Sunday, October 31, 2010

Words_The End of Rocktober

It's the last day of October 2010 (seriously, how did that happen) and I'm shamefully dressed in sweatpants and a hoodie sitting in the crack of my couch drinking the last of my $10 sangria bottle from my burpday. This is what I chose to do over decorating myself from head to toe in some humorously thoughtful alter-egoish Halloween outfit while carousing with other humorously-decorated friends eating ridiculous amounts of candy, being endlessly entertained, and serving up one priceless Kodak moment after another. Your feelings of jealousy right now are completely normal.

Although my participation in Halloween 2010 has been absolutely pathetic, I found some other relevant outlets that I'll leave up to you to 'yay' or 'nay' as acceptable alternatives.
  • This past Saturday, Robbe and I specifically walked through the Harrisburg Mall for their annual "Zombie Walk" which, according to reputable sources (Robbe), has attracted up to 300 zombie-fied participants in recent past. The idea is exactly what it sounds like. Patrons arrive at the mall in their best zombie-esque transformation and walk--or should I say painfully limp--around the mall, mouths agape, sometimes a throaty moan here and there, offering a PG-13 terror for anyone who happens upon them. It was a bit humorous to see some participants, completely bloodied and damaged looking, standing and talking normally, waiting in line for an Auntie Ann's pretzel. I suppose even zombies have the right to veer from their human flesh diet for a cinnamon soft pretzel, am I right?
  • Friday night, in lieu of any legitimately cool Halloween festivities, Robbey and I opted for watching a scary movie with our friends Andy and Bep. The movie? Shutter Island starring Leo DiCap; directed by Martin Scorsese. I knew from the moment I saw the preview (which was months ago) that I was Never. Ever. Going to watch it. I really don't enjoy any kind of creepy, graphic horror film but for some reason I think my conscience felt a penance was due for my Halloween 2010 fail. So, on Friday, that debt was paid in full. It didn't help that Andy, who had already seen the movie, compounded my fears saying "I told Bep not to watch it; it's seriously one of the scariest movies. It's pretty bad." Hey, thanks Andy. So needless to say, I sat squirming for over two hours, downing as much wine as I could to numb any graphic details that could possibly cling to my conscience to haunt me later. After it was all over, the fear, the stress, the blurry vision from squinting so much; I realized, Andy was completely wrong. It was hardly the scariest move ever; sure there were some squinty-eyed, peek through the finger moments, but as a whole, it was a really great, intriguing movie; more of a thriller than a horror film. And I could have really enjoyed it if I wasn't so freaked out to begin with. So, for those who have not seen it yet and you don't mind being spooked a bit, definitely give it a chance. Leo is great in it as well as Mark Ruffalo.
  • I finally finished reading the Harry Potter series this month, which I thought was appropriate timing right before Halloween and the debut of the last movie. My respect and admiration for J.K. Rowling is off the charts. Anyone who refuses Harry Potter without even attempting to read it first, well, I can only assume you have no taste for imagination. The world she creates is truly fantastic and to delve further and further into the character's worlds and adventures from book to book has been awesome. I just wish my memory wasn't so terrible as all the books sort of blur together and I'm unable to distinguish if something in a movie really happened in the book. The countdown for November 19 begins tomorrow...
  • Speaking of Harry Potter, Robbe and I talked about dressing up as Harry Potter and Cho Chang this year, which would have really been perfect with the new movie coming out (is anyone still reading this?) but alas, it was all talk and no walk so does the saying "It's the thought that counts" count here still?
  • I love looking at everyone's Halloween costumes, particularly on Facebook or Twitter. My favorites I've seen so far have been: my married friends dressed up as Brett & Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords, a girl dressed up as sushi, Christian Siriano and Brad Walsh as Lumiere and Babette from Beauty & the Beast, candy dots on paper, and a friend's husband dressed as Russell Brand.
Thus ends my Halloween alternative outlets for 2010. I guess I'll start planning Halloween 2011 now so I won't look lame next year, but I must admit, these sweatpants are pretty darn comfortable.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Words_Another Day, Another Harry Potter Conversation

