August 22, 2012

As for firsts and lasts

Monday night was my last night in my bed, in my home. I listened to Birdy and packed; by Tuesday at 7, everything was in bags. 

We stayed the night at my aunt's house, which is halfway to the city, and came in a little after 10 this morning. On Tuesday I went into town to pick up my last paycheck (yes!) and to celebrate stopped by the local competing frozen yogurt place, where I actually ran into some people from my high school, which was nice. My gradual goodbyes actually worked out pretty well, I think. I saw some close friends - Josh, Jo, Laura, Rosemary, etc. - at the annual tea party, went out to lunch with some friends - Jo and Rachel - and hung out with some people - Zeke and Jacob. I was actually proactively social! Progress! 

It was so strange to actually start packing my bags from my dressers and thinking to myself get everything, not the typical selective mentality when packing for a trip or vacation. It's different. It's odd. On my way out of the house, I just walked down the hallway upstairs and walked through the progression in reverse (regression) of all of my yearly school photographs. I feel as if I've been so many different people. I saw how far I've come. The evolution of you, when one is forced to confront it, is pretty overwhelming. 

I just got back from the 'introductory' part of COÖP, where we played intro games and ice breakers from about 3-6, then we ate pizza and talked on the quad in our trip groups, and went back to our rooms to pack our dry bags. 

Tonight, we'll be sleeping on the quad, and then leave in the morning for a 4-day river canoeing trip down the Delaware River. I hope I didn't overpack. I hope I share a tent with someone nice. I hope I don't get too exhausted while we're on the river. I hope I'm a good member of the team. I'm really nervous. We get back Sunday night. I kind of just want classes to start. Here goes. 

August 17, 2012

As for concluding the conclusion

This summer is and was the trail end of my years in high school. I have yet to move on to the next step, and still linger in my hometown. And, with less than one week left at home, I just can't wait for it to be over. My yoga subscription has ended, television shows I was marathoning are done with, and I'm pretty bored. Even last night, a friend was having a get-together, and because I didn't know many of the people too well and there weren't any girls I knew that I could go with, I just backed out and stayed home and watched Reality Bites (which was amazing - Ben Stiller, Ethan Hawke, and Winona Ryder). So, I'm feeling a bit stale. I don't feel like packing. Ugh.

However, I did eventually get off my butt, did another chapter of French today, read another book of The Iliad, watched the pilot episodes of Sex and the City and The Sopranos and baked a chocolate blueberry tart. Yummm.

 I'm thinking of staying home instead of going on this little trip with my family tonight to stay on track with my French, actually do some packing and be productive about it, and bake something for the annual tea party my friends throw (which is tomorrow!). So, I think it would be for the best. I'm in the home stretch now! Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, done! Woah.

August 11, 2012

As for 'productivity' and self-maintenance

Today I studied French for an hour. I celebrated that hour of productivity by doing nothing for the rest of the day - note to college self: when you are dying of stress, be jealous of current self. Needless to say, it actually was a very focused hour and I actually have been making progress in The Iliad so...good for me. I really want/need to test into the Intermediate language course by way of the placement test offered during orientation, so I'm trying to get back up to speed with my French, seeing as I haven't taken or spoken it since March. It's annoying, but I'd rather study now than start all over (oh, please, hopefully that doesn't happen). Also concerning my foreign language study, for the past year or so I've been counting Comparative Literature as a viable option for a major, considering its focus on not only literature's role in culture, but other modes of expression as well, and its cross-cultural nature. However, I just found out that the requirements for the major and concentration include extensive study of two foreign languages. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Half of me is disheartened, because that would mean a lot more time studying language and less time studying culture and literature, but the other half of me is excited by the idea of learning Italian or a Slavic language. I guess time (and actual decision making) will tell what I end up doing. Deciding what major I want to declare and what career I want to pursue has been taking up a lot of my brain space this summer. I know it's kind of ridiculous but I simply can't help it. Without college apps to obsess over, I need to pick something else to take its place, and it just so happens in this pre-frosh state where I don't know much about my future role in any extracurriculars, classes, or internships, majors and careers are the most immediate 'decisions' I have to plan for. It's insane for me to be thinking so much about these things, but at least the fact that I acknowledge that insanity must be a vote in favor of my sanity, right?

As for my current state of physical/mental health - it's the best it has ever been. I've just realized this. By doing yoga 4-6 times a week and avoiding the unbalanced mode of eating that I'd gotten into over the past two years. I'm learning to eat meals at normal times and not to obsess so much. Ironically, in the (recent) past, the more I focus on how long it's been since I last ate or what I have ate so far presented a kind of skewed reward system, as a result of which I would eat healthy food and then more unhealthy or carb-heavy food either as a 'reward' or to compensate for my nutrient deficiencies thus far. By finding the right type of exercise for me (focused on mind and body, anaerobic, goal-oriented),  I can eat good things more, when I want to, but feel centered enough to not feel the urge to binge or fixate. To my surprise, earlier this week, after about a month of not stepping onto a scale, I had arrived at a fantastic mean weight nearly by accident. It is far from my peaks, and a small but healthy distance from my low-points this year, which were not based on healthy habits. Now, I just need to keep this up through the school year. Hopefully through relatively consistent yoga practice (either through a class for credit, a gym class, or a nearby studio) and balanced, aware choices, this will be a natural physical transition. Also, as a note to future self, I do hope to complete a juice cleanse at some point this fall, or as soon as I can get my hands on one. In theory, I can really see this type of thing as satisfying my neuroses (ultimate control!) while also being really healthy and making me feel good. If and when the time comes, details will abound.

P.S. I used the term 'life-affirming' in conversation today with my instructor. I think we can all agree, from the honest nature of the above paragraph, and how I'm more open to an awareness-based type of spirituality (those who know me well know that I curl my lip at most/all religious institutions*) that my experiences this summer, however mainly boring my days may have been, affected a significant amount of positive change on how I approach day-to-day life.

*I by no means look down upon religion as a vessel for hope or culture, but when it is treated dogmatically, or its outlook applied to topics in the public sphere, such as the economy, social services, politics, and policies (as it so often is and has been in centuries passed), I simply cannot help but detest it.

