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Well, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted here, so I figured it was about time. It’s been an interesting time between then and now – okay, not all of it, but some of it. The weekend following the post I wrote was really good. My grandparents showed up on the 23rd and spent the weekend with us. There was a Half-Price Books Clearance Sale at the State Fairgrounds, so we went. I shouldn’t have bought any books, but not a single item was over $3, so I took that opportunity. I bought fifteen books – about $180 at new retail price – for $19. So it was a great deal… and now I have about thirty books I own that I have never read. I’m working on it. After the book sale, we went to Monical’s Pizza for lunch and then took a tour of my mom’s work. She’s been there a year and they had an open house. It was nice to finally see the inside.

On that Sunday, my grandparents left and Alex, Scott, and I went up to Muncie for Thom’s birthday. Alex made falafel and I made jalapeno poppers and sangria. Of course, the sangria was solely for me. It was really good for a first-time recipe. It was a real good time, and I was glad to see everyone.

I’m trying to think about everything else that’s gone on, but it’s hard. I spend a lot of time around the house – reading, knitting, writing, watching television, avoiding things that I actually want and need to do, like clean my room, because I’m not motivated. I’ve read quite a few books lately, like I said before. I most recently finished The Awakening, and today I hope to finish Mrs. Dalloway. I’ve started knitting my final charity blanket, I finished a second pair of socks and have been working on two stuffed elephants for two babies.

The Fourth of July was good. Mom and I watched movies all weekend, and Alex came up and we played Frisbee and ate dinner with my mom. We drove to Anderson and sat in an empty parking lot watching the fireworks from my car and eating Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. I’ve had some pretty good days. On Wednesday nights, I go over to Jennifer’s and we watch So You Think You Can Dance. This past Wednesday, we swam at her grandparents’ house, ate pizza for dinner, and had Good’s ice cream for dessert.

Not too much more happening, I’m afraid, unless you were to ask my brain. My brain would tell you that it is tired of this shit. It’s hard to sleep anymore because even though I’m tired, my mind still won’t stop working.

Lately, I’ve been conflicted with things. Things I want, things I don’t want, things that I should do, things that are rational. A job that will pay me a lot, or a job that will satisfy me in every way but paying me a lot, to stay local or to abandon my sane, rational inclinations and go out west to meet a friend. I attribute my confusion to my long-term bad habit of not being able to decide. It started as a child because I never wanted to rock the boat, to be demanding, and now it’s developed into, “Well, I’m really comfortable with really any outcome, so I don’t know what to decide.” It happens with food to eat, places to go, movies to watch. I want to experience everything, and I don’t care in what order I do it. It will all happen eventually. Or at least, most of the time, that’s how it seems. But with these huge decisions, I just get freaked out. I look at the pros and the cons, and I know in my heart what I really want (I refer to it as my “McCoy”), but my brain always seems to chip in with its ideas of what would be better in the long-run (my “Spock.”). It sucks. Sometimes I try to stick out a bad situation, thinking that once I get through it, everything will be fine. That’s why I tried to stay in student teaching and work it out. I thought that if I just got through it, I’d graduate and be a better person and have more options for career choices and I wouldn’t have to do teaching if I didn’t want to. I didn’t have a choice in the end. After working in a harsh environment with an abusive supervising teacher, angry teenagers who hated on me every day, and a university supervisor who ignored the warning signs, I caved. I couldn’t do it.

I didn’t really want to do student teaching, and in a roundabout way, I didn’t have to do it anymore, though it wasn’t necessarily my choice to go how I did. I was kicked out (though they won’t use that term, it’s basically what happened). I wasted time, a lot of money, and I withstood psychological abuse to get where I am now, which isn’t even that glamorous.

And it’s only getting worse.

