Friday, March 02, 2012

Skype me

Skype is great.

When we first moved to Los Angeles, we carried my laptop around our new patio and house using Skype to “show” our families our new digs. Based on their reactions when they actually experienced our new digs in person, Skype likes to make things seem bigger than they really are.

My Minnesota girlfriends Skyped me in for our Christmas party at the end of which, I actually put on my first-ever, newly purchased skinny jeans to dance around my living room hoping my friends could get the idea. Did they look OK? Did they look ridiculous? Should I return them? But they were cheap. And if the bigger-then-reality thing is true, they said I looked great, but they were probably thinking, wow, her thighs have gotten much thicker!

Oh, and there was the time when B and I thought it’d be fun to begin our marriage with seven months of Skyping while he was away at training. Yes, that was a good time!

But have you ever noticed—or maybe it’s just us—Skype never goes smoothly. Never. You set a date/time with your family or friends, and something doesn’t work. One party can’t see the other. Or one party can’t hear the other. Or it freezes. Or one party’s words don’t match their mouths and it’s really hard to follow. Or it sounds like one party is in a cave or a bubble or outer space. Or when B was at training, and for some reason he was always jaundice. The screen would always be this sick yellow color. We never did figure it out.

A couple weeks ago, B and I Skyped with some family members, except we couldn’t see them. They could see us, but we couldn’t see them. We could hear each other though. I suggested just talking on the phone as Skype wasn’t working appropriately but the idea was thrown out because the other party was happy as a clam…they could see us without having to look at themselves in a little box the whole time. Meanwhile on our end, we talked into a computer screen, staring at ourselves the whole time. This also happened to be a day or two after the first bob haircut. Awful. 

It’s funny, too, when new-to-Skype users log in and then don’t understand why the other party isn’t there. So they’ll call or text and say, hey, I thought you had a Skype account. Where are you? Well, not at my computer, logged in to Skype, just waiting for one of my friends or family to come on! I guess some people probably are though.

I can’t knock Skype too much because as I’ve said, it affords a much more personal connection with friends and family who are many miles away. But it is a funny phenomenon. And now even my 87-year-old, very-hip grandpa has joined the more than 405 million people across the world who have a Skype account.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Like we're really living...

Every now and then B talks in his sleep. A few weeks ago, he actually whispered in his sleep. Groggily, I rolled over and began to wake up as I heard B moving and then, in a whisper...

"If we keep moving forward, it'll feel like we're really living." 

Um. What? I started chuckling and then repeated the line about 10 times in my head so as not to forget it when I re-woke up in the morning. I wanted to remember to tell B.

So, now we've been trying to figure out what it means (and why the whispering?!). I said I think he was dreaming that he was leading an expedition through a cave. I can see him holding a flashlight and in all seriousness he turned to his followers and whispered: "If we keep moving forward, it'll feel like we're really living."

He thinks it's about L.A., and the lack of real living one can do here. He was merely offering some encouragement that if we keep on keepin' on, things will get better.

He also thought maybe it was pre-marriage, and he was trying to convince me to make out more on the couch.

Whatever it was, the phrase has become part of our everyday vernacular. The other night, we were so tired after a really long day, and yet we still had a few things we needed to knock of our list..."If we keep moving forward, it'll feel like we're really living," I a whisper.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nice Hair

I hadn’t had my hair cut in a very long time. It needn’t to be done. One day recently, while B and I took a walk through Hermosa Beach, I peeked into each and every salon…Which one did I like? Which one had a good vibe? I took a few business cards, even met the owner of one. I went home and looked them up online…checking cost and reading reviews. I landed on one that had unending good reviews and one of the lowest prices. Which by the way…absolutely kills me…the cost of haircuts. In fact, I took to haircutting myself just to save us some money. I now cut B’s hair on a  regular basis (outside, with him on our step stool under a plastic tarp…he loves it!). But anyways, I call and make an appointment at the salon and remind myself that I’m going to use my birthday money, so it's OK. I excitedly await my appointment.

I go. I say I’m willing to go short.
He says, what about a bob?
I say, sure. I’ve had before and I like.
He says, how about an asymmetrical bob?
I say no, thanks. It’ll bother me to have one side longer than the other. I’m a pretty even girl.
He says, c’mon. Give it a try.
Mmm. I don’t think so.
Oh, c’mon. Just try it for a few days. If you don’t like, come back in and we’ll fix.
So, in my head I’m thinking, yeah, Heather, live a little, this guy gets paid to do this, give it a whirl. Ok. I say.
He gives me an asymmetrical bob as I try to figure out what the tattoos covering his arms mean.

