this is me now

September 26, 2008

Road trip Rambling

Filed under: driving,Jack,Road trip!,weekends — by heatherdc @ 9:11 am

I’m gettin out for the weekend. And by out, I mean….Road triiiiip.

It’s only been a month since I got here, but for some reason I have that itch. I need to take a break, leave, and detoxify myself of all internship-ness. This is weekend #2 with Emily (yesss!!). And it’s also the first time I’ve seen Jack since he had to come down here, move too many boxes, and build IKEA furniture with me. I don’t think he’ll ever forgive the Swedes that wrote the directions (we have some suggestions….), but hopefully he’s forgiven me by now. ‘Cause I am sooooo ready to see him.

Oh, whats this about it being “National Stay at Home week”??  Really ABC?? You don’t have to beg. Somebody will ‘stay home’ watch two hours of Grey’s…, after The Office. Jim & Pam!!!! O-m-g. Finallyyyyyy!

I barely packed last night. I have yet to figure out what’s wrong with me in that department, but it’ll get done. I did do laundry. And fold it. Aaaand get music from the roomie’s iTunes so I have some new stuff to jam out to today. I have priorities.

If I bring a sweat-towel to the gym, I feel like I sweat more. Anybody? It’s always about 80º in there, meaning I will sweat profusely anyway. But, gah. It is better than 90% humidity and morning “dew” though. I don’t do the dew. Or humidity.

Anyway. The 5-mile morning run will hopefully appease my legs for having to drive 5 hours to PA. I never thought I’d be so excited to see that state. This one is pretty-n-allll, but we’re just not on that “level” yet.

Sooo, I’m off. Happy weekendinggg internets!


September 21, 2008

Nuvi thinks I moved to D.C.

Filed under: driving,learning — by heatherdc @ 11:02 pm

I learned a very important lesson this weekend. Don’t always trust the GPS. It’s not always right.

Knowing very well that I have been lost on this crazy side of the country many times, my Dad thought I should own a little GPS system for my car. He’s a genius. After one month, I know I literally could not survive this year without it. While I learn directions pretty quickly, I don’t always follow them so well. So having my personal electronic navigator has been very useful. And, most of the time, she knows where to go (yes, it’s a she. Her name is Nuvi, because thats what the device is called. Don’t ask me why. Garmin liked the name? Who knows.).

Emily came up for the weekend (yess!!), and got here pretty late on Friday night. We drove to Annapolis to visit her someone and have a few drinks. I was the driver for the night, so we took my car and my GPS. Even though I’ve driven there a few times since moving here, I always get confused on the way back. We won’t get into that, it’s complicated. As are all of the roads that go by 5 different names in this area. But we won’t get into that either.

As we’re heading back, what should be a 25-30 minute drive turned into a 90 minute drive. During which we drove much further south and west than we should have. When Emily said “Um, there’s the Washington Monument”, I thought “Ummmm. This is not good.”

I’m still very confused as to how this happened. We got in the car, turned on Nuvi and told her to go “Home” (which is obviously my apartment, programmed into her crazy little system). This has never failed before. But here’s the problem with relying on Nuvi, I might trust her a little too much. She’s loud, and she tells me where to turn, how far before I turn, and then repeatedly says what I’m supposed to do for every 0.1 miles until I do it.

And on Friday night, she decided that I moved to DC.

I did realize we had been driving for a while, but the screen wasn’t changing directions and she wasn’t “Recalculating” (what it says when you’ve messed up and now she has to figure out how to fix it). Soooo, I just kept driving. Bad choice. We were in unfamiliar territory, and started seeing signs with the Capitol building logo that said “Downtown: ___ miles”. That was probably the first red flag. Then we found ourselves on a 5 lane road with bright lights, too much traffic for the time of night, and street names like “6th Street”. Ehhhhhh.

Oh, then we saw the Washington Monument. Uhhhh. NOT. Good.

Long story short, we eventually made it “home” and out of DC. And learned that just because Nuvi knows all the roads and knows where you’re going, she might not always lead you in the right direction. Just be aware.

August 20, 2008

When an old car needs some lube

Filed under: driving,learning,Road trip! — by heatherdc @ 10:02 am

When I go home, my car stays here. It stays in the driveway of Em’s house, patiently sitting and waiting. This works out great, as in I don’t pay for parking at the airport and I know it’s in a safe place. The longest I’ve ever left it all alone is about a month. This summer, it was about three. And I think he’s gettin’ me back for that….

