Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy FRIENDSgiving!!

[UPDATED: 11/25/2015]

Thanksgiving and FRIENDS go together like unicorns and rainbows, Jack and Sally, me and chocolate! Seriously though, no other show does (or has ever done) Thanksgiving like them! Holiday shows seem to be worth their weight in gold, but some do it better than others. Other than the Simpsons firmly cementing themselves as the King of Halloween, no other show as a hold on a specific holiday like FRIENDS and their Thanksgiving episodes. All ten seasons have one, and they tend to produce some of the most memorable moments of the series. 

I have a tradition every Thanksgiving where I re-watch all the FRIENDS Thanksgiving episodes the week/morning of Thanksgiving. (And actually, I do this for Christmas too, but we're not there yet!) I feel like it wouldn't be the "holidays" without my FRIENDS. ;)  They always made me wish for a "FRIENDSgiving", a separate holiday where your besties gather and do Thanksgiving together. I never wanted to give up my family Thanksgiving because I LOVE that tradition too, but I was always jealous of the idea of having a "Friendsgiving". So, I guess in my own way, I kinda do, as I revisit each of the episodes and reminisce. But still, I am SO JEALOUS, for so many reasons and they really know how to do Thanksgiving right! Looking back, I can't say that I have a favorite because that would be like picking a favorite child! But I can choose favorite moments, and I decided this year to share them!


1. Season 3"The One with the Football"

The FRIENDS football game. WHO DIDN'T WANT TO DO THIS AFTER THEY WATCHED IT!? I dreamed of having my own Thanksgiving day football (or soccer or basketball...really any sport would do) game with family or friends. How fun would that be!!

The answer to that question is this picture. SO MUCH FUN. Especially if you get this:

"The Geller Cup"

 2. Season 5- "The One With All the Thanksgivings"

This is one of the best 'Thanksgiving' moments, ever. After Joey gets the turkey stuck on his head, Monica then puts it on (along with a cap and glasses) to cheer Chandler up, and he inadvertently tells her he loves her, while she's dancing with a turkey on her head.

But the BEST moment of the episode is when Joey walks in and Monica turns around and scares him half to death. SO FUNNY.

It's is probably one of the funniest moments of the series! I still die laughing!! Look at that face! It's priceless!!

3. Season 9- “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister”

This is one of the greatest cat fights ever. I mean, Jennifer Aniston vs. Christina Applegate? It's hysterical.  Christina Applegate also won an Emmy for her guest star in this episode! But Poor Monica and her wedding china!! 

Poor Monica's wedding china... 

4. Season 6- "The One Where Ross Got High"

I'm like Rachel where I always try baking something new for big events. I don't know why I do it...EVERY time...I just do. But then, of course, you can't try the finished product until everyone is eating it and the whole time you're waiting for that moment, your stomach's in knots because you're worried it's going to "taste like feet". Maybe this episode is WHY I'm so terrified of messing it up...

It's trifle time...

In this moment, when everybody knows it tastes horrible and they're watching someone else try it...oh man... it haunts me. I'm desperately afraid of this situation playing out in my real life. I mean, I'd know never to put beef in a trifle, but still, something equally bad could happen!

And also...the Lightening Confession Round...One of the BEST moments of the WHOLE SERIES:

5. Season 5- This is technically a "day after Thanksgiving Episode", but it's absolutely vital to the collection.

We'll just call it The One with the Moist Maker. Every year Monica makes Ross a Thanksgiving sandwich made out of the leftovers. But it's not like your normal turkey sandwich, it has a special layer of gravy soaked bread in the middle, which Ross names the "Moist Maker". Every year he looks forward to his sandwich but this year someone eats it out of the fridge at work and he practically loses his mind and flips out on his boss for eating it (and throwing the rest of it away). It's one of the most hilarious "Ross moments" of the entire show!

Or you can watch it here:

6. Season 4- "The One With Chandler in a Box"

In this episode, Chandler and Joey are fighting because Chandler kissed Joey's girlfriend. To pay the price for his actions, Joey tells Chandler the only way he will forgive him is if he serves a sentence in the box. And like Chandler explains, his reasons are very simple and logical; "The meaning of the box is threefold. One, it gives me the time to think about what I did. Two, it proves how much I care about my friendship with Joey. And three... it hurts!" In other parts pf the story, Monica is chipping pieces of ice out of the freezer and one flies into her eye and cuts it. She goes to her eye doctor (her ex-boyfriend who's like twice her age) but thanksfully he's out of the office so she sees the other doctor...who happens to be the handsome son (Michael Vaughn) of said ex-boyfriend and they kiss. Naturally, she takes a lot of flack from the friends when she gets home, but in a moment of pure comical beauty, schools them all.

