November 12, 2010

To Sir, With Love

When I was little, a black cat crept up onto our porch and just. wouldn't. leave.

Mom refused to let us keep him because we already had two cats. Except that the real reason she didn't want us to keep him was that he was one of "the Nellum family cats." They just allowed their cats to run around, never spaying or neutering, and mom would put literature in their mailbox about how wrong it was and swore up and down that we would never get one of their cats.

I was a very cute 3rd grader and he wouldn't go away, and what other possible outcome was there? That cat became Sir.

He used to hate being held, so I would walk around with him wrapped in my down blanket so he wouldn't scratch me. I would take him into my room and close the door and make him let me pet him, chase him under the bed. I'm not sure how long it took, but eventually, he would let me pet him without restraining him. After a very long while, he became attached. He became my cat. I became his person.

When mom moved to Kentucky before I graduated high school, she took all our pets with us, with the single exception of Sir. And thank God she left him with me. It was a terrible time, saying goodbye to the house, my high school, and everyone else, and at the end of the day all I needed was to go home and see my cat--the same cat that I had had for nearly ten years at that point.

When I left for college, I promised myself (and my cat) that I would never move anywhere without him again. A year ago, I blogged about how Sir had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and was losing weight, something I discovered while trying to get him a sedative for the 7 hour drive to DC. Sir hated the pills and they ultimately made him sick, so I stopped forcing them on him. We moved back home and Sir helped me deal with being 23 and living in my mother's basement.

In the past year, his weight cut in half again, despite mom sneaking him cheese sticks from Arby's and buying $15 cat food that is designed to help kittens gain weight. Also in the past year, I had to break the promise to myself to never leave him again. Mom took care of him while I lived with grandma working for Jack Conway. She said the entire time she just prayed that he didn't die on her watch.

I came home Saturday afternoon and Sir was unwell. He would eat a few bites and then lay down, and didn't do that thing he always did where he would purr when he ate. He didn't get all up in my face when I was sitting in the bed, eating cheez-its or Triscuits (two of his favorites, but he didn't discriminate: he loved PB & J, spaghetti, ham). He didn't insist on me kissing the top of his head (read: ram the top of his head into my face). He didn't come when he was called. He was falling apart. I was hoping he was just ill, just a cold. His nose was running, after all. I was sure it would be okay.

I was supposed to go to Columbus that night in a car Tim rebuilt, and I got all the way up there, all the way to the Lane Ave exit, and the car just stopped. Just. Stopped. So I called AAA and since they tow 100 miles free, I had it towed all the way back to Burlington and just paid for the 35 miles overage.

It was 1:30am. Sir was still unwell, but when I got in and he started to eat, he purred again. I took this to mean he was feeling better, doing well. On the road to recovery. I picked him up and took him to bed at around 2:30. I woke up the next morning. Sir did not.

Fifteen years. It's unbelievable to me that after all this time he's just gone. Either way, thank God the car died and Sir spent the last night of his life the way he would have wanted: with tuna on his face and next to his person. With that tooth hanging out that I used to poke sometimes when he was asleep. (He loved that, let me tell you.)

November 05, 2010


For those of you that haven't figured it out based on Twitter feeds, AP Photos, or just because I told you, I have been working on Jack Conway's US Senate campaign for the past four months. This explains why I have been unable to post very often: long hours and not a lot to talk about other than work, which I wasn't really able to talk much about.

But Jack Conway lost, and remains our Attorney General.

I have gotten a lot of very kind texts and emails and phone calls, and for that, I thank all of you. I am going to try to reply here, to the best of my ability.

I. Am. Heartbroken. There's no way around that. I can't explain to someone that wasn't on my staff what it feels like to work 80 to 90 hours a week, to pour everything you have into something: a person, a cause, and to get denied it.

I can't explain what it feels like to stand behind a man I believe in--we all believed in--and hear him concede the right to represent me in the United States Senate to someone that doesn't understand the needs of this state, the realities of this state, the people that live in this state. I can't explain how jarring it is to see a person responsible for lifting my spirits on the worst of days, the longest of days, the hardest of days crying in front of 500 people without being able to wipe them away--a person who was never visibly stressed or upset. I can't explain it, but I'll try: it was devastating.

I try to explain why I would work as many hours as I did, as we all did: I couldn't get past the fact that my job could affect the balance of power in the senate, and even if it didn't, it affected directly Rand Paul's chances of becoming my senator. That you look over at the British kid, who could not be paid (it would have been illegal) and yet worked some of the longest hours on the entire staff. How can you complain about being paid peanuts when Ben works harder and longer for literally nothing? What drives us? Clearly not the pay. We just kept hoping, right until 7:15 on election night when the race was called by every major news outlet, that what we were doing would result in sending the right guy to the United States Senate. We all hoped and believed at varying degrees deep in our hearts, that it was possible. Impossible, improbable, but still--possible. That is why we do what we do.

I try to explain what the people mean to me. I spent all my hours with these people. The first time I cried in the office, I apologized profusely. A friend of mine said, "Chris, you can't apologize for showing your feelings in front of people you spend literally all your waking hours with. You have to be who you are--it's the only time you have to do so." And that's exactly right. We all had to be honest with each other. It was impossible to do otherwise. And that's why I know the staff members a whole lot better than I know a whole lot of people I've known a whole lot longer.

