Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Onward & Upward

I’ve worked at The Seattle Times for about a year and a half. And I have to say that I really enjoy going in to work each day – I like my job. It’s not the career I envisioned for myself when I was busting my ass in college trying to become a journalist, but an opportunity I happened to fall into and ended up really liking. Sadly, I have to report that I am quitting my job as a real estate sales associate. Let me back up.

I was promoted into my current position about a year ago, and quickly gained seniority when all of the other associates quit. I thought this was fantastic, considering things like the vacation calendar and lunch schedules are based on seniority. As new people began to enter the department, I helped to train them and basically stepped quickly into a lead role – only natural since I had far more experience than the others combined. This said, I was quite shocked when my boss brought in an employee from another department, and without any interviewing, posting or announcing that the position would be available, made this person the department “Lead.”

I found this to be quite interesting, considering my senior status and the fact that this new person knew nothing about one of our main computer systems. Still, she would be receiving more money, more responsibility and supposedly more respect than me. Interesting, but I kept my mouth shut at the time.

This “lead associate” stayed in the department for about three months before announcing she would be moving on. I immediately thought of the lead position, and knew that I was the person for the job. With almost a year's seniority over any other associate in the department, I have handled my desk flawlessly while still making time to train new employees – which often included our “lead.” I figured the lead position would be given to me without a doubt. I was wrong.

My boss decided to be fair she would have to offer the position to me and another associate in the department. However, this person came to me and said, “Sarah, the job’s yours. You have seniority and you know far more about everything than I do; I’m still learning.” True. But a few days later when I came in for my interview, this person informed me that he too would be interviewing for the position. I found out later that our boss had asked him to.

Knowing this, it was no surprise or secret who her favorite was. I don’t even know why she bothered to interview us. Completely ignoring my obvious seniority and enhanced knowledge of the job, she promoted the other associate – a person I myself helped train for the job. Needless to say, I was furious and mortified by this decision, which was clearly based on nothing more than favoritism. Lucky for me, my sales rep felt the same way.

As a real estate associate on the largest, highest revenue-generating desk at the company, I have made some unique contacts within the community. All it took was one phone call from my sales rep to the most important of these clients, and I had myself an interview. Three days later I had the job, and got the satisfying opportunity of putting in my notice at the Times. I had a better paying job and an amazing opportunity to begin a career with one of the largest and most important clients at the company. I’ve been hired as a marketing coordinator for a real estate marketing company in downtown Seattle. I start there in about a week.

Still, I feel sadness and regret about having to take such measures. I really liked what I was doing every day, and had formed close friendships with many of my co-workers. But at least now, as a client of the Seattle Times, I have the satisfaction of knowing that my boss will be forced to treat me with the respect that she should have originally given me as an employee.

Hasta la vista STC, it’s been a great ride! I’ll miss you.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Grandma Sally!

Saturday night I headed south to my hometown of Olympia. Not a prime choice of location for typical Saturday night activities, but this was a special occasion; my Grandma Sally’s 80th birthday celebration.

My grandma and granddad raised a huge Irish Catholic family of 15 children, 12 of who gathered at their church in Olympia on Saturday evening, along with about 25 of my cousins. Grandma Sally received a special blessing from the priest, and I think it meant a lot to her that so many of us were there in her church. Afterward we all gathered for dinner at a local restaurant, where we had reserved a banquet room.

The party was fabulous and everyone had a great time with lots of beer and pizza. Now I don’t know about you, but I think turning 80 years old is a pretty big accomplishment, which should be celebrated to the fullest extent. However, some family members were conspicuously absent from the party, and I think Grandma noticed. I was disappointed that not everyone else understood the significance of this special day, and did not make the effort to be there. But that’s just a little venting on my part; the actions of others are really none of my business.

I have to admit that I have been feeling more and more sentimental about family throughout the past few years. I see people getting older and lifestyles changing, and I want to make the most of the time that I have available with my family. I feel really good that I made the effort to spend a Saturday night with my grandma this weekend, even though I had to put my own life aside for a while. Luckily, all my friends understood.

I had a fantastic fun-filled evening with my absolutely huge extended family. My grandma’s face glowed with excitement and pride, and I’m so happy I was there to see it. I can only hope that someday I will accomplish as much as she has done in her lifetime. She has a million reasons to be proud of the 80 years she’s walked the earth, and I hope she knows how much she is loved and appreciated.

