A recent article:

ST. LOUIS (Aug. 28) - Crazy carp have invaded Missouri's rivers. Two species of nonnative carp have been jumping into boats, injuring occupants and damaging the watercraft.

A state fisheries biologist motoring near Columbia had a filling knocked out of his tooth by a high-flying fish that struck him on the side of the head. Another state biologist in the St. Charles area was seriously hurt when he was hit by a giant carp.

You gotta love this state with its crazy fish.


A poem by Margaret Atwood:

You Fit Into Me

You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

A fish hook
An open eye

I love Margaret Atwood.
I hate many other things, however. Men suck. Love sucks. Missing a man you love sucks. Missing a man you love when all the girls you love aren't anywhere close to you sucks.
You know what doesn't suck? Great friends who responded to text messages at 3am or come pick you up to get you shit-faced when you really need it.

Woo hoo!


True or False...I miss my MANDYS?

So True. Especially when I get to watch Will & Grace reruns featuring Madonna and American Idol intro music. Oh waaooowaaaaoooooooo!

So I went to Barnes and Noble today for my shelving job that was only supposed to go to 11:30am but was asked to stay until 4pm. My boss called me back in the office for a conversation where I thought I was going to be told something I had been doing wrong. Although she did ask me about the incredibly slow job of shelving we all did this morning, she also told me she'd like to put me on the fast track to lead. That's not all that big of a deal, but it's my fourth day. Yay for me.

Considering the amount of debt I have left to pay and the situation at B&N, it looks like I might stick around here a few more months before I head off to Germany. I really want to go over there with no debt left here at all. I've already cut my debt by $2500. I'm doing really well, and I'd like to keep it up while I can so that when I get back from Germany I can start life without worrying about old credit cards and such. Also, Germany sounds much more fun if I'm not sending every paycheck back to the states to pay interest on some car repair I made freshman year. It's going to take a bit more work to fight for my dual citizenship, or work permit if I can't get that, anyway.

Karma taught me a lesson yesterday. Bored and waiting for Mom to go to bed so that I could have the couch and watch the end of the Cubs-Cards game, I dangled stuff over the couch so that Mallory would drive Mom crazy enough to finally leave the living room by jumping after it. I thought it was really funny when Mallory jumped so hard she fell off the couch. I laughed. A lot. I did not, however, think it was the least bit funny when Mallory jumped to get the phone cord dangling by my head and landed on my face with her claws out. My nose is disfigured for life. Or a few days anyway. Seriously, though...the kittens weigh less than the rats in my psych lab did, but when they fly at your face with those daggers curled into your skin, it hurts like a bitch.

My friend Paul in California finally posted some of his photography online. Take a minute and check it out!


What is the sound of one hand smacking you upside the head?

Dude, I'm addicted to Dark Angel and it was cancelled before I ever saw an episode. That's never a good thing. It's a kickass show, though. Watch an epi if you ever get the chance.

Also, I have to say, it is soooo amazingly refreshing to click so well with someone that you can tell them exactly how you feel and have them say the same thing right back. It's even better when you're telling them that you just aren't sure about it all and they're telling you they feel the same way. Life can be so good to you, even when it doesn't throw explosive passionate love your way.

Alright, I have more to write about, but I should save something for tomorrow when I'm being driven crazy by my mother and cats and want to bitch about it all.


An evil migraine knocked me out of commission for the day and now I feel all lazy and unproductive. At least this gives me something to live for. :)

Yesterday we had another day of sitting up in the darkroom getting paid for no work for a couple of hours. It was completely made up for by the fact that the cave smelled like bat shit when we did finally go to work. Bat shit is an oddity, really. It smells like shit, but also smells a bit like ammonia. So really, it's a shitty clean smell. I guess you can't clean it up with bleach. That being toxic and all.

The bats being up and about does have its advantages, however. The cute little things were hanging all over the place, even in low passages the tours use all day. I walked through behind a tour and practically ran right into two of the little buggers. They were soooo damn cute. At the end of the day, loaded on honey sticks and so hyper my mom mistakenly thought I had finished her bottle of wine when I got home, I lagged behind a tour and decided to lightly touch one of the bats. They just kinda stretched and curled. Very cute. Very bad, so shhhhhh!

Mmmmmmm. Honey Sticks.

Big props to Triller the Thriller, by the way. She's hosting a friend of mine tonight. I LOVE YOU!!!! Friends rule.

Okay, now I sound like a 12 year old. Gotta love it.

My cats are psycho. That's all I'm going to say at the moment. They're just psycho.

Alright, thought train crashed and is scattered throughout the land. I'll report back when we've got it all back on the track headed to a point. Chill in the heatwave til then, folks.


