Monday, June 29, 2009

You spent a day where?!

On Saturday, a subset of the book club that I'm in decided to take a day trip to Bloomington Indiana which is the home of Indiana University, where the boy's parents live, and roughly 90 minutes south of Indianapolis. I believe the main draw of the trip was Oliver Winery, but in addition to that it became a trip of Greek food, wine tasting, antique shopping, wine tasting, goose avoidance and adult bookstore perusing capped off with chocolate cake.

Did I mention that there was wine? Basically that's all that the invitation had to say.

"Emily, we're going someplace with wine."

"Done. I'll drive."

Nicole* planned the entire thing from start to finish. A fellow blogger was included in the journey, and her take on the day is here.** I loved that the entire day was decided and I only had to be told where to drive. The food was excellent. Downtown Bloomington was an eye opening experience for me. (I expected something more like my hometown. I suppose I should have expected more from a progressive college town.) Still, it was a pleasant surprise to wander through independent shops and the beautiful architecture. The winery was also a pleasant surprise. Had it not been so beastly hot, I'm sure we would have spent more time sitting down by the water on the landscaped grounds. I also heard that you can take your own picnic lunch, buy a bottle of wine and eat outdoors - an idea I found ideal until I was reminded that there are wasps outside. Especially outside where there are pretty flowers and bottles of wine.

Nicole drove us through IU's campus which I had heard was gorgeous. And even though I was seeing the campus through wine-colored glasses, my impression was that it lived up to its reputation. Of course, instead of taking pictures of the pretty campus, I was taking pictures like this one. Oh, and Nicole became the third person EVER to drive Curvy - a fact I was surprisingly okay with. That wine stuff is powerful.

But gooooooooood.

After we left the winery, we had some time to kill before dinner. Now, I'm not so much an antique shopper, but, as mentioned, Nicole cleverly planned that portion of the day AFTER the wine tasting. Turns out, I really didn't it mind so much. In fact, post-wine antique shopping yields pictures like this one. (I would like to note here that I normally am violently opposed to wearing fur. Did I mention there was a wine tasting? Turns out you were allowed to sample between 6 - 8 wines. Guess how many I sampled.) Two of the girls came away with some cute jewelry and I found out that I hadn't had quite enough wine to buy an $85 mink stole. I'm sure that those Visa people are relieved.***

Overall the day was fun-filled and there was a lot of laughter. I keep forgetting how little time I spend with girlfriends anymore. I think I'd like to go back and spend a day solely in downtown Bloomington. But then again, I seem to remember the wine tasting being pretty fun on its own...

Note #1: All beautiful artsy pictures were taken by Nicole whose talent knows no bounds. All other pictures were taken with a point and shoot that Nicole was foolhardy enough to put into my hands while I was drinking wine. I then felt free to pass it around as I deemed necessary.

Note#2: There were five of us on the trip. I would include a group picture, but it turns out that the Witness Protection Program can place people anywhere so it's better to be safe than sorry.

*I would link to her, but perhaps she would like to keep her anonymity?****

**This blogger was the reason behind the adult bookstore perusing... a fact that I did not see in her blog. It occurs to me that it may be embarrassing to her that I'm pointing this out, but I'm an equal opportunity embarrass-er. Stick around long enough and you'll be on here too.

***And I'm sure Candy would have stopped me. Right?!

****I have learned that some people like to be anonymous and go to great lengths to keep said anonymity. Such as wearing sunglasses in adult bookstores. I don't have the heart to tell them that magic sunglasses don't work.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Back when that silly Facebook "25 things about you" thing was going around, I played it cool for as long as I could, and then totally jumped on board. I took quite a long time on my list, and it was full of silly anecdotes and facts about Emily. I was secretly very proud of it. Since then, the random fact that my friends have most commented on is:

"When I was younger, I would play ping pong with my dad all the time. The games were always close, but he always beat me. Afterwards, he would run around the basement, hands in the air, singing “We are the Champions.” I’m pretty sure I got my competitive nature from him."

