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Oh boy(s) III

Recently a good guy friend of mine stopped by. Looking around my house, which is decked out for Halloween, he said, "You have an actual house. A respectable one."
"As opposed to what?"
"As opposed to mine. Every weekend it is full of empty beer bottles, drunk guys and leftover White Castle burgers. Sometimes during the week, too." Hard to argue, he has a point. After that he went to the fridge to grab himself something to drink and I heard explatives coming from the kitchen.
"You ok in there?"
"Yeah, I just can't find a beer in all this healthy s*!$" I laughed but was a bit confused. Healthy? I didn't think so. Judge for yourself.
Contents Of My Fridge
-A jar of pickle (not pickles, just one lonely pickle floating in the jar)
-Chunk of cheese
-Expired soy milk
-Ranch dressing (to go with my frozen chicken nuggets)
-Tortillas (flour and corn)
-Three jars of salsa
-Sketti sauce
-More butter


G-chat giggles

Grandma Doris recently entered the world of technology. Over the past few months she has been recieving gmail tutorials from Katie, who drives up the coast every few weeks to visit Grandma in Ventura. While she has gotten quite good at sending and reading emails she hadn't quite figured out how to respond in a chat box. Us grandkids decided it was too confusing to explain on the phone so I promised to teach her when I visit over Thanksgiving. In the meantime, I said, she could just enjoy our little messages when they popped up and know we were online thinking of her at that very moment.
The other day I sent her a quick g-chat message when I saw her onling, just saying hi. All of a sudden I got a response! I was shocked! Aunt Dorene was over for dinner and figure it out. She passed the lesson along and now, Grandma knows how to g-chat. "Miracle of miracles," she said. "Can you just believe this?"
Then, today, she popped online during my lunch hour and I told her Paul and Katie were around too! Paul was napping in the library in London and Katie was eating her mid-morning snack at work in LA. We all said hi to her and I think it made her week. "Caley I am giggling too hard to type!" To Paul she said, "Katie came on too and now I am laughing out loud for real!" Jumping from box to box she occasionally 'lost' one of us but as a whole she did a great job for her first time talking to more than one person at once.
After about ten minutes of chatting we must have worn her out because mid conversation she said "BYE." I told her, "Shhh, Grandma, capital letters mean you're yelling!" She said she just about fell out of her chair laughing at the thought of someone yelling on the computer.
I have a feeling she can't wait to tell everyone at her bridge game about her morning of g-chat giggles.


Cheap concert

Recently at a concert I decided that if you are too cheap to buy a ticket to a concert, just give a friend who is going a few bucks and tell them to call you and hold their cell phone up for the whole show. At least that is what the incredibly tall giant drunk man in front of me did at the Jason Mraz concert. It was like standing behind a brick wall. But hey, at least his friend on the other end of the phone call got to hear my favorite songs even if I didn't really get to see them.

Giant Man. If you can't tell how giant he is, note the fact that the arm of Normal Guy (who is standing next to Giant Man) just barely reaches to the top of Giant Man's head.


Temperature by nose

There are two kinds of cold here in Minnesota during the winter: runny nose cold and frozen booger cold. That might be a crude way of telling the temperature but it is true. Either you walk outside and the inside of your nostrils are immediately crystalized or within 30 seconds you're sniffling.
So far it has only been runny nose cold but at about 15 degrees last night it threatened to enter into frozen booger cold. After a long walk through several parking lots, Kelsey and I had to find some way to warm up. I opted to try and squeeze my entire body under the hand dryer in the bathroom while Kelsey stole my scarf and tried to wrap it around herself as tightly as possible. (See pictures below)
I think this little one had a better idea on how to warm up...


"Wicked" around the world

London, Minneapolis and Los Angeles: Sister, baby brother and I all saw the musical Wicked at different theaters around the world within two weeks of each other. The best part is that none of us really planned it. Paul got tickets through his study abroad, I got offered an extra ticket from a friend, and Katie's show was a birthday present.
Almost ten years ago I read the book and Gregory Maguire's descriptive prose made me feel like I was swimming in colors, smells, and textures. It brought me to a specific place and time as only one other author ever had: F. Scott Fitzgerald. Maguire's scenes were as vivid to me as the cocktail party Daisy visited at Gatsby's house. Even seeing the play, with the bright costumes flashing and music surrounding me didn't compare to reading the book.
His writing makes my fingers itch to take up a pen and there was one passage that has become a bit like the holy grail of composition to me. I read it and want to dive in.

"The skies throbbed with turqoise, even at midnight. Starlight and comet tails burned the tips of endless grass below into a hammered silver like thousands of tapers in the chapel, just blown out but still glowing. If she could drown in the grass, she thought, it might be the best way to die."
-Gregory Maguire, Wicked

Someday I would like to be able to write like that.


Beauty post

I usually stay away from writing about fashion, even though I love to shop. One blog I follow is called Karla's Closet and Karla sometime does beauty posts. She gives great advice on products as well as tips and tricks about make-up. I said to myself, "Self, lets try to mix things up a bit." So, here is my version of a beauty post. Really it is just ridiculous and doesn't have much to do with beauty but thats ok.

1) Lip products. At 10:00pm at Hennepin and 10th in downtown Minneapolis in the freezing cold I stood on the street corner digging through my purse, trying to find my lipstick. Not just any lipstick, I wanted, no I needed, the Bobby Brown lip matte in Sandstone. Noticing how many other products I found during my hunt I decided to take time the next morning to count how many there are floating around in the secret corners of my handbag.

There are 13 in my purse. Right now. Yes, I do realize they all seem to be almost the exact same color but see--I get in my head that I tend to need the perfect shade of peach/pink/mauve and keep buying things until I find exactly what I pictured.

2) Tights. Wearing dresses and skirts during winter in Minnesota requires creativity as well as lots of pairs of tights. Somehow I ended up with a bum pair that has no elasticity and doesn't keep their shape so after walking 17 gazillion blocks from the parking lot to the office, I looked like this first thing in the morning. It did not bode well for the rest of the day.
No, not looking like the bees knees here. Just elephant knees.

3) Nailpolish. Sometimes I get bored. In class. And I chip my nailpolish off. But for those of you who have experience in this wildly popular middle school pastime, it is nearly impossible to get all the polish off of your writing hand because the other hand just can't quite hack it. Of course, normal people would go home and use polish remover to get the remaining color off of their hands but I am not normal. No, I forgot that logical little step and spent the entire next day laughing at my hands on the keyboard: one polishless and one dark, dark, merlot.

(Sorry for the poor quality. It is really hard to take a picture with your cell phone of both of your hands. Near impossible, actually, so Kels took this for me in a dark theater.)

And that, folks, is my stab at a beauty post. Or maybe more of an anti-beauty post...


Migraine pause

Ever had a migraine? Then you know that even the next day you wake up feeling like a semi-truck backed over your head a few times. So, excuse me while I pause to try to wipe the tire tracks off my face and pretend I feel fine.
I won't expose you to any horrid "hold music" but I will give you this link to fill the space. A live web-cam of an ADORABLE litter of shiba-inu puppies. [Sigh.] Enjoy!


Family Musings, Part IV

For as long as I can remember my mom has worn the perfume Opium by Yves Saint Laurent. It a dark amber color and sits on the glass top of her dresser in the deep red bottle with gold leaves swirling around the label. She never leaves the house without a spritz and although it is never overpowering, everything she touches seems to keep a little of the scent for itself. When she visits my house and cuddles the cat I can smell her on Ebbie's fur even after she is gone.
During my time studying in Madrid I traveled every few weeks and always found time to stop at the duty free shops at the airport. Walking through the aisles of perfumes at Madrid Barajas Airport I stopped when I saw the YSL display. Opening the dark red bottle with the gold cap I breathed in deeply and almost started to cry. It smelled so familiar I expected Mom to come around the stack of boxes at any second. It smelled like hugs, Mom's warm car, a cool hand on a hot cheek, and borrowed scarves. Fumbling with my bag I pulled out my travel pillow and spritzed some of the perfume on it. For a few days, I felt a little less homesick falling asleep with that familiar scent.
A few weeks ago, for Katie's 30th birthday, Mom flew out and surprised her in California. My brother-in-law Joey was in on the secret and brought Katie to "run an errand" at the grocery store, where Mom was waiting in the wine aisle. Joe said that when Kate saw Mom she stopped walking so quickly it looked like she had run into an invisible wall. Slowly she crept closer to see if it was actually Mom. She sniffed the air, recognized the YSL perfume and knew for certain Mom was really standing there.
I've always wanted to find signature scent, one that makes people think of me automatically. Hopefully I'll discover it before I have kids so that when they are far from home they can feel me by their side, too.


Procrastination conclusion

You know that paper I procrastinated about and put off until the last second? Well, I got it back; 100%. That is beyond an A. That is an A+. "A perfect paper," according to my prof. Take that and put it on your fridge. No, really. My parents are out of town so I have no one to "OOOO" and "AAHHHH" over my big girl accomplishment and I decided putting my grading sheet up on the fridge in the break room at work might be a little sad/creepy/desperate. So, here I am...hanging it on a virtual refrigerator so you can humor me by "OOOOing" and "AAHHHing."


Hold my hand when you cross the street!

Look both ways!
Don't jaywalk!
Wait for the light!
Use the crosswalk!

Sounds simple, right? It should be, except for when the street/sidewalk line painters can't make up their minds. Every time I walk on this stretch of road, which is several times a day, I mentally shake my head. Get it together, people!

Just to be safe, I walk on the part where the two intersect. Can't be too careful...


Take me to Malaga, please

When I was living in Spain I made a trip to visit my favorite British ex-pats and it was an escape from the heat of the city, from tasteless food my body hated, and the whir of a foreign language constantly slipping through my ears. Homesickness had taken over and all I wanted to do was find some ruby slippers to click. Apparently hopping on a RyanAir flight to see Gerald, Liz and Lizzie would be just as good.
In Malaga, my bed had fluffy bedding, not thin, worn blankets. Instead of having to fight the heat without even a fan as a weapons, I got to sleep in a room with air conditioning and a cat curled up under my chin. The TV showed programs in English, even some American sitcoms. Doors opened up to an ocean view instead of a busy plaza and then there was the food. Porridge, fresh fruit, roasts, potatoes, vegetable soup, cherries on ice cream, shrimp cocktail: extravagant and comfort food all at once.
While the physical accommodations were priceless, it was getting to be with people I consider family that really made my short trip the most relaxing vacation I took during my six months abroad. I got constant hugs, pats on the shoulder, linked arms and hours to catch up on years apart over tea. Palm trees, fresh picked oranges, a house full of cats, and surrogate family; I need to plan a trip.


"Late" night confusion

Phone rings.

I automatically assume it is Mom and Dad calling to report problems with their transatlantic flight.
Forget to check caller ID.
Answer in a panic.
It is Kelsey.
Check clock--9:57.
How can I be asleep? I just went to bed ten minutes ago, or was it 12 hours ago?
Is it AM or PM?
Weekday or weekend?
Look out the window, it is bright but I can't tell if it is from the sun or my paranoid neighbors 1 million plus flood lights.
Where am I?
Kelsey keeps talking...something about a show, next week.
"Does dinner at Rockbottom Brewery work? I think I get off of work at about 5 and then I'm going home to pick up my aunt and my little cousin so if you want to meet us the reservation..."
I finally interrupt her.
"Kels, I'm sorry. What?"
She repeats.
"You know what, I can't do this...I think I was asleep."
"Ok, I just need to know if you're in for dinner."
"Sure. Ok. Tomorrow. Call me." and I hang up.
I sit up, trying to get my pounding heart to slow down.
For some reason, am still thinking about parents flight to Europe and something going wrong.
Wake up the next day and see missed text at 10:07pm.
Apparently I wasn't too confused to sleep...I don't think? Hard to say. I'm still confused.



I couldn't agree more, Miss Ebbie. The rain is telling me to go back to sleep but my watch is saying I am going to be late for work. It is a yawning kind of a day.


More old lady moments

Kelsey: Do---you----leave----bar?
Me: Huh?
Kelsey: ---said---when---you---to---bar?
Me: Kels, I can't hear you!
(she leans over toward me)
Kelsey: I said, when do you want to leave for the bar?
Me: Oh, sorry, yeah whenever.
Kelsey: Do they have to turn the music up so loud?
Me: I know! I can barely hear myself think.
Me: Also, could we sound more like our grandmothers?
Kelsey: I'm thinking no.
Me: Kids these days...
Walking to my parking ramp I noticed traffic was backed up but not at the light, in the middle of the block. Getting closer I could see the cause of the slow down. Frat guys were playing catch over the street between their lawns. As one missed the ball and ran out into the street I thought to myself, "Ok they need to stop or someone is going to get seriously hurt." Then I thought to myself, "Wow. I'm old."
Over our coffee cups I could see him doing the math in his yead. "You're 23? I never would have guessed it. The way you carry yourself I'd put you more at, 70. Maybe 75."
What is your halloween costume?
I'm not sure yet. Something warm and comfortable, those are my only requirements.
Don't you want to look cute? What if you meet a cute guy?
Warm. And comfortable. That's it.


At the polls '08

Perched on her dad's shoulders, the heels of her pink cowboy boots bounced against his chest as she looked up and down the long line. Her stream of questions never stopped as we waited outside for an hour. Walking in the doors at the rec center polling center she asked another one, "Daddy, is that where the girls vote?" I turned, along with others nearby in line, and looked to see where she was pointing: the women's bathroom. We all suppressed chuckles, not wanting to discourage her interest in the election.
"No, honey, the girls get to vote in the same place as the boys."
"Why, Daddy?"
"Well," he explained, "because everyone has an equal right to vote so we all get to go to the same place."
Forehead scrunched in concentration she said, "That's good because I'm a girl and I want to vote. But, Daddy?" She paused as at least ten people looked up at her dark curls, waiting to hear her next question. "I don't know who I am going to pick."
"That's ok." He smiled, "You have a few years to decide."
"Good," Sighing she wrapped her chubby arms around him and rested her chin on his head, "because I have a lot of thinking to do."


Choices: tiles and candidates

Over Thanksgiving I am getting a new bathroom. My current bathroom isn't awful, but it is close. The built in tub has no tile around it so instead there is a metal bar that circles it from the ceiling and a shower curtain has to go all the way around in order to protect the walls. Add a 60 year old drafty window to the equation and showering feels like standing in a cave wrapped in saran wrap. The tub floor looks coffee stained, the toilet back and base are cracked and my peeling pedestal sink provides no storage. Since there is some insurance money left from the roof blowing off fiasco, the bathroom is going to be re-done.
Work schedules and strange tile shop hours forced me to go by myself to pick out the floor and wall tiles and after perusing three different stores I was feeling a little hopeless. Plus, Mom said that I needed to make the choice by myself because it was completely a matter of personal taste. Every time I got close to making a decision I panicked. Picking scared me! It isn't like paint, I couldn't change my mind once it was up and just go get a new color. Once the stuff was installed I was going to be stuck with it. Every day I would have to see it, walk over it, stare at it in the shower. How could I possibly make a decision this big? And by myself, too!
As I stood in front of aisles and aisles of displays and got increasingly overwhelmed I realized picking out tile felt the same as picking out candidates this election. Don't get me wrong, I am well aware that casting a vote for the next president is much more significant than selecting tile for my bathroom. On the other hand, both result in outcomes I am going to have to deal with constantly and for at least four years. The tiles I'm going to have to see, walk over, and stare at in the shower every single day. The president? He is going to be present in my every day life, too, with changes in tax policy among many other issues.In the end, I chose my tile on my own and am thrilled. I've made my choices for the elections tomorrow as well and am prepared to live with my choice for the next term(s).
As I've said before, I'm not one to publicly discuss who is going to get my vote. I just think it is a personal choice. Even more personal than choosing bathroom tile. So, if I have to reveal one decision or the other...
Wall (4x4 tiles):

Floor (12x12 tiles):
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