2007 December | Somewhere in Middle America

I got my second French manicure today at a different nail salon than when I had one done before Jessica’s wedding, and again the white tips seem too wide. I should have said something to the nail technician before he put on the top coat, but again I kept my mouth shut. Why do I do that?

If it happens a third time, I’ll be convinced that Omahans don’t know how to do French manicures.

It’s quite possible I’m too picky. It’s not like they’re a disaster. I’ll just deal with them until the next time I feel like splurging on a manicure (what a splurge –$13 for a French). Usually I just a solid dark color, like OPI’s Russian Navy or Who Are You Wearing? I’m convinced that OPI polish lasts longer on my fingers than any other brand.

What color are you wearing?

Every so often we all have one of those days or weeks when things just seem generally shitty and our warm, safe bed seems like the best place to be. Then we’ll be in the car, driving somewhere we’re not particularly thrilled to be heading, and when we change the radio station, our favorite song is playing. And it’s not a very popular song now, although it was about 14 years ago, and we think that maybe this song is being played specifically for us. Because it’s a happy song, at least in our eyes (or ears), and when we hear it we think about where we were when we first heard the song and remember how much we were in love with the lead singer even though nobody else thought he was particularly attractive. And we can’t believe that after all of these years, this one song still has the power to affect us and put a smile on our faces.


What’s your song?

Following a new recipe I made this Banana Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake.

It looked just like the photo in the cookbook!

Unfortunately, the toothpick test failed me again; it wasn’t fully cooked inside.

Grey sky. White snow. Omaha’s been looking especially dreary the last couple of days. I think I’m becoming immune to the cold. It was 17 degrees over the weekend and it didn’t seem that bad. It flurried on Saturday and Sunday, and they say another huge snow and ice storm might hit tonight. If that’s so, I might be trapped at home again.

J took me driving a day or so after last week’s snow storm.  We only went up and down our street. He wanted me to practice turning into a swerve and stopping short when the ground is slippery. The first couple of times he demonstrated my hand immediately went to the door handle. I felt like I was on an amusement park ride; I don’t do rides. When it was my turn to drive his car, a sporty new Saab, I frustrated J by not breaking 10 mph. Reluctantly I did what he told me to. When I felt (marginally) more comfortable on the road, we switched cars. I drive a 2003 Altima, which we determined does not have anti-lock breaks. It couldn’t come to a complete stop when I slammed on the breaks. It would slide, slide, slide until it finally stopped. Should I be freaked out about driving a car without anti-lock breaks? Well, I am!

If I’m going to make it through the winter here, I’m going to need an SUV and a set of snow tires.

My fender bender on Sunday really spooked me, so I’m working from home because it’s really snowing outside today.

They estimate up to 5 inches by 3 pm.

You’ve probably already heard that there was a mall shooting in Omaha this afternoon. A gunman opened fire in Von Maur, which is like a lower-end Nordstrom, and killed nine people including himself. The details are still being worked out, but most witnesses can agree that they heard at least 40 gunshots fired. Shoppers hid behind clothing racks, in the dressing rooms, in storage closets. A local TV station interviewed a girl on her cell phone while she was still locked in a dressing room.

When I lived in NYC, I knew that bad things could happen. I was always alert and aware of my surroundings. More than once I remained on the subway platform and waited for the next train because somebody suspicious was already on board. Was I more paranoid than the next person? Maybe. But with so many people in the city, you had no idea who was walking past or standing too close to you on the train.

I assumed things would be different in Omaha. I thought I could let my guard down. I could try making eye contact with a passerby on the street or strike up a conversation with the checkout girl at the supermarket. Now I have to be on the lookout for people with guns. Lots of people have guns in Omaha. We’re in Nebraska.

Westroads, the shopping center where the shooting took place, is the mall that J and I frequent the most. It’s about 2 miles from our apartment. Why did the gunman choose that mall at that time? J and I were both at work, safe but scared. Everyone is scared. I can’t imagine how I would’ve reacted if I was in that store at 2:30 pm. I keep thinking it about it. Would I have screamed? Ran? Hid? Cried? What were the people who were killed doing before they died?

Today was also a big day for Omaha because President Bush came to visit for the first time since June 2006. He only stayed for 4 hours and was nowhere near the mall.

My blog has been viewed 2,500 times since July.  That seems like a lot to me, but in the blogosphere, who knows.  Certainly the blogs I enjoy have many many many many more readers.

I woke up Sunday with a feeling that it was not going to be a good day. I was anxious about two events I had planned for that day after religious school – a camp recruitment presentation and a trip to the bowling alley with 5th and 6th graders. I was a bit bitter that I was giving up most of my Sunday. It was snowing and the flakes were sticking, and I just wanted to stay in bed. I whined to J before I left that I didn’t want to go. My gut was telling me that something bad was going to happen.

I drove my Altima slowly up the street to intersection. As I made a right-hand turn, my car skid as it went over a patch of ice. (It had rained all day on Saturday, so there was ice under the snow.) I hate, hate, hate driving in the snow. I also hate driving in the pouring rain. I chose to drive down on a big 4-lane street instead of the side roads I normally take to Temple because I figured it would have been plowed or at least covered in salt. I must have been driving 20 mph, tapping my breaks lightly every once in a while so I wouldn’t lose control. I contemplated turning around, but I couldn’t miss the programs I was responsible for. I could feel my wheels sliding back and forth instead of moving forward, but I made it through two intersections fine. The third intersection, however, was at the end of a big hill (a hill I had completely forgot about), and as I was trying to slow down, my car started skidding to the left. As I tried to get control of it AND stop I was hit from behind by an SUV. My heart nearly broke out of my chest. The car kept hitting me and hitting me like we were in bumper cars all the way across the intersection. Trying to break at this point was futile. It actually made it worse.

We finally stopped moving when I purposefully steered up onto a sidewalk. Then I was hysterical. The driver of the other car walked over to my window, and upon seeing me with mascara running down my cheeks got worried that I was hurt. I wasn’t, thankfully, and neither was she. Our cars also showed no signs of major damage. Still, we pulled into the parking lot on the other side of the sidewalk to exchange information and wait for J to come to survey the scene. I called 911 because that’s what I thought you’re supposed to do if you get into an accident, and they told me that they weren’t taking any traffic accidents at that time; there were just too many around town. We actually saw 3 other cars mimic bumper cars while we waited.

This was my first car accident EVER. Thanks, Omaha, for your stupid winter weather and incompetency at clearing the roads.

When I can’t sleep at 2:30 AM, I crawl out of bed in the pitch darkness and feel my way to the bedroom door and eventually our office. I plant myself in front of the computer and start browsing. I start by reading blogs I enjoy, then I read the blogs those bloggers enjoy, and so on and so on. Last night I discovered this blog. I thought the writer had a great voice, so I poked around in her archives to what kinds of stuff she blogs about. That’s where I discovered her “100 things about me” post. It was so much fun to read, especially since I saw a little bit of myself in her. For example:

1. I used to be ashamed of my freckles; now I love them.

14. I used to collect pencils as a kid.

24. I wish I lived in London.

36. I am very indecisive.

39. I am the ultimate night owl; I don’t remember the last time I went to bed before midnight.

69. I judge books by their covers.

76. I wouldn’t mind being just a little famous.

When I finally felt ready to go back to sleep at 5:30 AM, instead of counting sheep I tried to come up with 100 things about myself. I think I passed out somewhere around #12. One day I’ll think of the remaining 88, and then I’ll blog about it.

It feels appropriate that on the first day of December there’s ice outside. Lots of ice. Overnight there must have been freezing rain mixed with some snow, and now it looks dark and frozen outside. But I love this weather. Why? Because when it’s icy outside and the roads are dangerous, we feel no guilt staying inside all day. It’s the perfect excuse to be lazy — or to get done the things we’ve been putting off. Perhaps I’ll finally watch Elizabeth so I can return it to Netflix.