Dear Santa...

I distinctly remember looking out my window one Christmas Eve and convincing myself I saw a red light shooting across the sky. Rudolph, obviously.  
As can be seen in the photo above, my visits to Santa were all business. He spoiled me. And I loved it. So this Christmas, in honor of the jolly old man in red, I'm recounting my top 10 Christmas gifts. Thanks for the good times, Saint Nick. And thanks to Ricky and Patti Long, my favorite elves who helped out.

10. Portable DVD player
I was absolutely useless the Christmas that I got this electronic device. I sat in that red chair and watched the two DVDs I owned (Legally Blonde and Miss Congeniality) all day. Shameful confession: I never read the instructions and thought the DVD player always had to be plugged into an outlet. Two years later I discovered a battery in the original box. It broke a few months later. Whoops.

9. The Blind Guy
If you aren't familiar with the Blind Guy's background story, check this post. For those of you who are familiar, here are the photos to prove my fascination with this man and his entertaining facial expressions. Thank you, Ricky, for giving me a framed pic to forever immortalize the 2000 election and the celebrity it created.

8. Beanie Babies
PURE JOY. That's what I felt every time I opened a new beanie. I got the Princess Diana bear (a rare collector's beanie, hence the plastic display box) for my birthday one year and thought I was SUCH a big deal. Where is the bear now? I have no idea. I would hope somewhere buried in the giant box of beanies I unearthed last week. But man, that purple bag of beans was practically pure gold way back when.

7. The Josh Tape
Oh the Josh tape. I had everything from SNL hosting gigs to appearances on Letterman to 30-second stories on Entertainment Tonight to 2-second glimpses on red carpet specials. All focused on the love of my tween years: Josh Hartnett. And then...the unthinkable...I LOST THE JOSH TAPE. I had feebly given up after months and months (possibly years?) of searching. Luckily my mom found the tape right around Christmas and decided to wrap it up as a gift. As you can see, I was elated to have the Josh tape back in my possession. And yes, for those of you who are wondering, the Josh tape still lives on today.

Also, while we're on the Josh topic, I have to share something that I found while I was looking through some old pictures. It's shameful, and I don't blame you for judging.
This is the trunk I packed in every year for summer camp. Apparently I just couldn't leave anything untouched by Josh mania. Yep, even my summer camp was aware of my Josh Hartnett obsession. What I love most about this embarrassing example of my middle-aged years is that I thought this piece of artistry was so beautiful that it warranted photo documentation. Reason #340598709345 that a good chunk of the people I met during middle school will always remember me as the girl who was obsessed with Josh Hartnett.

6. iPod
 This was back before iPods had become microscopic. For my first ever iPod, Santa brought me an old school mini (which was new school at the time). My light blue mini is now about 10x the size and weight of what Apple is currently marketing as the latest in iPod technology. However, this antique is still truckin' along! It has now been promoted to the position of my official "Christmas iPod" and holds all 362 of my Christmas songs. It's my top music source October through December!

5. Moon Shoes
Unfortunately for me and for you, I can't find a picture of me in my moon shoes. I'm pretty sure I looked just as skilled and awesome as this girl whenever I put those things on, though. For those of you who have never experienced the magic of moon shoes, allow me to explain. Basically you strap these bad boys on your feet and have an experience as close to walking on the moon as you'll ever get (unless you decide to go walk on the actual moon, which I would guess is pretty unlikely). Magical. This form of entertainment could usually only last about three minutes, but it was a GREAT three minutes.

4. The Mini Pool Table
I think this gift was originally intended only for my brother Stephen, but all three of the Long kids claimed it. Not a fan of pool? Not a problem. You could convert this gaming mecca into a ping pong table or or an air hockey table (minus the actual air part). Hours of entertainment. Our oober cool Uncle Jeff (the only of my mom's three brothers who was still single at this time and came to spend Christmas with us every year until he met his darling wife) even took the time to give us all lessons on the basics of pool strategy. What a guy! Unfortunately I think my initial learning of pool in mini-form stunted the maturing of my pool skills seeing as how I'm a completely miserable pool player in the full-sized pool table world.

3. Pogo Stick
I may not look happy in this pic, but it's just because I'm in the zone. The pogo zone, that is. Patti Long disagrees with me, but I'm pretty sure I once pogoed up to 500 times. We're talking 30+ minutes of consistent pogo. I was the pogo master. This year I tried to revive my pogo skills when I borrowed a family friend's pogo stick. I jumped three(ish) times then fell into a chair. Apparently I am the pogo master no more.

2. Jack Rabbit
My sister got her feelings hurt this particular Christmas morning because she thought Jack Rabbit belonged to all of us. No ma'am! He was all MINE! I was the cool kid who took her rabbit on walks. Jack had his own leash (sorry I don't have any photo documentation of that; it looked as ridiculous as you're thinking) that he would usually put up with until we made it to my next door neighbor's yard. As soon as we passed the boundary into their grass, he would start jumping spastically all over the place until I took him back home. Despite this fact, I kept trying to "walk" my rabbit. And I was completely oblivious of how ridiculous I looked. As I grew older I had less time to care for my little bunny. Since he wasn't getting the attention he deserved, I gave him away to a 3rd grade classroom. As far as I'm concerned, Jack is still alive. That's the best thing about my rabbit: he's an immortal like Zeus or Hercules. Long live Jack the rabbit!!!

White Christmases aren't the norm in Tulsa, OK but when they do happen they're absolutely fab-u-lous.

