To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 30, 2007

Steve... in Apt. #7

My neighbor Steve* is one chromosome shy of normal, maybe even two... AND so, of course, he has a crush on me!

Cori thinks it's so funny!

He's a really nice guy. But, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the day I saw him, I looked him up on Megan's Law... just in case... you can never be too careful! Thankfully, unless he “forgot to register,” Steve is not a sexual predator... or not one who has been caught at least.

But, he is DEFINITELY odd... bless his heart.

Steve and I first met when I moved in to my new apartment about 8 months ago. He came over to talk to me when I was trapped in a box on my patio painting my desk to match the new hutch. I was up to my elbows in paint, so I had to stay outside. This was our conversation:

Steve: Where are you from?
Me: Well, I grew up in Santa Barbara.
Steve: Really?!? I went to college at UCSB. I graduated in Biology. I wanted to go into the biotechnology industry, but, well you know, there's no money in the biotechnology industry these days.
Me: What?!? Really?!?
Steve: Yea.
Me. So what do you do now?
Steve: A lot of things.
Me: So, you're an entrepreneur of sorts?
Steve: What? Um, well sure I guess. I am currently trying to work my way up in the Del Taco Corporation.
Me: Oh, do you work in the Corporate Office?
Steve: No, (looking at me quizzically) I work at the one down the street.
Me: Um… well, do you at least get a discount.
Steve: Not a very good one.
Ok, at this point I am thoroughly confused. Would someone please tell me how a part-time Del Taco worker could make more than ANYONE (a rat even) in the Biotechnology industry???. Did I miss something here???

*I have wanted to snap a photo of Steve, so you could all see how charming he is... but, I gave up, because, as it turns out, he is kind-of-sort-of-ok-enough-being-nice really weird and he's started to kind of stalk me. Eeeek.

On Sunday I had a bunch of friends over and Steve came out calling my name, I wasn't home yet, so they told him this... and he waited perched in his doorway.

Once again, Cori found this very funny! Brat!

Basically, he wants me to attend his graduation. That's right kids... Steve is getting his Master's from the University of Phoenix... and then hopes to get his PhD. I never thought I’d be so happy to be in the sketchy villages of Mexico somewhere between Tecate and Tijauna… but, lucky for me, I will be there right during Steve’s graduation. But, just my luck, Steve must not like me THAT much, he told me I could only come if I was willing to pay $10 for my ticket.

Have I mentioned that Steve is one of those guys whose is of a non-descript age, he can't be that old, but he can't be that you... and, his shirt never quite covers his girth... he keeps volunteering to go running with me... and sometimes in the middle of the night I can hear him laughing...

I have never much cared for the name Steve…

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better...

Diet Coke added Vitamins and Minerals...

and introduced Diet Coke Plus!

Now it's a diet and health food.

I'm about to contact the FDA and get it added as the cherry atop the food pyramid!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Show & Tell

So, I went to Texas for an extended weekend getaway, to see my family and friends. I have so many nieces and nephews there. They are all so cute. My youngest niece, Sarah Jane just turned 1, so we celebrated as she double-fisted her first piece of cake, she’s totally one of us!

Olivia (Age 5, Texas) - Haley (Age 5 - Connecticut) - Chloe (Age 6, Texas)

Anyway, yesterday morning I got a call from my sister Kimberly, she said that my niece Olivia had "Show and Tell" at her pre-school and she had already had a plan for what to bring, but she changed her mind and wanted to bring me instead.

Man, it was a lot of pressure! I got all decked out in a cute outfit and did my hair and make-up. Heaven forbid I embarrass my niece!

When I arrived there was a chair for me in the front of the classroom and about 2 dozen wide-eyed 4- and 5-year-old children. I sat in the chair and my niece came up and linked arms with me and in her cute sweet voice said, “This is my Aunt Ali.” In unison, the class said “Hi, Aunt Ali.” But, Olivia didn't say anything else. She just stood beside me clutching my arm.

Good thing they had questions for me.

Random young boy #1: Um how old are you?
Teacher: It's not nice to ask grown-up women their age.
Random young boy #1: Oh.
(For the record, I would have answered that, I don't care. I mean basically anything over the age of 12 is going to yield me a "wow".)
Random young boy #1: Do you have any kids?
Me: Nope.
Random young boy #1: Well, do you have a husband?
Me: Nope.
Are you kidding me, even toddlers are not immune from wanting to know this???

