Saturday, April 30, 2011


This is the 12th entry in my This I Believe series.


I’ve lived in Kokomo for 6 years this summer, and I can count on 2 fingers the amount of friends that I/we actively socialize with on a regular basis. And those 2 people are married. And holdover friends from college. And we haven’t socialized with them since the Super Bowl back at the beginning of February. And it really feels pathetic.

(Here come the “buts.”) But, I/we have never been social butterflies. But, we each have a collective group of friends that we work with. BUT, we have the lame yet true “excuse” of being so ridiculously busy for much of this semester that we don’t even see each other that much let alone friends.

I believe that it’s really, really hard for most people to make new friends a) when they graduate from college or high school (whatever their culminating education might be) and b) when they move to a new town/city where they don’t know anyone, specifically in their own age bracket. Not only do I believe that it’s really hard, but I believe that it’s an issue that isn’t addressed enough and leads to definite feelings of confusion, loss, depression, self-doubt, or some combination of any of these.

I admit that I’ve gone through some gradation of feeling all of these in the past 6 years, despite joining my best friend in moving to this new city. It’s taken me this long to come to terms with friendship as being a different beast than it used to be. Admittedly, friendship has never been easy for me; I feel awkward and overtly intimidated by people that I don’t know or don’t know well. Consequently, I also know that I come across as snotty or mean too often. I mean, I know it, and that alone leads to feelings of “confusion, loss, depression, [and] self doubt.” I’m also just starting to recognize this and thus be more conscious of it.

Thinking back about high school, I didn’t realize how torturous it was at times for me to relate to and communicate with my peers. It was the norm, and I didn’t dwell on it at the time. So here’s my apology to anyone who knew me before college. I know of one circumstance where I was completely misconstrued, and it led to a lot of unintentional pain for both me and my friend. I fully admit that I still dwell on that situation today—10 years later. I’m sorry I was such a snot and so mean. I didn’t try to be. I really didn’t.

I believe that friendship is just hard, and I completely admire those people for whom the ability to engender and maintain friendships is a natural gift. Social media is a whole ‘nother monkey that has absolutely twisted our cultural understanding of “friendship,” and I believe that it enables people to believe that they are “friends” in interesting and counterintuitive ways. But I also believe that the friends that you fly across the country to see, those are the ones that you cherish. Your friend base doesn’t have to be centered in the geographic area that you live, and I’m learning to understand that I’m okay with that. But, it sure does make it a little more convenient.

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's good to be a commoner

What a breathtaking, awe-inspiring, impossibly intimate Royal Wedding. Wow.

One of my naysayer students made a comment to the effect of "why should people [we] care about it?" This strikes me as positively amusing, ironic and baffling. We are Americans who are notorious for our hero-worship of anyone beautiful and/or rich, yet we scoff at it if the individual isn't directly related to America? Seriously, wouldn't the collective everyone simply fawn all over Will & Catherine if they had some tangential tie-in to the States? Why must we be nationalistic snobs? We glued ourselves to our TVs, iPhones and laptops this morning simply for the same reason that we afford any celebrity more than their 15 minutes of fame. We, Americans, have a big issue with idolizing individuals for ambiguous reasons. However, for once, why not?!? In my very unimportant and unscientific opinion, at least this is one couple that we should celebrate and adore. You can't make me believe that those TWO kisses (gasp!) on the balcony of Buckingham Palace weren't heartfelt and adorable. Watch Charles & Diana in the corresponding situation and then compare...egads.

But watching that made me realize that sometimes it's good to be a commoner. Would I have handled my own wedding in that manner of pomp and ceremony? AND, think of all of the details in which Princess Catherine did not have a voice. Undoubtedly, the majority of the wedding was detailed and coordinated by someone who is paid well to say "You do this, and you stand here because this is the way it will be." To some extent, it would have been more relaxing for my own wedding if I did have that someone to tell me what to do, to only have to decide what my dress would be and what my hair would look like. But on the other hand, I remember specific specific details about my own wedding that Princess Catherine can't. However, I also understand that you can easily argue that she will have "specific specific" details to remember about her own wedding day that are grander and more extraordinary than my wedding could ever replicate.

Yet my wedding didn't require $55 million just for security (which, by the way, kudos to the British for their panache in blending security into the landscape; American police can never compete). And my wedding was still joyous, just as today's celebration was.

Funny aside: Ben and I were told that we would not kiss after being pronounced husband and wife, kind of like today's newlyweds couldn't either. Except that I/we forgot, and we did. Good thing we're not royal; we would have enraged the Queen, among others.

The wedding made my day after an emotional week. I'm definitely one of those people who enjoy attending weddings rather than dreading them. Every bride is beautiful. Every wedding is so full of emotion--trust, faith and love. I thoroughly enjoy sharing such intimate moments because a wedding inevitably reminds me of how much I love my own hubby and the importance of the vows that we wrote for each other.

But once again, sometimes it's just good to be a commoner. I don't enjoy kissing in front of other people. So having at least a billion people watching me smootch...I'll let someone else revel in the balcony scene.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What do you do once you finish your formal education?

GRADE. I've been a bit behind.

SIGH. What is there left to achieve next?

REGROUP. Remember what a Friday night of pure relaxation feels like.

WORK. There are about 50 projects that haven't been worked on for four years.

SIGH. Again. In private. I'm getting a lot of lemons right now and haven't gotten up the gumption to find some sugar to mix in yet. I'm fairly wallowing right now.

LAUGH. Abby is at a fantastic age of funniness. Re-learn to play with the little one without the constant niggling reminder of work that isn't being done.

GO TO TRACK MEETS. Fantastic diversion for my daughter, and it gives her a chance to see her daddy on nights that they wouldn't otherwise meet up.

COOK. Key lime cheesecake. Pumpkin cream cheese muffins. Linguine with edemame pesto. All in my fridge right now.


READ. I'm out of sorts on this right now.

WATCH. Copious amounts of baseball. Without reservation. By the way...I'm in first place in the standings in my fantasy team. It's not yet May, but I can already smell the $300 winning prize (again).

PLANT. Peat pots. You should check out my nifty makeshift garden in my classroom at school.

THINK. About Abby's 2nd birthday...less than one month away (oh my!).

WRITE. On the blog. You lucky people.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

That was an oops...

I need to preface this short post with 2 things to clarify my emotional state of mind.

1. I've been losing lots of things lately, and I'm not one who loses things. Everything has its place just for this reason.

2. I finally bought a new pair of jeans after searching sporadically for months and going through 2 pairs in the meantime.

So, the story. I was changing clothes after school a couple of days ago, and I couldn't find my new jeans. I knew that I was wearing them the night before, so I couldn't possibly have left them anywhere (we were out of town the previous day). Abby even got in on the search-and-find rescue mission. I looked through all of Ben's jeans twice since we'd just done some laundry. So I called Ben, who had a track meet after school. Maybe he knew? Voicemail--call me.

Ben called back: "This is not cool! I figured out that I'm wearing your jeans because the pockets are so small!!" Found my jeans! And for the record, he didn't continue wearing my jeans, and I accidentally put his on once thinking that they were mine.

You wouldn't think it by looking at us, but we basically wear the same jean size. Not that we purposefully share clothing... :-)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

B & B Spring Break style

Something that Ben and I have enjoyed to do ever since we've been married is to stay at bed & breakfasts when we travel. We found one in Ft. Wayne that had a fantastic hot tub when we got married. We stayed at a really quiet, quaint one down in St. Thomas on our honeymoon. We still talk about the one that we stayed at in Wisconsin when we traveled up to Minnesota a couple of years ago. We had a great time staying in one down in Brown County the spring before Abby was born (biggest breakfast ever!). And just this past week, I found one about an hour from Ft. Wayne in Grand Rapids, OH that was exactly what we needed.

If you ever have the chance and if you're into this sort of thing like we are, I recommend all of these. This week, we stayed at The Mill House, which is a converted mill right on the "rapids" of the Maumee River, which, incidentally, is bigger in OH than it is in IN, so it's really not as inconsequential as it first sounds. It was a memorable trip for a couple of reasons, most importantly, this was Abby's first overnight visit with the grandparents all by herself. In other words, this was the first time that I had not been with Abby overnight. It was a bit of a milestone, and I'm glad that I was able to choose when this took place because it was so much easier for me; I was ready, and I know that Ben was as well, for a break.

But back to The Mill House. It's in this tiny, tiny little city of about 1,000 people, which boasts 2 pizza places, 2 places for ice cream, 1 other restaurant, 1 other B & B, and an assortment of cute little shops and many that are out of business. The recession hasn't been kind to their Main Street, it seems. The Mill House itself is adorable with awesome character and beautiful brick & wood, including floors made from reclaimed bowling lanes. In my opinion, lots of B&Bs tend to be over decorated and dated, appealing exclusively to older generations. But this one is fairly neutral, which I appreciate.

When we got there, and we were the only guests Monday night, the hostess had made a little mistake and hadn't noted our arrival on the correct calendar. But she was utterly gracious and made up for it in spades. We definitely took advantage of her homemade scones (so delish!), biscotti, and gigantic chocolate chip cookies. Plus, she had a Keurig coffee maker, of which I am envious. Despite the cruddy weather, it was SO nice to just sit down, drink some coffee, nibble some scones, watch some tv, play a game, and just chat or be silent for the afternoon. This adventure came on the heels of the most hectic, stressful 2 weeks of my grad school career which resulted in tears a few times.

We had the best, loungiest afternoon/evening, just watching baseball and basketball, reading and eating. And, I received an email while I was there that my research project had been accepted, which means...I'm done with my Masters! The stars aligned, and I'm ready to do this again. Soon.