Friday, December 18, 2009

Three Minutes to Go

I don't think I want to go out and do Primal Scream. I liked it last year, but I don't think I want to do it tonight. I'm almost done with finals. I could've used a scream last Sunday, but now? I'm all out of tension. It's all I can do to maintain enough tension to study for my final tomorrow.
AND it's 10:00. AND I'm...going out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I lack self-control. I pretty much do what I want, and so I have stopped putting myself in situations where this could possibly be a problem. I don't usually want bad things, but sometimes blindly following my desires is impractical. I'm working on being more responsible about going after what I want by giving myself little self-control tests. Finals make the challenge even more real, because I can't just do what I want. I can't just watch the whole first season of "Being Erica" online just because it's available on Hulu. I can't sleep the day away. I have to focus.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I was in the library today, when I noticed that the girl next to me was slumped over, face-down at her computer. The computers are communal, and it can sometimes be really hard to find an open one when you need to print something, and so it seemed like a strange place for a nap. I felt a little awkward, because no one else seemed phased by this behavior, but it was out of place, and I sort of wondered if she was bleeding into her brain or something. It would be selfish to nap at a computer because then no one else could use it while you were sleeping and so otherwise occupied, and while Smithies can be very rude, this seemed a little over the top. I decided the behavior that was called for was the same for whether she was dying or rude, and I was just about to poke her when she sat up. I was a little disappointed actually, especially when she just stretched and then went back to sleep, still at the computer.
We presented our Learning & Behavior Change projects today. I was the only one who really put effort into my graph, most of them were done on notebook paper that still had the fringey scraps on the one side. It didn't matter though, as I have loved the class, and I was happy to put that work in. I think Dave might be my favorite ever college professor. He's funny, and wise, and he makes the material interesting, and he classically conditioned me to salivate at the thought of his class, and he said he would loan me a Skinner Box so I could train Flora. He's such a great guy, and today at the end of class he gave a little speech about how we don't need to worry so much and be so hard on ourselves because it's more important that we try to be happy. He didn't have a real job until he was 40, until he came to Smith, but he did have a lot of adventures. He also had the bare minimum GPA to get into grad school, but he had a great time in college and was very involved in Outing Club, and dating, and just living life. And it all still worked out. He says that his children and his chickens and his blueberries all make him so much happier than getting papers published, and we shouldn't lose sight of what we enjoy about life while we are pursuing our goals. It even looked for a moment like he was going to let us off without a final, but he won't. He is a great man, but he's also a great professor, and he while he wants us to take more than just the course material from his class, he does want to see if we've learned anything this semester. I never want to not be in his class again, but he's only teaching stats next semester, and I've already taken that. I got really lucky this semester though. It was like a perfect storm. I hate finals (obviously), but I feel pretty good. I want to study, because I want to show Palmer how much I enjoyed his class by getting an A. Also by giving him peppermint bark. I got so lucky with my professors this semester, it only seems right that I would give them a small token of appreciation.
And now back to the grindstone. It's much too cold to leave my house, but I'm going to study in my room until the wee hours of the morning because I can sleep in tomorrow.
Sidenote: These things are not mutually exclusive, but it sometimes seems like they are, so for the record, I would rather be weird than boring, adventerous than safe, and nice than smart. I case you were wondering.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm totes switching to Bank of Amer before I go to Chicag

It's sort of good to be back at Smith. Flora is pleased at least, as soon as I put her in her home crate she started eating like she had been starved. So the hunger strike is over I guess.
I had an awkward conversation with my rugger-housemate last night. I think she probably was trying to convince me not to quit, but all she did was reinforce that I'm making the right decision. I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think "It's true that you don't play A-side, and everyone on Board is mad at you, and the team just isn't a good fit for you, shouldn't quit..." is a very convincing argument. I know the team doesn't like me, I didn't need her to come to my room and keep me from my homework so she could tell me. It's sort of hard for me to believe that she was actually trying to convince me to stay, it sounded an awful lot like an argument to make me quit.In either case, I'm going to talk to the crew coach today to figure out some logistics.
I love my Learning & Behavior Change professor. I've loved him all along, but today he told us that since we only have two weeks of classes left he's going to classically condition us like Pavlov's dogs. We're going to get warheads candies at the start of every class to see if we'll start salivating when we hear a wrapper crinkling. I don't ever want to not be in his class again, I don't care what he's teaching.
So it turns out I was mistaken, and I won't be ready to leave by the 14th. The 14th is the kickoff of exam week. It's a slight bummer, but I think I'll live. Three weeks isn't a very long time. I can do this standing on my head. I'm going to finish up my Nutrition project tonight, and start catching up on some psych reading. I'm just taking things as they come.
I wish it would snow...

