All posts by Emily Kerr

Assorted Thoughts 1

This is something I’m going to try and do more often: post a collection of all the random thoughts floating around in my head/my phone.

Have you ever had that moment when you’re not in a big enough hurry to ask to cut in front of someone in the express lane, but just enough to stand there displaying your single pack of bread like a new baby?

“Why don’t you cut in front of us? You only have one thing…”

“Oh, really? Thank you!”

Internally: “SUCCESS.”


It is cold and hot at the same time, without being in-between. Like, the cold air is stinging my exposed skin, and yet I’m sweating under my winter clothes. The Midwest keeps inventing new kinds of weather.

I’m going to end up like those mountain climbers who lose it and start paradoxically stripping off all of their clothes, except in a CVS parking lot.


When they say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, does that apply to everyone with a PhD?


Awkward Grocery Store Situation #1: When you’ve got a 2-for-1 coupon on toilet paper that expires soon, and you also happen to be out of Raisin Bran.

(Might as well get your money’s worth, am I right?)


When I get really tired, I’m like one of those talking dolls that repeats a handful of phrases.

Somebody: Oh, it’s starting to rain outside.

Me: OK!

*Somebody taps me on the shoulder*

Me: Thank you!

Somebody: Cantaloupes are 1.99 here.

Me: I don’t understand.


It seems like, if “folks {were} linin’ up outside” the Love Shack, that would make the whole loving aspect pretty awkward.

*Knock, knock, knock* “Hey, are you guys almost done in there? We’re waiting!”


Whichever scientist named the “bird-eating spider” must have been in some sort of competition for the freakiest name possible. (Probably with the one who named the “jumping spider”, actually.)



The motel experience

Just a few days ago, I traveled to Beaumont to visit my grandparents for the holidays. It was fun, up until 3 days in, when I got sick and had to spend the rest of the trip in bed, in a Ny-quil induced haze. Yay. But I still got some good stories out of it – such as the following…

Picture this: it’s 9:40, after dark, in the streets of Louisiana. Cold white streetlights illuminate the ground below; a southern chill runs through the air. A rented car drives down the winding road, carrying me and my father. We had left Beaumont with the first creeping of dusk, and had been on the road ever since – 4 hours spent in the car. We are both eager to end the trip, and settle down at the Days Inn motel where we would be spending the night.

I had never stayed in a real motel before. This isn’t to say that I always stayed in 5-star hotels, or anything – but, basically, every place I’d ever stayed in had halls. That was my benchmark for hotel vs. motel: hotels had interior hallways, while motels were carved into the building like curious urban caves.

So, with my lack of experience, I was only mildly surprised when we drove up to the shadiest motel ever. It looked like several murder-shacks stuck together, shadowed and foreboding. Its location was rather “off the beaten path” (or more aptly, “nobody can hear you scream”): beside the road, sort of plunked down between the actual city and the trucker-laden wilderness we had just traveled through. Foliage towered over the parking lot.

The oppressive shadows were sharply contrasted by a few patches of fluorescent, red and green light – some of the rooms were decorated for Christmas.

“That’s kind of sad,” I casually remarked, as my father furrowed his brow and did a California stop through the parking lot.

Among other things, this motel-of-no-return didn’t seem to have a check-in office nearby. We drove through the parking lot, looking around for a detached building of some sort. None appeared. As we were merging back onto the road, I noticed that one of the stairways on the outside of the motel had a cat sitting on it.

“I hope that isn’t our room,” I mused over the sound of our screeching tires.

We went out the opposite end of the parking lot we came in through, and turned onto the street behind the motel (dark underbelly, isolated from civilization, no witnesses). As we drove down the dark, neighborhood street, we passed by a bunch of run-down, unlit houses. I dimly wondered what we would do if one of those turned out to be the check-in office, and THAT’S when I started to realize the situation we were in.

