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Friday, December 31, 2010

L'anno nuovo comincia il 1 gennaio:

Felice Anno Nuovo a tutti!

This is really not my thing, I don't like to make resolutions because rather than feeling like attainable goals, they have a way of turning into lists of regret and unfinished business. Little ghost lists that haunt you until the next year rolls around. But for the sake of growing up, for the sake of pretending to be an adult, I thought I should jot down some ideas (notice how if you call them ideas and not resolutions, they can't come back and bite you in the ass)

1. Firstly, I'd like to pay off my credit card--or if not pay it off, at least stop contributing to my debt by buying more boots.
2. Secondly, I would like to slow down--when I eat, when I drink, when I drive, when I meet someone and when I think.
3. Thirdly, I would like to let go of the feelings that I had for Russ and make room in my mind for somebody new.

Maybe last year I slept with people I shouldn't have, or yelled at people I could have been kinder to, or made promises I couldn't keep, or had cookie dough for dinner, or felt melancholy for no reason at all. But I also worked with some really sweet kids, and landed a new job, and settled down on my own, and bought a new car and made some good friends.

The great thing about being 24 and not 64 is that there are so many ups and downs, everything is so uncertain that in the blink of an eye you might be very far off from where you first began.

The above list is nice but really all I hope to do in 2011 is be a good person, the kind of person that makes my parents point me out in a crowd.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Neko Case:

Sometimes I wish I could just crawl into her songs. Her voice is like a thick piece of cotton I wish I could lay my head on. Neko at The Rialto remains one of my favorite shows ever.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back from Philly:

Back from my visit to Philly. Philadelphia's streets don't "make you feel brand new" like New York, they make you feel old. Old like Benjamin Franklin. Old like The Constitution. Old like it's 1776. Big ups to my skinny jeans and the Philly Cheesesteak that made them harder to slip into.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Grandpa George:

For a long time as a kid I thought my grandparents were indestructible. Actually up until about 1 year ago I thought my grandparents were indestructible, all four of them. They were always so alive and fresh and funny. They didn't use walkers or take medication or live in nursing homes or look sick or sound sad or forget my name. Sitting at my grandma's wooden table with an oversized t-shirt on and my hair a mess from sleeping the night before, I'd plop down for breakfast in the chair closest to the wall and my grandpa would say "Herrrrreee she comes" in a long, drawn out kind of way, his southern accent making everything sound a little bit sweeter. "Hiya poopsie." I remember smelling the thick, black coffee without cream or sugar that my grandpa George would drink every morning. At every meal he would play the same trick, the one where he cuts off the tiniest portion of his meal and plops the little morsel on my plate and says "Here, that's enough for you." I'd look down at it and say "Grandpaaaa, c'mon, that's not enough." A tiny little smirk would cross his face and he'd begin to laugh so hard and then put the rest of my meal on my plate. Or after lunch, he's sneak over to the freezer and pull out some giant tub of sherbet ice cream, spoon some into our dishes and whisper "That's the good stuff right there."

Now my grandpa George sleeps alone at night, he sleeps alone at a care facility because he can't remember my name and he can't remember his. He doesn't remember to call me "Poopsie" anymore and he doesn't know what ice cream is. My grandma doesn't have a husband anymore, she has a child to care for who doesn't recognize his own children. And maybe that's the hardest part, to watch my own dad watching his father slowly fall apart. It's such a funny thing that circle of life. Two nights ago my dad was sitting in the wheel chair next to my grandpa's bed, I came up behind him and said jokingly as I started to push him around, "This could be us one day dad." He laughed and said "I know, you're right, scary isn't it?"

It is. Nowadays we spend our time between work and the hospital. Between laughing, when my grandpa lets a little glimmer of his former comedian out and worrying, over when he'll make his last joke.

"Dear Grandpa,

While you are still here we will love you just as fiercely and laugh just as loudly as ever before. You are a good southern man. I am proud to sit next to you always.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I turned 24 today:

Today, I turned 24. For months leading up to this birthday I felt apprehensive. I was worried that 24 meant something to the rest of the world that it didn't mean to me. I was worried that I wouldn't have accomplished the things that a 24 year old is meant to. I was worried that I wouldn't feel like myself. I was worried that I was having a quarter-life-crisis, one year too early.

But today has come and gone, and I felt more like myself today than I have in a long time. I did not wake up anxious, riddled with excitement at the prospect of an entire day devoted to me, like I did as a child. I woke up feeling much like I do every morning, a little sleepy and annoyed at my cat for meowing so incessantly at such an hour.

Tonight I shared a great meal at a really cute local restaurant with my sister and my parents. And then we got coffee at a small shop downtown. And it was simple and perfect and just enough. If there is one thing that I'm most proud of after living on this earth for, *gasp* 24 years, its my relationship with my family. It is ever present and ever funny and ever keeping me filled with happiness.

Here's to another 24 years! Wait, that will only make me 48. Here's to another 100 years!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Update: I spoke with the aforementioned student today. He is still failing. He is still putting the blame on every one but himself.

People that cannot help themselves cannot be helped.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Just Another Day at the Office:

I called one of my students on Friday to see how things were going for him, to check in on his classes. An hour and a half later, after hissing and yelling and cussing he had dumped the following bits of information on me. I have included them here for your enjoyment, because everybody likes to make fun of a genuine tool.

This student, who is FAILING BOTH of his classes might I add, regaled me with stories of personal grandeur and success:

"I am literally the smartest person I know."

"I never mess up, when I write something I don't even have to check it because I know that it is literally perfect."

"When I was in high school, while the other students were turning in 3 page papers every week, I was handing in 500 page papers on a weekly basis." (This is the point in the conversation where I felt like killing myself for a second).

"I am so smart that when I was in high school I was taking college level work. I was smarter than the teacher. The teachers couldn't compete with my level of intellect."

"You think it's hot in Arizona, I live in Cheyenne! In the summer it can reach temperatures of 130 degrees!" (I think he was confusing his po-dunk town in the middle of Wyoming with Baghdad, or the center of the Sun).

This conversation was sprinkled with me making chocking gestures to my co-workers and tiny amounts of animal like rage.

For the most part I really love my job. It's only at times like these where I feel like hoping on a plane and hunting down the idiot at the other end of the phone and smacking them across the face.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Margarita Pie:

Earlier this week began the lightning bolt of frenzy that is known as ON THE JOB TRAINING. What this entails: Copious amounts of information dumping, emails, appointments, meetings and feeling frustrated and confused 150% of the time. AND I LOVE IT. Today I was able to speak with my students and settle their nerves and help them with their concerns over class schedules. I really appreciate the people that I work with, they are young and vibrant and eager to help and we are all in the same boat together,...puttering along.

In other news I moved into my new place and began acting like the single sister that I am. Wood floors. Meals for one (sausage and peppers, pasta with salad, frozen Indian dinners). A tiny cat named Sylvia.

