Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Becoming A Dog Mom

I'm taking a quick moment to gush.

I never knew I could be so in love with an animal outside of my species, but I have fallen madly in love. Eddie McDragon has quickly become one of my best friends.  It was love at first sight when we picked him up from our local Humane Society. In a room full of wildly barking dogs, Eddie was calmly staring at me, and walked forward to lick my hand. We didn't need to look any further. I knew which dog was ours.  June 7th, we adopted a dog with a wiry tail and a significant underbite. We adopted a dog that already knows how to sit, stay, and fetch. He is house and crate trained.

I can be having the worst day in the world, and all it takes is one look at that little scoundrel and I'm melting. I'm grateful that I spend time outsie with Eddie, because finding time outdoors has always been a problem in my adult life. We take wonderful walks that make me happy, and not just because of the Vitamin D, but because I know I'm being a good dog parent. He really makes me slow down and appreciate the small things. Afterall, don't you wish being outside always made you smile like this?

I have become the type of person that is constantly taking pictures of their dog. My iPhone has over fifty pictures of him stored in its memory. I may seem obsessed, but this little guy has really brought Ben and I even closer together. More than ever before, we feel like a family.

He gives us so much, and asks for so little. I'm so grateful to have this little fur ball join our wonderful family.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


This post is a tad late, but I have to share with the world my two cents about Aesop Rock's new solo album Skelethon. This is Aesop's first solo album since 2007, and I was worried that it wouldn't live up to my grandiose expectations. Let's be honest here, the man's musical stylings are so important to me that I used them to vet prospective partners..."Ben, this is a test. If you don't like this music, we may have a problem." Three years later, Ben loves Aesop as much as I do.

Anyway, Skelethon.

Skelethon was worth the wait. Every song is a treat for my ears. I am choosing a song off of the album each day and listening to it on repeat for the entire day (that sort of thing is possible with Aesop because his songs are so nuanced that you NEVER get bored). In the past year Aesop lost a best friend and went through a divorce, so some of the songs are so raw that it brings tears to my eyes. For instance, on the track "Gopher Guts" he admits that he has been "completely unable to maintain any semblance of relationship on any level, I have been a bastard to the people who have actively attempted to deliver me from peril." Yeah, that's not what most people would expect from a hip-hop guy. On the same track you also don't expect a heavily bearded man who loves skateboarding to talk about letting go of relationships while complimenting the person with, " you will grow to be something essential and electric, you are healthy, you are special, you are present." The song literally makes me feel like things are stirring in the bottom of my rib cage. It is so beautiful that I can hardly take it.

Then there's "Grace."

"Grace" is some seriously funny shit. It's all about Aesop (Ian) as a child who hates green beans. He's stuck at the table being told to eat his vegetables while all of the neighborhood kids are out, he imagines, riding dirt bikes and skateboards. I laugh outloud every time he impersonates his father screaming, "this ends now eat the god damn beans!" My meager words can't convey just how awesome this song really is.

The entire album is brimming with tongue twisters, obscure references, obvious references, and amazing beats. It has been five years of waiting, but Aesop Rock has done it again.

Oh yeah, he also peformed these new gems in SLC on Monday night. Was I  there you ask? Of course! And it was magical.

Sorry for the poor quality photo, just know that it was fantastic.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I just want to share my latest snack obsession with everyone. Try some, and you'll be hooked!  Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm Not Stuck

Here I am, a graduate. I'm officially a University of Utah Alumni. I worked my ass off, and I'm here.  Where is "here" exactly? It's $25,000 in debt, at the same dead end job, applying for jobs within the state bureaucracy. Applying for jobs that pay thirteen dollars an hour, and get this, those jobs REQUIRE a Bachelors degree.  "Here" has turned into a weird funk that I am clamoring to get out of, because I suddenly have all of this time on my hands, but all I want to do is sleep.  Basically, I'm on the precipice of (or I've fallen in and I'm in denial) of depression.

"We" are supposed to go to college. We are told from a young age that we must go to college to succeed. Education drives the economy; education bulks up a resume. "They" don't tell you that the job market might be in the weeds by the time you graduate.

For the past two months I have been having an all out, full-on, fucking panic attack. What am I going to do? 

The first major hurdle to clear was admission to a graduate program, and guess what? I have been accepted to the program of my choice! I have been accepted to Westminster College's Master of Arts in Community Leadership program. I start in January 2013, and will graduate in two years.

After finding out about the MACL program, things have started to look a tad different. I am still applying for jobs, but I am currently employed, and I make enough money to pay the bills (and then some). I'm an alumni, a first generation college student with two Bachelors degrees. I have loads of volunteer and professional experience. I went to college and made friends. I went to college and learned to interact with people from all walks of life. I will earn a Masters degree, which is pretty damn cool if you ask me.  Most importantly: I am not stuck. I am happy, healthy, and I am loved. I am far from stuck.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm Back!

Well, well, has been a really long time since I documented the things that are going on in life, but I'm going to share a few bits and try (again) to become more regular!

We moved. We now live in Murray in a two bedroom apartment with 1.5 bathrooms! We are loving the new place and all of the space:

This is a random picture of our leasing office online.
I graduated from the University of Utah. It's official, I'm an alumni with a Bachelor of Science in gender studies and political science:
Marcie and Hailey, two of my favorite feminist friends and fellow graduates.

My vantage point during the ceremony.
My little brother graduated from high school. I am so proud that Braeden walked with his class:

We adopted the sweetest little scoundrel of a dog! Eddie McDragon is the newest addition to our family. He is a Jack Russel Terrier/Chihuahua mix with a wicked underbite and a big personality:

Life has been good to us recently, with a lot of positive changes!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Little One Turns Eighteen

Most of you know that I have a "little" brother who I love more than anyone in the world.  What you may not know is that I seriously get sick thinking about having children, because I can't imagine loving another human being more than him.  I don't think my heart has the capacity for another person of such import.

I still remember the day he was born, albeit vaguely, but I remember. 

I was six years old and we were in a gas station bathroom when my mom's water broke.  She started screaming, and a very confused Chelsea ran to the car to get dad.  I couldn't figure out why my mom had just peed her pants when there was a toilet right there.  Little did I know what would come next.

I don't remember much else from the day, but I vividly remember that part.  

I do remember the time that I tried to smother Braeden in my bedroom.  I wish I was kidding, but thankfully my mom walked in as I was hovering over a two year-old Brae with my pillow in hand.  I remember swimming with him in the Shangri-La apartment that my grandmother lived in for most of my childhood.  We would play "taxi cab" and he would grab my neck as I doggy paddled around the pool making car noises.  The taxi game always gave way to "fireworks," where I would throw him into the air and he would flail his arms mimicking explosions in the sky.

I remember sharing a room with Braeden until I was fourteen.  We slept with our beds pushed together, in a room plastered with Nsync posters that surrounded one huge Jar Jar Binks poster and another of the wrestler Goldberg.  I remember walking him to school.  I remember volunteering in his classroom when I was in junior high, because I had to walk him home regardless, and I wanted something to do with the time.

I remember beating him up a little bit, and his retaliation as he grew older.  I have spent some time in our bathroom with the door locked as an enraged little brother pounded with a steak knife.  I remember teaching him how to shoot a basketball, and I remember the little guy that swore he would make it to the NBA.

I don't possess the vocabulary capable of describing how much my brother means to me.  Every time I get a fever, I end up breaking into hysterics crying about, "What if Braeden dies?!"  

Braeden and I started at Absolute MMA together while I was living back at home after a failed relationship.  For the first year I drove him to and from the gym.  Those car rides are not too far into the past, but sometimes I miss them.  Those rides made me learn to love the band Rise Against, and they made it so Braeden can now sing the Dixie Chicks "Cold Day in July" word for word.  Braeden learned to drive with me on the way to the gym.  The joke was, "You are so close to the median you can give the passing cars 'knuckles' as they pass."  The result of that statement is a paranoid new driver having his sister continually say "knucks" whenever he crowded the other lane.  The importance of our gym time, including the commute to and fro, can't be overstated.

This post is a little late, his birthday was on the 20th.  For his special day I cooked him dinner, we went to the movies and Cold Stone, and then I stood in Gets Some Guns N' Ammo for an hour while Braeden and Ben asked the clerk questions about guns.  We have come a long way from the days when I "made" him ketchup and toast for breakfast.  The young man growing before my eyes now requests asparagus and Italian chicken with a tomato, caper, and basil sauce.  

The young man I consider my best friend is graduating from high school, starting college, interning at the Sandy City Police Department, fighting on March 3rd, and continually making me proud.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Blue Belt

It's about to get real braggy up in here.

Last Saturday I received my blue belt in Behring Jiu Jitsu, which is a big fat deal.  You see, jits hurts.  It hurts a lot.  It takes most people at least three months just to learn how to breathe instead of hyperventilate (you can always spot the newbs, because they grunt and get kind of purple when they aren't being choked).  It is bone on bone contact. Your body has to harden.  Skin gets pinched, you take unintended knees and elbows to all different parts of the body, and you learn really quick that rolling around in a gi is like wearing a sauna suit.  It is rough stuff for a while, but it does get better.

I never thought it would, but jiu jitsu did get better.  Apparently, my coaches think that I am better as well.

In the sport everyone starts with a white belt.  After the white belt the rankings go like this: blue, purple, brown, black (there are some variations on the black belt that eventually lead to red, but that takes an eternity and I don't feel qualified to explain the process).  I have trained for two and a half years, that is why it is a big deal.  The amount of people that actually make it to the first belt is small, and the amount of people that stick around after that is even smaller still.  I reached the first milestone.  My coaches think that I have enough skills and have put in enough time to be a blue belt.  It feels really good.

