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

Friday, February 26, 2010

My New Side Job

I have a new side job... because clearly I am not busy enough.

I am an now an Assistant Coach... though everytime I've gchatted about it with people I keep saying I am an "Assistant Couch." (Hello, don't mind that I have a college degree in English!) Well, I guess I am both, but the latter is not a new job for me - I have always loved the couch!

Recently I began helping out my friend Sara who is the head coach for the Ocean View Swim Team in Huntington Beach. She's wanted me to help out for years, but since I used to work so far away I could never do it. This year I can. I don't get paid in cash. It's one of those "rewarding" jobs. Although occasionally I get paid in high fives, and more often than that, I get paid in the currency of teenage angst (a.k.a. eye rolls and sighs).

When I was little I was a fish! I started swimming when I was 2, joined my first club team at 5ish, and swam competitively through high school. When I was a teenager, there were days I swam twice a day for 3 hours at a time. I was a decent little swimmer. I made varsity my first year out, and went to state every year. When I got to college, I decided I was tired. I still pull out the old Speedo every once in a while, and when I do I still LOVE to swim.

So, basically, although I have never been super great at many things, I CAN swim. I can swim any stroke and any length. Like I said, by nature, I am a fish. But, besides teaching lessons in church and teaching teenage girls to put on make-up, I have never really taught much of anything. And, I don't think I am really good at teaching.

Some of the swimmers on the team are (bless their little muffin hearts) REALLY horrible. Those are the ones I get to teach. There are days I want to stand at the end of the pool and chant "Rudy, Rudy, Rudy..." But, I don't. I just smile and try to think of new ways and nice sounding ways to say "you look like a hot mess in that water kiddo!"

The other day one of the girls I was coaching looked like she was drowning. So, I turned to my friend Spils and asked. How can I constructively say "Muffin, I don't even know what you're stroke doing. Are you ok? You are not going to drown are you?". She said, it was easy and to watch her. "Listen kid, you are a weakling. You need to lift weights. I don't even think you can lift a kitten. And, you are never going to swim if you can't pull your own weight! And, you don't even weigh very much. So, go home and start lifting weights." Eeeeeekkkk. The little muffin just looked up at me. I said "but, you have a mean kick and a sweet roll when you do the butterfly."

We have our first meet tomorrow. I am pretty sure we'll get slaughtered. I am just hoping no one dies!

But, I am loving being a coach (even more than I have liked being a couch all these years)! And, the kids are so sweet. It would be tragic to lose any of them should the pool ever get the best of them.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Letting Myself Go?!?

Ok... so APPARENTLY, I don't get dressed in clothes that are impressive or matching very often (well, for work anyway)... and APPARENTLY I don't shower as often as I should or do much with my "Duggar" hair either. And, we aren't even going to talk about how long it's been since I have: A. gotten a pedicure or B. Shaved my RIDICULOUSLY long legs on a regular basis.

I think you officially know that you are "letting yourself go" when your co-workers ask you everytime you spend over 5 minutes getting ready for work if you have a date.


when you eat ice cream, out of the carton at 9:30 in the morning, at work while you're talking to all your co-workers.

I think it's time for me to have the "woman, pull yourself together!" talk with myself again. It's always awkward, but I think it helps!

Friday, February 19, 2010

More "who's on first?" musings from my office.

Scene: Lunchroom
Time: Lunch
Preface: Apparently there is a hot guy that comes in to pick-up and drop-off plans. Neither Jackie or I have ever seen him. He MAY or MAY NOT be real.

Catherine: Oh my gosh... have you guys seen Victorio?
Brandy: Ummm, yes. And, he is Yummy!
Jackie and Ali (in unison): Victorio? Who's Victorio?
Brandy: He is Italiain. He has blue eyes. He is yummy.
Chris: I talked to that dude for 45 minutes. I couldn't understand a word he was saying.
Catherine: He is so handsome. I have a crush on him.
Jackie and Ali (in unison): Who is Victorio?
Ali: Is that really his name? Victorio? Does he work here?
Jackie: Yea. How is it that we've never seen him?
Catherine: He delivers the plans.
Brandy: And, he is yummy.

About 2 hours later...