I mentioned before that I was having a hard time deciding between a job that would pay me money and a job that would make me happy. I consulted friends and family members for advice, and everyone had good points – and points that I had made in my own deductions. I know that no one else can make a decision for me, and that I am solely responsible for my own decisions. Well, anyway, I was worrying about this decision so much that it was making me sick. It was harder to sleep, I was worried. I went to go meet Alex in Greenfield on Thursday, and I would normally be excited, but I just felt so dead inside. He had brought Scott along as a surprise, which was nice, but I only got to spend an hour with them, when I had expected more. I don’t even know how I drove home, to be honest. I was so upset. I spent the rest of the evening in a funk. I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t even want to talk to Alex. I felt so miserable and full of self-loathing. I thought of how worthless I was, how I had to go to this job because no one else would hire me and I was a total loser. I think it is the worst I’ve felt in a long time.

I did call Alex, though. It was 11:00 at night, and he had just woken up after an unexpected nap and had missed dinner. We ended up spontaneously meeting up at the same place we had met earlier, but at midnight. We had dinner together, a chance to redo our date. We talked and I felt a lot better, lighter. I drove home happy in the pouring rain, blasting LCD Soundsystem while going through sleepy little towns.

On Friday, I went to orientation for the high-paying job that I waited three months for. Yeah, that’s right. The testing and interview process was swift. They said they wanted me. But then they made me wait three months. It was so they could get a “class” of what seemed to be about fifteen people for orientation. I went up to the place last Friday for orientation, and within the first twenty minutes, while we were listening to the guy talk while we followed along on our own handout, I realized that this job would be horrible for me. Yeah, I know, you have to start somewhere, but I could see no way how I would actually be able to get out of this place if I wanted to. I don’t even know how long my assignment would last. They could have brought me in for training, and then let me go after the first week. I would hate to wait three months only to work a week.

I sat through over an hour of this orientation when I finally saw a break and was able to get the supervisor aside and tell him I didn’t want the job. He wanted to know why, and I said, “Well, I thought I wanted it, but I really didn’t.” I actually felt quite at peace with my decision.

I may be too prideful, or delusional, or I don’t know. I know, it’s crazy. But I believe that I will find something better, one day. Someday, I will earn the exact same amount of money – or more – in a job that I enjoy, rather than one would make me hate myself every day.

In the meantime while I find a job, I’m trying to keep myself busy – again. Today, Alex and I went to Petsmart and looked at the kitties (SO CUTE!), went bowling, and had ice cream cones at Good’s before he left about two hours ago. I’m leaving tomorrow for Cincinnati. My aunt Jo was bugging me to come visit her. She’ll pay me if I clean and organize her sewing studio (and there’s a bonus if I find her stereo remote!). Stella, the dog that she and Uncle Dave adopted, will be coming home on Wednesday, so I’ll be the first to meet her. I’ll be in Cincy until Friday, and then I’m going to visit my (maternal) grandparents and see if I can keep myself busy at their church festival until Sunday morning. I’ll stop at my (paternal) grandparents’ house on Sunday for a short visit and lunch on my way to Muncie, where I’ll be hanging out with friends, a full loop.

So that’s how things go…

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I’ve been busy lately – working out, writing, working, reading, going to class, knitting a sweater, watching Twin Peaks (I’ve only got one episode left!), and socializing. Yeah, I’ve been pretty much doing everything besides updating this thing. Apologies.

I had the house to myself most of this week until late Wednesday night, so I kept myself occupied. It was nice, but even better when Jess came home, because some nights alone in the apartment were scary, especially one incident where a particular part of Twin Peaks made me keep my door shut the whole night (Think Leo Johnson, second season, cake and creepy smile.).

Last Monday, I baked banana-chocolate-chip cookies after I got back from class, and then I met up with Sarah. We biked twenty-five miles on the Greenway. It was exhilarating, and I think my legs hurt all week because of it.  We also found wild mulberries and blackberries and picked them along the way. It was a great day.

Tuesday, I worked out with Sarah, but we were still sore, so we did a lot of upper-body work and did less cardio. Dom wasn’t going to be home, so I didn’t over and watch Firefly with him, but opted for my Twin Peaks addiction. I really need to get the film from interlibrary loan.

Wednesday after class, I went to the grocery store and then went over to visit Sarah’s apartment. We did yoga. I really do hope we can keep working out together over the school year. I feel so much better doing it.