P.P.S. I have officially practiced 50 hours of yoga this summer. Huzzah!

August 9, 2012

As for more sounds of summer

Here's a selection of some (mostly) acoustic music I've been listening to lately - it's got its fair share of sad female vocalists as well as bands such as Beirut and Fleet Foxes. Enjoy!

And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop - James Vincent McMorrow
Battery Kinzie - Fleet Foxes
Blinding (Acoustic) - Florence + The Machine
We Are Modern Art - Olivia Drusin
It Was Right There - Emily and The Woods
Internal Dialogue - Maria Mena
The Bad In Each Other - Feist
Love Out of Lust - Lykke Li
Everest - Olivia Drusin
Goshen - Beirut
Sheets - Damien Jurado
1957 - Milo Greene
More Like Me - Emily and The Woods
Montezuma - Fleet Foxes
California - Joni Mitchell
East Harlem - Beirut
Wasted Hours - Arcade Fire

August 7, 2012

As for some minor events

This summer is requiring a lot of stamina. Not that the whole thing is some gruesome ordeal I'm forcing myself through (although there is a little truth in that), but more that there is an underlying inescapable routine to the whole thing. Even if I am doing enjoyable and relaxing activities, they are usually the same, over and over. Yoga's nice, reading's nice, eating on the porch is nice, work is....not nice. Either way, it can get a tad boring. I'm ready for the school year to start (but nervous for the camping trip and orientation).

This past weekend I actually broke routine (for once) and went to the Berkshires with my family to go to Tanglewood and see some theater. We went to Tanglewood Friday night - there was a solo male opera singer who I really enjoyed - and Saturday morning for the rehearsal (at which I munched on a cranberry scone and a skim cappuccino - ah, that was the life!).

The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin Classics)
That afternoon we went to Williamstown, ate at a delicious sushi restaurant (favorite: shrimp tempura) and saw A Month in the Country by Turgenev (read a piece on it here), which I really enjoyed. That and Chekhov's Three Sisters are the two Russian off-broadway shows I've seen, and I have to say, we're batting two for two right here. It didn't hurt that we had front row seats. I loved the minimalist stage design and staging in general. The translation was clear and moving - it was practically contemporary, although the costumes and society was clearly of Turgenev's time. So. Other than that. Either way, note to future self who lives in New York and has the opportunity to see a lot of theater: see more Russian plays. The next day we went to a small theater in Chester and saw a two-person contemporary play - meh. Moving on.

I've finally started reading my required summer reading - The Iliad. One book in, many more to go. Onward! This is (excluding The Odyssey which I "read" in ninth grade) my first time reading an ancient Greek epic. So far, I think I'm understanding everything. We'll see how my comprehension holds up in seminar (first impression anxiety, here I come). 

Ah, well. That's pretty much it. I'm at a local cafe now, dawdling on the internet. So it goes.

I remember nothing that happened worth relating this day. How many such days does mortal man pass!
—James Boswell, Journal, July 21, 1763

July 28, 2012

As for this summer rhythm

I realized yesterday that the days of the week mean nothing to me anymore - during the school year waking up to see those precious three letters Fri on the corner of my computer screen brought a rush of those precious happy hormones. But with a scattered work schedule and no outstanding structure otherwise, it finally solidified. I can't wait to go back to school. Now, this would not be the case if school was high school. Sure, maybe a couple of weeks prior to September I would start to feel a mix of dread (at waking up early, the slog of work) and elation (at finally having something to do with myself, seeing friends). But now I find myself counting the days, this time with a mix of excitement and deep-rooted anxiety (making new friends? picking classes? joining extracurriculars? living in New York City? being a college student? Ah!). Needless to say, this summer rhythm is fine, but I'm ready to be again where I am happiest: in a busy, stimulated, whirl.

Here are my summer rhythms. Enjoy!

This Time Tomorrow - The Kinks
Lost In My Mind - The Head and the Heart
Testament To Youth In Verse - The New Pornographers
Bedroom Eyes - Dum Dum Girls
Beginning To See The Light - The Velvet Underground
Lazy Line Painter Jane - Belle & Sebastian
White Nights - Oh Land
Breadcrumb Trail - Buried Beds
I Won't Miss It - Goat Boy
The Future Pt. 1 - Voxtrot
Play With Fire - The Rolling Stones
Montezuma - Fleet Foxes
I Found You - Alabama Shakes
Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) - Peter Sarstedt
Strangers - The Kinks
I Sing I Swim - Seabear
Our Window - Noah and the Whale

July 25, 2012

As for this silence

My summer thus far has featured a lot of silence. I haven't been making an effort to engage with people. The vast majority of the people I would want to spend time with are away, and I am comfortable spending time with myself, so this isn't too bad. What is wearing me down, however, is my lack of emotional engagement. I shouldn't have to point out that this factor is not necessarily satisfied in tandem with the first. It makes me sad. And because my mind is not immersed in academic affairs or assorted projects, this disengagement has become an incidental subject of frequent rumination.

This evening, I wrote this on a streetcorner.

I need to exorcise this loneliness from my bones,
to reprise the purity I once owned.
For I find myself standing here
with every concrete thing to fear
and not knowing if this is hell or home

Later, I spend an hour reading in a coffeeshop. "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" by Joan Didion. I sip cranberry iced tea until it's gone and then I leave. I drive across the bridge, roll down my windows, play sad acoustic songs by female vocalists until I can feel the chords. The clouds turn pink and blue as the sun sets, but it's out of my sight. My mind wanders back to the boys of my time. I wonder sometimes if I meant something different to them than they meant to me - the fleeting, fervent kisses in cramped cars or en plein air. Was it ever about them? I don't think so. I wish it could have been. Those adventurous, sad, sweet reliefs. But in my silence I feel sad for what was; older, more distanced.

It's odd to know with utmost certainty what has happened. Because high school was a phase of life, and my experiences were my own. And these formative, defining, deeply meaningful experiences are somehow slapped with the label of 'high school experiences.' They are not to be trivialized, yet I feel farther away from them.

