I would say the highest altitude that I’ve been at, would be in a plane. I think generally, they fly about six miles up. But that’s, you know, a pressurized cabin. So that’s definitely the highest I’ve been up. As far as on land, I would say when I lived in Oregon and I went, I went to Mount Hood to the Timberline Lodge, which is I believe at six thousand feet, it was really interesting because I would say probably April and so the snowpack was still serious. And like just walls of snow around—around where the road is. A few friends and I just went up there to look and not be in the city for a day. It was really cool. Very interesting. Did not dress appropriately. Did not—I don’t think any of us realized that we were going to go up to the Timberline and being a bunch of snow. We were just wearing hoodies and tennis shoes and normal street attire.
She was just calling to make sure everything is okay, see if we still had power, you know all that stuff. And I was like, “oh yeah, everything’s fine”. She’s like “did you close the windows?” and I am like “yeah, everything’s good”. And then I turn my head and look out the window that’s right above the phone, towards the back yard in the neighbor’s yard. And all of a sudden I see this like it was weird. It was definitely — you know, we had a two-story house, well, honestly, it’s more like a three-story house. It’s really, it’s a tall and big, old house. And so there was this tornado that was like the size of the house, like it wasn’t, you know, massive. It was obviously big and I see it two doors down past the neighbors fences, and it’s just tearing through the yards and literally just like ripping the fences up coming straight at us. So I’m like, just scream “Oh my God, there’s a tornado!” And then just hang up the phone. My mom’s like, “what? What?” I just hang up the phone. So we’re trying to quick get the cats and dogs and shove them in the basement. Meanwhile, this tornadoes, it doesn’t really have enough juice to go crazy, it’s taking a minute to get to us. And it’s just kind of whipping people’s — my neighborhood trampoline, it’s whipping that around, but not — really, I don’t know, it was so bizarre, it was like tornado lite. And so — I’m in the basement. I’m like, halfway down the stairs. I’m calling my brother. And I’m like, “hurry up and get down here”, like “come on”, like “it’s happening”, especially me, like twister obsessed. I’m like, “it’s coming”, like, “we need to tie our belts to a metal pole so we live.” Yeah, my brother is like, trying to lock the back door for whatever reason. He’s struggling with the deadbolt, I don’t know quite where his logic was in that, but I remember laughing but also being like, “what the f*** are you doing?” He’s older than me. Obviously, less common sense. And so anyway, I like grabbed his arm, and I’m like, come back up and I grabbed his arm and like, “let’s go, I don’t care about the door”. And so we get downstairs and we hide…
I guess I'll talk about… Yes, a bug that stings next when I was around five or six years old, I think it was five. I was staying over at my grandma's house. And when I was playing on the little plastic slide we had. I accidentally hit a bee with my hand and because I was just playing around with my brother and it bit me and I was trying very hard not to cry because I wanted to be tough as a kid and my grandma and mom were comforting me and trying to make me feel better, as they cleaned the sting. And my mom, trying to reassure me said that bees basically died after they stung a person. So that bee was going to be dead after it stung me. I think she said this to make me feel better, but I just felt so, so guilty because I knew it had it had been my fault that the bee stung me cuz I was just waving my hands around very wildly. And after that, I was just hyper aware of bees. Anytime in first or second or even third grade classmates would shout because there was a bee in the room and everyone would freak out, I would just like yell at everyone to sit down and stay still so it wouldn't sting you cuz I was just so concerned about other bees dying because me and other dumb kids were getting in their way. And I think it's silly because now I do know, like a lot about the Save the Bees movement, and I still tell people to just, like, calm down around bees and that they won't hurt them. And I think it's silly how just getting stung by one bee in—when I was five years old, still affects my behavior today, I guess.
When COVID began to get more serious our middle school had a huge assembly, which we talked about hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when sneezing, and we even watched a Brainpop video. Right away, the class clowns started to poke and slap each other and the ones that were really desperate for attention began to roll around on the cafeteria floor. At that point COVID was a joke to us, something scary but too far away to hurt us. And when the teachers used the words "global pandemic" and "historical event", and then when the principal compared it to 9-11 in a somber tone that was when we all started to worry. Later that day, we were told to wash our hands in the bathroom before lunch and being a bunch of middle schoolers that wasn't typically a habit for us. The environment in the school bathroom was unlike anything I've ever experienced before. Every single person in that bathroom was on edge, and usually for a bunch of middle school girls, we're talking and laughing all the time, but at that point, people were afraid to touch each other. That was March 11th. The next day, school shut down—March 12th, 2020. The school closing was surreal, but since we've been warned at the assembly, I figured that after spring break, I was most likely to be back in school. To be honest, I was most upset about not being able to see the guy I liked, which seems so silly now. My dad and aunt were out of the country at the time and they were visiting family. So I was shocked to hear that there was a very real possibility that they might be stuck there. I think that's when I knew COVID was getting more serious and there would be restrictions in our lives that I never experienced before. When we went to the grocery store, many of the aisles were bare, even the ones you wouldn't expect, like the fruit and nut aisle or the cereal aisle. And there were news reports of people hoarding toilet paper and basic supplies, which was so crazy to me, because toilet paper didn't seem like such a big deal before 2020, but suddenly it was something everyone needed and everyone needed so much of it that there were restrictions on the max number of these items available.…
And the last question I wanted to talk about was would you describe yourself more as a gentle summer breeze or like a tornado? Now, I definitely would say that there is a mixture of both ends of the spectrum that can be found within me. But anything besides that most people see is summer breeze, because that's honestly the way I look to present myself. I don't like to come off super like rough or hard or like hard-going on people especially if we're meeting for the first time or if we're just friends. I try to show like always my calm happy like happy-go-lucky side and never really show much anger, or real aggression toward anything, which is what I would assume a tornado would be. But yeah, I like to always present myself as a very easy-going person. Someone who could, you know, go with the flow, which fits perfectly with the idea of a summer breeze.
