My First Car

I didn’t get my first car until I was 21 years old.  Sure, I drove myself to school when I was 16.  But the family poop, brown minivan hardly constitutes as my first car.  Neither does the blue Plymouth station wagon affectionately christened D.D. (del diablo or “of the devil”).  Don’t get me wrong, these were great for cramming as many people imaginable inside but they were hardly the beacon of motorized style.  No, I was just paying my dues.  And in time I was the proud owner of this little beauty:

I know what you’re thinking but don’t hate.  This rotting piece of tin was mine for three months, getting me from Laie to Honolulu everyday for my internship.  And don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I got a tetanus shot not longer after I took these pictures.

It had so much to offer.  Two tone brown rust color body work, actual rust, holes from the salty sea watered air (what you can’t see is a massive chunk of hood missing from just such a hole), and check out that snazzy ceiling cover.  The spare tire was flat (which I discovered as a result of an unfortunate incident with a flat tire that I may have to blog about some time) and had a nice film cover of spider webs in the inside and I discovered live roaches, yes you read that correctly, live roaches living in the trunk (which I also discovered as a result of the unfortunate flat tire incident).

By the end of the summer the car produced and incredibly loud popping sound whenever I turned the wheel in any direction…something about the front wheel bearings or axles?  And by the end I could only drive for about 30 or 40 minutes before the car overheated and I’d have to pull over, let it cool down, and dump water in it.  And who could forget the crazy night when both of the headlights went out when I was still a half hour from campus?  And how I couldn’t replace the bulbs because someone had stripped the screws and I had to take it to a mechanic who charged me $20 to change them even though it took him two minutes and I brought the new bulbs with me.  Or the time when both windshield wipers went out the same day during a rain shower (and no, I’m not kidding)?

But hey, the radio worked and miraculously someone actually paid me money for it when I left.  Good thing or else I was just going to abandon it in a parking lot or push it off the cliff into the ocean….just kidding…sort of.

Over the Weekend

Last Friday my oldest sister and my nephew flew down for a quick visit before heading on to visit my other sister in LA.  It’s been a little over a year since I had seen either of them and I have to say I was more than a little excited.  They got here Friday afternoon and on Saturday we went to an Aloha Festival that’s held every year here in the valley.  If you’ve ever been to Hawaii this is pretty much like going to the swap meet at the stadium (except here the prices for things were out of control) and then going over to the PCC in the afternoon to watch the outdoor shows.  The performances were phenominal:

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but in addition to seeing the dancing we unfortunately also saw this:

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I’m pretty much speechless in regards to the mullett and as for the bride, there were tons of men dressed up in wedding dresses all over downtown Tempe.  Something to do with the Brides of March.  I have no clue what that is but…well, there you go.

Since my sister and nephew were coming from Illinoise they wanted to spend as much time as  possible in the sun so one day we decided to go on a “hike”.  I write it like that because I think round trip the whole thing was a grand total of a mile…maybe.  But we hiked up to the “A” they have on the side of some giant hill that stands for ASU:

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We also went to downtown Phoenix to the Science Museum and watched a laser light show that was done to the music of U2.  I’m not an overly big U2 fan but it was still pretty cool – even though it did make me a little dizzy at one point.  Good thing I don’t get motion sick easily.

We also did a little bit of shopping, visited with some friends of my sister, played tennis, went swimming (no, I still don’t have a new swimsuit), and did a little more sightseeing around Mesa.  Yesterday we drove to Blythe, CA to meet Pammy-Girl so my oldest sister and nephew could be on their way to LA.  Blythe is sort of the half way point between Mesa and Santa Monica and the town was pretty much made up of one street.  I wish the visit could have been longer – especially the one with all of us in Blythe but it was getting late and we each had a few hours drive back.  But I have to say I had a great time and to my sister and nephew, thanks for coming and I hope you come to visit me again soon!

