Sunday, October 30, 2011

If you can't beat 'em...there's probably an App for that

There once was a fair young maiden who lived in a magical land far, far away. She lived in peaceful, happy, ignorant bliss because she had a sleek Razor cell phone. She read books, used her power of intellect to prove her college boyfriend wrong on multiple occasions (a rooster is a male chicken, I promise), and called her dad when she got lost on journeys. The maiden had no use for such things as "iPhones" to weigh down her soul with flashy "Apps" or prove that she was always right. She knew she was always right, and what kind of person REALLY needs to constantly update his or her Twitter every second? She lived in this contented way for many years.

One day, an evil gnome planted an idea in her head to purchase an iPhone. "Why do I need an iPhone? All I want in a phone is unlimited text messaging and a decent allotment of minutes." The young maiden had a clunky mobile phone with a dreaded QWERTY board that she never used (sadly, the Razor was long gone), but she didn't mind. But the twisted, beardy gnome persisted. Eventually, the young maiden was convinced in her heart that the iPhone 4S was meant to be hers.

As she entered the Verizon tavern one morning, she still wasn't fully convinced. "Do I really need Siri? And an 8 megapixel camera?" she queried. To be honest, no. But why buy an iPhone 4 that's already outdated? And so she sold her soul.

No one's heard from the young maiden since. However, rumors abound that she buries her nose in her phone, challenging Facebook friends to "Words with Friends" and trying to avoid embarrassing autocorrects, as well as dodging questions about why she finally decided to take the plunge into smartphonedom.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Whoopsie daisies

Alright, it's a little shameful how long it's been since my last post. Not to make excuses (but let's be honest, I sort of am), but I've been absurdly busy. Interning, waiting tables, and having a church gig suck up all available time, and the few times I've had some down time, all I want to do is watch Castle or Criminal Minds. Or bribe my youngest niece into giving me kisses. On Sunday at our family dinner, Molly didn't finish her dinner. Her mommy and daddy told her that if she didn't finish her food, she wouldn't get dessert. Now, here it where I saw an opportunity. I know how it works..if I want her to give me a kiss or a hug, I have to bribe her, usually with food. Sometimes I fake cry, but cookies are better. I told her that if she gave me a kiss, I would give her a bite of my pumpkin cheesecake (it was huh-mazing). WELL, apparently she innocently told her mommy the next day. Whoopsies. Tattler!

Since my last post, I've been busy with internship duties. I have not yet had to retrieve coffee, so that's good. I was, however, published online...which is pretty darn cool. Check it out here. I did indeed go shopping for business clothes, as well. Turns out that getting a credit card to the store you frequent saves hundreds of dolla dolla bills. Seriously...I think I saved $400 by opening an Ann Taylor card. I could be a Geico or Progressive commercial, but for clothes..."Save hundreds on car insurance, save hundreds on new hipster fashions."

This past weekend, I relayed in the Baltimore marathon with my sister. I trained a bit for it and managed 9 1/2 minute miles. I was proud of myself, and I know I could've run even faster if I hadn't been surrounded by a slower pack...snails. My leg of the race included running through the zoo, and I battled an alligator, a penguin, a bunny, and a rooster. It was intense. Ten-miler race next? Well, definitely a turkey trot on T-gives morning. At least I won't have to wake up at 5am for that one. Psh, Baltimore.

I was also offered a part time position as a voice teacher at a prestigious (so I hear) boarding school in the area. I'm super excited to start teaching! I have a feeling I'm going to love it. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I dare you to be courageous and do something you never thought you'd be able to do. It could be killing a spider. Or being honest with someone about something that's been on your mind forever. It could EVEN be ordering that extra large cookie...for just yourself. Just get out there and live. These tips may or may not be based on personal experiences...especially the spider part.

Monday, October 3, 2011

She works hard for her money... you better treat her right. And buy her diamonds.

Well, it's official! Today was the first day of my internship at the National Education Association, and you know what that means...I need to go shopping. Yay for public education and the country's largest union that needs me to write for and edit their publications! And I totally got called out for being an intern, today. Yellow "non staff" badge, psh.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Enough is ENOUGH.

