Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Over the river and through the woods

My fifth semester is officially complete . . . three days before Christmas. Tomorrow morning after Erin finishes her last final, we're throwing our stuff in the car and heading home. The route we're taking is about 70 miles longer than the one we normally take to and from Geneseo; since I'm not sure how large the scope of the weird downstate snowstorm was, I'd rather take the Thruway all the way back than take my chances with Rte. 17. Other than said safety precautions, there are about six rest stops en route that contain a Starbucks. I rest my case.

Not to be looking too far ahead, but I'm already working on amending the problems I had this semester, i.e. the utter lack of free time. I'm shaving one class off my workload since I only need two more to graduate from college (!!!), and because I'm not planning on cutting down on the other commitments I have here.

As far as the present goes, though, I'm really looking forward to the break. I have two stories that I need to take a red pen to, one of which I'll be reading at a conference in Pennsylvania this February! I got the acceptance letter a week or two ago, but I've been a bit too busy to even think about it. Now I can, though, which is a wonderful thing.

There really isn't a whole lot going on that warrants space on the Internet . . . I really only logged in because I wanted to share this quote with someone:

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
C.S. Lewis

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kitties and playwrights

With Rachel's help, I was able to get an appointment today to meet with Marjorie Chan about my writing. She's a visiting playwright on campus for the week; the theater department is performing one of her plays in December, so her visit has a lot to do with that. I was a little bit worried about it, admittedly--although the opportunity was obviously one not to pass up, handing her my work and then having her tell me what she thinks seemed slightly awkward. Before the meeting, though, I was creeping around on her website and found a link to her Twitter account . . . on it, she posted this video. In my experience, appreciation for goofy cat videos usually has a correlation with compatibility, so after seeing it I was much more enthused about meeting her and less apprehensive about the forceps-to-my-writing thing.

My hypothesis was correct, and she was indeed very nice. I bit my tongue when I felt inclined to talk about silly cats, though. Certain things should remain unspoken. Meow.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A four-legged ghost story

I rarely take stock in dreams, but I can't stop thinking about the one I woke up from this morning. I dreamed that I was home with my family and while we were all our current ages, suddenly we'd gone back to December four years ago after we had to put our dog Jessie down. The veterinarian knocked on our door with Jessie at her feet, who was placid and quiet but very much alive, telling us that she'd come back. We were all so happy but strangely accepting of the story. Before leaving her with us, the vet suggested that we get a cat to keep Jessie company to prevent her from dying again, so we did--a little brindled kitten that nobody felt attached to because it was only there to keep Jessie with us.

The cat could speak to me. She told me that she felt cheated out of a real family and that she wanted someone to love her for who she was rather than feeling used (a little My Sister's Keeper, I guess), so I apologized and we became friends. The cat translated things between me and Jessie, who couldn't speak human, and that was that.

Silly, right? I don't know why, but it's been bothering me all day. Maybe it's just the fact that someone (because yes, our dog was a someone) I loved so much was conjured up at such a weird time, completely unprompted. I don't know. It made me feel homesick and sad and old and small.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A stranger's stages of grief

I'm sitting on the couch with Katy, doing work and listening to classical music on YouTube. After clicking on Ralph Vaughan Williams' Greensleeves, I happened to see one of the comments that a prior visitor to the site posted about the song while listening to it:

Bitter joy when your loved one leaves you for good... Anger & joy... Sadness... Yearning, and finally... You are over with it...

I don't recommend heavy drinking while listening these master pieces... You'll just break your heart...

A little bit funny, and a little bit tragic. Oh, the humanity!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bad hair days

Something I learned today: one way to measure relative humidity is by using a hair hygrometer, an instrument that operates through the use of human hair. The hygrometer is super-accurate because hair's consistency changes up to 4% based on humidity. Isn't that crazy?!

Today, however, is not one of those days that my hair will change based on humidity. The temperature is currently 45 degrees F and the only thing my hair will be doing is freezing in place.

Happy last day of September! Love, Western New York.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little Meg breaches the space-time continuum

I've been having these strange moments lately where I'll suddenly be transported back into childhood, and for a moment I'm confused about exactly where in time I am. Sometimes I'll glance up at myself in the mirrored closet doors in my room and see myself in sixth-grade form--face rounder, white-blond hair painfully taut and pulled back into that eternal ponytail. It's a little bit surreal, and slightly terrifying (as most things involving the middle school experience tend to be). Perhaps I've been reverting into the self-conscious, worrisome little person I was then, lately. Maybe?

