Things I Learned About Marriage From “House Of Cards”

It took me roughly a month, but I finally finished watching Season 2 of House of Cards. (Warning: If you haven’t seen any of Season 2 yet and you don’t want any spoilers, this is the time for you to stop reading.)

House of Cards

Here’s what I learned about married life from Frank and Claire:

  • Smoke. Smoke some more. And then smoke again. It’s sexy.
  • If your husband kills his mistress/reporter confidant, don’t ask questions.
  • Invite your husband’s coworkers over for dinner. Serve BBQ. Make them feel bad by flaunting how well your marriage functions, and then manipulate them into going to therapy.
  • The occasional threesome with your bodyguard is an easy way to spice up your love life. (Especially if said bodyguard has just cut open his hand and had a bit too much bourbon.)

House of Cards Threesome

  • The couple who runs (physically) together, wins together.
  • And if running isn’t an option, there’s always that weird rowing machine.
  • Also, the couple who calculates other people’s demise together will likely take over the Oval office.

Thank you, House of Cards, for a thoroughly enjoyable Season 2, as well as all the life lessons. (They’ve been noted.)

 

 

Help Me Figure Out The 30 Things I Need To Do Before Turning 30

Just to clarify: I’m 29, and in 10 months I’ll be 30.

I have always looked forward to turning 30. I had this idea in my head that turning 30 would mean that I’d enter a totally different stage of my life. Like, all of a sudden I wouldn’t be so clumsy, and I’d have my shit together, basically.

But I was talking to a friend the other day about turning 30, and much like me, she’s right on the cusp of it. When I mentioned that I was excited for the change, she said, “Really? Because I think that turning 30 is going to be exactly the same, except I’ll be 30.”

The problem is, she had a point. My 30th is only 10 months away and, really, why would that age make my life drastically different?

Turning 30Much like any other birthday, the only thing that truly changes is your age. And yet, I can look back at 25, 26, 27, and 28, and remember if it was a good year, or a bad year. I’d really like to make 29 a good year. So good that by the time I’m 30 I really do feel different.

There are a lot of “30 things to do before you turn 30” lists out there, and they have suggestions like travel, volunteer, write a book, etc etc. All of those are great things to do, but realistically, I probably won’t be able to backpack through Europe, and I wouldn’t really want to, at this point in my life. My thing is this: I’d actually like to make a to do list of what I should accomplish before 30 that are actually accomplishable. A list of 30 things to do before you leave your 20s, basically.

With the help of E, I came up with some things that I’ve always personally wanted to do, and I think I could get done in the next 10 months:

  1. Eat an entire cheese pizza all by myself in one sitting. This has been a goal of mine ever since watching Curly Sue do it as a kid.
  2. Finish writing the musical I’ve been working on, and have it put up in New York.
  3. Go on a totally spontaneous, spur of the moment weekend trip.
  4. Learn how to make sushi! Which is also a bucket list item of mine.
  5. Read Anna Karenina 
  6. Go camping/glamping, because I’ve ever been.
  7. Spend a day at a weird food festival, and don’t feel guilty about not doing any work that day. (Maybe the LA Street Food Fest?)
  8. Watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Because I’ve actually never seen it.
  9. Learn Italian. Or rather, begin to learn Italian. So, maybe a goal of 200 Italian words in 10 months?
  10. For the next 10 months, have some kind of dinner party with friends once a month.
  11. Finish decorating and painting our new apartment so that it feels complete. (E said, “I feel like a few more rugs would really tie the place together!”)
  12. Beat E in a game of chess. He’s really good.

I’d like to get this list up to 30, and I’m curious if anyone has suggestions? If you’re already 30 or older, what are some things you would have liked to have done? And if you’re under 30, what are some cool and realistic goals I could set over the next 10 months to make me a more well-rounded person? Help me turn 30!

 

Happy Caturday: The Weirdest Cat Video You’ll Ever See

Know what happens when I drink whiskey? I look up cat videos. So, last night my friend Tom came over (he lives downstairs, so coming over is literally just walking up the stairs), and we had some whiskey, which meant that the cat videos commenced.

I looked up this video I hadn’t seen since college, but I remembered that it involved men brushing their cats and saying”She’s a talker!” over and over again. All I have to say is: you’re welcome, and happy caturday.

Why Being Ladylike Is Overrated

Truth time: I swear a whole fucking lot. Like, all the time I’m dropping f bombs, and s bombs. Basically, if there’s a bomb to drop, then I’m letting it fly.

I don’t know exactly how I got this way. (SPOILER ALERT!) The only time I’ve ever heard my Mom swear was after I told my little brother that Santa didn’t exist. My Dad swears more frequently, to be fair, but certainly not at my level. So somewhere along the road of life, swearing just became a large part of my vocabulary. I don’t even realize that I’m doing it most of the time.

But the other month, we were out to dinner with some friends and one of them prefaced a sentence with, “Excuse my language” before saying the word “Shit.”

In that moment, I realized that I’d spent most of the evening dropping my usual bombs, and that this girl was likely offended by them, but too polite to say so, and that her prefacing the sentence was a subtle way to let me know that I needed to shut the fuck up.

So for the past month, I’ve been trying to watch my language. After all, I’m getting older and, I don’t know, I certainly don’t want to offend people. So I brought the idea up with E the other night, and here’s how that conversation went:

Me: I’m going to put a swear jar in the house somewhere, I think.

E: OK… why?

Me: Well, I swear a lot. You know? So, I was thinking of putting money into a jar every time I fucking swear, so that I, you know, stop doing that.

E: Why?

Me: Because I watched this BuzzFeed video about signs that being ladylike isn’t your forte, and they showed this girl cursing every other word, and I realized that’s ME. Like, I do that.

E: So what?

Me: Well, I mean, doesn’t it bother you?

E: No.

Me: Really?!

E: Yeah, I mean, I think being ladylike is overrated.

Me: Oh thank God, because I was really fucking worried that you were offended and I’d have to stop swearing and stop being, well, like myself.

E: Be yourself. I don’t ever want you to change.

Me (in my head): You are the best boyfriend ever, and thank the stars for you.

So, yes, I suppose the truth of the matter is that I am not ladylike. I curse a lot. And it’s part of who I am, and that’s OK. It’s great even. Don’t be afraid to let your un-ladylike flag fly, because while some people may poo-poo your potty mouth, there will absolutely be someone who loves you for being the offensive you that you are.

That was convoluted, but it’s nice to know that being ladylike is overrated, and I was really glad to hear E say it. Oh, and if you’re curious about that video, check it out below. (It’s basically my life story.)

Happy Caturday: Here’s Fish Playing With A Spring

I haven’t taken as many videos and photos of Fish as I should, and that’s mainly because I’m usually too busy playing with her. She’s a year and a half, but it feels like she still has the energy of a kitten. She REALLY loves chasing things and subsequently sitting on them until she’s ready to chase again. I can’t imagine where she gets that from…

Blogging Is 20 Years Old, And Here’s A Vintage Post Of Mine To Celebrate

Did you know that blogging turned 20? It had a birthday. Which is kind of strange to think about. When I was 9, blogging started. And there are people younger than me who don’t even know what it’s like to live in a world without blogging. (Blasphemy!)

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that blogging changed my life. I started blogging in grad school, just on the side to build up a portfolio so that I could get freelance jobs and make extra money. And now I work at BuzzFeed, in large part thanks to my blogging jobs.

My first blog was called La Rosa Knows. I don’t know why I named it that, it just seemed appropriate, and it became a bit of an identity for me. People who knew me and my blog would say, LA ROSA KNOWS!, if I said something funny. It made me feel so proud of that blog, which started in 2009. I blogged about stuff I found funny, traveling through Utah to chase polygamists, and cats, of course.

Erin Circa 2010

This is a photo of me that I put on my blog in 2010. I was a big fan of selfies and the photobooth app.

Side of Ginger came about because I felt that I’d moved into a different phase of my life, and wanted to be able to reflect that through my blog. But in honor of blogging’s 20th birthday, I wanted to share an old post of mine from 2010. (I would’ve done one from 2009, but a lot of my old posts were eaten when I switched from blogger to Tumblr, sadly.)

So, without further ado: Here’s a post I wrote in 2010, when I briefly flirted with the idea of taking Spanish classes…

Beginner Level 1

I decided that since I have the summer off, and I “love to learn” that I would take some language classes to brush up on my skillz. First I called my mom to tell her about my idea, and she asked me what language I’d be focusing on. I threw out some ideas, “Well, I was thinking French or Italian because those are really hip…” to which my mother replied “Who do you know that you’ll be able to speak those with? People speak Spanish here. Take Spanish.” Obviously this was not the response I was looking for. I wanted her to say, “French, why, they speak that in France! You should move there for a year and eat baguettes and ride a bike and write novels while drinking wine!”

But the thing is, she had a point. I took Spanish all throughout middle and high school. When we went on a family trip to Barcelona I was the one who ended up ordering tapas at dinner and asking directions from the locals in their native tongue. That trip was three years ago. I now live in Los Angeles and plenty of people speak Spanish here. I’m from Florida, where most of the billboards and store clerks are purely conversing in Spanish at this point. I should know Spanish, and a brush up course would be helpful.

So, I put a call into the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute. A nice woman named Eva with a slight accent answered, and once I informed her that I had taken Spanish and was essentially not a beginner she proceeded to ask me some questions.

“How do you say ‘I have a dog’?”

“That would be ‘Yo tengo un perro.’”

“Very good, and how about ‘I left the book on the table.’”

“Oh, huh, well, okay now let’s see… I know the words for book ‘libro’ and table ‘la mesa’ but I cant really…”

“Okay, not a problem! How about we conjugate a bit, how do you say ‘I am.’”

“Yo soy.”

“Good, and now ‘They are.’”

“Eeee, yikes, um… not totally remembering now…”

(Eva laughing slightly) “We’ll move on, let’s try ‘We are.’”

“Yup, not gonna happen.”

(Eva really laughing) “I think let’s start at beginner’s level for now, and if you get bored we’ll move you up. Okay?”

And so it seems my eight plus years of Spanish have completely failed me. If I had any knowledge of how to conjugate verbs, that apparently scrammed out the door immediately after our trip to Spain. I can tell you I have a dog, but ask me to say ‘They have a dog’ and you’ve lost me.

I start my beginner Spanish class when I get back from my vacation in Florida. It will meet once a week and I have to buy a textbook for it. My hopes are that I will be the brightest in the class… We’ll see how that goes.

Our First Week With Fish The Cat, And That Time She Pooped Everywhere

Here’s a conversation I had with E the other night over a large glass of wine:

Me: Hey, remember when we didn’t have a cat?

E: No.

Me: Me neither.

It’s only been a week with Fish, but it feels like she’s been here forever. And I mean that in the best way possible. Here’s how the week has gone…

Fish and E

Day 1: A woman from the adoption center comes to our house to make sure it’s cat friendly. E and I nervously fidget while trying to hide all of that anti-cat propaganda we secretly have. After roughly three minutes have passed, we sign a contract saying that we’ll be taking Fish home, and she leaves. HOORAY! ALL IS GOOD IN THE WORLD!

We get the OK to pick up Fish that day, so I run to Petco to pick up a litterbox, litter, and a totally unnecessary amount of cat food, which prompts the checkout boy to ask, “How many cats do you have?” To which I’m forced to reply, “Just one.” Humiliating.

Then I head to the shelter to pick up Fish. When I walk in, I see this actress who I recognize from The Newsroom and more importantly, from that one time when she tweeted a topless photo of herself. Alison Pill apparently volunteers at the shelter… and she clapped when she heard that I was adopting Fish. Everyone loves Fish. Even nice actresses with Twitter accounts.

So, I take Fish out of her little cage, and ever so gently nudge her into the cat carrier that I also bought at Petco. She doesn’t like it, and basically spends most of the car ride home mewing about it. But IT’S OK! BECAUSE SHE’S COMING HOME! HOORAY!

That first day at our house, she didn’t nap. Or sleep. She ate a little, and mostly went from room to room, trying to sort out if there were other cats hiding somewhere. She was edgy, (and rightfully so), but she also sat with us, and purred a lot, to basically say, I’m terrified, but let’s be friends! She ended up sleeping on our bed that night too, which was pretty freaking adorable.

Pensive Fish

DAY 2: It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and we’re cooking up a lot of food. And Fish wants to help, or eat it all, or both, so we spend the day training her not to go on the kitchen table, or the kitchen countertops. She seems to be understanding that going on those places means we’ll pick her up and say, “No!” And she doesn’t like the word “No.”

Day 3: I go to work, and E is home with Fish. We’re both a bit concerned, because Fish’s eyes have been twitching every few minutes, to a point where it almost looks like her eyes are shaking. The woman from the adoption center tells us that this often happens in Siamese breeds and it could be nothing, OR it could be a tumor. Because I’m a pessimist, my mind immediately goes for the worst possible scenario, and I make an appointment for Fish to go to the vet later in the week. I spend a lot of the day googling Cat Shaky eyes. Nothing good comes of it.

When I get home from work, Fish is sitting in E’s lap and loving life. It’s pretty adorable. It occurs to me that if Fish does have a tumor, I might actually drain my savings to get her whatever treatment’s necessary. E and I have a talk about what we’ll do if it comes to that, and it kind of broke my heart to think about.

Day 4: Fish has now learned that if she doesn’t jump on the countertops, she gets a treat. So whenever we go into the kitchen, she follows and dutifully waits to be rewarded for her good behavior. Meaning that she equates the kitchen with treats. We figure out that Fish is possibly too smart for her own good, and we are possibly not smart enough.

Day 5: I have to go to work, and since E is working from home, he takes Fish to the vet. It’s a really stressful morning, because I assume we’re going to find out she has a tumor, and am basically preparing for that. I text him all throughout the visit, and he says that she hates the carrier, the vet, and him for bringing her there.

About an hour later, we find out that Fish doesn’t have a tumor. Her eyes are twitchy, like other Siamese cats. And we don’t have to worry about that. But she does need a rabies shot, as it’s the law. So E and Fish leave the vet with a rabies shot and a big case of flea medication. It is a good day.

Day 6: Fish is sick from her rabies shot. She won’t eat. She didn’t sleep in our room the night before. She has a fever, or what we assume is a fever, because her fur is oddly warm to the touch. She doesn’t leave her cat bed the whole day, and we both feel like terrible cat parents. Why did we take her to the vet?! Will she ever be the same?! WE ARE BAD PEOPLE.

Fish High

Day 7: The rabies shot wears off, and Fish has returned to her old self. She experiences catnip for the first time (see photo above), and stares off in some kind of drunken cat stupor for a solid hour.

Then we go out to dinner with friends and brag about what an amazing cat she is. We’re proud kitty parents, and it feels good to have kept her alive for a full week (minus a few hiccups).

When we come home, the place smells undeniably of cat poop. Just a big wave of it when we opened the door. Then we see brown cat paw prints that lead to Fish’s litterbox. Turns out, while we were out to dinner, Fish relieved herself, stepped in that relief, and proceeded to flaunt it all over the apartment.

So, needless to say, we’re getting rid of Fish.

………………………..

Just kidding! We love her so much that we stayed up till 2 a.m. cleaning the poop floors, dumping out her litterbox, and airing the place out.

Day 8: We buy Fish new litter, because we’re convinced this Feline Pine mess isn’t cutting it. So far, no cat poop paws to be seen.

Happy Caturday: Creeper Edition

I really love creepy cats. I do. I can’t help it, they just speak to a level of creep that I can appreciate.

I hope everyone’s Saturday is as creep-tastic as this dude’s. (I seriously re-watched this a solid 5 times. 10 times. Whatever.)

Big News: We’re Adopting A Cat (!)

For anyone who knows me, one of the first things you probably find out is that I love cats. I talk about them so often that people will often just say, “What kind of cat do you have?” To which I then have to embarrassingly respond, “I don’t have a cat… YET.”

E is also a cat lover. (Thank God, because that honestly would’ve been a deal breaker for me.) And we both wanted to wait to check out a cat to adopt until after the holidays and after I came back from Sundance. So, last weekend our lives slowed down, and we decided to head to Sante D’Or, a local shelter by our home.

I cannot tell you how massively unprepared I was for cat adoption day. We walked into the shelter, and there were roughly 40 cats that peered back at us, all looking for someone to take them home. And at Sante D’Or, there are some cats in cages, and other cats are just walking around, rubbing against your legs, swatting at your head from perches. No matter where you turn, there’s a new cat face to lock eyes with yours and try to burn into your soul. We did a lap around the place, and the first cat that E noticed — like, REALLY noticed — was Misty.

Misty The CatShe was sitting quietly in a chair, minding her own beautiful business, and E pointed to her. “What about that one?” he said. When I first saw Misty, I will fully admit that she looked like any other cat to me. She was pretty, but was she the one?

I decided to sit down next to her. And let me tell you, Misty knows how to work it. Within seconds, she was sitting on my lap, and within minutes, she was rubbing her kitty face against my human face, and basically saying, “YES, I’M THE ONE, OBVIOUSLY.”

The thing about Sante D’Or, is that you have to put in an application for adoption. It’s not like other shelters, where they’re handing you a cat to take home that day, and trying to shove another three in your bag. No, at Sante D’Or, they have a thorough process, and when someone puts in an application for a cat, they put a sign on their cage that reads, “Adoption Pending.” I asked E to go find Misty’s cage, so we could see how old she was, her history, and other details about her. I was not prepared for what E found, because when he pointed to Misty’s cage, there was one of those little signs: Adoption Pending.

We asked one of the volunteers if the sign was a mistake. It had to be a mistake. I literally couldn’t stand up from the chair, because Misty was now standing on my chest, rubbing her furry head all over me.

“Oh, Misty,” one of the volunteers looked at her, then at me, then at the sign on that cage. I thought I was going to start crying. E was quite certain I would. It took me a few minutes to be able to actually pick Misty up, and put her back on the chair, alone.

Once I was able to leave her, it took me a while to adjust to the idea of not getting her. But I tried really hard, because it was cat adoption day, and we really wanted to put in an application. We walked around again, this time really checking out those adoption pending signs and not getting too attached to anyone. The volunteers showed us other lap cats. There was Rosie, and Ophelia, for example. They were great, but they weren’t Misty. Eventually, they showed us an area we had somehow missed, which is when we saw Smash — an orange tabby cat with a tail as fluffy as a duster.

Smash was sweet, younger than Misty, and extremely playful. We played with him for a good twenty minutes, and felt like if we couldn’t get Misty, then we could certainly take home Smash and love him to pieces. There were other people eyeing Smash, saying his name as if the cat was already theirs. So we hurriedly picked up an application and began to fill it out. When we filled out the app, we listed Smash as the cat we wanted to adopt, but also added a note. “If Misty becomes available, we’d like to adopt her.”

We turned in the application, waved goodbye to Smash, (and I secretly waved goodbye to Misty), and then carried on with our Saturday, knowing we wouldn’t hear back on the application for a few days.

Cut to Tuesday of this week, and my phone rings. A woman named Sandy left me a message, saying that Misty was available again, as her adoption fell through, and Smash really needed to go to a home with other cats already there.

I emailed E, because in those few days I’d kept telling myself we were getting Smash, and all of a sudden Misty was an option again. I was confused and, to be honest, a little torn. But he reminded me of how much I loved Misty. Then I looked up her Petfinder profile to remind myself:

Misty was brought to the rescue with her three legged daughter, Osita. After a close call with some street thugs, she’s got a clean bill of health and is ready for a forever home.

I didn’t realize she’d been a teen mom! Or had a three-legged daughter! Or been a street thug! All of it kind of melted my heart, and reminded me of what made Misty so amazing in the first place. I called Sandy back, and we decided to move forward with Misty, the girl who first stole our hearts.

On Saturday, we’ll have what’s called a “home visit,” where Sandy will come to our house, without Misty, and make sure that what we have is a cat friendly environment. We’ve already bought cat toys, cat treats, a litterbox, and even a cat shaped mat where we’re going to put Misty’s food bowls. Tonight I plan to clean and sweep and make this place SHINE so that Sandy can give us her cat stamp of approval.

If all goes well, we could be given the OK to pick Misty up, and take her back home with us that very same day. I’m feeling extremely excited about the idea of having her here, but also really nervous that it won’t work out.

In any event, I will keep you all posted on our cat adoption, and hopefully the next Caturday update will involve our very own cat!

Sorry For The Radio Silence, But I Was Busy Living It Up In Utah

I didn’t think that I’d get to cross an item like this off of my bucket list for a long time. But, as the BuzzFeed fate would have it, I got an opportunity to go and cover Sundance for a week, and it was really quite incredible. (So long, item #46!)

For those who may not be familiar with the Sundance Film Festival, it was started by Robert Redford in 1978— I didn’t know that off the top of my head. I had to look it up on Wikipedia, like all the other kids — and it’s an opportunity for independent filmmakers to get their movies seen on a large scale. The ultimate goal for these filmmakers is that a company will finance their film and help it get distributed to a larger audience and more theaters.

I don’t know why Sundance was on my bucket list, really. I prefer TV to film. I’m not a film snob. I don’t really know MUCH about film, other than I like watching movies. Oh, and I definitely don’t ski. So going to a ski mecca like Park City, UT had no appeal to my athletic side. (If there is one.)

My flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City was exclusively filled with people who work “in the industry.” Meaning agents, managers, lawyers, directors, actors, producers, la di da. All of them were talking about movies, while I sat and quietly listened. It was one of the most bizarre moments of my life, if only because it felt like a parody of a Sundance flight.

Being at Sundance in general often felt like a parody of what Sundance should be. From the way people wore a ridiculous amount of fur, to the frenzy that often occurred when someone famous walked down the street. But that part of it I absolutely loved — it didn’t feel like anywhere else I’d ever been. I got to interview a lot of people I never would’ve been able to otherwise — looking at you, Lance Bass and Michael C. Hall— and, ya know, it was just really fun and different. So there was that.

What I also learned about Sundance was this:

  1. It’s sprawling. Like, you can’t just WALK from one theater to the next. You have to be shuttled around everywhere, or take taxis, except the taxis charge an absolutely outrageous amount of money. (As well they should, I suppose.)
  2. If you’re given the opportunity to eat a meal, then you better eat everything on your plate, because you never know when you’re going to be able to eat again. There’s no time to eat ever, or room to eat, actually. I basically lived off of a diet of peanut butter granola bars, which I took from the hotel front desk every morning on my way out. Once you get onto Main Street, there are tons of restaurants. Except all of them are packed, and require reservations. And when you get to the theaters to see a film, they have snacks like popcorn and gummy bears for sale, but at that point, you’re so desperate for real food that the thought of eating flavored popcorn actually makes you want to die a little. If someone brought a food truck to Main Street, they’d make a KILLING. (And if you plan to implement that idea, I’d like 10%.)
  3. Black ice. Everywhere. They manage to salt most of the ice to a point where you won’t slip and break yourself, but the black ice remains, and I found every single patch of it.
  4. SMOG. Holy guacamole, I had no idea that Salt Lake and Park City had such enormous air pollution issues. Because of where they’re situated below the mountains, all of the polluted air is basically trapped in those cities. Each day when you look out and across the skyline, it looks… hazy. Much like Los Angeles, but even worse. That’s air pollution. Really nuts.
  5. There are WEIRDOS who go to Sundance, aside from myself, but seriously strange folks. I met a man who brought his pet owl to just hang out in the middle of Main Street, another guy was wearing a fur jockstrap and nothing else, even though there was snow on the ground, and then there was the party of a film exec I went to, who required that all guests remove their shoes and leave them in the hallway outside of his penthouse.
  6. Everyone comes back from Sundance with the plague. For me, that plague was the flu. I’m still recovering. (Though, will I ever really recover?)
  7. I really really knew that I wanted to go to Sundance. Mainly because I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted to know. And I have to say that while I didn’t know what to expect, it really exceeded all of my expectations. It was a festival unlike any other I’ve been too, and I had such an amazing time there.

Crossing #46 off of my bucket list has definitely made me feel like I can cross off a whole lot more this year. It’s not even the end of January, not really, so maybe there’s time for one more before the month ends… Either way, Sundance is a thing that I’m glad I was able to go to, and now I can say that I have!