Road Trip Quips

11 Sep

I recently returned from a week-long adventure. I started from my Emmaus, PA home and went straight to the bank, bringing up the first great tidbit of advice:

– Have money. Trips are costly, especially shopping trips. Gas costs money, and snacks from gas stations are expensive, reminding me of the next tip…
– Have a large variety of snacks and drinks. My cooler held flavored water, energy drinks, chocolate chip cookies, and puppy chow. Also in the car, but not in the cooler, were chips, bugles, Munchies, and gum. What more could I ask for?!
– Skittles. Bring Skittles. I forgot to bring a bag, and every rotation of the tires reminded me of those perfectly round, delicious candies, and I regretted having none.
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– Companionship is necessary. Be it in your car or in another car. For the first leg of my trip (Emmaus, PA to Fairmont, WV) I had my bestest friend in the passenger seat, and it was nice indeed to have conversation (both intelligent and otherwise). For all the other legs of my four-legged journey, I was passengerless. Thus I resorted to forming temporary camaraderies with fellow drivers. For example: I, in my speedy yellow car, passed a lil tan Honda Civic from Georgia who was trucking along at 75mph. Minutes later, that same Georgian Honda passed me, who had slowed down to my average traveling speed of 80mph. Not to be outdone by a lil Honda, I passed them again…at speeds that I will not mention, so as not to scare the fainthearted among us. They didn’t pass me after that, but they did do an admirable job of keeping up with me at aforementioned unmentionable speeds. Then came time for me to head more westerly to TN, and they continued in the southerly Georgia direction. Ah, but not without a friendly honk and wave as they took their exit! Such an action would have been odd, had that been the only occurrence of complete strangers showing themselves to be friendly drivers on the highways. But besides the Honda Civic, there was a clunky Chevy SUV from WV, a white sedan from Maryland, a black Toyota from Michgan, a BMW from TN, a black Dodge Challenger, and several others. It made the long stretches of highway driving seem shorter and considerably more fun to traverse.
 – Yes, I’ve been told that a highway is not a racetrack, but that only applies to those who are losing the race.
– Which brings up an interesting point. Whether you call it the fast lane or the passing lane, please be aware that you do not deserve a spot in that lane unless you are fast or passing! Just because you happened to pass someone five minutes ago (who was probably the only slower person on the road besides you) does not guarantee your right to be in the passing lane. It is the passING lane, not the once-upon-a-time-I-passed-somebody lane.
– Stop for gas before dark. Especially if you are female and traveling alone. Even when it is light, park in a conspicuous place. One particular time I parked right next to a group of Harley Davidson drivers who were all hanging around their bikes. I highly recommend such an action for two reasons. First, I know quite a few bikers who look rough, tough, and mean, but the truth is they are softies, and they would never hurt me or my car (or any lone-traveling female and her car). Secondly, their tough appearance will keep potential thieves, stalkers, or unsavory characters away.
– Before hitting the road, make sure the amount of sleep you got the night before equals (or almost equals) the amount of driving you will be doing. I got about 6 hours the night before I drove for 5 hours, and I was fine. Then I got 6 hours of sleep before I drove 8 hours, but after only 6 hours of driving, I felt myself dozing off. This is not an exact science, but the premise is the same: A well-rested driver is a safe driver.
– There is no joy quite like that experienced when nearing your home state line on your return trip and seeing the first license plate bearing your state name.
– Lastly, and most importantly, and applicable to all drivers everywhere, DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE! Seriously. I drove a total of 27+ hours, and discovered that there is no person in my phonebook that needed a 160-character text from me, more than the other drivers on the road need their lives. Everyone survived without hearing from me for several-hour stretches. I’m sure those in your acquaintance can survive as well. The other drivers thank you in advance for the preservation of their lives and/or limbs.
Happy road-trippin’! I know I had fun…from Emmaus, PA, to Fairmont, WV, to Muddy Pond, TN, to Odenton, MD, and back to Emmaus, PA :-)

Theory of Distraction

18 Jul

I am easily distracted. Some call it forgetfulness; others say I sidetrack with little effort. I have given it some thought and formed a theory. No, it is not a scientific theory, for if it involved science, it would still be a hypothesis….and even that is being generous.

I have taken several brain-activity tests to determine whether my left or right brain is dominant. Neither is. They affect my life and thinking habits equally.

