Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pie Charts and Stride Rite Shoes

So there I was, a little girl, in the year 1985. Now, if you are wondering what I was like as a child, let me take away all curiosity and tell you: I was just like I am now but little. A personality this strong didn't develop over time; I was born this way.

So, Momma Jo had enrolled me in a program called "Joy School". Joy School was so impactful that before I penned this blog I had to phone Momma Jo to figure out what exactly Joy School was. I mean, I knew what it was called. I knew I went. But the detail of what it actually was; not so sure. Was it pre-school? Was it some avaunt-guard church group? I had always just figured it was just the 1980's version of play dates. Turns out, I was right. Mom's would rotate as teachers, holding Joy School in their homes using some over-priced, white-washed, middle-class curriculum that includes music, stories, games, etc.

The fateful day of which I write, we had a lesson on goals. We were each given a copy (back then called a "ditto") of a blank pie chart and told to set a goal. Every day or every small victory would allow us to color a wedge of our goal pie.

I was going buckle my shoe. A totally acceptable goal for a 4 year old. I don't recall what everyone else goals were (but, for the record I do remember who was there: Autumn Buchellato, Andrew Stewart, Sean Wood, Heather Henderson, and Justin Patrick). We all eagerly began working on our respective goals.

Later that day I was sitting on the steps and I did it! I buckled that damned shoe. Of course I then proudly announced to everyone that I had accomplished my goal. Taking my social cue, Heathers Mom then loudly, so all the other kiddies would hear, declared I would now get to color my ENTIRE pie chart. Wait. What? No. I still remember her bringing over the recycled cool whip container filled with broken Crayolas and saying "pick a color and fill in your entire chart".

Now, if you know me then the issue at hand should be clear: I had to pick JUST ONE color to fill in my pie chart?! This was crazy. No way. Not only did that mean my pie could only have one color, while everyone else had multiple colors, but I had to settle on what that one color would be. Impossible. It was harder to select a color then it was to buckle that shoe.

When I called my mom tonight to find out exactly what in the hell Joy School was, I recanted the story about the pie chart and she said she remembered that happening. I no doubt complained about it then too. She then reminded me of another amusing childhood story:

So there I was, a few years later in the Fall of 1987. At the Stride Rite Shoe Store I started trying on shoes and couldn't decide which to get. I mean, it was the recession, and we were po' white folk. I didn't get multiple pairs. Whatever shoe I selected that day would be my shoe for the rest of the school year. Thoroughly pissing off the sales man, I demanded that I try on every shoe in the store in my size- every single one. Even though, it was really between three in my mind the entire time:
1.) The functional black sneaker. You remember- Reebok with the velcro
2.) The fashion forward pink bootie with the bedazzled ankle cuff
3.) The white moccasin with the native american eagle beaded on the front.

But that nagging question: what if the next shoe would be better?

I went with #2. I still wonder if first grade would have played out differently if I would have gone with the Reebok's.

Oh, and I colored my pie chart fuscia. Autumns stupid pie chart was teal, pink, AND yellow. Justins alternated between red, white, AND blue (very patriotic). Mine: just fuscia.

The morals of the story:
  • I was either really advanced and/or I set an unlofty goal.
  • So, I remember the first and last names of everyone in my Joy School group. Which is creepy of me.
  • 25 years later and things haven't changed much: still can't make a choice to save my life (literally).

Monday, March 24, 2008

March Maddess Mega-Post

{Disclaimer: Don't get too excited. This post has nothing to do with basketball; turns out the Aggies let us all down this year, therefore I have absolutely no interest in what is happening with the Dance. }

I have had quite the month of March. I will now spew highlights at you. (In chronological order):

1. We kicked off the month with a party for Mandy: reinforced the notion that Karaoke should be a drunken-only sport.
(Millie, Katie, and Wayne getting down with their bad selves)

2. I went on an impromptu trip to Easton, MD. If it wasn't for this trip we would have never bought the "how to host your own murder mystery dinner" kits. I am certain when we break those out, it will merit it's own posting.

(stock photo- taken from another random trip to Easton in days past, I kinda go there a lot. This particular trip went undocumented- for many undisclosed reasons)

3. There was a pie contest. I lost. No more needs to be spoken of it.

3.5 Kaleb moved to D.C. and he won the Mary Ann McMullen jackpot! Right next door. Welcome to the neighborhood.
(Kaleb with chives... in space)

4. Friends from out of town came to visit. Good times were had with Kyle and Brigham from the Ohio State School of Dentistry.
(Andy, Me, Kyle, Diana, Kristi, Beckka)

5. Ladies Who Brunch began. Katie, Jenn, and Steph will bring new sanity to my weekends. Thanks. Just as a warning: I am about to become obsessed with THE DERBY. If you are reading this, you may want to impress me: I suggest buffing up your knowledge of the race.

6. Frogs! at the National Geographic Society. If you haven't gone yet: go. It was one of the best exhibits I have ever seen. Any exhibit that I walk away from saying, "If I ever kill someone, it will be a classy method like a blow dart gun" is obviously worth your time. Frogs are dangerous little suckas and you learn all about them at this chorus of colors, featuring the frog.

7. Saloun in Georgetown. It was said "Saloun never disappoints" and my friends, it did not. The lead singer of the jazz/motown fusion band was simply infatuated with Jenn. He sang to her, danced with her, and crooned at our table. Un-freaking-believable. We danced the night away and let loose. Good times.

(Again, pictures were not taken. I am thankful for that. Somethings just don't need to be documented)

7. Easter Dinner. Shout out to Jenn for hosting, KR for the glaze job, Christy for a cupcake that rivals mine, Nikki for the green bean casserole, the Bread Gods for the orange rolls (yes, they were heavenly), and to Jonathan for the prunes.
(L-R: Jonathan, KR, Christy, Jenn, Me, Todd. Front: Nikki, Aaron, Jenny, Steph, Katie)

8. There were two celebrity look-a-like discoveries made. Turns out Kyle is the secret love child of Owen Wilson and Matthew McConaughey and my roommate Maggie may have been the inspiration for the seamstress from The Incredibles (mind you Maggie has stronger bangs now and wears glasses around the house sometimes).

9. Jane (my roommate) and Seth got engaged! Congrats!

(Seth and Jane working together on the Flobee back in 2006... many more cooperative projects in the future, I am sure)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spontaneous or Irresponsible?

There's a fine line between someone being cute versus being creepy. The qualifier is this: if the person in question is someone you like, then of course it is cute. If the person in question is someone you are not interested in, then of course it's deemed creepy. Doesn't really matter what the act is. i.e., guy I am not into buys me flowers: creepy... guy I am into tells me he was going to buy me flowers but forgot: cute.

Much like that, there is a fine line between spontaneity and irresponsibility. It is time to develop a qualifier for rash decisions.

Some case studies ripped from the headlines of my life:

  • The other night I needed to buy some household items; namely, a hand mixer and a new duvet cover. I begrudgingly went to the store to pick up said items. I didn't purchase either. I returned with a 64 inch 3-D x-Kite! (and a slice of Costco pizza)

  • Friday night I had big plans to spend a quiet evening at home with friends watching a wholesome history-epic (Far & Away). By the time the movie would have ended, I had crossed through two states and the District and was on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

  • Once (like five years ago) I went to get the mail and ended up in Seattle, WA.

  • And not as exciting, but more relevant; the question I am faced with daily: "Go to work or don't". Now, more times then I care to admit I just don't go.

I like to delude myself into thinking that I don't regret much... so apparently, I am OK with my decisions. Even outright proud of some of them. However, as you also might know, just because I make the choice, doesn't make it the right choice. So, the need for a qualifier is now.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Drag Race 08

If you were close to me back in March of '07, you probably were forced to watch 2 Fast, 2 Furious: Tokyo Drift. It was a movie introduced to me by Michael "Pants/Helgesnuggle/Snugglesons" Helgeson. The movie, aside from having a compelling... dare I say, life changing plot, also boasts a dynamic showmanship of motor sport popular in Asia called "drifting". (Basically you slip your angle, break hard, lose traction, kick the clutch and go on your merry way- drifting about the roadway). This marks my anniversary weekend of watching that movie for the first time. Fitting, considering the story that unfolded on Sunday afternoon which I am about to tell...

Needless to say, this movie has continually inspired me.

A few posts down, I challenged Brad Rogers, DDS, to a race. Brad and I share the same make/model of car. As Mark Twain says "What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, what counts is the size of the fight in the dog."

The terms were simple: we began at the same starting point, continued on the George Washington Parkway through Alexandria and then home to Arlington. Typically this takes about a half hour on a Sunday.

I left the lot first- Brad was a gentleman, allowing the lady to proceed ahead. Knowing that planning a well timed exit would be crucial. I had a crew (Mandy, Peter, & Matt) who looked out and let me know when there was a short window of time that my car could slip out before oncoming traffic would then block Brad. It was a beautifully orchestrated dance as my car glided across three lanes.

After Brad finally caught up to me, there was a bit of weaving in and out as fellow church goers tried to make their way home.

At this point, Brad did have a strong showing. I was clocked in at like 90ish (speed limit 45) and Brad was at least a football field ahead of me (thanks to a Utah road block *cough*Melanie Beal*cough). His speed? Fast. I was impressed.

Though when I rolled into Old Town I knew that not only speed would win this- but skill. I have navigated the streets of Alexandria many a time before. It is said, if you time the lights on Hwy 1 just right, you can hit them all green. This is something that I have only heard about though. Never have I witnessed it. Until this Sunday.

So, there we were, we broke for Hwy 1, deviating from Brads chosen route along the parkway. I saw my opportunity before me and I had to do it: I slightly ran a pink light to catch the rest green. Every light from the bottom of Washington to Arlington was green! It was a beautifully timed execution on my part.

I was nervous to go to the end point; what if the parkway proved to be faster? What if Brad won? Nonsense.

I pulled into the final destination parking lot and got out. Brad was no where to be found. I had to stand out side my car for a good while waiting for his arrival. Mandy even considered giving them a call to find out where they were... but they did arrive.

Bryson Bauchman, ESQ dissented from the group claiming it wasn't a race, but a game, since we took different routes. However, it was clear from the start that we leave the same place and we arrive at the same destination. First one there wins.

I won.

Here is Brad winning in the game of life:

I would like to thank my crew, and give a loud shout out to Brad and his crew (Bryson, Jack, Kim): you fought a good fight.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mandy in Wonderland

This is one of those posts... you know the kind; a rave. It is going to talk about how great Mandy is. Now, if you know Mandy you will continue reading because you know she is great and you just can't get enough of her. If you don't have the honor of knowing Mandy (yet) then you will still continue reading because you know me and you therefore know that I am an elitist and only am friends with those worth knowing.

The thing about Mandy is that she really has a zest for life. Just enough to be contagious. I love doing things with Mandy because she doesn't half-ass anything. If she is going to do it, she is really going to do it.

So it was with her birthday celebration. We wanted a theme that could be fun with out being obnoxious. We settled on "Mandy in Wonderland" and went with the Mad Hatter Tea Party and visit to the Queen of Hearts.

There was karaoke, cookies, cider, cocoa, hula hooping, bubble blowing & all around magic. But that doesn't account for the true reason of the party success; it was because people love being around Mandy.

This is cliche, but when I am around Mandy I want to be better (hence why even after a few paragraphs I am feeling a tinge of guilt for putting the word "ass" in a post about Mandy- she would never approve). But, then again I love Mandy because she knows me, really knows me, and she still loves me. She is a bitcheesey sometimes, but all around a great person and a great friend.