Category Archives: travel

The wages of bloggery = ADVENTURE!

Howdy, blogosphere. Are we good? Good, good. Is it spring yet? No? Dammit.

I have a story! No, seriously, I totally do.

So sometimes, as a VERY IMPORTANT BLOGGER* (*not at all important) I get emails offering me things from companies who want me to blog about them. I’ve been offered sunglasses (which are useless to me, as I wear glasses); bumper stickers (I don’t care for bumper stickers, I feel they’re the lazy man’s way of shouting while driving); sex toys (I don’t even); and business cards (for a while there, people were giving business cards away to bloggers, and I just didn’t – and still don’t – understand who I would give those to, unless I went to a blogging convention of some sort.)

Problem is, other than the fact I didn’t really WANT any of these things (well, let’s be honest, I was curious about the sex toys, if only to make fun of them on the blog) is that in order to GET them, you had to SHILL them. You had to put an ad for them up on the sidebar of your blog, and you weren’t reviewing them, but advertising them. Totally against the terms of service of WordPress. We’re not here to be advertisers. (Try to tell that to all the spammy blogs out there that never get shut down, somehow…but technically, that’s a big old no-no.)

Now, we ARE allowed to accept things to fairly and honestly review them. Books, for example. You know how book bloggers write “I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review?” That’s totally allowed. Still not allowed to put an ad on your blog for them (at least, I don’t think you are…or maybe that’s just if you’re running WordAds, which I am, because I sure do like making pennies a month with those suckers…PENNIES a MONTH, baby!) but you’re totally not violating any rules by honestly reviewing something that was gifted to you.

Thing is, I’ve never been offered anything but books, so it was kind of a moot point, really.

UNTIL A FEW WEEKS AGO!

I got what I thought was possibly a spam email (I get a lot of those on here) offering me what seemed to be something TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. So I asked a billion questions, because I don’t like to be fooled. And come to find out…IT WAS A REAL THING!

Guess what I get to do in April?

GO ON A TRIP OUT OF STATE AND STAY IN THE MOUNTAINS FOR FREEEEEEE!

Probably won’t be staying here, but let me pretend I will be for a couple of months, ok?

Nope, totally not even spammy, you guys, I’m like a big deal or something!

OK, so the email offered me a stay in Vermont in a farmhouse so they could get more exposure for this new outdoorsy program they were running there (hiking, cross-country skiing, yoga, snowshoeing, etc.)

I immediately thought, “Oh, this is like the time Dad got roped into going to a timeshare presentation when I was a kid and we went to Florida, and we had to sit in this room and listen to this man talk at us for like four hours, and we were SO BORED, and Dad was SO ANGRY that he was tricked like that.”

So I asked this nice lady a billion questions, like, “Do I have to snowshoe, or can I just stay in the room, maybe?” and “Is this like the time I had to sit through a timeshare pitch? That would make me so mad” and “Wait, HOW in the mountains are you. You have, like, TVs and wifi and bathrooms that are indoors, right?” and “You do know I’m not, like, a SERIOUS blogger, right?” and “Is this a scam? Come on. You can tell me.”

Luckily, she did not think I was crazy, and she wrote back to me answering all my questions in a “you’re not at all crazy, blogger lady” manner, with links to the site, and where I would be staying, and an actual itinerary and dates I could stay and everything. And…even BETTER…I could bring a GUEST! Now, who do I know that loves outdoorsy things, doesn’t care if I act like a loon, and likes to have adventures?

You know I'M not going to do this. I had to find SOMEONE who might.

You know I’M not going to do this. I had to find SOMEONE who might.

You think no one, don’t you? Who do I know that likes the outdoors? And you’d be all, “NO ONE,” and you’d be CLOSE to right, but you’re overlooking ONE PERSON and that person is MOM!

