Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Last One: AH and BSteer Go Out with a Bang

It's mid-July July 31. The final rent checks have been deposited, BSteer has moved out, and the lease is almost up.

The Shenanigans of E26 are no more.

Even though we were somewhat (incredibly) remiss about blogging about them, BSteer and I had plenty of shenanigans over our year of living together. You already know about the Olympics, and sneaky zucchini day, and thrifting with house guests, and skating, and roasting marshmallows. But you might not know about some of our other shenanigans.

For example, we

  • Wore sweat pants... a lot
And learned how to swipe text

And even got the pizza guy in on the sweatpants theme

  • Hung a picture of Sir Paul McCartney dressed as a cat in our living room and dubbed it "Sir Paul McCatney"
  • Invented taco pizza and tried (but failed) to translate Costa Rican prison twitter accounts
Complete with Catalina and sour cream. Mmmmmm.

  • Made teeny tiny cupcakes and brownies

  • Watched a lot of really fantastic television
  • Hammocked and sang songs and made Vines and threw discs of ice off our balcony

  • Befriended neighbors and watched Muppet Treasure Island until 3 in the morning
  • Drank lots of wine and ate lots of cheese and crackers and fruit

Boxed wine can still be classy!
And fruit in tupperware can be classy too!
  • Made puzzles and watched Good Burger
  • Drank coffee and played with puppies
  • Dyed Easter eggs, named Easter eggs, and ate Easter eggs

That's Percival wearing the bow tie
  • Wore matching clothes on accident
  • Explored cemeteries
  • Yelled at the moon
  • And ate more Chinese takeout than anyone anywhere has any right to ever consume in their lifetimes.

All in all, it was a pretty fantastic year.

Even as I sit here typing this, I'm remembered more and more fantastic things that happened that I wish we'd blogged about, especially amazing things that Brittany has accomplished: doing an amazing job (and impressing her superiors) at her counseling internship, making brownies for her college students who earned kudos points, passing comps like a boss, planning a pretty kick ass wedding, fixing her car(s) all by herself (sometimes in the pitch dark), facing her fear of birds, getting engaged, graduating from her masters program,  getting married, and being Jehovah's most secret witness (wow, this blog just cannot get away from sacrilege).

I am Brittany, hear me roar!

And now BSteer is married, and will be pretty much the perfect wife to pretty much the perfect man in what is pretty much the most perfect pairing of people in any relationship I've ever had the pleasure to witness.

Look at 'em. Just precious.

And I will move on to a new roommate (who is going to be awesome, y'all) with new shenanigans in new apartments with new pictures of other celebrities hanging on the walls. And BSteer will continue to move on to new cities in new apartments with a permanent roommate, and they will have shenanigans and make memories and it will be a wonderful, beautiful thing.

But real talk, I'm gonna miss that girl.

Can you blame me? She's adorable!

We talked about work. And movies. And books. And boys. And pets. And weddings. And jobs. And house hunting. And the future. And the past. And life. And what's going to happen next. And how weird and scary and amazing it's all going to be.

So Brittany, thanks for being an amazing roommate at a time when I really needed it. And thanks for being an amazing friend when I needed it even more. And thanks for introducing me to your friends that I've made my own. And thanks for apartment hunting with me when I was scared I'd be homeless. And thanks for listening to me constantly talk about puppies. And thanks for including me in your wedding and letting me celebrate the beginning of the next stage of your life with you. And thanks for always making the most delicious spaghetti I've ever eaten.

You guys don't even understand. It's phenomenal.

And everyone else, thanks for reading when we would be ridiculous and occasionally write about it. Thanks to the handful of folks who could comment, and all the others who would read in secret. Your page views showed your appreciation in words your comments didn't say.

(Yeah people, that's a not-so-subtle dig at our lack of feedback. Maybe we would have written more if you'd commented more. Boom. Truth bomb. Just kidding. You're forgiven. I'm sorry. I love you.)

