Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Love is What You Make It

The title of this blog has nothing to do with the blog. I'm pretty sure Tommy Tom sings a song called "Take Me Out" and the title of this blog is a song lyric. I'm listening to the song right now.

That being said, I owe the world an update, I suppose. Two weekends ago I went home for the Holiday. I had a nice and lengthy stay (A WHOLE WEEK)on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I was finally able to go hunting with my dad! I don't think I'm cut out for waking up at 4am every morning and sitting in a shooting house for several hours while freezing my butt off, but I am cut out for the afternoon trips. I was the only person who saw a deer all weekend! It was out of range and behind some trees though. I got to go out about two times and I really enjoyed it!

I also got to visit my favorite places such as the Thrift Stores, the new Wal-Mart and others as well. I ate plenty of turkey, had plenty to be thankful for, and overall had a wonderful trip.

I returned to my oh-so-glamorous life in Philadelphia on December 1st. It is hard to believe that I have been living in my apartment for almost a whole month now! As I write this, it HAS been over a month! I still have a few boxes I need to unpack and the Christmas lights need to be put up. Other than that, the place looks great. I have my little Christmas tree up and the fishtank area is all decorated.

Work was crazy because once you're gone a week it is as if you're gone a whole year. I spent the greater part of the tail end of the week, catching up on paperwork, assessments and other various odds and ends.

This past weekend was pretty epic, though. I finally know how to work those bike racks on the SEPTA busses since I had to use them about 3 or 4 times over the weekend. I traveled to Huntingdon Valley for a birthday party at the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer motherhouse. It was great to see my old friends that I used to live with and interact with each day. I even stayed overnight in my old room where I lived when I volunteered! I went to Mass on Sunday with the Sisters as well. It was a great weekend of merriment and partying and well...a lot of traveling in this cold cold weather.

On Sunday I had a meeting in Fishtown about a potential writing gig. I can't say much about it except for the fact that I'm really excited about it. It is more of a project than a long standing freelancing job. This project is unlike anything I've ever done before! I'm still trying to convince myself 100% that I am capable of taking on such a unique project. That is all I'm going to say about that! Sorry to keep you wondering. :)

By the time I arrived back at my apartment on Sunday night, I almost kissed the floor. Bike riding in the city is quite the experience. Cars are about 6 inches away from you on all sides. You have to ride dangerously close to parked cars too! I'm also pretty sure that I ticked off every SEPTA bus driver who had to wait while I put my bike on the bike rack. To get to the suburbs I had to ride my bike about 6 blocks, take the subway, take TWO buses, and then ride my bike another 8-10 blocks up and down hills in 30 degree weather!!! To get back, I had to skip after mass lunch and catch a bus to catch a subway. I had to store my bike at work because I don't have a U-lock yet. Then I went to my meeting, walked back to work, biked to the subway, got off in the city and biked 6 blocks back to my apartment.

I met a lot of interesting people along the way. There was the old man who kept repeating his stories of waiting for the bus while we waited for a very late bus. Then I met a really nice guy who talked to me about bike riding as I waited for the elevator to get onto the EL platform. He was really nice and wished me Merry Christmas about twice. :) I also can't forget all of the people who offered to help me carry my bike up mass amounts of stairs. There were more encounters and interactions but I can't remember them right now.

So today I am on the tail end of a cough/cold. I'm excited about my new project, relativly caught up at work and desperatly wishing for warmer weather. The holiday programs at my work are about to be in full swing so I forsee being very busy until after Christmas. Other than that, life is just...well..good.

Until next time....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I've Moved!!!!



That's right folks! I have officially moved! The day I have been dreaming about, whining about and pining for, finally came. It was an epic adventure of a weekend (to which my body is still recovering) but it was worth it. As promised, here are the deets.

Tuesday 11/2 - I officially signed my lease and was supposed to get my keys but they were not available. So, I got to see the place and started freaking out. The sink in the bathroom was clogged, the fridge was a total disaster inside, there was dirt everywhere, the painters left their stuff and the apartment was a lot smaller than I had imagined (since its been almost a month since I saw the place). I was starting to stress out about a variety of things. However, Pop said he'd clean and fix things up for me and that keys would be waiting for me at the pizza shop when I moved in.

Fast forward to Friday 11/5 - I was supposed to do two car loads with Sarai and clean the apartment before moving in on Saturday. I wanted to bring stuff like dishes, cleaning supplies, boxes without lids..etc. That two load, turned into one load which turned into a minor disaster. We hit traffic upon leaving the burbs and finally got to the apartment an hour later. Well, as luck would have it, the keys that were left for me did not work in the front door. I called my landlord and an hour later...he still didn't show up. Sarai was really sick and was feeling worse by the minute. I had no choice but to unload the car onto the sidewalk and around the front door and send Sarai home so she could get to bed. So I stood there, on busy Race street, with a large portion of my belongings including a case of beer, toilet paper, cleaning supplies and various odds and ends.

Suddenly the door to the building opened and a guy about my age popped out. I nearly pounced on him as I said "I LIVE HERE LEAVE IT OPEN!!!" I took a deep breath and then calmly explained that I just moved here and my key didn't work. I guess he's seen it all because he seemed unbothered by my frantic crazy eyes. He left it unlocked. I then began to trudge up 3 flights of stairs and carry my crap into my apartment. The key worked to my apartment door, thank God!

In the middle of hauling my stuff single handedly, I met one of the pizza shop owners. He asked me where my future husband was and when I told him I was single...he promised to find me a "big strong man" for me to marry. Oh, how I love Greeks. Anyway, my landlord showed up and seem perplexed that I had gained access into the building. He tried my keys and they worked! I couldn't stop myself from laughing...the door was unlocked...of course they worked! I locked the door and we tried the keys again. Of course, they did not work. The problem? I was given the wrong keys. Pop gave me a key off his key ring and BOOM it worked. He apologized profusely, observing that I was a hot mess, literally, and went about his way.

I had a lot of cleaning ahead of me but the sink was unclogged and the fridge was cleaned! This time, the apartment seemed bigger than what I observed on Tuesday. I puttered about, putting some thing away and cleaning as much as I could. The job was too much for one person. I didn't leave until about 9:30 at night (mind you I arrived to the apt around 4). Then I made a trek that I am all too familiar with. Bus to the subway, subway to Frankford, Frankford bus to suburbs, 8 blocks walk to house. I didn't mind considering it would be my last time doing that journey.

I arrived "home" around 10:50 and decided to haul all my crap up from the basement and put it in the garage. I didn't want my moving helpers to have to trek up and down the basement steps. About an hour later, the garage clicker stopped working for me. After hauling ALL my stuff into the garage...I thought I LOCKED all my stuff in there forever. By this time I was tired, frantic, stressed, and doubting that I'd be able to fit all my stuff into my Uhaul. I went to bed at 1am.

Saturday 11/6 - MOVING DAY. 6 hours of sleep later I got up and tried to tie up as many loose ends as I could before picking up my Uhaul. I found a garage clicker that worked and managed to haul more stuff into the garage. Still intimidated by the sheer amount of my stuff, I had no choice but to get my Uhaul and hope for the best. I had a bag of clothing donations to drop off along the way. As it turns out, I RECYCLED my clothes instead of donate them to the needy. I was freaking out about this until I convinced myself that they clothes are sorted before being turned into rags and whatnot.

I get to the Uhaul place, fill out my paperwork and they pull up with my Uhaul. It had a big Venus Flytrap on the side, which I liked, and it looked...small. My biggest fear was that we wouldn't be able to get everything in that Uhaul and it looked so tiny to me. I was disappointed.

Then I had to drive the Uhaul to its first destination. I hate driving on Roosevelt Blvd...and I had to drive a Uhaul on it! (For about 20 feet but still!) I was doing really well until I hit a curb on a Northeast street. I panicked, lost my sense of direction and went to the wrong house. I had to follow my friend to get to the first destination since I spooked so easily. Once we got to the house to pick up my couch...we waited for 20 minutes only to find out the rest of the moving party was at the other house waiting for me!

After I turned the keys over to my friend...the move went smoothly. ALL of my stuff fit in the Uhaul AND it could have fit more stuff if needed. I felt so bad for not believing in my Uhaul and its sheer size. We didn't even use the "mom's attic" section of the truck. The rest of the day was kind of a blur. We pulled up to the apartment and 7 people helped me unload everything. It took us maybe, an hour and a half to get all my stuff into my apartment. Afterwards I bought everyone pizza and returned the Uhaul. We stayed under the gas limit and mileage so I didn't have to pay any extra fees! I wish I took more pictures of the move but everything was happening so quickly. Plus, I didn't want to stand around taking pictures while everyone helped move my stuff.

When I returned from the Uhaul drop off, I discovered that I didn't have my apartment keys. I looked back in the car I drove, around the car, in the apartment, and even had people check the Uhaul drop off place. My keys were nowhere to be found. So my first night in my new place was a little rough. I saw my first bug. I couldn't figure out how to take a nice hot shower. There was an incredibly about of cleaning that needed to be done. I was stressed about the lost keys, the apartment was freezing, I was incredibly exhausted, and I couldn't believe how quickly the process went. I am so grateful for everyone who helped me with this move. I couldn't have done it without them!

Sunday 11/6 - I woke up in the middle of the night freezing and shaking. I wrapped Gilbert's fishbowl in a towel...hoping to warm his water a little bit. I put on fuzzy socks and about 3 blankets onto my already blanketed bed. What a night! When I woke up I kicked into major productivity mode. I put together my kitchen, washing each dish and putting it away. I arranged the living room to roughly how I want it. I called my landlord to get a new set of keys and fortunately, he was understanding of my situation. I was chained to the apartment but at least I got a lot done.

Friday 11/11 - Its almost been a week and I have some clothes in the closet. I've figured out how to take nice hot showers. I'm slowly creating innovative ways to keep the heat inside my building and to keep the draft outside. I haven't seen any bugs (although the mouse trap under the sink worries me). I found the best way to sleep on my bed is close to the wall. I still sleep with socks on but I can sleep though the night easily. I've managed to break down tons of cardboard boxes and recycle them. And most of all, when I open that door after a long day at work...I feel like I'm home. Two nights ago I made Tuna Helper and danced in my kitchen. Sometimes I'll take down my ghetto curtains (a blanket and a huge cardboard box) and look at the PECO building thinking to myself that I always dreamed of living in a big city and here I am.

I made it.

Until next time....

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Can Hear the Allelujah Chorus

What a whirlwind of a week. One week ago I had off from work for the first time in forever and my mom drove up to PA with a carload of my stuff to store at my current homestead. I drove us back down to VA and spent the weekend with my parents and of course, Ralph, my adorable yet elderly dog. It was a short stay, but I enjoyed it very much. Inspired by the show, "Hoarders," I decided to de-clutter my bedroom and purge of all clothing that didn't fit and donate toys and other items to the needy. I then packed more necessary things that I'd like to have with me as I start my independent life in Philadelphia.

I was privileged to visit the Eastern Shore of VA Wal-Mart which was AWESOME. It has been a long time coming. I recognized about 20 or so people in the famous Wal-Mart but seemingly wandered the aisles un-noticed. It was like wearing a disguise and watching your neighborhood interactions. I think it is because the last time a lot of these people saw me I weighed about 70 lbs lighter and had bleached blond hair. :)
After the Wal-Mart trip, I treated the parents to some Chinese food at Dragon House. Now that I'm gainfully employed, I've decided I need to start paying "parent support."

Sunday came like lightening and it was time to pack up and head back North. My mom and I split the drive and she stayed with me for a few days in my friend's house that I'm staying in. I got to leave work a little early to spend the evenings with her. We got to go to the park and eat out a few times. It was really nice having her in that normally empty house for awhile. (My friend is on vacay).

That was the highlights of the week in short...oh wait one more thing. So I've spent a lot of time wallowing in self pity, complaining about my weight gain and thinking that "once I get my own place my life will improve." To be honest, I don't know if having my own place will solve all of my problems. Chances are, it will probably create new ones. Needless to say, I've overcome these self deprecating thoughts with a new hope.

Here is a worthwhile story:

Monday morning rolls around and I'm in work. I have TONS to do but I spend a good portion of my free time stalking Craigslist. My mother is in town and it would be great to take her on a few apartment tours with me. So I spend the day desperately finding places we can go look at so her visit here seems to be productive. I checked Craigslist every 15 to 20 min for new listings. I found out the house I wanted to see was already under an agreement. I was going to go look at a place in the ghetto if I had to. Well, suddenly I click on an apartment listing that is in an area that I wasn't even considering due to the price.

The ad was two sentences and in all caps. There were no pictures, no descriptions, just a number to call for showings. Normally I just move on to the next ad but something inside of me said "call this number." The end of this fairytale is predictable but we're going to enjoy the suspense anyway.

So I called and by the end of the phone call I had an appointment to see a one bedroom apartment right outside Logan Square in CENTER CITY at 4pm. I called my mother and she picked me up at 3:30pm. I drove us though the city, trying to suppress the panic attack welling inside of me and the heart attack that was bound to happen since we got lost twice on our way to the place. For some odd reason, my heart races, my lungs close up and I get really nervous before viewing an apartment. It happened at the last one which was a tiny little apartment covered in layers and layers of filth. As I'm driving through the city I think to myself "This better be worth it."

I arrived at the location 15 minutes late, but I called to warn them I missed the exit off the interstate. The guy who put up the ad told me to go to this pizza shop and ask for "Pop." "Pop" would show me the apartment and if I had any questions I could call this other guy. Ok...random...but I thought what the hey. It was in a great location at an amazing price. I figured it would be this small little hole in the wall that had barely enough room for a bed and a table.

So I walked in the shop, asked for "Pop" and was greeted by this elderly Greek man. We walked outside and I talked to him, trying desperately to make a good impression in case this apartment was indeed, the one. Meanwhile my mother is trying to parallel park and having some difficulty. I'm staring through the car like its not even there. So Pop steps in and helps her park with hand motions that aren't exactly helpful. She gets situated and then we were finally able to go see the apartment.

After three mini flights of stairs we stopped at a door down a short hallway. Pop opened the door and I walked inside.

To Be Continued.....






I'm kidding. Inside the apartment I was greeted by lime green walls which I found kind of charming. There was a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and a HUGE bedroom. I couldn't believe the size of everything! I immediately fell in love with the place. It was charming, big enough for me but small enough to maintain.

That evening we drove by the place to see what the area looks like at night. Between the Brownstone mansion row homes and the plethora of museums, taverns, shops, and art galleries, I think I'll be fine. I'm a skip and a hop away from parks, shops, landmarks, and other fun things. I called them up and told them I wanted the place! They were going to show it again at 1:30pm the next day. Well, fortunately they were understanding and asked me to sleep on it. So I did, called the next morning, and once again said "I WANT IT!"

I should be moving in around the first weekend of November. I couldn't have asked for a more affordable price and a more amazing location. My landlord is Pop and his son helps out as well. Laundry is a Brownstone away. Everything is electric. The bus picks me up two blocks away and drops me off one block from my place at night. I'm in the middle of EVERYTHING Philly so I will never get bored. Ever. I'm beyond excited!

After a weekend home with the family and a whirlwind week where for once in my life "things just happen to fall into place," I couldn't be happier. Enough wallowing, enough complaining. It is time to live the life I dreamed of. I've got a great job. I've got loyal friends and I have an amazing place. What more could I ask for?

Until next time....

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Likely Story



Picture this. Girl meets boy. Girl likes boy. Girl falls head over heels for boy.

Boy might like girl. Boy clearly likes girl. Wait, does boy like girl?

Girl makes attempt to hang out with boy. Boy can't go. Girl makes attempt to hang out with boy. Boy can go but something comes up. Girl makes attempt to hang out with boy. Boy forgets. Girl makes attempt to hang out with boy. Boy has really good excuse.

Girl is scolded by highly feminist best friend. Girl makes attempt to hang out with boy. Boy has really good excuse.

A likely story, right? On my never ending quest to find Mr. Right...who am I kidding....Mr. Right Now...I've set myself up for a one-sided game. In a sense, I'm basically playing fetch with myself. I'm throwing the ball and waiting...and waiting...and eventually throwing my hands up and retrieving the ball myself. That is, only to throw it out there again.

No America, I am not that desperate. I met a very kindred soul that produced instant
sparks. Now I'm on a quest to capture the heart of that kindred soul. As you can see, I am clearly failing. It is kind fun, the chase I mean. In the eye of the feminist, I should just strap on my apron right now, tighten up my girdle, quit my job and begin practicing domestic living. It is a horror to actually pursue someone so...adamantly and with reckless abandon. Its kind of misogynistic.

It is not called desperation it is called fortitude. Never giving up. I once waited 8 hours in line just to be a foot away from Queen Elizabeth II for a hot second. I waiting in line for the Cage the Elephant Concert for 3.5 hours just so I could be in the front row. I'm good at waiting and I'm good at never giving up. It would be one thing if I kept trying and trying to throw the ball and picking it up where it landed. But honestly, I think I throw the ball and it does get picked up and dropped closer to me. Because each time I go to retrieve it...it doesn't seem as far away as the last time.

Until next time....

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Public Apology

Dear Friends,

Hey besties, family, friends, aquaintences, stalkers, and even enemies. I would like to apologize to all of you for my absence from your lives. From the bottom of my heart I am truly sorry that I do not call, text, Facebook message, reply to anything or e-mail. I used to pride myself as that person who never loses contact with the people I love...considering I still keep in touch with my first grade teacher. (Granted, I haven't sent any messages her way in awhile either). However, I can now shamefully admit that I'm not that person anymore.

Friendships and relationships take effort on both sides and I have been lacking on my side. I don't have excuses, but it is interesting how life just happens. You go from high school and hanging out everyday during the summer. Then you go into college where you lose daily touch with your high school friends but make new friends in the meantime. After college you have graduation day and suddenly your ripped from your little social circle and you and all your friends become young professionals.

You get your first job, you enter graduate school, you live with nuns for a year while doing a volunteer program or you take a year off to explore the world. Whatever it is, you're forced to make new friends, and try to keep in touch with your old ones. It is hard. Especially when you live far away from all your friends and your day consists of waking up, walking 8 blocks uphill to the bus stop, working for 8.5 hours, coming home, eating dinner, vegging out and going to bed. 5 days a week.

I've become a recluse. It takes enough effort for me to get out of bed each morning and try to do my best at my job (which as much as I complain, I do love). The extra effort it takes to call friends up on the phone or write a little e-mail is beyond what I'm capable of right now. This is sad, because I value my friendships even though I feel like I don't have any right now. I know I do...I just....yeah.

