signed, sealed, delivered

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Is it just me, or is getting, sorting, and processing mail as hard as flying out of Madison in the middle of storm Draco?

snow storm pictures scattered throughout post. this one titled "the day the price of underground parking became worth it"

When Becky came to visit in September, she forced me to open mail......from May. Every sales promotion had expired by at least 30 days by the time I mustered the energy to open the envelope. In theory, I may have even owed the electric company hundreds and hundreds of dollars at one point.

Whatever. The never shut off our power! Truly, it's the little victories.

average siting of a cactus in a snow storm

horse made of horseshoes

I hope I'm not the only one who goes through this terribly daunting task on a quarterly basis, when the scattered stacks of envelopes start interfering with my eating space. How can I pour the entire bag of shredded cheese on my soup if these envelopes are making it impossible for me to put my spoon down?

Don't get me wrong, I also hate emails. And particularly sales clerks asking me for my email address. I'll give you my zip code if I must but, listen lady, I already get daily emails from Groupon, Orbitz, American Airlines, Spotify, Amazon, and the President of the United States, thank you very much.  {Note: I recently unsubscribed from a bunch of vendors and it was life altering. If you're looking for a super easy new years resolution that doesn't involve standing up, look no further!} Also note: I'm not talking about work emails because blogging and crying are a bad combo.

some serious icicles
One time the check-out lady at New York & Company was pressing me for my email address as if possessing my gmail account was going to make or break the company's year end sales.  I looked her dead in the eye and said "It is my life goal to receive as few emails as possible."

I know what you're thinking -- why do I keep reading this blog? She's just so ambitious and it's just too intimidating.  Just remember, not everyone can shoot for the stars in terms of life goals the way I do. {Also, let me know if you can think of anymore seated resolution ideas because I totally need one.}

Anyway, NY&Co lady gawked at me like I was unworthy of my newly purchased floral scarf and silently passed me my receipt. Truly, it's the little victories.

a blanket of snow covering Wisconsin

I know what you're thinking now too. Well, what is your proposed solution for mail, then, if neither the postal service nor email is good enough? When are you going to stop complaining and offer solutions?

To which I respond - the answer is obvious:

Merry Christmas, Homies!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

I understand that I don't actually have a "real" blog. First, I have absolutely zero sponsors (not getting any straight cash, homie). Second, I don't get hate mail or nasty comments from readers who think I'm inappropriate, obnoxious, or a bad person. I  average 0.5 comments per post (thanks, Mom and Stephen!)

Any high-profile bloggers always have haters, like high-profile people. I'll know I've made it in the blogosphere when hoards of people are super pissed at me all the time. Can't wait!

Thirdly, I can tell I don't have a "real" blog because I don't have any agenda for my posts. I don't have to blog about current events. I never once talked about politics during the presidential election, and didn't even mention Hurricane Sandy. Any "real" bloggers are forced by the public to mention these things.

I enjoy not talking about current events because my blog is an escape where I can vent about traveling, rave about food, obsess over books, etc. Also, I genuinely find Essie nail polish more interesting than the race for presidency. (This would be a perfect opportunity for my future haters to get mad at me!)

But, you guys....I'm so sad about Connecticut. :(

I don't even want to talk about it, but felt wrong posting about anything else since it has been breaking my heart each day since I heard the horrible news on Friday.

I do believe there is more good than evil in the world. And I'm praying for those impacted by this tragedy. I don't personally know anyone directly impacted, but if I did, I would definitely drop everything to give them a hug. I'm willing to bet each one of you would do the same.

I think prayer is powerful, but we shouldn't leave it at that. Just because you don't know any of the victims doesn't mean you can't share love and support with those who you do know. For everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. I think you should invite that person you weren't going to include. I think you should offer a Christmas cookie to that quiet co-worker. I think you should smile at that stranger. I think you should call your parents. I think you should hug your friends. Ultimately, you guys, I think life is hard. And we should help each other out.