July 22, 2012

As for this midsummer lull

Well, it's officially midsummer and I find myself (again) in the lull of routine. The weather is nice, I feel good, work isn't so bad, yoga is invigorating, the books are compelling. Of course I would rather be involved or stressing about something concrete because I'm crazy but I suppose I will have double the normal dose of all that in the upcoming school year. So I guess I should just listen to common sense and appreciate this already! Right? Ok. 

Of course, as is the case whenever I have nothing to do and spend extended periods of time in solitude, I have just been experiencing and discovering things I like. All year I’ve been hearing great things and reading great reviews and analyses of Lena Dunham’s Girls. Obviously, as the kind of person who likes things such as this (i.e. Rookie), I could not wait to get my eyes on it. I had seen her film, Tiny Furniture earlier this year and re-watched it recently with my mother in preparation. It's honest, it's raw, and what I like best about Dunham's writing is that it so clearly portrays relationships between young women and their friends, their partners, and themselves. I find that even though most of her characters are post-graduate and her writing is semi-autobiographical, the way these women approach life is so relatable, inspiring, and realistic. I highly recommend it to any women reading this (and I guess the guys too, if you're thick-skinned enough). Be warned, none of her material is 'safe for work' and nearly all of it has the potential to make you uncomfortable. Needless to say, I watched the entirety of the first season of Girls in 3 days. The four main female characters are nuanced portrayals of typical post-grad and female stereotypes. I loved it and can't wait for more. P.S. The soundtrack is impeccable. 

I've also been reading so much ever since summer began. I find that this is the time where I have the opportunity to get some of the big literary hits under my belt - members of the canon who I somehow never got around to in high school. My to-read and have-read book lists are up on Goodreads

Once August comes around, I'm going to start reading The Iliad for school and studying French for placement tests. It's starting to become a little more real for me, the fact that I'm going to college and Columbia in just one month. I keep looking up photos of the campus and profiles of students, imagining the many different possible incarnations of myself that could come to pass in the following four years. I look at photos of the reading rooms inside Butler Library and picture myself toiling away in them, I imagine myself on the subway to an internship, meeting friends downtown, somehow existing in this city where something monumental happens to some extent every day. Being in the thick of it. It seems surreal. 

July 7, 2012

As for summer limbo

This is my summer in limbo: in-betweens, fade-aways, the squeezed summer.

In summers past there've been an abundance of anxieties and plans to extoll on those quintessential long walks on the beach I always take with my mother and friends. What teachers or classes we might get, what girls or boys we might get closer to (just maybe!), what we might accomplish. More than that, there were the constant college preparatory discussions to have, decisions to be made, and plans to plan.

Next summer I see fodder for these talks abounding: what classes I plan on taking, courses of study I plan on pursuing, fellowships and internships I hope to get, and teachers I aim to turn into mentors. And that's only school related. There are the girls and boys (as always), the culture, the life in New York City.

But this summer is my summer of limbo. I am unsure of what to anticipate, without any concrete plans or decisions to ponder. I am saddled with time - waiting. And yet I know this period without the weight of responsibilities and career-planning is a gift I will perhaps miss in summers to come. But I know myself. I know whenever I hope for the freedom to be lazy and finally get it, I cannot appreciate it for long and easily sicken of it. I crave plans and accomplishments and the excitement of a tangible future.

But as for now, here's to my summer of limbo.

July 4, 2012

As for beachtimes

Ah. Beach. We've been going to this island every summer for the past 6 or 7 years for 2 weeks each time - at this frequency, it never gets old. I'm writing this right now in my bathing suit, lying on the sand, on my phone. Finished reading Middlesex by Eugenides yesterday (favorite contemporary author, I trust him to no end) and just started my first Joan Didion. My whole self is mellow, there's no way around it. It's especially weird to think of what I was preoccupied with in recent years here, though. I remember researching colleges on CollegeProwler, doing AP Bio summer homework, tapping out application essay inspiration on my phone.

Things are just so nice. I've been ploughing through books, drinking white wine or a gin and tonic before dinner and, adherent to tradition, frequenting Ben & Jerry's nearly every day. Now, today (Wednesday), I stayed home to chill and heal from some sunburn, but I've just been listening to podcasts and reading Cat's Cradle. I love this place. Life is pretty nice. Four years ago, Katherine and I discussed our high school fears and apprehensions during our long walks up and down the beach, last year we talked about applications and dreams, this year we found ourselves talking about the future again - except this time with more information and plans. Yet still those fears and apprehensions. I guess that's the one thing that will never change.

This place has become such a touchstone. It never changes. There is a routine in place - the beach, the shower, outdoor dinners, games and tv, the occasional morning donut bugs. Late afternoon drinks, long walks on the beach, floating on boogie boards. I love it, I languish in it. And the thing is, if I continued it for more than 2 weeks, I would become sick of it. But to keep coming back here as I keep changing and aging and my life continues its metamorphosis has become a really beautiful and grounding tradition.

June 29, 2012

As for summer life and working girls

I realized something tonight. I think this is the first time I ever really put my finger on it. The events of sophomore year have stopped seeming pertinent; I have stopped lamenting that "they were one/two whole years ago!" I have stopped wishing and fuming and dreaming what ifs. That year was so formative, but everything that came out of it for me is starting to feel like part of the fabric, and less raw and jolting. It's old hand by now; it's old news.

I was driving home from work tonight, utterly exhausted, feeling drained from smiling so hard for that 8 hour shift, and I was blasting Springsteen (Born to Run, Dancing in the Dark) and I was feeling free and the night was clear and the air was dark. I sang with the windows open and empty streets and no matter how pointless and draining work can feel, I felt carefree. I really only wish I had someone to share that with.

But as for this Springsteen binge, god, his lyrics are just seducing and poetic and true. Who could even come up with lines like Just wrap your legs round these velvet rims/And strap your hands across my engines (Born to Run) and I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere...And I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car (Growin' Up). Yes. Songs like Girls in Their Summer Clothes and My Hometown are particularly relevant at the moment, and I anticipate It's Hard to be a Saint in the City to be pertinent in years to come. Mmm. His music has become 'classic' for a reason, guys.