Mom was VERY EXCITED when I invited her on a Vermont adventure and she only asked if we were going to be killed or asked to listen to a timeshare presentation about ten times. (Listen, we’ve all been quite scarred by this timeshare presentation situation. It was a very monumental point in our communal past as a family.) I told her she would have to do all the outdoorsy things (because the woman who emailed me was all, “um, we’d LIKE if you at least TRIED some outdoorsy things?”) and I could do the other things like eating and sleeping and maybe yoga and then Mom was all “I want to yoga!” so that’ll be a fun thing. Also there’s a masseuse, but Mom and I hate being touched, so we’re undecided about the masseuse. “Do you think I can leave all my clothes on for the masseuse, and ask him or her to please not touch my feet?” I asked Mom. “They’re going to kick us out of this place,” she laughed.

And and AND, guess what ELSE there is?

A FARM TOUR!

YOU CAN TOUCH GOATS!

Goats!!!!1!

Goats!!!!1!

Oh, you know I’m all over this goat thing. Goats are the best. Mom thinks they look like demons and make all the poop but I told her she had to be nice to the goats because goats are my buddies and she said FINE but she wasn’t going to TOUCH the goats and I was like “good, you can take pictures of me touching goats and also BEING a goat and making GOAT HORNS with my FINGERS” and she said she would.

I also told her we should put her photo on the blog and she was like NO NO NO but in a kind of curious way so I think we could work on her about this. “They don’t want to see ME!” she said and I was like, “Oh, sure they would” and it’s not like Dad and his “THAT’S HOW THEY GET YOU!” thing about having his photo on the interwebs so I think maybe we might be seeing Amy’s Mom! Won’t that be fun? Sure it will! (Amy’s Mom looks like Amy only thin. I’m completely serious about this. Genetics can be cruel.)

Dad was all, “WHY WOULD YOU BRING YOUR MOTHER” and I think he was jealous I didn’t ask him and I was like, “Old man, you hate hotels, and also outdoorsy forced cheer, and you would never do yoga and you would be all complainy. Mom and I are going to have an ADVENTURE” and he was like “GRUMP GRUMP GRUMBLE GRUMP.” Aw, Dad. Feelin’ all left out.

So! Yes! Mom and I are having an adventure in the spring, and we are MUCH EXCITED! So stay tuned, my little tater tots. Will I get eaten by a yeti? Will I get to pet all the goats, or just a few of them? Will I really hike, or just nap in the room? SO MANY QUESTIONS! SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!

You know I'll have an adventure here. Or maybe get up to shenanigans. Or both.

You know I’ll have an adventure here. Or maybe get up to shenanigans. Or both.

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I’ll show YOU, Boreas!

Howdy! I hope you all had the best of Thanksgiving weekends. Well, those of you that do such things. Meaning, I suppose, MERKANS. The rest of you didn’t do Thanksgiving this weekend, right? Right.

Here we are back in the real world. Well, mostly that means a month of buying anything that isn’t tied down in order to wrap it in pretty paper and gift it to others. As one does in December. I am…oh, I don’t know, about 40% done with Christmas shopping? Maybe? I should be further along but sometimes you have to wait for paychecks to come in. However! Christmas cards are done, and as soon as I’m done writing this, Christmas DECORATING will be done. Baby steps, ladies and gentlemen, baby steps.

Let’s talk about bad decision-making!

Sometimes, you make poor decisions. No, not YOU, specifically, but yes, probably you. I mean, I don’t know too many people who haven’t made a poor decision now and then in their lives.

Me? I make those decisions on the regular. Hilariously, the good decisions I make are usually mistakes. The bad decisions are the ones I agonize over and finally decide “let’s do this” and then BAM! BAD DECISION HITS YOU UPSIDE THE HEAD YO!

I also have the added problem of decision-making while under the influence of stubbornness. I am a stubborn little thing. If someone tells me what to do, I immediately want to do the opposite. I don’t ALWAYS do the opposite – I can usually talk myself out of it – but sometimes my stubborn gene sets in and I’m all “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, ‘THE MAN!’” and then look out, world, I am not using any sort of common sense to navigate. Like, none. At all.

At the beginning of November, I told my mom, “Wouldn’t it be fun to come home for Thanksgiving and surprise Dad?” We decided it WOULD be fun. So we all secretly planned it all month. And then a week before Thanksgiving WINTER STORM BOREAS raised its evil head.

O NO BOREAS NOOOOO!