I get home. I hate it. I hate the bob. I take the scissors to it myself. And then when B gets home from work, I make him take a scissors to it in efforts of evening it out. It doesn’t work. It gets worse, and I almost start crying, to which B says, “It’s OK. I get it. I started crying when I got a bad haircut once.” At the time, I was too wrapped up in my hair horror to pay much attention to his words. But later, I asked him, "did you really say you cried once because of a bad haircut?" He says "Yes, I did. I didn’t tell you though it was when I was like six and it was more because I didn’t want the haircut in the first place…not because it was a bad cut." But you can see why I love the man. He tells me he cries after a bad haircut too.

So, I call the salon the next morning and say I have to come in. I go back in that afternoon. He evens it up. But he doesn’t wet my hair down to do it. He spends maybe three minutes tops on it. I know as I walk out, he hasn’t done it. He hasn’t fixed it. It was still—although even in length—an asymmetrical bob. And I am not asymmetrical. I get home and again take the scissors to it myself. Hair snip-its all over the bathroom. B gets home. I make him take a scissors to it too. More hair snip-its all over the bathroom.

For the next few weeks, I can’t walk past a mirror without wincing in pain at the horror that is my hair. It feels like I have 10 more pounds of hair on my left side. I also have a nice shelf going on all the way around. I mean I could put some hooks in and hang stuff on my shelf! It vaguely resembles a bowl cut. An asymmetrical bowl cut. And the worst part, literally…if I don’t part my hair in the exact spot it was parted when tattoo man cut it, I have chunks of hair an inch longer (or more) than the rest.

After spending nearly an hour in the bathroom one night, multiple wet downs, blow drys and breakdowns, and making us 15 minutes to a friends’ happy hour, I reluctantly agree with B. For his sake and mine, I need to go back in. I need to spend more money to fix my stupid bob for which I want to bob tattoo man’s head.  

So, I take to the internet again. Searching. Reading reviews. Etc. I land on a salon called Tangles because Lord knows I’ve really gotten myself into one. I go. I sit and wait and look around. On the wall is an artistic rendering of a woman with a bob. In fact, the word “Bob” is in some fancy calligraphy under the woman. Bob, bob, bob. I feel like Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents. "Bomb Bomb Bomb. I said bomb on an airplane." Bob bob bob. I say bob in a salon.

I sit in Tangles chair. Tangles lady asks what I’d like done. I nearly wail…HELP! I tell her my problems, the extra weight, the shelf, the part. She nods. She feels my hair. She nods again. She cuts out a lot of hair. A lot. Not much in length, but everywhere else. The nasty shelf lies in strands around me on the floor. The extra weight is shed. The part moves once more! She fixes my bob.

I walk out knowing I got a good hair cut. I go home and smile. B gets home and smiles. I go out and get a compliment: “nice hair.” 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Letting Them Win

B always jokes that I let him win in the kitchen. Like I’d maybe let a child win at checkers, I let B think he can help with the cooking and baking. Well, maybe he’s right, a little. But it’s not really his fault. It’s the nature of our jobs and schedules right now.

Here’s how it works…

B will ask if he can make dinner one night—to give me a break. I say sure! So, he’ll find the recipe. But then I’ll actually pick up all the ingredients at the grocery store because I do the grocery shopping. I mean, with his long hours, it just wouldn’t make sense for him to make an extra stop at the zoo, aka grocery store. And then with the recipe sitting out on the counter…I’m home…and he won’t be home until late…so, of course, I’m going to do as much prep work as possible. Otherwise, we won’t eat until bedtime. So, all this to say, by the time B gets home to “make” dinner, the veggies are chopped, the marinade's been made, the spices are out, etc. etc. etc. All he has to do is turn the oven or grill on.

After we eat , I say, "Wow, Brian, that was really good. Thank you!"

He says, “Sure, so glad I could make you dinner.”

And in this fashion, I let him win at checkers. 

Well, he is super helpful in the kitchen, and I did in fact, need his help the other night as we got dinner ready and made dessert. I tried a new cookie-in-a-skillet recipe—it’s a chocolate chip cookie that bakes in the cast-iron skillet and then you slice like a pie and serve with ice cream.

