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Wait. What’s that noise??

29 Oct

They say when people hear their names it resonates with them and makes them trust people, wanting to embrace others.

All my life  I’ve been terrified that I’m a self obsessed narcissist. Which most likely means I am. But as I get older and find more clever ways to hide my craziness, I have had the ability to look at others and notice patterns that evolve across us all.

We all want to talk about ourselves.  DUH the world revolves around ME didn’t you know?!?

But if you ONLY listen to people and just let them carry the conversations and tone of communication, they will talk forever about themselves and never once ask about the other… or get tired… or run out of topics (relax…. I only know this from PERSONAL experience… Why, hello my little blog. ) 😉

I’ve been testing this theory, only listening and not bringing it back to “TA DAH! here I am and this is what I like and think and do and everyone should be just like me!! TADAHHHH!” and unfortunately for me it is harder than I had hoped. #insertfoot

But why is this so? And when did it become ok? Are we really all that self-obsessed… and with the evolution of social media and ever-increasing channels to perfect our image, is this, at the same time, creating a monster of the dissolution of public service and charity and REALLY having compassion for others and their problems?

I’ll admit people’s problems seem to be becoming more like reality television than Walter Cronkite. Oh, you didn’t get those $200 shoes you HAD to have at full price because you’re on a budget… and now you’re just gonna DIIIEEEEEE #whitegirlproblems #passthewine

Unfortunately, people who listen to others lamenting  90% of the time are only looking for a place to [insertwhitegirlproblem#366here] and bring the conversation around to themselves and their own personal frame of reference… at varying levels of course from crazy to shutthehellup. Additionally, media/society and consumerism are completely driving this trend.

You will, though, make it very far in social circles if you will just listen. People LOVE anyone that will listen to WHATEVER… from their cat taking a shit yesterday to real issues like a death in the family or what they ate for lunch. Maybe it’s called networking, or maybe it’s just called listening.

I think the more you put others first or allow them to believe it’s all about them, the more they will appreciate your presence. But how REAL is that really? By talking about ourselves in a roundtable over cocktails or during the The Real Housewives [insertwhatevercityisYOURfave] marathon, are we really creating meaningful relationships or are we creating a facade that others must care about US when really everyone just cares about themselves?

Does anyone seriously care in return, or do they just care that others care? (There is a lot of caring going around amiright?)

At a definitive crossroads in being social, being young, being a hermit, and being old  and bitter, I often wonder where does one go from there? If you are listening constantly, when do you realize its an ok time for you to speak or admit that maybe you need someone to listen to you? At that point are you just fulfilling the inner ego or is it just a matter of  remaining sane… and letting it all out through verbal diarrhea?

Can someone go their whole lives only being there for others and losing themselves in the process? Or is that only half a meaningful relationship?

Is communication a necessity or is it a luxury that many take for granted?

You want me to put that needle where?

19 Jun

When did plastic surgery become a thing that people to the right of California would have to worry about?

 I don’t feel that old… yet… but amongst my friends, I think I was the only one shocked when a botox birthday party came on the menu??

Hold on one second. At near…. Ahhhheeemmmm 27….. I just bought my first bout of anti-wrinkle cream … and use it like I’m a tender 45-year -old –Bravo-housewife burn victim.

And yes, I’m comfortable with that.

I was sure I had at least a decade until needles and Meg Ryan dreams were involved in my daily routine.

I don’t do needles… hence why I don’t have tattoos or attempt to save lives by giving blood and plasma (know, I know… I would really just be doing it for the $$… you caught me).  I was hoping for at least another two decades for some Mark Zuckerburg-type to invent a permanent 21-year-old hologram to go parading around in my place once I found that hill everyone is talking about … and trip over it.

Plus, when did it become fun to have a birthday party where everyone gets stabbed on purpose?? I think I would rather join the cast of Saw 56 and just be pushed into a vat of syringes.

Is there a certain age that women can look to start maintaining their beauty? Have we all lost our minds and are wrinkles before the age of 30 “white girl problem” #6,000,005.3?

 Or is there really something graceful about taking age as it is… finding ourselves caking on the makeup and dying from over face hydration and whatever cancer is in anti-wrinkle cream and homemade face masks made of mayonnaise and foot smell…

…or possibly the answer is just committing suicide when the first crow’s feet pop up to say good morning.

Invitations for my debut botox party are already in the mail.  

Crazy for the sex. Hold the mace por favor.

30 Jan

Hola, Trunchbull.

So after breaking the 2.5 week mark in scintillating Madrid I have realized some very important… points.

