Sunday, June 24, 2012

Adventures in Ireland....

As some of you may know, my best friend from home, let's call her C, and I traveled in the company of a large family group to a bus tour of Ireland. 

We've been planning this trip for... oh... six years now, drawn to it for its romantic and historical quality-- and okay, we watched P.S. I Love You, and fell in love. 

With Gerard Butler.  Er-- Ireland.

What was I writing about? 

Anyway, we saw great and wonderful things... monasteries, stunning mountain views... the Cliffs of Insanity (really!  though they're called the Cliffs of Moher in real life)... the bridge where Gerry and Holly met in the movie....

Here I am at the "P.S. I Love You" bridge in Wicklow... :)  Obviously wagging my tail in excitement!
While the museums, ancient buildings, and movie sites were grand.... and I don't mean to dismiss them, the most entertaining anecdote from the trip is as follows.... perpetuated by the big mouth of.... yep, yours truly.

My friend C and I had picked up a third acquaintance, B, who was sent out with us by her mother and grandmother because we looked responsible.  Ha.

I'm just kidding.  We were responsible.

So the trio wandered Killarney... hoping to find handsome Irish lads to fall in love with us, serenade us, and tell us how pretty we were in the lovely Irish brogue... we had high expectations.

 Yep.  High expectations.

However, we knew that we were being silly, and set out to explore the pub scene.  We wandered through a few pubs, listened to some street music, and window-shopped for a few hours, and as the sky grew darker, the amount of people jammed into one pub or another grew exponentially. 

We walked into a cute "traditional" pub, and found ourselves walking a gauntlet of inebriated Irishmen and hard-faced women, bustling around each other in the tiny, smoky corridor.  Looking for an escape, I located a door and headed directly for it, the girls following closely behind me. 

Upon our exit, we found ourselves on a side street where a few tables had been set up, and a bunch of guys (seven, I think?) were drinking and chatting merrily, exchanging loud insults and louder laughter.

When they saw us, one called out "Hey, girls!" in this odd, fake Irish accent.

Shoot, I thought.  We come all this way to Ireland and all we find is a bunch of American college students, like us, looking to get the "Irish experience".

"Where are you from?" I called.
"Baltimore," was the reply, followed by hearty laughter, mangled by drink, staged accent, and the surrounding noise. 
Again with the weird accent! Two could play at that game. 
"Oh, Baltimore, then?"

I pulled out one of my silly accents, mostly British, and tried to put an Irish twist on it.  Better than theirs, though-- helped to be sober!  I dropped it anyway, though. 

"C'mon.  I can do a better Irish accent than that.  Is that really the best you've got?"

A full blast of Irish brogue from about three mouths hit me like a train, speaking so quickly that I was struggling to keep up with the meaning.

"Oh, yeh?  G'head then, if y'can,"
"What's she on about?" *laughter*


A few very long seconds of comprehension passed, accompanied by a swift display of blush, then pallor.

I tossed my hair, and tried to simultaneously apologize and seem unphased and confident.  Luckily for me, a few moments in, C was bumped by another passerby and crashed into one of the beers held by the young men, spilling it all over him, providing an immediate distraction.

After the cleanup and some awkward banter, we settled into introductory exchanges, conversation bolstered by the comparison of stereotypes with reality. 

"You guys are Americans?  You guys must be, like, omigod, like totally cool!" one guy, dark haired, said, putting on a whiny, high pitched affectation.

"We do NOT sound like that," I said, annoyed.

"Oh, yes, y'do," he quickly answered.  I opened my mouth to argue but he cut me off.  "But that's okay.  To you we sound like... what, leprechauns?  Di-dee-di-dee-di-dee-di all the time," he grinned good-naturedly, dancing a little jig.  I couldn't help but smile.

As we all continued to chat, both C and I noticed that they seemed to be advertising their friend, let's call him J. 

"Oh, J's sooooo tall.  And good at football.  Doesn't he have good posture?  He has the best posture of any you've seen, hasn't he?" etc. etc.... escalating to.. "You should give him a kiss.  You?" he pointed at C.  "You?"  He pointed at me.  We laughed and demurred, shaking our heads.  "Oh, c'mon!!!" they cajoled. 
Let's be honest.  One or both of us should have said yes.  He was SO GOOD LOOKING.  Oh well.  Moral decency and all that.  Drat.

J and C spent time chatting, and there was definitely a spark.  B was talking to another, and I talked with the group of guys about the upcoming football match.  As the group got excited about Ireland playing in the match, they began singing. 

