food

A Day with Clay

I’ve been on a long hiatus from this blog since, well…around last Valentine’s Day. Only ONE thing, or rather one PERSON could bring me back: Clay Aiken.

Let me explain.

When I was a little girl, I loved Clay Aiken. I’d sprint from the school bus to my front door every afternoon, get inside, plop myself in front of the computer, and open an email draft. *cracks knuckles, cracks neck* let’s begin.

To: Clay Aiken

CC: Clay Aiken

BCC: Clay Aiken?

(Keep in mind I had no clue how to even use email at the time.)

No worries, this will definitely get to him.

What should I tell Clay Aiken today? I wondered, thinking through my whole day down to every conversation had.

Should I tell him about my new gel pens?

Will he care about the new Beanie Baby my grandma got for me?

I should definitely tell him about what I learned in class today.

I typed, with one finger, a listicle of random things I thought Clay Aiken should probably know about my day, every day…before listicles were even cool (or a thing).

But no matter what specifics I wrote that day, I always ended it the same way:

Can we get ice cream?

No response.

One December 1st,  2000-something (one day after CLAY’S birthday),while listening to his album “Merry Christmas with Love,” I decided to draft my final email to Clay Aiken, with Clay Aiken both CC’d and BCC’d (for good measure):

Today is my birthday. Can we get ice cream?

From there on out I spent my time on the computer not emailing Clay Aiken, but playing Sims instead, or Googling pictures of “pretty flowers” when my brother asked to use the computer. GOD, CAN’T YOU SEE I’M BUSY JOEY?

It’s disappointing that he didn’t respond. But in fairness, it turns out you need to send emails to an email address and not just the person’s first and last name. Who knew? Not me.

The other day I decided to give it another shot. Why not? I’m a damn adult now so this time, I took to Twitter:

15288577_10211728452271132_3827799638379653983_o.jpg

Still, no response. But what if he did respond? What would we do? Oh my word, think of the possibilities!

How would I spend my day with Clay Aiken? American Idol’s Number 1 Number 2, the politician, TV personality, the activist, and voice of an angel we all know today.

Naturally, we’d get ice cream.

BUT FIRST:

Our day would start at 12pm, sharp. Just late enough to sleep in and be well-rested for the day ahead, while still giving us enough time to seize the afternoon and evening.

We lunch. We maybe go back and forth about where to eat, considering street trucks and cafes we walk by. We decide on salads, dressing on the side. #chic. Our orders come. They’re good, but I’m questioning my choice of protein. Was chicken a bad choice? Clay reassures me. We laugh.

We go window shopping, thinking about gifts for loved ones while gazing into the beautifully decorated shops. In Rockefeller Center, we stare up at the giant tree. We take a pic. I set it as my Twitter avatar.

Should we ice skate? I tell Clay I’m not very good, but he tells me “c’mon! I won’t let you fall.”

He lies. I fall. I chip a tooth on the back of his blade on my way down. I cry a little bit because it was awkward, obviously. I mean, I just chipped my tooth on Clay Aiken’s ice skate! HELLO!! EMBARRASSING!!! But we laugh. We take a new picture with big smiles, displaying my broken front tooth. You can kind of tell I was crying in the pic, but I set it as my new, NEW Twitter Avatar anyway. Again, LAUGHTER ENSUES.

We see the Rockette’s later that night. It’s Christmas time, dammit! Whenever I even HEAR the Radio City Christmas Spectacular jingle, I imagine Clay singing it! HOW CAN YOU NOT? Clay, can you please do a cover? The World needs to hear your rendition.

I’ve never even seen the Rockette’s before so I can’t even guess how that part would go. Would we love it? I bet it’s magical. Are there parts to sing along? I want to sing along with Clay Aiken.

After the show, we talk a little bit about his UNICEF ambassadorship, his run for Congress, North Carolina in general, whether or not he knows Kelly Clarkson, what size Simon Cowell’s t-shirts are, his album Measure of a Man, and our favorite animals.

Finally, we get ice cream. I get mint chocolate chip. He gets butter pecan or something like that; he seems like a butter pecan guy, doesn’t he?

After our long conversation about how I KNEW he would be a butter pecan guy, the night ends just how I always imagined: a high-five.

Now back to reality.

It’s got to be over 12 years since I sent my last email to Clay Aiken on that December 1st.

So today, I write this blog post (Merry Christmas with Love playing in the background) and I ask one FINAL time, hoping the internet is on my side:

Dear Clay,

It’s my birthday. Can we get ice cream?

Victoria, Blog On Fleek

 

 

 

A Valentine’s Hey

February 14th. A day to spend with your significant other, eating overpriced heart shaped ravioli and basking in the glow of a tealight candle in an overcrowded restaurant.

But who says Valentine’s Day can’t be spent rekindling an old, drunken flame?

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve spent the past few summers in Dublin, Ireland. During this time, I went out to countless bars and clubs and met interesting characters along the way. We’ve all been there…it’s a tale as old as time: we go out, we have fun, we meet someone who is engaging, funny, flirty, and…totally drunk. We dance and maybe kiss at one point but we both know it’s not going anywhere, so we exchange numbers as a formality and leave with our respective friends, never to speak to that person again.

Like I’m sure a ton of us do, I now have a contact list FILLED with first names or code names of random guys I’ve met out.

So with a little encouragement from my friend Clare (HEY CLARE!!!) I decided to wish those guys HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! The results were absolutely hilarious.

I sent out 17  happy Valentine’s Day wishes. The first to respond? Someone saved in my phone as “Niall”

Niall

 

I was incredibly surprised he remembered me. It’s been 7 months! He was actually a nice guy and his responses were tame enough so I left the conversation there because moments later I got a text from a contact saved in my phone as “Penguin Erector”

The name behind Penguin Erector is a story itself. But basically, this guy told me he worked the penguin exhibit at the Dublin Zoo. He claimed his job title was Penguin Erector which, according to him, meant he had the duty of picking up the penguins and placing them upright if they fell over.

Was that a lie? Probably.

PE

 

PE2

“Add me on LinkedIn? Xx”

ADD. ME. ON. LINKEDIN? XX????????

First of all, wasn’t aware we were making a professional connection! Second of all, why does a “Penguin Erector” need a LinkedIn?Third of all, someone PLEASE find his “new lady” and send him this post because the Penguin Erector needs to be STOPPED, now. 

Needless to say, I left the conversation here…and didn’t add him on LinkedIn.

Up next: Ryan.

RY1RY2RY3

Amazing. Amazing stuff.

So not only did Ryan get right back into it and try to woo me back, but he confused me for some other Victoria with “yellow hair and big tits” (FYI Ryan it’s called blonde hair), and THEN he wanted to dive right into the most embarrassing political question an American could receive right now.

Ryan, you’ve outdone  yourself. And for that, we salute you.

Up next: Isaac.

IBIB2

Isaac is a goddamn doctor! Quick, someone get this man a goddamn Nobel Prize! He’s just discovered a cure for loneliness! We’re all just one small bum compliment away from never being lonely again. 2016, what a year for science!

______________

Out of the 17 Valentine’s Day messages I sent out, I only got these four conversations in return. But these four conversations exceeded my expectations in every way possible. Man, I miss Ireland.

As for the ones who didn’t reply… Stephen, Jeremy, Cian, Eoin, Connor, and Cormac to name a few… I hope you’re eating heart shaped ravioli, basking in the glow of a tealight in an overcrowded restaurant, and sitting across from a girl you met in Copper’s. Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Blog On Fleek

 

Sunny-Side Up Your Ass

Let me take you back. To a particular day in my life that I’m not very proud of. A moment where I let life get the best of me.

It was a Wednesday. I remember because I woke up in the morning particularly pissed that it was a Wednesday. What a shit day, Wednesday; who does Wednesday think it is, right in the middle of the week like that? Right in the way of my weekend plans. Mondays get the bad reputation, but Wednesdays are the true enemy in my eyes. Why? Because if you have a bad day on a Monday, everyone accepts it as, “poor thing, she’s having a bad day; it’s Monday!” But if you’re having a bad day on a Wednesday, you’re fucked. “Get it together,” they’ll say, “It’s Hump Day!”

Well fuck your Hump Day! There’s nothing worth celebrating about two days keeping me from my weekend. And don’t you get me started on Tuesdays! But I digress.

Right, back to the story.

It was a Wednesday. 2010. Late July. One of those disgustingly humid days when you sweat behind your knees and leave perfectly embarrassing imprints of your ass sweat on every surface you sit on. It was such a hot, muggy day and I couldn’t be bothered to eat, mostly because it would use too much of my energy to cook. And cooking implied heat, and heat implied more sweat. I wasn’t interested. I let most of the day pass surviving only on ice pops and my anger which was slowly reaching a boiling point.

There was a marathon of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel. Perfect. My day was sorted. If you’ve ever seen it, you’ll know how remarkably interesting yet infuriating it is. The concept of the show is lovely: white American male travels the world and tries bizarre foods. What’s not to like, right? I’ll fucking tell you.

