Wednesday, July 25, 2012

West Coast? Best Coast: Part 2, Where Can I Actually Find the Happiest Place on Earth?

Let's just say I didn't realize how much I loved California until I left it.
Put your stunna shades on

But anyway, our travels began in Long Beach. I had only actually SWAM in the ocean once before in my entire life (this means I had my actual bathing suit on my body and more than just my ankles got wet). With Jess and Kori, I met Cait, Alex and Obi at the beach, splashed around, saw the sunset, and were so freakin' pleased.

First night at the beach with Kori
Redondo Beach
I had booked a hotel somewhere near-ish the wedding venue, and as we were driving down the street I was having a mini anxiety attack because the hotels that we were passing were SO sketch. Luckily, the El Dorado Coast Hotel wasn't terrible, even if I did have to collect my room key from behind a plexi-glass window as if I was at the movie theater or the bank. (Why DO they have those at movie theaters anyway?) I stayed there with Hunter and Kori, and it was a blast. The three of us have taken trips together before, and it's always outrageously fun. (You should be jealous).  Saturday before the wedding we made our way BACK to Long Beach with some of Kori's friends, where we met Cait and Alex again, and even saw the elusive Ben Hogen for a minute! It is seriously so great to be on vacation but surrounded by your closest friends, especially in such a beautiful place. Sunday we tried Redondo Beach, which was even more beautiful (if that's possible). The one complaint I have about the beach is the SAND. I hate it! I'm used to rocky beaches, and for all you rocky beach haters out there, let me assure you that you never have to dig sand out of your butt after a day at the beach in Washington. Kori, Hunter and I didn't even have the luxury of a place to get the sand off that day, so we shopped and ate while our butts were like sandpaper- soooo not pleasant.
Hunty, our tour guide

Disney lovers, for the moment
After we dropped Hunter off at Long Beach Airport (which looks like it came straight out of the 1960's), Kori and I got some much needed rest and prepped to go to...DISNEYLAND!! Disneyland started out happily enough- we went to the brand spankin' new Cars Land in California Adventure and had pretty good luck getting on rides in a reasonable amount of time. But about that whole "happiest place on earth" thing? It's not that I don't love Disney, and it's not even that I don't love rides (I actually discovered that roller coasters are one of my truest loves), it's just that there are 5 bazillion people around you, it's hot, it's expensive, and waiting in lines isn't fun. The day WAS going really well however, until we had the terrible idea to meet Mickey Mouse. He has his own house in Toon Town or wherever, and the sign in from of the seemingly tiny house said the wait was 10 minutes. 10 minutes you say??
Cars Land was the best thing ever
Yes, we will wait 10 minutes for an adorable photo of ourselves with this beloved mouse. These 10 minutes turned into 70 minutes, and Mickey continued lying to us. "I'll be waiting for you in the back yard", he lies. Save yourself this nonsense and go to a character breakfast. After the Mickey mess, we went to ride Indiana Jones. And it was pretty fun. But as soon as we got out, I realized I HAD LOST MY IPHONE ON THE RIDE. At this moment, Disneyland grew dark, dementors swarmed in to give me the kiss of death, and the happiest place on earth was officially my own personal hell. Luckily I knew where it was- it was on Indiana Jones! What I didn't know is if it had been stolen, run over by those damn jeeps, or been tossed into a pile of dirt. At midnight, when the park closed, I went to check on my baby. It hadn't been found. I went home. I called back the next morning. Nothing. BUT THEN, around 9:30 AM, the dear lost and found woman (who I had cried hysterically to an hour and a half earlier) called and told me my phone had been found and was waiting for me!!!! I felt nothing but gratitude for the Disneyland maintenance man who had walked the track of the Indiana Jones ride in search of my phone. So Disneyland might not be the happiest place on earth, but at least it isn't the UNhappiest.
Jessy Poo and I at Long Beach

10 Places Happier Than Disneyland:

10. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
9. Red Robin
8. River Front Park in Spokane, Wash.
7. The Energy Solutions Arena (specifically when the Celtics are playing)
6. The Louvre
5. Adam and Jesse's wedding
4. Any beach in the world
3. Britney Spears concert
2. The airport when Elder Hansen came home from his mission
Some of my nearest and dearest
1. The Cabin when it is filled with my nearest and dearest

All in all, California was awesome! I wish I could do it all over again. <3

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

West Coast? Best Coast: Part 1, I Adore Adam and Jesse

I have just completed a month long vacation-a-thon. No, I did not have the money to do this. But I did it anyway. My story begins in California...


