Glasses-One, Ella-Zero

Remember that time when I added a funny “scientific” bio to my About Ella page? And remember that time I said that the more I refuse to wear glasses, the worse my eyesight is going to get?

Well, it’s true, and I don’t need an official eye exam to tell me that my eyesight has been getting much worse.

I have to make the print bigger when I’m on the computer, and I have trouble reading without everything going out of focus. Sometimes, I just close my right eye and let the left one do all the work. I may lose all perception of depth, but I can actually see more clearly, even if it comes at the risk of hurting my eyes further. Then, there’s the issue of navigating and wondering what exactly a sign says until I’m too close to make the turn.

And it’s slightly petrifying not to be able to see the world as clearly as I’d like. I want to know that I’m not missing any details, that I’ll be able to notice all of the veins in a leaf or slight discoloration on my white bookshelves, not to mention simple text. I like being able to see the fibers on a sheet of paper and the way that the ink always manages to slightly bleed. I like being able to read the names of the books in my room while I’m lying on my bed, trying to fall asleep. And I’m loosing all of that, not dramatically thank God, but I’m certainly at the point where I really can’t get on without wearing my glasses.

I’d love to kick and scream and act the way that a tired toddler would over my frustration. “This isn’t fair!” I’d yell, “Can’t you see that glasses make me look terrible and that they get smudged so easily? I hate it! I hate it! I hate it!” But that would be ridiculous and too over the top, even for me.

So I’ll just suck it up and wear the darn things. There are far, far worse things in life to happen, and it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how to stop sending them flying off of my face at least once a day.

As always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Words Do Not Always Mean What I Think They Do: In Which I Say Some Very Strange and Embarrassing Sentences

The readers have spoken and with a majority of 39.13% at the time of this post “Words Do Not Always Mean What I Think They Do: In Which I Say Some Very Strange and Embarrassing Sentences” has won. So let the embarrassment begin!

As I’ve said in previous posts, I make naive assumptions a lot. Especially when I was younger, I created my own, very sheltered world where absolutely nobody would ever do anything like use drugs or be crude. Those sorts of things only existed on the page or screen. And as the sole inhabitant of Ella’s Sheltered World, I just let everything that didn’t fit into this schema fall by the wayside.

I middle school, I was shocked to learn that “suck” and “screw” weren’t words that you could throw around like “darn” and “gosh.” And it wasn’t until last year that I learned that “screw you” actually has meaning behind it. Of course, both of these things were discovered when I said them in front of a lot of people who should not have been hearing things like this come out of my mouth.

To continue, there were several funny incidents beginning at the age of nine when I would use the words behind Harry Potter spells to refer to things. “Engorgio” got me into a lot of trouble during a Christmas party, though it was laughed off by the adults who knew that I had no idea what I was saying.

And it wasn’t until I was around fifteen that I learned that “breaking wind” had nothing to do with wind resistance, which made for a very strange remark in a science class.

There were also the typical childhood confusion with song lyrics. In the song, “Home on the Range,” there’s a line that goes:

“Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.”

Well, I thought that “seldom” was a discouraging word.

And it wasn’t until I saw Roger McGuin in concert at sixteen that I learned the my favorite Bob Dylan song, “My Back Pages” did not include the line:

“Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that cow”

and instead was supposed to go:

“Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now”

I’m surprised that I didn’t figure it out sooner, as “cow” made little to no sense, but I continued singing it with that butchered line for over sixteen years (or however long it was once I learned how to sing).

Then, there is the matter of me failing to understand innuendoes, and standing around obliviously and interjecting with weird comments while people are talking about things like sex or drugs. I always seem to assume that people are actually talking about something else that’s far less sensitive and vulgar, and end up entirely confused.

The list could go on and on, and I’m sure that if I pressed my parents and friends, they could list all sorts of specific examples of things I have said or misunderstood over the years, but it is getting quite late, and I am incredibly tired. I’ll add them below as people remind me of them.

In other news, apparently there was some big awards show tonight. Tomorrow, I will feast my eyes on all of the pretty dresses! With the exception of The Oscars, I can never really get into the televised awards shows–too many over-the-top performances and often boring hosts, and people like Katie Perry and the actors of Glee don’t exactly interest me.

I also hang out at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, where I can be found reblogging pretty images, funny .gifs, and the occasional liberal article.

In Which Ella Can Fit Both Feet Inside of Her Mouth

I was at a college interview this weekend and was asked what were three areas I need to work on. The first one that sprung to mind was my tendency to say too much, often without thinking any of it through.

It’s amazing how easy it is for me to just start spouting things that don’t make sense or that I don’t even mean. And while you can apologize and ask for a do-over when you’re with family and close friends, that isn’t exactly an option in most situations.

About a year ago, I was speaking at a Model Congress conference and somehow managed to suggest that unemployment rates were the fault of immigrants. Now, this is something that I absolutely do NOT believe. It’s xenophobic, hateful, and more than a little untrue. But it somehow managed to come out of my mouth while I was talking about problems with immigration. I don’t even remember doing it, but all of a sudden I was being asked questions about what I meant by it and how I would back it up, and I was trapped. It turned into one of those situations where I could lie or look like an idiot. I lied because it was a competition and somebody needed to be the devil’s advocate to make the debate more balanced, and later made it clear that I didn’t mean anything I had said following and including that remark.

It’s not that I can’t keep a secret–that’s never been a problem–I just have this inability to shut up when I’m nervous or excited. I know that I’m doing it, too. But the moment that I stop talking, I’m no longer somewhat controlling the situation, and on some level, I’m sure that I’m scared of what will happen. And if I’m very enthusiastic about the topic, I immediately become a little convinced that you too surely want to know every single detail about English rhotic accents around the world, no matter how disinterested you appear. But now that I’m eighteen, I do a fairly good job of catching myself before I go overboard, and I’m no longer the chatty and preconscious eight-year-old of yesteryear.

I only bring this up today, because I said something unintentionally mean, and I can’t take it back. The words seemed fine at the time, but it wasn’t until I walked away and thought about the interaction over an hour later that I realized how they were probably going to be interpreted. I feel terrible now.

So this is me, once again trying to come up with an adequate way of apologizing for saying something I didn’t mean.

In other news, I wrote well over 5,000 words today!

I also hang out at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, where I almost never put my foot in my mouth.

The Reason Why My Mouth Hurts When I See Whisks

With a whopping 67% of the vote, “The Reason Why My Mouth Hurts When I See Whisks” won this week’s reader-selected topic.

Now, this story would make sense if I were a toddler or even under the age of six. Alas, when the whisk incident went down, I was ten, which makes it a bit embarrassing and even more amusing.

For Christmas 2003, one of our neighbors gave us a beautiful Christmas card and an ornament. It was a very nice, thoughtful gift–the stationary was thick and glossy, depicting Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms, face aglow at the wonder of his birth (though quite frankly every new mother I’ve ever met has looked that much in awe and in love with her baby), and the ornament was a very small whisk, hung on a thin red ribbon, a reference to how much my mother loves cooking.

My mother was thrilled, propping the card up on the windowsill in the dining room and immediately hanging the miniature whisk on the tree. I was almost equally as excited. Sure, the card was lovely, but that wonderfully shiny whisk was just the right size for my American Girl Dolls’ hands, large enough to look a little strange and unwieldily in the way that all whisks do, yet the right size to make eggs or flour light and fluffy.

The moment my mother left the room, I snuck over to the tree and untangled the ribbon from the branch. This whisk was clearly destined to be mine. I selfishly fondled it in my hands for a moment, tracing my fingers over the twisted metal.

And then, I did something unexplainable.

I put the whisk into my mouth and bit down.

I was long past the age of putting things in my mouth to figure out how they worked. I wasn’t even teething.

Perhaps it was the shiny steel or how deliciously devious I felt wedged between the wall and the tree. Maybe I was hungry.

But whatever the reason was, I had abandoned all common sense. Whisks, even miniatures ones that almost fit, do not belong in mouths, and you most certainly should never bit them.

As I released my jaw, I discovered that the whisk was stuck. A tine was jammed between each set of my front two incisors–top and bottom–making me unable to open my mouth. I tugged at the handle, but it was no use. That whisk wasn’t going anywhere.

I may have just made an incredibly stupid decision, but I was not entirely lacking in intelligence. I knew that if I left my hiding place and sought help, everyone would know that I had been trying to nick the ornament, and I would get in trouble. So I tried to dislodge it again. And again. And again. It didn’t budge.

After five minutes of fruitless tugging, I began to cry. Having a whisk stuck in your mouth is painful. My teeth were being shoved apart, and my gums were throbbing. I was suddenly sure that I was going to be stuck with a whisk in my mouth for the rest of my life. The kids at school would call me whisk-head or something else ridiculous, but not ridiculous enough not to make me upset. My life was over, and I was going to have to starve to death behind the Christmas tree. I wondered if the pine scent would hide the smell of my decaying body.

A few more minutes of silent sobbing later, I gathered what was left of my courage and ran into the kitchen, crying and pointing at my mouth. My parents were shocked to see their ten-year-old daughter, who earlier that day had been sitting upside down on the couch reading Fast Food Nation, with a whisk stuck in her mouth and bawling like a banshee.

Thankfully, I was not subject to any questioning while they helped me dislodge each of the metal tines from between my teeth. Even though over eight years have passed, I can still feel that horrible scrape of the metal against my enamel as my mouth was slowly released. It was a horrible, disgusting feeling, not only because I knew that I had most likely caused permanent damage to my front teeth, but also because everyone was going to know just how stupid I was. And I was so determined to be finally be taken seriously and be allowed to sit at the “adult table” at dinner parties*.

When I was finally freed from my tine-y prison**, I ran down the hall to the bathroom to look at my teeth. They remained perfectly straight, still guaranteeing me entry into the no-braces-ever club, but there was a noticeable, albeit slight, space in between my top two teeth and another one, even smaller, between my bottom two incisors. My gums were, surprisingly, not bleeding, but looked red and angry all the same.

The ornament was washed and placed back on the tree within the hour, dangling from a branch, reflecting the white glow from the fairy lights almost too innocently. I glared back, willing it to look at least a little guilty for hurting me, though the entire experience had, admittedly, been my fault.

The next day, when I walked into the kitchen to make myself breakfast–two glasses of orange juice and all of the oatmeal I can consume, please–I noticed one of my mother’s people-sized whisks mixed in with other cooking utensils in crockery next to the stove. I raised my hand to my mouth and winced as I briefly had a flashback of the pain, the panic, and the terrible scrapping. Later that day when I saw the whisk, I winced again, and it repeated every time I looked at the ornament or the unoffending ones in the kitchen.

These unfortunate whisk flinching and flashback moments have not decreased over the years, and every time I think or see a whisk, my mouth briefly hurts with phantom pain. Christmastime and seeing that ornament again only makes it worse. This year, I succeeded in jamming it back into its box before anyone had a chance to hang it on the tree, which has made the holiday season considerably more enjoyable.

So there you have it: another example of why you should never be greedy and nick ornaments off of a tree.

An alternate take-away from this post is that Ella is sometimes very foolish.

Or we could all have a laugh about ornaments and the silly, silly things we did as children.

Do you have any funny Christmas stories? Feel free to tell them in the comments!

*Ten-year-old Ella, one day you are going to be eighteen and still be forced to sit at the folding table in the sunroom. However, you will be allowed to stay up as late as you want and talk with adults starting when you’re about fourteen. So stop complaining and go eat the pint of blueberries you hid under your bed again.

**Hahahaha. Puns, I can make them, you guys! Puns! (I should start writing these posts sometime before ten p.m. when I start to get giggly.)

I’m putting up another poll for next week’s reader-selected post down below. A lot of people want me to talk about food, so I’ve added that as an option as well. Hopefully, I’ll get my post about going to see John and Hank Green up before the end of the weekend. And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Never, Ever Hide in a Dryer: In Which Ella Tells the Story of the First Time She Babysat

I had a wonderful time babysitting last night, so I thought that I might tell a story from one of the first times I babysat when I was eleven.

Now, babysat might be an exaggeration of the word since the parents were just one house away, but I was still in charge of five kids all under the age of nine.

At the time, a number of the parents on our block were in a book club, and they would meet every month for lunch and a discussion. But instead of doing sandwich platters and lemonade and talking just for an hour, they would get really into it and serve full, gourmet meals in the theme of whatever they just read and talk for hours. All of the kids were banished from the house and put under the care of some older kid on the block. But by the time that I was eleven, it was decided that high schoolers were no longer necessary and that I and another boy my age could handle the responsibility ourselves.

In order to tell this story properly, I’m going to need to introduce you to the cast of characters.

First, you’ve got me. I was eleven, rather bossy and a bit too precocious. I was also over the moon about having the chance to be a “real-live babysitter,” which was a sure sign that everything was going to get out of hand. My boundless enthusiasm for something I know little about usually ends up turning into a disaster story. (Thursday’s post, The Time Ella Decided to Celebrate Saint Lucia’s Day and It Went Horribly, Horribly Wrong, is a great example.)

Then, there was Zach, a boy who lived down the street and one of my good friends. He was less enthusiastic about the idea and really just wanted to go back to his treehouse where we were in the process of smashing an old telephone to bits with hammers and taping the pieces to a tree with duct tape (This was one of our favorite things to do at that age, for some unexplainable reason.), but he was still game to help out.

Pippa, my sister, was nine, and both too old and self-sufficient to really warrant a babysitter.

Lee, Zach’s sister, was eight and did not fancy the idea of having anyone in charge of her. She could take care of herself, thank you very much, and did have any problems alerting anyone to this fact.

Grace was two and entirely too smart for her own—or for that matter, anyone else’s—good.

Jonah was five and perfectly willing to play with his trains in the corner and not bother anyone. He was also at that age where he completely idolized Zach and would try to copy his every move, much to Zach’s annoyance.

And finally, there was Tobias, Jonah’s brother, who was two and very easily influenced. He had also been fairly recently adopted from South Korea and was having some trouble understanding and speaking English.

We had been set up in the basement of Jonah and Toby’s house and instructed not to bother anyone unless there was a serious injury. And things were going generally well for the first fifteen minutes. Grace and Tobias built with blocks, Pippa and Lee argued over what movie to watch, Zach sat in the corner with a video game while Jonah hung over his shoulder to watch, and I marched around checking in with everyone every few seconds. I was not going to let anything go wrong.

Then, Grace started throwing blocks at Tobias, who started throwing them back. I was secretly thrilled. I get to solve a conflict now! Being a babysitter is awesome! I thought. But when I knelt down to try to gently tell them that throwing blocks was unacceptable and that they needed to apologize to each other, they began throwing the blocks at me and wouldn’t stop no matter how many times I asked them to.

I began to freak out as I held my arms in front of my face to block the flying wooden rectangles. Lee started yelling at them,and  I started yelling back at her to “just let me handle it, alright? I am the babysitter, not you!” until finally Zach stood up and suggested that we play hide-and-go-seek.

I had forgotten about the power of redirection in my attempts to stop the block flinging, and began to feel like a bit of a babysitting failure. I was supposed to be the best babysitter ever! I had read the American Girl Doll book on it and most of the parenting books my parents owned. (At the time, I slept in our finished attic, which was a huge, beautiful room that also held an incredibly large amount of books. Once I moved in there at the age of nine, I started reading books that were way beyond my comprehension or maturity level. I was particularly fond of the pregnancy, parenting, and environmentalism books, for some peculiar reason.) I was a babysitting theory expert! I should have been amazing at it in practice, too. But Grace and Tobias had stopped throwing the blocks, and I wasn’t going to be so prideful as to refuse Zach’s suggestion. Besides, hide-and-go-seek is awesome.

What I had forgotten was that when playing hide-and-go-seek everyone except the seeker has to hide, and hiding means that you don’t know where all the kids you’re supposed to be in charge of are or what they are doing. And that was going to be my downfall.

I agreed to be the seeker first and closed my eyes and slowly counted down from fifty. When I opened them again, I heard giggling from the bathroom where Grace was standing in the shower. I found her just as she was about to turn on the faucet and drench herself. Phew! Crisis averted. With Grace in tow, I proceeded to hunt around the basement. Pippa was in a closet with Tobias, Zach was underneath the laundry sink, and Lee was behind a door. All was well, and we were ready for round two.

This time, though, things got bad very, very quickly. Grace had army crawled underneath the sofa and gotten stuck, bursting into tears and getting her legs covered with rug burn as I dragged her out by her ankles. But darling Pippa was just behind the TV and reappeared as good-natured and calm as ever. Then, I heard yells from the furnace room.

Lee, in some sort of attempt to hide behind the furnace (which is a horrible idea to begin with), had somehow managed to snag her dress on a pipe, but instead of relaxing and working it free, she was trying to use panicked brute force to wrench it off. Frustrated and anxious, she kept snapping at me as I freed her and then stomped off. But none of us could find Tobias or Zach.

As it turns out, Tobias had managed to lock himself in the closet in his dad’s office. I was stuck trying to explain via yelling through two sets of doors how to unlock the closet door and let himself free. The minutes dragged on, and he began to cry. English sounds garbled when muffled by doors, and to a young child who doesn’t speak the language well, it must have been even worse. He was sobbing, and I was entirely freaked out. I was not going to be responsible for his permanent imprisonment, but there was no way for me to get into the room to fix it.

To top that fiasco off, we began to hear yells and odd banging from the laundry room. It sounded like someone had stuck a bunch of sneakers that had the ability to yell into the dryer. It was all very strange, and I started to fear that there was some sort of monster lurking in there, waiting to attack all of us. Maybe it had already eaten Zach. The yelling got louder and louder, until I bravely opened the door to the dryer and discovered that he had managed to lock himself in there as his hiding place and had then proceeded to become very scared that we had forgotten about him and were going to leave him in there forever.

Kids, get out your notebooks. Never, ever use a dryer or a washer as a hiding place. Those doors lock and will stay that way until someone lets you out. Also, you know how dryers have those pieces of plastic that divide up the metal drum to keep the clothes fluffy and wrinkle free as they dry? Well, they also hurt like heck when you’ve had them pressing into your sides for around fifteen minutes.

It took us quite a while to get Tobias out of the closet and almost as long to get him to calm down.

But here’s the thing that really gets me:

WE KEPT PLAYING THE GAME! 

I have no idea what was wrong with me to okay this, but we continued playing hide-and-go-seek for the next hour until the parents came to pick us up. And it wasn’t even like it was smooth sailing from then on out. People kept getting into these awful scrapes every single round. I got more and more anxious, and my voice got higher and higher, but it never occurred to me to stop the game and do something else.

All in all, it had not been a successful venture. I went home to go sulk in my room and finish a book on global warming, clutching my very hard earned six dollars (Ah, the days when my parents knew that I thought that two dollars an hour was a very generous offer. I also only got one dollar of allowance a week and viewed that as quite the bounty. Then, I discovered what minimum wage was, and things changed.) in my fist. In an hour or so the ice cream truck was going to come, and I needed a King Kone something bad.

Note: I have never since had a babysitting gig go so poorly. I mean, I’ve been thrown up on and have had kids refuse to go to bed, but nothing has ever compared to the stress and ridiculousness of that first time. In fact, I consider myself a good babysitter now. I love kids, and they seem to like me back. And while there is the occasional temper tantrum or out of control defiant rampage, all of those parenting books seem to have paid off, and I can get everything fixed up pretty quickly. I’ve even managed to get my most difficult sleeper’s bedtime dramatics down to about forty-five minutes as opposed to the two and a half hour ordeal we used to go through when first I started with her.

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 http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

The Time Ella Decided to Celebrate Saint Lucia’s Day and It Went Horribly, Horribly Wrong

I have always been fascinated by other cultures. It doesn’t matter whether the difference is extreme, say fashion, religion, food, or minute, like the shape of their electrical sockets; I’m just plain enraptured by it. When we had Israeli students visit my high school three years ago, I–and this is a completely true story-asked them in total seriousness about how popular air conditioning was (as many countries are not as reliant on it as we are) in Israel and how they felt about the different socket shapes here and was met with laughter. They thought I was joking.

But my interest in electrical sockets and converters has very little to do with the story I’m about to tell you. In fact, I’m sure everyone involved wishes that I had decided to celebrate electrical sockets or something else that did not involve burning candles or boiling water. But I was ten or so and entirely foolish and had recently developed a keen interest in the ways other countries celebrated Christmas. I was particularly attracted to Scandinavia, specifically Saint Lucia’s Day. My rudimentary understanding of the feast day was that girls put wreaths on their heads with burning candles in them, wore long white dresses, and made everyone breakfast in bed.

(Click here for proper information on how the holiday is celebrated.)

So I decided that on December 13th, I too was going to celebrate it. I woke up early in the morning, dragged Pippa out of bed, and set about making breakfast. I began by trying to slice frozen bagels with a butcher’s knife, and it went downhill from there. After I had put together two trays, I poured large mugs of tea and coffee right up to the brim with water that had been boiling for quite a while, set our ADVENT wreath on top of my head (The only reason I didn’t light the candles was that I couldn’t find the long candle lighter, and Pippa thought it was a bad idea.), and proceeded to try to walk up the stairs, singing carols.

Thankfully, I had thought enough ahead not to give Pippa the tray with the hot drinks (If memory serves me right, she was holding the bagels and pastries.), but I had not thought about my own limits. I have never been particularly strong (my upper arms are as skinny as my forearms), and I began to struggle with the weight and keeping everything balanced. I recall looking down at the tray and thinking, Why is it shaking? It’s getting really hard to keep it all from sloshing… And then I proceeded to trip and spill all of the liquid onto my abdomen and the tan carpeting. Pippa freaked out and dropped her tray, and my parents came dashing out of their room to see why she was yelling.

Like with most injuries, it doesn’t occur to you that you are in pain until about a minute after the fact. I just stood there and stared at the mess and my sodden nightgown, bemoaning the fact that I had just ruined everything. But then pain set in, in the way that pain always does, and it suddenly felt like my stomach was on fire. My parents dragged me into the bathroom and put me in the shower with the cold water on. I was crying and freezing and burning up all at the same time. They pulled off my nightgown, and I had some very nice second degree burns. It wasn’t anything that required a trip to the hospital, but it still wasn’t a good situation.

At the time, I was still, thankfully, rather unfamiliar with the nature of burns, and was completely confused as to why it looked like I had a bunch of large blisters across my stomach. Figuring out how to bandage them was more fun than a barrel full of monkeys, and I spent the rest of the day peeling off those bandages to look at them. Because there is nothing more fascinating than second degree burns on your stomach. It’s an especially great conversation starter with your friends, particularly when you’re still at age where showing your injuries off is still socially acceptable.

Then, about two weeks later, I dumped a cup of hot coffee into my lap while we were on vacation. It very nearly ruined my bright orange shapeless velour pants (which were already huge fashion crime to begin with), and hurt like heck. But this time around I was a hot liquids expert. I ran to the bathroom to take off my pants so that they wouldn’t hold the heat to my body and injure me, and I did a much better job of not constantly messing with the burns.

(The burns from both ended up turning into weird dark brown scars that very slowly faded to almost complete invisibility.)

When I look back on this whole fiasco now, I’m mostly amused by my younger self and INCREDIBLY thankful that I did not actually light the advent wreath. It would have fallen directly onto Pippa when I tripped and probably set the house on fire.

So here’s to parents that do a good job of hiding lighters and matches from their kids and to foolish ten-year-olds everywhere.

December 13th is coming up, and I can assure you that I will not be attempting any form of celebration that involves boiling water and stairs. Maybe I’ll run around on flat surfaces with ice cubes instead.

In order to celebrate 11/11/11 I’m going to watch a documentary on WWI and write for at least eleven hours. I expect to be brain dead by the end of 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 http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

“Hurricane, Hurricane, Hurricane!” She Says While Dancing Madly Around the House

I suppose that by the time one reaches eighteen their reaction to news of imminent catastrophic weather impacting their area should not be one of somewhat giddy anticipation. But I can’t help myself. Something terribly exciting is about to happen and I’m pretty much guaranteed to be in the middle of it.

I’ve lived through category three hurricanes before. I know how it goes. Trees fall down and hit things, often knocking down wires; the electricity goes out; sticks are littered everywhere; the grocery store is a mad house; no one has batteries in stock; you nearly light your hair on fire with some candles; and you have to eat all of the perishables in the refrigerator and freezer before they go bad. I’m particularly fond of the eating all the ice cream part.

Unfortunately, this hurricane means we have to cut our beach time short. After we make sure everything here is secure, we’re headed home tomorrow morning to batten down the hatches in our non-vacation-fun-times-abound house. Plus, the cats shouldn’t be left alone in the storm.

I leave you with one funny story from the time Hurricane Isabel hit Washington, D.C. when I was ten.

At the time, I was, to put it lightly, obsessed with the Sheryl Crow song, Soak Up the Sun. I had a dance I did to it while lip syncing, and everyday after I finished my homework, I would play the song over and over and over again. It got to the point where my dad had to physically pry the CD from my hands and confiscate it so that no one would commit suicide or go bonkers from being forced to listen to it too much. So just as the sky was turning a sickly shade of gray-green and the wind was picking up, I popped the CD into the stereo and hit play.

As soon as my index finger hit the button, I heard a wooshing noise, the lights went out, and the house became oddly silent. That’s odd, I thought, A fuse must have just flipped. But then I looked out the window and noticed that the power was out in the house behind us and in both of our next door neighbors’ houses, too. I panicked. I just cut out the electricity for the whole neighborhood, maybe even the whole city! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! What did I do? Oh, gosh! Dad is right! This song really does wreak havoc!

Then, my father came into the room and informed me that even though the world would be a much happier place if we didn’t have to listen to Soak Up the Sun ten times a day, I was not responsible for the power outage. It was just lucky timing. “Oh,” I said as I felt my muscles relax and the lines on my forehead fade, “Good. I didn’t want everyone mad at me.” And the storm raged on with me not the cause of darkened houses, missed TV shows, and slowly warming refrigerators.

Newscasters Say the Darnest Things

I was watching The Office this evening when the news cut in. It was one of those watch-the-news-at-eleven promos, and they said the following:

Will texting and tweeting give you wrinkles?

Seriously?

It’s questions like these that make me feel optimistic about the future.