Robbe: "You need to finish Harry Potter. November 19 is almost here."
Me: "I know. I just need some momentum."
Robbe: "Uh...I have no idea what that means. Your momentum is YOU'RE READING HARRY POTTER!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Words & Photos_A Birthdaylicious Weekend

I'm currently writing to you with a bit of a fever ("Bieber fever?" Robbe asked.) and a queasy stomach--all (thankfully) post birthday weekend 2010, which was, by the way, truly so much more than I could have ever asked for (because I probably would have never asked it to be ghetto, creepy, or full of "wtf" moments).

Firstly, I must pay tribute to those who fantastically crafted original birthday art for me. Apparently, I have some kind of Sufjan Stevens obsession.

by Diane
I like to call this piece of art: "Sufjan Cheers It Like It's Hot." And by "it" I mean "me."

by Misie
This one, I like to call: "El Sufjan O(da)Le-Hee-Hoo"

by Cara P.
This one I like to call: "29 Balloons for 29 Kimi Years"

by Heather (my roomie)
A true a la Kimi cake!! Amazing and delish!

A huge thank you to these artists and their amazing birthday artwork!

OK, so let's talk about Friday where my dearest love Robbey gave me:
1. a Charlie Brown birthday card (amazing) and
2. Jonsi tickets at the 930 club (how do I count the ways...)
We joined some of my favorite people for a Mexican happy hour and, oh, las margaritas did flow. At one point, all the lights went out and there was instant silence--that is until someone started banging a pot (right next to Robbey's ear--pobrecito!) and the lights flickered on and a handful of staff came out singing Happy Birthday. I felt like I was in a cartoon where everything was happening in quick colorful seconds. I blinked and someone had placed a plateful of dessert in front of me. I blinked again and there was a spoonful (like a serving spoonful) of whipped cream suspended in front of me. I thought it was there because they wanted me to take a generous bite, so after some hesitation, I leaned in. My face was instantly smothered in--what everyone told me later was--a coffee filter full of whipped cream (thanks Misie for documenting). Seriously, I look like an Asian Santa Claus gone terribly wrong.

Post-whipped cream face, I spent the next three hours around a bonfire with my family, friends, and Mr. Vincent Van Gogh double espresso. It was probably one of the most memorable times of my life where the kindest of words were shared and life couldn't have been more meaningful in the company of such amazing people.

Sushioke 2010
The next evening was full of sushi and close friends and family from near and far. Those who preferred a little suspense to their adventure came out to karaoke afterwards, which was around 15 of us. We had the "privilege" of trying out a new karaoke place (since our tried and true locale didn't karaoke on Saturdays) which I was a bit skeptical about after Rachel described it as being "run by Nazis." Besides that, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Rachel and I decided to take one for the team and sign up first for karaoke. Song choice? "Hey ya" by Outkast. DJ Ricky gave us two mics and told us we had to stand about 6 feet apart to avoid mic feedback. After a few failed attempts at this, I found myself sitting in a booth next to a stranger and her down-syndromed child eating dinner. "Excuse me, ma'am?" DJ Ricky said to the stranger. "She"--gesturing at me--"is going to have to sit here for a second okay? Just until this song is over." The woman didn't even look at me, she just nodded her head and threw a fry in her mouth. I sat there blankly as the song was already 15 seconds in and there I was expected to karaoke while sitting ten feet away from my co-performer in a booth with strangers eating dinner. Something was terribly wrong. I ended up turning off my mic and sharing with Rachel. Why we didn't think of this in the first 3 seconds of the song--I'll never know.

The rest of the night just got weirder and more hilarious. My friend Katie best summed in up by repeatedly asking me, "Seriously, where are we?" There was a fight that nearly broke out between two patrons at the bar, there were children under 11 there until 1 in the morning, there was smeared poop on the bathroom floor, there was a younger woman who danced like we should have been throwing money at her (see photo below by Misie), and an older woman who not only danced equally trashy on everyone (gender didn't matter) but also shared her gut with us every time she put her hands up. At one point, she was grinding on Rabbit and she paused to ask: "Is this anyone's husband?" Once she got her answer, the grinding resumed. Oh, did I mention that this older woman was DJ Ricky's mom?
The complete karaoke list went like this:
Rachel + Kimi - "Hey Ya" by Outkast
Mandy, Kimi, Ashleigh, Steph-poopth - "Like a Prayer" by Madonna
Robbey - "Freshman" by The Verve Pipe
Meeker - "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond
Andy + Rabbit - "The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel
Robbey - "99 Problems" by Jay-Z
Kimi - "Shoop" by Salt n Pepa
Andy - "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler
Rabbit - "You Make Me Wanna" by Usher
Rachel + Asher - "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners
Rachel + Kimi - "Big Poppa" by Notorious BIG

Needless to say, we completely took over that karaoke bar (except for one Nickelback performance by a bar patron) and probably gave the Bayside Inn its best night they ever had, and as weird as it was being there, I have to say they probably gave me one of mine that will certainly go down in the history of birthdays.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Words_A Salute to the Great 28

Today is the last day of my 28th year. Looking back on this past year, there have been a lot of memorable moments.
  • I was introduced to one of the best things that ever happened to me: Friday Night Lights TV show. Just kidding, I mean Robbey. (Who introduced me to FNL. Not sure if we would still be together if it wasn't for that. Just kidding we totally would. I'm like, pretty sure, most definitely. We would be something.) 
  • Celebrated New Years Eve in the Big Apple with the Robbey
  • 1 week off school due to Blizzard 2010
  • Lots of goodbyes this year: Misie's dog Gaby, my friend Lisa's mom, Shleigh's grandpa and grandma, Lappy T
  • Met Sondre Lerche for the second time
  • Visited Mandy in Beantown for Halloween and Shleigh in Raleigh for spring break
  • Crossed off year 3 at my work
  • Ate Ethiopian food for the first time
  • Dined at the same restaurant as Channing Tatum in NYC and saw Michael C. Hall filming on the streets
  • Welcomed my best friend's first baby into the world 
  • Ran first 5k
  • Raych & Ash engaged!
  • Said farewell and "Well, I never!" to my friend Jesse at work who has now moved onto bigger and better things in life
  • Witnessed my brother Greg getting inducted into his high school's Athletic Hall of Fame for basketball
  • Befriended some of the best people in the world
  • Shot a commercial for a cleaning company where I looked like a man
  • Attended 4 weddings (declined 2)
  • Attended Happy Hour 50 times. Just kidding. But probably not.
  • Judged a school talent show
  • Had the worst trip of my life at work by falling down concrete steps and ended up 180 degrees from where I started
As cliche as it sounds, I am truly a different person now than the person I was back on October 15, 2009. It's amazing how much we change and unfold and surrender in just one year. I know that God has and is slowly transforming me every day, widening my capacity to love when I didn't think I could, humbling me day in and day out especially with my relationship with Robbey, helping me to see more outside of myself instead of existing constantly in my little bubble. This life is so frighteningly fast. And I hope to squeeze everything I can out of what 29 has to offer.

28, you've been good, but I think 29 is going to be, for some reason, significantly better. Throw one back for me this weekend, kids. If you're looking for me, I'll be the one singing really bad karaoke.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Words_The Life and Times of Lappy T

My laptop is officially on its way out. The doctor told me it's got a good month to live. I asked my laptop what it wanted to do before its time is up. It said it wanted to see the world. So I googled a map of the world and asked it if it could see it.
"How the heck can I see it?" Laptop said. "It's like me asking you to look at your face without a mirror!"
I never knew my laptop was so rude. I was only trying to help. Then I had an amazing idea. I decided I would book a flight for California, then China, then India, then the United Kingdom, Italy and then back home so I could make Laptop's wishes come true. I told Laptop about this and he was super excited. I decided to raise some money for this great endeavor by going door to door and asking for donations for my dying Laptop. I made a donation can that said: "My dear friend Lappy T. is dying so please help Lappy's Dreams Come True Before It's too Late Okay." The whole sentence didn't fit on the can so I had to write some of it on my neck but I wrote it myself without a mirror so I'm not sure what it ended up saying but it seemed to work because people gave me a lot of coins and stuff and some paperclips. Then I used Laptop to look up all of these flights on the Internet.
"Why are you making that face?" Laptop asked.
"Uh...what face?" I asked.
"You're obviously concerned about something," Laptop said.
"No I'm not." I retorted defensively.
"Uh, yes you are," Laptop said. "You're sweating and scratching your face, which is what you always do when you're nervous. What's wrong?"
I pulled my hands away from my face sheepishly and folded them in my lap. My face had begun to sting.
"Oh, well, I was just looking at the flight info," I said.
"Yeah, and?" Laptop said. "What's wrong, what's going on? We're still going right?"
"Oh...yeah, well, I don't know, maybe....?" I trailed.
"What do you mean maybe." Laptop's voice was gruff.
"Well..." I darted my eyes. "Um, it's kind of out of my price range."
"Well, how much is it?" L asked.
"It says for everything it would be $3,938."
"I thought you said you raised a lot of money!" Laptop yelled.
"I did!" I yelled back. "But not this much!"
"Well, how much did you raise, you never told me the exact number," Laptop asked.
"Oh, like a lot." I nodded my head reassuringly. "Like....lots."
"Just tell me how much!" Laptop growled.
" much as the plane ticket costs but minus like a lot of it."
"Wow, this is incredible," L said. "I can't believe I let you touch my keys anytime you wanted to all of these years. You used me over and over for hours, til 2 in the morning sometimes and then give me maybe a 3 hour break and then use me again and pass me around to all of your friends without a 'hello' or 'hey Lappy, thanks for your convenience and speediness and awesomeness.' No, nothing. And now I'm dying and all I want is to travel and all you can offer me is probably a cheap ride at a circus. No thanks. I'm done with this. I'm done with you."
There was silence between us for a moment and then my heart pounded as I began to understand the depth of his words and the meaning behind them. I smiled from ear to ear knowing what I had to do now. It was rally time.
"What." L grunted. "What are you so happy about."
"I'm solving this mess." I said enthusiastically. "I mean, it's been solved. Call me detective make your dreams come true because there's been a change of plans!"
"That's the worst detective name I've heard," L muttered. "So what's this change." L seemed unconvinced but slightly hopeful. The bait was dangling. And he bit. "What. What is it."
I looked at him with charming suspense.
"Screw the google trip around the world!" I said valiantly. "I know a Laptop's cry for help when I hear one and so...we're going to the circus!"
The next day I found Lappy smashed into pieces in my driveway. The nice policeman said it appeared he must have been propped near my window and knocked out by accident which is weird because it's cold outside and I never have my windows open. I wasn't sure what to do with all of my coins and paperclips I collected in Lappy's donation can but then I decided to do what Lappy would have wanted me to do. I donated them to the circus. I'll miss Laps and his crazy keys.

I promise I was not the least bit intoxicated when I wrote this brilliant piece of work.* Please like me still.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Photos_Making Memories

I feel like this is one of those pictures where we'll look back and reminisce about how young we once were.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Words & Photos_A Porkchop Wedding

It was an amazingly fun wedding weekend celebrating Marc & Dani who tied the Prokopchak knot on Saturday night. There was old friends, new friends, accordion playing, wedding farts, nonstop dancing, Arcade Fire, the Star Spangled Banner, 4 a.m. bedtimes, and a surprise cameo of Luke Foley's bare chest during the last dance song (probably not a surprise at all).

The Wedding Deets
The couple married at the Cork Factory Ballroom in Lancaster, PA, a perfect locale blending rustic and industrial modern with romantic a la Dani touches (case and point: candlelit and rose-petaled lined walkways). The ceremony and reception spread into three intimate open rooms free for mingling, eating, and drinking (emphasis on the drinking for many).

I finally finally finally met the band members (minus David) of The Young International (formerly Lorien) and their former leading lady Cara (who, according to reputable sources, makes the most delicious curry chicken salad and other to-die-for menu items). It was sort of like reuniting with old friends but you're meeting them for the first time (except you usually don't meet two of the guys while standing on a balcony concerned they can see up your dress while waving and suctioned to the furthest wall side-stepping it to the nearest escape trying to be totally normal).

The Ceremony
Teeny tiny beautiful Dani walked down the aisle to DeVotchKa's "How It Ends" and she and Marc, as an official betrothed couple, walked out to Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" (quite the crowd pleaser). Someone sitting on the bride's side definitely let a fart escape during the exchange of rings which was hilarious to witness her parents trying to keep it together during such an intimate moment.
I must say I got choked up a handful of times:
1. watching Dani come down aisle
2. her Dad giving her away
3. the handwritten vows
4. watching Dani smile numerous times at Marc's parents
5. watching Marc's parents smile at each other when Dani smiled at them.
To be honest, I was pulling for Marc to shed a tear or two during his vows as I've never seen him worked up on the romantic level before but alas, no tears from his end. I suppose I did enough tearing up for the both of us.

Favorite Parts
  • Post-ceremony, the cocktail and hors d'ouevres hour was musically accompanied by someone they hired to play Latin American background music which was a-w-e-s-o-m-e. 
  • Even more awesome was Marc's grandfather who had a solo performance on the accordion! Adorable doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • Reuniting and hanging with NYC friends and videographers Mark & Marisa and discussing the intricacies of Hypothetically Speaking
  • Pretending I was in a music video when a song I knew came on (I honestly can't even remember what song it was) and determinedly sought out videographer Mark to make sure my lip syncing was filmed... sometimes I make bad decisions
  • A glass broke on the floor and one of the caterer workers came out to clean it up. As he approached the dance floor, I got everyone (6 people) to start chanting "Go! Go! Go! Go!" (to the beat of the song of course) hoping that he would maybe moonwalk his way to sweeping up the glass. He started laughing realizing what we were doing and then quickly backed away. Later when I asked him why he didn't take advantage of such a crucial moment, he used the excuse: "I don't think my boss would have liked that." Psh. Workers these days. So concerned about being professional. Lame.
  • During the dollar dance, Luke and Rabbit played "Just to be the next to be with you" by Mr. Big. All of us are of course singing along (those key changes are rough, son!) and I hear Robbe say to me: "Look at Mike." I follow Robbe's nod to his college friend Mike whose eyes are closed, his knees bent, and his face red while belting out a passionate string of lyrics. Were they the right lyrics? Definitely not. Were they in the right timing? Not even close. I'm pretty sure I saw him say the word "ghost."
  • Marc dancing with his grandmother
  • Heart to hearts with Cara & David
  • The boys singing The Star Spangled Banner at midnight in the parking lot
  • Everything G-nice (Mike)
Weird Parts
  • Seeing bridesmaid Ashley flash her underwear while doing a solo dance in the middle of the floor. The girl's got moves and sass in the form of pink polkadots.
  • Allowing Ali to almost drop me three times while dancing and bend my back in ways I still didn't know were possible. My back still hurts. Yes, I know, that's what...
  • Witnessing a member of the groom's family encroach upon not one, or two, but three much younger wedding guests
  • Eating Burger King before the wedding and greeting Marc's dad with a breath of onions, burger, and fries
  • Thinking I looked really good when people snapped pictures of me or me with Robbey on the dance floor and then seeing proof that I was completely misinformed.
  • In the last minute of the last song, Luke ended up removing his tuxedo shirt and waving it around like a terrible towel. For some reason I didn't think this was weird at all until today when Robbe asked about it and couldn't stop laughing. I suppose I'm immune now to Luke's antics which I'm not sure is a good or bad thing...
 The Groomsman Robbey & Me

 Most of the After Partyers 

Robbe, Rabbit, Luke 

The bride & almost all of me

Two of my faves: Ashley & Ali

We clean up okay!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Words_Rocktober First

For the past two weeks, I've been painfully lazy. And my, has it felt good. Season premiere week, ignoring any inclination to boost my heart rate above 60 bpms, shopping, and happy hours have dominated my agenda. I'm pretty confident that October is going to kick my ass which makes my laziness more acceptable, more justified in my eyes.

The good news in those two weeks was that Robbey came home after being on tour for a solid month. Last weekend, we decided to try out a church that meets down the road from his house. There were roughly 75 people at the 10:30 a.m. service, (by the way, when we were deciding between two churches to attend, the determining factor was Robbe: "Let's go to whichever one starts later."), a decent mix of college students and a fairly diverse group of young and older families. To be honest, the worship seemed loosely based on a skit from SNL. I never saw the worship leader who was masterfully hidden somewhere to the left of the stage. It didn't matter how high I got on my tip-toes or stretched to the left or right, I never saw the man. Only heard the voice. Very Wizard of Oz-ish. Although the music was a bit lacking, it wasn't in any way a deal breaker for me. I was thankful for its simplicity and that it was sincere and heartfelt even in all of its awkwardness.

What may seem more awkward is that the sermon was on giving and tithing and was delivered by, not the pastor, but someone who was probably a head committee member or someone administrative. The subject of giving and money is universally awkward but I believe this person was the perfect person to deliver such a message. He was nervous and read from his notes but was wonderfully humble, honest, determined, and kind with his words. He talked about giving from the heart and not out of obligation; about the reality of maybe not being able to give monetarily so instead giving your time; he talked about poor vs. wealthy giving; and the fact that what we have is not ours, everything we have is Gods and to think we have control over our wealth is a farce.

Another member talked about different ways to increase giving, like giving a one-time 10% of your savings, or upping your weekly giving by five dollars or more, or buying gift cards to local grocery stores from the church which returns 5% to the church (what an awesome idea!). They passed out little booklets that summarized their points (cuteness) and I was really blown away by their thoughtfulness and care that they took to approaching such a sensitive subject.

Robbey and I talked about this afterward, agreeing that we both really liked the message and the way they handled such a topic. We both have different giving styles; he's generally more comfortable giving to strangers and serves by literally walking up to people on the street and offering them food or some kind of help. He gives his coworkers or neighbors rides home or to a class or to work. He supports two women through micro-lending. I think he is a great giver of time by just hanging out with people--strangers or friends--who are desperate for a listening ear. I tend to give money and time to people I know. I'm a nurturer and love building upon friendships, so investing in something outside of that scares me, but I know I would like to be (and need to be) more generous in the unknown.

Having this sermon prompt such an intimate look at Robbey's and my giving style and history set something in motion for me. It opened up a new perspective on our relationship. I think about who we are individually, together, and what that means for our future. How are we going to serve together? What will we invest in and what will that look like? How will we give generously and wholeheartedly? What happens when we don't want to give or have to give more than we have? I'm so thankful for his giving heart. He challenges me so easily and I'm therefore, easily humbled. I hope that I can start living in the truth that what I have is not my own and as a result become more generous. But it can't happen without prayer and a willing heart and to have someone like Robbe around for that continuous inspiration is, I think, a pretty good start.