I love days in the cave where I get to sit up in the darkroom and watch movies and get paid for it. This happened yesterday because there was so much bat guano on the pathways through the cave that they couldn't give tours. Because they were cleaning it and expecting to give tours later that day, I had to wait around for them to open the cave. This meant that I sat on the couches with Jordan and tour guides and other cave photo people, including my incredibly cool boss Shannon, watching Batman, Chicago, and other movies. All while getting paid. Rock on.

Today I had my first real day at B&N. It was nice...lots of shelving all morning. I love it. I love getting to shelve books. I'm a dork. I finally fixed my shelf in my room. You know, those little things that stick in the holes to hold the moveable shelves up do NOT come in standard sized. I had to drill bigger holes into my bookcase. The problem with that is that I don't own a drill. So really, I guess I screwdrivered bigger holes. Too bad that didn't have anything to do with vodka. I also had to cut part of the plastic off the little thingies b/c my shelf fits too tight to leave room for them on the side. You'd think they'd come that way, but no, it was left to me and my crappy scissors. Well, they're crappy now anyway.

On my break at B&N today I picked up a book in the lounge and started reading. I found out that any book in the lounge is free to take home. So I brought home, and already finished, the uncorrected proof copy of Boy Meets Girl, by Meg Cabot. It's fabulous. Definitely chick lit, but fabulous. If you liked Bridget Jones, you'll love it. It's completely made up of emails, company memos, recipes, voice mails, and journal entries. It's very very cool. Very funny. The IMs between the two female characters are so Mandy it hurts. I MISS YOU GUYS!!!! Anyway, it's not out yet, but it will be sometime soon. You all should check it out.

Okay, I'm off to find someone in St. Louis for Jordan to stay with this Saturday b/c she's going to the Radiohead concert there. If anyone reading this wants to offer a really cool person and her roommate a place to stay, let me know. :)


So I've spent the last 6 days having fun and not dealing with life. Now it's time to catch up and get reorganized and all that jazz.

My friend John flew in from Raleigh last week so I could show off the Ozarks and exploit the Herschen Family Entertainment Corporation by using my discount in all possible situations. I explored Silver Dollar City for the first time in quite a few years. It was fun, but still slightly lame. Celebration City, however, was much better. Okay, still lame, but with some fun rides. John and I debated the creepy effect of the twilight that made everything look all fake and pristine. Actually, the pristine quality added to the fakeness. Everything was super clean. They must have invisible janitors on duty at all times. Oddly enough, we later found a photography book called Twilight that examined the creepy effects of dusk.

I rode all the big scary rides! :) Yay, ME! I cussed through most of 'em...but I rode them.

Don't laugh. They WERE scary, dammit.

After explaining the coolness of Route 66 and watching money get wasted on an evil carnival game where we didn't win a huge stuffed Cookie Monster, we explored Branson from above...by riding the ferris wheel. You know, there's really nothing to see. It's sad.

We went horseback riding on one of those nice little trail ride things. I love horses, but I have to say, I just don't get why someone wants to ride around for an hour on a horse that's very slowly and uncomfortably making his way down a rocky hillside and not getting anywhere. I thought it would be fun, but if you're gonna ride a horse, really, you should ride the damn horse. None of this following another horse's ass crap. Seriously. Smack that horsey butt and let her fly. That's riding.

Spent the rest of the few days getting asses slapped by Jordan's very drunk but usually very sweet and innocent type roommate Ashley, fighting the kittens off my toes at night, and trying to find more things to do in this region that civilization refused to rescue. They were good times.

Also, went on a quest for chocolate cheesecake. Couldn't find any in Springfield OR Branson. Guess I'll have to make it. Dammit, Amy, I need you here to make yours for me. We all know it's the best ever.

Oooooh, tried a new thing. Lavash, I think. It's like a tortilla wrapped around lunchmeat and pimentos and sliced into little rolls. Interesting, but very good. Got it at Wal Mart. Weird, huh? Lavash in the Ozarks at Wal Mart. I feel incredibly cultured now.

I've decided that Kansas City doesn't really exist in this world. Or at least it crosses over with another realm somewhere. See, when you drive to St. Louis, you kinda feel like you're in St. Louis about an hour before you get there. Suburbs start popping up and everyone in every town will tell an outsider they're from St. louis. When driving through western Missouri, you're in the middle of fields and pastures and flat countryside, when all of a sudden up pops a Kansas City city limits sign. Then, a few miles down the road, there's another one. Then another one. On the way to the airport, I think we counted a total of 8 city limit signs for Kansas City. What's that all about? Very twilight zone-esque. Could only have been more surreal had it actually been twilight.

Decided I could live in KC if I actually got to live in the posh suburb of Overland Park. Right next to Half-Price Books, of course. Why don't we have one of those here? And why haven't I heard of this place before? It's amazing. CHEAP Dali, Bressan, and San Francisco art books. My my. I do believe I have reason to head back that way again. :)

Seven is my new lucky number.

