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Monthly Archives: April 2011

I HATE Grocery Shopping

I do.  If I hate one thing about being an adult (more than bills, of course), it’s grocery shopping. There’s nothing good about it.  I scowl going there.  I scowl coming back.  I scowl when I’m home and done.  I hate grocery shopping so much, that it’s beginning to make me hate food.  I make myself go once every month and a half.  And I spend about $100 (that’s with toiletries and other various things that I need).  And it KILLS me.

So here are some of the reasons I hate grocery shopping:

I hate weaving through the aisles.

I HATE pushing a cart-especially the janked up ones.

I hate the mood most people are in at the grocery store (me included).

I hate when I see that the price of something has gone up.

I hate that it takes so many raw ingredients to cook a good meal.

I hate buying fresh fruit and vegetables because they go bad so quickly.

I hate buying food that requires a specific cooking tool.

I hate the long lines at the check-out.

I hate the way most cashiers put food in the bags.

I hate reloading up the cart.

I hate putting all the groceries in my car (they spill out of the bags sometimes).

I hate carrying them in through two locked doors on my apartment.  All by myself.

I hate putting them away once I get them in the house.

And I HATE HATE HATE that when it’s all said and done, I have nothing to show for my money (besides the fact that I’m alive).  And to be honest, I’d rather save three grocery trips and buy a really expensive purse.  At least I’ll get to see it for more than a month and a half.  Or some clothes (which would probably be smaller sizes if I skipped three trips to the grocery store har har har).

I don’t know what I’m going to do when I have to grocery shop for a family (maybe I won’t have one just for this reason).  If I have to go every week, I’ll shoot myself in the foot.  And the grocery bill will multiply by like 4!  NO NO NO.  I won’t do it.

I’ll stick to my freezable veggies and my bagged apples that take a month and a half to go bad.  I’ll make meals out of saltines, ketchup, and sliced cheese.  I love cereal, which is great, because I only have to buy milk and cereal.  And I buy almond milk because I am lactose intolerant, and you know what?  I’m so cheap that I MIX IT WITH WATER TO MAKE IT LAST LONGER!

I hate food.  And I hate grocery shopping.

Which is why I’m making Mike take me tonight when he gets to town, because he seems to enjoy it.

Happy Friday, and on a wild tangent, YAY WILLIAM AND KATE!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Domesticity

 

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Like the Wind

Through woods and mountain passes
The winds, like anthems, roll.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Let me first start by saying that my prayers go out to all those in the south who were affected by the tornadoes…  I do not love what the wind has done to you.

I love weather.  I love rain, I love sun, I love snow.  I love it all.  But my favorite has to be the wind.  It reminds me that I’m alive, and that things aren’t stagnant.  Even if it’s a cold cold wind in the middle of winter, it still makes you hyper aware of your body.

But my favorite is the strong wind before a storm.  When the trees are bending and the grass is moving and leaves are flying.  Wind touches everything, unbiased, and it creates movement.  It pulls your clothes around you, and pulls them away.  It’s really kinda sexy!

I have fond memories of the wind.  On the beach in North Carolina before a tropical storm hit, standing on a railroad tie on my grandfather’s hill right out near the carry-out watching a storm front come across the field. Riding my bike on the intercoastal bike trail by myself, just fighting the wind.  Standing in my front yard in NC in a maxi dress, right before Mike left, kissing him while the wind blew the dress around us, drawing us together.

And isn’t it just cool that the wind can howl, and make its way through the smallest spaces?  Dangit I love wind!

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Daily Happenings

 

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Travel Bug (Watch Out Wilmy-ites!)

Maybe it’s the constant rain (and lack of thunder) here in North Central Ohio, or the fact that I haven’t left Ohio (other than to PA, of course) in just under a year, but by golly it’s time to get out of here for a little bit!  Don’t get me wrong!  I love Ohio, and I will probably always come back to it.  But this time last year, I was packing up and moving out of my home in North Carolina.  This year, I’m watching Roseanne, doing crunches and squats on my living room floor, having ridiculous dreams, and wishing someone was here to go for a night walk with me.

So where do I want to go?  Well, somewhere cheap of course!  I still have great friends in Wilmington who are willing to let Mike and I hunker down for a bit, so we planning a trip in June (BE READY).  I cannot wait to get back to Carolina Beach and Flaming Amy’s. And don’t tell anyone, but I’ve begun to miss it.  I miss the Fat Pelican and the Reel Cafe, the downtown smell and the night time beach walks.  I miss the moon on the ocean and the and at my feet.  BAH!  I swore I’d never miss that place…but I do.  And most of all, I miss the people.  I made great friends down there.  I think it’s safe to say that if Wilmington hadn’t been sooooo far away from my family, and my father hadn’t had a heart attack, and people hadn’t needed me, that I would have loved it.  It’s just SO hard when you can’t get to those you love.

And I do have a lot of good memories there.  Tons of them…  Many of them were with Mike, who I only got to spend two months in Wilmington with, and those were some of the best.

I miss the meteor shower on the beach, turning 24 in the ocean, drinking on the dock, staring at the ocean during a storm.

Mike also has an uncle out in Arizona, and we’re pretty sure that we’ll head that way (probably toward the fall) for a vacation.  I’ve never been west besides Las Vegas, and I’d KILL for a desert sunset.

I want so badly to go to Berkley Springs, West Virginia, where I’ve only ever driven through and stopped once at a Sheetz for a chicken caesar salad.  I felt as though I belonged there, with the quaint downtown, the yellow sunshine, and the sparkling roads.  But that’s a post for another time.

So as much as I might have said that I didn’t like living in North Carolina, I did.  Minus the humidity.  And as much as I might have said that I would never go back, I will.  I am sorry if I ever offended any of you by saying these things.  I miss you.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Daily Happenings

 

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The Official Rules of 26

You heard right.  Now that I’m 26, I’m giving myself some rules. Ever since my birthday, I’ve suffered from a severe feeling of inadequacy–like I’m not doing something right, or that I’m going to start doing something wrong.  I need it to quit.  And this is my solution.

Ready?

26th Year Rules (presented as “To Erica, From Erica”)

•  NO getting drunk.  Wine is fine.  A glass of beer now and again, also fine.  But if you drink till you impair your driving, you broke the rule.

•  In the spirit of learning something from Lent, let’s keep the cussing to a minimum.  You’re an adult who might have kids someday soon.  You might want to start taming the potty mouth now.

•  Eat more sushi (leave me alone, you hippies).

•  Go home (parents’ home) more often, for no reason at all.

•  If it’s not raining, and not below freezing, ride your bike to work.

•  Learn to cook something other than casserole.

•  Learn downtown Cleveland, so you don’t freak out every time you go there.

•  Grocery shop more than once every two months.

•  Go out in the rain.

•  Have fresh flowers in the house (this is an adult thing, no?)

•  Go on at least two vacations.

•  Accept that you are not a bean pole.

•  Attend more events that require you to dress up.

•  Smile more.  (I never thought I’d have to tell myself this.)

•  Quit looking so far into the future.  You have no control over it.

•  Continue to preach against sunscreen and anti-bacterial.

•  Maintain an anxiety-free lifestyle.

•  Do more things that scare you.

•  Stop trying to jump the gun.

•  Shoot more guns.

•  Pick a hobby that belongs only to you.

•  Visit friends from college.

•  Quit fretting.

•  Pray more.

•  Find a Catholic church to go to.

•  Put others first.
26 rules for the new 26-year-old.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Daily Happenings, Domesticity

 

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Kitty-Vator

Every once in awhile, you come across the perfect tree.  And if you’re really lucky, it’s on property that you know you’re allowed to be on.  Mine was a big old Maple on the east side of my grandparents’ house, the side that faced Gene’s Drive-Thru Carry-Out.  The tree had a bough that was low enough for my cousins and me to wrap our arms around, pull ourselves horizontal to the earth while we pushed our feet against the trunk, and lob a leg over mid-swing.