I'm horribly competitive. Horribly competitive. Think of the worst winner that you know and then double that obnoxious behavior. That's me. Then think of the worst loser you know and multiply that by about 100. Me again. It's pretty bad. I can sometimes disengage this behavior, but what I've found is that if I like and respect my competitor, it's impossible to turn off. I turn into the worst version of myself, obsessively focused on winning.* I'm really glad my friends know this and don't hold it against me. It's because I like and respect you that I want to kick your ass. Really. If I didn't care about you, I would be all "Meh." (but kick your ass anyway.)

As you can probably infer from the above fact about Emily, my father never let me win. At anything. I used to think it's because he thought this was a good way for his children to learn a lesson about winning, but now I just think it's because he hates to lose as much as I do.** The boy thinks that never winning made me tough. I think I could probably be a little less tough and still be okay. It's not that I ever wished my father would let me win... I guess I just wish he hadn't introduced me to ping pong until I had the capacity to beat him.

Which brings me to chess. I used to play chess. In fact, I was in a chess club in middle school.*** (elementary school?) I don't remember being very good, but then again, Vanessa's little brother was phenomenal and beat me every time. Did I mention that he was FOUR years younger than I was? So I would play with my father for "practice." My dad also beat me every time.

MAN was that frustating.

So when I tell people that I went home for Father's Day and beat my father at chess for the first time in my life,**** they're horrified. "It was father's day! You can't beat your dad on FATHER'S DAY!!!"

Darn tootin' I can. The man never LET me win in my life. I'm sure as heck not going to give him the game just because it's father's day. In fact, I beat him twice. And I'm pretty sure my dad respects me for it. (He told me he's proud of me and that I have a "quick mind." That almost made me act like a gracious winner. Almost.)

Of course, he's also found a chess buddy***** in Evansville and he's practicing for our next meeting. And he's retired. So he's got a LOT of time to practice. Looks like I've got a tough battle ahead of me if I want to beat him again.

But then, I would expect nothing less.

Anyone want to play some chess with me?

*Dawn will never know how many frigging games of Bejeweled I played. And still can't beat her. That might be why I hate that stupid game. Well, that and the fact that she taunted me just enough to push me to the edge of sanity, but not OVER it. Otherwise I would STILL be playing that ridiculous, unwinnable game.

**What I didn't include in that little fact about me was that the very first time I beat my father in ping pong was the very last time we ever played.

***I have never claimed to be part of the "cool kids" clique.

****There MAY have been dancing. And there MAY have been cheerleading in the form of "Give me a W! Give me an I! Give me an N! What's that spell?!!!!!!" It wasn't pretty.

*****My mother was quick to gleefully inform the chess buddy that my father had lost to his daughter. You can imagine how happy my dad was when he told me that story.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blue for President

Okay, so I know that he's technically not my dog anymore. But he's adorable, he's sweet, and he's friendlier to new people than Casey is. (And did I mention that he's adorable?) So I entered him to be the Mutt Strutt 2010 Poster Pooch Contest. Since you're reading this blog, you should go vote for him! Vote Early! Vote Often!! Think about how much positive press can be brought to pit bulls by having this adorable, friendly guy as the mascot for a pretty major dog event in Indy! So you're not only casting a vote for the most adorable dog on the list, you're casting a vote to end dog discrimination everywhere!!*

Think of all the negative press you see about pit bulls in places other than this blog. Wouldn't you like to have a hand in showing the masses the other side? The friendlier side of pit bulls?? Blue (aka "stinker" "gooboy" and "bluuuuuuuue") is just the guy to help with that, but he needs your help.

Vote for him here. Feel free to tell your friends and to vote repeatedly. If he wins, I'll make sure each and every one of you get a Blue kiss.**

*Okay....that might be a slight exaggeration. I tend to get carried away when I get excited. You get the idea though, right?

**Um, a $1 donation is required to vote, which sucks, but I will totally buy you ice cream to make up for it. (and it's for a good cause!!!)

Monday, June 22, 2009


"So I was catching up with a high school friend, Jackie, and she asked me about you. I gave her the same patent response that I give to everyone. 'I don't know what's going on. I don't know where we're headed. I'm taking things one day at a time.'"

"Uh huh."

"I did tell her that I'm impossible, and you're patient enough to handle me. But that sometimes you're so laid back that I want to throttle you."

"That feeling can be mutual."

I made a face. "I also told her that it's like two jagged rocks that have been rubbing up against each other for five years. The surfaces seem to be getting smoother."

"It's like you're an old shirt."

I was not at all offended by this analogy, but I decided to give him a hard time anyway. "An old shirt, huh?" I asked mischievously, "Soft and shapeless? Like, cotton? Am I getting those spots that are so thin you can almost see through the shirt? Like one more washing and you're going to have to throw the old shirt away?"

"C'mon. You know I wear shirts with holes in them."

"Nice." I was openly laughing at this point.

"Actually, that's not a good analogy..."

We were watching some episodes of 'Friends' while having this conversation on the couch with popcorn. For a few minutes there was silence while I concentrated on the popcorn and he gazed at the TV. Then I remembered that his sentence had trailed off and wanted to know the rest of the thought.

"So what am I like?"

More silence while he gazed at the TV. I was again distracted by the popcorn, though this time I was seeing how many pieces Casey could catch mid-air.

"Seriously....are you ever going to answer me? Don't you think things are getting easier?"

He made a little impatient noise that I have come to recognize as meaning 'Woman! You are not giving me time to THINK!' but since patience is hardly a virtue of mine, I pressed on.


Frustrated and eyes averted he said, "It is getting easier.... I just can't think of the right analogy.... It's like you're something that I can't live without."

His response took my breath away. And all of a sudden I realized that he hadn't been watching TV at all...he had been trying to figure out what to say and working up the courage to say it. (And that I had thought the discussion was MUCH more lighthearted than it was.) For a moment I was completely speechless.

"Air? I'm like air?"

"I don't know. But I kind of miss you when you're gone."

Still trying to catch my breath, I started to smile. When he finally looked at me, he started to smile as well. "Now why don't you say nice things like that more often?"

"They mean more this way."


Friday, June 19, 2009

Needing a Y chromosome

The reason for this blog post began on Wednesday evening. When I got in my car after volleyball and noticed that my low tire pressure light was on. I didn't really worry and just figured that I would check it out when I got home.* When I got home there was no sign of a tire losing air, so I chalked the light up to a fluke and figured I would check the tire pressures sometime the next day.

Thursday came around and I didn't have time to check my tire pressures AND go to Starbucks before work... So I decided to do the responsible thing and check my tire pressure go to Starbucks so I would at least resemble a normal human being in the morning.

So it's probably no surprise to any of you that I left work Thursday evening to find Curvy with one flat tire.** After running through the list of men that I know and could call to help with just such a situation, I realized that at some point in the last five years of my life they had all either gotten married or lived really the heck far away from me at that moment.

And so I heaved a deep sigh and called my father to freak the hell out calmly pulled out my owner's manual to refresh my memory on exactly how to change a tire. From the beginning, things were against me.

First, I knew where my spare tire was. Duh. I love my car. I know every inch of it. But I had never actually taken the spare tire OUT. Luckily I remember asking the maintenance guy if he checked the air pressure on my spare when the pressure on the rest of my tires was checked. They do. (I love Penske.) So the spare was fine. It was getting the spare OUT of the car that was NOT fine. After reading the manual (which made it seem like removing the spare was as easy as turning a screw) and trying unsuccessfully for several minutes to turn said screw, I was perplexed. WTF? I mean, I am not a weak female. I am not a weak female AND I was super pissed. The freaking wingnut should have given way before me like everything else does when faced with my wrath. Still, it remained stubbornly stuck.

So then I turned my attention to loosening the lug nuts on the tire before I jacked up the car. (As it told me to do with step-by-step illustrated instructions in my owner's manual.)

I should probably take this opportunity to mention that amidst all of this working on the flat tire, I was incessantly calling the boy. Incessantly. If there was one man who was going to be willing, nay, REQUIRED to help me, it was the boy. And yet his phone went unanswered. When he finally did pickup, it was with a wry hello that let me know he figured it was something important.*** He wasn't prepared for the scathing anger that he faced. Luckily it was directed at the flat stinking tire, and not at him. Yet.