I went up the hill where it’s been parked, since May, and started him up. Battery worked, which was a relief. Gear shift wasn’t rusty, good to know. Put it in reverse, and…..uhh…stuck. Not moving. Even though we’re on an incline and should be rolling down. Me being the mechanic that I am, have no idea what this means. So I just give it some gas and basically force my car to go backwards. Once I get on the driveway I realize it sounds like something is dragging. And that “something” was the back right wheel. Ehhhhh. This can’t be good.

After AAA and a consult from a small independent auto shop, I know this: Only one wheel isn’t moving, so it’s probably not the axle, and you shouldn’t leave your emergency break on for 3 months. Especially when your car is gettin’ a little old. It does Not appreciate it. But pay it some attention, lube it up, maybe wash it a little bit…and you’re good to go. Yessss.

Luckily I didn’t wait til today to move the car and see whats up, since the Mom will be flying into MD today and I am kind of supposed to be there to get her. But he’s all fixed up! And ready for another road trip.

February 12, 2008

On the Road Again….

Filed under: college,driving,travel,weekends — by heatherdc @ 12:32 am

Destination: East to Philadelphia.

This weekend I was back on the road with my iPod and trusty SUV. Actually, I was back on the same roads that I traveled last Saturday on my way to MD. A minor change was traveling 76, otherwise known as the Turnpike, to the city of Brotherly Love.

I went to visit one of the first/best friends I made here at school. She graduated last December, so I don’t get to see her very often, aside from a few football games and Art’s Fest in the summer. She’ll always be one of those people where you just “pick up where we left off”. I love that about our friendship.

Next Fall I’m going to be in her wedding (yay!), so there’s been a lot going on for her. I got to see her dress, and try on a sample of my BM dress since it won’t be in until April. She also showed me where the ceremony and reception will be, which are both going to be so beautiful! That’s one thing I love about Pennsylvania, all the old stone churches surrounded by grass, trees, and old brick houses.

We also did a little shopping, went out for dinner, and followed that with some drinks. Something I love about the city: No cover charges for the bars! Which means you can actually go on a “bar tour”, which is exactly what we did.

We started thing off with a beer at “Pitcher’s”, followed by complimentary shots (thank you, random guys who bought blue shots and intrigued us), and another beer. Then we headed over to a place called “Bayou” (pronounced “Buy-you“), for some VTs and R&C’s (Vodka Tonics & Rum and Coke 🙂 ). The crowd here was a little slow so we strutted on down to enjoy a “club scene” at “105 Social”. Considering it was only about 10 o’clock by now (we started early?), it wasn’t too crowded yet and the DJ might have been the only one actually dancing. But we don’t need a crowd, we had a good time!

Favorite comment of the night:

…in reference to my very-out-of-state-ID…

Bouncer: “Wow, you came a long way for a drink!”

It was a quick trip, but it was definitely worth it. The only thing I could’ve done without would be the 1 1/2 hours of sitting, stopped, in traffic about 15 miles away from State College.
Word to the wise: If you have to go to the bathroom and you’re thinking “Eh, I’m only 20 minutes out, I’ll be fine….”, that will be just about the time that they decide to close the road and let you sit for almost 2 hours. GO to the bathroom. You will regret it otherwise. And you will be very cranky.

February 7, 2008

Music to my ears

Filed under: driving,Music,random — by heatherdc @ 6:15 pm

It’s amazing to me how quickly a smell, sound, or song can revert us back to specific memories, thoughts, and moments.

While I was working away in the lab this morning, I turned on the radio for some company. Usually it’s set on the Country station, which I’m okay with, but not today. I heard the Maroon 5 song “Harder and Harder to Breathe” and thought, this will do.

I have to say, the DJ was doin’ his thing this morning. I found myself listening to the perfect balance of old-but-good ones and some of the new “hits” that I’m a fan of. When you’re working alone for 2 hours listening to music, your thoughts tend to wander….

“Harder and Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5

2002: We put the tailgate of the truck down so we had somewhere to sit. The guys are in charge of starting the fire, we just watch. It isn’t very cold out, but having “a bonfire” gives us an excuse to come to this spot and be outside at night. We put in the Maroon 5 CD because it’s neutral. Not everyone likes rap, and not everyone likes Blink 182. We all love these guys though. It plays all night. We’re happy.

