Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What a Pleasant Surprise

Earlier this evening, while making a fantastic dinner of rice and beans...

...I received this email:

Dear Ruth,

I write with sadness that we won't be able to offer you a spot in the upcoming NYIP group. NYIP received sixty-three applications for just five openings! In the final analysis, decisions about offers had to do with factors that transcended any individual's qualifications, because of the huge number of wonderfully-qualified people. (Factors such as best fit with our projections about available worksites.)

Truly, I really enjoyed speaking with you. We were moved by your depth, direction, and values. You were an extremely serious candidate for us. It's a little painful not to be able to accept you.

You may already have other programs you're looking at... But we know of several that would welcome an application from you! I will list them at the bottom of this email. Not only would I be happy to send them all the application materials I have for you, but I would give you an additional glowing reference based on our in-depth conversation in the interview.

Blessings and prayers as you consider all this...

My life just may be over.
I'm hiding out now, in my bed under the covers until it's safe to come out.
Who knows when that'll be.

(PS: Ironic that the label for this post has to be "Great Big Future," no?)

My Window

I am going to miss this window.

A Dapple of My Weekend

The subtitle of this post should be: "A Series of Unfortunate Events." That's right, my weekend was slightly unfortunate. Fortunate, too, but a lot unfortunate.

I left on Friday for Philadelphia to go visit the wonderful Jannalyn and see her Senior Thesis Art Show. After six hours in the car with her family, we finally got there. Her paintings were amazing. See:

They were all fabulous, as usual. It was a lot of fun--I'm so proud of her. I can't believe we've made it four years, Jana.

After the show, we proceeded to celebrate quite a bit.

(Blurriness of photo may depict what actual vision was like.)

The festivities of the night before might have led us to waking up late, which might have led us to getting stuck in traffic heading into the city to bring me to the bus station, which might have led me to missing my bus. Oops. I guess that was the beginning of the end.

I had to wait till another bus came three hours later, sitting in a crummy bus station in downtown Philly trying to avoid the stares of the creepy man sitting across from me. I finally got on the one o'clock bus, headed to New York, and figured everything had corrected itself and it would be smooth sailing from there.

Boy, was I wrong. The nice people at the New York City bus station politely misinformed me as to where my bus would be leaving from and I ended up waiting for the next hour at the wrong gate for a bus that never came. I was boiling mad. So then, I had to wait for another bus an hour later with a phone that was quickly losing battery and an empty wallet. By the time I got on that five o'clock bus, boy was I happy.

I tried to look for any possible upside the day could have been giving me and at least enjoyed getting a nice little tour of New York City as the bus wound its way through its streets.

Finally, five hours later than I had originally expected, I arrived in Hartford, with a dead phone and blistered heels. By some miracle of God, Joe and I just happened to find each other, seeing as how the last 50 cents I had to my name were eaten by the even-scummier-bus-station pay phone. I collapsed into the car, and that ended my series of unfortunate events, thankfully.

I missed all the nice weather of the day, but finally arrived home at 9pm. Phew.

Sunday I intended to do absolutely nothing and did just that. It was beautiful outside, despite the heat.

And now, it is upon me. The last week of classes I will ever have to take in my life. The last two weeks of classes and exams that will end my college career as I know it. Petrifyingly scary, but ridiculously exciting. It's funny--I can remember the very first morning I woke up in my dorm room, after my mom had left me the night before and my marching band roommate had left at 6am to go play her trumpet. My first thought was, I have to do this for the next four years? Am I crazy?

Four years later, I've made it through. Four years seemed like an eternity and now I've only got two weeks left, that seem like an eternity in themselves. Two weeks. I've got my cap and gown and "Stole of Gratitude" (oh, UConn) and graduation tickets. I'm good to go. Let's go. Bring it on.

I'm off to have yet another phone interview. Wish me luck!

I think I have the swine flu. I'll keep you updated.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chill Out, Man

It's been almost 90 degrees. For the past four days.

I am not a 90-degree-weather kind of girl. Humidity is my enemy. Give me 70 and I'm happy. I do not like the heat.

Seeing as how it's only April, this does not bode well for the rest of the season.....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What a Girl

I just thought you all should know--about the beauty that is Rachel Clark.

Isn't she gorgeous?

She was so excited yesterday about my article. She posted the link on her Gmail, Facebook, and even commented on the article online.

She's so great. When we were little, we'd always fight. She was the big sister, I was the little sister, and that was that. She cleaned her side of the room, and I cleaned mine (sometimes). She had the bottom bunk, and I had the top. I had to ask to use her stuff, and when I didn't, all hell broke loose.

Now, I can safely say we're friends. Not all people are that lucky. Growing up, all my friends used to say they wished they could have an older sister like I did. It took me a few years to appreciate their comments, but now I really can.

I love you, RaRa.

Earth Day, Rallies, and Newspaper Clippings


It's been a whirlwind couple of days around here. Let me slowly bring you up to speed and try to absorb it all myself:

Yesterday was EARTH DAY. I had no idea until I saw it scrawled on our dry erase board at daycare: "Happy Earth Day! Don't forget to bring home your baby's artwork that he/she may or may not have been forced to create by their teachers who may or may not have done the majority of the work but that we're claiming your babies made!" (Okay, so maybe this isn't really what it said, but c'mon--can a 15-month-old really tie-dye a coffee filter with blue and green paint and then paste it onto a piece of paper? I think not.)

(Via truthdig.)

Anyways, in light of the holiday of our earth, and inspired by FilterForGood, I've decided to seriously think of ways I can become a little more responsible in my lifestyle and maybe even save a couple of trees. What are YOU going to do? I'm dedicated to:

1.) Making sure I really recycle all I can. My roommates and I already do this, but everyone once in awhile I just really don't want to walk all the way to the kitchen to the recycling and instead just end up tossing my old Daily Campus into the trash--no more!

2.) Unplugging my cell phone charger! My mother pleasantly reminds me when I'm home that leaving it plugged in, while not necessarily plugged into my phone, is still using electricity and racking up my parents' electric bill. So when I'm at school (and when she's not around to nag me about it), I often leave it perpetually plugged in, just draining electricity out its empty end--no more!

3.) Bringing my reusable grocery bags with me every time I go grocery shopping. I cannot tell you how many times I just leave them in my room, where they are completely useless, instead of bringing them back down to my car to have them available for the next time I happen to stop at the store. How many plastic bags do I really need?? NO MORE!

So that's that. We'll see how it goes. I guess really, I just need to quit being so darn lazy. My laziness is contributing to the demise of our earth!

Okay, what's next? Oh yeah, how about the fact that I got published in the Hartford Courant yesterday! Hooray! There's nothing more satisfying after months of hard work and weeks of waiting and countless emails between Peter Pach than seeing it finally printed! I woke up late yesterday morning, after 11 hours of sleep in the attempts of fighting off what I thought was strep, and drove to the convenience store down the street before class to purchase all three copies the nice man had in stock. He looked down at my stack of papers I was ready to pay for and said, "Need to read the news three times over, eh?" I didn't even respond. Nothing could get in the way of my good mood yesterday morning. Not even the fact that stopping to buy the papers after sleeping late made me ten minutes late to class. Nope.

(However, the comments left beneath my online article were a bit daunting. Please don't read them. And if you do, make sure to post something supportive of my article! Apparently the drunken kids I speak of in the article were quite offended and felt the need to tell me so.)

((All the great emails and calls and texts though were amazing. I even got an email from a high school teacher I haven't heard from in years! And even President Hogan of UConn said he "wished there were 15,000 other students like me." Um, yeah, definitely makes it all worth it.))

Later in the day, Steph and I met up with her friend Joelle at Take Back the Night, a rally to raise awareness about sexual abuse. It was astounding. It began with speakers and singers and then we held a candlelit procession across campus, chanting things like, "We are women, we are men, together we fight to take back the night!" (Granted, running around in the cold and rain while shouting at the top of my lungs was probably not the best choice for attempting to recover from a terrible cold-flu-strep-like thing.) It was really great, though. I had always heard of it every year but never went, and I'm so glad I did this year. As we marched through the quad of the all-freshmen dorms, many people came down from their rooms and cheered us on. Some ignorant fools shouted out their windows for us to shut up, though. Just like my article, I guess you can't always win. There will always be people against you.

While we were preparing the rally outside the student union, a UConn cop who was going to be driving with us to control traffic said to one of the organizers, "So, how many of you ladies do you expect tonight?" He smirked. He did not take this seriously. This was nothing important to him, he who has probably never considered the peril of being in danger of being raped. The girl who was organizing it looked him dead in the eyes and said, "Ladies? Ladies and men." Foolish UConn cops. I wanted to spit on his shoes.

(Via The Women's Center)

After the procession, we all gathered back in the Student Union for the Speak Out portion of the night, where survivors of sexual abuse were able to come up and tell their story. They said that if after five minutes after a speaker ended no one else had come up, they would end it. I honestly figured that this would happen, that there wouldn't really be that many people there who were sexual abuse victims and that even if there was, not many would actually come up. Boy, was I wrong.

They say 1 in 6 women have been raped. Now I know how truthful that statistic is. Woman after woman, and even a few men, came up to tell their stories. Some smiled to ease their discomfort and nervousness, many sobbed as they told their horror stories of being controlled and raped and put down even by their own boyfriends and husbands, some spoke so quietly we couldn't even hear them. But so many people had stories, and they were all so similar. I was horrified to see so many girls I knew. It made me sick to my stomach, and I didn't even realize that an hour and a half had passed before they had to end the session, without even waiting for a lull in the speakers. One girl who spoke is in a bunch of my classes, and also happens to be a good friend of my roommate's. She's always in our apartment. She came over just the other day to do laundry. She laughs, she's loud, she speaks up in class all the time. And she had a story.

The night that she came over to do laundry, there were six of us in our apartment. At least one then had been raped. The statistic was true, and we didn't even know it. That was so disheartening to realize. It was a really great night, but awfully depressing. And sickening. Steph and I couldn't sleep by the time we got home at 11pm, so we sat up sharing a Tupperware container of cold pasta and trying to process all we had just heard.

I'm really glad I have friends I can talk about things like this with. Steph is always good for that. I'm going to miss her when I graduate and we're not living together anymore.

All in all, yesterday was a difficult, yet encouraging, day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Going to Innisfree Now.....

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
By: William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Family Dinner and Big NEWS

Last night we had what could possibly be our last family dinner at UConn....ever!

Steph, Kelly, Abby and I got together and cooked dinner (a fabulous menu, might I add) and sat around catching up and discussing our last few weeks at UConn.

It was great, as usual--veggie burgers, wine, more veggies, and more wine. A good time was had by all, I believe.

If you've never had these veggie burgers, you're missing out. Now, I don't proclaim myself a fanatic vegetarian, but I do enjoy a mostly-veg menu when I'm at school. These burgers are fantastic, whether you're a vegetarian or not.

Inspired by the amazing burgers at Obz Cafe in Cape Town, I recreated them this summer. Deeeeelicious, I must say. I'm posting the recipe so you can make them yourself! (And this is all off the top of my head, and I'm no professional cook, so adjust this as necessary)

Obz Cafe's Amazing Veggie Burgers

1 onion, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 potato, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
(and add any other veggies you might like)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Combine all chopped vegetables in a roasting pan and coat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Roast in 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Remove from pan and mix with pesto (enough to coat all vegetables).
Spread hummus on rolls and top with veggie mixture.
(Makes about 6 burgers.)

Really, make these. The combination of pesto and hummus is absolutely delicious. And no meat!

On another note, I have NEWS. In tomorrow's (Wednesday's) edition of the Hartford Courant, the Fresh Talk section will feature none other than yours truly--that's right, I'm finally being published! Look for me there!

It's an opinion piece about Spring Weekend--I'm sure some will be offended, but I guess that's why it's in the opinion section, right? My professor Regina Barreca has been working with me this semester in a creative writing independent study and has an "in" with the Courant (but who doesn't she have an "in" with?). So in a nutshell, I owe it all to her. She's fabulous--check out her blogs! Maybe someday mine will be as intelligent and creative as hers....

That's all for now, I'll see you all at 5am tomorrow morning, scrambling to get my hands on every copy of the Hartford Courant available at the UConn Co-op.

In the words of my mother, "Woohoo!"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Dapple of My Weekend

30% off GAP sales. Much needed retail therapy. One crappy movie (don't see Wanted). Katie's First Communion (the first I'd seen in awhile since I missed Mary's when I was in ZA). Mimosas with brunch. The start of a no-yeast, no-sugar, no-dairy medical diet. Sleeping late. And time with The Boy.

I welcome you, Monday, with open arms.
I think.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Felicitous Findings: Part 11

Man, have I been slacking with these Felicitous Findings or what? Here's my eleventh installment, which should really be much more than eleven by now...

1.) Warm, sunny cars

2.) Wandering through Target and seeing the new "Class of 2009" graduation stuff on the shelves....yikes!

3.) My new phone! (but you all know about that hassle...)

4.) For Me, For You

5.) SLR cameras (I will get one someday!)

Stay tuned for big news and blog changes.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Can you say "program"?

This brightened my morning. Maybe it'll give you a laugh, too.


(I have no idea why she was trying to say "program.")

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Days with My Father

Maybe it's my melodramatic self these days, or the crummy weather outside, or the fact that I've been contemplating my 21 years of existence before I graduate college and am no longer a child, but I have fallen in love with this site.

It is beautiful. It is heart-wrenching. It is a magnificent tribute to a family I don't even know.

But it's worth reading. Keep reading it, the whole thing. It will be worth it, I promise. I think it should be made into a book. Kind of the opposite in-a-good-way version of Augusten Burroughs' writing (sorry, Augusten, I still love your books, but you're just not a happy guy).

Caution: Proceed at your own risk. Tears may flow.

Read Days with My Father.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lack of a Blackberry

Woe is me, I am Blackberry-less.

Sure, I never had one to begin with, but nonetheless--I'm still reeling in misery at having to leave it behind at the Verizon store. Holding it in my hands, zipping through its countless applications, imagining I actually owned it--okay, I guess I took it too far. But I fell in love with that cute little phone/computer/best-thing-that-was-ever-invented.

In the end, my rational side (aka my mom) took over and I decided my broke-college-student's salary couldn't afford such a wonderment. Hence, the leaving behind of the Blackberry. Insert sad face here.

Instead, I went home with this:

It may be no Blackberry, but isn't it cute? I'm pleased.

So that was the highlight of my Easter. Oh, and there was also the candy, coloring eggs, home-baked biscotti, annual Easter egg hunt, endless pies, and of course the gathering of the family. A fun time was had by all, I believe (although it was no 83 degrees North Carolina visit, RACHEL!)

Coloring eggs.

I guess the Easter Bunny did his/her job.


Check out this loot.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reading? For Fun?!

In five weeks, I'll be a college graduate.


I'm slowly forgetting about any regrets I might have about these past four years, or any sadness I might be feeling about leaving college behind, or any fears I'm having about becoming a real grown-up. Now, I really just can't wait. The past four years have flown by, but these last two months have been draaaaagging.

I also came to the realization that once May 9th is here, I will never have to do homework again. It won't be like every other summer vacation where the happiness of having no more homework to do will be tainted with the thought of having it piled on all over again come August. IT WON'T COME BACK!

So then I started thinking, What am I going to do with all my time? Work, yes. But what else? What was that other thing that I used to enjoy? That I actually used to like to do in my spare time? That thing I've now been forced to do in every waking moment whether I wanted to or not?

Oh yeah. READ.

Actual books. Actual things I enjoy reading about, not Idylls of the King and Manfred and Mary Barton. What a novel idea. I think I've forgotten what it's like to read for fun.

So now that I have the prospect of a whole summer where I can read whatever I want, I'm not going to waste any time. Queen of all things list-making, I've already come up with a whole list of things I want to read. Here's my list of Things I Want To Read This Summer:

1. The Bible
2. Long Walk to Freedom (still have not finished this!)
3. Gone with the Wind
4. Wuthering Heights
5. Women Who Think Too Much
5. Absalom, Absalom
6. Lady Chatterley's Lover
7. The Yellow Wallpaper
8. The Wasteland
9. Twilight (just to see what all the fuss is about)

So that's what I have so far. And I am determined to read them!

Suggestions for further reading are recommended and encouraged, please.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I am a graduating senior and I don't know when Spring Weekend is

I am a graduating senior and I don’t know when Spring Weekend is.

That’s right, I have no idea.

To put it plainly, I’m not that interested in drinking myself into a stupor for five days straight (that’s right—the “weekend” now includes Wednesday night). I don’t really care to walk the Rape Trail alongside thousands of people who may or may not be 40-year-old men who don’t even go to UConn and are only looking for their next sloppily-drunk female victim. And I don’t like beer pong on a broken-down closet door, either.

So, to be clear, I am a UConn student who does not enjoy Spring Weekend. WE DO EXIST!

In fact, I like to try to avoid it at all costs. This is not to say I don’t enjoy my liquor—believe me, make me a frozen strawberry margarita with a sugar rim and I’m all over it. But give me 20,000 people who have consumed the equivalent of eighteen said margaritas and well, no thank you.

Freshman year, sophomore year—I was all about Spring Weekend. My equally na├»ve and eager-to-be-accepted freshmen friends and I were the aforementioned fools stumbling across campus in the hopes of finding a generous junior or senior who would welcome us into their magnificently-impressive Celeron apartment parties. I can safely say I’ve learned a thing or two since then.

If only I had believed my mother, I would have known this time would come (yes, Mom, I did just say that—you can pick your jaw up off the floor now). Upon getting accepted into UConn four years ago, one of the first things out of her mouth was, “Okay, Ruthie, but you know this means you’re coming home whenever Spring Weekend is, right?” I laughed in her face. I was going to the biggest party school in Connecticut. Miss the biggest party weekend of the year? I didn’t think so.

No, I stayed for Spring Weekend freshman year, and sophomore year, too. In fact, last year was the first year that I missed it (I was more than happy to be studying abroad in South Africa sipping wine at an outdoor concert at the foot of Table Mountain than wandering through X-Lot looking for my friends I had lost in my drunken state).

After missing it last year, what’s so bad about skipping it this year? Will I really be missing out on that much? The Spring Weekend concert this year is 50 Cent—I don’t even like 50 Cent (another shocker, I know).

The poor residents of Storrs-Mansfield. They have to suffer through it every year—the students taking over their streets and sidewalks (sometimes even their lawns), the noise, the confusion, the beer cans, the fires. Who knows if there would even be a vacant ambulance available to them if they had a real emergency—after all, X-Lot is full of them the Saturday night of Spring Weekend. That’s how out of hand it gets.

I think that weekend (whenever it is) I’ll take a mysterious trip across country. Anywhere but Storrs. How far do you think is far enough? My mom will be so proud. I will be purposely avoiding the weekend she always wanted me to avoid. Maybe I’ll even read a novel on the plane.

A novel, you say?! Yes, I like to read, too. I’m actually an English major. I liked reading so much I decided to do it for four years straight. We’re few and far between, but if you look closely enough, we’re there amidst the North Face jackets and Ugg boots and Coach purses.

So don’t lose hope, Connecticut. Come the end of the semester there will be a select few students at our state university who won’t be tipping cars in parking lots and publically urinating on cop cars. There will be those who choose not to consume so much alcohol that they need to be driven to Windham hospital for stomach pumping. There will be those walking in the commencement ceremony with their dignities intact, knowing they weren’t the students who stripped naked on the Rape Trail running past lines of cops shouting profanities and throwing beer cans.

Will there be these students? Of course. Will all of UConn participate? Of course not.

Don’t be deceived.