Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pre-trip FEAST.

This morning I woke up feeling very confused and a little worried.
I didn't remember bringing my dirty laundry to my parents' house like my mom told me to.
I didn't remember clearing the perishable food out of my fridge, or packing my external harddrive or Alex's ring he left here... I didn't remember putting my passport somewhere safe.. in fact I didn't even remember checking my big suitcase at the airport.
I was having a mild panic attack before I realized I was still in a sleeping bag in my parent's camper and I didn't remember doing any of that stuff because it hadn't happened yet.

I think that would be what is called pre-flight jitters. xD

I got up a few minutes later and sat in a lawn chair in the sun with my dad and a family friend, Mark. Eventually everyone got up, and around 9:30 in the morning I decided I wanted hot dogs for breakfast. I don't care who's asking, I love hot dogs. I didn't cook them in a campfire though; kind of wish I had.

I left to drive home a bit later, and while I was cruising down the highway, I got a little emotional. I am so very, very excited to go to London tomorrow, but going 60 mph with the window down and my hair whipping in the breeze, listening to the Format and watching the fields and cows go by, I was a little disappointed that the Fiesta Movement overlaps with my study abroad. It's just unfortunate planning and no one's fault (I got accepted to study abroad before I won the car) but today I had one of those little alternate reality moments where I pictured the next two months just driving all around the USA with my free gas and my music blasting. Who GETS opportunities like this?

It's like when you spend every weekend at home watching movies, and suddenly 17 of your friends all decide to have parties on the same Friday night and you just don't know what to do because there is too MUCH fun stuff happening. Who has to decide between a summer in London or a summer of absolutely free roadtrips?

I get the car through October I think, so I'll get another month when I am home from London, but school will have started by then so it's just not the same. I've grown rather fond of my little magenta Fiesta. I am going to miss it while I'm gone, and I'm not just saying that because I get 8 points for mentioning the car in a blog post. I really will.

So anyway, I know I am going to have a blast. I know I am probably going to love it there. I know the two months will go by so quickly that I'll wish I had 4 months. 6 months. A year.
But I have always been a really sentimental person who hates leaving things behind. Today I am leaving behind my room, my house, my home, my potentially awesome summer.
Tomorrow I fly toward a new summer, and what will hopefully someday feel like a second home.

To prepare, I bought all of Tom Felton's music that I didn't already have, and downloaded the last two episodes of Heroes, season 3 that I haven't watched yet. I also brought White Teeth to try and finish on the plane, but if I get bored of that (likely) I have Extras by Scott Westerfeld.

Here is what is left in my fridge:
2 frozen waffles
half a tub of cinnamon bun ice cream
1/3 a tub of cottage cheese
1 block of smoked swiss cheese
3 bagels
half a tub of cream cheese
1 container of yogurt
sliced ham
frozen meatballs
6 poptarts (I just did a video for them)

I'm about to go have a feast.

Last weekend at home.

Today I was driving in my car, and I got a phone call from my housemate Ben.
"Hello?" I said, half-shouting to make sure my voice was picked up over my fiesta's bluetooth system.
"Hey Kristina, it's Ben. Do you like Chinchillas?"
"Do I... what?"

What kind of question is that??

So I suppose when I return from London at the end of September, I'll have a new furry little housemate to adjust to. Alright.

I had one of those days today where I felt like I was constantly keeping a mental list of things I wanted to blog about later, but now that I am sitting here, on the fold-down table bed in my parent's campground at a family friend's private beach, the Chinchilla story is the only one I can remember.

This morning I took my fiesta over the the Ford dealership to get my oil changed and my tires rotated.. when I was there, the guy at the desk said "Go check out the other fiestamovement car we've got here... not in quite as good of shape as yours."
I walked out back and sure enough, there was a silver fiesta with the black and white arrows decals, passenger side doors bashed in. Yikes.
I don't remember who had the silver car, but man, that sucks.

The whole process took about an hour so in the mean time, my brother Nick and I walked around the part of Kirkland that the Ford dealership resides in. To make this a clear visual... we were near more car dealerships (Infiniti rings a bell), and a mexican themed bar, and a bead shop... sigh.

Finally we found a neat little thrift shop, where I bought a pretty ring for $4, a cool looking book called "Melonhead" (I think it's probably a middlegrade book, but since that's the level of book I am writing, I need to do my research) ....and I have just realized I can't write about the other anecdote from that particular part of my day because it includes something I bought for Alex as a gift, and I know he reads my blog so I don't want to ruin it. xD

Then my brother and I drove an hour and a half up to where my parents were already camping with their friends, and we did the iPod trade-off (when we ride in cars together, we switch off who gets to play music from their iPod through my Aux input, because we argue otherwise).

He thinks my music is "boring" and I just don't think Death Metal is music. When we get bored of switching, we just play Muse, because it's the only band we both agree is awesome. And the Beatles. We listened to the Beatles for awhile.

I can't believe I am curled up in a sleeping bag instead of savoring my last nights in America in my own bed, but such is my annoyingly busy life. I suppose it's more fun that way. I can't wait to leave on Monday. I have one more afternoon of packing, and then it's time to goooo. :D

Days until I leave for London: 1 <- !!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I love peanut butter?

There are probably a lot of things from today that I could blog about; usually I catalogue 3-4 interesting ideas or thoughts or things I saw or experienced to make a cohesive blog, but I am so exhausted right now that I have only one thing to share. It's like, because I am going out of the country (for a VLT) everyone is suddenly like "OMG LAST CHANCE TO GRAB KRISTINA.. HEY KRISTINA, BEFORE YOU LEAVE CAN YOU QUICKLY DO THIS ONE THING FOR ME/ANSWER THESE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS/FILM A VIDEO FOR MY SISTER'S BIRTHDAY/GO OUT TO LUNCH WITH ME/WATCH THIS MOVIE/DO A HANDSTAND???"



(I actually can't do a handstand, even when I do have free time.)

I work all day tomorrow, am stopping to pick up some things I need from the store before work, meeting my mom for lunch and running errands during my lunch break, seeing a movie with my brother after work, getting up early on Saturday to get my tires rotated and oil changed on my Fiesta, meeting the Fam out at this campground to see the extendeds and say bye to everyone, spending the night, coming home, finishing packing, spending time with Eia, spening one more evening with my family, GETTING ON A PLANE.
I have no more time to do other people's crap.

Anyway. My one-topic blog post is already turning into a convoluted rant session, so here is my story.

As I'm sure you know, I hate peanut butter. I was about to say loathe, but loathe is the kind of word I save for grape flavored candy and seafood, so I'll stick with hating peanut butter.

