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Saturday, February 28, 2015

New lease on life

Today I had a migraine. Yep, turns out I'm not cured.

This one was BAD.

It lasted from 7:30am until 4:40pm.

But now it's gone and I feel like:

  • Riding a horse bareback through the Grand Canyon. 
  • Going to the nearest prison, unlocking the cells and letting the jailbirds run free.
  • Recording an album of classic ballad covers (my dream vanity project, sorry Madgespace).
  • Amtrack-ing from Edmonds to NYC.
  • Napping in a canoe on a lake in the sunshine. 

On top of all those things, I had an epiphany that only a post-migraine brain could conjure: 

I must go to Beverly Hills and eat at one of Lisa Vanderpump's restaurants. 

Pump, Sur or Villa Blanca—doesn't matter! I can make this happen. Maybe I'll even wind up as an extra in an episode of RHOBH. 

Anyway, now I have what they call a "migraine hangover". It's as if someone shoved me in a tumble dryer, pressed start and didn't let me out for nine hours. Even though it's over, I can't help but feel achy, exhausted and a bit traumatised. 

Still, my overarching emotions are relief and elation. It's amazing how being unwell can make you realise how glorious it is to feel your 100% self. Health! What a gift!

Also, my sistah Char is a saint. During the dark times today, she brought me food and a San Pellegrino sparkling lemon beverage. She's also organised a few guest bloggers for next week so that I can spend less time on the computer (we think that could be what's triggering the kopfschmerzen).

Now, it's time to rest this weary head. 


Friday, February 27, 2015

You thought you'd heard everything re: the dress

But what do you suppose these identical twins see when they look at it? 

(I'm talking about Char and Francie, not the baby, which is the same baby in both photos)

Surely, they must see the same thing.

They have the same genes. 

The have the same eyes!

Read the email thread and find out.

Sibling survey
10 messages

Margaret Kay 
 Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 7:13 PM 
To: Max Kay, Anna Gorohoff, Francie Fitzpatrick, Charlene Kay

By now I assume you all have seen the dress. Which do you see?


Blue/Black (goldish black)

I saw Blue/Black from the beginning and can't see White/Gold despite trying different lighting and squinting.
I'm wondering if we'll all see the same thing because of genetics.

Max Kay 
To: Margaret Kay
Cc: Anna Gorohoff , Francie Fitzpatrick, Charlene Kay

Everyone sees white/gold. blue/black is a hoax ­ shame on you margaret for trying to put one over on us!

Margaret Kay
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 7:38 PM 
To: Max Kay
Cc: Anna Gorohoff, Francie Fitzpatrick, Charlene Kay

OMG. Not surprised, you being male and prone to colour blindness. I'm holding out hope that mah sistahs back me up. #TeamBlueBlack

Charlene Kay
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 7:41 PM 
To: Max Kay
Cc: Margaret Kay, Anna Gorohoff, Francie Fitzpatrick

White and gold!

Francie Fitzpatrick
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 7:53 PM 
To: Charlene Kay
Cc: Max Kay , Margaret Kay, Anna Gorohoff

Blue/black, can't see white/gold at all. What the h!!!

Francie Fitzpatrick
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 8:05 PM 
To: Charlene Kay 
Cc: Max Kay, Margaret Kay, Anna Gorohoff


Anna Gorohoff 
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 8:45 PM
To: Francie Fitzpatrick
Cc: Charlene Kay, Max Kay, Margaret Kay

Blue and black! I see no gold at all 

Max Kay 
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 9:28 PM
To: Anna Gorohoff 
Cc: Francie Fitzpatrick, Charlene Kay, Margaret Kay

Right guys. Sure. Here's another test ­ what do you see?

Margaret Kay 
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 9:32 PM
To: Max Kay 
Cc: Anna Gorohoff, Francie Fitzpatrick, Charlene Kay

Good one!

Char and I are debating over this one...some say it's "salt" and others think it looks more like "snow"

Francie Fitzpatrick 
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 9:35 PM 
To: Margaret Kay 
Cc: Max Kay, Anna Gorohoff, Charlene Kay

Hahaha what a bunch of comedians we have in the fam!

There you have it. Even twins see it differently.

This blue/black/white/gold dress is history-making. A dress hasn't been this controversial since JLo's green Versace, which, looking back now, wasn't flattering at all.

What will the Internet have us talking about tomorrow? Can't wait to find out!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Giving these typing fingers a rest

Sometimes, after writing all day about card payment solutions for SMEs, you just can't go home and write a blog post.

Tonight is one of those nights.

Enjoy a video message instead. Don't worry, it's SFW.

Your sleepy friend,

P.S. Andy ordered in some food for his dinner tonight. Guess what he got.

Pizza? Nope!

Thai food? Nope!

Indian food? Nope!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Should've been a cowboy

I wish I'd trained to be a cowboy, rather than going to college and majoring in journalism.

I'm not really sure how cowboys make their money, but you can't beat the lifestyle. Your office is the wild wild west. Your work clothes are jeans and cotton shirt. You're in naturally good shape from lassoing cows, jumping on horses' backs and repairing broken fences on your ranch.

What's not to love?