No joke.  Irish guys.  They sing.

By sing, I mean they jumped up on the outdoor tables, pounded on chairs, and gesticulated emphatically as they sang football anthems to familiar pop tunes... 

                 Let it Be: "Robbie Kaaaayyyy (Keane), Robbie K, Robbie K, Robbie K! 
                                  We don't care, we love him, Robbie Kaaayyyyyyy."

Some of the other ones were more tasteful... "I'll love him (some football player) all my life... he's the best yada yada... I'd let him shag my wife!"

Yikes.  Maybe I won't marry an Irishman.

Anyway, after being serenaded for the better part of an hour, an hour and a half, during which we were brought purchased drinks (YES!  Goal of cute Irish guy(s) buying me a drink? Check.), we parted ways, declining the offer to join them at the night club.

I wish I had taken pictures... but this was a wonderful, colorful evening... where we COULD have kissed young cute Irishmen... if we wanted to...

I mean, dang.  We should have.  That would make such a better blog post.


Friday, June 10, 2011


I'm a Disney Princess! 

Well............ sorta.

Okay, so I went running.  (pause for inevitable laughter).  I know, it's okay, you can laugh.

Not only did I turn all kinds of red and purple, but yesterday I chose to wear a white athletic shirt and white tennis shorts (why???  Where was my head in this plan?), a glowing snowman-yeti hurtling down the pavement at a stunning 4mph.  Hopefully faster than that, but probably not, knowing my athletic skills. Sorry.  Keep reading.  I'll get to the story.

One of my biggest obstacles in running is my intense self-consciousness about running/exercising in public.  My latest solution is self-coaching, which usually goes like this:

"All right, Christi, don't worry about it.  No one cares.  You are engaging in the imaginary audience fable, which is part of adolescent development, which you SHOULD have outgrown by now.  You can do this!  No one's looking!  Even if they are, they're cheering you on, because most of them are 60 and older and are just generally encouraging people!  All right!  This is great!"

However, I made the mistake of turning down a new street, where a young man about my age was chatting with friends on the sidewalk.  Of course, he looked like all of the high school jocks from my past... except my age.

Thought process: "Guy!  My age!  DARN IT! Aahhh! Aw, man, he's cute, too!  Shoot.  He probably thinks that I look like a glowing snowman-yeti.  Why did I wear all white? Idiot.  Don't look, don't look, maybe he won't see you if you don't look at him!"

At this point, I crossed to the other side of the street, and he looked up, and I tried my hardest to look somewhere, anywhere, but that side of the street.  I kept trying to tell myself that he didn't see me, that he shouldn't care, but I heard laughter following me.  Dang it.

I kept running, but then I heard a car horn honk behind me.  Driving the car was said guy, car full of other guys and girls my age, all laughing, and he smiled big and waved to make absolutely SURE that I knew that he saw me.  Perfect.  I tried to smile and wave, but I was exploding in sweat... so I think it came out as a grimace.  Awesome.

I put this out of my mind and kept running, trying to imagine myself as someone hardcore and disciplined!  As I wrapped up my run, I realized that I REALLY needed to spit, do something to fix the dryness in my mouth.

Apparently,  I can't run and "hock a loogey" at the same time.

Apparently, I can't "hock a loogey" at all.

So there I was, in the middle of the city, failing at spitting.... picture MuLan.  Except dressed like a glowing snow-man yeti.   I didn't know what to do... except laugh.  So there I was, bright red and purple, trying to manage my half-expelled spit, cackling like a madwoman.

Hartford City, meet Christi Kroll.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sick. And not in the "cool" way.

So, if you've been on the phone with me, or anywhere near me, you may have realized that my voice is going through these stages where it sounds like Joan Jett, a smoker, a pubescent boy, Brad Favazza, and sometimes, nothing at all.  Whatever's going around, I got it.

I've been croaking for four days now, and have been prescribed a cabinet full of drugs, cough syrup, AND an inhaler.  I'm just that cool.

I was talking to my roommate, Kelsey, about my habit of complaining.  I prefer to think of it as a wry running commentary on my life.  And I ALWAYS have a comment.  That being said, I like to point to my heritage.  I always say, there is PLENTY of evidenciary support for the biological heritage of the "complaining" gene throughout the history of the Jews.  I mean, c'mon.  Read Exodus.  Consider the contexts of the Pauline epistles.  Watch the Nanny.  All solid, legitimate sources of Jew-hooing over pretty much nothing.

