christmas in california
I'm too lazy to upload all my Christmas pictures to Ofoto right now. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow or Saturday.

berkeley car game
Get two points for every Toyota Prius. One point for every Honda Civic Hybrid. Subtract 10 points from your opponent if you spot a Hummer.

Number of Priuses seen: lost count
Number of Hummers: one, on its way into San Francisco from the suburbs.

Reasons why Berkeley residents own Priuses:
+ Progressives (heart) the environment
+ Government incentives to help fight smog
+ Can't maneuver SUVs around the twisty streets
+ Neighbors would egg a military-inspired Hummer

more games
Match my answer with the question posed to me during the visit with the family.

1. "So, how's the editing job?"
2. "You don't believe everything that book [Jon Stewart's America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction] says, do you?"
3. "You grew up in Kansas. Tell us, why are Midwesterners so afraid of gays? We Californians got used to gays living together a long time ago."
4. "You like Harry Potter?"
5. "You know, this is a prime opportunity to say, 'You're not in Kansas anymore,' right?"
6. "How do you like the new job?"

A. groan
B. "Are you kidding me? I camped out for tickets to the first movie."
C. "Satire has a bit of truth, you know."
D. "I design. That is, I make the magazine look pretty."
E. "That's a very easy question with a very complicated answer varying on the day."
F. "You're preaching to the proverbial choir now."

books received as gifts this holiday season:
Longitudes and Attitudes by Thomas Friedman
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
Pappy's Boys: the Rose Bowl Years* edited by Sports Illustrated's Ron Fimrite and produced by my grandfather

Plus reading rights to my mother's Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, and my sister's Citizen Girl by the authors of The Nanny Diaries.

on the floor when i arrived home:
See no. three on Tim's blog (Dec. 29).

*Which, unfortunately, does not include this year


El Cerrito, Calif. - Happy Boxing Day. Holiday greetings coming at you from the Bay Area. The whole family is off to see White Christmas in a bit. We haven't seen any of that white stuff in Arizona all winter, so we have to resort to on-stage special effects.


let the ass-kissing begin
I got my first Christmas card from a freelancer I worked with earlier this fall.


lime chops
I didn't have lunch today. Apparently I picked up the wrong live-lamb-sized bag of left-overs Friday night. When I opened the box that was to contain my lamb porterhouse, I found my boss's half-eaten lime pie.


it's not me. it's you
I wish one could turn down an offer for friendship like one can break up with a guy. When telling a suitor that you see your lives going in different directions, you're applauded for being open and honest. If I can turn a guy down, why can't I do the same with a girl?

"I'm sorry," I would tell her. "I just don't think we're right for each other. I want to find someone who will watch great movies with me and discuss politics and travel, while you want to go out to expensive clubs and discuss how few hot guys are out tonight. If I want to talk about the lack of hot guys, I can do so at home and not pay cover. I want someone who will hike Camelback Mountain with me, you enjoy using the back seat of my van to mount a guy you met two hours ago at a club. I just don't think this is going to work out."

There's a word for people who say mean things like that: bitchy. So, instead, I ignore her phone calls and appologize for having other plans. ("Sorry I can't come out with you tonight, I have to wash my hair.") My evasion was working well; I hadn't heard from her since before Halloween. But tonight she called.

Thank goodness for caller ID.
playing with the big kids now
It is 1 a.m., and I've just returned home from an office holiday dinner party. Against my better judgment, I am posting on this leaky cauldron, of sorts because I feel guilty; I have let the links bar to the right grow longer than the recent entries in the main column of this site. It is time I revisited you, dear blog readers and amused you with the goings on here in the Valley of the Sun.

Tonight we went to a nice steakhouse for dinner. "Nice" doesn't cover it, though. When I arrived, I parked a block away so as to avoid the restaurant's valet parking. When I saw the waiters in the white suit coats swirling around the tables, I was glad I had changed out of the pale blue tank top I had planned on wearing. Nearly every other woman seated around the table was wearing a sequined blouse. A waiter swooped in on me as soon as I sat down, replacing my crisp white napkin with a crisp black one, "So as not to get lint on your black slacks," he said.

Earlier in the day I had been lulled into a false sense of security that my peers at work were my kind of people. Having told us to wear comfortable clothing, our editor treated us to an afternoon out of the office, taking us to a rock wall climbing center. We spent a few hours scaling the walls, and I was at home in clothes I've also worn as pajamas. Then, we were told to meet him as Mastro's Steakhouse, "And I wouldn't wear jeans," he told us, his eyes emphasizing that a shower would be necessary.

Mastro's was the type of restaurant one goes to for (insert life-changing event here). Our table of 10 didn't have one white-jacketed waiter; we had four. There was a man whose sole duty, I determined, was to stand watch over the three tables in our area, keeping careful guard for water or wine glasses nearing the half-empty mark. Another man, who looked like he could be playing the role of a Secret Service agent with his black suit and earpiece stood at the opposite side of the table. The seafood sampler came out with dry ice "smoke" spilling over the sides of the dish, and I felt like a foreigner scrutinizing the natives around the table, mimicking their moves as I tried to figure out how to extract meat from a lobster claw without squirting lobster juice all over my boss.

When it came time to order our main course, the ring leader of the waiters got our attention saying, "Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to take this time to introduce our menu." I ordered the lamb porterhouse, and when it arrived, it announced its entry into the room, sizzling on a 400-degree platter. The food was amazing, and of course I couldn't finish it (I knew desert would be coming and I had to save room). This was not the type of restaurant where one asked for a doggy bag, though. Instead, the waiter returned with my lamb in a small box occupying a shopping bag large enough to carry a live version of my dinner. The bag read:

Scottsdale + Beverly Hills

After dinner, I followed a couple of coworkers out for drinks at Barcelona, a nearby club. This time, I parked two blocks away not because I wanted to avoid the valet parking; I seriously doubted that the bouncers would let me in the building after watching me alight from the beat-up green minivan I drive. The men in our group paid their $10, and though we women entered free of charge, I gripped the Burberry purse my grandmother bought me for my 21st birthday as if it alone could sanction my presence in the upscale club. I was afraid my plastic Target chandelier earrings would give me away, and I adjusted the £5 pashmina Pat brought me back from a London street vendor, hoping it would lend my outfit an air of global style.

I should have realized that the days of Chipotle as a high-class meal were long gone a month ago when I attended a "get together" at a coworker's house. She asked that guests bring something to eat or drink, so I brought chips - I went all out and brought two bags, actually - which seemed to slightly offend my hostess. I set my bags of chips on the table among sushi, tri-tip, mussels, candied almonds and chocolate-covered bananas and turned to the little black terrier that follows us Kansas girls, saying to myself, "Toto, I don't think we're in college anymore."


come one, come all
Wanna get in on the FHNGBCBC action? Let me know. Our first book is Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex. If you want to be part of the club, I'll extend you an invite. Or, feel free to read along and comment if you so desire.


bibliophiles, unite!
The Friendship Has No Geographic Boundaries Cyber Book Club begins! You read it there first.

blast from the past
Fellow Cyber Book Club Bloggers:

Sarah, Meh-gen and I celebrate Halloween at Kate, Myndi and Becca's last fall. Posted by Hello


some like it hot
We have heat!

What general, yet heart-felt gift should one give their new co-workers?


this isn't fargo, but...
It's friggin' freezing here in the Valley of the Sun. Last night it was colder here than in NY, Boston or Philadelphia. There was ice - ICE! - on my car this morning. Of course, none of this would be a problem if my winter clothes weren't packed away in a box on the top shelf in the garage. Or if the heater in our house worked. My dad, who grew up in cold Colorado winters, has been bundling up in his parka while indoors and I've been turning the electric blanket on high every night. Brrr.

The United Church of Christ's new ad campaign has been getting some press. Here it is.


someone else's london memories
Someone stumbled upon my blog searching for "Missouri-London Program." I decided I, too, would go stumbling around the Web looking to find another site with MLP stories. I found Max (and a whole lotta links to Pat).


we can swim any day in november
I just got out of the pool this late November evening. This must be one of the greatest perks of moving to Arizona. Pictures from last night's dinner with cousin Brooke and her husband Chris, and tonight's swim are here.


I hate the word "plethora." People only use it when they want to sound smart but aren't smart enough to come up with another word for the (also) over-used "many." Be descriptive, people! Or tell me how many.

That's all.

Gobble, gobble.


could it get any worse?
Paige Laurie paid her roommate to do Laurie's homework throughout college. This is fitting news to start the basketball season off with a bang.

"Sam Walton Arena. Norm Stewart Arena. The Zou. The Ricky Clemons Dome would be more appropriate. The arena should have never been named after a West Coast party girl. The mistake must be corrected. And Missouri's Board of Curators shouldn't have to beg the Laurie family to do the right thing."
-- KC Star
blast from the past
M-I-Z F-k-U!

With Rob, Dan and Jason (and Tony, too). Go Tigers! Posted by Hello


funny sentences in my inbox
These have been stacking up (as you can tell by the political references). Enjoy. Can you spot yourself? No? Then send me funny emails.

The republican convention makes me laugh, then cringe. I mean, Arnold Schwarzenegger? The two dumb-as-rocks daughters? How comedic can you get?