I've yet to set up internet at the apartment so I'm stealing away a few moments every few days at my local Starbucks. I walked in tonight and spied a handsome man/boy in the corner. Obviously I nervously looked away and ran for the complete opposite side of the room. A fine young thang just sat down at his table. Obviously.

I want to make my aunt's famous Margarita Pie and bring it for my fellow cubicle cuties on Friday. Don't you wish you sat near me at work? Recipes to come.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Status Updates and Program Changes and Bears, Oh My!:

Today I sat in a meeting for 2 hours eating chocolate and falling asleep. Yesterday we had an hour and a half long lunch. Tomorrow we are celebrating with a pizza potluck. My job is pretty bomb.

All jokes aside the training is very intensive and I'm just barely half way through. With copious amounts of information to memorize, verbalize and then think critically about, the days are starting to wear me down. Next week I leave the classroom atmosphere and begin "on the job training" or OJT as me and my fellow corporate robotrons like to refer to it as. And three weeks after that, dun dun dun....I'm flying solo!

I'm super pumped to begin working with students, but is it wrong that I'm almost more jazzed about "nesting" in my cubicle and arranging my pencils and pens just so? Maybe.

I move into my apartment Friday night. Ya know what that means kiddos, vino vino for everybody!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Get It Girl:

No Regrets. Push Forward.

This is my new mantra. And by new I mean my long-standing and recently revisited credo. I've never been a person to live life with many regrets, I try to keep that running tally at zero. Whether it's eating a rice krispy treat AND ice cream for dinner, fooling around too soon, getting lost during my lunch break or forgetting to make a credit card payment, I'm taking these hiccups with a grain of salt. Or a spoonful of sugar. Or a glass of water upside down, according to my grandma. This isn't to say that I don't worry or stress. I'm a worrier by nature. My grandma is Italian. I have a quarter life crisis every three and a half minutes. But after I settle my nerves and come back down to earth, I let it go. And that's how I feel myself maturing.

I have a new job that I love. I have a new car that I adore going fast in. I'm in the process of moving. I'm really digging my life right now. So those little faux pas that I've committed recently, well, I'm over it.

No Regrets. Push Forward.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From One Driver to Another:

From "Adultette" to full-fledged adult, well, I'm working on it. Today I took a giant leap into the big kids pool, I didn't just dip my toe in and swish it around, I didn't slowly ease my body into the water and cling to the edge. I started from 50 feet back and took off running, sliding over cool decking and all, to plunge head first into the deep end. The life guard was yelling and I didn't care. As of today I am the owner of a brand new, 2010 loaded Honda Civic LXS.

In the sticky summer sun I handed over my old keys to a young girl about to start college. She was so sweet and eager to have a car of her own, I knew instantly that the little SUV that got me through high school and college, through make-outs and make-ups, was being driven away in perfectly naive hands. I hope that she smokes pot or gets it on or sings incessantly at the top of her lungs in that car with all of the wanton abandon that it was meant for.

While she's getting her freak on in the back seat of that old SUV I'm going to be freaking out about every spill and dent and bump that my new car accumulates. From adultette to adult, I think my new powerful engine will help me make a smooth transition ;)

Friday, July 16, 2010

The University of Phoenix:

So, I got offered a job from The University of Phoenix. I will be working as an academic advisor and this is great because I will get free tuition so that I can get my masters. I kicked the unemployment crisis and it feels good!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Been Thinking About You:

I had three interviews today:

1. The University of Phoenix (my second time seeing them for a different position).
*Pros--Free tuition, health care, benefits, nice starting salary, opportunity for growth
*Cons--Very far from my house :(

2. Fortune5 Marketing
*Pros--They called me back for second round already
*Cons--Hiring manager was totally creepy and douchy :(

3. Yelp.Com
*Pros--Great work environment, great company culture, ok starting salary, benefits, great company
*Cons--SALES, SALES, SALES....not exactly my forte.

I really would like to work for the University of Phoenix, I think at this point it could be an ideal job because it would get my foot in the door with a big company with great benefits and I could get my masters for free!!! Also, they have offices all over the country so the chances to move around are endless :)

After coming home from all these interviews I felt so stressed and un-happy with my performance. I really bombed the Yelp.Com interview, the men were so young and intimidating and I don't think they liked my "mock sales presentation." Ugh. I ate an apple and climbed into bed to listen to Radiohead. Nothing makes me feel better. Even though the lyrics are so sad this song makes me feel so good, it's one of my favorites. Enjoy!

Been thinking about you
Your record's a hit
Your eyes are on my wall
Your teeth are over there
But I'm still no one
And you're my star
What do you care?

Been thinking about you
And there's no rest
Should I still love you
Still see you in bed
But I'm playing with myself
What do you care?
When the other men are far far better

All the things you've got
All the things you need
Who bought you cigarettes
Who bribed the company to come and see you honey?

I've been thinking about you
So how can you sleep
These people aren't your friends
They're paid to kiss your feet
They don't know what I know
And why should you care
When I'm not there

Been thinking about you
And there's no rest
Should I still love you
Still see you in bed
But I'm playing with myself
What do you care?
When I'm not there.

All the things you've got
That you'll never need
All the things you've got
I've bled and I'd bleed to please you
... honey

Been thinking about you..

Saturday, July 3, 2010

And Tell Me Miss Driver, Have You Ever Worked In A Results Driven Workplace?:

I have had 6 interviews in 2 days. I'm exhausted mentally and, well,...mentally. Because let's face it, it's easy to drive yourself to an office, it's easy to throw on a pair of heels, it's easy to print your resume 50 times. It is not easy, however, to "sell yourself" over and over and over again. I am tired of tip-toeing my way around every answer and smiling until my face hurts and pulling compelling stories out of nowhere at the drop of a hat. I'd like to write more but I just really don't feel up to it. I hope my responses will get me through the door somewhere, or if not the door maybe just the hallway leading up to it, or maybe the parking lot outside.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's Jessica or Jess, Never Jessie!

So, it’s summer time. I feel lazy and uninspired due to the lack of earth-shaking events going on in my life. I try to blog about things of weight, things of substance but sometimes it feels good just to write about nothing at all. Fellow blogger Amanda, whose blog you can view HERE, had a fun entry that I thought I could copy-cat. This posting is about me, not the me of abstract thoughts and flowery wisdom but the me of “I hate wearing sunglasses for too long because after a while you get a red mark on your nose.”

**Name—Jessica Nicole Driver. Growing up, I hated my name. Don’t we all? I thought it was a boy’s name because I knew a boy named “Jesse” in second grade. My mother gave me the middle name “Nicole” because she was certain she was having a boy, and she was dead-set on naming him Nicholas. When I came gasping into the world without a penis, she knew Nicholas probably wouldn’t be as fitting as Nicole. Weirdly and randomly enough my dad had some sort of stalker-like obsession with the actress Jessica Lange and thus, he christened me with the name of a now aging 80’s celebrity. I think my flair for drama was instilled at birth.

Sidenote: Jessica was the most popular female name in 1986. Bingo mom and dad, you weren’t as creative as you assumed.

**Birthday—November 3, 1986. The night before my birth my mother was riding the slide at the State Fair. I like to think that somehow deep-fried Twinkies and the shallow ups and downs of carnival rides induced labor.

Sidenote: I am an election baby. My birthday falls around election time every 4 years. On November 2nd, 2004 George Bush was re-elected. I turned 18 the next day. Let’s just say I was not pleased with the outcome.

**Fun Facts.

I can make the perfect omelette. It’s all about the flip to which I have perfected.

I hate when I’m working out and my Ipod doesn’t know which song I need to come on next to keep myself motivated. Why can’t Apple read minds yet?

Make-up first, blow dry hair second. Always.

My favorite part about drinking a cappuccino is sucking down the last sip, where the sugar has accumulated in the bottom of the cup. Delicious!

I used to hate my freckles, now I like them.

Winter over summer. Always

When I was 9 years old I pulled a girl off the monkey bars and as a result she had to have knee surgery. I warned her not to tell anybody and she never did. I wish I could harness that powerful disregard and use it against my current people-pleasing personality.

One of my favorite scenes from a movie is the opening credits to “Curly Sue” when she’s pulling all of her treasures out of her pathetic, homeless bag. Classic.

I am the hippy, the suburban hippy by default when the rest of your family is a bit too conservative.

I shed a silent tear today for Gli Azzurri, the Italian national soccer team who did not make it through to the second round of the World Cup. (My inner childhood tomboy is making a cameo right now)

I don't know, a fish named Elizabeth Gold, a stuffed bear I still own, my favorite pasta shape (Orechiette by the way), my first kiss...insignificant and yet entirely important because without them I just wouldn't be ME.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Buon Viaggio Olenka!

I was talking to a very lovely lady tonight who used to be the mother of my boyfriend, and who I now just consider a friend and confidant. We got to chatting about my blog and she said “I think you are doing a great job capturing the exasperation of being educated and loose on the world.” In my brain tiny electrodes and sparks went flying, it was an “Aha” moment. I thought to myself, “Yes, yes, educated and loose on the world, that’s exactly how I feel.” It sounds so explosive and exciting but somehow restricted and cautionary, which is how my every existence seems to be functioning at the moment. At times I feel like I was born and shot from a cannon and meant to land and bounce around the world, loose on the world if you will.

My friend Olenka was also meant to be a wild rover, a ramblin’ woman swinging between one continent and another. (Check out her blog HERE). She leaves very soon to go and teach English in South Korea. Sunday I’m throwing her a going-away bash filled with Mexican food that will surely be hard to come by in the land of fish and vegetables. I hope that she finds everything she is looking to experience while overseas and I hope that I discover a path that fulfills me while I’m over here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Can You Picture This, What's Your Essence?

My friend Olenka recently posted on her blog, Respice Finem, about a game she plays with friends in order to get a better understanding of what lies beneath, of what's below the surface when it comes to humanity. She said she asks friends to imagine for a moment, in their heads, that a picture is being snapped of them. This picture captures your essence, your sublime, your highest point of fulfillment in life. What is the picture of?

Surprisingly enough, or not really surprising at all actually, my answer came to me right away. No hesitation. I know my picture, I think of it often. It is a conglomeration of things I have experienced and things I have yet to see. It goes like this:

At 9 p.m. I am sitting in a tiny trattoria in Orvieto eating wild boar and drinking red wine. I am surrounded by 4, maybe 5 really close friends and a boyfriend, the love of my life. Not a husband, but a man who loves me all the same. The table cloths are white and below the table is my hand intertwined with my love's. Candles light the room, not lamps. The only thing you can hear is the laughter of other tables being drowned out by our own happiness. I have a giant smile on my face. The light of a camera flashes from across the room and what does it capture? Me, my happiest moment, I'm smiling, I've just said something in perfect and fluent Italiano. I am whole, I am complete, I am home.

What would your picture say about you?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

These Days I Just Want To Be Alone:

I left the house today in heels and a green dress for an interview. My nails are painted, my jewelry is in place, my resume is printed neatly inside the folder that I use for such events. I drove to the dumpy law firm in central Phoenix where I was scheduled to meet for this temporary work. For 6 weeks I thought I could handle working in that old building with plastic flooring and a broken water cooler. I thought I had this in the bag. I am a college graduate. I am wearing pearls. The lady next to me has acrylic nails longer than her forearm and messy black pants on, covered in animal fur. I took the aptitude test. I failed the aptitude test. You are allotted 6 mistakes, I missed 7. Consequently, I did not get called in for an interview. The lady with hooker heels on did, the lady with a spaghetti strap dress, sitting like a line backer did. I walked out into the blaring summer heat feeling defeated and ashamed.

Defeated because again I remain unemployed. Ashamed because I judged these other women too quickly. My degree, my G.P.A, my bubbly personality matter little. I missed 7 questions, the ill prepared floozy in red probably only missed 5. It's a cruel, cruel world.

Last week I was turned down for a job after several rounds of interviewing because they determined that I was "too qualified" and that I needed to look for something that would better fit my intellect. This week I couldn't cut the mustard. I am too dumb and too smart for my own good.

I hate writing about all of this. I hate putting it out there for the world to see, my flaws, my inadequacy. It is embarrassing but it is what it is. This is my diary. This is my life. These are the things they don't prepare you for as an undergrad. This is what it's like to be young and single and in your early 20's just trying to pay your bills.

They say (although I'm not sure who first coined this stupid advice) that when you fall down you must immediately pick yourself back up again. But sometimes when I fall, I don't want to get back up. I want to sink even lower. I want to slither into my covers and put on my headphones and listen to The Concretes or Bob Dylan.

Sometimes I just want to be alone. Sometimes I just want to scream "WHY THE HELL CAN'T I FIND A DECENT JOB?!?"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thanks But No Thanks:

Dear Blogging World,

Guess what I'm pretty sick and tired of,...people passing judgement or expressing their feelings about my life and the direction of it. I'm tired of people interjecting their opinions, their thoughts, their well-sounded advice into my world. I am not your soundboard, your think-tank, a rubber ball to bounce ideas off of. I don't want to listen intently while you press your finger tips to your lips and say "ok, but listen to this..."