Anyway, I was pointing this out to my roommate, and she said...

"Watch out! I think your people get swallowed up by the earth, periodically, for complaining!"

Christi: "Uh...I don't think so.  That was for stealing, wasn't it?  Silver from the temple?  Arguing with      
Moses?  That kind of thing.... and I definitely haven't stolen temple silver OR argued with Moses."

Kelsey: "True.  But didn't the Israelite people get in big trouble for grumbling?"

Christi: "Yeah!  But it was Moses, 'cause he hit the rock with the stick, instead of waiting for God to give water, so he couldn't enter the Promised Land.  The Israelites didn't get swallowed up, they just got... sick."

Kelsey: (pointed silence)

God has a sense of humor.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


So, this J-Term I'm trying to help out by doing various errands around the house, as well as moving my grandfather in to the house down the street and shoveling endless snow.  :)

Last weekend, I was tidying up our house.  My two 12 year old brothers were at school, and my mom asked me to hang new curtains in their room. 

Allow me to interest you in a bit of context.  Their room was originally a stony gray-blue color, gorgeous, sophisticated, but a little dark.  Two years ago, they were given the opportunity to choose their own color... and the room was painted in a color that is a cross between spring green and mint green, with a bit more yellow than blue in it... not the manliest color, but hey, it's their room.  However, the curtains from the previous room, a bright fire engine red, were still hanging in the windows.

I liked those curtains, despite the clash of green and red.  They were thick, masculine, kept out the draft and the light...solid.  My mother, however, decided that the clash was wreaking far too much havoc on our home decor, and asked me to hang a pair of curtains from the master bedroom.  They kinda looked like this:

When I saw the curtains, I thought that she must have been joking.  Sure, they were blue, but they were short, half the length of the red curtains, and were sewn a la Cinderella's skirt.  Seriously. 

I spent the rest of the hour hanging the curtains, chuckling to myself, anticipating with glee the reactions of my brothers. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

When the boys got home, I casually placed myself in my room, across from theirs, with the door wide open, a Cheshire-cat grin on my face.

At first, silence.  Then:

"WHO DID THIS?"  I heard my brother Joshua ask.

"Christen," my mom replied.


"Uh, in her room, I think..."

Cue thunderous footsteps.  A small boy burst through my door.  I braced myself for impact and laughed quietly, anticipating, enjoying the moment.


"Huh? Did you see the curtains?"


Aw, man.  No fun.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Babysitting Experience

I'd like to think that I'm quite an accomplished babysitter.

I started babysitting, well, sibling watching, very young... I know that my mom started me on helping out as soon as my brothers joined the family, when I was about seven.  By the time I was 12, I was babysitting occasionally for a pair of girls, 5 and 8 or so, who were well behaved, imaginative, and bright.  I loved it.  I knew I was a world class babysitter.

However, circumstances changed and I started to look for a family that needed a babysitter more often.  I found a job sitting once a week as a "mother's helper" for a music teacher.  Sounds right up my alley, right?  Right....

I went to interview with the family, and passed well: the mother was excited to hire me.  She gave me a tour of the house and explained the needs of her girls: a two year old and a 4 month old.  Keep in mind that I was 12.

Anyway, the first night that I was to babysit, I was given the 4-month old, so as not to "overwhelm" me when the parents went out with the toddler.  Again, the mother explained to me that the formula was in the fridge, how hot to make it, where the changing station was, what time the baby went to sleep, and I nodded confidently.  After all, I had watched a pair of twin boys grow up in my house, and knew how to handle a four month old.  Or so I thought.

On the way out, the mother called out over her shoulder, "Oh, by the way, she's never taken from a bottle before, I've always fed her myself.  But I'm sure she'll catch on."

.... so there I was.  12.  4 month old baby in my arms.  Alone.

I decided not to panic, but to start trying her on the bottle right away, just in case it took longer for her to learn how to use the bottle.  After all, I was certified by my middle school.  I knew how to heat a bottle, change a diaper, and do infant CPR, darn it!  I was QUALIFIED!

I heated the bottle and tested the milk on my wrist.  Perfect.  I gently guided it into the baby's mouth.  She turned away.  What did I expect?  I continued to try to give it to her, patiently, not pushing it, but she kept turning away.  I squeezed the bottle so a little milk fell into her mouth.  She started paying attention, but still refused the bottle, and started to fuss.  "What the heck is this?" I could hear the accusation as clear as day.  The milk cooled, and I reheated it, tested it on my wrist--ouch---let it cool, okay, perfect, and repeated my efforts.  She would have none of it.  However, she did start to get hungry.