I must take a moment to recount The Great Christmas Snow of 2009. It was a great snow, but it was A LOT of snow. My stubborn sister (gotta lover her!) insisted that she was going to church with or without the rest of the family even though a snow storm was supposed to hit while we were in church. So we all went, but we were NOT happy about it. The candlelight service, as always, was lovely. It was so lovely that the other four members of the Long family (keeping the Christmas spirit alive) forgot how mad/frustrated/annoyed we were with Carolyn for dragging us there. We pleasantly chatted after church for a bit until my brother came running up to inform everyone that we needed to leave. NOW. I walked outside and was greeted by a BLIZZARD. A blizzard by my Tulsan standards, at least. There was not a single flake on the ground when we went into church, and when we came out of church there was not a speck of ground without a flake.

Our car was in covered parking, but there was still snow everywhere. The boys removed said snow and we booked it out of the parking lot before things could get worse. We were doomed right from the start. Two minutes into the drive, the boys had to get out and dust the snow off the car again. Why couldn't the windshield wipers do that? Because the windshield wipers kept freezing. Excellent. The first  road we tried to take was already closed so we turned around and  tried another. The boys continued to get out of the car every few minutes to whack the ice off the windshield wipers and de-snow the car as we slowly made our way to road #2. Our cheerful Christmas moods quickly turned sour. We all coped with this in different ways. I berated Carolyn and blamed our turmoil on her. My brother and dad were silent (mostly due to the fact that they were rarely actually inside the car, so they didn't have many opportunities to yell). My mom yelled at me for yelling at Carolyn. Just one big happy family!

We finally made it to road #2. There was a hill we had to go up. It was a BIG hill. And there were already at least five other cars stuck on said hill in front of us. We went up a distance. Got stuck. Helped the lady in front of us who was stuck. She got stuck again. We got stuck again. My dad starting brainstorming hotels we could stay at that were close and then suggested that we walk four miles home (the women in the car quickly shot this option down). Our Christmas spirits drained, we decided it was every man for himself and pushed our car past the woman we had been helping. Somehow our Toyota Camry was the first car to make it to the top of the hill (yes, ahead of all the four-wheel drive vehicles). There was a brief moment when we all cheered and yelled to celebrate our accomplishment. Then eight sets of headlights come into focus in front of us. We had failed to realize that on the other side of the hill, there were most likely other cars trying to make it to the hill's peak. There are normally only four lanes on this road, but on this snowy night the cars on the other side of the hill had decided to make eight lanes. Leaving our lane options at...zero. I don't really remember how we got home. I just remember that we were all really quiet and tense. And that we were in the car for a very long time.  An hour and a half after we left church (it usually takes us 15 minutes to get there), we FINALLY made it home. And then, of course, the car got stuck in the driveway. Needless to say, snow was much more fun on Christmas morning than on Christmas Eve night in 2009.

One last honorable mention:
This Christmas I only asked for two things: a plane ticket to New York City and new tights. I figured the tights were a sure thing, but the plane ticket was a little less sure. I burst into tears when my favorite elf, Ricky, presented me with a map of the U.S. that had arrows pointing from Fort Worth to NYC and an attached flight itinerary. Jackpot! Santa continues to spoil me even when I'm on the cusp of adulthood!

To close this post, I'd like to direct your attention to this precious photo of my family putting up the Christmas tree. Really, my favorite thing about Christmas isn't the presents (no offense, Santa). It's hanging out with these weirdies. Cliche? Yes. Still true? Absolutely.

Wishing you the merriest of Christmases spent enjoying the loot Santa brought you with the people you love!


The Benefits of Being a Pack Rat

Today my dog, Ellie, and I were sitting at my Tulsa home busy doing...absolutely nothing. I remembered my mom had mentioned that she found a box in the attic labelled "Becky's stuff: DO NOT THROW AWAY." I decided this very boring December afternoon was the perfect time to find said box. And so I did. Here is where my attic adventure took me:

On my way to the box in question, I found another fun box. What was inside? Every single beanie baby I ever owned. If you look closely you can see that I made each BB a personalized beaded necklace with his or her name on it. I really liked beanie babies.

I also found my old American Girl Locker. Sadly I don't actually know where my dolls Felicity and Amanda are, but I do know where their things are. I'm totally forcing my daughters to play with all these cute things even though they'll be doll antiques by the time said daughters are in existence.

A snowman pillow I made. Cute, right? It's now proudly sitting with me on the couch.

Now onto the good stuff: the "Becky's Stuff: DO NOT THROW AWAY" box

I laughed so loud at the contents of the folder I had labeled "My Men" that Ellie ran into the room to see what was up. In one pocket of the folder I found posters of some of my secondary crushes (Shane West, Hayden Christensen, Chad Michael Murray, Orlando Bloom, etc). The other pocket was dedicated solely to my #1 crush: Joshua Daniel Hartnett. Shocked to learn that I know Josh Hartnett's middle name? Don't be. To say I was "slightly obsessed" with him in middle school is a huge understatement. Here's some background on my Josh infatuation...I saw Pearl Harbor 8 times in the theater; I had a videotape called "The Josh Tape" with every single one of his press appearances recorded on it; my friend made me a special Josh binder with his picture all over it and gave me little mirrors so I could look into the mirrors and my face would be next to Josh's; for my senior spring break trip I wanted to journey to Minnesota where Josh lived so I could track him down and we could fall madly in love; I had a PURSE with his face on it. And in case you need any further proof that I'm a freak, here is a taste of what I found in the Josh section of the "My Men" folder.

