Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Everybody Dies Famous in a Small Town

This past weekend, I went to the hometown of former Colorado governor Roy Romer. I'm talking about Holly, Colorado. It's in the southeast corner of the state - about 3 miles from Kansas and about 45 miles from Oklahoma. The drive from Denver takes about three and a half hours and takes you through many small towns. We stop in Limon for dinner, then a pit stop in Eads to catch up with some family friends, then into Holly. On the way out, there may be a pit stop in Eads, but there's the Loaf 'N Jug in Hugo for a pit stop, fill up, and leg stretch. Side note: who knew that you could acquire a gift card for AMC theaters (nearest location over 200 miles away) at the Loaf 'N Jug in Hugo?

I was in Holly for my friend's little sister's graduation from high school. The class was 15 people and was a quick, one-hour ceremony. I had people asking me (since I am from the suburbs of Denver) what my high school graduation was like. They couldn't believe that I had over 700 people in my class, that I had to hand a slip of paper with my name and phonetic spelling on it to a teacher, and I didn't know the two people that sat next to me. Much less could they fathom the thought of a three-hour ceremony.

The ceremony for the 15 really could have been completed in 20 minutes if it were conducted similar to my high school graduation, but the small class allowed for a lot of personalization to the ceremony. Every student was able to hand a rose out to individuals in their lives that had made an impact (sobbing ensues), a video of the students through the years - from babies to their senior picture - and even as a whole class from kindergarten. The recognition of their achievements on an individual basis made this ceremony more memorable for me because I felt like I got to know all 15 students.

Which brings me to the title of this entry "Everybody Dies Famous in a Small Town". Miranda Lambert has a song of the same title that really is the epitome of small town life. Everyone in the town is like family, if not family by birth or marriage. I know more about half the town because there is always someone talking about friends and family and since my friend Kalyn lives in the city now, of course, she needs to be caught up. I realized all of this because I, too, not only asked about people, but people mentioned to me things that had been going on in my life since my last trip for Holly Fair (a weekend in September with horse races - read: tailgating - a town dinner prepared by the senior class, a street dance, parade, livestock auction, and parties) and realized that the grapevine was in full effect.

There is a certain charm to small town life. It has it's own pace of life. I don't know if I could live the life, but weekends at a time, it's a great life. And who wouldn't want to be famous, if just for a weekend?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jen Lancaster Love or Why I Realize I Am Not the Only One Who Thinks Asshats Are Everywhere

Last month, my friend Chelsea, a/k/a A Colorado Cupcake, started a book club. See Bright Lights, Big Ass. She chose the second book from Jen Lancaster. Naturally, I needed to read the first (not needed nor required, but I thought, I had a month, why not?) book to get myself acquainted with her writing style. By the way, it is super easy to read along with her train of thought because it is essentially every neurotic thought that every woman has while trying to complete the most mundane to the most exhilarating task. Her books read like journal entries, retelling stories from her day and adventures that she had dealt with. At the beginning and end of every chapter, you get a little slice of hilarity sandwich with a one-sided email or letter to her neighbors from a fake home owners' association.

Bitter is the New Black:
Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered, Smartass, or
Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office

Bitter is the story about how Jen and her husband Fletch went from an internet boom, power couple, to living unemployment check to unemployment check, being evicted, living in the "ghetto" of Chicago (not the Southside), and how slowly, their lives would turn around. From hitting rock bottom, Jen realizes that she was irresponsible with her money and vows to never reach that level again. Even if it means temping at the worst imaginable places possible.

Bright Lights, Big Ass:
A Self-Indulgent, Surly Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, or
Who Are All These Idiots and Why Do They Live Next Door to Me?

Bright Lights is a continuation of Jen's foray into professional writing and preparing for all that entails. From the tour, to editing, to realizing that she's surrounded by idiots, Jen talks more of her neuroses with Fletch and why people never cease to amaze her in the levels of f*cktard they can achieve. She also speaks of the Revised Holy Trinity: Target, Trader Joe's, and IKEA. While Denver doesn't have a Trader's or IKEA - read: please open one soon - I do know the joys of these retailers from my sojourns to find them. Jen is literally preaching to the choir.