Thankfully, we didn’t even slow down for the danger huts, but rather kept driving out into the city. We finally pulled up in front of an IHOP, which was confusing at first, but then I realized we were actually going to the smaller building connected to the IHOP. Actually, it was still confusing then, because that building had one sign reading “Liffette’s real New Orleans food”, and another reading “Louisiana Video Gaming”. Also, the whole thing was oddly far away from the motel building itself. But we saw a guy walking out with a suitcase, so I trusted my dad that it was our best option (as opposed to returning to the creepy neighborhood and knocking on some windows).

Personally, I wouldn’t have minded stopping for pancakes, but there were more pressing issues at the moment.

We went inside the building, which looked surprisingly like a regular hotel lobby; clean and atmospheric, with no feral cats or depressing Christmas lights to be seen. My father went to the counter and checked in, we left, got back into the car…and drove a short distance to an entirely different motel.


Me: “So, there was some mistake – the motel we saw wasn’t ours.”

Dad: “Yeah. If it had been ours, I would have just kept driving.”

Touche. The moral of the story is to always travel with somebody who’s been around the block a few times. And also? Christmas lights can be way creepier than you would expect.


Many years ago, I stumbled upon a website. A website about cake. I gazed upon
pages and pages of intricately frosted cakes, each done over the course of
hours by a paid professional with extensive training.

And I thought, “I could totally do this.”

I had never frosted a cake before. And yet, in one night, I was convinced that
the only things holding me back were apathy and lack of a cake.

By the next day, both barriers had been surmounted. I actually convinced my family
to buy me an oversized cookie (practically a cake). Apparantly they realized that
no matter how horribly I did at frosting, we would still wind up eating cake.

For the design, I had decided to frost a Pokeball, the symbol of one of my favorite
franchises. A ball, half red and half white, with a black stripe and a white button
in the middle. There’s not much room for error there.

Not much. Still some.

I positioned the tube of red icing. This was it. This was my first step into the vast
and beautiful world of cake frosting. Sliding the icing down the middle of the cookie,
I drew a line of red icing. My first stroke. And then, not seconds later, I heard
my Granny call from the living room:

“Don’t put frosting on the entire thing!”

“It won’t taste as good that way.”

This was bad.

But this wasn’t the end. This was fixable. With a toothpick and some precision, the
excess icing could come off near seamlessly. Like nothing ever happened. No big deal.

Or at least, it wouldn’t have been a big deal if I had known about the toothpick thing.

Instead I wiped it off with a paper towel.

This went as well as can be expected. When I lifted the paper towel, there was a blurry
red line stained permanently down the middle of the cookie. No one would blame me for
giving up there-but I didn’t.

I frosted a smaller Pokeball below the blurry line, and it actually turned out pretty
well. So, I had a cookie-cake with a somewhat decent, off-center Pokeball, a blurry
red line, and a barren and empty top half. That’s the frosting diasaster this whole
story has been leading up to…right?

Wrong. From the moment I frosted the Pokeball down beneath the line, I had a plan.
I was going to take the line and re-use it, adding something that hadn’t been in
my mental design schematic. Text. I was going to put text at the top of the cake,
so the stain would underline it.

It was actually a pretty clever plan…except for one thing. I was out of red frosting.
I had used it all on the smaller Pokeball and the line itself. So the text would have
to be in an entirely different color than its outline. But it was better than nothing.
I scavenged the tube of purple icing from the cabinet and pressed on.

I wrote half of the text. The purple didn’t look too out of place with the red, and
the layout was really coming together. It seemed like I had bounced back from my
mistake, and could emerge from this situation with a decent cake after all.

Then the purple icing ran out.

I should have given up. Even if I still held on to even one shred of hope that I
had when all of this began, one twinge of belief that I held an undiscovered command
over frosting, I should have at least acknowledged how badly the forces of luck had
beaten me down.

