Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry (almost) Christmas

So far, my luck in finding a job has been bad. I have decided that I will not find gameful employment in the two months before I leave. At best, I can still make a profit running around and picking up the loose change that falls out of my older brother's pockets and on the floor of my sisters car. I'm slowly building my fortune. When I'm not hunting for change around the Cross house, I am....well, I'm never really sure how I fill my days but I always end up doing something. The only exception to that is the past week when I have taken over the brown couch as my little illness island. Bronchitis.
After a visit to the un-sympathetic, drug-pushing doctor, I decided to tough it out and just try to cough all of the gunk out of my lungs to avoid pneumonia, normal for me (too much information? Sorry, you should be prepared for that). I feel better today than I have all week so I win in the game of Amy v. sickness. Does anyone else play that game when they're sick? I always win in the end, weird. I spent most of my couch-bound time knitting and staring off into space, reading, and watching made-for-tv movies. Grand. I'm glad that part of my life is over and feel better in thinking that the next time I'm sick, it will most likely be by some exotic tropical disease in Africa (erase that from your memory, Mom).
I got a point in the previously mentioned Amy v. sickness game, by the way, for finding the ule log channel on demand. If I was never sick, then I never would watched all of the How I Met Your Mother episodes and I never would have explored further. Again, too much unnecessary information (its a habit, I blame my sister).
So, as I am sure by now you have concluded, this post is pointless and is most definitely a waste of your life to read. Why are you still reading? Well, its interesting to read what is happening in another persons mind or in their life. As this is a completely unfiltered forum for the ramblings of my easily distracted little mind, it is vaguely interesting. Example a, you are reading this right now. If it is a waste or your life to read this then isn't it a waste of my life to write it, you ask? No. My dear, dear friend Meredith and my sister both have spent a lot of time bugging me about writing another update, even though there is (obviously) nothing exciting enough to update about. This is to satisfy them. I'm a people-pleaser.

My plans for the future (between now and leaving for Africa): Making my own flash paper out of toilet paper, a flare, boiling water, as spoon, and a match. PROJECT! I'm going to be my own supplier for flammable magic trick paraphernalia.

I apologize if this is all a bit pointless and scattered; I've been on cold medication all week.

So its Christmas time again! Lets all join hands together, sing a carol or two (though with this nasty cough, you won't want to listen to me sing) and then watch another cartoontastic twist of Dickens's most famous work. I'll bring the figgy pudding (is that really just pudding with figs in it?)!!!

Don't spend hours at the mall tomorrow, on Christmas eve, spend it with the people you love. After all, if you don't have a gift for them yet, obviously they're not important enough to get one from you. Maybe you should spend that time building your relationship instead of yelling at the slow person in the parking lot who just won't give up their awesome, should-be-a-persons with disabilities spot because its sooo close to the door-spot. If you do go somewhere tomorrow, park in back, enjoy being outside, you probably don't spend enough time outside.

That's enough, I warned you about the cold medication.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I've been home for 2 weeks and 2 days.

So, 2 weeks is too long to go without posting anything? Noted.

So far I've been spending my time job hunting for a job that will only last for a few months and is within barrowing-a-car-from-family distance. Its not happening. We'll see. Maybe I'll sell my blood? No.

A couple of days ago Diana and I took the bus to the REI in Seattle so that I could give Diana a lesson in riding the bus. Evidently, I'm a bad teacher; she's still confused.

Yesterday I went to Olympia to visit both Grandma's an Aunt and an Uncle.

Right now I'm sitting next to Jeff, my brother (Woohoo for first blog shoutout to the Jeffinator!), watching muppet parodies of genius songs (eg, Bohemian Rhapsody).

That's really all that I'm up to. I'll post some pictures when I'm on a computer that can read my 8 G memory card because my camera cord was a victem in Floyd's death.

Satisfied Meredith?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Roadtrip fail. Que Sera Sera

These photos are in reverse order. Back at home, this is Lake Stevens.

Gloomy airport gate. I would much rather be on the road. Oh well.

Somewhere inbetween Santa Ana and San Fransisco.

My airplane.

The last picture I took of Floyd before the sketchy Russian man took him away.

Diana and I in front of the castle.

Tea cups :).

Splash Mountain.

Haunted mansion.

Waiting to get into the park.

We were first in line :).

Since my exhaust system fell off of my car (you're read that later) I had to miss the walk of fame in Hollywood, so this makes up for that.

