The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ew...The 80s...

Seth: "Oh, God, now my hands smell like the 80s..."

Me: "Apparently the 80s smell like old plastic."

Mom: "Get some antibacterial soap and scrub vigorously!"

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Finer Things In Life

FUN: Mexican Villa Burrito. yeah.

NOT FUN: Writing a *page* in French on an intelligent topic.

FUN: Being the only one in your Calculus class to recognize that if y=(sinx)(cscx), then y=sinx/sinx and therefore y=1, so the derivative is y'=0, all while wearing a pink skirt.

NOT FUN: Being about 6 years behind in your reading for Madame Bovary

FUN: Talking about Zombies and Full House over a Chocolate Muffin and a Chicken Ceasar Wrap.

NOT FUN: Forgetting to do all your french homework until the end of time.

FUN: Seeing the girl in your French Lit class who HATES YOU being told by the professor that all the questions she's asking are "basic" and therefore cannot be allowed to suck up class time.

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Friday Five Actually Posted on Friday

1. Create a band using anyone you want, from any other band, or whoever. Heck, put yourself in it.

Look, it's me and Hannah and Shay and Kecky.... and a drummer.

2. Name it.

Pocketful of Stars!!!!!! Just kidding... No, Really.

3. And tell us what your first single will be called.


4. It's a one-hit wonder, isn't it?

Not with "Angst!" it isn't.

5. Do survive the public scrutiny?

There is no public scrutiny, at least not directly. We're a cartoon band! Ha!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Quotable Mom Moments....

...from the annual Eminence pilgrimage.

Many of you may be acquainted with the annual Eminence pilgrimage. Basically, every October the collective James family loads up into the suburban and travels the hundred miles or so east to Eminence, MO--an extremely regal town with gorgeous natural surroundings, an annual crafts festival, and an old-fashioned soda fountain. Midway to Eminence, we stop at a restaurant and shop called--and I'm seriously not kidding here--Hillbilly Junction. They have good gravy. Oh, and this year Seth bought a blow-dart gun... (yay)

Once we get there, we typically float down one of the breathtaking rivers that converge in the area, stay in quaint (read: horrid) cabins on the river's edge, and spend an obscene amount of money on handmade bits and bobs such as pottery, hand woven garments, jewelry, and anything else we can (or can't) justify buying. We decorate the graves of my father's ancestors and drive by the house my grandma grew up in and the church in which my grandparents were married. Usually, we also visit one of the surrounding springs, such as Alley, Blue, or Round.

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Well it is. However, this year things didn't quite go according to plan. Some of you may have noticed that this year, Missouri decided to skip autumn and go straight from summer to winter. As a result, it was too cold to float and we had to come up with something else to do... I know, let's go climb a mountain! With no path! Where you're not supposed to! With no gear! And no training!

So we went to Big Spring, intending to walk the fun little paths and enjoy the natural prettiness of it all. Instead, about thirty feet into the walk, Seth and I spot a Really Cool Exposed Rock Formation leading up the hill. Of course, we have to climb it. It's pretty easy, just climbing up these jagged rocks, with a football, btw, and it's all happy and joyful and "look I'm king of the mountain!"

But then we keep going.

Once we got started climbing, we just kept going.... up past the rocks, past the easy footholds, and into underbrush. Then we go past the underbrush into where it's just dirt, sliding, sliding away from under your feet. And we just have to keep going. Then, mom and dad start to follow us. So there we are, the entire family unit, trekking up this unstable wash, just going and going, with no thought as to where the top is (if, in fact, there was one) or how exactly we were going to get down. The top turned out to be a bare cliff face that I couldn't scale, leaving me to inch along it slowly with my back to the abyss as I made my way over to less vertical ground. As my Aunt Marilyn put it, "It was an excellent faith-building exercise."

When we realized we weren't going to find a path, we rested on a precariously perched log as Dad made us walking sticks for the trek down. Seth ran/hopped his way down, I mountain-surfed, Dad hiked, and Mom sloooooowly picked. Long story short, we all survived.

Anyway, on the climb down, we had a rather amusing exchange that went something like this:

Mom: ::grumble grumble:: ack! ::grumble::

Me: So, I guess we took the road less traveled by, eh Mom?

Mom: ::grumble::

Seth: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sadly I could not travel them both...." (goes on to flawlessly quote first and last stanzas of Frost's "Road Not Taken" "....and that has made all the difference."

Mom: Yeah, it's made all the difference IN MY KNEES.

She was like that all weekend. We tried to have a family game of catch and the whole time she was being attacked by gnats or stepping in little divots or jamming her finger or whatever.

Other memorable mom quotes include:

"I don't want to torture it, I just want to kill it!"


"This is just like Missouri"

Oh, and she insisted we buy a plastic gun that shoots marshmallows.... I think she wants to take it to work.....

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Ballad of a Monday

This happened a couple of weeks ago, but it's still funny. It is the account of my Evil Sitcom Monday.

I am always late to class. On this particular Monday, I was going to have two tests, so I planned on getting up extra early in order to have time to cram for my first test, at 9:00am. As I'm lying in bed, trying to force my limbs to rise, my cell phone rings. It's my brother, calling from his school, and he needs me to bring him his notebooks, which he left at his friend's house. I groan and mumble, but sisterly duty compels me to acquiesce... until as an afterthought, he adds, "Oh, and the dogs will bark at you but they don't bite."

It is important to note here that *I* *HATE* *DOGS* that I think will bite me (i.e. every single dog in the world that I am not *extremely* familiar with). I complain to him some more, but again, sisterly duty compels me, and I tell him I'll get the damn notebooks.

I rush around, trying to get out of the house so I can acquire and deliver the notebooks and still get to class early enough to cram. Even at this point, I can tell that's not bloody likely. Still, I arrive at his friend's house and go up to the door, which he has told me will be unlocked, even though no one is home. I knock and ring just in case someone is walking around naked. This proves to be a mistake, as of course all house-dogs are conditioned to bark (read: attack) at the sound of a doorbell. I look through the window cooing "nice doggie, good doggie" and try to open the door a crack. A snout *LUNGES* through the crack, canines bared, absolutely desperate to tear my jugular open, and I promptly pull the door shut again. "Okaaay...." I say shakily, "Maybe not such a good idea..."

I pause for a moment, trying to decide if my fear is based in an irrational phobia or actual sense of danger. Normally I would stand there mentally whining about it for quite a while, but I realize that time is running out and I have a test at 9:00. I decide to just do it. I open the door, still with the ineffectual cooing (why didn't I bring a hot dog or something?) and jump inside, slamming the door behind me. The smaller dogs aren't very intimidating, but the biggest one is still growling and baring his teeth at me. I immediately realize this was a mistake. I am a stranger, entering their home while none of their masters are present. I meet all the criteria for an intruder, excepting the fact that I'm not wearing a black cat suit and sneaking around on tiptoe. Still cooing (nice doggie, please don't kill me....) and employing the only "calm the dog" technique I know (let them smell your hand and then pet them on the head! provided they don't bite the hand off first!) I edge my way towards and through the pack of dogs.

Then something interesting happens. As soon as I'm through the entryway, they lose interest. They immediately cease barking and walk away. They completely leave the room. Obviously the "someone's coming in the house!" reaction is even more ingrained than I realized. I quickly grab the notebooks and get the hell out.

I will soon wish that I were still negotiating with wild dogs, as negotiating with High School secretaries proves much more difficult. Upon arrival at the school office, I tell the first woman at a desk that I need to send the notebooks to a student. I give her his name and grade. She looks blankly at me. She takes out a piece of paper. She looks blankly at the paper, then starts to write. Before completely forming two full letters, she looks back up at me and says, actually, give it to Mrs. ____. I turn around to Mrs. ____ and repeat my request. It seems to register with her. I consider the notebooks in good hands and proceed to class.

I am late to class. The exam has already started and I have not studied at all. The exam destroys me.

In my next class I am a bit more confident, until my professor starts handing out the tests. It's a BLUE BOOK. I'd never had a college Blue Book exam. The exam destroys me.

There were various other mishaps and inconveniences throughout the day, but the cherry on top of my glorious ice-cream Monday came when I got home that night, and my brother asked me, "So, did you bring those notebooks up to the school? 'Cuz I never got them...."