I'm two days into a three-week copywriting gig and I'm confident that the contemporary office environment is killing us. I know, I know. Scientists have warned of the dangers of a 'sedentary lifestyle' for years now. But I'm only just realising how right they are.

How on earth are people are expected to live happy, healthy lives when they're forced to sit at a desk all day? I'm perplexed!

Save your rebuttals. I already have rebuttals for your rebuttals. Rebuttal THIS:

  • YOUR SOLUTION: Just walk to work, take lots of short breaks during the day, go to the gym during your lunch, walk home and plan fun activities in the evening.  
  • MY REBUTTAL: Thanks, Yolanda, but that's far too hard. Especially in the winter when the only daylight hours are the exact hours you're expected to work.

  • YOUR SOLUTION: Get a job with a company that allows you to work flexible hours and makes it easy for you to work from home when you need to. 
  • MY REBUTTAL: Great idea, but those companies are few and far between. I could probably get a job at one, but I'm brilliant.

  • YOUR SOLUTION: Sit on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair!
  • MY REBUTTAL: I've tried it. Not sustainable. Looks stupid. 

Luckily, a lot of people I know actually do work for those nice companies that "care" about their employees' "work/life balance" and prove it by offering "perks". (Remember, those perks are the least they can do. Don't boost a company's ego by praising it for not treating you like a workhorse.)

Also lucky, I've managed to find a line of work that allows me to avoid the 9-5 grind most of the time. Still, I often wish I did more physical labour. I said that to Andy once and he read me the riot act. I was looking enviously out the window at some builders working on the scaffolding across the street. Here's a taste of that conversation:

Me: "I really wish my work involved physical labour. Don't you? I mean, like, I crave lifting things."

Andy: "No, absolutely not. That's ridiculous. Listen to what you're saying! It's easy to romanticise the idea of physical labour, but they're outside in the cold and you're inside in the warm. You get to sit inside, on a comfy chair, sipping tea and typing on a computer for a living. You should be grateful!"

Me: "But I mowed lawns for the Vancouver, Washington PUD for a month in 2009 and I loved it."

Andy: "You wouldn't love it for the rest of your life."

Me at the 'Couve PUD.
No, I never got to actually drive that thing.
Yes, I ate a Kashi 'Go Lean' bar for lunch every day and was rurrrrrl skinny!

Hmmm. Come to think of it, cowboys do have to smell a lot of cow poop. And again, I'm still unsure about how they get money.

Lots to ponder,


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A day in the life

"The following is a first-person account of the events of Tuesday, 24th February 2015, written over the course of 12 hours by one Margaret Kay."

— James Joyce

Image by renaissancechambara via Flickr


I'm sitting in an office waiting to be briefed on a piece of work. There's nothing to do now except fondle my neck zit and refresh the Zimbabwe vs. West Indies Cricket World Cup live feed on BBC Sport.

You know what I'm into? Giant 20-ounce paper cups of peppermint tea. From Starbucks or Costa (Starbucks' main UK competitor). Isn't that one of the most early-2000s thing you've ever heard? I'm only one-third of the way through the cup and my bladder's already about to burst. My hands, however, are warm. Very warm. That's what's important.


OH! I'm so tired.

I got a cheese/tomato/lettuce baguette from Greggs. They call it a "mature cheddar salad baguette". Ew. The name needs work. I'm eating it. It's scraping the roof of my mouth raw. I love it. I wish I had four more.

Zimbabwe lost.


I'm home. Andy heated my PJs, which are actually his PJs, on the radiator for me to throw on immediately after walking through the door. What a gent.

We're making fish tacos for dinner. We ate them last weekend and have been raving about how good they were ever since.

I'm salivating. It's breaded fish too. Not that healthy pink kind. You know what I'm talking about.

It's not that I dislike salmon. Salmon's great! But sometimes you just want old fashioned, breaded white fish that tastes like Friday suppers in the 1950s. Fish tacos is even a bit too exotic. I could really go for some mash, a side of peas and a big dollop of katsup for dipping. Maybe tomorrow night.


After reading through my day's events, one thing's clear: I'm infatuated with food. I can't deny it.

Food is the flagellum propelling me through this murky mystery we call life.

Now I'm eating a yoghurt (see?) and reading this book about a girl whose sister was a chimp. I can't tell if I like it or not. My guess is that I think it's medium.

Same time again tomorrow.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Celebrate the Taj Mahal!

My pal Tori once told me that her and her sister thought the Kool & the Gang song went like this: "Celebrate the Taj Mahal!"

Ever since, I've always preferred those lyrics.

Today, on this Monday the 23rd of February, I'm celebrating more than just the Taj Mahal. Here's what has me woo-hooing like Vicki Gunvalson right this very second:

  • Coffee prevents skin cancer! (maybe, but let's go with it)

  • We're having pesto gnocchi for dinner tonight with posh parmesan—the kind you have to grate yourself!

  • It's freezing/windy/hailing outside, but I'm warm and toasty on the couch under a blanky!

  • My new headphones came in the mail! Just £9.99 and they work like a charm.

  • We have the latest episode of 'Better Call Saul' to watch tonight!

  • I love my bowl cut!

  • RHONY finally has a premiere date. April 7th!

  • Andy's going to write a textbook for Scottish high school kids! 

