week of babysitting.

My roommate and I took 4 days this week to do a good deed. Well, technically we got paid for it, but it was a good deed.

We took care of the baby of a couple at our church. Considering I couldn't spend more than an hour at this house without a compulsive need to clean, we brought her over to our house. The cats were not happy about it.

Some of the gross things:

1. The baby spit-up on my shirt, shorts, leg, arm and shoulder.
2. The baby drool in all the same locations.
3. The poopy diapers.
4. The wet diapers.
5. The fussing every time we put her down.
6. The smell of the formula.

But then she would giggle, and it would all be ok. How could we say no to this face??



name the baby panda!

Vote here for your favorite name for the new panda at the National Zoo. Then take me with you if you win the free trip to see him!



pooh hats are cute and all...

But at this point in my purse-collecting, impulse-buying, self-absorbed life, I'm glad I ain't got no kids.

I'm also glad my house is reasonably clean. ... More on this when there isn't a baby in my house.


i'm it!

I've been tagged by Valerie

10 years ago today: August 19, 1995
Luxuriating in the last of my summer before starting my FRESHMAN YEAR of high school... working as Ice Cream Girl in a local cafeteria.

5 years ago today: August 19, 2000
Dreading going back to my sophomore year at Gettysburg (I should have read the signs) but all the same, looking forward to seeing Lynds and meeting my new housemates.

1 year ago today: August 19, 2004
Typical Thursday at The Company, I imagine. I think this is around the time we were working on the second part of that one game. Maybe I saw the Celery Stick? I can't remember if we were still dating at this point. Maybe I had a drink at WonderBar.

yesterday: August 18, 2005
Time at Breadhouse's company with Shocho and Joe B. Mom's pot roast for dinner (can't go wrong there!) and Dairy Queen on the seawall to end the night.

tomorrow: August 20, 2005
Catching up on the sleeping in I missed the past two days. Maybe a little movie-watching, job searching and a party at a neighbor's house.

5 snacks I enjoy
peanut butter and jelly saltines; pickles; cinnamon toast; fresh fruit; frozen veggies.

5 bands that I know most of their lyrics
Alicia Keys; Tori Amos;

5 things I'd do with a million $$
take a tropical vacation, invest, take my job search down a million notches, have a party, start a business
5 places I'd run away to
Florence; Seattle; Capri; The Outer Banks; most any place in the Carribbean.

5 bad habits I have
procrastination; nail-biting; shutting people out; scab-picking (gross, yes); spacing out.

5 things I like doing
reading; laughing; making people laugh; napping; beaching it.

5 things I wouldn't wear
Ugg boots (good call, Valerie!); boots with a clunky heel; more than one piece of animal print clothing; fur; those socks that are like gloves.

5 TV shows I love
the OC; Laguna Beach; Jeff Corwin, Sex and the City;The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

5 movies I love
The Princess Bride; Cinderella; Good Will Hunting; The Wedding Planner; Dirty Dancing.

5 famous people I'd like to meet
Jane Goodall, Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Clive Owen, Barack Obama.

5 biggest joys at the moment
beautiful days; time to read; loving family; snuggle time with my cat; the time to make changes.

5 favorite toys
my car; my dvd player; my yorkie; beatrice; my printer (i know).

5 people to tag



call for reinforcements!

Today I officially became a member of Breadhouse's auxiliary squad. Or, as I told Shocho, the "People Who Don't Work Here Team."

It makes me a little sane again to go into an office and to see desks and pens and Macs! An artist-grade Mac, no less, with one of those gi-normous screens. AND a chance to work on a zippy new G5 for a couple hours. Pretty.

Then, as icing on the cake, I got to see how he runs a department with TWO STAFF DESIGNERS. Good lordy. Bottom line. Thin slicer. And there was a group lunch.

Thank goodness. Just when I thought I'd forgotten how to do work.



that kind of girl.

When I got my belly button pierced my freshman year of college (right when i turned 18, in fact) I called up my sister.

