Friday, June 25, 2010

Across The Pond

This is the first official post (see the title) about going abroad. Okay, probably not the first because I had one last fall telling you happy people that I had been accepted, but this is the first that's just about going to Wales and the preparation it involves.

The visa process has begun. And yes, I do need a visa because I'm going to be doing about 150 hours of community service-based internship (hopefully in a school, so that it can double as my teaching placement). The application, while it's not as long as filling out the FAFSA, it's fairly strict and more than slightly complicated. It asks typical questions - why are coming here, what's your purpose, etc - and it just takes more than a little while to fill out.

There's an online portion, which, in the terms that's given, is fairly misleading. You don't submit this sucker online. You get to the end of it, and print it off because you need to take it with you to your biometrics appointment. Yeah, you're going to get fingerprinted. Well, I'm going to get fingerprinted. Next Tuesday, to be exact. You also pay your fee online. For this visa, a Tier 4 (General) Student visa has a fee of $299 associated with it. This also pays for your biometrics, because that's a required part of the process. Once you've printed out the completed online form, you have an appendix to fill out as well - also an annex. You fill these out in black or blue ink and, after you have your biometrics appointment, you have two weeks to submit all your materials to the British Consulate.

Sound confusing? It is. And there's a lot of other paperwork you need to complete everything and send to the Consulate as well.

However, if you make a list of what you need, and follow the handy-dandy directions (or, in my case, have mama sit down with you and go through it with you), you should be just fine.

The process of filling out the forms online and the hard copies, takes about three hours. Roughly.

The kicker - they can refuse your application if you're missing a piece or something just isn't right. You don't get your $299 back, and you have to start the entire process over again.

There shouldn't be any problems with my application. And once I get my biometrics taken care of, I should be good to go to mail the stuff to the Consulate.

That's when I realize that I'm applying for my visa to go abroad. Greg, the other day at work, said that we were almost halfway through our summer (in terms of our work season). Roughly, I'm halfway through my summer, halfway to leaving for the airport and then getting on a plane to go across the pond. It's squee-inducing when I really stop to think about it.

It's getting closer. The next time that I look at a calendar, I'll give you a rough number (or an exact one) of how many days I have left before I leave. But that much needed process - the visa - has been started - and maybe is halfway finished.

Which makes me grin like an absolute lunatic.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ranting, Raving, and Playing Catch Up

I'm not going to lie - I've been bad with blogging lately. I've had some things to blog about (for one thing, my best friend keeps finding old, first year of college photos that she never got around to posting and tagging, and this latest one has me busting a move in my swimsuit during a midnight swim, not that it's a big deal) and the latest round of passport photos that I had taken at CVS for my visa application makes me look like I'm a sketchy, skeevy person of ill repute. I'm currently watching the USA take on Algeria (yes, I know they've won, and yes, I know they're through, but I had to work a double yesterday, and didn't get to watch it and have it on the DVR) and doing some thinking.

Thinking about a lot of things in general - and how the hell have we not scored yet!? We'd have chances out the wazoo here, and we can't find the back of the net!?

Sorry. Sidetracked. It happens (you guys know this by now).

First thing (or things) I want to remark on is the neighborhood shenanigans that have been going on. I'm going to be honest - I've been sick. First semester first year of college, the mystery pain that nobody had an answer to, that nobody could figure out why I was having pain the way I was having pain, ultimately ending in surgery to remove a cyst and some other benign tissues from my internal girly parts. But between September and January (when I had surgery), and nobody knew what was going on with me internally, it was really, freaking scary. My body was doing something to itself that I couldn't control, and simply had to cope with. We tried some things - I kept a food and exercise diary (and a pain one, too) and went, at one point, two weeks without any dairy products of any sort. I was in New York City for a college publishing thing (we toured some of the publications and publishing houses) with my sister, and attending these sessions with major publishing powerhouses, and opposite my bracelets on my left wrist was my pre-surgery hospital band on my right.

You can see it in this photo. It's on the hand closest to you.

Being sick, in general, sucks. It does. Having cancer sucks even worse. But the biggest, and most frightening thing, at least to me, is not knowing what's going on with your own body. Not knowing what it's doing to itself on the inside. If you know what's going on - you have a diagnosis - you can fight it. When you don't have a clue what's happening, you can't. You just have to ride it out. And that's just all kinds of scary, truthfully. Scarier than having a diagnosis.

I understand being sick. I get that. What I don't get is the specific set of rules that I've been asked to play by, concerning someone and their illness. I understand that there are things you don't want to hear - but you're going to hear them anyway, because people can't remember specifics, and yes, in all reality, as much as you'd like to think to the contrary, you're still sick - but to slam someone whom who've progressively gotten closer to because of the way they have - in your opinion mistakenly - acted (with good intentions, mind you) that's, in layman's terms, not right. Flat out. And you've done more than simply hurt feelings and make a good person who wanted nothing better than to help, hurt instead. That's not right, either.