    Isn't that all just wonderful? Join me in the celebration!

    OK, you got me. This 'find something to celebrate every day' Oprah-style post was just an excuse to use those low-quality gifs I made on ImgFlip.com.

    Start with the gifs and work backward from there. That's my blogging philosophy.


    P.S. Enjoy this gif preview of my next list, 'Things I'm sick and tired of'


    Sunday, February 22, 2015

    Baby you can drive my car

    OK, stop refreshing the E Online Oscars page hoping that the live red carpet feed will start and read this instead.

    It's blustery as the dickens here in Edinburgh. As I type this I'm looking out the window at a woman desperately trying to hold her umbrella in a way so that it doesn't flip inside out. Hey lady, it's never going to work! Accept defeat, bin that brolly and embrace the icy breeze. Quit fretting over that £2 parasol, put your hood up and sprint!

    The cold weather dries out my skin twice over. First, the lack of air moisture sucks the life out of them. Then all those hot showers I'm forced to take to warm up only exacerbates things. My hands are so dehydrated that they don't even feel like mine anymore. Touching one set of fingers with the other feels like petting a corpse. GAWD, these hands are parched! PARCHED.

    But that's not what I came here to discuss.

    Today I'd like to talk about driverless cars.

    Apparently they'll be here before we know it, and I say, bring them on! Less traffic. Fewer car crashes. Not so much pollution. Also, imagine being able to watch last night's episode of RHOBH during your commute to work. The dream!

    Image via Mark Doliner via Wikimedia Commons

    Need convincing? Listen to this piece of audio from back in 2009 when I damned near almost fell asleep at the wheel. I could have seriously used a driverless car back then. Also, after listening to this, it's amazing that there was ever a time when I didn't know the term "vocal fry".

    But what about road trips? What about going where the wind blows? What about the joys of navigating the wide open highway, thumbs tapping on the steering wheel to a sweet country jam on the FM radio?

    I don't think we'll lose that. In fact, road trips will become even more romantic and aspirational in an era of driverless cars. So accustomed to sitting in our vroom-vroom-robot-pods, old school human-driven cars will be super classy and vintage. Sure, our driving skills will be hellza rusty, but that doesn't matter out on those empty country freeways.

    Oh my god my HANDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I must go get the lotion.

    Happy trails,

    P.S. In the UK they don't say "lotion". They say "moisturiser".

    Saturday, February 21, 2015

    Today's vocab word: "Ravine"

    In fourth grade my teacher gave the entire class the same vocabulary word to study for homework. She picked the word out of a book we were reading. The assignment was to go home, look it up, write it into a story and then draw a picture of it to present to the class the next day.

    The word was: ravine.

    Now, I already knew what a ravine was. I knew the word well.

    Beyond our backyard fence happened to be quite a sizeable ravine. My siblings and I would spend hours in the ravine building forts out of branches and moss. My sister Francie even pooped down in the ravine once. It formed a perfect S-shape and we ran back up to the house as fast as we could to tell my mom all about it. I'm sure she was very proud.

    Anyway, back to the assignment. When I got home that day I skipped the dictionary and went straight for the crayons. I drew a lovely ravine covered in grass, ivy and blackberry bushes.

    Image by Lairich Rig via Geograph.org.uk

    The next day, we all stood up one by one and presented our picture and story. Everyone had drawn a very similar scene, as you can only be so creative with the word ravine. In hindsight, not the best choice, Ms. Bowker.

    Then, just when I'd seen enough ravine drawings to last me a lifetime, things got interesting.

    It was time for the last student to present his story. Kyle H., a towhead who walked on his tiptoes (rumour was he had "short calf muscles") bounced to the front of the classroom and held up his drawing. It was of a bird, very majestic with broad shoulders, black feathers and a bright orange beak. He read off his 3x5 card, "Once there was a large black bird similar to a crow but bigger. He was called a raven..."

    OH. MY. GOD. He had written about a raven. And even after seeing his 28 classmates do presentations on a ravine—a narrow gorge with steep sides—he'd gotten up there and told us his bird story anyway. Not only was he not embarrassed, but I suspected was he wasn't even aware of his gaffe.

    When he finished his story, the stunned class just clapped as we did for everyone else. He took his seat, beaming with pride (it was a fantastic raven drawing).

    Later that year Kyle H. and I would be the only two kids in the class to contract chickenpox. Everyone else had gotten it when they were toddlers. Other than that, the Scandinavian hair, the tiptoe-walking and the legendary raven presentation, I have no idea what became of him. I don't remember ever seeing him after elementary school. Maybe he moved away or perhaps our paths just never crossed in junior high and high school. Regardless, that raven/ravine moment was the highlight of my fourth grade year.

    In other news, Char, Andy and I watched the 2011 'Best Documentary' Oscar winner this evening. It's called 'Undefeated' and I highly recommend it. Has some heartbreaking moments, but overall it's uplifting. Not too heavy and depressing like so many docs.

    Also, rumour has it Prince Harry and Emma Watson are dating. If that's true, I really don't see it working long-term.

    Hope y'all are having awesome weekends!


    Friday, February 20, 2015

    From the Archives, Edition 4

    Time for another edition of 'From the Archives'! For all you new readers, this is when I 'repurpose' old content (emails, handwritten notes from high school, FB messages etc.) to use as a blog post. It's not lazy, it's upcycling!

