Sunday, December 21, 2008


I have been a knitting fool lately. Finished the baby blanket for my sister - well, basically. Mom will have to sew in the ends... I worked until 3am on it the night before it had to be done, got up early, worked for another hour, went to work, worked for another hour and then had to leave it in a mailbox. At least it is adequate size though.

Now I am working on a scarf that artichoke's mom asked me to make 'before Christmas'... at least I am STARTING it before Christmas!

I also have my eye on this pattern. Perfect for Russia and only one step up from the easiest level, so maybe I can actually DO it. Finally, I am considering this scarf. Not very traditional, yet easy.

I have to do SOMETHING with my three week vacation, right?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two very important things

1. Today I had a party with my Intermediate students and... they got me gifts! Chocolate and champagne and (this is the coolest part)a shirt. Not just any shirt though! Two of my male students are in the naval academy down the street from the school and... they got me the shirt that is part of the naval uniform! It's long sleeved and has dark (navy-ha!) blue and white stripes, a boat neck! It's completely authentic and they included the 'scarf' thing that goes around the neck! You might say I am pretty pumped about it.

2. My Big Sister is having her baby tomorrow!!!! I am so proud. This will be my EIGHTH time being an auntie. My siblings are so fertile. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008


I have crazy crazy dreams. I believe that everyone does, but somehow I remember them better or more often than most people. And, well, I like to share.

I dreampt last night that I was told that I had been adopted when I was little. Some random, 30 something lady with short, wavy dark brown hair was telling me that she was actually my mom. It's amazing how devistated I was. This meant that I wasn't actually related to my mom or sisters AT ALL. And who the hell was this lady? I told her she looked much too young to have had a child 24 years ago and her response was 'I am a woman'. Right, that makes a ton of sense. There was definately a baby in the dream as well, not sure whose it was, but it was really cute. Also... Something to do with some people in my family being in a really tall tree and not being able to get down.

Does anyone out there have the secret to having NORMAL dreams?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Whoa, Nellie.

So. Um. Without taking back what I said or denying how I felt, let's just say that I apologise for everyone having to read that last post. Never have I felt my emotions crest and fall so quickly than I have here. I'm ok. Things will be ok. It isn't that everyone hates me, they just have their own lives to worry about, everywhere. I KNOW that things are easier to do in your native country and in your native tongue, but everyone is busy, it's almost Christmas, and so on.

This is why I have two blogs. Now I remember.

Ok ok, I admit it

I am fucking desperate. I tried sending a plee to some people via email two days ago, and I got a response from one person. My aunt. Not even my best friend who would have to walk 2 blocks (for $10 profit) will help me. No one here will be bothered enough to help me either. I don't think people understand. If I can't find a way to send money home, I will have to COME HOME. It isn't like I haven't tried to find a way to get money home. I am working my ass off over here. Like, litterally. Why should ANYTHING take 4 full days to do? And then it still doesn't work? Bullshit.

I am throughly confused, frustrated and hurt by the whole situation. It isn't like I am stupid, I am just underequipped for this. As in, I don't speak the language, so, I need someone to go with me to the stupid Western Union office, one time. Just once, so that I can figure it out, and then it will work. Well, and I need someone in the states to pick up my money to put it in my bank account, but right now that is looking like it might not happen. Do you all want me back that badly? Or, do you really just not care if this works out for me or not? This is all I have been thinking about, money, for the past 2 weeks. It's just shit is what it is. Everyday I have tried, and have been brought to tears by the impossibility of me getting anything done here. I would say 'by myself', but its looking more and more like that's how I have to do everything here, so saying that would just be redundant.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

TWO blogs?

So, having two blogs is starting to be a little much. I think I can stick it out if you can. Are you with me?

Last night, I really wanted to post, and wouldn't you know it? The damn internet was out again. Sabotaged by the Russians again! (wait - again? when did they sabotage me last? eh, not important I guess.) The class that I was given was a one on one student and he came in and changed the duration to only 1 academic hour (45 minutes) instead of 2. Who am I to argue with that?

After a few missed attempts, my dad figured out how to call me here on a cell phone. He was quite happy to have found a way to call me, that's for sure. It was good to talk to him, even if I almost cried twice. Why is it that I cry so easily over financial matters?

Speaking of that - I have 10 Rubles to my name. That's like... a quarter. A QUARTER OF A DOLLAR. Luckily we get paid on Monday, and I can pay Denise back for the 1,000 Rubles she loaned me on Tuesday. I could have made it without her help, but it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun.

Thanksgiving taught me that I am somewhat of a snob. I already admitted to being a snob about bread and crab rangoon (so much so, I even named a BLOG about it!). Turns out I am a snob about even more random food. Like, cranberries. Some could probably say they understand, knowing where I come from. Home of CranFest, Cranberry Country Suites, and a water tower actually decorated with the giant fruit. Still, somehow this surprised me, this cranberry snobbery. As I sat sorting the tiny, soft cranberries into 'good' and 'bad' piles, I felt a little homesick. "Where I come from, we have BIG, FIRM cranberries. Cranberries that HURT when you throw them at people, and bounce when they hit the floor!" Somehow my 80 year old grandmother voice rolled through my head - as my thoughts are wont to really run wild and even develop their own personalities when I am engaged in such a mind numbing task. After throwing out the rotted or dried cranberries, along with the sticks and leaves and dirt that was included in the purchase, I had about half of what I paid for. The sauce turned out pretty good though - but, I still don't like the texture.

Oh - I did write a post last night, just not online. So without further ado, another delayed post!

Such a good day. I am exhausted, but that is to be expected at 1am. Today, I just felt good. I wasn’t too stressed out by the commute – I was confident about getting there today. And, I was totally prepared for class, so that was basically stress free. And, I love the people that I work with in Petergof, really. Like, they are just wonderful. I wish I could explain it better, but the two Oksanas – one of them is just my personal guardian angel, who makes fun of me now for wearing my thin coat and being forgetful and things, and the other is learning English and is just so cute. When I am there, she will pull up a chair and sit right in front of me to talk. She wants to learn so badly and is improving quite a lot. Then there is Marina – the Russian teacher there who stopped talking to the Blond Oksana (the one learning English) when I walked in because she said she wanted to make me feel as comfortable as possible, and that wouldn’t work while they were speaking in Russian. So sweet. And then there’s Mark – Regular Oksana’s son – he must be about 6. He can speak like 5 words in English, but today we totally bonded over a stuffed dragon, some tickling and a little teasing. Both of my classes learned something today, and were pretty excited about it too. Like I said. Today was a good day. (well, except that it snowed and I was wearing thin flats, but… that was my fault)

The End. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Time delay

An excerpt from an email I sent yesterday during the 'no posting zone' time period.

