Thursday, September 28, 2006

I Ain't Gonna Tell You Stories...
I, trying to be a good citizen, went to donate whole blood on one the few days off I've had these past two weeks. This is my third time donating in Atlanta.

My senior year of college at UAF was my sister's freshman year. Every blood drive they had we went. Our first blood drive was my first time donating. I figured I'd feel woozy afterwards, but unlike the macho man who passed out a couple of chairs down from me, I took it like a champ and was fine (and so did and was my sister). The people at the Blood Bank of Alaska have gentle hands. Donating blood never hurt, my arm barely bruised, and once a cute guy chatted with me about classic rock and how he'd take the top off of his Bronco, blast his classic rock, and cruise the streets of Anchorage. Who wouldn't give blood for that?

There's no Blood Bank of Alaska here in Georgia. This past donation was the roughest. My hand has never hurt like that. They had the blood pressure band so tight on my arm that my hand ached. The band left marks on my arm. I told the people twice that my hand was hurting, but it wasn't until later that they released some of the pressure. And, when I was done, the woman said, "I ain't gonna tell you any stories. You're gonna bruise."

She wasn't telling stories. Observez-vous.

Bruise 1a
Before I took off the wrap.

Bruise 2a
The day after.

For as bad as it looks, it really doesn't hurt. Am I going to give up on donating blood because of this? Nope. My blood can go to as many as three people.

-T. Budnik

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What I Think of Atlanta, Georgia, and the Lower 48

Shortly after I got to Atlanta, Georgia, I decided that I wasn’t going to make any official judgments about the place or the people. The person who inspired me to do this was probably Digger, a graduate student of the same department where I worked in college. He told me one day while we were chatting in the copy room that he would never raise children in Alaska because the people he had met who were born and raised in Alaska seemed naïve—they didn’t know what a big city really was. Now, to his credit, I did ask him what he thought of Alaska since he had just revealed that he wasn’t from the state. Maybe he was just saying something to say something. This was a year or two before my No Shit Spring Semester, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to call him on this. If it had been during or post-No Shit Spring Semester, I would have told him to shut the hell up because I was born and raised in Alaska and what, was I, too, flawed (not too flawed, though, to recognize the shit spewing from his mouth)? Nah, I wouldn’t have said that to him. I would have made a more-aggressive-than-passive joke about it. In order to prevent any open-mouth-insert-foot incidents, I’ve tried to refrain from making any “I don’t want to raise any children here” comments about the state of Georgia or the city of Atlanta.

I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, knowing that I would be writing a post about this. This is all I have: I hate the bugs. I hate the pollution. I hate the traffic. I dislike the fact that there are always people at the grocery store. That there’s a grocery store on every corner and the nearest one doesn’t have plain bottled water. I appreciate the trees and the fact that there is an organization working towards planting more trees in Atlanta (Trees Atlanta). I love that I don’t have to walk or drive ever in snow and there’s only a handful of days where I have to whip out my Kroger card to scrape frost from my car windows. I don’t appreciate the fact that I can’t walk anywhere most of the year without flooding the streets with my sweat. And, sometimes I wonder if the residents of Georgia realize how privileged they are with all of the post-secondary education options they have within the state or just a state away.

But what is all of that? Nothing. I thought I’d have stronger feelings about Atlanta after a year. I don’t. Maybe it’s because I plan on moving once I’m done with school. If I do end up finding a killer job here, I won’t be heartbroken about staying. Atlanta hasn’t swept me off of my feet and that’s okay. It may float other people’s boats and that’s okay, too. It just doesn’t quite float my boat.

The strongest comment I’ll make about my year away from Alaska (and this is something learned from my travels across the states, not just my time spent in Georgia): that naïveté or “sheltered” attitude, which Digger suggested was a result of being born and raised in Alaska, isn’t specific to a state. It’s a state of mind.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 17

8:20pm, my apartment

“This entry will conclude the Alaska to Atlanta chronicles. I dropped Mom off at the airport this morning around 5-6am. It was sad to see her go. We spent 24/7 with each other for three weeks straight. Not once did we get sick of each other. We got a little pissy, yes, but that was more about our situation. (We turned around four times trying to get onto the right road out of Goldsboro, NC.)

“I’m all settled in my apartment. I’ve been trying to apply for jobs, but my phone situation has been funky. Only yesterday was I able to get a working phone. I got a cell phone and as Michelle pointed out to me, yes, I belong to the man. All I really need is a job, to start school, and I’ll be officially settled.

“The spiders here are disturbing. There are so many living in the windows of this apartment (on the outside of course). It’s a decent apartment complex, though. My neighbors can be noisy, but nothing too bad.

“I’ll make some final comments on my two week drive. It was FANTASTIC! I honestly have nothing to regret. It was worth every penny, every minute. I saw so much of the states, Canada, and most importantly, my family. I would do it again and again. I am looking forward to more driving. I want to drive. Everywhere and anywhere. As long as I have a decent car, a full tank of gas, and a good travel partner, I want to take off.