O NO BOREAS NOOOOO!

WINTER STORM BOREAS (because we name our winter storms now) was supposed to be like the WORST THING EVER and dump like 18″ of snow on my whole route home Wednesday night. And at first I was all, “eh, I’ll just not go.” But then my mom started telling me I COULDN’T go. “YOU WILL DIE!” said Mom. And Stubborn Amy kicked in. STUPID BOREAS! STUPID BEING TOLD I COULD NOT GO! STUPID RUINING OF THANKSGIVING! STUPID RUINING OF SURPRISING! DOWN! WITH! THE! MAN!

So when the weather reports started saying the storm wasn’t as bad as predicted, I was all, “I AM GOING SCREW THIS” and got in the car right after work and took off. People said things like “are you sure?” and “um…Boreas?” and “you will die, maybe?” and “maybe you should text me when you get there? IF you get there?” and I was all “I WILL BE FINE I AM PLATINUM!”

It was raining here. I could handle rain. Half an hour into the drive, traffic ground to a halt. We started seeing signs that said “right and middle lanes closed due to accident.” We all sloooowly merged over. Come to find out two tractor trailers had not only hit one another, they’d tipped over, spilling their contents all over the place. It was quite nervous-making.

But I sallied forth! I WAS SALLYING!

The night started to get colder. The winds picked up. This led to frozen roads and the car getting PUSHED to ONE SIDE. The winds were that bad. So I had to use BOTH hands on the wheel and pay super-close attention. I started thinking, “this might not have been the best idea.” But! Stubborn! Sallying, dammit, SO MUCH SALLYING!

I stopped at the rest stop I always stop at and did some deep breathing. Whew. At that rest stop, you have about an hour, an hour and fifteen minutes, until you reach my parents’ house. I could do this.

Went in. Rest-stopped. Came out. And it was snowing like hell. A woman was crying outside the door. “I DON’T WANT TO DRIVE IN THIS ANYMORE,” said the crying woman. A frat boy fell down in the parking lot because so icy.

Effffff.

So what does one do? Get back on the slippery windy highway and drive back to Albany where the weather was better, but drive through all that again? Or keep on a’truckin’ (or car-in’, I guess) and just deal with what was coming?

Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn.

I kept going.

The roads got worse as I drove. At least on the highway you could see the lines. Nothing seemed to have been plowed once you left the highway; the roads were all packed-down ice and snow and slick. Slick, slick, SLICK. And it was snowing hard enough that I couldn’t see.

I’d told Mom I’d be home by 8; that gave me an extra hour in case of traffic or weather.

8 came and went. I couldn’t call anyone; it was too slippery to not pay attention to the roads, and I didn’t want to ruin the surprise.

I almost went off the road, all-told, 4 times. I cussed (at the weather, at myself, at other drivers) too many times to count. My check engine light randomly came on. I couldn’t change my playlist so I listened to the same 20 songs over and over and OVER. (Luckily, I loved them, so I was ok with that. And now I know ALL THE WORDS.) I said, “THIS WAS A VERY STUPID DECISION!” repeatedly.

But I kept driving.

And I finally pulled into my parents’ driveway at 8:40pm. Five straight hours after I’d left. My mom came to the door and looked FRANTIC. My dad came, looking confused, saw me, got BIG HUGE SURPRISED EYES, and then opened the door. I thought he would yell out, “what are you doing here?” and it would be all a happy surprise but he ACTUALLY yelled “THIS IS NOT FUNNY! NOT FUNNY AT ALL!” and then SHUT THE DOOR ON ME! He did not even help me bring in my things in all the snow. So I went in with all my things and was all “OLD MAN I AM SURPRISING YOU FOR THANKSGIVING COME GIVE ME A HUG” and he stomped in all “BOREAS SO STUPID WHAT WERE YOU THINKING” and then gave me a hug and said “it is nice to see you” very quietly so I won Thanksgiving.