Watch it here:

7. Season 1- "The One Where Underdog gets Away"

It's the FRIENDS first Thanksgiving together and it's technically a disaster, but that's what we love about them. When the Underdog balloon in the Macy's parade escapes, the FRIENDS run out to the roof to see it and end up getting locked out while the dinner keeps cooking inside. 

By the time they find the right key (out of Joey & Chandlers drawer full of them!) all the food is burnt and overcooked. Naturally, arguments ensue and eventually they realize how lucky they are to have each other. But I do love the moment when Monica and Rachel fight about the way Monica said the word "keys"... it sounds like an argument I may have had with my sisters a time or two... It's so funny!

8. Season 10- “The One with the Late Thanksgiving”

This one has a special place in my heart, not only because it's the last FRIENDS Thanksgiving (tear!) but because it's when Monica and Chandler find out they're going to be able to adopt a baby!

But, least you worry that it's full of only tear jerking moment that make you want to curl in a ball with a pint of B&J's (No? Just me then?), there are still "classic FRIENDS moments", like when Joey get's his head stuck in between the door and the chain lock.

Rachel: “It’s Thanksgiving and we should not want to be together, together!” Not to mention Joey's "weird-eye-contact-thing" and the "floating heads" moment. Genius!

Or the Rock/Paper/Scissors...and Fire...and Water Balloon moment. Why didn't I think of that sooner!? Typical Friends. :)

And this scene with Ross's shirt.

9. Season 8- “The One with the Rumor”

This episode was is pretty great, though ever since the whole "Team Aniston"/"Team Jolie" incident, I haven't been able to love Brad Pitt the same way. That might sound ridiculous and crazy, but seriously, you mess with one of America's sweethearts, you mess with us all!  Though at the time they were still together and this episode is pretty great. We find out the Ross and his high school friend Will (Brad Pitt) made an "I Hate Rachel Green club" where they were the only members...except for a foreign exchange student who didn't speak English. Will's line, "My two greatest enemies, Ross: Rachel Green and complex carbohydrates” and when he's mouthing "I.HATE.YOU" is hysterical.

AND Brad Pitts..ahem, I mean Will's impression of Rachel, complete with the shoulder hair flick is spot on and side-splitting!

 Oh and this...

I love Joey. In this episode, he borrows a pair of Phoebe's maternity pants so that he can finish the whole turkey like he promised Monica he'd do. And actually...wearing maternity pants is kind of a really good idea...just saying.

10. Season 7- “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs”

Something I always think about is Chandler's "dumb states game" and how Ross (I mean, ROSS!) couldn't even finish the list. Turns out, it's not as easy as you think it is! Especially over on the East Coast when the states are so small and clumped together...seriously, who can remember all of those!  My friends and I tried it one year and I honestly couldn't believe I didn't finish! Go on, try it! Just don't bet thanksgiving dinner one it!

And the part where Chandler's secret comes out... [watch below] 

Well, here's to all of you. And to a small lovely dinner with your best friends, great food and comical disasters... doesn't that sound amazing?! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Lesson’s I Learned from Jane Austen

Sometimes I imagine that it’s a beautiful sunny but chilly English morning. The countryside is lusciously green and its expanse covers the horizon. The aroma of a wood fire burning through the soot-dusted chimney of nearby neighbors, coupled with the scent of last night’s rain and the morning dew, fills the air in an attractive swell that entices the senses. There is a piano in the background, the music drifts through the breeze and settles around white wicker furniture ornamented with fluffy floral cushions. In the center is a small table with vintage mismatched china, the brims of the tea cups are billowing with white clouds of steam. The roses are in bloom in the quaint garden and circle the furniture, with a sort of warm embrace that makes one feel right at home. Cuddled up in a soft plush blanket I sit across from my dear friend Jane, pulling my legs underneath me and reaching perhaps for a buttery cookie from upon the china and placing in on my saucer as I bring it and the warm cup into my lap. “What a lovely morning,” I remark, pressing the glass to my lips and feeling the hot liquid spill into my mouth and run down my throat. I meet Jane’s big brown eyes and she smiles with ease. “Indeed,” she says, sipping from her own tea and twirling the tassels on the end of her blanket with her thin pale fingers. “It’s my favorite kind of morning; full of sun shine and good company.” We’re not in hurry to make conversation. Some of the best conversations are had silently between friends. But after several minutes, or perhaps several hours for all I knew (there’s no clock in sight, as it should be), she shifts in her seat, sliding a piece of brown hair behind her ear and murmurs “So, tell me, how’s life?” in a way that only trusted confidants do. And there it begins. We talk for hours about life, about love and friendships and novels and perhaps some grievances. And as we delve perhaps into some gossip, our voices lower as if conspiring to perform some sort of mischief, and I see a wicked smile play about her lips and dance in her eyes. And at that moment, I know she completely understands me, whole-heartedly.

