10

Traveling and Things I Thought Were True When I Was Little

Well hello there, and greetings from the Eastern Time Zone for the first time since January. After a day and a half of travel, I am finally lying in my own bed and should probably be asleep but it’s been too long since I wrote something or updated on my life.

Yesterday, I packed (light) and flew from Madison to Washington-Reagan. The plane was tiny, of course, but I had a row all to myself. Not bad, even with a baby right behind me. Only about two hours of flying time though. My ears popped like crazy; we had a relatively quick and steep descent over the Potomac. I’ve never flown into Reagan before and I did not see the ground until we were literally on it; seriously, I was about to get my flotation device out.

It was a gorgeous day in Washington, so upon my sister’s advice, I took the Blue Line to Foggy Bottom and walked to her place in Dupont Circle along 22nd Street. After meeting her at her apartment, we had a quick dinner at CharBar (kosher meat, and Jack Lew was sitting at the next table!) and came back to clean a little and pack up some stuff.

This morning: time for kindergarten! Yay! Up and at ’em at 6:30 AM, leave at 7:30 to get to her school in Rockville, with a Dunkin’ Donuts stop on the way, and arrival right on time at 8:30. Surprisingly, one of her boys remembered me, and was all “hi, Jacob!” as if I was there every day (for the record, I have visited exactly once before, and that was back in the fall). The kids were mostly good today, and when my mom showed up (she drives down and volunteers there every Thursday) it was even better. I did a lot of reading, spelling, and adding; all helpful things in life. There’s something that’s just so exciting about that age, and the whole kindergarten atmosphere is just so colorful and fun you want to stay and play forever. The kids were done at 3:30, but my sister does tutoring after school, so I transferred my stuff to Mom’s car and we headed back to Baltimore, a trip that took us TWO. WHOLE. HOURS. Just from Washington to Baltimore. Of course, my sister left later and made it in record time, missing all the lovely traffic we suffered through. We had our traditional pre-Passover country club dinner with half the people we’re going to see tomorrow night anyway: my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. Tomorrow night’s seder will be a whopping 23 people, 21 family and 2 friends, which is probably the most people that I am related to being in my house at the same time (if that sentence makes any sense outside of my tired little brain), but Saturday night’s seder is going to be 11; the four of us plus 7 people we’re not related to (2 sets of family friend couples who are related to each other, 1 of my mom’s friends, 1 of my sister’s friends, and 1 of my friends). So that should be fun.

That should get you up to speed on my travels.

Now, for some fun…last week, Jenna Marbles did a video about things she thought were true as a little kid. Here are some of mine:

I thought that:

1. Harriet Tubman was the inventor of the bathtub.

2. Madonna owned McDonald’s and McDonough (a local private boys’ school that my cousin attended). Don’t blame me, they all sounded the same!

3. A cuticle was a short newspaper article.

4. Chartreuse was a word you used when you couldn’t remember what color you were trying to describe.

5. If you named a character after yourself or someone you knew in The Oregon Trail computer game, and they died, that person would die soon in real life. I had several macabre nightmares about dying of malaria, dysentery, and snakebites.

6. If you took medicine and were not sick, it would make you sick.

7. It took me awhile to understand what someone meant by “having something up their sleeve.” Apparently, I was so confused that my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Rubenstein, actually asked me to look inside her sleeve (don’t worry, all I saw was the amount of arm you normally see when you roll up your sleeve) and tell her what was in there. When I saw nothing, that’s when I learned what a figure of speech was.

8. Lemonade was actually…something else yellow in a bottle, and that only boys drink Coke and only girls drink Pepsi.

9. You graduated elementary school at age 10, and high school at age 20 (thank God I was wrong about that).

10. My stuffed animals came to life after I went to sleep. A lot of kids probably thought this, but I was totally invested in it. I remember taking their temperatures to make sure they were not sick when they came out to play, slept with my door open so they could find their way back and get back in easily, and that if they were lying face down, I should leave them alone for awhile because “if they fall forward that’s okay, they need their sleep during the day.” They also all had last names and home addresses and phone numbers; originally they were random collections of letters (one was Sallesam, pronounced “sawl-sam,” something my dad still teases me about today). But, after I took a summer class in mythology, their first or last names changed to Greek and Roman gods/goddesses; for example, I had a stuffed snake that was named Anthony, who gained the Greek name Hephaestus and the Roman name Vulcan, and I had a feminine looking bear who got Juno as her Roman name and Hera as her Greek name, and I called them those names depending on what I felt like calling them that day. I had so many stuffed animals that at one point I made them all name tags. FACT.

