Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lately.

Well, my life has slowed down a considerable amount. My problem now isn't that I don't have the time to write, it's simply that there is just not much to write about. After I got home to Delaware, I slept. A lot. I slept until my body ached to be doing something. And then I knew that I was caught up on my sleep. I spent 3 days recovering from everything... the stress of finals, the going to bed at 2am and waking up at 6am, the long drive... my body and brain needed some serious mending. I feel so much better now, I don't feel so tightly wound and it's easier to smile.

Yesterday I had the most amazing day. I hung out with my friend Matt from high school. We went all over the place - DE, PA, NJ. We went to this amazing little cafe near my house (it's the same one I took you to last year, Kelly, when you stopped in DE!) and I had a fantastic Thai Chicken Sandwich and Edamame, my favorite. After that, we came back and played with Syd for awhile. The rest of the day was spent traveling around, buying Christmas gifts and getting lost in the barren frozen tundra that is South Jersey right now. It was great to catch up and even greater to get out of the house and do something different. I hadn't been that happy in awhile, just riding around with nowhere to be exactly and nothing that really needed to be done.

I am totally pumped for everyone to open their Christmas gifts. I thought very long and hard this year about what to get people. I wish tomorrow was Christmas morning so that I could give my gifts... but I guess I can wait another 36 hours. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. I need to finish wrapping, do a few loads of laundry, help my mom when she gets home, dinner at Romeo's as per tradition in our household, and then a Christmas Party that we go to every year hosted by the family of one of Kelsey's good friends. I'm excited, I love Christmas Eve - it's always so full of seeing people happy and catching up and drinking wine and even though I'm 22, I still feel anxious going to sleep on Christmas Eve :-)

I don't know why, but lately I've been really bothered by a lot of things I see. I almost cried yesterday while I was at a red light, watching this woman trudge through the snow on her way to the bus stop. She was carrying bags from a department store - presents perhaps? And she just looked so cold, I just wanted to pull over and offer her a ride, but I never know if that kind of thing would weird someone out. I was in the mall tonight and we were walking by the Santa display, where kids can get their photos taken with the big man. I hesitated for a minute, to watch the photographer try to get the attention of the baby on Santa's lap. The baby was dressed in the most adorable outfit, and his parents were next to the photographer, calling his name and waving at him. And then the man standing next to me said, "Oh, that baby has Down Syndrome". It bothered me - yes, the child had Down Syndrome, but seriously - this adorable child is sitting on Santa's lap, smiling for the camera, and his parents are standing 5 feet away, and is it really necessary to state that? Is it really the first thing you could say? It irked me. I smiled at the baby's dad, and kept walking.

I find myself more and more frustrated with the things that are wrong in this world. So many things are so wrong, and it's amazing how we don't even question it. We are distracted by the media, by our own lives, by the "buzz"... and we don't remember the things that really matter. We are taught that strangers are dangerous. Which, it can't be denied that some strangers are dangerous. But I hate going out in a crowd of people and not being able to relate or talk to anyone around me, just because I don't know any of them personally. Is that weird? I just wish people were more into their communities and thinking about those around them instead of always themselves. Tonight, outside of a kitchen store, a man bumped into a huge rack of door mats. Half of them fell off the rack. He looked at them, and kept walking. I was behind him, so I walked up and picked them all up. Doesn't he realize that someone else would have to clean up his mess? I sometimes long for a more collectivistic society.

Well, it's time for bed... I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. I'll be floating around the east coast for the next week and a half - Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont, North Carolina... I'll be back in DE on January 3rd, but hopefully I can get a post in before then. Love to you all -

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Peaceful *edited
















I took this photo last year while we were decorating the tree. I love my silhouette and the way that Kelsey is outlined in light. It was just lucky that the lights from the tree threw that patch of light on the wall, where I happened to be standing in a perfect spot to be shadowed. I've considered cropping out the kitchen...

I got home today - left NC early this morning and got into Delaware around 2:30. I've been taking it easy today...napping, a little TV. My brain needs a serious break from thinking... so far for grades this semester I have two As and a B+.

Tomorrow my mom turns 50 years old! She has to work for a little bit, then we are going to get our Christmas tree and decorate it. I'm excited, I love going through our ornaments... a lot of them mean a lot to me.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

Here is a better, edited version of that photo:


Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving Break in 8 photos
























































































































1. My mom and Carlos being silly at the Top of the Hill house.
2. Nothing makes me feel more holiday cheer than that house!
3. A room in the Eyes Gallery, my favorite store on South Street in Philadelphia.
4. Haley's very first Philly cheesesteak - she liked it!
5. Independence Hall at sundown.
6. The Liberty Bell
7. Jack- my cousin's son, and Poppop matched on Thanksgiving :)
8. Kels, me, and Mommom. I wish I had tilted my head up so that my eyes weren't so dark in this photo.

I have a ton of others - Haley took sooo many while we were at my Uncle's for Thanksgiving dinner, but I haven't really had a chance to really go through them yet. So, this is all for now.

Interesting

Websites that I visit most frequently, by letter:

A: apple.com
B: blogger.com
C: creatinglove.blogspot.com
D: delawareonline.com
E: ebay.com
F: facebook.com
G: google.com
H: hope4peyton.com
I: imdb.com (haha)
J: junumusic.com
K: kristenspad.blogspot.com
L: liamjamekane.com
M: mattlogelin.com
N: npr.org (what can i say, i hate listening to it in the car - i know, i'm a bad liberal- but they do have interesting articles)
O: orbitz.com
P: princeliamthebrave.blogspot.com
Q: none.. guess I don't ever go to any websites starting with "Q".
R: radiopeter.com
S: sporcle.com (BEST WEBSITE EVER!)
T: teamsam.com
U: uncg.edu
V: verizon.com
W: wikipedia.org
X: none.
Y: youtube.com
Z: none.


