Wednesday, May 28, 2008


So I'm driving down Compton Road tonight about 6, on my way from home my department's spring picnic. (Spending the day at Winton Woods grilling out is tough!)

And walking down the side of road are two little kids, a boy and a girl. Now Compton Road is busy and there is no sidewalk, so it was basically like seeing two little aliens walking down road it was such a foreign sight. Traffic was backing up to go around them and in front of me a big white windowless van (i.e. child molester van) was stopped behind them.


The van was making me nervous because I kept thinking whoever was driving was going to stuff these little kids in it. Not to be all prejudiced against windowless white van drivers, but come on. It didn't look like a plumbing van is all I'm saying.

After the van passes and the car in front of me passes I pull up beside them and ask if they're lost. The little boy, who's wearing a bicycle helmet, tells me no, they're not lost but they're walking around until they find their house. I'm thinking there's no way these kids' mom knows they're walking down Compton Road, so I pull over. In behind me pulls over another car.

I ask the little boy if he's lost again and ask if knows his phone number. He tells me his phone number and I ask his mom's name. About that time the guy who pulled in behind me walks over to us and he and I look at each other, bewildered.

The little girl tells me her name is Isabella and his name is Drew and she's 6 and he's 5 and they were playing at the creek behind his house but then they started walking down the creek and weren't sure where they were. They were completely calm and unperturbed, just carrying creek sticks and figuring they'll wander home eventually.

So I call the little boys' phone number and a hysterical woman answers.

"Is this Natalie?" I ask. Now here I'm wondering what to say to a mom in this situation. Hey, your kid nearly got hit by 10 cars on Compton Road, better come get him! Or, Hey Nat, your little boy and the neighbor girl wandered off, it's all good though, I got 'em!

I said something like, Umm... I have your little boy Drew here on Compton Road. And she starts flipping. I mean flipping. I tell her it's ok, they're safe, they just seem to have gotten a bit lost. She tells me they play at the creek all time, but 10 minutes passed, then 20, then 30. She's telling me all this through tears of course.

I try to tell her where I am but I really have no clue where I am (I'm only there for a picnic, after all). Fortunately the guy behind me lives around there so I hand him my phone so he can tell her where we are.

As we're waiting I chat some more with the kids, they tell me where they go to school, how they got lost, etc., and the guy and I start chatting about how we were both freaked out by the van and how upset the mom must be. Little Drew hears this and asks me if his mom is mad at him.

I tell him she's not mad, she's just upset because she didn't know where he was and that she'll be happy to see him, but she might still be upset when she comes to get him. So he turns to Isabella, his Compton Road partner-in-crime and says, "We're just going to keep walking."

No-no-no, I tell him. Your mom is coming to get you so you have wait. I pat him reassuringly on his bicycle helmet and tell him again she's not mad at him. The guy next to me also reassures him that while mommy may be upset, she's just worried and will be happy to see him.

I tell the guy I just came from a picnic and that I work at Children's and he's like, "Oh! What do you do?" all excited like. I tell him. Then he tells me he's an "ER doc" at Mercy-something-or-other and shakes my hand. (I feel like I disappointed him by not being a doctor or something.) Just then a black Honda Odyssey rolls up and out jumps Natalie, tears streaking her face and saying, "I cannot tell you how thankful I am. I cannot tell you how thankful I am."

So I hug her. She doesn't hug me back though. I figure because she's so upset. Or maybe I'm just the weird girl who just hugs hysterical moms. Whatever.

So then she tells the two kids to get into the van. They walk toward the van and she tells us the creek is in their backyard and he's never gotten lost before and she was looking everywhere and she's trying not to cry and thanking us profusely and then here comes Drew again. And I'm thinking, "Kid! Lay low! Just be quiet. Your mom is gonna flip'!"

And what's Drew say in the midst of all this? He walks over, looks up at her with these big blue eyes and long dark eyelashes and says, "Mom, can I sit in the front seat?"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oooh... You Got Served Wranglers

The Cyclones are in some sort of play-off game, and this guy was super excited about it. We high-fived him and clinked cans of $1 PBR about 20 times.

And the Cyclones won, because they... well, see above.

2 Legit, 2 Legit 2 Quit

I'm legal, y'all!

