Thursday, August 28, 2008


It's amazing how smells can be so powerful.  One whiff of a familiar scent, and it can send you to a completely different place and time in your mind.  

Yesterday morning my mom asked me to turn off the AC and open up the apartment.  After opening all of the windows and pulling the screen shut to the balcony, I went back in to my bedroom to start writing a letter for tenure that I'd been meaning to start.  After listening for twenty minutes to the lawn service mow all around the apartment, I distractedly got up and walked out to the kitchen.  Something about the breeze blowing and it smelling like fresh cut grass sent me into this non-specific memory of being at my house in North Graylyn Crest, when my parents were still together.  It felt like a Sunday, and it was springtime.  My dad was out cutting the lawn in the backyard, and the windows of the house were open.  There wasn't anything specific in my memory... no people, or objects really.  It was more just like a feeling.  I closed my eyes and experienced it fully, until it faded.  Then the memory/feeling returned to that place in my brain where I cannot consciously pull it out, but must be reminded by some sort of sensory input.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Laptop and Weekend Plans

I'm updating from my brand new Macbook Pro ... I love it!  I've become so accustomed to using Em's MBP that this one just feels "normal" to me, and not too much of a big change at all.  I am so happy.

It was delivered to my grandparent's house, and it arrived this afternoon.  So, when I got to their house, I told my Mommom that I would show her how it all works.  I hadn't realized that she had NEVER seen a computer up close before.  Or at least, no one has ever sat down with her and shown her what exactly a computer does.  She was absolutely FLOORED when she found out everything you can do on a laptop (and especially on a Mac).  I showed her how to play music, watch movies, create documents, upload photos and arrange them, how to chat with other people, how to use photobooth (her jaw is probably still on the ground from when I showed her where the camera is, and explained that you can "talk through video" with other people who have a camera).  It was really neat to be able to do that, and she was "just so tickled!"  (note: my grandfather is the cutest man alive.)

I am BEYOND excited because Em and I decided that for labor day this weekend we would meet halfway in Ashland, VA (right near Richmond) and spend the weekend together!  We're meeting up Friday night and staying at a cheap-ish hotel until Monday morning at checkout.  While we're there, we hope to just explore the area, maybe catch a movie, maybe go for a hike (if it's not POURING), and possibly visit a friend who just transferred to Randolph Macon, which is about 7 minutes from where we're staying.  (Kelly- if you read this - we're going to call you in the next day or so!!)  I am sooo happy that we're doing this!  Even though I just saw Em last week, it was stressful being in NC and trying to take care of everything that I needed to take care of, while trying to see everyone who I wanted to see.  This weekend will be a chance for us to relax and have some time to ourselves :-)  I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rock N Roll

This is my little cousin, Coulby, with her new Han.nah Mont.ana guitar that she got for her birthday.  I loved this picture, she is so in the moment!   (And notice, the two front teeth missing...ahh to be 6 years old again.)

I've been in Chestertown since yesterday, just bouncing around from house to house, trying not to inconvenience anyone.  Luckily, my grandmother had big plans for my time here.  Last night we had wine coolers and played Yahtzee and discussed the only thing she ever wants to talk about anymore - my mom.  I know that she's INCREDIBLY worried about her, as am I, but sometimes it just takes a toll on me.  I feel like I'm trying to be strong for so many people, my grandparents included.  I know that it is my job now that I'm an adult.  But it's beginning to wear me out.  My mommom can't get 4 sentences out about it to me before she starts to cry, and seeing your grandmother cry is never, ever fun.  Especially when she's crying about one of her own children, who happens to be my own mother.  I'm trying so hard, I guess I just need to try harder.  Everyone keeps telling me that I need to be strong right now, and I'm trying so hard.  I just don't know when I'm allowed to not be strong.  