Interesting.

Thanks for all of your great suggestions on things to do while taking a break from studying...

Vickie - I am working on the puzzle you sent me and so far I have 19 out of 33 solved. I look at it every morning and throughout the day, and it's actually quite relaxing. My roommate, who has a really quick mind and is amazing at solving things like this, has all but 2 figured out. (I was proud to get #30 correct before she did, because she always beats me at things like this!)

Tomorrow is the last day of classes, and then my first and only final is on Wednesday. I could go home after my final (which is early in the morning) but I'm thinking about sticking around Greensboro for a few days... I have a lot of cleaning to do. My room looks like a tornado went through it, and my double bed has been a single bed for awhile because the other side is piled high with stuff. (I don't even know what... books I'm reading, clothes, a hair dryer that I tend to kick every night in my sleep, etc.)

Okay, I have to be at work in 5 hours and 45 minutes. Time for sleep.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thankful

Tonight I re-read my mom's old Caringbridge site. I read every single journal entry and every single guestbook entry.

It made me so thankful for her current good health. I don't know what I'd do without my mom and my sister, they are my best friends.

And reading all of the guestbook entries made me realize how incredibly supportive people can be... many of you reading this now left messages, and I just wanted to thank you again for being so supportive during that time. It really meant so much to my family.

I remember being in the waiting room during her surgery to have the tumor removed, tapping my foot and being generally nervous with Kelsey. My friend Megan, who came down to be with us while my mom was in the hospital, taught us how to play Tri-Peaks Solitaire, colored in coloring books with us, and distracted us by talking about anything and everything. That same day, good friends of the family came by the hospital to keep us company and they bought us lunch at the hospital. We had countless meals dropped off by family and friends for weeks.

We were and still are so lucky to have so many amazing people in our lives.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sanity Schedule

Everything that is standing between me and the end of my semester (I can't find my planner so this is more for my reference!!)

Today (2nd):
Work 8-10:50
Class 11-1
Babysitting 2-4:30

Thurs (3rd):
CTC Meeting at 11am
Lit Review Meeting at 2:30
Stat exam at 3:30
Class 5-6:15

Friday (4th):
Class 12-1
Babysit 2:30-3:30

Monday (7th):
Work 8-10:50
Class 11-1
Final Draft of Research Paper due
Undergrad Research Meeting at 1

Tuesday (8th)- Reading Day:
Stat Final Exam Review 9-11
Sports Psych Meeting 1:30-2:30
Internship Orientation 3-5
Rugby Banquet at 6 (?)

Wednesday (9th):
Stat exam 8-11am

Due Before End of Finals:
Final Portfolio (due by Dec. 15, 5pm)
African Politics Take Home Final (due by Dec 15, 5pm)


The last two things on the list will hopefully be turned in by the 10th - I plan on getting them done EARLY so that they're not holding me back!!

Any good idea for good 20 minute or so stress relievers? I need to find a way to let my brain zone out when I am taking a break from studying/meetings/craziness... and my brain is getting tired of surfing the web!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

302























Even though this photo is blurry and was taken on a phone, it's one of my favorites from being home last week! (Well, I actually haven't gone through and uploaded the photos from my camera yet... I'll get to that when I find the energy!) If you can't tell, we're holding up the numbers "3-0-2" for Delaware. I love these two so much, and it was so good to see them!

Every time I go home I am reminded of how much I love where I spent the first 18 years of my life. I love the northeast. I miss the northeast desperately. I am happy in Greensboro, don't get me wrong. Some of my best friends live here, and some of the best times of my life have been had here. But a piece of me will always be longing for the "Leaders Zone" as I like to call it (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey). When I'm driving home, my heart feels like it's going to explode when I am on I-95 crossing over into Delaware - the same feeling I get when the plane begins it's descent into Philadelphia when I fly home.

I hate leaving... I always, always, always get teary-eyed leaving.

I've been making a lot of big decisions lately. I graduate in 6 months, and my lease is up in 7 months. I still don't know what I'm going to do, but I really think that moving back to DE/MD/NJ might be in my future plans. I miss it, I miss it, I miss it. I miss my extended family - I feel like my grandparents are only getting older (which they are) and I feel like my little cousins, each of whom I've held when they were just days old, are becoming so grown up. I love them so much and I really want to be a part of their lives, and I want them to remember me. Right now they are 7, 5, and 3... and I hate leaving them! I want to be a positive role model in their lives forever, I want them to always know how much I love them, and I want to spend more time with them - mainly doing fun things! I've been wanting to take them to the Please Touch Museum in Philly for years... they would love it.

Thanksgiving was great - too much to write about, but the week was awesome. Haley had a great time meeting everyone and seeing everything. We took her into Philly, where she got to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, South Street, etc. She got to try a real cheesesteak... and she got to try scrapple and raw oysters (a huge Thanksgiving tradition for my family). I just wish I could have shown her more - she's never been to NYC, Baltimore, or D.C. - places I grew up going to on field trips and family trips... I would also love to show her more of Chestertown - in the summer though, so we could go out on the river. Plus, Rehoboth and Dewey... I may force her to come to DE next summer to visit...haha.