This week I did temp work at a law firm, I did not save babies or cure cancer. I didn't help clean up the oil spill or study really hard for some exam. I printed Excel spreadsheets. And that's it. Oh and I went to the gym, a lot. So for me, working out and clicking "print" was enough this week. So next time you have something to say, thanks but no thanks.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summatime and the Livin's Easy:

There's something great about letting beads of chlorinated water dry hard and spotty on your skin. There's something great about Ipods and warm sunshine and cold pools. Here's to summertime!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Isn't It Glamorous:

As a young girl in my early 20's I'm constantly reading It's my Bible, it's my religion...and like any conventional spiritual grouping I trust it only as far as I can throw it, and that's not very far. But I digress. The other day I was reading an article about how with each boyfriend, with every dating experience, you gain a ton of new music! And this IS true. My music collection has expanded exponentially with every passing boy. So I thought to myself, "What else do you gain rather than lose when a relationship ends?" I came to the conclusion that you gain a lot of wisdom and a lot of practical skills. Boys teach you quite a lot about great bands you've never heard of and quite a lot about yourself too.

In no particular order, the top 15 things I've learned from boys (at least for now):

1) That Karma Police would be one of my favorite Radiohead songs
2) That half a bottle of Smirnoff Ice at age 17 is enough, quite enough
3) How to travel and really travel well
4) How to cook the perfect omelet
5) How NOT to romance a girl into being with you
6) What it's like to live with a boy, dirty apartment and all
7) How to be a braver version of myself
8) How to smoke pot
9) How to make homemade pasta (this one goes out to Russ' mom actually)
10) That 2 glasses of wine on a first date, when you weigh 100 pounds, is not a good idea
11) Where to find the best gelato in Rome and the best mosaics in Ravenna
12) That going with the flow is nice, but knowing what you want is better
13) That Neko Case is great to see live and to lay in bed to
14) When enough is enough
15) How to navigate the underground in London

Friday, May 21, 2010

Those That Can't Do, Teach:

Yesterday at work we were in charge of cleaning out the teacher's classrooms and prepping them for summer school. There is a certain teacher who shall remain nameless..., wait let's call her Miz D; I think the "D" will stand in place for "Devil," whom I particularly dislike. In fact I dislike her so much that I tried to get her fired last semester. Wait, before you turn the tables on me and start referring to me as the devil listen to my story: Last semester this crazy Miz D was so incompetent that she literally didn't give students grades for the semester. Strike One. She pulled a girl out of the bathroom and put bruises on her. Strike Two. She ran into a classroom to hunt down a boy, yell at him, threaten him, steal his hat and put her hands on him. Strike Three. Maybe these seem like minor offenses to you but trust me, they're not.

Needless to say as I was cleaning out her room, (she is a hoarder by the way) I found old meat and parts of a skeleton scattered across the room. 10 minutes later I discovered Miz D is returning to teaching next year. Oh Arizona educational system, WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?!?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hasta Luego Mis Amigos:

"Miss you're not going to be here next year," Adilene asked me towards the end of 7th period. "No," I responded, looking down and shaking my head. I threw my palms toward the air while a defeated smile crept across my face. How can you explain the complexities of state budget cuts and job loss to a teenage girl gearing up for summer vacation. "No Adi, because the school doesn't have much money they had to let people go. Because I'm so new to your school they let me go first." She seemed to understand. I gave her a big hug and told all of the students to have a wonderful summer. I told them to stay focused and to get summer jobs. I posed for a picture with Jonathan and Lorenzo and Lorena. I told them "I will miss you" and "see ya later." But I will not see them later. Summer has arrived, a new school year will begin without me there. These students, these boys and girls, these young men and women...their maturity level varying from day to day, will no longer be a part of my life. As much as they disappoint me and make me crazy and suck every ounce of patience from my bones I am forever grateful to them for replacing what they have taken and replacing it in spades.

I felt so sad when I began this job. I had just been dumped and I felt like my world was caving in all around me. The one person I loved was no longer around, college was over. For the first few weeks I would steal moments from the classroom, I would run to the bathroom and lock the door and begin to cry. Not sobs, just tiny tears, single tears would escape my eyes. The thing about high schoolers is that they're like sharks. They can smell fear, or blood in the water, or tiny white girls with no backbone. They know instantly if something is up, they recognize your pain for what it is, weakness.

For them, I left my weakness at the door. I put on a smile, I got down on their level, I talked with them. Almost immediately I began to feel better. At their worst they were shiesty delinquents with bad attitudes and little work ethic but at their best, at their best they were my favorite part of the day, my proudest moments, my little stars. Without even knowing it they pulled me out of murky waters and made me a better human being.

To Selene, Vanessa, Gerrardo, Alvaro, Agustin, Gamaliel, Lorenzo, Lorena, Jonathan L., Jonathan T., Luis, Abilene, Adilene, Jose, Rodolfo, Kenny...THANK YOU. MUCHAS GRACIAS. I think you have done far more for me than I could ever have done for you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What Was I Doing One Year Ago Today Volume III:

Welcome to the third installment of: What Was I Doing One Year Ago Today?

One year ago today I was prepping for college graduation and all of the exciting chapters that a diploma promises a person of 22. In chronological order, during this week of May, 2009, I was as follows: Submitting my independent study paper to Professor Alfie, studying for Dr. Soren's exam, taking an Anthropology final, going out for Seth's birthday, going to a BBQ at Kevin's house, hitting the gym, giggling with Nicole at our tiny and awkward Italian Pre-Commencement Ceremony, GRADUATING, going to Danielle's graduation party and playing bocce ball. Let us assume that there was a lot of drinking going on between most of these activities.

I did all of this in a black dress with heels. In a flowered dress with heels. In flip flops. I walked across the stage, I flipped my tassle, I took pictures. I laughed, I cried. I felt sad towards the end of my collegiate career. I felt sad that I would never see my old professors again. I felt sad because a part of me knew it would never feel so good again.

I think what I like most about examining the past is that it feels safe. It does not feel scary. It feels familiar. I like putting my finger on something I already know about. The future is daunting but the past is an old sweater, your best friend, a scarf with your favorite's something you can curl up into when the present doesn't seem to be going your way.

This week, this week in May, 2009 I've gone to work, had two interviews, paid my rent, made cupcakes for a pregnant teacher at work, written a published article, gone out to eat for my parent's 26th wedding anniversary and probably most importantly, made plans to visit an old friend before he moves to Australia and made plans to have breakfast with an old professor before he leaves for Italy.

Last year I was 22. This year I am 23. It feels like nothing and everything has changed all at once.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pizza Rolls:

The following is something I found from my old online journal from my senior year of high school. Read, enjoy, criticize, whatever.

After the stifling car ride home with the windows cracked and the AC blaring, I unlocked my front door and stepped inside. Normally I hunt around for food for a good ten minutes before I discover some mediocre meal to satisfy my hunger pangs. Today I expected nothing more. However, as soon as I opened the refrigerator door, my eyes flew wide with excitement. This little girl was not going to be chomping down on saltines and water. What delicious treat could be awaiting my taste buds? Nothing other than Pizza Rolls. I tore at that box and slammed those puppies in the microwave. Anticipating only the finest of culinary flavors, I stewed in front of the microwave for 2 solid minutes.

As soon as I heard the familiar "beeeeep" of the timer, I ran to the couch with my heated treasure and settled in for a nice half hour of Ryan Reynolds on "Two Guys and a Girl." ABC Family never disappoints.

No sooner did I popped that first scorching little devil into my mouth, my entire upper torso was on fire. My eyes began to slowly melt from their eye sockets and flood my plate like two runny, undercooked eggs. Sunny side up. Simultaneously, as if some God from above had suspended time, that brick red pizza juice squirted from the side of the deep fried pillow and onto my soft blue blouse.

This is where my sheer lack of will to do anything remotely productive comes into play. I looked down at my shirt, I looked around the couch. I searched for hidden stains not yet discovered by my scrambled eyes, sunny side up. I found no other traces of my lunch anywhere besides inside my mouth and on my shirt. With this in mind, I continued to consume every last crumb, killing each pizza roll as I dropped it in my mouth like a cat dangling a mouse just above his pucker.

And without even skipping a beat, I went about my afternoon without even attempting to erase the stain on my shirt. This is whence I realized "Jessica, you are quite possibly the laziest human being to ever walk the face of this earth!"

This is also when I realized I love pizza rolls so much that I would rather make myself another batch than clean up my blouse.

I'm leaving now to cook another plate full.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Specs:

I got my new specs today. I don't have much to report on other than I've been super busy lately with work and marketing duties for my internship. There have been so many tasks to complete that I may even have the opportunity to spearhead a new project with multiple interns working under my command. Who knew I'd be so good at networking my little butt into this gig???

I'm not the praying kind of girl but if I was I'd say "Lord, please let these new spectacles give me the wit of Tina Fey and the on-stage presence of Elton John."

Monday, April 26, 2010

What Was I Doing One Year Ago Today Volume II:

Welcome to the second installment of: What Was I Doing One Year Ago Today?

Last year, April 26th fell on a Sunday. As an undergrad the "Sabbath" was not reserved for church or family or relaxation, it was reserved for "holycrap-i have so much homework-what the hell was I doing all weekend-how late can I stay up to finish this-I am so stupid-how do I conjugate that verb in Italian?"

My very idiosyncratic day planner details that last year I was working on my term paper and editing my independent study paper. As a side note to myself, at the very bottom of my neatly prepared schedule I scribbled in this question, Do I have time to lay out for a bit?

Wow. I shudder to think that I was that uptight. I hope that in my next life I'm reincarnated as a dirty hippy with a tiny bird's nest growing out of my unwashed dreadlocks. I hope that I can slip my leather feet into previously owned sandals and sit on the corner of Haight - Ashburrry strumming a lonely guitar in order to exact revenge on my snotty, tight ass.

And speaking of San Francisco I hope that by the time April 26th comes around next year, I'm enrolled in graduate courses at San Francisco State University...or NYU...or at some other coastal university very far away from the desert.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

SB 1070 Arizona:

To the high school where I work, Maryvale, and all of the local high schools that organized "walk-outs" today in protest of potential legislation regarding a person's legal status, I salute you. I'm proud of the students that participated, I hope you actually made it to the Capital!

These were my sentiments earlier today, this is what I wrote on my Facebook account. I felt passively passionate about it, if that's possible, if that makes sense? I think what I mean is that I felt instantly proud and glad that the high school students were taking part, taking action in something more meaningful than the latest cell phone craze. The entire school was abuzz today with political talk and helicopters and police patrol cars. But doubt began to fill my mind when I realized that some of kids merely ran out of school without knowing why, running for the nearest fast food joint, running home to take a nap. Many students couldn't understand why they were even following the crowds, what the implication of such legislation could even mean. On one hand I want to believe that they believe, on the other I know that some of them don't. At this age they are like little sheep that blindly follow whoever seems to be standing in front of the crowd, whoever can scream the loudest or act the coolest.

As the day carried on I began to doubt my convictions, I wondered how strongly I felt about this issue. However, when I got home from work I was pleasantly relieved to find that my gumption had not left me entirely, it had only taken a back seat to doubt. My younger sister arrived home from work and I asked her if she had watched the news, if she knew what was going on. We proceeded to get into a lengthy fight, her absolute disregard for humanity, her racism, her IGNORANCE ignited a whole new fight in me. She had the audacity to say things like "racial profiling is ok, singling somebody out based on the color of their skin isn't racism." I was shocked and yet I wasn't, she is another who blindly follows, much like some of the students only she's walking in the opposite direction.

I hope that regardless of your political ideals or sentiments on illegal immigration, to those that don't understand that this is a form of racism, I urge you to think deeply and contemplate the implications of such an action.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Update, a la' Tina Fey:

Welcome to Weekend Update, I'm Tina Fey.

Sources claim that earlier this week, Vampire Weekend, an indie-pop band held a "sold out show" in Tempe. Lisa Diaz, a close friend of the concert attendees said, "that was amazing, the best show I've seen live." As a New York based indie group, Vampire Weekend shimmied and shook on stage so hard that the crowd was feeling it with them. Jessica Driver, an avid fan of the group, who indulged in a Kiltlifter ale brewed locally at Four Peaks, said shortly after exiting the smoky, pot filled theater, "those boys can sing!"

***This just in, Driver also had an interview at a local marketing company. Apparently the prospect does not look promising, "the boss was a total d-bag," bemoaned Driver.***

In similar news, Jessica Driver and Kamaila Sanders visited on Thursday night the local Moroocan eatery Fez, located in Downtown Phoenix. A modern, after work hot-spot, Fez featured cute gays and hot babes. After jumping on the Metro Light Rail, Driver and Sanders ordered cappuccinos at Lux, a coffee bar that's "so hip they don't even have signage," said Sanders. Wow.

Not to be outdone, Gayle Greenhut joined Driver and Sanders for dinner Friday night at India Palace, where the basmati rice and chicken curry, "gives you a food baby like no other," reported Greenhut.

Lots of ice cream and a G-Ma's birthday party rounded out the weekend's top stories. For Weekend Update, I'm Tina Fey.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Una Parola:

So a big shout out to fellow blogger Amanda because she posted something on her page that I found super interesting. She said she had seen on another friend's page this website where every reader is given one word and the objective is to write about it for 60 seconds, a free write. Thank you thank you Amanda, this was fun. My word is as follows:


In keeping with my Lil Wayne themed posts, and he does say it best, life is such a f***in roller coaster then it drops. First you're flying high and fast and then the bottom drops out for a bit and then you pick up speed again, zoom around the curves and come to a complete and jarring stop.

This was written between 1:06 p.m. and 1:07 p.m., shortly after lunch, shortly before entering another classroom.

Come on kiddos, take part, it feels good!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

To Whom It May Concern:

I am interested in applying for the internet marking/editing/front desk/administrative assistant/HR/receptionist/coffee bitch/paper pusher/entry level position.

