Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Annual 9/11 Post, 12 days later

September 23, 2011

Hello there.  I thought about writing something on 9/11 like I always do, but then I just didn’t get around to it (obviously).  I also sort of didn’t want to add anything else to the 9/11 10th anniversary media saturation.

But for reasons completely unrelated to 9/11, I happened to find myself driving through lower Manhattan the night of September 10th, the day before the 10th anniversary.  Our car passed through the Holland Tunnel in unprecedented time and looped around to the West Side Highway.  There was no traffic; we didn’t see a single person walking around the streets.  Right before we turned on to the highway, we were pulled over in a police traffic stop.  A cop came up to the windshield, checked the registration, and blinded us with his spotlight, studying both of our faces for a few minutes.  Finally he waved us on figuring we were not likely to be a threat, just 2 white people in a tiny Mazda Zipcar.  We noticed he pulled over the enormous black Escalade with the window tints who was in line behind us.  It was silent the rest of the ride home, all we saw were police cars and all we heard were sirens echoing through the streets.  It was all very surreal.

Every year on 9/11 my parents plant something around the house, usually little shrubs or flowers.  It’s their little way of turning a dark and terrible day into something positive and nurturing.  For the 10th anniversary they planted a dogwood tree in the corner of our small front yard and named it The Henry Tree, in honor of my nephew was born this April.  (Did I tell you that? I have a nephew!)  They took of picture of Henry in his stroller next to tree, and every year on 9/11, we’ll take a picture of Henry next to the tree.  I’d love to post a picture of it but I don’t have a fancy smart phone, but trust me, it’s adorable.  I think it’s definitely the best idea ever for commemorating 9/11.

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The Longest Winter

January 19, 2011

Only two weeks into the new school semester, I am already plagued with insomnia due to stress.  Not a good sign for things to  come.  It’s 3:30am now and I have to be awake in 3 short hours.  Due to some confusion about the prereqs required for my graduate program, I have to take organic chemistry in addition to my full grad school course load.  This organic chemistry class meets four times a week at 8:30 in the morning at a university that’s a 25 minute drive away.  The logistics of getting there on time and driving to Ann Arbor on time for my 10am class were difficult to work out.  I thought I had settled into a routine, but now?  I feel like its falling apart and its only been 2 weeks.  I’m already behind in my work and assignments, which is unlike me. I feel like I cannot handle this course load and I don’t know what to do.  I think another option might be to take organic chemistry during the summer semester, but I really wanted to get it over with now so I can graduate and really be finished with school.

It’s going to be long, difficult, semester.  This winter in Michigan has been frigid, snowy, and dark.  Day after day is the same overcast sky and hostile cold.  This winter feels never ending.  I want to be finished with school so I can move on with the next phase of my life.  I am struggling to remain in the present, which like this insomnia, is also unlike me.  I feel restless, frustrated, and impatient.  Last semester I loved being in school, this semester I hate it.  I feel like the only thing that will make me feel better is a solid nights sleep, which obviously is not happening tonight, nor did it happen last night.  I don’t know how I’m going to get through the day tomorrow.  I don’t think I’ll make it to chemistry tomorrow, which sucks because we have exam next week and we’re reviewing, and I desperately need the review.

I know I have to get out of this restless phase, I know that I will eventually.  I just have to keep pushing forward and remind myself to enjoy what is around me now, and learn how to manage my time better to accommodate my course load.   I can do this.

I really should be sleeping

October 26, 2010

This is the second night in a row that I have not been able to sleep.  Falling asleep usually comes blissfully easy for me and I know that when I’m not sleeping that something is not right.

I had such a shitty day today.  Nothing specific happened, I was just in a genuinely shitty mood.  I was tired due to lack of sleep last night.  Everything bothered me.  Looming midterms next week and homework deadlines this week make me feel anxious and stressed me out.  I let myself feel inadequate compared to my classmates who are flying off to California and Texas next week for job interviews at oil companies and big shot consulting firms and I have only applied for one job last week.  I keep telling myself that I don’t want to work for an oil companies or big shot consulting firms.  I know I would not be happy doing that work.  But still, sometimes I can’t help but feel like I don’t quite measure up to my peers. I know I need to not compare myself to others, but that is what happens when you’re in a shitty mood.

