The Reigning Queen of Hangovers

I have a very legitimate fear that I will be the first person to die from a hangover. I know I joke around a lot – ok more than a lot -, but when I say my hangovers are bad I mean my hangovers are BADDDDD. ‘How bad?’ you ask? My hangovers are so bad, my hangovers get hangovers. My hangovers last longer than average, too. My last hangover lasted 8 long hours – 2 hours longer than I lasted on the juice cleanse I tried last month. But don’t feel bad for me…I’ve earned every hangover I’ve ever had. The most frustrating part about it is that it doesn’t matter how much I drink, it could be 5 shots of Purell or a glass of wine, and I wake up with a raging headache. What gives?

Did you know that there are medical clinics purely for curing hangovers? I’ve never been to one, and I’m not a highly opinionated person, but I think it’s pretty ridiculous that anyone would pay upwards of $200 to cure a hangover when natural remedies like eggs, bacon and Netflix exist.

I could probably write a scholarly article on hangovers just from personal experience. I’ve had enough hangovers in my adult life to be able to classify them as moderate to severe. Category 1 Hangover is usually cured with three Advil, three thousand calories and lots of water. A Category 5 can only be cured with time. I once had a level 6. It lasted three days.

One of the worst hangovers I ever had was the morning after Lollapalooza. I shudder just thinking about it. It was the summer of 2010, a lovely summer by and large. I had one year of college under my belt, equating to approximately 100 hangovers. At this point I was no stranger to the effects of a long night of drinking…but nothing could prepare me for the wrath of this fiver. I woke up that morning and couldn’t move. Thank God for my mom who is an angel in disguise. She brought me iced coffee and made me toast. I couldn’t even eat the toast. I really like toast!! I didn’t know what to do with myself. My mom looked disappointed, but still felt bad for me. Our conversation went something like this:

“Go take a cold shower,” the Mom/Angel said.

“That would require moving my body,” the good-for-nothing daughter replied.

After a couple minutes of pondering my situation, I decided to take my mom’s advice and shower. I turned on the shower, stepped into the shower and immediately sat down in the shower. There was no bench in said shower, so I sat on the floor of the shower. SMH. SMH.

“This is how it ends,” I thought to myself as the water rushed down my face like a million alcohol-filled tear drops.

Turns out the shower did help! By the time we got to Grant Park my hangover had dropped to a manageable Category 3…but that hangover, the hangover of ’10, will go down in history as one of the worst.

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Camp Fuller by The Sea

“Summer camp is an essential part of a well-rounded, All-American upbringing,” said a child life specialist somewhere at some point in time.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend sleep-away camp during the summer after 5th grade. Nestled in a small town outside Providence, Rhode Island, the camp was called Camp Fuller, but I remember it best as “Camp Fuller by The Sea.” If you’re interested in learning more about Camp Fuller, be sure to check out this super informative and meticulously edited Urban Dictionary entry written by a former camper. Let’s call her Katie. Katie describes Camp Fuller as “An awesome sleep away camp in Wakefield, Rhode Island that many who attend refer to as the shittt!” If you don’t read it for her fascinating take on the camp’s social hierarchy, read it to see Katie butcher the spelling of basic words like “attention,” “counselor,” and “division.”

Until Camp Fuller I’d only gone to day camp. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I excelled as a day camper…crushed it at typical camp activities like drip drip drop, Popsicle stick art, talent shows, sports, and of course, the cornerstone of every camp experience, Beach Day. Beach day was my favorite day because I loved the beach like Hillary loves pant suits. That’s a lot. I’ve had one bad beach day in my life and that’s the day I spent sitting on a towel in order to conceal a very large tear in my suit. At that age, one hole in your bathing suit gone unnoticed can jeopardize the rest of your camp career. Luckily I was able to walk away unscathed and with my pride still intact.

I was perfectly content as a day camper, and I could have very happily gone on to be the Van Wilder of Camp Almost Anything Goes. But bigger and better things waited just beyond the horizon. Sleep-away camp allured me like last slice of pizza. At the ready age of 10, being out in the world on my own sounded like a thrill. So it was settled. I would be attending Camp Fuller for one 2-week session. I pictured myself paddling a kayak while the sun set, sitting around a roaring bonfire while Chad, the sensitive and artistic counselor, played the guitar, meeting my long lost twin after an aggressively over-acted fencing match.

