Saturday, August 1, 2015

Information for your Saturday

What emoji do you wish existed but doesn't?

A lot of people have expressed to me the need for a 'fingers crossed' emoji. I agree, and I can't believe it doesn't already exist.

Siiiiiiigh. It's one of those post-migraine, achy shoulder, listen to Miley, eat Goldfish crackers, think about going for a walk kind of nights. Despite a nap and some medicine, I'm not 100% myself. As my sisters tell their kiddos, "you know your body" and I indeed know that I'm not firing on all cylinders.

In lieu of a blog topic, I'm going to present a list of unrelated information.

  • Andy's in Birmingham (pronounced Birming-um) stalking the English cricket team. His goal is to get a picture with Joe Root aka Rooty (pronounced Roo-teh). 
  • I've been perusing retro glassware on Ebay. There's something about vintage drinking glasses that makes me so happy to be alive. 
  • Episode 0 of Project Runway season 14 (I know, Tim Gunn must be 150 by now), 'The Road to the Runway', is now available to stream on (for US viewers). It's the episode where they introduce you to all the designers. Looks like it's going to be a pretty great season. 
  • I move into the new apartment next Wednesday. 
  • My family has always used Comet to clean the bathtub. First, you shake the abrasive bleach powder out across the tub. You try to get it to stick to the sides, where the dirt ring is most prominent, but it always slides down. Next, you add a bit of water so that the powder turns to paste. Finally, you scour. Down on hands and knees with an industrial brush, you scrub until your knuckles scrape raw and the chemicals begin to eat away at your fingernails. Conclusion: this method sucks. Worst of all, years of Comet-use have taken the varnish off the tub, making it even more susceptible to dirt stains. It's 2015; there must be a better way!
Since I couldn't find a photo of Comet, here's the first England cricket team to tour Southern Australia. 1861

Image via Wikipedia Commons


Friday, July 31, 2015

Cool, hipster or lazy?

I went hard on the tofu today. A big container of Steph's Tofu from PCC for lunch followed by a Vietnamese tofu bowl for dinner. It wasn't planned, but it happened. My stomach...bloat city.

Anyway, today's blog topic: this blog! How meta. (GAWD, I bet you knew I was going to say that. How meta? More like how predictable!)

Specifically, I'd like to respond to a common question I get: Margaret, why don't you make your blog look nice, buy a domain and get a proper URL? 

To which I respond, it's complicated.

Basically, there's something alluring about things that are slightly unpolished. It's why film photos still look so cool next to digital. It's why Reddit, compared to Buzzfeed, is a breath of fresh air. An extreme example is this email newsletter Andy gets every week. It's not fancy. It's not designed on MailChimp. It's actually not even a newsletter; it's just an email. All it has are about ten links to interesting articles, videos and images that have cropped up on the Internet over the previous seven days. It's so simple and so unrefined, that it feels...nice, accessible, unpretentious, personal, never overwhelming.

Everybody can have a blog—a really snazzy, professional, beautiful blog. My marketing career has taken me deep into the cringeworthy world of "blogger outreach" and I've seen my fair share of bright 'n shiny blogs. They're modern and colorful with brilliant custom graphics (like a background made to look like notebook paper!). They've long dropped their unseemly URL suffixes. No .blogspot.coms or .wordpress.coms to be seen. They're gorgeous! GAW-GEOUS!

But I don't go in for all that because I have a hunch that people—you—like a bit of rough. You like this outdated, no frills design. You LOVE it. It gives the illusion that the writing is good. And the free URL makes it feel kind of underground.

I explained all this to my brother Max last week.

"That's a very hipster argument," he says.

"Yeah, it is," I say.


<long pause>

"Or maybe I'm just lazy."

AND THE PENNY DROPS. That's a bingo. Lazy. The true reason, at least 80% of it, is that I'm lazy.

No comment.

Thanks for sticking with me through that. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post: I love Cracklin' Oat Bran so much, so why do I never buy it?


