The 5 Stages of Dysfunctional Family Dinners

My family is crazy. I mean, we’re crazy. Our dinner talks revolve around politics, Kim Kardashian, zombie apocalypse plans and old movies. We laugh, we cry from laughing so hard, and we occasionally fart at the table (though no one will ever admit it’s them.) If your family is anything like mine, your family dinners probably go through these five stages.

1. Awkward greetings and catching up

The first stage of family dinners is gathering everyone up and catching up on lost time. With my family, it’s usually asking me and my cousins about our school work and our upcoming semesters. Because I live in LA yet go to school on the east coast, the most typical opener is, “How’s the weather there? Cold, right?” It’s the east coast. It’s always cold there.

2. Opening statements

When everyone’s seated at the table, someone will probably open with “So that Kim Kardashian is doing this now…” or “What do you think of Bill Cosby?” Well, at least we’re starting off with all the drama so we’ll have time to discuss petty things later. This usually leads into a heated debate where most family members try and discuss passionate topics with as little passion as possible. (Side note: I only used that gif because my dad’s name is Phil and he enjoys imposing his opinions on us all the time; side note side note: love ya dad.)

3. Conversation lulls

Once current events are out of the way and you’re stuffing your face with crescent rolls and pasta, the table gets awkwardly quiet. This is usually when a (probably drunk) relative starts talking about movies from their days. Personally, my dad and uncle talk about who beat whom at the 1982 Oscars. I’m not kidding. That comes up 9/10 times we eat together.

4. The kids get bored

My cousins and I are all close in age; we range from 17 to 22. When the adults start talking about the 80’s, we immediately tune them out. This is usually when we take out our phones to tweet things going on at the table, or we take embarrassing photos of each other (that we save for blackmail.)

5. Apples to apples 

There’s one thing that always makes our family dinners complete. Apples to apples. This word association game is quite possibly the worst and greatest invention of the 21st century. Because we’re too lazy to purchase Cards Against Humanity, we’ll play Apples alá Cards Against Humanity. Summary: the more politically incorrect you are, the more likely you are to win. Previous winners have been “Selfish Anne Frank,” “Misunderstood Adolf Hitler,” “Sexy Hellen Keller” and “Awkward Schindler’s List.” However, we’ll also choose some wild cards, i.e. “Fuzzy Wheat.”

I’m not sure if this post was made to tell you about my weird family because we’re one-of-a-kind or I’m trying to see if there are others like us. Regardless, my family is totally awesome and I wouldn’t change them at all.

Image credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Resolutions

I feel like this is an obligatory post. It’s New Year’s Day so of course, I’ve got to share my resolutions with the internet. I’m not really one for sharing these things, or even sticking to them, but I think the few resolutions I’ve come up with are going to be fairly easy to keep. Before I do that, though, I want to take a quick minute to reflect on everything that happened this year.

2014 was really the year I figured out what I wanted. Not so much what I want to do in life, or what I want to be, but I discovered the types of people I work well with and the types that I’m not so compatible with. I let go of a lot of toxic people in my life. I lost a few friends and a (shitty) boyfriend and all of that made me realize the type of person I am and the types of things I won’t stand for. I’ll probably make detailed posts about these things in time, so that’s all you need to know for now. Without further ado, here are my five resolutions for 2015.

1. Stay healthy and exercise

Lately I’ve been exercising more (an hour at the gym everyday) and I can feel how much healthier my body is. Before, I relied solely on walking to exercise. Now I’m running, lifting weights, and doing crunches and I can just feel my body getting healthier. I hope that I can stay true to this exercise regime this year.

2. Eat healthier

Branching off that, I want to try and eat healthier. On top of being a picky eater, I do my best to stay vegan/vegetarian. Recently, I was introduced to the beauty of Nando’s Peri-Peri Chicken so I’ve let myself branch out into eating white meat. But I want to do my best with eating much healthier. I mean, my life motto is “I’ll eat salad when I’m 40 and my metabolism is nonexistent” but I guess I can try and eat salad more often. Even though it’s gross. Maybe I’ll stick to tofu.

3. Tell more people to “fuck off”

I have a serious problem. I’m too nice and too caring. When I fight with someone (friend/boyfriend/whatever) I immediately want to resolve it. When I lost my friends and boyfriend this year, I let them walk out the door without saying “bye”–or better, saying “fuck you.” When people screw me over or treat me badly, I never stand up. I let them. So if this happens again in 2015, I’m hoping I can grow a pair and say “fuck off” to their face.

4. Be the person my dog thinks I am

My dog treats me like I’m the fucking queen. She jumps on me, tackles me and gives me plenty of kisses. She thinks the world of me. But, like everyone else, I have my faults. I’m not perfect, nor do I claim to be, but my dog seems to think I am. If I started treating myself the way my dog treats me, I’d be much happier.

5. Be happy

I guess this is cliche, just I really just want 2015 to bring me happiness. I spent a lot of this year crying, being upset and worrying about things that I needn’t worry about. I’ll fix the things I can and let go of the things I can’t. I can’t control other people’s actions, but I can control my reactions to them. I can control my own feelings and destiny. I’m living in the city of my dreams and nothing can hold me back.