Now that I have that awesome song stuck in your head... I passed the motorcycle written exam yesterday. Missed two questions out of 30, but they don't count because they were un-motorcycle related questions. Such as, "If you refuse to take a road side drug or alcohol test what will happen?"

Ummm... C.

I actually found the motorcycle manual informative and useful, so it was no sacrifice to study it, but let's say you need to take the test a-sap - my advice is to pick C for any question you're unsure of. I'd say 75 percent of the answers were C on the exam I took.

Today Stella and I (since I can't afford a real Stella, I've named mine Stella to pretend) went for a long ride, and I suspect we'll be spending the day together tomorrow and Monday too.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

58 Pages O' Fun!

I'll be cramin' all night for the big exam tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lolita, Light of My Life...

Let me start by being honest.

I am not the reader I used to be. Ten years ago, as a young Lit. student, I'd have embraced the challenge, searched out the foreshadows and allusions and anagrams. These days, not so much. I am a lazy reader now. And that's why Lolita has taunted me from my nightstand since February 18. (How do I know when I started reading it? Because I put a Post-It on the title page with the date to see how long it would take me to finish.)

Lolita beat me up. It was difficult, revolting and sometimes even exasperating to read, not only for the story line but also for the ornate language. I never wanted to throw it across the room in frustration, but I certainly let it languish by my bed for long stretches.

I felt like Nabokov and I weren't getting along.

I decided to tackle Lolita because the last few books I've read have been lackluster at best, ( horrid is another way I'd describe them), and being that Lolita is one of Jen's favorites and Jen is one of my favorites, I felt it was a good choice. And it was a good choice.

I'm happy to say I have read Lolita. My pop-culture understanding of the character Lolita and the novel couldn't have been more wrong. Lolita is a tragedy wrapped in a terrible love story. Toward the end it switches to almost a detective novel and about 100 pages from the end it becomes utterly heartwrenching.

It was the last 100 pages that sent me to bed early to pick it up again and then kept me awake afterwards, turning Lolita over and over in my mind.

There were plenty of times I wanted Nabokov to get on with it, move the story forward. I didn't pick it up for prolonged periods because I felt like nothing else was going to happen - this pedophile was going to continue to abuse this girl ad nauseum forever and ever. But as Lolita ages, it turns. She becomes more cunning, less accomodating and the conflict that before was between Humbert and society (or the reader in this case) becomes more of a conflict between Humbert and Lolita.

There were pages upon pages of the book that I read to no avail. I didn't understand what was happening, I missed clues and events and would have to go back. The language was so dense and the writing so intricate it was hard for me to follow. Like I said, I am not the reader I once was.

But there were passages that I know I've never read anything more heartbreaking, more eloquent, more stunning. One of these is when Humbert sees Lolita again after her vanishing three years prior. The description of his love for her during their final visit is so rife with heartbreak and truth it took my breath away. I've never read anything like it.

And when he asks her - defeated, wan and worn at age 17 - to come back to him, I felt sorry for him, actually felt sorry for this vile man, that she didn't.

And that is why I understand why Jen so loves this book. Because in the end, after everything Humbert's done to destroy this girl, Nabokov is capable of making you feel sorry for him. Sorry for this man, the man who listened as Lolita cried herself to sleep every night the minute he feigned sleep.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

How We Do

This is Dan's photo, because he's a better photographer than I am.

The days were packed this weekend, but in a relaxing, low-key way. It seems the last few weekends have been full, so this weekend it was nice to sit back a bit, take it all in.

I realized Friday after work I had nothing to do. After the Ballet last Friday night and dinner at Nada - and eating out nearly every night for the last month - grilling and eating at home sounded so nice. So that's what we did.

Then I went completely insane at the bookstore.

It seems like it's been months since I've been to Joseph-Beth, one of my favorite places on Earth, so after dinner I strolled in and it was like being home after a long vacation. Oh how I'd missed you, JB! It was so exciting I wanted to touch every single book and read every one of them. Ok, so temporary insanity. There are a lot of crap books. (Hahaha. Buuuurn.)

