Cornelius and the Mystery of Credit Card Numbers

Pippa just burst into my room to tell me a story that definitely bears repeating.

She was Skyping with her best friend, Jeanne, and the two of them were privy to a very amusing conversation between Jeanne’s younger brother (whose name is–and this is not made up or exaggerated in the slightest–Cornelius) and her mom.

Scene: Cornelius is trying to purchase some item off of the internet using his mother’s credit card.

Cornelius: Mom! I don’t know what the website wants me to do! It says that I need to type in the credit card number! Where is it?

Jeanne’s Mom: It’s on the front of the card!

Cornelius: Yeah, but which number?

Jeanne’s Mom: The ones on the front! It’s obvious, Cornelius!

Cornelius: There are a lot of numbers! Which one do they want? Which one should I choose?

They continued to volley back and forth until it became evident that Cornelius thought that he needed to pick one of the many numbers on the card to type while checking out, and Jeanne’s mom ended up taking the computer away and completing the transaction for him.

In a way, I suppose that it’s a good thing that he was so clueless when it came to using a credit card–kids shouldn’t be given them until they know the real value of money and how easily you can get yourself in trouble with this magic rectangle of plastic–but I’m rather shocked that he didn’t know how to use one online. I can remember shopping for clothes from DPam (their kids clothes are so cute!) when I was seven and watching my mom use her credit card on a website. Somehow, Cornelius has managed to get through fourteen years of his life without observing this once.

In other news, I just spent half and hour looking at children’s clothes and debating whether or not I could justify purchasing a dress if I got it in a size 14 kids. I fit into that size at Petit Bateau.

Pippa’s Boarding School Stories

Having Pippa home for the weekend means that I get to hear all sorts of hilarious boarding school stories. When I’m not being regaled with tales of a boy taking off running to avoid a drug test and then disappearing for days, I’m giggling at Pippa’s other slightly scandalous tales.

“Then the hockey guys got mad about the dress code and didn’t wear their pants to class. Instead, they wore their suit jackets, ties, and oxfords over their under-armor tights.”

“And then to get back at his girlfriend for breaking up with him, he decides to cut his hair into a mullet. Obviously, it did not work. And then a bunch of other guys did it too, and someone else’s girlfriend dumped them because they couldn’t deal with the mullet. Mullets are never the way to go.”

“Oh, someone started a Gossip Girl-esque Facebook and Twitter account where they share all the gossip about people. It’s really popular. My roommate last year was on it a lot.”

“So, you know, he looks like a Hollywood kind of guy, but the type that always plays hockey players because he is a hockey player.”

I am absolutely entranced by these stories because they nearly all sound like the sort of events that only exist in novels, tv shows, and movies, only I’ve visited the school and can actually verify that they’re the truth.

Boarding school is a whole other world filled with cocaine expulsions, designer purses used as backpacks, and endless dances. If I had the opportunity, I would love to be a fly on the wall and observe these strange and often over-privileged kids in action as they go about their business in preppy clothes. Alas, I am not an Animagi nor have the power to shrink, so I’ll just have to keep hanging on every last one of Pippa’s words and keeping notes on the funny and interesting things she reports.

You can also find me collecting lovely images and words on tumblr at I’d love for you to follow me on my trek into the wilds of tumblr.

Two Thoughts for Wednesday

Pippa returns home tomorrow for her Winter Weekend, bringing her British friend home with her. I’m going to meet the two of them at the station, and we’ll have a whirlwind of an afternoon and evening, celebrating Pippa’s birthday. I anticipate lots of chocolate cake, books, and clothing. It’ll be life at its best.

In preparation, I have been cleaning the house and practicing my waking up skills. I’ve discovering that if I set an incredibly loud alarm that plays obnoxious showtunes (particularly of the Disney variety–oh how I revile all things Disney, especially their princesses) on a clock all the way across the room, I can practically guarantee that I will be out of bed and awake enough not to fall back asleep. So in a way, it is best if I start my day off being annoyed.

But for now, I’m dragging myself back off the the writing cave where I am working very hard on the top secret project I blabbed about here (I’m sure you’d love to read my terrible first pass at a new project.). I am a huge proponent of the butt in chair rule with the addition of hourly five-minute Wikipedia breaks. Current fascinations include accents and regional dialects and Inuits.

