Our trip to bham

Yesterday afternoon The Little Red Haired Girl and I embarked on a three hour journey to Birmingham with our New Little Buddies. We had plans to have dinner at one of the only restaurants in the city open on Sundays, then head over to UAB to see the Indigo Girls and Brandi Carlile. I had never heard them play together live before, so I was pretty excited for the show. And I’ve been a huge Indigo Girls fan for so long that I’m just always excited to see them play.

Anyway, we go to the restaurant, and meet our New Little Buddy’s sister and brother-in-law, who are totally fun. The restaurant was also pretty delicious, although it was literally empty except for us and the service was a little slow and surprisingly unknowledgeable about the menu despite the fanciness of the place.

So, we rushed through dessert to get to the theater with enough time not to miss a minute of Brandi, and were delighted to find a parking space pretty much right in front of the building. Come to find out there was tons of parking available because the concert had been postponed “due to illness.” So freaking disappointed. We drove the 3 hours home, tail between our legs, too sheepish to admit that we were actually glad to get home by 10pm on a Sunday night. But definitely sad about the show.

It has been rescheduled for a Monday in a few weeks. I think we can go, but we’ll be totally exhausted for Tuesday, and we’ll have to drive the 6 hours there and back again. Plus, we are worried that they won’t be playing with Brandi then. They are touring with Michelle Malone the next few weeks, which is super cool, but I’d just really been looking forward to seeing them play with Brandi. I’ve seen them play with Michelle Malone a few times before, although it was years ago. Maybe they’ll feel bad for postponing and all 4 of them will play for the postponed show! Wishful thinking, I know.

View from my room

I’m in Bermuda this weekend for a good friend’s wedding. It is so freaking beautiful here. This is the view from the little balcony in my hotel room. The little putting green is weird, but other than that it’s fantastic. The water is gorgeous, and the weather is perfect.

The Little Red Haired Girl couldn’t come with me cause of her opening, so I’m here alone. Not really, a good friend from college also did not bring a +1 so we are rooming together. It has been pretty fun. We got here yesterday afternoon, sat out by the little pool restaurant for a while, then rehearsal dinner. Delicious. I had scallops, chicken on the best risotto I’ve ever had, and cheese plate for dessert.

Then lots of dark and stormys at one of the hotel bars. Today we are going to hang by the pool I think. Our hotel is close to town but far from beach, so there is a ferry to get there. The schedule doesn’t fit ours though, so we’ll have to stay around here, which is a bummer. Not that I’m complaining about chilling by the pool in Bermuda.

Weird week

Well, I guess the preparing part could have happened before last week. But let’s be honest, that’s how it generally comes down. Anyway, I put a lot of energy into trying to make something out of some work that I’d done last year with Everything Guy. So on top of my regular school work I was doing this. Also I was getting yelled at for not doing enough on my second job which I do for money but actually kind of hate. So that was crazy busy and stressful.

Then come to find out that the spouse of a friend of The Little Red Haired Girl’s was ill, then passed away all in the week. So I was trying hard to get my work done and still be emotionally available for The Little Red Haired Girl, and I’m not sure I was too successful with the latter. And now I don’t really feel like the week is over yet, since I feel somewhat behind on my regular work and there is a funeral to attend today. Meanwhile we are spending time putting together catering menu ideas for the wedding, which should be really fun but somehow seems like a chore in the midst of all this.

I’m not complaining, mind you. It’s just been a really weird week.

Working on a presentation

Tomorrow we give our second year presentations. That means we stand up and talk about some research that we did during our second year of school for 15 minutes, conference style. Yeah, that is all I know about it. There are no guidelines other than that. I don’t know if it’d be ok to present something that’s essentially incomplete, or if people will complain that my talk doesn’t have a point or real findings.

I’m fairly certain there will be no real evaluation (or feedback even), because that is how first year poster presentations were last year. You’d think that at a school of education they’d try and do a little better than just throw something like this at us. The irritating part of it is that I’m losing sleep over this thing even though there are no academic stakes.

I guess it’s a pride thing, because I’ll be publicly representing a year of work and I want people here to think that I’m worth their time and their funding and that maybe I’ll become something someday. Even if deep down inside I think it might be a sham and I might not really.

My first real celebrity encounter

Frankly, the whole celebrity phenomenon makes me slightly uncomfortable. At the same time, there are people out there whom I really admire for whatever it is that they do that makes them famous. Generally I think it’s fun to have celebrity sightings and to talk about it. I’m not, however, the kind of person who goes out of her way to meet celebs. That’s why I was so uncomfortable the other night when we were at City Hall for the Brandi Carlile show, and we noticed Amy Ray in the crowd. I’m a huge Indigo Girls Fan, and have been pretty much since I started owning CDs. Their music got me through my brooding in-the-closet angsty teen years (and even many embarrassingly angsty adult years).

Well, one of our New Little Buddies spotted her standing a little in front of us during the concert, but she slipped away through the crowd after a few songs. I figured that she’d gone backstage (and hoped that Brandi would get her to come up and sing), but when the lights came up I saw her walking toward the back of the venue. So she was practically standing right by the door as we walked out, and The Little Red Haired Girl insisted that I go say hello. I didn’t want to, because I knew I’d just feel stupid about it later.

