Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Where I'm From

This post has actually been a long time coming, but I just haven't sat down and actually written it yet. College has, for the most part, been kicking my ass. Repeatedly. With a stick, too.

This year, for some reason, really makes me take a good hard look at myself and really be proud to say, "I'm glad of where I'm coming from, and I'm glad that I'm the person that I am."

Which translates to, my family raised me right.

This goes beyond good manners like saying, "Please" and "Thank you," (which my mother seems to think I'm going to forget to do every time I leave the house) but just to being a good person in general. That when someone needs help, you simply don't walk away and say, "I don't have time," and instead, you help them. Even if it's something small, like helping them pick up loose change that they dropped, it only takes a moment. Like holding the door for someone who has their hands full and can't really reach their keys or the door handle. Common human courtesy, really, but you'd be amazed at how many people simply don't do it. It doesn't take a lot of effort, even if you're in a hurry because you're five minutes late to class, to, when someone's making your delicious white chocolate mocha on a Monday, ask them how their weekend was. Ask a simple, "How are you?" And when you get your delicious white chocolate mocha, smile genuinely and say, "Thank you." Maybe it's because I'm in the food service business and I know what it's like to go through a lot of effort to make a night special for someone or to accommodate them for some reason. If they can't have strawberries on their cheesecake, I make sure that I don't bring them strawberries.

And I think, that in today's society, we've forgotten how to be nice to each other. Simply nice to each other. Without asking for anything in return, except company, and probably a smile. It seems as though everyone has to have a purpose, a motive. Or, if not most, then quite a damn few. It's the little things that we can do for each other that compound into larger things, and those larger things are often what make or break your day.

Like, yesterday, when I went out to the school where I do my teaching thing (observing, really, sometimes actually doing things) and there was a substitute. Yes, I knew there was a sub (my teacher had emailed me) but I was clueless as to what I should do. So I sent a message to my professor, who encouraged me to go and "help out" the sub.

You know my relationship with Murphy. There is really no good way for this to end.

Combined gas law, once you know that you need to find in the question (the given information) and plug everything into the formula, really only involves cross-multiplying and solving for a variable. But, when you don't know how to set it up properly, and you don't really know all the pieces of information (or can't seem to find them in the question) it can be difficult. Which is why, in a room full of 28 Regents Chemistry students, with me filing between the rows and trying to help, I looked like a moron for about 30 seconds when the sub said, after the nth student said they were confused, "I don't know anything about this. But we have a person who knows a lot about chemistry." Which, through logical reasoning (not my strong suit, but Spock would approve of this), was me.

"Can you do number 1 on the board?"

I wanted to glare at whoever had said that, but couldn't pinpoint the voice. I'm not even considered an assistant student teacher. I'm considered a "tutor." But guess what I did.

Took a deep breath, picked up the green SmartBoard "marker" and said, "All right. First thing we need to do is read the question and see what they're asking. This is really what you need to do for any Chem question that you get asked, especially because the Regents really likes these types of questions."

In the end, I don't think I confused them too badly. And, actually, the next time I walked around, most of them had a really good grasp of how to use the combined gas law equation. Mission accomplished, in a way.

Which, of course, didn't mean that I couldn't freak out about it later. Which I did. Which most of my friends found hilariously funny.

Almost as funny as what my director said to me at rehearsal earlier this week.

When we first had rehearsal, all of us in the five plays together to run through, it was also the first night that we were in costume (or had brought the costume we were going to wear to see what management thought) and, because the play that I'm in is really modern, I'm wearing clothes I would normally wear. I wore my blue vest with a white long-sleeved undershirt and jeans. Pat, the director, liked it. But it also needed more color, especially under the lights. So, he tells me on Monday, "Molly, I like the vest, and we got you a pink turtleneck to wear under it."

I have no issues with turtlenecks. Really, I don't.

It's the pink I'm not a fan of.

I get they need a contrast color. It will probably look really good. And the only pink the audience will see is what will be on the sleeves. Really? My favorite color is red. The last time I wore anything remotely pink, my father said to me, "Molls, you look like a girl from this movie." I stupidly went, "Oh yeah? What movie?" He goes, grinning ridiculously, "Pretty in Pink." My own father. I expect this type of stuff from my sister, not our dad.

But I will put on the pink turtleneck because that is what is expected of me. Because it is a challenge, like my placement yesterday, and not only will I rise to the challenge, but I will attempt to beat it into submission.

Which, while difficult and sometimes nerve-wracking, can be a lot of fun.

Huh. Kind of like life.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Expanding Horizons

So, when you apply for college, they want you to tell them everything about you; what extra-curricular things you do, what sports you play, what hidden talents you might have (nose kazoo falls into this category, in case you were wondering). They also want you to tell them why you'd be a good fit at their college, how you would, to use that wonderful cliche that we all love hearing so much, "broaden your horizons."

I like to think that occasionally mine expand, kind of on their own or with the help of my friends.

Tonight was one of the latter occasions.

My campus has quite a few international students. I could probably look up the percentage, but I feel kind of lazy and am expecting a phone call from my parents in a few minutes, but mostly I just feel kind of lazy. Of these international students, there is a very large Asian population on campus. Out of all my friends, I think about 1/3 of them are Asian (Jenny is a Chinese native, that's where the rest of her family lives) or of Asian descent. Then there's a few who find the culture very fascinating (like, someone may find Russian culture very interesting and immerse themselves in Russian - which, is kinda sorta an option here) and can speak the language almost like a native.

All of this combined led me to Sushi Night.

