Archive by Author

The October 11 That Will Live In Infamy

12 Oct

Dear Annette,

So this is where I should probably write an explanation as to why I’ve been so absent in regards to posting ANYTHING in the past few months…but I seriously don’t have a good one that doesn’t resemble an excuse – and I hate excuses!

I’ll get back to the excuses on another date. Right now, I have more important things to discuss with you. Let me tell you a lovely story:

My pal/roommate Leslie had this coworker. And this coworker has a girlfriend that knew a fellow employee at her work. And this group collaborated and thought that this employee and myself might be a nice match. So they gave us each other’s number, and we proceeded to text each other and set up our very first semi-blind date several weeks ago.

Annette. It was an awesome date. And you most certainly know the amount of dating I’ve done in my life. Slim to none. For me to enjoy it, and for me to anxiously anticipate another date with this person was a miracle in itself. But I DID. We had Indian food. We fired pottery together. We looked at the lights of the city and breathed the same autumn air and smiled the same nervously elated smile and there were stars and it felt like every cell in me knew that everything about this was just the way it was supposed to be.

Flash forward a few weeks and many dates later (cooking breakfast together, hanging around Mt. Adams, going up to Carew Tower, watching horrible kung fu movies – you know how much I love horrible movies), and now, we’re totally going steady. And I’m ridiculously happy. Not because of the fact that we’re going steady, in particular. It’s more because I’m ridiculously happy that I’ve found this person I can relate to so easily, that gets my horrible jokes, that appreciates my stupidly romantic gestures, who I already know respects me for just who I am – and they’re totally into me as much as I am into them.

She’s just great.

It’s weird to say it, but Annette, I have an incredible girlfriend.

How’s this for a National Coming Out Day story?!

I guess I should regress. I really don’t want to, because for me, regression needs to go all the way back to when I was 13 and realized that something in me wasn’t quite the same as all the other kids. I wanna regress almost a year ago, when I admitted to that crazy ex Joey (while he was my roommate – is my life a sitcom or what) in the wine aisle at Kroger that yes, I was more attracted to gals than guys, but not completely unattracted to guys. Thus, by definition, making me bisexual…though my favorite phrase for it is “definitely not straight”, because bisexual suggests a perfectly equal dichotomy amongst genders, and it’s just not like that for me. And anyways, THEN commenced a long journey of revealing this to friends and my immediate family, to incredible support across the board, because I finally had the courage to say things on my mind and in my heart for years.

Today is not the day that I argue the specifics of my morality/my hopes for/my beliefs in regards to my relationship, or other same sex couples, or marriage equality, or any of that stuff. All I’m trying to do is tell you that all of this is about love and attraction – two things that poets and various writers have argued for years are innate, unalienable facts of life.

There is nothing wrong about this, and no one has the right to tell me otherwise.

Yesterday, the same Leslie from above asked me what it is about women that makes me attracted to them over men. The question seriously stumped me for a minute, and I pulled together some lame response dictated in terms of femininity vs. masculinity that was completely negligible. I think I might have mentioned something about body hair and tattoos.

The honest truth? I fall in love with human beings. If that happens to occur more frequently with women than men, but still sometimes with men, then so be it. Is that answer so startling? I am fascinated with the intricacies of humanity: the beauty of art and medicine and literature juxtaposed with the destruction of violence and war and pestilence, and the fact that humanity produces that and everything in between is transfixing enough to drive my pulse and warm my blood. Is it any surprise that the limits of my love are not confined to a singular gender?

This is what matters to me right now. I’m dating a girl named Sara. I think she’s beautiful. She likes bad kung fu movies. She knows how to cook exceptionally. Her favorite color is orange.

And one day, I would really like you to meet her.

Love,

Elisabeth

Elisabeth Hieber’s Guide to Life Preparedness, part 1

8 Nov

Dear adventurers,

If you have a car, you know that’s it tends to be pretty useful. It gets you from point A to point B, and if you’re me, points C, D, X, Y, and pi. I use my parents’ car probably more than I should, but it tends to be a necessity when you take care of 4 dogs in two different borroughs, have a job, attend school, and live somewhere between Avondale and Clifton.

This is Honduras. He’s my bro – we kick it all the time. He has the best jams, knows exactly what to do when I’m angry or upset (drive fast and away from cops, duh), and he always forgives me when I run him into poles or over deceivingly concealed boulders outside Taco Bell.