It's also the time I have to leave the house in the morning, so I'll be signing off now. Over and Out.
A reiteration of a past post:

Debt is BAD!

Also, having all of your belongings 2000 miles away in a storage locker that costs $100 a month is BAD. Anyone wanna contribute to the "Get Monika's Stuff Home Fund"?


I spent the past week showing a friend around the lovely Ozarks. After two days, I was without new things to show. Of course, there are hundreds of wonderful things out here: caves, streams, lakes, forests...but when it's 104 degrees outside with Missouri humidity, the outdoorsy stuff gets old pretty quickly. So, with rediscovered boredom with my town, I bought a few cheap photography books on San Francisco. After driving back from the Kansas City airport (because Springfield has to make it all that much harder for me to get out of here or let in respite for awhile) I sat in the living room flipping through the pages of my gifts to myself. I actually started crying when I saw the view of Marin county and the Golden Gate in the afternoon sun. Dude, something is seriously wrong with me. So I had a night of grieving over my lost city. Mom asked me if I wanted to have a funeral. Maybe I should. This is so much more heartbreaking than any man has ever been. Perhaps I can marry the city? Monika Francisco. Doesn't that sound good?

Ah, so.

I'll make it back someday. After my night of mourning.

Perhaps I can transfer some of this love to Frankfurt. It does have an incredible skyline!


When one starts to believe all things are finite, amusement parks serve as wonderful reminders of infinity. There is absolutely no limit to how stupid people can be after they have paid $50 to travel back to the 1800's in the Ozarks. The atmosphere must take away common sense, because all kinds of weird things start happening:
Claustrophobic people go on hour-long cave tours and have to call first aid to take them out when they have a panic attack.
Grown adults believe tour guides who are being silly when told there are purple cave elephants.
Forty year old women wear stilleto heels in a cave with over 700 stairs that goes up and down 500 feet. Not to mention the fact that they wore the heels to the amusement park in the first place.
People come into the 54 degree cave immediately after getting completely soaked on a water ride.
Photographers give up on getting a camera to work because they don't know how to read a manual to find out that they need to flip the focus to manual rather than automatic.


It was a long day, folks. Yep, I say folks now. I'm gettin' the Silver Dollar City dialect going pretty strong.

Bats are incredibly cute, by the way. They really do look like tiny little furry chicken nuggets. The ones in our cave are about half the size of a baseball. Super cute.

On a more positive note, tomorrow is my last day of work for a week. I'm headed to KC tomorrow night to hang out, then pick up a friend to come down here and party for a week. Fun times will be had by all.

Also, I've been checking out schools for organizational psych...some of the best programs are at NYU, Tulane, and University of South Fla. How great is my luck? Sadly, no good ones out in Cali, but that's alright. I'll head back that way eventually.

Alright, off to bed for me...11 hour work shift, 3 hour drive, and lots of cleaning to do tomorrow. Fun fun.


Why do claustrophobic people go on cave tours? Masochistic tendencies, perhaps? Argh!

I finally got to run the darkroom today!!! It's soooo much better than working in the cave. Between tours, Jordan, the bitchily funny girl who lets things slip out of her mouth before she thinks about them, decided we should watch Say Anything. You WashUians all know how much young John Cusack looks like Shorty, so I mentioned that to Jordan (who has a big of a crush on Cusack) and that got us on the subject of college and all kinds of other things. In the span of just a few minutes, we learned that we both love Ani, Old 97s, Dar, and have other similar tastes in music. We both love Kevin Smith and Christopher Guest movies. AND we went to both Summerscape and Missouri Scholars Academy. So basically, as one of the tour guides put it, we're both big nerds. The cool think about that is that we're both big nerds who are stuck in the Ozarks for the time being. She is so much like me before I went to college. It's very cool to finally have someone I can talk to around here who isn't married with kids already.

I started the adventures of hair today. After four years of my $150 hair cut and highlights at Michael Dominic's in St. Louis (BEST SALON EVER!), I had to break down and get a cheap haircut. I'm too broke to do anything else. I actually went to Wal-Mart...and luckily, got a chick who understood why I was nervous (anyone recall the pink hair of freshman year from the College of Cosmetology?). She did a really great job, and told me how to dye my own hair to even out the Christina Aguilera-like difference in the brown underside and blonde top that my overpriced highlights used to fix. So, for the first time. in a few days I am going to color my hair. I'm terrified. If it turns green or something I'll send pics. I suppose if it DOES turn green, that'll be my opportunity to dye it dark brown. I've always wondered how I'd like dark hair :)

If you like suspenseful beach-type reads, read Dean Koontz' Cold Fire. It's not an amazing book, but I got lost enough in it that I finished it in a few hours. Also, Jacquelyn Mitchard's Twelve Times Blessed is VERY good. Great character development. Slightly Oprah's Book Clubesque, though. If you can get over that, it's definitely worth the read.