I'd like to spotlight a few things in this photo: the Valentine my friend made me from Josh in the middle, the Josh Hartnett book (who knew he had a book?!) in the top left corner and the sheet of Josh Hartnett stickers in the bottom left.

These are all the magazines (yes, all 24 of them) I purchased because there was some mention about Josh in them. Pitiful.

Oh adolescence. Thank goodness that's over with. Unfortunately I'm still widely known as "the girl who was obsessed with Josh Hartnett" by tons of people who witnessed this obsession first hand. Don't know if I'll ever shake that reputation. I guess I can test it in 6 years at my high school reunion.

At Jenks Wild (a camp my school's entire 6th grade population went to for a long weekend), this baby was my pride and joy. We got beads for completing certain tasks or behaving well. The bear claw was the envy of the entire camp; only for the truly outstanding 6th graders who did something super awesome. I got mine because I came to camp even though I was sick. Looking back, did I deserve to be championed for possibly spreading illness around to all of 6th grade? Probably not.

A pack of Kleenex my friend brought me back from the Salt Lake City Olympics. That makes this particular pack of Kleenex 8 years old. Really Becky? Really? This is one find I'm more embarrassed than proud of.

Two books I submitted for a writing contest in 3rd and 4th grade. Instant classics.

My favorite baseball cap. So fashionable. It doesn't fit my head anymore, but Ellie seemed to like it.

My vest from Brownies. So tiny!

Other highlights of my attic looting included:
--Tons and tons of notes from middle school and beyond
--A mini tea set in a little picnic basket
--A sweatshirt from when I went to cheerleading nationals in 2nd grade
--4 birth certificates for Build-a-Bears
--My Little Dribblers uniform
Story to go along with this uniform: I only played basketball for one season because I was HORRIBLE. How horrible? The only basket I ever scored was for the other team. No, I'm not kidding.
--Little bottles of sand from Destin and St. John
--Various tennis and piano trophies/medals
--My 4th grade teacher's wedding announcement
--The first book I ever read: Green Eggs and Ham
I took this book and hid under a clothing rack at Toys R Us while my mom was in line at the check out. After successfully reading it by myself, I walked up to my mom and announced my accomplishment. So she bought it for me.  :-)
--My best friend's sister's graduation program from 2005. Do I have my graduation program? My best friend's? My sister's?  Nope. But I have Leigh Anne's. I have no explanation. Except for the fact that I'm a pack rat.

When my mom came home from work she tried to convince me to throw away some of this stuff. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, though. And so my afternoon ended when I put everything back in its place and returned the box to its attic perch. The trashcan is empty, the box is full, and I'm in an incredibly good mood. This random collection of knick knacks is guaranteed to be hours of entertainment in another 10 years when I re-deiscover the "Becky's Stuff: DO NOT THROW AWAY" box.

Once a pack rat, always a pack rat.


The Crock Pot Point

What is this "crock pot point" I speak of you ask? It's the term I coined to refer to that turning point when adulthood starts to kick in. Today at work I was talking to my friend Katie about her weekend plans. She said she wanted to have a low-key Friday night since she has to get up early on Saturday morning. I suggested she should go home and make something in her new crock pot then curl up and watch a movie. Katie was shocked and appalled that I thought she was the type of girl whose main source of entertainment on a Friday night is a kitchen appliance. But it's true: she's at the crock pot point. She's an adult.  (But to clarify: she's an incredibly FUN, young, and hip adult who very rarely has crock pot Friday nights.) The more I think about it, I'm noticing that my crock pot point may be looming in the very near future. I've already started experiencing a number of symptoms:

This year for my 22nd birthday I got my very first set of dishes and a Christmas doormat. And I was THRILLED about both of these gifts. I've already started dreaming up all the dinner party possibilities I have with these new dishes. Swoon.

Which brings me to my next symptom...I have dinner parties. I read through cookbooks to find new recipes and corral people together to offer them a free meal. I got this from my mother. Well, really from all mothers. Because all mothers (mine especially) love to feed people, regardless of whether or not those people are actually hungry.

This leads nicely into symptom #3. I'm becoming my mother. Example: I throw Patti Long-isms into conversations all the time. You see, my mother likes to make up words and phrases. I hear these words/phrases so often that I start to assume they're real. Then I let one slip in public and people get confused since they don't speak the language of Patti Long. I don't view this process of turning into my mother as a bad thing. I mean, I figured it was inevitable. Plus, Patti Long and her Patti Long-isms are pretty great. But since my mother is an adult, if I'm becoming more and more like her then I too must be an adult(ish).

I don't shop for "cute" clothes any more. I shop for functional clothes. (However, I still always choose cute shoes over functional shoes so I think this is at least a small victory.)

I clip coupons. Sure I pretty much never use any of them, but they're there for me just in case I decide I do need 50 cents off my shampoo or a free warmer unit when I buy an Air Wick Scented Oil refill fragrance (forget the fact that I don't actually have an Air Wick Scented Oil to refill in the first place). Every penny counts, you know.

The final dead giveaway that I'm growing up: I'm sitting in bed at 10:00 on a Friday night writing a blog entry. And I'm totally fine with it.

To you, adulthood, I say: BRING IT ON. I may stay home to cook a crock pot delicacy on the occasional Friday night, but I'm still awesome. Plus, there's always Saturday. Just because I'm an adult doesn't mean I need to be mature all the time.

Next step: buy a crock pot.