June 27, 2012

As for these early summer days

A sundry of topics is about to hit you. Just warning.

One thing that I've been enjoying...

What has yoga taught me? I've flirted with yoga on and off, whenever it was easily available to me, mostly during summers, for about five years. At camp sometimes they would offer it, when I was interning in the city last summer I probably had the most experience with it than ever before (hot yoga!). But this summer I'm really learning what it means to practice yoga a little more (note to all the yogis out there: this is all coming from an amateur with relatively minimal amount of experience, mostly an appreciation). I'm learning that it's not about how far you go in a pose, but if you practice it well. Shoulders plugged back, chest softened, fingerpads whitening, heels stretching, pelvis tilting, neck reaching. I feel so much better about my practice now that I'm trying to do things well instead of trying to prove that I can do them the most.

And some quotes for my summer state of mind....

“From now on I hope always to stay alert, to educate myself as best I can. But, lacking this, in future I will relaxedly turn back to my secret mind to see what it has observed when I thought I was sitting this one out. We never sit anything out.” - Ray Bradbury
“He thought books could cure everything.  We all think that at a certain time in our lives–don’t we?–when we discover books.  We think in an emergency all you’ve got to do is open the Bible or Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson, and we think, 'Wow! They know all the secrets.'" - Ray Bradbury
"The question you should be asking isn't, 'What do I want?' or 'What are my goals?' but 'What would excite me?'" - Tim Ferriss
"Their youngness is terrifying. How could I have put myself into the hands of such inexperience?" - Margaret Atwood

And some things I've made...
Irish Soda Bread, Coffee, Oates

Strawberry Blueberry Skillet Crumble
And one thing that sums up how I feel after a fun night....

Une Femme C'est Une Femme
And some things I've been listening to....
The Start of Something - Voxtrot
A Few Screws Loose - A Great Big Pile of Leaves
High Times - Landon Pigg
I'm Ready, I Am - The Format
For A Fool - The Shins
Ooh La La - The Faces
Rave On - M. Ward
Give A Little Love - Noah and the Whale
If Looks Could Kill - Camera Obscura
The Future Pt. 1 - Voxtrot
Postcards From Italy - Beirut
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea [Neutral Milk Hotel Cover] - Fanfarlo
Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)? - Peter Sarstedt
Teenage Love Song - Rilo Kiley
Raised By Wolves - Voxtrot
Brand New Start - Little Joy
you will. you? will. you? will. you? will. - Bright Eyes
Mesa, AZ - Bad Books
Excuses - The Morning Benders
My Creator - Wye Oak

June 21, 2012


{Retrospectively written}

First - foods. Presented my brochure. Sipped on a blueberry smoothie.

Second - women in lit. Munched on cookies and donuts and watched a documentary on Gloria Steinem.

Next up - psychology. Took the exam; long, hard, but scaled! My teacher really was great for this one, plus I just love the topic and the material we covered.

Lastly - international relations. We had a graded discussion about how the UN handled the civil war in Bosnia in the '90s.

After the ensuing craziness, running down the halls screaming, getting ice cream sundaes, signing yearbooks (my favorite theater prof. signed mine!), went out to get froyo with some friends, hung out. BOOM. Done. Felt good, kids. Felt good.

June 13, 2012

As for this year

The fall and winter, listening to sad female singers, Joni Mitchell, laying in the guest room, rainy, large sweaters, glasses, melancholy. Dangerous Reading. Applying for college - lots of writing, and ruminations. Briefs. KlezKamp. Too many college interviews.

The late winter and early spring. Trip to England, Women in Art, obnoxious high school classes, waiting for college results. The Real Thing. Wisdom teeth out.

End of high school. Getting into colleges - now, that was a good week. A lot of things 'not clicking.' Prom, graduation, lots of 'lasts.' Less caring but more doing - senioritis without the follow through of laziness.  Days outside on the front porch, listening to mom's opera music, ruminating over papers and healthy procrastination. In May, baking breads.

I think it was a nice year. The first 2/3 was so defined by the roller-coaster ride of the college application process. It still hasn't really clicked that I got into the places I did and that I'm going where I am - the idea that I actually succeeded in this process, which I had built up so much in my mind, is baffling and empowering. And now.... a summer of laziness (at least mentally). Some working, some reading, some Sims-ing, some yoga.

It's always hard for me to define years as the best or the worst, the hardest or the most formative.

There are years that ask questions, and years that answer. 
- Zora Neale Hurston

Freshman year seemed like a continuation of middle school, I think. Lots of stressing about boys, first kisses, wanting to be accepted. Sophomore year asked questions - figuring out the moral shades of grey, figuring out who I was, how I perceived myself, and how I wanted others to perceive me. Did my actions define me? My choices that year helped answer those questions. Junior year....seems like a blur. Lots of schoolwork, lots of stress (I think?). Two TV shows at once, lots of theater, lots of dance. Mostly continuing a trend, while settling into (cover your eyes) my attitudes towards sexual relationships. Senior year asked questions about the future - where I will be, what I will do, what I feel pressure to achieve. At least the first question got answered.  We'll see what next year turns out to be. 

June 10, 2012

As for 6 through 1

The last couple of days have been glorious. Let's go bit by bit, shall we?

Sunday was prom. I had my hair done at a local hair salon and went with a friend. It just felt like such a tradition. Pictures were fun, the limo was pretty good, the food definitively subpar, the dresses either classy or trashy, the breathalyzer unnecessarily scary, the music fun and awful, and overall 'fine.' Here's the thing - I'm just not particularly into prom. It's fine and I went and all but it was so....whatever. Sometimes, when I got up to dance, I would be really having fun if it were a particularly good song and I was dancing with a friend. Sometimes I just felt like I was imitating what I was supposed to be doing - smiling, and a little bit more than halfheartedly dancing, but kind of blank inside. And if not, I was sitting down at my table (always with a couple or a bunch of other people in a similar state as I was) exhausted and kind of just waiting for the whole thing to be over. There was a lot of tottering around in high heels and couples and people all gussied up - when we've almost all seen each other either roaming the halls in pajamas, or acting stupidly drunk at a party. It just seemed silly, that's all. I did a lot of smile forcing. It wasn't bad, it was just kind of a nuisance to go through. I'm also just not the type of person to get really excited/nervous about dressing up, and getting the hair and makeup done, and the nails, and the works. It just wasn't me. You know what it felt like? Middle school! Forcing everybody together as a grade, trying to bond, feel all show-offy. Unlike middle school, I didn't feel the need to be dancing with the 'popular kids' or hanging out with a specific group of people. But the whole ordeal of projecting a false representation of yourself and forcing an aura of enjoyment for some of the time was reminiscent of those years. I also just can't believe that people care so much about prom - that underclassmen dream of going to it and seniors stress about it all year. It's ridiculous. It was tacky and cheap. Some people did look classy and gorgeous, but it was just such a huge performance. It felt like a 'function' in every sense of the word. 