I had another moment like that earlier this afternoon; I woke up from a nap around six o'clock and the dim light from the window reminded me of one afternoon when I was little . . . I had fallen asleep on a loveseat in the living room and woke up just as the sky became dark. My mom was making dinner in the kitchen and something about the faint light of the room, the smell and the sounds of utensils and drawers opening and closing just stuck with me. I always think it's strange which moments we remember most vividly--for me, it's hardly the ones in which something momentous or dramatic occurs, but little everyday things pieced together in this nonsensical way. When I opened my eyes this afternoon I was convinced that if I shuffled into the kitchen, eyes half-closed, my mom would be standing over the stove. If I looked into the mirror, I would be twelve years old.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Things I hate:

Being called ma'am. Julie agrees.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mule friends

I realized I never posted any pictures from Ireland, so here's one that always makes me smile:

On the long walk in Doolin that ended in the electric fence, Lauren and I came across four friendly mules that I now think about sometimes in the way you'd think about someone you had a chance encounter with. My musings are somewhat less varied and more predictable than they would be if the little dudes had been human: is it raining on them? Are they eating grass? Do they remember me?

I'd like to think that they do.

Whining and kid-watching

I'm not sure how I feel about this year thus far. Although I am still only a junior, I find myself in this near-constant state of terror at the hands of a leering beast called Life After Undergrad. I haven't missed high school since I've been here, but all of a sudden I'm yearning for the four year safety net that college provides.

I guess this sense of being on the verge has permeated into other aspects of life; insecurity abounds and I feel like I don't have confidence in anything I'm doing. It's a feeling I'd like to shake. Sigh.

Despite my whining, there are things to love about being a junior and living off-campus. There is a Chinese take-out restaurant across the street called Main Moon, and the owners' children always play outside on the sidewalk. Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at the kitchen table doing work when I heard concurrent shouting and a car alarm. The kids, a girl about twelve and a boy about five, were taking turns running to an SUV parked on the street and hitting it to make the alarm go off. The car started shrieking, the children started shrieking, the car would stop and they would do it again. The game went on for about twenty minutes and I laughed every time. Admittedly, this wasn't the first time I watched the Main Moon kids play--I peek out the window whenever I hear them. Creepy? Probably, but it's one of my favorite parts of the day. That and the showering without shoes thing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A dumb idea

I started looking at graduate school information online today. Why did I do that? It's not like growing up is real or anything.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Post-travel knots

I'm trying to organize my thoughts into some form coherent enough to pass as a travel essay, but it isn't working very well. Problem one: the more I re-acclimate to life at home, the more nostalgia I feel for Ireland and the less I remember the frustrations I felt while there. Related to that is problem two: as distance increases, I know that the truth of whatever I write will decrease . . . which I suppose is the case for most recollections. Point being, I need to write quickly if I want to avoid a flowery tale of fluffy sheep, fluffy clouds and fluffy Irish folk.

A wave of said nostalgia hit an hour earlier when, instead of the whole milk I've been given in cafes (three years later, I still don't know how to type an accent on this keyboard) for the past few weeks, I made my tea with skim milk from the fridge. It's an unwelcome adjustment. In Ireland, the choice was between low-fat milk and full-fat milk . . . skim wasn't an option. As such, my tea was always wonderfully creamy and delicious. My favorite place in Ireland to sit, drink tea and write was at a cafe called Grappa on the river in Sligo--for a Euro fifty I could get a pot of tea and a table by the window. One wall was covered in wallpaper with maroon lilies on it, and the glass dessert case positioned against said wall never had anything in it more tempting than the croissants and scones at the tall counter. The sugar came in tubes rather than packets, and I always took a handful with me to make tea back at the townhouse.

Okay, enough of that. Time for work . . . with some Irish folk music in the background.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A shocking weekend

I've learned not to have expectations on this trip. The ability to float and adapt is one essential to maintaining some semblance of sanity, and our weekend trip totally required that. The plan was to be picked up at the Yeats Village (the townhouses where we're staying) at 10 AM on Saturday morning, at which point Rachel and Rob would already be on the bus. From there, we'd travel south to Galway and stay for the afternoon before getting back on the bus and heading to Doolin, where we'd stay for the next two nights and visit the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher.

I blame every frustration on the bus driver.

He arrived at 9.30 (time is denoted with a period instead of a colon here) and stood outside waiting as we threw things in our backpacks, scrambling because of the lost half-hour. We then discovered that he hadn't gone to the Sligo City Hotel to get R & R so after we all made it on the bus we went into town to pick them up. Long story short, he drove right past Galway and nobody noticed until we were hours out of the way. After a seven hour bus ride, we finally arrived in Doolin--a tiny town filled with bed & breakfasts on the edge of a giant cliff. Cows and sheep abound, and there is a kind of intimidating beauty about the bleakness of it all.

