So long for now

>> 4.08.2010

I am not going to be stating the unknown when I mention it's been a while since I've blogged.  I know it has, and I feel a little out of sorts because of it.  I'm not sure what it is thats drawn me away from writing to you all, but I'm listening to myself and taking a more "permanent" break from blogging. 

These last couple of weeks, its been harder to blog because I'm not sure what direction to take things.  That being said, for the next few months I'll be figuring out my direction- sans sharing it with everyone.  Sometimes, when we share an idea, a thought, before it is matured, we shoot ourselves in the foot.  I'm going to do my best to avoid that.  I've greatly appreciated all of you reading my blog, but more importantly listening to my thoughts and sharing your ideas along with me.  That process will not stop- if you'd like to chat, reach out and it'll happen on its own- maybe over iced coffee, ice cream, or anything else that I crave in this crazy hot weather.

It's summer time (at least here in Philly)- kick off your shoes, walk around bare foot, and get the hell away from your computer!!  Life is that much more beautiful when you stop looking at it through your screen.



Take the road less traveled

>> 3.24.2010

Today, I spent about 5 hours in the car driving from Philly to "home" in Rochester, NY.  I've taken this trip multiple times- both solo and with partners in crime.  I know the route by heart, and as soon as I get on the Northeast Extension, I go into autopilot until I pull into the driveway at home.  It's a nice drive, but can be pretty monotonous.  How long can you look at trees for?  It was exceptionally beautiful today.  While the trees were still bare, the sun kept poking through behind the clouds.  I saw the fight go on for a while, and then rejoiced when the sun finally won.

On my handy dandy phone, I have a GPS.  Even though I know the route, I love using the GPS to see how much I can beat the estimated time by.  Probably not a good thing, but you know how I am.  From the start, the GPS was finicky.  It had me going a route I have never taken before, and I said I know this better than you- I'll still make it home in less than 5. As I drove on autopilot, the route kept adjusting.  After about the 5th different suggestion, something inside said why the hell not abby- just follow it!  I have always loved adventure, taking the chance and just making that big risk.  I'm not entirely sure what was stopping me from travelling a different route, but today I am so incredibly grateful that I did.  The roads were empty- just me.  The sky was gorgeous and I could see for miles.  I rolled the windows down a bit (not fully because there was still snow on the ground- chilly!) and just followed the directions.  I passed a beautiful waterfall that followed the course of the road.  I was so incredibly tempted to stop and take photos, but then I realized I was by myself and that might not be okay.

One of the roads I took to get home

Confused but in awe, I continued to follow the directions.  Suddenly things began to look familiar as I was driving towards the most clear blue lake I have seen in a very long time. I wasn't entirely sure where I was but I knew for certain I had been there before.  And then I saw the town name- Skaneateles.  If you ever get a chance to go up to the finger lakes, Skaneateles is a must.  It's historical (passed an underground railroad station!), gorgeous, and has a lot to offer especially during the summer season.  Plus, if you're driving down the roads like the ones I found, you'll even enjoy getting there.
View from the top on one of the roads- note the lake is not Skaneateles

Now that I'm done sounding like a cheesy travel guide, I'll get back to the big thing here.  I wondered why I had been so hesitant to explore.  I wondered what kept telling me to stay the way I knew how.  And then I wondered what it was that pushed me to get off the expressway and take a left.  I feel like I've been told a million times "follow your own path" or "take the road less traveled".  Today I realized what great gifts are there for us when we do.  I could have spent the last 2 hours of my journey still on auto-pilot.  Instead I observed, gawked, and loved the rest of it.

Once adventurous, brave and free of care I would have jumped to take the back roads even without a GPS. I'm now jaded and only 21.  That sounds terrible and yet its so true.  But, thanks to my little adventure today that fire was lit back up and is now ready for the next big one- or at least the drive back to Philly. Anyone else have treasure they found on an adventure?


Hi, My name is Abby and I have a curse

>> 3.17.2010

I thought I was past it.  My parents so proudly estimated at least 2 years.  But it looks like the 7 month curse is back and better than ever.  I've discussed this "relationship complex" that I have before, but here's a quick reminder:  I like things until they get real and the wall is broken down.  Then I proudly run away to find another wall to hide behind.  I've always been good at this.  The only things I haven't been able to run away from are my family (mostly because they will never leave me alone) and the things that aren't really real.  I fought to keep things the way they were- just friends.  If we were "just friends", he'd be the one I'd want to talk to right now.  But being angry, a female and in the process of running away means I can't.  And if we were "just friends", this curse wouldn't be back to get me.

I wonder what I'm really afraid of.  I've been hurt before, and pretty badly.  I get called names, I brush it off.  If you want a list of at least 10 people who have something bad to say about me, I'll proudly deliver.  I know that all good things might sooner or later come to an end.  I accept that I can't be obnoxiously optimistic every day, even when the sun is out.  I'm beginning to accept the fact that I can't make everyone happy and that not everyone is going to like me.  I wonder what makes this all so difficult.  I wonder what happened in my past that makes me react this way. If I knew what it was, there isn't a split-second I would waste before trying to go back in time and change it.  I wonder what it is that I have to lose.