But probably the best part of Honduras is his trunk. In the transition between moving from one side of campus to the other, we had a few days where our lease at Clifton house had ended and our lease at Euclid house had yet to begin. I lived out of that trunk like a boss. I had a pillow, a change of uniforms, my toothbrush and toothpaste, all of my shoes, now that I think about it, a lifeguard tube – basically, everything I needed to live at whatever location I happened to roll up to: my parent’s house, the zoo parking lot, the Christian frat where our animals were living. I learned a lot from that experience. It is never detrimental to stock your trunk to be prepared for anything. Unless, you know, you’re preparing to stow a body. You might want to empty our your trunk for that.

The contents of my trunk include:

1. A lifeguard tube. You never know when you might encounter someone drowning and a lifeguard tube makes the whole rescue deal so much easier. Plus, it makes a great pillow.

2. A swimsuit. Again, do you want to get your clothes wet when you save someone? Alternately, we’ve all had that “Let’s go swimming!”-“I didn’t bring a suit :(” exchange. Never be that person again! My preferred suit is a TYR trainer, one or two piece. You never know when you’re going to have that opportunity to tan.

3. A basket full of water bottles. I love drinking water. I hate encountering a water fountain and not being able to take it on the road with me.

4. A small empty rabbit cage. In case of zombie invasion and I have to flee the state, I need to have a place for Lenny to stay comfortably. Unless, of course, he became a zombie rabbit at some point during the invasion. In which case, the cage is even more of a necessity. It keeps one less zombie Leporidae oryctolagus from roaming the streets, eating braaaaains.

5. Toothbrush and toothpaste. And an extra brush, mascara, and lip gloss. After surviving what has been referred to as my frat-boy weekend (numerous swimming pools, smoothing over police and a landlord, a Reds game, all-night clubbing, and then waking up in an apartment in Kentucky), I realized you never know what’s going to happen or where you’re going to wake up. Use foresight! It prevents looking like a hot mess!

6. A scooter. I’m not kidding. Once I had to park my car like 8 blocks away during a football game, so I rode my scooter out to my car the next morning. I keep it around in case I ever have to park that far away and want to easily scoot back home.

7. First aid kit. Knowing me, this goes without saying. I have enough supplies to provide preliminary care for anything ranging from paper cuts to embedded objects. Not kidding. You stick a styrofoam cup around it and secure it with gauze. There! Done! Next!

8. A bathmat. Ok, I should really replace this one with a towel. It just makes more sense. Here’s just a little backstory on the bathmat. The summer before moving into my first house, I went garage sale shopping with my roommate Kristi. We bought this bathmat, but for fear of bed bugs, mom wouldn’t let me bring it in our house. The bathmat stayed in the trunk of the car, forgotten, until the following summer. I went to a park in Forest Ridge to go for a run, which was characterized by a mid-sized lake sitting in the middle. After making it almost completely around the lake, surviving almost three miles of trail-less stumbling, I realized that the land didn’t connect; it stopped in a rocky peninsula between where the lake and a tributary of the Little Miami met. I could see my car on the other side of the water. And turning around and stumbling throughthe underbrush was extremely undesirable. Talking to myself, saying things like “Hiebers don’t quit!” and “Come on, E-beth. You know how to swim.” and “What’s the statistical likelihood of there being venomous snakes?”, I made the decision to forge the river. I took off my shoes and socks, held them over my head, and swam across. When I made it to the car, I was at a loss as to what I was going to use to dry off…until I spotted the bathmat! And that is the life event that convinced me to never take the lucky bathmat out of the trunk.

You see, with just a few mundane items stashed in the back of your car, you can pretty much survive everything. Get creative!

Best,

Elisabeth

Where I’ve been

2 Nov

Dear everyone,

I realize that I have been completely absent from writing for all of summer and now the beginning of fall. Which is a bummer, because the title of this blog is Sincerely, Elisabeth and Annette and you’ve been deprived of 50% of what we’re advertising. So, because I really don’t like false advertising (no really! I watch countless informercials for comic relief!), Elisabeast is now back on the scene.

It’s been awhile. So bear with me if this post doesn’t live up to any kind of standard of wit and eloquence. I just want to lay down where I’ve been.

As you probably know, I had an internship at the Cincinnati Zoo working at the Cat Ambassador Program. This is our page on the zoo website, and this is our blog. Well, as you probably didn’t know, the internship actually turned into a big-girl job. The program had to move staff around, and suddenly there was an emergent need for a seasonal employee, and I was extremely blessed to be offered the job, and became the youngest trainer assistant at the program so far. Now, after being at the zoo for almost 6 months, my seasonal position is coming to a close. And now all I can do is reflect on what the experience has taught me about myself, where I fit in the world, and where I want to go.

