Archive for May, 2001

California (trip) – 05.28.01

Monday, May 28th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“Whose college major was lunch?”
Anne Robinson, “The Weakest Link” on 05.28.01

Looking at the trip agenda I see that my dad and I spent six nights in California and that’s more than a third of the time we spent on the road. Looking at the things we saw I can say that this amount of time was justified. From the Nevada border to the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles most of the state is incredible.

Originally Reno was the place we intended to stay on the night of May 19 but it was a weekend and all of the hotels where we tried to get a reservation were full. After that Lake Tahoe was our second option but all of the hotels we called in that general vicinity were also booked. So we ended up in a Best Western (our favorite hotel chain considering the number of nights we spent in one) in Truckee, a small picturesque town north of Lake Tahoe in California.

Now I know what the fuss is all about – Lake Tahoe is a magnificent sight to behold. The California side of the lake has been developed almost its fullest extent while the Nevada side is practically desolate. My dad and I had dinner in Tahoe City, California on the night of May 19 and there were very few lights on the side of the lake opposite us except for the ones from the casinos right on the other side of the Nevada border. I guess some people feel it is too much of a hardship to drive “all the way” to Reno or Las Vegas in order to gamble. Anyway, we drove around the west (California) side of Lake Tahoe the afternoon that we arrived and got a look at the incredible homes and scenery that line the road. I can only imagine how much it would cost to live there but after I saw some of the views that appear just around a bend in the road I can see why people would spend their money on it. At one point I turned around in my seat (I wasn’t driving) and saw what looked like a painting. The mountains were snowcapped, a waterfall was spilling down towards the lake, and an overlying mist made the whole scene look almost unreal. It was beautiful but of course there was no place to pull over and still have a good place to take a picture. The next morning we drove over to the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe to take some pictures at Sand Harbor State Beach. This was the only place I got any good shots of the area with the mountains and rocks in the water. It was a different perspective from the Nevada side of the lake and maybe even more beautiful. My plan is to make another trip to Lake Tahoe before the first major winter snowfall so we’ll see if that really happens.

Before my dad and I left Tallahassee I insisted that we go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on the way south from San Francisco. But on May 22, the day we went there, we saw more than just that. Of course we picked a day to visit the aquarium when busloads of school children were there on a field trip. At one point we were looking at some eels when a little kid brushed past my leg and, having the thought my eels in my mind, it felt like one of them had done it instead. Creepy. The aquarium is a beautiful place, however, and I enjoyed seeing it for the second time (the first being about six years before). After we left Monterey the first stop was at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. You wouldn’t know that there was anything of note there from highway one but, about a quarter mile from the parking lot and along a wooden walkway high above the water, there is a waterfall that spills right onto the white beach. It’s quite a unique spot and we took some pictures there. Mine are on the roll of film that isn’t finished yet so I don’t know if they turned out but my dad says his look great. It’s really a lovely place. Farther down the road toward Morro Bay, where we had decided to spend the night, we suddenly passed a beach with a few seals resting along the shore and thought it was rather unusual. A few minutes later we pulled off at Piedras Blancas State Park where dozens of seals laid about and tourists scrambled for a glimpse. It was quite bizarre to see so many of them relaxing next to one another and getting in the occasional skirmish with their neighbors. This is the real “Seal Beach” – I don’t care what the signs say near my apartment in Los Angeles! I don’t know how my pictures turned out from here either but let’s hope they are better than my dad’s which he said we unprintable.

