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Tag Archives: history

This happens. This is something that happens.

I am watching Magnolia. It is my favorite movie. This probably says a lot about me; mostly about the fact that I can relate, all-too-well, to broken people, to people with flaws that run deep and don’t ever let them go, not completely.

I’m watching Magnolia today because Philip Seymour Hoffman died, and I wanted to see him in one of my favorite roles of his, in my favorite movie. I wanted to just have a minute to say my goodbye to someone whose work I respect a great deal, and whose death I’m taking maybe a little too hard because that’s a thing I do. I am talking to someone I love about how much this movie means to both of us, how much it affected us back in the days when we weren’t yet part of each other’s lives, and I am crying over this movie, and I am crying over this particular magic, this thing that brings people together at just the right time, in just the right place.

Magnolia has the recurring theme of coincidence, and connection, and how we’re all intertwined; how the smallest action can turn into the one thing that your entire life hinges on. I like this. This is the magic I hold onto in life. This is what I hang around for; those little moments where you can almost see the greater plan peeking through the velvet curtains at the edge of things.

The movie starts with some stories of coincidence, each one harder to believe than the last: a man killed in Greenberry Hill in London by men named Joseph Green, Stanley Berry and Daniel Hill; a scuba diver killed by a firefighting airplane flown by a man he’d coincidentally run into a few days prior; and a teenager attempting suicide by jumping off the roof of his building, only to have his mother accidentally shoot him as he falls past her window – and land in a net put up to save window-washers, so he wouldn’t have died, after all, had he not been shot.

After each of these stories, the narrator tells us “and I would like to think this was only a matter of chance.” Until the last story.

And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that this is not just “something that happened.” This cannot be “one of those things”… This, please, cannot be that. And for what I would like to say, I can’t. This was not just a matter of chance. Oh, these strange things happen all the time.

I’m going to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I lived across the country. That iteration of Amy was not one I am proud of. I suppose you need to learn from your past, from your mistakes, to form the person you are today; if that’s the case, the mistakes I made, and troubles I dealt with, while living in the western part of the country, built a big old foundation upon which to position this life, the life I am proud of.

I worked at a theater there, for a while. I was one of the broken people, while there. I drifted. I was lost. I was doing what I could to survive. I was in and out of disastrous relationships and crushes on the least-likely candidates. I cried a lot. I was one of those thousand-yard-stare people you kind of see on the periphery.

I loved my time at the theater, though. It was brief – probably 8 months, all-told – but it seems longer, in my mind. I found family there. For someone as lost and alone as I was, this was huge. I had people, and I had a place to go, and I felt like I belonged. I was still broken, and I was still lost, but I had a tiny corner where things could be alright. (Theater’s saved me many times, and I have no doubt it will again – this is a good example of one of those times.)

But I screwed it up, as I did many things back then. Things got hard, and I got nervous, and I eventually shut myself off from everyone I loved there. I left and didn’t go back. I had reasons, which were varied (and kind of ridiculous, and even as screwed-up as I was, I knew they were ridiculous) but when the going gets tough, a lot of times, I just put up walls and make ’em thick. No one gets in. I don’t go out. And I can pretend I made that choice! I don’t need anyone! But really what made the choice is the fact that I’m depressed and I’m freaking out and it’s easier to not have anyone in your life when that happens. People are just a complication, right?

I think I ended up saying goodbye to maybe two of the theater people when I left the state. I didn’t even think that might be hurtful. I just wanted out, and I wanted to get back to where I thought I could rebuild, and things might start to be ok.

And things were ok. More than ok, actually. I got my fresh start, both due to the change of scenery and a change in me. I didn’t want to be that person anymore. I wanted to be someone else – someone who didn’t hide, someone who had friends, someone who had more blue-sky days than black-cloud days. It’s amazing how far a change in attitude can take you. It wasn’t overnight – the person I was hung around longer than I care to admit – but eventually, I shed most of her off, I kept what worked, and I became the person I am now: flawed, sure, but happy. And happy begets happy. Happy draws IN happy. It’s something I never knew, and something I was so joyful to discover.

