Monday, December 30, 2013

Going Out with a Bang


BAM. Right now, I have officially blogged more in 2013 than I have when the blog was born in 2009. 54 posts of pure and unfiltered honesty. Sadness, Hopes, Dreams, Self-Doubt, Resilience, Vulnerability, Self-Confidence, and Introspection. THAT is an accomplishment.

What a crazy year.

Taking my friend's advice I found the perfect way to enter the new year "the best version of myself." On NYE I'll be painting a bursting champagne bottle in a BYOB art class. I hope it is paint by numbers for adults. I'm pretty excited because I'm an artist with words not actual paint. But everyone's photos of paintings from this studio look alike, so they make you think "anyone can do it." Way to set the tone for a creative year ahead. :-) I actually had trouble sleeping a few nights ago and checked my phone. Saw an ad for the class on Facebook. I kept telling everyone that if they offered a NYE class I'd do it in a heartbeat. Bought my seat at 2:30am.

Now just trying to make the last day and a half of 2013 count. I mean, it has been one of my best years yet. Been published. Got an art column. Had my heart broken a few times, but hey...as Elizabeth Gilbert says, "This is a good sign...having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something." Kind of went through an downward turned temporarily upward spiral at my job. Made some new friends. Kicked ass in Jschool. 3.93 GPA and holding. Another 4.0 semester down. One more semester to go! Humor writing and Intro to Web Design. It is going to be hard (the web design at least) but it is going to be great.

This year I began to learn the lesson "haters gonna hate" and you're not going to please everyone no matter how hard you try. Also, you have to let things go. When you lose people such as friends or hell, even asshole fake family, you let them go and you move on with your bad self. Life is lighter with the baggage behind. Besides, it is somewhat gratifying when you know you've let go but the haters keep hanging on...waiting with bated breath to learn the latest update of your life. :-)

This year I spoke up more. I was more honest than I've ever been. I fought for things I wanted. Sometimes I won and other times I lost. I traveled, had adventures, reconnected with old friends. Each day was certainly worth it.

Change is gonna come in 2014. I can feel it. Healthy choices. More publishing. More journalism. Checking off the goal list, month by month.

I've got a year to top.

Until next time...

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Year In "To Do"


I like to end 2013 with a "Year in Review" post, but I'm going to do something different this year. Instead of looking back with a nostalgic mind, musing of how far I've come, what I've learned, what I have accomplished....I would much rather look ahead. So for the first time, I'm completing a "Year in To Do" and listing the things I WILL accomplish or do in 2014. This isn't a list of resolutions, this is an actual list of things that will go down next year.

2014: A Year In "To-Do" 
1. Detox Week
I'm not going to be bold and say I'm going to lose x amount of pounds this year or fit in x garment by summer. Instead, from January 2nd-January 9th I will be undergoing a raw food cleanse. That is a fancy way of saying that for one week I will have 3 servings of fresh fruit each day and unlimited servings of vegetables. I will drink water and decaffeinated tea. Midway through the week I'll indulge in a serving of protein. The goal is to cleanse your palate and body of processed foods, sugars, sweeteners, and fats. It is a great way to start a weight loss program. 

2. 30 Days of Gym (Reasonably 20)
I got a Groupon for a 30 day gym membership for a gym near work. My plan is to utilize it as much as possible before school starts. I know I'll be in there with the large crowd of "resolutioners" but my goal is to make the most out of the Groupon. They even have kickboxing on Saturdays! 

3. See Black Violin in Concert
Tickets purchased, pretty excited about this. 

4. Get published at least 10 times in the calendar year
I'm a columnist for a new magazine in Philly. We're coming out with our print edition in April, so I'm hoping I will have a lot of pieces in there. I'll be published online every month. I'm also hoping to write more personal essays for Axis Philly and get published there. 

5. Get at least one piece published in a major US magazine
Whether it is Garden & Gun or Cosmopolitan, I will have at least one essay published in a major market US magazine this year. Hopefully more, but definitely one. 

6. Perform in at least one comedy open mic night
Totally doable. I've been working on some material. It is time to stop dreaming and start living. I will perform in at least ONE open mic night.

7. Destroy my 5K time at Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
No beating by a few minutes. I want to blow my 5K time out of the water. Some training will commence before this, but I will be triumphant. 

8. Graduate Temple with my Masters of Journalism
May baby. 

9. Visit Nashville, TN 
I want to take a solo trip down to Music City. I want to do that whole, stay in a hostel thing and make friends with the random people you meet on your journey thing. I think it would make for a fantastic adventure. 

10. Mountain bike the 8 mi trail at Wharton State Forest
As soon as the warm spring air breaks, I'm going to attempt the 8 mile trail. Not ready for the 24 miler yet. 

11. Move to a S. Philly Row Home
I'm in no shape to be a homeowner, but by the end of May, the hunt will begin for a rental at the very least. My trifecta of a perfect life consists of a South Philly row home, a green Kia Soul and a Boxer dog named Bronx: in that order. I will be living in a S. Philly row home come Summer 2014. The car and Bronx? Well...might have to be on 2015's list.

12. Attend William and Mary's Homecoming
It is my 5 year reunion from college. I need to go to that thing. In conjunction with this adventure, I will also plan on speaking to the Sociology Department about "what you can do with a Sociology degree" and spend my Homecoming not at Zable Stadium BUT with the W&M Recreational Sports crew, tailgate outside the Rec. THAT is where I wanna be. 

13. Love Hard, Love Fully, Love Cautiously
This is the only "resolution" and it is to love, but love with a side of caution. To only accept what I deserve and to not settle at all in the entire year for anything less than what I deserve. To not fall for the fallen with the hopes I can pick them up. To not enter anything without 100% certainty that I want to invest my time and energy in whatever it is. To not half-ass anything. To be honest even when it hurts. To utilize the lessons taught in 2013 for personal growth, development and acceptance. To reign in my heart. :-)

Until next time.... 



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December Rumi

I have a million thoughts but not enough time to write them down. So I will post this for now.

MY WORST HABIT
My worst habit is I get so tired of winter
I become a torture to those I am with.

If you are not here, nothing grows.
I lack clarity. My words tangle and knot up.

How to cure bad water? Send it back to the river.
How to cure bad habits? Send me back to you.

When water gets caught in habitual whirlpools,
dig a way out through the bottom to the ocean.
There is a secret medicine given only to those
who hurt so hard they cannot hope.

The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.

Look as long as you can at the friend you love,
no matter whether that friend is moving away from you,
or coming back towards you.

- Rumi

Until next time...

Friday, November 22, 2013

As Not Good As It Gets, I Hope



A wise friend told me she enters every New Year being the best version of herself. Instead of going out drinking and kissing strangers, she rings in midnight and the new year by doing something good and productive for herself. She said it sets the tone for the year ahead.

My friend was right.

This year, I rang in the New Year in a hot yoga studio with 60 other people, willing myself not to pass out. Then I shared a tofu stir fry with said 60 other people. I didn't know a soul and for some reason, I still kind of felt a little drunk as I walked back to my apartment at 12:30am, sipping ever so slightly on champagne from a coffee mug.

Doing Bikram's Countdown to Midnight's class was probably one of the best decisions I've made for 2013 has been a truly epic year. Like any year, it has had its ups and downs...but I recall a lot more ups. My heart has been on a roller coaster ride. I got to travel more. I went out more with friends and even by myself.

I don't want to make this a year in review post, because...that will inevitably come in December or at the beginning of January, but I'm just wondering if there is some sort of karmic truth to having a great year by ringing in the year being the best version of yourself.

Also, how do I top 2013? I mean, really? I've been published for the first time since 2008. I got to spend some quality time with my best friend and hang out with his friends as well. I went to an epic wedding as a +1 and had a blast. I got to attend my cousin's bridal shower and enjoy fun times with some family. Oh, and I'm about to start writing an art column for an upcoming magazine in Philadelphia. Also, I graduate my Masters program in May! Still rocking that really high GPA. :-)

Not sure how to make 2014 even better. It is going to be hard to top 2013.

Until next time...


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

12 Random Idiosyncrasies of Mine

I felt like making a listical...aka a list of items under a common theme. I guess I'm inspired by Thought Catalog (they still won't accept any of my work) and Facebook because everyone has been playing that like-my-status-I-give-you-a-number-game where you write up a number of random factoids about yourself based on the number you got for liking someone else's factoids.

I digress.

1. I prefer the taller/thicker straws at Starbucks and Dunkin Ds for my ice coffee. As in, I get really bummed if I'm stuck with a short skinny (normal size) straw.

2. When eating Cheese Crunch Wheat Thins, I deliberately search for the crackers that have the most cheese powder on them and eat them first. I think I also pick out the cheese crackers in cheese flavored Chex Mix and eat them first as well. I'm weird.

3. If I'm flipping through channels and a Harry Potter movie is on, doesn't matter what I'm doing, I will stop and watch it through the ending EVERY SINGLE TIME.

4. I like, and I know I'm not the only person who has this preference....to sit in corners or against walls in spaces like conferences, cafes, and public transit (I don't care if you sit with me just give me the window seat!) I think its one part feeling secure and one part feeling in control of my surroundings since people can't sneak up behind/beside me. Its not that I perceive a threat, its just I feel secure. I get agitated when someone beats me to my favorite corner table at Starbucks and I'm left to sit vulnerable and out in the open.

5. Every morning when I pass this huge robot dinosaur outside the Academy of Natural Sciences I say "Good morning Dinosaur!"  Out loud. When I used to commute from Huntingdon Valley, I used to pass a horse farm and would say "good morning/Goodnight horsies and geese!" Also when I have a minor fail I say "try again" to myself out loud.

6. I honestly believe that becoming the straight and female version of David Sedaris is an attainable life goal.

7. Diet orange soda, grenadine and tequila is one of my delicious drink inventions. I call it a "Tequila Sunburst." Its like a sunrise without orange juice, but the pop of orange soda instead. Hence, sunburst. I love it.

8. I make a game out of naming dog breeds in my head whenever I see a dog. Then I Google image my answer to see if I'm right (unless its an obvious Dalmatian or Poodle or something).

9. When shaving my legs (gross and personal I know) I do this little two step shuffle when I switch legs. Shaved leg down, unshaven foot tap, shaved leg foot tap, unshaven leg up. I have no idea why I do it, and it is not necessary to complete the task. I just do it unless I consciously tell myself not to do it.

10. I never eat anything with pickles on it. I take the pickles off and eat them separately. I enjoy pickles, just not on any kind of sandwich or burger.

11. I get a very large feeling of satisfaction when I can attribute an actor on a certain show/movie to another show/movie...especially if he or she is guest starring on one episode and guest starred on different show for one episode previously. The intense desire to be right or place said actor is so great, I will pause the show/movie and check IMDB to find out.

12. I started this habit years ago. But I will not open a can of soda or beer without lightly first tapping the closed lid part three or four times. I think I started this because it would prevent the beverage from exploding upon opening. I don't know if it has any effect but the habit is so ingrained I don't even think about it when I do it.

Until next time...

Monday, November 18, 2013

I'm Not Rational When You Wake Me Up From Deep Slumber

After a truly great weekend of chores, errands, fitness, cooking and a little bit of creative writing work...I went to bed pretty tuckered out. At first I thought my mind would go 1,000 mph, as it usually does on Sunday nights before the work week ahead but after a half hour or so I was out and in dreamland.

A few hours later I heard rapid knocking. It was one of those things where the outside noise is part of your dream until you actually wake up and realize the noise is real. After a minute of knocking, I woke up and realized it was coming from the hallway outside my apartment door. I listened carefully and heard someone whisper my name.

The girl that lives below me locks herself out all of the time. I figured she might be trying to wake me up to use my phone or tools or something to get back in her place. So, I unlocked my door and opened it. Outside the apartment across from mine stood, not the girl from downstairs but a kind of cute, tall guy about my age.

"Hey, I'm sorry. I was trying to see my friend Caitlin," he said.

I'm standing there in a ratty t-shirt and jersey shorts, half awake wondering what this attractive man is doing outside my hallway and also why attractive man doesn't know what I know.

"Um, sorry but Caitlin moved out. That apartment has been vacant for about two weeks now. They've been doing work in it, getting it ready for the next tenant."

"What? No way! She said 20th! She texted me 10 minutes ago and my phone is now dead. Damn," he said.

"Sorry man. This is 21st. She must have moved a block away or something. Can't help you."

"Thats ok. Its a bummer. She just texted me. This is a late night booty call," he said.

Now, a number of things occurred to me during this conversation and not ONE of them should have been part of my thought process.

Thought 1: It is raining outside and you don't look wet. Wow, you will get wet when you leave here.
Thought 2: Wow, why did you tell me this is a booty call?
Thought 3: You don't look like her type and didn't she used to live with her boyfriend or something?
Thought 4: Caitlin really didn't tell you she moved? WTF?

It wasn't until after I locked my doors and crawled back into bed thinking, "wait...how did he get into our apartment building? The door is locked."

Needless to say, my roused-from-a-deep-sleep-thought processes is anything but logical. I shouldn't have opened my door because what if he was like a serial killer or something. He didn't whisper my name he whispered hers. Also, he has access to a spare key and now knows where I live. I could have been killed. He could have broke into my apartment. And btw...all of this transpired at 3:26am.

When I woke up I wondered if I dreamt the whole thing but remembered going to the bathroom after the ordeal before climbing back into bed. What a weird night.

Until next time...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Quitting


It started with a Groupon.

I bought 10 kickboxing classes for $15 or $20. The classes were held at Amerikick South Philly on Synder Ave.In my very first class I had to do 50 jumping jacks in the warm up. I was so proud of myself that I could keep in step with the the instructor. Many classes made me want to vomit and since my name is pretty unique, the instructor called me out all the time. Mary Anna, those aren't high knees! Mary Anna, put your butt down in that push up! Mary Anna, keep up! I seriously wanted to change my  name by the end of it. However, despite the fact that this energetic Vietnamese kid who tested our limits weekly was screaming at me, I loved it and I fell in love with kickboxing.

My Groupon expired and I found another deal and signed up for that. Being cheap, this was my way of cheating the system. The owner of Americks was kind of annoyed. He redeemed my voucher but called the master company to cancel all future Groupons. My instructor would be leaving in a month to work the Monorail at Disneyland. Kickboxing would be over.

In the very last class, the only kickboxers who came were myself and a girl named....get this...Anna Marie. The instructor tried to slaughter us one more time and we ended class with a very sweaty group hug.

Fast forward to Christmas 2012. My mom and I are driving to my work after my Christmas break in Virginia and we spot the Philadelphia Martial Arts & Kickboxing sign. My mother encourages me to call them, asking if they have deals for the New Year. I hesitate for a month before I work up the courage to make a stupid phone call. The owner makes an appointment for me to come in and discuss my goals.

I was nervous. I didn't want to be buffaloed into an agreement on the spot but I have a horrible time saying no. He told me the class schedule (3 a week) and the price (high but not out of my range) and next thing I knew I signed a contract and had plans to start up in four days. I returned the next day to put down my year deposit and purchase my very first pair of boxing gloves (we didn't train with them in South Philly).

My first class at the new gym was at 10am on a cold wintry Saturday morning. I had to get up early, take several modes of public transit and drag myself into the studio. There were only two other students, girls that had been taking the class since the owner opened the gym in October 2012. They were better than me but, ever the zealot, I had to prove myself. So I kicked harder, and tried relentlessly to prove to the instructor that yes, I may be fat and awkward but I trained in South Philly and I KNOW how to kickbox. Look at my form! I'm awesome.

He kept trying to reassure me, telling me that I was doing a great job in my first class and silently hoping I'd stop trying to show off and just learn something. haha

For the next 7 months I got up early on Saturdays (unless I was out of town) and took the Monday night or Thursday night classes. My own determination and consistency surprised me. I made some friends, enjoyed partnering up with various "classmates" when we had partner drills. I sort of became a cheerleader for others, encouraging my partners whenever I could.

Then in September, I ran a 5K on a whim and tore my LCL after a klutzy accident. I had to take a month off from kickboxing to tend to my injury. When I finally felt able to return, I learned they cancelled Saturday classes. The 10am class was now a 9am class if you confirmed ahead of time (Thurs) that you would be able to attend. I went on Thursday only to find out the class had been cancelled due to Halloween.

Then I registered for classes for my final semester of graduate school. I scored a spot in a coveted web design class but it met not one but two nights a week. That plus my other class meant I'd be working late, running the tutoring programs at work on Mondays, be in class Tue-Thurs, and then the only opportunity I would have to kickbox would be on Saturday at 9am.

I had to make a hard decision. It was time to quit.

As I walked to my final class, I listened to "Scream and Shout" by Britney Spears, a song that I listened to in order to pump myself up when I first started at this gym. I got there, shed my outer layer of clothes and met with the owner to inform him of my cancellation.

After that business was addressed, I took the floor to begin my last workout with Philadelphia Martial Arts & Kickboxing. To my delight, my favorite instructor would be teaching the class that evening. I informed him it was my last class and he said in a low voice, "Well Mary Anna, what would you like to work on today?"

I smiled. That meant a lot. I told him I wanted to do a lot of roundhouse kicks and bag work, my favorite things to do in the class. He assured me we'd have a great bag workout and he was right.

My last class was similar to my first. I was overweight, determined to keep up and overcompensating in an attempt to prove myself. But instead of showing off, I took things easy as to not re injure my delicate torn LCL knee. I huffed, puffed and respected my limitations. In my last drill I gave it my all, performing my favorite movies with as much gusto as I could muster. The workout music was a mix CD they've had since opening and I even mused to myself during our ab workout as a song skipped and commented on how that song has been skipping for the past 7 months.

We stretched and clapped at the end. The instructor turned to me and said "So how was that?"

"Perfect," I replied. What a way to go out. I thanked him for his classes and the manner he teaches.

"I'm so thankful and it is just so fitting that YOU were the instructor for my last class here," I said with my voice cracking ever so slightly.

After a hug, I returned to the lobby, gathered my belongings and began the bittersweet trek home. Time to hang up the gloves for now.

I hope I can return to a different school after I graduate grad school and my schedule opens up. I love the feeling of punching, the gratifying smacking sound my leg makes when I connect with the bag, and the fact that...even after a months hiatus...I could still keep up and grab my foot in the stretches. (Before I started I could barely grasp my ankle).

It has been a good run.

Until next time...




Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rejection

I'm sitting on the EL, ice coffee in hand. I'm having a sneezing fit and wondering if I'm coming down with a cold or if I'm having an adverse allergic reaction to the rapid weather changes we've been going through these past few weeks. I'm tired, feeling quite run down by my demanding work/school schedule and I'm also dreading the day ahead. My bus was late and cramped and even though I got to see my friend Sarah on my bus (a sign that it will be a good day), I have my doubts. I would be working 9am-7pm. I have a boatload of assessments and service plans (social work stuff) to complete. Also, tonight marks my last night of kickboxing for awhile...a decision I know is necessary due to time constraints but also disheartening because I feel like a quitter.

I grab my phone and check some e-mails. The telecommute job I applied for earlier in the week has emailed me. Wow, they got back to me quickly.

As much as they enjoyed reading my application and writing samples, they simply believe that they are not a good fit for me and my goals. Thanks but no thanks.

Rejected.

I give them credit. At least they actually took the time out to reject me. Lately as I frantically try to grab onto any media job I can find, the employers reject me in the manner of my last breakup. Silence. We both just stop talking to one another. They don't acknowledge that I applied and I don't "shark it up" and demand to know if they got my materials, how long they will consider my application, why did they reject me...etc. Also, this start-up viral content company that rejected me had the nicest way of doing so. "We're not a good fit for you." I read that as "you're not a good fit for us" but that wasn't the words they chose. They wanted to let me down gently.

I'm not entirely butt hurt over the rejection. I wasn't crazy about the idea of regurgitating and packaging preexisting content to create viral trends. I would have done it and maybe even enjoyed it, given the opportunity. But I'm more of an original content kind of girl. That is where my talent lies. I hope I eventually reached that point where each rejection will roll off of my shoulders and I'll hum Jay Z's "On to the Next One" to myself as I search for a new opening to apply for.

It still stung a bit as the crappy day continued and I made my way into the job I thankfully have with the health insurance I thankfully don't have to change (and can afford). Even though my current job is pretty disastrous to my mental health as of late. I'm pretty sure I had a minute bout of nausea after reading my rejection e-mail.

I began to ponder the rejections and the sheer multitude of silent rejections I have received. I mean, I've applied for 3 university communications positions, one of which dealt directly with editing print media content. Another position led me to believe I would be interviewed once I passed the gates of HR, but for some reason my application never crossed the threshold. I've applied for 3 non-profit communications coordinator positions, only one informed me of my rejection. I've applied for a freelance gig after a direct reference to the position (a spot I thought I had a legitimate shot at a shot at) and was never granted the slightest e-mail or call of acknowledgement that the editor received my materials. And now this rejection.

They say that millennials have a hard time communicating effectively thanks to technology. We hide behind our computer screens, phone screens, text messages...etc and our ability to communicate with one another regresses each day.

Well the same can be said for potential employers. Man up and reject with effort.

Until next time....

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It Started Innocently Enough....

It all started with a silly e-card that I took a screenshot of and sent to three of my best friends. 

One friend immediately replied "I'm Sophia!" and that was that. So I thought about Blanche, Rose, and Dorothy and pondered as to which Golden Girl am I most like? Now, the friends I sent this to would certainty overlap in types. We'd have two Dorothys, two Sophias and a Blanche/Rose mix. So in the context of my friend who claimed Sophia, I thought....which one am I?

I thought this musing would pass and I'd get distracted by the newest viral cat video or God forbid, actual work...but it didn't. I continued to analyze the characters I grew up watching (mainly on Lifetime) and decide which Golden Girl most accurately represents who I am.

My first thought was Dorothy. See, she's very smart, snarky, sarcastic and very to the point. She has awful luck in the love department and comes off as strong and resilient. However, with these attributes comes her horrible self-esteem. I guess my self-esteem ebbs and flows like the tide, but I think I have more gusto and confidence about myself than Dorothy. I see her as the grounded, organized leader of the four women...which I tend to be in my group of friends. However, I'm also a storytelling dreamer that lacks common sense.....

So I must be Rose. I'm one of those help the helpless, non-judgy, love all serve all kind of people. I'm kindhearted and often get taken advantage of. Most people know me for my storytelling ability. Although, rarely am I called a dumbass after reciting one of my stories. I have difficulty standing up for myself since I retreat from most verbal and direct conflict. I rarely engage in debates because I don't want to offend the other person. However, I'm anything but simple minded. Yet Rose is a grief counselor and I am a social worker....

I ruled out Blanche because she's the lovable slut and I'm lovable but nowhere near a slut. However, in terms of personality traits, Blanche and I share a lot in common. We're both bold, attention seekers, drama queens, and have fierce leadership tendencies. (Her and Dorothy clash all the time..mainly due to jealousy but their personalities are both pretty strong).

If I were to consider Sophia, I'm a storyteller and I love shutting people down with snark and love telling stories. Most of Sophia's stories have a positive reception (as do mine). I also have a bad habit of mothering my friends, being the person with the nappy wipes, and making sure we drink water on a night on the town. I have that mothering instinct which Sophia portrays in the show.

Honestly, everyone could pick a character trait from each of these women and apply it to themselves. I'd have to say I'm a mix of all four: a Golden Girl hybrid. I'm just amused that I put hours of thought into this when I should be doing other, more productive things with my time. It was an interesting experiment. Maybe I'll have to do it with Orange is the New Black characters sometime.

Until next time....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Wouldn't Appreciate The Sunshine if It Wasn't for the Rain


Do you ever get emotional whiplash? For example, one day is horrible and makes you question yourself and your tolerance for such awful conditions. The very next day, everything turns around and you appreciate the good fortune even more than before. That old saying goes, "we couldn't appreciate the sunshine if it wasn't for the rain." I suppose that is a very accurate statement.

This Monday was one of the worst days I have had in a long time. I started the day, tired, and with a dentist appointment! I had a procedure done at the ripe time of 9am. Then my dentist tells me I have to eat soft, non-chewy foods for the next 24 hours. I had to work until 7:30 and the foods I brought to last through the day were on her "do not eat list." An easy problem to remedy but I was distraught and it stressed me out. The worst part is I was SICK. Nothing like having your mouth mauled by metal objects at 9am when you are SICK. It was awful.

On my way to work I stopped at the store to buy puddings, yogurts, jello and soup. I then proceeded to have a pretty crummy day at work. Nothing was going my way. I was alternating between being freezing and sweating. I was chain drinking tea and my mouth hurt. All I could do was try to work, eat soup and swallow yogurt. I was not a happy camper.

I found out I had to babysit for a program that evening, turns out I didn't but it was an added responsibility to my already weak state of body and mind. Then I ran my tutoring program which didn't go so well either. My kids must have had a difficult day at school for their energy was a little too much that evening, even for me. I was sick, I worked overtime, I had been called out for some stuff and I felt overwhelmed, overworked and just plain ill.

I warned my boss that I might call out sick the following day because I had been battling a fever all day. I only went to work on Monday because there was no one to cover my programs and events that day. After being beat down by the elements (and being hungry all day because chronic pudding and yogurt eating is not fulfilling) I passed out in a Nyquil haze.

Only to awake Tuesday morning, still sick. So I called out to keep my germs to myself and checked my phone. In the early light of the morning I got some great news which began the upward shift of my luck. A personal essay I submitted three weeks ago for publication was accepted! The editors would e-mail me to tell me when my story went live and then I'd receive payment for my work! This was excellent news. I'm sort of in this weird transition phase where I'm trying to freelance to get some byline credit. My latest published piece is from 2008 so...time to update the ol' writing resume. This good news couldn't have come at a better time.

I went back to sleep to get more rest and woke up feeling fairly better. I finished a paper for my law class (that I had the utmost lack of faith I did well) and bundled up for my trek to my Magazine Writing class. I arrived 15 minutes late donning sweatpants and holding a bag of Wendy's for dinner. The class stopped on my arrival. I said, "Hey guys, I'm sorry I was sick today and I came from Center City. I had to stop and get dinner. That's why I'm late and please don't judge me on the amount of food that will come out of this bag because it is going to be like Mary effin Poppins up in here." They laughed and said I made quite an entrance.

The funny thing was I was in the elevator before class with another student. I smiled at her, held up my Wendy's bag and said, "Damn. They're going to know why I'm late." She thought that was funny, as I did too.

Class was fantastic. We get off on the most random tangents. Then at some point, class turns into "Story Time with MA" and I share a personal story or two for entertainment purposes. I told the class that this feeds into my egotism but they still asked me questions about certain things.

It was a pretty good day after a pretty bad one. I tried to get to bed early but woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of my neighbors conversing across their apartment. My place was dead silent so I needed white noise. Naturally I downloaded an ambient sound app and listened to rain falling on a roof for 40 minutes as I tried to get back to sleep. I woke up exhausted. I spilled my coffee all over my office chair when I got in. BUT I got a 96 on that horrible paper I wrote. I guess it wasn't that horrible after all. :-D

So changes are happening. I'm feeling more in control of my life and its accompanying situations. Things are looking up for now and I'm going to enjoy the sunshine for as long as it lasts.

Until next time...


Monday, October 14, 2013

I don't know whether my life is made up of...

....a series of unfortunate events or a series of questionable decisions.


Maybe it is a bit of both.

The past week or so has been riddled with questionable choices and epic adventures. For example, one week ago I decided to run a 5K for shits and giggles. I registered for a "fun run" and stretched a little. I ran the race, came in dead last and spent the day drinking "free" beer out of a glass beer boot. I made new friends, I networked, I had a pretty awesome time. All. By. Myself.

Of course I indulged in the "free" beer a bit too much, ordered enough McDonalds to feed India, ordered pizza oh...and I fell off a SEPTA bus. I'm pretty sure I would have done the falling part even if I hadn't been drinking. Falling off the bus led to a torn LCL. McDonalds gorge led to Mighty Wing bits littering my comforter. Fast food binge led to guilt and shame. Actually, I think the whole experience made a great story but led to guilt and shame. I made up for it on Sunday by cleaning and eating stir fry vegetables for dinner.

