Archive for the 'Random thoughts' Category

My Christmas Haul

This year we had a pretty plentiful Christmas, gifts-wise.  I helped Dad pick out a few sweaters, a pair of slippers and a few pairs of socks for Mom, as well as some super cute Mutts PJ pants for Laura.   Laura and I bought Mom a 3-in-1 Hamilton Beach slow cooker (because her old one is totally wonky, one leg is broken off and the knob will burn your fingers if you’re not careful) and an iris folding kit (it’s kind of like origami…in fact, it came with origami paper).  Got Dad a beard/hair/everything else trimmer (the exact one he picked out…he was excited) and a gift set of British Sterling (bleh…he asked for it, so I got it).  I got Laura a Bluetooth headset and some t-shirts from Charlotte Russe.  Everyone was pretty happy with the presents I got them, so that was nice.

So, what did I get?  From Mom and Dad, I got three pairs of pants from Old Navy: one pair of brown ones and two pairs of jeans.  They don’t quite fit, so I’m gonna take them back and probably get twice the jeans, if I can find some on sale.  I got a pair of driving gloves from Mom and Dad, which is nice because I never heat my car up and I end up driving with one or two fingers until the car gets warm.  Got a pair of PJ pants and a travel nail kit from Mom and Dad also.  From Laura, I got a nice makeup kit from Sephora with different shades of purple, gray, and brown eyeshadow and nine different lip glosses.  The eyeshadow blends really well and all the colors are ones I’ll definitely use.  She also got me a pair of blue plaid Levis low-top chucks.  I picked them out at Shoe Show a few weeks ago, but she said she wanted to give them to me for Christmas, so I let her cop out of buying me another present and just get the shoes for me.  My big present was a bottle of Coco Mademoiselle eau de parfum, which I picked out from Macy’s.  If I got the eau de toilette, I could have gotten a gift set, but I’ve been wearing the edp for months in a mini purse spray and I love the drydown.  Plus, I didn’t really use the Daisy lotion I got last year and I don’t see myself using shower gel all that often either.  I also got $50 from Mom and $100 from Dad.  Haven’t gone to Grandma’s yet, so I’ll update after I find out what I get.  I’m pretty sure I’m getting $50 from her, but she probably got us some other stuff too.  Every year it seems like I get the fewest presents, but it’s because mine are more expensive than everyone else’s.

I’m happy that everyone is happy, and hopefully next year will be great too.  Sometimes the presents Mom buys Dad aren’t too fantastic, but this year she got him some pretty good stuff.   He said he got everything he wanted, so that’s great.

Hope all y’all had a rootin’-tootin’ Christmas too!

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In which the last week of school does not go according to plan

My last week of school for the semester was December 12-14.  Monday was okay, although the essay portion of my Philosophy exam took me an hour and a half (mainly because I like to talk).  I really liked Philosophy, and if it’ll fit in my course schedule, I’d like to take Philosophy of Religion also.

Tuesday I had to give a special occasion speech.  I spent Monday night writing the speech, procrastinator that I am.  My topic was the commemoration of a monument in H.P. Lovecraft’s honor.  I wasn’t too awful excited to give my speech because I knew it wouldn’t be something the audience would be super interested in.  But, heck, I had enough books of his lying around that I had the material to write it.  I wrote and rewrote my note cards at least three times.  That’s the way I learn my speech: rehashing my notes several times.  So I went to bed fairly confident that I could give my speech, although I wasn’t so sure it would be interesting.

The next morning started out fine.  There was snow in the forecast, and as soon as I was about to pull out of the driveway, the truck with the black stuff went by.  Our road was actually ready ahead of time for once.

During the drive down to school, it started snowing.  It wasn’t sticking to the road, but there was a lot of it getting blown around.  I was rocking out to Pavement and things were going alright.