I love you Grandma Sally!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I experienced Fremont Oktoberfest for the first time this year, and it was absolutely fabulous. Since I was only able to attend the Friday night festivities, I decided to make the most of it.

Jeanna, Larisa, Haley and I met up with Kelly and promptly began to utilize our 20 beer tickets each, taking breaks between standing in line for beer to check out the band, Dig the Particulars. At first I was worried that 20 beer tickets (along with the 5 I found on the ground) would not be enough. Boy was I wrong. 15 tickets and a couple hours later, I was on the road to being completely smashed.

Wandering around outside in a crowd full of people drinking mini mugs of beer proved to be one of the most entertaining things I have done in a long time. The band that followed Dig the Particulars played a bunch of great old cover songs and soon we were dancing; if not well. As things began to wind down at Oktoberfest someone decided it would be a great idea to head to a bar in Ballard. Although I was feeling more than a bit tipsy I decided to tag along.

Now, I personally think that my friends and I make up a pretty fabulous group of girls. We are gorgeous, intelligent and fun – what more could you ask for, right? Well Friday night I was shocked to find that Jeanna’s good friend Matt was absolutely against joining our group in the trek to Ballard. Why? I give you the direct quote: “I’m not going to Ballard with the B-Squad!”

B-Squad?? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Apparently it means “less than A-Team material,” or so I’m told. I was completely offended. Matt’s stock completely plummeted, although I have to admit it had never been very high in the first place, so I wasn’t too disappointed. If I am part of the B-Squad, Matt definitely is president of the F-Squad: Failures or Fuckers, take your pick.

Anyway, Ballard proved to be only mildly entertaining. By this point Jeanna had informed me that the girls had spent a majority of their time at Oktoberfest making sure that I did not bump into my ex, who they had seen at the festival. Of course as soon as I heard he had been there it was the only thing I could think about, and not trusting myself to make the correct decision, I gave my cell phone to Larisa for safekeeping from drunk dialing/texting. I could feel my fingers itching, if you know what I mean.

At the bar the alcohol and emotional toll of the evening began to get the better of me. I’m embarrassed to admit that I fell asleep against a pinball machine, not exactly the classiest move I have ever made. Luckily, my friends were kind enough to take a photograph of the situation, which I will be kind enough to post here for your entertainment and enjoyment.

Happy Oktoberfest.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Well, it’s been a bad couple months for me, as far as the internet is concerned. In a previous blog I expressed my annoyance at being blocked from using MySpace at work. However, shortly after we were banned from the site, I discovered that I could still access my account by using a proxy server. It worked fine for a couple weeks before unexpectedly converting the whole thing to German. This was still doable for a while, until something else on the site mutated, causing my inbox and messages to be completely distorted. But hey, it was better than nothing – for a while, anyway. But this week at work when I tried to click on my precious proxy link, I was greeted with large black letters reading Forbidden Site. Great.

As many of my friends know, shortly after I moved into my apartment about a year and a half ago I discovered that my laptop could hook up to the internet by using other wireless connections in my building. I was obviously thrilled, since I really don’t have the money to pay for yet another bill. But sadly, I discovered last week that I have been blocked from every single network – the person allowing me to use their connection must have moved out or something. Not having the internet at home presents several problems. Obviously now I can no longer access MySpace at all, except when visiting a generous friend’s house, etc. And as many of you have probably noticed, I am only able to post text to my blog from my work computer. Photos have to wait and be uploaded from home hours after the original blog was posted, since my work PC times out every time I try to upload one.

Which brings me to my main point: I have now been locked out of at work! A friend convinced me that by switching over to Blogger Beta, I would be able to post pictures to my blog from my work computer. This sounded like a great idea, since my free home internet connection is gone. Sadly, I should have thought twice before clicking OK – an action that cannot be undone in this case. Blogger Beta assigns the user a new login name using a Gmail account, and for some reason this is unacceptable to my company network. Now when I try to log into Blogger, I get a lovely “this site is inappropriate for the workplace” warning. And unfortunately, there is NO WAY to switch back to Classic Blogger. Trust me, I’ve tried.

So here I am at work, writing this blog with absolutely no way to post it. What this means to all my loyal readers is that you might have to check my blog for days or even weeks at a time until suddenly five blogs pop up – This means I was somehow able to access a computer with an internet connection.

I am beyond annoyed. I even went so far as to contact our company help line and ask them to unblock the site, but I was denied. This is actually quite surprising since The Seattle Times Guild has a Blogger site of their own. At any rate, I’m sorry I can’t keep my blog so up-to-date anymore, and I wish there was something I could do besides complain. If there are any tech nerds out there who think they could help, I’d welcome any and all advice.

Until then, I hope to post again soon – but don’t count on it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Turn up the Heat

As I stare out my window at the dreary, gray, damp day I think it’s time to admit the obvious: Summer is over. The mere thought makes me want to cry. How depressing. Minor things have been popping up for weeks hinting that autumn would soon be upon us, but I didn’t quite believe it had arrived until last night. Here are some of the tell-tale signs that I have tried desperately to ignore:

  • When I went camping over Labor Day weekend, it was COLD at night in the tent. Only a month before I had barely been able to sleep inside a tent in Eastern Washington without suffocating from the heat.
  • Going out on the town at night now requires a jacket; the chill in the air can’t be ignored any more.
  • When I wake up in the morning for work, I am no longer greeted by sunlight streaming through my window. Instead, my apartment is quite dim, and I actually have to turn on the lights.
  • I went to my brother’s football game this past Friday night, and I wore my ski jacket. My hands were still kind of cold.
  • The sun now sets hours earlier than it did a month and a half ago, which does not encourage my mood to attend happy hour.
  • Look around. The leaves are starting to change colors.
  • The television season has begun. Last night was the season premier of The Amazing Race, and this week dozens of more shows will follow, marking the beginning of winter hibernation.
  • I’ve started thinking about what I want to be for Halloween this year.
  • My parents are making plans for Christmas.
  • Most importantly, last night when I got home I did the unthinkable: I turned on the heat in my apartment. Granted, it’s free, but I have been too stubborn to turn it up thus far, wanting to hang onto those last days of summer.

I’m trying hard not to let depression set in, but I have to admit that my mood is sort of altered. I went home to my parent’s house this weekend just for some relaxation, peace and quiet. I felt I just couldn’t handle another weekend of drunken debauchery, and neither could my bank account. However, I need to keep in mind that fall and winter are actually full of great things. There’s Halloween, which is arguable one of the most fun holidays of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are also pretty fabulous. My 25th birthday is looming as well. The only real downfall is the weather, which will force me back into the gym and the tanning bed.

In all honesty though, I think there’s only one thing that will get me through another winter in Seattle… Looking forward to next summer.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Brains or Brawn?

Feeling bummed out about the cancellation of our book club Tuesday night, Jeanna and I decided to finally check out the Sitting Room in lower Queen Anne. The place was pretty sweet – cool atmosphere, not too crowded, with a nice little patio out front. That’s where we parked ourselves and promptly ordered Cucumber Martinis, which were just scrumptious. Since Shannon and Jenny live right around the corner, they came and joined us for a while and we indulged ourselves in a few more drinks.

A while later and slightly more tipsy then I would generally like to be on a Tuesday evening, I let Jeanna convince me that going around the corner to Pesos to meet up with some friends would be a fabulous idea. Upon entering the bar, I realized she had made a very good call… the bar was literally swarming with beautiful people, men in particular. Good eye candy always makes for an entertaining evening.

On the prowl to score some free drinks, Jeanna and I strategically located ourselves near a group of very good looking, well dressed men by the bar. In less than five minutes, we were being beckoned over. Score. However, the two particular guys we had our eyes on immediately vacated the premises to flirt with some other random chicks, leaving Jeanna and I to entertain their older, less attractive, Vin Diesel look alike friend. The rules of etiquette dictate that if a girl accepts a free drink, she then becomes obligated to spend the time it takes to consume that cocktail talking to the person who bought it for her. This can be either a good… or a bad thing.

