Monthly Archives: September, 2005

A Strangely Good and God-Filled Day

The Friday Five:
1. What kind of computer do you have? (Mac, iBook, Dell, etc.) I have a Dell Inspiron 1150 laptop.
2. How old is it? Are you happy with it? It’s just under a year and a half old. It was a graduation present from my parents. I could use better speakers, but I don’t listen to music on my computer all that often. Sometimes I get lag, like today, and last week it froze twice, but usually it runs fine. I scratched up the lid when I was installing my wireless card, which upset me a lot, but I’ve moved on.
3. How many computers are in your household? (at home if you are away at school) What a thoughtful question-writer. We have three computers at home when I’m there. One is a Dell desktop that still has the old HP’s monitor. The other is so old it doesn’t have a recognizable brand. We use it as a backup, and that’s where the rugrats load all the random game compilations they get at Target for $10.
4. What are your favorite games/timewasters on your computer? Like Ms. Rowling, I love Minesweeper. My beginner level record is 16 seconds. I also like Solitaire. To compound the time-wasting capabilities, I taught myself to play Solitaire using only the keyboard. I don’t remember how to anymore, though.
5. If money were no object, what kind of computer would you like to have? If I could make mine lighter, fix the screen, and get a bigger hard drive (like I need it) and better speakers, it’d be perfect.

I have had two good days. They both had the little annoyances that would usually drive me up the wall, but for some reason, I’m okay. As I say, I’m not going to argue; I’ll just go with it.

I read the poem “November and Aunt Jemima” for ENGL 301, loved it, and used it for my poetry analysis. It’s got all that symbolism and image business that usually upsets me so much about poetry, but it was just. so. awesome. We weren’t allowed to consult any secondary sources, so it wasn’t until I Googled after I turned in my paper that I found out the author, Thylias Moss, is a woman. I’m glad I went with an uncertainly-gendered “speaker” — Word says I didn’t use “he” or “his” anywhere except to refer to Christ. I had trouble when I started writing, but Maura told me to “just get it out”. Her advice worked like a charm, and I was only up half an hour later than usual finishing it. My paper is titled “Casting Pancakes”. Here’s the text of the poem. I have posted it on our door, decorated with a cute but subject-inappropriate butterfly corner border.

November and Aunt Jemima

We sit at the table and that is grace,
the way one commits the prelude to kowtowing
by folding into the chair.

Usually we eat as if on a subway,
among strangers, standing to avoid the
toilet seat. Today, though, is Thanksgiving

so guilt bibs us, an extra place
is set for Aunt Jemima, the pancake box
occupies the chair, the family resemblance

unmistakeable. Hips full as Southern Baptist
tents but of a different doctrine.
Teeth white as the shock of lynching, thirty-two

tombstones. Despite the headrag
neither she nor her sister that bore me
are mistaken for gypsies.

The color of corrosion, she is not called
classic. The syrup that is the liquid
version of her skin flows like the promised

milk and honey so once a year we welcome
her. Even Christ would not be welcome every
day. Especially Christ who cannot come

without judgment just as she cannot come
without pancakes, flat, humane stones
still thrown at her by those whose sins

being white are invisible as her pain, the
mix in the box after the grinding of bones.
                                     — Thylias Moss (1990)

Here is a list of other good things that happened yesterday:

  • My printer worked when I printed out my paper in the morning before class (no printer demons).
  • I only got caught in drizzle of rain on my way to church.
  • I made it to church on time, even though I got sidetracked helping my mom format her contribution to the family reunion book. (I’m not going to the reunion. They can say I had to study, which I inevitably will be doing.)
  • I got to lector at noon Mass. I missed the other pages of the lector sign-up list, so all the noon Sunday masses (except this weekend, which I took) are taken. I kind of want to switch to 10 AM, but then I’d have to get up at 6:30 on Sundays (I wash my hair before church), and I wouldn’t get to go with my friends. I think God was saying, you’ll get to lector regardless of when it happens. You’re good at it. Just show up and be ready.
  • I hadn’t been able to receive communion under both species for three Masses in a row because I thought I might still be sick, but I was well enough to finally do it again.
  • I got a response to my search for a Comm interview subject, and she can meet at the time that works best for me. I’ll miss Thursday Mass next week, though.
  • When I was sifting through my new roll of quarters as I did my laundry, I found a Canadian quarter. So random.
  • I understood the one ARHU reading I managed to get through (St. Thomas Aquinas, “The Five Ways of Knowing God,” from Summa Theologica). I had a discussion with Maura as we were getting ready for class about how most of the ARHU material goes right over my head, and then I finally understood. (God again? Thomas Aquinas was a saint, after all.)
  • I dug up an example of metaphysics to contribute to our ARHU discussion. I rarely manage to contribute, so that was a big deal.
  • I had a lovely dinner with a bunch of HH friends, Maura, and her friend Jen.
  • I went to the Commons Shop with Alex and had lovely conversation.
  • It was tv premiere night on the WB. Fortress of solitude! Forrest! (Remember him from Buffy?) James Marsters! Everwood!