Say "jack-o'-lantern" in an Irish brogue. Doesn't it sound cute?

You're getting so grown up... [insert tears and sniffling, posing for first-day-of-school picture].

Both candidates made me queasy so I abstained from my constitutional responsibilities this year and didn't vote. I know I
know, how irresponsible of me. I guess you could say I was stuck between "Iraq and a hard place."

My dad comes this week. I love when parents come to visit - I can't wait to go to the grocery store.

Strange how a new city becomes so domesticated -- the thrill of being in London often goes to the wayside as tasks build and responsibilities draw out. It's like we're growing up, or something. Whatever. That sucks.

Only in your* dreams are we sharing underwear.

there's also sunspots in the camera, which i think are cool but others might disagree on that. (i also don't know how to fix that, so i prefer to pretend it's chic).

additive color theory forever! you rock, rock!

I wish it were modesty. I mean, let's face it, I think I'm pretty great. =)

I just got in a debate with my EP over how dumb he is. The answer: VERY DUMB and bad at math. And HE had the nerve to get an attitude.

And what a great - and one-of-a-kind - piece about traveling being a man versus a woman! It made me think of myself (not the transvestite part) because I took a gondola ride alone (and the article said women hardly ever do that)! The gondolista I had kept asking me if I was sad. WTF??

After all, Jesus told us to "render unto Caesar" which includes voting, and when we fail to do as He commanded, we are, by definition, sinning.

Were I not pro-getting some, I'd have buttons made up for Celibacy Day.

Obviously you're not an ACTUAL Catholic, because if you were, you would just give in, and THEN say the Hail Marys and Our Fathers.

This stems from my random philosophy that I rarely blog about "personal" stuff. I mean, everything is personal because it's my opinion, but it's not PERSONAL, you know? (Gmail seriously needs some italics and bolds.)

Do other people at the MOian sleep together? weird. Well, it's back to my cross cultural journalism paper and studying for political science--don't be jealous.

I won't even BEGIN with what M!ke Fuhlh@ge or Ray Murr@y have said about their pasts. Eeeeeeeeeeek

With seven charter revision questions on my own ballot, I'm looking forward to standing in line for HOURS. Maybe I'll take up knitting.

she tells me that all the sex she was telling us about was with Barton. He of course beamed. I of course tried to not vomit.

There's something about swearing in opera form that is just irresistably hilarious. It was completely innapropriate and totally blasphemous, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Be like, dude. We're in this for our pals. We don't want strangers. We're clique-ish that way.

now i've been here for a week, and most of my post-departum depression has been cured by belle & sebastian and moderate alcohol consumption. i miss ragtag and 9th street video (actually, i cried a few days ago because the video store around the corner has neither a sundance shelf NOR cute employees--i'm serious) and, strangely, vox.

im now working for KDRV ABC Channel 12 in Medford, Oregon. ive changed up my political anecdotes for crunchy granola and hikes. well not really...but i do like it, simply for the fact that its SO different from DC that everything is novel.

Ooh! Webster's New World College, Fourth Ed.

For those of you still at the MOian, an "ad," short for "advertisement," is when a business pays the newspaper for space to print promotional material. Newspapers use ads to make "revenue."

once she wrote me an email titled "i ate a vitamin" because she thought i would be proud of her.

I blame my hour trek to work, in which I stick my nose firmly inside a novel and come out oozing with inspiration.

You** are no match for my iron-clad chastity belt which will be firmly attached to my sister upon her arrival at Sky Harbor.

I'm off work -- you're only just started. Then again, I worked while you slept. Now you'll work when I sleep! Mu-ha-ha!

I demand a credit and full consulting fee, of course.

*Not me, mind you.
**Again, not me.


is there such a thing as key orange pie?
Those limes in our front yard that we used to make Key Lime Pie late this summer are turning out to be oranges that don't ripen until November. Oops.

florida, it's time to represent
If you haven't cast your vote on Rob's blog yet, get to it. You might be fashionably late, but that's ok.


who wants me to select your lottery numbers?
Yesterday I won $108 in the Big XII alumni picnic raffle. Today I won free tickets to the Phoenix premiere screening of National Treasure. I also found a penny on the ground.


blast from the past
The same to Fiscus.

She's so slick... Posted by Hello
blast from the past
In honor of Scott's new job.

Scott busts a move at Sarah Magill's wedding. Posted by Hello


coincidence? i think not
The day after Ashcroft resigned, I called my bank to check the status of my credit card approval. My new card was put in the mail this morning.


projection error
Goodbye John Ashcroft. Maybe once he's gone, Bank One will finally process my credit card application. I blame the Patriot Act for it taking more than seven weeks to approve my credit. In time, I could have received two frisbies, three t-shirts, a pair of sunglasses and a keychain from the credit card vendors outside Dominos on campus. I'm starting to wonder if the "rewards" for this special card are worth it.

I submitted to Esquire my own version of "What I've Learned." If anything looks familiar, it's because I've pulled from previous blog posts and emails:

It's easy to find someone to drink with. It's more challenging, and thus more rewarding, to find someone whose presence you enjoy after you have each been drinking.

It's hard to have a good day when you're wearing uncomfortable shoes.

If you talk like you know what you're doing and act like you know what you're doing, people will treat you like you know what you're doing. That gives you the time to figure out what the hell you're supposed to be doing.

E-mails tend to circulate. Never write anything down that you don't want falling into the wrong hands.

After eating many meals alone, I've learned to appreciate good dinner conversations.

Just about any photograph looks artsy in black and white.

I consider myself a very tolerant person; I can get along with just about everyone. Ironically, though, the people I am most intolerant of are the people I consider intolerant.

Office phone systems are more confusing than a computer network.

As stressful as the job hunt was, there was always that lining of expectancy, the opportunity for a great adventure. Now everything is defined by deadlines and the 9-5.

This having a job thing, it's kinda weird. I feel like I am constantly acting, pretending to be someone much more knowledgeable and more creative than I actually am.

The more I talk to people who speak in terms of black and white, the more convinced I am of life's shades of gray.

God is bigger than my doubts and bigger than my beliefs as well.

Moving is hard. It takes time to get used to a new place. You have to scream a little, cry a little, dream a little there and soon it becomes a place full of you.


people who have earned my respect this election season
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. She spoke at the DNC, has shown bipartisan support within state government, has made a special trip to Utah to meet with leaders of the LDS Church to gain understanding to deal with the rise in Mormon population and is currently in London working to attract British businesses and airlines to the state. (A direct flight from PHX to Heathrow would be fabulous by my standards.)

Arizona Sen. John McCain. Even though he was so highly favored to win reelection that his opponent didn't even have support from the Democratic party, McCain still agreed to debate Stuart Starky because he "was very impressed that Mr. Starky went all over the state to gather signatures...The fact that he qualified to be on the ballot, he deserves to debate me face to face." He's just a class-act. And because he made Jay Leno laugh so hard he couldn't speak on the Tonight Show a couple days after the election.

Candidate John Kerry, for knowing when to let the political process speak and not causing greater strife by drawing the process into a legal battle. My hope now resides in the fact that Kerry still has his Senate seat and that he and McCain will use their friendship to encourage their parties to work together.

NYT columnist Thomas Friedman. He puts words to my own beliefs. Everytime I read his column, I come away learning something about myself and the world. An example from today's column: "...what troubled me this past Wednesday was my feeling that this election was tipped because of an outpouring of support for George Bush by people who don't just favor different policies from me—they favor a whole different kind of America from me. We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is." (emphasis not added)

The more than 70 Boulder High School students who organized a peaceful protest (with the consent of the principal) in the school's library Thursday night because they were concerned that their views were not being listened to.

Colorado Rep. Mark Udall. He met with said students Friday morning at the end of their protest to engage them in discussion about their concerns.

Speaking of Coloradoans, Sarah. She and I can debate and discuss politics, and even though we come to different conclusions, we can leave our debates knowing that our friendship is stronger because we respect each other's beliefs.

My sister, Allison, who made the efforts to learn about the local and national issues and candidates before voting for the first time.

My parents. My mom, for her emotional response this morning in church to a hymn that reminded her that even though the election outcome did not match her beliefs, all is in God's hands. My dad, for his half-joking/half-serious suggestion that "marriages" (the religious ceremonies) should be left totally to the churches/synogues/places of worship, and that the government term for civil unions for any/all couples who wish to be so united should be changed to "partnerships." Says he: "We would be Ken and Hildie, Inc. She's the CEO and I'm the CFO."


blast from the past
*A new feature on this blog. A scanned picture from my pre-digital years will appear every week or so.

Kate, Kate, Erin and I get down during our first weeks in FARC freshman year. Posted by Hello


election reflection
Disappointed? Yes. I cried. Surprised? No. But do I understand it? I try. But I just don't understand how 52% of America can say they are dissatisfied with how things are going and still elect the same leader. I don't know how I'm going to be able to listen to that man for another four years.

post-election projections
+ Colin Powell will leave.
+ Condoleeza Rice will leave.
+ Donald Rumsfeld will be asked to leave.
+ John Ashcroft should leave but won't.
+ Karl Rove will tour the country, waving his arms about and shouting, "Hallelujah!"


i voted

political dinner party
On the table tonight:
Boston clam chowder
Salad made with Boston head lettuce, cranberries (a Massachusetts produce) and bleu (get it?) cheese
Steak, marinated in Heinz steak sauce.