On Highway 101, you curve around a lot through the landscape. I would be driving through hills and rural areas, then the road would just open up to show the Pacific Ocean as far as you can see. Wonderful. This is the Californian Coast.

Before it opened up to the ocean.

The Redwood Forest. Those trees are pretty large and in charge.

Babe, the blue Oxe.

Paul Bunion himself

Me, Paul, and Blue.

Floyd, Paul, and Blue.
Flody and the californian Coast (its through that opening but it started to rain so you can't really see it).

Me and the Redwood forest.

Floyd and the Redwoods.

Me and a giant fyberglass T-Rex.

Floyd and the T-Rex.
I didn't post anything for the duration of my road trip because my computer started smoking and never turned on again.

Its just like Floyd to go down with flair. Aside from the general over heating, occasional smoking, and, every once in a while, refusing to move up hills (or at all)...and oh yeah, running really rich, I have no idea what was wrong with him. I will never know now. I sold him to a junk yard so I wouldn't have to be stranded in L.A. anymore. I'm pretty sure I got ripped off by the scuzziest junk yard man in the history of the world. Oh well, I'm home now.

I'm a little annoyed that my exciting road trip failed (mostly) and I'm back home, with an extra month and nothing to do (for now, 103 days until I leave for Africa, according to my Mom's count down. Is she excited? or sad? haha). on the other hand, I always sort of have trips and things planned for myself and they rarely work out. I'm just happy that this one sort worked out-I left. I was trying to figure out what I'm going to do with myself for the next 103 days. I thought about going back to Holden, but I'm trying really hard to resist the need that everyone feels to default back there when things don't necessarily move forward. Besides, I feel like I'm sort of saving my return for after Peace Corps.

Ok, so here is the story from when I posted last until Monday night:

Friday, November 6th, 2009 (Newport, Oregon, day 4):

That morning I packed up and left because I had just learned that I had to make it from Newport, OR to Santa Cruz, CA (which I knew), 14 hours of driving, about 642 miles (didn't know). I made it after being over-tired, extremely frustrated, slightly lost, and in aww over the Golden Gate Bridge (did anyone know that is a toll bridge??) That night I was staying with Carol from Holden. Carol lives up in the mountains above Santa Cruz, where there is no cell phone reception. So, I was in the woods, after dark, winding through the mountains at night, up steep roads. At this point Floyd was already having trouble rounning (because of the 642 mile drive that day). There came a spout where all of the forks in the road got so steep that I couldn't get the car to move forward any more up the hills. I had to get it off the road, so I pulled it inbetween two forks, as much off the road as I could (not very much). I picked up my pack, and started walking toward Carol's place. Eventually (after being barked at by a bunch of dogs and questioned by a bunch of owners and neihbors) a car pulled over to ask me if I was hitch hiking (I was looking pretty sketchy by this point). When I told the elderly couple in the car that I wasn't hitch hiking but that I was staying with Carol, and yes, she knew I was coming, they said, "well, oh. You're one of her Holden friends then! Get in the car, I'm her neihbor, Marsha, I can give you a lift to her driveway". After thanking her and telling her that yes, that was my car back there and I know its not that far off the road but it wouldn't move forward anymore and I was lucky it was out of the road at all, we made it to carols place (pretty far up the hill). I thanked them, a lot, and headed to Carols house, where she was waiting for me with open arms, asking me if I found it alright. Ugg. I went inside and we talked for a while about Holden and people we know, the trip I had getting there, ect. Eventually I expressed my need to go to sleep before passing out. I got to sleep in a bed for the first time in a while, that was exciting (sorry, I didn't get a picture of it).

