Monday, January 31, 2011

Read to feel better about yourself

This weekend was one of irony.

I'm a very thrifty person. I could say cheap, but that has negative connotations. I like this trait about myself, so we're gonna go with thrifty. The word is even more appropriate because the weekend I finally decided to truly commit to my "thrift store pledge:" I, Danielle Gehman, being of sound mind and body, do pledge to shop for "new" clothes solely at second-hand stores, in so far as that's possible, for one entire year. (Of course, for some things it ain't possibly. And Lima has no second-hand stores that I know of.) I was proud of myself for resisting a whole heap of things I wanted to buy when my mom and I went shopping on Saturday.

That's not the pathetic part. Later after all that carefulness, also on Saturday, I was cleaning out a drawer in which I typically put papers and things, and I found a check, void and uncashed from a job I worked in 2007. This is the face I used when I took it back to the store to beg for mercy and was hardheartedly rejected:

I don't want to discuss the amount. You can probably see it if you click on the picture. Let's just say that in my a minimum wage job it took me a couple weeks to make this. I would like to pretend this is an isolated incident, but I'm infamous in my family and among my friends for losing/ forgetting things.

I tried cheering myself up with things like, "Think how blessed you must be that the fact that that check wasn't cashed didn't mean a bill unpaid or a child unfed."

It didn't work very well.

Then I went to the thrift store and bought these pair of Converse for 4 bucks:

But I still feel only slightly consoled.

Of course, tales of stupid things that you've done might cheer me up....

Friday, January 28, 2011

My audio education of anti-American debunkment

Debunking? Debunkification?

As I've been puttering around today, looking out the windows at sights like the above, and preparing for a get together we're having at the house tonight, I've been listening to the audio version of Don't Know Much about American History by Kenneth C. Davis. Drier than I expected, but still worthwhile. It's not really anti-American, actually, but I know the value of a good buzzword.

Join me in disillusionment:

Nathaniel Hale, martyr of the American cause, probably didn't say "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." An invention of the good ol' free press, likely.

Paul Revere got so far on his midnight ride as to warn Hancock and Adams in Lexington that "The regulars are coming out!" (not even the British regulars? c'mon Revere) but was then captured by British patrol and never actually made it to Concord. Boo.

Betsy Ross probably didn't have much to do with the first flag. The story comes from her grandson, William J. Canby. But then, why ever would a family member fabricate a story to make his family part of a successful revolution's legends?

George Washington
didn't chop down a cherry tree, and he probably was too harsh to be very well-loved by his men in general. Just by his more well-fed officers. Sheesh.

I have picked up some fun tidbits, however:

Benedict Arnold was considered an American hero for assisting in the Battle of Saratoga which turned the tide of war. There's still a statue of his boot there. Poor dude, he just felt under-appreciated....

As Washington set out across the Delaware on Christmas Day in a boat with Harry Knox, he said "Shift that fat ass, Harry, but don't swamp the damn boat."

Several women really did manage to dress up as men and pass themselves off in the Continental army. Mary Scaberry did until she came down with a fever and was discovered. She was dismissed for "Sexual incompatibility and fever."

There ya are. Pass those around at parties.

Apologies to my non-American blog friends, who may or may not have known what these refer to. I value you!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Tube of Me: Dan and Dan

And now it's time for another edition of...

I know, it's been quite awhile since I did the last (and first) of these, but don't fear, more to come.

Dan and Dan
is one of the newest of my vlog channel discoveries on YouTube, and I absolutely adore it. I'm not always one for British comedy. I do like dry comedy, but sometimes it's so dry that it just gets caught in my throat, I can't quite digest it, and I'm left saying "Did I just eat something?" (Or maybe, Did I take that metaphor too far?) But Dan and Dan, for me, has that extra spark of cleverness that you really need to pull off subtle, downplayed humor. (that's like the fifth time I've meant to type "Dan" and accidentally typed "Dani." Oops. Six.) Something like Flight of the Concords, if you're a fan.

Scurry up top and watch it now, if you haven't.

Back so soon? So as you've seen, it's really only one guy. This is one of the best of his skits and songs, but what you can't see is that he generally plays up two separate personalities in his videos. And sometimes you need to know the characters to get it. But I just never get tired of one Dan criticizing the other Dan's looks or childhood or something. I know, it doesn't sound too original on the surface but...

May I also recommend the palindromic sketch , the Wikileaks Christmas song , and Miner Conspiracy .

Are those of you in the northeast states having a lovely 20th snowstorm?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'll pursue it with forks and hope

It was torture tearing myself away from my friends in MA this time, much worse than I remember it being the first time I left. I'm still happy about my decision to return to Peru, but a big part of me wanted to just sleep on the mattress on the floor of Mel's room all semester. I'm sure her roommate would've loved that as well.

But I couldn't mooch off meal points and oatmeal forever, so here I am again. Suitcase still packed on my own floor.

I've decided that one of the projects I'm going to take up to keep me from intense boredom in these last three weeks before I head back to Peru is The Hunting of the Perfect Grad School. I do indeed tend to "press the snooze button on life," as a wise old facebook sticker once described post-grad education. (whatever happened to facebook stickers? Is it no longer cool to send trite, witty, cute, and unoriginal sayings to your distant acquaintances? Except "penguin slap" of course. That was genius.) Bonus points ( the game of life?) if you know what the title references, by the way.

So I was the girl that started searching for colleges freshman year of high school, but I'm finding this search much less exciting. Probably because I'm going to be entirely on my own dime on this one, which means I have to worry about tuition and scholarships and teacher assistantships and paying off student loans until I'm 40. Wait, I'll be in education, so make that 50.

I really hope that was an exaggeration.

But I found good news this morning: my former participation in an Americorp program means that many universities will waive my application fee! It may seem small, in the scheme of things, but it feels like the universe wants me to succeed.

Some schools I'm investigating:

My friend's boyfriend tried to get us into the education building at BU on Saturday night, but all we really saw were janitors leering at us from inside the locked doors.

Suggestions for grad school hunts, or suggestions for MA in TESOL programs? (I should figure out some way to sort of hint at these questions instead of asking them outright, cause for some reason people just shy away from answering direct question. Y'all's behavior patterns are very strange.)

These images aren't mine, obviously. But they probably originally came from publicity shots, so I'm thinking they won't mind.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Oh for the snowy days of my youth!

When you grow up in a state that gets snow on a regular basis, I think there often comes an age of indifference. Probably not to the beauty, and definitely not to the inconvenience, but more specifically to the fun of snow.

It's been a good nine years or so since my reaction to a snowstorm was "Oh boy! Let's go outside and build a fort!" Now I sound more like, "How fairytale-like it is outside the window! Hot chocolate and a movie/book please."

But in this latest snow in MA (which I'm very happily still in at the moment) I got in a good winter frolic. And even better, as a group of us were attempting some sledding down a semi-hill:

a woman in an SUV pulled up and said that she was an alum of the college we go to, had a house right up here with hot chocolate in it, and would be very happy for us to come play in her backyard.

Would you even think to make such a kind gesture? Not me. Feeling like a real part of the community, we took her up on the offer and so had a lovely romp with her playset, children, and dogs.

The kids reminded me of the days when "Watch me jump off this swingset into the snow!" sounded like a good idea.

And she even made good on the hot chocolate.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guest Blogger: Trish on prunes and Uggs

First off- hello!

Was that too formal?

My name is Trish (from Life from a college kid), and the lovely Dani has asked me to present a guest blog. Her and I discussed options of what to write about, one of which being prunes:

We always have a bottle of prune juice in the fridge at home which is only consumed by my father. Every morning he walks (stumbles sleepily) down the stairs, slugs over to the fridge, and flings the door open. After standing mindlessly in the cold air for a few minutes, he grabs the bottle of prune juice, twists off the top, and takes a long swig straight from the bottle. It annoys me every time he does it, because I NEVER drink out of the bottles. But then I remember that it’s prune juice, and then I’m not annoyed anymore.

The End

Yes, I too realized that an entry on prunes would be a terribly short entry. And posting this story would probably embarrass my father.

You never heard this story, got it?

So I decided to post about something more.. in the moment. Actually, something that got to me today in class. As Dani has figured out through intensive studying (otherwise known as stalking), I attend Penn State University. It’s a wild place to be, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Topic: Ugg’s

I do not own a pair of Ugg’s, because I personally do not find them attractive. They are bulky and boxy and Ugg-ly. (Get it? Did you get that joke? It’s okay if you didn’t, it was pretty well blended.) Anyway. Ugg’s are very popular up here in the mountains of Pennsylvania, because it does get very cold, and from what I have heard, Ugg’s are very warm. However, I have also heard that Ugg’s are very expensive. For someone who can’t pay more than $30 for a pair of shoes, the outrageous average price of $200 for a pair of weird looking boots is just baffling. (After a bit of research, I also now know that Ugg’s are one of Oprahs favorite things of 2010.)

Now, if I were to pay this much for a pair of shoes, I would try to keep them as nice as possible.


Lesson 1: Suede + Snow/Sleet/Rain/Slush/ALCOHOL= NOT AN ATTRACTIVE PAIR OF SHOES.

Today as I sat in my Media and Democracy class (and while I wasn’t staring at the incredibly-attractive-second-year-law-student guest speaker), I noticed the overwhelming amount of Ugg’s- Ugg’s stained with sidewalk salt lines, Ugg’s drenched with water, Ugg’s caked with mud. My favorite pair (and hence the “alcohol” portion of the above mathematic formula) were the Ugg’s with a very obvious red wine stain all over the toe.

Ohh. How quaint.

I guess I just don’t understand why people don’t take care of expensive things. If you are going to spend $200 for a pair of boots, make them last- or else donate that $200 to giving shoes to people that don’t have any.

When I mention that to the girls in the Ugg’s that have sharpie marker drawings from clever drunkards, they laugh and say, “Trish, you are a riot- people without any shoes!! WHERE do you come up with this stuff? Ha-ha!!"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And the giveaway goes to...

LadyCat, from her blog Lady of Wellington.

My dear, I shall be attempting to send you a message immediately after I post this.
I have not been having good luck with the "messages" I've sent recently though, so if you don't get it we're gonna have to figure something else out.

I'm currently back in MA home and having a lovely time with all my friends who are gearing up for their classes tomorrow. So I may not be posting a lot during this visit, but I do have another guest blogger coming for you soon, so look out for that.

Do you all have a Winter Wonderland going on right now? We do!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Another trophy for my mantel

Yay me! I am glad to inform you all that I have just been given the Stylish Blogger Award by a lovely blogger named Cat, from Musings and Confessions of a Wandering Mind. (Ok, presumably her name isn't really Cat, but her screenname is caterpillar, so that's what I call her. She could be Michelle Obama for all I know.) She writes things that are fun and creative, with more thought put into them than I probably ever will put into mine. So go visit her.

And before you skip the rest of this, I'm gonna remind you about the GIVEAWAY going on that you should enter by following and posting over here (do all caps get your attention? or are they just obnoxious?)

You see how I just epitomize style?

Alright, the first part of this deal is that I write 7 random facts about myself. I cheated you all out of that part last time, so it's only fair that I grudgingly comply. But if I turn out to be way more boring than you expected, you can only blame yourself.

7 facts:

1) I like to put milk on cakes and muffins and other baked goods and mash them up until they make kind of a soggy, soupy dessert thing. I have been mocked.

2) My room in PA home is pretty much as dark as a tomb, so everywhere I go I have a tendency to keep shades down and doors shut. People walk in and say, "Don't you ever open this?" And I say, "Huh. I forget I can."

3) The only sports movie I've ever really loved is Remember the Titans. Denzel on that field barking at those guys? Yum.

4) I've read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott probably about 7 times. I confuse it with real life sometimes...

5) I have no internal compass. Wherever I'm driving, I'm always going forward.

6) Also in my room in PA home I still have all my posters up of little puppies and piggies that I bought in middle school book fairs. Call it whimsy.

7) I lead the hymns at church this morning. You know, pitch pipe, conducting, acapella, the whole deal. It went well.

So folks, that's all you get. And I'm already feeling like you know too much about me for your own good.

The other part of this is that I pass it on to 15 other bloggers. But I think I'm going to veto that. (I'm always so respectful of the rules of these things. See if anyone gives me anything ever again.) not because I don't know that many bloggers that I could name, but because if I did I know that you would never click on all of them and it wouldn't really do anyone good in the end. (Have I overthought this?)

So here we go, as many people as I feel like, that I didn't name last time, and haven't received this from someone else to my knowledge

Stylish Bloggers

Holly from Travelling Due West who is honestly such a fantastic writer that I get insanely jealous ever time I read her funny, clever blog. (But then, I think she might sorta do it for a living, so do I get points for being an amateur?)

Katie from Best of Fates who is seriously a comic genius. I get about 10x more laughs from reading her blog than from watching SNL. (Fact #8. I think SNL's a huge bore. Which shouldn't diminish that last comment.)

Christy from 25 before 25 who has a really cool thing going where she has a list of a bunch of things she wants to read, cook, visit, etc. before 25. It's awesome. She also helped me out when I was fishing for ideas of what to do in NYC.

Naomi from Hippo Birdies who has some explaining to do about the name of her blog. But even so her posts are fun and unpredictable and always make me think "I know exactly what you mean!"

Amy from My Didn't Happeners who's a reader and a great writer and right now is raising money for a charity in the UK called the NSPCC (which is against child abuse. I had to look it up) with something called the 18before18 challenge. A better person than me.

And finally....

Bridget from tales of me and the husband. I put this one on here simply because I think you guys should check it out. There's no other blog which "stylish" describes so well (in a very profound, non-pageant kind of way) She is the first blog that I started reading, got me to start thinking of doing it myself, and has since even helped me a bit....which should give you an idea of how fabulous she is. Definitely go. Right now. (Are you still here?)

Tah tah, Dahling.

P.S. I won't be offended if anyone graciously accepts and declines to do a post about it. We cool.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Harry Potter, forgetting his 1st grade teacher's advice

Seriously, I'm just a poor little muggle, but even I can translate "don't go to the bathroom alone" into "don't dive into a hole in a frozen pond in a deserted forest with a magical sharp object at the bottom and an evil jewel around your neck alone."

Sheesh, that Harry. Who chose him I'd like to know?

We've already discussed how good I am in suspenseful movies, so you can only imagine how many times I nearly died during the Deathly Hallows last night. How in the world did everyone else look so chill? I could barely walk afterward.

This pic is my friend who went to the movie with me and I, showing Potter how it's done. Now I think I'll go eat some paste.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I thought love was more or less a GIVEAWAY thing....

Yes indeed, you read that right. I've decided to have my first giveaway!

Now you won't read anything I say before I show you these pictures , so here they are:

A homemade necklace and bracelet

I crocheted (or rather tatted I suppose...the definition of that has never been clear to me) something like the necklace, but in white, for my friend Mel styled after an Etsy shop she loved, and was so pleased with the results that I thought of sharing something similar with you all.

Not this one specifically, cause I've already tailored it to fit me, but one just like this. And since I'll be making it for one winner specifically I'll be able to ask the person who wins:

1. White or black
2. bracelet or anklet
2. any measurement specifications she'd like to give

I read somewhere once that you need to have fifty followers to make a giveaway "worth it." Worth what, I 'd like to know? I'm poo-pooing that silly idea.

Of course giveaways usually attract new followers, whom I will welcome with open arms if they come. But I also especially I want this giveaway to be a thank you to everyone (or well, one of you) who has followed and interacted and made this blog thing so darn fun.

So here's how you can enter:

1) Become a follower (and better you tell me and introduce yourself to be sure I get it.)

2) Leave me a comment here telling me a dream you have that will probably never happen but you hold onto anyway. (Saying "Winning this giveaway!" will get you negative entries...)

3) Have already left me a comment on one of my last three blog entries. (Hey, I warned you. And I can tell when comments are don't even try it.)

Anticipated questions:

The giveaway IS going to a follower. You must be a follower to do the last two options.

Yes, you can do more that one of these three options, if possible.

Knowing me in person doesn't disqualify you, but some of you might have better luck letting me know you like them and then waiting for a birthday to roll around...

I'm so sorry to my few male followers that this is so feminine! Gift for a mother/sister/friend/girlfriend?

I will announce the winner next Wednesday the 19th!

Entries open until Tuesday night.

Thank you all my dear readers!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Well, kiddos, you win some... turn some into a mushy fish-like paste that's only technically edible.

It all started off promisingly enough:

Ellen and this weird girl were keeping me company in the kitchen.

I was successfully talking myself into working with this salmon that I felt like was going to swim away at any moment--headless and tailess, which only creeped me out more.
I hypocritically like my meat to no longer resemble anything living.

The orzo portion of the meal was looking quite like the photo in the recipe book said it should. These cookbooks are proof that we do not outgrow pictures.

I figured out the baking instructions (fold parchment paper in half... good... cut in the shape of a heart...what?) without a single previous origami lesson.

I thought that the happy coincidence of our heart-shaped stoneware in our kitchen meant that Lady Luck also likes to cook.

And then, in that cruel last act twist, the fish came out horribly mushy and the orzo only average tasting. My parents, bless their hearts (get it?), still ate all of their fish. Happily, since it was my own dish, I could sulkily abuse it and let it sit there.
In the exact opposite process, the upside-down pineapple cake, which threatened to smoke us all out of the house due to the juice runoff during its baking process, is actually pretty tasty, though not very pretty.

My Dad and I consulted the great oracle Google about mushy salmon and he could only tell us "Shop somewhere else!"

Something's in the works chickadees, and if you follow this blog regularly and only comment irregularly, I mysteriously recommend that you make your presence known.

Writing in tiny lettering seems to be the print equivalent of whispering. Everyone reads it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Labor-making devices

It struck me this morning, as I was straining every muscle in my body to lift a log half my size onto the back of our four wheeler, that there is something soul-satisfying about doing physical labor. And yet somehow we, or perhaps I should reign that universal statement I was about to make back down to "I", spend a lot of my time and money trying to avoid that very thing.

Modern life is a backward thing sometimes, isn't it?

So here's to the construction workers, the snow-shovelers, the loggers, the builders, the roofers, the carpenters, the laborers. I think you, perhaps, have held onto something most of us have forgotten.

My job: Clear sticks, load and unload logs on four-wheeler.

Dad's job: Felling trees, cutting logs, clearing area, helping me start the faulty four-wheeler after I gave up on it.
It should be noted that he also did everything I did and more before I came out. I'm no early riser. Also, that is indeed a pond that tree fell on. Looks safe, huh?

What the country needs are a few labor-making inventions. ~Arnold Glasow

Friday, January 7, 2011

Toast and toasting

My breakfast this morning: Orange juice, coffee, toast, egg-in-a-nest, bacon, sausage, sticky buns.

Needless to say, I did not eat lunch.

This all for an annual sleepover with three good friends hosted by the lovely lady on the right and the annual breakfast her lovely husband/slave makes for us all.

Here we are in jammies reenacting the toasting of the night before, which was to stinky old men, marrying billionaires, and good friends. You probably don't want to know.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

3 things you didn't want to know about me

In lieu of those 10 interesting facts for the "Honest Scrap" thing:

1. I still know every word of the Backstreet Boys Millennium album, though I haven't listened to it in years. Oh, can you still sing the chorus of
I Want it That Way? Pull the first verse of "Spanish Eyes" out of thin air and then we'll talk. "Here we are in the arms of one another. Yet we still go on searching for each other."
No, I didn't look those up, but I did check them after I wrote them to make sure I didn't make a fool of myself. On a related note, did BB's lyrics ever make any sense?

2. I get nervous walking through any kind of detection meter. Airport, department store, library: What if I accidentally took a book? What if someone sneaked a book into my bag? Do I have any enemies? (did you know snuck isn't a word? me neither)

3. I will do almost anything for the cupcake above, Starbuck's Vanilla Bean. Even pay the $2.25 they charge. Obviously when the thing was in front of me I couldn't wait to take a picture before eating.

We belong together.
I appreciate you tactfully not mentioning my classy chipping nail polish.

These text settings and I are currently in full out war. In case you find yourself in the crossfire, they started it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'd like to thank all the little people

I'm very delighted today to announce that another blogger, screenname
runawaybride, has named me to an award of sorts called "Honest Scraps." Please, please, no autographs now.

I'd like to thank her sincerely and say that it's a true honor from her because she has so many more fascinating things to talk about in her blog, Chronicles of an arranged Indian Marriage. I know, the title alone has you hooked right? Go check it out.
Which you'd be doing for a better reason than I did originally, which was that her screenname is a Julia Roberts movie that I love.

So the game is that every blogger who is named by another blogger as one of their top picks is to pass the honor around to five more people, so the love just multiplies. I'm happy to do it, but I'm gonna tweak the rules a bit from five of the best to five of the best, who also follow me regularly and I think deserve your look-see.

As we speak I'm not sure who all these bloggers are gonna be. Let's find out:

Life from a college kid: (please, hold your applause to the end) Trish is a hilariously good writer who rants about procrastinators, obsesses over boys, and makes New Years resolutions I think she probably doesn't need to.

Farmgirl Musings
...: Bonnie is northerner (I just mean Minnesota, kinda sounds like I'm a confederate who jus' cain't stand them Yankees) who share her creativity in thoughts, stories, and life with all of us. She is my dose of wisdom when I'm having a typically vapid day.

Merp: Cjuen is a vet student who regularly entertains with little stories or cartoons about quirky home events, birds attacking, and sister's engagement dances.

a life of color: Caroline is a rather new blogfriend whose blog and writing style I have enjoyed immensely because it's full of quick wit, honesty, and sarcasm. Sarcasm is my love language.

: An Australian blogger who talks about fashion, blogging, and chickens. I think she'd be a fun person to meet.

There we go. That's five, but not nearly enough, because I have so many awesome blog friends who deserve recognition. Perhaps we'll do this again sometime.

I think perhaps the other tradition attached with the award is to name five random things about yourself. I, such the rebel, am skipping that one for now. We might come back to it later.

I felt several times during the writing of this blog that it might be appropriate to insert "I'm so humbled" which people always seem to say when they receive awards and things. Erroneously, it seems to me, so I didn't say it. How's this:
I'm so proud and big-headed that you gave me this!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Toe-cicles in an otherwise delightful NYC

Well, friends, this little country girl is now back home from the big city. Someday hopefully that will read back home to the big city, but for now here I sit in our little log house buried in the woods of good ol' PA. I know, I know, not too shabby really. I shouldn't complain. Count your blessings and all that jazz.

But the visit really was very nearly complete success and bliss. New York City has always been the City for me, and a trip there has yet to disappoint. We traipsed about the streets for two full days, having fun we carefully scheduled beforehand and then tried to convince ourselves we could certainly deviate from the schedule if we wanted to. Which we didn't. Fun is more fun when scheduled.

The majority of our time was spent in the West Village, and I can already picture myself living in a tiny little apartment on that street lined with little restaurants of all kinds, shops of old-fashioned tea and trashy lingerie, and the post office with a sign out front that said "What can Harold do for you?" We never did go in to find out.

The only downside of the whole affair was the coupling of piles of new snow melting into slush and our lack of proper footwear. We did wear boots, I'd like you to know, but we couldn't have worn just any old boots if we had wanted to keep our feet dry all day. (Which, we did, of course....awkward grammatical construction...awkwardly moving on...)

We would have needed Paul Bunyan, seal skin, climb Mount Everest boots.
I hear that the city workers were told to slow their clearing of the snow to protest some recent demotions, and it seemed like they went above and beyond on that one.

Well, that's all you'll get out of me, due to my aversion to writing long detailed description and a very convenient reader aversion to reading it.

But here are lots of photos, in no particular order, to make up for it. Part of our mission was to take some worthy of wall display for our apartment next year. Most of these, at least those without our beautiful faces, are front-runners. Opinions?

The text above stubbornly refuses to return to normal size after five minutes of battling, so I'm now admitting defeat. Squint.