Saturday, August 30, 2008

In an instant....

Yesterday, I went out to my seamstress' to pick up my bridesmaid dress for Miss Lo's wedding. My unconscious lead me up a familiar street and out of a long dormant habit I turned to look at a house I knew all too well. One of the most amazing women I have ever known was outside tending her garden and in that one instant, I nearly pulled my car over to stop and have a chat with her. The memories came flooding back in spite of the abyss of time that has passed since I last saw her. I could have stopped and she would have given me a warm greeting and invited me to drink a glass of iced tea on the porch where many conversations had already passed between us. She would have read most of the articles about my time in Ecuador, which were published in the newspaper, and she would have asked all the right questions. I would have told her about my experience and how it's been since I've returned. Once I was finished, she would have given insightful wisdom for the future, a boost of much needed motivation, and a side of compassion for my self esteem. We would have chatted about her and what her family has been doing; how time has flown by...

In the instant I saw the little lady in her garden, I thought of the time she sat with me on my front steps trying to console me after she just came back from Connecticut. And how she helped me acquire my first automobile. The snippets of countless holidays and parties I attended with her and her family danced and flickered across my mind. I could picture nearly every inch of her home and how she probably still put the vitamins in little cups on the counter and had blueberries in a strainer. Our trip through New England to look at colleges, all the lovely gifts and useful words of advice & solace washed up out of nowhere onto the beach in my mind right next to the other lost memories. Of all the people I've known, she will always stand out as one of the most amazing, supportive, and influential.

I often wonder if the people for which we are the most tremendously grateful ever really know exactly how much because I find it almost impossible to convey the emotion appropriately, especially with this woman. Words often fail and gifts are never quite good enough for some individuals.

The thought waves washing over my shore lasted for only a few seconds before I passed her home. I know I could have stopped and it would have been a wonderful afternoon, but I didn't. I kept on driving because that was another time and another place, which occurred light years ago...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Words of Wisdom from Miss Virginia

Virginia Woolf once wrote:

"A woman must have money and a room of her own..."

Lately, I cannot help but believe this is the smartest thing anyone has ever said. And I know she wasn't talking about a bedroom, kitchen, or shared den/computer room. She was thinking about something along the lines of a private corner on the second floor... yet at this point, I might settle for the attic (or a pseudo corner in the basement). In my mind I am currently sketching a portrait of my room: a nice shade of red or even better the turquiosey color Meg and I love that is kind of the color of Jefe's waffle shirt, which I tried to steal for nearly 6 months. Slowly, I am putting together all the pieces and items with which I would surround myself from the furniture to the books & pictures and the word wall next to the desk, a project corner with a nice functional piece for organization, music, plants, the language corner, a chaise lounge...oh la la... If you thought Miss Cupcake was a hermit before, just imagine Miss Cupcake in a room of her own. The raw sketch alone is enough motivation for me to make it a reality even if it means I might have to whore myself to my loathed second (bonus) degree (temporarily). Gross. & that is saying A LOT.

(Gosh, I am getting demanding with a room of my own & a pumpkin kitchen!)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some Ideas on Finding Happiness

I stumbled upon a list of ways to find happiness and have a better life from this blog. I thought I would share the words of wisdom.

"1) Don’t compare yourself to others. Financially, physically, and socially, comparing yourself to others is a trap. You will always have friends who have more money than you do, who can run faster than you can, who are more successful in their careers. Focus on your own life, on your own goals.

2) Foster close relationships. People with five or more close friends are more apt to describe themselves as happy than those with fewer.

3) Have sex. Sex, especially with someone you love, is consistently ranked as a top source of happiness. A long-term loving partnership goes hand-in-hand with this.

4) Get regular exercise. There’s a strong tie between physical health and happiness. Anyone who has experienced a prolonged injury or illness knows just how emotionally devastating it can be. Eat right, exercise, and take care of our body.

5) Obtain adequate sleep. Good sleep is an essential component of good health. When you’re not well-rested, your body and your mind do not operate at peak capacity. Your mood suffers.

6) Set and pursue goals. I believe that the road to wealth is paved with goals. More than that, the road to happiness is paved with goals. Continued self-improvement makes life more fulfilling.

7) Find meaningful work. There are some who argue a job is just a job. I believe that fulfilling work is more than that — it’s a vocation. It can take decades to find the work you were meant to do. But when you find it, it can bring added meaning to your life.

8) Join a group. Those who are members of a group, like a church congregation, experience greater happiness. But the group doesn’t have to be religious. Join a book group. Meet others for a Saturday morning bike ride. Sit in at the knitting circle down at the yarn shop.

9) Don’t dwell on the past. I know a guy who beats himself up over mistakes he’s made before. Rather than concentrate on the present (or, better yet, on the future), he lets the past eat away at his happiness. Focus on the now.

10) Embrace routine. Research shows that although we believe we want variety and choice, we’re actually happier with limited options. It’s not that we want no choice at all, just that we don’t want to be overwhelmed. Routines help limit choices. They’re comfortable and familiar and, used judiciously, they can make us happy.

11) Practice moderation. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. It’s okay to indulge yourself on occasion — just don’t let it get out of control. Addictions and compulsions can ruin lives.

12) Be grateful. It’s no accident that so many self-help books encourage readers to practice gratitude. When we regularly take time to be thankful for the things we have, we appreciate them more. We’re less likely to take them for granted, and less likely to become jealous of others.

12) Help others. Over and over again, studies have shown that altruism is one of the best ways to boost your happiness. Sure, volunteering at the local homeless shelter helps, but so too does just being nice in daily life."

by JD from Get Rich Slowly

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I locked myself in the 'basement' so I could think...

Only one person will get the reference in the title but that is just fine. I couldn't think of a better way to explain my thoughts & a play on lyrics usually works so I went with it.

I was talking to Mr. Walker recently and he told me I wasn't going to find myself hiding in my parent's house. He had a good point especially now that I don't have Jefe, Joel, or Ashley to drag the hermiting Miss Cupcake out and about. (Or maybe sometimes they would bribe me but that is beside the point.) I kind of took our conversation to heart, which lead me to brood in the basement where all my belongings currently reside in Rubbermaid containers. The majority of it is books and the aforementioned Colombian wine glasses (which I should photo just so you all can see what the fuss is about) and then there are two personal containers. I sat down on the cold concrete floor in the middle of the mayhem so I could investigate and attempt to purge the unnecessary. Every item I encountered rustled up a memory, story, or person in vivid detail. Sorting through my personal history slowly brought my vision from being lost among the trees in the middle of the forest to the unencumbered 360 vista in the tree house overlooking the entire forest. I think sometimes we forget we are the shiny sum of our parts and not the dull pieces struggling through the situation in which we are. As I played with forgotten jewelry, photos, mementos, puzzle pieces, mixed tapes, and the likes, giggles emerged as I fondly remembered the moments that have made up my life. The forest of whom Miss Cupcake is and not her image of herself in her current daily life languidly rolled onto the film strip in her mind and molded a happy realization. I live in color and laugh out loud. My life is messy & full of texture. I prefer to use markers or colored pencils to pens. I am the only girl they used to let play football at recess in grade school. I love sparkly things from stars to jewelry to snow. I firmly believe there is very little a nice bath, bottle of gin, book, or living room dance party cannot fix. I never ever tell a secret. The greatest compliment anyone has given me is his or her trust. I discovered this when I was 16 and the father of my boyfriend let me keep his Mercedes Benz overnight and also when my friend asked me to be a guardian for her child if she dies. These constant unsaid compliments continue to humble me. I only take two things seriously: friendship and love. I would jump through hoops of fire and across flaming coals to slay the dragon to get your chocolate chip cookie back if you are my friend. I would help you pass your motorcycle exam by following you around town beeping for months until you got it right or I would pull you out of the bedroom of a strange boy's at 3 a.m. in order to save you from making a mistake. I believe in love and am a sucker for love stories. Under the sometimes cynical "stoic" exterior, I am a hopeless romantic with a capital 'H' (but only Melina knows that). My favorite stories are the ones about how people met. Grand gestures and wooing are kindly received and never forgotten. If you sent me a love letter, post card, or gave me a Snapple bottle cap, or if I happened to attack a napkin on a date, I probably still have it. I am not easily fooled but can fool nearly everyone except my dad. I love people and am pretty good at reading them. I am a good listener. I remember almost everything, like the time you told me you loved the sound of rain or that you love white chocolate kit kats. I think bookmarks and plants make nice gifts. I always send a thank you note. I cannot live without music, books, or exercise. I adore lyrics and poems, especially Ani & Walt. I am equally good with words and numbers. No one who has met me in person has ever guessed my age. I am hard to get and even harder to forget. Loyalty is non-negotiable and what is ours is ours. I don't share moments even though I believe sharing is caring. If we ran through the sprinklers at Colby, I would never run through them with anyone else. I went to tens of concerts before I was 20. I was a good student and great athlete. When we were in Quebec in seventh grade, I was the only one brave enough to ask the HOT waiter if we could take a picture with him. Oh and there is the incident with chocolate milk that will never be forgotten by anyone present at the scene. I have always been adventurous and have great stories because of it. I don't really like tv or computers and think sometimes I was born in the wrong century. I have insanely awesome friends I know I need around me regardless of the roles they play in my life....

