Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

11. Between the fourth and fifth grades my family moved from Kentucky to Indiana. We had bought a house but it needed so much painting done (maybe there were other issues, but this is what I remember) that we couldn't move in. Meanwhile, the school year was starting and our parents wanted to get my sister and me into school at the beginning of the year. There were no residential hotels in Evansville at the time and it was impractical to rent an apartment for a month, so we moved into the Holiday Inn the night before school started.

We had adjoining rooms at the end of the hallway on the second floor. Our parents' room was outfitted with a small refrigerator and a microwave, but other than that these were two small, typical hotel rooms. Our mom would drive us to the bus stop every day and pick us up again after school. On Fridays we would drive straight from the bus stop to our old house in Kentucky and spend the weekend there. We would exchange dirty clothes for clean ones, eat dinner at Grandma's, and see soon-to-be old friends before heading back to Indiana on Sunday night.

There are lots of inconveniences about traveling and staying in hotels that are small and almost fun novelties until you experience them every day for a month. We ate out every night - fun at first but not so exciting when you end up at a stinky Bob Evans because you've eaten everywhere else in town. Sure, you can eat cereal every day for breakfast but what happens when you want a frozen waffle and don't have a toaster? Soggy, lukewarm waffles is what happens.

For an eleven year old trying to make friends in a new school, living in a hotel does have its perks. "Come over and swim!" It sounds glamorous and exciting to a fifth-grader: room service! never having to make the bed! leaving towels on the floor! People, this was a Holiday Inn near the middle of town, not a penthouse suite. No one was ever impressed by the frequent fire alarms or trucks rumbling down the nearby expressway.

We eventually moved in to our new house and started eating dinner at the kitchen table rather than in a booth somewhere. The trips home slowed and we settled into our new neighborhood. Looking back, that month seems impossibly long, like we lived in transition for much longer than four weeks.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Three things

I have been overcome with an uncontrollable urge to get a dog. This is completely ridiculous for so many reasons but I can't stop looking on I need a good kick in the head (or maybe I could do it myself*).

I survived the three-city bachelorette EXTRAVAGANZA (I say it like that in my head.) this past weekend. I will post some appropriate pictures as soon as I get around to it. It was so much fun and now I am super-excited about the wedding. The parties just never end around here because I have another bachelorette party this weekend.

I don't think I've ever had a nicer looking bracket. 14 of the sweet 16, 6 of the elite 8, and 3 of the final four (damn you, Georgetown). My mom, dad, and I all picked the same final game (FL over OSU - sorry, Allan) so our family pool is finished (guess who won!).

*Do you read Josh's site? My family used to discuss the Morgan family members (as in Rex Morgan, MD) and their trials like they were people we knew.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Biggest Dork Ever

(I have a less-blurry picture but the mirror is covered in toothpaste splatters. I figure bad photography is a lesser sin than living in filth.)

How much do I love this shirt? I got it a while ago but didn't post anything about it because I got my sister one too and wanted to surprise her. For those who don't get it, let me explain. The standardized tests given in Indiana schools had a memorization section. When you came to this section your teacher would read aloud nonsense-sounding words and definitions while you followed along on the page. Then you would take some other section of the test. You then came back to the memorization section and had to choose the right definition for each word. The list of words never changed from year to year, either in content or order. "A baloo is a bear. Sculch is junk. A yonker is a young man. To wuzzle is to mix." The Black Table talks about it in their "Six Things You Don't Know About Indiana."

If any researcher ever wonders why one testing room in one high school had excellent memorization scores in the late 1990s, I've got your answer right here. My sophomore or junior year in high school (the last time you had to take the test) we had a substitute teacher on one of the testing days. When we came to the memorization section, someone in our testing room was trying to be a smartass and asked if we could use our scratch paper. The sub flipped through the directions, thought about it, and said that she couldn't think of a reason why not. Our mouths must have dropped open, but she started the section and began to read the words and definitions. Meanwhile, we are all furiously scribbling down the answers. When it came time to answer the memorization questions we all brought out our scratch paper and looked up the answers. Awesome.

100 things

In keeping with today's high school theme:

9. My high school vice-principal got arrested for drunk driving less than a week before I graduated. This was just after she gave the senior class a speech about how we shouldn't do anything stupid to endanger our chances of graduating. One of my friends really disliked her and stood at the front door announcing it the next morning. I can't remember if she showed for the graduation ceremony or not, but she apparently gave an apology speech to the rest of the school on the last day. She's now the principal. (really)

10. I had the world's best high school job. My best friend and I worked at the front desk of our local downtown YMCA after school a few days a week. We were eventually banned from working together, but there were a lot of fun people who worked there. We also got to know the neighborhood crazies, like Jimmy, who called everyone "the money lady" and wouldn't let up until you acknowledged that, yes, you were the money lady and you got the money. Good times.

