Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's a Straight Line

Oh the adventures you'll have! And Iowa is no different.

Damnit, I'm already lying in this post. No good. Ok, deep breath, try again.

Let's start from the beginning. Quick version is I made it all the way to St. Pete from KC and had to drive through Iowa to get here. For those of you with Reader's Digest appetites, that was a quick meal. Happy to oblige. Now for the rest of you voracious readers (get it? It rhymes with eaters...  which is a continuation of the digest pun... oh never mind.)

So after I woke up, I'm sure you all will be relieved to know that I finished the first season of Mad Men. It was concerning, I know, but I managed to squeeze in that one last episode before I threw everything in the car and bolted.

Side note, I am forever glad that I make badass playlists. That's the only way this car ride works. And I loudly sand to Gina and Daniele's album. Forgot about them? I never do. Amazing. Always.

I have decided that instead of telling you about the trip (well there's not a lot to say) I thought I would play the license plate game a la blog. This involves me telling you things about what I've done in each state listed. (I probably forgot one or two, but this is most of the ones I saw). I'll include either a fun fact, short story (of the shortest variety), or what happened while driving through said state today. It should make this a little more entertaining.

Kansas: My high school was on the Missouri side of the state line between MO and KS. Consequently, there were lots of people who lived in KS instead. It also meant that for every day of HS, I was in two states at some point during the day.

Louisiana: I've never been here. Anyone want to go?

Minnesota: When MNers tell me where they are from, I often tune out and insert the words "The Cities" instead of whatever town they actually say. Offensive? Maybe. Also, Cadi maybe on to something with the MN driver thing. Iowans may not like to turn on their lights, but MN people make U-turns from wrong lanes, in native lands. Seriously, didn't have any "Let's call the police with their license plate number" moments until I hit the MN border. Scary.

Illinois: Last year, I think I was in IL 4 times over the course of the season. If you like math, that's about 9 hours from MN each way. So 72 hours traveling back and forth from IL, suits in tow. Only one of those times did we actually get stopped in somewhere other than our destination for the night.

Tennessee:I remember going to Nashville for something, and staying in what was impressed upon me as a very cool hotel, but I don't remember anything but the atrium and the abundance of shrubbery.

Missouri: I live there. Uh, that's a fun fact right?

Utah: I went to Park City the summer after the Olympics and there are two things that I would like to bring up. 1) The ski/beret hat that I bought, and still wear. And 2) one of my favorite bookstores of all time is called Dolly's-right near the condo we stayed in. They have several cats in the store and one of them likes to sit by the cash register and greet the masses.

Michigan: Been there. Done that. Know lots of people who live there. I hear Karaoke is a smash #lovefest.

Nebraska: Ah, what isn't to love about Nebraska? Phil says that it's the greatest, minus Rupert of course. I think there are so many stories to be told about Nebraska. To, from, there. Just all of it. AFA 2011.

Arkansas: So one of my favorite people of all time grew up there and still has a fondness for the place, it must be ok. I went once. I remember driving around really curvy roads and looking through really dorky/nerdy brochures about some "paths of Clinton" or something like that... Yup, that's what I've got.

Iowa: I considered leaving this one blank for emphasis. But since I spent so much of my day slogging through it, I thought I would at least try. First of all: It only rains in Iowa. Sure it looked cloudy all day, but it didn't start raining until the minute I crossed the boarder. Boo that. Second: What's worse than Iowa? Iowa when it's raining. Third: Iowa, in an attempt to get back at me for verbally bashing her decided to play this game. It's called, make sure you can only ever pay attention to your windshield wipers game. Sound like fun? Here's how you play. When it's only sprinkling, you put on the wipers on a nice slow tick-tock pace. But by the time you set that, there's this torrential down pour when no matter how fast your wipers are going you still can't see the road in front of you. Then it's sprinkling again and you still can't see the road because of how fast your wipers are going (blur much?). Repeat process. The worst. And lastly, I had the pleasure of stopping in Story City for gas. Jealous? I expected as much. But it's just like St. Peter!!!!  Well, minus the sign that said, "Story to tell." But there was a Happy Chef, and a gas station, and an RV sales lot.. Ok that last one is not like SP, but you get the point. Two Happy Chef sightings in a day? How delicious is that? Mayhaps not, but I was looking for anything to make Iowa sound exciting.

And that's my life. All of it. I'm zonked, so I'm peacin out for the night. Work in the morning-bound to be an adventure.

Disc 4

Here's the deal:
I'm going to be driving for 8 hours.
And I spent approximately the same number of hours trying to get through the first season of Mad Men.
I'm on the last disk, but it's past two, and I needs to get me some sleep in the very least.

So. I have resolved to eat breakfast in the morning, and pack the rest of my things while watching the last episode (please let there be just one, mom will murder me if I don't get to good old Saint Pete by 7).

And with that, I will leave my ranting about not being able to finish a show before leaving on a long journey where I will undoubtedly be cut off from civilization for an extended length of time. (I seem to remember something like this happening last August with Dexter....  Hmmm... Me huddled over a suitcase trying to finish the last terrifying episodes of Dexter. The impossible questions of right and wrong haunting my pre-Italian dreams.)

Good night. I'm sure I'll have an enthralling post about the joys of Iowa tomorrow. Lucky you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dream Sequence-without the caribou

My father does not understand the purpose of a blog-off. I then had to re-explain this in more manly terms. "Dad, this isn't just a blog off, this is war." I am not giving up without a fight, Michelle. Despite my gallant efforts, I'm stuck with blogging on my phone again for the night, so excuse the auto-corrects.

After a little bit of shopping, yes this does mean that I actually left the condo for a few short hours, I was just too exhausted to hold my head up any more, so I went back to bed. What can I say? It's genetic. The Abele's are known for their extremely determined sleeping schedules. So what if I had already slept for 12 hours? Not a big deal, I'll sneak in an hour and a half nap before dinner. So talented.

Past that, I am now halfway through the first season of Mad Men. I've been told by oodles of people that this is the show for me, and they may just be right. I'm still getting into it, but I think by the end of this season I'll be desperate to get my hands on another copy. So for those of you around with season 2, I'll likely show up on your doorstep-do not panic.

And that about sums it up for me today. Leave the cabin tomorrow and head for home, where more packing awaits and I'm stuck making CDs and playlists for my adventure up north again. God I love Iowa.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Given Only Weak Sauce in My Kitchen

Alas, so many things have failed me today, I might as well be resigned to typing this exorbitantly long post on my phone. It makes the most sense, after all. So here goes, and do excuse the type-os. I'm only so dexterous with this touch screen.

After dozing lazily until I got my required amount of sleep, I rolled out of bed. Nothing much happened, finished the first season of Modern Family, and attempted to work on this hat (more on that later). Until about dinner time.

Mother had this great idea to use the leftover steaks from Kent's the other night for fajitas. Splendid! So naturally I'm enlisted to help make up this recipe. Not a big deal, throw some onions and peppers into a skillet, a little pepper, maybe some other things to liven it up, heat up the meat, figure out some stuff for the mushrooms- like a little pepper, and voila! WRONG! There's only one thing missing. The pepper. What's that you say? But who likes pepper? Oh my lord, we must be needing a conversion. Pepper is admittedly one of the base spices I use. Nothing to overpower (unless we're talking red pepper, then be on your toes for a kick in the pants.) but I do tend to use pepper as a backup to all sorts of things. Don't know what to use? Pepper will work until you figure it out. Really my favorite- that and a base of garlic, but those kinds of adventures will have to wait until this summer, I'm afraid. Point is, that I'm expected to make fajitas without any kind of spices! Undesirable. And here you're thinking, Kelsey, just use the salt and pepper shakers on the table. Oh, well, aren't you the brightest. Guess again. There aren't any. WHO'S SMART NOW!?!?! That's right, no salt or pepper to be found. Anywhere. So I start thinking, what else do we have? A lemon? Nope. A jalapeƱo? Nada. Just another kind of spice? Anything? Zilch. I'm cooking blind. And I'm nearly to the point of going door to door asking for a pepper shaker, or foraging in the nearby woods for some kind of edible bark that might be a tasty Mexican food stand in. Sad day, mom nixed all of those ideas. Guess these will literally have to be the saddest, blandest fajitas in all the land.

Minnesotans rejoice, I didn't find anything spicy to put in the fajitas. Not even ketchup. Good news is they were fine, bad news is I'm heartbroken at my foiled attempt to make Mexican food from leftovers.

After that I took slight pleasure in beating my parents at Boggle. It doesn't make me a genius, jut better at Boggle than my parents. (side note, if you ever want to have your ass handed to you on a recently polished silver platter, play Boggle with KBG. She can literally play against 4 people, while sleeping, and those 4 can add their scores together to get half of what she does. I've seen it happen.)

Then we wandered back to our now customary places on the couch and watched Hugo. Cute? Maybe, I'm not the biggest fan. Whatever. The bigger problem is that I have been defeated by this hat pattern. Just destroyed. I don't think there's any one pattern that has so tried me. I tried this about 4 times the way the pattern was written. Then began to bumble through making guesses as to what she actually meant, and have gotten closer (hint: worked from the top down and looked like the finger of a glove the first 4 times. Now it just looks lopsided). But the real kicker is that I keep having to redo my work when I'm using the beautiful alpaca yarn I bought in Rome, I just want it to be perfect. Is that so bad? Le sigh.

I think the only solution is to go to bed. I've been up for less than 12 hours, but my trials for the day have left me melodramatic and defeated. Woe.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lake House-Fun House (or why is your foot on the ceiling)

Now blogging from a new and "improved" location! I am currently at the Lake of the Ozarks in these strange little octagonal cabins. How nice!  Maybe I'll give a thorough description of how there are mirrors everywhere, and all of the walls are windows. Oh wait. That is basically the descriptions. But that's true. The mirrors and the window outer wall thing. That's most of it.

And now I'm working on new knitting projects, reading new books, watching new movies, and living all of the dreams. The rents are enjoying Modern Family, and being about as productive as myself. In other words, "very." I will say that there are a few things missing here: Oreo, Minnie, and Tonks... But there's something about driving for several hours with unhappy cats that seems unappealing. Strange.

I'm sorry there is less to report. I have survived all of the games of the hunger so far. I mean, I don't even know who the other tributes are... I'm an only child.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Literary Theory Takes Revenge on the Capitol

Yup. I turned into that person. I read the entire day. Actually, I should be more specific. I read The Hunger Games all day. The good news? It's over. I finished it. The other good news? I now feel like I have an actual license to mock it. That must be encouraging right? For instance, I have decided to apply my English major to this work for kicks and giggles. Looking at this work through a similar lens as you would for Ayn Rand would be just so very interesting. Or simply comparing the two! Oo  just shivers of joy. Or, for the more creative and spontaneous of you, to think of it not as a simple book about games and warfare and love and all of that, but rather think of it as a porn film. No, seriously. Box office hit if I've ever heard of one.

I'm sorry that's all terribly offensive. So I'll try to redeem some of my classy points by telling you that I have finished season 2 of Downton Abbey. They're British, it makes them far classier than anything we could have futuristically staged in the nooks and crannies of the Rockies. Lesbereal. Whatever scandal falls on the house is really much classier than children being thrown into an arena like a gladiatorial match a la Hannah Montana.