Is anyone else excited about tonight's Dan Ratherisms?


the first time i voted, i voted for bush
Fortunately, my vote didn't count, as it was a "Kid Vote" activity in my third grade class. The activity, though, taught me my very first political lesson. When I came home from school, my mom asked who I'd voted for. I told her Bush, because "I didn't know how to spell the other guy's name." As a 10-year-old, I recognized the word "bush." Dukakis, however sounded foreign to me. My mom then proceeded to lecture me about the responsibilities of being an informed voter, of voting for someone because of what they believe in and stand for, not because of some superficial reason like you don't like the sound of their name. Ok, so maybe she didn't lecture me; she probably made some comment about how as an adult, I should know the issues before voting. It sure stuck with me, though. For a long time, I refused to understand politics. The issues didn't seem to affect me, and they were so far removed from my important day-to-day routine of getting my English paper written or figuring out whether Tucker liked me. Until recently, I probably would have had superficial reasons influencing my vote. I don't know if it has just been a matter of learning to understand the world and nation around me and my role in it, or if I have surrounded myself with people who care and thus spur me on to care as well, or if this election has really hit a strong chord with/against my beliefs. Whatever caused my switch from apathy to interest, though must be at work within all voters, because voter apathy seems to be gone this time around. And I think that's a good thing.

In this time of introspection.
On the eve of [the] election...
back in time for all the action

what happened to the sept. 12 mindset?
"...I remember the day. In one voice and many languages, the world said, 'Today we are all Americans'...I have an entire Rolodex of reasons why I would not vote to keep this president in office. But none of them trumps my sense of danger at being led by a man who tailors the facts to fit the mind that is indeed set."
-Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe.


this weekend i...
...went to a martini bar and tried to have fun with people I don't know.
...went to the ASU football game while depending on Dan and J-Dub to call me with updates on the Mizzou Homecoming game.
...did a lot of window shopping and found nothing I liked. Did some damage at Borders, however.
...caught up with old friends: Retka, Ben, Emili.
...watched games 1 & 2.
...cooked Sunday dinner.
...read Esquire while sitting on the grass next to a pond with the sun shining down on my back and bare arms.
...wrote some letters.
...ignored the flashing lights and dings coming from the mom-mobile's dashboard and drove on.

this week i will...
...pare down the stack of magazines next to my bed in need of being read.
...begin implementing change where it is needed at work.
...house/kid sit for my dad's boss (the dean of the school of architecture) while he hob-nobs with the ASU president and some bigwigs at a resort in Mexico.
...not post on this blog. If you want to know what's going on in my life, call or email.*
...not read your blog. If you want me to know what's going on in your life, call or email.*
...celebrate my dad's birthday. (synomous with eating cheesecake)

*I call this my blog strike. I've become too much of an obsessive blog checker. I hope by going on a blog strike, I will curb my need to check blogs multiple times a day.


the things you learn when family is visiting
Supposedly my great-great-great uncle was responsible for discovering seeds that produced cantaloupe with orange-colored flesh. Before Uncle Sammy found those seeds in Rocky Ford, Colo., aparently cataloupe was green inside and didn't taste as sweet. There are records of this discovery somewhere. The Amends: pioneer genetic engineers.


matchmaker, matchmaker...
Tonight Kate and Kate are meeting for dinner, all thanks to me. They'd better like each other.


because i'm a good person
I just made a listener contribution to our local NPR station.


My new haircut is super-short. It is also super-cute. I'm not super-sold on it yet, though.

religion and politics
In light of Fiscus's Oct. 13 blog post about the Catholic church's condemnation of Kerry voters, I found yesterday's sermon at church very interesting. The lesson was on the Genesis passage about Jacob, a.k.a. Israel, wrestling with God. Pastor Dave wove this story into politics and the role of the church during an election year. So often, faith is depicted as a cakewalk. Au contraire, he said; faith is not a black and white area, and neither is politics. He brought up the National Council of Churches' Christian Principles in an Election Year as a means to help Christians in making educated decisions on how to vote. Nowhere do the Principles endorse any specific candidate, nor do they mention any political parties. Instead, they call upon people to use their (God-given) intelligence when evaluating the candidates, rather than commanding parishoners to vote a certain way.

An overview of the principles:
+ War is contrary to the will of God...We look for political leaders who will make peace with justice a top priority and who will actively seek nonviolent solutions to conflict.
+ God calls us to live in communities shaped by peace and cooperation...We look for political leaders who will re-build our communities and bring an end to the cycles of violence and killing.
+ God created us for each other, and thus our secutity depends on the well being of our global neighbors. We look for political leaders for whom a foreign policy based on cooperation and global justice is an urgent concern.
+ ...We look for political leaders who yearn for economic justice and who will seek to reduce the growing disparity between rich and poor.
+ ...We look for political leaders who actively promote racial justice and equal opportunity for everyone.
+ ...We look for political leaders who recognize the earth's goodness, champion environmental justice, and uphold our responsibility to be stweards of god's creation.
+ ...We look for political leaders who will pursue fair immigration policies and speak out against xenophobia.
+ ...We look for political leaders who will support adequate, affordable and accessible health care for all.
+ ...We look for political leaders who seek a restorative, not retributive, approach to the criminal justive system and the individuals within it.
+ ...We look for political leaders who will advocate for equal educational opportunity and abundant funding for children's services.

the aunts are coming! the aunts are coming!
My dad's youngest sister, sisters-in-law and a cousin of his are arriving today. Our house is going to be a week-long hen party. I get the (quite comfy) couch.


hey there, boss-man
Today is Boss's Day. The note I wrote on the office card to my editor: "You're the best boss I've ever had in all my post-college jobs."
hit me
Tonight I'm going out to one of the local casinos with a girl I've met once, her friend and her friend's co-workers. We will see a show, maybe hit the slots and after a couple rounds of drinks, I will have friends.

because i miss those "i'm mike mincer and i want to be your jeweler" ads
I've been listening to BXR via their Web site live audio stream. It's great to hear Simon Rose's British accent and funny to hear them trying so hard to plug "The District." Also, when the Tigers don't play on national TV, I can catch the play-by-play. They've been starting every hour with a Bob Dylan tune in honor of his return to Columbia. It brings me back to the Dylan concert Tuttle, Kate and I went to freshman year. I bought a poster there that read: "Bob Dylan - live!" Since when is a concert not live?

I was not keen on the new U2 song until I saw the iPod commercial. Now I'm counting on my fingers in Spanish just like Bono.


Tonight I'm going to the opening night of Ballet Arizona's performance of "La Sylphide" for...you guessed it...FREE.


from the peanut gallery
Setting: eating dinner while watching tonight's debate.
BUSH: ...I pray for my daughters everyday...
MY DAD: "Please, God, don't let them embarrass me today."
BUSH: ...When I pray, my mind goes calm...
MY DAD: Because there isn't anything there to begin with. A blank mind is a calm mind.

those dirty ex-patriots
I got the following email a week or so ago from someone I know very well (no one you know, unless through one of those freakish small-world experiences). I wasn't going to post it publicly, but it really bothered me. It hurts because the comments de-value the efforts of a friend of mine to recruit American citizens living overseas to register to vote. I cherish my right to vote and the right of all Americans to play an active role in our government and for someone, someone I admire, to truly believe that another American is less-worthy to vote really angers me.

Heads up!! It is a MUST that we go out to vote and we get others out to vote! We must pray, we must do our part.......part of our freedom as Americans...........to keep our freedom as Americans! To keep the values which we hold as Biblical principals. Finally, we have a President willing to stand up for them.............are we willing to stand up for him? Or them? [...] Let us take action TODAY and each day before the election! They have record numbers of out-of-country absentee ballots...here's a question for you......do you want people not even living here in our country, nor getting news which even depicts America in a positive light much less a President who stands for something, electing our President?? I for one do not.* They have a right to vote if they are citizens but so do we and so we should! Complacency needs to be replaced with action by those willing to stand together and defend. Send an email. Drive an elderly to the polls. Let's DO something together! May God Bless and have mercy on America.

*Emphasis added


rockin' robin?
A bird up in the rafters pooped on Norah Jones's piano during last night's concert. It pooped on the beautiful grand piano four times.


today i...
...got up at 5:30.
...spilled coffee all over my desk. My workspace now smells like French vanilla.
...designed seven different versions of a cover.
...yelled at the printer when it wouldn't perform its prescribed duty...then realized I hadn't turned it on.
...solved a crossword puzzle during lunch.
...will eat at In n' Out for dinner.
...will go to the Norah Jones concert with Ally.


everyone a critic
I hearted I [heart] Huckabees. I think I was the only one in the audience. Despite the laughs and the couple of bursts of applause during the movie, every comment I heard as I left the theater was negative. "Well that sucked." "There was nothing funny about that but the bits of slapstick humor." "It was kinda like The Big Labowski but without the depth." "Maybe I'm just an old woman, but when it started out with that long slew of curse words, I was turned off immediately." Me? I'd see it again. Sure, the plot had some gaps, and I didn't really get Naomi Watts' character, overall though, your humble movie critic gives her approval. But maybe that's just because I love Dustin Hoffman's voice and Jude Law's face.

the zinger
If I were composing the questions for tomorrow night's debate, there is one that I would definitely not leave off the list. Invoking the question Reagan posed to the American public in 1980, I would ask our two presidential candidates:

Is America safer than it was four years ago? Is the world safer than it was four years ago?