I compartmentalized who I used to be; I didn’t shut it off, because you can’t deny things that happened, but I didn’t let it color me, either. I’m friends with a few people from those days in the now; BFF is one of them, and Mer another. They’re my best takeaways from that time, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I’m peripherally friends with a few others on Facebook, but you know how Facebook is. You like a status here and there, but it’s what you put into it, and we’ve grown too far apart to mend those fences. I don’t know that we really care enough to, honestly.

Remember the dating site? Yeah, that’s going about as well as you might imagine, but that’s not the point of this story.

The dating site sends you a list of people it thinks are good matches for you. (Strangely, most of these people are what I would consider exactly the opposite of a “good match,” but that’s neither here nor there.) The other day, I was idly paging through them (an audio track of me doing this would be “no,” “ugh, OMG, no,” “where are your CLOTHES?”, and “Why does this site think I want to date a 62-old-man?”) and I saw a photo of someone that looked very familiar.

Now, I’d assumed at some point I’d run into someone I knew. It was kind of inevitable. It’s a big area, but not THAT big. I’m not going to DATE anyone I kn0w – if I wanted to date people I knew, would I be on the dating site to begin with? – but it wasn’t someone I knew from HERE.

It was someone I knew from the theater from all those years ago. J., who’d run the theater; who’d been the one who took me in to begin with, who gave me the family I was too closed off to accept as fully as I should have. I hadn’t seen J. in twelve years. We weren’t Facebook friends. We’d dropped off each other’s radar. Not out of spite or any sort of hard feelings; I liked J. I just lost touch with J., and then compartmentalizing that part of my life hadn’t led me to look up people from that time. Honestly? I didn’t know if they’d remember me. I’d been a bit of a ghost. At first, didn’t even believe it WAS J. – I did a Google seach first, to see if he really was in the area.

Because what are the odds, right? What are the odds that someone you were close to twelve years ago, all the way across the country, would show up in your list of people on a dating site you just joined?

But it was him. He was here, somehow. And after sending him what was probably the goofiest message ever (but, in my defense, he replied with an equally “ZOMG!” email) we met up for dinner the other night.

Dinner became over three hours of talking and catching up and laughing and utter amazement over the fact that it had been twelve years and here we were, and we both looked pretty much the same (few more gray hairs, maybe, but it wasn’t like we were unrecognizable to one another) and how was he here? And what had happened in the past twelve years? And we caught up over food and the time melted away and I remembered some of the good things from all that time ago; that everything wasn’t terrible, not all the time, and the good things I brought forward with me were the things that made my friendship with J. still work.

(And before you all get excited: no, this is not a love connection. I care about J. a great deal, but it’s never been THAT kind of relationship, and never will be. Solid friendship with nothing more behind it. Sorry to burst your bubble, all of you rooting for me to find love on the interwebz.)

I totally told J. "IT WOULD BE LIKE KISSING MY BROTHER" then I realized I probably had to say that was from a movie or it was just a really rude, or slightly incesty, thing to say.

I totally told J. “IT WOULD BE LIKE KISSING MY BROTHER” then I realized I probably had to say that was from a movie or it was just a really rude, or slightly incesty, thing to say.

J. is here working at one of the local colleges, rebooting their theater program. (Can’t think of anyone better to do it; he’s got this energy that just beams from him.) Things have been going well for him; he’s also had a good twelve years. He also realized he needed a fresh start and took his life in a different direction. And I have to admit, it was nice to tell him what I’d been up to; I didn’t have much to be proud of then, but now I can say things like “writing for the paper” and “traveling to Europe in the spring” and “published a book” and MEAN all of them.

And J. and I made plans to get together again, and soon; if the world hands you a coincidence like this, you don’t waste it. You grab that puppy with both damn hands. I can’t wait to introduce him to the theater scene; the first time we met, he took me in, and made the introductions, and I was just given the chance to return the favor.

And there is the account of the hanging of three men, and a scuba diver, and a suicide. There are stories of coincidence and chance, of intersections and strange things told, and which is which and who only knows? And we generally say, “Well, if that was in a movie, I wouldn’t believe it.” Someone’s so-and-so met someone else’s so-and-so and so on. And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that strange things happen all the time. And so it goes, and so it goes. And the book says, “We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.”