Speaking of Hannah, I wonder if we could actually stage a Hunger Games, but bill it as the best of teen pop. Justin Bieber (Fever in deed....), Hannah Montana, Or they should just make the movie with the people playing themselves in the roles of the other tributes....  We'd have to pick someone really good to be Katniss and Peeta.  I'm voting Britney and Cee Lo, just to shake things up.  And whoever else is particularly annoying this week will have to go too.. That must mean that Rebecca Black is signed up 17 times.

Therefore it will begin on Friday.

Aren't you excited? I can't take all the credit for this idea, Amanda has given me plenty of fodder for discussion over long van rides. This one shall be the first on the docket in the fall.

In other news, made some delicious grilled cheese. I won't lie, my favorite is still the camenbert with spinach and apricot, but this one was pretty good. Here's the recipe for what I made this evening.. but I didn't make the spread with the kale and whatnot (it's enough of a struggle getting my father to eat the avocados...) and instead I added some apricot jam.  I might try some different variations of it, but it was good for the evening. I do know that finding the right brand of mozzarella is crucial. EUROPE! WHY HAVE YOU LEFT ME?!?!?!?!??!!?

Sorry I had to get that out of my system.

On a much happier note, I was notified that I am now the godmother of Rothko, Vanessa's new beta fish. I'm just thrilled. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Roots and Katniss

Please, notice the title of this post, it'll be useful later.

I caved. I gave in. I quit.

Those are not things you usually hear me say, but I guess it's true in this case. I'm officially reading the Hunger Games. "But Kelsey, why? You're an English major! You should be reading things like Austen, Delillo, and Hawthorne- not that book by Suzanne Collins. How silly of you!" I know. I know. But I've actually caved to peer pressure. And by peer pressure, I include my mother. Yes, my mother. I figured if the book is meant for the 9-15 crowd, and my mother has already read all three, it's about time I at least skimmed them. Though let's be real, I know what happens, I do use the internet and I do have friends. The fact that I have friends that like to talk only makes this problem worse. But with any luck, I'll have all three done before I return to the land of the lakes and I will be back to reading the literary pillars of the world.

I would also like to mention that I am writing this in conjunction with my food baby, procured from my Aunt and Uncle's restaurant.  This is the point where I will shamelessly plug the Gobblers Roost.  My uncle Kent and aunt Kathy do a magnificent job over-feeding the hungry who arrive at the door. I'm pretty sure the cooking thing runs in the family... Genetics are weird like that. (For instance, my father is the only one of his three siblings who has not had his own restaurant for a while. Think about that one.) From the atmosphere in the practical middle of nowhere, to the five-course dinner, to the fact that I get to chit-chat with the family for a few hours makes it all worth it. It's not too often that all of those happen in one place, but Green Springs Missouri, well I'll be! Sure does happen there!

And going out to visit, driving along the dirt roads in between fields and pasture reminds me of my roots a little bit. I've survived in a giant city, and a tiny town this year, strictly rural isn't that far away, and I'm sure I'd love that too. At least for a while. Then we'd have to figure something else out.

So I'll leave you by reminding you how clever the title of this post was. Katniss Roots are edible. DUH.

Ok, I'm done. I've been making "good" jokes all day, and no one laughed at those either.

Summer Accomplishments? What are those?

Oh the accomplishments of the day run rampant and are only really considered accomplishments when you don't have to write them on resumes or have nothing more exceptional to do. Regardless, they make me feel like I've done something other than read, cook, watch hours of television, and knit. Therefore, they are much appreciated and should be listed here in full. Ahem.

I finally, after literally months of self restraint and effective prioritizing, have finished The Help. Yes, yes, I know. "How long could it possibly have taken you? You're an English major, you read all the time." Sort of. I read for class, yes, but my days of reading things for kicks and giggles seems to have dwindled down to spare moments and the free things I can find on the app store. So this little paperback, traveled many miles more than it had pages. Let's face it, I brought it to Europe last August, and finished it the next May? Not exactly the quick read I wanted it to be. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will now permit myself to watch the movie.

I finished 2 (count them 1, 2) knitting projects in the past two days. So to Andrea, I'm shipping your scarf either tomorrow or the following day. I finally managed to find both the right yarn and the right pattern. Huzzah! And (drum roll please) I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED THAT BABY BLANKET!!!! (Cheers and applause, cheers and applause). As many of you know, both of my darling siblings decided that it was a good idea to have children two months apart. As thrilling as this is for them to grow up at the same time, it's absolutely killing my knitting.  When I was home during Christmas break after I got back from abroad, I managed to whip out a scarf and one blanket. But the second blanket (and that previously mentioned scarf for that matter) were sorely hampered by this whole school thing. So for that I'm sorry, and it's all done now! Baby Pete! You will overheat this summer in Texas, but if you ever come up to visit, it'll be nice and toasty! I'm actually kind of surprised my fingers are still functioning. I thought they would fall off from the hours I spent knitting tonight. I'll let you know if I'm typing my blog with my nose in the morning-sometimes gangrene takes a while to really set in.

Past that my mother reconfirmed that I'm kind of blind, but that's what she does for a living, so brava. I asked for a seeing eye dog, that was a no go. All I'm saying is that seeing eye cats are extremely unreliable. When was the last time your seeing eye dog spontaneously chased a mouse? Or climbed a tree and refused to get down even for the nice attractive fireman who showed up out of the kindness of his heart? Or slept for hours and refused to be moved from the lovely couch cushion? Hmm? Oh, your seeing eye dog has never done that? Well, if I employed any one of my cats for that, I'm sure my adventures would be far more entertaining than me completing knitting projects.

But in all reality... Now that I've accomplished most of the things I set out for the summer... I'm probably going to have to begin a "Choose your own adventure" Blog.... I begin a story, set out the options, and you have to pick what happens next.  Who's up for a challenge? Ready to participate? I'll let you think about it for a while, but it's a real possibility with this Blog-off with Michelle (Yeah, this Michelle: Just a Chef's Daughter--Basically check it out... Or be very sad you didn't).

So look at your life, look at your choices. And maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to make some of your own.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Real Scoop

Today's entry is so named for all of the scooping I have done today. All kitchen related, I promise.

The menu today:
Baked Acorn Squash stuffed with mangos, Crasins, pecans, and topped with brown sugar.
Steamed Broccoli
And Mini Apple Pies

Feeling pretty damn accomplished.

But because I know all of you are such curious chipmunks, I thought I would document my culinary creativity for your benefit. I'm so nice. So here goes.

Thanks to this new-fangled thing called Pinterest, I have begun melting my mind by scrolling through this seemingly endless webpage of unrelated things and I have found some tasty recipes. Not the least of which is one for Mini Apple Pies. (

As you can see, they are indeed apple pies, MADE INSIDE AN APPLE. How brilliant is that?! That way you can eat all of it. Every single last morsel is edible. Except for the dishes you had to put them in, don't eat those, you'll get indigestion and die. Instead of giving you the play by play here about cooking and such, I'll just post some pictures so you can compare my relative success to that of the more professional looking blog where I found it. If I'm feeling witty, I'll include peanut gallery commentary.

Step 1: Carve out apples like you do pumpkins for Halloween. Hint: Grapefruit spoons are awesome.
If you're not paying attention, that's the four mostly whole looking apples sitting in the upper right hand side of the picture.
Step 2: Cut up a couple more apples and use some cinnamon sugar magic on it. That's the stuff in the bowl on the bottom left hand side. Just an FYI.
Step 3:  Put product of Step 2 into product of Step 1. And place in bowl thing.
Step 4: Make pie crust. Grandma's secret. 
Step 5: Make fancy pattern with cut up product of Step 4 and place over completed Step 3.
Step 6: Bake.
Step 7: To be continued. (HINT: It happens at the end of the next chapter)

So the next thing that had to be done is to make all of the rest of dinner. Woof. Good thing I had my newly acquired Madame Butterfly on vinyl to help my house wife tendencies emote/fumigate. (I'm not sure that's the right conglomeration of words, but I think you get the point.)

Next up to the chopping block was this pair of acorn squash. (I'm not sure how many different ways you could read that sentence with different emphasis, but it's got to be good.) And I won't lie to you. I had about 2 steps of this plan mapped out. Basically something like. Kelsey get gourd, Kelsey get mango.... And that's all I've got. Some how they were supposed to go together. Where's the recipe? Don't got none. This is what we call free styling it. Word.

When I began to refine my plan a bit more (basically after I went grocery shopping) and the next step involved something akin to King Arthur and Excalibur. What kind of knife/sword I was using is irrelevant, but the point was that I had a knife/sword stuck in a gourd/rock for a while. If you would like to picture me in armor and flailing madly in time to lyric arias, go ahead. Who am I to stop you? But it worked... eventually. 

Step 1: Win battle with gourd/squash. Do not squash gourd. 

Step 2: Pull out that nifty grapefruit spoon again and wield it against the squash. You've already done this with an apple, now you should APPLy your experience to the basics of squash.

This is just a picture of the vague idea ish. 
Step 3: Bake squash for 20 minutes face down on cookie sheet (note that the cookie sheet should not have cookies on it currently-that's a project for another day)
Step 4: While the first baking process is happening on the other side of the kitchen-Skin and mangle the mango.
Step 4: Flip vinyl of Madame Butterfly over. 
Step 5: Once those are out of the oven, place whatever you can find in the hollowed out hole of the squash. I happened to use the recently mangled mango, some Crasins, and some pecans. I threw on some brown sugar just because I'm so sweet, but that's not required. Nothing ever is.
Step 6: Bake. For some time.
Step 7: Serve and Eat!

The steamed broccoli was in there too, but much more conventional than my other two experiments for the day. 

Don't forget to complete Step 7 of chapter 1, which is a lot like Step 7 of chapter 2. 

Grandma was over for dinner (I mean, with that kind of meal, I'm shocked there weren't 25 people just sitting in my driveway). Always a treat. Having fun and finishing some knitting projects after dinner. 

Success-full day. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Survived Another Iowan Drive

As summer has arrived, there are some things that are bound to happen, and I thought I would write them here to hold myself accountable, and so you can know about this.

1) I am going to attempt to blog every day this summer. You'd better hope that I come up with something extravagant to do this summer amidst all of the regular things that I occasionally do.

2) Those of you who where part of the Letter Leader Board last summer, it's your lucky day! The LLB is happening again, and I can't wait!  So facebook me your address and I'll send you the first letter, but it's up to you to continue the trend. I promise to write back, but so do you.  Sound like a plan? Good, I'm glad you are all on board. So message or text me your addresses and I'll get to penning some witty letters.

3) This summer will be so much fun. Mariecus and Ava, it's gonna be a blast.

4) Amanda S is determined to find the hidden treasures of this blog. Good luck.

5) Best things about summer so far: Cats, hammock, books, skype, and the fact that I can sleep for days.

Magnificent. I shall keep the the most updated about my adventures.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

More Rothko? Ok.

