Month: April 2012

30 Apr 2012

2012: week seventeen

April 22 – April 28

This life of mine is a teetering balancing act, right now. I keep adding things on top of the stack, carefully, but I have to be absolutely steady. Unwavering. If I think about failure too much, I start to get panicky and then I don’t perform and then I get behind and things start slipping. I must have absolute faith that everything won’t come crashing down on me.

I’m about to finish the semester without any major catastrophes. I haven’t even been sick, if you can believe it. I had a sore throat for like, one day.

But after a few days where things started to tilt, I realized just how much I absolutely rely on the support of this boy that I love. The crazier my schedule gets, the more he steps in to make my ridiculous schedule more manageable, more pleasant, and in some cases, just plain possible.

Some examples from the past seven days:

  • Helping out with dinner when I can’t keep my brain focused on more than one process at a time…
  • … and when my blood sugar falls so low I can’t make decisions or full sentences, ordering me take-out.
  • Cleaning up after my sloppy self and not complaining when I keep piling up the mess.
  • Doing the dishes twice for my every once.
  • Even though he thinks I am crazy and am inventing smells, my heart skipped a beat when he spent an hour Googling and cleaning our disgusting, stinky dishwasher.
  • Driving me to and from work, even across the river, even without prior arrangement.
  • Driving me to get coffee, even when I wake him up too early on a Sunday morning.
  • Driving me to work across the river at 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday, and when I dropped my iced coffee in the middle of the sidewalk, he went back and bought me another and hand-delivered it so I wouldn’t be late for work.
  • Deciding in the midst of all THIS, that he wouldn’t mind just dealing with allllllthis FOR THE REST OF TIME!

All of these acts of service while also listening to me whine about work, applying appropriate comforts when I cry about the future, and generally forgiving me for being the world’s worst human.

Thank you. Thank you. Thankyouthankyou.

I could not do my life without you.


Listening to:

  • I listened to an episode of JD’s Cocktail Lounge on Monday and had the song “Dividing by 70” stuck in my head all week.


  • LOST – We are trucking through this series with amazing speed. It helps that we’ve seen the first 2 seasons 3-4 times now…
  • Accidentally/on-purpose watched the first two episodes of Girls. I like it!


28 Apr 2012

comfort reading

I’ve had a rough couple of days, friends.

But I also had a Barnes and Noble giftcard.

Today, I spent my lunch break at the Harvard Coop, browsing for something guaranteed to make me slightly less morose.

This is what I found:


Martha Stewart Weddings, because I am 27 years old and have never purchased a wedding magazine.

Heaven is Here because I am a longtime (pre-crash) reader of the NieNie Dialogues, and I needed something linear and not-YA and not challenging and that I don’t need to write a professional review of. This is exactly the kind of book I can blow an entire evening on.

Although perhaps the second choice is a bit questionable (reminds me a bit of when I decided to read The Fault in Our Stars the day my beloved roommate moved away…), both are doing their duty today.

Retail therapy at its absolute finest.

25 Apr 2012

ya-lit pro-tip #1


Between Shades of Gray


Fifty Shades of Grey


Please take care when

  • adding books to your To-Read pile
  • ordering these books for your library
  • buying a present for your teenage niece or cousin
  • attempting to learn more about Lithuanian history
  • reading your Twitter feed where it seems acceptable to refer to either book as “Shades of Gray”

This has been a Public Service Announcement from the Coalition to Prevent Book-related Confusion/Scandalization.

24 Apr 2012

i want my hat back…

I spend a few hours of the week in the company of some fairly nerdy college girls.

They are also quite Internet-savvy, as nerdy college girls often are (I should know), so they are probably reading this. Hello, my nerdy friends!

Anyway, they are often chatting away while I try to get some work done around the office and I catch snippets of their conversations about who Tweeted so-and-so while they were in class and what they were writing about for their Victorian Science Fiction class and the differences between costumed and non-costumed people at Anime Conventions.

One day a few weeks ago, one girl said to another – I’m assuming within the context of their conversation, in mock-serious tone…

“I want my hat back!”

The other girls said: “Giggle giggle giggle giggle…”

I said: “Say whaaaaaaaaaaa…..?”

Apparently, this popular-in-its-own-right picturebook – Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Backis a minor league internet meme.

