Saturday, May 31, 2008

I should be cleaning my room.

Instead, I will tell you that my new trail shoes are simply wonderful. They have excellent traction, and my feet are so comfortable, all snug like a bug. It feels like I'm walking on pillows, but really I'm running on dirt and rocks.

Hmm... that didn't take as long as I thought it might...I guess I have to clean my room now.


Monday, May 26, 2008

It's a long one

Sunday went by as usual. Normal church, normal old ladies at dinner, normal strange dessert, normal dad trying to shoot the trespassing orange cat.
So, Sunday was pretty normal.

I had no plans for Memorial Day, as most of my life in the past year has been one big day off, so it's not like Memorial Day was anything special in the "vacations" category.

The day would be whatever I decided to make it.

While I was at the gym, I decided that today would be the day that I run the trail twice instead of only once. So I did it. I knew I would need music to make it around twice, so I brought my iPod. I started out on the trail, sans music, just walking and listening to the birds, then up the little switchbacks, and at the top of the hill, right before a really steep part, I put my earphones in. I hadn't really gotten to any running yet, but as I start my music, and take one step down the hill, I slip.

Not a big slip or anything, but my shin hit dirt, and I slid a little bit. I get up, my hands are dirty, my shin is dirty, and I start cleaning off my shin. It started to sting, and then bleed. I got blood on my hands, so I wiped them off on my other leg.

Anyway, it was just so lame that I got an injury and I hadn't even done anything yet. I continued on my trail, I went around twice, and it felt great. Nothing hurt until I stopped running. That's when my shin started stinging like crazy, my brain realized I had two blisters on each foot and my body said, "You just did double what I'm used to. Crazy."

But it was fun. I took lots of pictures to show you my injuries, but they all looked lame, so I decided not to post them.

After my slip and my blisters, I decided that it was time for new running shoes. Those running shoes used to be my only pair, but they were pretty worn out, so I bought new ones that I use at the gym, and the old ones I used running outside. But, it is officially time to get rid of those things, so I bought new trail shoes. I wore them all day on Monday, so that is why the picture is from this perspective:

Monday was also the day that I framed my diploma. I had been in denial, thinking I shouldn't put anything on the walls because I'm not going to be here very long, but I finally accepted it and framed and hung the diploma. I get chills every time I walk by it.

So after all my shopping I came home to find mom busy in the kitchen. I knew dinner was at 6, and it was currently 4, so I wondered why we were getting a jump on things. Mom said, "Oh, the Sunday crowd is coming over for dinner."
I said, "Oh, Grandma and Marie?"
"Yeah, they will be here at 5."
"What?! They are coming at FIVE?!" (what the heck were we going to do with those ladies for an hour before dinner?!)

"Oh, no, dinner is at 5."

"oh, phew."

That was a close one.

So the ladies were coming over. Awesome.

I was hanging out with them, Marie eating salsa and Grandma eating sailsah when dad came in with a head lamp for me. I had been wanting one for a long time, so I was pretty excited to get it.
Naturally I put it on. Grandma said, "How do you use that thing? Pull that light over your eyes and you can see?

Yes Grandma, I pull it over my eyes and then I can see.

I think one of the best parts about our dinner table is the big window we can look out of and check out the yard. While we were checking out the yard, we noticed a huge rat sneaking out of a hole and eating birdseed. We were all pretty excited about it, Grandma kept yelling, "what are you looking at?!?!?!?" and we kept telling her, and she still didn't understand, and then when she finally knew there was a rat, she said, "THERE'S A RAT IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!"

I told Grandma I'd put up posters. "Warning: Rat in neighborhood."

Grandma was pretty concerned, so she yelled, "You'd better put a trap out tomorrow!"

Dad did better than that. He put a trap out immediately.

It was a big trap. We might be able to catch that orange cat in it, too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Donn. Two n's. Again.

Tonight I walk into Literacy Council, said hi to another tutor in the room, and proceeded to look for my name on the roll when the door opens and I hear a big booming voice booming, "Myriah!"

I turn, and in comes Donn.

I smile, "It's 'Donn,' right?"

And he gives me exactly what I was hoping for: "Two n's."

"Right, right.... hi."

He had a question for me, and then I start talking to the other tutor. I was sitting in a circle of chairs, and Donn (two n's) comes up and (with hands grasped behind his back) asks if he may join the circle. I say go ahead (weirdo).

I'm not really sure how it happened, but Donn started bragging about how he speaks a little Spanish. He turns to the other tutor (who speaks Spanish as his first language) and Donn starts talking in Spanish. He talks about how he studied abroad in Peru in 1988 for three months.
Then Donn turns to me and says in English (and really slowly), "I studied in Peru for 3 months in 1988." I knew all about it of course, because he was speaking quite slowly in Spanish, and those are easy words anyway. So I say, "WOW. How old were you at the time?"