Last night, I dreamt that I was sitting in a park by myself, eating a huge tub of crunchy peanut butter, hayleyghoover style. I remember feeling disgusted as I brought the spoon to my mouth, but then, as the peanut buttery.. stuff.. was oozing around my mouth, in the dream it tasted something like an oreo blizzard from Dairy Queen and I remember thinking "Oh my god, peanut butter is amazing." I then proceeded to finish off the entire tub of PB, and then had a midlife crisis, mid-dream, where I realized I COULD NEVER TELL ANYONE that I now loved peanut butter. I went to my room and found multiple places I could hide it so no one would ever have to know my secret. My life was changed. Then I woke up.

Now, I know for certain that peanut butter does not in fact taste like an oreo blizzard. The idea of putting it in my mouth still makes me want to hurl. I am not cured.

But I figured it was a dream worth remembering. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

98% excited.

I know I'm not the first person to travel out of the country for 2 months and I am certainly not the last, but I am starting to get that sort of pre-trip panic where I am realizing that I am leaving behind everything about my life that is familiar and comfortable aside from what fits in my suitcase for what I consider to be a VERY LONG TIME. I suppose I am taking the Internet with me, which is a big help, but I am leaving behind ice water and waffles and my queen sized bed and mexican food and my family and american currency and farenheit and my Ford fiesta and using my cell phone and chipotle and most of my posessions.

I have never been away from home for a VLT. I spent 2 weeks with Lauren and Lena last May when I hopped on their Accio Bodyguard tour, but 2 weeks is nothing. 2 months I am a little nervous about. I have been flailing all around my bedroom making sure I have the right cables and converters and adapters and paperwork; the clothes I'll want to wear for two months, the shoes to match those clothes, and something that can act as an alarm clock for me so I don't miss my 10 AM classes.

I have also been scrambling to eat all the parishable food in my house, and I can assure you that makes for some very interesting meals as I run out of essential things like bread and milk and butter but still have weird stuff like pepperoni, cottage cheese, yogurt and popsicles left. All of this stuff needs to be gone because it will either get moldy, or get eaten by my housemates, as I will not be in this house again for a VLT.

I'm mostly excited. In fact, I am 98% excited.
That last two percent makes up the part of my brain that's jittery and nervous.

I'm going to try to read some more of my study abroad required reading (there is NOTHING I hate more than being assigned books to read. It's taking something I generally like doing and making it a chore. Even if I enjoy the book, it still sucks all the fun out of it) while I take a cold bath (it's still SO HOT in this house) before I meet up with Kayley and Denis to complete and film a particularly strange and fun Fiesta mission. Technically it's the one for next month, but I need to film it while I am still here with my car.

Has anyone else read "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith? That's the book I am working on.

In other news, today I had to ask Alex on skype video chat which of my apple computer adapters was the UK one, JUST TO BE SURE. I'm taking the Continental Europe one as well for when I go to Italy (and possibly Paris) but the European one looks JUST like the Korean one so I had to bring BOTH of those because I really couldn't tell them apart.

Just to give an update, I posted my Shoe video which was my 3rd fiesta mission, and I took the advice of a few of you (thanks Dave and Lacey!) and tried my very first stop motion video. I did it myself with a stupid digital camera and a wobbly tripod, and I really thought it was going to be horrible because I did it all by myself and afterwards thought I'd only taken about 50 pictures or so... but when I uploaded the pictures to my computer, there 193! I was super impressed with myself, haha. I was tired and hot and sweaty after, so if there is one thing I learned from this whole experience, it's to never make a stop motion video by yourself. xD

Days until I leave for London: 4

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thank you and burnt kneecaps.

I was going to pull a Hayleyghoover and thank each and every one of the nice, thoughtful, and wonderful people who commented on my last blog post. However, literally everyone said something reassuring and helpful, so I think I am just going to cast a blanket "thank you" over everyone who reads and comments on my blog.

One thing that occurred to me while I was reading your comments was that, in dwelling on a few mean comments or hateful people, I was almost, in a sense, taking for granted how many of you are amazing. There are a ton of you who comment saying encouraging, witty, helpful, sweet things all the time, and a few usernames I recognize commenting nearly every time... You guys are the best. I feel like I have my own little army over here on my blog of people who just seriously are a little bit better than the rest of the people on the Internet, so thank you. Thank you for making haters completely irrelevent.

So instead, I am going to talk about water skiing!

Today, instead of doing the long list of errands and chores I have to do before leaving for London, I went out on my family's boat for the afternoon. It was 87 degrees today and beautiful out on the water, and I am so glad I decided to go because I had a blast.

Usually I just go innertubing because I am not much of an "extreme sports" type girl, but today my dad brought the waterskis, something I have never tried and have always been terrified of.

My brother went first, and did pretty well. He did spend an entire weekend wakeboarding with our cousin Josh a few weeks ago when we were in North Dakota though, so he had a little knowledge of what he was doing. My dad went next, and it was a really odd sight for some reason. You always picture your father as the man of the house, the one who goes to work, unclogs the toilet when it gets plugged up, sits on the couch and commands the remote - seeing him being pulled behind the boat on skis in a life jacket with a big goofy grin is just not a sight I am used to. He was surprisingly good though! He used to waterski a lot back when he was my age.

My mom just had nasal surgery and couldn't go, so it was left to me.

My dad was like, "Wanna go, T?"


"Come ON. Just try it."

"What if I fall? What if I panic?"

"Just keep your knees up by your chest and your feet together. Come on, let's fit these to your feet."

The next thing I knew I was neck high in freezing water with skis strapped to my feet, armed only with "knees up, skis together", and before I knew it, I was freaking WATERSKIING.

For about ten seconds. xD
But hey! My dad AND brother were super impressed. They told me no one actually gets to standing on their first try.

I had all sorts of water up my nose and I was hacking and coughing lake water out of my lungs, but I tried three more times, never staying up any longer than my first try.

Finally, arms sore, nose and lungs aching (though I did get better at plugging my nose as soon as I knew I was going to fall), I gave up. I'll try again next time. The biggest accomplishment for me was 1. Jumping in the freezing lake water (I'm a cold water wimp) and 2. realizing that waterskiing is not in fact as scary as I thought but actually kind of fun.

In other news, I slathered on the sunscreen but still managed to get burnt kneecaps. Just my kneecaps. That's weird.

Days until I leave for London: 5

Internet Celebrity

Just some food for thought:

I recently found a video by a youtube user called LadyEvar who is talking about the idea of the YouTube Celebrity, and uses Liam, Min, Charlie, myself and Alex as examples.

She brings up a particular situation from my SkyMall Fiesta video where someone left a comment telling me that since I am slightly taller than Alex, we look strange together and our relationship is wrong. I got a bit defensive telling them that my personal life and relationship is my own business and I don't need people on the Internet deciding whether Alex and I look good together. He told me that since I put up videos, I therefore have to deal with criticism. I told him that by all means I welcome criticism of my video, of the fiesta movement, of that particular video, but not of my relationship because it's irrelevant.

Until I post a video called, "What do you think of Alex and I together?" I don't want to hear a damn thing from anyone about whether or not Alex and I should be dating. We should be, is the final word, because we're choosing to be.

LadyEvar's video was about whether or not people have the right to judge "YouTube Celebrities" because we put ourselves out there. We make videos about our lives for people to watch, and then in return, everyone who watches feels like they get to have a say in what they think of our lives. But if I make a video about what I thought of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, do people have a right to comment on how my arm jiggles a tiny bit when I move it? No. I don't think so.

As I said in an e-mail to another user, the one who brought LadyEvar's video to my attention, I never set out to be become well known on YouTube. I never ASKED to have 22,000 subscribers. I didn't go out and MAKE people watch my videos; I never changed what I did to attract people to my channel. I may be friends with people like mememolly and Hank and John Green, but these friendships happened naturally. I didn't start dating Alex to gain subscribers. I didn't start fievawesomegirls as a ploy to get famous. I was just lucky. These things just happened.

And while I do ENJOY having a large audience, I would still be making videos even if I only had 10 subsribers. Honestly.

I started as a girl with a handful of subscribers who were mostly my friends, and now more people watch my videos, sure, but I am no different as a person. I may have gotten better at editing, I may talk faster, but I am still the same girl who started on YouTube two years ago talking about Harry Potter.

I am not a celebrity. I am not conditioned to deal with that kind of scrutiny.
I have a normal day to day life free of paparazzi and then I am expected to go online and deal with that kind of hyper-critical response from complete strangers. Regardless of how I am viewed, it's all VERY new to me.

Someone may look at my channel and see that I have thousands of subscribers and assume I am used to being well-known. To tell the truth, that's just a number. Making videos doesn't feel any different on my end, no matter how many people watch. In general only a few hundred people comment, so it already feels smaller.

If someone has 15 subscribers, makes an excellent video, gets featured and overnight they gain 20,000 subscribers, are they expected to, overnight, learn how to deal with the public viewing them as a celebrity? No. So why should it be any different when it happens over a year? 2 years?

I don't have a solution, or even a "so what?" to end on with this. I just want people to understand that to me, it doesn't feel like I am talking to 22,000 people. I don't get stopped in the streets. I still have homework, and chores, and struggle to pay rent sometimes. I walk into my University and nobody knows who I am.
I still make videos in my bedroom. It's not like I suddenly have a studio audience, a manager, a flashy camera crew, and autograph signing as I enter and exit my house.

My subscriber number has changed, but I haven't. I know what's happening on my side of the screen, but yours? I have no way of knowing. It's completely out of my hands. It's like people are saying once I reach a certain number of subscribers, I should not only accept but welcome people judging every aspect of my life because I did this to myself, becoming "famous" on YouTube. I don't want to stop making videos, but at the same time, my continuing to make videos isn't an open invitation for every judgemental person on the Internet to come and tell when when I should lose weight, who I should date, what I should talk about and when I should let go of Harry Potter and grow up.

What do you think?

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm on a boat.

Yesterday I was going to do my laundry and start packing for England, but then my dad called me around 10 and said, "Do you want to go sailing?!" so that's what I did.

I'd never been on a sailboat before, so I was very excited. My parents have a regular boat, the kind you use for intertubing and just regular sort of putting around, and to me, going on a boat means swim suits and SUN.

Sailboats are nothing like that. I spent the entire trip wrapped up in a sweatshirt and a blanket, cursing the wind and my goosebumps.

But besides that, I rather enjoyed it. I love being out on the water, and I love feeling the wind whipping my hair (when it's not trying to kill me from cold) and I love just doing absolutely nothing beyond enjoying being out in the middle of the water.
My dad was trying to teach me how to steer it, but I felt way too much pressure being responsible for those huge sails. It's not like driving a recreational motorboat.

We went right by a cruise ship, which was fun.

The one thing I didn't like about the day, however, is that no matter how hard I tried to think of other things, I just couldn't get "I'm On a Boat" out of my head. I feel like this is going to be a problem I have on boats for a very long time.

I chatted with my dad's friend Neal, the one who owns the sailboat, and Neal's girlfriend, about my upcoming trip to England. Neal was born in Liverpool and then after moving to America with his family, went and finished high school (I don't know what bit that would be in London, college? The end of secondary school?) in Wales because his parents didn't think he was English enough. xD

They were telling me I need to see Cambridge and take a day trip out to Paris. I realized that I'm going to go broke if I go everywhere that everyone has told me to visit on this trip, haha.
I leave one week from today, and I can't WAIT. At this moment next Monday I will have just boarded my flight and will likely be bored out of my skull.

In other news, I think I will be making a 5AG video today possibly, and also yesterday, Tyler Oakley accidentally texted something to me that I think was meant to go to twitter. Hahhaa.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Request for help in the shoe department.

My mission this month for the Fiesta Movement was to make custom shoes on Nike, Adidas, and Chuck Taylor. I have done that, and now have the shoes sitting in their boxes in my room.
I somehow have to make a clever and engaging video about shoes and I am completely stumped.

I thought about making a sketch of the shoe fairy coming and bestowing upon me the new pairs, but that was just cheesy and stupid.
I am now considering pitting the shoes against each other in a battle to find out which shoes are superior and naming one the champion. All I can think of is running in them and lace-tying speed, however.

I don't generally do this, but I am going to ask for video suggestions or requests. If anyone has any ideas on how to make a video about 3 pairs of shoes exciting, or more ways I can make the shoes compete with eachother in a sort of psuedo-shoe-olympics, I would really appreciate your comments. I'll link to people in the sidebar if I use your suggestion, so include your username with your comment. :)

Basically I have video-maker's block, and this video needs to be finished before I leave for London, so I need some help. Ha.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Opening Night! (and some reflection)

Tonight was one of those fun heart-warming blast from the past type nights.

I went to see West Side Story at the theatre I work at, but instead of being a regular performance (we do 5 big shows a season) this was the summer Kidstage performance that was directed and run entirely by college students. Most of the students involved are very close friends of mine.