Things are going to be absolutely insane for the next two weeks, but I'm thinking I can handle it. For now, my to-do list is done and I'm taking it task by task. My last final is on Dec. 9th... but the days are going to be long, busy, and stressful until then. But, it will be so worth it! This is officially my last semester of classes. So... no more studying, exams, research papers, etc. Next semester will be my internship and my undergraduate research opportunity. Woo hooo!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ready

Leaving for home in a few hours... should be a fun car ride with Haley and Sydney and good music and snacks. It's going to be a busy week - tomorrow we have to bake like eight pies (and a cobbler, on my insistence) and lunch with the girls... Thursday will be THREE Thanksgiving dinners (gotta love that). I'm just ready to be there and leave everything behind me for now.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to you all- and thanks for all of the kindness lately.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Have you ever felt like you're drowning, but you're not anywhere near the water? I feel like there's no air here, nothing for me to breath in to effectively to get oxygen to my brain. I try to reach out and grab something, anything, to pull me back up but all that is solid just crumbles. Everything that's solid always disintegrates, that's how it's always been and how it will always be. Terror is beginning to take over my entire body, I can feel it in my fingers and toes. My body aches from treading, it begs me to just let go and drift. People around me are unstable, untrustworthy, un- everything else. My heart is panicking, racing so fast and something other than adrenaline is coursing through my veins. It's fear. And I don't know what to do.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

U-N-C-G G G G G G



































Last night was UNCG's first basketball game of the season against Clemson. We lost the game but had a great time at the tailgate, watching the band and the step team (they were amazing!!) and afterwards we headed back to the guys house and hung around for awhile. I didn't stay late because I had to get up early this morning for a charity kickball tournament (we came in 4th... out of 5 teams haha).

The rest of this weekend is going to consist of A LOT of schoolwork... but every minute that passes puts me closer to being HOME! I can't wait until Tuesday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

4 years.

4 years seems like a lifetime- but my heart still feels the same way it did on this day in 2005.

We miss you so much, Liam.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mommom


















I am so lucky. I am one of the only people my age that I know who has all four grandparents still alive. Although I didn't grow up in the same town as my grandparents, both sets have always lived about 3 minutes away from each other, and a little over an hour from where I grew up. I was able to see them often - weekends, holidays, weeks in the summer, etc. They were able to come to birthday parties, graduations, weekend visits... some of my very fondest childhood memories involve my grandparents. As I got older, I was able to realize how to appreciate them each in their own way. They are four separate people, with different qualities and quirks. But they do share one common trait - they all love me... a LOT. I'm lucky for that, too.

My Mommom B. (pictured above, with me at Meghan's wedding rehearsal dinner) has always been someone I've looked at with admiration. We all grew up listening to her stories (so often, in fact, that now I could recite a few), eating her cooking (even Shadow Surprise), playing games with her (her favorite is Yahtzee), listening to her recite poems, sing old songs, and recount memories of The Great Depression. But, what I have always loved about my grandmother is that she has always just "known" some things about me (and I am sure her other grandchildren feel similarly). Now that I'm older, we end up having serious discussions and I find myself telling her things I'd never pictured myself telling someone so old. For the last few years, I usually call my Mommom about once a month just to chat. She always answers, and she is always excited to hear from me. Over the course of our usual 15 minute call, she thanks me throughout for calling. And that's what always makes me call the next time.

Our last few phone calls have been mostly talks of her coming down for my graduation in May. I honestly hadn't been so sure that she could have made the trip because I knew she'd been having some heart problems, and she's just getting pretty old (84, I think?) But after talking to my mom, who told me that my grandmother had made it clear to her that she had every intention of coming, I started to consider the fact that maybe she would make it down. For some reason, of all of my grandparents, my Mommom B. has been like a personal cheerleader when it has come to college. Perhaps it's because she is living somewhat vicariously through my academic accomplishments (and those of all of her grandchildren), since she never got to go to nursing school- something she has dreamed about her entire life. So, having her here would have been extremely special. I can even see the look on her face...

Unfortunately, Mommom just received some pretty bad news. I don't know the specific details... just that she is now in congestive heart failure. The way I'm understanding it, one of the valves in her heart is hardly working at all now. The doctors are unable to do surgery to fix the valve, because there is too much risk involve and she wouldn't make it out of surgery. So, what will happen is that the other valves in her heart will continue to work overtime to pump blood throughout her body. Those valves are going to overwork themselves and eventually become tired - too tired to work at all. It will get harder and harder for her heart to circulate blood to the rest of her body. And then, her heart will cease to pump at all.

Of course, upon hearing this, she claimed that she was going to "outsmart these doctors and live to be 100". She "shooed" the doctor who told her that she had probably 6 months to a year to live). If you'd ever met my grandmother, this statement wouldn't surprise you at all. She's outfoxed many illnesses and prognoses: cancer twice, emphysema, etc. I'm happy to report that she has decided to enjoy living the rest of her life. I expect nothing less of her. She is truly the rock of our family, and holds us together tighter than any glue or bond ever could. Our family has seen more than its fair share of trials and struggles, and while she has been ever present during those, she has also given us a huge gift. She has hugged each of us before we have left her house. She has answered each phone call with "Hey baby!" She has given everyone little pieces of herself and her life, whether it be a crocheted afghan, a camera from the 40s, the recipe for "muddin muddin", or a wise piece of advice that we may not have realized the value of until much later.

I cherish these gifts, and I look forward to spending as much time with Mommom as I can in the future. She has lived a truly exceptional life, and will continue to do so for as long as she wants. I love her more today than I ever have before.

Monday, November 16, 2009

11/16

I received some pretty devastating news today...

So many things are running through my head. Guilt at being away for so long, anger at myself and the situation, but mostly just sadness. Pure, heavy sadness of something I've never fully experienced before. I've felt a lot of emotions lately, but sadness, just plain sadness, hasn't really been one of them.

On top of that, expect a post on Thursday. 4 years, really?

In 7 days I'll be home, where I belong right now.

Thanksgiving
















I found some long-lost photos on my SD card that I'd completely forgotten about from earlier this summer. I love this one of my little cousin Jack, he's such a happy and cute kid. I wish so much that I could live closer to him and his sisters. I love those kids so much.

