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January 3, 2012 / Lauren

Find the Mirrealtor

There’s a corner of my mind which is fixated on residential real estate. When I was growing up, my dad was a teacher, and all summer long we would work on the house. Home Depot was our hang, curb appeal was our thang. We painted trim and built fences and laid sod. Okay, so maybe he did those things and I occasionally handed him a hammer or something. Whatever.

My family didn’t have cable until I was a teen, and I rejoiced when we finally got it- not because I wanted my MTV, but because I could now spend 5 hours a day watching DIYers put up wainscoting in a classic ranch house dining room. I think you already know I was a weird kid.
.
I am happy to report that the McKinneys are buying a house. A dwelling. A shanty to call our very own. House Hunters has been preparing me for this moment for years. (House Hunters International, slightly less so.)
.
It looks like this:

When I see the house, I sing Whitney Houston. "AND IIIIIIII-EE-IIII..."

I tell you this because 1) I am thrilled and cannot contain my excitement and 2) I want to let you in on my new favorite game. It’s called “Mirrealtor” and you look at houses online (I recommend Zillow or Trulia) and find a Realtor in the reflection of the bathroom mirror. I played this game throughout my two week Christmas break. One Realtor = one point. As I looked through dozens and dozens of homes online, this game became almost as exciting as actually, you know, looking at the houses. I know I’m a freak, but I found the Mirrealtors hilarious and each time I would find a Mirrealtor, I saved the image to my computer in a folder called “Hello there”. I don’t know why. I guess so I could share the joy of Mirrealtor hunting with you? Because I love you? And I’m super desperate for blog fodder?
.
With a little bit more pointless ado, I present to you some of the fine Mirrealtors of the greater Tulsa area:

Look closely, this is a rare double Mirrealtor.

Just a casual, prayerful Mirrealtor. Mreal without ceasing, etc.

All Mirrealtors must wash their hands before returning to work.

"Sinks to the left of me, showers to the right, here I am, stuck in the mirror with you..."

The headless horseman.

Keepin' it mreal.

Is this a pediamirrealtor? (Tweenz love Mirrealtoring.)

This one confuses me SO MUCH. But that's exactly what makes it so fantastic.

Whatcha got in that fanny pack? Keys? Batteries for your camera? Business cards? Mashed potatoes?

Now that is one sly Mirrealtor. Mission Impossible ish goin' down.

50 bonus points to the woman IN THE SHOWER.

I love them. They try to avoid being in the shot, but they cannot escape. I dare you to try to find more Mirrealtors. Please link to any great ones you find. Oh, and happy 2012, etc.
November 8, 2011 / Lauren

Getting the boot.

With the exception of the sprint I make towards the microwave when my pizza rolls are ready, I’ve never been very athletic.

At my childhood summer camp, each kid got to choose two sports classes to attend each morning. I enrolled in Arts & Crafts and Canoeing every year. Even then, I dealt with anxiety that I’d somehow pull a muscle making a friendship bracelet. Fast forward to the seventh grade, the year I decided I would give sports a try. I tried out for the school volleyball team and was the only girl who didn’t make the cut. Sure, it bruised my little twelve year old ego- until my dad gave me this long talk about strengths and weaknesses, how special and unique we all are, and how I could totally outplay any of those volleyball bitches on the clarinet*.

As an adult, I enjoy watching sports. I enjoy talking about sports. I love settling into my couch divot for a good sports movie. But I am not a fan of actual physical activity.

I tell you this because early Saturday morning, I did a foolish thing. I attended a boot camp. My work friend Heather goes to boot camp religiously, and she let me know that if she could get 10 people to try one boot camp session during the month of November, she’d get all of December free. I hated the idea. Early morning outdoor exercise? Um, no thanks, ma’am. The problem is, I like Heather, and I think she is kind and funny and great, and I wanted to help her get her free month. So I did it.

Upon my arrival, I immediately hated about 80% of the women there, because they were 36 year olds with three babies but somehow still able to wear size XS Under Armor apparel and have Michele Obama arms and pretty hair. The nerve of those women!

To my surprise, I was able to actually do the majority of the workout without dropping dead. For 55 minutes I exerted myself- lunges, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, kettlebell lifts, pull ups, leg lifts, pajama hammocks, demon whackers, pistol legs, etc.** Next, the coach announced it was time for the last exercise of the day. We were to do 10 squats, then 10 burpees, then 9 squats, then 9 burpees, then 8 of each, and so on. FYI, burpees are terrible. This is a fitness professional demonstrating a burpee:

I don't know this man, but he must be exhausted.

This is me, demonstrating a burpee:

The cat represents me; the human represents gravity.

I did the 10 set, and I did the 9 set, and then I started to feel lightheaded and out of breath, so I stopped. This is when things got a little uneasy.

Boot Camp Guy: DON’T QUIT! DON’T STOP!

Me: Eh, I think I’m done.

BCG: YOU SHOULD’VE GONE TO THE HUNTER PARK BOOTCAMP! HUNTER PARK IS FOR PANSIES!

Me: In that case, yes, I should have gone to that one.

BCG: DO YOU WANT TO GET YOUR STUFF AND GO HOME?***

Me: Yes.

BCG: PACK UP YOUR STUFF AND GO HOME.

Me: Okay.

So that’s exactly what I did. I got in my car and drove straight to Starbucks for a caloric treat.

Welp, I believe we're done here.

I’m sure that yelling is motivational for some people (men?), but I am not one of those people. If someone raises their voice at me, it’s over. I will not cooperate with that person any more. I mentally check out. Depending on how I think about this event, I am either a strong-willed hero who stood up to authority and asserted myself, or I am the wimpiest of all wimps- a quitter and a baby who refused to tough it out.

Maybe I’m something in the middle. Maybe I’m the toughest damn baby of them all.

*These may not have been his exact words; it was a long time ago.

**Some of these workouts are made up/don’t exist.

***This is the dumbest question I’ve ever been asked.

October 17, 2011 / Lauren

Are you an expert chicken roper?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. Educate yourself! Read my Rodeo 101 primer here.

September 28, 2011 / Lauren

Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?

Guitar Hero was first released in November of 2005. I was 20 years old.

In November 2005, my friends and I would pile into my Saturn and drive to Edmond’s Wal-Mart Supercenter in the late evening, at which point we would play Guitar Hero on the display TV until 3:00am. Our band of collegiate hoodlums would grab bar stools from Homewares, drag them over to Electronics, and plant ourselves right in front of the XBox/TV set up right in the middle of the electronics aisle. Around 1:30 or so, a guy would ride by on one of these:

Dry Zamboni? John Deere with Swiffer attachment?

…and grace us with the dirtiest looks possible. I maintain that he was simply jealous. He probably had the game at home and couldn’t make it to the expert level. I would be upset, too.

After weeks of this nonsense, some friend of mine finally broke down and purchased the game. (Whoever that was: thank you.) Our group played every night. I adored it- this is probably because Guitar Hero is the only video game I’ve ever been able to actually play. You see, in those gun shooting games, I always wind up trapped in a basement corner, gun pointed at the ceiling, unable to move until one of the bad guys kills me 15 seconds into play. I move the controller around (Wii style) and expect the XBox to know what I am doing. It doesn’t work that way. In car racing games, I am seemingly emulating Helen Keller’s driving style. It was only while playing Guitar Hero that I could demonstrate any kind of gaming greatness. I honed my skill and won most challenges. I was on top of the world.

I bring all of this up because I want to show you guys my favorite picture. Now, I don’t mean my favorite picture with me in it. I mean my favorite picture in the history of photography. My friend Kasey snapped this shot in the era of Guitar Hero greatness.

Ahem.

Everything about this picture is perfect. The UCO poster framed on the wall. The weird college furniture. My exposed kneecap bursting out of my pants.

Obviously, at this moment in time, Michael and I were coming up on a guitar solo (likely in a Journey song) and we decided this particular jam merited some back-to-back rocking out. Mid maneauver, I inadvertently hit Danielle in the face with the neck of my guitar. The picture was snapped milliseconds before I realized I had just Hero’d my friend in the face.

Danielle confesses that to this day, she is afraid to eat ice cream in the same room as a person playing a video game. I’m so sorry, Dan Dan. I’m so, so sorry.

Kasey was gracious enough to take this photo (from the same era) as well.

Now, I don’t remember this incident at all, but apparently a group of wayward blue-violet cones were somehow magnetically drawn to my head. I tried my best to fight them off in order to breathe, but it looks like they won. They always do.

Do you have a favorite ridiculous photo? I want to see it! Link to it below.

August 24, 2011 / Lauren

Come On Feel The Illinoise River

Last weekend, I floated the Illinois river with eight of my best gal pals. In one of our trip planning emails, someone suggested we don hillbilly attire on the river. I was pretty enthusiastic about this detail, because I…
LOVE

Dog the Bounty Hunter, 2007

TO

Duggars (4 of 19), 2010

DRESS

Price Is Right contestant, 2009

UP.

Emo Pop Tart, 2006

Naturally, I hit up the Salvation Army and nabbed a great tee from Beaver Street Baptist Church* and a camo ball cap. Grand total: $1.99 + tax. Was I ready to row? Not quite. I decided to amp up the redneck factor by modifying the tee a bit. I planned to cut the sleeves off and make those huge long arm holes that you always see on dudes at the gas station. Of course I didn’t really plan this out, I just started cutting. The arm holes got bigger and bigger as I attempted to ‘even them out’ and eventually the shirt basically had no sides whatsoever. I was now working with a Beaver Street Apron. When I threw it on over my swimsuit, I was proud of how authentically terrible I looked. I completed the look with the camo cap (the cap had a huge white stain on it, which I hope to God was paint or bird poop and not horse ejaculate) and I headed over to Sarah’s house to meet up with everyone and begin the caravan to Tahlequah.

When you want to look sexy, simply flare your nostrils.

Upon my arrival, I found I was the only person there dressed as a country bumpkin. I was mildly pissed at my friends for looking cute and normal.
The nerve of those hoes. Luckily, Hannah and Bonnie arrived shortly after I did, wearing tacky hick outfits.

Traditional QT stop before driving to the 'quah

The drive to Tahlequah was pretty quick and very scenic. Just as we stopped at a local pizza place to grab lunch before heading to the river, I was instantly ashamed of my attire. I felt obscene and immodest. I considered changing into another shirt, but my bag was at the bottom of a pile of other people’s bags in the trunk of my car. The restaurant was super casual and even had a sign that said “River Rats Welcome”, but I was still really uncomfortable about dining in my apron shirt. When we sat down at our table I pointed at my exposed sides and said “This meal comes with two sides” (pointing to my lumpy sides for added effect.**) To cover more skin, I fashioned some modesty napkins right there at the table.

I can't believe I'm actually putting this on the internet

After lunch, we arrived at Arrowhead Resort (where they use the word “resort” pretty liberally), we checked in, unpacked, and boarded the old bus which would take us upstream with our rafts. I plopped down right behind the bus driver, and I heard a message come over his walkie talkie:
a
“We’re gonna need you to bring back a bunch of rafts, we’ve got a really big party down here- The Duggars.”
a
At this point, I started screaming “THE DUGGARS ARE HERE GUYS! WearegoingtofloatwiththeDuggarshowmanyraftswilltheyneedwewilltotallybeonTLC’s19kidsandcountingibettheyhavelongdressswimsuits!”
a
The annoyed bus driver rained on my parade and informed me that the dispatcher had not said anything about the Duggars, he actually said “We’ve got a really big party down here, Tucker.” The bus driver’s name was Tucker.
a
Boo. I hate you, Tucker.
However, floating was a blast- we sang, we boozed, we swam, we laughed. After several hours of waterlogged tomfoolery, we docked at camp and headed to our cabin. Our cabin, The Hut, was smaller than many backyard sheds I’ve seen. It was a plywood shack with two bunk beds on the bottom, a tiny set of mini-stairs and a loft containing two full sized mattresses. The Hut had no bathroom, but luckily it was equipped with a window A/C unit. Even so, it got hotter than Satan’s breath in there and the upstairs girls pulled one mattress down and slept on the floor. I still cannot believe nine girls and our stuff fit into The Hut.

I like how the "The" sign was a total afterthought.

After cooking dinner on the grill, we crashed. I was asleep by 9:45, which was good because I woke up at 6:30 to shower and head to Cookietown. Yes, Cookietown is a real place and it exists. It’s in southwestern Oklahoma, only about fifteen minutes to the Texas border. Sunday marked my grandfather’s 50th anniversary as minister of the church in Cookietown. They had a really nice lunch and a commemorative service honoring him and my grandmother. Eric had to work Sunday, and was really sad to miss it. I ate enough food for both of us though.

G-pa and G-ma

Sunday evening, I headed back home to Tulsa. I basically saw the entire state*** this weekend:
And I loved every minute of it. What was your favorite weekend of the summer?
a
* I KNOW.
** This was easily my best joke of the weekend, so I told it three times.
*** Minus Sayre, Alva, and a couple other crappy places.
July 27, 2011 / Lauren

In Memoriam: An Autobituary

Lately, I’ve been really missing my old car. I used to cruise country roads in my Saturn on summer nights like this one. Now, I can only wonder where all the parts are… is someone driving around with my driver’s side door? My steering column? What roads do they drive? Do they appreciate the bits and pieces of that little Saturn Coupe as much as I adored the whole?

Just after the fender bender that ended my Saturn’s tenure, I wrote this autobituary in honor of my first wheels. 

After nearly nine years of faithful service, my Saturn has gone on to the realms of the great junkyard in the sky. A friend to many, she will be missed. She was preceded in death by her power locks (2001-2005), her sunroof (2001-2006), and the ability to keep her passenger side sun visor in place without the aid of duct tape (2001-2007).

I think it would be appropriate if I took a moment to reflect on the good times I had with her:

1. I will never forget the many bumper stickers she knew. The first was a star flower sticker I purchased in South Padre, which my mom disapproved of because she said it looked like “a marijuana pot leaf or something.” I, too, eventually grew weary of this flower, but the decal was permabonded on a molecular level to her bumper and it was impossible to remove. I was able to remove her “Pride of Broken Arrow” sticker in college, but there was always a dirt outline where it was, a faint reminder of her early days. In 2004, she got to wear political stickers for a few months just before I got to vote in my very first presidential election. Lastly, in 2006, the classic “Ban Comic Sans” sticker was added.

2. In college, my friend Anna and I took a little road trip in this car. We went to a concert in Texas and also happened upon the world’s largest shoe.

3. One time on Valentine’s day, I was walking towards my car after class and noticed a piece of pink paper was tucked under my windshield wiper. Excited at the prospect of a love note, I practically skipped to the car on clouds. To my dismay, it was the pink layer of a carbon copy of a Valentine’s Day parking ticket. I felt kinda like this:

All fierce at first and then OMGBBQ

4. My dad taught me to change a flat on the Saturn, a life skill I’m glad to have in my back pocket.

5. “Pachuca Sunrise” by Minus the Bear was the most incredible sounding song on those speakers. Something about hearing that song on those particular stock speakers was downright acoustically magical.

6. Once, I ran over a snake on Ben Lumpkin Road. I screamed for about 500 seconds right after it happened. I felt horrible for murdering something, but at least it was a snake, I guess. Yeah, I know, without snakes, the ecosystem would get all effed up and stuff, but I STILL HATE THEM, OKAY? Okay.

7. Pal Jamie and I drove up and down Oklahoma City’s Northwest Expressway in this car while playing Justin Timberlake’s entire FutureSexLoveSounds album on recorders. Yes, recorders, like from elementary school.

(I may or may not have played a song using only my right nostril and a complete lack of dignity.)

8. Backing into a dumpster or six.

9. Driving all around Broken Arrow in an effort to find the elusive Rooster Days egg.

10. My cones lived in the trunk.

She served me well. I miss her.

May 23, 2011 / Lauren

Brutal Taco Salad

The following is a time-honored family recipe, passed down to me from my father, Jerry A. West. I hope it brings your family as much joy as it brings my dad.

Dad’s Taco Salad (serves 2-3) Prep time: 10 minutes, Eat time: 10 seconds

1) Approach Taco Bueno via Drive-Thru. Order four (4) tacos. Pay. Drive home.

2) Remove napkins and salsa containers from bag. Tightly tie the bag closed. Check for any holes. If the bag is not completely airtight, you MUST abort your mission and eat the tacos as-is.

3) Once the bag is secured, beat the living crap out of it. Go on, let off some steam. Punch the tacos. Slap them in the face. Slam them against countertops. Carry on for two (2) minutes.

4) Open the bag. Remove paper taco wrappers and discard. Use fork to eat your finished taco salad straight out of the bag like the hero you are.

Pairing suggestion: Dr. Pepper and shame.

May 18, 2011 / Lauren

I like the way you work it, CONE DIGGITY.

In my very first car, I kept two orange parking cones in the trunk at all times. Like this kind, except not a hat:

Welcome to Conetowne, USA. Population: me.

A very literal interpretation of junk in the trunk, my trusty pair of cones were always stowed in my car and ready to serve my social experiment and general mischief needs. I’m not sure what compelled me to purchase the cones in the first place, as cones are probably not something that un-athletic 18 year old girls obtain frequently, but I had so many wonderful ideas on how to use them! Party hats! Arm hiders! Pool toys! Bra stuffers! SHOES!

My first cone experiment took place during a high school honor band weekend at a resort on Grand Lake. I’m sure every Shangri-La employee who witnessed our rowdy arrival via school bus contemplated suicide for a moment. Free marketing tip for Shangri-La: consider removing the words ‘awesome signature hole’ from your website’s header, fools. It sends a questionable message.

Also, on this particular Shangri-La trip, I may or may not have broken my hotel room’s ironing board while ‘surfing.’ I am terrified that I still owe either Shangri-La or the Northeast Oklahoma Band Directors Association $24.95. However, when you get 150 high school students together at a resort, force them to play their instruments for 8 hours a day, and then give them nothing to do from 6-10p.m., you are kind of asking for bad behavior. I’m sure some kids (percussionists and flutes, I’m looking at you) snuck out to smoke cigarettes and drink Mike’s Hard Lemonade and touch each other’s butts, but my friends and I simply went ironing board surfing and played hide and seek. After these wholesome activities got old, I remembered the cones.

Lauren McKinney’s life lesson #4: REMEMBER THE CONES.

You see, because I am insane, I had packed the cones and brought them with me. In fact, I think I squished them down flat and stuffed them into my bass clarinet case, which makes me about 425% cooler than anyone you’ve ever known.

After I retrieved the cones from my room, I spotted the perfect area to place them- directly in front of an elevator door. A friend and I waited for the front desk person to leave, planted the cones, and retreated to an inconspicuous corner table to watch the subsequent reactions.

Reaction 1:

“Is it broken?”

“I guess so. There are cones here.”

“Let’s take the stairs.”

Reaction 2:

“Huh. There are cones here.”

“I’m taking the stairs; I do not want to die.”

Reaction 3:

(Man alone. Takes a couple steps up the stairs, then turns back, pushes the button, and takes the elevator. Total badass in my book.)

I logged at least 10-15 reactions in my notebook before moving the location of the cones a few more times. Eventually, one of the custodians was on to me, and I fled to my surfing area room to make hemp necklaces and listen to Third Eye Blind.

While this was a somewhat conical comical social experiment, I wanted to get even more mileage out of my cones. I wanted to use cone power to garner more influence in the future. Did I take my cones to college? HELL YES I TOOK MY CONES TO COLLEGE.

I spent my freshman year at a small Christian school. I kinda hated it, but this picture from my 19th birthday party sums up all that was excellent about ol’ JBU:

Someday, I'll tell you a great story about my Wal-Mart vest, seen here.

There wasn’t a ton of parking on campus, and one day it occurred to me that I could secure the very best parking spot in front of my dorm using the psychological power of cones. I watched the spot like a hawk until it became available. (I was lucky to have a window in my dorm room overlooking the very spot I wanted. I believe I staked it out for at least 48 hours, never taking breaks- not even to blink or use the restroom.) Once the previous occupant finally removed her vehicle, I bolted to my Saturn and placed her lovingly in the coveted spot. From then on, every time I went anywhere, I would simply back out, set up the cones, and exit the lot. Upon my return, I would get out, put the cones back in the trunk, and pull in. It worked like a charm.

People exhibit a mystical respect for cones. Harnessing the supernatural power of the cone can really help you get ahead in life.

There isn’t really a conclusion to this story. I basically wrote this whole thing in an effort to someday be on the first page of results when you Google ‘cones’.

cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones cones

May 11, 2011 / Lauren

Rooster Booster

Do you know what Rooster Days is? Are you unaware of Rooster Days? Cluck you. Either way, please read my post about Rooster Days on Tasha Does Tulsa.

Thanks!

April 23, 2011 / Lauren

The top six reasons I don’t work in advertising.

I have removed one letter from each company name below in an effort to not get the pants sued off of me.

1.2.

3.

4.

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