Tuesday, December 28, 2010

peach iced tea

whenever I buy a soda at a vending machine I have a mild panic episode between the time I put my money in the machine and when I punch the button for the soda I want. Even if I already know what kind of drink I want, I still freak a little bit before pushing the button. I'm always afraid some person will swoop in out of the shadows and punch the button for me.  They might pick something gross like Vault or grape Fanta.

In all my knitting and TV watching, I realized where this fear comes from: The Office.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


and update on my existence so far this break:

I have been knitting. And watching television.
The end.

Of course there have been some family tussles, some exam stress (not mine this time!) and I did see Harry Potter again. Of course I did. Because the Groupon tickets were expiring.  And because it's Harry Potter. I mean, come on.

We're still not sure where we will be for Christmas. Here or New Orleans, New Orleans or here... There is still work to be done at my grandmother's house, so we will be back. But it is the day before the day before Christmas Eve, and we are still flip-flopping.

So MERRY CHRISTMAS! Hope I see you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

OFF, you trot!

Daniel is finally reading Harry Potter! This makes me happy on many levels, but mostly because I don't have to answer his tedious questions like "what's the spell for ____?" or "what's the name of that guy...?" or "isn't Hermione's mom a witch?"  I love that he loves Harry Potter, but after a while I just said "go to the source! Read the book already!"

So, yesterday he was reading about the sorting hat and the first Hogwarts feast and read out "Nitwit. Blubber. Oddment. Tweak." And then he asked me another question.

"Claire, what are trots?"

"What?" I asked, "how do you spell that?"

"T-R-O-T. Dumbledore said 'Off you trot'"

Oh, Daniel. When Dumbledore said "off you trot" as in "off you go" Daniel read it as "OFF, you trot!" as if "trot" were some magician's curse word.
Oh, dear.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

adventures on a plane!

So here’s the deal. In order to get to New Orleans for my grandmother’s funeral, I get to fly there on a plane! YAY. I don’t get to fly much, so when I do it is always pretty exciting. Until I get to the airport and remember how unfun flying on a plane can be. 

This trip is a bit of a nightmare, so I will just have to start chronicling all the things that have happened so far.

1:24- Right now, I am in the Charleston airport, staring at the gate and trying to will the plane here with sheer power of mind.  My flight is delayed by about an hour, which means that my 45 minute layover is probably not gonna happen.  Not that this stresses me out. It’s only the first layover I have ever had and potentially allows me 5 gloriously stimulating hours in the DC airport.
So here I am, sitting alone in the tiniest airport ever built.

1:56- I bought myself a sandwich at the only place that sells food in the entire building: a place called The All American Bagel Making Company of Bagels in America. Or something like that.  I can’t even wrap my brain around how small this airport is, and I have been here countless times. Sometimes it feels like we’re all going to pile into the family van and drive to our destination.  A woman named Kate keeps making announcements over the intercom like she’s the bus driver on our tour through hell.  Well, everyone, looks like there’s not gonna be enough room on flight 7020 in the overhead bins.  If you don’t mind too much, somebody come up here and volunteer to have your baggage checked or we’re just gonna have to force it on the last 6 people to board the plane. No one wants that. So I’d much rather have someone volunteer. So…yeah. Thanks. Come see me.”  Or: “Guess what, everyone? There is snow in Atlanta so there are going to be some delays. The weather is affecting all the flights today. Snow, ice… just icing up all the planes. Let’s just all move to Florida.”
Now I am sitting next to the wall outlet to keep my computer alive, and occasionally glancing up at the Departures board with what I am sure is a look of hope mingled with sadness, only to be disappointed when I see that the plane still won’t be here for another hour.
Stilllllll can’t connect to the internet.
Next to me is a German business man who is typing up some important looking report with charts and numbers.  Every so often he will turn on his Bluetooth and speak German very urgently to someone, nodding to himself and scrolling through pages of data. He is also a very loud breather.  He seems to be feeling pretty upset about the delay as well;  he keeps dropping his computer on the seat between us and striding over to the departure board, then checking his watch and breathing loudly through his nose.

2:20- UPDATE:  It has just been revealed to us that the flight from Dulles to Charleston had to stop in Richmond due to problems with the windshields.  Great. The new arrival time is 4:16. Pushed back from 3:28, pushed back from 2:36. The German business man is arguing urgently with the ticket agent.  This man is very urgent.

2:36- A woman came over a while ago to plug her iPhone into the wall. She reached around my suitcase to plug into the socket that is also sustaining my laptop. She put the phone on the ground, then mumbled something about “…just gonna leave that there for a bit…” and I said, brightly “Oh, I’ll make sure it stays hidden! “(huge charming smile).  Except I just looked over and it is gone. Shit. I sure hope she’s the one that took it.

2:46- Hm. Our super cute pilot just came over to ask about the delay and got the same dumb news we did: windshield problems. “Really?? Great.” He then left, peeved. I feel ya, bro.
2:48- Still can’t connect. Maybe I will watch How I Met Your Mother, because I have the DVDs in my backpack. Flannery, you are a Godsend.
2:49- Super Cute Pilot is on the phone, pacing. Still peeved. Oh wow, he has one of those Superman curls. I did not think those existed in real life. Maybe it’s an accident that occurred by whipping his pilot hat off in a fit of anger. Yeah, that’s probably it. It hardly looks intentional. But it does look cute.