As I muddled through the work week, trying to get through each day I had some interesting mini-adventures. I submitted another piece to Thought Catalog...waiting for the silence of their rejection now. I had my Magazine Writing class in stitches of laughter after I revealed I hunt white tail deer with a muzzleloader rifle around Thanksgiving with my Dad. My professor said I may be the only muzzleloading white tail deer hunting social worker in the world. This conversation lead to hilarious segways about my love for guns and my bizarre, dramatic life in general. Oh, and when he asked if anyone in the class runs I said I ran a 5K over the weekend and came in dead last. The class almost died laughing. I mean, really guys? I love the attention but your joy and laughter at my stories only feeds my narcissistic ego. Especially when a classmate tells me to stop talking because she can't stop laughing. I have been told, once again, to compile personal essays and write a book. The personal essay approach makes writing "Never a Dull Moment: The First 25 Years" more manageable. Got to get on that.

That was just Tuesday.

Wednesday hit and I had another mini adventure. While multi-tasking in my law class I was trying to play with a Spanish Learner App in an effort to learn Spanish while learning law. My sound was off but for some reason the app overroad my mute and in the middle of a classmate's case brief presentation my Ipad screamed, "EL TORO BEBE AGUA" 5 times. I kept hitting mute but it was the repeat button. A classmate says "Wow, that is a thirsty bull." Mortified and red faced I stammered "pop up ad" as my professor inquired as to what in the hell made that statement. Fortunately he was cool about it. I apologized to my classmate. He began his presentation again only to dissolve into fits of laughter himself. About 10 min later another classmate started laughing. I was choking back giggles myself. Then my friend @mentions me on Twitter with EL TORO BEBE AGUA. It was hysterical.

Then of course I went out for a drink with my friend after the class which lead to more than one drink and even more adventures. I paid for being out so late on Thursday.

Friday I decided I wanted a SEAFEAST for dinner so I actually splurged on some King Crab Legs and cooked up a seafood feast for myself. IT WAS AMAZING. Saturday I made homemade turkey bacon pizza with pumpkin bread pudding and Sunday I cooked oven fried chicken with yellow rice and caramelized onions and peppers. I did a lot of chores, errands, and homework this weekend too. It was a well balanced weekend to make up for a very off balanced week.

That was until last night when my neighbors woke me up in the wee hours of the morning as they stomped to their apartment, laughing and carrying on. I fell back asleep only to be awoken by a gnat buzzing by my ear. This gnat issue went on for an hour and a half 5am-6:30am and I dozed back off at 6:30am. This was not so good since I entered another sleep cycle but my alarm went off at 7:30am. I was confused, disoriented and exhausted despite having sort of decent sleep. I will find that gnat and destroy it when I get home.

The pros of today are that I get to leave at 5:30pm instead of 7:30pm because there is no tutoring for the kids since they do not have homework! So tonight I'm baking up some eggplant. The cons are that it is Monday, I'm groggy and trying not to be overcome with anxiety. I'm trying to stay focused and check off the mental task list in my head. I'm trying to do things I've been putting off because there is a great sense of accomplishment when I get such things done. I'm trying to find more outlets to send my personal essays to and I'm trying to do my job and do it well. I hope I can keep up with the optimism and energy.

Perhaps my series of questionable decisions led to a more stable frame of mind. :)

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I "want" To Believe in Vitamins

It looks as if I'm going to do some extreme fitness thing every weekend. I did some biking two weekends ago and this weekend I ran a 5K just for the hell of it. Actually, I walked and wheezed through most of it but I still finished at my usual time. I think it is because I'm chronically late to everything so I know how to hustle and power walk my way to destinations.

Perhaps I'll do Bikram Yoga this weekend. Not something I haven't done before but in terms of near death experiences, I can't get much closer than Bikram Yoga. By minute 42 I'm seeing stars, focusing on my mat and thinking "don't pass out you wimp." We'll see what happens. It is also laundry weekend and I consider my eight block hike to the "mat" exercise as well.

Lately I've been writing a lot in an effort to get stuff published and start a recognizable byline trail. I got tired of seeing my cohorts succeed in securing internships, getting published and generally doing big things while I continue to social work my way to my livelihood and wish I could just sit down and write a few good essays to submit somewhere. I have a piece under consideration for an online magazine and I'm planning on shopping out my humor column to local weeklies. I also had a good networking opportunity this past weekend (after the 5K) and I might be able to secure some freelance work even if it is for little to no pay. The way I see it, I can't do an internship because I work full time and I'm in school part time. I can't get hired because I don't have recent relevant experience. So how about I write for free and get published so we can have some updated works on my resume. I'm also going to build and design my own website...preferably from scratch....with Sublime Text. No Dreamweaver over here. I don't have a Mac anyway, just an Ipad.

Yesterday I had a lot of energy and accomplished more at work in one day than I have for the past few weeks. I wondered if maybe this was because I started taking a new vitamin. I'm on generic B-50s instead of the name brand B-Complex. They are pretty much the same but I wanted so badly to attribute my new found energy to the new vitamins. No dice. Took vitamin today...still tired as hell. However I am going to try to go to the gym after class in an effort to mix up my workout routine. Yes...healthy changes folks. I don't want to be the slow little wheezy kid nearly dying before completing the 5K.

That is about it. Trying to write more, create things, get out there and get noticed. Oh! I've expanded my social group/friend circle too. I don't know how long these little friendships will last, BUT I've tried to hang out with some new and interesting people. That means more options for socialization/experiences/writing content. Woo!

So here's to "changes" with the autumn season. Let's hope they last and I don't sink back into my anxiety ridden, procrastinating state of mind that accomplishes nothing and longs to sleep all the time.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Please World, Stop Spinning...I'm Going to Throw Up


Today I almost got hit by a car. I looked left, saw the cars stopped at the light and began to cross. The dark grey Honda seemed to come out of nowhere. It was stopped at the intersection when I last saw it. How much time had passed from my initial street crossing look to the moment I stepped out into the street? Upon seeing the car I stopped, wide eyed, held my hand up in an apology and hastily retreated back to the sidewalk. Embarrassing.

Lately I've noticed life is becoming a bit more difficult for reasons I do not understand. Now instead of insomnia, I have a newfound habit of waking at exactly 5am every morning....going to the bathroom, and then returning to bed in an attempt to grasp an addition 2.5 hours of sleep. This new habit disrupts the second sleep cycle and before I know it I wake up exhausted.

Getting dressed takes effort. Sometimes I have to sit or even lay back down on the bed for a minute to gain the physical and emotional strength it takes to get ready for the day. Once that is done, I usually find some momentum and can get through the remainder of the morning tasks without an issue.

Then comes the walk to work. My shoulder bag is usually heavy, filled with breakfast, lunch, dinner and textbooks. Everything I need for the day. By the time I walk through the doors at work, grunt hello the receptionist, I'm agitated and exhausted. I would countdown to 5:30pm but my day never ends at 5:30. Four out of the five work days I don't see my apartment until after 8:30pm.

My mind perpetually races about things both in and out of my control. I'm forgetting my computer passwords. I'm forgetting words I used to know. I'm having a hard time keeping dates straight in my head. I journal and blog and talk to people I trust but its not enough venting to stop the world from spinning so damn fast.

Diet and exercise are supposed to help but I find myself fatigued and unfortunately weighing in at my heaviest weight. I'd like to think some of the weight is leg muscle I've built up during kickboxing and not all FAT but I can't be too sure. Then comes the guilt. The guilt of packing the weight back on. The fear of being undesirable. The fear of being criticized. The lack of compliments on my great figure because its turning down not so great lane.

The blue personal day request sits on my desk. I want to turn it in. I want to have off tomorrow so I can rent a car and drive to the Pinelands in NJ. I want to take my new bike and ride on the flat nature trails that run parallel to rivers and through tall pine trees. I want to enjoy the last warm tingle of summer as I prepare for the brisk air of fall. I want to go off the grid for one day, Chris McCandless style. I want one person to know where I am and contact no one during my time with nature. I want a break from people, my problems and the city.

But there the slip sits. Because two week ago I was sick and a week ago I took a personal day. I don't feel I deserve the time off. I don't feel my supervisor would understand that I have come up with an ingenious plan for self-care and reset and the only way I can pull it off is if I am not here tomorrow. I'm scared to turn it in. Scared she'll say no. Scared she'll judge my mental instability. It is for tomorrow. Short notice.

Yet I know if I do not turn this request in, I will hate myself for the weekend. Every happy thought I had will be replaced with an angry one. I will go about my work and weekend drudgery with the most negative of attitudes. All because I was too scared to say, "I need this to be ok."

For the past four years I volunteer at a Catholic Oktoberfest fundraiser around this time. I declined to participate this year. I'm just too overwhelmed by invisible problems and didn't have it in me to dedicate a day to helping out. That is how bad this has gotten.

I'd say "at least I have my health" but the truth is I have blood work to be drawn, specialists to see and levels of bad things in my body to bring down. I could say, "at least I have my teeth" because I went to the dentist for the first time in nearly 8 years and I'm cavity free. Yes genetics.

Things will get better. Problems will be resolved. Life will go on. I will bounce back. But to make that first step, I need to turn this slip in. I need a day to be free of everything.

Until next time...





Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When Your "Relevant Experience" Expires

Four years ago I sat in Phi Beta Kappa hall at the College of William and Mary, wondering what in the hell I was going to do with my life (and expensive degree) when I was supposed to be taking line notes for a play (I was an assistant stage manager). I Googled "Catholic Volunteer Programs," found a few, applied and then after graduation moved to Pennsylvania to live with nuns for a year and be a social worker.

Today I sit in a similar boat. I'm at my social work job, thinking about my upcoming May graduation from Temple University's Masters of Journalism program. I think about how I'm entering a changing and at times dying field. I think about how the last time I freelanced was in the early 2000s and no one cares if I was a freelance reporter for my local bi-weekly newspaper during high school.

My HTML CSS3 skills are novice at best. I'm only somewhat familiar with Search Engine Optimization. And now I think I'm falling in love with magazine writing...an impossible field to break into these days without a myriad of internships under your belt. When you go to school part time and work full time you find you have NO TIME for an internship. It is impossible.

When I hear of my fellow journo classmates getting great jobs or epic internships, I am happy for them but I also wonder if I'm way behind in "the game." The past four years of my work history have consisted of assisting homeless kids and performing social work duties. Honorable, yes...relevant? No. My professional profile is made up of my assignments I completed during my coursework at Temple. Nothing was published and the multimedia editing is good but not stellar.

The odds of me obtaining a job in the media/journalism field that pays what I make now or more are very low. I'd have to settle for PR/Communications for academia to earn that kind of pay. I think I'd enjoy that but that is far away from journalism. That is borderline marketing.

I have until May. I have until after May. I am currently employed, bills are getting paid, health insurance is decent. However....eventually...soon...I want to start my CAREER. I just have to figure out what I need to do to break into it.

Until next time...


Monday, September 9, 2013

When You Just Want To Give Up

The problem with being Little Miss Sunshine is when you're going through an emotional roller coaster or feel pressure from your obligations as a human being, you generate a lot of attention for having a dark and stormy day/week/month. Everyone inquires "What is wrong?" "Why do you seem so down?" "Are you ok?"

The concern is nice, but tends to be overwhelming. Especially when generated by your superiors in a professional environment. What is supposed to be genuine concern comes off as some sort of self-fear inadequacy. Today my boss did a friendly check-in with me, noticing my demanor was a little down and wanted to make sure everything is all right. I should feel happy that I have a boss that actually cares about how I'm feeling. Instead I immediatly felt somewhat defensive replying, "I am very overwhelmed right now but I am working through it. At least my work and productivity is not suffering and assignments and tasks are being completed on time." My boss probably wasn't too worried about my productivity but rather, as a social worker, my general well being. Yet here I am assuring that despite the fact I could be headed towards a nervous breakdown, I'm getting my work done. As if that is all that matters.

I don't think I'm headed towards a nervous breakdown but I can't help but feel like I am an ant about to get squashed these days. I'm in my third and final year of graduate school. I have been balancing the busy schedule of exercise, work, late nights, and late classes and homework for two years now. It has been a learning process but I thought I had things sort of figured out. Sure I get stressed over deadlines and I am a perfectionist when it comes to my assignments, but I never felt like I was sliding downhill so fast, so early.

It is the third week of school. I spent my Saturday reading for my classes in the sunshine. I made, what I thought was the self-care choice of going out for a drink Saturday night (by myself even) and had a pretty decent night for a solo adventure. I however paid the price, rolling up to my apartment at 2am, having a restless sleep, and feeling dragged down and groggy on Sunday. I had a lot to accomplish on Sunday but only managed to achieve a fraction of my goals. I laid down for a hour just to power nap my way into productivity and succumbed to a 3 hour nap. Thus, jacking up my sleep schedule.

Here I am on Monday, tired as all get out. Nervous about an assignment due tomorrow at 5pm and a book that has to be read in its entirety by 5:30pm tomorrow. Frustrated that I didn't kickbox on Saturday morning. Knowing that I need to kickbox tonight to make up for my lack of exercise this weekend but feeling so run down and so distracted and so exhausted I can't even fathom getting home in one piece. My appetite is decreasing (a major sign of distress for I am a stress eater not a stress starver). I'm sort of plagued by guilt in that I pay $60 to kickbox and I'm missing class because I'm tired but I'm tired because I'm not exercising but I've got assignments due and I need sleep to focus and OMG I have to do my work at work.

My annual employee evaluation stated I needed to work on my problem solving skills. So I'm fearful when I share my feelings openly (like we're supposed to in our community) that is construed as weakness. I'm worried my superiors think "Wow, its only week three of graduate school and Mary Anna is already falling apart. She really needs to think outside the box or get some help."

This construction could be all in my head but it just adds to my already pressing anxiety. But why, why so early on do I have this feeling I want to give up? Why do I think I am incapable of managing exercise, eating right, my finances, my schoolwork, my social life and my job? I've done just fine all these years, why assume I'm inadequate now?

I know that the greatest pressure I feel is the pressure I put upon myself. But I can't bear the thought that one element in my life has to suffer. I can do it all. I have.

But today? I just want to give up. I want to quit everything and hide out in a cabin in the woods and eat tuna fish out of a can and sleep in solitude for days. Not a good plan. Not feasible. But that is where I'm at right now.

Until next time....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Breaking My Silence on Syria

After watching "Orange is the New Black.," my new guilty pleasure, I decided to check the news. I quickly regretted that decision. As a journalism student, I check the news everyday to see what is going on in the world or rather, what is being reported about. Of course we all know the hot button topic of the month/year is Syria.

CNN, God love them, posted videos of chemical attack victims. They did their part by stating "view discretion advised" and "Graphic content warning." Viewers/Newsreaders had the CHOICE to click "play" and view the graphic content.

I always hit play. I have a very morbid curiosity and I can handle graphic content quite well. So I did. Yes, it was horrific. You see people foaming at the mouth, lifeless bodies of Syrian children, people having horrible reactions to the chemical attack which lets face it at this point, definitely happened. They haven't officially confirmed what party was responsible but it went down, a lot of people died, and it is one of the saddest things in the world to witness.

The CNN anchor stated that the purpose of airing these videos on national news was because these are the videos that Congress is looking at right now as they make their decision about whether or not the United States is going to intervene.

So, why did I feel more disgusted that the purpose of airing these videos is actually TO JUSTIFY and VALIDATE the U.S. response to bomb/missile/invade/attack Syria. I feel like they're saying "this is what government is watching, you can watch too if you want as we wait to make a decision." Why did I perceive such an evident bias towards supporting an attack? Is it just me? Why do I feel that the news is trying to sway me to think, "OMG this is so horrible we must do something"? And worse, why am I angry about that?

Several years ago, I had the unique privilege to meet Paul Rusesabagina, the man and hero who sheltered refugees during the horrible Rwandan genocide. First I watched "Hotel Rwanda" and then I got to meet the man himself. I think I said, "Thank you. What you did for those people was incredible." And it was. That genocide over BLOOD LINES was insane, horrific, a major tragedy. While watching the film I kept wondering why the United States didn't do more to stop it. We had the capability, why didn't we intervene. We should have done more. Those people wouldn't have had to die just because their nose was long or their ID card had the "wrong" stamp.

Looking back I think I was young and na├»ve. My thoughts on Syria? There has to be a better way than us throwing some bombs and sending some drones over to hit up whoever killed their own people. I muse as to whether or not our founding fathers thought that we'd become this epic superpower that had the money (or debt, really), the power, the technology to be the world's hero. I think humans have the obligation to have compassion and look out for other humans but I can't seem to get on board the "attack Syria" bus.

In the world playground, Syria is getting bullied by...well...Syria. What gives the US the right to knock down the bully part of Syria to rescue the bullied part? Doesn't that make us the bigger bully? Why do we always play playground police and attack other countries because we or yes, the world, does not agree with what is going on within the borders?

I'm not an idiot. I know there is worldwide pressure for action. And I'm not a heartless soul, my heart goes out to those poor innocent people who are pretty much dying because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and deemed by those "in power" to have the "wrong" political affiliation. It's senseless and those responsible will get theirs.....but do WE have to give it to them?

This is why so many nations hate us. Because we stomp around with our fancy drones and wag our fingers at other nations. The victims of the chemical attack? They're already hurt or worse dead. The goal is to send a message and retaliate but really we're avenging the death of people from another nation. If we pop a few bombs over there, what is to say WE won't kill innocent people? Also, what is to STOP the parties responsible from using chemical weapons again? What is the point?

I'm sure many disagree with me and we're all entitled to our own opinion. However, I don't need the media trying to SWAY my thoughts on Syria. May the victims rest in peace and may the United States not start/engage in yet ANOTHER war that really has nothing to do with us whatsoever.

Until next time...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Adventures of the Morning Commute



Most days my morning commute to work is quiet without incident. I usually have my routine of the elderly lady that loves to talk to me at the bus stop, panhandlers on SEPTA and the occasional "I got hit on at 8:30am story." I was hoping after using my last Dunkin Donuts coupon for August that me and my latte would have a quiet venture into work. The Market-Frankford EL proved to be quiet and uneventful. But that all changed when I reached my stop.

I'm pretty tired and very lazy in the morning. So when I depart the EL, I like to look out for the trolley that literally carries my lazy ass about three blocks from work. I get to work faster, I don't arrive a sweaty mess and I get to just sit for a minute. However, the trolley is typically full of characters for it services a stop which is near a methodone clinic. Ergo, I usually can't ride the trolley without an incident.

I got off the EL this morning and was so happy to see the trolley parked and letting on passengers. It is usually quite the joy to see the trolley waiting on the street. However, recently due to construction further down the transit line, the trolley has been replaced by a bus. The trolley can seat about 50+ passengers easily. The bus accommodates about 35 and that is with every seat being taken. I only ride this thing for about four stops so I don't mind standing near the doors or in the aisle. The bus I take to get to the EL is always packed in the AM so I've grown accustomed to maneuvering back and forth in the aisle to let people through.

Welp. Trolley/Bus was PACKED this morning and as soon as I stepped on I regretted my decision to be lazy. I took a stance in the aisle, carefully cupping my Dunkin Ds cup because it was dripping condensation and I wasn't about to drip all over someone. While trying not to back my ass up in anyone's face or drip Dunkin dew on passengers, I got a little too close to one set of passengers.

Let me clarify. My purse which is not heavy nor protruding barely tapped an elderly man on the shoulder. His daughter sort of wrapped her arm around his shoulder and gave me the most hateful death stare I've ever seen. I'm like, "Really lady? You're going to give me a death glare because my bag grazed your dad's shoulder? Is he injured? NO. So turn your shade off and leave me alone." I didn't say that but I wanted to.

I decided to take the one empty seat by some guy who was covering his ears as if to prevent the voices from being heard. A group of ladies behind the dad/daughter duo gave me side eye for sitting down. They were sitting, I don't know what I did to deserve that but whatever. A lot of hate on this trolley.

Approximately one stop later, a woman gets on with a kid and a stroller. The stroller is compact but its slung haphazardly over her shoulder. As she attempts to sit she actually smacks me with the stroller wheels. Like, I would be eating stroller wheels if I hadn't blocked my face and let it roll along my nice clean arm instead. For real? Daughter chick is giving me hate glare for tapping her dad's shoulder with my bag and this lady just ran her effin stroller along my arm! No apology nothing. I could be that person that cusses her out or gives her a DEATH glare but I was in a reverse pay it forward mood so I wanted to stop the progression of morning hatred. I sat silent. I did however muse what would go down if stroller lady innocently hit grandpa's arm with the stroller. I bet daughter would go ballistic.

Finally my stop came but stroller lady's friend was blocking my exit and clearly had no intention to move. So I attempted a back door exit which failed. The back door was blocked by three people, two of which were rather large women standing on either side of the door. They did not move. I said a nice "excuse me ladies" and they made a poor attempt to suck in their bellies so I could get through. There was a point in this treacherous exit where I was literally sandwiched and stuck between two ladies in the door. It was a Mary Anna sandwich. Finally with some quick maneuvering I managed to squeeze out of the sandwich and plant my feet on the forgiving platform below. One of the large ladies gave me a sympathetic "Sorry mama!" Once again, to end the hate cycle I replied "No problem. Have a nice day!"

The walk from the trolley to work was successful.

That was wayyyy too much physical contact for me this early in the morning. I need a shower.

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Year Older But Probably Not So Wiser



MA's epic birthday weekend was a success. I've yet to have a bad birthday in Philadelphia (not that I want one). Every year I do something different with a new group of friends. I sort of copied off of my plans from last year but it turned out to be pretty spectacular.

I started off birthday morning by biking to a free yoga class near my work neighborhood. I signed a wavier to allow me to participate and told everyone it was my birthday. haha The Yogis were excited for me. After that I biked to kickboxing and then to Reading Terminal for some watermelon and fresh squeezed orange juice. By the time I got back to my apartment, I was exhausted and it wasn't even 12pm yet. I will say this, while biking around the city, people talk to you a lot. They ask you where they can find coffee shops, or yoga places, or just say good morning. It is very interesting.

So after the epic triple threat workout, I got a shower and took a birthday nap. Around 4pm, I went to pick up my best friend David from 30th Street Station and begin the evening portion of birthday fun. We went to my favorite bar, Wrap Shack where I ate delicious birthday wings and even got a birthday discount.

Happy from the feast, we went to Citizen's Bank Park for the Phillies game we had planned for the evening. I got my tickets at Will Call and went up to the gate. The gate guy asked me if I was turning 21 again. (I was wearing a pink fluffy Birthday Girl tiara). I laughed and said, "something like that." He said "Well I don't want to see you get thrown out of here." He was joking but I assured him I was 26 and that wouldn't be an issue.

We checked in at the birthday table so I could have my name in lights after the 4th inning and went to visit a coworker who also works at the stadium. After that we got some cider and took our seats. We were practically on the field! Front row of section 107. It was pretty great.

When I went to get a second cider, the girl who carded me said, "wait, isn't today August 24th?" She apparently missed my birthday tiara and sticker. haha It was funny.

The game went into 18 innings but we only stayed for 13. However, around the 12th inning, my long time dream of getting face time on the jumbotron finally came true. We were spotted by the camera man in the other section and he zoomed in on me and these girls next to me. I got to be on the Jumbotron! It was a great moment and it is officially crossed off of the bucket list.

After inning 13, we left the ballpark and headed to Ray's Happy Birthday Bar for my free birthday shot. We ended up staying for a round or two since it was so vacant. It was great and a bit inexpensive thanks to a potentially blitzed bartender.

We were hungry again after Ray's so we went to a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts and got breakfast sandwiches and then took a cab and headed home.

Everything was perfect from the fitness to the interactions to the weather and the adventures. I had an excellent 26th and looking forward to the year ahead.

Until next time...

Monday, August 19, 2013

That Icky Sicky Feeling


Right off the heels of one of the most fun weekends I've had in awhile, my body has decided it wants to shut down. It is like my body is saying "You had too much fun. Time to die."

Not really die, just be incapacitated for a few days.

Friday night I saw Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox 20 in concert in New Jersey and it was amazing! It was an epic concert with some great people. I loved every minute of it. I then crashed on my friend's couch, woke up, and we went to graduation dinner which consisted of all you can eat, all you can drink, Brazilian Steakhouse style food. I ate my fill of meats, meats, and drank unlimited alcohol. It was pretty epic! I had a blast. Saturday night I returned to my humble abode where I watched Netflix and digested all the protein I consumed.

When I woke on Sunday morning my throat was scratchy. I'm a mouth breather when I sleep so I figured I dried out my throat with the A/C and fan on. I drank hot liquids all day as I completed my weekend chores and errands. I felt fine last night, going to bed early (for me) but had trouble falling asleep. So naturally I took some Zquill. I figured I had beat the dry throat inconvenience with my hot liquids.

Yeah. No. Woke up this morning and I have that I'm about to be sick soon feeling. Fortunately when I get sick I rarely IF EVER get a fever or vomit. I'm typically plagued with sore throats, sinus congestion, runny noses, and headaches. My throat has that scratchy feeling. My voice is still shot (a symptom I thought was due to my concert singing and screaming but should be fixed by now). My head is starting to engage in some pressure points. I'm getting sick. :(

Of course I'm at work because I wasn't sick enough to call out. I can still talk and swallow and I have my handy bottle of Dayquil which I'll chug every 4-6 hours. This shit better run its course ASAP. On one hand I'm grateful I got hit at the beginning of the week. On the other hand I'm terrified this will last and I'll be SICK ON MY BIRTHDAY SATURDAY!

This can not happen.

So I'll be drinking liquids, taking it easy, working, hand sanitizing, avoid breathing on coworkers and drinking my Dayquil with the hopes I can nip this in the butt before the 24th. Let's hope it is just a baby cold and will pass within a few days.

I hate being sick.

Until next time...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sometimes Espresso Is My Ritalin

I woke up at 5:45am this morning, wide awake and well rested. Almost to the point where I considered getting up and going to work two hours early. Than I thought "nahh, I'd rather just listen to music and get up at 7." Of course the music was so relaxing that it made me fall back asleep so when my alarm went off to wake me up, I was grumpy and tired again. Such is life.

I got up and got my gear together and starting spazzing out because despite my tiredness I was WIRED. I had a billion thoughts circulating in my head at one time. I'm also very excited because tonight I'm going to see Matchbox 20 and Goo Goo Dolls in concert with my best friend. I haven't seen my best friend in a long time AND I haven't been to a concert lately. Both are exciting things to look forward to. Then tomorrow, I've got best friend's graduation party at a Brazilian Steakhouse in the burbs. All you can eat meat. All you can eat smoked salmon. All you can drink open bar. All paid for. Yeah, it is going to be dangerous. I'm trying to drink plenty of water and monitor my sodium consumption to keep it at a minimum until tomorrow's meat eating fest. Its going to be great.

So sometimes when I am going 1000 MPH, I still drink coffee with espresso. This morning I got my Dunkin Iced Coffee with a Turbo Shot. Occasionally it works like Ritalin, helping me slow down and focus. It is usually a 50/50 shot that it will work in the manner I want it to. Well, not today. I'm more hyper than ever. In fact, my first client this morning told me "Ms. Mary Anna, please take your time, sit down." I hate making people wait so I thanked her for the offer but continued to buzz around like a frantic bee. I then brought my breakfast to a meeting which fortunately got cancelled. (I was legit going to be like 'I'm sorry but I have to eat my oatmeal while we do this or I'll pass out).

Next weekend is birthday weekend. Best friend and I are going to a Phillies game birthday night. We scored 100 level seats for a decent price in right field. I'm going to get my name on the Jumbotron again and we're both going to focus so we can get a picture of it this year. Then we're going to Ray's Happy Birthday Bar for my free birthday shot and see where the night takes us. Good times.

Then BAM school starts up again. I'm taking Magazine Writing and Communication Law. 4 classes to go and I'm DONE with my MJ. Can't wait!

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sometimes I just have to Stop, Hang My Head, Smile and Laugh


I swear to you that I am not bipolar. Even though, yesterday I was cursing out a frying pan and today I'm laughing my ass off. Much to my chagrin, the cosmos/fate have turned my frown upside down and today has been exponentially better than yesterday.

I went in late to work by choice because I didn't want to get up and was met by a beautiful crisp breeze, akin to fall weather, on my way to work. Alas, I got to work and was not a disgusting sweaty mess. This was a refreshing change from my daily grind. Oh, and I think my bus driver said "good morning, baby" when I boarded.

I threw myself into work to make up for the fact I did jack shit yesterday. I cleaned my office and it is now immaculate. I cleaned my desk off so it is now a functional work space. I got materials for my class today. (I teach school age kids problem solving skills and emotional recognition once a week). Today we made bagged ice cream in teams and it went very well. No big problems, the kids had a blast, and from what I hear the ice cream turned out great. Note to others: use half and half NOT milk, it works better.

I returned to my clean office, ready to complete goal #3 of the day, filing the mountain of paperwork into resident case files when I stop to look at Facebook. Now, I mentioned before that my Facebook "friends" are getting engaged, married, and popping out kids at a crazy fast rate but I saw a few more engagement announcements today and one surprised me.

You look at someone who is doing well for themselves, someone you've known for awhile back in the day. Someone who you wouldn't expect to be putting a ring on it and BAM that person is engaged. You have to stop, smile and laugh. It is a good, belly laugh of sorts that is followed by genuine congratulations. YOU are engaged to a beautiful person and I am a Lifetime drama of failed relationships. Karma. But I'm not bitter, I'm happy for that person. I'm just so amused and maybe even a little bit amazed you're beating me in the game of Life. haha (ok, not really because all games are different depending on the person BUT still).

So this instant turn around made me stop, see things clearer and realize something. I mentioned my horoscope said I'd "gain insight" about some stuff today. I guess it is true. My vulnerability and insecurity comes down to one thing: TRUST. I don't TRUST things will work out. I don't TRUST I'm in the right position. I don't TRUST enough. I thought it was my past experiences that caused me to "air on the side of caution." In a way, that is true but it comes down to TRUST. Trusting other people. Trusting fate. Trusting God. When you have no option but to wait and see what cards are in your next hand, you can't get anxious about it. You can't control it. You can't plan for it. You just have to TRUST that those cards are the ones meant to be dealt to you all along and regardless how epic or how awful the hand is, you're going to play it and you're going to be all right.

Laugh. Just laugh.

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Do You Do With Anger?

I am a pretty patient and peaceful person. I'm the person that lets little old ladies cut in line at the grocery store. I hold elevator doors for mothers with strollers. I say "thank you" to my bus driver every morning. When I get angry 7 times out of 10 it is at myself. Sometimes people or circumstances grind my gears but it usually takes a lot for me to reach that point.

But when I do get angry, its a chain reaction that sets me off into a downward spiral. When I get angry I also am anxious. I get mad at inanimate objects for no reason. I throw things. I kick things. When something simple doesn't go my way I lose it. One time I was having a really bad day and an egg fell off my egg shelf in my fridge onto the floor. I cleaned up the mess and somehow knocked the egg shelf again and ALL my eggs fell onto the kitchen floor. I flipped the F out. I cried, I screamed, I jumped up and down. I cried some more. It was eggs. $1.79, 10 minutes of cleaning, no big deal. But to me at that moment, it was a big deal.

Today is like that. I didn't accomplish a damn thing at work. I had some touchy conversations. I left work and one person rubbed me the wrong way on my commute. Then I got to CVS to run an errand and I started losing my patience. Then an ignorant person defied my personal space and I wanted to dropkick her right in the store. I stormed home, errands done. Then I find a shirt I ordered but cancelled right after ordering arrived and I was charged for it. So now I have to go through the hassle of returning said shirt to get my refund.

After watching a show and eating, I planned on dying my hair. As I did dishes I began to lose patience with the pot I was washing. Then I got angry because the paper towel barely ripped off. It is little things culminated with my pent up emotional frustration about things out of my control. If there was ever a night to have my own personal punching bag, tonight would be it. I'd rage so hard I'd probably want to pass out with exhaustion. But I can't kick or punch anything legally until Thursday and by then I'll be ok.

I'm impatient. I'm frustrated. I'm angry. I finished my bottle of wine (like half a glass), started on a beer and I still feel like a ticking time bomb. I'm in a mood I'm rarely in. It is the kind of mood that if someone held me up at gunpoint I'd stare the barrel down. You're supposed to give them what they want and try to escape but I'm so fed up I'd just stare without blinking. No I do not have a death wish. I do not need therapy. I am just in my HULK mode and you do not want to mess with me.

So I'm not dying my hair. I'm not in a good place to be dealing with chemicals and such. I'd probably botch the dye job and spill shit everywhere. I should wait until tomorrow for that, maybe I'll be in a better frame of mind.

Until next time.....

Pure Talent. Pure Love

So I'm sure if you read Thought Catalog or the news or any kind of quirky website that highlights personal stories, you saw this:


Meet Neil Hilborn. He has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He found a woman who he fell in love with so much that she helped him without even trying. The video is viral at this point but his use of words, his talent, his raw emotion reminds me that new talent is born everyday. Neil's story is not a happy one, for his girlfriend became overwhelmed by his disorder and left him. The most captivating lines of his spoken word are "I leave the door unlocked. I even leave the lights on."

Now whether Neil actually leaves his door unlocked in case his girl comes back, or leaves the lights on so she knows he is home is a mute point. He probably doesn't because his disorder won't let him. However, those final lines of the poem just hit home. You can hear people's reactions as the "aww, wow." He found a way to express his longing, use his disorder, and convey through words exactly how he is feeling. As if his love for this girl overrides the ticks of his disorder. And it very well may.

Love is that powerful.

It was worth sharing. Talent is everywhere and can manifest from anything. All you have to do is channel it.

Until next time...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Astrology

My horoscope for today:
Your detached approach won't be enough to get you through the day. You need to experience the uncertainty that goes with expressing the raw emotions that evade logic and rational thought. Any attempts to sidestep your truth will only cause more trouble down the road. Your mind is active, but you must avoid the temptation of reducing complex emotional networks into overly simplistic statements of fact. Feel your way today, instead.

My horoscope for the week:
This week you might have a breakthrough when it comes to matters of intimacy. Perhaps you harbor anxious feelings from past experiences that prevent you from getting too close to someone now -- even if you're in love with this person. If so, on Wednesday a sudden insight about what's holding you back from truly revealing yourself will help you push past this fear. The Moon in your 5th House of Romance will help foster this awakening this weekend, especially when it touches Pluto on Saturday.

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What does that even mean? I have to experience the uncertainty that goes with expressing the raw emotions that evade logic and rational thought? Um...I do that every freaking day. Every day there is anxiety and uncertainty about many things, including the things most important to me. Every day I dream big elaborate dreams about others, myself, life in general that completely evade logic and rational thought.

If I felt my way today, I'd allow myself to be angry, hurt, sad, and hopeless. But I didn't feel my way today. No, I cooked dinner for the residents at my work and they loved it. I put my energy into feeding others and getting through the work day. Now I'm about to go kick some ass at kickboxing despite the fact I'm dead tired. My mind might be active but focusing on the now is a lot better than over analyzing every interaction in my life.

As for the weekly outlook? Yes, I do harbor anxious feelings from past experiences. But I don't think they prevent me from getting close to people. I think it prevents me from smothering people and makes me air on the side of caution so I don't get my heart taken for granted, ripped out and destroyed which happens damn near every time I want to give my heart to someone. I look at the facts and yes, try to predict the future so I can spare myself the heartbreak now and just be somewhat prepared for impact. Because logic and rationality is what can prevent running, jumping, flying, falling and crashing. Facts are facts. The sooner you convince yourself of their existence the better off you'll be in the long run.

Go home, Horoscope. You're drunk.

Until next time...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I Just Need A Second. Ok I'm Good.

I almost did a terrible thing today. I ALMOST regressed into the state of paranoia that I used to experience whenever I saw mass quantities of people getting engaged and having kids on Facebook. Yes, there was a time when I was actually worried that I wasn't keeping up with the Jones' and doing everything backwards. But, then I did a lot of soul searching and reached a nice and cozy point of self-acceptance that what I'm doing right now is what is right for me. It might not be right for most of my peers but it works for me and I am happy.

But damn, I almost relapsed. A slewwwww of people got engaged this weekend. One or two announced their pregnancies. It is funny, many of my friends up here in Philly are amazed that I know so many people getting hitched and popping kids. They are sometimes dubious that I can find out about seven engagements in one weekend with four of the individuals being younger than me. But for realsies, it happens all the time. I'm at the point, thankfully, where I'm either like "OMG I AM SO FREAKING HAPPY FOR YOUUUU" which I am or "Hmmm, that is interesting" or "already?" Despite any given reaction, I still do the obligatory Facebook *like* to let them know I care. 


Whew that was a close one. Congratulations kids, I am very happy for you!

On an unrelated note, I think I smile more at dogs than I do at small children when I'm walking. Now, that might mean something is wrong with me. haha

Until next time...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

This is What MA Did at Work Today


Today I spent a large portion of the day cutting out giraffe heads/necks/bodies. This is my tailless giraffe, aka tonight's Family Literacy Craft as we read "Giraffe's Can't Dance." I hope my program will have many attendees for I feel I could have spent more time doing actual work and less time cutting out giraffe heads.