This is getting hellaciously long, so I will rush through the rest. We had a lovely Thanksgiving, including the following things:

  • napping
  • sleeping in
  • hanging with The Nephew
  • eating our weight in Thanksgiving foods
  • watching Kill Bill 2 with Dad and having to explain the plot to him and giggling
  • visiting my grandmother
  • helping my dad figure out how to turn his new cell phone onto vibrate
  • ordering things for Dad on Amazon (“what is this PRIME? No SHIPPING? This is AMAZING!”)
  • rolling my eyes until they almost ruptured at the constant stream of Fox News that happens in that house
  • looking at eleventy-billion photos of Mom’s trip to Rome (“AMY! The statues were NUDE! Can you IMAGINE?”)
ZOMG! COVER YOUR EYES!

ZOMG! COVER YOUR EYES!

Then on Friday morning, after my nephew cheerfully greeted my sleepy-eyed self with “Aunt Amy! You are awake! Do you want to race?” (I did not want to race, but I totally watched HIM race), I packed up leftovers and the car and Dad filled it with gas and wiper fluid and gave me many pretend-gruff hugs and off I went. And luckily the drive home was uneventful (except Dad didn’t close the hood all the way, and I didn’t realize that until a couple hours into the drive, so Dad was all, “YOU! COULD! HAVE! DIED!” but I didn’t die. Obviously.)

So: yep. Very, very stupid stubborn idea. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t. That was a terrible drive. I’m too old for that shit. But, overall: a very, very good Thanksgiving. Got to spend it with my family, for the first time in a decade; got to read with The Nephew; got to hang out with my dad; got to eat so much delicious food. NOM.

But if I try to do something ridiculous like that again, please slap me upside the head and tell my stupid, stubborn self that it’s better to be alone on the holiday and alive than dead on the side of the road trying to get some turkey and family hangtime. Good grief.

OK, not as stupid as this...which made me cackle like a moron...but still pretty stupid.

OK, not as stupid as this…which made me cackle like a moron…but still pretty stupid.


Virginia: No Lovers, But Much Love

I am officially home from my long weekend of adventure. I took Wednesday off so I could loaf. So far, I have not loafed; I’ve been doing a billion things like laundry and grocery shopping and library-visiting. (There was some sort of toddler story-hour happening when I was there and the cuteness quotient in the lobby was OFF THE DAMN CHARTS, yo. I can’t even tell you.)

Let’s see. When we left off, Heather had arrived, and we were awaiting the arrival of the lovely Laura. Heather and I decided to go pick up Laura while sj made dinner, and we were going to stop at the grocery store on the way home.

So we went to pick up Laura. On our way, we drove past an exit for “Powhite Parkway,” which made me laugh SO HARD. “There’s probably a lot of trash along Powhite Parkway,” Heather mused wisely.

Then we were at Laura’s house! And Laura lives in the most beautiful old apartment. The ceilings are the highest you’ve ever seen, and there are fireplaces and it’s decorated in this amazing kitschy way that is so amazing. And there was Laura, who is still adorable, whether she lives in New York OR Virginia! (Perhaps more adorable in Virginia, because she’s so happy that you can just see the glow in her eyes.)

Then it was time for grocery shopping! We totally had a list. We were IMPRESSIVE.

We also got up to shenanigans in the grocery store. Because, why not?

THE LOVELY LAURA!

I promised Heather I was only taking a photo of what we were shopping for. I lied. Sincerely, though, she is ADORABLE. How could I not take a photo of her?

Listen, the sign said screams started here. It’s like we HAD to do this photo, yo. WE DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE. (Side note: I think the people who worked at the Kroger may or may not have hated us. For good reason.)

Then back to sj’s we went, bearing Laura and groceries! (And coffee, because we stopped at Starbucks.)

We talked and ate and watched The Amazing Race (which is a LOT of fun when you can talk about it with real people in real time – usually sj and I text each other through it, but face-to-face is AWESOME) and then got kids to bed (and Heather to bed, because she had to leave the next day!) and sj and Laura and I watched The Walking Dead. This might have been the most fun I’ve ever had watching The Walking Dead, because listen, Laura is HYSTERICAL. She would come out with these things all matter-of-factly like “That little bitch is sick. What’s up with them sweat-feet?” and I’d laugh so hard I’d have trouble breathing. You have to imagine it in Laura’s southern accent, though. It’s better that way. More realistic.

Here's the sick little bitch now. SWEAT FEET.

Here’s the sick little bitch now. SWEAT FEET.

The next day, Laura and Heather left in the early afternoon after we sat around and talked as much as we could squeeze into the morning. It was sad to see them go. We had the best time, the four of us. Sincerely. Among other things (like the sheer fact that they’re three amazing women) it’s really nice to meet people who get you. Who get the internet references and the blogging stuff and who, when you mention someone by their Twitter handle, know what you’re talking about, and who, if you talk about the GoodReads controversy, don’t say, “What’s that? A website? Who cares?” It’s also amazing (and rare) to be around people you feel completely comfortable with. Because usually I’m awkward panda.

Some seriously gorgeous lady-action happening here, yo.

Some seriously gorgeous lady-action happening here, yo.

Then it was a napping-day. We were all very quiet and sleepy and many naps were taken. sj totally came to check on me at one point and I was all sacked out on the loveseat drooling and snoring. (SHUT IT. I am the least sexy sleeper in the history of the world. I own that shit. How can you even change something like that? I mean, it’s not like you can train yourself to be a sexy sleeper like in the soap operas. I work hard, I play hard, and I sleep hard. And UGLY. BAM, yo.)

At one point I watched some episodes of a show called Ni Hao, Kai-Lan with sj’s little girl. This is what I learned about this show: there is a monkey on this show who is such an asshole. I don’t know how anyone would be friends with this monkey. (You have to suspend your disbelief when watching this – all the animals talk, and are this girl Kai-Lan’s friends.) This monkey, Ho Ho, is constantly yelling at people, and kicking tigers, and refusing to play games unless HE can pick them, and will never try new foods. And he learns important lessons, whatever, like new things can be good, sometimes. But mostly what I learned is, if I was Kai-Lan, I would tell Ho Ho to take a hike-hike, because he is the WORST. I told sj’s daughter he was the worst and she was all, “NO.” (He totally is, though.)

This is Ho Ho, but usually he's more pouty and stompy than this. He's the worst.

This is Ho Ho, but usually he’s more pouty and stompy than this. He’s the worst.

But at the end of the night it was time for MORE ADVENTURE! sj’s husband COOKED for us. He is an amazing chef (like, the opposite of me, who just had a Lean Cuisine for lunch) and went all out. We totally had fajitas. But not JUST fajitas. He made fajitas AND salsa AND guacamole – all from SCRATCH – and I just want to say that it was, most likely, one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. EVER. And I don’t even like beef (much) OR peppers. But somehow, it was THE BEST THING EVER. (Also, somehow I’ve gone almost 40 years without ever having fajitas. And I love Mexican food. I don’t know, either. I’m weird about food. You all know that.) We were watching a movie while we ate them and I seriously didn’t even TALK while I was eating. I was in a good food FUGUE STATE. I utterly cannot imagine that I will ever eat fajitas that are that delicious again. (THANK YOU, JEFF!) PS, I totally meant to take a photo of the fajitas but I was too busy eating them ALL UP with my FACE. Didn’t even take a break for photography. SO SO GOOD.

Oh, and as a side-note, sj ALSO made delicious food for us, like split-pea soup (which is one of my favorite things EVER) and the best homemade pizza and macaroni and cheese (HOMEMADE mac and cheese, YUM) and Rice Krispie Treats which we totally went to TOWN on while they were still warm and gooey and DELICIOUS. I really need to start cooking more, don’t I? Lean Cuisines don’t count as cooking, do they? Huh.

Then the next day was going-home day. Long train ride ahead of me. Many hours trainbound. Also, how is it possible that, even though I’d given away a lot of things OUT of my luggage, and only had a few new things IN my luggage, it was virtually impossible to close my bags? I’m the worst packer. Sincerely.

Many goodbyes. Many hugs. Quick photos with some of the kiddos:

sj’s husband and the two aforementioned kiddos brought me to the train station and we watched the train come in and there were some tears from the kiddos which was so sweet and heartbreaking. More hugs and kisses on tops of little heads and off I went to the train.