The handsome groomies and I, after getting really sweaty at the reception. STILL CUTE. 

 Before this, I had only been to the Golden State once. It was for my cousin's wedding when I was 15, and since my memory is really bad I barely remember it. What I do remember is my Mom FREAKING out about California drivers, California freeways, California rush hour traffic, etc. You get the idea. Since I am a woman, anxiety-free driving isn't one of my strong points. But off i went, with Kori and Jess in tow, to drive to Los Angeles for one big, huge, exciting reason: JESSE AND ADAM'S WEDDING! There were other mini reasons for going, but this was the one I was most looking forward to.

The BYU crowd who came to the wedding. Also my best friends: Ben, Hunter (best man), Alex and Cait. 

The STUNNING view from Wayfarer's Chapel, where the wedding was held.
I met Adam and Jesse through my bff Hunter, when they were roommates in the infamous Pool House. I have yet to find two people more deserving of love and happiness. These guys always made me feel loved and important and were extremely hospitable. Needless to say, I adore them. The wedding was absolutely beautiful- perfect location, perfect weather, perfect people. I was so grateful to be there, surrounded by some of my dearest friends, celebrating their marriage. Not only did I get to see Jesse and Adam, but Cait and Alex also made it down, Hunter flew out from New York, and Ben came from Phoenix, AND I got to see the ever-charming Cary Crall. Some of the loveliest people in the whole world, all together in Southern California. I was so happy. Every day I'm so grateful I have the friends that I do, the kind that are hilarious and fun and accepting and supportive of one another. And also SO darn attractive. How did I get so lucky? Aside from the fabulous wedding, I also got to go to the beach, and to Disneyland, and spend time with more lovely friends. But more about that later. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm Not a Psychopath, I'm a Woman

Flying from Salt Lake to Phoenix in order to eventually get to Spokane is annoying, and it takes a long time. During this time I was able to read 'White Girl Problems' and 'The Female Brain'. In different ways, these 2 books helped me to see that no, I'm not a complete psychopath, I'm just a woman. Let's start with Babe Walker, who I'm still not sure is a real person. Either way, I can relate to her in some horrifying ways.

We'll start with a shopping addiction. Babe spends some $200,000 in a day at Barney's. I only spent like $120 at Target, but if we compared bank accounts, percent spent is likely dangerously similar. Now, Babe and I shop for the same reasons. It is peaceful and calming and helps us get over a bad day. Let's jump over to 'The Female Brain', which tells us that a woman's brain is so deeply affected by hormones that they can create a sort of alternate reality, dictating what is important. The scary thing is, that reality can change from day to day. So, somedays its important for me to get a good job, or to work at a relationship, but some days my hormones are like-YOU LITERALLY NEED TO SHOP RIGHT NOW AND THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Whoa, hormones.

 If we go back and look at those work on relationships days, those happen to me like, a lot. Babe, a true woman, is always super concerned with what other people think. I'm the same, but not quite so extreme that I start jogging on the freeway to my therapist's office because my bff/maid called me fat. Almost, but not quite. Here is the real deal-baby girls are born interested in emotional expression. From these cues they determine whether they are worthy, lovable or annoying. If a baby girl sees an emotionless face (think of a mime, or a mother suffering from post-partum depression), she interprets this as a signal that she is doing something wrong.