However, Vin Diesel didn’t seem to want anything more than polite conversation, and a few minutes later he left with another buddy. Jeanna and I took the chance to head outside, and to our delight we were followed by Vin’s hot friend we had noticed before! Thrilled we had caught his attention we turned up the volume in preparation for what we hoped would be a great conversation. I mean, a man that pretty has to have something captivating to say, right? He tall and wearing fabulous jeans, had great hair and a killer smile. I was immediately mesmerized. Until…

He informed us that his name was Adam. After the usual, “Do you come here often?” chitchat, one of us made the mistake of asking Adam what he does for a living. He immediately admitted (with not even a shred of embarrassment) that he was a college drop out. Strike one. More importantly he informed us that he works selling cell phones at malls. Strike two. I began to think. Could I really get over the fact that this guy is uneducated and takes pride in a job which a particularly loathe? I tried to think positively; I mean, he was drop dead gorgeous, and who was I to judge? At least he had a job…

While I was working all this out in my head, I realized that Adam was still talking, telling some story about a guy he met in the mall, tried to sell a phone to, and then went on in an attempt to recruit the guy into cell phone sales. The story went on… and on… and on. I tried to smile and act interested, but I don’t think Adam really cared. He was too in love with the sound of his own voice. I glanced sideways at Jeanna, who was already well into her second cigarette. Was this guy serious? At last, he paused for breath.

“So what’s the punch line?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” Adam said, looking confused.
“Well, after a long story like that, I was expecting a pretty exciting ending,” I explained. “Were you able to recruit the guy?”
“Oh!” Adam said. “Well… no.”

And he was serious. Jeanna and I had just spent the last 15 minutes listening to a beautiful man tell a story about nothing, for absolutely no reason. To put it quite frankly, we were baffled that a man so gorgeous could be quite so boring, ignorant and selfish. Have my standards changed or something? Because for the next 20 minutes, all I wanted to do was shake this guy. His attempts to buy me drinks and hold my hand were nothing less than annoying. Finally, Jeanna and I just had to make a break for it, and literally ran out of the bar and around the corner.

Today I feel slightly confused and dejected about the available men out there. Am I going to be forced to choose between brains or brawn? Is there no such thing as a guy who is just as intelligent and witty as he is attractive? If not, that’s going to be a hard reality to face. Because as spoiled and selfish as it may seem, I want the whole package. I want a man whose intellect and sense of humor gets me just as hot as his smile and body. But after last night, I worry that finding this guy may be quite a long shot.

I will say one thing though… if it comes down to it, I would rather be single than waste my time with a man who lacks intelligence, perception and common sense – no matter how hot he is.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Random Weekend

Well, my weekend was fairly ridiculous, and involved far too much alcohol. I think I’m going to take a hiatus this weekend and head down to my parent’s house.

Anyway, Friday night Jeanna and I met up with a bunch of my work friends at the Blarney Stone downtown to celebrate Tracy’s last day of work at the Seattle Times. Anxious to get the night off to a good start, I bought two lemon drops for me and Trace, which we downed in minutes. Several more lemon drops and Hoegaarden beers followed. We sat on the patio for quite a while, perpetually doubled over with laughter at Tracy and Eric’s outrageous stories. I’m pretty sure they made a HUGE mistake by not entering themselves in HUMP! the Stranger’s second annual amateur porn contest. These two are pretty much the only people in the world who make me believe that it’s possible to find your soul mate – that maybe there is one person out there in this crazy world who is absolutely perfect for me.

One of my favorite parts of the night was dealing with our waitress, who informed us that it was her first night on the job. Jeanna and I ordered three appetizer plates, including hot wings, half a roasted artichoke, and a cheese plate – they were fantastic. A while later, we were ready to move on with our night, and went to the bar to pay the tab. Lucky for us we had the novice waitress, because she had neglected to put ANY of the food on our bill. I love it when that happens. $10 richer, we headed down toward the market.

At Kell’s Irish Pub, the drinking continued. Jeanna immediately managed to snag some hot Serbian guy in the alley outside the bar, and spent the rest of the night trying to close the deal. I entertained myself by hanging out with Eric and Tracy, who managed to triple-dog-dare me into sending some quite humiliating text messages and pictures (sorry to those who received them). Around 1:30 I wished Jeanna luck with her hot man and dragged myself home.

