Thursday, October 17, 2013


Sometimes I try to be cool enough for my students. It's difficult. There's a lot of them, and they're all really cool. 77 Jumpstart students, 8 student workers, and 23 students in my class. And I have to be awesome enough for all of them, with their hip language and trendy clothes and technological knowledge.

To help with this, I recently got some new boots. They are black, over-the-knee boots with golden stirrups. I KNOW. 

Yes, I feel uncomfortable and really grown-up when I wear them (spoiler alert: I'm not a real grown-up).

Yes, I feel like a biker chick when I wear them (spoiler alert: I'm not a biker chick).

This biker chick is not me.

Yes, I look like a real New Yorker when I wear them (spoiler alert: I'm not a real New Yorker).

And most importantly, yes, my students told me they were cool. They actually used the word "poppin'," which according to the quality source, The Urban Dictionary, means:

1. An ill party that is in full swing.
2. To get (something) started.

I think that means I'm kind of hip? (spoiler alert: I might not really be that hip, but I do have some awesome boots).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

sometimes you're horrible, nyc.

So I'm sure that NYC seems awesome. Lots of people really like it. I mean, there's the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge and Broadway shows and we're the city that never sleeps and all that stuff, but it's also kind of horrible here. And by horrible, I mean that it literally smells like dying, decomposing death everywhere. 

Especially now, in the 10,000,000 degree heat where 100,000,000 people put their trash out on the streets on trash day, which seems to be every single day. And those black bags of death sit in the direct sunlight so that you can't walk down the street without continually gagging.

Don't they know it's 10,000,000 degrees?
Especially now, in the 10,000,000 degree heat where that nasty pile of vomit next to the bench in your subway platform is literally festering and the smell seems to be spreading all the way to the other end of the platform where you like to stand.

Especially now, in the 10,000,000 degree heat where you have to walk everywhere and then stand in suffocating underground subway platforms while sweating profusely, and then have to cram into overcrowded subway cars with a gazillion other sweaty, smelly people, where your face always seems to end up directly in some tall guy's armpit.

Dear Guy in the Middle,
I feel the same way.
Love, Julie
Especially now, in the 10,000,000 degree heat when a simple task like walking to the grocery store 3 blocks away because you forgot you have absolutely no food at home results in you sweating so much you have to come home and shower and by the time you finish, you're not even hungry anymore (this is my new diet. I'm going to be the skinniest ever). And then, when you actually motivate yourself to eat dinner, you regret it immediately when you remember you have to use your oven and/or stove and end up just opting for cereal dinner instead.

Especially now, in the 10,000,000 degree heat when your tiny window unit air conditioner only cools half of one room of your apartment.

Especially now, in the 10,000,000 degree heat when you get dressed for work and end up completely drenched by the time you actually get to your office. Cute.

But at least my favorite frozen yogurt place is only one block away!

Yeah. I will eat you every day.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

uv, i will never let go.

I have blue eyes. Which is great when I get compliments or when they match my clothes, but it isn't so great when I possibly get macular degeneration in the future.

Which I'm terrified about. I've been trying to wear sunglasses a lot more to protect my weak blue eyes, except I really hate sunglasses. I hate how they make everything look dull and sad. And how they slide down my nose. And how they always break in my purse. And how they squeeze my temples. And how they always get a scratch right in my line of vision. But mostly I hate how they make things dull and sad. It's the worst. I don't like seeing everything in sepia tones. Ew.

So, I've been having this whole guilt issue going on for a couple of months. I know that it's probably just because Brunners are really good at what we call "the guilt factor" and I might not get macular degeneration, but us Brunners have "the guilt factor" perfected. I think it all stems from the fact that we were were those children who weren't really yelled at or spanked or anything, instead we were "disappointed in," which slowly sucks your soul from the inside until you feel so guilty about the fact that you yelled at your mom when she asked you to do the dishes that you sit in your room crying until you decide to write a sappy apology note and leave it on her pillow. This note usually tells her just how wrong you were to do such a terrible thing and tells her how much you love her and never want her to be disappointed in you ever again.

So, here's the guilt factor in action:

I really don't want to get macular degeneration so I've been wearing sunglasses more, but I really hate sunglasses so I haven't been wearing them as much as I should, so when I'm outside and decide not to wear them because I hate them, all I can think about is how I should be wearing them, but when I wear them, all I can think about is how I hate sunglasses.

This is real life.

But then, I was sitting in my bedroom one afternoon, attempting to organize my dresser and instead staring blankly at my spare contacts and noticed that...

THEY HAVE UV PROTECTION! How did I not know this? My life will never be the same.

Guilt factor disengaged. Everything is going to be okay.

Bring. It. On. Sunshine.

P.S. don't worry, Doctors Brunners, I still wear sunglasses and I have cut back on staring directly into the sun.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

professor julie.

If you are the majority of my friend population that doesn't live in NYC and isn't related to me, you might not know that I am now an official Adjunct Professor at St. John's University. You also might not know that I found my first ever grey hair, glimmering in the fluorescent light of the bathroom. I think this must mean I'm an official adult, so I've devised a list of adult-y things I've decided I must now do:

1. Shower daily. It's the worst. My mother has been trying to make me do this for about 20 years. You win, Mom. You win.

2. Eat avocados. Adults love avocados, which means I do, too. Especially when they're like this: 
Hello avocados, don't you look mature?
And since I'm so mature and grown-up, that means I can eat them every night if I want to. Because that's what adults do--whatever they want. 

3. Spend my money on furniture and real-life things. I now own a lamp, two decorative pillows, two dressers, and two side tables. Things are getting wild up here in Astoria!

4. Go grocery shopping. Unfortunately, New York City is not conducive to grocery shopping, but it is conducive to ordering in food. 
Everyone: "But, Julie! What if you divide all your delivery meals into two so that you can take it for lunch the next day?"
My Budget: "Julie, you're not that cool. You don't have money. Go suck on an ice cube or something."

 My budget is not my friend.

5. Try out some weird fad diet so I don't look frumpy at my friends wedding this summer. And by "weird fad diet," I mean the Eat-One-Avocado-for-Every-Meal-because-you-can't-Afford-Much-Else-Unless-Michael-Decides-to-feed-you diet. But I'm also going to exercise because that is also something that adults do. Also, Grammy once told me that you lose weight if you get a full night's sleep, so that's definitely going to happen. Oh, 9pm bedtime, I've missed you so!

6. Go to the eye doctor because I haven't been there in approximately forever and I can't see out of my contacts.

7. Go to sophisticated events in NYC. Last week, AJ and I went to see Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park. Sure it rained the entire time as we huddled under AJ's rain slicker, but it's the price you have to pay for culture.

8. Learn how to do my hair in beautiful ways like this: 
I don't understand how to even start doing this.

Professor Julie Brunner

Thursday, April 25, 2013

shark kitten.

So it turns out that Michael has always wanted a hairless cat. Yes, I know. It's weird. But the other day, I was walking to dinner and stopped in the pet shop to look at the bunny selection (which was adorable, as usual) and noticed they had two hairless cats for sale (which were extremely creepy and weird looking). 

After dinner and a pep-talk from Michael that I am under no circumstances allowed to let him buy a hairless cat and charge it to his credit card, we went back to look at them. Then weird things happened and I found myself in one of the petting booths with the hairless cat and someone was putting it in my arms and it was SO SOFT I WANTED TO DIE. I know. It looks like Lord Voldemort, but it was so soft and cuddly I didn't know what to do with myself (aka I kind of liked it).


Apparently hairless cats are more like dogs than they are like cats, which I like. And it kept cuddling up to me, which I like. And it gave me a little nose kiss on my cheek, which I like. But then we found out they cost $1,000, which I don't like.

Normally I don't really like any cats, even the ones with hair. Because I think they're rude and creepy and really gross when they're fat, but then I saw this cat...

...and I NEED him in my life. I need that little duckling, too, obviously, but look at that cat. He's incredible. Of course he is riding around on a Roomba in a shark suit. What else would you expect him to do? Obviously that's normal and amazing and so very perfect.

Wanting this cat is a big step in my life because honestly, I'm terrified of sharks and I'm terrified of kittens. Like irrationally afraid of both. Yes, it's reasonable to be scared of sharks because they're horrifying and huge and will rip your limbs off and I've read far too many stories in the Reader's Digest about innocent swimmers who end up battling for their lives while a shark, who unexpectedly swam up river into fresh water, is gnawing off their leg or something and then they miraculously survive because they punch the shark in it's nose or something, but I know that kittens won't do those things. They're just weird and scratchy and jump at me. And if there is one thing I don't like, it's when things jump out at me. Things like cats and ghosts and piranhas. 

But I think I could get used to shark kitten.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

why did i do that?

Last weekend, I made mussels for dinner. It was terrifying. I didn't like it at all. I'm probably never going to do that again.

First of all, I had to go to the fish place and I had no idea what I was doing. Let me just add that it was snowing/sleeting while I was walking to the fish store. Sideways hail pellets were slamming into my face. And my boots were leaking. Additionally, I grew up in the middle of the country and I honestly have no idea how to buy mussels. I think I can count the times I've ever even eaten mussels on three fingers. Luckily, they had a bag of mussels that I dug out of some ice and it was the perfect amount for my recipe and it was ONLY $6! (I'm still probably never going to make them again).

So I took them home and made this fancy tomato sauce (I might do this part again) and started cleaning the mussels. I read online that if there is one that is open, that means it is dead, and I could see an open one in my bag o' mussels, which made me really nervous because I really didn't want to touch it. What if it oozed out onto my fingers? Or was rotting and smelled really bad?

Hey mussels. You're in my sink. I really don't know what to do with you.

So I started scrubbing the mussels to get all the dirt off of them and noticed that there are weird little strings coming out of them. At first I just thought they were disgusting so I started throwing them away, but after I googled "how do I cook mussels and clean them and what are those little strings coming out of them" I realized that I'm supposed to pull the strings, aka "beards," OUT OF THE MUSSEL WITH MY FINGERS! Gross. It makes a crunch sound when you pull it out, in case you were wondering.

For a while, I was just going along, semi-grossed out, pulling out the little beards, until I ran into a shell that had A CREEPY FLAT SNAIL ATTACHED TO IT! It was probably a blood sucking leech in a shell. There is no other explanation.

What is that little leech thing?!

So I decided to push that mussel and leach to the side until Michael came over and could throw it away. Continuing my cleaning, I kept searching for that mussel that was open and dead, but I couldn't find it. Only then did I realize THEY ARE STILL ALIVE! AND THEY WERE OPENING AND SHUTTING WHILE I WAS CLEANING THEM! Like little, gooey monsters.

You see that little guy? With his shell open, ready to clamp some fingers? Not okay.

After cleaning, I waited until Michael was over to  steam them because I was struggling, emotionally because I was traumatized and physically because I scrubbed the top of my thumb off with the scrubbie so I was gushing blood. I was also afraid that they would scream like lobsters or do some other creepy thing when you cook them.

Well we finished them. 

Michael liked them. I ate a loaf of bread.

I didn't like it. Not one bit.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

happy new year/february!

My first blog of the New Year was going to be about blogging more frequently, but now it’s February. So I’ll write about Louisville instead. Why? Oh because the best sister in the world lives there, that’s why. And Olive. Olive lives there, too, and she’s the cutest puppy in the world. 

Sure, sometimes Olive is terrifying and we have to put her in a blanket straight-jacket,

Hey Olive. Don't look at me like that.

and sometimes she will stand by the couch every morning with her face on my pillow making little whining noises,

and sometimes when we come home from the wine shop she yanks Rachel's hand while trying to chase an invisible nothing and makes Rachel drop our new bottle of wine (it was $17! This puppy is really getting expensive), 

Oh wine, we will remember you forever by the stain on the sidewalk.

but sometimes she's precious and we dance around the kitchen.

F is for friends who do stuff together.

And she thinks Rach and me are the best. And the coolest, because we are now rebels with ear piercings and cute, trendy shoes from the Zappos outlet who drink mint juleps.

"Mom doesn't like it when you call me Rach!" -Rachel

Mint julep snow cone perfection.

So we did 1000000 fun things like go to a basketball game with Rachel's friends,

The sportiest of times!

 and drink Middle Sister wine because we're middle sisters,

U is for you and me!

and watch movies with Olive,

Olive isn't a very good couch buddy.

and paint sheds outside in the 15 degree weather for community gardens, 

N is for anywhere and any time at all down here in the deep blue sea.

and go to fancy bars wearing cheetah pants.

She's trendy and runs really fast.
and do arts and crafts together, and eat Chinese food, and bike to the grocery store, and make Ecuadorian feasts, and eat lots of ice cream, and go to Old Navy, and go to puppy wine shops, and have the best most fun sister time ever!