I swear to God in heaven that I put every ounce of force that I could muster into loosening those lug nuts one-half turn as directed in the manual. Had I not been wearing flats, and instead been wearing some sort of rubber soled shoe, I would have stood on the stinking wrench handle. As it was the lug nuts would. not. move. Not one teensy millimeter. I pushed. I pulled. I kicked. I cursed. I would probably still be there trying to get the lug nuts to succumb to my will had it not been 82 degrees with 110% humidity outside and my hands hadn't suddenly given up all ability to grip anything. It was at this point that I acted rationally and waited for rescue again attacked the wingnut that was holding my spare tire hostage. To no avail.

Around this time (the details are fuzzy) the boy answered and assured me that the calvary was on its way.

The calvary was, of course, late, and by the time it arrived, my hands and fingers were showing the early signs of turning the pretty purple color that they are today. The boy was bemused. But his smug smile quickly faded as he tried to turn the stinking wingnut. He failed. I felt vindicated.

So we gave up on the spare for a moment, and turned back to the lug nuts. As the boy prepared to jack up the car, I showed him the illustrated instructions that directed us to loosen the lug nuts by one half turn first. So he shrugged and attacked the lug nuts.

Nothing happened.

After what seemed to be a superhuman effort, the boy stepped back, scratched his head, and said, "Let's jack the car up a little."

I was tired at this point, but the rule follower in me couldn't believe that he wanted to deviate from what the owner's manual was telling me. I mean, there were illustrated instructions! But I was tired. And so after very little protesting, I agreed.

I'm sure you won't be surprised to know that once the car was raised slightly, the lug nuts came off with minor effort. I would go into the physics of why this is, but you're all smart and you can figure it out, right? Too bad I couldn't figure that out sooner. (silly girl.)

So we went back to the problem of the spare tire being held hostage. The boy pulled out some pliers and eventually won over the stubborn wingnut. (It took a LOT of effort and at one point I was concerned that the vein in the boy's forehead was going to explode.) Once removed, we saw immediately why Emily couldn't remove it herself. There was a slight but pronounced bend in the middle of two inch screw that is attached to the wingnut which made it all but impossible to turn. Apparently there was some residual damage from this incident that no one thought to check.

After that it was just a matter of getting the spare on Curvy and driving the three miles (very slowly) to my home.****

As I write this, my tire is fixed and back on my car. Best $30 I've ever spent. I think the lessons that I've learned are twofold:

1) I need to move marriage up on my priority list. Apparently a husband is not only good to have someone to mow my lawn, but also to have someone come and rescue me should I get another flat tire.*****

2) You should never do things "by the book."******

*In my defense, that light was malfunctioning when I purchased the car and pretty much stayed lit for the first four months that Curvy was mine. So I have grown slightly immune to its importance.

**The stream of obsenities out of my mouth probably wouldn't have surprised you either.

***I think the 15 missed calls were a good indication.

****The boy was compensated generously.

*****Not that I won't be able to do it myself next time.

******As J-mac said, "Apparently the owner's manual was written by a woman." Apparently the fact that he lives far away saved him from having to change a tire yesterday and also from getting punched in the knee.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Silly Girl

Author's Note: I wasn't going to blog about this. Because it's about travel and I have approximately 15 people that I need to go visit and must fly to see, but cash to only take about one of those trips. But please know that if it were up to me, I would visit each and every one of you. Seriously. If IUPUI weren't currently sucking up all extra cash, I would TOTALLY be there for a weekend.

I'll be honest. I use credit cards for their rewards. So when I decided to take a trip for my 30th birthday, I opened a credit card that would give me reward miles to make the airline costs more manageable nonexistent. And I succeeded. (go me!) And to be honest, I didn't look at that credit card again.

But in January, I received a voucher for a companion flight. I read the fine print, and it seemed the companion could fly free with me to anywhere in the contiguous US. Which seemed fortunate because there's this boy, and there's this family that he has yet to meet.*

So I finally pin the boy down on dates, I confirm that they're good with the fam, and I decide to do some online research so I don't book these tickets completely blind. What I found is:

1) Bad: The airline that so thoughtfully gave me a free ticket for my 30th birthday (heretofore known as EvilAir) is significantly higher priced than other airlines that I could also use to get to my family.

2) Good: I have some remaining airline miles!! I can use them to take $150 off the cost of my ticket!

3) Meh: I'm only 20 miles away from being able to take $200 off the cost of the ticket.

So I decide that since it's easy to spend approximately $40 on a new outfit gas, I'll go ahead and use the charge card to get the miles, and THEN purchase my ticket. (I know, right? My logic makes no sense. Even to me and I live here.)

First I must find the credit card. Then I must dust it off. $200 here I come!! Yes, well, there's this expiration date on the card. And it has passed. And Emily didn't notice because she doesn't use the card. Silly girl.

So she calls to get a new card and finds out that it will be a week. Mmmmmkay. So Emily will forgo the extra $50 and just get the tickets anyway. After all, who knows if the price will go up, and my usual MO of waiting until the last minute for cheap flights doesn't seem as smart when there are two people traveling (one of whom will use a companion flight voucher.)

And so I call to book the tickets, only to find out that I must put the tickets on my airline credit card.

Boo hockey.

As I am about to hang up, I decide to use this opportunity as a fact finding mission to find out whether or not the companion flight is everything that it seems to be.

Oh it is. No blackout dates, companion has the exact same itinerary as the other passenger. No standby! Sweet.

And then there's this passing mention of how the other ticket - MY ticket - must be paid full price. I backup to clarify. But, I have airline miles! Lots and lots of airline miles!! I can't use them?

I'm sorry, no. You must pay full price for your ticket in order to use the companion flight. (silly girl)



But but!!



Now, the cost of my ticket on EvilAir is still cheaper than two tickets on the other airline that I could take (and be much happier,) so I can't just abandon the plan. But I can sit here and seethe about it for a week until I get my new credit card. After all, it's not that I'm cheap per se. It's just that it hurts me to pay more for something that I know I can be getting for less. Sigh.

But, on the bright side, I also have a week to think scheme and think of alternative plans to save money. Ideas anyone?

*There are also redwoods. We must not understimate the importance that the redwoods have had on getting this boy to actually agree to travel that must be done by air.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We hold these truths to be self-evident

Internets, I've been lying to you.

All these years, and I've been unintentionally leading you astray. Several times I've referred to myself as short, and I think that once or twice I even said five feet. But it's with a heavy heart that I must issue a retraction and explain that I am NOT five feet tall. I am actually five feet and three quarter inches tall.

I don't blame you if you hold a grudge. I mean, this change of height thing has really gotten to me. If I'm not five foot, what other lifelong beliefs will be proven false? Am I not Peruvian? Not sarcastic? Not cynical? Dear God, what is real? Maybe I really DO have cankles! Who am I? What the hell?

This earth-shattering revelation came about at the doctor's office a few weeks ago. Shoes off and on the scale that I hate, the nurse explained that I was in fact 5' 3/4" tall.* It was truly mind boggling for me. I've always known that I'm sixty inches tall. I mean, I measure things with my height!** Somehow, "sixty and three quarters inches" doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well. Not to mention all the things I have to take into consideration with this newfound height. I mean, can I still wear three inch heels? Am I still considered short? Do I have to duck under low hanging branches now? What about rounding? Do I have to say "five one" or do I say "five foot?"

These three quarters of an inch are no laughing matter.

This whole height identity crisis was brought to mind by my first meeting with a dear friend's "new" boyfriend. His impression of me was "shorter than expected." I feel like I should tell him, "Oh yeah? You think I'm short now? You should have met me a month and a half ago when I was only five feet tall!"

And what about the boy? Now that I'm taller, am I still a bulldog? Or can I be categorized under a taller species of dog now?

I think I have to go lie down. I'm one flying pig away from a nervous breakdown.

*This came after I helpfully shared the detail that I've been sixty inches tall since the fifth grade. Boy did I feel dumb. I even had her remeasure me. She didn't seem happy by my request.

**True story. It's because of my height that I knew that the Holiday Inn in Princeton, IN LIED when they said their deep end was five feet. I was completely submerged and had at LEAST two inches of water over my head. Tell me THAT'S not a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Did you know...?

...that constantly refreshing your email doesn't make the reply you're waiting for arrive any faster?

...that when you're really concentrating on something (like the best way to buy a plane ticket) little things in your usual routine (like closing the bathroom door) may be forgotten and lead to embarrassment?

...that sucky work permeates suckiness into every other aspect of your life?

...that rain + dirt = mud and mud + dog = dirty house?

...that you can call someone on a whim, and as soon as the phone begins ringing wish you hadn't called at all... but THEN have a conversation that brightens your entire day?

...that laundry doesn't do itself?

...that paying off a credit card is one of the sweetest feelings ever!! (It's unfortunate that sometimes you can't celebrate by buying yourself something pretty.)

...that sometimes girls just need to cry. Boys, sometimes the reason is "nothing" and sometimes it's "everything." Either way it won't make sense to you, so just accept it and move on.

...that the answer to every single life question can be found in an episode of 'Friends?'

...that sometimes the answers to your problems can be found at the bottom of a glass of red wine, and other times at the bottom of a vanilla milkshake?

...that sometimes looking hot in that fitted outfit just isn't worth giving up the comfort of sweatpants?

What do you know? (Favorites will be added as a post publication edit.)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Work to Live

So, this work thing has been interfering with my blogging. I have informed my boss that this can not continue, but he seems not to care.

Seriously, work has been a madhouse for the last week or so. A new guy has been brought on board, and in an office of three, this causes quite a stir. Can't. Wait. Until. Things. Settle. Down.

As a result, I have had zero time for email checking or blog reading or (most importantly) blog posting. Sorry for anyone I've neglected. I hope to get back to my regularly scheduled programming soon. In the meantime, here are some snippets.

- I managed to make myself look like a complete idiot while walking Casey on Saturday. It was "Bike Day" at Crown Hill, so there were cyclists everywhere. Still, I walk in an older/rarely visited portion of the cemetery, so I let Casey off-leash anyway. I saw a cyclist approaching at a reasonable speed, so I wasn't concerned as I went to corral Casey. When the cyclist was about 50 feet away, she yelled "Does she know what a bicycle is?"

My mind was in approximately a million places at once as I enjoyed my newest playlist, pushed my walk to get it done in under an hour so I wasn't late to meet my friend, and keeping track of Casey so she didn't get in the way of the cyclist. As a result, the only thing that I could think to respond to the woman was, "Um, she's a dog?"

The lady had to stop her bike because she was laughing so hard. After some discussion, we determined that the lady was just asking whether or not Casey was familiar with bikes and knew not to get in the way. I explained that yes, Casey is recently familiar with bikes, but that this was no guarantee that she would stay out of her way, which is why I was herding her over to my side as the cyclist approached. The still-chuckling woman rode off, and I felt like the world's biggest idiot.

- I saw my first horse-show this past weekend. The son of one of my friends from high school was a partipant. It was very cool and I was overall very impressed. I didn't actually realize how tentative I would be around horses, though. My friend said, "Wait a sec, aren't you wanting to become a vet?!" Um, yes. But I never said I wanted to be a large animal vet. Maybe it's because of my short stature, but horses are GIGANTIC! I love horses....I'm just not sure I want to be that close to them. At least not within kicking or stomping distance.

- I did absolutely nothing on Sunday and it felt FABULOUS!

- I have had my bike helmet for over a week now and haven't yet had a chance to use it. I missed out on my bike marathon for the horse show, which was worth it, but I'm still bummed. I need to find time to get back on my bike.

- Drink your milk, kids. I started eating cereal for breakfast every day, and I'm astounded by the changes in my body by the mere addition of daily milk. (not the least of which are fingernails that are longer than I've ever before had them.)

- Unless it's raining, I'm taking the camera on my walk with Casey tonight. I figure it's been long enough since my last photo-blog, and there are some very pretty views at Crown Hill that I'm sure even I can capture with my point and shoot. What I NEED to do is get Ann to go on my walk with me after Baby Boo arrives. But for now, you'll have to make do with my pictures.

- I have a reunion this weekend in Chicago. I'm meeting up with some people that I studied abroad with in Costa Rica. Ten years ago. I hate how old that makes me feel, but I'm looking forward to the fun time that is certain to be had.