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Author Archives: Amanda Crissup

The Bright Side

Every now and then you just have those days where you’re glad it’s over and you can just restart. And even on those days I’m glad to have the hiccups of daily life.

So this is my bright side approach to the three hilariously crummy parts of this Wednesday.

  • Our roof was installed. It’s brown. It’s supposed to be grey.

At least we have a roof over our heads.

  • Today I spent my morning at the DMV and they snapped the photo while I’m pretty sure I was licking my lips.

It’s pretty cool that my work supported my pursuit of my CDL.

  • The van I was supposed to be working on today was taken by its driver before I even arrived.

I didn’t finish the service before the end of work as a result. Life is good though because the oil cap is in the top of my toolbox.

Yep. Life is good indeed.


Happy (early) Pi Day

In celebration of Pi Day tomorrow we made an apple pie tonight and relished in the joy of kitchen gadgets.

Last year my mom sent us an all-in-one apple corer, peeler and slicer. And I had no idea what to do with it.

The obvious answer is to make apple pie. So now, almost a year later, we made pie.Owen enjoyed the new gadget. Particularly the part where the thing yielded instant treats.

There’s no crust on the top and the crust is in fact, bound to be inferior since I neglected to call my dad and ask him for his recipe. But we’ll find out. Worst that can happen is that we unmake the universe. I promise not to let you down, Carl Sagan.


Chasing Mary Chase

Wikipedia is a wonderful thing.

Over dinner tonight I started beefing up my 101 in 1,001 list for Colorado. Scanning articles from the local magazine 5280 for inspiration and eventually glancing over articles on Wikipedia about Colorado and Denver points of historic interest. At one point I abruptly jumped to the article on Owen’s great-grandmother, playwright Mary Chase, and proceeded to lose myself for the rest of the evening inadvertently learning more about this family I married into.

One of the external links lead me to a website maintained by Tim Chase, possibly son of Colin or Jerry Chase (Owen’s grandfather’s brothers). He’s working on a biography about Mary Chase and included a number of photographs as well as some of his blogs from his researching adventures. Sadly, the last blog was dated a year ago so I don’t know whether or not he’s still pursuing the project.

Regardless, he included an interview from the CBC recorded in 1981 a month before she died of a heart attack. She and the interviewer discuss “Harvey” and the musical revival version that was in the works at the time. They discuss her life, and she tells stories. In the interview she commented that she enjoyed testing out comedy and things she had written on children because children, over any other age group, will tell you honestly whether something is good or not. Furthermore, children do not respond to gimmicks like sex or politics, but rather to the timeless elements of story-telling.

“You have to get them at the point where they are ‘too young for boys, too old for dolls’ in that limbo in there where they have no other place to go.”

~ Mary Chase on why in 1981 she was working on a one-act play for middle school students.

And that right there is why I enjoy reading young adult literature and why in my fiction writing endeavors I see myself as a young adult writer. That state of limbo that Mary Chase refers to is a terribly appealing mindset to try to reach. Young adults still want to believe in fairy tales but they are also skeptical enough to want to know what’s behind the curtain. For me, that presents a challenge and is therefore something worth pursuing.

It’s past late now, and I have gone another week without posting to the Skills blog on time. There’s still tomorrow but for now, there’s sleep.


Day Zero: Colorado FTW

Posting pictures of the bathroom did not happen this weekend. We had a house guest, a potential dog for adoption. She didn’t work out.

However, I’ve been giving some thought to starting a new Day Zero list focusing on Colorado. I live here now (3+ years actually) and I’d like to do more toward feeling like I have a greater connection to my new home state. I want to take a deliberate and intentional approach to things and not look back in 20 years or so and think of all the things I haven’t done. That’s a little too deep.

I’d also like to do more blog posts of substance, but maybe tomorrow.

All of this introspective belly button gazing has to do with two things:

  1. I’m getting old again next Sunday.
  2. Our neighbor across the street died Friday night.

It has taken me all weekend to be affected by his death. We made banana nut muffins for his widow this morning and when out running errands today I found myself just driving aimlessly. John was a very kind man, a veteran and a cancer survivor. I don’t have anything else to say.


Weather We Like It Or Not

This state is truly remarkable.

Yesterday, 88 mph winds tore the siding off of our garage. Today, it’s snowing.

Maybe the siding removal means we’ll get to pick out a new color for our house!


DIY demi-Diva

Colorado really is remarkable when it comes to judging snow. In the high country, any amount can add up to good powder. For the rest of us on the plains it’s hit or miss as to whether or not the weather will be nuisance or a serene blanket of white.

Turns out, between 10 to 20 inches of snow counts as a snow day for our school district. Anything less than that and you just shift into 4 Wheel Drive and call it good.

It’s my first official snow day as a district employee and after sleeping in for an extra hour I decided to tackle the problem of our house’s outdated heating and insulation problem. See, I went home to Virginia last weekend and my dad suggested this really neat way to block out unwanted wind down the chimney when you don’t use the fireplace: foam board, duct tape and a hanger. It sounded like a McGuyver solution to drafts and thus I decided that it was the best idea ever for combating the chill in our basement, Ravenholm.

We have two fireplaces and do not use either one. There’s multiple reasons. We’ll go into those later. Right now I wanted to be a DIY Diva and get ‘r done. I even took pictures so that I could detail the process and triumphantly describe the project on the blog.

Except, not so much.

A custom-fit foam board insert to cover the opening makes great sense in theory and in application for my parent’s fireplace. For ours though, the existing glass doors got in the way and without my pirate project buddy (who is working from home today so I do my best not to pester him) it did not end well.


I guess I’m more of a DIY demi-diva. Before I can claim full diva status I need to complete some more quests. For now I’ll just cover the windows in Ravenholm with the plastic shrink wrap and toss on another layer. So this is me, learning to be a Colorado home owner one season at a time.


A Response to Misogyny

This is not related to the house, but rather I need to get your opinion. I need to figure out an appropriate response to men who address me as “Sweetheart.”

I am neither referring to the man who is married to me nor the men to whom I am related. But rather, complete strangers who see me and think it’s acceptable to address me as if we were familiar.

Today, while taking a 1986 F-250 formerly dark green now green/brown/rust beater truck to the emissions testing place for work, one of the technicians addressed me as “Sweetie.” Taking the district’s lightweight vehicles for their annual emissions test has recently become one of my tasks. As such, I’ve become familiar to the folks at the facility and it’s become my garage away from the garage. They’ve hired on some new techs, one of whom thought my name was “Sweetie.” Turns out, New Tech couldn’t test the truck because he couldn’t read the VIN. Never mind that it was visible on the door pillar and under the hood. It was too dirty on the dash plate so he sent me away with a form explaining why he couldn’t do it. Not, however, before he had his manager sign off on the sheet.

His manager, like me, is one of those weird lady mechanics. I casually noted that she had new staff and then added that maybe New Tech should refrain in future from addressing their female customers as “Sweetie.” She took heed and I went on my way.

I’m glad that I could directly and effectively address this particular situation but unfortunately it’s not the first time I’ve felt belittled and insulted when strangers use familiar terms with me. It happened when I worked the library. It has happened at the garage, although not with any of my immediate co-workers. Occasionally some of the vendors who do business with us and who can see my name clearly written on my uniform have done so as well.

In Georgia, I was willing to overlook it because of the fact that everyone is “Darlin’. ” Since I no longer live in the South I won’t accept that as an explanation. I refuse to dismiss it based on the man in question’s age. Being over 80 is the only age bracket where I can see people having different opinions based on their generational exposure. Since none of the people who have put me in this situation are octogenarians then these working professionals should know better.

I’m considering using one of the following terms as a verbal riposte:

  • beefcake
  • bro or broskie
  • shnookums

Do tell. What should be my new word?