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6

Today I Learned Something New About Cars

Basically, the title of the post says it all, but here is the story anyways.

So, today, I felt like altering my plans of sitting and doing not much else other than watching Twin Peaks and making several cups of coffee with my new Keurig by heading to the Columbus Antique Mall. I love antique stores, and I usually have the self-control not to buy much, but I just kept seeing things that I liked today and ended up with $60 worth of stuff, including a knick-knack shelf, a limited edition Princess Diana beanie baby (the grand prize of the 1990s) and an awesome red quilted jacket/shirt thing that is a tiny bit small but it’s one fine piece of clothing and comfortable, too. Once, I saw a beautiful brown quilted jacket at that very same antique mall, tried it on, loved it, and then put it back because it was a bit too small. I’ve been kicking myself ever since, so today when I saw the red one on the form, I was like “mine.” The sleeves are way short, but I can roll them up, and I can only get the bottom two frogs closed unless I want to wear it open, which is fine by me.

Anyway, the car story.

So, riding high on my antique mall buys, I head home with about a half a tank of gas left. I could probably go until Madison, but there’s a $2.34/unleaded Kwik Trip right at the edge of Columbus, so I go there instead. I exit my car, put in my credit card, then try to open the gas door. And guess what?

It’s locked.

It’s been known to be finicky in the past, but it just wouldn’t budge. Fortunately, there was an attendant on duty (which so few gas stations have these days; get on that, gas stations) and he tried and tried but couldn’t get it. So, after a phone call with Dad, I call Triple-A, and get a chipper woman named Bethany who sounds slightly high but is curious as to why my gas door is acting the way it is. I tell her that I probably have enough gas to get home, so I can take it to a mechanic in the morning, but then she stops me and asks for my make/model/year, and then goes to the Internet because it’s in front of her, to help find a solution. I guess this is what Triple-A people do in their spare time, just like every other working person on the planet. After I fail to find any sort of lever inside the car to open my gas door, she suggests:

“Why don’t you try unlocking all the doors of your car.”

Beep-beep. Beep-beep. And…BAM. It worked. Thank you, Bethany at Triple-A! I had not even thought about that. I knew I had the back doors locked, because I was scared that the door would open and the shelf would fly out, but I didn’t think that would mean anything.

Apparently, in some cars (or at least mine), doors locked = all doors locked, including gas door.

Seriously, I did not know this.

I called Dad on the way home and told him, to which he was like, “oh, that’s news to me” and then proceeded to tell me a completely unrelated story about one time when he was getting gas near the courthouse and locked his keys in the car. Great contribution, Dad.

And that’s how I learned that in order to get the gas door open in the car, I need to have all the doors unlocked.

Lesson learned.

Oh, and BTW, I was watching my interactive map yesterday and in mid-afternoon I had exactly two visitors: one from Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, and the other from Northampton, England, UK. What are the odds?

5

Twenty Questions for That’s So Jacob

One of the most curious places on the Internet is Yahoo! Answers. Even though Yahoo! has been on a decline since the 1990s, but for some reason, Yahoo! Answers is still there. And people are still asking questions, every day, big and small. I haven’t yet asked any, but I’ve answered a few.

But tonight, I’ve decided to answer a few more.

I’m going to go on the site, answer the first twenty questions that come up, to the best of my ability, and post the responses here.

1. Michael asks:

Hi, I ordered a skateboard deck from amazon and the trackijg info on amazon shows the seller shipped the packaged today and the provided a tracking number. Below the tracking number in the status section it says 
We’re sorry. “We are unable to retrieve more tracking details for this shipment.” So I took the tracking number provided and checked all of the shipping companies and none recognized the tracking number. The company that’s listed on amazon as being used for shipping is FedEx SmartPost. I even called FedEx and they said they can’t see any package in their system. Why is my tracking number not recognized by FedEx tracking system and why doesn’t amazon have any info on its whereabouts?

Dear Michael,

Some things in life are meant to be mysteries.

All kidding aside though, sometimes it takes a day or two for the number to come up in the system. Other times, I’ve received things I’ve ordered online with that same message, and they’ve just shown up anyway.

2. Kayla asks:

I recently bought biotin at target because I heard it helped hair and nail growth. But then I further researched before taking the pills and I heard that it makes you break out in pimples. Are these true?

Dear Kayla,

I have no idea. I would probably rather rely on nature if I had a problem like that.

3. Alysha asks:

I have a membership card for Hot Topic that gives me points when I buy stuff or even visit a store. I was wondering if there are other stores with the same kind of cards? And if there, can anyone tell me? 

This is not a credit card by the way. It just gives me points so I can get discounts later or access to member events. I do not want credit cards or anything like that lol. Just ones that I get points for and get discounts later.

Dear Alysha,

Absolutely! So many stores have membership or rewards cards program. Starbucks has a membership rewards program as well, where you can download an app to get free drinks. Check your local supermarket to see if they have a club. Look at your favorite stores’ websites for more information.

4. Stephanie asks:

Like, I don’t get the difference between foundation and concealer. Okay, maybe. Foundation I think makes like the skin glow and give a pretty skin color look? And concealer might like cover acne and stuff? I don’t know!! I also don’t get like how people put it on. Makeup, I mean, basically. Like their routine, pretty much. I just put on makeup twice or once a week. I get foundation, smear it on and put on masara, a bit of eyeshadow and face powder. I don’t even know if I even do it right or not. Can someone just tell me how you put various products on, before or after another product? Makeup routines? The right way to put makeup on? Thanks!

Dear Stephanie,

One word: YouTube. Search for “makeup tutorials.” Cheaper than a fashion magazine!

5. James asks:

I feel betrayed and I don’t know what to do. This all happened a few days ago and ever since that day, I became very antisocial and did activities by myself. This is not how I wanted my summer to start -.-

Dear James,

Sounds like rough stuff. If my friends betrayed me, I’d ask myself…did I really want to be friends with them in the first place?

6. Jill asks:

I’ve read many times that regular makeup (oil based and creme makeups like Cover Girl and all those popular commercial brands) will not stick to silicone surfaces and look discolored, I understand that only silicone sticks to silicone. I learned that the best way to color silicone is alcohol-based makeup palettes, however, if silicone sticks to itself than would using silicone based makeup work? Like the Temptu brand or any other brands that use silicone in their foundations? It makes sense to me but I can’t find any information anywhere that it would work. If anyone does know, would this last over silicone all day and keep it’s color? Thanks very much.

Dear Jill,

I’d definitely say a silicone based makeup. Also, I think many spray products (spray tan, etc) use silicone.

7. Kiiashi asks:

My daughter is 6 months old and has been cutting her teeth in recently. Two are fully cut now and she’s cutting 2 more. Is she too young for me to brush her teeth now that she’s getting some in or do they need to be a certain age first?

Dear Kiiashi,

I was at Target recently and saw that in the baby care section, they have training toothbrushes that are small and soft. You could probably look at the age range on the back of them. Also, if she is not eating solid food, I guess that she’s not at risk of staining them with anything. Best of luck with your dental hygiene quest!

8. Naz asks:

Made a hair mask from Coconut oil, 1 egg, and vanilla/banana yogurt. 
Can I leave it in my hair overnight? 
Don’t normally use yogurt.

Dear Naz,

Put a shower cap on it, and in the morning you can pour it in a bowl for breakfast!

9: Holland asks:

Dorothea 

Theodora 

Ilithiya / Eilithia (pronounced, ill-ith-ee-ah & is a real greek girls name) my personal favorite 🙂 

I know Ilithiya is difficult to spell and pronounce but keep in mind we WILL be calling her Thea.

Dear Holland,

All those names are very nice! But remember, she’ll have to use that name on her college applications, credit cards, and when calling US Airways to book tickets to see her grandparents in Athens. I love the name Eleutheria, it’s Greek for “freedom” and she could be called Thea. There’s also Althea, Mathea, or even Cynthia. Whatever name you choose, she’ll still be your adorable daughter.

10. Kevin asks:

Where to get locator chip installed in my child?

Dear Kevin,

North Korea?