Being annoyed/annoying since 1988

We all have those little things that drive us wild. If you're ever in the mood to annoy me, here's how to do it:

1. Repetitive noises.  This is especially a problem if there is some repetitive noise that is keeping me from sleeping. A creaky fan, a car alarm, a barking dog, etc. The WORST is snoring. My mother once found me sleeping curled up in a towel on the bathroom floor of a hotel room where I had gone to escape a member of my family's (who will remain nameless) incessant snoring. I also used to take ear plugs with me to every sleepover to avoid any and all possible repetitive nighttime noises that could keep me from catching some z's. What 9-year-old shows up to a sleepover with her teddy bear and her earplugs, you ask? This one. Both those things saved me from many sleepless nights.

2. Speaking of not being able to sleep, my loud neighbors upstairs annoy me. Not the people so much (they're all very friendly), I just hate that I can hear every single footstep, pulled out chair, and dropped book.  I think the  girl who lives above me has some sort of radar and knows EXACTLY when I either a) want to take a nap or b) want to go to bed at night. Around the time I settle into bed for either a) or b) is about the same time my neighbor decides to run laps around her room with her little yippy scampering dog or move every piece of furniture in her room for the millionth time. Well, that's what it sounds like she's doing.

3. Skinny people who talk about how fat they are.  As I'm eating a greasy cheeseburger, I don't need your size 2 frame to tell me what a delicious salad you had today and how you're upset  that you only got to work out for two hours instead of the usual three.  Go tell that to your size 0 friend.  My cheeseburger and I are not interested, thank you.

4. People who misspell the word "definitely."  I don't know why this is the word that gets me, but everytime I see "definatley" or "defanately" or some other butchering of the word in a letter/text message/e-mail, I cringe. Can you spell the word "definite"? Great. Add an "-ly" at the end and we're good to go. Can't spell the word definite? Learn to and  then add the "-ly." Still struggling? Use another word like "absolutely" or something like that. Problem solved.

I was making this list of things that annoy me in my head today while I was in the kitchen listening to my neighbors and their dog prancing around in a conga line upstairs. (Alright they might have just been making lunch, but it sounded very conga-like to me.) What am I doing as I listen?  Drinking milk straight out of the carton.

And then it hits me. Oh my gosh--I'M ANNOYING

First of all, since when am I too lazy to get a cup out of the cabinet to pour myself a glass of milk? I convinced myself the dishwasher won't fill up as fast since I didn't put that cup in and we can save water by running the dishwasher less often. The reality: I'm lazy. Additionally, I'm starting a habit that millions of people would put on their "things that annoy me" list. So then I start thinking: what other annoying habits do I do on a daily basis? Apparently, a lot.

1. I constantly feel like I have a frog in my throat. As a result, I'm constantly clearing my throat. The worst part is, I usually don't notice when this throat-clearing is taking place. I'll let an "ahem" slip and confusion follows. Example:
Me: Ahem
Bystander: Yes?
Me: Yes what?
Bystander: Did you want something?
Me: What do you mean?
Bystander: You just cleared your throat.
Me: Oh, no, I was just clearing my throat actually.
Bystander then either gives me a weird look and walks away (if they don't know me) or gives me a weird look and tells me how weird I am (if they do know me)
2. Singing annoying songs at inopportune moments.  My cousin, sister and I once refused to stop singing the theme song to "The Brady Bunch" until my uncle pulled the car over and bought us a new tube for the lake. It worked, but geez. What little terrors we were! My sister and I still use this tactic when we're in the mood to be annoying with the fam in the car. If it's not "The Brady Bunch," it's "Gilligan's Island." My family just loves it when car rides turn into forced karaoke sessions.

3. Being stingy for no reason.  My milk carton incident was not the first time I had used the "save room in  the dishwasher"  thought process. I once got into an argument with my friend Megan because she wanted to use a rubber spoon while we were making cookies. I said since we had already dirtied a wooden spoon it wasn't necessary to dirty a rubber spoon. Things escalated quickly and I ended up chasing her around the kitchen trying to grab the rubber spoon out of her hands and obstructing her access to the bowl of cookie dough. That was a new low. It's a wonder Megan puts up with all my shenanigans. (You may recall she's the friend who tried to get me to stop singing in the car by listening to music in other languages)

4. Non-stop chitter chatter.  I tend to talk a lot. Especially if I'm nervous or uncomfortable. I'm sure sometimes people wish I had a mute button so they could turn me off, or at least  turn down the volume.

I could add more to both of these lists, but I don't want to give you anymore hints on how to bother me or provide you with more of my annoying habits for you to take note of.

So in my kitchen with milk carton in hand, I came to  the conclusion that people have been annoying me and I have been annoying them for a very long time. This is not going to change. Ever. But if I keep my old school TV karaoke sessions to a minimum, could you return the favor and PLEASE make sure you spell check before you type or write the word "definitely" in my presence? The world will be a happier place for both of us.


Meet My iTunes Library

I can be a little obsessive about my iPod. Every song has to have a corresponding artist, album, and genre.  Preferably an album image. I also went through a period of time when I felt sorry for my songs that had never been listened to. Yes, I felt sorry for them. Like they were people. (I have since passed this stage, but it still pains me just the teeniest bit when I come across a song that has never been listened to. During this bizarre period of my life, I went on a rampage of constantly listening to my iPod on shuffle with the goal of letting all 982 songs have their moment in the spotlight. You know, to make sure no song was left behind or got its feelings hurt.

