Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hitting Life's Big Milestones

Six months ago I packed up everything I owned and moved to Colorado Springs.

Since then I've reached several significant milestones.

First, I've driven in snow. This was my biggest fear moving to a colder climate, but I'm adjusting to not always being entirely in control of my car. Last night we had a snowstorm and this morning I slipped and slid my way to church. While making a turn I skidded slightly and managed to recover without panicking, at which point I yelled "did you see that?!" to my accordion, which was in the passenger's seat. (He's old enough to sit up front now.)

The key to driving in snow is to go slow. Not only does this prevent accidents, it gives you time to laugh at the sports cars, which aren't nearly as cool when they're fishtailing on a sheet of ice.

The second milestone is I'm playing accordion in my church's praise and worship team. The stage is a little small so they have me play in a portable building on the other side of the parking lot, but I'm loving it!

The biggest milestone happened in August, when I purchased my first piece of furniture. This was a bittersweet moment, and one that required a good amount of thought and prayer. I've always been able to fit everything own into my car, and purchasing this furniture piece meant giving up the freedom and independence that comes with not owning large things. Now if I want to move anywhere I'm going to have to bribe a truck owner with pizza to come transport my IKEA bed frame. (Fortunately I can deflate and easily transport the air mattress that I have on the bed frame. Baby steps.)

Or, I could just cut my losses and buy another $99 bed frame when I make it to my final destination. (This is assuming I'll move again, which right now I have no plans of ever leaving Colorado Springs.)

Life in Colorado has been beautiful. This new season has been calm, and I'm grateful. I've spent time sitting with friends over coffee, hiking mountains with my sister, making late-night Wal Mart runs with roommates, reading books, and mentally rejuvenating. I moved here worn out and jobless, and God's provided both rest and work. (Lovely irony.) I don't know what's up next, but I'm trying not to take this peace for granted.

In a Winter Wonderland.

My youngest sister Leah at Lake Powell (left) and The Grand Canyon (right): Two of the stops on our Thanksgiving Road Trip Spectacular.

Tonight I'll turn in the final draft for my next book, tomorrow I'll play Simon Cowell at callbacks for a show I'm music directing in the new year, and then Tuesday and Wednesday I'll be speaking at a school here in Colorado Springs. Wednesday evening I'll log out of my social media, shut down my computer, put on my sweats, and head out on a "Christmas Family Tour," where I'll visit my parents and siblings in their various states.

Merry Christmas, friends, and may 2016 bless you in ways you didn't believe possible.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Man Who Insulted Everyone

I’m used to bizarre conversations. Something about my face says to strangers: “Please say awkward, weird things to me.”

Occasionally those conversations revolve around my singleness. Most of the time they go something like this:

Stranger: “Why are you still single?”

Me: “Probably because I play the accordion.”

Stranger: “Well, are you putting yourself out there and looking?”

Me: “Yes, I’m holding auditions next week.”

Stranger: “Maybe your standards are too high.”

Me: “Are you saying I shouldn’t wait for Robert Downey, Jr.?!?!”

Stranger: “Well, it’ll probably happen one day.”

Me: “Did I mention I play the accordion?”

I don’t mind these questions. They’re a little cliché, but sometimes they pave the way for deeper conversations.

Every now and then, though, a conversation with a stranger leaves me speechless. These are the exchanges I blog about.

Recently I spoke at a conference and, while reviewing my notes in the lounge a few minutes before my talk, a man helping with the conference came up and sat down near me. He was probably mid-50s and I’d spoken to him briefly throughout the day. With one short conversation he managed to insult me, his wife, all women, all men, and the partridge in the pear tree.

“So, are you in a relationship?”

“Not right now.”

“Yeah—it’s gonna be hard for you.”

(Point for insulting me.)

 “What do you mean?”

“Guys want a girl who needs them.”

(I actually do need a guy, if for no other reason than to get into buildings. I’ve always had a hard time with doors due to undiagnosed push/pull dyslexia.)

“I don’t think all guys want needy girls.”

“That’s you as a girl speaking. Guys need girls to need them.”

(Point for insulting all guys.)

“Is that how it was when you married your wife?”

“Yes, actually. Still that way.”

(Point for insulting your wife.)


“Well, you’re a pretty enough girl. The happiest guys, though, are the ones whose wife stays at home.”

“I’m not necessarily opposed to that.”

“It’s one thing if you’re really bad at your job—then it’s fine to stay at home. The thing is you’re good at what you do. Problem is no guy’s going to want that.”

(10 points for insulting all women who choose to stay at home, minus a few points for kind-of-sort-of complimenting me, 10 more points for assuming all guys can’t handle women who do things successfully.)

“I know a lot of men with gifted wives, and they live as partners both at home and in their work.”

“Yeah—well, good luck with that. Just make sure you’re running with those circles.”

(You mean hang out with people who are the exact opposite of you? Yeah, I’m on it.)

“Well, thank you for that insight. I have to go onstage now and tell jokes.”

And thank you for the new material.

This conversation wins second place, with first place still belonging to this awkward singleness conversation. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

I'm getting a divorce. (And I've never been married!)*

When I had my significant other for lunch. This was 6 months ago. 
Not a week goes by where I don't get multiple posts, memes, messages, and texts about Chipotle. Anyone who's known me longer than 10 minutes knows I have an unhealthy obsession. My tag line for this blog is even Chipotle related.

I've eaten Chipotle so much that our relationship probably falls under common law marriage. I was even excited about moving to Colorado Springs because the original Chipotle is in Denver and I could finally visit the burrito bowl Mecca.

They say confession is good for the soul, and it is with great sadness that I must confess I've been cheating on Chipotle. With Thai food.

As with most wayward behavior, it began innocently. Shortly after moving in my roommates said, "there's this really good Thai place less than a mile from our house." I'd never eaten Thai food before, and as Colorado Springs is known for its authentic Thai food,** I tried it. It started with Drunken Noodles. Then Massaman Curry. Then Green Curry. And before I knew what was happening it'd been three weeks since I'd eaten, or even thought of, Chipotle. Even more sad? There's a Chipotle less than 5 minutes from my house and I don't even care.

I've had Chipotle 4 times since moving to Colorado Springs almost three months ago. ONLY FOUR. I feel terrible. (Mentally. Physically I think I'm a little slimmer and I'm pretty sure my blood pressure's gone down a few points.)

I don't know how long this will go on. All I know is that I think about Green Curry constantly. I've barely thought about Chipotle, except when someone posts to my Facebook wall about it. Even then, those thoughts are guilt ridden, which leads me to the worst part of this whole thing: I've been lying to everyone, pretending things were okay between me and Chipotle. I've continued making jokes about my obsession and letting friends make comments and tease me about our relationship.

They say relationships have their ups and downs, and maybe Chipotle and I just need a break to sort things out. Maybe we should see a relationship counselor. I don't know. This is unfamiliar territory for me. All I know is that right now I don't want a burrito, and I don't know what to do with that feeling.

Have you ever experienced anything like this? Is restaurant polygamy a terrible social offense? PLEASE, INTERNET, TELL ME WHAT TO DO!

*I'm practicing writing headlines for Faithit.
**It's not known for its authentic Thai food.

Friday, July 10, 2015

"Hi, my name is High." Part one: Therapy Dog

Well, it's been a week since I rolled into Colorado. I've been hiking every day, I have a beautiful panoramic view of the mountains from my porch, Monday I start my first piano student, and I'm preparing to teach music at a few schools this fall. I've encountered many pleasant surprises with my transition.

I've also encountered more high people in one week than in my entire life combined. (And this includes spending a good amount of time in LA comedy clubs.)

The morning after I moved in my neighbor from across the street came outside while I unloaded my car.

"Did you meet my dog?" she asked.

I looked around to see if she was talking to me, since I hadn't ever even met her, much less her dog.

She walked over and shoved a tiny, shivering dog into my arms.

"He's my therapy dog. He's helping me with my panic attacks and anxiety," she told me.

I looked down at the shaking micro-dog in my arms, who was now nervously clawing at my jacket.

"I think your therapy dog needs a therapy dog," I thought to myself.

"My last therapy dog got stolen out of my hotel room. I was so traumatized. I moved to Colorado for the medical marijuana."

I was so confused. Were those two separate thoughts? Did she move because the abduction of her therapy dog distressed her so much she needed powerful opiates to get over it? I don't know. She kept talking while I ran through my mental inventory of responses for high people but I didn't have many because I don't speak Highnese. Fortunately, I didn't have to think of anything because she changed the subject.

