Stream of Unconscious

Often I wake in the middle of the night with thoughts and visions that must be written. A lot of it may seem like mere rambling, but I am a born writer; I need to see what happens to my words once they stare back at me from the pages of my computer screen. Since I am ususally more than half-asleep when this happens, I jokingly entitled the original document: "Stream of Unconscious." Now that I am finally starting to publish in a blog (as so many people have suggested I should do!), I thought the title remained appropriate.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

On Dreams...

Much on my mind these days.

Many life-altering decisions to make, and I feel incapable of making them well. This seems to be the point in life where I have to choose which dreams I allow the possibility of life, and which I abandon and leave for dead.

I suppose there isn't any way to keep the heart from being torn a bit, in the midst of the choosing... no matter which way you choose, you lose something, you gain something; you can't look back. I wish it could be different. There are so many dreams I wanted to keep...

There are many things I can't express right now. Others have already said it better than I. Tonight I find myself alone, with a question burning in my mind...

Langston Hughes
A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Long and Short of Vacationing

Hello, All!

I just got back (late last night) from visiting my brother in Charleston, SC. We were there only three short days (three days was all the time off we could afford since Ben and I both work retail), but man did we do a lot in those three days!

Let's see... we went to the beach three times, rented three movies, ate out... you guessed it, three times, and also found time to see the new Evan Almighty in theaters, made iced coffees (thanks to Ben's free Starbuck's pound!), and had our first kayaking experience! I am very, very sore.


1) Terraza coffee from Starbucks, on ice, with International Delight Irish Cream Coffee Creamer. Man... it's good.

2) Taking a Charleston Ghost Walk (we didn't get to go this time, but I've been before and they are spoooooky cool!)

3) Steinbeck's The Pearl. That's not something you have to be in Charleston to read, I just happened to pick it up in the morning when the guys were still sleeping. It's sad (obviously, it's Steinbeck!), but incredibly written.

4) The movie "Ghost Rider." Terrible movie, but hilarious. The dialog had us rolling.

5) The Seafood Alfredo from an awesome restaurant right on the water called RB's. Their sweet tea is also amazing.

6) And finally, staying in Chris's 3-bedroom (are we noticing a theme here??) condo and mooching off his depth of generosity!

Also, if you can make time for it whenever you're in the area, go to Kaminsky's for an out-of-this-world dessert experience (sorry man, couldn't resist!).

All in all, it was an extremely tiring and fun trip! I finally bought a Peace Frogs shirt and a sticker for my car. Jack's birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks (I have to find the title and discover when exactly he was signed over to me), and I'm going to celebrate by decorating him with stickers. Yaayyy!!

So... now the hard stuff begins, because I really have no excuse anymore for not cleaning up my apartment and finding a job. My next vacation won't be until the end of July, and that gives me at least a month to get my life sorted out, which ought to be enough time, but inevitably won't be. But look at me, pretending my life is difficult because I need a better job and happen to leave messes in my space. No, I realize that I am very blessed and that things will be changing for me soon, it's only a matter of time.

One more plug before I go. Kayaking. Man, is it awesome! I'll admit, it took me a long time to be convinced. I am not exactly the rugged type, nor am I incredibly in shape at the moment, but in the end I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Go in the morning, though, when it's not as hot. I can't imagine that heat, sitting in a little boat, in the afternoon. I was a sticky, sweaty mess when the tour was over, but I have to say it was enjoyable nonetheless. I think it is something I could definitely get into if I had the money. How much do kayaks cost anyway?

I was very clumsy with it all, and kept running into people and docks. Luckily, I never wrecked any of the expensive boats in the harbor we passed through, or had any major disasters. Just felt sore, tired, sweaty, and clumsy, and pressed on anyway. Somehow I think there's a metaphor for life in there, but I'm not desperate enough to dig for it just now. In the end, I think I may have been really getting the hang of it. Who knows, when I'm a rich and famous author sometime in the near future, I just might take up kayaking to escape the pressures of my fame and fortune. By then I'll even have enough to tip the tour guide!

If only...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Day in the Life of Me

My thoughts are scattered everywhere this morning. I’ve worked a lot, and I was hoping to have a day to sleep in, but as you can see, have not had any luck.

7:20AM: My manager calls to ask if I can come in to work early. I’m not supposed to have to go to work until 2:00, so I’m pretty happy to be awakened at 7:20. I curse at the still-ringing phone and yell: “No, I will not go in early!!!” to the empty room. I lie back down grumpily; eventually I drift off again.

9:06AM: My sleepy brain ponders the fact that someone is knocking at the door. If I ignore them, they will go away, Sleepy Brain explains. Sounds good to me. Two seconds later, the phone rings again. My landlord (and friend), very cheerful, amused at Sleepy Brain. Oh, right. I forgot the Exterminator is coming at 9:00. That explains the knocking. “Will he care if I’m in my pajamas?” Much laughter on the other end of the line.

9:17ish: Another knock at the door. The Exterminator. I walk to the door, picturing an overweight man in his 40’s, who probably won’t be much for conversation, and probably has a gazillion daughters, and therefore won’t mind the PJs, or the mess. Open the door. Blonde dude, probably 22, looks at me awkwardly and comes inside. Surveys the boxes and piles of junk everywhere. “You just moved in?” he says. “Yes,” I say. Two months ago. Crap, why couldn’t I have just put on some jeans? We try to make small talk, while he squirts poison around my apartment with a miniature chrome vacuum. I ponder the fact that roaches survive nuclear radiation… so what kind of stuff does it take to actually kill them?

9:25: Exterminator leaves. He tells me not to have too much fun. I wonder if he thinks I had a wild party and that’s how my place got to be such a mess? Nope. Did this all by myself. I consider cleaning up a bit. Instead, I get online and look for jobs.

10:30: Make some coffee. Try not to breathe in roach poison. Try to ignore coughing. Decide to blog about morning excursions for other’s amusement. Haven’t called my manager back. Not planning on going in early. The four hours I have to stand in the fitting room will be enough for one day. Ponder my limited job options. Read other people’s blogs at random. Find a girl who’s writing about all her experiences overseas this summer. Apparently she found a way to afford to go overseas and write. Still embarrassed about the pajamas. Wish I were overseas writing about excursions. What am I supposed to do with my life?

10:41: Get up to get a cup of coffee. Discover I’m out of creamer. Not going to the store to buy some, because I’m leaving tomorrow for Charleston (woohoo!). Also, my milk is expired. No cereal for me. Come back to write some more, drinking Kenya roast black. Bleh. Not bad with creamer, though. I still like Guatemala roast, which got left in Greenville.

I should probably shower and start getting ready for work. Maybe I’ll go in an hour early, make a little more money. Save for overseas excursions someday. Too bad Peace Corps doesn’t do Europe.

I’ll try to write more tonight.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Best Friend's Wedding


I know it's been awhile. I've had a busy week and haven't gotten around to writing until now. I spent the past weekend in Greenville, SC, for my best friend's wedding. It was great. I made all kinds of new friends and now I'm considering moving back to the Greenville area... we'll see what happens. It all depends on if I can find a job.

So the wedding was beautiful, and the bachelorette party beforehand was one of the most incredible evenings I've ever spent. We had a scavenger hunt, which ranged from asking single guys for their business cards, to finding a cop and asking if we could get a picture of the bride-to-be handcuffed. This was not allowed, however, because he said if a video ended up on YouTube he'd lose his job. He consented to let us take a picture of his handcuffs lying on the table instead. So, there you go.

One of the highlights of the evening, in my opinion, was the instructional belly dancing video we rented from the library. Picture about 7 girls in a hotel room in their pajamas, very much wired, having just eaten brownie sundaes with sparkling grape juice (no alcohol, because over half the girls weren't 21 yet, but trust me, we didn't need it), attempting to learn how to belly dance from a Russian Nite Club Dancer, who had a strange resemblance to a cross between Cher and... a man. Not even joking. She had muscles where I'm pretty certain muscles don't exist. And the video was not as "instructional" as it was advertised, so... let's just say we didn't learn a whole lot, but were extremely entertained, so it was worth it.

So now another dear friend of mine is married, and I'm left pondering what I'm going to do with my life. Sometimes I wish the decision weren't left to me. Maybe that's just Youngest Child Syndrome. But I’m pretty sure everyone goes through this, to some extent. Still, I couldn’t help feeling a little “I wish that were me” as they exchanged their vows, with adoring eyes turned upon each other. Too bad it takes two.

But I'm actually considering grad school, which is something I've never really considered before because of the expense. There's a school called Bread Loaf School of English that has a really awesome course for people who want to be writers or want to teach writing. It's three summers long and not as expensive as I'd feared it would be. If I took a nanny job with minimal expenses (I'm talking to a family in Clemson!), I'd be able to save a lot, and potentially still have a job when I came back from the summer schooling. It sounds promising at this point. We'll see what happens.

On the other hand, I could potentially stay here and work in a local coffee shop. I know the owner, and he said if I was interested in staying around long-term I might be able to work for him. Do I want to stay here long-term? That is the question. What do I really have here that's worth staying for? Do I have anything anywhere else that’s worth going for? Nothing comes to mind, sadly. Where do other people get their motivation from?

Clemson might be fun for awhile, but I've already lived in several areas of the Southeast. Shouldn't I try something else for a change? If I wasn't going to be a nanny, what other jobs would I be good at?

People keep suggesting I work for a magazine or newspaper. I don't know if I'm concise enough to work for a company like that. To be completely honest, I'm entirely sick of trying to figure out what I'm good at, trying to figure out how to convince some company that I'm wonderful so that I can work for them. It's hard to do when you're not really convinced you want to work for them in the first place.

I think I might be great at being a full-time writer if I could ever come up with a good enough story... I'm working on one, but haven't had much luck getting it out on paper. Every time I try to write it, I find that it's missing something... something... but I don't know what just yet. Maybe just plain life experience. I bet I'll be a great writer when I'm 20 years older, but what can I really write about right now that's relevant and interesting?

Actually, I'm writing a piece for Tara on the bachelorette party, the wedding, and all the goings-on in between. Whenever I get it done, I'll have to post it here. If nothing else, I'll always have writing as a recreational activity, because I thoroughly enjoy its process.

Anyone know any good, inspiring literature that might help me in the writing process? Or any funny stories about weddings or bachelorette parties? I need some inspiration about now. :)

I think that’s all for tonight.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

In a Parking Garage Far, Far Away...

What was the strangest thing that happened to you since last weekend?

This past weekend I was in Knoxville, and… no joke… I witnessed a Storm Trooper walk through the parking garage and get into his SUV. Just picture that for a second. A Storm Trooper, in a parking garage… It was funny, even though I happened to know the context. I met my sister at Adventurecon 2007, a Star Wars (and various other cult classics!) convention and it was actually a lot of fun. For all of you who don’t know me well, yes, I do have some closet nerd tendencies.

And just for the record, Boba Fett is just as awesome in person as he is in the suit. Still very sexy. He said: “Put Commander Solo in the cargo hold,” in that voice, and I about died. It was glorious. I thought I’d gone to Star Wars heaven. Anyway, if you ever get a chance to go to one of these conventions, do. It’s incredible. If for nothing else than seeing the elaborate costumes people wear. I had donned my Strong Bad shirt, which was the geekiest shirt I owned, and even I got compliments on it. I’m telling you, these people are amazing!

I’ve actually got to go to work shortly. And speaking of work, I got a raise!! Which is good… but I’m still probably leaving, as soon as I find a better job… which may be awhile at the rate I’m going. *sigh*

My boyfriend is trying to take apart his motorcycle engine at the moment, so I’m going to go see if he needs any help...

More later!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Serenity... later?

So, I just tried this Guatemala roast coffee from Starbucks, and man, is it awesome! My morning just got a little better. I was having a pretty lousy morning, actually, and considered not even making coffee, but now I'm glad I did. True story. I'm going to stop, though, before I start sounding like those stupid McDonald's commercials that are like "Susan didn't know she had feet until she tried our coffee... now she walks everywhere!" Whoever came up with that ad campaign deserves a unique and painful experience. Maybe not death, but at least a painful experience of some sort.

Maybe I should go into advertising. I could sell things to college students with an ad like: "We're not going to tell you that something deep inside you needs this product, in fact, you probably don't need it at all, but if you're going to buy it anyway, buy it from us, because it's cheap!" I would buy from people like that. When you're in college (or just out of), every cent saved is one cent closer to a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. Mmmmm.

So today will be the 11th day in a row that I have worked at my retail job. Sunday is my first day off in a long time. I'm like 98% sure I'm going to quit; the 2% is waiting to confirm with the school that I'll have a job with them through the end of the summer. I'll be able to save some money that way, and either put a down payment on an apartment closer to my dream job that I'm certain to get by August, or spend the money on a plane ticket overseas, to meet a very nice, patient, and unassuming family who wants me to live with them, spend their money, and occasionally babysit while I learn about their culture.

In all seriousness, though, I have been looking for Au Pair jobs. I think it could be cool to go overseas for a year as an Au Pair, and learn about other cultures and ways of life (maybe another language while I help them with English??). But then, it could be a complete disaster, and you pretty much have to take that risk. I'm trying to be realistic while not castrating my dreams and it is a tough balance. Some of the things I want are so outrageously impractical, but if I only live a "practical" life I am miserable too. I wonder where I'm supposed to fit in this world?

But as cyncial as I may be, I can't deny that this is an amazing place, full of mystery and challenge and romance and beauty. That's why I would like to experience more of it. I'm a little afraid... afraid of spending my entire life stuck in some city, sitting among my piles of junk, wishing I had the courage it would take to sell my stuff and get out, and go anywhere. I don't even go downtown Chattanooga by myself. No wonder I feel I have nothing worth writing about!

I suppose I am a Romantic through and through, despite my best efforts to be sensible. But there's a place for us as well, I think it just takes a little longer for us to find our fit because this culture seems to be run by practical, career-driven people. But last month I met this awesome hippie lady who makes incredibly beautiful jewelry and sells it at fairs, and from a little store in her basement, to raise money for an orphanage in Guatemala. I bought some of her earrings and told her I'd pray for the orphanage whenever I wear them, and so far I have remembered to. We talked for a long time, and she was very encouraging, saying that when she was about my age, in the 70's, she lived in her car and sold jewelry so she'd have something to eat.

At first I felt inspired to go out and buy and old VW van and turn it into an art studio, like I've always wanted, and then I realized that it was her contentment that attracted me so much, not just her Bohemian lifestyle. Eventually she found herself. She said she never fit the mold of a career lady and could never hold down a "traditional" job, but that she was happy, through and through, and had found a life of serenity and contentment. She spends months raising money for the orphanage, then goes down and helps out for a few months, then comes back to America and raises more money, etc. Her creations clearly show that she spends a lot of time on them, pays attention to detail, and desires to make something lasting. The best part is, her life work is not really the beads and clasps and wires she works with, but the children whose lives are changed because she cares enough give what she can for them.

I think what I most want is to be a writer who creates something influential and lasting. I don't care so much about personal immortality, but I do care that what I create is something of value, something that reflects the beauty and mystery and hope in this world. I hope that, 30 years from now (and sooner, if possible!), I will be able to say that I have found a life of serenity and contentment, and rest in the knowledge that I have created something beautiful to leave behind. That's something the people who make ads for McDonald's can't say for themselves, however monetarily rich they must be by now.

I think that achieving the kind of life that I hope for will require a decent amount of risk, which I have never been good at. Maybe going overseas will be a first step...?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Same Old Changes

Well, I haven't written in a long time, because some people complain about me posting too many serious blogs, and nothing really humorous or interesting has happened lately. In fact, it feels like my life has finally settled into a basic routine, and therefore, I think I am going to change it. Sometimes I wonder if I don't have gypsie blood in me from somewhere, because as much as I claim to hate moving around so much (and I do), I never seem to settle in one place for very long before I become restless and change it all up again. Funny how that works.

So I'm still considering job options, and I'm very seriously considering quitting my retail job to work for my old college, cleaning up people's crap again. Honestly, I hate the job, but I've gotta admit that it pays pretty well, plus I'd have almost no commute, plus I'd be guaranteed 40 hours a week, instead of 20-35. So, after figuring it up and realizing I would make at least $1500 more by the end of the summer, I am, as I said, very seriously considering quitting my retail job. Though I will miss the discount terribly, I probably shouldn't be buying more clothes in the first place. I will miss the people too, and that's the hard part.

In other news, I applied for a nanny job in Franklin, Tennessee, which is just outside Nashville. Awesome city, decent pay... seven... children. I know what you're thinking, but it could be really cool. You never know. And if there's one thing I'm sick of lately, it's making just enough to barely pay the bills but not enough to do anything fun when the work day is over. Maybe that's why I'm not funnier when I write... just a thought... ;-)

I don't really know what else to say. I've been working a lot lately, and that is both good and bad. Good because I'm making a little more money, bad because, well, I'm sick of folding clothes and working with a few girls who take this job entirely too seriously.

I think I'm going to go watch a movie, and try not to think about what I'm doing next in life for a bit.

Here's a question for the masses, what's a good TV show I can get hooked on now that LOST is finished for the season?