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It has been almost two months since my last blog post, which is rather unacceptable, I know. It’s not like I have been busy since leaving my job. I’m happier, that’s true. I can actually smile and laugh when I am with friends – and I can actually see my friends now! Alex and I go up to visit about every other weekend or so. The other weekends, I usually drive down to Alex’s house. That’s usually the only time I drive anywhere.

But let me back up. Let me tell you what I have been doing in my re-unemployment time.

In February, shortly after I left my job, I went to visit my friend Jennifer at her school. It was the first time I had ever driven down there, and it was the first time in about four or three years that I had visited her there. I met some of her friends, played with her kitty, Sadie, we ate Indian food, went to a local yarn store, and saw a band Jennifer likes and she’s friends with. It was a very good visit.

Valentine’s Day came and there was a power outage that affected the whole town. We were in the dark for two and a half hours. Mom was grumbling a lot about it, but I just read by candlelight during that time. It was good that the power came back when it did, though. It was quite cold.

Also that month, Alex and I celebrated our fourth anniversary of being a couple. I gave him a pair of hand-knit socks and an autographed photograph of Clint Eastwood. Yeah, I know, I’m the coolest girlfriend ever. It’s funny, because it simultaneously seems like it hasn’t been that long since we’ve started dating, and yet it also feels like we know each other so well and feel so comfortable being with each other that it feels like we have been dating much longer. Or at least I think it feels like that. We don’t get to have the closeness a lot of couples get in four years, what with the two of us basically having a long-distance relationship for the past two years or so. It’s tough. But we make do, and hopefully, once I get a job, that distance problem will be solved.

My brothers David and Alex both had their birthdays in the past two months. Alex is nine now, and David is twelve. It makes me feel old. It’s unbelievable how quick they both have grown, and how much I have missed of their lives. If I could fix that, I would, but it is one of those circumstances beyond my control. It isn’t that I haven’t tried, though. I might be going to see them at the end of April – that is, if I am still unemployed. Part of me wants to see them, but there’s the other part of me that really needs an income.

In March, I cat-sit for Jennifer one morning and was so happy to play with Sadie. Then, during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, my mom was visiting a friend in Missouri and I had the house to myself. I went up with Alex that Friday night so he could play poker and I could have some time hanging out with Sarah and Scott. We went back home the next day, built a giant blanket fort in my living room, made chicken piccata for dinner, went to Good’s for ice cream, and then watched Harry Brown to cap off the night. We actually slept in the blanket fort, and it was rather comfortable. After Alex left the next morning, I made brownies, did laundry, and hung out in my blanket fort the whole day reading Looking for Alaska and watching The Walking Dead marathon.

Mom and I went to see The Hunger Games movie the first weekend it came out. I loved the books and finally convinced her to read them. I think the movie was all right. It was as good as a PG-13 movie adaptation of the books would be. I felt it was too fast-paced in the beginning, and I hated the shaky camera. It made my head hurt, and it’s hard to focus on what you’re seeing sometimes if the camera is whipping back and forth so much. I did like the cast, though, and there was at least one moment where I cried.

Then, last weekend Alex and I went up to see friends and we had a good time hanging out, drinking hard cider/beer, eating pizza, playing Fiasco and Cards against humanity, and watching Two-Headed Shark Attack. All in all, a good weekend. I always look forward to the weekend, though some people tease me because they believe that being unemployed means I get a weekend every day. It’s true that I spend a lot of time knitting, reading, and watching stuff on Netflix, but I also search for and apply to jobs every day, I write (in order to hone my skills and hopefully make something of it), and I try to make things better around the house for my mom by cooking and cleaning for her. I’ve also had at least two interviews in the past month. It hasn’t amounted to anything, but I am hoping that sometime soon, it will.

Well, that’s really all that’s going on. I’m really just back where I was a year ago – the same old, same old.

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It has been eight days since my last bout of uncontrollable crying. So… progress! I am also happy to report that this is not the result of any prescription, but is completely natural. I have not felt sad. I’ve felt a little angry because of some things that are happening at my job, but not sad.

It has been a good past week. Last Sunday, I got to visit with Jennifer and her newly adopted kitty, Sadie, before Jennifer had to return to school. It was so great to see her, because I hadn’t since my Labor Day party. We just sat and talked for a few hours (and I fawned over her Sadie because I really wish I was in the position where I could adopt an animal right now), and I think that’s some of what I needed – just some social interaction.

Alex came up last Monday after he got off work and stayed the night. I made turkey broccoli fettuccine and garlic bread, we watched television together, played Words with Friends on his phone, and ran out to get Blizzards from Dairy Queen. I accidentally fell asleep on the couch with him, and I ended up going to bed at 10:00. Again, I was sort of lame and we didn’t do much, but all I needed was to be around him, and I felt better.

Tuesday, my day was pretty normal. I hung out in my pajamas, watched television, and knitted. I laid down for a nap around1:30, aiming to sleep until 4:30. I woke up at 5:00 when Mom came home. I had enough time, though, to take my shower and get dressed.

We had dinner at IHOP, where I had pumpkin praline pancakes with eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Then, Mom and I went to the movie theater to see The Muppets. The clerk said we had missed the first twelve minutes because there is a discrepancy between the times on the mall website and a normal Google search, apparently. We still took the chance (and got a discount on our tickets), and it was perfect. We didn’t miss any of the movie, just the previews and the Pixar short before it. There were only two other people in the theater. And the movie? It was magical. I would say that if you are a person who has ever enjoyed the Muppets, you would enjoy the new movie. They’ve done a wonderful job of mixing the old material with the new, the cameos were great (Neil Patrick Harris, Alan Alda, and Jim Parsons FTW) and there were several times where I was in a laughing fit. I am certain that I was grinning from ear to ear the entire film.

