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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1684115-Just-Another-Cottage-in-Blogville
Rated: 18+ · Book · Personal · #1684115
A cozy place of my own in the buzzing town of Blogville, the city that truly never sleeps.
A little blog for the occasional update.

"I have come to the conclusion that we must not expect too much from life. We must give to life at least as much as we receive from it. Every moment one lives is different from the next. The good, the bad, the hardship, the joy, the tragedy, love and happiness are all interwoven into one single indescribable whole that is called LIFE. You cannot separate the good from the bad. And, perhaps there is no need to do so either."
--Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
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August 15, 2018 at 9:08pm
August 15, 2018 at 9:08pm
Sitting in my cozy carriage house home, listening to the sounds of the electric kettle starting to boil for my evening tea, the dishwasher drying another day's worth of dishes, and the bathroom fan on to alleviate some of the chemical odors from just being cleaned. One of my resolutions as an adult is to dedicate fifteen minutes to housekeeping each day. Today, the bathroom was scrubbed. Hooray! As I can't afford to live in a pigsty for my own sake, nor to hire a cleaning service, this is my solution. We'll see how long it holds up.

There are still piles of boxes and things to take to work, donate, or discard scattered about the living area. It's driving me insane. I just want a home to settle in -- and I have to wait five more days for garbage night. The donations will likely go tomorrow. So will the work stuff -- I'm trying to build up my classroom library, and consequently have boxes of books from my own teen years that I haven't touched since ready to go out the door.

Today was the first day that homesickness hit me fully. I was driving home from a chiropractor visit and broke down sobbing in the car. If traffic hadn't been so congested, and if I hadn't been in a work zone, I would've pulled off to the side of the road. It seemed safer to keep driving, forcing myself to breathe as slowly as possible. Worries compounded on the homesickness. This month marks the 18th birthdays of some of my former students -- who often got themselves into serious trouble with no regard for consequences. I grew to love these students despite their horribleness, and I mourned the inability to watch them graduate this spring as I work across the state now. Teaching involves more wounds than I ever predicted.

My goal for tonight is to get to sleep before 11pm (ha -- we'll see), and to wake up tomorrow at 7 (and actually get out of bed when my Fitbit vibrates). Each day is so packed with things to do. Adulthood is just an endless series of tasks that you don't want to do but have to; not because your parents are beating you for it, but because you actually have to.

Hope this blog entry was semi-coherent. Wilting.
August 14, 2018 at 8:52pm
August 14, 2018 at 8:52pm
Wow -- it has been nearly six years exactly since I last updated this blog. Much has changed. I worked a summer job that changed me as a person -- or at least revealed my true nature -- and changed the trajectory of my career. I graduated from college with honors, worked for a year as a grade school Spanish teacher, earned my Master of Arts in Teaching, taught for two years at a private high school, and now relocated across the state to teach my first year at a public high school. For years I've provided for myself and been an adult. Rather than being the desperate-to-please, confused, insecure, bratty, moody adolescent who bonded to her teachers as role models and stable adult figures, I am now a stable, relatively confident teacher who provides that to equally or more broken teens.

That's a brief summary of the last six years. *Smile* It was far more tumultuous than that. I will confess here things that I would rather my students not know. Or administrators. Luckily this account can't be traced to anything with my real name. But we'll see. I won't write anything too incriminating. But you never know what offends people.

How... odd to stumble across entries that were written by me at the same age as the kiddos that I now teach. In fact, I am returning to blogging in order to cope with living in the countryside. I have relocated from the city to the most rural place I have ever lived. A week ago I lived in bustling suburbia, and now I live in a carriage house rented on a multi-generational family farm. It's gorgeous, and more details will come. Teaching is a stressful job; nearly everyone has gone through a school system at some point in their lives, so they assume they know what teachers do; but this isn't the case. Until you're the one in charge of lessons, grades, preparation, discipline, parental communication, pleasing administrators, etc., you simply can't know. This year I will be teaching five different English courses, including an AP course, as well as leading a restorative justice-type character-cultivating program.

It's a lot, but Jackie is an adult now. Around an hour ago, she cleanly broke up with a guy she thought she was going to marry. Even with grown up stress, life is far better than it's ever been.
August 24, 2012 at 10:21am
August 24, 2012 at 10:21am
Sorry it's been so long - been incredibly busy these past couple of weeks. No, really. I had to unpack from last semester as I went from Pittsburgh to Spain within short weeks, then pack for Spain - live out of a suitcase for five weeks - and unpack from Spain, only to repack what I was unpacking - except into different boxes. If you didn't follow that, good - that's how I've felt these past two weeks.

Anyway, I suppose I'm writing in the thick of it - we leave in about an hour and a half and are beginning the stuff-the-car process - in order to stabilize my sanity before I lose it.

Pittsburgh bound.

Off to go do what I'm supposed to be doing.

Cheers. xoxo
July 31, 2012 at 3:13am
July 31, 2012 at 3:13am
Sitting in an airport lounge with a cup of hot chocolate. Currently avoiding it for two reasons - don't want to burn my tongue AND I've already had sufficient caffeine (morning espresso and motion sickness pill). Trembling as I type this from the surplus of energy; being nervous for the long flight probably doesn't help either. My insides are overtaken with the uncomfortable sensation that some kind of swarm of critters are trying to escape. That's the worst part about having too much caffeine this early in the morning.

Debating whether or not to review a lot of the poetry on this site. Some of it is good; the trouble is, I was in a workshop and learned to critique each line - heck, each word - with a scrutinizing eye, which does not translate gently online. The poem I'm debating to review uses more words than necessary, and is really just prose broken into lines, but holds a story with a lot of potential. She's a teenager, and as I'm one week and two days away from departing those dreadful years myself, I understand that it's hard to get used to criticism. College writing courses do that to you. This is not to say that I'm a superior poet, because I'm not; it's just a habit of mutual learning through critiques.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to handle this?

One of the happiest times of my life was when I took that workshop course in my first semester freshman year. Everyone had to write - lots. What we had to do even more was critique each of the other students' work, analyzing various aspects of the medium, whether poetry, fiction or nonfiction. By the end of the semester, we realized that we learned more from critiquing each other than being critiqued ourselves, because it helps one to examine one's own work and seek the same flaws. It isn't the blind leading the blind, but rather a group of colorblind people helping the others see alternative shades of the rainbow.

This past month+ has provided fodder for stories and poetry. Part of me wonders if I'm better off turning my experiences into poetry or fiction rather than blogging and writing point-blank descriptions. At the same time, it's helpful to have something to work from when you've got the basics outlined.

Although I'm supercharged with energy, it's less of a refreshed energy that supports creativity and more of a jittery jog-in-place energy. I'll have to wait til I get on the plane to revise an essay that I'm hoping to have published. Maybe I'll write some junkie poetry fodder that will lead to publishable material.

Peace love and bellbottoms x
July 30, 2012 at 10:25am
July 30, 2012 at 10:25am
Sipping my first cup of truly awful coffee in Europe. Ordinarily it is fantastic, especially in Portugal, so close to Africa. Anyway, it's caffeine and I've got good internet access in the cafe. Wearing a European wrap scarf around my neck and enjoying the view of the street, which is a shopping district. The upstairs cafe views bikes tied to trees, throngs of people - young, old, families with children and strollers - bustling in and out of stores, stores of high end clothes, clothes on sale, jewelry and accessories. There aren't many brightly colored outfits, but for the most part people's outfits are pretty well put-together.

I bought a German copy of the first Harry Potter book. Since the age of nine, I have been a massive Potterhead, and have a growing collection of foreign copies of the Philosopher's Stone. So far I've got American, British, Spanish, French, Thai, and now German. By the time I die I'd like to know all of the above language - except for Thai, which takes years of immersion. Kicking myself for forgetting to by a Portuguese copy. Alas, I'll just have to ask my friend from Portugal to pick up a copy and I'll repay her.

Today involved wandering the streets of Wiesbaden and buying an undershirt, a long, 1920s-style faux pearl necklace, and another scarf. Might look for one thing more - another top or something. But really I don't enjoy shopping as much as most girls. Usually I wind up at a bookstore, sitting in a cafe with a cup of coffee and a new book. No shopping spree is complete without it.

Hope all is well on your end. x
July 25, 2012 at 7:37am
July 25, 2012 at 7:37am
Well, I'm back - how unusual that I would splurge with money when I am so short of it. Trying to get a job soon; so fingers crossed. Figured I might treat myself to something for passing my exams. Maybe a nice glass of Port, too, since I'm too young to drink in the US.

This summer I am participating in an immersion program in Salamanca, Spain, where there is a huge Baroque university. The university is so old that it is actually mentioned in Don Quixote. The program has involved grammar and conversation classes, traveling to different famous cities, and in general just trying to engage in the culture. I came with seven other students from my university back in the States; all but one other took this as a vacation opportunity more than academic. Only once did I spend a night on the town - which involved two shots, or enough to make me affectionate but not drunk. Oh, and it enabled me to learn to salsa, which ordinarily I am too stiff to do. The things ya learn.

For some reason I was under the impression that Spain is a rather romantic country. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that, in literature and poetry, there are so many references by so many authors of "castles in Spain" as a getaway. Perhaps that was the case one hundred years ago, but now it is a country with an economy in such shambles that I had a nightmare about some of the homelessness I've seen. The hardest thing is before and after Mass on Sundays; they stand outside the churches and beg for money in their drug-destroyed voices as a kind of conscience manipulation. It's really nauseating, first because of the pity it invokes, and second because there is the frustration of "are they emotionally manipulating me or is this genuine?". It seems to be the former, because the same churches that have outreaches to the homeless also immediately lock their doors after Mass; when I developed better conversational skills, I asked a woman why: "They are drug addicts, and if the doors are not locked, they hide their cocaine in the churches."

Sure, the architecture, old cities, and language are all very beautiful, but after the "honeymoon" fades and you're living there for a month, you see the nitty-gritty. The yellow underbelly. It's not vacation anymore, it's daily life. There is political graffiti and anarchy signs blazoned everywhere - on ice cream shops, churches, grocery stores, dental offices, bars, law offices, banks... As a student of international relations, I've studied the anarchy-tyranny loop, which is, the way to solve anarchy is tyranny, and vice versa. Think about it. Spain hasn't been exactly free of surviving dictators.

Anyway, I am going to get ready for lunch (probably a some mix of ham, cheese, fish or tuna) and finish editing an article that I may have published. I promise the next few entries will be more cheerful, uplifting portrayals of my discoveries in Spain.
June 8, 2011 at 12:14pm
June 8, 2011 at 12:14pm
About 2am I woke up with a horrible pain tearing through my lower abdomen all the way up through my stomach. For the rest of the night I was violently ill and slept fitfully, only to wake up late feeling more awful than ever. Somehow I don't think that writing is going to be a massive priority today. Editing, yes, and writing down ideas, but when I sat down and actually tried to type my short story, I found it difficult not to scratch it all out. At least I don't work for two more days. Today will be a rest-and-read day, and perhaps watch some Netflix while I still have my trial.

Luckily my best friend cancelled on a dinner date this morning. I have a doctor's appointment, but after that, God only knows what I'll do. Maybe I'll still make the iced coffee. Right now I'm just sipping on what I've already made.

Ugh - I had to write; sorry it's such a miserable lump of news. Currently I'm craving to write, so this is what it is. The sharp pains stop the creativity from flowing, but at least I can write something.

Hope all is well on your end.
May 6, 2011 at 7:35pm
May 6, 2011 at 7:35pm
Yes, the answer is yes, I have been up to a LOT lately. Moved home, and within a half-hour my father was ready to send me back on the grounds of "pissing him off." *Laugh* Started work two days after I moved back - bright and early Sunday morning, 7am. It's our busiest time; I think all of the pastors in town include some clause that involves going to breakfast or brunch at our restaurant in their sermons. Honestly. And this Sunday is Mother's Day - what a treat that'll be. Nevertheless, I am not complaining; employment is employment, and loads of people would kill to be in my shoes right now.

Although if you'll all please take five minutes and watch this, it adequately sums up my job day after day:


Unfortunately I am too tired to write anything witty or interesting. So tired, in fact, that for the first two hours of my shift I thought it was Sunday, which it most definitely WASN'T, or the staff would have been substantially larger and the restaurant busier. I found plenty to laugh at during my shift, but did not take a nap upon arriving home, so to bed early tonight. Three more days of getting up at 6am to work. Again, money is money. I just remind myself that less than a year ago I was up at 6am six days in a row each week. Pressing on.

Hope all is well with you and yours.
March 25, 2011 at 4:03pm
March 25, 2011 at 4:03pm
Friday at last. And no, not Rebecca Black's 'Friday,' whose song should probably be eliminated from the air as everyone seems to hate it. In fact, the other day while I was enjoying my blueberry cake doughnut and quietly plugging along with homework at my favorite Dunkin' Donuts, three girls sat off to the side playing the song and music video on one of their smart phones, making great fun of it. I literally laughed out loud.

But, Friday nevertheless. Paper and reading done, only to have another hundred or so pages and a new paper on the agenda. However, one day at a time, and I may as well get a head start on it before next week. I think another lag-behind and my head will explode. That would be a bad thing (I think). So, here I sit at the library, blogging to ease my mind before I plunge headfirst into a new set of assignments. Tonight my friend and I are going to watch 'Little Fockers,' and I just want to kick back and enjoy myself, knowing that I'm ahead of the game in some way.

I'm excited to get writing again. Last night I made the resolution that I would try to get up in the mornings and write for just a half an hour or even fifteen minutes at a nearby café, a resolution which I have already failed. However, everyone deserves some extra shuteye on a Friday, especially after a rather traumatic week. Thankfully my family is coming to visit me this weekend; I almost took up my friend's offer to buy alcohol and have my first liquor at college.

Anyway, I figured I might share some observations about the city that I found amusing or at least strange. Perhaps I'm the only person on the planet who finds these little things comical, but a little laugh here and there doesn't do a body any harm.

Yesterday I sat on the bottom floor of one of the public libraries to write a paper, nicely tucked away against the wall behind bookshelves. Down the table to my left sat a man who had to be near his sixties and weighing about 300lbs, who coughed up phlegm into a tissue every few minutes. I tried to focus, and made progress; then, I turned to my left to reach for something in my bag when I saw it: his full on butt, naked as the day he was born, sticking out over the chair. He was bending for something in his bag, and I received a proper mooning. *Laugh* When I realized that he was not leaving, just doing something strange (and naked waist down), I shut my laptop, gathered my belongings, and high tailed it for a café with free wifi that I've been eying up for some time.

Later in the evening, a friend and I met at a pizza joint for dinner and a girl's night. Afterward, I was craving some chocolate and in need of more green tea, so I asked her to accompany me to the dollar store a few blocks away. She agreed, as wandering alone in that particular part of the city isn't too short of idiotic, and we set off for the hike. I picked up my chocolate and tea, and as we left, a man meandered up the hill, stopped in front of a sign indicating something or other about a parking lot. The man continued talking to himself and reading the sign, nodding, and set off as if in search of a parking lot. I'm not really sure of the significance of that, nor the significance of the man in an alley who wore his coat as a sideways cape and babbled to himself, walking like Charlie Chaplin to amuse himself.

(Please don't find this commentary offensive - I'm merely presenting oddities that I have noticed that I did not encounter in my small hometown.)

Back to turning on autopilot and reading a couple hundred pages before dinner... Hope all is well with you wherever you are.
March 23, 2011 at 9:29pm
March 23, 2011 at 9:29pm
If I had known how paralyzingly hard college would be, I would have appreciated high school so much more. While living through high school, all that kept me going was the idea that, one day, I would escape to college where I would fit in, classes would be interesting, I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and all of the problems I was dealing with at the time would evaporate by then. Surely I would have outgrown them...

But it didn't happen that way. People are still assholes, I still get cold with loneliness, classes are a drag to get through these days, and I really don't have time to do anything but procrastinate, which isn't having time at all. In fact, there is a number of things I should be doing right now, but I just feel so paralyzed within myself that I can't bring myself to do them. Spring fever, you might call it. My room is a mess, I'm getting over pink eye, I need to do the dishes, I need to dust, to vacuum, to wash my bedding, to lose the weight I picked up last semester... write a five-page paper... read 100 pages and write a response... for tomorrow... It's just too much.

My best friends were always there in high school. After school, we would go for walks or hang out in an empty room. We had classes together, often the hardest ones, and could work with each other on homework and everything in between. Sure, there were a lot of limitations, but college wasn't as freeing as I thought it would be. In fact, college has forced me to face things that I was able to push away in high school -- self-esteem issues, depression & anxiety, and recovery from an abusive relationship. I didn't care what anyone thought of me in high school because I was so confident that things would be better in college; everyone told me I'd fit in; but it didn't happen that way. Au, contraire...

Why don't they make spring break actually in spring rather than the bloody end of February? For goodness sake, the weather is gorgeous (mostly), and I can't focus on a thing because my brain is just giving out. Some kind of autopilot is keeping me going, because I'm still accomplishing what I did before (except with schoolwork quality), but totally lack the energy.

Alas, this is part of the sacrifice I make so I don't have to work as a hostess on minimum wage for the rest of my life. I suppose it'll be worth it in the end. That is, I hope it'll be worth it in the end.

What a shame that I'm eighteen and crying if only, if only, and mourning something that, according to adults, is absolutely nothing compared to what's to come. Dear God, and they wonder why college kids' suicide rates are escalating. Hopefully my next entry will not be so nostalgic and won't have 'woe is I' written all over it.

Blessings to you all.
September 26, 2010 at 3:32pm
September 26, 2010 at 3:32pm
My upgraded membership here is to expire within the week, but I have found another outlet for blogging that I would be willing to share with all of you if I do indeed settle there. No worries about this membership; I will renew it myself in the not-too-distant future when I have more time. Right now all of my writing energy and reading energy is focused on papers, textbooks, and ancient Greek poets. *Sick* Yeah, I loved it at first, but Virgil just... I dunno, we don't mesh in the way of reading comprehension.

Lots of stress, knots inside, and things that I am going to take to professional counseling to work out. Sure, this is 'the best time of my life,' as indeed it has been, but I have come to the realization that all of my insecurities that I'd associated with high school and my small town didn't shed with the geography. I am going to take the bull by the horns as they say and work this out.