That’s my wonderland. Every so often I drop down the rabbit hole into a place entirely fabricated within the walls of my mind, where I have morning tea with Jane Austen in the English countryside. I know that must sound crazy. But I’m entirely certain that Jane Austen and I would be best friends, you know, if we were alive during the same time. I’m a self-proclaimed Janeite! She’s incredibly smart and witty and completely ahead of her time. She’s one of the greatest novelists of all time (notice that I didn’t use the word “female”, because I think she beats out a lot of men too!) Her six novels are classics and held in the highest regard from literary scholars. Millions of people have bought, read, and obsessed over her books for nearly 200 years! Her characters are some of the most well known characters in all of literature (hello Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett!). Not to mention the countless movie adaptations, which seem to be re-surface every generation (BBC’s are the best, obviously.), and quasi-adaptations (1995’s cult classic “Clueless” is based off of Austen’s Emma and “Bridget Jones’ Diary” is a modern Pride & Prejudice!).
People make the mistake of thinking that because these novels were published in the early 1800’s (and for many American’s because it is in “old English”) that it is outdated and irrelevant. But I assure you, Jane Austen is as relevant now as she was then. And she always will be. She taught us how to live, how to love and how to conquer the world as a strong, independent woman. To prove this to you, I’m giving you Lesson’s I Learned from Jane Austen.

Lesson #1: First Impressions aren’t always accurate. 
Once titled “First Impressions”, Pride & Prejudice was Austen’s pride and joy, and is one of the most beloved novels of all time. Simply, it’s a story about a young girl named Elizabeth who meets a new-to-town Mr. Darcy whose shyness and awkward nature is misunderstood as arrogance and vanity. Of course the fact that he is extremely wealthy doesn’t help matters either. The two main characters meet at a ball, and due to very poor first impressions of each other, both decide that they couldn’t possibly like the other. Ever. Elizabeth’s pride at overhearing Darcy refusing to dance with her and Darcy’s prejudice in regards to her “social situation” (her class, family, etc) are the very first impressions they get of one another, but they are enough to drive a wedge firmly in place between them. This is of course followed by more pride and more prejudice, on both their behalf’s, but eventually, once they’ve found out the truth and have actually taken time to understand each other, they realize that their first impressions were very, very wrong. This universal truth is something that we’ve all experienced with either a romantic interest or a potential friend. We have all either judged someone too quickly or have been judged too quickly, and it’s a good lesson to learn! I made a great friend in college who at first I absolutely despised because I made some quick judgments about her character, and when I really got to know her and understand where she was coming from, I loved her to death!

Lesson #2: We shouldn’t let other people’s opinions of who we love deter us from being with them. 
Sure, some opinions do matter, if our loved ones believe the person we are with is dangerous to us, we should no doubt listen to them before shrugging it off. However, there are sometimes a lot of opinions about “He/she isn’t good enough for you” or “What’s their job? Oh, that’s not enough to support you!” or whatever it may be. Far too often we let what other people think influence us into believing it too. Austen believed in following your own mind and your own heart. In her novel published in 1811 titled Persuasion, she explores this very concept in a relationship between Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth. Although the novel starts when *ahem* Captain Wentworth returns from the Navy handsomely rich and handsomely handsome, having made a name for himself (and quite a fortune! He was Austen’s most wealthy leading man!)  and reemerges into society where he runs into Anne Elliot, his former fiance, who called off the weeding because her friend persuaded her that he was beneath her (based on class, this is rather true. Wentworth was a self-made man and did not come from money or title). As Anne never married or fell in love with anyone else and Wentworth in search for love, the two struggle with their feelings for each other and overcoming their past. Wentworth continually remarks throughout the novel that strength of character is what he admires most about a women; someone who is not persuaded here or there, but knows her own heart and own mind and follows it. It’s important that we make our own choices; if we are happy, that’s what matters most, not the opinion of our parents or friends.