{Retrospectively written}
In other 'news' I spent an inordinate amount of time sitting on the front porch, and generally appreciating our gorgeous view. I was in the midst of writing my AP paper on D.H. Lawrence's "Lady Chatterley's Lover", entitled The Power of Pleasure. I would sit down for an hour or so, and write one huge paragraph for each one. Post-editing and such, it amounted to be a 13 page paper, which I really enjoyed writing. Note that this was my fourth AP project (out of two) and I was not even obligated to write a paper - I could have just done a 'creative project.' Here's the thing though: I love literary analysis, and I loved this book. Because I was entitled to more freedom this time around, seeing as AP projects after the second exceed any planned expectations the English department has, I was able to choose my book and what I did with it. It took about a week, and although it was a total time-suck, it was really fulfilling and gratifying. 

In the meantime, my mother did  a lot of gardening, as per usual...

I made honey-oat bread and fresh fruit bruschetta...

and I took this for the album cover of the literary playlist I made for the creative project my lit class was assigned for "The Color Purple." 

I pulled some very sleepless nights over the last week of school; due on the last Tuesday (Monday we did not have school) were two generalizations for my International Relations class on the roots of 9/11; I did one on John Clarke and the other on the United Nations. They were freakin' hard! I ended up really putting a lot of effort into them and spending significant chunks of time on them - part of this work was outside, so it was relatively peaceful, and the rest was between 11pm and 3am the night before, and was less so. For some unknown reason ( :p ) I really got it into my head that I wanted to do really well on these, instead of the typical minimal-effort A- fare that has been going on over senior spring (and a little bit of the whole senior year). Needless to say, the resulting anxiety from wanting to actually impress my teacher yielded two very good grades and her pulling me aside and telling me how well I did - yes, self-motivated ego boosts! I needed it! Plus, it didn't hurt that the class was fascinating and my teacher was amazing - I was lucky enough to have had her in 9th,10th, and 12th grade. I also finished up my brochure for Foods on Eastern Europe and my portfolio for lit (aka bullsh*t), as well as taking a Psych exam on the last day - it was yucky, but he scaled it so much I did really well! 

Overall, the idea/fact that high school was ending was seriously not clicking in my brain, and I was just mainly focused on the homework I needed to complete, doing well, and relaxing in the gorgeous hot weather outside. Good rhythms!

May 26, 2012

As for goals

I've been hearing a lot about goals lately, and it has me scared. In commencement addresses, scraps of advice, children's books...

People tell us young people: go. Make a difference in the world - make something! Know what you want to do and go do it. Strive and fail and achieve.

I love their words. I soak up the speeches and think about the possibilities we have in life at this crucial turning point, another of which I will face again in four more years. I understand.

But my great failure on this Friday night at 12:43 AM - the last Friday night of the school year - is that I don't know. There are people who know, and if not the means, then at least an approximation of their ideal crowning achievement. To revolutionize the economy, fix the environment, educate, lead, discover. They see something in their mind's eye with a twinkle of fear and excitement, even if that something changes every day.

And yet, all I see is something. It is in bold; it is in some way remarkable. But I don't know what it is - I have no idea. I never felt that vigilant idealistic determination to "change the world."

But in a sense - I do. I know I want to make a mark and make progress and affect change. But it's never been in some grand fashion - I've never fantasized about becoming President or Queen of the World. I never spent too much time sympathizing with the animals on the endangered species list. Deep down, I always felt, no, feel, that I am kind of an awful person. A fraud.

Even so, many people have gone on to accomplish great things in the pursuit of ego. World-altering discoveries have been made in the pursuit of pure accomplishment. I suppose that is how runners must feel: nothing is done by crossing that finish line in record time, but damn it must feel good. And damn, I like to feel good. I like to feel proud. And no, this is not a bad thing. It really can't be. Because in the race towards accomplishments and pleasure and the opportunity to feel proud, each pace does not just cross a couple feet on a worn track, but rather, life! Change! POWER.

The power to affect change, that is noble. And what I wish to affect, in what ways, towards what goal, well, for tonight those questions will go unanswered. But at least I tried. And over the next four years, I need to make a promise. A promise to myself and to the world, which we all have the power to change. I promise to never relent. We need to promise that. I promise to let no time or opportunities go wasted, to let no stride towards that elusive finish line go surpassed. Even if it is for ego, for something in bold, then so be it. I must at least make that something, well, something.

May 25, 2012

As for 7

A couple of weeks ago, Hannah introduced me to The Lumineers. Needless to say, now I'm hooked. I'm on one of those artist binges where i just endlessly cycle their music, and since I only have two songs by them....I've been playing them on a loop. Yes :)
Flapper Girl - The Lumineers

Also, I just found out I have to take senior finals, which I thought I was exempt from. I'm frustrated, but there's nothing I can do about it now, so I'm not letting it get to me. The end of this year will now in no way be a tapering off, but rather, pounding the pavement for seven more days and then summer. I found out in addition to my menial froyo selling job, I will probably be regularly babysitting a six-month old boy. Awww. I love children, until they get annoying (toddlers). 

As for 8

Eight days left. I found myself reading in bed last night, doing research for my International Relations generalizations, and copying quotes from Lady Chatterley's Lover for my AP project. I realized that this type of work in this place at this time of night would not happen so much in the future. It will be different work, in a dorm room or library states away, still late at night, won't be the same blend of work or stress or tinged with the same eagerness for the future.

I find that this quote really articulates why I love listening to music. Following are two songs I really feel exemplify this lift.

"In the best rock songs...there's a moment when all the gears come into play - a pause just before the chorus when everything in the universe seems, for the briefest of moments to expand and your scalp tingles and lifts a millimeter toward infinity." - Kirk Johnson

Death by Chocolate - Sia

Transatlantacism - Death Cab for Cutie

May 22, 2012

As for summer employment

Well, I guess this day had to come at some point. I am now the (not proud) owner of a position at a local frozen yogurt shop. The classic teenage summer job. It's semi-corporate with awful decor. I feel like such a sell out! My morals are rearing their ugly heads, but I'm taming them for the money. Oy. This is where I acknowledge and beg pardon for my privileged white girl speak above. I'm sorry. I really really am. All my past summer experiences have been unpaid and entirely academic - now that I'm essentially doing a brainless job all summer, guess what I will be doing in my spare time? YOGA AND READING. That's all. I'm just going to be so mentally healthy, it'll be ridiculous. There are some local discounts for first timers at some yoga studios, so instead of paying an outlandish $15 dollars per class, it will theoretically be more like $2 for about a month or a couple of weeks depending on the studio. Basically, I will do what I did last summer in Cambridge - just bounce around studios using their discounts :) Mwahaha.Yoga just makes me feel better, physically and therefore mentally. I love getting limber. Mm.

Besides that, I have a 130 book-long reading list to attend to, so I won't be without entertainment. Good times will be had for all (my brain and I, that is). Here's hoping this summer will be a good one, even if it does get too boring or lazy.

As for proximity

First order of business, you might've noticed that I've begun to upload my playlists to under the username rhymeswithyes. If you go here you can see all of the mixes I've updated thus far all together!  All future mixes will be linked from here, as usual.

Second, check out a local band, Goat Boy. You can download and stream their album online - it's superb. Every single song kills me. Just do it. (Favorite: Birds, I Won't Miss It, Oh Well)

Third of all...ugh. I have so many projects wrapping up right now. None of them are extremely hard, but just putting in the effort to do them all at once is proving quite trying at the moment, with 8 days left of school. AP Lit paper (and finish the book), International Relations generalizations, Foods project, Psychology test. Yuck. Instead of gradually detaching myself from school - weaning, if you will - I need to increase my efforts! I know everyone does this for finals, but what with my grades being great already, me being into college, and relaxed, it's kind of difficult to dedicate the time I need to. Here's the clincher: I actually am! I'm doing the work. I just really really vehemently don't want to be. This is my version of senioritis: still doing all of the same work at the same level, just not wanting to more and more.

May 20, 2012

As for summer days (in anticipation)

Below is the quintessential summer days sitting outside reading a book and eating grapes playlist. It was made in the summer of 2010 - quite an emotionally eventful one - and this mix was an effective relaxant. I hope it can be for you too! 

Cotton - The Mountain Goats
World Spins Madly On - The Weepies
Gimme Sympathy (Acoustic) - Metric
The Cave - Mumford & Sons
When I'm Alone - Lissie
Valerie - Amy Winehouse
Save Tonight - Eagle-Eye Cherry
At This Moment - Michael Bublé
Let Her Cry - Hootie & The Blowfish
Still Fighting It - Ben Folds
Late - Ben Folds
Summer Skin - Death Cab for Cutie
Brothers On A Hotel Bed - Death Cab for Cutie
Star Mile - Joshua Radin
3 Rounds And A Sound - Blind Pilot
18th Floor Balcony - Blue October
Terrified - Rainer Maria
You Really Got A Hold On Me - She & Him
Call It Off - Tegan & Sara
Heavenly Day - Patty Griffin

I also made ciabatta bread this weekend; it was a two day process. On Friday night, I threw together the sponge, which is a yeast mixture that starts the bread. This is the sponge after the obligatory 20-odd hours.

Then here is the final product after two rising periods (about four hours total) and some quality time in the oven!

May 17, 2012

As for bread products

I just started listening to the Feist album Metals for the first time since I purchased it and went on my initial burst of listening to it on an endless loop. Just rediscovered the song Graveyard. Nice!

Plus I've been cranking like crazy on this culminating art history paper! It's so long and it's so hard but it's so worth it. I'm learning so much. *smiles to self in nerdy joy*

Also, Please Do Not Go - Violent Femmes

Also, my project for the weekend: bread making. Hold me to this; I'll get back to you on how it goes.

Update: I finished the paper. Phew. It was really hard. I also made a baguette and buttermilk currant scones :)

May 10, 2012

As for the end of an era

I can't stop thinking that I am in the midst of a formative time period. That right now is a time I will look back on as significant. Because it's supposed to be. Because it's the end of high school - this period of life gets positively obsessed about in almost every bit of pop culture I enjoy. Classic television shows like My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks, awesome movies like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and just plain old memories. I am not even close to the person I was 2 years ago, 4 years ago. Freshman year was cute; looking back it was pretty much an extension of middle school, although some of the papers we wrote were pretty formative in my analytic skills (World Civ paper!). Living in Cambridge really changed my outlook and corrupted me a bit more, but still within a definitively innocent perspective. Sophomore year was claustrophobic (especially through January), breaking up with my first boyfriend, and then...sophomore spring. Well, we know what that was. It sounds cheesy, but it definitely was figuring out the moral shades of grey and what I was comfortable with. Junior year was kind of the logical continuation of that, and just pounding the pavement with school work. SATs, AP classes and tests, college tours. Boys/men, oy vey. No regrets though. That year was...a learning experience. Now this year - I don't know. I definitely had the stereotypical senior claustrophobia. Logically enough, this was the year I've been most ready to move on. Lots of boredom in malaise in the fall. Ennui. Directing the play was immensely fun but things have been pretty static in the personal sector. Just waiting...

Here's the thing about the last couple of weeks of school from my perspective from the midst of it - I'm bored. Nothing exciting is happening, I'm not going through any major dilemmas, social life is still the same as it was in September. Which is fine, it's just a let down. The weather is getting warmer, even if it's raining and storming. Right now it's brilliant outside, the tail end of a late start day. Things are fine, just not different. I'm going around town after this to get job applications. Eh.

Here's a mashup of what I'm currently listening to. That's the most exciting thing going on right now - new music discoveries!

You Are What You Love - Jenny Lewis
Daisychains - Youth Group
Blue Skies - Noah and the Whale
Highway 1 East - John K. Samson
Musician, Please Take Heed - God Help the Girl
I Should Have Known Better - She & Him
Mamma Said - The Shirelles
Ain't No Reason - Brett Dennen
Melt Your Heart - Jenny Lewis
God Help the Girl - God Help the Girl
Age of Consent - New Order
Longitudinal Centre - John K. Samson
Creature Fear - Bon Iver
Death by Chocolate - Sia
Funny Little Frog - God Help the Girl
It Wasn't Me - Jenny Lewis

[Listen Here]

As for the play

This here's the playlist for The Real Thing and the pre-show soundtrack! Put this baby on shuffle and go back to the '60s and you're set to go.

I'm a Believer - The Monkees
I Got You Babe - Sonny & Cher
A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - The Righteous Brothers
Skaters' Waltz
I'm Into Something Good - Herman's Hermits
Alpine Symphony - Strauss
You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) - The Beatles
Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
Baby, You're a Rich Man - The Beatles
Harvest Moon - Neil Young
One Fine Day - The Chiffons
Then He Kissed Me - The Crystals
Be My Baby - The Ronettes
It's My Party - Lesley Gore
Big Girls Don't Cry - The Four Seasons
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do - Neil Sedaka
Calendar Girl - Neil Sedaka
Will You Love Me Tomorrow - The Shirelles

May 5, 2012

As for ringing in May

I have had four hours of sleep over the past two nights. Sunday night I was working on my International Relations outline until 3:30 and last night I was working on my Psychology outline (on the heritability of intelligence!) until 4:30. I've never gotten as close as I did last night to pulling an all-nighter on a school night!

Alright, it's currently Wednesday. I'm still sick. Last night I napped from 5-9, which helped. I also saw My Week With Marilyn and Closer. I highly recommend both. Michelle Williams is forever an inspiration; I respect her acting and movie choices so much. One of my favorite films she was in is called Me Without You, and it changed my life a little bit. I just loved her representation of growing up, best friend-hood, and the insecurity of smart girls. Good stuff, guys, good stuff. Another movie I just recommended to a friend today - Atonement. Just do it, you won't regret it. BUT you must read the book first. And while you're on your Ian McEwan kick, Saturday is my second favorite book of his. Just do it. You will get sucked in and won't ever want to leave. His writing and his stories are freaking beautiful. One of my favorite authors. Nearly my favorite, I couldn't say.

Also, I just began listening to John K. Samson's solo album, Provincial. John K. Samson? I thought to myself. Who?! Monsieur Samson is, in fact, one of the members of The Weakerthans. The Weakerthans! I freaking love that band. And I freaking love his solo album. Congratulations, sir, that is a beautiful piece of musical work. You can stream it here. Also, check out some of Tavi's mixes here. Her 60s vibes are perfectly in sync with mine! The Real Thing's soundtrack was almost exclusively 60s pop. Hate to love it, you know?

Recent realization - that smokey sadness blend of music really encapsulated my fall jams. Maria Mena, Cat Power, Feist, Dum Dum Girls, Olivia Drusin, Ed Sheeran, Joni Mitchell. Mostly ladies! Sad, claustrophobic type music. I suppose, just how I was feeling.

A good book will always motivate you to wake up earlier to read.

Cat Power, why must you kill my heart so sweetly?

Blue - Cat Power

April 28, 2012

As for morality and soul aching

First of all, anticipate a 60s playlist! It will carry all of the music played during my show and the pre-show jams. I feel kind of....I don't know who to write this for. Sometimes I feel like this is just my diary, and other times, I feel like I have readers to serve. I don't know if I like that, mostly because I feel like I have to censor myself, when this was supposed to be the place where I didn't need to be. I liked my readers from far away - Providence (miss you), Colorado, Cambridge. But home town....mmm. Because now, if I just say 'fuck it' and say what I need to, I can't trust what will leave the safety of the internet and bleed into real life and I don't like those two mixing. Can't have that. If I do censor, this blog isn't doing its job.

Meanwhile, this Damien Rice song makes my soul hurt. Pair with Colors by Amos Lee and I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry by Dexter Gordon. Plus, I'm part way through "Closer" directed by Mike Nichos. Warning: this is an acting-heavy movie, watch out! It's also making my soul hurt. Please watch it, unless you're sexually repressed, in which case, you will have a very difficult time getting through it. Actually, anyone will have a hard time getting through it; it's very upsetting. These are good things.

Accidental Babies - Damien Rice

I wish I was doing things wrong again. Today, in psychology, we were talking about the development of moral systems; it reminded me about the end of sophomore year. Did she or didn't she. Ha. She did. I was lucky I was who I was, or else things could've gotten out of control. But really, they were just the perfect amount of bad. They were fresh, new, exciting, and releasing. I don't know what would've become of me if I stayed pent up. Would I still be like that today? Unwilling to stray from the black and white range of possibilities? Practically unable to? God, those shades of gray posed a difficult trick. I was worried the wrong choice would ruin my prospects and my view of myself, but in reality, if I hadn't worked through that decision, I would be incapable of liberal critical thought. Besides, it was exciting to evolve into someone I never knew I could be or saw myself being. It just hadn't been a branch on my preconceived fig tree. I like looking back at myself one year ago, and seeing someone fundamentally different. Never establish equilibrium. Equilibrium is a cage.

April 25, 2012

As for exhaustion (and a cure)

This afternoon, I was a shadow of my former self. Monday and Tuesday I had been out at production week rehearsals until 10:30, and let me tell you, those things are draining. Awesome, but draining. So tonight I came home, and my dad gave me a sidecar. It was awesome. I felt like Don Draper. My mental health has significantly improved. Also, I decided to commit to the Brown waitlist because they do offer a major that fits my interests better; I don't know if I would choose it if given the option, but I guess I'd like to see if I have the option to have the option first, you know? No big deal.
P.S. Our show's opening song
You Know My Name - The Beatles

April 22, 2012

As for nighttime blues

I just feel sad. I don't know. It's cold and rainy and we're just about to head into tech week for my production. It's not anything in particular, I just feel....lonely? I just watched half of The Substitute from My So-Called Life, and I'm listening to Birdy. I should be working on school papers. But I just can't bring myself to.

April 21, 2012

As for a summer day and the bullies

Wait, what was that? It isn't summer? I don't understand. I slept late this morning, made myself toast and coffee for breakfast. Which I ended up having at 2pm on my front porch in the beautiful weather. Went out with my family for sushi (my second time having it!) as well, which was nice.

Side note. You know what they always used to say to the nerdy bullied kids (a.k.a. me)? In the end, you will come out on top. The popular kids are peaking now, you will peak later. Your nerdy issues will prove useful later on, you will lead a long and fruitful life. I don't know about the rest of you, but I didn't believe one stitch of this as a kid. Now? self-aggrandizing moment The college I'm going to is far better than the colleges my bullies will be attending next fall. Mwahahahaha. Life. Win.

April 17, 2012

As for my first day of camp

....I mean "on campus. I doubly mean "Days on Campus." I triply mean "accepted students weekend." Yesterday and today there have/will be a host of activities for us prospective students - prospies. Now, let it be known that I have already chosen this college for sure. The deposit is in, there is no going back. Early this month I was wrestling between three colleges, but honestly I knew in my heart of hearts which one I would end up chosing, and going through the charade of visiting schools I loved but knew I didn't love the most wasn't really productive. Too many things about the school I chose fit me and my priorities exactly. It's perfect. But then, of course, the night after I committed, buyer's remorse set in. I was worried that the administration was too distant, students were too fratty, everyone regretted coming here, and the core requirements were too old school and time consuming. Now, I knew and I know that these were all nervous anxieties, mostly fueled by obscure posts on college forums. It didn't help that the first time I visited here, it was winter and everyone was dark and depressive and I was really turned off by the vibe.

All right. I just realized how silly it was that I'm being so evasive about where I'm going. It will define my next four years. Columbia University, here I come!

It's strange and a little scary to go from weighing the pros and cons of other schools I was accepted into and feeling buyer's remorse to really accepting that none of the other schools that I obsessed over for so long are relevant any more. That next year I will be going to Columbia. One school. To go from an infinite number of possible futures, to a narrowed down list once results rolled in, to just one. It's so much more real and tangible.

Days on Campus was really great. From student panels, to master classes, late night bus tours of Manhattan, touring The Spectator, and staying over with a host, I kept meeting people who were just fascinating. There were so many eclectic people - diverse not only in nationality and ethnicity, but in experiences, interests, and personalities. All the stereotypes I had heard through the grapevine were just so inaccurate. So many of the Columbia students I met loved the Core Curriculum, had awesome concentrations and majors, lots of internship experience, and led really cool student groups. I guess I would call them "socially bookish."Plus now there are so many activities I see myself really involved in: Orchesis, the dance group, CUPAL, The Spectator, etc. I'm most scared about learning how to balance everything - the classes, the city, the internships, and the student organizations. I also really don't want to let all the opportunities Columbia offers slip through my fingers, like interning and working abroad. I just don't want to miss out! Four years is a long time, I know, but it just feels like everything is going to move so fast and before I know it, I will be graduating. I just want to feel like I really took advantage of the opportunity I have to be a Columbia student, and the doors that opens.

I went to a lecture by the woman who is the Chair of Literature Humanities, and something she said really kind of got me: "If you let it, the Core will fundamentally change you." That's how I feel about the next four years (we're getting into hardcore sentimentality here). It just feels like anything could happen, anything is possible, if only I let it. I can't wait.

April 10, 2012

As for the current state of affairs

Well here's a little update on life. This morning I woke up, hopped on a train to The City with my parents and saw a taping of The Colbert Report! It was so frickin cool! To see behind the things and everything! And he was hilarious! And the comedian was so funny! And it was such an all around lovely experience! Ok, I'm done fangirling. Needless to say, it was such a fun experience (and free!).

Also, "According to a recent psychology study, people who spent money on food, travel and other experiences tend to be more extroverted and adventurous than those who spent their money on material things." I like and support this. 

Earlier this week, in psychology, we watched a video of a surgical procedure, in which the surgeons exposed the majority of the surface of a young girl with epilepsy's brain, laid in sheets which would sense electrical currents, and closed her back up. We saw the throbbing blood vessels, the peeled back skin, the works. It was awful. Now, know that this summer I actually saw a brain sliced and diced. Main difference being that that brain was not attached to a body, did not have blood on it, and in general, looked quite dehumanized. I thought I would've been fine with this. Needless to say, I sat there at 8am and felt my empty stomach turn over. My face tingled and I tried to focus on the worksheet in front of me, focusing on the words in front of me. Needless to say, the giant image of an exposed brain violently invaded my peripheral vision. I started to feel light headed. When I thought I couldn't take it anymore, I stood up, shakily made my way to the bathroom sign out, and left class. The moment I closed the door, my vision zoomed into a tunnel. I was unaware of my surroundings, and pressed my hands against the cool metal lockers. I think there was a student down the hallway, but I wasn't sure, and was relatively alone. Honestly, I don't know how I got from the door to the restroom, but it kind of felt like I slumped my way there along the wall. The moment I got in, I brushed past one other girl - I couldn't tell who it was - and focused my gaze on the one thing I could see, and the one thing that mattered - a stall door. I somehow departed the wall long enough to make it inside and immediately my legs gave out. I slumped down the stall's wall until I was sitting on the floor, head between my knees, trying desperately to see evenly and maybe regain some measure of sight. After a bit, I could see again, and got hold of my surroundings. I got a wet towel, immediately retreated again to my patch of floor, and laid it on the back of my neck. I returned to class - no one had any idea I had nearly just blacked out. Well, moral of the story is, I do not plan on going to medical school.