Thursday, May 29, 2008

For you, Kwatt.

Picture of you and me, at DeRusha's party:Picture of my first experience with lipstick:And this one is just so awesome I can't even stand it:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's called "enthusiasm", bitches.

So recently I've been getting a lot of crap for having a lot of pictures of me out there (on MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, other people's blogs, the universe in general) where my mouth is open.

Like this one -
Or this one -And this one -

I think one person mentioned it on the blog once, and then everyone else and their mom just had to jump on the bandwagon and bring it up too, because apparently every day is "Pick On Amber Day" and so everyone can't just tell her nice stuff like how great she looks in that picture or how the lighting really brought out her bone structure in that one or how she looks like she's having so much fun in that picture and they notice that she seems like she's having a lot of fun in almost all of her pictures probably just because she's such a fun person whether a camera is available to capture the moment of funness or not. Nope.

However, I was going through an archive of family photos (I got the job of picking out ones of Dan to include his Open House slide show) and came across a stack of childhood pictures of Kris and I. And I noticed something: The open mouth thing? It's not something new that I just thought up. I've been doing it all my life.

Like this one -Or this one -And this one -So basically, what I'm trying to say is - this is just how my face looks when it gets around a camera. You guys should feel really bad for making fun of me because obviously this is some kind of genetic defect that I've been battling all my life, and while you could excuse your past hurtful comments by posing the ignorance argument, no more. Now you know. Now you've been educated. And so, no longer will I stand for your cruelty.

Oh yeah, and I wanna start hearing more nice stuff about me, too. And I don't know...maybe start buying me some presents every once in a while. Or pitchers of beer...I'd settle for that, too. Maybe a mansion on a hill somewhere. I'm not picky.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

All growed up.

My little baby brother Daniel graduated from high school this weekend (and yes, I'm well aware that I'm going to have to stop calling him my "little baby brother" but I'm not ready to take that step yet, so get off my back). Last week, in order to prepare myself, I made him this little photo album on Facebook. Then the weekend finally arrived, so Katy and I headed up north to celebrate with my family and a slew of relatives.

But, as some of you know, it has become physically impossible for Katy and I to be in the northwestern area of Wisconsin and not hit up The Chief. Here's two (very) short videos of what being at The Chief is like. The first one is what has seemed to become a habit of late - just me, Katy, Eric the Bartender, and Larry "Horse Cock Johnson" (please don't ask. Please.) at the bar. Because of course, the bar was just rowdy and packed either the night before or right up until ten minutes before we showed up. Fuck you, Eric.

This video shows what the bar looks like when some other people actually show up. In this one you'll notice the man I greet as "bar patron" - he is a professor of Ancient Studies at Oxford. The magic thing about The Chief is the eclectic mix of people you can meet there: That night we hung out with the professor (originally from Chicago, lives in England, and spends three weeks every year at the family cabin) and Matt, a retired executive of the company that makes the springs that go into your sofa, your bunk bed frames, and your Seely and Serta mattresses. If you would some pictures of what the springs look like, just let me know because I'm pretty sure I still have the napkin Matt used to diagram them out for us. He has also been married four times and has made exactly 53 trips to China.

Also please note the famous wooden pole, sight of many an ill-advised whirl and twirl by drunken females of all ages.

Then came Dan's graduation. Dan was Senior Class President of his class of 41 students, and so he was chosen to make a speech at graduation. Here's a small snippet of his speech, which I particularly like because he finally publicly admits to a little stunt he pulled in middle school which involved removing all the legs from his geometry teacher's desk:

All in all, it was a swell time of laying by the lake, defending my life choices to my relatives, beers and campfires with Katy and siblings, plotting an elopement in case I ever get married so I can hopefully escape another said defense of life choices, and purposefully embarrassing Daniel in front of his whole senior class.

Good weekend.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Weekend Video Treat: Apparently "Sweet Freedom" isn't free.

So this morning I decided, in order to psych myself up for the work week (this one's gonna be a killa), I would download some super sweet 80's tunes. You know, a little Huey Lewis & the News, some Hall & Oates, and then of course you gotta get some Michael McDonald (I'm all stocked up on Kenny Loggins already). What's the best song by Michael McDonald that you can think of? Trick question, because the answer is all of them.

On this particular Sunday morning, however, I wanted to download "Sweet Freedom", the theme to the movie Running Scared. The movie reminds me of being little, watching snatches of the movie, and thinking about how great it will be when I'm older and sipping on tropical drinks on a beach somewhere with my best friend while we try to figure out how to take down the biggest drug dealer in Chicago. Mostly, though, I just wanted Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal to turn out to be my uncles so I could go live with them in Key West (I've mentioned on here before that I've always had a vivid imagination. This shouldn't come as a surprise to you).

But iTunes doesn't have it. I can't say "at all" because they do have some atrocious covers...but if it's not Michael McDonald, it doesn't count. So then I went to YouTube to find it, and the embedding was disabled by request on the only video of the song they had. WTF? Is enjoying and sharing "Sweet Freedom" now a classified activity under the government? Is it that Michael McDonald knows his sweet melodies and miraculous high notes would start a huge lovin' riot, bringing out the Yaht Rock fanatic in all of us?

So, instead of an embedded Weekend Video Treat for all of you, I have only this link to offer. But only click on it if you love great music.

Just try to humilate me before I humilate myself. I DARE YOU.

So an old high school friend found me on Facebook via the blog. In his message, he wrote, "You've got some great readers on your blog, but I wonder what they would think if they knew you were not only a cheerleader in high school, but CAPTAIN cheerleader AND had a FULL PAGE spread in the yearbook of you cheerleading. Hmmm?"

I'm callin' your bluff, sucker. I know what you're trying to do. I know how your mind works, remember? You think you're gonna pull this out of your hat and try to embarrass me with it. TOO LATE, I BEAT YOU TO THE PUNCH.SUCK ON THAT. No one gets the better of this girl...I can embarrass myself all on my own.

I would, however, like to state that I was also a lettering member of the Knowledge Bowl.

Just, uh...felt the need to mention that.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Video Treats: Some people have too much time on their hands.

I will fully and unabashedly admit that I loved the trainwreck that was "Being Bobby Brown". What I especially loved was the scene when Bobby and the family are shopping, Bobby's being annoying, and Whitney, shakin her big ol' afro wig, states, "I'm not doin' this with him...todaaaaaaaay!" It's my favorite quote and I use it all the time, only no one ever gets it because they didn't love the show like I did.

But I found a video that starts off with it, so now you'll finally get it and thus, laugh appropriately when I mimic it. However, you maybe don't have to watch the whole video, mainly because it reminds one that some people out there don't have people who will flip them a quarter and tell them to go buy a life.

Monday, May 12, 2008

On the wings of Alex P. Keaton.

So John Mayer is taking his look in a different direction. And after looking at this picture -

...I realized that a guy I'd dated for months looks exactly like early-esque Alex P. Keaton.

Still trying to figure out how I feel about that...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Weekend Video Treats: Happy Birthday, Old Man Loomer!

Weekend Video Treats: Non-Hipster Cred.

A one Mr. O'Brien sent me this. I passed (because, amongst other reasons, the Volkswagon commercial made the song for me - the song being "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake - and I'm not ashamed to admit it). You should take this test, too. Don't be shy...I will still be friends with you even if you don't pass, mainly because I'm a giver. Except if you leave my party to go home and change your jeans...then we will never be friends, ever, because that shit is just ridiculous and I can't have dumb friends.

And just to make it an official Weekend Video Treat, here's the commercial I'm talking about:

Weekend Video Treats: I gotta git me one of these.

From Taylor:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

WTF, Blogger?!?!

There's a rating system now?!

What if I don't want to be rated? What if I don't care if people love or hate the posts? What if I live my life and write my blog however the frick-frack I want, and everyone else can just suck it?

Where's the rating for that, huh?! "I loved it, but Amber is so badass she doesn't give a shit."?!


Today you talked about wanting to try the new chicken bacon sandwiches from Burger King. I pretended to read my gossip magazine, feeling, once more, as if I were eavesdropping on your conversation against my will. “I would go with you to Burger King, I would eat chicken bacon sandwiches with you, that would be the best date ever.” I stared at a picture of Heidi Montag as I thought about how there are so many things on that list: Things we have in common, things that are alike about us. Little things, like movies we both like, things we think about the people we know, songs we listen to, dumb places we want to go. Big things that build character, shape views, and create lessons. Things I really only want to do with you, things I wish I could tell you, things about you that I’m constantly logging into my brain without even really wanting to do so. It’s a long list. You don’t know about it.

We used to be friends. I would seek you out, tell my other friends about the hilarious thing you said or did, made sure you were on the invite list of ventures our mutual friends took up. I wanted you around. You grew your hair out, started wearing different shoes. I started questioning my motives. They spilled out of my mouth one night after I had eventually slipped from the arm of the couch and into your lap. I didn’t get what I wanted from Spin the Bottle. I made up for it when the ball dropped. We paused and stared at each other in between. Three kisses each, mouths closed, eyes open.

You have negative preconceived notions of me. When we were in the dark and our lips parted, you told me you were surprised by how softly I kissed. That you hadn’t pegged me for a “cuddler”. This was after I had fallen asleep, my head resting on your shoulder, as we sat on your couch and watched a movie. I can’t remember the last time I did that...years, probably. You don’t know that about me, that I don’t do those things with very many people, hardly anyone. “I have negative preconceived notions about you,” you had said. I laid there, staring at you and thinking about your reasons, then quietly told you I wasn’t surprised. I couldn’t think of a defense, of a right way to run down the list in that moment. All I could imagine was me stuttering and stammering, saying, “But, but...I fell asleep with my head on your shoulder. Don’t you see?”

I am the girl you make fun of because I love what you call “sad sap music”. The one who gets into trouble because I like to write and leave Wham! lyrics on conference room dry-erase boards. The girl who stayed on the phone with you for two hours even though I was out with friends because you needed to talk to someone, sought advice. The girl who drove across the city at nine at night at the drop of a text to help you write a paper. The one who is so cut when you make a snide remark towards me, but who quickly tries to cover it up by tossing one right back at you. Those things should count. They don’t.

We would have to make an effort to get to know each other better, we agreed. Away from the people we knew and the places we usually were. I found this thing, this event, that I thought would be really great. I read about it and you were the first person I thought of, the one person I knew I wanted to go with. I bought two tickets. It took me a month to work up the courage to ask you. You declined. "We'll have to make up for it another time," you had stated. I drove home, turning over your words in my head. Your big reason: Events needed to be orchestrated to disprove theories. "But I don't get that chance." I thought, as I changed the position of my hands on the steering wheel, preparing for the curve.

I ended up not going. There wasn’t anyone else I wanted to go with. That same night I went out with friends and was asked out on dates by three different people. All I remember was thinking, “Three people have asked me out tonight, and the only person I want to go out with isn’t asking.” I never thought I would be here again. Promised myself I wouldn’t. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The very things you don’t like about me are the battlements I’ve built - purposefully or unconsciously - to save myself from people like you. People whom I will fall for but who won’t tip me back up to standing. And it’s been pretty easy so far...but with you, for some reason, this dumb heart just won’t behave.

“I thought you were different.” That same line, memorized from an episode of “The Wonder Years” and spoken by a girl who always wore three braids in her hair (because you never knew when you would need an extra rubber band), floats through my head every time I think about you. When I’m right in front of you, when I’m driving home, when I’m laying in bed, awake and thinking about you. I thought you were different.

“He’s not worth it,” my friends will say. I nod my head, look away, and think, “But he is, though. He’s thoughtful and honest, smart and funny, sweet and kind. Just not anymore, just not to me.” You don’t talk to me anymore. Not even a little bit, not even to say hi. And I don’t know what I did. It’s so high school, I tell my friends in my driest tones, rolling my eyes. What I don’t tell them is that even the same thoughts come back: Maybe I’m just not pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough, sweet enough. Maybe I really am just that awful of a person to you. One without any feelings, probably. That way, when you stomp all over them, it doesn’t hurt a thing.

So I follow suit: I only say hi to you on my most confident and/or stubborn of days, because I’m never sure if you’ll think I’m worth a return of that simple syllable. Mostly though, I just sit and pretend to read while I listen to you talk. Purposefully silent and speechless, too scared to join in for fear that I’ll say something stupid around you, to you, and you’ll react in a way that will make my face flush with embarrassment, my chest hurt, and my eyes ache. You make me want to cry, mostly, whether you do or do not talk to me. I can’t remember the last time someone made me feel that way. Years, probably.

I know it’s fine and that it’s probably for the best that nothing turned out. “Different temperaments,” I’ll probably say, later, if there’s ever cause to talk or think about it. I just wish it didn’t make me feel so small, now.


Oliver, one of the finest gentleman in Minneapolis, created this for Jason.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

He used to be such a sweet, innocent kid...

So one of my BFF's from North Park University, Richie -

and I found each other on Facebook. Richie was one of my favorite guy friends - funny, dorky, totally cute and sweet. So I was pretty curious as to what he'd been up to. And then I found this -


Monday, May 05, 2008

Gossip Girl: My thoughts on tonight's show.

Guess who was frick-frackin' right about there being a sex tape from Serena's past?! ME! AND, guess who was ALSO right about her younger brother being the character who turns out to be gay?!? MEEEEEEE!


Yeah. Come and get a piece. Cause this shit tastes good.

So good.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Weekend Video Treats: If I haven't seen it yet and you have, it's your own fault.

I've been drinking PBR since I was 5, so it really tans my hide when people accuse me of being a hipster for drinking it. I'm not hip, just poor. Also, it tastes good. The history of how PBR became the hipster drink of choice is an interesting one and all, but seriously. Not everyone cares.

And on that note -

It's funny 'cause it's true:

Thursday, May 01, 2008

desperate times.

There is a dream that comes on a more regular basis than I would like. I am a following spectator, watching myself as I am running through the brightly lit floor of a hospital that I seem to know well. My pace at first appears to be in slow speeds up to real time right before I turn a corner and am propelled into a dim, windowless hospital room. Then I am still, standing with my back stick-straight and my arms stuck at my sides, staring silently at three empty beds, the white hospital sheets pulled taunt, the edges crisp and folded down. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see everyone else I know and love standing just outside the door, all physically unable to cross the threshold. All they are able to do is watch, as I stare in shock at the three beds, wondering what to do, now.


It was desperate times. Those long dark months were the only time I ever felt in real danger of becoming an alcoholic...when the only relief I could seem to find was in the form of hazy liquid inside a shot glass. I would hold steady throughout the day until the sun finally fell, then find myself pulling up to the varnished slab of dark oak inside the bar just a mile down the gravel road, the one I worked at some evenings and on the occasional weekend. I would drink to a certain point: Not too much that I couldn't safely drive home, but just enough to loosen the tenacity. In those perfect points, the steely voice that cautioned against tears would slink back and wait patiently for me to quickly and privately cry it out as I steered my car towards home. Then it would resume its post, ready to stand guard for another day.

Nothing works out. This is what I would think, as I thoughtfully studied the cylinder full of dark brown liquid held between my thumb and forefinger. The warmth of it as it slid down my throat made me cringe, always. I had never really been a shot girl before then. I hadn't even really been a drinker: A couple of bottles on a Friday or Saturday night had always been enough. Now, it seemed, I couldn't get the beer down fast enough. I still made a point, though, of appearances...careful to throw off a generous amount of smiles and easy laughter so that always, at the end of the night, I could congratulate myself for not giving away that I was worse than I seemed.

One night it broke before I was ready. I was tending to a full bar, and someone had cued up "Picture" by Kid Rock on the jukebox. I have always hated that song. Even back then it was cheesy...but the worst was that, now, there were a few lines in it that had started to kill me. Feeling mismatched and somber in the midst of the revelry, I snatched up the bin full of empty beer bottles kept behind the bar and carried it out to the back lot.

It was early October, and the night sky was clear and crisp with bright rural stars. I dropped the bin to my feet so I could study it out. In my younger years, whenever I had felt a little lost or out of bounds, I would go out into the night and stare had made me feel close to God, then. "I wish and wish and wish...I wish he was still here...I wish he had loved me more...I wish he would get better. " Three separate wishes for three separate boys. Plucking a bottle from the bin, I threw it, hard, up against the light post that flanked the corner of the back lot. “I’m losing everything,” I remember thinking, as I stood and watched the brown glass smash against the wood, then scatter across the black tar. I pivoted from the scene, yanked the door open and stalked back inside. “And I don’t know why.”

Hansel was gone, little more than a year. I was so tired of trying to figure out, every single day, another way to be alive without him. Then Lucas appeared, like bright and shiny luck. Being with him felt like a soapy golden bubble of a time warp: I felt normal, I was in love, I was really happy. I was really happy. But then his misery came and took him away, and now I had that damn song, "Picture", to warble along to on my nightly drive home, my voice pathetic and breaking. I was so heartbroken.

And might sound odd to some people that a twenty-something could be best friends with a six year old, but there it is. There was this one day, when we were playing what we called “tickle wars”, on the couch in his house: He had dissolved into giggles and finally just laid down on my lap, his breath quick and fast from laughing so hard.
“Oh, Munchkin,” I told him as I gave him a little squeeze. “You rip my heart right out.”
“No, Amber!” he exclaimed as he quickly sat up and cupped my cheeks with his chubby little hands. “I’m not gonna rip your heart out! You have to stay alive so you can play with me.”

Months later I would remember his words and repeat them to him. “You have to get better, Munchkin,” I whispered, smoothing his hair back with my hand as he slept, his breath slow and burdened, heavy on his tiny little lungs. “You have to stay alive so you can play with me.” He had gotten sick. First it was just a sore throat...then it turned into a fever that wouldn’t break, wouldn’t go away. All of a sudden, it seemed, he was in the hospital with what they said, at first, was pneumonia. “Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.” I mouthed the words silently to myself as I sat on the winding stairs of my apartment, weeping, as I listened to his dad tell me about it over the phone. It didn’t make sense. He had a sore throat. He was only six. I hung up the phone, washed my face, and packed my bags for the trip down to the Minneapolis Children's Hospital. And so it began.


It’s the quiet panic that I remember most. That, and my black peacoat flapping in the wind as I rushed through a concrete hospital parking lot, sucking down tears and winter air. Coming home every night was like swimming though the hours...just this zombie-like walk through my life, motions to keep everything under control without forcing too much thought about it.

“How do you feel?” That was the question, more or less, at the time. It came from everyone. I would stare out the window at the rain, the snow, the sun, my knees up to my chest, taking time to answer. “It doesn’t matter,” I would reply. It didn’t. And that’s how I felt about it, about all of it. “It doesn’t matter, because I’m not the one with cancer. I’m not the one who died, I’m not the one who has depression...” I would have given my bones to have saved them, any one of them, to have stopped any of this from happening...but I wasn’t able to, so it didn’t matter how I felt. All of these constipated tears...I couldn’t cry, because I couldn’t complain too much, because I wasn’t really the one who was going through all of this. I was just scenery, the supporting player. So my feelings just didn’t really matter. I had to be there, I had to help, so there was no talking about it, about any of it. Besides, I told myself, no one really wants to hear the whole truth about how you’re doing. They want to hear about how well you’re coping, how things are hard but you’re tough. What everyone wants is the feel-good story of heart-warming strength and resilience. I was supposed to open a bake shop and take in some orphans...not admit that, deep down, I was screaming.

So I just didn’t talk about it. I could recount to you the handful of times that I broke down on the phone to friends or family, but I have to also tell you that it took a lot of wheedling. “It doesn’t hurt me,” I would try to convey, usually, with so many words. It was the mundane that broke it out of me. I would come home, close the door to my loft, hang up my coat. Something about that closed wooden door and the act of smoothing out that thick woolen fabric...and I would find myself with my face buried into it, sobbing, my hands clutching at the cloth, wishing it were a body, thanking god that no one could see me like this. Like I was safe. There is this sound that will never escape me, that I will always recognize...the sound of losing, of crying so deep that there are no words to describe that type of anguish, of being pulled totally asunder.

I don’t know how I made it here. Sheer force of will, I guess. Not the best route to take, though, so I wouldn’t recommend it for your Hallmark movie. You spend half a year purposefully ignoring these things and they will end up coming back like a dark sky during summer. Even now, it will catch me and I will feel exhausted and quiet from it, from time to time. And I still don't talk about it much. Won’t. I will find myself in conversations with those close to me and, if the timeline comes up, inevitably their breaths will be sucked in, a glance will come my way, and the subject will be swiftly changed. And that is the worst thing, I think. "It was just so hard, to see you and know how badly you were hurting, but also knowing that there was nothing any of us could do to make it better..." Katy told to me once, during the long dark summer, when - against my every best effort - it became apparent to everyone that I wasn’t fine, that I hadn’t made it out okay. And my first immediate thought after that was - is - oh god...I'm so sorry you had to feel that way, I'm so sorry that made you sad, too. It makes me wonder what it must have been like, for them, as they watched the avalanche fall. I wish that it hadn't hurt them, too. I wish I could have done it more on my own, away from them so they didn't have to watch.

Hometown Pride.

Listening To: Running Up That Hill by Placebo

Thanks to a posting on MNspeak and Minneapolis Metblogs, I recently became aware that a family from my hometown, Red Wing, has won the Minnesota Mullet contest twice.

But, they're hockey players, and the magazine that puts on the contest is Hockey Moms Magazine And in Red Wing, rare is a hockey player who doesn't sport what we like to call "hockey hair".

I'm not defending it. I'm just sayin'.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Other Smooth Stylings

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...