July 2009


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In a twenty-four hour period I managed to have both the most miserable experience of my life and also a pleasant time at my family reunion in West Virginia.  I went kayaking on the Greenbrier River, which I thought would be a 40-minute breeze, but turned out to be about one hundred hours of being rained on, getting stuck on rocks in the low water level areas, and dragging a kayak over rocks and snails (I also fell in but the rain hid all evidence of that).  It lasted forever, and I physically have never worked so hard at something so unsatisfying in all of my life.  But also it wasn’t that bad.  At least I was hanging out with my sister and assorted cousins.  It was weird to have that much misery and niceness wrapped into one hot, rainy, and otherwise awful afternoon.  That’s camping!  Also it rained all night and we got water in our tent.  I was so hungry after kayaking but all I ate was a bag of Doritos and I wasn’t drinking any water because I didn’t want to get up in the rain to find the port-o-john.  That stupid bag of Doritos kept me company all weekend and now I’m off of them for a while.

Also I forgot how nice it can be to take long drives alone (no offense, everyone).  I caught up on Splendid Table podcasts and confirmed that I am the greatest singer in the world.  No one was around to dispute this.

AM: “I like to goose kittens’ butts.”

Richard: “I hate Garrison Keillor books.”

I have a dog now.  For those of you who know me, this is weird.  I’ve never had a dog and I’ve never really liked them.  I’ve always been very formal with dogs, and I’m not affectionate.  I’m not much of a cat person, but I’m used to them at least.   In the last couple of years I have warmed up to dogs a little.  I notice them now.  I have pet one once.  My plan was in the next twenty years I would be ready to have one, but not in our house now.  After some negotiating Richard suckered me into agreeing to more immediate terms.

I thought I would have time to process the new addition.  I planned to take our cats Milhouse and Ely out for ice cream to talk about the changes.  I wanted to film and edit a feature-length documentary about a cross-country trip where I interviewed people about their dogs and when they fell in love with them.

By the time I got home from my parents house — something like 48 hours after originally giving in — Richard already had a dog picked out and had made appointment for me to visit her, and I found myself in the SPCA pet store picking out a leash.  I was so nervous that I felt sick.  I felt like a high school senior who had just gotten his girlfriend pregnant.  What would happen to my football scholarship (by which I mean, will I have to worry about dog hair getting into cake batter?.  Do I have to take her every where I go?  Do I now have to care about an entirely separate set of things?).

Worries aside, I already like her.  She’s cool and quiet, and loves Richard, and probably likes me, too.  My life has changed.  I hope she doesn’t turn out to be a jerk.

I’m overstimulated by unexpectedly being in Waynesboro on a school night.  Of note:

“The State” is both as funny and not as funny as I remembered.

I ate a chocolate ice cream in a hospital room and half a chocolate milkshake (not at a hospital, hooray).

I ate a second lunch at Jimmy John’s in Charlottesville.  Delicious!  I can’t wait until one opens near VCU and everyone gets upset.

Then my dad and I watched their cat capture and eat a frog.  This morning we saw two hummingbirds, a gopher, and a deer.

Attn: Thara and Nicole.  This is my mom’s vegetable garden.  She said, re: our humble plants and vegetables, “your gardens can suck it.”  She didn’t actually say that.  She didn’t have to.

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I have been a failure in recent creative/occupational attempts. so I take comfort in the little accomplishments, like not accidentally choking myself while I brush my teeth, or getting rated “Awesome Sauce” on Bash Party.  And making a delicious pizza sauce.  And being not terrible at badminton.  And I’m good at eating banana pudding.  And I held a baby for twenty minutes at a cookout without him crying.  And I wore a white shirt at the same cookout without getting food all over myself.  I’m a champion of things!

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Favorite news blurbs:

“Boy eaten by lake bacteria wants ice cream” (Cnn.com)

and

“Behold, the Greek Nacho” (Bitten blog, nytimes.com)