So I'm sorry I only have enough energy to get me through the motions. My life is not my own anyway. I really think that once I have my own place and my own life and my own schedule I'll be able to be social again. I'll call, post pictures of my new apartment, send texts to you when something reminds me of the good times we had and maybe even write letters by hand. Who knows. But until that happens I'm an exhausted caveman, waking up each morning only to count the hours down to when I can go back to sleep again.

I miss you all. I hope we'll re-connect soon. A life without friendships isn't really a life at all.

Love,
Mary Anna

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Society Esteem



The Ancient Greeks considered larger women to be strong and fat was a sign of health and wealth. There is a country in North Africa which considers larger women beautiful. 90% of all nude portraits in the 19th centry contain large cherub women. Wide hips meant a woman was ready for child bearing and "curves" were adored. You are healthy if you have some heft to you.

Well, thank you, America/Western Ideals/21st Century. Today larger women would rather be invisible. Larger women are scorned in today's society. Obesity is the number one cause of preventable death. Healthy Americans encourage fat people to get off our lazy fat ass, put down the McDonalds cheeseburger and work out. Ugly fat can be contained, controlled, and eradicated with hard work and dedication.

I might vomit.

Thanks to today's insane and improbable beauty standards, I will never be considered drop dead georgeous unless I pay someone thousands of dollars to do my make-up each day, go under the knife to slice each slab of fat off of my body, just like we slice meat off a turkey and get fake crowns put on all my teeth so they blind people with their whiteness. Yeah, right.

I just finished reading a book called, "Good in Bed." No, it was not a racey romance novel or a karma sutra book. It was a novel about a young woman, Cannie, who is a journalist and lives in Philadelphia. She is a size 16 and hates every part of her body. The book takes readers into an adventure of self-esteem, self-loathing, unexpected surprises, ignorant ex-boyfriends, depression, and self-acceptance. This book has now made my favorite book list because Cannie was incredibly easy to relate to. She has my dream job - journalism, she lives in my city - Philadelphia, she has a dog and great friends. I love how she says "There are many words that are used to describe me such as genuinene, loving, loyal, funny, honest and hard-working but the only word I can think of myself is fat."

Ditto kiddo, and triple it. Throughout high school I had a decent body. I wasn't a skinny super model and I never looked good in a bikini, however, I was decently slender and had curves in the right places...namely my ass. Of course college happened and my nice little body became morphed into a large oozing mass of too much cafeteria food, late night pizza, and underage beer. The heft around my midsection began to collect and expand. By senior year I was huge. My double chin rolled over the collar of my graduation gown and my full cheeks resembled Santa Clause. Not to mention that I thought I looked good with blonde hair and by graduation my hair was half greasy brown and half over processed blonde. Hot.

Then I lived in a convent for a year where ample food was at my disposal. Every Sunday I was treated to an amazing buffet of home cooked meals. We ate as a community on Weds and Sundays so whatever was cooked...you ate. Every meal was delicious but I doubt every meal was healthy. Of course I went to the doctor who told me I needed to lose weight or else. I found the motivation somewhere and limited sweets, sodas, beer, and fast food. I drank water like a champion and worked out at least 3 days a week. It was hard and I was tired a lot, but the gym was right next door to the convent so I had no excuses not to go over and work out. I lost a total of 20 lbs! I looked great and I felt a lot healthier.

Naturally I fell off the wagon. I discussed this in a previous post. I gained all the weight back and now I'm out of control. I am living with a friend and am subject to her diet. I don't get home from work until close to 7pm and sometimes don't eat dinner until almost 8pm. Our meals are always delicious and normally home cooked but we are big fans of unhealthy as well. For example, last night I got home around 7:40 or something. We went to Wendy's for dinner. I had a Crispy Chicken Sandwhich, Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, Fries and a Salad. Then we split a Frostee. Mmmm Healthy.

I don't have time to work out. I don't have a venue to work out. I was trying to walk every other night at my favorite park but when I get home close to 8pm, its just not feasible. I really don't think I'm going to be able to reverse the effects of this dramatic weight gain until I have my own apartment and can purchase a gym membership or find a new walking route. I kind of wish I had a dog so I'd be forced to get up early every morning to let him out for a walk!

I have always been a little self conscious (except in high school when I was perfectly happy with my weight despite the fact other people didn't think I was skinny enough). I think the tip of the iceberg wasn't my new doctor prescribing diet and exercise again. I think it was the night I went out with my friend, Sarai. We had a few drinks and didn't have dinner so we went to Lorenzo's a sweet pizza joint that sells giant slices of pizza for $2.50. I was eating one of my two slices of pizza the size of my head when I accidentially knocked into a guy on the sidewalk. (I remember it being kind of crowded). I just bumped his arm but he actually said to me "watch it big girl." I can still hear those scornful words.

Then there was a guy I was kind of talking to at a bus stop for awhile. We swapped numbers and I thought we might actually hang out. That night I thought to myself "Oh my goodness! Maybe he didn't notice that I was fat! Maybe he actually thought I was beautiful and wonderful and amazing!" I let myself think this only to find out that he thought "it would be nice to hold me because I have more body to me." This other girl he was crazy about was "really thin." See, fat chicks don't want a guy who loves her because she is has more body, is fat, bbw, thick or curvey. Fat chicks want a guy who loves her and doesn't notice she is fat. Or if he does notice....he doesn't say anything about her weight.

The night I caused a whole club to clear the dance floor while I danced to "Baby Got Back" was memorable....but I can't help but think that everyone was so impressed by me because of my "courage." Despite my undesirable body size, I still went out and danced. I gave hope to fat people everywhere. I don't want to give hope to anyone....I want someone to see me as a good dancer before they see me as that fat girl who can dance. Just like successful black people want to be known for being smart or successful instead of black and successful or smart and black.

Your parents tell you that you are beautiful, but they have to. They brought you into the world and even if you are an ugly duckling now, they can't throw you back. If I'm so damn beautiful than would someone explain to me why no attractive, normal, single male is interested in me. Why have I been single for going on 6 years now? Even if I was happy with myself, society would beat me down to remind me that I'm not pretty enough for the guys out there. I can't be happy with myself if I'm this huge blob that takes up space.

My best friend up here is 30 years old. Our age difference is rarely realized until we get on the topic of men. My worst fear, I decided, is dying alone....childless...without a husband. My friend thinks that is ludacris because she has come to the realization that some people will walk the planet, never finding their souls counterpart. Granted, she only knows of one or two married couples her age when I know about 75 married/engaged couples. People tell me I need to embrace the single life because it is the only time I have to be by myself and to find out who I am. Believe me, I've spent plenty of time with myself, I'm aware of who I am, who I will become, who I wish I was and who I'm glad I am not. I don't need any more time for self discovery or I'll just destroy myself.

I guess I'm just to young to understand that dying single and alone is not the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I guess I'm too immature to realize that I am beautiful. The average American doesn't give a shit what you look like on the inside. Its all a superficial game of judging books by their covers.

So while "Good in Bed" was empowering, I'm still resting by the poolside of self pity and I'm comfortable here. I don't have the energy to make a change in my lifestyle right now. In a way, I don't even have any control over my life until I can be on my own.

Until next time....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"I'll Be 23" or "No one likes you when you're 23"



These are two songs about being/becoming 23. Which is what happened yesterday, for me. So I had a birthday and it was awesome. I had to work (my birthday tends to fall on the 1st day of college classes, the 1st day of volunteer work...etc) but it was all good because clients and coworkers wished me happy birthday all day. I had an overwhelming 123 facebook posts for my birthday (admit it, you count too just for fun) and my parents did everything they could to make my birthday a special day short of actually being in PA.

Becoming 23 made me think...alot...about a lot of things. No I'm not questioning the meaning of life or reflecting about how "old" or "young" I am. Rather, I realized how meaningful it is to wish someone happy birthday. I'm making it a personal goal to wish my facebook friends happy birthday on their respective days. I'd usually ignore the birthday list and check my OWN stuff. Well, people from high school, middle school, college, random parties...etc were wishing me happy birthday. I thought, if all of these people can take 30 sec out of their busy day to wish me, someone that many of them have not talked to in some time, happy birthday...why can't I try to make someone else's day by doing the same? So I'm going to work on that. I also decided to thank each person individually on their wall. It took forever, but it was certainly worth it.

I also got an appreciation for the value of life. I'm a member of a Writer's Group in Philadelphia. This morning I awoke to an e-mail to the group from our organizer. Well, one of the members passed away. I had never formally met this individual and only knew them because they were at the last meeting. Death never ceases to amaze me. One day you are here and the next day you are not. I hope this member's family will heal from their loss. This person was working on writing fiction...they were retired and really into writing. May they rest in peace.

So about that novel...yeah...kind of need to get started on it. Because..you never know...

Anyway I'm here at work trying to find motivation anywhere. I've checked under my desk and behind the door and even in my half empty cup of coffee. No motivation to be found. I have to make back to school packets for the clients, do some assessments, organize some protocols and all sorts of fun stuff but I'm tired. I stayed up late watching the Phillies lose in a 16 inning game. Bah, it was horrid.

Here's to being 23!

