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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Pizza

because pizza is happiness, obviously

Where are these Donald Trump Supporters…?

I ask this because I’m not sure I’ve met a single one of these apparently abundant specimen. Every time the infamous Trump comes up in discussion (whether that be in class, with friends, or at a family dinner), people (myself included) lament the sad state of the presidential race and the Republican Party. So either these supporters are magical creatures who only appear during polling and primaries, or people I know are lying to my face. I mean, statistically, of the hundred or so people whose opinions I’ve heard, about 37 of them should support him over any other Republican candidate… right?

As Sherlock Holmes states, “Once you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” (Why, yes – my Elementary binge watching has taken over my life recently; why do you ask?). So, the magical creature scenario is out the window and I’m left with the conclusion that people must be lying.

This frustrates me for two reasons: first, if you’re willing to put the man in charge of The United States, but you’re not willing to tell your friends, family members, and classmates, should you really be voting for him?  and second, if the man somehow, no matter how inconceivable it is to us more moderate factions of the Republican Party and the entirety of the Democratic Party, makes it to the Presidency we’re going to need to know which of our friends and family members to blame for the foreign policy catastrophes that are nearly certain to ensue.

Below is a screenshot of the polling for the Republican Party. When Trump announced his candidacy, I think the majority of us thought it was a joke. But within a few weeks, his numbers were soaring above everyone else. My professors kept assuring us that there was no way he would make it until Christmas. Then they assured us that as soon as the actual primaries started, we’d see the real numbers. Now they’re getting nervous because it looks  like there’s a chance he’s the nominee for the Republican Party (unless they find someway to get him to run as a third party and then the whole thing will be behind us because a third party candidate hasn’t won since 1860 and I hardly think Trump is anything like Abraham Lincoln and he certainly cannot pull the nation together in the same way). Even if he is the nominee though, there’s no way he can win the general election.

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In other words, I’m saying we moderates shouldn’t be too nervous. The likelihood of Trump for president is next to null. Below are the numbers for both a Trump v. Clinton general election and a Trump v. Sanders general election (and since the polls have proved so devastatingly accurate in the primaries, I assume they’ll continue to shine in the general election). I mean, what’s really fascinating is that even at a 95% confidence interval, there is literally no overlap in either prediction.

In case the numbers aren’t clear enough, I’ll include this tidbit: HARDCORE REPUBLICANS, IF YOU DON’T WANT ANOTHER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT, DO NOT VOTE FOR TRUMP IN THE PRIMARY ELECTIONS. IF YOU VOTE FOR TRUMP, HE WILL LOSE. AND YOU WILL HAVE AT LEAST FOUR YEARS WHERE YOU ARE MALCONTENT. AND US MODERATES WILL BE MAD AT YOU FOR SUCH A RECKLESS AND IRRESPONSIBLE DECISION AND MAY DECIDE TO PUNISH YOU IN FORTHCOMING ELECTIONS BECAUSE WE ARE ALL-POWERFUL IN THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM.

Meanwhile, I’ll be over here deliberating between voting for Bush or Clinton, two fairly moderate candidates who do not hate women or minorities and who have executive experience, which is vitally important for the ultimate executive position.

If you’re interested, I pulled these charts from http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster – they have even more that are consistently updated and you can really impress your co-workers and family members by spewing off numbers, as I’m sure you’re impressed by this blog post.

Probably my favorite chart is this one concerning congressional approval (the red line is disapproval, in case you were confused – that’s right. We 71.8% disapprove of Congress and yet we always vote back in our incumbents, because that’s logical):

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But that’s for another soapbox on another day 😉

 

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We Got a Dog

For those of you who don’t know me intimately, this fact is actually quite shocking. I spent a good portion of the formative years of my life being terrified of each and every dog I encountered, to the extreme point that I wouldn’t go to a house with a dog in it, or I would request that the dog be put away. I hated going to a house I’d never been to before because I was anxious about whether or not they owned a dog. Despite all this, we adopted a dog of our very own last week!

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On the day we adopted Charles!

Andrew and I had talked about getting a dog for a while for the companionship, but we kept putting it off because it just didn’t seem convenient: we’re moving soon, we’re still in school, and the rent gets more expensive if you have a pet, plus, you know, the extra responsibility of caring for another life seemed extra overwhelming. Last Thursday, Andrew told me to put my shoes on because we were going to The Humane Society tolook atthe dogs (I’ve been told repeatedly since by multiple people that you can’t go and expect not to adopt one).

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Charles loves hanging out in the sun!

We were walking around the dog section and looking at them and then, at the very last kennel, was this perfect little Chihuahua Terrier who was staring up at us calmly. No barking, no jumping, just patiently waiting for us to pet him. We fell in love and before we knew it, we were taking him home and calling him Charles the Chihuahua (because isn’t that freaking adorable??). Later I added Sherlock Fitzgerald to the back end of the name, because I’m pretentious. Andrew wrote on his kennel 221B and we named his toy Watson to fit along with the Sherlock theme.

 

He fit right in to our little apartment, curled up in between us while we watched Netflix. He loves army crawling on the carpet to us and then rolling over on his back so we’ll finish scratching his belly. He falls asleep if he’s cuddled. He doesn’t bark, he loves attention, and he’s a huge goofball, but only if he thinks no one is watching him. He will pat your hand with his paw repeatedly until you pet him.

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Snuggles with Andrew!

It’s been an adventure so far! He’s already run away once (I’ve never run around my neighborhood in my pajamas crying before, and I hope I never will again), he has a crazy sleeping schedule (up every night at about 4), but he gives some of the best snuggles and sweetest little pats.

Finals Week Survival Guide

Finals week is quickly approaching and the panic of unpreparedness is setting in. I thought I’d share my insights into how to survive finals week, because as seen from the picture above (circa finals week Fall 2014), I’m a seasoned professional. I’ll refer back to this picture for specific tips and tricks on surviving the most stressful weeks of the semester.

You’ll notice on my nightstand two items of importance. First, the box of tissues. Carry tissues with you at all times, every where. This is important for two reasons. One, with all the stress and lack of sleep, you’re far more likely to catch a cold and you don’t want to be the annoying kid during a test that can’t stop sniffing and is unprepared for such a tragedy. Two, if you’re not the chronic-sniffer, there’s going to be at least one in your class during the test. Chances are, they’re going to choose to sit right behind you and then sniff loudly every three seconds and you won’t be able to FREAKING CONCENTRATE ON THE TEST THAT IS 50% OF YOUR GRADE. Politely pull out your tissues (because you’re always prepared) and offer one to them kindly. If they refuse, insist. A lot. Repeatedly. Because you deserve to be able to focus on your test.

Second, there’s the bottle NyQuil. NyQuil can be your best friend. It will help you when that inevitable stress cold sets in. It will also help you be able to fall asleep easier without having waking nightmares about getting the time of one of your finals wrong, or forgetting about a paper, or if the professor includes that thing that you didn’t think was important enough to study.

Beside my bed is a garbage can, making it possible to never leave my bed. There is also a can of cashews on top of my bed. You can eat, study, and sleep without even having to get out of bed, if you play your cards right. This maximizes potential study time by ensuring you don’t have to waste time and energy on silly things like nutrition and exercise.

You may notice my frumpy, frizzy ponytail. This is status quo. Don’t even try to do your hair. It’s not worth it. You’ll already have a lack of sleep from cramming late at night, or pulling an all-nighter to finish that 10 page research paper, so why would you punish yourself by getting up 30 minutes early to perfect your hair? Give into the laziness and get that extra sleep. You’ll thank yourself later (unless your boyfriend takes a picture or you walk by a mirror).

You may also notice that I’m wearing a too-small Disney sweater from high school. I typically don’t do laundry in the final weeks of the semester. I have enough on my plate, why should hygiene and fashion be first and foremost? Plus, laundry is time-consuming, especially if you don’t have the machines in your apartment. So, I opt for old sweaters.

