Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Here's to another year of happiness, joy, and lots of wine :)

Love you, Mommy.

A Birthday Tribute

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Felicitous Findings: Part 13

1. Waking up after three straight days of rain to the sun shining and filling my room with light

2. Vintage curtains

3. A nine-year-old's super-skilled piano playing

4. Reading good books from cover to end

5. Flower arrangements (I never thought I'd say that, because working in a flower shop throughout high school positively scarred me, but I have to admit I'm rather coming around to them...)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Old-Clothes-Only Decree: Week One

Hi guys. I have a confession to make.

I buy too many clothes. I buy things and never wear them again. I buy things and get them home only to realize they don't actually fit. I never return them. I buy things just because they're on sale. Or clearance. I am a bargain shopper to a fault.

This is where it ends.

For the rest of the summer, I hereby vow to not purchase anymore brand new articles of clothing. I figure, there's already so much old clothing out there that no one is using, so why not just wear that? It does seem rather silly for everyone in America to keep purchasing new articles of clothing when really--what happens with the clothing they replace it with? What happens to the outdated styles or skirts you get sick of? It's simple, really--I'll wear it.

That's why for the rest of the summer I am avowed to not buying anything new.

This will be detrimentally difficult.

But I'm going to do it. I've already started this week, purcashing a top and a sweatshirt from a tag sale just this past Saturday:

I'll continue to keep you updated, and try my best to STAY AWAY FROM THE GAP!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Laundry Days

Have I ever told you how much I enjoy doing laundry?

There's just something about transforming your clothes from filthy and messy to fresh and clean and smelling nice. Now that I'm back at home after graduation, I love being able to use the clothesline in the backyard and let my laundry air-dry.

The smell of clean clothes and fabric softener is enough to make me swoon. It's almost relaxing.

What relaxes you?

(Photos via MissNathalie and TheSweepSquad)

Blogging: The Ultimate Motivator

If there's one thing lately that I've come to realize really motivates me, it's blogging.

Let me explain: I used to love Facebook. That soul-sucking vortex of peer pressure to conform was really something. I couldn't stay away. Now, I still have my Facebook account, but I only use it if people want to get in contact with me and can't think to send an email or make a phone call. Other than that, I never use it. I haven't updated it in months.

But after awhile, after countless hours of my life were ripped away from me as I flipped through page after Facebook page, I realized that it was actually doing more harm than good. Like a dementor sucking the life out of a Muggle with a Kiss of Death in Harry Potter, Facebook can really dig into you (I think it's all a psychological experiment, and somewhere in Massachusetts Mark Zuckerberg must be rolling on the floor laughing hysterically at all of us). Between growing up and trying to find out who we are and comparing ourselves to everyone around us and attempting to look and act just like Katherine Heigl, girls (and boys, too--I believe they suffer just as much as girls) aren't really doing themselves any favors by being a member of the atrocity known as Facebook.

Maybe I was just too young and impressionable when I was a freshman in college, sitting at my desk doing some Facebook stalking alongside my freshman roommate who too was Facebook stalking, while not more than "Check out Sarah's new status, oh my God" passed between us. Maybe I let it get to me too much. But looking at all my "friends'" (and I say "friends" because not everyone I was "friends" with on Facebook were actual real-life friends) seemingly fabulous lives and updates and pictures and videos just made me feel even worse about myself than I already did as a seventeen-year-old girl. It presented this facade of how wondrous their lives were and made me feel like mine wasn't nearly as good.

Therefore, by the time junior year rolled around, I had had enough and ended my long-term Facebook love affair.

I can happily say that I've been Facebook-free since . . . well, I can't even remember the last time I logged in.

Which brings me back to my original point (I know, you must be wondering where I'm going with this spontaneous, cumbersome rant). Blogging, unlike Facebook, has opened up a whole new world to me. Here, I don't need to "friend" or "add" anyone to let them read it. Strangers in New York and Seattle and New Zealand are reading Ruth Writes, much to my surprise and excitement. I don't need to "unfriend" or "delete" anyone I'm not particularly fond of, I don't need to disable the increasingly creepy chat option, and I'm not receiving any inviatations to plant a flower in my Lil Green Patch or catch a Hug Snowball. This is my space (no pun intended--we won't even talk about MySpace) to be me, and not feel like I need to hold back from spilling about my life and endeavours and goals and feelings (clearly--how long is this post now?) I happily post pictures and videos of my own and if no one is even looking at them (which is really how blogging feels sometimes, like I'm talking to nobody in an empty room), it doesn't matter because I'm doing this for myself.

And it feels good.

That said, if you want to feel motivated to be held accountable for your life and to really do all you can to enjoy every little minute, I would encourage you to get a blog. I know all blogs are different, and mine isn't like everyone else's, but I really like to have some account of how I've been spending this year after graduation. And I also like to feel obligated to myself to take pictures of everything going on--it's nice to actually have photos so I can remember these days!

I know this was long-winded, and WHOA I didn't mean for it to come out like this, but I guess it's just some food for thought, to be totally cliche.

I'm wondering--what are your motivators? What gets you up in the morning and spurs you to be your best self? (And if it also happens to be blogging, share your sites!)

(Photo via Emma.C)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Need to Catch Up on Some Reading?

Go to jury duty.

For real. Jury duty is simply an opportunity to get one's books read, in entirety (perhaps even more than one). I've gone through two in my three days of service. Believe me, nothing sucks more than sitting in a deliberation room, trying to read slowly as if you were some child sounding out the letters, so that you can stretch the remaining pages for as long as you can. When I read that last page of It's Not That I'm Bitter, my heart sunk. Looks like the next hour was going to be spent watching the fool next to me play solitaire. If only I had brought one more book. Even a tabloid or the current Target ad would have sufficed.

Jury duty also provides another reason for why that Blackberry would have come in handy. To think, if only I had purchased that adorable little Pearl, I could have been blogging for your entertainment during that whole three hours I sat doing nothing today.

But alas, it's all over. The jury left to deliberate and I, the sole alternate, was cast out of that courtroom as quickly as the judge could hand me my "certificate" (honoring me, of course, for all of my hard work). All that and I didn't even get to hear the verdict. But whatever, I got to leave and revel in the gray, sprinkly day before the rest of them. Take that, judicial system.

But really, onto bigger and better topics, how was your weekend? (Wow, it's already Wednesday and I'm only just now posting about the weekend . . . I've really got to get better at this.) I had an enjoyable one.

Joe and I went tag saling Saturday morning, and I more than converted him. He got home with more things than he knew what to do with and was already asking if we could go again next weekend. Luckily, I didn't walk away empty-handed (or else I would have cried)--I finally found a dresser. When my search for it didn't go very well at the Brimfield Flea Market, I was sure down in the dumps. But East Longmeadow tag sales proved useful and I came home with a cute little oak dresser that just needed a little sanding and paint (or, as Joe put it, a little TLC).


And after:

In the end, I was pleased. My room is finally coming together! Hey, if I'm stuck living in a closet-sized bedroom in Somers, Connecticut with my entire family and without a Starbucks within a seven mile radius, I might as well tweak it to my liking. I'm getting there.

Here are some other highlights from my weekend. (Warning: there aren't many. I really need to get better at photographing more often, in addition to blogging more often.)

And tonight . . . Rachel's coming home! Sisters back in action, that's right! She's flying in tonight and staying for my fabulous grad party on Saturday, and I think going back on Sunday or Monday. Finally, someone who can relate to the perils of living this post-college life . . . I can't wait! Perhaps we'll have to make a Starbucks date tomorrow morning . . .

And in sad news (aren't I just a ball of excitement?), my poor car is dead. After breaking down for the second time since December, my Volvo wagon is no longer fixable (so Larry the Mechanic says). Personally, I think any amount of money spent fixing my poor baby is worth it, but my parents do not. And they would be the ones paying, so I guess I have to go along with this nonsense.

In the meantime, my dad is letting me drive his old little Toyota that doesn't even have a tape player (how will I play my iPod?!) and lacks an intermittent wiper setting. The only person who should be seen driving that load of crap is an old, smoking, shirtless man. Which I am not.

Unfortunately, working part-time at a daycare and making minimum wage does not allow me to purchase something else.

Boy, this whole surviving-life-after-college gig is tougher than I thought . . .

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Humid Hair Day One of the Summer

No, I'm not trying to channel Jessie Spano today, but seriously, my hair looks like this. And it's not the early 90s anymore.

Humidity is an awful, awful thing.

Does anyone else commiserate?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Good Read

Have you read this book?

I would highly recommend it. Written by Gina Barreca (I know, I know, I write about her on here without end), it's really a seriously funny, articulately truthful book about being a woman.

For those of you who will undoubtedly hem and haw and mumble something under your breath about crazy liberal feminists, I won't declare any of your comments as valid until you've read this (and are no doubt converted).

With chapters like "Why Do Women Worry About Everything While Men Worry About Nothing?," "Who Are You Calling a Second Wife?," and "Like, Seriously, Is Anybody More Judgmental Than a Teenage Girl?," Gina (I can call her that now since she's no longer my professor--she told me so) will have you laughing tears of your eyes when you realize how spot on she really is with It's Not That I'm Bitter.

Below are some of my very favorite lines and passages (and I'm not even done reading it yet!):

"Can we tell the truth here? Not that I'm bitter, but the only people looking at fifty-year-old women on the beach are other fifty-year-old women, every single one of whom is elbowing whatever poor soul she's sitting next to saying, 'Do I look like her? No, come on, do I look like her? Look, that one there, the big one, do I look like . . . ?'"

"You have to admit that life is a riot once you start paying attention."

"And that's part of the business of being a grown-up, I suspect: figuring out what counts for real and not just what you believe 'should' count and then using that to keep you doing what you do every day."

"Life is great, but it isn't easy."

"Almost no woman would treat any of her acquaintances as poorly as she treats herself."

"Of course love is subject to change. Like a good wine or bad haircuts, love alters over time. And sometimes, too, it goes away. Which does not mean it wasn't there in the first place. Love changes, shifts, swerves into other lanes, changes its name, address, phone number, and favorite color. And, as with wine or haircuts, you can--at some point and for any number of reasons--stop loving what you once adored."

"Guilt is easier than action."

Friday, May 22, 2009

I Am Disgusted

I heard this song on the radio today, and thought I heard it wrong.

No, I heard it correctly. I am disgusted.

These Are the Days (I Think) I Love

On the start of this Memorial Day weekend, I've become nostalgic to the old days of summer, back when I was little.

Today's kind of a more grown-up version, because I didn't get to wake up late and watch TV on the couch and eat cereal with Rachel and James and then run outside and play. I had to wake up early and drive to the Superior Court and serve on the jury for a civil case.

Let me tell you what a load of you-know-what that was.

Sitting in court all morning listening to nit-picky lawyers squabble over who said what four and a half years ago (yes, that's how long ago this "crime" took place) makes me want nothing more than to smoke a menthol cigarette (I don't smoke). The sole two highlights of my day (and I got lucky--it's only 4pm and I'm already home) were meeting a fellow UConn grad who also happened to be an English major (we apparently just never crossed paths on the whole two floors of the English department in four years...) and hearing a lawyer floundering on the floor of the courtroom, losing his respectability (to me) by saying, "Okay, well--hang on a minute here, let's take a time-out [insert goofy time-out hand motions here], and just.....let's look at this scene--take pic." Maybe I'm supposed to be some responsible, mature, professional juror who has to sit and listen without literally biting my lip and turning my suppressed giggle into a clearing of my throat, but for goodness sakes I am, after all, only the alternate juror and he actually said "take pic"!

I'll stop there, because I have to go back on both next Wednesday AND Thursday and I don't want to bore you with too many gripes. Lord knows I won't have any other exciting thing to blog about come next week so I'll have to restrain myself and wait till then to share more.

But getting back to the old days of summer (is that how I started this post?) that wasn't just some random thought that popped into my head and made me think, "Hmm, I'll write about this." I promise, I do have a point.

I stepped out of my car once I parked in my driveway and realized just how hot out it really was (I guess there is one positive thing about this whole jury business--I got to stay inside in the air conditioning instead of suffering outside in the ninety degree heat). It was that gross stifling heat, too--the kind where it just pushes right into your nostrils and into your lungs, and I could hear the bugs and birds complaining, too.

But when I stepped into my house, I couldn't help but smile. As soon as the door shut behind me, I existed in perfect solitude and darkness--my mom had done what she used to always do when I was a little girl: she had kept all the windows shut and the shades drawn and hung blankets over the doors to keep out all the sunlight (my parents have yet to catch up to 2009 and get air conditioning, amongst other things--call waiting, cable telvision, caller ID--shall I go on?). The only noise I could hear was the soft whirring of the standing fan from the living room that I used to sing to the Little Mermaid into, reveling in the fact that it would wobble my voice making me think that I actually did sound like Ariel when Ursula was taking her voice away. Ah, to be young.

So, to sum up--I loved those days, and I think I still love these days, too. Just in an entirely different way.

(Photo via AlanbytheSea)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Epiphany of Sorts

Remember this post? I used to go to Starbucks almost every Tuesday and Thursday morning, before my 12:30pm Sociological Theory class, and try to catch up on homework and organize my life. Some days I wouldn't bring my computer, because I am ADDICTED and it's such a distraction for me, but usually I would just sit there from eight to eleven cyber-surfing, and then look up and snap out of my internet-infused daze and realize I had just wasted three hours of precious homework time. Just like that.

Today though, it's a new day. It's Thursday morning, and I don't have to drive back to my apartment to get ready for class (even though I do have to get ready for work soon.....). I don't have to study for exams, or write any papers, or read countless textbook chapters. I literally have been sitting here for the past two hours working on my blog, when I realized there's this distinct feeling of guilt creeping up through my insides, like a tiny nagging voice saying, "Ruth....get to're wasting time....hurry up...."

And then I realized, my mind has not caught up to my body. I've been graduated for over a week, and I still feel like I need to be doing work. I've had dreams every night since I've been home that I'm late for an exam and fail it, or that I forget to say goodbye to someone before they move out, or that I realize I actually didn't graduate and I'm supposed to be at school right now but I've forgotten. It's madness, people. Who knew that I'd need to consciously persuade myself to realize that I'm done with UConn?

Last night I met with Abby and Andrew for dinner at Margarita's. That was refreshing, to be with close friends who understand and are in the same position that I am. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who's freaking out about this.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts about tattoos? I'd love to know. I've been thinking about them a lot, but I think I've come to the sad conclusion that I'm too indecisive to get one. I change my mind every two minutes (I clearly can't even follow a methodical train of thought for this post--Starbucks, graduation, margaritas, tattoos?!). I have a hard time choosing what to eat for lunch or what shirt to wear to bed. I know that if I got a tattoo, I'd love it for about a week and then change my mind the next. However, this tattoo is absolutely adorable, and may just change my mind....

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Longest, Most Drawn Out Catch-Up Post You Will (Hopefully) Ever See

If anybody is actually reading this so-called blog of mine, I profoundly apologize for my cyber-absence.

Let me explain.

The adjustment from the end of four years of college life, to graduation, the loss of friends, and a move back home, has been extremely difficult for me--as I'm sure it is for everybody who goes through that change. Just the whole end of the semester and finals and graduations and break-ups and goodbyes and moving--all of it has been much more tumultuous than I thought it'd be. I've been saying since February, "Ready to graduate? Are you kidding? I can't wait, it'll be so great to get out of here. I won't be sad one bit, I've been waiting for this since the day I got here!" And I truly believed all that. Now I can't believe that I was ever saying that. Not that UConn was my most favorite place in the world, but once you get used to something for four long years, it's hard to know anything else.

And believe me, living at home in Somers with my family again is a far cry from academic buildings and the Eastbrook Mall and bars within walking distance and Starbucks around the corner and the Co-op.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back, shall we?

By the Friday of the last week of exams, I was so ready to be done. I practically skipped through the sunshine to my very last final, hardly having studied and not even caring. I stopped in to say goodbye to Gina Barreca, a fabulous woman and mentor to me in this last year of mine at UConn. She gave me a gift and I tried not to comprehend that this was the end and I left her office in a rush, getting to my final 45 minutes early. In the exam room, the kid sitting in front of me was wearing a UConn Senior t-shirt that said "ALMOST DONE!" in big letters on the back, staring me cruelly in the face. I tried not to pay too much attention.

My stomach was already hurting.

The next day was rough. I was hungover. I threw up. I broke up with Joe. My mom came and took stuff home for me and my apartment was bare and empty, like when we moved in. I ordered a calzone since I had no food and the Chinese place wasn't answering their phone and I sat at the table by myself and ate it. I just wanted to get it all over with so I could miserably face reality once and for all.

I thought graduation was supposed to be a happy time.

The next day, I woke up at 5:23am and couldn't fall back asleep. I decided to use my time wisely and straightened my hair and listened to the birds that I usually wake up too late to hear and ironed my dress and finished clearing everything out of my room and watched the weather loop about seven times on the morning news. It was 6:45am. I sat on the couch, dressed and made-up and ready to go, until my CA came to check me out of my apartment once for all at 9am. I could have run fourteen miles with all of my built-up energy.

So, I graduated, with Mom and Dad and Mary and James and Jana and Michael and Auntie Mary and Katie, sans Joe. I honestly don't even want to elaborate, so here are some pictures:

(If you're still reading this, kudos to you. I don't know if I could sit through this kind of misery. But it will get better, I promise. I think.)

So that was that. It doesn't sound like much, but that's literally how it went. I felt sick all day and it was all surreal and then I couldn't believe it was over and I was driving back home to Somers. And now I'm here.

My first order of business was painting my room. I don't have any "after" pictures yet, but here's how it started:

I've also spent time flea marketing in Brimfield:

I bought this adorable handmade dress:

I've also once again assumed the role of Good Big Sister, so some mornings have involved waiting outside in the chilly morning sun at the bottom of the driveway with Mary for the bus to come. I love this set of photos from this morning:

Phew. That's a lot of catching up, and that's not even all there is. Stay tuned. I've got plenty more stories and goodies and even some big news.

Happy Tuesday!