The quaint little town of Morro Bay has a huge rock in its harbor. It was a very foggy day when we were headed there but nothing could keep the sight of this rock from our eyes. The word “rock” scarcely does the monolith justice, however – “mountain” would be more accurate. It’s unlike anything I have ever seen and I would have taken a picture except for the fog. We could see the Morro Bay Rock from the window of our hotel room along with the shops and restaurants along the shoreline. The next morning, however, the fog was so thick in the city that we could hardly see the buildings across the street. Curiosity got the better of us and we drove out to the Rock before leaving but we had to be right next to it to be able to see any part of it. If we had known about it beforehand my dad and I would have stayed in San Simeon that night instead of Morro Bay because it is very beautiful and the closest city to Hearst Castle. One of the famous residences of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst is located only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean on a hilltop that overlooks the area. When we first drove past the first time and caught a glimpse of it I thought it wholly embodied the spirit of California with its tall palm trees and Spanish tile roofs. Despite the size I expected we could just take a look around the next day (May 23) but instead I couldn’t believe what a tourist attraction the house had been turned in to. The word “house” scarcely does the place justice – “mansion” would be more accurate. There are four different tours in the facility so we took the one recommended for first time visitors. Except for the fact that it is much hotter on top of the hill that near the coast I wouldn’t mind living there myself.

Those were the most interesting things we saw in California. I didn’t think it would take me that long to describe them all but they were all incredible and deserved every word. It’s too bad I won’t be seeing nearly so many beautiful things on the way back to Florida in December but I have six months to spend in the state I have spent five paragraphs describing so let’s hope that’s enough.

Pictures and Picturesque (trip) – 05.27.01

Sunday, May 27th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“It’s just not death with dignity if there’s an Estevez in the room.”
MST:3K – “Soultaker,” aired 04.21.01

I picked up the pictures from the three rolls of film I finished while on the trip to California and they turned out great. Funny enough the first pictures on one roll are from the Alpha Chi Omega holiday party last December and the Engineering Fair in February. There is one really good shot of Melissa, Catherine, Tonya, and me in front of the Christmas tree and a few of the AIAA wind tunnel that I would like to put on my webpage. I didn’t drag my scanner across the country like I did last summer so I don’t have the ability to scan them at the moment. My plan is to buy a better scanner as soon as I have enough financial resources so sometime this summer the pictures will be ready for posting.

My dad is flying back to Tallahassee tomorrow and I am sending most of the pictures home with him so my mom can see them. I did keep some of the best shots so that I will have them when I buy a scanner. Keeping the whole of the two-week trip in mind I tried to select photos that best represent the variety of places we went and things we saw. Two from Rocky Mountain National Park (one of me standing by the unmelted snow that was all over the higher elevations), two taken at different points on a beautiful back road we took on the way to Moab, Utah not knowing how incredibly the view scenery would be, and two from Lake Tahoe showing that every view there is a masterpiece. I got some outstanding pictures even using my little 35 mm camera with a minimal zoom lens. I am glad I have a pretty good pictorial record of my third trip across the country and maybe soon I will be able to share a little of that account here.

One of these days I will be in the right mood to write about the three graduate programs my dad and I visited on our trip (Georgia Tech, University of Colorado, and Stanford) but not today. As I was looking at my pictures and sorting through the hotel receipts from our expedition I thought more about the setting of the trip rather than the destinations. Before we left Tallahassee we planned to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and Arches National Park but these aren’t the only places we saw beautiful scenery. Driving through Denver wasn’t the most pleasant activity since we happened to be attempting it during the evening rush hour but it is certainly a magnificent place to look at (and we got the opportunity to do so thanks to a few traffic jams). The city is situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains, which are quite tall and still have a good deal of snow on the peaks in May, which, from a distance, makes it seem as if it came out of the pages of a fairy tale. Being from Florida where there are very few changes in elevation at all, and coming from the flat plains of Kansas that day, I was in awe of the snowy summits in front of us. Boulder had the same setting as Denver and I could see the mountains by just looking out our hotel window. That was just the first gorgeous view we encountered.