Eia was the choreographer, my exboyfriend John was the music director, and Brittany's exboyfriend (and my friend) Joey was the director. My good friend Nick did the lights, my other friend Alayne helped with sets... not to mention the people in the cast I knew from having done shows with them.... these are all people who were involved in the theatre program with me when I was in highschool, so it felt really nice and kind of surreal being back in a theatre environment with them even though I was just an audience member (I suppose working in the box office there counts, even though I was in no way involved with the particular production xD).

Anyway, I was so proud of everyone. Eia was bouncing and swaying in time beside me, gripping my hand in terror whenever a dance number was about to start. I could see John down in the orchestra pit, arms flailing as he conducted the musicians. Joey was beaming in the row behind me.

I'm just so ... I dunno, honored to be friends with so many ridiculously talented people. Even before I met my wizard rock and youtube friends, I gained my foundation with THESE people. I love them. I even miss them. They freaking put on a production of West Side Story and it was amazing. I don't even LIKE West Side Story! xD

My old choir teacher and her daughter who gave me voice lessons for awhile were there ushering, and I spoke with them for a little bit. They were happy to hear I am still singing, and I had the pleasure of telling them I just found out I have a mild case of vocal nodules. :/ They were unhappy to hear that news, but glad to know I am taking care of it. (My first speech therapy session is on Monday. Sigh.)

I also spoke with my old high school theatre director which was really nice. She knew about my wizard rock escapades already, but I told her a bit about what I have been doing with YouTube and the Fiesta Movement and whatnot, and she seemed really happy to know I'm still performing, albeit in different ways. I gave her one of my Fiesta business cards, even though it made me feel like a tool, haha. It was really nice to basically give her an update on my life, because honestly, aside from like, my parents... she's the first person who ever looked at me and saw a performer.
I guess that's not entirely true, as I had solos in choir when I was in elementary school and things like that... but I guess she's the first person who made me look at MYSELF and see a performer. I auditioned for A Midsummer Night's Dream when I was 15 hoping to be cast as a fairy, and she cast me as Helena, a lead role. That was a lot to deal with. xD

It was a nice night. I'm glad I still work at the theatre so I don't lose touch with this part of my life. It shaped me into who I am, really. Theatre rules. <3

Aww I just got a very sweet text from Lauren making me simultaneously miss her and my wizardrock friends but also mildly glad I chose to stay home from Azkatraz. There will be more Harry Potter conferences.. my best friend only has one opening night of this show.

bachelor party!

I had one of the strangest days today.

At 2 o'clock I went to Gasworks park for Tom Milsom's gathering/show that was supposed to start at 1. Even though I was an hour late, I still beat him. xD

There was an incredibly random assortment of people in attendance, including 3-4 people I did know about 8 I didn't know. We all went to find shade and Tom played a few songs for us. Our willingness to be outside quickly evaporated and we then went as a group to Chinook, a little fancy restaurant on the water that sold mostly seafood (ick) but a handful of nonseafood items so everyone was happy. After we ate our meals, my new friend Shannon and I (met her in Portland at the gathering) shared an amazing blackberry cobbler. I love blackberries. So much.

After lunch we ALMOST decided to part ways, but then decided we needed to go back to the park anyway for people to get their cars, so we caravan(ed? is that a word?) back to Gasworks. We decided to hang out a bit longer, and while we were sitting on the hills, I saw a woman in all white off in the distance doing yoga so I started copying her moves; we were probably 2-300 feet away from her and she didn't notice for awhile, not until I'd gotten everyone else to do it with me. :)

Mickeleh's roommate Leslie brought out all these kites (Gasworks is the perfect place for flying kites) so we all sat on the grass clumsily trying to assemble them. Mine was a 6 pointed star box kite, Tom had a US air force plane kite, and some of the girls whose named I've forgotten (I'm terrible - one of them was in the Phantom Tollbooth with my brother) made a pretty bird kite with dangly tassle things. We all flew them for awhile and I couldn't believe how much fun it was. I think my dad flew a kite with me at Ocean Shores when I was a child, but I hadn't flown one since then. I am definitely going to purchase a kite of my own soon. This kid near us had an octopus kite -- I want THAT one.

While we were kite flying, a group of guys came over and said, "We don't want to interrupt your kite flying, but you look fun and we need people for human checkers. Want to play?"

I can tell you now that a group of YouTubers does not turn down human checkers.

We put away the kites and hurried over to meet them. They had a human sized makeshift checkers board made of red and black fabric on the ground, and had enough red and black tshirts for two teams. They had collected a really odd mix of people who just happened to be walking by, which made it way more fun. Then we found out it was a bachelor party, which just made it more exciting.

The guy who was getting married was the player for one side, Tom Milsom ended up being the player for the other. I was on the black team. Tom's a jerk and sacrificed me for the good of the team and admitedly, watching the game was a lot less exciting then being a piece IN the game, but the few rounds I had were pretty exciting.

Then we found out they had a whole list of crazy things for the bachelor guy to do, so we played along for awhile. "Follow me and look interested," was all he said, so he starts walking over toward the people on the lookout pier, and we just walk behind him.. when we're within earshot he turns around and starts saying in an assertive voice, "So, Gasworks park was first build in 1896 to commemorate the.." We all started CRACKING up when we realized "bogus public tour of a local site" was probably on the list. We didn't get anyone to JOIN the tour, but it was still hilarious.

After a whole lot of confusion regarding cars and who was riding with who and parking, we managed to follow them down to Pike Place where he had to be a street performer long enough to get someone to give him a dollar, which was hard because all we had was Tom's ukulele and a squishy banana for a microphone. Finally a girl gave him some change and we cheered and I think she even joined our eclectic group for awhile.

We finally parted ways with our bachelor party friends when they decided to "crash a birthday party" and the only party they could find was in a 21+ bar... Adamthealien and I were the only two of age really, so we said our goodbyes and headed off in search of Dick's for food.

(I was a little bummed we didn't get to see some of the other things on the list.... climb a city landmark... convince a girl the bachelor's kissing skills are so good that she HAS to try it for herself, make a whipped cream work of art graffiti.. etc.)

My friend Austin was driving us around downtown and we got so horribly screwed over by the gps on his iphone... we kept having to go the wrong way on one way streets or drive 5 miles out of the way because a barrier wasn't letting us turn around or some other ridiculous problem... finally we found the particular Dick's we wanted, after probably like an hour.

I finally got home about midnight, and I'm exhausted, so I am going to stop typing and go to sleep.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The night sky.

Last night I spent the night at my parents' house so that I could pick my mom up from her surgery this morning. Everything is fine; she just had a nasal operation to help her breathe better, but she's been groggy and out of it all morning. I tucked her into bed, gave her some water with a straw, and helped her change her gauze.

I've been sitting in the kitchen working on editing a video so I am near enough to hear if she calls me. I just went in there a few minutes ago to check on her, and she took my hands and thanked me and told me she loved me, said it was easier going through this with someone to care about her.

It was really sweet. :)

My brother is currently back in my old bedroom painting the ceiling. My mom is turning my room into a guestroom, which I am okay with because I don't really plan on ever moving back home. She said it will still be MY room, which is good. It just wont look the same.
The point is that I have lived in that room since I was about 8 or so, and my brother not only had to paint the ceiling, he had to remove the insane amount of glow in the dark stars that dotted the ceiling. And let me tell you, when living in a room that long, at that age, you accumulate a LOT of glow in the dark stars. My room was like the night sky when I turned the lights off. It was great. xD

Not so great, it turns out, to remodel. It took him 2 hours to get all the stickers off.

Now I am off to Gasworks Park to meet Tom Milsom, and I am probably going to be late because they closed the I-90 bridge going West and it's been driving me crazy all week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Trials of the free coke

I should be either:
a) asleep
b) reading "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith for my summer course in London.

I am not doing either of these things.

I am charging my iPod Touch and basically sitting here choosing to write a blog entry about seemingly nothing instead.

I have been working all week, which is a strange contrast to the last few weeks, in which I hardly worked at all, and the rest of the summer in which I am taking leave for England and casting my job off into the dust.
This is subscription mailing week so I have literally spent 12 hours already stuffing tickets into envelopes, and have 6 more hours to go tomorrow.

There was this creepy guy who worked at the adjoining restaurant for a long time; for the sake of privacy let's call him Artemis. Artemis would wander into the theatre and look at brochures just long enough to find an excuse to ask me how I am doing and make eyes at me and things. Then once he brought a small child to the show and said some really creepy things like "this is my SPECIAL FRIEND, I need good seats for us," and while I already wasn't interested in the slightest, I am DEFINIETLY not interested in would-be pedophiles so I was happy to hear he'd either left or hadn't worked in a long time.

Today my manager comes back to the box office from getting a coke and says "New guy over there wants you to go over and flirt with him. He'll give you free pop."

I have no interest in flirting, but I have every interest in free things, so I was like "Heck yes, going!"

I waltz in and say "Who is the new guy?" A blonde, rather cheeky looking fellow swaggers over and I put my hands up. "This is a completely flirting-free encounter. I am here on a matter of thirst."

"Oh really," he says. "How come your manager said you always used to come over and flirt with Artemis? I've been here three weeks already and I've never seen you once. What's wrong with me?"

Okay. Now. The story is all messed up at this point. I have NEVER, NOT ONCE in my life walked into that restaurant and flirted with anyone. That is 100% a falsity. I don't know which one of them is lying to me, I don't know who set me up, I don't know what my manager would get out of the situation if she told him that, I don't know how I am still going to get out of this with a free coke, so boy was I happy when he randomly brought up Harry Potter.

"Have you seen the movie?" he asked me, gesturing toward the shirt of the person standing nearby.

"Last night!" I replied proudly.

"You didn't dress up, did you?" His eyes were narrowing.

I smirked at him. "Oh yeah."

His features shifted completely from totally interested to highly disappointed. He pulls out the tap and fills a cup with ice and coke. I reach for my dollar.

"No charge," he says, albeit defeated.

"Nice to meet you!" I sang, skipping out the door.

Harry Potter. Making boys lose interest in girls since 1997. xD


Gaaah I loved it.

I have to work early tomorrow and I SHOULD be sleeping, but I figured it better I try and capture this moment or something.

I loved Draco.
God I love Draco.

I loved Slughorn and Mclaggen and Lavender and all the new characters. I loved Luna. I loved the cave scene. I loved the Narcissa/Bellatrix/Snape scene.
I even loved the lack of plot until the very end, but that wasn't the movie's fault. The book is exactly the same.
I even liked the Ron and Hermione stuff. It was cute.
I will never be a fan of Harry and Ginny though. Especially weird Room of Requirement seductive Ginny. What.
I've never been a particularly hard fan to please, and I am way less critical than most people.
I had this moment when I got a chill in the cave scene - I had a very vivid flashback to me in high school, sitting in my room reading the 6th book the day it came out and thinking "I can't WAIT to see this cave scene in a film. It's going to be awesome."

I don't have much else to say about the movie, because it's late and I haven't had had enough time to process everything and I need to see it about two more times, but I am incredibly happy with it. I dressed up. XD

I think one of my favorite parts was when young Tom looks up at Dumbledore and asks, "You're the Doctor, aren't you?" Hahha.

One anecdote from the evening -- Liz and I went to Starbucks with Kayley, and we each got a drink AND a cup of ice water. We went outside with our plethora of drinks and found a nice table to sit at, right in the glow of a Jamba Juice. Liz and I, at nearly the same time, looked at our drinks in dismay and said, "I want Jamba Juice!"
After a few minutes Liz said, "I don't even know why I got iced chai. I want passion iced tea."
I nodded in agreement. "I know what you mean. I got stupid passion iced tea and what I really wanted was chai."
A second later we realized what opportunity the universe had presented us and we switched and everyone happy.

PS. Thank you to everyone who left incredibly nice comments on my last post.
You have no idea how much your words really help. I like youtube comments and deviantart comments and twitter @replies, but nothing is better and honestly more touching than some of your blog comments. I really like you guys. :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sad sad sad.

I am emotionaaal.

One hereditary trait I got from my mom was the ability to cry at EVERYTHING. I cried when I saw the new Dakota Fanning version of Charlotte's Web. I cried last night when Mad Eye did the Cruciatus Curse on a spider in front of Neville. I BAWLED during the last episode of Torchwood Season 3.

So I suppose you can probably imagine what might happen when I take my boyfriend to the airport to send him home to London.

Alex was at my house for 2 months and sending him home this time was one of the most horrible things I've ever had to do. I know that a lot of people (him included) think I'm silly for blubbering all over the place when I am literally leaving for the UK two weeks from today, but that's not why I am so bent out of shape. It's not the two weeks that are making my stomach tie up in knots.

It's just that he was here for two months. That's a really long time. You get used to things in two months. It feels like he lives here. My housemates feel like he's just another person in the house, and we definitely developed our little routines and things we did that wont feel right anymore. And like when Sam left, everything reminds me of him. The slanket on my bed. The tub of brownies I now have to finish alone. The imprint of his suitcase on my carpet.