This jargon has consumed most of my Saturday afternoons as of late, and again I find myself at the coffee shop typing these exact words. A tiny part of myself wants to jump onto the table before me and sing "O sweet employment gods, cast down the perfect career for me, let money rain down from the heavens above like a rap singer's music video. Let those Benjamins shower over me with all of the filth and self indulgence that Lil'Wayne meant for them to."

This is not the wisest idea I've ever had. It's not the dumbest but it's certainly not the smartest. Mostly because I think the sweet older couple in front of me with matching powder blue sweaters on who watched my purse for me 5 minutes ago would be more than alarmed. They would probably leave. The last thing I want is for local businesses to lose more business, I don't want to contribute to the economic slump. I'll keep my mouth shut.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What Was I Doing One Year Ago Today Volume 1:

The picture above is of me and my sister hiking in Tucson last year

Welcome to the first installment of: What Was I Doing One Year Ago Today?

One year ago today was April 8th, 2009. It was a Wednesday. I was in my senior year of college. I was living by myself in a tiny studio casita near campus. I had a planter full of dead flowers and seeds for catnip that never seemed to flourish. One year ago today I was ordering my tickets for graduation, translating a story from Italian to English, reading for Anthropology, reading Dante's Inferno, writing reactions and vocabulary for my Italian class, researching points for my term paper, applying for a job, studying for Dr. Soren's quiz and finalmente going for a run at 6:45.

I was a busy girl. I know all of this because I looked it up in my pink, leather bound planner that Russ bought for me in Italy. Peppered throughout this day would have been class, work, my boyfriend, club meetings, making dinner...routine activities that my anal retentive brain surprisingly enough didn't feel the need to jot down neatly on the next line.

It's not that I enjoy dwelling on the past, in fact it's almost a heartache to rehash old memories; however I find that the past acts as a backdrop, a canvas in which to compare or evaluate your current life. I remember waking up everyday in that small, Pepto Bismol colored guest house with a gravel yard and no internet connection, I remember feeling like I was on an island, disconnected completely from the world. The internet did not consume my life, satellite did not consume my life, I spent my nights reading for class or for pleasure: "The Diary of an Irish Slave Girl" or "Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno."

I think the trickiest part of my day back then would be walking quickly home past the halfway house that smelled like stale mattresses and cigarettes on 6th street. Scurrying across the sidewalk and averting my gaze from the shriveled up old Asian man who shuffled his feet and stared blankly into the distance, mumbling to nobody in particular. Maybe he was mumbling to me. Either way he looked like a sticky raisin, the tiniest one from the bottom of the box, stuffed in the corner, the one that is so small and forgotten that you have to shake the box to get it to come tumbling out.

So I think overall I lead a pretty happy existence. I grew catnip and studied really hard and avoided homeless drunks who who made, at best, sloppy bedroom eyes at me on my way home from school.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I Feel Like a Robot:

The enticing thing about technology is that it provides instant gratification. I can receive compliments and vent to nobody in particular and discover new recipes and download great music without even getting up from my desk. It's unbelievably rewarding to reconnect with long lost friends or collect and trade songs like we did with paper dolls as kids. My computer is a beautiful drug, a giant white pill that pulls me in and pulls me under. On the surface level it feels good to establish immediate relationships, it's so easy and casual. But there is also something very disingenuous about hitting "send" rather than picking up the phone or meeting face to face. It begins to feel dishonest and fake to rely on a bunch of cables and buttons to communicate, or mis-communicate in most cases. I met my friend for drinks downtown last night and she detailed to me how because of a picture on Facebook involving her boyfriend she began to spiral into a frenzy of paranoia. The issue resolved itself as we knew it would, her boyfriend loves her and she had nothing to worry about, it was all a bit of mis-communication. The point is that my beautiful friend is a confident, intelligent woman. She is getting her masters, she's an advocate for human rights, she's fluent in multiple languages. She is not the kind of woman who stresses. And yet she did. Whether it's Facebook or Myspace or Twitter, these social media hubs blur the line between reality and our skewed perception of it.

Even in writing this blog I'm advertising myself a certain way. These are my thoughts, these are my ideas but this is NOT the real me. This is only the me that you perceive, no amount of reading this will unlock who I am. I'm spinning my words for effect, and you're probably falling for it, as we all do.

I created an account on several months ago. I uploaded a picture, I filled out the questionnaire. I tried to give those boys something to fall for on there too. My Gmail fills up daily with responses like "You're cute, let's chat." "What's your favorite Radiohead album?" "I don't usually do this, but how are you. Let's hang out." I've never responded. Ever. Not to one of them. I think it's because I find it so shiesty, so calculated. Whatever happened to a chance encounter at a coffee shop that turns into true love? Maybe it's because I can't bare the thought of being rejected through one more piece of technology. After all these years it's always the same, a call, a text, an email, a Facebook message. It's too much. Hiding behind a computer screen feels very easy but it's cold and plastic and that's very fitting because that's how you feel afterwards. I feel empty and bored after reading the "News Feed" on Facebook, it's like making a meal out of saltines and water. It fills your belly but it isn't satisfying or rewarding, it's bland and it only serves to fill a void.

I can't say that I will stop using sites like Facebook, it's a great marketing tool. You wouldn't even be reading my blog if it weren't for the platform, the voice that it gives me. My friend from above, the paranoid Superwoman, deleted her account and I couldn't feel happier for her. I don't know about deletion but maybe I'll start with a slow retraction.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Want Flower?

I realize that getting a pedicure is designed to be a relaxing experience. The big leather chair, the gossip magazines (OCTOMOM IS BROKE?!?), the warm, soapy water, the tiny Asian woman methodically rubbing your feet. You want flower? No, I don't want flower. I'd like to draw as little attention to my feet as possible. A giant white flower dripping with glitter and rhinestones seems counter intuitive. Even as I'm walking through the door I'm thinking to myself god this is going to be great, this is going to be so relaxing, this is just what I need. But almost immediately I feel stressed out. What color should I choose, is peach so last season? Where do I put my purse, why is this lady yelling at me, do I want a flower? And the stress continues to mount upon sitting down in those awkward chairs. The tiny lady asks me something in what sounds like English and Vietnamese covered in marbles and sent through a bull horn. Smile and nod. Smile and nod. Insert awkward laugh. Smile once more.

The thing is, despite all this added stress and pressure, I LOVE getting my nails done. This is my favorite pampering activity. Hell this is just my favorite activity in general. I'd take this over kissing. I'd take this over Starbucks and a pint of Ben and Jerry's. That's saying a lot. And I take it like a man. I don't giggle or laugh or fear that I'll accidentally kick the nail technician in the face while she's rubbing her delicate Asian hands over my feet. I take it like a woman in love.

"One of These Things First"...

It's been one of those weeks. One of those weeks where nothing seems to be going your way, where you throw your hands up at the air and think "what did I do to deserve this?" Did I hit a squirrel on my way home, did I cut somebody in line,.. What kind of bad karma did I put into the universe to create such a negative vaccum around my week?