I know right now that those of you who know my digestive issues are cringing and going, "SUSHI!! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING!?!?!" Bear with me. I am of the mindset that you only live once. Along with that, I'll try almost anything as long as it won't land me an ambulance ride. Even then, if it might get me an ambulance ride, I'll at least wear a helmet.

So, lo and behold, for dinner, myself and a group of friends trucked up the hill to the ballroom and proceeded to make sushi. I had no idea what I was doing, but that way okay. Honestly, there were quite a few people there to teach me. It's not really as difficult as you think it is.

You take a sheet of seaweed. I don't recommend going in the lake for this, because you'd probably end up growing something unpleasant in your stomach and digestive tract, and since I already have enough issues, I have no desire to do anything more down there. Anyway, you take some white rice, drop it on the seaweed, and then proceeded to smash it flat and try to cover as much of the seaweed as possible. (Please note that the seaweed is on a light wooden mat thingy that's covered in plastic wrap for sanitary reasons.) Next, add whatever you want to your sushi. Mine had tuna fish in it. With some spicy sauce (that was actually kind of burn-the-inside-of-your-mouth-accidentally-hot) but still good. Add a thinly sliced (longwise) cucumber. Then fold the mat and the seaweed over on itself and squeeze so that it kind of sticks together. Continue this until you have rolled the entire thing. If you want to be realistic and get kind of technical, go ahead and cut it into traditional sushi-sized bits. Or, if you're like me and kind of woefully American some days, pick it up and eat it like a burrito.

Another reason that I love my college is because of Fall Nationals.

Which, when you really think about it, is probably macho maleness at its finest.

Fall Nationals is, quite literally, a soapbox derby. Starting on a chosen Monday, students are encouraged to build their own soapbox derby cars (they'll get reimbursed up to $50, provided they have the receipt) and then they race them down the Hill. The Hill, I should mention, is not straight. It has curves. So, not only does your car need to support you, but you also need to have a way to steer, and brakes are usually a good idea.

As the first time witnessing such an event, I must say, it was absolutely hilarious.

A Hobart alumni won. He put a single, old white, obviously doctored arm chair onto a cart frame that would usually house the little tent thing you would pull your kids behind a bicycle in, and went down the hill on that. Absolutely priceless were the guys with the couch on wheels (it was so ugly it was hilarious) and the dean even had one. A length-wise sawed-in-half plastic barrel with two wheels in the back and a bicycle tire and handle-bars hooked on front.

At least everybody wore a helmet. And it was some of the best free entertainment I've had in a long time.

And that's how I "Expanded My Horizons" today. I feel kind of accomplished.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I walk a fine line at the moment, somewhere between peace, prosperity, and all that bullshit, with heartbreak and general life on the other side.

I think everything is just happening at once, which, let's face it, when things like that happen you have no control over them. But it's a little much. And maybe I'm having a hard time handling it, but this is the third time this week that I have wanted simply to burst into tears.

And right now, after a thoroughly horribly chemistry exam which, quite frankly, I really do not want to talk about, I'm ready to take this boy situation (read "asshat") and try to get that figured out once and for freaking all, because that's part of what's driving me up the wall. The signals (which, let's face it, I can be quite dense sometimes, but I think this is pretty clear. If not, I'll come back tonight, get in the car, and immediately head for Wegman's for another pint of Ben and Jerry's and head to Em's for a session of RENT. Let's home it doesn't go there.) are, like I said, pretty clear, I think, and I really need to figure this out before I completely lose my sanity, or what little of it is left.

I have never quit anything in my life, a fact that I am quite proud of. But, in all honesty, so far my lovely self-conscious-doubt has kicked into overdrive, and has left me wondering if I can do this. It's not like I'm not trying, but, maybe this is like soccer (which, in case you didn't know, I went through all of pre-season and then was told that I was not fit enough to play at that level and to take the season off and work on my fitness, which, for someone who has played every season since she was 4, was a bit much to take) and my best just isn't enough. At the same time that I think that, I look at some of the people that I go to school with here, and think, "How the hell did you get into college, let alone this one?" Just the fact that I go into the school I go to should say something, but...I know everybody has self-doubt, but this is ridiculous. I'm not at the point where I just want to pack the car and go home because that's like giving up. Like quitting. And I've never quite anything before in my life, and I don't intend to start now, but damn it, it's difficult.

It's like somebody drop-kicked me into the middle of a field hockey game, and, while I have a vague notion of what's going on, I never seem to be completely with it. I get more than a few good hits, but it's a struggle. It's a constant struggle.

And I don't even want to think about what life would be like with the health issues that I faced last year. Don't even want to go down that road, thank you very much.

What also confuses me are the people that I live with. I don't have a roommate (I have a potted houseplant named Henry, that's close enough) but I live with about fifteen other girls. Most of them are freshman. And currently, coming from the other end of the hall, is loud music, and voices. Like a party, or a get-together of some sort. It's Thursday. Do they not have work to do? I swear, I never see them doing anything. Never see them doing work. They always chill out in the room, either with their roommate or with boys from the other floors. I'm confused by this. Is it because I'm in the science department and the education program and simply got buried this semester or are they simply freakin' geniuses? (Logically, if I listen to Spock, they can't be geniuses because the one of them has been caught multiple times for drinking and smoking (not just cigarettes) in the dorm and was once heard bitching that her bong got taken away, to which, the people that she had been caught with, offered to chip in a few dollars to help replace it.)