Funhouse Mirrors

>> 3.11.2010

Something I have always been jealous of: the people who can freely admit they love their body for what it is.  Every day I admire people who "rock it".  Ever since I can remember, I've always been able to find some sort of flaw even in my most favorite outfits.  While I think part of it comes from the crappy weather that winter brings, I think the other part comes from the over-achiever syndrome I suffer from.  Instead of accepting things as is, I always want to try and make it better.  Two years ago, I put myself on Weight Watchers and successfully went from a size 10 to a size 4.  Today I am still a size 4, but I find myself trying to loose even more weight.  I told myself that I would be happy if I could be fit, and the other day I ran 6 miles in under an hour- reasonably fit if you ask me.  Yet again, still not good enough.  I feel guilty after a day of not going to the gym.  I feel guilty about wearing something that shows my back fat ::shutter::.

Now,  I completely recognize how unhealthy this is for me, and am really convinced that I am going to try and do something to change it.  I think I may just need something I never really had- patience.

I am not sure how well this will work, but I'm thinking about finding one thing that I can say I really admire about myself each day.  And of course, it can't be the same thing every day.  To start, I am going to say I am glad my legs are cellulite free.  Of course I instinctively contradict myself and say well obviously, when you have thunder thighs the size of a third world country.  But I have to stop that part too.  So today, I am grateful that I am cellulite free.  What are you grateful for?


Mama don't you worry 'bout me

>> 3.05.2010

Mama, you taught me to do the right things.
So, now you have to let your baby fly.
You've given me everything that I will need.
To make it through this crazy thing called life.
And I know you watched me grow up,
and only want what's best for me.
And I think I found the answer to your prayers.

And he Is good, so good.
He treats your little girl,
like a real man should.
He is good, so good.
He makes promises he keeps.
No, he's never gonna leave.
So, don't you worry about me.
Don't you worry about me.

Mama, there's no way you'll ever lose me.
Giving me away is not goodbye.
As you watch me walk down to my future,
I hope tears of joy are in your eyes.

Cause, he is good, so good.
And, he treats your little girl,
like a real man should.
He is good, so good.
He makes promises he keeps.
No, he's never gonna leave.
So, don't you worry about me.
Don't you worry about me.

And when I watch my baby grow up,
I'll only want what's best for her.
And I hope she'll find,
the answer to my prayers.
And that she'll say...

He is good, so good.
And he treats your little girl,
like a real man should.
He is good, so good.
He makes promises he keeps.
No, he's never gonna leave.
So, don't you worry about me.
Don't you worry about me.

Mama, don't you worry about me.
Don't you worry about me. 


Walk with the dreamers

>> 3.03.2010

I keep one particular quote right near my bed (well actually there are three of them), and I wanted to share it with you.  It goes a little something like:

"Walk with the dreamers, 
The believers, the courageous,
The cheerful, the planners,
The doers, the successful people
With their heads in the clouds
And their feet on the ground.  
Let their spirit ignite a fire
Within you to leave this world
Better than you found it."
(Wilfred Peterson)

When I pick my treadmill at the gym, I make sure I can see Drexel's Law School.  It may sound cheesy, but I spend that hour running towards my goal, realizing its unattainable right now, but every day I get closer and closer.  I watch the students go in and out and think "I could be one of them".  Its how I motivate myself to study for the LSAT's- I want to do what they are doing.  It's a big goal for myself, one that some (like my father) don't really understand.  He wanted to know why I would want to go to Law School, and asked if I knew this meant I would need to be a lawyer.  I didn't even know how to respond.  Granted, one of the reasons I want to go to Law School is simply to learn, but I don't think that earns skepticism.  With the amount of ignorance there is today, I think continuing education plays a key role in moving away from that ignorance. Regardless, there is a point when the quote comes in to play. 

When you walk with your head held high, there are so many people who are willing to take a swing at it to bring it back down.  For some reason or another, it appears as though there are people who would rather be pessimistic and discouraging, instead of optimistic, motivated and motivating!  You notice these people when you have great news, and all they can do is acknowledge that you said something.  Their words of congratulations are limited.  But then there are the people who remind you to do your homework, who make choices in their life that motivate you to be a better person.  There are the people who you look at and are encouraged by their actions.  Their words of congratulations can come in the form of a card, a hug, or a discussion over coffee.

Everyday we make the choice to be around certain people.  At work, at school, at home.  It's our circle of influence.  What's your role in your circle of influence?  Are you influencing others, or being influenced?  Is there a nice balance between the two?  For me, I believe we have relationships with people to gain something.  They are here to teach us a lesson.  When the lesson is taught, they might leave our life.  If they have more to share and teach, they'll probably be around for a while.  But I make every effort to make sure those people are the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people.  