In other news, working for upwards of twelve hours straight fries my brain.

You can also find me collecting lovely images and words on tumblr at I’d love for you to follow me on my trek into the wilds of tumblr.

In Which Ella and Pippa Are Hopelessly Different

Unfortunately, Pippa and I do not have much in common anymore, and there are many times when I just don’t know how to relate to her.

She tells me to shut up when I start telling her about an interesting video I saw about particle physics or when I start talking about current events.

She has no interest in watching documentaries or historical films–instead, she likes shows like Friends and The Nine Lives of Chloe King, which I find to be very surface-level and boring.

And when I even mention current events or a book to her, she doesn’t want to listen because “I’m not in school and I don’t want to think about school stuff!”

She overuses the word “like” and ends every few sentences with a slurred together youknowwhatImean, while I just mispronounce words I’ve only ever seen in print. (I thought that chaos was actually pronounced chaw-oh-ss and was actually a synonym of the word until fifth grade.)

She likes to talk very loudly on videochat and type with abbreviations, yet I find myself incapable of writing fragments or leaving out commas or capitalization (though typos and spelling are a whole other matter) while sending a text message.

And this unfortunately leaves me at a loss.

What do I talk to her about? What can we do together?

It’s not that one of our preferences is better–they’re not–we just are intrinsically different, and I have no idea how on earth to relate to her.

Lately, it just leads to arguing or me questioning her about school. And there only so many times I can listen to explanations of inside jokes or the time that a girl got kicked out of school for having sex with five different guys in exchange for cocaine (oh, boarding school and your “fancier” drugs).

I’m not sure where this leaves me, but it sure isn’t a comfortable place.

In other news, Pippa just told me that I look like I’m at a ski lodge because I’m wandering around in a toque and a heavy sweater. I just like to think of the outfit as I’m-cold chic.

In other, other news, I apparently possess the ability to wake up in a panic in the middle of the night for ten days running, thinking that I have an infant or a child who is in need of immediate attention. While this is better than the dreams I have of failing to adequately protect people, and certainly better than the ones where I have woken myself up by hitting something and screaming in my sleep, I have to admit that it is worse than the dreams where I’m getting married and something has gone terribly wrong or the dreams where no one wants to buy the flowers I’m selling.

I other, other, other news, when you’re adding additional post scripts (P.S.) to a letter you should only be adding additional p’s and not s’s because the p’s mean after the above. This has been amusing me to no end today, mostly because I just got an email that would have a section, if read literally, called “post script script script script script,” something that sounds very funny if you say it quickly.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Are You Positive There Isn’t Any Chocolate Left on my Face?

As it turns out biking over three miles and then walking around the city for four hours while you’re getting over being sick makes one very, very worn out.

But it was still a lovely day filled with chocolate cake, many, many books, running into friends, fancy Spanish cheeses, and minimal arguing.

I did try to take pictures, but it got dark very early and so the pictures look more than a little wonky. Whoops. I’ll post some well lit pictures of Pippa’s and my desserts tomorrow. Expect to be very jealous of the chocolate yum.

Also, happy book birthday to Carolyn Mackler and Jay Asher whose book, The Future of Us, (which I reviewed here) came out today! It was fun going into a bookstore and seeing it on display. It’s fantastic, and you should read it.

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

A Whirlwind Adventure That Probably Shouldn’t Be Classified As Such

Pippa is coming home tomorrow, and we’re going on a whirlwind adventure.

And by whirlwind I mean that we’re shopping, picking some things up for my mom, and eating a meal.

But whirlwind sounds so much better. It sounds like we’re going to be dashing places at top speed, all light and floaty, when in reality, the fastest we’re going to travel is probably going to be the speed of the subway, which is not known for its effortless elegance. Orange plastic benches, grime, loud noises, and crowds don’t really cast an image of grace.

But still. It will be fun. I am making sure of that.

On a different note, hopefully, I’ll remember to take the camera so you all can see us as we tromp through the city streets. Additionally, I will try not to purchase any more books for myself, as I have run out of shelf space again, but I’m not sure if that is a promise I can keep. (Three tall bookcases in my room are no longer cutting it. They’re in tall piles on the floor, wedged on top of books in the shelves, and inside of every drawer and cubby in my desk. They obstruct traffic. It’s a problem.)

Also, I hope that I stop coughing soon, because it is really putting a damper on doing things I want to do, like writing more, for example.

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

A Lousy Week and That Time Ella Made Pippa Be a Groom for Halloween

I’ve been having a very lousy week so far.

Like only wearing pajamas lousy.

Also not getting out of bed all day lousy.

And not cleaning anything up lousy.

Just lousy.

So I’ve been drowning my sorrows in cold organic applesauce (none of that sugar added junk for me), cornbread, orange juice, and miniature Snickers bars. It’s not a very healthy diet.

I’ve been doing lots of writing (and forgetting to update my word count on my NaNoWriMo account), but everything else has been entirely neglected as I stare at walls and cry.

And after that major suckage, let’s have a funny story and picture.

When I was five, I was very into marriage. But I wasn’t into it in the way that most little kids were. I was into the idea of marriage and officiating fake marriages for other kids and had no interested in getting “married” myself. I was just absolutely fascinated by how fickle my classmates’ relationships were. Marital status seemed to change every five minutes and did not at all reflect what I saw in actual marriage among adults.

Yet despite all of that, I was intent upon being a bride for Halloween. Aznd I needed a groom to complete the picture.

And that’s where Pippa factored into the equation. You see, three-year-old sisters are nothing if not good at being talked into things. So Pippa got dressed up in a little tux, and my father used my mother’s eyeliner (without asking, may I add) to draw her a goatee. I wore an actual wedding dress my mother purchased at a consignment shop that she pinned up so that I wouldn’t be constantly tripping and a lot of white tulle stitched to a white headband. Then, my father put on his white tuxedo (I will never understand why he decided that he needs both a white one and a black one) and took us trick-or-treating. Everyone thought Pippa was a boy, and it was hilarious.

The end.

As always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Once Upon a Time Pippa and Ella Were Adorable

I spent a huge portion of today scanning pictures and editing photographs. It’s well after midnight, and I still have quite a ways to go.

Here are a few unedited pictures from my childhood:

A Museum Gala Dedicating a Gallery to My Great Grandfather (from left to right: Pippa, cousin, Ella)

Boca Raton (left to right: Pippa, Jean L'Ours, Ella

I also spent about three hours in the mall, shopping with my mom. On the upside, I got to take pictures of all the ridiculous clothes and send them to people while I waited for my mom outside of the dressing rooms. My favorite was the weird thong attached to a tutu-thing I found at Victoria’s Secret, which I sadly don’t have in picture form on the internet yet. (When I get it, it will be posted. It is totally worth it.) The other best thing about being dragged in there is standing by the door and watching guys nearly run into a conveniently positioned planter because they’re looking at the mannequins and posters in front of the store instead of the ground in front of them. Finally, if you get really bored with all of those shenanigans, you can sit on the floor next to the dressing rooms, put underwear from the nearby display on your head, and send a picture to your younger sister, Pippa, who will call you a dork and ask you to buy her clothes.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Dinner Table Conversations: Part Four

Scene: We were playing Loaded Questions, a board game that requires you to guess who gave what answer to a series of personal questions.

Mom (reading off of a card): “What historic event would you want to take credit for masterminding?”

Pippa immediately responds: Nine elev… Wait! No! Not that!

We all laugh, write our answers, and my mom makes her guesses.

As the dice are handed off to me, Pippa says: Actually I’d want to be responsible for Osama Bin Laden’s death, ’cause then I’d be like a super sloth!

Dad: Sloth?

Pippa: Yeah, sloth!

Dad, Ella, Mom: It’s sleuth!

A Guest Post by PIPPA

So Ella said she would bring me food if I (Pippa) wrote her blog post in the six minutes before midnight. So since I have no time I shall write fast.

I learned the harry potter theme uke tab for my ukulele today.  This is the kind of uke I have. Ukes are easy to learn and fun to play and youtube uke hunt and uke tabs are great websites for chords and tabs and advice.



Here’s the snack Ella made me:

When I asked why Ella put blueberries on top of the peanut butter and jelly, she said that just plain jam was too boring and that the blueberries would make jelly “in my mouth.”