There's a part of me that will take over sometime in the near future, shoulder all of this with some great inner strength, grit her teeth, and she-man her way through the rest of the semester like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest with something to prove. This is the fight in me. The part that will eventually kick the rest of me into something resembling an action plan and go forth into the world and show them all what exactly I'm made of. It will be hard, there will be more tears, and the part of me that's freaking out now (and probably will be freaking out then, too, like always) will sit back and go, "Holy shit."

But even strong one's are allowed to freak out, right? We're allowed to cry every once in a while, aren't we? We can't all be BAMF's, all the time, can we?

No, we can't. But we can sure as hell try to.

I think it'll take a lot more tears, some more pints of Half Baked, and possibly a little ranting to my wonderful followers here, but I think I can do this. And if "I think I can, I think I can" worked for The Little Engine That Could and children all around the world in tons of different language, then I think it can work for a college student who's at the end of her proverbial rope.

Now, if you excuse me, I think I have some carboxylic acid derivatives to read up on.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Catchin' Up


Those of you who actually read this thing must be wondering if I had fallen off the face of the earth. If you're my mother, you actually wrote to me in an email: "Did the cows crap and the pigs eat you? I haven't heard from you in forever." I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me how I can consciously get eaten by a pig. Then I realized that my mother must be spending more time with my sister, because I expect something like that from her. She comes up with the best stuff. For example, "Holy crap on a cracker, Batman." Come on, you can't buy stuff like that.

I've been trying to get a solid handle on things. But I think I've come to the realization that I might not have a solid handle on things, that I might just have to settle for something more or less along the lines of clinging on for dear life. As long as I have a two-handed hold and am in no danger of being bucked under an oncoming bus or something, I'm okay with this. It's actually not a bad way to live. Might be hell on my blood pressure, my stress level might not love me, and my psoriasis might pick this time to say, "hey, winter's coming, bring on the constant itchiness so people look at you oddly." Or, more oddly than normal.

And, as usual, my novel seems to want to pour itself out of my head and onto paper faster than I can possibly get it. Rather, more accurately, wants to pour itself out when I don't have the time to really sit and get it out.

Which reminds me that I really need to transcribe my acting essay before I have to go meet my lab proposal group at o'dark thirty. Then get some semblance of sleep and be up and functional for class at 7:30. First thing to go is my contacts at the moment, because my eyes are starting to burn. Well, not really burn, but more or less get fuzzy in a way. Like my contacts are moving around when they really shouldn't be. This is nothing new. It happens when I get tired.

I've actually gotten more comfortable wandering around in my glasses. I used to not really like it. It's more or less a fact of life now, the amount of time I spend in a chemistry lab where, not only do we do things that would be considered a felony in your garage, but we also use chemicals that could melt your contacts to your eyes.

Would solve the problem of not having 20/20 vision, but probably hurt like hell.

If you can't tell, I'm getting to the point where I'm punchy. Which means the less of a filter there is between my brain and my mouth. I imagine the same thing happens when I ingest too much alcohol. I speculate here because, quite honestly, I've never been drunk and don't intend to start anytime soon. And, if everything goes according to plan, I'll be in Wales when I turn 21 next fall. If it doesn't go according to plan, I'll be in the US when I turn 21, and hopefully will be in Wales that spring. Either way, I hope to be in Wales sometime next year, for study abroad.

So, not that I haven't had more than enough caffeine today, I'm going to go make myself some more tea (or drink the mug of cold stuff on my dresser) and get crackin' on the homework that I still have to do, and can't put off until tomorrow. (Which means that it's due tomorrow. That's usually how that works.) And this is the part where Louise insists she's not a procrastinator and the audience snorts in a "Yeah, right" kind of way, and life continues on as normal.

Therefore, in the words of Tim Gunn, "Carry on and make it work." (Which is more of a combination, but you get the idea.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Am

So a few weeks ago, in the second or third teaching seminar that I had, we did this thing called, "I Am From" and you were supposed to write down things that signified where you were from and who you are. They could be general things, or they could be worded so that only you knew what you were talking about. After some examples, we were told to do our own, and then, if you wanted to, share. I didn't get to share mine with my seminar, and I've been thinking about sharing with you fine people for a while. So, here it is.

I am from
hills, fenced-off fields, and TTB love
and old ragged apple tree, and a 50 gallon drum

I am from
west winds, piled leaves and soccer
flopping water and "may I help you?"

I am from
a large family tree
geographic closeness, "get away from me"
the ultimate age gap
"where are you going?" and living on the center line.

(This was all that I got down in the five or so minutes we were given to do this exercise, but I think it's more than enough to convey where I'm from. And what I am.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wrote What!?

One of the problems with writing a novel over the course of five years (and then some, I'm still going) is trying to remember what exactly it was you wrote in the beginning.

Last night I was looking through part II (the second hundred pages) trying to see if there was a logical place to stop and split it (I'm thinking of self-publishing at this point, and splitting it would allow me to begin that process while still finishing the rest of it. The only snag that I can think of is that if I do publish the first part, I can't change it to reflect anything that may happen later) and I've found some interesting lines that have made me seriously go, "What? I wrote this?" Let me give you an example.

pg 116: "Trying to get something like that out of Jack is like trying to cook a still-living raccoon. Both put up a damn good fight." - Gin

I looked at it and honestly couldn't remember writing that. Really, I don't.

I do, however, vaguely remember writing this.

pg 327: "This is different," Jack said, his hands resting on his knees. "There won't be anything in there to throw us apart. It's not like last time. And there's no trees."
Ral nodded enthusiastically but Kayley ignored him without her usual flair.
"It's not different. What if you do something, even accidental, and it screws him up even more?" she said. Seeing Ral's hurt look, she hastily added, "Not that you're screwed up, of course, Ral. You're just really different."
Ral shrugged; it was his way of saying that it was alright, and he sighed.
"Look at him, Kayley," Jack said softly. "He didn't ask to be magically mute and sealed to the floor. I did it, so I'm going to fix it, even if I have to go in there." He pointed to Ral's head.

