Friday, June 21, 2013

student workers: trifecta

All of these posts remind me of another blog I once read. It's definitely worth the read, I sat laughing for hours reading it.
(Go read Hammerhead Theater!)

I find myself faced with my own version of Hammerhead Theater over here, and can't help but wish that you could all be here with me, seeing and hearing all of this.
I also really, really want to be able to articulate the sound of someone's voice and laughter via font or description, but I just can't. 

Charles: "[Mumbling]...C, C, C, C...."
Matthew: "Huh?"
Charles: "There's a "C" written over here, so I figured it was for my name."
Matthew: "Is that what you always think when you see the letter C?"
Charles: "Do I sense sarcasm?"
Matthew: "Not at all."

Before long the aspect of being "shallow" came up, the other major topic of yesterday.
(See Student Workers 2).
While not all of this has to do with the all-important "What is Shallow?", it all circled around and came back to land on it over the course of the entire day.

Boppity: "I am pretty shallow sometimes. It's easier."
Charles: "It's easier to be shallow?"
Boppity: "Yes."
Charles: "No it's not."
Boppity: "Yes it is! It's not hard to be shallow, Charles!"

Back and forth, back and forth...

Boppity: "Ok...define what you mean by shallow. I don't think it's the same shallow, we're talking about here."
Charles: "Ok...not real."
Boppity: "Ok, define not real. So shallow is...fake?"
Charles: "Well that's an interesting question."

The subject of dating tries to interject...

Boppity: "The first time you go up to bat is important, because if you go up and strike out, you'll never want to bat again!"
Charles: "Well, there are three outs in an inning, and 7 innings..."
Boppity: "No, Charles, there are 3 strikes. And then you're out."
Charles: "Yes, but it's not like you go up to bat ---"

That came about because Charles had began asking me questions about my life.
About meeting my husband, where I'm from.

Charles: "Did you meet in Arizona? At college?"
Me: "No, in high school, actually."
Charles: "At the same high school?"
Me: "Um...yes."

Charles: "Was he your first boyfriend?"
Boppity, startled: "CHARLES! Good Lord, stop it! You hardly know the girl!"

Winding around and eventually landing back on Shallow...

Charles: "If you have to actually think about what your words mean or what's really happening, then it's hard, so it's easier to be fake, in a sense, then to just..."
Boppity: "Uuuoohhh...okay. I mean, kind of, I kind of understand what you're trying to say. This is all crazy, because I just meant sometimes I like to take a brain vacation. Be shallow for a while, which is what is easy, to take a break. "
Charles: "So how do you define shallow?"
Boppity: "No, you never answered it for me!"
Charles: "Ok..."
Boppity: "Shallow just means you never go's like a survey course. You don't go into it too deeply but it's enough to get by."
Charles: "I wouldn't even say that."
Boppity: "About survey courses, or..."
Charles: "No, you're defining shallow by the actual definition of shallow water. That's what you're defining it by."
Boppity: "No, you're going too deep. "
Charles: "No, I'm not even thinking..."
Boppity: "HAHA!"

(This conversation went on for a full 20 minutes. They asked three separate people who came into the office what their definition of shallow is. They still don't know what shallow means to one another.)

Boppity: "But children all the time say but why, but why, but why..."
Charles: "Yes, because they're REAL. They're inquiring minds and they're REAL."

After talking to Matthew and asking him a few questions...

Charles, leaning against Matthew's desk: "I'll bet your wife really likes you. People ask you questions and you just say, "Meh, sure." You just seem really passive. I'll bet she loves it."

Later on, this Shallow idea somehow transitioned into...

Charles: "There is a very deep meaning to french fries."
Boppity, Me, random-student-worker: "[blank stares]"
Charles: "It symbolizes the great symbol of America. It shows us, for one...especially fast food fries. It shows that we don't care what we's all about instant gratification."
Boppity: "Speaking of fries, I wouldn't mind having some steak fries."
Charles: "But it goes much deeper than that. There is a very deep meaning to this."

I never found out what that deep meaning was. Although I'm really, really fine with that.


