Archive | January, 2008

From Russia with Love

31 Jan

This weekend I am joining some bloggers (and their fans) in IKK. If you don’t have your airport codes memorized, that’s Kankakee, IL, or I Know Karate. I have listened to Willie Nelson all my life, but ten minutes ago is the first time I heard him mention Kankakee in City of New Orleans. As in “the train pulls out of Kankakee.” Lucia has promised a party bus, but she promises a lot of things. My only experience with what I consider a party bus was the perilous drive from Indiana to Rochester during a blizzard after a regatta that was a complete waste of time. The driver barely kept himself awake with Red Bull and jerky and he preferred to drive without the headlights on. There were no seatbelts. If I had forgotten my toothbrush it would have been my ultimate personal nightmare. But if I remember it correctly, we managed a very slight party atmosphere on the party bus despite the shadow of death: I shared M&Ms and body heat with The Cheese Rind under someone’s sleeping bag and there was a highly successful bout of homemade mad libs. So you could say my expectations of the party bus this weekend are pretty high.

I made myself a pile of mix cds for the solo drive from here to there.

  • Caution: Car Dancing, Vol. 1
  • Car Singing, Vols. 1-2
  • Sadface, Vols. 1-2
  • Boot Straps are Handles (left boot) and Boot Straps are Handles (right boot) [intended to uplift]
  • Bitter Old Hag

A song’s candidacy for Car Singing was determined by how well I know the words. It has no fewer than five Neil Diamond tracks. To qualify for Car Dancing, a song either obviously made me wiggle around while seated or it referenced dancing. The whole set pretty much covers my emotional range while driving. If there is a blizzard this weekend, I will rely on Bitter Old Hag to keep me angry and alert. I gave up jerky just as I was starting to understand it and I do not stoop to Red Bull ever. I actually only brought up the weather to segue into this public service announcement from my sister Meghan:

[A]lways remember frostbite sn’t funny. In Russia it is polite to stare at strangers on the street intensely when walking by to check them for frostbite and alert them if there is any on their face. You can use this as an excuse if you are caught staring…it makes an awkward moment so much ore normal. 

She’s never been to Russia, but she knows people.


Essay Tuesday placeholder

30 Jan

If you haven’t been paying attention, Essay Tuesday is now a monthly feature rather than a weekly feature. We are a busy people with Scrabulous moves to make. The current topic: What’s your word? You have to describe yourself in one word, such that a complete stranger would get an accurate picture of your personality. Oh, and your friends have to agree with your choice.

I’m stumped. I was thinking about it while I walked around town this morning and this song has been haunting me all day. For now I defer to the nuns as they ponder how you find a word that means Maria Jobonga?

Of particular note:

When I’m with her I’m confused
Out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather
She’s as flighty as a feather
She’s a darling! She’s a demon! She’s a lamb!

She’d outpester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She’s a riddle! She’s a child!
She’s a headache! She’s an angel!
She’s a girl!

My “word” continues to elude me. Seriously. How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

How do you hOOOld a mOOOOnbeam. In your hAAAAAnd?

I own a torch.

28 Jan


Wholesome weekend.

28 Jan


Yesterday I went cross-country skiing at Lake MacBride. Here I look smug because we started on the easy trails. Later my spirit would be bruised on the winding hills.






Lake MacBride herself. She is very popular with the snowmobiles.


Sweater Thursday XV.

24 Jan


This picture was taken without a flash. I must have opened my intensely glowing eyes too wide and overexposed it. I hate when that happens. I have a funny story about overexposure. It’s all coming back to me. Back when I was an engineer, I was assigned to the worst lab partner in a personal history of crappy lab partners. I like to think that always happened to me because teachers like to pair smart kids (like me) with the dumb ones. I don’t remember his name but I think it was pronounced like bag-of-rocks. The worst lab partner and I had to make a pin hole camera and take a picture with it, then develop the film. It was supposed to be a very easy, “fun” project but we were there for hours. The film was kept in the darkroom in a magic envelope that light cannot penetrate. He thought the red light of the darkroom was too dark so he turned on the regular light and exposed our film. It was the last piece of film so the TA gave us a new envelope and lectured us about how expensive it was. After waiting in line for the dark room again, I successfully put new film in our camera and covered up the pinhole, but he left the new stack of film out on the counter and exposed all of it. TA was not happy. We took a picture of something dumb in the hallway and I thought we were at least making progress until he opened up the camera on the way to the darkroom and ruined the film.

We had just one more lab together before he dropped the course, but he managed to blow my mind all over again. During that lab, he asked me if we were supposed to use hydrogenated water or carbonated water. When I looked at him blankly, he pointed to the H and C on the faucets. HOT or COLD.

Back to the sweater, it’s a v-neck black cardigan. I like to wear it unbuttoned.

The day I was born my mother tied her tubes.

23 Jan

Today, at 12:42 EST, which is when this should post, I am twenty-seven. I was born on a Friday, the least depressing day of the most depressing week of the year. I tipped the scales at six pounds. The way my mom tells it, she was induced two weeks early because her OB was going on vacation. Awesome! I wonder if that’s also when my disdain for doctors was born. (Sorry all my friends who are doctors. It’s true I disapprove of your careers but we probably have other things in common.)

Turning twenty-five made me cry. Twenty-six was a mess of applying to grad school, preparing to quit a job I was good at, and trying to diagnose the death throes of a long, comfortable relationship. I don’t care about getting older. Bring on the white patch that grows in my cowlick. I think I am finally thriving.

I celebrated twenty-seven at breakfast with coffee and homemade butterscotch pudding.


In case you missed it.

23 Jan

Obama’s MLK day speech.