laugh it up

My housemates always say that I have the best stories. Really, they mean that they enjoy hearing tales of the ways that I embarrass myself on a daily basis. For whatever reason, I tend to land myself in awkward, cringe-worthy situations with great frequency. Be it falling down stairs, saying the completely wrong thing in front of an attractive member of the opposite sex, falling over my own shoes, getting lost, falling on completely flat ground, or dropping some sort of food item/hot beverage/fragile, irreplaceable heirloom on the floor, I seem to experience in one month the amount of embarrassing moments most people are awarded in a lifetime.

Even this morning I managed to mortify myself only about an hour after waking up. I was opening the cafe, getting things I needed from the back room and innocently listening to the classic hit "Disco Inferno" on my iPod. As luck would have it, someone from the cleaning staff decides to enter the room to get a mop just as I was following 50 Cent's instructions to "shake that ass, girl." It figures.

After that incident, I started running through the list of awkward/mortifying things that have happened to me in the past year. None of them are epically horrible or life-ruining, but they are certainly numerous. Thinking of them almost made me want to change my name and run away to Alaska, where at most I can only embarass myself in front of polar bears and the occasional Eskimo. But then I realized that these moments sort of shape who I am, and I don't think I would take back any of them.

Laughter, and humor in general, are two things that I adore almost more than anything. I'm sure that's because I have learned (and am continually learning) what it means to laugh at myself. Maybe it's a good thing for the ego to be humbled occasionally, for one to realize that perfection is far from attainable and that life is fun and joyful and shouldn't always be thought of so seriously. The act of living becomes a colorful process because it is full of risk and things don't work out as we plan them. I don't know anyone who always does the right thing or says the right thing - not even characters in books (or if those characters do exist, I sure don't want to read about them). So who are we to let something like being less than perfect make us feel awful? I'm going to screw up - maybe more often than others - because I am human. This fact, I've found, is directly correlated to the fact that life is hilarious. This world is full of stumbling idiots and that is something I am so grateful for.

So here is my advice, as a sage expert in experiencing "embarrassing" moments: go talk to that cute boy even though you might say something dumb. Go walking in the snow even if you might slip on the sidewalk. Go shake your ass. And if this results in some funny looks or muffled snickers, don't let yourself blush and be embarrassed or go buy a parka in contemplation of a move to the Arctic. Just throw your head back and smile big. Laugh it up.

my inspiration the past few days:

these people

these places

this book

this CD

my new rubber alphabet stamps

Wii wish you a merry christmas

Ever since my brother opened Mario Kart for Wii yesterday morning, my biggest conflict in life has been whether or not to race as Princess Peach (she's got the cute-factor) or as Waluigi (he's fast, but has an evil look about him). For someone who has, as a rule, never liked video games, I am getting way into this one.
Typically, video games nowadays seem so violent and realistic. I can't handle them. I get so nervous that I can't even function or defend myself. I just scream or yell at the screen or tire of constantly loosing. (I'm sorry that I just sounded like an ornery senior citizen). But Mario Kart is different. In fact, I wouldn't mind living in Mario's world for a bit. You get to drive as crazy and fast as you want through magical lands like Yoshi's Falls or Peach Beach, and if you get hit by a bomb or fall in lava, no big deal. You magically reappear for another shot. Better still, if you win, everyone comes to cheer you on and you get a big shiny trophy and even get to do a little victory dance. Sounds like a good life to me.
Plus, using Wii makes me feel better about my gaming abilities. Whenever I've played video games on other game systems where you have a normal controller, I look like an idiot. I move the controller all around in the air and my brother will always be like "Emily, the buttons make it move, not the controller, so you don't have to spazz all over the place like that. You are stupid." But with Wii, you HAVE to spazz all over the place. In Mario Kart, you put the controller on this little wheel and you steer it in the air! It's magical and so fun. Thank you, Wii, for making it OK to be a complete fool, because I am one and it's nice not to be laughed at so much.
I'm not the only one professing love for Mario. This guy in the video below made up this great love ballad based on the game. Maybe I'm just becoming a brain-washed gamer, but I would say it's pretty romantic.

What about Santa's cookies? I suppose parents eat those too?

22 Seconds of Fabric Communicating a Merry Christmas Message from VsTheBrain on Vimeo.

Jesus: Savior, Healer, INFJ?

Those Myers-Brigg Personality tests are always fun. Whenever I take one, I come up as an INFJ (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging). Apparently, this is the rarest personality type (only 1% of the population). It's kind of fun to look up your personality type and see if it really fits. According to Wikipedia (such a scholarly source, I know), the INFJ is a romantic, a peacemaker and a reformer. They are independent yet interested in the well-being of others, care more about intimate relationships than having numerous surface-level friendships and establish those close relationships slowly. They have strong intuitive senses, are often creative and have a stick-to-it attitude towards their idealized goals. They focus more on fantasy than reality. INFJs also tend to be sarcastic towards others, have unrealistic expectations of those around them, and are wishy-washy in decision making (hmm). Most INFJs find their niche in writing, counseling, or teaching. Interesting.

As fun as all of that is to think about, I was sort of pondering these tests in a new light yesterday. I was thinking back on taking a Myers-Brigg test with some friends late last spring. We were scrolling through our results and I looked at the list of notable INFJ's. There was Chaucer, Billy Crystal, Martin Luther King, Nicole Kidman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and . . . Jesus?! I remember getting really excited and telling my friends that this proved, in fact, that I was pretty awesome. My friend Taylor was quick to remind me, however, that this was just a website and that between raising the dead, walking on water and saving me, Jesus probably didn't have time to take a Myers-Brigg personality test.

While the whole thing was pretty funny and has become a running joke about the validity of my Christ-like personality, I've been thinking lately about the bigger implications of this fascination with these silly tests. We're always trying to discover ourselves, but where are we looking?

We (and by that I mean ME and probably you and definitely the majority of Americans and maybe most other members of the world) are obsessed with ourselves. We are head over heels, can't get enough, pridefully in love with our own egos. Every inch of this world tells us that the key to happiness is looking at ourselves and knowing ourselves and loving ourselves. Walk into any bookstore - you'll see rows upon rows of feel-good self help books, all promising to stoke this affair with our own wonderfulness, promising to unlock our inner success story, sex goddess, confident business person, exercise guru, relationship master, perfect parent, etc. etc. Go online. In two seconds after taking a ridiculous personality test, you can discover anything about yourself from which Pokemon you would be to what country you should live in. I'm not saying that I don't have fun with this stuff - I do. But deeper down, I love it because I love me. I love when people talk about me. I love hearing good things about myself. I love letting other people tell me who I am (if it's flattering). I love it, and you love it, too. And something is off about that.

This whole Jesus as an INFJ thing makes me wonder if I'm trying to get to know the wrong person. I spend so much energy investing in my own self-discovery, thinking about who I want to be and what career I want to have and how others see me. Today is Christmas Eve, when we are supposed to be celebrating the one who was born for ME and YOU and EVERYONE, and yet, I sit daily celebrating myself. I'm so often concerned with knowing me, but do I know HIM?

My prayer throughout this holiday is that I would remember how precious and wonderful my Savior is. I want to hunger for a better picture of Him. I want only to love myself in terms of loving what HE is in me. I want to stop putting myself in the spotlight, stop fruitlessly seeking for who I am, and let the one who made me have that job. I don't think that self-discovery is a bad thing. But I think that what we often discover is a false-self. In other words, not the self we were created to be.

I hope this post doesn't come across as preachy or sharp, because it is mainly preaching at myself. But I just wish that for once I could rid myself of this human condition of pride and self-obsession. It is so easy to buy into because it is everywhere. All over the media and the stores and my friends and yours friends and our hearts. And it shouldn't be there.

I love the way Lewis closes Mere Christianity. I'll post the quotation in closing because I think it's really wonderful. Here's to hoping that your Christmas is blessed and incredible and full of beautiful, remarkable glances as Jesus - savior, healer, and maybe INFJ.

"I said there were Personalities in God. I will go further now. There are no real personalities anywhere else. Until you have given yourself to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most "natural" men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.

But there must be real giving up of the self. You must throw it away "blindly" so to speak...As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about, you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether.

The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. . . [It's a] death of your ambitions and favorite wishes everyday...Keep back nothing...Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in."


every sunday that I'm home, I rip open the Washington Post magazine. Not for indepth personality features or for an update on anything crucial. . . no, I simply want to pour over Date Lab. (for those who don't know, Date Lab is a weekly feature in the WPmag where they set up two people on a blind date and then interview them afterwards)

Almost every sunday, I walk away disappointed. Typically, they don't see it going anywhere or in the time that they applied to Date Lab and then were choosen, they started dating someone else, blah blah blah. It's gotten to the point where I cannot even emotionally invest myself in their date, because I get too sad at the dud results. I'll just skim to the end where it says "update" and will throw down the paper in huff because it crushes my dreams of them finding true love. All I want it to say is "Tom and Sue are getting married in two weeks and cannot wait to build a family together and are looking for homes in a cute suburban neighborhood". that never happens.

But this Sunday, it actually worked out!! Megan & Grant, a student and a school social worker, were set up on Date Lab. In the Update box, Megan said "I'm excited to see him again." She is excited to see him again!!!! EEEEEEEEEEE! I'm so happy. It also says that they are planning a museum-lunch date. How cute is that? Gosh, I hope I'm invited to the wedding.

Date Lab has had me thinking about dating in general. There are so many funny terms associated with it. I'm sure that in several years my children will be making fun of me for these words, in the same way I laugh at the idea of "necking" (I still don't know what that is) or "going steady". In this modern, crazy dating world, you've got to keep up with the definitions of: talking, DTRS, hanging out, hooking up, sexting, texting, making it facebook official, etc. etc. It's too much.

Another reason I've been thinking about dating is
this article that a friend shared with me earlier today. It's really humorous and is about how smart people have it hard when it comes to relationships. I'm not sure I agree totally, but the author makes some interesting points. And although I definitely don't fit into the academically-super gifted category, if anyone ever laughs at my cluelessness in the dating world, I can just be like "yeah, it's because I'm a genius, suckas!"

cuddling, cookies, common courtesy, cold, chance

what a dream come true - I am snowed in!!! I was fantasizing during finals week about how lovely it would be to come home to a snow storm and it actually happened. Being snowed in is such a joy. I think I will spend all day snuggling with one of the three books I've started (I've gotten over-excited about leisure reading) & eat cookies & make snow angels. yippppeee :)

Being snowed in also gives you plenty of time to think about things. Currently on my mind: bathroom etiquette. yes, this is quite a venture from the previous paragraph, I know, but stay with me. This is (slightly) related.

Yesterday was my first day back to work. I work in a coffee shop that is the upstairs of a Borders book store. It has several perks: lots of coffee, books, music, and my personal favorite - people watching. There are some characters that come in, let me tell you. And apparently, there is no escaping them. So yesterday afternoon, I go to use the restroom (that happens a lot when you consume your weight in caffeinated hot beverages every shift). Almost immediately upon closing the bathroom stall, the woman in the stall next to me starts engaging me in conversation. It went something like this:

overly gregarious woman: well goodness gracious, I didn't think I was gonna make it up here in time!

me: ----

woman: gosh, sometimes you just gotta go, right?! you know what I mean?

me: umm, yes.

woman: do you know where Opal is? I was just driving through Opal.

me: ----

woman: When I was driving through Opal, WTOP was on the radio and golly, they are calling for some snow. It's going to be a real blizzard, let me tell you. In fact, I was just at the library and I said to the woman at the desk "See ya tomorrow, Darlene!" and she said "well no you won't! we are already closing!" can you believe that? The library is closing!!!

me: well that's, ummm, wild.

woman: shoot, they are just making this toilet paper thinner and thinner, aren't they?

and after that statement, I flushed the toilet and quickly booked it outta there. Since when is it acceptable to try to befriend someone as they use the bathroom? I know everyone can't stop talking about this snow, but that is a little extreme. Not that I don't enjoy getting to know people, but I would prefer to do it in a more acceptable setting. Say, when I can actually see more than someones footwear or when I don't have to think about them answering nature's call as they are talking to me. Call me a scrooge, but I visit the restroom for one reason, and that isn't to make a new BFF.

I'll bring this full circle and end with more on the snow day. please see my precious puppy play in the snow in the video below. I tried really hard not to laugh at him but a little escaped at the end.

sorry, I'll stop posting about warrenton soon :)

It's a short walk
past Winchester Street, the graveyard, the bakery with an annually changing name and the woman in the window who rises with the sun, with the bread
and three o'clock comes
MAIN street sounds off
It could be beautiful, to follow the slow mosey of cars
walking steps and the circle of
the mailman
lawyer-man into the courthouse
It could be beautiful to trace yesterday
into today
into tomorrow
and then back to when there were three buildings on this street and one of them was the church from which a choir is singing "Silent Night" and it is three in the afternoon
There is togetherness in the doorways
and in the sidewalk
touched by first light
touched by drunken steps,
the bar across the street
touched by a hundred homecoming parades
and by you, also

only a few hours back in dubtown and...

Delicious meal cooked by mom. Check. Play time with Chance. Check. Hang out at Frosts. Check. A chapter into my first book of leisure reading (The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde). Check. An already messy room. Check. Big, fabulous snow storm that makes Main Street look like a fairytale? Not yet, but I have a good feeling that it's coming. (see pictures below for previous snow loveliness). OH Christmas season, you have finally arrived.

we're feeling higher&higher&higher

PTL! two exams down today, and they weren't even that bad. now just uno mas. . . and then I am dunzo!
When I got home tonight, I had a little celebratory dance around my room to this song. (which anticlimactically is fading into a celebratory nap. . .) It was great. you should have one too.

my brain

is a big pile of mush. gross, oatmealy, disgusting, useless gloop (is gloop a word? well, it should be). I don't want to study physics anymore. Heck, I don't even want to read poems anymore. I just want to go snuggle in bed and fast forward through the next two days.
I'm tying to be optimistic about exams. I mean, will I die if I fail them? No, I'll just drop out of school and become a zoo keeper. no big deal. I like elephants.
But we might actually be going psycho studying here in the chemlib. Ellen just admitted taking a nap on the floor of Clark a few days ago. Kendall is going crazy ,too. She is wearing her scarf like a turban on her head. I guess it is cold in here. Even Leigh Anne is slightly insane. She went TO BED. as in, left the library to sleep. who does that? And how about me! I think I'm starting to have a crush on Nathan AND Doogie!
To keep sanity I take a break every now and again (probably a too-often "now and again") to gmail chat or blog stalk. Or, you know, take the normal study break and watch videos about poisonous cone snails and aerobics competitions from 1987.
I think they are actually cool. But then again, this comes from a girl with oatmeal for brains, so forgive me if it isn't.

seasonal songs, shenanigans

Late last night we opened the front door of our house and found that we were the victims of a harmless holiday prank. There was a bale of hay on our stoop. An entire bale of hay. It was accompanied by a note from "Santa". (aka taylor & kirsten, who have been wondering for the past few days what to do with the hay they bought for a costume. looks like they put it to good use)
It was pretty funny. see the note below.
ps. happy almost-Christmas!! If you haven't listened to Sufjan Christmas music yet, you need to. please click that link. right now.
pps. don't forget to Boogey to the Elf Dance :)


I am a glass-half full sort of gal. So I was thinking today of all the reasons why finals are fun despite the standard thought that they are awful.

1) We get to look gross
I'm a sweatpants/casual/comfy clothes advocate....I'd rather dress down than dress up any day of the week. I never understand why girls show up to all my classes in designer dresses everyday of the year. And that is why exam time is awesome....everyone looks like they just rolled out of bed. I have no reason to feel bad about throwing my hair up in a bandanna or about wearing big baggy sweaters and the same pants eight days in a row. We all look real bad and it's great.

2) We get away with going a little crazy
I may or may not have had mac&cheese & funfetti cookies for breakfast. I may or may not have relieved stress by singing Whitney Huston ballads on rockband karaoke last night. I may or may not have forgotten to shower yesterday. I may or may not have found myself driving towards 14th street last night after leaving a friends place and thought "wait, I don't live there." But are you going to say anything about this erratic behavior? No, you aren't, because if you do, I'm just going to look at you pathetically and make you feel like a jerk by saying "well gosh, I've just had such a hard exam schedule"

3) We realize the hilarity of every situation
My friend and I just laughed at a girl sneezing. we laughed. at a sneeze. it was just a normal sneeze, not really a dramatic one. and we laughed at it. for awhile. a very long while.
something might be wrong with my brain, but I like that the hilarious-ness of life is magnified by the stress of exams

4) We make instant best friends
Hey, look at it this way- we are all in this together. (unless you are through with exams already. and if that is the case, would you kindly go die?) I like when complete strangers see each other with the same textbook studying in the library. It's like destiny or something - there is that whole sympathetic look - "yeah, I know - it's awful, right?" and then the funny laugh as they wave their books at each other. it's so cute. we all love each other because we all hate life.

5) We all become incredible story-tellers
The art of the hyperbole is perfected around exam time. I love hearing compared study stories. "Yeah, I was in the library for 89 hours yesterday!" "Yeah, I know what you mean. I had to write 583 papers, and that is just for one class!" "Seriously, yesterday I was in Clemons studying for 908 hours writing 10999 papers too! and then zombies came in and started attacking everyone, so I created a zombie-killing elixir from a chemistry formula I found in my textbook and saved everyone, which was actually a pretty sweet way to review, so I'm feeling pretty good about this exam"

partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt

I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world

this website was made for me

need a study break? please check out these funny kittens at It's cats brought to you by the makers of MLIA ( so, it's perfect.

I actually HATE those pictures that always appear on facebook or e-cards with cats doing something in a picture and then some stupid caption that's like "I'm driving a car!!!" or "I'm a cat and I'm fixing this toaster!" so I'm really glad someone is mocking them and making them into comedy-gold. Or at least comedy-gold in my opinon. . . because this is either really hilarious, or exams are finally getting to me.

the end of things, books matter & other ramblings

Walking back from class today I felt that heavy, pit-in-my-stomach sad feeling that comes with the end of things. It happens at the end of a good story or going home after vacation or waving goodnight to your friends after a night of laughing on the back patio. Strangely, this came to me because it was the last day of classes. I thought maybe I should be skipping or throwing graded papers into the air while I sang about freedom Goofy Movie-style, but instead, I was oddly distressed.

I've been lucky to be surrounded by what I love this semester. The worst thing I can imagine is being in college and hating the classes you take. It just makes no sense. This is possibly approaching the sappy and sentimental, but really, I'm going to miss my teachers and the discussions and the books and poems and ideas we've explored. I have been exposed to SO many new things this semester, it's incredible. It's been good, too, to be surrounded by others who care for things, who want to learn, who are fascinated by language and thoughts and the things they imply.

Even though I am disclosing how embarrassingly cheesy I am with this statement, I must say that I LOVE the clap on the last day of classes. The sound gives me goosebumps. It's like the crowd singing together at a concert - there is something powerful about a group of different people all celebrating and rejoicing around the same thing.

I was a part of a quality clap-experience yesterday. It was my last History of Literature (ENGL 383) class and I was quite depressed. I want to be best friends with my professors (Levenson & Cushman). They gave their closing words, we said our class name (we all say our name at the same time and it makes a really cool sound in a class of several hundred) and then the clap began. It was great to look around and see everyone cheering and smiling - a definite "awww" moment.
But what really made the clap so great were the words they were celebrating that came before it. I (as the dork I am) took notes on the final lecture. That class makes me want to pump my fist in the air and yell "YAY ENGLISH!" and then kick all science-y people in the knee. I love hearing from people who are passionate about what they do and why they teach it. To close, here are some words Lev&Cush said in their final lecture. They aren't exact as I was frantically trying to write down what they were saying, so these are unofficial quotations and more of the general ideas, but they are wonderful nonetheless.

Maybe that image of putting your nose in a book isn’t real. Maybe your
nose doesn’t really touch the binding and get all wrinkled or inky. [But
it does display] the intimacy of reading. Everyone has the memory of staying
late up reading while the p’s thought you were asleep. Everyone has a
favorite position for reading, a certain posture.
It's not exactly a lover, a book, but you can hold it a certain way. You
can gaze at it from a distance. You can remember it when it isn’t
there. Some books are just textbooks, but some of them are your
books. And if someone steals them, you want them to fall in a ditch and scrape
their knee. It is profound to me, [this idea that] there is something so very
sacred about the act of reading.

Reading gives this tense and nervous and exhilarating mix between private
life and the life we share. There is this solitude of reading on your
own and then the compulsion to talk about it with someone else- it is impossible
to keep the reading pleasure all the way private. You run home to your room for
your favorite book, hide under the covers, read as if your life and then jump up
to call your sister...we come up out of solitude to show what we can find.

But what are the social implications of reading? Will reading literature
make us better people? No is the answer. Not if we are determined to be
jerks. What literature does, however, is help make real to us the interior
lives of real people. And here is the next thing: if we can make real to
ourselves the interior lives of others, we have a way to make real the
associations between ourselves and others. That seems, to me, something of
Reading helps us see the connections between the drops of
our individual selves and the larger world each of us is boiled down from.
It develops the sense that other people’s lives are real. When we can fully
grasp that, we go and we make change. Powerful things happen.

Roy has said "All we can do is to change the course of history by
encouraging what we love instead of destroying what we don’t. There is beauty
yet in this brutal, damaged world of ours."
This is exhilarating- that
through reading and literature, we can keep imagination alive in the age of
terror and excitement. We can discover and create in this brutal,
damaged world of ours.

We all know what we need to resist: the culture of cynicism, embarrassment
in the sight of ideas, the flight from emotion, the poison of the
predictable. But we have what we need to do so. We have the books,
and we have each other.


[[if Falling In Love had a sound, I think it would be something strange&simple&beautiful like the piano/drum/xylophone instrumental of this song]]

my best friend is three years old

Chance's birthday is today!! Can't believe this was him three years ago. what a cutie.
fyi, he is chewing on a stick. not winking. although that would be cool.

light is cool.

I really like this light graffiti. (found from toxel)
happy friday, friends.

what not to wear

Yes, I am one of THOSE people: the type who annoy you in the movie theater because they feel the need to comment out loud on the film. I am that person you want to throw your popcorn at and "accidentally" bump in the head as you find your seat because I tend to yell things out like "NO! The murderer is in there! Don't go in the house!!" or "Finally!! KISS HER!!! awwwwwwww that's precious!" I apologize, but hey, it's who I am.
This character flaw, unfortunately, also translates to the world of television. Not a show passes in which I refrain from interjecting my personal opinion or any advice I find necessary to share with the characters. I try to hold myself back if with others, but if I am watching something by myself, it's bad news for the television actors who are going to get all of my two-cents.

Take, for instance, last night. I was in the living room, no one at home, watching the TLC show What Not to Wear. After about half an hour criticizing the poor old woman that was Stacey and Clinton's victim with slurs such as "wow, you REALLY need help" or "oh honey, that coat was NOT a good choice", I looked down at myself. My high-fashion outfit of the evening was an over sized plaid men's flannel shirt and some amorphous purple poncho thing. Maybe I'm a bit hypocritical? Irregardless, it's fun to sometimes place yourself as the expert and look down from your lofty pedestal, pointing and mocking those lowly inferior beings and all the pathetic things they do.

One of my favorite places to be a bad person is at It's this hilarious blog that puts up pictures of celebrities and their wardrobe woes, as well as offers snarky commentary on their bad taste. So take a break, embrace your inner awful and enjoy. You know you want to.