Simple human kindness dictates that when someone does something for you, out of graciousness and the want to assist, you thank them, not nitpick and complain that it wasn't done to the correct specification, simply shut your mouth, and accept it for what it was - assistance, helpfulness, and a good deed so that life might be a little easier.

For example: We have a very team-oriented atmosphere at my workplace. I'm a waitress. So, when I get swamped, and maybe behind a little in taking out my dinners, someone assists me. They also - sometimes - assist in handing out my dinners (or desserts, because we're sometimes a little rushed handing out cheesecake at the end) and can't necessarily readily read the map that I've drawn myself (because it looks pretty cool when you put a dinner in front of someone and know who ordered what, and how they wanted their beef cooked) so they simply look at the table, find the plates, and hand them out. I don't light into them later on because they've done it differently than I would have. I thank them for helping me, and we move on. Later on in the night, when we're doing coffee, if I take a pot of coffee upstairs, I simply move throughout the floor and offer coffee to everyone - including the tables that aren't mine. I might not have the same personality, or know the tables as well as my own, but I still get a thank you, and I've still helped my coworker and the customer. And that is what's most important. We don't get petty, and we don't get upset with each other. We help each other. One of us has a rough night on the floor (someone that can't be pleased) then we try to make life easier for him/her by doing what we can to help. The same goes for our F.O. when we set up or clean, or are getting food out. We do what we can, and while sometimes it might be a little unorthodox, it's still appreciated.

Bottom line: Someone does something nice for you, does you a favor and tries to make things a little easier so you can focus on what's really going on, what's bugging you (fighting an illness or simply having a tough time) you smile, and you say thank you. Because that's what you're supposed to do as a decent human being.

Then again, lately, there seems to be less and less decency in the world. Nearly a week ago (last Friday, really) while my father, the dog, and I were outside (and the cat, too) doing lawn work and trying to get the old push mower started, my dad heard a thu-thump, the dog started going nuts, and he looked at the road in time to see our beloved black cat take off the for old back porch.

She'd been hit by a car.

Said car did not stop. Said car did not even slow down.

You hit my cat, the least - the freaking least - you can do is slow down or stop, especially if you see someone outside. However, whoever it was kept on going.

Before I cause any unnecessary stress - I have one very, very lucky kitty. No broken bones; a gash on her back leg (took a nice chunk out of her) and she's got some road burn on her face. She's a very lucky black cat.

She'd gone and hid under the porch at the old house. Neither mom nor I could get her to come out - I actually crawled under there (which, considering my fear of spiders was interesting) but couldn't get close enough to get a hand around her somewhere and pull her out. Later on, Heather rattled the cat food in the house and she came out, laying on the step and wanting to come in, mewling.

I was not able to walk her home. Heather had to wrap a towel around her, pick her up, and take her back across the road. We put her in the bathroom, brought up her catbox, and peeked in on her every now and then. She was not a happy camper. She was actually quite miserable. I took her to the vet the next morning - the doc was very good with her (and she didn't claw anyone, which is a miracle, 'cause Pepper'll rip your hand off on occasion) and said she was very lucky. Usually, when a cat meets a motor vehicle, the cat doesn't walk away.

Also last Saturday was the Waterfront Festival. Our Waterfront Festival is the broader term for the Cardboard Boat Regatta. Yes, boats made of cardboard and duct tape. And they sail in the marina. The pier was packed, and my college friend, Josie, whom I was meeting down there, wound up with a busted muffler (that the AAA guy took off completely) and we watched some of the boats before it started to rain and I had to go to work. The she spent some time with my mom, sister, and the little one while I was at work.

And things like that are only as awkward as you make them. Everything turned out okay. And I would say that the family agrees that I've found really good friends at college. For that, I'm really lucky. Lucky and grateful.

Tuesday (two days ago) I made a new blog. Again, before I cause any unnecessary stress as to whether or not the Wandering Sagittarius will be going anywhere - I won't be. I've toyed with the idea of making a blog about my time abroad, or whether to give it a specific heading and specific tags, and keep everything under one roof. And after spending the amount of time I did on a layout and trying to do colors, and really thinking about, I'm now looking for a way to delete that new one. The other one. That I don't want to use. It would be too much of a hassle, and probably too confusing to keep those posts separate (for both you and me) and too much to mess with. So what you'll get is a series of posts (titled similar to Murphy and Me and Things to Know) with Roman numerals and the same snarky, introspective Molly Louise that you've grown accustomed to. Just on the other side of the pond.

My cousin and I go to Fitness at six in the morning four days a week. That works for us. It's a combination of lifting weights, working muscles you don't normally work, and doing more push ups than people can really count. We quite possibly do about a thousand a week, just in four days worth of work. That, though, doesn't work for everyone.

What my sister's been doing at night is walking. She'll walk anywhere between three and five miles (depending on whether she's pushing the thirty pound child in the heavy stroller) each day, and she keeps track (meticulously, I might add) of the miles that she logs. She puts her mp3 player on, her headphones in, and pounds the pavement to the RENT soundtrack.

I couldn't be more proud of her.

