know that things got a little sweaty. No, seriously, the place was pretty warm already, and then with all the spicy chili we consumed, we got hot.

The food doesn’t look that beautiful, and the terrible lighting makes it look even worse – but it certainly tasted beautiful. The White Pork and Red XX were our favorites, with the Venison one proving somewhat inferior, yet still tasty. I will definitely be back to this place. Possibly tomorrow.

 

I usually post a link to the restaurant’s website, but the classy parlor doesn’t have one. If you’re new to my blog, visit The Reason for the Cheesin to understand this cheesy project.

Winner Winner – TWO Chicken Dinners

One of the best things about living alone is that you can eat whatever you want, and however much you want, and in whatever clothes you want, without someone else around to ruin the ambiance with their disapproving looks. As a side note, this is also a downside of living alone.

I’ve recently started on an eating plan (not to be confused with a weight loss plan) where I eat multiple dinners a night. Lots of people swear by eating 5-6 small meals or snacks a day – but this isn’t what I’ve been doing. I eat a normal-sized breakfast at 8, a normal-sized lunch at 12, and then TWO normal-sized dinners in the evening. Sometimes the dinners happen back to back, and sometimes they’re more spread out. I suppose it’s not so much an eating “plan” as it is an eating happening.

And I’m not going to lie, I’ve been enjoying it.

It started out innocently enough. One day, I ate breakfast really late in the morning, so I skipped lunch, and then found myself starving at 4:00. I decided to go ahead and eat an early dinner like the elderly person I am. Three and a half hours later, I was hungry again, and helped myself to another meal. It didn’t seem all that unreasonable.

The next day,  I ate on a more regular schedule, but when dinnertime came around, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted taco salad or nachos – so I ate both.

THAT’S RIGHT, BOTH.

Another day, I ate a chicken sandwich before I was due to babysit my friend’s daughter, because I wasn’t sure if she would’ve already eaten or not. When I got there, I learned she hadn’t eaten, and  she requested leftover pizza. So I ate some with her. It was the polite thing to do.

I realized days ago that I was headed down a problematic path, but I seem powerless to stop it.

At least twice, I’ve had a reasonably nutritious dinner cooking on my stove, and am suddenly overcome with a wave of hunger so powerful, that I’m convinced I will faint away from fatigue before my meal will finish cooking. If that happened, I’d probably knock the pan over on my way down, causing the lava-hot food to scald me and then fuse permanently to my skin. It happens. Probably. The paramedics would arrive to find me unconscious and pantsless, with bits of food stuck to my face and arms. It’d be traumatizing for them.

In order to avoid that whole scenario, I thought it best to curb my ravenous hunger by eating something else while Dinner #2 finished cooking. And that’s how I found myself eating Dinner #1 while hunched over the sink like a guilty rodent.

twodinners1

Look, the US Constitution says nothing about how many dinners a person can have, or how healthy they have to be. I will exercise my American right to take advantage of that loophole! Plus, let’s face it, if this were all happening closer to the holiday season, my overeating would practically be fashionable. It’d be RESPECTED. But no, it’s early October, so gorging myself on fatty foods is suddenly “unhealthy” and “concerning.”

You know that cliché that says that the first step to making a change is to admit you have a problem? Well, they’re wrong. I admitted early on that eating two dinners is not normal or necessary, and yet, nothing changed.

As it turns out, the true first step toward change comes with the realization that your clothes suddenly fit more snugly. Step #2 is waking up one morning to discover that you feel ill and gross and walrus-like. I’m ready for change, but I’m unclear how to go about it. My plan right now is to spend a couple of weeks on a desert island, where my meals will consist mainly of coconuts and raw monkey. I clearly won’t want two dinners there.

Anyway, I shall miss you all. Send tacos. ❤

Has anyone else ever found themselves eating multiple meals like this, or perhaps indulging much more often than you normally do? What made you realize you needed to change? What did you do to help yourself get back on track?