Saturday night consisted of Part II: Sarah & Jeanna Take Over Seattle. We had been itching to go dancing all summer, and when our friend Paolo expressed interest as well, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take him out on the town, since he had recently moved to Seattle. However, by the time 10:30 rolled around and we still hadn’t heard from him, so we sucked down a couple more drinks and prepared to go out as a duo. Seconds later, the phone rang. A little while and a few more drinks later, Paolo and Matt met up with us at Pesos… from there we headed to Capitol Hill, ignoring Matt’s protests. A couple more friends met us at Barca – one of my favorite bars in Seattle – and we proceeded to get entirely hammered before moving on.

Although they were pretty much kicking and screaming in protest, we paid the cover charge at Neighbors and dragged Paolo and Matt inside. I’m pretty sure I danced for almost one song before turning into a complete drunken lunatic. As often happens, I let my intoxicated, emotional, jealous side get the better of me, and after having a minor panic attack/pity party, I let my friend Steve drive me home. The next morning was mixed with good and bad news – Jeanna had managed to reconnect with her hot Serbian friend from the night before, but Paolo and Matt had been forced to walk home from Capitol Hill to Ballard; not a small feat (although these two have claimed on various occasions to enjoy urban hiking).

Overall, my weekend was fun, but I’ve decided that I’ve let alcohol get the better of me for too many weeks in a row. I’m looking forward to some good, clean fun this weekend with my family… At least then I’ve got a guarantee that I won’t humiliate myself again. Awesome.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I Remember.

I still think about it. Especially today, as I look at the American flag flying at half-mast atop the Space Needle. I think about those who were lost, and hurt for those who have to live with the grief of it.

I had just moved into a new apartment, and didn’t have a television. It was hours later when I walked into work that I learned what had happened. It was just before the beginning of my sophomore year at Western. I an attempt to avoid debt, I was working as a hostess at the Olive Garden. I had to open the restaurant that morning, and normally I would enter through the double swinging doors and be greeted by my co-workers, the hustle and bustle of a restaurant coming to life, and the annoyingly cheerful Italian music that perpetually played in the background. On September 11, 2001 I was greeted with silence. Had I accidentally arrived an hour too early?

Suddenly I realized that the servers, bartenders, cooks and even managers were gathered around the bar, listening to a tiny radio. Another hostess came out of the bathroom with red-rimmed eyes. “What’s going on?” I cried. “They bombed the World Trade Center… a plane…” she said in a confused voice. After speaking to someone slightly less hysterical, I discovered what had happened. I was filled with feelings of dread and fear, shock and denial. At that point in the day, details of the terrible tragedy were still sketchy, and all we could do was watch and listen in horror as the images played and replayed across the television. I remember feeling relief when the news networks finally stopped showing the playback of United Airlines flight 175 slamming into the face of the South Tower. I didn’t want to watch, but I couldn’t look away.

On December 11, 1941 the death toll at Pearl Harbor reached 2,400 and jolted the United States into World War II. On September 11, 2001 it was worse. There were 2,973 people killed, including 246 on the four planes, 2,602 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. Among the fatalities were 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters, 23 New York City Police Department officers, and 37 Port Authority Police officers. An additional 24 people remain listed as missing to this day.

After five years, it’s easy to forget… to allow the horrifying details to fade from our minds. We can't let this to happen. Each and every soul who perished on 9/11 must be remembered. They were husbands, wives, mothers, brothers. They woke up that morning the same way you did today. They showered, kissed their children goodbye. Stopped for coffee on the way to work. Applied lipstick in the car. Checked their email when they arrived at work. It was just another day.

It’s important to remind ourselves how precious life is, and that it can be taken away at any second. So take a moment today to tell someone that you love them, because you never know if you won’t get a second chance. And say a prayer for those who were lost five years ago, for their families who still live without them. Don’t forget.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Near Death Experience

I feel it only fair to my readers that I admit to the one small letdown of my Labor Day weekend trip. Yes folks, Kelly and I were almost decapitated by a semi truck. After driving for what seemed like a million years, we met up with Jeanna at Vantage. She had conveniently borrowed some massive Hummer-like truck thing from a random new friend who was currently occupied at the Dave Matthews Band concert. With Jeanna following behind, Kelly and I led the way down a dark, winding highway. Unfortunately, we soon realized we had missed the turn, and pulled over to the side of the road. Jeanna pulled up behind us in the Beast, and its blinding headlights suggested we were about to be abducted by aliens.

Thinking the coast was clear to flip a bitch, Kelly gunned it and yanked the wheel. Dazed by the dazzling lights behind her, it was too late before she saw the semi truck barreling toward her little Kia Rio at more than 60 mph. I was overcome with the sensation of being in a movie, and as I saw those two headlights less than 10 yards from the car, I was certain I was going to die. I’m still thanking God that the driver was paying attention, because as suddenly as the headlights were coming at us, they swerved, and the air filled with the smell of burning rubber, and the sound of the semi truck screeching along the guardrail on the opposite side of the road. Then Kelly’s headlights focused on the semi’s trailer, which had jackknifed, and was careening toward us. We could only stare and hope that it would be a quick death. I could hardly believe it when the trailer missed Kelly’s bumper by almost two feet.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the driver of that semi truck shit his pants. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t jump right out of his truck to yank Kelly out of the car and beat her senseless for almost killing us all. But by the time Kelly and I had finished having hysterical fits, we looked back and the semi was gone, almost as if they whole thing had been a dream. Jeanna assured us that it had not, and explained that had we died, it would have been much worse for her. I mean really, we would have perished in a quick and painless death, while Jeanna would have had to spend the rest of her life reliving watching her friends die in a pile of twisted metal and burning rubber.

I honestly have a newfound respect for life, and how quickly it can end. I’m thankful to be alive.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Labor Day Weekend!

Wow. It has literally taken me a week to recover from Labor Day weekend. After existing off only beer and two hours of sleep a night for four days, my brain is completely fried. And all I have to say is that if you weren’t there, there is absolutely no possible way I can explain it to you, because it was pretty much the best weekend of my life. But I suppose I shall try…

Kelly and I had the brilliant idea that leaving the city at 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon would give us more than a head start on the masses of Seattleites looking for extended weekend fun in Eastern Washington. We didn’t realize that our plan, although seemingly clever, was not as ingenious as we might have thought. Every other person in Seattle seemed to have come to the exact same conclusion, and by North Bend, the highway was gridlocked. Crawling at paces that most often didn’t even register on the speedometer, we didn’t reach our destination campsite until almost 9:30 p.m. – six hours later.

I was quite disappointed to discover that our friends who had gone over earlier that day to reserve a super sweet campsite at Getty’s Cove had instead chosen the Wild Horse Campground, near the Gorge Amphitheatre. The Wild Horse is actually an OK place… if you’re planning on going to a concert. There’s a shuttle bus that ferries people back and forth from the camp site to the Gorge parking lot, which is pretty sweet. However, the campsite is really quite lame for people NOT attending the show. And since our friends only reserved one spot, we were forced to cram two cars and about 15 people into a space the size of my living room. Tents were stuffed between cars, up against fences, and spilling onto the gravel road. I said a quick prayer that we would not be stepped on or driven over in the middle of the night.

Since campfires are not allowed at Wild Horse, we positioned ourselves in a circle with some flashlights and tried to make the best of the situation. I mean really, I was camping with hot firefighters, no need to be negative! The next morning we woke up early and headed to Sunland where we would be launching the boats for the Sand Dunes… and like I said before, if you’ve never been there, there is simply no way I can explain this fantastic fantasy land. It’s how I always imagined one of those Spring Break parties in Mexico to be. We anchored the boat on the beach and stepped out onto the warm, white sand and looked around. Even though it wasn’t even 10 a.m. half naked people were already everywhere, wandering around with a plethora of alcoholic beverages. It was like a little slice of heaven.

The rest of the day becomes quite hazy in my memory. Hundreds of boats. Hundreds of people. Most of them with gorgeous, tanned bodies. Sunscreen. Loud music. Swimming. Floating. Beer bongs. Mud wrestling. Pasties. Boobies. Little kids (which we decided was NOT okay). Drinks shoved into my hands. People back flipping down the hill. Friends disappearing and reappearing. Dancing. Climbing on and off boats. Constantly finding that my beer was empty again. More sunscreen. At one point, the sun went behind the hill, and I was shocked to discover that evening had arrived. Somehow Andres had cut his hand, so we called it a day and headed back to shore. (It was only afterward that we realized we had inadvertently left one of Dre’s friends on the dunes. I believe he ended up spending the night there, but still can’t be sure…)

Back at the campsite, most of the people we had spent the day with jumped on the bus to see Dave Matthews, so Kelly, Jeanna and I sat around talking and drinking as the dark closed in. Bored and in a drunken, sun-induced haze, we were looking for fun wherever it could be found. Always the first one to be up for an adventure, Jeanna found it. She and a couple other people decided that it would be beyond entertaining to jump the fence behind our campsite and trek through the fields toward the concert. Kelly and I declined, sure that this escapade would involve being gored by cows. Instead, we wandered around the campsite looking for some entertainment. We ended up having to amuse ourselves with more alcohol, since the entire place was empty… even the crazy hippies at the site next to us had disappeared. We did see some incredibly radical RVs, and began planning out a cross country road trip.

The next morning we dragged ourselves out of the tent and attempted to look presentable. Let me tell you, camping for three days in a row pretty much sucks. Upon discovering we were out of both beer and ice (even though we had originally bought enough alcohol to last the entire weekend, and it was only day two) we make a quick pit stop at the store. And lo and behold, who did I run into? My friend Shane, who I went to both high school and a year of college with, but hadn’t spoken to in years! It was beyond exciting, and he was even more adorable than the last time I had seen him. Score. We made plans to meet up later in the day.

Another day at the dunes, which was even more fantastic than the last. I was thrilled to discover that the “Party Barge” we had been eyeing the day before in fact belonged to Shane’s friend, so I spent a substantial amount of time hanging with the crew there. I also ran into my friend Tara, who I had not seen in months. The day was even hazier than the one before, and at one point I even remember chugging Peach Schnapps out of the bottle, sick!! I ran into different friends here and there throughout the day, and after what seemed like only an hour, I was informed that our boats were leaving. Since I was having a glorious time on the Party Barge, I decided that I would simply stay and hang out. No matter that I would be stranded on a virtual desert island with people I barely knew… it still sounded like a fantastic idea.

Sadly, the Party Barge soon headed back to shore as well. All was going great as we chugged along until some girl thought it would be a great idea to hit golf balls off the front of the boat. I don’t think she really knew what she was doing though, because she promptly threw an expensive club into the Columbia River, and its owner was not one bit happy. As I felt a hangover beginning to kick in, I began to wish I was off the Party Barge. Once back on shore, Shane gave me a ride back to the Wild Horse. NOT thrilled about spending another evening wandering around the dark, empty campsite, we snagged Jeanna and headed back to Sunland. For what must have been hours, we hung out with Shane and his friends, sitting in the grass listening to music and then hanging out playing bizarre drinking games in someone's garage. Jeanna and I also managed to snag a hot, home cooked meal, which was pretty much the only food I had eaten all weekend at that point.

Worried that Kelly would feel abandoned, we hitched a ride back to our campsite. Our concerns ended up being unwarranted, as we returned to discover Kelly sucking face with a new friend! I guess she managed to keep herself entertained after all. At this point fatigue was really starting to set in, so I opted to stay behind while the rest of the crew headed to a nearby bar. Instead, I took the best disco nap of my entire life. Upon waking, I came upon a pretty entertaining scene… the hippies next door had managed to lock their keys in the trunk. The next few hours were spent trying to retrieve them, and to this day I could not tell you why we found the whole situation so entertaining. Kelly was about to call AAA to help the poor kids out, when one of them (apparently high on an unidentified drug that induces angry rages) accused Jeanna of being a “fat cunt.” Not OK. The hippies were on their own, and did not enjoy the pleasure of our company again.

As I crawled out of the tent on day three, I was in a very sad state. I hadn’t showered in three days, was still wearing my bathing suit, and had makeup streaked down my face. I attempted to pull myself together for another day at the dunes, but soon found that the boats would not be headed out again. I took in the news with mixed emotions. Half of me wanted so badly to go and spend another day drinking and dancing in the sun, but the other half (the bruised, battered, hung over, sleep-deprived half) warned me that another day could quite possibly kill me. Dejectedly, I crawled into the back seat of Kelly’s car for the ride home. And promptly fell asleep.

I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to end the summer. I’m still recovering, but it was well worth it. The only way to describe it: Fan-freaking-tastic!