Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh my, I've been slacking here. I have lots of excuses why-- the biggest perhaps being Jake coming to visit for a few days, during which too many fun things happened to just pick one per day (he bought me dinner Every Night he was here. EVERY NIGHT! I am a lucky girl). I tried out Cheesecake Factory, Dionysus, and Joe Squared, then revisited Mick O'Shea's and Turp's. We bought books, then got books for free at The Book Thing; visited the BMA, spent an afternoon in a local coffee shop, and checked out a couple events Saturday night before deciding to come home and watch The Big Lebowski.

He went home yesterday afternoon, so back to life as usual I guess. I need to buy my ticket to MI for December...

Anyhoo. Today's highlight was a return trip to Debois (I told you so...), where I did a bit of Christmas shopping and got myself a few goodies (and spent less than last time, too). I got a black belt for $1, a couple blazers for $2 each, and another skirt for $3.

Another highlight was my friend Emily's invitation to join her for Thanksgiving. I was supposed to be going to NYC with another friend, but they informed me Monday night that they were leaving Tuesday morning, not Wednesday like we'd originally planned (at least I thought). Jake was still here then, and I had to work (especially since I'm already losing hours for Thursday). So, three days before Thanksgiving, I suddenly had no plans. Plane and train tickets were both outrageously-priced, of course; I considered just taking the train into NYC on Wednesday and meeting up with them, but unless I wanted to leave at 4am, tickets were $98+, one way (4am was still $70).

Most of my other friends are going to their respective states for the break. Another friend, Regina, extended a possible invitation, under the condition that her uncle would allow two more friends to come (she wouldn't know until tonight), and my friend CJ invited me to her place even though they aren't celebrating, exactly. But my friend Emily came through today and said they'd love to have me join them. She's even coming to pick me up beforehand. The day is saved!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today's highlight was the vintage clothing shop at Debois Textiles. I saw an ad in the City Paper for it, and so this morning, instead of being responsible and doing homework and such, Maureen and I went and spent almost three hours (and too much money) shopping for dresses and other such goods. I found a (red) dress for Night of 100 Elvises, and a few other things (like a pair of red and blue Chuck Taylors for $5). Among Maureen's treasures were a new velvety coat, a crinoline skirt, and some scarves.

The back of the building is just an open warehouse, with huge boxes (sorted into groups like skirts, sweaters, women's blouses, men's shirts, and an "ethnic/hippy mix") that you just root through. And it's all super cheap -- most of the boxes were labeled $3-$6. But beyond that were piles and piles (and piles) of clothes that they hadn't even gone through yet. We just wanted to dive into them. Instead, I guess we have to wait until they go through them and put them out on the floor.

We really shouldn't go back anytime soon. But we probably will.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I don't much have the heart for thinking of a daily highlight right now, but I guess that's all the more reason to come up with one.

This weekend was a pretty good one, spent in the company of good people. There was just some family drama going on behind the scenes that's been getting to me a little. I really can't stand it when people aren't fully honest and won't say what they mean and what's really going on. Just lay it all out on the table and stop nitpicking with details. My brother and especially his wife are making waves with one half of the family and as much as I don't care to be part of it, I'm trying to remain the neutral center. I'm learning that this is impossible. Maybe I'm trying too hard to be the mediator. The two sides just seem to be on different wavelengths though, and I almost feel like I need to be the interpreter. You'd think after seven years this would be over.

But back to my highlight. I guess today's highlight was, coming home from lunch with my friend Jon and one of his friends, when I decided to stop into a thrift store I've never been to. It turned out to be amazing, and full of fantastic dresses and other finds (most of which weren't terribly priced). I texted Maureen about it and she joined me there, where we browsed the dresses (me for the second time) and I showed her what I'd found. I ended up spending more than I should have, but I got two new dresses, one of which was only $5 (but has a strap I need to repair) and a pair of fingerless winter gloves. I put two more dresses on hold, which I really shouldn't go back for, especially since none of the dresses (including what I bought today) is quite what I wanted for The Night of 100 Elvises, but... I've had a thing for dresses lately, and now that I'm here in Baltimore I have events to wear them to (thanks largely to Maureen and her affinity for finding fun events to go to, especially rockabilly-related).

So, today's highlight: new dresses. The weekend's highlight: all the cool people I spent it with.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today's highlight was when Jake finally bought his plane ticket to come visit next week. One week!

This once a month visiting is hard. I'm glad he was able to come still, even after the house fire. He had to postpone buying the ticket and wasn't sure for a bit if he'd be able to come at all. But he can, and is, and in about a month I'll be going to MI for a few weeks over Christmas break.

Today I also spoke briefly via text with my brother and my other brother (who is actually Jake's brother) and registered for classes. One of the three classes I wanted was already full, but I haven't given up on it yet. Even if I don't get in, I guess it'd be okay.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Yesterday, two great things happened. One, I went to court for my second parking ticket. I took the bus and got there on time, with no trouble (also discovered that this particular bus stops at a Wal-mart and at the Baltimore Sun offices. Never know when these places could be useful). Somehow on my court summons it stated that I'd requested an officer be present, even though I did no such thing. So I was praying that it'd be a situation where the officer didn't show and my case would be dismissed. For this reason I was particularly nervous about the whole thing, because I could just imagine him showing up randomly that day.

He didn't. I got a "not guilty" and all fines ($52, which is a lot when you're in college) dismissed.

On a side note, I was really amazed by the number of people who didn't show up for their court date. Especially when their fines would've been dropped if they had. They do all the officer-presence cases first and none of the officers were there.

All in all, I was at the court house for about 20 minutes -- made it home in time to eat before work at 1130.

The second thing, the even better thing, was deciding randomly to call up Nick. I haven't really talked to him much since I moved out here, though I did see him on my trip to MI for Jeff and Cari's wedding back in mid-October. He's one of my best friends, and I've been pestering him occasionally via facebook about the goings-on in his life, though I guess everyone else has too, with the fire and whatnot. He was at the Scottish Inn with some mutual friends when I called him, but we ended up talking for about half an hour anyway, about whatever. Made me miss hanging out with him, but he said to let him know once I have my dates for MI over Christmas, because he wants to make sure he takes some days off of work so we can hang out. I thought that was cool.

I got a brief conversation with Scott somewhere in the middle since he was there too.

We both (Nick and I) agreed that we should talk more often. And if I have to initiate conversation, I'm okay with that. I know how Saginaw people are. :P

Monday, November 8, 2010

Highlight for the day Sunday (yesterday) is a little different. The whole weekend was a good one; Saturday Maureen and I went to Target for some shopping, then to the animal shelter to pick up her new kitty (which they spayed as part of the $30 adoption fee). That night was the last showing of The Laramie Project, which was also the actors' best performance, I think. Following that was a cast party that the director arranged at a local cafe -- a private event for cast and crew with delicious food and wine, all at no expense to us.

Sunday was my first day off from everything in weeks; thanks to daylight savings, I had an extra hour to enjoy it. I eventually moseyed on down (well, up) to a new(ish) coffee shop called the Bohemian Coffee House; it's definitely worth returning to. I've been on a quest for a new coffee shop to sit and write at since I moved here, and this one seems to have an atmosphere close to what I wanted -- small and cozy without being too cramped; casual enough that I didn't feel like I should leave immediately after finishing my coffee. I spent about an hour there writing a letter to a family member, then took the bus up to a park to do an assignment, Andy Goldsworthy style, for my creativity class. My friend Dave came out and offered me company (not without occasional harassment, particularly when I wouldn't acquiesce to making a map of Saginaw out of the objects I gathered). This was followed by a trip to The Book Thing (like I need another book, ever) and dinner at Subway.

But the highlight of my day was actually a story that Jake told me when I talked to him on the phone later that night. He and his housemates just lost their home in a fire, and Steamer's (a bar in Saginaw that we frequent [me not so much anymore]) along with the help of some other Saginaw locals, threw a benefit party in Jake's, Scott's, Nick's, and Jason's honor. Apparently the turnout was much better than expected and the guys were given enough money to cover the deposit and first month's rent on their new place (which their new landlord, after reading of their situation in the newspaper, offered them first choice on despite the other people interested in viewing it). Not to mention furniture -- at least one bed, a TV, a couch... It was amazing, both to hear about the turnout and to hear how moved Jake was by everyone's generosity and support.

But the best part for me was regarding something one of the housemates did for another. My friend Scott lost the most in the fire -- his furniture, TV, x-box, and record and DVD collections were all in the living room, where the fire consumed the most. He also lost his laptop. He's a writer, and an artist, and of course had most of his work saved on the laptop with no alternate back-up anywhere.

This is said laptop.

I can imagine, as a writer myself, how devastated I would be if I lost years of work (as it is, I should probably work out a better backup system myself). From what I'm told, Scott got pretty depressed and left the house, giving up on the DVDs, records, etc. Jason went back over there and sorted through some of the records and DVDs for him -- turns out those things are more durable than one would think, especially when still inside their plastic cases.

But the best part is this: At the benefit, the four guys were gathered around a table at Steamer's (forgive me for not knowing whether all these details are completely accurate; I'm recreating this from a phone conversation) and Nick was offering up a toast. He said something like, "I'm really glad that we all still have our laptops, and that we didn't lose anything."

Scott said, "Except for me."

Nick continued, "It would be a shame to lose any of our work or anything we had saved, so I'm really glad we didn't."

Scott said, "Nick, I don't have mine, can we skip this part."

