Sunday, January 31, 2010

Couchsurfing, part 3.

Awhile back you may recall some posts about my Courchsurfing adventures.  I never completed the tale of the adventure I had with my college roommate, Lindsay, and the pair of hippie brothers we met up with in North Carolina.

I'm attempting to continue that story now.  I recommend reading up on my last entries which you can find here and here.

Needless to say, Lindsay and I had an unexpectedly enjoyable time with our new North Carolina buddies.  So much so, in fact, that we decided that after our brief trip down to Florida, we'd come back and stop in Asheville again before heading back to Indiana.  We just had to have more of this experience (plus Lindsay was crushin' on Cory at full speed).
We spent a few days in Tampa so we could get the Spring Break sun we were yearning, and had a ball crashing in Lindsay's friend's apartment with her boyfriend, who I accidently kept calling Conrad instead of his real name (don't remember it), and his roommate Chicken Balls (because he kept making these ball-shaped chicken nugget snacks).  I don't really remember much of our Florida trip, probably because a lot of alcohol was involved.  I DO remember being at the Tampa Zoo, and seeing a sign that told us not to molest the alligators.  I was very disappointed because that was definitely on the top of my list of things I wanted to do before I left Florida.  Oh well, can't win 'em all.
Back to North Carolina we went.  One our way back we did stop in Charleston, South Carolina for a night, stayed in a motel, freaked out because we thought we saw a shark in the bay (ended up being a dolphin), and woke up grumpy, sick of the car, and hungry.  But if it's one thing I know about Lindsay and me, is if we get food in our stomachs, our mood changes for the better immediately following consumption.
We got back to the Asheville house after a long day of driving.  Cory and Brandon were packing up.  "We're going camping in an abandoned apple tree farm in the Smokies," they told us.  So before our stuff even had a chance to touch the ground, it went straight from our car to theirs, and we were on the road again.  You can imagine what I thought a drive into the Smoky Mountains would be like: peaceful, serene, calm.  But instead, I found myself listening to some horribly loud techno music with a heavy bass that made my ears throb.  "What is this?!!" I asked.  Brandon continued to shake his head to the music.  Clearly, he didn't hear me.
I lost track of where the car was taking us, and eventually realized that we were driving on a grassy matted-down path that lead to a more open grassy pasture.  Several rows of leafless trees dotted the area, and that was about it.  Except we weren't alone.
As I got out of the car, I saw patches of tents in different corners of the field, some clearly spray painted with psychedelic neon patterns and peace signs.  Brandon and Cory explained to us that this was the site of one of the many open-trade open-music festivals they often attended.  "Is there a festival this weekend?" I asked.  "No," Cory explained.  "This is pre-festival.  There is always a giant bonfire at the festival, and this is the preparation meeting where we gather up a bunch of wood for the bonfire."  I nodded and pretended I understood.
It sure seemed like a festival to me.  Half of the wood we collected ended up going into a giant bonfire for all the people there to PREPARE for the festival bonfire.  As night fell, the ruckus began.  Music came from all areas of the field.  At the main fire, I talked briefly with a middle-aged couple who were both wearing tie-dyed t-shirts, blanket capes, and neon afro wigs.  Another guy was juggling some sticks on fire, while another was putting lighter fluid in his mouth and spitting at great distances.  
Our gang went back and forth between socializing at the main fire and our own, and again got out the banjo and bongos to make a rhythmic pattern of randomness.  Brandon got one with the earth and I listened as he and his housemates had an in depth conversation about the meaning of the universe, its connection with Occam's razor, and an unrelated discussion about whether dogs were innately inside or outside creatures.  
After a night of one heavy conversation after the other, we retired to our tents.  I fell asleep to the sound of crackling flames, the strum of a banjo, and Lindsay giggling away in Cory's tent.  Surprisingly, I was at peace.

That's all I can get out for now folks.  I'll continue soon.  Must go to bed!  It's a school night.



Saturday, January 30, 2010

Help Haiti: Donate to Doctors Without Borders

Before I make any more posts, please take some time out of your day to make a donation towards the Haiti relief efforts.  I've chosen to focus on Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization that provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, negligence, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters.

They jumped in to help Haiti right away.  See what Doctors Without Borders is doing in Haiti.

 Donate here:



Saturday, January 16, 2010

Getting real, again.

