Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Want A House

I want a house to call my own. If you asked me a year ago if I wanted a house, I would probably tell you that I am by no means committed to having a house for 15-20 years in Philadelphia, PA. I like the idea of being a renter. My landlord is responsible for extreme repairs, I pay once a month, I don't pay water and I can leave when I need to. I always say I'm going to go where the job is but the reality is that the job is probably going to be in Philadelphia.

If you read my "Dear Philadelphia, I Love You" post, you know that I love this city and really feel like I can call it home. I'm now strongly considering trying to buy a house in the city. Here are my reasons:

1) Mortgages are cheaper than rent and now is a good time to dive into the housing market before things get really not affordable again. Additionally I will probably be approved for whatever loans or things I request because I have an excellent and detailed credit history.

2) Peer pressure. While many of my friends are getting married and having kids, I do not feel pressured anymore to hurry up and get those things done. I do however, feel a pang of envy when I see friends building or remodeling their first home. Many friends are going to settlement on their first home and I can't help but wish that was me too. I know it is perfectly normal for an unmarried person to reside in an apartment until they meet someone and get married and have their first child...but I don't see anything wrong with skipping a few steps and owning the house now.

3) I would go to town on DIY home improvement projects. I would love to paint and redo and landscape and repair elements of a house. I would love to decorate it to my liking and just really go to town into making it my home.

4) I want to entertain people. I do! I want a house with a decent sized living room, a kitchen I can cook in with plenty of counter space, an outdoor patio, deck, stoop, balcony (SOMETHING OUTDOORS) and a grill. I want to host a book club or a sporting party or something. My apartment can really only comfortably fit about 4 guests in it, and even that makes it feel crowded. If I had a house I could do so much more, accommodate more people!

5) I could grill! I could compost! I could grow my own mint leaves! I could have a dog! I could do so many things I can't do in my apartment right now.

The cons:

1) I'd be tethered to the same house in the same neighborhood for years and years. I'd have a mortgage looming over my head and I'm not sure I'm that financially stable to take on the commitment of owning a house!

2) I'm unmarried....what if my partner wants to move elsewhere or something. What if I have to become a landlord to pay off my mortgage! I think I would be a shitty landlord.

3) Stupid reason, I but I have no idea how buying a house works. I know that I don't have $80,000 to drop on a row home right now and I know I probably don't even have 20% of that. I'm nervous to talk to a realtor about this process because I don't want to be buffaloed into doing something I'm just trying to get more information about.

4) The job could be in Syria or Russia or Germany or even Australia. I could land the perfect international journalism job and look...I just tied myself to an $80,000 house. Perfect.

5) Commitment-fears in general oh, and I don't know what I need more right now....a car or a house. Also, my job isn't as secure as I'd like it to be. Perhaps I should wait until I have stable employment in my field with a significant salary hike.

So maybe I'll fish around for some "How to buy a house and get a mortgage in your 20s" advice and maybe "window shop" the housing market. It is a big step and a big commitment and a decision that should not be taken lightly. The idealist dream of owning a house and the reality of owning a house are probably two very different things. With careful consideration I'll look into the possibility. In the meantime, I'll continue to cook my chicken in my convection oven and enjoy the outdoor parks by me since I really don't even have a stoop I can sit on.

Until next time...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sometimes...

......I feel like my heart is literally going to EXPLODE out of my chest. Like the actual organ will spontaneously burst, cracking my sternum, splitting ribs, blowing a hole through my flesh and just detonate. The sound might be similar to lighting cracking (my bones). Or perhaps a bag of chips popping open. I'm not sure.

But with all the powerful emotions I carry within myself, I'm sometimes surprised my heart does not explode from the pressure. Sometimes, I feel like it will.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

With Every Loss Comes Growth of Resilience


Resilience: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

This is a quality that I see within myself. So much so that I've contemplated getting the word "Resilient" inked into my side. With every great loss, resilience is born. If you are not crippled, defeated, destroyed by loss...you grow, you adjust, you build upon your inner strength.

I've seen this quality in a lot of people I care about lately. Now, more than ever, seems to be a time of difficult moments for my loved ones. Our agency suffered it's fourth client death in the past four years. Several of my dearest friends are battling the darkest of demons and trying to be strong for those they care for. Someone is struggling to find a meaningful relationship yet is paralyzed by personal expectations and criticisms. Someone is a universal rock who needs a rock of their own right now. Someone faces an uncertain fate which could alter the course of their life forever.

I'm proud to call these people my friends, colleagues and even family. They're fighting for those they love, for what they deserve and for what the believe in. Their strength is inspiring.Their conviction a blueprint for many. They are everyday heroes determined to rise above the ashes of their personal traumas.

As for me, I wish I could bear their load and take away their pain. However, that old story of the caterpillar/butterfly comes to mind:

           A man stumbled across a butterfly struggling to break free of its cocoon. It didn't look like it would be able to rip through the walls. The man decided to help it along and set it free. He grabbed his knife and gently cut a hole in the cocoon. The butterfly flew out and died that day. The man did not understand why the butterfly died. In truth, the butterfly had to learn how to break out on its own, therefore making it stronger and able to survive. 

So I just support them and fight my own fights as I try to find innovative ways to help these great people through their battles. I won't cut their cocoon open, but I will offer suggestions and encouragement along the way. 

Until next time...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Word on Short "Tention Spans"

Today, Americans more so than ever, have very short attention spans. This isn't a breakthrough observation or rocket science, it is fact. Many columnists, scientists and funny articles on Thought Catalog have touched upon this short attention span and instant gratification epidemic we face today. We want it but we want it RIGHT NOW and it better only take A FEW MINUTES because that is all WE HAVE.

Think about it. How many times have you been bothered by having to wait in line for let's say Starbucks coffee. Despite the fact most baristas try really hard to get your order right, learn your name, write it on a cup and give you more than just a "how are you, ok" you still get agitated that you have to wait in a long line for your deliciously overpriced coffee. You have a bus to catch, a meeting to go to, an errand to run, a friend to meet, a test to take..you're always going going going.

The news, you want to know what is happening and NOW but you only want to read the first paragraph because then your eyes are drawn to the photo and WAIT THERE IS A RELATED LINK ABOUT PUPPIES!

In today's digital age, our attention spans are shrinking. With the world at our fingertips we want to catch every status update, tweet, sale, next big thing, album leak, breaking news, and celebrity gossip piece the second it happens. Our minds quickly absorb the kiddie pool depth of information before moving on to the next stimulating thing. This is troublesome because this tendency can migrate to other facets of your life such as your relationships, your job, your family life, your school...etc. You want everything instantaneously when normal things take time to develop.

That and the fact that social media and smart phones have made us more socially awkward. You might share your life with the world though every photo, tag, tweet, update...but when it comes to actually making a phone call, this generation growing up with this technology is going to have trouble. Hell, they are already IN trouble. I think I might be in trouble and I remember when I used the Internet to play games on Nick.com and my mom needed to use the phone so I had to sign off because we had dial up.

But its a troubling thought when relationships begin and sometimes even end with TEXT MESSAGES. When emoticons substitute for real emotions and people regress into an anti-social, digitally personal age. I don't like being caught on the subway without my iPod because God forbid I might have to actually have a conversation with a STRANGER (but we all know when stranger convos happen to me they are usually strange).

The point is we need to practice a healthy tech cleanse. We need to unplug once and awhile and enjoy each other's literal company. We need to play outside without taking a selfie and putting it on Instagram and then valuing our self worth on how many likes we get. (I swear I don't do that).

So get out there and unplug or make a phone call to that friend for their birthday! I'm going to go check my Facebook now...

Until next time.....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Love Me Some Weather Porn


Severe weather is heading towards the East Coast and the Weather Channel and news outlets are urging viewers to be vigilant and monitor the forecasts for their respective areas.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we're about to have some weather porn! Especially with the potential for a derecho headed our way! I'm so excited!

For those who do not know, weather porn is when an epic weather event occurs and newscasters and weathermen/women hype up the event to make you believe the world might actually end. Storms of the century, hail the size of golf balls, tornado threats in metro areas, flooding that can carry away small animals...this is the makings of weather porn. I will sit, eyes glued to whatever screen I can find, and monitor the "deteriorating conditions" until it happens outside my window and my attention will be diverted to the real thing.