Charles: "I think Caitlin is taking a brain vacation."
Boppity: "HA! She's not listening to us. She tuned us out a long time ago."


Thursday, June 20, 2013

student workers: the sequel

Yesterday was a giant pot of weirdness for the student worker antics.
Instead of wacky one-liners or casually short conversations, they ended up talking about "bouldering" and the definition of "shallow" for hours. I tuned in and out (I think I may have even passed out at one point) and so I've had to chisel it all down to my favorite excerpts. There's just no time, no capacity, to record it all.

(If you missed part 1 of "student workers", check it out here).

Before the giant topics of Bouldering and Shallow came up, Charles was on a roll. He talked for most of the morning, and at certain times I feared for the lack of oxygen going to his brain when he wouldn't take any breaks to breathe and/or let us recover.
I'm not sure if Boppity was having a bad day or was just "taking a brain vacation" (to be explained later) but she didn't have as much to say.
She didn't even come in to join the fray until we had had our fill of alone time with Charles.

Matthew: "How's your day?"
Charles: "Pretty good, I took a nap on a bench outside for an hour...well, like 10 minutes."
Matthew: "Oh. Nice."
Charles: "Yeah, I wasn't really planning on it. It was a really hard bench."

I think he felt comfortable with us at this point, because he began to really bond with Matthew and felt totally at home going closer than even I'd go, into his personal working space. Which is a very sacred thing.

Charles [randomly pausing, jumping up, and walking over to Matthew's desk, picking up a stack of paper): "Is this recyc...recycle...recyc...[30 seconds later] can you help me?"
Matthew: "Recyclable?"
Charles: ", that doesn't sound right. Say it again."
Matthew: "Recyclable."
Charles: "Wow, what a word!"

Around lunchtime, still before Boppity joined us:

Charles: "Did someone eat Chinese food for lunch?"
Matthew & I, exchanging glances (neither of us had eaten Chinese food): "........."
Charles: "I had a waft of some kind of soy sauce. Or it's my imagination."
Matthew: "It's your imagination, although...I have some ground beef and some peppers..."
Charles goes over and sticks his face in the tupperware, taking a giant whiff.
Charles: "Ah, yeah, must be the peppers."

Charles, about 2 hours later, leaning in closely to Boppity: "I this room."

What's funny is that on some days, not a word is spoken. On others, a goldmine of nonsense.

Later on, Charles once again wanders too closely to Matthew's desk:

Charles: "What kind of hot sauce is that?"
Matthew: "Tabasco."
Boppity: "Ah, ah-ha, that's too hot."
Matthew: "No, it's not too bad."
Charles: "I think Tabasco is mild, to be honest."
Matthew: "You should try Melinda's, you'd probably like it."
Charles: "Oh, does that have a--a wooden, a wooden like, top? A wooden top?
Matthew: "No, that's Tapatio."
Charles, nodding, his eyes narrowing, with a strange smirk: "Ah, so you're a hot sauce fan."

A while later, Matthew was over by the packing area (we pack and ship a lot of books) and as he turned to go back to his desk, Charles was standing right behind him.

Charles: "Do you eat a lot of nuts?"
Matthew (pausing, staring, walking around him): "Sure, sometimes. They're good."
Charles: "Me too. I like nuts. I've seen them on your desk."
Matthew: "Oh? Well...yeah, I've had them before."
Charles: "Yeah I've seen at least two jars. You had a trail mix at one point. Planters, maybe? At least one jar of peanuts, probably a week ago."
Matthew, at a loss: "...could be, could be."

These last bits are what I like to call the Bouldering Excerpts.
I'm unsure how and why Charles is so observant of Matthew, but I suppose that will remain to be seen. It all started with...

Charles: "Do you boulder at all?"
Matthew: "Boulder?"
Charles, walking over to him: "Boulder, like climb, a lil' bit?"
Matthew, somehow understanding, and looking back at a pair of climbing shoes behind his desk: " They're my wife's ...I've been trying to sell them for a while, I kind of forgot they were there."
Charles: "What size are they?"
Matthew: "Well they're women's..."
Charles: "Yes, but what size? I've been meaning to perhaps purchase a pair...can I just see them? [he grabs them and puts them against the soles of his feet for comparison] Oohh, yeah right. My friends, I've tried some shoes from them that I could sort of walk in, they're like two sizes smaller."
Me: "You've tried on your friend's women's shoes?"
Charles: "Heh, heh, heh, no, they were climbing shoes. So, can I possibly just try and stick my foot in here?"
Matthew: "[raised eyebrow]"
Charles: "Because...if I can walk in them, then I might possibly get them off of you, if I...well...let me try them on first...
"Well this feels fairly normal, actually...although I don't know how much I could take of this. Ouch. I think my right foot may be larger than my left foot. I think the left one could maybe stand this in about 3 minute increments...
"[three minutes later, triumphantly] Well they definitely would work in a pinch!"

Matthew: "So when would be the next time you have the opportunity to climb?"
Charles: "Well, I would basically just use it for the climbing wall...I think it's closed during the summer but I think I'd just keep doing it and getting kicked out throughout the summer. Heh, heh, heh."
Matthew: "Thats...a good strategy..."
Charles: "I've never been that into it but my friends are definitely great boulderers."
Boppity: "You know, climbing can be really hard, it's a good workout."
Charles: "Well, I'm actually in good shape. I would say very, very good shape."

One rabbit hole later...

Charles: "I actually got into Chess for a while."
Matthew: "Chess?"
Charles: "Yeah, but...I actually felt like I was getting into a Chess cult. So I just ripped up all my books on Chess and didn't ever let myself get seriously into it."

Matthew, trying to participate in the bouldering conversation (which if I was a mind-reader, I would have told him that was a really bad idea)...

Matthew: "Did you ever hear about that one free climber--"
Charles, perking up: "The Indian?"
Matthew, startled: ", I don't think so."
Charles: "Yes, it is. He's native american. He died."
Matthew: ""
Charles: "Different guy?"
Matthew: "Yes."
Charles: "Hm. Don't know him."

Stay tuned for more Student Worker excerpts, coming to a blog near you.
I think I'll go take a nap on a really hard bench. 

summer visits

Summer is the time when we take a week or two and head home to Arizona to visit our families, and then inevitably we get some family summer visitors coming our way, too!
It's always so wonderful to go home (post 1, 2, 3), but it's also especially fun to have visitors over here in our neck of the woods.
This has been our corner of the world for the last almost-2 years (come August 1!), and we love to share it with people.

The only down side to all of that this year is that it happened really early on in the summer! We visited Arizona in May, and had our family visits in early June, and now we have the whole summer stretched in front of us and we can't help but keep making comparisons between last summer and this summer.
With that being said, we're finally getting in the groove, with Dusty's summer externship and the new schedule and fun summer activities (like ordering pizza and watching The Bachelorette).

When we first got back from Arizona, we only had three days to wait until my parents came rolling into town!
We had Sunday to recoup, and then I went ahead and worked the next day on Memorial Day so I could bank that day holiday time off for another time. That night we had some friends over for a really fun barbecue, to kick off our summer in the 'Burg!

Can we all admire that sassy leopard oven mitt?

I had finally found my patio furniture. Two chairs, a coffee table, and a love seat for $40!
I had been looking for months and was completely thrilled when I finally found one. The lady was so nice, and while the cushions are a little worse for wear, they're easily covered with blankets and/or replaceable.

That week was the week of morning porch time. Dusty had to leave to be at school to meet his carpool at 6:30am every morning, so I would drag myself out of bed at precisely 6:29am to take him. Then I'd come home (occasionally with Starbucks in hand) and sit out on the porch in the gorgeous almost-summer morning weather. Then I'd drag myself upstairs and get ready, to be at work around 8 or 8:30. It was lovely.

We have always loved having people in our home.
Even though it's small, and mismatched, and quirky, we love having it packed with people who love to talk and play games and eat and hang out together.
While some of our dear friends have move away, we find ourselves still surrounded by people we love to be with, and we are blessed tenfold by having people here to make our summer fun and friend-filled.