So... I guess that's it. It's been fun, y'all. I wish we'd taken more time to chronicle them, but the most important thing is that memories were made. And while E26 will welcome a pair of entirely new tenants who will likely have their own shenanigans and make their own memories, the age of AH and BSteer will live on in our minds, our hearts, and a smattering of really wordy blog posts.

AH and BSteer do the Color Run (and Discuss Archery?)

As far as I can tell, the past year or two has been associated with two main fads. The first fad is archery; archers have been EVERYWHERE, from Katniss Everdeen hunting down her own food/eliminating enemies like a boss in the Hunger Games...

To Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye, being a stealthy, graceful, deadly accurate, sexy beast in The Avengers...

To Merida, the adorable red-headed and hot-tempered Scottish princess from Pixar's Brave...

To the CW television show Arrow, which I hear is about the super hero Green Arrow, who I haven't heard much about, but I'm sure is a bad ass because he has a bow and arrow, and isn't that the main qualifying factor for bad assery?

 None of this has anything to do with the rest of this post, by the way; I've just always liked archery and archers and the idea of being an archer, so this explosion of archery attention has made me quite happy and also makes me want to find and shoot a bow and arrow in the direction of nothing important because I haven't shot a bow and arrow since I was at summer camp and I likely need a bit of practice so I don't accidentally hurt anyone.

Yes, that was a very long sentence. No, I don't plan to change it. Moving on.

The second fad I feel like people are obsessed with is running. Over the past year or two, I feel like folks have been coming out of the woodwork as dedicated and determined runners. It seems the new symbol of a person's athletic ability is how many 5K's they've done, or whether or not they've run a half or full marathon (and have the 13.1 or 26.2 sticker to prove it), or how much weight they've lost over the course of training for a half marathon, etc.

Sometimes it feels like everyone I know or am related to is a runner. (Oh wait, they are: both of my parents and both of my siblings all run regularly and have run 5Ks and/or half marathons and/or extremely challenging running courses).

So BSteer and I decided to jump on the bandwagon! Or rather, run after the band wagon.


Hahahahaha. That's as far into a post about the Color Run as I got. More than half of it is about archery for some reason. I am the queen of rambling.

Long story short (I know what you're thinking; is she even capable of that? I'm damn sure going to try!):

Brittany and I decided to do the Color Run.
It was BSteer's our friend Dianna D's birthday weekend.
The three of us dressed in white along with BSteer's friend Molly P.

We ran and got messy. Somewhere during this process, powder got into my disposable camera and turned all the run pictures blue and wibbley.
For a while I got lost. Don't worry, they found me.

The color mostly turned black once the different colored powders combined on our sweaty skin.

We were very tired and very thirsty.
Molly had to go back home, so she left us. :(
After the run we each showered; the entire bathroom turned blue.
We went to a beer festival and explored downtown Memphis.

We sat on couches and drank wine and watched football.
We all went to bed.
The next day we went to the zoo for Dianna's birthday.

We had a blast.
The end!

BOOM I did it. Muahaha!
And just because this is being posted on Harry Potter's birthday (and I've already discussed that on this blog), I'll simply leave you with this.

Even HP gets in on the fads!

What? It's a marathon. It counts!

Monday, July 29, 2013

AH and BSteer are NOT Sacrilegious

Another post that was never shared for some reason. Only 3 days left for me to get these out. Enjoy! - AH

So, Brittany and I have this thing... where sometimes we praise different manifestations of Jesus. It's not sacrilegious! As Brittany puts it, Jesus is already part of everything, so we're just recognizing his presence in specific areas of our lives. Not to mention, Jesus probably has a great sense of humor and approves of Holy Laughter.

Also, she started it, not me. If anyone's getting smote, it's BSteer.

We might want to be on the lookout for airborne pianos just in case.

This whole thing started with Brittany's first recognition of Olympic Jesus. You may remember that she managed to procure fish and chips from Captain D's and make it back to the apartment before the Olympic Opening Ceremony began. She made the trip in record time and attributed her speedy return to the intervention of Olympic Jesus. Throughout the Olympics, we praised Olympic Jesus when cool stuff happened, when athletes had really good attitudes, and when we tuned in just in the nick of time for prime time viewing, specific races, and the Closing Ceremony. Olympic Jesus even acted through our dear friend and apartment crasher Alexa, who brought me a chicken sandwich in my hour of need when I was really hungry and really didn't want to miss the Spice Girls in the Closing Ceremony.

