A List.

More than one person "tagged" me to do this on Facebook, so here you go: 25 Random Things About Me:

1) I've kept a blog since 2001. Through various key slips, computer crashes, and location changes, a large portion of it is lost to the inky depths of the Interwebs.

2) The second word I ever said was "dog," so I have literally been asking for a dog since I could speak, and consequently have more potential dog names in mind (about 235) than potential baby names (0).

3) When I was in second or third grade, I decided to write a big, thick, impressive book like the ones my dad liked to read, which had names like "CARNEGIE" and "[IMPORTANT HISTORICAL EVENT]." My book was called "THE CIVIL WAR" and I spent a lot of time making an incredibly impressive title page in my neatest handwriting. The entire text of "THE CIVIL WAR" is reproduced here for your enjoyment - "The Civil War was." Shockingly, it did not make the best-seller lists.

4) The first time I ever drank tea was while studying abroad in Ireland. The people I worked with in Ireland took at least five tea breaks a day so it became a nice habit and chance to sit back and be social (it was more like we took "work breaks" during an 8 hour tea). One day at my internship I sneaked a bag of Earl Grey from the stash of someone in another department, and as I poured my hot water into my cup I chuckled at my caper and said (aloud, seriously), "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot." Then I tried a sip and let me tell you, after months of thinking that all tea tasted like Irish or English Breakfast Tea, that cup of Earl Grey blew my mind. I think I made some sort of inappropriate animal-type noise when I smelled it. I don't drink Earl Grey often because I keep trying to try to surprise myself with its flavor again and occasionally it works, but nothing will ever compare to the mind-blowing holy crap where has this been all my life-ness of that first cup. It was only later I learned that Earl Grey is considered poncy amongst many tea connoisseurs. I say poncy or not, if it's good enough for Picard, it's good enough for me.

5) When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a Muppeteer. I still think it would be just about the coolest job in the world.

6) I went to my undergraduate institution intending to major in Archaeology. I settled for an unofficial Arc minor, thinking English and History would be more marketable. Oh, young and foolish self!

7) I did a dance when I found out my favorite author in the world won the Newbery Award.

8) If given the choice between argyle and any other pattern, I will choose argyle 95% of the time. If the other pattern is paisley or tartan, we'll have a pattern rumble.

9) I watched Top Gun at least once a week during 8th grade (I had it on Beta!). Tom Cruise was so dreamy before we all found out he's totally insane.

10) An insanely high percentage of my clothes are from Target because I'm cheap and too lazy to find another inexpensive clothing store where one can also buy hot chocolate and bookshelves.

11) My laptop is named Lamont Cranston, after one of The Shadow's alter-egos.

12) The reason I taught myself to knit was because I wanted to have my own Gryffindor scarf.

13) I can't get into an unmade bed and consequently make my bed every single morning with varying degrees of neatness.

14) Two years ago I won a kayak (first prize, even!) in a photography contest for the picture below:

This was the first thing I had ever won. No, seriously. The first thing. I'd ever won. Ever. Including those stupid awards like, "Best At Staying Inside the Lines" they give to everyone in kindergarten.

15) About three and a half years ago I lost around 50 pounds. I might be prouder of that than of any of my degrees. Grad school is hard, but losing weight is really hard - I mean, you have to eat. Like Vincent Vega says, bacon tastes good. A lot of people don't think they can lose weight, and neither did I. I always knew I could get a master's degree.

16) I like Wisconsin, yet I keep trying to go west, young woman. I'm having trouble leaving the things about Wisconsin I like - mostly the people.

17) I think I need to learn to drive a manual transmission just in case one day there is a zombie apocalypse, and there's nobody left un-zombified who knows how to drive stick and that's all there is available. Or if I'm in Europe at the time of said zombie apocalypse.

18) Even though it's generally cheesy and over the top, I wish people still made film noir.

19) When I'm having a really bad day, Peggy Bunny (who was pink when I got her at age three) still sleeps with me.

20) For a long time I thought Johnny Rivers was singing "Secret Asian Man," not "Secret Agent Man." The actual words make a lot more sense.

21) I have never seen a single episode of Saved By the Bell, nor have I ever owned a Barbie. These are cultural phenomenons I will never understand.

22) When I was in elementary school I made a window hanging for a friend as a birthday gift. Her father made fun of it and since then I have never given something homemade as a gift - which is lame, especially since homemade gifts are my favorite kind to get.

23) I am hoping to take a picture every day of 2009. So far I have missed zero days. Here is today's picture:

Ah yes, the trophy from the Packers' only Superbowl win during my lifetime. Spring had better get here soon - I've just about exhausted the things you can do and see inside the stadium in Green Bay when it's this cold.