P.S. I just realized what makes something "hipster". It's when the spectrum of unpretentiousness comes full circle. It's when unpretentious goes so far that it becomes pretentious. Kind of like how, in politics, if you go to the left enough, you wind up on the right.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

By the light of the silvery moon

I just got back from a moonlit swim in Green Lake with Nadinksi (mother), Char (sister) and Maria (cousin). It was wild and sooooo earthy of us. It felt like something I'd read in someone's memoir—someone really interesting with this crazy, fun, slightly-on-the-edge life.

Doing elementary backstroke (my fave) and staring up at the stars, I tell ya, it was magical.

I even did two cannonballs off the diving board and water only went up my nose once.

Hold on. What's that? Oh, it's another controversial, Margaret-poops-on-everything opinion making its way from my brain to this blog. Buckle up.


They're airplanes that go really fast and do tricks. What am I missing? Why does Seattle worship them? At best, they're a 5 out of 10 on the entertainment scale. Totally average. Not to mention they're loud and the I-90 bridge has to close every time they take their circus act to the skies.

Also, they happen every year! Every summer. Multiple times a summer. I imagine they were awesome the first time, pretty good the second time...but now, on the 467th summer in a row, how can I be expected to feign interest?

To end on a positive note, I'm still loving my night shirt. So lightweight and airy. An absolute pleasure to sleep in!



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

MH370 - Found?

Some Boeing 777 airplane parts washed up on an island in the Indian Ocean today. They think it might be MH370.


You may have long forgotten the missing plane, but I haven't. I've Googled 'MH370' hoping for news almost every day since the 24-hour news coverage stopped. I've read all the conspiracies, including but not limited to Courtney Love's brilliant insight, and I've even held out hope that the plane landed on some remote island, the passengers living off coconuts, monkey meat and old cans of Dharma peanut butter.

But sadly, if confirmed, these washed-up plane parts will extinguish any smoldering optimism I have left.


Image by Laurent ERRERA via Wikimedia Commons

ON A LIGHTER NOTE, Taylor Armstrong is returning to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills next season, which is good excuse for me to share my favorite Housewives gif of all time.

Rumor has it that Taylor questions Yolanda's so-called chronic lyme disease and Lisa R. gets really mad about it. The gossip sites are already framing the feud as Lips v. Lips. LOLZ.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Move over Tom of Maine...

...there's a new natural deodorant in town!

It's called Lāfes and—stick with me here—it actually works. Char got it in her Amazon Fresh order and, being the disgusting little sister that I am, I borrowed it for a couple weeks while I was "in between deodorants".

Of course I was skeptical. I've been a long-time Tom's of Maine hater. As much as I wanted to jump on the all natural, non anti-perspirant bandwagon, walking around with Italian bistro pits wasn't a sacrifice I was willing to make.

But Lāfes works! And here's the crazy thing: for me right now in this current moment, it works way better than Mitchum, Degree and Dove.

I don't expect it to last. I'll become immune eventually and need to switch brands. Pretty soon I'll be immune to them all and resort to some homemade baking soda lemon juice concoction. Once that wears off, I'll retreat to the woods to live among the wild llama, my furry brethren.

Well, that got weird. I've gotta go. I have a RHONY to watch. Loving Bethenny this season.



P.S. "That got weird" is the new "AWK-ward" and I hate it just as much. Sorry for using it.

Sweet escape

I never really understood the appeal of soap operas. Sure, I went through a 'Passions' phase in the early 2000s (who didn't), but for the most part I just didn't get why such terribly-acted, overdramatic, unrealistic shows were so popular

Then tonight, as I was sitting on the couch watching The Bachelorette finale, hosted by the melting beeswax candle that is Chris Harrison, it dawned on me: reality TV is this generation's soap operas. The Bachelorette is a soap opera. It's essentially the same as General Hospital or Days of Our Lives—only better because actual emotions and reputations are at stake! Now I get it. Whether it's scripted upfront or heavily manipulated through editing, these genres offer us the same precious gift: dramatic narrative.

Nobody was ever watching soaps because they're good. They watched them because they're incredibly basic. They follow a formula. They're easy to consume and easy to forget. They're shallow and surface-level whist pretending to be deep. It's the fakeness we love. It's pantomime. It's a break from the mundanity of our daily lives. It's an escape.

All this led me to another sudden epiphany: reality TV is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, inventions of the past twenty years. What? Is that overboard? OK, at least admit that it's a defining invention of our era. I seriously can't believe it didn't used to exist. We are so lucky to be living in a time where aspiring actors sacrifice their dreams and dignity for the sake of our entertainment.

Unfortunately that's all I can write tonight. The Bachelorette lasted about four hours and it's now just three minutes to midnight. I need to get in bed and rub my Digiorno-filled belly (they were out of Freschettas -- boourns).



Sunday, July 26, 2015

5 reasons I'm annoying

I've never been this social in my life. In the past two weeks I've seen more people and attended more gatherings than I have in the past two years. Is that an exaggeration? Yes. But only just.

As you know, I'm an introvert masquerading as an extrovert. So, naturally I have mixed feelings about my newfound social calendar. On the one hand, changing out of my night shirt, leaving the house and talking to people is exhausting. On the other hand, it's fun and fulfilling. Plus, I feel like I've reached a stage in my life where every moment counts. There should be no wasted days. I'm almost 29!

Anyway, I promised you a list and a list you shall get.

5 reasons I'm annoying

1. I take waaaay too many items to the self-checkout at the grocery store. People line up behind me with a single carton of milk and there I am spending several minutes trying to look up the code for green onions, the first of 40 items in my basket.

2. Self pity. I feel sorry for myself at least three times a day and, if given an audience, I will vocalize my feelings.

3. I get mad when people won't let me use their highly personal / embarrassing stories as material for this blog. I have no dignity; so why should you?

4. I use emdashes—the large dashes bookending this interjection—way too much. Can't help it. I'm addicted to them!

5. I talk about Andy too much. Ugh, how annoying. It's annoying that I even added this to the list, but I couldn't think of a fifth reason. Also, it's true.

What else is new? I've started smearing Vaseline under my eyes every night. I'm signing a lease on an apartment in West Seattle tomorrow. My 'To Do' list is miles long. I continually waver between extreme confidence and extreme self-doubt. I'm sorry I ever underestimated Jason Derulo.


P.S. I want to kick the song 'Honey I'm Good' in it's Cotton-Eye Joe face.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Rain dance

It rained today. Not just drizzle. RAIN. The first rain Seattle's had in a long, long while.
People walked out of their houses to stand it in. Strangers on the street stopped to talk about it. It made the pavement smell like hot, wet dust.


My mom and I went to a movie AND drank venti peppermint teas during it. That's a rainy day activity if I've ever heard one. We saw 'Inside Out' because of the great reviews. It was cute and clever. But let's be honest, it is still for children. We got a bit antsy.

Anyway, is anybody still watching UnREAL? Because I am. And things are really heating up (or "hotting up" if you're British). Something that I enjoy about the show is how tired and rundown they make the main girl look. She lives on set and pretty much never sleeps, so of course she's not going to look her best. It's refreshing to see this reflected in the (lack of) hair style/makeup.

Can that really be tonight's post? That's it? The weather and then a few sentences on a reality TV show almost nobody watches? Yep! It's Friday. I'm giving myself the rest of the night off.


Ch ch ch changes

I left for Edinburgh in 2009. Now it's 2015 and I'm back. For the most part, Seattle is how I left it. However, there are a few new things that have cropped up in the past six years. I'm not sure I like them. I'm not sure I like them one bit.

  • Christian coffee shops — What's the deal? I'm seeing a lot of these. Some come right out with it ('His Word Found Here' in Ballard) and others are sneakier.
  • Cards Against Humanity I'm so old that in my day they used to call this game 'Apples to Apples'.
  • 'Bender & Molly' in the mornings  Say whaaaa? What happened to Jackie and Bender? Molly, that girl from the Bachelor, is Bender's new co-host? Crazy. I've also heard that Jackie and Bender were actually married and then divorced but still did their show together for a while. If that's true, it makes sense that it wasn't sustainable. Anyone have the T on this? 

What's the shelf-life of a game like this? Is it past its sell-by date? It's no Cranium, that's what I say.

Image by tom_bullock via Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, as these radical changes to Seattle culture continue to throw me for a loop, I hear this song by 5 Seconds of Summer on the radio today:

WHAT is going on. Just when I thought the world was passing me by, I hear those familiar nasal tones over the airwaves. The early-2000s pop-punk male vocal sound! Is it making a comeback? They don't totally recreate it, but they're certainly playing homage to it. Takes me right back to high school, driving around Kenmore, loitering at the Safeway, watching Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County in standard definition.

I recently read a fascinating article on what inspired the Blink182-style vocals of that era. A linguist weighs in. It's actually very interesting. I recommend you read it.

That's all for now. I've been out celebrating Amazon's 20th birthday. Macklemore was there. NBD.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tennis elbow

Well, my brother Max and I did the impossible.

We followed through on plans to play tennis.

I said it couldn't be done, but I proved myself wrong. Today we actually got in a car, drove to a tennis court, physically held onto tennis rackets with our real-life hands and hit a blindingly bright, delicious-smelling green ball over a net.

It was fun, but dang if I didn't catch me some tennis elbow. Gots me the tennis elbow real bad.


game face

On an unrelated note, I'm going to end tonight's post with some advice. Get ready. Here it goes.

Moods fluctuate. That's OK. It's absolutely fine to feel sad or bored or grumpy for no real reason at all. What's not ok? Acting on those moods.

Being in a 'bad mood' is not an excuse for bad behavior. If you find yourself in a funk, just ride it out. Know that it will pass. In the meantime, distract yourself. Drink a glass of water. Take a nap. Make a paper airplane. Whatever! Just don't think that being in a bad mood earns you additional rights.

Also, try not to cough or sneeze when eating carrots. Half-chewed carrot shards will get stuck in your nasal/throat passage. It's very uncomfortable.

Your wise pal,

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Well, it's been about 15 minutes since I clicked 'New Post', and still no ideas. Usually something comes to me by this point, but not tonight. Instead I'm just staring at the screen and thinking about how nice it will feel when I finally close my eyes and fall fast into a deep, dreamless sleep.

You see, I'm tired. I stayed up late the past few nights watching Housewives and it's finally caught up with me. Sleep deprivation. The worst. I did it to myself, I did, and that's why it really hurts.

Here's something to ponder: from 7th grade through 12th grade—ages 13 to 18—I wore sweatpants and a sweatshirt to school every day.

OK, maybe it was four days a week. But still.

Also, in junior high, I often took things a step further and wore actual pajama bottoms. Fuzzy PJ bottoms in cow print, polka dots or plaid. I remember our assistant principal, Mrs. Riley, tried to enforce a ban. When I caught wind of this, I organized a protest, encouraging everyone to wear PJ bottoms to school one day. Civil disobedience at its finest.

She never said anything to us about it. We didn't get in trouble. She probably thought, "F it, I really don't care" and moved on to more pressing matters.

Other facts about sweatpants:

  • Andy only wears them in the house. If he's taking out the garbage, he changes back into jeans.
  • Sometimes it's more comfortable to wear them with the pockets inside out. 
  • It was common knowledge among Inglemoor High School students that Fred Meyer had the best sweatpants.
  • They really are, without a doubt, very unflattering. 
  • There's nothing more depressing than when you try on a friend's pair of sweatpants and they're too small. Tight sweatpants is an oxymoron. It's a non sequitur. Or at least it should be. When sweatpants fit snug around the butt, elastic jutting into the muffin top, it's extremely damaging to the self esteem. 
Annual Arrowheadian sleepover. Sweatpants all around.

Goodnight! Yes! Finally! Sleep! I can't wait.


P.S. I'd like to thank my parents for never commenting on my decision to dress like a slob for five straight years. I'm sure it was tempting, but if there was ever a time to be hands-off, it was then. The teenage years. Plus, if they'd even so much as hinted that I wear jeans, I would have read them the riot act. I'd probably still be wearing sweatpants daily just to prove a point.

So, that's something to file away for the future. You can't tell a teenager what to wear. They're too sensitive and too headstrong. Plus, it's none of your business. They're basically young adults and they should dress however they want, even if it is embarrassing and unflattering.
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