A Loose Interpretation of To Kill A Mockingbird.

“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family.” – Harper Lee

The theme of family is consistent throughout To Kill A Mockingbird.  With juxtaposing character views on the subject, the reader can choose to side with Atticus Finch, where you accept your family and the blessings or curses, if you will, that come with them; or choose to side with Aunt Alexandra, who believes in kicking out the unworthy and preserving what is “good” within the bloodline.

If we’re talking about picking sides, I’m going to saddle up with Atticus on this one. I love my family and all the weird they bring into my life.  My parents are two of the most selfless human beings to ever walk this earth, constantly making sure my brothers and I had everything we needed growing up.  My three younger brothers taught me self defense; like physically shielding my face from flying objects, thwarting slaps from all directions, and building general mental walls so I don’t get hurt in other ways (ie, boys who are not related to me).

Pete's Family Photo (ooooh, ahhhh!)

Pete’s Family Photo (ooooh, ahhhh!)

On the contrary, I want to play a little Devil’s Advocate here.  As mentioned above, I LOVE my family.  Wouldn’t change a thing. But like, what if I could?  What if I could pick three new brothers, a new mother, and a new father?

The thought tickled my pop culture nerve.  Suddenly, I had a fake family to create, and it was going to be the best fake family in the whole internet world.

It took extensive research, hours on the couch, and about four bottles of wine to come up with my replacement family, and our motto: If it aint broke, it will be soon.

Without further adieu, these are the people I want to (hypothetically) replace my current family members:

Phil Dunphy

Phill Dunphy is my new dad because who doesn’t want an overgrown child as a guardian and protector?  There’s a 90% chance he’d agree to replacing the stairs with a slide.

  Lucille Bluth is the kind of mother that makes you wish you were an orphan.  But this is my internet family, and she is the most absurd matriarch on the silver screen, and I absolutely need  her.

Kevin McCallister is my new youngest brother. Booby trap city, all day, errrry day.  I think we could do a lot of damage together.  I also wouldn’t mind taking limos to work, the grocery store, or everywhere in general.

  Seth Cohen needs to be my brother so we can wear ugly Christmas sweaters and I can attend his barmitzvah.  Those parties are always OFF THE CHAIN.  Goody bags were 12’s out of 10. Always. Plus, he’ll bring the one shred of humility to my internet family.

Adam DeMamp

Adam DeMamp from Workaholics needs to be my third brother for the sole reason that I am not the dumbest one in my family.  My work ethic will make me look like Bill Gates in comparison to him.

Yup, I can see it now…

Summer nights with mom :)

Summer nights with mom 🙂

College graduation!

College graduation!

Seasons Greetings!

Seasons Greetings!

Editor’s Note:  I may need to take a look at the people I am choosing to surround myself with. My fake family may self-destruct thirty seconds after assembly.

Hypothetically speaking, if you could recreate your family with Hollywood’s mecca of characters, who would you pick?

Son can you play me a memory?

driving music

You know that feeling when you’re just going along with your day, walking down the street, sending an email, completely spacing out on your commute, and a memory hits you out of nowhere? You have no idea how it got here, but suddenly, it very much is. Of course this rarely happens with good memories that turn you into one of those people who laughs to herself on the train or smiles from ear to ear down the sidewalk. No, this memory phenomenon only happens with the most embarrassing, awful, “I thought I told you I never wanted to see you again” memories. The ones where you’re now the girl covering her eyes for no apparent reason because maybe that will make it go away. Yes, these little gems in time are reserved for those cringeworthy memories when you’re throwing up in the bathroom on a train from Rome to Florence (what? who’s done that? definitely not me…) or running into that person and making the world’s most uncomfortable small talk in the sobering light of day. Yes, these face-slapping memory ambushes are truly a scientific phenomenon and should be studied for the horrible moments of truth that they are.

I have good news though. These obnoxious memory punks have a much chiller, down-to-earth, make-you-pancakes-in-the-morning cousin, and her name is Music.

I love music. I mean who doesn’t, right? I firmly believe you’ve got to be some soulless devil worshipper if you don’t like music. Or at the very least you must be 100% devoid of a personality. Don’t tell me you’re “just not that into music” or you “just like what’s popular.” No. Wrong. Move along. If you’ve got one setting on your car radio and it’s Z-100 and you have no problem listening to whatever 6 songs they’ve got on a loop for days on days, then you are one of these people and we cannot be friends. Ever.