My analytic left brain allows me to memorize number sequences, see patterns where there are no obvious/visible/existing patterns, use words proficiently, be a painstaking perfectionist in my fashion pattern making; my artsy right brain is what enables me to be creative in my pattern making, draw with exquisite detail, enjoy a vivid imagination and exotic sleeping dream world, be inspired by the simple things like ribbons, fabrics, buttons, shapes, colors, etc.

I frequently switch between analyzing and creating. Mid-nerdy-sentence, a creative thought will strike me and I must stop talking and chase that train of thought. To the onlooker, I was distracted. To me, it made perfect sense. It was a momentary switch from left brain to right.

For example: A guest approaches the front desk of my hotel with two questions. First, would I print out a bill for them and explain the intricacies of tax refunds and rate changes? Sure! My logical left brain starts thinking through the best way to explain our tax and rate policies.

As I begin pulling up their bill on the computer, their second question descends. They are afraid that their pet has carried fleas to the hotel room, would I be so kind to bring a flea spray to their room as soon as possible?

My right brain’s vivid imagination kicks in. This time it’s a Pixar-style animation of me in a Monsters Inc. orange exterminator suit walking in slow-motion to their room, armed with Home Defense spray. As I open the door, the background music grows louder and more sinister; their poor pooch cowers in the corner and the room is obviously infested with fleas hopping wildly. I hook up the hose to the Home Defense spray and push the spray release. Looks of terror cross the faces of the fleas as they die mid-hop and flop onto the floor, where miniature x’s replace their eyes as death settles in. Music becomes triumphant again as I turn to see all the guests from the hotel standing outside the room with rousing applause, a shower of roses, and blown kisses. I smile to myself as I imagine some of my guests with their disproportionate Pixar-style features. Of course, dear guest, I’ll bring some flea spray to your room.

And already I forgot why I was looking at their bill, so I exit it. The guest asks for their bill again, and they can’t believe it’s taking so long.

The problem is not a deficiency in my brain that causes me to forget or be distracted. Rather, my brain is so advanced that it switches so quickly from left to right brain and back again, that my brain does not have time to log information in its short term memory. It appears as though I have forgotten. The truth is that I have yet to be able to control my brain. It’s almost as if my own brain is too amazing for me to handle. Scary, huh? It’s still a theory I’m playing with. I haven’t even thought of a good way to word my theory, which makes it obviously very unscientific. Even so, I felt the need to inform my general public of the reasons behind my frequent distractions.

In other news, I’m still thinking about my amazing carnitas burrito from Chipotle several days ago. Life-changing.

100 is a big number

6 May

I can count to 100 in English, Spanish, and French. Most kindergarten children of average intelligence have learned to count to 100.

100 seconds is pretty short. But try holding your breath for 100 seconds going through a tunnel. Some can do it, others cheat. Either way, those 100 seconds seem to stretch endlessly.

In 100 minutes, you can drive from my hometown of Emmaus, PA, to the Newark airport, with just enough time to grab a coffee before getting stuck in line for security. I hope you’ll send me a postcard from wherever you’re going.

If you think staying awake for 100 hours is no small feat, then you’ve never been in my shoes preparing for a fashion show getting minimal sleep for 4 days. 4 days is a mere 96 hours, while 100 hours takes it to the next level: the fifth day of sleeplessness. I don’t recommend trying this without interspersed naps and superfluous caffeine.

100 days will take you from the shivery days of January to the windy days of April, and another 100 days will usher in the heat and humidity of July.

Not many people can boast of living for 100 years, but kudos to those who can. That’s big.

Andy Warhol’s One Hundred Cans

100 pennies will make a 5-year-old boy feel rich, and make his pockets all jingly.

$100 is enough to buy a nice coffee grinder, or yardages of exciting fabrics, or a sale-priced Coach purse, or an overpriced Walmart purse.

If $100 is mere pocket change to you, how about $100 thousand?! Still petty? Eh, I’d settle for $100 million. I mean, $1 million is impressive, but $100 million is 100 times better. Literally.

100% A+ is a big deal. Celebrate it, you smart cookie you.

Let’s pretend that Pongo is at the vet. We’ll take 100 humans, pair each human with each of the remaining 100 Dalmatians, and put them in a 100-square-yard balloon at the top of a 100-yard hill where the sun pelts down at 100 degrees. Get the balloon rolling down the hill at 100mph, and watch as they fly off the cliff and drown 100 leagues under the sea. Be prepared to answer questions by the 100 reporters who flood the scene, and hope you have a good alibi or 100 to clear your good name. (It was Pongo.) At some point in this fictional debacle, you might begin to grasp the magnanimity of 100.