Until next time...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Betwixt and Between

So I started working for pay on July 26th. As you must know by now, Project Rainbow hired me as a full time PAID Youth Advocate. My boss jokes and says "she made herself irreplaceable." That was my goal, right? To be honest, work is the only consistent thing in my life right now. With the school year right around the corner, I'm gearing up for launching the tutoring programs again and helping our families get ready for back to school. It is a busy time for me and I love it. So, work is awesome. I've gotten some new responsibilities as well but I'm always looking for that task that makes me feel like superwoman. For example, last week my boss and her assistant went to a meeting. They came back and told me about an essay contest for kids. If they did the contest they could win a gift card for back to school but the entries were basically due back that day. I thought it would be damn near impossible to get the kids to write the little essay, get the parents to sign off on them, and fax them to the agency before the day ended. Sure enough, I did just that and all but one entry was sent before 3pm! (I got this assignment at around 12:30). "She was on a mission," my coworkers said. That I was. I love moments like that.

I'm still getting used to the 8.5 hour days. As a volunteer, I'd work through my lunch break to earn more hours. Now I HAVE to take a lunch break because I don't get paid for that. haha I also have to stay until 5:30pm. It isn't that bad but I find myself staring at the clock from 5pm on, just waiting to be released. Wassup, real world.

As for my life life, well, it doesn't really exist. I'm in a perpetual transition and I'm sort of just rolling with things. I moved out of the convent yesterday and in with a friend from work. Basically, I realized that the convent, amidst its own little transitions, would need some time to form a new community (2 members moving to a new house, 2 members moving in). So I politely excused myself from the whirlwind of change and moved in with said friend. The irony is, I had less than 24 hours to settle in my new habitat before I drove to NJ to house-sit/cat-sit for my friend who is on vacation. I'm staying at her house for a week before returning to the friends house. My commute from Jersey to Philly was a breeze today. Something tells me I'm not going to be so lucky during the rest of the week.

So look at that, I moved out of the convent a little earlier than expected, in with a friend for a hot second, temporarily out to house/cat sit, then I'm moving back in for a month or so. I'm halfway unpacked because, as homey as my new home is, it isn't MY home. It is someone else's home. I'm welcome in it, but its not MINE. So I want nothing more than to drop 2 grand on a apartment and start living my life. However, I don't have 2 grand when I have credit card bills, phone bills and yes, those Godforsaken student loans. I had about $70 for my first paycheck (1 week's pay) after the rest of it went to pay off loans and crap. Sheesh. It makes me wonder if I can really survive out there on my own. I'm having to adjust to new bills and figuring for how much car insurance would cost (an arm, a leg, and your first born child in Philadelphia per month), as well as get my doctors appointments straight (yay health insurance and new doctor) and apartment hunt as well. Talk about multi-tasking. :-/

As you can see, I've been a little bit stressed. It kind of reminds me of my fish. Every time I change his water, he has to readjust to it. I know the temperature and Ph isn't matched exactly. So he has to adjust with each new environment, which changes weekly. So far he's been doing great but I bet all that adjusting takes a lot out of him. And he isn't gracefully put into the clean bowl either. I don't have a fishy net yet so I literally DUMP him from his carrier container into his clean bowl. So he enters the new water HEAD FIRST and then he must adjust. That is EXACTLY how I feel right now. Although I'm getting the hang of this adjustment thing.

Bad news and good news. Bad first--remember my weight loss challenge? Lose weight to look great in that bathing suit by Sept 12th? Yeah..well...the house in NJ has a great high-tech bathroom scale, which, against my better judgement, I got on. I weigh exactly the same amount I weighed ONE YEAR AGO when I realized I had to lose that damn 50lbs to live a healthier life. So I lost about 20lbs, looked great, got too stressed out for my own good, fell off the diet wagon, and gained it all back. So I am literally back where I started one year later. It depresses me beyond words. The good news on this topic is that cat/house sitting friend gave me money to buy groceries. So I'm going to treat myself to some watermelon, cucumbers, lean chicken breast and peaches. I'm going to drink way more water. The other good news is that friend I live with has an elliptical in the basement. The elliptical is making sweet love to my exercise ball. I assure you both will remain dust free. Its like a mini gym 30 seconds from my bedroom. So time to lose weight...AGAIN. I'm starting to get really wigged out by my weight. Last Saturday I accidentally bumped into a guy on the street while eating a big slice of pizza. "Watch it big girl, " he said. That still gets to me.

The other news is just some epic stories. You know me. Two weeks ago I went to the Piazza with my bestie to see Needtobreathe and OK Go play, live, for FREE! Afterwards we went on a drinking tour of the city. No, really, we bar hopped, enjoying over proofed drafts of strong beer and cheap delights. We ended up at my new favorite bar, Jons Bar and Grill on South Street. You can not beat their drink specials. I'm making friends there as well, including a regular, her fiance and the bartender. After indulging in alcoholic goodness, we went to end our night at this nightclub on Market street. I finally looked at the place sober so I know where/what it is. (The first time I went in because I heard hip hop and never knew what the place was called).

So we're in this small club dancing, watching retro rap videos on the screen, jumping to Vanilla Ice and sweating out whatever we consumed over the past five hours. I get some water and "Baby Got Back" came on. Well, these girls on a couch saw me dancing earlier so they get all excited and say "THIS IS YOUR SONG GIRL, GET OUT THERE!" So I'm like, yeah it kind of is, and I give my friend my water. I start dancing and I'm totally in my element when all of the sudden I realize I am the only person on the dance floor. Everyone cleared the floor, formed a circle around me and started cheering me on. At one point a girl got in the middle but she couldn't keep up. So its just me, dancing, like I walked out of a plus size hip hop dance video to "Baby Got Back," which I do got. When I realized it was the MA show, I started dancing better, dropping it like its on fire, getting my eagle on..etc. Yeah, it was awesome.

The song ends and I go back to my seat to find my friend drank all my water. Bitch. haha but it was all good. This really drunk girl comes up to me and says "OMG I LOVE YOU SO EFFING MUCH. YOU ARE MY HERO. YOU ARE THE HOTTEST CHICK IN HERE." Mind you, I am not at a gay bar. So I thank her for her um...kind words. The lights come on, its 2am and time to go. So I'm leaving and all these people are coming up to me and saying how I really know how to throw it down. The DJ pulls me over and gives me a high five. "You know how to party." "you can dance like woah." "You know how to throw down." "Girl, you were on fire out there." "That was amazing." I leave the club and walk down busy Market street only to be greeted by more....can I call them fans? I walk through a high five gauntlet of guys and girls alike. People are calling me out and high fiving me left and right. I am just walking with a huge smile on my face, thanking everyone for the compliments. Meanwhile, my best friend is like "OMG I WISH I HAD A CAMERA. YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN WHAT I SAW. IT WAS SO EPIC. I THOUGHT NOTHING COULD TOP THAT PIZZA I HAD." haha. Step Up 4. what? what?

I would have went there to dance this past Saturday night, but I ended up staying at Jons...which is where I tend to find myself every Saturday night now. Its kind of funny. I have to drive to the subway, take it into the city, walk 5 blocks to South Street, walk 2 blocks on South Street, just to get to my bar. Its not convenient but I love that place. I'm networking with my friend there, the bartenders and my friend's fiance. This weekend I had Cafe Patron, a coffee liquor mixed with Patron tequila (OMG IT WAS SO DELICIOUS). At one point the whole bar did a shot together with the bartenders. The theme of the night was bombs, Jaeger and Irish Car. I learned what a pickle back shot was (1 shot Jameson chased with a shot of pickle juice), and my friend was promoting what she was drinking to the rest of the clients. A fight almost broke out over a seat at the bar. I sucked at darts. I had a guy buy me drinks and it was a jolly good time.

I don't even want to think about how many calories I consumed. Then I had late night McDonalds and returned home at oh....4am.

Typical Saturday. Typical MA. :P

Time for work. Until next time....

Monday, July 26, 2010

Its So Hard to Say Goodbye



Connie and Stephen left on Saturday and there is this feeling around the house that somebody died. We knew it was coming, we knew they'd be leaving, we knew change was on its way. However, that knowing didn't quite change the impact their absence would have on us. Saturday was a particularly difficult day.

So on Sunday I bought a fish to help fill the void that Connie and Stephen left behind. He is a male Betta and his name is Gilbert.



He keeps me company. I kind of introduced him as a new member of the community. I'm not stupid, a fish will never take the place of Connie or Stephen, but I like that he is a new addition to my life.

Monday was my first day of work. I found out my benefits are super sweet and my first check will come next week. Whoot! My new name tag says "Youth Advocate, Residential Services." I'm so excited to get back to work. I have a feeling that I have a lot of work to catch up on since I've been gone.

The past week has been all about change and transition. Some things work out and some things don't work out and I'm learning that. I've had to make a lot of "adult" decisions as of late some have been easy (waiting to purchase my new laptop instead of buying the first really great deal I see), to some hard decisions. I'm having to get quotes on car insurance, set up health insurance, figure out taxes, and apartment hunt like woah.

Ok real world, lets do this.

Until next time...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The End of an Era

I find it very fitting that I write this post at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer. About 12 months ago, I was writing a post at this very same computer. I wrote of how excited I was to be here with the Sisters and how I hoped they would accept me into the Redeemer Ministry Corps Program. I was blown away by how "at home" I felt here. I had made friends with the Sisters quickly and easily. As you all know, I was accepted into the RMC program and begin my year long commitment on August 16th, 2009.