You know, in high school, I was pretty ambitious. And by pretty ambitious, I mean manically driven to change the world without any perspective on what I was realistically capable of, what was reasonably plausible, and what I was actually passionate about. I wanted everything. I wanted to be the Olympic athlete, the only non-corrupt politician, the next incredible leader that generations of children would study in history books – “This is the girl that brought world peace. This is the girl that brought polar bears back from extinction. This is the girl that ended world hunger and global warming, and found a humane alternative to animal testing in laboratories – and she did it all before she was 25.”

I thought this was all possible because I wanted it so bad. I feel like I’ve written a post about this previously…that sentence just gave me some major deja vu. I based my educational experience on what I knew I was capable of, where I thought I needed to be to get the ball rolling, and under the impression that things always work out for the good guy.

After one terrible year, complete with depression and bad break ups and burnt cupcakes and broken taillights and major changes in plans of all shapes and sizes, I spent the past 6 months recovering. I spent the summer repairing my comic book-esque perception of reality: that the good guy always wins. That motivation and ambitions are the only true superpowers, and that’s all you really need to win your battles.

You still need motivation and ambition, sure. But, as it turns out, you need a lot of other things too. You need a lot of other things, not just to be successful,but to survive.

Where have I been? I’ve been getting myself together. I’ve been working on those skills that I thought I already had, but learned the hard way I most certainly did not.

Here’s a list. It’s been a long time since I’ve done an infamous list, so here’s a little refresher course:

1. I’ve learned that success isn’t the only place that happiness comes from. Happiness comes from anything if you try to see it: A cool breeze in the morning and the comfortable warmth of a late summer night. Being feet away from a real, breathing polar bear. A fresh polo after being completely soaked with sweat. A purring cheetah that says, to me, at least: “I’m content as long as I have a comfortable bed, a pan of raw meat, and a little human companionship. And that’s all I need to purr for hours.”

Being able to sleep solidly through the night without drugs. I love this life.

2. I’m only as tough as I let myself be. So I went headfirst and embraced my inner toughness. If I let the world walk all over me, it’s going to keep doing it until I stand up. That’s basic operant conditioning yo. I’m strong. When our house was robbed this past July, I wasn’t freaked out.When what we suspected were the previous robbers returned to run up and down our ally just to freak us out, I didn’t freak. We barricaded the doors, and armed ourselves with a shovel and a hockey stick just in case. I survived some crazy stuff this year – am I really going to be afraid of something as mundane as some hood thug, in my own house? No. Do the gunshots in Avondale scare me? No. If the answers to those things are no, should I really be afraid of my usual suspects? Failure? Mediocrity? Mental illness?

The answer is unequivocally no.

3. And going along with #2, I learned I can improvise. When money was tight this summer, I did what I had to do: I survived on a box of cereal for three days, I sold blood plasma like a boss, and started dog sitting with my roommate Audra. I worked unpaid 40 hours a week and 25-30 hours a week at the pool. If I could handle that, what’s a little schoolwork? What’s a little gym sesh? What’s embracing the life I want to live, even if it takes a little sweat and tears?

4. I want to write something about the connection between my brain and my heart, about how it’s getting better, about how I like to think before I act, about how sometimes “You only live once” is a great life motto, but sometimes it’s a little too all or nothing to be beneficial to rational thought, and maybe I don’t need to do anything and everything just to feel alive…but then I realize this isn’t really true of me. It never has, it probably never will be, and for now, I’m so cool with it. I live through experience. I live for the story. I live to be loud and passionate and unpredictable. I live for the kicks that make my life uniquely mine. And that’s justme. Maybe the connection between my brain and my heart is better because I’m cognizant of it. It’s whatever. I’m inviting you to come along for the ride.

5. I think I’ve always known that you need good music to make it through. Over the course of time, I find I really like dubstep. And this song, this song, this song, and this song.

I have so much more to put on the list. But I find some of the things that I’ve learned/skills I’m trying to acquire are hard to verbalize, and sometimes come down to simple, sometimes one-word explanations.

Peace. Learning to breathe. Poetry in motion. Shooting guns. Gratitude. Rolling with my homies. Recovery. I’ve experienced all of these things. Grew from them. And became some kind of better-adapted, level-headed, focused individual somehow.

I’m back ya’ll. And I really want to tell you more stories, but I have a lab report due and two midterms on Friday. So I’ll save those explanations for you for some other time, I absolutely promise. Catch you on the flipside.

Sincerely,

Elisabeth


Woah woah Wednesday!