I remember a lot about Camp Fuller, and not just because I was sober, but because I enjoyed most of my time there. I remember waking up to Britney Spears’ first CD…the director would blast it from her cabin for all to hear. I’m sure they have Sonos now. One of the most distinct memories I have was being asked by someone waiting for the shower if I had peed in the shower right after I did in fact pee in the shower. I looked at her like she was crazy and assured her that I did not pee in the shower because ew, these are public showers. For the record, I think you’re weird if you DON’T pee in the shower every now and then. It saves water AND paper. It pretty much saves lives.

I remember every girl in my cabin and could probably pick them out in a line, but the cabin mate I remember most was the chick who slept above me.Her name was Jen and she was an enigma to me. She had hair down her back and brushed it everyday for about an hour(!) She also had fully developed breasts which supported my “Never Been Kissed” theory that she was actually much older and posing as a 11-year-old to fulfill a childhood dream, or to write an investigative piece on Camp. We had two counselors living in a room attached to our cabin. One was named Cassandra, and the other, a Brit named Lucy. Between her British flag shirt and her blonde hair, Lucy was pretty much the closest thing to Baby Spice that I’d ever met, making it extremely difficult to dislike her. The other counselor, Cassandra, was American, but was fired about 26 hours into camp after divulging her greatest fear (being raped) to a room full of prepubescent girls. Lucy did nothing to improve the situation. She said her fear was being buried alive, which is a very rational fear to have…If I remember correctly, I think I said mine was sharks. My fears have taken a much darker turn since then – now it’s guys my age who wear Abercrombie and Hollister and hangovers lasting over 12 hours. The other day I caught a whiff of “Fierce” cologne and it ruined my entire week. I showered three times when I got home from work that day.

I remember a lot of the girls at camp, but none better than Ksenia…or maybe it was Xenia. Either way, she had a silent letter tacked on the beginning of her name, like some kind of celebrity’s baby. I mean at least the ‘X’ in my name stands for something. I was convinced she was part human, part cat after witnessing her climb the rock wall. I’ve never seen anyone climb a rock wall with such grace and speed. She even climbed it blindfolded and with her feet tied. Fucking Ksenia and her silent K and her Russian gymnast strength and discipline. I think every guy was in love with her (this was before the boys watched me stuff three marsh mallows in my mouth on a dare).

Camp Fuller was where I made my first African American friend. His name was Lance and he wore classic Timberland boots and had braids like Lil’ Wayne. All the girls loved him because he had the enigma thing all the other white campers couldn’t achieve: effortless swag. He was in my water skiing class but he never actually went water skiing, he just skipped rocks and sat on this huge boulder like he owned the place. Swag for days.

Although I did not return to Camp Fuller, I will forever cherish the memories I made there.

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Shitty Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most celebrated American traditions. I mean what could be more American than football, beer, and sitting on your ass for four+ hours, mindlessly consuming delicious finger foods like pigs in a blanket and wings the whole way through. Oh wait, that’s literally what I do every day. This year I was #blessed to be traveling on Super Bowl Sunday. I was supposed to go on a business trip to Orlando. This is how my day unfolded from start to finish.