Of course, both Brittany and I agree that Olympic Jesus is the same guy as Regular Jesus. We also agree that Jesus is probably a fan of the Olympics, so he wouldn't mind being called Olympic Jesus. We also agree that if Jesus competed in the Olympics he would win ALL the medals. Olympic Jesus. It's a thing.

After this, different variations of Jesus began popping up in other elements of our lives.

Take for example Chinese Food Jesus, or Chinese Jesus for short (does that make us sacrilegious and ethnically offensive? I hope not - we have good intentions). 

In case you didn't know, Brittany and I both love the groundbreaking television drama Pretty Little Liars. In fact, this shared love served as an additional bonding element when I moved into E26. We even hosted PLL viewing parties.

 This kid gets it.

Oftentimes the stress and excitement of waiting for a new episode of PLL would overwhelm us to the point that it affected our ability to cook dinner. On nights such as these, or whenever Brittany doesn't want to cook and I don't want to make a sandwich, we take advantage of one of the local eateries in town that will prepare food for us for a nominal fee. Or sometimes Brittany and I just want an excuse to eat Chinese food.

One night we were in a bit of a hurry, quite hungry, and very nervous that we would miss the beginning of PLL. Anyone who watches the show knows that if you miss the beginning of the show, you are LOST. You'll never catch up. It's that complicated. True story.

Long story short, we got our honey chicken and fortune cookies and made it back to E26 just in time for the show. And our food was delicious. And PLL blew our minds. We said our thanks to Chinese (food) Jesus, which I guess also makes him PLL Jesus.

Next we experienced Cookie Jesus. Brittany's delightful Auntie Terry came to visit us a few weeks ago (Editor's note: that was back in like, September. That's how old this post is. Carry on.) and brought with her a mason jar full of cookie ingredients As you can probably guess based on how often food figures into our shenanigans, Brittany and I love cookies. She took on the task of baking while I did homework (because she loves me) but forgot to set the timer for one of the batches of cookies. By some miracle, which we're crediting to divine intervention, she took those cookies out of the oven at precisely the right time. And y'all... Those cookies were delicious. Real delicious. The only explanation has to be Cookie Jesus.

Finally, I'd like to share a little bit about Pumpkin Jesus, who appeared to Brittany in the form of a bagel and a really great day and to me in the form of a text message. I believe this speaks for itself.

This is basically how all of our texting conversations go.

Thank you, Regular Jesus, for showing up in our lives in such unique ways and sprinkling our shenanigans with joy.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ann Hamilton Makes Dinner and Other Tales of Fantasticness

AH's Note: this post was written by BSteer and left completely unaltered by me.

Editor's Note: The dinner portion of this post is written in real-time.

As the sound of the rain hitting our awkward second-story window envelopes our apartment, we are also greeted with the smell of "burning meat." In all actuality it is the smell of glorious taco meat browning to perfection. Yes interwebs, as I type this post, Ann Ham is cooking us dinner. I should add that she is also dancing to our apartment song.

I must say, she looks very much at home in the kitchen. This might be due in part to the fact that this is our home and our kitchen.

It appears that the taco seasoning has been added to the meat. I can smell the chili powder and it smells delicious. The taco shells are in the oven and I am beginning to become politely impatient. There's something magical about tacos. (That pretty much sums up a taco, right?)

These are not our tacos. Ours are not yet assembled but I needed proof that taco magic is real.

Oh dang! The shells are out of the oven. The timer is beeping like something vulgar was just said on prime time television. Ann Ham just announced that dinner is ready! Oh happy day!

Friday, July 12, 2013

AH and BSteer Go Skating and Play with Fire, Part Two

Otherwise known as All You Ever Wanted to Know about Roasting Marshmallows, and Then Some

Originally, this post was intended to go up a day or two after Part One... back in March.

Yeah. My bad.

Better late than never, right? Here we go!