If the past ain’t through with me, I’m cool with that. I take the magic of the world where it’s given. If the world wants to bring back an old friend when I’m finally at the point in my life when I can appreciate him? I’ll take that magic. With thanks. And tears. And wonder.

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No. Not that one. NO. The other white meat. DAMMIT, THE OTHER ONE!

Today when I was driving home from work I was thinking about business slogans. I have no idea why. I have to assume there was one on the radio because I don’t drive past anywhere with a visible slogan on the way home. That’s because I purposely take this weird back way to get home that may or may not save me time but I get in a rut and then I don’t want to try new things. Also, it’s pretty back there. There are a lot of trees. And there are lilacs by the stop sign so if my windows are rolled down it smells lovely in the car. Yes, I realize there won’t always be lilacs. But there are lilacs NOW, so that’s NICE. Sheesh.

So, yeah, I have no idea what slogan I heard on the radio that made me start thinking about the fact that there are a lot of terrible slogans in the world. Businesses pay advertising executives a lot of money to come up with these things, and if you think about them, some of them are very, very stupid, and make very little sense, objectively.

Let’s discuss some slogans which I have totally helpfully found for you on the interwebs. Because I am helpful like that. Some of these seem outdated. We’re still going to DISCUSS them, I just don’t know that they’re CURRENT. Nice job, Wikipedia, for staying on top of the trends.

Did somebody say McDonald’s?

This apparently was an old slogan for McDonald’s. I think the current one is the “I’m lovin’ it” garbage or something, right? Anyway, I like “Did somebody say McDonald’s?” because the correct answer to this question is “No. Nobody said McDonald’s, George. We’re going to a REAL restaurant. If you want Big Macs, get them yourself on your lunch hour, you troglodyte.”

Have it your way.

I don’t understand this slogan, Burger King. Does anyone know anyone out there who walks into Burger King and custom-orders? Like, “I’d like the chicken sandwich, only with the sauce you put on the Whoppers, and can I get a side of barbecue sauce with my fries, and maybe instead of a vanilla shake, you could put just a little coffee in there, make it a mocha shake?” No. You do not do that, because IT IS BURGER KING. You order off the menu. If you even ask for no tomatoes they look at you like you’ve shit in the glove compartment. You don’t get it your way. You get it the way they made it before they wrapped it in that paper wrapping stuff and if you don’t like it, HIT THE ROAD, there’s probably a Taco Bell half a mile up.

I’d walk a mile for a Camel.

Was it a windy day when you walked the mile for your Camel? What's up with the flippety scarf-thing?

Was it a windy day when you walked the mile for your Camel? What’s up with the flippety scarf-thing?

OK, this slogan is from 1921, mostly because I don’t think cigarettes are allowed to advertise anymore because THE CHILDREN THINK OF THE CHILDREN. But it’s also false. I don’t think any smokers could walk a mile for a Camel. Because of the coughing and out-of-breathedness. Also, why wouldn’t they drive or, well, it was 1921, take the horse and buggy over to the general store for a Camel? Why are you walking a mile for a cigarette anyway? You need to start stocking up on that shit the next time you hit town if you live that far away. You’re going to wear out your shoe leather, old-timey smoker person.

Ivory Soap – 9944/100% Pure.

If this was an ad nowadays, that Christian Coalition for the Family would get all up-in-arms about it. NAKED KID IN AN AD!!!

If this was an ad nowadays, that Christian Coalition for the Family or whatever those doucheknuckles are called would get all up-in-arms about it. NAKED KID IN AN AD!!!

I actually use and like Ivory soap because it’s one of the only soaps I can use on my special snowflake face that doesn’t make me a., turn bright red like a stop sign or b., break out like a leprosy victim. Sadly, this is not a joke. But I have often wondered what the 56/100% of my soap is. Is it bugs? Toxic chemicals? PEOPLE? IS SOYLENT GREEN PEOPLE? I’m honestly curious, here. Also, I find it funny that this is the slogan. “Ivory! We’re almost totally pure, except for that part that’s not, and we’d rather not talk about that!” Come to think of it, Ivory soap’s slogan and how I presented myself to my parents in college so they would continue to send me money now and then have a lot in common.

