December 2010


Well, 2010, it’s been real.

I can’t believe 2011 is happening so soon. It feels like 2010 just started, but I guess it has been a whole year. So much has happened. So much hasn’t happened. So much should have happened. So much will have to happen next year to make up for lost time in 2010.

I started 2010 in the apartment I shared with my sister in SE Ohio. I watched the ball drop and went to bed, hoping that 2010 was going to be my year. It was and it wasn’t all at the same time.

As 2010 started, I was starting my second of three quarters of graduate school for Journalism. I was hoping to become better friends with the people in my program (10 weeks fall quarter was just not enough time to get to know people… especially when more than half of the people in my program weren’t in any of my classes, and my assistantship was off of the main campus). I was hoping to figure out a topic for my thesis. I was hoping to figure out where I was going to be in 6 months when I was done with school.

I honestly thought I was going to finish my thesis before school ended in June and was going to move somewhere awesome and get a grown-up job doing something I loved. You know, living to work as opposed to working to live.

The winter months in SE Ohio were dreary as per usual, but my spirits were up. I did become better friends with some of the people in my program. I was doing well in school. I thought I was figuring it all out.

Spring Break was spent with my mom, sister, brother and an entire high school marching band. (My sister was a band teacher… and her kids were off to Disney World to march in some parade. I was chaperoning, kind of.) I thought it was going to be a pretty lame spring break, but it ended up being kinda awesome. I had a lot of fun with my family. And while pieces of that trip will now forever cause me simultaneous happy smiles and sad tears, at the time I was actually really happy. I hadn’t felt that happy in a long, long time.

(Full disclosure, I’m actually tearing up while I’m typing this… I am going to blame hormones for a majority of those tears. I seem to be extra emotional right now. One of those times of the month where I have the potential to tear up at a commercial for the Home Makeover show. You know what I’m talking about…)

Anyway – I was happy. In fact, I was so happy back then, that I decided I was going to wait to work on my thesis in the summer and I was going to finish the rest of the school year focusing on my classes and my friends. I don’t regret my decision, though there are surely times where I have questioned what I did or did not do with regards to everything. (btw – I know this is all probably epically cryptic. Not that anyone is actually reading this. But I’m not naming names and I’m not spilling super personal stuff. This is the Internet. I know once something is out there, it’s out there. So I shall continue my cryptic broad strokes…)

I admit, I kinda lost it a little bit spring quarter. My grades were fine. I was getting my class work done. I figured out what I would be doing for my thesis and I assembled a committee. But, my personal life was caving in like whoa. I didn’t know what was ahead for me. I didn’t know where I was going to be. I didn’t have any sort of job lined up. I didn’t know who I would be living with. I didn’t know what I was going to do. People had been talking about moving to Los Angeles. People had been talking about moving back home. People had been talking about doing this or that. I had dreams of moving to NYC, but I didn’t have the money to just up and move to the city.

My BFF was going to be moving to MN to go to school, so I finally agreed that I would move in with her. My parents lived in the same town, so I would just live with them over the summer and then move in with my BFF when it came time for her to come to school. While at my parents house, I would live rent-free and work on my thesis. And everyone would live happily ever after… right?

Hells no.

As my school year screeched to a halt, I found myself wondering what was going to happen to the friendships I had made over the last 9 months. I had befriended several people in my program and we had various levels of friendships/relationships. Some got stronger as the year ended, others started to fall apart. I knew I would be back in the area in a little over a month and that most of my friends would still be in town.

You wouldn’t believe how much can happen in a little over a month.

During that time, my mom and sister went on a 6 week road trip around the entire country. I lived with my dad in MN. My great-grandmother passed away and I found out while sitting in the parking lot of a movie theater after seeing Toy Story 3. I got a shit-ton of reading done for my thesis proposal. After a lot of discussion with my parents, we decided that it would be best if I didn’t move in with my BFF because of my financial situation. Among other things…

So, I get back to SE Ohio to try and finish packing up my sister and my apartment. Also, see some friends from school who I missed dearly.