And trust me, when she walks, she's movin'.

Fridays are the days when I don't have Fitness. Tomorrow morning, at five, we'll get up, put in the headphones, and pound it out. Then she'll go to work, and I might get back into bed for a couple more hours. Or I might not. I'll figure that out when I get there.

Side note - I can't imagine watching this World Cup game in real time yesterday. I know there's a goal coming, and I'm on my last set of adrenaline nerves watching it because they haven't scored yet, and they need to win to advance. I think I would have been on the edge of my seat and screaming at my TV. Like I don't do that already, as it is.

And have I mentioned that I absolutely adore Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra? If not, I'm mentioning it now.

Soccer for me is still a big part of life. I don't play anymore - competitively - but if I could find a pick-up game or so I'd be out there in a heartbeat. What's been a little difficult, especially this past season, being a referee -

How the hell did they not suffocate Landon in that tremendous pile?

- it's made me remember my days with my club team. And the WAZA girls, and everything that happened in those four years. Trying out for ODP (multiple times, and not getting in - which, when indoor happened shortly after that, my coach looked at me said, "You come back from ODP tryouts and you're playin' like you got robbed - it's great, girl") and then really settling in, both in goal and in the midfield (actually as a back) and I played a lot of soccer. At times a lot of good soccer. Then there was my senior season with my varsity team. It was -

Not entirely sure I can watch my favorite player - and who's number I wore for so long - cry in this interview after putting them through the to the next round.

- one of those times that you think you're going to go on to bigger fields, and bigger competition.

It's complicated, and difficult to explain. My weekends used to be games, and travel, and doing homework in the car, and sleeping in the car, and changing uniforms on the road to another game, and to not have that anymore - in any capacity - is incredibly difficult. It feels, at times, like something is missing.

I understand, and I believe that things happen for whatever reason (still, a reason is a reason) and that when one door closes, another opens (or a window, whatever, I'm not picky) and I know that if I had been in season last fall, then I wouldn't have found community theater, and met and worked with the people that I met. And I wouldn't have really found that I enjoy theater and decided to minor in it. I wouldn't have found that, and I'm very happy that it was something I did find.

Still. Sometimes it feels like there's something missing. And I think that that specific feeling is going to be there for a long time.

Which is why I want to see if I can help out the Varsity girls coach (who was also the travel U19 coach who I was going to be another body at practice with) during their preseason in August and maybe up until I leave, depending on my work schedule). I can't coach - I don't have a license, though there is a need for a girls Modified coach. Also, I leave toward the beginning of September, so that wouldn't work. That might be one of those ways I get soccer back.

It's not what I had, but that's something that you probably can't get back. Not just in soccer, but in general.

Up next for the rest of this week - I start the visa application tonight (which reminds me that I need to read those papers [the instructions] multiple times) and go back in to work for another double on Saturday. Hopefully, when I get out at 12:30 in the morning, I won't hit a large, four-legged furry thing on my way home. If I time it just right, I'll be coming in the house as my father is leaving for work, which is always a little bit fun.

On that note, I've got live World Cup soccer, Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander, and about two more hours before I get to pick up the little one from daycare. Hell, I might finish my latest section of Murphy and Me.

Maybe. If I can find my Focus. Which is another story entirely.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Murphy and Me XXIV

Armed with my red striped polo and favorite jeans, I was outside the fishbowl. Murph came out a minute or two later.

Without Dev.

"Dev's not comin'?"

Murph shoved his hands in his pockets. "Dev's spending his night being a good student and doing his Soc paper due Monday." He shuffled his feet, a flush creeping up his neck.

I held out my Vera. "Might wanna put some pj's upstairs, since I probably don't have anything that'll fit you."

He disappeared into his room, and took my keys on his way out again. He was a good roommate - if we got back late (which we probably would), he wouldn't wake Devan if we stayed in my room tonight. And as I reminded Murph, I don't have much - if anything - that would fit him to sleep in.

And I am not prepared to sleep next to a boy in his boxers.

Murph thumped back down the stairs and to the lounge, handing off my keys. He took my hand in his.

"So, where we goin'?"

He didn't answer me until we got to the parking lot. It was a little chilly. Murph, my moving furnace, snaked an arm around my waist. Toasty warm in seconds.

"There's a party at Kappa."

"Kappa Alpha or Kappa Sigma?" Not that it mattered. It was still a frat.

"Kappa Alpha." His fingers lingered on my opposite hip. "A lot of the football boys are brothers."

More football boys' names. Can I get a cheat sheet? Please?

I nodded.

"And a lot of the guys hang out there, too."

Now, for some reason, I was starting to get nervous. Not what Murph had intended, probably, but I'm female. That's where my brain goes.

"You okay?"

"Yeah. Fine."

We walked along South Main; the moon reflected off the lake, a sight that would never get old. The music at KA was audible when we were about three houses down and nearly deafening as we stood in line at the door. Murph moved his arm and I was floating for a moment until he anchored me, our fingers twisted together. There was much back-slapping and rowdy hellos (consisting mostly of "Yo! Elf!") and then we were inside.

The amount of bodies was ridiculous. Almost claustrophobic.

There were people everywhere, including the downstairs where the bar was. There was more dancing down there, too. And that's where we were - on the dance floor.

And when incredibly self-conscious on a regular day, on a dance floor with a boy in front of other boys and girls in scanty clothes, this was now firmly classified under 'nightmare.'

Murph took my hand and started to move, the geekiest expression on his face. Couldn't help it - I cracked up and creakily rocked, trying to match his movements. He was breakin' out moves most don't do unless - and until - they're drunk as a skunk. And he was doing it to loosen me up.

And it was workin' like a charm.

I looped my arms around his neck; his hands settled on my waist. He leaned in, close to my ear. "You good?"

"I'm a little nervous." Had to yell to be heard.


It was dim in the basement, the strobe light more annoying than helpful. Those hazel eyes, though, they were clear.

"I dunno. I just am." Really. I'm illogical like that.

He smiled, then leaned in to kiss me soft and sweet in front of a frightening amount of people. Then was back to leaning by my ear. "Don't think about it. Just go with it."

And really, that piece of advice was quite valid. Quite helpful, too. Not to mention it worked.

I'm not sure how long we danced, though I was ready for a break when he went to find something to drink. There was an empty sofa in the corner and I plopped down, content to people watch.


I heaved myself to my feet, wiping sweaty palms on my thighs. A tall, African-American guy with a skinny - leggy, too - dark-skinned woman hanging on his arm had seemingly popped up from the floor. They my age (in college) and he had the best dreads that I'd ever seen. They looked at me, and I had the sinking feeling that I should know them and didn't.

"I don't think we've actually met, yet," he said. The other girl and I were sizing each other up. "I'm Murphy's lifting partner."

Click. "Noah." I smiled. "Nice to meet you."

"This is my girlfriend, Tanya."

Tanya and I shook hands, still measuring each other. Someone called Noah's name, and with a quick, "Be right back" he left the two of us alone. Tanya sat gracefully while my knees more or less refused to continue supporting my weight.

"I'm Murphy's girlfriend," I blurted after less than ten seconds of awkward silence. Cue flaming face. "I mean, Murphy's my boyfriend." She blinked. Great.

"I know," she said, smiling gently. "Noah says that's what he talks about."

"Wow." Really, what else do you say to that?

Sirens cut through the music as the lights came on. Tanya took me by the hand before I could start floundering hopelessly, pulling me off the couch and toward the stairs. We didn't stop at the first floor, fighting the throng of people to get to the other staircase and up onto the second floor, into the common room of someone's suite. There were other girls there, chatting and holding long-necked bottles. I lingered awkwardly by the door, Tanya having the sense to let go shortly after we crossed the threshold.

"Girls," she said, finding an empty seat, "This is Ollie."

They turned as one to look. I was the only one wearing jeans and had never felt so awkward in my life. Might as well have been naked.

"Oh," one of them - a strawberry blond in a mini-skirt and heels - said excitedly, "are you Elf's girlfriend?"

Holy. Shit. I'd found the girlfriends club. Somebody - anybody - needed to rescue me before I disgraced myself in a horrifically public manner. Or, better yet, before I embarrassed Murphy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Murphy and Me XXIII

Whatever the hell that damned beeping was, someone needed to shut it off. As of yesterday, preferably.

The mattress rolled a little - and it was breathing, too. Smelled a lot like Murph, come to think of it.

The blaring ceased; a big hand traced up and down my spine. Murph shifted again, cheek pressed to the top of my head.

"Was that the alarm?" I asked what felt like his collarbone, eyes resolutely shut.

"Yup." He shifted again, rolling up on his side to curl around me. Something poked me in the chest. Further blind inspection produced Smokey and I finally cracked my eyelids apart.

Gray. Dark gray, more specifically. Stretched across a broad shoulder and wide chest. I'd never really taken the opportunity to look at Murph while suckered to his side; never really seen the way the clean line of his throat meets that of his jaw, and then further up, his nose. Straight and with the tiniest of knobs on the bridge. He's broken it before, probably.


I buried my nose in the dip of his collarbone with a grunt that sounded suspiciously like shuddup.

"Breakfast?" that you mention food.

"M'up." Not really, but I was workin' on it. I rubbed my forehead on his t-shirt and sat up, stretching. Scrubbed my eyes and looked down at Murph, half-asleep on his back, comforter rucked around his waist. I was trying to figure out the best way to get off the bed without moving him.

"You need help?" He looked at me through his bangs.

"Nah. Don't move." I freed my legs from the comforter and crawled over his waist. The drop off was a little bigger than I was used to - the dismount a little sloppy - but I wound up on two feet all the same. Steadiness was a different story.

Murphy rolled out right behind me, pressing a kiss to the back of my neck.

Devan snored blissfully on from the other side of the room.

I gathered my keys. "I need twenty minutes and I'll be back down."

