Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new.

As I write this, the last day of 2010 has barely begun.  Three hundred and sixty-five more days can now be logged into the history books.  It makes me think of the phrase with which I titled this post: Out with the old, in with the new.  

As the calendar flipped over to the new year, many will look back on the memories and accomplishments that occurred in 2010.  Some will remember it as the year they lost a loved one, or the year they married the love of their life. But along with the reminiscing will come the anticipation of what is to come in the new year.  Will 2011 be the year you finally lose that weight?  Take that trip?  Find that someone?  

For me, it's bittersweet.  2010 wasn't exactly kind to me, and I want to believe that 2011 has many good things in store for me -- but 2009, 2008, and the end of 2007 weren't kind to me, either.  I want to have hope, but it's starting to slip from my grasp.  

Even so, I'm going through the motions and I'm trying to do what needs to be done to change my life.  As I write this, I'm in the process of vacating my home of the last five years -- out with the old.  I will be leaving the place where, when not at the hospital, I hoped and prayed and cried over the tragic accident that left my dear cousin permanently mentally disabled . . . where I cried after my Gramma passed . . . after Ana passed . . .  I'm leaving behind the 4 walls that made up my 'cave'.  The one I barricaded myself in when the depression hit and overtook my life.  That depression painted itself on the walls, piled itself on all of the surfaces of my apartment, and never let me forget it was there.  

In with the new . . . I'm typing this from the living room of my new apartment.  Many might think it's a big step down, but I disagree.  Sure, it's about a fourth of the size of my old one, but it feel so much more like progress.  It feels like attainable goals and baby steps.  It doesn't feel like a cave.  

So, while I still have a hard time feeling true hope for 2011, I haven't given up on trying anyway.  

Goodbye, 2010.  I'm not going to miss you.  

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dear Ana

Dear Ana, 

I graduate in three weeks.  on the evening of May 21st, I will walk across that stage in the IVCC gymnasium, and shake the hand of some school official as he or she hands me the degree I have struggled so hard to obtain over the last three years.  Joe will be there watching me.  As will Natalie and Josh, the Kayser's, and hopefully even Nicole.  But you won't.  

I can remember one day, not long before you died, I was sitting in your office at Freedom House before Thursday night children's group.  I don't remember the topic of conversation -- most likely something about college -- but it doesn't matter anyway.  You told me to 'Reach for the stars, baby, and you'll get 'em."  You were one of the few people who have been able to make me actually believe that, and it's stuck with me.  I can still hear you speaking those words, as if you were standing in front of me still.  

When I was younger, I used to look at the people around me in my peer group.  So many of them had already built up a bad reputation for themselves.  Drugs, alcohol, violence, criminal activity, and teen pregnancies, among other things.  Many of them grew up in households just like my own, where good parenting wasn't exactly a high priority and buying weed and beer with our last twenty bucks was higher on the list than feeding the children in the house.  But despite the similarities in home lives, I didn't go down that road.  Why?  I figured out long ago that it was because they didn't have an Ana, and I did.  They didn't have that person cheering them on, teaching them valuable life skills, making them feel included, and never making them feel like they weren't worthy.  I used to tell people that the reason I wasn't dead in a ditch somewhere was because of you.  I still believe that.  

Though I still have a long way to go before I reach my ultimate dreams, I have already become more successful than I ever thought was possible for me.  You played a large part in that.  And now here I am, with graduation three weeks away, and I'm not even able to share that success with you.  

It will be a joyous day for me, my graduation.  I will feel great pride as I claim my hard-earned degree in front of my closest friends and loved ones.  I will feel a rush of relief as the realization that I'm finally finished with this chapter of my life washes over me.  I will feel anxiously hopeful as I ponder the great changes that are about to come at me in rapid succession.  But there will also be a place, not-so-deep under the surface, that will be rife with sadness, grief, and longing.  As my friends shake my hand, give me hugs, and congratulate me, I will occasionally make an unnoticed glance to that empty spot behind them where you should be standing, smiling at me, beaming with pride, and waiting to say "I told you so! I told you that you could do it!" 

My life may go on without you, but without you, my life will never again be the same.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Passion flower in bloom

Testing the photo adding capabilities of the app!

Also going to test the abilities of the Photoshop mobile app, while I'm at it!

I'm totally claiming this as a win!


I just downloaded a new iPhone app called Blogpress! Testing to see if it works!



Testing 1, 2, 3!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Rants of the day

I try not to be a negative person, really, I do.  I try to let things just roll off of my back and forget about them . . . but let's face it, sometimes everyone of us has days in which we want to tear off the face of the next person who looks at us. (What? That's not normal? I should seek counseling? Hmm . . . )

Today is one of those days for me.  So, I'm going to rant. 

Rant #1

Dear teeny-bopper in the white Lancer, 

While I can appreciate what it's like being a hurry, nearly ending my life this morning because you couldn't seem to take three more seconds to stop at your stop sign and wait for me to pass by, instead causing me to skid my tires on the pavement with my car veering to slightly to the side to avoid smashing into you . . . wasn't cool.  Not even a little. An occasional surge of adrenaline isn't necessarily a bad thing, but really, this wasn't the way I want to experience it.  Now, do me a favor and think back to the first thing you learned in Driver's Ed . . . no, let's go back further -- PRESCHOOL! What must you always do in before safely crossing the road?  That's right! Look both ways to make sure there isn't a car careening your direction at 60 MPH. Can you do that for me from now on?  Thanks.  'Preciate it.  

Yours truly, 

Thankful to be Alive.  


Rant #2

Open letter to library patrons: 

I'm assuming that if you're in a college library, you at least have a basic knowledge of how to read.  Therefore, I'm also assuming you know what the words "Silent Zone" that's written on signs on all of the desks and tables in this section means.  If, by some way, you do not, I will define it for you as per  

si·lent [sahy-luhnt]: –adjective
1. making no sound; quiet; still: a silent motor. 
2. refraining from speech. 
3. speechless; mute. 

zone [zohn]  –noun
any continuous tract or area that differs in some respect, or is distinguished for some purpose, from adjoining tracts or areas, or within which certain distinctive circumstances exist or are established.

If you are still unclear on this issue, it means to shut the &*$# up.  

It does not mean to form groups and loudly gossip about that guy whose name you can't remember who you think you might have slept with at the party last night.  It also does not mean to use your cell phone to set up all of your doctor's appointments for the next five years.  Believe it or not, it even means that you're not to listen to music or watch videos with audio through the speakers of your computer, rather than using headphones like a decent human being would.  You may not believe it, but it's true.  

Now, I know there seems to be a severe  lack of abundance of places all around the college for getting into groups, talking on your cell phone, or watching noisy videos, and that this one and only small area on the entire campus that is designated as a silent zone is the only place you can seem to find to do all of these activities, but some of us come here because we don't study well with distractions.  So, before taking that phone call, first take a look around you and notice all of the dirty looks and scowls you are receiving.  You're getting them because right now, everyone hates you and wants to cram that stupid cell phone with that annoying Jonas Brothers ringtone down your throat.  Please leave.  


Annoyed in Illinois.  

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The March of Dimes

March of Dimes

For those of you unfamiliar, The March of Dimes is an organization dedicated to enhancing the health and wellness of babies. From their mission statement:

"Our mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. We carry out this mission through research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies' lives. March of Dimes researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers and advocates work together to give all babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health: prematurity, birth defects, low birthweight."

This is a cause that I'm very passionate about, and this will be my third year walking in my local March for Babies event. The past two years I've walked with my school -- a very large team. This year I'm walking with a much smaller team, and reaching our goal won't be so easy. I'm taking it upon myself to do everything I can to assure that we not only reach our goal, but surpass it. I originally set a personal goal of $100, but have already reached that goal as of today with 18 days remaining. Therefore, I've doubled my goal, and need your help in reaching it! (again!)

It's very easy to donate: simply go to my March of Dimes personal fundraising page and you can use paypal or a credit card to donate any amount you choose, whether it's $5 or a scabillion (I swear that's a number, look it up! :P ). When done online, the money will go directly to The March of Dimes.

Please help me reach my goal! Babies (and their parents) around the world will thank you! ANY amount is appreciated!

Even just $5 helps, and every little bit is very much appreciated!

Thank you! :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My February Phone Curse

Last February I posted about dropping my iPhone and smashing the screen.  

Today, history repeated itself, only thankfully on a much cheaper phone.  

It fell under my recliner, and when I rocked forward to get up, I crushed it. The display lights up, but the phone doesn't work, unlike the iPhone, that works perfectly fine to this day. (As evidenced by the fact that these grainy pictures were TAKEN with the iPhone).

So, tomorrow I get to buy another cheapo phone to replace it, as I can't go without SOMETHING. Not exactly something I can afford right now. (If it was, I'd still have the iPhone hooked up!)

Before the cracked screen of my iPhone, I'd NEVER damaged any of the phones I've ever had. Though I guess it goes along with my ever-growing bad luck aura.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Golden Memories

Four years ago at this time I was a few months into what would turn out to be the last year of my relationship with my ex-boyfriend.  We'd already reached a point in which we needed to go our separate ways, but I wasn't ready to admit it yet.  

I couldn't convince myself that he would never love me the way I wanted to be loved.  We were growing more and more emotionally distant and becoming angry more often and for longer times. 

Meanwhile, a month and a half earlier, right around New Years, I'd begun talking to some new people in the chatroom of the photography website of which we were all members.  

There were three of us, total, who'd become instant friends despite physical distance.  Me (obviously), Joe, and Sky.  You've seen me write about them here often.  Almost immediately we became inseparable . . . well, as inseparable as you can get when you mode of socialization is a forum and a chatroom.  We'd talk everyday, for hours.  About photography.  About cars.  About food.  About life.  About my withering relationship.  I didn't know until then how close of a relationship you could form with someone over the internet.  

Little did I know, but the bond I was forming with Joe and Sky was allowing me to slowly let go of the toxic relationship that was dragging me down and holding me back from truly being happy, though it would take the better part of a year before I finally broke away.  

Some of my earliest and best memories of my friendship with Joe and Sky was during the 2006 Winter Olympics.  The three of us would watch the events together, each of us in our own corner of the country, connected via our computers.  I remember staying up until 4 in the morning talking a few times, even, and this was smack dab in the middle of the long stretch in which I had no insomnia problems.  

When the 2010 Olympics started this past Friday, the memories of the early days of our friendship came flooding back, particularly my memories of the person whom I consider to be my best friend, Joe.  Because of this, I've found that I'm more into the Olympics than I ever have been before.  I suddenly started to remember names of athletes I hadn't thought of for four years.  Bode Miller.  Shaun White.  And my favorite, Apolo Ohno.  

On Saturday, I even got the chance to relive the memory.  For the entire day -- I in smalltown Illinois, and Joe in Baltimore -- watched skiing, speed skating, and biathlon.  I screamed over MSN when Apolo Ohno overtook an entire group of skaters with one swift move . . . of course, thanks to his satellite feed, I had to wait seven seconds before I 'screamed' at Joe, so I wouldn't give anything away.  

We haven't been able to talk much lately, so it was wonderful to be able to spend so much quality time conversing with him.  I've been happy and introspective ever since.  Remembering more about that time of my life everyday.  Analyzing the events that occurred then and since and how they have shaped my life.  

The Winter Olympics have turned into something a little more special to me . . . a symbol of the friendship that saved my life.  

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Splintered Mind

During my entire 27 years, I have been a bit of a misfit.  

In grade school I had little self confidence and spent much of my time daydreaming and doodling in the margins of my worksheets.  I was always in trouble for my desk being a total mess, my homework being late, or not paying attention.  

This continued throughout my primary school career.  

In middle school or early high school, I began having issues with insomnia, though it only reared it's ugly head during the summers, when I didn't have a structured day.  

Now, I'm an adult.  I've been living on my own for 8 years.  I have a bit more confidence these days, but I still find myself daydreaming . . . I even still find myself doodling here and there.  I've gone through a few bouts of insomnia as an adult, as well, though until a year ago, I thought I had kicked that issue.    

I start many projects, but rarely finish them.  Often I get so overwhelmed that I don't work on them at all.  

During the last 2 1/2 years of school, I struggled tremendously.  During the rare times that I could focus, I could churn out incredible work, but most of the time, it took considerable effort to get things done.  It's not that I wasn't interested in it, I just couldn't focus.  I can't seem to sit down and do just one thing.  I have to be doing several at once.  When I watch movies or television, I'm also browsing the internet (or writing a blog post . . . ), or drawing, or painting.

I've never been diagnosed with ADD, but I feel it's only because neither my mother nor I have ever posed the question to a doctor.  

Compound that with Depression, and the days become incredibly difficult to get through.  

I've struggled with varying levels of Depression since I was quite young, as well, and after the numerous tragedies and stressful events over the last few years, it's been worse than ever.  

A bit over a year ago, as I've written about here, a family member whom I was very close to died, and I reached my breaking point.  I spent three weeks where I slept more than I was awake . . . and then swung the other way.  I've had maddening insomnia ever since.  It's seemed like there was no one that could truly understand how I felt.  

Then a friend sent me the link to a blog written by someone with ADD, Depression, and Insomnia.  

The Splintered Mind, written by Douglas Cootey, describes the trials and tribulations of the day to day life of someone dealing with many of the same things I struggle with.  

I've so far only gotten through a few pages of his blog, but it's so much like looking in a mirror, it's scary.  It is my hope that reading through his blog might give me a better insight into my own problems and how I can manage them better.   

If anyone has any of the issues I've described above, I highly recommend checking out his blog! 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oh, Photography! How I've missed you!

The photography bug bit me.  At 2 A.M.  When it was 8 degrees out.  

Monday, January 04, 2010


I so badly want to write.  I so badly want to get back into regularly contributing to my blog . . . but no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to do it.  

I have so much stress building up inside . . . so much emotion . . . so much frustration . . . and I can't find a way to unblock it.  I can't find a way to write about it.  

Normally, I would put it all down in words so that I might better understand what is troubling me, but I can't even manage one emotional post.  This is SO frustrating.  

Hopefully I'll revive this  blog again before long, but for now, you'll just have to accept my apologies for being absent.