This is something that has been churning in my mind for quite some time now. I knew the day would eventually come when I had to talk about it, but I didn't know when to bring it up. Now seems like as good a time as any, and honestly, I don't think I can stay quiet on the issue anymore.

I found this segment of wax at my place of work #angry face.


Between 1949 and 1957, Crayola added "green blue" to its cornucopia of colors. Between 1990 and 1992, the company had enough sense to rename "green blue" to "teal blue." In 1998, Crayola made room for "outer space" (shut the front door, what kind of color is that?) and in 2003, "inch worm." I don't know what the average person thinks of when he or she thinks of the color of an inch worm, but I imagine a dull, gross fleshy color. In 2003, teal blue was retired. Why, you ask? To make room for a flipping deathly pallor color called "inch worm?" I understand that times and tastes change, but c'mon! Teal is a universally flattering color on everyone, and it totally shows up in nature all the time. How many "fuzzy wuzzy brown's" that aren't adorable bear cubs have you seen? Would you know if "razzmatazz" is a better descriptor for an ice cream cone or the color of the sky?

I've always loved that my name is both a noun and an adjective. In elementary school, I felt so cool in art class when I'd whip out my teal crayons and markers. No other kids' first names were on those extensions of our imaginations, and quite frankly, the only street cred I had in art class was having my name stamped next to that CrayZola brand. I couldn't (and still can't) draw to save my life. As I went on to high school and in college, it was tres cool to sign only my first name on tests. How many Teal's were there in the school? Believe me, if there had been any others...there wouldn't be. Adults continue to ask me if my parents named me Teal because my eyes are teal. Well, considering my eyes were probably shut when I was born because I was screaming and crying, no. Were my parents mad hippies? Maybe. Is your middle name a color, too? Pick a color. Are your sisters or brothers colors too? No, but you can be sure as heck my children will be. The color teal has totally become my signature, and naturally it's my favorite color. Not JUST because it's my name; it's genuinely awesome. And if I say so, an awesome girl/aquatic bird.

So Crayzola, when will the madness end? All I want is my name back on a crayon, and "jazzberry jam" has just got to GO.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Maroon 5 bought me a speeding ticket

NOTE: I do not encourage or condone reckless driving. And I wasn't driving recklessly, either, for the record.

The speed at which I drive is directly proportional to the beats per minute of the song I'm listening to at the time. This also happens to me when I read. Many a book has spontaneously burst into flame in front of my very eyes, especially around Christmastime when Tran-Siberian Orchestra's "Carol of the Bells" is on repeat. It certainly makes for toasty fingertips.

Today I was listening to "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 when it happened. Based on my research, this song has 128 bpm. If you don't know the tune (are you living in a cave?), it's pretty quick and a great song to work out to...and drive to. While my hands were at 10 and 2, I whistled, hummed and busted out my best Christina A impression. But as I sang, I was particularly focused on creating new and intricate musical incidentals. Perhaps it's my inner nerd, but I love finding different ways to make an otherwise static background special and more jazzed up. It could also be my experience in arranging a cappella music. Regardless, I was working out my own little tid-bits in the chorus and somehow missed the impending road construction signage. It's not that I wasn't paying attention to the road, because I definitely was. Anyway, to make a long story short, Maroon 5's driving bass and syncopated guitar glory made me slow down just a little too late, and I got pulled over. I'm generally very good at blinking my eyes and smiling my way out of tickets, but I just couldn't think of a better excuse than, "Uh, well, you see officer, the music made me do it..." I apologized, he slapped with me a mere citation, and now my checking account has grounded me for a few weeks.

If ONLY he could've heard my sick new harmonies or seen my wiggly moves like Jagger!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just like Eminem, I'm cleaning out ma closet

I'm pretty sure Eminem might legitimately have some skeletons and other creepy things in his closet. For the record, I just have a few dust bunnies, lots of shoes, and clothes. Maybe a box of markers or something random, but that's about it.