It has been a ride.

I lived in a community of four Sisters, one lay-person and two volunteers my own age. I can't even begin to attempt to recapture the many memories I have made throughout this year. I'm sad to say that change and transition is on its way. Connie and Stephen will be headed back to their respective homes on Saturday, this Saturday. Two of my current community members will be moving to a different community and will be replaced by two new members. I start my job this Monday, just three days after the RMC program ends. So I have a lot of adjusting to do.

I'm so happy I decided to do a year of service because I know I've picked up so many tools and gifts along the way that I won't even realize I have them until I'm out in the world. The friendships I've made are lasting. I've found my current niche in social work and am beyond excited about continuing my job at Project Rainbow. I'm finally going to be out on my own in the big city. It is hard for me to believe it.

Goodbyes are inevitable and while this transition process will be slow I feel I will adapt quickly like I always do. I'm like a social chameleon, changing my color when my atmosphere changes.

This year I learned how to be more assertive and to embrace conflict rather than flee from it. I learned how to better manage my time and how to practice effective time management skills. I rediscovered my creativity and really my true sense of self. I built my spiritual life up a bit and had time to figure out who I am, what I want and where God fits in to it all. I know I will be a social worker and a writer and damn good at both. I know I'm a wild and crazy paradox of empathy, spotlight seeking behavior and fortitude. I'm affectionate and enthusiastic like a Labrador, running on all fours with excitement and knocking things down in my path. And I'll always have that child like delight about EVERYTHING from good food to anything related to water.

I'm ready to take on the "real world" so all I can say is, Bring It On!

Until next time....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ew.



That my friends, is me at the beginning of June in a bathing suit in Sea Isle City. Why am I posting a horrendous picture of me in a bathing suit? Well, I'm challenging myself. A few months back, when I started the volunteer program, my doctor told me I had to lose weight. I dieted and exercised and lost about 20lbs. It was great and I was in the best shape I've been since high school. Well...there is a diet wagon and I fell off of it. Not only did I fall off the wagon, but it ran over me, broke because of my speed bumps and collapsed. So, I need to rebuild that wagon and get back on it.

It all started about two months ago when I thought "I'm dieting, I can reward myself with a brownie." Every time I "rewarded" myself was a fail. I have an affinity for all things sweet, salty and alcholic. Therefore, I've managed to gain back a very large portion of the weight I lost. My photo was taken during our opening ceremony for the RMC program. My face is huge and chunky. Now I've lost the weight in my face but I think I gained it in other places. The other day I noticed this horrible hunk of flesh dangling from my lower arm. I seriously thought about jumping off a building, holding my arms out like wings because the flesh would help me glide to the ground.

So I'm challenging myself. I'm giving myself 2 months to lose weight. No pound goal, just to look better in that very same bathing suit above. In two months and one day (two months from today will be 9/11 and I really don't want to be taking bathing suit pictures on that day) I will take a picture of myself in this bathing suit an dammit I will look better! I'll post updates along the way. I really need to get back to the gym since I haven't been inside of it for about two months. Blah.

This challenge is not self deprecating. I'm not losing weight to attract guys. This time around it is for me. I'll be living on my own in two months and I need to be in shape. So Sept 12th, look forward to a new bathing suit picture. Hopefully you are not scarred from this one. Ew.

In other news, I've had epic weekend after epic weekend. Last weekend I had a date on Saturday and then on Sunday, the other two stooges and I went to the city to celebrate the 4th. I enjoyed playing in fountains, fire hydrants, meeting random people and drinking random rum and coke, as well as listen to the Roots and Goo Goo Dolls in concert for free. I also salsa danced on the street with a hot guy from Minn. All in all it was a great time! This weekend was the Mercy's farewell party so we spent quality time with them. :)

The volunteer year ends in two weeks. Holy crap. I'm going to Niagara Falls this weekend so that will be a blast. Then we have a week of debriefing and poof! Connie and Stephen are gone and I'm the last one standing. I'm totally psyched about my job, apartment hunting and all of that stuff. However, I am really going to miss this year and all the fun times I've had. I'm sad to see the year come to a close but I know the future is going to be just as epic.

Until next time....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Caught up in the whirlwind

I think I could write a book about this week. Literally. From start to finish and it could be about 200 pages. ONE WEEK. Sheesh. I told my dad that I feel like I've been swirling around in a hurricane and I have finally been spit out. Fear not friends, it has been a pretty happy hurricane...but a hurricane none the less.

At the beginning of the week, I dropped my phone in a pool which was awful because it is my lifeline. (Don't we all say that about our phones). Its own life was uncertain for a time but it was miraculously resurrected after drying in a bowl of uncooked rice. I had very little sleep on Monday night, thus bringing me to a very tiring Tuesday. Of course this would be the day I get my new office mate and apply for my job with Project Rainbow and lead prayer with Connie and Stephen for all the American, visiting German and visiting Tanzanian Sisters. I don't know how I survived Tuesday...but somehow I did. My new office mate is incredible, our prayer moved the Sisters which was great and I have never been so happy to shower and crawl into bed in my entire life.

On Wednesday night my phone regained life! I actually said if God fixed my phone I'd go to confession. Well..that's what I did Thursday.

Thursday was also the day in which I "interviewed" for my position at Rainbow and by interview I mean "here is your benefits, here is your salary, you start July 26th, congratulations!" So I have finally been granted gainful employment (And yes, I went to confession and Mass that day just to say some extra Thank Yous to the Good Lord above.) It was also the day I was planning my bestie at work's suprise birthday office gifts. I was trying to get up early, cook bacon (she loves bacon) and get to work where the maintainance man would help me break into her office and leave cooked bacon, brownies, a photo frame, a card and some other stuff on her desk and then decorate her door with "Happy Birthday Baconator!" Well...I woke up at 8:30am, the time I was supposed to be decorating her door/breaking into her office. So I got to work at 9:15am...and tried to surprise her. I failed even though I got the exclaimation point on the door before I heard her coming down the hall. Oh well. She loved the surprise. Get this, I wanted to take her out for pizza for lunch but no, SHE took ME out to a nice Mexican place for lunch to celebrate me getting the job. Additionally she told me her birthday present was getting to work with me for another year (and more)! I have great friends! I ended my glorious Thursday by watching some trashy Jersey Shore.

Friday morning I got up and went to get all my FBI/child abuse checks for my new job. As I was driving to work which is near the place I had to get fingerprinted at...I rearended the guy infront of me. So yes, I got in a fender bender the day after find out I got my job. Welcome to my life. Fortunatly everyone was ok, my car was fine and his car was only suffering minor damages. I think the thing I am most proud of is the fact I was able to remain calm. Usually I flip out and shake and cry over the smallest mistake, but I was able to be cool and calm throughout this one. Thank God. (again) I still feel like a dumbass though.

So here I am, Friday night, with a job and a working phone and a pretty undamaged car. I'm supposed to go out with the guy of my dreams tomorrow but I fear he will not call tonight (he said he would). Honestly I couldn't ask for anything more at this point. I'm alive and my future is pretty stable. The rest can wait!

Until next time...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Walking Trashy Romance Novel


Hello America! I have been nicknamed a "hurricane of excitement" and told I should try to get my own reality television show or write my crazy escapades in the form of a book for all to enjoy. I truly believe my adventures are quite ordinary compared to the rest of the world's happenings. However, the trouble I manage to get into tends to bring about laughter, smiles, and shaking of the head. In light of these affirmations...I now I want tattoo of a hurricane and am contemplating a book idea. My first meeting with the Philadelphia Writers Group is in July and I need some works to showcase. haha As for the reality tv idea....well...that isn't going to happen. I think people lose respect for reality tv stars and I need to hold onto all the respect I have left.

Where to start...well...lets see...last weekend I was at Sea Isle for the "end of the year" retreat for my volunteer program. It is so hard to believe that this year is rapidly coming to a close. I feel like it was just yesterday when I was counting down to my interview. The retreat was a wonderful experience. I spent all my free time in the Atlantic Ocean...as a Shore Baby typically does. I boogie boarded like crazy, catching some serious waves. Of course "sophisticated" bikini clad bitches and tanned guidos looked at me like I was 5 years old. Sadly they don't realize there is more to the beach than walking up and down it hoping someone looks at them. As for the retreat part, I suppose I left with two revelations. Both were common sense but you have to truly hear something from inside of yourself in order to believe it. The first was 'be yourself.' That is, if people can't accept you for who you are at that moment then they are not worth your time. Yes, people have told me this my whole life, however, this weekend the message was magnified and resounded inside my head. I hope it lasts. The second revelation was also common sense but it was basically confirming that I need to write. By need to write, I need to seriously commit to a project, write, and attempt to be published. My life's journey involves writing and in order to start living, I need to write! I hope that makes sense. So I'm trying to figure out what or who God wants me to write about. It is a tricky decision. Overall the weekend was great with plenty of time to reflect, pray, relax, and just have candid fun with Connie, Stephen and our director, Maryellen.

The week was crazy though. Holy crap.