So, I made the cookie dough, smooshed it into the skillet, and threw it in the oven. I took it out a tad early as it seemed to be getting plenty brown on top (and toothpick came out clean). I let it cool for a few minutes as the recipe said. Then, as I moved forward on dinner, B offered to flip the cookie onto a wire rack from the skillet. Sure! Great! Thanks! So, he flips the skillet over and the cookie plunks down on the wire rack in its solid form as it's supposed to. As I ask him if I can get him a plate so he can flip it  once more, so it’s right side up, I see the wheels spinning in his head. He’s going to do it on his own. He dosn't need another plate. And almost in slow motion, as my mind says nooooooooo, I watch him take the wire rack and cookie in one hand and assuredly flip it so that the cookie lands on his other hand. And…cookie-in-a-skillet becomes cookie-mush-all-over-the-counter.

I wish I could have taken a picture of B’s face. He was so sheepish and so sorry. It wasn’t all his fault though. I should have let it keep baking, I told him adamantly! That would have solidified it a bit more. Definitely not his fault...he's winning the checkers game.

But, really? You’re going to flip it on your hand?! Well, nevertheless, the cookie mush sure tastes good. We’ve been eating off of it like vultures for a few days now. I’d recommend the recipe. Just bake it as long as it says, don’t flip onto your hand, and let them win. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Customer Service is (not) Here

Here in Los Angeles, customer service was taken to a new level when customer service themselves were not even aware that they were customer service.

We hit up Macy's a few weeks ago to do a couple of exchanges from Christmas. Stopping at the first register area, we asked the Macy's worker where customer service was located. Could you please point us to customer service, please? 

Young, skinny jeans, heavy eye makeup, she said, um, yeah, hold on. In front of us she walked two feet to her coworker and said, can you show them where customer service is? Her coworker said..."this IS customer service." Young, skinny jeans Macy's worker walked two feet back over to us, gave a little sheepish giggle and said, "yeah, so, this is customer service." 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Holy Busy and Whole Foods

Alright. So, I’m honored that people have been asking me why I haven’t written on this blog in so long. But it also makes me feel delinquent! I’m sorry!

The main reason? At the beginning of the year, I started co-blogging with dad. We are walking people through the Bible chronologically in a year at So, we post each day—dad does video or I write. And that has been sucking up a lot of my time and the remaining creative juices I have after school and freelance.

Additionally, I am 1.5 classes shy of getting my masters and am in full-on cram mode trying to write my senior statement.

It’s been a little busy! But, I’m going to try to check in more frequently to HJ’s Haunt and will likely talk about very frivolous topics and the stupid, quirky things that I observe in Southern California. For my deeper, more philosophical, spiritual thoughts, you’ll have to go to BJsBrew.

So, anyways, B and I hit up Whole Foods a while ago for a nice guilt-ridden meal.

The Whole Foods out here is not just a store. It’s an experience. You can take yoga classes, buy yoga clothes—and Tom’s shoes, taste beer and wine, take cooking classes, grab espresso at the coffee shop, get your groceries, and eat your heart out. One whole side of the store is a big multi-cultural buffet. There’s the Asian counter, the Mexican counter, the Japanese sushi counter, panini counter, soup and salad counter, deli, bakery. And then after you’ve spent an hour just trying to figure out what to have, you can enjoy a nice sit-down dinner IN the store at one of the many booths and tables available.

On a busy, errand-running evening, B and I became those people. You know, the people who eat hotdogs at Costco or Subway inside the Wal-Mart, amidst the consumer chaos. I’ve always thought that was gross (sorry if you do it on a regular basis!). And there I was eating food where people shopped. But again, Whole Foods not just a store. It’s an experience!

After about 20 minutes of wandering the buffet befuddled by so many options, we paid $20 for cups of soup and grilled sandwiches. B and I sat down at a booth and then proceeded to watch all the people pay for their insanely high-end, organic groceries, put them in expensive, organic reusable bags, and then walk out in their brand-name yoga or workout clothes. Lululemon is, in fact, just across the street!

With my mouth full, I told B…this is sort of disgusting.

"Whuddya mean?" he asked.

All this organic, fancy-schmancy food and the only people who get it are the rich!


Slurp on some nummy soup.

And, B says, "This just encourages our society to be what we don't like..."

Whuddya mean?

"Well, we can’t take time for anything. Heaven forbid you slow down and enjoy life. We need a store where you eat, work out, get caffeine, say hi to friends, get your liquor (taste your liquor), eat again, get your vitamins, and leave. Maybe there’s even a room in back where you can sleep. But do everything as fast as possible with as little effort as possible."


Nother bite of our tasty sammiches.

So, next time, just eat at home?