I woke up half-drunk and drenched in my own sweat at around 8 AM. The night before I managed to come home and microwave some chicken poppers, but forgot to charge my phone. So here I am, about to leave for the airport with a dying phone and a rapidly approaching hangover. Already, the tone was set for the rest of the day. My flight was scheduled to leave at 10:50, so I rushed to gather my things and ran out the door. There was snow everywhere, and I thought that for sure my flight would be delayed or even canceled. As I trudged down the sidewalk with about 50 lbs of baggage in tow, the drunken stupor began to fade and the hangover began to set in. This was an aggressive hangover and, like the majority of my hangovers, I had a feeling it would be enduring. I rode the blue line to O’hare and upon arrival, found out that my flight was delayed an hour. Ok, great. I will use that extra hour to pull myself together, have some coffee and a protein shake bagel. I also found a charging station, so things were starting to look up. The snow continued to fall, and the number of canceled flights grew. Not ours though. We boarded the plane at 1 PM and sat at the gate for about an hour while the crew worked to deice the plane. Then after about an hour the pilot came on and announced that the flight would be “permanently delayed.” So we deplaned and went back to the gate only to find out that there had been a miscommunication between air traffic control and the pilot….and the flight was back on. So for the second time we boarded the plane, said hello to the crew, went back to our seats and watched the safety video. The captain even briefed us on the weather in Orlando, again. Then once the plance was de-iced (again), we rode around on the taxiways for what seemed like hours. Everyone was silent, waiting expectantly every time the engine would rev. But an hour later we were still on the ground. The captain came on and told us that the weather was not subsiding and that it was not safe to fly. Yeah, no shit. It was a full on blizzard out there. It was after 4 PM at this point, so I had officially been at the airport for 7 hours and had spent 2 of those hours sitting on a grounded plane. I didn’t care how hungover I was, now more than ever I needed a stiff drink. So I got back on the L, rode for an hour, walked back to my apartment, and planted my ass on the couch to watch the Super Bowl with the rest of America. It was a nice ending to a shitty day.

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Bible Camp

Do you guys watch Keeping Up with The Duggars? It’s really called 19 Kids and Counting, but we may as well call it The Relentless Vagina, because that vagina is like John Giambi: 43 years old, used up and should have retired a while ago. And no, I do not know who John Giambi is – I just googled “athletes who should retire.”

Hello, and welcome to the first post of 2015. I promise there will be no more mention of vaginas from here on. Today’s post is about my stint in rehab Bible Camp! At the ripe age of 10, my parents decided to enroll me in Vacation Bible School. At this point, my knowledge of The Good Book was all acquired from a TV show called VeggieTales. The show follows a band of singing vegetables as they tell stories and and sing songs about the Bible and arbitrary things like not being able to find your hairbrush(my favorite song sung by Larry…I could relate most to Larry the Cucumber because he was silly, energetic, and shaped like a cucumber.

Jokes aside, my first experience as a Bible Camper I enjoyed wholeheartedly. It was just like any other summer camp, consisting of days spent playing games, singing songs, and arts and crafts. The only difference was that at Bible camp said activities had a Biblical reference or theme attached to them. I made new friends or “disciples” as I referred to them and learned some neat things about the man upstairs along the way. Clearly I did not take the 10 Commandments seriously because I continued to lie compulsively even during Bible camp. I went to Bible Camp for a couple summers.

I decided to take my talents to the big leagues: a Bible camp for the elite called AWANA. AWANA which stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed is a evangelical nonprofit organization whose mission is to help “churches and parents worldwide raise children and youth to know, love and serve Christ” (Wikipedia). This was essentially a Bible Boot Camp. It took place after school for a couple hours. “AWANA” know how many days I lasted? One. I spent the entire first day struggling to pass the first level which was to memorize a single Bible scripture. I could barely read and this chick wants me to memorize a Bible scripture word for word? It was at least ten lines long and contained a lot of archaic words like and a hast, hath and unto, and whenever I messed up the woman quizzing me made me start from the beginning. This went on for two hours until I was forced to sit through an awards ceremony for the amazingly gifted kids who had advanced to a higher level. I felt like SUCH a failure. “I’m never going back to AWANA, NEVER!!” is what I wish I had yelled, Billy Madison style, when the ceremony ended.

God is Love,

Rev Run and Tina

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Directionally Challenged

Whenever I visit my parent’s home in the suburbs I always read some of the several hundred magazines they subscribe to. One magazine I like is Fast Company. It’s a fresh and smart take on all things business and tech, and if you know one thing about me, it’s that I like to stay relevant as fuck and that I also use swear words like Lindsay Lohan uses coke: excessively and probably on the set of a Lifetime movie or with Stedman in Oprah’s guesthouse. Anyway, this past weekend I read the December issue of Fast Company which included a feature story on American DJ and Producer, Diplo. Did you know that Diplo is short for Diplodocus? That’s that really chill long-necked dinosaur, FYI.

