Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bloggerstock: Potential Postcards

Remember the post I recently wrote about Bloggerstock? Well, the time has come for Bloggerstock members (become a member today!) to reveal our guest bloggers' blogs, so I'd like to introduce you to Elyse, blogger of The Ginge. Elyse is a self-described average Canadian teen who finds it perfectly acceptable for you to e-stalk her, so please feel free to do so. She's got a great thing going with pictures, words-of-the-day, and everyday ramblings, among other things. She's also really nice-- I just noticed on her blog that she has linked to Witty Title Here. (Thanks, Elyse!)

This month's Bloggerstock theme was posed as a question:

 If you could write ONE postcard to any person (living or dead), who would you write to, what would you say, and where would the postcard be from?

You can check my post for this month at Tall Brunette's blog. This chick is "just some girl in the Pacific Northwest with a passion for rain, trees, and plaid." Great stuff over on her page, as well-- I love the theme of the Pacific Northwest. Make sure you read her blog, too. For now, here's Elyse's post. Enjoy!

Who would I write a postcard to? I’ve put quite a bit of thought into this and if I were to write a postcard to anyone, living or dead I would most certainly write one to my great grandmother, who I wish I wrote one to before she passed away. She means a lot to my Mom and that has really affected me, when I was younger my Mother would make me talk to her I didn’t think much of it because I didn’t realize how quickly someone can leave you, I didn’t really think about reality.

With that said, I’d tell her how much my Mom misses her and how dreadfully sorry I am that I never got a chance to meet her, she seemed like a really interesting person as my Mom tells me she was. I would send the postcard from Canterbury, England because that’s the last place that she and my Mother saw each other, it’s also where she (my great grandmother) was born.


Dear Rowena,

Mom really misses you; I wish we could have seen you before you left. You know, you really meant a lot to her… I used to take it for granted that I would be able to see you, and it never actually did happen. Mom wears that snake bracelet that you gave her every day! She loves it so much, I think it's the thought of having a part of you with her. She passed down the one she had before and gave it to me. Except like the clumsy person I am, I broke it. Don’t tell her though… She doesn’t know, yet. I don’t have much more to tell you, as I'm sure you're watching over us from where ever you're located now, so I’m going to explore and take some pictures, Canterbury is beautiful! It’s too bad you weren’t here with me.

Thinking of you,


Monday, July 26, 2010

You and me-- let's go.

I am not a violent person. I might scream expletives at drivers who cut me off (everybody does), and I might occasionally get the urge to throw stupid people under a not-so-figurative bus (survival of the fittest!), but I am not a violent person. Consequently, I feel as if I've missed out on a key experience in life. A rite of passage, if you will.

That would be the fact that I've never been in a fight. Never ever never. Not even kind of. Well... maybe that one ti-- Nope. Never.

Not to say that everybody has, but I must say I feel deprived and as if I am in the minority. Looking back over the years, I've certainly had opportunities to initiate fights, including those many times when middle school skankities made fun of my heinous outfit or when that one boy at the freakin' McDonald's playground of all places pulled my hair. Rather than combining fist with face, I sat and cried instead.

Let it be said that I am overly-sensitive and have chicken arms.

Pictured (center) here, I don't particularly look badass, though I'm clearly trying. The stance, the polka dots, the... mismatched socks? No, I don't think I was ever a real threat to anybody. I did get in a few verbal fights with my cousin (left) growing up, and the dissatisfied girl on the right once pushed my head against the school bus window because I managed to get the window seat (reserved seating), but we're Facebook friends now and quite pleasant with one another.

In reality, there have been very few times in my life when I truly felt inspired to even ponder the actual possibility of throwing a punch at some deserving being. But I think I made the right call when I DIDN'T punch the 50-year-old, 250 pound Italian poop monger who once yelled at me for NOT SITTING DOWN at a Bon Jovi concert. He and his wife called me an asshole (I was 16 years old, by the way) when I politely said I didn't want to sit down (when really I wanted to say, "This is not a Tom Jones concert, so no, I won't sit down") and then proceeded to kick my chair for awhile. Mind you, these were perfectly able-bodied individuals, despite their unfortunate looks. Instead of getting physical, I unloaded a few expletives (much to the shock of me), and they got the point and left early before my dad could give the guy the pounding he deserved.

I think that's the closest to a fist fight I ever got.

It's things like that which anger me the most-- extreme unfairness, complete absurdity, and really mean people. Put me face-to-face with one of these scenarios and take note of my blood pressure, because something special and rare comes over me that brings out whatever violent tendencies I do have. This is still a somewhat recent development thanks to years of my being way too introverted and nonconfrontational. I've got a ways to go, but at least I've developed a backbone.

Really, though, I've got a reputation to maintain and a face to preserve. I don't need to get in a fight to fulfill my life's goals. Maybe when I'm old I'll cross off what's left on my yet-to-be-written bucket list, start a fight and blame it on senility. Being old must have some perks.

Until then, I'll practice my angry eyes in the mirror.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An attempt to document life

I recently decided I just need to start taking more photos and documenting the occasionally cool (and the sometimes seemingly mundane) things I do. This past weekend was a good opportunity to do so because it was full of all sorts of adventures. On Friday, I caught up with a few girlfriends at McKenzie and her boyfriend Jamie's cabin for some swimming and a lot of eating.

McKenzie lives out near a beautiful Maryland reservoir (where swimming is not technically allowed, and by technically, I mean not at all), so we took a fifteen minute hike through the thick brush and woods until we reached the perfect spot on the water, rope swing and all.

Keeping my feet poison ivy-free.

This place was magical. I'm usually hesitant to get into any kind of water, but I just eased right in, the temperature was that perfect. I guess multiple consecutive weeks of 90-something to 100+ degree weather has its benefits.

We spent close to two hours swimming, swinging and generally wearing ourselves out. McKenzie even brought this delicious bowl of pasta with all kinds of locally-grown vegetables in it. At first, it seemed like an unnecessary amount, but we devoured it all. We even brought it in the water with us. Wait 30 minutes to swim after eating? HA! Eat, swim and get cramps simultaneously, I say.

The rope swing was obviously the highlight of our secret spot. I was a little apprehensive about it at first and even accidentally let myself go too soon, falling into a fairly shallow spot. Luckily, I landed feet first and immediately pushed myself off the muddy, rocky bottom. I've never felt cuter than when I slowly rose to and above the surface as water poured out of my eyes, nose and mouth.
Thankfully, my second attempt was a wondrous success:

The perfect balance of grace and awkwardness.

After we officially wore ourselves out, we headed back to McKenzie's cabin and proceeded to make the four boxes of macaroni and cheese that I brought in addition to a large cake and a couple dozen cookies Rachel brought. Eventually, it turned into an impromptu party, and we had a great time with new friends.

Saturday, I went to Artscape-- America's largest free arts festival-- with my dad downtown in Baltimore. We got to hear (but not exactly see) big name bands such as Gov't Mule and Cold War Kids perform while drinking beer in the streets and checking out the wacky art and vendors.

For just a dollar, you can STAPLE your dollar to this guy!

Tree people enjoying Gov't Mule

Afterwards, we spent the night listening to now-ancient demos and vocal tracks of the Beach Boys. (Carl Wilson was only 19 when he sang the vocals on "God Only Knows." How's that for making you feel unaccomplished?) It was a fun (and these days, rare) father-daughter bonding evening.

Ah, well that was fun. But now I know why I don't always post a ton of pictures on here. Blogger makes my face want to explode while I attempt (this is the key word) to format them. That was exhausting.

Mmmm, now I'm craving some mac 'n' cheese.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Getting serious

I am really excited. I'm in a serious, committed relationship. With my blog. I've always taken my blog writing seriously (well, sometimes), but since my last post inspired me to use my networking skills, I've managed to take my blogging to the next level.

Last week, I discovered Twenty-Something Bloggers, which is a social networking site specifically for, well, twenty-something bloggers. It's a great community of intelligent and interesting young writers looking for blogs to read and people to read their blogs. Just in my first few days, I received tons of messages from people welcoming me to the site, linking me to their blogs, and some even complimenting mine. I especially like the people who obviously took the time to read some of my blog before plugging their own-- they've got a follower in me. There are discussion boards and tons of other places where you can find like-minded people and ways to keep your blog interesting.

Through 20sb, I found Bloggerstock, a growing group of bloggers who, once a month, guest blog for another random person while also hosting a fellow Bloggerstock member. That way, everyone gets to play host, and everyone gets to play guest, too. It's a neat concept with post topics changing every month. I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out at the end of this month. Luckily for you, you'll be the first to know.

Besides that, I actually linked to my blog on Facebook. Go figure. No, I'm not dense, but up until now, I was slightly apprehensive about sharing this with every Facebook friend I have. Now, who knows what people from my past are reading this anonymously! But then I realized a) that's the point of blogging-- people reading it, and b) I'm not worth e-stalking. So, there you go.

Links to 20sb and Bloggerstock are now on the right-hand side of the page in case you want to get serious, too. I kind of feel like a dork for getting so excited about this, but then again, you never know where these kinds of things can lead you. I appreciate the new followers I've acquired over the past few days and hope I can keep you entertained!

Here's to settling down...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blogs of note

I've been browsing tons of blogs this morning while Lucy and Georgia (my two-day-a-week children) take much-needed rests. Unfortunately, doesn't exactly make it easy to search for blogs by topic or title. Luckily, many of the bloggers I've come across are generous enough to link to others' sites so the reading doesn't have to stop. (Now if only I could get some of these strangers to link to mine!) Here are a few sites I enjoy. I've been an avid reader of a few of them for awhile, but some I've stumbled across just today.

Bmore Musically Informed is a great site for finding out about deep down underground music in the Baltimore area. I've never heard of 95% of the bands they write about, but I often come across gems thanks to their frequent posting of songs playable directly on the blog. Of course, the one time I leave a comment there, I'm accused of spam, but whatever. You're welcome, Bmore.

The Sweetie Pie Press is one I found today thanks to McKenzie's blog (which you should already know about, so read it), and, well, it's really cute. Great photos of city life and creation mixed in with stories of adventure.

Placebo Journal Blog describes itself as medical humor with a purpose. Equal parts sarcasm and information, this blog actually makes science interesting for those who, otherwise, don't particularly give a damn.

Sleep Talkin' Man is a hilarious (and completely true) blog of an English man's nighttime outbursts of sleepspeak. His wife makes it her job to jot down or record everything Adam says in his sleep-- the words that come out of his mouth are ridiculous. There are a few videos for the non-believers, and the couple has even been featured on several television shows thanks to the popularity of the blog. Buy a Sleep Talkin' Man shirt or apron now!

Boehmcke's Human Condition is another blog to make you laugh. Don't be put off by his surname-- he's pretty much given up on getting people to pronounce it correctly. Richard Boehmcke is one of those rare bloggers that writes about himself and other seemingly mundane topics while managing to make it truly entertaining. You don't have to know his life story to enjoy it.

If you want to stay up to date on the homocides of Baltimore, look no further than Baltimore Crime, an up-to-date source for-- you guessed it-- Baltimore crime. Morbid, yes, but interesting? Admittedly, yes.

This list of blogs unintentionally became somewhat Baltimore themed, but I can't not link you to City Paper's The News Hole, especially since I was just offered a fall internship with City Paper. (Go, me!) The News Hole covers everything in the land deemed newsworthy, and many of CP's staff members contribute. Did you know Baltimore's new slogan is "Find Your Happy Place"? Yeah. "Get In On It" was bad enough, but this is too much. They should have stuck with "Believe." It was simple and non-sucky, but what do I know? Just one of the many things I learned by reading this blog.

I plan to continue my search for blogs to distract me from things such as classwork and unpacking in my new pad. Eventually, I'll link to all of the blogs I subscribe to which will hopefully guilt everyone into doing the same for me.

Let me know if there are any blogs I simply must check out!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Moving on up

It's 1 a.m., and I have to be up at 7 a.m., but here I am writing from the comfort of my bed because my desk is no longer in my room. Currently, it's sitting in the garage of my soon-to-be home thanks to the help of a good, strong man and my arms, too. This soon-to-be home I speak of sits right above the garage where my desk dwells (after hauling the desk down a couple flights of stairs, we couldn't muster the energy it would take to get it up another flight in 100+ degree weather). So, in short, I will be one of those people who gets to live above their parents' garage. That doesn't just exist in movies-- I get to do it, too! Bear with me, this impending move is the reason for my late night ramblings.

I'm not exactly sad to leave this apartment behind, but I am exhausted. I just got here! I moved a lot of furniture and clothes and books and CDs when I first arrived one year ago. The desk came about a month after the move, thanks to the craftsmanship of my grandpa. (He build the whole thing-- it's beautiful. Heavy, too.) Even on move-in day last year I knew my time here would fly by quickly, just as every year before it has, but if I had known just how quick it would be, I'd probably call myself crazy for going through all that trouble.

The thing is, I've done my fair share of moving over the course of my life. My mom and I lived in two different apartments and a townhouse before settling into the house my step-dad bought many years prior. We called that home for ten years while my sisters grew up before selling the house and moving to our current home last October. But just in the past three years, I've done more moving than ever: freshman year initial move in, winter break partial move out, return move back in, end of year move out. Sophomore year, repeat. Add on the in-and-out of the apartment, and I believe that puts me at 15 moves so far in my life. And yes, winter breaks in the dorms definitely count-- that was some stressful stuff right there.

Yet my dad's house has always been there. He's had our house for about 23 years now, a length of time that does not seem to be very common these days. Throughout all of these moves I've made, I've still had my dad's house as a "home base," however imperfect it may be.

This current transition has been tough for sure. There's nothing like a relocation to make you realize just how much stuff you have. I don't consider myself to be overly sentimental when it comes to every last figurine or bookmark I've owned in my life, and I'm certainly capable of getting rid of things I haven't used or thought about in years. But things collect easily, and that really becomes obvious when you're going through old boxes filled with your childhood art consisting of stick figures with no torsos and six fingers on one hand.

The idea of living a "simple life" is really appealing to me in some ways. The fewer meaningless possessions you own and drag around everywhere you go, the more you can appreciate what you do have. Also, the easier you can pick up and move. The thought of saving every last stocking stuffer or t-shirt makes no sense to me, and the older I get (and the more things I collect), the better I feel about letting little things go. Maybe it's because hoarding and/or collecting runs in a certain side of my family.

Of course, there have been times when I've been a little too ambitious with my purging and hastily threw away old diaries I had written in when I was as young as five. I think I tossed them because I had so many of them, and only a few pages of each were actually written on. Luckily, my dad saved them (he nosed through everything I threatened to get rid of during a particular purge back in high school), and I later enjoyed reading them. It actually makes sense that I never filled the diaries, because I still do the same thing now with my journals. I have about five journals sitting in a bag of books waiting to be carried to my new living space, each of them left with pages and pages of emptiness. A couple of them were just too big and overwhelming to fill, and the others started filling up with more "To-Do" lists than creative writing. I'm trying to make it my goal to fill the one I'm currently writing in.

It's good to have reminders that it's okay to get rid of some things and keep what's important. Going through some of my old boxes the other day, there were a few things that, admittedly, will probably be rid of sometime in the future. But for now, I don't want to deal with those. I don't need to totally rid myself of my past-- it's a good past, and these things are still sweet reminders of that. I might never hold a certain stuffed bunny again with quite the same affection as I did when I was a child, but that doesn't mean I have to ship it or my first pair of shoes off quite yet.

What I do know is that I'll always be sentimental about my desk, the one Pop Pop built for me with his hands and his tools in his workshop. And wherever I live next, that's one thing I'll be taking with me for sure. Let's just hope it won't have to conquer as many stairs next time.