High School

I found a couple high school mementos a while back that I wanted to post. This will likely be amusing to no one but me, but whateva, I do what I want!

One of my best friends in high school would make me upside-down drawings when we had free time in class. One of the most memorable characters was Brenold, an illiterate clown.

Here is a note from Herney, a farmer who had a dog named Stretch Armstrong. I don't have any pictures of Herney, but he looked suspiciously like Brenold.

In our freshman year German class we had to create and perform a talk show as part of a class project. We made up some story about a woman who sold her children to the Velveeta factory in exchange for cheese. I was the Velveeta representative - here is my (very) little hat.

This is definitely my all-time favorite award certificate. Every semester our high school would have a ceremony for the students who had good grades. I hated these because they lasted forever and you had to sit in alphabetical order rather than with your friends. Obviously, the school cared for them about as much as I did.

This particular ceremony was a mere month before graduation. I guess I understand that they didn't know who I was - it's not like I graduated at the top of my class or anything. Oh, wait....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Early morning letters

Dear Woodpecker Outside my Window,
I always thought woodpeckers were neat birds - you drill holes in wood to get your food! You have a representative cartoon character! I have now changed my opinion of you. At first I couldn't figure out why it sounded like someone was hammering outside my window early every morning. Turns out you are drilling holes in my roof and wood paneling! I'm not so concerned with the structural damage as I rent, but you are very loud and I like to sleep past six. Please adjust your schedule accordingly.

Dear Kitty,
It is cute when you knead your paws on my lap while we watch tv. It is not cute when you knead my ribs while I am trying to sleep in. Please go down to the kitchen and put your skills to use by making me some biscuits instead.

Dear Hair,
Please stop trying to strangle me in my sleep. That is all.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bracket, bracket

After the first weekend I have a score of 55 (with one point for the first round and two for the second) in my family pool. My parents generally provide the funding so there isn't really an entry fee. The only downside to this is that my dad can cancel it (like last year, when none of us picked a single final four team).

For those who care, I missed 5 in the first round (Butler, Kentucky, Indiana, Winthrop, and Nevada) and 2 in the second (Butler and USC). My family also has a prize for largest upset, so I'm in the running for that by picking both VCU and UNLV (both a 5 seed difference). I've still got all my elite 8 teams so I could do pretty well this year. I'll check back in after next weekend.

How does yours look?

Friday, March 16, 2007

End of week goodness

Yesterday I slept in, did a little work, cried over the Davidson-Maryland game, and drove out to western NC. My sister and her boyfriend have been at his family's mountain house for the week so I met up with them to hang out and watch some basketball. We had hoped to go skiing today but it's been raining all morning so it looks like we'll just be lounging around and watching more basketball. Tonight: Villanova-Kentucky. I'm ready to cry some more. Tubby might end up crying, too.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Look who else has a blog!

Ben was recently giving me a hard time for not linking to his blog. I hadn't done it yet because I didn't want to inundate his site with traffic and cause it to shut down, preventing others from seeing his genius. I have reconsidered and am opening the floodgates today - go check out Ben's blog.

I have tried not to blog about work, but Ben and I met through a series of work related trips. He wrote about one of the small towns here and does a great job describing the overall desperation of Rockingham. I was not on that specific trip, but we went back to the Seafood Shack on every other Rockingham trip. Ian will still tell stories about the crab cakes if prompted. Good times.

Please explain

Why am I so upset about Rob and Amber getting kicked off the Amazing Race? I have never been in the Rob and Amber hating group – I kind of find them cute (in a he’s annoying and she’s trying to keep him in line kind of way – says something about my ex-boyfriends). I just hate that they lost to Mirna and Charla, although Mirna almost redeemed herself at the end by shouting, "Charla, level 5, take it to level 5!" (Allan, have you told the level 5 story on your website? You totally should.)

Also, is it just me, or did the Spiderman 3 movie come out last summer? I never saw the second so maybe I’m confused. Was his uniform black in the second one too? Maybe it’s just me and my dysfunction with movie sequels. I can’t think of a pair of original and sequel movies I have ever seen. Shrek? Honestly, people, that’s all I can think of.

