Things I'm Awesome At

Last week I wrote a scathing open letter to Good Morning America after they did an “interview” potraying Internet celeb Jenna Marbles in a not-so-kind light. One example of why I love Jenna so much is that she comes off as confident and comfortable in her own skin. Her most recent video, Things I’m Awesome At,  lists some of the not-so-ordinary things that she’s really good at, and encourages her fans to make lists of their own and post them in a place that they’ll be able to see them easily when they’re feeling sad.
I’ve been really stressed out lately. This coming week, I have finals (if you know me, you know the mere mention of the word “test” is enough to make me run for the special stomach-flu bucket), and my oldest cat Angel has surgery scheduled to clean and possibly extract two of her teeth. I’ve had to manipulate my work schedule so that I can take time off for Angel’s vet appointments (because of her age, she’ll be having a round of pre-op labs to make sure that she won’t have adverse affects to anesthetic), and I’m feeling stretched incredibly thin. So, with a rough week up ahead, I thought it might be a really good time to make myself a pick-me-up list of my abilities. So, I present to you, Things I’m Awesome At.
Googling Things
Is ‘googling’ a verb? Well, it should be, because I freaking rock at looking things up on Google. If you need to know something, and it is present anywhere on the Internet, you bet your ass I will find that shit for you. People text me and instant message me all the time, asking me if I know things. Need to know when the post office closes? I can find that for you! Want to know the calories in a Dairy Queen mini Cookie Dough blizzard? I’ve got that right here (I’m not going to put it in this post though, because trust me….you don’t want to know. Just eat the thing and enjoy it). I think my amazing Google search skills may have come from my job doing directory assistance. I learned to isolate the key words and phrases in order to find the information I wanted, and to find it quickly. Or maybe I was just born with fabulous Internet-information-finding skills. Whatever the origin of my gift, as long as I have access to the Internet, I will be able to Google myself into or out of anything I please.
Remembering Phone Numbers and Addresses
The other day, Paul and I went to Petsmart. As we were checking out, the clerk ringing me up asked if I had a reward card. I’d lost the little card ages ago, but I told her I had a phone number and rattled off my old California home phone number. “I can’t believe you remembered that,” Paul had said to me as we walked through the parking lot. See, I have a mind like a steel trap for phone numbers. I also retain addresses. I could still tell you every address of everywhere I have ever lived, with the exception of the house I was born in (we moved away from there before I was old enough to remember much of anything). My knack at remembering phone numbers far predates my employment at the phone company: I still remember a fourteen-year-old me, in the backseat of my parents’ car, rattling off the realtor’s phone number for my mom as we were house-hunting. Of course, this may be a dying skill, because nowadays I just enter people’s phone numbers into my cell phone and never look at the actual number in the contact again. But any number that I physically dial, I will remember.
Making Ordinary Things Sound Dirty
Ever seen one of those bumper stickers that say, “If it weren’t for the gutter, my mind would be homeless”? Well….yeah. That’s me. Call it immaturity, but I just think I have a way with words. If you’re telling me about your wood, your bush, or how long something is….I’m probably going to giggle and I may even reply to whatever you’ve said with , “Heh, you said *insert word I’m making dirty*”. Luckily, most of the people I choose to be in the company of, appreciate this skill or have it themselves. Yes, it may be slapstick humor at best, but if I’m going to do it, at least I ROCK it.
Making Random, Senseless Music Playlists
When I was growing up, my parents primarily listened to country music, and although I tried to deny this part of myself for years, the truth is that I do enjoy some of the artists and songs. To go to the complete other side of the spectrum, I went through a brief semi-Goth phase during my first semester of college, during which I painted my nails black, wore all-black clothing, and tested the limits of the speakers in my ’99 Mustang as I blasted metal as high as I could stand to listen to it. In the middle are several other non-related musical genres that I have loved: my high school obsession was with the Backstreet Boys, my brother got me into Green Day, and in my twenties I fell head-over-heels in love with Pink. Now, all my varied tastes are incorporated into my iTunes library, and even though I’m getting better about making playlists grouping artists whose sounds are alike, there still remains a large variety when I hit Shuffle. Would Metallica be happy knowing that as soon as they play the last strains of Wherever I May Roam, that I will be belting out a Carrie Underwood song? I don’t know, but listeners beware: my playlists are eclectic. You’ve been warned.
Making Delicious Desserts
I wouldn’t say I necessarily suck at cooking. I haven’t put enough effort into it during my lifetime to know whether or not I suck at it. I do know that I don’t particularly enjoy it, and since I was lucky enough to find a boyfriend that does, I’ve pretty much managed to stay out of the kitchen during meal preparations.
Surprisingly enough, even though cooking does absolutely nothing for me, I looooove to bake. I used to really enjoy making cookies or brownies after school when I was younger, and that passion was reignited when cupcake places became trendy. Paul and I have sampled quite a few different cupcakes from different bakeries, and a couple years ago I thought, hey, I can do this. So I started whipping up cupcakes and taking them to work. Paul indulged me and bought me a really nice Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas so that I could do my baking. Then I sort of drifted away from the hobby as Paul and I began watching what we ate, and I stopped baking until last fall, when I discovered Pinterest. At first I had no clue what the point of the site was, but then I had an aha moment when I found that I could pin recipes for desserts. For some reason, I was instantly drawn to the cookies. There are just so many cool ideas out there! I resumed my baking hobby as the weather turned cold, and have produced some really fantastic treats. I’ve made pumpkin spice thumbprints, red velvet cookies, Andes mint cookies, cake batter cookies…the list goes on and on (I’ve taken pictures as I do the recipes, but I rarely getting around to actually posting them on my blog…I need to get better at that).
Well, that’s probably a good start to a list of things I’m awesome at. I’m posting it here not only to brag (I am bragging just a little) but also to have it nearby if I ever feel sad and need to look at it for encouragement.
What things are you awesome at?

An Open Letter to GMA

Dear Good Morning America,
Let me start by saying, I have a huge girl crush on YouTube sensation Jenna Mourey, aka Jenna Marbles, the 26-year-old woman who couldn’t land a steady-paying job after earning her masters degree, but became famous by posting funny videos of herself on the internet. Jenna’s weekly videos range from rants to updates about her life to comedic craziness.
I only recently discovered Jenna, and it was love at first click. She’s an animal-loving, foul-mouthed girl who, although reportedly shy in person, gets in front of her webcam and spews forth all sorts of opinions on the world that, quite frankly, a lot of us are thinking and just don’t have the guts to say out loud. The New York Times recently described Jenna as “The Woman With 1 Billion Clicks” for her widespread internet fame. Although her YouTube channel was new to me, it appears I live under a rock because pretty much everyone I’ve asked has heard of her. The reactions are mixed – some people find her hilarious, while others are turned off by her swearing and sometimes-racy content – but I find her hysterical and have spent more hours than I care to admit watching her videos. So, I was excited this week to see that one of your reporters, Cecilia Vega, sat down to interview Jenna, and was looking forward to learning more about her.
Quite frankly, GMA…to say I was disappointed is an understatement. The footage that actually aired on your show sucked. All Cecilia really did is add a tick counter tallying the times that Jenna said the word ‘ridiculous’ when describing her fame and fans, and asked her questions about whether she thought she “deserved” to have as many fans as she does. Although I read on Jenna’s blog that she spent about an hour talking with Cecilia, nothing of substance made it to airtime. Instead, Jenna was left looking like a ditzy blonde with nothing to say (you can watch the video here).
What the fuck, GMA? If you weren’t interested in hearing how this girl rose to fame by making videos on the internet, then don’t talk to her. Don’t waste your time or hers if you’re not actually interested in reporting about her life. If you don’t find her achievements newsworthy, then don’t put her in a segment.
Airing that “interview” was a major dick move on your part. I get that Jenna’s sense of humor isn’t for everyone, and that’s totally okay with me. What’s NOT okay with me is to feign interest in a person just so that you can interview them for an hour straight, hack up that interview and select a few minutes’ worth of footage (tops) to air out of context, and make your interview subject look like an idiot. Your passive-aggressive mocking of Jenna Marbles would piss me off even if I didn’t adore her, because it was shoddy reporting. You took an opportunity to reveal a more vulnerable side of someone who made her success by being funny, and instead you mocked her and made her look like a joke. Jenna’s fans are fierce, and I’ve already seen Cecilia Vega suffering the much-deserved backlash on Facebook and Twitter.
What we Jenna Marbles fans want, GMA, is for you to stick Cecilia in front of a camera, and tell her to publicly apologize for that ridiculous (yes, I said ridiculous…twice!) report that she broadcasted. If you do that, if you admit that it was a stupid and pointless segment that you shouldn’t have allowed to air, if you force Cecilia to do the right thing and apologize, I think you could probably recover a bit from this misstep. But if you just march ahead, and pretend this never happened, you’re going to offend Jenna’s fanbase….and I must say, it takes a pretty sleazy act to offend us.


Yesterday morning, after lamenting the trials he’d experienced prior to arriving at work, my boss commented, “You know, I try to keep perspective. I try to keep in mind that somewhere, there’s someone wishing they were having my bad morning.”
I appreciated the sentiment of his idea – that there were people all over the world facing far worse than he was, wishing that their biggest problem was bad traffic or car trouble or sleeping through an alarm. I had no idea just how much his words would ring true to me by the end of the day. But as our Monday unfolded, I was faced first with the not entirely unexpected but still saddening passing of a coworker’s mother, followed of course by the bombings of the Boston Marathon. The news trickled into us, and we first learned that there were explosions at the finish line of the race, then that people were gravely injured, and then that there had been fatalities. As the afternoon gave way to evening, there was nothing whatsoever about my day that could seem bad in comparison to what was going on in Boston, or in the home of my coworker as he coped with loss.
I continually find myself horrified at the violence that’s becoming more and more commonplace in this country. Anywhere we go – to the airport, to school, to the movies, to run marathons – we run the risk of someone harming us. I don’t understand it. I look at all the violence and I feel like I’m in a world I can’t possibly comprehend. But then, I see the people who are working to help the injured, to aid the victims, and that sentiment, that feeling of community and helping those in need…that I understand.
There are some bad people in this world. There are people who are mentally ill who don’t or can’t get the help they need, so they end up doing terrible things. There are people who do awful deeds in the name of a god that they believe they are serving loyally. And there are evil people, people who do cruel and sick things because it brings them pleasure to do so. What comforts me is that there are also a lot of good people in this world too. There are people who run towards gunshots and explosions to save others, at their own expense. There are people who give of themselves, their time, their money, to make a difference for the better. The good people bring me hope that there’s more to expect from our future than just senseless hate and violence.
There’s a quote I love from the movie Where the Heart Is, and even though the situation in the movie surrounding the quote is totally different than the situation we face in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, I still found myself mulling it over yesterday and thought it worthy of sharing.
“You tell them, we’ve all got meanness in us. But we’ve got good in us too. And the only thing worth living for is the good. And that’s why we’ve got to make sure we pass it on.”
united with boston

Trip to the Tulips

Last Thursday, I decided to take a day off from work so that Paul and I could go to Mt. Vernon and enjoy the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I’ve been a big fan of the festival since Paul took me to my first one back in 2008, and I was excited to see the beautiful gardens again.
A little history: the Tulip Festival began in 1984, and now runs every April 1st-30th. Thousands of people come to see the tulips, journeying from different states and even from different countries (in 2012, there were visitors from 53 foreign countries!).
We picked the Roozengaarde garden. There is an admission fee of $5/person, but I felt it was well worth it as they had a great variety of tulips in addition to fields of daffodils. Paul caught me in a photo as we checked out the daffodils.
Roozen Gaarde (30)-M
I took some amateur photos with the camera Paul got me for Valentine’s Day, but the pictures Paul himself shot were the most breathtaking ones. His gallery is available here.
After we had toured Roozengaarde, we drove to La Conner for lunch. We were both pretty hungry, and were drawn in by the smells of the La Conner Pub and Eatery. Paul had a burger while I enjoyed a French Dip.
After lunch, we walked out to the waterfront and watched as seals frolicked in the waters of the Swinomish Channel. When the seals went on their way, we did as well, stopping in at the Courtyard Gallery on our way back to the car after some of the glass art displayed in the windows caught our eye. When we were in Hawaii, we had gone into a Wayland gallery which also displayed glass art, and Paul had seen some glass waves that he absolutely loved. We were excited when we saw that the Courtyard Gallery also had glass waves, undoubtedly made by the same artist we’d seen the work of in Hawaii (I did some checking and the artist is David Wright). While in the gallery, we also fell in love with a Red Salmon Chandelier made by artist Scott Chambers. I would definitely recommend a trip to the gallery to anyone. They have beautiful pieces!
We moved on from La Conner, making one more stop at Deception Pass before we headed home. I love Deception Pass! On a sunny day, the views of the turquoise water and surrounding scenery are fabulous!
Our day out was fabulous. It was a great way to spend time together and enjoy spring!
Roozen Gaarde (69)-M

Hello, April!

This week marked two very special anniversaries for me. The first was my three-year anniversary as a Washingtonian. Yep, it’s been three whole years since I packed up and left California for the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and three years in I am still loving it! The second was my two-year anniversary with Customer Relations. This is the only job I’ve ever had that continues to challenge me and lets me learn new things all the time.
In addition to my two anniversaries, this week was also my very first time instructing a Zumba class. I am psyched! My awesome friend Kate and I are teaching Zumba on Tuesday evenings at the gym in our office building. Although the turnout at our first class was small, we hope that we will generate more interest as time goes on and that attendance will grow.
Veronica Zumba                     Me, on the day I got my Zumba Instructor License
Now that it’s April and we are having some milder weather, I am excited to start enjoying some outdoor activities! Paul and I will be going next week to enjoy the tulip festival in Mount Vernon, and on April 27th I will be participating in the March of Dimes. Click here if you would like to donate to my team, Ounces of Love!
Happy spring to all! What fun things do you have planned for April?