Thursday, I worked out with Sarah and returned home. I did my homework, and planned to have another quiet evening of knitting, watching Futurama, finishing  Twin Peaks, and eating milk and cookies. Kelly came over to visit, and she said Carlos O’Kelly’s had dollar margarita specials. Jess and I decided to go with her, even though we had both wanted to see the new Futurama.  I was introduced to a few other people by the time we got to Carlos O’Kelly’s, though most of them escape me now. I was a little nervous and out of my element, since I knew only three people of the group.

We moved our party to the Locker Room later, and then ended up at the Chug, where we ended up singing karaoke. They had karaoke. I had never sung karaoke at a bar before, and Jess was like, “OH MY GOD WE NEED TO DO IT!” So we signed up to do it.

Meanwhile, Jess had told Bob that we were going to sing karaoke. He said, “I wish I could see that,” and she said, “You should come!” But Bob is in Auburn about an hour and a half away. He didn’t respond until about that much time later, and then he said, “Oh, I can’t, but where are you, anyway?” She told him, and a few minutes later, he walked in the door. It was the sweetest damn thing I had seen in a long time.

We sang along with a few other people who sang “Sweet Caroline,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and of course, “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Around midnight, Jess, Kelly, and I got on the stage and sang the Backstreet Boys’ “Larger Than Life.” I felt like an idiot, being a college girl singing a song I hadn’t listened to in ten years, sort of childish and dorky. It was great, though, and I totally want to go back to karaoke night at the Chug, just maybe not if I have to go to work in the morning. My throat was so sore from yelling.

Friday, I went to work, but I was tired. Alex came up. Jess left for a photography job, and we made dinner together and did one last practice at driving. We went to hang out with Thom, Nick, and Sarah, and we watched A View to a Kill. For the most part, I had a good night, but before we went to bed, I just started psyching myself out about the next morning’s drive test. It was pretty much my only shot for the time being, and I knew I had worked hard, but my stomach hurt and I was so anxious Alex had to calm me down and assure me that I was going to do just fine. I felt better, and we went to sleep.

I woke up Saturday morning, and wasn’t too nervous until I was sitting on the futon, eating frosted mini wheats, and staring off into space. Alex reassured me. My mind kept telling me, “You can do this, you’ll be fine,” but there was this little bit of doubt and fear still inside me.

I drove to the license bureau to get one last practice in order to warm myself up for the test. I was all right again, and I was confident. Alas, I soon found myself alone in Alex’s car alone with the instructor, and her cold exterior scared me. I was terrified when she made me parallel park. I screwed up. She reminded me to use my far right mirror. She said, “You’re not using your mirrors, use your mirrors,” and I swear to God I was using my mirrors but it wasn’t doing me any good. I tried a third time, and she was frustrated with me and I knew it and so I started to panic. I wanted to cry. I had come this far, and I just was screwing it all up.

She asked if I was okay. I said, “I think I just failed my test.” She said, “You haven’t failed the test, but you will if you don’t calm down. Now, pull out when you’re ready to.”

I sucked it up. Not all was lost. I just had to finish.

The rest of the test actually wasn’t all that bad, and even though I think she was frustrated when I tried to park, she unbuckled her seatbelt and said, “I’m going to pass you anyway, but you need to work on your parallel parking and stopping at your stop lines.” She left the car, and it took all I had to not cry – I was wearing makeup and didn’t want to smudge it for my driver’s license picture. I had passed!

I sat down by Alex as they processed my papers. I leaned on him and dripped a few tears on his shoulder. We were both so relieved I had passed, and I couldn’t have done it without him. He, who was frustrated at me the first few times I tried driving in his car. He, who loves cars so much, especially his “Domino,” and he let me drive her, despite my inexperience. He, who was my cheerleader when I felt like crap. I don’t know how I can repay him. He’s done so much for me, and I am grateful for it.

I called my mom and told her the good news. I called my dad and told him the good news. Everyone was celebrating. After five years, I had finally earned my driver’s license. It was a long and complicated journey, but I finally achieved what I should have at the age of sixteen. And in a few months, I should have a car of my very own to cherish, christen, and drive around. I can’t wait.