"Anna, I got my belly button pierced!"
"It was a birthday present."

I don't think I can convey the meaning in that "Oh." Now, let's be clear-- I did get it pierced right at the height of the trend. More than one girl in my dorm got it done right around the time I did. But I didn't care cause I really wanted it. HotCop and I tried to go the summer before we went off to school, but I wasn't yet 18. She promised to pay for it for my birthday that year. I'd been thinking about it for months. Anna told me later she mentioned it to one of her friends who said:

"Oh, she's that kind of girl."

What kind of girl is that? How could she judge me because of one decision I'd made? I was young, but I'd thought about how much it would hurt; I almost passed out when I had my ears pierced for goodness sakes. I guess I didn't think about what it would be like a couple months later when my belly button got all pus-filled and it bled and was gross and the only way to make it better was just to wait. Still have it today, though.



what makes a good weekend?

i had a good weekend. brad wondered what makes a night, or weekend, good--i think it's a combination of things.

for me, this weekend, it was:

  • starting with the fabulous movie, with the fabulous friend. and then eating fried food with 3 of my favorite people.
  • finally working out the car washing/grass cutting trade-off.
  • seeing the friends i hadn't seen in a while, and probably won't see very often anymore. and eating fried food with them.
  • spending one fun night with a great group of people... the kind of night no one got cranky, or irritated with anyone, everyone wanted to be there, no one followed any rules they didn't like (i NEVER have cash), there was much laughter, not too much asshole-ness, plenty of alcohol, plenty of free alcohol, much picture taking, there was one scary stuffed cat (linx?) but thankfully we didn't stay at that bar too long, there were mutual admiration societies, men smooching each other, wardrobe crises averted, great friends, great fun, and all organized by the biggest asshole of them all. cheers.
  • then there was the hangover. but it was worth it.
  • the d'egg. the steaming hot oatmeal and weather. every single raisin was going in that bowl-- not one escaped. the fries for dessert. the "new woman" who lasted about 5 minutes. the pancakes. the kneeling to the porcelain god. the meeting of marcus' new friend whilst not even knowing my own name. the newspaper reading.
  • the relaxing afternoon. the newspaper reading. the hangover.
  • the chinese food. the fried wontons. why would you introduce me to another form of fried cheese?
  • the couch time with the roomie.
  • the early bedtime.

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butter is evil.

Betty Botter bought some butter.
But, she said, this butter's bitter
If I put it in my batter,
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter
would but make my batter better.

So she bought some better butter,
better than the bitter butter,
and put it in her batter.
And her batter was not bitter,
so 'twas better Betty Botter
bought a bit of better butter.



writer's almanac, august 11th

It's the birthday of my dad. Born on this day in 1947 in Marshalltown, Iowa, Dad was raised in a good midwestern home with lots of corn eating and Lutheran church attending.

He majored in history at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. His daughter almost decided to go there, until she remembered she hates the snow. He then continued his historical journey at the University of Iowa, for which he got the Air Force to pay. Much to his chagrin, said military institution decided it wanted him to pay them back, and they sent him to Madrid, Spain for his service.

It was this trip to Spain which changed his life. He heard the best friend of his high school girlfriend would be teaching English in Algeria at the same time. He called up first Annie, the girlfriend, ultra-conservative parents to get her contact information. The rest was history.

After Mom's time in Algeria was over, she went to Spain to be with my dad. They knew they wanted to be married, but the process was expedited when Dad almost got sent to Japan. He came home one day and said "Well, I guess we better get married." And with that romantic proposal the couple headed to Gibraltar to get hitched on November 27, 1973(?).

At the end of 1975, Dad was released from active duty and they headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico for more graduate school. This time, Mom's vegetable co-ops, babysitting trading and Dad's 4 million jobs paid for his education. The 2 oldest daughters were born there, followed by the light of their life in San Antonio, Texas in 1981. Dad didn't care he had only daughters-- after all, where there are girls, there are also boys. Especially three such lovely daughters, daughters who would later give him Christmas gifts like the chance to brew his own beer.

