Monday, December 28, 2009

i moved!


first it was myspace to blogger.

now blogger to wordpress.

still working out the kinks...

but all is well. blog is imported.

domain link is updated. (

blogroll is (mostly) complete.

the feed links are posted so feel free to update your blogrolls and subscriptions.

now, off to find a pink theme i can live with until march.

without further ado (and a large blogger headache)...



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Every time a bell rings..."

I was all prepared to write about my neon Christmas cookies and how they might possibly be more than able to glow in the dark, but then I remembered about another post I needed to write and decided on that instead. My friend Ally over at Magnolias and Mimosas posted a blog about the reality for some at Christmas. It made me remember when it was my reality and a small pocket of pain burst open in my chest.

The year they died, Christmas was a walk of Zombies. I received almost all sweaters from my mother because in her daze of Christmas shopping, she chose the first magazine in the stack and ordered everything I had dog-eared. To this day I wish I had put anything other than J. Crew on top of her catalog mountain. I still have some of those sweaters because a) they're warm and cozy and feel like a hug and b) memories. I have a hard time parting with a lot of things from that year. I have his coffee cups, his hats, shirts that I wish still hinted of his scent and the silver box that I still can't bear to wear the contents of. In fact, the jewelry is still in the plastic.

I have posted about him very few times, but Fred was in every way my dad that my real father could/would not be. He built my first bike, I was the first baby he had held, he protected me and comforted me and called me his "MelonKallay Baby". He was, at that point in my life, a man I could look up to. Someone I could trust and love and believe would never hurt me. After he moved to Vegas he began sending me silver boxes with jewelry in them. I still have most, if not all of them. Here is an excerpt from a post this year:

When Fred died, a piece of my heart went with him but I still have the most precious gift... my memories. Here is one of my favorites...

When Fred moved to Las Vegas to pursue his career in the FBI he started a new tradition. Every Christmas I would receive a silver box with real silver and turquoise jewelry. He'll never know how much it meant to me, but every Christmas I would look for that box because I knew it would be there. It was like he was there, for that moment, and it was everything to me. So when he died that December I knew my silver box would not be under the tree. When my family went to Vegas a few days later for his funeral I was given what was to be my last silver box. To this day it is my most treasured possession, among all of his t-shirts and things that I have... this is what I would miss the most if it were lost. It's a silent reminder that he thought of me as much as I thought of him. He was my daddy for all intents and purposes and it's like having a piece of him with me always. I have never worn the jewelry in the box in the 12 years since he's been gone. I just can't bring myself to do it. But it's there and it's a gift I can reopen over and over again.

As I write this post, my heart aches. I remember a Christmas knock on the door and there he stood. It was all I wanted for Christmas that year. I can't help but wonder what he would say if he were here, what the silver box would hold this year, as I wonder every year. I miss him more than I could ever convey in a written language. It's an odd feeling knowing you will never be able to see your favorite person again. It exceeds pain and I'm not sure what to say beyond that. It's a loss for words, that's for sure.

The year he died, as I said, we all walked around like the living dead. Julie, his step daughter, and one of my "sisters" died with him. She was close in age to my sister and was a part of our family as well. Her mother is my mom's best friend and like a second mother to my sister and me. It was a devastating year for all of us and we clung to each other for support. I was a teenager then so my hormones put me as close to crazy as one could get. At the time, my world was a complete fog, but I remember everything as vividly as if it were today. We put our Christmas tree(s) up that year and somehow found a way to celebrate in spite of the utter terror of what had happened.

As we hung the ornaments, my mom hung her silver, glitter encrusted spider's web and made a wish, as she has done every year and shortly after I found these 2 golden bells. They became Fred and Julie's bells. That year, I hung them together, on the same branch, near the Angel that once adorned the top of our tree. And then I cried. I prayed through my tears that they were up there with God. That He would welcome them with love into heaven and let them peek down on us every once in a while. That they were resting peacefully. And for the next few years, until I moved away from home, I hung the bells. I learned the saying "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings." that year and until this year, I had never seen It's a Wonderful Life. I liked the saying anyway and rang the bells, just to be sure.