Kate: “Hey, I got a guy up here that lost a watch. Could you all lean over and look around your seats to see if it’s around you? This passenger is missing his watch. Thanks, guys.”
3:09- had a chat with the ticket agent. Poor guy has been here since 4:30 this morning, and has no doubt been having to deal with people’s crap all day. Apparently all the flights into Charleston this morning were cancelled due to fog. Fog.  Anyway, I got my ticket printed for my 10:03 PM connection to New Orleans. So it’s looking like a good 4 or 5 hours in the Dulles airport. When I told my roommate about all this, she sent me a one word response: “Smithsonian!” Well…we’ll see about that.
4:07- Took a break from the computer screen to listen to music and read Glamour. The flight has been delayed til 5:20. Joy. German Business Man has figured out his connection and has been skyping people on his Thinkpad next to me. He also came over and asked “Do you mind if I use zat outlet?” No I do not mind at all, sir. Although we had a pretty difficult time getting his overseas adaptor to stay in the wall. It’s just too darn loose.
 A man in a leather jacket has been pacing around for the past hour. Not in an annoying, impatient way, but a strolling, cruising, glancing around at people, creepy kind of way. He probably just can’t sit still for too long, and I am beginning to sympathize. Regardless, I am keeping an eye on him for a while…
4:33- There is now a small child walking around and banging a box of band-aids. And laughing. Honestly, child, where is your joy coming from? She has little rainbow leggings and little blue rain boots. And she is working that band-aid box.  I am a little jealous of how much she seems to be enjoying the situation.

5:02- crap. Super Cute Pilot has been replaced by Bitter Mustachioed Pilot.
5:05- False alarm. I forgot planes have co-pilots.

8:11- I am finally in the Dulles airport. The good news is that I am definitely not late for my connection, which should be getting here on time. The bad news is that this wireless is being just as stubborn as Chas. Unless it’s just my computer. 
My seat on the plane was both an aisle and a window seat, which was nice. It was the smallest plane I have ever been on.  When we finally took off, it took approximately three minutes to get here.  At least, that’s how it felt.  Then it took several days and many miles of trudging with an anchoring backpack to get to my gate.  I am approximately two hours early for my flight, so naturally no one is here.  I ate dinner at Moe’s: a restaurant that is NOT the same as Moe’s Southwestern food, but is in fact a burger bar.  I ordered a Swiss cheese burger with guacamole. And now I am regretting eating guacamole in an airport.

Hopefully this adventure will be over soon.

Friday, December 10, 2010

this is a downer

I don't know what to say, exactly. All I know is that full sentences keep popping into my head so I better start writing some down.

My grandmother died yesterday. Cher Me. Writing it down still doesn't make it seem true, like I thought it would. Damn.

Nothing I write seems good enough to convey what I am feeling right now, so I'll just do my best.
Honestly, I never thought this could happen. She was so strong willed and feisty and...Cher Me. Words can not describe. Why are words failing me now?
Last night all I could think about were things to write about her, and I let them get away. I was too tired to get a pen and paper and I was confident the words would come back to me now but it's not happening.

I just need to say things.
I am feeling overwhelmed with grief and happiness and guilt and stress and a million other little dumb feelings.

Grief because she's gone, and I'll never hear her voice again, telling me a long-winded story I don't want to hear. Grief in knowing I will never hear a story again. And there are still so many things I wanted to know! I can still see every detail of her whole person. Her face, her eyes, her hair. I can smell her. Grief from hearing my father's voice tell me the news, which plays on repeat in my brain.  The sadness in his voice rips me to pieces. I am in pieces. Grief because it's Christmas, and I always think of her at Christmas.

Happiness because after suffering, there was peace. And rest.  Happiness because of all the years I did spend with her.

But right now, what stabs me in the heart is guilt, and it hurts so much.  She has been in and out of the hospital for a few months, and every time I called home I would ask about her, and my dad would say "Oh, she's doing alright. You should give her a call. She'd love to hear from you!" and I know she would have. But I never called. I probably called her once all semester. I was supposed to talk to her about seeing the Harry Potter movie and I never did. And now I can't.
Guilt because of all the times in my life I was annoyed with her. Guilt because most of the stories I tell about my grandmother are at her expense. Guilt because I never became a ballerina like she wanted. It stabs and stabs and stabs.

Stress because it is finals week. So all I can think about is how this affects me. Which throws in more guilt.

I need prayers and good thoughts. For Cher Me.
I have no more words right now.

Friday, December 3, 2010

it's gone be OK

I have not been in the Christmas spirit until recently. And I mean very recently, as in within the last ten minutes.

When I came back from Thanksgiving, it was still 70 degrees outside.  Sure, it has cooled down a lot, but I still wasn't feeling it.

The streets are decorated. The Christmas train is up in Charleston Place.  There are decorated trees in Marion Square. Still wasn't feeling it.

I hung lights on a REAL tree yesterday for the nuns. Not a dusty plastic thing dragged from the attic, a real recently-living tree. A tree that smells like wonder and glee and childhood. A tree that came from what I imagine to be a happy forest with singing woodland creatures. Still wasn't feeling it.

I am looking forward to the tree lighting in Marion Square tomorrow, followed by the Boat Parade (my favorite Charleston Christmas traditions), and it still wasn't feeling like Christmas time until my computer played this song...

Now, this isn't Silent Night or Rudolph or Jingle Bells that put me in the spirit, but a relatively unknown song from a relatively unknown Christmas album that I am pretty sure only my family listens to.

And yet, this evokes the most Christmassy memories for me: dancing around the living room, decorating the tree, making cookies...the sound of one of my brothers stomping off in anger... You know, Christmas stuff.
Or it could be that half of our Christmases are in New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Anyway, I am in Christmas mode now! Going to a Tacky Sweater party later, making cookies, and tomorrow the Baby Jesus Birthday Party with the Daughters of St. Paul, then the tree lighting and boat parade. Then cooking for the CSA Christmas party!!
And then the real work begins.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


It is 47 degrees outside.

OK, so this week is hell week.I can;t wait for it to be over so that I can start taking finals! Never thought I would say that. I have spent the past several nights in the library until late o'clock (I finally took advantage of the library being open 24/7- which means after 2- last night. I am both very proud and very tired.) and I have learned a few things:

when it is the same level of pitch darkness outside from 5PM to 5AM, it is difficult to fully comprehend how late it is, but there are a few ways to tell it is way too late to be up studying (if I were up late doing fun things, it would never be "too late." puh. I'm a disco night owl.):
  • no one is out on the street when I come back from the library. It kinda feels like a zombie movie: nearly everyone is gone, hidden away somewhere, and the people on the streets are dangerous and have a glazed look in their eyes (these are just the student smokers sitting outside the library). 
  • the night watchman is at the desk instead of a student. They are nice guys, usually. But come on, there is a reason they work at night.
  • I am ravenously hungry but too lazy to do anything about it. I need more snacks.
  • I might microwave an empty cup. Or forget my keys again. These are both signs that tell me it's finals week. 
On the bright side, I feel much more capable as a writer! After finishing a 7 page paper for Spanish IN SPANISH, everything I write in English comes much easier. It's like a faucet has been opened and all my words just come flowing out. Yesterday it was more like trying to get that last bit off shampoo to come out of the bottle. It feels wasteful to throw the bottle away with that last half inch in there but it just will NOT come out without serious acrobatics that should not be done on a wet slippery surface or some seriously funny noises echoing around the bathroom.