On a better note, my computer should arrive any day now!  I'm SO pumped, apparently it was in Anchorage, Alaska at 2:02 pm today, so hopefully it can make its way across the US and be here by TOMORROW!  I'm dying to get it and play around!  Plus, I haven't had a computer that works in about a year and a will be so nice to have my own, with my own files, my own pictures, my own music, my own preferences.  I am so excited!!

My mom is in the process of setting up a caringbridge site for herself.  I'll be sure to post it as soon as she does.  She would love to hear from any and all of you.  

I'm heading back to Wilmington tonight to take her for an ultrasound in the morning at Jefferson Hospital in Philly.  Hopefully we won't get lost!

Monday, August 25, 2008


Last night I dreamed that I had to get my kidney removed. We were about to go in for the surgery, and I started to panic, so they gave me this big shot that was supposed to sedate me, and it did - only I could still hear everything around me. And I could hear the doctors talking about how big the incision was going to be. (In order to remove the left kidney, they have to cut from your belly button all the way around your side to your spine.) It was so scary, and I remember thinking that I wish I could just see my mom. I hope that they let me be with her right until she goes back for surgery when it happens.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


So, classes begin tomorrow. Mine are all online, which adds an interesting factor for the semester. I've never taken an online course before, so it should be interesting. However, it seems like there is just a lot of reading and online discussion and posting. Here are my courses:

Mystics in America
Current Developmental Theory and Research in Human Development and Family Studies
Photography: Contexts and Illusions
Current Controversies in Pediatric Medicine in a Sociological Perspective

That last class is an independent study that I am doing with my neighbor and friend Gwen. We picked the topic together - we wanted it to be something that interests me, and something that I could possibly use for when I apply to Graduate School. One of the things on my list of things to do (which is forever multiplying) is to start looking for reading materials for the class. We are picking fourteen different topics to cover (some of them will include: pediatric vaccines, research funding for pediatric cancers vs. adult cancers, ADD and medications, etc.) I'm really excited for that class!

So, I finally made a decision about my new laptop. I'm went ahead and ordered the Macbook Pro, 15 inch 2.5 ghz. It's basically the middle of the road MBP. I found out that you can get your Mac with custom programs, and with my student discount, I went ahead and had them install Aperture for me. It was a lot cheaper with the student discount, so I spoiled myself. (A rarity these days).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mixed Emotions

I'm back in Delaware.

North Carolina was eventful.  I saw a lot of friends, figured out all of my classes, hung out with my puppy, spent a lot of quality time with Em, and got to see Rachel and Sean as w
ell.  It was a good four days, minus the fact that on the first night I got food poisoning (or something like it) from the food I ate at this Greek restaurant.  I was completely nauseous for most of the time I was th
ere, which was annoying but we worked around it.  

It was so good to see Em.  We are really working hard at trying to improve things.  And we both were very happy this week.  We had a lot of fun doing the normal things we used to do - wandering REI, grocery store shopping, running around campus, going to Ben & Jerry's, watching movies (Cars!), etc.  We had a lot of long talks, long hugs, and beneficial arguments.  I didn't want to leave her at the airport yesterday.  I still have so much love in my heart for her.

this picture was taken at mccoul's, back in september '06.  we were still a secret back then!

Today I am heading to Ctown to take some money out of the bank so that I can buy a new laptop.  I'm still deciding between a Ma.cbook and a Ma.cbook Pro.  Hopefully by tonight I'll make a decision so that we can go tomorrow and pick it up.  

Glad to be back home, but aching for my puppy and my girl.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

You got to do what you can just to keep your love alive.

I'm flying to North Carolina tomorrow morning.  I've been stressed and overwhelmed about this trip for a few weeks now...freaking out about having to make the 8-10 hour (depending on traffic) drive by myself.  Then, last night, I realized I could just fly and not have to worry about my anxiety while driving.  So, my flight leaves Philly tomorrow at 9:40 am, and I'll return on Thursday evening.  

I'm really excited to see all of my friends in Greensboro, and to finalize all of my classes and figure out my registration for my online classes.  I am also incredibly happy that I will get to spend a few days with my dog, Sydney.  I really can't believe that I won't be with her in the next few months... she has been a best friend to me in so many ways.  (Corny, I know...but it's so true.  I can ALWAYS count on her love.)  Also, one of my best friends Rachel, her little brother is going to UNCG as a freshman.  I was REALLY excited to be there with him for this semester, but I know that Em will take good care of him down there.  Rachel and her family will be in Greensboro this week, so I'm hoping to meet up with them at some point. 

I'll update at some point from NC, hopefully.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oh no no no, not the bee sting.

I was totally in my element at this moment.  This is me at PACAA... the staff associates were stalling before the Jr. Staff did their skit, so we sang "Flea" ... (which is better known at my other camp as "The Bee Sting Song" ha ha)  I'm second in on the right, and the look on my face makes me feel really happy... I love singing that song, and everyone getting all pumped up.  

I just got back from being at the beach for awhile.  I would love to say that it was relaxing and fun, but it was actually quite dramatic, as World War III ensued with my dad's side of the family.  Things can just never go smoothly when you need them to!  Kelsey and I had never dealt with any sort of serious family arguments that we were involved in, and it kind of made me wish I was 8 years old again, and totally clueless.  However, it was nice to be back down there, and I got to see Maria for a night, and I got to see Lindsey and Megan for a little while as well.  

This picture was taken in July- Dan, Kelsey, Amanda, Becca and I went to a hookah bar in Philly for Amanda's birthday.  It was really fun!  Well, as you can tell from Dan's ghost-like appearance, he was a little light-headed at the time of this photo, but he felt much better later on.  I just wanted to point out that Dan Glavin is my oldest friend.  We met in 2nd grade and haven't looked back since.  (Except, we look back all the time and reminisce!)  I love you Dan!  Thanks for being such a great friend for all of these years :)

And it must be noted ... I am watching VH1 and they're showing the 100 best songs of the 90s.  And I just realized that the Oscar nominated Mark Wahlberg and Marky Mark, who sang "Good Vibrations" are one in the same.  What!?

Friday, August 8, 2008


So, I've just had some random thoughts lately that need recording.  I just drove back to Wilmington, after hiding out in Chestertown at my cousin Meghan's house.  The last week has been a blur of sitting outside Play It Again Sam, sitting and talking on Meghan's back porch, being out on the boat in the river, hugging almost every family member I have, and going to the Fish Whistle for drinks (formerly known as the Old Wharf when I was a wee kid).  

I guess I'll just start.

PACAA was at East Stroudsburg University, the same place where it was my last year on Jr. Staff.  It was quite weird to go back there, everything felt like a memory.  It felt like every 5 minutes one of us returning Staff Associates was saying "hey, remember when we did this here or that there"  It was nice, and familiar, but still a little eerie.  Anyways.. to my point.  There was a lot of construction going on around the dorm we were staying in.  The sidewalks were being redone, and there were bulldozers and tractors all around us.  At some point in the beginning of the week, I noticed something.  At PACAA 40, two years ago, there was a patch of flowers out to the side of our dorm.  If you've been reading this blog long enough, you've probably seen the picture I have of two butterflies perched on these gorgeous purply-pink flowers.  I took that picture on the morning of Christine Luciano's funeral, before the bus picked us up.  Kristy and I walked over and those two butterflies stayed right there while we watched them, and didn't leave until we did.  We said, "That's Liam and Christine, they're here, they're with us."  Well, last week at PACAA it dawned on me that those flowers and that little garden are gone.  Completely razed over, for newer, prettier sidewalks or whatever reason they were digging everything up.  I was really disappointed when I realized that they were gone.  I hate change.. even little tiny change.  