When I got to the hill by South Dearborn on 350, there was a Jeep facing up the hill parked on the other side of the road.  I thought it was kind of odd that they would pull across traffic to stop on a shoulder.  The people ahead of me on the road were going really slow and riding their brakes down the hill.  When I got on the brakes to keep a safe distance, my car lost traction and I started to slide to the right.  I tried to get it under control, but the car ended up making a big arc to the left.  I was going at a 45 degree angle to the road and doubted I could get the car under control, so I tried to let the car go off the road as safely as possible.

The sound a car makes when it’s sliding freely on ice makes my adrenaline rush now.  Going down the hill, it was silent except for the white noise of the tires on slick road, and it felt like someone other than me had taken over my body.  The way I was steering felt like it was a dream.  I felt calm and frightened at the same time.  As soon as I came to a stop, pointing down the hill on the opposite side of the road about ten feet away from the shoulder, it seemed that my senses came back to me.  “Speak, See, Remember” was playing on my stereo and the heater was blowing loudly.  I looked at myself in the rearview mirror and saw fear in my eyes.

Nobody was answering when I called 911.  I contacted Mom and Dad, trying to get the Aurora police department’s phone number, but the battery died right before Mom could tell me it.  (My phone says its battery is low when I’m on the phone for only two or three minutes, then it shuts off.  It comes right back on, though.)

A man stopped and called the police for me.  He waited there until they came.  When I thanked him, it was like the most genuine “thank you” I had ever said.  The police came a while later and said they’d bring a tow truck.

After the officer left, I waited for probably ten minutes, and then a housewife-looking woman with a Bluetooth headset and a pink headband came to my window.  She seemed super eager to help me, but I expected the police back any minute, so I told her help was coming.

A minute or so after she left, I realized that my battery was almost dead.  I had forgotten to turn off my headlights.  No police came after many minutes, and it was starting to get cold.  Thankfully, Dad put a coat in my car for emergencies, and I didn’t give a crap how unfashionable it was at this point.

Up until this time, I remained calm.  But when twenty minutes went by without anyone stopping and with me sitting there with a dead battery (although I had jumper cables in the trunk, thanks to Dad again), I started to worry.   Ten minutes or more went by and nobody came to help me.

A blue truck stopped, and an older man and a forty-something man in a Carhartt one-piece and an orange toboggan got out.  I explained my situation, and they thought they could pull me out.  I didn’t think that my jumper cables would reach their car, but they had one of those portable battery chargers and I was back in business in no time.  The younger man hooked my front end up to their truck.  The older man pulled me out while the younger walked alongside me as I steered back up the hill.  I was so thankful for their help, but I didn’t get a chance to say thank you because Mom and Dad called right when they were leaving.

I sat on the shoulder for a few minutes, trying to figure out why my seat belt wasn’t working properly, when a police SUV and a tow truck pulled up.  I told the cop how I got out of the hill and that I didn’t need to be towed.  He seemed kind of put off, but if it wasn’t for those two men in the truck I would have been so happy to see the police car.

I got back on the road, which by this time was slushy and ten times worse than before.  (The hill totally caught me off guard because I didn’t skid at all on the way there.  I went slow down the hill, but apparently not slow enough.)  It took me half an hour to drive from the hill to school.  Everyone was going so slow that I pretty much coasted or was on the brakes the whole time.

When I got to school, almost everyone had given their speeches.  Only three people (I think) were left, and the teacher forgot that I hadn’t even given mine yet.  I was shaking and had a knot in my throat, not because I was nervous to give my speech, but because of what had just happened.  I gave my worst speech all year and watched myself do everything wrong but felt unable to stop myself.  I didn’t expect my teacher to cut me any slack because of what happened, though.

Class was over at 1:30.  (I got there at 1:00.)  If I had had to wait for the tow truck, I would have missed class.  I decided to skip English (which didn’t start until 3:00) and just go home.  I called Dad to let him know I was coming home, and toward the end of the conversation, my phone ran out of minutes.  I went straight to CVS and bought more, in case something happened on the way home.  I had to drive between 25 and 45 mph all the way home, so it took me almost an hour to get there.  When I finally did, I realized that I had been so tense on the drive home that the muscles in my palms were aching and my shoulders were extremely tense.  I was just so glad to have made it home safely.

