Tag Archives: Texas

Huh.

I just found an old document I took notes in my first week in grad school at Texas Tech. Apparently someone said, “This is your Julia Roberts year,” when referring to our first year of grad school?

I also heard, “We are all warriors in the fight against stupidity.”

Wisdom, man.

Found a bunch of photos I took in Texas, too. This includes excellent latte art and this typically massive truck, which also was intended to demonstrate how much space cars kept between each other when stopped at stop lights! It’s insane! Half a car’s length between cars!

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Damn, Texas. You were a trip.

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Observations on Texas: Stoplights

At home, stoplights look like this:

In Lubbock, they look like this:


Ehh. There is probably a logical reason for this, but I’ll take two guesses.

  1. It’s too windy to have vertical lights–they’d fly right off the pole.
  2. Trucks are so outrageously huge here, that the bottom of the vertical light would be impossible to see. Ever.

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Layer-up

How is my energy bill only $19, you ask?

In Lubbock you can get away with not turning on the heat. Sort of.

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Observations on Texas: Weather

My weather bug said ALERT this morning. And what warranted this big red box? A “Frost Warning.” For real? I needed to be warned about frost? This place is nuts.

It’s Fall and it’s still hot. Not cool, Texas. I want sweatshirts and lingering chances of snow. I would also like the wind to die down, please and thank you.

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Iowasick

It’s fall break, and I’m killing my back and butt bones sitting on uncomfortable chairs, researching Anna Laetitia Barbauld and John Aikin’s Evenings at Home (6 vol., 1792-96) and trying to decide what degree of sexuality in nature I should write about for my Victorian paper (rape in a field and sexy cow milking in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, anyone?). It’s not so bad, at this point I’m used to spending all my time on homework. But there are some obscure things I really miss at home.

Eating at a restaurant. Sounds silly, right? But here I am in a city where everything is new and I really want to explore the eats. Who wants to go out and check out all the unknown restaurants alone? Not this girl.

Being in the know. My friends aren’t the kind of people who insist on spilling the details of their life unprovoked. Which I admire, and I am just like them in that sense. However, it makes keeping up with everyone hard. I’m busy, I’m stressed, and I have absolutely nothing to report back home to (Today you bought a tissue box cover? Oh my that is quite exciting. Tell me more.) It gets old and I feel annoying sending “what’s up?” “how’s life?” and “I heard from personx that yhappened…” text, email, facebook messages. I know the reverse is true, who actually likes starting those conversations? Generally just people who are procrastinating something. But everyone has a life, so except my grad student peers, no one wants to procrastinate anything. It’s hard, and I feel like a godawful friend most of the time.

Hugs. Seriously the stupidest thing ever, but I miss it a lot. I miss hugging DGs when I haven’t seen them in a while. I miss hugging MTK when I’m drunk and excited about something ridiculous. I miss hugging people when I’m drunk, period. I miss hugs on bad days. And thank you hugs. Just hugs in general. They don’t mean a whole lot when you encounter them on a fairly regular basis, but when you can’t hug anyone at all, you realize how much they mean.

Being useful. A shoulder to cry on? Someone to get a drink with so you don’t feel like an alcoholic on a Tuesday night? Someone to cover your shift at The Barn? A coffee buddy? Lunch date? Sober driver? A ride when you need one? Someone to vent to? All those things are pretty damn impossible to be at a distance, and hard to be to people you don’t really know.

Day trips. You know, easy places to go when you have time and feel like getting out of town for a bit. Yankton for Charlie’s Pizza? Le Mars for some Blue Bunny history and a bite at Bob’s Drive Inn? Ames for a night of debauchery with the boys? Sioux Falls for some fun in the sun at Wild Water West? Shopping in Omaha? I think Amarillo is the closest thing to Lubbock. Grrreat.

So tomorrow I’m going to go on my first baking adventure since moving to Texas. I really hope it makes me feel a little less Iowasick. Although tomorrow is gingersnaps, I bought some Halloween cookie cutters to encourage another baking binge.

 

Assortment of super scary Halloween cookie cutters.

 

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Lubbock: A hotbed of sex

I’ve already thrown this up as a Facebook post, but I’ve got to document this fine day  in my history. For the first time in my life, I live in a “hotbed of sex.” According to Men’s Health, Lubbock ranks in the nations Top 15 based on census birthrates, STDs, and sales of condoms and sex toys.

Check out the ABC News story. Then find the October issue on newsstands.

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One Month In

I’ve been a Texan for a month now (although my license plate and driver’s license say otherwise. Suck it, system!). A month ago last night I slept on the floor of my living room. Since then, not a whole lot has happened. I’ve been in school for two weeks and I spend 80% of my time watching Netflix while doing homework. It’s not bad, but there are some things I am definitely missing from the homeland.

Family & Friends
Top of the list, no question. Sometimes it’s a bit lonely. But even worse, it’s hard to not be around when you want to be there for someone.

Food: Fong’s, China Place, & Planet Sub
Just, yeah. I missed it if I didn’t have it often enough in Des Moines. So how can I  not miss it here?

Panera, Caribou & Grounds
I could use some of my old stomping grounds for quality study space. Coffee, food, and a comfy atmosphere.

Hockey
Tis’ [almost] the season. And oh do I wish I had some Buccs or Muskies to get rowdy with.

Things that only happen in the fall
Sorority recruitment, Heelan debate, Hawkeye football, and Fall Kill.

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Observations on Texas, II

Here are some more things I’ve noticed about this hot, dusty land mass.

1. Taco places all serve breakfast. When Taco Johns started serving breakfast, most people agreed it was weirdly gross. I still feel the same.

2. They have distinct beverages. Fanta Red must be the southern version of Fruit Punch or Hi-C and whatnot. It’s always there. Their fountain machines also seem to always include Diet Dr. Pepper, which is a godsend. In Iowa, I could only find it at Chick-Fil-A (and Kum & Go, of course). Sadly, I’m having to use that Diet D.P. to replace my true love, Diet Mountain Dew. I can’t find it anywhere! Also, at most places, a medium drink is 32 ounces. And they put their pop in styrofoam. It’s hot as sin down here, so it really keeps that liquid cool, while killing the environment one Big-Gulp-sized take-out cup at a time.

3. Informative signs can be found all over the place. “Watch for water” along the frontage roads. “Bridges ice before roads” before every bridge. I mean, isn’t this common sense? My favorites, however, are the ones that say it’s a misdemeanor to consume alcohol on site–most notably the grocery stores and Target.

4. Magazines are terrifying. Walking down the magazine aisle at Target my first night in Lubbock, I found the May issue of Esquire. The. May. Issue. Does that not disturb you? Even more upsetting was that a week later, I found no issues at all. Checkouts–hot spots for the mag buyer–have such titles as Cowboys & Indians, Country Weekly, Texas Football, and ‘Taste of Home’s’ Church Suppers. I yi yi. Where’s GQ or Real Simple? But I’m proud to report I found Parents and Kitchen and Bath Ideas.

5. Texans really do say y’all all the time. Especially at restaurants. One server topped out with six y’alls in her introduction. Oh boy.

6. Stores have some very different quotidian products. For instance, I’ve never seen so many different kinds of Jarritos. They took up a fourth of an aisle at the HUGE grocery store I frequent. Right next to those were an assortment of religious candles. Those had half an aisle at Target!

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Observations on Texas, I

I waited a little while to post my first round of observations on Texas. This is mostly because I haven’t done anything since I moved here. Except put together my apartment–that I have done and it will have it’s own glorified post in the very near future. But for now, here are some things I’ve noticed about my new realm.

1. Roads are like nothing I’ve ever experienced. There are four-lane one-ways, turnarounds, frontage roads and loops. Not uncommon for people from big cities, but it’s certainly new to this girl. I practically live on the corner of two major roads. Major means five to seven lanes across. In the middle of town. What the fuck? It’s not as bad as I’d imagined, though. So far, so good, although I’ve only ventured three places: Target, a parking lot at TTU, and another Target.

2. People here are slow. Sssslllloooooooowwww. Well, not when driving. But at everything else. Fast food? Slow. Talking? Slow. Walking, moving, standing, eating. Slow, slow, slow, slow! It makes me crazy. I wonder if people will have a hard time understanding me when I speak.

3. Popular foods are far different here. For instance, down the street is a corner with Sonic, Jimmy Johns (hooray!) and Dennys. I’ve never seen more then two cars in the JJ parking lot. Sonic, however, has at least five cars at all times and once I saw the parking spaces full (like 20+ spots) with a line. Dennys, too, is wildly popular. And traveling down 50th I know of at least five taco places. It’s nuts! Also, fountain drinks are a bit different here. Like the “Enjoy Fanta Red.” Hmm.

4. I’m rather paranoid here. I think people look at me funny, talk to me funny, everything. I feel like I have IOWA stamped across my forehead.

5. Music doesn’t suck. Not that they don’t have Country here. Because they do. But I’ve managed to avoid it by finding a wicked Hip-Hop station that I never plan to turn off.

6. Everyone wears TTU gear. Mostly red shirts that say Texas Tech or Texas Tech University. I see a lot of “Wreck ‘Em Tech” as well. Guess I’m underdressed.

That’s about all I’ve had the honor of observing thus far. Gimme a while, a couple trips to campus, an orientation or class or two, and I’ll have much more to comment on, I’m sure.

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OKC

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Oklahoma City, en-route on our triumphant return from Lubbock.

Mission: Procure apartment
Status: Complete

Although rent is much more than I anticipated, I found an amazing apartment. If I am careful with my spending, I should be okay. My only requirement going into the search was a washer/dryer connection. Being a full-time student and (hopefully) part-time mag writer, I don’t want to have to find time to sit in a gross communal laundry room. So after visiting a few complexes, I fell in love with my to-be abode. Two story, one bedroom, one-and-a-half bath townhome. It has three closets, including a Harry Potter home under the stairs. Oh, and a balcony.

A balcony.

Anyhoo, after some courting of the complex folk, and proving I make real monies, I got myself a place starting August 6th. Huzzah!

A trip bonus: the purchase of a new bed! I’ve had a twin for, oh, 20 years now. In a few months, I’ll have my own deliciously plush full bed. Fabulous.

But, the trip wasn’t all balconies and shoe closets. I haven’t slept worth shit  I’ve been on a slanted couch and my parents snore to the point that I seriously think I can feel vibrations. I also haven’t had an appetite since we left on Saturday. NONE. I’ve eaten a bit, but haven’t actually wanted to. It’s like when you’re sick and you can’t taste anything but you need to eat because… well duh, you need to eat. That’s this. It’s terrible, and we’re on the road and it’s all bad food and I feel disgusting. Ugh.

Then there is this weird realization that hit me at 2:05 am last night when I couldn’t sleep. Of my eight closest girl friends in elementary/middle school, at least five are married or engaged. That number increases with the friends I added in high school and college. Babies are in the picture, too. Plus I have wonderful friends who aren’t that committed yet, but it’s not hard to see in the not-so-distant future. I know there’s no point in comparing myself to my peers, and I’m not looking to be in their position, either. But it’s hard not to feel like I’m somehow behind.

Yet another tangent: I spent 45 minutes walking around a deserted parking lot in Happy, Texas and got my first sunburn of the season! Woo!

Everything is okay, see?

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