Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vacation Time!!!

Well, almost vacation time. Where the summer went, I have no idea. (Well, that's a lie. It went to working 2 jobs, choreographing a show, and getting ready for school. That's exactly where it went.) But now the summer is about to come to a close (anybody else notice that August happens in 3 days?). And that means-TIME FOR END-OF-SUMMER VACATION!

Exactly 2 weeks from today, I'm heading down to Miami to hang out with friends, celebrate some birthdays (not mine), and introduce my Goddaughter Ainsley to the awesomeness that is Universal Studios. Yes, I realize she's a one-year-old and will never remember any of this. But I don't care. Start 'em early, raise 'em right. Behold the cuteness I get to hang out with in Orlando (pictured above). Come on. Admit it. She's the cutest thing you've ever seen.

Needless to say, I'm uber-excited. Roller coasters, water parks, Harry Potter World (!!!!!), comfy Universal hotel room...I could get used to that.

Monday, July 25, 2011

When Did We Get So Old?

Remember back when a year seemed like the LONGEST WAIT EVER? When that 4 months between getting your learner's permit and your full license seemed like an eternity? When the idea that you'd know anyone with kids seemed laughable? Yeah.

I don't know why, but today the fact that life is just flying by hit me particularly hard. My sort-of Goddaughter/pseudo-niece (if they're not baptized but I'm in the will to gain custody if her parents both die, does that make me her Godmother?) Ainsley turned one last week. The fact that it's been an entire year since she was born is one thing. But now she's walking, talking (sort of), and displaying personality traits. In my head, she's still a barely-conscious lump of baby. But nope. She's like a mini-person now.

As of today, Matt and I have been together for 2 years. When I told Arianne that during one of our ritual marathon phone conversations yesterday, she said, "Oh my God! You moved back from the UK that long ago?" I hadn't even thought of it in those terms, but yeah. It's been almost 2 years that I've been back-the same amount of time I spent in London. Which is crazy to me. That was such an influential period of my life. And although the last year and a half has been fun, I feel like pretty much nothing happened to me in that time. And suddenly, in a blink of an eye, it's gone.

I realized the other day that if I wait until school is over (roughly in 2016/2017) to have kids, I might be on the brink of being too old to have them safely. And that's terrifying.

I'm no longer at the age where it's weird to get married (though I still feel WAY too young for it). In fact, people are starting to look at me funny and go, "You guys live together? You love each other? You know you want to be together? So...why aren't you married?"

Three of my good friends are now mothers or expecting. None of them are young enough for it to be weird.

Exactly when did we get this grown up? Did anyone else miss that happening?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again...

So it's happened...I'm finally back on the wagon. (The school wagon, to be exact.) A lot has happened since I stopped posting regularly. I moved back to DC from the UK, Matt and I are living together (and hopefully moving to a reasonably-sized apartment soon), we'll be celebrating our 2-year dating anniversary on July 25th (2 years without a single fight! Who knew?), I now have a full-time job with insurance, and I'll be starting school on August 30th at Catholic University.

I realize that as of the last time I posted regarding school, I was supposed to be starting a year ago. However, life doesn't always work out the way you want it to. Unfortunately, my program doesn't have enough money to fund everyone, so only one student per year receives full funding. Needless to say, I was not that student. And although I was approved for student loans, it wasn't quite enough to get me through the program full-time, and I decided to actually make a good financial decision for once in my life and not sink myself even further into debt than I already am.

Hence, I spent the last year trying to figure out what to do with my life. I continued to work at a museum part-time (in fact still worked there on the weekends), and although I loved it, and may choose to work in a museum field after I've completed my PhD, I had this nagging feeling that school is where I'm supposed to be-that I would never be completely happy unless I pushed on through and finished my degree. So I set about trying to find a way to pay for school. Savings was out, loans were out, funding was out. My only options left to me were either A) kill an obscure relative for the insurance money, or B) get a job at the university I want to attend so I can go to school for free as an employee benefit. So, after reviewing murder and insurance fraud laws and deciding on the latter course of action, I did some snooping around and I found an open position as an administrative assistant at Catholic. And lo and behold, I got the job! Now, don't get me wrong, a trained chimpanzee could do my job. But it's not the job I care about. It's the free tuition for attending school part-time that's my main concern. My boss is great about letting me out for class during the work day as long as I make up the time by giving up lunch or getting there early, which is perfectly OK with me-on the scale of personal sacrifices, I can think of bigger ones.