Fast forward to a 23-year-old Kelsey Hansen and you will see these cues still in effect. When I am having an especially hormonal, relationship-oriented day, and someone I love shows me an emotionless face, I just cannot deal. Remember, this is how my FEMALE BRAIN is telling me to act. Maintaining the relationship at all costs is the female brain's goal. I often sit around, dwelling on my future and getting emotional thinking about relationships that are falling apart or destined to end, or just plain not going how I think they should. 

For a woman, when a relationship is threatened or lost, the stress hormone takes over. A woman starts feeling anxious and fearful of being rejected and left alone. Soon she longs for a feeling of closeness, which is boosted by social contact. The minute that social contact is gone, she is in emotional trouble. The irony is, its times like these that people (mostly men) are most likely to be like, "NOPE, NOT HAPPENIN'. You are wayyy to hormonal to be around right now." Well, damn.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why You Should Help The Homeless

I'm not a saint. I don't volunteer very often, or ever unless it's for a class. But I decided my very small contribution to society would be through a box of granola bars. I bought a box and kept them in my car and would offer them to the homeless who held cardboard signs on the side of the road. It's the least I could do, and I never have cash. Besides, we always hear the "they are probably buying drugs or alcohol with that money" excuse. A granola bar CANNOT be used to buy drugs, to my knowledge.

Anyway, whatever. The other day I went to the Barnes and Noble and there was a man on the corner of the parking lot. Down to my last 2 granola bars, I parked my car and walked up to him. I offered him a bar, and he took it and cheerfully thanked me. From this little interaction, I could tell he was mentally handicapped, and my heart went out to him. I gave him the 2nd bar. Then, I went into the cafe and started working on a book review I had overdue. About 20 minutes later, I am absorbed in my review and I hear the mans voice, literally screaming, "IT'S YOU AGAIN. YOU'RE MY GIRL. MY NICE GIRL." Everyone in the cafe is frozen and probably terrified as the man walks up to me and pats my head 3 times. He then screams "YOU ARE MY NICE GIRL" again and walks out.

I was so completely happy. Help the homeless, for so many reasons. 

Why I Am Ridiculous

I've always loved personality tests both for myself and my friends. There is nothing more thrilling to me than a test being able to pinpoint exactly who I am, what I believe and what animal I am most like. I love saying "I am SUCH a _____" and happily encourage friends to find out what they are, too. What I love most is how unique I am and strangely, I love my flaws.

One personality test I took tonight told me that I don't really think of my flaws as problem areas, but instead as quirks that make me who I am. I am more likely to think I am flawed if people don't accept me. That second part isn't a very good thing, but I found the first part interesting. Based on my personality tests, I really do enjoy reading about my flaws. I'm not embarrassed about who I am. What I AM embarrassed about is how messy my room is, how oily my hair is and how infrequently I hit up the gym. But these things aren't really what is in my core (I hope)... So here is my positive spin on flaws:

As the test likes to phrase it, "Kelsey's possible weaknesses":

-May do what is pleasant rather than what is necessary. Now, don't get me wrong, I could work on this. This is probably why I am fat, greasy and have a messy room. It just isn't pleasant to work out or clean it. However, I do think I am good at finding the pleasant things in life and immersing myself in them. I don't think I'm cranky too often (except those 5 days out of the month...) and maybe its because I do things that are pleasant rather than necessary.

-May exaggerate the significance of the event.  Anyone who has ever been around me when I felt made fun of, or betrayed, or even like someone I love wasn't listening to me, knows that I might be a bit dramatic and might tend to exaggerate. Pretty much everything anyone says or does has significance to me, and I have somewhat of an overdramatic personality. BUT I hope anyone nodding their head right now can also appreciate how much I remember about your lives, and how I exaggerate the significance of events like your birthday, bridal shower or trip in to town. I like to think I make people feel special. If I don't make you feel that way, just know I intend to. I remember your birthdays, and I will throw you a party for pretty much any reason. I'm dramatic and (sometimes) you love it!

-She may become possessive of people in whom she has invested a lot of her emotional energy. #LOL, right? This is the truest of truths. But I hope you don't have to think too hard to see the positive side of this one. I LOVE YOU. I am totally, completely, 100% willing to invest my emotional energy in you. I will do anything you need me to, and be happy to do it. The only downside is that I expect you to stick around. Bummer, I know.

