- Blog more. Perhaps a goal of once a week is attainable. Yes, let's try for that...
- Read more nonfiction and news. I've already begun this one with "How We Die," which is beautifully written and very interesting. And I am going to finally buckle down and get subscriptions to The New Yorker and The New York Times online.
- Play more guitar. Mostly as an excuse to sing, and also it's therapeutic.
- Make long overdue doctor's and dentist appointments. Four for me, plus one for my cat!
- Continue thinning out my wardrobe. I really need to get rid of more things.
- On that note, buy fewer things. Unless I really need them for work or something. And then I will continue to fix up things I already have and try to only buy designer things at Housing Works.
- Eat better! I used to eat spinach for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Let's try that again. I pretty much just need to not eat delicious banh mi EVERY DAY for lunch.
- Exercise. At least twice a week. Right now I do NOTHING, so anything is an improvement. No gyms, though, because they are awful and I hate them and I refuse to go. I will run, take ballet, clear my head with yoga, use our pull up bar at home. I can do it!
- Along those lines, lose a few pounds so I don't look terrible in my cousin's wedding pictures this summer. If I actually do the previous two things, this shouldn't be too difficult. I hope...
- Work my butt off in my new fancy big girl job, because guess what, I am getting a promotion! This also entails negotiating a decent raise.
- And while I'm getting the big nonprofit bucks (hah!), I should probably try to get my financial life in order. It's in shambles right now. I need to find a new bank I think.
- So once I have all that in order... I need to save serious money.
- And while we're saving things, let's save the whales.
- And the trees.
- Let's save the ozone, too.
- And also puppies.
- Last but not least... Save Ferris.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I had a dream last night about being back in my childhood home, running around with two of my dogs. These animals are now deceased, but playing with Baby and Allblack in my dream was so real at the time, it was like I got to visit with them again. It was wonderful.
I was somewhat conscious that it was a dream, because I remember really appreciating the fact that these dogs were dead, that I was a child again, and that eventually it would have to end but that I should enjoy it for now. I don't really even recall what we were doing, just that Allblack (as usual) was being goofy and neurotic and was terrified of a thunderstorm... And Baby (as usual) was being adorable and sneaky and prancing around like she owned the place.
Baby was just that, my baby. I picked her out of a litter when I was 6. She was a little mutt, half purebred Cocker spaniel, half godknowswhat, but we assumed some sort of terrier mix due to her feisty nature. She was little and yellow and long-haired and floppy-eared with white feet and freckles on her nose. She was adorable and awesome. Totally fearless and terrifically fierce. She was the alpha female 100% of the time and wasn't afraid of other dogs, no matter how much bigger they were than her. I once watched her go after a Great Dane when she was just a puppy. The larger dog was unfazed, but she had set a precedent of domination that she would uphold forever.
My dad used to refer to her as "The Bubs" or "The Bubbers," although her official name from my 6-year-old brain was Baby's Treasure. I'm sorry, it's true. I was a weird kid, but I was lucky enough to have an amazing dog to grow up with. When I was 18, I had to put her to sleep due to a rapidly growing tumor in her stomach. I was holding her when it happened. I felt I owed her that much. She went long before her time and I'm still broken up about it. She was officially my best friend and the dog to which I will compare all other animals for the rest of my life. Yup, Baby was just that cool.
Allblack was a different story altogether, and a sad one at that. He was rescued from a neglectful situation by my dad when I was about 9. He was at the time around 5 years old, we're really not sure. Or maybe a vet told us but I just don't remember. I do remember that he was a painfully skinny, scraggly, shy black Lab with a skin condition, a voracious appetite, and a fear of raised hands. He had essentially been abandoned by his owner, who owned the house next door to my friends but had moved out and left his dog behind. Allback (or Spike, as he was called back then) used to roam their neighborhood looking for food. While he mostly stayed away from us kids, we were scared of him because he was a stray and we didn't know what to make of him. I didn't really pay him much attention.
