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.