Long Time, No Guilt Trip

Remember that time I didn’t blog for awhile and then I just started a new blog without any explanations? Me too!

I firmly believe people are both the best and the worst thing about life. Out of nowhere a person can make your day by holding the door open for you, buying you a handful of diamonds just because, or giving you a compliment on how good you’re looking lately. But people can also make you wish you lived in the middle of the forest alone. Completely alone without any axe-wielding killers or neighbors reporting you for watering your lawn during a drought like there’s a reward on the line for them or any animals at all, even birds because it’s all fun and games until a bird is flying all over your house shitting on your quaint straw bed and in your cauldron full of stew or macaroni and cheese depending on what your electricity situation is out in BFE.

Here are just a few of the annoying things people do that should result in their being voted off the island of earth:

1. Being really emphatic about defending pit bulls. Like it’s their job to prove pit bulls are more cuddly than Care Bears. I’m sure there are some really nice, gentle pit bulls. But there are also some nice murderers. Like that well-educated, elderly fellow from Silence of the Lambs.


Pit Bull Stare

2. The people at Websters who legitimize retarded words by putting them in the dictionary. Like romantical. This is the real reason shit is going to hell in a cheaply woven hand basket. If they put bae in there I am going to move to Canada or maybe just threaten to move there like all those sometime patriots on Facebook after anything newsworthy and political happens. Bye, Felicia!

3. Speaking of Facebook, what is up with those people who post only half a miserable thought like “people sure know how to ruin a good day”? If you’re gonna start to say something, let your balls drop all the way and explain what was done to you. The venting will be cathartic for your soul to say nothing of what the information will do to my amusement meter. Otherwise, stop treading on my big, polluted island.

My Amusement Meter Goes to 11

My Amusement Meter Goes to 11

4. The person who invented iced tea. Can it just go away? It is less a low-cost, semi-healthy beverage and more like a glass of strained dirt mixed with the sink water after I do dishes. What’s that old expression- when life gives you a yard full of dirt and some ice cubes, make iced tea? Yeah, didn’t think so- lemonade is superior in every way.

5. Fools that go to the drive thru in a fast food place and have to open their doors to order. Maybe, just maybe your discretionary cash should go toward a more practical application.


6. People who take small talk a little too far until just can’t hold my fake smile anymore. Especially at work when I have nowhere to be and can’t get away and it’s literally my job to be nice to you. Don’t make me use my cell phone and make a fake call to my work phone.


7. That neighbor I have who is all about that bass that rattles every window in my house, my soul and my teeth. And not at all about common courtesy or noise ordinances or having a face free of terrifying tattoos.

8. Anyone who refers to wearing a certain color lipstick as “having a red/pink/fat lip,” anyone who thinks “you got this” is the ultimate in motivating speeches, anyone who relishes telling someone else they’re “naughty” or “trouble” and anyone who means “I enjoyed that” but instead says “that didn’t suck.”

9. Older people who use expressions the kids use especially when said expressions have been over for a decadeish. My dad used to relish calling himself the “mac daddy” in front of large groups of my friends. That was the worst offense I had seen until I happened upon a commercial for Real Housewives of New York City and saw this:


Imagine how many middle aged women are now saying this and how many 30ish black guys are looking at them thinking, “don’t flatter yourself, bae.”


Five Truths and a Lie or The Art of Compliment Deflection

I have started writing this blog four times now because I almost have too much to say and it’s all trying to come out at once, like when I was a kid and I’d shake up a can of soda and hand it to some unsuspecting small child or senior citizen. Bonus points if it was Pepsi and they were wearing white. Unfortunately I never did that but even thinking about it is sort of satisfying, not gonna lie.

A lot has happened in my life lately. I went to Hawaii and got engaged, I got a new job, I met a really cool lady who does scary accurate tarot card readings, I watched the movie Wild and alternated between sort of bored, really deeply moved and extremely convinced Reese was about to get raped. Maybe I’m hyper paranoid but I truly felt like it was the goal of the director to constantly make it seem like Reese was about to get put in a pretzel and left for dead in the middle of nowhere. That’s why I don’t go on hikes that last hundreds of miles. Because of an elevated risk for rape and also because I just could not rip my own toenail off. If I had a list of things I could not do the toenail ripping off would be on there right along with growing my armpit hair out or drinking tea. In related news (because Laura Dern was Reese’s mom in Wild) I only recently found out that Laura Dern was Bruce Dern’s daughter. It never even occurred to me that they would be related and then I saw them together on the red carpet and thought for the first time about their shared last name and was sort of grossed out for a second thinking they were married.

That’s how things are with me. Really big, quasi important things happen to me but I get fixated on a two hour movie and think about it too much. Earlier this week I was helping my fiance by answering phones for his business when I got a call from someone wanting a large quantity of sod for the next day. Here’s how it went:
Him: Hi I was wondering if I could get some sod.
Me: Sure. How many square feet did you need and what city are you in?
Him: 5700 and San Jose.
Me: Okay and when did you need it?
Him: Tomorrow.
Me: Unfortunately sir we are full for tomorrow. For that big an order I could get you in next Tuesday.
Him: (long pause followed by a sigh) Are you mad at me?
Me: (laughing) I could never be mad at you.
Him: When’s the last time you got truly pissed?
Me: Gosh, it’s been years.
Him: (pausing) Okay just checking. Thank you for your help.

I have thought about that call many times since because I just can’t fathom how this dude exists in the world, asking random customer service associates questions like that out of the blue. I have to think he’d get hung up on a lot but then maybe make some really strange friends once in awhile too.

Luckily or unluckily something happened to me yesterday to bump that conversation out of the running in things I wonder about. A customer came into my best friend’s store where I was working, a dude who is a regular and a pretty nice, genuine guy.
Him: Hey, how’s it going?
Me: Awesome. We’ve been super busy today (the result of an idea my friend and I had on Thursday afternoon to give away free mini strawberry shortcakes to everyone coming into her store, which I promoted with an email imploring people to “take a cake break.” Turns out people love nothing more than cake except free cake and we had our hands full).
Him: Yeah? Cool.
Me: You should try the flavored water. We infused it with dried fruit.
Him: Okay…Wow, it’s good…You look really pretty today.
Me: Thanks…You look really pretty every day.

I swear to God I said that to a grown ass blue collar man. Partly because I am just sort of hard wired to return compliments with compliments and partly because I am just really strange sometimes. It’s a good thing he’s a guy because if he were a quirky chick he might waste too much time wondering how I exist in the world saying dumb things all the time. Fair enough, sir, fair enough.

13 Going on 34

I’m sure there are a ton of kids who, like Tom Hanks before them, spent their childhoods just wanting to be Big. Kids who had dreams of a life with no bedtime where they could have candy for every meal and not have to deal with adults on power trips. I never wanted to grow up faster because time was always moving faster than I wanted it to anyway. Now I am grown up, reaching that point in my 30s where any friends that don’t have kids and want them start to get that look in their eyes that I remember from my early 20s at last call at the bar. Some of them have stopped liking their own birthdays and others are bemoaning the first appearance of gray hair. Maybe it’s because I don’t want kids and don’t have any gray yet that I never gave any real thought to my aging until yesterday when something kinda funny/not funny happened.

I was on a mini road trip with one of my oldest guy friends when we were talking about how shitty Hollywood treats older actresses vs how Hollywood and everyone ever treats aging dudes. Then I must have said something about my age which prompted him to ask how old I was. “How old do you think I am?” I asked, joking because we had been friends since I was 18 and he was 24 and that should have given him my age within a year depending on his memory. Note that this particular friend has a very good memory, having reminded me that same day of the fact that the first time we met I was wearing a leather jacket. “Oh Jesus Christ, a leather jacket?” I moaned. “Who did I think I was- Tori from Saved by the Bell?” “I was gonna say Jo from The Facts of Life,” he replied. Oh good, much cooler.

But my friend’s memory failed to the tune of guessing a full six years younger than I am. “28?” he asked. After establishing that he was not kidding, I set him straight. I am 34, flirty and thriving (yeah not the same ring it has at 30, J Garn). Somehow him guessing my age as so much younger made me feel really old. “I look awful for 28,” I said. “But you look great for 34,” was his reply.

The number itself is not really my issue. The issue is that my age is starting to correlate with changes that mean I can’t do things as well as I used to and it’s hard not to think about a time way down the road when I look 72 but am 85 when I won’t be able to do them at all. I can’t see as well when I go shooting, I can’t go to a trendy bar and not feel like I look a little desperate and sad, I can’t have a really good visit with my parents and not worry about a time when I won’t be able to visit with them.