I hope you all are enjoying the hangover (I am) and I wish you a rich 2015!

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Why “Cosmos” is Brillant (Yet Scares The Absolute Shit Out of Me)

I’ll admit it – I’m addicted to Netflix. I binge-watch seasons, even entire series, in days. After finishing Parks and Rec for the second time, I decided to give something new a try. “Cosmos” immediately interested me. As someone who loves science and astrophysics (yet miserably fails at doing math), I wanted to see what the hype was about.

“Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” aired recently this year and succeeded in bringing hard science to the general public. Based off the original “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”, hosted by late astrophysicist Carl Sagan, host Neil deGrasse Tyson took viewers on a journey through space and time. He showed us the formation of the solar system, the distant worlds of our neighboring galaxies and gave us insights on what may happen to Earth millions of years from now.

As a self-proclaimed science nerd, this series filled me with joy. But some claims Tyson made were downright terrifying. I’m not claiming to know everything about science and physics: I’m merely a girl who has an interest in the stars, who took an astrophysics course (and got an A, duh) and who enjoys being challenged. I’m sure I’m not the only person who freaked out over points made on Cosmos, so I summarized the big things that made me tick and I’ve decided to explain them (in the most non-science-y way, sorry Sagan/Tyson/Einstein/Nye/Every other great scientist.)

1. The constant usage of the term “known/observable universe”

Hearing this instantly gives me a panic attack. What do you mean “observable” universe?! There’s MORE?! But there’re already like…billions upon billions of stars and galaxies that we can see! That’s not ALL of them?! Then, of course, this gets me thinking about aliens. Aliens must exist…right? In the unknown/unobserved universe? They have to be real. Tyson, c’mon, stop scaring me.

2. The use of time travel (in regards to seeing stars)

It’s basically common knowledge–at least, it should be–that the light we see from stars is from long ago. Light can only travel at the speed of light, and the speed of light is only so fast. Ergo, we’re seeing light that left a star thousands, even millions, of years ago. That star must be dead, right? What if every star is dead because the universe is gone and because it takes so long to reach us we don’t know that we’re alone in the universe? These questions haunt my nightmares. Literally. Watching “Cosmos” gave me nightmares about getting sucked into black holes that played “Wish You Were Here” by Fleetwood Mac on repeat.

3. We never really touch anything

This is another thing that ruined me. How can we possibly not touch things?! My cat is soft. My computer is cold. My skin is dry. I can literally feel it! How are these sensations merely electrons/atoms/protons (I forgot which one it is) repelling each other? I do not understand. This scares me so much. We’re essentially always floating when we’re sitting or laying down. I really don’t like this.

4. Tardigrades, tardigrades, TARDIGRADES

These little water creatures (that have kind of cute mouths) can survive anything. Tyson stated that they can survive in boiling heat, freezing temperatures, even the vacuum of deep space. And these tough animals are around the size of a grain of salt. These minuscule creatures are BEASTS. They can survive practically anything in any climate. Humans are not that durable. We panic if its too hot or too cold. We will never be tardigrades. This sucks. 

5.Neutrinos

Now, I have a special connection to neutrinos because I think they’re awesome and one of my favorite professors, Professor Jessica Uscinski at American University, does a lot of work with them. (Side note: Prof. U is amazing.) Neutrinos are the byproducts of nuclear fusion (hydrogen→helium in stars) that are almost as fast as the speed of light. They’re also pretty much undetectable, as they pass through all matter without making a fuss. Basically, neutrinos are intense and seem crazy hard to study. Tyson noted that there are neutrinos left over from the Big Bang (14 billion years ago when the universe was created.) NEUTRINOS. FROM. THE. BIG. BANG. Still floating about in space, passing through all matter. I worry about neutrinos…they’re homeless. Will they ever find a home?! I wish I could keep them at my house and bake them cookies and tell them they’re badasses (okay – I’ll stop fantasizing about neutrinos now.)

6. Harmful chemicals in the environment

Showcased through Clair Patterson’s work with lead and his eventual defamation of leaded gasoline, Tyson tells us the ways we’re currently harming the Earth. We use so many chemicals, we burn so much gasoline and coal and oil that the amount of carbon dioxide in our air hasn’t been recorded on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs. Whoa. Food for thought: why don’t we just stop using up these resources that are clearly fucking our planet up? Oh no, the gas companies make too much money to ever consider stopping. The power plants make way too much money to ever consider stopping. We all know we have a problem, what with the polar vortex in the Northeast and debilitating droughts in the Southwest – let’s fix it. 

7. Pangea

Okay, so we’ve known for a while that at one point in the Earth’s history, all of the continents were once conjoined to form Pangea, the super-continent. Due to earthquakes (shifting of plate tectonics beneath the ocean’s surface) these continents separated into the seven we know today. Isn’t that just a little crazy? The Earth was moving and shaking and ripping things apart while thousands of life forms existed. Do you think dinosaur families were separated? Could some of our early ancestors have fallen into the ocean during these shifts? Did the animals in warmer climates adapt if their tectonic plate moved them up north? So many questions. So few answers. RIP in peace little ancestors that didn’t make it.

8. Life on Mars

We’ve known about this for a while, too. Recent Mars expeditions have shown us that there was once water on the barren, rocky planet. Water = one of the elements to sustain life. Tyson tells the story of the Nakhla meteorite hitting Earth in 1911, explaining how life on Earth could’ve potentially come from other planets. When planets are hit by asteroids, they fling rocks into the air. These rocks stay in a dormat orbit until another planet’s gravitational pull brings them crash-landing onto their world. Tyson says that some life forms that burrowed themselves into these rocks could somehow stay alive in space, and when they come crash-landing onto a new planet, they start over again. Do you understand how scary that is?! We potentially could’ve crash-landed from Mars, or Jupiter, or some other planet. Our rocks that had life could’ve potentially crash-landed on other planets! I could have a cousin somewhere out in the Milky Way. Hi, cuz. 

9. Project Diana (sending radio signals into space)

In the 40s, Project Diana showed us that radio signals can be sent into space. Since then, Tyson told us that we’ve been listening to space, seeing if anyone else has been sending radio waves out as well. So far, we’ve heard nothing. But this all depends on the time the other civilizations may have sent radio waves out–time travel and all that jazz. So we could’ve just missed a transmission. Or we might not have the technology needed to hear them. Tyson also noted that the radio waves we transmit continue to travel throughout space–so that shout out you gave to your 6th grade crush on the radio? Yep. Aliens have probably heard it. Your excited screams when you won front row tickets to the Backstreet Boys? Yep. Aliens probably heard that too. 

10. The vast expanse of the universe 

I know I touched upon this earlier with the known/observable universe, but this show makes you question your own existence. We’re a tiny planet, in a tiny solar system, in a tiny part of a huge galaxy that’s a part of a gigantic universe. You’re just one life on that tiny planet, surrounded by billions of other lives. We all know that in five billion years or so, the sun is going to expand into a red giant and possibly consume the Earth. All our accomplishments, our marks made will vanish. Just like that. It’s scary to think about. Not to worry, though, Tyson comforts us by saying that we’ll hopefully be smart enough to have moved onto a new planet by then. Hopefully.

Good luck trying to sleep tonight.

Gif credit: 1, 2, 3

Allow me to Introduce Myself

Hi everyone. So… This is my first post here. I created this blog because everyone told me that when living abroad, you should blog your experiences. But I didn’t want to just blog about my 4 months in London and then leave forever. I wanted to do something that let me talk about anything and everything; topics ranging from London to Harry Styles to new music to cats. (Yes, those are basically my only interests.)

To introduce myself to the blogosphere (sorry) I’m compiling a list of “fun facts” (sorry again) about myself. I haven’t made up a set number or anything, I’m basically just going till I run out of things I can say about myself. Side note: I swear, I’m not this self-centered, I just feel like if you’re going to read about intimate details about my life, you should know a bit about me first. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Gabby.

1. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California (AKA Heaven on Earth.)

2. I’m twenty years old and a Gemini.

3. I met Ryan Gosling once and life hasn’t been the same since.1001037_585706684784878_1050774842_n-2

4. My cat, Scout, is the most important person in my life (and yes – I said ‘person’.)

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5. I may or may not be a crazy cat lady.

6. I also have a dog, Darcy, who wears sweaters 24/7.IMG_4259

7. I go to school in Washington, D.C.

8. I’ve been to the White House three times.

9. I have yet to meet President Obama (though I’ve had the chance three times.)

10. I need at least four cups of coffee to function.

11. One time I ran into Mila Kunis at the supermarket and it was awkward.

12. Bastille have Bastille’d my heart – I cannot get enough of their music.

13. Pretty much every article of clothing I own is black.

14. I did ballet for about 13 years – I miss it everyday.

15. Harry Styles and Zayn Malik are the two most beautiful men in all of history.

16. I am annoyingly liberal – sorry not sorry (sorry for that.)

17. I’m also a raging feminist.

18. I am horrible at texting and tend to respond about 5 days later.

19. I compulsively check my email, just in case someone randomly offers me a job.

20. I’m not afraid to admit that I still sleep with a stuffed animal (Simba from “The Lion King”.)

21. I really enjoy drinking alcohol – my drink of choice is whiskey (Jameson only, please.)

22. I love The Office and Parks and Rec.

23. My family is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina (please don’t bring up the World Cup.)

24. I have a 220-page word document of poems on my computer, yet I’ve never shared them with anyone.

25. I’m embarrassingly awkward and nerdy yet I accept that it’s who I am.

I honestly could’ve kept going but I doubt anyone has actually made it to the end of this. So, if you’re still here, thanks for putting up with my weird factoids and I hope you found them witty/weird/funny/sad/whatever. Also, I hope this doesn’t scare you off from reading my blog in the future. Happy reading, friends.

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