I'm so ready to go home for Thanksgiving. Today while I was modeling, I ran out of things to think about (seriously...imagine what goes on in the head of a figure model who sits or stands for 3 hours and has to come up with things to think about...the result? I think I end up OVERthinking wayyy too many things in my life!) Anyway, around hour 2, I started thinking about Thanksgiving and who I want to see and how I want this all to play out... if I play my cards right, I'll be able to see everyone I want to see and get to do all of the things I want to do. I'm bringing home my friend Haley because she's from Minnesota and isn't flying home for Thanksgiving. She's not going to know what hit her... when I go home, it's a whirlwind of constant motion, always something to do or someone to see, I try so hard to fit it all in. There's 3 people who it is completely and absolutely necessary that I see (aside from my family) so as long as I fit that in, I'll be happy!!

I'm just ready for a break, ready to see my family, see my friends who I miss so much, and eat some good food and not have to think about schoolwork for a little while.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Work

Sometimes I just want to pack a duffel bag, grab my pillow and Sydney's bed, and leave all of my stuff behind, leave all of my stress behind, and drive to Vermont, find a tree house cabin, and live there forever.

Because is all of this really worth it? Do I need academic or professional success in order to be fulfilled?

Or is the success of interpersonal relationships enough? Is friendship success enough? Trust? Empathy? Love?

I don't want my life to be defined by work.

And I'm starting to go a little crazy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11/11

Happy 2nd Birthday to Maddie...






Sunday, November 8, 2009

Obviously Overwhelmed

So, I obviously haven't been posting as much lately. It's not because I don't have anything to write about! And that is pretty much the reason I haven't been around lately - there is just so much going on in my life, my blog has taken a back seat (among many other things, including friends, leisure activities, spending time with Sydney, and other things I consider important in my life).

Sometimes I come on here and feel guilty that it's been over a week since I've written anything, and then I think about the four or five things I could update about or have things to say about, and realize I really don't have the time to do it, or that something else more pressing needs to get done while I still have the energy.

Basically, I have never been so exhausted in my entire life. I have never felt so overwhelmed in my entire life. I have never been so busy in my entire life.

I go to something rugby related (practice, board meeting, team meeting, team building) 4 nights a week (Mon-Thurs). I babysit three days a week, and beginning on Wednesday, I will be modeling 2 days a week (at 8am... ugh... but, it's money.) I have countless essays, exams, group projects, papers, research to be done... I am trying to study for the GREs and fill out grad school applications. My room hasn't been cleaned in weeks, and I'm down to my last pair of underwear (TMI? too bad, it's my life).

Sadly, as much as taking a "blog break" has been kind of nice, I'd love to just take a "life break" and have a few days to myself. But, I am in the homestretch. Graduation is in 6 months, and I can see the finish line (it may be off in the distance, but it's there and I can see it!)

I'll end this with some good news. Last week I went in for an interview for a possible internship. It was the first interview that I set up, and our professor suggested applying to 3 different places since internships are so competitive in my major. I went to my interview last Tuesday and was offered the internship on the spot. I can't tell you where I'll be, but I can describe in better detail what I'll be doing for 300+ hours next semester... later. I don't have the energy to type it all out now (I still have a paper to write and a stat quiz to take tonight!) But, something interesting - I will not be interning at a children's hospital, or with a child life department. More on that aspect of my life coming soon...

For now, I'm living the coffee-every-morning, redbull-every-evening, no-time-for-naps, crazy, out of control life of an almost finished undergrad who barely has time to even think, let alone get any personal life things done. I know I promised more phone calls to those of you expecting them, but hopefully you guys know that it's not because I don't want to call. I feel like I'm barely treading water. However, it's the price I pay. So far, all A's this semester and my rugby team is 3rd in the state. Hallelujah for accomplishments that make me feel like this insane life I am living is worth it.

PS. On top of all of that, I am dealing with round 2 of the Swine Flu. So, cough drops, Nyquil, and popsicles have become my best friends.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

mes amis

There are people in my life who I will be forever grateful for. People who would drop everything for me. People who will answer a call or text at 3:30am. People who keep my secrets. People who love me for the person that I am (or at least the person I try to be). People who can look me in the eye and know exactly what I'm thinking. I'm an incredibly lucky person. Some of my closest friends are family members or people I've only known for a few years or friendships that have survived years of distance and us only seeing each other a few times a year.

I just wanted to recognize that. It's so good to have friends, and I am so thankful for the ones that I have. I honestly don't know what I'd do without them. Sometimes I don't even know if I deserve them.

"Sometimes we put up walls, not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to knock them down."

Friday, October 30, 2009

We're Off!!

Today the rugby team leaves at 5 to go to the North Carolina State Rugby Tournament! Ironically, it's held in Danville, VA... but lucky for us, that's only about 50 minutes away. We'll play two games tomorrow and one or two games on Sunday.

State Tournament is always a great time- I love seeing all of the other teams... we've gotten to know a lot of the girls from Wake Forest and Duke.

Wish us luck... we have all but two players going so hopefully we do decently!! (and no one ends up like this!) ---

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Me and Mariah, go back like...


















My friend Mariah, who I've been friends with since around the age of 11, graduated from UD last May and embarked on an amazing journey to Los Angeles, where she is currently trying to find a job in the crazy world of entertainment. I am so impressed with her bravery - I don't know that I could pick up and move somewhere brand new like that! She's had some pretty awesome experiences AND celebrity run-ins, and she chronicles it all on her blog: True Life: I'm An Adult? Go check it out!! And let her know if you stopped by :)


The Philadelphia Phillies are in the WORLD SERIES again!! I am ecstatic and can't wait for tomorrow night - Game 1 of the series, in NYC. It's Broad St. vs. Broadway!!