Why on earth am I here? It isn't like this was a DREAM of mine. I made the decision to do this before I even started coming to Trinity, when my life seemed completely stalled and depressing and I was BORED. I just needed some excitement and something to work towards. I really tried to give myself a reason to be here - like, It's good for me to see how the other side of the world lives! or I'll find out so much about myself! Maybe other people told me those things to work towards. But right now I am learning about myself, and I don't like what I am seeing. I am a huge wuss. I really hate looking stupid and it happens every single day here. And the people think I am stupid too, or they are just mean and rude, one or the other. Also, I won't go anywhere alone if it's the first time I've been there. Like - the post office. Apparently there's one across the street from my school, but I haven't ever seen it and I am not one to walk into random buildings. This brings me to the second thing I have learned. I must be so dumb. Really. Things should be getting easier for me, but it doesn't feel like they are. I hate how much I have to use other people to do anything - I feel completely helpless and hopeless. Now I am stressed out because of my financial situation (I haven't made enough $ to send home, and those student loans keep automatically withdrawing - I am really in the hole with the bank now... ). That seems so superficial, to be worried about money while I am here, but...It seems like a big deal, especially when the only way I can figure to get money home involves venturing into a bank with Western Union... BY MYSELF.

Sigh. I am not one to give up on things, but is this all worthless? Are there things that haven't happened that I should stick around for?

Thanks for that. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. And, Thanksgiving was good. We had a good crowd of about 7 people, a turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, carrots, bread, champagne. Told stories and jokes. Tell me, why, then, do I feel so crappy the next day?

Somehow I don't feel that bad today. Maybe tomorrow will be even better. (I just got back from the post office with Denise. Things have been mailed, but not to any of you. Sorry, had to prioritize - the rents and the church are the only people getting things.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The ebbing! The flowing!

Yeah, I thought the title could use some excitement, like random exclamation points.

A couple of times this week, I felt like I wasn't sad or homesick but I could read the signs detailing how to get there. I toed the edge, deciding whether or not I should let myself tumble over into 'that feeling'. There's really no point in going there, that wilderness outpost known as 'homesick', but it almost feels like a lie that I am not sad. When I want to, I can really put my denial blinders on and plow through, but it's just starting to seem wrong. I have met some amazing people here, people I hope to become friends with (but I am being a complete weirdo, I fear), but why should I be happy when everything that really know and love is further away in space and time than I can even imagine?

I am the furthest I have EVER been away from home, for the longest stretch of time BY FAR. The longest I had been away from home before this was when I lived with my sister for a summer. 3 months was a long time, but it seems much different than 9 months. And let me tell you something that I am 100% sure of - and there aren't many things that I am THAT sure of. Macon, Georgia is NOT St.Petersburg, Russia. The good news is that people don't fight every night and I don't share a tiny room with a 2 year old and a 12 year old. Unfortunately I am positive that I can't drive home from here in 15 hours, or at all, even if I had a car, which I don't.

Good news - I haven't had a panic attack here at all (knock knock knock on wood!), and I am not a complete fuck up at teaching so far either. I think I have been trying hard. I actually WANT them to learn and I want to learn, so at least we are on the same path.

Basically the title is about the fact that since the beginning of last weekend, I have been really happy, and pretty frustrated, irritable, and content. Normal daily mood swings, but slightly intensified with less of an outlet for them.

Not exciting, but neither am I lately. Sorry.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Um, relevant.

Fakin It - Simon and Garfunkel
When she goes, she's gone.
If she stays, she stays here.
The girl does what she wants to do.
She knows what she wants to do.
And I know I'm fakin' it,
I'm not really makin' it.

I'm such a dubious soul,
And a walk in the garden
Wears me down.
Tangled in the fallen vines,
Pickin' up the punch lines,
I've just been fakin' it,
Not really makin' it.

Is there any danger?
No, no, not really.
Just lean on me.
Takin' time to treat
Your friendly neighbors honestly.
I've just been fakin' it,
I'm not really makin' it.
This feeling of fakin' it--
I still haven't shaken it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Adapt, damn it!

While I was walking around the market today with some new friends (can I call them friends yet? I dunno - I am uncomfortable calling a relationship so one-sided 'friendship') I was marveling at how malleable, how adaptable people are. I mean, this 'thing' I am on isn't that crazy of a change as say, moving to Zimbabwe or something, but it illustrates my point anyway. At first glance, people are very stuck in their ways. They like their coffee with two sugars, skim milk, extra hot, with a shot of espresso. They just cannot sleep on anything less than 800ct sheets, and heaven forbid if their cellphone drops service.

In reality, people don't need all of this. Don't look at me like that. I understood this principle before coming to Russia, but it is so much easier to see what you can give up in life from this side of the world. In the US, people complain about the roads being pitted, or a bathroom without toilet paper, or the fact that their house isn't being regulated at 71.5 degrees, as they would like. When that same person is thrown into a situation where things are much different....they can just change. Of course, the choices are change and accept or be miserable and die. We can accept having so much less than we expect. Not only can you accept it, you can get used to it - it becomes your baseline, your norm. Already, I am getting used to not understanding anything I see or hear, I am starting to fill out my 'foreigner' mold and give up on trying to not act stupid in situations where I just can't help it. I will eat anything anyone gives me, because it's food, and I accept that I need it - regardless of what 'it' is. And, bathrooms stink by nature, rarely have toilet paper or soap. But you gotta pee.

This paints a perfectly clear picture of what is important in life. Some things are given up with just a wince and acceptance, some others feel like someone is cutting my pinky off with a dull, rusty blade. I didn't grip my pillow and cry at night because I couldn't have a single deluxe cheeseburger from Culvers (but, oh my does that sound good...) or because my sheets were scratchy or because there are no street signs anywhere in the city. Leaving my friends and family (and other people who don't neatly fall into either category, but deserve their own) racked me with grief. It's the people, the relationships, the memories that matter.

It's because I have been reassured to the nth degree that these will all still be there when I return that I can push past that hole in my heart and face those other adaptations. Love can travel over any distance and powerfully change people, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Read me first

ok. Well..... this morning's little rant seems pretty dramatic right about now. Today is going well - a fellow teacher took me to the clinic to get my HIV test and had me come home by myself, which was fine... I figured out how to pay for the bus when you don't actually pay the driver. And then.... wait for it.... the SUN came out! I don't think I've seen the sun in almost two weeks.

Don't let the next post down worry you too much. Right now, I am FINE. And tonight, I am totally taking a sleeping pill to try and make it through the night. No naps for this girl today. I think I should make a new rule about blogging. No new posts between 1am and 8am. That is undoubtedly the worst part of the day for me. The sky didn't start to get light today until 8:30! Crazy. And it's only gonna get worse. On December 21st, the sun doesn't rise until 10am and it sets at 3:50pm. But then begins the upward swing....

Ok, I have to go to Petergof with Fiona now to teach. I've planned a lesson where I mime this story that they write. Should be LOADS of fun.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Backlog of posts

From November 9th -

Have you heard? (there’s a rumor in St Petersburg!) They have another American - ME! I am writing to you at 3am - I have already had like 5 hours of sleep and woken up a number of times thinking I was late to get up. Somehow I thought I was going to escape jet lag - ha!