“Low (apple-bottom jeans, boots with the FUR)” by Flo-Rida

2007-2008: I look down from the top deck and find my sister dancing in the middle. I’ve never heard this song before, but apparently everybody else has. I listen to the lyrics and have to laugh a little bit, I guess it’s catchy if anything.
We’re shopping in TJ Maxx the next day, Lauren and I dragging Z along into the girl’s shoe section. From around the corner he starts yelling, “Apple-bottom jeans, boots with the FUR!”. We both laugh and turn around. He’s holding the ugliest boots I have ever seen. They look like they came straight off of an animal, maybe a buffalo…or something with long, disgusting black hair.

We’re at Lulu’s dancing, drinking, and enjoying the night. I can finally sing along to this “hit”, and I think it’s growing on me. Good beat, catchy lyrics, happy dancers.

“In the Middle” by Jimmy Eat World

I’m in the passenger seat, so I’m the DJ. It’s warm outside so we decide to be “cool” and put the top down. With nothing better to do after school, this will take up most of our afternoons. We go to “Sonic” to get a Route 44 (large) slushee. The drums start, and we sing.

“Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé

2007: LB turns up the volume, “This is my favorite part!”
“Keep talkin’ that mess that’s fine, but can you walk and talk at the same time??”

We all start singing as loud as we can. We’re driving back from a dinner out, elated from our meal that started with cocktails, involved some wings, and ended with free beads and crazy-straws from our waiter. It’s still nice outside, it’s Thursday, and we can finally go out to dinner and order drinks if we want to.

Maybe we’ll go out, maybe we won’t. It’s only the beginning of the semester, and we have that option should we choose it. Maybe we’ll wear dresses, just for fun. Maybe we’ll sit outside at the Café, while the weather is still cooperative. Maybe we’ll go to the Grill and be classy. It’ll be a good night.

“Sugar We’re goin Down Swingin” by Fall Out Boy

2005: Em is probably so sick of this song, but I’m so addicted to it! In fact, if you look at my iTunes, it’s been played 278 times. You’d think I’d be sick of it by now. I put it on for number 279. Back to my homework: Chemistry, Nutrition, coming up with a Speech for next week.

I hope she gets back soon, I’d much rather be watching “Will & Grace” and getting ice-cream.

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Greenday

2005: I crawl into bed and put my headphones on. I can’t fall asleep without music, but I don’t want to bother the roomie. Oh, the awkwardness of freshman year.

I press play, turn the volume down, and skip to track #5.

“Last Dance with Mary Jane” by Tom Petty

Our taste in music is radically different. He introduces people like Tom Petty and the Postal Service, I make him listen to 50 Cent and Toby Keith. Neither one of us care or complain, we like it all. We like each other. With at least 10 hours of driving ahead of us, the variety keeps it interesting.

I put in the latest “mix” that he made and sent to me in the mail while I was away. I want him to know that I love when he does little things like that. I turn it to track #4 and smile at him as I start to sing along, encouraging him to join in. I know we both like this one.

“This is one of two songs I would totally do Karaoke to”, he says. I laugh, one day I’ll make him do it.

January 31, 2008

Good Directions

Filed under: college,driving,roommates,travel — by heatherdc @ 1:16 am

Four years ago I made a cross-country move to go to college here in Pennsylvania. Since then, my life has been defined by traveling back and forth and the experiences that accompany these adventures. I use mapquest more than I’d like to admit, I have an extremely active account, and I have put thousands of miles on my trusty SUV.

My roommates and I love to go on road trips. Whether we get lost or not, at least we are in the car together. Usually snacking and content as long as we are singing at the top of our lungs.

My travels don’t always go smoothly. In fact, I’d describe them as quite the opposite.

The first time I flew home from school was for Thanksgiving break. Everything was fine for the most part. All the flights there and back were generally on time, no weather catastrophes or extreme delays.  I got to Pittsburgh and “Crazy” (*my best friend/roommate/I’m not using her real name) picked me up at the airport, which has become routine for us.  We got a ride back with one of her friends on Sunday night. Leaving around 6 p.m., we figured we’d get back around 9.  We could not have been more wrong….

