Giselle Budchen’s Jawline and Other Un-wrappable things I’d like for Christmas

We all have Christmas lists, right? Chock full of stuff and non-stuff and maybe a new Wii. Here’s my list of unwrappable, slightly unpurchasable things that I’d like for Christmas. In event that you haven’t bought me anything yet, any of these will do.

The ability to speak and understand any language

Yeah, I know I asked for this for my birthday, but nobody bucked up and got it for me. C’mon guys. This would be mighty handy with travel looming on my horizon. It would also help me live out my personal fantasy in which I overhear someone running their mouth in another language and I calmly (and shockingly!) respond in their language. With one eyebrow raised and intense eye contact. Ooooh.

Hang time with Little Sister Yes and Yes
A month after my return to the states, Little Sister Yes and Yes packed her worldly belongings into a tiny car and drove herself down to Phoenix. And while I envy her weather these days, I do miss the girl. So, sis. Let’s meet somewhere in the middle and hang for a week, eh? I will even bring some of Grandma’s chocolate/peanut butter/Ritz cookies. Or I’ll bring them and try not to eat them on the way.

A White Christmas
This will be my first non-tropical, Northern Hemisphere Christmas in four years. If it is not positively snow-filled, I am taking my toys and playing elsewhere. Possibly Bolivia.

Several Calm, Drama-Free Months
The next four or five months of my life are shaping up to be, well, rife with plans and changes and Big Important Decisions. I am 80% excited, 20% pukey about this. So here’s hoping that it all goes as well as possible.

Giselle Bundchen’s Jawline
So. I come from a long line of button-nosed blonds. And while we have been blessed with nice feet and good calves, DNA has not smiled on us in terms on jawlines. Friends, I fear there is a waddle in my future. I think I have a few good years left, as the waddle traditionally arrives in tandem with our 35th birthdays, but I’ve been preparing by compulsively applying neck cream every night and developing a method to suck in my jawline. So if anyone has Giselle’s number and knows if she’d be willing to share the love, hook a sister up, kay?

What un-wrappable things do you want this Christmas?

Ready the Kleenex

photo by pearson251

So. I teach ESL to southeast Asian refugees. I love my job. I do. It’s amazing and humbling and I spend a good deal of time playing bingo and teaching chants about ‘be’ verbs. It’s a pretty sweet gig.

Several of my students are KaRen, an ethnic minority from eastern Burma. In the past fifty years, the KaRen have made several attempts to lead insurgencies against the military dictatorship and failed. When these attempts failed, the military began to ‘ethnically cleanse’ the country of KaRen, forcing more than 120,000 of them into refugee camps along the Thailand-Burma border.Though only intended for temporary use, many refugee camps housed KaRen for 10-15 years. The camps are halfway between a shanty town and a prison, where refugees live in tents or huts, aren’t allowed to leave the camp without a permit and aren’t taught the language of their host country. Refugees bide their time until they are allocated to a new host country, something that they often have no say in.

This is the history of my students. Now that they have been in Minnesota for a few months, they know how to take the bus and where they can buy coconut milk. They’ve experienced snow and escalators are officially old news. Now that they’re experts on American life, they get quite excited at the prospect of new students who they can surely ‘break in’ and impress with their knowledge of this cold, new place. They were all a’fluster when I told them on Monday that we’d be getting new students the next day.

On Tuesday, I ushered three demure KaRen women into the classroom when one of my students jumped out of his seat and started yelling … because thousands of miles away, years ago, in the mountains of Thailand, they all lived in the same camp. And now here they were again, in my tiny classroom in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Needless to say, I had to busy myself with my dry erase markers for several minutes so I wouldn’t weep over the joy of it all.

More teaching fun:
In which the existence of beavers is questioned
English names chosen by my Chinese Students
Adventures in Non-traditional Adulthood: Teaching ESL Abroad

For the love of gravy

“Gravy is the simplest, tastiest, most memory-laden dish I know how to make. It smells of home, the door locked against the night and a stillness made safe by the sound of a spoon going round a pan.”