My apartment is…. Not what I thought it would be like. It’s European large - 4 bedrooms and Russian nice. Everything is pretty old and dirty, but because it exists in our apartment and performs its functions, its almost a luxury. The people who have been living here haven’t been paying for internet, they’ve been stealing it from some unreliable unsecured source… I will probably convince them that we should just pay the $5 a month and actually have internet consistently. They seemed like they were working in that direction anyway.

I got to the apartment around 4:30pm local time and just wanted to crash. Forced myself to put away my clothes and met most of the flat mates. Cassie and Aaron I met last night, Zahra was on her way back from the UK and got in too late, so I haven’t met her yet - and she’s our boss! I met four other teachers last night too, but two of them I don’t really remember their names because we just randomly passed them on the street. The other two were in my apartment when I arrived. Elizabeth from Maine and Stephanie from Scotland. How about that folks?! When I meet people I CAN remember names, when it means the difference between being all alone in the largest country in the world or actually knowing someone who can help me negotiate the grocery store (which we did - I got pasta, 2 liter of soda, water, bread, and cookies for about 200 R - $7.50) and get a cell phone (which I believe they will take me to do today after work).

From Yesterday -

It’s 5am and I am up, again. Jet lag really sucks guys. I thought I had it licked on my first night. I didn’t go to bed early, just woke up at 3am, milled around for a bit and went back to bed. I wasn’t all that tired on my first full day, went to bed around 1am, woke up around 730 and I was so freaking exhausted. Yesterday I slept from 11:30am til 1, went to the main school for an appointment, came back around 3, slept from 4-5:30, went back to the main school from 7-8:30 to observe a class, came home again and ate dinner. I was WAY more tired than I have ever been in my life, as far as I can ever remember. Went to bed around midnight last night, and I am up at 5. What the hell?! Today Ashley is taking me to the clinic to get my HIV test - my SECOND HIV test- and I have to teach tonight in Petergof. I hope and pray that today’s classes will go better than the first ones. That was literally torturous, for both the teacher than the taught.

I better try to go back to sleep, or at least rest. Damn internet won’t let me connect from anywhere right now, so this will have to be posted later in the morning. Love you.

From Right now -

Will every morning be like this? I can’t sleep and can’t sleep so all I can do is think and think and cry and cry. Why on earth did I do this? Why would I voluntarily send myself half way around the world for 9 months? It’s worse than prison right now. I don’t have a phone, we barely have the internet. I certainly can’t have visitors and I can‘t go anywhere out of fear. I am not guaranteed food - I can barely acquire it myself. I feel like I am going crazy. When people say ‘homesick’, I usually think - oh, suck it up, what’s so great about home? So not true now. I could literally throw up I am so upset right now. Teaching is scary and hard - by the end of today I will have almost doubled my total teaching hours. Funny thing is, I guess if I get fired I get to come home. Oh, this worries me so. I am not supposed to feel like this so soon. I keep thinking - seriously? NINE MONTHS?! That’s just so long. But then I try to rationalize, it isn’t THAT long, relatively. It is, but it isn’t. When I am trying to sleep, its an ass long time. But when I try and think about nine months ago, where I was then…. Oh shit. That still seems like a long time ago. February. I was working at after school, it was cold as hell outside. That’s when I decided to do this. It felt like my life was going nowhere, and it was completely dull and boring and I needed excitement. That’s exactly what my life would be like if I were home right now I guess. The only reason my life was exciting up until I left was because I was working towards THIS.

I know I can come home if I really NEED to. But, I would be letting so many people down. And what would I DO when I got home? I really tried to prepare myself for being gone for 9 months, and everyone I know accepted it too. If I didn’t have a good reason for feeling the way that I do now, you should be worried about me. Please don’t let this freak you out, but, if I get so depressed that I think about doing rash things, I will come home first.

I just want to hear someone’s voice. The last person I talked to was my dad, when I was on the plane in Chicago. On SATURDAY. So I haven’t heard anyone’s voice in 3 days. Anyone who actually cares whether or not I am ok. It doesn’t seem like long, does it? But, think about it. When you are just walking around in your everyday routine, you talk to your friends, your sig. other, your parents, coworkers. Most of the people we choose to talk to care about us in some way.

Our only major break is two full weeks at Christmas and new years. I really thought that Christmas would be too soon to come home, plus, I don’t think I will be able to afford the plane ticket, but going the full nine months seems like it could be nine years.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I don't like this.

This is much harder than I expected. I have probably walked 3 miles pulling 100lbs of luggage and carrying another 30 or so. Alarm clock didn't go off this morning, woke up half an hour late. Forgot to print out confirmation sheet - HELLA hassle. Haven't eaten since 6:30 this morning. Very very tired.

Started crying (and again now) when on the phone with the US Cellular customer service lady after she said that my phone would be canceled as soon as I got off the phone with her. I was thinking 'no! I am not done yet! I need to talk to my people.' But alas, I don't really. I don't have time. But, she is canceling it tomorrow anyway, not today.

I am 24 years old, sitting in an international airport terminal and I can't stop crying. Sad sad sad. I will let you all know when I get there. Love you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cross that one of the list

So - 'the trip' has seemed far off and dreamlike because of all of the things that were to come before it. Like - Seattle. Like - the election. Like - my birthday. Fun days, things to look forward to, to put before that long flight to my new home. Tomorrow, I put a big fat check mark next to the last milestone.

*deep breath*

I sent out an email update to 33 people yesterday and started getting some real email back. I will wholly admit that 90% of the reason I sent out the email was to get some sort of communication from 'back home'. This is happening after 10 days of being gone. The only way that I will be able to get through this in one piece will be to convince myself that I don't need anyone and that I never did. THIS IS ONE GIANT LIE THAT I WILL TELL MYSELF TO KEEP MY SANITY. I promise I love you, but I have to pretend that you don't exist to keep moving forward.

Unless I can find a balance. That would be nice.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I guess all I have to say tonight is, please, please vote. I do care who you vote for, but I care more that you actually vote, regardless of whom you vote for.

The question mark in the title of this post is there because almost everyone I know has already voted, so if you read this.... I am preaching to the choir. But, I guess it's the citizen's duty.


Sunday, November 2, 2008


The structure of my life at the present time is almost exactly like that of an middle school student on summer vacation. I live with a couple older than me, I have no way to get around, I basically have no responsibilities, no place to be.... It's almost an exact duplication of my life 10 years ago. I play with the dog (some might call it torture, but we would need to check the definition of that), watch TV, waste time online (this is new, but wasting time sure isn't), and eat way too much. This situation was depressing for a while, not being a contributing member of society, instead being a semi recluse. But that feeling is wearing off. Now I just want to lay around with nothing expected of me. Kind of. I guess I know this will end quite abruptly on Saturday, when I have to be up and out of the house before 7am, to spend 18 hours in transit. Then, a REAL job.

I am supposed to be writing up a summary of my two 'break-out sessions' from the leadership conference last month for the evangelism committee at church. But, I don't want to. As corny as this sounds, I know that when that's done and submitted, they won't have any use for me anymore. I will have done my job, and I will be free to go. Nobody will have a reason to talk to me.

I am kind of kidding, but I wasn't a couple of hours ago when I was actually working on the paper and started this post. It's possible though. I'm not really sure why they want to talk to me anyway... WAIT. Why do you want to talk to me/read this post? Oh geez. I gotta stop.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple

This is supposed to be an encouraging song. I won't try to interpret what she is trying to say exactly, cause I am sure I will get it all messed up. So.. on the surface it tells me that I am stronger than I think, and that I don't need anyone's help. And I totally am the baby of the family, this first stanza seems to fit my life pretty well, everybody watching over me and telling me that I am doing things the wrong way, somehow. This song is how I would LIKE to feel.

I am the baby of the family, it happens, so
Everybody cares and wears the sheeps' clothes while they chaperone
Curious, you looking down your nose at me, while you appease
Courteous, to try and help, but let me set your mind at ease

If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me, or treat me mean
I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine

Do I so worry you, you need to hurry to my side?
It's very kind
But it's to no avail; I don't want the bail
I promise you, everything will be just fine

Because I might be masochistic

So, I know I have written about this before, but, I really enjoy accentuating or enticing a mood with music. Basically, I can make myself feel really crappy, really quickly. Or, to put it another way, music can force me to confront how I truly feel quite easily. I just subject myself to it to get out of the denial loop.

This is my playlist for this 'trip', which anchors me in emotion and reminds me exactly what I am doing.

Adventures in Solitude - The New Pornographers
All Will Be Well - The Gabe Dixon Band
Brand New Colony - The Postal Service
Capturing Moods - Rilo Kiley
Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
The Circle Game - Joni Mitchell
Do You Realize? - The Flaming Lips
Everything Reminds Me of Her - Elliot Smith
Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple
Far From Home - The Gabe Dixon Band
Fearless - Gerald Collier
Forever My Friend - Ray LaMontagne
Here For Now - Ani DiFranco
High and Dry - Radiohead
Keep it Together - Guster
Melt Your Heart - Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins
Not As We - Alanis Morissette
Sing - The Carpenters
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own - U2
Urge For Going - Joni Mitchell
Wisconsin - Bon Iver
With Arms Outstretched - Rilo Kiley

Some of these songs are supposed to make me feel bad about leaving things behind, some of them are supposed to encourage me, some (like the U2 song) make me scared. I might post some of the lyrics from these songs and try to explain what they mean to me, but, not tonight! Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tears at 30,000 ft.

I do my best grieving on airplanes. There's something about hiding my face against the window and completely losing it, knowing the person next to you, has no social obligation whatsoever to ask you the nature of your tears. Even more so, that person has a social obligation to REFRAIN from asking questions or trying to help. It's freeing, really.

My only goal is to remain silent. No vocal sobs, sniffling, gasping, nothing to make me seem hysterical. Just a girl with a good reason to be sad. My scarf works quite nicely as a mask and a medium to sop up the tears. If I cover my face and press my eyes, it looks like I am just thinking hard or showing that I am tired.

This trip, I deviated from my usual plan. It started as usual. I turned, I hid, I cried. But I guess this time I needed some sort of human connection or just general comfort. So... my seatmate wasn't under the same social obligations... he was engaged by the girl next to him. And bless him, he was wonderful...

Me - trying to recover: 'Is Denver your last stop?'
Guy - 'yep. It's my home. What about you?' (aw - pretending he didn't notice!)
I shake my head - 'nope', try not to start crying again
G - 'where are you headed?'
M, still choked up - 'I-I'm moving to Russia....'
G - 'wow, that's great! Have you lived overseas before? Are you excited?'
M, unable to talk, so I shrug
G - 'mixed, huh? Yeah, that's hard.'
'Did you volunteer for it or will you go to prison if you don't show up?'
I laugh a little
G - 'Well, I have lived all over the world. Easy places, though, like London and Paris'
I nod.
G - 'I think it's excellent. More people need to do things like that. You'll love yourself for it'

Calmed down. Decided to blog about this wonderful middle aged man seated next to me. So, I used my napkin and his pen to write the first draft of this post. When we landed in Denver, the lady sitting in front of me turned around and handed me a green pen. I said it wasn't mine (I thought she found it on the floor and assumed it was mine), but she said that she knew, but that she thought I should have it because I might not be sitting next to someone so helpful next time. Sometimes you can find humanity in a big metal capsule high in the sky.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's tough.

Last night was pretty weird. In my old apartment, with my old roommates, in a totally different place in my life. Half freaking out, half bored out of my mind, tired, but can't sleep.

I got about an hour of sleep last night, and during that short nap, I dreamt that I overslept until 2:30 this afternoon. THAT was not a good feeling.

Church this morning was good, and sad. I've gotten everything I could need or everything that I could be given to make it easier. I just need to GO now. During the 'joys and concerns' time, I was called up to the front of the sanctuary and Amanda gave me a gift that was perfect. A little black rock, symbolizing... things. She was crying and I was trying not to cry and so I couldn't really listen too well. Something about getting food and water from hitting a rock with a staff? And about Paul being the rock and how I am strong like a rock. Basically it's a worry stone from Amanda's office - that explanation would have been enough for me, probably. Something like this rock is exactly what I wanted. Something to keep with me, something physically FROM the church, the added symbolism was just icing. (HEY-A, if you read this, ya wanna send me via email the meaning behind the rock? I would appreciate it.)

After the service I got to say goodbye for real. I have my card... probably should have waited till I left to let her open it, but I am so easily coerced... (where's the 'like a rock' symbolism now?!)

Really, being away from such a supportive and fun environment is going to be a challenge in itself. In the spring, when I was going to Trinity, but I wasn't really involved as heavily as I am in the last month or so, I would go to church on Sunday, and by Wednesday I would start counting down to Sunday, whenI would get to go back. It was hard to go a week away, before I even knew many people. I am going to be away about the same amount of time that I have been going to Trinity.

WELL, it's going to be a long week till next 'Sunday'...

Friday, October 24, 2008

My mom and Me

Don't mess with us. We'll lay you down.

From the 'Dead Zone'

That's what I am calling my mom's house, since it doesn't have internet. I wrote this last night:

Blog for 10/23/08

What I should be doing right now: packing.

What I’ve spent the last 2 hours doing: editing photos.

A lot less productive, but so much more fun. It’s a great task to focus on… let me make things look better, without changing the reality right in front of me.

Everyone everyone is sick. My mom has a fever and is ‘physically ill’, as was my dad today, and my aunt, who lives next door, was sick yesterday and the day before. So – I made my mom chicken soup. J Aunt Dede helped (and by helped, I mean she did probably 70% of the work, especially the gross stuff, like cutting apart the chicken).

I am TERRIFIED of getting sick right now, so I am holed up in my room in the basement, far away from my ailing mother. That sounds mean, doesn’t it? Quarantining myself, when I could be keeping my mom company. It would be just awful if I got that sick tomorrow, or Saturday or, gasp! Sunday. I need the goodbye hugs on Sunday – if I were too sick to be around people, I might just….die.

Truthfully, I am dreading Sunday. It’s harder to say goodbye over and over. Right now it feels like I have already left, that I have already said goodbye, but I haven’t. I have to face everyone again, be strong and say goodbye for real… Which, I actually DO want to do, I HAVE to do it. I just know it’s going to be the hardest part. For my own sake, I better face up to the reality that I am leaving, and this will be the last I see of these people that I care so deeply about. I want to feel the emotion that goes with that and let them know how much they mean to me. This is why I purposely didn’t invite my parents to church on Sunday. I almost can’t physically cry in front of my parents. I am not sure exactly why – maybe I am too committed to convincing them that I am not their little baby, that I am a strong, independent woman. What a show.

I love my new toy – the Nikon D80. I’ve gotten to play with it a little bit at church and today making soup. He (the camera) will probably be my bestest friend in Russia. We’ll go everywhere together. Maybe you will get to see what we do together; hopefully it will be a beautiful relationship.

Ok, back to reality. Packing seems incredibly daunting right now. I just need a non sick person to come downstairs and hug me and tell me that I can do it. Not because I think I can’t-I am an amazing packer- just because it would be helpful, emotionally. Plus, I know those hugs are numbered.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Totally found my happy place. Ready to launch.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You mean... it's real?

I cannot find the excitement buried somewhere deep inside of me. I can't! I am like the 5 year old dreading her first day of Kindergarten. 'what if all the kids are mean?', 'what if I miss the bus?', 'what if I can't find my classroom?'

Remember how I said I would really crank up the denial machine? Yeah. Totally worked, and now I am waking up to the fact that I am fucking leaving everything in 5 days. The choice must be made... try to keep the denial up, or face the music and try not to freak out...

Because I know SO FREAKING little about what is going to happen, I envision a blank. I mean, I see the city of St. Petersburg (what little I have seen in pictures), but there is nobody there. There might as well be nobody there right now, cause I don't know a single soul in about a 3,000 mile radius. I am personable, I will talk to people, I can make friends. It's just terrifying to think that I have to do it all on my own. I could fall through the cracks. It's amazing that everyone believes I can do this...I need to find that faith in myself somewhere before I leave.

I have done this before - I was so convinced that I would hate Madison. I love love love Madison now.

Oh, maybe this is doable. These next three days are going to be ultra challenging for me though, because I won't have anything to do. Sit at home. No internet. No friends. Why in God's name did I agree to come home? Sigh. I have pockets to make, I guess.

Saving my tears for Sunday....

It's getting creepy

I really don't put much faith in these things, but lately my horoscope has been eerily on.

"You may be in a state of high anticipation, for the Sun's supportive sextile to intense Pluto can put your feelings on edge. You have been on a magical mystery tour, but now it's time to settle down and make crucial decisions about your path ahead. But you cannot push the process any faster than it's going, so set your frustrations aside and connect with others while you can."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

On a lighter note...

The slide show I will be presenting during worship tomorrow about our trip to Church of the Resurrection's Leadership Institute in Kansas City.

I'm pretty proud of it.

Rationalizing Fear

After my going away party and reading all of my friends' feelings about me and how proud they are of me, after listening to countless people call me gutsy, bold and strong (some people implying that I am pretty stupid), and after watching the surprised looks on people's faces when I tell them of my plans - I feel like I need to set some things straight.

First of all, I am scared shitless. That's right. You probably already knew that after reading yesterday's post, but, unless I have put you through the lovely task of calming me down during one of my many 'crazy times' (we'll call them), you don't know what's really going on. Maybe you don't want to know, but you are here for a reason, right?

There are so many reasons to be um... apprehensive about this trip, adventure, move, new job, change - whatever you want to call it. The obvious includes health, safety, missing people, challenge, all of which would happen if I moved to Detroit to teach English. Normal fears. Then there's the issue that where I am moving isn't Detroit. It's RUSSIA. So we add some distance. Also, I don't speak Russian, so we add a language barrier. For good measure, let's add in some political unrest, shall we? Good. Now we have our base. Gutsy/Ballsy, strong people can handle all of this. This is where my fears are believed to end. It's just not true.

I am a connector, an overshare -er, I thrive on intimacy with the people who are important to me. I am super sensitive and I think and think and overthink everything that happens around me. Don't think you can lie to me or subtly mock me or my friends, I can tell what you mean. I define myself BY these relationships. When it comes to loyalty or devotion or people get everything. They deserve everything.

So. Nearly everything that means something to me is going to be 4560 miles away from where I am. Part of what defines me will be half way around the world. (ok, not true, I just did some research. At 42 degrees north, the earth is 18,000 miles around) While logic and emotion clearly don't coincide often, I logically know that it is possible and probable that I will forge these bonds in St. Petersburg. And then what?

Lets say I make some great friends. YAY! Now it's August 2009 - goodbye great friends! I could never see them again, I am heartbroken. I come back to Madison. I cannot expect to find the relationships that I left will be unscathed (thanks Alanis - its a good word). Now I have some weakened relationships in WI, and some fledgling relationships spread throughout the world. Does this put me in a better place then when I left? Nobody knows.

Luckily for you all, I am in a good, stable place tonight. I can hypothesize to the positive right now. There are some good things that can come out of this (lets hope so, or those people calling me stupid are totally right). I could make some really great friends in SP (YAY) and realize that I can maintain long distance friendships and not give them so much of me. I could come home with a relationship. I could come home and realize that my friendships don't needs as much TLC and energy and work as I thought. They could be stronger than I am giving them credit for. Most profoundly, I could realize that I don't need my relationships to define me. I can define myself.

At present, I am afraid of being alone forever. The very best outcome of this adventure would be me getting over that in some way. I need to learn to live for myself and trust myself. I am not there right now, but I think this might be the hardest and scariest lesson I am about to learn.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I think this is what growing feels like.

All weird and uncomfortable, but full of hope.

Stretching possibilities and understanding.

Muscles tear, to be built again, stronger and faster.

People jump, fearful, to learn to fly.

Sometimes they are so right.

Scorpio's Horoscope today:

"Before things settle down into a more regular pattern, you may find yourself getting exhausted trying to keep up with everything. Although you are able to do what's expected, your life could feel overly complicated now. Instead of attempting to push back toward the basics, resign yourself to staying in touch with your complex life until it starts to reintegrate and simplify."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


If there was another word that didn't specifically denote God or religion I would use it. Maybe 'lucky'? The amount of love and support that has been showered on me lately is amazing. Last night I got all that I could ask for from someone who, whether they know it or not, holds the most influential position in my life right now. Absolutely invaluable travel advice, encouragement, laughter and a little bit of alcohol was exchanged.