>> 3.01.2010

Every day we face choices.  There are the simple choices, like what to wear in the morning, whether I want a caramel skinny latte or vanilla skinny latte from Starbucks, or what I should do at the gym.  Then there are the more difficult choices,  like spending $1000 on a LSAT prep class, or maybe just winging it and ending up at Drexel Law School.  There is also the choices that go behind taking a job.  Do I want to stay in Philadelphia? Would I rather move and go on another adventure?  Where am I going to live? And then there is always the choice behind becoming the person we want to be.  Do I want to be the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, or do I learn how to gain tough skin, and just stop caring so much?  Is there a happy medium between the two choices?  How do we make these choices?

Every day, I question whether or not I made the right choices.  I constantly wonder what would be the outcome if I made a different choice.  All of that wondering makes me think about the thought process that goes behind making a choice.  I must admit, I'm pretty irrational sometimes.  Sometimes there is absolutely no method to my choice- maybe it was just the opposite of what someone told me to do.  Maybe it seems the riskiest, maybe it seems the safest. Maybe its exactly what someone told me to do. If there is any sort of pattern though, I do always try to trust my gut.  Granted this is the same gut that craves Ben and Jerrys so I have to be careful, but I like to think that the choices I make are the ones that make me feel most proud.  They are the ones I feel most comfortable with, even if someone disagrees.  They are the ones I am drawn to, and for some reason or another I just have to make.

Sometimes I wish that other people made choices that way.  I find myself surrounded by people who make choices because it's what others expect from them, or because they are afraid of revealing their priorities.  I am going to be graduating soon (June!) and am planning a dinner for myself in Philadelphia.  Some of my immediate family members don't even know if they are going to make it down.  Or some are going to make it for the dinner, but not the ceremony.  After watching both my older sister and older brother graduate and walk the stage, it breaks my heart that they wouldn't want to be there to see me cross the stage, that its even a question for them.  If I hadn't planned a dinner for myself, they might not even show up at all.  I wonder if they put themselves in my shoes. My older sister Katie has made it to Drexel once.  In 4 years. My brother Kevin? Three times- all of which included the rest of my family visiting. And he only lives two hours away in NYC.  Me? I've made a choice to really work on building relationships with my siblings, understanding that sometimes it will take personal sacrifices.  But I wonder if they've made the same choice.  I wonder if they see the same value.

(Me, Kevin, Katie and Marcie up in front)

It takes time and effort to build and maintain relationships.  I fully recognize that, and acknowledge how while  my relationships with people are a huge priority, it might not be the same for others. I'm in the process of learning how to make choices for myself, independent of predicted reactions of others. It's just incredibly hard to do, and will probably take a life time to figure out.


Irresponsibility looks good on me

>> 2.23.2010

I feel like I have so many different thoughts I could blog about.  I think I really need to start creating a list so I can save the thoughts for a rainy day.  Note: Boyfriend- you may not want to read. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Regardless, I thought I'd share with you something that has been boggling my mind for the last, I don't know, month or so.  It hurts to write it (I had just barely become okay with saying it), but the stage beyond boyfriend and girlfriend in college SCARES ME TO DEATH.  There is nothing in the world besides scary movies that makes me want to run and hide under a blanket for at least two days. Maybe three if there are good movies like Cool Runnings involved. Regardless, it scares me.  It's not a commitment issue- it's just some sort of fantastically terrible complex I've developed (my friends tell me I've had it for a while, I am just acknowledging it now but what do they know).  I've mentioned before that I used to be the girl who dreamed of romance and prince charming- now I'm the girl that runs straight away from it. Wonderful, isn't it? Boyfriend and I have a lot of friends who are in very committed relationships (some married, some engaged, many live together, etc which is awesome for them- more power to the people who can stomach it).  Me? I think I want to live on my own until I'm at least 25, and then maybe married by 35. Maybe. 40 would be okay too. I could still adopt. Or at least thats what I think I want.

And then I have this dream.  A dream where I wake up and there is a giant ring on my finger (gorgeous and expensive of course), but I am having a major panic attack because I don't know how it got there.  I don't know how we get there.  Yes, the person who popped the question is the same as current boyfriend. And its relatively soon in the future, not 35 like I had hoped. And I am still panicking. I don't want to say no because that's mean, but I can't say yes.  I freak out (of course) and start asking a million questions. Me: "Well did you ask my parents?!" Boyfriend: "Of course! And they were both so happy to say yes!" Me: "I can't believe they would do that to me!" Frightening, I'm aware. So that is pretty much the synopsis. Me freaking out, Boyfriend not knowing exactly what is going on. Of course when I wake up from this dream, my heart is still racing and I can't stop thinking about it.  So what is a girl to do? Dream decode of course.