– Dorothy Allison

Happy Thanksgiving!

How To Do Just About Anything

how to do anything
So this time it’s for real, right? That new diet/quitting that job/getting a small business loan/going to art school/breaking up with that hot but assish British guy (I’m look at you, 25 year old self). But then something happens and a valid excuse to avoid your new adventure presents itself. And so we don’t do it. That grand, exciting, scary, life-changing thing we were going to do. Maybe we eat Lean Cuisine at our desks for a few weeks and troll facebook for our next sexual conquest but that’s as far as it gets. How do we make that scary leap from thinking about doing to actually doing?

 

Now, I cannot claim to be a total expert on this. There are many a thing that I’d like to do/am in the process of doing that may never quite fall under the done heading. Opening an Etsy shop, writing a children’s book and competing in a triathlon to name a few. However! I do have a decent track record of actually completing a good number of the seemingly ridiculous/improbable things that I set out to do. Here’s what has worked for me:Write it down, then start mapping your path
We all know that putting pen to paper is one of the best ways to make things happen. But taking it a a bit further helps even more; start compiling the information the will bridge the gap between what’s inside your head and what’s out. The address of the applications office at the Pratt Institute, sketches of the jewelry you’re going to sell on Etsy, pictures of the jungles in Brazil you plan to hike through. It’ll start to seem more real the more you look into it.

Tell everyone you know about it
So now you’re doing it: the research, the footwork, the wee, exploratory tendrils of progress. And it’s awesome! And you can’t wait to tell everybody about it! And you should. Anybody worth knowing will be excited for you and feed your enthusiasm. Also: you’ll be a lot less likely to back out of your plan because everyone you know will be asking you about it. How lame will you feel when your BFF inquires about your progress on NaNoWriMo and you get all “Welllll, I got really busy at work and….”? Shame can be a great motivator, yo.

Spend money on it
I don’t know about you, but I am exponentially more likely to complete my goal once I’ve spent money on it. Because then it’s for real, for real. So buy the giant hiking backpack, the expensive paint brushes, a few pieces for your new work wardrobe. You’ll see them everyday and think about the fantastic new life that you’re going to have and make even more steps towards getting there.

Make it irreversible
Go big or go home, right? When you’re really serious about something and you know, in your heart of hearts, that it’s the right choice, don’t allow yourself the luxury of a backup plan. Buy a one-way, non-refundable ticket, slide your letter of resignation under your boss’s locked door, drop that love letter into one of those impenetrable blue mailboxes. You’ve put yourself at the mercy of fate and you are going to have so much fun!

Doing begets more doing
I’ve really found that one act of doing begets another. Once you’ve published your novella, you know that you are totally capable to moving to Hong Kong on your own. And after you’ve negotiated a lease in Cantonese, you can’t be deterred from starting an import business. Hiking though Nepal, learning to speak Hindi, touring Paris in four inch heels – all these things are totally doable, you go-getter, you!

What do you do to help bridge the gap between the exciting plans inside your head and your day-to-day life?

@import url(http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=PT+Sans);

.clearfix:before,
.clearfix:after {
content: ” “; /* 1 */
display: table; /* 2 */
}

.clearfix:after {
clear: both;
}

/**
* For IE 6/7 only
* Include this rule to trigger hasLayout and contain floats.
*/
.clearfix{
*zoom: 1;
}

.optin.charm{
width: 680px;
font-family: ‘PT Sans’, Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif;
margin: 25px auto;
display: block;
background: #7fb1b7;
border-top: 5px solid #eecbc2;
border-bottom: 5px solid #f2f1e4;
color: #fff;
padding: 10px 0 8px 0;
height: 90px;
}

.optin.charm .imageArea{
width: 162px;
float: left;
margin: -23px 5px -20px 5px;
display: block;
}

.optin.charm .formArea{
width: 490px;
float: right;
margin-right: 10px;
text-align: center;
display: block;
}

.optin.charm .formArea p{
font-size: 16px;
margin: 0 0 3px 0;
}

.optin.charm .formArea p span{
font-size: 22px;
font-weight: bold;
}

.optin.charm .formArea p em{
font-style: normal;
font-size: 18px;
text-transform: uppercase;
font-weight: bold;
}