But Nick carried on as I can imagine, saying something like, "Hold on, I'm not done yet." He finishes his speech in some (probably ridiculous) fashion, and Scott is probably properly depressed again... At which point Nick presents Scott with his completely functional laptop hard-drive (or at least the data taken from it). Nick had taken the laptop apart at some point, retrieved the hard drive, tested it and discovered that it was undamaged. Scott didn't lose his work after all.

I just really wish I could have been there to see Scott's reaction. I understand it was joyous.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Today's highlight was the energy of the Laramie Project cast before tonight's show. Everyone was happy, everyone was ready, everyone was feeling that nervous energy. As the assistant stage manager (and Cheez-It supplier, according to my friend Dave [who's on lights]) I don't get to interact with the cast too much off-stage -- though a couple of the ladies have been incredibly sweet and welcoming (the whole cast has been very friendly), and my stage manager Susan is amazing to work for. But tonight there was a stronger sense of... unity, maybe, of community. Or maybe I just felt more included in it. Anyway, before the show I had conversations with at least two more of the cast members in particular -- just the basic stuff, you know, where they're from, what they're doing -- but I like connecting with people like that. I mean, I suppose we're still just acquaintances, for the most part, but nonetheless.

That kind of happened yesterday too. Another cast member and I walk home along the same route for a couple blocks. It gave us a chance to talk last night and tonight (for whatever reason, I guess we'd never left rehearsal at the same time before then). I found out that she's an artist who manages to support herself without a "real job" (though she teaches painting classes from time to time). She lived in MI (where I grew up) for a few years too.

I'm hoping I manage to keep in touch with some of them, somehow, after the show's over.

One night down, two to go.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Today's highlight was -- well, there are a couple, but the first one was the library book sale. I work for the library on campus and every year they have a book sale. I volunteered to help set up this morning (at 10am, which I sort of regretted after having stayed up past 2am). But it was worth it. The book sale wasn't especially big, and was mostly a weeding of the business and social sciences sections, but there were some good "miscellaneous" books and a bit of literature.

Now since moving here to Baltimore in August I've acquired well over 80 new (used) books. Between The Book Thing and the book festival in September, it's been easy to get good books for cheap. But being an English major, I can't help but acquire more when the opportunity arises. Today was an opportunity. By volunteering with setup, I got to have first dibs on the books I wanted even before the sale opened to the public. And I found this ridiculously interesting book published in 1927 by General Electric titled Electric Refrigerator Recipes and Menus. I don't even know why I find it so fascinating. It has little color pictures and talks about food prep and storage and why every house should have an electric refrigerator. It's quite charming.

I found some other good things too: a book by Roddy Doyle (the guy who wrote "The Commitments"), Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath and Hemingway's Farewell to Arms, among others. I got a stir fry cookbook too, though the one other cook book I have I think I used all of once...

Anyway, the other highlight was talking to a new classmate on Facebook chat. I don't know him especially well but we got to talking about big things going on in our lives, and it seems that we've both made some pretty big changes recently. He's just moved out of his comfort zone, out of a long relationship and a life that he wasn't completely happy in, and is in essence starting over. And you know, it's really... encouraging, or refreshing, maybe, to talk to someone else who had the courage to go after what he wanted, to leave his comfort zone and risk the unknown because he wanted more out of life. Too many people I know, even among my friends, have allowed themselves to settle for lives that aren't quite what they want and I don't understand why. I couldn't do it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Today's highlight was probably unexpectedly finding a check in the mail from the University for $2500. I mean, it was completely baffling. It is the exact amount of half my scholarship for the year, but if it is for spring, it shouldn't have come until February.

Maybe that's not that much of a highlight after all, because now I won't get that money in Feb. and I can't spend it now anyway.

So maybe the highlight was the banter back and forth over the headsets during rehearsal for Laramie Project tonight. I'm assistant stage manager, so I'm back stage next to the video tech guy, Anthony, who's also on a headset. My friend Dave, who's running lights in the booth at the back of the auditorium, on a third headset. I can't really recall the details of the conversation here, much less replicate it enough to make it humorous, but it was pretty difficult to stifle my laughing enough to not be heard offstage. Something tasteless involving a strange correlation between lesbians and umbrellas and Dave having several (umbrellas). Anthony always has a one-liner or a wisecrack, and Dave's just funny. Even the stage manager got in on it. It was refreshing to be around people with a real sense of humor, especially after meeting Carlos, who was out with the group Maureen and I met up with for Halloween last night. His idea of a funny story was his first time in a gay bar -- which could be a funny story, really, if the delivery was better. But I'll not pick on him; he was trying, I guess.

Anyway, yeah. Highlight of the day: fun(ny) new acquaintances/friends.
I'm going to try something different with this, I think. I clearly can't keep myself in a mindset where I update on any regular basis, because I let myself fall behind so much that it would take even longer or more frequent posting to catch up. A vicious cycle and such. So, I'm going to try and post a daily highlight each night, of something good that happened that day. Maybe not every night. But it will only require a paragraph or two (depending on how much I want to explain) instead of a recap. Maybe.