Such a Pretty Fat
One Narcissist's Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or
Why Pie Is Not the Answer

Pretty Fat is the book that really solidified why I think I am Jen Lancaster, just 16 years younger. We have the same sense of humor, the self-confidence, and the ability to ignore external factors that would down-trodden others. I know that I may never be a size zero, I will be a fit bitch. Ha.

Pretty in Plaid:
A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or
the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart Ass Phase

Pretty is Jen's latest book. Although I am currently reading for this month's book club (Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin) I plan on running out to pick up my copy of Pretty - along with campaigning that Jen have her book tour extended to include a stop in Denver.

For more from Jen Lancaster and to see where she will be on her book tour for Pretty in Plaid, visit


Ah Gravity, Thou Art a Heartless Bitch

From my previous post of Things I Have Learned in My 26 Years, I have had my fair share of falls. I am naturally clumsy and have lost my battle with gravity on more than one occasion. And those occasions? Are sober. (Not all, but I have been falling since I was a kid.)

I do attribute my lack of balance to genetics, mostly. My research indicates that my mother has a tough time with balance (Company Christmas Party from 2003 - Dance Floor + Cosmos = my mom) and comparatively so with my maternal grandpa who actually had a diagnosis of an inner ear problem. (See, I'm not crazy.)

I will take you through my worst, and perhaps funniest losses with gravity.

(There aren't a lot of memories I have of falling before 1991, but I can assure you that I fell. A lot.)

1991 - Lowell Blvd between 104th and 103rd
So, I was stellar at riding my sweet Schwinn bike. It was pink and awesome. For anyone who has lived in the suburbs of Denver, it is surprisingly hilly. You would never know that your street was really a 12% grade decline because you thought it is just an awesome street to ride down. I was on one of those streets (Lowell) when, somehow, once I started to go fast, I mixed up my braking ability with my ability to flail about uncontrollably. A screech of tires and slam of me and my awesome pink bike into the rocks and fence later, I had one of the most painful injuries I can remember: skinning my palms. With a piece of gravel in it. OUCH is right. I still have the scar from that fall on my palm. I swear I am having phantom pains just reliving it right now.

1993 - Noah's Ark (Shout out) After School
I can remember this day vividly. I was lining up to go outside to play and I saw that I needed to tie my shoe. So, naturally instead of just squatting down to tie it, I swing my foot up onto the piano bench next to me. Not being able to gauge my placement of my foot, I put weight behind it to balance myself to tie my shoe. Bad judge of distance. I only had my toes on the bench and the resulting force caused my shin to slide down the edge of the bench. Since there's no muscle on your actual shin, there was no bleeding, just a stinging of white. To this day, I have a divot in my shin from the chunk the piano bench took out.

1994 - My Grandmother's House
So I was helping my Grandmother take groceries in the house from the Bronco. (Yep. I remember the car. It was red, in case you care.) Anyways, I was standing still, not moving, not holding anything, and my ankle gives out. One emergency trip later (since I was in Belen, NM, home of the Tastee Freeze and my first Cherry Limeade from Sonic - I told you I have vivid memories of injuries.) I have a sprained ankle. From just standing there. On two feet. Awesome.

1995 - Rockies Game at Mile High
Walking through the parking lot, I was weaving in and out of cars...somehow, I manage to pass a license plate a little too closely and instead of grazing with my knee and getting a rug burn type encounter, I manage to stumble, bend the corner of the plate and slice open my knee. We missed the first couple of innings so that I could get First Aid at the stadium. Yes, with this one, I still have the scar. And a vivid image of the flesh under skin.

1996 - Science Class with Mr. McAllister
Being the kiss ass that I was (some may argue "am"), I was passing papers back to people. I was walking past Stephanie Koutavous (memory like a steel trap) and thought that I had side stepped her foot, I manage to get tangled up in my own. From there, instead of catching myself, brace myself on a desk inches from either side, I land square on my knees. So, I manage to create a "BOOM" with my knees on the elevated floor and I get two baseball sized bruises on both knees. In middle school, I was completely embarrassed that I had bruises on my knees. Ridicule ensues.

(I'm guessing the void in embarrassing memories from this point until my next memory is due to the fact that middle school and high school are a blur for the fact that I have pushed most memories of the awkwardness from my mind.)

2004 - Outside the Business School at Colorado State
So, being in my final semester and having three part-time jobs (two of which I was PAYING to do, one of which I was slated to do - thank you, Delta Delta Delta) I thought that I would bring my books to campus and study in between classes and when I was "working". Please note: This is COMPLETELY out of character for me. Attending class and studying in advance of a test is a feat of Olympic proportions in my world. So having a loaded down backpack, I proceed down the steps (looking back, I am thankful that I wasn't leaving until after the next class started). I miss a step (perception is a problem - demonstrated) and proceed to somersault forward down the stairs landing on my back. Having been the prepared student, all of my books in my backpack essentially created a turtle shell on my back. So as I am trying to rock side to side to get up, I really look like a turtle who can't turn over. I'll let you picture that one for a second. I did leave this tumble without a mark, though.

2005 - Outside Public House (my former second home)
I am awesome. Let's start there. Next, we'll introduce alcohol, my favorite bartenders, heels and steep cement stairs. As previously mentioned, I have the grace and balance of a ballerina, so adding alcohol makes all the more enjoyable to see me. I am at the top of the stairs facing the door as we are getting ready to hail a cab home. I should mention that as the bars close in Denver, the cops are stationed (both on and off duty) around the bars to make sure that the crowds don't get out of hand. So, I'm at the top of the stairs, on the edge. As I turn to look at someone or something, I manage to move my right stiletto heel a millimeter enough that when I go to put pressure on my heel again, I can sense that there is something about to happen. (Cue the Culture Club's "I'll Tumble 4 Ya") I manage to somersault backwards down the six steps and stand up...naturally, like Kerry Strug. I also manage to make eye contact with the cops watching me, point to them and say, "Don't worry! I'm not driving!", turn around, hail a cab and take my bruised self home. Classic. And to all my witnesses, thank you for never letting me forget and for giving your play-by-play when we reenact the whole thing.

2008 - The Elevator of My Building
I had thrown out my back the day before kicking my laundry basket in the door to my apartment. Being a in miserable state, my mother came to aide me and get me set up for the day since I would not be moving. (There is a time-released muscle relaxer involved.) I should also mention that with pain medication I get the worst of the side effects. So, after going downstairs to get a quick bagel, I am riding my elevator because I have an overwhelming nauseous feeling. As I look up at the elevator making it to the 2nd floor (I lived on 4) I then wake up on the floor of the elevator between the hallway and the elevator. I have a cut face and black eye from the door tracks, and the relentless elevator door is slamming on my leg. Over. And over. And over. Thankfully, I didn't have any scars on my money maker, but seven months later, I still have the bruise on my leg. From. The. Damn. Door.

2009 - My Birthday on the Sidewalks of Denver
To be fair, I had on platform, 5" heels. And several cocktails. And I still think I defy gravity. Anyways, I stumble my way to the cab from the bar that I was "asked" to leave. From there, I look at my knee once I'm home and sure enough, there's a huge raspberry of where my intact knee was. Two months later, I have the makings of what I assume will be a scar.

2009 - Kitchen Table/Harry's Water and Food Bowl
This happened yesterday and is the inspiration for this post. I was opening my mail and as I went to sit down on my chair, or where I thought my chair was (distance once again) - thinking back, why would my chair be all the way to the left, not in the center, where it usually is? Anyways, I go to sit and realize too late that I am no where near my chair, but positioned over my dog's water and food bowls. So, left cheek in the water, right cheek on the food, right elbow on the chair (where the chair should be) and left elbow on the bookcase. I now have nice semi-circles of different sizes on my ass and bruises along the length of my arms since my elbows were bent allowing for more surface area to bruise in a small amount of space. I am now learning how I really sit on my butt and how often my elbows touch things.

I think after writing this, I have a perception problem more than a klutz problem. I cannot judge distance and therefore my abilities to navigate through life are skewed and definitely troublesome when coupled with gravity. C'est la vie. At least I know First Aid and have the ability to laugh at myself.