One cool thing about not having a "real" blog is I essentially know everyone who ever reads this - family, a few high school friends from the Burgh, former Bucknell teammates, other Bucknellians, friends from work, Madtown, etc.

I can honestly say that I care about each person who reads this and - if I had my act together and wasn't the most disorganized person ever - I would totally send each of you a personalized Christmas card wishing you a wonderful holiday, and a brighter 2013 than 2012. I hope the new year brings new promise, and you feel loved, appreciated, and wanted, because you are.

The next time I see you, I'll give you a hug. :) In the mean time, you should go hug other people.


What Not to Gift

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I once did a fairly popular post where I pretended I was a fabulous fashion blogger. Well, today, my delusional alter-ego is popping back in to share with you holiday gifts for guys! This blog proves that I'm totally in the running for girlfriend of the year - so follow these gift reccomendations so you're not lonely under the mistletoe come Christmas!

Nothing says "I kind of like you" like giving your boo-ski a Blackberry in his stocking. With it's once-was-cutting edge technology, and limited application selection, you'll be sure he doesn't spend too much time on his new gadget, and still can devote hours to watching you exchange your gifts at the mall. Plus, why does he need Siri when he has YOU?!

Practical, fashionable, and functional?! Screw GPSs. Look no further! I don't even know how your boyfriend has made it to this point in his life without owning Starfish cufflinks from everyone's favorite jeweler. Stop hanging out with a guy who looks like he's white trash and give his forearms the glamour that they deserve. (Side note: did anyone else know starfish lived in the celestial heavens? learn something new everyday!)

Also, he's likely not going to take the Tiffany & Co. plunge unless you lead the way, right ladies? How else are you going to have your little blue box moment if you don't guide him there? Another perk is I've heard Tiffany offers free shipping if you spend $5,900, donate a kidney, and refinance your house - so you might as well pick up some shiny goodies for yourself while you're browsing their website!

Hopefully your boyfriend already has everyone's favorite Man Uggs (or as I coined them "Muggs") but if he doesn't you either need to buy these for him ASAP or find a new more fashionable mate. Nothing is more manly than sheepskin footwear.

It's safe to assume he obviously wants to be just like Tom Brady - why else would he be dating a super model!?



p.s. I would recommend going against these recommendations unless you're trying to break up with your boyfriend. In which case, there's gotta be a cheaper way.

Winter is Coming

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It snowed today in Madison, which was perfect because I needed a reason to sit on my couch for hours on end. Thanks, weather! I owe you one. But you owe me all those flight delays, power outages, and bad driving conditions. Seriously. Nowhere close to even. I still don't care about you.

I drove my boyfriend to the airport through the snow and then back to my apartment this morning, so now I know how George Washington felt after crossing the Delaware. WHAT a feat. And, on the way there, Stephen sincerely said to me, "Wow. This is the best I've ever seen you drive." There's a quote for the history books.

I need to get a better camera, but here are some shots from my iPhone from this weekend:

Stephen and I ate a restaurant that is on the top floor of the Overture Center in Madison - it was decorated very festively :)

I don't have much to say now (begging the question, "Why are you blogging?"), but I'm having one of those Sunday nights where the dread of the impending work week overwhelms me and next Friday at 5:00pm seems like it's at the end of a 100-mile long tunnel that I'm walking through with no cell phone service and it kind of seems like it might cave in any day now. However, there are some awesome things I've been distracting myself with lately that are perfect diversions, especially if you're also snowed in, so here are my unsolicited recommendations:

Start reading George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones if you haven't already. I'm obsessed and want to name my future children after the characters. Hermione is just too hard to spell. (Luna is obviously still in the running ;) )

Listen to Corrine Bailey Rae's The Sea. You've probably heard Put your records on but the whole album is full of passionate, heartfelt songs that improve even the dullest commutes. One of my favorites is Like a Star.

Also, you should read Dooce if you don't - especially if you want to know what a real blog looks like.