It’s amazing how much can happen in less than a week.

(12/31/10 – Okay, so I did a bad journalist thing and deleted a couple paragraphs that I had typed out and posted. I was borderline venting and though I meant what I wrote, I shouldn’t have written it.)

Needless to say, I was beyond grateful when my mom said that we had to leave SE Ohio a day earlier than planned that week because my dad got injured. Not only was my dad waaaaaaaay more important that my personal life, but it was just nice to not have to be in Ohio anymore. (Even though, for the record, I wish I had more time during that visit to spend with my best grad school friend ever. You know who you are, Oh mighty thesis dominator!!!)

I am giving myself exactly one more day to cringe at that week in OH and the events that transpired. I am giving myself one more day to question what did or did not happen during grad school and why. I am giving myself one more day to dwell on the past.

See, I have a really good memory. Like, freakishly good. I remember conversations. I remember where they happened. Who was there. What people were wearing. What the weather was. Facial expressions. Body language. What I was feeling. What I was thinking. What happened. What didn’t happen. What I wanted to happen. I remember movies. Who I was with. What we did after. I remember dreams. I remember nightmares. This goes back to grade school and before. Whether I want to or not, I remember a lot. Maybe not everything, but enough to have completely vivid mental images of a lot of moments in my life. Happy ones. Sad ones. Regretful ones. Proud ones. I seem unable to repress the ones that I want to forget. If Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘s plot were real, let’s just say that there are some things I would pay to not have to remember. I’m not saying that I want to erase anybody, but sometimes I wish I could just forget something, or at least have the ability to let it go for awhile. But I can’t. And all this information – happy, sad, regret, proud, joy, loss, celebration, etc… – is just always there, and it just weighs down my brain sometimes. (Like now… one would think that with each tear that falls, some of the weight would be lifted. But instead, it just seems to weigh me down even more.)

But I digress. Boy, do I digress.

Anyway, after I got back to MN in July with my mom and we made sure my dad was all right, we got into our new routine. Yes, I live with my parents. I am in my late 20s, I have one degree and am working on completing my second one and I live with my parents. (Talk about something that weighs down my brain… yikes.)

I got a (crappy) job to pay my bills. My BFF goes to school in town and I get to see her on occasion (though not as much as I’d like… hopefully in the New Year she’ll also want to hang out more). I am working on my thesis proposal. (I am emailing my thesis chair after New Years and asking him to let me know what I need to edit so I can defend the fucker already.) Life’s not perfect in the slightest, but it’s pretty darn good.

I have a family who loves me unconditionally. I have some friends who I love unconditionally. I can afford to pay for the bills I have. I am trying to save up some money so I can move out of my parents house as soon as humanly possible (hopefully this summer). I am working on my thesis proposal and coding when I can (I am at 700+ cases already!). I have my health (which can totally be improved… but I will be exercising and eating better in the New Year, for sure. We have several Wii dancing/cardio games to help with that. Woot.).

I know that in the New Year, if I want a good job and success that I will have to work my ass off for it. I am ready to face the world and conquer where I can. I am going to finish this thesis. It is going to make a difference to someone. I am going to make a difference. I am going to work hard. I am going to be a better person. I want to keep in better contact with people. And I am going to make 2011 my year.

I still don’t know where I’m going to be or what I’m going to do exactly. But I want to be happy. I am going to be happy.

πŸ™‚

To you and yours, Happy New Year!!

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So, I didn’t do any thesis work today. Whoops. But not really… I will code all day tomorrow, I swear.

Today I went to a movie, then watched a movie at my house (among other things…)

I woke up early for the 9:40 showing of Black Swan. Whoa… good movie.

(SPOILERS)

I saw the end coming a mile away, but that didn’t ruin the movie for me. I just knew Nina was crazy and that Lily had nothing to do with it. The use of White and Black throughout (i.e. Natalie Portman’s wardrobe) was pretty obvious, but it totally worked nonetheless. And I didn’t have high hopes for Mila Kunis, but I thought she was great as Lily. But, the trifecta of amazing performances goes to Portman, Barbara Hershey and Vincent Cassel.

