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I like to do these every year

2009 In The Beginning...
Where did you ring in the New Year? At Derek's and then my brother's apartment.
Who were you with? My brother and a whole bunch of other people.
Did you kiss anyone at midnight? Nope.
Did you make any resolutions? Yes. I resolved to lose weight and take better care of myself.
If so did you keep them? Yeah, I've lost a little bit of weight, and I finally have health insurance, which is pretty cool.

2009 Your Love Life
Single/Taken? M heart has been unavailable since March.
How many relationships did you have? One.
How many break ups? None.
How many people did you kiss? Only one who matters. :)

2009 Friends and Enemies
Did you meet any new friends this year? Yeah. I have a few decent new friends from work and school.
Did any of your friendships end? I don't think so.
Did you dislike anyone? Yes, but I'm working on it.
Did you get into any fights? Nope.
Did you make any new enemies? No.
Did you resolve any fights? I didn't fight, so no.

2009 The Holidays!
Did you have a Valentine? Yep! I spent Valentine's with Nic.
Did the Easter bunny visit you? I don't think so.
Did watch fireworks on the 4th of July? At Westminster's annual show, of course.
Did you dress up for Halloween? Not this year.
What did you do for Thanksgiving? Stayed at my mom's house.
Did you make a list of gifts for the holidays? My mom forces me to every year.
Did you receive what you wanted? Yep-I finally have a slow cooker and a sewing machine!
Were you good this holiday season? Yes.

2009 Your Birthday!
How old did you turn? 23. I'm getting old.
Did you have a cake? No, but my favorite person made amazing peanut butter fudge for me.
What did you do for your birthday? Dinner party with some friends, and then the Penguins won the Stanley Cup for me.
Did you have a party? Not exactly.
Did you get any presents? A beautiful scarf, Once, a George Foreman, and several people fought to pay for my dinner at Olive Garden.

2009 The Memories and Accomplishments!
Funniest Memory? I don't think I did anything outrageously funny, but I spent a lot of time laughing and having fun.
Saddest Memory? Nothing catastrophic... I cried and stressed a lot about uncertainty though.
Most Embarrassing Memory? I have a new one every week.
Best Accomplishment? I finished my second term in AmeriCorps, and I was accepted to three highly ranked graduate programs.

2009 FAVORITES!
Favorite TV shows? House and The Office... also West Wing more recently
Favorite songs? Eh, I'm on a Michael Buble kick, but have been rocking out to Brittany and BEP for most of the year.
Favorite food? Pesto pasta
Favorite stores? Not Lane Bryant... heh.
Favorite restaurants? Chez Bethany et Ken?

2009 All about YOU
Did you change at all this year? I think so.
Did you dye your hair? Darker brown.
Did you get your hair cut? Yep. Two (new) different styles, but it is back to the same old thang. Longest it has been in awhile.
Did you change your style? Thanks to my store discount I have added a couple of new things, but no style changes really.
Were you in school? My first semester of grad school. 3 to go!
Did you have a job? Three of them, plus an internship. I'm ambitious.
Did you drive? Yes
Did you own a car? Almost... haha. I just sent in payment #18. I'll own it in a couple of years.
Did you lose anyone this year? No.
Did anyone close to you give birth? Nope
Did you move at all? Into my very first real apartment with one of my best friends.
Did you go on any vacations? I went to Chicago with some pals, and spent some time "vacationing" in Bradford.
Did you leave the country at all? Nope
Would you change anything about yourself now? I'm trying to be more vocal and less of a push over.

2009 Wrap Up
Was 2009 a good year? Best yet.
Do you have any regrets? I do and I don't. Maybe I should have done things differently, but I like where I am right now.
Did 2009 bring any new insights? Some.
Do you think 2010 will top 2009? Can it get better than this?
Do you have any goals for 2010? Stay in school, get another 4.0. :)
If you could relive any moment which would you choose? None. I have my memories, and I'm excited to see what the future brings.
If you could forget any moment what would it be? Finals.
Do you wish 2009 wouldn't end? No.
Who did you kiss at midnight? We actually missed midnight because everyone was commenting about how horrible it would be in Times Square.

***

[P E O P L E]
1. Best friend? All of them!
2. Lost any friends? Nope.
3. Gained any friends? Yes.
4. Met a new good friend? Yes - my classmates and coworkers are pretty cool.

[P L A C E S]
1. Went out of the country? Nope
2. Moved? To Squirrel Hill.
3. New school? PITT!
4. How many times on an airplane? Four. Gross.
5. Road trips? Chicago!

[Y O U]
1. Have you changed? Loads
2. New look? Bangs!
3. Any new addictions? Iced coffee
4. Biggest conflict this year? My workaholic tendancies.
5. Most depressed time this year? Being alone on campus over the summer was wretched.

[L O V E]
1. Did you fall in love? That is private.
2. Who was your summer love? ;-)
3. How many boyfriends/girlfriends this year? Un copain
4. Biggest crush? Oh he's a hottie with a body.

[S E A S O N]
1. Favorite Season? Probably fall.
3. Good birthday? Yep!
4. Any snow this year? I was snowed in a couple of times.
5. Highest temperature? I didn't really pay attention.

[F I N A L Q U E S T I O N S]
1. Snuck out – I don't really need to sneak out anymore.
2. Met a person who will change your life – No. I became closer to a person I think might do that.
3. Kept your resolution – Yes
4. Had a first something – Yep
5. Drank Alcohol – Yes.
6. Smoked weed/drugs – Nope.
7. Did anything illegal – Nothing major.
8. Kissed someone – Yes.
9. Liked someone who didn't like you – I lucked out this time. :-D
10. Favorites of the year – Trying new things.
11. Changed your view on things – In many different areas, yes.
I'm seriously losing it. 25 hours of retail scheduled the week before finals, plus my 16hr internship, plus classes, plus all of the papers and projects due next week. At least I'm not the only one. Several of my classmates said that they feel the exact same way...

Really? What was I thinking? Minimum wage in a shoddy apartment is a much better decision than grad school.

513 days until graduation.

Enough

I am so happy right now. I am completely overwhelmed with school, work, and my internship, but there are so many amazing things going on in my life as well. I think I am going to drop my degree at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, because I want to be finished next year. Just making that decision feels like a burden has been lifted off of my shoulders. I know that I am capable of finishing both degrees, but at what cost? I keep waiting for my life to start, and planning things to make me prepared for when that happens, but my life is right now. I want to be happy; I don't want to be stressed. I don't want to strain my relationships by being too busy to breathe.

Work work work

That is pretty much my life. I just started at Lane Bryant and I'm still transitioning into all of the work that I have for my classes. Fortunately I am meeting and getting along with a lot of people, so I'm happy. I am not nearly as lonely as I was my first week here, but I'm still working on that.

It turns out I hit a snag with my enrollment at GSPIA. Apparently my enrollment forms, deposit, and scholarship acceptance form weren't enough for them to consider me a student (all of my classes this semester are at the school of social work), so I have to go in and see what is up with that. Hopefully this confusion hasn't lost me my scholarship. If it did though... I just wont go and I'll finish in two years instead of three. I would prefer an MPA over an MSW if I'm only able to get the one, but we'll see what ends up happening.

Life is pretty great. I am completely broke and insanely busy, but I have some really great conversations with other students in the evening, and just being around people who completely understand my passion is worth every moment. I do feel a little restless, and I think that is because I'm missing someone while I'm here. I don't think I'm going to settle down in Pittsburgh, but it is nice for now.

So this is grad school

I had orientation last week and this week I started my first semester as a grad student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Though I am in a dual-degree program, my first year is completely social work. I can't say that I am upset by this. I think that the social work curriculum is a little less academically challenging than the Public Policy and Management curriculum will be (boo econ). So far I am really enjoying my experience in Pittsburgh.

I wake up each morning around 7 or 8 and read for class for a couple of hours. I make lunch in my amazing kitchen (anything is amazing compared to the kitchenette I had last year) and watch a little bit of the Barefoot Contessa. Oh man I hate that show but I watch it anyway because I'm a dweeb. After a little bit of additional reading I pack my bookbag (so highschool) and walk a little less than a mile to my bus stop. I ride the bus with the Carnegie Mellon kids and think about how much debt I would have if I had decided to go there instead. Wander around Oakland for awhile before heading to class. Catch the bus back home. The end.

Now I am trying to read some more and maintain my relationship with the boy. I'm crossing my fingers.

I want to go homeeeeeeee

I have been in Bradford for the past two weeks, and I don't get to go home until next weekend. I had a month between my work end date and my school start date, so of course I decided a vacation was not in order, and I came to Bradford to earn some extra cash in a factory job. This has not been fun. I don't feel as though 7.25 an hour is a good enough return on my time investment at the factory. I am so thankful I'll have two graduate degrees so I (hopefully) wont be stuck in a dead end job like this.

I will not lie, it has been really great to see my family. I have not had very much time to spend with friends though. After working 9 hour days at the factory, I'm exhausted when I come home from work. All I have the energy for is dinner and then passing out. I think I've been online maybe a half dozen times since I've been in Bradford. Is it a problem when you're too tired to facebook?

This next week I'm going to try to contact my friends who are still in the area and maybe arrange some sort of get together. I saw surprisingly few of them at the Italian Festival this weekend. Maybe my visits with friends will get me through the next 5 days of work. Then I get to spend a glorious week with my boy in Pittsburgh, before we both head back to school.

I am procrastinating

Not on homework anymore, but on getting things done in general. I move on Saturday. The boy comes tomorrow to spend the night with me. It is our last night in my apartment. I have a romantic evening planned, and then Friday all day is packing, packing, and more packing.

I don't want to do it. Don't get me wrong, I'm really excited to be moving to Pittsburgh and starting grad school. I'm absolutely ready to have a real apartment with a real kitchen and no rules. The night life is going to be an exciting change from the quiet streets of New Wilmington. However... For the next month I'll be two hours away from the boy. It isn't that huge of a distance, but it is more than we've had to deal with yet. Then when school starts again, we'll only be an hour apart, but we will both be completely swamped with classes and course work. He'll have an internship, and I'll have a field experience and (hopefully) a part time job. Right now it is looking like the only free time I will ever have will be during weekends, but I'll be spending most of that time working on homework since I will be working during the week. Ahh... I don't want this to end before it's even begun just because of bad timing.

But yes, my second year in AmeriCorps down. What started as an experiment to see if it was possible for me to stick with anything has turnedinto a pretty sweet job, and hopeful career path. We'll see where this takes me...

I met the parents!

I went to the boy's house on Friday night and had dinner with him and his parents. I was incredibly nervous leading up to dinner, but I think that it went really well. His mother is nice but quiet, so we didn't really get to talk much. His dad is very talkative, and we had some decent conversation, I think. He told me that I am always welcome in their home, and that he thinks his boy is a good judge of character. :-) I don't know if that was explicitely meant as a compliment, but I took it as such.

It was such a great evening! The fellow made shrimp alfredo with past that was shaped like little hearts (the last remaining food that he has from France, which he said he was saving for a special occaision). His mother made amazing strawberry shortcake for dessert, and we all sat and talked for awhile. Finally the boy started pulling on my arm and asking if I was ready to go - we had been there for three hours and I hadn't even noticed the time. I am taking that as a sign that things went well. At least I had a good time, and I know the boy did. He says that his parents would be crazy not to like me.

Next weekend my mother, grandmother, and cousin Dylan are coming down for the holiday weekend, and the boy is going to be visiting me as well. It's his turn to worry all week about meeting my family. ;-) I don't think he has anything to worry about though. My mom has loved every single one of my friends, so there's no way she wont love and approve of him.

Logistics

I hate planning things, especially my birthday. I love other people's birthdays - shopping, wrapping presents, going to parties - all lots of fun. Planning parties is not fun. Scheduling among all of my busy friends is not fun. Worrying about whether or not other people are having a good time is not fun.

Basically, I have come across many many scheduling issues this year, and I honestly don't want to do anything for my birthday. Unfortunately, my friends refuse to let that happen, so we are having dinner in Pittsburgh on Friday, and then going to a house party (which isn't at all related to my birthday, just fun). After trying to schedule 4 different dates, I settled on Friday because it worked for the most people. But I just got off the phone with the boy only to find out that he has an early morning family committment on Saturday, so he can't accompany me to the house party and subsequent crashing in the city. He did, however, offer to drive down to Pittsburgh for my dinner, which would be an hour and a half both ways. I really don't want him to do this. I don't think it would be worth it. I'm going to be in a cranky mood on Friday anyway, so I probably should just stay home.

Arthur...

Yesterday I visited my dad. It had been 8 years since the last time I saw him. It was a really pleasant visit, all things considered. His personality and mannerisms were just as I remembered. He hasn't really changed much. Physically though... oh I don't think I was prepared for him to be an old guy. The once thin and extremely active person I knew has been replaced by a little belly pudge, slouched shoulders, and arthritic knees that gave him trouble getting in and out of my mom's car. He maintained good conversation though. Asked about my life and shared details about his. He told my mother that times like this, when he could see his children, make his entire life worth living.

Last night the boy asked how my visit with my father went. My response was to sob on the phone for an hour.