Lesson #3: Reading is cool people!
In Northanger Abbey, Austen’s satire novel published in 1811, Henry Tilney states that the person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” Now, I’m not going to say that people who don’t enjoy reading are stupid, but it’s a reflection of Tilney’s character. He is the type of man that wants a woman to be smart and appreciates their intellect. And he loves books. What more do you need?

Lesson #4: Aging makes a woman more beautiful.
In Persuasion, Austen states that “it sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before”. I don’t think she just means that some women are more beautiful as they get older but that growing up, knowing who you are and gaining confidence and self respect make a woman more beautiful. It’s that process of “aging” that is so looked down upon in our world, where women spends hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in anti-wrinkle cream (or botox and face lifts), that actually makes a woman who she is, and it makes her more beautiful.  We fear getting older; birthdays are often mourned instead of celebrated, and we start having “mid-life crises” at 25 years old. But the truth is, it’s okay that we’re not where we thought we’d be, whether we’re 25, 40, or 60 years old, it doesn’t matter. Life isn’t a checklist that we just cross off things after we get them. As cliché as it is, life is a journey. The actual act of driving isn’t the fun part, it’s what’s out your windows that makes it enjoyable. And sure, the point is to eventually get to a specific destination, but would we enjoy it as much once we got there if we completely hated the scenery or never even looked to see what was there? Those years make us who we are. And more often than not, the person we become is a much better person than who we used to be.

Lesson #5: Perfect is boring. 

"Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked." That is one of my favorite Jane Austen quotes. I just absolutely adore it! Her books are never perfect stories and her characters are never perfect, in fact, some of them have HUGE flaws! (I'm looking at you Emma!) But maybe that's the point. Anne (Persuasion) waited 10 years for Wentworth to come back and for her to get her happy ending. 10 years! Emma is a horrible character- selfish, self centered, and juvenile. In fact, Jane said that she wrote a character (Emma) that only she could love. And does anyone like Fanny? I mean, honestly. The point is, life isn't perfect. It will not always go according to plan and people make mistakes. But the the beauty is in the flaws. Imperfections are interesting and relatable. And would we really love these novels and characters if we couldn't relate to them?

Lesson #6: Don't meddle in other people's love lives.

Emma is a horrible character. I don't mean to say that she is horribly written because NONE OF AUSTEN'S CHARACTERS ARE HORRIBLY WRITTEN (I just want to get that straight first!) but she is a horrible person. At the end of the day, she means well, but she should really learn to butt out of peoples' lives! Harriet could've been saved the heartache if she would've supported her friend's feelings instead of insisting she look for someone better, because you know, a farmer isn't good enough. Emma makes snap judgements based off of his social class and decides that he isn't worthy of her friend, and puts forth all of her effort into breaking them up. (Which, let's be honest, doesn't take long. Harriet is a push over.) The thing I learned most from Emma was to do everything the opposite that she does. I never found it fair that Mr. Knightly is a wonderful man/character and ends up with Emma. Poor Knightly. Especially the Johnny Lee Miller Knightly. 

Lesson 7: True love is always found/realized when dancing.

I don't even need to explain this. Just watch the clips below.

Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy:

Emma & Mr. Knightly:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What's my age Again? A Birthday Memoir by a Still Sassy but Silly Brown Eyed Girl Who Dreams of Conquering the World

Well, it’s happening again. Another year older and wiser too… Well, at least another year older. I hate to sound aged, but I actually do feel wiser… not that I am wise, but wiser than I was, say when I turned twenty. Yes, goodbye early twenties, hello to being in my late twenties.

As a tradition, every year I write a birthday memoir, but this year, it's going up on my blog, so it'll be pretty public I guess! It terrifies me but I figure the people that will read it already know me pretty well, so in the spirit of taking risks, here it is! :)

This last year I’ve done a lot of (I’ll run the risk of sounding cliché) “soul searching” and have learned a lot about who am I.  What I have learned about myself is that I’m not the same person I used to be, or even the same person I was yesterday. I’m always evolving and changing into someone new (even if it’s only minute differences) and so it takes daily reflection on who I am to really know myself.  What I’m still working on is loving myself, but that is sometimes a slow and tumultuous road. That is not to say that I don’t love certain things about myself, but learning to love my whole self is different, and takes time.