I'm the queen of requiring cheesy pictures.
Watermelon, American flags, you know...ham it up! Happy Memorial Day!


How cute are these two! To be married this coming August!
The old marrieds. 

The still-newlyweds!

We had a lot of fun giggling out on the porch and enjoying our feast of Memorial Day food.
We felt very patriotic, and loved having the company!

On that Wednesday, just two days later, my parents came into town.
My mom and dad had to drive my brother Michael's car all the way out here from Arizona, because he's moving (has moved) to Cleveland for his 5-year residency for Cardiovascular Surgery. Because he's that cool. In keeping his cool, he was in Greece at the time, which is why my parent's offered to drive his car out for him.
They drove straight to Lynchburg for a few fun-filled days with us!

They arrived right around dinnertime, so we had dinner already cooking and ready for them when they got there.

We ate a delicious meal and then headed to bed - they were exhausted after so many days of driving!

If you don't know already, when my parents come into town, we eat a lot.

I'm confused by the term "foodie" because I really don't know what that's supposed to mean. That you like food? Isn't that a natural human trait?
It's assumed that people like to eat. Obesity is a pretty well known thing. People eat way too much. Everyone likes food. You could even say that's the one thing every human being has in common. We're all foodies. 
That being said, we really do love food. And perhaps being a foodie is when you travel somewhere, you spend more of your time and money experiencing that culture's cuisine than you do anything else. Which is definitely something we do. We love to eat out.
When we went to Washington D.C. with our friends Chris and Heather our first year in Lynchburg, we ate at a lot of great spots and ended up joking that all we really did was anxiously plan and await the next meal.
My parents love Jimmy's on the James so that's always a given. (I've talked about that before here and here). But aside from that, they bring me lunch, we grab Starbucks, we go out to's absolutely wonderful (and hard on the waistline).

On Thursday we headed over to Jimmy's. What a great local restaurant!
It's located downtown and we always go to Jimmy's when my parents are in town. 

Love this shot of my favorite men! So handsome!

The food is always delicious. This time Dusty tried their chicken entree, and it was easily one of the best things I've eaten there. It's so delicious.
All of us had great food. Mom and I had the fish tacos from the nightly specials, and dad had their gumbo.

But then there's dessert, and it's a no brainer what we order.
Fried Oreos, baby. And the donuts.
Don't stick up your nose just yet -- take a look at these bad boys:

Fried Oreos lightly fried in a thin chocolate batter,
covered in fresh cream and a variety of berries. 

The grandmother of all donut delicacies, she's sweet, she's full of caramel and she will spoil you with her chocolate drizzle and sugary crunch. 

I don't care what you think, you can't tell me those don't look delicious.

I always get a little giddy before my parents come into town.
It often translates into weird fits of rage and/or obnoxious behavior, but I think Dusty has finally figured this out and no longer get offended or upset by it.

Dusty: " asked me to take out the trash."
"But you opened the door and the HEAT came in and now I just want to die!" I burst into tears.
"'re excited that your parents are coming."

After dinner they ended up having a classy swan fight with the foil creatures that held their leftovers.

With extremely happy bellies, we piled back into the car and decided to drive around downtown and to some of the close-by neighborhoods that sport some of the "old money" of Lynchburg. There are some amazing houses and properties around, and as the sun was beginning to set we figured it would be the perfect time to let our food settle and car-window shop for future dream homes.
We almost went to this fun local waterfall area, but got hopelessness loss in the ghetto thanks to my poor directions.
Luckily dad saved the day by blasting Elton John, and we boogied hard core (if "boogy" and "hard core" can ever really be combined) to "Crocodile Rock" as we maneuvered our way home. I haven't laughed (or danced) that much in a long time.
And I know for a fact I've NEVER seen my mom dance that much. She was doing the bunny hop like a poofy-haired pro. If you can possibly imagine what that looked inside a car then you're almost to the height of hilarity that we were at. The car was shaking, the music was blasting, and all of our fellow drivers thought we were insane.
Dusty and I had this inside joke about that song because I was singing it at one point a few years ago, and he thought I had made it up. Like the time he thought I had made up "Mr. Bojangles".
"Did you just say crocodile rock!? Ha!"
Needless to say, that entire evening was probably my favorite of the whole trip. We got home and happily forced my parents to watch Gnomeo and Juliet with us, because we just weren't quite done with our Elton John adventure. What a great movie. :)

The next day we took them to our new favorite pizza place, Arosto.
With amazing pizza (and having the ability to build your own pizza) it's an easy place really close to work to hop on over to for a casually delicious dinner.