The next evening I had Finite Math.  I think I got an A+.  The road was a whole lot better and I was so glad to be done.

Watch out for the gypsy children in electric dresses, they’re insane. I hear they live in crematoriums and smoke your remains.

Scent of the Day: Opal by Sonoma Scent Studio

Whoo, I haven’t written a blog in a while.  It’s nothing personal…I haven’t written in my own journal since August.  Guess I should catch up a little on what’s been going on.

I started going to Ivy Tech in Lawrenceburg this fall.  It’s pretty much like high school, and except for Philosophy (which isn’t that hard; it just has lots of homework), it’s super easy.  Aside from Philosophy, I’m also in Sociology (a total review of everything Mr. Whaley taught us), Speech (which was frightening at first, but now it’s not that bad.  Plus, I take kava before I speak and I’m much more at ease), English 111 (Shoot me now!  I learned all this stuff back in 9th frickin’ grade), and Finite Math (which sounds fancy and technical, but it’s really just a review of the past few years under Mr. Westerman’s tutelage.  I’m waiting for the “finite” part to come in, because it hasn’t yet.)  My favorite part of school is that I can come in and use a computer anytime at high speed–none of that 45.2 kbps bull honky.  My Old Time Radio collection has grown immensely.  Hey, if you want to be a nerd like me and listen to radio from the ’30s to the ’50s (plus some ’70s CBS Radio Mystery Theater), head over to archive.org.

I also went to a concert with Dad in August.  We saw Bob Dylan.  He kind of disappointed.  Well, it would have been nice if he looked at the crowd once during the whole show.  I know he doesn’t play guitar live anymore…but I sure wish I could have seen classic Bob, with the guitar and the harmonica and the microphone.  My favorite parts of the show came when he pulled out the harmonica, incidentally…

And now to today.  It’s Election Day, and I sure as heck cast my ballot for Barack Obama.  There’s some things I differ from him on, but I never asked for a philosophical copy of myself.  Wonder if the youth vote and the disillusioned can paint this red state blue.  It sure would restore my faith in the phrase that “your vote counts!” if our Republican state doesn’t vote as conservatively as it has in the past.

And at times like these, I like to call on the brothers Gibb to epitomize my feeling: “Ahhhh-ah-ah-ah” (gotta keep their message intact ^_^) “we are children of the world / watching every day go by / Changes my life, changes your life / keeps us all anticipating…”  Well, maybe not epitomize.  But any time I can inject some Bee Gees into a blog, I’ll do it.

Wow, I’m such a nerd.

Oh well.

Oh, and the title of this blog comes from “You Are a Light” by Pavement.  Bought Terror Twilight a couple Sundays ago and have been listening to it a lot since.  For all Stephen Malkmus’s obstinance, I think the album turned out pretty coherent.  And I do like to listen to it in the evening when I drive home from school, during what Bobby Nastanovich calls the “terror twilight”.  The album really is evocative of that time of day.  (A lot more than Farewell Horizontal would have been, to say the least.)

Now I’m just waiting for Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition to ship.  I did that Buy Early Get Now thing, and so I’m looking forward to getting the live LP (and the poster) as well.

See you all in another three months.

Back from Tennessee!

I haven’t actually vacationed in Tennessee since the summer after first grade. I’ve been through it once between then and now, when the youth group went to Georgia last summer. So it’s been a while.

I like it. There’s lots of rivers and lakes around and plenty of sights to look at. Some people may think Indiana has pretty country, and it does on occasion. I guess I’ve just lived there too long to notice. I do love driving down 229 during the afternoon in the Jeep (it handles great on curvy roads and is a ton of fun to drive) with music blaring. In fact, the first time I felt a “natural high” was when I was riding down 229 listening to Monaco. It reminded me how enjoyable simple things like that can be.

Anyway…I can imagine there’s plenty of fun roads to drive in Tennessee as well.

We stayed in a hotel in Sweetwater, up on a hill with a nice view. While we were waiting for Mom and Grandma to check us in, the rest of us noticed that not far away was a big indoor flea market. (In fact, it claimed to be the largest flea market in Tennessee, with 800 booths.) We went a couple times, and I finally got a Swiss army knife. For a dollar! I’m kind of afraid it’s going to fall apart because it cost so little, but you get what you pay for, I guess. They also were selling tongue rings for a dollar. That’s way cheaper than the shoot!* I don’t have my tongue pierced, but I bought the rings to replace the blue and green balls I had in my ears. I met a guy at a booth selling movies who clued me in on Quentin Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder films. Thanks to him, I bought a couple films and am on my way to super-geek status. The next day, all I bought was a pretty cool Reservoir Dogs t-shirt for 8 bucks. Kinda looks like a Napoleon Dynamite shirt, though, with the drawing and writing style. It’s a picture of all the guys walking, from that iconic opening credits scene to the film, with “Let’s get rambling…” underneath it.

So we had a pretty good time on our trip. The main goal was to visit Dad’s cousin Eddie and scope out a place to possibly build a house on his property. I’m on the fence about actually moving to Tennessee, but a new, bigger house would be nice. So we got to meet and re-meet (?) lots of family. The next day, we went to Cracker Barrel and ate breakfast with more family. I don’t think I’ve been around so much family since Uncle Fred’s visitation when I was a kid. (Actually, he’s Dad’s uncle, but we call him Uncle Fred too.) The only family we have nearby right now is Grandma, and we visit Russ, Bev, and Dianna, and Tom, Karen, and Hannah usually once a year. Oh, and Jess, who’s Bev’s brother’s daughter. I don’t know how we figured out that we were related, way back when she moved to Osgood in third grade!

Laura and I got to swim once, finally, on Sunday. We’d been waiting all weekend and finally got to! I made a retard out of myself while in the pool…I didn’t take my contacts out, and when Mom came out to talk to us, I hollered for her to get them. She couldn’t understand me at all ! I repeated myself probably four times, each time louder than the last, before she finally figured out what I was trying to say. Later that night, I heard some kids in the pool talking loudly, and it was loud. I cringe to think how loud I was. Good gravy. Oh well, I guess it wasn’t too bad, because there were hardly any cars in the parking lot at the time. There was a girl spying on us who was about eleven years old, peeking around the curtains. She had nothing better to do, I guess.

On the way home, the car started running rough. We drove it probably 250 miles before finally deciding to take it to a garage. Turns out the diodes on all six spark plugs were corroded pretty badly. The mechanic was going to shut down in ten minutes, but he ended up keeping the shop open an extra ten. They only changed the three front spark plugs, so we drove home with three bad ones still installed. (Oh, I didn’t mention that the morning we left, Dad had to change the two back rotors. Every time he touched the brakes, the back right would vibrate. So he decided to go ahead and change both.) He charged us way too much: 96 bucks! Guess he’s the type to take advantage of travelers while appearing to be a good Samaritan, staying open late and all.

All the car problems we’ve had to deal with, always owning used cars, has given me a slight knowledge of cars. More than the average girl, at least. I can tell you by listening if your power steering fluid is low, and I know what a limited-slip differential is and the pros and cons of having one. (Yeah, I watch Spike’s Powerblock on Sundays after we come home from church.) I probably couldn’t stand up to the average guy on car knowledge, but, heck, at least I know some things.

Well, it’s nice to be home regardless of how pretty Tennessee was. I’ve had way too much fast food and grease and all I want is a nice lean meal for once. Some fresh fruit, for goodness sake! I’m even tired of biscuits and gravy and breakfast sausage. I wouldn’t be surprised if I gained weight. Now all I want is low-fat food and salads!