"These are my people.  This is where I come from.  We're given this life, everything we got, and then some.  It's not always pretty, but it's real.  It's the way we're made, wouldn't have it any other way.  These are my people."  I heard this song on the radio today.  (There are more country stations in Chestertown than necessary, but that's cool.)  I've heard it before, but I totally forgot about it.  And I like it.  I've been thinking a lot about Chestertown and the Eastern Shore lately.  It's like I said to Meghan last night - even though Kels and I grew up in Wilmington, in a city, we always had that Eastern Shore blood in us.  We practically grew up in Chestertown, spending much of our youth out on boats, crabbing and fishing, going to Betterton Beach to collect Sea Glass and swim in the rocky floored water, watching Fire Works in Rock Hall.  Although we did not by any means grow up in Kent County or grow up the way most of my cousins have, we were always treated to a little sliver of that life every once in awhile...

When I was younger, one of my uncles lived on a big farm.  The kind of farm that has a lot of land, for a big tire swing and big dog kennels and a big dirt mound that we used to nestle beer cans into and shoot BB guns at.  I always felt like I was living someone else's life when we would go visit.  My 12 year old self was transformed from a girl trying to fit in at my middle school by wearing whatever clothes I could beg my mom to get me at Strawbridges and bargaining with her to let me buy school lunch like everyone else, to being a "country girl" who borrowed her cousin's boots and cammo coveralls and who tramped around out in the cornfields all day with a water bottle and "ate off the land".  (Read: picking wild berries and eating a concoction of onion grass and roots.  Yes it was disgusting, no it was not my idea.)  I have very distinct memories of hanging out with this particular cousin, who had her own truck, listened to country music, wore flannel plaid shirts and dated men (yes, MEN) who were only a few years younger than my father.  I was completely in awe of her.  I yearned to live that life.  There were things about it that didn't sit well with me, but from the ages of 8-12, I thoroughly enjoyed going to her house and living out my secret life whenever I could.  From time to time, I still get the urge to take off my shoes, put on jean shorts and a t-shirt, and go traipsing into some wooded area, pretending that I'm hunting squirrels and that I'm on a long journey where I have to eat what I can find and build huts for shelter.  

I played softball when I was younger.  It's funny - I've always been very athletic, but when I was younger, I wasn't very good at sports.  I loved to play softball...loved that orange dirt all over my white shorts (thanks mom), loved wearing my uniform and being number 2, loved to practice out in the yard with my dad when he would make the time.  But.. I sucked.  I played softball for 8 years before I realized that I may as well just find a new sport to play.  (Hence, I began lacrosse, which was a whole different story for me.)  During my last few years of softball, it became very evident to me that I was a horrible player.  I could catch and throw and run fast, but I couldn't hit the ball to save my life.  I dreaded coming up in the batting lineup.  I hated having all of those eyes on me...every player on the field, every player in the dugout, every fan, and especially - every coach.  I think now that part of this is the reason that I usually got flustered while up to bat.  I was a nervous and anxious child who blossomed into a nervous and anxious adult.  It's my nature to freeze up when I feel the burn of eyes staring at me, expecting me to do something great.  My biggest issue as a batter was not that I swung and struck out or that I popped the ball up, only to be caught... my problem was that I did not swing the bat.  Ever.  I would get up there, get two strikes (and maybe some balls too), and have one strike left.  And my coaches would yell, "Just swing, no matter what!" and the ball would come at me, and I would freeze like ice, watching the ball coming and going past me, into the catcher's mitt.  Strike three.  Every.  Single.  Time.