My friends often got to (had to) listen to the resulting hodgepodge of songs that resulted from my shuffle rampages. And I got made fun of.  I still get made fun of.  Read the list of songs below and you'll understand why. These are the 21 songs that popped up when I put my iTunes on shuffle:

Another Christmas Song--Stephen Colbert (Yes, he has a Christmas song)
Hold On--Michael Buble
Redneck Yacht Club--Craig Morgan
If U Seek Amy--Britney Spears
Santa Baby--The Pussycat Dolls
Bare Necessities--Phil Harris and Bruce Reitherman (The Jungle Book)
Mamma Mia--Donna and Company (Mamma Mia! the musical)
Gold Digger (Glee Cast Version)--Glee Cast
California--Phantom Planet
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious--Mary Poppins
True Colors (Glee Cast Version)--Glee Cast
Ridin Solo--Jason DeRulo
The Way You Look Tonight--Tony Bennett
Is It Any Wonder?--Keane
Someday--Sugar Ray
Juan Loco--Rodrigo y Gabriela
Never Gonna Leave This Bed--Maroon 5
Love Story--Taylor Swift
Keep On--Tyler Hilton
I Want You Back--NSYNC
I Heard It Through The Grapevine--Marvin Gaye

There are a few things you can deduce from my music tastes based on this list:
1. I am not normal.
2. I really like Christmas music. In fact, I have an entire iPod (circa 2001) that I have officially deemed "The Christmas iPod."  362 Christmas songs = perfection. I usually start listening to the Christmas iPod in October. Which brings us back to #1, I'm not normal.
3. Glee completes me.
4. The artists of the 1990s are alive and well in my iTunes library. I own "NOW" albums #2-13.  I also have "Totally Hits," the attempted rival of "NOW" that failed. (However, I wouldn't have TLC's "Scrubs" without this album, so I for one am grateful for the existence of Totally Hits.) 
5. I love love loooove soundtracks.  Musicals, movies, TV shows, whatever. Love them.
6. I have a separate genre for Disney music. Do you ever get tired of Angela Lansbury singing "Beauty and the Beast"? I don't. My favorite random Disney song to sing along to on long car rides used to be The Spectrum Song. Listen and you'll feel sorry for my family. I still know all the words so feel free to ask me to karaoke.
7. The Rat Pack is not just for my mother to enjoy. Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra.  SWOON. I think I would have been so good at living during that era. I include Michael Buble in that category, too. He's an honorary member, just born in the wrong decade like me.
8. I will always be a fan of the original boy bands: NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, LFO, Hanson. None of this Jonas nonsense. (Although I must confess, I think I have one or two Bieber and Jonas songs on my iTunes.  I have no idea how they got there.) My childhood was the peak of boy band perfection.
9. For every 1 song that is somewhat current on my iTunes, there are about 10 songs that are old school and out-dated.
10. True country music fanatics think I'm a poser country fan. It's pretty much true.
11. I have random songs in different languages. My friend Megan used to get tired of me singing along to every single song on the radio so she tried to find Spanish songs I couldn't understand. I learned the words to those, too. Well actually, I made up the words but it sounded right to me. Megan loved that.

My favorite bands really are quite normal: Tyler Hilton (sigh), Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, John Mayer, Coldplay, etc. But these normal people get lost in the madness of my iTunes library that now has 2,172 songs. Since my iPod is an old nano 4G, it can only hold about 700 of my songs. So I have gone through the very painful process of choosing just exactly which songs I want on my iPod, therefore camouflaging my music taste so people who scroll through my iPod THINK I'm normal. But no. All you need to do is look at my iTunes to see that is not the case. Then again, I've probably already proven my non-normal status through examples of my celebrity stalking and mayonnaise binges.

The good news about my iTunes on shuffle: it always keeps people guessing. Then again, we all probably have those songs on our iTunes that people wouldn't understand. We're all kind of closet freaks when it comes to some of our music choices. Am I right? Can I get an amen?


Celebrities Make Me Nervous

You know those moments when in your head you're thinking "Stop talking...stop talking...stop talking...you're going to embarrass yourself" but your mouth just keeps prattling on? And what always happens? You embarrass yourself. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I envy you. And if you do know what I'm talking about, I feel your pain.

I tend to talk too much when I'm nervous. What makes me nervous? A number of things. The most recent of these unnerving things that got me into trouble: celebrity encounters. I just don't know what to say to famous people. I don't want to talk to them about the same thing that every other crazed fan talks about. So I try to be unique and quirky. Instead, my nervousness sends my mouth on a rampage and I just end up looking like the most crazed of all the crazed fans.

Example: This week I went to a Tyler Hilton concert. He is my all-time favorite artist. I'm obsessed. Tyler isn't too mainstream. This is part of why I love him. But it also means that a lot of you reading this probably don't know who Tyler Hilton is. Since he's not some huge celebrity who's in the tabloids every other day I really shouldn't have been that nervous when I met him after the concert. But I was. In fact, I was so nervous that I was literally shaking. I even asked Tyler's bodyguard what I should use as an opening line. The bodyguard just laughed and shook his head at me. Not helpful.

Before I had time to brainstorm my brilliant and charming opening comment, the moment was upon me. I don't remember much of what I said, but I do remember that I just talked and talked and talked...and talked. I'm pretty sure the majority of this talking made me sound like a complete loon. Highlights of the conversation included:

(as I'm walking up, he can apparently already tell that I'm a little too excited)
Tyler: "Wow! You're really enthusiastic"
Becky: "Well YEAH!" (followed by lots of nervous giggles)

(while posing for a picture together)
Becky: "I really am 21 years old. I just act like a 5 year old."