At the end of the movie, there’s a bit that might make you tear up a little. Not because it’s sad, but because it’s such a display of how the Muppets will always be in the hearts of those who grew up with them in their households (like my mom and myself), and there is room for them in the hearts of generations to come. I could hear my mom sniffling next to me, and I reached out to pat her leg, as I understood what she was feeling. Then I shed a few tears myself, because I felt like it was okay to. These weren’t tears of frustration, pain, and sorrow like they have been, but tears of love, for beloved characters I was glad to welcome back

The rest of my week has been pretty decent. I’ve wrapped the majority of my presents and put them under the tree (why yes, I am an overachiever), Mom and I have figured out what Christmas goodies we are making, and then we took our Christmas card picture. Yes, that’s right. We have a bunch of Christmas cards with photo frames, and since this might be the last Christmas my mom and I have while living under the same roof (as I’m hoping to move out next year), we took a Christmas picture together to put in our cards for the first time EVER. Yeah, this Christmas season has been full of weird twists this year, and it’s not over yet.

My nights at work have been okay. We haven’t been too busy. I loathe Thursdays and Fridays, but once I get over that little hump, I only have to work Saturday night until I’m free. This past Saturday night was a nightmare. We were not only full, but a lot of my co-workers on other shifts neglect to pass messages on to other shifts, or they don’t pay attention and it trickles down to our shift. I was so glad when my relief came in on Sunday morning. It was one of those mornings I was surprised I made it home because I was so tired, and I’m surprised I just didn’t lose control of myself because it was just such a long night.

When I came home, Mom just pulled monkey bread muffins out of the oven. Even though I probably shouldn’t have, I ate three and then went to bed. I woke up in the afternoon, got ready, and Alex showed up. We ran to Goodwill because I was trying to find something for a project with no success, and when we returned to my house, we had dinner. We didn’t do much, but I did have him try on the sock that I’ve been knitting for him and finally figured out how I can make them fit him. I will try finishing that up today so maybe I can actually finish the pair of socks before our anniversary – or, even better, before the end of this year!

Alex and I cuddled and played one of the games we used to play when we were first dating – a line of questions. We went camping once and walked around in the woods, just tossing questions back and forth about our favorite childhood memories and books and Thanksgiving traditions. This time, we asked Christmas-themed questions, even though we knew some of the answers already. However, I think we were meant to be when I asked him what his favorite Christmas movie was and he said that it was Love, Actually though he also likes the original animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. My sentiments exactly.

In the past few years, Christmas has made me miserable with everything we’ve had to do and all the presents I’ve had to make, but this year, I think it has brought me a sense of comfort that I’ve needed for a while. I look forward to the next few weeks full of Secret Santa trades (OMG SOCIALIZING WITH MY FRIENDS!), actually allowing Christmas music in my car, holiday baking, and finishing up the rest of my gift buying/making and wrapping. Before I know it, I will hopefully be in Lexington, celebrating with my family.

This girl’s not a Scrooge this year, that’s for sure.

After I wrote that last blog post, i went off to my interview. I walked in, they gave me an application to fill out, and I was led to a room where three other people were filling out their applications. The two other girls were wearing power suits, and the guy was also wearing a suit. I immediately thought of my own outfit, which was a nice blouse and a skirt. I felt out of place immediately. As I filled out the application, I realized that I was not the person that they wanted. I was almost finished with the application when I just – stopped. I stood up and walked out into the lobby, and gave the man in charge back my application packet, explaining that I didn’t feel I was qualified enough. He tried to talk me out of leaving, but I was too upset. I thanked him for the opportunity, and then walked out. I was sobbing before I got back to my car in the parking lot. I sat in my car for a little bit. It was hot, and I was humiliated. It had been my third interview opportunity since graduation, and I just blew it. But I didn’t want to stay however long they needed me to and then wait around for them to say that I wasn’t right for the position, when I knew from the get-go that I wasn’t.

I didn’t want to go back home. I didn’t want to admit to my mom that I just blew it. So I called Alex. He was hanging out with Scott at his house since his car’s battery wasn’t yet replaced. He said I could come over. There was a horrendous mess of construction and accidents, so I ended up in my car for an hour in traffic, sweating, feeling a sense of shame and just being an absolute wreck. Yeah, that was awesome. I was so glad to finally get to Alex’s, though the back of my shirt was soaked with sweat by the time I got there – at least he gave me a shirt of his to wear instead. Scott was still there, and though I hadn’t originally intended on staying for dinner, I was invited to, so I did. It was really nice with Alex, his parents, and Scott there. It gave me a sense of a perfect family moment, and I don’t know when the last time I felt something like that.

I was able to calm down; I felt better when I told the truth about what had happened before I told my mom. It gave me a feeling of confidence when I was told that it was okay, and that everything will work out. After dinner, Alex, Scott, and I played a game of Torres, ate berries with whipped cream, and watched some E3 coverage before I went home. I felt better – not great, but better by the time I got home.

Nothing much else happened that week, though I have been trying to write and read every day, and I’ve been knitting like crazy. I finished a pair of socks, and I’m working on another one. I’ll probably have that second pair done by Thursday. I still sit on my ass a lot and watch Nip/Tuck and True Blood. I still haven’t had the motivation to work on moving all my stuff into a more permanent arrangement, but I know I need to do it.