Random young girl #1: My name is Ali too.
Me: Fantastic.

Random young boy #2: Where do you live?
Me: In California
Random young kids: Where?
Me: REALLY close to Disneyland
Litterally, several jaws dropped. I am pretty sure at this point that I AM the coolest Show and Tell guest ever!

Random young girl #2: What do you do?
Me: Um.... (how do I explain Director of Business Development for a Civil Engineering Firm on a pre-school level???) Well, I work at a company that builds bridges and streets and sometimes buildings.
Kids: Oooh.
Random young boy #3: Did you build the big red bridge in San Francisco.
Me: Well, no.
Looks of confusion and disappointment were rampant and I am pretty sure the little ankle-biters forgot all about my proximity to Disneyland.

Random young girl #3: How did you get here?
Me: On an airplane.
Kids: Wow. Really.
I am pretty sure I reclaimed my status as the coolest Show and Tell guest ever!
Random young boy #4: How long did it take you?
Me: About 4 hours.
Random young boy #5: It takes a long time to get to Spain on a plane. It takes all day and all night. I mean, you have sleep on the plane.
Me: I know. Have you been to Spain?
Random young boy #5: with a quizzical stare, No.
Me: OK.

Teacher: Do you guys know what an aunt is?
Kids: silence
My sister, Kimberly: An aunt is your mom or dad’s sister. Ali was born on my 6th birthday. We're like twins, but 6 years apart in age. She was my 6th birthday present.
Me: Yep.
All the children were thoroughly confused with this concept.

Random young girl #1: My name is Ali too.
Me: OK, noted.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Who is this guy?!?

Sanjaya Malakar?!?

At least I think he's a guy?!?

I could care less what he has done to his hair for the last some-odd weeks!

I am WAY more concerned with what he/she has done to my mom!

I, like Alexander - and most other people in the world, occasionally have a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day". It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I call my mom. Well, first I call my roommate Cori, who tells me basically that I can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Then I call my mom. She gives it to me straight, even though I almost undoubtedly always like Cori's feedback better. She's my mom. And, so I call and I listen.

But, lately she's been REALLY off.

So, just the other day, I called her for advise and to make me feel better, (Cori was out-of-town) and this is basically what she said, "At least you're not crippled*. I have to go now, American Idol is on again, that's what dad and I do for Family Home Evening**."

What the...??? How the...??? Who the...??? Who would chose a he/she (especially one whose greatest aspiration is "to become witty" and apparently conjure up a different style for his coif every week) over their own child?!? When is this show over??? Where is Ryan Seacrest when I really need him??? Can someone please put an end to this madness!?!

Don't get me wrong, my mom, she's one of the greatest things God ever created. She's fabulous!

But, just in case I ever change my mind, does anyone know where I would order one of those moms who would willingly Tanya-Harding the whole cheerleading team, just to procure an opening on the squad for her daughter?

*Note 1: I, in no way, want to sound like an ingrate here or to sound unsympathetic to the plight of those who are physically (or mentally) challenged. Please note, I am in deed grateful for the use of my limbs, and on most days, my mind.

**Note 2: I haven't attended lately, but correct me if I am wrong, I thought F'n HE was only on Mondays?!? Not Tuesdays and Wednesdays or whenever it is that show airs. (I am too busy with more quality shows like "The Hills", "The Bachelor, An Officer and a Gentlemen-caller" and my newest passion "Paradise City"- the epitome of drama and white-trash entertainment, to even care about the likes of "American Idol"!)

You'd think the areas around me would be cleaner by now.

Generally, my cleaning regiment is tailored to ensure that at least half of my common spaces provide me refuge from constant clutter and madness. The formula is as follows:

Office - It WOULD be clean, if the boys would stop putting all the stuff they don't know what to do with in it, which makes it almost can't-even-function cluttered.

Kitchen - Clean, always clean!

Bedroom - not so much always clean, but occasionally clean. To quote my father Dr. Phil "It appears as if another tornado has landed... really close to us... in fact, it seems to have only hit a small area - your room!" But, anytime I am actually at home for more than an hour (not counting sleep time), I clean it.

Bathroom - Clean, must be clean, unless I am held captive or fall ill and I can’t get to it for some unearthly reason, it gets a deep cleaning every week, at a minimum...

Car - Um, have you ever seen that FRIENDS episode where Ross dates Rebecca Romijn and he goes to her apartment and can't find a place to sit down? Well, my car… it's only slighter cleaner than that, most days. Animals could be nesting in there for all I know. And if I ever get stranded I could, almost assuredly, find SOMETHING to eat in it?

Landscaping/front yard/back yard - if I had one, it would be clean, with a hammock and poppies planted in it.

City/State - You see, here where the problem lies. You would think after all the money I have shelled out to various and sundry municipalities, in street sweeping fines, that this city would "shine like the top of the Chrysler Building"! But, I still see debris!

So, as I walked out to my lone car and saw my 9,348th street sweeping ticket this morning, I had two thoughts:
(1) How does everyone always remember which days to move their cars to the other side of the street?!?
(2) I am not so bright.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Spring Break Surprise!

It's spring time. Yipee!

I shaved my legs recently... which is quite a feat... these puppies are LONG.

So, I decided to throw on this cute yellow swingy skirt and some heels to wear to work this morning.

I just got back from lunch. And, it is massively, knock-out-the-power-and-lights windy, in the 9-0-9.

And... well... there's a 95% chance I flashed someone (or maybe a lot of someones) while I was getting something for lunch!


But, I am pretty sure it was little less sexy than this pose!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Celebrity Playlist

Ok, so I am not famous to most people… I get that… or any… I get that. But, this is MY blog… so hopefully all of you at least know me.

In reference to the blog posted on April 3rd… Here are MY musical confessions. In my IPOD:

I DO have Milli Vanilli. "Blame it on the Rain"... 'cause the rain don't mind, and the rain don't care'... What tremendously clever lyrics. Who could knock that song?!? And, the guilt-prone part of me REALLY doesn't want someone to die in vain for a career cut short when the record-player skipped and ended his life in one foul swoop! – I always wondered why the real singers never tried to make it big… a scandalous start like that should have made them an instant draw.

I DO have so many “tween” songs, my roommate and I drummed up enough for a CD for her 4th grade class without even having to buy any new music. Some of these songs are from Win a Date with Tad Hamilton (which I own!), John Tucker Must Die (which I hope to someday own), and Ice Princess (which Cori owns for sure… anything British or Princess-esque, she’s purchased!), Cheyenne Kimball “Holding On”, B*witched “I Will Be There”, and MANY Hilary Duff and Mandy Moore songs.

I DO have Britney Spears “I’m Not a Girl, Not yet a Woman”. I HEART that song. And, I am not even ashamed of it. ‘I used to think, I had the answers to everything, but now I know…’ I even know ALL the words. Plus, it reminds me of one of my dearest friends, Jody Lyman.

I DO have (AND LOVE) Kid Rock, despite the fact that he married Pam Anderson. Maybe he was drunk or stoned… and by maybe, I mean, he probably is 97% of the time. But, “Cowboy” is a RAD song! By the way, I saw them in concert. It’s true. There were cage dancers, who NEVER stopped dancing, even when the band stopped playing, there is a 98% chance they were drunk or stoned.

I DO have various Boy band compilations… really bad ones, BoyZone “I swear”, LFO “Summer Girls”, Paperboy “Ditty” and Bone Thugz N’ Harmony “Ghetto Cowboy”… I AM a little ashamed of most of these, although a few are good to run to.

I DO have songs by Ben Affleck’s exes, Gwenyth Paltrow (what, just because no one saw whatever movie it was that she sang in, doesn’t mean she isn’t good!) and J. Lo ‘… don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got, I am still Jenny from the block…’

I DO have SEVERAL songs from Aqua, namely “Barbie Girl.” – these ARE great running songs. And, it also reminds me of all the women who hang out at Fashion Islands with their 2 pound dogs inside their Prada doggy-purses.


I DO have K-Fed’s rap album.

Ok, I am totally lying about the K-FED album, but now that I take that back, don’t my other selections seem less frightening?!?

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Few MINOR Details

Ok, so I spent the entire weekend being the task-master to bridezilla. What can I say, it's my most recently developed talent. I've been to enough weddings you think I'd be an expert. WRONG AGAIN!

So, my friend Jess got married in Santa Barbara, where we grew up (sorry to keep shell-shocking those of you who still believe I grew up in Utah - still not the case). We've known each other since we were 11 and when we were in college we were roommates for a couple years. I was going to drive up there Saturday morning. But, then I got a call from her saying she didn't want to sleep in the hotel alone. So off I went to rescue my childhood friend. We stayed up talking until 1 AM about how jacked up most of or college roommates were (2 of them were from Canada and only ate cabbage - oddly, they weren't especially thin; 1 read romance novels in the bathroom for HOURS and had terrible nose hairs; another was a phlebotomist and left her crazy blood samples all over the house; ZERO of them were "normal"). We ended the night totally in awe of how we made it through those years without committing homicide.

The view was amazing, you could see the beach and all of downtown Santa Barbara. You could also see (and hear) about 2 dozen kids and adults in the pool area directly behind the wedding seating. As the bride was walking down the aisle we saw two things (1) bride and (2) heavy-set lady wrestling with toddler with her bathing suit nicely tucked into her... full monty, while "Nothing's going to stop us now" was playing.

My first screw up was this: I was in charge of getting the people on the end of the aisles to throw the rose petals into the aisle way during the recessional. But, this lady started throwing them at Jess on the way down the aisle, so I joined her, the consequence of this was the evil eye from Bridezilla. Oops. Clearly the recessional would be when they leave... whatever, I never volunteered for this.

The second screw up was the best mishap. It was neither my fault, nor was it minor. But, it was FUNNY. They had a slideshow. It was lovely: bride with mullet, sans teeth, bad prom dress transition to groom in boy scouts, playing with boat, in a rock band with long creepy hair and then to "Kelly and Rolland together" and "Congratulations Kelly and Rolland"... except who is "Kelly"? My friend's name is Jessica. OOPS! I was totally waiting for a Jerry Springer moment… fortunately or unfortunately there was no Kelly.

All-in- all I learned 3 very important things:
(1) Always check your slideshow to make sure all names are correct, and
(2) If you sign R.S.V.P. to a wedding, show up! Bridezilla will not miss you, per se, but she will be mad at the schmakeroos she paid for you to be "self-centered";
(3) Do not wear cute shoes is you are the task-master. Cute shoes are not comfortable. They just aren't. And, the task-master position, while earning little to no respect, requires frequent bouts of running.

Let's dish. What are the biggest wedding bloopers any of you ever witnessed?

Friday, April 6, 2007

Singled Out!

Today is Good Friday... but, apparently it's only good if you’re a Catholic!

Controller: We are closing the office at 3:00 PM today, for Good Friday.
Ali: Alright, that's nice.
Joe: You have to stay here, you're Mormon. But, the rest of us get to leave early, we have to drag a cross through the town, and that takes a while."
Ali: What?!?

I am pretty sure that's discrimination. But, just in case I am wrong, I hope no one minds that I will be pondering the Catechisms of life through a Catholic vantage point, but only for about half a day.

"You don't HAVE to bring a date, but I wouldn't want you to feel awkward..."

I feel manipulated by this statement!

I am the only white female in this office of mine. And, throw "Hard Core Mormon" (the guys can never just say that I am a Mormon they always have to throw in "Hard Core") into the mix, and that ups the ante on peculiar. None of my paycheck is siphoned off to support would-be children, which is a rarity in Construction. I don't currently, nor have I ever, had an affair with someone else's significant other. The list goes on and on of things that people in this office might find odd about me. If I was going to "feel awkward", it would have happened LONG before next weekend.

So, this morning the other Director just came into my office and asked me about this Awards Benefit that I am being forced to attend (against my will and better judgment)! I have to go. It would be a bad career move for me to dog out. So, I agreed to attend. But, why do I have to bring a date?!? There's no sense in BOTH of us feeling "awkward."

Plus, I don't know anyone that owns a tux, or anyone who owes me enough favors to actually rent one AND attend a really boring function where EVERYONE will be drunk (before they even show up to the event)!