The year 1982 brought them to Virginia, where Dad continues to do history stuff and counts the days til he's eligible to retire.

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the a word.

Netflix is the way I get to see all those shows from the pay channels (that's right, I have basic cable and I'm not ashamed). Lately I've been watching Showtime's The L Word. For those born yesterday, it's a show about lesbians.

I just finished the first DVD of the premiere (Bojo, are you out there? I had to look that up and thought of you) season and all I can think about is art. One of the main characters, Bette, is a director of an art center and now all I want to do is be a curator. Well, I atleast want to know enough to be a curator.

In the 4th episode, Bette, played by the lovely Jennifer Beals of Flashdance fame, sees one of her favorite works of art in person and almost has a breakdown. I almost had a breakdown when I saw Nike of Samothrace, The Winged Victory. I touched her foot. Shhh...



you don't know.

people come, people go
some grow young, some grow cold
i woke up in between
a memory and a dream.

but let's get to the point, let's roll another joint
and let's head on down the road--
there's somewhere i gotta go.
and you don't know how it feels.
you don't know how it feels to be me.



my 10 inch scar.

visiting my friend sara in the hospital and spending time with her while she's laid up at home has really brought back the memories of this particular month of my life. it doesn't upset me to talk or write about it-- after all it has been 10 years.

all my life, i'd had little moments when it hurt to breathe. kind of like when you're working out, and you get the really sharp pains in your lungs. only more. one night, it got really bad.

anna and i were home alone. cristina had gone away to college, dad was on a business trip and mom was at some meeting at church or school. anna got really scared, but i wouldn't let her take me to the hospital. i made her call taneka to ask her was an asthma attack was like. like your throat is shrinking. no, that wasn't it.

i know now, of course, it was a thymic cyst the size of a grapefruit residing inside my ribcage. it occasionally made its presence known by nudging my right lung. that sucked, to say the least. very rare. the doctor asked me if he could write me up in a medical journal. the thymus is a gland present in your body at birth. after aiding in the development of your immune system, it's supposed to disappear. mine didn't.

it was kind of an a-ha moment-- that's why, while i was by no means a sickly kid, i was much more prone to colds, strep throat and mononucleosis in the 4th grade than my sister. yes, who gets mono in the 4th grade? me. atleast that explanation made sense to me. (i did make that up.)

i spent 5 days in the hospital. 2 weeks at home. i recovered quickly for the major surgery i had, thanks in part to the fact i had just finished my first tennis season and i was young (14). lost all that tennis muscle though.

before i went to the hospital for the ct scan and ultrasound which ultimately revealed the thing, i had only ever been once- to visit my friend sarah who fell and had a concussion. if your name is sara(h), please don't be my friend.

the next time i was in the hospital it was for 5 days of morphine drips, crappy food, dad sleeping on the cot next to me, wondering where my mother was, realizing who truly care about me (tan, nora, hotcop, my tennis coach, my french teacher, and other random people who came to visit), plus the nicest nurse ever. i remember the name of my favorite: carolyn. she was there the first night and came back 4 days later.

[let's be clear-- my mother passes out in hospitals. that's why she wasn't there as much as i would've liked her to be. i've never told her that. when i wrote my thank-you note to her best friend she told me to write thanks for taking care of my mom.].

all this was in the midst of the first semester of my freshman year of high school.

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it's really going to take alot.

wal-mart is evil. here are links to a bunch of articles about how wal-mart likes to...
fire whistleblowers, women and black truck drivers.

and mooch off taxpayers like you.

oh, and violate child labor laws.

so why do people shop there? well, people who work at wal-mart can't afford to shop anywhere else.

not to mention the fact not one single wal-mart employee in the u.s. belongs to a union. ain't america grand?