Last Sunday, I went back up to Muncie. Alex had been there the night before, and the guys didn’t actually end up playing Dungeons and Dragons. It cramped mine and Krista’s girlie time, but we still made cottage pie, watched Juno, and played Mario Party with Alex and Tanner. Alex went home with me and stayed the night, which was a nice relief. Then, I had been invited to see Sarah and stay with her on Monday, so I kicked Alex out early and made it to Columbus by noon. Sarah and I ate Indian food (and had Indian food babies), walked around, went to the park and walked around, had a lot of good heart-to-heart time, had ice cream sodas, knit, played with her dogs (Her dogs were really cute and made me want to have a dog, but I know that I’m very much a cat person – I guess it’s the same way with other people’s kids.), ate artisan bread and had iced lattes while watching The Green Hornet. I know that’s a huge run-on sentence. No, I’m not going to correct it.

So yeah, I had a lovely time with my Sarah. It was unbelievable that we crammed all that into our time together, and that when I left it was actually Tuesday. Time is really strange when you don’t have any actual daily commitments like a job or school. You can have your weekend anytime, all the time…

I went back home and did some relaxing, but I also had to go buy another new phone because while I was at Sarah’s, I realized the screen on mine was broken. Since I like being able to know who I’m calling, who is calling me, and the ability to text, I went out and replaced it. I got the same model as the last, and the one before that (the one who’s fate ended up in toilet back in December), but this time with insurance. It needs it if I’m its owner.

Wednesday ended up being another mini-shopping day, and then on Thursday, Alex came over. We watched some more FLCL, had Sno-Castle, and made pork tacos for dinner.

Friday and Saturday were True Blood days with my mom. She hasn’t seen the third season yet, and we decided to rewatch the first two, which was probably a good idea since I forgot some of what happened, and we finished the second season on Saturday night. We’re rather crazy.

Yesterday was Father’s Day and I called my two grandpas and my dad. My maternal grandparents will be coming in on Thursday night and staying until Sunday afternoon, so it will be good to see them. Then I drove up to Krista’s and the guys weren’t playing D&D again this week, we had already arranged our hanging-out time. It was just me, Nick, and Krista there. We watched The Breakfast Club because Krista had never seen it before, and then Krista and I made enchiladas. Nick brought out his Dance Dance Revolution game, and we tried to play, but one pad was dead and the other one had a finicky back arrow that filled us with frustration. I left at about 9:00 and went home. Mom and I watched another episode of True Blood before she went to bed.

I woke up this morning around 7:30. The bedroom was orange because of the glow of the rising sun. It was sort of fantastical. I went back to sleep, though, and woke up to a huge, gray thunderstorm. I haven’t yet done anything of note today, but I’m excited for this evening because I get to see my boy. Hopefully the weather’s nice, because we were planning to walk around outside.

My last day as an undergraduate, Friday, had been a pretty good day. I walked to the Senior Party held at the Alumni Center, hung out with Geldes, Matt, and Thom, drank three rum and cokes, and ate some pizza and my (possibly) last Carter’s hot dog. I was pretty tipsy. That was fun. I went back to campus with the guys, and Nick and James found us. No one really seemed to be hanging out, though. James took me back to my apartment so I could finish some packing.

As soon as I walked in, one of my roommates was walking out. She didn’t say a word to me. I started working on things, and realized that she had taken stuff out of the cabinets (and thrown away the banana I was saving for Saturday morning). The fridge was full. I texted her to ask what was hers, and she told me to throw out everything. Let’s get this straight – I rarely saw her take out the trash the entire school year, never cleaned the bathroom she shared with another one of our roommates, cried at the beginning of the year when we confronted her about dish duty (and therefore, we all started washing our own dishes), and never seemed to vacuum – and then all she does to prepare our moving out is to put all her stuff in one corner and take everything out of the cabinets. That’s it. She didn’t vacuum, she didn’t clean out the fridge full of food that only two items were actually mine, and she certainly wasn’t one of the people cleaning the stove or moving the fridge to clean behind it. What a selfish, lazy child.

Anyway, my rage at her sobered me up rather quickly. I cleaned out the fridge and freezer, found an unopened pint of Haagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream I claimed as my reward, cleaned up my room, vacuumed that and the hall, wiped down the inside of all the cabinets, and then called Krista. Sarah had mentioned that she and Thom were hanging out at Krista’s new place, which I hadn’t seen yet. Besides, my roommates had taken or packed all their utensils away, so there were no spoons. I got directions, and drove over to Krista’s apartment, where James, Nick, Sarah, and Thom were as well. I ate my ice cream, and then we all played Telephone Pictionary.

I went back to my empty apartment near midnight. I played music on my computer and painted my nails purple, since that’s all I could do. The internet had been disconnected, and I had already finished reading The Glass Castle earlier that day. Then I tried to sleep, but I was too excited about Saturday, so I didn’t actually fall asleep until 2:00.

I woke up early and took a bath. We had no shower curtains, so that was pretty much my only option. I chugged a chocolate protein shake and ate a granola bar – like a boss – and fixed my hair and makeup. I packed my car, checked the apartment for any last items I may have forgotten, slipped into my cap and gown, and then headed to campus. Because of weather, the main ceremony was moved inside. I was a little early, but I was kept on my toes by phone calls from friends and family.

