Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I am happy to announce that I'm on "winter break," but it's more than halfway over. I've just been too busy and stranded from my computer to update. I have spent every day of the break working at Polo, and nearly every night with Tom and Julie at their house. Needless to say, there hasn't been much solitude with my computer. School has been hectic too, homework assignments, tests, club meetings--- I got my act together and joined this Society of Professional Journalists club--- so hopefully I get a more solid background in my major as a result of it. There's only been one meeting but the people who are in it are all really nice, laid back, knowledgable people. I think it's definitely going to be good for me.

So there's this cat at my house. Actually, there's a lot of cats at my house. When you live on a farm people find it acceptable to just drop random cats off that they decide they no longer want, or lack the time to take care of. This leads to cats multiplying, and a farm overrun with felines. Anyways, this one black cat has been hanging around, coming in and out of the house for over a year now, regularly giving birth to litters of kittens outside. A couple of weeks ago "Mama cat" gave birth to a kitten. Yes, a single, solitary kitten, and she took it upon herself to pick it upwith her teeth by the scruff of its neck, and bring it into our bathroom closet. So we now have a kitten in our closet.. :)

While I'm on the subject of pets, Tom caught a mole in his house awhile ago. It has been living in the wall for quite some time, sneaking out to steal from the dogfood bowl. He's never been quick enough to catch the thing, but finally he did. He constructed a little mole habitat in a large white bucket filled with like a foot of dirt, the top of a jar for a water dish, and a piece of wood. We named him Molson, after the beer. He burrowed in the dirt and drank his water and ate the dog food Tom would put in there for him. Things were great, until Julie caught a second mole, and her and Tom decided to put it in the same bucket as Molson... :/ only one mole remains. I think the second mole murdered Molson, he had a mean look to him.. and he was a little bigger. So sad.. Tom named this mole Ivan, as in Ivan the Terrible. I know you're probably all thinking "man, that's cruel, just let the creature go," but here's the dilema. It's damn cold out. The moles are chillin' in the walls for a reason. Let them go in the woods, they're going to burrow into a snowbank and die. If Tom's going to keep up with this mole catching business though, he's going to need more buckets and more dirt. RIP Molson..

Netflix has been treating me well. I got to watch one of the best movies I have ever seen.. "Into the Wild." Some of you have seen it I'm sure, but in case you haven't it's about a young guy, right out of college named Chris McCandless who gives up everything and leaves his life behind to seek adventure and hitchhike his way arond. He meets many people along the way who influence him and his ideas, but ultimately, his journey is his own. His final destination is the beautiful Alaskan wilderness, where he will sustain himself from the land, on his own. It's just a really good, inspiring movie.. Breaking off from society, pursuing happiness, self sufficiency.. It's based on a real guy, and I think the movie actually holds pretty true to the story, and there was also a book before the movie, which I really need to get my hands on.. Anyways, I loved it, and I reccomend it to anyone who hasn't watched it yet. Personally I'm a little on the hippie side sometimes, and watching this definitely brought that out. I feel like I need to go on some sort of adventure before I get too old and boring for it. I want to backpack around somewhere, maybe. Maybe Europe..Ireland, somewhere beautiful. Also unlike this guy though, I would rather not do it alone.

"Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return 'cause "the West is best." And now after two rambling years comes the final and greatest adventure. The climatic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual pilgrimage. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitch-hiking bring him to the Great White North. No longer to be poisened by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild." - Alexander Supertramp

Things of late

  • Tea, tea, tea.

  • NPR and This American Life broadcasts

  • Stonyfield BaNilla yogurt

  • Reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns"

  • Hanging out with my dog.
This post has lacked in the visual aid department. I've honestly been too tired to go through the effort of uploading or searching for fitting pictures to accompany anything.. My apologies. I'm actually leaving for Syracuse in the morning to go to a farming convention with my mom. Should be interesting.We'll probably go shopping and check out the city too. We're staying atleast one night there, possibly a second if the weather is as bad as they're saying it's going to be. Well, I have to be up and getting ready in oh... 6 or 7 hours.. yikes. I should probably get to sleep. I'm hoping to post again about our trip fairly soon, but I wanted to squeeze an update on everything else in beforehand. Hope everything's going well for everyone :).

I arrived safely and timely to my destination. I went shopping for awhile, picked up some books at the closing sale at Borders---is anyone else upset about this??! I felt like I was going to like, cry when I walked in there to see bare shelves and a shut down Seattle's Best :(. Now if I ever want a vanilla bean kula from there I'll have to actually GO to Seattle I bet. UGH :P. But it really does make me sad to see Borders go.. Now I'm just hanging out in the hotel room. I really like hotels, is that strange? I'm with my mom for this trip, but I would be perfectly okay with staying in a room by myself going on business or whatever, as long as it isn't a shithole or in some majorly creepy location. I just like traveling in general.

To increase the cute-factor of my post, I got around to adding a photo of my closet kitten. Now everybody say "Awwww" ;).


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Update? Why yes.

Yo. ;)
Things here haven't been too wild-crazy-exciting. But I have been working on that whole "let's be productive this semester" thing, and it's actually yielding some results. No missed classes[yet], my homework is usually done by class, or atleast done enough for me to understand what we're talking about and not fail a quiz. I have been going to the gym religiously. I am becoming a news junkie, which I have been trying to become ever since I started this whole journalism major. It takes awhile to get in the habit of checking the news, but makes it a lot easier for me to do. I like having a nice, print copy of The New York Times though, makes me feel savvy. Haha. But really, I've grown to love the articles I find in there. I finally got myself around to joining the college newspaper too. I hope I can write well for them, I haven't really had to write for a print audience before, but it shouldn't be much different than this. Except for less of my opinions and minescule tidbits about my every day life, hahah. Sometimes I try to throw something more substantial in there, I need to start doing that more.

Can you keep a secret? I didn't watch a second of the Superbowl. Dead serious. I realize this strips me of a few "American" fibers of my being..but I'll survive. I did watch Christina Aguilera's national anthem fail on youtube today though ;), talk about embarassing.

I honestly don't watch a lot of television to begin with, but I'm starting to get into the shows on National Geographic. I watched this special on Explorer called "How to Build a Beating Heart," that was pretty interesting I have to admit. Using the body's own stem cells to regenerate organs rather than sitting on a donor list, crossing your fingers that you aren't dead by the time it finally goes through. I don't know, I mean there's a lot of ethical issues behind the whole deal, and I know I for one am already concerned with the human population as it is--but maybe it could be a good thing. I would need a lot more research than one tv special to make that sort of call. They had this "skin gun" though, and I thought that was an amazing thing. Typically when you suffer a severe burn, it's a long, excrutiating process to get your skin back to a healthy state. It's hard on your whole body. I know what I know about burns and skin grafts from Tom, he was burned at 9 years old, and it was pretty bad..that's probably an understatement. I didn't know him back then, but he's told me about it, and you can still see the grafts though they've faded over the years. Anyways, on the show they had a gun, similar to that of a paint-spraying gun, except filled with your own skin cells, and with the aided percision of a computer they will coat the burnt area with adequate skin cells, and in a matter of DAYS, the skin looks normal. No removing skin from other body parts, no waiting for weeks or more to heal in a hospital, it's amazing what science can do. From what I could gather they're still working on getting it to be a standard procedure, but they have had a lot of success so far, and I think it would be a nice option for burn patients to have if it really works as well as the NatGeo special led me to believe. Another part of the video that was crazy, to see a rat heart beating independent from the body, that's a wow-ing visual. I don't know if anyone is like, into that kind of stuff, but here's the link to the preview if you are.

I WANT this, so much. Splurge...??! Ahh, I don't know. It's on Etsy. I love Etsy. But I need to be conservative with my wallet damnit. It doesn't help that I can't allow myself to walk out of Borders empty handed. But man, this shirt is so unique haha. Why must I care about fashion?

I'm going home this weekend. I feel so thankful/grateful/giddy that I have a best friend who
misses me to the extent that she'll drive down here and pick me up a weekend before the weekend my vacation starts, because she doesn't want to wait that long to hang out. That's a true friend right there :).

I hope that everything is splendid and well wherever you all may be.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hello February

