Thursday, July 30, 2009

I officially have 22 days until I go to college. Wow.

I'm not really sure what else I wanted to say other than how surprisingly close college is. I've been looking at schools since literally the fourth grade and now that my wait is basically over I'm becoming a little slap-happy.
I recently found out that my calculus credits from Seton Hall transfered to UVM so I switched into calc II ( i might be crazy) which means that after this semester I never have to take calculus again. Whoo! I also changed my chemistry lab up so instead of it being late night on a thursday it is now early in the morning on a wednesday and only has 10 people in it. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Currently my body clock tells me to wake up around 8 I'm hoping that I remember to pack this clock with me come August.
I'm a little worried about fitness. UVM's campus is definitely walkable so I'm planning to walk most of the time but when those huge storm clouds roll in carrying rain and sleet and snow and hail I may just have to take the bus. Which brings me to another issue, public transportation. I do not know how to use it. Yes the busses on campus only make like 5 stops and I think that there is only one line but I guarantee you that I will miss a class at least once because of them. Going back to fitness I'm looking at the class schedules and they don't quite match up with my schedule. It looks like I am going to have to take a 6:30 am spinning class if I want to get cardio in.
As far as the dorm situation goes I am a happy camper. I found out that I got into the GreenHouse which is basically a dorm where the students sign a contract to "greenafye" their life. I'm pretty stoked about this. I want to learn how to live a green lifestyle so that I can lessen my impact on the earth throughout my life. The dorms are also located in the newest (eco-friendly) and nicest dorms on campus. I'm pretty sure I only have to share a bathroom with a max of 3 other people and we have a fire place.
If you want to check it out here's a link. Click on "Virtual Tour"
I don't know who my roommate is yet. I find that out the middle on August which is only a week before I leave which means that I don't have much time to coordinate who brings the microwave and who brings the mini-fridge, or who is going to stock up on bathroom cleaning supplies (one down side to the GreenHouse is that we clean our own bathrooms). I suppose these things will work themselves out.
I've been going college shopping crazy lately. I have everything I need minus laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, a mirror and my books. I can't buy books until August 8th which makes me a little nervous. UVM has this thing where if you buy stuff through the campus store they pack it and bring it to your room for you so that its there on moving day which is great except for that fact that you can't get a Chemistry book for less that $150. My plan is to go through Amazon and buy books for $5 but I just don't know if they will be shipped home in time.

Thats about it. Lots of stuff to look forward to. I still can't believe that its actually happening.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sunny Arizona

So if you happened to be in my English class this past year and you listened to me rant some time in February you would know that my previously divorced cousin moved out to Arizona, married a man who was also previously divorced with children, and then proceeded to get pregnant. You would also know that I was not happy with this arrangement.

Our flight was scheduled for 6am which of coursemeans that we need to be out of the house by the god awful hour of 3am. So whatever, I get up, get on the plane take, my aisle seat and fall back to sleep (we even get the seats right behind first-class so there's ample leg room). Life is good until about two hours before touchdown when a very large French woman needed to see out the window, more specifically my window. I don't know whether the window in her aisle had disappeared or was covered by a large gorilla but either way she apparently couldn't see out of it For the first fifteen minutes that she stood there, literally half an inch away from me, I pretended not to notice her. I stared blankly at the movie screen in front of me and waited for her to go away. Fifteen minutes later she hadn't left. She was actually leaning over me and resting on my seat. Her large armpit was inches away from my face as she tried to get a better view of the sky. At this time I gave my mother a look of "get this woman away from me" and she proceeded to give the same look to the large French woman. When the large French woman realized that perhaps she might be a nuisance she said in her broken French accent"I want to look out the window"(Oh you want to look out the window! Well why didn't you just say so? Come sit on my lap and I'll braid your hair while you get a good view of the sky.) as if a simple explanation of why she was practically laying on me made it all better. The large French woman continued to stand there until the captain signaled the " Fasten Seatbelt" sign. Thank the good lord for that sign. I was finally able to breathe oxygen instead of her CO2. After the flight I ran off the plane and practically took a shower in the ladies room. The idea of her body touching mine still makes me want to wash my hands. Ugh.

We got off the plane and were ready for our next adventure: the rental car. Originally we were going to get a regular car, no gizmos, no gadgets, but through the wonderful persuasion of the rent-a-car person we decided to get a convertible with a GPS. We were told that this was a great idea. Since we were coming from rainy New Jersey we would love putting the top down and enjoying Arizona's sun. There was only one problem with this logic, it was 116 degrees in Arizona and even moving at 75mph (the actual speed limit there!) it still felt like 116 degrees. But do not worry we kept the top down for the half hour drive to the restaurant and a got a tan line from that half hour ride so all is well. Oh one more thing, on our drive out of the rent-a-car place the "oil change" light came on and the breaks squeaked. Keep that last tidbit in mind for later.

After breakfast the day was spent by the pool where I got to know my new relatives. And they are all great. Even baby Kate. I don't usually like babies but this one got me thinking that maybe they are not all to bad. I was really nervous around her at first but by the end of the trip I was starting to catch on to the whole feeding/burping/bouncing thing.

I actually really like the man that my cousin married and even more bizarre I really like his children. So I suppose that I was a little to hasty to judge my cousin's decisions. It was really hard to leave on wednesday and we actually had our flight pushed back so that we could stay longer with the family.

When we weren't with the family my mom and I toured all of northern Arizona. I don't know about you but I was always under the impression that Arizona was a flat dessert. Perhaps this is just my American geographical ignorance, but never did I think that I would be climbing mountains. I was wrong. Remember those squeaky brakes I was telling you about before? Well they are a lot squeakier when you are barreling down a twisty turney mountain eight THOUSAND feet about sea level. You definitely get what you pay for. We used Dollar rental cars. I don't recommend you do. The first day (monday) as a mother/daughter couple, we drove for five hours to get here:

That my friends is the Grand Canyon. It is seriously one of the most magnificent places that I have ever been to. There are no guard rails and no one keeping you from getting to close to the edge. (Funny fact: there is actually a book about all of the deaths at the Grand Canyon whether it be suicide or sheer stupidity lots of people fell off.) So since there were absolutely zero boundaries between me and certain death every time I went a little to far for my mother's comfort she gave me worrisome "Be Careful" and I responded with a jump or two in the direction opposite of my mother. Its good that she loves me so much.
Here are a few pictures of the three hour ride back to flagstaff AZ:

I just want to take a moment to say how much I love the midwest. It's so big and there is so much free land. The rush hour in Phoenix is like normal traffic on rt. 80. It's just great. And the weather is perfect because although it reaches scorching temperatures there is no humidity. Eighty degrees in AZ is absolutely wonderful and unlike in New Jersey there is zero sweating involved.

The next day we drove to Sedona Arizona which was where my cousin got married. We hiked the same trail that she and her bridesmaids hiked and wondered how she could have possibly done it wearing a big poofy white dress, in three inch heels, and very pregnant. It was a tough climb but again absolutely gorgeous. Sedona also has a lot of Indian (no I'm not being politically incorrect thats what they want to be called out there) jewelry and artifacts and what makes it better is that it's cheap. I bought a hand made set of jade earrings from an Indian man that would cost over 20 bucks in NJ for 8 dollars. Here are some pics of Sedona:

The middle picture is a scale of just how large the place really was and the picture on the right is called Bell Rock which was the rock we climbed.

So that was really the trip. My mom and I laughed a lot and had an absolutely wonderful time, the car did not break down or go over the edge and I learned that I should trust people's decisions more often. Perhaps I am not always right.

I have one more picture to show you guys. On the first day that we were there I learned that my cousin's husband does not like to eat vegetables or strange food so on my endeavors I found a box of larvae, fried and coated with a mexican spice. Needless to say I bought it because after all who wouldn't try larvae if given the option? He would not eat it but the rest of us did!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Alabama comes to NYC

Yesterday I went to the city to see my friend Imran. I met him at Cornell last summer and I can honestly say that he is one of the funniest people that I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Unfortunately he lives in Alabama and I have an uncanny fear of the south (toothless hicks with banjos just aren't my thing) so after I left Cornell last July I never expected to see him again. Luckily I was wrong. Here's how the day unfolded:

11:00 - I breathlessly run onto a train headed towards NYC. I literally just made it in time.
11:01- I begin to read my book.
11:07 - Two hispanic women with a very loud conversation between them board the train. I didn't learn much Spanish in high school but I did learn that "puta" means bitch/whore, and these women used that word a lot. My attention was therefore ripped from the pages of my book and spent solely on trying to translate these two "putas" (if they call themselves/each other that I can too right?) . From what I understood they were talking about finding socks and eating fish? I really have no idea what they were saying but I was pleased when I picked up on a singular words like "tambien" (me too) or trabajando (working). Five years of Spanish was obviously time well spent.
11:20 - Enough Spanish for the day I went back to reading.
11:40- Look at the meadow lands! I always thought that something with the name meadow in it would include fawns, and baby rabbits frolicking about while birds carrying holly leaves swooping overhead. Like this:

Instead the Meadowlands had absolutely zero wildlife in them. And how could you expect them to when it looks like this:

I saw multiple tires just floating in the water corroded by numerous toxic wastes. Seriously people this is despicable. It kills me that I live in a state where people think that it's absolutely fine to dump their garbage on the side of the road or toss their empty McDonalds bag out the car window. And you know why people think it's ok? Because they have no one to tell them that it's not. Yes the government is beginning to pass more laws on recycling and becomming environmentally aware but until there are stricter punishments or even a slap on the wrist every time a person pollutes, things aren't going to change fast enough.
Ok thats enough about that...I've said my peace back to the trip.

11:45 - Someone sits down next to me on the train and then immediately gets up and sits next to someone else. Apparently I smell.
12:27 - The train arrives at Pen Station I get out and follow the crowd to the upper level.
12:28 - I find 7th Ave and am on my way. I command respect and I own the city look at me go.
12:29 - I went the wrong way. I learned that I don't know how to read street signs. I am lost.
12:35 - Back on track I again rule the world look at me go.
12:45 - I arrive at our meeting place M&M world. He is not here yet so I stand outside of it for 10-15 minutes looking like a creeper. Good thing that there were cute boys there also looking like creepers. We did not talk. We did however lock eyes and blink at one another which meant that I was allowed to join their creeper corner so I did.
1:00 - Imran arrives we embrace and then walk for a good two hours during which we eat at Rays pizza (so good), look at every street vender and finally buy a pashmina, search for the perfect pair of cheap flip-flops and succeed at Modells, explain to numerous people that "no we do not like comedy in fact we both detest laughing", and enjoy a drink and detoxing wheat grass shot at Jamba Juice (Incase you were wondering, wheat grass shots literally taste like grass. I do not recommend them to anyone who is not on a grass only diet and/or enjoys the taste of grass...Katie perhaps you should try one).
3:00 - We headed over to Central Park (I directed us and no we did not get lost) and stayed there for a bit. This was my first time in Central Park and I wonder why I was never taken there sooner. If I ever moved to NYC I believe that I would take up residence in the park. Probably in the tunnel where the man with the saxophone plays. I could steal some of the food given to the zoo animals and live a very happy life. (If life does not go as planned this has become my Plan B so in 5-10 years if you ever visit the park, remember me please) . We chilled on the grass for a bit but then it was time to leave.
4:30 - We leave Central Park to walk a dreaded forty-nine blocks all the way to Greenwich Village which is about three miles. We walked straight down 5th Avenue and passed all the stores I would never enter in fear that the shop keepers would see my Old Navy wardrobe, call security and have me escorted to the Gap sale isle. They were gorgeous though. We saw Louis Vuitton, Tiffany's, Yves St. Laurent, and my personal favorite Burberry. We continued our walk past St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Empire State Building. We saw a part of NYU's campus and then met my parents at Alta's ( for a six o'clock reservation on west 10th Street. Yum was it good. There were no courses and the plates were small so the waiter advised us to each order about three things and that the food came out as soon as it was finished cooking (hence no courses). The chard baby octopus was my favorite. It was a very casual style eating and it got very loud (I was literally yelling my order to the waiter) but that means that everyone enjoyed themselves. After dinner the waiter advised us to go to Magnolia's Bakery for dessert but Imran had to get back to Brooklyn so we passed on that (I vow to go back one day and try it).

Over all it was a great day. And besides the one fopaux in the beginning I directed us to and from where we needed to be and did it with style. Imran has told me today that his legs are "dead" and that he's "not used to walking at a NYC pace" that "people in Alabama don't walk fast because they never have a mission". Well we had a mission, and we got everything accomplished but unless UVM kicks me out today I don't really need to go back to the city for a while.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

These past two days I have been on Long Beach Island with three boys and a girl all aged 16-18 Here is what I learned:

1. If you are in a car alone with three boys they will take control of the music and you will lose your hearing - Music on the trip ranged from head banging heavy metal, to rap, to screamo music all of which was played as loud as my poor little civic could handle. Imagine a car literally packed with white kids blasting Afroman's "Colt 45" while driving down a predominantly rich white neighborhood , we got many looks of contempt as we ruined a whole bunch of old ladies naps.

2. Be straight with boys and they will be straight with you - I had an amazing heart to heart with my guys and loved it. I shared, they shared, life is great.

3. Jumping in the ocean will leave whole shells in your bathing suit - 'nuff said.

4. Generally the object of a vacation is to make you happy if this is the case don't see "My Sister's Keeper" - absolutely wonderful movie , I will watch it again and again and cry every single time but that's the problem it was a bit of a downer.

5. Mini-golf can become a very competitive contact sport - When five people are trying to get five golf balls in one hole at one time noses may bleed and feeling may be hurt. Expect it.

6. Not every ice-cream place is as nice and friendly as the J-Dairy - the ice-cream workers down there were nasty each and every one of them.

7. When playing slots, the combination 7/3cherries/7 makes 300 tickets come out, this takes an incredible amount time. People will gawk (even though we only won tickets) and when it happens twice the guards begin to look at you funny. It also seems that no matter how many tickets you win the prizes are always crap. For example we won over 2000 tickets and we won a deck of cards and a paper chinese checker board.

8. It gets very hot when you and two others sleep on a pull out couch, especially when they play the "push CarolAnn off the bed game"

9. If ever offered a few days stay at a beach house with friends take it. I have to say, I laughed a whole lot on this trip and pretty much enjoyed every moment of it. I really do love my boys. Now it is time to go find a hearing aid.