previous posts
Goombas on the 50 yd line.
Now in color!
Halloween's most frightening skeleton.
Election Day mayhem.
Xmas lists.
And I'm in!

October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
October 2008
November 2008

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Butterflies and swooning.

I happened to be standing in one spot outside for more than a few minutes yesterday - a rare occurrence indeed - which afforded me the opportunity to observe a butterfly flitter past. It was orange and black, and I recognized it as probably a Monarch.
Then I noticed another of the same species and marveled at how pretty the little things were with their decorated wings and gracefully erratic flight patterns.
Then I noticed another.
And another.
Within the span of about 30 minutes, I counted dozens of butterflies! All were flying in a general southwesterly direction (though not in a straight line) and most were paired up with another butterfly, or two, or three.
Apparently my house lies directly under the Monarch Butterflies' autumn migration path. I get to see them as they pass by on their long flight to Mexico. How cool is that? :)

On a more startling and less soul-gratifying note...

A girl fainted on me yesterday. I was sitting in an aisle seat to watch a speaker on whom I have been assigned to write an article for a class. The school's theater was packed well beyond fire code and those unable to find seats stood against the walls.
In the military, soldiers are cautioned not to lock their knees when standing for long periods of time or risk fainting. I never quite understood how that worked.
Apparently, she hadn't gotten the memo. I'm not sure if it was the locked knee thing, but I'd be willing to bet it was at least a contributing factor.
There I was, intently trying to capture full quotes with my pen and paper, when - Wham! - she fell onto my lap and slid down to the floor like a dispatched Redwood.
I must admit, my very first thought was, "Hey! Get off me!" but that soon turned to, "Oh, okay, I think I they covered this in that First Aid course I took last year."
"Are you okay? Are you okay?" I touched her shoulder and spoke loudly like they taught us. Three hundred people or so looked on and someone shouted they were calling 911. The speaker stopped talking amid the chaos that surrounded me and the unconscious girl.
I couldn't tell, but it looked like she may have suffered a slight seizure for 3 or 4 seconds. When she came to, I helped her to sit up. There was a throng of people at hand ready to assist, so I relegated myself to simply pulling her long hair away from her face and standing by.
And here is where I've been influenced by tacky journalism: As the girl recovered, I asked her her name. Partly I was helping to ascertain her awareness and mental status, but also partly I was making a note for inclusion in my article.
Water and orange juice were brought to the girl as she sat, waiting for authorities and apologizing for causing a ruckus. The speaker attempted to get back on course, but realized that it was futile and, citing awkwardness, ended the talk early.
So surreal. Really.
posted by hilary at 9:09 AM | 5 comments | links to this post

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Frought with emotion.

I rarely remember my dreams unless I'm woken up mid rem cycle. Last night it was my dream that woke me up, guaranteeing its place in my conscious memory.

There was a second floor balcony on a sort of New Orleans style building. Two friends of mine - I don't know who they were, though I suppose I must have in the dream - were urging me up to the balcony to proselytize to the people below on the street. I didn't really want to; I didn't know what to say.
When I reached the balcony, I started telling people about the importance of Rosh Hashanna, and Yom Kippur. But a few words into my improvised, heartfelt speech, the friends flanking me started shouting out to the people what it was I was trying to say. Only it wasn't what I was trying to say. It was like a game of telephone where once person says something, and repeaters change it until it's unrecognizable. These folks were doing that before I even had the words out of my mouth. And they were louder.

I wasn't mad about it, I just kinda stopped talking. Why try to out shout someone? As I stood on the balcony, I realized I could see onto a rooftop below. There was my paternal grandfather sitting among chaos. There was broken furniture and all sorts of debris around him. He was sitting in a small chair, holding an old black & white photograph of my young, skinny grandmother with my six or seven year old father on her lap. I had to be there, and since it's a dream, I was.

My memory is fuzzy from there. I remember him, I remember the smell of Old Spice, I remember the photograph, and I remember waking up while dreaming that my head was in the lap of someone - my mom? my dad? my grandmother? - crying deeply with my whole body, "I miss my grandfather," over and over again.

It was nice, since he died a few years ago and I haven't cried yet.
posted by hilary at 9:05 AM | 4 comments | links to this post

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Flip-flop flop.

Are flip-flops really that comfortable? So comfy that people have no problem flip-flopping their way to school in 50 degree morning weather? Does the comfort factor outweight the frozen feet factor?

No matter what the temperature, I can't stand them personally. It's not that I don't like the way they look (which I don't; there's something about that thong-between-the-toes thing that has schkeeved me since I was a child), it's that I can't walk in them comfortably. I watch other people's feet as they walk, and no one I've seen seems to have to scrunch up their toes like I do to keep the quasi-shoe from falling off between each step. I wear them on the most infrequent of occasions - like to the beach, or the pool where I know I'm going to need to remove my footwear as soon as I arrive. I can't imagine wearing them to school, where I probably log about 3 miles of walking with a 50lb pack on my back.

Clogs, I like. We have a love/hate relationship though. If they're too loose, we get the toe-scrunchy flip-flop thing going on. If they're too tight, that's not good either. My favorite clogs are those made for winter wear. They're cozy and comfy and made for use with nice, thick socks. Mmm... on a dry winter day when I don't need to worry about stomping through slush, give me a good clog and I'm happy. For slush, my footwear of choice is either my hiking boots, or for really slushy days, my LL Bean boots.