I couldn't have imagined a more perfect way to relieve some of my fear, guilt and anxiety about this trip.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Today, I met the person who seems as though she will take my place at church. Today was her first day at Trinity. She lives a couple of blocks away and walks. She's a senior @ UW, majoring in Elementary Ed. Baptized Methodist, parents divorced, generally the same history as me.

She is coming, I am going. :( She better be nice, cause I'll be back (Hi Arnold!)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ten Ten Eight

If you were to go back and look over my past posts (who would?), you would notice that roughly 75% of them center on how boring my job is or how much I hate it. Sad, but true. That's what this post was going to be about too, because that aspect of my life hasn't changed.

Something new was added to the mix this morning. Conservative talk radio. Let's just say that boxing up milk chocolate peanut clusters is a lot more interesting with high blood pressure and adrenaline. Basically, I was tortured for a couple of hours, but I have come out a stronger woman.

During the torture, I replayed some of my favorite moments from the meeting last night... Actually made me smile and make other faces to myself - I swear if someone saw me they would have been able to tell exactly what was going on in my mind. I was having a conversation in my head, and, as crazy as that sounds, it was probably even crazier in real life. After the imaginary, mind conversation to block out the raving lunatics on the radio, I started to realize that I am EXCITED for the big move! Not scared, not dreading, not ohmygodiamgoingtodie. I am excited! This, my friends (hi McCain!), is a good thing (hi Martha!).

Have you heard? I am moving to Russia. RUSSIA. Can you think of a better time for me to splurge on a winter coat? Ok, besides Antarctica. Didn't think so. So, at the North Face store, I tried on some coats, and fell in love with one. THEN I found it on - I am a member, gimme the dividend! THEN I saw that was having a fall sale - 20% off any regular priced item! 20% doesn't sound like much. Until...until the item you want to purchase is $300. Then, $60 is a lot. Ok, enough chit chat about how much it was. I know you can't wait to see it.

So, I will admit, it isn't that much to look at. But it is WARM! And it looks better on a body than laying down like this one. AND... the fake fur comes off the hood, which is good because I don't know how I feel about it. Tell me how YOU feel about it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Goats,eggs, boobs, pillows

Last night I had a dream about:
  • Visiting a petting zoo where the goats charged and rammed me with their horns.
  • My 18yo niece dropped a big carton of eggs, the force of which actually got egg on my shirt.
  • Changing in a bathroom with no lock and a random guy catching me topless.
  • Feeling lost and scared in a middle eastern-esque styled hair salon.
I am guessing this is at least partially due to my drinking over a bottle of wine in 90 minutes while watching a couple of powerful men restrain themselves from killing each other in a small area suspiciously resembling a fighting ring surrounded by 'real Americans'.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I wanna ride, the rollercoster, baby baby...

Yesterday afternoon my mood dropped to epic lows. It wasn't just sadness, no, it was irritability, frustration, pent up anxiety, exhaustion, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed. Maybe it was the 9 hours spent in the tiny backseat of a minivan driving through America's heartland with six people. Maybe it's because I don't have as much control over my life as I once did and I can't imagine AT ALL what my life will look like tomorrow, next week or next month, say nothing about next year. Coming to terms with my decision has been harder than I thought it would be.

When I started MTTP in July, I was more ready to move than I am now. Everyone had moved away. All I did was go to class and come home or go out with MTTP people who I knew from the get go were leaving in a set amount of time, so I didn't get too attached to them. I was running down the road to my future with blinders on, giddy with the possibilities. Since then, I have reconnected with people, become severly attached to those people, places, ideas, events. Besides having a job that I dread going to and not having a guy in my life, I am doing so well. And those two downsides are the standard, the norm, so I try not to tally those in the final score anyway.

This morning was the U2 Eucharist at church. Basically that means that the service was comprised of U2 songs, a sermon and communion. It was very very good. I mean, Trinity isn't the most 'up to speed' church out there (I know that for certian now, after seeing the church in Kansas City), but we try so hard. We had a great band and vocalists and an amazing pastor today. That's what matters. Amanda spoke of when she and her husband lived in Guatamala for a year and how she got sick from the water after a couple months and when she went to the doctor, she found out she was pregnant so she couldn't take any of the medication. She tied this in to the 'one campaign' by showing us the privalige we all have. She knew that because she was a US citizen, she could leave at any time and recieve the best medical care in the world. Because she is who she is, she stuck it out and stayed to finish serving, but returned to the US to have her son, Zane. During the offeratory, Julie (choir director) sang "Yahweh", with Bill (guy who went on the roadtrip this week) accompaning on guitar and back up vocals. I lost it. I just started crying because the song was so pretty and I am generally on the verge of tears everyday now anyway. This marks the VERY first time I cried in church, during a service that wasn't for someone's death. After the service, I got great hugs from people I really love, was encouraged by people's advice and sincere well wishes for my future and I felt goooood about life. I was secure in my decision, confident that I could make it, ready to go.

Right now, I am riding out a trough in mood and confidence again. I swear it comes with the setting of the sun (and lack of communication via internet, phone or in person). Going to bed early might help, but I just distract myself until the wee hours of the morning when I have no choice but to sleep. Otherwise I get myself worked up and I make rash decisions. Those are nothing but trouble.

I have promised myself that I WILL NOT start missing people before I leave. I always do that, and then when I leave I am already over it. But! Then I wasted all that time with the people that I was already mourning, being a dumb ass and not enjoying myself. So now, I am going to put my best denial skills to work, and just plow forward with my horse blinders on. I will save the ugly cry for the strangers sharing my 18 hours of flying. At least I have goals, right?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Kansas City

A few hours ago the small group of TUMC members and staff returned from Kansas City. The leadership institute we attended there was pretty cool. Mostly it was intimidating, scary and made me feel very uneducated in the relevant subjects.

We met at church at 6am (6AM!), and it was dark and cold. 8.5 hours later, we were in KC, touring the largest church I have ever been in. That night I had a panic attack in the sanctuary - it was so large, and they turned the lights almost all the way off, so the room started flipping. Sad.

I think I gathered some relevant information for Trinity and overall I had a good time. Amanda, Bill and Tina are so great... great great people. They are crazy and fun, intelligent and inspiring. Why they want me around.... Now that's the Great Mystery.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sign of the times

Flipping through channels this morning, I come to Sesame Street..... and Tina Fey. But, unfortunately my first thought was 'Why is Sarah Palin talking to muppets?!'

Monday, September 29, 2008


@ Family's house on Sunday afternoon, fam playing cards, I am watching/eating/telling stories.

Me (to Aunt Dede/Mom/they might as well be the same person): 'I am going to see if I can go to the Obama rally in La Crosse on Wednesday.'

Aunt F: 'You want to actually SEE that black guy?!'

Me: 'Yep. And I am voting for him.'

Aunt F: 'I would never vote for him. Nobody knows nothing about him.'

Me: Sigh.

Same place, hours later, different aunt:

Aunt L: 'So you are moving to Russia, huh?'

Me: 'Yep. St. Petersburg. It's really far north, right by Finland'

Aunt L: 'So it's right above Africa then?'

Me: 'No.'

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Etsy eek!

I have been having great luck finding amazing things on lately. Great gifts and some great things for myself as well. The best thing I have found so far was at It's All About the Print on Etsy. The artist creates these really really fun pendants out of prints and scrabble tiles. I recently bought three as gifts for my two neices and my friend (who is also the choir director at church). Besides the music/bird one, I had a REALLY hard time picking these three out - I had about 30 favorites. Go and check her shop out here.

I like CAKE!

I just read a post over at 'Stephanie Says' about a mini cake you make in a coffee mug in the microwave in 3 minutes. This, of course, is horrible, but awesome. Here is link: Stephanie Says. Here is the recipe:
1 Coffee Mug
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
Small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well with a fork. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the milk and oil and continue to mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake might rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

Also, I have a big toe

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Health: commence

Recently I had a small breakdown about my life. The and weight loss. Of course, I have come to this conclusion before, many times. This time.... I am at my heaviest weight ever. EV. ER. This is not good, folks. Remember when I made weight loss one of my new years resolutions? Yeah, obviously that didn't happen. This time I am using the buddy system. This time I want to blog about my work, and often. Weight Watchers worked for me because it made me accountable for my eating and exercise. The downside was the expense, at $10 a week.

So the cheaper solution: you all. I am starting a new blog about my health and fitness, hopefully to make you all berate me about eating cheese curds and to help me through those nasty cravings.

The website is still under construction, but if you would like to follow me, come on over to Ruffage&Running!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


now: without sound!

What I've been up to lately

Cold Storage! Surrounded by thousands of dollars worth of delicious chocolate. (and yes, I used the song to spell delicious. what?)

March of the gingerbread cookies! Here they come...I have unloaded thousands of these tasty little assholes. About this many: This is ok for two reasons. 1. I am making money. This is the most important reason, by far. 2. When those assholes start to talk back, I just bike their heads off. And they are tasty.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

uh oh.

I am trying to tell myself that it is ok that I am staying in for the second night in a row. With nothing really accomplished today, I am having a hard time justifying my worth. It's hard not having friends around to cheer for you when things go well. I know, you all 'yay'ed at me in the comments and through text messages, and that's super great, but I wish there was someone here to share it with.

Absolutely no motivation today....

Friday, September 19, 2008

In case you are interested:

St. Petersburg


Yes, that's right. It requires capitalization and exciting punctuation. Are you ready? A quote from the ever longed for email:
Dear Jennifer,

Having spoken to Jim Nockels, it is my pleasure to offer you a contract with Language Link, Russia in St. Petersburg/ Petergof. In witness thereof I have attached a contract for your consideration. You will note that the Pay Grade offered is 12 or net US $1000 per month.

That's right folks! I could be living in St. Petersburg in (someundeterminedamountoftime) no time!

I have an interview with people from South Korea who (if they offer me a job) could pay me 3x that amount. So... Russia will have to wait for a response for the weekend. But ST. PETERSBURG?!! That's like my first choice of everywhere!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If you love graphs...

You will love this site:

My personal favorite!


The song that my choir is singing on Sunday is 'The King of Love My Shepard Is" and it begins with a three line solo. When we began rehearsing tonight, Julie (choir director) asked who would the solo. Well, I would like the solo, but I am not one to jump and say it. It implies too much about how I feel about my singing voice. So instead I asked if we could have everyone sing it once so that we remember how it goes. That went well, but afterwards Julie said, "Jennifer, would you like to do it?", in a voice known as 'you will do this, please'. So I said yes and now I have my first solo since senior year in High School. Pretty excited (read: Freaked Out) about it, as I know (hope) my days are numbered in the choir, the church, Madison, the US. Hope I can give a good showing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A waste of time

I cannot take naps. I cannot go to bed 'early' unless I am violently ill or I didn't sleep at all the night before. When I am tired in class (when class existed in my life) or at work, a nap sounds the the greatest pastime, something that should be done everyday, by everyone! I wake up and promise myself that I will go to bed earlier tonight, more sleep is worth it.

The only problem is that, when the time comes, it seems like such a waste of time. When you sleep, absolutely nothing gets done. You don't experience anything, you don't learn anything, nothing is accomplished. Now, I am not an overachiever or workaholic by any means, but I HATE wasting time. Even watching TV counts as doing something. Reading Dooce from beginning to end is productive somehow.

This is the main reason why I hate being hungover. Not only do you feel like crap FOR A WHOLE DAY, you can't get anything done. The whole day is wasted. Really, you might as well opt to die a day sooner, it's about the same. That would have been an accurate description of Sunday for me, if it weren't for the magical wonders of coffee. I had one cup of coffee before choir rehearsal (at 8:45) and it kept me functional (and happy and great!) until noon, exactly when I didn't need it anymore. Church was excellent - the choir sounded better than usual. I talked to Amanda afterward about Russia and Kansas City.

On Russia - Don't shy away out of fear. Any place can be dangerous.
On Kansas City - I am still welcome for the leadership institute in October.

I am very grateful that I got to talk to her about how frustrated I am with certain regions of the world and that I got her opinion on things. This was one interaction that I have had with her (or anyone practically) where I can't look back and berate myself about the stupid things I said or did. I was really on the downswing of my caffeine high, so I was too tired to be anxious about saying the wrong thing and stuttering over words and cracking jokes. I just laid it out there. It was very honest and it felt good.

Then came the hangover, full force. By the time I made it home, I was so hungry and tired and cringing with a headache that I couldn't really function anymore. I found my wallet (!) and called in Chinese food. Took miracle medicine. I felt better but was still exhausted. Got nothing else done.

Today was a wonderful day. More about that later, if you are lucky.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

To Dance?

My ex roommate just called and invited me to a dance party tonight, being thrown by one of her friends I have met a couple of times. A dance party?! That sounds like fun. Too bad I am exhausted from working and vowed that I wouldn't go out tonight because I have been really busy in the last three days, and I have to be up and leaving the house at 8:30 tomorrow morning in shape to sing.

But I probably will go because I can't logically turn down a chance to be social. You want me there?! Ok! Hopefully I avoid a scene (which I admire from afar, truly) such as this.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Meet my new best friend, Alex. He is a 12 year old Samoyed, who follows me around the apartment constantly, lays at my feet and sometimes sleeps in my room. Such a sweetie.
Like I said, he follows me constantly. The problem is, I am not that great at sitting in one place for very long, so he has to get up over and over again to follow me around. I know that it hurts him to go from lying down to standing and back again. :( He is also used to sleeping all day while mom's at work, so I am probably a very tiring friend for him. I don't think he minds though.

It's 1am....

That means that it is 8am in Poland. Please email me before I FREAK OUT!

Also - probably the best Chuck pic yet

Must share

So...Never drink Mountain Dew at 10:30. Or ALWAYS drink Mountain Dew at 10:30, I don't care. I am giddy as a goose, which might be why I was literally crying at this post, circa 2005.