Here is what it apparently means:
To dream that you are being proposed to, indicates that you are merging a previously unknown aspect of yourself  More directly, the dream suggests  you are thinking about  marriage or some serious long-term commitment/project/situation. Your reaction to the proposal indicates your true feelings about marriage or commitment.

I mean, could you be more spot on?  Of course I shared this meaning with 3 people, and their reactions were spot on:
Liz: Makes sense.  
Steph: I couldn't pick a better one myself 
Boyfriend: Um are you okay? Can you remind me of this dream? What am I supposed to make of this?

Kind of priceless if you ask me. I still don't know what to make of all this entirely.  I am dedicated to living in the here and now.  To not growing up too fast- to enjoying each and every stage of life that is presented to me. What's this rush to grow up? I have no desire to buy a house with someone, share an apartment, to share a dog, a car, or any other sort of major responsibility.  I get that some people like that, and it's awesome for them.  Just not me.  It's about me right now.  I have the next 79 years of my life (I'm living to 100, FYI) to be responsible for people and things other than myself.  What is so wrong with not being responsible? And why do people think that because I don't want to be old, it means I'm immature?  Some people need get it straight- just because I like to go to Mardi Gras for New Orleans and I may skip in the parking lot to Maggiano's does not mean I am immature. It just means I like to take what life has to offer, and make the absolute most of it.


This is how it ought to be, hey isn't this easy?

>> 2.19.2010

Well, to say the least I survived Mardi Gras.  I have to admit- going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras should be on everyones bucket list.  You just HAVE to.  You won't see people like that anywhere else.   You also can't get Po-Boy's or Hand Grenades.

Rockin it at Mardi Gras

I made friends, lost identification, tried to run away, saw painted shirts (on women), saw men wearing thongs, got hit in the face with beads, and laid a blue monkey to rest in a Miller Lite box.

 Blue Monkey: RIP February 14, 2010

My new friends from Arkansa- Ellen and I even went to the bathroom together (which also happens to be where I lost my clutch)

But at the same time, it feels awesome to be back.  I found my identifcation, which allowed me to get on the plane (thank goodness) and come home to Philly.  I spent the entire time with boyfriend, and man o man did that create a learning experience for us.  One of the best parts of this relationship is that we are both constantly learning.  For one, apparently I can throw a mean punch.  And apparently Kevin likes Apple Juice on the plane (see previous blog post).  We also learned to hate the word "perfect", to swear to not be the couple saying "Valentines Day is dead to me" after dating for a while, and I learned how easily I convert fear into anger.

I used to be the little girl that loved fairy tales, and fairy tale endings.  Now, people are shocked that I might have once thought about what I want my wedding to be like.  So shocked, they think I'm lying.  I used to believe that endings in The Notebook could be real, and that someday I'd find something like that.  As I grew up a bit (mind you I'm only 21) I became more realistic.  I opted for comfort and safety, instead of excitement and passion.  Today, I have someone who fits all of those roles, but what I've grown away from I have to fight hard to find it.  I live in fear of my own passion.  I just wish I could rewind a little bit, move back through all of those crappy heartaches, and still believe in those fairytale endings.


Come fly with me, come fly, lets fly away

>> 2.14.2010

Something I love to do is blog when I’m not actually connected to the internet.  Two of my first posts way back when were written while I was on the train to DC.  Right now I am a bajillion miles above the somewhere on the east coast heading to our first destination, Charlotte N.C.  We have a short layover here, which we’ll probably miss because our first flight was a tad (45 minutes) late this morning.  Oh- I guess I should say where I’m going.  Kevin (boyfriend) and I are on our way to New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2010.  Seems a bit weird to say, but it has been fun telling people about all the beads I plan on getting.  My dad especially loved that ::sarcasm::.  Anyways, I am hoping we won’t miss our connection, but even if I make it the chances that my bag will follow are slim to none.  They had to check it because the overhead bins were full.  Looks like not allowing customers to check bags for free has caused some major efficiency issues, but hey I guess that’s what the airline industry is all about.  Regardless, after I was all packed up, I started to get excited.  I mean, I’m going to MARDI GRAS. THE REAL ONE.  I can’t wait to see all that glitter and get a mask and lots of beads and drink beer with the NOLA police.  Actually, I’ll stay away from them.  I hear they don’t let you out until Ash Wednesday, and I really need to get back to class after all of this.
I wasn’t really excited at first.  I was mostly nervous.