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stensvertigo, lifeguards and alicia keys.

on monday, i had vertigo all day, the kind where you can't walk across the room without it spinning around you. i felt better by the evening time, and tried to make up for my rice-only diet with a can of soup and some chicken on a stick. i was pissed, cause if you live in southeastern VA you know monday was the first break in the 100 degree heat we'd been having. there was a high of something like 84 degrees!!! it was the ideal beach day.

i woke up tuesday morning a felt a little woozy, but generally fine. i watched the ellen degeneres show cause i was actually awake in time to see it (at 9 am). alicia keys was a guest. i had forgotten how much i just love alicia keys, and i knew i wanted to listen to her while i made up for lost beach time. a high of 90 sounded fine to me, considering i'd actually beached it in the 100 degree heat. i sunscreened up, grabbed a ginormous bottle of water and the diary of alicia keys and hit the beach.

oh, it was a great beach day. i felt fabulous, not too hot at all. i made sure to stick my feet in the water to cool down a couple times (no floating, though, as the bay has jellyfish). after i got back to my towel after one such wading, all my stuff was windblown. a sign, i thought, time to head in. at this point it had been just under 2 hours.

i was gathering all my stuff when the darkness started to close in. man it came on fast. i'll just walk to the seawall, i thought, and sit with my head between my knees for a while. i stumbled to the wall (maybe 75 feet? i have no concept of distance) and sat down. i put my head between my knees. i tried to lay down for a bit. the woozy wouldn't go away. finally somebody walked by.

are you hot? he asked helpfully.
i'm just having some vertigo, can you get the lifeguard for me? i replied.
are you sure? do you want some iced tea?

i'm sorry, but when someone asks you to get the lifeguard do you generally ask them if they want iced tea????

yeah, i didn't think so either.

no thanks, just the lifeguard.

as he returned with the lifeguard i heard them talking. she could probably use some shade. oh, that pissed me off.

when they reached me i explained the situation. i had vertigo yesterday, i thought i was better, can you just walk me home? i live in that white house. i pointed to my house.

i just have to wait for my supervisor, here he comes. a rescue truck was heading down the beach. the guard and his supervisor said i should just hop in, the two guys in the truck would give me a ride home. but i'm right across the street, i just want you to walk me home in case i pass out in the middle of the street.

i recognized the supervisor from elementary and middle school, i think. i sure enough didn't ask his name, though.

put some ice on the back of your neck, he told me, just take it easy for the rest of the day.

of course, we couldn't just drive straight to my house, we had to go all the way down to the tuck entrance and back track.

"these are nice trucks," i said, the air conditioning blasting right on me.
"yeah," they agreed. we passed some girls. "those girls definitely think we're following them now. the first girl is the hottest."
"the one in the brown shirt?" i asked. "hey, is arianna working? and paul?"
"yeah," the supervisor said "i was at paul's stand when i got the call for you."
"their big sister is my best friend," i said.
"nora? he's paul's best friend." he pointed at the other guy.
"oh are you paul's nick??"
"yeah," replied nick. they laughed.
"hi, i'm erika."
"nice to meet you."
"well, nora was dating a guy named nick for a while so..."

then we got to my house. let's be clear about a few things now:

1. i spend 2 hours on the beach in 90 degree heat all the time.
2. i drank 32 oz of water while i was at the beach. i drank more before i even got to the beach.
3. i realize it was stupid to sunbathe when i'd had horrible vertigo the day before.
4. the whole almost fainting thing really killed my beach buzz! it was such a good time at the beach, too. sigh.
5. i need to, ahem, check my diet. nobody died.
6. vertigo really fucking sucks.

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before or after oprah?

today i was a waste.

i've defined my activities as before, during or after oprah.

i took a shower before oprah. i ate my soup during oprah. my roommate came home after oprah.

i got the hiccups after oprah. i took a nap before oprah. i called my mom during oprah. she called me back after oprah.

oprah is a funny word.

go away hiccups!