    Today, I'm featuring an email from 2011 in which I asked my immediate family plus in-laws their thoughts on vitamins.

    I must know!
    7 messages

    Margaret Kay <margareteileenkay@gmail.com>Mon, May 30, 2011 at 9:31 PM
    To: Rich Kay, Nancy Padden, Anna Kay, Charlene Kay, Max Kay, Francie Kay, Alex Gorohoff, Bobby, William, Andy Williamson 
    Hi Everybody,

    I have been pondering this question for a while now and for the first time in my life, WebMD has not been very helpful.

    Should "we" (aka human beings) take vitamins? Or are they a scam? I don't want to waste my money if they are indeed a scam. However, I want to live a long, healthy life and have beautiful skin, nails and hair.

    Please weigh-in with any thoughts/knowledge!!!!



    Alex Gorohoff Tue, May 31, 2011 at 1:49 AM
    To: margareteileenkay@gmail.com
    I'm not sure, but next time I go in and get another Africa shot I will ask my doctor.



    Nancy Padden Tue, May 31, 2011 at 7:29 AM
    To: Margaret Kay <margareteileenkay@gmail.com>

    Francie Kay Tue, May 31, 2011 at 3:29 PM
    To: Margaret Kay <margareteileenkay@gmail.com>
    they've always been too pricey for my blood!

    Anna Kay Tue, May 31, 2011 at 5:18 PM
    To: Margaret Kay <margareteileenkay@gmail.com>
    Its a mystery. I have heard both sides - but I would guess to cover your basis you should attempt to get all your vitamins/nutrients from real food rather then pills and if you can't take the vitamins. 

    Max Kay Tue, May 31, 2011 at 5:35 PM
    To:  Margaret Kay <margareteileenkay@gmail.com>
    Who really knows.  I've heard that 90% is bogus and 10% is good... you just can't pick out the 10% (what and when your body needs it, if that makes sense).  I think a multivitamin can't hurt.

    Good tip Anna - getting vits from food is probably the best bet.

    Margaret Kay <margareteileenkay@gmail.com>Tue, May 31, 2011 at 5:41 PM
    To: Max Kay
    Cc: Anna Kay, Rich Kay, Nancy Padden, Charlene Kay, Francie Kay, Alex Gorohoff, Bobby, William, Andy Williamson
    Thanks, y'all. I appreciate it! I have an old bottle of multivitamins that I will start working my way through. If I feel different at the end of the bottle, I will amazon.co.uk myself some more!

    Alex, let me know what your shot doc says!

    Well wasn't that fascinating!


    Thursday, February 19, 2015

    The ghost of Facebooking past

    When I first met Andy I remember him boasting, "I've never once untagged myself in a Facebook photo, no matter how unflattering."

    I must admit, it was that bold chat that lured me in. I mean, what a way to live your life! Leaving all the bad-angle, double chin, lazy eye, fat arm snaps out on display for the world to see.

    Unlike Andy, I've untagged myself a few times. I don't untag anymore, but I did back in the day. Still, I've left enough cringetastic gems in there to keep things interesting.

    Today I took a stroll down Facebook memory lane and I came across one particularly hilarious photo. It's not the photo so much that's funny, but the stuff around it. There were three elements that made me guffaw. I've circled them in red.

    Speaking of Facebook, did you hear that you can now select a person to take control of your account when you die? I'm currently accepting applications. I can't choose Andy because he will definitely use it as an opportunity to prank me posthumously. He'll change my status to "greetings from the grave" or something.

    Whichever candidate I choose, your first job is to turn my all my Facebook activity over the years into a hardback book to be preserved in The Library of Congress until the end of time. Your second job is to delete my account so that it can't be used as a shrine (kind of like with Osama).

    Well, that got morbid fast.


    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    Last night's dinner conversation

    Tonight I'm very tired and, as Yolanda Foster would say, "I have lost the ability to read, write, or even watch TV."

    OK, fine, I can still watch TV. And yes, I suppose it's mean to poke fun at Yo's so-called "Chronic Lyme Disease", but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't skeptical. Lots of docs say there's no such disease. Plus, have you seen that gal's supplement regime? She needs to get that in check. On this week's episode of RHOBH she was gulping down vitamins by the handful. You know how I feel about bogus health stuff.


    Since I don't have much to say this evening, I'll share a conversation I had with Andy yesterday while we made falafels.

    Last night's dinner conversation

    Andy: "You know what's an extremely underrated fact?"

    Me: "What?"

    Andy: "There was once a president who was in a wheelchair.........and he kept it a SECRET."

    Me: "Yes, that, and his wife was a lesbian."

    Andy: "And she was his cousin."

    Me: "She was?"

    Andy: "Yeah, she didn't have to change her name when they got married. It was already Roosevelt."

    One of three known photos of FDR in a wheelchair.
    Image via Wikimedia Commons

    Just ate so many raviolis I reckon I'll explode.


    Tuesday, February 17, 2015


    Oh god. Oh god! Noooo! What happened to my day!?

    I'm building a website on Squarespace for a new business venture that you will hear more about very soon.