Moral of the story: Sometimes people get so engrossed in how life has become they forget who they are despite the situation.

While Mr. Walker had a different idea in mind when he told me I wasn't going to find myself here, I believe I did shed some much needed light rummaging through those containers on the concrete floor. I can put my situation in perspective because I am armed with a much better view from the top of my tree house above the forest, and in essence, kind of found a version of myself that can help me get out there and start living the life I would like to live. Improvisation doesn't hurt.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sparkly Things


Today I played Miss Daisy in embarrassingly valiant fashion. My dad manned the last trip of my day around 10:45 p.m. and when we landed at our 'chateau' a half hour ago, I could not help but notice the playful stars flashing and beaming above. I dropped my things and pulled up a chair. I could spend the entire evening laying out on the front yard in a sleeping bag staring up at the Milky Way and the little triangle hanging low in the horizon just soaking it all up in utter revere. I can think of no better way to spend my Monday night. How insanely amazing. Pull up a sleeping bag and I will share my fleece blankets.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thoughts on Obama



I came across an interesting article about Barack Obama in the Economist yesterday. If you are curious about the democratic Presidential Candidate, you should read this . The article sheds some light on the otherwise illusive man. They also just posted an article about Obama's choice in running mate, if you fancy checking that out too.

Friday, August 22, 2008

BURN NOTICE

This show is about a spy, Michael, who was "burned," otherwise known as fired from being a spy. He is on a quest to discover who outed him and takes his ex-girlfriend, Fiona, and his dear friend and FBI trail, Sam, along for the ride (both of them are secret operatives too). He can't get his life back together until he finds out the details of his burning. While on his mission, he spends his free time helping civilians settle the dilemmas they cannot have the police settle for them. 'Burn Notice' makes for some high quality entertainment. I am beyond OBSESSED with this show. I love everything about it and think maybe I have crushes on Jeffrey Donovan and bad ass Fiona. Each hour long viewing is full of action, humor, and interesting stories; not to mention cool spy tidbits. I am more and more impressed each week I continue to watch the second season of this series.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Friday Night Fun



One thing I learned for sure during my time abroad was friends are priceless and no matter where you are, having them around makes all the difference.

Interesting Fact in Travel

Today, I was reading the February 2008 edition of Budget Travel when I discovered a neat fact in a random article about a road trip down the Mississippi Delta. According to the article, there is a museum in Vicksburg called the Old Court House Museum that houses an exhibit of a .58 caliber lead bullet "that was said to have impregnated a woman when it passed through her womb. The soldier who fired the shot reputedly did the honorable thing and proposed." (written by Reid Bramblett & banner picture from their website.) I might need to see this display.

My question is, what do you tell your child? Sure beats the stork story.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flashback Ecuador: Student's Say the Funniest Things...

One January morning in my Intermediate I class, I had my students break into pairs and gave them the task of going on vacation to Chicago. The groups of two had to write a role play where they had to buy a plane ticket at the airline ticket counter, hail a taxi once they landed, make small talk in the cab, check into their hotel room, ask the conceirge for a dinner recommendation and then go to dinner. I gave them an hour to plan their oral role plays. Each group presented its conversation the second hour. The last group to go included two gentlemen I will call Roberto, a middle-aged family man from Guayaquil living in Quito and working as a computer engineer, and Jose, a thin Columbian business man. Roberto is tall and kind of goofy with his button down and glasses. He was one of my best students. Jose was quiet but diligent and often surprised me with his attentiveness. They decided that Jose would be the traveler and Roberto would be the customer service person. Fast forward to the part where Jose was in Roberto's cab and the conversation went as follows:

Jose (traveler): "How do you like living in Chicago?"
Roberto (cab driver): "Oh it is great. This is a beautiful city."
Jose: "Can you recommend any activites, places to see, or eat at?"
Roberto: "Oh yes. You should go shopping and eat hamburgers."
Jose: "Great. And the hotel I am staying at is nice?"
Roberto: "Oh yes. We are not far from the hotel. You'll love it."
Jose: "Oh good."
Roberto: "We are here now."
Jose: "Great. And how much is the ride?"

Roberto, standing in front of the class, clinches his fists in total concentration in a very Rain Man fashion and responds very seriously, "SHOW ME THE MONEY!!"

The class erupted in laughter and I nearly peed my pants. The tears were rolling down my face as I patted Roberto on the back.

All in a day's work

My parents hastily purchased this new home last August before I left for Ecuador and slowly, they have been getting around to making it their own. Today, I got to play first mate to captain dad while we painted our front porch a lovely shade of red. Our plan of attack was tossed when dad impulsively started painting the top half, which prompted us to cover everything but the railings. Turns out, I am not a bad first mate. Despite the debates and strategies, I can say we did a decent job on phase one.











Sadly, this is the most work I've done since mid-June. Tomorrow, it is my duty as first mate to put a second coat on the top porch. The railings are for this weekend. I finally feel a little bit useful.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Maybe it is a sign it is time to go...

Yesterday, I went to the local public library to take out some books and a movie of which I've been trying to watch the ending for two weeks now. I smugly brought three items to the counter and proceeded as usual. The nice lady told me my card had expired in January of 2006 but they had been letting me check-out books anyway. In an attempt to update my records and issue me a renewed card, I discovered I could no longer borrow books from the library of my childhood because my parent's physical address is in the neighboring town. I shook my head in disbelief as I tried to explain she could NOT take my card away. It was my saving grace in this lonely town. The library card held a spot in my wallet for decades and now she is going to take it away... The lady took pity on me and permitted the check-out of what I already had but she regretfully told me it was my last time. My library just broke up with me. I think it is a sign; one of many such as my driver's license expiring next month. I have never had another state's license but I am courting the idea of trading mine in (much to my shock & dismay). Another indication the times are a changing is the movement of my friends. There are talks of moving out of our beloved state and without them around, what shall I do all by my lonesome? So in light of all this change and upheaval, I might make my own waves right on out of dodge...

I cannot believe my library broke up with me?!?! That is harsh.

Quotations from "Last Night at the Lobster"

"She turns, a cue for him to turn too. He wants to make a final declaration out here in the dark before they rejoin the others-'I love you' or something equally futile- but she's already headed for the door, escaping him again, as always."

"He could never figure out what to say to her. She was always a couple of steps ahead of him. In some ways he liked the challenge of keeping up. Being with her sharpened him, and now, without her, he feels dull."

Monday, August 18, 2008

My People

I miss my people. All of them. I miss having my friends always around me from the World Teach crew-Ashley, Brooke, Joel, Liz, Jefe, Polo, Irina, Indira, Pete, Katie, Marco, Megan, King Jaja, Sly to Linz, Andrew, Whit, Allie, Lo, Mikie, Matty, and Erin. Let's not forget all the Steeles or Johanna or Megan, Kate and my sister. The list goes on and on....I miss being able to pick up the phone to organize lunch, cards, pizza, or dancing all within a half hour. I miss walking to El Jardin and waiting for it to open with Ashleycita. I miss drinking two for one Maracuya margaritas at Butterfly with Joel. I miss dancing at Hot & Sweaty with everyone. I miss playing cards for hours on end while eating popcorn and gossiping. I miss Thursday night tv nights at Whit's with Allie. I miss dinners at Linz & Andrews and Lo & Mikie's. I miss sitting on the couch at Bethy's. I miss making breakfast for Dan & Kristin. I miss SotEotB hugs from Mr. Brownie Sundae. I miss being able to see my friends and hang out with them. I have never before been so far away from people I love. The hardest part about coming home has been the lack of interaction with the people I hold near and dear. I spent one month traveling throughout the U.S. to visit those I adore only to end up in the middle of nowhere without any way to spend time with my people.

Coming home has been more difficult than I thought it would be. Everyone keeps asking me what I want to do and all I can think of is the following:

I would like to find a job I like. Every morning when I get up, I want to feel good about where I am going. I want working to be enjoyable and challenging. I would like a job with which I can live. I would like to entertain my friends on my patio where we can hang out and have fun. I want to do this with the man with whom I am going to spend the rest of my life in our little corner of the world. I would like to take vacations and spent my time discovering the world with friends and my partner in crime. I would like to have traditions and lots of fun. I'd like to drink delicous drinks, eat amazing food, and be part of a community. I would like to get my life in order on my own time and on my own terms. Fortunately this time settling is not an option. Now that I am home, I feel even more far away than I did in Ecuador. I hope that doesn't last long.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In the shadow of the moonlight

Last night, I grabbed the "running" flashlight and hit the pavement to take a nice run in the moonlight. Our road is the scariest part of the run because there are no lights, but with the moonbeams bouncing off the pavement, I could see just fine. I ran further than I usually do because of how amazing the night felt. The quiet and calm coupled with the nice breeze and the proud glow from above were enough to keep me going. I ran by a cute little house where four older woman were playing cards at a table on the glassed-in porch. They were laughing as they tossed their little red squares into the middle. A tent was pitched on a lawn not far down the street. I could hear teenage girls whispering gossip to each other as I passed by. The sound of their hushed secrets and giggles brought a smile to my face. Voices from a group of friends lingering on a patio where they were enjoying beverages and each other's company carried snippets out into the street as I turned a corner. A month and a half ago, a run such as this would have been impossible. Outside after nine was asking for trouble even if one was surrounded by friends in the Mariscal. I marvel at how the muscle memories our bodies hold take over before your mind can register the environment. My legs didn't think twice about leaving the house after dark at 9:30 p.m. While I don't do it often, I relish in the fact I can go outside without being terrified of what is out there. The lack of bars on houses, guards in the streets, sturdy walls defending casas, and ferocious dogs barking still startle me but my body instinctively dismisses the difference. It knows.

While running through the streets of this small town and witnessing the small interactions of its people, a memory of one summer night a long time ago floated casually into my mind. I could see myself and summer Nick (not married, known my entire life Nick) sitting gingerly in my old Saab on the side of the road across from the beach. The car was parked at the end of a driveway where hundreds of cars were settled in as their owners paraded into what appeared to be a party that would put one of Gatsby's to shame. The two of us sat in the breeze and listened to the enchanting music as the party-goers mingled inside the house. I had no idea whose house it was, only that it was a neighbor of my friend. The sound of the waves dancing with the music filled the car, which enticed us to listen for a long time. As we were leaving, Nick looked at me and asked, "Do you think we'll be like that some day?"

The memory faded when I saw an animal saunter across the street as I crossed to walk down our road. I was thankful the moon was shining so brightly and all I could hear was the sound of crickets singing with frogs.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

Once again Mr. Hosseini has humbled the deepest humanity in me. Upon turning the last page and closing the cover, I could not help but be in awe of his mastery of story-telling. This is by far one of the best books I've ever read. Laila and Mariam's story was heartbreakingly gripping and as much as I adore a good love story, the pangs of sorrow I felt for the unconventional reuniting of Tariq with his love shocked me. The bonds of friendship and family he so delicately weaves leaves you with the impression you will never understand such intimacy. And Hosseini's unorthodox heroine is another captivating piece I admire about his writing. I cannot think of another book I would so highly recommend reading.

I need to go for a run after devouring this novel. My mind is reeling with thoughts that render my breathing difficult and make my current worries seem foolish. How sad are we as Americans when we complain about our boring, complacent lives riddled with dissatisfaction of our own doing while millions suffer unbelievable and despicable tragedies too grotesque to utter - unspeakable things- yet we are ignorant to their pains; we are blind when it comes to their unimaginable plight...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSS!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

On The Road Again

The other day my dad and I were going to get a tomato for tacos when he threw me the keys to the car and got into the passenger side. I looked at him and he said, "You have to start sometime." I nervously fumbled with the shiny silver apparatuses and hopped into the driver's seat. The fifteen year old Miss Cupcake made an appearance as the car slowly lurched down the driveway and out into the road. I hadn't touched a steering wheel in nearly a year, but driving again was like kissing an old flame. The experience was familiar and somewhat liberating. The silver beast slowly made its way around town only to stop at the little grocery store on Main Street. It was like riding a bike, only a bit scarier. We made it home safely much to my dad's surprise. I think he was more nervous than I was but didn't show it until I pulled into the driveway and parked.

He let me drive by myself the day after our tomato excursion. I was so excited I told him I might not return home. We picked the car up from the garage and parted ways. I had forgotten how awesome it feels to be free to move about without having to depend on a "driver". Yet at the same time, the freedom kind of made me sad because I didn't really have anywhere to go. Hopefully that will change soon. A new song on the radio kept me sitting in the car in the driveway long after I turned off the engine; a habit I've had since high school. Does anyone else stay in the car to listen to a good song? It is a good thing I started driving again because my license expires next month and now I have a reason to renew it. Dad has let me drive ever since so I am no longer a social outcast. Baby steps...one thing at a time :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Automated Customer Service

I HATE AUTOMATED CUSTOMER SERVICE LINES. I WANT TO TALK TO A FREAKING PERSON. Seriously people, when I call about my loan, my magazine subscription or anything else pertaining to my personal life, I DO NOT WANT TO TALK TO YOUR MACHINES. I ALSO DO NOT WANT TO TALK TO A PERSON FROM INDIA WHO DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH VERY WELL. If I was living in India and spoke Hindi, then that would be an entirely different story. BUT EVERY TIME I CALL TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING WITH THE SALLIE MAE PEOPLE, I GET SOMEONE WHO NEVER UNDERSTANDS ME AND I NEVER UNDERSTAND THEM. While I am happy we are providing jobs to people living in third world countries, it does not make me happy to have to ask the lady or gentleman to repeat herself or himself 10 times because I have no idea what (s)he is saying or that (s)he has to ask me five times to repeat myself because (s)he has no idea what I am saying. You people are REALLY REALLY PISSING ME OFF to the point where I am writing letters to my Congress and Senate people and your customer service departments. I am not someone you want to piss off right now. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO PEOPLE TALKING TO PEOPLE!!!!!?!?!?!? This is why I like Geico. You always get a person. Should I ever buy a car again, that is one phone call I'll be happy to make.

I WOULD LIKE TO START A PETITION BANNING ALL AUTOMATED PHONE PEOPLE. I might just go do that....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dear Potential Student Loan Borrowers

Dear Confused Student,

So you were accepted into a prestigious college or university with an exuberant price tag that is prompting you to consider student loans because you have the unfortunate burden of paying for your college education as a result of circumstances beyond your control. Lucky for you, I have been there and have excellent wisdom to impart on you before you sign your life away on those papers. I had the choice between the local state university for free, the University of Michigan, or Villanova University. My first choice was Michigan. I applied as soon as I could and waited by the mailbox my entire senior spring for the letter of acceptance. I was accepted on March 11. It was snowing and I spent the afternoon celebrating with friends. I remember the day well and still have the letter somewhere. The following package from them was not as exciting because it included the bill for non-residents. Villanova was option number two and the cheaper choice, so it seemed. I didn't even consider the local state school. I applied for loans and worked two jobs through the four years to pay for my Villanova education. My dad was wearing a Villanova sweatshirt at the airport in Boston one April day when he was dropping my sister off to come visit me. A strange man approached them and asked if she was the Villanovan. My dad told him it was his other daughter. The man told my dad not to worry that he would get back more than ten times what he put into obtaining that education. It is not looking good at the moment but I sincerely hope that man was right.

So a word to those students struggling with the difficult decision. Pay for your undergraduate education and if you absolutely have to, borrow for your graduate and professional education. In my humble opinion, the financial decision to borrow for an undergraduate education is not worth it. I know it might be biased of me to make that decision and I have time to rectify my situation, but the limitations to what I can do overwhelm me at times, especially on Tuesday afternoons when I have to argue with the lady at Sallie Mae. I believe the hassle and burden are not worth it. I do not regret attending Villanova, and I would probably do it again because I am stupid like that but I do not recommend it for anyone because sometimes I think my undergraduate education (even at two Bachelor of Science degrees for the price of one) was over-priced and overrated. While having a renowned name on a piece of paper (or two) might seem like the ultimate pat on the back, those monthly bills can be staggering and seem endless. The most important thing for you to consider is getting the education and not necessarily the name on the piece of paper. So think twice before you sign yours to obtain a degree from an expensive university when you can have a free education that will give you much more freedom to move about the world after all is said and done.

Sincerely,

Concerned College Graduate with Student Loans

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Magazines and Organization


I was greeted with one year's worth of mail when I arrived home. I've only seen half of it to date because my aunt is holding the rest and I haven't had the pleasure of seeing her yet. The first half took me 1.5 hours to sort through and included more than 20 magazines. I have read most of them and decided Real Simple pisses me off. I know this might seem ridiculous but I am being sincere. I used to love this magazine with it's great photography and inspirational stories and quotes, but then it became riddled with advertisements and these new weird still-life paper doll like photos lacking in liveliness. My first encounter with the magazine upon return left me with such disdain I haven't read one since. All these women complaining about how they cannot get organized with all of their stuff. I have a word of advice for you women: GET RID OF ALL YOUR USELESS S@&T AND STOP BUYING IT. Simple enough. One lady just buys containers to fill. I was so appalled I wrote a letter in response to the article. Really ladies? Stop consuming and then you'll need less organizing. I know this is easy for me to write because I currently own nothing but clothes (in suitcases) and books (in containers). Have no residence of my own, no rooms, no car, no furniture (except my handy college desk), no appliances, no dishes except hearty wine glasses from Columbia in which you can fit your entire face and with which I will never part- I own nothing to organize except reading material, and hang out in my dad's den and my mom's kitchen which are already stocked from 20+ years of marriage, but I also know you can live without all that stuff and all those containers. It is possible and you will not suffer. In fact, you might be happier. Meaningless issues like organizing too much stuff make it easier and easier for me to break up with magazines.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Madness



When I was a child, I watched the Olympics in awe of the athletes' sheer excellence. My unwavering viewing lasted until 2000. I skipped the 2000 and 2004 games because I was preoccupied with college and the year aftermath. However, I have nothing better to do this year so I have been watching all of it, and I am not just talking the much debated must see events, but pretty much every event they've shown on the ten different channels including El Salvadorian tennis. The rain hasn't helped pry me away from the screen either. I know I should be spending my time productively like the rest of America-maybe even looking for a job-but I have no motivation to do so. Why would I leave the excitement of Michael Phelps (oh whom I have a small crush)? Who knew swimmers were giants? My ex-boyfriend was a college swimmer and he was no such thing and we all know I prefer taller men. How exciting was the relay win against France? And who knew there was gossip in these pseudo-celebrity lives? I love good French gossip! Manadou and her Italian swimmer ex-boyfriend's scandal. Oh LA LA! The press does not take it easy on these stars either. And the Women's beach volleyball team?!?! Hello can I join your gym because I want to have a rocking bod like that. And I thought I was doing well with my running and ten lb shed. I might start working on my muscles now for sure because there might be hope for me in karate. No? I have to live vicariously through someone, it might as well be Olympians for now.

After watching the unreal opening ceremonies, I find it nearly impossible not to get caught up in the excitement. Fireworks, flashlight drummers, moving box people, just spectacular. Almost like something out of "Fantasia". Maybe I am just a little emotional at the sight of the American flag and the sound of our national anthem. I'm ok with it. This year they mean something different, which is probably why I cannot stop cheering.



(pictures borrowed from Google Images)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It all started with with phone calls to the landline





My most recent temporary residence is my parent's house. While this new town and new house are more my sister's scene, my friends are still mine. I knew I was going back to the past when my parent's telephone started ringing for me and when I picked up to return the call I already knew the number by heart. I didn't even have to glance at the caller id. I am one of those people who is still friends with all of her friends from high school. And not just the one or two best friends, but most of the people with whom I haunted the halls of the orangish outdated brick building many years ago. Last night, a group of us got together to celebrate Miss Politics' birthday. Our first dilemma was getting to the party. We didn't want to have to drive so after a few seconds of contemplating a bright idea flashed and I asked my dad. We've now reverted to pre-license days. He kindly agreed to bring me to the shindig and to grab my friends along the way. First stop was Whit's house. She was ready with her "green" party bag of frosty beverages. Next pick-up was my sister's ex-boyfriend from high school whom my family still happens to like. He was two houses up at his aunt's. He hopped into the explorer with a case and said, "Who feels like they're in high school?" My dad just laughed at us and delivered the trio to the door step of Miss Politics'.

I have to admit getting out of the house was very nice and especially when it involved going to such a lovely party. Being surrounded by people you've known for more than a decade and who know the quirks of your family help make evenings entertaining at least. There was an outdoor fire, delicious food, new friendships budding, and a wild dance party once the civilized people had long gone home to bed. The night ended with a phone call to my dad at 2:10 a.m for a ride home. He happily picked the three of us up and returned my friends to their respective homes. Of course he found all of us very humorous, especially when one said, "Don't worry Mike, I threw up before I got in the car." Just like old times.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Watching a movie with Miss Cupcake

My friend Whit and I went to the movies tonight to see "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2". Aside from feeling like I was 16 again and back in high school, I realized I am the worst person in the world with whom to watch a movie. I have a running commentary about anything and everything. And if I've already seen the film, show, etc, I am ten times worse. I know I should be better about this and keep my mouth shut and enjoy the film but I cannot help myself. The words just slip out like a wet frog from an ecstatic 8 year old boy's hands. So should you ever find yourself watching a movie with Miss Cupcake, this is a warning: she might talk.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Happy 500 Posts Miss Cupcake. May you figure out what to do next soon enough.

Quotation

"There was a part of her story she always held back. She told you just want she wanted you to know about herself, no more, and if you tried to get her to fill in the sequence of events that propelled her, you'd probe for the missing pieces in vain." ~ Judith Jones

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Breaking up is the hardest thing to do...

(Edward Hopper, 'A Room In New York')

When I was in high school, I developed an extremely strong and terrifying fear of marrying the wrong person. The movie "Cast Away" gave me such severe anxiety, I still shutter every time I even see a preview or reference. That being written, the picture above is the only way I could visualize my fear. Edward Hopper is one of my favorite artists and this print is one of my favorites despite what it represents to me. She is hopeful even though it is obvious he is clueless. I often feel so much like this women I am afraid I might become her. Well, that was until this past month.

My 10 months in Ecuador have made a considerable impact on me because within the first month I returned, I broke up with most of the things I used to enjoy. My first victim was magazines. We are through. I thought it would be a temporary break, but it is appearing more and more permanent every time I step into the grocery store and walk right by the glossy squares without a longing second glance. New books were also on my hit list. I have a library in my parent's basement I must attack before I go into Border's and add new titles to the "to read" pile. (Let's pretend I didn't go to the library this week to get a book to read I didn't have in the basement.) The next break up was with my fear of marrying the wrong person. I now believe I could never let that happen, especially after seeing Danny & Krista. I know myself better than to make such a serious mistake. I believe I will not become the woman in the painting, which is a huge relief because for more than 12 years, I was terrified I would. I also broke up with my airline, American. The award ticket I had for my flight to Detroit was horrendous. I don't mind waiting or flying on little planes, but really, Boston to NY to Detroit? Come on! Good-bye American. Luckily they were an easy one to drop. This might be a little too much info (and music to one's ears), but my opinion about underpants might have changed. No additional comments will be given. I am constantly flirting with the idea of breaking up with Miss Cupcake but cannot decide at the moment, and I have been trying to decide what to do about Mr. Brownie Sundae. I know I should end our "friendship" because it is six years of I don't know what and pretending for me, but I cannot seem to stop because he always seems to know just what to say to make me stay just a little bit longer to see if maybe he might change his mind. This situation has gone on far too long and I know it. But I still cannot get my heart to accept the difference between expectation and hope...

My ties to many ideas I once held have also been severed. My words will hardly do justice to any feelings I have regarding these said ideas, so I won't bother at the moment. I'm doing the best I can and for once, that is good enough.
Now if I could only find a job....

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEG!!

The Twilight Zone of The Middle of Nowhere New England

Now I know who is reading all this garbage, I feel like I can be more honest and open with y'all.

So I've traded wandering the streets of Quito in search of a snack with Ashley to driving around the middle of no where with my dad. I eagerly wait for him to get up so I can actually leave the house, which is my only form of excitement. I haven't driven in a year and have not been allowed to operate a motor vehicle since I've been home. Peter offered his car for me when I visited him but I thought better than to start with a non-family member's prized possession. My dad thinks I might need to go to a parking lot to practice before I hit the roads. My desire to drive is zero so I am not too concerned about it for the moment.

Once dad gets up, we go get the mail at the post office, do some random errands, and then usually get food. That is it. I currently spend my days talking about the Red Sox and their big trade, the stock market and price of oil, the repairs the car needs, the repairs the explorer needs, the porch we're suppose to paint when the rain stops, the gutters the house needs, the rooms that need switching, the wood needed for the wood stove and why Lowe's is better than Home Depot (which is a big deal for me considering my former opinion of Lowe's). Our entertainment is driving around town despite the hefty $3.79/gallon for gas. We get in the car and drive through car lots because dad is considering trading in his large gas hog explorer. We stop at Home Depot to see if the wood stove he just bought is cheaper there than it was at the local store. We look for ideas for my parent's house at Lowe's. We check the prices for water pressure cleaners, door racks for closets, try to find Coca-Cola Zero, take the car to the shop for tires, and search for the best canister vacuum cleaner that will make my mom happy. My current personal pursuit (aside from getting a job and a life) is the perfect shade of pumpkin to paint my future kitchen, if I ever get one. My parents refuse to let me paint theirs (and claim no one else would let me either), but my dad said I could paint the extra bedroom pumpkin if I wanted to stay here. I told him I have my heart set on a pumpkin kitchen (and finding a place to live not in my parent's house). Do not ask me why because I don't know. I would like a pumpkin colored kitchen. I learned yesterday Home Depot does not have good shades of the fun vegetable, in case anyone was wondering.

There you have it. My life in a nutshell for this week. Productivity has escaped me and I fear I might never lead a normal life again, but I am working on it. Recommendations and suggestions welcome. Until I figure it out, you can find me hanging out with my dad in search of the perfect telescope for our new hobby: Astronomy.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEFE :)

Can't wait to celebrate with you in London.

Sorry for the blog confusion

Hello my dear readers (all hand picked of you),

I am sorry for all the confusion. I am just changing things around and think I might break up with Miss Cupcake but I am not sure. I'll keep you posted but in the meantime, you can keep reading should I flirt with the idea of posting more nonsense :)

Sincerely,
Miss Slightly Lost

my legs have wings

Every time my feet hit the pavement, it is as if they have a mind of their own. They carry the rest of me for what seems like an incredible amount of time for not working out that much these past 11 months. I have no control over how long they will pound the pavement or how far they will carry on. Yet, my mind appreciates the reprieve from all that plagues it lately.

The first part of the run is down the sandy driveway onto the desolate private road on which my parents live. Only four houses exist on the half mile stint while the rest is wilderness that is until I get to the main road. For that half mile, I am enveloped in the most glorious smells and sounds. I want to inhale as long as possible so I can never forget the sweetness in the air as it hangs so delicately yet potently all around me. This is my favorite part of the day...