My high school years were complicated.  As if all high schoolers don't lead a complicated, painful, and dramatic life...  I felt like I didn't have a "place" in my high school for the first few years.  I played sports but none of my friends did.  I had one set of friends who I fought with all the time, and another set who went to our rival high school.  Somewhere around the middle of my sophomore year, I decided that I wanted to have a wider range of friends, and get to know more people.  I found a great group of girls who were fun and shared my interests, and who really already had cemented their "group" of friends, but kindly welcomed me in.  I have an ocean full of memories from this time period, but the ones that stick out are not the happy and carefree ones.  Sadly, they are the more darker ones.  The disappointment, the shame, the hurt, the confusion, the anger.  It will take many decades for me to process out everything, which is fine.  I am not bitter about my high school experience.  Do not be fooled into thinking that it was the worst ever... there were some really great moments, ones where I was proud, comfortable, ecstatic, in love (or, my version of "in love") and just plain happy.  But, when I think back on those years, I can't help but feel that those great moments were overshadowed by this big cloud of "adultness".  My very good friend Maria and I look back on those years and think, "Wow.  We were dealing with something that was way over our heads.  We didn't even know how to deal with those things."  And it's true.  We had no idea what we were doing, but we quickly learned, and we also quickly learned how to ask for help.  And for that, I am thankful.  

Getting so Big

Jack- age 2

Me and Emma - age 3

Coulby - age 6

Bonus Pic:   ;-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We All Float On.

Last Friday beautiful Katie Krize ended her battle and is now cancer free forever.  As Katie moves on now to live forever in happiness and freedom, someone else who I love very much will begin their battle with cancer.  My beautiful, strong, independent, and amazing mother has been diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma, and will have her kidney removed in a few weeks.  The doctors are being incredibly positive about this, and so we are as well.  My mom is so lucky that it blows my mind.  They're pretty positive that they caught this before it could be a lot worse, so hopefully, after her surgery, she won't need anything else.  (This cancer is unresponsive to chemotherapy and radiation... which is a good and bad thing)  

My mom will be fine, she is strong and she has been a fighter her whole entire life.  She has done amazing things as a mother, and as Kelsey put it yesterday, "This is only a speed bump".  

Things for me are going to change for a little while.  I am moving back north so that I can be with my family.  I'm not exactly sure where I am going to live yet, but it will be somewhere in the DE/MD area.  I am deferring for a semester, since my tuition is already paid.. I still need to call UNCG, but I'm pretty sure that they will just let me save the money that we've already paid, and use it for the spring semester.  (Does anyone know anything about this?  Or heard of this happening before?  Was the university cooperative?)  

This also means another big change for me.  Much to my mom's disappointment, I am no longer applying to go on study abroad to South Africa.  I have my reasons, and in my opinion, they are pretty obvious, so that's all I will say about that.  South Africa isn't going anywhere.

Another big thing that will happen is that my mom has to move out of her apartment.  When she got very sick in June with CMV (which eventually became her blessing in disguise) she used up all of her sick time and paid leave.  This means that now that she needs a major surgery that will take 6-8 weeks of recovery, she won't be getting paid for any of that.  So, we are packing up our apartment and putting everything in storage.  My mom is moving in with one of her very best friends, who will help take care of her during all of this.  My mom is incredibly lucky to have such an strong support system.  It gives me peace of mind to know that.  So, we will be packing up my mom's apartment in the next few weeks and finding a place to store everything.  

It's amazing how something like this changes your perspective on so many things, and so quickly.  At the moment, I am still somewhat numb and just in shock, but I already feel so positive about it.  I still worry every second, and I can't let myself think of anything except my mom coming out of this even stronger and healthier.  So, please, do the same.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

"If we do not love, then the love we love would not be love"

Sometimes life is just too much for someone to handle by themselves.  I am so incredibly lucky to have the people that I have in my life.  Right now, I am going through this whirlwind of emotions and things are happening that are completely out of my control.  I feel so helpless.  

PACAA was interesting.  Overall, it went well and the kids had an amazing time.  I did my job well, despite the fact that I was sick and horribly depressed.  I have never worked so hard in my life to slap a fake smile on my face and find the energy to sing silly songs.  

I made the comment last night that I feel like someone is pounding my body and my spirit with a sledgehammer.  I just want to run as fast as I can in any direction and not stop until I hit the ocean.  

I'm taking things day by day, however, I haven't been spending much time around computers or internet.  So it might be a few days before my next post.  

Thanks for understanding.  
Love to everyone.