So that's where I am now. I've signed up for my classes, bought my text books, and now am just ready and waiting for the school year to start. And because I'm the biggest nerd EVER, I naturally went to the library the other day to do some homework for a class that hasn't started yet. (You can never start too early, right?) And as I found what I'm sure will be my regular library seat for the next 5 years, spread my stuff over the desk, breathed in the smell of musty old books and listened to the sound of pages turning and index cards flipping and students sighing, I couldn't help but think, "Now I'm home."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

You Should Read These

So I've decided this year to start making a list of books I read as I go along. I'll be totally honest, it's mostly for narcissistic purposes so I can bask in my smart-ness and productivity. But it's also just fun, and really interesting to see my shifting moods and reading tastes. Thus far this year (2011) I've read:

Mindhunter-John Douglas
A Month of Sundays-John Updike
The Cases That Haunt Us-John Douglas
Mapping Human History (currently reading)-Steve Olsen

I've got to say, Mindhunter and The Cases That Haunt Us are among the most interesting books I've ever read. They're both by John Douglas, the man who single-handedly created psychological criminal profiling. (Ever seen Silence of the Lambs? The lead investigator character, Jack Crawford, is based on him.) In Mindhunter, he describes his interviews with such killers as the Son of Sam, Ted Bundy, and Charles Manson. (But beware, because he spares no gory details in describing crime scenes.) It's a fascinating look at the inner psychology of killers. In The Cases That Haunt Us, he goes deep into history's most famous unsolved cases, such as Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac Killer, and the Lizzy Borden case, and looks at them from a profiling standpoint. I would definitely recommend these books to anyone who's not squeamish.

A Month of Sundays? A little weird, to be honest. Extremely sexually graphic, which doesn't bother me, but for anyone who's offended by language or explicit sex, it's definitely over-the-top. Also, Updike uses words like "prestidigitoneous" in everyday language, which to me is just weird. I'm all for an extensive vocabulary, but there's a fine line between good vocabularly and being pretensious. (I KNOW I spelled that wrong. Pretensous? Pretencious? Why am I blanking on that?)

As for Mapping Human History, I personally find it fascinating. Although, I will be the first to admit I don't understand most of it. There's a lot in there about mitochondrial DNA. I got a C in 9th-grade chemistry. But it's fascinating nonetheless.

Any book recommendations for an avid pretensious (?) bibliophile?

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Post!

So I know it's been about a millenia since I've posted on this poor, long-forgotten blog. But I have traditions to keep. So, in honor of Arianne and Manny C. (who are probably the only ones who have ever kept up with this blog to begin with), here is my annual "List of Things I've Learned This Year"!

1) Job satisfaction is so much more important than higher pay checks. I should know-I've worked for a pittance for the past year, but I love my job so much I can't bring myself to care.

2) Once you set your mind to it, you actually can pay off debts. Even when you're poor. It just takes a LOT of discipline to not spend your extra money on frivolities and send it to Visa instead.

3) America makes you fat. New diet, here I come!

4) Despite the fact that it made me fat, I really do belong in the States. Don't get me wrong-I wouldn't trade my experiences in the UK for anything, and am so grateful for the friends I made and lessons I learned there. (Could've done without the swine flu, though.) But my real home is here, with my family and the people who've known me for years and love me in spite of it all. :)

5) Babies are SO CUTE. Ainsley, this one's for you. I'm going to spoil you ROTTEN in February.

6) Friendships change. But that doesn't mean they have to end. Just let them evolve, and everything will turn out exactly the way it should.

7) Stuff is just that-stuff. It's material, and not worth crying over.

8) I don't need a PhD to be smart. Yes, I'd love one, but it's not worth another 100k in student debt just to feel like I have a brain. To shamelessly quote Good Will Hunting, I can get the same education "for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library". If I want more knowledge, I can take responsibility for that myself.

9) A lot of tourists are really stupid.

10) So are customers. I think everyone should be forced to work in customer service at least once in their lives just so they understand the crap we go through.

11) Relationships take work, and compromise. But that's OK. It's when you stop working and compromising that you should be worried.

12) I no longer recognize anyone on MTV. I think that means I'm officially old.

13) Living near your family? Not actually a bad thing. As an adult, I still have all the independence and autonomy I practically demanded in my late teens and early twenties, but I also have the support of my family and can see them whenever I want.

14) You don't need a lot of friends to have a full social life-a couple of close ones will do just as well.

15) Sometimes it's OK to blow off your responsibilities to dance to Newsies and eat ice cream.

16) Real Christmas trees are a lot more difficult to deal with than I remember them being.

17) Winter. Sucks. Ass.

18) There's nothing so comforting as having someone by your side who will always support you and take care of you. Whether it be a significant other, a best friend, or a sibling, it's the most important thing in the world.

So there you have it-my list of 2010 life lessons. Feel free to share yours in the comment section!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

So it's finally starting to hit me that I'll be going back to school in the fall. Objectively, I had accepted it as soon as I got my admissions letter, but I hadn't thought about the realities of it. The chief reality, of course, is an overwhelming feeling of intellectual inferiority. The more educated I get, the stupider I feel. Which I suppose is a sign that I'm becoming more objective and intellectual, as the true intellectual is able to admit they know nothing. Or something like that. I'm back to the way I felt 2 years ago when I started my masters, namely "what the fuck am I doing here, and who the fuck let me in here in the first place?" Pardonnez-moi pour le francais, but you get my drift. I wish the other people I know doing doctorates weren't so smart. Why can't there be some ditzes getting PhD's so I don't feel so alone? I mean, I can't be the only mental klutz to pursue higher education. (And good God, am I mentally clumsy. For example, my to-do list for the afternoon went as follows:

1) Follow up with financial aid office.
2) Look over list of required courses.
3) Pick courses.
4) Realize the courses I picked are all held at the same time.
5) Pick different courses I don't care about, such as "Theology and Hermeneutics".
6) Find a dictionary. Look up "hermeneutics".
7) Realize I can't sign up for courses until I pay my enrollment deposit.
8) Look at bank balance. Bang head on desk, burst into tears.)

Is it just me, or are these not the actions of someone who deserves to be called "doctor"? Maybe I'll just change my first name to doctor, then everyone will be forced to call me that and I won't have to spend the next 5 years feeling like the brainless wonder.

(Sidebar: I use the "change my first name to doctor" pun all the time. It always gets a laugh. I'm waiting for the day that someone finally realizes it's a quote from "Sleepless in Seattle", and that I am not only not witty, but don't even pick obscure movies from which to steal puns.)

Please tell me someone else out there feels as mentally unequipped for higher education as I do.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Playing That Funky Music

I'm in a funk today. (Nothing like the funk I was in last fall, thank God!) But still. I'm playing that funky music, white boy. I think more than anything I just miss having a group of friends. Don't get me wrong-I've got friends here. And I've got Matt, which is amazing. But I don't have a solid group of friends who always hang out together and think of each other as family. I think this might be the first time in my life I haven't had that. I totally get why people say it's so hard to make friends after you graduate. Everyone works, gets tired early, and wants to go home to their significant other. And I'm DEFINITELY no exception to that. I know once I start school again, things will be better. True, there are only four incoming students in my program, but I can always join the graduate students' association or something. And I'll be auditioning for the shows that Georgetown Law School puts on every year. And I'll be flying to Miami once or twice a month to choreograph a show. (P.S. I got hired to choreograph Chicago in Miami...way excited about that!) So I'm sure it will get better. But right now, I just wish I were with my friends.

I wish I was in Miami helping Manny move, and helping Shana plan her wedding, and helping Arianne and Kevin get ready for their little girl to arrive. I wish I was in Dublin sitting around with Fiona watching Supernatural and drinking wine, and in London eating burgers with Adnan, and drinking with Clovis, and dancing with Chris, and eating ice cream with Alicia and Joe, and sitting on the couch in PJs watching a movie with Alicia Crane. I wish I was in Tennessee with Grace helping her babysit Parker. And in a million other places with a million other friends. It makes me sad that I can't be all these places at once. I wish they would just perfect teleporting, already!