Even on the coldest, slushiest days up here, I still see crazy lazy people on campus flip-flopping to class. You can lead a person to proper footwear, but you can't make them put their shoes and socks on.
posted by hilary at 8:50 AM | 6 comments | links to this post

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lettuce entertain you.

I went to a lovely wedding yesterday. The ceremony itself was fabulous. They held it on the grounds of a public mansion on a hill overlooking a picturesque river scene and since there weren't more than a couple of dozen guests, it was elegant without being flamboyant.
The reception was held at a cozy nearby restaurant on the river. Lovely reception, not so lovely food.
The way the food was served was as if these people had been watching gourmets on Food Network and thought, "We can do that!" Specifically the visual attempt was comically amateurish, in my non-foodie opinion. Take the salad you see in the picture above (slyly snapped with my phone cam). It's a quarter head of iceberg lettuce (yuck, iceberg?) with diced tomatoes and croutons floating in a pool of ranch dressing. Um? Is this supposed to look like gourmet food architecture or something? It doesn't. It looks like the salad chopper got lazy.
It would have been fine if the taste made up for the arrangement, but it didn't. It wasn't terrible, just... mediocre. My linguini was oily, the broccoli had been oversteamed, and I'm really not even sure what kind of sauce they were trying to pass off with the asparagus. Hollandaise, it was not. Ranch? Entirely possible. I didn't try it.

So... in summary, Yay for the wedding! Not so much for the food. Thankfully that's not what we were there for.
posted by hilary at 8:53 PM | 4 comments | links to this post

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

School spirit.

I go to a pretty huge university. We've got thousands of students roaming the campus at any given time. On my walk from the top floor of one building to the far wing of another between my JRN and MAT class, I get to join the crush of the student body as we jostle through the halls this way and that. Yay.

When so many people congregate in small spaces, certain trends start to appear that might otherwise go unnoticed. Caps, for example. I can't tell you how many NBA and MLB hats I see. Yankees, sadly, seem to rule the baseball genre. What I don't really understand is the proliferation of other university's logo caps. For example, I don't got to UT, but I saw about a zillion Longhorns in the halls today. Notre Dame, too, is a big one with their little shamrock thingy.

How many of my own university's logos did I see grace the caps of the multitude today? Zero. None. Nada.
I wonder if there's a UT student walking around his campus wearing a cap with our mascot on it?
posted by hilary at 7:58 PM | 3 comments | links to this post

Monday, September 11, 2006

Patriot day.

posted by hilary at 11:24 AM | 2 comments | links to this post

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Minnie balls.

Hey, Kristine, guess what I saw on the way to school this morning?

An RV, with the title "Minnie" written boldly across its side...
...and pink, plastic testes hanging from its hitch.

I thought of you. :)
posted by hilary at 9:13 AM | 1 comments | links to this post

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The school of duh.

I laid out my clothes last night.
I set my alarm to pre-vacation crack-of-dawn earliness.
I made sure my backpack was organized properly with everything I'd need.

I woke up, got ready, grabbed coffee, and hit the road at 8am. That gave me 90 minutes to get to class - a slop time factor of about 15-20 minutes to guarantee a chance to be first in the classroom.

The traffic jam started at about the same place it usually does, but from there it just sort of stood like a stagnant parking lot of fumes and pissed off commuters. For about 5 miles, I crawled along at 5 miles per hour. My slop time factor disappeared and I had awful visions of walking into class LATE on the very first day!

Passing a huge accident blocking a major highway intersection, I stopped cursing imagined construction officials and relaxed in the self-centered realization that I now had a better excuse for my tardiness than simply, "Traffic was bad."

My first thought as I arrived on campus was that it seemed awfully strange that people were busily moving into the dorms. "Won't they be late for class?"
Minutes later, I thought it odd when no guards were present to hassle me as I attempted to park in the usually crowded garage. In fact, on every first-day-of-the-semester I could remember, parking was an absolute nightmare. Yet here I was, sliding into a first floor parking spot with no trouble at all.

I gathered my belongings and walked through two buildings on the way to my class. The hallways were fairly empty with only a few students or professors meandering this way or that. "I'm so late," I thought, "Everyone is already in class." And yet, the classrooms that I passed on my way were empty and dark.

Finally arriving at the computer science lab, rehearsing an apology in my head, I was stunned to find the door locked and the lights off. Stunned! Because, you know, I had absolutely no clue at all that anything could possibly be amiss.

I grabbed my cell and called my mom, "Uh, today is the 6th, right?"

posted by hilary at 11:53 AM | 4 comments | links to this post

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mochi delight.

Chocolate mochi ice cream. It's heaven in a finger food. Cold, creamy, chocolate ice cream wrapped in an easily graspable soft mochi shell. No messy spoons, syrups, bowls... just golf ball sized deliciousness to be enjoyed with eyes closed in expression of chocolate bliss.
Thank you Trader Joe. Thank you.
posted by hilary at 5:41 PM | 2 comments | links to this post

Friday, September 01, 2006


I just discovered a peach tree growing on the edge of my yard. It's coming up through the low boughs of an old evergreen, which surprises the heck out of me since there isn't a whole lot of sunlight available at ground level under there. All I can assume is that, at some point, I must have tossed a peach pit into the treeline and lo and behold, it took root. The tree is right now about 6 feet tall and has a bunch of peaches clinging to it, ripening as we speak.

So neat. :)
posted by hilary at 9:00 AM | 3 comments | links to this post