"The doctor prescribed me opiate drops, you know."

"Nice," I replied, trying to hand her back her dog, which for some inexplicable reason I was still holding.

"No, not nice!" she exclaimed. She pulled a red bottle out of her purse. "One drop too many and these will kill you!"

Nothing makes you feel more like an ignorant, over sheltered homeschooler than getting reprimanded by your high neighbor about your lack of opiate knowledge.

"Wow, that's crazy." I said. "Well, I've got to go finish unloading this stuff from my car. It was nice to meet you and your dog!"

I gave her back her dog. She cuddled him close.

"He's my therapy dog. I love him."

"I know," I said in a Hans-Soloish tone and walked away.

To be continued, I'm sure...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

50 Shades of Awkward

Over the past week my Facebook feed has literally exploded with blogs condemning 50 Shades of Grey. The violence degrades women, the poor writing degrades art, it paints an unhealthy picture of romance, encourages fantasizing, and is an all around disturbing trend.

I'd like to contribute my gripe into the pool: 50 Shades doesn't accurately present one of the most un-talked about aspects of relationships: the awkwardness. Well, I'm guessing it doesn't address it. I haven't actually read the book or seen the movie. Cards on the table? I'm using the 50 Shades outrage/hype to generate more blog traffic. Tacky? Yes. But hopefully the genius kind of tacky.

With the exception of a few romantic comedies, Hollywood tends to gloss over the fact that dating and romantic relationships are incredibly awkward. I don't know about your life, but I don't have a team of writers making sure every ridiculous thing that comes out of my mouth (and believe me, it's a lot) gets a cute, quirky, heartwarming redemption. Usually it's me trying to back track and a guy stammering and not knowing how to respond.

I remember as a little girl looking forward to the day when I'd be allowed to date. (Or court/dourt depending on how homeschooled you are.) Actually, now that I think about it, I may still not be allowed to date. Our family never really established any parameters on that. We just avoided the topic. Because it was awkward.

First, there's the awkwardness of liking someone. Crushes are a horrific curse, and an unrequited crush can kill a piece of your soul from the inside out. You suddenly become hyper aware of everything you do around that person, get teased if anyone finds out, and it puts you in a portion of your head that was never supposed to be accessed. Once while talking to a guy I liked I became very aware of how much I was blinking. Do I normally blink this much? Are my contacts dry? Does he think I'm the worst flirt ever? Should I only wear glasses from now on around potentials? (In general, a good blink algorithm is 1 blink every 5-6 seconds. If your eyes start feeling dry you can increase it to 1 blink every 3-4 seconds.)

Second, there's the actual dating process. If you're dating someone you don't know well (or at all, i.e. online or blind date), just multiply the awkwardness of a typical date with someone you know by 10,000.

A good Christian first date should follow these general guidelines:

Testimonies get shared during appetizers.
Spiritual gifts and love languages are discussed over entrees.
Intentions and boundaries established over desserts. (No matter how well the date goes if he doesn't pay for it with cash from a Financial Peace envelope, it's over. Standards, ladies.)

Finally, there's the awkwardness of a relationship not working out.

Before you date it's a good idea to lay ground rules for a break up. A pre-pre-nup, if you will. If you're dating someone at your church, you need to decide which one of you is going to switch churches if it doesn't work out. (Or switch services/sit on the other side of the megaplex if you go to a mega church.) Even if you guys can handle breaking up like responsible adults, people around you will continue bringing it up, digging for detail worms, and asking for your reasons and feelings behind the relationship's demise. I'd rather discuss the branding techniques of microprocessing chips than talk about my breakup feelings with people who only take interest in me when my love life has some drama.

Still, despite all the awkwardness, people still somehow manage to fall in love and get married. And then the real awkwardness starts.

Well, as much as I'd love to continue this little rant, I have to run. My mom texted earlier to ask me what 50 Shades of Grey is and I told her it was the sequel to Little House on the Prairie. I should probably call her back and make sure she knows I was joking before she dies of multiple heart attacks.

Kristin Weber is a writer, music teacher, stand up comic, and boasts an honorary, self-given degree in sarcasm. She's single, lives with her parents, and just recently traded in her flip phone for an iPhone 5c, so obviously she's qualified to comment on all things relationship. You should join her this summer for a comedy cruise to the Caribbean. Tim Hawkins is on the roster, which is the real reason you should come.