100 is a big number.

So thank you for reading my 100th post. I thought it was a pretty big deal.

Happy Old Year!

31 Dec

Like last year, I have no New Years Resolutions for 2012. At the end of the upcoming 366 days, I would rather reflect on the past year with happiness, than remember where I failed in my resolutions.

2011 started off with January, as all years do. That was a long time ago, and if something exciting happened then, I have quite forgotten.

February passed. Quickly. It’s always such a short month. I think the 31st of every 31-day-having month should be dedicated to the memory of February since it is so short and speedily gone. Smack in the middle of February, I was privileged to attend an Anti-Valentine’s Day party with some single girl friends. We’re not anti-love. We’re just anti-make-a-big-stink-out-of-love-with-roses-and-chocolate. But do give me the chocolate, please.

The last day of February took me to Wisconsin, where I visited Sarah for a week during a special Bible Conference. It was nice to meet all the people she’d been telling me about! I arrived home at the end of the first week of March, with the measurements of a half-dozen girls in hand. Off to JoAnn Fabrics to buy skirt and jumper fabric I went!!

Skipping on down to summer, I did alterations for two weddings. One was bridesmaid alterations, one was a wedding gown alteration. It was definitely a good experience for me!

For the August wedding, some dear friends came up from Tennessee and stayed in my sewing room for a little less than a week. No get-together with them is complete without a night of energy drinks, ice cream, coffee, and walking in the middle of a deserted street with fuzzy blankets.

At the end of August, SURPRISE! My sister came in for a week to shock the socks off the rest of the family. I knew all along. *smug grin* What none of us knew was that on the day of her arrival, the entire east coast would have a mild earthquake. Furthermore, on the day before Sarah’s departure, Hurricane Irene lended her hand in a refinishing/redecorating project for our entire basement.

After August, the year whooshed by.

  I participated in my first fashion show on October 15. A mere 2 weeks before the big day is when I was invited to put a garment in the show, so there was all manner of patternmaking and fitting, trial and error, staying up all night and all day to get the jacket-skirt set done. But it done got done!

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In December, my dear childhood friend, Hannah, was visiting from WV and I met her then-boyfriend, Todd. He is her now-fiance as of merry Christmas, and what a cute couple they make! I’m so excited for her!!

2011 brought a lot of new things into my life:
– New phones! I went through two since February, and made the joyous switch from T-Mobile to MetroPCS. And yes, my newest phone is a smarty-pants phone.
– New friends! Met some awesome people at the hotel, and am privileged enough to count them as friends now – both coworkers and guests! I even made friends with some non-hotel people! And thanks to one of those new friends, I have a….
– …New haircut! I went from having sorta long-ish hair to a shorter ‘do, which I’m loving! (compare the Anti-V-day pic to the bridesmaid alteration pic!)
– New infatuation! Do you all know about Pinterest? You should. I talk about it a lot (with my mouth, not really so much on my blog). And it’s awesome. If you need an invite, let me know. Start your new year right with a new Pinterest account!
– New coffee! I was introduced to Turkish coffee recently! There was a moment of awkwardness at the beginning of our relationship, but all has been ironed out and we are grand friends indeed.

Why make wild endeavors for the new year when my old year turned out just fine by winging it?

Undergoing

20 Oct

Remember when our basement “went under” with Hurricane Irene? Still hard to believe how much drowned in those six inches of water. Well, since then, every aspect of my life has been undergoing change of some sort.

I moved into Sarah’s bedroom after the flood, and almost two months later, I’m still there. It’s terribly convenient. Terribly. I can sew and sleep within the same four walls. But for a moment, please imagine the chaos that would/did exist in those same four walls when they hold the contents of two rooms – my bedroom and my sewing room. Yup, chaos. Introduce plastic bins from Walmart. Add random cleaning spurts. Sprinkle generously with coffee breaks. And the result (so far) is visibility of carpet. In fact, enough carpet can be seen that I’m considering vacuuming just because I can. By tomorrow, I’m hoping for moderate-to-complete organization of fabric. It’s a long shot, but that’s why the coffee pot is on. Oh and I got a new floor lamp for the sewing corner too. Sorta pretty much really excited about that.

The room in the basement where I used to sleep (and one day will sleep in again) has not gone forgotten. I have big plans for that room! Some changes have occurred, some are still ongoing. Already done: new “genteel lavender” paint job with “polar bear” trim, tile floors instead of carpet, white sheer curtains instead of closet doors, new black dresser, new black bookshelf, new dark wood night stand, new set of drawers at the end of my bed, ALL-plastic waterproof storage, big framed horse print for my horse-crazy lil sis, new black and white lamp. To be done: new curtains for my window, new wall art to cover the electrical box that my bedroom has been blessed with, photos and drawings and other forms of art to frame and hang, new rugs to make out of super-awesome fabric, new slippers so I can actually walk on the tile floors.

I do not currently have pictures of any of these works in progress. I don’t even think I have “before” pictures. But sometime I hope to get some “after” pictures posted here. A reminder from readers would not be deemed unnecessary…jus’ sayin’.

Even at work at the hotel, things are changing! Busy summer season with a bunch of families and unruly children running the hotel halls is OVER! It’s “just” a bunch of business people, construction people, “lifers” (aka long-term guests), other miscellaneous people…. generally people who know the hotel biz and don’t ask a million questions or demand extra pillows or complain about credit card authorizations. It’s nice, I will admit. In fact, this month marks a year that I’ve been working at the hotel! Very exciting! I still love working there! I can’t remember a single day I’ve dreaded going to work there!

Everyone at some point will undergo changes in their life. Adapt. Don’t go under and drown. Even if it is only six inches of water.

Add water. And sugar.

30 Aug

Life gave me several lemons lately. Irene gave us water. God provided the sugary-sweet blessings! Here’s a recap of the resulting lemonade. May it be the only batch we make!

Lemons: Lost power on Sunday; basement flooded on Sunday; many personal possessions were destroyed beyond salvage-ability by the water; all 6 of us Angers are living in a one-floor/five-room arrangement; this night owl has to share her night perch with 5 sleeping/sleep-talking/snoring morning people.

Water: Hurricane Irene filled our finished basement (aka all of our bedrooms) with 6″+ of water. Do I really need to expound on that more?

Sugar: We got to spend lots of family time together! In fact, I think my best memory of Sarah Jeanie’s week-long visit from Wisconsin was the laughter-filled breakfast we had as a family on Sunday morning while water poured into our basement. God used neighbors and people from church to provide us with generators, shop vacs, storage bins, trailer for storage, man-power for removing furniture and carpet, and girl-power for helping me clean my room (which I’ve been putting off since “spring cleaning”). The electric power returned on Sunday afternoon instead of Thursday like many people are being told to wait for. The hot water heater was fixed on Monday morning, and hot showers have ensued since!

Every time I try to complain about the “flood” that we experienced on Sunday, I end up listing things I am thankful for instead. It truly could have been so much worse, but it wasn’t. Thank God for His care for us and for good friends who gave up their Sundays to help us!!

Memoriable Days

8 Jun

See what I did there? Took 3 syllables away from “Memorable Memorial Day,” added a few more days, and felt pretty clever doing it!

Such memories all started off with coupons a-blazin’ on the Friday before Memorial Day when I got the chance to hit up JoAnns and all their fabulous fabric sales. 50% off clearance fabric?! Can’t beat that with a Twizzler!

Moving right along, Saturday was positively insane at work, and most of the insanity is already blocked from my mind. Just random flashbacks of . . . a table disappearing from the pool area? Not being able to check anyone in due to a credit card malfunction on a nationwide thingy? Not getting through to tech support for over three hours? Some other fuzzy memory of an hour on hold for some other techy issue? What kind of insanity is this? Oh yeah, the insanity that isn’t successfully blocked yet.

The true fun continued on Sunday with special services to honor our veterans, a church picnic, over four hours of volleyball, and a cookout with friends. Oooooh, I want to say that one part again. I played volleyball for over four hours. Yes, I did! I truly lost track of time, and ran out of water twice. I not only learned how to play speed volleyball, but also fell in love with it. And I only regret two things about Sunday: being so out of shape and realizing too late in the game that the sun was shining.

Such regrets made the Monday version of me look like a limping sprout of cauliflower that had dived face first into tomato soup. And my joints spent the day pretending they had aged 400 years in the 4 hours of volleyball. Nonetheless, Sarah and I went to Kohls to get our free $5-worth of stuff each before rendezvousing with the brothers at Lake Nockamixon. Ben has his own kayak, but the other three of us rented kayaks for 2 hours. Thus I continued to proverbially dive into tomato soup with my cauliflower limbs.

(See? Cauliflower skin, dipped in ‘mater sauce.)

Afterwards I crashed at the grandparents and even managed to slip in a lil nappy time in their spare bedroom. Memoriable days, to be sure.