Beth Trivia Continues

And now for part two of Beth Trivia!! For those of you who participated either in the comments or privately, here are the answers to yesterday’s movie quote round:

  1. A Mighty Wind
  2. When Harry Met Sally
  3. Moulin Rouge
  4. Zoolander
  5. Everything Is Illuminated
  6. Once
  7. Anchorman
  8. The Sound of Music
  9. Love Actually
  10. Newsies

How did you do?

Now for a harder round. This is “Where was Beth when…?” Good luck, and no asking my mom.

  1. Where did Beth do missions work for 2 summers?
  2. Where was Beth for New Year’s this year?
  3. Where did Beth grow up?  City, state
  4. Where did Beth get her graduate degree?
  5. Where did Beth work for two summers as a cafeteria worker?
  6. Name one of the two cities in which Beth has spent the night in an airport.
  7. What was the last restaurant Beth ate in before deciding to become vegan?
  8. Where was Beth “the night the lights went out in Greenville?”  (**hint: Hurricane Floyd, restaurant)
  9. Where was Beth when her mom went “BBLLLLLLEEEEAAAAHHHHH?”
  10. Where is Beth going for 3 months?  Be specific.

Again, put your answers in the comments, and we’ll go over them tomorrow. Good luck!!

Step By Step

Well, the hard part of leaving is over. I had my going away party on Saturday night, and it was LOTS of fun. For me at least. I hope it was fun for everyone else as well. At the very least, there was a lot of delicious food, and we played “Beth Trivia,” which involved general Beth knowledge, a musical theater round, a movie quote round, and a ridiculous picture round.

Then, after church yesterday, Josh and Josh and I hit the road. They drove me up to Richmond, where my friend Rachel picked me up and took me back to her house in Manassas, where I’ll be until TOMORROW, when her husband takes me to the airport to fly to Zurich, where I’ll bum around for several hours before catching my final flight to Rome, where Carla and Joe will pick me up and drive me back to Naples, where I’ll be living until mid-December. Whew.

So with the packing and saying good-bye all finished, and being in northern Virginia without a car and no errands to run anyway and nothing to worry about except sleeping, I slept REALLY well last night for the first time in several nights. I intend to do it again tonight as well.

But enough of the boring stuff. For those of you who weren’t able to make it to the party on Saturday, I wanted to give you a chance to participate in Beth Trivia as well. We’ll do a round a day, which will get us through this week. NO GOOGLING ALLOWED, and if you were there on Saturday, please don’t give anything away. Put your answers in the comments, and I’ll give you the answers to today’s questions tomorrow.

We’ll start with the movie quote round. Please name the film from which each quote comes:

  1. “Thank God for model trains. If it weren’t for model trains, they wouldn’t have gotten the idea for the big train.”
  2. “I’ll have what she’s having.”
  3. “All my life, you’ve made me believe I was only worth what someone would pay for me!!!”
  4. “I’m pretty sure there’s more to life than just being really, really, really…ridiculously good-looking.”
  5. “All the ladies want to be carnal with me because I’m such a premium dancer.”
  6. “Fair City we love. We learn English from Fair City. Are you not PREGNANT?”
  7. “Yeah, there was a horse, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.”
  9. “You ever have this kind of problem? Yeah, of course you did, you saucy minx.”
  10. “Santa Fe
    Are you there?
    Do you swear you won’t forget me?
    If I found you would you let me come and stay?”

Ok GO!! One point for every correct answer. And remember, these are some of MY favorite movies, so keep that in mind.

How to close a chapter of life: Just make sure everything’s clean.

I’ve definitely been busy all day, but when I look back over the past several hours, I can point to exactly two things that have gotten done: article prep and laundry.

The laundry is self-explanatory, and the article prep just means I did a lot of the preliminary internet research necessary to write a bunch of articles. That way, when I’m on a plane or in some exotic locale sans internet access, I can still get some work done. They are two big, important things, to be sure, but there’s still SO much to do before I leave Raleigh on Sunday.

Most notably, I have to pack. The laundry was obviously a big prerequisite for that. I started laying out the things I want to take last night. So now that my clothes are all clean, I need to finish that job and then decide which things I don’t need after all. I’ve gotten a lot of good advice on packing, but the best for me is this: Decide what you want to take, and then put half of it back. You don’t need all those shoes or dresses or socks. The only thing you’re allowed to take too much of is underwear because apart from the obvious, it rolls up so small that it hardly counts.

Once everything is packed, I have to find a place to put the rest of the crap that is on my bedroom floor – crap that never found a home when I moved. Crap that is still in a box. Crap I probably don’t need and should just throw out. There. Trash can. Home found. Done.

Then I have to clean out my car so that an Australian doesn’t have to haul around Old Nasty and a bunch of ESL materials for three months.

Then I have to party down. It’s tough work, I tell you, but so worth it in the end. And the party is going to be FUN. My sister and I have worked up a little something special, and I hate to disappoint, but no, it does not involve me singing and dancing. But don’t worry. I’ll make up for it.

It doesn’t sound like that much stuff, but for some reason, it really feels like it, I think mostly because in the midst of all the practical things and professional things I have to do, there’s also a LOT of socializing to be done. Like I’m doing a lot more of the things I might normally turn down just to see everybody one more time before I go.

Ok, enough talking about what I have to do. Time to fold laundry. I’m on a mission.

Exciting Coverage of Italy Preparations

Y’all, it is starting to get really real up in here. I purchased tiny deodorant, a travel pillow and earphones that won’t make my ears turn black and fall off (I hope). I also went by Verizon and had them set up my service to suspend itself for three months when I leave. AND (because I know a gal who works there who is amazing), they put all my contacts into an AT&T BlackBerry that I can use in Italy!! Not that I’ll be calling any of y’all on it. That’s what Skype is for.

Why can’t I just use the PunkBerry I have in Italy, you ask? Well, in Europe, the cell phones use SIM cards, and while AT&T, T-Mobile AND Alltel have phones with SIM cards, Verizon phones do not use SIM cards. At all. So whereas I could take the SIM card out of a phone from any of those other carriers and put in a pre-paid Italian one, I cannot do that with my Verizon PunkBerry. SOOOO, I got an AT&T BlackBerry for free, and I took it to Verizon, and they put all my contacts onto it, and when I get to Italy, I can just get an Italian SIM card and pop it in. Voila! Italian phone!

I’m sure it’ll be slightly more complicated than that, but there shouldn’t be too much more to it. Oh! And how exciting is THIS?! BlackBerry owners can send messages back and forth through BlackBerry Messenger, which is apparently not related to or run by any particular service or carrier other than BlackBerry. It doesn’t use any data or minutes, therefore, on your cell plan WHICH MEEEAAAAANNNNS that theoretically, I could BB message with all you BB users out there FROM ITALY!! We’ll see if that actually works, but the prospect is VERY exciting to me.

So listen up, BlackBerry peeps: Send me your PIN# if you want to test out the BB Messenger’s transatlantic capabilities.

Now. Now, I have to start figuring out what to pack. I’ve made a fairly bold decision today to take only my backpack (not The JanSport). I think it can be done, but it will require a lot of cuts to my fall wardrobe and some VERY creative packing. I’ve got some compression bags, and I’m an excellent packer, but I’ll also be dealing with airline weight restrictions and my desire to take every pair of shoes I own. Tricky.

Suggestions of absolute necessities, things I can really do without, and ways to make things tiny are all welcome.

Beatles Rock Band

Play it. Play it now. If you have the means and even an inkling of desire, you will not be disappointed. I am not at all ashamed to admit that I played that joker for at least three hours (probably longer) today, and I would have kept going if the other members of the band hadn’t had to go to bed so they could get up and go to their lame-o jobs tomorrow.

And speaking of lame-o jobs, I DON’T HAVE ONE!! I just have one, super-awesome job that I can do whenever and wherever I please. That’s right, I’m putting the FREEEEE in freelancing, as in BOOOOOORRRRRRNNNNN FREEEEEEEEE!!!!

In fact, I’m going to go finish an article right now. And then tomorrow, I’m going to do another one. And then I’m going to start packing for Italy! Stay tuned for exciting coverage of THAT!

Don’t Know Just What To Do With Myself

Well, it’s Labor Day weekend again (cue the music)…


My sister just left to drive down to Charleston to see my parents. My other sister will be there too, and I could have gone except I feel like I have about a million things to do before I leave for Italy, and I don’t know where to start. Rather, I don’t really know what the things are that I need to do. If I did, y’all know a to-do list would serve me just fine.

I feel like it’s more mental/emotional preparation than anything else. Packing is easy. You just roll and cram. But there’s sort of an identity crisis that comes with this sort of thing, and I hadn’t really noticed it until just now. I mean, I quit my job – What the WHAT? I quit. I don’t teach any more. I actually subbed this morning, and it was both completely normal and completely weird. My mind is just in this weird limbo between my life a month ago, my temporary life for the moment, and my life in two weeks. There’s not enough time to establish a new “normal” before everything changes again, so here I am, just waiting to get to Italy and figure out what’s “normal” there.

But in the meantime, I still have a week and a half of life to live here, and I don’t want to waste a second of it. I’m already getting weepy every time I think about saying good-bye to everybody, not having an overly excited Dooley gallop toward me with his mouth open for a butt-scratching every time I walk into the Joshes’ place, not sitting around with the Joshes being ridiculous, not playing Rock Band, not hearing Deanna’s weekly “drinkin’ and sexin'” reference, or not going to church on Sundays.

I know, I know. I know we’ll all still chat online, and we’ll keep up via facebook, and I’ll still blog, and I’ve left places before, and it’s only temporary, and I’ll be back in December, and I’m totally being a hormonal girl right now. I guess I just wanted y’all to know that as excited as I am to go, I’ll be sad to leave. And I guess I’m sort of figuring out right before your very eyes that what I need to do to prepare for this trip (in addition to laundry) is hug everybody a lot and re-evaluate where my identity lies…because it’s the sort of thing that ought to be able to go with you no matter where you go and what you do for a living.

So it’s a good weekend to have the house to myself – for reflection, contemplation and perhaps a movie night??? Not all at once. And I promise to put on pants if anybody comes over.

On Huey Lewis and the Death of Technology

When I got in the car to go to work the other day, Huey Lewis was on the radio. I needed to make a phone call, so I turned him off, and when I turned the radio back on, everything else that was not Huey Lewis was just sad and disappointing. I’m not saying he’s my favorite singer ever of all time and that no one else even compares. Not even close. I’m just saying that when you want to hear Huey Lewis, only Huey Lewis will do. And ever since then, he’s all I’ve really wanted to hear, but ALAS!! I did not have any of him OR the News.

What I did have, however, was $10 in my iTunes account that needed to be invested, and what I got was Huey and the News’ greatest hits album. Looking just at the titles, I thought I only needed maybe six or seven songs, but then once I started sampling them, I realized that I knew and loved many more than that, and that the whole album was necessary to my collection. So it is now mine. Happy day!!

Well, at that point, I decided it’d be a good time to go ahead and update the ol’ iPod for my upcoming journey. But when I retrieved it from my bag, it wouldn’t turn on. I figured the battery was just dead, so I started charging it up. Still nothing.

Friends, that diddy is dead. But he’s also five years old, which in human years has to be like a thousand, so it makes sense. I mean the screen only has two colors for crying out loud. Let’s face it. If I’d been using it with any regularity, it probably would have died a year ago. It was just his time.

Soooooo, looks like I’ll be getting another new toy before I go!! How exciting is that? Any recommendations?


First of all, speaking of not being dead, today is the anniversary of my friend SkoHoe’s birth. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HOE!!! Ok, I think I’ve now wished her a happy birthday on gchat, facebook, blog and two twitter accounts. She’s covered.

Now, wha’ ha’ happened was that I was either completely busy or completely brain dead for several (very good) days. Honestly, I’m still recovering, but I didn’t want to neglect you fine folks any longer. I also wanted to share with you a tidbit of wisdom I’ve been picking up over the last couple of weeks. And this can be applied to anyone, even if it’s not writing that you love.

If you and I have ever had a conversation about what you do for a living and whether or not you really love it, you will be well aware that I encourage everyone to follow their dreams and passions, no matter how crazy they are or how seemingly impossible it would be to make a living out of them. I just truly believe that we are not meant to spend such huge chunks of our lives doing things that make us feel like cubicle zombies or pawns in some sick corporate game. And I’ll say this now for anyone who wants a kick in the pants: If your job makes you feel dead inside, please quit today.

You also may already know that there are two (lucrative) things I really love doing: teaching and writing. And bless my soul, I am lucky enough to get to do both. (I also love sleeping and chatting online, of course, but I hardly think those are worth pursuing as career paths.) I’m in the last few weeks of working for Wake Tech’s ESL department, though, before I run off to Italy to write for three months, and I’m in transition all around.

I’m not teaching any more (I’m just doing registration), but I’m writing a LOT. And I’m getting paid for it, which is great, but writing as a hobby and writing as a job are two very different things. I don’t love it any less now that I’m getting paid for it. It’s just that it’s not as leisurely.

When you do what you love as a hobby, you can do it whenever you feel like it and have the time. Sometimes you carve out time for it because you just love it so much that you don’t feel normal unless you’re doing it, and sometimes you feel very strongly that you must do it or you’ll explode. And it is for that reason that I always have a pen and paper with me.

But when you aren’t inspired, when you just have nothing to say, or when you’re busy and/or brain dead for four days, you don’t have to work on a hobby. Nobody really cares.

When someone’s paying you to write, though, you have to write. You have to write for hours and hours, and sometimes you have to just sit and stare at the blank screen, willing the words to type themselves because you have no idea what to say. You have to force yourself to do it just like you have to force yourself to get out of bed when the alarm goes off in the morning because it is your job. And as nice as hobbies are, they don’t make your loan payments for you.

Like I said, I don’t love it any less. I’m just working on building up the stamina it requires to write this much every day and the speed required to do the amount of work I have. And I’m getting there. I’m working on a bunch of articles for this website, and in the beginning, one article took me two or three days to do from start to finish. I can do one now in three to five hours, depending on the topic. I just have to get used to doing them every day.

So here’s my wisdom/advice: Keep following your dreams even if, when you catch up to them, they punch you in the neck and run off again. They’re just trying to toughen you up so you’ll be able to keep up as they get even bigger and better.

Jealousy Exchange

I’ve been to cookie exchanges, which are these marvelous events where you bake like three dozen cookies and take them to a party, and then you come home with three dozen different kinds of cookies. It’s delicious. And I’ve been to clothing swaps, which are equally marvelous events where you take all the clothes you don’t wear any more and dump them in somebody’s living room, and everybody else does the same thing, and then you dig through everybody else’s stuff, and you get to go home with “new” stuff. Bam. Free shopping.

But ever since…well, probably ever, but definitely since my friends started getting married and I moved to New York, I feel like I’ve been a part of a jealousy exchange, which has not been a marvelous event so far. It’s where I’m jealous of my friends being married, and they’re jealous of me being single and free to roam the earth (alone, like the Hulk). Or they’re jealous that I pretty much never work more than 27 hours a week, and I’m jealous that they get paid regularly and have vision insurance. Or they’re jealous that I have this awesome Fossil bag, and then they’re jealous that my mom bought it for me. Or I’m jealous because they get more visits to their blogs than I do. It never ends.

But what if instead of exchanging jealousies with each other, we all exchanged jealousy in general for something else–like support? A lot of times, that’s what happens, don’t get me wrong. But I feel like we could be more proactive about it. Like if I’m jealous that you are married, I could get rid of that and instead help you plan a surprise party for your husband. Or if you’re jealous that I’m all single and carefree, you could start looking for a single, carefree guy who’d be perfect for me. If I’m jealous that you have a full-time job, I could instead help you do things you don’t have time to do because you’re at work. And if you’re jealous that I only work part-time, you could collect money to help me get new glasses when I need them.

It’s sort of a radical idea, I know, but what do you think? Am I totally a socialist? Do you want in?


I’m going to let y’all in on a little secret. Curly hair is disorderly, and you really have to know what you’re doing in order to keep it in line. Luckily, I’ve had a couple of decades to perfect my methods, and so far, I’m pleased with what I do. But for the past couple of days, it’s just been out of control. Part of that, I’m sure, is just that nature tends toward disorder and chaos (hence the post title), part of it is that I need a haircut, and part of it has to do with ’80s hair.

I have just worked out why big ’80s hair stuck around for so long. It wasn’t because it was still in style. It was just because it took so long to grow out all the permed, teased, fried-out frizz. I mean, I went to an ’80s party on Saturday, for which I created myself some faux bangs. I didn’t cut anything. Shoot, I didn’t really tease all that much. I mostly just pinned, fluffed and sprayed, and the hair that was involved in that styling process, even after four days and two washings, is still frizzy and enormous. It’s not how I’d prefer it to be. It’s just how it is.

And I’d like to think that the early ’90s hairdos were just people’s weak attempts to style the hair they’d ruined during the ’80s, when, bless their hearts, they just didn’t know any better.

Now, normally I would find my personal hair situation disconcerting, but I’m getting ready to go to Europe, where the fashion has been in ’80s come-back mode for at least the past five years, so I’m thinking I’ll either fit in perfectly, or I’ll be on the cutting edge of the ’90s come-back. I’m trying to imagine how grunge is going to rear its greasy head again only more form-fitting and trendy, and you know what? I like it.