Monthly Archives: September 2009

Photos, photos, photos!

Many of the shots I’ve taken for this blog (and some that I haven’t), but never got around to uploading/posting:

Kudla boys.

Kudla boys. Bronx, NY

Grounded DirectTV Blimp @ Republic.

Grounded DirectTV Blimp @ Republic.

Architecture @ the Chelsea Piers

Architecture @ the Chelsea Piers

People-watching NYC style, anyone?

People-watching NYC style, anyone?

9/11/09 @ SBU

9/11/09 @ SBU (they're flags)

(Homemade) Chicken Soup for Alex's soul.

(Homemade) Chicken Soup for Alex's soul.

Let's play Find the Bees -- there are dozens!

Let's play Find the Bees -- there are dozens!

It is impossible to capture beauty by moonlight.

It is impossible to capture beauty by moonlight.

What the dining room of a diner looks like at 7 a.m. on a Saturday.

What the dining room of a diner looks like at 7 a.m. on a Saturday.

Pond @ Babylon Town Hall Park...

Pond @ Babylon Town Hall Park...

Decorations, sans webs (w/spidies) & pumpkins.

Decorations, sans webs (w/spidies) & pumpkins.

Miles & miles of gorgeous cloud cover.

Miles & miles of gorgeous cloud cover.

Look! A color I like!

Look! A color I like!

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A long and wonderful weekend.

As much as I did not want to work the extra time at the office, I was happy simply to exist on Friday, for one reason or another.  I dealt with demanding, slightly incompetent people, but I handled it quite well.  I sought out Alex when I thought Friday afternoon traffic southbound on the Sagtikos Parkway would frustrate me, and her input was all that was necessary to maintain composure.  By the time I got home, however, all I wanted was to get rid of my headache and get some sleep.  They occurred together, fortunately.  I napped from the time I got home (5:30-ish) until around 7, when Cory called to tell me he’d be donned in beach-wear, namely goggles, a snorkel and flippers.  I scarfed down a few bites of the shrimp lo mein my mother had ordered and made myself presentable.

Needless to say, the evening was splendid, complete with miles and miles of walking through gorgeous little lagoons from the low tide, with amazingly in tact shells everywhere, and incredible conversation in a positive, jovial manner.  Things that made the evening even more entertaining:  being forewarned by the guy with a hook for a hand that there was a raccoon not far ahead in the direction we were walking; trying to break into the Ice Cream Parlor (for a Chipwich or Fribble); trying to capture anything on film in only moonlight; playing “props” with trash on the beach (such as the bottom to a school-style chair, or a large wooden stake–to kill the vampires or write our names in the sand–either/or); getting my sneakers/socks/jeans wet from a surprise wave from the ocean; running away from the people with the flashlights down the beach; returning to the people with the flashlights down the beach so as to satisfy our curiosity and not be pussies; being creeped out by the duo (trio?) cloaked in black who no longer shone the flashlights upon our arrival;  attempting to find the parking lot from the shore; walked down long portions of boardwalk post-light-shutting; not being locked in this time around.

Next week’s plans have made me kind of excited.  I’ve been meaning to hike the Greenbelt trail since I joined the LITE meetup group, and now it’s just part of my Saturday plans.  I have to go make some money covering Denise’s shift in Wantagh (which is totally okay, because I love working with both Emily and Rita), then I get to go hike the trail!  I was hoping to get some apple/pumpkin picking in that weekend, but mayhaps I will just have to push that back a tad.

But enough of future talk; I want to finish my half-weekend synopsis, so I can get some sleepytime in.  Saturday.  Oh, lordy lord, Saturday has been a long one.  I forced myself to sleep by 2 a.m. Friday night, so that getting up around 6:30-6:45 would be feasible.  Amazingly, it was.  I stuck to my plan and dragged my ass (and my car) down to Midas to check out the squeaky brake bit.