Still I guess the experience was good once I came around to the fact that looking younger is a goodish thing and I can’t actually control my age. But I can control what I do with my time, with my dwindling youth and I choose to spend it having as much fun as I can with all the friends/loved ones I’ve racked up over 34 years. I can spend it staying up as late as I want, eating junk food for breakfast, playing video games for hours with no one to tell me to go outside and then going outside and lying in the hammock for hours with no one telling me to come inside. I’ve put every one of my years thus far to good use and gotten to a great place. Six years ago I was not this happy, this self-aware, this ready for whatever comes next.

So here’s to us, whatever age we are or look making the most out of however much time we have left.

Don’t Be A Giving Tree to Enablers While Drinking Your Cider in the Hood

Every one of us knows someone in our life who is a Giving Tree. Someone who gives happily of themselves to people they love, someone who seems sturdy and strong and whose generosity knows no bounds. If you do not know the Giving Tree, then you probably are the Giving Tree. If you don’t know the story, let me back up a minute. There is a Shel Silverstein story about a big, glorious apple tree who fell in love with a little boy and gave completely of herself to make sure he was taken care of and happy. She gave her apples for him to eat, her shade so he could nap, her branches so he could make a boat and on and on until she was nothing but a stump. Then all she had to give him was a place to sit, which she happily offered. I have been a Giving Tree and so to that shitty, selfish little boy I say, “Go choke on an apple core, you rotten little dick.”
If you are a Giving Tree, do me a favor. Shed some leaves once in awhile so that you can rest all winter, tuck a few apples under your bark before people come and take them all and have a goddamn apple cider soiree that you have to clean up after they take all your best apples it took you forever to grow. Remind that little boy that even though you are metaphorically a tree, you are an actual person with actual feelings and you matter. Tell him what he needs to give you and if by some miracle you get through and he offers something make yourself take it.
If you are a little boy and you have a tree in your life and you are man enough to realize that you are taking and taking without even stopping to water or appreciate the wonder that is this stable, beautiful saint, it isn’t too late. Today can be the day that you give the tree the fertilizer that is your kind words of appreciation, that you plant some flowers around her, that you sit beside her in the sunshine as equals in companionable silence.
These lopsided relationships don’t happen overnight. They are born of years of one person really wanting to give, to get love through giving more than she can spare and of one person taking because taking really is easy and the tree sure does seem anxious to give. They can’t get fixed overnight either. But maybe it starts today, with a seed. With a little personal accountability and courage and love. It’s not too late.

Would You Bang a Homeless Guy for a Million Bucks?

I’ve changed a lot over the past day. And I don’t mean that I’m a better person or a worse person or that I’ve done gone and forgotten my roots or any of the ways people usually mean when they say they’ve changed. I mean literally. I’ve worn four outfits today and it’s been a pretty slow day on the changing front. I think my need to change frequently stems at least in part from my having attended Catholic school growing up and being made to wear a pretty dorky, uncomfortable uniform all day. I would bust out of that thing within two minutes of being home in favor of shorts and a tshirt. These days some of my outfit changes are functional, i.e for the gym or when I get home from work but most of the time it’s just because some little thing that worked for me an hour or two earlier just doesn’t anymore. This makes it super fun come laundry time because I feel like you should always err on the side of being clean.

But no matter how much I change, I’m still the same old Amber with the same heart, likes and extreme dislikes. I’ve had a long week of being penned up in my home office churning out pages for a pretty boring federal grant proposal and since I’ve had no outlet for my thoughts they’ve been marinating. So without further adieu I present Things That Make You Go Hmmm, That’s Really Goddamn Annoying:

1. People who buy old police cars and don’t repaint them and then drive behind me on the freeway.
2. This one has gotten waaayyyy less since answering machines went the way of the VCR but people who have creative voicemail messages. Messages with long songs, messages with multiple people talking in unison with all manner of cutesy retarded singsongy shit, messages with jokes that are not funny to anyone without a blue placard hanging from their rearview mirror.
3. The fact that seemingly everyone who got flowers on Valentine’s Day felt the need to post a picture of them on social media.
4. The brand Saucony. Hate the look of their stupid shoes and really hate having no clue how to say the name. So I usually do that thing where you say it either really quickly or really quietly.
5. The GoFundMe trend. Who needs life insurance when your family can just make a plea to complete strangers to fund all manner of burial needs?
6. When people in front of me turn on their windshield wipers and it seems like it’s raining on just my car but that shitty amount that when you use the wipers they instantly make that aggravating “there’s no water to wipe, bitch” sound.
7. Drive thrus with more than one lane. They bring out the worst in me.
8. Chrissy Teigen’s face. Why couldn’t her features use a little more real estate on her face than just the very center?
9. How come on every reality show where people live together since Jersey Shore the people insist on saying they’re a family? You can’t develop the deep and lasting familial bonds woven by years of resentment, aggravation and dysfunction in six weeks, kids.
10. Unnecessary belts and scarves. Why do people insist on wearing belts with tight pants or over dresses they purposely buy too big and almost as bad why do people wear shorts and think a scarf is some logical complement to the outfit?

My Other Ride is a Polygamist

I have had moments this past week where I’ve wished some things in my life were different and even where I wished I was a completely different person. But a person of my choosing because there are a ton of people I could just never be.

Here are a few:

1. All of the women on Sister Wives. I could not spend ten minutes with Kody who handles situations with his wives with all the tact of Tim Gunn in a Nebraska thrift shop. Talking to one of his wives about a legit beef she had with his behavior he said, “This could be a result of what some people might call PMS.” Jesus. Kody, you are what some people might call a retarded, balding muppet.

2. Bruce Jenner during the time he was married to Kris. That poor man. If the rumors are true then homie told her at the beginning of their relationship that he was gender-confused and considering transitioning and she was not okay with it. So not only was he stuck in a relationship that was the emotional equivalent of that kiddie pool we used to sit in during college and drink (and sometimes pee in if my suspicions are correct because sometimes it would just get a few degrees warmer at random) but he had to suppress his true self the whole time. The only good thing to come out of this is the knowledge that Kris now has to deal with the fact that for many years she was a beard the likes of which would put any of those dudes on Duck Dynasty to shame. For the record, I’d totally be Bruce now. I’d get the operation and seduce Kody Brown and tell him I had PMS all the time to keep him away while I went drinking with Christine and Janelle.

3. People who get license plate frames about their driving pet peeves. Things like “Keep honking. I’m reloading” or “If you’re gonna ride my ass at least pull my hair.” I get it. There are people on the road that drive like assholes. I call them “everyone.” The test to be able to drive should be at least as hard as the GED and if you’re caught driving without the requisite IQ the punishment should be to be married to one of those Mormon guys on TLC that pretends they aren’t gay because they’re married. But to take your annoyance with other drivers to the point where you get a license plate frame made about it at the mall while stuffing your gullet with Cinnabon? That’s a bit much.

4. Anyone who has to be a telemarketer to earn a living. I did it once to get people to volunteer to work at the polls during election time and having everyone become hostile and hang up as soon as you start talking is not really good for the ole ego. The new telemarketers are those SEO folks who bombard small business owners and even bloggers like crazy. On the bright side, I did get a laugh out of this spam comment on one of my posts the other day:
Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too
great. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the
way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is actually a wonderful site.

Thanks, man. I’ll take any compliments however fake.

When The Lame Stands Tall

This past week Alexander has had nothing on me. It has been terrible, horrible, no good and very effed up. I went to a funeral, lost my job and had the kind of cramps that make me want to rip my uterus out like heroes do with the still-beating hearts of comedic bad guys in the movies. I had a few dramatic moments where I looked in the mirror with a sad face and asked myself what else could go wrong. And then I snapped out of it and started focusing on what was going right.

Because even that it was unquestionably a really awful week in what has been a motha trucker of a year, I am still surrounded by so much awesome. I bought tickets to see Billy Joel in San Francisco in September, a city he hasn’t played for 40 years and I cannot wait to drunkenly belt out Piano Man surrounded by rich people my dad’s age. I played six hours of video games in a row with my boyfriend, with him in our bedroom on an XBox while I was in the living room on a different XBox yelling out things like, “Is that a giant dick hanging out of that dude’s pants? Is it? Oh my god, it is. This is so rad.” I discovered a new butcher shop that sells everything from pork belly to pot roast for dogs and as a result secured my place as mother of the year (I’m hoping for a shirt but I’ll settle for a mug). In an hour I’m going to yoga with one of my best friends when at this time I would usually be sitting at my desk wondering what it is I did to make my boss, a miserable zit on the ass of life, hate me so much.

You see guys, we are not entitled to anything. Not a job, not good health, not even life. Everything good we have is a blessing and sometimes what seems like a blessing is a gut punch and vice versa. All we can really do is keep going, keep finding the humor in things and wait for the sun to come out from behind the clouds again to light our way. Here’s wishing you all a fantastic and mostly sunny day.