Monday, November 28, 2005

Overheard in New York

I am addicted to the web site Overheard in New York, and since Val told me about it I have longed to overhear something funny. Well, recently I did. It went something like this:

Fordham boy: ...and then the salesgirl said, "We don't have any. They're out of season." Out of season? They're bathrobes. Have I missed something? Is there a season for bathing?


On another subject, going back to work after a break is SO hard! Ugh. I slept in until 6:45 this morning, deperately needing a shower...but I normally leave the house at 7! I had to really rush to get to work on time, and then I had to cover a class for an absent teacher, and didn't find out until the last second. Grr. Now I'm procrastinating from some work I really need to do, which makes me feel all guilty. AAaaaaaaaarrrgh. Okay, now I'm going to go get to work... really...I mean it this time!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanks were given.

Last year I had a nice Thanksgiving. I loved seeing the Macy's parade (see bad photo at left). I loved how friendly all the New Yorkers were. I then went back to my apartment where I prepared a microwave turkey dinner which I ate while talking on the phone to my family back in Iowa and watching A Christmas Story on TV. It was a nice day, but whenever I mention it to people, they moan a pitying moan and look at me like I just "came down with cancer of the puppy." (That's a Buffy the Vampire Slayer quote.)

Anyway, this year was quite different because I went home with Mr. B. in Eastchester. Their house is beautiful and fancy but lacks a bit in coziness. When we arrived, I introduced myself to his mom and sister. They both gave me really weird looks. Then I excused myself to the bathroom and heard them laughing. You see, whenever Mr. B talked to them about me, he used my last name (which sounds like a first name). When I introduced myself as Erin, they thought I was some girl other than the one he had planned to bring to dinner. But we got that cleared up. I played with the children, charmed the babies, bantered with the gentlemen of the family and helped the ladies in the kitchen. After dinner, they all teased Mr. B. saying that I was alright and fit right in...perhaps better than him, and that they weren't sure about Mr. B, but I'm welcome at family events anytime.

After dinner, Mr. B. and I went to the basement to watch Meet The Fockers. His mom asked us to stay the night, saying we seemed sleepy and she didn't want us tangling with holiday drunks on the road. We conceded. His bed is comfy, but we fought over the covers. The next morning, Mr. B. tickled my feet until I was screaming with laughter. When we left his room, much of the family was gathered in the kitchen. I think Mr. B must have warned his mom that I'm kind of old fashioned and a little weirded out by sharing a room with him in his parents' house because his mother came up to me and whispered, "Don't be embarassed. We're not ones to judge. I mean, my mother lives with her boyfriend!" She then waved at her mom who was puttering around the kitchen. "Okay...thanks," I replied, probably blushing a bit. All blushing aside, it went well.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Double blogger

Happy Turkey Day!

If you check my profile, you might notice that I have one blog listed, and it is not The Shepherd's Daughter. That is because, as of last night, this is my secret blog. Girl Out of the Country (as in "You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl") is my public blog. I copied over (and back-dated) most of the entries from this blog, removing anything that would constitute too much information for the majority of my friends and family. If I remember correctly, the only ones who I've told about The Shepherd's Daughter are Rose, Val, Lex and Kelly. If any of you think you'd prefer the censored version, feel free to make the jump. Those of you who like getting all the dirt should stick with The Shepherd's Daughter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Mom and dad found Hooligan! (They also found a sweet barn cat, Gray Kitty.)This is a photo I took of Hooligan this summer. He lives up to his name. I figured he would survive, especially considering how we got him in the first place.

The summer after my sophomore year of college, I was driving to work one day when I noticed some kittens running around: two orange ones and a black one. They darted into the ditch and I couldn't find them. About a week later, I saw one of the orange kitties as I came home late from work. It was tiny and weak. I scooped it up and took it to the house. Mom and I fed it tuna and petted it. It perked up a little. I put it in a cat carrier and put the carrier on my bed. I fell asleep to the sound of it purring.

The next day, when I returned home from work and peeked into the carrier, all I could see was a swirl of fur whipping around. "Wow, Dad! What did you do to her?" Dad gave a sad-yet-amused chuckle. "Oh, honey. That's not the same kitten. That kitten died. I found this one this afternood." It seems that the fiesty kitten, just a few weeks old, had been fending for himself and doing a good job. He must have gone hungry a bit, though, because forever after that he has devoured every bit of food set in front of him and still ate everything he hunted. You could feed him a huge meal and he would still mew pittifully as though he's starving.

His tenacity and sense of adventure gave us a challenge when naming him. Eventually, he sort of named himself. He kept doing naughty things. One day, he annoyed my father, who exclaimed, "You hooligan!" and it stuck.

The storm shook him up quite a bit, and he's reverted a bit to his old wild ways...which were barely suppressed at the best of times. He's used to being able to leave the house whenever he wants, and my parents are afraid he'd dart out of the apartment and get lost if they moved him to town. They're trying to figure out what to do for him. I'm just happy he's alive. And he let Dad hold him, so he hasn't gone completely feral...yet.

P.S. Tomorrow I'm going to Mr. B's for Thanksgiving with his mom and stepdad. It will be my first Thanksgiving with a family that's not mine. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mr. B and how it will be

Today I went to church (Park Avenue United Methodist) and sang with the choir. It sounded amazing. Oh, good news! One of my professors has agreed to let me make up the work I owe him over the next few months. Then I'd be able to graduate in August. Now I just need to finish the assignments and get my Masters Fine Arts applications done and turned in! I'm stressed out and racing to get done all the myriad things I need to get done on the short and long terms. Wednesday, I plan to go to pub night with Madrid, and Thursday I'm going to spend Thanksgiving with Mr. B. and his family.

I have received requests for more details on the 20-hour date and Mr. B. in general. previously stated, he arrived at my place at seven and rubbed my back supportively as I talked to my parents. Accepting comforting platitudes isn't my strong suit, so it worked well for me that he took a more physical approach. After I found out my parents were okay, we left to get supper.

We drove over to Mill Korean at 113 and Broadway and had a fabulous (and affordable!) meal of Bulgogi Hot Stone Pot. Rice, veggies, beef and a raw egg arrive at your table in a sizzling hot bowl. You stir it up, and the bowl cooks the food. It is so delicious. After that we went to a bar called The Heights where we ran into a fellow Teaching Fellow named Deema. Sipping our drinks at the bar, he said "I liked you from the moment I saw you. Now I can't believe I'm with you." Wow. Later we went back to my place and made out. We tried to watch a movie, but ended up going to sleep.

In the morning we made out again. I skipped church and we made omelettes, then went for a walk to Central Park. That's when I took the picture above. (He's a little bit cuter in real life, though. He's one of those people who can't smile normally if there's a camera present.) We explored the Conservatory Gardens, then climbed up a rocky slope where we sat and talked and looked down at the city. We talked about things we did when we were younger (which for me included tap dancing), and he asked me to tap dance for him. I did the best I could in tennis shoes, and laughed that it reminded me of a scene in Garden State. He'd never seen it, so we went back to my apartment to watch it. After that, we went to the Itzocan Bistro, which serves French-Mexican fusion quisine, including a breathtaking 3 chile eggs Benedict. My mouth waters just thinking about it. While we ate, we talked and talked to the sounds of Buenos Hermanos Cubanos. He told me he's told his Italian Catholic Grandmother, Nanny, about me. "What did you say?" I asked. "I said, 'There's this girl I like. Her name's Erin.' She said, 'That sounds Irish. What's her last name?' 'Kiley.' 'Oh, that's definitely Irish.' Which she thought was a good thing." Ha, I thought, it probably gave her false hope that I was Catholic. After brunch, he drove home to Westchester.

I'm still grappling with what this means. Do I want Mr. B, or is it just that he's available?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Clean Sweep

If you look closely at the picture at left (by Doug Wells of the Des Moines Register), you will see my mother smiling as she passes a tiny blue Barbie trunk to someone on a ladder. One might assume that the only reason she is smiling as she sorts through the rubble is because she knows someone is taking her picture. Well, one might be wrong!

My mom has wanted a new house since 1992, a desire I fought tooth and nail. I like the boulder walls of the basement and the creaky stairs and the cobwebby attic. I fantasized about the house being mine to rennovate someday...maybe as a bed and breakfast. It was a shabby little house with the world's ugliest carpet, and I loved it dearly.

My mother moved into that house as a young girl and lived there until she graduated from high school in 1969. Then when my brother was two (1979), Grandma and Grandpa Staker moved to Arizona, so my parents took over the farm. That's more than 32 years in one house...more than three decades with that terrible carpet.

Mom finds it difficult to let go of hurt feelings, but easy to part with material goods. Dad and I, however, are pack rats. Mom loves the TV show Clean Sweep, where a team makes you empty rooms of your house and sort the contents, keeping at most a third of it. Mom joked about calling them to combat me, Dad, and the myriad ancestors who have tucked their belongings into our house's nooks and crannies.

"Well, Mom, you don't have to call the Clean Sweep team anymore," I exclaimed on the phone yesterday.

She laughed. "Oh, I know. Your father was tryin to haul boxes of magazines from the attic. I said, 'Oh, no. That is ridiculous. Over my dead body."

The storm has given my mother a guilt-free opportunity to start over without the trappings of her past. The insurance money has already come through, and they're meeting with companies to plan for the new house.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Goodbye, farm.

Mr. B and I just finished a 20-hour date that was amazing...but the amazingness was overshadowed quite a bit by what preceded the date. My phone was ringing off the hook while I was in the tub getting ready. Eventually, the ringing was so insistant that I ran, dripping, for the phone. My childhood best friends, Harmony and Gwen, were on the phone warning me that a tornado had destroyed half of my home town of Woodward. My parents didn't answer the phone, so I rinsed and dried off.

I tried to call my parents, but couldn't reach them. I called my brother. He told me that the barn and sheds were gone. The house was still there, but the roof was gone and the house was probably irreparable. The house (in the pre-storm photo above) was more than 100 years old and had been in our family all that time. My childhood bedroom was my mother's childhood bedroom.

With shaking hands I got dressed and applied my makeup and nail polish. Painting your toenails while in shock is a difficult and ridiculous task. Mr. B. arrived and rubbed my back while I called my parents on their cell phone. Friends and family were already helping them gather the flock and salvage what they could from the wreckage. Today I found out that the family dogs survived. My ancient cat, Tut, survived, too, but Hooligan and some of the barn cats are MIA.

Good Morning America started off at the farm this morning. Dad's quoted in an AP story and will be interviewed via telephone on CNN at 10, 9 Central tonight. They should be on GMA again tomorrow, too.

It's all so surreal. The house had been in our family for more than 100 years, so it was easy to take for granted that it would always be there. I lost belongings. I may have lost pets. My parents have to start over. And my home is gone.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Longtime no see.

I haven't posted in a while, and it looks like my I-got-a-tiny-sewing-machine post hasn't whipped even my regular visitors (Hi, girls!) into a verbal frenzy. Oh, well.

In The Wedding Date, Dermot Mulroney's character (an escort, Nick, who receives far more respect than any female prostitute in cinematic history) states, "Every woman has the exact love life she wants." At later in the movie, he fights with Debra Messing's character and accuses her of choosing to be angry with him and broken-hearted so she would have an excuse for being alone. She wouldn't have to trust someone or risk getting hurt down the line.
At first I had my doubts about Nick's thesis, but with that statement, this blythe little rom-com had my number. The only difference was, I was less afraid of getting my heart broken than falling for someone.

I once had a therapist who, during the last five minutes of our final session, said to me, "What would you do if you met 'the one' tomorrow?" "Say hello?" I replied. "No," she replied, "I mean, what would that do for your plans?" "I guess I'd be screwed." She went on to warn me that I would rarely have access to so many eligible men as during my college years, so I should be open to finding "the one." No pressure, right?

A subsequent therapist laughed when I related that story to him, saying, "You're twenty! You have plenty of time for relationships. Go ahead and focus on your goals and living your life!"

But now I'm 25, and as with anything in life, there has to be a balance. This August, I chose to change my love life. I went on a date for the first time in ages. Now I've been dating Mr. B. for several weeks (during which time I've gone on more dates than during my entire 10-month relationship with my ex, Paul. Love you, Paul!). The point is, I'm trying to be open...but I'm still scared about what it might mean for my future. There are places I want to go in my life and things I want to do. I just don't know if I can if I'm linked to another person.