Anyway, I’ve found that right along with that stud muffin, Smell, Music has some serious memory super powers (here’s lookin’ at you, temporal lobe #psychnerd). You know what I’m talking about. You’re in your car, or kicking it shuffle-style on your i-Phone and a song comes on that transports you right back to that summer, that car ride, that person, that moment. It’s trippy, man. But oh so awesome. Because unlike the nightmare of a situation I described above, I’ve found music to be pretty damn positive about the whole remembering game.

To illustrate my point, let’s take a little trip down Jobin’s musical memory lane. It’s gonna be magical:

Like A Prayer | Madonna   Summer ‘06. Rachel and I cruising around in Spike, her white Chrysler lebaron convertible. Blasting this and singing it badly. Perfection.

Kiss Me | Sixpence None The Richer   High School. Singing this at the top of my lungs stuffed in the back of someone’s car. ‘Cause driving around was better than sitting at home. Jes told me I had a nice singing voice. Nbd.

Ain’t No Reason | Brett Dennen   Summer ’07. This was on repeat as I soaked in that last summer at home. Bring it on college, I can be thoughtful and deep.

Maggie’s Farm | Bob Dylan   Fall ’07. Riding the shuttle to my morning classes freshman year. It was early, I was doing my makeup on the bus, but it was freshman year and college was awesome.

Warwick Avenue | Duffy   College. This was my ringtone for a seriously long time. Amazing lady power soundtrack for walking to class. Love it.

Sex on Fire | Kings of Leon   Dublin ’09. Every pub we went into. Gold

I Gotta Feeling | Black Eyed Peas   Dublin ’09. Every night before we went out, and usually the pub too. Double gold. 

Stutter | Maroon 5   ’11? ’12? Walking out of the metro exit on my way to work in the morning, so professional. Sometimes these things don’t make sense…just gotta embrace the randomness. 

Silver Lining | Rilo Kiley   ’13. Driving through DC on a random Tuesday night to an open mic night with Grace. Girl power, gettin’ cultured. Bring it. 

One Headlight | The Wallflowers   Every summer in my memory. Driving down Crossbay Blvd.  for another glorious Rockaway beach day. Nothing beats it.

And you know I hooked you up with a playlist. Listen here and it’ll be like you’re living my life. Like I said, trippy.

Here’s to the memories, Music.

Cheers, Jobin

A Wishlist for my Afterlife.

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A few weeks ago I was at the gas station when a homeless woman came up to me and asked me for money so she could buy a coffee.  I never carry cash, so I went in with her and used my debit card to get her a medium light and sweet.

The next day a man asked me for some money so he could buy a T pass. Again, I never carry cash, but I swiped him through the turnstile so he could catch the next train.

I don’t carry cash for a variety of reasons.  One, I am too disorganized in my purse to ever hold on to any amount of money.  Second, using credit cards gives the illusion that I’m not spending real money, so if I don’t see the cash physically disappear, it must still be in my bank account (this is completely rational thinking, by the way).

But not carrying cash in those two instances allowed me to do something good with my money.  Now I know buying a coffee and a train ride aren’t the basis for getting into heaven, but I have to believe it’s a good start.

This whole path towards greatness got me thinking about what heaven must be like.  And if i’m going to be in it, there definitely needs to be a few things to make my eternal stay in the afterlife a comfortable one.  I made this list assuming bacon was already present, because frankly, excluding it would be preposterous.

Here is a list of the things that (absolutely) have to be in heaven:

1. Naps

You have to be outside of your mind if you don’t think that I will spend every night dreaming about nap time, and every day planning out when it’s happening.

2. Wine

Grapes on grapes on grapes.  Wine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Wine is water, and water is wine. I think the bible says that.

3. Buffets

I can’t be in an eternal place of peace and serenity and not have unlimited access to selections from Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC.  KFC biscuits are a deity.

4. Teleports

Aint nobody got time to wait in line in heaven. I can’t be dealing with traffic up in the sky when I want to go to Cloud Bar for a 7pm dinner reservation.

5. Jax Teller

I don’t understand why I would have to explain this one.

6. Baby Animals

Puppies will always be puppies, and baby pandas will be my pillows, and there will be a baby jungle full of baby lions, tigers, bears, OH MY! Basically heaven will be Neverland for animals.

7. Trampolines

No one has a bad day after playing on a trampoline. I will also miraculously be gifted the talent of being able to do gymnastics, so trampolines will have infinitely more applications in my afterlife.

8. Good Hair Days

There is no way I don’t wake up in heaven with prefect tendrils or tresses or curls, it’s just not possible. Hair always looks good in heaven. I think it’s cause there’s no humidity or something. Don’t quote me on that.

In the vein of all things glorious, there are definitely a list of things that are, under no circumstances, allowed in heaven (with or without me).

1. The DMV

The DMV belongs in hell. Those people probably didn’t pay their parking tickets and have more of a use for it anyways. Heaven only lets in good drivers.

2. Airport Security

I’m going to fly with nine hundred water bottles and regular sized shampoos.

3. Push Button/Hand Sensor Faucets

Heaven trusts people to turn the faucet off when you’re done washing your hands.  The people in hell deserve to have sensors tell them when they’ve hit their water quota.

4. Food Allergies

I’ve lived too long with a dairy allergy. I reserve the right to gorge my face with cheese and ice cream, or cheese-flavored-ice cream in heaven.  Food allergies are going to hell. BE GONE.

xoxo Heavenly Pete

Remember the time…and then I broke my face.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

I’ll be the first person to admit that I am not fond of someone telling me what to do.

But being a twenty-four year old with extensive nanny experience, I realize that the rules and regulations established for us as children were meant to keep us safe.  But that never stopped me from giving the stop sign the middle finger as I rolled through it, or being disruptive to the point where I was actually kicked out of girl scouts.

Growing up with three younger brothers, I never really had a chance to become a girly-girl.  I was always playing in the mud, getting shot at with paintball guns, and learning the names of all the baseball players on the New York Yankees.  My brothers taught me to be tough, stubborn, and rebellious above anything else.

I’m not going to say I’m a criminal, but I have taken a few creative liberties when it comes to following the law. Here’s a few that I’ve broken:

The Laws of the Road: I’ve gotten more than my fair share of tickets.

The Unwritten Law of Digestion: I don’t wait 30 minutes to swim.

The Drinking Age Law: I had wine at my first communion, broke that law in a church.  Does that count as two?

But these are all trivial compared to the time that I broke The First Law of Motion.  Sir Isaac Newton states that an object will stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force – basically if you’re moving, you’ll keep moving until something stops you, like a wall, or in my case, a big ass tree.

Let me set the scene for a minute. My mom is a crazy runner, like six miles every other day.  My brother had just gotten this spiffy new Huffy bike with grippy handlebars and a comfy seat.  Like, way better than mine.  She asked me to accompany her on her run and I said yes.  Naturally, I took his bike instead of mine (so I guess I’ve stolen too?) and embarked on what was supposed to be a six mile adventure with my mom.

Enter the law of motion.  I ride out of the driveway and turn to go down the hill.  I knew in my head that I could roll down the hill faster than my mom’s two, tiny, Irish feet could carry her, so I told her that I’d meet her by the pond at the end of the road.  I wanted to feel the wind in my hair and the breeze on my face without interruption.

I was riding at a leisurely pace when all the sudden the force that interrupted my inertia joyride came out of nowhere… and then I broke my face.

Yup, stay in school kids.  Pay attention to science, or your teachers, or whoever tells you something and says it’s important.  If you don’t, you’ll ultimately end up breaking laws, and breaking laws causes you to crash your bike into a tree and end up looking like this:

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Result: 6 broken bones in the face, two in the arm, and a popped blood vessel in my left eye.

Side note: Having a black eye, a broken face, and arm sling swag in my third grade school photo did give me some serious street cred.

But it also could have been because I told people I got into a fight over a Twix and they needed to “see what happened to the other guy.”

Xo Pete

You Should Know This For The Apocalypse.

This-Is-The-End-All-2-500

My mom was really into that show Revolution when it first aired.

For those who don’t know, it’s a post-apocalyptic television show that focuses on a town living life fifteen years after a global blackout.  All the sci-fi mumbo jumbo and dramatic elements are present. Alliances are formed.  Enemies are made.  Friendships are tested.  But above all, survival is essential.

The show premiered at a very convenient time in 2012.  I was living in Connecticut, and we had just survived a nine-day electricity blackout thanks to that biatch, Hurricane Sandy.

Having endured more than a week without power, I pretty much adopted a Katniss Everdeen alter ego.  I fully believed I could engage and win in a survival of the fittest game if it ever came to it.   Going over a week without a shower and blindly navigating my way from the kitchen to my bedroom after my midnight snack made me the toughest human being on the planet.

My experiences helped me understand what it was like to struggle in an apocalyptic situation, and I wanted to compare my survival notes during Sandy with the characters on Revolution.  I was sitting on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket, holding a goblet full of wine when I realized I was sorely mistaken in my assumptions about blackout survival tactics.

Imagining I was involved, I had to think about all the great attributes and skills I have that would benefit me in certain situations.  I made a mental list in my head of all my strengths: I’m a good leader.  I can help people.  I’m athletic.

But, the crippling reality of a non-electrical world harrowed on my soul to the point where I knew I had to make a blanket statement to the world about hanging out with me during an apocalypse.  I wanted to give everyone all the information before this actually happens.

I know how it goes.  The world blacks out and everyone immediately starts picking teams.  My intellectual prowess coupled with the fact that I won Best Athlete in the 8th grade superlatives makes me an obvious choice for your survival team.  But I have to be selfless and realize that even the strongest people in the world have weaknesses that can’t be ignored.

Here are a list of reasons you wouldn’t want me in your survival group in the event of an apocalypse. 

1. I’m essentially blind.

I have a contact prescription that is one point away from granting me a handicap sticker.  All you’d have to do is take away my glasses and tell me to head in the direction of a cliff or some quicksand and I’m gone.

2. I need at least 8 hours of sleep.

I get really cranky if I’m not properly rested.  I also need white noise in order to drift off into dreamland.  I realize this is an issue because night seems like the optimal time to stage an attack, and I like to have lights out by 9pm.

3. I have a pretty strict diet.

And by strict, I mean I eat like four things. Chicken, bacon, bread, and eggs.  I may dabble in a salad here and there, but only if there’s ranch dressing.

4. I can’t swim very well.

If there is any sort of water obstacle that needs to be overcome, don’t even think about it.  I’m as good a swimmer as a cinderblock.

5. I’m not a good multi-tasker.

I can’t even make toast without something sparking or blowing up.  Don’t even get me started on the disaster that would ensue if I had to run through a uncleared forest while simultaneously looking forward and backwards to thwart off attackers.

6. I have an atrocious sense of direction.

North is always straight ahead.

7. I think I’m always right.

Which I am. Obviously.

8. I’m not what some would call, in shape. 

My stamina is not up to par, so running for long periods of time isn’t generally a good idea.

9. People don’t describe me as swift, cunning, or stealth.

I don’t know how to whisper, my voice doesn’t do that.  Deaf people can hear me trying to sneak up behind them.

10. I’m not good at waiting. 

There’s no way in hell I’m staying for more than a day in one place. I’m not even good at waiting for a song to finish on my iPod before I change it.

All my faults aside, I’m still going to try and tag along even if you don’t want me.  I’m sure there’s someone weaker we can cut out first, right?

xoxo PickMePete

 

Saturday Smoothie: Hydration Station

Played a little too much Cup Buckets last night? Planning to imbibe a bit this evening?

Going on a long jog (soft j)? Got some serious dancing in your future?

You need to hydrate (or re-hydrate). And stay that way.

Enter today’s smoothie, a real minx of a hydrator.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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1 c coconut water

1 tbs chia seeds

1 tbs coconut oil (room temp)

2 c fresh baby spinach

1/4 c frozen pineapple

1/2 c frozen mango

1/2 frozen banana

Note: These measurements are flexible, but a good reference for the proportions you want to aim for.

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First, add the coconut water. Feel free to add less than the full cup at first. You can always add more later. Next, add the chia seeds and coconut oil, using the coconut water to help that pesky coconut oil slide off the spoon. Then, wait a minute or two for the chia seeds to soak in the coconut water. This helps with hydration maximization.

Note: Having an imaginary watch helps with accurate timing of chia soaking.

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Next, you’ll add the spinach, then the frozen banana, pineapple, and mango.

Note: The smoothie will be ruined if you don’t add the fruit in this order.

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Next, pop the top on and get it blending. I like to start with the “ice crush” setting first and then switch to “puree” to get everything nice and smoothie-fied. Next, pour your smoothie out of the blender and get it rinsed asap. It is SO much easier to clean the blender when everything is still liquid.

Note: Your imaginary watch will come in handy again during blending.

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Finally, go enjoy that green beauty. She will keep you hydrated for days. Camel status.

xo Jobin

CupBuckets

Drinking + Games = Fun.

So, in honor of the weekend, I’m going to impart on you the wisdom and wonderment of a drinking game my friend Brittany and I created (while drinking) in Minnesota this summer.

It’s called Cup Buckets and it goes a little something like this.

Required Equipment:

1. Solo Cups

2. Hands

3. 3 friends/enemies/acquaintances/human beings

4. Some degree of hand-eye coordination

Rules:

There has to be a minimum of four players. Make two teams.

Stand about ten feet away and face each other.

One person will throw the solo cup and the other person has to catch it by having it land on top of your hand.

The object is to get 5 “buckets” (cup on hand) before the other team.

You drink every time you miss/don’t catch the cup.

Rudimentary sketches detailing proper formation below:

How to form your hand in preparation and anticipation.

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How you catch the cup.

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Now, go forth, my sons, to the land of inebriation.

xoxo, VodkaPete