Sarah and Thom came over for dinner, which Alex helped me make. We baked some Italian herb monkey bread and made a balsamic vinegar – sausage – feta cheese pasta toss. It was all very good, and we ate it as we listened to songs from my favorites list on my iPod. After dinner, we sat on the porch and talked. We walked to the Chug, which was practically empty. We played skeeball, trying to outdo each other. My highest score was 21,000. The overall high score from our group that night was made by Thom, who got 24,000. The machine’s overall top score was 38,000.

We left the Chug and went home. We sat on the porch, continuing the conversation. Then I just got so tired, and I didn’t like being eaten by mosquitoes, so I called it a night.

We slept in until 11:00 on Sunday morning. We took our sweet time taking showers and eating leftover pasta for lunch. Jess told me that Bob was coming up to watch fireworks with her. She had been sad that this was her first Independence Day not cooking out or watching fireworks with her family, and even though I had invited her to join us, I think she still felt lonely. So, Bob decided to come up. So nice!

Alex and I were bored and went over to Silvertree to visit Krista, Sarah, Nick, and Thom. We ate garden tomato and basil chips. They were good. I had never seen the film Independence Day, which was on the television when we walked in, and even though it was halfway over, Krista was like, “OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!” and so she got her DVD and we watched it from the beginning. I enjoyed it, but then after it was over, we were just bored and bitching about Spider-Man 3, even though it took hours before anyone decided to change the channel to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Sarah and Thom made barbecue chicken, rice, and cumin mashed potatoes for dinner. Around 8:45, we stopped by my apartment to pick up a blanket, sparklers, and ice cream, and then met Krista and her friends Jeff and Ben at the middle school. Jess and Bob followed us as well, and all ten of us got on the MITS bus that was heading towards the fireworks place. As it turns out, it was just at the high school. We were like, “Oh, they could have told us it was here… that would have been easier…”

There were so many people at the school, and we were just trying to find a good place to sit, but that proved to be difficult because many people were being dumbasses and shooting crappy fireworks they had bought. We didn’t want to be hit by debris or have our blankets catch on fire, so we wanted to be away from the stupidity. We found a nice little place on a small slope by the tennis courts. We laid our blankets on the prickly grass, overlapping and making one giant continent. I kicked off my shoes because they were hurting me. I had bloody blisters all over my feet, and I winced as I walked around.

We passed out sparklers, and Nick let us borrow his lighter to light them. It had been so long since I had held a sparkler! We got pictures and danced around with them. Alex and I opened my pint of Chunky Monkey and shared it. It was just like old times, when my mom and I would each have a pint of ice cream as we watched fireworks.

Finally, around 10:00, all the dumb people in the crowd stopped trying to fire off their fireworks and the real show began. We had a prime spot. The explosions in the sky seemed so large, and I felt so small. My mouth hung open in awe throughout most of the show, barring the mosquito bites on my arms. It was quite magical. I know, it’s silly to think that something so small as fireworks could be so cool, but the show was truly impressive. I could have watched them for hours, just sitting there on my blanket with Alex, his arms wrapped around me.

When the show was over, we were caught up in the mass exodus. I felt like one of those people in the evacuation scenes of Independence Day because it was that crazy. Our group struggled to stay together at first, but we got through it. Someone kept throwing those little firecrackers that you set on the ground and watch pop, and so our group would rush along until we saw one of those lit on the ground, and we’d all have to step back and warn each other. The first one exploded, but the second was a dud and Jeff rubbed it out with his shoe.

We got on the bus back to where our cars were parked, and Alex and I gave up our seats to a couple with a lot of small children and a stroller. We moved to the back and found some spare seats, and I sat across from a woman and her fourteen-month-old son. He looked at me and smiled, and then he looked at Alex, who was sitting next to the toddler’s father, and smiled.

Today, we slept in late, took our showers, and had lunch while watching episodes of the Venture Bros. Alex left not long ago, and I’ve been writing and trying to work on homework. Jess and Bob are borrowing my Playstation for the moment, so Twin Peaks will have to wait, but that’s okay. I probably should concentrate on my class for a while. Only a few more weeks left! I just wish this one could have lasted longer…

Goals Completed:

#1: Receive my driver’s license.

#55: Sing karaoke at a bar.

I’ve had a lovely, well-deserved break, and I’m all ready to talk about it!

Last Tuesday night was Poker Night up in Muncie. I knew they were going to have it in Muncie, but I was unaware that it was to be Tuesday. I had to get up at 7:00 for work the next morning, though, so I went to Alex’s room for the night.

Work went well, I finished reading On the Road, and then about an hour later, I was on my way back to Pendleton. Mom and I went to the library, where we picked up movies and I picked up Chuck Palahniuk’s newest book, Pygmy. When we were leaving the library, a girl on a bike struck our car. No damage to the car or any of us, but the girl seemed to have whiplash. She was not wearing a helmet and she explained that her brakes were not working – hence the reason why she hit our car. It is horrible that they were just letting the brakes stay a problem and allow this girl to continue riding her bike, since she could have been seriously injured, or even killed.

Mom and I came home, cooked dinner (Tasty food!) and watched Factory Girl. We also argued about our plans. Mom wanted to go see the new Egypt exhibit, including some of King Tutankhamen’s treasures, at the Children’s Museum, and I thought it would be cool, but the price was steep. It was almost fifty dollars a person. I had to talk Mom out of it, though. The exhibit would be neat to see, but we really do not have that kind of money right now.

I slept in the big guest bed every night, and I stretched out, slept deeply, and enjoyed it very much. Thursday morning, after sleeping so well, I made omelets for breakfast, and then during the day, I made blueberry and goat cheese muffins and honey-peanut butter cookies.

Oh my goodness, the food was so delicious, and I was so happy to cook!

I began reading Pygmy, and later, Mom and I watched Mamma Mia. Both of us have seen it before, but Mom wanted to watch it again. I think I might buy her a copy for Christmas.

Friday, Mom found out that they were playing Away We Go at the Keystone Arts Cinema, and I really wanted to see it, so we went. I thought it was a cute movie, and I think it is awesome that John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph were leads, since audiences do not really get to see them in lead roles often.

After dinner on Friday, Mom and I walked to Dairy Queen and got Tagalong Blizzards. There is really no denying that I have a terrible sweet tooth and I get that from both sides of my family… Anyway, I saw Kyle working there. I have not seen him in a while and gave him a hug. He is a senior in high school now, and I think that’s weird because when I was in high school, he was my ‘special freshman.’ It makes me feel old.

We walked back home, and I was going to watch Marley and Me, but the disc was not working, so I watched our copy of The Big Chill instead. I have never seen it before, but we have owned it on VHS for at least as long as I have been alive.

Saturday, I watched The Darjeeling Limited and measured yarn I recycled from a three-dollar Goodwill Sweater. I got about 1,000 yards from it!

I also did some laundry, finished reading Pygmy, and decided it was not really one of my favorite Palahniuk books. I prefer Choke, Haunted, and Invisible Monsters.

Mom and I went to the theatre again and saw Public Enemies. While we were waiting in line for tickets, the girl in front of me turned around and started screaming with joy. It was my Jennifer! I was excited to see her, and she was going to go see Public Enemies too (she’s a huge Johnny Depp fan) with her parents. We were lucky enough to find five seats together, so we sat together for the film, and while waiting, Jennifer and I caught up on what we have been doing, and gossip, and such. It made me happy.

Since it rained quite steadily for most of the day, there were no fireworks for the Fourth of July. Mom and I went to Anderson to see a show, but the only displays we saw were created by the locals. We went home and watched the crappy horror films Waxwork and Waxwork II – which has Bruce Campbell, David Carradine, and Marina Sirtis! –  and ate vanilla ice cream with blueberries and bananas.

Most of Sunday was spent packing and playing Phoenix Wright. I went back to Muncie, dropped my stuff at the house and said hello for a minute, and then I went to Alex’s room. I began reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas while he worked on his Warhammer stuff for a bit. We watched about half of Days of Thunder before losing interest. People were shooting fireworks off outside in various places, so we turned off the lights and watched fireworks from his window.

Then we went to bed, and I really, truly, wish I did not have to get up this morning to go to work at 7:00, but I suppose I have been spoiled enough with four lovely days off work…

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