But I couldn’t if I wanted to. I grabbed the green icing, continuing the text in
a different color than the previous letters, which were a different color than
the underline below them. It ran out in minutes. But I couldn’t give up. Not with
a quarter of the sentence still unfinished and a cabinet full of mostly-depleted
frosting tubes. I had to pull through. I had to.

But in my heart, I knew that this was it. Bowing out of my frosting career gracefully,
I wiped away the text and left the cookie as is.

So, essentially, I had a cookie-cake with a small, off-center Pokeball at the bottom,
a fuzzy red line stained down the middle, and (since I had used purple and green for
the text) a shape at the top that resembled a blurry eggplant.

We all ate the cookie, so at least one thing turned out well.

It did, in fact, taste better on the areas without frosting.

Sometimes I don’t even

In the top left corner of the children’s section of the Upper Arlington library, there is an empty shelf. There’s a shelf filled to a reasonable capacity with biographies, and immediately to the right, there’s a shelf with six sections and not a single book. It makes you wonder. I think it’s most likely that they overestimated the amount of books they would have when first building the library, winding up with an extra shelf. It’s not like they would take the money and effort to tear down a perfectly good shelf just because there wasn’t anything to put there. But it’s fun to imagine more fanciful reasons. Maybe the shelf was full in the past, but the books it contained were so controversial that they were removed from the library without even an explanatory note. My favorite is the idea that there are books there, and somebody checked all of them out. It’s so unlikely. I have no idea why somebody would walk into a library, clean out one shelf, and leave. I’m not sure you’re actually allowed to check out that many books at one time. But just picture it. Somebody-no, a synchronized group of people, walks into the library wheeling a flatbed behind them. They make their way to the children’s section, picking up confused stares and curious followers the whole way. But they don’t care. They confidently stride over to the shelf, and start indiscriminately scooping up stacks of books and putting them on the flatbed. In less than five minutes, their locust-like enthusiasm has completely cleaned out the shelf. At the self-checkout, they use all the computers at once, passing books from the flatbed amongst themselves, running each under the scanner in one swift motion. A crowd has gathered. The books deplete like a time-lapse video, until finally they reach the last one. The group, gathered around one computer, glance first at each other, at the crowd, and finally, turn their gazes back to the computer. Each with one hand on the book, they run it over the scanner. They grab their receipt, and wheel the flatbed and books through the parted crowd, never looking back. The books are found one day, somehow having been returned without anyone noticing. Nobody will ever know how. The group is never seen at the library again. But those 15 minutes will stay there forever.

I just had to say it

When I wrote and posted that last one, snow wasn’t falling. After posting it, I looked out the window. Guess what? Heavy snowfall! After it had already snowed once and stopped! In the morning, when snow was supposed to fall during the night!

This is difficult to reconcile with my long-standing theory that I live outside of a cartoon.

This all you got?…

Last night, and for some time before, everybody was talking about the snowstorm coming that night. Even my mother, who has the cold tolerance of a polar bear, and had assimilated completely into Ohio life before me and Granny could arrive. They said it would be Snowmageddon, that the snow would be thick as a phone book and we wouldn’t be able to leave the house for days. We stocked up on groceries like there was no tomorrow, or at least one not covered in snow. We tried to absorb the sensations of outside while we could, so that we could stave off the cabin-fever madness sure to come.
At the time of this writing, it’s slightly after 7:00 am, last night having passed. The yard is moderately dusted. The driveway and roads are blanketed with what can’t be more than an inch of snow, if that.
At the same time, it was a lapse into the way things were in Texas (everybody panicking over what turns out to be less than an inch of snow) and the biggest leap from it I’ve ever experienced (the very existence of a level of snow too small to impress me).

Snowed in

Things to do while snowed in on TV:
-Reveal long-kept secrets
-Kiss love interest
-Develop greater understanding of worst enemy
-Solve murder(s)

Things to do while snowed in in actual life:
-Read/watch TV until bored with it
-Swear (if applicable)
-Type snarky blog post