This is the first vacation for the boy and I that involves flying.  We’ve done the weekends down at the beach (I refuse to call it the shore.  The shore is merely a component of the beach, but that just explains everything you need to know about the people in this area). We’ve driven up to Ithaca, NY as part of a work trip for me.  But never flown together, which has just opened up a whole new slew of questions and comments and learning experiences.  For one, Kevin likes to sit far enough away from the gate agent so we can’t hear anything.  Maybe it’s just me, but I usually like hearing the little bitty updates that they give us, like “Oh your flight is cancelled”, or “We’re boarding- hurry your ass up”.   Another thing- his book bag is twelve times too small for his body.  Entertaining, but a tad odd.  He also likes to sit with the tray down, his iPod on the tray, and just stare into the abyss.  Oh, and he orders apple juice. I'm glad we are travelling together though, because when I look through InStyle Magazine we talk about which dresses look good, what jewelry I like and which stars are hot and which are not. I get to observe all of this because we’re conveniently located across the aisle from each other.  The girl sitting next to him really just had to have the window.  And she didn’t even believe my “oh this will just ruin our honeymoon” story (disclaimer: this is not our honeymoon).  ANYWAYS, even with all his little quirks, I must say it’s been fun so far.  We both wonder what it will be like on day 5.  I’d put money on us fighting by then, but so would he so it’s not really going to help either of us out.  Here’s to hoping we make our connection, our next seat is actually next to each other, I collect lots and lots of beads, and I successfully avoid the police, don’t get lost, and don’t hate the boy by the end of this whole vacation.  And here’s one more- I hope to the Mardi Gras Gods that I can fly back without a hangover, but it’s doubtful.

P.S. Girl next to me is shoeless, with her feet on the seat.  Brave girl right there.  If she had a foot odor issue, there is no doubt that the entire plane would smell it.


King of the (snow) mountain

>> 2.11.2010

Over the course of the last week (well, I guess its been since Saturday) we've gotten just about 3 feet of snow in the city of Philadelphia.  Yesterday, everything was shut down- even the major highways.  Today, school is cancelled again.  The roads are looking a little bit better, but there is snow EVERYWHERE and honestly very few reasons to actually go outside.

I rarely miss home, except when it snows.  I miss waking up to find out school has been cancelled because there is so much snow, or because its so cold.  I miss the constant "Mom- my gloves are wet!" that would happen all day when I would play outside with my siblings in the snow.  We used to make a luge in our front yard for our snow tubes.  It would end up curving into the road, so if you got enough speed you would slide down the street for a bit too.  We lived in a quiet neighborhood.  A few years, we had an ice skating rink.  My dad never figured out the science of it to make it smooth, so we mostly just used it for broom hockey.  Falling on the ice never felt so good.  I also miss watching Disney (my 12 year old Golden Retriever) roll around and make puppy angels in the snow.  We'd all trek up to the local elementary school a half mile away, sometimes the dog tailing right behind us, and sled for hours down the giant hill.  A memory I don't miss? Building ramps for the sleds, going down over them, getting flipped off and the wind knocked out of you.  That never really felt great.

I haven't had a chance to go sledding yet in all this snow, but I have been blessed with the opportunity to dig out Kevin's (boyfriend) car twice with the help of some friendly strangers.  We realized its a lot easier if I'm the one driving, instead of the one pushing.  Those darn boots with the fur have very little traction.  It is so nice to see strangers help you out.  It reminds me of the commercial about how kind acts are contagious- it's so true!  Another great benefit of the snow?  It gives me the opportunity to actually just sit around and not do anything.  I didn't quite follow that rule entirely, but this is the most sitting still I've done in a long time.  And I love it.

Today, because it is absolutely gorgeous out (minus the howling wind that has me scared and curled up in a ball in bed) I think I may go on a photo adventure.  Just me and my camera. And maybe a few stops at a few stores, if I am so lucky to find them open.


My own worst enemy

>> 2.08.2010

They always say we're our own worst critics.  But where can you draw the line?  I'm my own enemy, I'm my own critic, I'm my own nightmare.  How did it all get to be this way?

I am not sure exactly why this has turned out to be the case, but in most recent events, it became pretty clear that I have developed some sick form of split personality.  There is me, the one who giggles and dances around in my socks.  This is the same one who is motivated, determined, optimistic, loving, kind and is told she's a kid at heart.  Then, there this other side that seems to love coming around at the worst times, especially in the winter.  It's the side that tells me I'm never good enough, that of course I look fat in those jeans.  It's the side that makes me question some of the best relationships I have in my life, including my relationship with Kevin.  It's the side that has me wondering why everything seems to be flawed.

I hate that side.  I've spent years trying to get rid of it.  But I can't.  I go to yoga to try and keep my mind clear, to have a calm state of mind.  I go running to stay healthy.  I talk about my feelings with lots of different people.  I try to dress in a way that I'm comfortable.  I tried positive reinforcement.  I try using affirmations and reading them, telling myself positive things.  I try letting go, moving on, and just accepting myself the way it is.  But it's not working.  Even the professionals can't figure it out.

There is a saying that you have to love yourself before anyone else can love you, but what if I never learn to love myself?