24) My all-time favorite album is The Joshua Tree by U2, my favorite food is the green olive, my favorite domestic microbrew is Capital Brewery's Island Wheat (admittedly, mostly because the wheat comes from one of my favorite places in the state), and my favorite song is Fairytale of New York by The Pogues.

25) This is where the funniest story about Kindergarten Jessie would go, if I didn't think it would totally gross you out. Unsurprisingly, it involves barf and underpants.

I miss my friends. :(


Maybe if I worked for Pixar...

I've realized something lately, and it wasn't in relation to any particular event or conversation, just something that has gradually been brought to my attention by a hundred small things said or done by many different people in many different places.

People are mean and petty everywhere. Everywhere! Every workplace has hard-to-follow politics, every group of friends has gossips, and everybody has at least one person they don't like very much for an insanely stupid reason. If I was waiting for a magical workplace or city where everyone got along and didn't talk behind one another's backs and everywhere was sunshine and rainbows and happy collaboration between colleagues all the time - I should probably stop waiting for that (and I was waiting for that - that was silly of me).

I'm a little slow with these things.

I've had several different jobs since leaving college and some were better than others. However, there's always a period (however short - this period at the insurance company was about six minutes, literally) when everyone seems really nice and is on their best behavior before it happens. Someone says something uncouth in a meeting and people make fun of them later. Person A does something that annoys Person B and Person B proceeds to bitch about it to Persons C, D, E, and F, thus making Persons C, D, E, and F feel weird because they like both Person A and Person B. And at that point, the honeymoon is over. The real world has intruded on what was a previously harmonious workplace (or other place!) for New Girl.

So I have decided that because I can't control what the people around me do, I'm just going to have to be awesome enough to make up for it. Yes, we all have moments, but the next time I feel one coming on I think I'm just going to ignore it and think about awesome things like dirty martinis and mastiff puppies and the noise R2-D2 makes when he feels bad about something. I'll be the one who tries not to complain about Person A to Persons H, J, and K. I'll let you know how it goes.

Maybe it's because I'm a bit removed from things up here in the frozen north, or maybe I've just been a bad friend, but lately I'm feeling a lot like everyone I know is standing ten yards away from me outside in a blizzard (in what Pa Ingalls would call a "daisy" of a blizzard... that means it's particularly bad, I don't know why, I think daisies are quite pleasant) and even though I yell and shout at the top of my lungs and jump up and down and wave my arms around, nobody hears anything I'm saying because the wind is too loud, and they just don't notice me in the same way people usually don't notice dead people in movies about that sort of thing.

Maybe that means it's just time to go back inside to make some tea, curl up with an afghan and a book, and wait for Spring.

Please hurry up, Spring.


I'M lost.

Cool Thing - Knitting

Hooray for knitting! This is a scarf for my grandmother for Christmas. It took me a little longer than I anticipated.

Also, apparently the season premiere of Lost is on right now. I've been watching it and I've seen every episode of this show and, as usual, I have no idea what's going on. As a friend said, "Does anyone else want Scott Bakula to leap into Locke's body and teach us all a blatantly obvious moral lesson?"

Yes. I do want that.


Oh, winter.

As if it wasn't bad enough that I was getting The Wanderlust the other day already, yesterday I spent five hours (count 'em - five hours) of a perfectly good Saturday stuck in my car in a ditch with no cell phone waiting for a tow truck. More than once there was swearing and cursing the state of Wisconsin and snow in general. Why do I live here?

(Note: The above picture does not illustrate where I was stuck. Where I was stuck was more... how do you say? Ah yes - in the middle of nowhere.)

My suggestion to you - do not, under any circumstances, attempt to Y-turn on a country road in the snow if you are not absolutely certain where the shoulder ends. Chances are the road is quite a lot narrower than you suppose and your car with the ridiculously wide turning radius won't be able to make it around without getting stuck in the snow and leave you feeling like an idiot who hasn't lived here her entire life. Here endeth the suggestion.

Snowing yet again. I recently purchased a digital converter box (more on that later) and now have some extra channels. The channel that shows nothing but local weather tells me that there are 17" of snow on the ground already. Enough already, winter! Seriously!