Although skating was fun and the world's scariest bathroom experience at least resulted in a half decent story, the rest of the night let to even more exciting activities.

First of all, Tim did a cartwheel. And sort of fell down a hill.

Don't worry, he was a-okay.

He was cartwheeling because he was in a pretty good mood. He claims it was because he just loves doing cartwheels, but I know the truth. That boy was over the moon to roast marshmallows.

A little back story: When I first moved into E26 with Brittany, we really wanted to go camping. Alas, no one would join us. As two attractive young ladies with a questionable supply of upper body strength, we decided not to brave the great wilderness without at least one or two brawny companions to defend us should the need arise.

But we still really wanted to go camping. Mostly we just wanted to hang out in our hammocks and roast the heck out of some marshmallows. And then we realized... we could sort of make that happen. We could go apartment camping and still roast marshmallows. We just needed a way to generate a (relatively) safe mallow-roasting flame. Ladies and gentlemen, that was the day E26 Sterno Roasting was born.

 E26 Sterno Roasting: How To Perfectly Roast a Marshmallow in Your Living Room or Anywhere

Step 1. Procure your items: marshmallows, skewers, and Sterno cooking fuel.

If you want to make s'mores, you're obviously also going to need graham crackers and chocolate bars, but saltines and a jar of Nutella could work in a pinch.

Step 2. Place the Sterno can on a heat-safe surface and light fuel.

Usually we'd just put the can on a cookie sheet, and that cookie sheet on a tv tray. And we'd open a window. Because, you know. Safety.

Step 3. Spear your mallow and get to roasting.

You can even share with a buddy!

In my experience roasting marshmallows, it's hard to get the mallow consistently toasted and melted all the way through. Usually the outside is scorched and/or the inside is cold. Also, I'm often torn between going the distance and making a s'more with my mallow, or just enjoying the simple joy of toasted sugar. But Brittany had the solution to these problems. She shared her wisdom with me, and now I share it with you. I call it the BSteer Double Roast technique.

This is BSteer and she approves this message... probably.

With the BSteer Double Roast technique, all these problems just melt away (little mallow-roasting pun for ya). First, put your marshmallow on a skewer and place it in the top of the flame of your Sterno. Yes, directly into the flame. Rotate your mallow in the flame for even heating. And then let it catch on fire. You heard me right! Now quickly but CAREFULLY (this is important, you'll find out why soon) pull that bad boy out of the flame and blow it out. If you've timed it well, your mallow will be burned but not scorched.

Ahh, crispy brown perfection.

Give it a second to cool, and then gently eat the top layer of roasted, melty marshmallow goodness. About half of your unmelted mallow should remain on your skewer.

Pretty great, right? Take a minute to enjoy. Mmmm.

While you're still savoring the deliciously simple taste of roasted mallow, place the unmelted core back into or near the flame. The mallow won't really catch on fire, but it will caramelize on the outside and melt in the middle. Melting won't take long; if you leave the mallow in the flame too long, it will melt completely and could drip off your skewer, so be cautious. When the outside is a lovely golden brown, pull your mallow from the flame.

Ahh, toasty golden perfection.

Either go ahead and eat it plain and simple, or place the mallow between your chocolate and graham crackers and pull the skewer out. Now enjoy your perfect roasted-to-the-core s'more.

That's right, be excited!

Ann Hamilton, we've been reading this whole blog post trying to get to the part where Brittany plays with fire. Why are you dragging this out? Get to the good stuff.

Alright alright alright! Now we're back. When we decided our feet, knees, and souls couldn't take any more skating, rambunctious kids, or scary bathrooms, Brittany, Tim, and I made a grocery store/cartwheel detour on our way back to E26. We roasted mallows, drank strawberry beer, and performed stunning pyrotechnics!

