Thursday, April 29, 2010

around the internets

I did a guest post over at Chip MacGregor's blog. Go on over and check it out (if you have any interest in books/agents/publishing/etc). It's the April 28 entry.

And see if you can catch my silly mistake ...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

that one river in egypt

When I was about 12 years old and we lived in Des Plaines (a house in which planes from O'Hare flew so close that it was like a scene straight out of Mary Poppins), there was this guy who would walk by our house every evening. Sometimes he had candy to give us kids. Sometimes he just walked.

But the most curious thing about him were his feet. And his shoes. His feet and his shoes. His one particular foot was way off. The sole of the shoe was all out on the outside of his foot and when he walked, it was actually the inside wall of his shoe that touched the ground. Not the sole.

We always thought it looked weird. Like he was walking on his ankles and not his feet. And I thanked God that my feet weren't like his.

Fast forward to present day.

The gym in which I work out has a million mirrors. On nearly every wall. This is nice when you want to spy on someone. It is not nice when you happen to look upon your own sweaty reflection.

It was because of these mirrors that I realized wowzers! That left foot of mine is really smashed down. In fact it's so smashed down that it's like that one guy in Des Plaines! That guy with the creepy feet!

I tried to ignore this issue. And when my new running shoes gave me shin aches and a sort lower back, I blamed it on my stride. Or the terrain. Or the fact that I had tried a new treadmill.

This is what is referred to as denial, people. And for months I've pushed through the pain and the aches and the swelling. JUST SO I COULD SAY MY FEET WERE NORMAL.

Well, after a particularly disturbing Facebook conversation in which I found out that my tendons could rupture!, I went and did the fancy thing where you run on a treadmill and an expert video tapes you and analyzes your feet.

I came out of that meeting with this:

My name is Amanda. And I overpronate. It is especially prominent in my left foot.

God? I take back what I said about thanking You for not making my feet like his.

Monday, April 26, 2010

This Morning - as depicted by my classical literature self

It just so happened that the time I was to get up this morning was also the time Tad was to be leaving for work.

And, it just so happened that when I groggily awoke five minutes before my alarm and turned to see Tad still sound asleep, I realized that something was horribly wrong.

“Tad,” I said probably a bit too harshly, “you’re supposed to leave, like, now.”

A flurry of covers and sheets. A moment of aimless wandering. A few “Arghs” and “Grrrs”. The morning had begun.

Though I lay in bed and contemplated his demise for a moment or two, I eventually got up to help him make it to work within a somewhat decent time frame. What can I say? The loving warmth of a bed is a temptation few are able to overcome.

I made his sandwich, leaving him to the intricacies of finding pants. And a shirt! And socks! And his toothbrush! And all seemed to be going along smoothly until more huffing and puffing told me something was amiss.

Alas, the ring was amiss, for it was missing.

Thirty seconds were wasted on locating the ring, but not in vain! For we all know the dangers of going to a place of employment without proper marital status identification (though a recent study showed that women are more likely to pursue the man with a ring …)

And it just so happened that he was out the door in good time and made it to work in time for the time clock to round in such a way that no one would know the truth.

And it just so happened that because of the morning’s events I, too, arrived on time for work, which isn’t generally a problem for me but can be from time to time and definitely is if you consider three minutes after the expected arrival time to be an example of tardiness. (It's a very consistent three minutes, I must say).

Funny how that is.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Save a Baby! - the recap

Our mission was simple.

1) Form a horseshoe around the stadium after Family Force 5 gets done performing.
2) Hand out as many Rock the Cradle booklets as possible as some guy from MercyMe talks about how important it is to help children not die
3) Return to the merch area with leftover booklets once David Crowder takes the stage.

Any questions?

Um, yes, actually. I raised my hand, "Can I get a sticker?"

Classic case of word vomit. As soon as the rep from Compassion gave me the look, I knew then was not the time or place to gripe about how I didn't have a Volunteer sticker WHEN CHILDREN NEEDED OUR HELP. But Brad had one! And all the other volunteers!

They were all out. Everyone looked at me weirdly. So, we left and headed into the arena.

Brad and I chose seats facing the stage, and quickly got to strategizing. We needed to NOT miss David Crowder. And the only way to do that was to make sure to get rid of all of our booklets. Every single one.

We came up with clever slogans that, when uttered, would make the people within earshot ridden with guilt and compelled to also take a pamphlet in order to prove that they too cared and wanted to see children make it to their 5th birthdays. This would result in 2, 3 or 4 booklets being given out at once!

Slogans consisted of:

Save a baby!
You have the power to make a difference!

Their lives are in your hands!

and my personal favorite

This one may not have much longer, sir.

After suffering through a few acts and enjoying others, the time came. Family Force was done. Some dude from MercyMe took the stage. And we jumped into action (well, actually we more like slid into action. Hesitantly. Because unlike the instructions, there was never a horseshoe. But nevertheless...)

I went up and down the aisles, up into the rafters, holding my booklets up and trying to give the sweetest smile I could. The person on stage stopped talking, but I kept going. I had about four more to go and I was not going to stop. One last-ditch visit to an upper deck section in the center, and I did it! I didn't even need the slogans!

I quickly got back to our seats. Brad had half of his booklets in his hand.

He had gotten stuck on the floor, where interest was low (it was full of teenagers) and the ratio of volunteers to people was not in his favor.

David Crowder began. We considered not stopping. Splitting up and getting rid of the rest. But then the lights went all crazy and we were forced to return to the Compassion booth with our leftovers. We only missed one of DCB's songs, so it wasn't too bad.

Then, after hearing one of MercyMe's songs, we left.

Personally, I think it was my zebra purse that got people to take my booklets. I mean, how can you look at a zebra purse and NOT think about Africa? And how can you think about Africa and NOT think about starving children?

I'm all about the subliminal messaging.

If you'd like information on Compassion International's Rock the Cradle campaign, visit them at

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ghetto Baby Strikes Again

For the full story on our new car, Ghetto Baby, go here to learn about naming cars and then here to learn about Ghetto Baby's first incident. I really do insist. It will make this post so much more interesting.

Well folks. He/She did it again (our car is androgynous). Our new Toyota that we so lovingly (and aptly) christened Ghetto Baby, had another quasi run-in with the law. But this time, the stakes were high. Real high.

I received a letter in the mail about 3 weeks after we purchased Ghetto Baby from the people who hold our loan. The letter said we didn't have proper coverage and therefore they could not follow through on the loan until we changed that.

But proper coverage, it turned out, was the least of our worries.

Customer Service: "Now Miss Amanda, you say you have full coverage?"

Me: "Yes."

CS: "And that's for the 2005 Corolla, VIN# xxxxxxxxx?"

Me: "Yes."

CS: "And you and your husband Tad and Mr. Guido are on the policy?"

Me: "Um, what?"

CS: "You, Tad, and Guido? Or Deeto? Maybe Neeto?"

Me: "I don't know who that last person is."

CS: "He's on the policy, Ma'am."

Me: "But I don't know him. I've never heard of him before in my life."

CS: "...This says you're keeping the Corolla in storage?"

Me: "What?!"

CS: "This coverage says that the Corolla is in storage. Did you buy the car from Mr. Neeto?"

Me: "No. We bought it from a dealer."

CS: (very abruptly) "Hold on one minute, Ma'am."

So at this time, I'm freaking out, because clearly the only solution is that Ghetto Baby really is a Ghetto Baby and was stolen or something. Tad immediately got online, looking up what to do if you accidentally buy a stolen car, who to talk to, how to come out without jail time. Stuff like that. But of course, because I was dealing with insurance people and loan people, the answer wasn't easily available. So after five days of wondering whether our Ghetto Baby had lived a life we only hear about from the movies, the answer came.

Mr. Neeto. Or Deeto. Or Guido, had failed to take Ghetto Baby off his insurance when he traded it in. One phone call and boom. He was off our policy and Tad and I could sleep, knowing our Ghetto Baby had pulled another fast one. Ah, the future with this car looks bright.

But all things considered, at least it's not like my other cars.

I just wish he/she wasn't such a wangster.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Four Years Later ...

The last time my friend Brad and I visited the Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum together, this happened:

About 50 pictures of us trying to be emo.

Can you blame us? We had gone there to see DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL.
And at that time he wasn't even cool anymore.

John was there.

Thom, too. Good times were had by all.

Well, this Friday Brad and I are headed to the Colisum again, but I'm hoping we'll have something else to show for it. This time, we're volunteers for Compassion International at a MercyMe concert. I know, I know, the perks that come with sponsorship ...

I'm not too excited about the MercyMe aspect (I mean how can they come close to Chris Carrabba, four years after his prime?), but I AM excited at the thought of helping other children get sponsors. I can only imagine how the evening will go ...

Cue parody.

Surrounded by those prospects, what will my self do?
Will I pass out the pamphlets or stand behind the booth?
Will I hide in a corner or to the stage will I be called?
Will I fetch people water, will I do anything at all?
I can only imagine

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back in the Groove

Everyone knows that returning to work after a 10-day vacation is brutal. I don’t care who you are, or how much you love your job, any sane person with a life would agree. (This may be taken to mean if you don't agree, you don't have a life.)

So to ease myself back into the brutality and avoid having the longest week of my life, I decided to go about work with a lighter attitude. A casual approach, if you will.

Because I knew if I would jump in and start thinking about all I had to do and all the deadlines I had to meet and all the words I had to write, I would maybe die. Because you're never worried about dying when you're traveling on the interstate and Holy Cow! We're going 85! But you're always worried about dying when you go from zero to 85 in half a minute.

So to coast my way to normalcy, my new casual attitude involves accepting 8am meetings without flinching, brushing off any requests that include me working at the speed of light as non-issues, and above all, not stressing.

And so far (I'm now into week 2 of this plan) it's working beautifully. So much so that I feel relaxed enough to take the time to write this post. Relaxed enough to have left my laptop at work. Relaxed enough to enjoy the hilarity that is every day office life.

Like the fact that whenever this one girl in my room decides to politely holler across the room at someone else, a giant dump truck or semi or ambulance decides THEN is the perfect time to hit a huge bump and cause all sorts of auditory mayhem.

Every time.

And then every time the recipient of her question asks "what did you say", the racket stops.

Only to start again when she repeats the question.

And if you're wondering if this entire post was created just to have a reason to share the above story, you're right.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wisconsin in a Nutshell (or should I say "in a Cheese Wax"?)

1) Expect many roadside attractions. (i.e. The Wisconsin Dells. Jellystone Park. The House on the Rock, a very boring place that sells CHEESE)

2) Expect gigantic statues at nearly every highway gas station. (i.e. a giant orange moose, a huge mouse holding some cheese, an enormous man cradling a sausage and cheese, a jumping deer, etc). I apologize for not taking photos of each of these ... maybe next time.

3) Expect major highway construction.

4) Expect a genuine love for CHEESE. And not just any cheese, but CHEESE in ALL CAPS on a giant sign facing the highway again and again, exit after exit.

5) And then expect to buy some of that cheese because the smaller (but still fairly large) sign lures you in with its hilarity.

6) Expect to choose the cheese sticks over the curds, because the curds look nasty.

7) Expect it to be delicious.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Amanda the Viking Princess

A little over a year ago, I participated in one of those massive Facebook notes where you list a bunch of boring information about yourself for other people's enjoyment. (Though I tend to believe no one really ever really wants to read other people's notes as much as they want to write one about themselves ... but anyway ...)

And in this note, I said a fair amount of potentially humorous things (many of which I should consider as fodder for this blog), but the two points that received the most comments were:

22. I have boots that make me feel like a Viking princess.

23. I REALLY want to be a Viking princess. If I could have any wish, that would be it.

I haven't spoken much of my wish to be a Viking princess on this blog. I've refrained from posting the pictures of me in my viking princess boots. I've avoided going on and on about how I want to name my children Sigrid and Beck and how I want to have long, unruly hair and watch from the fjords as my barbaric minions head out to sea to bring me back riches from distant lands.

I've avoided this, thinking you all may get the wrong idea.

But I cannot avoid it any longer. Because, well, DREAMS DO COME TRUE.

Tad and I just got back from a trip to Minnesota, where we stayed in a hotel on Viking Drive. We didn't think much of it. Until a misled Garmin chanced us upon this wonder of the world:

And for thirty seconds of my life, I was a viking princess.

(That's me on the left)

Albeit a viking princess on a purple and gold ship outside of the Minnesota Vikings headquarters and training field.

Yeah, I'm thinking it's as close as I'm going to get.