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! :)