Portman’s performance in this reminded me of the ultimate mash-up of her characters in Garden State and Closer. (Garden State = White Swan, Closer = Black Swan) Her dancing was beautiful, but what was most haunting was how Nina just broke down by breaking out of her shell. Though it was super gross, I thought the repetition of the blood and those goosebump-esque marks all over her body (especially toward the end… when she sprouted those awesome black wings) were brilliant. The black wings were stunning.

Hershey was buh-rilliant. The ultimate stage mom who wanted the best for her daughter, but also resented her for destroying her career. Soooo many issues. Soooo many opportunities to just snap.

And Cassel. Oh, Vincent Cassel. He just oozes all sorts of sexy anyway, but he really used that power for his character. Thomas knew what he was doing the whole time, and that was equal parts incredibly sexy and pretty darn frustrating. One could argue that he took advantage of Nina. But she wasn’t a victim, either. Well… she was to herself, but not really to Thomas.

All in all, I really enjoyed the film. I love movies about dance, probably because I’m not the best dancer either. There were some really amazing performances (great, great ensemble) and I’m so glad I finally got a chance to see it πŸ™‚

(END SPOILERS)

After the movie, I went to Target to return some headphones (I got 2 pairs for Christmas…). I got a few shirts and a DVD (the remake of 3:10 to Yuma). I got some gas in my car, then drove home, shaking my head the whole way because people drive like freakin’ morons around here. Yikes bikes.

Back at the casa, I had some lunch, then changed into some comfy clothes so I could play my Dance on Broadway Wii game. Holy hell, that game is fun. And a little bit hard. As I mentioned above, I’m not the most experienced dancer in the world. And some of the choreography in the game is challenging. Two of the numbers are tap-heavy, which is kinda hard to do. I think once I play a bit more, I’ll figure out the steps and be able to make smoother transitions than I have been. My favorite routines are by far “Fame” and “The Time Warp”. I wish there were more songs (there’s, like, 20 total), but hopefully they will come out with another version. It’s a decent workout… I’ll do more tomorrow, but probably also do some cardio boxing as well. (In addition to coding, of course…)

After playing/dancing (Mom did it too… fun times), we Wii bowled and then I worked on some stuff on my computer. She and my dad went out to dinner with some couple, so I had the house to myself. I decided to watch that Joaquin Phoenix documentary, I’m Still Here.

Holy hell, Batman.

First off, I love Joaquin Phoenix. I think he is an amazing actor. And after watching this documentary and being fully aware that it was, indeed, a hoax (which they spend most of the movie denying… alas), I can still safely say that Joaquin Phoenix is still an amazing actor. And if this movie would have come out a few years ago, I think more people would have appreciated it and “got” it.

We live in a time where people can’t really keep secrets. Social media, the immediacy of cell phones, TMZ, the Internet at your fingertips (Smart Phones, yo), etc.. all managed to take the element of utter shock and awe out of this movie. Too many people were involved and it took too long between filming and release for it to have the proper affect on the audience.

I did see the Letterman appearance in real time (as in, I stayed up to watch his interview that night even though I hate Letterman). I remember thinking, “WTF?!” I did think Phoenix went off the reservation… but then a little bit later, it was leaked that it was all a hoax. So elaborate. But was it worth it?

I sincerely hope Joaquin Phoenix gets cast in a movie soon and starts being in stuff again (he hasn’t been in a movie movie since 2008) because he is too talented not to be gracing the silver screen. I think it was a huge risk and an epically ballsy move to star in this documentary. Having watched almost all of his movies and countless interviews, I gather he is a pretty soft-spoken guy, a super talented actor, and an actor who is able to pull off the kind of realistic/method performance that one would expect from Marlon Brando (in his hey-day) and Daniel Day-Lewis. In an amazing performance as himself, Phoenix masterfully crashes and burns, descending into the drug-riddled life of a would-be hip hop artist, JP. It’d be painful to watch if it weren’t for the fact that the whole thing is fake. However, knowing who is and is not in on the hoax is another story… just how many of those people knew what was going on? I’m guessing not as many as one would think.