To make a (very) long story short, we returned around 2 in the morning. Yes, it took us approximately  eight hours to finish what should have been about a three hour drive. Luckily for me, I was extremely tired from traveling all day and fell asleep in the back for most of the ride. Basically, about an hour away from Penn State, one road splits into “North” and “South”. You want to go North, and we went South. What happens when you head south? About an hour later you see a sign that reads:

“Welcome to Maryland”

Our thoughts, “Uhhhh, I think we should turn around?”  Numerous lets-stop-and-ask-for-directions, and about four hours later, we made it. To this day we hear about that night.  Every time I say we are taking a road trip, this is what I hear: “Don’t go to Maryland! Ha ha ha” 🙂 It’s funny now, you live and you learn right?

One would think….

Fast forward to sophomore year.  Crazy’s boyfriend attends school in Maryland (how convenient, we know how to get there!).  During September we decide to take a weekend and go visit him.  It should be about a 3 1/2 hour drive, nothing too bad. We print out the directions from here to there, pack up the car with all the essentials (i.e. snacks, water bottles, and CDs that we can sing to of course!), and we are on our way!

First obstacle: the exit we are supposed to take to get onto the first Interstate is blocked due to construction. Detour=30 minutes. After everything is figured out, we take a lunch break to relax and convince ourselves that was the only bump in the road. We’re good now.

Except that Maryland, like Pennsylvania, is old. The roads are old. The roads are small. The road signs are confusing. We do not know what we’re doing.  Basically, it took us about 5 hours to get there. But we made it! No unexpected states, or even cities…we consider this trip a success. Way to go, us!

One flaw in our preparations was that we failed to print directions for the way back.  Using our wonderful college-student-we’re-so-smart logic, we think…We’ll just use the directions we have and reverse them. Psh, easy! If it says go “East”, we go “West”. If it says go “South”, we go “North”. No stopping these explorers!

Our first Red-flag should have been crossing a huge bridge that we definitely did not cross on the way there. Especially since I hate bridges, and would have very clearly remembered this one.  Did we stop? Of course not. That would have made this story too boring. We drive on. This must just be a special leaving-Maryland bridge.

This logic probably would have continued until we reached the tip of New Jersey had it not been for the concept of road signs. Especially ones that read “New York City”. Ummm……AHHH!

Needless to say I have never tried to “reverse” mapquest directions. Ever. Again. Obviously we made it back, hours later. And in our defense, we have since made the drive plenty of times without fail, with minimal detours and only stopping to get food at Wendy’s (tradition!!).

The first time I met LB, we were driving to Pittsburgh for an audition. We didn’t know each other, aside from one lunch-date that we had prior to the trip. What should have taken us 3 hours took about 5. Although I must say, the city of Pittsburgh was not working cooperatively! And neither were the roads….
We walked into our audition one minute late, had a blast, survived the drive home, and we’ve been roommates to this day. Obviously something went right….even if it wasn’t the direction of the steering wheel.

We have also made various other successful road trips. I’ve driven to Mexico, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Long Island.

But it all comes back to good ole’ Maryland.This Saturday I will make the drive once more for my interview.  I’ve already gotten an e-mail from the parents, “At least this time you’ll be meaning to go there, ha ha”. 🙂

Yes, it’s a little embarrassing. But it will always makes me laugh. And I will be allowing myself at least twice the amount of time it should take me to get there. You never know around this crazy East coast….

October 14, 2007

Yes, there really is a place called Kalamazoo

Filed under: driving,Fall,weekends — by heatherdc @ 9:43 pm

…Reads the t-shirt in a Western Michigan University gift shop.

Road trip! Kalamazoo is located on the western side of Michigan. Crazy name, university town. My weekend consisted of:

-Renting movies
“The Ex” starring Zach Braff=hilarious!
“Reign Over Me” starring Adam Sandler & Don Cheadle=sad, hard to watch, good movie

-Eating at an Italian restaurant called “Zazio’s”
Overall, the food was tasty… aside from one order of “roasted Beet tortelli”. Beets and pasta? Together? Eewwwww

-Topping dinner off with TCBY Ice Cream, outside of an airport for once!

-Watching Penn State beat Wisconsin.
The Nittany Lions remembered how to play some good football. Nice work guys!

-Relaxing, laughing and feeling completely content being with my other half. 🙂

-Driving approximately 14 hours in 3 days, across 3 states both ways.
There is no better time of the year to be driving. The leaves are changing and the temperature is perfect (no AC, no heater). Plus, I bought a new radio transmitter/charger for my iPod. Not once did I have to worry about changing a CD or the fact that I get sick of CDs after about five songs. Put iPod on shuffle mode & drive. Wonderful

Back to reality, in State College. Not such a crazy name, still a university town. I love it.

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