Maybe if we had run in a different year, and certainly if Jack had been from a different state. But here we are: Kentucky could not elect a democrat in 2010. It just wasn't possible. There is nothing we could have done. This serves as a comfort--we did everything we could, no regrets, kept fighting til the end. This serves as a crushing weight--why did we bother? Was this particular lost cause worth the heartbreak?

But yes. Yes it was. Because I had the chance to meet these people. He started the speech with the old adage "The joy is in the journey." And how different I'd feel now if the joy were also in the destination, but still--I will always have that journey. I had the chance to fight for something I believed in. I'm proud of what I did, how I grew, and honestly? If I can do this and come out saying I'm glad I did it, I'm not sure I'll ever find a job I can't come out having enjoyed. So long as I am surrounded by the same type of people I now have the fortune of calling my friends.

(On another tangent: I am not ashamed of my state, nor should you be. Rand Paul had a great message: "we need to pay down the debt. Oh, and also: Jack Conway is Barack Obama." It's hard to vote for anything else when this guy has the popular opinion on a hot topic, and can paint his opponent as a president that has a 33% approval rating. He won on issues--issues I take issue with, but that's another tangent. It was a tough year to be a democrat, and a lot of really great public servants lost last night. If Ted Strickland lost in Ohio, if Russ Feingold lost in Wisconsin, what hope did Jack Conway have in Kentucky? No, it's not a point of shame for us, we were one of many states that lost the opportunity to have the best person for the job fighting for us. Unfortunate, but true. Two years ago many states and districts lost the same opportunity.)

I try to explain the reaction I have to the following phrases: Hurd dat. Train. BUMPS IN THE WILD. Fave Muffs & Morn Smooth. Fleece Vests. Summer Camp. BBQ sign. Fancy Farm. Wat-bots. Fried cheese & carpet sauce. "I SEE A HUMAN!" Aqua Buddha blues. Top 40. Point Break Live. Meow. "This is Greg." Sportsmen...Is that like Cricket players? Akikos! Political meetings. "This is Chris Matthews." "Is this Michael?" "..." Brody's round-up. Favorite British person? Homo-tern.
But those things are ours, and ours alone. Thank you Conway Staff.

Dear Dr. Rand Paul,
Congratulations. The NRSC called Jack Conway the biggest pain in their collective asses (quite an honor for us), and you beat him.
Please remember us. Please remember that there are Kentuckians who believe in the Department of Education, Kentucky students who need their schools to have the support of the Federal Government, Kentucky families who need Pell Grants for their children. Please remember that for every dollar that Kentuckians send to Washington, we get $1.40 back. And that we need that extra $.40, because we are a poor state, with higher unemployment than in most other states. Please remember that because of this election, members of both the House and the Senate are either very liberal or very conservative, and while we know where you fall, we need you to meet somewhere in the middle. Please remember the disabled, the minorities, the women in this state and in this country.
Please remember that you are also my senator.

July 25, 2010

Louisville, Kentucky

I started a new temporary job in Louisville. I love this city. I also love the job, but the nature of it requires that it be temporary. The people are amazing, the job is fascinating, the hours are devilish, but it's an exciting place to be.

So that's why I haven't written. Basically all I do is work, and I can't talk so much about work.

Living with grandma gives me a headache. And a well-fed stomach. She likes to bring up all the things she hates about democrats and abortion and unemployment benefits and it gets to a point where I just walk out. Because I just cannot.

But at least she's told me she won't be voting for Rand Paul. In fact: "I hope Conway wins. I can't vote for him, I just don't agree with the things he does, but I do hope he wins."

That's some sort of progress, I guess.

July 01, 2010


So yesterday my mother and I went to visit Danda, the name we use for her father.

My mother's side of the family is a food family. That is, most of my memories of visits to Honey and Danda's house are marked by what I ate and who was cooking. Or trips to Graeters. Or trips to Dairy Queen (God, when you're 8, there is NOTHING better than a hot dog and a Blizzard. Still isn't, actually). There probably is not a cook better than my Honey was, but since she's gone, Danda has begun to make my most favorite thing in the world: pimiento cheese.

He measures the ingredients, but knows which spoon he uses and not how big said spoons are. I had to look at the spoons he used and write everything down. And now, world, here is the single greatest thing you will ever eat:

1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
1 pound EXTRA SHARP CHEDDAR cheese
7oz. jar of pimientos
3 squirts of lemon juice (this is the great family secret, see, because not a lot of people do this)
Miracle Whip to taste (people like theirs in varying textures. As my Danda says, though, "You can add more, but it's a hell of task trying to get it out." So underestimate.)

Put the cheese alone in your CuisinArt (mom just uses a cheese greater, but the texture is weird and undesirable) and spin until it begins to "rope up." That is Honey's term. Danda, who was teaching me this, has no idea what she meant but kept repeating it. So he just pulses it until it starts to stick together but is still in small chunks. Again, you don't want to overdo it because the cheese will turn into a cream.
Add everything else. Be sure to bitch about the pimiento jar. I've seen that man make this so many times, and it's always something: the lip of the jar makes it hard to get the pimientos out. Kroger's stopped selling the right brand or the right size. They don't look like the right color. I've begun to feel like this is the most important part.
Put in Miracle Whip in globs and mix, adding a little at a time until it's the right consistency.
Make an MCS.