So another year has passed and whether or not I want to greet the next one, it seems as though I don’t have much of a choice. And this year I turn a quarter of a century old. Yes, I’m a ripe 25 years old. I don’t feel like it; it seems like only yesterday I was turning 20 and felt like I had the world at my feet. I know that was only five years ago, but so much has changed.

I’m an “older” student still, having taken time off of school several years back after I lost my job to reassess what I wanted to "be". For a long time I had wanted to be a nurse. Though behavior and the brain were always interesting to me, I didn’t think I was smart enough to make it as a psychologist, even though I’d been fascinated with it since high school. I wasn’t the greatest student most of my life, I always did just what was necessary (grade-wise) to play for the school soccer team in middle school and high school. Like that famous saying, I put all my eggs into one basket. Sports were always my thing, that’s what I was good at. When I seriously injured and couldn’t play anymore, it required some definite reconsideration, which wasn’t wholly worked out until after I went back to college.

When I took that time off, I realized that what I wanted most out of my life was to be happy, and that requires hard work, taking risks, and going after what you want. Turns out I’m actually a pretty smart kid who was wasting their potential (mentally) this whole time. Who knew? I didn’t, not until I found my passion and had something to work for. Motivation. Academically, that had been something I lacked because I didn’t care. The ONLY thing that mattered to me in life was soccer. When I lost that, I had to find a new purpose. Sitting in class of my first Psychology course, I knew what I had to do, what my new purpose would be. It felt almost as good as the day I realized I loved soccer. But there will never be anything that replaces that for me, and that’s okay. But I had a new love. And it turns out, I’m pretty good at it! For the first time in my life, I was getting straight A’s. I was accepted into Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. I hadn’t felt that good about myself since I lost soccer. I’d finally found my nitch in the world! And it felt great!

I’m a very goal-oriented person. I need goals in order to feel like I have a purpose and then to feel good with a sense of achievement. I’m preparing to transfer to Sacramento State University with my AA and once I get there will be pretty close to graduating. My goal while I’m there is to get into the Psi Chi (psychology) Honor Society and graduate Magna Cum Laude with my BA in Psychology. After that my goal is to apply to Grad schools for the PhD programs in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Neuroscience.  I realize that these are ambitious goals, but that’s who I am. I was raised to never settle.  In soccer, starting at a very young age and extending until the last year I played, my Dad always told me that “being average is easy, but being great takes hard work”. I read a quote last week that said “be ambitious to be great” and I absolutely love that. I know many people think it’s naïve to think you can change the world or that it’s cocky to think you can be great. But I’m a hard worker and I will always dare to be great. That’s not to say I won’t fail along the way, because I will. But I will always get up, wipe off the dirt and blood like I was taught, and try again. My mom once told me I was a tenacious and relentless little girl and I have held onto that. I was brought up to be a tough fighter, and though I don’t want to sound like a Christina Aguilera song, it’s the truth. 

This year, I’m not going to pine away for my lost years or begrudge how old I am or feel bad about myself for not being where I thought I would be at this stage of my life. And trust me, it’s going to be difficult for me not to do those things. It's hard for me to always feel behind. I'm not married, I don't have kids, and I haven't graduated yet- all things I thought I'd have done by now. And it’s hard when you’re constantly surrounded by people you have done at least one of those things. But that's okay. I'm learning to accept things at a slower pace and learning to trust in God’s timing for me. And you know what? I believe it’s what’s best for me after all. Funny, huh?
I’m learning to enjoy life in a way I haven’t before.  I’m trying desperately to not just have bucket lists of aspirations, but to work on achieving them. Life is meant to be lived, not dreamt about. Sure some things have to be put off because of timing/money/availability etc. But there are always things on your bucket list that you could do, but for some reason, don’t make it a priority. You never know how many tomorrows you’ve got left, so start doing more of them today. [I’m trying to practice what I preach…this winter break from school I will be teaching myself the Piano…hopefully it goes well. I used to play the Flute for many years so instruments/music are not new to me. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to play piano. Now’s my chance! ;) ]

So here’s to another year.  I hope to become a happier person. I hope to learn the piano. I hope to get straight A’s. I hope to learn to be a more charitable person. I hope to make people happy. I hope to have my car paid off. I hope to find new pieces of myself and to fix some of the broken ones. I hope to conquer old demons. And I hope that by next year when I’m doing this again, I will have a little more figured out about life, myself, and the world.

After all, this brown eyed girls wants to conquer the world. ;)