Each weekend at my grandparents’ was a race to get into the tree.  Whoever got there first claimed it, and being the tallest and last of the Big Kids (the first four grandchildren of the 10), I had an advantage.  My cousin Meghan and I spent the most time in the tree, seeing who could go higher, and who was brave enough to step on the branch that didn’t seem strong enough to hold us.  We were the ones who stole all of Grandma’s spoons out of her silverware drawer, and strung them all in the branches with yarn so that we could have an entire tree of wind chimes.  When Grandma went to set the table for dinner, her fingers grasped at the empty space in the drawer, and all she could hear was a jingling from outside her window.

After looking down through the trees and seeing her laughing, Meghan and I cut down the spoons and went in for dinner.

Seeing as my grandparents lived on a farm, there was no shortage of stray cats, each of whom were adopted as soon as we dug the litter from underneath the wood pile.   My brother always took the tiger-striped cats.  Meghan always took the charcoal gray ones.  I, on the other hand, always took the runts.  I don’t know if I felt sorry for them, or if it was some sort of mothering instinct kicking in, but I always picked the runt.

This left me with some obstacles:  Muffin was a light gray runt who was cross-eyed, and every time she heard a noise or lightning struck, she’d run head-on into a wall.  And then there was Bart, who would follow me anywhere I went.  But as he got older, he developed a bad habit of ingesting his food twice, sometimes three times, and we began calling him Barf.

Because Meghan and I were in the tree so much, we were missing out on valuable cat time on the ground.  And while cats can climb trees, they don’t always want to go up there when YOU want them to.  So we solved the problem with:  THE KITTY-VATOR.

It was just a plastic milk crate with old sheets lying in the bottom, but to us, it was the best invention ever.  With a frayed rope tied from handle to handle and up over a tree branch to create a not-so-intricate pulley system, the Kitty-Vator got us what we wanted off the ground.  Generally, I climbed into the tree with the rope looped around my belt loops, and Meghan stood on the ground, rallying the cats around her and fitting as many as she could into the milk crate.  We’d then tape a piece of cardboard over the crate (so they couldn’t escape) and I hoisted them into the tree.  Meghan then scampered up to help me unload the loot, and we spent the day lounging on long branches, barefoot, and holding cats in our arms.  If we thought the tree was perfect, well why would the cats think otherwise?

Eventually we nailed platforms between forked branches and kept a bag of cat food up there, too.  And the cats learned to like it.  I can’t imagine, though, what the customers at my grandpa’s store thought when they saw two little blonde girls jamming cats into a milk crate and disappearing into the leaves of a Maple tree.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in When I Was Young

 

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Happy Birthday to Me, RIP to my Life Plan

When I was 18, I had a life plan.  I was going to go to college at Ashland University, meet a man (I knew my high school relationship wouldn’t last), and get married the summer/fall after graduation when I was 22.  By 26, I would have one baby.  By 28, another.  And a farmhouse, an awesome job, and maybe the desire to write still.

Here’s what really happened:

I didn’t find anyone at college that I could have married (some will argue this–it will be discussed another time), and I majored in Creative Writing, which left little to no opportunity in the job market without a Master’s Degree.  My advisor, Joe, looked at me in December and said, “How do you feel about grad school?”

Having no real reason to stick around and suffer the consequences of my choice of major, I said, “Sure.”

“UNCW,” he said.  “Apply.”

And I did.  Because if you know anything about me, I did everything Joe told me to do (let’s not be freaks here).  I respected him as a man, a professor, a writer, and a friend.  So I applied to one graduate school (the best in the country for creative nonfiction – WOOT!) in Wilmington, North Carolina, and I happened to get in.

I’m sure I angered the HELL out of the professors, because I never responded, never accepted, never did anything.  I told myself (not them) that I wouldn’t go there unless I got some financial aid, and a teaching assistantship.  Two days later, I did, and I couldn’t refuse the offer.

So I went, and I spent three years in NC from the ages of 22-25.  I still did not find a man down there…until the end of my second year, when I was 23.  I saw him walking around my neighborhood.  His name was…is Mike.  Mike moved to PA and sent my 24th birthday present in the mail.  He gave me my 25th when I came home from grad school.

A week ago, my mother (whose birthday is 5 days before mine) looked at me and said, “I turned 26, and 5 days later, I had you.”

Today, I turn 26.  I am currently 4 years behind on my life plan.  There is no ring, there are no babies.  But I do have a great job, two degrees, and an incredible man who came to see me a day early, so that for the first time in 2 years, we could be together on my birthday.  I’ll complain every day about not being a little closer to that original life plan, but truth-be-told, I’m thankful that I didn’t meet someone at Ashland, and that Joe said, “Go to UNCW,” and that Mike happened to be walking past me one day.

Let’s see what this year brings.  🙂

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Daily Happenings, Domesticity

 

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Running Barefoot in the Stone Circle

I spent the majority of every summer barefoot, running through my grandparents’ yard in Clyde, Ohio, though the ditch and past the row of pine trees, underneath the front porch and back behind the barn that left white marks on our fingertips as we ran our ringers along its wind-battered sides.  I loved the way the grass felt underfoot, soft and green after a quick morning rain or crisp and sharp as our parents’ voices when a drought threatened.

There’s something to be said about walking over the earth barefoot, through grass and dirt, mud and gravel, but nothing felt so wonderful as the warm stone circle in the back corner of the yard I roamed over.  I knew every inch of my grandparents’ property, around the house where the pricker bushes pushed us at least three feet away from the farthest outreaching branch to avoid the ever-frightening situation of our feet up in Grandma’s lap and needles and tweezers poking through the skin that withstood so much.  I knew where the sharpest rocks were in the stone driveway, towards the edges where hardly any cars were driven, and where the gravel was crushed so much that it felt like powdered sugar between my toes.  After the white blossoms fell from the cigar tree, my cousins and I would pile them up and imagine that we were running through sweet-smelling clouds as petals got caught between our toes in a euphoric and angelic sight and finally we would collapse in them for the sheer enjoyment of sinking into the whole cycle of things.  But of all of the places I felt on the bottoms of my feet, the stone circle was still my favorite.

It was only about four feet across in any and every direction, although I never bothered to measure it.  I assume it was made of concrete, but nothing like the concrete that paved our sidewalks at home or covered the bottom parts of the walls in our classrooms.  It was dark and mottled, littered with colonies of insects and each crack was the home to some new and interesting plant that sprouted a multitude of colors.  It wasn’t a perfect circle, straight on some edges and cracked and crumbling on others, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.  The sweet summer sweat on dirty skin, the smell of cut grass and thunderstorm, the gold foil sun high in the sky never felt better than it did from the stone circle that sat tilted in the back corner of my grandparents’ yard.

Summer is sacred to children, sacred in a way that adolescents dismiss and adults have lost complete sight of.  In the early mornings, when the grass is still wet and cool and the air was thick with moisture and mischief, before the rest of my cousins arrived, I wander outside to watch the sun reflect off of the roads.  I love the way it gathers in shimmery pools where the road dips and disappears and fills with water, but always drains before I  can reach it, before I can baptize myself in the sun water.  The roads and their images are fleeting, but my stone circle always remains.

I felt most content there by myself, when I could enjoy everything that encompassed me, in me and outside of me, through me and beneath and above me.  The warmth from the sun was somehow captured in the small circle I lay in, climbing up through my clothes and onto the small of my back, my hip, each shoulder and arm.  It was almost intimate, trying to push as much of my body against the stone at one time-starting with the souls of my feet.  Most of the time I imagined the circle conforming to my body, curving to fit the curves I barely had as a child, trying to sink into the stone, to disappear and to be seen.  But most of all, to feel.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2011 in When I Was Young

 

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