Thanksgiving Through the Years

Sure I know it’s not even Halloween yet and I’m already writing about Thanksgiving but I’m excited for it this year.  And I’ll get to why in a minute but first I want to take a trip down memory lane, dragging you along with me.  To me Thanksgiving isn’t that big of a holiday.  The last year I spent at home for the big day was back in 1996, my senior year in high school.  Here’s the recap since:

1997 & 1998 – I was a freshman/sophmore at a school in Idaho bored to tears and almost snowed in.  Thankfully my two older sisters were living in Utah at the time and I hitched a ride down for the long weekend.  I can not for the life of me remember what we did other than make a Christmas tree out of baby food jars (don’t ask) and watch My So Called Life.  I don’t really remember it but I have a picture of us doing it so I guess that’s what we did.

1999 & 2000 – I was going to school over in Hawaii so traveling anywhere was out of the question.  Again I don’t really remember what I did but most students couldn’t go anywhere either so it wasn’t like I was deserted on campus.  They probably showed movies on campus all weekend and plus there was the beach.  No complaints here, I mean I was in Hawaii for crying out loud.

2001 – I was living in Mexico.  Need I say more?

2002 – I was in the Missionary Training Center.  This is kind of a blur as well.  I don’t think we had classes that day but instead we watched a movie (The Other Side of Heaven) and afterward the man who is was based on was there to talk to us and answer questions.  This is really all I remember so I don’t know what I did the rest of the day.

2003 – I was in Guatemala and probably forgot it was even Thanksgiving.

2004 – Went to Vegas with a friend.  Which sounds fun right?  Well, not really because we didn’t go to the strip.  Instead we spent the weekend with her sister and her sister’s in-laws in a town just outside of Vegas.  I had no car and was at the mercy of this family.  I played a lot with the kids and watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons.

2005 – Went with a friend to a friend of her families house.  This was actually pretty fun.  They lived only a 1/2 hour from where we were so basically we showed up for food, chit chat and then left.  Brilliant!

2006 – My brother was living and going to school in Idaho and it was my turn to be the dutiful sister and have him over for Thanksgiving ( I was living in Utah).  My roommate was gone for the weekend and all was pretty chill.  I made a dinner and we watched seasons of That 70’s Show pretty much the whole time.

2007 – My roommate was gone and I sat in the apartment doing nothing but watching TV.  I didn’t shower or get out of my pajamas for four days.  And I think the only time I even stepped outside was to go to Walmart because I wanted another pumpkin pie after I had consumed the other two.  I remember coming across a DVD that belonged to my roommate that I have never seen so I put it in.  I didn’t realize Mists of Avalon had been made for TNT and was 6 hours long until about hour 4 when I finally looked on the back to see what the deal was.  It didn’t matter because I wasn’t going anywhere anyway.

All of this brings me to this year.  I’m going down to southern Utah to go hiking and take pictures at the Arches National Park in Moab!!  I’m so excited!  A friend and I have been talking about this since the spring but it became more of a reality when we booked our motel room the other day.  For three nights I will be away from the snow and gloom of the valley (I’m assuming that will be the weather because it’s been like that every other year I’ve lived here) and instead be in the southern desert with breathtaking views.  I will not be out of the country, sitting with people I don’t know, or watching TV mindlessly while my brain turns to mush.  I leave you now with views I will be seeing for myself in one short month:

My Little Nitch

I’ve been tagged by Pammy Girl to show off my oh so super cool apartment.  The rules are that you have to take pics of the aparmtment AS IS with no cleaning or tidying up.  I’m not that messy so I don’t think this will be overly bad.  Of course, I did take some pics from far away so you couldn’t really see the dirt and crumbs…

1.  Living Room

For the record, not one single item in here is mine.  Not one.  Most of the furniture came with the place, including the TV, and everything else belongs to my roommate.  I’m not a big fan of the Americana theme but it’s her favorite.  Hence our apartment looks like one giant American Flag.  I have to say I tried to angle the camera so it wasn’t so obvious but here it is.

2.  Laundry Room

So really there isn’t much about this place that’s a mystery.

3.  Kitchen Sink

Well, you can see the sink in these pics.  I’m not trying to hide anything in it, I just forgot I was supposed to take a pic of the sink specifically and instead took one of the whole kitchen.  Yum, you can see the cookies I made in the background.

4.  Closet

Now before you start thinking “Egads woman!  What a nightmare!” I would like to say that everything I own, everything that makes up my entire existence has to fit into this tiny closet and my little room.  Considering this, the closet doesn’t look too bad.  And look, you can see Garfield’s leg sticking out from underneath the grass skirt and the exercise ball I finally had to get from TJ MAXX because the Target employee was no help.  Ahhh, the memories…

5.  Toilet

This is my non-girly part of the bathroom

6.  Fridge

Everything on the left is mine while the right side and the door all belong to my roommate.  In the freezer I have the top shelf next to the ice maker while she has the bottom and the door.  Apparently I only eat carrots and condiments.  And what’s really sad is that I took this picture right after I came home from the store.

7.  Shoes

These are usually in a large pile on the floor but just for this post I pulled them out.  I have 30 pair and only rotate between 4 of them.  Some I’ve never worn and some I’ve only worn once.  I believe 17 of them are flip flops or sandals.  Only 4 pair are appropriate to wear in the winter.  Can someone say denial??  I hate winter and even after almost 4 years of living in Utah I still avoid the reality of this being a cold place.  Oh, see the blue bags to the right of the shoes?  Those are FILLED with cosmetic stuff I get from work.  I get tons of it and hardly use any.

8.  The Kids

So I couldn’t think of something to put here.  Though I almost grabbed some random kid from the complex to mix things up a bit.  Instead, I’ll just post more pics of my bathroom and bedroom.  Hope no one minds.  This is the more “girly” side of the bathroom.  Note more of the cosmetic stuff I get from work.  I’m telling you, it’s everywhere!

Now for the bedroom.  If you can’t tell, I have a thing for pictures and picture frames.  And since they all have to be in my one little room it looks a bit cluttered.  My room is one large hodge podge of stuff from Guatemala, Mexico, and Hawaii.  Plus my “bed” sucks.  It’s a hideaway couch but I’m too cheap to buy a real bed.  I only make it on Saturdays but I included a pic both made and not.

9.  Self Portrait

Ok, so I tried and tried to take a pic of me smiling “normal” but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  So here in more typical Nandango fashion is me.

Soundtrack

Two Crazy Girls tagged me to come up with a soundtrack of my life.  And thank goodness too.  I’ve been in a slump and was convinced I would find something this weekend to write about.  But I didn’t.  Friday night I fell asleep at 7:30!!  Who does that???  Me apparently.  I woke up in time to watch the Psych premier at 11 and fell back asleep until 10 the next morning.  Good grief.

Instead of coming up with songs that define what I think my life is about, I came up with a list of songs that recall a specific time or event when I hear them.  They  suggested at least 7 and while the list could go on indefinitely here’s what I’ve got:

1.  Beat It – Michael Jackson

I think this is the first song I ever really remember listening to and liking.  Well this and Material Girl by Madonna.  If you were a kid/teenager when the Thriller album came out and now say you didn’t like it at the time, then you my friend are a liar.  Everyone loved it.

2.  The Right Stuff – New Kids on the Block

NKOTB was the first group I remember liking on my own without my older sister’s influence.  I believe I was in the 5th grade at the height of the hype.  I committed stupid facts about them to memory so well that 20 years later I can still spit them out (i.e. Joey’s birthday is Dec. 31st and they had a dog named Nikko that traveled with them.  Oh for crying out loud!)