After dinner we headed over to the mall to go see Star Trek: Into Darkness. (For the second time, for us!)
I loved seeing this with my parents. We all laughed together throughout all of the quirky humor in the dialogue, always leaning forward and sharing the laugh by looking at each other in the half-darkness. We enjoyed it even more because they grew up during the old series and the old movies, so they had a more inclusive perspective on how creative this new franchise has been.
We talked for a long time afterward about some of our favorite parts, and it was a great night!

We went to our favorite snow cone hut after the movie, because how could we resist?

One of the reasons my parents came out to Lynchburg so early was because some good friends of ours were having a wedding on June 1st, that Saturday.
My mom had gotten really close to Susan when their family was living in Arizona and attending our home church there. When they moved, my mom was very sad to lose such a wonderful friend.
All three of her children have gotten engaged within the last year, and first up to get married was Jen!
Mom was excited to come out and help in any way she could, as well as visit and enjoy some extra time with her friend.

That morning, mom and I went and got our nails done, and we ran a couple of errands. We grabbed Dickey's for lunch, and before too long it was time to get ready for the wedding, and all pile into the car together!

The wedding took place at Smith Mountain Lake, which is a place we had been wanting to go to for a while. It was gorgeous!

Such cute nautical touches!

The wedding was sweet and the breeze was welcome, and we all meandered around for a little while afterwards, taking pictures and enjoying the sunshine before heading in for the reception.

The reception was adorable.
I honestly enjoyed every minute of it, because both Dusty and I had realized that it had been way too long since we had been to a wedding! I love going to weddings.

I love this idea - every guest highlighted their favorite verse in their bible.
The table was covered in photos of their grandparents (and them), and the quote said:
When someone you love becomes a memory...the memory becomes a treasure. 

It wasn't hard to locate our table.
Not with my dad around!

After we had finished eating, and right before all the fun dancing began, the four of us snuck outside to take some pictures, and Dusty and I went out to the dock to walk around for a bit (and take more pictures).
It was such a stunning evening, and how often are we near scenery like this??

When we came back inside, Jen was dancing with all of her closest gal pals on the dance floor.
Her little brother was the DJ for the evening, so watching him mix up songs and dance along as his sister and fiance and their friends danced was the cutest thing in the world.

Dusty didn't want to we cautiously maintained our distance along the sidelines, talking to my parents and hanging out, eating a little cake, etc.
After a while I mosied over to where my mom was talking with Susan, and Susan quickly jittered over to Jen and said "you have to get her to dance!"
Jen switched all of her attention on me, like a shark on a minnow, and slowly began dancing intently in my direction, slowly beckoning me to join the girl power.
It was hard to resist, I must say.
So I got to dance! I've never felt more awkward in my life, but I love dancing at weddings, because the cheesier the better, in my opinion. And while most of the guest list was full of strangers to me, I had a blast dancing to a few songs with a bunch of girls who didn't care a lick about my lack of talent.
At one point I looked over at Dusty where he was standing with my dad, smiling with arms crossed, maybe a little "you would!" in his eyes, but he sent a wink my way. It was wonderful.

By the time we drove the hour back home, it was really late and we were pooped!
We all fell into bed and slept tight until church the next morning.

We had a special service that day, although we didn't know it until we got there!
The Children of the World was performing for the service that day, and as always, it was wonderful. They have visited our church a few times before, and we were really excited to see them again.

Afterwards we had plans to head out to one of our very restaurants, Isabella's, to have Sunday brunch!
I have had a lot of recommendations to go there for Sunday brunch, but we had never been before. We were excited to finally be able to attest to its greatness!