Donn's age was a mystery to me, and it looked like a good time to clear that up. He said he was about 38 when he spent those three months in Peru.

He said, "I picked up Spanish most effortlessly, you know. I really wanted to use it in my career as a newscaster. I didn't think much of myself until I found myself on Good Morning America, then I decided maybe I could work for Telemundo or something like that." (He explained to me what Telemundo was, but I don't actually live in a hole, so I knew about it already.)

By this time, I had gotten out my notebook and started writing down everything he was saying. He saw me writing and asked if I wanted him to stop talking. I said, "Oh no, I just had a brainstorm for my lesson tonight. Please, keep talking."

Yes, please. You are giving me some great stuff, Donn.

"Well, I wanted to move to China to teach English there, but they wouldn't accept me. I have a gift of teaching, you know, and a knack for languages, so I thought I would apply. But they wouldn't take me. I'm planning on applying again. I want to be there for the World's Fair in twenty ten."

Twenty ten, twenty ten...uhh.... oh, 2010.

I look up perplexed, "The World's Fair? In China? Right after the Olympics?"

"Yes, the very place. You haven't heard of it because it hasn't been advertised yet, but I always keep up on World Fairs. Everyone thinks it is so great of China to be hosting both events, but I personally think they are up to no good," and he continues and talks all about how he hates China and how China owns the United States and mostly how much he hates China.

Whoa, Donn, chillax a bit won't you? It's no wonder they won't let you into their country.
You're a hater.

And also they were probably wondering where your Canadian accent went. You are suppose to have one of those, aren't you?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A few items of note

First off, at my bug packing job, I came across a fish that I needed to ship to Ohio. The point is to have the fish alive when it gets to Ohio, so we try to make sure that our bugs/fish don't die due to temperature conditions. We have a list of all the stuff we ship, and the temperatures they can survive in. If it appears the state we are sending it to will be to cold, we might put a heat pack in the box, or if the weather will be too warm, we put an ice pack. Anyway, I couldn't find this type of fish on our list. I had no idea what temperatures were ideal. So, I ask the guy standing next to me. I hold up my fish bag.

"Hey, I can't find the temperatures for this fish,"

He looks at me.

He looks at the bag.

He says, "That's because it's not a fish,"

I look at the bag. (Sure looks like a fish...)

He continues, "That's an invert,"

and there it was, on the list, "invert."

Moral of the story?

Sometimes when you think it is a fish, you are wrong.

While I enjoy my bug packing job, my last day is tomorrow, and I knew I needed to find something else. Thankfully, I found a condom packing job. I learned that a doctor's office needed help scanning files, and I was ready and willing to scan my little life away. I show up last week, and no one there knew how to scan, or what to scan, so I couldn't do any scanning. Instead of showing me the scanner (and the directions that were above the scanner) they put me to work in another fashion. She told me that I needed to open up all the boxes of condoms, and put two condoms of each kind into a brown lunch bag and roll it up and tape it. They call these "Condom Bags."

There are ten different kinds of condoms, and each box has 1,000 condoms in it. ONE THOUSAND. I have been at this job for about 6 hours, and I have made roughly 250 condom bags. I feel like I will be making condom bags forever.

Naturally I told my parents all about this job.

It's a funny job.

My father thinks it is particularly funny.
Tonight at dinner he turns to his mother and says, "Has Myriah told you about her other job?"
and Grandma says, "WHAT JOB?! Her bug job?!"

and I say to my father, "No... and I'm not planning on it."

Dad plows ahead anyway. There was no way I was going to tell my grandma about my condom packing job. First off, I would have to yell all about it, and second, that makes me uncomfortable.

Anyway, Grandma loved it. Dad told her, and she thought it was simply wild. I couldn't handle it.
Grandma said, "This must be a free clinic you work at. The doctor, what does he do with the condoms? Does he just give them out?" I said, "There aren't any male doctors in that office," and she says, "Oh, they are all women, huh? Well that makes more sense, them giving out condoms."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Donn. Two n's.

When you train to be a tutor with the Literacy Council, they request that you shadow a tutor and their student before you begin with your own student.

I did not do this.

Well, I tried. I showed up, talked to people, but when it came time for observation, everyone gave me a dirty look. So, I kinda wondered around and then left.

Anyway, I walk into Literacy Council today, to meet with my students, and I notice a new guy there. He immediately speaks to me, and I have no idea what the intentions were behind his question. I know he said something, I just wasn't sure what kind of a response he was looking for. (I do this all the time with my Grandma. She says something, and I have to figure out what kind of an answer she wants. It is easier than asking her to rephrase the question into Normal People.)