Tyler: "Do you want to sign up for my e-mail list?"
Becky: "Oh sure! I pretty much already stalk you in every other way possible."
(Explanation: I follow him on Twitter, "like" him on Facebook, subscribe to his YouTube channel, and look at his website every so often. Some might call that stalking. I like to call it being a really dedicated fan. I'm sure everyone reading and Tyler Hilton himself are going to choose to call it stalking. And you're probably right.)

Luckily I don't come in contact with celebrities often. As in, I never come in contact with celebrities. The only other famous people I can remember meeting are Shannon Miller and Peggy Fleming (who I met through a fence after a Champions on Ice performance when I was 8).

Maybe I just need more practice socializing with celebs  Is it an acquired skill? Well anyway, it's fair to say I definitely don't have that skill just yet. Here's hoping my next celebrity encounter is a little less creepy-stalkerish!

And a special note to Tyler: Sorry for being incapable of holding a real conversation in your presence. I really can be a fun, normal person. Apparently just not around you.

Becky is thinking: "Oh my gosh Oh my gosh Oh my gosh Oh my gosh!!!!!"
Tyler is thinking: "This girl is a complete nut job."

P.S. This is my fav Tyler song ever. If you haven't heard it before, you need to.


Ricky, EllieFran, and The Blind Guy

Today is my father's very favorite holiday. Some people look forward to birthdays; others count down the days til Christmas. Not Ricky! He prefers Election Day.

Did I just call my father as Ricky? Yes I did. I'd like to divert for a second to clarify. No, he isn't my uncle/stepfather/adopted father. He is my biological father. And yes, as many of you know, I regularly refer to him as Ricky. Is he offended? I think he used to be. One day, 3rd grade Becky came home from school and decided to be obnoxious by calling her father by his first name. Not just his first name, the version of his first name people called him in elementary school. I don't recall my exact reasoning behind this. Perhaps I was curious how long it would last before he went completely insane with annoyance? Anyway, during this initial phase I'm thinking Ricky was most likely a little perturbed. But now? It's just the usual. I forget that it catches people off guard. In fact, the whole family has taken my lead. My sister, Carolyn, has even embellished Ricky's name so he now has a rapper alter ego: Pretty Ricky.  

I tend to change things up name-wise. When we got our brand new puppy, I suggested we name her Ellie. I immediately retracted my name suggestion because it was my tennis coach's name. Apparently I was concerned that my coach would be offended I had stolen her name for a dog. My family didn't care (no doubt my tennis coach wouldn't have cared either), and so our border collie pup became Ellie. A few weeks later, however, my sister and I decided to play a trick on Ricky. The plan: start calling the dog "Fran" and see if Ricky notices. The result: much confusion.
Ricky: "Didn't we name the dog Ellie?"  
Becky (or Beckles as Ricky tends to call me): "No. We named her Fran.  Remember?"  
Ricky: "...No?"

In the end, Ricky wasn't fooled. But once again, the name stuck! The whole family now refers to Ellie as EllieFran and occasionally just Fran. They are putty in my hands, I tell you! PUTTY! Haven't decided what my next name-change project will be, but I'll keep you posted.

Back to my original point.  I started this blog entry that somehow spun off into a succession of anecdotes for a reason.  Here was my initial thought process:

Election Day = Ricky
Ricky + Beckles + Election Day + 2000 = Blind Guy

Who is this blind guy I speak of? Allow me to re-introduce you.

Do these images look familiar? Perhaps bringing back memories of the Florida ballot disputes in 2000? I endearingly named this man "The Blind Guy." And, as proven through the Ricky and EllieFran stories, I only give nicknames to people/animals that I really love. The Blind Guy certainly fits that criteria. I was so enraptured by this man and his ridiculous facial expressions that Ricky gave me a framed 8x10 photo of my blind friend for Christmas that year. It sat on my hutch for years and years right next to my autographed picture of Shannon Miller. I'm sure I still have it somewhere.

So Blind Guy, this post is dedicated to you. Where ever you are, you still have a special place in my heart. And so do you, Ricky and EllieFran. Happy Election Day!


You are what you eat?

I hope this saying isn't true because I've gone through some strange eating habits in the past. And if you are what you eat, I'm disturbing and unnatural. I started thinking about my weird food eating the other day when I decided to top off my chocolate chip peanut butter cookie stack (and banana ice cream) with the trio of fries (sweet potato, parmesan, and some spicy one I can't remember the name of) at Tillman's. Because doesn't that just sound like it will all go so well together? For some reason I thought so. Looking back, eating that food in that order wasn't my best call. This was one of those decisions that tasted good at the time...and then my tummy regretted later.

That's usually how my food eating habits go. You see, I love food SO much  that I have problems with the whole "stop eating when you feel like you might explode" concept. I just had a huge dinner but there's free pizza available for the taking...yes please. I'm already stuffed but that dessert looks really yummy...I'll take two, thanks. Maybe I don't need lunch because I'm still full from the ten pancakes I had for breakfast...no way jose.

My proudest and most ridiculous/embarrassing food moments come from my childhood. To this day, my family STILL makes fun of me for how I used to eat two of my favorite fast food meals.

The Flattened Hamburgers at McDonald's

Picture this: An 8-year old girl walks up to the counter at McDonald's. Does she want a Happy Meal? Nope. Make that a double cheeseburger meal with a large order of fries and a Sprite, please. I'm not talking about a cheeseburger with two meat patties. I'm talking two separate burgers. Because clearly, one just wasn't enough to fill out my adolescent frame. But of course, I still wasn't convinced this was enough food.