I don’t need to watch I’m Still Here ever again, but I am thankful I finally got a chance to see it. Joaquin Phoenix is one of the greatest actors of his generation. But it’d be nice to see him in other movies sometime soon. (While watching the movie, I thought Phoenix would make a perfect John Belushi, if that bio-pic ever happens.)

A few months ago, I watched Phoenix return to Letterman to reveal that it was, indeed, a hoax. Letterman is such a horrible interviewer. This had the potential to be a great interview, but Letterman sucks. Like whoa.

After the documentary, I watched two reruns of Modern Family (such a brilliant show) and then found this channel on our TV that just plays random music videos. I saw one from Daughtry, Madonna, The Rolling Stones and some band I didn’t know.

I should be asleep now (I’m way tired), but I want to try and read some more of my book, as it’s due in a week or so and I’ve a ways to go.

I hope you have a good one.

Before I gush about how much j’adore the Kennedy Center Honors, I will quick re-cap the last 2 days at work.

Busy.

Like whoa.

After-Christmas shenanigans, for sure. Mountains of returns and no time to straighten up anything. Bitchy people who yell at me over the phone (or in person) for things that I have no control over. Just because the bigger holidays are over doesn’t mean that people should automatically turn off their Christmas spirit.

Biggest pet peeve about customers – It bothers me to no end when a customer is the only person in line (at the moment) and then they say, “Since you’re not busy, can you do XYZ?” First off, customer. Even when there is no one around, that doesn’t mean that I am not busy. Do you not see the ever-expanding mountain of crap behind me that I’m supposed to be putting away because people like you and your friends/family bought each other presents they didn’t want/need? Second of all, customer, don’t give me lip for something that I can’t control. It’s not my fault you are trying to return shoes with no receipt at the desk where we’re only supposed to return home items and I am instructed to send you upstairs to the proper department.

(end rant)

It’s just been a frustrating 2 days at work because we are epically short staffed. Even some managers were complaining about how we don’t have enough people covering certain shifts. Customers are getting pissy because they have to wait in long lines all the time. Then we get pissy because customers are mean to us and there’s no one to cover our areas when we desperately need to take a break. I was supposed to have 4 15-minute breaks in the past 2 days. I got one 10-minute break and one 5-minute break, and even then it was to choke down a piece of cinnamon bread or granola bar because I needed some sort of fuel to keep me on my feet/keep me from crying because of customers being beyond mean toward me.

(Okay, seriously end rant.)

I need to find a different job. I need to get this f-ing thesis done so I can get a good job and not be working retail. Retail blows.

But anyway… I didn’t post last night because I didn’t get home until past 10 and then I had to be back up around 7 as I had to open this morning.

I was going to do a big end-of-the-year wrap-up, but that will have to wait for tomorrow or the next night. I only just realized late last night that the Kennedy Center Honors were on tonight, so I spent 2 1/2+ hours watching Robin Hood (2010), and then another 2 hours watching the Kennedy Center Honors… woot.

(Btw – Robin Hood is awesome. Russell Crowe made a brilliant Robin Hood. Boo to those who thought he was too old for the part. He made a damn great Robin Hood and was uber sexy to boot. Robin Hood and Bud White (Crowe’s role in L.A. Confidential) are his best roles ever… sooooooooo good. I love me some Russell Crowe.)

And the Kennedy Center Honors… probably the best 2 hours on television the whole year. I have watched these for the past several years and I am continually amazed how each set of five honorees every year has impacted my life in one way or another.