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I have a new goal. I was reading the Times this morning (I read the better part of it and not just the Style section, so it took AGES) and I saw an article about children on Broadway. This of course made me think of Camp Broadway and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love running the Turkey Trot, but I also love the parade, and since they happen at the same time I miss stuff. So my new goal is to run the race really fast to maximize the amount of the parade I get to see. I strongly suspect that either Tayler Swift or the cast of "Glee" will be in it this year and I don't want to miss that. This means I need to get fast. I've been better about working out lately, but I bet I can push myself harder. Erg club will help. I think I'll call my friend Lindsay about working out too, it's way easier to push yourself when your gym buddy is training for a marathon and has perfect six-pack abs.
Rugby banquet is in a week. I made my Little Sibs' vessels last night. They look ok. Pretty good considering my lack of arts and crafts skills. I think I'll put baggies of sugar cereal in them before I present them to my Littles. I know H. likes Lucky Charms so much that she mentioned her fondness on facebook. I don't know what T. likes, but she's pretty easy-going and responds to any friendly gesture with almost painful enthusiasm.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nutrition & Health

I don't really read the fine print. Or, in some cases, the normal-sized print, since I thought Nutrition & Health was a two-credit class, when it is in fact four. I would think to myself "Wow, this is a lot of work for two measly credits.", but no, it's a real class. I'm doing well, it isn't an issue of grades, but it was a surprise and it made me feel silly when a classmate pointed out my mistake.
As our big project for the semester we're analyzing our diets. It's kind of fun, and I usually write down what I eat anyway, but it makes me kind of self-conscious to think about my professor reading everything I eat. I love sugar very much, and Smith only enables this love, so my diet is not always so healthy. Plus, I grew up in a family of secret eaters, and so I'm sort of uncomfortable with the idea of anyone knowing what and how much I eat. The obvious solution is to just lie, but that's stupid and defeats the purpose of the project. We enter all of our foods into this website and it analyzes it and tells us if we need to eat more or less of something. I don't know if people know this about me, but I am a milk fiend. Sugar and I have an open relationship so that it can include milk. I drink more milk than anyone I know, and yet I am apparently not getting enough dairy. The idea of drinking more milk makes my stomach hurt. I love dairy, but I'm kind of dairy sensitive, and so it's extra frustrating to be told that I need to eat more of it. I also apparently need to eat more grains. And meat. I eat too much fruit, but not enough vegetables, and I have so much sodium in my diet but I don't know where it's coming from. It's not like I salt everything. N. used to salt EVERYTHING; her dining tray was always covered in salt that she refused to throw over her left shoulder, but I almost never add salt to food. This project is interesting, but it's making me obsess over food and I even weighed myself today which is never a good idea. My goal for tomorrow is to eat more vegetables.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Other Blogs

I'm of a mind that it's ok to seriously dislike someone based on their blog. A blog is pretty much a public journal, and so it should be able to give you some insight into their personality, and thus giver readers license to dislike the author. And a blog that a person updates every day with weird excerpts from books and articles and pictures of dead birds and naked women (possibly naked self-portraits) is intolerable. It just fills me with irritation. And I know I don't have to read it, and maybe this person is actually insightful and interesting and I'm just inclined to dislike them for my own (insane) reasons, but I don't think so. I think she's probably one of those evil pretentious people that you sometimes find in small, Northeastern, liberal arts colleges. I just wanted to put that out there since it has been bothering me all day.
In other news, we finally met our chickens for Learning & Behavior Change. They're actually kind of ugly since they're going through that tricky phase of growing up where they lose their fluff but don't have enough feathers to look normal, but they're also kind of cute. They're nice to hold for sure, and now I want to spend every class in the animal lab. That isn't how it works though, and today and I trudged into the classroom I thought to myself "I wish we were playing with birds again today." Much to my surprise, when I got to the classroom there were two bright green parrots! It's one of the few perks of having purely decorative ears that I sometimes get nice surprises like that. Of course my professor had mentioned that we were going to be visited by trained parrots, but who listens? It was a very fun class, and made me want to make friends with people who own parrots, if not actually get one myself.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just Thinking

I'm reading this great book called Monique and the Mango Rains for my anthro class, and something in it caught my attention today. Monique is a midwife in Malawi, and one of her duties is teaching women in her village how to make baby food. Thing is, the baby food is peanut-based. This struck me as strange, because I've always heard that you NEVER give babies certain foods including honey and PEANUTS because they might have a food allergy. I'm not saying Monique is wrong, since she clearly knows more about babies than I do, I'm just confused. I wonder if there is any data on peanut allergies in African children, because I have a theory. American children are raised in pretty sterile, antibacterial environments, and it's been correlated with higher incidences of allergies. African children, at least children in rural Malawi are in almost the opposite situation. They have all kinds of other problems, but you don't hear about African children having severe allergies, possibly because they are exposed to so much they don't develop allergies. But maybe that's because they have malaria and life-threatening diarrhea, and failure to thrive and all kinds of bad things, so post-nasal drip isn't that big a deal. And babies who are fed baby food do much better than babies that are fed on porridge, because it's high in proteins and other essential nutrients and porridge is pretty much just carbohydrates. So maybe it's worth the occasional allergic reaction if it saves more babies than it kills. I know that not all peanut allergies are life-threatening, but peanut allergies tend to be severe, and I don't know how available antihistamines are in rural African villages. Bottom line-I love all of my classes. I want to bring this up in Nutrition on Monday. I also want to bring up the guy who lives on candy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pet-A-Pet Day

The happiest of all days! I hate that I have to wait like an hour and a half before I can go (stupid class, ruins everything), but it's Pet-A-Pet Day! Even Nutrition midterms can't dampen my spirit. I really want there to be cats.
I might be volunteering at an event at Ben's farm this weekend. He mentioned on the rugby website that he was looking for volunteers, so I emailed him about it. "This doesn't makes sense", you're thinking, "Caroline spends so much time complaining about Ben and how mean he is.". This is true, but it sounds like fun. And he's been sort of better lately. Or maybe I've been better. I was actually grateful and not angry that he put me in for two minutes of A side last week. Plus I like farms, and this event sounds fun, and I hate partying, but I also hate sitting in my room on a Saturday night, not-partying. And costumes are encouraged!
I'm starting to think about this summer. Isn't that sick? It's October! I need to get going on financial aid stuff if I want to go to Africa though, so living in the now isn't so much of a possibility.
Yay Pet-A-Pet Day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Can't Go Back Now

Smith is such a great school. I am super lucky to have the opportunity to go here. Still and all, Facebook has lately been flooded with Geneseo women's rugby pictures, and it's making me really homesick. They aren't using 'Daga field anymore. The school finally gave in and let them have a decent pitch. They're going to regionals too. I miss the girls, and I miss Colin. It was so much better than my rugby life now. I used to love going out, but now I always feel miserable the day after partying. I miss having friends that were fun to party with. And a team that included everyone, and did things together. These aren't reasons to regret transferring, and I know I made the right choice, but I also lost some really nice things in the process. You really can't go home again, I know that. Geneseo was never even that homey for me, and going back would only depress me, but I really miss it. I miss the dorms, and Court St., and St. Mary's. I finally went to mass last night, for the first time this semester, and it was nice, but it made me miss going to mass in Geneseo. I miss my big jug of honey. Mostly though, I miss rugby. The S**** team is too dramatic. It's totally cliqued out, and it just makes me want to go back. Girls dated within the team at Geneseo too, but not to this extent. It was a family first and foremost, and now I feel like an orphan.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nice Things

I'm trying this new thing where I'm going to have a better attitude by reflecting on all the good things that happened during the day. I won't list them on my blog every day, but today is the first day, so I'm going to share.
1. I had a delicious chai during my anthro class
2. My professor gave everyone 5 extra points on our test for spelling our names right
3. Agnes (my Swahili instructor) praised me to high heaven and made me feel really good
4. I'm back to being an alternate for A side, which makes me think someone has been noticing how hard I've been working.
5. I'm the jumper for lineouts for the B game
6. I got to practice kicking with EE and I think I'm really improving
7. I got multiple warming hugs today
8. I was outside for the first snow of the season.
Fridays are really rough, and tomorrow is going to be inhumanely difficult, but I think these positive thoughts will help me get through it. I don't think I'm going to play in the A game this weekend, but I'm excited for the B game. We're playing Springfield, and they're going to demolish us (they're a women's league team), but it's going to be fun. I do love to jump.


I seem to have a love-hate relationship with life. I love my classes, but they're hard, and I hate that. I hate the work and stress, and I really hate getting tests back, even when I do ok. I don't like playing B side because it's frustrating and embarrassing, and I'm actually getting worse since I'm not being challenged. I love rugby though, and I get a weird little kick out of being the best player on the B side. They go down like bricks when I tackle them- it's great for working out my frustration with having to play for the B side. Swahili stresses me out like crazy, but I love the way my instructor praises me. She's so nice, and she makes me feel really smart even when I know I'm terrible at Swahili. Really the only things that I know I like are my few but likeable friends. It's a nice change actually, since I hated my friends for a long time. Not all of my friends, but enough that it was weird. So it's nice to have some new friends who I like. It kind of makes things come out on the positive side

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rugby Extinction

I think my coach is a secret behavioral psychologist. Earlier this semester he provided me with reinforcement for desired behaviors (going to practice, training on my own, giving 110%, etc.), and so these behaviors increased in strength. I tried really hard, and I got back into shape after a summer of not running. I tried out a whole back line of new positions, and I gave 120%. That's how the experiment works though-I keep pushing the lever, and food keeps dropping into the Skinner Box. It's a good system. Ben is a tricky guy though, and so he wanted to introduce a new element. Suddenly I stopped being reinforced for my good behavior. It's a funny thing, extinction, when a subject stops being reinforced for a behavior they increase in that behavior for a little while, and then they stop. A rat will frantically press the bar, but when they don't get food they move on to other pursuits. They join book clubs, and learn to bake, but they don't press the bar anymore. They also stop really caring about practice. I wasn't even an alternate for A-side this week, and so I went to practice, worked hard, had a good attitude, did what I was told, and played the toughest rugby possible, given I was practicing with the B side, and didn't want to hurt anyone, but I didn't receive any of that sweet, sweet reinforcement, and so I didn't go to the game. Not because I'm sulking or angry, just because I didn't see the point. I didn't really feel like getting up at 5:30 so I could sit in the car for six hours and kill another Saturday not-playing rugby. Instead I'm doing laundry, and going running, and cleaning my room, and maybe doing some homework. It isn't exciting, but it's still a whole day that I have to use productively.
I went out to dinner with some rugby girls last night after practice. It's nice to know that I'm not usually missing anything when I don't go on Fridays. We did a warm-up, and then maybe twenty minutes of ruck and runs, and then we were finished. It was kind of stupid actually. Anyway, Friday dinners are usually pretty bad, so a bunch of girls decided to go to the brewery instead. We got some signals crossed, so my group went straight downtown while everyone else went home and showered, but we eventually met up and had a nice dinner. It was nice to get off campus, and it was really nice talking to some people that I don't usually talk to.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mountain Day!

Clearly Carol Christ is very wise, and knew I had a test today.

Friday, October 2, 2009


The Smith B-side traveled to Mount Holyoke yesterday for a scrimmage, expecting to play their B-side. Instead we were put up against their A players. They kind of killed us, but it was the most fun I've had playing rugby in a long time. I started as inside center, moved to flank, and then finished as full back. It was awesome. I kind of want to be the B-side full back. It'll involve lots of kicking practice, but I just love to hit.
I play rugby because I love it, but it hasn't been that fun lately. Maybe the answer is switching to B-side. I don't like feeling miserable and anxious before every game, and I really don't like having to fight every second for my position. Not to mention the fact that I vastly prefer the B-side coach. At the same time though, I don't want to be on B-side because I can't compete with A-side. So I'm a little conflicted. But I had a great time last night, and hopefully that'll remind me why I play rugby when things are hard.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall Fit 5K

Sometimes life is awkward and miserable, and you get a bad night's sleep, and you're worried that people are angry with you, and you feel slightly broken hearted, and then you go for a run in the rain and it's ok.
We had our first game of the season yesterday against Mount Holyoke. They had snuck onto our campus and chalked, and so it was very important that we win. Mount Holyoke is vastly inferior to Smith though, and so this was easily achieved. I played very badly. It's so easy to make excuses, but I can't help but feel that my coach's total lack of confidence in my flanking abilities, coupled with his then putting me at flank had something to do with my epic failure. Just saying. Some things were just unfortunate though, I lost a boot, accidentally spit my mouthguard in someone's face, and pulled a tackle down onto my face. It was not a good game for me, and I'm dreading my Player Evaluation.
After the game the team went to Local Burger, and then we all borded the PVTA for a social at Holyoke. I'm starting to realize that drinking is Bad, if for no other reason than the fact that I cannot sleep if I've been drinking. I went to bed around 11:30 and woke up at 2 and could not get back to sleep until after 5. It was really not fun. Especially because I knew I had to wake up early for an interview and then the race.
I saw the signs for the Fall Fit 5K ages ago and suggested to various rugby leaders that it might be something we should do as a team. Emails were sent, and teams organized, but things kind of fell apart when people realized A. it cost $10, and B. we had to register ourselves. Bring college students, we obviously never have access to the internet, and so 80% of the people that were supposed to run never registered. You were allowed to register the day of, but it's cold and rainy today, and some people had long nights last night. And we played lots of rugby yesterday. So obviously I'm not the only person that likes to make excuses. Anyway, I got to the ITT absurdly early and planked around, waiting for the other girls to show. In the end there were five or six of us, but it didn't really matter as I ended up running by myself anyway. I needed to clear my head, and the ruggers were being too pokey. I haven't been running very much lately, and when I do I don't like it. That's wrong though, since I do like running. I didn't used to, but something changed last year and it became fun. Running today felt amazing. I didn't push that hard, I was running nine-minute miles, just sort of loping along, but it was great. The rain kept me cool, and I listened to my iPod, and I just felt good. Other things are bad, my life is always kind of in shambles, and sleep-loss aside I shouldn't drink because I'm stupid and I got all weepy last night, but running made me feel very peaceful. It was similar to the feeling I get from doing yoga. Running today actually made me want to go to yoga, but I can't today. Maybe next week. I want more of that peace.
People tend to overestimate themselves. They think they're smarter, and nicer, and more attractive than they actually are. There's a word for people who have clear perceptions of themselves- it's depressed. Really, I"m not just being grim, we talked about it in class the other day. I'm not depressed. I recognize that I suck at a lot of things, and I'm not actually good at anything, but I still really like myself. I like being the kind of person who enjoys running in the rain, and who joins organizations to mentor developmentally disabled people (Everyone that I've told about that has asked me why I would want to do something like that; it's as if I'm expressing a desire to shave my head and go live in a yurt, or something equally batty. I just think it would be really rewarding and a positive use of time.), and I don't know, is like me. I like the way I am. I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's a little dream, but it still might go unrealized. I want someone to kiss me. While sober. Because they like me, and feel attracted to me, and care about me, and want to be with me. I won't say how long it's been since I had that kind of kiss, it's too sad. But that's what I want. Not everyone gets that, but I want it. A friend recently told me that he's terrified to die alone, and I groaned and reassured him that he won't, but I have the same worry.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Crawling Out of My Skin

I have some stuff that I need to get over, and so I have decided to go on a Boy Safari. Smith seems extra boy-less lately, and it's been kind of bugging me, so I'm going to be proactive and take matters into my own hands. I'm going to go to UMass tonight to do homework. Why, you might ask, would I take a half hour bus ride to go to a library, when there are libraries at Smith, and I'll only be able to be there for like an hour and a half anyway before I have to catch the bus home? It seems like a total waste of time. My answer? It is, but I am desperate.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This is Why I Love Smith College

What other college would shut down their library on a Friday night so a rock band of professors could play a gig in the lobby? Try and think of one, I'll wait. Of course nothing is perfect, and the group of rugby girls that I was watching the show with slipped out without saying goodbye while I wasn't looking. That was really not cool. We hadn't come together, but c'mon, tap me on the shoulder and let me know you're leaving if you don't want to invite me to join you wherever you're going next. Sheesh. But the rock show part was really nifty. I didn't know any of the professors, but they were pretty good. The music wasn't really my taste, but I love any live music.
It's just a good weekend to be at Smith. Today is quiet, so I can get some work done, but tomorrow should be great. Our rugby game was canceled so we have an extra practice, and then I'm going to my adviser's house for dinner, and then there's Arch Sing after that. I don't think I could design a better Sunday.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm In My Happy Place

Truly the best part about eating less junk food is the increased satisfaction when you do indulge.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Country Roads

I passed Chapin House while walking to the library, and something about the smell of industrial food on the warm, humid, evening air made me think of dinner at Camp Weona.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's Official

You know it's the school year when I start reading the Food Section and wanting to experiment. I think it has something to do with the fact that I don't have a kitchen to play around in, since I rarely utilize the kitchen at home. I don't really read the Times during the week when I'm at home though. Then again, I am on a diet, and so this sounds extra good. I actually had a dream about eating frosting last night. I want sweets.

This Isn't Rocket Science

I'm happy when I spend time with people, and I'm sad and grumpy when I don't. You would think I would understand this basic idea well enough by now that I would be able to seek out social interactions, knowing they will make me feel good. It's been sort of difficult going from Utah, where I could always get attention when I needed it, to home, where I could generally get attention, to Smith, where it's almost impossible for me to get attention. And I mean actual, in-person interactions, because I've been wearing my poor phone out txting and calling people all over the country.
Yesterday was my most successful day yet this semester. I went to work, and class, and had lunch with rugby girls on the green and then chalked about the rookie meeting. I also went to my first practice of the season. It felt great to be out on the pitch, running around. Ground needs to be regained fitness-wise, but I'll get there. My new boots are really amazing. I love the way it feels when the spikes sink into the ground. Plus they're pretty, I got multiple compliments on them.
I went to dinner with some girls from the team, but I had to rush, which was annoying, since I'm trying to eat healthier, and so my food choices are less satisfying, and so I try to take my time and enjoy the process of eating more. It turned out to be worth the rush though, as I was in a hurry to go to a concert with two girls from the team. We went to see the Young at Heart Chorus, which is a group of older people that sings pop songs. It was really cute, and I got to spend time with teammates outside of practice, and I almost always enjoy live music anyway. So that was an A+ kind of evening.
I'm pretty optimistic about today. I only have one class, and then I'll have time to go running and catch up on reading before practice. We have our rookie meeting tonight, and then the team is having a movie night. We are going to watch "Forever Strong", and I'm excited, despite the fact that I just watched the movie a week ago. I just enjoy being around people, and not in my room, passing out at 10:00 because I had to wake up early to go to work. Things are looking up.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day Two

I had a dream last night that I was on Facebook (I know that's really lame, but I had been fighting with my laptop all night, trying to get internet, so it was on my mind.) and K. from my SCA crew had unfriended me. I still don't have internet in my room, so I'm posting from the library, and sure enough, he did unfriend me! What a jerk! Still, I really hate him, so it's only annoying because I wanted to be able to stalk his stupid jerk relationship. I wonder what made him do it though- it's been a few weeks now, and I'd have thought he'd have put me out of his mind.
My employment status has changed once again, and now I'm down to one job. It's very sad, but I'm taking five classes and all of my professors claim their class requires ten hours of outside work, plus the twelve plus hours rugby takes up, so I don't really have time for two jobs. Except I applied to work at a literacy volunteer at the preschool that isn't a half hour walk from campus, so if I get hired (knock wood) I will have time for two jobs. So we'll have to wait and see on that score. I'm not entirely sure why I suddenly feel like I need two jobs, but my crossing guard job is too cushy, and I need to be busier in order to feel like I'm really working.
I swear, I've been on the go since 7 am, and although I skipped the gym, I feel like I was pretty productive. Tomorrow is another big day, I'm actually going to buy my textbooks. I really dragged my feet on this one, hoping, I think, for the books to just appear on my shelf like manna from heaven. It's tempting to wait it out a little longer, but professors will insist on assigning reading, so I need to get on my horse. And ride it to the bookstore. I also have chalking for rugby, and a social for new transfer students. And work and class and practice (my first of the year!), but who really cares about that stuff? It feels like tomorrow should be Friday. It's been a short week, but I think Smith days are longer than normal Earth days.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rattle Trap

I have a new bicycle! It's a vintage-y Schwinn, and I'm quite pleased with the way it makes getting around campus so much easier. I'm less pleased with how noisy it is, the gears clunk, and the brakes, as I discovered while going down a big hill, scream. People were looking around in anticipation of the big crash, because these brakes sound dangerous. I looked it up, and I doubt the brakes actually are dangerous, but it's sort of embarrassing. I'm going to have to ride through some mud and make them less slippery. I do love my bike though. I had forgotten how lovely it feels to just hop on and ride.
Still no internet in my room, I'm at the library. I remember having problems with my internet last year too, I just can't remember how I resolved them.
I may have to find a replacement job since my current job conflicts with rugby. It wouldn't be such a big deal, but I have to miss practice every Friday for class, and you can't play unless you attend at least three practices during the week. There's a preschool assistant job that's open, that fits nicely into my schedule, so I emailed my boss about it. We'll see I guess. I wish I was one of those girls who can casually play rugby, but I know I'm not. It's a way of life.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


One of my favorite parts of summer is going fruit picking, though it has been more in theory than in practice lately, as I am usually off having adventures during the summer, and miss all the homey, low-key fun that you get from being home. Not today though! Today I got to go pick peaches and various berries with my mother, sisters, and aunt. The day got off to a slow start, with waffles and the Sunday Times (and buyer's remorse at yesterday's haircut that has left me looking like Little Lord Fauntleroy, or someone equally horrifying. I originally thought I looked like Lord Byron, but a quick Google Images revealed he had short hair, so that's out. Maybe Oscar Wilde?), but we eventually got our acts together and piled into the car for a nice drive out to the sticks. We've been going to the same farm for years, and while we strolled around the orchard I reminisced about a failed attempt to steal a kitten there when I was younger. (My mother somehow failed to notice the kitten-shaped bulge in my fleece, but I shot myself in the foot by crowing over my supposed victory as soon as I got in the car, rather than waiting until we had actually driven away.) The actual peach picking was fine, but rather short lived, as it started to rain almost immediately. Mum and Aunt Grace went to pay, and the sisters and I wandered over to the animal pens. I have a very large, very soft spot in my heart for cows, and there were two early adolescent calves in a pen. I spent the summer petting the Forest Service mules, but cows have much much softer noses than mules. They only submit to so much petting, but $.50 worth of animal feed does wonders for their patience. EGA was worried about being bitten, but I really liked the feel of their long, pale, rough tongues. They aren't very good about feeding from hand, their tongues are somewhat over-zealous, and they ended up with more food on the ground than in their mouths, but I like to think we all had fun trying. I would have liked to feed the pig as well, but I suspect he would have bitten the living hell out of my fingers, and unlike cows, pigs like meat, so it wouldn't have even been sorry.
After peaches we went and picked blueberries and blackberries at another farm. This was more of a whim; we had set out to pick peaches, but berries are so tempting, and I've been going through them like it's my job since I've been home. What I especially liked was that they had someone firing a gun to keep the birds away. I always like to pretend when I'm picking fruit, and the sound of gunshots made it that much more exciting. I was gathering the crops before the invading army came and stole everything, leaving us to starve this winter. Except you shouldn't be eating berries in that situation, and I view it as my duty to eat as many berries as possible when we go to a U-Pick place, since fruit is expensive and that way you get more of your money's worth.
It was a really nice outing, and now we have enough fruit to feed an army. (But not my imaginary invading army-they don't get any fruit, it's all hardtack and salt pork for them.) We're doing a peach barbecue sauce tonight with dinner to celebrate...something. A day that ends in "Y". My safe return from the Wild West. Summer. Fall. Life. The fact that since people need to eat to live, we might as well eat delicious peach barbecue.

My In-tents Summer

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bon Appetit

Sometimes, when I'm watching a movie, or reading a book, or trying to fall asleep, I find myself wondering "I wonder what X is doing.". (X being a person, obviously.) It isn't even that I really wonder, or especially care, but it's like getting a song stuck in your head- you can't help it. X has achieved almost imaginary friend status, my image of him has so little to do with the reality, but it is still slightly tiresome to have him pop into my mind at random intervals.
We went to see the movie "Julie & Julia" tonight, together as a family getting lost in space. I haven't read the book, and while My Life in France has been in my room for years, I haven't read that either. Nevertheless, I like Julia Child, and I certainly like that she went to Smith. She was such a larger than life character, while still remaining down-to-Earth, it's hard not to like her. Then again, I've made the same argument for Dolly Parton, and that hasn't buttered any parsnips with anyone, so what do I know? I would like to have a beautiful, happy, delicious, buttery life like Julia Child. Really though, I think I might be. I have the buttery part at least, and I can't help thinking Julia would have approved of our dinner that one night in the backcountry when we used an entire stick of butter in our mac to compensate for our lack of milk. She would have at least applauded the effort, and appreciated our understanding of what makes things taste good.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Being home is weird. I very nearly lost my temper and had a big screaming fit when I first got home from Utah and needed to pack for my next trip, only to find my room had been vandalized and all of my clothes were missing (Note: When I say vandalized, I mean by my loving family, and not actual vandals.). I didn't, mainly because it wouldn't have been helpful at all, and I eventually found my clothes anyway. Life at home used to always be the same- I don't have any memories of specific holidays (with the exception of the year that I invited That Guy to Christmas) because life falls into patterns and it doesn't matter if I'm 20 or 7, my home life is constant. Things are starting to change now though, and it's very strange and off-putting, like hearing a cover version of a familiar song.
I can't really draw any attention to myself these days, and while that's something I'm totally ok with, my inner Middle Child is having a hard time coping. It's slightly awkward to write about, but I went to the gynecologist today and she yelled at me for not getting a mammogram after Emily was diagnosed. And then she told me that I need to go Right Away because she could feel something during my exam, even though she is pretty sure it's nothing. I would really like to freak out about this, but I don't think I can, and I know I can't freak out to my family because Emily for sure has cancer and so needs to be the focus of their attention. I wouldn't be worried if she didn't have cancer though, and so I wouldn't need to be reassured, but since she does, I am worried and I do need reassurance. And if it is something it'll seem like less of a big deal because everyone was already shocked by a young, healthy Altreuter girl having cancer, and so now they're used to the idea. And I'm not sure I could be as brave about it as Emily, so I'll look like I'm stealing her thunder and then being a big baby about it. And even if I am a good soldier it won't matter because Emily did it first.
I have plans. Big life plans, and I don't want them to be threatened, but everything is always so uncertain. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and never go to Africa or become a midwife, or even graduate college, and I hate that. I feel like the universe should really respect my careful planning and just let me be. I have things mapped out, and I don't need any curve balls right now, thank you very much.
I'm terrified to go back to school, but I think I need to leave home now. My optimistic outlook that I gained from spending my summer in the inspirational West is draining away, and I need to get back to the ambitious optimism of Smith to recharge. Really though, I want to just go back to the beginning of this summer, or even farther back, before Emily got sick, or even farther back, before I was lonely and miserable at a new school, or even farther, before I was lonely and miserable at my old school, or even FARTHER, when my sisters and I didn't all take up so much emotional room that our house wasn't big enough for the three of us. I usually live in the future, but now it's too scary, and I just want to crawl back into the comfortable familiarity of the past and be back at Olmsted. Because right now, that's the most recent time in my life when things made sense and felt safe.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

End of Summer

I actually didn't realize that my first Utah post went up, so I'm sorry I haven't updated since. Too much has happened since that post for me to write it all out now. My friend Carolyn tried to make a list of all the problems we've had this summer and it ran three pages long. Interpersonal drama, Life Flights in Wilderness areas, boy scout rescues, and mass sicknesses aside though, I've had a great summer. Life-changing in fact. Everything changes your life, but this summer has been Big. Being out West has made me think a lot about my life, and I think I have a better idea of what I need to do in order to feel happy and fulfilled. I need to stop saying I'm not an outdoorsy person for one thing, and I need to develop some skills that will help me survive my outdoorsiness. This isn't going to be my last Big Outdoors Summer. I don't want it to be. I want to be an SCA high school crew leader the summer after next, before I go into the Peace Corps., and I want to get my red card (Somehow. I'm not sure how to get it, or where they offer certification in Western New York or Western Mass for that matter. I'm also not sure where I'm going to get the money for the course, but I'll work that out. It'll more than pay for itself if I get to work on a fire crew for a summer, especially if I'm stationed somewhere sweet.) and work a fire crew. (I don't want to be a fire jumper though, Mum, so you should stop telling people that I do.)
Anyway, since I've come to this conclusion, that I am going to have an outdoorsy life, I'm going to have to make one obvious change, and probably others later on. Rugby isn't going to be the center of my life anymore. I love rugby, and I'm going to keep playing, but it's so consuming. I'm going to have to make room for other things. It's a good thing really, going on the Smith Outdoors backpacking trips and whatnot will introduce me to a new set of people.
A few years ago when I first got a decent backpack and sleepingbag, EGA commented on how now I was committed to living an outdoorsy life, since I had put so much money into it. That isn't going to change I guess. The boys on my crew are sometimes delightful, (sometimes felons too, but that's another story) but their major downfall is that they would rather talk about gear than anything. They LOVE gear talk, even though it is cruelly boring. Now I wish I had been listening though, because I'm going to need at least some gear, now that I've made this decision. I'm going to become one of those people that spends hours and hours at REI- my crewmates have corrupted me. I laughed, earlier this summer when everyone was talking about their boots (my entire crew, minus me, and the ever-sensible Ellen, has the same boots. Beautiful boots. These boots.) and how they spent three hundred dollars on them. That would pay for my books for a semester! And yet here I am. It's sad in a way. It's like running though, it should be the cheapest hobby out there- going into the wilderness! You shouldn't need to spend anything!- but it's actually pretty expensive. I need a new sleepingbag too, all the loft has gone out of mine. That can wait awhile, but I'm still browsing jobs as I think about this.
Financial woes aside, I hope I've learned some good sense this summer too. I tend to not regret mistakes once the initial sting has gone, and view them as Learning Experiences, but I need to not forget why it was a mistake. I think I've done it this time though, because I'm not sure that I haven't left a huge permanent scar that'll serve as a reminder. Without going into details, I seem to have developed an unfortunate taste for redneck. It's going to make dating in Massachusetts really unfortunate if it proves to be a lingering thing, but I'm not viewing myself as single right now, in the sense that you're only unemployed if you're seeking employment. So I'm going to focus on other things until I'm positive I can handle...I don't even know, the complications that come with trying to get close to someone. Maybe I'll be ready in a year or five.
I can't imagine going back to Smith, but I'm really excited too. I ended a chapter last night, and even though it was an interesting one, I'm excited for what's next.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


So I was going to try and go three months without going online, but the lure of the public library was too much for me. I am weak.

Utah is amazing. We didn't have any work today, so we went to this thing called The Fairy Forest. It's this place in the woods where all the hippies come to use drugs, and they've decorated it with painted rocks and Halloween decorations and whatnot. It's ten cool, but we had to go during the day because it's constantly being raided at night.

We're spiking out soon-ish, but there's time if people want to send me warm stuff. We got caught in a snow storm today, and the Forest Service guys have been saying we should expect it to be in the twenties at night on the mountian. Brr...It's so weird, because just last weekend I was at Canyonlands and Arches, getting sunburned. Utah is just like that I guess.

Anyway, there's too much to report, so I'll just say that I'm having fun, making friends, and there are no cute guys, but there are some very nice ones.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Best. Podcast. Ever.

I love Dan Savage's podcast "Savage Lovecast". It's funny, and educational and I highly recommend it.
I leave for Utah on Saturday. I was scared, but now I feel better. I talked to the project leader the other day, and he told me we have a week of training before we start work. That was very reassuring.
I've already started planning out letters that I'm going to write. I love writing letters, but I recognize the silliness of planning out what I'm going to say about the stars before I even see them myself.
I love SCA, I'm so glad I get to do this.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm Not Very Bright You Know

Without going into details, I got my worst report card in a long time. I should feel upset, but I really just feel relieved. I'm glad I finally got my grades. They are going to haunt me, and my life is arguably ruined, if you have a very loose definition of ruined (ruined = ...yeah ok, my life is clearly not ruined.), but now I feel like it's summer. I can let go of this past semester, heck, this past year, and move onto the next thing as a wiser person. It has been a long year. I wouldn't say it's been a bad year, but lots of bad things happened. More than usual. Here I am though, on the other side, feeling optimistic. I'm going to do better next semester, and things will work out. This all reminded me of Puzzle, from The Last Battle. He's a very sweet character, even if he is stupid, but I understand Eustace when he tells him that things would have been better if instead of harping on about how not bright he is, he instead tried to be as bright as possible. Smith is a hard school. It might be a little too hard for me to do as well as I did at Geneseo, but that isn't any reason to not do my best. It's more reason to work as hard as I possibly can. So I'm not going to beat myself up about my grades, but I am going to learn from this experience and do better. I'm also going to unpack my stuff, because it really is summer, and my parents want their living room back.