I alternately slept and read and watched a movie on the way home. (What did we do before laptops and Kindles? They might be the best things ever.) I watched Les Miserables, finally. I liked it, but I think I like the stage show more. There were some changes made I wasn’t down with. (Doesn’t mean I didn’t get a little teary-eyed now and then, though.) I mostly had my seat to myself until a VERY OFFICIOUS ASSHAT sat with me from Maryland to New York City and took up more than his seat with all of this gear and his cell phone calls and his important gesticulations and that was annoying. Otherwise, all was well.

And when I got home, there was a VERY UPSET DUMBCAT who was all, “MOM MOM MOM I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD MOM MOM MOM” and has not left my side since I got here. Very vocal, my boy. He even meowed at me while he was eating cat treats. MEOW MOM MEOW! DON’T EVER LEAVE AGAIN MEOW! Poor guy. So lonely.

So there was my weekend of adventure, and bloggity meetups, and laughing and talking and television-watching and napping. It was a very grand adventure, and now it’s back to work and theater reviewing and such. But things are going to be a little quieter now – not so much going on at the moment – so I can relax a little, do some writing and reading and relaxing. Aaahh.

Thank you, sj, for hosting a weekend of adventure, and Heather and Laura, for making the trip, and I love your faces. Big hugs to you all for being amazing women and just as wonderful face-to-face as you are on the interwebs. All the love.

(For more posts on weekend goodness, visit sj here and here, and Heather here!)


Meeting real people in real life: an adventure in Virginia

Much like Heather yesterday, I have stolen away like a thief in the night to quick like a bunny post something so you know that a., I have arrived safely in the land of Virginia (but, although Heather promises I was supposed to be assigned a lover per the state motto at the border, I was NOT assigned a lover, so what is up with THAT, Virginia? Seriously? WHERE IS MY LOVER. I am not enjoying your state as I should be in this loverless fashion) and that b., we are having a grand adventure, as promised.

The train on the way here was overheated and very crowded (props to the lady who realized if she put the tray-table down in the seat next to her it looked like someone was sitting there so no one bothered her, CRAFTY) but didn’t seem to take that long, surprisingly, and I’m not dreading the trip home so much. (I really do like the train better than driving, overheating issues notwithstanding. Seriously, Amtrak, make your trains cooler than you think people would like; people can always put layers ON, but people cannot strip down on public transportation. Well, they shouldn’t, anyway.)

sj‘s husband picked me up at the train station with a most excellent sign. I told him I wanted him to meet me with a sign. He threatened to have the sign say…well, see below. My dad was all, “HE WOULDN’T DARE! HA HA!”

He dared.

I laughed SO HARD when I saw this. The people around me coming out of the station were all “THIS IS A CRAZY PERSON” and edged away from me. I didn’t even care. It was an excellent start to my vacation.

(Just in case you’re wondering, I got in the car, bitch. Also, I took this photo of him, and texted sj all, “DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN?” and she was like, “NO!” Hee!)

Then I arrived at sj’s house! And GIGANTIC HUGS WERE HAD! And her kids seem to love me, because I am a whiz with children and animals! So far I have learned I’m awesome, and have long hair, and am very good at naming stuffed animals (what, “Sir Poppington the Third” is an excellent stuffed animal name) but also that I am “too loud and kind of boring” so really, you take the good with the bad. The child that said that was VERY APOLOGETIC afterward and I wasn’t even upset because I am, actually, very loud, and somewhat tedious. So I gave him a hug and a kiss on the head and told him I was not angry because how could anyone be angry at him? And all was well. I’m very good at this childrening thing. (I did make the youngest one cry yesterday for a VERY LONG TIME and I felt terrible and I kept saying “I BROKE HER” because I totally think I did but today she told me she loved me again so I think we’re cool, yo. Also, I changed a diaper yesterday, with tag-team assistance from other children. Are you so proud of me? I seriously felt like I’d won an Academy Award. I haven’t changed a diaper since high school. WHEN I WAS BABYSITTING. I was not a teen mom. Stop thinking that right now. I did put it on backwards but luckily the diapering recipient was very compliant and was like, “eh, I’ll lift my legs up again, this weird lady’s WEIRD, but she means well, yo.”)