I have met some of the best people I've never expected. Their friendships have been a surviving cable for me. They have made all of the stress worth it. In reality, living here gives me two options: study or have fun. Work hard, play hard is my new mantra. Once I've got my work (semi) done I take a break, go to a floor that holds many of my friends, and just hang out with my roomie - who, by the way deserves an award for living with me - and favorite floormate.

Unfortunately I have not kept in touch with family and friends as I hoped I would. I just returned from a jog and am off for a shower before studying, writing, reading, more studying, more writing, more reading... the cycle doesn't end, especially with damn midterms around the next two weeks. Fabulousness at its most fabulous.

However, I have found a friend who is the most chill person out of all of the guys on the floor I mentioned above. As I described it to him, the floor is filled with a bunch of guys who would be black sheep anywhere else, but together they create the most unpretentious, fun floor filled with guys who would do anything for anyone who needed anything while harboring their true nature as a bunch of little boys who love playing smash brothers till sunrise, horseplay, and making lots and lots and lots of noise.

Anyway, my friend is the first person I've met who reminds me of someone from home. He came up to my room to fix my MP3 player and its sync issues with my computer. It took three days, and during those three days we spent hours just talking. Yesterday he came upstairs around five-thirty, we went to dinner at six with Roomie and Floormate, and came back to watch some funny YouTube videos and Lady Gaga's 'Alejandro' music video. Then Roomie and Floormate - who, with the guys on the Fourth Floor forming some kind of conspiracy to set us up - left to watch a movie in Floormate's room. They said they'd be back... But it was just the two of us in my room talking (I swear that's all it was; I wasn't even wearing make-up, just my glasses, a t-shirt and plain shorts that go to my knees) until two am when Roomie asked if he was still in our room. He was, and I asked her if she wanted us to leave, she didn't particularly care, so he and I went on a walk.

'Have you kissed yet?' she texted. I replied that we hadn't, and she said, 'Make a move girl!'

We'd already spent the entire time talking about everything from our siblings and families to our dogs, to our ex relationships, to politics and religion... Absolutely everything came apart with such ease. He held my hand for a while as our conversations became more personal.

It was past curfew (boys and girls have to be off each other's floors by 2am on Fridays and Saturdays) so we strolled through campus to a pretty park on the opposite side. It was significantly cooler than we'd expected, and he apologized for not knowing it would be so cold. He wrapped his arm around me and I rested my head on his shoulder, tired and snuggling for better warmth. After a while I heard someone shout. I looked up and said, 'Did you hear that?'


'I heard someone.'

'I think it was a dog.'

I turned to say something, and as I turned toward him our faces were unexpectedly close and our lips brushed. Totally shocked my eyes popped open, and I saw a campus police officer walking our way through the shadows.

I pulled away and whispered, 'Police officer.' We stiffened. I was expecting a citation for public display of affection (even though we were in a vacant park far removed from campus and it was three in the morning), but he merely said, 'Nice night. I love this time of year.'

'Yeah, it's really nice...'

And he continued past us and we were alone once more.

We chatted a bit more, I rested my head on his shoulder again and drifted into a light sleep that was too heavy for opening my eyelids or responding to him squeezing my hand, but light enough that I was aware of it all. Eventually I realized that we'd been in the park for over an hour and should probably head back. It was extremely cold anyway.

We stood up and kissed again before holding hands and walking back across campus to our dorm building. My teeth chattered and he apologized again. 'It's ok, don't worry about it,' I reassured him.

'What are you going to tell the guys?' I asked.

'What I usually do - smile and walk away.'

'Just use your judgment.' I told him that I didn't care if he mentioned it to two of our good mutual friends. 'They won't be ridiculous about it.'

He agreed. He told me that when he stopped briefly on the floor before we met to go for our walk, all of the guys had been texting him and asking where the fuck he was. 'Is he DEAD?!' asked his roommate. One of the guys stopped him and insinuated that we hadn't just been talking, and told him he was the 'man' though he knew me and knew it wouldn't be like that. Ever.

'All of the guys have gotten something since they've been here,' he explained to me.

'I know.' I told him I would probably be honest with Roomie and Floormate, and he was fine with that.

After he dropped me off at my room and gave me one last light kiss, I went in my room and told Roomie everything. She thought the kiss was 'so cute', which it was. He and I texted for a half an hour and agreed to spend another night like that next weekend.

He did in fact tell our mutual friends and they were happy for us. 'Everyone agrees that we're good for each other,' he said.

Indeed, I have been happier and lighter ever since he and I began talking. Things have become less distorted and emotional and I have begun to relax more. Not that I had ever been less than myself, but I was often out of my depth. He reminds me so much of one of my best friends from home that I just loosened up and got back in touch with that side of me.

'I like your personality,' he said. The best feeling ever.
September 3, 2010 at 12:14am
September 3, 2010 at 12:14am
Super, super tired. Not even sure why I'm still up typing. I got up at the same time as my roommate, who has early morning practices for the rowing team, and pushed my nose to the grindstone as they say. All that Harry Potter had its real-world applications - thanks to JK Rowling, I officially dominated 70 - yep, count 'em, SEVENTY - pages of the Odyssey in time for my class, on top of finishing reading essays for two other classes, plus an essay due in precisely two hours. Not bad considering I was in bed at eleven after yesterday's onslaught of homework. Never ending. But I love it.

And thank God for that - loving English, reading and writing is the only thing that sustains me through all of this workload.

And thank God for the pure silence of the deep recesses of the library, AKA the Quiet Floors. I discovered a perfect place deep in the bowels of the library where I am virtually out of sight of anyone who has found the place, and can still plug in the good ol' lappy to work for several hours. About forty-five minutes til I couldn't focus for hunger (breakfast at seven - while still reading Homer - and no lunch other than a fruit smoothie), noshed with my roommate, friend, and his friend, returned to our room and found I couldn't focus there - too tempting to chat with Roomie - so I returned to the library, where I completed two essays and a reading for tomorrow's Creative Writing class all in the span of two-and-a-half hours. I retired to the dorm around ten, and headed downstairs till eleven or so.

Anyway, around three, exhausted, I couldn't even sleep when I tried to nap after my final class this afternoon. I wound up texting my friend, who he himself was sleeping. His floor is known for its madness - it has a campus-wide reputation for its parties, X Box, widescreen TV, and diet staple of pizza and (buffalo) wings. At breakfast he normally comes totally worn, saying, 'Everything shuts down at four-thirty and gets back up again at seven.'

Luckily our floor is relatively calm. Our RA is one of the few who will show up at your door if you are too loud. Although my roommate heard - at five on her way to practice - a few girls three doors down playing Catch Phrase, not because they were early-risers, but because sleep is out the window. It's fun time to them, I suppose.

Here, in these past two plus weeks, I have met some of the kindest, most fascinating and admirable people I have ever come across. Sure, there are girls who haven't left high school and whom I won't go near with a ten foot pole if I can help it, but I genuinely enjoy my new friends' company, and now that I have situated myself so that socializing with them is a break from homework, and not vice versa, the time is even more enjoyable. Sometimes things just get so completely stressful and wearing that trying to continue studying without a total break is counterproductive - textbooks become even less soaking and essays lose all sense of word-power. And forget Homer.

My dad, the engineer grad of U Toronto, told me that every hour or so take a fifteen minute break, 'Or you'll go crazy.' True indeed.

Yes, it is past midnight, but I need a mental break from everything. I had a good time tonight chilling with some friends downstairs, but my long day has caught up with me, and it's been eighteen hours since I've last had sleep. Doesn't sound bad, but considering the brainwork I've put myself through today - it's well deserved and much needed.

Hope all is well with you and yours. I LOVE college.
August 29, 2010 at 2:00pm
August 29, 2010 at 2:00pm
Propping my lap top in my lap (imagine that) in a grassy area with my new friends. Working on homework - or supposed to, anyway. I have come to the conclusion that, although I enjoy my new acquaintances' company, I am not being as highly productive as I should be.

Everyone went out last night except for me. But boy, am I glad I stayed in and slept. I needed it; and I enjoyed a cup of coffee this morning that came as part of my meal plan versus a $4 coffee from Starbucks. The coffee was actually excellent, especially considering it came out of a dispenser not unlike a soda station in a restaurant.

Helping someone hook up their WiFi for homework. Then off to continue homework before a break at Dunkin' Donuts. I've never been to one, so my new floormates are taking me.

Off and away.
August 28, 2010 at 11:22pm
August 28, 2010 at 11:22pm
A quick update before I do some late night studying. Actually, it isn't studying, it's writing - I have a creative writing course which I thought I wouldn't like, but so far, absolutely love. Of course, my peers and professor haven't critiqued anything yet in our workshop, so that is subject to change.

I've got loads of literature courses. In fact, that's ALL I've got. I do feel that I will be facing a LOT of criticism, but all in the process of learning. I am prepared - my favorite teacher, who was my mentor all four years in high school for the school paper, my Brit Lit course, and every writing contest, finished product or even scratch ideas, was blunt and critical. Sometimes beyond tact. But I appreciate it, and I am stronger for it.

Already I've pulled the college-kid-with-their-own-mind move of switching courses - I went from Spanish to French, which I've longed to do for years. My parents can't complain, because I'm the one paying for the textbooks. By turning in my Spanish books and a research book for a course I tested out of (hooray!), the French books came to $64. Not bad if you peek at textbook costs - and these are NEW bad boys. My professor is the most old-school teacher I've ever encountered; she refutes the notion that she is 'old as the pyramids,' but she is certainly a stickler. She has taught us the precise mouth, lip, throat and nasal movements for French pronunciation, which we are to practice. That was Day 2 of class.

Dad suggested I look into Farsi if I am so bent on international law, which I am considering. I know they offer it here; I met a girl who is currently in the course. Farsi is actually quite melodic, but I adore French. Honestly, on the first day of classes I rushed to my advisor's office, who told me not to hold back on changing courses if I truly preferred it, and it would facilitate my schedule anyway. 'Your parents will be thrilled,' he said in his usual tone, which comes out in a commonplace way, yet holds a great deal of sarcasm that some people may miss. I recognize it because it is precisely my sense of humor, dry, and derived from my British roots. Alas, French is my favorite subject - quite tied with creative writing. I am considering switching majors. *Blush*

You'll all be so proud, I've behaved, and I am staying safe in the big city. What a big girl I am. I haven't gained any weight (yet) either; this I know because I brought my scale.

My roommate and I have gotten along swimmingly so far. Day 1 we sat down and laid out the rules - five simple ones, which we discussed in greater detail. Obviously we have to allow for flexibility - our room is tiny, so sometimes personal space is limited. But we have the same values and share an astute sense of people, which we share with each other after we meet people at outings and socials. We have supported each other - I coming to support her as much as possible for her medical tests for sports, and she staying with me on a particularly bad night. While we are thrilled to be here, and not homesick, there are moments of nostalgia, which hit at random times. For me, it isn't even nostalgia that caused my poor night - it was frustration with some of the surrounding culture. I am Sarah Palin, with small town values, placed in a world that is terribly removed from such simple, yet commonsense, sense.

The community bathrooms aren't as bad as I thought they'd be. Nor are the smallness of the dorms. Roomie and I managed to (somewhat) comfortably unbunk our beds, and have the room set up in such a way that it looks as if it is really two rooms - divided one way, we each have separate rooms; divided the other way, it looks as if we have a bedroom and then an office area. Honestly the worst bit is not being able to place something down - my backpack, for instance - and unload it without creating chaos for navigating around the room. We have a tiny fridge with a tiny freezer section, a small old-style microwave, and a television that is supposed to have two hundred-ish channels, but as we are still waiting for the Comcast guy to show up after we put our names on the list, we have but C-Span. Fabulous.

The workload would be overwhelming, but I am used to a slammed schedule, two years of AP history, and I enjoy most of my classes. All but one, really, which is thick with left-wing slant. I'm not resentful toward opposite political ideology, but I'm not fond of the 'teaspoon-of-sugar-and-medicine' mix of factual textbooks containing blatant and/or subtle yet powerful influence to feed the sugar and slip in the medicine of political doctrine. Growing up in a home in which half of my family is unbudgingly left-wing, and the other is adamantly right-wing, I have no problem with opposing views, and I am fascinated by both sides, but my goodness, could it be any more biased, even indoctrinating at times?

Alas, such is university these days. Of I go to continue reading Homer in case of a quiz next week. Ah, and let's not forget those essays, and that creative writing prompt... and more readings... and more... *Smile* But I love it.

Hope all is well with you. *Heart*
August 16, 2010 at 9:57pm
August 16, 2010 at 9:57pm
1. Clothes & toiletries - Check *CheckG*

2. Three-ring binders, paper, labels, pens, pencils, stapler & staples, paperclips, etc, four years' of Spanish notes, a virus-free laptop, MP3 player, and USB thumb drive - Check *CheckG*

3. Total health checkup with success - Check *CheckG*

4. Stationery & stamps - Check & Pending *CheckG*

5. Goodbyes to best friends & family members - Check *CheckG*

And as for my head... Well, I am as calm and composed as anyone in my position can be. This may be the final blog entry for a long while. I've had a busy two weeks, which will be nothing compared the next few... My goodness gracious.

However, I am surprisingly unafraid. Really, I have the jitters, but that is a normal mixture between excitement and healthy nervousness.

Today I finished my second round of talk therapy with a big hug from my counselor. My teeth were declared cavity-less, and my psychiatrist diagnosed me as being in full remission, excellent recovery. He felt that the month of talk therapy had done me good - "You are composed," he said.

Health problems were scratched and I am immunized, in (almost) top shape, and ready to go!

Thank you for your summer of support. *Heart* I will keep in touch. *Kiss*
August 10, 2010 at 4:29pm
August 10, 2010 at 4:29pm
Thank you to Scarlett for the merit badge:

Merit Badge in Growth
[Click For More Info]

Happy 18th Burpday.  Have a wonderful day and a great year to follow. I'm sure your growth will continue to blossom in all areas. Enjoy.

It was a very sweet addition to my special day. I had an enjoyable time eating Dan's face (I selected one of my favorite photos of Daniel Radcliffe for the top of my birthday cake), breakfasting at my workplace and having my colleagues sing to me, and enjoying a dinner of Gaelic steak, locally grown corn on the cob, and Caesar salad with our family's homemade dressing. (For those of you who might not know the slang meaning of 'eating face', well... if you've ever seen two hormone-crazed teenagers not quite experts in the art of kissing, you will understand the analogy.) The money I collected was nice, and I had some lovely presents - including a pair of ice skates to try at local arenas this winter, a ballet shoe cake on a stick, beautifully scented body lotion, a lap desk for my bed in my dorm, lighthouse bookends (I have a thing for lighthouses), and a paperweight type of stone with a kind Bible verse on it from a dear friend. My cards were all very nice and I am scrambling to make sure everyone gets their thank-you - I have currently run out and need to stop at the card store for more!

My brother has moved back in with us, and with him be brought his Schnoodle dog, Eddie, whom he acquired over the three years he lived in Florida. Eddie is the happiest, most lovable little dog you will ever meet. He is lively, friendly, and wants to be pals with everyone. He loves playing and is so easy to get attached to. My brother is his third owner in his four-year life, so the experience of moving and staying with us while my brother goes out and about - even just to stop to buy a coffee - is very traumatizing for the little guy. In the two days he has spent with us, he has grown most attached to me; I was the first person he found the morning my brother returned his U-Haul, and the person who cuddles and plays with him, rubbing his belly any time he follows me.

Yesterday morning I woke up to hear a squeaky bark that was definitely not my 11-year-old Cocker Spaniel's. I heard my brother in the bathroom and talking to Eddie, then it was quiet for a bit. I go up and used the bathroom, and as I was washing my face I heard squeaky barking and whining in the hallway. I figured he was outside my brother's room, but when I opened the door, who was waiting with his long tail wagging but Eddie, who barked once more, plopped on his back and waited for a belly rub. *Rolleyes* I gave him a quick rub and made a move to leave, for which I received yet another bark and another plop-and-roll-over.

He followed me around the house as I searched for my brother. Eddie kept moving toward the front of the house. Figuring he might need to use his and Buffy's area, I took him outside. He sniffed the air and turned around, moving toward the front of the garage. I unhooked him, brought him in the house, and once more he approached the front door. I opened the door and we both looked on the street and saw that my brother's car was gone. Ah - he was afraid my brother had given him to new owners like the two families before him. I texted my brother, who said he would be home shortly. Eddie was relieved to see him come in the door.

Eddie doesn't eat table scraps, so dinner is no problem for him. He simply sits under the table to be near us. Buffy, on the other hand, has mooched all her life, and cries until she gets her nibble at the end of the meal. Eddie, uncertain why Buffy was crying, barked whenever she cried. My father, who puts on an act like he hates dogs (yet he lies on the ground so they can lick his face), began cursing and put Buffy behind the gate. The cycle continued. Any time someone sits down, Buffy immediately jumps on the couch and settles for a rub beside them, followed quickly by Eddie who either plops at our feet or on the other side. Both are uncertain whose toys are whose, whose 'area' is whose, and whose food, treats and water are whose.

This morning I got up and prepared coffee and the sugar syrup to be chilled for another batch of iced coffee. I then left to help make nutroll at church for a fundraiser. Around eleven-thirty I came home and wrote thank-you notes, finished mixing the coffee for my brother and his two friends, and prepared my banking papers, finished library book The Shack, and thank-you notes wrapped in a rubber band and left to finish all of my errands. I dropped off the library book, stopped by a spa and scheduled a massage, dropped off thank-you notes, did an hour's worth of banking, and stopped by relatives' houses to move around everyone's things from the now-over (thank God) family reunion.

By the time I came home, less than a liter was left of the iced coffee, yet more dishes piled in the sink. I unloaded the clean dishes from the dish washer, reloaded what I could from the newly dirty dishes, and filled the sink with hot water and dish soap, cleaning, rinsing, and laying on the drying rack all that I could.

Now I am finishing my online banking, and am ready to crash until my dad gets home. Then I pick out a safe for my dorm...

Ahh, the life of a college-bound student.
August 3, 2010 at 10:14pm
August 3, 2010 at 10:14pm
It's hard to believe I've had my MP3 player almost a month now. Wow, it seems like only a few weeks ago that I received the text from my old friend pointing out that MP3 players are "more portable and can hold more songs." Thanks for pointing out the obvious. *Rolleyes* I was afraid that I would be tempted to go on a song spending spree, which so far I have gone without. However, I have come up with a list of songs that I really would like on my player, and I will probably purchase them sometime before I leave.

I am a massive fan of 'Scotland the Brave' by Bagpipes & Drums, along with 'I Gotta Feeling' by Black Eyed Peas, which is one of the only songs I like by that band. Also, I am a fan of music from 'Fiddler on the Roof' and 'Sound of Music', to add in more of an eclectic mix.

Sooo my contacts are growing hard and dry, and my fingers are slipping, so I think that might mean time for a shower and beddybyes. *Yawn*

I will be around soon. *Smile* Night. *Moon*
August 1, 2010 at 11:35pm
August 1, 2010 at 11:35pm
And now you won't stop calling me
I'm kinda busy
Stop callin'
Stop callin'
I don't wanna think anymore
I left my head and my heart on the dancefloor
Stop callin'
Stop callin'
I don't wanna talk anymore
I left my head and my heart on the dancefloor...
Sometimes I feel like I live in grand central station
Tonight I'm not takin' no calls
'Cuz I'll be dancin'
I'll be dancin'
--Lady Gaga, Telephone

Holy cats - how long it's been! I have tried to catch up with the dozens of blog entries I have neglected, but I need to head to bed soon. I have a busy, busy day ahead of my tomorrow. I will certainly fit in the next half-dozen or so in due course. So much chaos in my life... I am finally shutting off my 'telephone' and leaving my head and my heart on the... paper. (I am almost finished with a private journal, as a matter of fact. *Smile* It has been so refreshing and such a relief. I am proud of it, though I hope to God no one ever reads it.)

Last day of work today. The first Sunday I've ever left that restaurant with a cool head on my shoulders. I attribute it to increased prayer and meditation yesterday, including a beautiful Confession and Mass, as well as my discreet chewing of my gum. I have a horrible habit of needing to bite or chew on something while stressed - I can't focus otherwise. Now that I've given up biting my nails and, for the most part, emotional eating, which virtually disappeared with the 100mg drop in meds, I have to go to something else. This past week I have shed a few pounds, which also has helped the way I feel, although all of the celebratory sweets - my own Peach Princess, Iced Coffee, a friend's peanut butter pie, and MFM's massive chocolate chip cookies especially for me - have undoubtedly packed them right back on.

Luckily one of my best friends, a 6'1" male whom I have invited on my walks, jogs, and bicycling trips as a result of some recent recognitions of pedophiles, has given me extra motivation to excercise. Some have actually approached me at work, inquiring my romance status, location of school, age... I am actually terrified. Really, I am. Probably sounds paranoid, but honestly, my eyes have been opened. Some of the walks I have been taking of late have involved some of said men - how do I put this? - observing me? That's... politically correct.

Anyway, I was sad to leave work until December. I do enjoy working where I do ...most of the time. I do like many of my colleagues, and most of the managers. We have a lot of fun, and are probably the most candid staff in town, though we are usually professional with customers. Having some of my friends wait on me is a very unusual experience - they are quite different professionally than they are personally. This is not to say they are totally rude behind-the-scenes, because that it not what I mean - I mean they are wickedly funny and frank, whereas professionalism involves a kind of screen between the personality and the public.

What a relief to have two weeks to myself. Well, sort of. There is so much going on... so much activity... Gosh, hardly a moment to myself. Although sometimes I complain about it, and I may not have chosen the chaos for myself, I'm not sure if I could be happy any other way.

Some of my books for the first semester have arrived. The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Fences by August Wilson, and tuesdays with Morrie. I've already read 'tuesdays', which I wasn't a fan of, but I am open to reading the material again. My goal is to read a good chunk of the literature before move-in.

Also, thank you to Deck the Halls for the merit badge.

Merit Badge in Journaling
[Click For More Info]

Awesome Blog sweetie! Love you!

-livewriter buzzzing

It is my very first and a comfort to the little girl inside of me that still wonders if anything she does is ever good enough. So thank you so, so very much, from the depths within me. *Heart*
July 26, 2010 at 11:24pm
July 26, 2010 at 11:24pm
Sorry it's been so long - to be honest my life has been so overwhelming I have been so utterly incapacitated that I cannot write, spell, or read fluently, which is a dangerous thing. As I tell people who ask how I am, I could run two soap operas and a reality show out of my life right now. Excuses, excuses, I know, but sometimes those apparently excuses are indeed reasons.

In spite of my immobility, I have strokes of creative inspiration every now and then. Finally something broke through the dam of confusion and spiraling events that keep my head spinning and spinning and spinning - in a normal way, not hypomanic as I feared - and I wrote today. It was unfulfilling as I have not finished it, and must before I slip between the covers tonight or I will not sleep.

I write to give back. In ways that I cannot express in simple daily words I use to convey meaning through fiction and poetry - a peer through my mind and perspective and simple observations in a multi-dimensional world, and a way to give back. I want to give back. A quote from one of my heroes, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, runs through my head often:

"I have come to the conclusion that we must not expect too much from life. We must give to life at least as much as we receive from it. Every moment one lives is different from the next. The good, the bad, the hardship, the joy, the tragedy, love and happiness are all interwoven into one single indescribable whole that is called LIFE. You cannot separate the good from the bad. And, perhaps there is no need to do so either."

That's all I want - is to give back. All I've been given, blessed with, graced with, and loved, I want to give back. Not give back as in to return it as one does a dress that no longer fits, but in a way that is repayment and thanksgiving for all of God's blessings given both through Him, through my Guardian Angel, and through the beautiful people I have encountered on life who have lived with their God-given gifts and used them to the fullest, inspiring me and stirring some kind of life inside me that I never knew existed or could ever have expected. We cannot live without each other - we are such great gifts and can offer so much to one another if we give a small fraction of what we've been blessed with and bestowed.

This I have learned very recently from MFM. I watch her and yearn to give as she gives. I am inspired to shed my envy and jealousy and give as she gives. She is the kindest, most caring, and generous person I have ever met. I wish I could stop envying all she does for others - so I have learned to embrace it and learn from it. Embrace. It seems to be the word that defines my life right now. Embrace it. Embrace change, embrace life, embrace love, embrace anxiety, embrace experience, embrace newness. Nothing feels so wonderful and so liberating as following her example. I see so many of them every time I speak with her, see her, or think about her. There is a great sense of safety and love, as if shielded by some kind of soft, downy wing, when I see her, speak with her, or think about her. She is so beautiful as a person, and I have met very few people who can contradict everything I have just said about her. Most of us love when she manages, or simply talking to her, but I often wonder if all of us have a strong current of underlying appreciation and adoration for her. If only each of us could follow her example, imitate just one thing that she does that teaches God's love, how beautiful and different my workplace would be. How are lives would be. How the town would be. How the world would be.

I want to give back. People have given me only the very best. And what I desperately want to do is give back my very best. The very best I have to offer is writing. It is my greatest gift, and all I have to give that completely - or at least perhaps adequately - expresses my return of favor. You give me something beautiful, I will return it - or at least try to - a thousand times over. Only writers have a great sense of what needs left unsaid to be more powerful than the hundred thousand - or perhaps just three - words it would take to describe an expression of self. I want to give back.

Writing, writer, write - it sums up my whole self. I can't think of the separation of the two. It defines who I am, and how I have been created and moulded. It gave me hope when I was surrounded by none, it gave me a reason to fight. Whenever I need guidance amidst chaos, I search within myself, asking God for an answer. How do I cope? How do I get through this? How do I work this out? How do I return the favor? How do I present thanksgiving? What is my greatest gift? What can I use to be of best service to the world? How do I place my stamp on the world? How do I pass on what I yearn to pass on? Where is my heart? For where my treasure is, there my heart will be also, in Your own words. Where do I go? How do I do this or that or the other? How do I accomplish whatever it is I need to accomplish?

And no vision appears, nor any particular deep voice that is used in the movies as "God's" voice. But a voice says, "Write." It is firm. Clear and distinct, but flatly and as in a matter of fact. It is not shy, nor loud. It is the voice that carries my inner monologue that we all hear daily, the voice we think we have. Where does the voice come? Where? Me? God? Whose voice is it? What is it? I don't know, but that is the answer to everything. It is the answer to all of my questions.

I have always had a sense of purpose - a kind of high hope - perhaps a bit overestimated, but it's too early to say. I have always had the notion that I would have a short life, but also that something greater is going to come of me. There's something waiting, but something that must be worked for, something I must do. It isn't waiting per se, but is going to be gained through hard work. And I never stop. I never plan to, either.
July 21, 2010 at 2:25pm
July 21, 2010 at 2:25pm
If it makes you happy,
It can't be that bad.
If it makes you happy,
Then why the hell are you so sad?

If It Makes You Happy, Sheryl Crow

In a few minutes I will be unstrapping this Holter monitor and packaging it with a 24-hour diary of symptoms. At last, I will be able to live itch-free and take a shower. *Pthb* Unfortunately one of the monitors came undone either last night while I was sleeping or this morning... either way, at least six hours of data has been lost in one area. I phoned the hospital and the woman said, "We'll see what we can see, but don't be surprised if you get a call from us to come back." *Rolleyes* Of course I expected this, and maybe I'll be able to schedule the next one on a day I work to see if my heartbeat changes while working. That's what I wanted, anyway.

Last night my best friend stayed over. We had a long heart-to-heart over our McDonald's dinner, relaxing in the humid July air slowly cooling as the sun set. She has changed, which she emphasized, and as a friend I accept it, but it will take getting used to. If she's happy, who am I to say it's wrong? What will come of it will come of it, and it's life. There are so many changes for me ahead, in the really not-so-distant future. Though I do feel some trepidation, I am not afraid.

We began to watch 'Taken', which my server friend - the one marrying MFM - told me I had to see. After a few scenes, I began to feel dizzy, exhausted, my heart racing, hands trembling, head splitting, gasping for breath. I knew I wouldn't be able to enjoy the movie, so I turned it off and drank some water. I turned out the lights and lay for a while, then fell into a restless sleep.

Also yesterday I went and visited my PA at the behavioral health center. We discussed my symptoms, which she doubted was from the bipolar disorder or the medicine - all of my symptoms are physical except the swells of emotion that give me the urge to cry my heart out, which anyone would feel if they had a series of physical issues. The human body is not endlessly durable. However, she did feel the time was ripe for a medicine change if I so wished, and we decreased - finally - the Seroquel XR from 300mg to 200mg. I have a month's supply to try.

I took my first dosage last night. I fell asleep, but was woken frequently by the sound of the dehumidifier and the odd sensation of someone sleeping next to me (aka my friend). For the first time since my medicine mix-up several weeks ago, I woke without the nasty 'hangover' as it has been called. Normally I can wake up and go back to sleep immediately, but I was awake for the first time, and unable to slip away into a dream world again. Though I was tired, I suspect most people feel that way when they first wake up. I have forgotten what unmedicated sleep is like - and unmedicated awakening. I'm not trying to sound dramatic or like I'm trying to gain attention, I just genuinely forget what natural sleep is like.

After my friend left, I cleaned up the basement and walked for a few hours. I ate a small breakfast - I was hit with a wave of nausea - and checked my emails and WDC. Lunchtime came round, and I phoned my workplace to order a chicken sandwich and macaroni & cheese, picked it up, and drove to the mall across the street and ate. I'd forgotten my water bottle at home, so I stopped by a store that sells strawberry lemonade for $1.50 and had a relatively large glass. I saw a few old friends and chatted for a few minutes, then purchased the last two books for my new Harry Potter collection (for my dorm), and skimmed through dresses at a few different stores. There are a few dances coming up at my school, and I am in need of an appropriate dress. While I have lost two of the ten pounds that I'm attempting to shed, my old dresses still squeeze a bit too much.

So far, no symptoms today. In fact, I feel... better. Though it was unlikely that it was my medicine, I was overmedicated. Heck, I might still be, but I will only go down a little at a time, and only when it is approved by the professionals I trust. My PA suggested an inner ear disfunction - which very well could be, as I've had multiple ear surgeries since childhood. Hmm... we'll get to the bottom of this.

Have a good day. *Heart*

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