This year the honorees were…

Oprah – I may not watch Oprah’s show every day, but I have seen a fair amount of episodes. I am also well aware of her philanthropic work, and her roles on and/or behind the scenes of TV, film and stage. Though I am not a member of her book club, I have read several titles on the lists because they were a part of her club. Oprah is a strong, powerful, confidant, well-spoken woman who I have looked up to throughout my life. Despite her less than glamourous upbringing and the challenges she has faced, she has earned herself to a position of power and wealth. In my eyes, Oprah really can do no wrong. πŸ™‚ Neither can Jennifer Hudson… when she sang that song from The Color Purple, I got verklempt. That girl can SING. I have been a fan since she was on American Idol long, long ago… love her.

Bill T. Jones – Amazing choreographer. Amazing. Though I was not super familiar with his dance troupe, I did see Spring Awakening twice on stage and he won one of his Tonys for choreographing that show. While I am not a dancer by any means, I do appreciate the art form. It’s such a powerful mode of expression. To be able to convey words, emotions, feelings and complete thoughts through body movement is a gift. The piece that his troupe performed in his honor was stunning. Oh, to be able to move like that. Just beautiful.

Jerry Herman – Even though I love all things musical theater and Broadway, I have never seen Mame, La Cage Aux Folles, Hello Dolly, or any of his other shows (blasphemy, I know). But I *know* that music. And I know how his music and his shows have impacted musical theater forever. I thought the performers during his segment were great – Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury, Chita Rivera, Matthew Morrison, Sutton Foster, et al.

Merle Haggard – Those who know me best know that I am not a fan of country music in the slightest. So even though I was not familiar with his songs per se, I was familiar with his story. And I appreciate lyrics of songs that are written from the heart. Though the twang of most country music sends shivers down my spine, I will admit that the honesty, sincerity and “this is how it is” aspects of a lot of country songs is something I really respect. My favorite undergrad professor always told us to “write what you know”. And Merle Haggard knew what it was to live life.

Paul McCartney – I’m not the biggest Beatles fan. I don’t own any of their albums. I used to switch off the radio when they came on. But over the last few years I have listened to more of their music. I have really listened to it. Not just for the catchy refrains or up-beat music, but for their lyrics. Those songs, though many of their titles seem so simple on the surface, they really resonate on a much much deeper level. It’s poetry. It’s stories. It’s material that is so relatable, set to music that will likely never be matched. You listen to songs from The Beatles, or Wings, or Paul McCartney’s solo career, and they are anthemic. They are staples in music history. They are masterfully written and perfectly executed. They are pieces of aural art that are a million times better than most of the auto-tuned crap that is released today. The past few times I’ve seen/heard “Let It Be” performed on television, I have had to choke back tears. None fell, but I always have this growing lump in my throat and I just feel that song deep inside. And the words are so simple… but every time the phrase “Let It Be” is sung, it’s sung differently. It’s just beautiful. And then they ended with “Hey Jude”. God, I love that song. It’s such a crowd-pleaser. All those “nah, nah nah nah nah nah nahs” are just money. πŸ™‚

So, I’m already looking forward to next year’s show!!

And now I should go to sleep… I have a list of movies and times for tomorrow. Depending on how early I get up will dictate what I end up seeing. There are just too many to chose from!

Have a good one

P.S. I will add links later… promise.

Well, my siblings headed out today so it’s back to just me and my parents at the house (with the dogs, of course).

It was really nice to get to spend a week with the whole family. It’s increasingly rarer and rarer that the 5 of us are ever in the same room at the same time, so this week was grand. Though, much of my siblings’ time was spent playing Rock Band or watching Pawn Stars in the living room. I did not Rock Band with them (I lack the skills to keep up with the guitar playing) and I didn’t watch all of the Pawn Stars either (Big Hoss and Old Man creep me out… though I find the historical aspects of the show fascinating. It’s just super frustrating watching the people who are pawning or selling their items so easily agree when they are talked down from the amount of $$ they want.)

But, the visit was awesome. We all went and saw A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie and it was amazing. We had great seats and the cast was strong. It was really funny and very touching at the same time. We didn’t get a chance to see any movies in theaters as the weather was wacky on our “free” day. But, I hope to see True Grit, The Fighter and Black Swan on my own in the coming weeks.