TOTALLY IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME!!!

TOTALLY IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Then the next day, we thought Heather would arrive around 7-ish, so we were kicking back and doing a little reading and BAM, Heather ARRIVED, and YAY!!!

Now we were THREE! (Plus sj’s family, of course. I am not discounting them.)

Much chatting and laughter and such was had until very late and then we all slept and had many zzzzs.


ALL OF US IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME! If you felt a disturbance in the force around 5-ish last night eastern standard time, it’s because all the awesome was in the same collective place. The rest of the world must have felt unbalanced.

Later today, Laura will arrive, and we will have MORE of a hootenanny. Well, we’ll watch The Amazing Race and chat and eat dinner, but that’s a total hootenanny, right? RIGHT.

Oh, you totally want me to talk smack about the ladies, right? Now that I’ve met them in person?

OK, here’s the lowdown. Pull up a chair.

sj…man. That sj. Get close so I can whisper, because that’s what good gossipers do. Ready?

sj is the same as she has been for the past year and a half-ish that we’ve been talking online.

I KNOW! SHOCK! AWE!

She is awesome and funny and intelligent and snarky and wise and honest.

Oh, now the dirt on Heather.

You’re going to want to tell ALL your friends this one.

Ready?

HEATHER IS ALSO THE SAME AS THE PERSON I’VE GOTTEN TO KNOW ONLINE.

It’s true!

Heather is kind and giving and patient and wacky and intelligent and warm.

Here’s the thing, guys. Heather mentioned this in her post last night, and I can’t do anything but concur most wholeheartedly.

The people you meet online aren’t always the people they are when you meet their faces.

It’s easy to slip into an online persona when you’re someone who lives online, like a lot of us do. Some people even make that their goal; their blog ISN’T them, it’s a persona they’re putting forth. Nothing against that; it works for them. I’m completely down with that.

However, it’s the people who are the same people online as they are in real life that interest me. The ones that are brave, maybe confident, enough to be themselves both in words and in life; those are the people I’m drawn to. Because when you meet them, you’re not trying to reconcile that person with the persona you’ve gotten to know. You’ve already done the work. You’ve met them through email or their blog or Twitter; they’re that same person. You’re really just in the same airspace, hearing the words come out of their mouths with their tone and inflection, seeing the emotions cross their faces. It’s really kind of awesome, seeing that, being with them for that.

The people I’ve met in person have been the same as they are online; I don’t know if I’m interested in meeting people who aren’t. I like reality and I like honesty and I like people who aren’t afraid to be themselves, warts and all, and who accept that they might be a little broken, and put it out there for all to see, and potentially judge, with a jutted jaw and maybe a little fear in their eyes.

That’s where friendship is. It’s in the “take me as I am, please; here’s me, here’s all of me, and if you can’t take that, I’m sorry, I can’t be someone else for you.”

I don’t have to be someone else for Heather and sj; they don’t have to be someone else for me. This is just as it should be. I love them for that.

Time to go be social. Enough hiding with a laptop. Love your faces. Hope you’re having the best holiday weekend. More soon upon the arrival of the luminous Laura. *smooch*


People Who Are on the Amtrak at 6:55am Going to New York City

I am on the Amtrak at 6:55am going to New York City. I think we can all agree that’s hellaciously early. FINE, not all of you can agree with that. Some of you get up that early daily for whatever reason. Milking cows, maybe. Going to school or work. Tending to children.

Me, I get up between 6 and 6:30 every morning, and when I can, I sleep later. I don’t like waking up early. Never have. Left to my own devices, my internal clock wants me to sleep from about 1am to 9am daily. Unfortunately, this is not how the world works, so I’m forced to work against what I was given at birth. Yawn.

However, there are advantages to taking the train this early in the morning. You get to see all sorts of people.

What sorts of people, you might ask?

Well, it’s nice you asked, because I will TELL you.