    Just as the ads on This American Life say, Squarespace allows you to create "a professional looking website in minutes" with their handy "drag and drop tools". However, if you want the site to be exactly to your specifications, you need to customise the code.

    Do I know how to write CSS? No.

    But do I try anyway? Yes.

    I sit in a chair and troubleshoot for hours. Google search after determined Google search. Trial, error. Trial, error. Trial, error. It's endless. But I NEVER give up.

    Today I spent approximately four hours trying to make one of the headers white. FOUR!

    I had to do it. All of the headers were blue and I wanted one to be white. I needed it to be white. So I guessed and checked different pieces of code until finally one worked. It was light out when I started and dark as raven's blood when I finished.

    Image by Trance-Plant via Deviant Art

    Now it's nearly bedtime and I'm struggling to write a sentence. I spent the entire day in a trance and haven't fully emerged out of it. This has happened to me before. I inherited it from my Dad who will head down to the basement to make an iMovie and not return for weeks.

    After a session like this I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am angry that so many hours of pure concentration added up to so little. On the other hand, I am elated that I made the header turn white.

    Time to rest,

    P.S. Andy came up with the title for this post. He's a whiz with puns. I was working with CSS, not HTML, but you get the idea.

    Monday, February 16, 2015

    A good cry

    Is there such a thing as a "good cry"? Andy would argue no, but I've always loved crying. 

    As a kid, I would spend hours in front of the mirror contorting my splotchy face into the saddest possible expressions. The tears would start in earnest—maybe I was reprimanded for something or in a fight with a sibling—but after a few minutes of genuine crying, I would double-down with a solid half hour of wailing. 

    I loved everything about those crying sessions. I loved thinking about how guilty the culprit must feel listening to my sobs echo down the hall. I loved the taste of my salty tears, which I'd attack with my tongue like a frog catching a fly. But mostly I loved the sympathy I got from myself. Nobody could feel sorrier for me than me. I was my own best friend, always there when my reflection needed me. 

    Now I'm an adult and I've put those days of unabashed self-pity behind me. But when the moment strikes, be it a stubbed toe or sentimental TV advert, I can still enjoy a good cry. What can I say? It's a release! 

    Today, just after I grated this guy's brother. 

    Today, as I grated an onion for some fish curry, I felt heavy mascara tears stream down my face. My eyes stung bad and I ran to the bathroom to blot them with a hand towel. 

    But on my way there, I couldn't help but catch a glimpse of myself in the living room mirror. And then again in the hall. Of course, the bathroom mirror sits right next to the hand towels. It's practically unavoidable. 


    Sunday, February 15, 2015

    Does it stay or does it go?

    I'm moving to Seattle in a month. A MONTH.

    My visa's up, and it's time for Andy to experience a country where the mailman doesn't just drop off incoming post, but takes your outgoing mail too. Get ready, Ram. Conveniences like that are just the tip of the iceberg.

    I  have only four weekends left, and I expect most of those to be filled with surprise goodbye parties. So, I figured it would behoove me to start the packing process today.

    According to my calculations, 80% of what I own has to go. Great! I love a good declutter sesh. I'm very excited about giving my ancient sock collection the heave-ho and starting anew.

    Still, saying goodbye to some items was difficult.

    DOES IT STAY or does it GO ?

    Beige pencil skirt

    Ha! This lil' number may have gotten me a few office gigs in the past, but my corporate days are over. I won't need this while I type my novel in my houseboat. It GOES.

    Spokane Chiefs hockey jersey

    Give THIS away? Heck no. I won it fair and square by tricycling down the ice at halftime and beating two other hockey fans to the finish line. Yes, I've been waiting my whole life for the right occasion to wear it, but that day will come. It STAYS.


    I'm moving back to the west coast of America—land of the laid back and carefree. It would seem wrong not to take my most laid back, carefree footwear. They STAY.

    "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson

    Firstly, an actual book? I don't need those heavy, spacehogs anymore. I have a kindle now. Secondly, the guy who wrote this turned out to have the ol' Brian Williams/Mike Daisey disease. Don't even know why this paperback of lies is still on my bookshelf. It definitely GOES.

    Dusty Chacos

    Yes! I must keep these. Haven't worn them in five years, but I'm going to get massively into hiking once I'm back. I'll need them. They STAY.

    Tie-Dye Shirt

    Francie and I each bought a tie-dye shirt at the Folk Life Festival in 2002. I still have mine. It's come in handy for a few 70s-theme parties, but I think it's time I lay it to rest. I'm 28 now. Also, it smells really musty. With a heavy heart, it GOES.

    Hundreds of 'Margaret Kay Content' business cards

    Sad to throw all these away, but it's time for some new partnerships and some re-branding. Plus, I forgot to put my email address on them. Not a ringing endorsement of my copywriting skills. 
    They GO. 

    To play us out, in honour of everything that didn't make the cut, here's Andre:


    Saturday, February 14, 2015

    Mike Daisey on Brian Williams / My advice for both of them

    Mike Daisey has written an article for Slate with some advice for Brian Williams.

    In case you've forgotten who Mike Daisey is, he's the one who lied about his experience at the Chinese iPhone factory in that This American Life episode from a while back (retraction episode).