I hope I don't come across as "tooting my own horn", as my mother would say. I decided I need to be more positive, and I can also appreciate that as I work to see the positive in these personality flaws, they become blessings instead of burdens.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Diary of an Ungrateful Bitch

I have so many flaws. I am super needy, don't go to the gym very often, yell at kids on occasion and go to bed without washing my face (and then complain about zits....). But I guess most of those things can be forgiven. Lately I've been feeling super lonely and depressed. It's not all the time, so I don't think I need medication or anything, but it still sucks. I'll have a fun weekend surrounded by my friends, and then Monday rolls around and I feel so alone, like I have nothing fun to do, like no one wants to hang out with me...blah, blah, blah. What I'm realizing is I have one HUGE, GLARING FLAW that needs to be fixed. Why am I such an ungrateful bitch? My desire for a relationship is so huge that it is consuming my life. I think about it way too much. Maybe its true what they say--you won't find love until you stop looking. Either way, I have so many other wonderful opportunities, people and things (yes, material goods) in my life that I need to be more grateful for.

I'll start with my relationships. I might not have a boyfriend, but I have lovely, supportive and hilarious friends. There is so much to be said for having people in your life who are there for you no matter what, and who you want to be there for, too. I know I really love someone when I will travel around Salt Lake City on foot trying to figure out a way to get them into their locked car for free. Or when you let them plus their smelly dog sleep in your bedroom while you sleep on the couch. Whatever I'm doing is fine because I enjoy their company more than anything.

How grateful I am to have been blessed with great friends. As an extravert, I thrive on the company of others and that is how I am happy. Thank you friends who put up with that extremely needy part of me, and who are with me all the time. I'm always shocked at how little time it takes for me to feel lonely. It's seriously like 40 minutes, but I'm working on extending it. My dear friend Hunter is so dear to me for many reasons, but most of all because he encourages me to be happy. It's so important to have friends that always tell you to do what makes you happy (after they listen to you bitch and complain). On the other hand, I know I have a best friend in Cait because she hates who I hate and loves who I love. She is on my team 100% of the time, and that is a true friend, too.

Family is good, too. My Dad called ME the other night and we talked for 8 minutes. Can't tell you how monumental that was. My Mom is my best friend (shit girls say) and we talk most days. Thank the Lord for my parents. My sister is 1000% crazy, but she is there for me, too. She even embarked on said trek around Salt Lake City in search of a Toyota dealership after giving her best effort to help break in to the car. <3 our little Jimmy Rigger. And my brother, I can only say good things about. Missionary, angel, do-gooder to the max.

Things! All the things! I have a LOT of shit you guys. Dresser, closet, CLOTHES HUT full of clothes. My macbook (my baby), car, etc. I love it. Life would suck without it. I might be dirt poor, but I have assets. And parents who have money. There is a lot to be said for that....

This brings me to my last and most exciting point. I recently found out that I am going to be a real live teacher next fall! Sometimes I forget or more often, I think it isn't real. BUT YOU GUYS-- IT IS REAL! I had another meeting just today about it. I'm so happy. I can't even find words to tell you how happy I am (shit girls say). But it's like finally it all makes sense. For the past year and a half I have been wondering what the point of my life is and why I am still in Utah and why I make no money. I was in the middle of applying to grad school (btw, I got in) when I got this job offer. I am going to be starting my career in 6 months! That is so much sooner than I ever expected. I love love love my job. It's hard for me to imagine anyone loving their job as much as I love mine. And it will only get better when I get to make my own rules and rule the roost in my own classroom. Even though it is in Utah.

So why the hell am I complaining and why the hell do I think life is so hard? Yes, I am sick to freaking death of being single. And yes, I will probably be lonely in 40 minutes. But I'm blessed. And I'm going to try and be more of a grateful bitch from now on.

By the way, my classroom theme is going to involve birds (!) and I am accepting donations for my classroom library. :)