Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"An F5? What would that be like?" "The finger of God."

The tornadoes here in the middle have been really bad in the past week or two.

Last week, Heather was supposed to fly in on Wednesday to stay with me. But her flights were all canceled due to the weather. I had some things to do in the morning and so I made my last stop Wal-Mart. (It is becoming very clear to me from these blog posts that I spend way too much time at Wal-Mart).

I was there for 15-20 minutes and had gotten everything that I need, so I was headed up to the register to check out. Then an announcement came over the PA. It was completely garbled, but then I heard, "We need everyone to move to the back of the store immediately. There is a tornado warning."

I looked around for a minute. Everyone was moving pretty quickly to the back, so I figured I better join them.

I walked to the back of the store and stood there near the wall for a minute. Then a manager walked down through the crowd and said, "We need everyone to take the safety position. Please move all the carts, everyone needs to be against the back wall and in a crouch. THIS is NOT a DRILL!"

The woman next to me immediately started sobbing.

Not just quiet, worried tears. Full out sobbing.

Everyone else was commenting, "Why did I come to Wal-Mart today?" "Wal-Mart is the worst place to be." "All those people in Joplin who were at the Wal-Mart died."

Then one lady got her husband on the phone and he turned on the news and gave her a play-by-play of exactly what the news was saying, which she then relayed to us.

After about 10 minutes of that, I couldn't take it anymore. So I pulled my kindle out of my purse and opened my book.

Everyone around me thought I was connecting to the internet, so they asked me what was going on. I just said, "Nope, it's a book."

And then I became the crazy person. One lady asked, "Oh, what are you reading?"

I was reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. But instead of just saying that, and saying, yeah, it's good. I went on and on about what it was about and the amazingness of the story.

After an hour, someone came by and said there was a super dark cloud right over the parking lot, and we had to wait for that to clear.

Then after an hour and fifteen minutes, they gave us the all clear and said we were free to go. Everyone rushed for their carts and the register. I didn't know where the dark cloud had "cleared" to, so I rushed straight out the door to my car and headed straight home. The dark cloud was on my right the entire way, but my area didn't have any damage.

The whole situation was kind of freaky, and I never ever want to get stuck in a Wal-Mart ever again. But I do have to say that the Wal-Mart employees were very kind. They brought us cookies and chocolates and bottles of water. They were as hospitable as possible.

War wound.

I cut my finger. Totally my fault, totally a dumb accident, and totally freaked me out.

I panicked and called my friend Julianne. She came right over with her doctor roommate, who cleaned me up, stopped the bleeding, and got me all patched and bandaged up.

The best part of the story is all the reactions to my large bandage.

It was finals week at work so after actually explaining the entire story, one of my colleagues said, "Yeah, I don't think that any of us should be operating any heavy machinery this week." Everyone laughed, and then she said, "Maybe we shouldn't even be driving."

Then I went to class, and of course my students had tons of comments. Everyone asked what I had done and when I said, "I cut my finger," one student said, "Did you cry?" And he sounded really excited about it.

I said, "Well, no. It's not a crying thing. It's more of a 'AHHH! WHAT JUST HAPPENED!!!"

Then I went in to my evening class, and one of the students had his finger wrapped and bandaged. Exact same hand, exact same finger. So everyone made both of us tell the story of what happened. (He cut his while reloading his weed-eater).

Then after all the school/work questions and explanations, I went to Wal-Mart to run some errands. I was walking down the aisle, looking for toothpaste or something, and a fifty-year-old man walked past me. He looked at my hand holding on to my shopping cart and said, "Oh boo-boo."

I just looked at him.

"That's a big ouchie."

Then I was just like, um, are you kidding?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oh, by the way, 1985 called. It wants its car back.

My neighbor used to drive a Hummer.

She traded it in a few weeks ago for a red Camero.

Her Camero has racing stripes.

This has me thinking, maybe I should have made a deal with myself: When I turn 30 and am single, I buy myself a fancy sports car.

Is it cheating to make the deal only 5 days before the big birthday?

Maybe I should just get racing stripes painted on my Civic.

Or maybe flames.

Which reminds me of House and his cane. "The flames make it look like I'm going fast."

Friday, May 20, 2011

You think you know me because you read my books?

The end of the semester --> sigh of relief and joy.

So here's what I've been reading.

The Running Man -- Stephen King
The Running Man

I read this for my over-the-phone book club. It is a distopia, end of the world, very dark story. It takes place in America, sometime in the future, when the major source of entertainment is a bunch of reality shows that basically lead to the deaths of the poor citizens. The biggest show, with the biggest prize is called The Running Man. The story follows a poor sap who becomes the "star" of the running man.

