Your Ideas of American High Schools Are Probably Dead On

I know Europeans get most of their ideas about American culture from our movies. (and MTV and our fabulous reality tv shows). Great. Thanks for representing, freaks of our nation.

I had to laugh when I read my sister's most recent post on her high school happenings. I mean...real American high schools are pretty dang close to what you see on the big screen. I know our obsession with football is seen as a little weird, but definitely a large part of American high schools...especially in Texas. And our activities that surround it can seem downright silly to an outsider. (or possibly to insiders as well...I mean, they are a bit ridic. But, it's a big part of the high school I know and remember...and it looks like things haven't changed too much.)

These are some of the movies that depict American high school culture that come to mind:

Varsity Blues


Gymnasium pep rally in movie
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In real life at Memorial High School (where I attended high school and so does my Senior sister)?

Check.
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We dressed up every Friday during football season in the fall. A different theme every Friday: camouflage, hippy, nerd, red and white, etc. After lunch a pep rally was held in the gymnasium to fire everyone up for that night's game. I have to say, it made Fridays so much more fun.

Big bronco trucks raised on ridiculously high massive wheels with a boatload of douchebags inside? (this movie takes place in a small Texas town)
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Don't have a pic (get me one, Molly), but trust me, mega check. The big truck phenomenon is prob. just unique to Texas.

Dazed and Confused:


The scene where the senior girls harass the freshman and have shaving cream parties in the school parking lot and wear senior shirts.
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Check.
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{thank you, Molly, for being modest and hiding yourself behind people.}

Bring It On


Spirited up cheerleaders.
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Check.
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Cheerleading camp in the summer.
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Check.


Sue Sylvester. (Glee)


A huge and unfortunate no. Sue cracks me up...I wish she was trolling the halls of our high school.

Was I a cheerleader? (my friends are laughing.) Hell nein.

I do have several high school pics easily accessible thanks to a great printed book of memories my sister put together for a wedding gift.

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freshman year at a Western party. We ALL shopped at The Gap. I love this because jean vests, jackets and dresses are back in style now. This was 1994. 15 year trend turnaround.

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Camo day with Kristen.

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Long live high school. See you later. College was SO much better.
(Look, no crows feet. Going to Oil of Olaz it up tonight.)

*thanks to Molly for providing my Euro readers with a taste of American teenage life.

Ein Geburtstag

I tricked you with a German title, so you would come over and look at this silly post. Doesn't work on you Deutsch sprechers.

Yes, today is Elsie's 1st birthday. We know because it says so in her Slovakian passport.
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Don't worry...we promptly got her an EU passport once we smuggled her in. She be legal.
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Now, here comes the crazed part...a photo collage of doggie.

I will give us (I say 'us' because Art loves this dog just as much as me if not more) a bit of a pass on our over-the-top dog love. We live in a foreign country away from friends and family. This foreign country happens to be ├╝ber dog-friendly. I am at home by myself a lot during the day and I need a bestie sidekick. Having a pure-bred dog equates to owning a Mercedes here. (ok, i sorta made that up...cabs are Mercedes sometimes so it ain't really no thing.)

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Really, she's a fabulous dog. First of all, look at her. She ranks in the all time best lookin' category. I've gotten more than one comment that she is one fine looking English cocker spaniel. (Not quite as stocky or as long of a face as most. American cockers are a whole nother breed...smooshier faces.) You could say she's a bit needy and overly affectionate (as are all cockers), but it works for us.

Even with her barking non-stop when we left her home fiasco that lasted a couple of months and caused serious turmoil in my life, she has been a blessing. We be lovin' her. Dogs make life better. End of story.
(I realize not everyone's a 'dog person'..that's ok. I just think you should have your pulse checked soon and often.)

"We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.
Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment."
~George Elio
t

(p.s. Yes, we plan on having children. We are not a dog-doters-because-we're-never-having-kids couple. Beware for when that happens. Collages will abound in your life.)


She got to play a fun game of Laser Tag for her big day.
{video here...if you're reading in a rss feed reader, videos don't show up for some reason.}

Sunday Soliloquy

Just have to say, Goopy GOOP is lucky this can be her bedtime lullaby...live at her from the man. (if they're still really together?)



I LOVE this song...one of my faves of all time. I like a lot of their songs..like a lot of people do.

You know it's called "The Scientist". My husby's a scientist. A mad one at that. He's been finishing up code at night for the past two weeks for a project he's been working on for over a year. Whoa mother. A little blog design CSS code ain't got nothing on that stuff. I make sidebar titles prettier while my husband sits in the other room and predicts arterial growth and remodeling in the heart via a 4,000-line from scratch Fortran code. I feel oh so vain. But, everyone plays their part... whether it's with graphics or the heart. Ha...need to go to bed.

I'll be around this week. I got an email from my mom tonight:
"P.s. You need a new blog post. We are all waiting..."

Oh, well...I'll get right on it. By 'we' she means 'she'.

See you tomorrow!

Moseyin' Around with Monika

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Last week I had three fun-filled days with Monika. We didn't forget to take pictures.

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Monika is originally from Poland and was visiting her fam there this summer and decided to drop by Graz before going back home to the States. She and Tom moved back to Michigan from Graz exactly a year ago. She went to America about 10 years ago as an au pair and eventually met Tom, her husband, and the rest is history. I asked her to say something in Polish and she quoted a classic Polish tongue-twister....whoa...quite consonanty.

Photobucket Standing at 5 feet, 4.5 inches I'm not so tall, but I've never felt this short. {6' 2" if you're wondering.}
{She doesn't have the 'hem-every-pair-of-pants-you-buy' problem like me. Quite the opposite.}

Girls{Last August}
Mari and Justine were both out of the country, so it was just us. Remember, Monika was once a Desperate Housewife too.


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Hikin' in Mariatrost. Thinking of you, Caroline!

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The corn is taller than Monika! Yes!


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Said she missed Austria's 'green perfection'.

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Viva la Austria!


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She had never been to BarSchlo├čberg. We had to have our Aperols just like the days of yore.

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Don't be getting too cute now...

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It was fun, Monika! Who shall listen to my photo critiques now? :)

Fashion Friday

This is my tongue-in-cheek take on the ever popular "What I Wore" posts so rampant in the blogosphere.

The only two I read are:
What I Wore's Jessica and her cute and sometimes vintage garb.

Cupcakes & Cashmere's Emily and her always sassy getups.

And, yes, that's plenty to make me feel like a crustball on a daily basis.

In Graz, comfort is key, dollars are short and good fashion is scarce.
You usually see me in photos where I've gotten sorta dressed...visitors are here, we're going to dinner or what not.

THIS is everyday, my friends...please, don't let this make you feel inadequate:
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I brought the camera along today when Elsie and I went on our daily walk to meet Art on his way home for lunch. I asked him to take a couple shots of my totally regular and not staged attire.

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Shirt: H&M (season '09) (5 euros on sale)

Wrinkled Pants: H&M, yes it's pretty much my one-stop shop (season '10) still doing the roll-up because I have yet to get them hemmed (they are skinny chinos ladies...totes...they almost cut off my circulation on my inherited, large and hated calves)

Shoes: Privos brought over on the Mayflower (that would be my sister Erin's trip over in May) that have been worn almost every day since. They are nasty.


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Please don't fail to notice that my shirt has thin coral-colored stripes running horizontally. This, unintentionally, matches with my coral workout headband. So put together.

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Back to the chic shoes. Gone are the days of cute shoes...unless I'm going out and not walking far and I usually wear some cute ballerina flats that offer no support other than 1mm cardboard soles. Oh, how I miss wedges and heels that give me a 2 - 3-inch boost! Privos are where it's at. Comfy, not totally ugly, and these are even perforated for those hot, summey days.

These were my last summer Privos that I wore to the bone. Lindsey totes copied. (We were in Prague here!)
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So, there you have it. Fashion at its finest. Please don't everyone go out at once and try to copy my look. H&M can't handle a massive rush of LIG readers.

I'm now off to the gym. There's nothing like a snapshot of your buns to get them moving.


Happy weekend!

An Introverted Expat

I am meeting a girl (that I've never met) for coffee today that found me through the blog. I stopped to think about it...she will be the fifth person I've met like this because of the blog. All four others I still keep in touch with and meet up with (well, Rachel moved away :( ). It's a bit like a blind date, but not nearly as nerve-wracking, of course.

It got me thinking...you don't really have to be an extrovert to survive a move abroad...or any big move. I'm a pretty big introvert, in fact.

I graduated a semester early from college (because of high school dual credit courses and summer classes) right as the dot.com crash happened. I had a Management Information Systems business degree. Great. Nice job opps. I ended up working for a U.S. Congressional campaign in my college town. It was nice because I got to sort of stay with my friends in college, but I wasn't in college anymore. I was working 10 - 12 hour days. What? The real world is terri!

My friends, still living in college la-la land, were calling me and asking "Did you eat my cereal?". "Excuse me...first of all, no I didn't eat your honey bunches o' oats, and second of all, I don't have time for these shenanigans...I'm trying to get a man elected to help run the free world! click."


A campaign consultant came for a week to help the candidate. She was well trained in psychology and personality science and that sorta stuff. (Really similar to what the new lady on Mad Men does.)
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Mad Men's Dr. Miller, surely she'll be hooking up with Don at some point.

She knew me for about 10 minutes and said, "You're definitely an introvert, probably a Guardian". "What? I'm nobody's guardian, lady, and I'd like to think I'm good with people". I was a bit offended.


Well, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test and what do you know? Introvert. And a Guardian (one of the four main types of personalities). I didn't like this result. I wanted to be an extrovert. I thought being an introvert meant being shy and sorta nerdy. Well, not really.

She said it basically boils down to this: Do you find yourself energized by social interaction or do you get your energy by being alone?

I definitely like to be with people and go out, but I often find myself in need of down time to recharge. I don't get increasingly revved up as the party goes on like some social butterflies.

Extroverts tend to "fade" when alone and can easily become bored without other people around.
Nope. Never been like that.
(source)

Introverts, on the other hand, after being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to "recharge." Definitely me.
Contrary to what most people think, being an introvert does not mean a person is shy or bad with people. Oh, good.
(source)

So, I think being an introvert can actually help when you're an expat. You are mostly alone when you first move to another country and an extrovert might have a really hard time with this. I, on the other hand, can do it for quite a long time and be fine. I definitely need to be with others and socialize in spurts, but not all the time. In fact, too much time with others and not any time for myself leads to malfunction.

When I was little, I used to sit in a 3' x 3' toy closet we had upstairs and 'teach' my imaginary class for hours on the chalkboard. I loved it.

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I also, not surprisingly, spent lots of alone time in boxes with my kittens.

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Fast forward to now. (whether I want it or not, love is always near.)

I guess that's why I can sit alone and write blog posts about random topics and entertain myself...not in the closet though, they don't have those here or I might try it for old times sake.

Anyways, my point is, you do not have to be super outgoing to move to a new country. You just have to start a blog.

Really, you just have to make an effort, join a club (my English one has been great) and have a good attitude.

(Disclaimer: I don't only make friends from cyberspace...I promise. I have more friends I've met the 'regular' way than the 'bloggy' way...I think.)

A Nieces & Nephew Intermission

Every now and then my mom sends me pictures of the nieces and nephew outings, and although I quite enjoy it, it does pull at the ole heart strings a bit. I miss not only their cute faces, but the hilarious darndest things they say and their unique personalities.

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(do you think these girls know how to pose for a pic? Possibly took tips from Aunt Molly.)

Just a regular play day at the mall when Erin and Sam were in town from Austin. In Houston, the mall is your refuge from the blazing heat outside.


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Last weekend, the girls went to Dallas with Mimi, Pops and their mama to visit my Mom's side of the family. They hit up Dallas' American Girl doll store, bistro and doll salon. Yes, you read that right.

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These dolls get highlights more often than I do.
"And, what do you do for a living, Barbara?" "Oh, I'm a doll hairdresser."

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Life is good.

{hair flowers sold separately}