11. Colleen asks:

Do i need a work permit in the summer?!?! Im looking for a job (any job suggestions will be fantastic as well. Im a 15 year old girl in georgia)

Dear Colleen,

I had a summer job as a 15-year-old in Maryland. I got a work permit through a woman who was a secretary at my junior high school, who was also a notary. Popular jobs for teenagers include lifeguarding, babysitting, lawn mowing, deck washing, or tutoring kids. Good luck!

12. Lisa asks:

‘She have aids so I didn’t ask her out’ does this sentence make sense? Or should it be she got aids…?

Dear Lisa,

In this case, it’s past tense. “She had AIDS, so I didn’t ask her out.”

13. Sonja asks:

Favorite book?

Dear Sonja,

All of them.

14. Niamh asks:

It’s sunday morning and i have done an all nighter, will this effect my sleeping pattern as i have school tomorrow (monday) and i have to get up at 6;00, please help me out, if you have any tips on what i should do, please dont hesitate to give me advice.

Dear Niamh,

Sleep is important for restoring the body and aiding mental strength. Be careful and try to avoid too much sugar/caffeine lest you “crash” later.

15. Jacob asks:

I don’t really know what it’s called or how to fix it but if I do something stupid and embarrassing like everyone does eventually I will literally obsess over it for days and it drives me crazy…. any idea how to fix this

Dear Jacob,

First of all, awesome name. Second of all, you might have a type of OCD. I’m not a doctor, but remember…people won’t remember the things you did but how you made them feel.

16. Newty asks:

My friend is having problems reading and listen, some time he loose his consciousness for a seconds and comes back to normal. Is this something to do with neuroscience. What diagnosis should i suggest to him. He says that he has to read at least 3-4 times to understand the contents and he doesn’t like reading more lines as he get distracted soon. Also he finds himself distract when somebody is talking to him he misses out many points that were told to him.

Dear Newty,

I’d suggest focusing. No TV, no music, no interesting things in the room or on the walls or out the window. Maya Angelou used to write in a hotel room and request all the paintings be taken off the walls.

17. Jasmine asks:

I absolutely love people and wish I could easily talk to people. I’m 14 years old and had such bad social anxiety I had to be put into homeschool in 7th grade because I was fainting from anxiety attacks everytime I stepped within 60 feet of someone. I still am in homeschool and it’s just depressing to me that I don’t get to have the same experiences with friends and relationships as other teenagers. I’ve talked to people i’ve known since elementary school online and they say things like “we should catch up” and I say “yeah sure” and never get back to them. I’ve even canceled dates. It’s mostly because I feel weird looking and just well, weird in general. I don’t share much interest in things that other people do. I’m short (only 5’2), i’m curvy (not fat I have a flat stomach but a big butt and thighs), I have a weird face shape, I don’t dress very fancy just a tshirt and skinny jeans, I can’t even have small talk or be looked at without choking. It’s just horrible. Is there any advice anyone could give me to try to tackle this whatsoever?

Dear Jasmine,

I’m so sorry you’re suffering. I have had depression and social anxiety all my life, and I’ve tried a lot of things, and honestly, it’s different for every person. For me, it’s been finding out who I am, what I’m good at, and what I like/dislike; a strong sense of self is important, and in learning about yourself you might learn about others. I have good and bad days, but my best days are ones when I go out and do activities I like. Maybe joining a youth group or Girl Scouts would help you meet new friends your own age; don’t rely on the Internet. It’s summer, and I’m sure there are plenty of activities around you…look into taking a class in dance, acting, or public speaking, or audition for a local community theatre production. As far as inside of you, taking meds is not a shameful thing; seeing a psychiatrist might be beneficial. If none of these things feel possible for you yet, just do something small and creative, like a silly YouTube video or a funny blog; I have one. Good luck with things and remember you’re not alone.

18. Olivia asks:

I’m 14 turning 15 in a few months. I am really interested in modeling and acting. I have been for a few years. I have also started running to lose weight and working out. I have blonde medium length curly hair and blue eyes.
I’m about 5.5″ (that was a few months ago) and I’m close to Toronto Area.
I just need advice on how I could “break in” to the world persay. Also, both my parents work so they would not be able to stay on set or a shoot. Would this mean I would have to wait until I am of legal age to model/act? Is there any chance for me if I don’t have community theatre in my town (and the closest one is Musical which I strongly dislike)? And how could I model for companies like Garage, Walmart, etc? How would I find a legit agency? And would I have to pay them money or is it a scam?
Thanks to everyone who takes the time to answer!