To date, I have never asked out a guy... with maybe one exception, I asked a friend of mine (that had a girlfriend, who I also was friends with) to go to my work Christmas Party, because it was a Casino Night and he was from Vegas and taught me how to gamble (pre-Prophet prohibition, not that I ever threw down any substantial money or anything - but I did win $1,200 once, courtesy of some drunk old geezer who picked me to be his "good luck charm". And, he let me keep it!)

I am just not that girl that could ask out a guy... that's where I would feel "Awkward".

Let it be said, that the last time I brought a guy to a work function (I didn't ask him, he asked me if he could accompany me), they teased him relentlessly about being Mormon, hanging out with me and serving a mission, then they made him the "designated driver" after dinner. What the??? - I wish I was kidding!

Ever since my All-State date got married and my baby brother moved out-of-state, I have been strapped for dates to obligatory functions. Sad, but true!

Nonetheless, I am holding my ground and going solo... just because I don't want to be manipulated by a guy who is color-blind!

Either that, or I might hire a date!

But, one thing is for sure. Screw giving Mr. Colorblind purple pens and passing them off as blue. I just had the receptionist order a box of pink ones... I'll show him awkward!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Let's Hear it...

So, apparently, not by choice, but more by force, I am a jack-of-all-trades at my office. As such, they have me do all sorts of stupid menial tasks which often make me want to respond with:

(1) "Would you like fries with that?"
(2) "It's a good thing I went to college so I could know how to do this!"

One of the more recent tasks the President of the company (Joe) asked me to do was figure out "what's wrong with my Ipod? I need you to fix it!"

Turns out I am brilliant! I plugged it in for an hour or so and whoa... it magically started working. I toyed with it long enough to realize that one of the 100 or so songs my 47-year-old, Hispanic boss, father of 3, grandfather of 3 (or 4 - I am still not sure about the last one) has in his Ipod is "Stars Go Blind" by Paris Hilton.

This fact, of course, humored me. And, I irreverently teased the man relentlessly for this. And, then I started thinking. There are a lot of songs in my Ipod that may seem deplorable selections to some, but not to me!

But, before I share these choice selections with all of you, I really want to hear the choice(s) you came up with from your own music selections. I truly believe that you can tell a lot about a person by figuring out what they might want to closet (or maybe should want to closet) by way of musical selection. So, let's hear it... and I'll tell you what that says about you!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Happy Birthday Dr. Phil!

Today is my dad's birthday. He's 64... great scotts... Sizzler has been giving him a discount for nearly a decade! Although, I sure hope he hasn't started eating there!

So, I thought I would share something about him that I just found out this year... But, first I will preface it with something I have known FOREVER. My dad love sports. I am not just talking manly sports, I am talking anything that appears on ESPN 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6... you catch my drift?!? Billiards, sure... that's a sport. Bowling... yep! The Daytona 500, what's not to love about watching ALL 500 laps, even if it takes all day. Horse races are totally a sport. World's strongest man, what's un-sporty about moving an elephant with one hand? Absolutely nothing, in fact... and here's the kicker Ping Pong! Literally the man can watch ping pong and be totally enthralled. How people can break a sweat in ping pong is so totally beyond me. But, they can, and they do! Unfortunately, I have seen it in the very own living room of my youth on ESPN 4,328. And, Phil... he has always watched. But, I never knew that he could play!

I vaguely remember him brutally beating me on our rickety old ping pong table... but, I also remember being pretty much non-existent at the other end of the table... ping pong (along with the recorder, ballet, drill team, tennis... the list is LONG) was never really my thing.

However, as it turns out... my dad is a wicked table tennis player! I found this out from a recently returned missionary who just got back from the Fort Worth Mission. Turns out he served in my parents ward, turns out my dad is the Ward Mission Leader, turns out my dad slaughtered said-RM in ping pong. When I heard the story (from the pulpit, mind you... I still don't get how ping pong made it's way into a testimony... but that's another story... for another day), I instantly called my mom and asked her if my uncle, the other Brinkerhoff in the ward, played ping pong (he's wildly competitive). She said 'no, but your dad is REALLY good at it'.

Who knew!?!

Here's to you dad... you ridiculously good Ping Pong player. Happy birthday... sleep it off... you deserve it!