Then my dad came to pick me up from my friends' house a few times and, having lost his black Lab (the original Allblack) a few years before, took note of the poor creature. One day my dad knelt down, put his hand out, palm facing up, and coaxed the dog to come over to him. He got the story from my friends' mom and decided that he'd take the dog home. We learned that he had spent an entire winter, one of the coldest that Maryland had ever seen, chained up on the back porch. He was only saved because the little old ladies who ran the post office would walk over to bring him table scraps. When we got him to the house, Baby quickly asserted herself as the alpha dog and we gave him some food. I have never seen a dog eat so much, so quickly.
Within a few days, my dad heard the owner was home went down the road to talk to him. As the story goes, he knocked on the door, told the guy he had taken his dog home, the guy got a little defensive until my dad made it clear that he was criminally neglectful and that he did not deserve to own a dog, and finally the guy handed my dad the dog's collar and feigned regret. He apparently said, “I’m really gonna miss him,” to which my dad retorted, “No you’re not.” Spike was officially rechristened Allblack II and he was our dog from then on.
Allblack was a beta dog if there ever was one. Hell, he may have even been an omega. He was totally submissive to Baby, to all other dogs, and to humans. His lack of training in his first few years was evident every time we tried to get him to sit, lie down, stay, etc. He was not dumb, but he was definitely a bit damaged and neurotic to the point of being obnoxious. He was also extremely gentle, so he was one of those dogs that a kid like me, totally comfortable around animals, could never be fearful of again. He never quite got "drop it" through his head and I would have to pry his jaw open with my little hands to retrieve whatever potentially harmful object he had scooped up hoping for a snack.
A few years later we adopted Max, a middle-aged yellow Lab, from some family friends. He too was totally beta and together he and Allblack were generally known as "the big dumb Labs." Oh, they weren’t completely dumb and they were sweet and slobbery and just wanted to be loved. They were also totally neurotic and submissive and couldn't quite get basic commands through their heads, and they were both petrified of thunderstorms. I remember being home alone at some point in high school during a raging storm, and I was sitting on the kitchen floor trying to comfort two huge, drooling, whimpering Labs as they both tried to crawl into my lap. Baby just dozed calmly through the whole thing and kept looking at them with a judgmental glare.
I guess a thunderstorm is what did Allblack in. I was about 16 and he was getting old, with hip dysplasia, cataracts, and the beginnings of deafness. During a bad thunderstorm my mother went outside a few times calling to him, trying to bring him inside since she knew he would be scared, but she couldn't find him. Sadly, he ended up wandering a mile away from our house and was hit by a car. The guy was nice enough to pull over and call the vet, who of course had to put him down. It was not a good way for him to go, sad and scared and alone in a storm. For all his suffering, though, I'm glad my family was able to give him a good home for most of his life. He deserved it.
This post was supposed to be short. It was supposed to be about a brief, fractured, yet sentimental dream. But now I can’t stop thinking about my dogs and how it felt to be running around with them, to touch Baby’s fur one more time, to give Allblack a well-deserved scratch behind the ear. I miss my dogs. Perhaps one day I’ll have one again, but for now I guess I’ll just have to make do with memories.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
A lot has been written about my generation in recent years. We are growing up, but only into "emerging adults.” And we are more screwed than any other generation in modern history. Yes, I am a Millennial. I am of a demographic that has apparently has been spoiled, coddled, overindulged, endowed with inflated self-esteem and a debilitating sense of entitlement. We have come to expect the best and assume that everything will work out in our favor. If you read my last post, that assumption is generally true. Because you know what? It will.
We know that because we're special, right? Our moms and dads and teachers and guidance counselors and soccer coaches and piano teachers and camp counselors and career mentors and SAT tutors and academic advisers told us so. I'm not a fan of all the names we've been called, but I find it funny that those who say we are so spoiled and entitled are the ones who did the spoiling. As far as the coddling and indulgence and entitlement, well, could we really help it? We were told we could do anything we wanted basically from conception. Women and blacks didn't have to fight for equal rights anymore (just equal pay), so therefore, anyone can be president!
We were the biological products of the prosperous 80s, missing out on all the bad hair and shallow music but reaping the benefits of prenatal vitamins and public education. We blithely marched to our Gifted & Talented programs and learned about self-esteem and why drugs are bad and how babies are made, all within the safety of schools that had plenty of crayons and books and playgrounds for everyone to share. We were the cultural products of the 90s, the children of the Internet and Nickelodeon and Disney. We were thrilled to hear that we've got mail, that messages were instant, that information was unlimited, that no question could go unanswered, and that we were constantly connected to millions of kids just like ourselves, who despite different time zones still knew all the words to catchy American pop songs. We paid attention to Clarissa's explanations and truly believed we would inherit a whole new world, which, I suppose, we have.
But it's not the world we expected due to forces completely beyond our control. And apparently trying to do something about it makes us whiny and entitled. Why do you think we expected this fanciful world of plenty in the first place? Because people told us we would! And if that world wasn't perfect, we could make a difference! So while half of us waste away without full-time jobs and move in with our parents and struggle below the poverty line, we have to accept that this is just a phase we're going through. We'll make it through, because what other choice do we have? Call me crazy, but I think all that "you can do anything you put your mind to" talk has really paid off. We actually have hope.
Really though, what else is there? It's one of the little things we can still cling on to and the only thing we've always had. Remember Obama (the 2008 model, that is)? We got excited about politics for the first time in a long time, because we had seen our country attacked and seen our economy turn to shit and seen our classmates come home without arms and legs due to wars that we didn't start and seen rich old white men in power for too long. We didn't get excited because Obama was black, we got excited because he was different, he was unique, he was new. And everyone is different and unique, remember? Free to be you and me? And unlike all the people who wanted him to wave his magic wand and make it all better, we knew that things would take time. Even though we grew up enjoying instant gratification, we knew that while the previous generations still reigned supreme, things would stay largely the same. So we still hold out hope.
We are hopeful because we grew up thinking the world was a lovely place to live in. We think it's weird when people are unnecessarily cruel and judgmental. Remember equal rights? Well, we always had them. We don't remember the fight for blacks or women because we grew up in their stead and just expected equal treatment. So my generation does not look down on women and blacks and gays as second class citizens--because we never did in the first place. That's why we couldn’t care less, regardless of our political or religious beliefs, if two gay men get married. We think that's pretty normal actually. We want them to marry, in fact, because we're practical and with half of us being the products of divorce, we'd rather families just be stable because it saves a lot of therapy and sad song lyrics and money in the end. Also, married people are more economically secure, so they can pay more taxes. Which means that we can provide more social services, you know, for things like that public school education that most of us benefited from and got us into the colleges that gave us the degrees that now we aren't using because of that economy that the older generations took a wrecking ball to and screwed us royally. Jerks.
In these dark and difficult times, there is still a feeling of togetherness. We're all in the same boat and we know it, because we see it in each other every day. Remember Facebook? We have always been inextricably connected, but one day in college suddenly our worlds fit onto one screen full of little blue boxes. We can now share our lives and hide our selves and unite in the present with those we knew in the past and suddenly it seems like everyone's lives are really fun and exciting! And hard. We share our daily activities and our favorite song lyrics and our differing political beliefs and what we had for breakfast and these new shoes we want but can't afford and our bargain vacations and our third world volunteering and our soul sucking jobs and our search for fulfilling jobs and our desperation for any jobs and our desperation in general and our yearning to succeed and our hope and our hope and our hope in the face of it all. We share and share and share because we have a network of people who get us, who know us, who are us. So what that our parents and their friends are on that same network now? We will share anyway. We have no shame because we are proud of who we are and what we’re doing and we something to say. Even if it's not always important (and it usually isn't), well goddamn, 900 people hear us! That gives us hope!
I am proud of my generation for the fact that we’re us and we're okay with being US. We're hardworking and lazy, motivated and apathetic, family-oriented and tradition-bucking, isolated and interconnected, directed and confused, yet we are fucking HOPEFUL. Most of us are doing what we need to get by and expecting the best and just having faith. We're tired but we're optimistic. We're accepting of our fates but we know we can still shape them in the end. We know we're lucky if we’re employed. We know we're lucky in general. I just hope others can see that.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I loved my college years and will always look back on them with love and affection and surprisingly few regrets. But college was not perfect or painless and I'll be damned if I ever start referring to it as, "the best years of my life." I like to think that the best is yet to come. College was, on one hand, a dream world... but it was tough at the same time, and not just academically. It contained a lot of personal changes, extreme highs and painful lows, unnecessary drama, crazy all-nighters, debilitating hangovers, and a serious sense of dread as graduation approached and you realized you were no closer to knowing what you wanted in life than the first day you set foot onto that lush green campus.
Still, compared with the “real world,” college life was grand! And making difficult decisions was just too easy! Ordering pizza at 4 am? Of course! Skipping class because it was just TOO NICE outside? Obviously. Choosing to buy vodka instead of food because your bank account didn't allow for both? That's simple! Risking your life by climbing on a roof just to watch the sun rise? Why not? Writing a paper you had a month to prepare for in four hours the night before? DONE. And then getting an A on it? YES!
Of course, there were serious things, too. Like debating the merits of Sartre vs. Kierkegaard vs. Heidegger vs. godknowswho... Or comparing literary children of nature with accounts of feral children because you developed extremely bizarre interests... Or tracking dialect changes and vowel shifts because you were suddenly going to be a linguistic anthropologist... You know, things that really prepared your for the real world. This was the essence of college.
In the end, I guess the real beauty was that those years were full of endless possibilities for the future, the present, and hell, even the past. Don't like your major? Change it. Don't like this class? Drop it. Don't like your name? Well, no one knew you in high school anyway. Just kidding. I actually didn't do any of those things. Yet looking back I realize that we were very young and very carefree and simply had faith that everything would work out in the end despite the pointless classes we took and poor decisions we made. In fact, we ASSUMED everything would work out. And as far as my classmates go, I think most of us are doing just fine, though we’ve taken a few detours and hit some bumps in the road. Like the economy, for instance. You know, little things. But in the end, regardless of things we did or didn’t do or said we’d do and couldn’t or didn’t even try to do or never expected to do in the first place or never could have predicted or were completely beyond our control… Well, the kids are all right. Really, we are. Thank you for asking. Now please, give me another beer.
Friday, September 23, 2011
"sometimes you dont write on your blogs for like a hundred years then try to catch up all at once and my eyes get tired because you right epic posts. you should read this and then be inspired to write every single day!! and shorter!!"My dear, this is for you.
Because it's true. I don't write anything for months and then suddenly here I am talking about weather and jewelry. So epic, right? And probably obnoxious. Sorry. It's because I've made a new year's resolution of sorts. Rather than starting January 1st, though, I'm using the beginning my 26th year of life to actually write more. I'm not just writing on this stupid blog, I promise. I mean, REAL writing. After all, NaNoWriMo is coming up and I told myself I'd get on that boat, dammit, if it's the last thing I do. Of course, I have very low expectations for myself...but expectations nonetheless!
Anyway, taking the advice of Mr. Godin, this is my attempt at simply writing and not worrying about if it's bad, just creating something rather than nothing. And judging by the history of this blog, I'm a big fan of nothing. After all, "zero is perfect and without defects."
So you've just read my short, more than zero, possibly defective, but maybe even better than bad, blog post. Are you happy, Angela?!?
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
You see a ridiculous amount of variation in dress during this in-between seasons time. I have waxed poetic about fall and weather before, but it never ceases to amaze me, fall after beautiful fall, spring after glorious spring... Shorts and sandals next to long coats and sweaters. Sundresses continue to abound while new leather boots are suddenly everywhere. And EVERYONE is wearing a goddamn scarf. Including me. Still, I find myself flabbergasted while trying to get dressed in the morning.
"Wait, I can't just wear a dress and flip flops? Uhh... Maybe things should match, kind of. Shit, I have to wear SOCKS? This is ridiculous! Gah, I'm late now! SOCKS!"
I get flabbergasted at the various details involved and try to find the simplest solution possible. Top, bottoms, shoes. Jackets and scarves and belts can go to hell! I should only be required to wear three pieces of clothing, dammit, it's still summer! Right?!? I end up in a navy blue sweater, houndstooth pants, and brown Oxfords. I catch a glimpse of my rather masculine reflection in the subway windows and realize that my autumn attire makes me look a little less than straight. I decide that maybe I should try harder to still look decent even in this confusing time. Just because I have to wear pants doesn't mean I need to dress like a boy, right? I can still be pretty in pants??
Then I get on the train and see girls who look like models who probably actually are models wearing perfect pants with perfect boots and perfect jackets and perfect scarves and they have actually ACCESSORIZED in addition to wearing more then three items of clothing and then I really feel shitty and inadequate.Then I see them taking off the jacket because it's too hot and I feel a sense of victory.
I get off the train and follow too-high heels up too-high steps and feel happy that I chose to wear manly shoes. I won't fall down, no I will not! And I walk down Broadway in the cool rain and see a middle-aged woman wearing flat black knee-high boots with OPEN TOES and I completely lose faith in humanity and decide to just stop trying. Yet I feel strangely elated. Everyone is apparently just as confused as I am, except that they actually spent money trying to look fashionable and failed miserably, and I look like crap for cheap! Woohoo!
New York, thanks for reminding me that I will never be fashionable and that I will always be confused about my wardrobe. And thanks for reminding me that your finicky weather and endless sidewalks and large supply of beautiful people will never, ever remedy this. But also thanks for also having an endless supply of people who are even worse dressers than I am. In a crowd of eight million, I don't look so bad after all.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Then the world somehow segued into winter... Snow fell and I got sick. I went home for a week over Christmas. This trip was wonderful and filled with family and friends. It made me realize how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life, though by the end of the week I missed Nick desperately. I worked at the bar on New Year's Eve, which was tons of fun and helped my bank account exponentially. I did not achieve my savings goal for 2010, but it was a bit lofty anyway. I got farther than I expected and I am in no way destitute. I am still working hard, though, and buying less.
But there is hope. I started babysitting again, which is good for my mental health and for my wallet. I've been researching graduate school extensively and I think I've finally figured it out. But I can't act on it yet since it's not time for applications and I have to be completely sure in the first place. I've decided to take that NYU class on the psychology of dreams that I've been looking into. And I'm going to a training session next month for the Brooklyn Public Library's "Reading Troubadour" program, in which volunteers go to public health clinics in the evenings to read to children, pass out free books, and talk to parents about the importance of reading. It seems like a good hands-on program that covers most of my interests--helping low-income populations, working with children, and improving literacy. We'll see where it takes me.
At this moment, though, I just need to go somewhere. I'm itching for travel. I'm itching for something different, even for a day or two. Getting out of the city for half a day the other weekend to go snow-tubing helped. But it just made me itch more. So I made a plan to visit my friend in Providence, where he is in a graduate program at Brown. I haven't visited him in the two years he's been there, and now that it's his last semester I'll head up there on one of my only upcoming three-day weekends, Presidents' Day. Realizing how pale I am now and how beautifully bronze I was last summer made me long for sun and sand, so I've made a vow to visit a very dear friend in Florida as soon as humanly possible, possibly March or April.
I recently got a message from another old friend that she'll be in NYC in early April, which makes me very happy. Then Easter will come and I can go home to see family, most notably my cousin who lives in the USVI and with whom I haven't celebrated a holiday in far too long. I'll also go home again in May to watch my sister for a few days while my parents are in France. I'd rather be in France, but they deserve to go. And then the summer will be here, and I can take the subway 20 minutes to the beach any time I want. Ahhh... In the meantime, I can look forward to a trip to Detroit for my cousin's wedding, a little vacation on Long Island for Nick's cousin's wedding, and a week in Ireland for my mother's birthday. Yes, there is hope.
One thing that has not changed in the last year is that I am still committed to an international volunteering trip, and I am seriously looking into a program. I may have to do that before I enter graduate school for a much-needed break. Nick and I are going to have to figure out where we want to apply to school, but if that ends up being NYC, I'll need a break in between working and studying. A few months to a year in a foreign country is probably the solution, which will give me the real hands-on experience that I've been craving. I do realize I'm probably just helping people to help myself. Well, aren't we all? I'm not a selfless person. No one is. Except for maybe Jesus or Mother Theresa. But at least in furthering my own experience and education, someone else will benefit, right?
Thinking about those people who really need help, I realize I truly have no reasons to complain. My life is actually pretty great and full of possibility. I'll stop writing now. And just keep living.