    Remember? He said all kinds of kooky made-up things, like how the factory guards had guns and how one worker—hand crippled from an accident on the production line—proclaimed "It's a kind of magic!" when seeing an iPad in action for the first time.

    As someone who was caught in a lie and the subject of a major media backlash, Daisey figures he's in a particularly good position to advise Brian Williams on his next steps. Makes sense—a reformed liar takes a recently diagnosed liar under his wing. I like the premise.

    In the article, Daisey gives three main pieces of advice. He says:
    1. "First and foremost, apologize. Fully and directly."

    2. "Next, read all the criticism. Every last lacerating thing someone—especially someone you respect—has to say."

    3. "My final piece of advice: Let go of your pride."
    That's all great. Good advice. Why couldn't he have left it at that?

    Instead, he waffles on about the thought-process behind his lies, what he's learned about the nature of audiences, a Quran quote that inspires him to be better and blah blah blah. He's trying so hard to be the most sincere, repentant person on earth, but somehow he STILL manages to downplay his wrongdoing. It's lines like this that trouble me:

    "Williams has more at stake than I ever did—he is, after all, an actual journalist" 

    (Distinguishing himself as a non-journalist and therefore not subject to the same standards—he loves to do this.)


    "I’m a storyteller and monologist who works in the theater. But I recognize that in many ways what Brian Williams has done is the same thing I did: adding the first person, inserting yourself into stories in order to heighten and intensify their telling."'

    (Explaining the reasoning behind the lies, how great storytelling is built on dramatisation.)


    "No one tells the unvarnished truth unless he wants to have a very short career—our culture teaches us that it would be far better to be mentally deficient and incompetent than to admit we lied."

    (It's our culture's fault! Our culture's to blame!)

    Sorry, Mike. I no longer think you're in a good position to be advising Brian Williams. Instead, allow me to impart some wisdom on both of you:


    Image by myguitarzz via Wikimedia Commons

    When it comes to apologies, no one wants to hear why you did it, what the experience has taught you or the ways you're making strides to be a better person.

    All they want to hear is: I did it. I'm sorry. I was wrong. I won't do it again.

    It's not up to you whether people forgive you or not, but the more you talk, the more likely you are to dig that hole deeper. Just give it time. Keep it short and give it time.


    P.S. I am longwinded. Just look at this post! My liberal use of adverbs and adjectives must have Hemingway rolling in his grave (he reads this from the grave, btw).

    So, just like Mike Daisey, I am not good at saying "sorry" and then dropping it. Instead, I say sorry repeatedly about an inch from your ear until you're so fed up that you give up and forgive me. I realise that, again like Mike Daisey, I could use a strong dose of my own advice.

    Friday, February 13, 2015

    Night out

    Two words: night out.

    I'm going on one! Tonight!

    It's my friend Igor's 30th birthday and to celebrate we're going to a nightclub to boogie into the wee hours. I might wear eyeshadow. It's gonna be wild.

    I still remember when I was first introduced to the concept of a 'night out'. It was freshman year of college and my cousin Clare, always hip to the jive and one step ahead of me, asked, "Are you going out tonight?"

    I'd never heard anyone phrase it like that.

    Going out? Going out where? Safeway? To take the garbage out?

    What I later gleaned from context was that 'going out' or going on a 'night out' meant wearing your best top, drinking alcohol, listening to music and dancing with friends and strangers alike.

    This is what a 'night out' looks like. Barbie and Madge circa 2010. 

    Anyway, it's been a while since I've been on a night out. But I have a fresh bowl cut and I'm ready to go. Let's do this.


    Thursday, February 12, 2015


    Terrible post title. Let's get that out of the way right here at the top.

    It relates to the fact that, today, I had three epiphanies.

    When each popped into my head, I wrote it down as a potential blog idea. However, not-a-one constitutes an entire blog post, so I've combined all three here for your reading pleasure.

    1. I'm just not a dress gal. 

    I wish I was.

    I would love to throw on a dress and be like, yes, this works! But it rarely does. Instead, I'm cold, wide-hipped, without an appropriate shoe option and did I mention cold? Maybe if I lived somewhere sunny, I'd be a dress gal. Lord knows how much I despise shorts. Oh god, and skirts. Can't believe I forgot about skirts! Skirts are the worst of all. Above all else, I'm not a skirt gal.

    2. Everyone my age has moments when they wish they grew up in the 60s. 

    Let's face it, the late 60s/early 70s were a fascinating time to be alive. So much happened!

    In reality, the world probably felt terribly scary and unsettling back then. Vietnam, assassinations, crazy cults running amok. There wasn't even any good TV. Even so, us millennials have moments of envy because at least things weren't boring. At least people were engaged and felt capable of administering change. Nowadays being angry about important issues seems futile, so we save our outrage for when someone says something that "offends" us. It's all very halfhearted.

    For the most part, though, I'm glad I was born when I was (goes back to the TV thing).

    3. The people in the flat above us can probably hear me singing Taylor Swift in the shower.

    Pam, my singing teacher in the early 2000s, told me that it takes more skill to sing softly than at your natural volume. She was right.

    Now my vocal chords are out of practice and in order to sound decent, I have to belt it. LOUD. I can hear the people in the flat above us when they are having a regular conversation, so it's safe to assume they can hear me when I'm bellowing: "I'VE GOT THAT RED LIP CLASSIC THING THAT YOU LIIIIKE..."