.optin.charm .formArea #mc_embed_signup{
background: none;
vertical-align: top;
padding-top: 0;
}

.optin.charm .formArea #mc_embed_signup .mc-field-group{
display: inline-block;
}

.optin.charm .formArea #mc_embed_signup input{
font-size: 12px;
line-height: 16px;
display: inline-block;
border: none;
padding: 5px;
margin: 0;
vertical-align: top;
}

.optin.charm .formArea #mc_embed_signup input.button{
font-size: 14px;
font-weight: bold;
text-transform: uppercase;
padding: 5px 10px;
color: #fff;
background: #d4dadb;
letter-spacing: 1px;
}

 

Love this? Want more?
Get my free ebook How To Charm Anyone All The Time, Ever by signing up below!

 

photo by Shaosu Ren // cc

var fnames = new Array();var ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]=’EMAIL’;ftypes[0]=’email’;fnames[1]=’FNAME’;ftypes[1]=’text’;fnames[2]=’LNAME’;ftypes[2]=’text’;fnames[3]=’MMERGE3′;ftypes[3]=’radio’;
try {
var jqueryLoaded=jQuery;
jqueryLoaded=true;
} catch(err) {
var jqueryLoaded=false;
}
var head= document.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0];
if (!jqueryLoaded) {
var script = document.createElement(‘script’);
script.type = ‘text/javascript’;
script.src = ‘//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.4.4/jquery.min.js’;
head.appendChild(script);
if (script.readyState && script.onload!==null){
script.onreadystatechange= function () {
if (this.readyState == ‘complete’) mce_preload_check();
}
}
}

var err_style = ”;
try{
err_style = mc_custom_error_style;
} catch(e){
err_style = ‘#mc_embed_signup input.mce_inline_error{border-color:#6B0505;} #mc_embed_signup div.mce_inline_error{margin: 0 0 1em 0; padding: 5px 10px; background-color:#6B0505; font-weight: bold; z-index: 1; color:#fff;}’;
}
var head= document.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0];
var style= document.createElement(‘style’);
style.type= ‘text/css’;
if (style.styleSheet) {
style.styleSheet.cssText = err_style;
} else {
style.appendChild(document.createTextNode(err_style));
}
head.appendChild(style);
setTimeout(‘mce_preload_check();’, 250);

var mce_preload_checks = 0;
function mce_preload_check(){
if (mce_preload_checks>40) return;
mce_preload_checks++;
try {
var jqueryLoaded=jQuery;
} catch(err) {
setTimeout(‘mce_preload_check();’, 250);
return;
}
var script = document.createElement(‘script’);
script.type = ‘text/javascript’;
script.src = ‘http://downloads.mailchimp.com/js/jquery.form-n-validate.js’;
head.appendChild(script);
try {
var validatorLoaded=jQuery(“#fake-form”).validate({});
} catch(err) {
setTimeout(‘mce_preload_check();’, 250);
return;
}
mce_init_form();
}
function mce_init_form(){
jQuery(document).ready( function($) {
var options = { errorClass: ‘mce_inline_error’, errorElement: ‘div’, onkeyup: function(){}, onfocusout:function(){}, onblur:function(){} };
var mce_validator = $(“#mc-embedded-subscribe-form”).validate(options);
$(“#mc-embedded-subscribe-form”).unbind(‘submit’);//remove the validator so we can get into beforeSubmit on the ajaxform, which then calls the validator
options = { url: ‘http://yesandyes.us2.list-manage1.com/subscribe/post-json?u=6414344bee6459fee7c463760&id=f1426cc92b&c=?’, type: ‘GET’, dataType: ‘json’, contentType: “application/json; charset=utf-8″,
beforeSubmit: function(){
$(‘#mce_tmp_error_msg’).remove();
$(‘.datefield’,’#mc_embed_signup’).each(
function(){
var txt = ‘filled’;
var fields = new Array();
var i = 0;
$(‘:text’, this).each(
function(){
fields[i] = this;
i++;
});
$(‘:hidden’, this).each(
function(){
var bday = false;
if (fields.length == 2){
bday = true;
fields[2] = {‘value’:1970};//trick birthdays into having years
}
if ( fields[0].value==’MM’ && fields[1].value==’DD’ && (fields[2].value==’YYYY’ || (bday && fields[2].value==1970) ) ){
this.value = ”;
} else if ( fields[0].value==” && fields[1].value==” && (fields[2].value==” || (bday && fields[2].value==1970) ) ){
this.value = ”;
} else {
if (/[day]/.test(fields[0].name)){
this.value = fields[1].value+’/’+fields[0].value+’/’+fields[2].value;
} else {
this.value = fields[0].value+’/’+fields[1].value+’/’+fields[2].value;
}
}
});
});
$(‘.phonefield-us’,’#mc_embed_signup’).each(
function(){
var fields = new Array();
var i = 0;
$(‘:text’, this).each(
function(){
fields[i] = this;
i++;
});
$(‘:hidden’, this).each(
function(){
if ( fields[0].value.length != 3 || fields[1].value.length!=3 || fields[2].value.length!=4 ){
this.value = ”;
} else {
this.value = ‘filled’;
}
});
});
return mce_validator.form();
},
success: mce_success_cb
};
$(‘#mc-embedded-subscribe-form’).ajaxForm(options);