I’ve kinda absorbed some of that southern accent while we were gone. I’ve always had a little bit, mainly visible in my personal lingo, but it’s gotten a bit stronger. I suspect it’ll go away soon, though.

* The “shoot” is what we Osgood people call the NMLRA (National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association) Spring National Shoot in June and National Championship Shoot in September, down at NMLRA headquarters in Friendship, Indiana. But what a lot of us go down there for are the flea markets. There’s a large one and a smaller one, and they’re both outdoors. You see all kinds of interesting people there and lots of odd things to buy. I swear I saw a yak scalp for sale last time! It’s something interesting to do during the boring days of summer in Indiana, where you have to drive 20 miles just to get to a movie theater with more than one screen. Check out Wikipedia if you want to know more about the NMLRA shoots.

Writing, reading, and other things I have a hard time staying awake long enough to accomplish

Well, I had a delightful day of sleep yesterday, with a couple paragraphs of Good Omens interspersed between. I had to reread most of it, though, because I have a tendency to read words without registering their meaning and then forget even that much while drowsy. You’d think I would learn not to read when I’m so sleepy, but, darn it, I’ve found a book I want to read, and I’m gonna do it.

This year I remembered about NaNoWriMo before it happened (two years in a row I remembered it in December!), so I’m going to start planning. I’m gonna do it now, because when fall rolls around, I’ll be in college and I’ll probably have to write all kinds of other stuff and won’t have time for personal endeavors.

Bah. If I want to, I’ll make time. That comes back to sleep again, though. I like to sleep. I love to dream. And although sleep cuts out writing time, dreams are invaluable sources of inspiration, when they’re not just skewed interpretations of my previous day.

Plus, it would do wondrous things for my ego and my confidence to finish an entire novel. Heck, if I could clean up several drafts of it and get it published, I might just stop worrying so much about majoring in journalism. But that’s well-nigh impossible, isn’t it? Getting published, I mean. Not worrying about making the correct decision for my future job is also impossible, though.

I worry about trivial things sometimes, also.* For example, I sent a letter (in French, which I haven’t studied past oui and voulez-vous coucher avec moi) to the Serge Lutens boutique in France a month ago to request the Petit Livre des Parfums, and I was beginning to worry if it had made it. That very same day, it came in the mail. You shoulda seen the look on my face. (Unfortunately, I didn’t, personally.)

Now, I know that since the samples in the Petit Livre are solid wax, the note development isn’t nearly the same as the liquid perfume. Regardless, I would like to go on record as loving Fumerie Turque. Wowza. That’s one for the decant list, my friends.

Another scent recently made me think, this is what I’ve been looking for all along!, and restored my faith in Comme des Garcons after the bland Anbar: Ouarzazate. It has similarities to Jaisalmer, which I liked quite a bit, and just the tiniest tinge of Sequoia, as well as that certain something, the joie de vivre (lied about the French), that I expected from my very first introduction to CdG. I might actually get a large decant or even a full bottle of it. It’s that great.

When I first started getting interested in perfume, I read on occasion about Comme des Garcons 2 and how weird it was, how it smelled so odd and all that. The impression I got was that if one was to wear it, they wouldn’t care about others’ reaction to their scent. Well, I applied some, and you know what? I like it plenty. It’s very reminiscent of a little bottle of perfume I had when I was a kid; it came with a Barbie doll and had a pink sticker with a hibiscus on it. The floral aspect of CdG 2 is very, very similar to that. It’s also a cold smell, but not in the same way as Odeur 71, which was more emotionally than physically cold. (Odeur 71, incidentally, reminds me of an office skyscraper in Japan that was mysteriously empty during the day, with blue skies outside. That’s the most specific mental picture I’ve gotten with a scent yet, and it was little different from my expectations of it. Odeur 53, I didn’t like as much, but that’s for another time.) I like CdG 2 also, but I don’t think I would buy a full bottle of it. And, oddly, I have smelled plenty sumi-e ink in school as well as outside, and it actually wasn’t what came to mind at all. It’s there if I think about it, but if I tried it without knowing what the name of the scent was, I wouldn’t have thought of ink.