Moonlight Sonata

>> 2.02.2010

I must say, this is my most favorite Pandora radio station.  Instead of working on the 8 upcoming homework assignments I have due before Wednesday, I am delightfully sitting and just thinking.  I don't know much about what I'm thinking, so I thought blogging might help direct me there.  There is so much that can be said about the value of solitude.  I believe it is so incredibly underrated.  One of my best friends (Liz) blogged about watching the snow fall outside the window.  Sometimes, I like to watch the rain run down my windows.  We live such hectic lives, with places to go and people to see, that sometimes, we forget about the things that happen all the time.  These things are the ones out of our control.  The ones that make us smile, feel calm, maybe even feel renewed.

I need one of those days soon.  A bit about my life: I am taking 20 credits, working 15 hours a week, manage 40 freshman girls and 14 RA's, participate in a relationship, work on my fitness, teach freshman business students and try to have a social life. A lot of people ask me how I do it.  How I manage everything going on in my life.   My answer usually has something to do with Google Calendar and little sleep.  Or I just say I'm as efficient as possible.

The real answer: I sacrifice my personal well being left and right.  And, I hate it.  I want a day where I can read in bed, look out the window, and just think about my life and the direction it's headed.  I want a day where I don't have to talk to anyone.  I want a day where I can be in complete solitude.

Of course, as with anything in life, anything we want has consequences and sacrifices.  I love seeing my friends, and frequently put off other things just to hang out with them.  School work? Meh I'm employed.  Sleep? Meh I'll get it late.  But I only have a limited amount of time available, and usually my solitude opportunities are taken up by opportunities to build relationships.  Sometimes I run around like a chicken with my head cut off because I want to do it all.  Because as much as I hate saying "maybe" to someone, I hate saying "no" even more.  I value being there for someone, no matter what.  And that comes at a cost.  A cost where solitude is the price I pay.  I do believe that someday things will calm down, but I don't know if that day is anywhere in the near future.  10 years from now? Definitely a possibility.

For now, I'll take the little moments life presents.  Like right now, sitting and thinking while listening to classical music.  Or maybe tomorrow morning if I can get myself to yoga.  There has been a lot on my mind lately- the value of friendships, the state of those friendships, my future, my relationship, my core values, my purpose, my intention. Maybe I just need to keep rolling along, with hope that some day, I might not even have to answer my questions.  Maybe, they will answer themselves.


The infamous "maybe" response

>> 2.01.2010

Okay.  There is very little that realllly gets me going and ticked off.  (Boyfriend may claim otherwise, but he's not writing so we'll pretend there isn't a lot else).  I hate the "maybe" response.  For example, you plan an event on facebook, half of the people (who you know, who you want to be there) respond with "maybe".  You have the event, and about 2 of the 30 show up.

Or there is the "hey lets go do _______ together!" that gets a "maybe" response.  Hello world (and people viewing my blog), why is there such a huge problem with commitments?  I wish people could just pick one and go with it.  It's a yes or a no.  We all know that if you REALLY want to do something, you'll be there.  There are very few excuses that validate a "maybe".

I wonder if the maybe sayers realize the effect it has on the event planner.  I know for me, when some of my closest friends say "maybe" and then don't show up, I know that they really just couldn't say no.  If you can't be honest with your friends, what kind of friendship do you actually have?  I get that we can't be everywhere at the same time.  I had one friend say "I like to keep my options open". I get that, I see where you're coming from, and so on.  But thats entirely selfish.  If you can go, say yes.  If you can't or aren't interested, say no.  Make a decision and stand tall behind it. I know I am guilty of this, so I'm done with it.  You will rarely hear me respond "maybe".  You'll get a "yes", "no" or "can I get back to you on that?".

We have two feet, a backbone and a voice for a reason.  Use them appropriately when communicating with your friends.  If someone can't handle the fact that you told them no, they probably aren't that great of a friend anyways.


Female Pirates and Male Princesses

>> 1.28.2010

Yet another fascinating Women's Studies class today.  I seriously, whole heartedly recommend this class to anyone who enjoys thinking.  Hopefully its the same people who like to read my blog.

Today we read a bunch of children's books, and discussed the role of gender.  There were books where boys were the main character, were girls were the same character, where animals were the same character.  While all of the books had different ways of portraying and communicating the roles of the gender, there were definitely some that made me think more than others.  But regardless of that, I am beginning to develop an incredibly interesting theory (or so I think).  There were plenty of books where parents would read them to a boy or a girl, when the main character was a boy.  When we took those same exact books and switched the male to a female, it quickly crossed off one of the genders the parents were going to read to.