So I'm really excited to do this project. It's dovetailing exactly with a project that I'm already doing for myself where I was trying to talk myself through my last romantic relationship. And also, I was doing this funny story, this funny series where I was reading stories to my boyfriend as bedtime stories. He used to work or he does still work, my ex-boyfriend does still work third shift and has problems sleeping during the day, so I started recording bedtime stories for him. I was reading Grimm's Fairy Tales to him and then sending him the recordings. And it was really a wonderful project. It reminded me of when I was small and my mother would read to me and it was very soothing and he was very complimentary about it and I really enjoy doing it. I, it was something I looked forward to every day, so I began to get used to recording myself and speaking about my thoughts out loud, which is a new thing for me. I, I have been very silent in the last year and half for a variety of reasons. One, the relationship dynamic. Two, the pandemic. Three, not going to my job. So talking into my phone has been a welcome release. And I, I really look forward to participating in this project and also I've told all my friends about it. So you might have this very strange concentration of of women from Grand Rapids participating in the project.
So I guess that, that's probably going to be my grateful for the week too, is just grateful to have family in the area where I can go in such circumstances. And my dad bought this beer from Bells. I haven't seen this one before. They call it, "No, Yeah." Which is potentially the most confusing name for any product. Thought I'd bring it up to Michigan Diaries cuz they put sort of, like these stereotypical mid-western phrases on the can. So the beer's called, "No, Yeah." They say, "Yeah, no, for sure." "Just gonna sneak past ya." "Ope, excuse me." "Watch out for deer." The "Ope, excuse me." I think it was like five years ago that I learned that was not, that was like a regional thing. That it's just, you're in the grocery store. It's like, it's just like, "Ope, excuse me." I thought everyone did that. Does everyone not do that? Apparently it's a Midwest thing. I don't know how. Anyways, this beer from Bells, they call it, "No, Yeah." I find it funny.
So, when I was a kid, my parents renovated our house and put in a fire place, like where there hadn't been one before, which I really loved. It was a cool, like, it was a wood burning fireplace and we did all kinds of cool stuff with it. We made like recycled newspaper logs sometimes to burn. There's like a whole process for doing this and I loved to help my mom doing that. And, y'know, burning them in the fireplace and it was also a really handy place if you had like anything you wanted to get rid of. I mean, this is back before, like, shredders were real common. You could just burn stuff. But anyway, while I was still small, my -- well, I must've not been too young because my sister was old enough to be my babysitter. So I probably was at least ten, nine or ten. And we were -- my parents left, I don't think for very long, and my sister and I were playing upstairs and what we -- what had happened was the fireplace didn't have -- I guess it had like these kind of like a screen curtain, but it didn't have glass doors or anything and it was open and there was like a -- a fire going in there. I don't think it was a very big fire and my mom had been working on a quilt and it was on the hearth near the fire and something sparked, and an ember flew out of the fireplace and landed on the quilt fabric of the partially finished quilt and started to smolder. So [REMOVED] and I were upstairs and I think this was also before like fire alarms or smoke detectors were real common. I mean, remember, I'm old. So this woulda been in the seventies. Anyway, I think like our dog came up and bugged us, or our cat. At this point, I can't even remember. But something alerted us. We went downstairs and the living room actually had a lot of smoke in it, and so we like "Ah!" We took off outside and we ran next door to our neighbors and they weren't home but their older daughters were, who in the past had babysat us, and they came in and y'know whoever it is like y'know threw water over the quilt, and y'know…
This week, I'm grateful for having a roof over my head, having food on the table whenever I'm hungry or when it's dinner time and for being able to enjoy company with others when specific occasions occur. I think having people, whether it's just one or a thousand, can really make a huge impact on people's lives, and without them things would be so much more different, but because we're -- no matter who we are, if we're surrounded by a specific person or specific people, we get used to them but without them, things aren't just the same, so I'm appreciative of the people around me and this upcoming -- well, not this upcoming week, but the last week was the Fourth of July and the Fourth of July was actually really, really awesome. It was probably one of the nicest Fourth of July's I've had in a while, even though I didn't actually do fireworks myself, I just watched them but the fireworks I did watch were really really pretty.
I would -- if I could choose, I would rather be a dragon. Because I love dragons a lot. Because I think they're so amazing is because they have wings, and they can -- some of them can camouflage, some of them can breathe fire, and some of them can also breathe underwater. But to answer your question, would I rather be a dog or a cat? I would choose dragon.