Mace isn’t legal everywhere. Apparently it is illegal here, but  somehow my savvy packing skills got me into the country armed and dangerous. Many of my friends here in Madrid think I’m crazy for bringing it, think  it looks like breath spray, and think that I’m a badass. ;)Alternately, some of my friends from home in the States have asked me if I brought a gun… you know just to be safe… and so I can go for target practice at a moments notice I assume.  The difference leads me to believe either a) America is the most dangerous country in existence b) Americans are highly untrusting and anxiety ridden or c) it’s just much safer in Europe. I think it’s all of the above.  However, If you are an official reading this… don’t worry the mace is destroyed and gone. If you are my mother reading this… don’t worry the mace is secure and in my daily possession.

I guess we’ll never know.

“Men are crazy for the sex.” I meet girls and one of the first things they say is “Can you speak Spanish?” and the second “just so you know men here are crazy for the sex.” My reply is I think that’s pretty common in every country of the world. If you are male and have working male parts it doesn’t matter what language you speak, you are crazy for the sex.

Noted.

People are super freaking nice. People here once they get to know me and realize I’m not addicted to fast food, are relieved I’m not 300 lbs and realize that I’m neither a political or religious fanatic, will go above and beyond ALWAYS to help me with whatever I need. Random encounters are a bit different, but anyone that has some sort of relationship with me redefines nice on a daily and non self-serving and judgement free basis.

Some Americans should take note.

If there’s a will there’s a way… to find Skittles. One of my students…realizing that I was in a bit of a culture shock meltdown… took me to the American store, and I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see the boxes of Duncan Hines cake mixes and individual wrapped bags of Skittles. Turns out root beer is an acquired taste…as his polite demeanor tried not to spit this NOT beer in my face… but Reese’s peanut butter cups are loved by all… similar to men and the sex.

Sugar high. Check.

Transvestites CAN be found. Transvestites are one of those amazing enigmas that I cannot figure out. You NEVER have to go looking for them they just exist like oxygen and toilet paper. It’s fascinating. And each one is so unique. Just the other day on my way to class I encountered a transvestite with a butt crack up to where her back boobs started. After feeling an enormous twinge of sympathy for her… errr his…. it’s… jeans, I realized that if transvestite aren’t bringing the “party” at 8 am, they definitely bring the topic of conversation for a later time with friends…strangers…or at the occasional work party.

Butt crack. Check.

Old men love me. No matter what country I’m in if you are male, over 50, and crazy for the sex. You love me. My father would be so proud. Let’s hope when I’m 50 and looking for my 3rd husband this still stands… but I’m going to guess I won’t be that lucky and I’ll be fighting off the 80-year-old eyes.

Thank goodness for mace.

The Trunchbull entereth. I’m a big girl in America. I’m a giant in Spain. It’s bad enough that in my mind I’m an Olsen twin (I think I can, I think I can) but the women here are super petite… and beautiful… and I don’t think they understand the word diet… these traits are synonymous with the men too. Yay. I need to find the country where all the tall, big-boned people live and make camp. Every time I walk into a place it’s noticed. The tops of people’s heads and wearing flats are really getting old. I’m also tired of people telling me “Wow, you’re really tall.” Yes, thank you. How perceptive of you. I’ve never heard that one before.

I’m a giant. Check.

WWIII or just another “tone”

26 Jan

So I think one of the hardest things about living in a foreign country… is not knowing the language…teeny tiny insignificant detail. (insert facepalm)

And with that MINOR detail comes a slew of interesting situations… (situations that I can only comment on in English… in my head… so as to appear as non schizophrenic as possible… it’s harder than it sounds. I’ve just reverted to flailing my arms in a counter clockwise fashion in hopes that someone can understand me.) We’ll ignore the four times that I’ve thought I was going to the cinema and ended up at a bar or eating … it’s a bit hard on the wardrobe choices… and I’ve gained ten lbs… errr I mean 5 kg!!! Minor detail. And the  time I tried to spell my name for the delivery man… “yes, my last name is Rikir.” Minor detail. And the mail lady has learned to just avoid buzzing the doorbell because a) I’m only going to be able to say “Helllooooo!!! no hablos castellano!” and b) I’m not going let her in anyways… because let’s face it she could be a psycho killer mail lady ready to prey on innocent American girls who can’t speak Spanish. And lastly, I’ve learned just to wear flats… it’s safer… there might be a couple km jaunt at a moments turn…sorry my beloved Fendi boots. There’s a shadow box and admission charge with your name on it. 😦 But don’t worry…you’ll live to walk a different day!

There ARE some things that can be picked up on… like angry/crying girlfriends and drunk homeless people…those are synonymous around the world… along with uptight bitches and transvestites… I know, I know I’m so observant. Gotta be quick with me.

However, the absolute hardest thing that comes with just being an American girl living in a Spanish world and not knowing a word that is being said around you… is understanding the tone…

Oh, the tone.

During my road trip/experiment in the possibility of death by car sickness, I was SURE I was headed into girl world WWIII painfully aware of my non-existent helmet, gun, walkie-talkie and dire water rations, and preparing to pull a Steve Carrell and just gracefully fall out of the car… (I’m sure the pavement is harder than it seems. “TUCK AND ROLL!”)… but it turned out that my passiveagressivenonconfrontationalatanycostanduncomfortableness demeanor had been misconstruing the tone and it was really just a conversation about which kind of cookie is best… I imagine. 😉 I understand dessert is important, but lordhavemercy the shouting had me ready to revert back to my blankie and passefier. I now know that shouting doesn’t mean “FIIIIGHHHTTTT” nor that shit’s about to get real and I need to pull out my taekwondo skills from back in the day (orange belt with THREE green strips thankyouverymuch.)

Soooo… I just get to keep wondering what the hell is being said… and being said with such passion….and can continue narcissistically thinking every other word is my name and “crazy American.”

Hola Javier! Adios iPhone :(

17 Jan

After 6 trips to Vodafone… AKA hell on earth, 3 trips to sketchy Chinese shops…AKA phone hacker ninjas,  and one virgin scooter experience. I found that a) I have as much control over my head in a 10 lb helmet as a bobble doll (as I clanked heads with my friend and driver, Cristina, the entire 5 minute jaunt…that felt like 5 days… whilst I clutched her waist, tried to peer past the mass of hair glued to my face by anxiety ridden sweat and the infinite snug-ness of my Power Ranger inspired helmet, and attempted to pretend I was on a horse… “squeeze with your legs!”  I wish I had a friggin picture for the grandkids)  b) I am not meant to have a phone in this country and c) I am ENTIRELY too reliant on this thing called technology.

After surviving the scooter, my daily appearance at Vodafone, and two failed attempts at a Chinese-English-Spanish trifecta of language babble I found the holy grail of phone magicians in the form a Chin-Span speaking Asian boy with two moles on his face protruding a SOLID… and highly distracting… two inches of black pubic- esque hair.

We shall call him Javier.

After my initial excitement at the fact that my phone worked on 3G not just wi-fi coupled with Javier’s confidence that it would work, as well as the possibility of making a real live phone call I was suddenly horrified when plugging in my iPhone to my iTunes and finding… nothing. Nada. Blank screen. Alotta gray. And alotta messages saying neither my two sim cards existed.

Enter the smelling salts.

No, ok I didn’t pass out, but panic ensued and there is still a twinge of overwhelming and debilitating fear. It’s a fear similar to what I would imagine comes with being mugged or how I personally feel when there is no milk and I have already poured a bowl of delicious Lucky Charms.

Complete. Torture.

But why!?!?!

We are so turned on all the time that I think technology is becoming another of the senses. It’s the sixth sense… the cellular sense. If I don’t have a phone to check, something to post on Facebook, or a new YouTube video to watch, my life just isn’t complete. But it should be. I’m in one of the greatest cities in the world and I’m worried about being able to whatsapp my friends at home and check out the newest posts. I came here to live in the moment and I think this is a prime example that our generation doesn’t know how to live in the moment because we are too tuned into recording and sharing the moment. We want to be connected with the world so bad that we forget we are IN the world.

Regardless of my “aha” moment I still want my phone like I would imagine most prostitutes want their crack…

Javier, I will see you and your mole hair tomorrow!

A pig, a bullfighter, and Hannbal Lecter.

15 Jan

Helllooooo MTV… This is my application for an amazing reality television show that would put “16 and Pregnant… and a Dumbass” to shaaame. I suggest we call my show “WTF is going on!?” and my Spanish spinoff shall be called “Que Pasa?!?! Que Pasa?!?!”

I am in Madrid and safe… but lordhavemercy I should have started learning Spanish before I left my mother’s womb. I have no idea what is going on most of the time and my jet-lag makes my mind lag worse than my sleep cycle. People look at me a bit strange but overall the biggest lesson I have learned thus far is… Julia Roberts made it look easy.

Bitch.

In true “Lauren crazy town” fashion (as if i didn’t have enough stalkers, crazy encounters, fumbles, and schizophrenics in my American life the force has decided to stay strong with this one abroad as well) I hit the ground running, traveling to Badajoz. Don’t ask me how to say that. But it’s what we in the Midwest would call the “country.” But this “country” across the pond is a little more… deadly.