26 May

Dear Annette,

Today was my first day actually working behind the scenes with the cats. Let me tell you right now – this summer is going to be AWESOME, if today was any indication. What did I do? Did I sit down in a hot chair all day, watching inconsiderate gremlins and deal with the joyous management at the base pool? Heck no. I:

  • Was outside most of the day.
  • Met Quilliam the African porcupine, Francis the Red River hog, cheetahs galore, 2 Angolian shepherds, a grouchy ocelot, cervals, a fishing cat, and Joe and Tec – the two cutest baby cougars you could possibly ever imagine.
  • Cleaned algae out of the fishing cat’s pond.
  • Learned about food prep and the medicine you give cats for healthy joints.
  • Hung out with Quilliam while we watched everyone practice the cat show.
  • Cleaned a ton of cages and hid catfish bait in different places for enrichment.
  • Basically, had the time of my life.

I love this internship. And because of it, I got a job job at the zoo on weekends working in admissions! It pays more than lifeguarding, and it will be incredible. I love nothing more than walking through the zoo in my polo and khakis and badge, and have little kids point to me and think I’m a keeper. I love pointing people in the right direction, helping kids through exhibits, and preparing for the day when I actually feed the cheetahs their dinners. I love it so much this is kind of getting cheesy.

In other news, I have more exciting stories. Today, I was supposed to go to a Speedy Feet triathlon and volunteer my lifeguarding services. However, I got stuck in famous Cincinnati rush hour, so I rolled up during the biking portion. So, I met my dad there (his friend owns/run Speedy Feet) and together we dove in this freezing lake to retrieve the buoys. And as I was getting the last one, tornado sirens in two counties were going off and lightning was splintering across the purple sky. It was just a really interesting experience. The water was really cold, but the air was really warm, so when I got out, it felt like the outside was giving me a really warm hug. Kind of like it was saying “Ok, Elisabeth, I’m about to tornado the heck out of this place, so hurry up and drive home safe.”So I left, and I listened to the thunder with the windows down so the warm breeze could dry out my lake-water hair.

And also! You know how how I told you that we were robbed on Friday? Scary, huh? Especially because, you know, most of our windows don’t latch and our door knob perpetually falls off. Anyways, last night, someone kept running down our alley, knocking on the windows and totally freaking us the HECK out. So, we barricaded ourselves in with broken doors, a turnstile, and a sign, and me and Audra camped out in the living room all night. I don’t really feel safe here anymore. Last night, I slept with weapons (a hockey stick and a metal rose?) at my fingertips just in case. I am pretty hyped to move to Euclid.

Me with weapon #1 – a hockey stick.
This rounded out all we could find in the house – a shovel and a rake.

Well, that about rounds out my stories. I really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really (I typed those ALL OUT – no copy/paste here!) miss you. So please email more! I treasured the one from Monday! Continue being happy and safe!

Love,

Elisabeth

Monday adventures

17 May

Dear Annette,

I don’t know if you have time to check this out yet, but I do know you will read this one day. The following is a story too good not to share. I am even going to include pictures to illustrate just how grand my Monday was.

Here’s a little introductory back story. Every Monday, I meet up with my friends Audra and Leslie and we go on an adventure together. Sometimes the adventure is mundane, like going to the bank like adults. But usually, the adventure is off the hook. Examples include: going to Mendelson’s Liquidation Outlet in Dayton and buying matching softball shirts and U of Miami Hurricanes sweatshirts, and then sneaking into the Dayton Dragon’s stadium, adventures in Eden Park, becoming root beer connoisseurs, and urban exploring – going to the top of Carew Tower to the observation deck, sneaking into pools at hotels, and various other hijinks.We call ourselves the Monday Adventure Crew, and when we leave buildings we say “Hurricanes, storm out,” in reference to our matching sweatshirts. Basically,we’re totally cool and everybody is jealous. Below are pictures of us at Liz’s rainy soccer game, as examples of just how boss we tend to look.

 


  

Occasionally, we start our adventures at this diner downtown called Joe’s, pictured below:

This particular Monday was no different. We rolled up and then attempted to play Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat” at least 21 times on the jukebox, but they didn’t have it. So after bashing on chicken and waffles and omelets, we hit the high road. The destination?

Petersburg, Kentucky.Why?

To see the infamous Creation Museum.

You see, we are always looking for Monday adventures that will provide us with plenty of radical stories to tell. After hearing about the Creation Museum – a museum in Kentucky created (haha – pun intended) by an organization called Answers in Genesis, whose aim is to educate the masses about the falsehoods of evolutionary theory and provide scientific explanations for the creation of life on Earth – I just knew some good stories would come out of this experience. After I told Leslie and Audra about the cavemen riding dinosaurs on exhibit that I heard about, they were instantly sold. So, after chicken and waffles and omelets at Joe’s, we drove down to Kentucky and dropped way too much money on admission (sorry guys! That was my bad) to see this incredible sight.