One's initial reaction might be, "But hey! Four years ago was pre-Sept. 11." Sure, but Sept. 11 was very much in the works. Enough news outlets have agreed that America's "approval rating" soaring immediately after 9-11 but has sunk lower than a shit-filled sink hole since our nation - our president - led this preemptive war against Iraq. Disapproval leads to contempt, which leads to outrage, which leads to violence and further insurgency and further wars. We have angered countries who were once our allies and have ignored other areas of the world that are breeding grounds for nuclear weapons and terrorism (ahem North Korea and Iran).

If this question were posed to Kerry and Bush tomorrow, it would be a lose-lose situation for our president. If he were to answer "no," he would have to admit that his actions and policies have not made our country a safer place to live than it was in 2000. If he were to answer "yes," he would in essence negate his entire campaign of fear.

I pose the question to you, dear readers. Is America safer? You have thirty seconds.

side note
Ally comes tomorrow to spend her fall break in our new house, which she has yet to see.


land of the free
Two months of living in the Phoenix metro area and I have:
+ Attended the Phoenix Symphony, for FREE
+ Seen the Arizona Ballet, for FREE
+ Attended two First Friday art gallery openings, for FREE
+ Cheered the Diamondbacks to victory from awesome 15th row seats, for FREE

And tonight, I'm going to see a FREE screaning of I [heart] Huckabees before it hits (most) theaters. I feel guilty about missing the debate, but I'll just hurry home to catch the commentary.

I [heart] Phoenix.

Yesterday I signed up to volunteer for the Phoenix Film Festival in April.


quote of the weekend
It came during the MU football game against Colorado when Mizzou was robbed of a TD because Coffey was called for offensive pass interference (a load of crap, really):

ABC announcer: "There's a flag on the play. Well, [in all seriousness] it's either against the defense or the offense."

Slick. My take: the flag should have been against the referee for all the bad calls during the game.

just like cruising the east campus parties but with art on the walls instead of belushi posters
Erin and her roommate Jen came up from Tucson for First Friday this weekend. The city of Phoenix hosts a city-wide self-guided tour of small art gallery openings on the first Friday of every month (hence the name, First Fridays). Amature artists invite a city of strangers into their warehouses and homes where they've tacked up their photographs, paintings, sculptures and multi-media works. Most of it is tacky or crappy, but sometimes you find a gem. For example, the studio photography that was in the same gallery of porcelain sculptures of spoons-and-bowls-turned-into-testes-with-teeth. Most of the "galleries" were really houses, cleared of their occupants' furniture and adorned with pictures on the bright orange or turquoise walls. One house had photographs that were almost exclusively of people on the London Underground. You can find all sorts making the rounds. The night begins with the "cultured" crowd, sipping their wine and talking about trips to the Sedona Jazz Festival the weekend before. Parents come with their 7-year-olds in tow. Middle schoolers, happy to be out on their own on a Friday night in the city act like the brats they are, stopping traffic and giving each other wedgies. Later, the counter-culture comes out, bringing with them their brown-bagged 40s and nose piercings. There is a lot of political activity, especially by the Green Party, and street performers share their poetry/turntable skills/one-man-band acts while the crowds mill amongst them, blocking the streets. It is a fabulous way to spend a Friday night.

Pictures are here.

"i've got some extra beds at the homeless shelter..."
We hit up Mill Avenue in our jeans and flip flops after the gallery tour was winding down. I'd forgotten how gussied-up girls tend to get before going out to the bars; Erin, Jen and I were deffinitely under-dressed for the crowd we were in. We still managed to get hit on a couple of times (because we are just that hot). One (not the only, mind you) of our "prospects" was a homeless man we got to talking to. Doug asked us our names and then confided that "You can learn a lot from a person by their name." "Really?" I asked, interested to hear what his take on names would be. "Yes. For example, Doug, backwards is god, with a u." Fantastic, buddy.


attention superfans:
This lady may have out-fanned you. Looks like attending a women's basketball game in Wisconsin is not enough to get you a Vox feature.


let the games begin
Today is baby day. As in, our art director had her baby. Meaning that her six weeks of maternity leave starts today. Meaning that the entire art department is under the control of...me. Missouri, I hope you taught me well. Actually, the game will be: how many changes can I make without upsetting too many people. Here goes.

coming from the speakers
My new favorite band (don't worry, Guster, you still have my heart) is The Format, a Tempe band that is probably touring near you (yes, you) this fall. Go on iTunes now and check them out. I especially like "Tune Out" and "Wait Wait Wait."


forgive me father, for i have sinned
I ate Coldstone for dessert last night after swearing I would no longer patronize that establishment because they have taken over everywhere. My belief that corporate ice cream doesn't taste as good was confirmed once again.

3 degrees from the next president?
My mom shook Teresa Heinz-Kerry's hand yesterday after a Sun City rally where the first lady candidate was speaking.

what a slimeball
My dad registered as an Arizona voter with a man on the street when we had been in Chandler for a couple weeks. The man was not too appreciative when it became apparent that we did not agree with his conservative views. Last week, when my dad went to vote in the local primary, he learned that his vote did not count. The man had not turned in my dad's voter registeration form! To quote Stephanie from Full House: How rude!


today's sign of the apocolypse / a corroboration of the big gulp theory*
The semi-pick-up

*Proposed by Fiscus, sanctioned by yours truly.


10 things you never knew* about erica
+ I used to lock myself in the bathroom and read Nancy Drew novels.
+ At age 15 I drove an hour from Manhattan to Salina, Kan., spent a day there and drove back, by myself. My parents still don't know.
+ [Edited out]
+ In fourth grade, my friend Jennifer and I started a "Save the Earth Club." I was president. We met on a dirt mound behind my house in the middle of a construction plot.
+ In sixth grade, Jennifer and I started a newspaper/newsletter for our class. I was editor. We produced one issue: a St. Patrick's Day issue.
+ I cried when the boys taunted Dumbo at the beginning of the movie; I cried so hard my mom had to take me out of the theater. They weren't being very nice!
+ I gag even at the thought of eating refried beans or split pea soup.
+ My first elementary school crush had been a Huggies model when he was a baby.
+ My first magazine subscription was to Highlights. My most recent subscriptions include Desert Living, Boston, Texas Monthly, and National Geographic Traveler, among others.
+ I worked for an insurance agency for a summer. With that experience, you'd think I would have better understood the insurance unit in Personal and Family Finance last spring. Not so, my friends, not so.

*The author of this site cannot guarantee that this will be news to everyone.
new pictures to your right
- Climbing Camelback Mountain
- More pictures added to Arizona, including updated pics of inside the house


bonds. barry bonds.
Agent 7-double-oh.

Ha! I crack myself up.

many thanks to dan
... for figuring out the error message on my blog. Just wondering, who else in this little blog community owes thanks to Dan for fixing something on their blog?


recent events
+ Visited Erin in Tucson.
+ Had lunch with my cousin Kelsey at a fabulous Italian restaurant. Took away enough leftovers for two more lunches later in the week.
+ Was everso rudely interupted by waitress at said restaurant, telling me that "liquid was spurting out all over" from my van in the parking lot.
+ Took the mom-mobile to Pep Boys. Left Tucson 5 hours and $225 later.
+ Burned my bottom lip on some really hot coffee.
+ Played the "One word, two words, or hyphenated" game many times.
+ Relied on the editorial prowess of several of my friends to solve querries.
+ Went to a Diamondbacks game with my mother and grandfather for free, on tickets from my editor. Walked away with coupons for a free chaulpa from Taco Bell and free Big Mac and Egg McMuffins from Mickey D's.
+ Put out a magazine.

upcoming events
+ Replacing Jack's face out of pocket. The moving company refuses to cover the cost.
+ Test-driving some cars.
+ The ASU football game. (It's weird to cheer for a team you don't really care about.)
+ Write/call the friends I've been neglecting.


Today is a day when I wish I had chunky jewelery. It is a day when I walked out of the house and my mother said, "You're wearing that? And tonight, I'm going to the symphony. Yes, wearing this.


who won last season's apprentice?
No, it wasn't Bill. It's Troy who is making a name for himself.