My sweats are also from high school (the years 2012-2013 are actually clearly written out beside ‘Xela,’ by my sweats are askew, so you can’t see that). Wear sweats all day, everyday. Pajamas are permissible, too. Again, why bother with fashion when you’ve got study groups going into the late night? Let your clothes speak for you so you don’t even have to open your mouth to say, ‘I’ve given up.’

Those are my expert (and kind of sort of but maybe not entirely sarcastic) tips.

May the odds be ever in your favor this finals week, fellow students!

Month One of Happily Ever After

So, a month ago today, this happened:

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And between wedding planning, the wedding having, and midterms (because I decided to get married in the middle of my penultimate semester) I didn’t make a single blog post – I realize this was probably devastating for the vast majority of you all.

I wanted to knock out the ‘thankful November’ social media posts and the past few months all in one go, so here are a few of the things I’m most thankful for in my new marriage.

  1. Andrew wakes up early every morning to drop me off at work because even the buses aren’t running that early in the morning.
  2. He surprises me with his fantastic cooking after really long days. That man really knows how to work a steak, lemme tell ya.
  3. Andrew tells me my burnt brownies are actually really tasty when even I can’t stand to eat them.
  4. He calmly put up with me calling him 27 times on Saturday because there was a WASP INSIDE our APARTMENT (he was stuck at the auto shop waiting for the car to be repaired, so he calmly talked me through an escape route to the local soda shop where I could wait the crisis out).
  5. He acts like he’s interested in Jane the Virgin (probably one of the most amazing TV shows ever created) and lets me explain the intricate plot line to him (with only minimal references to soap operas) and he even asks questions to prove he’s listening.
  6. Andrew waits to watch Friends until we can both watch it together.
  7. Andrew acted like it was totally fine that I played Christmas music and started putting up decorations on November 1st. He even put up Christmas lights on our porch!
  8. He got so ridiculously excited when we got our first (and only) trick-or-treater on Halloween and it made me fall even more in love with him.
  9. He supports me in my dreams and supports me in pursuit of them.
  10. And finally, Andrew snuck out of our apartment before I woke up this morning to surprise me with roses and breakfast.

Happy one month anniversary, Andrew! I’m grateful for you and for how fun you’ve made marriage so far!

The Best Age to Get Married

The best age to get married – now, stay with me here – is whenever you darn well please.

I’ve seen a lot of blog posts about ‘I married my husband at 19 and it was the best decision I ever made’ and ‘You should get married in your 30’s’ and ‘Stay single forever!’ and, I’m sorry, but I think that these are all extremely confrontational.

People get married when they meet another human and they think, “You know, I really like this one. I think there’s something special about them. I wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my life talking about coupons and bills and taxes with this person and maybe occasionally going to see a movie.” That might happen when they’re 19. It might happen when they’re 27. It might happen when they’re 34 or 46 or 58 or it might not happen at all and – this is the really important part – it doesn’t matter. Like, at all.

People are people, regardless of when or if they get married, and they deserve your respect and your support.

The Car Wash

(For my Creative Fiction Writing class – the writing prompt was to write a car wash scene in 400 words using only objective details)

Lemon citrus. The artificial freshness of the car soap tickled Eric’s nose and made him sneeze. It was an unforgiving July afternoon in Elko and the black finish of the SUV was scalding. He moved carefully to avoid pressing his skin to it. Already, sweat began gathering on his brow and he plunged his hand into the cool water, fishing for the sponge before slathering it onto the burning surface.

His elbows were burned as he reached across the roof, but he gritted his teeth and continued. The car was much taller than Eric, making it difficult for him to reach the top, so his arms strained and sweat started to cling to the gray cotton shirt he wore. He sneezed again. His elbows were turning red from the hot surface.

The windows were last, after the doors and rims. Eric scrubbed at the carcasses of bugs stuck to the windshield. He meticulously worked so that no streaks were left behind by the sponge.

In the back of the car, he picked up old makeup wipes, fast food napkins, bobby pins, and seven empty water bottles. He hesitated briefly before picking up the engagement ring wedged between the cushions of the back seat. It was an expensive ring, one massive princess cut diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds. The sunshine glinted off of it, casting a small prism on the beige back seat. Eric threw the ring in the trash bag with the old napkins.

After heaving a big sigh, he backed out of the car, stretching his back and letting the bag fall to the cracking cement of his dad’s driveway. It was even hotter in the car than it was outside and the sweat was dripping down his back. He sneezed one last time.

The front seat was much harder to clean than the back seat. An ice cream cone had been melting since the night before. It reeked. The ice cream was smeared into the passengers side carpet. There were bits of paper torn up and stuck in the gooey mess. Eric took an old rag and scrubbed at it, gritting his teeth angrily. He didn’t make much progress, but after the stickiness was mostly gone, he called it good and went inside for lemonade.

That night, it rained. He forgot to pull the car back into the garage, but he didn’t forget to fish through the garbage to find the ring.

Being a Bride-To-Be

If you know a bride-to-be, hug her ASAP. Seriously – like, go find the poor woman and hug her until right before that moment when the hug turns from ‘okay, this is nice,’ to ‘what are you doing…?’ She’ll probably appreciate the gesture briefly before reminding you that she has about a million and three things to be doing and the bakery still hasn’t called her back and she needs to remember to take off that thing from the registry because her grandma already gave one to her and she has 200 invitations left to address and holy crap she’s moving in two days and hasn’t even started packing. (I’m definitely not talking from personal experience. Oh. Wait…)

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Here I am at the moment I turned into a Bride-To-Be

Now, let me clarify: I’m so excited to get married. Andrew is great. I really adore him and I’m super thrilled at the prospect of getting to live out our long lives together and eat Wendy’s way more often than we should because he humors my addiction (clearly my priorities are in the right place: marriage and Wendy’s, amirite?). With all of the excitement comes a heaping side of stress and anxiety – all you married women probably know what I’m talking about. As soon as one thing is taken care of, another seven pop up. And of course there’s always the fretting about, you know, whether people will enjoy themselves or not, or whether they’ll come because six weeks seems like an awfully long time to remember somebody else’s wedding date.

The worst part of it all is that NO MATTER how hard you try, YOU WILL turn into a Bridezilla. It’s just a matter of time before you sink into your darker alter-ego. You’re aware of this fact the entire time you’re planning the wedding. It might be just a brief stint on the dark side. It may be that you become intimately familiar with it. I think I’m walking the fine line between ‘Oh, yeah, Mallory was a little demanding during the planning,’ and ‘She was awful. It was awful. Don’t ever get married. Don’t ever go to a wedding. Avoid all married people and all married-to-be people at all costs because she was so crazy that any committing to that must be crazy as well.’ Maybe you monopolize a specific fabric, maybe you demand your groom-to-be sits with you while you address invitations for hours and hours and hours on end, maybe you spend literally four months looking for the perfect shoes, maybe you micromanage every little detail until you drive yourself and everyone around you insane. I’m definitely not guilty of any of those things, but if any of you were, I’d probably forgive you (please extend the same courtesy to me because I actually definitely am guilty of every single one of those things).

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Andrew’s very patient with me through all of my Bridezillaness 🙂

In closing, I’d just like to remind you that brides-to-be are people, too.

And, yes, please hug me if you see me because I could probably use it.

Book Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

I’ve always been fascinated by The Jazz Age, so when I picked up this book at midnight in a bookstore in DC, I was instantly enthralled. was utterly enjoyable to read, even when the choices made by the characters were frustrating and self-destructive. I finished the book in a little over two weeks. Every time I sat down to read, I struggled to put the book down.

The novel follows Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald from when she’s 17 (and meets F. Scott Fitzgerald) through her life until the death of Scott. It embodies the tumultuous Jazz Age and the members of The Lost Generation. It’s exciting, it’s frustrating, it’s romantic, it’s filled with angst, alcohol, and affairs. It shows just how paradoxical life can be.

