Monday, April 4, 2011

Changing Plans

While I was bedridden and in a state of bronchial distress I made some major life decisions. I have decided to not pursue a career with Teach for America.
Was it Girl Scouts? The small chance of actually getting chosen? The pressure? The numerous terrifying accounts I had begun to hear?
I have loved being a Girl Scout troop leader. Just two weeks ago I took them out to the playground and they began to play a game of tag. "It" was limping with her arms out though while chasing everyone else. I asked why. "We're playing zombie tag. I'm a zombie and whoever else I tag has to become a zombie too." Fabulous. I have never been so proud of a child that I have no connection to before. But what I haven't loved is the parents. Parents who forget their kids, who don't buy them a backpack. Parents who look me up and down like I can't be fit to spend an hour with their kid. Parents who judge me and wont let their kid participate. Let me explain, I am on my own. It's me against sixteen k-1st graders right after they get out of school. They are wild and it is very hard for me to keep them on track. One time a parent came (their kid had missed the first three meetings) and instead of offering assistance or even just an encouraging word she sat back and watched me very closely while rolling her eyes a lot.
Teach for America is very elite. A lot of Ivy school kids get accepted. I do not have the grade history to have much of a chance up against the other applicants.
I have started to uncover multiple accounts of just how hard it is to be a Teach for America teacher. How teachers at the school dislike these TfA kids and refuse to help them with problems, report them for things they didn't do and feel pushed aside by the school board when TfA kids are hired. I have also heard that physical abuse is a big issue. I am 5'3'', if I am put in a High School I am as good as a joke. I have heard stories about things done to teachers that include everything from falsely accusing them of terrible things to physically harming them and everything in between. I am not interested in spending my first two years out of school miserable.

So instead of being a Girl Scout leader or taking on more kids to tutor, and taking more classes than advised I have decided to go with my passion. TfA was great because it would help get me where I wanted to be. I have zero interest in teaching though. I want to write for a paper. My new plan is to write for my school's newspaper during summer classes and land an internship in the fall. With TfA no longer in the picture I would also have more time to graduate. I was going to have to graduate in May in order to get on. Now I have the benefit of summer classes if I need them.
Maybe I need to get sick more often.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Writing Contest Entry

I entered this into a writing contest earlier this month. The prompt was a twisted fairy tale.

The Pea

The car pulls up to a house much larger than I had expected. Its iron gates look glam and intimidating.
“You vastly under sold your house.” I tell Kent. He grins and runs his hands through his hair.
“I guess. I didn’t want you to feel like you had to dress up or act weird or anything.”
I look down at myself. My dress is cute but now I’m wondering if it’s stylish enough for his mom. “Act weird? Like how?”
“My mom, she has this weird habit of testing my girlfriends. I don’t want you to feel like you have to play along.”
We get out of the car and are ushered into the house by, I kid you not, a butler. The house looks much more like a castle than any home I’d ever seen.
“Kent? Honey is that you?”
“Yeah mom, in the living room.”
His mom walks in and I can tell you now that my dress is in fact not stylish enough. Her gray hair is bobbed around her face and a simple pearl necklace rests against her collarbone. She is wearing shoes in her own house and those shoes look very expensive. I may be a broke college student but I still know what the red sole means. Her dress is dark purple and fits her like I have never seen a mother’s dress fit.
“You must be Piper.” She says with a smile. “Kent has told me all about you.”
“Oh yes. He is quite infatuated with you.” That’s when I notice that her eyes aren’t smiling, just her mouth. Maybe she is showing me her teeth like the monkeys at the zoo I work at do when they want to intimidate other monkeys. “Should we go in the dinning room?”
I sit across from Kent and watch as more of “the help” comes out to fill our glasses with wine and bring us salad.
“Kent tells me that you actually have a very unusual name. More unusual, in fact, than Piper.”
I shoot Kent a glare. “Yeah, um my parents named me Peach. I go by Piper though, it’s my grandma’s name.”
His mom sips the wine and looks at me over the rim of the glass.
“Your home is beautiful.” I say.
“Thank you. Where do you live?”
“In an off campus apartment.” I leave out my four roommates and the smell of curry from the Indian restaurant downstairs.
Who knows how many dishes this meal will have but now someone is setting little wonton looking things down in front of me. I cut into one and the most amazing smell comes out. Like flowers and deeper spices. I take a bite and have to close my eyes. It is the most delicious thing I have ever eaten.
“Can you place the spices in that?” She asks. I open my eyes and find that she is watching me.
“Um” I think back to the spices I have had. “Cardamom, ginger, and “
She is watching me in a really creepy way.
Her eyes narrow. “How in the world did you guess Hibiscus?”
“I saw it at a store one day and bought some before I knew how to cook with it. I found a recipe online though.”
I take a really big drink of wine. Kent is unusually quiet. I try to kick him under the table but the table is too wide.
As soon as we are finished with out main course the lights go out. With everything so quiet we can finally hear that it is raining very hard.
“You can’t possibly drive home in this.” Kent’s mom says. “You two had better stay the night.”
“No.” He says with a bit more force than I would have expected.
“Kent, dear, it’s fine. I have already made up a room for Piper just in case.”
After desert I am led up to my room. A separate room from Kent.
“I hope you sleep well.” His mom tells me, handing me a candle and closing the door.
I drop my purse and head over to the bed. It is giant. There are at least two mattresses and six mattress pads.
“What the hell?” I ask under my breath. I crawl into the bed and pull the sheets over myself. In two seconds I am asleep.
I am woken up by Kent’s mom barging into my room. “How did you sleep?” She asks quickly and with no warmth or genuine concern in her voice.
“Great. I was really tired.”
“Mother?” I hear Kent say. He steps into my room and glares at her. “Are you kidding me? Again?”
“Kent, I just want to make sure that you get the girl that you deserve.”
“Piper, you slept fine, didn’t you?”
“See Kent, she didn’t even feel the pea under the mattresses. Her skin is too hard and rough.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask, sliding off of the mattresses.
“She puts a frozen pea under my girlfriends beds.” He tells me, coming to stand next to me.
“You can’t marry her Kent. She isn’t good enough for you.”
I laugh. I’m snorting in front of some lady who just put me through a princess test.
“Well mother, we actually came here to tell you something.”
“No” she says, taking a step back.
“Piper and I eloped.”
His mother looks horrified and runs from the room. Kent kisses me and swings me around in his arms.
We get in the car and head back to campus.
“So she wouldn’t have wanted us to get married unless I passed some stupid princess test?”
“Right. You failed hers but you passed all of mine.” He smiles. “You’re funny and kind. You’re smart and beautiful.”
“So I guess we will be going to my house for holidays?”
“As long as your dad wont make me pull a sword from a stone.” He jokes.