With Raz in the hands of “professionals” at 7:01 a.m., I walked the two buildings over to the diner where I had a delicious coffee/pancake/bacon/environmental history homework breakfast.  The history stuff wasn’t bad; it was actually all about European colonization on the Madeiras and Canary Islands.  Some was a bit sad.  The letter from Chris Columbus back home was quite entertaining though, I must say, when he “discovered” Cuba and Honduras and the surrounding land.

Anyway, I didn’t mind waiting for fresh pancakes, and I didn’t mind waiting when my credit card scanned “0.00” instead of the ten bucks breakfast was supposed to cost me.  Mike (@ Midas) had already called; my back brakes were low, and knowing I didn’t want them to (a) cut into the rotors, and (b) continue to make that awful noise, I gave them the go-ahead. It cost…a total of $5 over what I had thought it would cost (looks like I’m getting good at this stuff).  Complacent, I was, since Friday, and for no “good” reason.

I sauntered across Sunrise Highway to Babylon Town Hall Park, where I proceeded to study for my Psychology of Prejudice exam (on Wednesday) and then doze off on a park bench in the sun with geese and a fountain (okay, and the traffic out on Sunrise Highway) the only surrounding noise.  I awoke near ten, and expecting the work to be done relatively soon after that, I set off back to my point of origin where I proceeded to wait (patiently, mind you) another forty-five minutes.  I’ll have you know, however, it was well worth the wait.  To be able to stop–at a light, stop-sign, because traffic slows down–without hearing a horrible high-pitched yelp from the brakes is a wonderful thing.  I drove home $250 in debt, but a happy camper.

I apparently dove into “do stuff” mode upon returning home; I started my laundry, did my IAT test for class, checked into directions and train times for Sunday (more on that later), and began pulling out autumn/Halloween decorations from the closet.  Next thing I knew I was decorating the house and trimming hedges almost simultaneously.  I am satisfied with the results, but the front yard is still lacking two things, decoration-wise: spider webs (with little spideys in ’em) and pumpkins.  These shall both be remedied by 10/13.  Believe you me.

When I was done with just about everything I needed to complete at home, I headed out towards dad’s with a text to the stepmom about my intentions of stopping by.  I was told by my father, as I arrived to an almost uninhabited house, that Lynn & KJ had gone to the Cedar Beach carnival.  So I headed that way and met up with them.  Corn dog, funnel cake, ferris wheel — need I really say more?  We got home near 5, had a few cocktails, and Lynn made Margherita Pizza.  Mmm mmm good. When everyone finally headed to bed, I watched last night’s Dollhouse (still got my attention, Whedon) and played a smidgen (read: hour) of Super Mario Galaxy.  I really couldn’t be happier.

Tomorrow I head home circa 9 a.m. to pick up some cheap water at CVS (I’m a super-shopper now–the sale is 24 pack for $3.99 an I have $1 off coupon.  SO yeah, 24 Nestle waters for 3 bucks.  Win.) to store in the trunk of the car to drink over the next two weeks, then to color my hair, shower, prep myself for party time (and homework-on-the-train-time) and haul ass to the Babylon Train Station for the 12:12 express to Penn.  From there I need to take the E to Lex and walk about four blocks to the restaurant Juliette is having her mother’s surprise 60th birthday party.  I cannot forget the secondary favors I picked up for Jule OR the present.  I cannot.  I will not.

Of course, when I get home from this event (that ends around 5:30, putting me on a 6:10 train home if I’m lucky and getting me back to my actually house around 8), I have to write almost all of my philosophy paper as well as a one-pager on Columbus’ letter and if I’m still conscious tweak my personal statement and apply to a few schools.  Whatever I don’t finish Sunday night needs to be done by 3 p.m. on Monday, when I head to Lake Success to cover Meryl’s shift until 8:30.  That philosophy paper is due the following day–I will have all of an hour or two to “finish” it after work on Monday, which I hope I will not have to utilize.

Seeing as I just typed a novella for only half a weekend’s summary, I s’pose I should try and get some shut eye.  But first, naturally, I have to email Cory 15 words so he can make a “cute little…” something for me, in dialogue.  We’ll see how this goes!  …the story, I mean.

P.S. I have pictures I’ve been taking over the past few days? weeks?  that I will eventually get around to posting here.  I mean it.  Soon.   No, really.

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The Seven-Day Mile

When I attended high school, I wanted nothing more than to be done with school on the whole.  I was lucky to have graduated and by graduation day I was living in my own apartment, waiting tables for rent money, grown up without the process of actually growing.  I wanted the independent life and I had achieved it.  For almost six years this satisfied me.  I progressed from waiting tables to working as an administrative assistant in several departments of a defense aircraft manufacturing plant to being an accounts payable representative for a major lighting company, finally settling at making a living as a legal assistant in real estate for four years.  During my time at the law firm, I reassessed my position in life.  I could easily continue with the job I had, increasing in salary annually for several decades, but I would ultimately be miserable.  So I asked myself the age-old question to a happy, successful career: What could I do that was something I was passionate about?

The answer came quicker than the flash of a light bulb, as absolutely no thought was required.  Psychology.  I had been spending a decade of my life trying to understand people; how could it not be something I absolutely adored?

In truth, it was.  I spent a vast majority of my high school career speaking with the teachers — I preferred conversation with them over the petty details of teens’ lives.  There was not only a great deal more intelligence in my educators, but more depth.  I was certain my relationships with age-matched peers were superficial at best, as most lived through fleeting moments in succession, with no real commitments, organization or responsibilities.  Each day of my life since has been one of analytical thought processes.

When I found myself pouring over contracts and riders and loan documents, I took a step back and looked at what I had become.  I knew I was unhappy, but it gave me common ground come happy hour, when hordes of office workers gathered round a pitcher to complain of their places of employment.  I fit in with the rest of the crowd, but my own well-being suffered.  Rather than stay within my comfort zone, I began taking night classes at Hunter College.

As far back as I can remember, I could “read” people, as it’s commonly referred to.  Not necessarily everyone, and not always accurately, but it was still something I was fairly good at.  I carried, as I still do, an unlimited capacity for empathy.  My heart would break with the hearts of others, and knowing how horrible that feeling was, I wanted to change it.  People found themselves drawn to me, able to open up to me.  They believed that the feedback I had provided was intelligent and beneficial.  It actually felt like I had a calling.  So I tried my hand at my first psychology course.

After two part-time and one summer semester at Hunter, my fear dissipated.  I was sure I was on the right path.  Not only did I experience a sense of wholeness from what I took away from my psychology classes, but I also found I enjoyed learning far more than I ever thought possible.  Suddenly, conversations with friends turned from what went on over the weekend to what was going on in the world.  I fed off of the educational high; I craved more information, more knowledge.  I took classes in everything that had ever interested me: geography, political science, writing, literature.  I soaked up everything that was presented to me and I let it make me a stronger, wiser person.  I applied to Stony Brook University full-time. When I was accepted, I quit my job and started the serious journey to a career I would enjoy.

And that journey has led me here, to deciding my educational fate.  As I submit applications to various graduate programs, I am absolutely certain that I am doing what is best for me as well as best for the others’ I might someday help.  I remind myself that realistically not every story can have a happy ending, as not every patient can be cured, but I am blessed with optimism.  I have no doubt in my ability to succeed both academically and professionally, and look forward to wherever the next step in the journey of this process should take me.

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I am a little less than sober.

My plans to do minor note-transcribing and sleep went horribly awry when I picked up Cory’s phone call.  What started as an innocent beer turned into two additional glasses of chocolate wine (which, in case you’re wondering, tastes exactly like less-strong Bailey’s).  The conversation was good; as much as I’m not supposed to be talking (vocal hygiene!), I can’t help but spend an hour on the phone with that man.  And it’s not like he’s doing something else; he’s listening to me, and paying attention, and, more than I could ever dream, relating.  Good lord, even if this is ephemeral, I’ll take it.  It’s refreshing.  It’s nice.  It’s … warm & fuzzy.  And seriously, when I said I could get lost in conversation between his pharmacist father and social worker mother,  I was not kidding.  If he and I never speak again, I want rights to the Levine parents.

Anyway, I’m not here to say much (obviously, ’cause I’m in no state to), but I just wanted to reiterate a few points from my day:

1.  I am the win at these Drugs & the Brain quizzes.  Like TA-next-semester material win.

2. That kid that was in my Stats class is now in my Psych of Prejudice class.  I really should get his name…

3. I do my job well. I don’t care what anyone says.  I am awesome.

4. Hobbes has got our political system down.

5. I am scared out of my mind of hurricanes.  Clearly, I will get into NOVA Southeastern.  Just ’cause it’s in Ft. Lauderdale.

6. James O’Leary (the one in my history class, not the one I dated for three years) is just another loser.  Not that I cared, just that I need to make a note that it must be the name.

7. I love Christine.  And I miss her terribly, even though we didn’t see each other as it were.  But she is incredibly talented. (I have proof!)

7.  Despite our ups & downs, my mom is still my bff.

8.  Alex? A close second.

9.  And Cory?  FFN.  (Fun for now.)

That is all.  I make no claims to anything else or the future, because … well, fuck if I know.

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A peek into my journal.

My journal is not the standard journal in that it holds all my deep, dark secrets and inner thoughts that I couldn’t possibly share with the world.  I don’t have a place for that, because I don’t have those things.  I only have what I write here.  My journal just happens to be small enough to fit in my bag (or jacket pocket, really) and therefore catches stray thoughts when I’m out and about, most recently in school.

9/10/09 – sitting on the floor at Penn Station, NY, waiting for my track to be listed
I hate that I love Penna Sta., NY.  You don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone, I guess.

I love sitting on the floor, watching everyone bustle above me, towering like small giants, going about their busy lives.  When I stand, I join them, like I was never of another status, but for now — just for a few minutes — I am still.  There is nothing to me but breath, which, shoulders at rest, occurs through the rise & fall of my diaphragm.  For just these moments, I am the out-group.  Some will consider me an exception to their in-group, which will strengthen their ties to being a commuter.

Oddly, the woman playing music next to McDonald’s began to sing, “don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone…”  There is something magical about this place — or mystical.  Like it’s not just a commuter hub, it’s also a spiritual hub.

9/14/09 – in Environmental History ~6:50 p.m.
Creepy old guy in history class eyed me up & down & mouthed, “wow.”  I think I pretended not to notice, but I can’t really tell what my face revealed — turns out it reveals a lot.

Figures — in this class there’s one guy I’m drawn to (James O’Leary), one that’s the “guy from afar,” and new creepy middle-aged guy with the balding spot.

It kind of tapped into this defenseless female feeling.  I despise this feeling.  I doubt men really have this — or, at the very least it’s likely in the form of rage or adrenaline.  I’d much prefer that, honestly.  Defenselessness is a crappy feeling.

And…now my temper has gotten me embarrassed in class.  I did this paper, but she changed the assignment so I sighed in exasperation.  She confronted me in front of everyone about it & then proceeded to explain for five minutes that schedules may not allow us all to do it in one day.  She surveyed the class — I was the only one.  But she made note of my predicament and agreed to tell us about the paper the Wednesday the week before it’s due.  Mostly just for me.  Sweet.
9/15/09 – doing homework at Dunkin’ Donuts before going to Juliette’s for dinner
Songs I want:
– “Pictures of you, pictures of me.”
– Falling For You
– Cascada’s new song
– “Sun will set for you”
– New Divide
– “Push the pedal down, watch the world around fly by us”
– “still have my heart”  (maybe — check lyrics)

9/16/09 – in Psychology of Prejudice, ~10:50 a.m.
– out w/ Jule ’till 11:30
– phone w/ Cory ’till 12:30
– bed ~1:30-1:45
– up @ 8:05
– parking lot closed & not enough $ for the meter

(lack of sleep, previous night drinking, anxiety over park, late to class)

Class 1 — fast, difficult material, hard to follow, remember, concentrate

Class 2 — slow to understand

6:50pm – in Environmental History
Creepy guy sitting next to me — he reminds me of that guy that used to work w/my mom — Richard.  Probably because they share the name.

He smells — no, reeks — of smoke.  And he can either read this or my thoughts.  Signing off!

So that’s the stuff I think about during my days.  I keep meaning to write shorter little blurbs like, “found shredded turkey chili. good stuff,” just so I can document the little things that make me happy, but I always fail to.  Maybe this conscious recognition of it will trigger some new habit formation.

As of this moment though, it is a quarter to midnight and I am going to read for the next ten minutes (mostly because I know I’ll never make it past ten).

Side notes!  Finished Clash of Kings! (I wrote that already, didn’t I?)  Class canceled today (Natural Disasters).  Looked up three grad schools/programs I’m going to apply to:

– Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology @ SBU (’cause why leave?)

– M.A. in Clinical Psychology @ Penn State Harrisburg (’cause why stay?)

-Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology @ NOVA Southeastern University (’cause it’s fucking Florida!)

scene.

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I like to walk.

Clearly this is something I’m just a fan of, and moreso when I’ve been drinking.  After speaking with Scott tonight, my memory of last Saturday was jostled.  I remember going for the walk now, but what I remember more distinctly was running — which, by the way, would explain the cut on my foot — and not being sure if I was lost or not.  Actually, more like being lost, and getting scared that I was barefoot and drunk running through the streets of Wantagh without my cell phone.  It could not possibly have been with me lest I had used it.

Needless to say, I gave my host the wrong impression, and explained my behavior as both “drunken,” and “easy,” stammering that I had run off in the cab to join Brian because it was familiar and I knew he wouldn’t call the next day, which was exactly what I’d needed.  A shame, really, because not only do I feel like that makes me a lesser person, but I have also given the impression if you get me drunk enough, you can take me home.  Though, in all honesty, I guess Sam proved that one already.  ::barf::

Heh.  So anyways, it’s now 2:30 in the morning, I’ve almost been up 24 hours (it’s more like 19), and I’ve passed the point where I’m super-sleepy.  I had to read through the sleepy to get to the end of Clash of Kings, which, by the way, if you’ve never read it, is one big cliffhanger.   My goal(s) now are to read The Perfect Storm and New Moon, in that order.  Then I will return to the Martin series.

Side note!  My cookies were a smash!  Perfection! Next up: sugar cookies, so I can make fun shaped Christmas ones in a few months.

In other other news I’ve been thinking about cutting the apron strings — no, not of the Lake Success office, which I will be doing in a few weeks regardless of if I want to or not — but of Chris.  I can’t stop, really.  He may not haunt my dreams nearly as much (see: post on Cory dream), but he haunts my thoughts, and my everyday life.  Gmail, Facebook, Goodreads — I don’t want to know what he’s up to, because I know he’s okay.  And though I’m doing what I want to be doing, and enjoying my life best I can in the process, and freeing myself of negative energy, I still can’t stop missing him.  My brain will jump too, like from thoughts of us eating piles of sunflower seeds, licking the BBQ flavor off of one another’s hands, to the tears on his face when I left for the last time in December.  I have to force myself to think of things I shouldn’t have known, or the night at the bar in Chelsea (mind you, hanging out with Vinny blocks away from his job was painful in itself) when I got to hear, “I don’t want to be the guy whose girlfriend is here.”  I have to bring these thoughts to mind just to keep the sad from coming back.  The anger can dominate the sad, but I’m still not sure how to make it permanent. I s’pose he has to do what James did, or what Rob did — betray or severely hurt me.  James is with Salina, Rob is with Liz (which, I’ll have you know, I’m slowly actually coming to terms and am okay with), Brian is a douchebag, as is Sam, and Cory…well, Cory will be my karma.  Y’know, if I’d had any more enemies I would easily pair him up with-  oh for the love of God, he’s going to end up with Lianne.  Jesus H Christ.  And again, I will end up the cat lady.

For now, things aren’t so bad.  I don’t miss sex nearly as much as I thought I would (in all honesty if I missed it more than I despise the awkward of new people, I’d have fixed that problem by now), and I’m so much freer, happier this way.  There is no one to fight with, no one whose feelings need to be considered, and no one to disappoint or frustrate or upset.  But there’s no one to hug either.  There’s no one write little notes for, or clean up after, or complain about to my girlfriends.

But I respect myself.  So much so that I cannot and will not settle.  I have ridiculously high standards, mostly revolving around intelligence, but I will not lower them.  If I have to be single for the rest of my life, I will.  I swear to this.

You know what? I think tired delirium has taken over.  I’m not even entirely sure what I’m saying anymore.  Hope I don’t regret this post in the morning…

…and yes, I’m sober.

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Grad schools, cookies, and more!

There’s always something I mean to write about, but oftentimes at the end of the day, I’m just so wiped out that the thought of writing more puts me to sleep.  So I forget, and then wind up posting something days later, nothing like that of my initial intention.  Maybe I’ll start carrying around a post-it pad, so I can “sticky” my planner to death with reminders.

Thursday I know I wanted to write about the grad school fair that Vinny and I attended in Manhattan.  Generally a public health related fair, Vin was looking for urban development and myself, the far-reaching psychology.  There was one school I knew would be in attendance (Adler School of Psychology) that would be applicable.  In addition to checking into their (Chicago-based) clinical programs, I stumbled upon the NOVA Southeastern table, which had both PhD and PsyD clinical programs.  The representative sucked me in; not only did I like him, I liked the way he sold the school/program.  So if I have to live in S. Florida for 5 years…y’know, I’m not wholly opposed to that.  If I can make it through 5 hurricane seasons and December 2012, I was meant to live.

The only other table(s) I sought information from were Adler’s and Columbia’s Teacher’s College.  The former was incredibly helpful, the latter seemed disinterested in discussing any psychology programs and kind of brushed me off.  It’s okay though; I took information on each of their programs to look into.  I guess my biggest concern (aside from admissions) would be the financial stuff.  I mean, I’m borrowing regardless, but out-of-state tuition is like double the resident one.  People do it though, so why (oh why) can’t I?  No ties, man.  No ties.  ❤

I’m sure there were tons of things I wanted to write about between Thursday and today, but naturally I have no idea what they are, so instead, today I perfected my chocolate chip cookies.  Last time I burned them, the time before that they were huge and flat.  This time: seriously utter perfection.  I also went food shopping at four different supermarkets (sales, sales, sales!) as well as joined my mother on a trip to King Kullen.  She bought me Chinese Food on the way home too, so not only did I get to bike ride, buy some foods and help my mom, but I got yummy lunch too.

I napped, as per usual, as well, but that was because I had intentions of going to NJ today, so I got up early enough to trek out there thus losing sleep.  Unfortunately, people were leaving there around 4, so I didn’t really want to drive out for 5 hours just to hang out for 3.  The good news was I busted ass to get all of my work done yesterday, so today I had absolutely nothing to do.  Well, except laundry, but that only really takes up about 30 minutes of my life.  Every time I put my clothes away, I realize just how much attire I own.  I would love to vary my outfits, but for some reason I just keep wearing the same shit over and over.  I have no idea why.  Fortunately, since I never give up hope on myself, maybe this time around I’ll do it. Heh.

I went jogging yesterday, even if only for 15 minutes.  The good news?  I didn’t hurt after, not even the next day.  Maybe it was the stretching, or the short trip, but the last time I went, it was for just about as long and I couldn’t move for two days.  I’m going to make Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays jogging days.  Mondays and Wednesdays I walk around school (and up several flights of stairs), plus I get home late, and Fridays I’d like to just kind of have to myself.  I’m thinking I’ll go to dad’s on Sundays, so that I can stay over and go straight to school the next morning.

I’m still waiting to have the energy to do my school synopsis, but not quite this moment.  I’ve just put on the Futurama movie on, and it’s one of those movies you have to kind of pay attention to get more of the jokes.  Speaking of flicks though, I finally watched Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — hilarious and genius.

And now, for something completely different.

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