So I've tried to post an entry like three separate times.. Each time I began a post, then lost momentum, felt like what I was writing was mundane. Or I started on a rant that I thought I'd regret later, and turns out I'm glad I didn't rant on here, because thinking it over, I was in the wrong.
Maybe I should explain. I began writing a post about how frustrating it can be to live as an only child. I went home for the weekend and most of it was spent, well, not at home. That's kind of how it usually turns out. See, my parents are hard working people, they're always out on the farm taking care of the animals, fixing machinery, things of that nature. So when I come home it's usually to an empty house, so of course when friends want to do something I'm totally game. Something I always make sure to do when I'm home is visit my grandma. There was only one time that I didn't have the time to, I was at my friend's too long and for punishment/because of the lack of daylight left to drive, my mom wouldn't let me go over and say goodbye to her. I was infuriated that day. I kept thinking to myself, "what if something happens while I'm at college, what if I never get to say goodbye.." Thankfully she was still in good health the next time I came home, but it definitely drove the point home to me that I need to prioritize. This weekend I actually thought I was doing better with making time for my family than I had in the past.. The day my mom picked me up we went grocery shopping together, made plans to go on a weekend trip at the end of February, and on the way home we took the long way because there were some things she wanted to check out. We ran into my dad on the tractor along the way and we went over to the field with him so I could take photos of him using the corn picker. The snow was like a foot and a half deep and I didn't have my good boots on, so I went trudging alongside the tractor in the snow, barely keeping up, trying to get good shots.. Then when he made his way back towards me, he got out of the tractor and went on and on about my speeding ticket at the beginning of the new year. I knew it was coming, but it was just agonizing to bear through while my boots and bottom of my jeans were soaking through, and I was out of breath from chasing after him for the pictures.. I didn't argue back though, and I promised to stay under the speed limit, yadda, yadda, yadda :P. I know he was right to scold me, it just wasn't a great way to start the weekend. I hung around the house for awhile, then went to Tom's to kick back and relax. I guess this is what makes my family life the most complicated, Tom and his family feel like family to me too.. I recognize that I don't spend enough time with my own family, and I really want to change that; but I think why I spend so much time with my "second family," is because it's so much easier. Basically what I got in a quarrel with my mom about Sunday, was that I don't make the effort to come out to the barn and help them/see them, and I'm always running off with myfriends. I do realize that. And I do want to change that. It's just nice to hang out with people my own age.. not growing up with siblings or cousins or anyone with less than 40 years age difference between them and myself---it's been difficult. Now that I have real friendships, ones that really mean something, it's hard to put them on the backburner for other things, but I need to. I really love my family. I guess the part of the whole thing that did make me feel like the blame wasn't fair, was that sometimes I feel like my parents should try more too. I'm willing to come out on the farm more to see them, but I hope they're willing to try to find time to spend with me in other ways too.. I can say I honestly don't remember the last time we went out to dinner together. One Fathers Day or some kind of holiday, I made my dad a coupon for a meal that'd be "on me" anywhere he wanted to go--he just needed to figure out a day that he could go. We haven't gone yet. I know my parents are busy, I know that they work hard.. Maybe I'm selfish for expecting them to take time out for me when they already have so much to stress over.. We're just kind of a weird family. We never ever eat dinner together because my dad comes in from milking so late.. then my mom doesn't even eat real meals, she usually just microwaves a hotdog and eats some bread and calls it good because she snacks throughout the day. Neither of my parents cook, or enjoy preparing meals. It's all about quick and convenient, and most of the things they eat aren't really things I like to eat. We can't do family vacations because we don't have the money, and my dad can't take time away from the farm.. so overall it's kind of an untraditional set up, so that's what makes it harder to spend time together I suppose.. Tom's family is always having me stay for dinner, and bringing me on their trips, so they kind of fill that void for me, and I love them for that. I love feeling like a part of their family. But I love my own family too. Just because we can't be the traditional family it doesn't mean we don't have anything special. I just need to put more effort into making our time together count. I'm an adult, it's time that I step up.. I could make dinner for them, or help with the chores so they have time to go somewhere.. I'm not doing enough. I felt angry when my mom confronted me about it at first, but now I realize I was just mad because it's true. It put a lot into perspective for me.. It's so hard to achieve the right balance of things, of time, of love.. but the more I learn and the more I accept about the mistakes I've made and the flaws I have, then the better able I'll where it is I want to be. I have to admit though, it'd be easier if there were other kids in the family, if my actions weren't always in the limelight.. it would be nice to have someone else to make effort, to draw their attention. To pick up the slack, to screw up sometimes. I think the most difficult thing with my family is an ability to relate. My parents lived a totally different lifestyle than me. They tell me themselves, they never really cared about going everywhere with their friends. My dad's main priority ever since he was a child has been the farm. He's never left it.. he went to college locally and farmed all through that, he's never held a different job.. he didn't have time for much socializing. Not to say he never did, he has friends, but it was never a big part of his life, farming was #1. My mom was kind of the same way too, she's more like me than my dad atleast, and back home she definitely had friends, but it still wasn't the same. Neither of them understand why I want to spend so much time with my friends, they come right out and say it, it's just one of the obstacles that keep us from fully understanding eachother. Being an only child in my situation makes me who I am though, I just need to learn to step up and make things better, and be more open, and spend more time listening.