Here, I could probably insert some very intense opinions about what I witnessed inside of the Creation Museum. I could probably write a good nine or ten paragraphs about how I feel about things like evolution, the Enlightenment, religion, and specialized dentition, but that is just not what this blog post is about. Also, there wasn’t even a caveman riding a dinosaur – only a dinosaur with a saddle upon which visitors could pose and take pictures.

I think I make a pretty cute cavewoman if I do say so myself.

Those things aside, it’s what happened when we were leaving is what I want to focus on. Right outside the museum, there was this row of huge planters, all connected by a single black chain. On the other side was a security guard directing traffic. Leslie looked at me and said “Elisabeth, we should totally hurdle the chain.” Audra overheard her and said “No. I wouldn’t!” Leslie jogged up to the chain and then simply stepped over it. And you know me – I did steeple and hurdled plenty back in high school! And I refuse to be outdone. So, I took a couple steps back, lined myself up perfectly with the chain, and started running. Leslie was cheering, Audra was telling me to back out IMMEDIATELY.

I took a leap.

I thought I made it.

Suddenly, everything was blurry, my knee hurt REALLY bad, and I was on the ground. I obviously didn’t make it. My foot caught the chain at the last second and broke when I dive-bombed the ground. The security guard ran over asking if I was ok, and Leslie or Audra put my glasses back on my face – like how the Scooby Gang helps out Velma whenever she loses her glasses. I stood up, took stock of my surroundings, and tried to fix the chain. Audra and Leslie were laughing so hard that it wasn’t even audible. The security guard came over, and after ascertaining I was indeed alright, said “Just get out of here.”

Sheepishly, I walked to the car. Leslie and Audra were still in stitches, like the ones shown below:

Those are the stitches from my lifeguarding accident. Is it any wonder that I fell when I tried to leap the plastic chain?

This was the only wound I came out with during this incident, as well as an identical bruise on the other knee.

And that, my friend, is how you get kicked out of the Creation Museum.

Love,

Elisabeth

Karma

7 May

Dear readers,

I feel a little like a teenager who has the house to herself for a weekend – time to throw a rager! Annette is even more thousands of miles away – I can’t text or call her on a whim, and I know she probably won’t have internet for another day or so. So you know what that means! Elisabeast has free reign over the blog! I think I might make it all orange, and have tattoo art as a theme, just to super freak her out. Kind of like when the parents come home to find their prized chandelier has been ripped from the ceiling and used as a frisbee – that kind of super freaked out.

Ok, ok, I’m totally 100% kidding. I miss Annette SO MUCH! And in an effort to keep her (and also all of you radical readers) up to date as to what is going down, this post is an accumulation of all of the events that have transpired recently that are worthy of being retold.

So, you already know about my stretch of bad luck. Much to my surprise, it kept going after the almost-amputation. No really. This kinda thing is not reserved for movies. Clumsy me dropped my iPhone face down on the sidewalk, in such a perfect way that it completely shattered the screen. I’m currently as broke as the basement dryer, so I’m just going to tempt fate by running my hands over broken glass every day. I’m daring like that.

Next, I completely didn’t see this curb in the parking lot of Home Depot, and after a couple of my homies and I visited Audra, I ran it over in the Honda. Hard. But, everything was dandy until I was on the highway with Leslie, when the engine splash shield broke and dragged on the ground all the rest of the way home. I kid you not, it sounded like we had run over a pallet of sandpaper and hauled it under the car all of the way back. Later, after removing the hunk of plastic that is the splash shield, I drove to my mother’s high school to see her before I went home. The offending, mutilated part was stowed in the trunk, and I couldn’t find a dumpster anywhere. So, feeling a little (kidding, a LOT) like a serial murderer, I sneakily crept behind a shed on the edge of the school property, and stowed the evidence of my car abuse.

These two events, combined with worker’s comp drama, losing a couple permanent shifts because of my injury, and the general feeling of malaise have pushed me over the edge. Enough. Is. Enough. I’m fixing this karma thing once and for all. For all of the bad, I am endeavoring to push GOODWILL upon my fellow-man. Whether they like it or not. I let people pull out in front of me at busy intersections. I visited Audreezy at her job just because I know she is having a rough time, and maybe a plastic hedgehog and alligator will cheer her up just a little. I volunteered to help Naomi bake 300 cupcakes. I try my darndest to give the homeless guys on McMillan a water or a granola bar every time. Heck, even though he peed on me (you would not believe how much acorn-scented pee rabbits contain. Literally, like a good 8 ounces at least) like crazy, I still hooked Lenny up with a few extra yogurt treats. The Center for Community Engagement is about to give me a plaque for the amount of special events I am going to volunteer at.

Today, I feel good. I feel pretty un-cursed. My stitches came out (even though the gash started splitting open and the nurse had to majorly scramble to butterfly bandage and glue it back together before catastrophe – that was unexpected) and I can move my toe now! I have an A in calculus. It was eighty degrees today. I feel grand. This is as close to Elisabeast as I have felt in quite a spell. And with a little good luck (I also attribute some of it to owning a whole, live rabbit – not just the foot), I think I could get even closer. So, without further adieu…

Dear ancestral curse,

In the words of Brett Shady, “You ain’t got the best of me.”

Indubitably,

Elisabeth

P.s. Listen to these songs I discovered.

Brett Shady – “Angels, Ghosts, and Demons”

Future Islands – “Beach Foam” (listen to it without watching the video. It makes it way better)

And this handsome gent is Frank Fairfield:

I love his music. And I love his line “Music comes out of the landscape, and it’s nice to see the American landscape.” How very Sandburg of him.

P.P.S. I read this written in chalk on a wall today: “Be yourself! Everybody else is already taken.”

Best. April. Ever

3 May

I have written a lot of good starts to blog posts recently. I thought they were pretty funny – I did one about my crazy experience with the waterski team and one about my frustrations at the pool at highly unsavory hours. Some were endearing and what I thought to be pretty good writing-wise. The letter of things I wanted to say to Annette before her epic adventure begins the day after tomorrow. The letter to my grandpa Robenalt, who passed away seven years and one day ago. The letter of things I wanted to say after she first told me she was engaged, that rainy Easter Sunday when I was  driving to Cincinnati, lost in a cornfield outside St. Bernard, crying a ton of happy tears because I knew my best friend found her perfect person, someone who will always provide her with that elusive thing called happiness. Please pardon that run-on sentence.

I started all of these things and for some reason, just did not finish them. I found the end result not good enough, not capturing exactly what I wanted to say, not communicating to the fullest potential. Look out for them in the future, hopefully!

However, this one, I am definitely going to post. This series of events is just too ridiculous not to share.

Through deductive reasoning, I have determined that one of my ancestors most definitely incurred the wrath of a Romanian gypsy, and she put a curse on my lineage. And for some reason, in April of 2011, the curse has really come into full force.

The break up. The fever. The accident. The stitches.

All of these things sound like plot twists in the most incredible Lifetime movie. And they all happened to me over the course of the past three weeks. Like, really. Ok. What is next? I am anticipating a bear attack tomorrow. Let me break it all down for you.

The break up

Two weeks, five days, and six hours ago (but really, who’s counting), Joey and I went separate ways. And that’s all I can really say about that without reverting back to the crying, grieving Elisabeth that existed at the beginning of this three week ordeal.

The fever

Days after the break up, I definitely started getting sick. I went to sleep one day with a headache and chills and what was probably a low-grade fever, and I woke up unable to hear out of my left ear and just incredible pain in the head/throat region. I went to doctor #1 and found out I had strep, sans tonsils. And thus commenced a four day fever ranging from 101.7 to 102.hot. I survived a house party that ended in a massive food fight in the kitchen and cops and unsavory activities in the bathroom with adjacent wall to my bed, unexpected speaking in church, and work during this time. I recovered from this, just in time for…

The accident

Mom and dad let me drive their 2008 Civic to Cincinnati so I could have a car to run an assortment of errands over the next few days, and also so dad could avoid driving into the city, which is not his most favorite activity in the world. I was doing great with it until I backed into a pole and did $800 worth of damage. At this point, I was incredulous. How could April get any worse?

The stitches

Oh. April could get worse. Today, seventeen minutes into my shift at work, I slipped on a puddle and fell, kicking some metal piece on the guard stand with my foot. I thought I was great until I noticed blood spewing from my foot. I walked around the corner to the office, leaving a trail of blood behind me. We had to call a Code Red (haha) for the entire building, wrapped it, and my roommates came and took me to the ER, where I received 8 stitches and a tetanus shot – for a gash between my fourth and little toe. Of all places. It is like a paper cut, except the paper cut drank anabolic steroids every day since he was born, mixed with his daily glass of orange juice.

All of these things, and addition to human body parts raining from the sky literally around the corner from my house, are just a lot for one person to handle all at once. Where does it leave me? Exceptionally disillusioned with things like love, trust, and the safety of lifeguard stands. Tired and in increasing levels of pain as the hospital painkillers wear off. Stressed. Poor. So lonely that I adopted a psychotic rabbit named Lenny and call Annette probably four times a day.

But there is more. I’m hopeful. No matter what, seriously, it can only get better. Tomorrow will be better if I do not have to get stitches, which I am most certainly going to avoid. Oh. Wait. I forgot about the bear mauling. I amend that statement. Tomorrow will be better if I can do the little things, like find a good book to read, discover a new band I am crazy about, talk to Annette one more time before she leaves. Because what are trials? Are they permanent states of agony? No – they are temporary challenges meant to make you better on the other side. It might take a few more months of horrible happenings for my other side to get here, but eventually, I will get there.

In the meantime, I better start wearing a helmet. And avoid areas prevalent with bears.

Nighttime

5 Apr

Dear brain,

Some days, I really wish we could consolidate our differences. Yes, I apologize for the ringer I put you through during the quarter – I really have to push you to make it through the papers, the stupid group projects, and staying awake through calculus. Yes, I apologize for the mind altering, anti-psychotics that I pump through you everyday. You really just have to realize that it’s for our own good; you will thank me in a few years when we both look back and realize how lucky we are to still be relatively intact. I’m hopeful like that.

But really, you could do me a favor too, and once in awhile, let me go to sleep at a time I find appropriate. Like, half an hour ago. We do have to somehow stay conscious at work tomorrow morning, I hope you realize. And tomorrow is Tuesday – we have genetics AND orchestra to get through, so come tomorrow at 7:30, when it’s my body lugging the bass a half mile to rehearsal, I hope you’re satisfied with the mental exhaustion. That’s karma, fool.

Luckily, I have come up with a couple of handy strategies to combat your restlessness. When I am lying in my room, accompanied only by thoughts and the creaking of a 98-year-old house, I like to pretend I live another life. One far away from all kinds of mental pain, regret, and frustrating fixations with what could have been. Here’s a list, per usual. What can I say, brain? We tend to be creatures of habit.

  1. I like to pretend that, instead of living on the second floor of a house in the middle of stupid Clifton/Over-the-Rhine, I close my eyes and imagine that I live on the twenty third floor of a massive apartment building, in the middle of a bustling city. And that I am lucky I am so high up, because I don’t really hear the traffic sounds, except for the occasional emergency vehicle siren. I do this because I am not the largest fan of Cincinnati – my inability to change the overwhelming poverty, and the obvious effects of gentrification (thanks 3CDC, you heartless idiots) really affect me and my mental health. I like to think I am in Atlanta, where I can at least count on it being warm.
  2. Speaking of big cities, I also spend my sleepless hours planning where I might want to live in the next 5 or 10 years. You know, after undergraduate school is over and I am well on my way to furthering my education at vet school/zoo college (that is a REAL THING! I flipped when I discovered this). I want to be somewhere nice and warm, where winter will never make me avoid going outside. I will be less likely to sit inside, home, alone, for hours, scarring myself with dark, depressed thoughts, until the notion of ever seeing sunshine again is a negligible, far-removed possibility. So far, the list includes, but is not limited to, Atlanta (obviously!), College Station, TX (Texas A&M has an amazing vet school. And hello, Texas! Such a lack of winter!),  Gainesville, FL, and San Diego, CA. All hot places. All involving animals. Also, DC makes the list, made tolerable by the Smithsonians, the National Zoo, and the amount of national history – the connections between the past and how the future will unfold is uplifting enough to make the Doldrums of winter a million times less terrible.
  3. I narrow down the list of bands I need to see before I die. Included: The Smashing Pumpkins, The National, Kid Cudi, The Black Keys, Jack White in some kind of propensity, Florence and the Machine…these groups and more. I just like reflecting on their individual songs and the fact that they bring me joy.
  4. I crack my window just enough to hear the street sounds over the creepy creaking of the house. W. Clifton is a pretty busy street – it connects UC with Vine, which leads directly downtown, so we get our fair share of interesting traffic (i.e., the Great Taxi Pileup of 2011). I like imaging where different people are headed, based on their car sounds. For instance, I always graciously assume the super speeding cars at 3am are just guys taking their wives in labor to the hospital. What other reason could/should there possibly be? (car chase, late for the drug deal, taking gun shot victim to the hospital) I just try to hope for the best case scenario.
  5. I count as far as I can go without losing patience in Spanish.

Alright. I’m glad that you are finally hearing me out, brain. We both seem to be getting sleepy. I think it is time to call it a day, clean up shop, and throw in the towel. Time to listen to some Sea Wolf, and just drift off to the vivid dreams you always seem to supply.

Goodnight,

Elisabeth

Once again

14 Mar

Dear Annette,

I once again have another story where my unfailing tendency to make poor life decisions is the central focus of the plot.

Today, Audra, Liz, and I embarked on the disgusting task of spring cleaning. We cleaned out the whole fridge, all of the previously mouse-infested cabinets (meaning, LOTS of poop), the floors, the appliances, the sink, the clutter that never ever seems to leave, went through all of the mail, and put so much stuff into more organized areas. It took basically all day to do the kitchen – old beer and rotten food juice coated everything. It was sick.

Anyways, Audra was not the happiest camper, as she does so much cleaning. And me, per usual, wanted to try to lighten up the atmosphere just a little. So, I grabbed some junk mail off of the table and said, “This is what should happen to any clutter left in here for more than 12 hours!” Because sometimes, we can go for weeks before roommates actually move the things that belong in their rooms from the kitchen table. I grabbed one of the boxes of matches that we found and went outside, so Audra could see me from the back window. I then proceeded to light the mail on fire after a few tries, because it was really windy.

Audra was cracking up, and before I realized it, the fire got really intense because of the wind. I panicked upon seeing it rapidly expand right towards my hand and tried to throw it on the ground.

Best.

Idea.

Ever.

The wind just blew the flaming paper right back at me, behind my head, and burnt the ends of the back of my hair. I freaked, screamed, batted it out, stood in shock for a good thirty seconds, threw the matchbox on the ground, and stomped back inside.

I asked Audra if she saw what happened, and she said no, but she could smell my burnt hair from outside.

Here’s to my ability to be a real winner sometimes,

Elisabeth

Discussion time

13 Mar

Dear Annette,

Now, I know I already told you this story, but I thought it deserved retelling. Remember – it’s all in the delivery. This story will be even better than the first time I told you about it.

I remembered this delightful tale today on my walk (9 miles say what!), when person in question texted me up and asked if I needed a ride to church. I said I had to be there early for another new member discussion (they seem to never end. Ever.), so I was getting a ride elsewhere. He said good! He had to study anyways.

Anyways, this was the same fellow that I had one of my discussions with. I think I kind of irked this guy – I literally took every pause as an open invitation to ask a barrage of questions. I like to know things, ok? I would ask really open questions (So, 12 year olds are ordained into the Aaronic Priesthood and stuff; does that mean that 12 year olds can baptize people?) and he would give me not specific answers (No.) and then I would ask more questions (Well, when can they?) and he would answer (When they are bishops.) and then I would supply more questions (When does that happen??), to which he would supply even better answers (After they are priests.) And then, after we both felt like we were hitting our heads against wooden boards, we would both finally come to a happy medium (Me: So, explain this again, because I feel like…Him: Gah! Listen! This is how the Aaronic Priesthood is organized (insert explanation). Happy? Me: Oh yeah! That makes sense!) Except, I think I portrayed him as a little too impatient.

We had a similar exchange over John 14:15.

Guy: So, Elisabeth, why do you think it is important to keep the commandments?

Me: Well, we are proving our obedience to God when we do. It shows that we are down with following His will – we are totally invested in His plan to return back to him.

Guy: Right! Another explanation is in John 14:15. It’s a really powerful; that’s why it’s a scripture mastery verse.

Me: Wait. What’s scripture mastery?

Guy: It’s a way to master the scriptures.

Me: Like, all of them?

Guy: No.

(awkward pause. I thought he was going to say something else, but I was sorely mistaken)

Me: So, which ones?

Guy: Only the ones that are specifically for scripture mastery.

Me: Well, how do I know which ones are specifically for scripture mastery?

Guy: You mean you don’t know? You should be mastering them.

Me: What! Is there a list or something? I need to jump on this.

Guy: I don’t have a list. I just know.

Me, realizing this avenue of discussion was not going anywhere: Oh. Well. Ok. I’ll just read the scriptures. A lot.

Guy: That’s a good idea!

Me: Enough to master the mastery ones. Whichever ones those are.

Guy: Right! You can do it!

Upon investigation, I found that there is a list of which scriptures should be mastered at ldsscripturemastery.net. Imagine that! I mean, people are not just born with the innate knowledge of this kinda thing.

Thanks for listening to me in my moments of equal parts irritation and bemusement.

Catch you on the flipside, Dope Ice!

Elisabeth