MU 14, Troy State 24. I'm seeing a theme here.
fashion faux pshaw
I'm wearing white shoes today; it's after Labor Day.

observation, phx-style
+ Hot water comes out of both taps in any sink. If you want cold water, you'd better wake up early before the sun heats up the pipes.


they grow up so fast
My sister has started a blog.

i won't be able to walk right for weeks
I joined a gym last week. Believe me, it was a big deal. It took me three weeks to get to the point I was ready to make a commitment. I miss the Rec where I didn't feel bad for not going because I wasn't paying for it. Actually, this will be good. They set you up with a trainer once a month to help you keep track of your fitness goals (and to make sure you don't leave them). Chris, or C-Mac as he said I could call him, was one hard-ass trainer. He put me through only four exercises for legs and by the end of the half-hour, my muscles were spazing like a mother. Sheesh I'm out of shape. And now, I'm still sore; I start down the stairs and just keep on going, with no muscle control whatsoever. C-Mac was pretty cool. Turns out that he grew up with Wesley Stokes and Travon Bryant. Therefore, I am cool (and a fantastic baller, too) by association.

i think i am in love with peter o'toole, circa 1966
I watched How To Steal A Million, the old Audrey Hepburn flick, last night. It was quite enjoyable.

+Phoenix has no nightlife. The downtown was dead after 10 pm Friday. Of course, it was the holiday weekend; but I've seen the roads just as barren other weekends. Everyone goes to the suburbs after sundown.
+People call the highways and interstates "The 101" or "The 60." I don't think I ever heard anyone say they were taking The 70 from Columbia to KC/StL.
+There is a grocery store every square mile.

*a limited-time feature, brought back from the old days in England


in the news
Read up on my new employer and the travel/timeshare mag here

not going into news
I declined a job interview this week from the editor of the Bristol, Conn. Herald Courier. He wanted me for a new graphics position they're creating. What? Me? Graphics? Newspaper? Uh-uh, baby. But thanks for the thought.

go sun devils
Tonight will be my first ASU football experience.


anyone feel like offering me some free food?
I'm hungry.
let's scare away all prospective students, shall we?
I went to the MU homepage this morning and found that it had changed to a warning about terror alerts on campus. I'm sure I caught the page at a glitch in the system, but for a second there, I thought interim chancellor Deaton had freaked out.


my poor macs
My komputer karma is really bad right now. It looks like Jack probably won't be getting a flatscreen facelift after all because the broken base can be replaced without having to purchase a whole new display. That is, if the moving company ever gets on the ball and pays for it. I'm getting tired of an upside-down display, which makes iTunes Jack's only useful function.

My gorgeous, week-old G5 at work really had a melt-down this week; turns out it had an errant processor. So, I've been stuck on an old, slow iMac. Not exactly the prettiest computer to work on. At least the work is fun.

parley voo francy?
Tuesday's $1.25 flick was in French: Love Me if You Dare. I'm oh-so cultured. It got me onto a French kick again. I'm thinking of getting language tapes from the library for my hour-long commute to refresh my French education. Then I'll be swearing at the idiot drivers en Fran├žais.

the 51 is backed up and too slow
Highway driving in Phoenix is going to turn me into a vicious person. The other day I actually had the urge to flick a fellow motorist off. I resisted, but I think that's a first.

i really miss my friends
Tomorrow I'm going to a baby shower. I'm going to pretend the people there are my friends, not just co-workers.


error Something is very wrong with my computer at work right now. That multi-colored square in place of the Apple logo at start-up? Yeah, that's not supposed to be there.

ha I have a funny story to relate about a girl named Wendy. Now that I've told you it's funny, you won't find it so. So I'll just laugh and keep the story to myself.

Anyway. This girl, Wendy, works with my cousin here in Phoenix. Brooke (my cousin) wants to schedule a happy hour for the three of us to get together and she will introduce me to Wendy. I feel like I'm getting set up on a blind date.

That was not the funny Wendy story.


it's august 18. do you know where your diploma is?
Mine arrived yesterday. Now what?
oh, the humanity!
The man next to me answered his cell phone in the middle of the movie last night!

"It would be a surprise to a lot of folks to discover that there are some very faithful, regular church attendees who aren't going to vote for Bush." - How would Jesus vote?


i had an awful nightmare last night I dreamt that I got engaged. If that weren't bad enough, I couldn't remember the name of the guy I was engaged to. I spent the night trying to figure out his name so I could locate him and renege on my acceptance of his proposal. It was a very stressful dream.

"instead of giving candy to the kids this halloween, we'll pass out bible tracts" A lack of a social life means that I have been able to catch up on my movie watching. Three days, four movies:
Pieces of April
Starskey and Hutch
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - the IMAX version!
Saved! (finally)
The average price of the two movies I saw in theaters yesterday was $8. Not bad, until you realize that the IMAX film was $14, and Saved! was $2. I think I'll be visiting the "previously viewed theater" more often than the IMAX. Tuesdays, all movies are $1.25! Don't call me Tuesday evenings. You'll know where I am.

if you ever think you don't own anything, move Mom and I finally finished unpacking boxes yesterday. The last boxes were all the little knick-knacks and odds n' ends. Basically, things we never use, but can't seem to get the heart to throw away. We've accumulated a ton of coffee mugs, most of which say something to the effect of: "a teacher touches the future." The two of us have decided we're never buying any gifts for each other ever again. Instead, we're going to set up a bank account and for holidays and birthdays, we'll deposit what money we would have spent on a gift into the account, and then once we've saved up enough, we'll take a mother-daughter trip somewhere. That's so much better than a dozen mugs.


remember "the animal song"? I've heard it on the radio twice today. Other than that, PHX radio stations are pretty darned o.k. I've even got a favorite already: The Edge 103.9

and i thought i wouldn't know anyone in this here town Guess who lives here. Everyone's favorite Myke. I told my mom and she just about died with glee. He was her Summer Welcome leader and she loved him. The first few months of my freshman year, she'd start our phone conversations thus: "How are you? (my answer) And have you run into Myke? How is he doing?" My dad might have to watch out.

jumping right in I attended a MUAA local board meeting last night. I thought it was just an alum club meeting/social. Turns out I am now on the Valley of the Sun MUAA alum club board. Met Mark Mast there. (He was the one who told me that Myke was in town. So is Sam Babalo-whatever.) I had heard his name around Greek Town a couple of times; he was in FarmHouse and graduated in '02. Good to put a face with a name. I am now going to be helping him plan a GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) football watch party in a couple of weeks. I am determined to have friends outside of Ken & Hildie. Last night showed signs that my plans may be working.

for your reading pleasure; or, because I want to make this post extra-long Tomorrow begins The Job, and thus, today is the official end of my summer. So, as promised, here is this summer's edition of Funny Sentences in My Inbox*, Leaky Cauldron, of Sorts-style:

but, all in all, it's lots of fun and i'm glad i signed up for this summer of ulcer-generating unpaid labor.

but elizabeth, alicia and our new photo editor meredith are a lot of fun to work with and accepting of their art staff's screaming fits, crying jags and diva-esque, chilled-diet-coke-in-a-champagne-flute-demanding outbursts.

if i would of been in the States i would have totally come and hung out with you~ oh well...

I was just looking through your photo albums (as your tracker indicates), and I came across you with your family, and you look SO MUCH like your sister, I can't get over it! I know how annoying this is, having four of my own sister whom I look nothing alike, but you two, I was taken aback. Whoa.

Let us know how you're doing! visit us here and partake of the moist but loving embrace that is the missouri summer. or, if you landed that high-profile job in new york, send money.

Anyway, I want to apologize profusely on behalf of all of humanity for having to be in a FIG with (name censored). That is all.

it just seems I don't have free time at home, but a lot of time to spare when it's a slow day at the office (funny how that works). But of course I wouldn't CALL you on company hours! No, I'll just write you an email from my Mizzou account, which is highly discouraged at NASA (sshhhh...)

Anywho, I think I'll get some good clips here, learn a lot from the way they do things, meet some neat people and enjoy myself all the while. I know that sounds like a Hallmark Card. Man, I'm speaking like a director of Greek Life.

I don't have to work today because this evening we are going backpacking out at Fern Lake. I still can't believe I'm going to get paid while I'm sleeping. Fern Lake is where some guys were camping last year when one of them woke up with his head in a bear's mouth and they both got mauled. So I think I'll refrain from using my green apple shampoo today.

Well, it's 3 in the morning...bed calls my name. Good luck with job hunting/moving/repeated viewing of "Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban" (only in theatres.) I'm sure you'll do great with all three.

We landed in Sydney with 15 minutes to get from one gate to another. When we arrived at Christchurch and were standing in line to clear the immigration check-through, we heard our names called on the loudspeaker and instructed to report to the baggage enquiries office. When we got to the office, they said that they thought that one of the suitcases had not made it. Well they were half right. Neither bag had arrived.

No one should be denied getting a postcard commemorating cow-plop bingo.

I hope you're feeling better, and I'm sorry if my voice made you hurl. I've been told I have that effect on women.

I had the MOST HORRIBLE DREAM last night that you died! I was devestated when I woke up this morning, but I was then happy and thankful to see your email.

Love you, miss you. Don't die, please.

Interesting...for birthdays it is tradition to push the persons face into the cake and then serve the cake!

I really hope you all are having a great summer. Don't forget to drink some lemonade, float in a pool and eat sweet corn. (editor's note: I did all three yesterday)

i mean, why would anyone want to live in london, travel all over western europe, and meet tons of cool people when you could live in LARAMIE WYOMING!!! woo hoo!! there's so much to do here; like driving, talking on the phone, eating food, and even snowball fights (but only in the winter)!

Plus, since getting a gmail involves insider access at this stage, it's a bit of a geek status symbol.

