Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finding Joy in Other People's Joy: A New Concept

While sifting through the New York Times this morning, the Weddings/Celebrations section caught my eye because there was a pretty Asian bride in the picture. I wanted to see more pictures. Who is this girl? Why does her wedding get a write up? It's common knowledge the write ups are mainly of people whose backgrounds and education make you feel completely inadequate in comparison, furthered by their meet-cute rom-com with the happy ending, but I was in the mood for a little ego kick in the butt today. (Sometimes the ego just needs to be in check). While browsing Karin Fong's story, (OK, yeah, it was pretty cute), I noticed the header for Caroline Tiger and Jonathan Dunsay's wedding. It read:

The couple were wed on Nov. 8, in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, proving that a long-distance relationship can work.

The part that said "proving that a long-distance relationship can work" was what caught my eye as I am in one myself, my first serious L.D.R. As I read their story it turns out she was inspired to write a book, The Long Distance Relationship Guide, after an L.D.R. that hadn't worked out. Her following quote had me laughing out loud:

"Making an L.D.R. work requires a good cellphone plan, wrinkle-free clothes, humor and an unshakable belief that there is only one person in the universe for you."

I have yet to find a resolution to my packing issues. 1) I'm still not convinced I can last 3 days without 8 pairs of shoes. 2) All 20 of my outfits for the 3 days need to be ironed. I do have unlimited calling with T-Mobile, although I never have reception.

Anyway, I found Caroline and Jonathan's story so cute, her anecdotes witty and funny, that I decided to go out and buy her little guide today. See? I'm not just a bitter little troll who's only moments of joy are derived from schadenfreude. I can be moved by a stranger's happiness. That's it. No sarcastic comment to follow.

The Standing Pants

My mom was constantly nagging me about my messy bedroom when I lived with her. She said I never put anything away and was always yelling at me to pick up my clothes off the floor. She would joke that you could tell where I removed my clothes because my pants would still be standing in its upright position, as if they were waiting for me to just slip my legs in the next day. This morning, after a very late night, I rolled over in my bed, looked at my floor and saw:

My pants standing upright with my boots still in them. It almost looks like midget pants.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

When I was younger, like 15 or so years ago, I was always labeled as the baby, the bratty one, the moody one, or whatever other label associated with the amalgam of being the youngest, being female, and being self- absorbed and self-fish. Over the years I'd like to think I've matured a bit, at the very least become more tolerable at the dinner table. At Thanksgiving, I've learned that I've accomplished neither.

This year, Thanksgiving was held at my brother's new home in North Carolina. It would be the first time he's hosted TG dinner for the family, as well as a first Christensen TG ever. Since we've moved to the States 18 years ago, it took our family a few years to get up to speed on the American holiday (what is up with all the ugly Turkey decals on the store windows?), and another decade to really give a shit about participating in its festivities. Each year we typically housed hopped separately, me, most likely with the family of the boyfriend at the moment, my mom, having a stir-fry and a cackle fest with her Asian Alliance friends, and Rich, was, I don't know, where was Rich? My friends and past boyfriends have always been so welcoming to me at their dinners, but after years of feeling like the random Asian orphan at the dinner table, I was just tired of making polite table conversation with someone else's Grandma. I didn't want to pretend I was enjoying playing I Spy with all the little cousins at the kiddie table. I didn't want to politely offer my help in the kitchen, where I have no business, and definitely did not want to offer to help clean up afterwards. I wanted to be somewhere where I could eat turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, and immediately lay on the couch afterwards with my hand in my pants. I had hoped for all of this at my brother's.

Thanksgiving morning, with massive hangover, we watched the Macy's Parade, and then I quietly slipped away, back in bed, when I heard the pans being brought out. An hour later I woke up to the sounds of vacuuming, rolled over, shut my eyes as tightly as possible, and forced myself back to sleep. A couple hours after that, I woke up, absolutely disoriented. Is it Friday? Had I completely missed Thanksgiving? I better go downstairs and find out. I found my brother outside with the deep fryer for the turkey completely set up. The house was spotless. I turned the corner of the kitchen hoping everything was already cooked and ready to serve. I saw my brother's wife and asked in my best fake sincere voice, "Do you need any help? Did I miss it?" She looked at me incredulously. Obviously, I had missed all the cleaning and setting up they did. Unfortunately, I had woken up just in time to help cooking. Shitballs! "What do you need me to do?" I said in my most unconvincing how can I help voice, trying my best to hint at the strong undertones of, "I really, really, would prefer to do nothing." Again, no such luck. "Which would you prefer to make," she asked,"the pumpkin pie or the yams?" Well, neither really, I replied, but since yams are gross, I'll make the pie. She pointed me towards the pie ingredients. I asked her if she realized that pies only go for about $6.99 at the supermarket and that they're rather tasty. Especially in comparison to the time and effort it takes to make one from scratch, and the finished product that I would have been able to produce, despite my best efforts. She ignored my reasoning. In a span of 30 minutes I went from blissfully sleeping on my brother's futon to being in charge of making the pie, yams, and mashed potatoes all from scratch. She handed me a 5 pound bag of potatoes and said, "Peel." I was elbow deep in potato peels when I said, "Hey look, ha ha, I feel like I'm in the army now. Stuck with potato peeling duty." She looked over at me as if to ask me why I wasn't wearing my helmet, not amused, answered, "We don't do that in the army." Right. OK.

I've always been convinced that I'm rather intelligent, smarter than everyone, actually, but if my IQ test was based solely on my kitchen skills, I am, in fact, a certified retard. I had dropped an aluminum can top into the pie mixture, and didn't realize it, until my mom, being her usual meddlesome self, decided to take a stir. I would add milk to the mixture and then 2 seconds later forget whether or not I had added milk and added more just in case I didn't. I would bring the mixture bowl closer to the trash can so that when I finished cracking the egg I could quickly toss out the shell without dripping a trail of whites on the floor. Instead, I got momentarily distracted and cracked the egg in to the trash can. I would whine about how much faster and easier it would be to peel the potatoes had they bought genetically engineered potatoes as opposed to lumpy, pocky, misshaped, organic potatoes that come a fourth smaller.

Adding to the list of my incompetence in the kitchen, including the incident during my last visit when I wound up getting guacamole on their ceiling, is my incompetence in life in general. The proof being the destruction I continue to cause to their only 4 month old home and its contents. During dinner, two nights earlier, I managed to spill my red wine all over their table, rug, and of all places, their wall. Once again, I stood staring at my destruction, dumbfounded. The day before that, I was sitting on their couch, petting their adorable new kitten, when she decided to projectile vomit on me and all over the couch and carpet. "What did you do to her?" my brother's wife immediately asks, not at all disguising her accusatory tone. I was just petting her! I swear!

Aside from being forced into kitchen labor by my brother's wife, I have to say this was my best Thanksgiving dinner yet. I was with all the people that I love the most in the world. I didn't have to make stupid small talk. I didn't have to pretend that I didn't mind helping out. I didn't have to force down an extra helping of Aunt So and So's pie, just to spare her feelings. (My mom sat in front of my pumpkin pie for close to 30 minutes. Rich's friend finally took it away from her and said, "just because your daughter made it, doesn't mean you have to eat it"). After dinner, trying to carry some of the weight, I told them, it's OK, I'll clean. Everyone looked at me, surprised. I, too, was surprised that those words had voluntarily left my mouth. "Who am I kidding," I reneged, "Mom will clean." As I looked around the table, at the way everyone was looking at me, I realized I had been given a new label. I had become that guest. The one whose company you may have missed while she's away, but completely exhausts you while she's around, and you just can't wait until she leaves, so that you can put your valuables out again.

Meet The Christensens

The boys, the turkey, and the deep fryer. Instructions on deep fryer read: If not assembled properly, explosion may occur. Before lowering the turkey, my brother said, "You may want to step back."

Hello Kitty at the parade to promote more Asian viewership.

The Spread

My pumkin pie, a striking resemblance to Lexie's cat food.

The Carnage.

Time: Immediately after dinner.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm Stupid in 3 Languages

At Jamba Juice:
Me: Hi, I'll have a Tall Mango-a-gogo.
Jamba Juicer: I'm sorry? This isn't Starbucks.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Effective Pep Talk to Self

Walking home from Penn Station with $3,000 cash, 400 dvds, and a bag stuffed full of ramen:
Ok, Nina, today is NOT the day to get mugged.

Sold the Jeep!

I watched the new owner drive away with her today and my eyes welled up.

I'm gonna miss her.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Drano Chronicles

Drano failed me.
Pulled hair out of drain with wooden chopsticks.
Looked like a small animal was killed in there.
Almost threw up.
Am shaving head.

Friday, November 14, 2008

On Living Alone

Start noticing shower draining slowly.
One month later. Drain fully clogged.
Debate calling maintenance to snake. Decide against. No time to clean apartment. Too embarrassing.
Another month goes by. J visits. Suggests Drano.
Three days later. Buy generic Drano at CVS.
One week later. Drano still sitting in plastic bag in corner of room.
Decide enough is enough. Take Drano out of bag. Drano leaked all over bag and hands.
Rub eyes.
Read label. Keep away from eyes and skin. Eyes burning.

Woke up to the sound of maintenance guys radioing outside my door.
Static. Static. "Yeah I'm on the 7th floor. Yeah I smell that. Don't know where it's coming from," says Maintenance Guy, outside my door.
Cower in bed. Blankets pulled up to eyes. Hope no one wearing a gas mask breaks down my door.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On Being Nina

Me: He's coming over tomorrow and I haven't cleaned my toilet. (Meanwhile, I'm still at the bar at 3am downing Patron).
Brit: Oh, girl, whatever.
Me: You know what? He's gonna have to love me, dirty toilet and all. (Chug. Chug. Chug).

Friday, November 7, 2008

I <3 NYC

"I can't afford to live alone right now and there's no way I'll live in a borough."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

So excited I could almost throw up! Or maybe it's the 2 king size bags of M&M's I've already gone through already. So nervous! I can't stop eating!

So on my way to vote this afternoon, if I was at all undecided, which I wasn't, I heard a voice from above. It said, "Hey pretty mama! You gotta vote Obama!!" Huh? Is God hitting on me? I looked around and saw it was the infamous Times Square street rapper, Dr. Geek, sitting on a plastic can, rapping in his mic to me. Thanks Dr. Geek! I was more sure than ever!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekend Soundbites:

Me: They must have been drinking. It smells like old man farts in here.
Michele: Is that different from black man farts?
Me: All I know is it smells like my dad's farts and that's very different from a young white guy fart.
Michele: I love you.
___________ _____________ ______________

Tim licks my finger for some reason.
Me: That's lovely and all but you do realize I just put in a tampon with that finger right?
___________ _____________ ______________

Me: I'm a writer.
Guy: A ride-ah? What's a ride-ah?
(Not sure when I started talking like Tony Soprano).
___________ _____________ _______________

Sailor: Where can we go at this hour?
Me: There's an awesome 24 hour McDonald's on 28th and Lex.
___________ _____________ _______________

Mary: Did you ever figure out what the rotting garbage smell was in your apartment?
Me: Yeah. It was rotting garbage.