Murph rubbed at what morning stubble (wasn't much) that he had and nodded. I don't think all his neurons were firing yet.

Then again, neither were mine since I nearly whacked myself in the face with the door on my way out.

"He's not a morning person," I said to Sasha around a spoonful of Half-Baked. "Makes breakfast conversation real interesting."

She raised an eyebrow.

"Neither of us talk."

I though she was going to choke on a fish-shaped piece of chocolate she was laughing so (unnecessarily) hard. I stabbed at a piece of brownie, cheeks flaming. I glanced at the TV - Tristan was dragging Yvaine by a magical chain, prattling about Victoria. "How's Cara?"

Sasha looked at her melting pint of ice cream. "She slept at Danielle's last night." She swallowed, blinking furiously. "She slept somewhere else."

Not with me, in our room, was the unspoken lament. Which was understandable. Sasha had put a lot of hard thought into even asking Cara to be roommates - which had involved copious amounts of Ben and Jerry's - and had taken a bit of convincing on my part to get her to that point. And she'd been so happy when Cara had said yes. Hell, I'd been happy for her, and the entire situation had threatened to give me cavities. Still, Sasha was my best friend. It wasn't in me to not be happy for her with something like this.

And it wasn't in my to watch her suffer over this, either.

"When was the last time you talked to her?"

Sasha shrugged. "A few days."

So, face-to-face was not....good. "Texts?"


This was not good on any level.

"I think you need to talk to her. In person. In your room." In case it goes bad, was unspoken between us. I fished in the semi-melted pint by my hip for a piece of cookie dough. "That's what I think you should do."

She looked at me, wide-eyes and wobbly mouth. "Can we watch RENT?" she whispered.

"Yeah. We can watch RENT." It would turn us into a total sobbing, soggy disaster. But I think we needed that.

It was a very good thing I'm not lactose intolerant otherwise I'm prety sure I'd have been dead the next morning. My stomach was a little off - too much, too late - but nothing overly ridiculous. Nothing that prevented me from rolling (literally) out of bed to go to the breakfast with Jo. Followed by a few moments on our way out to ogle Murph as he went into the dining hall, dressed in his suit jacket. Well, paused long enough to know they had a game today and get three nearly identical looks. One was slightly different in that it said it was alright to miss the game.

I knew that. Still.

Like I said before, neither of us carry grudges when it comes to games, and I knew that we were doing something tonight.

So it wasn't a big deal to spend my afternoon in the lounge doing homework. Not at all. I did send Murph a message telling him I was coming down at nine. And fielded messages from my sister - Izzy - about said boy.

He your boyfriend?

Yes. Snapped the phone shut and stuffed it in my back pocket. Looked through my closet. Couldn't make a decision to save my life.

When you gonna change your Crackbook status?

She would. She really would. When i talk to murph. I picked out a shirt and tossed it on the bed. Phone buzzed again.

Did you tell him your niece has a kitten named Murphy?

I blinked. Forgot about that completely. Eh. Well. Murph should get a kick out of it.

I think.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Louise's year of firsts continues.

Earlier in the year (the actual year 2010, not the school year, though that's how I tend to think of years anyway, since I'm still in school) my turn signal had bit the dust. Not so much the entire thing, just the clicker, the thing that made it automatically blink. So you had to toggle it when you drove to have any semblance of normal. Which is all well and good, mostly during the day, but there was that fairly memorable occasion when Em and I were coming back from a concert in Rochester (the director the Campus Community Chorus was directing a chorus and orchestra in Rochester as part of her graduate degree, and Em sings in that chorus, so therefore we went - it was really good, too) and were by the Lady of the Lake statue, going to go the back way to Dunkin' Donuts to get some coffee and a doughnut before heading to Relay for Life. There was a fairly liberal amount of swearing as I pulled over, a few Oh, shit's from the passenger seat, and the distinct chance that I was going to throw up over the local cop that had pulled me over. In the end, he told me to get it fixed (Being at school is no reason not to get something like this fixed) and sent me on my merry way. Well, my merry way that also including freaking out a bit more, and then a medium dark roast from Dunkin' and a doughnut.

In the end, everything turned out just fine. And I got the turn signal fixed during the six days that I was in NYC and wouldn't need my car.

Yesterday I wrote a post between the first teen cruise (my own school district's eighth graders on for their semi-formal) and then went back to work for the second of the night. After that fiasco (ninety-seven high school kids that have graduated earlier in the day from the middle of nowhere at 12:30 in the morning....) I figured that I would drive down and see my dad for a couple minutes at work, before heading home. Hadn't seen him in like a day and a half because of the way his schedule is (he goes in to work at 2, I work dinner shifts, so there are times when we don't see each other for roughly a day and a half, or two days, which is really interesting in itself since we live in the same house), so I was going to go see him.

I didn't see the deer until it was off of my left front fender.

Hit the brakes and then hit the deer. Which promptly slid off the hood, rolled on the pavement, and then got up and ran back into the swamp. And left me sitting there in a sort of shock, staring out the windshield and realizing that I've just gotten in my first MVA.