They enjoyed turning up their subwoofer and inviting small armies of people into their 2 bedroom apt. My favorite part was listening to them justify it, saying things like "The BOSE subwoofer won't go any quieter!" and "Don't make me call my lawyer" to which the cop just smiled and wrote them a $150 ticket.

Talking is good. Talking is necessary. We should do that: talk.

But everything is done, and I'm now a doctoral student. A few more years and I might actually have a job that pays above the poverty line.

A new salon is opening in Chelsea, and I got a press invite to go 'n' get a free haircut. Apparently they do spa therapies like 'hair sandwiches' and 'scalp wraps.' It just makes me hungry.

Supposedly he looks a lot like I did at that age, which means he's the most adorable person in the entire universe (no conflict of interest here, I promise).

The cat (named Thunk for its initial inability to take corners very well) requires attention, the girlfriend (named Brigid) requires food, and I need to go swimming in the pool.

10:30 means bed, in Megan Is Now A Working Girl Who Must Rise In The Early Morning Hours World

its so great to hear youve found something. you didnt wait too long did ya? punk.

*trademark, Fiscus


adventures in unpacking The moving van was a day late. But as the rain came down that morning, we decided all was for the best. It hardly ever rains here. That night, we slept on newly carpeted floors in bare bedrooms. Camping indoors. It certainly beat the hotel floor on which I had been making my nest.

So far, unpacking is going well. Our home is coming out in pieces and parts, reassembling itself and making the rooms a little more comfortable. My computer monitor also came out in pieces, but not like it was supposed to. Jack the Mac's face is sitting in my dad's office belly-up, whinging: "fix me!" It's really pretty fix-able; only the stand is broken, but it gives me a reason to search for a flat screen replacement. I say that is good news.

at least they left me the important piece I had a minature nativity set in my top dresser drawer that the movers packed. Apparently Mary and Joseph have abandoned baby Jesus; they are nowhere to be found.

yum My new swimsuit looks like Neopolitain ice cream. I had Neopolitain ice cream for dessert last night. Is there a correlation? Maybe.


today, i went out and got me a job
That's right, folks, I'm really going to start pretending I'm an adult now. I even negotiated a raise and an extension of my "settling in time" until I start (though not a long time). So, Aug. 16, I begin DESIGNING for a NATIONAL GLOSSY MAGAZINE. Next Wednesday, I'll start with three half-days of work. (I need to ween myself away from vacation.) So, here's the scoop on the job:

title: Hiatus
genre: travel/timeshares & separate pubs about pools/spas
duties: designing feature and department spreads, learning about pre-press process until current art director goes on maternity leave. Then guess who's in charge...
staff size: itsy bitsy, lending to the opportunity for me to do a lot for them
duration: long enough, not forever
benefits: yup (including a company vacation; a cruise was mentioned)
pay: sheesh, you're nosey (but let's just say that the editor said he wants to make sure that I have some cash to be able to travel)



LOCATION: Chandler, Ariz.
DURATION: Until life moves me elsewhere

short-term chandler to-do list
+ Make many phone calls
+ Write many e-mails (I'm really behind, sorry to those of you on the long list)
+ Congratulate Megan & Pat
+ Discover where Tuttle has disappeared to
+ Contact editor of Desert Living
+ Learn how to clean the pool
+ Contact Mizzou alum club in Phoenix
+ Buy ASU t-shirt
+ Research DVD players for Mom
+ Finish The Feminine Mystique
+ Read last month's Details
+ Purchase Ofoto pictures from this summer
+ Compile my edition of this summer's "Funny sentences in My In-Box"

long-term phoenix to-do list
+ Buy a new car to replace the awful green minivan I've been stuck with (Ally's already taken the MU sticker off Charlie's back window. Jerk.)
+ Join some kind of rock-climbing/canoing/mountain hiking/outdoorsy club
+ Go sky-diving
+ Get a killer tan
+ Take a continuing education class at the ASU School of Design
+ Move to an apartment
+ Find a church where there aren't just grey-haired people sitting in the pews
+ Attend a Diamondbacks game & and a Mercury (WNBA) game (preferably one when Minnesota visits so as to see K-State's Nicole Ohlde play again)


because this plea deserves an entire post of its own
Continuing the political theme, I remind you Missouri residents to vote Aug. 3 (note the change in date) against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage*.

*A Tribune letter to the editor, written by one of my sources for my Cross Cultural Journalism final project, a former Methodist minister and the founder of the church's Open Door Ministry for gays, lesbians and their family and friends.
more difficulties
The leaky cauldron, of sorts must be overloaded with all you loyal readers. The site seems to be inaccessible to me for a few minutes. I know it's because the server is swamped with all you readers. Hope this post goes up.

i'm a big girl now
I turned down my first real job offer last week. I'm positive it was the right decision. The next possible job offer, though, I'm not so confident in my inclination to turn down. My gut says "it's not the right fit", my intellect says "it's health insurance and a foot in the door." I think I could be someplace better in a few months, but I also shouldn't be idle for very much longer. To my friends who have been out there for a year, how long does the first year of your job really seem to last?

also, because I'm lazy and don't feel like calling the university
I appeal again to you, my predecessors and my peers. How long is it supposed to take for our diplomas to arrive?

out to do my civic duty
I am enthralled by this year's election. In the past few days, I have devoured the recent Newsweeks, been glued to PBS's coverage of the convention (and not just to catch glimpses of Chris Heinz) and have actually read The Mercury's and the Topeka Capital Journal's political sections. This is new. I used to despise politics. But I think that in this post-Florida 2000 election, I have a greater appreciation of my own vote, and I've been able to form my own opinions on the direction I believe this country should head. I firmly believe that Bush should not be re-elected, but I also believe that I shouldn't just vote against Bush, that I should vote for the candidate whom I believe is better. So I'm doing my research. I want to make sure that, come November, if I vote Kerry, it's not just because he isn't Bush.

Also, this is Ally's first election and I feel a sense of duty to make sure that she's an informed voter, too. The other day during lunch, Kerry came on the t.v. screen and Ally said, "Who's that?" My jaw dropped. "John Kerry," I told her. "Who's he?" She asked again. And my jaw dropped even further. So, she needs a political mentor, and I've decided that it will be me. Hope is on the way.

Now that I say that, I have a confession to make. I type this the evening after I declined to vote in advance in the state primary, as my mother did today. But my argument in defense is that I do not know the candidates and am not familiar with the issues right now. Maybe tomorrow, after all the work of the move is done (the moving van pulled away this afternoon with all our belongings) and we've finished cleaning the house, I'll have time to do my research and vote. But just as sincerely as I believe that it is every person's duty to vote, I also sincerely believe that you should not vote if you are not informed. Ignorance may be bliss, but bliss can get the state into trouble when the Board of Education is debating whether or not to include evolution in the curriculum.


signs that life in PHX will be good
+ An abundance of See's candy stores
+ Unique restaurants outnumber chain restaurants
+ Three words: Chandler Fashion Mall
+ I say it again: we have a pool
+ It's a 20-minute drive from our house to the airport. In rush hour traffic. Compare that to 2h20m from Manhattan to KCI.
+ I don't sweat in Arizona. I'm drenched by the time I walk from my car to the front door in the Midwest.

sign that PHX needs me
- There seems to be only one Democratic candidate yard sign in all of the East Valley. No exaggeration. I saw one the whole week.

top pick-up line for the phoenix metro area
"May I cut your hair?" In my first two days in the Valley, I had two 20-something guys approach me at different times and tell me they were hair stylists and they would love to cut my hair. Either I really need a new style or Phoenix really is a different culture.

The movers came to pack yesterday. They're loading the van this afternoon. We spend all day Thursday cleaning. Friday we sign the house away and drive off into the sunset.

technical difficulties
According to the browser, I apparently have errors in my template. For the past three months I have tried (half-heartedly) to fix them. I'll give a cookie to whoever figures out what's up. Also, due to our computers being in boxes now, I've been using the neighbor's Internet connection. Is it just her computer, or is all the regular text smaller than the astericked (sp?) side-notes?

your reading assignment for the week:*
Democracy in the Balance. by Bill Moyers.

*Because I wish I were as cool as Fiscus.


"but it's a dry heat"
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Just posting from the Chandler Public Library because I can. More to come upon my return to Manhattan in a couple of days. Peace up.


yo mama
I had my mom take “The Culture War quiz” in this month’s Esquire. She scored 54 points, placing her in the category described thus: “You live in an ashram in Berkeley, own five “legalize pot” T-shirts, and drove your electric car to vote for Nader.” That’s about half-right. She did grow up in Berkeley and she thinks it would be “real cool” to own an electric car; but she teaches (taught?) middle school health and adorns her classroom walls with “This is your brain on drugs”-type posters and thinks Nader is a bit of a joke. I don’t think the quiz expected the same person give the following answers to questions:

Q: How do you feel about the pope saying that Sunday is for God, not sports?
A: He’s right. (-5 points)

Q: Bob Woodward’s book Plan of Action showed that…
A: Bush is a deluded, warmongering Jesus freak. (+5 points)

hello my friend
Ran into an old flame* today. There he was, ready to take my order of a single mocha at Radina’s coffee shop. Woah, that was weird. Totally out of place, since Manhattan was not the locale of our meeting. It’s time for me to get out of Kansas.

*That phrase makes me think of 36-year-old women trying to relive their twenties. I use it in jest.

gone again
Leaving for Phoenix Friday. Be back in a week.


lucky you; another post
New links to picture albums have been posted to your right:
Last night's party for my parents
The aforementioned family reunion pictures
Clinton's visit to Lawrence (these pictures are really dark, sorry)
Random assortment (think of it as a grab bag of photos)

partying with the brookses
Last night the Brooks backyard was jumpin'. More than 125 people came for the Congratulations on the New Job/Good Luck on the Move/Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary/Christmas in July Party that Ally and I threw for our parents. When we started telling people a few weeks ago that we'd be moving, almost always, the first response was, "So I guess that's the end of the Christmas Eve parties." You see, for nearly 20 years, we have hosted one hell of a party on Christmas Eve. We've joked that if we ever decided to celebrate the holiday at one of the grandparents' homes, we'd have to leave a key to the house under the doormat so the party could rage on despite our absence. People we don't see all year will suddenly turn up Christmas Eve, sometimes even if we hadn't specifially sent an invitation. It's just tradition.

So, Ally and I decided to give Manhattan one more Christmas Eve at our place. It was great fun and we had a good turn out. Almost the entire Landscape Architecture Dept. was there, and it seemed like half of the town's middle school teachers were too. Our former youth director even drove three hours from Chanute (leaving behind Fred Phelps and his protestors to picket the gay-friendly church where she is now senior pastor) and back home just for a two-hour party. It's really neat to see how much our parents have meant to people here, whether it be at the University, the middle schools, the two churches we've attended or just the community in general. And 25 years of marriage - woo-hoo!

What'll Manhattan do without us? We might have to leave behind a guest list and the grasshopper torte recipe for the Brocks (the new residents of 3336 Newbury); there might be a few people turning up at their doorstep Dec. 24.
in the family
I never have been one to complain about family reunions. That's because my family is just too cool. There's no pinching of the cheeks or wet, smudgy lipstick kisses. There's mini golf, frisbee, hiking, a volleyball tournament (which the Brooks branch always wins, this year, thanks to my crushing serves), a hilarious talent show, more intense card games than you could imagine and late nights catching up on the previous four years. Sure there are issues, every family has issues. But when it comes down to it, we're all friends just as much as we are family. There were 80+ people at the 7th quadrennial Amend Family reunion - my dad's mom and her brothers and all of their families: four generations! Just check out the pictures and see how fun we are.

around the world
It's killing me. Everyone seems to be traveling the globe, or just finished traveling, or just about to say "bon voyage" and head out into the world. My parents just returned from New Zealand; Retka has landed in Manchester (and has a new look to her blog to suit her new British adventures); my cousin Devin just returned from a 6-month trek around Europe; I'm house-sitting for the Kennedy family as my friend Erin and her family visit her sister in Australia; my friend Jennifer just returned from studying in Italy; and my friend Sarah leaves in a week to study in London. Devin and I stayed up until 1 in the morning the first night of the family reunion, sharing our Europe pictures and talking about the feeling you get when entering a foreign city for the first time, the people you meet along the way and the adventures that stick with you forever. I miss that. That night, having heard Devin's stories and relived my own experience and while thinking about Megan on her flight at that moment, I got a little teary eyed. I'm a bit jealous; jealous of Megan's future adventures and of Devin's fresh memories. It's been more than a year since I tucked my passport into my bag and set out to lose myself in a new culture.

Maybe that's why I'm so excited about the move to Arizona. Phoenix is a new climate, a new culture (I might have to teach myself some Spanish, the second language there; "Vino rojo, por favor"), a new city full of people I don't know yet. Phoenix is potential: potential adventure, potential jobs. I may not need my passport, but it'll be a trip and I need that now.

So, here's to travel; to adventure in new places and new times; to a family that embraces each other and explorations around the world. And here's the to savings account I am going to set up exclusively for treks around the globe.


you probably haven't heard this line often
I had a blast at our family reunion; the weekend wasn't long enough. More to come later when I can sit down at the computer for longer...


at least they took my advice to pack a change of clothes in their carry-on
TIMNATH, Colo. -- The parents arrived in Denver this evening. Their luggage did not. What are the odds of the airline losing their bags on the way to NZ and on the way back? But hell, they got vouchers for two flights on United. Every cloud...

"they're so british there"
"You would have loved, New Zealand," my parents told me after I picked them up. Yeah, I know that. How 'bout you take me next time? Actually, I think the airline should fork up a round-trip ticket as compensation for the lost luggage. It's only fair.

can't keep me unsatisfied
My new haircut is driving me nuts. I finally had a haircut I liked last time and now nothing will ever compare. I walked out of the salon with 5 different products in my 'do, which I find quite repulsive. If I can't run my fingers through my lovely locks without feeling the need to immediately scrub them clean, then that's just a bit too much gel.

it has a pool!
Did I mention that we now have a house in Arizona? We'll be living in Chandler, just outside of Tempe, just outside of Phoenix. That's right, I'll be living in a Friend. As Protz reacted: "Could that be any cooler?"


just because i can
TIMNATH, COLO. -- At my grandparents', about 10 minutes outside Ft. Collins. Timnath has a population of 200 and consists of a post office, an elementary school, a bar (whose liquor license the townfolk are trying to revoke) and a church. I explored the entire town on my 30-minute run* yesterday morning. Parents return from New Zealand tomorrow. Hopefully their bags make it with them; it took 3 days for the luggage to make it to New Zealand. My mom's using my suitcase and I kinda would like it back.

*Read: walk. That altitude really gets to me.


camp pictures posted
'Twas a good week. Now in between loads of laundry. Packing for family reunion. Later, yo.


you are so totally jealous of my house right now
So you're wondering who the fabulous people are who bought our house just a day after it was on the office, I know. None other than the NY Times' columnist Fr&d Br0ck*. He's going to be teaching at the K-State School of Journalism and Mass Comm. And he's still going to be writing** his NYT column. Out of my (former) home. Now who wishes they were as cool as my house? I told our neighbor from across the street who works at the KSU J-School that she needs to ferret out any contacts he might have at the NYT Magazine and pass my name along to him/them. Maybe we'll knock the price of the house down for him if he can hook me up with a job.

*The name on the mailbox goes from Brooks to Brock. Ha! The post(wo)man is going to have fun sorting out that mail.

**Confidential to Dan: He also wrote a book that might just go against everything Weagley taught us about saving for retirement...

random thought of the day
Twice-weekly, furtively typed sarcastic Dan posts are just not the same as daily, under-the-breath sarcastic Dan comments.

just a warning
I'll be gone for two weeks. Tomorrow I leave to volunteer as a camp counselor at a church camp I used to attend in high school. The next week, I leave for Colorado and a family reunion. Expected date of arrival back to this Leaky Cauldron: July 6. Feel free to carry on conversation with each other via "neighborly" comments if you so choose.


I was so tired last night that I squeezed face wash onto my toothbrush instead of toothpaste.

colour me what?
What kind of a copy center doesn't have a color copier? That's crap, if you ask me.

movies i've seen lately*
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (but we knew that already)
Bend it Like Beckham
Whale Rider
Love Actually
Shrek 2
The Princess Diaries
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Monty Python & the Holy Grail
Caddy Shack
plus seasons 1 & 3 Friends DVDs

*Some were my choice, some my sister's. Some were repeat viewings, some were new.

realization of the week
I consider myself a very tolerant person; I can get along with just about everyone. However, the people I am most intolerant of are the people I see as intolerant. Things that make me go hmmm...


a week late
I've been meaning to upload pictures of Normandy in honor of last week's D-Day remembrance ceremonies. I took these during on my tour of France (tour-de-France) the summer after eighth grade. It was weird was to stand in the craters created by the attack on the beaches of Normandy. And all those crosses (and Stars of David) in the memorial cemetary are overwhelming.

moment of silence

Has anyone seen M*ke H*ll on Sports Center yet?
from j-dub's blog
OSTW Public Service Announcement: Every year or two, throw out your old crap, otherwise it will accumulate for the rest of your life and your kids will end up spending two months sorting through it all and throwing it out after you're gone. The More You Know...

Let me corroborate that by saying that I have spent the past three weeks helping my mom clear out the house for the Big Move. Three full bags of trash came from my room alone. I don't even know how many bags came from the basement. yikes...


just kidding
If you didn't get there fast enough, you missed the pictures of my house on the realtor's Web site. That's right, the sign went up yesterday morning, we got an offer that evening and we closed this afternoon. Whew. Now comes the hard part, finding a house in the Tempe/Phoenix area.

here, there and everywhere
My parents leave tomorrow morning for New Zealand (via Ft. Collins, Colo.; Berkeley, Calif.; and Phoenix). They'll be in NZ for two weeks, one of those weeks being a conference at which my dad will be inducted as President of the Council for Educators of Landscape Architecture. I told them I'd go with and entertain my mom while my dad held up his duties as Mr. Big Man Prez, but they mentioned something about a 25th wedding anniversary/second honeymoon. I don't see what the big deal is... (wink wink.) Sheesh. What a summer it has been so far.
my house
Check it out, quick before it's off the market and off-line! Anyone want to make an offer?


grill meister erica
I am Master of the Bar-be-que this summer. Thus far, I've grilled chicken (three different ways), burgers, steaks, salmon, shrimp (in my own marinade concoction, no less!), a pork loin and pork chops. A much better record than the one I set two summers ago: lighting the hair on my forearm.