So there we were, chilling in E26, roasting some mallows, making some s'mores, and drinking Abita strawberry when it happened. Brittany was roasting her marshmallow using the tried and true BSteer Double Roast technique. She was in the outer flaming portion of the technique when she realized the mallow wasn't placed squarely on the skewer and was slipping. Unfortunately it was at that moment that the mallow caught fire. Brittany gently pulled the mallow from the flame so as not to sling it across the room (See? Careful!). The marshmallow flared up, smoking, melting, almost dripping from the skewer, and before she could blow it out...
off the skewer. Onto her couch. On fire. ON FIRE.
Brittany yelled, "MY COUCH!" and like a badass new god reached out and plucked the burning marshmallow from the fabric and blew it out while it was still burning in her hand. Because she is a BEAST.

We cleaned the melted marshmallow mess from the slipcover. The couch underneath was undamaged, and luckily Brittany wasn't burned. We carried on with our roasting and had a very pleasant evening and nothing else caught on fire.

The next day I enjoyed the remaining marshmallows in a really nutritious breakfast. Also, I found marshmallow bits in strange places all over the apartment.

Milk and Harry Potter - very nutritious!
Graham and mallow on the cabinet... no idea.

But the important thing to take away from this story is that BSteer is a badass, has no fear, and has CLUTCHED FIRE IN HER BARE HAND.

Whatever, fire, you can't scare BSteer!

Don't cross her, folks. And definitely don't threaten the safety of her furniture.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Almost the end, but not quite

It's mid July, which means the lease on our apartment is almost up, which means AH and BSteer's E26 shenanigans will officially be over, and this blog will officially be put to rest. Brittany decided to go off and get married, so even though her (old) name is on the lease, I'm the solo resident of E26 at the moment. I think that means it's my responsibility to wrap things up.

As I was typing up a final post, I started to reference something that I thought I had published but couldn't find on the blog. I looked through the drafts to discover that not one but five different posts had been started and never finished. Since there's still a little bit of time in July, I'll try to wrap those up as best I can and share them with the world. I will post one each day, followed by the final post.

For now, an update.

Where are they now?
BSteer graduated from her masters program, married this guy she loves, sang "Friends in Low Places" with gusto at her reception, and is settling into the next phase of her life. With a heavy heart (I like to think) and eyes to the future, she hugged E26 goodbye at the end of May and left the apartment forever with a U-Haul full of furniture and two years of fond memories to ease her transition.
(For real, y'all, she hugged the apartment. It was adorable.)
BSteer's final moments in a mostly empty E26
BSteer's first married moments with her hubby
BSteer's first married moments with me!

AH is still trudging through her masters program; she'll graduate in December, but by then she won't live in E26 anymore so who cares, anyway? She attended BSteer's wedding and viewed it not as losing her roommate to someone else, but as gaining a new roommate for the final month of their roommate-ship. AH has a new roommate lined up for next semester (who is pretty awesome, just so you know) when she'll move into F36 (I know, kinda freaky, right? I'm taking it as a good omen).
For now, she spends most of her time dog sitting.
AH with a puppy
AH with another puppy
AH with two other puppies... and coffee 
[Insert "Forever Alone" jokes here]

Tomorrow I will finally post the long overdue follow up to our skating adventure, part two: in which AH and BSteer roast marshmallows, and also there's a mishap with fire.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

AH and BSteer Go Skating and Play with Fire: Part One

Otherwise known as The Most Terrifying Bathroom Experience of My Life.

It's quite possible that the only motivation I have to update this blog is when Tim promises to do something ridiculous in exchange for a new post. That worked really well last time, right?

Therefore, today's post is brought to you by Tim agreeing to wear a pair of BSteer's neon yellow athletic shorts out on the town to purchase a sandwich.
It happened.
It was amazing.
Sadly, there are no pictures, because Tim asked me not to take any, but then I did, and then I felt guilty, so I deleted them. Sorry, world. An artist's rendering of the reported activity is pictured below:

Tim has remarkably good legs to pull off this look.

He got some pretty intense stares in the sandwich shop. I think a few people were a little offended, but the sandwich artist said, "come back and see us!" when he gave Tim his sandwich, and I don't think he was just being polite, if ya know what I mean.

Anyway, Tim held up his end of the bargain, so I owed him a blog post. I told him we would have to do a blog worthy activity. His suggestion? Roller skating.


Part One: AH and BSteer Experience a Scary Bathroom, and Also There Was Skating.

Our local skating rink has a Friday night deal that includes all-you-can-skate from 7 p.m. to midnight for the reasonable price of $8 (plus $2 skate rental). Great deal, right? Who would you assume might take advantage of this gem of an opportunity? College students on a budget? Single 20-somethings looking to make a friend? Adults trying to experience some nostalgia?

Nope. Kids. Little bitty kids, a gaggle of tweens, and a handful of high schoolers, all racing around with reckless abandon and little regard to the presence of the much larger, much poorer skaters who could potentially fall on them and squish them to death.

They were everywhere, they were fast, and they had NO FEAR.

Upon arriving at the skating rink, I needed to use the ladies' room and for some reason decided to do so after trading my boots for skates, but before lacing up to hit the rink. Sock-footed, I trotted across the building to find my way to the restroom blocked by seven 12-year-old girls, all of whom looked rather angry, gathered in front of the bathroom door. I don't know how much time any of you have spend around 12-year-old girls, but they can be intimidating when traveling in a pack. I sheepishly asked if anyone was using the restroom, and they parted to let me pass. One girl told me my hair was pretty, which significantly lifted my spirits, but I opened the bathroom door and they immediately sank. As the door swung shut behind me, I heard the same girl say, "There aren't any stall doors, though!"

Y'all, when that little girl said there weren't any stall doors, she meant there weren't any stall doors! Three toilets, each divided by a painted wood partition, each completely open to the room, affording little to no privacy for anyone brave enough (or stupid enough) to use the facilities. It was also pretty icky. I've never wished for shoes more in my life. I briefly contemplated driving back to my apartment to use the bathroom, but I've gotta be honest, I wasn't sure I could make it. I'd had about 6 glasses of water at dinner, and nature was calling LOUDLY (you're welcome for that TMI - I need you to understand my urgency). I steeled my resolve, picked the least offensive toilet, flushed down its previous contents (yeah, that was the LEAST offensive one) and started to, as they say, drop trou. At that precise moment, in burst three of the tweens: one obviously angry and hurt with her arms crossed leaning up against the sink, and two others who were desperately trying to find out why she was upset. Crossed-Arms Girl was pointedly silent while Helpful Girl A and Helpful Girl B tried desperately to wring the reason out of her. "Why are you mad? You don't wanna leave. Just come back out and skate!"

And I'm still standing there with my pants halfway undone when in stream the rest of the tweens, all chattering, some worried, some mad, some just along to see what all the fuss was about, and dammit, you little girls, I'm trying to use the bathroom!

Finally, I decided to get it over with. I leaned around the partition and said something really mature and discreet, like "Y'all please don't judge me, but I really have to pee." So I dropped my pants and sat down, all while the tweens fuss with one another about who said this and who did what and who's mad at whom, and I'm halfway through a text message to Brittany begging her to come save me when I realize there's not a single thing she could do to make the situation any less awkward.

 So I just finished up, hastily pulled up my jeans, awkwardly navigated through the knot of girls to get to the sink, and high tailed it out of there. Tim and Brittany had a good laugh at my expense, and we all went skating. Sort of. Brittany was a good skater, I was sort of okay, but terrified of falling down, and Tim... well, he tried, poor thing. It's okay, he has lots of other talents.

It was a blast. BSteer and I sang along to Justin Bieber's "Beauty and a Beat," and I broke it down white-girl-style when Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" came on. But the best part of the night, in my opinion, was when BSteer had to go to the bathroom, too. I accompanied her to bar the door so she didn't have to risk the same tween invasion I did, but she made a fatal flaw that I managed to avoid. Girl tried to use the bathroom in skates. Can you imagine how hard it is to pull your pants up while wearing skates? Brittany can!

BSteer is a champion for letting me take this pic.

All in all, I'd say skating was a success, and it's definitely going to happen again. However, I will not make the mistake of forgetting to use the restroom before I go. You live and learn, folks.

Be on the look out for Part Two: Brittany Plays with Fire, and The Perfect Way to Roast a Marshmallow.