I decided to make my way inside to the seating, but there was no true organization for the first ceremony. Ball State hadn’t really prepared anyone – they had made the weather call near 8:00, when it was supposed to be announced at 7:00, and one of the most asked questions from graduates was, “What are we supposed to do?”

Anyway, I decided to go inside and wait for Sarah. I was wearing high heels, and the first steps inside Worthen Arena were slick concrete. Put one and one together, and what do you think happened? Suddenly, I took a tumble on the steps. I was in shock and embarrassed. Several people asked me if I was all right. One woman came up and helped me walk down the remaining steps. I was overwhelmed from the incident and the fact that I had no idea what I was doing, and started crying; I was able to regain my composure quickly, though. They asked me if I wanted a medic, and I declined. I had a bunch of scrapes and bruises, and I was limping a little, but overall, I was okay. I waited for Sarah, and I sat in between her and Brandon for the first commencement ceremony. It was boring and I was either almost falling asleep or making wisecracks with Sarah. There was even a moment where we were whispering the words to “Mulatto Butts” from Archer and giggling.

After that, we were able to track down our respective families. Pictures were taken, we waited for my grandparents, took more pictures, took me to return my apartment key, and then ate lunch. When we returned to campus, I was able to find my dad and his side of the family. They went to my cousin Brian’s graduation from the college of Telecommunications and needed to grab something to eat before going to the Sciences and Humanities one for me (and Brian, who had a double major) at 3:00.

Since I was in the English portion of the Sciences and Humanities graduation, I was able to sit near Laura, Brandon, and Missy. It was like a mini-reunion, and we were all happy. It wasn’t really that strange admitting what had happened to me in student teaching, and what my plans (though uncertain) I have for the future. Everyone seemed supportive and happy for me, though my circumstances were unfortunate.

The second ceremony went by with a woosh, and then I took some pictures with dad’s side of the family before it was time to go. I took off my cap, gown, and high heels to drive on the way home. Alex rode with me, though I felt bad because the stop-and-go traffic on our way out of Muncie made him a little ill.

We made it back to my house, I changed into comfortable clothes, and solicited my brothers in helping me unload my car. Then it was party time, full of friends, family, and others. It was nice, and we had the right amount of food for everyone. It was fun. I know I was hesitant about walking in graduation and about having my graduation party because of all that had happened, but I’m now really glad I did it.

It was quite a whirlwind day, and I opened my presents and cards after everyone left. Alex gave me FLCL on DVD and LCD Soundsystem’s last album, which makes me suspect that he’s been looking at my Amazon Wishlist. I was also pleasantly surprised because Aunt Jo and Uncle Dave gave me two books – one written by Katie Couric on the best advice compiled from famous people, and Tina Fey’s new book, which made me squeal with joy because Tina is definitely one of my favorite famous people ever.

So yeah… that’s all. I survived the past four years, and now I’m officially an alumnus of Ball State University.

Who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll be graduating with my masters degree! (I can dream!)

By the way, my legs look beautiful now – they’re a palette of purple, blue, green, and yellow, I have a scrape on my right foot, and I think I twisted my left ankle. I’m still recuperating.

The rest of my short trip to Lexington was great. It was a struggle for me to leave.

Thursday, Alex, David, and I jumped on the trampoline and played outside, and then I got the guts to drive around Lexington, so we went to the park. We had a snack, then flew kites. I made them play on the playground and get some energy out, though David argued with me the entire time, since he’s not the “imagining” type like Alex is – who I had to brush woodchips off and wash dirt off of before he got back in my car.

On Friday, we made Cookies and Cream Bars. Alex and David never get into the kitchen, can you believe that? David wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and I made him do it himself while I supervised. He’s eleven. He should be able to manage that by now…

The three of us went to the children’s museum, and it was a lot of fun. It’s small, and it’s not like, say, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, but it was still entertaining and the boys enjoyed it.

Not much else went on with my trip – just a lot of relaxation and spending time with my family.

I also finished knitting my giant squid, Squidot. He’s definitely an attention getter.

I drove back on Sunday and stopped by Alex’s house for dinner. It was nice to see him, and it broke up my trip a little bit. Then I came home for a day.

I went back up to Muncie because I had an interview on that Tuesday, then another the next day. It looks like I have a job, though I don’t know when it will be starting, since I have to wait for the company to get all its new hires in at once. I just have to hang out and work on getting things in order at home until then.

Mom’s had me running errands, I stuffed and mailed all of my graduation invitations, I had doctor and dentist appointments, and I’ve seen Alex a few times, too. Mom likes having me home because I also cook for her. Funny story about that.

Friday, April 15th, I made salmon with a couscous dish on the side. It was tasty, and impressive, considering it was the first time I have cooked salmon. I can’t be certain as to whether it was my first time eating it or not. We tried to go to bed early, since we had to be up at 5:00 to go to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. However, I couldn’t sleep. I was worried about my future, about my life, and then… I started coughing. I couldn’t breathe easily, I was itchy, and I felt a slight puffiness in my face. Mom had to make a 1:00 a.m. Benedryl run. All ended up well in the end, but apparently, I might be allergic to salmon, but I don’t care. I think I’m just going to make sure I have Benedryl in my purse wherever I go, because I’m getting sick and tired of surprise allergy attacks.

Even though we only had about four hours of sleep, Mom and I went to the Race for the Cure. I had never done it before, but I think that 1) it is an important cause and 2) I needed the exercise. It was bitter cold and rainy the whole day, but it was still fun. Seeing the survivors in their parade was inspiring, and the walk was fun. We went with Peggy and Mike, and I met Peggy’s daughter and son (though he wasn’t at the walk). It was nice – again, despite the cold – and I think I’m going to participate in it next year, too.

