Archive for September, 2010

Can I just say, first of all, you guys are awesome with the advice.

Most recently it was the midterm tips (so helpful, by the way). But even earlier this month, I picked your brains for money saving strategies. I had just gotten my first part-time paycheck and felt sure that, even with my new proposed budget, I’d be dipping into savings before I got paid again.

But I didn’t! I shocked even myself! Hence the Success! title! (And all of the !!!)

I know it can be taboo to talk about money, but I really just wanted to share that, thanks to your advice, not only was I able to stay within my budget, but I was also able to save. And even end up with money left over in my allowance.

Thank you.

I know it’s only been one pay cycle, so who knows if this is sustainable, but it’s small victories like this that really make me feel like I have my act together (whether or not that’s true).

It also makes me want to go out and buy myself something nice as a reward, but that may, in fact, be counterproductive.

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“I haven’t written about baseball in a while here. Frankly, it was due to the poor performance of the Phillies and my disappointment that such a great team could have let themselves fall to seven or more games out of first. Everyone kept saying, “it’s a long season,” and “you never know what will happen,” but it was depressing to get swept and hardly be able to score a single run. Yes, I take my team that personally.”

I found this little (slightly melodramatic) blurb in my drafts section from over a month ago. And I remember exactly how I was feeling as I was writing it. No, I hadn’t counted my Phillies out yet, but I was frustrated. The talent was there, but the scoreboard wasn’t showing it. It was literally affecting my mood. (Sad, I know.)

Fast forward to today, and what do you have?

National League East Champions. Again.

Plus a chance at finishing with the best record in baseball, which would just be icing on the cake.

And you know what goes great with cake? Champagne. The kind you get when you’re celebrating certain wins in October baseball.

You know, just throwing it out there.

I don’t want to jinx it, but with any luck, I’ll be seeing a lot more of this in the next few weeks:

But if I were really lucky, I’d actually be IN the locker room during that champagne celebration.


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I had an unwelcome realization this morning that caused me to mutter my first, “Oh, fuck,” of the day before even getting out of bed.

While I was mentally reviewing the day’s schedule – work, history reading, econ class, French oral (go ahead), more history reading – I realized that midterms are coming up. More specifically, my econ midterm is coming up in two weeks.

I know that sounds like a lot of time, but considering I still feel like I’ve just started classes and we’re already four weeks in, I have a feeling that the next 14 days will go by faster than I’d like.

And even though those refresher courses were helpful for the basics, I can’t help but think of the last time I was tested in economics – and just barely eked by with a passing grade (or rather, what seemed acceptable to me). As a perfectionist, my pride was wounded.

I had studied like crazy, spending hours in the library with those who had a better grasp on the subject than I did. I’d been poring over the text, my notes, and other readings, in addition to attending review sessions. (I recognize only now all the extra time I had during undergrad.) By the time the exam came, I was ready. I knew my International Monetary Economics inside and out.

Except that I didn’t.

And now I’m having flashbacks. Because we’ve been told that in order to stay in this particular grad school program, a certain GPA must be maintained. And econ is my academic Everest.

So studying begins tonight. (Freaking out began this morning.) I can guarantee that it won’t be pretty, and that there may be tears. It won’t be the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last.

I’m asking you all, since you’ve been so good with the advice, what are/were your tried and true studying techniques? I clearly don’t have a method, yet, that works for this subject, so I’m open to just about anything.

I just refuse to let econ win again.

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Sometimes, in between getting out of work and going to class, I like to sit in the park and read. I’m usually the only one in there – it’s a tiny one, across from the school – and it’s relatively shaded and peaceful.

Until the Bird Lady came.

A little background: I’m not shy about the fact that I have a slight fear of birds. And I know it might sound crazy, but the beaks and wings and everything coming at you all at once can be a little terrifying. And the birds and I, well, we should have an understanding. I’ve never chased them; I’m never mean. I prefer the live-and-let-live course of action – letting them live far away from me, of course. But we don’t.

So, back to the park. I was sitting there, minding my own business, keeping my eye on this one brazen pigeon who seemed like he wanted nothing more than to peck at my toes. But he was the exception. The majority of the birds were leaving well enough alone.

Until that goddamned Bird Lady.

She waltzes into the park like she’s in a Disney movie and just starts flinging birdseed every which way. I almost expected her to break out into song.

And what do the previously calm pigeons do? With a collective whoooooosh of wings, they all fly up and start attacking the birdseed. And I realize that there are far more birds around me than I initially thought. And now they’re hyped up.

Bird Lady continues to toss out birdseed and then even some nuts, because it’s not enough to rile up the birds. She’s trying to get the squirrels in on the action, too. And the entire animal population in the park is in a frenzy, so it’s clearly working. You’d think they hadn’t eaten in forever.

But then, Bird Lady just leaves! She just empties her feedsack and bounces, leaving the creatures all amped up! So who do the birds turn to when the lady with the food is gone? That’s right. The only other human in the park who was just innocently sitting on the bench trying to figure out offensive realist theory.

Fucking, Bird Lady.

I tried to wait it out. I really did. But I think the fear just gets worse as time goes on, and Mr. Brazen Pigeon was even bolder after getting fed. And he was bringing his friends.

So I admitted defeat and exited the park. I’m not proud, but these things happen. Though, if Bird Lady makes it happen again, I’m going to have to give her a piece of my mind.

Probably under my breath, though, since she might sic the birds on me.

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Sometimes when our staff meetings run long, I take the opportunity to zone out and observe my co-workers. Not in a bad way, but in an “ooh, I like her top” or an “I didn’t think we could wear shoes like that” or “wow, that’s a bright pink tie!” kind of way.

But, I will admit, that sometimes, it’s in an “ah…why would you do that?” kind of way.

I’m thinking of one particular culprit. We’ll call him WG and he’s a late 20s something who has previously worked in an office environment and is a generally good dresser. So he should know.

BUT he regularly wears white ankle socks with his dress shoes and slacks.

Does it sound like I’m being overly nitpicky? I’m sure it does. And I’m also sure that the socks don’t matter when he’s standing. But when he sits across from me for an hour and a half with his legs crossed and pant legs riding up, well, it’s both obvious and distracting.

Even more so when he’s flanked by gentlemen who are sporting standard black or argyle – that white (and exposed skin) really jumps out at you.

And here’s the other thing: another of our co-workers has actually said something in passing to him about the socks.  (See?! I’m not the only one who noticed!) But it hasn’t changed anything. And no, it doesn’t hurt or affect me at all. I shouldn’t really care. And I don’t lose sleep over it at night (though, this post may have you wondering). But I’m just plain curious.

Are white ankle socks and suit pants okay now? Please, gentlemen particularly, enlighten me.

Because it just looks so out of place.

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Just a year ago I was less than pleased with the idea of having Michael Vick on my Eagles. I told you all, I believe in second chances, but couldn’t someone else have offered it to him? Why us? And then, resigned to the fact, I thought, well, it’s fine if he’s on the team, as long as I don’t have to cheer for him.

I guess now is about the time that I start eating my words.

Michael Vick is officially the starting quarterback for the Eagles. And I’m oddly okay with this.

First of all, I don’t miss McNabb. Yes, Redskins fans, I know he led you to a victory against the Cowboys. I know that many of you think that we don’t appreciate everything that he did for Philly, but we do. We just got tired of getting so close to a Super Bowl and never getting a ring.

I was also never a huge Kevin Kolb fan. I don’t dislike him, but he never wowed me. And now he’s taking after his predecessor, getting hurt so early on in the season. I get that football’s a rough and tumble sport and that injuries are inevitably part of the game. But come on.*

So it comes down to Vick. And watching the game on Sunday against Detroit, I have to say it: I was impressed. Sure, the Eagles tried to give the game away toward the end. And there were far too many penalties for my taste. But from what I could tell (and I’m clearly an expert), he was on his game.

And so, at the risk of being a flip-flopper, I’ll be cheering wholeheartedly for Vick against Jacksonville this Sunday. (And even more so against the Redskins in a couple weeks.)

I may still be focusing the majority of my sports attention on my Phillies, but Sundays are for the Birds.

*Yes, I know that it’s not really Kolb’s fault, and that he clearly needs more blocking. That’s just not the point, though.

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So, this past weekend consisted of…

…playing a ridiculous amount of Rock Band with my girlfriends and their husbands/fiances. (Which resulted in deciding that, in order to get better, I will eventually have to purchase my very own Rock Band. You know, for my free time.)

…shopping for and ordering a bridesmaid dress. Come June, I’ll be decked out in this:

I love the color, I’m just not really a bow or gathering kind of girl.

But hey, it’s not my day.

…running the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon!

If you remember last year, my parents missed me crossing the finish line, and my mom admitted that she’d been looking for me in the ambulance. This time, she knew better – though still missed me. BUT she is an excellent supporter, and I’m so glad she came out. (Thanks, Mama!) And she did catch this action shot around mile four or five:

See me amidst all the pink?

Last year, too, we were so excited for our first real medal. Once we finished, we marveled at the weight and the general coolness of the Liberty Bell we’d won. But this year, well, this year’s medal wins, hands down:

The guitar! The sparkles! And it’s even heavier than last year!

My actual time may not have been as good as before, but the experience was right up there. Plus, reward me with a medal like that, and you can be sure I’ll be back next year.

I’ll run it as many times as it takes for my parents to see me cross that finish line.

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Two years.

That’s how long I’ve now been at this whole blogging thing. Which actually makes this my longest relationship to date. Awesome.

And just when I thought I wouldn’t have anything left to write about, grad school came along and brought with it more inspiration. (And more stress, making this outlet even more necessary.)

So how do you celebrate two years? With a trip up to Philly, of course!

This weekend we’ll be visiting with my girlfriends, celebrating PIC‘s engagement, shopping for bridesmaid dresses (well, that’s just one of us), and running the ING Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon!

The Philly half is one of my favorite races, not least of all due to the awesome medal you get at the finish line.

I can’t wait to add another one to my collection. And, of course, to see what motivational signs the spectators come up with this year.

Happy weekend!

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The setting: history class.

The discussion: why study history?

The players: in addition to the general class, there’s the Smug Just Graduated Undergrad and Think I Know Everything guy, and there’s Professor K. Who, by the by, looks like this:

Anywho, the conversation:

SmugJGU: Is it even relevant to study history anymore? And if it is, how do you get more people to want to do it? It’s BORING on the middle school and high school levels, and most teachers don’t even care about it! In fact, the same guy that’s teaching you history is probably just a high school football coach. [turns to the professor, who just finished his history dissertation, by the way, and has told us about it] How do we get history to be interesting?

Professor K: Well, this is my job – I clearly already think it’s interesting. [beat] I also coached high school football for a couple years, and taught history classes.

SmugJGU: Uh…

Good luck, buddy. That was only week two of class.

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For someone who dislikes the dentist so much, I’ve been spending an awful lot of time there recently.

You see, I went a couple weeks ago for my routine six month check up. I’d been taking fine care of my teeth, still not flossing as much as I should, but not neglecting them or chowing down on sweets. Basically, same old, same old.

So then WHY did I have six tiny cavities? Three on each side of my top teeth?

It doesn’t make any sense! And it’s not fair!

And neither of those sentiments have any bearing on the fact that I have to get them all filled – in two separate appointments.

Last Wednesday was the first one. I had a few hours between work and class, so what better way to kill time than in a dentist’s chair? With a drill in my mouth? And so numb that I’m drooling?

During the torture, I realized that even though I’ve been numbed before, I hadn’t been that numbed for that long ever. The procedure was over around 3:30 or so, and I didn’t regain full feeling until close to 6:30 – an hour and a half into class.

Imagine trying to be friendly and outgoing and make good impressions when smiling makes you look like you still, “got a little joker action going,” as the boyfriend put it.

I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think that’s in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

So why do I bring this up now? Because the second appointment is this afternoon. I will again be subjected to various tools picking at my teeth and again have to go to class resembling a deranged villain. One who drools.

Everyone will be clamoring to sit next to me. Guaranteed.

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