Mon 29 Nov 2004
Sun 28 Nov 2004
Sun 28 Nov 2004
Sat 27 Nov 2004
We have returned!
This morning we set off at 8am to leave Missorui and boom! Josh hits the panic alarm on his keychain and our Honda began honking in loud succession that rang throughout the sleepy neighborhood of Grain Valley. Now as anyone who’s dealt with a faulty car alarm can attest, the result was the three of us (Josh, his sister, and I) flying all over the car trying to get it to stop. With the help of Pops we tore apart the car remote with no result, so we ended up disconnecting the entire car battery. Turns out Josh’s remote is on the fritz, and after much hemming and hawwing and calling up a closed Car Toys, flipping in vain through the Honda manuel, and living in fear that the second we fired up the battery the car would start screaming again, we used the remote on my keys (which thankfully we had packed) and the car went silent. Such a simple solution to a very stressful (and loud) ordeal.
Off we went, across the plains and valleys of Kansas…no, we did not go to the Oz Museum, but we did visit an obscure winery and the Russell Stover Chocolate Factory…so I was appeased. Let me tell you, I enjoyed my time at Josh’s parents but I endured one of the worst caffeine withdrawels EVER. I didn’t realize how thoroughly addicted to that ONE cup of coffee I had become. The first day out there I woke up with that horrible feeling of: “Craaaap, there’s no coffee in the house.” I glugged down advil and dark chocolate in the hopes of warding the headache off, but it still kicked my ass. I suffered in silence the first day, and finally on the second day, Josh blew my cover and confided to his Mom that yes, I am a caffeine addict and this was the reason why I kept sneaking ibuprofen out of her medicine cabinet. She was very gracious and eager to please and it suddenly became a BIG DEAL that I needed coffee. Seriously, here I was totally embarressed that Josh confessed to my puritanical Mormon in-laws that I suffer this ridiculous addiction and they were spearheading for me the entire trip to the mall. Not kidding, here’s how the car trip went:
Josh’s Mom: “And here’s the post office on the left, and oh, there’s the little flower shop that sells sunflowers, oh, and there’s a COFFEE SHOP, STOP! Wait, stop the car, Roger, Mara needs coffee!” Now imagine the car swerving across several lanes of traffic and into the parking lot of a strip mall. And there I am shouting, “No! NO, really I’m fine!”
The mall was a wonderful four story metropolis, such that I hadn’t seen before, but being as this was the legendary day after Thanksgiving we were bumper to bumper with eager shoppers. We couldn’t even mingle inside Bath and Body Works there were so many people hounding out the best soap deals and snatching up the discounted Christmas balls. Josh bought some fabulous business attire at Men’s Warehouse for his upcoming interviews. I hunted down a cup of Seattle’s Best with much cheering and fanfare coming from Josh’s Mom (“Yay! You finally found some coffee!”) And Josh’s sister hazed through the day on generic anti-nausea medicine that resulted in a slightly drugged appearance and eventual collapse later in the afternoon. (She switched back to the tried and true Dramamene after realizing what happened to her).
Eventually my slow withdrawel from coffee caught up with me and I went ballistic on the way home when I saw a highway Starbucks sign. It was horrible, I became one of those people, the kind that are like: “Is that a Starbucks? Pull over, for the love of God, PULL OVER.” I have deep knowledge of this type of person because I catered to them for two years when I worked for Starbucks. It wasn’t until this trip that I truly understood that need for familiarity, that comforting knowledge about the menu and the product that you only get from a large corporation that caters to your caffeine addiction…and it’s not just coffee that soothes you, no, you’ve cultivated a taste for espresso, something that is hard to come by deep in the midwest. Of course by the time we had pulled over and I had waited in line I totally bumbled my order and forgot to say “iced” and ended up with something I didn’t really want but didn’t want to be one of those annoying customers that’s like, “Oh, did I forget to say nonfat?” AFTER the drink is made. So, I sucked it up, and it made my Starbucks experience bittersweet.
The best part about the ride home (and something I’m going to miss when we leave the Rockies) is that we barely out-raced an incoming snow storm. We were about three miles ahead of it the whole time before it finally caught up with us outside of Denver. Cars were sliding all over the road, accidents began piling up, and yet the great leg of our vast 10 hour journey was almost finished, despite the last twenty miles spent in the snow traveling at twenty mph. I gorged on typical car food: Crackers, beef jerky, Russell Stover’s candy, and gum. We returned home after a trecherous drive through Fort Collins after returning Josh’s sister safely to her front door in South F.C. Hobbes was very happy and vocal and was obviously trying to hide her latest weight gain as a result of an open food bowl for three days. There were no messages or serious emails which is always nice to come home to, (no disasters to immediately jolt you out of your vacation). We took a walk in the snow to unwind from the drive. Now I’m sipping a Maker’s Mark on the rocks and thinking I’m probably over-doing it but I’ve been deprived of coffee and alcohal for several days and it just tastes so damn good…
Fri 26 Nov 2004
How did I get here? Similiar to my feelings about Fort Collins: “This is the last place I ever thought I would be.” I remember when I was a young, care-free Seattelite with the mentality that everything liberal, yummy, hip, and trendy was right where I needed it so why venture out to anywhere else in the country? Of course, moving out to CO has changed this a little bit as I cling hard to the value of change, experiencing things “outside of the box,” and trying not to grimace every time I pass a NRA stickered pick-up truck. I know I’m in a strip mall infested, suburb loving, conservative cowboy country, it’s hard to avoid it here in Missouri, a place I never thought I would ever venture to. It took ten hours to get here, through a flat and vast wasteland as we strode through Dorothy’s homeland. I admit, Kansas City looked impressive with its old buildings, skyscrapers kissing the midwestern sky, and the Missouri River traveling right on through. I’ve never been to the midwest…well Chicago, IL and Madison, WI, but I don’t feel like they were true midwest…Alas, we’ve not ventured into the city, which breaks my heart considering the bounty of museums and historical buildings Kansas City has to offer. Instead we were shuttled from strip mall to strip mall, crammed in the backseat of a small compact. Perhaps five people stuffed into a car would not make for a pleasant trip to Kansas City, forty miles west of Grain valley…but I was still disappointed.
Suddenly, the cookie cutter neighborhood Josh’s parents live in evokes a stifling, smothering, sort of feeling inside me. As if there’s no way out, I’ve traveled further and further east and out of my comfort zone. Perhaps this can be attributed to my intense feelings of homesickness around the holidays. I always miss the Northwest around this time. I know that Portland consists of strip malls and suburbs, but it seems different to me, more tolerable. Here, I can’t seem to find anyone who might like me, or really know me…I feel that way in F.C. too, as if those really deep, trusting, friends who watch your back could never exist here..in cowboy country. Traveling through the entire state of Kansas into Missouri has further strengthened my decision to be forever an Urban Girl. Oh, perhaps one day I’ll have to worry about the quality of the local schools and the crime rate and all that parental stuff…but until than I can not be truly satisfied living out here.
Josh travels (!) to several job interviews this week…I hope for the best.
Tue 23 Nov 2004
I drew each one of my castmates as a good-bye gift. Above is one of my favorites…(yes, that’s me dressed as a wine-toting, shrouded, Arab importer on the right).
Mon 22 Nov 2004
The house has been invaded by young college men…members of Josh’s group project are here, and I’m sequestered away downstairs watching the joyous food network. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the two dance classes I taught and than the modern class I subsequently took, but I’ve decided that this summer I HAVE TO ATTEND THE ANNUEL PIEROGI FESTIVAL. Yes, that’s right, the Food Network profiled this wonderful festival. (It was painful listening to the host mispronounce “pierogi” repeatedly…it’s like PURE-OH-Gee…not Per-ogi) It doesn’t matter that it’s held in Whiting, Indiana, I’m gonna make the trip anyhow. I encourage anyone else to join me.
Many of you may not know that my Mother is Polish and we eat pierogis every Christmas Eve. My Mom handmakes them, filling the little dough pockets with mushrooms or potatoes and cheese. They are heavily rooted in tradition and a cult favorite amongst most eastern Europeans. We love them, and I’m determined to get myself to this festival.
Just look at how happy he is! I’m telling you, 10 year H.S. Reunion be damned, I’m going to this festival.
Sun 21 Nov 2004
1.) Wasted time on my new favorite website: Overstock.com. They have an extremely healthy selection of sunglasses. After four years of Colorado living, I’ve developed UV sun damage on one of my eyeballs…depressing. Since this diagnosis a year ago, I’m a strong advocate of good sunglasses, and the Smith brand has been a personal fav since the sweet days of our Summit County lifestyle when Josh splurged and bought me a $70 pair at a sunglass shoppe in Breckenridge. Two years later the little girl I was mentoring pretended my leg was a firearm and our combined weight crushed the glasses which were in my purse. After some brief experimentation with cheaper brands, an expensive pair I lost on my honeymoon, and occasionally risking the damage and going without, these Smith sunglasses are now tucked away in my purse thanks to Overstock.com. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will eventually be one of those old ladies who sports those gigantic, visor-like, plastic monstrosities that blocks out any and all UV rays…but until than I’m enjoying my new sunglasses with syle and grace.
