Friday, August 28, 2009

In Memory of Clem

I used to have a cactus named Clementine (my roommate Justine and I like to name as many inanimate objects as possible). She was no bigger than a computer mouse, very prickly, and had a pretty purple flower. Unfortunately, I forgot about her all summer and she is now pushing up daisies/dead as a doornail/with Jesus (?)/at the end of the line/passed away.

This appears to be a rather dull subject: Christie being too stupid to water her cactus once a week, but you have to see what a dead cactus looks like!

Kind of gross, no? It's like she deflated and all of the green melted out too. Also, there is a bit of blackness near the root that can't quite be captured on a camera. Blech.

Sort of grosses me out really. I haven't thrown it out yet. It just reminds me of a floppy slug or something and I don't really want to touch it.

But hey, before you start judging me, at least the important thing is that my hermit crab Jibs is still alive!!

["yay, rocks."]

I was curious about other dead cacti so I looked some up on Google Images. There were many owners blogging about the same thing that happened to me with the same sized cacti... yet I posted this anyway.

There were also some real ones out in the desert. You know how dead trees are generally kind of pretty? Like they make a cool silhouette against the sky or add the perfect effect to a foreboding shot in a movie? Well, dead cacti are rather gross. Pretty much all of them are just ugly. I found one that was sort of pretty... because it looked kind of like a tree.

[here's a dead TREE I saw on a family vacation to Hawaii. Gorgeous, eh? Almost makes me look like a good photographer or something!]

[here's the prettiest picture on the web (that I could find) of a dead cactus. If you ask me, it's still pretty ugly and everything cool and morbidly beautiful about it reminds me of a tree.]

[ here's a nasty ugly sick gross yucky one]

Goodbye, readers! I hope your dreams consist of dead trees and not deceased cacti!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Moment You Know You're Totally FUCKED.

Hello, Hel-LO, Loyal Readers! Welcome one and all to "What Can Go Wrong In ONE Day?"--the show where we count how many unlucky things can happen to Christie on a single Monday! (Hoooooo-raah!!) Are you ready, folks? Because I sure am!

#1: Late Awakening

I was staying at Brian's for the weekend and we told ourselves that today would be the day we woke up early (We were going hiking and I had to leave). Yet, sleep alarm after sleep alarm, we did not. How unfortunate. Late afternoon hiking it must be!

#2: Deary Me

There was a poor, helpless doe on the way to our hike-o-rama + picnic who had been brutally murdered by a car. We had to look at the graphic display four times (!) for reasons that will be explained later.

#3: "Experienced" Hikers Forget Bugspray

To anyone with even an ounce of common sense, Hiking/Forest = Mosquitos! Yet Brian and Christie did not bring any protection at all. We even wore shorts and started sweating, as if beckoning the horrid creatures closer.

[hey, at least it was pretty there :) ]

#4: Brian and Christie Get Lost

Does this speak for itself or does it not? It was very pretty. The only reason it was a "bad" lost was because the bugs were just feasting on us. After turning around, we decided to take a break of sorts...

#5: Maintenance Building Closed

This "break" was really a hunt for bugspray. We went to the nearest building which was called Maintenance but actually contained a whole center. Closed.

#6: The Disappointment of Trempeleau

Trempeleau is tiny, cute, and fun to say. But this town only has one gas station. Shouldn't be a big deal, right? We strolled in to purchase some bugspray but it was nowhere to be found! They had Raid, they had numerous brands of sunscreen... but no bugspray. Blech! (There were however, some really cute old men hanging out there as if they did every day.)

We asked where the nearest place to get this addictive spray was and they said Holmen... which is exactly where we came from.
So we drove all the way back, past the dead deer to the local grocery store and found some Off! Active. Smelled good for bugspray.

I put some on so it would hopefully start to soak in. (Yes. The bugs were that bad.)

#7: Quitters, Quitters, Pumpkin Sitters

We were hungry, okay?!

[quesadillas at a cheesy (literally) sports bar]

Don't fret, we went back eventually to hike the good hike!

[a snail like the ones people doodle! look how cute he is ^_^ ]

[look closely and you will see my nickname. hint, hint, cough, look at the blog's web address]

[top 'o the bluff to ya!]

[and... going back down.]

#8: The Salsa Was Too Hot

Brian's mom made homemade salsa and I couldn't try it because it was way too spicy for my poor widdle mouth.

#9: Darkness Sets In

I left for home (a three hour drive) a bit later than planned. At first I hoped that because I was driving west I could perhaps out-drive the sun and just experience a really long sunset. Idiot.

I don't really like to drive at night.

#10: Tire Becomes Pancake

Yep. It was loud and bumpy and it smelled like burning rubber... what does that spell? A flat tire! In the dark! And cold! Two hours from home!

[since I have no pictures of the incident I decided to recreate my emotions at the time]

After calling my parents and Brian I decided to change it myself. How hard could it be?

#11: The Case of the Missing Lug Wrench

Well. Impossible if your car doesn't have all the parts in its trunk! Lovely!
So, for the first time in my life I had to call 911 to reach a cop who could come help me.
All he could really offer was the number for a tow truck place ($) and some extra lighting.

Luckily, Brian the thinker called Josh who lived pretty close to where I was stranded!

Josh the wonderful truck-driving football player (and Steph) came to save the day! He changed the tire in ten minutes. Probably would have taken two if we hadn't been talking.

Thanks Josh if you read this!!!!!

Now I wasn't supposed to go over 60 and my alignment was shot, but hey, I was going to go home after an hour of idleness!

#12: Can You Guess?

[flat tire numero fucking two]

#13: Tow Truck... $75

Oh joy, I love to be stranded and I love to pay money-cash!

#14: Um. You Can't Fix a Car After Midnight

Well. There were no places open, of course! My choices were threefold:
  1. My mom pays my brother to drive 2 hours and pick me up and take me home (4 hours total).
  2. Brian, the nicest boy in the world, drives 2 hours to pick me up and take me to his casa (4 hours total).
  3. I purchase a motel room.
I reluctantly choose number 3. I didn't really want to stay alone in a random town, but it seemed to be my only logical choice.


Oh what an unhappy neon sign! The tow truck man drove me to the more expensive hotel (H's are more expensive than M's) and dropped me off.

#16: Twenty-- The Forgotten Age

Uhhh... you have to be 21 to get a hotel room. Yep, I can gamble, drive, smoke, vote, go to war and die, but I can't rent a hotel room when my car gets at flat tire at 12:30 a.m.

[desperation sets in]

The woman working was pretty rude too. She even kicked me out of the lobby to stand on the sidewalk outside.

#17: The Waiting Game

Luckily all I had to do was cross a highway and there was a McDonald's with its lights on that I could wait in while Brian drove during the next 2 hours. We even cut our total drive time in half because we planned to sleep in his van!

#18: What Now?

Only the drive-thru was open, of course.

#19: Wanna Ride?

Luckily there was a trucker cafe next door that was open 24 hours. The waitress was very friendly. She even gave me a seat where I could charge my phone.

After I told her my story a trucker with a Hulk Hogan mustache offered me a ride to Minneapolis. He seemed nice, but, ah, I still said no.

#20: Just Kidding.

So my boyfriend's dad called the hotel and the motel and the motel was full so it called the hotel to beg and the hotel said no but then changed its mind.

I had a room offer!

Brian was already driving so he came and was my taxi the next morning. We missed the continental breakfast and didn't get enough sleep (it was probably 4 a.m. when we went to bed), but I got my tire fixed and drove home after lunch!!

Now I have 4 new tires and a pretty good story.

Ta-ta for now!


p.s. I stole this title from the lyrics of a song in Spring Awakening. It is a fantastic musical that I would surely recommend. Here is the song:


The other day I learned what rutabagas look like! They are rather hideous fellows, and I must say I have never put one in my mouth.

At the super market it said "RUDABAGGIES" 99 cents. Is that really the plural form?!

Very entertaining.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Striped Cliche

I was looking at the pictures I have on this computer and found one from a Chicago family trip (2008) that seemed legitimate enough to share:

Drumroll, s'il vous plait...

[still have those sandals]

A REAL life, in person, totally serious, Wet Paint Sign!! The punch line of numerous comic strips and children's shows, this was something I'd always thought was outdated fantasy--like a mailman who stops at each house to chat or a 'witch' who lived in the haunted house that no one wanted to trick or treat at!

Or maybe they are more like a chicken crossing a road. Yeah, that's it, stumbling across a true Wet Paint Sign is kind of like seeing a chicken cross a road and then hearing some dunce ask why.

You know the comics I mean:
[hehe I drew this because the first few on Google Images were too original for my purposes]

[this one however, was a golden classic when it comes to Wet Paint Sign humor]

So, yes, people, they do exist! Next time I go to Chicago I expect to find a unicorn. Or at least a hippogriff or something!

Man, I sure hope someone sat on that bench and was the butt of a few jokes.


p.s. As I started to write this, my siblings were having a contest over who could get our dog Fraser to come to them first. Kevin won.

This is what Fraser looks like, by the by:

[desktop wallpaper of my mom's computer]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Camp-Lore and the Great Outdoors

This weekend my lovely boyfriend Brian and I were going camping. We had talked about it for at least half of the summer, picked the best place to go, promised to go REAL camping (which apparently means NO playgrounds, arcades, pools, or electricity... the type of camping my family and camping family friends prefer), and packed up our bundles.

Hoo-rah, the nearest state park (prime REAL camping at these babies, I hear) was a mere 30 minutes away!

My dad even got excited about Brian's passion for REAL camping and gave me a book to let him borrow.

[The Book of Camp-Lore and Woodcraft by Dan Beard. copyright 1920.]

[there are cute illustrations, and fun old-timey words like "rucksack" and "tenderfeet," and says things like people who aren't real campers should "stick to the bungling bungalow."]

Brian got to my house a little late in the day (he had a ride from his parents, so he didn't get to choose the time), but no big deal we packed up our belongings and were OFF!

Lake Maria State Park, curse it, was hot, sticky, fly-infested, and confusing! The ranger station had no ranger. We didn't notice the board that told us which sites were open and which were reserved (the lying, cheating website said "NO RESERVATIONS" in caps lock, like it was final and legally binding). We had to "backpack" to the site(s) which would have been fine had we only walked 1/2-1 mile to a SINGLE site rather than being disappointed three times while lugging heavy backpacks and sweating profusely.

I could probably drag this story into a novel--or at least a few chapters, but let me nutshell it for all you fellow impatient 21st-century-ites: humidity, back pains, continual disappointment, darkness, getting lost, biting flies.
It was too late in the day... well, night. We couldn't make three or four one mile trips. We had to pick an Alternate Campground.


There was no back-up plan. So we went to the Back-Up of back-ups, namely: the Back-Yard Plan.

[our cozy campsite... nice and close to the ranger's station and toilets, right?]

[the good 'ole tent. our one and only shelter from the elements.]

Worry no more, Readers, we made the best of it. (What do you expect when two Hopeless Optimists experience failed plans?)

We backyard "roughed it," not quite REAL camping, but fun enough. We slept in the tent and even started a bonfire!

[the blue is one of those fancy fire-color-changer sticks. ooooh. la. LA.]

[ghost stories]

[Brian is totally one of those people who tends to the fire constantly and pokes at it with his hand or a stick. he's also the one always adding firewood and monitoring the flame.]

That night, we just knew it was time to employ our wilderness skills. We made sure our food was out of the way of the wild animals. We macheted a trail to the bathroom before moon-rise. We put out some garlic to ward off the vampires. (But there was also a copy of Twilight to show that hunky Edward that he is MORE than welcome. xoxoo...)

Oh, and the cherry on top of these wilderness activities was brushing our teeth, not with running water but, with a mere WATERBOTTLE. Wow. We were officially and seriously Serious Campers.

[not for the weak-hearted]

[flashing your teeth while brushing helps ward off the wolves--just another camping tip for ya]

The next day we took a hike. To the local bowling alley. Pretty sure no one at that camping site had ever trekked quite as far.

Brian forgot socks, so he borrowed some of mine. Lucky for him I own a pair of Men's socks! They are ugly blue ones that I got from horrid Old Navy in a fun attempt to clear the balance from a gift card.
To ease his evident social stigma, I too, vouched to wear some ugly socks. They were knee-high, pink, and striped. My mom came too, and brought her Trick or Treat Halloween socks!

[ah, classic bowling alley carpeting. beautiful.]

[legs! legs! fantastic, hairy man legs!]

Next, we each had to take a personal bowling profile pic. Oooh, baby.

[mom, Halloween Queen]

[me a.k.a. christie a.k.a. The Striped Wonder]

[chic, sexy, hip... no, not an Abercrombie model, it's BRIAN VIRGIL!]

I am a notoriously bad bowler. But Brian is for some odd reason amazing and my mom is in a bowling league. So I got really excited when, for a single frame, I was merely ONE POINT away from kicking Brian's ugly-man-sock-wearing butt!!

[Brian alias Bowler 2: 97; Christie alias Bowler 3: 96; thumb belongs to Bowler 3]

[and then there was one KAR-RAZE-EE moment when we were all tied! Like a three-legged race or something!]

In conclusion, camping was a good time.

Thanks for reading y'all,


Sunday, August 16, 2009

for Tess

So, one of my followers, who will not be named in the interest of confidentiality, would like to know the story behind my nap with the kangaroo (photo on header). I'm sure numerous others of you are dying to hear it as well!

Last October, my best friend Shelby, my sister Marina, my friend Coco/Dave/James Coltrane Ryan and I went to The Fest in Gainesville, Florida. Now The Fest is a rousing good punk music festival on Halloween weekend supplying good bands and cool people in bulk.

[meet the four of us jolly travelers-- Coco, me, Shelby, and part of Marina. we had just arrived in Florida and were overly-excited about the cool swamp-like southern trees (see background)]

[this is probably a better picture of our little quad]

Since it was Halloween, Coco brought (and wore) his Kangaroo costume. Unfortunately the boxing gloves that came with it had been lost. Needless to say, we felt pretty cool hanging out with an animal from Down Under.

[yes, I am one of those losers who wears ear-plugs.]

[myspace profile pic!]

Florida was gloriously temperate all weekend and we had a grand time staying up way too late and causing a ruckus with hundreds of others at the Holiday Inn (let's just say an elevator was broken) and attending a show in someone's crowded hotel room...

[seriously, guys, it was more crowded than it appears. just believe me, OKAY?!]

... and having a mediocre breakfast at a crowded bagel joint and meeting our idol Bert from Sesame Street and crowdsurfing for the first (and second) time as well as befriending a local reptile...

[getting familiar with Coco's/Dave's hairy arm]

... and just having an altogether good time! (Sorry, sometimes run-on sentences are necessary, like when encasing the story of a fun trip in a nutshell.)

Now, on the last day we had to check out of our hotel early in the morning, but there were still shows to see and things to do and bars to smell and so forth! So we stashed our stuff in a friend's room and went outside to enjoy the day. That afternoon, when we fancied a nap, we had no where to go but the lawn in front of the Gainesville city hall (or some sort of municipal building). It was one of those amazing naps where you go to sleep in an instant and wake up not knowing if you've slept a day or a year or five minutes, but feeling great.

[for your additional viewing pleasure]

[some of us were feeling more rested than others.]

So that's the story. Now that all of the mystery and suspense has been taken out of my blog, I'll *sniff, sniff* understand *sob* if you don't want to read anymore! : ( :' (

Anyway, it is one-two-three a.m. so I will be going to bed now.
But thanks for reading! (and one way I can know you are reading is if you press "Follow"... hint, hint.)


p.s. I learned a new word today. "Janky." How fun does that sound? My friend from Christian summer camp, Justice, used it on Facebook so I asked her what it meant. It means bad/uncool/lame/stupid/I think you get it. Cool, eh? (I love new words.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

India It Is.

BAHHH--that's right, I've made a decision! Me! Yeah, moi! Right here! (Proud?)

Wait, I suppose if there are people out there other than my mom and boyfriend actually reading this, then you may not know what the decision was that I had to make!!

See, our school does two semesters and a J-term, which is a month where you just take one class every day. Last J-term I studied abroad and went to Jordan and Egypt studying Islam and some literature written by Middle-Easterners. (Needless to say, it was amazing! I have a scrapbook the size of one of those monster cookbooks that no one uses to prove it.) (The following are some pictures from Jordan, a monarchy next to Israel:)

[camels are some of the most adorable ugly, pissed-off animals on the planet]

[some uber-fantastic Roman ruins]

Now, I wasn't planning on leaving the country again but then I declared a major (well, actually two, and a minor...) and my new adviser told me about this amazing trip to India he was going on this January. I kept it in the back of my mind to consider.

And, of course, I attended the Study-Abroad-Interim Fair to check out that trip and others. One of my favorite art teachers was taking a group to JAPAN. He had delicious Japanese candy at his booth and if I went we were going to learn about Japanese woodblock printing and do some of our own! We would go to cool Japanese art galleries and sight-see in both the country-side and the city! How cool!

So now there was no longer a decision of whether or not to study abroad, but which place to go! It's worth being further down the bottomless pit that is college debt! :D

As for India, the class was globalization, something I'd have to take anyway that would probably exceed safe levels of boredom if I took it in the ole' Fifty Nifty. But when taken thousands of miles away, we get to see the Himalayas and the Taj Mahal and meet orphans and businessmen and street-vendors along the way! And mutilate our mouths with spicy Indian food... which my teacher who for some odd reason likes burning his mouth said is hot for him, heh, heh. : /

I applied to both trips, hoping I would only get accepted to one, and the impossible decision would be made for me. (I'm rather indecisive, and love love LOVE to travel, so this was a toughy (Man, "toughy" is an ugly word when written out!).)

[deliberation is a bitch]

Obviously, from the blatant title of this post, you know what I decided. But for those of you who are a bit dim, I had to drag out the SUSPENSE as to what I chose.


It was....

{commercial break}

It was....


Why did I choose India? Everyone is probably wondering, because about 90% of the people I told thought I should go to Japan, no contest.
But here are some things that I like about India:
  • There's so much history there!! I took a class about India's history, and before Egypt and Mesopotamia and all those, people in northern India had a writing system (no one can read it today) and city planning and irrigation!
  • There's tons of religious history as well! This is the birthplace of both Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as Jainism and some lesser-known religions. Christians have been there since Thomas (circa 50 A.D. or so), Muslims conquered for awhile and now fill neighboring Pakistan as well as parts of India... how absolutely crazy is that?!
  • The Taj Mahal. Enough said.
  • Meeting people of different stratas in society and doing a project on talking to them sounds fantastic! I'm not a people-person, just a wannabe one who is in love with books, but this would be out of my comfort zone and great :).
  • 90% of Americans (that I know) would rather go to Japan. (This may mean I am an attention whore after all, or that I get a rush from trying to be different, but it is a partial reason, nonetheless.)
  • It's so non-western and awesome! The culture is completely different, and we won't even be able to drink the water! This is the type of place I like to spend my time at.
  • I know three people that went there (my cousin, Sarah who was on the Jordan/Egypt trip, and a random girl who heard me whining about my decision and came up to say she went on the trip I speak of) and they all loved it. So suck it, Hello Kitty lovers! ;)
  • From pictures and the movie Slumdog Millionaire I gather that it is very colorful. I freaking love colorful!
  • English is the official language. Boom! Also, (SHELBY, you may appreciate this) there are literally hundreds of languages spoken there--my web research tells me it is somewhere between 412 and over 1,652. Seriously!
Wow, what an awesome country. I already sent the emails that announce my decision to the big-wigs down at ole Beth El! : /

Thanks for reading, and congrats congratulations way to go if you read this entire massive post, you winner, you!


p.s. look what I saw driving home from work yesterday! I hope the photos taken from my red Blackberry do it justice, I honestly couldn't breathe for a second it was so pretty and complex. I love the layered, detailed, complex clouds that are starting to turn golden like a pre-pre-sunset show.

[unable to hold camera phone straight and drive simoultaneously]

[better. much better. but not as good as it really looked.]

[JFF! (that means "just for fun," all you parents) doctored via Windows Photo Center.]