The genre of this novel is ‘biographical fiction,’ meaning that the author, Therese Anne Fowler, took all of the known facts about the Fitzgeralds and filled in the blanks. For example, Ms. Fowler points out that one moment Ernest Hemingway and Zelda got along just fine and then something happened (no one knows what) and they were disdainful and resentful towards each other from that time forward. Ms. Fowler puts her interpretation into the novel, given all the facts that she knows for sure and assuming that her idea may be the most plausible. To find out what she thinks caused Ernest and Zelda to hold one another in such low regard, you’ll have to read the novel yourself.

It was beautifully written, too. Ms. Fowler gave a voice to a controversial and widely-unkown woman and made Zelda seem well-rounded and completely human. A lot of the things we do know about Zelda have been manipulated over time to not show the full picture. I believe this novel, though it’s fiction, helps show how the facts may have been manipulated.

I laughed out loud sometimes, I cried towards the end. My heart ached with Zelda’s and it was overjoyed with hers, too. Zelda’s Southern drawl was also put into the novel, which I enjoyed after living in the not-so-deep South for a few months.

Five Stars. I highly recommend it. It’s entertaining and informational.

The City of Magnificent Intentions

For the past 13 weeks, I’ve lived, worked, and played in The Federal City. Today was the last day of my congressional internship. It’s been such an incredible experience. Just today, on my lunch break, I wandered around the lawn in front of the Capitol building itself, and then walked past the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. The beautiful architecture never fails to take my breath away. The historical significance leaves me in awe constantly. I learned a lot about myself and the world out here this summer.

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Here I am with Congressman Rob Bishop
  1. Humanity is incredible. There’s this sense of community that you form with everyone around you, even though you’ve never seen any of them before and you probably will never see any of them again. Whether it’s explaining the new route because of an inevitable metro outage (yet again) or a shared exasperated expression over a tourist who won’t move from the left of the escalator no matter how many time they’ve been asked or making sure the mom who got separated from her baby on the metro gets reunited or even just how everyone here will say good morning to you if you give them even just a hint of a smile. We’re all constantly acknowledging the value of each individual and for some reason, that doesn’t happen as often back home.
  2. I am resilient. I survived late night metro rides, a moldy shower for three months, daily public transportation, a cockroach infested apartment building, 6 miles of walking a day, and the most humid summer I’ve ever seen. I felt empowered being out here and like I could probably conquer just about anything back home. Or, at least, Trax.
  3. City life is not always glamorous. Coming from the suburbs of Salt Lake City, I always fancied myself a bit of a city girl. And I do love cities – for brief periods of time. Living in one isn’t always practical. The closest grocery store to me here was a mile away and I didn’t have a car and it’s miserably hot here in DC during the summer months. So, I went grocery shopping twice this summer. Twice. That’s it. Food was expensive no matter where you went, as was public transportation.
  4. On the other hand, sometimes it really is. Tall, historic buildings, fancy cars, important people all around…
  5. When I chose Political Science as my major, I chose correctly. The world of politics is even more fascinating close up. The work that Congress and the staffers put in is incredible. The system may be broken, but after seeing the behind-the-scenes for three months and observing how passionate everyone is, how much everyone cares, I would have to place the blame on the uninformed, uninterested voting pool. More specifically, the uninformed, uninterested young people in the voting pool. Apathy leads to dysfunction (think of it in the context of a relationship. If half of the relationship just really doesn’t care – or only cares every four years – how well can the relationship function? The answer is not well).
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Hanging out with F. Scott Fitzgerald at the National Portrait Gallery

I love this city. I love the energy, I love the vibrance, I love the diversity, I love how the air is constantly electric with politics, I love all of the food (there really is so much good food – it’s overwhelming).There’s so much to see and do here and I feel like after living here for three months, I finally started scratching the surface a little bit.

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Until next time, you magnificent city, you. xoxo

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