She decided to get her dinner the only way she knew how.  Unfortunately, I was gifted with neither the supplies nor the equipment to feed her the traditional way.  I was 12, for goodness' sakes!  When I didn't grant her access to what she thought was dinner, she began to howl in earnest.

I tried to be unfazed.  After all, babies cry.  I knew that.  Everyone knows that.  I kept trying the bottle, bouncing her up and down, rocking her, singing to her, everything.  She only cried louder!  I doubled my efforts, bouncing her frantically.  Looking back, I'm sure that that couldn't have been comfortable, but I was getting nervous.

It was too long that she had been crying.  Her face was deep red.  Finally, she started to cry silently, her face straining, gurgling sounds in her throat.  I paled.  I just knew that the baby was going to die.  I could see it now: BABY CRIES HERSELF TO DEATH.  BABYSITTER RESPONSIBLE.  I knew CPR, but I had heard horror stories of blowing too much air in an infants lungs, and my mind raced, playing out devastating scenarios.  I did what every self-respecting preteen would do: I swallowed my pride and called my mom.  I planned to ask her advice calmly, hypothetically, professionally.  What my mom got was
"MoooooOOOOOMMMMM...... the baby's going to aspirate on her own spit and DIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE and I don't know what to do and I'm too scared to do CPR and I... I ... I "

My mother reassured me that, yes, it was scary, but young infants did cry that way and did in fact survive the transition from the breast to the bottle.  I took a deep breath and she promised to be over in an hour, if the baby wasn't calm by then.

I tried the bottle a few more times.  Still the silent screams.  Her face was turning purple.  By then, we were both in tears.  In desperation, I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed, "Jesus, please don't let her die.... God, if you make her take the bottle, I promise I'll give you my entire check from tonight, please, just let her take the bottle and stop crying!!!"

I put the bottle in the baby's mouth.  With a wet pop, the baby took the bottle, instantly.

Very funny, God.

All's well that ends well.  I gave my check to missions, and it helped two little Ugandan girls get brand new beds.  The baby went to sleep like an angel.  I didn't lose my job or go to jail for accidental-baby-killing-by-being-12-and-flat chested-and-unable-to-nurse-a-child.


Think I should put that on my resume?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wow. I suck at multi-tasking.

So, I've been working on cartooning a new post for quite some time now, but ... cartooning actually takes a lot of time, even if it's a crappy excuse for artwork.  BLARG.

Also, I've actually been attempting to do my schoolwork.  So that's reason number 2.

Rest assured, though, I will post as soon as I can.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

She's on fire..... OH CRAP!!!!

Another Kroll family favorite....

So, when I was nine, my family traveled to Montreal for a weekend.  It was beautiful, and I enjoyed being treated like an adult as we went out to a fancy Franco-Vietnamese restaurant.  As fancy as it was, the place still catered to children, and crayons and coloring pages were made available to us girls.

I love crayons.

Like, a lot.

Anyway, I got very enthusiastic about coloring.  A little too enthusiastic.  I mean, the colors, the smell of wax, ideas taking form and bloom beneath my hand... I was mesmerized.  Focusing, I leaned over the table to perfect my masterpiece.

Too bad that this was a fancy restaurant.

Too bad that there was a lit candle in the center for some sort of "ambience" or other such French nonsense.

Too bad I had long hair.

Key word: "had"....


I had my hair up that night, with twin tendrils of curls hanging down on either side of my ponytail.  Unbeknownst to me in my artistic trance, one of these strands had caught fire, and like a fuse, the flame was creeping up my hair toward my face.

Luckily for me, my darling mother noticed flames of death reaching for her small daughter's face.  Like any brave mother, she leapt across the table to crush out the flame with her hand.

Unluckily for me, I was still unaware of the situation.  What I quickly became aware of was the uncommon and terrifying sight of my mild mannered mother screaming and lunging across a table at me with surprising speed!

We crashed.  It was very undignified... yelling and crashing in the midst of this nice restaurant, and I became quite indignant, still unaware that my hair was ever on fire... just aware that my foot was crushed and that my mom was a psycho.

Then I saw what was left of my hair.

So yes... my life has always been this way.  Just in case you were wondering.

...but I still color at restaurants... :)