I'm beginning to think that the male gender actually suffers more oppression than females overall in society.  Yes, there are problems like women being bitches even though they are leaders, or the fact that there is unequal pay in the work place.  BUT! There has been much further advance for females than males.  Think about this.  Have you ever read a book where there was a girl pirate? Absolutely! Beyond Pirates of the Caribbean, there have been many noted female pirates.  How about how many male princesses? Doubt it.  The closest we've come to this is maybe having the Rock star in Tooth Fairy- but even then he is still ripped, and busting out of his tooth fairy costume.  They don't create a costume that makes it look comfortable for a man to be a fairy.  Women are encouraged (and accepted by society) when they play sports, when they work in corporations.  Men are mocked when they want to learn how to sew, love cooking, or would rather be a stay at home dad instead of working and being the bread winner.  Fascinating, right?  I could be entirely wrong, off base, or ill educated on the subject, but it has undoubtedly made me think.  What was your favorite book as a child?  Was there any sort of gender influences in the book?  I wonder if my sister (author of ) has thought about the influence of gender in children's books.


When the sand runs out

I spent the morning at an old friend's grave
Flowers and Amazing Grace, he was a good man
He spent his whole life spinnin' his wheels
Never knowin' how the real thing feels
He never took a chance or took the time to dance
And I stood there thinking as I said goodbye
Today is the first day of the rest of my life

I'm gonna stop lookin' back and start movin' on
And learn how to face my fears
Love with all of my heart, make my mark
I wanna leave something here

Go out on a ledge, with out any net
That's what I'm gonna be about
Yeah I wanna be runnin'
When the sand runs out

'Cause people do it everyday
Promise themselves they're gonna change
I've been there, but I'm changin' from the inside out

That was then and this is now
I'm a new man, yeah, I'm a brand new man
And when they carve my stone they'll write these words
"Here lies a man who lived life for all that its worth"

And as the cold wind blows across the graveyard
I think I hear the voice of my old friend whisper in my ear

I'm gonna stop lookin' back and start movin' on
Learn how to face my fears
Love with all of my heart, make my mark
I wanna leave something here

Go out on a ledge, with out any net
That's what I'm gonna be about
Yeah I wanna be runnin'
When the sand runs out

-Rascal Flatts


Oh hey, sunshine

>> 1.27.2010

Well, in many ways I got what wanted and needed recently.  I'll admit, the last post was a bit emo (not at all my style) and definitely not uplifting.  But hey, I guess we all have bad days once in a while.

Something I'm learning is the importance of letting yourself feel a certain way for a day.  If I am ecstatically happy, I should enjoy it! If I'm pissed and think the world sucks entirely, I'm learning to let myself feel that way.  For a day. Granted if I am happy for more than a day, that's okay.  But the sad/emo/upset/angry/frustrated mood has a limited lifespan.  The other day, I had a lot of emotions going on.  It was scary.  Sometimes I don't really enjoy my emotions.  I think they are icky and should consist of happy, joyful and carefree only.  BUT that is incredibly unrealistic unfortunately. So, I was on a downward slippery slope to a life long partnership with misery, and then I realized something!

I was the only one who could stop myself.  I was the only one who could figure out how to make it better.  I was the only one who could get back to the happy, energetic, carefree, optimistic Abby people know and love.  And then I was stuck.  How was I going to do this?  Then I thought about what made me feel great.  And that's being kind to others, even if they aren't the best people in the world to me.  I love helping others, making them feel good about themselves, offering a hand, etc.  And that's when things turned around. Hello Operation Gratitude.  I'd tell you exactly what it is, but if you're a recipient of it I can't tell you.  I think you might be able to piece it together based on what's in the name and this post, but I will absolutely let you know how it went once it's over!

The sun is out today, I'm ready to move forward, and am staying happy. Or at least trying to.

Thanks blog friends for reading.  It's been awesome to be able to write to you, and I sincerely hope you've enjoyed what I have to say.  If you don't let me know!!



I need some sunshine

>> 1.25.2010

The whole point of this blog was for me to take "the shit that hits the fan" and turn it into something more positive- something to learn from, to take away from, to be better because of it.

Well, now I'm in a spot where I hardly feel like I can convince myself of those things, let alone the blog world.  It's been rough.  I feel like over the course of this past year (2009 included) a lot of people have just taken giant swings at me, and I've never had a chance to fight back.  I know its a quality of society to focus on all the bad and not remember the good, but I mean seriously, how much longer can this last for?  I am absolutely sick and tired of people lying to my face.  I'm tired of people pretending to be my friends when in fact they can only do it when its convenient for them.  I'm tired of people hating on me, especially when they won't even tell me why.  I'm just tired of it all.

Its days like today that make me want to pack my things, say goodbye to Drexel and Philadelphia, and disappear for a while.  Well, maybe not disappear entirely because I'd miss things like First Day of Spring at Rita's, my few quality friends I have here, Christmas time in Rochester, and the other lovely little things that make me smile.  But, sometimes I wonder what it'd be like to just move away.  Start over again.  I liked restarting from high school to college- maybe it'd be nice to do it again.

I wonder if I'd change more.  If I'd be a completely different person (when I started college, I was not OCD. I also had terrible relationships with boys. I think I've changed).  I wonder if I'd have less of these days where I just want to crawl into bed and not get out.