Dear Olivia,

First of all, be VERY careful. Have a parent or older relative (aunt/uncle/sister/brother) with you, you never know who wants what.

Second of all, I think a lot modeling/acting “schools” are scams. Self-promotion is so easy in this day and age. Make a website and a resume, and a passport photo place could take a very nice and inexpensive photo; many high fashion models do their first series of headshots au naturel/very little makeup, looking straight at the camera expressionless. A white top makes it extra elegant. Camera phones have also evolved to take great pictures.

Third, I am sure you could act locally with your parents’ permission and possibly a waiver.

Fourth, if you live near a college/university, contact their theatre department; students are always looking for readers/actors.

19. Christina asks:

So I’m visiting my long distance boyfriend soon and I’m staying with him at his parnents house. (Both 18 by the way) anyways I got a blank thank you card with a gift card to his parent’s favorite resturant. How do I express my thankfulness to them? I’m not good at putting words that I express together. Thank you!

Dear Christina,

How about: Dear Mr and Mrs Jones:
Thank you so much for your hospitality. Please accept this gift as a token of appreciation for opening your home and your heart to me.
Yours truly,
Christina

20. D asks:

I’ve been getting a lot of social and mental problems lately and I feel I need to see a psychologist about it. I’m not wanting to meet one in person, I just want to be able to email one and ask for help in that way. Does anyone know any good psychologist sites and ones where I can email? Thanks 🙂

Dear D,

http://www.psychologytoday.com connected me to someone who really helped me a lot. Good luck!

You got questions?

I got answers.

Ask me.

0

It’s Colder Than A…

Okay, this is it. It is officially cold outside.

How cold is it?

TK TK gifs

By the numbers, it’s -23 F here in Madison.

Negative. Twenty. Three. 

And that’s not even the coldest on record here.

But it’s cold enough that two of my meetings tonight were cancelled, and that all morning classes at the University of Wisconsin are cancelled tomorrow. And hopefully the afternoon ones too, not that I don’t love Irish drama but it would just make my day even more special.

And since it’s cold enough for that, it’s officially too cold to think.

So I’m going to let Google do the post for me today.

Going back to the initial question…

How cold is it?

I’m going to defer to Aubrey Plaza on this one.

0

Fun New Words to Mumble Under Your Breath

One of the courses I’m taking this semester is a seminar in Irish drama. I don’t know much about Ireland and Irish playwrights as I probably should, hence the reason for taking the class. The reading list is gigantic, and with ten readings to be read before Tuesday, I spent the majority of my Saturday not reading them and have only read twenty pages into the first.

Reading an Irish play can be tricky. The language is colorful, to say the least, and it’s written in a dialect. It’s taken me the better part of an hour to read what I have so far, but I’ve been double dipping between reading and watching SNL. This sketch is kind of dumb.

But anyway, back to the play. The one I’m reading is Colleen Bawn by Dion Boucicault. The plot is fairly straightforward, and I’ve already learned two fun new words. And both of them have the same meaning.

First, spalpeen. Originating in the late 18th century, it can be pronounced either spal-peen or spal-peen. Versatile. According to Dictionary.com, it means “lad, boy, rascal, or scamp.”  It comes from an Irish word meaning “hired laborer.” I like the World English Dictionary’s reference to “rascal or layabout” better. I like this word because it doesn’t sound like anything in English, and is slightly sexual in nature.

Another fun one is blackguard. You may have heard this from the Family Guy episode where Stewie dresses up a la Tootsie to get a role on his favorite TV show, Jolly Farm Revue. I didn’t know what the word meant or even if it was indeed a real word. I actually thought it was “blaggard” because that’s how it’s pronounced, although saying it as if it were a compound of “black” and “guard” is also acceptable. And racist. Defined as “scoundrel,” the word refers to menial workers, who were often called the black guard. My favorite feature of this word is that it can be used as a verb or even an adverb, blackguardly, as in, “My man blackguardly left me with three kids and no money.” Now it’s not only racist, but doubly racist.

I…should probably not incorporate those into my daily speech. Maybe the world’s not ready for them yet.

But they still count in Words With Friends.