Instead of a long, slow collapsing tunnel, I hope your week turns out to be a short well-lit tunnel that ends in a beautiful city scape like the Fort Pitt tunnels - which are beautifully captured in The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie - which you should also go see. Happy December :)

Wherein I pretend to be domestic

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I usually post about my culinary disasters on here - so decided to be optimistic today and post about a semi-success in the kitchen.

Big news:  I made a lasagna. And the world didn't end. And my only tears were onion-cutting induced.

I realized on Sunday that I don't think I've ever cut an onion before IN MY LIFE. Talk about a milestone. Regardless, I was borderline sobbing in my kitchen while doing so. Which is good, because recently I have only been crying about 4 times a week so I've been meaning to get my average back up. Fortunately, the only beings judging me for crying were the bugs in my oatmeal.

Granted, I did almost have a panic attack in the grocery store. That might be a slight overstatement, but does anyone else find grocery shopping overwhelmingly difficulty? There are just so many things and I have no idea where anything is. It's similar to how I feel when I try to pack for a trip or look at my email on a Monday morning.

It makes me wish our stores still looked the way they did in the Oregon Trail when you walked in and told the general store owner exactly what you need and he retrieved it from behind the counter. No moving involved! No struggling to read signs while pushing your cart around looking for parsley and then suddenly you bought 5 new colors of Essie nailpolish instead.

but seriously, is there a support group I can join for this addiction?
In addition to having shopping be so much easier (why do I have to have 18 options for ricotta cheese? Why can't I have one?) I often wish I lived in an earlier era because then:

a.) I wouldn't get any emails.
b.) My name would be more contemporary.

Downside being women wouldn't have any rights. And, although I've never really dappled in it, I'm going to go out on a limb and say I would majorly suck at needlepoint.

Regardless - given my track record of kitchen catastrophes, I'm thrilled to report that: I survived the grocery store, my lasagna was made ...and eaten! No reported food poisoning. Yet. Merry early Christmas!

I Can't Get No..

Thursday, November 29, 2012

One of my choice annoying habbits is taking one of Stephen's favorite songs and slaughtering it into my own version. So, when he hears the song, my obnoxious version comes to mind. Totally in the running for girlfriend of the year.

Obviously, our conversations primarily revolve around quoting Kanye and Jay-Z, however, whereas after rap I like country, he likes classic rock. The Stones, Queen, etc. It goes without saying that we both love The Beatles. It's impossible not to love The Beatles. Oh, you don't?

Let me guess, you don't like Harry Potter either. Do you also hate chocolate? And newborn babies? And pay raises? And 2 hour delays in school? Stop being such a hater - EVERYONE LIKES TWO HOUR DELAYS.

If you grew up in a land without enough snow to justify a freckling of 2-hour delays throughout your winter school days, you're missing out on the one thing that all of mankind likes in unison.

Anyway, behold - my version of Satisfaction: "I. can't. get. no. Camp-us Can-dy." I know, Mick Jagger wishes he thought of that.

It happened when he was visiting - we walked to Campus Candy; it was closed. My choice was then to either drop dead of utter sorrow or sing the most annoying line 738 times on our walk to the cupcake shop and home and for all eternity. I know, I should have chosen the former. Mankind agrees.

don't worry, it was only closed because they were adding FRO YO

top reason to get married

No joke: my favorite place in Madison.
The post title actually came to be, though, because, in a desperate attempt to be motivated, I sat down to write a blog, called it "Motivation" and then immediately changed it to "I Can't Get No.." because I thought it was more catchy. And less stupid. Kind of. This week I've been getting home from work and doing the following things:

1. Sitting on the couch.
2. End of list.

To prevent myself from morphing into a sloth, I made a list of simple tasks to motivate myself:

in the back is a note from my roomie :)

After looking at the tasks I deemed WORTHY OF WRITING DOWN I became more embarrassed about my unproductivity, so I decided to post it on my blog because I'm all for self-loathing. That way, if anyone still wanted to be my friend after learning of my exceedingly annoying tendencies they would reconsider.

I'm also hoping no one notices that "brush hair" deserved is it's own line item. That's normal, right? Surely womankind can back me up here.

Monday Funday

Monday, November 26, 2012

There's no way the Monday after Thanksgiving is fun. Still, I'm getting tired of facebook and twitter transforming into venues where people constantly complain about everything, particularly Mondays.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for complaining. (as per this post where I set the high goal to complain openly about as many topics as possible.) I actually have trouble getting along with people who don't complain enough.

Example: when you're delayed for 3 hours in the airport so have to drive from Chicago to Madison at 1:00am, but the rental car place is as packed as Ellis island during the potato famine, the best thing to do is look at your co-workers and all say in unison: "This sucks."

If, in that situation, which unfortunately is not hypothetical, a co-worker had tried to offer any semblance of a "bright side" I likely would have laid them out and left them to be trampled by the carless masses. Fortunately, all 3 of my co-workers agreed with the overall suckiness of that situation.

Moral of the story: sometimes complaining prevents you from being stampeded by weary travelers.

That being said, I am also absolutely against complaining via social media in a boring way. All I'm asking for is a little creativity.

Example: if your status is "Mondays are the worst." or "I hate Mondays." I'm going to have to substitute the word "Mondays" with the phrase "boring people including myself" in my mind just so I can be agreeable.
Mondays are an exhausted weekly topic of complaint, anyway. Expand your complaining horizons!

Example: If I were my boyfriend's cat, Joshie, I would complain about only having three legs:

even though you can't tell in this picture!
And if I were his cat Cleo I would complain that this weird tall girl has just taken 3000 pictures of me and all I'm trying to do is sit on a chair in peace:

And, if I were my old college cat, Minerva Winifred Grendel (aka Minnie). I would be complaining right now about how I just mentioned two foreign cats yet haven't blogged about her in ages. However, in true devil cat spirt, I would likely complain in the form of projectile vomitting all over the walls, taking a dump in the shower, and getting fleas, AGAIN.

updated picture of Minnie that my former roomie Christa sent us over Thanksgiving :)
As you can see - Minnie has changed a lot since her cute kitten days! :)

However, I am not a feline, so I'm just going to complain that no one has bought me this kate spade purse yet:

Enough said.

Though, admittedly, I'd rather have $119 worth of cake.

Thx, Thx, Thx

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In honor of everyone's favorite holiday that centers around copious amonts of food gratefulness, I decided to write some thank you notes in the past month and share them with you now (YOU'RE WELCOME.)

p.s. this post was inspired by this blog! I totally encourage you to check out all blogs I link to. They all make my blog look like it's written by a schizophrenic kindergartener. Only reading my blog, of all the blogs in the entire blogosphere, is like only watching The Rescuers of all the Disney movies. Oh, really, The Rescuers is your favorite? So, tell me, what are the little mice's names? That's what I thought. No one messes with Belle's or Aladdin's names. (Or Chip's or Abu's for that matter.)

Before I embarass myself with my vast Disney knowledge and things get out of hand, without further ado, proof of me being thankful in the last month:

Dear Hotel Room,

Thank you for having the courtesy of knowing that I often get lonely on the road, and providing me with a friendly companion in the form of a huge elusive cricket on my ceiling above my bed. I've been meaning to wake my boyfriend up by crying irrationally on the phone for a while now, and you finally presented me with the prime opportunity.

See ya next trip,

Dear Long Distance Relationship,

Thank you for still being intact even after the above mentioned episode. I owe you one. But, you owe me $7000 in plane tickets, so let's call it even.



Dear Old Oatmeal,

Thank you for being there for me when I needed to make no-bake cookies for my co-workers. A special shout out for having your old canister infested with little bugs that I didn't notice until after making the cookies, resulting in me having to throw them, and any culinary confidence, straight into the garbage.

My confidence in the kitchen has been hovering dangerously close to "0" lately; it's good to drop it back down to negative 1000 where it belongs.

My checked domestic ego is in debted to you,

Dear insects,

Thanks for being so present in my month of November in general. It helps me to be appreciative of the fact I have no impending camping trips.

Have fun dying in the winter,

On a more serious note: wishing you all a fabulous thanksgiving! I hope you can be surrounded by friends, family, food, fun, and have some time to relax and rejoyce :) I'm sincerely thankful for every person who takes the time to read my blog and support me!


Baked Potato Social

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

These days, most of my life is spent in a rental car on the Illinois tollway. I would say it's karma, but I can't figure out what felony I committed. I did steal Skittles once in the third grade. I'll never forget the sleepless nights and crying when I gave my teacher a bag of fun-size Skittles and repented for the ones I had stolen from the jar.

I've had a serious conscience for as long as I can remember. It's a blessing and a curse. Also, the dangerous candy obsession manifested at a young age. Don't worry, I didn't start robbing gas stations of Reeses until I was 14. Kidding, mom.

I know at this point you guys are super jealous of my Illinois road trips, along with how many friends I didn't have in third grade, so here's a picture of what you're missing out on.

Usually, the discussion in the car with my co-workers spices up the otherwise dismal and terrifying landscape. That's right, I find windmills frightening. Don Quixote wasn't the only one. They're HUGE.

Anyway, last trip, a friend was talking about how her dad incorporates "under-utilized" words into his vocabulary by forcing them into otherwise mundane conversations. My life is to the point where the prospect of a vocabulary game with myself sounds exciting, so I'm totally determined to try it this week. The under-utilized word determined in the car was "Hark!" And congrats on your creativity: you just pictured angels, and, likely, Peanuts characters singing around a decorated tree.

Other than mention a carol two weeks too early, I have yet to work it into conversation.

Though, it might be too soon to say this, but I'm really looking forward to Christmas. Also, retirement. It's always good to have short and long term goals, especially when they both consist of varying lengths of existing, and Christmas is soon and retirement is a dim light at the end of a 60-year long tunnel. That's a long time to hold your breath.

What's that? What does this post have to do with a baked potato social? Turns out I'm just using the title to enlighten you of their existence. A baked potato social is a thing, that happens. Sometimes spontaneously on work trips.

And, if it ever happens to you (as I don't wager one would inflict a baked potato social upon one's self), I'd recommend bringing chocolate covered pretzels. Sticking to my self-proclaimed life motto "When in doubt: chocolate" that I've never actually explicitly stated before but I obviously live by. Hark! I think I could make a whole blog post listing my life mottos. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

First off, a very happy birthday to my mom, whose birthday was yesterday. I know a lot of people think they have the best mom in the world, but a lot of people are wrong. I am certain that I do. I love you, mom!

these are pretty flowers Becky got me for my birthday which I'm now virtually giving to my mom :)


It turns out that the more I travel, the worse I get at preparing for trips. I'm sure if I was any good at economics, I could draw a graph to illustrate this conundrum. Fortunately, microeconomics was my lowest grade in college so you can rest assured I'm not going to mention diminishing returns in this post, or ever.

As a fun aside, before my boyfriend was my boyfriend, I asked him to help me with econ. Didn't really help my grade, because I suck at econ, and I spent most of that semester trying to pronounce "Economist" correctly. (Shouldn't the emphasis be on the third syllable? Just as it is in economics?) Regardless of my grade, asking him for help was a very good overall life choice :)

So, Mr. eCONomist, my business trip ability seems to be inversely related to my apathy level. Graph that one out.

Concrete examples proving this theory arose this week. First off, my attire selection drastically limited our meal choices. Conversation last night:

Co-worker A: Let's eat at that nice seafood place!
Co-worker B: Welll....we can't really go there the way Joyce is dressed.

This was, of course, one hundred percent true. I was wearing yoga pants, Nikes, a hoodie and a ratty t-shirt. I had purposefully dressed that way to force myself to work out once I got to the hotel. Did I work out at the hotel? No. Did I prevent people from enjoying a nice meal? Most definitely.

Rather than work out, I had 12 wings, a mojito, and fell asleep with the lights on at 10 without setting any alarm or, I don't know, showering or brushing my teeth. This whole pass-out-from exhaustion unexpectedly thing is kind of becoming a concerning life pattern at hotels, but I did get up on time to realize that, for the whole week, I only packed sports bras. This would be totally appropriate if I were still a collegiate athlete. But since I work out about as often as I vote for President now a days, kind of more of a problem.

I actually thought to myself  "At least I remembered my dress shoes" which is clearly a slippery slope towards pathetic justification of all irresponsible actions. I was even proud of myself for blowing dry my hair like it was a special occassion, but I know I did it mostly because it was really cold outside. Regardless, my outfit was borderline presentable today (as usual, broadening the definition of "business casual.")

Then at work a male co-worker said he was considering doing No-Shave November, to which I responded, "Me too, I think. With my legs." I was told that was gross. Well, you know what I think is gross? Facial hair. And you can't cover that shit up with dress pants.

Also, No-Shave November for girls is also known as "being in a long distance relationship" which I have celebrated for the past 20 months, thank you very much. Also, as I mentioned, it was freezing outside. And, as I didn't mention, but you should have assumed, I obviously forgot any form of a coat on this trip as well.

Happy Golden Birthday Becky!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On this very day a mere 24 years ago, I came into the world in the blossoming metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska. As the first offspring of my parents, I basked in my only-child splendor for a full 30 minutes before being joined by another wondrous being of glory. But with significantly less hair on her head. I'm prety sure I was working self-improvement from hour 1 of my existence - practicing opening my eyes and generating saliva and such, but little did I know that my tiny crying nearly-bald companion would soon become my best friend:

Baby Becky
I told you I had more hair!

Anyone who has known me for 30 seconds knows that, in addition to my smooth charm and graceful beauty, I also have a twin sister. For the first 18 years of life, I shared a bedroom with Becky. I believe I went to sleep after her every single night for 18 years straight - which seems quite the accomplishment now! Neither of us have ever been naturally artsy:

We essentially neglected arts and went straight to sports After conquering ballet and gymnastic as young children together (I have distinct memories of colliding head first during ballet class), we played basketball together 9 years, volleyball for 4, and I lost in the high jump to her for 345 consecutive track meets between 4th and 11th grade. That's a lot of second place finishes ;)

Natural Rhythm

07 Represent! Back 2 Back baby ;)

my favorite part of track was by far social hour
Happy Golden Birthday, Becky! I'm appreciative of the 24 years together and can't wait for more! We just need to make sure we both end up in the same city so we can start our own reality TV show! :)

I'll end this post with one of my favorite quotes and a series of rap-inspired hashtags:

"A sister is worth one thousand friends."

#ifyougotitflauntit #24sittinon24mil #idontseehowyoucanhatefromoursideoftheclub #youcantevengetin #scorpioisyoursign #andgirlyouresofine

Honest Tea

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's weird when you get older, and you realize that you simply aren't growing out of some of the qualities you were hoping to lose over time. I mean, when you're a teen you go through "phases" and you change, usually for the better. For example, I no longer cover myself in body glitter or randomly shave off the ends of my eyebrows. Much to the dismay of my friends, I'm sure.

I seldom post pictures of myself on here (for good reason), but if you thought I was crazy for shaving my eyebrows, after viewing the above picture, you now realize I was actually perfectly sane for doing so. It was quite possibly the best course of action I could have taken. I honestly think I could have donated my eye brows to Locks of Love.

To make matters worse, my twin sister and middle sister both have those light blonde barely-visible cute eyebrows that don't in any way resemble furry catepillars camping out on their foreheads. Cue my youngest sister to chime in with "Such a TRAGIC life you lead, Joyce." One of her favorite taglines for my overdramatic anecdotes.

And then, the last time I was home, the whole family gave me heat for paying my eyebrow waxing lady ridiculously high monthly tips. HAVE YOU SEEN THE ABOVE PICTURE?

Anyway, although I have adapted well (albiet expensively) to my unruly eyebrows, I realized something today that I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life: I will never be a careful person.

Today, I went to pick up a package at work (birthday/halloween gift from my mom! Side note: my mom's the best.) Right next to the package pick up place is the store, so I bought an Iced Tea. "Honest Tea" to be exact:

Cue my boyfriend to ask me "Why do you buy tea at work when your break room has fridges full of free tea?" This is a very legitamite question for which I have absolutely no answer. He is quite practical, thus proving the whole "opposites attract" theory quite well. He is also very careful. Hm. I'm still brainstorming the positive qualities I bring to the table.

After getting my package and tea I went to visit a friend's office because I was at the point of the day where any email I sent would either be sarcastic or downright hostile and I'm trying to keep my job.

So, I opened my friend's office door, stepped on in, and immediately dropped my tea on the floor. Which wouldn't have been a big deal if I were not so tall. And if the bottle wasn't glass. And full of liquid. Literally, before I could say hello - tea and shattered glass. Everywhere. Talk about making an entrance.

My friend promptly helped me clean it up, and offered me chocolate! Which was awesome, obviously. And it also made me realize, despite my lingering negative qualities, I have some really good friends. The only downside was I was quite thirsty.

Autumn Days

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Last week I rented a car for the 985th week in a row. This time, my co-worker and I were driving for an hour as it was getting darker and darker and we couldn't figure out how to turn the lights on. We could either have Brights on or darkness. Don't worry, she consulted the manual.

Then, when I stopped for gas I accidentally popped the hood rather than the gas tank. I'm thinking of working in a garage for my next job because I'm such a natural. I clearly have bad rental car karma after venting in my last post.

I've taken a ton of fall shots around Madison - and wanted to share them in this post. Also, recently I read Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower and saw the movie (directed by Chbosky.) I loved both. Obviously, the book more. But the movie included Emma Watson and Pittsburgh so I definitely enjoyed it too!

I love reading -- and have posted a few times about books I've read [here and here and here and here]. But this is my favorite in a while, and I kind of talk about it/recommend it non-stop. So I'm soaring to new levels of annoying! Go me.

I decided to disperse fall pictures with quotes from the book. My English major self may secretly miss writing essays (sorry the below aren't in parenthetical citations or footnotes.) Enjoy :)

"And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be."

"Maybe these are my glory days, and I'm not even realizing it because they don't involve a ball."

"I am very interested and fascinated by how everyone loves each other, but no one really likes each other." [on families]

"It’s much easier not to know things sometimes. And to have French fries with your mom be enough."

"You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can't. You have to do things."

"It’s like when you are excited about a girl and you see a couple holding hands, and you feel so happy for them. And other times you see the same couple, and they make you so mad. And all you want is to always feel happy for them because you know that if you do, then it means you’re happy, too."

The pictures above are from a few places -- the tree in front of the brick building (my little sister's dorm!) is from Grove City College, the apples and pumpkins are from a farm in my home town near Pittsburgh, and the rest are from Madison.

I'm torn between whether fall or spring is my favorite season. There's something both depressing and promising about fall, which is probably why I like it so much. On the one hand, it's getting colder, summer's over, and, quite literally, everything is dying. On the other hand, hoodies and scarves become appropriate, the air is brisk, it's my birth-season (is that a stretch? I use birth-week and birth-month all the time, because I'm secretly 5, but can I start using birth-season, too?), and the holidays are approaching! Also, when I look at the colorful trees and the leaves falling as I walk around down town, I don't think of them as dying. I think of how beautiful change can be.