Actually, I think the classic example of forgetting what I've written would be when I made the Fates (I had to give my world a religion, so I gave them the Fates.) Not only are the Fates brother and sister, but they have three children, who are prophets. Yes, you read that correctly. And believe me, it's not something I did on purpose. I only realized it when someone pointed it out to me.

This one, just because it makes me smile.

pg 359: "Okay," Jack said brightly, "now that we've confirmed who I am, let's continue."

pg 363: He [Ral] had the best comebacks thanks to (but she didn't know) years in the public education transit system. You had to get them before they got you.

Which is so true.

Okay...after a little bit of deliberating, I've come to the decision (for the moment) that I'm going to split at pg 439. All the pieces are in motion, there's been some action, and there's also a little bit of a cliffhanger. So, with that, that only gives me... 439 pages to proofread and edit the shit out of. Not to mention add what needs to be added to make it work with later chapters, and the stuff still coming out of my head. Yeehaw.

Looks like I've got some work ahead of me. But I now have a goal to work toward, a definite one. One that's a little closer to actually getting published. Do it to it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Murphy and Me XI

(Sorry it's been so long. Things got a little nuts. And I got a little distracted. That I'm still trying to figure out.)

It was a good game. We won, of course, and there was the proper amount of chest-thumping involved all around. It was a chest-thumping testosterone fest of manliness, come to think of it. It was quite impressive.

It was after dinner, shortly before dark, and I was curled in my chair, physics book in hand and hi-liter at the ready. And I'd been staring at the same sentence for roughly five minutes. My focus seemed to have taken a holiday. Not surprise there. It was a Saturday night.

I jumped about a foot in the air at the knock on the door. The brick of a physics book hit the floor with a solid thump. I was amazed it didn't chip the tile.

"Hold up," I called, heaving myself out of the chair. If I was expecting anything, it definitely wasn't a recently-showered Murphy, looking down at me with a shy, expectant smile. "Hi."

"Hi." He shuffled a little. "What are you doing tonight?"

Flat-out: Probably nothing. I should do homework, but, with my Focus on Holiday there was a good chance I was going to get nothing accomplished.

"Not much of anything," I said. "Why?"

He shuffled again.

Holy shit. Murph was fidgeting.

"Will you come out with me tonight?"

I gaped. He wanted me to come out with him? Out socially?

"Like, out out?" I asked stupidly. What other out could he possibly mean? Damn I was dense.

Murphy fidgeted a little more. "Well...yeah..."

There was so much potential when I looked at him, so many places this could go. It was kind of like a date. Almost. Sort of...

"So, will you?"

I was nodding before I could form the word, "Yeah."

He grinned, albeit shyly, a hint of color in his cheeks. "I'll pick you up at nine."

"Okay." The butterflies began in my belly when he turned away and I shut the door. I was going out tonight with a boy. With Murphy.

Why was I suddenly so nervous I was going to throw up?

Because I liked the boy. Really liked the boy.

A quick glance at the clock told me I needed to get moving. I only had forty-five minutes.

Forty-fives minutes to figure out what to wear, accessorize with it, do something with my hair, and generally freak out about things. So I did what any sensible girl would do - put on some danceable music and turned it up fairly loud to cover any inevitable freaking out I still had to do. And found my phone and called Sasha.

Who took her sweet-freaking-time to pick up.


"Sasha!" I practically bellowed. No doubt Cara could hear me, too. Without the phone.


"What do I wear!?" I was cradling the phone between my ear and shoulder, rifling through my closet in near-panic. Why did I have no going out clothes? Oh, wait. I'm not really the type to go out...

"What do you wear for what?"

"Going out!" My God, were my brain cells taking a vacation one by one? Along with my common sense? What the hell had I been thinking, agreeing to this?

"Going where?"

I know I'm dense. But Sasha? Did she eat a bowl of stupid for breakfast this morning? This was ridiculous.

"Out with Murphy!" I all but yelled and realized she didn't eat breakfast. But I did.


If I could have reached through the phone and swatted her upside the head, I would have done so in an instant. I swear she was being unhelpful on purpose.

"Yeah, 'oh,'" I shot back. "What the hell do I wear?"

There was a pause. "Something cute."

I looked between the phone and the window, wondering if it would be covered by the warranty should it take a four floor fall.

I took a deep breath. Then another. Felt more like I was about to walk into a physics quiz than a probable date with a boy and there was something really wrong with that frame of mind.


"Yeah?" Somehow I was calm.

"Wear something red. It's your favorite color and you look good in it."

"You're a tease," I growled, knowing full well she knew I'd been flipping out.

"Have fun. I want details."

I could hear the grin in her voice. "Maybe." And snapped the phone shut.

Now that I was considering only red items, it narrowed down my options considerably. No joke. I only had two options, really. My shiny dark red shirt and my red plaid one. I almost chewed my bottom lip bloody as I stood there, debating my own wardrobe. Or lack thereof.

I went with the plaid. It was more down-to-earth. Possibly farm girl, but that was kind of what I was. I was a country kid...minus the twang, cowboy boots, and horses. But I preferred to see the stars at night, not buildings and streetlight haze. My favorite faded jeans and a long-sleeved white layering shirt (because if I got warm it would be easier to push the sleeves up than try to pull something down that wasn't there if I got cold) and was putting my Converse on when someone knocked on the door.


And yeah, the damn traitorous clock said nine. Which meant that my hair would stay as it was. I shut off everything I needed to shut off, grabbed my flung cellphone off the bed, and opened the door. And had to look up.


"Hi," I echoed, butterflies beating the snot out of my ribcage and my heart thumping somewhere in the vicinity of my molars.


Hell. No. "Yeah."

He grinned.

I was now in immediate danger of puking on him.

We headed downstairs. Kind of predictable that we'd stop at the third floor. I had no doubt that we had to get Devan but there was also no doubt as to the fact that I was with Murphy. If there was, the big, warm hand on my side was as good as a neon sign.

And looking at the common room, I realized I was no longer in danger of puking on or in front of one person. Oh no.

Now I had eight.

I shuddered.

Murphy's hand tightened reflexively.

"Don't be nervous," he whispered in my ear.

Which was akin to asking a snowball to kindly not melt in hell.

"I'm workin' on it," I said and he chuckled. Which effectively helped calm me down.

"There they are," Devan said, and Murphy was given some good-natured ribbing which he took with good grace.

We moved like a pack, heading for the stairs. Murphy stayed by me, sliding his hand away only to brush his fingertips to mine when we hit the cool night air. I blushed and grinned. Who knew what the hell was going to happen, where this whole thing was going to go. There was, however, one thing that I was definitely certain about.

Murphy was no longer in danger of being puked on on what was probably considered our first date. And that would have been amazing, even for me.


Alright. Well, if I were to call myself a bit of an oddball, I really don't think anyone would protest much. And I was looking through some blogs and I found this really interesting thing on Picture Imperfect where she did 44 Odd Things About Me. And since I take those all the time on Facebook, and it looked kind of interesting, and is helping me procrastinate on my homework that I brought with me on break, I thought, well..what the hell. Let's give it a go. You might find something out that you didn't already know.

1. Do you like blue cheese?
Hell. No.

2. Do you own a gun?

3. What flavor of Kool Aid was your favorite?

4. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Yup. With all the health issues I've had, I still get a little nervous even though I know nothing's wrong.

5. What do you think of hot dogs?
Another Hell. No.

6. Do you have a big family?
You have no idea.

7. Favorite Christmas movie?
Oh, this is easy. It's Santa Clause is Coming to Town which is one of those old stop-motion animation ones. Actually I really like Jack Frost, and The Year Without a Santa Clause, too. And those are stop-motion as well. The Heat Miser songs cracks me up still.

8. Favorite thing to drink in the morning?
When I'm home, coffee. When I'm at school, milk. School coffee can burn a hole through your car engine.

9. Can you do push ups?
Yes. My last fitness test I did 28 in 30 seconds.

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
My spiral ring and my starfish pendant.

11. Favorite hobby?
Soccer, writing, reading, procrastinating. (Yes, I have turned it into a hobby...maybe I can convince my college to let me major in it...)

12. Do you have A.D.D.?

13. What's one trait you hate about yourself?
My procrastination. Yet, somehow, I always manage to get everything done on time.

14. Middle name?

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
History. Cookies. Nap.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink.
Water, Coffee, Orange juice mixed with Cranberry juice.

17. What Is Your Favorite Holiday?

18. Current hate right now?
I don't really hate anything, but I must say that the "asshat" is really making me ready to climb the walls.

19. Favorite place to be?

20. How did you bring in the New Year?
I was home. Watched the ball drop. Went to sleep.

21 . Name three people who might complete this:
My sister? Maybe. After that it's up in the air.

23. Do you own slippers?
Yup. Left them in my dorm.

24. What shirt are you wearing?
A blue tyedyed shirt from a soccer tournament in 2005. It has thumb-holes and frayed cuffs from wear.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
No idea. Never tried it.

26. Can you whistle?
Nope. And you should see me do cartwheels.

27. Favorite color?

28. Would you be a pirate?
Yup. :)

29. What songs do you sing in the AM?
Usually whatever's been on CMT as I get ready, or something from RENT if I'm having a particularly bad day. Lately it's been "Toes" by Zac Brown Band

30. Favorite Girl's Name:

31. Favorite boy's name:

32. What's in your pocket right now?
I don't have pockets at the moment.

33. Last thing that made you laugh?
Derek Jeter's face Friday night when Bret Gardner almost got picked off at second, and then went on to steal third. It was absolutely priceless.

34. What vehicle do you drive?
A 93 red Oldsmobile named Fred. Car = Tank and I absolutely love it. And he's got some get up and go. :)

35. Worst injury you've ever had?
Oh guess it's a toss up between breaking my ankle and being in a cast for three weeks and having surgery and not being able to do anything besides walking and being upright for four weeks.

36. Do you love where you live?
Absolutely. And I also love the college that I go to, and the friends that I've made there.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
4. But since I'm away at school the one in my room doesn't get used much. And yes, I have a TV in my dorm room.

38. Who is your loudest friend?

39. Do you have any pets?
Yup. A cat (Pepper) and a dog (Corona). And yes, I consider Henry, my houseplant, a pet, because he travels back and forth to school with me. And gives me something green to look at in my room.

40. Does someone have a crush on you?
I think so. I really hope so. But honestly he's driving me up the wall with his inability to communicate. Or my inability to correctly read the signs.

41. Your favorite book(s):
I don't think I have enough space to list them I'll just give you some authors that I really like: Terry Pratchett, Christopher Paolini, Stephen Lawhead, Suzanne Brockmann, Garth Nix, Margarite Weiss and Tracey Hickman..and many others...