Also, there were Ghostbusters doing the walk. I forgot to mention that. That was cool. I’ll get a picture up when I can of that.

After the walk, we went out for lunch. Mom and I made it back home by 3:00. I was in bed again by 3:30, and slept for a while.

Nothing big happened last week, and then I went up to Muncie last weekend to enjoy the company of others. It was a good weekend. I watched Tideland with Sarah, did some knitting, watched Tron: Legacy with Alex, played some Telephone Pictionary, and went bowling for Tanner’s birthday.

This week, I’m working on cleaning my room and preparing it for the return of my stuff from the apartment. I’ll be living there during finals week on practically nothing, but I wanted to spend time with people before graduation.

Perhaps the most exciting bit of news is that I graduate in 10 days!

I’ve been long overdue for an update – a real update, not the “oh woe is me” blurb I posted a few days ago. However, the timeline has gotten quite hazy for me, so I will try my best to relate what has happened to me in the past month or so.

You know the beginning – March 18, I left Central for good. I went back to P-town. I formally withdrew from my student teaching courses, and then freaked the hell out. It took me about five days before I realized that my entire life, I’ve always thought I knew what I wanted to do. Turns out, I don’t. I would have been miserable as a public school teacher, unless I was in a district that reflected my small-town upbringing. Plus, I had the added pressure from my mother, who told me when I was in middle school and high school that I could not make a living as a poet/writer… I understand her intentions to encourage me to have a more profitable profession, but it was rather disappointing to hear.

Enough of that. Speed up to April 5th. To be completely honest, I don’t remember anything notable between March 18th and April 5th. A lot of recuperation, really. But then, on April 5th, Alex, Tanner, and I went to see Electric Six play at Birdy’s. It was so nice that they were performing only about an hour and a half away this time, rather than three and a half hours. I managed to drag Alex and Tanner into the crowd with me, and I finagled my way up to the front of the stage. We met some people who were also at the Covington show, including a couple. The woman asked me, “When did you first hear about Electric Six?” and I said, “Well, I was in eighth grade when Fire came out…”

She said I made her feel old. Haha.

It was even better than the last show. They played “Pink Flamingos” and “Clusterfuck!” and I went nuts. It would have been even better had people not decided to start moshing during “Gay Bar.” I know it is one of Electric Six’s best known songs (besides “Danger! High Voltage!” of course), but moshing? Really?

At least I didn’t almost die this time, and we got out a little after midnight, compared the Covington show. I swear, if their ticket prices are always this cheap, I will always go see Electric Six when they come to town.

I drove Tanner back up to school since it was a Tuesday night, and then I crashed at my house. Mom woke me up before she left so she could see me for a little bit. I smelled and felt like I had smoked an entire pack of cigarettes the night before, and my legs ached so much from all the dancing I did, I wanted to amputate them. I still had a smile on my face, though!

Later that day, I drove down to Lexington. Three and a half hours to my dad’s. It was my first solo road-trip, and my first time seeing the new house after Dad, Cindy, David and Alex moved during the summer before my sophomore year. My trip was long overdue. My brothers were on spring break, so I decided I should come down and hang out with them. I made it there by the early evening on Wednesday.

After dinner, we went to get dessert at a frozen yogurt place called Orange Leaf, which I had never heard of before but was immediately smitten with it. When we were leaving and I was singing the praises of delicious frozen yogurt that I pay for buy the ounce and mix flavors and toppings when my little brother, Alex, said, “If you like it so much, that means you’ll visit more often, right?” Cute kid. The story gets better.

Dad and I took a separate vehicle and went to Half-Price Books. Laugh at me all you want, but I had never been to a Half-Price Books before. I wanted EVERYTHING. Luckily, I kept myself in check. But I still wanted it all. I ended up getting a knitting book (Pretty in Punk), Ender’s Game, Something Wicked This Way Comes, a collection of Rudyard Kipling horror tales, and a live Depeche Mode CD I didn’t have (Songs of Faith and Devotion Live). Heaven.

We came home, and Cindy said that Alex had spent the car ride back creating a plan for me. He said that I could come live with them, since there is a spare bedroom, and I could either work in a school or a library or go to school at University of Kentucky, and then I could spend more time with them.

My eight-year-old brother came up with this. At first I laughed about how cute it was. But later that night, I looked up University of Kentucky; they have a library science program, and were accepting applications. My only problem was that, since my original plan did not include graduate school, I hadn’t taken the GRE, so I will need to take that sometime in the next few months and then apply for next year, as well as apply for a graduate assistantship.

But what matters here is that it is a viable plan, and I’m considering it. It sounds a lot better than anything else I’ve tried to figure out for myself. It will probably be a year or two before this plan comes to fruition, and it will be a greater distance for me and Alex to deal with in our relationship, but I think I’d be happier and stronger for it. I’ve missed a lot of my brothers’ lives, and of my dad’s life. It might be about time for me to change my scenery, anyhow.

Happy New Year! It’s unbelievable that yes, another year has gone by. Part of me is saying, “Hey, slow down, world, let me enjoy my time!” and the other part is saying, “Slow down after my graduation! I want graduation to be here as soon as possible!” No, but really – I’m 22 now. It’s weird. I mean, not like it matters much, anymore. I think the only memorable birthday after 21 is probably 25 – because isn’t that the age when you can rent a car? Anyway, it’s still weird whenever you turn another year older. Sometimes, I slip up and say I’m the wrong age – not because I want to lie about it, but because I forget how fast time has passed.