"Until the next trip."

Move Postcard

-T. Budnik

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ally Ally En Free!

That's what my siblings and I would call at the end of Hide and Seek when we gave up looking. It was the call for everyone unfound to come out. Since we're waiting for the last "A Year Ago Today" entry, I figured I'd call for everyone to reveal themselves.

I use and I've noticed that I'm getting hits from places where I don't think I know people. I'm just curious to see who's reading. So, leave a comment, say 'hi.' The regular commenters can do it, too (I don't want anyone to feel left out). If you have a blog yourself, leave the link and I'll take a peek at it. Maybe I'll add it to my list of links.


Monday, September 11, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 11

10:06pm, Amerisuites on Peachtree and Piedmont

“After turning in the [housing] applications, Mom and I went cruising around. I picked up job applications from Barnes & Noble, a shoe store, and Cost Plus World Market. I can’t really fill them out until I get an address and phone number. Lordy, I hope I can move into that apartment tomorrow.”

Here’s another view from the hotel room. I know you’re excited.

Another View from Hotel
Enjoy! And, until the 17th,
A Year Ago Today
September 10

9:20am, Amerisuites on Peachtree and Piedmont

“Yesterday we finally pulled into Atlanta! It’s huge! We ended up pulling into Atlanta right at rush hour. There was so much traffic. And, there were 7-8 lanes on I-75/85. We haven’t really seen much of the city, but so far it’s pretty.”

Here is the view from our hotel room. What a change of scenery.

View from Hotel

P.S. I have two more entries for this series. They will be posted on the 11th and 17th of this month. My journal officially ends on the day Ma Mère flew back to Alaska. Then, to finish off the series I will post my thoughts of Atlanta. (Some of you know that I have withheld from making any official judgments about Atlanta or Georgia until I had lived here for a full year.)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 9

10:09am somewhere on the road to Atlanta

“This morning we some how didn’t get onto 70 like we should have. So, after 40 extra miles and 4 turnarounds we finally got onto the right road.”


Sorry, everybody, it looks like I don't actually start talking about Atlanta in my journal until tomorrow (despite the fact that a year ago today I arrived here).

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 8

Again, I didn’t write anything. Look at those people. Would you take the time to write if you were chillin’ with these cool peeps? I think not. Too bad Paul and Liz didn’t make it into this picture. Stay tuned tomorrow, though, because I pull into Atlanta.

NC Peeps


Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 7

Because I was having too much fun hanging out with the Budnik 6, I didn’t have time to write anything.

Top Model

Here’s the top model in North Carolina.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 6

9:34am, on the road to North Carolina

“Monday, we got up, had breakfast, and watched some TV and Shrek. We played soccer with Andrew, which was fun because Kaye claimed in high school they called her ‘The Quiet Riot.’ I had to laugh at that. …

“On the drive to Outback, Kaye got serious with the out-of-state-license-plate game and got me on some plates. She wasn’t playing right because she’d hit me multiple times. Once, I was looking down and she knocked on my head as one would knock on a door.”


Here’s The Quiet Riot and my nephew at the world’s stinkiest river.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 5, 2006

I didn’t write anything because I was having too much fun chillin' with my peeps in Michigan.



Just so that the Midwestern cats don’t get jealous of the dogs, here’s Squeaky (top) and Springs (bottom).
Stay tuned and enjoy!

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 4

4:09pm (the last time change), somewhere on the road to Michigan

“Yesterday we left Aunt Trudy’s around 11:30am and got to Geneseo around 2pm. Grandma was really excited to see us. I almost jumped out of the car in front of Grandma’s before Mom had parked it because I was so excited.”


Do we make a pair? My Grandma rocks. This was my first-ever and only visit to Grandma's house.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 3

“It was a really nice visit [with Aunt Trudy and her family]. I was happy to meet more of Daddy’s family. Anamosa is a really nice town. It’s about the size of Palmer, but the downtown area is more compact. Anamosa is the hometown of Grant Wood. We didn’t see any Grant Wood tourist attractions, though, because we only spent the afternoon and night there.”


We left Anamosa today and arrived at Grandma’s. Here’s Angel. What a sweet, sweet, sweet puppie!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 2

I didn’t write in my journal today. We were visiting Aunt Trudy. From now on there are going to be many skipped days. Fear not, my faithful readers. I promise to post every day to at least let you know that I haven’t forgotten, but that there was nothing written. I’ll also post a picture.


This is George, Trudy’s dog.


Friday, September 01, 2006

A Year Ago Today
September 1

“Today was really fun. We went to Mount Rushmore about 20 miles from Rapid City, SD. We didn’t know it was so far away and we were thinking of turning around, but because we really wanted to see it, we continued and were really glad we did. It was so cool to see it. Seeing something in real live when you’ve just seen it in pictures your whole life is really awesome.”

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore. Did you think I was going to choose a photo of something else?