I could have titled this entry any number of things, but MCS is the family abbreviation for Pimiento Cheese Sandwich. Honey ordered one once, long ago, and the waitress called back to the kitchen for "an MCS." The cook asked what in the hell she was talking about, and the waitress looks at him like he's the biggest moron alive: "MCS. Menner. Cheese. Sandwich."

June 17, 2010

Census took me on for another operation, so I'll likely be employed with them until at least the end of July.

Bittersweet, I guess. It IS a lot of money.

June 14, 2010

One Year Ago.

I graduated one year ago. Today.

John Glenn spoke to a graduating class of roughly eight thousand exactly a year ago (largest in Ohio State's history!). “We are more fulfilled when we are involved in something bigger than ourselves . . .”

It's weird. I thought I would be living in DC, I thought I would be working on the Hill, I thought I would be so so many things. I don't think I pictured any of what is currently happening in my life is something I imagined for myself. And yet--I'm happier now than I was a year ago. (Though a year and a HALF ago, mid-senior year at the happiest place on earth, maybe not.)

Anyway, things have been going pretty well. The Census is wrapping up, which makes my life a hell of a lot easier (though also a lot less profitable), and the restaurant has stopped putting 15 servers on for a weekday lunch, so I walk out of there with a decent amount of money. Life's pretty good. A year ago, I was severely depressed, feeling inadequate, frustrated. Hell, I felt that way six months ago. And I still have an occasional relapse. But today at work someone told me that I make a lot of people smile. And that's enough for me.

One year feels like it should be such a remarkable thing: we measure our lives in birthdays, we make resolutions when we receive a new year, we celebrate anniversaries of relationships, deaths. Companies do an annual performance review and offer raises based on years of service. But could I not have written this post yesterday? Yesterday was very nearly a year, and also yesterday the class of 2010 graduated. Nothing much happened today: I went in to work, I made some dollars, I did about three hours of Census work, I'm preparing to go bowling. This is exactly what I did a week ago today. Could I not have thought about this a week ago? It's strange, but today feels big.

Happy one year anniversary, Ohio State class of 2009.

June 02, 2010


So Kate's in-laws (whom I call the Denys) go camping every Memorial Day weekend and call the event "Massacre." I think that should have been a sign.

First of all, I wasn't told there would be NO RUNNING WATER until days before the event, after I was already locked in, equipment secured (borrowed off of cousins and anyone else that knew what they were doing in the woods), bag packed (at least in my head), work notified. So the latrine was smelly and weird and FLIESOMG and ugh I am way too girly for camping.

Then there were the activities. Like Daniel Booneyhands. Which I did NOT RSVP for and do NOT regret not RSVPing for, but DO regret participating in. Mostly against my will. Daniel Booneyhands is a loose reinterpretation of Edward 40-hands, except that instead of duct-taping two 40s to your hands, you use Boone's Farm. (And pink duct tape, which is a way to fight cancer. They are very committed to philanthropy, those Denys). It ends exactly as poorly as you would imagine. Before we began one of the Denys dug a trench. That is foresight. There were 12 participants. Five needed use of the trench. (Including me.) Kate and I finished in what was an amazing sister to sister Booneyhandsoff at the last minute for the Ladies Division. Proud winner? YOURS TRULY. Many people claimed it was the most exciting part of the weekend. I do not disagree.

I haven't been able to take a look at the photos from this weekend yet and I am not real sure that it'll happen anytime soon. I need to let that Boone's Farm settle first. Which may never happen.

Other than those two hang-ups though, it was pretty fun. No poison ivy to report, which is AWESOME.

Will I do it again? I can see myself getting conned into this again, yes. Lord help me.

Up next? Columbus for the Memorial Tournament, one of my favorite weekends every year. Love.

May 21, 2010


In an effort to blog more often, I am now blogging when I don't have a ton to say. I hope you are happy, Kate. And Katie. And the et cetera.

Today my stepsister dropped her two daughters off so that she and her husband could take a mini vacation. The girls are 2 and a half and very nearly one. And therefore adorable. The older of the two was playing with one of those foam puzzles where there are cutouts of all kinds of different shapes in all different colors. And she would point to one and say "LLLELLLLO HEART!" (yellow is, by far, her favorite color.) Or another, and say "red circle!" And I'd say, what's this, Brooklyn?" "....purple?" "It's a hexagon! One, two, three, four, five, SIX! Six sides! Hexagon!" And she would say, "hexagon. right." Or, "What's this, Brooklyn?" "A OH!" "It's an oval! Very good!" "Oval. Right." "Do you know what this one is?" "A dime." "Diamond!" "Diamond. Right." Any time you correct her on anything, its "[whatever you said that she now realizes is correct]. Right."

...So that's been my day today. I was supposed to work this morning, but called in sick. I went in last night and was there for all of 15 minutes before I realized there was NO WAY I was going to make it through the shift. I went home and mom said I had been running a fever. I probably lost $100 by not going in, which sucks. Couldn't I have been sick for a lunch shift? Losing a night shift when I'm supposed to close is costly.

But Census is really doing me a lot of favors, which is sort of incredible. I'm not sure how much longer that gig is going to last, but while it does, I'm getting an absurd amount of money to do absurdly little. Since I'm not paying rent, I've been able to pay off my credit card more quickly than expected--so close to having it zeroed out!--and contribute to a fund I've been calling my down payment fund.

I have a pretty promising job prospect that will force me out of my mother's home, which is (kind of) a good thing, but will seriously slow down my current financial progress. It cannot be worse than what I did to my savings plan in D.C. though. Can. Not.

For those wondering, my savings plan for quite some time has been: home in 2013. That is to say: owning a home in 2013. So I was being pretty good about saving in college, then D.C. happened and an internship that was barely paid and a house that was barely livable and cost more than half of what I was making and on and on. So I'm back on track now, and once again: "Home in 2013. Right."

May 16, 2010

So today at work a couple came in who got married. Like today. As in, the wedding was at 1 and then they came in around 8 to eat. So all the servers gave money and the restaurant matched it and gave them a gift card and some cash and comped their meal. And bought a card and gave them about 10 white balloons with "Congrats!" and "Just married!" and hearts all over them.

And what is actually today, as it is well after midnight, is Kate and Thomas's one year anniversary. Thomas had been a part of our family for so long that the wedding was basically a giant party (open bar!), but with matching dresses and an officiant present. But still. They became official and whatnot. A year ago. Today. Isn't that crazy?

So what I'm saying is, wedding season!

May 13, 2010

Census 2010

None of these questions are on the actual Census. In fact, this year's Census form is one of the shortest ever. Only about 10 questions.

I do think it's interesting how much the Census changes with the times. The questions sort of show what the country is feeling, and is a sort of measure for how we reacted to the previous one. You probably noticed that they ask if you're Hispanic, and then in the next question ask about your race. Hispanic is not a race. In 2000, people were none too pleased that it was included as such on the form.

Another welcome change to the form this year is the relationship "unmarried partner" was added. Gay couples are particularly pleased, as in the last Census they had to list themselves as "friends."

But Census Takers can be really tough to deal with. THEY ASK SO MANY QUESTIONS.

C10 interaction of the day:
Enumerator hands me a completed binder, which contains all houses he was supposed to visit and the forms he filled out for each one, as well as maps to get to the streets in his assigned area.

Me: So you need a new binder?
Enumerator: ...Binder?
Me: Yeah, you know, with more cases in it?
Enumerator: ....Binder?
Me: Yeah, like this one?
Enumerator: Ohhhhh! You I need a new ROUTE?
Me: ...Binder?

May 11, 2010

Things I Forgot to Mention

K, LIKE. I didn't get to go to the PLAYERS this year, which is devastating, really. It's been two years. I WILL go back. I love that tournament so much. The course! The talent! The weather! The golf! It's just so high quality. Just so good. (I didn't even get to watch any of it, which makes it worse, and NO I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.)

I am almost certainly going to go to the Memorial Tournament in Columbus at the beginning of next month, because I can't miss both. I just cannot. Also, great excuse to go see Jerod Smalley, NBC4 Sports Anchor and my former boss. All around great guy.

I hope Tiger does play it. Tournaments have a weird vibe when he's not there. I've never been to one he doesn't usually play, so maybe the ones he usually skips don't have that same sense of being at a loss. It's like that moment at the end of The Truman Show when people go, "...want to see what else is on?" As in, what do we do now?

I maaaaaaaay go to the tournament in Akron, the WGC/Bridgestone Invitational, because it's a great tournament and I've only been once. And my boyfriend-at-the-time convinced me (after much back and forth) to skip Sunday's round and go canoeing, which (predictably) ended in stitches. And a still-visible scar. Dumb.

I just got yelled at by a blogger I love for leaving a comment and yet not having posted in a month. I guess I needed to write and since I've been slacking, I decided to just spew what I've been thinking on her comment page. (UPDATE: my comment was actually left on her other blog, which is about food. Recommend.)

...I'm terrible. How has a month passed? Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself to write a lot. Some people get away with writing three sentences! And posting them! BY THEMSELVES! That seems ridiculous to me. But writing is my thing, so maybe that's a personal problem. Then again, maybe you people would prefer it if I only wrote three sentences at a time. Maybe not? Here goes my usual onslaught.

Census 2010 is a headache as ever, but a very well-paying headache, and one I think I'll be glad to have had once it's gone. The pay! AND I DO SO VERY LITTLE.

Working at a restaurant is, like. I have a friend there that gets annoyed that I'm frustrated with having to work there because he thinks I look down on servers. To be clear: I don't. But I hate my job. I feel like I'm not that good at it, and I take it personally when people leave me terrible tips. Which in NoKy happens. Kind of a lot. Even when I provide great service. And I'd rather be doing something that challenges me intellectually. Serving tables is difficult, but it's sort of mindless. And every day is the same. And I want something different.

The job market is improving, apparently, so maybe I'll get it. Soon. I can only hope. I also feel like I'm playing roulette with fate by not having insurance.

Whatever, I got to go to Derby!

April 10, 2010

Shambles. In a Good Way.

Not a single blog post in the month of March? Erroneous.

A brief recap of the entire month of March, which most of you probably already know, given that most of my y'all are Twitter followers also:

The restaurant for which I work opened and I generated some income for the first time in 2010. Holler. The people are insanely nice and they are really good about me taking time off. So, not an ideal job, but as close as possible given the circumstances.

I don't know if I have mentioned my being adopted into a group my mother calls "The Misfits," a group of people from my high school. We go bowling on Monday nights. Its...awkward. And fantastic. The waitress at IHOP (where we always go after) knows us. She calls me "Sunny" because I only order my eggs sunny side up, and only order from the pictures. She gives me a kids menu. The DJ at the bowling alley plays my songs first and fixes my score so I get a 300. We have a great time.

Got hired (part time/temporary) for the Census. Training begins an hour and a half after I land in Kentucky. So it will probably be interesting to see how I get through day one.

The new Ohio Union opened, so of course I went to Columbus to see it and experience it myself. It. Is. Stunning. And I had a long conversation with the director of the Union, and she (along with several other employees of The Ohio State University's Student Affairs office) started telling me thousands of reasons why I should consider a Master's program in Higher Ed/Student Affairs, which is something I have considered but not with any seriousness. So I've started doing very preliminary research. Because of my (incredible) timing, I would have until December to apply and wouldn't be able to start until September 2011. So I have a lot of time, is what I'm saying, so...we shall see. A lot can change in a year and a half.

My stepsister's baby is officially a boy, FINALLY.

Currently, I am in the lovely city of Los Angeles visiting Dominic and causing a general ruckus. Tonight, I am going to get a milkshake at Millions of Milkshakes, where celebrities create their own milkshakes and you can order them. OBVIOUSLY I plan on getting a Miley shake. And I've heard "Party in the USA" a zillion times (never enough, obviously) since hopping off the plane at LAX.

But seriously, I mentioned booking the flight here (the last part of that long entry), in a fit of depression, needing something to look forward to. I spent an absurd amount of money on the flight, money I didn't have and wasn't sure I'd ever have, and just...booked. And Lord I'm glad I did. It's been insanely good. I never thought I'd actually get here, because I bought the thing so long ago. But here I am, and I leave tomorrow, and that news is traaaaaaaagic.

Also, it's Mandy Moore and Haley Joel Osment's birthday, which I celebrated in middle and high schools by making M&M cookies, watching their movies, and listening to her CDs on a loop. I...only got cooler? After that?

Also, it's Masters week, and Tiger is back, and I. Love. Golf. He's never come back from a 54 hole deficit to win in a major, so things aren't looking very promising, but I don't know, I think there's still a fairly amazing chance he'll kick ass and take names.

In sum, life is good. Or, as Dominic says, "shambly," as in: in shambles. I wouldn't have it any other way. (Aren't shambles what your 20s are supposed to be all about?)

February 28, 2010

"Rogers, you have the floor."

Mr. Fred McFeely Rogers died February 27, 2003. It is still such a loss.

Watch this video:

"I give an expression of care every day, to each child. To help him realize that he is unique."

Who doesn't have meaningful, lasting childhood memories of Mr. Rogers? Here he is, talking about the thing about which he is most passionate. He stood up on Capitol Hill in the 60's and was talking about the effects of television on the mental health of children. He was defending the things that mattered most to him, still a relative unknown (how many senators today do you think wouldn't know of him?). He was just such an incredible man. And he cared so much about the improvement of television, about children, about the world.

And because I am on a Mr. Rogers kick, I also suggest you read this list of fun facts about him. If you're not as big of a fan and don't feel like reading it all, my favorite is the following:

"As an ordained Presbyterian minister, and a man of tremendous faith, Mister Rogers preached tolerance first. Whenever he was asked to castigate non-Christians or gays for their differing beliefs, he would instead face them and say, with sincerity, 'God loves you just the way you are.'"

That's just so him. Even if you're not religious, you can still see the amount of respect and acceptance he had for everyone--which is what religion is supposed to be, isn't it? And it's what people should do. To give a "meaningful expression of care." To care.

They also link to this biography at the bottom of the article, which is very long but also well worth reading. And emotional. I need to get some sleep.

There's no person in the whole world like you, Mr. Rogers.

February 24, 2010

Livin' The Dream

One thing I forgot to mention about my trip to Columbus...

I texted an old friend for a long overdue lunch (I believe the last time I saw him was on the street, a quick and random run-in, just under two years ago). He, along with many people I don't keep daily contact with, was under the impression that I was still living in D.C. He asked what I was doing, where I lived, what my life looks like.

I told him: I live in Kentucky, I live with my mother, I wait tables.

He said, sounds like you're living the dream.

I said, you know what? I hated D.C. I hated my job, I hated the atmosphere, I hated a lot of the people (that city is SO Type A, and I am so...not.), and I had a lot of personal life issues that added to my general stress/distaste. Now, my job is easy, people are laid back, and my mother cooks me dinner. So yes, I live in my mother's basement in middle of nowhere Kentucky, waiting tables, and I am significantly happier.

So, yeah, I'm living the dream.

February 23, 2010


Since my last post was on Lysacek's gold medal, I will now defend him against the comments of SILVER MEDALIST Plushenko. Maybe I should have referred to him as Platinum medalist?

Whatever. He's just mad because his medals represent a "regress." Ugh.

Here's the thing. Should the champion land a quad? Sure. But Plushenko got involved in a sport in which he knew the rules. When you start figure skating, you learn you get points for execution, footwork, artistry, and all kinds of other aspects of figure skating, most of which I probably don't understand. But Plushenko does.

It's like if you said that a team that hit a home run in baseball but sent fewer players across the plate should have been the winner. Or a bowler that hit more strikes but had fewer total points should have won. Is it more impressive, more interesting? Sure. But it doesn't make you the winner. And also, SHUT UP, PLUSHIE.