It's been one of those nothing got done on Monday, spilled coffee on my lap twice in the car on Tuesday, got stuck behind a train making me late, drama at work, burned my toast and woke up sick on Wednesday kind of weeks.

Tomorrow is Thursday and I'm finally using my massage gift certificate from Christmas. Sweet victory.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Converse or Heels, It Doesn't Matter Much:

Since I have been interning for Light Rail Advisors, LLC--a real estate development company that has a website and a published, bi-monthly magazine I have really begun to expand my knowledge of business and the inner workings of a professional company. I have become so accustomed to chatting with snotty 15- year-olds about their weekends plans while they say "pound it Miss" that it is so entirely refreshing to speak like an adult, with adults. It was a bit intimidating at first, I felt like I had to change into my "adultette" costume before I walked in the door. I felt like I had to alter my demeanor, my attitude, my speech in order to present myself as a functioning, capable woman. As an undergrad I went straight from sitting in tiny classrooms with professors who smoked and drank massive amounts of coffee and let us indulge in our thoughts about literature and culture all while speaking, or stumbling rather, over dodgy Italian, to sitting in more tiny classrooms where I work with Spanish speaking students who laugh and joke with me in my Converse. I am not what you would call well versed in conference calls and email deadlines. I am a Humanities major. I was not prepared for this world.

But so far, it's a world I really enjoy. I find that deadlines and accuracy and professionalism mesh well with my Type-A personality, my drive for perfection. It is an interesting twist that I did not expect my life to take. Maybe had I been a business major it would have been a very smooth transition, to move from wearing suits during lecture to writing resumes and networking my butt off. However, I'm glad that for me, it's a learning process. I have had to learn how to write press releases and send company newsletters and meet for after hours meetings, and I have learned it all on my own. I didn't have a professor to teach me the appropriate way to compose a business letter, I had a professor who taught me the value of a language very different from my own, I had a professor who critiqued my knowledge of Dante's Inferno.

It is sink or swim and I'm growing a pretty good pair of sea-legs. . . I think I'll swim.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Feel Small But I want to Feel Tall:

Yesterday I got "RIF"ed. This stands for a reduction in force. I've been reduced. Essentially, my contract did not get renewed for the following school year due to the massive budget cuts that the state and school districts are facing. We are 25 million dollars in debt, equating to job loss and as a result the quality of education in Arizona continues to fall. Last year the Italian department was almost completely cut from my university. This year I lost a job. When will these cuts to education stop or slow down? I am feeling the full impact of our depressing economy and convoluted government. I am confused, I am sad and stranger still I am a little bit relieved, but only on a personal level.

Personally I am a little bit glad that my position will no longer be available to me next year. I hope that this this compels me to delve even further into my job pursuit. While it is worrisome to be without benefits, insurance and an income it is also motivating and stimulating.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm Trying My Best to Re-capture "A New Earth"

I suppose this whole "Spring Break" thing is allowing me to blog on the regular. Waking up at any old time I want and sitting outside in my pajamas with a coffee and a book really are conducive to penning * typing * your thoughts. This book I'm reading, "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle is supposed to awaken me to my life's purpose as the tag line suggests.

For the first 125 pages I really enjoyed what Tolle had to say. He suggests that we all have an inner ego that drives all of our decisions, all of our anger and depression. We are all egoic beings that thrive on ourselves and not much else. This I can agree with. He writes, "the quicker you are in attaching verbal or mental labels to things, people, or situations, the more shallow and lifeless your reality becomes, and the more deadened you become to reality, the miracle of life that continuously unfolds within and around you ." This is something I've been working on pretty hard lately, trying to allow my life to just "be" as it were. After going through a really painful, nasty break-up that had labels and boxes and so much anger attached to it I'm trying my hardest to experience new, beautiful things in life that don't require a name or a label to make it genuine and real. I feel good about what I'm experiencing and the people I'm connecting to, I feel genuinely happy to be free of those old ties, I feel free and light!

The second point I'm attempting to work on is erasing the ego of ownership from my mind. Tolle says that "the ego tends to equate having with Being; I have, therefore I am." We live in such a consumer driven society and I am 100% guilty of basking in this, of rushing to Target for 'one more thing,' of reading Glamour and lusting after every item, of feeling somehow more complete with every new purchase I add to my already bulging closet. So while I am trying to curtail my materialistic spending, I'd also like to believe Tolle meant this on an even deeper, more spiritual level, and this is where I'm really focusing my energy. I will never stop 'buying things' but I can stop placing ownership on people and on superficial values. This ownership of people ties into my first point of labeling everything and everyone, so in a way the two go hand in hand. I will stop trying to label my relationships with others and thus I will cease the idea of ownership over them.

While I agree with Tolle on so many broad issues so far (I've yet to complete the book) I take issue with his notion that when you build a solid relationship with "your life," that is to say you take stock in the idea of "your life" you are acting with delusion. Tolle says that "the moment you say or think 'my life' and believe in what you are saying (rather than it just being a linguistic conversation), you have entered the realm of delusion." Maybe I'm not far enough along on my journey of awakening to fully believe what he says here, but I find it hard to separate myself from me. And yes, that is the ego talking, but I'd like to believe that in order to succeed in life I need to value my life and what it does for me. Sometimes we need to conceptualize our future or our reality to make it so, the future we want depends on us and our ideas of what our lives can do for us.

***I don't have all the answers, I am not even pretending to. I do have an interest in making myself better though, an invested interest in myself and my ideals and my future (again, the ego talking, damn me). Maybe for me I have to find a balance between living with my ego and trying to kill it, like a comic book battle of epic proportions in real life!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Musings for the Day:

Perk #1 of working at a high school: Free waffles on AIMS testing day.
Perk #2 of working at a high school: SPRING BREAK!

That's right ladies and gentlemen, you don't have to be a snot faced 16 year old to enjoy the niceties of public education, you merely have to work with them. I think today I am going to do some 'spring cleaning' and organize and re-evaluate things a bit. This usually means getting rid of junk. However today rather than dump things out I'm adding things in. And by "adding things in" I mean I'm on a bender of downloading music and adding some sweet gems to my collection.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Riding the Rail:

Yesterday I took the light rail to attend a meeting for the writing internship I'm doing this year, I love doing this because it makes me feel like I'm part of a greater, metropolitan city. The meeting went great. My future looks great. That is not the point, the point of this blog is to highlight the craaaaazies that frequent public transportation.

As I'm sitting quietly by myself during the hour long journey out east (thinking angry thoughts at myself for not charging my Ipod before I left-and for forgetting a book, damn it) I realize that all the entertainment I could possibly crave is sitting right in front of me. Exhibit A: Very sun tanned man, crispily so, staggers onto the train wearing rubber Crocs and a severely stained ensemble of sweatshirt/pee stained jeans combo. His wandering eyes graze my face, I look towards the floor, towards anything but him. "God please let him torture some other unsuspecting soul for the next hour, please don't let it be me" I'm begging at the universe in a silent plea of desperation. I'm tired, I've been at work all day, I don't feel like battling a drifter in conversation. Bingo, he sets his sights on the older white couple across from me. These poor old people remind me of myself, too nice to wave him away, too polite to ignore him. Better them than me. This crazy old vagabond with a mysterious plastic bag of trickery begins to chat loudly about his time in the mental institution and food stamps and what qualifies as a "food stamp" purchase, apparently liquor does not? As we pass south Phoenix he jumps out of his seat and points at the window screaming "Look Look, this is where I was locked up, court ordered! The judge ordered me into that mental institution, but I got out!" Obviously. Well this dirty, old man with chapped skin and cracked heels must have been struck by some mental inspiration because shortly after passing the mental hospital he hopped off, never to be seen from again. Although his pungent odor did linger...

My ride home was, while less crowded, more creepy. As the sky became dark and fewer and fewer passengers got on and off I started to feel sleepy and cold and ready to curl into a tiny ball and fall asleep on the scratchy, green seats. Not unlike the other crazies on the train, I was ready to kick off my heels and pass out with the best of them. This was until I heard the tangent filled, bumbling ramblings of a giant, obese man from New Mexico (as he proudly proclaimed) accosting another gentlemen who was on his laptop. "Haaaaaay, say you've got a laaaaptop there don't chya!" Exclaimed the overweight traveler. "Whatchya lookin' at there, you got email? Are you a Democrat or Republican?" O God, this poor, uptight gentlemen in a sweater that looked like a carpet you might find in your great-grandma's closet was not in the mood. But I was in the mood. I live for this stuff. This is grade-A, quality entertainment. As long as it's not happening to you, this is the best fun that money can't buy. I don't remember all of the details of this conversation, it went on for miles and miles...but I do remember specifically what this man in the sweater looked like. I remember the pattern of it, his newsboy cap, his faded khaki trousers...and low and behold, I SAW HIM AGAIN THIS MORNING ON MY WAY TO WORK, WAITING FOR A BUS, MANY MILES AWAY FROM THE LIGHT RAIL!!! As I was listening to NPR or John Jay and Rich and fumbling with my morning coffee I whizzed past this man all the way on the other side of town, same sweater, same pants, same newsboy cap!

It seems insignificant, and it is. Seeing this same man again did not alter my day in the least, but it did give me a tiny surge of happiness as I drove past him. The thought flashed into my brain "we are all connected, the world really is so small."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Eye of the Tyger:

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

This is my favorite poem. I first discovered William Blake during my freshman year of college in my British Lit class. My professor had a tiny bald spot on the very top of his head that got a little shiny when he stood in front of the overhead projector and bright blue eyes that sparkled like marbles. I fell in love, with Blake and with literature from the Romantic period. All I could imagine was sleeping in the soft grass in the Lake District in the English countryside.

I did well in this class. I did well in all of my English courses. I have always done well with the written word, with spinning phrases and turning pages. I often dreamt of working in the publishing world and yet after graduation from college the economy was so depressing, is so depressing, that making my dream a reality felt almost impossible.

So I took a job working with high school students. I took a job that pays me in peanuts but is so emotionally rewarding that money almost doesn't matter. Almost. As much as I enjoy helping these students compose a paragraph or chat with them about their lives I realize that I can't continue playing "adultette." I am 23. I have bills to pay and rent to pay and an entire eternity of actual adulthood to start living. So, as of today, the job hunt continues. The hunt for a career that will leave me satisfied and secure. I hope that my current writing internship will help me get my foot in the door, and if not my foot, maybe just my pinky toe.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Bends vs. My Pride

As I sit here on my lunch break with my water, my apple, my PB&J I think to myself Jessica, I am proud of you. I am proud that despite the minor hiccups along the way, you always try to make healthy decisions. "Try" being the operative word here. I try to be conscious of what I put into my body, who I let into my life, how I care for others. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes more often than not, I fail. But sometimes it's the experience of failing, the feeling of failure that reminds us that we are human. The blemishes and the scars you pick up along the way help grow your compassion for others. I am a firm believer in my imperfection and the imperfection of others.

At times, I get the bends, as Thom Yorke would belt out, or the mean reds, as Holly Golightly would chatter. But the bends or the reds, they're transient, just temporary. My pride, my zest for life, those are permanent.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hail to the Thief, the dollar thief

Working at a high school is strange. It seems that every single day one of the students will say something that makes me want to A) Cry B) Vomit or C) Laugh hysterically. Earlier this week Jose looked at me with my morning coffee and said "Ayy Mizz, why come you never bring one for me?" I told him that I couldn't afford to buy one for him everyday. He stared at me with a straight face and said "But you're an adult Mizz, you're rich."

In this situation I choose options A and C, I wanted to cry and laugh simultaneously. These 15 and 16 year olds have no idea what it means to be "grown up." Their perception of reality is so skewed at this age.

This morning on my way to the copy machine I found a dollar lying on the ground. I looked around, nobody in the halls...I picked it up and held it in my hand. I walked with it in my hand all the way back to the classroom, like I was scared that if I actually shoved it in my pocket it would make me the thief I knew that I was. I did feel a little badly, but inside my head I was thinking Great Success, now I can buy coffee tomorrow morning!

O little Jose, if you only knew...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Beyonce said it best, bills bills bills:

Lesson #1

Confidence is key. It is easy to feel down and defeated when you are only 23 and getting paid in peanuts. It is easy to begin questioning every decision you have ever made, as if your life would somehow be infinitely better had you not had peanut butter and jelly three days ago, or had you not decided to dump thousands of dollars into a study abroad program that left you broke and broker. It is easy to give into self-doubt as every supposed adult punches holes into your flawless life plan with questions like: How will you pay for that? and my personal favorite Where will that get you in life?

However, (and this is a big however) in my opinion the only way to battle through the sea of negativity that often submerges over young people is with confidence. Confidence kills negativity, the kryptonite to all of those nay sayers out there. I am confident that I made the right choice when I decided to live abroad in Italy. I am confident that improving my Italian and indulging in delicious food and great wine left me a better human being...a broke young girl but a cultured girl nonetheless. I AM confident that my life IS infinitely better for having taken the plunge and discovered parts of myself and parts of the world that would have been left to the imagination had I not dumped thousands of dollars into a study abroad program that left me broke.

The picture at the top of this blog highlights my opinion perfectly...I LIVED there! That Duomo, I went to Mass there. Those cobblestone streets, I walked them. That tiny, picturesque town on the top of that plateau was my personal heaven, not once, but twice!

So to my parents, Chase Bank, my credit card and every adult out there who said that expanding your mind was a financial mistake...I am confident that you are wrong.

**Today I got two separate offers to tutor for additional money. Hello finances, you're looking up today :)