3.  Heart Shaped Box – Nirvana

I’m thinking I was in the 9th grade when Kurt Cobain died.  Ninth grade is such a crazy time when everyone is so melodramatic and full of angst.  I hear this song and remember the time my neighbor across the street (we were in the same grade) and his band played for some girl’s birthday party in the neighborhood pavilion.  He wore a black dress with a white collar and only made it through this song before the police came because of a noise violation.

4.  One Sweet Day – Mariah Carrey/Boyz II Men

Holy crap there was not an hour that wouldn’t go by when you didn’t hear this song being played on the radio.  I think I was in the 11th grade at the time and when I hear this song now I think about the weekends and driving around with friends.  Then I turn the dial.

6.  Independent Women – Destiny’s Child

This was a mega hit for girls everywhere…or at least on the campus in Hawaii.  This song would be blasting from the dorms and cars driving by 24/7.  You could be walking across campus, hear this song, and watch as girls broke out in dance all over the place.  Rest assure I was not one of them however.

7.   It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy

The second year I was in Hawaii the boys came back with a vengeance thanks to this little diddy.  I can not tell you how sick I was of hearing guys say, “It wasn’t me” for EVERYTHING.  “So, how do you think you did on the test?”  “It wasn’t me!”  “What?” “So do you think you could help out this weekend?”  “It wasn’t me!” “Honestly, what is the matter with you?”

8-10.   Get the Party Started – Pink, Hey Baby – No Doubt, and Drowning – Back Street Boys

These songs make me think of Mexico.  When I was living there I came across one English radio station and I swear these were the only three songs in rotation.  And what’s worse is that one of my classes consisted of students 14 and 15 years old and the girls would get in arguments, actual arguments, with each other on which boy band was better, Back Street Boys or NSYNC.  As far as I know they never reached a conclusion.

11.   Yeah! – Usher

This song was HUGE when I came home from Guatemala.  While over there I hadn’t listened to music for a year and a half (well, other than throw back 80s songs they would play on the buses like Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton) and this was the first song to greet me on my arrival home.  It was such an overkill that I now hate this song.  Not long after I returned home Usher came out with another huge hit called My Boo.  Funny story about that.  Where I was in Guatemala we referred to diarrhea as “boo”.  I don’t know why but we did and so did some of the locals in the mountains.  Because majority of us were foreign there was a lot of talk about “boo”.  I’m sure Usher is not the first singer to refer to their significant other as boo but it had never caught my attention before.  The first time I heard this song, I did a double take at the radio not sure I heard the words right.  Surely he wasn’t saying what I thought he was.  After a couple more times of hearing the song I determined that indeed he was singing about his boo.  I was in hysteric fits of laughter every time the song came on and especially at the lines “how I try to hide my boo” and “what am I going to do without my boo?”.  Probably live a little more comfortably without it is my guess.  I still get a smile on my face when the song comes on.

I’m Not a Stalker…I’m Just Observant and Have a Good Memory

I’ve been told many times that I have a good memory for small, would-be insignificant stuff.  I’m not really talking about random facts and tid-bits but actual situations and converstations.  Specifically I have this knack for remembering odd trivia about people I meet only once or twice and am able to recall it years later.  I can only assume it’s because this trivia is all I have to associate with them.  That being said…it’s creepy.  Not so much to me because I can’t help what I remember, but to other people it’s bazare and comes across as disturbing, especially when by chance I meet up with said person later in life and am able to regurgitate facts about them.  It’s especially awkward when the person is a guy because there’s this automatic assumption that I’m infatuated with them when in truth it has nothing to do with them but everything to do with me. 

About a year and a half ago, I met up with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a few years.  As we were talking about this and that he asked where I was living.  We were living in different towns about 20  min. away from each other but I described the location and apartment complex.  He had never been there before.  Nine or ten months later I run into this guy again.  As we’re catching up he says, “Are you still living in that same complex?” and proceeds to name the streets and intersection nearby.  I couldn’t help myself and responded with, “geez you stalker!”  I would like to add that I was laughing and reassured him that I too was a fellow memorizer and that I really didn’t think he was a stalker.  But in that moment I heard what it must sound like and could understand how non-memorizers could be alarmed.