    What do you think they're dreaming about?
    This relates to the blog post because there are three of them. The number three is the link.
    Image via Geograph.org.uk

    OH. CRAP. It's nearly the dinner hour and we need lettuce for the caesar salaaaaaad!!!!!! It's only the main f-ing ingredient!!!!!!!!

    Gotta go,

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015

    The official 'You Know You've Made It' checklist

    Where were you when you first heard your band's song playing on the radio?

    I was in a malt shop just outside of Tucson. I still remember the waitress tapping her toes on the linoleum.

    OK, I kid. But how about metaphorically speaking? When did you know you'd 'made it'?

    I actually haven't 'made it' yet. There are still a few milestones I need to reach.

    But here's the official criteria:

    • You buy name-brand laundry detergent (e.g Tide). Bonus points for fabric softener.
    • You sleep on a mattress that you bought yourself.
    • People stop to ask you for directions because you look smart, friendly and respectable.
    • In negotiations, you say "no" with the genuine intention of walking away from the deal.
    • You own multiple blouses. 
    • You listen to multiple podcasts.
    • You enjoy multiple Thai dishes (not just Pad Thai). 
    • You booked your next haircut appointment whilst paying for your last one.
    • Matching socks. Every day. Even on weekends. 
    • There are at least four champagne flutes somewhere in your home right now.

    I'm about 65% there. I've got the blouses, but not the mattress. It's good to have goals. 

    I asked Andy what he would add to the list and he said "you make money from other people's work". That's a good one, but it didn't match the quirkiness level of the others, so I left it off. 

    I Google Image searched 'smug' and this smug man appeared.

    Image by Stefanie Schwartz via Wikimedia Commons

    What about you? Have you 'made it'?


    Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    Take a risk

    Your entire childhood is about reducing risks.

    There are two simple goals:

    1. Stay alive (aka wear a bike helmet)
    2. Get into college (aka do your homework)

    Those, I'm fairly comfortable with. Yet, even after the uni years, the warnings continue. People are constantly bombarding you with foreboding words of wisdom.

    "Don't walk places at night" 
    (or else you'll get murdered!)

    "Get an internship" 
    (or else you'll never get a job!)

    "Establish good credit" 
    (or else you'll never buy a house!)

    "Get on the property ladder" 
    (or else you'll throw all your money down the drain by renting!)

    "Start at the bottom and gradually work your way to the top" 
    (or else you'll make entry-level wages the rest of your life!)

    They have good intensions. And safety is important. So are education and hard work. BUT nobody talks about the positive, practical implications of risk taking. The irony is, being too risk averse is RISKY! It could mean living a boring, unfulfilled life. And what could be worse than that?

    Making dynamic decisions is how we discover what makes us happy. Why isn't there at least an equal focus on the benefits of risk taking? Why don't we hear more things like:

    "Nobody dies regretting that they travelled to too many places"
    (so hit the open road!)

    "You'll never know unless you try"
    (so give it a go!)

    "The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps"*
    (so no half measures!)

    "Even when times seem tough, remember that everything tends to work out"
    (so worry less!)

    OK, it's all a bit hokey and easier said than done. But imagine if we lived in a society where these messages were embedded into the culture rather than reduced to motivational Pinterest fodder. Imagine if we really believed them, if we took them to heart, if our lives weren't ruled by trivial fears.

    Nope, not relevant. Just happened to appear in the Google Image search for 'risk taking'.
    If it's hot water, the risk paid off. If it's cold water, at least it's a good story!

    Image via Wikimedia Commons

    My New Year's resolution (yeah, it's the 10th of February. So what?) is not to agonise over decisions. I'm going to weigh potential risks far less heavily than potential gains.

    Now, for my first risk of the evening: staying here in bed even though I have to pee really, really bad.


    *Credit: Benjamin Disraeli and Andy Williamson

    Monday, February 9, 2015

    Oscars makeup 2015

    Char and I are trying out different makeup looks for the Oscars in a couple weeks.

    We each were in charge of the other's makeup, with a few ground rules:

    1. Be creative
    2. Go big impact
    3. Try your hardest, for real
    4. Compliment the client during the whole process ("you have such soft skin", etc.)

    Ready to see the results!?! Scroll down for the before/after gifs.






    Char with her Mila Kunis inspired cat eyes.

    Me giving you 'Burning Man' chic.

    Tell us about your Oscars look in the comments!

    Your gurl, 

    Sunday, February 8, 2015

    Must put duct tape over my webcam

    I watched the Edward Snowden documentary 'Citizenfour' last night with Andy.

    When the Snowden stuff first leaked, I knew that I should be outraged, but it was so much easier to be apathetic. I knew that the stuff the government was doing was unjust, but ignoring it felt better than caring. If I cared about it, I might feel compelled to do something about it. And that never works. Protesting? Campaigning? Please. Haters gonna hate, bankers gonna bank and spies gonna spy, lie, spy, lie, spy. There's no stopping them and we're all doomed.