What I really want to tell you about is the walk that Lauren and I went on one afternoon. It wasn't raining but the clouds rolled by, grey and threatening but staggering and beautiful at the same time. It felt like the edge of the world. We decided to go walking towards the cliffs, turning down a gravel road lined with little homes that were eventually replaced by small fields, gridded by stone walls and thick brambles. We found a lane between the fields that began with tire tracks but narrowed to a single path. The entire time we walked I expected to suddenly come to a giant cliff and have the Atlantic in my hands but the path just became muddier and more difficult to traverse in our sneakers. I climbed a horse gate into a pasture, and we walked along the stone perimeter looking for a good place to jump the low wall towards the cliff. Brambles and barbed wire lined the stone, but eventually I found a place that was fairly free of obstruction--there was barbed wire on one side of the stone and a thin, solid wire on the other, but they looked easy enough to get over. I was able to raise my leg over the barbed wire and get over the wall quickly as the stones clacked and loosened under my weight. Then I was standing with my back to the barbed wire and stone and in front of me was only the single, solid, unassuming wire. I grabbed it, pulling it towards my body in order th step over it and threw myself back against the stone as my body rejected the wire or the wire rejected my body--it took a few moments before I realized what had happened. It was an electric fence. I stood there, chest heaving but not about to cry, as Lauren kept trying to ask me what had happened.

It was only scary for a moment. It was clear that we wouldn't be making it to the cliffs that day but by the time we found our way back to the muddy path it was something to joke about. When people ask me about my trip to Ireland, I'll be able to tell them I got electrocuted at the edge of the earth.

Friday, July 31, 2009


One of my favorite places in Sligo is a little cafe at the bottom of a hill near the Hawk's Well Theatre (where we go for lectures every morning). It's called Rene's, and it's owned by a French native named Emmanuel who moved to Ireland six years ago and has been in Sligo for the last two. Ireland's west coast has a pretty big surf scene and Emmanuel is a surfer, so the inside of this cafe has surfboards on the walls and is painted in blues and greens. There is one picture hanging on the wall of a grassy cliff with sheep grazing in the foreground, while in the background a surfer is riding a huge wave--it looks like one picture superimposed onto another. Lauren and I went there this morning before class and talked to him for about an hour about living in Sligo and the differences between countries, be it Ireland and France or Ireland and the United States, and it was really interesting. He speaks English with an Irish accent, but his French also comes through when he talks so sometimes he's a little bit difficult to understand . . . although I think he feels the same about me and my rapid-fire mumbly American English. Rene's specialties are coffee and huge bowls of pasta, so after the lecture we went back for lunch. Emmanuel told us he'd like to one day go back to France, but that it's extremely difficult not having money there because there is so much affluence around you at all times that it makes life harder as you scrape to pay rent and, in his case, raise a family. I loved getting the chance to talk to someone familiar with Ireland that could still look at it objectively, realizing the pros and cons about different policies and cultural norms. He told us he has thoughts of going back to France once he establishes himself financially, but likes the laid-back way in which the Irish see a lot of things. Rene's is becoming part of the morning routine and I'm glad I found somewhere to happily part with my Euros.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stories from Sligo

Arrived in Sligo on Sunday afternoon on the smallest plane I have ever flown on. As I've already bragged, I packed extremely lightly but as a group we were several kilos over the limit and had to pay extra for our luggage . . . which was terribly disconcerting as we walked out onto the tarmac towards our tiny, propeller-bearing, Wright Brothers-recreation aircraft. I tried to sound out Irish vowels for about five minutes until the plane started rockin' and rollin' in the air and I had to close my eyes. The descent into Sligo was the worst bit--we circled the Atlantic and came back in at a pretty steep angle and from my seat in the front row, it looked as if we were about to nose dive straight ito it. I tried to rationalize the worst case scenario in my head, thinking that we'd all just inflate the life vests under our seats, swim the hundred meters to shore and have Buddha-like revelations as we realize the triviality of material things and the perils of packing too much. But we landed safely and were greeted by a handsome Irish lad who drove us to the Yeats Village in a coach bus while it rained, like it has every day since we've been here.