Grand Master Flavio Behring tied my belt on.  The belt that he tied on is custom with "Chillpack" embroidered on it.  Ben couldn't make the seminar and he had the belt made as a surprise.  I almost cried when I saw it.  After the belts were awarded (some of my very deserving teammates were also promoted to blue belts), Pedro gave me a photocopy of a handwritten letter from Ben to read in private at the front of the gym.  I didn't almost cry at this point.  I cried.

After I wiped my eyes and walked back onto the mat of sixty-five or more athletes, the Gauntlet ensued.  The Gauntlet is the rite of passage that requiress you walk through the middle of your teammates who hold the same rank or above.  Those teammates take off their belts, fold them in half (or if you're a real asshole, as many times as possible), and they flagellate you.  Yup, they whip you as you walk through.  I personally don't understand this part of the ritual.  I don't see the point and I can't help but feel repelled by this weird hazing ordeal, but it felt great afterwards.  The rush was truly unparalleled.

On the journey to this first belt I have learned a lot more than basic bjj.  These are the things I feel jiu jitsu has taught me:

1.) One thing at a time.  Don't become overwhelmed by the entirety of any given situation, just focus on the immediate threat.  If you can survive the first onslaught of anything, you have a chance to survive to the end.

2.)  Small victories.  Sure, maybe you don't choke someone every round, but learn to define your success in alternate ways.  Many rounds are chalked up as successful when I get to the top once or I don't get submitted.  Life and jiu jitsu are hard, and sometimes the reason we fail is because of our definitions of success.

3.) I am strong.  I am physically and mentally strong.  I can grapple with big, strong, skilled fighters and hold my own, because my body is more powerful than I ever could have dreamed. I was so terrified to start the sport, because of a fear of having my neck touched that I literally had to be tricked into it. Now, that mental barrier, that weakness, has given me a wicked choke defense.  I guess 3a.)your weaknesses can be transformed into strengths if you try hard enough.

I have learned so much, but so little.  I have a long way to go, but for the first time since I started I have finally realized that I am part of the way there.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Best Part of Being an Adult No.2

One of the best parts of being an adult, you ask?  One of the best parts of being an adult is owning (almost) a car.  Sure, I have a car payment (thus, the previous "almost"), car insurance, car maintenance and gas to pay for...but, I get to leave places I don't want to be.  I also get to drive to the places I would like to visit, jam to great songs, listen to NPR, and have some occasional sex in my very own car.
I have anthropomorphized my car to an almost unhealthy extent.  His name is Warren Sapp.  He looks like a football helmet, which is why I named him after a football player, and when rocks hit "him" I say "ow," because I instinctively think it hurt his "face."  I'm a little weird sometimes, deal with it.  My little Toyota Yaris sedan can park anywhere, gets between thirty-four and forty miles per gallon, and is cute as hell.  The payments and gas are worth it.

Having a car is a really great part about being a very fortunate adult.  Afterall, Saudi women aren't even allowed to drive, because if they start to drive the country will lose all of its virgins (wtf?, who knows? read about the claim here).

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I wanted to post this incredibly awesome photo of our New Year's Eve celebration.  I couldn't have spent the night with better people.  Personally, I think our 90s attire was 2 Legit 2 Quit.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Two Months

It has been almost two months since I have updated this damn thing, and quite a bit has happened during that time.  I finished a semester of school and made major goal changes for graduate school.  Law school is a dream of the past and now I'm looking at the Master of Public Administration program at the U. I'm excited an nervous to graduate in May.  My goals are within reach and plans must be made for the future, which is both exhilirating and exhausting.

I made a wreath for Christmas and we celebrated the holiday with new decorations for the house and gifts aplenty.  I don't think I will ever attempt to make something decorative again, it was a long process and I've decided that I'd much rather pay someone to do that stuff for me.

My parents bought us a 55" LCD HDTV, Ben bought me a Nook Tablet (which I adore), and I snagged Ben some goodies like a new iPod.  We went to a 90s themed New Year's Eve party and had a blast.  Basically, the holidays were good to me and Ben.

In the past two months I have acquired some recommendations: "The Visible Man" by Chuck Klosterman is worth a read; Kimya Dawson's new album "Thunder Thighs" is worth a listen, and the new Sherlock Holmes movie is worth a view.

Currently I'm gearing up for a fifteen credit hour semester and I'm working on putting together a six week, ladies self-defense seminar with my coach.  He has graciously offered his time free of charge, so I'm making arrangements to get everything done.  More on that when I have details.  I need all of the participants I can find to insure a good turnout.  Ben leaves for Hawaii on Monday and he should be back within a month.  He's not looking forward to leaving, but he is excited for the money it will bring.  Basically, life is good right now.  Things are moving like they should and I'm happy.  I hope all of my friends had a great holiday season and I wish everyone a wonderful year to come.  I'm going to try to become more regular with my posting again, but we'll see.