At the same time, I knew (as did The Little Red Haired Girl) that I would regrett letting the chance go by. So I went over, waited my turn (at this point there were three or four others who wanted to say hello to her), and shook her hand. I said something totally inane like, “I really love your music,” and walked away. I’m really glad that I approached her, but at the same time I feel a little cringe-y about it. She was totally nice and greeted everyone with a lot of patience and grace, but it is just such a weird thing. Is there ever actually a good way to approach a celebrity?

Anyway, I’m glad The Little Red Haired Girl pushed me to do it. Otherwise this would have been a very different post, wouldn’t it?

Ants!

I got up early this morning to make breakfast and lunch, since I have an 11 hour day at school today. Yesterday’s idea of having Doritos for lunch is not going to get me through today. So there I am at 6:30, all ready to cook, when I realize there is a trail of ants parading from the window over the kitchen sink down onto the countertop and back.

I’d like to say that I’m shocked and I have no idea how such a thing could possibly happen to us, that we are the pinnacle of cleanliness and the ants had no good reason to have found their way into our house. Sadly, that has not been true this past week.

We have both been going non-stop either for work or social reasons. I know, I’m not complaining, we haven’t had a terrible time, just busy. So, there is a possibility that things like dishwashing and countertop wiping have been neglected.

Well, luckily the ants seem to have just recently found their way in so it wasn’t too awful yet, and we nipped it quickly in the bud (knock wood). While I did manage to frantically throw some lunch together, I clearly didn’t learn my lesson because I left behind another pile of dirty dishes.

Notes from underground OR How to chase the rabbit into Wonderland

“What is to be done with the millions of facts that bear witness that men, consciously, that is fully understanding their real interests, have left them in the background and have rushed headlong on another path, to meet peril and danger, compelled to this course by nobody and by nothing, but, as it were, simply disliking the beaten track, and have obstinately, wilfully, struck out another difficult, absurd way, seeking it almost in the darkness. So, I suppose, this obstinacy and perversity were pleasanter to them than any advantage…

The fact is, gentlemen, it seems there must really exist something that is dearer to almost every man than his greatest advantages, or (not to be illogical) there is a most advantageous advantage (the very one omitted of which we spoke just now) which is more important and more advantageous than all other advantages, for the sake of which a man if necessary is ready to act in opposition to all laws; that is, in opposition to reason, honour, peace, prosperity — in fact, in opposition to all those excellent and useful things if only he can attain that fundamental, most advantageous advantage which is dearer to him than all. “Yes, but it’s advantage all the same,” you will retort. But excuse me, I’ll make the point clear, and it is not a case of playing upon words. What matters is, that this advantage is remarkable from the very fact that it breaks down all our classifications, and continually shatters every system constructed by lovers of mankind for the benefit of mankind. In fact, it upsets everything…

One’s own free unfettered choice, one’s own caprice, however wild it may be, one’s own fancy worked up at times to frenzy — is that very “most advantageous advantage” which we have overlooked, which comes under no classification and against which all systems and theories are continually being shattered to atoms. And how do these wiseacres know that man wants a normal, a virtuous choice? What has made them conceive that man must want a rationally advantageous choice? What man wants is simply independent choice, whatever that independence may cost and wherever it may lead. And choice, of course, the devil only knows what choice.

Of course, this very stupid thing, this caprice of ours, may be in reality, gentlemen, more advantageous for us than anything else on earth, especially in certain cases… for in any circumstances it preserves for us what is most precious and most important — that is, our personality, our individuality. Some, you see, maintain that this really is the most precious thing for mankind; choice can, of course, if it chooses, be in agreement with reason… It is profitable and sometimes even praiseworthy. But very often, and even most often, choice is utterly and stubbornly opposed to reason … and … and … do you know that that, too, is profitable, sometimes even praiseworthy?

I believe in it, I answer for it, for the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key! …And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don’t know?

You will scream at me (that is, if you condescend to do so) that no one is touching my free will, that all they are concerned with is that my will should of itself, of its own free will, coincide with my own normal interests, with the laws of nature and arithmetic. Good heavens, gentlemen, what sort of free will is left when we come to tabulation and arithmetic, when it will all be a case of twice two make four? Twice two makes four without my will. As if free will meant that.” F.D

There are moments when it’s crowded and you can’t breathe.

There are moments when it’s crowded and you can’t breathe.

Or when it’s crowded and you want to get out and move the hell away.

But there are also moments when it’s all crowded in your head.

When you wish you could shout it.

When you wish you could say it but it won’t let you.

When the best choice is to run away and drown it in a river.

Bury it somewhere deep and hope it’s shut for good.

We stare like strangers through each other into the wall

They say it gets easier while growing older. They say it’s easier to pass it unnoticed, to let it slip through your fingers.

They say you just fall asleep when you feel the need to sleep, that you shouldn’t fear the moments when it’s dark or broad day-light.

They say you wouldn’t feel the need to melt away with this almost-winter mid-light and air. And they have no clue.

It was the night I thought I had been driving like crazy until morning

And in the morning I drove ’till night. When actually I was only confusing these two: both mornings and nights were driving me crazy. Mornings looked troubled and I assumed it was a matter of divination which would make everything easier. But there were no auguries, no omen.

Not even flowers grew up there, along the side-walks, across oceans and beyond such doubts. Nights, on the other hand, seemed sketched by hands without skills. By hands used to build up great fires, to spread light. But there was no light either, no other but the artificial ones hanging in front of me, on the roads.

The one which discovered the flies in the darkness, exposed them and detached their wings. No divinations and no fire-makings. I wasn’t even driving. Not even day and night. Not even then or them.