The distance between Boulder and Glenwood Springs in Colorado isn’t very far if you follow I-80 the entire way but we took a roundabout route instead. Rocky Mountain National Park is north of I-80 and our strategy was to drive through the entire park on the way to Glenwood Springs. We didn’t know that part of the road was still covered by snow. Before we reached the point where we had to turn around we reached an elevation of about eleven thousand feet and the snow line was quite a bit below the road. (There were some really cute guys driving between vista points but that’s not really relevant to the topic at hand.) I-80 traverses Colorado through canyons in the mountains, mostly made by the Colorado River that parallels the interstate, and little towns are situated in areas that are large enough to hold them. One such place is Blackhawk which on the map appears no different than any other small city, but in person stands out as being completely different. There are many old gold and silver mines to be seen in the cliffs along the highway and some of the buildings have been made into museums or restaurants for tourist appreciation. In Blackhawk this is certainly the case but the extent is another story. There are so many enormous casinos and hotels with bright lights and fancy facades that it is obviously a tourist attraction. After passing so many nondescript towns along I-80 in the darkness of evening the view of Blackhawk was akin to an oasis in the middle of the desert. If we had known about this place beforehand we would have stayed there that night. Glenwood Springs was a nice spot also but nothing like Blackhawk.

Sometimes straying from the beaten path, or major interstate, can prove very exciting. Instead of taking the most prominent highways to get to Moab, Utah we turned off on a narrow two-lane road that followed the Colorado River. What an incredible drive. Around every bend in the road was another incredible view just waiting to be discovered and photographed. It’s not too often you get to see snowcapped mountains in the same picture as red desert cliffs but I have several shots taken in this area that have both. The setting of Moab, Utah is pretty spectacular too but getting there was definitely more interesting and I am glad we decided to take that little side road.

I think we saw more beautiful scenery on this trip across the country than during either of the two previous journeys between California and Florida. I certainly took more pictures this time and most of them turned out well. I’ll be able to remember all of the places we visited and things we saw with these photos because they won’t fade as quickly as my memories will. (And these written descriptions will last even longer.)

All in the Family (trip) – 05.26.01

Saturday, May 26th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“I suppose there are some girls who let vampires nibble their necks on the first date.”
Audrey Hepburn, “Paris When it Sizzles”

The principal purpose of driving to Seal Beach rather than flying and having my car shipped was to visit graduate schools on the way. Two other goals emerged as our plans were solidifying, however – sightseeing and visiting family. We took the opportunity to see my Great-Aunt Hattie and Great-Uncle Bill (my maternal grandmother’s siblings), Aunt Martha (my mom’s sister), Janie and Hank (Martha’s children), and Hank’s wife and three sons while we were in Arkansas. What a gathering! I heard stories of my cousins and second cousins that I hadn’t seen in a very long time; some that are tame enough and others that were so funny that I wish I could share them with everyone here. I won’t mention the names of the parties involved but they both had to do with one of my aunts (there are so many that it’s safe for me to be that specific). One chronicled my grandmother’s desperate attempt to stop a wedding just before it took place by offering to hide the groom. The other told of my grandmother slapping my aunt when she had gone too far. My grandmother died eight years ago so I didn’t have very much time to get to know her but the idea of her doing these things, and what I remember of her, made me laugh.

Speaking of Arkansas, now when people tell me that I have a southern accent I’ll be able to say for certain that they are wrong. My dad and I were at Burger King in Conway, Arkansas and we heard several one-syllable words being stretched farther then they were initially intended to go. I consider north Florida to be part of the South but that doesn’t mean I have an accent even approaching the severity of the ones in Alabama and Arkansas. Now when people laugh at my use of the word “ya’ll” I can tell them I have heard much worse.

The day after we were in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, where all of the family mentioned above lives, my dad and I ended up in Wichita, Kansas. This is the town where my parents grew up and a lot of my dad’s family still lives there. So around our table at dinner that night sat my Great-Aunt Connie, Becky and Kent (Connie’s children) and their spouses and children. With my dad and me the total came to eleven people. I was sitting next to my cousin Kent’s wife and their two-year-old daughter so there was never a dull moment during the meal. Of course my cousin Becky had to tell the story of how I drew on the walls of my bedroom when I was three years old. I was completely embarrassed because not only did that happen nineteen years ago. but some people get the idea that I knew what I was doing that the time! I have no memory of that event and yet I am still held accountable for it. I’m going to have to make sure my mom doesn’t tell that story anymore. So visiting family between graduate school visits was interesting (even if it did force us to skip going to Bryce Canyon).