Saturday was packed again, but in a fun way, with the crazy sold-out Reds game and Brandon Phillips bobblehead.

omgReds rockstar Dan and Gretchen hosted an all you can eat homemade helmet sundae bar on their rooftop afterwards, complete with four flavors of ice-cream, sprinkles, chopped nuts and.... drum roll, real live helmets!

omgHelmtSundae is still on a sprinkles high.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Post Traumatic Rick Roll'd Disorder

The sickest Rick Roll ever got dropped on me Saturday night. But not just me, everyone at Clique got an ear full of Rick Astley's freakishly deep man-boy voice.

It was brutal yet beautiful. I think I even danced to it. Possibly. It's all a blur now. But I do remember looking at Jay in the booth and thinking, "Damn. That was sick. You got me."

Then he made a motion like he was hosing down the dance floor, all fire fighter-like. I admit that if I was a DJ, I'd have done it too, so I kinda loved it.

This from the guy who once Rick Roll'd at me at 8:30 in the a.m. I couldn't click links for weeks I was so fearful. I still feel a little cagey.

I guess my question though is, is it normal to listen to the whole song when you get Rick Roll'd?


"LeBron James with no regard for human life."

Heee-lariously awesome.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Please Welcome Your New Course Snacking Champion

Yessss... Thinking back I was awesome.

Did you know they hand out snacks to runners during the Pig?!

Had I known this before I'd have run rather than cheered all those years.

Needless to say the Pig was fun! I was handed a Twizzler within 15 feet of starting my "sprint" to the finish and decided then and there, as I tore into that piece of strawberry grooved fun, that I'd snack my way through 6.8 miles. I'm the only person ever to actually gain weight while running.

In order I grazed on:

• A Twizzler, which I ate some of and then swung around above my head during particularly awesome sections of cheerers

• A piece of chocolate (Dove maybe?)

• A Hershey's Kiss

• An orange wedge (which I nearly choked to death on)

• Two Gummi Bears (one red, one white)

• A sip of beer (which I also nearly chocked to death on)

My race strategy proved brilliant, if not a little stomach upsetting, as I was crowned the winner of a brand new course snacking record.

Speech? Well... ok... First of all, big ups to God for this huge win. I gotta give a shout to my family for really being there for me, and of course my friends who helped me train for this difficult competition. Thanks for the Funyons you guys! But most of all I'd like to thank the fans and spectators because really, without you, I couldn't have done it. No really, I couldn't have.

In addition to snacking my other "race strategy" to high-five anybody who'd let me was equally rewarding. I didn't set any course records for this one but I feel like I made a few kids' days doing it, so it was totally worth it.

It's hard to chit-chat with fellow runners when you can't breathe, but one guy who was struggling along beside me during the final stretch turned to me and said, "Y'all ain't got a flat road in this town, do ya?"

I gave him a sympathetic look as we stared at the incline ahead of us said, "It ain't lookin' good, is it?" And that poor sap probably ran the whole marathon.

Aside from nearly getting my toe severed off, it was a lot of fun.

I had worried that running in it wouldn't be nearly as fun as drinking a latté and cheering is, but it was. It was way more fun. And hopefully I'll stop limping soon!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

When Keepin' It Real Goes Wrong

Cassius is exhausted after doing the Piglet Fun Run this morning.

Since I won't be making my mark on the Pig with an awesome fast time, I've been thinking of other ways.

Last week I decided if I really wanted to have fun with it I needed to give people something to talk about, something that really captures the essence of all out running. So I decided I needed to vomit right at the finish line. Even better if it was photographed by race photographers.

I figure this would really sell it to spectators that I ran hella-hard and that I'm a bad-ass. "Did you see that girl vomiting?! Whoa. That was awesome."

At least that's what I'd say if I saw someone vomiting at the finish line.

Tuesday night I was running down Zumstein and decided to "practice" my finish. I concentrated on taking long strides to make me look more graceful, landed on the balls of my feet to appear faster and held my gaze up.

I was looking the part, I think. I did this for about 200 yards, really selling it to the hundreds of spectators lining Zumstein... who were in my imagination.

No sooner did I stop and start walking did I get woozy and nauseous and nearly vomited during my "practice" finish. (God I'm a candyass.)

It was pretty unpleasant, so I'm rethinking my big vomity finish on Sunday.

Yet I can't help but recall the glimmer of pride in my track coach's eyes when we'd vomit after a work out or a race.

"Leave it all out there," she'd say. I never thought she was talking about puke, but looking back, maybe she was.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Health Food

Gotta stay in shape for the Pig.