Confessions of: being a house mom.

IMG_7898           “Christ. Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the fucking Peace Corps.” -Bluto, Animal House

I have 31 roommates. 31 male roommates. To enhance the shock value of this statement I shall clarify, I live in a fraternity house. (Think more Snow White less Animal House–though moments of the latter surface at times). To which the frequented response to said statements is: “wait, what?” followed by: “bless your soul.” A sentiment that I must admit, I really loathe, leave your blessings for sneezes and Sunday’s, please.

And yes. Yes, you read that correctly. I am the house mom of the Fraternity Kappa Alpha Order, Beta Kappa Chapter.
Aside from my father and my ex, I’ve never lived with a dude before, more specifically plural, bros.

I’ve learned a few things in my 4 months as house mom or more officially, resident director–which makes it sound more legit. Including (though very much not limited to) the following:
2 AM is a popular time to return from the bars…and they are ravenous.
dip (as in tobacco, grizz, skoal, long cut, whatever, not pumpkin spice appetizer dip) is a necessity –especially if studying is to occur.
chia seeds, sleep and gatorade are crucial in curing the hangover.
“live” is a new word for cool, that sounds so live, bro.
don’t ask what a THOT is.
brotherhood=giving each other shit

To name a few.

Since there’s are so many misconceptions as to what my life is like as a Graduate Student house mom, I present to you what people think I do.
Here’s what I think I do:
https://www.tumblr.com/search/not+a+regular+mom+a+cool+momHere’s what my friends think I do:
my friends
Here’s what my guys think I do:
alcohol
And…
spy
And here’s what I actually do as a graduate assistant resident director MFA student/house mom:
actually
And…
homework
And…
frealing out
…and while I could write a book about how much I love my job, all the things I’ve learned from living in a fraternity, being a grad student, and my roommates–I have a term paper I should be writing instead of blogging.

This is life according to House Mom, Lu!

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Confessions Of: Being A Sister

This life according to Lu, confessions of being a sister.
SCAN0014The Rules of Sisterhood.

1. I promise to always tell you if you look fat in those jeans.
Because let’s be honest, who else is going to? It’s because we share genes (yeah, the DNA variety, not the denim kind), we have an obligation.
SCAN0036 2. I will always have your back.
Even, especially, when I think you’re 100% wrong.
SCAN0023 3. “I will always have gum,” –Monica Gellar.
You say “babysitter,” your future kids (Eleanor, MiKelly) shall call me “favorite aunt,” I’m always on call, I promise. Even when it’s just to house-sit the dog.
IMG00219-20120520-0234 4. I promise to try to be an honorable maid.
I do not, however, promise to not drink multiple (countless?) glasses of wine and blackout during the bouquet toss and cry when you change your last name.
drei 5. I promise to accept your flaws.
As kids, any sign of weakness was used as ammunition for an argument, as adults, we are highly aware of each others’ imperfections, but as your sister I choose to accept them, ignore them and love you unconditionally, in spite of them.
IMG_0475 6. I promise to be the keeper of your secrets.
You know who I like telling secrets to? You. I promise you always have my word of total silence.
SCAN00167. I promise to only feel happiness regarding your accomplishments.
With you, it’s not a competition, there’s no jealousy, or resentment, just pure pride and joy because I know you’re capable of fulfilling all your dreams.

And as you do, Older Sister, I’ll be right behind you, following your lead; meanwhile, you, younger sister, I’ll be beside you, cheers-ing with a glass of wine in one hand and a cookie in the other.

We all have different dreams, remember? And comparison is the thief of joy—(Teddy Roosevelt).
IMG_1329 8. I promise to walk away when I get irritated.
Because it’s life and we do and I don’t want to say spiteful words I don’t mean.
three of us9. But I also promise to always, always come back.
Always.
sistas
10. I promise to be your sister.
To hold your hair back, answer your phone calls and eat too many slices of cake with you. To bitch about your exes and help straighten the back of your hair, to share recipes and fears and dream your dreams with you. To tell you when you’re being an ass and to apologize when I am. To not judge you when you eat 5,000 calories worth of chocolate, or if I catch you picking your nose in public, or Facebook stalking the competition. I promise to always love you –because I do. Because you’re my favorites and I’m on your side, your team, and because our friendship, our relationship, our bond and sisterhood—was my first dream.

waiting for us :)

waiting for us 🙂

Confessions Of: A Coffee Addict

This Life According To Lu, confessions of a coffee addict.
IMG_7093“For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;”
                                                              –T.S. Eliot

I have memories of my father peppering his to-go coffee cups with vanilla & cinnamon flakes, sneaking me–his six-year-old daughter–generous sips of the greatest drink invented by man…isn’t that a bold statement considering we also invented beer? (Don’t worry, I attribute the inception of wine to God).