2.) I did not, in fact, purchase the patant leather clogs. I didn’t because I was seriously concerned about the wear and tear of patant leather. Although my sister pointed out that they would have been vegan, I’m more concerned about the eventual look of these shoes after wearing them obsessively. In the mean time I’ve been browsing the Dansko Outlet. I’m not too good for flawed shoes, especially when their prices stay below $75. It seems that this time of the year I typically start craving a new pair of shoes. Last year I broke down and bought a black pair of lace-up Sanita clogs (a sister of the Dansko brand), and I love them. Why is Mara so obsessed with shoes? Well, part of this is pure inheritance, my father has an extensive collection of shoes himself. The other part is that I have big feet (a size 10) and cool shoes in my size are sometimes hard to come by. My Dad wears a size 15 to 16, and he equally appreciates footwear the way I do.
3.) I’m mentally watching what I eat. I got into food journaling the way most women do: I watched an Oprah special on it. Now, sometimes for kicks, I like to write down what I’ve eaten during the day. For example:
a. Breakfast: Organic, honey, 8-grain cereal and 1% milk with banana.
b. Lunch: Four pieces of soybean sushi from nearby Safeway and Mango Odwalla fruit shake.
c. Dinner: Wheat pasta with tomato sauce and spinach….no dessert yet but I’m thinking about it.
Now before you start rolling your eyes, let me remind you, this is a particularly GOOD eating day. Yesterday for dinner I had (white) pasta, two cookies, and several, teeth-sticking, caramel chews. And my philosophy has typically been eat a good dinner and ruin it all for a good dessert. So far this has worked for me…and I try not to get too obsessive. Perhaps I’ve just been sucked in by the latest media frenzy over obesity. Or maybe seeing myself cavorting around in a nude leotard for the Winter’s Tale made me feel a bit ill. At any rate, I’m trying to get back on track with a “healthy lifestyle” ruined occasionally with copious amounts of white sugar. (I love sugar!)
4.) I’m still obsessed with the fashion label, Gsus, (which I’ve learned is pronounced like Jee-zus). It’s interesting trying to decide what I’m now too old for and what I can still get away with. For instance: The whole mini-skirt craze that hit the fashion malls this last summer. I was perfectly happy, two years ago, when knee length skirts were all the rage. Than I saw the mini-skirts and my stomach flip-flopped. Last time minis were in, I mean REALLY in, was…let’s see 7th grade…than they came back briefly in the mid-90s. ..so it’s been a little while. (I guess, technically, the black mini has NEVER gone out of style). I could have jumped on the bandwagon this last summer, but I was lazy, and never bothered. Part of it is quite simply my profession: It’s hard to fit pointe shoes when wearing a skirt. I’ve had to actually apologize to girls over the fact that I was constantly flashing them my underwear. I avoided this by wearing longer skirts or practical capri pants all summer. I rarely “go out” these days, so Club Mini-Skirt never happened. If we move into a city, I hope to God my clubbing days will return and I can once again confidentally brandish a short skirt. Clubbing in F.C. is so sad, filled with drunk college kids, Mexican guys, and Soccer Moms. I tried it once, got groped one too many times, and never went back. If I could regain my Dance Dance Machine life I could POSSIBLY get away with this fabulous, Gsus top:
I guess what this whole American Obestity Epidemic has taught me is: It doesn’t matter, chubby people are still wearing crop tops. So maybe, I need to just chill out about this whole body image, am-I-too-old-for-mini-skirts, aging gracefully thing and just enjoy myself while I can…preferably with this Gsus hoodie:
Thu 18 Nov 2004
So I’m paid a whopping $175 for my time at the theater. It’s better than nothing, but it breaks down to below a dollar an hour. The thing is, I’ve mentally spent that money on tons of different things…for myself of course. Yes, I know, I should be good and put some of it in savings. I should, I really should…these are Dansko clogs, $110, and they are SO SASSY. Never mind that patant leather is impractical and who knows how it will wear. I’ve needed some new black shoes, and these are it! Right?
Quick Update: I just had a freak out about the patant leather…how would these break in? I mean, would the patant leather crease wierd? You know how leather creases over the metatarsal, would it do that for these shoes and make them look all wierd? If I buy them today, I’d get free shipping! HELP!
Thu 18 Nov 2004