I went to Columbus this weekend, and I can't even really begin to explain the hijinks Katie and I got ourselves into. I keep trying, and deleting everything I wrote, because words really can't do it justice. We stole a Hannah Montana guitar from the birthday cake. We found a new favorite store. We baked with an Easy Bake oven. We made a million grilled cheese sandwiches. There are so many, many other things we did. I hope I remember them forever.

February 19, 2010

Olympic Spirit, Part Two.

I write this as Evan Lysacek is being awarded the Olympic gold medal for men's figure skating. I love men's figure skating. And I love the moment just after athletes are awarded medals and the flags come down from the ceiling and everyone looks up and the athletes get emotional and the national anthem start to play. (Especially if it also happens to be my national anthem.)

...And I love Evan Lysacek's smile.

And if you aren't one of the many, many people I have forced to watch Johnny Weir skate to Poker Face and Jeremy Abbott's Nationals version of the same short program he flubbed on Tuesday night, I highly recommend you do that.

February 18, 2010

One Month.

I have now, as of almost exactly THIS MOMENT, been living in my mother's basement for one month. I arrived between 2 and 230am on the morning of January 18th. As depressed about it as I was at the time, it's really been a relaxing experience. Something about Kentucky just screams for everyone to chill out. Or maybe that's just me. Particularly since I'm not paying rent.

And also I received my deposit back, in the form of the largest check I've ever seen in my life, paychecks included, so I feel really great about things. Do I want to wait tables? No. But I do want that income, and I'm really looking forward to having it again.

What a difference a month makes. (AND $10 for 90 days worth of anti-depressants!)

February 16, 2010

The Olympic Spirit

Wow I didn't even realize how long it had been since I last wrote.

I went to Columbus last weekend and stayed in the sorority house. It was odd, if only because it was so natural, so remarkably not odd. I could tell there were moments with people where they almost forgot I wasn't still a resident, then did a double take. They'd smile and walk past, and then turn abruptly. "CHRIS?!?" Yeah, I'm back.

Since then, I've secured a lucrative position at a local burger joint. I really can't wait to start generating income, even if it is as a server. Training starts Saturday morning. Then, snow God permitting, I'm going back to the 'Bus and I CANNOT WAIT.

In the meantime, I'm busying myself with the Olympic Games. I can't even explain how much I love the Olympics. I watch it for hours on end, regardless of the sport. Neil Patrick Harris sums it up quite nicely: Perfect.

I even learned the rules of curling in anticipation of this event. That said, both the men AND women lost their first matches today. Whatever, it's round robin so there's still medals to be won. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Photos seven through nine reveal why I'm linking this photo slideshow of Meryl Davis, half of US ice dancing team Davis/White :

In the interest of fairness, I'll also link this photo of perhaps my favorite Olympian Johnny Weir and his Olympic village roommate Tanith Belbin, half of the dominant U.S. ice dancing pair (Davis/White list Belbin/Agosto as their ice dancing idols):

February 03, 2010

Nobody Likes You When You're 23

For my birthday, I visited Kate and Thomas in Chicago. It was amazing. I never really think of New Year's Day as a new year, mostly because my birthday is so soon after, and becoming a new age feels much more like a new beginning. But regardless, if I'm going to start my new age with anyone, it feels right to do it with Kate, who was there the first time, Thomas, and Liz. Plus Chicago is a great city, and despite the bitter, bitter cold, I got to see a lot of it. Like the Jelly Bean in Millennium Park. (After which we were to cold to continue, so we went to Bennigan's, that old Chicago classic, and drank beers in the plural.)

They took me to Mindy's Hot Chocolate for dinner, which I HIGHLY recommend. I got the Mac and Cheese. Nothing is quite as spectacular as gourmet mac and cheese. I also ate on top of the John Hancock building, which was good, but was more about the views than the plates.

On the drive home, I called a number of people, including one of my best friends from high school, Megan. Apparently she goes bowling every Monday with a group of people I know from high school, so she invited me along. First of all, I haven't bowled in yearssss, and I must say, it shows. Second, so fun. Third, it is so nice to have Megan back in my life, and to have friends in the area. I stayed at her house Monday night and we stayed up all night recapping the past forever. She's the kind of person that, no matter how long it has been, we can just pick up where we left off. I hope it never gets to be as long as it had been. (She's never seen me brunette, which means at least 2 years. Unacceptable.)

Also, this coming weekend I'm going to Columbus. Which means that each weekend I've been living in Kentucky, I've either gone out of town or seen someone I love here. Which fits nicely with my resolution to see my friends who spread themselves out all over this country. Amazing.

Weekend-Defining Music:
1. "What's My Age Again?"
2. "Tik Tok" (which is a horrible excuse for a song, but lines like 'Wake up in the mornin' feelin' like P. Diddy,' 'errrrbody gettin' crunk, crunk,' and 'boys blowin' up my phones, phones' really make that song what it is. Which is totally quotable. In a terrible way.)

January 26, 2010

After spending three hours on the 8 page application to be a substitute teacher, and spending $10 on a transcript to send to the school district, I called to ask to whom I should address the application and they said not to bother--they're not hiring any more subs.

Then I got a text, Alex spoke to her manager and can't hire me.

Back at square 1. No wait, back even further from that, because neither of these two jobs are jobs that are sustainable anyway. I can't even wait tables in this town. I'm supposed to go to Chicago tomorrow and I have no idea what's going to happen when I get back. It's going to have to be a remarkably inexpensive weekend away.

I hate my life.

Miss Chris, Revisited?

