Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wranglers, Buckaroos, and other ambiguous bathroom signs

I went to dinner with my 2 newest roommates Friday mom and my dad. I could be the poster child for "moving back in with parents post college". My mom jokingly called me a "boomerang" one night to some friends that were over for dinner. "She leaves and then she just comes right back!" were her words exactly. She thought her joke was hilarious. I refuse to let her live it down. Her response is always the same "you know i didn't mean it like that sweetie!" Ah yes, they are thrilled to have me back. I dine with them regularly, find myself sitting in the den with them chatting on week (and weekend) nights, making occasional grocery trips with them, and attending park concerts. One night we were at the grocery store, after eating dinner out just the three of us, and my dad looks at me and says "You know you've hit a new low when the highlight of your night is going to the grocery store with your parents". Thanks Dad. Love you roomie.

Back to my original start of the story--dinner Friday night. We went to a new restaurant that just opened in this area called Tazikis. They have locations in Birmingham and it has always been one of my favorite places to eat when I'm there, so I was thrilled when I found out we were getting one. I highly recommend it if you like Greek/Mediterranean food! Anyways...before we left I went to use the restroom. The first door I come across says "GODS" with a very vague picture of some Greek figure in the clouds. I decided I needed to see what the next door said, not sure if the "GODS" door was for me. The next door read "GODDESSES". Thinking this must be my door, I see a similar picture to that of the "GODS"--a very indistinct Greek figure in clouds. Now I know I should have obviously known I was considered to be a Goddess, but why the need for themed gender signs? When I have to use the restroom, the last thing I want to have to do is stand in front of two doors and analyze words and pictures to determine which door I am to enter. There are some things in life that are just better off simple.

Gods and're probably thinking "that isn't all that bad, anyone would know that". Let me just say this, when you come to two doors, and when you have to go to the bathroom, expecting to see clearly marked "MEN" and "WOMEN" signs, with no expectation of having to think about what gender you might be, the pressure amounts. The consequences of choosing the wrong door would not be fun...for you, or for the God or Goddess already inside. I am convinced they have hidden cameras above some of these confusing door signs and at the end of the day, staff gathers to view and laugh at very confused people.

Some restaurants even use different languages. I won't get political here, but this is America. If restaurants choose to label their doors with foreign words, they should at least use very distinguishable universal gender pictures that give an obvious sign to the (already stressed out and confused, English speaking) customer.

There really isn't a solution to this occasional dilemma for the public bathroom user, just a word to the wise; Use good "gender judgement" when determining your respective bathroom verdict. Some doors don't even provide words, only pictures. So be prepared to use your best artistic abilities to decide which picture best depicts you. You never know when you might have to decide if you are: a lad or a lass, a prince or a princess, a chica or a chico, and my personal favorite--a wrangler or a buckaroo. If I came to two doors labeled with those last two "genders" I would walk out, find my nearest gas station and give a huge sigh of relief at the sight of two familiar words: MEN and WOMEN.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea of just what I am talking about.

We aren't even a living thing...we must decide which shoe we are.
Beetles must be men because they aren't as pretty as butterflies...naturally.
I've always wanted to decide which accessory I'd be!
Sooooo obvious....
I'd love to know how many people have gotten this one wrong...
No "hens" just "chicks"...hmmm
I mean really...
Because women always wear hair bows and all men wear bowties, this should surely be obvious.
The way it should be. Simplicity at its finest.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Take a dip...yummm!

Coming from a family that loves both football and food, we are always looking for new and delicious recipes that are great for tailgating. This recipe comes from my favorite Food Network celeb, Paula Deen. And believe it or not, there is not a stick of butter in this recipe! I made it for a tailgate for my older brother and his friends last year and they loved it. I changed it up a little bit and added a few things. This is an easy dip that is great with chips as an appetizer and also delicious served over grilled chicken as a meal. It is also good even just eaten by the spoonful! I love it because two of my favorite ingredients are in it--black beans and avocados! There is nothing I love more than chips and salsa!

Here is Paula's recipe, and at the bottom how I change it up...

Black Bean Salsa

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (17-ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
2 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 large avocado, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
1/8-1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespooon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Cover and chill overnight. Taste and add salt, pepper, or more lime juice as necessary.

*I like to add different kinds of beans. I will add a can of garbanzo beans or kidney beans, or both. You just have to add a little more lime juice and red wine vinegar depending on how much you add to the basic ingredients. Also, to prevent the avocado from browning, chill the dip without the avocado and add it right before you serve it. That way it stays fresh and won't brown. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Dream (isn't always) a Wish Your Heart Makes...

There is a song in the Disney classic, Cinderella, called "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes". The first lines of the song go like so:

A dream is a wish your heart makes,
When you're fast asleep.

Well to put it simply, I beg to differ.