Cue my stroke of genius. In my little brain, I decided  that if I would flatten the burgers it would increase the surface area. Obviously a larger surface area of burger means more bites for me and more food. I was such a bright child. So every time I went to McDonald's, I went through the process of ordering more food than I could carry and flattening my cheeseburgers. I then had to eat the burgers fast enough so they didn't have time to un-flatten. People judged (as they should have), my family laughed (it was much deserved), and I ate every last bite.

The Mayonnaise Overload

Before I start this story, I should first tell you that I am completely grossed out by mayonnaise now (most likely due to the amount of mayo I consumed as a child). Mayonnaise freaks me out. If it freaks you out, too, this childhood food habit might freak you out (it pains me just to recount). You've been warned.

So, around the same time that I was ordering my flattened hamburgers I was also ordering footlong turkey sub sandwiches from Subway. My ideal sandwich required just 3 ingredients: white bread, turkey, and LOTS of mayonnaise. My conversation with the Subway employee usually went something like this:
"Hi, I'll have a footlong turkey sandwich on white bread."
"Don't you want a kids meal?"  "Are you sure you can eat all that?"  "Did you say a footlong?"
"Yes, I want a footlong please."
"OK...what else do you want on your sandwich?"
"Just mayonnaise. LOTS of mayonnaise."
"Is that enough?"
"A little more please...little more...little more...that's good."
And because that wasn't bad enough, I would beg my mother to let me walk across the parking lot to Rex's Chicken so I could get a side order of mashed potatoes with extra gravy as my side dish. Who needs chips? Clearly having my potatoes in mashed form went so much better with my sandwich than potatoes in chip form (how dull!). I remember one sandwich/mashed potatoes meal in particular. The gracious Subway employee who was making my sandwich offered to WRITE MY NAME IN MAYONNAISE on my sandwich. Yes, this actually happened. She even wrote in cursive. That mental image you've got in your head? The one with the word "Becky" written ornately across pieces of turkey sitting on a stale loaf of white bread? Top it all off with some mashed potatoes and you've got it exactly.

So in retrospect, I guess I have made some sort of progress in my eating habits. I'm still not normal, but at least I'm not as bizarre as my 8-year old self. (Good thing my cottage cheese phase didn't last long either...that one was rough.) You can still judge me, but don't judge the flattened hamburger technique until you've tried it.



Remember the children's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Poor Alexander wakes up one morning with gum in his hair. And so begins the awfulness. No window seat on the bus, reduced to Paul's "3rd best friend", a cavity at the dentist, lima beans for dinner, soap in the eyes at bathtime, least favorite train pajamas...it is certainly a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Alexander decides he wants to move to Australia and escape bad days forever (I can totally relate to that one!) but his mom explains that bad days happen to everyone, even people in Australia. (Though from personal experience I'd like to point out that bad days seem to happen less frequently in Australia.)

Here's a little nugget of information for you: Wikipedia told me that in the Australian and New Zealand versions of the book Alexander wants to move to Timbuktu instead. Just in case you were wondering.

On September 22, I lived through "Becky's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"

I wake up late, as usual. This is a problem because I had plans to look presentable for Pi Phi composite pictures that afternoon. While I am rushing around trying to get ready, I decide to turn on some music. I don't notice Frankie, my roommate Lisa's cat, scurrying past me as I come back into my room. I approach my computer and notice the screen is blank. Strange since I was just on Facebook a few minutes before. I click the mouse. Nothing happens. Then, I notice where the problem is coming from.


My first thought is that the ceiling is leaking. I look up. No leak. Then my foot kicks something. It's the cup I had sitting on my desk while I was studying the night before. Last  time I saw this cup it was filled with water. It is now empty on the ground. Suddenly my brain starts to click and things fall into place...I left my door open for 2 minutes while I was in the bathroom...I passed Frankie coming out of my room...THE CAT! It's a CAT-astrophe of epic proportions!!!! Picture this: Frankie jumps on my desk and spills  the water directly on top of my computer, leaving everything except for my precious MacBook completely dry.  Just my luck.  Whereas Alexander woke up with gum in his hair, I woke up with a drowned computer.  My terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day has officially begun.

I frantically start screaming for Kendal, my other roommate, and burst into tears. Kendal finds me in a sobbing mess trying to use my duvet cover to soak up my dripping computer. Being the genius she is, Kendal grabs a box of rice from the kitchen and pours it all over every crevice of my computer. Soaking my friend's phone in rice worked once when I spilled a few drops of water on it so surely the same trick can save a computer right? ...right? We leave the rice covered computer in the sunlight for extra drying and cross our fingers. (Hint: it didn't work)

The rest of my day falls apart as follows:
--Lisa's car is parked behind mine and she carpooled to school with her only set of keys. I'm trapped!
--Kendal drives me to the Zoo. I'm late. She's late. And I'm definitely not photo-ready.
--I don't finish half of my to do list at work. The cashier at Hobby Lobby sends me hate vibes when I make her ring up $250 worth of fake grapes. She then gets in an argument with her boss in front of me over the Zoo's non-taxable customer card.
--I open a bag of M&M's at work to make myself feel better. Spill them all. Later that night, I tempt fate again and break into my secret stash of M&M's at home. Spill those too.
--I go to take my Pi Phi composite picture with frizzy hair, minimal make-up, and a sour attitude. I'm sure that picture is going to turn out fantastic.
--To try to salvage my day, I attempt to go to McKinley's for lunch. I've been thinking about eating a strawberry cupcake and chicken salad all day. McKinley's is closed.
--I go with two of my friends to Potbelly's instead and order an Oreo milkshake. While handing me my milkshake, the lady at the register lets one of the precious Oreo cookies slide off the top of the lid. I really wanted to eat that Oreo.
--My shoes give me blisters.
--I drop my phone at least four times on concrete over the course of the day.
--Thief! In my 2:00 class, I realize that I accidentally stole the keys to the Zoo's Honda Element. Since my car is still trapped at my house, I have no way of returning the stolen keys.
--I decide to try a new recipe of "salmon cakes" for dinner.  Disasterous. They fall apart and turn into a mess of crumbles on the frying pan.
--It hits me as I'm about to leave the house that I forgot to drop off something really important for the Zoo that needs to get printed for Zoo Ball. I scurry over to the printers and apologize profusely for delivering something at 5:30 p.m. that needs to be ready the following day. Oops.
--I go to my first career fair and have a freak out because I have no idea what I'm doing. To make matters even worse, I start sweating out my nervousness and produce two lovely armpit sweat stains on my brand new silk blouse. Bet that impressed the potential employers.
--I leave the career fair and it starts pouring rain. I pitifully run to my car (in heels and silk, mind you) and the rain immediately stops once I close my car door. I look up. There is a huge black cloud situated EXACTLY over my running path and nowhere else.
--It starts to rain again the second I open my car door and set foot on my driveway. Typical.
--Did I mention that my computer is completely ruined? R.I.P. Macbook

As you can see it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. But at the end of this day, all I could do was laugh. Surely I've used up enough bad luck to keep me in the clear from bad days for a while now, don't you think? Still haven't ruled out Alexander's idea of moving to Australia, though...

I wish each and every one of you many happy days free from water-logged computers, spilled M&M's, embarrassing armpit stains, and unintentional thievery.



I'm not so sure how I feel about this whole "growing up" thing. As of now, I'm not a fan. Unfortunately, I've had to do a lot of growing up lately. I find myself constantly thinking about the future. It's not like I haven't thought about the future before. When I was in elementary school "the future" was getting to go to the intermediate school down  the street. When I was in middle school "the future" was turning 16 and being able to drive. When I was in high school "the future" was going to college. And now that I'm in college, I realized the world's predetermined futures have run out. What the heck am I going to do in May after I get my diploma and flick my tassle to the other side?

I have no idea.

So, when this scary thought "I have no idea" strikes me, it usually takes about 10 seconds before I revert into thinking about the good ol' days. If you're feeling similar "I have no idea" anxieties, take a walk down memory lane with me to the yester-years of childhood...

1. Gameboy Color. When this ground-breaking electronic came out it was a BIG DEAL. And I wanted one. But according to Patti Long, video games are for boys and dolls are for girls. So I apparently wasn't worthy of my precious Gameboy Color no matter how much I begged. What did I do, you ask? I saved up my allowance for a year to purchase myself this coveted item. The problem? At the time of purchase, I couldn't afford a game. My Gameboy sat in my closet for over a month before I had enough money saved to buy "Bomberman." How I loved you, my purple see-throught Gameboy Color. And Patti Long will never live this one down.

2. Classic Niceklodeon shows. Clarissa Explains It All...Rugrats...Are You Afraid of the Dark? (terrifying; I still get the spooks swimming in the pool because of an episode about a pool built over an old graveyard)...Kenan and Kel...All That...Hey Dude...oh the memories!
3. Dunkaroos and Mondos. Cookies + icing.  Fruit drink + goofy face on a plastic bottle. Genius. Honorable mention to Fun Dip.

4. Butterfly clips. Always artfully displayed in alternating colors that perfectly complimented my outfit. Add in some body glitter and I was good to go!

5. Limited Too. I'm not talking about the store now known as "Justice." I'm talking about my Limited Too. The place where I got my favorite pair of blue leopard silk pajamas. The place where Patti Long wouldn't let me buy t-shirts with dog and kitten pictures on them because they were "tacky." The place where all my clothing dreams came true at age 7.

6. Beanie Babies. Does this even need an explanation? I was obsessed. So obsessed that my baby-sitter drove my sister and I around for an entire day to all the different McDonald's in Tulsa so we could buy as many "Teeny Beanies" as possible. I don't know if her dog, Bear, ever recovered from the 15 happy meals we fed him that day...

7. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. You know, the power rangers who reported to Zordon and the robot that said "Ay yi yi yi!" and fought those grey things that looked like they were made out of clay. I loved the power rangers and I'm not ashamed. I was even the pink ranger (Kimberly; I so wanted to be her) for Halloween once. Conveniently, my neighbor was the white ranger. Be still my heart.

8. Bubblegum Pop Music. I choose to remember the happy times. You know, Britney (pre-shaved-head),  Christina (pre-Xtina), Jessica Simpson (pre-is-tuna-chicken-or-fish), Backstreet Boys (pre-comeback-attempt-#345873984765), *NSYNC (pre-no-one-can-get-work-except-Justin), and Spice Girls (who, if you ask me, still rock)

9. Tamagotchis. 3 little buttons = hours of entertainment. The day that they outlawed Tamagotchis at Jenks Southeast Elementary was a very sad day.

10. My Lamp Halloween Costume. This will forever be one of my proudest moments. Made even better by the fact that I was accompanied by an order of french fries.

Oh the joys of childhood. Did I miss anything?