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April 21, 2011 / Lauren

Nancy Drew and the case of the phantom boob light.

Our current apartment is the greatest. Sure, it’s creaky and thin-walled and we never have hot water, but there are some serious plusses as well. The shower has a seat in it! This stunning bath detail gets me one step closer to my goal of living life like a 90 year-old woman. Also, the light fixtures here are top notch- brassy, mirrored, Miami Vice inspired objets d’art. When I look at them, I can actually hear New Wave music pouring out the ceiling.

In the hall, we have one particularly excellent light fixture. Ah, yes, it is the classic boob light. You know the kind.

Mammaries, from the corners of my mind; misty water-colored mammaries of the way we were...

Sorry for the R-rated photo. Let me make that a bit more modest for you:

You're welcome.

One great thing about our boob light is that it can be controlled by two light switches- one at each end of the hall. This feature is quite useful when I break into a dance-down-the-hallway moment ala Hugh Grant in Love Actually.

Generally, my routine goes like this:

However, my most recent dance sequence was not as slick as usual- the boob light didn’t turn on when I flipped the switch. I flipped it another time and got nothin’. Same story at the other switch. Using my stellar reasoning skills, I surmised that the light bulb had burned out.

Now, a responsible adult would have changed the light bulb. Instead, I shrugged and walked away, assuming my husband would find the problem later and address it appropriately. I’m on the ball like that.

Late that very night, I was snoring sleeping soundly when Eric shook my arm to wake me.

The hall light just came on!

Huh? Wha? I am asleep.

Someone is in here and they just turned on the light! What should we do?

We are going to die! We are going to be murdered. TONIGHT. I don’t even like this t-shirt, I don’t want them to find my lifeless body in it! (At this point, I believe I had wet the bed in fear.)

I’m going to go check it out- I’m bringing my hunting knife in case I need to stab the intruder.

And with that, my brave husband journeyed into the hallway, knife in hand. I sat in the bed, wide-eyed and making a mental plan of how to help him shank the robber/gunman/rapist who was surely on the loose in our apartment. Twenty seconds later, Eric returned to the bedroom with a glass of milk.

I think the light just turned itself on. Maybe there’s a loose wire in there or something.

So it was just the boob light?

It was just the boob light.

Lauren McKinney’s life lesson #3: Stay calm, it’s probably just the boob light.

April 6, 2011 / Lauren

The saga of The Woman, part one.

I am going to write about a crazy person. I don’t want the crazy person to find this post and be upset by it and break into my apartment and hide in my closet and wait for me to come home from work and jump out and clobber me over the head with a cast iron skillet until I die. I am terrified of this scenario coming to fruition, so I am going to be extremely vague. Please bear with me.