It’s not the foods that are frustrating or disgusting. The foods are interesting. It’s how good ole Andy insultingly describes the taste of said foods, in front of the people who just slaved over a hot stove making him beloved family recipes. I recall one episode in particular when he described a dish as tasting like “city park benches and dirty sidewalk curbs.” Excuse me, what? “It has that delicious moldy vomit taste.” Park benches and moldy vomit? We all know what kind of guy Andy must have been in college.

But I couldn’t look away. I kept watching the show. But it pissed me off with each passing second. It was creating a rage monster inside that not even a sewer could hold.

My tummy started to growl. Maybe it was the heat talking, but the disgusting descriptions were beginning to sound almost appealing. The ice pops weren’t holding me. It was time to make real food.

I looked in the pantry. Oatmeal? Nah. Soup? Definitely not. I moved to the fridge. Eggs. Yeah, why not. Easy enough, quick, and I love a good egg with the runny yolk. Over-easy.

Over-easy eggs always give me a hard time. No matter how hard I try to be gentle, I always seem to crack the yolk, making a yellow mess in the pan and not on my plate.

I heated the pan. I cracked the first egg. Beautiful crack. I cracked the second egg. Brilliant. I wait and then at the perfect moment, I execute the most impressive and satisfying double-egg flip one could ever imagine. This Wednesday was looking up.

Or so I thought.

I plated my food, set the plate on the table, and sprinted to the bathroom. I had to cook with my legs crossed because those ice pops went right through me.

I sat down on the toilet and let out a delightful No. 1. I glanced up at the toilet roll to see that my brother didn’t replace the paper. No worries, we usually keep a spare in the top drawer under the sink. I checked. No luck. Annoyed, I waddled with my pants around my ankles to the other bathroom down the hall. Attractive image, I know.

While I was washing my hands, I heard my dad walk through the front door. I didn’t think anything of it. I fiddled with my hair in the mirror, forcing my then curly hair into a braid and out of my face in this painfully hot weather.

I started towards the kitchen. I heard the clinking of silverware. No! I ran to the kitchen only to find my dad eating my eggs. MY eggs. My perfectly flipped eggs. I nearly lost it. At that point, steam must have been shooting out of my ears and nose and every cavity of my body.

My dad looked so pleased that I made eggs for him. “Thank you, Victoria! I wasn’t expecting to have lunch waiting for me!” Sweet, clueless man. He didn’t deserve my wrath, he didn’t know any better. So I kept it in.

I said to myself

No big deal, Victoria. Just make more eggs! Really, it’s no big deal. No harm done.

I was right.

I hate when I’m right.

I headed to the fridge and grabbed the carton of eggs. I opened it to see only one lone egg left.

ONE EGG? I’M BASICALLY STARVED TO DEATH! LOOK AT ME! I’M WITHERING AWAY TO NOTHING! ONE EGG? I thought to myself. Woah. Cool it. One egg is fine. Honestly, who did I think I was making two eggs in the first place? One egg is more than enough. 

I was right.

I hate when I’m right.

Like before, I heated up pan. I cracked the egg. The very last egg. The egg dropped into the pan and, FUCKING YOLK EVERYWHERE.

I BROKE IT.

THE LAST EGG.

I WAS WRONG.

I FUCKING HATE WHEN I’M WRONG.

Pissed off, I threw the pan into the sink and stormed off to my room. Behind me I heard my clueless dad say, “hey, next time can you make my eggs sunny-side up instead?”

Fucking Wednesdays.

The Break-Up

It’s not you, it’s me.

And I just can’t do this anymore.  This isn’t healthy.

Our love was so strong. I was somehow able to break your hard crust and feel who you really are, on the inside; so warm and soft— you comfort me. But this can’t go on.

This relationship has gone stale. I was trying to stay strong, I was trying to keep my distance, but I just can’t. I don’t have the willpower. Maybe it’s how you look, or how you smell, or maybe even how you taste. I tried to change you, and I’m sorry for that. I tried to kneed you into what I wanted. I tried to weigh my options and look elsewhere. I thought that maybe, just maybe, if I found something I liked better, I would find the strength to walk away from you and never look back.

It’s harder than that. And I realize that now.

My strength would only last days, a week at most.

We would meet at Panera and I would pretend like I wasn’t there to see you, but we both really knew I was. I would give in and indulge in your warmth and comfort. This would only leave me in pain for the days to follow. You make me sick to my stomach, and that is NOT okay. It’s like I’m allergic to you now. This can’t be healthy. This is not healthy.

I lied before; it’s not me, it’s you. You do this to me.

So, it’s time for a change. It will be hard, but I have to do this. For myself. I’m ending this, once and for all.

Bread, we are done. Gone are our days of sandwiches, grilled cheeses, toast, bagels— we’re over.

I’m a better me without you.

I’m gluten free, baby.


I’m so sorry,

Victoria, Blog On Fleek