Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wear It

I'm thinking that many of you noticed the new header photo - courtesy of my friend Emily from when she came to visit me - and that you noticed something sitting on my right shoulder. Not on it, per say, but in it.

Yes, that is a tattoo. And yes, it is real.

It's been on my skin since November. I kept it pretty tightly under wraps because at that point I hadn't informed my family (read: my parents) and there were some things that I wasn't completely comfortable with. I'm not going to lie, I sat in Orgo the Monday after I got it done and had a mini panic attack because I realized that I couldn't wear summer sun dresses to work as a teacher because of it. Completely failed to comprehend that I might never actually go into teaching once I have the degree (it is a back up plan), and completely almost freaked out to the point of hyperventilating (the guy sitting next to me was probably expecting me to fall out of my seat). This was further compounded when the moment came to actually tell my mother (while trying on my dress [strapless] for my cousin's wedding that I had completely forgotten about) and my sister just looked at me and said in her mommy and big sister voice, "You were the one that chose to put it there, you need to own your skin."

And I owned it. Everything turned out alright (my mother even said later that night, "I thought you would have put color in it") and that was that.

As far as the family was concerned. We kind of figured that grandma might fall out of the pew from the shock of it (we left it uncovered and for the world to see at the wedding) and I learned what it really meant to own your skin. Like I said, as far as family was concerned.

There was some different mentality as far as campus went. There really aren't that many tattoos on my campus. Or, at least, ones that you can readily see without being stark naked. During the spring, even when it got hot, I wore mostly t-shirts because I was still a little afraid of what people were going to think.

Here I was, twenty-years-old and still worried about what people were going to think of something that I had knowingly and willingly put on my body. In short, I was failing to do the thing that I had thought I had already accomplished. I was failing to own my skin.

Now, a couple months later and after the heat of the middle of the summer, I'm going to wear my skin. It's the only one that I have. And the centaur? I am a Wandering Sagittarius. The zodiac symbol for Sagittarius is the centaur. I don't think it's offensive; it's a different representation of a fairly important aspect of myself.

However, this doesn't meant that I'm going to offend everybody I come across if tattoos are taboo or something of that nature in Wales. Because that's just being a moron. If it's not an issue, it's not an issue, and there's no need to make it one.

The point is that the skin that you have - the skin that you were born in - is the one that you have to wear until the day you die. The body you wear is the one that you have, and you can change it a little - losing or gaining weight, piercings, tattoos, whatnot - but it's the one that you have. You have to wear it. More importantly, you have to own it.

Just like everything else in life.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Abroadest Revisited

I came home from work tonight and just sort of sat down and wrote. What came out was my first article as The Abroadest for the martini. This was after bread pudding from the restaurant. While watching Remember the Titans and listening to The Band Perry and Sara Bareilles.

And, like most of what comes out of my head, it's honest and it's real. Also probably a really good way to start off the column that I've inherited for three months.

Here it be:

When I moved onto campus my first year, I brought enough stuff to fit in the back of my dad’s little black pickup truck and my mother’s car. I lived in a converted study in Jackson and if I forgot something at home, it wasn’t that big of a deal to wait a couple of weeks and have the parents come up the 35 miles it is between Watkins Glen and Geneva. Sophomore year went much the same way – including only moving up two floors to Jackson 4 – and having a car on campus was a major plus. Except parking tickets for being caught in Medbury without the right permit. That more or less always sucks.

This semester when I move into where I’m living – a room I’ve never seen in a flat I’ve also never seen – I’m not going to have a carful. I’m not going to have the truck. Everything that I need to survive a semester as a college student will have to fit into one single suitcase. This is because I am the one who has to heft the damn thing from point A to point B and also because I’m kind of cheap and don’t want to pay for multiple checked bags at JFK.

Really, it’s because of the bag fee.

I’ll have one suitcase, a carry-on, and a personal item to take with me on the airplane. There will also probably be a blanket and a pillow. There will be no crate filled with DVD’s, no indoor/outdoor rug for my cold tile floor, no mini-fridge to put under the bed, and no corkboards and posters to decorate the bare walls. I’ll have what I can carry, what I can fit in a certain amount of cubic space.

Odd concept, isn’t it?

With the exception of the international students and those coming from the west coast, most of us probably don’t think about how much stuff we actually move in with. We just cram it into the backseat of mom and dad’s car, and take off for Geneva.