Anyway. Finals next week. Looking like a cake walk compared to this.
Cue lightening bolt.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

belly full of turkey

I can see the end, and it is near. But not in a depressing way, not at all.

Two weeks left until winter break. I have planned out every hour of the next 16 days. I have color coded my schedule, and made sure I included breaks for eating. This order is soothing and has made me realize that I can do all the things I need to, because I clearly have the time to do them. Ahhhhh. Like a glass of iced tea on a hot day.

Thanksgiving was amusing, like any other extended time with my extended family.  Topics at dinner included "is it poop or chocolate?", grandparents' newly purchased burial plots, Streetwalker BarbieTM, my aunt's drug habits in high school (she swears she just held other people's "stuff"), coozie in purse + key chain bottle opener = heavy drinkin college student (not true), and "so... Taxes."

I also got to catch up on Mythbusters, start knitting again, and marvel at my little brother's ability to grow a whole effing beard.

Some things will not soon be forgotten.

Monday, November 22, 2010

the NESP wasp

I am freaking out. Just a bit.

Tomorrow is D-Day. It should be happy and exciting, because I really only have two classes standing between me and Thanksgiving, but actually- OH WAIT there is another HUGE thing standing in the way, and that is this damned scholarship.

I have a meeting with my adviser for the NESP (Nastily Exhausting Scholarship Process) tomorrow at 12:30, right before I am allowed to leave for break. It's like seeing a lovely cake on the kitchen table and running toward it in excitement only to find a gigantic deadly wasp sitting in front of it, so that you are so freaked out about the wasp and how to maneuver yourself around it that you forget the cake is even there until the wasp decides to fly away by itself. Tomorrow is kinda like that.

I have a few more essays to write and I have convinced myself that everything I can get on paper (or a word document) is progress. Except it's NOT. Everything I have written is bullshit and that wasp is going to tear me down until all I am is a small weeping child.

Maybe I should have used pie as an example. It's more appropriate for the season.

Monday, November 8, 2010

you didn't have a name before, so now it's gonna be Poopface McAwfultiming

I need an update, and what better timing than the morning I am supposed to be at the middle school doing my independent study.

Why am I not there, you ask?

Well, because some stupid alarm clock had his time changed this weekend and has been finicky ever since. I checked my alarm before I went to sleep, like I always do. It was set for 7:30 so I would have plenty of time to get dressed and mentally prepared for talking to kids about popularity vs true friendship.

Somehow I always wake up before my alarm. This is nice because I look over at my clock, often with a mild sense of panic expecting to find that I have overslept (usually unfounded), and go back to sleep for 14 or 47 minutes. So this morning, when I woke up at 8:34, I assumed the same thing was happening. I blearily looked around the room, peeked my head over the covers and calmly checked the time, ready to plop my head back on my pillow and return to peaceful sleep.

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. I overslept. I overslept on middle school day. I made my professor wait in the parking lot of my dorm for who knows how long!

Quickly, I checked my phone to see if she had called me, expecting to see "7 missed calls- check log?"  But I didn't. There was nothing. I got on my email and found her phone number, called her, and spent the next few minutes on the phone with her pacing around my living room- just like they do in the movies. I didn't think that was something people actually did, but I did it this morning. And because she is a great person, she told me it wasn't a big deal and she had called the school and told them there was a miscommunication and that I was probably sick.

Well, I certainly feel sick now.

Anyway. What's done is done and there is nothing I can do now. Even though I still feel crummy about it.

In other news:
  • my second meeting about the scholarship went much better. I was prepared, in control, confident, and ready for criticism and/or deeply probing questions I didn't know the answer to.
  • I started watching Dexter. This is a problem.
  • I am participating in an academic competition day for Psychology tomorrow. In Lander, SC. Which is 3ish hours away, which means I will be in front of the main psych building at 6 AM. I don't even want to think about having to set my alarm to a time that starts with 5. Unless its a nap alarm- but even then I would set it to right before 6 just so I could wake up to eat dinner.
  • I chaperoned for the Jr High Rally trip on Saturday. Four total hours on a bus, 30 kids, and a 20 degree drop in temperature. But I did get a recommendation letter out of it. And was also mistaken for an eighth grader...
  • I am AWESOME and I need to remember that.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

what? like it's hard?

I am in the process of applying for a pretty important scholarship. It's a nationally competitive award, and every time I remind myself of this, I mentally crunch the numbers and immediately get discouraged. I've barely wet my feet in this ordeal and I am already planning escape routes. Is it too late to back out? Can't I just apply to a bunch of other little scholarships? I really don't have what they want for this thing. Why waste the energy worrying over it?

Today, I took a shower in the middle of the day. Partly because I was gross (we had our Call Center supervisor meeting outside today, and let me tell you, late October does not translate to cool - or even comfortable- weather) but also because I just needed to think without being tempted to fade into homework or surf the web. And I came to what I like to think of as an "Elle Woods revelation."

Instead of finding another excuse not to do something just because it might stress me out, or because I might not get the money, I'm going to do it to prove that I am a powerful woman and I'm not going to be controlled by anxiety.

In order for this to work, I have developed some guidelines for my success; things that will give me peace of mind while allowing me to accomplish this task with minimal emotional disturbance:
  • I aim to complete the nearest approximation of every requirement. What is (or what was) really keeping me down is thinking that I am not the perfect candidate for this award. If it asks for three recommendations and I have two great letters lined up but one so-so, I will not worry about it. I will fill out the application to the best of my ability and allow the committees to sort it out from there. 
  • I will make a daily list of accomplishments, not just for progress on the scholarship, but for my day in general.  I came out of my initial meeting with my adviser feeling like I don't do enough, like I don't do enough volunteer work, or have enough "true" leadership roles, or that most of the stuff I do do isn't important. To combat this, I have already started my daily affirmations AND I made a list of the activities I take part in just for this year and it is several pages long. I feel better already.
I have also decided to take things step by step. To-do lists aren't going to work for this. A daily reminder of ALL the things that need to get done only serves to compound my stress. It's like instead of the header reading "To-Do" it says "Here is a list of things you should feel bad for not doing right. now."
  1. Step One: remind myself why I am awesome, why I deserve this scholarship, and why I should absolutely never feel like I don't do enough. (updated resume, made a list of activities, organizations, leadership roles, and relevant work experiences- check)
  2. Step Two: Set realistic, non-demanding goals that may be implemented one step at a time.
  3. Step Three: read example responses to see what they are looking for/what works.
  4. Step Four: ...haven't gotten this far. Just thinking a step or two ahead. Like a carpenter. Who builds stairs. 
In the meantime, I will also be reading the NYT. Today I learned about a rapping video of an Obama impersonator, so I'm gonna go check that out. Peace.

Friday, October 22, 2010

d'you mind if I call you NYT?

Alright. I have a new project. It's actually more like a homework assignment, but I'm calling it a project so it doesn't sound so... mandatory.

I am going to read the New York Times. Everyday.

This may not  seem like a huge deal to you, or my mother, or Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, but it is something I am definitely going to have to work at. Apparently the USA Today is not an appropriate periodical for someone applying to be a Truman Scholar. That's right, in order to apply for this scholarship (30,000 big ones for grad school and a requirement to work in the "public sector") I need to regularly read a "good" national newspaper and "a thoughtful periodical."

Apparently, occasionally doing the USA Today crossword and Sudoku puzzle does not count as "reading" nor does the USA Today count as "a good national newspaper." I already knew it was the joke of the newspaper world, having learned in my communications class that it was made for the typical subway commuter: quick and easy stories and lots of bright colors. Heck, it doesn't even come out on the weekends.

So starting yesterday, I am reading the NYT. Can I call it that?   ...too late.

Now for the thoughtful periodical... I'm guessing Entertainment Weekly won't exactly impress the review board. Drat. Why can't they just like me for me??

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

RLS: the fruit of the sea

"Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sautee it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it."   -Bubba

Some friends came to visit me this weekend! Because they love me. And well, because they love Charleston.

On the to-do list for Saturday:
  1. Farmer's market in Marion Square (to get delicious tiny powdered-sugar donuts and to enjoy the state-fair atmosphere of jump houses and many babies and dogs) 
  2. Aimlessly stroll around the city, inputting historical tidbits that I learned by walking next to the slow-moving carriage tours
  3. Japanese horror movies! Hosted by the C of C Japanese Club. Which is different from the Anime Club. Different. They were very adamant.
  4. Dinner at Hominy Grill
So. Hominy Grill. You may have heard of it. You've definitely heard of it if you live in Charleston. Or if you are a die hard foodie. Or if you watch or read Anthony Bourdain (if you don't you should).
From reading Anthony Bourdain, watching No Reservations, and living in Charleston, I have ascertained that Hominy Grill is delicious in many respects, but famous- maybe world renowned- for its shrimp and grits. The name "hominy" means grits. Heck, grits are on the sign! For years I have been meaning to eat at this restaurant, but never made the time to. A few weeks before they came, Stephen texted me with one request for the Charleston trip: Hominy Grill.

Saturday night- of course we go. It's a great place for brunch, but we were really hungry and ready for some famous food. Also, there was the slight possibility that it would be easier to get into around dinner time.

6:32 PM- I call ahead to ask the waitress about the wait time. The restaurant is several blocks away and in a direction I normally don't like to walk after dark. She says there are tables, but we should probably make a reservation. "OK, can we have a table for 7 o'clock? For four," I ask- CaraBeth is coming with us. "Our next opening is at 8," she says. Eight. I look around at Kala and Stephen and CaraBeth and mouth "eight?" But no one gives me a firm yes or no, so I freak out and say thanks and hang up the phone.

We decide to walk over and hope they can fit us in. We arrive around 7, which would have been perfect if they had had a table waiting. No such luck. We find the hostess and put our names down for eight.

In the intervening time, CaraBeth needs a drink because she hasn't been feeling well (since she ate a package of cookie dough the night before). We wander around, finding coffee houses that close the minute we walk to the door, a mysterious "Tent Association" building that is crumbling to pieces, and end up eating an appetizer at O'Malley's.

FINALLY, we get back to Hominy. It's starting to get cold at night, and we are tired of walking and shivering. The hostess leads us in the cozy, warm, homey kitchen-like restaurant...and then out the door onto the patio. Of course, it's an adorable patio with lanterns and twinkle lights, but still.

All I can think about is how good the shrimp and grits are going to feel: warm, hearty, delicious. I will have shared a meal, across the time/space continuum, with Anthony Bourdain.  

Our waiter comes out, gives us water, asks if we'd like anything else to drink. Stephen gets a decaf coffee. The rest of us mumble something like "water's good..." "mm fine..."

"Great!" he says, "I just wanna let you know about our specials tonight, they're on the wall behind you" (he points) "and I do have some bad news- we're out of shrimp tonight!"

My jaw. hits. the table.

No shrimp? No shrimp and grits? No SHRIMP? What would Bubba have to say about this? I have been building this meal up in my mind for weeks. And no shrimp. Thanks for taking our drink orders first.
"You're totally welcome to leave and come back tomorrow," he continues. "Honestly, I've worked here four years and this has never happened before." I'll bet. I'll bet you're lying.

I already don't like this guy.

I order some rice casserole that usually has some shrimp in it, and we negotiate the changes: instead of shrimp, how about chicken? Fantastic. I am still disappointed.