I’m glad everyone likes Hunger Games. I’m glad Harry Potter is a big success.

But I especially like it when children’s literature hits the counterculture. When it shows up on Tumblr and the nerdy college girls of the world think it is cool.

(It also stands to note that I could not resist trying to assert my own coolness in their little nerdy friendspace by bragging that I am, in fact, a former Candlewick intern. Clearly my grasp on cool is questionable, at best)

23 Apr 2012

2012: week sixteen

April 15 – April 22

This week, I…

  • got a sunburn
  • executed two work events
  • made my first foray into the wide, wild world of Retail
  • called my best friend, my sister, and my mother on the telephone
  • had the pleasure of entertaining the future in-laws on Friday and Saturday
  • only ran 2 miles
  • rediscovered this little thing called “stress eating”

But it’s okay. I am writing this from the other side of “week seventeen” but already I have turned in two final projects and am this-close to finishing two Master’s degrees.

Also, apparently Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu retweeted something I wrote professionally last week. Whilst I wrote this post, I had no idea that 1% of my validation anxiety was already quelled.


Listening to:

  • Norah Jones’s new album on NPR’s First Listen – my favorite site when I need  quick album on the go.



22 Apr 2012

a lesson learned writing

One thing I have learned this semester:

Writing for publication = so very different than any writing I have done so far.

I’ve been writing for a few professional blogs this semester and writing some book reviews for print publications. While I’m an old hat at writing for myself in this white blog box, I am still very new at writing and hitting “send.”

The anxiety is high.

I rarely write formal drafts for academic papers and fiction revising still eludes me, but now that I know it’s going directly in the hands of someone else who can decide whether to post or toss, I am a drafting queen. I look over things dozens of times before I’m comfortable. I need to figure out how to do this without missing deadlines (although not being so freaking busy would help).

I have zero faith in my abilities.

This is totally different than my blogging, my academic work. When I blog, I assume 2 people are reading (hello, 2 people!), so I trust myself to throw together a few sentences. I make little distinction between a “good blog” and a “bad blog” because it’s just me, sitting here, throwing spaghetti on the kitchen wall of the Internet to see what sticks, making bad metaphors, taking names… When I write papers, I stress, but I know deep down that I am an A- student. Anything higher, I’m on my game. Anything lower, I was probably slacking in some way. And the A- is good for me, it really is, so even in the worst of paper-writing throes, I know it’ll all work out.

That completely disappears when I’m writing for other folks. I am new, so I must not know what I’m doing. I don’t. Am I writing this book review properly? Does my tone fit in with the tone of this site? Am I too confusing, too cliched, too this, too that?

Whatever part of me thinks I am a competent writer leaves the room.

It’s not as fun/exciting/engaging as “Freelance Writing” sounds.

Again, I’m new, but so far it’s just anxiety and self-doubt.

Glamour level = zero.

But here’s the thing: despite what’s going on in my brain,

The results have been fine.

Faith in myself, flexibility, thicker skin, and persistence, I think will come with practice. Painful practice, but like running, maybe not painful every time or forever?

Blogging is easier because my sensitive soul avoids the scrutiny of others.

Papers are easier because I’ve been in school for 20 years.

But I think I’ll figure out this other stuff soon enough.

18 Apr 2012

a bad book joke

Q: What’s black and white and red all over?

A: Every book in my apartment.

16 Apr 2012

2012: week fifteen

April 8 – April 14

Busy? Super-busy? Crazy-busy? Manic? Completely insane?

All of the above, this week. All of the above.

My schedule has gone from pleasantly packed to over-stuffed and now we have landed at “I am embarrassed to tell people how much I am working.”

So I won’t tell you. But it’s a little insane.

Feeling less “stressed out” and more “completely obliterated.” And again, the mantra of the semester, all insanity will come quickly to an end. Four more weeks of madness. My finals are due a week from today, so three weeks of just running around and juggling jobs – no homework looming over everything. Then: a week off.

Blogging might be light in the meantime. If this week was a good model, my brain capacity is lacking.

Other news of import: remember my self imposed blogging break a few weeks ago? It worked. I got my first Real-Job interview for a job I really would love. Excited!!

P.S. All my cute dresses went out of stock. My life…


  • Bouncing back and forth between two completely incongruous books
    • Tweak (which, for some reason, is making me really anxious to read this time around, and
    • The Ivy (which is completely silly – is Harvard really that much like high school?)


  • I have been re-watching Shameless, which is SUCH an excellent show. Every character is this amazing actor who is also amazingly attractive, the storylines are equal part madcap and complete heartbreak, and yeah. Love it.


14 Apr 2012

books i forgot to mention

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston is a fun way to spend an afternoon. I love stories about college girls who attended women’s schools in the 1950s (see: Mona Lisa Smile); this was a fun, visual indulgence in the era.

Did you like Go Ask Alice? Do you want to read a book that is a deliberately identical book to Go Ask Alice, except with the Internet, prescription pills, and meth? Then you should read Lucy in the Sky. Relevant question: is it possible for a book written in 2011 to be considered “campy?”

I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction for young people because… well… they usually scream “HISTORICAL FICTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE!” The protagonists are usually too passive, too observant, just watching history pass by. On that note, I really liked The Water Seeker, maybe because Holt gives some of the adult perspectives, too. Plus, I haven’t experienced an Oregon Trail narrative since my elementary school computer lab, so I found the story very interesting.

Jason Myers’s Dead End was one of the most tragically sad, graphically sexual YA books I’ve ever read. And I read a lot of sad, sexy books.

A really depressing porno, basically.

Sometimes I get mad at sci-fi/fantasy books for making me like them. Lish McBride’s Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is one such book. Stupid Sam and his stupid endearing nature. Also, I still kind of like necromancy. Beats vampires and werewolves, anyway…

13 Apr 2012

happy marathon monday!

You guys, it’s almost Marathon Monday!

Here are some lazy and non-lazy fun things to do to celebrate Boston’s Running Holiday:

1. Watch Spirit of the Marathon

This is probably my favorite documentary, about four folks running the Chicago marathon. There is interesting information about the history of street racing and lots of that emotional sports-movie feeling where you hold your breath a lot and get nervous for no reason while people run toward the finish line.

2. Read some running blogs

A few years ago, I got kind of hooked on healthy living blogs, and for some reason almost every healthy living blogger is a long distance runner. They typically write a lot about different workouts, healthy foods, training schedules for this and that race, race re-caps, and  post a lot of pictures with cute workout clothes. Here are some of my favorites:

Emily from Sweat Once A Day is training for the Eugene Marathon.

Monica from Run, Eat, Repeat is training for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon.

Tina from Carrots ‘N’ Cake is just doing a lot of Crossfit, but has run two marathons and posts a lot about running.

Ashley from (never)homemaker just had a baby and is still training for a half marathon anyway!

Gretchen from Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen is training to run 3-4 mile legs of the Reach the Beach Relay.

3. Watch the Race!

If you live in Boston, that is. Which I do. Last year we came down early and saw the very first of the first runners pass by!

We will be watching this year from one of my favorite areas in Boston – Coolidge Corner.

There was a small crowd out when we arrived – families, visiting spectators, and college kids drinking beer at 10 a.m.

On my Dearest Former Roommate’s suggestion, stay away from the finish line at Copley. She worked at the Borders there a few years ago and thought it would be fun – no, people are passing out and throwing up all over the place! I’m worried it will be worse this year, as it may be up to 80 degrees on race day.

4. Drink a Gatorade

Yes, it’s full of high fructose corn-syrup, but who doesn’t love blue Gatorade? If you’ve never tried it, you probably don’t believe me; I didn’t until a high school boyfriend bought me one once… it’s strangely satisfying. But don’t try any other flavors. Go blue or go home.

If you live in Boston, you might also substitute this drink for a special Sam Adams 26.2 beer.

On tap only at bars located along the marathon route. We tried it last week,and I thought it was weird. But this could be because I knew it was brewed with salt, and ever since I had a terribly mixed margarita at a Red Lobster in 2007, I can’t stand the thought of a salty drink.

5. Go for a run

Before you drink too much, you should probably go for a run. If thousands of people can run 26.2 miles, you can surely run 1. Or 2. Or 3. Or 5. Or whatever.

I might force my boy into running down to Coolidge Corner to watch the race with me Monday morning – about 2 miles – but then I will be stuck wearing my decidedly not-cute size XL running shorts while I hang around and watch. I might be too vain for that…