Monthly Archives: September 2011

Taco Bueno and the State Fair: Tulsa, day one.

Greetings from Oklahoma! Carynn was just kind enough to a let me use her laptop AND LEAVE ME AT THEIR APARTMENT while she and the hubster are at work. Talk about trusting. Good thing she’s taking off early. This place might not still be standing by the time I get through with it.

Being left alone in someone else’s home always makes me nervous. The pressure of performing familiar tasks in an unfamiliar environment is overwhelming; I might or might not have eaten my cereal out of a large ashtray this morning (Are these the bowls? I think these are the bowls. But they’re square – are these the fancy bowls? Are there non-fancy bowls? I don’t see plastic bowls. Fuck it. I’m good enough for a fancy bowl, damnit), I very nearly showered in the dark (who puts the light switch under the towel bar?!) and I had to video-chat Carynn for more specific instructions on operating the coffeepot (in my defense, it’s one of those fancy-schmany jobs that… ok. No. No. I’m just an idiot).

Ahem. Anyway,  within minutes of touching down in the 918, we were hitting up Taco Bueno for some delicious-cheap lunch. For those of you who live among dozens and dozens of these fast-food joints, I suppose this ain’t no thang, but for those of us who are hundreds and hundreds of miles from the nearest, this was the Greatest Lunch Ever.

Next we hung out at my former place of employment: catching up with coworkers, seeing all the (super-nice!!) changes that have been made. Basically I sat behind her desk while she did actual work and I looked up interesting news stories on her iPad. Did you know Heidi the cross-eyed opossum died? Sad day.

The fun does NOT stop there, mes amis. The icing on this great big ol’ cake of a day was hitting up OPENING NIGHT of the State Fair! My review, in brief:
1. I was amazed to learn that you don’t need to get in a line to buy tickets so that you can get in another line to use those tickets to buy food! THE FOOD BOOTHS TAKE CASH. This makes you AT LEAST 5 minutes closer to that deep-fried Kool-Aid that’s been calling your name.

2. “Pizza on a stick” is LITERALLY a small pizza wrapped around, like, a paint stick from Lowe’s. Maybe the $9 price should have clued me in, but it did not. Also, not the greatest fair food I’ve sampled. I don’t recommend it unless you plan on sharing…among three people.

3. I realized today that I totally should have done a little holiday gift shopping while I was there. I’m still debating giving Carynn money to buy me a jar of that heavenly pecan butter when she goes back. Oh, girl, that delicious taste will haunt me…*

4. You can’t possibly cram it all in one visit. We saw a LOT, and definitely hit all of the highlights (free cheese quesadilla wedges!), but there was still even MORE to see.

I guess that sums up my first day. Thanks for readin’, and if anyone wants any souvenirs from Oklahoma, just let me know. I probably won’t do anything about it, seeing as my suitcase is now going to weigh approximately 117 lbs by the time I cram all of my new treasures in, but you never know…


*Though I guess it’s not “holiday gift shopping” if it’s just a gift for myself and I open it immediately.


Pre-Trip To-Do List, part one

1. Pack

2. But first, get your suitcase out of the closet (there, there, suitcase. I’ll love you no matter what).

3. But first, take all the stuff that you’re storing in the suitcase out of the suitcase…

3a. …and find a temporary place for that stuff.

4. But for real: the first thing you need to do is clear a space on the floor so you have somewhere to put the suitcase after you extricate it from the closet.

5. Except you’ll probably need to make the bed, or push all the covers to the side, so you can have a place to fold your clothes before putting them in the suitcase.

6. But first of all: This beer won’t drink itself.

Packing list for Tulsa, part one.

Packing List:
1. Shoes.
Julie, remember when you thought it would be “fine” to only pack flip flops when you went to DC? And your feet were great festering, blister-covered appendages by the end of the first day? Yeah, don’t do that again. Idiot.

2. Toothpaste.
You also forgot to pack toothpaste. Remember having to find your way to the nearest CVS, after dark, while being accosted by locals? You’re not staying in a hotel this time, but let’s not wear out your welcome by immediately demanding a complete set of toiletries upon arrival, ‘k?

3. Juanita’s Kindle.
The best thing you ever stole from your mother, even including the time you wore her Erin Go Bragh pin to school on St. Patrick’s Day and everyone thought you were all Irish-speaking and shit.