Not being able to do this is one of those nonnegotiable facts of studying abroad. It usually gets lost in the shuffle and excitement of the idea that you’re studying in a foreign country for about three months. And I’m just as excited as everybody else studying abroad this semester, and those who’s anticipation is building for next semester.

But as much as I’m an optimist, I’m also down to earth, and occasionally, a realist. I live 41.38 miles away from home. I go home maybe once a month during the year for a bit of a break and to have dinner with the family. More or less to regroup and refocus. I know that this is something most students don’t have. Most students come from at least a couple hours away.

When I move in this year I’ll do it by myself, toting my suitcase into a strange flat 3,286.93 miles away from my own front door.

I’m not an idiot – I’m really excited about this opportunity. Studying in a foreign country for three months, exploring, learning, meeting new people and visiting new places, appropriately expanding horizons – a lot of people have told me that it’s going to be great, that I’m going to have a blast and that it’s one of those things that will stay with me forever. I’ve got no doubt that they’re right. I’ve always wanted to visit Great Britain and now I have my chance. This is one of those things that you’ll make the most of and if you don’t, you’ll regret it quite vividly about five years from now. And with a personal mantra to regret nothing, it’s not something I’m signing up to do. Like I said, though, I am, on occasion, a realist.

Which means that for as excited as I am, I am also, in a certain capacity, somewhat terrified.

Studying abroad means going completely out of your comfort zone and being thrown into something new and different. They speak English over there, but they also speak Welsh. I have no idea how to speak or read Welsh. It’s not like Spanish, where if you took some in high school and went to Spain or somewhere else that spoke the language fluently, you could at least help yourself a little. I know that ‘dd’ is pronounced ‘th’. That’s about the extent of it. In some ways there’s a language barrier. Not a big one, exactly, but it’s still there.

And the same worries that you had when you first came to college? Am I going to make friends, are they going to like me, am I going to fit in? Yeah, those still apply. Instead of having one roommate that I’ve never met before – and my roommate was pretty cool first year – I’m going to have four or five. It’s like moving into an Odell’s unit that you’ve never seen the inside of with people you’ve never seen on campus before, even in passing. You haven’t spoken to them, you don’t know what they like, what they’re eating and sleeping habits are, or what they’re studying. You don’t know what type of personality they have, what little quirks they possess, and whether or not you leaving the almost-empty jug of milk in the fridge is going to piss them off for a week. Throw in a place that’s not America in any sense of the word, add in a language barrier, jet-lag confusion, and complete disorientation and you’ve got study abroad in a nutshell.

It’s exciting and it’s slightly terrifying.

If it’s not slightly terrifying it should at least make you uneasy in some regard.

If it doesn’t make you uneasy – at least a little – we should probably check on your sanity.

You can be fearless. You can be the type that never looks before you leap and then tries to figure out what to do when you crash into something sharp. Or you can be the type that looks for every single crack in the sidewalk to step over because you don’t want to trip. Or, you can be somewhere in the middle looking at both ends – seeing a semester in Wales as an opportunity that you can’t help but squee loudly when you think about how many days you don’t have left before you go and then freaking out because it’s three months in a foreign country across an ocean and you think you might not be quite ready for it.

What do you do?

Ask me later, when I might know what I’m doing. And that’s not being dramatic – that’s simply being human.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Abroadest

Most everybody knows that I write for that slightly off-the-wall, not-quite-politically-correct, liberal-as-they-get, alternative school newspaper the martini. (We don't capitalize the 'm'. Just...we don't.) I inherit layout this year, but before I get to that, I have something else that I inherited.

I'm going abroad.

Which shouldn't be news to anybody.

The point of this is that before I can get to play with Microsoft Publisher, I'm going to be writing more than a few articles until the title of The Abroadest. The column is officially unofficially titled A Word from Not-America (read the disclaimer/warning in the first sentence of this post) and tells about life across the ocean. A pretty cool concept when you think about it, getting that global perspective of things.

Only, there's some issues at the moment.

The first is that Ashley, the wonderful whip-wielding editor-in-chief has decided that we're going to be completely batshit and awesome this year and put out an edition in the first week of school, in time for the Club Fair held on the quad. Probably so that people know what they're getting themselves into and yeah, welcome to college. Due to this fact, my first article as The Abroadest is going to come while I'm still on American soil, and probably have something to do with pre-abroad jitters. That's fine - I've got plenty of those.

My issue is that I am having the damndest time actually writing this thing.

I've started twice. That should tell you something.

I have no problem writing fiction pieces and letting the world look at them, read them, and possibly rip them apart. That's not an issue. I'm a little more selective about the stuff I use for publication in what's really a journalistic fashion. And, really, unless you write for The Herald or can't stand martini in any way, everybody on campus reads it. Even the professors. Hell, everybody from the newest of the first-years all the way to the president reads it.

Should give you an idea of the audience.

And, because we're such a small campus, people will and can, recognize you when you go places - like the library, or the dining hall. Hang out with fellow staffers or have conversation with them, it's noticed. You're associated vicariously, and if you write something that's probably not quite up to snuff, they'll talk about that, too.

I'd like to be talked about in a good way - either that I've fostered conversation about something, or wrote something witty, fun, and that makes you think. Not because every English major on campus has the opinion that I shouldn't even write my own name.

If I didn't know what my editor would say, I'd ask her. She'll say, Write whatever. You're the Abroadest.

Not. Helpful.

Oh, and my second issue? Articles are due Sundays before we publish (we usually come out in the middle of the week) by noon. I have two days.

And I have the horoscopes to do, but those are fun to mangle. If we're not using the ones that some alum sent in, which, because horoscopes is also my job...not cool.

Then again, this column is now my job, and I think I'm so far failing miserably. Any hints that anybody has about writing for a journalistic deadline would be helpful.

Or, Louise could do what she's always done - write what comes to mind, edit it slightly, and let it fly. Fuh.

"Bury Me in Satin...."

Remember one of the last few Things to Know posts I did, where I told you about one of my new favorite songs, If I Die Young, by The Band Perry? Well, I was watching CMT this morning, and they did a video for it.

You can probably guess that I decided to share.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Move It!

This song, when I first heard it while watching VH1 in the morning, was catchy, stayed with me, and later, when I was really looking forward to hearing it, made me dance.

And, after buying it on Amazon today, had me dancing in the living room before getting ready for work. That should tell you something.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things to Know XVII

- There are now more Things to Know posts than Murphy and Me posts.

- I have 18 days until I leave.

- Meaning 18 more days to fill with smiles, laughter, and hugs from a certain Mayhem Maker who's probably not going to readily understand why Ollie's car is parked in the driveway but Ollie isn't home.

- The cat knows something's up - she's been stuck to my side nearly every night when I'm on the computer.

- Mom watches Lifetime movies when I'm a work.

- In this current one - set in the west - some guy just asked the girl he loved to marry him.

- She said yes.

- Did you expect anything different from a Lifetime movie?

- I am going to hit nearly ten hours of overtime this week.

- Friday night includes two hours of male dancers - known affectionately as Booty Cruise - and more banana hammocks than anyone really cares to see.

- This will be my third year working Booty Cruise and, honestly, unlike wine, it does not get better with age.

- You're not supposed to throw away trial contacts - I didn't know this.

- I pretty much got yelled at this morning because of this (the left one didn't want to stay on my eye) and I was actually quite offended when the new lady in the glasses/fitting section insinuated that I didn't know which way was the right way for a contact lens.

- I have been wearing contacts since seventh grade.

- She was very unhappy that she had to put in an order for new trials.

- She could have been significantly less unhappy at 10:30 in the morning.

- And I was slightly late to work because of this debacle.

- She insinuates again that I don't know which way my contacts go, I just might not be able to hold my tongue and that infamous temper I'll deny I have in spades.

- And really, I didn't know I couldn't chuck them.

- Today was a bread pudding kind of day.

- My nose is stuffy.

- Carla called me She-Man the other night because I carried a tray with double-stacked dirty dishes down from upstairs at work.

- They're not letting me live it down that I fell down the stairs.

- But at least they're being mildly nice about it.

- I have somewhere to be tomorrow morning at 9, and I have yet to eat some dinner.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Murphy and Me XXV

[No comments from the peanut gallery. Seriously, I know how long this took to get out (the last post was in June, I had to check for my numbers) and it really shouldn't be that long again because, well, usually when everything else demands my attention, my writing kicks back on. Go figure. Anyway. Enjoy it.]

"Yes," I stammered, doing an absolutely fantastic impression of a fish for longer than necessary, "Murphy's my boyfriend."

Which, well, no idea what would happen next.

"Ollie. Come sit." Tanya moved over and I walked woodenly to sit on the arm of the couch. "These are the girls - Katy, Amy, and Becca."

I smiled as best I could. Still reeling. It was like the secret wives club. Or something.

"Are you all dating football players?" Which, stupid question on my part. They went down the line.

"Johnny V."




And Murph. Okay. This...This was just weird. Not to mention awkward.

The next time I had my boyfriend alone I was going to praise him for his impeccable timing. Seriously. He opened the door and was followed in by four more guys - two I recognized (Johnny V. and Noah) and gave me a wave.

The boys scrounged up more chairs, there was some rearranging, and I was sitting sideways across Murph's legs, back against the arm of the couch. He had a beer in one hand, the other tracing nonsense patterns on my spine. And we all talked. About everything - classes, professors, athletics, coaches, movies, beer, and anything in between.

Murph's fingers were tangled around my belt loops and for as much as he'd drank - at least four - he was incredibly coherent, a slur every now and then, barely evident. Some of the others...not so much.

Katy, in particular (if she was the one I figured was her) got sloppy the more she had.

And that was before the bottle of vodka made an appearance.

It was getting late. And quite tiring. I propped my elbow on Murph's shoulder and rested my cheek on his temple. There was no way to check what time it was without pulling out a phone. That would mean moving. And that wasn't going to happen.

"Well," Murph said as Johnny V. disappeared into one of the rooms off the common room, "I think we're going to head out." A hand at the small of my back helped me up.

"We'll walk with you," Tanya said, smacking Noah's arm to get him moving.

This - I had no idea how to read this. Tanya hooked her arm through mine, waved goodbye to the girls, and steered me out the door.

"You got less nervous as the night went on."

It was that obvious? "Really?"

"Ollie. Please. The other girls might have been halfway gone but I hold my liquor better." She waved jauntily to some of the boys on the porch, heels clacking comfortably on the cracked path back to the sidewalk.

I nearly tripped over my Converse. Murph and Noah were following dutifully behind, arms slung over each others' shoulders for balance, laughing and joking. Every once in a while Murph would slip into Gaelic.

"There's no reason to be nervous." Tanya patted my arm, ignoring the appreciative looks of the semi-drunken boys passing on their way to other parties.

There probably wasn't. I still was.

My inner Spock was telling me it was highly illogical.

In true McCoy fashion, I ignored him.

"You guys do this a lot?"

Tanya shrugged. "We get together as girls sometimes and we hang out as couples. Katy and Becca are roommates and Amy and I are Soc majors."

Which didn't answer the original question, but okay.

We came to the corner the president's house sat on and she hugged me. Completely unexpected and a little bit welcome.

"You have nothing to be nervous about, Ollie," she said. "Now, where's my man?"

There was a thud, some cursing, and two large men in a heap on the grass. And that did not look comfortable by any stretch of the imagination.

Turns out that trying to touch knee to forehead while walking is not feasible. Murph heaved himself up, assisted Noah to his feet, and shook hands with the other man before he and Tanya continued down the street while Murph and I turned right. It was fairly early by collegiate standards by the time we made it to the door and up four floors of stairs. Murph's fingers were tangled with mine as we passed the first room on my floor - the perpetual party room - and there was high-pitched cackling in the bathroom I didn't want to bear witness to.

Murph was looking appropriately bleary-eyed by the time the door was open and the slightly illegal medusa lamp on. A pair of shorts and a t-shirt were laying on the bed while I grabbed my own pj's from the floor.

"I'll change in the bathroom." Which would save him some embarrassment. Exchanging Converse for bare feet and slippers, I left Murph wrestling with his layers on the indoor/outdoor carpet square.

There were girls I didn't know in the bathroom and I had to wait for a stall. The guy who finally came out and I stared each other down before going about our business.

Gotta love Saturday nights on a college campus.

Murph had the door propped open a bit when I got back - a sign he was done - and both our shoes by the door. I let it slip shut and he spit what looked like an entire pack of Winterfresh into the trashcan.

"Didn't think you'd want to share a pillow with beer breath."

Which was true, for the most part.

He locked the door and I went for the light, pausing for a second to look at his neat pile of clothes in my moon chair. A quick glance at the desk showed his wallet by the computer, underneath the hook where my Vera and his keys hung. I clicked the light off. The streetlight in the parking lot made seeing the floor a bit easier than total darkness, and Murph was a shadow in the night. I plugged my phone into the charger and vaulted into bed. Murph crawled in after and it took us some jostling to get settled - I rammed my knee into the electrical box that lead to the power strip in the wall and Murph, from the sound of it, smashed his toes into the side of the dresser at the foot of the bed - and finally he was curled tight to my back, nose behind my ear.

"Johnny had gone to get the peace pipe," Murph said quietly.

I wrestled the hair tie from my ponytail and tried not to whack him in the eye.

"I figured that would make you uncomfortable."

And he thought he right. I knew people did it, but I didn't want to be around it while it was happening. Just not my thing.

"You're right." I shrugged deeper into his chest. "You have to be anywhere tomorrow?"


He pulled the comforter around us and snuggled back in.

"Great," he breathed, kissing the back of my neck.

Damn straight, Murph. Damn straight.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Things to Know XVI

- There maybe - just maybe - might be more Things to Know posts than Murphy and Me posts.

- The former is quite frightening.

- Emily comes tomorrow or, rather, today. Since it's Wednesday.

- She arrives in thirteen hours and fifty-one minutes. But who's counting?

- I took pictures of all the people and the cars on the track to show her what NASCAR is like.

- And I have a shit-ton more things to go on this list, but it's currently 2:10 in the morning. And I need some sleep to function somewhat normally.

-The again...define normal.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Things to Know XV

- The stripes on my shoulders at work don't mean a damn thing. As I said to one of my tables earlier, we're all in the same boat.

- I cringed for nearly eight minutes after that last one.

- I was laying in bed this morning, listening to the traffic and wondering why it sounded like everybody was doing at least 65 by the house, and then realized it's NASCAR.

- Some people in this world, no matter how hot it gets, really need to keep their shirt on in public.

- There is such a drink as a "Vodka Relax". Whether it actually helps you reach your goal, I'm not sure.

- When a customer says to you, "When you get a minute..." they rarely ever mean for you to get them what you want in that minute. Because you rarely have that minute to yourself.

- Not a big fan of the phrase "When you get a minute..." since they usually want it right then and they wouldn't ask for it if they didn't want.

- Twenty-four people is a little much to have for a full four course meal.

- Then again, rock it.

- Greg laughed at me (after jokingly ragging on me) about my look of sheer horror as the spider dropped from one of the ceiling tiles to nearly land on some poor kid's shoulder on his way out.

- I am not a big fan of spiders. Seriously.

- Though Greg looks at me funny when I smash them into the wall, even though I tell him I'll clean it up (and always do).

- I've been reading a bunch of Age of Sail novels (Lord Ramage, anyone?) but I don't really know that much about actual sailing (schooners, sailboats, anything not run with a motor) so I've been asking Greg and Tony, who are a wealth of interesting if slightly useless (at times) knowledge.

- Greg drew me a little diagram on a piece of paper with an explanation about how a ship tacks.

- I'm still not sure I fully understand and the diagram got thrown away. I think.

- Some days I feel like Wonder Woman. Other days, more like I'm a bug and I've gone twelve rounds with a windshield.

- I really don't know anything about wines.

- Especially the differences between a riesling and a pinot grigio.

- Both of those, however, are white wines. That much I know.

- Other than that, you're on your own.

- I am completely craving bread pudding right now. The kind they make at the restaurant - homemade covered in some sort of icing, chocolate, and caramel.

- On that note, I think I might go get some sleep.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Working Girl

There's this woman. Her name is Patricia - Patty - and thirty-six years ago she got married to this man named Michael. Thirty-two years ago they had their first child. Her name is Heather. Twenty years ago (almost twenty-one) they had another child. Her name is Molly.

Mike and Patty raised two only children (there's a twelve year age difference that was quite evident in Molly's younger years, believe me) and when they reached a certain age, they instilled in their children certain values. Values like doing what's right, even if it might suck (though said much more eloquently), that sometimes there's not that definitive line between good and bad (though there should be some days, because it would make life so much easier), and when you have a job, you do your job to the best of your ability because it's easier to do it right the first time rather than half-ass it and then have to go back and fix it.

They also tried to help their children deal with finances. Namely, this how much money you need to make if you want to have this amount to spend a week while you're in college.

Ultimately, this was the birth of the Working Girl.

Coincidence that both their girls were waitresses? Well, one was (and stopped when she was heavily pregnant because it was hell on her ankles and feet) and one still is. But they're very different waitresses - one flipped tables and made a small fortune in ones every night, working temp jobs during the day and then closing the restaurant at nights. The other gets the same group of sixteen to twenty-four (depends on how many we add before we leave and who else is on that night) people for three hours. In the first five minutes, you either make yourself or break yourself between the time that they sit down and you serve soup. You have three hours with these people. You piss them off in the first five minutes, you have to deal with them for two hours and fifty-five more.

I don't flip tables. I've never flipped tables in the three years that I've been a waitress. I've opened more bottles of wine than I can count, spilled more wine on myself than I really care to admit, and even fallen down the stairs.

And I can fully classify myself as a working girl.

My job's not a traditional 9-5. I don't live in a cubicle, and I don't have an internship for the summer. I bypassed even applying for summer research because I could make more than the stipend offered by the chem department. I've made more than the stipend, actually, not that it's a big deal. I work doubles when I'm scheduled to (or when I'm not, depending on where I've picked up a shift or two for someone) and mostly, I work nights. Not graveyard shift or anything, where I go in at midnight or something (like dad - our father goes in to work at midnight and gets down around two in the afternoon, and the man just turned 62) but my evenings are shot. Rarely do I get to eat dinner with my family because I'm usually shoving off from the dock at the time that everybody's gathering around the table. I missed Madaline opening her presents and blowing out her candles on her third birthday because I had to go in (though I opted to be cut from the shift because there wasn't enough people for the amount of workers we had on). My Monday nights are spent looking after 150-200 screaming tweens and teens with thumping pop/rap/new hits music (and then Krispy usually blows a speaker and things get interesting, or he overloads the amp and everything goes quiet, which is more entertaining). The rest of the nights I'm serving prime rib, scallops, Cornish game hen, and vegetarian pasta (which is actually Stouffers, but don't tell anybody, it still smells good) and trying not to slop on myself in the process of serving dinner.

Which is an epic fail on the nights when you spill au jus all down the side of your face and it winds up in your bra. Actually, that night I wound up smelling like a three course meal, vodka martini (straight up, a little dirty) included. I wear black pants, a button-up, short-sleeved white shirt with epaulets (which, yes, as you can imagine, gathers spots and stains to it like a moth to an open flame) and I have a love affair with my apron. I can tell you the difference between the reds and whites on the back page of our drink menu (cabernets and merlots, rieslings and chardonnays) but ask me anything about any listed on the inside of the menu, and you might be up shit creek without a paddle. Which is fairly funny because I've been doing this for three years, I live in wine country, and I'm not entirely sure on the subtle differences between one winery's riesling and another's, and there are some that I'm still not sure how to pronounce.

All of it, every little detail, is okay because I really do enjoy my job. I meet people (and those who return year after year usually remember me) and I try to make their special occasion - be it an anniversary, a birthday, or a middle of the week getaway - a little more special. Doesn't always happen, but we still try.

Summertime, to an extent, isn't my time. I don't get personal time because there are things that I'm saving for. One of them is books. My paychecks buy my books for the coming school year. They also provide my "fun" money - those movie nights with the girls, ice skating adventures, that ski trip that sounded like a good idea at the time, but as Heather pointed out, I'm no Shaun White, and anything else that might come up and need adventuring in - and give me a certain budget a week for the year.

In short, if I don't work, there's not really any money during the school year. Makes the budget a little tight.

I'll admit that there are days when I get up, and I really don't feel like going to work (usually a Wednesday lunch, when we know there's going to be a bus group and that's usually pouring coffee and taking salad bowls back with the croutons still there because their teeth might come out if they eat them) but I go anyway. And I slap a smile on my face and be cheery, chipper, and a good host while they're aboard because that's my job. My cell phone - not matter how badly I want to Tweet about anything - stays in my bag as soon as I punch in.

My boss is not paying me to be on my phone. He's paying me to do the job he hired me for.

If some of my coworkers could remember that little gem of advice....

This weekend will be interesting, much like IRL weekend. I'll be up at the track selling souvenirs during the day, and then, in the early afternoon, head home to kind of mellow out and get ready to spend the next six hours working as a waitress. We need workers to man the stand, and I'm a worker.

It really is as simple as that. It's always been that simple.

So, I'm a working girl. A working girl who likes the simple things in life - running barefoot in the grass, dancing in the rain, and playing monster and princess with a certain three-year-old - and knows that good things come from working hard and being honest.

Know what? I'm pretty proud of that.

Wordless Wednesday

For a little explanation, because some of you are probably wondering what exactly this is, this is the pier that I jumped off of, on the right. Of course, it didn't have all those people on it (this was taken back during the Waterfront Festival, and the place was packed, as you can see) and if it had....

Anyway, near the bottom right of the picture is where I actually went swimming in this post.

Also, this is what I see every day when I go to work (except the multitude of people).

Things to Know XIV

- I am the world's most graceless human - namely, I fell down the last four steps of the front staircase at work while carrying a tray with the coffee condiments and an almost empty pot.

- I didn't break anything doing the above. I'm just incredibly stiff, sore, and my right ankle is turning pretty colors.

- There is also some good floor burn on my left knee.

- Shins are very sensitive, did you know that?

- My cat as an affinity for tissue paper. Or any kind of paper, really.

- If you have not heard the song If I Die Young by The Band Perry, you must hear it.

- The above is non-negotiable.

- My visa photo makes me look like a drug dealer. I think I've mentioned this before.

- Em comes in 7 days!

- Seven days is the equivalent of a week.

- It must be almost NASCAR - the traffic by the house has picked up and they're treating this stretch of road like it's the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Only with more turns and slightly more complicated layout.

- I find it particularly funny that I work in the heart of wine country, am underage, don't drink, and am still expected to pass along advice on wine like I'm a natural. Or a hardcore wino.

- There is nothing wrong with being a hardcore wino - if that's your thing - I just prefer to wait until I'm of legal age before consuming.

- Excepting those very, very rare occasions (two, this past year) at college.

- Yes, only two. And trust me, I'm not an idiot.

- Sometimes this ingrained sense of responsibility isn't as handy as one would think.

- I don't think I'm going to be working Friday nights anymore - my boss has realized (probably, I think) that working Friday puts me into overtime by at least four hours.

- Tomorrow's payday.

- Direct deposit is awesome, by the way.

- There are 39 days left before the Wandering Sagittarius departs across the pond.

- Oh, snap.

- Be a puffin (or any sea-faring bird with glossy or semi-glossy feathers) - let it roll right off your back.

- I think my cat is confused as to why I haven't been getting everything ready to leave yet.

- I work too much to really realize that normally this is around the time when I used to get ready to leave for pre-season.

- A week in Brazil for a semester in Wales. Seems like a fair trade to me.

- Chuck hasn't had anything new on his blog since April. I checked two days ago.

- Eventually, there will be a new part of Murphy and Me. Eventually. This part is just difficult to write because, well....I'm flying a little by the seat of my pants in a bit of a transition state.

- Heather - bear with me, I'm working on the Murphy.

- If anyone has seen a small, violently orange Focus wandering around that answers to the name "Murfee" please send him my way. If he's got a playmate with him - something light-colored and fluffy-looking - whisper in his ear that Mama's making cookies and watch out.

- There aren't any actual cookies, but we need them both to come home.

- It's not a lie, it's just not the whole story.

- Henry the Houseplant not only has babies, but he's flowering. Pretty little white flowers.

- These are indications that he's rootbound.

- Henry the Houseplant is a spider plant, for those of you don't know him.

- Henry could probably do with some water. I'd best get on that.

- My literary BFF is Captain (he got promoted, he used to be a lieutenant) Nicholas Ramage of Dudley Pope's The Lord Ramage Novels (and he is heir to an earldom, so he's not quite royalty, but that's okay, he's still a badass).

- I haven't enjoyed a series this much since I first read the Dragonlance novels. And those are positively BAMF.

- Seriously. Listen to If I Die Young. Don't like country? Humor me.

- If I die young, bury me in satin/Lay me down on a bed of roses/Sink me in the river, at dawn/Send me away with the words of a love song.... The Band Perry

- Always walk with the words of a love song in your heart and on your tongue. Always.

- I don't think I've done a late night/early morning post in quite some time (since I was at college). Which is probably a good thing. Not so entertaining, but probably more socially acceptable.

- Socially acceptable? I think I'll let you make that decision.
"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz