because we are all stories in the end

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These last two weeks have been crazy.

Let me enlighten you.

I traveled to Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; and Silverthorne, Colorado; with a 48-hour period at home in between Texas and Colorado. That’s over 2,600 miles, y’all.

I got to do and see so much, so I’ve decided to split this post into two parts.

Part One: Texas

Ah, Texas: where everything’s bigger. On Thursday, July 17th, I left for Dallas with my mom and brother. My brother’s baseball team was playing in a tournament there, so we decided to make a mini vacation out of it. On the non-baseball days, we mostly went to different malls. We got to see the Galleria Mall in Dallas, as well as the Stonebriar Centre Mall in Frisco. Both of them were really nice! We had a lot of fun. It was great to have some time with my brother before he goes off to college this month.

Outside the Tiffany store in the Galleria (that’s my mom on the right):


We also stopped by Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, my brother’s favorite restaurant in the entire world, and had the most delicious cheesecake of our lives, as seen below:


And by Tuesday, it was time for me to go, so we headed to Dallas Love Field Airport…


…where I waited to board my flight to Houston (some snaps from my Snapchat story that day):





And at long last, I was reunited with Mermaid! We had a grand three days together. We got to visit her family’s new house, and I introduced her to two wonderful things: Downton Abbey and embroidery.



She was a natural! My first embroidery student was a complete success.



(Sorry the pictures are all weird sizes…)

Anyway, on our last day together, we went to the movies. But not at some regular old movie theater. No, no.


We went to the Santikos Palladium–the largest movie theater in North America, apparently.




(I’m next to the light post in the picture above)

It was pretty phenomenal. I didn’t get any pictures of the inside, but it was, as you can imagine, gigantic. It had a restaurant, a coffee bar, an arcade, an express diner, a full bar, a concession stand, and even a gift shop! (Not to mention the huge theaters with 81-foot screens.) We saw Hercules and Lucy (the former surprisingly better than the latter).



Mermaid and her Mama stole my phone and snapped some selfies:



They’re pretty great, and by that I mean they’re truly amazing people. I love them.

And, finally, here are our finished embroidered creations:



…and mine.


Texas was quite an adventure, and I’m so glad I got to go. The whole trip was a blessing that I really needed; a nice respite before my next trip: Silverthorne, Colorado, which I’ll talk more about in the next post!

Until next time, friends.


Last night Waddles, D-Day (Waddles’s boyfriend), Husband, and I all went to see one of my all-time favorite musicals: Wicked.

And it was, well…WICKED. As in AMAZING. (And I knew it would be–I saw it a few years ago and fell in love–but it was just as magical, if not more so, the second time around.)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, here’s a little taste: it’s based on the book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, which is essentially a prequel to The Wizard of  Oz, but there’s a twist (Spoiler alert?): it turns out that the Wicked Witch of the West may not have been so wicked after all. It’s a story of unlikely friendships and being brave enough to stand up for something you believe in, and it’s fantastic–not to mention the beautiful costumes and set design and PHENOMENAL music. Ugh. I could gush about it forever.

Anyway. It was super fun and we all had a great time. Plus we got to have a mini photoshoot beforehand. And now, I’ll include some of those photos to finish up this post.

This is Waddles (on the left). Isn’t she cute? We’ve been besties since seventh grade. That’s like eight years, y’all. We’re old.


Husband is the hot one in blue.

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I decided to be really dorky and take one of those “hold up the monument” photos, like a bad tourist. This is my lot in life.


We attempted to pose like the poster. See the resemblance?


Husband and D-Day. They are dorks.

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Pretty Waddles 🙂 She’s a great model. I tell her, “Okay, now do this! Make this pose! Okay, now walk over there!” And all the pictures come out beautifully.

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A few of yours truly. I actually liked the way I looked, which isn’t always the case, so I decided to have some photos as evidence. (By the way, this is my favorite dress. I think everyone who wears dresses should have a dress like this. It’s black and flowy, so it’s flattering, and the fabric it’s made of NEVER WRINKLES. It’s pretty wonderful.)

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The wind was crazy and kept blowing our hair around.

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The view from our balcony seats! A map! A steampunk dragon! Gosh, this set is so cool.

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And the program.



That’s all for today, folks.

I am proud to say that I’ve knocked something off my “Stuff I’m Going to Do” list! Go, me!

I re-taught myself how to embroider tea towels. Now, that probably sounds super boring. But I find it to be quite fun and even relaxing. My grandmother taught me how to embroider years ago, and I fell in love with it. She recently gave me a little embroidery kit filled with sewing supplies and tea towels and last week I thought, you know what? I’m just going to go for it.

This is the result:


This is the first one I completed! I meant to take “in progress” photos but forgot. Oh, well.


And these are the first two that I’ve finished. Pretty, no?

Some detail shots:



I’m pretty proud of them.


This is my current project. It will get done…eventually. But for now, I need to move on to a different craft project: finishing the scrapbook for my friend and her daughter, who is almost one year old now (I have a little less than a month to finish before her birthday)! The great thing about embroidery is that it’s not a one-and-done sort of thing. I can enjoy it my whole life, and maybe even teach my children/grandchildren how to do it someday (should there be any).

Until next time, friends.



It’s been like six days since I last published a blog post. UGH. See, this is what I meant about being absolutely terrible about journaling and blogging and stuff. Basically, I have commitment issues.


I figure I need to post something here even if only to prove to myself that I actually can be dedicated to something. Now, what to write about? I’ve no wisdom to impart, no adventures yet to share.

I signed up for Blogging for Books recently, and I just got my first book to review in the mail today. It’s called My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead. One day I will write a review of it on this here blog, but today is not that day.

Recently I’ve been dreading going to bed at night. There are a few reasons for this: 1) because sleep feels like a waste of time; 2) because trying to actually fall asleep is a chore; and 3) because while I am always entertaining my brain in some way and am consequently always tired, I never feel like I’ve actually done anything with my days. That probably doesn’t make sense. Let me elaborate.

I’ve always had trouble sleeping, now that I think about it. But once in a while, a night or two will come along when I collapse on my bed and fall right to sleep, exhausted from the day’s happenings. I think the reason I can sleep on those nights is because I feel like I’ve actually done something, whereas now, I mostly spend my days on the Interwebs, on my iPhone, or on the couch binging on Netflix. (Man, I’m pathetic.)

I guess what I really want is something to do that requires me to actually move around during the day. My new job will not be any help with this, as it will require me to spend hours on the Internet, which is why I’m going to make a schedule for myself of things to do other than be in front of a screen for most of my day. Yes, this is what I must do, and I promise, dear blogosphere, to do it.

I’ve rambled long enough. Are you bored yet? Sorry. I’ll post something real soon. And by that I mean I will post a real thing soon, not really soon, because who knows when I’ll blog next. Sorry again.

Sometimes I write stuff. And once in a while, I create something that I’m pretty proud of.

The piece I’m about to show you is one of those things.

It’s a personal narrative I wrote for a class I took last semester, a story about the time my family took an RV to New York City. Yeah, you read that right. It was…an adventure, to say the least.

Before you begin: I wrote it in non-chronological fashion, so be prepared for some jumps in time. Also, it’s meant to be funny, so please feel free to laugh.

And now, I present for your reading pleasure, “Votaw Family Adventures—Episode 1: In Which My Family Takes a Bite Out of the Big Apple”


Votaw Family Adventures—Episode 1: In Which My Family Takes a Bite Out of the Big Apple

New York State Sign

(to the tune of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas)

‘Twas our last day in New York, and all through the city

my mother and I had wandered. Time to go? We were ready.

We carried our purchases (and the weight we had gained);

I was ready to call for a cab to the train

when what to my wandering eyes should appear,

but my father driving a class B motorhome down the streets of Manhattan?

…but lo, I’m getting ahead of myself.


August 2010. I’m about to be a senior in high school, and my younger brother is about to be a freshman. It’s nobody’s birthday, it’s not a holiday. But my parents decide, “You know what? We’re going to New York City.” Which is awesome news for me, because I have wanted to go to the Big Apple since I read about it in the Baby-Sitter’s Little Sister book Karen’s Big Weekend, in which Karen spends Christmas in New York City (which, of course, I read ages ago, as a child. I am seventeen now and I read classics like Pride and Prejudice, thank you very much).

Now, how to get there? We could get plane tickets, but what would we do with our two dogs and cat? Take them to a boarding kennel? No, they’re much too spoiled. Leave them with a friend? Ha ha, nice try. No, it is decided that they must travel with us. So one day my dad brings home an RV—not a big one, mind you, and not one you pull behind a truck. It’s a Class B motorhome, one of the short ones with the little hood over the cab.

mom in rv

            Yes, friends. We’re driving a motorhome. To New York City. From Vinita, Oklahoma, that’s over 19 hours of driving nonstop. But don’t you fret and don’t you frown, because with our two aging dogs, we’ll be making plenty of stops.



We are here! In New York City! Primarily to see Derek Jeter, sure, but hey, we’re here. No, we won’t be seeing any Broadway shows, and no, we won’t be touring any museums, but you can always come back, Jess. (Sigh.) We might get to see Fifth Avenue, though (Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment!), and maybe we’ll go see the Statue of Liberty, but most importantly, DEREK FREAKING JETER! He’s the reason people go to New York, right? (My poor, uncultured family…)



This vehicle is much too small for two parents, two teenagers, two dogs, and a cat. I wonder to myself why we didn’t just get one of those really long and fancy ones, and then my brother wonders it aloud. What my mom says is, “Gas is expensive.” What she doesn’t say is, “Your father has already nearly run this beast into enough things, and I don’t even want to imagine him driving a larger one, so please just shut up so that I can maybe try to sleep even though I know good and well that’s not going to happen.”

sis and bro and mom and pets



The stadium is packed. After all, it is a Yankees game. And, I have to admit, it’s pretty cool. I grew up a baseball fan (in large part because my brother’s been playing it since he could walk), and I do get a thrill from the crowds and the lights and the excitement, but this is a whole new animal, because WE’RE IN THE FOOD SEATS. For those of you who don’t know what that means, the food seats (which are what my brother and I called them; they probably have some fancy name like VIP seating or something) are the best in the house because when you sit in them, you are entitled to free food at any point during the game. Two hot dogs and a Coke? Sure thing, kid. Cotton candy and a corn dog? Coming right up. Fries and another hot dog? You betcha!

I am really excited about the food seats.

The only person who may be more excited than me at this moment is my mom, who, when she thinks she sees ol’ pretty boy Jeter look up toward our section of the stands, giggles, “He winked at me! Derek just looked up here and winked at me!” like the middle-aged fangirl she is.

 food seats


The cat’s not peeing. We’ve been in this rolling rectangle for about 14 hours now and he hasn’t done anything in his litter box. And he isn’t eating, either. In fact, he hasn’t even come out of the little blue crate with his bed in it, which we stuck in the bathroom at the very back of the RV.

I’m beginning to think we’ve scarred him.



“Oh. My. Gosh.

I blink a few times, sure that what I am seeing is an illusion. But no, the hooded white box rolls ever closer, towering above the yellow cabs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my father is driving our rental RV down Fifth Avenue. How he has managed to find us is and forever will be beyond me, but there he is.

“Come on, we gotta jump in!” Mom shouts when he gets close. Dad rolls down his window and, with a crazed gleam in his eye, shouts, “Let’s go, let’s go!”

“Who are you people and what have you done with my parents?!” the drama-queen inside me wants to scream. But I don’t. We jump in the RV like it’s a getaway van (actually, right now that’s exactly what it is) and drive off. I don’t breathe until we hit the highway.

           NYC at night



Destination: New York City, NY. Mode of travel: Small recreational vehicle. People traveling: 45-year-old male, 44-year-old female, 17-year-old female, 15-year-old male. Animals traveling: 10-year-old miniature schnauzer, 8-year-old miniature schnauzer, 1-year-old cat. Time spent: approximately 168 hours. Overall rating: 10/10, would go again, would recommend to slightly insane friend.

I did the thing. I gave my boss my two weeks’ notice. It didn’t go over enormously well, but I needed to do it, and now the worst is over, I think.

In other news, I think I’m going to start re-reading Harry Potter again. Or maybe I should read the other twelve books I’ve started and left unfinished…

Maybe I’ll decide tomorrow.

Goodnight, blogosphere.

I took some time today (well, yesterday–it’s midnight now) to spruce up this here blog. I changed some pictures and added some new pages:

Blogging is not as easy as I thought it would be. I easily spent half my day getting it all fixed up the way I wanted. Hours and hours have flown by like no time at all. And thinking about what to write was even more difficult! Anyway, I just wanted to add one more thing to today’s post.

I think that tomorrow (rather, later today, Thursday) will be the day that I give my boss my two weeks’ notice. And to be perfectly honest, I’m really nervous. And anxious. And frankly a bit scared. Mostly, I’m afraid of her getting upset and disappointed with me. I have a really hard time with things like that. I feel like a quitter. But I know that this job only brings me stress, and working fully at my other job is just a more logical idea all around. I need to do this. I just don’t want to deal with the messy part. Sigh.

On a happier note: We’re officially going to see Wicked! I got the tickets ordered, printed, and neatly placed in their own special folder. Our performance is on June 29th at 7:30 p.m. So excited.

Until next time, friends.