What can I say? It's been a slow week.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Bryneunit and Fussy recently posted the movies in positions 27-32 on their Netflix queue. Here goes mine:
27. Requiem for a Dream
28. Ghost World
29. Cache
30. Junebug
31. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
32. Murderball

I've seen Hedwig before but the others are new to me. I rarely watch movies so most of the dvds on my list are from tv shows I missed the first time around. I'm working my way through the second season of 24 now.

Summer dress

I usually start feeling crafty when the seasons change and this year is no exception. I picked up some fabric this week and I've finished one dress - several other items in the works. This fabric came pre-ruched so the whole thing was super easy. I tried to find a link to the fabric because I'd never seen anything like it in a fabric store but I'm not having any luck.

Anyway, the print is kind of cheesy and the fit is not particularly flattering, but it will be a great beach dress for the summer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

And this pretty much sums it all up

natalie dee

Four steps to food bliss

1. Make pie crust, divide into balls, and roll out. If you use store-bought crust you will have no one to blame but yourself when it turns out kind of gross.


2. Peel and chop apples. I use Granny Smith but my mom has made these with peaches before. Place apples and small pat of butter in center of dough circles.

3. Crimp dough into dumpling shapes and bake.

4. Pour on sugar sauce and eat hot. Repeat for breakfast.

Note to future self: It's probably not a good idea to eat this after 10, what with the inevitable sugar rush. Reading In Cold Blood as a bedtime story doesn't help much with sleeping either.

Monday, March 5, 2007

100 Things - Part Two

6. I listen to the radio on scan. My sister and I started doing this on one of our cross country drives and I still do it when I'm driving by myself. I'll stop it if I come across a song I like, but generally I just let it go. Patricia and I even made up a game - seeing how many songs in a row you can identify. I think my record is five, but anything over two is pretty good.

7. My first car was a bright blue 1996 Dodge Neon named Rascal. I loved this car so much in high school. Two years later, my sister got a red 1998 Neon named Pepe (after Pepe Sanchez). We ended up driving the cars about equally because Pepe turned out to be a better car and had a better stereo. Both cars are long gone now but there was a four year period where our driveway looked like a Dodge dealership.

8. VCR + Music club membership = 8th grader with the best taste in music. During the mid 90s I taped 120 Minutes and Alternative Nation on MTV every week. I would watch these videos and make lists of the bands, noting the ones I thought were good. I was in one of those "12 CDs for a penny" music clubs (are those still around?) so I was always looking for new CDs. During this time I bought CDs from Ben Folds Five, Jeff Buckley, Ash, Cast, Catherine Wheel, Juliana Hatfield, For Squirrels, Silverchair - pretty obscure for a middle schooler in semi-rural Indiana.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Allan wrote me the nicest welcome to the web so I wanted to return the favor. (See, if you start a blog then I will write super nice things about you!) Like him, I thought of so many stories to tell but I've narrowed it down to a couple.

1. Another Lost story. The night of the season finale for the first season of Lost was the day the movers had come to pack up Allan and G's apartment for their move to Minnesota. Allan decided to have a laid back last night in town so he invited some people over for Lost and grilling out. Thing is, everything from the kitchen had been boxed up and crammed into a bathroom. I will always have this vision of Allan waist deep in boxes searching for hamburger buns and plates.

2. When I first started working with Allan, I noticed that he, Jeff, and Sumeet would occasionally ask each other if they wanted to go watch the sunset. I though it was a little odd but didn't worry too much about it. One Friday they asked if I wanted to come. It was then that I found out that Sunset was a local bar that had $2 Bud Light on Fridays. We started going pretty much every week after work and would sit outside listening to Jeff talking about his plans to buy a boat. Every Friday around 3: "Man, I wish it was time to watch the sunset!"

3. When Allan had just started doing triathlons he entered one out in Clayton. He wanted to check out the course so one day we left work early and drove out to Clayton with Jeff. ("It's only twenty minutes away!" Right.) We drove along the bike and running portion and Allan's eyes got wide when he saw all the hills. The last part of the race went through a residential neighborhood, and we could picture all the kids sitting on their lawns while Allan panted towards the finish line, cursing himself for entering the race. (Of course he had a great race that weekend.) Then we went to drink some beer.

Can't wait to see you later this month!

Blind Kitties!

I volunteer at an animal shelter that focuses on helping stray and abandoned cats. We recently took in two blind kittens who are the cutest things ever. One of the other volunteers adopted them and is taking them home this weekend. I took some pictures of them last night to document their adorableness. I can't even stand it!