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Monthly Archives: October 2008

step inside

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I’m so tired of worrying and feeling like I’m never going to be quite the person I want to be.

Ever since I was younger, I felt like I had my idea of what I wanted to do and be. When I was in high school, I was editor of the yearbook and frequently contributed small editorials to our little newspaper. My teachers praised me as a good writer and a “very intelligent girl.” I did well in school. Graduated with top honors. Scholarships.

When I went to college and attended some of my first honors classes, I was in for a rude awakening. My first honors English Comp paper came back to me with a letter I’d not been familiar with. After talking with my teacher and some serious relearning, I got better. My papers got better. I was praised once again by teachers I revered and respected.

About halfway into my college career, I worked up the nerve to go down to the school newspaper office and say, “I want to write.” I got my first assignment, something simple. I went on to write several more things for the paper. I wrote many stories for reporting and writing classes. One of my in-depth assignments won me an award. My teachers again showered with me with wonderful words and encouraged me to pursue what I thought I wanted—to be a writer. In my mind, I became convinced that my skill was with the editing aspect of things, though I still wanted to consider myself a writer. My senior year I served as copy editor for the paper. I enjoyed editing stories for content and grammar, making my marks and cleaning things up. Classmates would ask me to look over their papers, and I did so gleefully. I enjoyed writing, but there were so many times that I would just freeze and I felt like the right words would never come. I felt more comfortable in hacking apart what someone else had put together.

My dream internship was always to work at Southern Living. I wanted to work with the copy editors, learn more about the business, and really hone my skills. However, I soon became very conflicted as to whether or not this was what I wanted. Even worse, when I became mixed in with all the other interns from around the country, I couldn’t help but feel cheated. All the others (mostly girls) had already completed several internships. They came from bigger schools that had a better focus on journalism and other specialized areas, which didn’t hold up well next my communication degree with a focus in print journalism. Even worse, I felt jealousy pangs for something else that all the other girls had that I didn’t—drive. Determination. Go-getter-ness. Nearing the end of my internship, the others had all had writing assignments, interviews, job opportunities. I had nothing. I had no confidence, no skills, and no interviews.

Fast-forward to now. I got a job, but not exactly doing what I wanted. I feel lost. I feel like the world is moving so fast around me and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t feel like an inspired writer, I don’t think I’m good enough to really do anything, and I just sit in my little pit of despair, wishing I was any of my other friends who have all the abilities I only thought I once had. I’ve had one or two other writing assignments outside of work, but it seems that no matter what I do, it’s never as good as all my other friends who are out there living the dream I always had. I feel like I’ll never be good enough to go places. I don’t have the experience I should have already gotten by now. I’m too scared to go after anything. I wait forever to do assignments because I psych myself out and think I just can’t do it. My biggest fear: I’ll never be the person I always wanted to be. I think too much, too far in the future, and I give myself a headache stressing about things that haven’t even happened yet. I wallow in a cloud of “what-if” and I can’t seem to make any sense out of anything I do. I don’t know enough. I don’t comprehend well. I don’t, I can’t, I won’t. I can’t get these contractions out of my vocabulary. My mind is moving too fast. My head feels full. I just want to live one day without feeling the weight of my own world on my shoulders. I’m tired. I want to be inspired. I want to be talented. I want to be motivated. I want experience. I want, I want, I want. Nothing I ever do is good enough. The worst feeling in the world is to be so proud of something you’ve done only to realize you were all wrong all along.

I wish I had the experiences my friends have had. Work experience, life experience. I wish I had their talents. I wish I had their skills. I wish I had their opportunities. I wish I were a better writer. I wish I was the Summer I always wanted to grow up to be, the Summer my parents always thought I would be, the Summer that all my old friends think that I’m busy becoming. I want to move. I want to get out. I wish I had the prestige and the importance that goes along with the phrase, “I work in publishing.” I don’t read enough of the right books. I don’t know the right authors. I don’t quote the right people. I don’t know enough about history or politics. I don’t know how to state my opinions. I don’t quote the right song lyrics. I don’t listen to the right music. I don’t know enough about current affairs. I don’t even know if I could tell you where India is on a map.

I feel like I’m stuck in a place of always saying I’m going to do this or that and saying it and thinking it so much that I feel like I’ve actually done it, which provides me with the only sense of accomplishment I have. I need motivation. I want to want to do things. I hate always wanting to go to sleep, because that’s the only time I don’t feel like I have to worry about my next move, my next step, my next day of continuing to remain in the same place.

I feel lost.

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Nancy Drew and the Case of the Missing Peanut Butter

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I love peanut butter. I do. I like it on sandwiches, on toast, on crackers, with pretzels…it’s so good. About a month ago, my dad came to visit me here in Bham. After we had dinner, he took me to buy some groceries. When we passed the pb aisle, I decided to go ahead and pick up a jar since I was about 1/4 of the way from being done with my current canister of deliciousness.

The next day, I decided I want a pb half sandwich, or a “bend it back,” as an old roommate and dear friend of mine refers to them. I went for the peanut butter, and I just couldn’t resist opening that brand-new jar. For the next few days, I continued to dip from both jars, even though I knew I should just use the old one until it was gone.

One day, I went to get the newest peanut butter, only to realize that it was nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere. All over the cabinets, the kitchen, even the den and living room. I questioned Dave underneath a hot lamp, but he gave me no useful information. Where was the peanut butter? I demanded to know.

I begrudgingly used the rest of my other peanut butter until it was gone. Then I had none. I wanted a pb sammie sooooo bad, but I had none. And I couldn’t justify buying more when I knew there was an almost full jar…somewhere.

Last night I caved. I had just gotten paid, and I rationalized that if the other one turned up, I wouldn’t have to buy any for a while.

As I was putting up groceries, I went to move the the bread machine that was on my counter, blocking the bottom cabinet. Let me just say that I looked in these cabinets, though I never completely moved the bread machine. As I went to pick it up, I was met with a sight for sore eyes: My peanut butter had fallen, just lying on the counter behind the bread maker, waiting for me to come and rescue it from the dark prison it had been for at least a week.

Why is it that you only find things like that (well, not necessarily food things, but other personal items) until you’ve given up on them and decided to find a replacement? Now I have two jars of peanut butter again.

Note: I realized throughout the course of this blog I referred to my “jar” of peanut butter, and that’s what everyone calls it, unless you use the Southern “a thing of peanut butter;” however, this pb is in a plastic container. What do you call that? I think I said canister earlier, but that doesn’t feel right. Plastic jar? Or does jar always denote being made of glass? Hmmm….

Protester Parkway

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Right now I’m browsing apartments here in Bham because I’m not terribly satisfied with the place I’m living in now. I mean, I like it, but due to some extenuating circumstances, I’m a little perturbed with my current dwellings.

I started with a simple Internet search in the surrounding area. I’d like something that is close to work, fairly affordable, with washer/dryer connects, preferably a dishwasher, and that accepts pets. The dishwasher, though, is negotiable. I found several that could possibly work, wrote down the address, Googlemapped it up, and then printed the directions out so I could peruse these apartments after work.

I found most of them fairly easily, though there were one or two that gave me a little trouble. Anyway, I finally found the one that had evaded me for the better part of about half an hour. It was in a good spot, affordable (cheaper than I’m paying now), and had a laundry facility on site. Looked okay to me.

However, I started driving down the street and noticed several people dotting the street side all the way back down to the main road. They were holding signs, I noticed. I squinted as I got closer to read what they said:

“Pray to end abortion!” and “Abortion is murder!” and “All babies want to get borned!”

Okay, that last one was made up. But seriously, it was like a scene straight out of Juno. These people stared at me as I cruised by, a confuzzled look on my face. They pointed their signs at me and even moved as I moved. There more signs, but I couldn’t quite read them all. There might’ve even been a McCain/Palin sign or two in there.

My confusion was met with realization as I approached the end of the street. The business on the corner sparked it all—Planned Parenthood of Birmingham.

Excellent. I think I’ve pretty much marked that one off the list. It didn’t even have a dishwasher anyway. They should put that information on the Web site: “Rent, $500. Roadside morality lessons, free!”

Bathroom Brouhaha

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So I work in this old historic building. We share it with another company. And while we remain fairly separate, there is one element in which we are all forced together: the bathroom.

While the bathroom has been the source of a few stories for me before, I think this story is on a different plain.

I will preface this story by saying this: When I’m in the bathroom, that is MY time. Time for me. Not only to do what I’ve gotta do, but also to reflect and enjoy one or two precious moments of silence and savor the time that I do not have to talk or interact with anyone else. I’m not ashamed (okay, maybe a little) to admit that I like to wait until everyone else has left the bathroom before I will emerge from my stall. I hope to avoid those awkward conversations at the sink where you feel the need to say things like “Morning” or “Brr! Sure is a cold one today, eh?” These are only slightly worse than those pre-stall meetings where you see someone you DO indeed work with, and they feel the need to talk to you as you conduct business (see stall talkers).

Anyway. The women at the other office here are a little…how can I say this…snooty. There are several attractive younger women and a few older women, and I always feel as if they look at me with such disdain when I’m entering the bathroom. Which is funny, considering I know what everyone goes into said room to do, and no matter how great and wonderful they think they are, they are not above (for lack of a better way to put it) going number two. They have a large set of drawers alongside the wall in the vestibule type area of the bathroom, each of which is labeled with their names (yeah, I looked. Sue me.) in which they can put personal effects. And there is one thing it seems they all have—a toothbrush.

I don’t know this because I looked in every drawer, but instead I know this because they are always. Brushing. Their. Teeth. Always. I ‘m not sure if they all have really bad teeth or if they are all just that concerned with good oral hygiene.

Again, I digress. Excessive brushing is not at the heart of the story, though the bathroom behavior of my neighbors is. Just this morning, I was in the bathroom, minding myself and reveling in the silence that had settled in. I hear someone walk in. However, this person does not go to a stall. I hear her rummaging around in the drawers. Then she goes over to the sink to settle in. I sigh, knowing she won’t be leaving any time soon. Little did I know that this lady in the loo would be taking commandeering the commode (oh, yeah. Check that alliteration.) to a whole new level.

As I exit the roomy handicapped stall that I am so fond of, I see that this woman (yes, woman, older, gray hair, so-so appearance) is not only brushing her teeth, but there is a makeup bag with various products strewn about on the counter and she has plugged up a curling iron. It was 1130! And yes, I said woman. She was older than my mother, but concerned enough that her dark silvery locks didn’t have that voluminous bounce as did the youngsters in her office. So concerned that she felt the need to curl her hair in the community bathroom, even though we were well into our 8-hour workday. I mean really.

Have any of you ever encountered something…strange in the bathroom?

style and glass

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Last night I was over at a friend’s house to watch The Office and enjoy some delicious German-inspired cuisine. We had bratwursts, sauerbraten, ginger cookies, and my contribution, soft pretzels.

The soft pretzels were fairly easy to make, but there was just a lot of rising and kneading time. It was about 2 hours later after I started that we were able to enjoy these buttery and delicious treats. They were a little bit of a pain to roll; it was difficult getting them thin enough and long enough to twist into pretzel shapes. But with the aid of Craig’s cutting board and countertop, I made it happen.

Fast-forward a little bit. We’ve all enjoyed our food, and are saying our goodbyes. I had made one last pretzel with the remaining dough and decided to take it home with me. Once I arrived at my apartment, I began putting things away. But there that pretzel was. Taunting me in its little Ziploc bag. I was considering waiting and just taking it to work with me in the morning, but….I couldn’t.

I reached into the bag and tore off a chunk and proceeded to it. Yum! I did a few more things around the apartment, promising myself that I’d just take the rest of my treat to work in the morning.

Easier said than done.

I went back and helped myself to another piece. So, here I am, nomming away at this yummy pretzel, when suddenly…CRUNCH.

Something was not right.

I had bitten down into something…crunchy. Thinking it was just a clump of sugar or something from the dough, I bit down again.

CRUNCH.

Ok, this was weird. I spit out the chewed-up pretzel piece and began to examine it. That’s when I saw what made the CRUNCH:

A piece of glass.

That’s right, glass. I have no clue how it got in there or what it wanted with me, but there was glass in my doughy delight. Needless to say, I did not finish the rest of the pretzel, though I did examine it further for any more intruders. Maybe I should’ve bitten into the glass sooner. Oh, well.

Anyone else have any other weird stories about food surprises?