When he brings out our food, he hands everyone their dishes and as he makes his way to me says "Guess what, it's your lucky night, we found FOUR shrimp for your meal! You got the last ones!"  Oh, it's only every girl's dream to eat the last four shrimp! Especially with the knowledge that they were probably fished out of someone else's unfinished entree or scraped out from under the fridge. Goodie.*

All in all, the food was pretty good, Kala and Stephen's visit went great, and the Japanese movie we watched was expectedly and understandably grotesque and confusing. So, a good weekend for sure.

*This is not meant as a negative review of Hominy Grill, and I fully intend to go back and try again someday. But maybe next time I'll try for brunch.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I can't believe they have pepper imps

I've posted 100 posts! YAY!

OK, bigger news. I went to Harry Potter Land. Or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Islands of Adventure. Also known as the Harry Potter theme park. Or "Rowling Mecca." 

Look, proof:
me being a dork outside a quill shop. OK, so I was a dork everywhere.
It was amazing. All three days of it. All three butterbeers, all five times I rode the Hogwarts Castle ride, all the stores I went in, all the lines I waited in (which, by the way, are wayyy shorter at the end of the day. duh. Took us all weekend to come to that realization), all the hours of driving and walking it took to get there. All amazing.

Here is a list of the things I couldn't stop myself from buying: 
  • a quaffle. Seriously. A "regulation" Quidditch ball from the Quidditch Supply Store, Dervish and Banges.
  • a Durmstrang t-shirt. it's really comfy and a little badass
  • two packs of peppermint toads. they are delicious. and they were b.o.g.o. free
  • chocolate frogs. almost a pound of chocolate- the frog is about as big as the palm of my hand. And by some fluke, I got two trading cards!
  • acid pops. they promise to burn a hole through your tongue in the book. I am afraid to attempt. 
  • sugar quills! candies "you can suck in class and just look like you're thinking what to write next"
  • pumpkin juice. It's delicious. I would drink it everyday if I could, like they do in the books. It tastes a bit like spiced apple cider, but of course more pumpkin-y. Rest assured it is not 100% squeezed-from-a-pumpkin-straight-from-the-patch juice.  Which I would also enjoy immensely. I only drank half of it so that I could attempt to replicate it's wonderfulness. Because I am turning into my mother: "I could make that!"
  • butterbeer. it's frothy, it's amber colored, it is so many synonyms for delicious. Like cream soda with a hint more sarsaparilla and a shot of something sweet and creamy like frosting. And the mug is awesome. 

I highly recommend taking a pilgrimage to visiting this theme park.

The Hogwarts ride is pretty scary though, so if you have really little kids, they might want to stay away from it. Unless they like spiders in their face and almost getting their soul sucked out. And getting spit at by something in the forbidden forest. And getting tossed upside down by the Whomping Willow. And intense Quidditch sequences. Actually, who doesn't enjoy a good Quidditch sequence?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

fat bullies can't climb trees

Last night I set to work, whittling down my (hourly) growing to-do list, deciding to tackle my power point presentation for the middle school on Monday. This semester I'm conducting an independent study with one of my professors, and we have chosen to design a counseling program for grades 5-8 at a local Catholic school.

My first presentation was going to be about bullies- how to recognize when someone is being bullied, how to tell if you're being bullied, how to tell if you are a bully, yada yada yada.  So I got to work, researching and finding appropriate pictures for the slides...but then my mind wandered off.

I started a new power point.  I went to ehow.com and looked up "how to survive a bear attack" and switched "bear" with "bully." Then I spent an embarrassing amount of time adding pictures and swapping "grizzly" with "fat bully" and "black bear" with "mean bully."

I could say that working on something tedious got my creative juices flowing and eventually I'll pop out something genius. Like when I made myself write anything, anything, to start my college admissions essay and ended up writing about Mr. Bean. And then sending it to all my schools because it was actually an awesome essay.

But really all I've done is waste time, and my To Do list is glaring at me, judgmental and disappointed.

If you want to see the powerpoint, just email me and I'll send it to you.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

always something

Right now, it is rainy outside. Something I have been wishing for all week, possibly all month. I get to sit inside and do homework (because it's a Sunday) and read and watch TV with the room all to myself. I might even stay in my pajamas until mass tonight.

Or so I thought. Until I remembered that as Motivation Girl at the Call Center, I am in charge of themed weeks. This is the first one of the semester: Fiesta Week, which means decorating with Mexican blankets and getting supplies for the quesadilla maker. Only I still don't have a key to the office, so I have to wait for the shift to start today to go in, which kinda makes me look like a slacker.

I thought today would be sooooo relaxing and productive; I'd be free of my general stresses and soothed by the rain.

But there's always something.

That sounds depressing and cynical. What I mean is: I need to remember that the things that stress me out will almost always be around, but I should also recall how dumb I feel when I spent so much energy worrying about something that didn't ever become a problem. Daily reminder: It's not worth it! 

PS- I really want a quesadilla maker for Christmas.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Things I need to remember:

  • study guides are helpful. and I need to use them for every. single. test. Even if I think I don't need to.
  • to mail the keys to the minivan back home. It's been four weeks since I found them in my purse. Oops...
  • to pick my classes for next semester. "ALREADY??" you say? Yes. It's not even October. This is ridiculous.
  • that even though all the best shows are coming back this week (Glee, How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, Bones, The Office), I still have 321,378,732 things I need to do that do not involve a television.
  • to do my office hours at the call center before Friday afternoon like a slacker.
  • that I will be in the Magical World of Harry Potter in 3 weeks.
alright, the majority of this list may stress me out, but the last item just makes me light up! How could I be stressed with exuberance, mirth, wonderment and Butterbeer just around the corner?


Also, here's something that has made my morning: Drunk History. Just as good as it sounds. I wish college classes were like this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

where's the cake?

My stumbleupon thinks I'm about to have a hipster wedding. Or that I eventually want to have a hipster wedding.The first of which is entirely untrue, but the more they show me, the more it grows on me. Damn.

First of all, stumbleupon is a site that allows perpetually lazy college students students people to simply press a button on their tool bar that will instantly hop them to a different interesting site. It's kind of like hitting shuffle on the internet. You can customize your stumble to present you with sites about things you are interested in. For instance, mine is set to direct me to sites about psychology, humor, and for some reason, hipster weddings like this one: Chris and Krystal: the soundtrack!