I am currently volunteering for A Local Organization™ in a 10-week fundraising campaign. My friend and colleague Amy Ann and I attended the requisite volunteer training session last week, and because we are extremely lucky individuals, we found ourself sitting next to a person I will call The Woman. (It should be noted that The Woman was wearing a bright red furry vest- it makes me very sad to think about how many innocent Elmos had to die so that she could look like a moron.)
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During the training, everyone was listening and taking notes except The Woman. The Woman asked the trainer a series of questions unrelated to anything that is being covered in the material, and Amy Ann and I rolled our eyes in perfect synchrony. A few minutes passed. The Woman’s cell phone rang.
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Now, a normal human would have been embarrassed that he or she neglected to put the phone on silent. A normal human would have rushed to turn the ringer off. A normal human probably would have even mouthed an ‘I’m sorry!’ to the class facilitator. But The Woman is not a normal human. No, not at all. She answered the phone and carried on a two minute conversation. Everyone else in the class balked at how rude she was being. I was mortified to even be sitting near her. I would cut her a bit of slack if she were 60 years older than me, but she is not. She should know how to operate a phone/have manners.
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(Side note: One time my minister grandfather was giving the eulogy at a funeral service and his cell phone rang. Isn’t that awful? But I’m 80% sure his ringtone was a MIDI version of Men At Work’s ‘Who Can It Be Now?’, which makes it kind of hilarious and awesome.)
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Frustrated with The Woman, the class trainer announced that the time had come for a short coffee break. The Woman turned to us and introduced herself:
The Woman, yelling: “Hi, my name is The Woman, and I help women lose 3 to 5 dress sizes!”
Me: “Oh, uh, wow. My name is Lauren and I work at That Place Over There©. I don’t help anyone lose any dress sizes.”
The Woman, yelling at Amy Ann: “Hello, I am The Woman, and my husband is a very important and rich man, and I help women lose 3 to 5 dress sizes.”
Amy Ann: “Um, okay. I am Amy Ann and I work with Lauren at That Place Over There©.”
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The Woman handed us her cards (which had several lo-res before and after photos of women in undergarments) and she left us to go harass someone else about her weirdo magic weight loss rip-off potions or super girdles or whatever the hell it was she was hawking. Our class resumed, and after the second half of our training concluded, Amy Ann and I made a beeline for the door, not wanting to give The Woman another chance to corner us and drunkenly tell us about her wealthy husband and her spandex support cummerbunds. As we walked to the car, we thought of silly questions we should have asked The Woman, but did not think of in time. (What if a client starts at a size 2- how do you help her lose 3 to 5 dress sizes? Does she disappear completely? Do you kill her? Where do you put the body?)
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A few days later, A Local Organization™ puts on a party to celebrate the beginning of the campaign. There are probably around 150 people at the party, and I spot The Woman from across the hotel ballroom, immediately avoiding eye contact and pretending to look at something, anything on the opposite wall. Even though I’m starving, I wait for The Woman to go through the buffet line to ensure I don’t have to speak to her when I’m getting my dinner. I pretend be fascinated with my phone. Look at this amazing text I read four hours ago! Gee Golly. Finally, I notice she has filled her plate and is sitting down. I get in line. Naturally, The Woman gets in line right behind me. Again. She must have been getting the first plate for someone else! (Maybe even for some other personality living in her body or an imaginary friend of some kind.) The buffet is two-sided, and I go left, assuming that The Woman will go for the shorter line on the right.
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The Woman goes left. Dammit! She says hello. She brags about the funds she has already raised. (Isn’t this party to celebrate the start of the campaign?) Each time we come to a new food item, she asks me what it is.
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This happens at every. single. dish.
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The Woman, yelling again: “That looks good! What is that?”
Me: “I think it’s spinach dip.”
The Woman: “That looks good! What do you think that is?”
Me: “Looks like baby carrots and celery and ranch. Have you really never seen carrots before?”
The Woman: “Oh wow- that looks so nice. What is it? What will it taste like?”
Me: “That is definitely pasta. I bet it tastes much like other pasta you have eaten before.”
The Woman: “Is this dessert?”
Me: “That is a brownie. I can tell because it looks like a brownie. It is the shape and color of a brownie.”
My face started to look like this:
Yet somehow I found myself entertained by The Woman anyway..

So, TLC (the cable network, not the female R&B trio advising us to not chase waterfalls and avoid scrubs), if you’re reading this, I am requesting that you please give The Woman a reality show. I bet it would be even better than My Strange Addiction, and it wouldn’t even need that much editing.
March 24, 2011 / Lauren

Boomerangin’ it.

My pal Tasha was kind enough to let me vandalize her blog write a guest post about the experience of returning to Tulsa after living in Texas. Read it here!

March 16, 2011 / Lauren

You say you want a revolution?

