December 19, 2008
December 16, 2008
December 15, 2008
December 14, 2008
November 18, 2008
November 17, 2008
November 12, 2008
October 27, 2008
October 11, 2008
October 9, 2008
In 1 week, I will turn 22. In honor of it, I've decided to create my perfect day. And none of that stupid, "I'd wake up in Hawaii..." junk. We're keepin' it real. Besides, I don't want to spend my birthday with jet lag.
After lunch, I would nap. Then, to work off some of the food, I'd go to the diving well for Lo and we'd search for hair bands. Because it's my birthday, they'd all be no-metal ones. And we would listen to fun music, like Backstreet Boys. After we'd found no less than 14 hair things, we'd dry off and go get ready for that night. My dress would be flattering yet comfortable, my hair would have great volume, I wouldn't cut my legs shaving, and I would figure out how to do my eyeliner so it doesn't smudge all night. While we were getting ready we'd listen to Ne-Yo and Chris Brown and anything else we could dance to.
Dinner would be late, on some twinkly-light lit patio under the stars with all of my best friends and family: those from home, Bloomington buds, Texas gals, girls in London, Italy and Africa...they'd all be there, and everyone would get along beautifully and have a wonderful time. The weather would be somewhat warm, not humid, and there'd be a nice little breeze. And we'd sit and have a long meal with wine and cupcakes and candles and laugh and dance and listen to beautiful voices like Pete Yorn and James Morrison and Michael Buble. Michael might show up, too, and sing. And the Backstreet Boys could make an appearance at any time throughout the day.
Then, I'd fall asleep and would be carried to bed, where someone would put me in comfy clothes, tuck me in, open my window, and turn on a fan.
October 8, 2008
October 6, 2008
October 1, 2008
September 23, 2008
September 22, 2008
This year, Thursdays consist of class and Cru. Last year, Thursdays consisted of landing in a new city, and every weekend was a new adventure.
This year, I come home from class and cook spaghetti. Last year, I'd come home from class and cook spaghetti-- but in ITALY, you see.
This year, I'll turn 22 in Bloomington. Last year, I turned 21 in Florence. It was an amazing night: a trip to the ballet, blueberry steak, chianti wine and the best chocolate cake you can imagine. Did I mention that all of this was in Italy?
Over the weekend I caught up with some of the friends that I met while abroad. It was a lot of fun, but the evening had an overtone of sadness as we all admitted that we weren't over Florence. She was a little bit of everything: beautiful, loud, smelly, disgusting, inviting, warm, cold...and we all fell in love. None of us have been able to get over her.
I don't know which I miss more about that time: the big things or the little things. I loved the independence I gained through finding my way around a strange country where I didn't speak the language, but I'll never forget the sense of accomplishment I felt when I got groceries for the first time. Sure, it was incredible to see Michelangelo's David, but it couldn't compare to some of the Tuscan sunsets I witnessed.
I'll add some pictures later.
September 21, 2008
August 16, 2008
August 14, 2008
But first, a quick update on my last few weeks in London:
I was able to go see "The Phantom of the Opera" before leaving, a real dream come true. Seriously. I've wanted to see it ever since I first heard the soundtrack. And even though I had the absolute worst seats in the house, and even though I paid nearly $100 for a ticket, it was well worth it. I got goosebumps when that driving 80's organ power ballad style overture started rocking the theater.
My ten weeks at Richmond Towers Communications concluded with a darn good presentation on my part and a game of Rounders (similar to baseball) in the park, complete with a South African BBQ (with impala steaks! thanks to Jon!). It was a lot of fun, and while I don't think I see myself having a future in the glamourous world of PR, I certainly enjoyed my time at RTC and all that I learned there. I met some amazing people and am really going to miss them all dearly (N,S,J,D,L).
I already miss my sweet, sweet roommates something terribly! They were all amazing, and I have such great memories with each one: tube rides and after-work dates with Aviva, the last weekend with Ayumi (and her fantastic bf!), trips to the park and talks about Texas with Cassie and Sally, my first Saturday night at the Westbury with LA glam Nikki, trips to the Sarah's theater to watch the fantastic productions she helped put on and talking (arguing, maybe?) tennis with Kayla. They were such phenomenal people, and I'm sooo lucky to have had a chance to meet and live with them!
London was a great experience. I loved the hustle and bustle of the city, the excitement of the morning tube rush, the endless laughs and lunches shared in the basement with Leang, any type of food you could possibly want, runs in the park every night, hating the neighbors, all of the birthday celebrations-- I could go on and on and on! I've officially spent more time overseas that in the United States in the past year, and even though I have no money left as a result, I wouldn't change a thing. It has definitely been the best year of my life, and I soemtimes find myself trying to think of a way to go overseas again. Soon.
Oh, and this time, when I returned, Dad hadn't grown out his hair or beard again, but he had shed over 50 pounds! Way to go Dad! (Note: When I returned home from 4 months in Italy my dad looked like Grizzly Adams. He stopped shaving and cutting his hair the day I left. It was quite the surprise when I got off the plane with my hair chopped off, expecting to be the big surprise, and saw him. This time, he stopped eating everything but raw food the day I left.)
Since I've been back I've been a busy little bee. I moved out of HC@H, my home for the past two years, I had one of those "what-a-great-way-to-start-off-the-new-year" nights in Bloomington for Lo's 22nd, I went to Chicago to see Wicked with my family (amazing, amazing, amazing!) and I'm in St. Louis right now. Today Freebs and I went up in the arch, toured the Anhueser-Busch brewery, visited Union Station, and were treated to the best Italian you'll ever have west of the Atlantic: Cunneto's. Ice cream at Ted Drewes wasn't so bad, either.
My next few weeks consist of moving into my new apartment, a possible trip to Elkhart or Chicago and endless phone calls with my lovely friends across the country to catch up on summer happenings. I'm going to try to keep this thing going, so please check back to this space and join me as I document what looks to be a crazy, ridiculous and exciting senior year.
Ciao for now.
July 12, 2008
July 11, 2008
And while we’re on the subject, we have the ice cream truck from hell go down our road every so often. That’s right, a few times a week Satan himself sits behind the wheel of a colorful vehicle and drives around, blaring the most evil-sounding version of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” you can possible imagine— it’s like a demonic horn going through puberty, all piercing and warbling and enchanting children out to purchase its sugary, processed delights.
Confession: To be honest, I don’t really know where the sound comes from, and while I do hear the song from time to time, I’ve never seen said Satan-mobile. But if I do run into it one day, I’m not ordering the “FudgeSickle.”
July 4, 2008
I come from a town of less than 1,000 people (832 at the 2000 census). When my mom had twins she really boosted the population. The biggest thing to happen to our town was in 1997, when the football team won a state championship. When people hear this they often say things like, "Oh wow, you probably knew everyone, didn't you?" Yes, I did know everyone. I also knew their entire extended family, the last three cars their family's driven, their dog's name....etc.
Royal Center's not quite an economic hub, either. We have one gas station (Bonnell's) and a weekly newspaper (The Royal Center Record). Oh, and one blinking light.
Needless to say, I don't plan on spending any time there after graduation. This has my dad really upset, as everytime he emails me he mentions that I should intern with the Record. I always respond that I'll move back home when Royal Center gets a public transportation system, a lenghty way of saying never.
Well, this morning I checked my email and found this:
In a surprise news conference held at the Royal Center Public Library, Gov. Mitch Daniels today announced an experimental program funded entirely with a grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) . Royal Center will be the home of Indiana's first intercity trolley . Under terms of the grant, the trolley must stretch to all parts of the city, with one line stretching from the far north to the deep southern tip of the city. Another line will travel fom the eastern tip to the western edge of town. The bisection of the two lines will be the site of the new Royal Center Union Station.The project is expected to be completed by April of 2009.
Local resident Fred Henry (typical small-town neighbor who my dad's obsessed with), the head of Royal Center's "Moving Ahead Alliance," stated, "We've waited a long time for this. For too long we've seen a lot of our kids leave town for college and never come back. We're hoping they will now see the great opportunities here."
Although most residents are excited about the project, there were also some dissenters. Local resident Wilson Green (my grandpa who tends to disagree with my dad on anything politically related) said, " It's 'indiscrimination', that's what it is. I already pay enough taxes." One unknown resident yelled from the crowd, "Is it a tool, or a toy?" (inside joke here...)
Hope the Record is hiring.
July 1, 2008
June 26, 2008
Hello Indiana! This is Cassie, Sally, Ayumi, and Kayla, four of Kyla's roommates here in London. Kyla made the mistake of leaving her computer on downstairs, and we are taking advantage of that tonight.
June 20, 2008
June 19, 2008
So when I found out about the Naked Bike Ride set for last Saturday, as much as I wanted to go, I couldn't bring myself to ask a roommate to accompany me. No one wants to be anointed the creepy roommate, and this would definitely put me into that category. I'm straddling the fence though, after looking up from my book on the tube the other night and randomly commenting on my roommate's great cheekbones. Whatever, she has fantastic bone structure.
My point is, it doesn't fly when you say, "Who wants to go watch a bike race with naked people with me?" when you're sitting around the dinner table. I didn't want to go watch the ride for any creepy reasons. I don't think I wanted to see anyone naked, I just wanted to see how many and what kind of people would take part in such an event. And I think, deep down, you'd feel the same as I did if given the chance to behold such a spectacle. Giddy.
Well, I was lucky. While sitting at a pub Saturday afternoon (after the assault incident, there is some redemption) I heard a rambunctious noise outside. I ran out to see what was going on and was pleasantly surprised. There, right in front of me, was the phenomenon that is the Naked Bike Ride. Twenty minutes of naked riding going by, to be exact. It was full of people of every shape and size. There were women who looked like they'd teach your Sunday School class. There were men who'd wear a suit and sit next to you on the tube. People of all age, race and economic demographics joined together to ride the streets in the buff, working to spread their messages of protest against oil dependency and car culture. It was everything I'd hoped it would be, and possibly much more.
Imagine if people used this method to protest everything.
"No need for a union strike, let's just ride through the city streets naked!"
"Fantastic idea! That will really raise awareness for our desire for wage raises and better working conditions!"
I have some great pictures, but my parents might look at this and I don't want them to make me come home.
You're probably starting to get jealous of my crazy life, but just know it's not all fun and games. In fact, just last weekend, while on the tube, I was viciously, verbally attacked by the threatening words of a crazy man.
It all started out innocently enough. A friend from home, we'll call him N. Brock...no wait, that's too obvious... Nolan B., and I were heading to a market in Notting Hill. I needed a German chicken burger, and he needed a carton of blueberries. Portobello Road is the only place in the world with both. My roommate was with us, as well. The three of us found our seats in an otherwise empty carriage. A man of African (what is the proper term here? can't really use African American...) decent got on, too He had his phone up to his ear, and it was blaring reggae, much like a boom box. This guy was straight thuggin'. As he passed, I looked up at the him-- a natural reaction when someone walks by you dancing to their phone/boombox. No big deal, right? Wrong.
I have always heard you're not supposed to make eye contact with strangers on the tube. I now know that's not a myth. A few stops later, as the carriage filled up with other passengers, the man got up and walked over towards me. I was sitting by the door and assumed he was just waiting to get off. Wrong again. He had come to yell at me. It went something like this:
"You're UGLY! You've got an UGLY FACE! I'm going to SMACK it and BREAK it. And your boyfriend's (Nolan) ugly, too. Your face is UGLY. "
This goes on for a few minutes and I was, maybe for the first time in my life, speechless. He screams in my face, others look, and then he stops. I turn to Nolan and say,"Anyway..." and try to think of a story to tell him to reduce the awkwardness.
The guy starts again. Same sorta thing, only he ends it this time by saying, "I'm joking," and looks out the window. Then he turns back towards me and says, "But I don't like the look you gave me. I might be ugly, but you are too! You look at me like you're so much better than me. You're no better than me. You're UGLY and I'm going to hit you and your boyfriend's faces."
At this point I look at a man across the aisle, who does the international symbol for crazy (pazzo, loco, etc.)-- the finger spin at the side of the head.
And maybe I should mention that earlier, before screamfest began, I watched the guy pick up his Red Bull can and attempt to chuck it out the door. Unfortunately, he missed and it bounced off the window, back into his lap. He picked it up again and heaved it out the door, this time, successfully. I watched the whole thing because it was, for lack of a better word, awesome. This guy didn't give a darn. He didn't respect authority. He had better things to worry about-- like his public jam session.
So I might have made eye contact there, too. But if he would looked a little closer he would have seen revenrence in my eyes-- I've always aspired to be a rebel, but I think anyone who knows me knows how far from that I am. In 4th grade, I told on myself because I went into the boys' bathroom on a dare. I lost sleep over it the night before I confessed. I got myself so psyched up for the imminent punishment that I was actually a little disappointed my teacher didn't cserve some up. She didn't even care-- she didn't try to scold me or tell me I had misbehaved -- she actually thanked me and COMMENDED me for being honest.
Anyway, this guy was cool in my book. But he didn't know I felt like that. He finally finished ranting at me, and everyone on the tube reassured me that I needn't be embarrassed, he was obviously crazy. Later Nolan and I were talking.
"All I could think was, 'I hope Nolan can take him,'" I said, "because I was pretty sure he was going to hit us."
"Oh I could. I'm trained to kill," Nolan responded. "But I was going to make sure he knew I wasn't your boyfriend, so it would never have gotten that far." Thanks, buddy.
And then, on the way home, Nolan was trying to get me to do a pull up on a hand bar in the tube.
"No. I don't want to make a scene on here," I responded.
"YOU don't want to make scene on the tube? Hmmm..."
Cookies are ready.
June 13, 2008
Now, don't start judging and assume I've turned into a hippy. That's simply not so. I'm not going to attach solar panels to my computer. I'm not going to reduce the amount of toilet paper I use. However, my job has required a lot of environmental research and I have been bombarded with enough green facts over the past three weeks that I'm starting to feel like Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio's love child. This has made me think about my own actions and I've come to the conclusion that I'm pretty irresponsible.
There are some that completely disregard the planet and the consequences of their actions. You know the type-- they rev their SUV's engines just for the heck of it, they pull up in front of their apartment and, instead of taking their trash into the house, throw it under the car...I could go on and on.
But then there are extremists on the other side of the spectrum. They spend an inordinate amount of time protesting in trees, they make their clothes out of recycled newspapers...kooky stuff like that.
I like to think I've found myself tucked somewhere in the middle. My actions haven't completely caught up with my good, green intentions, but I really am going to try to make a more conscious effort to be a better global citizen. I don't know how true the facts about global warming are. I don't know how much longer the oil reserves will last. I don't even know if some species of birds are really worth all of the effort to save. But I do know that it doesn't hurt to make some small changes that can only help make the air cleaner, my body healthier, and my (limited) bank account stay a little fatter.
Therefore, I pledge to do the following*:
1. Turn my fan off during the day. I sleep with a fan on. I'm not going to change that, it's one of my favorite things. Ever. Probably even more than fruit gushers. But there's no reason I can't go over and shut it off when I wake up in the morning. Same goes with lights. In fact, unplugging isn't a bad idea at all. I've read somewhere that energy is used whenever something is plugged in, regardless of whether or not it's on.
2. Walk to campus/Kirkwood when possible. There are just some times when I'll have to drive, and I'm fine with that. I'll have to drive when it's raining, when conditions are arctic-like, when I'll be coming home too late to catch a bus, and when I can't sweat. But there are a lot of times when I just need to run on and I don't need to turn the car on to do so. I walk home here every night, and it takes over an hour. Getting to and from campus takes less time than that.
3. I will throw my trash in the trash can. This doesn't really do much to save the Earth or reduce waste, but it keeps it from ending up in my front yard, a bird's throat or the paws of a raccoon who might want to ''give it a whirl.''
4. I will reuse grocery bags. I think it's a proven scientific fact that the average American has, at any given time, approximately 400 plastic grocery bags hidden under their sink, in the laundry room or shoved in a drawer somewhere. It's a little tacky to do so, I suppose, but there's no reason not to take your bags back and reuse them at the grocery store. I think they have a name for this sort of behavior over here-- it's called a 'no-brainer.'
5. I will hang dry my clothes whenever possible. At home, Mom and Dad love to hang towels to dry on the line. I hate the resulting scratchy feeling, but it makes a lot of sense. They aren't paying to run the dryer, and it probably makes the towels last a little longer. I can do the same with a lot of my clothes. *NOTE: This action may improve mental health, as well, as it eliminates clothes shrinking, a major contributor to an overwhelming number of depression cases.*
There are about 2.65 million other things I could do, but I'm taking baby steps. I think you should think about your actions, as well. If not for the environment, for yourself. Walking more than you drive can only help you (unless you live somewhere like Compton...in which case, please drive...and lock your doors), making both your heart and your checkbook healthier. I challenge you to make a small list of five changes you can make, as well, and really try to adhere to them.
*Conditions subject to change once I return to the States and my fuel-, efficiency-driven life.