Tag Archives: family

Earth Day Recap

Sometimes I feel like I’d handle adversity better if I’d had some siblings to make my life harder as a kid. As an only child, I had it pretty dang easy. Even when my older girl cousins didn’t let me play with them, I was all right because I had Nolan (shoutout to my boy!) to play with. Plus, one of our older cousins (no one say who!) was too compassionate to keep up the bullying for long. She’d come play with us even if the other two would refuse because she couldn’t stand excluding us.

Little did she know that in the future, her compassionate nature would work against her in the form of a rare condition called ‘not being able to break up with anyone ever‘. Once, after a summer of working up the courage to dump a dude she didn’t like at all, the other girl cousins and I watched through a window while she broke up with him. FOR SIX HOURS. (We were supposed to watch a movie we’d rented, and we couldn’t start without her.) It went like this:

Cousin explains her feelings with gentle hand gestures.

Dude looks bewildered, makes pleading we-can-work-it-out face.

Cousin shakes her head, drops dude’s hand.

Dude makes pathetic face, sometimes with tears.

Cousin cries while shaking her head slightly.

They hug.

Cousin steps back, makes her case with gentle hand gestures…


But that is neither here nor there.

The point I was making is that I work best when things are easy. When things are hard, my first instinct is not to buck up and deal with it. I’d rather cover my ears and eyes, so I can pretend nothing is the matter. (Working on it.)

When I moved into my apartment in October, I was glad to see we had a backyard…of sorts. It’s a plot of land behind our building with trees and plants growing in it, but it’s just as much an unofficial landfill as it is a backyard. See for yourself.

Trash everywhere! Trash everywhere! Trash-trash-trash everywhere!

I wanted to ignore it, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to do something about it. I told Devin and my housemates that it would be my Earth Day project and  tried to feel really excited about it, but it was daunting. I’ve always loved Earth Day, but I’ve never coordinated a big clean-up myself, so I had no idea how I would accomplish it. Would the landlord let me? Would my neighbors help? I wasn’t very optimistic, but I persevered. I figured, best-case scenario: I’d clean it up with helpful neighbors blasting salsa music from a sweet sound system on their fire escape. Worst-case scenario: I’d be eaten to death by feral cats, and my remains would quickly be engulfed by all that garbage never to be found.

Actual scenario: somewhere in the middle. I made a sloppy hand-written flyer to advertise the clean-up, but when I took it to be photocopied, the employees designed and printed beautiful posters for me, for cheap. (Cool!)

Some of the flyers were immediately taken down by a neighbor who did not want the area to be cleaned up because her windows face the yard, and she was worried about noise. (Bummer.)

The landlord promised to send a dump truck. (Cool!)

It never came. (Bummer.)

Devin came from Connecticut, armed with determination and six pairs of work gloves. (Cool!)

Only three of those pairs were used because the only people who came were Devin, a neighbor who stopped by for an hour, and me. Nice weather also failed to make an appearance. I can’t remember the last time I was that cold and wet. (Bummer.)

Still, at the end of the day, we had something to show for our hard work. (Cool!)

The coolest things to come out of this project are actually the promise of bigger, more organized projects. After the clean-up was over, I received a phone call from a womyn in the next building who has lived there for forty years. She told me the neighborhood has never been this littered and brought up the point that it is a big fire hazard and that, if our buildings were to catch on fire, we wouldn’t have a safe place to go because that’s where we’re supposed to climb down and congregate. She’s reported it to her super and her landlord who have both promised to help (much like mine) but haven’t done a thing, so she is ready to take action in a bigger way. We are planning a meeting with more neighbors to get ourselves organized. I also got an e-mail from a group who has been cleaning up their lot and planting flowers every Spring for three years. They mentioned getting together to plan a block-wide cleaning day!

I’ve been looking for ways to be a better member of my community, and it seems like I might’ve stumbled into a way to meet my neighbors, make my neighborhood a safer place to live, and help my immediate environment thrive.

And so, I declare Operation Rise to the (Earth-Day) Challenge, a success!


This post written by sixteen year-old me.

I have the flu! It’s really terrible! I don’t even feel like updating my blog, cruel world! Or washing my hair! The worst part is that I’m a minimalist, so I don’t even have appropriate loungewear (read: sweatpants + sweatshirts). Super sick AND super sick of pajamas! How sorry do you feel for me right now?

In lieu of an original post this week, I’m outsourcing to sixteen year-old kristy who wrote this blog-worthy e-mail back in July of 2005.  It’s kind of spooky how little my writing style has changed since 2005. And by ‘spooky’, I mean worrisome. Thankfully, I don’t have to edit it. All I have to do is provide a little background info for you, stranger.


When I was little my grandmother moved into an apartment (#1); my aunt and her family moved into #2; and my mom and I moved into #3. There was even a time when we occupied the whole (four-apartment) building because my uncle and his family lived in #4. Now, #4 is my aunt’s office. And, obviously, my mom and I don’t live in #3 anymore. Here is a rudimentary drawing so you can get an idea of how the apartment building looks.

Those lines are stairs. All of the apartments have outside entries.

Back in 2005, my family had an elevator built for my grandmother. It had become increasingly difficult for her to walk up and down the stairs to her second-floor apartment, but she was used to her home and definitely did not want to move. At that time, the apartments were also having their plumbing fixed. The following is an e-mail I wrote to my cousin Vanessa. I took out my family’s last name because of on-line predators, duh.


Dear Vanessa,
Yesterday the most random things happened. Carol & Caren, correct me if I miss anything or mess up the course of events. Okay, here goes.

As you remember from your lovely visit to Chihuahua, our plumbing is being repaired. It turns out that some tree roots are interfering with the pipes, so we must have some trees removed.

Yesterday, all was well in the **** households. The housekeepers cooked, cleaned, and left. The engineer and builders were hard at work making the elevator. The plumbers were yet again hacking at the ground and making our home appear to be even more war-torn. And the tree cutters were adding the final touches to this gruesome scene with branches and leaves scattered amid the rubble. At Carol’s house we were all watching Gilmore Girls, Caren and I arguing over who should have to shower first, when in comes Martha, ‘UNPLUG EVERYTHING! sdakdknkanknkbnbkaffaj CABLE! TREE! kkdnaknfdkajkdjfajf UNPLUG EVERYTHING!’ We promptly obeyed, and Martha proceeded to call the Electrical Commission because somehow the tree cutters had let a huge branch fall on a wire and the wire broke and the tree was sparking and smoking and stuff. Soon after Martha called the E.C., the cops arrived to verify our claim. The sparking was getting worse, so we proceeded to call the firemen, who had already been alerted by the cops and were on their way. Only two came, an old one and a young one, which I thought was not enough because there were a lot of beautiful girls to be saved, and our beauty requires 20-30 firemen AT LEAST (this is assuming, of course, that all of them are hot). Alas, only two came and the old fireman sent the young one to do his job. He proceeded to hack at the big branch with an ax, which produced more sparks, more smoke. Finally, he tried to kick down the branch before the other branches ignited, but the bottom of his boots had metal plates and what did we learn in Science Class? That’s right, metal is a conductor. Yes, our fireman—the one who was supposed to save us—was electrocuted. Thus, we were again maidens in despair until he pulled himself together, flirted with Caren and showed her his ‘hole’ (caused by the electricity that surged through his body). The branch fell. LOTS OF SPARKS! And guess where the branch fell? THAT’S RIGHT! On a beehive, destroying their home. The poor bees had nowhere to go. They just flew around until Animal Control came and exterminated them. At this point there were about 15 to 20 neighbors watching the scene. We were worried Martha would get sued because the little fireman was electrocuted, but I guess she damsel-in-distressed her way out of it (thank goodness!). Then, the newspaper showed up to photograph the whole fiasco. Finally, the Electrical Commission arrived and repaired our electricity. So, let’s count how many non-****s were here yesterday:

1. Plumbers
2. Elevator Builders
3. Tree Cutters
4. Cops
5. Firemen
6. Animal Control
7. Newspaper
8. Electrical Commission

YEAH, it was quite a day.


Big changes to a little blog

I have a bad case of the Januaries tonight. Do you ever get those? A case of the Januaries is like a case of the Mondays writ large. It’s cold; you can’t listen to Christmas carols to make up for it; and just when you are thinking about leaving the house, it gets dark. To top it off, you’re out of Swiss Miss. Ugh, January!

I just said to Tasha and Anda (hereafter T&A), ‘Sorry, I’m in a weird mood,’ and they replied, ‘Me, too!’ PROOF. The Januaries Are Real.

When the Januaries strike, I try to be productive and do things I can feel good about.  This morning I woke up and made myself breakfast.

It was good but not good enough to ward off the Januaries. Blah. Anyway, then I tidied my room until I could tidy no more. It’s still not in good enough shape to photograph. Sorry. Maybe someday soon. (Don’t hold your breath.)

Seeing that I had done all I could in the physical realm, I moved on to the virtual and made some changes I had planned for this blog.

#1 The header now reads, ‘living every teenage girl’s idiotic dream (according to my uncle).’
About a week ago my uncle G suggested that I ‘start a webpage since [I am] living every teenage girl’s idiotic dream of moving to New York City and living in a tiny rodent-infested* apartment’. My cousins informed him that I already have a blog, and he was appalled that I am not charging for all this great content. (Teach me how?)

#2 There’s a bunch of stuff in the column to your left.
Me! Archives! A subscribe button! Tags!

#3 My blog now provides quick access to the best Betty Boop clip art I could find.
Would you kindly have a look at the top of this page? Right below the blog header is a link to Betty Boop  clip art. Despite what this suggests, I am not an authority on the matter. I’m sadly not even a fan of Betty Boop clip art. The scoop is this: I mentioned B. Boop once, which led to many people finding my blog by searching for clip art of the aforementioned cartoon. It quickly became the number one way people find this blog, and I am all about giving the people what they want. Betty Boop-ers, I hope you’ll stick around! Though I don’t know much about Ms. Boop, I happen to share her most famous physical attribute (five feet tall, just like her).

Those are all the changes for now, but I hope to spruce things up around here more often.

Thanks for reading!


‘Aunt’ means never having to change a diaper.

I got the coolest present ever for Christmas. Her name is Victoria Elena. She is my niece. Sometimes we call her ‘Veev’ for short.

This is our first picture together. Don't mind our pajamas (especially my middle-aged pair).

Having a new niece, hanging out with her, and then having to leave her got me thinking about all this aunt business. What does it mean to be an aunt? What kind of aunt am I? I asked Veev, but she just made gurgly noises. So then, I thought I’d consult the internet and shared my findings, but that seemed impersonal. After all, I’m not just anybody’s aunt. I’m Victoria’s aunt. Long story short, I decided to write her a letter, and the letter turned out to be a great introduction to my family and life with Victoria, so I decided to share it with you (because I know you must be super curious).

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