"The ideal teacher in charge of the creative art activity must possess a twofold equipment. First, in common with every teacher he has the insight and training to evaluate the character, background and potentialities of the child; his very presence and manner create an atmosphere of ease and confidence; and he shares the general idea of social adjustment of the educational process of which this activity is a part.  Secondly, and this is really the important qualification in this study, he must possess the sensibility of an artist. Art must be to him a language of lucid speech inducing the understanding and exaltation which art properly inspires. It is the artist teacher who has fulfilled that role with the most frequent success. Because art is his own best mode of expression, and because of his intimate relationship with it and its methods, both in his own expression and that of other artists both past and present, he is likely to have developed that sensibility to a higher degree than others whose only contact with art is from the point of view of the observer." --Mark Rothko

Incase you needed more Rothko, BAM. Wish granted. 

Now I would like you to do a little exercise with me, think about your favorite teachers. The professors in college, the teachers you had in high school, the coaches, the leaders, the ones that inspired you, the ones that made the difference in your life. 

I've thought of mine. I hope you did.

And if you so desire, you should write them a little note. Facebook them. Email them. Tell them if you have them in class the next day. They are phenomenal, and you should tell them. 

Like a boss. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Oh for the love of Rothko

Someday, I want to be Simon Schama. Where I can say things like this, "The blaring horns of mustard-colored cabs, screeching cell phones- and those screaming into them bury the pulsating, meditative hum emanating from the sequence of paintings hung from the facades of buildings covered in a thin film of city exhaust." in a British accent and not be looked at like I'm crazy. 

Speaking of Simon, I had forgotten about baby Schama who shows up in the Rothko one. Heavens, just the best. Oh, and he cooks? Yeah, that's ideal.  That's basically what I want to do with my life. Speak in a British accent about art. 

I suppose that applies to Sister Wendy too.....  But it's a life choice. 

In later news, choir auditions were good (now I can go hug a frickin' tree!--shout out to Paige) Then some Linus: funny as per usual.  It was good to have a hearty laugh in the midst of Stressville, MN.  Shortly followed by the ever classy Midnight Express where you stuff yourself to plumb full and call it a day. 

And now that I've caught you up on my entire life, (It's the most depressing when nothing has happened and it's a really short post and then I say something expansive like, my entire life, and it was encapsulated in under 300 words.) I am hitting the books again and trying not to get distracted with art theories and intelligent British men spouting snapshots of art history.

Wish me luck!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Plate Juggling

You know those people who have to take all of the plates off the tables during banquets?  Yeah, the ones that don't really have faces, but seem to carry a lot of things on big platters and that way you don't have to get up and burn 3 calories for the food you're eating? Yeah, those people.

I was one of those people today.

And for my first foray into the, we'll call it the "food industry" it was interesting. Partly because I knew a lot of the people in the banquets, partly because, well, it was interesting. From seeing the inner workings of the Caf that always looks so presented on the outside, to actually having the experience of serving people.

I think it would be trite to say that it was a humbling experience. Exhausting maybe, but my four hour shit wasn't to the tipping point of tipping over, but I honestly think that my Uncle Kent does it right as far as the restaurant biz goes: on your own terms.

That being said, I think it is easy on both sides to get frustrated with the other. Slow service vs picky requests. They both get obnoxious after a point, but it's just as bad the other way too: service too fast (one of the things that was so shocking coming back from Italy, where everything is an experience not just a meal) and eating something that could kill you with allergic reactions. So don't do that.

But everything went swimmingly, and I learned a lot. If I had more of a mental focus I would tell you about all of the magical things that I learned (which incidentally were about a lot about the State Hospital down the road, and various other tidbits) but I really should be editing papers and doing a review about my Contemporary Art class. That should be a cathARTic vent session. I'm so classy.

Monday, May 14, 2012

In Memoriam.

And here you thought it could just be a laughing day. LIES. 

Almost immediately after finishing my blog post earlier today, I found out that one of my teachers from high school passed away. Mr. Robert Demeritt was a brilliant man who had too much knowledge for one short, jaunty man. He was a true inspiration for the students he taught, all the while dressed up in a bow tie. Although I only had him as a scheduled teacher for a semester, the impact that he has had on the lives around me and the lessons he taught through the way he lived his life are pervasive. From the ability to speak seriously-but not too seriously, to always leading with a smile, to never losing the ability to dance, these true life lessons make the biggest difference in nearly all situations.  I'm proud to be his student, and I know I will remember him fondly many years from now. 

As much as I would like to elaborate on the kinds of things that Mr. Demeritt managed to cram into my skull, I think another Barstow teacher beat me to the punch with his homage-a-la-art. Mr. Luce took the painting right out of my brain (it's kind of like taking the words right out of your mouth, but for art history nerds). Rothko expresses every part of this turmoil of emotions, and does so stunningly. 

Thanks Mr. Luce for that piece of prose.

And thank you Mr. Demeritt for changing every life you encountered. 

My subconscious has invented adventures-I need to get out more.

Let's talk for a moment about dreams.

As of late, I have had 3 extraordinarily strange dreams. And since I'm looking to kill some time before I wander for an hour in pollen infested air and then go attempt to sing my very best for some people that will help determine my schedule next year. THIS JUST IN. CHORAL AUDITIONS HAVE BEEN RESCHEDULED. [This means that I have to care if I have a voice for the next three days and not just for this evening. BOO. Maybe all of the pollen in the immediate area will go away and I'll be singing beautifully and not carrying around a giant roll of toilet paper in my backpack because it's cheaper than tissues] I'll write what I remember of them (the dreams... I know I got a bit sidetracked) here. I hope you are as thoroughly confused as I was/am.

1) The first of these strange night visions was one that was set up in the likeness of a mystery novel. I assume it must be telling me what I should do this summer: read. None the less, here goes.

The Secret of the Roll Top Desk

Though I had had no intentions of becoming so thoroughly entrenched in the daily affairs of my home town, this mystery couldn't be ignored. I found out that the local jewelry store had been experiencing some major problems with deliveries recently. Suspecting something rotten, I began to look into the situation. Turns out that someone had been holding up the delivery truck and stealing all of the valuables! (Dun Dun DUN!) Naturally, I stumbled along with some clues, (I'm really just trying to put the pieces together here... It must have happened, because the first clue couldn't have been the last one) and got my friend _________ to join me. (I have no idea who this person was. Chances are that I was actually Nancy Drew and this was George-yes, the girl/BFF of Nancy- are extremely high) (I don't know how I feel about my subconscious portraying myself as a red-head.....) Regardless, we went into this mysterious room, where the carpet was shag avocado and the most important feature was this roll top desk, seemingly an antique. I had a specific hunch about the contents of this desk.  So closing the door to this room carefully (this is a mystery, there is excitement, I'm not supposed to be in this room) and knelt down next to this desk. I opened the drawers on the right hand side of the desk all the way. The desk was entirely empty, but there was nothing behind the drawers as I had suspected. Disappointed that my big clue turned up empty, ___________ and I left the room with nothing to show of our adventure.

Another transport of jewels had been intercepted! Once the coast was clear, I dragged ____________ back to the room where the desk was, sure this time we would catch them in the act! I opened up the same drawer, this time to find a hidden panel. When I touched the corner of the panel, the plank swung open to reveal this mysterious alternate desk (basically just like the real one, but on the other side... it was weird). As with most roll top desks, the one had several little drawers (I assume to be used for office supplies and really small children). I opened the first drawer, nothing. I opened the second drawer to find the entire thing filled to the brim with pearls! ___________ and I looked at each other thinking we had finally cracked the case. Then there was a knock at the door. Someone had found us finding them.

[Dun Dun DUN!!!! CLIFFHANGER!!!]

And then I woke up.

2) The second dream I had was somewhat less logical and more frustrating than anything else.

What I Wouldn't Give for a Cookie

The forensics team was eating in the Caf before we went to the theme park. (This is going to happen) I was really hungry, and no loyal Gustie can pass up an opportunity for Frost-Your-Owns [hence forth referred to as FYOs] decided to get 2 of them-purple frosting with blue and white sprinkles. Yum. Everyone had just left, and Hannah and I went to go put our trays on the tray rack.  Well, the tray rack was moving extremely fast and only had the top rack of trays.  Needless to say this was going to make me putting my tray up there very difficult. Somehow I managed, but in this endeavor, I left my SSI drawstring bag (including my car keys) also on the rack. But worst of all, I left my FYOs on the tray too! Woe! I realized this as Hannah and I were waiting in line to get on the pendulum roller coaster. Realizing that we weren't going to make it on in that rush, I rushed back to the tray rack and grabbed my now soggy bag and keys, but figured I should get those cookies while I was there (obviously not concerned that they could have been equally wet) and after two attempts to snag them off of the carousel,  Hannah convinced me that this was a less good idea than I had thought. Sad Panda. By the time we got back to the ride, Dr. Dean was there and Hannah and I were the only two in line, so we got on the giant roller coaster (conveniently located right outside the Caf).  This thing was huge and involved some kind of water feature.  So Hannah and I climbed aboard, and prepared to get soaked.

And then I woke up.

I'm still craving a FYO.

3) I'll warn you, this one is the strangest one yet. Very little of it will make any sense. I'm sorry.

Mammalian Denizens (a phrase I have learned from my Physical Geography class.. who said I didn't pay attention)

I went to what seemed to be a horse stable with the intention of learning some sort of derivation of polo that involved caribou and narwhals. Stay with me here. Apparently, you had to learn how to ride caribou before you learned how to ride narwhals. I'm not quite sure why, but you did and they were similar, so that's all I know. This stable had both caribou (to practice) and then once you managed to catch your own narwhal (think Avatar here) you got to ride one of those. But they had narwhals to practice with (both riding and catching).  I am so skilled, I knew the basics of narwhal riding and had started the course over again to help those who were with me. Now Cadi was there, and the other person was either Courtney (a current freshman on the team) or Elizabeth (an incoming freshman).  Regardless, Cadi was an expert caribou rider, and was seeing if I could teach/help the under class men. So even though I was pretty good dealing with the caribou, there was a sudden flood in the stable. The tanks that had held the narwhals had been opened and they were swimming around. Our task was to test our skills at capturing the narwhals, while riding the caribou (again think that scene in Avitar where Jack uses the the smaller flying reptile thing to catch the big flying reptile thing). I'm watching Courtney/Elizabeth freak out because she can't control her caribou and Cadi is yelling for me to help her figure it out. After taking stock of the situation I am yelling over the sound of the rushing water, for her to follow what I do-shift her weight, hold on tight and move forward etc.

And then I woke up.

If this doesn't make you question my sanity, I don't know what will.

Anyway. those are the dreams I've had recently....  This is what I get for getting more sleep than usual. Good grief.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dancing... all of the time.

Sittin' in the Team room. Talking about life. The usual.

After sitting in the library doing work with Hannah, listening to musicals and chatting about life and getting it done. So needless to say, it was a productive and well spent afternoon, I mean if you like writing papers and the like. Top notch.

Occasionally I wonder what the other people think when they see me dancing in the library.  Then I realize that I don't care, and continue to dance. Sorry not sorry.

I'm off to the land of dreams. Like a boss. Night y'all!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I'm almost certain I didn't do that.

Observations of prospective students on campus for the first time:

1) The Caf is forced to show off-great food for everyone!
2) People watching galore.
3) Pick out the real GAC students because they don't use trays-unlike the entire visiting population.
3a) They also got something other than pizza, chicken tenders, fries, and pie. Also, the GAC students didn't want to wait in the mega lines-so they went to the Veggie line and called it a day.
4) Freshmen are looking younger and younger every year. I'm pretty sure that one is 7.
5) Confused faces of parents and prospies alike as they see the experienced students weave in and out of the Caf in the amount of time it took them to pick out silverware.

Fun story. As Hannah and I were eating lunch, we were at a table next to what seemed to be a lovely family. However, in true fashion, Hannah and I were talking about any number of happenings of things around campus-from the wonderful people who populate the hall I live on, or the visit day itself, my weird cliffhanger dreams and after filling up our water bottles, I was packing up my computer to move to the library and I hear the father say, "she's on the forensics team."

Am I?


How do you know that?

Was it the singing of Legally Blonde? Or the fact that I was gesturing like an Italian? Or that I did an average number of 3 character pops per topic? Or did I say really loudly without realizing it, "I'M ON THE FORENSICS TEAM! HEAR ME ROAR!"

I don't remember doing that last one, but it is Saturday, so I can't be held responsible for anythings that seem out of character. (Which character you ask? Your guess is as good as mine.)

Regardless, I didn't know how to react to this confession. I could have approached them, volunteered to talk about the school, tell them about the forensics team. Instead, I looked at them quizzically (probably not my most attractive face) and continued to pack my bag.

And with that, music blasting from the pumpiest of pump up playlists, I call it a day and shall retire to frivolity and non homework until the morning.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Earth Jammin' Up My Days

Post all of the days!!!

I have a new goal for the summer that includes me blogging every day. Who's pumped? You should be.  Why? Because this blog will the the sole source of entertainment for your monotonous days of boredom and sunshine (and mosquitos if you are so Minnesotanly inclined). Basically, you are welcome.

So with that in mind, I'm hearing the sweet tones of Earth Jam Revolution is floating melodiously though the panes of my window (which is shut because of the damn pollen... and the fact that it's going to rain for sure tonight).  And after a good rinsing (see previous post) my sinuses are grateful for the grounding effect of precipitation.

Maybe if I spent as much time writing papers as I did blogging, I wouldn't have to work on papers this weekend.

Oh well. Not like that's going to happen.

So the plans for the rest of the weekend, besides the writing of the papers, will be to maybe have a wee bit o fun, and cleanse my aura with some popcorn and movies with Hannah. It shall be splendid-I do declare!

There was probably something else really important that I was going to say here, but the pollen count is actually destroying braincells so I cannot be held accountable for much of anything. That's going to be a bummer with finals coming up. Boo that.

Any whoozle-bears. I'm off to peruse the shelves of the library for some sweet flicks.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Snot No More!

Let's have a discussion about Netti Pots. Yes, I'm going to go there, and guess what, you don't have to! Too bad, it's going to be a slick ride.

I think they're magical. The pure freedom after sloshing the contents of your sinuses into a sink using a cleverly engineered low pressure straw system.  Stunning really. And let me tell you, even though I'm still battling this allergy thing, there are those priceless moments of being able to breathe without your own breath rattling in your ears. Hearing what's actually around you instead of the muffled shouts of your mind. No big deal. I just thrill at those few minutes.

And I have heard of the deadly zombie parasite/alien thing that can eat your brain if you don't use your Netti Pot correctly, but I promise to use only suitable water sources that have been purified and not pull any water from the Minnesota River.

And to the athletes who are grossed out by the snot being squirted from my nose, too bad. Sorry not snotty. (see what I did there? That was clever.)

On a totally different note, we had our choir banquet this evening and it was precious. With everyone chatting and watching the slideshow and handing out funny awards. Keep it up cool people.

And lastly, do not underestimate the power of the crossword. They are addictive and they are currently keeping me very amused. For serious. Just the most interesting, and by that I mean frustrating. But still, I'm intrigued, and that counts for something.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Weather... and other tales blown in from the recent past

"With the chance I've been given, I'm gonna be driven as hell!" -Legally Blonde the Musical
Well, there's that for a study night. Me. In the library. With a soundtrack. Nothing that different from normal. In all probability, it's a little different considering that I'm in the library, disrupting the majority of studying students with my dancing and sneezing. I'm not sure if I'm using this quotation as a sense of motivation for myself now that speech is done, that I identify with it, or that it's just freaking catchy. But regardless, I'm sticking with it now.

Oh yes, MN has caught up with the rest of the world, it's allergy season here and that means I'm probably the most worthless here pretty soon. The good news is that Voice Juries are done, and so is the Forensics showcase (Pictures? Some are really attractive, so be jealous:, so the meetings are wrapping up and so are my speaking obligations. That means that my semester is also getting progressively less fun. Instead of performing, talking, or having any kind of strange adventures, I'm stuck with the regular kinds of adventures you can have by making regular days awkward days around the people you don't know. Sound familiar? Need I remind you about all of the strange people I happen to wink at? Or the ones that "judge" (read: envy) me for dancing recklessly in the library? There are many of those occurrences.

Other things of interest as of late. Let me list them, everyone loves lists.

1) Dancing in the down pour of rain with Vanessa. I mean this was of biblical proportions. The kind that you envision flash flood warnings coming from. We got out there within the first 10 minutes of the rain starting and the drains were already over flowing, the puddles in the street over ankle deep, and people everywhere! So much splashing and being wonderful individuals. Needless to say, I have a few goals in life, and one is that when given the opportunity to dance in the rain: do so with glee.

2)Tornado watch at GAC. Silly Minnesotans. Rain does not equal deadly twister. And if it does, get me cell service and internet in whatever hovel of a basement of a building you are going to sequester me. Boo.

3) Found out some rooming things (not for sure, but it's gonna happen) for the summer. Ava, me, Mariecus, and Colleen. What a splendid group full of all kinds of amazing wonderful adventure potential.

4) Speaking of summer, if you are reading this and like to get letters, give me a holler and an address for the summer and we shall initiate Letter Leader Board Phase 2! I write letters like I listen to Ke$ha: all da time. And often her lyrics make an appearance in said letters. It's a good deal.

5) Choir tour. This actually happened before #1 over here, but it deserves mention. It was fun, we survived it. Saw some GAC history, laughed a little, met some good people, sang pretty. Yup.

6) OH (not Ohio, that was three weeks ago), last weekend (honors day and that stuff) there was this dance milieu that was the shit! Pardon my French, but seriously, the best. Props to all of you dancers out there who happen to read this. Our Place, In Place was super spectacular.  Gave me shivers every time.

7) Speech people are fascinating individuals who tend to make regular life more interesting just by using facial expressions that don't typically appear in daily conversation. I like that.

8) Apparently one of my projects for the summer is going to be burning discs off of my hard drive...  My computer seems to think that it is full of pictures and music. How silly.

9) Cross words are fun and occasionally make you feel smart. Thanks Ch-low for that tip. I'll now sometimes feel smart while I am maintaining my A in Stats.

10) There may or may not be an escaped State Hospital patient running around on campus. We have had many alerts but I like to think of him meditating in the arb, or streaking the football field, or just watching the mysterious dial in Nobel, or climbing the art building. Mostly because those are the first things I'd do if I escaped the State Hospital in St. Peter. Chances are that he's hitched a ride someone, I would be hard pressed to climb a hill after working so hard to get outside walls.

You lucky mallards, two posts in a day. Dig it. Live it. Love it.

Escalators: We're moving up in the world.

Apparently, I haven't blogged in so long that Blogger changed up everything up on me!  Here's to learning something new about formatting.

Oh where to begin? NFA? That sounds about right... I think.

So seven creative and slightly crazy individuals loaded up a ten passenger van and decided to drive from Minnesota to West Virginia. Why West Virginia? Because there was a national tournament in Ohio. Duh. More clarification is on the way, let me explain. The tournament was in Athens, Ohio (it's actually more fun to say, "I'm going to Athens for a week. Kisses!" but they only envy you until they find out you are lying.) But considering that every one in the country who owns a suit was also going to Athens for the week, we were forced to get a hotel room slightly farther away.... In Parkersburg, West Virginia. That's about an hour away for those of you who aren't geography whizzes. Regardless, that makes 16 hours in a van traversing across 6 states. That's right, MN, IA, IL, IN, OH, and WV. BAM. Though we travel cross country relatively often, there is always that breaking point where everything is funny. EVERYTHING. Suddenly as people are giggling about murals of rams, and hypothetical situations that involve fist fights in suits, there's a moment where everything makes sense. I mean why not drive a ten passenger van across the United States to wear suits at ungodly hours and talk at people for trophies? Obvious decision.  I will say that this distance thing played in our favor at least in some ways. For instance, When was the last time you fit 5 girls in one hotel room comfortably? Hmm? I didn't hear you, you said 'never' right? WRONG! It happened.

Imagine this with me for a moment. Open the door and there are three beds pushed up against the wall directly opposite the door.... But you have to take about 4 giant steps to get from the door to the foot of the nearest bed. Once you are there, you must shout to make the the person who is standing across the room hear you. This is an amphitheater. A place where you can do an entire floor routine with ease (provided that you can do a floor routine), run sprints and/or relays, pitch tents, and learn to ski. I'm kidding, there's no snow. But it seems so silly to have to yell at your teammate while she straightens her hair just to get her attention. There were cartwheels done. That's all I'm saying.

NFA went how NFA does. It starts slowly (UNDERSTATEMENT) and then 3 days later, acts like a regular tournament when you don't really have time to eat and adrenaline is pumping all the time. But those are out-round days... Short list of successful things: Me-Quarterfinals Drama, Chloe-Quarterfinals ADS, Semifinals-Inform, Final Prose (3rd), Kaitlin- Quarterfinals Persuade, and Finals in Forensics Criticism (3rd). Not half bad right? Go scary cats! Wait for it. Awards finally rolls around, and we are frantically counting how many events we brought.  Each division is divided up according to how many slots your brought. Division III: 1-17 slots. Division II: 18-26 (That's us), Division I: 27-48, and Open: All the other slots. So with our total of 26 slots, we won our division. But the shocking part is that our point total bumped us into the Open Division and placed 9th! HOLY GUACAMOLE! The proudest scary cat.

Then there's the reverse tale of driving back home... You know, like counting license plates, playing tag (outside, in the gas station, in the van... it's a long drive ok, stop judging me), inventing games that involve pillows, crackers, and sleep deprived people=olympic sport, singling loudly, staring contests (KBG and Shelbs 10:00.....  not exact, but definitely certifiable), and knitting. Ok the knitting was just me, but still. I like to think it was productive, or part of it was. I will finish that baby blanket if it kills me. The most miraculous part is that super star Cadi drove the whole thing by herself. What a beast. We will break the NFA two-clap rule to give her a standing O. Back on campus, and it's the weirdest to not climb in a ten passenger van every weekend.

So I'm going to wrap this up here. And if I'm really good I'll let myself blog again soon... maybe even sooner than you think.