While things were a little helter skelter with my own family this weekend, I did have a good time with my friends. I got to spend a full day with Amanda, catch up on the things that are too long for us to text about. I saw my friend Rachel one night who I haven't seen once since we originally left for college, so that was really good.. and Saturday night a bunch of us went to a concert which was totally awesome, and we continued the tradition of going to IHop afterwards and I had chocolate chip pancakes, again ;). It was good to see Julie too. That girl can drink tea like nobody's business. No seriously, two-two-liter bottles on the stuff in one day. I really have to give some kudos to Tom for this weekend too.. He made some money and repaid me in cash for when I covered him in NYC, drove me back to college the Monday morning..DIDN'T laugh at me when I hit a patch of ice walking out of the pharmacy and dropped like a sack of potatoes as he witnessed the entire thing from the car.. he said the only funny thing about it was that I smiled the same smile I had before I fell down once I got back up again :P.. he's a good guy. I say that a lot, but it's true. Things with my family and just stress in general were getting to me this weekend, but hanging out with him definitely made things better.

One of the photos I took for my dad of the corn picker with our valley's mountains in the background.

When I went to visit my grandma over the weekend I was greeted with a nice surprise---the chance to sift through some of her jewelry, and being able to have whatever my little heart fancied :). The first box has most of the items I took, I didn't get everything in the shot, but the silouhette clip-on earrings are one of my favorites, and the other photo is of my grandfather's class ring(1944), the one who passed away in the fall. I'm giving the ring to my dad--but I loved all of the things my grandma let me have, there's a golden shamrock bracelet that I cannot wait to sport in Ireland one day.. and she let me have a beautiful locket that has a photo of her and my grandpa glued inside. It was so sweet.. I'm going to cherish that box forever.

I think I've reached a decision about college. I've been weighing it out over the past week or so, and I think I'm going to keep going to this school for the fall semester atleast, but most likely the whole second year, then transfer out. College here will be different when I have my car, and I'm thinking it'd be better for me to make it through a SUNY school for two years with good GPA's to show for myself before I try to go onward. Last semester I had a 2.8...that's mediocre. I want to do better than that. I'm striving for a 3.6, we'll see how it goes. As of now the school I want to transfer to is a media arts college in Chicago. I've been fawning over that school for a couple of years, I feel like it would be perfect for me, in every way except for the distance.. 15 hours from home. The school I'm at now is a quick hour drive from my house. Sometimes I come home for the weekend and go back Monday morning right before class, it's that easy. Living in Chicago would mean I wouldn't see anyone from home except during breaks. That's a big step. Right now I miss my friends if two or three weeks pass without a visit. Chicago I feel would be best for me as a little more grown up. College is making me grow up quicker, but I don't think I'm quite ready for a big city on my own yet. I need to work on myself here, work on getting journalism experience, work on the smaller newspaper here before I think I can jump right into Chicago. I need more cultural enlightment, the phrase Nicole cleverly coined. I'm only beginning to catch up, I'm only beginning to really read the news, really do my research. Having a way with words isn't enough anymore. It was enough to get me to the top in highschool english, but that's long gone now. Now I have an english class that I'm doing poorly in, yes, POORLY in english. It's so frustrating. I don't get how to answer the woman's questions. A lot of them seem to be asked around her opinion...they're analytical questions where the answer is how she interprets it. I'm used to english having leeway. I think I'll be able to pull through the class just fine, but her quizzes are definitely throwing me for a loop. My other english class on reading literature is just fine.. the teacher is more open to interpretation it seems, and it's more of an open discussion setting than a quizzed one. Anyways, I think I'm going to stick it through another year. Give myself more time to think, plus around that time most of my friends will be ready to transfer out of the community college, so if I go away, I hopefully won't be the only little bird leaving the nest.

Tonight left me feeling sad and shocked because a girl on my campus, actually in my close friend's building, committed suicide. You hear about teen suicides all of the time, but it's an unbelievable feeling when it happens so close to where you are.. It was a floor below my friend, she heard the police, they blocked off the hallway near the bathroom where it happened.. When I was walking to the campus center, I saw a hearse roll by. It gives me goosebumps. I never met the girl in my life, but to think a girl here, a girl I could've become friends with, decided to end her life right here, it's crazy to think about. I can't imagine being the person to find her. Her poor family.. her poor friends.. It's such an all around tragic thing :/.. My friend found out her name and looked her up on Facebook, now I have a face to put to the thought.. I almost wish I didn't. She was a really, like really really pretty girl, and smiling in all of her photos.. I wonder what drove her to feel like she had no other way out. Things like this break my heart.