Anyway, one may not know it by walking into my room right now, but I really enjoy order and neatness. Scratch that, s/he definitely wouldn't know it. I think it all started freshman year when I was living in Tener Hall. My side of the room was totally mine, and I didn't care what kind of mess my roommate made. However, I made sure that everything on my side was in the exact right place. Call it a light and not clinically determined diagnosis of OCD. The same stuff went down sophomore and junior years...small living spaces = I keep them very tidy. Plus, I think knowing that I decorated and planned out my dorms with my own style made me want to keep it extra clean to show off. Now that I'm living at home, though hopefully only for a little while longer, I'm totally out of my groove. Why are there five library books haphazardly stacked on my night stand? Other books and photo albums are spilling out of the bookshelves like lemmings about to jump to their chilly deaths, and all of my necklaces are tangled around each other. I can barely open my closet doors for all the shoes that are shoved in there, though this is not an issue of having too many shoes, let's not be confused. But when did I let myself go? If I'd only remember to fold my shirts, my drawers wouldn't feel so stuffed. When did I give up on organization?! I can't take it anymore. Next week I am going to go through everything and do some MAJOR fall cleaning, clothing donations, and organizing.

I can't wait to see what buried/forgotten treasures I find!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shorty you da best, da best I ever had

It has recently (again) come to my attention that not all coconut cream pies are made alike. This may seem blazingly obvious, but I was unfortunately reminded of that fact last night.

There is a restaurant in State College called the Allen Street Grill...the food is decent enough (try the sweet potato crusted tuna), and the bar is nicer than your standard college dive. My college a cappella group, (the sexiest, oldest co-ed, and best one on campus) None of the Above, has their formal there every year. It's a lovely affair filled with good food, conversation, and endless inside jokes. But this isn't about NOTA. This is about Allen St. Grill's HUH-MAZING coconut cream pie. This pie is so decadent and coconut-y and creamy, you can feel your waistline expand if you even look at it. Which is why one night during my junior-or was it sophomore?- year of college, in one of my weird craving fits, I called ahead and ordered a slice "to go." Around 10pm. I showed up in expandable waistline lounge pants, and went to town on that piece of pie before I walked out the door. Or something like that. But literally, I didn't even wait until I got home to start eating it. It majestically stood about 4-5 inches high (no exaggeration, but maybe a little- though not that much), with only a little bit of whipped cream. That's what I so love about this coconut cream pie. It's a lot of coconut custardy goodness, and only an inch or so of whipped cream topped with toasted coconut. And that crust. So delicious and perfectly complimentary to the rest of the sweet, dense heaven.

Last night's pie was store-bought and had an inch of "coconut custard," if you can even call it that, and was three inches too high with icky whipped cream. I should've stuck with my Toll House refrigerated cookie dough. As we all know, pre-cooked cookie dough has 0 calories, and that pie was a waste of a hard workout.

Live and learn.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Happy Days at WSC Avant Bard

I'm a theatre reviewer for Maryland Theatre Guide, and I thought I'd share my review of Samuel Beckett's Happy Days. It was a super weird play, but very well done. Check out for more of my reviews and other awesome reviews of local theatre. Be sure to "Like" it on Facebook!

What will happen “when words fail” for Samuel Beckett’s heroine in Happy Days, or when she can’t “speak in the old style?” Goodness only knows, but she certainly has a lot to say before either of those things happen.

Winnie, played delightfully by Delia Taylor, is an eternally optimistic chatterbox who seems to be afraid of being alone or not having a companion to talk to. She discusses her daily (and monotonous) routine, her hopes and fears, and old memories. The catch is, Winnie can’t move because she is buried up to her waist in a massive, luxurious mound of “dirt.” In an interesting twist in WSC Avant Bard’s production, Set Designer Tony Cisek cleverly makes the mound in which she’s entrapped. It's actually the skirt of her dress, which manages to look amazingly silky and velvety all at once, with assistance from Costume Designer Marie Schneggenburger’s clever props and some fantastic Lighting Design by Cory Ryan Frank.

The only other character in the show is her husband Willie, wonderfully played by director Jose Carrasquillo. The audience only sees the back of his head, and he says little more than a few quips and monosyllabic grunts. However, he gives Winnie a reason to keep talking by providing a listening ear, as well as giving the audience some extra comic relief. Winnie has only Willie, her words, and her big black bag to keep her occupied.

We never find out why Winnie is stuck in the mound, but it’s not particularly important in this absurdist play. What is central is that she is lonely and has a desperate need for companionship, even if she doesn’t say it outright. Ms. Taylor brings a great cheerfulness to the character, and it drives Winnie’s complexity throughout the whole production. The entire play is almost a monologue, and despite—or because of being immobile – Ms. Taylor makes extensive use of her hands and quirky facial expressions. Her acting is natural and honest, and she makes Beckett’s compelling – though sometimes chaotic- language flow freely and easily.

The Black Box Theatre is the perfect space for such an intimate performance. While the plotline may be a bit mundane, Mr. Carrasquillo’s fresh approach to Happy Days, complete with a billboard-esque blue sky and clouds backdrop, is a lovely way to celebrate Beckett’s 50th anniversary production.

Running time is about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Happy Days plays through September 25th at Artisphere – 1101 Wilson Boulevard, in Arlington, VA. Purchase tickets here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Christmas in August?!

Today was a pretty great day. First off, I woke up chilly. CHILLY! In August. In Virginia. Amazing. I also hit up the farmers market and bought 4lbs of beautiful fruit for $5.

But the really delicious and gooey icing on the cake was unveiled later in the afternoon. My dad and I decided to go for a run on the Parkway, and as I walked into the garage, he asked me if I wanted to drive...his perfectly red and sporty Z4 BMW convertible. I remember when he bought it years ago around Thanksgiving, and we immediately christened it "The Sleigh." It only took Santa one trip down the snow-slick block to never drive it in inclement weather again, but it's still called The Sleigh to this day (rhyme?). Once I got my license, I very distinctly recall asking daddio when I'd be allowed to drive it, and I was told ten years. Perhaps it was my naivety, or maybe it was my inability to drive stick, but I believed him. I thought I would be married before I was allowed to drive that reindeer-less carriage. I never minded being dropped off or picked up from school, though. Heck, I still don't. I don't even care if the top is down, my hair looks (pre-wildly windblown) good, and I have a hot date...and for some reason I have to be dropped off? Awkward. The point is, that car is awesome, and I've always wanted to drive it.

Once I got over my giddy excitement, I was a little bit hesitant to reverse out of the garage. Of all the young suitors who've taken me out to mall parking lots, school parking lots, or Wal-Mart lots to show me the ropes and make a date out of it, not a single one ever taught me how to go backwards. I couldn't figure out how to move the shift-switcher...gear?...stick shift?...far enough to the left, so dad had to help with that part. It took about five minutes to back out
v e r y s l o w l y so as to not hurt the pretty car, and dad got a little impatient. FINALLY I pulled into the street- ! -and I stalled. Whoops. I was a little rusty and nervous, considering that the last time I drove a manual car I almost hit a mailbox...I admit it, ok? After stalling out one more time (ok..maybe two or three), I only had to remind dad four times that it had been yearssss since driving stick.

Ho ho ho, Merry August!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oh my little ones

I am lucky enough to be an auntie to six wonderful children, spanning in age from seven years to 10 days. They're the most beautiful and wonderful children, and I positively adore them...and the ridiculous things they say. I have video evidence of my two-year-old niece saying, a-la-Pearl, "I got to get my drink on!" My oldest niece, Riley, recently asked her mommy where the chicken's feet were on their rotisserie chicken. After learning that they were cut off, she subsequently asked if anyone ever eats them. Her twin brother, Luke, confidently responded, "Yeah, hillbillies." My sister had no idea where it came from and asked him if he knew what a hillbilly was. He said, "Someone missing a tooth." WHAT? Where do they learn these things? More importantly, give me more!

Anyway, I'm the cool aunt, the young, hip one who'll make silly faces and pay them extra attention when they want to show me their dance recitals or shiny soccer medals...for the 3rd time. We bake cookies, go on dates, and I spoil them with hugs and kisses. They're all so dear and charming, how can I not? I love them, and they love me and seem to really look out for me [read: my romantic life] in their own little kid ways.

A few months before graduation, Luke and Riley were driving in the car with their mommy (my oldest sister, Jenny). As they passed a sign for College Park, Riley asked Jenny if that's where I went to college. Jen said no, but that they'd be visiting me for graduation in three short months. Later, as Jen sped up to pass a big truck, Riley asked her why she was driving so fast. Jenny explained that she and daddy were in a very bad car accident when they were dating in college, and now she's nervous driving near big trucks. Riley knows that mommy and daddy got married after meeting in college, and she was quiet for a few minutes. Then she blurted out, "WOW, Teal graduates in 3 months? She's going to be a real adult soon! She doesn't have much time to get a boyfriend so she can get married after she graduates. And DON'T tell her I said that." Naturally, she told me.

They're so sweet to look out for me, but it seems to be a recurring theme/concern for them. Just the other day, Luke asked me if I was going to get married, and I said I certainly hope so, but I'm still pretty young. Then he asked who I was going to marry, and I just shook my head and said, "That's a good question Luke, I don't know!" Then they started to bring up guys whom I've introduced to the family, and even more innocent questions and comments spilled out: "Are you still friends? He was so nice." Oh, my little darlings, I PROMISE, some day I'll pick out an awesome uncle for you who'll be just as fun as I am and teach you magic tricks or play princess dress up.

In the mean time, who needs an M.F.A. or M.B.A. when I can just work on my M.R.S. degree?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The quake that shook the East Coast

...I couldn't resist. But anyway...back to picking up the pieces of my life from the aftermath of the 5.9 quake. I must admit, though, it was frightening to feel the house shake like that. I thought it was a truck!

Lost in translation? I wish.

At least if I was lost in translation, it would probably be with a human, in which case I could gesticulate and use my non-existent smart phone to look up key phrases. Lost on a highway with dozens of speeding steel machines barreling towards me is a different story, indeed.

Hello, my name is Teal, and I have a problem. Sometimes I get lost for hours when I'm driving to places I'm somewhat familiar/unfamiliar with. My dad says I come by it honestly...I say the roads are always changing just to mess with me

Now, it's not [always] my fault. In my humble opinion, everyone knows that city driving is awful and should be avoided at all costs. But when your brother asks you to pick up his dog to puppy-sit for the weekend (and offers you a lil' chunk of change to do it), why not help a brotha out? TRAFFIC AND HORRIBLE ROAD SIGNAGE, that's why not. I did it anyway, though.

Driving into Washington may be scenic and pretty, but those teeny tiny little signs will get you. Oh, the GW Parkway splits into 2 directions in 100 feet, and I have to choose which side to drive on RIGHT NOW without being able to see the minuscule sign until it's too late? big, I don't mind going 20 minutes out of my way to turn around. And forget about actually driving in the city. Dodging pedestrians and bicyclists and then more complicated signs on top of construction add to the tear-laden cocktail with a dash of hopelessness and a spritz of angry phone calls to dad. See? It's not always my fault. One lady did pull up to me, however, and ask where I was trying to go...I presume she heard me through the open windows as I cursed the heavens for my bad luck/inability to see the signs. And yes, I do have a GPS. Sometimes it works, but after using it to drive up to Penn State and arriving 5 hours later (it should've been around 3 1/2), I don't always trust it...and I'm convinced it's been rigged.

The only instance for which I'll take the blame was when I got lost in my closet looking for the bedroom door.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baby love, my baby love

Welcome to the world, my sweet little angel baby nephew! Carter Christopher was born on 8/18/11 at 11:18 and weighted 8 lbs, 1 oz. Coincidence?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I like to chop vegetables.

I wish I could dance like Beyonce. All ma single ladies, do you agree with me? You want the moves like Jagger? I got the moves like Jagger.

Driving home from a recent trip up to Penn State to move my furniture out of my house (and into my garage), my mom experienced my car dancing moves...which are not limited to only the car. As I got my groove on to Beyonce, Katy Perry, Ke$ha and the like, my mom snickered at me from the passenger seat. "Is that how you dance when you're out with friends?" she queried.

Honestly? Most of the time, yes.

This past semester, I was told that I look like I'm chopping vegetables when I dance, something that barely registered on my ego-meter. You see, ever since I was in high school, girlfriends have been trying to teach me how to dance. Slumber parties were spent laughing hysterically (at my expense) as they tried to get me to move my hips in a circular fashion. I can't seem to isolate my hips, so I end up doing a weird sort of shoulder shimmy and moving my arms about as gracefully as I can. I can definitely keep a beat from all my musical training, but I seem to lack a sense of rhythm. Ballroom dancing is an entirely different story, though. Give me a salsa, cha-cha, waltz, or polka and I will KILL IT. I know the moves and can follow the rhythm and beats with a strong lead.

Club dancing, on the other hand, is a totally different beast. Sweaty bodies, sub woofers, and sticky beer-covered floors add to the ambiance. I will bop and move and pretend that I can wiggle those hips with the best of them, and you know what? I LOVE IT. I love to dance. I don't care that I'm mediocre at best. Do I try to incorporate some Beyonce moves every now and then? You betcha. Who doesn't? I will keep my silly dance moves and ENJOY them, because you know what? If some creeper tries to back up on me, at least I can vegetable chop him away.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Well hello again.

It's been quite a bit of time since my last post...I had intended for it to stay that way, but recently I've had an itch to write. Hopefully this won't end up like the catastrophe that was "Teal's Meals," though I don't think it'll be an issue. I just want to share my thoughts and rambles, rants, ravings, what have you, WITH you.

The foremost thing that's been on my mind is the whole "graduating college and becoming an adult" thang. Yes, I knew it would be hard to find a job and move out of the house, but I don't think I was mentally or emotionally prepared for being rejected dozens of times. So many of the jobs I see that look interesting demand 3-5 years of experience, yet I can't get experience without a job. It's a total catch-22, and it's driving me bonkers. I feel like I'm all over the place--I have so many interests, yet no concrete long term goals. I like writing and editing, so that seems to make the most sense in terms of looking for work. Then again, I also like eating chocolate, but I'm finding if difficult to find jobs taste-testing the newest Godiva creations. I LOVE traveling (just see my previous posts about Ireland), so teaching English abroad is another option. Maybe teaching high school English?

Then again, I love singing and can't imagine my life without it. However, I've gotten materials together to audition for an opera company or competition and--poof!--the company shuts down because of a lack of financing and interest, or the competition doesn't have enough funding. What is the world coming to?! Don't we need art for art's sake? Don't even get me started, that'll be an entirely separate post someday. Luckily, I've discovered a few outlets for my singing, not including karaoke competitions in town on Monday nights. I found a few auditions with VA opera companies which I'll hopefully audition for, as well as some church gigs.

I've had my fair share of weird interviews...what was with the sketchy meeting with a certain insurance/investment corporation that lured me there under false pretenses of an "interview?" I put on my new suit, crisp resume in hand, and walked into a GROUP INTERVIEW, where he talked at us for 2 hours. It was awful, and I couldn't even hide my disdain and frustration. At least now I know not to fall for those phony interviews where the company found my resume on and said that I seem like a "really good communicator." Of course I am, but I'm not sure how you figured that out from my resume. Then there's the interview where I had to teach someone how to make an origami swan over Skype. Yup, I did it perfectly, and yes I actually had to do that. I thought I was a shoe-in, after 3 interviews, but I didn't get it. They did, however, call me back a few weeks later for an entirely different position that they thought I'd do really well in..I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, I'mma keep looking and interviewing...something is bound to work out.