Saturday, November 7th, 2009:
The next morning I was so anxious about my car that I couldn't sleep, so I was up before dwawn. We ate breakfast and as soon as it was light outside, I looked at the car a bit (determining that it was a faulty mass airflow sensor that I put in the car a couple weeks prior) and headed down the hill after saying goodbye to Carol and giving her the hat I knitted for her. I went to 2 different auto-parts stores and bought a new mass airflow sensor, and the cheapest socket set they had ($3) and put in the knew MAS in the parking lot with the help of a random man who saw my having trouble fitting all of the parts together (engines are pretty congested places, I've discovered). I put the knew part in and it didn't do anything. Annoyed that I just spent a bunch of money on nothing, I decided to hit the road anyway because I needed to pick up Diana from the Santa Ana airport by 9:30 at the lastest and it was already noon. 410 miles that day. The further I drove, the worse the car got. At times, I had to pull the car back to 2nd gear just so I wasn't loosing speed at a slight incline. By the time I made it to L.A. , I was sure I wouldn't make it much forther than Anaheim, I was just trying to push forward as much as I could so Diana wouldn't be stranded at the airport. L.A. traffic sucks. Stop and go traffic is especially aggrevating when every time you stop (especially on a hill) you're not confident that the car will actually move forward when you start again. So, on the freeway, I wound through Los Angeles until South L.A. when I had to pull off of the side of the road into a laundry matte parking lot because I heard a loud noise and then the sound of steel being dragged under my car. When I got under the car to look at it my exhaust pipe fell off of my car and was dragging because it was still attached to the muffler and hooked up over the rear axel. After spending a while on the phone with my Dad he told me that I had to free the exaust pipe so I could drive the car still. I grabbed the knife that I cut yarn with and my headlamp and layed down on the ground (in the world grosses parking lot) and hacked at the rubber holders that were keeping the muffler attached to the car because I had to get the (disconnected) muffler off so that I could get the exhaust pipe off the axel. After a while of messing with it it finally came off and after a further while of messing with the exhaust pipe and jacking up the car and putting it down ,ect, I finally got that out too. The exhaust pipe went in the dumpster (or close to it) and the muffler went in my trunk with my broken lap top. I hit the road again. By the time I got back onto the freeway, traffic had gotten better and I found the humor in the situation and started laughing a bit at it (probably in a crazy way). After I got lost a few times again (I have no sense in direction) I made it to the airport and found a parking lot. I was there 45 minutes before Diana's plane landed, those 45 mintues, I fully intended to sleep but bafter a few seconds of the car being off the airport/parking lot shuttle was behind me honking to see if I wanted to shuttle to the airport. I decided that 45 minutes of sleep wouldn't do much and got onto the shuttle. I got off and walked around in the airport appreciating my ability to walk around after so long in the car. I picked up Diana (who was astonished by the sounds Floyd was making without a muffler) and we headed back to the hotel we had reserved after, of course, getting lost a bit trying to find it. (Stupid McCarther Street in Santa Ana, we hate you!!!) We decided, back at the hotel, to trying to ignore the car and that happened.

Sunday, November 8th, 2009:
Anaheim, California

We got up early (what's a little less sleep?) and were t the park, first in line by 7:20am (opens at 8:00). We had checked out from the library at home "The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland" (highly recommended). We did Disneyland (open to close) in 16 hours, one day. We saw most of what there is to see and it wasw beautiful...Even though, most of the time I was falling in and out of being really sucked into the experience and being tripped out by the truman show affect of it all. Weird. It was a great day. The ngiht ended with a lazor light show projected onto a screen of shooting up water. The last song was "When You Wish Upon a Star", perfect Disney. We couldn't have asked for a better ending. We went back to the hotel extremely tired. While we were at the park, the family was looking for a flight home (cheap for me ASAP) because I decided to junk the car and fly home. check.

My favorite ride was Peter Pan. Disneyland was everything I hoped it could be.

Monday, November 9th, 2009:
Anaheim, and Santa Ana, California

Another early morning. Diana and I got up erally early (again) and called every junk yard in the phone book to see how to get rid of Floyd (sniffle). The problem was that I recently changed the title to be in my name (in case I had to get rid of it) but it was still in the mail. Since it was an out of state title that I dont' have yet, no one would take the car, let alone buy it from me. Finally, I found the sketchiest man alive and he took Floyd away. I dropped Diana off at the airport. The junk yard man offered free towing from wherever I was so I drove Floyd to a hotel parking lot across the street from the airport (Diana's idea) and meet him there. We filled out paperwork, I took pictures of Floyd, then he took him away and I picked up all of my stuff and walked across the street to the airport. When I got the the airport, the lady at the desk was having so much trouble checking me in (it took almost an hour) that her manager gave me priority seating to make up for the wait, so I got to board with the first class folks.

I waited in the airport for 5 hours until my flight left ( Diana's was early morning but mine was evening because it was a last minute ticket). Finally I got to board. Since I was a single person flying with a last minute, one-way ticket and a lot of random luggage (and looking pretty beat down by the world) I got pulled out of line twice and frisked. That's normal for me flying though. I had a 3 hour lay-over in San Fransisco. My second flight had my next to a woman holding her obnoxious toddler who had banana all over him and kept kicking me. She was also drinking. That was a pretty long flight (even though it was only 2 hours). I got to Seattle that night, where Diana had been waiting, and my Mom picked us up. We drove home and I went to bed and didn't wake up for a long time.

At least I have a story to tell now?

Good job if you read all of this.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Newport, OR: Day 3

Kaija and I with the lighthouse.

It was amazing! It looks like a postcard!

Me with the Oregon Coast!

Kaija with the Oregon Coast, her home.
Yesterday I woke up and spent a while dancing around to random traveling songs that I have on my ipond (this has become my morning ritual). I think yesterdays mix was the same as today's so it was: "Hard Road to Travel" by Jimmy Cliff , "We'll Meet Again" by Johnny Cash, "Gotta Travel On" by The Au Go-Go Singers, and "Postcards to Italy" by Beirut. Good mix!

So, yesterday, I spent most of the morning trying to figure out where I'm going to stay when I do Habitat for Humanity. There are a bunch of different options, I'm just trying to figure out which ones are still in operation. So, today, I'm not doing anything until I figure that out and reserve a spot for myself (which might prove to be difficult because, like yesterday, it is INSANELY windy here and it is messing with the internet connection. Oh well, at least I have it at all!

After messing with where I'm going to stay for a bit, I met up with a friend I met the night before and we walked over and met Kaija for lunch (Thai food). After hanging out there for a while I headed back here and Kaija and Robin headed to work. I talked on the phone with a few people, found a place ot stay in Central California, got free coffee from the front desk, and walked around the area for a while. After a while, Kaija got home (early) and we headed out to see the light house. There are two lighthouses in Newport, we went to Equina head light house. To save $7.00 we parked before the entrance and walked, maybe a mile and a half each way, to the lighthouse. I was a really great walk because you got to walk along the cliffs that sort of look over the ocean. It was beautiful. I was really windy so, naturally, we played around in the wind. By the time we turned the last corner to get to the lighthouse, it was sunset. Beautiful. We poked around the lighthoues for a while, then headed back.

We came back here, made dinner, skyped a friend from Holden and then played a game of Scrabble. Right when we finished the game of scrabble, some of Kaija's friends came over, they are doing a cleansing and wanted to go in the sauna. So we went. We sort of hopped between the jacuzzi, the pool, and the sauna. We got there 5 minutes before it closed so we had to have the night time cleaning guys let us in, they were happy to. We hung around there for a while then headed back to Kaija's place. We played another game of speed scrabble then they left and we hung out talking until we were both falling asleep.

This morning I've been doing my morning ritual of dancing around to the previously mentioned mix. I think today we might go to the other lighthouse. We'll see what happens.

Oh, and

Remember remember the Fifth of November, of GunPowder Treason and Plot. I see no reason, Why GunPowder treason, Should Ever Be Forgot.

Happy? Guy Fox Day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Newport, OR: Day 2

Who knew, Keiko lived in Newport!!!??? I didn't. This mural on the wall informed us that he did. I think this is Kaija and her friend, Robin, re-inacting Free Willy.

Kaija and I with Keiko.

Kaija and I. Evidently in Newport, they have this thing called "Aloha Tuesdays". If you wear a Hawaiian shirt and go to the local brewery (Rogue) they give you a free pint. Note: the Hawaiian shirts.

Sunset, I can't help myself.

Ripleys Beleive it or Not is here on the bayfront! Woah! I don't want to pay to go in but they have creepy music playing there all the time.

I hung out and watched the Sea Lions for a while (you can tell it was for a long time because the there are a TON of pictures of them).

Oh Beach Towns.....
When I Was taking a picture of this sign when some creepy probably 80-year-old man and I had this conversation:
man: How about that?
Me: How about what?
man: Just...How about that?
me: What??
man: I don't know, anything! How are you?
me: um...fine? [exit stage right]

So, since Kaija works like a normal human, I have the day to dink around the town and see whatever I want. I spent the day yesterday exploring all the peirs and different beaches and different stores. I got some salt water taffy, I watched the Sea Lions. The day was pretty uneventful but it was a lot of fun! I ended up talking about Peace Corps with the owner of this one store that sells a bunch of wood carvings and things like that. Good times. I like Newport!