All semester I’ve been trying to make myself happy.  I’m trying to be kind to myself.  I like to do little things that keep me relaxed and in a good mood such as: keeping my room neat, making my bed in the morning, preparing my lunch, my outfit, and packing my bag the night before school so I’m not rushing in the morning, staying on top of my school work, going for walks whenever I please, baking whenever I can, cutting back on the amount of time I waste on Facebook, doing yoga before bed, jogging on the trails in the woods near my house, buying my produce at the farmers market or local food co-op instead of the large grocery stores, going to see a counselor at school, being pleasant to my roommates and surrounding myself with people who make me feel good about myself.

I’ve been doing relatively OK with everything.  Until today.  I feel like I have to constantly try to cheer myself up.  Today I just did not have the energy. All that trying to make myself happy does not hide the fact that I am (1) lonely; and (2) miss being loved/in love.

Now its 2:30 am.  I fear that another shitty day of feeling exhausted, inadequate, stressed, and anxious lies ahead of me due to lack of sleep.  I guess it is OK to have shitty days every now and then.  I should not be so hard on myself.  I was going to wake up early to go for a walk/jog, but I will let myself sleep in a bit more.  And that’s OK.  Now if only I can get some sleep.

Love at first sight

October 5, 2010

A big thing happened to me over the summer, I became a godmother.  My best friend had her daughter in August, right when my internship ended.  I packed a bag and moved in with her and her boyfriend, and spent the last 2 weeks of my summer hanging out with a newborn.

No one really close to me has ever had a child before and I didn’t know what to expect or how I would feel.  But as soon as I saw her, when her dad carried her out to us in the waiting room right after she was born, I was instantly head over heels in love.  Here was this tiny brand new person just born, but I already knew her and I already loved her.  It was truly love at first sight.

Her arrival into this world was perfectly timed.  Shortly after she was born, my relationship with M. unravelled.  I experienced sadness so intense that I was physically in pain.  Other times I felt numb, completely void of anything and everything that made me human; I felt like a shell of my former self.  The only thing that made me feel remotely better was holding my god-daughter and letting her fall asleep against my chest.  She liked when I rocked her and sang to her, and she would fall asleep right up against my heart.  I could feel her warmth and calmness flowing throughout my body healing everything that was broken within me.  How funny that this tiny little six pound newborn can have such an effect on me and be able to help me in ways that no one else could.

Now, of course, she is no longer a tiny six pound newborn.  She is just over 2 months old now, and my friend tells me all about her little personality that is starting to come through.  She no longer sleeps all day like she did when I was with her.  She’s awake and alert and likes to stare at things and make funny noises.  I am so lucky and thankful that I get to be a part of her life, and she a part of mine.

Annual 9/11 Post: 9 Years

September 11, 2010

It’s a cold, rainy, dreary day in Michigan.  Since things between M and I have fallen apart, any sadness I experience feels 100 times worse than usual.  Today included.

Time for reflection, as I do every day this year.  I am disgusted with 9/11 right now.  It’s bad enough to have lives destroyed and families torn apart and people getting sick because of 9/11, but for the event to be used as an excuse for rampant and blatant Islamophobia in this county is NOT OK.  What happened was bad, and it doesn’t make it any better by hatred and ignorance.  I’m typically really good at emphasizing with two sides of argument; but in cases of the “ground zero” mosque and Koran book burning crazies, I really cannot see where they are coming from.  I just resign to the fact that some people are just seriously fucking nuts.  And what really pisses me off is the idea that the “9/11 families” are some kind of official spokesgroup of all things related to 9/11.  Um, no.  I understand the hurt that these people are experiencing, but many many different people lost their lives that day and just because some people band together to voice their opinions very loudly does mean they speak for everyone who died and everyone related to the event.

I used to work a block away from the proposed “ground zero” mosque before I left to go back to school.  I used to walk past that building every single day; its an abandoned, dirty, neglected old building with the Burlington Coat Factory sign still hanging from the facade.  Its been empty for as long as I worked there, at least 4 years.  I would love to see that old skeleton of a building be restored and used for something meaningful, such as place of religion, community center, whatever.  What is the big fucking deal?

It is strange to me that the people around me in Michigan don’t really know what this day means to me.  It is a hard subject to bring up in casual conversations with roommates as we are passing in the kitchen.  How could they understand anyway?  But I want to tell people; I want them to know how much today sucks for me and how weird it is for me they are out making dinner and drinking plans for tonight and I’m sitting in my room blasting some Bruce Springsteen and lighting some candles.

I still cannot fathom how much that one single day has defined the course of the rest of my life and my family, particularly my parents.  I hate that feeling.  I know that 9/11 represented a loss of innocence for many people of my generation, myself included.  My life, in every single aspect, will never, ever be like it used to be.

A new school year

September 1, 2010

I have five unfinished blog posts that I wrote over the summer sitting in my drafts folder.  In retrospect, I didn’t really read anything of interest over the summer, mostly fluffy fiction from my mother’s bookshelves to keep myself distracted.  And then, at the very end of the summer, right before I left for school, everything fell apart between M and I.  Can we rebuild it?  I don’t know.  I don’t know anything anymore.

Then I started reading Eat Pray Love.  It was sitting in my mom’s bookshelf and I read it because I felt if I didn’t read it,  I would just dissolve into sadness and nothingness.  I would sit on the train alone on my way back home, reading Eat Pray Love, tears streaming down my face, eating a giant fudge brownie from the Magnolia Bakery stand in Grand Central.  I felt as pathetic as I must have looked.  But that book really sustained me.

So now I’m back at school in Michigan and now feeling even more alone than ever, which I’m surprised is even possible.  Classes don’t start until after Labor Day but I had to move out early to clean out and move out of my old house from last semester.  Michigan as been very gracious to me, offering me a string of perfect cloudless warm 80 degree days that lure me outdoors, which is exactly what happened last year when I moved out here for the first time.  This week has involved farmers markets bursting with zucchini, tomatoes and peppers; revisiting my favorite parks and finding new ones (hello, County Farm Park!), raspberry picking, random drives out to the country, eating whatever I want (vanilla ice cream with homemade raspberry coulis for dinner, please) and just allowing myself to be alone.  I saw a hummingbird for the first time in the Nichols Arboretum, and that just has to be a good omen of some kind.  Soon school will start and the rest of my classmates will move back, and my life will be crazy; but now I’m forcing myself to try savor every last minute of this little sun-soaked Michigan summer vacation.

Anything to keep from packing…

May 2, 2010

Hello old blog!  I’m happy to report that I have survived this crazy semester and successfully completed my first year of grad school.

There’s so many things.  I’m leaving Michigan for home on Tuesday.  But before then, my roommates and I are taking a jaunt out to the western side of the state to the shore of Lake Michigan for two days.  I finally get to see the one of the great lakes!  And explore rural Michigan.  I hear there’s blueberry fields, mountainous sand dunes, boardwalks on the lake, and tulip festivals out there to discover.

A few days ago the weather was perfect, and I spent all morning walking in the woods along the Border to Border trail.  I wanted a way to say goodbye and thanks to a place that has been so kind to me.  I wanted to show gratitude for my surroundings, and to the place that has brought me comfort when I was at my lowest points.  In late August when I first moved here and did not know a soul, I spent my days there walking and thinking and getting to know my new surroundings.  I had never felt so alone in my life, but I found solace when I was  walking the trail along the river.

I continued to walk there throughout the school year.  In autumn I walked among the trees as they glowed orange and red and wet leaves blanketed the trail.  During the first real snow fall in December, right before I left for Christmas break, I walked through the trail and could actually hear the muffled sound of the snow as it drifted down over the woods.  On some of the coldest days of winter, the river was frozen solid and everything was silent as I walked the trail wearing 4 layers of clothing to shield myself from the frozen wind.  In early spring the snow retreated and I navigated around giant mud puddles and everything was brown and naked. Now, it is prime spring time and everything is blooming, greening, sprouting, growing, opening. Before I started my walk, I sat on a bench at the beginning of the trail, sipping coffee, listening to blackbirds call back and forth from one side of the river to the other, and everything was perfect.

Its been amazing to experience the seasons here.  In New York seasons seem so fleeting and subtle; they meld into one another gradually.  But there the seasons are intense and showy, they are extreme and exaggerated.  It’s quite a show to watch everything change so drastically.

Spring Break?

February 27, 2010

My spring break starts as soon I click “submit” on my biostats midterm on the course website; which should be in about a half hour.  So ends one of the busiest, most stress-filled weeks I’ve ever had.  One lab report, two presentations, three midterms, and five homework assignments all in this one week.  Taking 9 classes in one semester = not recommended.  I feel like my grades are not that great this semester.  I’m taking so many classes that its hard for me to find the time to really learn all the material.  I feel like I’m doing to the bare minimum amount of work, just enough to get by, because that’s all I have time to do.

Over my spring break, I have 3 interviews for summer internships, one of the requirements of my program.  One is in Pittsburgh for a big bad environmental consulting firm and the other two are back in the city.  Monday I’m driving from Michigan to Pittsburgh, do the the interview, then drive from Pittsburgh to New York.  I can do it, right?  I have no GPS because I don’t trust them, but I do have a lot maps.

It’s been snowing for 5 days straight here.  There’s a big snowstorm hitting New York right now and it is all over our local news.  But snow for 5 days in a row?  No big deal, it is not even a news story, just part of the forecast like normal.

Tomorrow I have to dig my little car out of two feet of snow to go shopping for something to wear for my interviews.  I haven’t had a real job interview in like, 5 years.  Do people still wear suits to these things?  I don’t even know.

I think I’m going to look over my biostats midterm one more time, click submit, and then I might just go to bed and catch up on all the sleep I missed this week.  Spring Break ’10! Bring it on.

Saturday Randomness

December 5, 2009

I am obsessed with this song.  OBSESSED.  Beware: once you play it, you will have to the song stuck in your head for days.

Last night was my school’s holiday party, they had it in a fancy resturant in town.  It was fun to get all dressed up and go out.  I skipped out on the after party so I could get a decent night’s sleep, wake up early today and get an early start on my studying.  But, then I slept for 10 hours and didn’t wake up until 10:30am.  I must have needed some serious sleep.

But when I finally woke up, I felt like death.  And I immediately knew why – caffeine withdrawal.  If I don’t drink coffee in the morning before 9:30 – ish, I get the most horrible withdrawal symptoms.  I have a splitting headache, I get dizzy, nauseous, I can’t focus, I get chills and hot flashes.  It is terrible.  This is why I never, ever sleep late.

I somehow got dressed and went out for a cup of coffee.  Then I just sat in my living for two hours, forcing myself to eat some dry cereal, one frosted flake at a time, until I felt human again.  So my productive morning?  Didn’t happen.

Damn caffeine.  I hate not having control over my body.  I hate that I’m addicted to caffeine and I only drink one cup of coffee in the morning.  But coffee is just so damn good and delicious and warm, I could never give it up.

Homework

November 2, 2009

It is only the second day of NaBloPoMo and I have no clue what to write about.  So how about I tell you about the homework assignment I’m working on?

I have to design a ventilation hood that will reduce dust in a food processing plant that produces cake mixes, brownie mixes, muffin mixes and other dry food mixes.

The most common form of occupational asthma does not come from nasty fumes or vapors or noxious gases; or from asbestos or fiberglass or other carcinogenic particulates.  The most common form of occupational asthma comes from food; mostly from dry baking ingredients such as flour, powdered egg, milk powder, flavor additives and yeast.  “Baker’s asthma” has been around for centuries, basically for as long as people have been baking bread.  The single-most effective way of reducing workplace illnesses, whether in a factory or in an office, is to have a good ventilation system.  Fresh air makes everything better; recirculated air is bad.  Remember that.

The key to a good ventilation hood is being able to suck up the containment very close to the source, so that it never goes near the worker’s face and breathing zone.   Large hoods that suck up containments from across a room are not effective; neither are large clumsy hoods that are attached directly to the machinery.   I am (trying) to design a slot hood, which is able to draw containments out of the air without a large loss due to friction, thus minimizing energy waste.  So that’s the goal.  I have to finish tonight, wish me luck.