Tuesday, November 29, 2011

For All This Life

I've been on this earth twenty-two years. In those subsequent years, the toughest things I've had to do have been walking away from a great relationship with a wonderful person because I was going away to college, getting stuck in an airport for a single night due to a sudden monsoon in Philadelphia, having unexplained belly pain resulting in surgery my first semester of college, leaving my mother in an airport twice, only this time it was her that was leaving and me that was staying (not that it helped), calling my mother a few weeks later to tell her I wasn't coming home and didn't know when I could even think about getting on a plane and getting across the Atlantic, and the following five days of living in the Virgin Atlantic terminal at Heathrow Airport.

It's a toss up of whether all of the previous - collectively - trumps the past four months.

It's been difficult. That could be the understatement of 2011, truthfully, if sitting in my professor's office and, after going over the last exam and talking about where to go from there, fighting on three separate occasions not to cry is any indication. I've done really well since the first month of the semester to not let the center of my brain hijack the rest of it, which is the sort of scientific way of saying I haven't let myself panic as badly as I used to. It's probably not good for my heart, either, the amount of caffeine I ingest on a regular basis.

I don't want to use the word overwhelmed but that's really what it boils down to. Between what's going on up here - no need to insert the laundry list of stuff as that's already been done - and what's going on at home, it's difficult to get the distance required. 45 miles doesn't feel like 45 miles. Even if it were 3,000 I don't think it would work. Sometimes there's just not enough space on the planet to get the distance that feel necessary.

It's also difficult to not let the distance you need hurt the people who need you.

Yeah, that's one I'm still trying to wrap my head around and there are days when I'm successful and days when, well, I'm a giant fail at it. Lately, it seems that my failure days outnumber my non-failure days. It's a struggle, more often than not, to find my motivation and my Focus (slippery little bastard), and to do all I need to do when the only thing I really want to do is curl up in my amazingly comfortable dorm bed and block out the outside world and sleep for a solid eight hours. My beloved sister insists I can sleep when I'm dead, which I think has taken root in the back of my head because it's ten past midnight and I'm working on homework. I'm hoping - more or less planning, actually - to be in bed by three. Which means I have some things to get done right the hell now.

The bright side is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There's the fact that spring semester is going to be glorious. There's also the fact that I will be returning to Wales two weeks after graduation for three weeks. Yup, I was accepted into the summer program, and will be returning to a place that grew to be a second (third, maybe?) home.

But there's a lot to do between now and then. A lot to do. Still, there are days when you sit there, think, get a little lost in your head and wonder can I do this? Am I good enough to do this? Have I gotten in over my head? The next thought you think is the true kicker.

Is it really worth it?

There are days when I go cross-eyed looking at my own reflection in the mirror really wondering if the ends justify the means. I've been assured by numerous people they do indeed, but here, right here in this hot as hell corner room, you wonder. You really, really wonder.

Sitting here introspecting isn't getting my lesson plans done. And you know how much I love those damn things.

Monday, November 28, 2011

15 Reasons to Love Knitting

(These are in no particular order.)

1. It's like a reset button for my head.

2. Imaging poking vital areas of the body with a bluntly sharp object - especially someone you're not quite fond of - produces a rather shark-like smile.

3. Something has to bring me out of my coffee induced delirium for me to actually get some decent sleep.

4. Repetitive motion I don't really have to think about does wonders for my blood pressure.

5. Revisiting #2 is also quite good for my blood pressure.

6. It's a fairly productive way to procrastinate.

7. Knitting is soothing.

8. When you finish a product, people look at you like you've actually accomplished something worth talking about.

9. Two very important concepts: Pretty colors and something shiny.

10. It's not a miracle cure by any means, but it works.

11. Teach someone to knit and you've possible taught them to clothe themselves for the rest of their life.

12. Revising #11: Or until their attention span runs out.

13. I'm really a 94-year-old woman at heart.

14. It's fun. (Yes, that's all there is to this one.)

15. If you're really good at it, you can do it both sober and drunk.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I dunno whether it's because I'm in that kind of mood or because it's quarter after midnight, but I found this to be more than slightly hysterical. The only reason I went looking for this particular song? It's been stuck in my head since I heard it this afternoon after taking my grandmother to get her car from the repair place.

It's okay to headbang a little. You know you want to.

This is when I think I should probably get out of this chair and crawl into bed.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Double Double Digits

It's the only way I could figure to describe the fact that today I'm 22. Double double digits. Two twos.

As for what I'm going to do on my birthday, well, I've got my copy of The Strategic Teacher open and a curriculum unit to pretty much finish. That's my plans for the day. My plans for the next year? To continue to wander, live, love, laugh, and enjoy every day on this earth, even if getting up at 7:30 and ending that day well into the next is the order of business.

I figured my next milestone was 30, whereas my mother has assured me it's 25. How about we just shoot for tomorrow, first.

Appropriately, this video - this song rather - has been one that's been stuck in my head. Here's to living uncharted.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Looking in All Directions

A little while ago I sat at my mother's good oak table in the kitchen (for future reference - and general FYI - we have two tables: one is a tile-top we use generally, when it's just us [my sister, niece, and our parents] or us and our aunt and uncle, and the other is the Amish-made oak table with four leaves that we only use at holidays or other occasions when absolutely necessary) and thought back through the various Thanksgivings I've experienced over the past few years.

Most of them were held at the house I used to live in; I was 11 turning 12 at the tail end of our week at Disney World, so we ate Thanksgiving dinner at Port Orleans; there was the year we ate at my sister's house (in which my uncle pegged me in the jugular with a roll from across the kitchen because I said "chuck me a roll"); one year I decided not to go to Rhode Island and was the only one in the house and spent the weekend painting the room I was going to move into when we moved; I spent on Thanksgiving in Rhode Island, having been picked up at college on the way through the Thruway; and last year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my English and Welsh flat-mates, who then surprised me with a cake because Thanksgiving was also my 21st birthday.

Of course, interspersed with that, have been the holidays I've spent puking my guts out because it's fairly well-known tradition in this family that for one of the three holidays - Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year - someone is going to be sick. There are years when I'm only down for the count at one, and the memorable year where I accidentally had two birthdays in the same year because I didn't have my party until February, due to illness.

Tomorrow, of course, is Thanksgiving. For as much as the last six months have been rather interesting - and at times more than difficult - there's still a lot to be thankful for. The family is healthy, we're happy (for the most part, there are some things that just....just can't be easily fixed right now or that are flat-out going to take time) and we're all going to be gathered in the kitchen and generally just being us.

I'm good with that.

Not to mention I have the biggest craving for stuffing that I can't seem to explain. Seriously. Big bowl of stuffing. Gravy. That's all I want.

And then the day after I'm really hankering for some burgers, chips, and birthday cake. But I have a feast to get through first. A feast by the name of Earl. Yes, we're the type of family to name the turkey we're going to be eating. It's been a tradition ever since I can remember, and we've gone through George, Igor, Edgar, Oliver, and many, many more. It took roughly 20 minutes to decide on Earl.

We're a little quirky. But I wouldn't have us any other way.

Have a fantastic day with your family (both chosen and the ones you have no choice in the matter) and your friends. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Focus Meets Train

I made a Facebook status sometime last week that detailed the fact that my Focus, my beloved Murfee, had more or less eaten too many cookies, rolled down the back hill, and was subsequently hit by a train as it passed by the house.

That should give you an accurate picture of how my semester has been going. Between two education seminars, four classes, a minimum of 20 hours community service (which, honestly, is actually 45, due to where I'm living), and three labs a week, I'm impressed that I'm still upright, mildly functioning, and haven't given myself a massive heart attack due to my caffeine consumption. I am, however, out of my meals provided by the Colleges courtesy of my meal plan, which isn't a big deal as I have a house with a kitchen, and thank sweet baby J that I have a coffee maker otherwise life would be more difficult than it already is on some days.

There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is next semester's schedule - which I've already registered for - and it is glorious. No class on Mondays and I'm done on Fridays by 10:00 am. Essentially a four-day weekend my senior spring. Which brings me back to this happy fact:

I registered for my last semester of undergraduate classes.

Which prompted a whole string of thoughts, most of them involving four-letter words and something that sounded very similar to I don't give a shit what this semester turns out like as long as I pass everything with the minimum grade required to have it count for my major.

It's kind of sad, really, as I started off the semester really hoping that I'd be able to pull of a solid 3.0. At this point in my life, the more realistic goal, however hard it is to swallow, is that I'll be very lucky if the hard work that I'm putting in this semester results in the minimum grade required to have all this shit count for my degree. It's not like I'm slacking, but having three chemistry courses all over 300 level is, well, not only time-consuming but soul-sucking in a way that you haven't really got a concept of until you actually get there.

I'll be amazed if I have any sanity left at the end of the semester. That's when I'm assuring myself that I'll be able to sleep, while my sister assures me that I can sleep when I'm dead. That's true, too, but I'm hoping to hold out on that for another couple of years, at the very least.

In other news, I was at a Ben Folds concert this past weekend and it was absolutely epic. Truly one of the highlights of my senior year and I'm really glad that I went. He's an amazing musician - and a piano player that words can't adequately describe - and it was an awesome experience.

The fact that my 22nd birthday is coming up in 11 days hasn't really registered, either, because it's not like I'm going to spend it relaxing. I'm most likely going to spend all of Black Friday - my birthday - working on my curriculum project: lesson plans, assessment criteria, rubrics, the whole nine yards and whatnot. It's going to be painful on multiple levels, but it absolutely has to get done because there's only so many weeks of class left.

It's not supposed to go this fast.

So, now that I need to prepare myself for my analytical class (don't get me started), I'm going to spend the next few hours of my life trying not to freak out about the fact that I flat-out forgot I have a lab write-up (thankfully not a formal) due today and the mother of all formal labs due tomorrow. (But maybe we can convince her to change that to Wednesday.) Couple that with an exam tomorrow evening, auditions for the winter and spring shows on Wednesday (with a prepared monologue, too) and this week is going to be fairly busy, culminating in another exam next Sunday and a project for Econ on the Tuesday before break. With all of that is who-knows-what coming down the pipes in the education courses and, really, people are wondering why I drink the amount of caffeine that I do? How else do you expect me to get through a week where my hours of work have bypassed the hours in a week?

But that's more or less what I've been dealing with for three months.

So damn difficult to think through that it's almost over. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Here's hoping it's not an oncoming train.
"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz