Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Regressing in the Best Possible Way

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? This whole grad school thing has kept me just the tiniest bit busy. Who knew?! But after finishing my master's thesis in May (my family spent all of graduation weekend calling me "master" and finding themselves HILARIOUS), I get the whole month of June "off" before a long Engineers Without Borders trip and then the beginning of the PhD.

I say "off" because mostly it just means I'm not getting paid for any of the work I'm doing, most of which has to do with EWB. But I have claimed some time for myself - time to go hiking in the Texas summer heat (though it's only June, it will get worse), time to enjoy visiting friends and family, time for multiple failed baking experiments (baking with no sugar or sugar substitute is really not a recipe for success), time to read The Internet... it's really quite lovely, actually, and I may never be able to work quite as hard again now that I've remembered what it's like to have TIME.

Today in my reading of The Internet I encountered one of my favorite bloggers documenting her younger daughter's lead-up to turning 4 (http://dooce.com/2013/06/17/newsletter-marlo-turns-four/). Reading about this crazy little person, this "expression of eternal joy," made me think of me at around that age. There are photos of me about which I've said "I'm so happy I almost look angry," and "I'm so full of joy I'm about to explode." I can remember being that age or a little older and just being filled with bliss. I miss that age, and I'm trying to recapture as much of that feeling as I can.

I guess the best part is that, especially this month with time to spend on myself, I AM recapturing it, just a little. I went tubing on the Comal River with a good friend this weekend, and by the time we were halfway down the first "tube chute" (a waterslide built into the river), I was laughing one of those belly-guffaws you couldn't stop if you tried. It was absolutely wonderful. I hope that as I dive back into grad school research I can keep finding moments when I can be gloriously 4 again.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Miracles Don't Seem So Far-Fetched Anymore

Two years ago I had just dropped out of Vanderbilt. Technically I had taken a medical leave of absence, but I knew I wasn't going back. I'd moved my stuff into my parents' house (mostly their garage), and I think by April I was already talking to Rutgers about transferring there.

Two years ago, I could barely walk to the end of the block and back again; I could barely stand at the stove long enough to make a simple meal. I was in too much pain.

Two days ago, I walked about two miles, grocery shopped for forty-five minutes, lifted weights at the gym, and then came home and spent two hours in the kitchen washing, chopping, cooking, assembling.

I don't really celebrate Easter anymore, but this weekend I was definitely celebrating the possibility of miracles.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Modern Communications (Cell Phone Service)

I bought a network extender. I bought it on Amazon for less than 1/3 the (outrageous) price Verizon was asking for the same thing. After some ridiculousness with the delivery process, it arrived. I plugged in all the appropriate cables; all the appropriate lights lit up. It didn't help.

So I got online and search the support database, like the well behaved customer I am. I found nothing remotely useful. So I did the unthinkable: called technical support.

Well, about 40 minutes into this "adventure", I've had my call dropped once, got hung up on once, had my call accidentally rerouted while on hold once, so I've had to start over 3 times. What I've managed to find out is that I need to have a phone number for the extender registered with Verizon - which the guy who first wanted to sell me one did not tell me - and to get that I have to talk to the network extender department. But either the phone gods hate me or the network extender department doesn't actually exist because I have yet to reach them.

45 minutes.

Where's the nearest AT&T office?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An Open Letter (10)

CAST! LISTEN UP! [ed. note: This is the accepted way of opening an address to a student cast.]

Thank you. I had no idea what to expect from my week in halfway-to-nowhere Minnesota, and you all have absolutely knocked my socks off. Over the last three days you've proven yourselves smart, talented, energetic, and - perhaps most inspiring to me - endlessly eager to learn. You've drunk in our endless notes on theater, music, and performance; you've asked intelligent questions; you've SOUGHT OUT extra information and help. And you have displayed incredible generosity toward your fellow performers. As far as I can tell, not one of you is complacent or conceited, and that is to be applauded. (But don't let the applause make you complacent or conceited.)

Keep working hard - I hope you've seen this week just how much you can accomplish when you do. Keep questioning your teachers and directors - don't take what we say at face value, ask about what doesn't make sense, and ask when you want to know more. Keep giving so generously to the people you work with - whether they're fellow artists in a collaboration or office mates at a 9-5 job, giving your energy and trust to the people you're working with can have radical results. Keep looking for the fun, the sense of play - you'll spend far too much time in your life on what seems like drudgery, so whenever you can find some joy in what you're doing, embrace it and make the most of it. And keep learning - no matter how old you are or how much experience you have, there is ALWAYS more to learn; understanding that will help you to always move forward, never be complacent or conceited. It will also keep your eyes open for hidden learning experiences that are all too easy to miss, and are like gifts if you can receive them.

But enough cheese! You guys have TOTALLY ROCKED this week!! I'm so proud of you, and I hope you're proud of yourselves. Thank you. You guys are rock stars.

Monday, May 16, 2011

An Open Letter (9)

To the Woman with the Crazy Sob Story,

Look, lady, I'm sure you're in a fix. Maybe your stepmother really did die this morning, and you really did just pick up your 3 and 11 year old siblings from a police precinct and they're now sitting in that gray Corrolla right there (that I can't see). Maybe you really do just need some help getting back to Irvington. Or out of Brooklyn. There have been moments when all I've wanted, myself, is to get out of Brookyln.

But if you want to be taken seriously, perhaps you should reconsider the plan of attack that goes: 1. wander up to random stanger on a Brooklyn street who is held captive because her car is wide open as boxes are being loaded out of it, 2. declare that you have an emergency situation, 3. plead for the chance to Google.

Let me say that again: "it's an emergency - do you have a way to Google?"

When you want a stranger to hand you cash on the street, just ask for it. Don't try to pretend that really all you want to do is use Google to look up you-don't-know-what (as you said yourself) and then rapidly launch into explaining how you have just enough gas to get your car to the gas station and you just need some help getting home to Irvington with your 3 and 11 year old siblings who are sitting right there in that invisible Corrolla.

Really. Try again, please. And if you could leave me out of it next time, that would be even better.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

FYI (1A)

Correction: I retract my statement about sewer gas. It might be lovely. Apparently I don't know after all.

In other news, if someone asks you if you want to know what it smells like when a creature (or several creatures) dies in your bathroom wall and begins to rot, the correct answer is "no."

Monday, April 18, 2011

FYI (1)

If anyone ever asks you if you want to know what sewer gas smells like, the correct answer is "no." Just in case you weren't sure.