Catherine: He came in and he grabbed my hand and kissed me on the cheek. What does that mean?
Ali: Who did? Valentino?
Catherine: Ha ha ha, Valentino!?! Ha ha ha.
Ali: What is his name again? Ferragamo?
Catherine: Ha ha ha. I have his autograph!
Ali: Salvatore Ferragamo?
Catherine: No, Vince Ferragamo! Who is Salvatore?
Ali: A very ritzy 1920's designer who made handbags and shoes. Who is Vince?
Catherine: A football player. Are the only people you know fashion people.
Ali: Well, let's put it this way. I am investing in stock. Wes is giving me advice. But, he's nervous that he'll feel bad if I don't make money. So, I assured him this was just play money I was working with. I told him that if I lost it all I would just wear the same thing twice. It can't be that bad, other people do it all the time.
Catherine: Oh my gosh. You are so funny.
Ali: To answer your question Catherine, I think that means he's your boyfriend. Though, I am not very good at this kind of stuff.
Catherine: Good. I think so, too.

I repeated this story to Jackie. She started laughing, hard.

Jackie: Valentino! You are so funny. Valentino.
Ali: I really thought that was his name.
Jackie: Valentino??? Ha ha ha. What is it really? Vitiligo?
Ali: I don't think so. I think that's the Michael Jackson skin disease right?
Catherine: His name is Victorio.
Jackie: What kind of name is Victorio?
Ali: I know, right???

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Marriage Rash?!?

How long would it take to earn a degree in self-diagnosis of disease by use of the internet?!? Because I think I have logged enough hours. Though, I've never really gotten the diagnosis right.

I currently think the rash I have is due to an allergic reaction to the thought of marriage. But, I can't seem to find it as a disease that exists.

Hmmmmm... I guess I'll have to go to the real doctor.


Friday, February 12, 2010

The "back-up" performer

My sisters and my mom are all very talented performers. My mom has the most amazing voice. My sister Kimberly was the star of all her high school musicals. My sister Jennica was a cheerleader and a song leader. Both of my sisters were ballerinas, performing in the Nutcracker every Christmas. The women in my family are magical. And, I love to watch each of them perform. My dad is a wicked ping-pong player. Apparently he won tournaments and everything. Not to mention, he's the smartest, kindest, and most generous man I know. My brothers are F-U-N-N-Y, like none other, in different ways, but both are super funny. I could listen to both of them and laugh all day. And, they both have the biggest hearts. I am mesmerized by my sisters and my brothers and my parents.

I was in the choir in junior high. I still haven't figured out who my mom paid to let me in. I TRIED to do ballet, but I was NEVER any good. I was in a recital one time when I was about 6, all I had to do was keep my hands on my hips and kick from side-to-side. Unfortunately, I kicked to the wrong side every time, until finally the girl next to me got bugged, shoved me and my clown hat fell off. It was tragic... and lucky for me we have it all on home video. I tried out for Drill Team in junior high, but I was HORRIBLE beyond description and I didn't make the team. I was in the school musical during my Sophomore year of high school. The director LOVED my family. So, he let me say one line "Annie Oak." That was my 15 minutes of fame. Oh... and when I was in junior high school I won first place in the 50s lip sync. That's right, apparently I am not that bad AT LIP SYNCING... Basically, I am a sad excuse for a performer.

All growing up my sister, Jennica, loved to perform. When we were little, she LOVED to make commercials while we were in the tub. She'd make commercials about EVERYTHING... shampoo, conditioner, soap, razors... basically anything in the tub was fair game. In her little world, she was the spokesperson for EVERYTHING! And, I was her side-kick. My job was to pass the shampoo, conditioner, soap and/or razors on cue, and I did a decent job, most of the time. Jennica also loved to sing and dance at every talent show or recital she could. And, she always wanted a back-up dancer. I guess she just wanted/needed someone to be behind her. For some reason, she didn't like to perform alone. And, although I was a sorry excuse for a back-up, she always begged me to tag-team with her. Sometimes I said yes, and sadly, sometimes I said no.

For some reason I can't get this one memory out of my head this week. I must have been like 12 or 13. I was at Magic Mountain with Jennica and a bunch of friends. And, way back in the day before you could just go to a karaoke bar and sing your little heart out, you could rent out a room at Magic Mountain. Jennica really wanted sing in that room, and, like always, she begged me to be her back-up singer. We sang "That's what friends are for" by Deon Warwick. It's all on tape. For the bargain price of $25 bucks, Magic Mountain recorded us. I am pretty sure we sounded horrible. I am sure that tape is long gone, which is OK, since who even has a tape player these days?!? But, on the way home from Magic Mountain that day, we listened to it on repeat for the entire 2 hours back. We thought we were rad!