42. Do you collect anything?
I do. I collect keychains from the places that I've traveled to, or through.

43. Favorite Sports Team?
Yankees. And the U.S. Men's and Women's National Soccer Teams.

44. What do you want played at your funeral?
Um... "Bright Lights" by Matchbox Twenty. And there had better be cookies.

So, I hope you found some things out that you might not already know, and you probably confirmed suspicions. Anyway, I really do need to go do some homework, so enjoy the rest of your day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Where's My Compass!?

There are really only a few things that confuse me. At this point in my life they are the inner workings of organic chemistry and boys. And not necessarily in that order.

Does my tea have a green tint in it? Swear it does right now.

I digress.

Considering I just woke up from an hour and a half nap and have Serenity playing in the background because I'm, once again, simultaneously working on my homework and blogging while having background noise because otherwise my Focus won't have a damn thing to stay grounded to.

Which is kind of like me, at the moment. I'm wondering what exactly I'm grounded to.

I feel so lost in this mountain of crap that's going on - homework, classes, my teaching placement twice a week - and I think I just need this week to be over because I need fall break to just breathe and, in some ways, catch up. To make things even crazier, toss in a boy.

Now, even on my good days, they confuse me. Just like most men say, "I don't understand women," yes, well, the reciprocal is true for us. We just don't get you, sometimes. Because, whether you like to believe it or not, some of us aren't all the confident ones you see in class, willing to set aside our self-consciousness about our bodies and what's normal and everything else to do a simple sound and motion exercise in acting. Especially in front of people we don't know. You'd think it would be easier, because we don't know the people we're in there with. In a way, it's not easier. Because all we have are first-impressions of each other that painful first week, and sometimes it takes a little longer to get comfortable with the people you eventually have to act like a squirrel around. I believe I've passed that point a while ago (about two and a half weeks, to be exact) but this right is throwing me for a loop.

Maybe I'm just dense. It's been said before. Hell, I'll even say it about myself, right along with some days my common sense takes a vacation with my Focus and my motivation. I think they head off to slightly quieter places, maybe with less stress and general craziness.

Text messages. Yeah, I know, non-sequential and all that crap, but really, are your thought-processes in perfect sequence with one another? Really? Then you might need some serious mental overhaul. If yours aren't, then you probably followed my logic perfectly. If you didn't find any logic in the beginning of this paragraph, then you're also correct because there isn't any. Spock would not approve, Kirk would hug me.

So. Text messages. From a boy. From a boy who is currently not anywhere in proximity to me, sober, and, for all intents and purposes, really liking me. Which, if you know me, and I think some of you who do and who are getting to, would be freaking me out majorly. There is really little doubt, I think, and from my Kirk and my best friend who was witness to all of this on one crazy ride back to college last night (who also has boy issues of her own - she's sort of solving hers today, while simultaneously being like me and trying not to run and hide) then it's pretty clear where he stands. But the little voice in the back of my head asks me, "Is he serious?" Which, I think, happens because I've been hurt before. So hurt. Hell, ask me on a bad day if I want to attend the possibly baby shower of my real first semi-longtime relationship who's now married and might be poppin' out a kid sometime soon, and I'll get that look in my eye that says step away before I do something semi-violent or dissolve into tears.

To say I'm confused is a freaking understatement. Because I don't know if he's serious or not. A large part of me believes that he wouldn't joke with something like this, the messages he's sent. But, again, the little annoying voice in the back of my mind says, "It might be a joke, he might be kidding."

And because I don't know what he means (though I'm having people tell me his intentions are pretty clear and that I'm being dense and skittish) I'm kind of lost.

Lost, dazed, confused, you name it, I'm feeling it. Along with this giddy feeling deep inside that says, "Somebody likee you..."

Still. "No day but Today." - RENT

Friday, October 2, 2009

Breaking Writer's Block

I am breaking my Godforsaken writer's block tonight even if it takes me half the night and a flood of tears because I have to examine what I'm really doing and where it's really going!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Crossing VII

The title up top means that this part is taken from the seventh part of my novel (pages 600-700, but not the whole 100 as that would be kind of pointless and a a waste of time. And I don't want to share that much.) This is the part I'm stuck at. Any suggestions on how to get unstuck would be fabulous.

Ral looked at the palace and his heartbeat doubled. Bella stood in the doorway, safe from the damaging rays of sunlight, eyes wide and tearful. He winced with each step he took and didn’t care; each painful movement was taking him closer and closer to her and that was all that mattered. When he reached the steps she moved into the sun for a moment, gasping at the pain, smoke curling from her unprotected forearms and she eased herself back into the shadows. She was shaking, arms wrapped around her middle and Ral could see she was wearing one of his shirts, and a pair of breeches.

“Bellandra?” He slipped into the shadows and she backed away from him. It was the exact opposite that he was expecting from her; he had anticipated having to catch her, hold her tightly and reassure her that he was there, living and breathing. This was something he was unprepared for and his brain was struggling to come up with something to do to fix it while slowly and cautiously knitting his link with Jack back together.

“Ralurick.” She worried her lip with her fangs. It was a nervous habit, one he hated to see her do. She was also still away from him. “Are you….alright?”

His knee twitched involuntarily and he worked hard to hide his wince. “Fine. A little sore.” It was an understatement but she didn’t need to know that. He’d never had to ask for a hug before and found the entire idea of doing such a thing a little ridiculous. Still, if it would get her in his arms so he could figure out why she was shaking so badly, he’d bribe her if he had to. “Hug?”

Bella hugged herself tighter and shook her head.