Now, about this digital converter box business. Aside from the obvious awesome things (the picture is better, I get a channel that seems to show nothing but reruns of The A-Team and Little House on the Prairie, and the box looks kind of like a cylon when on standby), I don't think I like it. I have yet another remote and depending on if I'm watching TV or a DVD I have to use a different one to change the volume. Despite being told otherwise by the "expert" at Best Buy, I can not hook up both a DVD player and a VCR to my older TV which requires an RF modulator - I do not like being lied to. It still cost $20 after my friendly government coupon. Most irritating of all - the box "converts" all shows with a normal, full-screen aspect ratio to tiny boxes in the middle of the screen with black borders on every side, thus shrinking the picture to about half the size it should be. I have to sit about two feet away from the TV to see anything. Yes, I eventually figured out how to change it, but I don't want to hit the "zoom" button multiple times every time I change a channel to figure out whether I have the picture at the right size. This is a pain in the place one sits.

This smells, to me, like The Government trying to stimulate the economy by getting everyone with a perfectly good older television and no cable to buy a fancy new television. NO, GOVERNMENT. I will deal with your stupid crap because I can't afford a new television. I can't even afford cable - why would I buy a new TV?

Oh, the rage.

In order to hold off the rage, here is a list of awesome things:

1) The Steelers (my AFC team of choice - sorry? No, I'm not.)
2) Neil Patrick Harris on Saturday Night Live
3) I'm re-reading all my "Little House" books. Not only do they go remarkably quickly, I still like them.
4) Getting out of the ditch
5) Batman socks in the $1 section at Target - made for children, fit geeky grown women.
6) Audrey Hepburn
7) Battlestar Galactica on Hulu... though the content of the show is not always exactly as I would like.
8) I'm attempting to take a picture everyday of 2009, showing here.
9) The A-Team
10) The converter box on standby.

Pretty awesome.


Oh, I'm just a guy with a girlfriend who lives in Wis-KAHN-sin...

Update: The actual temperature right now is -17 F and the wind chill is -40 F. Um, what would you do if your car was frozen to the parking lot?

...just wondering.


Things I didn't know that you probably did.

One reason I like being a librarian is that you learn something every day. Here is a sampling of the things I have learned recently.

- Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill are not the same person. Contemporaries and friends... but different people ("Well, of course they're different people," you might say, "They have different names!" Some of us ignore little details like that, friend).
- High school students are obsessed with murders (For example: seven people were murdered in Frank Lloyd Wright's house in Spring Green, including his mistress. Frank was in Chicago at the time. This is the least disgusting thing I learned helping with this subject).
- Philo Taylor Farnsworth invented the television as we know it when he was fourteen.
- Alice Walker believes that being a mother is a weak option for weak women, and (unsurprisingly) is estranged from her daughter.
- Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher, burned all her diaries when she got married because she was afraid of what her husband would think.
- Oskar Schindler is the only member of the Nazi party to be buried in Jerusalem.
- Nellie Bly helped invent undercover journalism by pretending to be insane and getting herself committed to an asylum to do an expose. Once inside she acted normally and they treated her like crap.
- People in the old west had much cooler names than we do today. Calamity Jane? Sundance Kid? Doc Holliday? Valentine McGillycuddy? California Joe? Brilliant. Makes me want to watch Tombstone. And Deadwood.
- John Dillinger wore Hanes underpants with blue stripes. And red sock garters.
- Joseph Pschorr "invented" brewing underground in cellars, thus allowing Germans to drink year-round as the beer was kept cool in the summer. Thanks, Herr Pschorr!

In unrelated news, I'm sick. In further unrelated news, the ol' wanderlust seems to have returned. Please remind me why I like living in Wisconsin? I mean, other than the fact that parts of it are insanely beautiful and awesome and it is near just about everyone I love. Find me a mountain in Wisconsin!

I want to see mountains again. Mountains, Gandalf!


All I wanna do is a... and take your money.

One of the major problems with moving to a new city is that for quite a while after you get there, you don't know where anything is. For example, where to buy cheap stuff. In an attempt to remedy this situation, I decided to find Goodwill today.

I recently read an article in CNN.com which suggested that more people are shopping at thrift stores because the economy is in such a horrible state. It then quoted a woman in New York who had just purchased a designer bag from last season for $950 at a thrift store.

$950?! At a thrift store?! Forget you, New York thrift stores. You are clearly doing it wrong.

Unrelated - Right now, this very moment... is the first time I've been in my apartment with the sun shining!! Eeee! It looks so nice! There is hope! Here, look:

My neighbors probably think I'm some sort of creepy photo-taking stalker person. They just very pointedly closed all the blinds in their apartment. Whoops.

As I was saying: To me, cheap can be anywhere from $0-$20, depending on exactly what you find. I enjoy thrift stores very much, because they generally sell things that are my definition of cheap. The lamp purchase yesterday with the bonus dangly things made me realize that perhaps one of the problems with my new place, while roomy as the Metrodome, is that it seems to be trying to be classier than I am. I am not classy, I decorate with thrift store purchases. I buy stuff like silly lamps with bonus dangly things, put up posters of Yoda on my walls, and I light rooms using Christmas lights. This is the way I am.