4. Presents.
I can’t arrive without bearing gifts. It’s a sickness, like leprosy, only it’s the opposite of leprosy because it makes other people want to be near me. Also: no festering boils.
Unless I’ve been wearing flip flops for a week straight.

To be continued. Unless I get distracted by something else.

What’s your theme music?

Starting tomorrow over at my Song of The Day blog (with an anticipated break while I head out of town–aaahhhhhh!!! sooooooon!!!), I’ll be highlighting several songs used as the “at bat music” for some of my beloved St. Louis Cardinals. I’ve spent a lot (like, a loooooooooot) of time at the stadium lately (Foursquare mayor, beetches!*) and let me tell ya: the choices these guys make
a) crack me up
b) make me wonder and
c) make me love them more.

Stay tuned, and in the meantime, what would your intro song be? I can think of a million choices for myself, most of them absolutely ridiculous. Please respond below.


*Actually, no. When I check into “Busch Stadium” using the SMS option (which I think stands for Shitty Messaging Service), the first option that pops up is some random ball field in another county. But that particular “Busch Stadium” had no mayor so… the rest is history.

Dear Neighbors…

Author’s Note: I am confident that this is Part One of what will surely be a Multi-Part Series

Dear Neighbors,
Hey! It’s about 12:00 Central Standard Time. Meaning, AM. Wasn’t sure if you knew that or not.

I never studied physics formally. Did you? No? Yeah, I figured. See, I ask because I think there’s some sort of Science behind how noise travels through a small, densely-populated apartment complex on an evening when most folks have their windows open.

I've never met you, Neighbor, but I am assuming this is not you. (Image: - though he probably stole it from someone else)

“Love Shack,” huh? Nice choice, but I would have opted for “Rock Lobster” myself. But then again, I wasn’t invited to your karaoke party. If I had been, I surely would have talked your friend (or was that you?) out of that lively version of “Don’t Stop Believin.'”  Or maybe I would have encouraged the continuation of Karaoke Night, because the Live Jam Band Afterparty was a bit much.

Please do not misinterpret me: I’ve nothing against 80s power ballads, electric guitars or one-hit wonders. In fact, I love all of these things equally (but in Different Ways – this is a line I’m practicing for when I have children). It’s just that Other Neighbors seemed to be a bit put-off. I mean, I’m just guessing that’s what that one dude meant when he screamed SHUT THE FUCK UP from his balcony. (See also: violent crime statistics for small, densely-populated apartment complex in lower-income area).

Yours truly,

Best in Show: How ’bout them apples?

Ha! Thought I’d forgotten about this “recurring entry,” eh?

Well, I did.

Until just now.

And I might need some gentle reminding in the future. Just sayin’.

No clever caption here. That’s just a fuckload of apples.

Tervis Fever.

Recently, I spent some time poking* around one of those stores that sells Superfluous Items for the Home – aisles and aisles and aisles of shit that no sane person has ever actually needed.

Except my time browsing these retailers is split: half spent laughing to myself (“Who really needs to spend $x on _____? Ha ha ha!”) and half being overcome with some sort of brief manic episode** during which I become hyper-susceptible to every trickery of product display and marketing imaginable, and I hop up on whatever bandwagon’s pullin’ out like some desperate hobo drunkenly clambering aboard a freight car.

During this most recent trip, I wandered through several thousand sections of “Back to College” “supplies” (Hoo, girl, more on that in another post…), occasionally laughing out loud to myself in the store. Where are these kids going to school that they have room to bring their own desks and tables? I’m aboard my High Horse and chuckling to myself as I turn a corner to another department and – whoa, wait. HOLD UP. 

What the fuck?

What IS this place?

Before me are shelves upon shelves – damn near to the ceiling! – of what appear to be clear plastic cups. And for some reason, I am enthralled.

My simple brain is dazzled and confused; there are so many cups in front of me! I timidly step closer. What is going on? I simply cannot compute the scale of what I am seeing: Rows and rows of clear, plastic cups of various sizes, with every decorative design and doodad imaginable. To the side: dozens and dozens of what appear to be colorful accoutrement for the cups: lids. Sleeves. Straws.

the "J" stands for "Jesus Christ, Julie, you don't need another fucking cup."

I know that you are currently reading this and thinking that I was probably suffering some sort of mini-stroke. That was the Tervis display, idiot, you are saying. They make them in a million sizes and designs and you can buy the lids separately.

A simple explanation, yeah. But some sort of sneaky subconscious process was at work here: there I was, absolutely fucking transfixed in the middle of the store. Oh, they have college-themed ones! I think, and rush over to that section, looking for my alma mater. Oh they have ones with initials on them! I realize, and am drawn to anything green or pink.

I soon realize that I’ve spent at least ten minutes here, and am very quickly snapped back to reality. How close was I to purchasing one, two, fifteen? Dangerously. Whatever Corporate Employee dreamed up that particular display should be given a raise. I force myself to move along to another, less appealing, section. Trash cans? Yes, that’s it. I don’t need a trash can, but I can look, right? I can make fun of the $75 dollar trash cans, with their state-of-the-art-whatever. I look at —

Wait. Can I put hot or cold drinks in the cup?

I return to the Tervis, almost without being conscious of doing so.

I imagine someone watching the CC footage was enjoying him or herself: Oh! Oh! Look! She’s back! Now she’s looking at lids! She’s totally gonna buy one! Go ahead… pick up the pretty pink one… you know you want it…..

And yet, I resist. It’s almost time to meet a friend; I was only here for a quick little time-killing browse.

But I think the store’ll still be open when we’re finished with dinner…


*Literally. I can’t not touch everything I see in those places. IF THEY DIDN’T WANT ME TO HUG THE PILLOWS, THE PILLOWS WOULDN’T BE IN BIG OL’ HUGGABLE PILES. Right?

**You know I’m kidding when I throw around those kinds of terms, right? I use these things anecdotally. I don’t make a habit of poking fun at mental illness.
Aaaaaaand let’s this be the last time I have to make this disclaimer, ok? Thanks. 

“itsy-bitsy” my ass.

Wait, how would I properly punctuate that title?


I slept in this morning, much later than I normally do. And because this blog wouldn’t be worth reading if I ended that thought with “and it was nice, the end,” I’m going to bitch about how sleeping longer makes me feel more sleepy and I couldn’t drag myself out of bed this morning and blah blah blah blah blah cut to the part where I’m in my bathroom, still half-asleep, and peering at a bit of dirt on the tile so I go in for a closer look when suddenly blurry floor-speck proceeds to scurry underneath something else.

I woke up VERY FAST after that.

Would I be more "okay" with them if the spiders in my home looked like this? Maybe, but if they did I might instead be worried that they had some sort of arachnid cannabis-growing operation behind my dryer.

I am officially not cool with the number of spiders and other many-legged creatures I’ve encountered in this place. I’m not  completely unreasonable – I know there’s gonna be bugs and whatnot, living in an apartment complex that seems to have been nastily carved into a formerly thickly-wooded area. But like Little Miss Muffett herself, I’m fine until one of those sumbitches up and sits right up on my tuffett, in my personal space.

You are forty-million times its size! You are saying, to which I respond Then you come over here and kill all of them!

Occasionally I will see something lurking in a corner, and I’ll leave it be. Like my Dad might say, he ain’t hurtin’ nothin,’ so I’ll leave him alone. But when I spy one of these little fuckers crawling along the wall RIGHT ABOVE MY BED it is ON, asshole.

WHERE’S MY SPIDER KILLING SHOE? as Juanita might say.

I’m considering a kill tally for my home, but I fear that might discourage visitors. It’s not infested, I swear. I mean,  after I kill one spider my brain goes into hyper-over-mega-drive and I begin imagining gigantic nests of spiders lurking in every cabinet or drawer but I know that’s not true.

Right? RIGHT?

Will someone please come over and check under my sink?


Let’s subtitle this post
“Julie Almost Gets To Call The Cops, And By “Cops” She Means The Local Non-Emergency Police Hotline”

INT: Julie’s Apartment. Night. 
She enters the front door after a long day of work, putting down her keys, taking off her shoes, etc; etc; She sits down to eat her dinner*  while aimlessly flipping through television stations. She pauses. What is that noise?

Cue distant sound of a car alarm.

I go to the back door, but see nothing. Our complex abuts a subdivision of single-family homes; I figure the sound could be coming from either one of the properties (but no, not really. Of course it’s coming from the apartment complex. I just can’t see that far down the parking lot).

The time: approximately 8:20 pm

I return to my dinner-and-television, abandoning my meal when my mother texts me about a special on the National Geographic channel that turns me into a weeping, bawling mess.**  I am transfixed, but resurface up to reality when I realize the car alarm is still sounding.

The time: approximately 8:45 pm

Okay. Enough’s enough. Now the only sound I can hear is the car alarm.

Cue internal monologue:
Seriously? Am I the only one who can fucking hear that? Really, people? TURN OFF YOUR DAMN ALARM! Fucking A! Fine, fine. If no one else is gonna do anything I will. Jeeeee-sussss.

So Julie gathers her phone and keys and heads off into the far reaches of the parking lot.

The further into the abyss I venture the louder the sound. Okay. Definitely coming from this lot. Then I spot blinking lights cast onto some bushes. Awesome. Why is no one DOING anything? I get my phone, pull up the local non-emergency police number, and briefly wonder if this would, in fact, warrant a call. It’s been going off for at least twenty minutes, I remember, and just as I’m about to dial…

The alarm stops.

Jeeeee-susssss! Aloud, this time.

Back to my apartment I go.

Once inside, I clean up my dinner remnants. As I’m scraping and washing and dishwasher-loading, I stop.

Wait. Is that–?

Fucking hell. SERIOUSLY?

It’s the car alarm again.

I go to the balcony to make sure I’m not just experiencing some sort of auditory hallucination but sure enough! The same damn alarm is just a-blarin’ away.

Oh, it is on, motherfucker. Where’s my phone?!

But wait. I think it stopped. Did it stop? Is it going to start again? What the hell is going on? WHY ARE YOU FUCKING WITH ME, CAR ALARM?***

I go outside again, walking toward the original source. Silence.

Alright, alright, you win this time, assface.


*Review in brief:
Qdoba tacos? Eh. Not my fave.

**This. It is incredibly moving.

***Sorry, that should read: Why are you fucking with me AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO LIVES WITHIN SIX BLOCKS?



Drill, baby, drill.

In the last few minutes, I’ve reached an Important Conclusion:

Fuck the security deposit. I’m hanging shelves.

If I wasn’t meant to put a few holes in the walls, God wouldn’t have invented spackle now, would He? Hmmmm?

Yeah. That’s what I thought.

Some overpowering creative force has taken hold of me lately, and I’ve spent hours (literally! Just check my Internet history!) looking at design ideas and crafty projects online. And the more I see, the more overwhelmed I am with some kind of Interior Decorating Spirit.

Seriously, people. I’m damn-near speaking in tongues here.

Raise your hand if you want your home office to look like this (see photo credit below).

At first, I stuck to things I could do that wouldn’t leave holes in the walls. I occupy an apartment, after all, and there are Rules and Regulations and All Sorts Of Other Things keeping me from making the modifications of which I dream (literally! It’s getting weird). But one can only hang so many 3M hooks before one just simply gives up, or becomes entrenched in debt (Literally! An $8.00 pack of hooks vs. an $0.08 screw*? You figure it out).

I mean, I’m not entering this project with complete abandon. I re-read my lease agreement, and from what I can figure, it won’t cost me too much overall even if they end up re-painting an entire wall (something else that I’m sure can be prevented, as everything right now is painted the generic Soul-Suckingly-Drab-Apartment-Off-White that clogs the shelves of my local Home Depot’s paint aisle. And also, the maintenance guy’s storage shed is directly below my apartment. Sometimes he leaves things out, like paint cans. Ahem).

So I’ve made concessions to my original fantasies: maybe an orange accent wall would be a bit noticeable. But a few well-placed, functional shelves (which may or may not be painted orange anyway)? Completely do-able, assuming my Dad will lend me things from his Super-Equipped And Awesome Garage Workshop. And a rack from which I can hang pots and pans in my kitchen? This would be amazing.

So stay tuned, as they say, for further details and updates as Julie racks up fines and charges in her quest to no longer live in a bland white box!

(cue dramatic music)

*Eight-cent screw would be:
a) an excellent name for a band
b) an unfortunate nickname

Photo Credit:
How About Orange?: The blog of designer Jessica Jones. She is amazing, as are her textiles and designs (and no, that’s not a euphemism).