Awhile back I wrote a post titled "Getting Real" where I basically went through a bunch of things I WISH I liked, but really don't.

I think I continue to battle with myself over who I am. There is a type of person I really wish I was, but I've got to face reality and start loving me for me. Here is another list of things I wish were true about my personality that aren't (Doing this is very therapeutic, you should try it. It helps you accept yourself a bit more.)

I wish I was the type of person who...

  • ... liked living in the city. As you know, I've been house hunting. While I absolutely love the look of the houses in the city, when I go with my gut I think I would much rather live just outside it. After all, I come into the city to work, and I think I'd like a more quiet place to go at the end of the day. Also, I like it when there is a bit more space between the houses. I'm not ready for super-suburbia just yet, but I recently found a house that is just outside the chaos, but still part of Indianapolis. It's a cute little bungalow that is a good size for me, and I'm going to back and check it out again this week. We'll see. (The nice thing about Indianapolis is that the city is super accessible, so if I WANT the city life one night, it's only a hop away.)

  • ...had a type B personality. For a long time in my life I convinced myself that I was an easy-going, go-with-the-flow, peace-love, tree-hugging, free-spirited soul. I think I started realizing I wasn't when I was in college. My friends would all tell me I was kind of uptight and super defensive at times, and I just didn't want to acknowledge it. I've calmed down a lot since then, but I still: have to keep busy, like being in control of everything I'm asked to do, want things a certain way, get antsy when things don't turn out how I want them to, struggle with relaxation, get anxious over little every day things. (I'm not SO uptight that my house is super clean all the time though... that's my one vice. I have too much crap and my room is messy often. So I'm not a SUPER A personality, but I definitely lean in that direction).

  • ...could be vegan. I'm totally comfortable now with the vegetarian lifestyle, but since I always want to be the best, I really want to be vegan. BUT CHEESE JUST TASTES TOO DAMN GOOD. And BUTTER man. REAL BUTTER.

  • ... didn't care what other people think of me. But I do, I definitely do. Sometimes, I think I'm still at a level of the paranoia and insecurity of a girl in middle school. When I do something wrong or something I think others won't approve of, I start to obsess over the reactions people will have. I build up an idea that they are all talking about me behind my back. And the thing is, it's always about stupid stuff: "Can you believe Miss Hannon took an extra five minutes on her lunch break? I can't believe it. What a selfish bitch." Also, when I strayed from Catholicism and decided to disconnect myself a bit from the religion, I thought all my Catholic friends were going to start seeing me as a heathen. So dumb. And what is funny about all this, is that I've learned to be a very forgiving person. I always give people more and more chances, including my students, so why can't I forgive myself? I'm working on it.

  • .... didn't watch television so much. This year I purposefully didn't subscribe to any cable because later in life I didn't want to look back at my life, and realize I spent too much of it on the couch watching a box. Unfortunately, a lot of shows are now online these days, and my older sister introduced me to, and that got me back to my old ways (not blaming you, Caitlin!). Now I find myself watching a lot of shows I normally wouldn't if I didn't have access to them. Here's the thing, I like shows. I really like good acting, and these days I think we actually have a lot of great acting on television. It's like a work of fiction being put into action, and I appreciate it. Yes, I also do watch my dumb shows as well (I love Ghost Hunters, because it is the only thing that can slightly get me scared anymore). But oh well! I like TV! Deal with it.

  • ...could speak as well as I write. I feel like when I write, things come out a lot easier than when I try to put it into words with my voice. Just this week I led an orientation for the tutors that will be coming to volunteer at our school. I made sure I was super prepared, but when I got up there I felt like I was fumbling over my words. I couldn't, for the life of me, get out what I wanted to say in the way I wanted to say it. I still did fine, but I wish I had been a bit more charismatic and natural. It will come in time. It's the first time I led the orientation, but I know it will get easier. This is also the reason why I don't like to get in conversational debates, because if I WROTE DOWN what I was trying to say, I could do much better. When I have to verbally state my opinion and argument, I get so caught up in organizing how to say it that it doesn't come out right, and I never win.

  • ... was more suave and sexy. I tend to be a little loud and clumsy, or super awkward. I tend to make a lot of noise when I walk around, and I breathe loud sometimes without realizing it. Luckily I've found a guy that totally gets that, and still sees other qualities in me, too. But I still struggle with reacting in a smooth way when I get hit on. I want to politely leave the conversation and let them know that I'm not interested in smooth way, but instead, when someone tries something on me I tend to laugh a lot, not look them in the eye, get red in the face, and start avoiding them. Then I just seem weird (or is this another one of my paranoid assumptions?)

  • ... could finish projects only because of self-motivation. It seems anything I start doesn't get finished unless there is another person in the picture waiting for it to happen. I've started dozens of projects, and in particular, writing projects. I would love to actually write a full novel, or a David Sedaris-esque collection of my life experiences, but I get so caught up in the day-to-day that it doesn't happen. Maybe I'll use my blog to start writing those reflections, and in the future, I can compile them all. What do you think?

To end this "Getting Real" entry, I'm going to show a clip from one of my favorite episodes of Sex and the City called "The Real Me." It's the last part of the episode, and I'll give a little set up to let you know what was going on:

  • Carrie is asked to get out of her comfort zone and be a model in a fashion show.

  • Miranda goes on a date with a guy who calls her "sexy," and because of that, gets carried away with the idea. On her second date she tries too hard to be "sexy" and it ends badly

  • Samantha tries to face reality in accepting her body by getting some naked pictures taken of herself.

  • Charlotte has a fear of looking at herself "down there."



Monday, January 11, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award!

I am lucky enough to a have received the beautiful blogger award from the beautiful Ari from Happy Cactus. Thank you so much Ari! This is just what I needed. I woke up this morning with a bit of a fever and a stomach ache from who knows what, and it wasn't exactly a beautiful day.

I'm hoping to feel better. Maybe this award will help.

The award rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award. (Thanks again, Ari!)
2. Copy the award and place it on your blog (see above).
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award (here it is again)
4. Tell us 7 interesting things bout yourself.
5. Nominate 7 bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs that are nominated.

Seven Interesting Things about Me:

1. Lately I've been sleeping with my head at the foot of my bed and my feet at the top (is that interesting, or just weird?)

2. I recently had a dream that my boyfriend and I did the entire final dance from Dirty Dancing, including the lift. I was proud.

3. I also had a dream that I was dating Tom Hanks, at his current age, and going to a movie premiere with him (I just realized that these dreams may have to do with my new sleeping position. You think?)

4. I recently decided I want to adopt a pet pig when I have the time to take care of one. Did you know they are smarter than dogs? They are just too cute! The guy to the left is Mr. Pigglesworth. I found him on a website. I want him. I was about to say, "He's so cute, I could eat him," but that's a bit awkward. (I do miss bacon... but apparently there is a Canadian veggie bacon out there somewhere that tastes like the real thing. Me want!)

5. As much as I try to be a good listener, if something isn't captivating enough I tend to start "active listening" even though my mind is anything but active in the conversation. I'm probably staring at your nose hairs.

6. After having such a blast at my 1920's New Year's Party, I think I might try to make it a tradition to throw a big bash every year with a different theme. What do you think? I'll take theme suggestions.

7. I think I'm becoming an insomniac again, like I was for awhile in college. I need sleep, but I toss an turn and toss and turn.

And now... drumroll please... the 7 blogs I nominate:

1. Seshat (a.k.a. my mommy)
2. HCubed (a super teacher friend)
3. NicoleIsBetter (a new discovery... she cracks me up)
4. MissMoose (totally sweet and artsy)
5. Walking Faux Pas (beautiful in how much it makes me laugh)
6. NavyOCallaghans (close friends from H.S.)
7. MeltedReel (beautifully witty movie reviews by an old friend)

Maybe I'll sleep now.



Liven Up the G-Dub Learning Hub!

Hey everybody! As you know, I teach at an inner-city school in Indianapolis, and this means there isn't a whole lot of money to put towards wants and not needs.

Well, my students would LOVE a more decorated Learning Center. I work in there full time and have done my best to dress up the place... and it looks a heck of a lot better than it used to (you will see it on the site), but it still needs a lot of work.

There are thirteen days left to donate. Please help me get four bean bag chairs and a giant, durable purple rug for the room. The students will appreciate it, and I'll be sure to take some pictures of the result and put them up on the site.

PLEASE! Thanks so much:Liven Up the G-Dub Learning Hub!



Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm back!

As you probably noticed, I took a long break from my blog so I could relax and enjoy the holiday season. I'm now back into the swing of things this week since school started back up, and while it's nice to be busy again, I've been hitting the alarm one too many times and rushing myself to work because of it. It is definitely a challenge to wake up before dawn again when this whole break I was sleeping in until the sun came up (...or later).

Run-down of the holidays:

Vacation: Dyke and I went to Key Largo for a week and stayed with his cousin. While it was a bit overcast, I couldn't complain because I was still able to wear a t-shirt and shorts. It is funny to hear all the Floridians complain about the "cold" weather there. One guy, at a seaside bar, yelled that he was going to die of pneumonia. Pssh, please. Come visit Indiana! Anyhoo, it was great fun, very relaxing, and I definitely want to go back. We even stayed in Key West one night, and that place is hilarious. I would love to spend New Year's there sometime, because at midnight, a drag queen sits in a giant red high heel that drops during the countdown. Love it!! Here are a few pictures from our vacation:

Dyke and me at an art shop in Key Largo:

An inn lit up for a Key West holiday:

Dyke at the southernmost point in the continental U.S.A.:

A tarpon grabbing a fish during a feeding. I love that I got this shot:

Christmas: Instead of creating a giant meal this year with turkey, etc. we decided to make it easy and have several kinds of chili for the family meal. It was so much more relaxing this year because my sisters (Erin and Caitlin, in particular) weren't stressing out about getting all the food ready in time, and my mom wasn't running around complaining about all the people in the kitchen. It's funny, because my parents specifically built this house with a design that allows for an open kitchen/sitting room, but everyone hangs out in the kitchen anyways. I've noticed this at parties too... even if a kitchen is ridiculously small, it becomes the hang out space. There's something comforting about it I guess.

We then had my dad's family Christmas in early January, and since all the cousins are around college age or older now (with a couple of exceptions), the conversations tend to be more adult and inappropriate. We played a board game called "Loaded Questions" (which I recommend whole-heartedly, look for the 'Adult' Loaded Questions as well) and I think the answers definitely got dirtier and dirtier as the game went along. Some of the things mentioned: boob jobs and face lifts, condoms and redbull, and the quotes of the night from my uncle (while my other uncle was standing behind him in a suggestive manner): "If I get humped, I want to feel it." Oh dear.

New Year's Eve: Back when I was going to IU, one of my friends threw a 1920's themed party, and I always wanted to go to another one after that. As you probably figured out from my Halloween costume, I absolutely love dressing up. When I was little, my sisters and I would have bags upon bags of costumes in the basement left over from old Halloweens, and we'd go to different worlds, be different people, etc. just by putting on an outfit. I guess that's why I love it so much still today. I don't think anyone is ever too old to dress in costume.

Soooo... I threw a Roaring Twenties New Year's party! We all got dressed up in our glad rags and drank some hooch. Here are a few things I did to set the mood:
  • Covered the glass around the front door with black, except for a little eye hole so we could see who was trying to sneak into the speakeasy.
  • Hung up pictures of old 1920's ads and anti-prohibition announcements. There was one of a mother holding her son that read, "Help keep him pure. Vote against the sale of liquors!"
  • Streamed Charlie Chaplin films on both televisions.
  • Hung decorative pearls on the chandelier and lights, and decorated in black, white, and silver.
  • Provided the ingredients for Mint Juleps and Gin Fizzes, two popular drinks during Prohibition.
  • At midnight, played a countdown which transitioned into an old version of Auld Lang Syne, and then into the Charleston.
  • Printed off a dictionary of 1920's slang and hung it up on one of the large walls so we could all learn a few things.
  • Dressed up in costume and asked everyone elso too as well (of course!)
  • Put all pictures from the party in sepia tone so they look old and classic.
As far as I'm concerned, the party was a great success. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and I was so surprised that most people dressed up and really got into the theme. Below are some of the highlights of the party. Enjoy!

My flapper costume:

Dyke and me looking classy:

Holly and Justin, my friends from high school, gettin' serious:

Using coffee mugs so the cops don't realize it's hooch!:

Clearly, something quite hilaaarious was just said:

A view of the evening:

Well, that's a wrap folks. I hope to be back on here more often now that life is back to normal. Hope you missed me.