I was a big Monkees fan in middle school. I read all of their interviews in Tiger Beat, watched the show, and saw the movie. I even had a big picture of Davy on my binder, and I was thrilled when he guest starred on The Brady Bunch . And I’m 23. What can I say though, they held up well. Nick at Night and VH1 aired the reruns one summer, and I was hooked. My mom loved them when she was my age, and she had kept all of the magazines, so I got to have close to the full Monkees experience, which was…slightly strange that I wanted to, but very enjoyable nevertheless. I remember one article in particular, that was about making yourself over to look and act like Mike Nesmith’s wife- the very first step was to go on a diet. Good times. I wasn’t interested in Mike though, for me it was all about Davy. He was cute, and charming, and British, and I hunted down recordings of him from his musical theater days, and had elaborate fantasies about living in the 60’s and marrying him. It would have been super groovy. He was the first short guys I had a crush on, and he made me love the Artful Dodger even more than I would have otherwise. His later career may have been…undistinguished, with the Sabrina the Teenage Witch appearances, half-his-age wife, and of course, the spectacular mullet, but because I came to The Monkees so long after their prime, none of that mattered. I didn’t have to watch them rise and then fade away, I got to see them preserved in amber, and focus on the silly tv show, drug-fueled movie, and more than anything else, the happy, light-hearted, puppy love and bubblegum music. It isn’t bad, as legacies go.
I had a really great mandolin lesson last night. My instructor gave me the first half of a hornpipe last week, and I loved the sound of it so much that I practiced even more than usual (ok, I haven’t been great about practicing some weeks, but I try) until I had it down. It totally paid off, and he was actually impressed with how good I sounded, and taught me the other half, so now I know a whole hornpipe. It sounds like actual mandolin music, and I’m kind of obsessed with it. I thought about skipping trivia so I could stay home and practice, but I’m glad that I didn’t, because it was a fun time and I need to get out occasionally (I made an embarrassing mistake on an anatomy question though, so I’m going to have to bone up on the bones before I go to Hopkins in May. And yes, that was a terrible pun, but I had to. I’m not sorry).
Back to mandolin though. I’ve had such a fun time with it this year, and I really want to keep playing when I move to Baltimore. My current instructor has offered to keep giving me lessons over Skype, which has a lot of potential since my schedule is going to be so crazy with school, but if that doesn’t work it’s still really important to me that I don’t just drop it. I got a mandolin for Christmas, and owning an instrument should commit you to playing it. Even with my mandolin future up in the air though (not whether I’ll play, but how much I’ll improve), I’m half-wishing for a better instrument. I like my current mandolin, but my instructor sort of hates it, although he agrees that it is a good beginner instrument, and there are some problems with its sound that he says just come with the territory. Once I get good it would make sense to upgrade to a solid wood mandolin, and for now I’m better off with the one I have, but I can’t help drooling over beautiful spruce and maple mandolins. I don’t like performing though, and it would be silly to get an $800 mandolin to play alone in my bedroom, especially since I’m still very new at this, and can’t play much of anything yet. It all comes down to patience. I had to prove to myself (and my parents, who were the ones who actually gave me my mandolin) that I was going to take it seriously before I got my own instrument, and so if I want to move onto something fancier I need to stick with it and get good enough to make it worth the expense. The sad thing is, I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford lessons at all when I’m in nursing school, let alone a swank new mandolin, so it might be a moot point, since I could be spending the next couple of years trying to learn things off of Youtube, and playing the same hornpipe again and again until my roommate kills me. At some point though, I’d like to think I’ll be able to really take it seriously, and maybe play for the laboring moms, while my toller accompanies me on banjo.
I will be on my way to Baltimore in a matter of days! Today was my last day of classes before going! Even better, my professor moved my test back until after Spring Break, so that’s a weight off my mind. I was worried about what taking a test right after missing a class would be like, and now I don’t have to find out.
Someone in my class told me that she’s pregnant with twins, already had an eight-year old at home, and is starting Nursing School in September. It sometimes feels like I’m the only person at ECC who doesn’t have kids, which makes me feel like a huge slacker for not automatically getting the best grade in my class because I have so much less on my plate. I can’t even think about bringing a dog into my life, and these people have babies, and jobs, and bills, and all that on top of homework and tests. It’s kind of crazy. It’s also kind of humbling, because I like to think I know stuff about pregnancy, and birth, and babies because I’ve read some books, and interned with a midwife. I know what the hormones do, but I haven’t experienced it, and I know various tips for managing labor pain, but I haven’t felt it, and these people have, and so aren’t interested in my opinions. Which is understandable, and I fortunately picked up on it without saying anything silly, but it still made me feel very sheltered and naive. I have a lot to learn, but I don’t think I’ll ever feel 100% confident until I’ve had children of my own. But puppies first.
Three days after getting LASIK, and I’m finally back to feeling kind of normal. I don’t know why I was so surprised at how uncomfortable I felt all weekend, but I was very out of sorts when the numbing drops they put in my eyes wore off, and my eyes felt like they were on fire. All weekend. It was not fun. I listened to a lot of This American Life, and took all the naps, but there really isn’t much that you can do when your eyes are all blurry (they dilated them twice in two days, which was bothersome, since it made me really sensitive to light, and messed up my vision, so I couldn’t even tell if it was working and so worth the discomfort) and painful, so it was a low-key weekend. Things are looking up now though, so that’s great. It’s a healing process, so my vision is going to improve gradually over the next few weeks, but I can already see better than I have in years, and I don’t need my glasses at all. I’m calling it a win.
The actual surgery was really interesting. There were serveral people ahead of me in line, but that meant that I was able to see the before and after, and it was encouraging that everyone pulled through, and came out smiling after what seemed like no time at all. They have a window into the operating room, so my dad got to watch the whole procedure, which I’m told is much more disturbing than having it done, but my he said it was “a lot less spooky looking than you would imagine”. Personally, I was picturing a mash-up of A Clockwork Orange and Doctor Evil’s sharks with laser beams on their heads, but it wasn’t actually that bad. There were bright lights, and disturbing laser noises, but the doctor and nurses talked me through the entire procedure, and were nothing but encouraging and pleasant. I can’t say I enjoyed myself, but it wasn’t terrible, and now I don’t have to wear glasses anymore, so yay. They actually gave me a pair of champagne flutes after the procedure, as a little joke about the only kind of glasses I’ll need now, which was cute. Of course, the glasses have Fichte, Endl, Elmer EyeCare engraved on the sides, making them extra classy, but it’s just another nice thing to add to a very positive eyecare experience.
I got to school early today, so I had time to sit in the hall and read Questionable Content before class, which is always nice. I am a sitting on the floor kind of person. Anyway, there I was, sitting on the floor, when one of the boys in my class sat next to me, which was nice, since the hall was empty, so he could have sat anywhere (I probably wouldn’t have sat next to him if our roles had been reversed, because I would have worried about intruding on his space and pre-class quiet time, even though it didn’t bother me, so I don’t know why I would assume it would bother someone else). He’s sat next to me in the hall a couple of times before, and we’ve said “good morning”, and it’s been polite and friendly, but today he struck up a bit of conversation! I don’t remember why, but a few classes ago our professor asked if any of us had ever run a marathon, and because no one was raising their hand and an example was at stake (of course it had nothing to do with showing off), I said I had never done a full, but I’ve done a couple of half marathons. And she made some point that I guess wasn’t very memorable, and that was it. But today the boy asked me about it! He was even kind of impressed, probably because I didn’t tell him my times. It’s kind of nice, having people remember stuff about you (I remember weird stuff about people I barely know, and I always feel like I need to pretend I don’t remember their dog’s name, or that they speak Dutch, or even that we’ve met before if they don’t remember me, so they don’t think I’m secretly obsessed with them, but again, I’m just really awkward). That’s it- it isn’t an exciting story. A boy who is presumably between 17 and 30 sat next to me (I usually look at a guy’s arm hair to judge whether he’s a grown up person or just a mature looking teenager, but this guy is Asian, which makes a difference. All the Asian guys I know are lacking in the arm hair department, so the rule doesn’t work), and asked me about running, and it was sort of nice.
That isn’t the pretty cool thing I was talking about in my post title though- Jane Lynch is going to be the Commencement speaker at Smith this year. I don’t watch Glee anymore, because it’s dreadful, but I like Jane Lynch. Not gonna lie, I’m a little jealous- my class had Sylvia Earle as a speaker, and while she was nice, she wasn’t hilarious.
Can I just live there? In a beautiful cabin, with vines climbing up the sides, and trees all around? I don’t know how many midwives people need out in the middle of nowhere woods, but it just looks like such a nice place to live.
It’s always been a dream of mine to build my own house. When I was a kid my parents’ friends built a cabin, and I remember visiting while it was still a work in progress, and the stairs were still exposed, and it had rained, and so they were slippery, and I had my hands cupped around a newt, and fell off. I was shorter then, so I don’t know how far a fall it actually was, but it was pretty high, and I scared the bejeezus out of my friend (I was primarily concerned for the newt, who emerged unscathed). Slippery stairs aside though, I want to live in a cabin. I just discovered freecabinporn.com today, and it’s killing me with cabin-envy. You can tell just from looking at the pictures that the rooms all have that great woody smell. I think it would be very nice to live off in the woods, and step out of time, so that you forget when you live until you want some modern medicine, and boom! there it is. I’d like to grow my own food, and raise chickens, and maybe make my own maple syrup, and have an outdoorsman husband who knows how to make furniture (and how to do a lot of other stuff, because I don’t really have the skills to build a house or grow crops. I could learn, but I would need someone to teach me, which is where partnering up with a non-amateur would come in handy). It wouldn’t be ideal forever, since it’s one thing for two adults to live out their My Side of the Mountain fantasies, it’s another to bring kids into that equation. Kids should be around other kids, and live in a place with good schools, and while I may joke about hating teenagers and sending them to boarding school, I wouldn’t actually send my children away, even if popular fiction tells me that it will greatly increase their chances of having magical adventures.
A few years ago I was sitting on my bed with my friend, talking about all the shiny things we would accomplish, just for fun, not in any seriousness, and she pointed out that as nice as it sounded at the time, those pretty pictures I was painting would probably never happen, because it would be too expensive. I don’t actually remember what sort of things I was describing, but when I was 18 I wanted to be a counselor for former child soldiers in Africa, so it was presumably that kind of thing, which she’s right, probably doesn’t pay enough to keep up with malaria pills, let alone trips back to the States for Christmas. I’m not always very realistic when it comes to the adventures I want to have, but I think my refusal to let things like common sense get in the way contributes more to an exciting life than focusing on the obstacles. Of course, it’s easy for me to take that position, since it lines up with what I want to think, and being practical might actually be a better route for lining ducks up in a row and achieving things. The solution is probably a happy medium (Sigh. Isn’t it always?), but dreaming is way more fun than shooting things down (even though shooting things down can also be a lot of fun). Besides, if my expensive education results in crushing debts, I might just run off to the wilderness and live off the land à la Alexander Supertramp, to heck with responsibility (…except in this scenario I don’t die of starvation. I said it’s more fun when reality doesn’t get in the way, darn it!).
I had a wonderful mandolin lesson last night. I haven’t mentioned it on the blog lately, but I’ve been keeping up with it, and it’s great, and makes me really happy. Last night I told my instructor that I needed something new, and he whipped out a hornpipe that he had been saving for me, and we spent the thirty minutes slowly picking out the notes. I think figuring out how to piece a song together after hearing it may be one of the best feelings ever. He doesn’t write it down for me, so I just have to memorize it, which is tricky, but forces me to practice a whole lot. My instructor is so great- he offered to keep up with my lessons via Skype when I move to Baltimore, which might be a really good solution, since I’ll be so busy with school.
After my lesson I emerged to cast my shadow and go to trivia with my cousin Alex. We joined forces with the 20somethings MeetUp group, and even though we didn’t win (we were tied for first, but lost a lot of points on an Elvis question), it was nice to break out of the routine, and spend time with people my own age. My cousin is a lot of fun to hang out with too, and after trivia we went back to my house and ate chicken gumbo and planked around. He’s moving to Boston next week, to get trained to teach English as a foreign language, and then who knows where he’ll go? He’s thinking Korea, which would be amazingly cool, but it’ll be weird not having him around.
I always try to take Lent seriously. It doens’t always work out, because sometimes life just gets in the way, but I think it’s a great time to take stock of your situation, and makes changes that can bring you closer to God, and the kind of life you want to be living. I’ve gone the giving up sweets route, and it’s challenging, but not really about anything other than the urge to lose weight, so I don’t do that anymore. For the past few years I’ve given up skipping church though, which I think is better. I should be going anyway, but since I’ve been in Buffalo I’ve only gone a handful of times, so it will require some effort, especially when I go to Baltimore in March. I’m kicking a few other ideas around as well, but I’ve read that it’s better not to tell people when you set a goal, because it gives you a false sense of achievement before you’ve even done anything, so I’ll keep it to myself for now, and post later if I’m successful.
Are you observing Lent this year?
Usually on weekend mornings my family sleeps in, and then has a nice breakfast and reads the paper. Today though, we didn’t have anything breakfast-y in the house, so we went out instead, which was a nice treat. We went to The Towne, and I had two poached eggs with bacon and rye toast, and even though I didn’t take a picture, you should take my word for it that it was delicious. Restaurant toast is always delicious, and way better than toast I make at home.
After breakfast, my dad and I dropped my mom off at the office and went over to LaSalle Park for the winter sevens tournament. It was a nice morning when we left the restuarant, but the park is literally right next to the water, and by the time we got there the sun was behind the clouds and it was cold. I had expected it to be cold, so I was dressed warmly, but I was still shivering within minutes of walking to the pitch, which was, incidentally, empty. We were hours late, and I had been nudging everyone along all morning because I was worried about missing exciting rugby action, but when we got there Geneseo hadn’t even started playing, and the team was huddled under a tent, trying to keep moral, and their body temperatures up, with limited success. I only kind of know one girl on the team at this point, not well enough to really have a good conversation, although she did congratulate me on getting into Hopkins, but it was still nice to be there. I chatted with my old coach a bit, and then some other alums showed up, and even though I didn’t know them well either (they were a little before my time on the team) they were friendly. They told me that Alumni Weekend is scheduled for late April, and put me on the email list, and because they don’t really know anyone on the team either, they gave me someone to chat with and stand near, and that’s always nice.
The conditions were not great. I had thought that the ground would be thawed, but it was frozen and hard, and the wind was miserable. The ruggers got to warm up once the game started, but it was bitterly cold on the sidelines. My friend hadn’t showed up yet though, and I was determined to stick it out until the end. Geneseo had an ok day, and while they didn’t win much, they played well. It’s a very young team right now- they only have two seniors, and one just joined last year, but there’s a lot of room for growth. Several girls had their first game ever today, and it was exciting to see them fall in love with the sport.
Oaks showed up after a couple of hours, and we had a really nice time catching up. It was hard to believe that so much time had passed, because things felt very natural and friendly. We talked about school, and nursing, and rugby, and just random stuff. I was getting really cold by that point. It was kind of hard to talk, and I was shivering really hard, but I wanted to hang out with my friend, and see the tournament, so I just did my best to ignore it. My dad left around then, and gave me his hat, which sort of helped, but I was starting to feel done. My muscles were sore from shivering, and I had a headache, and felt sick to my stomach, so that the idea of getting lunch with my friend was deeply unappealing. I made it through two more games, but then I caved, and told Oaks that I was really sorry, but I would have to take a raincheck on lunch because I was just too cold to stay until the end. I had been at the park for about four hours, longer than any other the other alums, but I had had enough, and I felt rotten. My lips were blue when I got into the car. My fingertips turn blue sometimes, but my lips never have before, so that made me feel a little bit better about bailing. My dad took my home, and made me wrap up in a blanket and have soup, and tea, and sit by the fire, and now (after a long hot shower) I’m fine. And I had a nice day, despite the minor hypothermia.
Shivering Clumsiness or lack of coordination Slurred speech or mumbling
- Confusion or difficulty thinking
- Poor decision making, such as trying to remove warm clothes
- Drowsiness or very low energy
- Apathy or lack of concern about one’s condition
- Progressive loss of consciousness
- Weak pulse
- Slow, shallow breathing
So. If you are out in the cold for extended periods of time, even if it isn’t that cold (it was probably in the high 30’s today) BUNDLE UP. Wear a hat (I had a hood, which wasn’t enough), and gloves (my hands were miracuously not cold, thanks to my giant, furry, Cowardly Lion gloves), and good socks, and don’t feel bad if you’re too cold and have to go inside. Blue lips are kind of a cool look, but there’s lipstick for that kind of thing.
There’s a very funny sketch from A Bit of Fry and Laurie where Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry talk about the terrible degradation of the english language, and how lovely words like “gay” and “homosexual” can no longer be used in casual conversation without being taken to mean…well to mean homosexual, but that’s kind of the gag, so I’m not doing a great job of describing the joke. But it’s hilarious! Anyway, that’s how I feel about the word “Friday”, specifically, the happy exclamation of the word. Rebecca Black ruined it. I wanted to post something along the lines of “Whoo! It’s Friday!”, and now the song is stuck in my head. I am excited that this week is almost over though, because it just brings me that much closer to 1. eye surgery, and 2. Baltimore! I RSVP’ed for my accepted students day yesterday, and they sent me a long list of things I need to do before May (background check, drug test, etc.), so I have my work cut out for me.