My obsession for coffee was instant; no hesitation or internal questioning, no plaguing doubt, but rather pure love at first sight. I have London, Starbucks, and my good ol’ Dad to attribute my addiction to.

Starbucks in Thailand

Starbucks in Thailand

It’s the word associated to my mornings, capable of forcing me out of bed at the earliest of hours and my favorite aroma; even some of my favorite memories. I love how, in most cities, you can buy coffee at any hour, the way the taste varies in different countries and its availability on every menu.

IMG_2559

Green smoothie & coffee breakfast–California

The way I feel about Keurig machines is similar to the way I feel about ebooks & Kindles. I will always prefer the antiquated pages of typed novel running through my fingers, the smell of fresh paper and the sound a page turning to an electronic book. I love the angry whistle and grinding a regular, cheap Mister Coffee pot makes when brewing my favorite habit, the return of a second, or third, or fourth cup.

IMG_3910

Coffee Shop in Seoul, South Korea

It’s romantic. And the kind of cool I imagine smokers enjoy about cigarette’s–only without the added repercussion of lung cancer. It’s ubiquitous, calorie-less and the culprit behind my five mile runs; the second love of my life after chocolate. I’m a sucker for well-packaged coffee grinds and intricate location mugs and the pairings of bakery goods, for international coffee beans and flavored roasts, and horribly-tasting, yet glorious & limitless diner coffee.

Coffee Art

Coffee Art–The Strand–New York City

“What’s your favorite cup of coffee?”
A beautiful question that only true coffee drinkers can appreciate and understand. An answer that can fully acquaint you with a stranger and provide a connection, a moment of intimacy. A taste that can transport you to another memory.

Petit Cafe--coffee shop in Hong Kong

Petit Cafe–coffee shop in Hong Kong

Mine’s Christmas morning. When it’s actually acceptable to rise before the sun. The coffee pot remains endless. We drink from colorful, Christmasey mugs purchased in Germany at a Weihnacht’s Market. The unwrapping of presents presumes while coffee consumption occurs. And it smells like a hybrid of nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar cookies. It implies family. And a rare moment of absolutely zero stress, pure happiness–the promise of more coffee and a coffee-cake/scrambled eggs & bacon feast to follow.
unnamed-1There’s a coffee lingo, though the truest of coffee-addicts know “trenta” and “black” are the only words you need to know. Iced coffee, cream, sugar, latte’s, ‘iato’s and ‘cinno’s don’t qualify as a legitimate cup of coffee. And even though Starbucks isn’t my favorite, they are universal, and consistent.

It says tea, but those are totally coffee mugs.

It says tea, (so regal & snobby) but those are totally coffee mugs.

Now, some of my favorite moments include sitting with my mom, dad and younger sister with a freshly brewed pot of coffee, awaiting the sun rise and the promise of the day and another cup–chatting and enjoying each other’s company while stalling time–with memories of vanilla and cinnamon sprinkles, as though every sip was the first.

Bottoms up, fellow coffee-lovers, may the grinds be never in your cup! This is life according to Lu, a coffee addict.

Confessions Of: A Middle Child

Lions and tiger and bears, oh why didn't I get to be Dorothy?

Lions and tiger and bears, oh why didn’t I get to be Dorothy?

               “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” -Albert Einstein

This life according to Lu, confessions of a middle child.

It’s a syndrome. We, middles, are clinically defined as problematic.

Think about it, the oldest child is coveted, which is implied in their royal birthright: the first. They are the keepers of their own room, entitled to the front seat and valued of their own opinions because the assumption, which is engrained in our younger (read lesser) brains from birth: older is wiser. The first of the firsts, busy marking their territory and reinstating the rules.

The youngest, the baby, is nostalgia, a savior of a parents youth, the firsts of all the lasts and your annoying bunk slash room mate. The bayyy-be (said with mocked elongation of each syllable)  is preoccupied with the excess of attention and indulging in coddling and all of its pacifying glory.

The middle child is the forgotten kid, smack dab in between, we are the layer of lettuce inside a sandwich that you can barely taste, yet significantly uniting the meat and cheese.

Perhaps this just applies to my family, as we epitomize the birth order stigmas. But…
My older sister, Chelsi, is bossy, nurturing and demanding of her opinion; meanwhile, my younger sister, Kristi, is a perfectionist, diligent, a strong leader. And then there’s me, Lu, the peacekeeper, people pleaser, who thrives on friendships and hates conflict. Mostly, I dislike being told what to do.

I guarantee the first word spoken by most middle children was “no.” (Whereas the oldest’s was “mine” and the baby’s was “mama.”)

But ya see, here’s the thing, my admission: being the middle child is totally underrated and completely over diagnosed. The oh woe is me mantra that textbooks dramatize was clearly not defined by a middle child.

In fact, I love being the middle child and here’s why:

1. We reap the benefits.
The first child’s self-righteousness came with a side of ridiculously early curfews, an infrequent indulgence in sugar and the horrible, mom-approved style (I distinctly recall an abundance of polka-dotted shirts and self cut bangs). The baby’s over-pampering resulted in the most teasing (“mommy’s shadow”) and an intensive hazing ritual. The middle child can side step the mistakes the oldest makes, while still importing wisdom onto the youngest.

2. The MOH status.
I shall be Maid of Honor to both of my sisters. Why? Because they like me best.

I’m highly aware of how arrogant that sounds, but I won’t apologize for the truth. As a kid, I was closer to Kristi–my roommate, bug catcher, fellow trouble-maker, polly-pocket sharer and co-inventor of our own language (we once created a tongue in which we replaced the first character of every word with the letter “n,” for obvious reasons, it nailed), and P.I.C. in games and schemes (all of which involved pissing off Chelsi). Once my awkward-as-shit-ugly-duckling stage commenced (when does that end, by the way?) I developed a close relationship to Chels, sharer of secrets, crushes, and advice, boys, grades and fashion. Mid-teen years to now I have a fabulous relationship with both. I win. Suck it.

3. We get away with it.
The first time Chelsi returned home visibly drunk, she was grounded for a few weeks and banned from wearing black eyeliner, admittedly, the latter was a wise decision from my parents. Although normally, I was much more sly, the first time I came home ridiculously wasted–mostly due to the puking, way to play it suave, Linds–I was greeted with the greasiest McDonald’s meal, a milkshake and a stern “just don’t let it happen again.”

An “I win” seems redundant and unnecessary here.

4. I am the mediator.
While I’m not solely responsible for decision making, (i.e. Chelsi) my input is semi-appraised and not totally satirized (uh ehm, Kristi).

Also, I’m Switzerland. I’m empathetic and laid back and I don’t have my shit together, a refreshing perspective for my two sisters as I am the family screw up.

And since we abide by our roles, Chelsi is all like, hey I’m the responsible, mature 86-year-old, whose up for game night in a self-knit sweater and a pot of Chamomile tea? Meanwhile Kristi’s all, I’m sleeping in today, I set my alarm for 4:15am and I plan to conquer the world, cure cancer and get rich and skinny before you eat breakfast–anything else I can do for you, mommy & daddy?

And yet, I’m over here pondering how to make coffee and beer complementary, fully responsible for keeping Tide-To-Go in business after staining all my clothes with peanut butter and barely capable of planning life day by day.

Obviously this sounds like more of a con than a pro, but it can be refreshing to be relieved of pressure based solely on birth lineage. I’M FREEEEE.

5. The Creative Factor.
The plight of the middle child results in creativity, mostly because we’re forced to fend for ourselves, fight for attention and have our voice heard. Which consequently leads to several presidents–a role I will NOT be contributing to, but still, I appreciate the inclusion.

**NOTE: August 12th is National Middle Child Day. We have a day, an ironic and hilarious detail that we appreciate.  (Also, August 13th is National Left Handers Day. August 8th is my birth day…I’m just all about everything August.)

I am not pleased.

I am not pleased. Blame it on the Middle Child thang…