LET'S GO PHILS!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Update


















Jessie, Haley, me, Chelsea. Myrtle Beach Oct. 09

It's October 19th and so far this month, I have only made 3 posts. It's not that I'm too busy to write...frankly, my life is just extremely mundane right now. Every day feels like a cycle. Wake up, go to class, babysit, go to practice, do massive amounts of homework, go to sleep. Wake up and repeat.

I was able to get away for a few days and go to Myrtle Beach with some friends last weekend. It was so nice, the weather was gorgeous - around 90 and sunny every day. This past weekend, my mom, Kelsey, and Carlos came down to visit. They got to see us play Duke on Saturday (we kicked butt... we won 45-20! I scored a try but also sprained my ankle pretty badly.) It was great to see them, but it made me miss home and miss being around my mom. I teared up on and off today while they were driving home.

You might recall that I failed Statistics last semester. Never in my life have I failed a class. My GPA took a hard hit, and I cried when I found out. I am retaking it this semester and studying EXTREMELY hard. I mean, re-reading the textbook over and over, finding extra problems online just to practice, etc. I just took my second exam last Thursday. We got the grades back on Friday... I got a 95. The second highest in the class. I was in shock when I saw it... because that meant I only got 1 question wrong on the exam. So far my exam scores in that class are both As... hopefully I can keep it up!

The weather has become unbearably cold here. The weather we're experiencing in NC now is usually how it feels in January, not October. NC is known for it's looong drawn out summer. Usually it's cooling off a little by now, but definitely not in the 40s! However, the high for Tues - Thurs of this week are supposed to be 74, 76, and 75... we'll see. I hope so, I could go for a few more days of shorts and no winter coat!

The Phillies blasted the Dodgers tonight, 11-0. I have a feeling it's going to be a Yankees/Phillies World Series. Lindsey - who would you root for!?

I should get some sleep. To everyone who reads this who I haven't called back in days or weeks, I'm sorry!! I promise phone calls soon... I love you all!

PS. 3 songs to download:
Michael Franti & Spearhead - Say Hey (good for dancing in the car)
Antje Duvekot - Merry Go Round (stunning lyrics, beautiful melody)
John Mayer - Free Fallin' (An interesting twist on a favorite song of mine)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Two things

1. The Phillies are in the NLCS!! Watching the game tonight was crazy... it was so up and down. We won 8-6, but we need to play a little more solid in my opinion. But, a win is a win!


















2. TOMORROW my mom and Kels and Carlos will arive in Greensboro!!!! I can't wait to see them!! I'm so excited, and they'll get to see a rugby game because we're playing Duke University on Saturday.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Inside all of us is a wild thing"

This preview gave me the chills when I saw it over the summer. I absolutely cannot wait to see this!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

What about the GOLD?

Sometimes I get exasperated with the general public.

It's hard for me to understand how someone can be shown the injustice of something, and not care enough to try to change it or do something about it. Tonight I was on Facebook and noticed that there were pink ribbons everywhere. There are applications where people give pink ribbons, there are pink ribbons that you can give as gifts (the only color ribbon available for gifts). Yesterday much of the NFL was sporting pink sweatbands or shoe laces in honor of the month. So far since last Thursday, I've counted FIFTY-TWO pink ribbons on food products, on bags, on the sides of buses, and on websites.

I know and understand that pretty much everyone has known someone that has had Breast Cancer, and that fewer people have known someone with Pediatric Cancer. I also want to make it clear that I also support Breast Cancer Awareness. My grandmother beat Breast Cancer, and a member of my family is currently battling it. I support them, and all of the people I've known (which, when I just counted offhand, was 14) who have had the disease.

However, it still makes me angry that October completely overshadows September before it even gets there! It's not like Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month has to follow Breast Cancer Awareness Month and deal with the "leftover Pink-ness" ... no, people just get so excited for October that they start decorating/raising awareness early.

But. What about the kids? What about the ones who have cancer who are also trying to get through second grade, sixth grade, high school? What about the infants who don't understand anything except for the pain? What about the toddlers who have spent almost as many days in the hospital as they have out of it? What about the parents who not only have to worry about their child in the present day, but worry about the later side effects of treatment, such as hearing loss, infertility, and secondary cancers - IF their child even survives?

I'm not trying to compare Pediatric Cancer to Breast Cancer or say that either one is more important than the other. However, it makes me angry-sad-frustrated when Pediatric Cancer gets so little "coverage" and Breast Cancer gets so incredibly much. Why is it so lop-sided?

One answer might be the number of diagnoses. It is estimated that every year, 10,700 children will be diagnosed with a form of pediatric cancer. It is estimated that over 192,000 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer each year (ACS). That's almost 20 times the amount of Breast Cancer cases as Ped. Cancer cases.

But, does that mean it should overshadow these kids' fights? Does it mean any less attention should be paid to the fact that these children are being given (some) therapies that haven't been updated in decades? Does it mean any less attention should be paid to the fact that Pediatric Cancer research is funded almost as much by grassroots efforts and private donations as it is from money from our government? Does it mean these kids deserve the attention any less, just because they are a smaller group?

No. In my opinion, it does not.

Am I just crazy?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy 500th.

This is my 500th posting to One Safe Place. In a little over a month, I will have had this blog for 3 full years.






I can't believe it's October 1st...the semester is a third of the way over. I think I don't really realize it because of the 4 classes I'm taking, 3 of them don't have exams, just papers and assignments. The weather here is perfect to me - jeans weather, but not sweater weather.

I just finished a book I picked up a few weeks ago. Columbine by Dave Cullen is a comprehensive look at what happened at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999... What could have been done better, how it could have (or never could have) been prevented, myths that still exist today about certain things that happened (for example, there was a Trench Coat Mafia... but the two killers were never in it. They were also rarely picked on by "the jocks"... in fact, they did most of the picking themselves.) The book was extremely informative, and actually helped me to look at the event from a sociological perspective.

October 1st may bring Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month to a close, but it doesn't mean we have to slow down our efforts!! This Sunday, I will be holding a lanyard workshop for my rugby team. We are also planning an Alex's Lemonade Stand for later in the month. Just yesterday I went to throw out some old Freeze-Ice popsicles in the freezer and noticed on the box that there was a gold ribbon and "Pediatric Cancer" written underneath... it's the first time I've ever seen a gold ribbon on a food product!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Carry On...

I want to share something that I found a few months ago that made my heart race. As some of you may remember, a girl who I knew when I was younger was murdered last June. I thought of her today, and Googled her name to see if I could find more information about the court case that is currently proceeding (they caught the man who killed her just days after the murder). J.G. was a selfless, kind, intelligent, and faithful girl. She was home alone when this monster came into her home, brutally murdered her, and left with her car. I didn't find any new news articles or information about the court case, but what I did find stunned me.

Julie had an online journal all through high school. It was well hidden, except I think she didn't realize that she posted her full name once in one of the entries. This led me (and probably countless others) to find it.

Her words literally left me breathless.

This is one of her entries from 2004, the year she graduated from high school. I bolded the paragraph that brings so many tears to my eyes, every single time I read it. How can someone with so much love in their heart be put through something so incredibly horrendous? It. breaks. my. heart. ...


Life happens- like it or not. And sometimes it's hard to admit who you really are. Some people never do. I guess some people just don't want to, but I guess if you don't know who you are, it would be hard to admit to anything.

Travel through life where you will- meet people, love people, lose people, travel through life. I hope that in all things you do, one day you are able to find who you are and admit it, even more importantly, i hope you are able to find God. But maybe you don't believe in God... after all, all I can offer you is words and maybe that won't lead you to a relationship with God. But I pray, that if you are reading this now, you find something to believe in.

I have this faith that all things work out in time. Friendships mend, hate dissolves, people mature and one day you might look back and never believe that there was a time in your life when you weren't friends with someone or when you hated someone or you thought someone was immature. However, some friendships don't succeed, some hate remains, truly some people never mature. And well, those people aren't worth it.

One thing that makes me sad is when I realize how much unhappiness and hatefulness and meanness exist. It makes me sad even when it doesn't involve me. It makes me so mad because I have seen the opposite- love. I've realized that love is so powerful. And if you are still reading this... I mean, for some reason if you haven't fallen asleep or X-ed this little box out yet, there is a reason- there is something I want you to know. I am going to love. I am not going to stop loving. You can be mean to me, you can hurt me on purpose or maybe it's not your fault, maybe circumstances got in the way or maybe you are mean to people that I love, you can keep doing it. I am going to love you anyway. The best part is... this is not an attack, this is a proclaimation of love. I will love even if it hurts. I have a faith that in the end, this love will be returned to me and to all people who love with all of their hearts.

Sadly, some people never will.

I have a faith that I see in you. I see it in you even when I don't see you. And maybe that's hard for you to understand- maybe that scares you. It should. But as for me, I'm in love and I'm not going to apologize for it. I'm in love with my friends and I'm in love with life and I'm in love with my cheesy style of writing and I'm in love with good movies and music and art and if you're reading this still, I'm in love with you- no matter who you are. I have love in my heart for you. This weekend has made me realize to keep loving and keep having faith, and if I do God will provide for my every need. He knows my path, and I trust His judgement. I have faith He will lead me to you.


with love,
julie

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pepper in some fun and support a worthy cause!

Check out the UNCG Women's Rugby blog... I wanted to update about tonight, but after updating the Rugby blog, I figured it was pretty much all the same words. :)



Sunday, September 27, 2009

Photo Post.




















































































PHOTOS.
1. I love elephants
2. Me, Haley, and Kim with the Chancellor!!
3. Kim Haley and me at the men's game Friday night. We had way too much fun!
4. The Chancellor puts on a jersey after every Alumni match and gets in the group photos. I love that she does that! She's so cool!
5. Me and my little, Caroline.


Alumni Weekend was great - too much to actually type out. I felt like I was going, going, going for about 48 hours straight. Today I'm relaxing and catching up on the mountain of homework that I need to do for this week. Plus, I still haven't been able to watch Grey's Anatomy from last week... it's waiting for me on my DVR list...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

LTLYM #70


#70: Say Goodbye.
  • Goodbye insecurities.
  • Goodbye being lazy when I know I have things I need to do.
  • Goodbye dwelling on the past.
  • Goodbye summer.
  • Goodbye blaming myself.
  • Goodbye making others happy before I make myself happy.
  • Goodbye friends who don't appreciate me for who I am.
  • Goodbye anxiety
  • Goodbye Tivas, sorry I ruined your soles by wearing you so much!
  • Goodbye invisible walls I've built to protect myself.
  • therefore, Goodbye security.
  • Goodbye having my cell phone attached to my hand at all times.
  • Goodbye holding back because I'm scared to fail.
  • Goodbye to all of my belongings that I don't want to hang on to, but feel the need to because the material things make me feel closer to the people I love who are not physically close to me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

UNCG WRFC
















"In our country, true teams rarely exist . . . social barriers and personal ambitions have reduced athletes to dissolute cliques or individuals thrown together for mutual profit . . . Yet these rugby players, with their muddied, cracked bodies, are struggling to hold onto a sense of humanity that we in America have lost and are unlikely to regain. The game may only be to move a ball forward on a dirt field, but the task can be accomplished with an unshackled joy and its memories will be a permanent delight. The women and men who play on that rugby field are more alive than too many of us will ever be. The foolish emptiness we think we perceive in their existence is only our own." ~Victor Cahn

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Look

I toyed around a little with the layout of the blog... Honestly, my eyes were starting to feel a little strained from reading the white font on a black background. This feels a little cheerier, as well.

I'm going to work on the image at the top as well... I really, really need Photoshop back. Christmas, anyone?

I wish I knew more about html coding and website designing...these blogger templates just don't really cut it anymore.

Stick around, more changes (not huge ones, though) to come...

Question of the day: If you were given the opportunity to be born again in any other country in the world, which would you choose and why?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

You can call us women who like it rough

















Kelsey, Kristen, Hannah, Caroline ... Family :)

Our first game of the season went great!! We beat Guil.ford 19-0. We scored 3 tries and made two of our conversion kicks (5x3 + 2x2). Our outside center scored twice, and I scored once off a 5 meter scrum. It was actually a great play - we were at the 50 (center of the field) and the ball popped out of a ruck. I kicked it all the way down the field and their full back was chasing it and went to pick it up (basically in their try zone) and dropped it forward. That's a knock-on, so we got the ball. We won the scrum and my 8 man (who is my co-captain, Haley) picked the ball and went weak. I followed and she got tackled, went down and I picked up the ball, stiff armed through one girl and scored.

Before the game, we had a team meeting and the rookies were "inducted" into the club. Basically, all of the veteran players get a "little sister" who they watch out for, make sure they're okay and understanding everything, and really just make them feel a part of our team and our family. We make wooden letters for them (yeah, sorority sounding, I know..) and it's a big deal. The photo I posted is of my little sister from last semester (who's name ironically, is Kelsey), me, and the two new littles I gained this semester - Hannah and Caroline. They're great rookies and they both played extremely hard yesterday. I'm proud of them!!

Last night was fun, after the game both teams got together and Guilford hosted a pretty sweet social. Kelly and I got "Man of the Match" and that made me happy because I worked my butt off on the field, and my position, scrumhalf, isn't exactly a glory position. Then we got hungry so we went back to our rugby house, ordered pizza and had a blast there for a few hours. It felt so good to climb into bed last night.

I'm so proud of my team!! We played our hearts out and our rookies are learning quick. I have a feeling this is going to be a great semester!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

SATURDAY'S A RUGBY DAY!

Today is the first game of the season. We're playing Guil.ford at 3 on their pitch. We are bringing an entire backup side - we haven't had this many girls since I was a rookie back in 2005! Last night the team got together at my apartment to watch the Penn State/Stanford Women's Championship game from last June. It was a great game, and Penn State kicked Stanford's butt. I think (hope) the rookies got a lot out of actually getting to watch a game. I remember the first time I watched a game (before I played in one) and everything made so much more sense.

I have a really good feeling about today, and I am really looking forward to playing with all of the new girls and having a great time afterwards!





















(CT...never forgotten.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sigh.























I'm too busy for real words, but this pretty much sums up the last week or so.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September Playlist

My life has been revolving around good music lately. I carry my iPod everywhere I go, and listen to good tunes in the car or while walking to class. I listen to them on my computer when I'm cleaning my room or doing homework. I'm pretty much listening to music all the time. So, I though I'd share my "September" playlist. I can't guarantee you'll love any of these songs, but I do! Lucky for me, I have awesome friends and before school started I got 2 mixes, both of which I can't stop listening to. Some of those songs are on my list.

1. Hello, I'm in Delaware (City and Colour)
2. If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out (Cat Stevens)
3. Scar (Missy Higgins)
4. Why I Am (Dave Matthews Band)
5. Instant Pleasure (Rufus Wainwright)
6. The Story (Brandi Carlile)
7. A Change is Gonna Come (Ben Sollee)
8. The Boxer (Simon & Garfunkel)
9. Jesus, etc. (Wilco)
10. Emaline (Ben Folds)
11. Galway Girl (Mundy & Sharon Shannon)
12. Everybody Knows (John Legend)
13. Ingrid Bergman (Billy Bragg & Wilco)
14. Homebird (Foy Vance)


And, of course, my old pal Julia Nunes. I love this song and this version!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekend Review

This weekend, I felt like a freshman in college again. On Friday Kim and I went to get lunch together and ended up grabbing a case of beer on the way home and playing the Wii for the afternoon. On Friday night, one of my teammates, Melissa, was celebrating her birthday, so we went to the party. It was funny to be some of the oldest people there, but it was a great time and we all had fun. The night actually ended pretty badly, but I won't get into that here. I need to remember to start paying attention to all of the people I am responsible for. One of my friends made a bad decision and while it was her responsibility that night, I still feel somewhat to blame for not realizing.

Yesterday was a really fun day. I started out the day getting my car from the night before and taking Em to pick up her newly checked out XTerra. Then, Suzi Kim and I went and got lunch and went to the men's game - there are 3 rugby teams in Greensboro. The 2 teams at UNCG (Men and Women) and then the Club team in Greensboro that a lot of the men play on once they graduate from college. That team, Triad, had their first game yesterday and Suzi's husband Elliott plays for them. It was a very close game, but they lost by one point. Afterwards we went to bar that sponsors their rugby club for a social and enjoyed singing, drinks and some cornhole. (If you don't know what cornhole is, you should check it out. It's the best bar/tailgating game in the entire world!)

We left the bar around 7 and went to another party until around midnight, then back to the bar... I know, I know... how did I stay awake for all of this!? I have no clue, but we were having a great time and we took a cab home.

Today, I'm definitely feeling it... Kim and I are sitting in our dark living room watching the Eagles/Panthers football game. I have some reading to do, a stat quiz I need to take online, and my first stat exam is Tuesday so I'm going to start studying. I also need to finish cleaning my room- it's a wreck!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Interview

On Sunday, right before I boarded my flight back to NC, my friend Sara texted me and asked if she could interview me for a class. She had to interview "someone who has stories to tell". I didn't quite know how to interpret that! I was curious as to what kinds of stories she wanted to hear. I told her I'd do it, and we set up a time to meet. The next day she told me she was thinking it would be great if I could talk about Liam. Sara was my roommate freshman year, so she heard all about Liam, followed his website for news, and was with me on November 19th when my mom called... So for this project she had to record someone talking for 20-30 minutes, telling one story. I went home and made a timeline of Liam's dx, treatment, relapse, relapse therapies, etc. I also related that back to myself and added into the timeline when I went to college, when I did fundraisers, etc.

The interview itself was interesting - Sara brought her laptop and we sat in a study room at the library. She looked away from me and took notes, so that I wouldn't get nervous. I stared at my knees and just started talking, sometimes referring to my notes. I talked for around 25 minutes. As I was talking, I started remembering little things that have been tucked in the back of my mind about my times with Liam. I laughed as I talked about some of the funny things he used to do, and held back tears when I spoke about the harder parts.

It was pretty cool, and I was honored that Sara wanted to interview me about Liam. The finished product should be interesting - I might be able to find a way to share it here. It makes me so happy when my friends remember/mention Liam.


















I said, "Liam make a T-Rex Face!"

Monday, September 7, 2009

THE WEDDING!





















Meghan and Ray's wedding was stunning. There are so many moments that I just want to freeze in my memory, so that I never forget them. My face hurts from smiling so hard all weekend long. Meg looked absolutely gorgeous, and I know that a lot of brides look very pretty, but to me, she looked beyond pretty. Her dress was perfect, her hair was beautiful. I never, ever want to forget the moment that she opened the bathroom door in that bedroom and came out- everyone was speechless for a moment, and then it was "Oh you look so beautiful!" and "Meg, its perfect!" ... but I couldn't even say a word. It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was so incredibly "stunned-happy" in that moment, because I could tell Meghan felt excited and happy.























The wedding itself is something I feel that I can't even describe fully. There is no way to put into words how incredible the entire event was. The ceremony was perfect and the reception was a blast - great band, lots and LOTS of dancing, watching a gorgeous sunset, seeing lots of people I know, spending time with my family, watching Meghan dance with Ray... Both the ceremony and reception were outside, on a property right on the river in Chestertown. It was so classy and beautiful, and the sunset made for a gorgeous backdrop all during the ceremony and the beginning of the reception.



















I read a poem during the ceremony. I read "I Carry Your Heart With Me" by e.e. cummings.























The only thing I could have wished for that night was that Meghan's dad could have been there. At
one point, a good friend of Scott's had just twirled Meghan around on the dance floor, and she was laughing and smiling... afterwards, he was talking with my mom and I. He said, "I just wish Scott could have been here to be a part of this." My mom said, "Well, he would have danced with Meghan exactly like you did!" And he said, "He was dancing with her, you just couldn't see him..." I teared up, got a knot in my throat and had to walk away to collect myself.


















Kelsey and I after the ceremony

















I love this! Me, my mom, and Kels.


















Me and my cousin, Coulby... she was one of the flower girls.


















Coolest cupcakes I have EVER SEEN! Those crabs were amazing!


















Most of my family :)

I made a point to put down my camera a lot during the day of the wedding - I find myself behind the shutter so much sometimes that I miss what's happening in real life. I don't want to see everything happen behind a lens... and I'm starting to learn that. There was a photographer there, and I trust that she got some great shots. I'm just so glad I wasn't stressing about getting the best angles and lighting and all that... it was so nice to relax and watch everything unfold so perfectly.

It was a fabulous weekend, and I am so happy for Meghan and Ray!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Whatever a sun will always sing is you


















Today I'm flying back home for my cousin Meghan's wedding this weekend. I am so, so, SOO excited for this! I had to get my dress altered, and I picked it up this morning and tried it on - it looks great. Kim lent me a dress for the rehearsal/dinner and shoes...she's awesome. I'm reading a poem during the ceremony - it's a poem that I loooove by e.e. cummings.

I can't believe Meghan is actually getting married... it's something we've talked about for so many years - our weddings - and I just can't believe hers is actually happening. I am so, so happy for her and her fiance, Ray. They're going to have an amazing life together.

Okay, I have homework in all 4 of my classes that I have to do before I leave, plus I need to finish packing. I need to finish this all so I have some time to chill out before I drive to the airport because I get so anxious to fly, especially when I'm flying home for something exciting :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Take Action!

September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month!!

Here are some cool ways to support:

Wear a gold ribbon!!


















Participate in the 2009 Parkway Run/Walk at CHOP. If you can't participate, you can donate to Team Liam . The Kanes will be heading Team Liam again this year and I would do anything to be there!! CHOP provided Liam with some great opportunities and therapies for fighting Neuroblastoma, and they need help to find a cure!


















This Thursday, September 3rd, is Andrew McDonough B+ Day on Concord Pike (202) in Wilmington!! If you print out this paper and bring it to any of the retailers/restaurants listed, they will donate a portion of their proceeds to the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation.


































Order an Erin's Dream Lanyard. Your donation will benefit the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation, and receiving one of those lanyards in the mail is just about the most exciting thing that's happened to me all year! They make great gifts, too! Or even better yet - consider having a lanyard workshop! It's easy (I know, I know... I made it sound stressful, but that was with 130 teenagers!) Yours can be a group of friends, teammates, sorority sisters (hint, hint!) etc. Contact Vickie (Erin's Mom) if you are considering having a workshop to create lanyards!



















There are countless ways to show your support - I could list 20 amazing Pediatric Cancer causes, but no matter what you do - from wearing a ribbon to donating money to sending words of encouragement to a family who has a child with cancer - be proactive, know that you CAN make a difference even when it seems daunting, and choose a verb - my verb for the month is TAKE ACTION!

"We don't have to wait for destiny, we should be the change that we want to see."