* Ha ha, did you like that segue?

I’m disillusioned with my past self.

I just looked up my old blog to see if it’s still floating around the web, and wow, I can’t believe how embarrassing it is. For some reason I didn’t recall just how…I don’t know…immature and contrived my blog was. I thought I sounded funny and original at the time, but the way I expressed my opinions was beyond obnoxious.

That’s enough bashing my 14-year-old self, I believe. Hopefully, if I keep up with writing, I’ll look back on this blog not as a source of embarrassment, but as a benchmark for how far I’ll have come, in terms of skill and style.

Oh, wow…I just looked up another of my blogs. This one was from age 16. What a load of self-pitying melodrama. About the only good things I posted were a few new years’ resolutions: “Pay attention to my posture”, “Get a haircut”, and “Listen to the Beatles”. It’s mildly shocking to me that, in those posts, I had some of the same interests as I do now, but my personality was so different. I think that the relative anonymity in that blog made me want to go hog wild with opinionated rants and revealing things that I shouldn’t have.

Okay, enough dwelling on my 16-year-old self’s faults.

Let’s see, what’s wrong with myself now? Har har.

There’s a few things, but I’ve wised up enough not to point them out to everyone. Most of my secrets are best left unsaid.

Except for the secret that I’m a lazy blogger. Blogging about previous blogs…that’s pretty lazy.

This time it’s for real.

I was inspired by Wil Wheaton’s blog and decided to get off my lazy behind and sign up for a blog. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t been blogging since seventh frickin’ grade, but I’m too lazy to design and code my own blog (not to mention keeping the files organized), and, besides, Blogger is slower than slow. So far, WordPress is pretty speedy for dial-up. Maybe this is just the incentive I need to actually get my post quota back up to par.

I know nobody’s gonna read this, just like all the rest, but still…I like writing, even if it’s about nothing important. And the general definition of “not important” is my forte.

So, if you didn’t notice, I’m pretty big on Lovecraft. I have been for some time now, but it’s really peaked in the past two months. And you can bet your bippy I’ll be writing about HPL a lot.

I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for short stories for a long time, and, like Lovecraft, I’ve tried turning to my dreams for inspiration. Unlike Lovecraft, however, my dreams are rarely nightmares. They’re usually pretty neutral, with high points peppered about. I think I love the high points of my dreams too much to be able to use them to create a horror story. The best parts of my dreams are intangible and indescribable, anyway.

Which reminds me…I went to sleep the other night with my mp3 player on, with a steady flow of Lovecraft radio theatre adaptations playing in my head. In the morning, I had a dream about going on an expedition to climb up a mountain. One of my companions discovered a football-sized potato with small, two-inch-long white roots at one end. He decided to eat it, since apparently we were stranded without food. I felt an inexplicable revulsion toward the tuber, and an inner narrator told me that the plant was actually the spawn of an Elder God. Lots more happened in the dream, but it ended with that guy going insane. When I faded back into consciousness, I realized that the headphones were still on my ears, and I had been listening to the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company’s production of “At the Mountains of Madness.” I guess I’d subconsciously received suggestions from the program, which I guess would explain why it’s the only Mythos-related dream I’ve had so far.

I just got a huge craving for those old checkerboard Cheetos. You know, those ones back in the day that were not as crunchy as the Crunchy Cheetos, but not as soft as the puffed ones. Their flavor was so good…and so artificial. They were reborn as the Xs and Os, and then as the green and blue Xs and Os…but since then, they discontinued that flavor. I miss it. The spiral Cheetos they have now are okay, but they don’t hold a candle to the old checkerboard ones.

“Not important”, indeed.