Becca Anderson blathers about...stuff. Or something.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Do This Now

1. Go here:
2. Buy their new CD.
3. There is a link up there somewhere to listen to clips of the songs, if you need more convincing.
4. Thank you.
5. No, I don't actually know these people. Oh, the magic of blogs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Let It Snow...?

Here I am, on the eve of the first snow of this winter, and...meh. I don't care. I won't have to leave my house until late morning/early afternoon tomorrow, and the snow will probably be melted by then. If it amounts to anything at all, which seems unlikely.

Man, remember being a kid, and actually getting excited about snow? I grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in the mountains, and we got some serious snow. I remember one year, I must have been 5 or 6, and it snowed something like 5 feet in one storm.

[Note: for years I have been telling this story with "5 feet of snow," but it occurs to me that as I was a tiny child prone to exaggeration, I may have made that figure up. Let's go with it.]

So it snowed 5 feet in one storm. After it stopped, my brother and I were out in the backyard playing Smurfs (how...?) while my mom shoveled the snow off the roof of our aluminum porch awning so it wouldn't collapse. Man, good times.

There were also some great sledding hills. Pretty much any hill would have enough snow on it to sled, which is awesome. At this one park, that starts with a B (Bennett? Baker? No, Baker is in Frederick, MD. I don't know), there was a pretty big hill that went down, then evened out, and then went down some more, and it was ok. Very family-friendly and crowded. But right down the street at Mountain Elementary School, there was the granddaddy of all sledding hills.

In non-snow months, the hill behind Mountain was steep and rocky and really freaking dangerous. But drop a couple of feet of snow on that baby and it was a steep sledding dream. Less crowded, too, probably because it was more dangerous. Of course we went there with my mom and her boyfriend Jim and some family friends and a big pile of kids, inntertubes, toboggans, sleds, trays...

The hike to the top of the hill took for-EVER, and was accompanied by much whining, of course. Once at the top of the hill, Mom got the big black innertube situated, and sat down with me and my friend Lori Stein in front of her, and we all held on tight...WHOOSH!

A little push from someone nearby sent us FLYING down the hill, until someone fell off or we got to the bottom -- whichever got us off course first. It was like a rollercoaster, y'all. When the terror subsided and the wayward boots and mittens were gathered and put back on, we caught our breath and trudged back up to do it again.

Sledding, snow angels, the ever-present quest to build an igloo (the warm-weather counterpart quest was, of course, digging a hole to China), snowball fights, and the requisite post-play hot chocolate were the most exciting parts of the year. Oh, and snow days! We always learned about our school closings via radio...did they have them on TV in the 80s?

Now I would just as soon skip straight to the hot chocolate portion of the festivities. Ooh, or the beer. There's nothing better during a snowstorm than a bar with a fireplace, some friends, and some cheap beer. Cozy in a whole different way than the couch, TV, and hot chocolate, which also has its merits.

Snow is just less fun as a grownup. There are no snow days. We either have to walk and take the el, or drive around in the muck. We have to shovel the walk (or the porch awning -- thanks, Mom!). It's cold and damp and windy and gross. There are no moon boots, or any boots that are both cute and very warm. There are no snowsuits. It is more difficult to get baggies on your feet for additional protection from the wet. Hard times. And now I'm grouchy about what a grouch I've become.

Maybe making a snow angel would help me feel better.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


As you all know, I have a cat. An obnoxious one. Who really, really likes to be awake and noisy when I am trying to sleep. Last night, for example:

1:45. Go to bed. Gabby had been napping, but gamely gets into bed with me.
1:55. Gabby is tired of lying down. Gets up and hops off the bed.
1:57. Gabby is back. Wandering around on the bed.
2:30. Gabby knocks alarm clock on floor. I turn on the light, rescue the alarm clock, and put it next to me in the bed.
3:30. I have a dream that Gabby knocked the alarm clock on the floor AGAIN. I get up, turn on the light, and spend three minutes looking for the clock.
3:33. I remember that I rescued the clock and put it in bed with me. Back in bed.
4:30. Got up to pee. I've had to pee in the middle of the night a lot lately.
5:00. CRASH! Gabby knocks over the bedside table. It's from IKEA, not very sturdy. Obviously. I right the table and go back to bed.
5:15. Gabby is playing with something that was previously on the table, is now on the floor. I spray her with the spray bottle (which I had to get out of storage! She's been very bad lately.) and go back to bed.
5:30. Miscellaneous noise from Miss Gabs. More yelling/squirting.
7:00. Wake up because my head is on the mattress, as the Gabster has commandeered the pillow right out from under me. Because, of course, the other pillow, less than a foot away, isn't good enough for her nap.
9:20. Alarm goes off. Snooze.
9:28. Alarm goes off. Snooze.
. . . .
10:50. Alarm goes off. Get out of bed.

The hour and a half snoozing was punctuated with cat-nose-on-face, cat-tongue-on-face, cat-staring-intently-at-face, cat-feet-on-entire-body, cat-biting-arm, cat-racing-around-house, cat-pouncing-on-invisible-things, cat-pouncing-on-feet, and valiant-but-ultimately-unsuccessful-efforts-to-get-cat-to-lie-down-and-let-mommy-sleep.

I have a headache.

Additionally! She has been scratching the hell out of my curtains. The "no scratch" spray I bought appears to be helping. The good news (for her) is that she is also adorable, so I think I'll keep her.

My other Battle With Nature is with...FRUIT FLIES. I have an infestation.

Here is a dirty little secret: since I started living alone, I have periods of what I like to call "Living Gross." The dishes pile up, the trash doesn't get taken out, the fridge is full of gross leftovers, etc. Oh, and I also have not put away my clothes since I moved. Which was over a month ago. They are all over my bedroom floor.

There. I said it. Don't judge. And! I don't live dirty all the time, so you can still come visit! I promise.

Anyway, so I developed a fruit fly infestation. I found a recipe online for homemade fruit fly traps, using cider vinegar, water, and a couple of drops of soap to eliminate surface tension. The idea is that the flies are attracted to the water, land on it trying to have a snack, and because of the soap in the water eliminating surface tension, drown.

Well. I didn't have cider vinegar, so I used regular. This has worked in the past, so no problem. But I have 2 areas of infestation, the kitchen and the pantry, and a small satellite colony in the bathroom. So I needed more traps, and I was out of vinegar. So I used beer and water and soap, with only limited success.

This morning, I realized that the situation was completely out of hand. So tonight on my way home, I stopped by the Jewel to get dish soap, Hershey's syrup (not for traps), vinegar, and some real live fruit fly traps. I've seen them online, so I know they exist. But Jewel doesn't have them. Drat.

When I got home, I ate dinner and relaxed for a bit, and then it was time to attack. I started by washing out the bowls for the traps. I think some previous vinegar-beer-water-whatever was still on the rim of the bowls, so flies were just hanging out around the edges. Then I measured vinegar and water and dropped in the soap, and set out the traps.

Then! I washed all the dishes, cleaned out the fridge, and cleaned the kitchen. Took out the trash, the whole nine. And lit an Apple Cinnamon candle I picked up at the Jewel, because the smell of the cider vinegar + assorted mold from refrig = ick. I also washed out the trash can and lid in the bathtub with Comet.

So. Grossness is cleaned up, fruit flies are still out of control. Hopefully the new traps will catch those buggers so I can go back to pretending like I am not completely disgusting.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Careful, That's Hot.

Oh, working. How I love/hate it. The restaurant was s-l-o-w tonight, but it was nice because we had very few people on the floor and I still made $80. Hooray.

One of my tables ordered our herb grilled chicken breast, and some chicken fajitas. When I saw the herb chicken in the window, I said, "fire chicken fajitas, please!" like I'm supposed to.

So the chef fired the fajitas (which means getting the peppers and onions and chicken into the hot pan. They do it last, right before the food goes out so the fajitas sizzle appropriately on the way to the table.).

Anyway, so the chef fired the fajitas and put them in the window.

I reached up and grabbed the wooden tray that the hot iron pan sits on, to slide it toward me and put it on the fajita plate with the rest of the fajita stuff (sour cream and lettuce and pico de gallo and such).

And felt a searing pain in my hand.

"Oh, shit," I gasped, and started running toward the kitchen for water. Because, you see, I had actually grabbed the edge of the burning hot cast iron fajita pan.


The chef stopped me and told me to go the other way, where he had burn spray. I stood in the kitchen and he sprayed my middle and ring fingers on my left hand, both of which already had blisters welling up.


I bravely went back out to the kitchen and took the food to my table. As I was checking on my other tables, my fingers were throbbing, and every time I opened my mouth I thought I would either cry or barf.

I went to show Charles and Murf (his last name is Murphy and he goes by Murf. Murph? I don't know. It's starting to look really weird.), the other two servers who were on, and started to cry for reals. Charles dragged me back to the first aid kit and forced me to put band-aids on. I still whined for the rest of the night. Because it HURT! And I am a wuss.

I am now sitting at home with Neosporin+ Pain on my blistered fingers, and am feeling better.

But when your server says "don't touch that pan, it's hot," don't test her. She probably knows from experience.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Autumn in the City

Oh, man. I have really got to start using my time more wisely, y'all. I slept until 11 today, and then dicked around, and THEN started to do my stats homework. It involved doing THREE ANOVAs (Analyses of Variance) by hand, which...there's no call for that. No one does them by hand, because they are sooooo labor-intensive. Ugh. So anyway, I started the homework, realized it was going to take one million years, got dressed, went to school, and skipped finish the homework. D'oh.

Anyway, must...use...time...more...wisely.


It was a lovely afternoon. Between stats lab and Org Psych, I bought some junk food, and then walked very slowly, just enjoying the ever-so-slight bite in the air, and the lovely fall colors in the setting sun.

My first winter in Chicago, I was depressed. One night in February of 2003, I was standing on the el platform, and I sighed and looked up at the dark sky. I realized then that there were no stars visible, because of the light pollution in the city, the the probably overcast weather. I hadn't seen stars in close to six months, the last time being when I went home to Maryland earlier in the fall. I am not a "nature person," per se, but I was bummed that I lived in the city and there was no nature and everything was concrete and metal and ugly. That was when I started to think about moving back to Maryland.

Now, though, I realize that there is plenty of nature in the city, especially when I supplement city-nature with the nature I soak up when I go to Oklahoma or Maryland. You just have to know where to look. The trees on my street filter the autumn sunlight just so, making me feel like I'm in AnySuburb, USA. As I speed down Lake Shore Drive, Lake Michigan stretches out to the east, as far as my eye can see. Diversey Harbor, then Lincoln Park, then Grant Park are just on the west side of the highway. At school, there are big grassy lawns dotted with trees whose leaves are just now changing color. Anywhere in the city, there are squirrels and sun and wind and rain and snow.

That February was a rough time for me, and quite possibly the darkest time in my life. I felt like I was utterly alone, and that my blessings were few and unimportant and far away. I clung tightly to anything and anyone who might make me feel better, who might deliver me from misery.

But look at my life now. I know lots of people, and am glad to call most of them my friends. I have learned to let go of the dead weight; friendships have a lifespan. I don't need to surround myself with everyone, just everyone who is good to me. I have learned to love being by myself, not requiring constant stimulation from others. I have a job that is physically taxing, but doesn't continue to drain me after I leave. I am fortunate enough to further my education in a field that is truly fascinating to me, and will be lucrative to boot. I learn new things about my capabilities and creativity every single day. My cat is entertaining. I have a home. My family is healthy and mostly happy. I love and am loved. I am happy and so very blessed.

Like nature in the city, the blessings are there; I just needed to know where to look.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Tonight I went to Old Navy with Chrissy, and bought a pair of size 6 jeans (I took a friend's advice and bought one pair of new pants, as my other pants don't fit), a couple of sweaters, and some built-in bra camisoles. Ooh, and I bought a fleece. And then we went to the pet store. Because my effing cat effing destroyed my curtains! So I needed some "quit scratching that, you jerk" spray, and then there were some cute pet dishes on sale. So I bought them, and now I can reclaim my cereal bowls.

After I dropped Chrissy off, I drove around forEVER looking for a parking spot. I finally decided to double park for a second, run in and get my Adderall prescription, and go get it filled. But the pharmacy closed 3 minutes before I got there! CURSES.

In a moment of...I don't know I was driving around looking for parking AGAIN, I called Scott. You may recall that he said a few weeks ago that we shouldn't talk for now, and I have respected that, much to my own surprise.

I've been thinking about him a lot lately. I miss him. On Friday night, when Jonathan told me I COULDN'T COME IN his party because I wasn't be-gowned, I wanted to call Scott and rant. When I was shopping on and saw a t-shirt woth "NATURE" emblazoned across the front, I thought about how, if we were still dating, or were friends, I would buy it. I think a lot about what went wrong, and whether there was anything I could have done differently. Could I have just not dated him in the first place? Broken up for good in June? Kept dating in hopes of a change?

When the time came to make the decision, his words from July echoed in my ears: "I've done this before [taken back a girl who cheated] and it just gets sadder and sadder, and worse and worse." I didn't want that. I couldn't fix what was wrong. I need to be alone, to focus on myself. There's no "fixing" that -- it'll just take time.

So we talked. I didn't expect him to answer, and I was going to decide whether to leave a message when the time came. But lo and behold, he did answer. The conversation was stilted, and then ok, and then awkward, and then ok, and then awkward, and then very sad. I cried some.

He commented in his blog that this boy-girl stuff is hard. I have always been on board with that sentiment, that is for sure. But I didn't know that a breakup that I initiated, that was my idea, would be so hard, too. I like to think of the world in terms of things I can handle, and things I know how to do, and the fact is...I just don't know how to do this.

I know how to have a guy not want me. I know how to be sad and angry, and how to rail against how very unfair it is that I am unwanted. I know how to deal with not liking a boy right off the bat. I know how to steer the conversation around any possible crushes, and how to pretend the awkwardness isn't there until it just passes.

I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to tell someone wonderful that it's not right. I don't know how to help him understand and make this better. I know how to care for someone, and I know how to talk until I'm blue in the face, and I know what it is to be in his position, and I know how to be selfish and alone. What I didn't know was that all of these things together are a complex and upsetting combination, difficult to navigate.

Growing up is...not as much fun as I thought it would be.