Some point during my retreat weekend I heard a voice in my head that said "soon you will be dealing with more guys than you can handle." I didn't believe it until sure enough a guy from one of the Internet dating sites I'm on texted me Sunday morning and asked me out for dinner! I was stoked. So Tuesday night I had dinner with this guy in Philly. The dinner part went great. Then he took me behind the airport to this spot where you can watch the planes fly right over your head as they prepare to land. It was really neat. However, as luck would have it, this guy became way too forward in an inappropriate manner. I'm not a prude by any means, but he almost offended me. I really didn't think we had a lot in common anyway. I wasn't feeling it. So, figuring I might not see this guy again, I reached into the trunk of my car. He said "what are you doing? Getting your gun?" I laughed and said "Nope, I'm getting my anti-biotics." Which I totally was. How is that for being forward? haha It was the least I could do.

So I let that fizzle but in the mean time I happen to get a text from a friend that works at a restaurant by my work. This was a guy I was casually talking to about two weeks ago. He kind of dropped off the face of the earth but now he is back. It is nothing serious, we're just talking about random stuff. Then another Internet guy seemed interested in me but in fact he keeps wanting to know if I wear a bikini...anywhere. This isn't a turn off for me, the poor guy just wants to know. He is probably being flirtatious. However, I'm ashamed to admit I don't wear a bikini, ever, for the fear that I might scare small children. Therefore, I have to admit that I am indeed gaining weight again. I'm not sure how much but it is enough to make me realize I am slowly sabotaging all the hard work I did during the beginning/middle of the year. Now I'm just gaining the weight back to the point I could look just as fat as I did during my opening ceremony picture. This thought literally disgusts me. I wish I could just purge my lard and be good to go. Granted, I need to find time to work out and be diligent about it again. Also, limiting the sweets...and sadly...the beer. This was a year of self improvement and I'm not about to lose everything I worked so hard for at the end of it!

So why the raunchy blog title? Well, I feel like I'm a walking, living, breathing romance novel with drama and excitement. The Sisters have demonstrated their usual compassion and have interest in my crazy love life. This has made the drama and the ups and downs even more enjoyable. However, I fear it has now come to a close. The guy I'm crazy about isn't really a factor anymore. I think his life is too complicated and it can't handle me. It as in his life, not him. I've written off my Internet dates. The guy from the store is just a friend who texts/calls me at random. So it kind of was a hurricane of boys for a week. The after effects are ever so present. I had to work today, but after work I was overcome by exhaustion. I literally passed out and slept for 3 hours. I wanted to get up and swim but I couldn't even open my little eyelids. I'm STILL tired even though I slept. So I think all the excitement finally got to me. I'm crashing just as the crazy love life comes to an end. It is sad to let all the attention, fun, expectation go...but for now I need to focus on ME because clearly I have been neglecting my health.

In other news, I had the best day ever yesterday. We had our employee recognition party at work for the whole staff. I helped decorate. We had a "Rockin the Rainbow 1960s" theme. It was so much fun. I wore a flowing pink skirt and a blue tie dyed shirt with a purple ribbon around my head. Several co-workers commented that I looked like I had rolled out of that era. "Are you sure you weren't born during that era?" Um, yes. haha MA-Circa 1987 We had amazing food and dancing and fun all around. I laughed so much! Then we gave awards to everyone and I received the "Collaboration" award. The best part was when we raffled off 5 pairs of Phillies tickets and I scored a pair! I was so excited. I said "I am going on a date!" To which our director said into the microphone "I hope it isn't with the guy from the other night." Which sparked a lovely chorus of "oooooooooooooooooooo" among the staff. It was classic.

After work I went to the mall to look for this shirt I was interested in only to find that it didn't fit quite that well. I left the mall, changed into my swim suit and went to the Provincialiate to swim for an hour. It was beautiful. The weather was cool but not cold, the water was nice and clear, the sun was shining behind some clouds and the bells from the chapel were playing a pretty song. I was so at peace in that water, just like how I was on retreat. It felt great. I had an amazing day.

Today was just so so. I woke up and went to Rainbow to work a special event from 1-3. Got home and crashed. Woke up and ate. I'm hoping I'll get to get in the pool tomorrow but if it thunderstorms all day I might have to settle for a nice run in the rain or something. We'll see.

Until next time....

Monday, May 31, 2010

5:38am

Woah...the sun rose. When did that happen???

It's almost 5am and I'm wide awake





I awoke around 3am only to discover that my cartilage earring had somehow escaped from my ear. Part of me was actually concerned that the hole might close and part of me just wanted to go back to sleep. Needless to say my concern kept me awake, led me to a morning bathroom break, and eventually lead me to said earring. I remember after my shower yesterday I felt something fall and hit my foot. I didn't think anything of it until I started searching for my earring at 3am. Sure enough that is what hit my foot and I found it at the threshold of my bedroom door. So I popped it back into my ear without the struggle I was expecting. Those holes close fast! Then I crawled back into bed with the hopes of drifting peacefully back to sleep.

Fail.

I have my window closed because yesterday I woke up with a dry throat and I felt sinus pressure all day. I figured it was in my best interest to sweat a little bit rather than come down with a nasty cold the week before our "end of the year" retreat for RMC at Sea Isle. Yes, I have air conditioning but I don't want to freeze to death or dry up the air that way either. So my throat feels better and my headache (I've been getting a headache each night) is gone but I find that I am a hot mess, wide awake and now it is 5am.
So this weekend didn't go as planned but I won't say it was horrible either. I thought with the men prospects in my life I'd have a hot date Friday night. That did not happen. So as I was getting ready for my bestie/beach trip with David I got a text cancelling that too. Turns out it was threatening rain all day on Saturday so the beach was a no go. That was highly disappointing since it did not rain at all. Perhaps if we went we would have faced downpours. I've been in a relatively bad mood the past few days so this did not make matters any better. On Saturday I was trying to muster up some positive thoughts and go out and face the world with a smile. Of course, the elderly Sister in my community trapped me into taking her all over greater Abington for errands. Now I really don't mind helping her out but I was just about to finally get off my ass and go to the park for awhile when she came in and asked me ever so nicely to take her to this medical supply store for stockings and then to this restaurant where she has a gift certificate to "just to look at the restaurant." See, she has this thing where she can't stand having gift cards on her person. She's been hounding me about this gift card where you need to spend $50 and then you get $25 off. The whole ordeal is quite complicated, no fault of her own. So she wanted to just go and ask questions (most of which I already answered) and get a menu to take back to the community.

We get to the medical supply place and I am beyond grumpy. They are closed, of course. So then we go to the restaurant and she asks the waitress questions which I already answered. Then she decides she wants to get lunch there. This was her plan all along, to blackmail me into eating out. I really didn't mind but I could have withstood not eating high calorie BBQ. I refused to order until she said "I'll have what you're having," thus forcing me to order something. The whole gesture was really nice of her and the food was amazing. However, that is not what I had planned on doing on my fell to shit Saturday. So we ordered all this food and took it back to the community. I enjoyed lunch with her because I really do enjoy her company. I just wish she hadn't blind-sided me to take her out. Its funny because first she asked her brother to take her, then she called in sick to work and told her brother she didn't feel like it, and then she asked me to take her. haha

So after lunch it was too late to go to the park so I decided to spend money. I went and got my eyebrows waxed and my hair cut. Got some tights from Target and red nail polish. Went to a few more stores and picked up cute shoes at Conway. By then it was almost time to book it to church because I had planned on going out Saturday night and didn't want to get up on Sunday. So I made it to church with 5 min to spare and enjoyed Mass at Mary Mother of the Redeemer. I couldn't concentrate on the mass because the girl in front of me was crying throughout the whole thing. At first she went to the restroom and her mom asked dad if she should go with her. I was sitting thinking 'your daughter looks like she is a teenager, I'm sure she can pee by herself.' When the girl came back her mom gave her this worried look. Then at some point mom put her arm around the girl and dad held her hand. The girl started crying softly and did so for the whole mass. Additionally a girl several pews back on the other side was crying too. At first I thought it was a kid but then I realized it was a 9 or 10 year old girl. So I have no clue why these girls were so upset but I hope everything works out for them. Maybe some passed away from there school or something. I don't know but it was kind of heartbreaking.

After mass I came home, eager to go out into the city for dancing and drinks. I had invited Connie to come along and figured if she didn't want to go I wouldn't go either. Well, she bailed of course and I just wanted to sulk for the rest of the night. I didn't, however, and instead watched "Dear John" with Connie and the Sisters. It isn't that I mind staying in, because I don't. But I haven't gone out in awhile and my epic epic weekend lost its epicness with each day. The movie was good and afterwards I did laundry, ate half a box of Cheese Its and had a beer. It was classic white trash.

On Sunday I had two events to attend. Fortunately the world didn't blow up so I was actually able to go to these. I woke up feeling the first signs of a bad cold. I decided to make myself feel less of a fat ass I'd go to the park first. So I did. When I came back I showered and got ready for my first BBQ. I of course got lost and arrived an hour later than planned. It was nice and there was a lot of food. My coworker was hosting it so some of my other coworkers were there along with her family. Fun fact - at some point during the BBQ her nephew gave me his number and told me to call him sometime but not to tell her. I was amused because for 1) I wouldn't go behind her back like that because she is like a mother to me and 2) all the men in my life have somehow disappeared at the same time so it was nice to know I still have game.
I left that BBQ at 5 or so after numerous hugs from one of my very drunk but one of my very favorite co-workers. I missed the turn to my dinner event and wasted about 15 minutes back tracking trying to get to my destination. I got there at about 6pm right as dinner was being served. I had a nice time and left around 9 something.