I got this pretty necklace from World Help after church.
It's hand-braided from Guatemalan villagers, and it's so pretty!

Even with brunch, I couldn't pass up our favorite mocha cheesecake!

Everything was really amazing. Dusty and my mom got this great sunny-side-up egg-topped burger, with fries and a really delicious spicy ketchup.
My biscuits and gravy were really amazing as well, completely unique. I can't wait to go back.
Check out the menu here!

After our tummies were very happy and full, we wandered over to one of my favorite stores, Francesca's. We shopped for a bit before heading back home for a relaxing day!

The next two days went by in a pleasant blur.
Even though I had to work, there's something so very pleasant about knowing there's family waiting for you at home. While I would've much rather spent those days at home with them, it's definitely a more pleasant experience at work, just the same.
Plus they would often visit during the day, to bring me lunch or just to stop by. I loved it.

On Monday night we stayed in, dad cooking us an amazing dinner of chicken, green beans and collared greens and mom making some delicious orange tea. Dad taught Dusty how to brine chicken before grilling it, for the most amazing juiciness ever to belong to a chicken.

While dinner was unbeatable, we couldn't help but sneak off to get some ice cream as soon as we realized we needed to fill in the cracks in our stomach with something melty and sweet.

Mister Goodies is another one of those great local huts. People flock to it and the line is always forever long, but it somehow seems to pass quickly. They pile on the soft serve, and there are a bunch of fun flavors. It's cheap and delicious! My kinda treat!

We were getting excited because the next day, my brother would be flying into Lynchburg!
We were already planning on going back to Jimmy's because obviously we couldn't allow him to come into town without having it. Dad was leaving back to Arizona on Wednesday morning, so Tuesday night was the only night we'd all be able to have dinner together.

For dessert we had one of everything on their dessert menu, and we just ate it all up, passing it around as we went, sampling everything. It was amazing.
Jimmy himself got up to play and sing at the piano, which is always such a fun part of eating there. 

After we got up to leave, we decided we'd drive around once again to give Kevin a feel for the downtown area. Only this time we would make it to the waterfall.

Our roadside friend.

I get my facial expressions from my father.

We've always been a great team.

It was just a beautiful night, and love was in the air.
I was becoming very aware that my dad was leaving and I always hate saying goodbye! It's the worst.
But for this moment, it was wonderful. We were being silly and laughing and taking pictures and just exploring.

I had to say bye to dad the next morning before I left for work, because his flight was later that morning.
My parent's are always so very generous when they come visit us - I don't know what we would do without them, and we are so grateful for the 1,458,938 ways they have helped us over the years, but dad always gets me the strangest most wonderful little trinkets.
Last time he visited, he bought me Yellow Submarine, the weirdest and best cartoon movie ever made, by the Beatles. This time he bought me a Christmas ornament from Hallmark (he loves ornaments, and loves Hallmark) of the final battle between Harry Potter and Voldemort. It's amazing, and I can't wait to hang it this year.

Mom, Dusty, Kevin and I still had the next two days in Lynchburg together.
On Wednesday we had a quick breakfast-for-dinner after work with cheesy veggie omelettes, then went over to the dollar theater and saw Oblivion.
On Thursday we made reservations and went to one of my favorite local dives, The Dahlia. I think Dusty likes it too, but I really like it. Mostly because they have beer cheese soup, and for some reason I love it. 
It's a cozy pub, and there's just something about it that I love. The shiny wooden booths, the friendly bartenders, the happy chatter, the light from the windows, the newly renovated basement, the fact that it looks absolutely terrifying from the outside. It's all really, really good.

It had suddenly gotten very rainy, so we had to go everywhere in my girlish umbrellas. I didn't mind a bit.

Beer cheese soup with popcorn bits with every bite? Yes please.

The next day we would be going on our grand adventure to Cleveland.
I was taking Friday and Monday off, so we could caravan along behind mom and Kevin and help Michael move into his new fancy apartment!

But that story is for another time, my fellows.
Until then,