Thursday, October 22, 2009

City Living and Roaches

I have come to the official conclusion that I hate old houses. Especially when they are in cities. I used to love them. Alot. Why is it that we can never just have nice things that we like without them being tainted? I wish I knew...

I found a cockroach today. Considering that I live in an old house in the city, I suppose this is to be expected. I hate cockroaches. I hate bugs. But cockroaches are up there with spiders and millipedes on my list of things that I absolutely abhor. Now, I would probably have been able to handle having a roach in my house. But this one happened to be found in my bed. My bed!! My sacred place of all things nice and cozy and warm! The devil invaded my very precious throne of goodness with its vile presence.

Now, this wasn't some tiny little cockroach. It had to have been at least an inch and a half long. I honestly wasn't sure what it was at first. I'm not used to having roaches in my house. There was the initial freak out of seeing it in the first place, and in my bed, which is possibly the worst possible place to find a large bug. I quickly scrambled out of bed and grabbed the first thing I could get my hands on. It happened to be a slipper. Not exactly the best weapon against one of Satan's minions, but it would have to do. I skirted around the edge of the bed, keeping a sharp eye on the monster, certain it might attack with those large claw looking things at any second. As I moved the covers to get a good look at it, it began to move much quicker than I would have liked. I'm pretty sure that I was dancing around in disgust as I swatted at it to get it off the bed and onto the flat surface of the floor before I could slay the beast with my almighty slipper. I really wished I had a blowtorch right around this moment. It would make my life so much easier.

I managed to get the thing off the bed, onto the floor and successfully smooshed. After discarding said beast, I made the very large mistake of googling cockroaches to see what they looked like. I know a roach when I see it outside. I'm not so certain when they're in my house and invading my bed. I'm pretty sure I wish I would have left well enough alone. I now have the creepy crawlies so bad that I can't even bear to put my feet under the covers. Its entirely possible that I may never sleep again. Ever.

Also, I'm not quite sure what the point is of having two cats who can't detect, let alone kill, big nasty bugs. I mean, really. Its just not right.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Effecting Change

I have lofty dreams and ideas. Or maybe they're delusions. I haven't quite decided yet. The Superman complex seems to have overtaken my life, but not in the haughty, obnoxious way. I just want to save the world. Plain and simple. Becoming a catalyst to effect change has become a mission, a charge from on high that my life simply must echo, morph into.

My new job has afforded me the awesome opportunity to head up the philanthropic arm of the company, which is an incredible occasion for me to gain experience doing the things I actually want to end up doing one day. Its been awesome for me to have a team of people who want to effect change in the community around them, and were just waiting for someone to step up to the helm. Its been an interesting and humbling experience for me thus far. I had someone that I respect at the office tell me something along the lines of, "people will follow a leader like you... including me." I think that was one of the most powerful things anyone has ever said to me. Being a leader is not something that I have ever necessarily aspired to. I've never taken any steps intentionally in that direction. And yet to have someone point that out in me was... strange. Exciting, almost. Not in an egotistical way, but in the way that if I can be a leader, I can be that catalyst to effect change.

I have discovered that much of that effecting is tied to finances, which has posed a significant challenge. Fundraising has never been a feat I had to face. If you've never done it, it is daunting. Like, holy crap. Naturally, I don't have on my heart to do the simpler things, one that could be done with small contributions throughout the company employees (not that we aren't doing those things as well). No. Of course not. I have dreams of health clinics in Africa and building processing plants for plumpy'nut in remote areas of the world. I oft feel like I've completely gone off my rocker. Who am I to think I can accomplish such things?

I presume that God will just have to move some mountains.

Be the change you want to see in the world.- Gandhi

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Adventures of Brita

Step 1: Remove filter from package. Step 2: Remove aerator from faucet.

You know you're in trouble when you get stuck at Step 2. I didn't even know what an aerator on a faucet was until about 20 minutes ago. One of the first things I discovered as a new Philadelphian is that the water down here is awful. I truthfully have zero desire to know what's swimming around in the stuff that comes out of my faucet. I feel a bit sorry for giving it to my cats, and they lick their own butts. That's saying a lot.

Upon my discovery, I started purchasing bottled water. I love the convenience of having bottled water on hand, but the expense of it adds up quickly (particularly when you consume as much water as I do) and I hate thinking of all my convenient water bottles ending up in some landfill that could be put to better use. Considering the fact that my refrigerator is approximately the size of a postage stamp, that excluded purchasing gallon jugs of water. 5 weeks after the big move, I had an epiphany. "I'll just buy a Brita filter! Eureka!" Sometimes I amaze myself at my own brilliance.

At my second trip to Target today, I find the Brita pitchers, thanks to help from a friend 60 miles away who knew where to find them (thanks, Tunes. I'd probably still be looking for them). But, alas! I suddenly remember that, due to the postage stamp, I can't actually get a pitcher. It won't fit in my tiny fridge. What to do, what to do?

I have no idea how I managed to forget that they have filters that screw right onto your faucet. Probably because I've never had need for one. Happening upon the faucet filtration system was terribly exciting, probably the highlight of my week. "I'll just take this little beauty home and screw it right on my little faucet in my little kitchen. Oh joy!" I thought to myself.

When I was hanging up with my dear friend who told me where to find the filters, she says, "I feel a blog coming on." "Oh ho ho ho" I thought. It can't be that hard.... right?

Step 2: Remove aerator from faucet. What is that? Apparently, the aerator is the little dojigger screwed on to the end of your faucet. You wouldn't even know it was there unless... well, unless you knew it was there. I managed to get that off, with ripping off minimal skin in the process, and placed the adapter in place. After screwing on the Brita filter, I said to myself, "Oh, how silly. Blog my foot! This was so uneventful!" Then I turned the water on.

WHOOOOOOSH!!! It happened so fast that I don't actually recall the water spurting from the top of the filter onto the front of my shirt. I just know that I was drenched instantaneously. Something was clearly not right. I tried to tighten the filter, because that surely must be the problem. Turn faucet back on. "That's odd," says I. "I somehow just got even more wet."

A few more attempts of tightening the filter found the filter completely fallen off, nearly breaking a glass, and getting me even more wet. I finally managed to get it back on and tightened to the point where water wasn't spewing everywhere. The stray stream of water is now mostly contained. I can't seem to get that dang thing on properly to get it to completely stop though. I figure its better to risk getting a little damp than die from gastro-intestinal distress from drinking Philly water.

This is one of those times when having a man around would really be useful.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Creatively Restless

I crafted 8, yes eight, pairs of earrings today. I sliced the tip of one finger on beading wire, and stabbed another to the point of blood. I also put a paint brush to a canvas for the very first time in my life. Now, my brain is moving so swiftly that I have to write or my cranium may find itself in a dire situation from an outward explosion. Never in my life have I experienced the kind of day that I had.

To anyone that knows me, its no secret that I am a naturally restless person. I can't sit still, and God forbid I have to focus on a mundane task for too long. I fidget, I shift, my right foot sways back and forth at the joint more often than I'd like to admit. Restless. Its probably one of the defining characteristics that makes up the core of my being. But typically my restlessness is a result of my overactive brain, too much sitting, or boredom. Today, my restless resulted from an intense need to create. There was near a feeling of if-I-don't-create-something-I-may-just-explode.

It was odd, really. I consider myself to be a creative person, though not a terribly effective one. Jack of all trades, master of none effectively sums up my opinion of my artistic side. Yes, I am decent at a few things and most definitely have varied interest creatively. But nothing I do has that "wow" factor. Perhaps I am too hard on myself (most creative types are), but there is a mediocrity in my art that makes me look at it and say "eh.

However, this side of me took over with a ferocity that was near frightening. It was gripping, all consuming. Like a drug that seeped through my skin and found its way into my bloodstream and coursed through my body.

After driving around for an hour this afternoon (I still don't know where alot of things are around here), I finally came upon my desired destination of Michael's Craft Store. A danger zone with the kind of day I was having. Aaaaaahhhh!!!!! With a joviality that can only be compared to that of a small child on Christmas Eve, I raced through the aisles finding all kind of goodies, including several small canvases, some acrylic paint, a few brushes, and an easel. I have never, and I mean never, painted anything in my life. Well, besides those paint by numbers things, but they hardly count.

My first work of art is hardly anything to brag about, but I am still somewhat proud of my efforts. It was exciting to try something new and not have it look completely awful. I can hardly wait until tomorrow to go back to the craft store (now that I can actually find it) and purchase a few more items so that I can get this idea in my head out on a canvas. Oh joy!

I don't know what's wrong with me lately. I can probably chalk some of it up to the adjustment of being away from nearly everything and everyone I know. I am probably bottling up some emotions that are coming out through this need to create, rather than being soothed by the comfort of familiarity. Who knows. But, while it continues, I can only hope to be able to produce something decent out of it.

One can never tell. I might become an artist yet...

Friday, October 9, 2009

How Oliver Found His Meow

I do believe that baby kitten meows are among the worst sounds in the world. My ears are currently bleeding from that very noise. Oliver has gotten somewhat better with his kitten-ness in terms of being calmer perhaps one half of one percent more often. This doesn't really equate to very much, but I'll take it.

His "growing up" also brought with it the maturation of a real live meow, rather than pathetic little squeak that use to emit from his little jaws. I actually felt bad for the poor sucker, what with not being able to really meow. I mean, isn't that part of being a cat? Its like the crowning glory of cathood, alot with a flowing tail. Considering I had one cat unable to meow, and another without a tail, things weren't looking so good in the household. Its rather tragic now that I think about it.

Well, silly me. Actually feeling sorry for the poor beast and his inability to meow. Whatever was I thinking? Clearly, I was not. About 2 weeks ago, Oliver found his meow. I rather wish he would loose it. Misplace it, perhaps. Even just forget he has it. Whatever the case may be, I would like it gone.

His naughtiness finds him locked out of the bedroom every night. He is not so much a fan of this situation. Being the pathetic little mancat that he is, he wants to snuggle and play with mommy at night when mommy is trying very hard to sleep. Mommy has to get up for work in the morning, unlike the little mancat. By the stroke of midnight, the little monster is oft romping around in the living room, being denied access to mommy's bedchambers. This was fine... until 2 weeks past.

The whole discovery of the meow has made the nightly ritual a bit more painful. Within 2 minutes of the door shutting, the meowing starts. And then continues... and continues. This typically last for at least 15 minutes. And then if I wake during the night, I hear it again. And then again in the morning. Its fun. Really. By fun, I mean its like raking screws across a chalkboard. Its enough to make one cringe. Not to mention the fact that I feel horrible because the poor little monster really just wants to snuggle and play with mommy.

I'm a mean, mean mommy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Lately I've felt like I have an invisible splinter in my soul. There is some sort of a thorn in the center of my being that I can't seem to find in order to take it out. There is an illusive something that is nagging me constantly and I can't seem to figure out what it is so that I can remove it or supply some kind of salve in order to take away the discomfort.

This is nothing new, really. Its been a nuisance for quite some time now. I think that this knowing that there is an element in my life missing has been what drove me to move away, constantly looking for what's next, and the force behind my desire to go to grad school. I'm not unhappy. Not at all actually. I believe that I'm the most content than I've been in a while. And yet, I find myself checking into grad school on a weekly basis, the neverending search for new hobbies, books, movies. Something, anything, to explore the nature of me to find what this splinter is, to discover the piece of the puzzle that is missing.

Perhaps this is part of the nature of life. I assume that this is nothing out of the ordinary, feeling this way. I assume that most people go through this same thing often. Its possible that its the continuation of my quarter life crisis. That time when you hit that brick wall of reality in the realization that this is life, this is it, this is all it has to offer. And yet, I hate the taste of those words in my mouth. I hate the thought. Its like a concession, a surrender to the ordinary. I don't want that. Who does want that? No one, if I had to guess.

That is what drives me to pursue something more. That will be what pushes me to continue to look into school, find new hobbies, books, movies. I don't think that this is bad, as long as its balanced with a sense of contentment. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I should give up this desire for more. Maybe I'm wrong. But I can't imagine that God created us just to go through life feeling unfulfilled. I want that fulfillment of my life meaning something, of my days being filled with purpose.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

For the Love of Traffic- Part 2

I love good stories. Good, random stories are even better. As I settle into my life in Philadelphia, I find myself making mental notes to self about the amusing things I can write about, and perhaps bring a bit of entertainment to all of you readers out there. For some odd reason, there is something in our humanity that is bemused by others misfortunes. Now, I don't mean misfortune in the sense of injury or serious calamity of any sorts. Misfortune in the sense of hapless circumstances. Considering my usual luck, that really works in all of your favors. I have just such a story for you.

Not too long ago, I relayed my distaste for traffic. An experience several weeks ago left me stuck on the Surekill much longer than I expected. Little did I know that was a mere taste, a spoonful of the reality of bad Philly traffic.

Tuesday morning found me at a stand still. On the ramp. I wasn't even able to make it onto the highway itself before I was stuck in the nastiest traffic I have ever seen. It took me approximately one half hour to get from my house to the actual highway. This drive typically takes around 5 minutes. I inched, literally inched, along up the ramp onto the freeway. I believe inching is a slight exaggeration. It may have been more like 3/8-ing, rather than full inching. Once you are on those ramps, you're committed. Forget backing up and going another route. I realized I was screwed with 2.5 seconds of making the turn onto the ramp. It was unreal.

After finally making the enormous trek up the ramp, I then sat at a complete standstill for about another 30 minutes. When I say standstill, I mean standstill. As in, the car was in park. On the highway. I have never had my car in park on the highway. Ever. It was really quite the sensational experience, and not one I'd like to repeat anytime soon.

After 90 minutes, I was finally able to go the full mile that it took to get to the next exit, so that I could take my leave from the disaster otherwise known as 76. "A backway will be much faster!" I told myself. Off I go into the unknown of suburbia, where I have zero idea where I'm going. Thank God for GPS. Seriously. They are a complete lifesaver in this situation. If any of you are psychotic enough to move to a heavily trafficked area, I strongly recommend one.

The backway didn't really prove to be much better. All of the other smarties must have made their way off the highway and decided to go the exact way that I did. An otherwise 25 minutes commute took over 45 minutes. Do the math. What should have been a 20 minute drive to work took 2 hours and 15 minutes. Yeeeeaaaaah...

I know that my patience is not the best when it comes to small kittens that like to chew on everything, but thank goodness I have relative patience in traffic. Otherwise, I may have arrived at work completely bald and bleeding. I did manage to pull up rocking out to 70s disco. One must amuse oneself when trapped in such a small space for that long.

However, I suppose it is also a reminder of our mortality. The traffic was caused by what must have been a not-so-nice car accident. I am unaware if anyone was hurt, but I'm sure some cars sustained damage to account for the backup. I am thankful that I made it to work safely that day, with everything still in tact and my car without anymore dents than it already has.