This was the first thing that I've hit that's bigger than a squirrel.

Naturally I was a little freaked.

Dad was calm about it, telling me that it was okay, wanting to know what had happened to the deer, and then called the village PD to send someone to do an accident report.

I didn't actually break anything on my car. My headlight is still intact, though slanted inward, toward the right one more, and the grill in the middle has a corner that's got a crack in it and came away from the housing. The headlight still works - high beams, too - and the hood is still functional (you can open it). So it's not like I smashed the entire front end of my car in one go. If anything, this proves that my car (my sister calls it a death trap) is more tank-like that I had thought.

Does that mean that I think it's invincible and that I'm invincible? Hell. No. I'm human. I'm mortal. It was a deer, but it was still an accident and something that undeniably stresses you out to a certain degree. Probably why I'm still pretty tired, middle of the night work shift aside.

It's the first, probably not the last, but it still unsettles you a little bit. Nothing life-threatening in this case, just something very different and more than a little scary.

And while it didn't scare the shit out of me on a literal level, I can't say the same for the deer - I've got two little piles sitting on my hood.

On a better note: I sent paperwork across the pond to Wales today, including a photo for them to make my student ID card with. It should take about five to ten days for it to get there, and while I need to double check that it actually makes it, they're forms that could probably be filled out there as well; Fitness to Practise and Needs Assessment. Basically they want to know if I require anything extra due to learning disabilities or disabilities in general. Next on my agenda is, when the time is right, to start my Visa application process. Which is fairly long and more than slightly complicated.

Once that's done, it's a matter of counting down the days until the flight leaves. There's a bit more to it than that, obviously, but it's something to look forward to and be very excited about.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Head Space

June might as well be declared as teen cruise month at work. We do a lot of them - semi-formals, senior class dinners, senior class overnight trips - so we shuffle a fair amount of pizza, soda, and rap music through the vessel. We do a fair amount of cleaning as well. Yes, you heard that right. The waitstaff is responsible for cleaning the boat after we dock. Which, honestly, is much better than how it was a couple summers ago when I first started working, and two of us would come in on a Tuesday morning and clean. Now, with fifteen people, it goes a lot quicker. And I don't need to get up at seven, clean, and then run to my car to get my uniform.

The thing about doing teen cruises, though, is that I have time to sit, think, and otherwise be stuck in my own headspace. This is both - predictably - a good thing and a bad thing. Especially with me.

Tonight was the eighth grade semi-formal. It's quite funny - not funny haha but funny chucklechuckle - since my grade was the first time that we had the dance on the boat. And it's been done on there ever since. Naturally it reminds me of when I was that age, and that same dance. It was before high school, before everything went to shit that summer (yeah, that was that summer), and then people started leaving. Nez left for California after our first year of high school; Erin and Troy left, too, heading to Ohio; and senior year Jackie headed to South Carolina. She and I have since mended that fractured bridge (it was in danger of burning to the ground in a mass of flames and a mushroom cloud) and have a sort of....well, we don't really talk anymore. But when we do - I get emails every now and then - it's on good terms and there's a bit of a better understanding between us than there was when we were both in high school and everything was happening a little fast. I'm friends with Erin and Troy on Facebook, though it's not like it used to be (eighth grade was the '3 Skis' in the front row, due to the 'ski' on the end of our last names), and I haven't heard, seen, or really even heard mention of Nez since he left. Which is still an interesting - and slightly confusing, of course - situation for me.

Of course thinking about eighth grade leads into thinking about high school, and while there's some nice thoughts there, there are also some.....not-so-nice ones. Then there's the whole situation that Will Not Be Named; the prom photos will stay stuffed away the white BonTon box, and life will carry on as normal.

Until the next teen cruise arises and everything dredges itself up from the depths of my mind to be thought about again, like it's something brand new. And I can hash and rehash every decision that I've made in terms of my personal life from near graduation onward. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Standing on the bow, freezing, and thinking about nearly everything that's gone wrong or at least some semblance of pear-shaped, in your life for three hours while listening to songs and vaguely wondering why it is that you don't go out more often and dance and get energy out of your system. Why you're not really bothered that standing there with your arms crossed over your chest or midsection doesn't make you the most approachable person out there, and you're both mildly alright with that, and furious with yourself that you can't seem to loosen up.

I am a female human Sagittarius. There are many, many paradoxes within me, as I'm a fairly complicated creature. I'll admit this. Readily.

What I won't readily admit is how much and how deeply that I feel things. It's a part of me, as much as my smile or the fact that my eyes are green, but it's one of those things that's both lovely and annoying at the same time. Lovely in that it makes me a better writer because I can understand people a little better, and get a deeper sense of emotion to give my characters. Annoying in that, in some ways, I'm a sympathy crier. (I'm not a sympathy puker, for those who have heard that term before, though I plenty of people who are.) Hell, I cry every time I watch the movie The Patriot when Heath Ledger's character Gabriel dies. I also cry at the end, too.

I cry during a lot of movies, actually. I'm not ashamed to admit that.

What I hesitate to do is examine those parts of me that don't really want to be examined. The deeper emotions that are dredged up with the memories of high school, and summers, and decisions that seemed like good ideas at the time, and have come to not quite fruitful gains. It's difficult not to chalk things up to mistake or regret because I don't want to regret anything. I mean it. I want to regret absolutely nothing when I'm ninety and remembering the glory days. Hell, my glory days might be my late eighties. Who knows. I sure don't. And I won't until I get there.

I hesitate, sometimes, to look unabashedly at myself. I know the forms that I can take, the moods, and abilities, and the emotions that come with me. There's good, and there's bad, and then, on occasion, there's really, really absolutely fugly. I wouldn't be me without both parts - beautiful and fugly - but the tougher stuff is a little more difficult to look at. And practically impossible to understand.

And maybe there's a reason that we can't. Maybe there's a reason that humans don't have everything figured out in a way that makes perfect sense. Maybe that's a definition of human nature, to be something so different and at times unpredictable that not everything makes sense. Hell, everything might not even be anything resembling logical (I have those moments, more frequently than other people, probably, but I still have them) and yet you've still got to deal with it. Or deal with it the best you can. Which might not be anything special. You might be drowning.

Drowning in any sense (unless it's a good sense, and I know you can think of those examples - shove your mind in the gutter if you have to) isn't good.

Being a water-dwelling mammal and drowning is ironically painful.

Much like life, in a way.

God will only give you as much as you can handle. No more, no less. A fairly wise woman said those words to me on a five hour car ride and all I can think, at the moment (and probably then, too) was that someone needs to find me a bigger bucket. That way I can carry my tune and anything that life wants to chuck my way safely through any construction on the road ahead.

Better break out the hardhat, hadn't I?

I've been assured that it gets better. Eventually, everything gets better. Though as we all know, hearing is one thing, and believing is another. Believe in the road that lies ahead, however many potholes and Jersey barriers that it contains.

Well. Throw on the Converse and let's get goin'. Maybe we'll think about the compass. Maybe.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Ahem. This may give you cavities.

Wish Right Now

So, the post below this. The rant that I just coughed up. Well, I've been listening to this for about an hour and a half now. These guys do a pretty good job. And they're pretty cute, too. That, however, is besides the point. Just thought I would share this with you, since I enjoyed it.

Open Dump

I've been at this stage a few times before, looking at empty blogger text box. Trying to fill it with something a little worthwhile. Theoretically, I have quite a big of blogger fodder. I went to Connecticut with my sister a couple weeks ago, was in Syracuse this past weekend for a wedding (be nice and I might share the photo of me in the dress), and have been on more than a few sightseeing cruises at work when it's just me and the boys. Including the boy who has, to quote the first thought in my head when I saw him, Ralurick's ice blue eyes. Holy. Hot. Damn. Including the guy that I spent quite a bit of time with the summer before I went to college. And had a sightseeing cruise last night to more or less sit in my own head space.

It's dangerous for me to sit my head space, by myself, for too long. It makes me think. About everything.

The good and the bad people. The right and the ridiculous. And the people.

I think what's been happening is that I've got a fair amount in my head, but no real time to sit down and think through it all. Well, maybe that's wrong. Maybe I've got the time, but I don't want to sit down and go through it, because it might hurt. I have a high threshold for physical pain but this....this is different. Much different.

People in general don't like to admit they're human. We don't like to admit that we have faults, and issues, and that, at times, we might be good on the outside, but not so lovely on the inside. I am over the moon happy for my best friend - she's in a relationship with an amazing guy (I met him; he came to visit her at campus) and that's something that she needs, and the time is right for her. She's knitting herself back together, slowly. Summer's are hard for us, because we're not so close to each other, geographically. One of us can't just find the other if we have a bad day. Or if we're frustrated with life in general. I'm very glad that she has him, that she decided to give something like this a chance. On the other side of that is this little part inside of me - call it selfish, call it what you want - that is undeniably reminded that there is no such person of that nature for me. Reminds me of my loneliness.

I'm going to be honest. I get lonely.

I know there are bigger things than this. There's the oil spill, world hunger, and serious disease. Those are much bigger than some girl and her lonely heart.

But I'm that girl. And that's my lonely heart.

Let me give you an example. Last month was May. Prom season. All the girls going out to find their dresses, and their dates finding their tuxes. Prom pictures appear on Facebook shortly afterward. One of my good friends that I haven't seen since winter break posted some old pictures, including one of the two of us at prom. Which, as you can guess, brought some things up.

I don't have any prom pictures posted on Facebook. Actually, I don't look at my prom photos. Most of them, from junior year, are in a white BonTon box on the bookshelf in the living room, and when I have the look through the box for something, I try to avoid looking at them. They make me think. They make remember. They make me hurt. I'm not at the point where I can look at them, look back with a smile, and say something witty - possibly charming - about that time. About that boy. Not possible for me right now. I don't know when it's going to be possible. Heather assured me that one day, it would be. That day is not today. Nor is it tomorrow. Nor is it in some future that I can name. It hurts too much.

Suck it up, buttercup. They're just pictures. It's just a boy. Just a dance. I'm not going to suck it up. But I'm not going to forget it, either. It's going in a proverbial box, and one day, I'll deal with it. One day. One day that's not today. When I'm ready.

What I'm ready for now? For people on Inkpop to get their heads out of their self-absorbed asses. Little harsh? No. Not harsh enough? Possibly. One thing that majorly annoys me (other than my work is way, way down behind a bunch of pre-teens who still have issues mastering grammar, spelling, and punctuation) is the amount of celebrity and recognizable photos used in their project covers. I completely understand that you want something unique to yourself and your story, but really? There are copyright laws, people! Don't matter if you're not making money off of it. Really? You can't come up with something better, can't find something generic or take a picture yourself to put up there!? Hell, the project cover for Murphy and Me is this really God-awful picture of myself that Josie took while we were sledding after dark in February. It's white-washed, my mouth is open, and it's just ridiculous. Which makes it perfect for Murphy and Me, because that's more or less Ollie.

I sometimes wonder if people actually understand what they're reading. Really. And, honestly, if the phrase is "the backbone is back in her eyes" of course there must be a literal backbone in her eye, right? Right? That's completely logical and complies with the human body. Where on this Earth did you get your freakin' education? And talking about a friend being cash-strapped (which this bright person used twice in the same sentence) doesn't mean that they both go to college. I'm a subtle writer. I'm going to tell you as much as you need to know, no more, no less, and you need to pay attention to the details because they will, most likely, make a reappearance in a far more important setting. And do not give me suggestions on one of my characters and her health when she's been dead for at least three years!!! The main character knows this! It's why she has the job that she has! And don't you dare tell me that my italicized words are gimmicks.

Why don't I throw in some pictures to go with your request for shorter, "easy-to-read" paragraphs, while I'm at it. Would you like the phonetic sounds at the bottom of the page, too?

What honestly pissed me off, especially with Sage, was the suggestion to cut an entire chapter because it didn't do anything to move the story forward. I'm going to say this again. As a writer, I'm going to tell you what you need to know to understand the characters, the setting, and the story. I don't tell you anything you don't need to know, and those details that you skim over? Well, when you hit something later on that you don't understand, that's one of those details that you skimmed coming back to bit you in the ass. I hope it has sharp teeth.

Is it perfect? Hell no. There needs to be some tweaking, some fixing in places, and I need write more. It's only at about 30,000 words, if that. It's got a ways to go, and quite frankly I'm at the point where I'm waiting for it to come around again in my head. Which is natural with me. I have to wait for them to cycle around. The novel, not so much, because that's been such a big force sitting in my head for such a long time, that plays constantly. Am I saying that it's perfect as it is? No, it's not. Am I going to cut whole chunks and chapters at a time? No. That's not how I operate. That's not how I edit, and I don't like to do that unless something needs to be totally rewritten, and even then, there's usually a bit of the original remaining in it.

And why, for the love of everything good and right, would you tell me that people only see the first and last letter of a word, and therefore, change the name of one of my main characters? You. Are. Out. Of. Your. Freaking. Mind.

Ahem. On the subject of head hopping - shifting point of view. I shift point of view. That's one of the reasons that I like third person omniscient so much, and use it for most everything that I write (except Murphy, because that would have been odd and awkward, and it works better in first). That and you need to have better command over your prose, your plot, and your characters when using it, which is something that first person allows you to cheat with. You don't have to be overly good at characterization when writing in first, because you're only with one character. Third gives you so much more options and allows you to look at different characters through different lenses in different situations. It's more difficult, more time consuming, and requires more brain power to pull it off correctly. It requires more weaving in the story, and allows you to use irony, and keep secrets between some characters and the readers. It heightens anticipation. And for things like sneak attacks - you can make them sneak attacks on both the main character and the audience, or you can clue the audience in ahead of time, and just have a sneak attack on a main character. There are options. It's not limiting. And it's not head hopping. You're not getting secondary reactions from anyone this way, you're seeing everything fresh. Unless you choose not to. I don't have to limit myself and my point of view. That's the beauty of third person omniscient. It's like a shifting camera focus. Another camera view in a movie. Be a bit of a boring movie if they had the same camera angle on the same actor all movie, right? You'd never see anything else as it happened to another actor/character. Be a bit boring, right?

And not my fault the the two-year-old that I'm around has a bigger vocabulary and better language skills than the ones you're around. Which has helped, creating the childhood versions of my characters in the prologue.

Quite frighteningly, I feel a hell of a lot more relaxed. And calm. More even.

And I found a decent cover of B.o.B's "Airplanes" on YouTube, which I've been listening to on repeat while I've been writing this.

Okay, so writing isn't the best word to go with this. Let's try ranting, instead.

But seriously, I do feel better. And I just might - just might - have made my return to the blogosphere. Hooyah.
"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz