30 dollars to make you holler.

The 10 best things that $30ish has bought this spring:

1. Membership on a Tempe coed soccer league with Jim and 20 of our closest friends. We are terrible and uncoordinated but we play hard and occasionally we don’t get injured.

2. Chiropractic care. Because somehow — between sitting in a small, square cube for nine hours a day — and sleeping seven hours a night, I find ways to pop nearly every part of my back and hips out of place. The good doctor saves me from myself.

3. Delicious sushi here. Many times. You have to go. Have to.

4. A ticket to see Eric Hutchinson perform at the Crescent Ballroom. Moving up, living down.
5. Baby gifts for my friends who are having lots of babies. Well, they’re only having one baby each, but all together it adds up to a lot of teeny tiny clothing.

6. Mother’s Day brunch with my mom. Cinnamon roll french toast is as good as it sounds.

7. Succulents! The name alone is worth the price tag. I felt a compulsion to garden so I bought little cacti-succulent thingies and special cactus soil. So what if it’s only been two weeks and one is already half-dead, it was the experience that made it worthwhile. I think.
8. My monthly gas bill. Exciting? Not. But in warmer months it’s about $25 a month, to offset gargantuan Arizona electric bills, and that ain’t bad.

9. 40 pounds of dry dog food. It keeps my loves happy.

10. Presumably, a share or two of some sort of investment fund I don’t understand in my 401(k). This will perhaps help me retire before I’m 106.

“so good”

I love my brother for lots and lots of reasons. One of the more bizarre ones is that everyday, without fail, he sends me an email with a link to something interesting, that I never would’ve come across on my own. I think it’s his personal commitment to ensure I stay intelligent and cool.

Sometimes he’ll send news articles on how nauseating AZ politics are, or why I shouldn’t drink out of plastic water bottles…sometimes it’s a time-lapsed video of the earth from space (he’s a self-proclaimed time-lapse video nerd…yeah, those exist)…and other times it’s an obscene joke or new album I should download.

This week I got an email with the subject line, “so good.”

So like a jerk, I waited three days to actually sit down and watch the video – because I’m really busy and important and whatnot. But when I finally watched it today I was riveted. RIVETED.

This makes me so happy. It makes me want to dance around, dressed as a hipster teenager. And I’ve now watched it four times.

I recommend you take three minutes and 26 seconds to watch it, too. You’ll be snapping your fingers and smiling after. Promise.

Adult Foam Party

I think anyone that went to college between 1995 and 2005 is familiar with the infamous foam party. To those falling outside those years, this phenomena can be explained as a cheap night club filling it’s entire capacity with foam for young people to dance around in (and hopefully not die), while wearing bathing suits and moving awkwardly to house music.

Where the foam came from? No idea. Magical foam machines I assume.

I went to one such party when I was 20 at a classy joint called Club Rio in Tempe. And despite feeling slightly awesome for doing something the cool kids were doing, I was mostly terrified and fighting for breath the entire time. Girls Gone Wild was filming in the parking lot if that gives any indication of the type of place I was at or the caliber of university I attended…

I had flashbacks that night to when I was seven years old and fire fighters came to my summer camp to dispense a bunch of foam for campers to play in. I got it in my eyes. Cried. Brother laughed hysterically at me and still feels remorse.

Flash forward almost a decade and I’m ready to tackle it again. Only this time it’ll be part of a 5k race with mud and army-like obstacles. I’m completely terrified but also pretty excited. Assuming I exit unscathed, I’ll post a follow-up next week. Until then, feast your eyes on the course and details here.

If Mad Men Was Real Life

If Mad Men was real life, here are the things I would love:

1. The women are classy. So damn classy. They are beautiful and sexy without any cleavage or tush on display. They are subtly powerful and delightfully refined. No hair pulling or foul language, just perfectly set hair, gorgeous red lipstick and meticulously tailored dresses. I want to dress up just to watch the show.

2. There is a lot of booze and napping on couches at the office. I honestly don’t know how this would work out in my current workplace, but it’s definitely a point to ponder — the secret to how people were essentially always working with a smile had to be the napping and cocktails. This I guarantee.

3. Everything got done without cell phones or computers. People got up, walked across the floor and spoke to each other. It seems dynamo. And like a much nicer way to interact and do business. Sure, it inhibits the whole global marketplace idea, but there are telegrams for that.

4. Men with fantastic manners. I guess opening doors and holding elevators is still commonplace. But to have all the men in a room stand up any time I entered might be a nice touch, too.

There also are some things I don’t like so much. So here’s what would have to go if the show ever was to become my real life:

1. Cigarettes are yucky. But they’re all over this show…sometimes I cough just from watching. I don’t think people in the 1960s understood there was TAR in them and they make you die.

2. The glass ceiling was more like a concrete fortress. I mean — I guess I wouldn’t have time to work anyway, since I’d be so busy putting up my hair, wearing beautiful dresses and waiting for men to stand up when I entered room, but it’d be nice to have the option.

3. Times were tough. We think we have it bad now, but it was an entirely different era. Wars defined the way people acted and there were fewer freedoms than we’re blessed with today. (Although people really valued what we had fought for though – that I like.)

4. Deadbeat Dads. Men were responsible for about 2-percent of parenting duties, which seems dreadfully unfair. I know, I know, the beautifully dressed mothers seemed to have more time, since the glass ceiling kept them from working, but still – totally unfair. Especially since there were no video games to babysit said children in moments of temporary insanity.

 

Honey Bunches of Trivial

According to this box, ingredients in Honey Bunches of Oats “add a trivial amount of saturated fat and cholesterol.”

That sounds entirely too vague to be FDA-approved, but was a good reminder of how even the simplest message can be interpreted in different ways. What’s ‘trivial’ to one person could be life-threatening to another. And while it seems like a basic snippet of information, I can only imagine the countless emails, debates and legal reviews that were behind the approval of this wording.

This is why I like working in communications. I know what it’s like to be misled or under-informed, and I enjoy working to keep others from ever feeling that way. It’s definitely not an exact science — nor is it easy — but I value being a connection between people, change and information.

There are times when it’s hard to communicate with someone else, even face-to-face in the same language. It gets exponentially trickier when more variables come into play, like different cultures or personality types. But I compare successful communication to international travel. It’s the equivalent of reaching an important understanding with someone in a foreign language (think exaggerated sign language and slow, loud speech). I think I’ve come close to tears of joy upon learning something as simple as where the bathroom is in a strange city.

I don’t always know the right way to say things, but it’s good to know I’m a step above cereal box ambiguity. It’s also good to know the delicious oat clusters I’ve enjoyed for years are not quite as healthy as I thought…

By Mennen!

What’s the difference? You know they way I work, I’m like a commercial jingle. First it’s a little irritating, then you hear it a few times, you hum it in the shower, by the third date it’s “By Mennen!” -George Costanza, Episode 142, The Chicken Roaster

I love every Seinfeld episode, this one particularly. As part of the plot, George sings his own last name in the same key as the “By Mennon” jingle. Eventually, it gets completely lodged into your brain.

I like this tactic, and often find myself singing random words aloud in the same key — although I mostly just receive strange looks in return.

This week I’ve read several articles touting the power of a personal slogan or mantra, whether to gain motivation on long distance runs or engage in a successful conversations at work. It seems that establishing your own MO is an important factor in success.

I have no idea if it really works, but I’m willing to try it out. Even if it doesn’t work, it’s still cheaper than a sable Russian hat from the J. Peterman catalog.