Today I started the (entirely too long) process of applying to be a substitute teacher. So if you or anyone you know wants to write me a reference, I need a WHOLE HOST of them. Yikes.

I'm starting to reach record levels of desperation, getting frustrated at not hearing back from jobs I didn't even want in the first place. It's depressing. I'm still waiting to hear back from Alex regarding the job at Friday's, hoping she finds a way to con the head manager into hiring me.

In other news, the UK Wildcats are #1 in the country, the only Division 1 undefeated left. Very exciting.

P.S. My kindergarten teacher used to call me Miss Chris. Love. (Especially since she was way before her time; I didn't start going by Chris until I was 14.)

January 20, 2010

Step by Step

Today, I walked myself into a restaurant and applied to wait tables. I'm trying not to feel lost about it, so I'm learning to focus more on the fact that I think there's a good chance I'll get this job, and that I'll be generating income soon.

The other thing is that one of the managers is a former step-sister. (I won't go into details about my parents's divorce rates, but I do have ex-step-siblings, so. You know.) I haven't seen this woman since she and I were roughly 4 and 7, respectively (nearly 20 years ago, yikes), and I had sort of forgotten she existed. Every once in a while, a photo or a random, worthless artifact (blue and white pom poms, mix tapes, entangled purple wigs) from those days would turn up and I would think of them, briefly, but my memory of it is very limited, what with my having been four.

And then mom found them on Facebook. And as often happens with Facebook, our lives converged again. Mom found out Alex managed a restaurant in the area. And tonight, for the first time in nearly 20 years, I saw Alex in person. It was sort of surreal, it's sort of how I feel adoptive children must feel when they meet their birth siblings, on a very micro scale. Like I feel as though I should know her, but there's no real basis for my feeling that way. I wonder what she's been doing since she became entirely a stranger. I wonder if we would get along, if we could be friends. I wonder what it will be like to think of her no longer just in passing.

And now, the four things I remember about my three step-siblings:

1. Plays and puppet shows. In particular, a play in which Kate and Alex were fairies and kept forgetting to bring their wands out onstage. At one point, Alex shouted, "OOOH! WANDS!" And totally in character, ran behind the stage to grab both wands. In retrospect, it's funny, but I think at the time I was upset about not being a fairy myself. There were only two sets of wings.

2. Chandra's mixtapes. To this day I cannot hear "(Everything I Do) I Do it For You" without thinking of her. YEAH, I WOULD FIGHT FOR YOU!!!!!! I'D LIE FOR YOU!!!! WALK THE WIRE FOR YOU!!!! YEAH, I'D DIE FOR YOUUUUUU. Sigh, love.

3. Adam giving me a stuffed animal, a mouse with big floppy white ears. He was friends with Mr. Bear for a long time. I named him Mr. Mouse. What can I say, I was really good at naming things.

4. Visiting them after our parents divorced. It apparently happened several times, but I only remember one time in particular, touring their barn and Adam finding a snake and throwing it what seemed like miles and miles away to my five year old depth perception. Their mom yelled at them to clean their rooms.

...That's really all I remember. It's strange, how little it is, and how much they must have been around, but I couldn't have been older than 5. And now I'm nearly 23 and here we are again. Strange.

January 19, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog.

So, it's been an interesting few days. I put everything I owned into a Penske truck and my cat and I are now in Kentucky once again. More on that later, though.

Bailey and I went to Mount Vernon, Washington's home, on Thursday. It is absolutely a must-see. If you get to DC and have a car with you, GO. It's 12 square miles of his life--he was proudest, it is said, of being a farmer, and Mount Vernon is a testament to that. He had a very precise 7-year crop rotation in order to care for the soil. He thought of new and crafty ways to do farm chores, in order to minimize the amount of time he (and yes, his slaves) spent outside in the cold months. You can tell he also loved the house, doing constant renovations and spending as much time as he had there. Which, admittedly, was not that much. But going to Mount Vernon you get a great sense of Washington the man.

Then Kerrie came, pregnant though she is, to help me move out. She said she had wanted to visit before I moved, and it was her last chance to do that. So, pregnant though she is, she agreed to lug my boxes and boxes full of crap into a Penske truck in exchange for fun times in DC.

I took her to the Air & Space Museum, "the world's most popular museum," mostly because she's in the Air Force and they have USAF planes and memorabilia in there, which I thought she would be interested in. Plus, it's the most visited museum in the world so I felt like if she's only going to go to a few, that one was worth seeing.

Boy, is that museum overwhelming. It's worth going to, yes, but it's wordswordswords everywhere. I mean, I know museums are for learning and putting images with facts and learning the facts based on what is in front of your face, and I think that's great, but one can only read so much. Plus, this place is huge, absurdly big, and every time you turn around you realize you missed an entire wing, and how is that possible? So it's hard to deal with all that.

So we went to what may be its polar opposite, the American History Museum, or "America's Attic." This is the place where Dorothy's ruby red slippers are housed next to Rocky's boxing gloves and Apollo Ohno's skates and Kermit the Frog. It's fun and requires little to no reading, and even less learning. I feel like I sound like a giant moron, but you should see that place, it's just. Words. And if you're spending over an hour looking at planes and spaceships and trying to take in information that is almost entirely new--well, I didn't prepare for it. I prepared more for like, "This is John Glenn's spaceship, the Friendship 7." And "Orville and Wibur Wright are from Ohio. Here is the plane they made." So I went to a museum much more like that: "Jim Henson made this puppet and named him Kermit. Isn't he cute?" Completely what I was looking for in a weekend that was already overwhelming.

We also went to the National Portrait Gallery, which I won't bore you with again, as I am virtually certain you all know how I feel about it. Kerrie and I also loved the courtyard. I wonder how much money they would charge for a wedding reception? It seems like the perfect place for that sort of thing but then again, it's the Smithsonian and they run entirely on donation, and it's a great space, and also, why am I thinking about this?

Kerrie also wanted to see some of the monuments, so we did that. I'll post photos here or on the Book as soon as I get my main computer set up. We did the main strip, seeing Washington, Lincoln, and WWII. Lincoln is just. It's really incredible. It was also MLK weekend, so the spot of his famous speech was marked with a wreath and placard.

Then I made one last trip to Ben's Chili Bowl, which gained fame in 08 when Obama made a stop there during his campaign. It's an incredible meal. If Bill Cosby says it's good, well. Also Wale and Lady Gaga did a music video outside there, which is funny to me, because it's, like, a giant hole in the wall. Whatever, it's incredible.

So then on Sunday Kerrie and I loaded up the Penske with everything (and everyone) I own, and drove the 10 hours to Northern Kentucky. And here I am. It's hard to explain how I feel about it, because I enormously relieved, and ready to not be stressed out about a number of things, mostly involving money. (We did find a subletter, and I like her quite a bit. I feel like I would be friends with her if I were staying, which is a good feeling when you're leaving your best friend with someone who is basically a stranger.) I am also ready to not live in a town where people often put themselves first in everything from the Metro escalator to the grocery line to work to traffic circles. It's sometimes absurd. JFK called it a city of "Southern efficiency and Northern Charm." Southern efficiency doesn't bother me. But I can't live there. It was a great place to be for six months, and I'm very glad that I did it, but I'm also very glad that I'm no longer doing it.

As for living in my mother's basement. Well, it could be worse, I guess, but it's just not where I wanted to be at this stage in my life. It's disappointing and frustrating and yes, a little humiliating. But I guess it happens to a lot of people. Right? Ugh, I need a job.

Just before I left, I was depressed and needed something to look forward to, so I (somewhat idiotically) booked a flight to LA to visit Dominic in early April. (I blame him for this, because he asked me how long until I land, and, ever one for accuracy, I linked him. Regardless, it's making me happy. Mission accomplished.)

I don't know what I'm going to do if I get a job before then, because, like, it's an 8 day trip. But I'll figure that out if/when it happens.

January 07, 2010

LeVar Burton

So, post Dr. Drew-induced frenzy, I sent the following Tweets:

It's just like back in the day when I had a crush on @levarburton & used to watch Star Trek with my sis and not pay attn except to Geordi

I remember the 1st time I saw him and was like, "omg @levarburton" and "why is he wearing that thing?" and Kate goes "HES BLIND YOU IDIOT."

I guess as far as first crushes go, they don't get much better than @levarburton

Which I think were all relatively normal, appropriate things to say on Twitter, right?

I don't even remember what I was watching, or what made me thing of all those missed scenes of Star Trek. Or that one time in English class when I first admitted to God and everybody that LeVar had been my first crush.

...That was my sophomore year.

...Of college.

Anyway, I got the following direct message:

Perhaps it was the high tech glasses that did it for you! I know how you like men in glasses...

This obviously means two things:
1. LeVar Burton and I were meant to be. Never question first-grade logic.

I'm pretty much a Twitter Star. I have, like, nearly 100 followers. Which makes me Tweet royalty, right?

January 05, 2010

National Portrait Gallery

Today I went to the National Portrait Gallery, continuing my Add Imagetourist's trek across the city.

The Portrait Gallery is one of my favorite museums in the city, mostly because there are all these incredible people, and you just have to look at them and realize that they're constituted exactly the same way as you are, no better or worse, just the same. It's really something. I spent an hour and a half in there, all of which I spent in the presidents section. I can't help it. The first thing you see when you walk in is Gilbert's Washington, which in person is this huge, larger than life, incredible thing. And I just stared at it, standing in the middle of the museum, looking up at him, this man, constituted the same way I am, that stood there and stood there in order to get this huge, larger than life, incredible thing painted. And you think about it, about the history, about who he was, and it's just. It's breathtaking, really. I link you to that image, so you know what I'm talking about, but part of me wants to not do that, since it's nothing really, next to the portrait in person. But what art is, I guess.

And there's that picture of Lincoln. You know the one, where the negative cracked, and there's a line across the top of this head? It's haunting. And unlike Gilbert's Washington, which is an interpretation, a likeness (and one that was not regarded as his 'best' likeness, if 'best' means most accurate), this IS Lincoln. It's photography. And you look at him, and you just have to think about what he did, what he became.

And there's W. I love his portrait, I really do, because look at him. He's...he's just a guy. He could be your dad. All the other presidents chose to do very formal looks (Reagan comes to mind), but here he is, slouched over on a couch, unassuming, not even in a tie. It's just... I don't know, I really like it. It's really very "George" and not very "President Bush." And I like George. I think he seems funny and goofy and like someone I'd have a burger and beer with.

There's also a reel of some of the speeches from recent presidents, including President Bush, and that really ruins the spirit of his portrait. And also makes me really grateful, once again, for November 4, 2008.