I am spending HOURS reading from the beginning. I started in late spring/early summer, and I still have THREE YEARS to go. Thank God I am unemployed.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mike from Florida

Today I had the anxiety producing experience of not being able to connect to the internet anywhere in the apartment. So I fled. The fleeing was planned in advance, so I guess it doesn't count as such. Anyway. When I returned to the apartment(after spending 90 minutes at Panera Bread where I freaked out because the stupid power button on my laptop is kaput and I didn't have the remote. And yes, my laptop has a remote) it STILL wasn't working. So Roommate called Charter. Got it fixed up, but not before almost having a verbal war with the Charter lady... it was entertaining. BUT! Whilst this was happening, I accidentally put my computer on stand by. On stand by, the remote doesn't work either, so I was freaking out, thinking that I couldn't shut my computer off, so I would have to wait for the battery to die, and do you know how long that could take on STAND BY?! Then I remembered that I could take the battery out. Success! But, the internet STILL wouldn't love me long time like it should.

So I called charter back, and this is where I met my new husband, Mike from Florida. He had me doing backflips on my computer, all 'run' this and 'ipconfig' that. Sigh. I learned that I had only been to the 'good, country' parts of Florida, and that if I had gone further south, all they have are cubans, more cubans and confused white people. I asked if they had a lot of OLD people, and he responded "Yeah, those are the confused white people". We had a small spat about who has the worst drivers though, but I think it's just cause we love each other so much - it was a lover's quarrel. I still maintain that FIBs are the worst, but I could see how hoards of confused old white people in motorized vehicles would be frightening. After 22 minutes we were married AND I was back online. It was all I ever wanted, and more!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Door Company, continued.

I know you all have been waiting for the rest of the Door County story. Wait no more.

I successfully (that word has THREE instances of double consonants?!) slept in a tent, on the ground, in the wide, wide world three nights in a row. Please, hold the applause.

Being out in the woods with zero artificial entertainment, I began to revert to my childhood. By the end of the weekend, I was cracking stupid jokes, leaping around, randomly running because I wanted to... and having laughing fits about absolutely nothing with a good friend. It was like I was 12 again.

It wasn't all fun and giggles though. The first morning was a nightmare. I woke up, and my first thought was, oh, ow. Wow, ow. My back hurt and my uterus was showing signs of revolt in the near future. This condition worsened considerably throughout the morning, despite arming myself with one Midol. My uterus laughs in the face of one Midol. I did alright when I had to walk to where we are served food, at the other end of the trail. But by the time breakfast was over, I was lying on the ground on my stomach, unable to move or breathe. When Jack poked my leg with a stick I swear I nearly bit his neck and swallowed his adam's apple whole. A stern, don't fuck with me voice I said, "No. That is NOT OK.", if I remember correctly. Nikita and I had to walk back to the tents to do something. Maybe change clothes and get things we needed for the day, I can't even remember. Note that this walk back is at least half a mile. Half a mile in total agony. I know that Nikita was uncomfortable walking with me, I was visibly shaking while walking like half a mile an hour, and threatening to puke every ten steps. But she was a saint, only mentioning one time that she was glad that I wasn't going to be sea kayaking with her today. Back at the tents, I took two Advil Liquidgels (Sidenote: I love Advil Liquidgels. I love them so much, I commonly refer to them as miracle pills) and I used the 'restroom'. Standing in a small, reeking, spider filled outhouse, I decided that this was probably the worst possible thing that could happen to me. I couldn't hardly stand, I was surrounded by my worst fear, and I couldn't breathe without wanting to vomit from the smell. Then, I was angry. I mean, it was totally unnecessary that I feel that way. And these spiders? Why do they want to be in the outhouse? I hate them with the power of 10,000 burning suns (or what was that declaration of hatred, Haute?) Anyway, I survived the trek BACK to the eating area/parking lot area. While waiting for the miracle pills to take effect, writhing on the ground a while longer helped somewhat. Eventually my lower torso was numbed, and I was free to be a human again.

While I was in agony - and really throughout the weekend - I kept thinking about my old Hoofer friends and how much I missed them and wanted them to be on this trip. Andrea and Patsy, this trip would have been even more awesome had you been there. I knew Patsy would have something to tell me to make me feel better, or, she would have at least prevented Jack from poking me, that asshole. Plus, we used to really have fun together, and I could really see you guys on this trip. I was probably hallucinating, but if you would have just popped up around a corner, I wouldn't have been surprised in the least. The feeling was very strong and came quite early in the trip, so many of my memories of the weekend are a little clouded by the memory of a year ago, when we were together and my life was better because of it.

Ok, so. That was the 'bad' part of the weekend for me. The first afternoon (when I rose from the dead) was spent in Sister Bay, at a coffee shop. I had a little cup of cream of carrot soup and a San Pellingrino. The SP was NINETY FIVE CENTS. That is so freaking cheap. I even told the clerk. We pay like three times that in Madison. And it is so good. The coffee shop had the internet, hence my abbreviated update that weekend. Then I bought another San Pellingrino. Andrea (different from above Andrea) and I looked through some pottery and antique shops, then relaxed in the dining area at the park. We also went on one awesome hike, where I learned about the existence of thimbleberries and these really cool pods that explode like confetti poppers when you squeeze them.

Day two a group of us biked to Washington Island, biked across Washington Island to School House Beach and then biked back. We took the ferry obviously. I haven't honed my telekinetic powers to be able to bike on water... yet. It was fun, but when we got back, my ass bone was so sore, I couldn't hardly sit on it. Dinner was ready when we arrived, and I am not sure I have ever eaten a brat and drunk a beer so quickly in my life. I impressed/horrified the whole picnic table with three enormous belches in my 5 minutes of consumption. That made room for another brat! Bring it! I then learned how to play Kubb (pronounced 'Coob'). It's totally confusing and awesome at the same time. Then I drank three mini Mt. Dews in about 30 min and I got extremely hyper. This was about the time that Nikita and I decided it would be AWESOME if we went back to our tent and tried to take a picture for an eventual READ poster. You know the ones I am talking about. Bill Cosby, Oprah, Everymajorcelebrity. We were like middle school girls, laughing and carrying on while getting ready for bed, brushing our teeth and so forth. Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of yourself and a friend reading in the dark in a tent? HARD. We got one crotch shot, a shot up my shirt, three of just me, and so on. We finally got an acceptable picture, and I managed to turn it into a poster - like thing.

Day three we packed up and spent some time at Whitefish Sand Dunes Natural Area. We hiked around. I got to be a nature hike tour guide. The stupid pamphlet had at least two typos. We got to see another side of Lake Michigan. It was like the adventure! side (if that's even possible), with 3 foot waves, a Dangerous! riptide and a rocky shore riddled with sea caves. Around mid afternoon we packed up and rode home, with a shortish stop in Appleton for some yummmmy pizza.

All in all, it was a pretty great trip. I couldn't have asked for much more to round out the end of my Hooferdom. To really picture the above, click on my picasa web albums link on the sidebar.