We get there Friday night…after 6 hours of car sickness and a new shade of pale for my record-books…we get to see the pig… the next day I go back and I still see the pig… in a hundred pieces… but don’t worry… it’s head was still in tact… and it’s eyes… the eyes. They kill the pig (thank GOD I missed that, seriously), and then cook the pig, and then we eat the pig.

Lauren ate salad.

I thought I liked ham… but I didn’t understand. And sausage… I didn’t understand that either. They are making sausage… AT THE PARTY. And the smell … I REALLY didn’t understand that.

But so ok, the pig is dead… so what’s next… Horse riding! Yes that’s right I traveled thousands of miles to go to the country and watch people ride horses. Oh the irony. And even better bull fighting! Now the bullfighting is much different from the type I am very familiar with in America (due to the fact that my father has rodeo-ed my whole life) It was REALLY amazing, but perhaps I don’t understand what the point of it is OR that it didn’t matter because the bull fighter was cute…and he seemed interested… and he beckoned me over… and he didn’t speak ONE word of English. Nada. Not even “Hello” or “Hi” or “America.”

But don’t worry! because the engaged drunken Spanish guy the size of Napoleon knew enough English to let me know that 1)I had eyes like the sea and 2) my golden hair was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen and that 3) he would leave his fiance for me anytime I wanted… in front of her.

Needless to say the fiance had eyes like Hannibal Lecter and… I’m not sure due to the language… but I think I’m lucky I made it out of there and back to Madrid without joining ranks with the pig.

Perhaps I taste better? I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

 

Gifts 8, 9 & 10. Done.

20 Dec

All of you who haven’t gotten your gifts for this Sunday are… procrastinating slackers. So here are three ideas to save your holly jolly asses.

8 ) If all else fails call Victoria.

One can never go wrong with Victoria’s secret. I used to think this place was ridiculous… Until I tried on their seamless hiphugger undies… Now I am ready to move in and pay rent.

It doesn’t matter who you are buying for… from their pajamas, to scents, to lingerie, to gift cards… Just say yes. But definitely try out the hiphuggers and prepare to fall in love.

9) Go green.

Scentsy makes purfume. And they are solid. And they are Paraben-free. And they are Sulphate-free. And they are Phthalate-free. And they are Benzene-free. And they are Silicone-free. And they are GMO-free. And they are Propylene glycol-free. And they are Dye-free (no added colorants). Could anything get any free-er?? Maybe your spending budget.

Added bonus, they are never tested on animals.

Anything that smells awesome and can get through an airport is fine by me!

10) Finally, remember the starving children in Africa.

If all else fails and gifts are not an option in these trying times remember to be thankful for what you have.

 I was watching America’s Funniest Home Videos: Christmas Edition. Classic. But surprisingly it wasn’t so funny after all when I was soon appalled by all the children’s temper tantrums when they did not get what they wanted… I think I was most appalled because at one point (or last weekend) that was me.

It is hard to realize how fortunate our lives are when we get our head stuck in the sand of trivial “issues.” How are we raising our evil spawn if they can’t even look around and realize how good they have it? There are many more problems with this society than “no change” and shoeless robbers. The whole thought process on needs and wants and being thankful and opening our eyes to others’ realities needs to be re- imagined.

Try to remember what the season is truly about… love and being around those we care about… not what brand of play-dough you received or how many sparkles your new phone cover doesn’t have.

It’s the fact that we are alive, we have enough to eat, we have a warm place to stay, and they ability to follow our dreams and never give up on finding passion and life in…life.

Holy Grail #3: Curl City

9 Dec

I’m a girl…Surprise!! 😉  So these ideas may or may not be girl driven. Depends on my mood, and where I am in the PMS cycle.

But today I must be feeling very estrogen-y because, Ta-da!, I have found THE eyelash curler to have in the entire universe! Thanks to my girl Katie… shout out.

I don’t usually curl my eyelashes… curlers seem to make them droopier as the day goes on (I’m working on a scientific way to prove this) and I have fairly long lashes to begin with, so no need, plus most curlers I use hurt to curl them and I fear they may rip the lashes out of my eyes and that shit takes 7 years to grow back!! No thank you.

It’s the Japonesque Go-Curl pocket eyelash curler. You can get it on Amazon for $12. (Best $12 I ever spent) You get an extra pad included and they replace your pads for the life of the product.