I was building the Barbie tree this year, thinking up snarky things to say about the blonde "bimbo" as Fred would say, and I picked up a wad of tissue paper with ornaments in it. I set it aside because Barbie only comes in a box. My mom helped me put the boxes back into the fifteenth Rubbermaid and I heard her take a gulp of air. I turned around, my hand went to my mouth and my bells lay on the tissue paper in front of me. My eyes welled up with tears as I ran my finger over the familiar ornaments. "My bells" I said.

I hung them on the tree, said another prayer and documented with pictures, as any good blogger would do.

For those dealing with loss in this holiday season, my heart goes out to you. My tears roll down my cheeks for you. I know the pain of losing a loved one and how Christmas somehow becomes salt in that wound. It's been 13 years since we lost Fred and Julie and every year we honor them, we remember them. We laugh at their stories, we cry over our loss. No one will ever be able to replace the one you loved. Over time, this will be a comfort to you. Your love for them will grow even in their absence. Your memories will become more vivid. You may not remember all of the lines on their face, but you will remember their smile or their eyes. Odd things will trigger your memory, and like me and my silver boxes, they will bring comfort, not pain. I think of these moments as a tap on my shoulder, as if he's saying, "I'm here kiddo." This Christmas, I challenge you to start a new tradition for your loved one. I have so much to hold on to during the holidays and as time has gone on, I cherish these little things. To a stranger on the street, a silver box is just a container for jewelry, for me, it's a container for a piece of my heart, and what comfort it brings during this cold winter holiday.

At the beginning of this post, you saw a pretty picture of 2 golden bells hanging on a tree.

Now you see 2 tiny pieces of my heart, my memories, my comfort, my joy.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Hold them tight and love them well.

With love and joy,


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What have *I* been doing?

I made a promise to myself that I would not blog until I finished my essays for school. I'm done with one and the other is in my head, it just needs to be written down. Also, I wrote another article (since it's been a month). Here's the link...
Coffee's Crappy Side: Kopi Luwak and Jacu Bird Coffee

Comments welcome! :) Also, please subscribe. No spam will be sent. It sends you an email when I write an article. No special offers, no awesome porn, no awful porn, just a friendly email letting you know that I have gotten over my writer's block, wrote an article about our friend coffee and how to get there.

As soon as I jot down my other essay, our regularly scheduled blogging will commence. Happy. Joy. I miss my blog.

So, have no fear! I will be back before the New Year!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Come on, Get Happy!

I'm a winner! And Lauren (Salt) at Salt Says... said so! First, I finally found a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with wine in them. Remember THAT day? So random... So stupid... So typical of my days... Anyway, Lauren said that "I win at the internet." (!!!!) And then she gave me this fancy schmancy award! An award y'all! Thank you Lauren! (She's one of my new favorite bloggers, you should go read!)

There are rules though. The first is one I made up. You have to click on this link and listen to this song while reading this blog. It makes it just *that* much happier. Yes, I've had too much caffeine, I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry. Read this at warp speed and you'll be reading almost as fast as these words are running out my head.

Ok, official rules...

1) List 10 things that make you happy, and try to do at least one of them today.
2) Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.
3) If you are one of those 10 lucky (happy) bloggers who get the award, link back to my blog and create your happy list!

Fun, right!? Except, I'm over-caffeinated so, hopefully I remember how to count.

Ten Things That Make Kallay Happy

(One) Family, my niece and nephew in particular. I mean, I *did* just decide to subject myself to frostbite for them. If that doesn't show happiness, I don't know what does.

(Two) Hercules and Madeline - Hello, look at these faces! Not that I'm all about looks. (Ok, maybe a little... see number nine.) Honestly, these two are my children, for all intents and purposes, and I love them as if I birthed them myself. And judging by the size of Hercules, I'm glad he's adopted. I love Maddie's sense of humor. (e.g. she bats my cellphone off my dresser in the morning when the alarm goes off. hysterical.) I love Hercules' big brown eyes, how every time I leave the house he looks like his heart is ripping out of his chest, which then, in turn, rips my heart out of my chest. I think that's actually his plan, but I'll let him stick with it. It makes me feel loved and I'm a sucker for that.

(Three) Pink Crap - As Oviler says, everything I own is pink. It's true. The only thing I don't own is a pair of pink boots. But, as a rule, if it comes in pink, I want it. And I want it hard core. I got so mad in elementary school. One day they took away the small crayons and gave us the big fat ones because some idiot at table 4 had an appetite for colored wax. (Guess what didn't come in pink in the 80's?) I asked my teacher if I could have the Carnation Pink crayon and she lied and told me she didn't have any. Excuse you, lady, 5 year olds are not stupid. Don't ever get between a girl and her pink crap. (This is the same teacher who ate my Double Stuffd Oreos that I brought in for snack time. Bitch.)

(Four) Yoga *sigh* I haven't been able to do this in a while. (Ok, I just heard half the planet go "Pffft!") Just hear me out. I started yoga last year when I lived in Knoxville, had the *best* instructor and really started to get good at it. My lower back thanked me every morning. It was a (mostly) free class. A "Karma" class, as they called it, which basically meant that it was free or very cheap. You gave what you could. When I moved back to Michigan, I obviously lost my free/inexpensive yoga privileges. Now, sure, I could totally do yoga on my own and downward dog my brains out, but it was his *voice*. He would correct our positions and then during what I always called sleepy time, he would go through every body part, telling us to release all of the tension, that "we didn't need it anymore". Imagine James Earl Jones yoga. Mmm... it was like soft serve vanilla ice cream after being at the beach all day. Doing yoga on my own just isn't the same kind of relaxation. Maddie's ubermeow in the background plus Hercules thinking I'm playing "Where's Mommy?" is not a good combo.

(Five) Finding new music - I'm one of those people that loves to listen to music that isn't on the radio yet and then when they make it big, I'm one of those people that get all atwitter because "I HEARD THEM FIRST!" Mmmhm. I admit it. Jack Johnson? Imogen Heap? Joshua Radin? Etc. Etc. I'm happy for them. I am! But I'm also proud of myself for having good ears! (<---- So Vain! But you asked!!) (Here's some cool stuff if you like this sort of thing:

(Six) Writing - I have loved writing since I was a kid. I wrote things as a 7 year old that would be considered politically incorrect. I guess that's what happens when you spend a lot of time with adults. It's funny though, I read these stories now and I want to take my little girl self aside and reprimand her! "What were you thinking? Do you have any idea what this word means?" No, I sure didn't! Sure. Didn't.

In my teenage years, I used writing (and reading) as an escape from the "real" world. This was when I became a self proclaimed "poet". (I sucked.) I can't read much of it at a time. It's dark. It's depressing. I want to give my teenage self a hug and tell her that one day she'll be beautiful. One day she'll have friends. One day she'll be okay. But she would do the teenage door slammy trick, the one where they simultaneously lock the door while slamming it? How the hell....?

Writing has gotten me through so much. I finally learned to use my humor as a way to deal. Write about life, make it funny, even though sometimes the situations I end up in are so far from it. Like ending up in the ER on my birthday unconscious last year? Not funny. Couldn't make it funny. So I skipped it. There's a lot more to my life than what ends up in this blog. Eventually the funny finds me and then you get to hear all about my running over bunnies (:( or the latest crazy alarm when people of the Earth are in rare form for the day. I love writing about this stuff. It helps me remember. It helps me forget. It just helps.

(Seven) Coffee - I wrote an Ode to Coffee in high school, one of the only un-depressing poems I wrote during those years. It began, "Coffee, coffee, friend of mine..." Still true. I love the smell and even as a little girl, it was one of my favorite things to wake up to. Now, it's the only way I function. I tried decaffeinating myself for about six months in 2006. What a dumb idea that was. Picture this: Three day headache that no amount of Excedrin could touch, drinking peppermint tea until you morph into human menthol and no jitters. Awful right?

I happen to like feeling like a vibrator thankyouverymuch. So, there. I love the taste of coffee and drink it with just about everything. Coffee is my breakfast and more often that not becomes my lunch as well. Pie without coffee? Is that even legal? When I was a cafe manager and barista one of my favorite chores was grinding coffee. Those fresh oily little beans (they totally look like vaginas, have you ever noticed that? gross.) rolling around in the hopper and wafting into the air the most luxurious smell. The aroma is caffeinated, I can almost swear by that. Yems. I've said it before, I'll say it again, hook me up to a dialysis machine, replace my blood with coffee and we are in business. Biz. Ness. Plus, all you water people... you get some cool water bottles, sure. Coffee gets special treatment. I mean there's water glass, water bottle, the end. We have espresso cups, latte bowls, coffee mugs (in all sorts of sizes), cappuccino glasses... What's not to love? Plus... coffee was at some point just plain old water, so really, coffee is just diva water. All dressed up. Places to go, people to see, bloodstreams to caffeinate. And for the love of, don't make me drink Starbucks. I beg. I plead.

(Eight) The City - I've always been an adventurous person. Not really suicidal, I mean you won't see me jumping out of planes or Russian Rouletting it up in Vegas. I do love a good walk down a hustling bustling street though. Getting lost in a concrete grid. Talking to strangers. Eating weird food. I've been to most of the good ones: New York, Seattle (lived there for 2 years), Philly, Boston, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Portland, and Chicago. Hands-down my favorite city is Seattle. But Chicago holds a big chunk of my heart too. The buildings, the people, the food, the coffee, the neighborhoods, culture... I could go on. I just love cities. I feel most alive, the most like myself when I'm walking down a busy sidewalk with a full tumbler in hand. Horns blaring, cellphones ringing, it's noisy, it's invigorating, it's me. You'll never see me smiling more than when I'm in a city. Kids in a candy shop are tame in comparison.

(Nine) Mascara/Lip gloss - It's no secret that my eyelashes are quite possibly my worst feature. When I wake up in the morning with a fresh face and no makeup, I look similar to a cancer patient. You think I'm kidding. You would be wrong. My eyelashes are so white and short, they poke straight out of my eyelids and they *still* don't reach my glasses. It's pathetic. So mascara is without a doubt my very favorite beauty product. I've tried them all. I've tried extensions (thanks Ma!), I've tried fakes, I've tried the double sided wand things with the special extender formula on one side and the mascara on the other. My current mascara of choice is Lash Stiletto. I love the brush! I usually have two different mascaras, one for the top lashes and one for the bottom lashes because the brushes really do make all the difference. But Lash Stiletto takes care of both. Hello, Miss Multitasking Mascara. Welcome to my beauty regime. Second favorite is lip gloss. I have every color, every brand. The push up, the sponge applicators, the squeeze tubes, I'm a lip gloss freak. Don't even get me started on lipstick. It's asinine. I used to sell Mary Kay, so the leftover product bin is my own personal lip product arsenal.

(Ten) Guilty Pleasures - ;) (I love all the assumptions happening right now, love them. Assume away, you might be right.)

Of course I love these ten bloggers too. I read them like it's my own personal religion. My dashboard is my friend. And these blogs simply rock. (If she wasn't the one who graced me with this award, Salt would totally be on this list.)Here we go:

Ten Blogs That Make My Days
(some old, some new, some popular, some under appreciated)

1. The Anti-Journalist
2. Magnolias and Mimosas
3. 2birds1blog
4. Hooking Up Smart
5. The Date Girl Diaries
6. Mental Poo
7. Mandi Speaks
8. The Dog's a Boy, Too!
9. That Girl Blogs
10. The Ungourmet

And so many, many more. I think I read about a novel a day with all of these great writers sharing their life experiences, I just can't get enough.

By the way, how many times did you push play? It's a great song isn't it? *love* Judy Garland.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I bet you won't complain about decorating ever again...

You know Macy's, that department store? They throw a cute little parade every year? Mmhm, if you put our living room in their furniture department, no one would be the wiser. We are fighting off the Grinch, stopping Scrooge in his tracks, even, yep, I'll say it, Martha Stewart would be proud! I haven't been home to really enjoy the holidays with my family in two Christmases. I did come home last year but it was a whirlwind circus of "Surprise! I'm here!" for 3 days and lots of driving in the snow and since no one really knew when I was coming, it was not the all out parade of giant crimson balls that it is this year.

So because I'm home and able to celebrate for longer than 72 hours, mom (or Ma Christmas) decided we needed to have a big old fashioned Christmas. In our house this means my mom dons her decorator's cap, drags twenty seven Rubbermaid containers out of the attic and before you can sing "Joy to the World" the house looks like we're related to Santa. You're thinking tinsel and candy canes and you would be wrong, my merry friends. Wrong, I say!

Let it be known that I'm a pretty good amount of pissed that my camera decided that it just doesn't feel like it anymore, meaning: the Christmas Wonderland that is our home could not be captured in its full potential and glory. But much like the Griswold's, we will press on and have the Hap-Hap-Happiest Christmas Tour since "Bing Crosby danced with Danny Fucking Kay!" (If you need assistance with lines from this movie, I am your official Christmas Vacation guide.)

Let us begin...

We have six trees. This is the first, dressed up in red and gold, masks and feathers, and my bells (which I will detail in, yet another, Christmas post). You might notice the small wreath and garland display to the left.

Complete with carolers...

Sing, girl, sing!

...and (empty as hell) stockings.

Santa? Kissing a baby? We sure do!

Did I mention we have six trees? Well, here's number two.

I did most of the work on this tree. You can tell because there are four strands of lights on it and one could probably, I don't know, perform brain surgery under it? This was an accident, I'm no Ma Christmas, so how was I to know that we would no longer need indoor lighting with four strands of twinkly lights? Ups.

This tree is pretty special though. Beyond the short bus job I did of lighting it, it's pretty magnificent and royal. It's also pink. And home to all of the Barbie ornaments one could purchase in a 10 year time span. (The back is filled with Marilyn Monroe and Cinderella, yeah, that goes together... at least they're all blonde.) Go Ma Christmas! To set the girly scene (or to remind me of Christmas past), this tree dons a gorgeous crown... from one of my marriages gone wild, or wrong, whatever.

Here are a few of my favorites:

This Little Barbie has a pre-nup,

This Little Barbie has fur,

This Little Barbie buys her own shit,

This Little Barbie steals hers,

And This Little Barbie smokes a whoooole lot of weeeeed when she gets home.

(Marilyn just wants to go wee-wee.)

Trees number three and number four are in the dining room, which is attached to the living room. So depending on where you are, they're in your room. Special, no? Looks like Ma Christmas got a little heavy handed on those there lights on tree number four. Mmhm. Sure did!

Also, we seem to have a theme. Not only are the feathers in the trees and wreaths...

...there's also an entire wreath made of them.

Ok, tree number five. (complete with banister feathers being all, "Pick me! Pick me!")

The Banister. It happens to be Ma Christmas' favorite part of the house. The feathers came from real pheasants, courtesy of some folks over in Wisconsin. Go Badgers! (and pheasants, before you become a Christmas ornament!))

See the kissing ball? And the giant crystal my sister gave Ma Christmas for her birthday? So prettiful!

Um, Kallay? What's that?

Oh! Those are just some pretty little ornaments we hung form the chandelier! See?

No, No. Not that....

Oh that!? That's just a huge elephant we moved (really heavy) furniture around for, to fit it in the dining room. Naturally!!

It lights up too!

We also have a pig... and an angry birdie next to him. He doesn't have the holiday spirit. Homie P is working on that.

And bears...

And Zebra! We love Zebras! And she loves her bow...

No, really... she does!

How many Zebras can you find in this picture?? (three)

Also, Maddie wouldn't move so, she says Merry Christmas too. Although it sounded a lot like "Eff you, mom." I don't know. She's hard to read sometimes.

Stay tuned for my cookie adventures and the story of the bells. You'll laugh, you'll cry... And then I'll tell you about my New Year's "Resolutions" and you'll cry laughing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Oh, Oviler..."

When Oliver (or Oviler, as I like to call him) and I met we took one look at each other (me wishing he wasn't gay because gosh, he's cute. and look at those glasses! him tallying up how much my outfit didn't cost and admiring my great hair and crazy blue eyes) and became insta-friends complete with a secret handshake and our very own language. He was just stopping in to get his paycheck and I was just beginning my training. I schedule stalked him to find out when my new friend was working with me next. The merry day came and we exchanged hearts, phone numbers and politically incorrect jokes. He deemed me his "hag" which made him my "fag" and the world tilted a little more on its axis. (sorry world!) He also nicknamed me Glamazon, I nicknamed him Gaysian and our friendship was born. (Because duh, cool nicknames are the cornerstones of good friendships.)

I love all of my friends. They each have their own silly quirks which make me love them just that much more. Like one of my friends who has an affinity for all things Alice (as in Wonderland) or another who knows more than anyone should about the peculiar, albeit it fascinating and intelligent, writings of Shakespeare. And even another who lives in exotic places and after all of these (almost 12!) years has kept in touch. Yes, my friends are the chocolate chips in my cookie. But Oliver just adds a little something special to my batter.

He (as he will confirm) fulfills my EEO requirements all in one little human package of nuts. He's my homosexual, asian, redneck, fashion forward, silver-tongued "girl"friend/"guy"friend. And holy buckets, I love him. After over a year of friendship, he has become one of my closest. There are so many hilarious stories to share like the time I was having a bad day and we ate as many plates of Cici's Pizza as we could, complete with dessert buffet and then went on to Godiva and ate some more (author's note: you'll find many of our mis-adventures have something or another to do with food) or the time he laid out with me and turned his boxers into a thong speedo (aka the first time he met my neighbors) or the countless times "we" were on the rag and used our discount as a way to eat ourselves silly at work whilst supporting the business and not our diets. Or the time we tried on wedding dresses and other hideous things while Goodwill hunting and I took a picture with a Unicorn, even found matching outfits.

One of my favorites is my moving day. Mostly because it's the gift that keeps on giving. Shortly before I moved to Michigan, Oviler came over and assisted me with packing because a) I hadn't even begun and b) packing alone sucks. So he arrived with fellow guyfriend "Lady" and the tape started to rip. We finished the kitchen which had no less than 15 improperly packed boxes and went down stairs to my domain. Lady and Oviler were tasked with packing the closet and I was working on my bathroom. Fifteen minutes went by and the downstairs became eerily quiet. As with children, when gay boys become quiet in your closet, mischief has ensued.

I walked into my room and knew when I approached the previously open closed door that on the other side could be mind changing events. I slowly opened the door hoping that Oviler and his best friend were not doing sexy things in my closet. They screamed, I screamed and then I fell over red-faced and suffocating from pure breathless laughter almost crushing a large box of DVDs. Oviler and Lady were not doing sexy things. No, they were wearing my clothes. My dresses to be exact. My pink, flowery dresses. Complete with heels, scarves, hats, purses and yes, even my undergarments stuffed with more of my undergarments. Oviler and Lady were having a full out tea party in my closet, enjoying every minute of "packing" by trying on all of my clothes instead. They pranced around speaking in high octaves and succeeding at making me pee my pants and finally removed my now stretched-out heels from their ginormous man feet.

Two hours later, my closet was still in disarray and a total of two boxes had been packed. We (I) decided to hit up a local Steak & Shake because we (I) had a craving for their cheese fries. I ordered the cheese fries with a side of delicious patty melt, extra mayo, add bacon, and coleslaw. If my memory serves me, there was also a chocolate malt to wash it all down. Needless to say my food took up half of the table because Steak & Shake employees enjoy doing dishes so everything comes on its own plate. Lady and Oviler ordered their healthy, in comparison, double bacon burgers, salads and shakes. I looked like I fell out of Uncle Eddie's trailor complete with a dirty hat on my pretty little head while they were dressed in their brand name besties. Me: Curly Sue, Them: Rich fags helping a Hag out. After Eat Fest 2009 concluded with them forklifting me out of our booth and rolling me to the car all Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory style, we drove back to my house to finish packing.

They returned to the closet (mine, not the gay one) and put serious effort into packing everything in their paths. More giggling. Endless giggling. They asked for markers and I obliged, reminding them of my only rule in packing: Never lose the tape or the marker. They lost both. I finished the bathroom and food coma walked back into my room with boxes upon boxes of clothes in my hallway. (internal fist pumping Arsenio style) They were still giggling and I can always use a laugh so I inquired as to what could make them laugh for 30 minutes straight. Here are a few examples:

"shirts i will wear when i stop eating cheese fries"

"matronly sweaters"

"3 pillows stained with drool" (in the tiniest box you've ever seen)

"sweaters i wear when i cut myself while listening to alanis morisette"

"parachute materials" (i'm guessing these are exercise pants???)

"one down comforter with cigarette burns and smeared with regret"

I mean, these are my box labels. My 30 (yes, 30) boxes of clothes are "labeled" with un-identifiable markings. The additional 20 boxes are vague or just plain unlabeled. They didn't want me to read all of the boxes because I was to have a "surprise" when I arrived in Michigan. Yes, surprise! No wearable clothes in my suitcase. Surprise! No clothes for an interview. Surprise! No shoes but a mismatched pair of flip flops and my "lesbian shoes" as Oviler calls them. I like them and think they're cool. Then again, my fashion sense wears a t-shirt that screams "Bitch, you don't know me!" So, grain of salt. Surprise! Every time I go to find something, it's not there. Or there. Or there. Or there. And so I give up. And then I see another mis-labeled box and I laugh. And laugh and laugh.

It's so us. It's so Oviler. It makes me miss him every time I think of something else I need that is no doubt hidden in the pile of me, all the while hysterically laughing at a newly discovered box. Then I say aloud, as I often did when he pulled another antic, "Oh Oviler, I love you like air." And I hear him reply "Ayer! Ayer!" And suddenly, whatever it was that I needed has escaped me. The only thing I need is friends. And soon we will be eating and drinking it up in Chicago with our other friend Caroline, causing some sort of trouble I'm sure, laughing 'til we hurt, offending anyone within ear shot with one, many, or all of our stash of inappropriate-for-public jokes. We'll be the ones laughing loudly on the "L", the ones eating Julius Meinl out of house and home, the ones trying on clothes we can't afford, the ones toasting 2010 with our as-yet-unnamed pink sparkly travel mug filled with things of the alcoholic variety. More stories will be written, more food destroyed and our thighs, like our friendship, will grow.

Boot Scootin'

I don't call it "The Mitten" for nothing. Don't get me wrong, we are firm believers of the "Four Season Theory" and participate (almost) every year. The summers here are hot and humid, allowing for such activities as water skiing, boating and tanning the hide. Autumn is perfect for apple picking in your favorite long sleeved shirt and scarf, drinking cider and tree watching, what with it being a parade of Technicolor photosynthesis and all. Spring is full of April showers and May flowers, allergies included for the low low price of $24.99 for your prescription of 24-hour Zyrtec. Among the Four Seasons there lies a beast. Sure, he's handsome and covers the world in a blanket of white, blows it around to make it festive and encourages the outdoor treachery of snow shoeing, skiing and mobiling. But Old Man Winter surely knows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Deep down he's a vindictive little man. Michigan is shaped like a mitten, fair warning I'd say! So when I made the decision to move up here to pursue a better relationship with my nephew and niece and to pursue the American dream of loving my job as much as it loves me ($$$!!)... I knew this day would come.

I need boots.

I haven't owned boots since I was in 2nd grade.

Old Man Winter (OMW) and I have not spoken in a little over 2 years, so still... no boots here!

But the time has come.

Everyone knows you can't just walk in the snow. You scoot. Sort of like an old person. Why? To simplify... when you walk normally your weight weeble wobbles back and forth between feet allowing for mass ass landings on the icy walkways. If you scoot, well... I'm convinced there are less bruises and broken bones involved. Still, scooting without proper footwear is just as dangerous as walking. For one, you're going to end up with snow drifts on the tops of your feet complete with wet socks and two, your jeans or pants will somehow be soaked all the way up to your knees. That's right, knees! I'm the dumbass walking around with the ballet shoes and pink All-Stars because somewhere between my 20+ years of experience in the snow and 2-3 years in the South I forgot how to do the boot scoot and also made serious fun of Uggs. They're ugly. Useful, but still ugly. (And also, I am not standing outside in 32 (or less) degree weather digging through boxes trying to find a pair of anything winter appropriate. It's a lost cause anyway. Lord knows I don't own anything of the sort.)So, with a frown on my face due to succumbing to what I still think is a fashion don't (if you live in the South), I have taken to the world wide webs to find the perfect pair of ugly foot protection. So far I have found nothing but mind boggling fashion statements. Mind boggling.

So, let's begin. Target sells boots in my (family's) price range so I began my search there. Search: boots. Result: hysterical laughter.

The first pair that appealed to me were these:

Two words: Memory. Foam. In your boots! And look at all the fancy colors! I'm a fanatic of pink (in case you haven't gathered) and by design I also enjoy bright colors. To be completely honest though, I noticed these boots in the order of memory foam and then bright colors. These are on my list. If I'm going to be all tragic fashion follower, I'm going to do it up and be bold and wear the ugliest boots I can find! Let's face it, the uglier it is, it's probably all the more fashionable. (Hello hounds tooth and leg warmers! Fingerless gloves anyone?) If I'm going to scoot around for the next 4 months, I might as well be bright and cheery doing it.

So I continued on my (un)happy journey of boot shopping and what to my wondering eyes should appear....

Alright, excuse me. I can walk in heels. I can even occasionally run in heels. (All of my friends are now laughing because they are imagining the face plant potential of this scenario.) But let's not add insult to injury here. I feel like I just found the Regretsy of! You want me, Kallay Clutz, to purposefully place hot pink plastic baggies over my very high heeled shoes and then... what? Because no way in hell can you (I) walk in these. And if you can, well then kudos to you ballerina, my coordination does not allow for such acrobatic acts as walking with elevated pink plastic Ziplocs for shoes. That's me asking for a hospital stay. Moving on...

I like boys, so these are out.

As are these, same reason. They're called "Novella" because some genius over at Champion was all, "By George! I have a novel idea! We'll start with a Michelin, ok? And then I'll skin my Persian cat! Leather, check! Fur, check!" Listen, they may ward off winter, but you can count on dining alone and holding your own hand at the movies, because these boots also ward off phone numbers. NEXT!

Cleats of the slip on variety. These give traction but provide nothing in the style/warmth department, plus you'll look like a giant dork. Winter fail.

I'm wearing these in public, right? Bless you cute little angels with small calves, pray tell; where are the extenda-calf pink striped boots? Muffin top on my calf wasn't the look I was going for, really.

Light pink fake Uggs. I mean, they're ok. But *sigh* I want something a little more fantastic. Something that makes people stop and go, "Those are terrific!" and not "I own those in every color! (You fashion failure.)"

I have plenty of pink scarves in every material, pink gloves, pink hats, pink coats, pink sweaters... where, OMW and friends, are my pink boots? My feet are freezing, the snow banks are growing and icy pavement is patiently waiting to take me out (on my) back.

On the bright side, at least I don't have to plug in my car.