Oh and a derecho is a fast moving, long lived widespread (at least 240 miles wide) epic windstorm made up of severe thunderstorms that can cause wind starting at 50 mph. Derechos are rare (though we had one last year). They typically form out of a bow shaped storm system so monitor the radar and see what happens. They also produce amazing shelf clouds too (and damaging winds/hail/rain).

I'm pretty morbid for liking this stuff but I grew up flipping back and forth between Gilligan's Island and the Weather Channel. I'm serious, I would sit and watch the Weather Channel for HOURS. I could predict what Local on the 8's would say but I still watched with deep fascination. I loved "Storm Stories" and Jim Cantore is my idol. I'm headed into journalism because I didn't study meteorology but I guess if I fail as a journalist I could always study atmospheric sciences. :-/

Point is I love the weather and I love coverage of disasters. I don't like death and destruction. I do not wish people would die and tornadoes would rip children out of the arms of their mothers. I was deeply saddened by Moore and Joplin and every time a tornado heads towards St. Louis I worry about my friend, Connie. But there is something to be said for the sensationalized coverage of dangerous weather events. I'm fascinated, captivated and want to know what will happen next.

Hopefully tomorrow's weather will be excitement worthy but I stress this, when I say I hope we have no casualties due to the weather. I am not a sick individual I just love it when Mother Nature gets a little angry.

Until next time....

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I am feeling....

....inspired and hopeful. I've been stuck in a nice summer routine of kickboxing, chores, work, and naps with a little bit of socialization sprinkled in between. I need to keep learning or writing or striving for things. I can't just take a break because it is summer. My mind needs to be stimulated. I've resorted to reading the Briefing on Media Law in my old AP Stylebook as a refresher and prep for my Media Law class coming up this fall. I also finished reading the 50 Shades of Grey Triology so now I can move on to more um....mentally stimulating material. Much like Twilight, E.L. James leaves little to the imagination and does all the work for you through her words. Not an active read. Somewhat compelling story.

I might have to make flashcards of important court cases related to media developments throughout history. Oh, and take up USA Today Crossword Puzzles again, I used to be able to beat them in 15 minutes or less.

Despite being stuck in routine and mental dullness, I'm quite happy and hopeful that things are about to change. We're halfway through, and I still think that 2013 is one of my best years yet.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I Only Get Hit On When I Am Angry

Today I thought I would share an interesting exchange that occurred on my commute in. After a horrendous morning consisting of setting my alarm for the wrong day, having the bus blow by me because it was full, and being stuck behind a trash truck on a narrow street forever (eventually making me a full hour late for work), I wasn't in the best of moods.

Aviators on, iced coffee in hand and music blasting in my ears...I boarded the EL and found an empty seat. Of course, someone decided they wanted to sit next to me. I enjoyed solo seatdom for a good minute before this guy plops down in the empty seat next to me. I stare coldly out my aviators to the window and he, of course, tries to engage me in conversation. I pop the headphones out and say "What?"

"Do those headphones go to your phone?" he asks.

"Yep." I reply

"Can I hold your phone?" he asks. Actually, this is what I thought he said so I replied, "Why, so you can grab it and run out the door at the next stop? Hell no."

He laughed. "No, no, can I call your phone?"

"Nope." I replied.

"Do you have a boyfriend?" he asked.

"Yep" I replied

"How long have you had that probl...been together?" he asked.

"Six months." I lied. He made some comment about how that wasn't a boyfriend but a fling or something.

At this point, I had enough. "Damn you are bold. What is your success rate?" I asked him with a smile.

That did it. "Right now I'm 0 for 1. Damn you are cool as shit! You remind me of Khole Kardashian!" he said.

"Cute, but I don't think so. I haven't been to many basketball games lately," I replied.

This exchange continued for several more stops and included comments such as "I can't resist a girl with long hair, thickness and cute toes." and "do you know what TBT means?" (Thick beautiful and tempting) He told me he was jealous of my iced coffee because my lips were touching the straw. I told him he should be and he should use that line at a bar when a girl takes a shot of tequila and sucks the lime. If she's drunk enough, that line might actually work.

"You should try the westbound direction. You might have better luck there." I said with snark. Smitten, he tried to give me his number as he got off at his stop. I tipped my iced coffee at him through the window as he walked away.

I'm fairly certain I'm going to end up a Craigslist Missed Connection.

Until next time....


Sick September A Recap

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