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

I found something that said "Like a good neighbor stay over there" and it made me giggle. Yes. Stay over there. I approve of my neighbors staying over there.

I found something that said “Like a good neighbor stay over there” and it made me giggle. Yes. Stay over there. I approve of my neighbors staying over there.

THIS IS TOTALLY WHAT I HEARD ON THE RADIO TODAY THAT STARTED ALL OF THIS! This jingle has been on a lot, and also there are commercials that make me laugh. So I guess it’s a good slogan in that it makes me giggle. But I don’t think their intended purpose is me singing the version I’ve come up with, which is “Like a good stalker, State Farm shows up when you least expect it!” because that’s what happens on the commercials and the radio ads. POOF! HERE’S STATE FARM! PEEKIN’ IN YOUR WINDOW AT NIGHT! JUST MAKIN’ SURE YOU’RE SLEEPIN’ OK!

Pork. The Other White Meat.

Other than the fact that this makes me giggle because it’s totally a euphemism, it is such a giving-up slogan, isn’t it? “Pork. You know. Pork? From pigs? Like, pork roast? Pork chops? No. Not wings. That’s chicken. NO. Not CHICKEN BREAST. Good grief. PORK, lady. THE OTHER WHITE MEAT!” “Dude. That’s our slogan. We’re gonna make MILLIONS!”

Probably the best lager in the world.

I mean, we think. We haven't tried them ALL, of course. Ha. Ha ha.

I mean, we think. We haven’t tried them ALL, of course. Ha. Ha ha.

This is apparently a slogan for some beer named Carlsberg which I’ve never heard of. I don’t drink beer because of that time I almost died in college from drinking too much of it and now it tastes like a three-day hangover and vomitous shame to me, so I haven’t had any since. Yes. In over twenty years. That’s right. You’re a math whiz. Anyway. I think anyone who has the gumption to have “probably” in their slogan deserves an award. “We’re not SURE we’re the best lager in the world…but probably. Probably we are. I mean, there are other lagers. And those are fairly tasty. But we’re still pretty certain ours is the best. So…maybe put it in your mouthhole? See what you think? I mean, no pressure. Probably you’ll like it, but we can’t guarantee anything.”

There is no spit in Cremo!

HORRID WORD! Did people used to sell things covered in spit back in the day? Good grief that's repulsive.

HORRID WORD! Did people used to sell things covered in spit back in the day? Good grief that’s repulsive.

In 1929 there were cigars called Cremo and this was their slogan. THIS IS THE BEST SLOGAN EVER. What kind of cigars were being sold BEFORE this? Spitty ones? Like, were all the cigars hand-rolled and then sealed with a loogie? I am utterly charmed, disgusted, AND perplexed by this one. No spit, you guys! None! TRY A CREMO THERE’S NO SALIVA IN THERE!

We drink all we can. The rest we sell.

I mean, unless we drink them all. That's a distinct possibility, I'm not going to lie.

I mean, unless we drink them all. That’s a distinct possibility, I’m not going to lie.

This one’s for another beer I’ve never heard of. Utica Club. Is that Utica as in the city in New York? I’ve been to Utica. I had relatives there when I was little. I don’t remember them being all “we have our own beer here!”, though. This is a very good slogan and it is very honest. I would imagine the people who run this brewery are serious alcoholics, and they drink up most of their inventory. Except sometimes they pass out, and then someone sells some of the inventory to pay for that stuff the janitors used to use in elementary school to soak up the vomit before sweeping it up and it smelled worse than the vomit did, remember that stuff? “We drink a lot of beer here at Utica Club, but when we’ve had all we can, we’ll let you have some. I suppose. *Hiccup.*”

With a name like Smucker’s… it has to be good.

But does it? Does it really? Are you SURE?

But does it? Does it really? Are you SURE?