So I ask a question instead of answering, and I come to find out (after much of him not making any sense) that he was just finishing his tutor training and was there to shadow.
I remember how everyone was mean to me, so I was super friendly to this guy. So we start chatting and I'm not sure what he is saying, and the Japanese girl who was there to learn English really has no chance to know what he is saying, when suddenly he asks me, "What's your name?"

I tell him, he sings the song, and then mentions all he knows about Mariah Carey, and says, "My name is Donn, two n's," and he holds up two fingers. Then he says again, "Two n's," and holds up the same two fingers.

Now, the first time when he held up two fingers I thought to myself, "why is this guy making a 'v' when he is talking about 'n's'?" But thankfully he told me the "two n's" part twice, so I was able to clear it up in my mind.

While we were talking he mentioned he was from New York. I said, "Oh, what part?" He says with a little nod of the superior, "New York." So I act all impressed and say, "Ohhh! The City!"

He says, "Why don't I have an accent you ask?"

umm.... no.....

"Well, you see, when I was younger, I had a lisp, (and he acts out a lisp for the Japanese girl) and my teachers sent me to a special speech therapist at my school. But you see, my speech therapist was from Ontario."

and he looks at me with great anticipation. I don't know what that was all about.

He continues, "So instead I came away with a Canadian accent."

I decided to say something, so I said, "Boy, I bet your parents were surprised."

And indeed they were.

He never said, "I bet you're wondering why I don't have a Canadian accent," which is something I really was wondering.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"On the GRASS?!?!?"

Mother's Day was pretty great. It started out with Mary and I giving mom this poster and mom saying, "If I lay down next to it, do you think it will look like I am standing?"


We told her later that we had something else for her, and she said, "Did you write me a poem? Memorize a scripture?"

Dang it. If only I knew that is what she wanted, I could have memorized a scripture for her. Maybe I'll recite a hymn for her birthday.

Dinner was a delightful meal. Once Marie finally got there, that is. Marie was late for dinner, and Grandma started complaining that the hamburgers wouldn't be hot by the time Marie gets here. (btw, Grandma is very food temperature sensitive. She always worries that something will get cold or get too hot and blah blah blah blah blah.) Well, I went across the street to collect Marie, and I find out she hadn't received a note inviting her to dinner. She was right; someone dropped the ball. I blame dad.

As I was walking across the street with Marie, I was thinking that we were making great time. It would take Grandma about 3 times the amount of time it took us to cross the street, and there was significant less grunting and complaining.

I learned a few things at dinner, and one of them is that Grandma is certain she won't last more than 5 years, and the other is that 90% of Marie's known family died at 96. She is currently 90, and Grandma is 82, so we still have a few more years left of Sunday night dinner to look forward to.

Mary wanted some pictures of the ladies, which I thought was a great idea, so we told them to head outside. Grandma freaked out when she learned we wanted her to walk on the grass, but she had her cane and mom to hold on to, so she made it just fine. There was some hullabaloo about just where on the grass to stand, but we got it all figured out, and we got the picture.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Witch Shoes

Tonight I had to explain to my grandma about my temp job.

Sorry, she calls it “tempo.”

So tonight I had to explain to my grandma about my tempo job.


Like all things I know grandma won’t be able to hear (everything) or understand (most things) I don’t give out too much information, and just let her ask me the things she really wants to know. It was a painful ten minutes, but I think she feels well informed now, so that is good.

I guess.

Today the old ladies were freezing. They walked in the door and said, “Isn’t it so cold today?” (it was in the 70’s) and we would have to say, “oh, yes, bitter cold,” even though I was out in a short sleeve shirt and a skirt all day. There were jokes as to whether or not to keep jackets on, because it was so cold, don’t you know. Blah blah blah. Our indoor thermometer read 71 degrees. I don’t understand being old. I just don’t get it.

Now, one of our old ladies is s…l…o….w….so slow.

We always make her get her food first. The concept is that she will get her food, sit down and start eating. We almost always set up dinner buffet style, and one time she was last getting her food, and by the time she made it to the table, we were mostly all finished eating. Then we had to sit for 25 minutes while she ate. We learned our lesson.

So, we make her go down the line first. I know that after we pray and send her down the line, I can usually change out of my church clothes, wash my feet, start writing a post or have a conversation online, unpack my church bag, and brush my hair before it will be my turn to get my food. Usually by the time we have all filled our plates and seated ourselves, she has finally gotten herself organized so as to pick up a fork and start eating. She’s just slow.