Whatever. Not griping. I just didn’t want to have a big celebration. I didn’t even want to do it last year, but Alex thought that since I was turning 21, it would be important for me to have a birthday party.

What happened was that Alex came up to visit, we had fancy chicken-cranberry-Brie pizza and taught my mom how to play Settlers of Catan. Much to my chagrin, Mom beat us. I was sincerely hoping I’d have a chance of winning a game.

Scott came up after his shift, and then we proceeded to get drunk. We had those silly cracker things that have toys in them, and we wore the crepe paper crowns from them all night. We watched the ball drop, toasted with Champagne, and we had birthday cake – homemade triple-layer funfetti cake with buttercream frosting.

Oooh, doesn’t that look lovely? Yes, it was definitely as good as it looked.

Of course, something went a little awry. We popped our second round of crackers, and I began to feel sick. Not nausea – it wasn’t related to my drinking, surprisingly. No, I’ve had this feeling before – when having an allergy attack. I’ve had two notable allergy attacks (to some sort of spice, we’re thinking, but we really can’t be for sure). In the past during this attacks, my eyelids and lips have swelled up and I can’t breathe, among other things that happen to my body. In this case, I definitely couldn’t breathe. I kept coughing and wheezing, but there was really nothing I could do except drink water and struggle through it.

That is how my 2011 began. Despite the fact I couldn’t breathe, it was good. I got to celebrate with the love of my life, my mother, and one of my good friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Like I said, we had cake, and I opened up the majority of my gifts. I only opened one of Alex’s, and saved the other one for the next day. The one I did open that night was a book – a graphic novel, pop-up version of Dracula. It is seriously cool, and as weird as it seems, very fitting for me. I had never seen it before, and it made me laugh so much I was gasping for breath, thanks to the allergy/asthma attack. Additionally, Scott got me this terrible, not even considered B-movie called The Corpse Grinders II. Oh, dear. My friends do know me well for my fondness for bad movies.

We went to bed shortly after. I was still sick, and nearly frightened that I might die in my sleep – but too inebriated to stay awake.

I woke up feeling better. We had a nice breakfast and then bummed around for a while. Scott left around noon, I think. I opened up my other gift from Alex – The Third Season of The Venture Bros. We watched two episodes and then he left.

My birthday remained quiet. I read more of The World According to Garp; I had been reading it all break and not getting much accomplished. I began a new goal for the year – to add to my 101 Goals, or well, to help some of it – and that is to write each day. I’ve picked up my habit of writing at 750 Words again. Let’s hope it lasts.

Mom and I watched When Harry Met Sally and Love Actually after dinner – which was spaghetti. I felt a little kid again. It was just nice to relax, though.

Yesterday, Mom and I went to see Black Swan. It was much more compelling than I originally thought. It was equal parts beautiful, insane, and terrifying. After dinner, around 9:00, I went over to Jennifer’s and hung out with her, Austin, Nick, Krista, Robin, and Chris. It was nice to see everyone again. I enjoy the fact that now I can actually go visit my friends and have a lot more freedom thanks to my driver’s license and car. Just think about all that I had missed before! Anyway, we played Telephone Pictionary, and it was hilarious! I was reduced to tears laughing so hard.

I came home around 2:00 am and had a slice of funfetti cake. Because I could.

Today was another quiet day. I finished reading The World According to Garp, finally. I have many more books to finish reading before I go back to school. Only six days left until my return. I will enjoy it as much as I can.

I have been caught in a holiday whirlwind for the past few days, though I’m sure many people have been, too. I’ve enjoyed it all, though. No major accidents, no tears, all good.

I drove to my (paternal) grandparents’ house in Richmond on Thursday. I made it there without a problem, blasting Devo all the way. I was the first family member to arrive, and I got to spend about an hour with my grandparents before my dad, Cindy, and my brothers showed up. I went out shopping with my grandma, dad, and Cindy, and when we returned, my aunt Cathy, uncle Rob, and cousins Kaity and Jack had arrived, and my aunt Jeanne, uncle Steve, and cousins Christopher, Matthew, and Brian had come over for dinner (they live close by). We had spaghetti, and it was a scramble for chairs.

As usual, I slept in the living room with my cousin Kaity. I don’t usually pull rank, but I sort of did this year. I hate sleeping on air mattresses, and I didn’t want to sleep on the floor, so I called the couch – which isn’t nearly as comfortable as one would hope, but it’s still a place to sleep. I said, “Merry Couch-mas” to Kaity when we were going to bed, due to our past Christmases; once, we shared one giant wraparound couch with my cousin Brian on Christmas Eve and that was interesting.

On Christmas Eve, we did a lot of hanging around the house, watching television and talking. I worked on a scarf for my mom. We went to Christmas Eve mass, and everything went well, though I started feeling sick because I went nine hours without having anything to eat. We came home and had beef and noodles for dinner.

In previous years on Christmas Eve, Kaity and I have been kicked out of the living room so last-minute wrapping of presents can take place and the adults can hang out without being bothered by the kids. We usually sit around, watching movies or something. Well, this year I had a bright idea – why don’t we go out and see a movie instead? I had been itching to see TRON: Legacy, since I bought the soundtrack a week ago – it’s effin’ amazing! Kaity hadn’t seen it, so we pitched the idea to our parents. They agreed. So after dinner, I got directions to the movie theater, and the two of us got to escape the craziness for a while. I even got to play a little Electric Six for her.

