Friday, April 27, 2007

Yearbooks are coming!

I just got the notice that the books have been shipped! HUZZAH! Ahead of schedule and everything. I am so very excited to see them (the students worked so very, very hard this year). Maybe when they come out someone will get dreadfully interested in taking over the book? Who knows...

Um, so there is a long and convoluted story behind this, but Anne says I'm not allowed to date crazy people anymore. I think that is a fine idea. I will work on it.

Other than missing the physical closeness/benefits of a relationship and the feeling like there is someone out there who cares about you, I'm fully enjoying the single status. I feel less accountable. I can make plans without saying, "I'll have to check with so-and-so." I can have any kind of sleep schedule I want. I get the WHOLE bed all to myself EVERY night. And that vague feeling of dread that pushes me to ask stupid insight-seeking questions (will it last, does he really love me, is he the one, am I in love, do his friends like me, what about his family, do I want kids, how many, etc.) is gone. I had thought they would be replaced by others (like will I always be alone, why aren't I good enough, or something like that), but turns out I have no such worries. I am far too interested in the things that are going on in my life and in the world.

This suggests to me that I should stay single until someone makes a compelling case for me to give up this freedom.

Friday, April 20, 2007

It's been a week!

My sleep schedule has been totally off this week--I think I've been reacting to the VT shootings pretty powerfully from an emotional perspective, and that is wearing me out!

It is so beautiful outside, that even though I have things to be annoyed/angry/worried about, I just don't have the inclination. I like smiling and laughing so much more.

Ok, so I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by international real-estate mogul Robert Kiyosaki. While his writing is not the best, his ideas are intriguing--the basic premise seems to be that success in finances is premised on the same things I believe are required for success in anything else--passion, creativity, commitment, aptitude, study, and willingness to take risks. For some reason, this flies in the face of "conventional" wisdom regarding money. I love so many things about his thinking--especially the honesty about his struggle between the socialist values of his family (who were professional educators) and the capitalist ones espoused by his mentor (called "Rich Dad") in business. I think I'm going to get a copy of his computer game to teach myself about finances. After studying up in 2000 on the subject enough to start an IRA (now valued over $10,000 with a 403(b) over $7,000 thankyouverymuch), I feel like I'm finally ready to start really diving into the stock market. I even found a "sector" I already love and read about regularly--entertainment! I even had this crazy idea about creating a company to let regular people buy "shares" in a movie, but apparently someone else is working on putting that into action. I don't think I'll ever love investing as much as he does, but I certainly love learning about finance and money and stuff (blame The Motley Fool back in the day and my fave online journalist, MP Dunleavey, who I have followed since she wrote about relationships for lifetime.com).

I'm even more excited about going to Korea than I was (if you can imagine that!). I have been in contact with an American director of a hogwan (afterschool private English tutoring center) who seems like she'd be a lot of fun to work for, but the school is in an area that has few foreigners on the outskirts of Daegu (the third largest city in Korea). I like the idea that my work would have few communication problems (since the director is American), but that I could get the immersion experience. And if I'm craving "foreigner" community, downtown Daegu is an easy subway ride (looks like about how I am right now relative to downtown DC, which is just about right!).

I need to make myself focus for these last couple months (less than 2! yikes!). Yay for Kings Dominion on Sunday!

Friday, April 13, 2007

GRE scores and relationships

Maybe I've been watching far too much Sex and the City for my own good, but why does it seem sometimes like life only "happens" in the context of relationships, at least for women? I have some excellent friends who are single and doing neat things with their lives--struggling to get ahead, saving up for home purchases, negotiating the astronomically delicate landmine of most family units, and generally, you know, LIVING, the same kinds of things I've been doing for the last few years--but somehow it seems that I had been judging them a little without meaning to at all. I just realized that unless my single friends were traveling the world or pursuing graduate degrees/exciting careers, I kind of thought their lives were mundane and stalled. I mean, most of my friends have intense passions for all kinds of pursuits, so if they weren't pursuing them, I kept thinking "why"?

However, it seems I have also delayed pursuing my passions and leading a rather mundane and stalled existence. Except I didn't notice it until I got comfortable with the idea of not being in a relationship. For some reason that I still have not fully explored, I actually excused the blandness of my own existence, the delayed pursuit of dreams, the comfortable day to day familiarity of Maryland because I was in a relationship. You see, for some dubious and now rather murky reason, I believed that giving stuff up to be in a relationship somehow made your life more exciting. Really, it just makes it more pathetic than the friends (god I am SOOOO sorry, I seriously did not realize this ugliness about myself until today) who are contented because they are doing exactly what it is they want to do.

I could say that I was being adventurous and risking my heart instead of risking my dreams, but that's just a pathetic excuse. I haven't really been in love with anyone I've dated recently--not in the way that is really a risk because you give yourself to another. I have been selecting rather safe, shallow goons in the same way I have been making rather safe, shallow life choices. Taking the GRE I realized that there are things I desperately want and need to pursue, even if failing at them means I'll be devastated. I need to write. I need to travel. I need to be involved with serious intellectual study.

The job I'm considering in Korea will give me enough time for the first, great experience with the second, and the opportunity to think about how and when to pursue the third (and whether it is more or less important than the first; and in the mean time throw it a bone by studying a foreign language and culture). I also need outdoors and beautiful things--hiking in the mountains should help!

Yes, I need relationships with others just the same as any other human. I have family and friends for that, but I think with love, I'd rather have someone who will flow with me, rather than force me in another direction or even just allow themselves to be dragged alongside. I'll keep my eyes open, but that kind of person doesn't come along all that often and I need to hold out for someone that I really could fall in love with. And after taking all these other necessary risks in my life, maybe I'll finally be ready for that kind of risk. If not, I'll be too busy to notice!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rainbows and Testing

I saw the most beautiful rainbow this afternoon while jogging around Greenbelt Lake, but when I came back with my camera, it was gone. I feel a bit like chasing rainbows is a nice metaphor for my life right now. I am getting ready for bed because I have to take the GRE tomorrow morning and the GRE subject test on Saturday.

Springhill Lake (nation's largest apartment complex--happens to feed into my high school) is on fire... again. That is not a good thing. Apparently this is the latest fire in a series of 5 over the last month. What on earth is going on over there?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Florida and death... not political!

So I got back yesterday from my trip to Florida. This was planned before Grandma E's fatal heart attack, but I was definitely waxing sentimental on the ride down. I associate most of my memories of travel to Florida with visiting her and Grandpa E before he died about ten years ago. I felt that there is some connection with travelling to Florida for vacations as a young'un, the last journey I took over the holidays in 2002-3 with Nik for the death of his grandfather (he stayed in NC and I went on to Fla with family to visit the triplets for the first time), and my most recent journey in light of recent life events. Travel south punctuates the significant events of my life; I suspect this last one will be my final memories of Grandma Mars--my last living grandparent. We celebrated her 85th birthday on Friday (to the right is Mars and Mom waiting outside Carrabbas for dinner).

I took a Greyhound bus from DC to Orlando. Although 18 hours of travel is very stressful in tiny seats and dirty bus stations with questionable preparation of adequate numbers of buses available for passengers with "reservations," I had a lot of fun meeting interesting people and finishing two whole books. I met a pregnant girl from Hyattsville visiting family in Georgia, two young men who were fashion plates for the hip hop scene from New England, a hispanic/black family going to a cousin's wedding with one of the most adorable children I saw on this trip (and trust me, that was a mighty competition, as you can see from the pictures at left of Katy and at right of Sam, yes he is building a sand castle with no pants), and a hottie from Israel who was raised on a kibbutz and needed help practicing his English and figuring out American denominations for his change on his way to work as a laborer for a Florida-based film company (only too happy to do my American duty...and drool over him later). Too bad I didn't take pictures of him.

My parents and sister picked me up at the bus station in Orlando, coming up from camping in the Keys for the last week--Sarah's break was a week before mine. We checked into a hotel in Cocoa Beach, near Merritt Island where my favorite uncle, Tom (at left, with Joe who took a special liking to me), and aunt, Ginny, live with their three 5 year old children, Joe, Katy, and Sam. Across the street from this hotel was a bar that highly amused Sarah and me by its unusual choice of name:

On Saturday, the kiddies blew off a friend's birthday party to join us at the beach. It was a beautiful, perfect day (and where I took most of the photos I put up for this entry). I swam for a couple hours until the wind picked up and cooled the beach off too much to stay.

<--Sarah, sexy at sixteen, but still my goofball little sister, with the Atlantic ocean in the background.

Ginny cooked dinner on the grill for us that night while I frantically tried to help out (though rather superfluously) and we talked about my plans for Korea and grad school while my cousins watched Happy Feet with my mom.

The drive home was generally pleasant, but I don't feel much like doing much right now. I think I'm feeling a lot of things that I can't put into words right now. I took a long walk this afternoon just to get out of this apartment--3x around the lake. I meant to work on school stuff. I might need more time to process the death of grandma and the depressing shroud of death in my living grandma's nursing home...

Book reviews on finished books will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Quiet Time.

Grandma E. died last night. She was with family and went quickly, with very little pain.

I cope with tragedies by communing with girlie television, so back to Sex and the City. More later.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Being Sick...

Well, it's no fun. I don't know what's going on with my body lately... it's been so weird because I can't seem to sleep when I need to sleep so I'm making myself ill. I might want to banish caffeine after 5 pm and start regularly walking (like I did yesterday--that made me feel very good) and no TV or internet after 10 or something...

That actually sounds like a good plan.

I'm going to finish this soda and then my laundry and cleaning (that might help, too!) and then read for a bit and go back to bed.

I think I've been off my regular schedule from nerves or something and need back on one. It would be good training for when I move if I can force myself back into regularity. It helps that I have new books to read.

*sigh*

I feel slightly (and am, according to this thermometer) feverish. I think I'll take a little advil now to help with that. At least my nose has stopped running for half a second and I can breathe now. Drink more water. Take more vitamins.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Buddy Attick Park

I just got back from a lovely spring afternoon walk around the Greenbelt Lake, just a few hundred yards from my apartment. It was beautiful! Here are some fun highlights:
Rainbow Pinwheel Forest!
Duck Butts!

Twoo Wuv! (said by the guy from Princess Bride)

Super fun times.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Yearbook... DONE

Yay! I am celebrating hitting that final "submit" button on the final page of the 2007 yearbook. WOOHOO!

Really it should have been done a week ago, but who's counting?

It's been so beautiful out lately that I've been having some serious jonesing for a hike. Maybe I'll plan an afternoon hike soonish. As it is, I'm pretty busy with preparations for Florida on Thursday. Spring Break is almost here. Yes!

I think I desperately need this break. I'm going a little stir crazy. I need the sleep and the rest.

Oh yes, and the King's Dominion trip with CCSi on Apr. 22. If anyone wishes to accompany us, let me know. I think guests are in the $30 range--not bad for KD!

Maybe Sarah would want to come. I'll ask her.

And with that, I leave you with my cat:
This is Princess. Everybody say "HELLO!"

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