Monthly Archives: November 2014

Tip #37: You don’t become ostentatious just because you have cable

August 1, 1999

I ❤ MTV! Oh, it is the BEST, but unfortunately we don’t get cable. I mean, HELLO—everyone gets cable. You can’t be ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious of you don’t have cable. Plllleassssse!

Dear Me,

Cable TV shows on E! and Bravo. These are the real ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious people in the world.

Cable TV shows on E! and Bravo. These are the real ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious people in the world.

Start squealing: your grown-up self has cable! Eeeeeeeeeeee! I’m now super ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious (good use of SAT words, by the way). Yes, that’s right; I’ve made it to the top tier of America because I have cable. Instead of going to galas and driving around in my Lambo (code for going to parties thrown by friends and driving in a Toyota Yaris), I stay at home and watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo and Keeping up with the Kardashians on E! You’re not familiar with these shows, but they’re about super ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious assholes too. You keep good (virtual) company.

Is my life better with cable? Technically yes. I think what you really mean by “ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious” is that you can have normal conversations with people without pretending. My biggest problem in high school was when the MTV VMAs aired at the beginning of the school year and I had to listen to everyone talk about them. In the morning, I would eavesdrop on discussions about the VMAs so that by the afternoon I was informed and able to hold down a conversation as though I had actually watched it. But this still didn’t make me swanky enough since I knew in my heart that I had missed the biggest night in TV for teenagers of my generation.

Now I don’t need to pretend. Did you see everyone get slaughtered at the Red Wedding? Why, yes I did! Can you believe that half of Gustavo Fring’s face got blown off by Walt? Super crazy! Did you see Miley grinding Robin Thicke? They’re both tasteless sleazeballs, and I saw it live because finally, in my late twenties, I’m watching the VM-freaking-As!

My life goal: to watch the VMAs live.

My life goal accomplished: to watch the VMAs live.

But I might be behind the times. Yet again. Because when I talk to my co-workers, especially the younger ones, they looooooove saying in a superior voice that they don’t get cable. Why would they? They can download everything for free, if needed. But since they are, for the most part, true environmentalists, they are excessively proud of the fact that they don’t even own a TV. No need to rot your brain, support evil capitalists, create additional waste, AND pay for it all at the same time. Well, I guess the joke’s on me! Note to self: these days, the fast-track to being ostentatious, swanky, and pretentious is to NOT get cable. Who would have thought? Welcome to the future!



I sure was missing out in high school! Yay MTV!!


Tip #39: Stop-Drop-Roll (or something like that)

August 18, 1999

Oh. My. God! Yesterday we had an earthquake. I have never experienced anything so scary. I was sitting on my bed and the whole house started to shake and the windows began to rattle! I instantly knew that we were having an earthquake. I was like “Oh god, we’re going to die! This is the end of the world! This is the biggie! Oh! I’m not ready to die!” I didn’t say that out loud, but I said it in my head. I was in my room by myself close to the window hiding under my feather blanket! DUH! I should have run to a doorway. I have never experienced anything like that in my life. I mean, the ground was shaking! Sure I was here during the 1989 earthquake, but I was only four and didn’t understand that the earthquake could have taken everything, all priceless objects, my house, and my life. But now I understand earthquakes and how much damage they can cause. I was scared silly! I mean, the earth was moving. The quake wasn’t big, only 5.0 and lasted only 10 seconds. The only thing that fell down were all 18 of my Pez dispensers and now I can’t find my Minnie Mouse one. But that’s better than my house falling over. WAY better. Oh! It was soooo scary! I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared. I was sure I was going to DIE. There was an earthquake in Istanbul just like ten hours before. But it was worse with 7.4 magnitude and lasted 30 seconds. Thousands are dead and thousands are missing. 😦 P.S. I found my Minnie Mouse Pez!

Dear Me,

Yes, that was stupid of you just to stay in place during the earthquake. As we learned in school, we need to take cover under something—a doorway, a desk, a kitchen table; basically anything except for a feather blanket. But you know what? I would do the same thing now. You still haven’t learned.

Because despite what people may think of us Californians, we are NOT accustomed to earthquakes. It’s almost a bragging right for native Californians when they talk to their friends who transplanted from another part of the country. “Oh sure… earthquakes. Whatevs; we get them all the time. I barely stop what I’m doing when one happens.” Well, to all you “native Californians,” I’m calling bullshit on your “hardcore” asses. I moved here when I was one year old (aka, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t live here; aka, I too am a native) and I freak-the-freak out when I feel an earthquake, as documented above in August 1999.

My college roommate and I safeguarded our Pez dispenser collection with cardboard and tape so that they would endure an earthquake

My college roommate and I safeguarded our Pez dispenser collection with cardboard and tape so that they would endure an earthquake

For the record, we do NOT get them all of the time. Sure, tiny baby ones are frequent, but we don’t even feel those. I think I’ve probably felt no more than 10 earthquakes in the almost 30 years I’ve lived in the Bay Area, and only three of them were noteworthy. One of those being the aforementioned earthquake and one being the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 when I was four—losing our signal during Sesame Street had a huge impact on me. Unlike me, my mom (also a California native) had the sense to grab her precious daughter and brace us under a door frame. I’m still impressed with her ninja reflexes, even to this day.

I think about the next Big One almost daily. I live in fear that my house will slide down the canyon that it rests upon. Or that I’ll be stuck at work when it hits because BART (our public transportation system) will be shut down. And then I’ll probably have to work forever. Or that I’ll actually be commuting IN the Transbay Tube, which is the tunnel that goes UNDER the Bay into San Francisco. See? Isn’t that a frightening thought? To be stuck in a 4-mile-long, 40-year-old tunnel submerged 130 feet below sea level? NO THANK YOU!