When I was a kid, I went to a huge elementary school (word up to all my Jenks East fools!) I started there in the middle of first grade, and I distinctly remember my mom’s shock at the thousands-strong K-5 campus. (‘There are 16 class sections of first grade? Your last school had four!’) However, I adjusted well and totally loved my mega-elementaryplex. I settled into a happy groove over the years as I kicked multiplication table ass (except the 12 column, which for some reason was incredibly difficult for me) and square danced my dorky little heart out in PE. Thankfully, by this point, my mullet was gone. Had I still been rockin’ it, I could have easily died of being far too awesome to actually exist.

One of the best things about my school was obviously the recess en masse. I truly can’t believe this now, and maybe things have changed, but twenty years ago, hundreds of children would descend on the largest of our three playgrounds at once, and- I swear to you- there were maybe four adults present. These were the teacher aides, brave souls donning reflective yellow vests, presumably so we kids would know exactly who to be on the lookout for when we wanted to break the rules. Not that I spent a lot of time breaking the rules.

Most kids spent the midday break playing tag or tetherball or hitting the monkey bars. However, my friend Raashee and I were both hopelessly un-athletic. We did all sorts of cool non-sporty activities like putting acorns in a straight line and singing Seal’s Kiss From A Rose.

Did you know that when it snows, my eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen? BAYBAY!

(You’re welcome.)

Ahem.

So one sunny afternoon in the 4th grade, Raashee and I were minding our own business, sitting near acorn row and likely discussing the finer points of Superfudge or Ticonderoga pencils or something, when a nearby group of 5th grade boys began to cause a ruckus. Raashee and I were scared at first and we probably looked like this:

OMGOMGOMGOMG

But then we were all, ‘Ooh, this is gonna be good’:

Thrilling, even.

From what we gathered, they had been playing real football, and one of the aides approached the group and told them that only touch football was allowed. Now as an adult, this seems perfectly sensible- the aide was attempting to enforce a rule designed to prevent broken bones and black eyes. However, the 5th grade boys were outraged. They were livid. There was screaming. They were being completely bratty and awful. Another aide arrived on the scene.

“You WON’T let us play pogs, you WON’T let us play football, you WON’T let us have fun!” one boy asserted.

The boys egged each other on, and more and more kids were coming around to see what was going on. Within moments, a full-on mob had developed. Raashee and I joined the group, now hundreds strong, running in a massive clump across the dusty playground, chasing a helpless pair of yellow-vested teacher aides, shaking our tiny fists of rage. (Most of the kids in the stampede didn’t even know the catalyst was the tackle football issue; it just seems that if there is a large group of children running around screaming, other children will join in just for a good chance to run and scream.)

Ultimately, The Great Tackle Football Riot of 1994 ended with one aide taking control of the situation and radioing for backup. The principal came out, told us she was ashamed of our behavior, and sent us all to our respective classrooms immediately.

The other aide, panicked and sweaty, had crawled through a big concrete drain pipe out onto 91st Street and was speedwalking eastward, away from the scene.

It sounds totally, undeniably insane. It was crazy. But I promise you this bizarre Lord-Of-The-Fliesesque tale is absolutely true.

Later that afternoon, the principal came over the intercom and announced that all 5th grade boys had their recess rights revoked for an entire week. The rest of us ultimately went back to our usual recess routines, and the incident faded into the past.

When my dad picked me up that afternoon, he turned down the radio and asked “So how was school today? Do anything fun?

“Nah. It was just a regular day.” I answered.

And in a way, it was.

March 6, 2011 / Lauren

Mull it over.

When I was 16 years old, I had a bit of a bizarre summertime hobby. I would spend those long, hot days traversing Broken Arrow- combing every Wal-Mart aisle and every bowling alley lane- looking for people with mullets. I always had a disposable camera on hand (remember those?) to snap photos of the various types of mullets I encountered. At first, I used the hey-friend-stand-over-there-I’m-going-to-pretend-to-be-taking-a-photo-of-you-but-the-subject-is-actually-Billy-Ray-Cyrus-behind-you method to get the snapshots I desired. As I became more bold, I started to use the oh-my-gosh-you-look-EXACTLY-like-my-uncle-I-happen-to-have-a-camera-can-I-please-get-a-picture-to-show-him? method.

I had a mulletin board in my room. I had a 40 page mullet scrapbook titled Mull and Void. It was a big hit with my friends. In the scrapbook, I named and rated each mullet on a 10-point scale. For obvious reasons, bonus points were awarded to wearers of the permed mullet.

Why was I so intrigued with the Missouri compromise? (My favorite mullet synonym, by the dubs!) I’m a fan of a free and open exchange of honest information, and I’m pretty much an open book, so be warned: we’re about to journey into the darkest secret of my life.

I, Lauren E. McKinney, had a mullet.

And a wedgie, apparently.

I don’t know a lot about the specifics- I was quite young. It started out like this:

Not so bad, right? Also, my dad seems to be looking at something awesome slightly to the right of the camera.

Or maybe he was SHOOTING EYE LASERS.

…and then it got longer, so my dad took me to Supercuts one day (naively thinking he was just getting my bangs trimmed) and somehow something terrible happened and I came home with a mullet. Ever the optimist, he assured my horrified mother that my new haircut looked “rock n’ roll”.

It doesn’t end there. My parents thought I looked so awesome that I had this mullet for two whole years. I cannot believe my preschool teachers didn’t call DHS.

The full blown stage (left), as seen with my cousin Stephanie (right).

Of course, I was blissfully unaware of my mullet, and it was the 80’s, and it was Oklahoma, so I think mullets were kind of quasi-acceptable- especially for a little kid like me who was a huge Stryper fan. (To hell with the devil!) But I sure rocked that thang in Sunday School. I made it work:

"What the eff does a ho have to do to get some graham crackers up in this joint?"

I think I got rid of the mullet at age 6 or so? My life was never the same. However, for all my shame, I must admit- that mullet made me who I am. It was a part of me for two very formative years. When future scholars of pediatric hairology find these photos, I hope they smile. I hope they know I loved my life.

Mullets build character, people. MULLET YOUR CHILDREN.

Because I have just shared this embarrassing history of my coiffure (and because my birthday is almost here), I am asking you, most excellent reader, to respond by sharing a colorful description of the worst haircut of your life. Please go into excruciating detail. Thank you.

February 21, 2011 / Lauren

Don Giovanni

Well, in true Oklahoma form, I have been warmly welcomed back into my hometown. Case in point: Recently, my pal Tasha kindly let me know that the Tulsa Opera was hosting a blogger night (despite the fact that most of my readers are cats and I have never reviewed anything before) during which bloggers could catch the final dress rehearsal of Don Giovanni fo’ free. So cool!

Naturally, I put on my opera pants and set out for the PAC.

The first thing I learned was that the title is not pronounced ‘Don Geo-vonny’, which is what I assumed because I don’t speak Italian/wear mink coats, but rather ‘Don Jovany’- like Jovan Musk. Don Giovanni probably wore a ton of Jovan Musk.

The plot goes something like this: Don Giovanni is a horrible, horrible dude. He’s a total womanizer and dishonest person. He reminds me of Charlie Sheen Gaston:

…except more rape-y and murder-ish. So yeah. Don goes around ruining people’s lives, including Donna Anna’s (he tries to rape her, then kills her father) and Donna Elvira (he plays her like a banjo.) Side note: I am pretty sure both of these women are former members of The Donnas.

Don and his servant, Leporello, roam the countryside trying to escape the various people Don has royally pissed off. Meanwhile, many of these pissed off people find each other and join forces to put an end to Don’s path of destruction. Ultimately, Don even betrays Leporello, and he is repeatedly confronted about changing his ways, yet he refuses to repent. Then, at a wild Don Giovanni party (you know the kind) there is a knock at the door, and it is- get this– the statue of the Commendatore, Donna Anna’s dead father. The statue has come to life and is avenging his own death! The statue commands Don Giovanni to repent, but he vows never to change his ways. The Commendatore statue then dramatically drags Don Giovanni into the grave with him. It. Is. Epic.

The audience is left with a clear sense of the moral of the opera: what goes around, comes around. Also, STATUES CAN COME ALIVE. (Gilcrease is a far creepier place to me now that I know this.)

The Tulsa Opera rocked this story. Leporello was hilarious and superb comic relief. The musicianship was absolutely superior- I think the woman who played Donna Anna held a note for about twenty minutes. All the vocalists sang beautifully and with great emotion, and the orchestra was dynamic. The stage lighting and set design really added so much to the production- the eerie green fog and chandeliers were high points. Plus, I got to make some new friends during intermission.

I give it 4.5 out of a possible 5 pimp cups.

The -.5 is due to a severe and scandalous lack of Bon Jovi.

Don Giovanni is playing this weekend at the Tulsa PAC. Check out the Tulsa Opera website for more information.

February 3, 2011 / Lauren

‘Homa is where the heart is.

I have a major life update. No, I am not pregnant. Nor did we adopt a puppy or purchase a home.

I think I’ve made it somewhat clear that I am not the world’s biggest fan of living in Dallas. Eric and I have always wanted to move back to Oklahoma and “settle down” at some point, and in late December, the powers that be (which is what my blog name would be if my last name were Powers, by the way) allowed me to begin searching for a job in Oklahoma.

And then I got one! And it seems so perfect for me! Success!

However, for a variety of reasons beyond our control, this transition has been a little insane. Our actual move is staggered over an entire month. So until we get our new place in Tulsa, Eric is tying up some loose ends in Dallas and I’m living with Frank and Estelle Costanza my parents and the head of the West household, Olivia Newton-John, the obese wonder cat:

The Newt.

I am so happy to be back. I have been singing this song all week:

You see, I am completely, creepily, eerily obsessed with the great state of Oklahoma. I am in love with this place and its people and their character.

Examples:

•A couple of months ago I got all excited at Borders because I thought I saw a cookbook with an Oklahoma silhouette on the cover, and upon further inspection I found out it was the outline of a meat cleaver.

•When asked what I want for my birthday or Christmas, my answer is almost always “Frankoma!”

•Living in DFW, I secretly missed being annoyed by all of my favorite local commercials and their corresponding awesome jingles- including, but not limited to: Mathis Brothers, May’s Drug/Drug Warehouse, David Garrett (he effin’ knows what to do), Snow’s Furniture, ClearTone (ding!), and Reasor’s.

•I pride myself on the depth of my knowledge of Oklahoma state facts. (State reptile? The collared lizard, of course.)

•During my three and a half years in Texas, I continually read Oklahoma blogs.

So yeah, it’s good to be home, though I’m definitely ready for Eric to join me up here. Please do excuse me for not writing very much lately. Between the move, the blizzard (use your own snow pun), two huge freelance projects (I’m just a girl who can’t say no- I’m in a turrible fix!), and my annual winter cold/upper respiratory lung mutiny, I’ve been just a tad busy lately. In the meantime, I do tweet quite a lot (sometimes it even makes a little sense!)

January 21, 2011 / Lauren

Full size my butt.

I would estimate that my husband, Eric, is 3-4 inches taller than the average male, and I’m probably 3-4 inches taller than the average lady. However, we currently sleep on a full size bed, which is truly anything but “full size”. Our feet hang off the edge of the bed. We toss, turn, and teeter on our respective edges of the mattress; limbs flail and flop and annoy.

For the purpose of the following illustration, I have selected a Jacob Black doll to depict Eric, because, much like the Twilight character, Eric is a physically fit card-carrying Native American with an affinity for jorts. (I am pleased to report that I have successfully persuaded him to part with the jorts.) I chose a koala to represent myself in this case because I am cute and I only eat eucalyptus leaves I usually have to curl up in a ball in order to stay in the bed. Typically, this is how we sleep:

Is it just me or does Jacob/Eric's tattoo look like the Starbucks logo? That's serious brand loyalty. TRENTA FO' LYFE.

Please note that my butt is hanging off the bed, his feet are hanging off the bed, and together with the stack of pillows we form what I like to call The Percent Sign of Discomfort.

See what I mean? This is how we have been living for three and a half years. I am excited to announce that we will soon (March?) be upgrading to a queen size bed! This is how we will sleep in our new bed for grown ups:

Please note that I have changed from a koala to a Power Ranger. Morphing is what we Rangers do, guys.

The only difference being that I generally only sleep with my ray gun at my side on Tuesday nights.

(I apologize to both of my subscribers for my extended absence. You see, I have been extremely busy watching dozens of National Geographic documentaries on Netflix looking for a job. The good news? I may have found a fantastic one. Fingers crossed!)

December 30, 2010 / Lauren

Personal highlights of 2010.

January | Staying up all night catching up with my ol’ friend Elyse. We hadn’t seen each other in ten years, and we just picked up right where we left off- isn’t it great when old friends can do that?  (New Orleans)

February | My pilgrimage to Shortcakes to claim my logo contest prize. I used my winnings to fund my trip to California in May. (Stillwater, OK)

March | Being doused with fake blood by GWAR (hilarious) while wearing socks on my hands (I left my gloves in Dallas), and of course The Hood Internet dance party party. SXSW was a blast and a half. (Austin)

April | I was sick for the entirety of this month. Probably as a result of attending the GWAR show mentioned above. It was outdoors and it was 20 degrees. (Behind a mountain of Kleenex, Dallas)

May | Driving Highway 1. I love to drive, and this was the greatest drive of my life- absolutely beautiful. (San Francisco to Los Angeles)

June | Wedding 1: Kelli and JD. Despite the transmission on my Nissan crapping out en route to the rehearsal and all the wedding flowers dying the day of the ceremony, we managed to pull together the bridesmaid emergency response team, recover gracefully, and ultimately have a really great time watching our friends tie the knot and celebrate good times c’mon. Bonus: because we had to go back to OKC the very next weekend to retrieve my car, we got to hang out with the lovely bride and groom even more, and I finally met Wayne Coyne, one of my top five personal heroes. (Oklahoma City)

July | Independence Day snocones and flea market shopping with my grandparents. (Marlow, OK)

August | Wedding 2: Kristen and Phil. This was the long anticipated wedding of Eric’s sister- it was really great to get to get to be a part of the ceremony, boogie down to the Cha Cha Slide, and welcome Phil to the family. (Wagoner, OK)

September | I don’t remember anything particularly notable about September. Maybe I got a haircut or an oil change or something. (Dallas)

October | Wedding 3: Katelyn and Grant. Katelyn is my fousin (fake cousin) and our families have always been close over the years (our parents all went to college together). I had the honor of designing her wedding invitations and programs, and Kate and I had lots of fun collaborating on them! Sixteen hours on the road was definitely worth it  to get to see these two get hitched. Another plus: we had zero cell phone reception/internet availability in Guymon, which actually made for a really refreshing, peaceful weekend. (Guymon, OK)

November | Everything about New York, and my dear friends Kate and Katie and Elliott. (New York)

December | Eric and I prepared a Christmas dinner together for friends and family; Midnight Mass; getting the Festivus pole out of the crawl space. (Dallas)

December 20, 2010 / Lauren

My husband is much funnier than I am.

Today, I emailed Eric to complain about outrageous cookie prices at a certain place, and this is the response I received:

You’d have to experience it to understand the value. The pleasure of having a stranger slide a cookie into your mouth, bounce your chair to simulate chewing, massage your throat to simulate swallowing, and then stand by until signalled for is quite special.