I have off today and if I'm conscience at 10:30am when my alarm was set to go off, I'll go to Memorial Day Mass and lunch. At this rate I for see me being awake until then anyway. I'm not prone to insomnia but this must be what it feels like. And like I said before, I've been getting headaches every night for the past few days. I don't know what is up but I hope it is just allergies and sinus pressure.

Also like I said before, the men in my life have disappeared. I mean literally evaporated. At one point I was getting texts, e-mails and calls up the wazoo and now....nothing. Its like God is making me go cold turkey or something. I do now realize that love will not come when you're looking for it. Just as a watched pot never boils. Perhaps the reason why I've been single for oh, 5 years is because I've spent that time searching desperately for love. I think I'm at that point where I've almost got everything I need. I'm looking for housing, I might have a job, I am moving to a new city (well year old but still new to me), my faith life is somewhat in check, so naturally all I need is a guy, right? haha People either shake their heads at my insane desire to be loved or play along with my dramatic stories. Either way, neither is fulfilling. :( If one more person says to me "you have your whole life ahead of you." I might scream. I think Bridget Jones sums it up well in her diary when she says something along the lines of "a whole weekend ahead with no one to love and no dates to look forward to." Its so funny because Jones is so whiny about not having a man throughout the whole book. I see myself in that. Then I shudder in fear because she is 30 something and still single. There is nothing wrong with that but that is something I do not want to face...going to smugly married people's parties, having people question where I'm going to get kids from since my expiration date is rapidly approaching (if I was 30), etc. It makes me relieved that I am only 22!

So I guess that is it. It is almost 5:30 and I am still very awake. I might put some music on and try to sleep to that. I figured since I had the time I mine as well update the world on my not so epic but not so horrible weekend.

To our deceased veterans: Thank you for giving up your tomorrow so that I may have one.

Until next time....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where in the World is MA?

Philadelphia, still. I promise. Life has been crazy and busy. I think I say that in at least every post. Backtracking a little bit I'll try to hit the highlights.

On the 7th we had an event at my work. I was put in charge of a classroom to help the kids and visitors make Mother's Day crafts together. I will admit that I was terrified at first. These are the kids I normally teach once a week but I had no clue if they would listen to me. The event went on without a hitch and the kids really showed some respect to me and to the visitors. I was impressed and others were very impressed with me.

My mom came up to visit me May 14th - 17th. It was awesome. See, a lot of my friends are really busy and can't come up to see me. I was getting kind of lonesome since Connie and Stephen have people visit them and they go visit others all the time. So my mom decided to come up to stay with me. We went to see my Aunt Pat and several of my cousins on Saturday. The weekend flew by but I had a great time. :)

I spent the past few weeks catching up on developmental assessments for the children who have moved in recently. It was a crazy busy time.

On the 20th my work had another big event which I truly felt a part of. It was a cocktail gathering at an art gallery. I had designed the flier to promote the event. I also led tours of our facility before the big cocktail gala. I'm getting used to giving tours but I had a pretty big crew so I was a little nervous. As I began my tour, my face got really red and I started sweating and my mouth instantly dried up. But as I got going, I felt more comfortable and was able to lead a quality tour. I received several wonderful compliments from the attendees. Our Provincial told me that I was truly amazing and that I gave an incredible tour. She is a very nice person in general but when you receive a compliment from her, she really means it. I tried not to let my ego grow but it was kind of hard. It was yet another occasion where I was able to witness the value of myself and my efforts in my facility and within the health system. It was one of those moments where I realized that I was incredible small in the grand scheme of things but people were beginning and continuing to notice me. Big people, powerful people. It makes me want to continue to work hard and put in all the love and passion I have to be successful at my job.

This past weekend I saw a middle school rendition of Beauty and the Beast. It was a trip down memory lane to my old theatre days. I really enjoyed the production since I haven't seen a play since college. On Saturday night I went with Connie and Stephen to play cards with the Sisters. On Sunday I worked yet another event...the Sisters' Pancake Breakfast. I sold over 3,000 instant win games throughout the event. I found this sign, advertising the chances 4 for $1. So I took out my hair ribbon and tied it to the sign and wore the sign around the dining rooms, screaming "Nevada chances, 4 for $1 can win up to $50." It was a successful event overall but once again I was able to see how my efforts helped to make it so. I had one little old lady who threw her losing chances at me in a joking manner. I don't think she realized the connection I had with the Sisters until I did the 2nd reading at Mass. As she's coming up in the Communion line, she pats me on the shoulder and says "peace be with you." I couldn't help but smile. I figured people that were already at the breakfast made the connection and thought "that's the Nevada chance girl...isn't it?" Yes, I promote gambling in a convent and then read the word of God. That sums up my life perfectly.

Now I'm facing another work week. Still no word on any official job interviews. I'm just hoping I can apply for something soon. Some certainty would be great right about now. I'm still looking at apartments in the area and coming to the slow and painful realization that I can't move anywhere until the end of August or mid-September anyway. Bah.

I lost the "Biggest Loser" challenge by a lot...Throughout the stress of the huge video project, Spring Break groups, and family issues...I overate and lazily avoided the gym. I've mustered up some motivation to keep at it and try to get back in shape. I've been consistent for about 5 days. Let's hope it keeps up. I lost a few pounds over the weekend with all of my running around and my 2 hour work out on Saturday. I'd like to keep that losing up!

So that is about it. Nothing to exciting to report besides my past adventures. I'm still searching for Prince Charming or Prince Right Now. I'm sort of talking to this guy I met at a restaurant he works in. (I met him in August and have consistently visited his restaurant just to see him). I'll provide a life update on that when I have more time. I've got Spiritual Direction tonight and have to get ready for tomorrow.

Until next time....


One last thing: I swear my grandmother is out on the ice with the Philadelphia Flyers. :) If they win tonight, we go to the Stanley Cup Finals. The first time in 13 years!!! Mom Mom has the best seats this year.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Censorship


Greetings America! After a brief hiatus I am back on the blog. Multiple issues have prevented me from writing as of late. The primary one is work...I have been swamped with assessments, classes, meetings, conventions and this special video project I'm working on encapsulating the entire history of my workplace through interviews and photos. (Through it, I even get to interview top executives such as one of the key leaders of the entire health system and two members of our board.) I have loved every minute of the craziness but it has also been stressful. My days have consisted of work, dinner, shower, sleep. I've been hitting the hay at about 10pm and sleeping soundly until 7:45am, sometimes even waking up during REM sleep. I've been plagued with random, vivid, and sometimes scary dreams. So basically I've been too busy to write.
The second reason of my hiatus is because it seems as if I had fallen into the black hole of censorship. Apparently whenever I write a post, I have to sit and think "will this offend anybody? how do my words impact others in a negative way? should I be saying this?" Instead of writing what is on my heart, which, is what good writers do. I am not one to write serious tasteless and offensive content. So I've spent the past two weeks wanting to write but wondering what neutral topic I can write about without any apparent backlash. If you are wondering, I'm actually referring to some controversy around the posts about my grandmother and her passing. In all circumstances regarding that situation, I have no regrets. Also, my last post, the young mother post received excellent comments. :) All in all I've managed to bash the ever persisting awareness that every word I write is being judged in some way.
Life has been busy but fruitful. I've been accomplishing a lot of things at work. Currently there are only four original families from my early days in August still residing there. The rest have found housing. So we have a lot of new families right now. There has been some good news breezing by the rumor mill: more talk about hiring me. There is nothing official really, but there is more of an effort to hire me as full time staff. Basically more talk and more encouragement. :) Always a good thing. So I have the potential to possibly become a permanent fixture in Philadelphia. I've been listening to the song "I Made It" by Kevin Rudolf on repeat. Basically I'm loving the line "I look up to the sky and now the world is mine." and "I used to dream about the life I'm living now. I know theres no doubt. I made it."
These words really speak to me because if by some miracle of God I proved myself to be indispensable, which was my goal in September, I will have truly made it. I remember when I was a little girl riding up to Philly to either go to a Phillies game or visit relatives. I was always captivated by the skyline. One time, while attending a game with my Aunt, Uncle and two cousins, we had seats which were right in front of the skyline. So when the game paused I could just look straight ahead and see the tall brightly lit buildings. I never had a strong desire to live in Philadelphia. By never having a strong desire I mean I never wanted to live here. I always wanted to live in a big city like Chicago or New York. Then when I was trying to put my life together before graduation, I realized that Philadelphia wasn't that far away from Virginia. Actually, it is. haha But it isn't as far as the other places.
I figured I would do a year of service here and then use that experience to find a job elsewhere. Then the unexpected happened. I fell in love with my job, the kids I work with and yes, Philadelphia. Suddenly I can't see myself living anywhere else. I have new friends at work and in the Philly area. I love the culture and even the dirtiness of it. I love the music, the art, the people and everything the city has to offer. I feel bad that I judged Philadelphia by its cover as a great place to visit but never a great place to live. Please don't think I am naive. I know that there is tons of crime, that it ranks in the top 20 dangerous cities in America, that people are shot, robbed, and raped daily...but you can find that in small suburban towns too.
My biggest concerns is how I will set up my new life after the volunteer program ends. The new journey will begin, which is great, but I have no resources. By resources I mean I'll be broke, homeless to some extent, car-less, and have a lot of great material possessions that need to go somewhere. How does one start a life with no money? I guess I'll be finding out. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sure I'll have plenty of support from the Sisters, co-workers and people who have gone through the same thing. But I like to know I have security. I have to be able to do more than just hope it all works out.
In lieu of new beginnings, I have come to the decision that I want to also pursue further education. I swore up, down, and sideways that I would never be a social worker. I always pictured social workers as those people who bust into dirty homes and take kids away from parents and put them into foster care. No, those are social workers for Department of Human Services. I'm technically a social worker now, I'm just called a Youth Advocate. Therefore, I plan to get my Masters of Social Work as a part time student. It would take about 2.5 years if I started classes this January. But where will you go to school? I'm looking into a variety of places but my soul is set on Temple University. The campus is actually within walking distance to my work (but no, I don't plan walking to night classes). So it is a shot in the dark and it depends on a lot of factors. The Utopian future world of mine involves me living in the city in a cheap but relatively nice apartment, being employed full time at my current service site, and attending Temple University part time as an MSW student. We'll see if the Utopian world can become a reality.
So all this planning, dreaming and scheming is great but it also makes me realize that my service year is rapidly coming to a close. It ends in mid-July but it is already mid-April and I feel like Easter Sunday was yesterday. Now I'm trying to take careful steps to make sure that I milk up all the fun, resources, and community moments now before it is too late. I'm trying to appreciate the present now more than ever because I realize my life will never be like this again. I'm pretty sure I will never live in a convent again, or have a community of Sisters to hang out with all the time, or live in a sweet house where almost everything is paid for, or have moments of spiritual reflection in a group setting or any of that. Live in the present is the motto for now.
In other news, I hung out with my friend David from W&M today. He took me to Columbia, NJ where they have a HUGE Farmers Market. You need to go if you're ever up north. This place has everything you could ever need from fresh food to shoes to knock off sunglasses to wall hangings. They even have air rifles, tools, DVDs and t-shirts. My biggest find of the day was a green Phillies Irish t-shirt with Victorino 8 on the back. I think I've found my new favorite shirt. Ever. In the history of all of my shirts. It was a good time and I spent more money than I should have. :P It was really fun catching up with David since I haven't seen him since graduation. It is nice to know I have a W&M connection so close because I find myself missing W&M all the damn time.
Tonight I'm going out with the community to the Trolley Stop, a restaurant in Philly. 15% of the proceeds go to my work. :) All in all it has been a great weekend!
Until next time...

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Young Mother

First let me extinguish your current suspicions. I am not pregnant. :) This post is sociology related.

A certain situation has happened to me not once but twice. It is thought provoking, amusing and in a way kind of sad. I was talking with a young mother today and somehow the topic of birthdays came up with her kids. I told them I would be 23 years old this year. The mother, whose age I can not recall, said to me "do you have any kids?" "No," I responded. She responded with something like "Oh, you don't want any?" To which I wanted to reply "No, I do want kids but I really want a stable job and a husband before I have kids." Of course I did not say this because I would never blame or offend someone for their life choices.

This same thing happened to me a few months ago. Again, the mother assumed I didn't want kids because I was 23 and didn't have any. If anything, working with children has made me want to have kids even more so than before! I totally want to raise kids and have my own family. The very thought of it excites me. Yet the thought of a promising career as a social worker and a writer excites me too. I want to establish myself in my field and find a great husband before the kids enter the world.

So it kind of depresses me that a lot of these mothers think it is normal to have their first child at 15, 16 and 17 and have four or five kids by the time they are my age. In their eyes, I'm not interested in having kids since I'm 23 and single and childless. This doesn't offend me in the least but just sparks some thought provoking sociological ponderings.

I'm making different choices than they are.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Promise I'm Alive

Ok so I haven't updated in a little under a month. I apologize for that. Valentine's Day came and went and so did February. You really don't realize how quickly that 28 day month goes by until you are out of school. In school, the days just mesh together. Out of school, you're like holy crap its March already. When did that happen?

I sort of mulled through Feb. The Cage the Elephant concert I went to was amazing. The lead singer crowd surfed and pretty much fell on top of me. So did the hot drummer from the first band, Morning Teleportation. I was first in line and front and center. It was a wonderful concert. Afterwards I scored the set list and Matt, the lead signed it. Then I got hot drummer to sign my ticket and take a picture with me. I made a few friends from Delaware Valley College in line while waiting for the concert. The security men kept telling everyone "the line forms behind HER." haha It was so worth it. After the concert Connie and Stephen drove all the way out to South Street to rescue me. I was equipped with a slice of Lorenzo's pizza the size of my head and my new bottle of water from the Mini Mart. We went to Dunken Doughnuts where we ordered a chocolate doughnut, a box of 25 jelly munchkins and a cream puff. What we got was a box of almost 40 munchkins, a chocolate doughnut and 3 glazed doughnuts. We weren't charged extra. It was a very kitchen sink kind of deal but it was also hilarious.

That was February, or at least all I remember about it. Now it is March. I got sick in the beginning of the month and had to take another sick day from work. Blah. The sad thing is that I am still pretty congested. Michigan State University are staying in Huntingdon Valley at the mother house for this week. It is there spring break. They are doing their service at my work which is cool. I've been so busy I haven't had the chance to interact with them all. The funny thing is that I'm supposed to be busy with the same stuff they are. Tonight we're going to a nursing home to play Senior Olympics. I enjoy having extra opportunities for service and reflection but it has killed my schedule. I won't see the gym all this week or next week. Somehow work has picked up significantly too. So I'm sort of just trying to survive each day right now. They're good days, just long, busy and eventful.

I don't have big plans anytime soon for anything. I'm staying up here for Easter. I even volunteered to read at Passion Sunday. Last weekend I went out to South Street with Connie and Stephen and Jr. We went to the Tattooed Mom, officially my favorite bar in Philly. Then we went to Lorenzo's. After that we went to Cuba Libre, a latin dance club. Unfortunately Jr was not allowed in because he was wearing sneakers. So Connie, Stephen and I went in just to use their restroom. Well sure enough I get picked up in the bathroom line and a guy asks me to dance. I hadn't been in the club more than 3 minutes. So after I did my business I danced with him. He was a nice guy but I later found out he was 37. A little to old for me....

Weight loss is still happening. I gained a quarter pound since last week. (I'm in the Biggest Loser Challenge at work so I get weighed each week). I really need to work on that because I want to win this contest. As for my spiritual life, well, things are getting better. I went to my first spiritual direction appointment on Monday night. It went well and I have lots of stuff to ponder. Not bad stuff though.

Other than that nothing is going on. Just trying to survive, make plans for post July and enjoy each day.

Until next time...

Monday, February 15, 2010

I Survived Valentine's Day (with a smile on my face)


While watching the movie, Valentine's Day, starring tons of celebrities, I thought I saw myself as one of the characters. There is one character played by Jessica Biel. She is a work-a-holic who literally lives in her office. (She has a futon and an exercise ball and a treadmill). She is closest to her Blackberry. She throws an Anti-Valentine's Day party every year at an Indian restaurant. As sad and pathetic as that is, I kind of saw my future looking like that. I could totally live in my office. If I ever get an Iphone or Blackberry I will probably be addicted to it. I own an exercise ball, all I need is a treadmill. haha

Despite these negative feelings I decided to "love hard and love fully regardless of my relationship status." (Which is stone cold single). I went to Mass, visited the Sisters in the Infirmary to wish them a Happy Valentine's Day, ate lunch and cheesecake, went home and facebook messaged all my friends, wishing them a happy Valentine's Day and telling them how much I loved them. I went out and bought presents for people (birthday, Valentine's Day...etc). I got cornered by one of those shiny nail people at the mall. I almost bought a St. Patrick's Day flask but decided against it. I talked to some of my best friends on the phone for long periods of time. I then went home, sorted through my belongings, and ate dinner with the community.

I topped the night off by going to Hollywood Tavern, a bar down the street from where I live, by myself. I thought it was fitting, being so happy, upbeat and positive during Valentine's Day to go to a bar alone. So I did. It was awesome. The bartender introduced me to the locals and before you know it I had made three friends (who were two to three times my age but whatever). One of the guys said to me, "Hey Mary Anna...you've found your 'Cheers' bar!" He was right. The atmosphere was so friendly that I have to go back and hang with my new friends. I had a Valentine named Steve who likes to fist bump and Johnny who prefers to "potato" (one fist on top of the other). I left laughing at myself for going to the bar alone. I had two Rolling Rocks because I wanted to switch up on this 'special' ordinary day. Usually I'm a Miller/Miller Lite girl.

I came home, showered, and crawled into bed. This was after I read a few pages from my LOVE book. (A small and fun book that has love stories, poems and quotes). I also gave Connie and Stephen IPOD shaped Valentine's made out of Sweetheart boxes and Reeses Mini Cups.

I was sappy. I was happy. I was not bitter or resentful. I loved hard and loved fully. I might still be single but at least my positive attitude got me through the hard day. Yes, I wanted to be an idiot and tell the guy I like how I feel but I chose not to. I rememberd all the times that did not work to my advantage (all of them) and kept my mouth shut. What will be will be. I plan to love hard and love fully everyday, regardless of the holiday. It is really the only way to live.

Until next time...

Sick September A Recap

After an fantastic month of August where all the stars were aligned and life seemed damn near perfect, I entered the month of September with...