Tuesday, September 27, 2011

International Pet Vacation Day

It's been awhile since I've posted a story about Ike (well, it's been awhile since I've posted anything at all). To be honest, it's hard.  All I want to do is talk about Ike. He sits! He yawns! He whines at the door! He cocks his head when I say "laundry"! It's all SO CUTE. But you would stop reading if I posted that kind of stuff everyday. (It's ok, I would stop reading, too.)

But I know you guys love Ike. So I subconsciously created a story for you in the form of an incredibly specific dream two nights ago. Here's what happened:

{we are now entering dream-world. none of this actually happened}

Ike was stolen from our house. (for real this time)

I woke up one morning and he was gone. There was no sign of breaking and entering, and neither Y nor I heard any strange noises in the middle of the night. We decided to keep vigil by the computer (I mean, where else are you going to do it?). Lucky that we did, because we soon received an e-mail with this picture:

From the fine print of the e-mail we learned that Hallmark decided that Patriot's Day (which is 9/11) was a little too depressing so close to the holiday season. So the execs at Hallmark, with their infinite holiday-inventing-power, decided that September 11th should be International Pet Vacation Day.

(Genius, right? No stealing, Hallmark. This amazing idea is copyright my sleeping brain.)

To get the word out about the new holiday, Hallmark implemented a guerilla marketing campaign: in the middle of the night, they would send a giant claw (much like one of those claw vending machine games) through the roofs of houses, steal family pets and send them away on a luxury vacation. Just when pet owners became frantic, Hallmark would send an electronic greeting card showing the pet having a fabulous time. How they knew each pet's exact dream-vacation, we'll never know. (It's eerie; Ike often speaks of his desire to roll in waves of the Atlantic.)

Shortly after the e-mail was received, Hallmark sent each pet back to their home, tanned and rested and ready to return to the strenuous life of being a furry family member. But I don't remember this part, because I woke up after the e-mail, laughing at myself for thinking up this stuff in my sleep.

Monday, September 19, 2011

101 in 1001: Austin City Limits

scenes on South Congress

Confession: I started one of those 101 in 1001 to-do lists last week.

I know I'm, what, 2 years late to this party? But I had a great reason: September 15, 2011 was exactly 1001 days until my 30th birthday. I can't think of a better thing to count down to than my impending senior citizenship.

Just kidding. But 30 is kind of scary, considering I feel 16 about 99% of the time.

Anyway, I think rather than sharing my 101/1001 list here, I'll just be sure to tell you when I check something off, like I did this past weekend: attend a music festival.

Even though I've been to Jazzfest in New Orleans twice, I felt like I had never had an actual music festival experience. My first time, I was a senior in high school and was only allowed to be there for a few hours. We got there just in time to stand at the back of a Dave Matthews concert, and left immediately after. My freshman year in college I went back, armed with a Sharpie-d shirt that said "WE <3 U JOHN MAYER" which I'd like to pretend never existed.

I've always wanted to go to Austin City Limits, and I knew next year I might not have the luxury of a relatively short car ride. So I went.

We heard Ray LaMontagne, whose voice was -- as the girl behind us correctly noted -- like butter despite his lack of personality (made up for by his sassy sign language interpreter). Dehydrated and hungry, we stood in the middle of a haze of smoke listening to Foster the People. We arrived early for Sara Bareilles and ended up front and center; she played her song "Let the Rain" on guitar and when she threw her pick into the crowd, it landed on my foot. She and her band busted out the accordion for a perfect cover of Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man". 

I stood in the middle of the park with "Love Lockdown" in my left ear and "Viva La Vida" in my right ear as people streamed back and forth, trying to decide which concert to see. We eventually ended up at Kanye West, in the middle of thousands of white people in tight jeans and fedoras yelling we want prenup!

I only made it to ACL for one day, but I'd say I had a pretty great music festival experience. I can't wait to go back to Austin and I'm mildly obsessed with this little video of the trip I made using the 8 mm camera app and iMovie:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

a night in our office

I like to think he's gazing at my picture.

But I'm probably wrong.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'll miss you... nice people

7:57 a.m.  3 minutes until the public can get their hands on a coveted new clothing line, one that is sure to sell out in a few hours. In larger cities, lines twist around city blocks and claws come out as the doors open.

A Target employee is starting to open our store, and the five of us that have gathered outside move inside, discussing what we hope to find. There's a woman whose daughter can't bear to face the lines in New York where she lives  and sent her mom to pick up a list of items. My pilates teacher is there, deciding which pattern of plates she wants to buy her kids. Two more strangers compare printed out lists of what they were going to buy before Target.com crashed for the morning. We walk around the store at a quick pace, not wanting to seem too eager but not wanting to miss out on anything.  We discuss our surprise that there are actually other people in this town who knew what was happening this morning.

In the sporting goods section, a mom and I chat about the availability of the zig-zagged bike that I'm currently drooling over. She buys one, I don't. Later I see her with her teenage daughter, and they wave me over, holding up the cute dress they found. In another section, the mom to the daughter in New York asks what size I would take in a particular shirt; I'm about the same height as her daughter. I tell her one size would probably be too short on me. "Well she's in New York," she drawls, winking, "you know how much less conservative they are up there."

I wander back to the bike. There's one left. I pace in front of it. I text Y. He says, "Gross. that looks like Beetlejuice's bike." I reason that we'll be buying at least 10 plane tickets in the next few months; I can't justify a $499 bike. I wander across the store, grabbing a zig-zagged coffee mug for $4.99 instead. "We decided we can't get the bike." I say to the crowd, because by now they all know my plight. They groan, not missing a beat shoving melamine plates  into their carts. I hold up my consolation prize. "But I am getting a coffee mug!" They laugh. We're old friends.

I venture to guess that not everyone's 8 am Missoni experience was like this. I consider myself lucky.

{By the way, although the selection was vast at my store, I kept all those plane tickets in mind (and thought a lot of the clothes were ugly) and left with only the mug, some pencils, and the softest, longest cardigan that I can't wait to snuggle up with on an airplane.}

I'll miss you... archive:
movie moments
antique stores

Monday, September 12, 2011

match day nightmares

I've had some disturbing dreams this week. Last night I was pick-pocketed in Italy. The night before, I was held at gunpoint at a mall. While the gun was to my head, I closed my eyes and tried to relax with yoga breaths, and when I opened them I was staring at the ceiling in my bedroom. I guess you could say yoga saved my life.

By far the most disturbing dream, though, was one that stemmed from my chronic lateness in sending birthday gifts. You see, I love giving gifts. But I'm always convinced there's something better out there; that I'm not giving the perfect gift. So I wait for the perfect thing to come along. The birthday/occasion passes. I keep waiting. Eventually I realize it's September and the birthday was in June and I get flustered and send what I initially thought about sending in May. 

I've had a birthday present for my nephew (birthday June first) sitting under my desk for at least a month. In my disturbing dream, something happened to the gift and I was never able to give it to him. I told him this, and assured him that I owed him a HUGE favor.

Turns out, (we're still in dreamland here) he ended up needing a favor. A really big one. As is the nature of dreams, I can't remember anything about it except that I had to do it and it was during.... match day. 

I woke up sweating. Mind you, I wasn't sweating after being stolen from in Italy. I wasn't sweating after my shopping trip turned near death experience. 

And here's the thing: my dreamland favor didn't prevent me from going to match day. Whatever it was, it only prevented me from having a picture taken of my reaction when Y announced his match. 

And not having my picture taken during match day was apparently enough to strike sweaty, nightmarish fear in my heart. 

Pretty sure I need to calm down.

(But you better believe I sent my nephew his birthday present today.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011



My story isn't groundbreaking or heartbreaking. It's not admirable or heroic. It might not even be that interesting. Aside from a canceled senior trip to Europe, I wasn't affected. But on a day when I was asked to stop for a moment of reflection in the produce section of the grocery store and The Sounds of Silence feels like it's on repeat, no other story seems worth telling.

I was a senior in high school and overjoyed when my world history teacher left class to fetch copies of Hammurabi's code. The best part? He was gone for over thirty minutes. When he finally returned, he told us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

At this point, I was sure it was just a terrible accident. The World Trade Center meant nothing to me other than a few more giant buildings in a sea of skyscrapers that impressed me in movie after movie. I don't think I knew anything about terrorists, and I certainly didn't know that the WTC had a history of terrorism.

We may have gotten out of school early, I can't remember - the rest of the day is a blur. But I'll always remember one moment that afternoon, sitting in front of my best friend's TV, and finally realizing the severity of what had happened: TRL wasn't on. Even MTV - the place I went to drown out my problems with boy bands and pop stars - had cancelled their programming. 

Stuck in traffic on the interstate back to my house, I listened to the radio rehash the events of the day and looked around at the other cars. I had an overwhelming feeling that we were all listening to the same thing. It was surreal but at the same time a precursor to the sense of solidarity that now, ten years later, it seems like people miss.

My heart goes out to anyone whose story is heartbreaking or heroic. 

Two blog posts I loved today:

*I was taking photography my senior year, and our teacher suggested we capture patriotic images. Comforting to see my choice of subject hasn't changed.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

wasps, home repairs, and grown ups

Life is hard right now. Not just because of the whole residency application thing, but for reasons that transcend med school. Over and over, we ask ourselves the same question: 

Are we grown ups yet?

Sure, we pay our bills on time and get paychecks (or loan checks, as the case may be for one of us).  And we go grocery shopping and take care of a living, breathing creature. 

But our methods of dealing with home repairs has me thinking the answer to the grown ups questions is  a big, fat no.

Take our strategy for dealing with pests. 

Stepping into the shower one morning, I noticed a wasp flying around my bathroom. For some reason, this didn't bother me, but had I seen a roach running across the floor I would have cried and probably ran out of my house naked looking for help. I hate roaches. The thought of them makes me feel the need to wash my hands.

Anyway, since this was a wasp and not a roach, I reacted sanely and sprayed it with wasp spray, flushed it down the toilet, and continued my shower. End of story.

The next day I saw this on the outside of my bathroom window:

Either the wasp knew I had killed its father inside of this very window and was plotting its revenge, or wasps always made their home in the bush outside of our bathroom and one happened to find a way inside. 

By the way, did you know that wasps have faces? Look at this guy's, doesn't he just look angry? 

Anyway, I told Y about the wasp outside the window and we both shrugged and forgot about it.  Day after day, the wasp continued to sleep under a leaf on the bush.

Until one night, when Y got serious about our little situation. In the middle of the night, I woke up as he sat straight up in bed and said something along the lines of, "the wasps are coming."

I rolled over and fell back asleep, and the next morning in the bathroom noticed this:

Apparently, Y had dreamed that there was a hole in our bathroom window, and wasps were flying in and attacking us. Being that it was a dream, the wasps were bigger, badder, probably some kind of robot, and poisonous. In a semi-asleep state, Y found the duct tape and taped a piece arbitrarily on the window. And we were safe.

We have friends that I consider actual adults (they have a dining room table!), and I know if they thought there was a hole in their house they would call a handyman. What do you think -- is the official test of adulthood the end of your reliance on duct tape? Owning a solid wood dining room table? Something else?

My iPhone battery is draining at a ridiculously fast pace, I'm thinking of incepting some sort of phone battery emergency into Y's dreams so he'll help me fix it. Any ideas?

Friday, September 2, 2011

my family is special.

Thanks to everyone for your good luck wishes on Y's applications! So far we haven't heard back from anywhere and have officially given up. Okay, that's not true, but I might have to institute a "don't text me unless you got an interview" policy, because my stomach can't take all of this jumping each time my phone beeps, only to be disappointed with another "what's for dinner?" message.


Today would have been my mom's 68th birthday. I figured she deserved a shout out since she's the one who got me into writing in the first place. Here we are, each writing somewhere beautiful, she in (I think) Switzerland, me in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland.

She inspired some of my first pieces, such as this one:

 And she even encouraged me to write a book. It was approximately 8 pages long, about a little girl who wished she could join another family because her family made her eat yogurt. (The nerve!) Some day I hope I can find it and post it on the blog, because you guys are truly missing out.

My mom is also probably responsible for one of my favorite childhood activities: sitting down with the 700 page Sears catalog, picking a model and making up a story about his/her life, using ONLY things in the Sears catalog. Toys, light fixtures, shoes, other models as family members - it was all fair game. 

(This is what happens when you're an only child.)

Have a great Labor Day weekend, friends! Any hilarious journal entries/books/embarrassing nerdy memories from your childhood?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Am I Male: When applying for residency makes you crazy

Today, Y asked me when his birthday was. 

He was perfecting his application for residency, and that particular question was about the 4983059430th ridiculous question I was asked (others included "Am I male?"). So I did what I should have done after the first few questions: marched over to his computer and submitted the stupid application myself. 

Y applied to 25 programs. Here's what happens next: within the week, residency programs could start replying, offering Y an interview. The interviews take place from mid-October to January, and for those 4 months it's a giant game of Where in the World is Y.

I'm a sucker for any kind of map art, and when I saw this United States bulletin board on design*sponge a year ago, I bookmarked it immediately for the very purpose of keeping track of applications. (Remember bookmarking? That's what people did before Pinterest, kids.) 

Unlike most of the craft projects I bookmark/pin, this one actually happened.

The legend (which Y claims is "legend.....ary") explains: a black pin means he applied, a white pin means they offered him an interview, and a red pin means he accepted the interview. 

 The application went out 15 hours ago and everything is back to normal. Y is confident about his date of birth and his gender again. But we have noticed an increased heart rate and jumpiness every time he gets an e-mail. That will stop soon, though... right?