I also read a story about fashion and technology, more specifically, the merging of the two industries to create fashion with technological capabilities. If you thought cargo pants that zip off into fashionable shorts were cool, just wait until you hear about some of the latest inventions in tech fashion. Designers are creating apparel, accessories and fitness wear that can do everything from monitor your heart rate to charge your smartphone. I’m a pretty practical person, and when it comes to fashion I like things to be uncomplicated and preferably made of 100 percent cashmere…but there was one invention that peaked my interest. It’s called “Navigate Jacket.” The jacket connects with a phone via bluetooth and uses light up/vibrating sleeves to notify the wearer when and which way to turn. I mean aside from looking like a complete jackass, the jacket does have some cool qualities that make it especially appealing to directionally challenged folks like me.

I use my GPS more than any other app with the exception of Tinder and Starbucks. I need to use it as often as I do because my own sense of direction has failed me too many times. At this point even Siri’s like “My Queen, do you really need directions to (insert place I’ve been 1,000 times)?” If I had any hope for my sense of direction, all hope was lost the time my parents came to visit me in Seville where I was studying abroad at the time. After living there for two months, they thought I knew the place like the back of my hand. They thought wrong. Long story short we got really really lost and my dad became really really mad. So, you can imagine my excitement when I found out about this coat. I immediately put it on my Christmas list – right under the Bacon Wave. Fingers crossed that both of those items are under the tree.

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The Mexican Food Diet

I recently started a new job working in the Premium Food Production Industry. And no, that’s not a joke, but go ahead and laugh if you want. But let me ask you this: do you get to be an extra in a TV show and sample 9 different salsas on a random Tuesday at your job?

I was thrilled to land this job because it pays well (by my standards) and the benefits are great. Since starting in early September I’ve not only managed to build up my credit score and my 401k, but my body mass index has also seen significant growth. There are two things I know for sure: as long as I work here, I will never go hungry, my roommate will most likely never go hungry, and I will never have to buy my own chips and salsa. Right now, I feel beyond #blessed but I also feel #gross. In the two months I’ve worked here I have consumed a disgusting amount of Mexican food. My expanding waistline agrees. Nowhere in the job description did it say “Able to be productive in an environment with an unlimited supply of natural stone-ground tortilla chips, fresh fire-roasted salsas, and delicious homemade Mexican meals” and yet, I find myself grabbing handfuls of chips in between pumping out spreadsheets. It’s gotten so bad that I now have a recurring dream where I am being chased by a giant burrito named Raul…that was a joke, but it’s funny to imagine in your head, right?

I’m embarrassed to admit that before working here I did not really know what Carnitas were. I assumed it was something Chipotle invented/a cool name for a Latina girl band. Now I can speak knowledgeably about such ethnic meats as carnitas and barbacoa. I’ve begun to consider myself a Mexican cuisine/restaurant connoisseur and I’ve been dubbed the go-to source for all things culinary by my friends(me and like one friend). I know all the latest Chicago restaurant openings and closings (Kitchen just opened on Clark St., the first SHAKE SHACK Chicago opens tomorrow (can I get an AMEN), Chilis is still open, and I’m still single). And you better believe I’m up on all the culinary trends….I still don’t understand all the hype surrounding noodles…but I guess I’ll never fully understand any hype about anything unless it’s main ingredients are cheese and tomato sauce and goes by the name of Pizza.

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A Love Note to The Men of The L

To The Beautiful Men Riding The L,

You probably don’t know me, but I watch you from afar most mornings and evenings. Creepy enough for you? I’m just getting started.

Every weekday I board the L, usually disgruntled and in a state of dread about the 8-hour workday ahead of me. But once I get on that train my mood is instantly lifted, and it’s all because of you. While most commuters are deeply invested in their cell phones – playing candy crush or whatever the kids are playing now – I’m over there in the corner gazing at you in your business casual attire and picturing our life together. Sometimes if I stare long enough you look back at me and our gazes meet. If my eyes could talk they’d say, “Hey baby, let’s ride this offensive-smelling L train into the sunset or to a stop where we can get Chipotle.”

Sometimes I’m lucky enough to get to stand really close to you, so close that when the train stops abruptly I can fall into your arms. I’m not a klutz I just want to be near you.

When the train pulls up to my station I get off and as I’m walking on the platform I pretend that you’re watching me, wondering what my name is or what color underwear I have on…

So thank you, men of the L, for gracing the otherwise unpleasant L train with your presence every morning and every night.

Love,

Me

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