I helped my mom cook and bake. We made cookies and prepped almost all of the food for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I don’t know how my mom does it every year… she’s such a good cook/baker.

This was one of our best Christmases ever because there wasn’t any fighting on Christmas among any of us kids (usually one of us wigs out at another one at some point during the day. Stress levels are high. Sleep levels are low. Etc…). But, no fighting. Instead we laughed, played games, watched movies and TV, played Wii Party. It was a good time.

My siblings left this morning. I don’t have to work until tomorrow, so I took today as the last day of my holiday weekend. I watched a bunch of episodes of Community and the extras on Season 1 of Pushing Daisies. We also watched Elf, as my mom and I hadn’t seen it yet this season. I still need to watch Love Actually and The Family Stone!

As 2010 comes to a close, I will expand on some of my New Years Resolutions as well as look back on some of the happenings of this year. I will also be getting back to work on my thesis. I have 3 days off at the end of this week, so you can bet your ass I will be sitting in my big, red, reclining thesis chair and doing some coding like whoa.

I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas. If you are being affected by all of this snow, I hope you are being safe and staying warm.

Have a good one!

Hello,

So, it’s Christmas Eve. We just finished dinner and are now watching Home Alone. I’ve probably seen this movie 20+ times by now and still know every line by heart. It’s definitely one of our staple holiday movies. Hopefully I’ll get to watch Elf, Love Actually and The Family Stone sometime soon, as I didn’t get to watch them with everyone else when they watched them at Thanksgiving.

I hope everyone is having a happy and safe holiday season. (We just got another 4-5 inches of snow, so “safe” is legit… roads are crappy, yo. Good thing we have no where to go right now!)

Happy Christmas πŸ™‚

I had higher hopes for this Sing-Off finale. Although, right now The Backbeats are singing Katy Perry’s “Firework”. And they are singing it better than she did when she sang it live at the AMAs. But then again, she doesn’t sing that awesomely live ever, does she?

But I love me some Katy Perry music.

I had a l-o-n-g day at work. Really, it was only just 5 1/2 hours, but I was bonkers busy. And the only person in my department. So, that at least kept the time flying.

Our roads around here are pretty bad. My dad was nice enough to drive me to and from work today (he borrowed my mom’s car… she’s got 4-wheel drive and whatnot). We didn’t get as much snow as last weekend, but we still have all that snow… so the few inches we got today on top of last week’s accumulation is a lot. White Christmas, indeed.

As you can probably guess, I haven’t worked on any thesis stuff as of late. I still haven’t heard back about any editing changes from my thesis chair, and since my siblings are here this week, I won’t be coding at all, as I’ll be spending my time with them. (Although, they are upstairs watching the Vikings game, while I’m in my room watching The Sing-Off finale. But I’ll join them soon…)

So, I hope you are staying warm and that you are having a swell start to your week.

Have a good one!

Hola,

I hope you had a smashing weekend. I will post epically about the audition in the coming weeks (spoiler alert – it went AWFUL).

However, I spent a majority of this weekend lying on a couch feeling ridonkulously awful. A bit queasy, a lot tired (I totally even went to bed at 8:00 pm on Friday night). I basically curled up into the fetal position whenever possible and clung to a blanket for warmth. Awesome, right?

I have to go to work tomorrow. I am 100% sure that my boss is likely going to be pissed at me. You know what? Fine. Be pissed at me. I was legitimately not feeling well this weekend. And even though I still have a scratchy throat and a runny nose, I will show up for my shift with a (faux) smile on my face. I will help crabby customers with their last minute shopping and I will straighten up the hot mess that is our department.

Sorry – I am venting. I am tired. Even though I spent a large chunk of today napping on a couch I am still tired. And when I am tired (and not feeling 100%), I get super crabby.

So, I will close for now… and get some sleep. It’s, like, a million degrees in my room, so I will be hugging the wall for some coldness. Work tomorrow. Sing Off finale tomorrow night. Another several days with my whole family!!

Have a good one πŸ™‚

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