    Plus, the sheer scope of surveillance, the high-tech tools involved and, I'll admit it, even the "but terrorism" argument, clouded the conversation for me. With the latest episode of 'Real Housewives' streaming the next tab over, the choice was easy: read nothing else about it and hope for the best.

    But the documentary forced my head out of the sand. As the extent of the NSA's spying was revealed, I kept thinking about Watergate. What Nixon did was minuscule potatoes compared to the NSA and he was forced to resign just two years after the break-in. This June it will be two years since Snowden's big reveal—will there be any retribution for the government officials involved?

    So, now I have this belated outrage and have no clue what to do about it. Is there something I can sign? Is there someone I can vote for? Would eating another oatmeal chocolate chip cookie help? Because if it would, I'm happy to do it. They're right here in this tupperware next to me, so it's no inconvenience at all. I'll eat as many as it takes.

    Anyway, I'll conclude with two suggestions:

    1. Watch the movie if/when it's screening in your city. 
    It's so interesting that I actually said, aloud, during the middle of it, "This is interesting!"

    2. Put duct tape over your webcam.
    Do this if, like me, you like to use your laptop whilst sitting on the toilet before getting in the shower (naked as a jay bird). Nowhere in the film does it mention the NSA hacking into people's webcams, but now I'm paranoid.

    Good luck comrades,

    Saturday, February 7, 2015

    People I didn't realise were still alive

    Dick Van Dyke (age 89)

    Image via Wikimedia Commons
    The same year that Dick Van Dyke was born, a major Diphtheria epidemic broke out in Alaska, Hitler published Mein Kampf and Calvin Coolidge became the first US president to have his inauguration broadcast via radio. Also, nobody found the name Dick Van Dyke funny. Not a single person.

    Henry Kissinger (age 91)

    Image via Wikimedia Commons
    This dude should be Andy's hero in so much that he proves foreigners can go to America and play a massive, strategic role in its foreign policy for decades, forever altering the country's history. The photo above is Kissinger casually walking down a hall whilst chatting with Mao. Yep. That Mao. Mao Zedong. 

    Doris Day (age 90)

    Image via Wikimedia Commons
    That woman that they sing about in Grease is still alive. She's been married four times. All of her husbands are dead. #UsGalsLiveLonger #TakeThatPatriarchy

    Zsa Zsa Gabor (age 98)

    Image via Wikimedia Commons
    Honestly, I didn't even know who Zsa Zsa Gabor was other than some lady with a funny name from the olden days. Turns out that she IS (not was) a Hungarian-American socialite and actress. Despite numerous health scares, including having to amputate her right leg, the saucy minx is still alive. In fact, she celebrated her 98th birthday yesterday! 

    Pope Benedict XVI (age 87)

    Image via Wikimedia Commons
    Oh yeah, Ratzinger's still kickin'! See, this is what happens when you decide to retire instead of die. It seems the much better way to get out of work, no?

    Sidney Poitier (age 87)

    Image via Wikimedia Commons

    Not only is "Mist-ah Sidney Poitier" still alive, but he's currently serving as the Bahamian ambassador to Japan!

    Hosni Mubarak (age 86)

    Image via Wikimedia Commons
    Yeah, that guy who was FINALLY overthrown following massive uprisings and violent protests in Egypt? He's alive. Nobody ended up killing him. I just assumed somebody would have, as that's how these things tend to play out, but nope, he's just in jail on murder charges. He's expected to be released soon. 

    Fidel Castro (age 88)

    Image by Louis Korda via Wikimedia Commons
    Whaaaa? He took office back when Eisenhower was president. His biggest rival? JFK! Still, somehow this giant, cigar-smoking, field-cap-wearing communist beardface who represents all that America stands against is only 88 years old. That's only two years older than Mubarak. Hmm. Mubarak must dye his hair. 

    I DESPISE ageism and, as Anne Hathaway would say, I don't mean to be gauche, but I must confess that I typed this post at lightening speed just in case any of these folks died before I finished! It was stressful! My fingers are sweaty and sore. 


    Friday, February 6, 2015

    The American Dream

    I love it here in the UK. It's old. It's historic. It's charming. It's hip. When I eventually hightail it back to my homeland, there's so much that I'll miss about this place (being the exotic one, for starters).

    But there are certain experiences that I just can't wait to welcome back into my life. I was daydreaming about America today, and here's what I pictured:

    I drive a MASSIVE car through a MASSIVE parking lot and into a MASSIVE parking space. I get out and walk into a MASSIVE Target to buy a MASSIVE wallet that fits all of my many cards (Starbucks cards, license, old driver's permit, student IDs, debit/credit cards, hotel keys, wallet-sized Old Tyme Photos from Seaside, Oregon etc.).

    Oh, did I mention it's about 11:45pm that I'm doing this? Yeah, the Northgate Target is open until midnight, so why not go nocturnal wallet shopping?

    It ain't cute. No cobblestones to be found. But it's there when you need it. It's giant, familiar and nonjudgemental.

    Then I drive back home along a MASSIVE five-lane freeway in a MASSIVE lane that I have all to myself. I step out into the driveway under a MASSIVE star-filled sky. Once inside, I lay down on my MASSIVE wrap-around couch and fall asleep to the sound of the dishwasher humming and the steady thump thump of the dryer heating my clothes until they're soft and wrinkle-free.


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