The theater was nearly empty and we got our choice of seats.  It was great. And then the movie – oh, the movie! I LOVED IT. I know it has its flaws, I really do (Penny Arcade pointed many out), but I can appreciate the film for what it is, and how it relates to the first film. Even if the plot isn’t the best, I think people can at least agree that it is visually-striking and the soundtrack is totally boss. I feel like the geekiest person in my family for how excited I still am about this film, but whatever. We spent a major part of Christmas Day watching and discussing the original Star Wars movies – we are a family of geeks.

After the movie, we left the theater to find it was snowing. The big, fluffy flakes were gorgeous. We got back home around 10:00, but I stayed in my car to talk to Alex. When I got back inside, I found everyone had gone to bed except Kaity, who had just changed into her pajamas. In addition to this, I was left without a blanket and pillow. I had to wake the little boys up (my brothers and my cousin Jack) in order to find at least one blanket to cover up with, but I was still left without a pillow. It was hard to sleep. When I was trying to get David to go back to bed, he told me, “Don’t you think that tonight is just the longest night of your life?” I know we were thinking of different reasons, but I couldn’t have agreed more. I didn’t sleep much at all.

I was up early, too. By 7:00, everyone was up and I was seated at the dining room table with a cup of coffee. We were unwrapping gifts by 8:00. I think this Christmas was perfect. My family was happy with the gifts I gave them, and I was happy with mine. Dad and Cindy got me a GPS so I’ll stop getting lost when I go places I’ve never been or aren’t familiar with. That was a nice surprise. I also got The Fantastic Mr. Fox (the movie), and a bunch of books on my Amazon Wish List I haven’t read before. I have a lot of reading to do. I also got gift cards and money to help support the growth of my “professional wardrobe” since I have very little to choose from when I go into the schools. If all I could wear were t-shirts and awesome graphic/band tees, I’d be set, but sadly, that’s not the case.

We had our traditional Christmas breakfast after opening gifts – pigs-in-blankets and scrambled eggs. Dinner was two hams, a turkey, green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes, sweet potatoes, applesauce, and rolls. No one will ever go hungry in my family – if they do, it’s their own damn fault. Like I said before, we watched Star Wars, episodes 4 through 6, but we also watched Scrooged and Despicable Me. Also, I learned how to make buckeyes! Grandma said we might run out, and since they are popular at Christmas, I told her that if she had the ingredients, I would make another batch of them. I was so honored to learn how to make them, and my grandpa even took pictures to commemorate the event.

It was a nice Christmas, and I was glad to see everyone. On Sunday, my dad, Cindy, and my brothers went back to Kentucky. I left around 2:00 and met my mom and (maternal) grandparents at the nearby Applebee’s. They had me open my presents in the restaurant. I got a nice blouse, gas cards, a holiday ornament shaped like car keys (ha!), and – drum roll please – a crock pot! I can’t wait to try it out!

We had a good meal, and then we parted ways. I drove my mom home. She’s been having back pain, and was on medication, so she shouldn’t have been driving anyway. She hadn’t been in my car before, either, so that was interesting. The only thing that sucks about having her in the passenger’s seat is that she critiques my driving, or she’ll be giving directions and say, “Go left!” and I’ll go left, and she’ll say, “No, I said go right!” and I’ll say, “You just said left!” and we’ll get into an argument about that…

I had to finish making my mom’s gifts before we could exchange them. I had to eventually finish the scarf in front of her, but she was so happy about it, she didn’t mind. She got me a doughnut pan, among other things. This is also another kitchen gadget I can’t wait to try out.

Yesterday, Mom and I went shopping. We spent some of the gift cards we received for Christmas. I usually don’t like spending mine all at once, but since I’m teaching in a few weeks and I need to expand my wardrobe, I can’t exactly wait around. I found some good deals, though. I found a turtleneck, a v-neck, two t-shirts, a cardigan, a brown skirt, and a purse (I’ve never carried a purse before! So weird!). That was only at two stores, too! Mom and I also stopped by Paradise Bakery for muffins and browsed Borders. Then, we went to see TRON: Legacy in 3-D. Yeah, I had to see it again. I’ve never seen a 3-D movie before, but I was curious, since it seems like that film would be amazing in 3-D. I won’t say it was bad, but I definitely won’t be seeing another 3-D film again. The glasses are too awkward over my real glasses, and then my eyes hurt mere minutes into the film. I had to close my eyes at times just to have them rest. I was still happy to see TRON: Legacy again – still amazing!

We came home, ate dinner, and watched Hellboy II: The Golden Army, since Mom got it through Netflix. While we watched that, I worked on a knitted Kindle cover for Alex, since he got a Kindle this year for Christmas. He is super excited about it, though I still prefer my physical, paper books. There’s just no feeling like the turning of pages in your hand.

I saw Alex today. I drove down to his house and we went bowling. We exchanged gifts, and we were both very happy. He says his gift was lame, but I truly appreciate it. I just wish that I lived in a place of my own where I could have nice things and make it look like a home. We don’t have a dining room table. I would die to have a nice dining room table, rather than just eating on the floor…

Anyway, we played with the Wii for a bit, and I stayed for dinner and dessert. I left about a quarter to 8:00, and went home. I had been invited to hang out with people at my friend Chris’s house, and I went over there about 9:00. It was Chris’s birthday and he’s 20 now, so strange! We played this game called Quelf, ate chips and brownies, watched Eddie Izzard’s “Dressed to Kill,” chatted, and played with kittens. Oh, if only I could have had one of those kittens! They were so cute!

So I’m home now, for a while. I think tomorrow is just going to be a lazy day. I think I need it.

I had my last undergraduate class today. It hasn’t really sunk in, yet.

I also turned in my last undergraduate English paper. I hope to hell I get at least a B. I managed to get an A- on my “Mark of the Beast” paper, so I’m happy about that. The paper I turned in today was much harder.

I also turned in this project for my practicum in which we had to do this personal creative thing. I made a comic book about my experience in college and the issues with balancing multiple identities (teacher, student, etc.). I received many positive comments about it.

Last night, since I got all my work done, I went to karaoke night. It wasn’t as good as last time. I sang “Salvation” and my voice cracked, but Thom sang “Love Shack” and Tanner sang “The Bad Touch,” and that was fun. I got home around 1:30.

Anyway, so today was a good day. Went to my classes, ate free food, hung out with Sarah, and came home. I cleaned a lot. I even got my car’s filthy floor mats out of my trunk and tried to clean them. The dealership I bought it from didn’t clean my car at all, and I haven’t had time to clean it myself. Those mats were filthy. I got what I could out, but I might need something stronger than Resolve and elbow grease to get them looking nice.

(As a side note, as I was typing, I just sneezed and my roommate’s boyfriend could hear it through the walls. He yelled, “Bless you!” and I yelled back, “Thanks!” I just thought it was funny…)

I finally got to the end of FYTA, and didn’t know whether to be proud or horrified by that fact. Then I took a small nap. I finally got the motivation to clean my room, and it looks a lot better, now. I’ve started packing up things to take home. Of course, I don’t actually get to leave this city until next Friday, since I have one actual final on Thursday and one “we meet and discuss” final on Friday – and the latter one starts at 2:00 pm and is supposed to end at 4:00 pm. It’s like some kind of sick joke. I could be going home sooner, if it weren’t for that.

I don’t have to work tomorrow, but I have to be at the recreation center by 9:00 am. and be there all day until 5:00 pm. I’m going to get CPR certified, though, so that’s exciting! I also look forward to the next week where I will be able to sleep in, earn money, read for pleasure, knit, sew, and watch Buffy. It’s a good life.

 

I swear I’m not dead. It’s just that I thought I would be done after last week. Turns out, I’m not. I’ve got a unit plan due Tuesday, a paper due Friday, another small project I haven’t even started on due Friday, not to mention the readings I have to do, two small extra credit papers (because I really, really need the extra credit), my last week of teaching at the middle school, and work.

So, I’m not dead. But my brain is sorta dead. (And yeah, I’m an English major, and I just wrote “sorta.” If you have a problem, go stuff it.)

Oh, and it’s snowing! It’s been snowing quite a bit since the first of December. It’s pretty, but man, I’m not a fan of driving (and biking – yes, it’s happened) in it. I would much rather be curled up in my bed and staying warm, drinking hot cocoa, knitting, watching movies and all that crap…

Among all this, I haven’t had much time to work on my projects for Christmas. Bleh. I have the best of intentions – Mom even sent the sewing machine back up to school with me, even though I don’t have a table big enough for it in this entire apartment. I’m hoping that with all my free time during finals week, I’ll be able to do some craftiness.

Also, I can’t wait to lift the Buffy ban. I haven’t watched any since before Thanksgiving break. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t watch any more until I had my unit plan done. Although I might extend the ban until Thursday. I need to focus.

Despite things being busy as hell here, life is good. Well, except the fact I didn’t get my scholarship, so the library isn’t getting rid of me just yet – I’ll be working there on the weekends to earn some dough and help keep my finances in order. I don’t mind the work itself, I just know that student teaching demands a lot, and I don’t want to fail – I can’t fail – and throwing work into that mix is not going to be easy, and I’m tired of being so stressed out all the time. I’ve been tired of it for a very long, long time.

But anyway! Life is good! Alex came up this weekend. It was my fifth weekend in a row to see him. I won’t be seeing him for at least two weeks, now, but that’s all right. We made peanut butter blossoms. They were so tasty, though our first batch got really brown on the bottom and tasted a little burnt. We ate them all – not all on Friday night, but they were gone by the time Sunday afternoon came along.

We also watched Magnolia on Friday night. Alex had never seen it before. It’s my favorite movie, has been since the summer before my junior year of high school. I was going through a lot of identity and relationship issues, and was feeling really ostracized. I watched it at my dad’s house in New Orleans. I was crying 2/3 of the way through it. I identified a lot with Stanley and Donnie Smith – the “Quiz Kids.” I still do, to some extent. Magnolia is so beautiful. I hadn’t watched it since probably my junior year of high school, when I watched it with an ex. Every time Alex had suggested watching it before, I declined because usually I wasn’t up to a beautifully crafted, emotionally draining film that spans three hours. I finally agreed to watch it with him, though, and I sacrificed an extra hour of sleep for it. I was worried about what he would think of it. I think I’m always afraid of what people will think of my choices in movies. He enjoyed it, though, and I’m glad. I feel like, now that we have watched it together, he knows me on a deeper level – even though that probably sounds dorky.

I worked on Saturday morning, did some work on my unit plan, and we went over to our friend Leigh’s apartment that evening. It was a lot of fun, and I was glad to hang out with her and everyone else. It’s been a long semester, and we’ve all been busy. I miss socializing.

Anyway, it’s time for me to go to bed. Just a few more days, and I’m free!