So today, in an effort to both figure out where things are in town and significantly enrich my life by going back to my thrift store decorating roots, I set out for Goodwill. Um, also I burned the lampshade of my other lamp with some Christmas candles several weeks ago and broke the harp while trying to take the shade off, so I needed yet another new lamp. I win.

One thing to know about Green Bay is that Everything is near the stadium. Everything. The issue is that when the Packers are playing at home, you can't do anything because it is impossible to get to Everything (literally. They change the direction of the streets). Since the Packers really sucked it up this year, I was finally able to venture out today to find cheap stuff. After my morning pot of tea, I wrote down the street Goodwill is on, and set out. I got over to the stadium part of town and realized I should have written down more than the name of the street, because I don't know where anything is. Unfortunate. After turning around several times, I turned onto the street I'd written down, and found... Target.

This was neither surprising nor helpful, since I seem to be hardwired to find every Target within a ten-mile radius at a particular time. However, because I have this uncanny ability, I had already found the Target much closer to my house, and was instead frustrated that I had found a Target instead of a Goodwill. I drove up and down the street several times, hoping Goodwill was on the same street (it was not), with a growing need to use a restroom.

So I went back to my apartment. On my way back to the apartment, I thought to myself how helpful it would have been in that situation to have one of those fancy cell phones with the Internet so I could look up the correct address of Goodwill. Of course, the phone wouldn't have helped my bladder.

After writing down the correct address and directions and using my bathroom (which is unfortunately probably not as clean as one I could have used in a gas station if I had one of those fancy Internet phones), I set out for Goodwill again.

Luckily I found it (an hour and a half after initially setting out on this adventure) and found lots of wonderful things. I spent a grand total of $16.34. I then found a going-out-of-business Steve and Barry's where I got some completely adorable pants, two shirts, and some shoes all for $5.16. Thanks, going-out-of-business Steve and Barry's!

However, my favorite purchase of the day is what I set out to find in the first place:

An awesomely ridiculous lamp. I'm going to call it a plamp (get it? Get it? Plant + Lamp = Plamp!) or maybe a lampent (get it? Lamp + Ent = Lampent? Fine, maybe you're not a geek). My favorite thing about the purchase of this lamp (apart from the fact that the original tag said $56 and I got it for $6) was that the Goodwill tag said "One-of-a-Kind" on it, with another, identical lamp sitting next to it on the clearance shelf. Um. Two of a kind is the new one of a kind?

Totally worth a two-hour quest.


Talking about things (like a walk in the park)...

A few things for today:

1) Observe:

I like these socks for several reasons. First of all, they are green. Second, they are wool. Third and most importantly, the middle parts give your feet a hug. (Fourth, and a minor reason to like them, is that my sister hates them. HA.)

2) I bought this lamp today. When I unwrapped the shade I discovered that there were bonus dangly things!

I should probably return it because it is completely ridiculous, but it's a bonus!

3) And then:

Lambeau Field tour!

4) Did people really use phrases like "hotter than Vulcan's [thingy]" as often and have as much sex in ancient Rome as Rome suggests? Sheesh.

5) Today is my parents' anniversary. Thanks for gettin' hitched, you two crazy kids!


You're older than you've ever been and now you're even older.

I'm slowly coming to the realization that things get more difficult as we get older.

It is harder to see. It is harder to hear. It's harder to keep in touch with the friends you have. It's harder to make new friends when you move to a new place. It's harder to find something decent on television or the radio (kids these days...). It's harder to afford the things you want. It's harder to remember things.

Of course, it might not be that I'm getting old. I might just need a new prescription for my contacts and my television might be farther away in this apartment than the last one. I might need to clean my ears. Perhaps everyone is just a lot busier than they used to be, and I'm farther away. It could also be that television and music just aren't as good as they used to be. Maybe the things I want now are just more expensive than Star Wars action figures and Legos. And it could be that I've always been this forgetful.

Eh, I can't remember.

What was I talking about?


There is no charge for awesomeness. Or attractiveness.

Cool Thing #8 - Millennium Park

One of many reasons I was trying to move to Chicago (it hasn't gone well so far, but I'm working on it) is that there are a multitude of cool things there. One of those things is The Bean (not the technical name).

I almost went blind from overexposure to pure awesomeness!

Also, happy new year - I hope you were able to celebrate with family or friends or however you wanted to. May 2009 bring us all awesome things.