I have been known to be an "unusual sleeper" by my family and friends ever since I was little. I have always had a personal goal of going to sleep in one position and waking up the same way with no sign of movement. I have placed my pillows certain ways and tucked my comforter underneath me to test this. When I wake up, if everything has remained still, I have done it. I have yet to achieve this goal. As a matter of fact, when I went to college I finally stopped using a top sheet and just used my comforter. It has been a battle I've been trying to win with my mom for years, but she has always insisted when making beds a top sheet is necessary. For me it is more of a hassle. There is nothing fun about having to retrieve it from the heap that it is in at the end of my bed on the floor every morning and tuck it back in. It is cyclical. And annoying.

I also slept with my parents quite a bit when I was younger. I can remember laying in bed trying to come up with excuses as to why I needed to get in bed with my mom and dad. I guess you could say I've never been good at making up excuses. Every night was the same story; "Mom, Dad, I had a nightmare about sharks can I sleep with you?" Original, huh? After sleepless nights (for them), giving occasional bruises to both of them from my active sleep, and of course the final straw; giving my mom a bloody nose from a violent (innocent, mind you--I was asleep) punch in the face; it was time to do something.

My mom took me to a "sleep doctor" (not sure of the medical terminology) where they ran some tests and monitored my sleeping behavior. I don't exactly remember what was decided, but they prescribed me to some pills that I was to take every night before I went to bed. Finally, things calmed down a little bit and we had no more casualties.

I stopped taking the medicine and as I got older I was still a mover in my sleep, but not nearly as violent.  Talking in my sleep was the new thing. And it came at the age when sleepovers were the thing. From giving step-by-step lessons on how to play baseball, to performing a Backstreet Boys concert from a sleeping bag, my sleep talk was always the topic of conversation the following morning. I thought I had outgrown this as well, but in college when 4 of us slept in the same room, 2 of us (both sleep talkers) would actually have conversations in the middle of the night. The 2 non sleep talkers thoroughly enjoyed these nonsense exchanges.

Fast-forward to high school. My senior year I took Psychology, one of my favorite classes ever taken. I was excited when I found out we would do an entire unit on sleep. Maybe I could make sense of some of my behavior. We were required to keep "dream logs". I have also been known to have very strange dreams, and I can almost always remember them down to every last detail. She told us to keep the log beside our bed with a pen. If we put it there every night, we would be more likely to remember the details of the dream because subconsciously we would remember we needed to write it down. (Do this if you want to remember your dreams, it really does work). We were to write down everything we remembered when we woke up. We did this for one week. We spent class time using books and other resources to analyze our dreams and try to find hidden meanings. My pages were filled. After turning in our logs and after our teacher reviewed them, upon returning them she stopped at my desk and told me that I had some of the most odd dreams she had ever read in her teaching career.

This is what brings me to the Disney song. A dream is not always a wish your heart makes, Cinderella. My dreams aren't always about happiness, love, pretty things, and people I care about. More often than not, they are weird, random, have people in them that I am mere acquaintances with, and just all over the place. My heart didn't wish for those things, nor do I want these strange dreams/occurences to come true.

Here is the type of dream I am known for. I am known for it because it doesn't just affect me, it affects the person who plays the role in the dream. I will have a dream in which a certain scenario takes place and one of my family members or close friends will do something that irritates me, hurts my feelings, or makes me angry. These dreams never end with closure. I always wake up right when the irritated, hurt, or angry emotion hits me. You know that feeling when you wake up and you sort of feel like you're in limbo or in two places? You don't know what is a dream and what is reality. You're not sure if you actually kissed Brad Pitt, or if you dreamed it. This means when I wake from the slumber after this non-closure kind of dream, there is a poor, innocent, person; someone that is dear to me, that I will feel hostility towards until I realize that it was a dream. Sadly, the person involved is always a close someone: family or good friend.

Example. (You're about to understand how ridiculous my dreams are) I had a dream that in order for my friends and I to go on a roadtrip to an away football game, we had to have a variety of different vaccines. Needles. Shots. A.K.A. my worst nightmare (pun intended). After finding out from Auburn's football coach that the vaccines were optional, I was ecstatic. My mother still insisted I get them. None of my friends had to, but I would be getting 35 shots. Excessive much? She dragged me to the doctor's office, with me screaming and flailing my whole body behind her (that part isn't entirely dreamed up, that situation actually happened once). We got in and all I could see was the needles. I was furious she was making me do this. How dare her. Then I woke up. I woke up angry with her and it actually took a while for me to remember why I was mad at her, and unrightfully so. She is a saint for putting up with my sleep antics. I guess she learned to accept it after the surprising fist in face mid-sleep years ago.

Sadly, it doesn't stop with my mom. I actually went an entire day once ignoring one of my good friends, because I was under the impression she had told me she wouldn't hang out with me if I wore purple nailpolish. Some friend.

Ok so for real, my purpose for writing this...Family, friends, loved ones; take note. I am known to have very bizarre, nonsense dreams. If I think about you regularly or spend time with you often, you may very well be involved. Sometimes it may be happy thoughts, other times not so much. Just remember, it was only a dream. Oh, and if you think I'm acting unusually bitter or angry towards you, maybe ask me what I dreamt the night before. You could have been the innocent, involuntary source of my emotions.

And don't listen to Cinderella, those are not the wishes my heart is making, I promise. I mean let's be serious, she wore glass slippers. That isn't even practical.