THE PEOPLE YOU SEE ON AN EARLY-MORNING AMTRAK TO THE CITY

  • LOUD BUSINESSMAN – Loud Businessman is very important. He also wants to make sure you know just HOW important. So he gets on his cell phone the minute he enters the station and doesn’t get off until…well, I don’t think he gets off ever. As we speak, Loud Businessman is on his cell phone berating someone. “I WILL BE THERE IN A COUPLE OF HOURS! THAT CAN WAIT TIL I ARRIVE! NO, DO NOT SELL ALL THE ORANGE JUICE SHARES!” (I made that part up for those of you who love Trading Places as much as I do.) “THOSE WERE ON THE DESK, CHECK THE DESK! BUY BUY BUY! SELL SELL SELL! I AM IMPORTANT! ARE YOU THERE?! ARE YOU *THERE!?!?!?!*” It’s Loud Businessman’s world. We just live in it, and are forced to be in his earspace.

    MUY IMPORTANTE!

    MUY IMPORTANTE!

  • GUY WITH THE CROUP – it is a little-known fact that, no matter where I sit, I will end up next to someone with some sort of wasting disease. Right in back of me is someone who is hacking up a lung. I am breathing his air, therefore, in 24-48 hours, I will probably have TB and have to go to a sanitorium. That’ll be fun, right? Right. (Also, if you’re on public transportion, it’s nice to cover your mouth when you cough. Just saying.) Also, update, he is now sneezing repeatedly, and seems to be purposely doing it in the space between the seats so it showers me. How thoughtful.

    "Hmm. 104 degrees. I think I'll go on mass transportation."

    “Hmm. 104 degrees. I think I’ll go on mass transportation.”

  • GUY WHO IS RAPPING – there’s a guy who’s listening to music and he’s totally rocking out and every once and a while comes out with some rap lyrics ALMOST under his breath, but not quite. He’s actually not as bothersome as the other two people. He’s at least TRYING to be quiet. Whenever he bursts out into song, he looks really embarrassed about it. I get it. Sometimes I can’t control the mad beatz in my head, either, yo.
  • WOMAN WHO I THINK IS POSSIBLY CRAZY – luckily, she ended up in another car, but in the station, there was a woman who was ducking and weaving and talking to herself and batting at invisible flies. Now, listen, I am used to this on public transportation because I was without a car for years (and people with mental problems are drawn to me – I think I project a safe vibe or something, or maybe they think I’m a kindred soul.) But Amtrak is kind of pricey. So really crazy people aren’t always on it. So, I guess congrats, crazy lady, for having enough money for nice transportation?
  • PEOPLE WHO THINK GETTING ON/OFF THE TRAIN TWO SECONDS BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE WILL GIVE THEM A MAGIC SEAT – people will seriously cut a bitch to get in line here on Amtrak. Thing is, if a train’s crowded, getting on early doesn’t make you any more apt to get a window seat than someone who got on later. Everyone wants a window seat; if the train comes from somewhere else, those window seats are probably all taken, and you’re sitting on the aisle. End of story. Please don’t shove. It’s so early in the morning. My reflexes aren’t even kicked in yet. I’m going to go over like a ninepin.
  • PEOPLE EATING SMELLY FOODS – there is always at least one person eating something fishy, spicy, sour, or fermented. I guarantee you this. Isn’t rule #1 of being a human being not to eat something that’s fragrant around other humans in a confined space? Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t like gagging on your scents for an entire train trip. Bad enough that I can smell the bathroom from where I’m sitting. Blergh.
  • SOMEONE WHO IS SNORING LOUDLY – listen, on the second train, that’s going to be me. I’m exhausted, and the gentle motion of the train makes me sleepy. The last long-distance train I took, I conked out about ten minutes in. I woke up and the WHOLE TRAIN CAR was GLARING at me. My throat hurt, which means I was snoring. (Or maybe sleep-talking; I do that, too.) I was all, “mutter mutter sorry” and then read for the rest of the trip. Can’t help it, folks, blame Amy’s Dad; that’s where the snoring gene comes from. I know it’s unsexy and unladylike. Can’t even help it.

Getting sleepy, jellybeans. Think I’ll try for a little shuteye. Think Loud Businessman can compete with my snoring?

Let’s find out, shall we?


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