They're full of witty and interesting ideas like "use Polaroids instead of a photographer" and "use a band comprised entirely of 9 yr olds in sundresses" and "use garden weeds instead of flowers because flowers are so consumerist and passe"

Between this and TLC, I feel like weddings are being thrown at me from every direction. And without even giving me cake.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

RLS: I am being courted by a hipster, part 4

I am as shocked as you are. I thought this whole thing was over and done with. To be fair, at this point I don't think it counts as courting, but I would like to share this with you anyway.

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook (so, basically, anyone reading this) may have even seen this today. He wrote on my wall, saying:
"te dije de una pelicula que yo hacia... la se ha estrenado en este sitio. nagevalo si quieres..."
which translates as "I told you about a movie I made...it has been released on this website. Peruse it if you want..." And true, he did make mention of a movie he made (possibly at the college level? I'm starting to forget things already), and we did share an interest in Spanish.  This isn't the weird part. I'm gonna let you go to the website and see for yourself.
The title of this is "divine being." ...I have no words.

 Personally, I can't even find the movie. If it exists. But I'm glad I looked at this during the day because it kinda freaks me out. 


Sunday, September 5, 2010

the shiny guy always worries

My neighbor across the hall is a very nice girl. I just learned that she is a psych major and so far enjoying her first year in college. That's about as much as I know about her. Oh, and the fact that she has THE CUTEST FOUR YR OLD BROTHER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD.

"Oh no! A vampire!!" -Tristan
His name is Tristan, he has Spider-man Velcro shoes and a pretty cool umbrella: "not just any umbrella...it's a Spongebob one! It's yellow and everything!" And because my roommate and I are basically 10 years old when it comes to our interests (Star Wars, Harry Potter and superheroes), and Marca has decorated our bookshelf and TV stand with dozens of action figures, he seems to really enjoy visiting us.

On move-in weekend, while his parents were unpacking and his sister was organizing, he jet-packed over to our room and started play time.

Of course it didn't start so easy. He didn't just storm into our room demanding toys; he's too polite for that. He just leaned on our doorway for a few minutes, talking to Marca, Jenna and me about our rain boots. I could tell he was going stir crazy with the move-in effort and I wanted to offer him the chance to play with Boba Fett and Hagrid, but everything I said to him came out wrong: "Hey, do you want a cookie?" "We have toys!" and Jenna even asked "Where do you live?"

Some things you just can't say to a 4 yr old without sounding like a molester in an ice cream van.

After move-in day I thought surely I won't see him again until move-out. And I was sad. But today he came to visit his sister. And who's room did he come to first? The FUN room.

The best thing about these play dates is that he has no idea who any of the characters are that he is playing with. When he first saw Darth Vader (who protects our television), he swooped him down onto Remus Lupin and said "Oh no! A vampire!" I later found out from his mother that he has never seen or heard of Star Wars. Which seems like neglect, if you ask me.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

so now you know

So I was on Facebook the other day (big surprise), absentmindedly flipping through profiles, browsing friends of friends etc. I found a girl's profile (let's call her Mandy) that had been protected, like many are, from peering eyes like mine, I guess. Or from creepier ones.

A lot of my friends do this- maybe to their shield less-than-proper behavior from employers or graduate school admissions or judgy family members. Personally, I subscribe to the school of thought that if you put it on the internet, it can be seen by anyone who tries hard enough, so if it's embarrassing or not fit to be viewed by your grandmother, DON'T POST IT. Not that hard. Of course I have blocked my two youngest brothers from some things, because Ryan once posted CLAIRE HAS A BOYFRIEND several times all over my wall. Y'know, mature stuff like that.

Back to the story. Mandy has blocked non-friends from seeing her wild spring break pictures, her interests, and her wall (so you can't see the comments like "Woahhh, you were totes puking all over your shoes last night! Did you ever find out that guy's name??? Luvs XXX"). Smart.

However, it does have her basic information: name, school, relationship status ("it's compicated"), political views and religious beliefs. And listed on her oh so limited profile, which is otherwise closely guarded and relatively impenetrable to judging eyes, it says

Religious beliefs: Cantheism.

For those of you who don't know what that means (and I was one of you until I wikied it), Wikipedia has this to say:
"Cantheism, also Kantheism, is a modern term for religions based on the inherent goodness of the cannabis plant"

It goes on to say:
"Observance of Cantheist rites are beneficial but not mandatory. These include the regular consumption of cannabis, offering thanksgiving and blessing for cannabis when you partake, and sharing the holy smoke among the faithful."

So now you know.

It also provides a link to an incredibly legitimate website, that in no way looks like it was created 9 years ago by someone who was undoubtedly high and lazy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

spoiler alert

Sometimes things just don't bother you until they bother you. However, I seem to find the thing that bugs me a lot faster than other people. Usually the first or second day of class.

In my sophomore Chemistry class, I unfortunately noticed my teacher's habit of finishing every sentence of notes with "mmmmkay" and when I complained about it to my friends, the same glass shattering noise could be heard as in the clip from HIMYM. Soon after they realized this, it began gnawing away at them, and they blamed me.

And now it's happened again. My Famish class is taught by an adjuct professor from somewhere up north. I know this because she says "about" weird. But it's more than that. In the past couple classes I have been racking my brains for who she reminded me of... Someone mildly famous that she shared her speech patterns with.

And then she said it: "Also too..."

and I knew.

this is going to be a long semester.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

and now you know

In an effort to reach out to my brother Sean the other day, I ventured to Wikipedia for some facts about giraffes.

Lemme 'splain.
My oldest bro (younger than me by about 3 years) is a giraffe. He's tall, a bit awkward, and I'm almost positive he has four stomachs.
He also owns about three shirts, as seen here. He wears one every day. He even found a silly band on vacation: a yellow giraffe. How perfect.