Trust me after 30 seconds of curl your lashes will be BEYOND sky-high, AND it lasts allllll day! I even washed my face, slept and woke up and my lashes were STILL curly. Additionally, it’s a nice ‘pick me up’ on those “no make up for moi” days. Talk about effective. And I know it works on everyone because a group of us with various lash lengths and types tested it out and it was effective on ALL of us.

Forget mascara that supposed to make your lashes lucious… this curler is all anyone ever needs. Ever.

Life. Changed.

Where is my RV dammit?!@

25 Oct

I'm guessing that elephant definitely doesn't want to hug-it-out.

Who created jobs?? I think it dates back to the asshole that created money and then said “you have to work for this green stuff and it’s the only way you can buy things to survive.”

I call bullshit.

But like good students we all took it to the extreme and started things called careers, and then figured out that these careers can make LOTS of money after LOTS of time invested…

… and then we all lost our souls.

Why are people so obsessed with careers and social status through those careers? You know what job I want?? I want to be given an RV and just drive around the United States of America seeing everything I possibly can, eating out of a microwave and a tin can, and sleeping on a futon that serves multiple, magical purposes. (This may also be called vagabond.)

In a perfect world (*sigh)

I think that if anything this recession is proving how completely reliant we are on a society that has been created on making money rain and using more than we need… of EVERYTHING. It’s an idea that’s all in our head… and our egos. 

People are freaking out cause they don’t have jobs, and nice cars, and sweet vacay packages, and mansions to call home, and are living with their parents. But who cares? And thank God we have parents, right? Who cares what other people think? Take advantage of what little has been put in front of you and find something that will put a smile on your face, not just a check in the bank.

I understand there needs to be a happy medium and realistically it does take money to survive, but the survival shouldn’t be focused on the amount of money or the status, but perhaps on the amount of love. Love comes from passion, human interaction, and, well, love. Money isn’t gonna show up to your funeral, or pick you up when you are down, or hug-it-out when inevitable meltdowns ensue.

I wanna be the next Mike Roe, but instead of Dirty Jobs no way in hell I want temporary jobs. I wanna just move around, work for a bit, make impacting relationships, help where I can, and move on. There’s no formula that says a title or savings account makes you and your productivity in this world any greater. Many of us may have one major stated on our college diplomas, but have a lot of different skills that can be utilized for the greater good.

Perhaps if we find we need “things” less, we will find more happiness in the experience, less stress without a title, love with what and who we have now,  and the understanding that until you are starving in Africa dying of AIDS, it could always be worse.

A Cocktail, A Gun, and Two “I Do’s.”

21 Oct

The age is upon me where everyone around me is getting married, talking about getting married, planning weddings, getting engaged, having engagement parties, showers are as abundant as underage workers in China, and stress is plentiful. Ahhhh, breathe it in… and pass the Xanax.

I’m going to look on the bright side and thank the universe that we are not to the baby stage yet. Because when that starts… I’m moving to Antarctica and blaming the faulty public transportation to and from glaciers on my lack of presence until the children… have graduated college.

I love these girls and will help them with anything they need in their final hour as well as seriously enjoy being creative…but COME ON! This whole idea of “weddings’ and “happily ever after” cause of a six-hour production has totally gone over my head.

Let’s get this straight… You are going to spend a lot of money, time, energy, stress, lose a few chunks of hair, gain a couple of scars and hot glue blisters, and maybe forget your name, where you are from, and have to be committed by the end of it just for ONE (supposedly magical) day (the magic must be in the amount of relief felt when the disaster is over and no one lost a finger or died)?? Ok, that’s what I thought you said. Just checking.

I had NOOOO idea the amount of energy that goes into planning these things. And lordhavemercy! the amount of money that is made on this (is increasing with every divorce). I would think if we stop making all the crap fake foliage, and crystal tiaras, and light up bride and grooms that go into the creation of weddings, the polar bears might have a nicer home and Bridezillas and the WE channel may have never existed… only in my dreams… Oh yeah, and people might actually STAY married.

The amount of details that rack each and every bride’s brain blows MY mind. And the fact that we all sign up for our dream nightmare day willingly nonetheless.  I’m not even in (most) of the weddings and am feeling willing to soon agree to chip in for an elopement and need a strong cocktail. I can only imagine what all the father’s across the planet Earth are feeling. And the pictures, and the place cards, and the freaking centerpieces. Who thought up this madness and how did something so painful stick for so many years?

What happened to the good ol’ days when young men took their bride and 3 goats, shook hands with their father-in-law’s and called it even. 😉

The moral of this story: Fathers only have boys… and I’m going somewhere tropical with one AMAZING dress, copious amounts of relaxation, and vodka. Save the date!

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