Yesterday I built a bike. I stayed late at work to use my office as a work space and assembled a genuine 26" wheel women's mountain bike BY MYSELF without help. Of course the chain popped within 3 minutes of riding but that was already installed therefore I don't blame my handiwork for that one. I think it is just a matter of tweaking the chain and learning how to gear shift correctly. I haven't had a bike with functional gears since college.

Speaking of college, I called to update my contact information for this epic alumni directory thing. Yeah...that costs over $100 for the stupid hardback book. I'm all for nostalgia but I am one stack of shit away from an episode of Hoarders. Ergo, I bought the book for networking reasons. They're listing where everyone works and how to reach them so I can stalk media people from any class year (if they call in and buy the book). Networking is expensive these days...

This weekend I've got bike rides, yoga, kickboxing, and a hair appointment on the books. Got to stay busy and stay motivated. I'm trying to read my "Telling the Joke" stand-up comedy book each day because my goal is to perform in an open mic night by October. I'm sick and tired of dreaming and dreaming and just letting those dreams be dreams. I've got the charisma and the talent to succeed in local stand up comedy, regional writing competitions, and I believe entrepreneurial journalism.

One of the five or so reasons for this ambitious/motivational drive is the realization I wasted the first half of my summer watching Netflix and eating entire pints of ice cream by myself. While these activities proved to be enjoyable they were also toxic to my health. So I've taken to writing every day and reading new and interesting things and cooking new recipes and building bikes and working out in various avenues. I'm sticking to Skinny Cow Ice Cream and limiting my Netflix viewing to a few hours a week. Summer is coming to a close and school grind is about to pick up. This is my last year of graduate school so gotta tackle the bull by the horns with renewed energy.

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This song is so beautiful and perfect it makes me want to cry



All Of Me

[Verse]
What would I do without your smart mouth
Drawing me in, and you kicking me out
Got my head spinning, no kidding, I can’t pin you down
What’s going on in that beautiful mind
I’m on your magical mystery ride
And I’m so dizzy, don’t know what hit me, but I’ll be alright

[Bridge]
My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind

[Chorus]
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all, all of me
And you give me all, all of you

[Verse]
How many times do I have to tell you
Even when you’re crying you’re beautiful too
The world is beating you down, I’m around through every move
You’re my downfall, you’re my muse
My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues
I can’t stop singing, it’s ringing, I my head for you

[Bridge]
My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind

[Chorus]
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all, all of you

Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts
Risking it all, though it’s hard

[Chorus]
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you

I give you all, all of me
And you give me all, all of you

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Looking forward to September 3rd when his 20 song album drops. I bet the rest of the album will move me too.

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eye Tracking & Brain Tracking


So you know when you're watching a fast paced event, like a hockey match or something? Well, your eyes dart back at forth, attempting to track all of the movement which is taking place. I'd like to think that your brain does that in an attempt to track all of your thoughts at any given time. But when you're thinking 1000 things and feeling at least seven different emotions at once, your brain feels like it might explode.

That sums up my current state of affairs. I've got a bike coming in that I'm going to be assembling by myself and hopefully riding by the weekend. I have various gifts to buy people. I have school starting up in three weeks. I turn 26 in 18 days. I'm entering a manuscript poetry contest which has a deadline in less than a month. My Twitter has been poppin for reasons unbeknownst to me. I'm writing almost daily. Things at work have been changing rapidly.

Also, I'm questioning whether our careful precautionary movements regarding Yemen and the Middle East/North Africa are strong preventative measures or interpreted as weakness in the eyes of the enemy. Al Qaeda probably feel like a bunch of smug puppies since their serious and credible threats are enough to shut down U.S. Embassies and clear all Americans out of Yemen. Of course I am for the safety of the American people. But I can't help thinking how this looks weak. Sure we send some drones over the "badlands" and knockout a few operatives but I would be willing to bet that despite, this Al Qaeda feels pretty strong and pretty threatening.

Lot's of thoughts. My heart is somewhere else and my brain is functioning at 56% capacity. Such is life.

Until next time...


Saturday, August 3, 2013

I've got Cilantro, Lemons and Limes....Now What?

Today was a day of mini adventures. The first being my resolve to get up very early and truck on down to NoLibs for a free outdoor yoga class. The class ran 9-10 and I had kickboxing 10-11 and the two exercise venues are in adjacent neighborhoods so I thought, hey...let's do a double workout.

I did. It was hard and it rained the whole time. I did yoga with over 60 other people in the Piazza, in the rain. It was pretty awesome. I don't mind yoga classes where instructors creep up behind you and next thing you know their hands are on your hips positioning them in a direction you didn't want them to go. That happened several times. Downward dog hurts when you're doing it on concrete....yoga mat and yoga towel and all. Also I got really acquainted with my knees and decided I didn't like how they look. They're pudgy and full of cellulite. Got to work on that. Anyway, after having raindrops land in my ears and eyes and everywhere else, 10:02 rolled around and we didn't seem to be anywhere near Shavasana. The instructor kept telling us to "stop taking ourselves so damn seriously." I thought yoga wasn't a laughing matter so I'm pretty sure I had an angry/concentrating face on the whole time. She was setting up for "Boat" pose and it looked like something I didn't want to do/would hurt. So I decided to pack up my gear and book it to kickboxing. Adjuster/Instructor smiled at me as I left, and I mouthed "Sorry I have to go." I managed to tell her "thanks" and commit to attending next week before leaving.

I got to kickboxing and missed the warm up but considering I just warmed up for an hour I was good to go. Stiff despite the fact I was promised "I would be standing taller today" I made it though the workout. I left Kboxing and headed to Reading Terminal Market in search of reasonably priced and delicious produce.

Iovine Produce was hopping, as it always is. So I had to try really hard not to whack people in the back with my yoga mat. I picked up a selection of fruit and some vegetables and that is when I saw it. I saw the largest watermelon I have ever seen in my entire life. I must have gawked at it for a good 3-5 minutes. I ran over all the scenarios in my head as to how I could get it home. I'm on public transit, my hands and arms and shoulders already full. There was no way me and this watermelon were going to get home without one of us getting injured.

It was so big and beautiful. (That's what she said hahaha). I had a friend that once said "If there was ever someone who would try to live off of watermelon alone it would be Mary Anna." He was right. I can eat my way through an entire watermelon by myself in one week. I love it. This giant watermelon was the watermelon of all watermelons. I saw it as a challenge. It could feed me for TWO weeks! It was only $5. Next to the watermelons on steroids sat cantaloupes on steroids. They were only $3.49 and looked more manageable in terms of transit. I needed to pick one up to smell it but the big one I wanted was wedged under a bunch of other ones. I didn't want to knock down the whole display. I considered bending down to sniff the big one I wanted but I didn't want people to think I was crazy. That's how I tell if they are ripe or not. You can tell from the scent!

After deliberating for what felt like hours but in truth was only a few minutes, I left the watermelon behind. I then went to search for lemons, limes and cilantro. I'm making a pan-seared avocado/chicken dish on Sunday and I needed a few citrus fruits as well as the potent herb. Catch 22 is, I never bought cilantro before in my life! I had consumed it, seen it, probably even smelled it. But I never picked it out of a basket of various herbs.

In the herb section, almost everything looked the same. I was thankful for my 4+ years of food service training. This allowed me to identify the Parksley. I pulled out something that looked cilantro-like and well...smelled it. It smelled like mint leaves and I only know that smell because my friend grows mint and we make mojitos with it. (You never know what experiences in life will give you lasting knowledge). I finally gave up and tapped the nice lady who was restocking the herbs and asked "Excuse me, could you please point out the cilantro?" She grunted and pointed her finger and an herb I didn't even consider to be what I needed. I thanked her, grabbed a bushel and sniffed it. It was quite potent. It was also a lot of cilantro for one person. I bought it anyway.

So after this adventure I passed the watermelon one last time, casting a longing glance at it as I walked away. I checked out and headed home. Of course the bus driver blew past my departure stop....at least I didn't have the watermelon.

I meant to put the produce away but somehow found myself in an epic death nap lasting 2.5 hours. I swear I just sat down on my couch and BAM I was out. I woke up around 3 and decided to embark on adventure #3....getting my Ray-Bans from the Post Office. But first I had to Google how to store cilantro (and avocadoes). I found a good method, cut my stems, placed them in a jar and covered the leaves with a plastic bag. After this I found my hands smelled strongly of cilantro.

Despite this I knew I had to get the Ray-Bans so I put the cilantro away and walked leisurely down to the giant post office and stood in an epically long line until I did something accidental but miraculous. I waved my pickup slip in a certain direction and next thing I know, the Postman has me jumping the line, cruising past 14 people to retrieve my package. At last, my Ray-Ban Wayfarers and I were united.

Much like my aviator adventures, I tore the box open and wore them on my way home, occasionally sniffing the cilantro smell from my hands...

I stopped at Trader Joe's for my breakfast burrito (dinner) necessities and then continued home. My hands still smell like cilantro. I now have 3 lemons, 3 limes and enough cilantro to feed a restaurant. I seriously want to Google "I've got lemons, limes and cilantro...now what?"  My Ray-Bans are great, but now smell like cilantro too.

Also, I can't stop thinking about that watermelon I left behind. I have decided to retrieve it tomorrow with an empty backpack to carry it home in. I get a student discount on Sunday too. The current status of my produce-packed fridge worries me. There is no room for watermelon. But where there is a will there is a way. It is happening.

Until next time...