This is the second day of the Yeats School; there are about two hundred students of varying ages and levels of education. During the opening convocation I sat next to a reverend professor from Saskatchewan who's been coming to the school for the past twelve years and later, I talked to a 65-year-old Irish woman living in Liverpool who came here for the first time because she's always loved Yeats and wanted a new experience. Among the students in my fifteen person afternoon seminar are PhD candidates, published Yeats authors (including my professor) and a headmaster from a private school for boys in Virginia. This certain headmaster was told by our professor, Warwick Gould (who, surprisingly, is not a character from Harry Potter) from Oxford, that he could not read poetry correctly: "How do I say this without sounding critical? Well, I can't." Part of me felt really sorry for him, but I kept thinking about how much money his students would pay to see their headmaster given the what's-what by a Yeats scholar. Probably a lot. Unsurprisingly, when Dr. Gould asked someone to volunteer to read the next poem, nobody raised their hand. Unfortunately, he made eye contact with me and I was the lucky gal . . . but, not to be a braggy pants, there was no criticism of my reading. Bahahahh.

Last night Seamus Heaney gave a poetry reading to a full house and there was a reception afterwards at a restaurant in town. He's turning seventy this year and had a stroke recently, but he's still witty and sharp and his poetry is dead-on. At the reception, Dr. Doggett took me to go talk to him (although neither of us quite knew what to say to him) but he left before we could get close enough. Instead, we talked with the program director, who introduced me to his wife. I was terrified the entire time, mostly because she wasn't wearing a name tag and I couldn't remember her first name. I get the feeling that I'll be practicing the art of small talk a lot while I'm here. Main goal: forcing myself to remember names upon introductions.

Yesterday I learned that Sligo has a terrible sense of ironic humor: on break between lectures and class, I found a thrift store on a side street that had a lot of great stuff. I bought two dresses (one of which I wore to the reading last night), a jacket, a pocket Irish dictionary, a scarf and a wool sweater with the Normal School of Sligo's crest embroidered on the left chest for €21.50. Before pulling the sweater over my head to try it on, I took my glasses off and placed them on a shelf. Twenty minutes after walking out with my purchases, I realized I'd left them in the store and ran back to retrieve them. They'd already been stolen. I was frustrated and upset with myself, especially when the woman working at the desk asked for a phone contact if someone returned them or if they were found and I couldn't give her anything but my name. So the irony of the situation? The sign above the door of this thrift shop reads Charity Shop to Support Ireland's Blind. Funny, Sligo. Real funny.

Despite my stupidity in leaving my glasses, things are good in Sligo. Although the pace here is much less exhausting than in Dublin, it's certainly grittier than home. For me, traveling thus far has been trying to strike that delicate balance between exposing yourself to everything unfamiliar while still keeping a wary sensibility. The scales tipped a little bit in the wrong direction yesterday, but I'm still safe and feeling comfortable with my surroundings. Lesson for my next travel experience: wear croakies.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Learning Irish

We've toured quite a few museums in the last two days and have a few more on the itenerary today, and wherever captions accompany a painting or an exhibit it is posted in English and in Irish (or Gaelic, but most here refer to it as the former). While I've heard many a brogue, though, I haven't once heard Irish spoken. Part of it is because Dublin seems to be comprised wholly of tourists (save for the two cabbies I've spoken to) and it's also because nobody speaks the language anymore. I asked Kelly, a friend on the trip whose father immigrated from Ireland, who actually spoke Irish and she told me that there are parts of the deep country where Irish is the primary language and nobody speaks English. That was heartening, but I still felt this sort of sadness for the valiant effort the country makes to keep this dying language alive and current. The cab driver last night told Rachel and Rob (my professors), Jake and I that learning Irish is now the equivalent of learning a second language in school--the way we learn Spanish or French or Italian. After grade school, it's largely forgotten save a few phrases.

Anyways, I feel this responsibility to make an effort. Ireland has extended itself to me and, in turn, I want to hold up my end of the deal. Yesterday I was just wandering around when we had a few spare hours before dinner and the ceile (pronounced kay-lee) we went to for Irish dancing and music, and found this international bookstore where I bought a book on Irish and an accompanying CD with pronounciations and everything. I'm not saying my goal is fluency or anything, but without getting all "MY PEOPLE!" on anyone, there is the thought that this is where my family is from. They probably spoke Irish at one time, and I think that's a pretty cool thing. History feels more important and more real in a place that's so old (I touched an 800-year-old mummy's hand yesterday at Saint Michan's Church).

There is so much I want to write about but there is only so much time before we have to meet to start another day. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to get back onto here and convey at least some of it, but if not, tomorrow we're flying to the west coast to move into the apartments and kick off the two weeks of the Yeats school. Touring Dublin has been amazing, but I'm looking forward to a sense of relative normalcy for a little while.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A very long Dublin day

I have been awake for about thirty-six hours straight. My first day in Dublin is quickly coming to a close and I have neither the time nor energy to write about it now, but suffice to say that it is pretty damn amazing. The history is undeniable--their national beer is older than our Constitution. Anyways, tomorrow brings us to Christ Church Cathedral and Saint Andrews, along with a trip on the DART out to see traditional Irish dance, along with music and storytelling. Perhaps I'll be back on tomorrow morning when I can keep my eyes open and the queuing line behind me for Internet use at bay.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree

While the past two months may not have been documented on Stringless Kite, they happened. I packed up my sophomore year at Geneseo, left most of it in the basement at 310 Tyler in Miller Place, and resumed life on the Island with my family working at East End and thinking, a lot of the time, about another island on the opposite side of the Atlantic. Dramatic recap aside, this is the eve of my first adventure abroad and I guess it's fitting that I'm headed back to the motherland to pass this travel threshold that I sincerely hope will be the first of many trips abroad. While I'll be updating this from Sligo's internet cafes, I won't be bringing my phone or laptop. I am not worried in the least about this--rather, I'm glad that I won't be worrying about having to stay connected. I'm only truly worried about two things:
  1. My impressively small bag (which is too small to qualify as a suitcase, I think) that I was so proud to stuff all my things inside does not take into account the things I'll likely be bringing back with me. So while I will be totally smug tomorrow morning when other people lug giant body bags onto the shuttle bus to the airport and I can lift my bag with a pinkie, I'm not sure I'll be having the last laugh when I can't fit my knitted sweater and the Blarney stone in with my belongings.
  2. The Irish will not let me into their country based on the sheer repulsiveness of my passport photo. I know that everyone believes their identification photos to be less than flattering, but I'm totally serious. Point in case: when I showed John my passport (which goes to show how much I trust him), he responded by saying something along the lines of, "Well, I'm glad I won't have to worry about Irish security at the airport."
These, though, are minor concerns. I think I can deal.

My classmates and I will be primarily at the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, a town on the northwest coast of Ireland. We'll be studying W.B. Yeats, a pretty fantastic poet who grew up in Sligo and dedicated his life to his country through his poetic, dramatic and political work. Tomorrow we're flying into Kennedy, where we'll transfer to an Aer Lingus flight bound for Dublin. After three days there, we'll begin our first week at the Yeats school, at which point I'll be able to get on here again. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a pond to cross.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Note to self:

Do not fall asleep on the couch while Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is on in the background unless you'd like to have terrifying nightmares about psychologically deranged children who kill people with safety pins.

I'm going back to bed. There is a thunderstorm outside. Between that and the fact that I'm awake right now, the second day of "wake up really early and go running" may be a rainout. Oh darn. Goodnight.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The view from the couch

Julie, John and I were sitting on the couches in Muddy Waters earlier (I'm still here, they left) when we began to notice a man sitting nearby look up to watch us every few minutes while drawing in a sketch pad . . . turns out he was drawing Julie and I as anime characters. He didn't show us the work in progress; instead, Julie walked behind him to check while getting coffee. After a few hours of drawing, he just got up and left. I regret not getting to see myself in cartoon form. Sigh.

I'm still sitting in the same spot as I was when I got here at ten o'clock, but now my professor for Irish literature is sitting on a chair across from me reading term papers. I don't want to look up, but I really want to know if he's reading the one I turned in this morning. The suspense is killing me.

Alright. Back to work. I'm wrapping up the third of five two-page essays on economic inequality for tomorrow. When I finish the fourth, I get another coffee break. Type, type, type. Good thing this couch is comfortable.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Things I have recently learned

  • Leaving my computer next to an open window and leaving for several hours when there is even a slight chance of rain in the forecast is a terrible idea
  • Sneakers are the most sensible type of footwear to wear to a folk punk concert (and RecSpecs are the most sensible type of eyewear)
  • Regardless of what sort of personal deadlines I set for myself, I cannot summon peak productivity until real deadlines are fast approaching
  • Size stickers are to be left on Fitted caps
  • While going out on a limb to take a class outside my major may sound like a good idea during registration, sitting through the class all semester is not worth broadening my horizons
. . . to be continued.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Goings on about town

To continue with the finding of correlations from last post, the lack of recent posts has been directly correlated to the weather. Apparently spring has been dropped from the traditional progression of seasons because the town of Geneseo went directly from winter to summer. Today hit 89 degrees and I am very confused. The weather makes for excellent porch lounging and evening strolls about town, but the timing is less than conducive for getting work done, especially since it isn't late enough in the season for the library to turn on the air conditioner. Instead, I walk around with my backpack as a literal weight upon my shoulders and perpetually feel the need to shower.

Thursday, I helped judge a peace poetry contest for children in grades K-8. My team of three was delegated to the grades 6-8 category and it was completely entertaining. Looking at the submissions brought back the old humiliation of using riduculous fonts and rainbow-blended WordArt for sixth-grade assignments in Mrs. Camillery's class. Oh, the awkwardness of middle school. Anyways, my favorite poem of the bunch was what I believed to be accidental genius--this one kid's submission was a single line, typed in Courier New at the very top of a ripped piece of paper with his name scrawled in pencil on the back:

peace to me, is like falling asleep fading into a dream, from counting all those sheep

Wonderful, right? I scrawled it down on a corner of the Lamron so I wouldn't forget. As for the rest of the submissions . . . peace was compared to a banana, soccer, and a huge ice cream sundae (among other things). Hilarious. I refuse to acknowledge that I was ever that age.

There are officially sixteen days left in the semester. There are many, many pages to be written between now and then that I am presently ignoring to the best of my ability. Leaving for the summer will be strange, but I'm already looking forward to coming back in the fall and moving into the idyllic apartment . . . after an Irish adventure, of course. I don't know if it's the rapid changing of seasons, but things are moving really fast all of a sudden. It's an exhilarating thing, assuming I survive it all. Maybe I'll start counting sheep or something.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sleep/productivity correlation: found

I tracked the moon's progress in the sky all night instead of sleeping; I kept having really bizarre dreams and couldn't stop thinking about things. Surprisingly, it meant I got a lot of stuff done today because I was out and about before eight . . . apparently the key to productivity is a terrible night's rest. Who knew?

I am running on so much coffee right now. I can't remember the last time I felt a caffeine buzz, but I do now. That makes me sound like an addict. Hm.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sometimes I forget deadlines and spam the department

Tonight during English Club we finalized the accepted content for the year's literary magazine. I didn't really expect that the one piece I submitted two minutes before the deadline would get in, but lo and behold! It did. During discussion for my piece (submissions are blind, so nobody knew who the writers were), a friend said it was a social commentary or something like that and it struck me as funny . . . it's really just a laundry list of things that give me the same feeling of discomforting embarrassment as a person I used to know. The discrepancy between a reader's perspective and a writer's intent (or lack thereof) continues to amuse me.

Note to self: be more organized with submission deadlines come next February.

In other English Club news, I made flyers for the tee shirt fundraiser to hang around Welles tomorrow. The design:

simile is like awesome

It says 'Geneseo English' underneath that, and the money goes towards producing the magazine. Anyways, after making the flyers I typed up an email to send to the majors and minors in the department about the sale . . . unfortunately, I forgot that I was logged into my personal email account instead of English Club's, so I ended up sending two identical emails to the listserv--one from my account, and one from the club. My bad.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What exactly do April flurries bring?

Prior worries about the state of the Jesus sandals have been rendered unnecessary for the moment because IT IS SNOWING. Yes, it is indeed the 6th of April. Yes, it was almost sixty degrees a day ago. Yes, the floor is still cluttered with flip flops I've been wearing for the past two weeks.

Anyways, I guess the daisies on my desk will have to serve as an ironic symbol in the midst of this freaky and unwelcome weather rather than reflecting the appropriate season. In the meantime, both myself and the kites I bought the other day will have to wait patiently for a warm breeze.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A pre-Easter resurrection

I'm happy to say that the season with a reason has begun and the Jesus sandals are back in action. For those of you that haven't met (or smelled) them, they are a pair of leather sandals I've been wearing for about three years. At the moment they are being held together with duct tape that needs to be replaced; the bottoms of my feet are tacky with residual glue from tape that's fallen off. Anyways, my mother has been trying to get rid of them for quite a while but as Biblical history has already shown, the Jesus sandals will always resurrect themselves. I don't think I need to explain the name--suffice it to say that one may very well have worn them while walking down the road to Damascus.

Other than that, I'm just bracing myself for a busy few weeks . . . registration begins soon and I have to decide which classes to take next semester and which class to take this summer at Stony Brook. It's all quite exciting until I remember the work that comes along with it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ha ha happy Tuesday

I'm glad that my protestations that productivity will certainly increase when the weather gets warmer are true: the weather is beautiful and I have gotten so much work done today! Things are good.

I read the entirety of Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha in about two days; I finished it this morning. It was the first time in a while that I felt emotionally invested in a book and it was wonderful. Whenever I read something really good, I'll find that my thoughts are narrated in the same tone as the book for a few days--longevity usually indicating how much I loved it. Right now everything is still tinged with the observational quality of a ten-year-old boy. Regardless, I can say with confidence that I still don't find poop jokes funny--the book was really good, but not that good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Don't ever change

Whenever I come home now, I feel like it's an exercise in either archiving or uncovering. Sometimes I'll be struck with the grand idea of blazing a trail through my closet or the boxes under my bed with the intent of cleaning and organizing and throwing away, and on other occasions all I want to do is just flip through old notebooks or photo albums.

This is a digging week; I've already found my sixth and ninth grade yearbooks and spent the past few hours leafing through them. What I find most amusing is the fact that nobody ever writes anything substantial to one another--maybe it's because in each of these books, everyone knows they'll see each other again in a too-short two months--but nine times out of ten the notes from classmates have something to do with the teacher picked on most during the school year. My sixth grade French teacher was referred to as Martian, the Thing from Mars, and You-Know-Who by several different classmates. The worst part is that this teacher signed the same pages serving as her burn book . . . .we were terrible!

I think my favorite entry in the sixth grade yearbook is from a girl named Jenny that I haven't talked to in at least eight years:
Have a great summer hope you have a great time with your grandparents without your sister for a week.
Your friend,
It all gets summed up pretty succinctly by Amy on the last page:
Queen of Ugabuga. Haha. Now everyone thinks I'm nuts. Oh well, I am.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The to-do list: spring break edition

  • Sing loudly in the shower with bare feet
  • Sit at the beach with a cup of coffee and one of several Irish Lit books I need to catch up on
  • Eat pie . . . pizza pie, that is
  • Register for a summer class at Stony Brook
  • Find my camera charger
  • Sing Hey, Jude with Keira in the car with the windows down
  • Vacillate between extremes in an attempt to catch up on my love/hate relationship with Ginny
  • Drink chai with CiCi
  • Find something to write about for my next creative nonfiction draft
  • Speak in tongues: get cawfee with my dawgs, etc. etc.
  • Be disproportionately thrilled about a week of fifty degree weather

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Going down that road feelin' bad

So yesterday I woke up feeling as if someone had taken a sledgehammer to the back of my neck and rather than wearing off as the day went on, it got worse. Anyways, by the end of the day I was convinced I was on my deathbed and sent an email to my professor about the midterm assignment due Friday at midnight. I told him I fully intended to have the midterm in by the deadline but wanted to let him know that I was not feeling well and didn't really know what to expect in the next few days.

His response:

Hi Meghan, I do hope you feel better soon, if you feel
very bad you should go to health services.

I would throw back my head and laugh if it didn't involve the necessary range of motion.

Side note: the post title is a Woody Guthrie song; they were playing some of his recordings in Muddy Waters yesterday and I had a pang of nostalgia for Kimball's class. Oh, morning singalongs and endearing old gentlemen with musical genius . . . I miss you.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Overheard in Milne Library

"Dude, I've been sober this whole week just to keep up with my grades."

Skivvy scam

I was checking my email this morning and opened one from Express with the subject line: Free panty--three days only! Am I one to turn down something free? Absolutely not. So I go to the website, punch in the promotion code and go to the online checkout to get my $7.50 unmentionables fo' free. But wait! Shipping and handling costs $8. Psh. Rule of thumb: if it sounds too good to be true, then it is.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

When you're here, you're God's family

Disaster has struck! For the past few months, there has been ongoing construction at a site in Geneseo that I heard was going to become an Olive Garden--exciting news for our little Podunk town. Lately the building has started to take shape; the roof arched the same way as every other chain restaurant and it looked like an Olive Garden until a steeple appeared on the roof. IT'S GOING TO BE A CHURCH. I know the whole transubstantiation deal means endless body and blood of Christ, but I was really looking forward to the endless salad and breadsticks.

Katy and I decided that we're going to keep knocking the steeple off the roof until they relent and give us our Olive Garden. Anyone looking to join the cause?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, enough said

I feel like if I simply vomited on a few sheets of paper it would be roughly comparable to the creative nonfiction draft I'm trying to finish up. I hate when I hate what I'm writing. Ughhhh.

In unrelated news, my cousin and sister are coming to visit tomorrow. Yay! This means that my draft will necessarily be finished and my room will necessarily be clean by tomorrow morning, and there is some comfort in that . . . if I don't think about the time from now until that point. Blind productivity, that's how I roll.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Travel blog: step one

My deposit for Ireland has been handed over. Eeeeeek!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tool in the glasses, this is for you

Dear Loudmouth Kid in Muddy Waters,

Congratulations! You have officially made the notorious list of people that annoy me. Notice that everyone around you is speaking in a normal, conversational tone while you project across the coffee shop. I'm not sure if you're trying to impress the girl sitting across from you or if you interact with everyone like a big tool, but between your hearty guffaws and the flailing of your arms I can not get any work done. If I wasn't enjoying my cappuccino so much, I would pour it on your head.

I will give you thanks for this, though: hearing you throw around profanity makes me never want to use it ever again. If you want to do a real service to the community, though, just put down the caffeinated beverage and stop speaking.


Days, days, days

So I woke up this morning as Katy was getting ready for class and we both took care of the calendars because it's become quite a task each day. Last year, I had a "word of the day" tear-away calendar and in November, I was in a store on Main Street and bought one called "Forgotten English" for 2009 to replace the Merriam-Webster one. Then, for my birthday in December, Katy gave me an Urban Dictionary tear-away calendar and Margaret gave me a "daily origami" calendar. That makes three calendars. Then, when I returned to school last week, my trusty Merriam-Webster calendar had been resurrected on the windowsill--Katy's mom had seen it in some store and got it for me. So there are now four tear-away calendars in our room and I have to allot a good ten minutes to adjust them all. Next semester we'll be able to disperse them throughout the apartment--Forgotten English in the kitchen, Urban Dictionary in the bathroom, etc.--but for now, they are a commanding force on the windowsill, a paper collection of days.

What are the words of the day, you want to know?

Forgotten English says gizzen, to grin audibly.
Merriam-Webster says groundling, a spectator who stood in the pit of an Elizabethan theater, or a person of unsophisticated taste.
Urban Dictionary says pornfolio, the mass of porn that one has stored on their computer, generally in a separate folder.

I also constructed a Baby Penguin a la Origami Fold-a-Day. Precious.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Call me Snoopy

My dad is trying to sell his old car and asked me to post an ad on craigslist for him; I did so and then started exploring the website, which I'd never visited before.

Two hours later, I am completely hooked on the "missed connections" and "strictly platonic" subcategories of the website . . . while quite a few posts end up being a bit off-color, the majority are so interesting to read: for example, the 21-year-old looking for a Scrabble partner and the Asian DDR player with a guilty conscience. Most come off as extremely lonely-sounding, yet while many of the posters admit the probable futility of their search there is some element of hope to each one that I just love.

I already have a collection of websites I've found like this bookmarked under the subcategory "People," including:
  • Stuff That's Left Behind, a community blog about the objects remaining after a relationship has ended. I couldn't link it directly, but scroll down a bit to the monster stuffed animal post . . . it's probably my favorite from that site.
  • OneSentence, a site where people post a story about themselves in a single sentence. Some are better than others, but the ones that are good are usually really good.
  • Overheard In New York, which I've probably told you about if you don't already know what it is.
  • Write In My Journal, a blog composed by a guy who encounters random people and asks them to write something about themselves in a journal he keeps with him.

So yeah, I like to snoop around the lives of people I don't know. Now you will, too, perhaps?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

This is what happens when I leave the house

So after an almost entirely hermit-like existence for a good week or so, I dressed in something other than sweatpants yesterday morning and left my house. I had to work at noon, so before that I planned on running errands--one of which was a trip to Michaels to pick up more yarn. My latest crocheting project has caused me to clean out the one in Rocky Point, so I have been forced to get more at one further away. Anyways, after buying four more skeins at Michaels I ventured towards Port Jefferson and decided to stop at the thrift store on the way there. The store opened at 11 and it was ten minutes before that when I pulled into the parking lot, so I began balling a skein of yarn while waiting for it to open. 11 o'clock comes and goes, and I decide that I'll just finish the ball of yarn before going in. As I'm winding yarn, I look around and notice a big red Jeep parked across from me; it seemed like it was creeping closer towards me but largely disregarded it. A few moments later I looked back at it and saw that it was definitely moving towards me--the car was rolling backwards straight towards the hood of my car. So I threw the pile of yarn off my lap and started the car, then scooted out of the way as quickly as I could. I ran into the thrift store after that and told some guy working at the register, who announced the runaway car over the PA.

All I can say is THANK GOODNESS I was in no rush to get into the store because if I hadn't been sitting in my car, I would've had quite the surprise upon seeing it crunched.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Let "real" break commence

So the holidays are officially over and I honestly couldn't be gladder . . . I feel like now is the real beginning of vacation. The only bad thing about having my schedule cleared entirely is that I now have no excuse not to get working on the projects that need to be finished before I go back to Genny, i.e. the dramatic monologues. I think I'll start it . . . tomorrow. Today is dedicated to the excavation of the record collection in the basement and a trip to Michaels for more yarn. Maybe a trip to Starbucks thrown in there, too.

I have yet to make any resolutions for the new year, but I think that making a concerted effort to actually do the work in front of me rather than just think about doing it is a pretty good start.