This weekend looks promising. My aunt is coming over for dinner tonight, and even though I don’t have any idea what we’re serving (we have a haystack of kale, but not much else) it’s always nice to see her. Saturday is the Buffalo Rugby Club Winter Sevens Tournament, which is pretty exciting. I’ve only been once, my freshman year of college, when I was still at Geneseo, but it was a total blast. The Geneseo team is going to be there, and even though the last of my friends graduated in December it’ll be nice to see my old coach and watch some exciting rugby action. My friend Oaks is going to be visiting too, so we’ll get to hang out, and we have tentative plans to get lunch after the tournament. She’s starting an accelerated nursing program at Villanova this spring, so we’ll get to compare notes, and she actually spent a summer volunteering at a clinic in Africa, which I’ll want to hear about in painstaking detail. It’s sort of humbling, knowing so many killer badasses, but it’s mostly inspiring. I haven’t seen Oaks since I transferred though, so I’m primarily excited to spend some time with a really amazing person, and reestablish our bond a bit.
It’s supposed to be kind of nasty weather-wise on Saturday, but the year I played in the tournament there was a foot of snow on the ground. Hopefully the ground won’t be too hard, and people will have a muddy landing, as opposed to a frozen one. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I really do miss playing rugby. The Geneseo team has an Alumni Weekend every spring, and I might be able to go this year for the first time as an alum (it’s usually scheduled right in the middle of finals, which made coming from Massachusetts impossible, even before taking regattas into account). It’s a weekend of debauchery, and rugby, and I had a lot of fun the year I was on the team (though not quite as much fun as I expected, since the vets made it sound like Mardi Gras and Christmas rolled into one), but I’m so different now (or at least I like to think so). I’m also, and this is something I’ve been avoiding admitting to people when they ask if I’m going to play rugby in Baltimore, a little afraid to go back to the game. Not even because I’m older, and more rickety, and have knee problems, but because I’m afraid of sucking. Even in an alumni game, where half the players are half-drunk. When I went to the Buffalo State v. Geneseo game this past fall my coach said I could play B-side if I got my kit, but I chickened out, and made an excuse about my eyebrow ring, because I’m afraid to step back onto the pitch. And for that matter, I’m a little afraid to go to a rugby party again, which makes possibly going Alumni Weekend seem terrifying. If I can though, if I’m still in Buffalo, and my finals aren’t too hairy, I’ll go. I’ll suck it up, and go back to Geneseo (I’ve wanted to go back to visit since I left, but I never did. Man, do I need to get my license), and play some rugby, and eat some barbecue, and drink responsibly, and not act like the in-over-my-head, freaked out, emotional whirlwind 19-year old that I was when I used to live there. Because I can do that now, because I’m (kind of) an adult.
So that turned into a long post about issues. It kind of got away from me there- I was supposed to be writing about weekend plans. So…Sunday is a family birthday party for my aunt! And a Polish heritage festival! I’m not going to lie, the perogies are a large part of the appeal, but there will also be music, and dancing, and Polish people love them some accordion music, so I’m pumped. (The picture made more sense when I ended the post on a “woo, birthday cake” note, but it’s a gingerbread Hogwarts, so I’m leaving it up. They even made Hagrid’s hut!)
I’m not going to do this for every school, just because it would be embarrassing for everyone involved, but I didn’t get into Seattle. I got into Hopkins…but not Seattle. Hopkins!…but not Seattle. For the sake of full disclosure, I sort of wondered if I hadn’t heard from them about interviewing because they were just going to accept me (yes, I’m a jerk, but Hopkins. C’mon!). It would have been hard to turn down the super fancy school, but I thought that if they gave me money, and wooed me, I could be persuaded. Maybe. Honestly, probably not, but I’ve never been to Seattle, and it would have been a good excuse to visit and check it out. But…I didn’t get in. This is why I am so confused and insecure about the whole Hopkins thing- how did I get in there, when I didn’t get into Seattle. It makes me feel a little like a fraud. Like Hopkins will suddenly see whatever Seattle saw that led them to reject me, and the gig will be up. It’s just weird otherwise, I’m not even sad about the rejection, just…puzzled.