Where I treat my microwave like a time bomb

This might come as a shock to you all, but I am not always doing embarrassing, strange, or interesting things. Sometimes my weeks are pretty dull, and as such, I have trouble coming up with things to talk about on the blog.

Lucky for my however I was given a free topic by my old high school friend Christy over at avoidingatrophy

Christy and I were both in choir at Sandra Day O’connor high school, and we both participated in several plays together, including The Wizard of OZ, where she was Dorthy, and as i’ve mentioned before, I was Glinda.

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I don’t have a photo of us together as Dorthy and Glinda. Instead, here’s this picture of us after a choir banquet where she looks lovely, and I look the most insane that I have ever looked in any photo ever.

Christy is a very good writer who tells many insightful and hilarious stories on her blog, and she has very nicely nominated me for something called a Liebster award. As far as I can tell, a Liebster award is a way to promote blogs that have fewer than 200 followers. To qualify you just have to follow these simple rules:

The Rules

1. Link back to the person who nominated you again, here is Christy’s lovely blog

2. Write 11 facts about yourself

3. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you

4. Nominate 11 blogs with 200 or less followers. Notify them.

5. Create 11 questions for those bloggers you’ve nominated to answer.

Let us begin!

Facts about me:

1.When I cook food in the microwave, I do not like to let it count all the way down to zero. To give myself something to do while I wait, I walk around the kitchen in a circle, then when the microwave is closing in on ten seconds, I time the speed of my walk so that I can reach the microwave just as it is reaching 1 second remaining. That way I can fling the microwave door open just before the beeping begins, in the same way that I might frantically disable a bomb as the timer ticks down. It is absolutely the most OCD thing about me.

2. When I have children I want to have a son who I will name “Paul” after my dad. Partly out of respect and love for my father, but also partly so that I can call the two of them, “Big Paulie and Little Paulie” in the accent of an Italian gangster out of “The Godfather.”

3. I am not actually 6’2, i’m really like 6’1 and a half. When people ask me how tall I am I always explain this to them, and then follow it by saying, “But I just say 6’2, because it saves time.” It saves no time, because I give this full explanation to everyone I meet. I never just say, “I am 6’2”.

4. I was 5 pounds and 14 ounces when I was born. People are always shocked by this, like they expected someone as tall as me to say, “I was 14 pounds at birth. The doctor had to use a crane to get me out of there.” No, my mother was a normal sized woman, and I was a small baby. What has happened to my growth since cannot be explained.

5.I don’t like pickles. It’s literally one of the only foods that I will not shove freely into my face.

6. When I was a little girl who would forget to pray at meals, I once offered a prayer to God that went, “Thank you God and Jesus for this meal, and for every other meal that I will eat forever.” I am still arguing with people about whether or not this prayer counts, and all my subsequent meal blessings have been superfluous.

7.I like strong cheeses. Really strong cheeses. I am one of the few people I know who can just eat chunks of blue cheese by itself.

8. When I was little I wanted to marry Michealangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Not in a weird way, I was like seven. So our marriage would have consisted of hanging out, eating pizza, and high-fivin’.

9. I’m left handed, and this caused me to be unable to tie my shoes until I was like, 10 years old. Either that, or it was just my failure at normal human coordination in general. I’m blaming left handedness.

10. I don’t like horseback riding. I had a bad experience as a 13 year old, and have avoided it ever since.

11. 4th wall jokes, jokes involving puns, and general silliness in movies and tv are my absolute favorite. So it should go without saying that the muppets are one of my favorite things ever.

Christy’s 11 questions:

1. Describe your best birthday ever.

My Best Birthday is also my worst birthday. Is that possible? For my 23rd birthday I went up to visit my best friend Megan in San Marcos, and she took me to all the college bars, and just let me drink freely. I fell off the wagon of smart decisions completely. I had 10 or 11 drinks, a drunk stranger wanted to take his picture with me and I allowed it to happen, I was a happy girl. Until the moment at 2 am when suddenly it became my worst birthday, and I was lying on Megan’s bathroom floor thinking, “If I have alcohol poisoning, it’s going to be so embarrassing for Megan to have to call the fire department.”

me drunk

Having a good time.

2. If you had all of the talent and ability in the world, what career would you pursue?

I would have multiple careers. As a child I had it all planned out. I would be a singer/actress in my early 20’s, followed by a rich political career that culminated in me becoming president at the age of 36(2024 is my first eligible election year, in case you’re interested), followed by some human rights work in third world countries(specifically women’s rights), lastly followed by being a writer in my retirement.

3. What is your spirit animal?

If you asked me this when I was 12 I would say a tiger. As a kid my favorite animal was the tiger, but as an adult I now recognize that my spirit animal is the Platypus. Remember when I said that I love ridiculous and silly things?

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LOOK AT IT. Its babies are called puggles. Sometimes I believe that God made this animal just for me, to make me laugh and to assure me that he has a sense of humor.

4. What is something that irritates you and why?

It irritates me when people post angry rants about incorrect grammar(or is it grammer?) on facebook. Settle down everyone, this isn’t my Master’s thesis, I’m not drafting up intelligence papers for the Pentagon, I’m telling you about how I’m going to the Cheesecake factory for dinner. If I use the word “your” when I should use “you’re” we will all survive.

5. Which is better: ants or aliens? Please provide an educated response.

Aliens. Because this exists:

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Or wait…maybe ants are better because of this:

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I can’t decide, let me get back to you on that.

6. Where is your “second home”?

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This place

This is a mountain town called Red River. My dad’s side of the family has been going here for a week during most summers for the past 50 years. My grandparent’s ashes are spread here, my ashes will go here. It’s kind of a big deal.

7. What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?

It’s hard to pick, but probably this one:Where I tell the story of prom

I got to ride in a limo AND a taxi during prom night, it was an exciting night for me.

8. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

We talked about this, I couldn’t choose one career as a kid. It might interest you to know that as a child I never ever wanted to be a teacher or a doctor. While I’ve since flirted with the idea of being a teacher, I have never wavered in my indifference to a career in the medical profession. It is not for me.

9. What are some products that you love?

This thing:

the labbit2

The morning after that birthday we talked about, where I’m trying to recover in Megan’s apartment.

Ok, you’re all going to think I’m weird with this one. This is a labbit. My best friend received one from her then boyfriend several years ago, and I loved it immediately. I am a weird person I guess because every time I go to her apartment I like to pick it up and stroke it. It’s soft. I inexplicably liked it so much that Megan got me one of my very own for Christmas last year. It sits in my room still, and yes, I like to stroke it occasionally. In an absolutely non-creepy way.

the labbit

Again, absolutely not creepy.

10. What is your least favorite sound?

That squeaky sound Styrofoam makes when you rub it together.

11. Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

My favorite things change pretty frequently, so I’ll give you a quote that’s been sticking with me lately, “Jesus, friend of sinners, open our eyes to the lives at the end of our pointing fingers.” Because it is very important to me to try to see someone else’s side of the story, and to be merciful and kind towards others.

The Blogs:

This might disqualify me, but sadly I don’t know of a whole 11 blogs that fit the qualifications, which is alright because I think that this whole exercise is more about getting people exposure, and connecting bloggers. So I can refer you to this blog:

sweet treats by catherine

By a former coworker who always has clever things to say about her family. I again insist to you that you must read Christy’s blog, and also this blog:

Filing Jointly…Finally

which is by Lauren. She has a somewhat large following, but hasn’t really hit the big time yet. I urge you to check her out, especially if you like me. She gave me a lot of inspiration when I was starting this blog.

My Questions:

This is awkward because there are very few people to answer my made up questions, but I’ll list them anyways, because it’s a fun exercise if you need something to blog about (as I did today)

1.Who is the strangest person that you have ever met, and where?

2. If you could meet one famous dead person who would it be, and why?

3. Where is your dream vacation?

4. If you could make a television show, what would the genre be, and what would be your clever title?

5.What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?

6. What is the most horrific injury that you have ever had, and how did you get it?

7. If you could only keep three possessions (besides clothes) what would you keep?

8. What is your favorite place to shop?

9. Would you rather be a sports superstar or a famous actor?

10. What is your biggest quirk?

11. Cherry or Strawberry poptarts?

That is all for today readers, what interesting questions would you like me to answer next?