It is an interesting story. As always Stephen King has great details and a lot to think about. But it is very dark and not a happy story in any way. So while it was an interesting read, it wasn't particularly enjoyable.

Naked Heat -- Richard Castle
Naked Heat (Nikki Heat)

Ha ha ha. I love Castle. This is not anything serious, just a very formula murder mystery. But my favorite part of these books is that they act like Castle is a read writer and I can just picture the tv show writers sitting around cracking themselves up as they are writing.


No Time Left -- David Baldacci
No Time Left (Kindle Single)

Amazon has developed a new thing called "Kindle Singles" which are short stories that you can buy for about a dollar. I read this one and the next one for my short stories class. It was fun, and actually a great idea. It is great to spend one dollar and pass an hour or so reading a little short story.

No Time Left is about a professional hit man and his latest target. It is sort of a mystery, but very predictable. It was still enjoyable because of the good details.


Leaving Home -- Jodi Picoult
Leaving Home: Short Pieces (Kindle Single)

This one is actually two short stories and a letter by Jodi Picoult. The stories were good, and fairly typical Picoult-style. Meaning she writes about families dealing with issues. But it was entertaining.


The Hangman's Daughter -- Oliver Potzsch
The Hangman's Daughter

Back to a real book.

This story takes place in Germany and centers around the village hangman and his family. The town is plagued by the mysterious deaths of several young orphans and the hangman works to figure out what happened.

I found this to be a pretty inconsistent story. It started off as a story about a conflicted young man who didn't want to follow his father's profession as a hangman. Then suddenly it shifted to a story about witchcraft and a witch hunt, and a mystery that the hangman was able to solve. Despite being called the Hangman's Daughter, she didn't feature in the story much at all.

Overall, it wound up being an interesting story, but not great. It just kept trying to go in so many different directions.


The Forgotten Garden -- Kate Morton
The Forgotten Garden: A Novel

This is a story of a family mystery. At different points it reminded me of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox and at other points of The Thirteenth Tale.

Although it did remind me a little of those stories (both of which I loved by the way), it was a very original story about a woman trying to find out about her past. It was told in three and four different time periods, which was an interesting approach.

This was the best book out of this bunch. I highly recommend it. It was enjoyable and entertaining and made me care about the characters.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What's with the flowers?

I was surprised with flowers this week.

I had an exam to give on Thursday night. So I went into my classroom a few minutes early. I know that the students get nervous, so I try to get there early and help them calm down.

I walked in, and there were these beautiful gerber daisies on my desk.

I said, "Oh my gosh! Did you get me flowers?"

And one of the students said, "Yes."

On Tuesday, she had asked me what my favorite flowers were. Smart person that she is, she had claimed that her son had to do a survey for a school project, so he was making her ask everyone about their favorite flower. She really did go around the whole room, so I totally didn't think anything of it.

She also got a thank you card and let everyone sign it.

It was a really nice surprise.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

We thank you with enormous gratitude for chasing away the foosa.

This is my fridge of gratitude.

You may remember Carla's Attitude of Gratitude Challenge that she does each November. I've been working on being more grateful. I've done the posting on my blog, I've kept journals, I've made lists that I have stuck in drawers. But I never really thought about them again.

So right now, I am painting with watercolors on my fridge. Do you know how often you look at your fridge every day? It's a lot. Especially if you are like me.

There aren't any rules to this one. I just paint different things whenever I think of them.

Leonard's research is as groundbreaking as third graders planting lima beans on paper towels.


Conventional wisdom here in the middle says don't plant until after Mother's day. This year that was extremely important. There were frost warnings the few days before Mother's day.

And then the two days after were 90 degrees.

And now it is unseasonably cool again.

But I decided to press on with some plantings anyway.

This is the cool planting box I found. It is supposed to help with watering too. In it I have a bell pepper plant, a tomato plant, cucumbers and zucchini.

My herbs on the windowsill. Mint, basil, a tiny basil, a tiny parsley, parsley, and tomato.

Some pretty flowers.

And then this guy came out to play.

It's a frog. I probably could have caught it, but that freaks me out.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I spent it with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines!

Current favorite line on the Comedy Radio station:
"The only reason Alaska is part of the United States is because when the Canadians went in, they saw the Eskimos with all their meat and blubber and said, 'Oh, the Americans got here already.'"

And because you can't have an Alaska joke without Sarah Palin:

"I can see Russia from my house."