sick day

I am, by far, the worst sick person I know. I have none of the capabilities of dealing with it gracefully. I tend to either ignore it or milk it for all its worth. Sometime both. Here is a dialogue between me and my mom yesterday.

me: I have work and school tomorrow.
mom: You need to go to the doctor
me: but I work all week and have school and girl scouts and tutoring. there is no time for the doctor (p.s. so far in this blog every time I have written doctor I have put an "e" on the end.)
mom:call off
me: what?! no.
mom: you need to rest.
me: fine. I will call off...and not go to class.
me: will you make me soup? and hot chocolate? with little marsh mellows?
mom: really?
me: yes. and sing me "soft kitty?"

so now I have a doctor appointment later tonight and am home for the day. I have been watching the biggest round up of crap tv too. I feel that this step should be prescribed.

Just felt like I should do something quasi-productive with my day. How do you deal with being sick? what's your favorite way to pass time while on the couch/in bed?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Trouble With Birthdays

picture from a few birthdays ago.

The trouble with birthdays is that I have an extreme fear of getting old.

When I was 19 and turning 20 I had a existential panic attack at the idea of being an adult. Imagining growing old with anyone fills me with a fear that absolutely cripples me. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I love reading and writing young adult books.

I know that 23 isn’t old but to me it feels ancient. Even more so when I think about all of the things that I wanted to have accomplished by now that I haven’t found time for.
So maybe 23 will be my year. Here is a list of 23 things to complete by 24.

1) have a book published. This is ambitious. Not just an agent, not just write one. I want one published by 24. I have one that is almost ready and I am looking for agents.

2) be healthier. I have a deep love for pop, candy, and all things bad for my body. I also love vegetables though so hopefully I can find a happy medium and toss in some exercise as well. I think that I would love Zumba so I seriously need to try that out.

3) be closer to moving and graduating. I have started to accumulate things for my future apartment this year and need to continue that trend. I also need to stay on the ball about school and get out of here already. It was seventy degrees in southern Ohio yesterday and today it is in the twenties. Seriously, there was snow on my car.

4) do adventurous things. I want to learn to sail and at least snorkel. I want to backpack somewhere.

5) write daily

6) balance personal and school/work life better

7) change my hair dramatically at least once. Perm it, color it, cut it all off, blow it out. Just do something different.

8) take more pictures

9) have more stories to tell

10) journal

11) network. I am learning very slowly how to do this.

12) go out more. This is kind of tied to #6 but it needs a separate category.

13) learn how to do cool things. Maybe flair bartending?

14) read more. I can always read more.

15) write for a website. I used to do this and I loved it. I liked that my parents could get on and see what I wrote. They even shared it with their friends. It was the adult version of look-at-my-kids-finger painting.

16) drink more water. Just made up as I sit here drinking a diet pop and can feel my kidneys screaming.

17) travel. I love traveling but never seem to have any money for it. I need to find cheap ways to accomplish this goal.

18) intern.

19) learn how to make cupcakes. Awesome cupcakes.

20) be more “aries.” I am more there than last year but I lost a lot of fire a few years ago and getting it back is hard! Now that I’m out of practice it makes me nervous to yell at people who deserve it. Once a few years ago some drunk guy backed into this guys car and refused to say it was his fault or give out insurance info. He was at least six three and in five three. I got up in his face and screamed at him until someone intervened because he raised his fist at me and I egged him on telling him I would love it so I could sue him “so fast your drunk redneck head will spin.” I miss that.

21) be more web visible.

22) learn to cook more. Martha, guide me.

23) enjoy my life everyday.

Let weekend 23 commence and please, people, keep me away from “When You Were Young” by the Killers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Best Room in My Future Home

I just finished yet another book and went to put it on my bookshelf only to realize that it needed some serious re-organizing. I have an issue when books in a series are not right next to each other. Now some books are laying down, mainly paperback series.

I have always loved libraries but never liked borrowing books from them. The library in my town used to be amazing and everything a library should be. It had hard woods floors, historic architecture, a big circular window at the landing of a staircase, and more than a little dust. I felt so comfortable there and often just went to hang out. Then they remodeled it. It now has bright colors and a lot of computers. I hate it.

I always imagined that my house will one day have a library. A secret room library is even better of course but I would settle for a regular one. I just like the idea of having a room in my house devoted to reading. As I was organizing my books I found this picture and fell in love.

It's beautiful! I have no idea how the owner of such a lovely library found books in those colors. Maybe I can make my own book covers (or even lazier just spine covers) for my collection. I love everything about this room. The furniture is my taste, the decorating, and my all time favorite dog is even on the couch. This is a glimpse into my future.

I better get working on those spine covers.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Plan B job

Lets talk about cupcakes.
I have always loved cupcakes, the pretty ways to decorate them, the cute look of them. They have always been one of the few things that I could make well (from a box) and so I made them frequently.
When I think about my ideal profession I never really see myself in a cubicle. If I’m in an office its not a blank tan walled monstrosity similar to other places I have worked. Recently it has been an obsession of mine to create an office-optional life.
Though I’m not a huge office fan I know how difficult it is to create an office optional career. I know that even though I want to write I will need another job for a long time to come.
So I thought about what else I like.

I like cupcakes.
So I have been collecting cupcake cook books and trying to make them from scratch.
It hasn’t been going well.
The first batch was rock hard.
The second batch tasted inexplicably like corn bread (no, I didn’t accidentally used corn meal…I double checked.)
I will keep trying though because I can think of very few things better than thinking about plots in a vanilla and sugar scented kitchen, mapping out a chapter while piping on icing, and revising while eating a delicious cupcake.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Yesterday was a very good day.

In general I am pretty easy to please. Give me nice weather and nothing catastrophic and I’m good to go. Yesterday had a lot of the things that I look for in a good day.

1: Nice weather
Holy crap it was nice out. High sixties and a beautiful sunny sky that made me want to spend every second outside. It was one of those days that make the long Ohio winters worth it. The first day of Spring is always like that for me. Usually it catches me off guard and I appreciate it so much more because of how used to coats and snow I am by that point. To celebrate I sat in a coffee shop that had giant windows and a view of one of my favorite places in my town.

2: Friends
Me and Amanda went out to lunch. She told me stories about her adorable grandpa and we talked about a lot of uncharacteristically important things like the publishing industry, the pros and cons of self publishing and ebooks, and whether or not its possible (or advisable) to be just a full time writer. I had a boyfriend one time tell me that listening to me and Amanda talk was like watching a tv show. He said that we play off of each others comments perfectly and have a similar sense of humor that makes us hilarious to watch. I am taking that as a compliment.

3: Family Time
My mom and I hardly get to spend time together anymore. She was waiting by my car when I got out of class and we went shopping. We used to do this all the time. For my birthdays she would call me out of school and we would spend the whole day shopping for my birthday presents. Usually my birthday presents are summer clothes since March is the beginning of short sleeve weather here and Christmas just happened. We went to JCPenney and got a few new summer outfits in prep for our vacation in June.

4: Walking Around
I love walking around aimlessly. It is my favorite pass time. It is the first thing I do on vacation and my first choice of activities on a nice day. Branden and me went to downtown Cincinnati and just walked around. I love old buildings and the energy of cities. We got hungry and decided to look for a place to eat but at seven most of the shops and restaurants were already closed. Finally we found a place right by where we started and decided to go all out. We got drinks, starters, and meals more expensive than usual. It was so good and a perfect end to the day.

I just love Spring and I am so excited for this nice weather to finally be here to stay.