InDesign has a spell check! How fabulous is that?!


the powers that be called last night
My dad accepted an offer from Arizona State University to be the Associate Dean of Architecture and Environmental Design. For the past 22 years, he's been a professor of landscape architecture and design at K-State. He goes on contract with ASU July 1. Shizers! If I'm still jobless come the end of July/beginning of August, when we'd probably be moving, I'll go with my parents to the Tempe/Phoenix area. This is a fabulous opportunity for him; the president of the university is fairly new and according to Metro | AZ, the Phoenix city mag, he has 'freed up money to attract more academic stars and raise the university's 'intellectual energy.'" My dad, the academic star.

keeping in tune with the other soundtrack post
Each year while in college, I compiled a soundtrack. The songs were ones that marked the year; each fits one of the following criteria: describes something that happened, heard a bunch on the radio, brought up in conversation often, saw band in concert, danced to with Alpha Chi. Here are the yearly soundtracks (I've omitted any incriminating songs):

Going Away to College Blink 182
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Elton John
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" Wizard of Oz movie clip (cheesy, I know)
Country Grammar Nelly
Break Stuff Limp Bizkit
Bulletproof Radiohead
Scott's a Dork Reel Big Fish
I Belong to You Lenny Kravitz
Turn, Turn, Turn The Byrds
Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta I can't remember the artist
It's Raining Men The Weather Girls
Harry Potter movie trailer
Hogwarts School Song spoof, unknown artist
How Do I Know? Whitney Houston
Bombs Over Baghdad Outkast
Turn the Radio Up Eric Carmen
Bill, I Love You So 5th Dimension
For the Longest time Billy Joel
Who Needs Sleep? Barenaked Ladies
Mizzou Fight Song Marching Mizzou (yeah, yeah, more cheese)

New York U2
Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) Alan Jackson
Everything Lifehouse
Everywhere Michelle Branch
Storm Lifehouse
One Toke Over the Line can't remember artist
Harry Potter Song spoof, unknown artist
Little Apple Girl Ultimate Fakebook
Elevation U2, live in St. Louis
Lullaby Billy Joel
Wrapped Up In You Garth Brooks
Trying to Throw Your Arms Around the World U2
Philosophy Ben Folds
I Shot the Sheriff Bob Marley
The Sound of Silence Simon & Garfunkel
She Don't Even Know My Name Ultimate Fakebook
Maxwell's Silver Hammer The Beatles
Fred Jones, Part II Ben Folds
Cheers Theme Phish

Let's Get Loud Jennifer Lopez
Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For U2
PYT Michael Jackson
Here I Am to Worship unknown artist
The News Jack Johnson
The Rising Bruce Springsteen
Every Breath You Take can't remember the artist
Miami Counting Crows
About An Hour Ago OAR
Heavy Metal Drummer Wilco
The Game of Love Santana, featuring Michelle Branch
Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head covered by Ben Folds
In My Place Coldplay

London Calling The Clash
Hey Ma Cameron
My Stupid Mouth John Mayer
Cry Me A River Justin Timberlake
One Love Blue
Billy Jean Michael Jackson
I Think We're Alone Now Tiffany
Can't Get You Out of My Head Kylie Minogue
Like A Virgin Madonna
Dy-Na-Mi-Tee Ms. Dynamite
Work It Missy Elliot
Mundian To Bach Ke Panjabi MC
Tonight Westlife
Freak Like Me Sugababes
Blackbird, live Paul McCartney (Back in the World Tour)
Hidden Agenda Craig David
Make It Clap Busta Rhymes, feat. Spliff Starr
Master of the House Les Miserables
Heaven DJ Sammy & Yanou, feat. Do
Spirit In the Sky Gareth Gates with the Kumars

Dirrty Christina Aguilera
In My Life The Beatles
Come Downstairs and Say Hello Guster
Where is the Love Black Eyed Peas
Miss Independent Kelly Clarkson
Rock Your Body Justin Timberlake
New York, New York Frank Sinatra
Humble Me Norah Jones
Coffee Shop Girl Ozma
The Scientist Coldplay
New Deep John Mayer
Moon River Frank Sinatra
I'm Just a Lucky So-And-So Louis Armstrong
Yeah Usher, feat. Lil' Jon & Ludacris
Go Your Own Way Fleetwood Mac
You Never Give Me Your Money The Beatles


i took care of the old geezer* next door this weekend
Poor guy can't hear or see, and has lost his ability to bark. It was slightly humorous to watch him continually run into walls, a la the ferret in Along Comes Polly.

*Geezer is the neighbors' dog, quite the fitting name.


harry potter report
The third HP story is the best book in the series and I’d have to say the best movie so far. Cuaron definitely brought the film to a new level and Daniel Radcliffe finally convinced me he was Harry. My prediction: Emma Watson will be the one of the trio to really make it, post-Potter. (P.S. She has a very fantastic birthday.)

i mentioned to my mom that i’d like to try sky-diving sometime
She said only once I had plenty of health insurance, had written up my will and had enough life insurance to pay for my sister’s grief counseling. Don’t know why I shared that. Guess I just felt like sharing.

i’m a commitment-phobe
You know that conversation-starter question, “If your life were a TV show or movie, what tune would play every time you entered the room?” I’ve never been able to select a theme song. It always seemed too much of a burden to choose just one song to embody my philosophy or personality. That, and every year I latch onto a different band who I claim to be my favorite band ever. But about a week ago, Sarah posted a different approach to this question. So here it is: my life, the soundtrack to the screenplay.

Opening credits “In My Life,” The Beatles. However, Sarah already claimed this song, so I’ll settle for “That’s Life,” Frank Sinatra.

Waking up “Rise and Shine,” traditional. My dad woke me up singing this song every morning, elementary through middle school. I grew to despise it.

First date “Moon River,” Frank Sinatra. No reason in particular, other than I really love the line, “Two drifters, off to see the world. There’s such a lot of world to see. We’re after the same rainbow’s end…” (notice the reference at the top of this blog…)

Love scene “Hand’s Down,” Dashboard Confessional. Ibid. “My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me. So won’t you kill me? So I die happy.” Now that I type that out, it seems quite morbid. Really, there’s no need to run to the suicide hotline.

Fight scene “Break Stuff,” Limp Bizkit. Back when I danced for Alpha Chi, we did a dance to this song, choreographed to look like a battle. I want to throw stuff against the wall and yell obscenities when I listen to this song.

Breaking up “Shot Through the Heart,” Bon Jovi. “…and you’re to blame. You give love a bad name.” Nothing’s ever my fault, really.

Life's OK “Mr. Blue Sky,” ELO. I don’t see how anyone cannot bob their head and smile while listening to this song.

Driving “Yellow Submarine,” The Beatles & “Why Georgia,” John Mayer. I’m cheating; I couldn’t pick just one. But really, they’re totally different driving songs. When on family road trips, we would sing “Yellow Submarine,” but change the chorus to, “We all live in a green minivan, green minivan, green minivan,” because it sure felt like we were living in the van on our summer treks across the western half of the continent to California. “Why Georgia” kicked off every one of my trips home sophomore and junior year.

Deep thought “The Scientist,” Coldplay & “New Deep,” John Mayer. Cheating. Again. That’s because both have lines that really seem to echo lines that run in my own thoughts and embody how I’ve changed since before college. “The Scientist”: “I was just guessing at numbers and figures. Pulling the puzzles apart. Questions of science, science and progress do not speak as loud as my heart.” “New Deep”: “Ever since I tried trying not to find every little meaning in my life, it’s been fine, I’ve been cool with my new golden rule.”

Flashback “Come Downstairs and Say Hello,” Guster. If I’ve ever had a theme song for a period of time, this would have been one for the past nine months. Check out the lyrics: “Dorothy moves to click her ruby shoes right in tune to Dark Side of the Moon. Someone, someone could tell me where I belong. Be calm, be brave, it’ll be ok. No more messing around, living underground, or new year’s resolutions. By this time next year, I won’t be here…I look straight at what’s coming ahead and soon it’s gonna change in a new direction.”

Partying “Dirrty,” Christina Aguilera. One of what Sarah would call my guilty pleasure songs. I love it.

Happy Dance “Mundian To Bach Ke,” Panjabi MC. A London favorite. I have no clue what the words are saying, so it means I can really loose myself in the beat.

A long night alone “Mad World,” Gary Jules. I like it and it just fits.

Death scene “Table for Two,” Caedmon’s Call. This song doesn’t really fit here, but it fits less everywhere else, and it had to be included. I guess it kinda fits, if this scene were to be more of a reflection of life. Kinda. Maybe “Last Goodbye” by Jeff Buckley would be better suited.

Closing credits “Every Picture Tells a Story,” Rod Stewart. It captures so much.