Monday, April 30, 2012

"Get well soon" card

My brother, Tony, makes the best cards. Here is a card he drew today for my sister, who is home sick with a cold.

Stories from my sister's old waitressing days

 me:  I like reading the articles about John Edwards' trial bc he's such a scumbag
 Amy:  He's a politician, they all are
 me:  ya
but he fooled so many ppl into thinking he was a wholesome guy from North Carolina with nice hair
 Amy:  Which politician was it that always ate at Unos?
 me:  Tom Davis
 Amy:  yes!
 me:  what dirt do you have on him
 Amy:  always came in with a different woman every time
 me:  seriously. why go to a restaurant so close to home??
 Amy:  I hope his elephant trunk falls off

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bageladies Cafe

Me going to the farmers’ market for the grand opening is comparable to going grocery shopping on an empty stomach. And the Charlottesville farmers’ market is one of the few things for which I’m willing to wake up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday. So, when it returned on the first weekend in April, I went ALL out. Here begins a series of all the farmers’ market stands I missed during the past five months.

The Bageladies sandwiches are priced at an extortionate $6 a sammy and usually contain some combination of eggs, cheese, vegetable. But if I’m paying $6 for a bagel sandwich, it better have bacon in it. In this case however, I have to settle for Canadian bacon.

The sandwiches are hit or miss, and the availability of various combinations changes throughout the day and depends on what the sandwich maker has on the griddle. So if what’s available and wrapped up doesn’t float your boat, go wander around elsewhere and come back. Obviously, many of the vegetables in the sandwiches depend on what’s in season. For example, I’ve recently had a few sandwiches with green beans, which, to be honest, is not very pleasant. Sure, the three strands of green beans were crisp, but are a little undercooked for my liking. And I just don’t like the texture of green beans in a sandwich (much like how I dislike the texture of cucumbers in salads). Yes, I don’t like green beans, but for $6, customers deserve more than three strands of beans. Spinach is a tastier option if it’s available.

OK, so the above description probably doesn’t do it justice. Why do I like these bagel sandwiches so much? Because I like breakfast foods, and breakfast sandwiches are one of my favorite things. What distinguishes these sandwiches is that the bagels are griddle-fried with the cut side out, which lends itself to warm, crispy goodness. (I eat for texture.)

Below are some pictures of the bagel stand. Yea, $6 for a bagel sandwich is a little steep for a student budget, but try it once -- you don’t have to eat it every day.

The Bageladies Cafe stand

More pictures after the jump! --->

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Customer service

I knew I’d started to cross the threshold into adulthood when my dad began enlisting me to do the grown-up job of ordering on my own during meal outings, and dealing with customer support over the telephone (with the punks at Verizon, for example). Now I can appreciate all the practice because I can more confidently navigate conversations with pricky customer service representatives and hold my own.

About two years ago, I’d been ill (from the flu, probably) and home-bound for too many days than I could tolerate and so made my first public appearance in several days at the mall. I could not care less about shopping -- all I wanted was some frozen yogurt at Yogen Fruz. So, I stood in line patiently and salivating for about 10 minutes, and asked for a small regular frozen yogurt, no toppings. When the girl turned around from the frozen-yogurt machine, I saw that she’d dispensed only a skinny, hollow cone of frozen yogurt into my cup. What a cheap-o.

“I’m not getting any toppings, so may I please have some more frozen yogurt?” I inquired? The stingy employee looked at me, dumbfounded. “What?” she asked, at a loss at what to do but obviously not inclined to honor my request. “Then I don’t want it,” I snapped. The girl then looked at me as if to say, “Are you serious?”

I was. So I walked off.

Clearly, a hungry, sickly Jane is not to be reckoned with. But
if I’m paying $6 for plain frozen yogurt without the embellishments, I want, at the very least, decent customer service.

My sister, Amy, says the the bunny up front has my "waiting" face. The bunny towards the back has Tony's "I'm up to no good" face.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Perhaps it's the Jane Austen lover in me, but I try to make an effort and send handwritten letters and cards to people. (Fun fact: I write all my handwritten pieces in purple ink.) And I have a pen pal; I've maintained a written correspondence with my real-life friend, Hallie C., throughout college -- quite an accomplishment, we think, considering we graduate next month.

I've never reread a letter I've sent anyone, and I wonder what it'll be like to revisit those letters 10 or 20 years in the future. I remember writing a letter to Hallie during my first few days of college in my Dobie 213 dorm room. And I remember writing about my first college crush -- someone way out of my league and, in retrospect, not worth doting over.

Similarly, I love reading old letters written by people of historical importance. My favorite ones are those written by E.B. White. But really, anything written by E.B. White is worth reading. And then there's this postcard containing a charming doodle by none other than Pablo Picasso. I wonder what he wrote on the other side.

Pablo Picasso, postcard to Jean Cocteau, 1919

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

1/3 birthday card

How cute is this 1/3-birthday card that my brother Tony made for Amy?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Getting technical

I attended my first FlashSem yesterday (it was about Downton Abbey, in case you were wondering). Before leaving the house, I mulled over what I ought to wear and, as it was nippy outside, opted for my comfortable, lazy-day standbys: ¾-sleeve Urban Outfitters shirt with decorative frocket and fitted black yoga pants.

When I arrived in the Newcomb Hall Main Lounge, in all its stately glory, I found myself sitting in a circle with about 15 others -- girls, mostly -- dressed to the nines: tasteful button-up cardigan, skirt and decorative scarf. Is this how humanities majors always dress themselves? (Someone once told me I dress like an art history major. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but I was flattered.)

As we introduced ourselves, I found that 12 attendees were some permutation of history/English/media studies/politics majors, and 2 were Law students; I was the only non-humanities major. When I introduced myself, I was comfortable and spoke with confidence because, as a fourth-year, I’ve done similar introductions dozens of times. And sure, I might have even been a little proud to have a (relatively) unique major.

And then the discussion began. I felt a little out of place because I haven’t taken a discussion-based class since high school. During the flashsem discussions critiquing various themes and characters in Downton Abbey, all opinions were based on interpretation, and so there was no wrong answer so long as you provide sufficient evidence to defend your theory. When a professor asks a question to the class in my discipline, there is always a correct answer with little (if any) room for interpretation. And if there are multiple avenues through which to arrive at a solution, there is still only one answer: the correct one.

By the end of the hour-and-a-half seminar, I was the only one who hadn’t spoken. I’d always felt like a humanities major tricked into a rather technical one, but this was one of the first times I’d felt truly different. But that’s OK because I’m graduating soon and there will be plenty more opportunities to redeem myself.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Twelve cents

Walmart is one of my favorites place to go (right behind Costco and Target) -- and not just for the bargains. It’s a prime location for people watching.

I went to the local Walmart with my parents on Sunday for our compulsory trip during their Charlottesville visit. I first headed to hitherto unchartered territory for me: sporting goods -- to make a copy of my Charlottesville apartment key, of course.

As soon as I handed over my key to the sales associate, I fumbled in my wristlet to take inventory of the cash I had on hand for check-out. This was a convenient opportunity to relieve my wallet of the weighty, jangling coins, I thought. Apart from the dollar bills, I found a quarter, a dime and two pennies.

When I’d finished doing so, I found that the key clerk was still at work with the machine, and so replaced the coins in my wallet. Beside her were a male sales associate and two young, impoverished boys (brothers, I suppose). The younger brother, about 13 years old, eagerly counted dimes and nickels from his coin heap -- likely unearthed from painstaking scourging -- and slid dollar piles to the sales clerk. The uninterested older brother, meanwhile, inspected merchandise nearby and probably had enough sense at his age to feel some tinge of mortification in the transaction. The coins totaled about three dollars -- 12 cents short of what the sales clerk needed.

Dejected, the younger boy looked to his older, preoccupied brother and told him he’d need to come up with another 12 cents somehow. “How?” I wondered, “By searching the store for a godforsaken dime and two pennies?” The older brother stopped, came by the younger fellow, took a look at the inadequate coin heap and walked off, presumably to begin the demeaning 12-cent search.

I reached into my wallet to retrieve the dime and two pennies. “I have twelve cents,” I said, meekly placing the three coins alongside the heap and returning to my original spot on the opposite corner of the counter. I didn’t think to look at the boy's reaction or to observe what he and his brother were paying for.

The key clerk looked at me and said, “That was very nice what you just did.” I shrugged. I really shouldn’t lament the weight of coins in my purse.