I just know that in a mere two weeks, I am not going to adapt back to life by myself. And then I will go to London and have a glorious and wonderful two months there, but THEN. Then I come home alone. That's a life I am now unfamiliar with. That's why I have been crying.

Alex's mom and Becky and Charlie are all going to pick him up at the airport because they miss him so much and I am so glad he'll have a welcoming committee. Aside from my parents... I doubt anyone will be waiting at the airport for me when I get home in September.

This is moody and probably gross for other people to read but I am a mess right now and I don't know what else to do with myself. Alex and I usually stay in bed and watch Arrested Development or snuggle or eat cereal with bananas in it at this time of day.

Long distance is hard. So worth it, but hard.

I miss him.

Edit: Almost harder than saying goodbye to Alex was tearing Max and Beverly, our turtles, apart. Not fun. Beverly went back to London too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I am a terrible person.

I am a big, fat iPod hypocrite.

I'm going to draw your attention to a song I wrote not too long ago called "You're My iPod".

"I am always with you
and I'm glad that you want me around"

I decided that I didn't want or need an 80 GB harddrive and I didn't use the iPod enough to justify still having it.

"I remember my walkman
But you're just more elegant and I'll never trade you in"

Recently I listed my 80GB video ipod on Ebay with the intention of using the money I made to upgrade to an iPod Touch because it's newer, more useful and all around just kind of a cooler machine.

"It's been two years you're getting kind of warn out
And now your harddrive is at eighty-five percent"

I bought a protective case for it, but the case is kind of scratched up and even though underneath the iPod is sleek and shiny, it's just rapidly becoming a thing of the past because I can't download apps or play cool games on it or connect to the internet.
Also, because I HAVE 80 GB of space, I find myself holding onto music and TV shows that I don't need or have room for on my computer simply because I have the space on my iPod. I want to consolidate my collection and the 32 GB iPod Touch encourages me to do that.

"I can't believe that you would say these things
it's not my fault you dropped me , these dents are from you!"

Yeah... I dropped it a few times. And the scratched up case is from me carting it around in my purse in the same pocket as jewelry or coins or whatever else made its way in there.

"You know you promised you would always love me"

You know... I sold it on Ebay and told my subscribers/followers that I was doing so because I wanted to ensure that this iPod would go to a nice new home where its new owner WILL love it the way I always promised I would. But I just don't think it's going to work out bewteen us, iPod. It's not you, really. It's me. I need to move on. See bigger and better mp3 players. We had some great times, you know? You got to be hooked up to the Auxilliary input in my new fiesta. You played the backing tracks to Parselmouths songs at Wizard Rock shows. We traveled to London together - no one else got to fly with me for 10 hours straight.

So don't take it personally, 80 GB video iPod. I will always love you. I just need to move on.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One more sappy one.

My last day in North Dakota went super fast. My mom and I slept on my grandma's pull out couch (after going to sleep at 2 AM.. it was fun sneaking around with my mom in HER mom's house xD). We got up and my grandma made us breakfast (no caramel rolls... I was disappointed. My grandma makes the best caramel rolls in the world). Then we saw my cousin Loni for a bit (she's pregnant) and then dashed off to the mall.

We wanted to get a little shopping time in at Herberger's because we don't have that store back in Washington. It was serious power shopping (I got a lot of nice things and we were only there for a half hour) and even though I spent a little more money than I meant to, I justified it by saying the clothes are for London. So.. there.

Also I got a new purse! I have been using the same purse for 2 years straight now.

(I am going to pause here to say I'm at the airport, and I thought the lady next to me had been talking to me for the last two minutes but then she turned her head and she had a stupid bluetooth earpiece in. I HATE THOSE.)

Then we met my mom's best friend Abby for lunch and it was really nice to see her getting to chat with a friend she's known since high school about "all the stupid things they used to do" and "how great it was to see each other"... and then I started realizing that they have only gotten to see each other every few years or so for the past 20 years, and how horrible that would be if I didn't live near Eia or Liz any more and just had to catch up with them at a restaurant every three years... then Alex and I had a tiny argument about nothing in an email exchange and that in combination with thinking about how sad it is when people move away from their friends and family had me crying in the bathroom of the Ground Round for about 10 minutes. Just out of nowhere.
I think the crying was more from me not getting much sleep and having to leave everyone that afternoon (my flight left at 6:50 pm) but man. I have cried a lot on this trip.

I guess the biggest thing is that North Dakota means SO MUCH to me. I was born here, I spent summer vacations here... if you read through any writing I have ever done they are ALWAYS set in small towns like the ones my grandparents live in. These trips are always such a great escape from my normal life and I really do love my family and its history. But this trip was so different.
My grandpa is getting older and it's hard on him and my grandma. My aunts and uncles and my dad are probably going to talk them into selling the big house he and my grandma live in.. the one we've all been gathering in year after year. Once they don't live there anymore, we wont have any reason to go back to Linton.
A lot of my cousins (around my age) are pregnant. Or were pregnant and now have babies.
I wouldn't be surprised if our trips to North Dakota in the future are for funerals. I don't want to think about that.
It felt so different here this year. It feels like the end of an era or something.

I don't really know what the point of all this is. I'm only musing. It was just a very bittersweet trip. I'm a huge proponent of the things I love not changing and it feels like it's all changing very quickly.

Also, my grandparents are adorable and still very much in love even after all these years and with my grandpa's inability to take care of myself, and even though it is hard on my grandma (seeing her struggling made me want to cry too) I only hope some day I can be like them. I decided this weekend that someday, I want to be able to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary. You don't see many of those anymore. I want one. They had one, a few years back.

I mean, even if I don't get married until I'm 30, I only have to live to 80 for that to happen. :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sweater Vest.

Last night I wore a sweater vest to a biker bar.

I mean, okay, it wasn't exactly a sweater and it wasn't exactly a vest, but in combination and for the purpose of naming it, it was more of a sweater vest than it was any other type of clothing. Normally I'd like to think it's more of a trendy pink thing I wear over other shirts, and outside of the biker bar I definitely looked like a fashionable girl in a trendy pink thing, but IN the biker bar - I was a girl in a sweater vest.

Because when you're comparing yourself to blonde girls in tube tops and big burly men in bandanas and leather - anything even remotely sweatery or vesty is a sweater vest.

But I sat at that bar, I showed my ID when I got carded, I laughed at the gross middle aged woman who still thought it was the 80's and wouldn't remember dancing like a hooch on stage in the morning, I drank my pineapple and malibu, and I did it all in my sweater vest.