So I decided I would drop some facts on him, hoping to find something phrased like a National Geographic special about the life of a Sean. I found this:

"While research from the 1970s concluded that giraffes did not
socialize, later research found that giraffes did form attachments to
other giraffes, with giraffes spending 15% of their time grazing with
the giraffes they are close to and only 5% of their time grazing with
giraffes who are strangers."

Ha ha. Because he eats a lot and doesn't socialize. So I posted this on his Facebook. But upon further examination of the text (read: Wiki article), I also learned something quite interesting. About mating habits. That I am in no way implying relate to my brother. But I still think it's a fun fact worth knowing, so here you go:

"Another function of necking is sexual, in which two males caress and court each other, leading up to mounting and climax. Such interactions between males are more frequent than heterosexual coupling. In one study, up to 94% of observed mounting incidents took place between two males. The proportion of same sex activities varied between 30 and 75%, and at any given time one in twenty males were engaged in non-combative necking behavior with another male."

Gay giraffes. Bisexual giraffes. Bros with benefits. Besties with testes. Whodathunk?

Of course I checked other sources, to make sure some dude with a giraffe fetish wasn't editing Wikipedia (again), and it all checked out. You learn something new everyday.

Note: this post is not aimed at anyone. Especially my brother. Who totally likes giraffes for other reasons. Like their knobby head things.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

here's your APA guide

It is Sunday.

A Sunday during school, which translates to "Homeworkday" in Schoolese.

This semester I am in a class called PSYC 410: Family Issues and Child Development; a special topics class that will henceforth be referred to as "Famish" because the name is really long. This topic is so special that it doesn't even have a book about it. I mean, there's bound to be one book about this topic somewhere, but regardless, my prof did not asssign a text. Cha. Ching.
However, that does mean that we will be responsible for reading several articles "in the field" (not in a grassy meadow or anything, just articles from various Psychology journals. such is life). For those of you unfamiliar with journal articles (or those of you who are too familiar) I will shed some light:
  • They are boring. Hear me out. The topic itself may be riveting, and I find they often are very interesting areas of study, but the format of each one screams "Don't read me! Use me as a coaster!" They trick you in psychology text books by inserting pie charts or pictures of laughing children, but when it comes to academic reading and writing, all the cutesy stuff is left at the door.
  • Academic writing usually tells you something you already know, just in more unnecessarily exact terms. Today I read an article about resilience in children (The Development of Competence in Favorable and Unfavorable Environments: Lessons From Research on Successful Children. Masten & Coastsworth 1998.) and read sentences like this: "...friends may provide emotional support. ...At the same time, however, friends may encourage deviant behavior." Really? NO WAY.
  • While reading in APA style, you have to deal with the citations at the end of every sentence. Example: "Such activities may also serve to facilitate involvement in conventional social networks, which could then promote acheivement or rule-abiding conduct (Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde & Whalen 1993; McNeal 1995)." However, there could still be risks, and long term effects still in question (Boring, Uppity & Hartopronouce 1997; Talkstoomuchabouthisphd, 1992).
  • I've decided I am in the right field to have a mildly weird, unpronounceable name. Some examples from today's reading (in APA style) are: Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde & Whalen, Luthar & Zigler, Cicchetti, Rogosh, Galbraith & Espeland, Kellam and Rebok, and many many more.
there. a picture of a brain so you won't get bored.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

i know i'm back in chucktown

I know I'm back in Charleston because...
  1. my legs are killing me (walking walking walking. Actually, now I've passed the pain and achy stage and I have moved on to the nice legs phase. Score.)
  2. I stopped biting my nails! But that'll come back once homework gets serious again.
  3. I go through clean clothes like Kleenex- I must wear at least three outfits a day, because I just keep sweating through stuff. Or changing to play glow frisbee in the dark!
  4. I haven't slowed down since I got here. Funny how I thought I'd get a break once I moved back...
  5. if you stand still in one place long enough, you will get dripped on. By something.
  6. there is already sand all over everything. Everything. It's in my wireless mouse. (?)
  7. I keep forgetting to eat. Which is weird, but usually happens when I'm really busy and stop listening to my body (it's usually whining about sweating and achy legs...)
Anyway, I hope after this week things will finally slow down a bit. Or at least work out a rhythm.

NOW, off to my first day of classes for Family Development and Human Sexuality.

Those are separate classes. Just to be clear.

Friday, August 20, 2010

back to school

My new life has started (at least for this year) and I am off to a busy start.

This week: meetings, meetings, meetings, and some rain. However, I DO get paid to sit through HR presentations about leadership style and I am important enough to interview new hires on the phone. Basically I am a boss now and it feels good.

With great responsibility, however, comes more and more responsibility. Things keep piling on: CSA hospitality, Honors mentor, move-in volunteer.... and I just have to remind myself that all these things are just pieces of my grown-up cocoon. One day, I will burst forth as a woman with bills and thank you notes to write and people to be in charge of and lots and lots of things that give you ulcers and it will be greeeaaat. I say that with zero sincerity.

So I'm going to enjoy college life as long as I can. Which is going to start riiiiight now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Today was my birthday. And it was great. Despite the fact I woke up early, ran to breakfast in the rain, had to hastily say goodbye to Mom and Daniel, spent the next 5 hours in supervisor training, and soaked my new clothes a few times, it was a good day. A great day.

I got cupcake tokens! Thanks, Buddy. And I went to the beach and got my new skirt fairly damp. I ate some great food. I got to see my friend Matt, and his mother made me a cake. A delicious cake that tastes like petit fours. By the time I was out of the meeting it was warm, sunny and beautiful in a way only Charleston can be. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

And even though I was bummed to learn a few weeks ago that I would be here, virtually alone, on my 20th birthday, I didn't spend a minute today feeling lonely or being alone. Except right now. Tomorrow my roommate moves in and I am really excited for everyone to get back here.

Marca: a few things- the sink is fixed, the new one is in. Unfortunately, this means they caulked around the fixture and propped a shower curtain between the door and the sink to keep pressure on it. So you kinda have to limbo in and pee with the door open. I trust this will be fixed by the time you get here, but I just thought you should know how weird it is being here. The only person on the floor except the RA. Oh, and I hope you like the new living room set up. :D

Saturday, August 14, 2010


It's my last day in A-town. So I should be packing right now, but I can't bring myself to do it somehow. Don't worry, I will. Eventually.

The other day, I woke up like usual for work. My alarm went off, ruined my dream, and I fumbled around, sleep-drunk, for the off button. I coaxed my head off the pillow and stumbled through the mountains of "packing" in my room and headed towards the bathroom.

For those of you who know me well enough to have been upstairs in my house (or just those of you who may have creeped up there, or even those of you who I've already told this to) you know we keep our hamster in the bathroom. This sounds weird, I know. But it's best for everyone; if a hamster is gonna be smelly somewhere, it might as well be where it's already smelly. And with three boys using that room, trust me, it's rancid. OK, maybe it's not that bad. It does smell like showers sometimes, which is good. Especially if they use my mango and pomegranate soap and think I don't know about it. ANYWAY. The hamster is in the bathroom. Between the two sinks on the counter.

Also- about the hamster: Daniel bought her. He saved money and begged and begged for one. Mom said if he had enough to buy the hamster and its food, he could get it. We had had hamsters before; a little brown one named Pepper and a black and white we named Oreo for obvious reasons. Oreo was a bitch. Anyway. They both died of the same mysterious eye-popping-out disease at completely different times in our family history. They also both escaped a few times. Don't ask me how. I just know one ended up chewing up the carpet in my closet. It was the bitchy one. So when we tried to catch her she ran all around and gnawed at our hands with what I remember to be venomous eye teeth.

So my mom had one condition when Daniel left with my dad one evening to buy his hamster: "That thing better not have a tail. If it gets out, and it will, I am NOT picking up anything that has a nasty rat tail without whuppah-ing that thing. NO. TAILS." (a note to those outside the family: whuppah is the noise a whip makes. SO there you go.) Daniel, restless with excitement, agrees vehemently, crossing his heart and hoping to die and all that.

Well, a bit later they come home with a little cardboard carrier (which is dumb Petsmart, hamsters eat cardboard. Use your brain) and I'm sure you can guess what Daniel brought home:
In my mom's defense: it is a tail. But Daniel protested that is it a Chinese dwarf hamster, and the tail is really small.

Daniel named her Aphrodite. Eventually, Mom grew to like her.

So that morning, I noticed her food dish was empty and her water was almost gone. I filled them both, with a mental note to give Daniel a verbal lashing for shirking responsibilities, etc.

When I came home from work, my mom called from the living room "Guess what So-and-So said on Facebook: 'you should put the hamster in a plastic bag and keep it in the car' hahaha!" (for those of you who haven't heard The Dead Dog Story, remind me to tell you. The shorthand is this means the hamster is dead.) I paused, trying to understand. "What?!" "Oh. Aphrodite died."

SO. Never feeding a hamster again. But at least she kept her eyeballs. And her dignity. Unless Ethel (cat) dug her up in the back yard...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

OK, I'm really proud of myself, so I'm gonna share my success.

I bought my books for this semester (finally)! I went to campusbooks.com (shameless plug) and found all my books for cheaper than the stupid rip-off campus bookstore.

Spanish, Book 1:
  • Bookstore price: (used) $76.75
  • Ebay: (used) $49.99
  • Bookrenters.com $41.28
Spanish, Book 2:
  • Bookstore price: (used) $80.25
  • Half.com: (used) $10.00
Intro to Special Ed:
  • Bookstore price: (used) $100
  • Chegg.com: $56
Human Sexuality:
  • Bookstore price: (used) $82.95
  • Barnes and Noble: $13
Total saved: $221

Total spent (my other class doesn't have a book selection): $125!!!!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

stupid job

There are about 10000 things I didn't get to do this summer. Usually I am forced to blame myself, my procrastinating nature, for my crippling summer-onset laziness. BUT this year, it's totally my job's fault.

At least that's what I am telling myself.

Whenever I think, OK, need to make a list of all the crap...why didn't I do that already...need INK don't forget INK...I have six more days of work...can I ask for a day off...I need boxes... and all these things begin to overwhelm me, I just think STUPID JOB instead of STUPID CLAIRE. Which is good for my psyche, overall.

But now all the things I didn't do this summer (like watch Pulp Fiction or finish my quilt) are buried beneath all the things I need to do in the next six days. One list is full of regret, and the other is full of anxiety.

I'd better get crackin'.

Friday, August 6, 2010

this is my life

(Sean and I walk in the door after work. We had stopped at McDonald's for lunch and come home to find Ryan and Daniel alone in the house. Mom is out getting groceries)

ME: Hey, puppy! (to Einstein)
Sean: Daniel, why are you on the phone?
Daniel: (already exasperated, after one question) I'm talking to Ben! Gosh!
Ryan: You guys got food??? Mom left us here ALL. DAY.
Me: Sorry, you can make your own food.
Ryan: Daniel ate the last pizza.
Me: Make your own with the English muffins! Or make a peanut butter sandwich.
Ryan: I already did.
(Sean and I look over at the counter, and the bread is open, the peanut butter is on the counter, and a knife is jutting off the edge of the counter.)
Sean: Ryan! Put your knife AWAY (commanding, too-deep, adolescent Sean voice)
Ryan: It's not mine!
Sean/Me: Well, who's is it? It's not ours! It's not Daniel's!
Sean: It doesn't matter if it's yours! We pick up stuff that's not ours ALL THE TIME!!! (the voice again)
(Ryan picks it up, shows Nutella on the bottom side. Only Mom eats Nutella.)
(Ryan places it in the sink)
Ryan: now it's with the others.
Me: Ryan, just put it in the dish washer! How hard is that??
Ryan: WHY?
Ryan: Oh yeah?! I helped Mom with the computer room while you two were at work! I didn't do the wallpaper, but I helped her lift stuff!!!
Claire: Ryan, that job is barely ten minutes a day.
Sean: YOU ARE STILL IN YOUR PAJAMA PANTS. (this is a common issue this summer)
Ryan: why would I get perfectly good clothes dirty if I'm not going anywhere?

At this point, I got tired of the argument and went outside to check the mail.

I move back to college in 8 days.