I am settling into my new apartment now and preparing for seven months here. I have already been to Ralph’s for groceries, Jamba Juice for incredible smoothies, United Artists theaters to see “A Knight’s Tale,” and Target for everything else. These are some of my favorite places in the LA area and I have visited them in only the past two days. My goal tomorrow is to pick up pictures at the drug store and spend some money on CDs and movies at Tower records. I am trying to record the details of my trip across the country in small cohesive pieces so that it doesn’t get too confusing or overwhelming, so come see if I have another topic covered by tomorrow.

Trip Agenda (trip) – 05.25.01

Friday, May 25th, 2001

May 10 – Atlanta, Georgia
May 11 – Hamilton, Alabama
May 12 – Conway, Arkansas
May 13 – Ft. Smith, Arkansas
May 14 – Wichita, Kansas
May 15 – Boulder, Colorado
May 16 – Glenwood Springs, Colorado
May 17 – Moab, Utah
May 18 – Wells, Nevada
May 19 – Truckee, California
May 20 – Palo Alto, California
May 21 – Monterey, California
May 22 – Morro Bay, California
May 23 – Santa Barbara, California
May 24 – Seal Beach, California

So here’s the route my dad and I followed between Florida and California. Fifteen days, fifteen different cities. That’s enough to make me appreciate reaching our destination. The person who said “getting there is half the fun” didn’t have to spend two weeks in their car with all of their most important possessions.

How it All Ended – 05.23.01

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2001

Diary entries dated from May 20 to May 23 were written while I was somewhere between Tallahassee, FL and Seal Beach, CA and did not have access to the web. They will not have a “quote of the day” because my notebook where I write all of them down was buried in my car under many boxes of my belongings during that time. Other entries will be written about my trip and posted sometime soon.

Starting Point – Morro Bay, CA
Ending Point – Santa Barbara, CA

There are two things that happened at the very end of the spring semester that I should have written about by now but better late than never. It’s not like these are experiences that you can easily forget, thought. Sometimes memories of events fade like a dream but others stick with you and stay vivid as if they were made yesterday. I guess it’s a good thing that the two topics I want to write about are those kinds of memories because I haven’t has much time to keep my diary updated in the last two weeks. So here’s my attempt at a little continuity and a lot of explaining.

Donald and Regina threw a big party on the Thursday before graduation (May 3). Since I am not much for parties I considered skipping it and leaving for Tallahassee that day instead but I decided to make an appearance and say goodbye to my friends that I might not ever see again. So I pulled out the only outfit that seemed appropriate for a party and hadn’t already been packed, a pair of jeans and a tank top, and headed over to Donald’s apartment. Not only was I one of the first guests to arrive, which looks geeky to the people who arrive later even though it doesn’t bother me, but I also only knew one other person there at the time. So while everyone else poured themselves drinks and I refused to take one myself Jason and I watched people we didn’t know arrive, mingle, and turn up the volume on the computer-controlled stereo system. I was so out of my element. Nothing is more foreign to me than small talk at a party where liquor, loud music, and skimpy clothing are involved. I don’t drink which is almost a sin according to others my age, considering how many times I was offered a drink by each of the male figures I knew at the party. One of them even said to me, “I can fix you something that won’t even taste like alcohol!” I wanted to ask him how old he thought I was because I didn’t think you’d say that kind of thing to a college senior who has had enough time to draw her own conclusions about drinking. I just don’t understand why the pressure to drink is so high among students.

Anyway, the purpose of going to the party was to say goodbye to my aerospace engineering friends that were graduating and moving away to get Master’s degrees or start jobs. It was surreal to even think about that at the time, and even now that the people I spent years struggling through the curriculum with are gone I can’t believe it. The people I wanted to see for the last time were not of the same mind as I was. They wanted to celebrate their impending graduation while I was being sentimental. Also having my controls project, due the next day, hanging over my head helped keep me feet on the ground while my friends drifted among the clouds. In the end I didn’t get much more than a quick farewell from anyone that I wouldn’t be seeing again but it was better than nothing. A few of my friends will still be there when I get back – Andy, Todd, and Donald are going to be graduate students while Jason and Kristin won’t have graduated yet – and that’s comforting. Spending an entire semester at UF without anyone I could talk to would be practically impossible for me so at least I don’t have that to look forward to. For now I don’t realty want to think about it at all.

I wish I could say the second thing I want to write about is more positive than the first but at least it ends well. I spent the Friday I left Gainesville frantically putting the finishing touches on my thirty-page controls project and packing everything in my room into either my storage unit or my car. That was a difficult task without what happened as I was walking through the dining room of my sorority house at lunchtime. Two girls were describing Gator Stomping, a pre-graduation bash in downtown Gainesville involving ten bars and lots of drunken people, in great detail to our former president. For future reference l I would like to mention that these girls have never been counted among my friends and there have been small conflicts between them and me during the years I have known them. One of them ran against me for the position of warden (and lost since I performed those duties this past semester). So these two were complaining that every person who hadn’t partied in the four years they had been in college decided to go Gator Stomping the night before and that got in their way. So as the description of these geeks at Gator Stomping was being announced I was walking out of the room and I heard a comment thrown in my direction. “Like that.” I turned around and saw one of the girls pointing at me. The sister they had been talking to got angry and walked away in disgust as I simply stood staring at them, not knowing what to say. I was completely shocked. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that kind of blatant insult to come out of anyone’s mouth and now that it had I couldn’t think what to do about it. I have a feeling the same thought went through the head of the girl who said it because she only stared back at me without another word. She knew she had gone too far. In the end I walked away barely comprehending what had happened. Even before I got back to my room I ran into the current sorority president and told her the event that had just transpired. Her comment was extremely funny and I only wish it was appropriate to share here. I got similar reactions from other sisters! At the time I had considered hitting the girl who had attacked me but both she and her friend are bigger than me and my subconscious realized that, even if the adrenaline coursing through my veins made me think otherwise. Of course I came up with the best comeback lines much later than they would have been useful. I suppose not saying anything was better than any other possible retort. Her opinions mean nothing to me and acting contrary to that fact would have only made things worse. But when you are assaulted by something so transparently cruel you want to actively return it rather than letting it fall harmlessly to the ground. I did the right thing by keeping my mouth shut and me hands at my side because it all ends in the best way possible.

Both of the girls, plus a couple of their other friends, resigned from the sorority that afternoon. They are no longer my sisters and I made sure not to mention them as such here. So in the end I got the last laugh. It doesn’t matter what they think – I’m wanted and they’re not.

Perchance to Dream – 05.21.01

Monday, May 21st, 2001

Diary entries dated from May 20 to May 23 were written while I was somewhere between Tallahassee, FL and Seal Beach, CA and did not have access to the web. They will not have a “quote of the day” because my notebook where I write all of them down was buried in my car under many boxes of my belongings during that time. Other entries will be written about my trip and posted sometime soon.

I don’t know what has been causing them but between Tallahassee and Los Angeles I have had the most extraordinary dreams. They have been more vivid and outlandish than I can ever remember dreams being before. Maybe it’s being in strange environments without the usual familiarities of my own bed, my own pillow, and the loud air conditioner in Alpha Chi Omega room 6B that are making my mind generate incredible images during the night. I understand that the brain is creating dreams at all times when we are sleeping but somehow I have been able to remember them much better more often in these past several days when I wake up. The colors are brighter, and voices are stronger, and the memories are so lucid that I have a hard time believing that they didn’t really happen. Of the several dreams I have had since the beginning of my trip across the country I finally wrote one down this morning so that the details wouldn’t fade after I got out of bed and started the day. Here is what I wrote:

“I was part of some musical group with three other guys. I don’t know whether I was male or female. One of the guys had the attitude that he was the coolest thing under the Sun. We were at some large gathering and his actions irritated a girl we seemed to know. She was determined to prove to the ‘cool’ guy that the world is much more amazing than we could ever be. All of a sudden she was whisking us away on a helicopter ride around the world. We were able to see what was passing below our feet (glass bottom?) and we weren’t flying very high above the ground. It was incredibly beautiful. The trip took less than ten minutes, or seemed to, but we had flown over so many different places that it couldn’t have been that way. At one point we crossed the line of sunlight that separates night and day. Suddenly we were in the warm-colored dawn over what looked like a rural Chinese village. I was awestruck. I think maybe the girl was singing during the flight but I can’t remember more than a soft melody. As we were gazing at the landscape the girl said to us, ‘Don’t you get it? We’re the ugly ones!’ When we had returned to the place we started my perspective had changed. No longer was I the center of the universe but I was humbled by the power of the beauty that is present on our planet. What an incredible feeling.”

Please remember that I wrote the above paragraph as soon as I could drag myself upright this morning so my vocabulary wasn’t as available as when I usually write my diary entries. The sentences are short and not as descriptive as I would have liked but there’s nothing I can do about it now.

One other dream I had last week was about going to the moon. Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to be an astronaut but I never really considered the side of that enterprise that has nothing to do with the thrill of going into space. In the dream I was chosen from a group of candidates that were all students about my age. The story began after I had been selected as the one to go to the moon so I don’t know what made me more eligible than any of the others. You would think it would be my dream come true to have the chance to be an astronaut but the strongest emotion I was feeling at the time was fear. Shear terror mixed with extraordinary excitement and giddiness made me both happy to be the one to go and scared out of my wits at the thought. Up until that point going into space was more of a fantasy that other people experience but when the opportunity was staring me in the face I wondered whether I could go through with it. The other student astronaut candidates and I were wandering around the vehicle the day before the launched was scheduled. I don’t know if we were going up in the Shuttle or a Saturn V rocket, I couldn’t see what the vehicle was through all of the protective scaffolding. I wondered how in the world we were going to land the Orbiter on the moon or where in the world a usable Saturn V had been salvaged! As we were walking around the assembly building I was so terrified of the impending launch I tried to subtly persuade a girl to climb up on the vehicle and damage it so that the launch would have to be postponed or cancelled. That’s how unbelievably scared I was. No matter how much I wanted to be an astronaut, at that moment my fear overpowered that desire. I guess that happens to all of us sometimes. When you eyes are focused on a seemingly unattainable goal you don’t know how to handle actually reaching it. It’s strange how the mind works when left up to its own devices and it doesn’t have to abide by the daily boundaries we set upon our lives. I discovered the limitations of my ambitions without having to live them out in reality and suffer the consequences. That dream was so real that when I woke up my heart was racing and I felt the stress of the situation my brain had fabricated. This first thing I said to myself was, “Thank goodness I don’t have to go!” That response surprises me too. That was how real it had all seemed.

Farthest West (trip) – 05.21.01

Monday, May 21st, 2001

Diary entries dated from May 20 to May 23 were written while I was somewhere between Tallahassee, FL and Seal Beach, CA and did not have access to the web. They will not have a “quote of the day” because my notebook where I write all of them down was buried in my car under many boxes of my belongings during that time. Other entries will be written about my trip and posted sometime soon.

Starting Point – Palo Alto, CA
Ending Point – Monterey, CA

I saw the Pacific Ocean this afternoon for the first time since last August and the idea that I won’t be far from its shore for the next seven months is a strange thought. This is the farthest west we will get on this trip and that means the only way to go now is south towards Los Angeles.

The weather at Lake Tahoe and Truckee in California was beautiful – clear and cool. We left there yesterday around noon and drove across the state towards the Pacific coast. As our altitude decreased our ears felt the force of higher pressures and ached in protest and the temperature rose steadily. Before we got to Palo Alto, the site of Stanford University, we went through the valley where the high for the way was predicted to be about one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. That was quite different from the sixty and seventy degree temperatures we had been used to in Colorado, Utah, and the mountains of Nevada. The San Francisco Bay area is much cooler than most of its surroundings but Palo Alto offered little relief from the summer weather that is probably uncommon for this time of year. So as we drove away this afternoon the air conditioner was battling with the engine to provide enough cooling and power at the same time. As soon as I got out of the car in Monterey I wanted a jacket. I had forgotten that the high temperature was only supposed to be about sixty-five degrees today! What a huge change from the hot sun of inland California.

On our way out of Palo Alto this afternoon my dad and I decided to stop into a shopping mall for lunch. Little did we know what kind of mall we were patronizing. The first store we were faced with was Bloomingdale’s, which I thought was kind of interesting since I have never had the chance to shop at one, even in New York. Other places that we passed in search of a suitable restaurant were Macy’s, Nieman-Marcus, and Tiffany’s. Does this sound like your neighborhood shopping center? It’s nothing like Tallahassee or Gainesville, that’s for sure! We were elbowing with the upper crust this afternoon as they bought clothes and we bought a pizza for lunch. Actually, we missed the McDonald’s that was somehow a part of this fancy establishment and that probably cost as about ten dollars on our meal. At least I got to see how the other half shops – even if only for an hour.

It has been five years since I was last in Monterey and now I remember why I loved it so much in the first place. After getting us a hotel reservation at the wrong Quality Inn and getting us lost twice trying to get to Cannery Row my dad and I found ourselves two blocks from the water and all of the sights of the beautiful town. We took a walk down to the old canning district and had Ghirardelli ice cream sundaes for dinner after doing a little shopping. I bought a gorgeous silver necklace at a store that at first looked like a pawn shop but turned out to be just offbeat enough to have unusually pretty things that I adore. I don’t have many keepsakes from this trip yet so I validated my purchase by its potential sentimental value rather than its cost, which would have kept me from buying it otherwise. Tomorrow we will go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium as soon as it opens in the morning and continue our shopping afterwards. This is such a splendid town that I want to capture as many mental images as well as film pictures as I can for the time I spend away from it. I can’t say that about most of the other places we have visited on this cross-country journey.

Nothing’s Impossible – 05.20.01

Sunday, May 20th, 2001

Diary entries dated from May 20 to May 23 were written while I was somewhere between Tallahassee, FL and Seal Beach, CA and did not have access to the web. They will not have a “quote of the day” because my notebook where I write all of them down was buried in my car under many boxes of my belongings during that time. Other entries will be written about my trip and posted sometime soon.

Starting Point – Truckee, CA
Ending Point – Palo Alto, CA

After eight seasons of “The X-Files” the characters are like old friends. Tonight on this season’s finale what many faithful viewers have long suspected has finally come to pass – we found out that Mulder and Scully are more than just friends. Viewers can find out just about anything concrete they want to know about these two if they watch enough episodes, but the suggestion that there is something more between them is not so easy to identify. My sorority sister Emmy and I used to curl up in the upstairs TV room two years ago (before it was the executive board’s office) with our blankets and homework on weekdays to watch the two episodes that FX showed every night and on Sundays to see the new episodes. Since we were both proponents of the relationship between Mulder and Scully it was a lot of fun to speculate when what happened tonight on the show would actually take place. I was in Tallahassee last year for the season finale of X-Files but I promptly called Emmy at its conclusion because we had just discovered that Scully was pregnant. I wish I was still as close to her as I was then because at the end of tonight’s show I am certain I was right about one thing – the baby that was born is both Scully’s and Mulder’s. Sound impossible? The whole show is about the impossible so I have just gotten used to it over the years and stopped discounting it as an option! If you watch the show you will understand what I mean by that. Somehow a woman with no ability to conceive a child becomes pregnant last season after only the slightest hint that she spent a night with her FBI partner. However after being engrossed by the X-Files for many years the end of the most recent season, maybe the last for Mulder, pleases me. People are always saying that television is a vast wasteland, but when done correctly parts of it can touch you in ways that seem impossible, even to yourself sometimes. If you are one touched by the X-Files you will realize that not even that is impossible.