A bald guy came over, clearly drunk, showed me his painted toenails and then insisted I danced with him. I declined. He didn't even skip a beat - he then turned and asked my mom. She declined as well. Then he finally, finally left us alone and five minutes later toenail guy was dancing with hooch girl and it was honestly a match made in heaven.

This was how I spent my 4th of July. Okay, that's how I spent about an hour of my 4th of July. My mom and I spent it together in Mandan, and I'm aware that I am making my family sound like a bunch of alcoholics by how much time we spent in bars on this trip. But I guess it feels alright to me - my parents were small town people, and that's all there was to do. My dad had a motorcycle, and his friends had motorcycles, so they wore leather and after work they drove around and they had fun out on the road and by the river during the day and in various bars and taverns during the night. My parents were bikers. xD

So my mom showed me a few of their old haunts, and then we sat in lawn chairs and watched a particularly impressive display of fireworks (the North Dakotans go all out) and then we hung out a bit more before we finally called it a night. It was fun just spending time with my mom. We don't get to do that much anymore since I moved out.

These blog entries are kind of sappy and nostalgic but I am going to point out now that I have completely switched from keeping a paper journal (which I have done since I was in 2nd grade) to keeping an online blog, so this is just as much for me as it is for people who read it. In fact it's more for me. So sometimes it's going to be long entries that include me blabbing about my family. This is my life - every part of it.


Thank you to all the usually anonymous readers who chose to "reveal" themselves in the last post! It was like an unveiling for me - it was way exciting. xD
I guess people might think that as Internet folks get more and more followers/subscribers/watchers whatever, comments start to matter less and maybe what you have to say isn't interesting or whatever your excuses are - but I started putting content online because I love the interaction with all of you and that's still why I do it.
If you think I blog for the ad revenue, you're dreaming. It's like 2 cents a day. You can't even get tootsie rolls for that cheap anymore.

Someone left a comment saying:
"A town near where I live (in Michigan) is apparently the Kohlrabi capital of the world. I'm not actually sure what Kohlrabi is, or if I'm even spelling it correctly :)"

I always just thought it was spelled "Calarabi" (I could be totally wrong) but I will have to check that when I am not thousands of feet up in the air on a plane without an Internet connection. It was one of those things that when I read your comment, I knew exactly what you were talking about because it's a household term with my family, but I've never had any reason to need to write down the name - it's just that white stuff my dad buys and chops up and leaves on the cutting board for the rest of us to munch on. :D

I have not much of significance to write about in this entry, just that
1. I am on an airplane going back home to Seattle
2. The little kid I was sitting near in the airport had bright red hair and was named Atticus and I thought that was amazing
3. "17 Again" with Zac Efron is playing on the plane right now and I am really tempted to watch it, even though I have already seen it. It's making working on my novel or reading "White Teeth" for my study abroad much more difficult.

I get to see Alex again in a few hours and I am excited. We were only apart for 5 days... and then when he goes home to London it's only 2 weeks until I fly there for my Exploration Seminar... I don't know WHAT the crap we're going to do after I go back home at the end of September. :/

Mathew Perry just got sucked through the time vortex so he's 17 again. Screw it, I'm getting my headphones.

Edit: Google tells me it is "kohlrabi". Go figure.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Of the WORLD.

The mildly terrifying thing I am learning while on this vacation is that freaking EVERYONE watches my videos or reads my blog.

My aunt and my cousin have been watching Mrs. Nerimon since it went up in March.
My grandma reads my blog.
My other aunt asked me how my mosquito bites from Montana were doing. I only talked about those here on my blog.

On the one hand, I am incredibly flattered. My family loves and misses me and takes time out of their days to catch up with mine. That means a lot to me.

On the other hand, they're giving my previously faceless mass of an audience a very familiar face and suddenly I'm feeling very glad I never broke my own "be a good role model" rule on the internet. xD

I suppose it's just weird. I sit in my room, I make videos, I don't see any of the people watching the videos and I only hear from the ones who choose to comment. The number rises higher and higher on the view count, but because I read comments it really only FEELS like a handful of people are viewing. Same with my blog. Reader and Blogger counts tell me I have about 1500 people who subscribe to my blog but only 7-20 comment so my audience feels much smaller.

So to know that my family has been reading and watching and I had no idea - who ELSE is following my online life and staying perfectly anonymous? IT'S WEIRD.

In other news, we're about to go to the Linton 4th of July Parade. Heck yes I am getting candy.
In other other news, we've stopped in a few "legendaaaary" towns on this trip that I feel like sharing. xD

Ellsworth, Wisconsin: Cheese Curd capital of the world.
Wishek, North Dakota: Sauerkraut capital of the world.

...of the WORLD. This, folks, is North Dakota.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pineapple Upsidedown.

I spent today in Linton, ND.

My dad's family lives here and I usually spend at least a weekend here every summer. To put things in perspective, my dad has 6 brothers and sisters, grew up on a farm outside of town, and now my grandparents, having long retired from farm life, are 2 of about 1600 people who live here. I can walk down main street and run into people left and right who look at me and say "You're Randy's kid aren't you?" or "You must be a Horner." or "Are you one of Linus's grandkids?"

It's a nice change from Seattle where no one I have gone to school with for a whole year even knows who I am. xD

I went down to the hardware store to grab a few things with my mom, my two aunts and my cousin, and somehow ended up at the bar around 2 in the afternoon. I always used to have to stay home and babysit all the littler cousins but I am 21 here for once so ALL my relatives delighted in buying me drinks, so it was a LONG DAY. The Mysterious Linton Bar Life wasn't quite as mystical and illusory as it always seemed when I was left at home, but we had a fun day of drinking, dancing, and meeting relatives we didn't even know we had. My aunt Lisa and I put enough money in the jukebox to pick 30 songs and that lasted us a while. It was mostly country songs and stuff from the 80's but I managed to sneak in some Katy Perry and Lily Allen.

My cousin Annie kept doing her "signature move" which was a skip with her arms in the air around the pool table which I named the Boomerang, and I invented my signature move which I can't really describe so I'll do it in a video sometime or something. I also found my signature drink (after much failure and sour faces at things that tasted gross) which is something I have been searching for since I turned 21. It's called a Pineapple Upsidedown and SERIOUSLY FREAKING TASTES LIKE A PINEAPPLE UPSIDEDOWN CAKE. It's beautiful. And amazing. And I made the bartender write down the recipe because I plan to order it everywhere (I make it sound like I drink so much.. ha. I've only been to like 3 bars since I turned 21 xD).

I actually hesitated a bit before I decided to write this blog at all, because my family is crazy and mildly embarrassing and I don't know if I am ready for the internet to know that I am directly descended from a bunch of small town crazy drinking north dakota farm people. But there it is. Secret's out. I'm TAME compared to them.

At least we all know why I secretly love Jo Dee Messina, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. I CAN'T HELP IT. My uncle's wearing cowboy boots beside me, right now. My cousins caught the deer that was used in the sausage we ate earlier. Oh this shouldn't be funny but the headline on the newspaper next to me says "Dad says he fired gun after sons didn't do chores." Oh here's a good one, another one says, "The difference between flies and hornets."

I like my family a whole lot. I always complain about having to come back to North Dakota in the summer but I really love it here. I'm glad I have an interesting family with a very different history than most people I grew up with. It's fun. And probably explains why I am such a strange person. They made me like this. BLAME THEM.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Independence Day.

I didn't like the idea of Alex just sitting alone at my house for 5 days, even though I'm pretty sure he's excited about getting to play video games with the guys and not be forced to eat healthy by me and to get to sleep on my side of the bed (I know he is, I always get the good side xD) but when I told him this, he said this in response to reassure me:

"You go to North Dakota and celebrate your Independence from the British. You can't very well celebrate that with someone who's British."


So here I am, spending my 4th of July independent from my the British boyfriend I left back in Seattle. Proud to be an American or whatever. Maybe I'll throw some tea into a river or something (no oceans in the midwest). Hahaha.

Also, on that note, we got to Wisconsin yesterday and I saw what was probably the most ridiculous gas station chain ever. I made my dad pull over so I could take a picture:

This, America, is us taking it too far.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Isn't Much Fun.

A little over a week ago I called out to my twitter followers and blog readers to ask if anyone wanted to be in a video in which they put "stuff on their face". Without clarifying what this "stuff" was or what it was going to be used for, I immediately, in less than 24 hours, got an overwhelming response of 115 emails enthusiastically agreeing to and wondering what they had to do.

Now, I'll admit this project was about 10% a personal task of seeing how many perfect strangers I could get to draw on their faces with marker for me, but it was also about 50% an idea for a really fun "Spattergroit" music video and the other 40% a chance to include my subscribers in what is usually a very one-way window. They can see me but I can't see them.

The point is that my band has a song about a wizarding disease and I wanted tons of people to be lipsyncing and dancing and looking miserable with the "purple pustules" on their faces. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful these clips are.

I always knew my subscribers were awesome people just by the comments you guys leave on my videos and blog posts, but I don't even know how to portray in writing how much I was cracking up as the videos started coming in. You'll see a lot of it in my final version of the video, but at the end of the day, it's a 3 minute video and I have hours of footage here. You people are hilarious and amazing. One girl even got her dog to model some purple pustules. Another girl had Spattergroit that GLOWED IN THE DARK. That was my favorite clip. xD

I filmed my own clips the night before I left for North Dakota (family vacation, going to see relatives, blah blah) and I decided at the time that it would be a good idea to not only draw the purple pustules on my face but also on my foot, and then proceeded to forget to wash them off my foot, and then somehow slept in a manner that the foot pustules transferred over to other parts of my opposite leg and I couldn't get them off this morning so now I've spent a good portion of my day walking around the airport in capris and having faded purple magic marker on my legs. Good.

Alex and I also spent a bit of time having photobooth fun before washing our faces, as is apparent by the photos dotting this entry. Excuse the minor bit of narcissism as I continue to post them here for posterity, and lulz.

I spent most of my flight to Minneapolis and then about half the car rides to and from Wisconsin editing the video and posted it here, tonight, at my aunt and uncle's house in Minnesota. In case you missed it on YouTube, here it is, in all its purple spotted, diseased and contagious glory. I am so happy this video exists. :D

My grandfather Louie.

I just had a really emotional experience with my family.
We flew into Minneapolis, rented a car, and drove out to this tiny town called Ellsworth (population 2900). This is where my grandpa Louie currently lives, all by himself in a retirement home.

None of us have seen him in over 5 years. This has been really hard on my mom, so on this family vacation to North Dakota, we made it a point to take this detour and see him. He doesn't get very many visitors. We have a huge family (he has nine kids) and hardly anyone makes the effort to get out to Wisconsin to visit.

We had no idea if he was going to be in good or poor health, if he'd be able to walk or if he'd even know who we were, and my mom was nervous.

We got there though and he scooted on with his walker (complete with the tennis balls) and looked no different than I remembered, albeit a lot older.

He knew exactly who we were, and not only that, the staff told us he'd been talking about how excited he was for us to come all week.

It was an amazing day. We didn't do too much. We went to the cheese factory in town. We drove around while he pointed out all his favorite places. We took him out to dinner at the Highway 63 Cafe. We went back to his place so we could see his room and he wanted to give us some presents (I got a funny little stuffed penguin; I love it).

I guess the best part of the day is that even though he's all alone in a state that's not the one he lived and loved and spent his life in, but he laughs so much. He was genuinely happy there, and content in this part of his life. He had all these little art projects he'd done and showed us; cards made by the local highschool, and all the staff just loved him.

To lighten the mood of this entry, I spent all day noting down funny things he said, to which my parents first shot me disapproving glances but soon were raising their eyebrows at me to make sure I got it when he said something else hilarious.

1. As we're walking back to his room, he points to this woman's nameplate on her room. "Erma Punches". "What a name," he said. "How do you think her punches are? Erma Punches alright, Erma Punches HARD."

2. He told us he recently got a physical, so we asked how his health is doing. "Oh yeah, the doctor said I was great all except my toenails. "Too long!" he said. "Cut those things!"

3. My dad asked him if he still remembered how to speak German. Instead of answering, he rattled off some sentence in German. "Come over here and say hello?" my mom asked, trying to work out what he'd said. "No, come over here and put some pants on!"

4. We were talking about how my grandma's sister recently died. He didn't know, because he and my grandma have been divorced for 5 or 6 years now and hate each other. He however thought we were talking about my grandma. Instead of, you know, caring, all he said was "they're still taking money out of my checks for her and she's dead??!" "NO, Grandpa, she's still alive. Her SISTER died." "Oh." "Do you miss Grandma, ever?" "Hell no."

5. Judge Judy was on tv and he just scowled. "I hate that woman's guts."


It was hard on my mom leaving. She started crying, which almost made me cry. I don't ever want to have to leave my parents 5 states away in a nursing home for someone else to take care of them when they're older. That would be terrible.

This is day one of my family vacation. I'm glad I'm here.