Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Soundtrack Edition (1)

Writing this blog is an enormous release for me... usually. Sometimes, though, it's also an exercise in self-censorship and self-restraint. That said, if I can't always articulate about how I feel, a song can express it for me.

So, without further ado, this week's soundtrack is courtesy of the lovely indie goddess Nicole Atkins.

(Track 1) Nicole Atkins, "Neptune City"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Or, as we called it in the newsroom, "Sucky University"

I became interested in mommy blogs because of my job. It was important for me to read these blogs in to order understand how to pitch them, why to pitch them and more importantly, which ones not to pitch. I keep reading them, though (okay, FINE, I am completely addicted to half a dozen of them), because I want to know more about these women's experiences in toddler-raising. I'm fascinated by motherhood; I'm in awe of motherhood. I want to BE a mother. And that's not to discount that many of these blogs are exceptionally well-written.

One of the blogs, or more accurately vlogs, that I follow is Momversation. Some of my coworkers make fun of me. Well, its on the list of things that they mock me for. I think it's interesting, so there. The topics really don't hold any relevance to my daily life, but neither do a lot of things I read.

The topic today is saving for your kids' college years, and it reminded me of one of the reasons that I'm in so much debt -- my parents didn't pay my college. And boy, has that effed me over.

I was allowed to choose where I went to school, and for that I am grateful. Money didn't really factor into my decision because I was 18 and pretty clueless about what real debt actually meant for my life. My parents always urged me to go to college, but I think they only really did that because I showed such an interest in going very early on. When I was about 9 or 10 I asked my dad for a UCLA sweatshirt from the local reasonably trendy store in the mall. He conceded and I wore it until I wore it out. It was gray and the UCLA was printed in blue-purple-pink plaid fabric letters. Very cool when I was 10.

I started seriously looking for colleges when I was in ninth grade. I like to be ahead of the game. At that point, though, I was planning on going to St. Louis. As if I might fit in in the middle of the country!

I went to Syracuse for three reasons: 1. The campus was pretty (and, along with that I had NO idea how cold it would get). 2. They had/have a great journalism program, and I was going to be Katie Couric (see my yearbook). 3. Boston University rejected me. Rude.

Had I gone to the most economical school to which I was accepted, I would have gone to Drexel. I mulled over University of Hartford, too. But see above.

My dad and I had an agreement that I would be paying for school through scholarships, loans and grants. But, really, I didn't know what that meant. It wasn't until I graduated and started seeing the student loan bills that I really came to terms with the fact that I went to a school that cost a small fortune. Oops.

I wouldn't trade my education at Syracuse for anything. I wouldn't trade my social experiences there either. I fell in love, out of love, made best friends and "swam" in bathtubs after too much alcohol. It was pretty great. I had my problem with it, sure, and complained endlessly about the snow and the cold for four years, yes.

But now that graduation is many years behind me and I am literally paying for choices I made when I was just barely a legal adult, I see why there are commercials on TV that ask parents if their IRA or whatever is prepared to pay for their child's college. Because I'm probably a solid five years away from giving birth and I should have started putting away college money yesterday. I don't really know why my parents didn't, but they didn't. And hey, that's cool. I needed food growing up more than the expectation that I would go on to study at a private university. But I'll always be a little bit (or, you know, a lot) jealous of my peers who had their educations paid for and still went to a good school like I did. But life is unfair that way. I had the food, the education, and now I'm broke. Super.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Someday you may know my wrath (but not really)

For whatever reason (Mom? Dad? Therapist?), I kind of like to fight. I am combative and argumentative and mean when I want to be. I'm not violent though. I won't kick you in the teeth or pull your hair or punch you in the face. Unless, of course, you're the girl I went to elementary school with who upset me at the roller skating rink and then I DID punch you in the face. Sorry about that. But, ya know, I was 12 and all pre-hormonal or something?


Now I don't actually punch people in the face, but I say I will (to someone else). If you didn't know me, and heard the way I talk about people sometimes when I'm angry, you would be shocked. You might even have me committed. Officer, there's this fiery little redhead over there who is talking about burning down someone's house and kicking their puppy. Um, right. Well I just TALK like a psychopath, I swear. Those who I say these awful things to (but about other people) know better than to take me seriously. Because they know that I cry at commercials and would go far, far out of my way to prevent actually hurting someone's feelings. If the FBI is reading this, I swear I could pass the psych eval.

It's only in the really baddest of the bad situations that I'm in that I ever let myself slip and say something horrible to the person I'm actually angry with. Like, say you're breaking up with me and I happen to spit out a line about how mad your departed grandmother would be if she knew what you were doing to me. Ooops. The things you think versus the things you say. I should not have said that. But, to be a little more fair, you shouldn't have been doing the behind-my-backness that you were.

And maybe once or twice I tried to put a curse of sorts on a stepparent. Or I threw water in your face when you insulted my daddy.

This morning, I had a little episode where I wasn't sure if I wanted to tear off someone else's face or my own. See, I don't know if you've noticed how much repulsive pollen is in the air right now, but it has so much pull on me that I actually CAME TO WORK WITHOUT MAKEUP ON TODAY. Yes. My skin is excessively dry and irritated from the amount of medication I have been taking to merely function during this allergy season, and my eyes especially are swollen, red and raw. My eyes and the skin around my eyes. And by extension pretty much my entire face and neck. Yesterday it burned so badly just to sweep some of my ALL-NATURAL makeup over my face that I simply couldn't bear to do it again. Especially because I woke up feeling worse and more irritated than I did then. So, the face-tearing. I am clearly miserable in my skin and people still manage to go about pissing me off. I felt like a monster, but my hands were shaking and my teeth were clenched in anger. I was nervous I was going to turn green, rip off my shirt and grow into the Hulk at any moment. So, naturally, I start pounding on my keyboard and instant message my friend the awful things I do-but-do-NOT want to do to those who have crossed me within the previous hour. And they laugh, because, really, what else can they do when someone sounds like a crazy person?

But I don't have anger management issues and I am perfectly normal girl.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Letter to the Boy that I Adore

Dear Skidoo,

Last night you texted me, around 10pm as you so often do. But instead of a clever catchphrase for hello, how are you like usual, you said, "I miss ya Ash."

I was sitting by my phone, reading on the couch, and I was filled with warmth and touch of terror. Something had probably happened. Because that's where my mind goes. So I responded that I missed you, too, and was everything okay?

Yes, of course, you responded. You were just telling the girl you're dating (but not a girlfriend, I know) about me, and you wanted to remind me that you missed me. The only boy who still, after more than twenty years, has the capacity to make my heart melt.

You, baby brother, are my best friend for life. I was eight when you was born and as soon as I saw you, I was inhabited by a fierce maternal (sisternal?) instinct to protect this little boy with the almost black hair and tiny adorable feet. I rocked you. I changed your diaper. I adored you.

Now we've lived apart for almost ten years. Can you believe that? And every day, unless you're pissing me off, I miss you. The biggest advantage to packing up and moving back home is that you're there. You think we should either move away together (Las Vegas has come up, really?) or get an apartment just you and me. We would have so much fun. And, I have a feeling, I would be so ridiculously tired keeping up with a nearly 21 year old. Did I have this much energy and capacity for alcohol at 21? I really doubt it. On my twenty first birthday I went to the Olive Garden with a handful of good college friends and had a glass of White Zinfandel. Because, well, that's me.

You could move to New York with me, too. I would teach you the subway system so you wouldn't get too lost. Promise. Think about it.

And I'll keep pondering my next move as well. You're a heavy advantage for Pennsylvania, you know.

Your sister