Whatever the case, I know one thing for certain: just like when I was 14, I am NOT used to earthquakes. And I’m NOT prepared. Hopefully I’ll have better sense than to not just sit there in paralyzing fear. But I’ll probably choke up and do something completely wrong like stop-drop-and-roll instead. The best I can do is hope that I’ll roll right into a doorway or under a table. Wish me luck!



Tip #46: Please, I’m begging you: wear your retainer!

January 28, 2000

Okay, I am so mad! In second grade, I got a retainer. Then in third grade, I got braces for three years and then a retainer again since then. Now I don’t mind retainers but recently my wisdom teeth came in and uh-no! My teeth aren’t perfectly aligned on the right side of my mouth! No one can even see. Urrrrr. So anyway, my stupid orthodontist put braces in my mouth with rubber bands laced around them. When the rubber bands are in, it hurts my teeth. But when they are out, there is no cushioning and the braces poke at my cheeks. I have bloody sores on my cheeks, but when the rubber bands are in they clamp my teeth down so tight I can barely talk!

Dear Me,

I’m getting down on my hands and knees and begging, pleading, imploring you to wear your retainer. Please, little Kirsten, do not stop. Ever. This is – no joke – my number one regret in life. Look how sad you were; how much pain you endured for over a period of TEN years to get your teeth perfectly aligned. Don’t let all of the tears and fights be in vain. Think of all the money your parents spent to make you not look like your friends and family in Europe.

High School Prom (2003)/Wedding (2010). My bottom teeth don't look so bad at my wedding, but that was four years ago. You don't even want to see an updated photo.

High School Prom (2003)/Wedding (2010). My bottom teeth don’t look so bad at my wedding, but that was four years ago. You don’t even want to see an updated photo.

And your teeth were beautiful. People on the street would stop you just to compliment your smile. Okay, mainly creepy men, but who’s keeping track? All you needed to do was flash those flawless pearly whites and heads would turn, traffic would stop, and trumpets would sounds. Fine, I might be overreacting, but you did get one boyfriend (now husband) with your straight teeth.

Then one night in college you were sleeping in your dorm when a knock on the door woke you out of your slumber. You stumbled out of bed, not caring in the slightest what you looked like, to find one of your friends on the other side, taunting you for falling asleep before midnight (shhhh… it was really 10:30 p.m.). And what’s that? You have two retainers in your mouth? You still wear those? What a little baby! And that was it. Your retainers got hidden away for the next six months, until you found them when you were moving out of the dorm. You and your roommate laughed when you both could barely shove your respective retainers into your mouths. Your top one fit with much difficulty, but the bottom… well, was toast. You both laughed; silly teeth!

Ha. Ha. Ha. NOT FUNNY! The bottom teeth might have moved just slightly back then, but they will just keep sliding. Now they bother me so much that I have a habit of pushing them forward with my tongue or grinding them in hopes that they will go back in place (for the record, this has been an epic fail). I religiously wear my top retainer every night so that the top teeth don’t meet the same destiny. Luckily, I’m tall so when I’m standing, people can’t really see my bottom teeth. But then they see my double-chin, so it’s really a wash as to what’s worse.

I’ve been contemplating Invisalign for years, but I can’t bring myself to do it again. I don’t want to shed one more single tear due to the physical and monetary pain of making my teeth straight. But I’ll probably need to since grinding your teeth is like super bad. I just wish I could tell my past self: wear your freaking retainer!!!



Tip #31: Be optimistic of your future career—aim high because it might just come true

January 15, 1999

So, this is what I want to be when I grow up. Okay, don’t laugh. I want to be a spy. I mean, like this is kind of my like fun fantasy job that would never happen. Just like me becoming an actress or something. Plus, I wouldn’t really want to be a spy for a career or something, it is just fun to imagine being a spy. You know, one of those good spies who travels all around the world. That’s the only way I’d be able to see the world.

Dear Me,

I have really bad news for you. Are you sitting down? Please don’t hate me, but… you don’t become a spy when you grow up. I know, even you admit in this entry that it’s your “fun fantasy job,” but no one’s buying it. We all know this is what you truly wanted to be when you grew up.

This diary entry was written in eighth grade. By senior year, you had refined this dream career into a slightly more realistic job with the Department of Homeland Security. They don’t exactly do international spying, but they spy here at home. Still fun! Yeah… okay… that dream didn’t work out either. Sorry.

My spy manual (don't be fooled by the calculator, I just put it there to look smart; that's a spy trick)

My spy manual (don’t be fooled by the calculator, I just put it there to look smart; that’s a spy trick)

But hey, don’t be sad! I’m an environmental consultant. It’s kinda like being a spy. Instead of spying on bad-guys to protect citizens of the United States of America, we spy on land developers in order to protect the environment, which is a citizen of the world. Instead of using weapons to kill the opponents, we use the written word to save endangered species. Instead of globetrotting, we travel around the Bay Area. In fact, just next week you’re going on an all-expenses-paid day trip to the City of Santa Clara, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers (yes, I know… I don’t like the move out of SF either). You get to travel in luxury for two hours each way in grid-lock traffic in your 2007 Toyota Yaris. AND your mileage gets covered. Plus, you kinda work for the government since your projects are generally contracted with them. That is, a local government usually consisting of a medium-sized city.

See? You’ve made it! Being an environmental consultant is pretty much the same, exact thing as being a spy. Identical jobs. Screw it. It’s even better! So I take back what I said; congratulations, your fun fantasy job has come true.