Ral’s eyes widened. Whatever was going on in her head at the moment was very, very bad. He took a deep breath. “Bella, what’s going on?”

She looked at him and literally wobbled. He took a step toward her reflexively and she took one back. His eyes deepened to hazel.

“I…I cannot do this, Ralurick,” she said softly, eyes impossibly wide. “I cannot simply sit here and wait while you come back injured or changed. I cannot simply wait for the day that you do not come back at all.” She almost bit through her lip. “I know that in your service to the Valisk you will put yourself in danger, it is what you do, what you have chosen to do and I cannot fault you in that. But I…I simply cannot…I cannot take the waiting for my heart to break permanently because you have gone and not come back.” A single tear tracked down her marble cheek. “I love you. I always will but I cannot…I cannot wait around for you to be killed unnecessarily.” She backed away, toward the door to the hallway to the living quarters. “I love you, Ralurick Emmett Maerton Maubrey Foster. I always will, but my heart cannot take this torment.”

Ral stood rooted to the spot, amazed his legs were steady enough to keep him upright. The main message that he’d been left with, the one that rattled around the inside of his brain, the single thing that had narrowed his vision to a pinprick was the fact that she, the love of his life, had just left him. Left him standing alone in the entrance hall to the palace in Esmin, telling him she loved him, and always would, but couldn’t bear the heartbreak that he would eventually bring her because of his status as Fithro Veinik. Absolutely floored, Ral stumbled back until his shoulders hit the doorframe and he slid to the ground, eyes fixed on the last place that she’d been. Before she’d left him.

Left him.

Jack was leading Keina by the hand when Ral’s raw anguish ripped through him, nearly dragging him to his knees. As it were his legs buckled and he squeezed Keina’s hand, an ache already forming in his chest. Something fairly significant had just happened and, while talking softly and affirming with soft touches and even softer words that the woman in front of him was his mother, he’d completely missed what had literally rocked Ralurick’s world. Jack was suddenly conflicted with the want to stay with his mother and the need to fix whatever had left his Fithro Veinik a shaking bundle of frayed edges in the doorway.

Kayley’s appearance in the doorway next to Ral solved a bit of his problem. She crouched in front of the vampire, placing a gentle hand under his chin so that he would look at her.

“She’s a brave soul for taking on a vampire who’s emotionally overloaded,” Keina mentioned softly to her son, watching Kayley talk softly to Ral.

“She is,” Jack agreed, thinking it would be more spectacular if she hadn’t had to do it before. If they hadn’t taken turns doing it for each other when things got completely out of hand. Then again, Bella had always been Ralurick’s ultimate calming influence, the surefire way to make him settle when it seemed life was nothing but utter chaos.

“English, Ralurick, please,” Kayley said, her hand still under his chin. He was muttering in Spanish and, in his distress, was forgetting to breathe. It wasn’t necessary for him, considering he was dead, but it was something he still did anyway, a habit as ingrained in him as sleeping at night.

“She left me. She left me. She left me…” Ral trailed off into murmuring so low Kayley couldn’t hear him but she knew it was the same phrase. She took a peek up at Jack who was clearly torn over who to stay with. Kayley took the choice from him.

“I’ll take care of him,” she said, moving her hand to place her palm on Ral’s neck. It was an intimate thing to do with a vampire but Ral settled more than he had when she’d first touched him, fine shivers running through his frame instead of making Jack feel as though he was going to shake himself apart. Their connection widened. Jack could feel almost everything; the most recent emotional toil that had wrecked Ral and then underlying exhaustion that was threatening to simply make the vampire’s body up and quit until it was given sufficient time to heal.

Jack ground his back teeth, hating the idea of abandoning Ral again. “Okay. Make sure he eats something and then take him back our room.” He looked between Kayley and his mother, deciding that that introduction was best saved for later. Kayley gave him a nod and refocused her attention on Ral, talking softly to him in Denlin. His blue eyes, uncharacteristically wet, turned on her and he muttered something almost unintelligible.

Kayley helped Ral to his feet as Jack took Keina in the opposite direction, intending on finding her a place to stay, still warring internally with himself whether or not to spend time with her and reconnect, or to try and bring Ral out of the downward spiral that he was slipping into. He kept the veinik in the back of his mind while he led Keina to one of the guest suites, promising that when Nayet knew she had arrived, she’d be moved to something better. He wanted to stay with her, get her settled, yet he needed to see what was going on with Ralurick. Once again the solution was taken from him when Keina kissed his forehead, and gave him a slight shove back into the hall, telling him they could talk later. He meant to protest. She shushed him with, “Go deal with the situation,” and then simply shut the door in his face. Jack stood there for a moment, staring stupidly at the brass knocker in front of his nose, and then backtracked through the mostly-built link to find Ral.

Ral was alone when Jack found him, almost to the kitchen, one hand braced on the wall for support, still shaking. Kayley was nowhere to be found.

“Where’s Kayley?”

“Said she had something to take care of,” Ral shrugged, pushing open the door to the kitchen.

Jack followed at a distance, giving Ral his clearly-needed space. “Hungry?” He slipped into Denlin because Ral was using it.

“Yes and no. Not really, but I know I should eat. Something like that.” He heaved himself up onto a stool and propped his elbows on the table.

“I’ll find you something.” Jack squeezed Ral’s shoulder and went to find the leftovers from earlier. He also grabbed a couple bottles of Vlad’s wine; if anything else it would help tip Ral’s body from running on fumes into sleep. If it didn’t, then Jack was going to have a very introspective and open vampire on his hands.

Ral’s eyelids were at half-mast when he returned and he went immediately for the wine, bypassing the food. He uncorked it with clumsy fingers, pouring some in a glass which he then slid to Jack. He took a long swig from the bottle and thumped it on the counter, folding his arms and pillowing his head on them. It didn’t take the Valisk much to figure out that his Fithro Veinik’s mind was a complete and utter chaotic mess.

“You wanna talk about it?” Jack sipped the wine and pushed the bowl – potatoes, chicken, and gravy – toward the vampire. “Eat somethin’.”

He turned his head, looking at Jack. “She left me.” He rubbed his head against his arms, trying to burrow into something familiar. “Said she’d always love me, but couldn’t stand the heartache it was e-every time I left. So she left me.” He snorted, a harsh, painful sound. “Was basically the exact same thing my mother said when she left me at… at Manny’s…” He tried to yawn and hold back tears at the same time.

Jack felt the loss nearly to his bones at how ragged Ral was; tired to where he couldn’t even hold his head up but devastated to the point that he wouldn’t be able to sleep even if his body had tried. He took another sip of his wine; Ral drained the bottle halfway. All he had to do was keep quiet, Ral would continue to crack, as painful as it would be to watch.

“Said she loved me,” the vampire repeated with a shake of his head. His lower lip wobbled. “She loved me…Oh, God, Jack, what am I gonna do?” The tears came in a rush then, tracking their way down Ral’s cheeks as he buried his face in his arms, shoulders heaving.

Jack scooted his stool closer and put a hand on the back of Ral’s neck, thumb rubbing in a combination massage and simple comfort stroke. With his mind he buffered Ral’s, sliding the vampire into one space and surrounding him, hoping to anchor him. Ral’s mind, still in tatters, went willingly for the most part and shivered, unaffected by the calm that Jack was hoping to project.

“We’re going to get through this, Ralurick Emmett,” Jack said, pitching his voice low. “We’re going to get through this. You trust have to trust me that that’s going to happen. Do you trust me?”

“Course I trust you, Jack,” Ral forced past the block in his throat. “But, God Almighty, it hurts like nothing I’ve ever felt before and I’ve died.” He leaned toward Jack; the Valisk scooted closer and allowed Ral to settle against his shoulder. Jack was forcibly reminded of the time when the Journeyway was attacked and the aftermath in the alley, holding onto Ral as he shook himself into a stupor. “And I’m dying again.”

Jack swallowed and rubbed the vampire’s shoulder. “Trust me to get us through this.”


The Valisk turned his head to look past Ral’s ear at Vlad. “Uh. Vlad. Hi.”

“Would some of the cold treat that I have made be welcome?”

Ral detached himself from Jack and swiveled to look at the hulking gypsy. He didn’t care his eyes were puffy and bloodshot, that he hadn’t slept in ages and hadn’t eaten anything longer than he could remember. Cold treat made sense and he asked hopefully, “Ice cream?”

Vlad broke into an easy smile and went to fetch a bowl of it.

Jack took another sip from his cup; Ral took a decent swig from the bottle. Ice cream and wine, fine ways to solve emotional problems. Jack was then hit with a sudden thought that it was almost like Helic had reached down from the Heavens and smacked him on the forehead.

“Tell me about her,” Jack said. Ral looked at him sharply so he clarified, “Tell me about the stuff – the good stuff that you two did.” He wasn’t after the nitty gritty intimate details; he just wanted Ral to remember the good times and try to temporarily forget for the moment that she had, for all intents and purposes, left him.

Ral’s face remained stony for another ten seconds and then softened. “There…we…” He paused to gather himself and swallow the seemingly unmovable lump in his throat. “We used to just sit. Sit and talk, like the world didn’t matter.” He took a small sip from the wine bottle. “It was back when we were at her castle, when we first met. After Vilasia pulled me apart and then stuck me back together. She held me while I cried my eyes out and tried to get myself back together again. Then I played piano for her for hours.” He smirked, a far-off gleam in his moist eyes. “That’s when I knew I loved her.” He played with the label on the bottle, falling silent.

“Kayley stuffed mud down my shirt when we were nine,” Jack said, finishing the glass and helping himself to the bottle in front of his vampire. “So I dumped some on her head.”

Ral snorted. “Love at first mud-fling.” He held his hand out for the bottle. “We went for a twilight stroll in Tenenmae one night.” He took another swig. “We passed this group of children – orphans, I think. Anyway, there were some hiding in the shadows and Bella just knew they were veinik. She convinced them to come out and – and we talked to them. They were so small, so scrawny, and she told them that it was okay to be different. That we were different. She’s a gem.”

Jack’s first words were, “I didn’t know there were vampires in Tenenmae” followed shortly by, “the gypsy kids we grew up with hated us, I think.”

“How could they hate you?” Ral handed the bottle over and quickly got it back. “You were probably, what? Six or seven?”

“They didn’t like us then, because we weren’t gypsy and we ran around holding hands all the time.” Jack raised his eyebrows, accepting the almost-empty bottle.

Ral looked over at Jack and then crossed his arms on the table, pillowing his head on them. With sad hazel eyes, he was the picture of absolute dejection and despite what Jack had been trying to do, there wasn’t any way for him to take Ral’s hurt from him.

Vlad appeared and gently placed a bowl and two spoons on the table in Ral’s line of sight. The vampire turned his head to the other side and looked up at the dark-skinned gypsy he’d been at odds with, smiling weakly. It quickly turned water and he turned his head back toward the bowl and Jack. Vlad reached and drew his hand back a few times before settling it lightly on Ral’s head and tousling the young man’s hair.
"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz