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Given my snarky nature and disdain for New Year’s resolutions, I have waited until January 2 to tell the world my plans for 2011.  Mostly, I just panicked and realized that I may actually forget what I’ve been mulling over accomplishing, so here it is, written down, unforgettable.

I like to set goals with a number, that way it’s easier to  know when I’ve achieved that goal.  In the past, I’ve set goals like “get better at Spanish” and marveled over my creativity.  See, I could get better at Spanish very easily.  I just learn a couple new words and presto–better!  I will always trick myself in an effort to let laziness reign supreme, hence the numbers.

For 2011 I plan to:

Run 750 miles. Last year I ran 700–702 technically, but the goal was 700.  This was done partially as a response to my dad running 1000 miles, which is his annual goal… I think, at least he did it once.  1000 was far too much, so I focused on the more reasonable 700, which still sounds impressive.  This was also done partially, though I hate to admit it, as a response to the nurse who called me fat and sedentary.  Next time I see her, if I ever do, I plan to bring in a printout of my spreadsheet that details all the miles I’ve covered and say something just scathing that lets her know that just because a girl weighs a lot doesn’t mean she’s fat!  Some people are heavy because their legs are like tree trunks and they have a running habit.

Read 100 books.  This is kind of always my goal, but this year, I’m actually going to keep track.  I ran into a situation recently where a friend and fellow librarian asked me for one of the best books I’ve read in the last year.  The only books I can remember reading are those I read for the Rhode Island Teen Book Award, mostly because I had to write mini-review of them and give them a score.  I do read grownup books!  I just can’t ever remember them under pressure.  So that will have a spreadsheet now where I will dutifully record title and author, unless I get bored doing this by March, which is very likely to happen.

I also have some personal finance goals that I’ve detailed on my personal finance blog.  I think I had another idea, but I’ve forgotten it already…

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I had to complete my Direct Loans exit counseling the other day.  I’ve done this before, the first time I went to grad school, but apparently I needed to be reminded that this new chunk of money will need to be paid back as well.  This time, however, I immediately applied for the Income Contingent Deferment.  This is not something I’m going to slack off on, as I do not want any more interest to accrue than necessary.

They asked what my present salary was, and as I typed in the figure $90/week, I realized that I haven’t made that little money since I was working at Dairy Queen when I was fifteen.  Once the entire process was complete and they seemed satisfied that I both understood that the money must be paid back, and how to do it– I re-thought my previous figure and realized that I make $70 per week.

I knew this was coming, but I keep thinking of it as my summer of underemployment failing to take into consideration that I’m not going back to school in the fall.  I won’t have a cushy assistantship to carry me along, and I may remain underemployed (soon to be unemployed, I fear) far longer than that.  I think I missed the window to apply for more grad school too (I can always use a third masters, right?).  Even though I swore up and down that I wouldn’t take that route…. academia is less scary than real life.

I’m really not freaking out as much as I thought I would though, for two reasons: 1. it really hasn’t sunk in yet 2. I’ve been so busy giving myself assignments that I simply haven’t had the time.  Rather than scour the want ads and painstakingly crank out cover letters, I’ve taken to scheming.  It may be less financially rewarding, but the feeling of accomplishment I get is stupendous.

Schemes include:

Filling out online surveys, which I mentioned before.  This nets me a little bit of cash, and points which can be redeemed for amazon giftcards or airmiles.

Becoming a coupon goddess.  There is a coupon exchange at the library where I work, I’ve started going in about five minutes early for every shift and seeing what new deals there are to be had.  Unfortunately, most of the coupons seem to be for food I would never eat, but every now and then, there’s a great deal.

I’m going to start writing fiction again.  This won’t make me any money, but the sense of accomplishment will give me warm fuzzies to last and last and last.

I’m going to blog more.  Culture Friend got in my face last week as she was preparing a delightful meal for us and said “If you’re going to have all this spare time, there’s no excuse for you not blogging more!”  This is true, although, if I’m not having wacky adventures, what the hell am I going to write about?  I’ve got time to scare up some wacky adventures, or I’ll start a series of posts about sitting in my chair.  Maybe I’ll get all introspective and examine my life, or something.

I’m going to do more cooking.  This will not only save me money on food, but potentially make me healthier.  Gentleman Caller is a bit miffed that I’ve refused to learn to cook meat (it’s gross, and I’m not touching it), but I’ve told him that he can add his own bacon to whatever I prepare.  That will have to be good enough.

Free-lancing type stuff.  I’ve got a gig teaching screenwriting at a library, Don the Appraiser has said he now wants to write a book, and, as his assistant, I feel like I’ll be playing some kind of role.  I’ve always meant to try to find freelance writing work, and I realize that this is not the best time to find projects, but I have the time, I might as well see what’s there.

I’m going to read more.  Last time I finished a masters degree, had no job prospects, and had a mini freakout, I gave myself an arbitrary reading assignment.  It gave me a goal to work toward and made me feel less useless.  Library = free books.

Sew more.  I really like sewing, but my skill set is a bit limited in that I’ve never moved past skirts and pillows.  Just so happens that I need some pillows and skirts, and I’m going to recover the cushions on my bamboo lounger.

I’m going to watch more classic movies.  I’m fairly well-rounded when it comes to cinema, and when I first got netflix, I made a point to watch a lot of movies I’d heard were essential, but never seen i.e. Casablanca, North by Northwest, The Seven Year Itch etc. Gentleman Caller and I just watched the original Cape Fear, and are now all set to compare and contrast it with the Nick Nolte/ Robert Deniro version.  It’s entertaining, but I feel like I’m learning something.

So I’m swamped, book your time with me now because it’s chaos.

I’ve been far too much of a buzzkill these days what with worrying about money and school all the time (while spending money I can’t afford to, and doing no homework at all).  It’s time to focus on the positive, and think of all the stuff that I already have/enjoy.

  • My chair. This is a pleather wingback chair  in the same pukey shade of brown as the discontinued M&Ms, decorated with cat clawmarks.  When I moved into my apartment and had no furniture, my landlady had left this in the middle of the livingroom.  “If you don’t want it, you can set it out on the boulevard and someone will take it.” she told me.  I elected to keep it, as it is one of the most comfortable chairs I’ve ever had except in the summer when my skin sticks to the pleather).  For the first two months of my life in Providence, this was my only chair.  Sometimes I would move it into the front room in front of the tv; sometimes (if I wanted an “office” feel), I would move it into the living room near the kitchen counter.  Every evening when I get home from work or school, I sit in my chair for a while internetting or reading, usually with Wee Watson on my legs.
  • Sundresses! It’s that magic time of year again when the stores start filling up with sundresses, and I systematically try on every single one.  It’s like hunting that elusive animal– like that guy in Jurassic Park: The Lost World who wanted to hunt a T-Rex.  I don’ t want to kill the dresses, I just want as many as I can get my hands on.  Then I want to wear them all summer long.  I seriously can’t wait, I’m so very excited.  I never feel this way about buying pants.
  • Making Little Women jokes. Last week, I was feeling under the weather, and left my internship early.  A couple days later, I got an email from Sassy Redhead with the subject line Scarlet fever killed Beth March, slowly. We then proceeded to make jokes back and forth about Marmee coming home, and selling our hair.  It was great fun.
  • Making Superfunadventure plans. Speaking of Little Women, did you know that you can visit Louisa May Alcott’s girlhood home??  Well, you can, and I will, and I’m excited.  Also, one of these days, I’m determined to visit the National Plastics Museum. Unfortunately, they don’t have regular hours on their website, so you have to call.  Gentleman Caller and I were going to go there for valentine’s, but they didn’t pick up the phone.  I just hope that during this time of economic downturn, they aren’t forced to close their doors forever!  And I hope that they allow flash photography.

Some in the blogosphere tend to do a Year in Review type of thing this time of year.  To them I say– I have an entire years worth of blogs that people should spend time re-reading, I will compose no list of the noteworthy events, there are just too many!  Actually, I feel like that’s something I should have done yesterday, and I didn’t, cause I am lazy and on vacation from school.

Instead I will look to the future rather than dwelling on the past.  This is how I try to live my life (insert grandiose tone here), and as the past is past and unchangeable, the future is the thing!  Resolutions tend to be trite, predictable, and annoying, and rarely pan out, so instead I’m going to call these goals.

1. Graduate from grad school and not reapply for more grad school.

I’m not going to plan to get a real job because I’m aware of the economic climate, but I’m not going to bury my head in the sand of academia anymore unless that academia is paying me for a change.

2. Run 700 miles.

My father spent the last year running 1000 miles, and last time I spoke to him on the phone he referred to his little goal as “just trying to get this thing done”.  I think 700 is much more manageable, especially since after I graduate, I probably won’t be able to get a job– lots of free time.

3. Read 150 books.

Last time I challenged myself to read a certain number of books, that number was a mere 100.  That’s because I didn’t start til May.  Starting in January means I only have to read 2.88 books per week– I scoff at that number.

That’s all, those are my only read concrete goals. Although I do plan on getting a lot of other stuff done, it would be boring to write down and read about.

Among the resolutions I’m not making are most of the list of the top 10 New Years Resolutions obtained by doing a quick google search.

1. Spend more time with friends and family.

I moved 1800 miles away from my family, and we’ve never gotten along better.  I already spend plenty of time with my friends, and will continue to maintain that.

2. Fit in fitness.

Well, that kind of is one of my goals, but it’s not a new thing.  I will not be among the thousands of Americans visiting the gym for the first time in years, I will be among the Americans that were there all along and find these people annoying.

3. Tame the bulge.

I don’t own a scale, and I’m certainly not going to spend money on one.  The bulges I already have are probably there for good, and too much work to get rid of.  I say they give me character.

4. Quit smoking.

I’ve quit smoking 1/2 dozen times– it’s no longer an issue.

5. Enjoy life more.

My life is already the envy of many, and I like it too.

6. Quit drinking.

No.

7. Get out of debt.

Not possible in one year’s time, especially since I’ll be borrowing more money for school.

8. Learn something new.

I try to do that every day already.

9. Help others.

Meh. That really doesn’t sound like me, although I am going into a rather altruistic profession.

10. Get organized.

I accomplished this one by moving across country with only what fit in my car, and then remaining in poverty thus unable to buy things. Done.

  • Footless tights.

I love tights, but lately when I’ve been shopping for them, I find that all of the best ones are “footless.”  This is something that I genuinely do not understand.  Why would you want your tights to be footless?  Part of the appeal of tights is they act as both leg decorations and socks– take away the sock part, and what do you put on your feet?  Are they meant to be worn with ballet flats and looks a bit like stretch pants?  Is that what we’ve come to?  I bought a pair of these last year because I really loved the color, and thought I’d try it out.  I wear my bright red footless tights with knee socks, which I’m guessing is not what the cool kids are doing.  I’m worried that normal tights are being phased out in favor of these, and it makes me nervous.

  • Romantic comedies.

You know exactly how it’s going to end– the most attractive people who may or may not have hated each other will get together, there will be a major complication along the way, then everything will be wonderful.  Why do you want to sit through that?  I admit, I’ve been fooled plenty of times by romantic comedies that seem like they may be interesting, but they never are.  Also, lately they’ve been really long– more than two hours, that’s just unnecessary.

  • The appeal of Diane Keaton.

I love Annie Hall, everyone does, but aside from that I simply cannot stand Diane Keaton.  I think she was acting like herself in Annie Hall, and in everything else I’ve seen her in, I’m hyperaware that she’s Diane Keaton.  That’s not a good actress.  And while I’m aware that she’s Diane Keaton, I’m also aware that she seems rather abrasive and unpleasant.  Something’s Gotta Give was the worst movie I’ve seen in recent memory.

  • What people who don’t read do with their downtime.

Odds are that these people think they’re very busy all the time and will tell you about it, but this is something I’ve always wondered.  When I was growing up, I’d come home from school and just read, all night.  I had two jobs once I was in High School, and after-school stuff, and hung out with friends, but I always found more than enough time to read at least five books a week.  If you don’t read, what do you do?  There are a lot of hours in the day.

  • Why people freak out on me when I say that I plan to spend the holidays alone.

Last Christmas I had a great plan.  I had 3 James Bond movies, plenty of frozen pizza, and grandiose plans to sleep late and spend the day doing guilt-free slacking.  That all went out the window when I told people that these were my plans even though I can’t imagine in the telling I looked anything but ecstatic– certainly I wasn’t forlorn and “little match girlish.”  Eventually, after a handful of people felt so bad for me, I was told in a tone that broached no argument, “You’re coming to our house,” and I spent Christmas with The Appraiser and his family.  It was lovely, and I like them a lot, but I also had to drive 1.5 hours and put on nice clothes, which was not in the original plan.

  • Why UPS in RI seems so reluctant to do its job.

This afternoon, I have to drive to the UPS warehouse in Warwick (a place I hate so much that every time I go there, I get a bit twitchy even though that’s where the Trader Joes and Chipotle are) because my new black boots were shipped UPS and they just do not like to deliver packages.  I had them sent to Jewish Friends house since my neighbors still steal my mail, she found the slip that she had missed them, signed it, and stuck it back to the door.  Then she found another slip saying that they had made their final attempt.  In my neighborhood, where there are mail thieves and crackheads, UPS leaves packages on my steps to be secreted away by people who are not me; in Jewish Friend’s neighborhood, where there are hipsters and good bakeries, UPS will not leave anything.  I don’t want to have everything sent to work, because that exposes the fact that I buy far too many things online, but I think that’s what it will come to because I cannot specify to Amazon that I do not ever want things shipped UPS.  Do the delivery drivers just like to drive around in the truck all day and put post-its on people’s doors?  Fine if they hate their jobs, but just give me my stuff and go back to your sulking.

  • Dispensing financial advice.

suzeormanI have a secret dream of being a more fashionable, less abrasive, and heterosexual Suze Orman.  Problem is, all of my financial advice is based on growing up with a banker mother and making a lot of mistakes, but no matter. Jewish Friend said that her credit score has improved since becoming friends with me, and yours can too! Ask me how!

I have nice shoes; I make it a point to have nice shoes, but I get more compliments on my Danskos than on any other pair I own even though they’re two year old and look (I think) like hell.  Most comfortable shoes ever, except for driving.  It is because of my Danskos that I was asked to be a part of Culture Friend’s group for LSC 527, and why I didn’t have to do as much work as some people in other, small groups, and got to use the word scurvy during my part of the presentation.

  • People who pay attention to me.

When I wrote the blog yesterday about the things I hate, I was gchatting with Jewish Friend and Map Fleece.  I couldn’t remember enough things that I hate off the top of my head because I was annoyed by one thing in particular, so I asked them, and they gave me a whole list.  This makes me feel special, and makes me believe I either complain about things over and over enough, or people are actually listening to my inane blather.

  • DINOSAURS!!diplodocus

Really, do I need to say anything about how awesome dinosaurs are.  I mean, damn, dinosaurs rule.  Look at that picture.  Diplodocus, longest of all the dinosaurs, is often compared to the design of a suspension bridge.  He lived in the late Jurassic period and first remains were discovered by S.W. Williston in 1878 in the Morrison Formation, parts of which are in North Dakota, although most of it is it Wyoming/Colorado.  Diplodocus is also my favorite dinosaur, and I think would have made a good pet.

lady-gagaSeriously, she rocks so hard it makes my heart hurt.  I’m only writing this blog because I don’t want to shut her off, I can’t bear to turn it down enough to read, and I actually finished putting away laundry.  This is “getting stuff done” music, except for the slow song, which is so unnecessary.

  • Skirts.

Swishy, comfy, fashionable.  I would like to be known as “the girl in the skirt,” and I think I’ve pretty much managed that, except that most people who talk about me know my name.  Perhaps there’s an entire group of admirers who don’t know my name who simply refer to me as “the girl in the skirt”– I’m fine withcheese2 that.

  • Free Cheese.

Paid-for cheese is pretty great too, but there’s nothing better than cheese for nothing.  Free food in general is pretty rad, but cheese, man, it makes me so happy.

  • On-site laundry.

I used to have to drive across town to my brother’s apartment to do laundry.  This wasn’t too bad because we ate pizza and watched TV, but it meant that I had to do ALL of my laundry in one day, get quarters, and sometimes wait for the machine.  I also, inevitably, needed to leave before it was all done and would have to ask him to take my stuff out of the dryer, which he always made a big production about.  Now I just go downstairs, sometimes in my PJs.

the-slanketThe ad copy calls it “The Best Blanket Ever,” and it is.  I will not shut up about the Slanket.  People ask me how my Slanket is, like it’s a living entity, and normally this would drive me nuts– not this time.  My Slanket keeps me warm from neck to toes, and I love it more than I could a human child.  Also the website includes this story:

Slanket Proposal
My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting Slankets for weeks, but hadn’t yet bought them. I came home on Saturday, and he said he got us early Valentine’s Day presents- Slankets! He had his on, and gave me mine. Turns out, he had had his mother sew pockets into mine, and inside the pocket was an engagement ring… He asked, and I said yes! Proposal via Slanket… what could be better?!
Jessica
Boston
  • Knee Socks.

Love knee socks, love them.  They don’t get all bunched up in my shoes, they keep my calves warm, and sometimes I wear them with my skirts, which makes me look like a schoolgirl (may the reason I get “holla’d” at by gross old men, but no matter).  Sometimes I don’t want to wear tights, or have no tights available because despite my wonderful on-site laundry I am still shockingly lazy– knee socks it is.

  • Shrimp.

Shrimp have a texture that makes me feel like I’m eating a sea-flavored finger.  Shrimp are not good.  Shrimp cocktail makes my tongue hurt.  When I was in Vegas, years ago, I got a $.99 shrimp cocktail, and a $.99 32-ounce margarita at The Fabulous Westward Ho.  I was in pain for days.  Also, I got into a fight with a roulette dealer (table guy?  ball dropper?  they don’t really deal anything), but that was hilarious.

  • Paying for things.

I’m not, I don’t think so anyway, a cheap person, but there’s nothing I loathe more than taking my hard-earned, or ill-gotten monies and giving them to people in exchange for goods and services.  I would rather put them in an interest-earning account and sit back watching greedily as they grow with no help from me, then splash out on something exotic and life-changing.

Uggs are just so ugly and stupid I can’t understand why they’re still around and popular.  I don’t care how comfortable they are– don’t tell me about it.  Having grown up on the frozen prairie I can safely and with authority say that no one needs Uggs, least of all the people who wear them the most.  At my most recent dental visit, the hygienist and I got into a lengthy discussion about how much Uggs suck while my mouth slowly went numb and I tried not to drool.  By the time we were midway through filling the cavity, I was reduced to making honking sounds and gesticulating, but we were still on the same page.

  • Homework.

The elementary school I went to was very odd in that students were not allowed to have homework before 4th grade.  This was also a very bad school where we spent the bulk of our time doing art projects.  Because I had/have very little artistic ability (though I am a very good colorer), I spent a lot of my time surreptitiously reading books and writing stories and then had to stay after school to finish these art projects.  I longed for homework as it sounded exotic and like something that “big kids” did.  I have since had a change of heart, and am officially sick of it.

  • Being called Jewish Friend’s sidekick.

This isn’t something that happens often, but the problem with Jewish Friend is that it’s very hard to outshine her, and that leaves people thinking that she is my leader simply because I talk less.  This is not the case as we have a very balanced relationship based upon a mutual love of eating, adventuring, and a carefully honed system of checks and balances.  I am no one’s sidekick.

  • Incubus.

The gym that I used to go to in Fargo had about 20 tvs mounted on the walls and one of them was always tuned to MTV.  For a while, I would go at the same time every day, and see the same videos over and over.  I’ve never actually heard Incubus, but in their video they seem incredibly self-important and “deep”.  the closed-captioning was always on as well, and I can say that the lyrics to Megalomaniac are like a terrible poem written by an emo 7th grader.

  • The way running shoes look.

I have to buy running shoes because I run, but I find them to be some of the ugliest footwear available.  Every time I go to a store and see a wall of running shoes, I recoil.  Also, they cost too much, but I know better than to cut corners on something like that.

  • When people assume that I must not have any friends.

This hasn’t happened in a while, but for a while it was constant, and supremely annoying.  “Oh, you haven’t lived here that long?  I hope you’ve made at least one friend.”  By the time I heard that last one, I had been living in RI for 8 months.  If I hadn’t had ANY FRIENDS by that point, I probably would have started paying people to hang out with me, but that didn’t happen, clearly.  Also, I think I would have seemed a bit sadder, but whatever.  Do New Englanders typically spit on/beat up any “outsiders” who dare tread upon this sacred soil?  Did I just get lucky when that didn’t happen to me?  I have friends, people find me to be quite charming and tell me so.  In fact, I think I may have too many friends, and need to cut a few people out if they don’t start pulling their weight.  Seriously, who thinks like this?

  • Far too much reading is expected of me
  • I am not getting the reverence and respect I deserve from the 1st years
  • I should be doing the reading with this downtime that I have, but just cannot be bothered– that will most likely catch up with me very soon
  • I have three of my four classes (maybe it’s all four–she’s very plain)  with a girl who’s name I cannot remember, but who seems to regard me as some kind of kindred spirit.  I worry about this because she seems very, very angry
  • Mostly, I just want to read Nancy Drew books and other juvenile lit, then solve mysteries and have adventures
  • Unlike previous semesters, I don’t have any obvious weirdos in any of my classes.  This worries me and makes me feel like I must be getting weirder and therefore less able to discern.  I mean, a lot of the people are odd, but with the exception of angry girl, who is easy to ignore, no one really stands out.
  • I really have no idea how to write an annotated bibliography, which seems to be all one does in library school.

September 1 was my one-year anniversary in Providence– though I actually spent the day in New York City. When I recently had a two-hour lunch with Curly-Haired Religious Scholar Friend, she remarked “I feel like you’ve been here as long as I have– three years.” I kind of agreed with her.

How long do you have to live somewhere before you can say you’ve lived there? How long do you have to live somewhere before you can move somewhere else and say you’re from when you just came from, or can you never really say that? I used to know a girl who talked about how she “lived” in Washington state and when I asked for how long, she said “5 weeks”; I knew another girl who said she was from Washington state, but then it came out that she had moved to North Dakota when she was three and had never even gone back to visit.

A year doesn’t seem like that long, but it kind of is. If you asked me if I wanted to go to jail for a year, the answer would be a resounding “no”, but part of the reason I moved to a part of the country I’d never even visited before, is because I was fairly sure that I can handle anything for two years. It’s weird because after I had been here a week, it felt like forever, and then time stopped being something I thought about.

So because I’ve been in a listy mood lately, here’s some of the stuff that has happened over the last year:

  • One year of library school is over, my GPA is excellent, and the end is in sight
  • I’ve had three jobs and a long stint of unemployment, which is a lot to cram into one year, I think.
  • I found a wonderful hairdresser who has big plans for my head
  • I found excellent mechanics for both bodywork, and internal car fixings though it is unfortunate that I’ve had to deal with both of those things in just one year.
  • No sales tax on alcohol in Massachusetts!
  • Visited NYC, Boston, Maine. Montreal, etc.
  • Had many superfun adventures including, but not limited to: hiking in purgatory chasm, Moby Dick Marathon at The New Bedford Whaling Museum, Museum of Work and Culture in Historic Woonsocket, Gaspee Days, walking tour of historic churches in Providence, Soundsession etc.
  • Slept on a rock in Central Park and discovered that I can still summon up amazing reserves of stamina when it’s important
  • Finally went to the beach!
  • Painted (or rather, had parents paint), furnished, and decorated my apartment in a way that is very pleasing to me, and didn’t spend much money doing it
  • Free cable!
  • I have the most ridiculous and therefore best Graduate Assistantship ever that not only pays my overpriced tuition, but also a nearly livable wage
  • I’ve eaten lobster, crab, and littlenecks for the first time and almost enjoyed all three though I really don’t get the appeal of littlenecks. They taste like nothing except what you put on them, and have the consistency of extra-slimy hardened rubber cement. So I now know that I dislike them, and I love to have opinions.
  • Finally have quasi-professional job that allows me to wear skirts and dresses as much as I want so I can legitimize buying these items and actually wear them instead of them languishing in the back of my closet
  • I now know what happens at the end of the Babysitter’s Club series: MaryAnne Spier’s historical house with the secret passage used in the Underground Railroad catches fire in the middle of the night. It was later determined to be an electrical fire. Thankfully, everyone gets out safely including her tiger-striped kitten, Tigger, but the house and all of the family’s possessions are completely destroyed. Kristy’s family (her step-father is a millionaire, an actual millionaire!), takes them in while they get back on their feet. Though the situation is a very emotional one, MaryAnne, who is brought to tears by nearly everything, simply cannot cry. How powerful.
  • Found out that Watson (kitty) is asthmatic, which is tragic, but a little bit hilarious since it doesn’t really seem to bother him and he makes the cutest wheezing noises.
  • I finally found the Wal-Mart that is right by my house but I could never see it because it’s behind the giant Home Depot. This is very handy when I need some kind of last minute item that I forget to pick up when I do my other household shopping– cat food, garbage bags– but problematic in that I keep going there all the time and now recognize a lot of the cashiers, but still cannot find my way around the place. Also, I really hate Wal-Mart, but it’s just so handy.
  • Taught screenwriting workshop to teenagers at the library, which made me feel like a bit of a fraud since I haven’t written for the screen in quite a while, but had fun, and they told me that they liked me and learned a lot.
  • Jewish Friend gave me a gunlock, which I have no use for, but is totally hilarious to own, and has taught me a bit more about safety with firearms.
  • I’ve saved quite a bit of money on gas (obvious).
  • I’ve gotten a bit of a tan.
  • I feel now that I have more license to eat whatever I want since I’m getting exercise– not that my not getting exercise stopped me before, but I’m sure this has alleviated a bit of guilt that I may or may not have acknowledged.
  • A girl on the street told me that she liked my dress.
  • A rather unkempt man wearing a Harley Davidson shirt spit on the sidewalk in front of me, which grossed me out, but then without my even indicating that I was going that way, hit the walk button on the stoplight for me, then continued on his way.
  • I got hit on by a tall urban youth with nice shoulders.
  • A grizzled old man told me that I’m beautiful.
  • The crossing guard who works in my neighborhood stops traffic for me and allows me to cross safely even though I am clearly not a ten-year-old.
  • Oktoberfest beer is in season again, and this year I stocked up so I won’t run out before the end of September.
  • One of my bosses at my new job told someone else that I am “amazing”, my other boss told me, “we are so happy you’re here.”
  • I’ve been working half days and was told that I’d also better take off Friday, but this will not affect my paycheck in the slightest.
  • Jewish Friend’s car got backed into by an engineering professor, which is not a good thing, but it allowed me to refer her to my mechanic who I love, and love to give business to. She has also acknowledged that he is a wonderful human being, and he remembered me fondly telling her “Andria needs to keep her car cleaner.” I’m still unsure if he means the inside or the outside.
  • Since I’ve been working half days, I was able to have a lovely two-hour lunch with Curly-Haired Religious Scholar Friend and we caught up on all we had missed over the course of the summer.
  • I visited New York City for the first time and had a seriously kick-ass time.
  • With all of this free time I’ve had, I discovered that I too can make a delightful macaroni and cheese from scratch. I will use this knowledge this winter and subsist nearly exclusively on macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes, and feel more like a grown-up because I’m cooking for real and not from a box.