So last night I went to a church activity.  As people were coming and mingling, I see this guy walk in that I immediately recognize from my days living in Hawaii 7 years ago.  We make eye contact for a second and because I’m not overtly outgoing in situations like that I turn my attention to something else – besides I only talked with him once or twice before so I was sure he wouldn’t make the connection.  To my surprise, he comes right over to me and says, “Didn’t I meet you back in Hawaii?”  And I responded that yes, we had met there before and we make small talk.  He asks me my name and then states his (as though I don’t know) and just because I don’t want to freak him out, I say something like, “Weren’t you friends with so and so’s brother?”, even though I know perfectly well that he was.  Matter of fact, I could not only recall his first and last name, how I met him, who he was friends with, I also remembered that he had lived in Puerto Rico for two years, had lived in Alaska for a summer to earning money on a fishing boat, which town and state he was from, and what town in Utah he had been living in.  YIKES!!  I know how this makes me sound…like a total stalker!  My only consolation was that maybe he too is a memorizer since he recognized me as well.  Maybe there are more of us out there than I thought.  But just in case there aren’t, I think I’ll stick to playing dumb.

Tag… I’m It!

So I was tagged by my sister Pammyshep a few days ago and have finally gotten around to answering it:

The rules are:
* link to the person who tagged you
* post the rules on your blog
* share six non-important things/ habits/ quirks about yourself
* tag at least 3 people at the end of the post and link to their blogs
* let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

1. I have issues with pointy high heeled shoes, especially when worn with jeans. Well, it’s one issue really. I think they’re ugly. I have affectionately dubbed them as “witch shoes” as they remind me of the Wicked Witch of the East’s feet when Dorthy dropped a house on her and they curled up and disappeared under the house. I had a co-worker that for reasons completely beyond my comprehension, bought a pair of lime green ones with sequins and beads on them. She loved them. I had a desire to find a yellow brick road and send her on her way.

2. No matter where I go, what time it is, or what I’m doing, someone is already there or will show up shortly after I’ve arrived. This is not because I’m popular and people want to be recipients of my charm, but more because I’m cursed. For example, I can guarantee that someone will pull into the space right next to me at the exact moment I pull into mine or whomever is parked next to me will exit the store at the same time I do and it doesn’t matter where in the parking lot I park – I’ve tested it. I don’t know who I pissed off in heaven but they obviously are having the last laugh.

3. I was an RA (resident advisor) my senior year of college. I found out that this really means as an RA you are a: keeper of the peace, referee, plumber, hated, exterminator, counselor, tolerated, janitor, secretary, gofer, judge, and disciplinarian. That job sucked. My motto was “You leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone”. It worked pretty well for the most part.

4. I can not pass by those Salvation Army bell ringers without dropping my change in. This is probably the only consistently good thing I do. If I don’t have change on me when I enter the store I make it a point to get some by the time I leave or just won’t go in the store. I have no idea why I’m so fixated on this.

5. I can actually read and follow a map. This is not to say I’ve never been lost but even then I can manage to find my way without too much difficulty. I attribute this to all the cross country driving I’ve done. This has come in handy on more than one occasion. My favorite was Christmas in LA two years ago. I had never been to LA before but with me giving the directions we never got lost.

6. For some reason I’ve become quite good at rattling off 80’s song lyrics either off the cuff or after only hearing a few seconds of the song. Odd because this isn’t my decade. And believe it or not, I’ve put this to good use. After singing lines to different songs back and forth for three hours on a road trip, my oldest sister finally conceded. A couple of years ago all of us kids got together and played some 80’s trivia game. This same sister talked big for weeks leading up to the game and in the end I kicked her trash not once, not twice, but three glorious times!

Tag you’re it:
Leigh
Pete
Mueller