Smucker’s still uses this slogan and I call shenanigans. Why does it have to be good? Like, is there something magical about the Smucker name? Smucker’s makes a variety of jams and jellies. One of them is raspberry. I hate raspberry. There are too many seeds and if I find out there’s raspberry jam in something I’m eating, I’ll stop eating it because of those effing seeds. So therefore, I don’t find Smucker’s raspberry jam good. I HAVE DISPROVED YOUR SLOGAN. Also, does this slogan imply everything they do is good? Like, if one of the Smuckers’ boys, say Harold Smucker, decides to become a psychokiller who wears his victims’ ears around his neck like a cunning choker, does THAT have to be good? Would any court in the land have to let ol’ Hal go because of this slogan? No, I’m serious, someone help me out, here.

Now you know what it’s like to drive around with me in a car or to watch commercials with me. Mostly I say things like this to ads. Like, every few ads, I’ll start ranting about something random in the ad. I like the Geico Mayhem ads, though. They make me laugh. Good job, Geico.

I want a slogan. Can it be Lucy’s Football: Shut Up and Give Me a Popsicle? Because it is now. NEW SLOGAN!!!

I’m very good at this. Someone tell the ad firms to watch their back.


Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea: Adventures in Baltimore, Part Four

OK, I’m super-sick, but I am determined to soldier on. I AM A BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER. I went to a play tonight and now I am home and feel like utter crap but at least I feel like crap on my couch. That’s the best place to feel like crap, probably. Or your bed. Your bed is also a good place to feel like crap. Preferably with a Dumbcat curled up purring next to you because Dumbcats make you feel better when you are coughing and feverish. Or at least they try to.

And, before I get started, happiest of all happy Mother’s Days to all the mothers who are reading. This is all-inclusive and includes everyone who does mothering, even those who haven’t birthed an actual child through their actual birth canal in an ouchy-ouchy way. So, all mothers of all things, and people who adopt, and same-sex couples, and dads who single-parent, and moms who have lost children, and anyone else I might be forgetting  – you are all wished the happiest of days from me and I celebrate every one of you. All the love to all of you. Amy’s Mom received so many roses this year and was so surprised because I could never afford that before, and they are in many places in her house and I got a “YOU ARE THE BEST DAUGHTER!” so that was a total Mother’s Day win in Amy-land.

So, now we are on to our last day in Baltimore, which was Sunday. We decided to not do a billion things on the last day, mostly because we were very tired. Well, at least I was. And R. and A. were nice enough to agree they were as well, whether or not they REALLY were. We did so many things! It was time for a little calmness.

Our trip Sunday was to something MERKAN! And NATIONAL! And PATRIOTIC! Any guesses?

Fort McHenry!

Now maybe you don’t know about Fort McHenry. I didn’t know about it. Other than it was something Merkan. Here are some bullet-points about Fort McHenry if, like me, your school was sadly lacking in good American History classes (or perhaps you kind of had a little crush on your American History teacher so you spent time daydreaming about him and not paying as much attention as you should have, I don’t know your life):

  • It is three things: a National Park, a National monument, and a historic shrine
  • It was an actual fort in the war of 1812
  • It defended against a British attack in Baltimore harbor in 1814 (were you aware the war of 1812 was so LONG? I wasn’t)
  • While watching the battle, a Washington lawyer was so impressed by the fact that the men at the fort held off the British and that the American flag stayed flying the whole night through, he was inspired to write a song. What do you think the lawyer’s name was? Well, it was Mr. Francis Scott Key. And that song was the “Star Spangled Banner.” BAM, MOFOS!

Yes! This is the actual place that inspired our NATIONAL ANTHEM! MERKAN HISTORY, YOU GUYS!

Now, I feel the need to give you a disclaimer. I know I kind of bag on Merka. Mostly by calling it Merka. And shaking my head at things that happen here in Merka, like Truck Nutz and Fox News. But here’s a huge secret, that, ironically, will not be a huge secret once I tell you: I love Merka. So much. I am so jazzed by the history of my country. It makes me have goosebumps. It makes my whole heart thrill. I love the thought of my scrappy forefathers who believed so strongly in our country holding off against the British. I love the national anthem. I love history and battles and monuments and things that made our country great. I think our country could still be great. I believe a great deal in our country, and it makes me sad, what it’s become. Dad finds this fierce patriotism of mine funny. “For someone who’s part of the enemy’s team, you really do love our country,” he says. (The enemy’s team = Democrats.) “You might be the only Dumb-o-crat who actually loves America. So that means you’re not really a Dumb-o-crat and you’re just confused. Any day now you’ll come over to the right side.”

First we walked all around the fort. Guess what I stood on? NO, GUESS!

THE RAMPARTS! The ACTUAL “o’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!” I WAS ON THE RAMPARTS!

There were many cannons. This whole place was surrounded by cannons. ALL THE CANNONS. I wanted to ride on a cannon because that seemed very Merkan, and we even found one cannon that didn’t say “Don’t climb on this, Amy” but it was kind of rusty and I was afraid I’d get my pants dirty.

This is the view when you’re walking around the Fort. It’s beautiful. The bay is right there and you can see all the boats. It was a little chilly and windy, but that’s what happens when there’s water.

I kind of forgot to take enough photos. Luckily, A. took some photos and he’s GOOD, you guys. Like, artistic-good. He said I could steal. I’m giving credit, so it’s not as much STEALING as it is kind of borrowing, I suppose.

Look, he has this awesome setting on his camera where he can take a bunch of photos and make them into ONE LONG PHOTO!  Isn’t this so pretty?

So we walked all around, then we went INTO the fort, and you could go into some of the rooms. One of them had teeny-tiny cells in it where TRAITORS were kept. Traitors, you guys! Here is an interesting historical tidbit. During the Civil War, one of the traitors kept there was Francis Scott Key’s grandson. He was an editor of the Baltimore Sun, and he wrote an editorial that said although he didn’t approve of the South’s decision to secede from the Union, he didn’t think we should use military force to get them back, and he also criticized the Lincoln administration. WELL! That did not sit well with the powers that be, and they not only locked him up, they shut down the whole paper. SHUT DOWN THE WHOLE PAPER! See, civil liberties were limited during the Civil War. Anyone could be jailed if they were accused of disloyalty or treason, without a trial; martial law was put in place; censorship of journalists and papers was the norm. Doesn’t this scare the shit out of you? It does me. I had no idea about any of this.

Look, I was making history today by visiting the fort! MERKAN HISTORY!!!

There were things in the different rooms like exhibits and tableaus and various things. There was a big flag that was a recreation of the actual flag that inspired the national anthem. It was all very historic and I liked it all very much.

Then we had a picnic! With baby CeeVee!

It was her first picnic. As you can see, she enjoyed it a great deal. That’s A. in the background. I think this is the only photo of A. I got the whole time I was there. But look, he does exist!

CeeVee and I played a game called “Grass is the best!” in which she would pull up all the grass and then hand it to me, and I would say, “Oh! Thank you!” and she would laugh and laugh and give me MORE grass. Grass is her favorite. Even better than grass? Dandelions. She LOVED dandelions. R. told her not to eat the dandelions, and then she picked another one and almost ate it, and then looked at it very sternly and said, “NO” to it, which made ME laugh and laugh.

Dandelions are the BEST! (And A. is the best photographer, isn't he?)

Dandelions are the BEST! (And A. is the best photographer, isn’t he?)

Seriously, she's the best thing. Look at that smile.

Seriously, she’s the best thing. Look at that smile.

Then she decided to go adventuring and did an homage to a famous painting.

Wyeth’s version…

…and the Baby CeeVee version…

I like CeeVee’s version better, but I’m biased.

Then we went to the gift shop, where you could buy things like weaponry and muskets and swords (I didn’t buy those things, I mean, would they even let me bring them on the train?) and then we went on a long long looooong tour of Baltimore and A. and R. showed me a lot of beautiful buildings that I hadn’t seen yet. Dear Baltimore, I am very much in love with you. You are just the most beautiful city full of endless wonder. I am looking forward to returning.

Oh, a thing I noticed in Baltimore that made R. laugh because I kept noticing it was very brightly colored pants. Like, RED! or GREEN! and I think they were jeans. Is that a thing? I don’t know that that’s a thing around here. Whenever I saw them I would stop what I was doing and say “MORE BRIGHTLY COLORED PANTS!” and R. would laugh. The first time I did it, R. said, “You are the most random person I know, Amy.” And yes. Yes, I sometimes am that. But in my defense, those pants were VERY brightly colored.