She eats slow too. Everyone always finishes way before her. So we just sit around, waiting. I have had many discussions about this with my family, and we decided that it isn’t because she is always talking, or always fussing, she is just slow.

One day my mother and I had a competition to see if one of us could finish our dinner after this old lady. We couldn’t do it. I ran out of things to eat.

Tonight, after everyone had finished eating, Paul and Marissa called, and I answered the phone. So, I got to talk to them for awhile, and I knew I was missing dessert. Grandma always makes dessert, and tonight it was pineapple pecan non-fat cake with cream cheese frosting. I rarely enjoy these desserts. I don’t really like cream cheese frosting, and I hate nuts in my baked goods. Unfortunately, Grandma really likes to bake, so we get stuff like this all the time. This really goes into another subject about how Grandma is always calling us and herself fat, but then she makes these desserts and gets offended if we don’t eat them. Maybe we will talk about that later. But before we move away from the subject, I just want to reminisce a little bit: To everyone that was at the family reunion this past summer, remember when Grandma sent over those cupcakes, and no one could figure out what was wrong with them? But we kept eating them thinking… “these are odd…” and then she told me she forgot to put oil in them. Remember that? Yeah, me too.

Okay, so after I finished talking with the sibs, I passed the phone to mom and dad, and knew it was my turn to sit at the table with the old ladies. Of course, I had to get a piece of cake and pretend to enjoy it. So I sat down with them, scraping off the frosting, and eating around the nuts, and not enjoying whatever was left of the cake, when mom decides to take her phone call outside into the 55 degree whether. She doesn’t close the door all the way, and suddenly Grandma says, “Holy %#&@ she left the door open!!!! I’m going to FREEZE!!!”

I hadn’t noticed a change in temperature, so I lazily look over at the door, and then back to Grandma, who was still mehrnermerhnering about how cold it is, so I decided to shut the door.

I don’t know what we were talking about next, but suddenly Grandma yells, “Where is Mary, she needs to eat a piece of cake!”

I agreed with Grandma, where indeed, was Mary? Why was she not helping me endure? But she was getting ready to go out. So I tell Grandma, “She’s straightening her hair!”

“She’s WHAT?!”


“Well, she has a lot of hair.”


About this time I was mad at myself for answering the phone, and thus drawing out the evening unnecessarily. Where were my parents? Why am I here all by myself?

FINALLY mom comes back in to hang the phone up, and she is smiling. So I look up and make some funny comment, and so we are both smiling, and Grandma says, “Why are you smiling?!”

Mom doesn’t answer, because what could she say?
So Grandma asks again, “Why are you smiling?!?!?”
Mom just shrugs, which is apparently not a suitable answer because Grandma exclaims, “WHY ARE YOU SMILING?!?!”

I don’t remember what happened after that because I busted up laughing, and then Mom says, “Paul and Marissa and the baby are fine. They are doing really well.”

Grandma seemed fine with that answer.

The phone conversation was over, dessert was over, and the old ladies were about to get their coats on when I decided it was safe to escape to my room to write this. Dad took one old lady home and mom took the other one home.

When mom walked back home, she came down the hall, stood between mine and Mary’s rooms and said,

“You know, there are times when I think I’ll never make it through dinner.”

Friday, May 2, 2008


I had a temp job today. The title was "packager" and i was under the impression that i would be packing up science supplies for schools around the country. I was thinking workbooks or other educational materials of that sort, but really, I was packing bugs.


Bugs and butterflies and newts and hermit crabs and fish and all sorts of flies and crickets and slugs and beetles and the food for the beetles, and yes i am serious, and yes i was certain something was crawling on me every 5 minutes.

I walked by two girls with their hands in a large tray of slugs. I learned that this company will give 25 cents if you bring a slug in, so i am thinking about looking around the garden for some. Why kill slugs when you can sell them for 25 cents?

I got a tour of the place before i started my job, and i saw some interesting things. The first thing i came across was a giant millipede. I think they are disgusting, but i would encourage you to look them up. I didn't want to put a picture on here, because, ..gross... but i want you to know what i saw, and the girl giving me the tour said, "They are very friendly," and we thankfully moved away from there before she offered to let me hold one.

I also saw a brittle starfish, except the one i held fit in the palm of my hand and it wasn't creepy. I had never seen anything like it.

Toward the end of the tour, we came to the newts, and i mentioned that i always thought they would be super soft and melty to the touch, kind of like a gummy bear that had been in the car for a few hours on a mildly hot day, or a gummy bear that had been in water for a few minutes.

Turns out they are soft and melty, but cool, and not like i could squish the little guy by holding it in the palm of my hand, which is really what i was worried about. Well, that, and i thought maybe they would leave some sort of sticky footprint.