Recently, I can't stop thinking about how much I love my family - they are my everything. In combination with the Gospel, they are my greatest blessing. And, I have known my entire life that my family is the best part of me. As cheesy and out-of-date as that Deon Warwick song is, it is still so fitting, because my parents and my siblings are my very best friends and my greatest examples. I would give anything to take away their pains and heartaches, and whenever these occur I feel them as if they are my own. But, as demonstrated, I could never perform nearly as well at what each of them is talented enough and strong enough to do. So, to my family, I want you all to know that I will always be the best back-up performer I could ever be.

And, 20 years later, I hear a different song in my head when I think of my family... a Buddy Wakefield tune... "Pretend inside your skin, you've got a friend, who's willing to give you everything you ever wanted, in exchange for all you've ever been."

But, of course when those rare instances happen when I hear "keep smiling... keep shining knowing you can always count on me... for sure... that's what friends are for..." I smile and laugh and think of my best friends... all 6 of them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Man vs. Wild

So, my guy friends are SUPER into the Man Vs. Wild T.V. show, which, as you can imagine, I have never seen (well, unless it's authentic title is actually "The Bachelor"). But, last weekend they were telling me about it and I almost threw up a little in my mouth. The "Man" has to "live off the land", which apparently means drink water out of the carcasses of dead animals and left over animal dung. But, anyway, somehow they have concocted this "wild" plan to have their own Man vs. Wild experience... IN OUR BACKYARD.

Before I carry on with the story, let me tell you all a little about my backyard. There are exactly ZERO bushes, much to the chagrin of my drug dealing neighbor who I found clinging to my fence the other day, wearing a head lamp and "searching the bushes" for some sort of boggie-man who was apparently out to get him (that crazy Meth is one awesome drug, so he says). There is exactly ONE tree. There is also some weird storage thingy that has been given the moniker of "the chicken coup" because, well, as you can imagine, it looks like a place that only chickens would inhabit. In this "chicken coup" there are THREE beach cruisers and a little kids BMX bike (which reminds me, I have been meaning to ask my roommates about that), a couple surfboards and a BBQ, oh and a kite and some beach toys. Our backyard is approximately 20 feet wide and MAYBE 40 feet long. There is exactly ONE hammock, TWO little benches with SIX adorable little outdoor throw pillows, TWO little iron tables, with FOUR cute blue chairs, ONE Mexican lime tree (which I have excluded from the tree list, because it was purchased at Home Depot last weekend, it resides in a pot, making it more of a plant in my mind, and it has sprouted exactly ZERO limes, to-date) and one little Jasmine tree (which is also a plant, right?!?) and a lot of other plants, that my cute little green-thumbed roommate has placed outside, making it look like the Garden of Eden... Therefore, it is not exactly a WILD backyard.

Anyway... today Wes and I had this conversation:

Wes: wendi is down for our Man vs Wild event in your backyard. We are thinking that we should be dropped off in back bay and have to find our way to your house! Oh, and we have to live off the land, so if the land happens to provide us with a random bbq and food in the middle of nowhere (your back yard) that would be awesome. Of course we will throw some money your way!
Ali: That is quite a proposition. A funny one.
Wes: lol. We are so excited! You can camp with us too. Oh and Ben said it would be cool if in the middle of nowhere, there happened to be a projector screen so we can watch man vs wild!
Ali: I HEART camping. But, only in those places where you can put quarters in and take a shower.
Wes: lol yeah, that's my kind of camping
Ali: This was so funny... It MAY or MAY NOT show up on my blog!
Wes: lol oh I hope it does show up! I love being in your blog.

Dearest Wes,
Your wish is my command.
Love, Ali

Whoever Said that Guys Don't Pay Attention to Details...

Well, those people are kind of wrong. Sometimes they do. But, in odd and creepy ways.

So, we all know that I work in an Engineering/Construction firm. And, therefore I work mainly with guys. So, apparently my style or fashion sense is baffling to most of them, most of the time, as indicated by the following commentary (all of which REALLY has been said to me by the men I work with).

AP: "Are those functional buttons?" - this is kind of odd and creepy right??? I wanted to say, 'you do know you said that out loud right?', but I just nodded and left the room.

CW: "Nice costume." - Costume, that can't be good, right?!?

BZ: "You should wear more make-up." - Bite me!

CW: "I like your boots, they are uhhhhh... ummmmm... yah." - Ok, uhhhhhh... ummmm... thanks?!?

MP: "I like your tights, those are sweet!" - Why thank you.

BZ: "You are like a woman of a thousand looks." - Um, ok.

CW: "Whoa, nice bow!"
Ali: "Actually, it's a flower."
CW: "Yah, whatever!"

DB: "Those are interesting shoes. You are like a conservative Lady Gaga." - what the...???