That has been such a lovely end to the week, since going into it sucked. I didn’t go out or do anything fun, even just watching Joan, all weekend. I spent Sunday after church working on my Comm project paper in preparation for meeting with my partner, Pia. I had such a terrible time with that paper. I had to get through a bunch of journal articles and books, and manage to incorporate that into a paper with some kind of structure. It sucked. We met again on Monday night and smoothed it out, but that has to be among the worst research papers I’ve written. I guess it’s because I’m not studying special education, so I’m not invested in it. I’m in it for the grade. I wouldn’t be taking Comm if I didn’t have to. And since I had to meet with Pia, I missed 7th Heaven. Boo. I spent Tuesday night working on the accompanying question outline for my interview, which is also a piece of crap. I don’t expect bad grades on them, but I’m getting to know my teacher, and I think entertaining him somehow would have been a good idea. Ugh. At least we watch good media clips in that class: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, an episodeThe West Wing, The Muppet Movie, and Lost in Translation today.

Wednesday morning was icky because I hadn’t had time to read for (ENGL) 280, and I was running out of cereal. In Spanish class, I’d misunderstood the assignment, so I didn’t have my homework. That’s a rarity. I spent Wednesday afternoon procrastinating on the aforementioned 301 paper. Maura’s friend Greg (a totally different Greg than I usually write about) came over, so we all talked for a while, then went to dinner with Dan. After dinner, Maura kick-started me, like I said.

That whole list was about yesterday. Today was also relatively good. I actually did eat the last of my cereal this morning. I got sidetracked online and felt late for 280, but I was early as usual. We discussed verb forms and tensed. I geeked out with Danielle on the way up toward the SC Diner. My mom called a few days ago to tell me Jenny sent me Amazon Wishlist presents for my birthday: Men in Black on DVD, and a grammar book called Woe Is I. I’m so excited. In Spanish class, we shared “confessions”, starting with our teacher. It was her unique way of practicing preterite tense verbs. Comm discussion was kind of interesting, because in the scene we watched, Scarlett Johansson’s and Bill Murray’s characters were totally into each other… but we had to prove it beyond “they’re giving each other ‘the look.'” It was an interesting class, especially since I wasn’t as end-of-the-week mopey as I usually am.

No plans for tonight. Maybe some homework, so I don’t have to do as much for the rest of the weekend. I might go shopping with Maura on Sunday. Gah. I need something to do. You know how to reach me.

Sniffly and SAD

The Friday Five
1. Do you have a dream you will always strive to achieve until your dying day? If I die having never published a book, I’ll be very upset. Well, I’ll be upset right before then, but obviously not afterward.
2. Do you believe in fate or free will, or something else? I believe in God and free will. We can choose everything about our lives, right down to accepting or rejecting God. He has a plan, but we have to choose whether to follow it.
3. Marilyn Monroe. Conspiracy or tragic accident? Um?
4. Favorite childhood sweets/candy? I used to love Gummi Bears. Now they’re too sweet for me. I don’t eat much candy.
5. Favorite cocktail (alcoholic or virgin) and its ingredients? I don’t drink at all, not even non-alcoholic versions.

Ugh. School sucks. I have two and a half papers coming up. For Comm, I have to arrange an in-person interview with a special education teacher. I also have to submit a very long outline of potential questions to ask. In addition, I have to write a 4-6 page group paper. That’s all due Wednesday. ON TOP OF THAT, I’ll have to do a group presentation in mid-October. On our info sheets, my teacher asked us if we would have elected to take the class if it weren’t a requirement. The little foresight I have prompted me to choose “no”. How true that has become.

My other paper is for ENGL 301. We have to explicate a poem. That’s basically what I did last semester for my workshop, and I got a B+ on that paper, so I’m not terribly worried. I don’t like poetry very much, though. Much of a poem’s significance begins and remains in the author’s head. I like to know definitively what something means. It’s frustrating when I’m being graded on something that the grader won’t really know is correct or incorrect. Maybe the lovely, dark, deep woods is just a big clump of trees! It doesn’t have to be sex, or death, or obligation. Some poems really are just about trees.

On my way… somewhere… on Tuesday, I heard a guy in a convertible playing “Stars.” I was very excited. I’ve recovered from the fiasco that was trying to rip the songs from Nothing Is Sound. Wandering around the official site last night, I discovered a forum post from one of the band members. It’s comforting, knowing the band is as upset about the DRM on their CD as I am. Also, as one of the later posters noted, it’s kind of cool that Sony considers Switchfoot popular enough to feel like they need to protect the CD.

I had a Spanish test on Wednesday. I think I did pretty well, especially if I got all the technical details in the “letter” we had to write. We’ve moved on to the preterite (past tense — why do we never talk about English’s preterite tense), which I don’t remember at all. Much less fun than the first section, when I knew stuff. Last night at dinner, Dan’s friend, another Jewish guy, turned out to speak fluent Spanish. So when he asked me what classes I had and I told him, he asked me something in very fast Spanish, to which I replied, “I have no idea what you just said.” But sometimes I have to say that to Dan, too.

On Tuesday night, Maura and I went to a women’s Fiat Dinner at the CSC. Fr. Bill cooked baked ziti and chicken, with homemade bread. It was fabulous. I see why Wednesday dinner is so popular. We ate, then Fr. Bill sister told us the story of how she became a sister (nuns are usually cloistered; all the “nuns” you’ve ever seen are probably actually sisters). They’re planning a dinner every month, each on a different vocation. I’ve thought about religious life, but I don’t know. I had a good time, though, and plan on going back next month.

Also at the CSC, I went for lector training Thursday night. For those that don’t know, lectors read the first and second scripture readings at Mass, and the psalm when it’s not sung. I’ve lectored once before, in 8th grade CCD. (Every class had to help at one Mass, so I volunteered to lector when it was my class’s turn.) Since I went back to church, I wanted to be a lector again, so when the call for new lectors showed up in the bulletin, I replied… and I’ll be reading tomorrow. Cool. The hardest words I’ll have to say are “Philemon” and “Ezekiel”… so let’s hope I don’t sneeze or anything.

Sneezing… I had a cold this week. I was sniffling Wednesday night, by Thursday evening my eyes were watering, and yesterday, when I finally gave in and took some DayQuil, I was still sniffly and watery-eyed. This morning was sketchy, too, but I seem to be okay now.

I volunteered at the Sign Language Club table for the First Look Fair. I was supposed to be there 11-12, between 301 and church-and-lunch, but when I went out there, the table was empty. Sick, hot, and achy, I walked back to the dorm. Then Age called to ask where I was. I’d had a feeling that would happen, but chose to ignore it because I was sick and frustrated. She was fine, though, so I went out there for an hour after church and a fast lunch with Sara and Hana. It was very hot, and I was in direct sunlight, but I managed to read a little for ARHU and sign some people up for the listserv. Yay for recruitment.

That was basically my whole week. In my quest to find an interview subject, I called a PG County office in Adelphi, but the woman whose voicemail I eventually got (I was frazzled and forgot to write down her name… crap) hasn’t called me back yet. I booked it to Hornbake to check the Alumni Directory, but they only list by year or current address. I found a bunch of people who live in Adelphi, but work other places. A lot of them work on campus; not surprising. One is the principal of DeMatha.

It’s gloomy and cloudy outside, and I have so much work to do. As I was telling Maggie, Alex, and Annie at breakfast this morning, sometimes my emotional reaction to dimness makes me think I have SAD. Then I realize it’s probably just that thing where I try to diagnose myself with a disorder so I’m not just weird.

No Talking

Friday Five: Can You Hear Me Now?
1. Who is your mobile phone provider, and how many minutes are in your plan? Cingular. I really have no idea how many minutes I get. My parents are still letting me piggyback on their family plan, so I just talk. I used to spend hours talking to Greg, and we have rollover, and I rarely call anyone anyway, so I never worry about my minutes. My parents are so awesome sometimes.
2. What program do you primarily use for instant messaging? AIM. Even the older version of Yahoo!Messenger was better, but everyone uses AIM, and I’m a lemming more than I’d like to admit.
3. Who do you send and receive text messages from most? No one, really. I used to text Greg at least twenty times a day, but now I rarely text. It’s kind of sad, because the only reason I have the phone I do (which flips open to a full keyboard) is my former passion for texting.
4. What area code do you live in? 301. (Misread that as “zip code” at first.)
5. What year did you first get an e-mail address and do you still use it? Umm… I’m going to say 1996. We got the Internet about two years before we left Japan, so that’s probably it. It was a Hotmail account, with my full name as the username. I abandoned it when we moved, since we didn’t have the Internet in Germany (for all three years; how inconceivable (Princess Bride!) now).

This week was pretty busy. I was only busy with studying, though, of course. Maura and I went to Mass with Rebecca and ran into Jimmy and Tom there. We three girls ate together afterward. Maura got all sentimental as she and I were walking to the Chapel. We’ve been to Mass together before; this time we just left from the same room. But Maura gets excited like that a lot. Let’s hope it’s contagious.

I had an interesting comm class on Monday. Our reading assignment was the chapter on nonverbal communication. When we got to class, we rearranged the desks into two rows, with two desks facing each other going down the row. The people on the right were Stayers; on the right, Movers. I was a Mover. Our teacher (“Art”) handed out slips of paper face-down with words written on the other side. He told us, “Your task is to get the other person to guess your word. The only rule is that there is no talking.” Then he set us to it, and hilarity ensued. The guy across from me in my first pair guessed my word wrong, but I didn’t understand that he thought he’d gotten mine. His word was impossible. So the Movers kept moving, the Stayers stayed, and people got more creative as the exercise went on. Some people had really easy words. The other Lindsay had “wall,” highly convenient as she was sitting next to one. One guy had “color.” I didn’t get “book,” and almost got “loneliness.” My word was “tired,” which I had great fun acting out. The “biggest, whitest guy in the class” got “racism.” He drew a picture of cars in a race, then once I’d gotten “race,” he pointed to the second drawing. It was adorable once I understood later: Two stick figures, one shaded, with a “GRR!” going from the plain stick figure to the shaded one.

After we regrouped, our teacher asked, “Why didn’t you just show your cards?” We were immediately speechless. He’d been very clear that the only rule was no talking. We’d drawn pictures, written clues, mimed. One guy cheated by looking ahead to the next Mover so he could get the clue sooner. I still say that by giving the cards out face-down, he established a schema of secrecy. Despite our denseness, I actually had fun in class.

I went to Adele’s with Hana, Megha, Rebecca, and Andrew Tuesday night. Megha and Hana had mentioned an Adele’s earlier in the week, but hadn’t mentioned a time, so I left a note in my away message when I went to go study. Hana had IMed, telling me to meet the girls there at 5; it was 5 when I got the messaged. Andrew had also IMed, saying he was interested in going. I tried to call Hana, but I got her voicemail, so I called Megha. I told Megha about Andrew, simultaneously asking Andrew if he wanted to go. Then Megha’s phone broke up, so I waited for her to call back. She called back, and I told Andrew to meet us all there, but before I could finalize that, Maura called from outside the building. She’d forgotten her card and needed me to let her in. So, I shoved on my flip-flops, put up a different away message, charged down the stairs to let Maura in, and scooted over to the Union. So many people have never wanted to talk to me at once. I felt strangely popular, in a “nerd amongst nerds” sort of way. But after being so frazzled, I was rewarded with friends and food. Our burgers were undercooked, but the fries were yummy as usual. It was an evening well spent.

Sign Language Club started back up on Wednesday night. It was good to see everyone again. Age took a sign language class over the summer; she’s the Education Officer now. My partner for introductions was named Roshan. He’s a so-called super senior. I still feel a little weird about SLC meetings. I don’t really know ASL, not even enough to really have a conversation. It’s not like Spanish class, where you can speak English when the teacher’s not paying attention, as long as you sprinkle Spanish in there. It’s kind of obvious if you’re speaking, period, when you’re supposed to be signing. It’s just… SLC is my one thing. In high school, It’s Ac was my thing, and I loved it. But I was good at that. I basically suck at Sign Language. I would just go join MAQT (think It’s Ac for UMD), but it’s a bigger time commitment. And I think they meet on Thursdays, which wouldn’t work because my ARHU section’s slot is until 6:30 on Thursdays. And if I got to compete, they travel on weekends. Not good for my studying. Or church, depending on when the competitions are.

Oh, ARHU. How I loathe thee. Except Buffy class; that was pretty cool. In a nutshell, it makes me feel dumb. That doesn’t happen often. Our first reading assignment was Hermann Hesse’s Glass Bead Game. We were supposed to have it for class last week, but only about four people in both sections managed it, so Tanya gave us another week. I was halfway through it last week. I almost finished it for this week; I had one and a half lives left. (As Dan pointed out at dinner tonight, that sounds like a video game.) Once again, much of the discussion flew over my head. Is there something wrong with me, or is everyone else just really good at theory of the humanities (or whatever it is we’re supposed to be studying in that class)? Andy totally gets it all, but he’s so well-read on all those theorists, it makes sense. Maggie’s good at those discussions too, but I can always understand her points better than Andy’s. I really hope this semester doesn’t turn out like last fall. I don’t know if I can go through that again. I try, I really do. It was only by the grace of God (and I mean that) that I managed to completely understand the articles when it was my week to present. I do like HH, but is suffering through another theory-laden ARHU semester worth it?

My Thursdays have a big gap: ENGL 301 gets out at 10:45, and then ARHU starts at 4. So, to fill the time, I study, go to church, and do my laundry. I’d always wanted to go to a midday Mass, but I hadn’t had time since I went back to Church. So now that I have the time, I go. This week, the CSC held its first ever Misa en español. Of course they’d have it on a Thursday, the one weekday Mass I attend. (If I don’t keep having to read for ARHU during my spare hour on Tuesdays, I might be able to swing it then, too.) I thought it was supposed to be next week, and I’d meant to get there before the rosary started, so I was all flustered when I first came in. The other girl in the pew (who was there last week, too — I should ask for her name next time) handed me a cheat sheet, though, so I managed to successfully say the response end of several Hail Marys (or rather, Dios te salve Marías). The girl and I shared a side-by-side copy of the Order of the Mass, but I was still mostly lost. It was interesting, though.

That makes me think. Is that what Latin Mass was like pre-Vatican II? (Before the Second Vatican Council in the 1960’s, Mass was always in Latin; now it’s usually “in the vernacular,” in the local language.) Did people just give the right response when it came along, or did they just say the right words, or did they understand? Was it a shock to be able to speak English and suddenly realize what they’d been saying the whole time? Were the readings in Latin? I come across a lot of apologetics on the Internet now, and one of the anti-Catholic arguments they usually list is against Latin Mass, because of a verse somewhere about not preaching to people in languages they don’t understand. Personally, I think it’d be cool to go to a Latin Mass. Having been to a Mass I didn’t really understand, the concept is slightly less cool now, but still.

As I was eating lunch today, my ENGL 202 teacher from last semester randomly sat down at my table. (When I sit alone at those big round tables in South Campus, I always expect one or two other single people to “join” me.) I didn’t think she recognized me, but she figured it out before she left.

After I got back from class, I spent some time fighting with my new Switchfoot CD. I took a break to trek down to BookHolders. I had to pick up a check and two books I’d requested back. It was a long, hot walk. On the way to Route 1, I could hear the marching band practicing. I almost wish I had a football ticket — they’re playing music from the score of The Incredibles! It sounded really good. I could barely contain my excitement. I was getting really sweaty, though, so it wasn’t too hard. I finally won my fight with the Switchfoot files after I got back (which you can read about in my LJ), then went to the South Campus Diner with Dan.

This morning, Danielle told me she was having a Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day party (yeah, I know), but I definitely didn’t want to go by myself, and everyone else was already out. I might go to see Sara’s play tomorrow, since I don’t want to be stuck in all weekend. I also could use a trip to Target, and maybe Old Navy for jeans.

I’m going to watch Joan and eat some M&M’s now.

Half an English Major

Friday Five
1) What was the first song you remember hearing and enjoying on the radio? I have no idea. I like listening to the radio a lot, though. I don’t like file-sharing, so the only way I can readily hear music I don’t own is through the radio.
2) If you could only listen to five CDs for a year, which five would they be? (Boxed sets can count as one CD. Sigh.)
(1) The Walk to Remember soundtrack,
(2) Michelle Branch’s Hotel Paper,
(3) the mix CD I made myself, called Splash,
(4) Now Volume 5, and
(5) *NSync’s No Strings Attached.
3) What was your favorite year, music-wise? I’m going with 2000. I’m still holding out for an *NSync reunion.
4) If you could witness one historical music event through all time, what would you pick, and why? Well, I watched almost all of Live 8 on tv, but it would have been amazing to have been there. Does that count? There was just so much great music in Philadelphia and in Hyde Park.
5) Do you have a song that never fails to cheer you up? What is it and why does it do that for you? I don’t have a cheer-up song. Maybe “Hedwig’s Theme”, but only because that reminds of Harry Potter, and HP never fails to make me happy.

Ah, Harry Potter. Ms. Rowling, you have produced the literary equivalent of crack, only they readily sell it to minors. We get a fix, and then we have to suffer through withdrawal for years before we can finally get more. I’m almost theorized to death. Even HPfGU has slowed down from the post-HBP onslaught. When I first subscribed, I would get three or four twenty-five-message emails a day, but now I get one every other day or so, with less than ten messages each. Much more manageable. Of course, I haven’t even begun to read post-HBP fic. It’s just shy of less than two months, and with school starting, people will be more apt to take their time and do good work, instead of churning something out the moment they have an idea. But alas, as this article puts it, fics and theories will have to be the “hair of the three-headed dog.”

Randomness: As Maura gleefully informed me just now, Hello Kitty has a boyfriend, Dear Daniel. He’s kind of cute. You know, for a cartoon cat.

I spent most of the weekend reading Hermann Hesse’s Glass Bead Game for ARHU. It’s about 550 pages, and we were supposed to start discussion this week, so I plowed through it as best I could. I was so wrapped up in it, I almost forgot to do my other homework. But I remembered by Labor Day Monday. It’s kind of sad, though, since that’s the last day we’ll have off until Thanksgiving.

My parents came up on Sunday to bring me some things I forgot. They didn’t remember my toothpaste, though. I miss it; the Commons Shop (CoSho?) didn’t have the kind I like. The dorms seem to be the only good thing about South Campus. South Campus Dining Hall isn’t that great — they don’t have weekend Testudo waffles! And the Commons Shop is nicer-designed than the Incon, but just as inconvenient.

It’s still better than Easton.

The annual Catholic Student Center Barbecue was Wednesday night. Maura and I went for the free food and company of other Catholic Terps; we ran into Eric and Crazy there. The new t-shirt is much nicer than the old one: it’s red and white, and the back says “Hail Mary Land.” UMD, football, and the Church all in one cute little slogan. We talked to Fr. Bill in line. Well, Maura did most of the talking. When I talked, it wound up like this:

Fr. Bill: You’ll have to read that book after Maura’s finished with it.
Maura: Oh, yeah, she’s into books like that.
Me: Yeah, I’m half an English major.
Fr. Bill: Oh, so you only read the beginnings of books.

I miss having a routine. I’m working on it, though. Language classes don’t meet on Thursdays, so I have this big gap between ENGL301 and ARHU, from 10:45am to 4pm. I came back from class yesterday, then went to Mass at noon and lunch afterward, where I ran into Sara and Hana. I hauled my laundry over to QA, but managed to forget my sheets and towels (I can’t bring myself to call them “linens”; that sounds so much fancier than stuff I bought at Target). My load finished in plenty of time for ARHU, so that might be how I spend my mid-Thursday days.

Today, walking back from the Book Exchange, I was talking to myself as usual, when a bug flew into my mouth. I panicked and kind of spit it out. It got caught on my lip because I was talking, so it wasn’t actually inside, but still. So many kinds of gross.

Incredibly Insane

This week’s Friday Five is going to tell you all very little about me you don’t already know.
1. What sport do you most enjoy watching on television (or tolerate most)? I don’t watch sports, on tv or in person.
2. If you could be really, really good at one sport (we’re talking world elite here), what would it be? I’ll go with cross-country, because it seems way more interesting than track, and if I were good at it, it might be relaxing.
3. Have you ever been active in some form of sports? Ha! No. I did gymnastics when I was about six, and I was bad at it. So bad. I still can’t do a cartwheel.
4. Would you rather be a computer geek or a sports geek? I’m closer to computer geek already. I’d rather be a great thinker than a fast runner.
5. What teams do you cheer for? Whatever school I’m at, but it’s cheering in the general sense of school spirit, not actual cheering or support.

I spent Saturday and Sunday packing gradually for my second move to campus. I still have that weird sense of never really being “home” anymore. Most of my friends are at school, but my family and my books (among other things) are at… uh, my parent’s house. When I’m on campus, “going home” can mean two very different things. And since I have no idea where I’ll end up as an adult (maybe/hopefully married), I might not really find “home” for another ten or fifteen years.

I think that was my second favorite part of Garden State. (The first being the “ellipsis”, because it’s nice to know I’m not the only person whose lexicon includes that word.)

I got to sleep in on Monday, but Dawson’s Creek had run around while I was working, so I could only watch the same reruns I always see. When my dad got back from work, we packed up and came to campus. Maura was out, so we just stacked my stuff haphazardly and went back home. We carried the first bit of it up the stairs, but then we got a cart from Queen Anne’s (the dorm next door; mine doesn’t have a desk). That was pretty much the highlight of my day.

On Tuesday, I had to get up early. I managed to finish packing and do my last load of laundry by about 11:15am, even though we planned to leave at 11. We went to Target on the way so I could return the dark blue sheets I bought. Maura was out again when we got to campus. We got the cart right away and managed to get everything in two trips. My dad insisted on cramming the last of my stuff into the cart on the second trip, but maneuvering it around the hill to the ground floor door was interesting, to say the least. Laundry carts are not easy to steer. (Reminds me of Halloween decorating on E4 last October. Good times.)

After we stacked the rest of my stuff, we went down to IKEA. We got a bit lost, but I stopped and asked one of the employees for help. I was looking for a rolling laundry hamper (since we don’t have a laundry room in this building), so we went down to Home Organization.

I was in heaven.

The hamper I got doesn’t roll, but it’s sturdier than the one I had last year, and the old one’s bottom is worn out from dragging it all year anyway. But that store… that section, really… oh, my. So many boxes and shelves and storage things — and all so cute and so cheap! Unfortunately, since I was with my dad and men don’t shop, I didn’t get to shop like I wanted to. What a great place to discover on my birthday.

My birthday was Tuesday, but I celebrated with my family on Sunday night. My mom had wanted to buy me a cake, even though she knows perfectly well how much I dislike store cakes. I have no problem with buying things instead of making them, but store bakeries use way too much frosting. I like to taste the cake, not just have a vague sense of crumbs in my frosting. Courtney volunteered to make my favorite cake for me. That was incredibly nice of her. There’s hope for that one yet.

My grandmother came over, and we ate cake and ice cream (fudge marble cake with chocolate frosting, and creamy vanilla ice cream), then did presents. It took forever, though, because my entire family is insane. I swear it must be genetic. A sample of our antics:

  • My grandmother notices the Breyer’s Extra Creamy ice cream, then comments on how hard it is to find creamy ice cream. I was like, “You mean like that kind right there?”
  • My mom, who actually likes a ton of frosting, bought herself a cake.
  • My mom cut my cake, then wiped off the cake server so she could cut her cake, but promptly forgot and got her fork all messy cutting that cake.
  • As my mom was reaching for my grandma’s cup to refill it, she accidentally knocked it all the way across the table and slid it right off the end. All I could do was watch in shock as it happened. Then we all cracked up.
  • My grandma comments on how much easier it is to put presents in gift bags than to wrap them. She asks Ryan to bring her the envelope with my card in it. He brings her purse (a bag).
  • I open Ryan’s card, but it’s in the bag with Courtney’s gift.
  • Then I reach into the bag Courtney gives me, but there’s no card, because it’s one of the bags from my parents.

Maybe you had to be there. But I laughed so hard for a good half-hour. It was the most enjoyable birthday celebration I’ve had in a while. I got new slippers (pink with Scottish terriers), a white hoodie (I get a new one every fall), and the first season DVDs of Joan of Arcadia, among other things. I’m so excited about Joan. Now I can see where it all began — why didn’t I start watching sooner? Stupid CBS. Nielsen ratings suck, too.

So back to move-in. It took a few hours to unpack and organize everything, but I managed to get it all set up. I think I did bring less than last year. My closet is smaller, though, and I have the top bunk, so I can’t put stuff under my bed. I’ll manage. I could use some more milk crates, but I’m good for now.

The first day of classes was okay. It was hot, which sucked. I hate being outside in the summer. My first class wasn’t until 11, though. I forgot how angry my alarm gets if I don’t turn it off right away, so it was beeping like mad when I finally got to it. I am not willing to break my neck scrambling down half-blind to shut it off, so I switched it to nature sounds. I used to only use that on weekends, since it’s a gentler awakening, but I also don’t want Maura to kill me in my sleep just so my alarm will quit bugging her. ENGL 280, Intro to the English Language, seemed very boring at first, but having had it twice now, it might not be so bad. It’s a requirement. English is such a complicated language. I’ve been speaking it for over a decade and there’s still more to learn before I can teach it.

The rest of my classes:

  • SPAN 103, Accelerated Intro to Spanish: I think I’ll do well. My teacher is from Argentina, so she’s the first real Spanish-speaking Spanish teacher I’ve had. I have some trouble following her, since she insists on speaking only Spanish (for now). I’ve taken Spanish before, but not since freshman year of high school (which is why I didn’t go straight to 201, which I need to fulfill that requirement), so I remember a lot of what we’re doing. I still need work, though.
  • COMM 107, Intro to Communications: My teacher is a Ph.D. student with a unique style. He purposely has the attitude that he’s a student just like us, only older and with more knowledge on the subject. I don’t really like that. If I wanted a friend to teach me, I wouldn’t be paying all this money to study here. I also have to give speeches, which is already making me nervous. On our student info sheets, he asked which two topics we’d be able to speak easily about for ten minutes (just wondering, I guess). I chose Harry Potter and books in general.
  • ENGL 301, Critical Methods: My professor seems good. I probed the UMD LJ community for recommendations, and I think I picked well. Anne M. from E4 showed up in that class. It was nice to see a familiar face.
  • ARHU 205, the next one for HH: Gah. This is like 105, the remix. And I hated 105. I just don’t get it. I have trouble keeping all this theory straight. I don’t care about the study of the humanities and the justification for intellectualism and all that. I like to read. I like to write. Sometimes I like to sing and draw. I don’t need or want to know all the theory behind it. Also, I have to get through a 500-page book by Thursday. Why am I in HH again?

It’s so good to see everyone again. Scott and Andrew came to wish me a happy birthday, but I was at IKEA, so they left a message on our built-in whiteboard. (This dorm is so much better than Easton! Real walls, carpeting, air conditioning — it’s like a long-term hotel with shared bathrooms.) Dan came over for cake. I had lunch with Adrienne and Crazy Mike on Wednesday. I’ve had dinner with Sara every night (which I only just realized), and visited her single to watch Jeopardy! since my coaxial cable isn’t long enough to hook up yet. I had an early dinner after ARHU yesterday with Sara, Andy, Scott, Maya, and Emily, then hung out next door in Maya and Jen’s room. Andrew found me at lunch today. I had dinner with Sara, Hana, Dan, and some other Global Communities people tonight, then went to Hana’s room to watch The Incredibles and Monk (which was fun because finally someone’s crazier than I am — Monk, not Hana… I think). And Jenny is back from Australia and living on this side of campus; saw her in ARHU. Yay for friends!

Still no verdict on the move to LJ. I like customizing, and I don’t know if I’m willing to mess with overrides.

Now it is late, I’m tired, my eyes are bleary, and my glasses are smudged. Time for bed.

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