Yay for friends who send out discount cards to great retailers! Happy shopping this weekend, Mandys!


So the people at the German-American Chamber of Commerce don't return phone calls. Alas, I shall have to drive up to the consulate in Chicago soon. Yeah, like I need an excuse for another trip to Chicago.

Started my first day at good ol' B&N today. Seems very cool...lots of cool people, some great ones my age...plus MAJOR benefits. We're talkin' book discounts, half off in the cafe (and yes, the B&N here has Cheesecake Factory cheesecake and hand-dipped ice cream!), working on my own time without a boss over my shoulder...great stuff.

Got my room a bit more organized, too. Can't figure out how to get all the stuff that used to be in my desk organized onto a large shelf, though. I have my priorities straight, however...all of my pictures are up and displayed, as are my books, of course. Can there be too many picture frames in one room? I seem to have collected quite a few over the years. Well, I guess that means the more fun times I get to display.

Tomko won his first game for the Cards at Busch tonight! Woo Hoo. Oh, and since y'all think Kiefer's too old for me, I've moved on to fresh meat. Bo Hart, the rookie second basemen for the birds, is my new love. But Kiefer will always have my heart *cough*libido*coughhackcough*.
Wünsch mir viel Glück!

Okay, I posted that again because it was worth repeating AND because I just learned how to type the umlauts.


It looks so much better done correctly.
Es ist sehr schön!
Both Germany and the United States have nationality laws that state the following:

1. No matter where you are born, if at least one parent is a citizen of the country in question, you are a citizen of that country.

2. No matter the nationality of your parents, if you are born in the country in question, you are a citizen of that country.

3. Dual-citizenships between the United States and Germany are recognized.

4. Therefore, if you have one parent who is American and one parent who is German, you are automatically born with dual-citizenship.

5. If you are NOT born with dual-citizenship, but decide to switch later in life, you cannot keep both citizenships. You MUST choose.

My dilemma:
My mother was a German citizen when she had my sister in Germany. Therefore, under two laws, my sister is a dual-citizen. My mother then became a United States citizen. Then she had me. In the United States. Therefore, I am only an American citizen and cannot apply for German citizenship without giving up my place as an American. We know that isn't going to happen.

So...how to bypass the whole visa problem? Well, thank God Germany deals with all visa and citizenship matters on an individual basis. Maybe the nice people at the German consulate in Chicago will hear my plea that it was not MY choice for my mother to become an American citizen between birthing my sister and I.

And thank you, God, for the ability I have to persuade total strangers into giving me exactly what I need (proven by my recurrent success in telemarketing, of course).

Now, to work on that whole speaking German thing...

Wuensch mir viel Glueck!

I really need to learn how to do an umlaut on here.


Mandy Moment

My mother is terribly addicted to news magazine shows. She watches every single one and always tapes those she is forced to miss. The problem with this is that with 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, Dateline, and others, there is ALWAYS a "news" show on during primetime. As I have recently become miss Suzy homemaker, I was busy making pillows to match my curtains when the annoying guy came on at the end of 60 Minutes II to complain about the tourism industry in America. He talked about the world's largest ball of twine in Kansas, the pumpkin-hurling festival in Deleware, and the dirt museum in Boston. Mr. Cynical picked up a jar of pretty polished grey rocks and said they were from the driveway of a celebrity. Whose jar did he choose to announce on national TV? Why, Mr. Barry Manilow's of course.

oh Mandy
I waited two weeks after paying my cell phone bill to call and complain about Cingular not turning it back on. Fifteen seconds later, I now have service again. Does it really haveto require bitching to get something done? What happened to money getting you everything? Now it's a whole lot of money, with a side of bitch? Anyway, for those of y'all who actually use it, my cell phone works again. :) All because I can be a bitch. Good to know, eh?


I decided to make a quick batch of brownies tonight. Following a conversation all about how clumsy I am, I dropped a big heavy glass pan on my toe and broke the damn thing. My toe, not the pan. The brownies were worth it, but only b/c of the nice vicodin loopiness. A friend commented:

R: you epitomize loop
R: your loopiness

I wonder if he meant now, on the meds, or in my usual state?
There's a first time for everything, moment #1:

Today, I started a sentence with, "When I was in school..."



After a heartbreak it's always painful and trying when the decision is made to remain friends. Conversations are hesitant and lacking any real depth, or they are dramatic and emotional. And they often end up with the heartbreakee close to tears and wishing she hadn't participated.

Then there's that moment when she can actually smile after a conversation with the heartbreaker, happy to know him and content that she has moved on with her life.

That moment is awfully nice, don't ya think?


When you put eight shelves of books in a 10' x 8' room, it looks like you have a lot of books.

Also, sewing curtains by hand takes wayyyy too damn long.