});
}
function mce_success_cb(resp){
$(‘#mce-success-response’).hide();
$(‘#mce-error-response’).hide();
if (resp.result==”success”){
$(‘#mce-‘+resp.result+’-response’).show();
$(‘#mce-‘+resp.result+’-response’).html(resp.msg);
$(‘#mc-embedded-subscribe-form’).each(function(){
this.reset();
});
} else {
var index = -1;
var msg;
try {
var parts = resp.msg.split(‘ – ‘,2);
if (parts[1]==undefined){
msg = resp.msg;
} else {
i = parseInt(parts[0]);
if (i.toString() == parts[0]){
index = parts[0];
msg = parts[1];
} else {
index = -1;
msg = resp.msg;
}
}
} catch(e){
index = -1;
msg = resp.msg;
}
try{
if (index== -1){
$(‘#mce-‘+resp.result+’-response’).show();
$(‘#mce-‘+resp.result+’-response’).html(msg);
} else {
err_id = ‘mce_tmp_error_msg’;
html = ‘

‘+msg+’

‘;

var input_id = ‘#mc_embed_signup’;
var f = $(input_id);
if (ftypes[index]==’address’){
input_id = ‘#mce-‘+fnames[index]+’-addr1′;
f = $(input_id).parent().parent().get(0);
} else if (ftypes[index]==’date’){
input_id = ‘#mce-‘+fnames[index]+’-month’;
f = $(input_id).parent().parent().get(0);
} else {
input_id = ‘#mce-‘+fnames[index];
f = $().parent(input_id).get(0);
}
if (f){
$(f).append(html);
$(input_id).focus();
} else {
$(‘#mce-‘+resp.result+’-response’).show();
$(‘#mce-‘+resp.result+’-response’).html(msg);
}
}
} catch(e){
$(‘#mce-‘+resp.result+’-response’).show();
$(‘#mce-‘+resp.result+’-response’).html(msg);
}
}
}

A list of lists

photo by jschumacher

You know what I love so hard? I mean, in addition to cheese and kittens and globe-trotting.

Lists. Oh friends, I love them. Not only those uber-productive, plan-making, world-domination-plotting lists, but lovely, hilarious, ridiculous ones. Here are some of my favorites:
  • Favorite songs from 1998
  • Top five animals
  • Best words ever
  • Fictional Characters that would be my best friends
  • Smells that I love
  • Scary things I don’t ever want to touch
  • Songs that can be categorized as “Sparkly”
  • Best songs for air kicks
  • Food to eat when I’m downtrodden
  • Movies that I have seen more than ten times
  • Names that I will never saddle my children with
  • Things about me that are awesome

What lists do you make?