Then we spent the rest of the day relaxing and I did some internetting and we ate some delicious Chinese delivery and talked and laughed and R.’s friend stopped over to visit for a little while, and that was nice, and then we watched a little television and then it was bedtime, because the next morning was early early early departure for the train.

Then the next morning it was goodbye to R. and Baby CeeVee so R. could get to work and CeeVee could get to daycare! (And since I left? CeeVee is WALKING now! I knew while I was there she was so, so close! SHE IS WALKING HOORAY!) And then A. brought me to the train station, and it was time to make my way back home to my very lonely Dumbcat who thought I was dead and was SO pleased I was not.

The trip home was mostly uneventful. At one point I fell asleep and I think I might have snored, as I do, because when I woke up I had post-snore sore throat and people were looking at me like I was a crazy-person. Sheesh, calm down, it’s not like I was in the SILENT car. It was just the NORMAL car. And in the New York waiting area (which is in Penn Station, and Dad calls that “Grand Central Penn Station”, as in “Don’t go getting murdered in Grand Central Penn Station, Amy, people get murdered in that Grand Central Penn Station all the time!”) some sort of cop was hitting on me until I pretended I was furiously reading so he stopped talking to me. Explain, please, why it is that no one in the history of my whole life has ever randomly hit on me that I’ve been in the least bit attracted to?

Thank you for sticking around for Adventures in Baltimore! It was the best time and I’m so glad I got to go and see some of my most beloved people. Thank you so much, R. and A., for being the best hosts! Now it is time for this sickie sickerson to go to bed and sleep like the dead. Or at least like a person with a weird feverish sickness. Happy weekend, everyone!


Traveling the world with the most enthusiastic/obnoxious photography subject EVER.

I have about an hour to write this. This is going to be word-short and photo-heavy, my little potato pancakes.

NOW I WANT PANCAKES DAMMIT.

OK, so a looooong time ago, I was all, “Where are my photos of my trip to Europe back when I was a young and still-not-yet-disillusioned kiddo?” and thought they were lost to the ages but then I found them in a bag of things my mother brought me a couple years ago. When I was all, “MOM! Why didn’t you tell me those photos were in there?” she said, “I put those in there? Why would I have done that?” so I think Mom is losing it.

There were ALL KINDS of goodies in the bag. Therefore, you get:

PHOTOS OF AMY BEING A DORK AT A YOUNGER AGE IN VARIOUS LOCALES

today.

You can see how my hair has gone through many iterations. Also, my eyebrows used to be OUT. OF. CONTROL. And I still like making faces in photos just as much as I did back then.

Let’s see what we have first, shall we? It’s not just Europe in here, you guys. It’s ALL the locales.

Oh, I should warn you, these are terrible because I don’t have a scanner so I took ’em with my cell phone.

Who can guess where I am. Anyone? Anyone? Red rocks? Pretending to look for alien life forms? No one? Really?

SEDONA!

This was from a trip my brother and I took to some place in Sedona where there were spaceships. There was a sign that said not to climb these rocks. I did it anyway. Then I made this face. I think I was probably about 24 here.

Please note the flannel shirt; it was the late 90s, so I thought I was Kurt Cobain, still, apparently.

I’m not sure what’s up with that hair. It’s not my hair color, and I guess I was going with shoulder-length that year.

This is 20-year-old-Amy pretending to be shocked at the news that King Arthur is dead. This is apparently King Arthur’s tomb. I don’t know how they know such things, either. The internet tells me I was at Glastonbury that day, apparently. I don’t remember anything about this trip at all. Do we think I was drunk? It’s a possibility, kiddos.

This is 20-year-old Amy again, pretending to be depressed that this super-historic rock is cracked. The back of this photo says “Amy is sad that the Anesbury stone is cracked” and it looks like I wrote that on there in the dark. Let’s see what this “Anesbury stone” is and where I was that day. OK, apparently it’s “Amesbury” and it’s a town close to Stonehenge. I remember going to Stonehenge. I wanted to see Druids but there weren’t even any Druids, it was super-depressing. Why were we hanging out with this stone, I wonder? Man, I’ve forgotten a large chunk of my 20s.

HOW CUTE AM I HERE SERIOUSLY. I want to hug myself, I’m so damn adorable. OK, so this is 20-year-old-me standing on either side of the international date line in Greenwich. Again, I don’t have a single recollection of being in this place, so it’s a good thing I have this photo. AND I AM SO CUTE IN IT. That’s a good smile. As you can see, I have an army-navy black trenchcoat here. This was before the trenchcoat mafia so I was safe, I guess. Also, I miss that sweater, it was super-comfy.

Ooh, now we’re skipping into the FEW-CHUR. I’m 28-ish here. Mer and I went to California for a trip. This is me outside of the Winchester Mystery House. That house totally gave me the shivers. This is pre-shivers, though. I’m not even making an obnoxious face here, so that’s a nice change for me.

This might be my favorite. This is me in Berlin. Dad, when I was little, used to say “CHECKPOINT CHARLIE!” a lot, so when I got to Berlin and there was a whole Checkpoint Charlie museum, I was so pleased I did a little dance. Then I had my photo taken with this odd look on my face to show him I was here. This was 18 years ago and I still have that shirt. And I still wear it, too. That shirt was a good investment. I can’t say the same for the eyebrows, though. WHO TOLD YOU THOSE WERE A GOOD IDEA, AMY?!?!?

I don’t know why this is so yellow, either. The hell, phone-camera? This is young Amy doing some sort of flamenco dance outside of a tall archway. As you can see, I am wearing a skirt. And Doc Martens. As one did in the 90s. I know, I am quite fancy. FINE, I will look up where this arch was. The back of the photo says I am at the Colosseum in Rome. I think this photo looks like Instagram before Instagram existed. I WAS AN INSTAGRAM HIPSTER! I don’t remember visiting the Colosseum in Rome. OH WAIT NO I TOTALLY DO. There were cats. CATS EVERYWHERE. And one of the guides was all, “They live here, don’t touch them.” Well, THAT’S sad.

This is another photo of the trip with Mer. Mer, I miss you the most right now, by the way. We are at Haight Ashbury. However, someone stole the “Haight” street sign so I assume anyone expecting to turn at Haight would be lost. All we could find was this Ashbury sign, and someone said, “Yeah, this is Haight Street, people are always stealing the sign.” Jeez, how about a little peace, love and understanding, you thieving asshole? Anyway, these jeans were a mistake. They came pre-ripped-up and after about three washings they fell apart. They fit really well, though. I’m not even acting like a goon in this one. Mer brings out the LADY in me.

That is all the photos of me. Well, there were a lot of photos of various pieces of architecture, so I was all, WHO CARES ABOUT THOSE. No one, is who. Why weren’t people taking more photos of me? I’m really the most awesome. With the faces and poses and such.

I will leave you with this, because just seeing it again made me laugh and laugh:

When we were in Paris, I needed an adventure so one day I left the city all on my lonesome and went to Rouen, which is a pretty little town not too far away. It’s where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. That’s not WHY I went there, I’m not like a Joan of Arc fetishist or anything. I just wanted to get out of Paris and have a solo adventure, is all.

Anyway, this was a Joan of Arc wax museum, only everything was falling over, and it was terrible, and at one point, one of the figurines had a Hanes sweatsock unceremoniously plopped on its hand. Like it was a sock puppet, I guess. It wasn’t on purpose. I think some kid did it. But it struck me as hilarious, so I seriously had to lean against the wall and laugh until I almost cried. SWEATSOCK! I apparently did not take a photo of the sweatsock, or it didn’t come out. A LOT of my photos did not come out. Remember back in the day when you didn’t know if your photos would come out, like, when you used FILM and you HOPED and you PRAYED they would? I don’t miss those days at all. Not even a little bit. I love digital, me. Instant gratification!!!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s installment of Amy Takes You Around the World and Makes Faces in All the Different Places. I’m pretty sure I have more of these photos so can totally do another one of these someday when I have like an hour before bed and nothing else to say.

Happy weekend, all! Remember: the rules for a good photo are location, light, and lunacy!


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