Friday, March 27, 2009

I might have moved

I'll be back to check those of you that I follow, but, I think I might be moving over to Wordpress. Life over there is a little bit cuter/it's easy to be cute there! 

Please, my few, few followers...don't leave me! 

Spring Clean and Cranky.

This new and fantastic layout is courtesy of a great little blog template designer named Gisele! In even truly more wonderful fashion (even more wonderful than an adorable free layout) she helped me out a lot with the file unzipping and all that. I sent her a few widget questions, so those should be back and up and running, too! All in a matter of time, and you don't have to look at my stupid face in the corner, just a cute little spring bird. 

Right, well in the past week I have: 
  • Gone to a bridal shower, felt uncomfortable at a bridal shower, and have just been generally confused about all things bridal for my best friend's wedding (in no relation to the film) in May. 
  • Saved my cousin's wedding in October by discovering that the dress for her wedding was discontinued by David's Bridal. 
  • Discovered I'm starting to become one of those organic, granola, eco-lovers. Seriously though, organic does taste better and plastic bags are such a pain in the ass. 
  • Become hopelessly addicted to Nutella. 
  • Been told thousands of complicated facts about officially entering my MAT program in the fall. So complicated I can't even figure out how to put them in print (thus, bullet list). 
  • Received my dad's birthday gift in the mail, and blown's list of books for me to read's little mind. I can go in more detail on this one after we celebrate dad's birthday (which is Saturday) on Easter (the next time he'll be here). 
  • Read Mary Shelly's Frankenstein on an exercise bike at the gym and received looks of judgment. 
  • Realized Frankenstein didn't get any better since the last time I read it. 
  • Started learning to play tennis
  • Didn't get post-wing night indigestion (I didn't go). 
  • Spent a lot of time very sleepy and angry at the weather. 
This week has been a myriad of emotions and I feel like I need a haircut as a result. On deck for this weekend is a cheap weekend of: Friday movie night with Kelly and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Possibly walking around the flea market on Saturday, trying to organize Earth Hour games (8:30-9:30 p.m. local time wherever you are, turn off your lights!) and then going to a concert to raise money for a memorial scholarship Shepherd started last year. Happy Friday. The sun is out. 

Now, back to my Nutella, oatmeal, coffee, and flash cards. Will tinker with the blog layout later. 

Friday, March 20, 2009 bells.

So, I was just reading about bridesmaid etiquette. I found a blog blasting a poor bridesmaid who had to travel to the wedding and all other wedding stuff, in addition to the necessary gifts and the dress, who didn't go to the bridal shower because of the travel expenses. 

This weekend, I am attending my first bridal shower in my first experience being a bridesmaid. I bought a very expensive gift, and am paying another friend for gas who is driving down. Not to mention, it's on Sunday, and we're going down Saturday night and getting back late Sunday right before school starts after spring break. I got another invitation to her second bridal shower today, and after reading that blog, I'm nervous about declining. 

It's yet again on a Sunday which is really inconvenient when you're in school and the shower is four hours away. I also worry I'd be expected to buy another gift, which after the first gift really isn't in the cards, and it'll be getting close to finals time and I already know I have a bunch of school things due that week. I'm already skipping a day of classes for the wedding preparations the week before finals (which I hate doing, I skipped a grand total of five classes ever in the four years of my undergraduate career), and I know another weekend away will probably destroy me. 

But, after what these people are saying, I'd feel like the world's worst bridesmaid if I didn't go. I mean, no one asked me to support either of these showers financially, or help plan, for that matter. But, is it really selfish to not go if you are a part of the wedding party? 

If so, this whole introduction to being "twenty-something" just took on a whole different financial and time obligation. This is wedding one of two that I'm in this year, and it seems like everyone these days is putting a ring on it, or getting a ring put on, and since I know I won't have a ring on it for a while, these favors and monetary obligations are a long time coming in return. 

Would it be too much to ask people to just refrain from getting married and asking for lavish gifts and dresses and things until the recession is cleared up? Do I need to go to this shower? If I do go, do I need to purchase a second gift? Should I have three birthday parties this year to get the favors returned? (The answer to the last question should be an obvious yes)

Anyone out there with a Heigel-esque closet, please feel free to comment. Or...anyone really. Halp. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The District

I'm horribly dehydrated and headache-y because of the combination of last night's green beer and then getting totally ripped off at the National Zoo vending machine and getting fruit punch instead of water, the lower half of my body is screaming at me for doing nothing but laying down and resting my legs that backtracked block after block, and my eyes are burning from construction dust and reading all day without my glasses - yet I blog away. I had an incredible time playing tourist in a city I've been to countless times today. 

Sometimes, I just need to go to someplace familiar and walk around like I've never seen it before. I do this sometimes with Shepherdstown when the leaves start to turn orange and yellow, but I needed a different sort of change of scenery and since Kelly and I weren't planning to go anywhere for spring break, D.C. won. Kelly has never been able to play D.C. tourist, because her mom has worked down there for the past ridiculous amount of years. I did my freshman year, because D.C. was still new back then, even living outside of Baltimore, the traffic into D.C. still made it not worth the trip. 

So, we played. We went to the Zoo, and stood in the packs of people trying to get a peek at the giant pandas. All three were enjoying what were, apparently, delicious snacks of bamboo. We saw fantastic birds, the big cats (which were all hiding when I was at the zoo in May), the construction that will be the elephant trail, and some adorable pygmy hippos. The poor otters were not around, because of the elephant construction closing in on their little otter habitat, but I'll let it slide. Desperate for water, I found a $3.00 vending machine, and when I pressed the water button, I was given fruit punch...any takers? Too much weird, sugary, syrupy stuff in it for me. 

We attempted the Metro at rush hour and ended up walking from Metro Center to the White House. I remember being able to get closer in 2006 when I was there around the fourth of July. Now, you have to stand on the other side of the street away from the fence that goes around the backyard, but it was still fun. Kelly has some sort of magical aura that tells people to ask her to take their picture, and someone actually told her she should charge. We didn't though, and took a few nice family White House photos. Who knows, maybe some of them will go on this year's holiday card? 

We were probably really obnoxious, but that's okay. It's nice sometimes, to see things you've seen billions of times and will probably see a billion more times. I had fun, and will be ready to do it again next year. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

20sb Blog Carnival: It Isn't Easy Being Green

In honor of March's 20-Something Bloggers Blog Carnival, and St. Patrick's Day, I am going to tell you why it isn't easy being green, and Irish, in America. 

Hello. I'm Irish. Okay, I'll be real. I'm French-Canadian (Quebecois?!?), Italian, Irish, Scottish, English, and Polish. But. I'm Irish, man, and it's really hard to be Irish. 

I'm not kidding. Being Irish in these United States is a life-long competition, and unless you're willing to put your all into your competition, you may as well drop out and turn in your pot of gold and pint of Guinness at the birth canal. 

I think people forget that Irish is the most common heritage in the United States. Seriously, there's a really ridiculous percentage of Americans who proclaim to have a little Irish in them (giggle), but I won't bore you with the statistics. We all know how this happened. Irish folk are also Catholic folk and traditional Catholics don't believe in birth control, plus, you needed all the help you could get on those potato farms. 

What I don't understand is the competition to be MORE IRISH than your fellow Irish Americans. My last name might not be O'Neil, or O'Hurley (quite the contrary, my mom's side of the family was probably O'Connolly and left the O at Ellis Island), but I do know there were some boot-leggers and horse thieves in County Cork who made babies, who made babies, who made my mom, who made me. I'm also from Rhode Island, which was pretty much founded by Irish/Roman Catholics and Jews. I guess I'm proud to be Irish,  but it seems whenever I say I am, I'm not quite Irish enough. Everyone who is Irish has to be so Irish. I don't have this problem with any of my other backgrounds. (except maybe Italian which is a completely different can of beans all together

To be Irish in America, and I mean really Irish, you need Celtic knots out the wazoo. Celtic knot tattoos, Celtic phrases. Celtic trivia. You need to drink everyone under the table, or try to, and you have to claim to have long-lost relatives in Ireland. (By the way, I MET my long-lost Irish relatives this summer

I'm Irish. 

Oh REALLY?! Me too. My family has a pub over there and we go over there every summer. My mom made me take Irish dancing lessons as a kid and have you seen my tattoo?! Oh? Yeah, my mom's mother's maiden name is O'Flannigan. 

ME TOO! Yeah, we heard my grandfather was left on the door-step of the Statue of Liberty in a potato sack with nothing but a barrel of beer and a green marble rosary. 

Yeah, I'm Irish. When I bleed, leprechauns, gold, and rainbows fly out of the gash. I like beer! 

So. To all of you hardcore and not-so-hardcore Irish folk (and those who wish they were) go get your green on, knock back a few beers, and tell people to kiss you. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

We all need heros.

I woke up to this and a number of dedicated facebook statuses this morning. RIP Mr. Cooper, and countless reactions similar to my own - Really? FALLSTON'S Mr. Cooper? I sort of sat at the computer screen blankly, a few tears on my face, things like this are such a shock. 

I never actually had Mr. Cooper, but he was a part of the dynamic team that made up the Fallston High School English faculty. I didn't like much about high school, but I always enjoyed the conversations I had with the faculty when they all got together in one of my teacher's classrooms. He had an incredible sense of humor and such a genuine personality. He left the school in 2002 to teach at a school in England. He was supposed to stay for two years, but fell in love with the school and decided to stay. In the first article about his death, it says he was believed to be American. I think that, more than anything else, really got me.

My education was made what it was because of the teachers I had along the way. My high school was a rough place - not because of violence or bullies - but because of cliques and trends. There were a lot of kids in a lot of designer clothing that gave you a hard time if you weren't, but the teachers, namely the ones in the English cluster, were amazing. When I went back to visit after I graduated, I was frequently asked when I was going to give in and start a program for English education. When I envision my perfect classroom - so many aspects of their teaching enters into my mind. Those teachers are the reason I want to teach high school English. 

At the end of the day, though, those teachers didn't treat us like high schoolers - they treated us like people. We had "big people" conversations with them, we had opinions and tastes in music and popular culture. We liked books, we didn't like books, we thought books were boring. All of these things were open for discussion, and no one told us not to think anything. 

I've spent a good portion of today reading the memorial messages to Mr. Cooper on various facebook groups, leaving a few of my own. His U.K. students and his U.S. students all had the same sentiments - he was a great person and a wonderful teacher. He will be missed by a slew of international colleagues and students and has touched students on both sides of the Atlantic. So few people can be able to leave that sort of legacy. 

Rest in Peace, Mr. Cooper. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I shouldn't be blogging about this.

 This should never be a complaint. Ever. 

My neighbors keep their trash outside of their garage, which usually causes issues because when the wind blows their trash sometimes gets in my yard. I have never had a huge issue with this before. Once, I found a milk jug while taking the recycling out the night before, so I just put it in my bin. Another time, there was a cup from McDonald's. No big issue, really. 

Last night, I noticed there was a small trash bag spilled all over my lawn. It was 12:30 at night and very dark and I was not in the mood to really pick up someone else's trash, so I moved a few paper towels out of my way and figured I'd talk to them or deal with it in the morning. 

So, flash forward to 7:30 this morning, as I'm getting in my car to head over to school for my 8:00 British Literature class. Upon closer inspection, I see a few toilet paper rolls (gross), what appeared to be moist naps with, what I sincerely hoped wasn't, dried blood on them, (vom), and, the cherry on top of a foul, foul mess that certified my fears with the moist naps, tampon applicators. 


The slew of verbiage that fell out of my mouth from that moment the entire mile to school cannot be repeated on network television. Showtime and HBO might have even had issues re-airing my absolute disgust with the wadded up bits of personal care items intertwined inside my bushes. 

There is no way in hell I am cleaning it up, and my neighbors conveniently left without noticing their used menstrual wet naps and applicators all over my beautiful lawn. 

Why? Why? What possesses someone, in the age of blood-borne illnesses, that leaving your bloody (not in the British way) garbage in someone's lawn is OKAY?!