-Tara

Where I hit people in the face with my elbow

Hello, how are you this afternoon readers? It’s been a pretty nice week for me, besides having to call in sick to work. Calling in sick is never fun, but it does give me a little bit of extra time to sit around and think about things to write for the blog. I had a little inspiration this week because a couple of days ago I got to get together with my extended family. Specifically, my mom’s siblings and their children. Over the course of the visit we got to talking about many of the injuries, mishaps, and adventures that we all had as children. It was these conversations that inspired my post for today, where I thought I would share with you some of my more embarrassing and awful stories from childhood, specifically the period including middle school.

awkward me

I wanted a picture from middle school, but there are very few that survive, so here is one from high school. You’ll just have to imagine this, but even more awkward. Somehow.

ONE. That time where I grew 12 inches in four years.

Oh, no joke here, it happened. I was always the biggest of the kids, but 4th grade was when things really got out of control. I started out 4th grade at 5’2, and ended 4th grade at 5’4. My growth spurt is actually what made my parents stop taking me to day care.  At around the age of ten, I noticed that some of the other kids at the day care were starting to approach me with bizarre questions like, “Can I play in the big kid game room?” “Can Jimmy come into the big kid room too?” and, “Can I go to the bathroom please?”I was perplexed for several weeks until I realized that the other children at day care had started assuming that I was one of the caretakers. At TEN.

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Something about this persona screamed “adult”

After that, I grew approximately 2 inches every year until the end of 8th grade, where I pretty much stopped at 6’1 or so.  Middle school is awkward anyways, but the terribleness of the whole experience is intensified when you are a foot taller than all of the cute boys, and you can no longer buy shoes meant for adult women by the time you reach age 12. I’m not sorry that I’m tall, it’s part of who I am and I love it, but I am sorry that my growth spurt happened in this window of time. Once in 8th grade I walked into a classroom and a student asked if I was the substitute. My height caused people to think I was an adult a disturbing number of times, and it also led to another awkward incident that I like to call…

TWO: That time where I hit another human being in the face with my elbow

My middle school was the weirdest school ever. Every aspect of our behavior was rigidly controlled, and there was a lot of herding. We had assigned seating at lunch, we weren’t allowed to carry our backpacks around during the day, and we had one-way hallways. That’s right, one-way hallways. Between classes we were only allowed to go one direction down the hall ways. Like, if our class was behind us, we had to walk all the way around the building to get to it. It was stupid. I think the teachers spent way too much time thinking up ways to treat us like cattle rather than actual human beings. And I blame the one way hallways for this particular incident because without them we wouldn’t have all had to walk in crowed, single file packs.  So once when I was walking down a packed hallway surrounded by a whole herd of 6th graders. While I walked, I swung my elbow back and hit a 6th grade girl in the face with it. Literally. I know I exaggerate some of my stories, but this is not one of those times. She was so short that her face was at the same height as my elbow. It was traumatizing for both of us.

I thought that something so horrifying could only happen to me in the confines of middle school, but then about 6th months ago a sweaty child ran into my elbow. Afterwards my elbow was wet. It was traumatizing for both of us.

THREE: That time when I had a Freudian slip.

Ok, I cannot be the only person who has done what I’m about to tell you about. That does not make it less awkward. Once, in the middle of 8th grade science class I was called upon to answer a question about organisms, and instead of organisms I said orgasms. This was especially embarrassing because I’m pretty sure that I barely even knew what an orgasm was at the time. I was only 14. Never the less, I said it, in the middle of a silent classroom, with everyone staring right at me. I remember being in the middle of my answer, and realizing after I had said it that something had gone dreadfully wrong. No one stopped me though, or laughed, or acknowledged it in any way, except to stare at me, shocked. So I turned red, and started sweating, and sputtering, and I honestly don’t even know how my response ended. I think eventually I just faded out slowly, like a song on the radio, as everyone watched me in horror. Then after a pause the teacher cleared his throat and said loudly, “Yes, ORGANISMS do have the fundamental characteristic of…”

And then I crawled under the desk and perished from embarrassment, at which point one of the other students jumped up and said, “Um sir, I think the substitute teacher just died!”

That’s all for today readers, what embarrassing things happened to you during your youth?

-Tara

My Life Story(Completely comprised of photos of me making strange faces)

Like everyone else on this planet, I have a unique and personal back story. I have gone through trials, and I have had glorious moments. I have felt the sting of failure as well as the jubilation of success. Recording the history of a life is no simple task, no matter how long or short the life has been. It’s an emotional process that takes time and delicate care, so that when the stories have all been recorded, the reader will get a concise, honest portrait of one’s soul.

Or, it can be fast and hurried. Like this:

Before me, there were Becky and Paul:

momanddad

My father makes some variation of that, “wha…we’re taking a picture???” face in every photo ever.

momanddad2

It was the late 80’s. Right around the time that conservatives were mourning the fact that they couldn’t have Reagan around for a third term, my parents decided that they wanted a baby. They were no longer content with living an awesome “young 80’s couple” life, complete with big hair and outrageously designed shirts. No, my parents decided that it was time to bring Niendorff number 3 into the world. This yellow monkey creature was the result:

monkey child

You know, my jaundice might not have been so glaringly noticeable if my parents had dressed me in ANY OTHER COLOR EXCEPT YELLOW.

It’s cool though, I got cute eventually.

me-google

 No, not yet.

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Ok, I was Cute-ish

 For a couple of years I persisted in being adorable in various holiday outfits

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A halloween before I knew how scary clowns actually are

Things were pretty sweet for me starting out. Not only was I an only child almost 4 years, but I was also an only grandchild for one side of the family. Tara was the princess.

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Pretty sweet.

Then, right around the time that conservatives started mourning the fact that not only was Reagan no longer president, but they were actually going to have a democrat in the White house, my parents decided they were not content with only one yellow-monkey child. It was time to have another jaundice-ridden baby to dress in yellow. Instead, this perfect Aryan boy was born.

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Then HE was the princess.

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And then we were a complete family. Notice how my mom and my brother are making normal faces and my dad and I are not at all. This is a trend that stayed consistent for all of our family photos.

Since my brother Travis was obviously going to be the beautiful Gerber baby of the family:

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Seriously, every photo we have of him at this stage of life is like an unintentional baby gap photo shoot.

 I made the decision to stop being an adorable toddler, and transitioned into a childhood where I looked like the token chubby nerd friend in a Disney coming of age movie.

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 If my life was a Disney movie, my best friend would find an alien in her back yard and I would be the nerdy friend who brought over my insects, and calculators, and books to solve the problem.

Early on I was different from the other kids. Around the age of 6 it became clear that I was going to be bigger than everyone else. I wasn’t just going to be their nerdy chubby friend, I was going to be their GIANT nerdy chubby friend.

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Who let the teacher on stage with the kids?

Childhood progressed pretty normally for me, unusual largeness aside. I participated in all rites of passage, I played terribly at team sports,

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Just kidding, this isn’t a team sport. Being sweaty on the playground was as close as I ever got to athleticism.

I went to birthday parties,

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There were matches on the table, and I was trying to make a joke that I had just burned myself as this picture was taken. Instead, I look like a mentally unstable person invading this innocent child’s birthday party.

I was adorable in dozens more Halloween costumes:

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  Ok, adorable-ish.

At one family gathering I even staged a mock wedding between my 6 year old brother and cousin, just for the purpose of being adorable. Here they are, looking like two perfect children from a Norman Rockwell painting, while I look…yeah.

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 One of these things is not like the other.

I guess I got jealous of everyone else looking fabulous, because for a while after that I stopped making crazy faces for photos and started going for a “demure young beauty” look instead.

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 It’s almost…artistic how wild my hair is in this photo.

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 The “demure beauty” aspect of this photo is somewhat lost because the perspective makes it look like that is MY hairy knee in the bottom left…which it isn’t. It isn’t!

Then I entered adolescence, and the big change to my life then was that I decided to grow my bangs out.

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 I have been searching for a way to include this picture in the blog for a LONG time. I don’t even know how this was possible. There has to be magic at work for a Child’s hair to look THAT bad.

And that, is the short version of my childhood. As I got older, my hair got less wild, but I continued to grow larger and larger. From age 10 to age 14 I grew approximately 11 inches. I also gained  A LOT of weight. It was because of that weight gain that I eventually had weight loss surgery. That’s the other half of this story that I plan to tell another day. Until then you’ll just have to know that miraculous and special things happened to turn me into the smart, sexy, independent woman I am today!

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Sigh. Ok, Sexy-ish.

-Tara