I also wonder if this is just life.  If being miserable once in a while is part of the big picture.  If its part of learning whats important, whats not.

I guess I'm just miserable and wondering right now.  I'm praying I won't make any irrational decisions, but I can't make any promises.  I'm staying away from tattoo parlors, piercing places, hair salons, and shopping centers.


After a while

>> 1.23.2010

I don't know why it happens like this, but I feel like after a while, when someone says something over and over and over again, you start to believe it.  Without going into too much detail, tonight I wrote an Incident report that was too long to go into the system.  Back in December, there was a guest who decided he didn't want to cooperate after he vandalized using slander etc. on my floor, and was then banned from the building after the police had him in the car for a while.  Well, said kid decided to come back tonight, and cause the same sort of trouble.

Based off of the knowledge I have, he isn't anyone I'd surround myself with, but listening to him get up in my face and tell me how I don't care about my residents, how I don't know how to do my job as an RA, how he's going to tell the Dean to fire me gets to me.  I shouldn't believe it, but I do.  I also fear that when he threatened to come back and find me and another RA, he really meant it.  And I don't think he meant find us to meet up for coffee.

I don't think people really know what goes into this job.  Three years into it, I'm still learning.  It's amazing what you do sometimes to protect the students in your hall.  It's amazing, yet sometimes bizarre, draining, and bewildering.  I want this part of it to end though.  I want to not fear students I've confronted, I want to not be best friends with the Police Officers on campus (even though it does have its perks).

And I wonder what made the conduct office think this kid was safe to come back to campus in the beginning of the year.  Why did it take me freaking out for them to realize he wasn't such a great idea?


Some of my very favorite photos

>> 1.22.2010

Today I went through all of my photos on my computer, and found a few favorites I wanted to share with you- enjoy!

Winter Wonderland

The view from my floor

A few of my residents

My 21st Birthday!

Energy Plus @ Drew Elementary School

Ithaca Falls

A beautiful sunset


Memorial Day Weekend at the beach


My parents are champions

The sky

A mini cat walk

Merry Christmas in NYC

Miss you Grandpa

Bridget, Zoe and Rachel ready to take on Drexel!

That's me and Kevin!

(C) Abby Dineen, 2009


At least I know

So, here is a premise to a few blogs to follow: as part of my Women's Studies class (also known as gender studies) I'll be blogging after class. I'll be blogging about the things I learned, the questions I still have, the things that upset me, the things I got excited about. I hope that you'll find the information practical- not just something I have to do for a class.

Yesterday, we landed on an extremely interesting conversation about how baby "boys" and baby "girls" are identified at birth. Without getting into intense detail, I learned a this: 1) There is no definite answers 2) Doctors base it off what they see 3) If they don't know based off of what they see, they tell the mother there is a medical emergency, and go through a process of elimination. First "process"- can the baby reproduce? If not, can the baby penetrate/pee standing up? And lastly, if not those, its easier to "make a hole than build a pole". I sat all during class wondering what it must be like for a doctor to go through that. Do they care? Do they just do what is easiest? What are their motives? Very interesting. Then I asked if a parent is usually informed. And they aren't. Because very few people are educated about this situation, and know exactly what to do. Of course there isn't a straight answer, but there has to be some sort of problem solving process.

And this is where I can say hey- at least I know! I was riding regional rail out to Norristown, and happened to find a co-worker who was also on his ride home. He's about 32, has a 2 year old girl, and his wife is pregnant with their second child. Well did I find myself in the most perfect situation to educate or what? So I told him. I told him about the discussions we've had behind gender, especially identifying in an infant. I am not sure if I enlightened him or scared him more, but regardless, he is now informed. I hope that if the doctor says to his wife "we have a medical emergency with your sons ____" they will know to ask the doctor the right questions. And now, he can say "hey, at least I know".

Knowledge is powerful. Keep spreading the word(s) that need to be heard.

On a side note, I've enjoyed at least half a box of girl scout cookies this week. Sorry diet!


It's never fun to say goodbye

>> 1.20.2010

Yesterday, I finally placed a letter in the mail that I had wrote about a month ago. I was holding on to it because I was afraid, and frankly still am. That letter was a goodbye to my Grandparents.

Without going into too much detail, my family has the typical drama, and some. A few years ago, my Mom's parents decided they didn't like my dad, and that slowly trickled down into them not talking to us. Key facts: they live about a mile from us, I use to see them on a weekly basis in high school, I spent many weekends there with my othe siblings, I always thought family would always be there for you. In a previous post, I mentioned I learned that wasn't very true. I realized the value of maintaining and growing relationships. I realized that sometimes, you just have to say goodbye.

When I lost my one Grandfather (Dad's side) in September, it was the first death I had to go through. It was a rude awakening that life was not permanent, that it could quickly slip away from underneath us. I also realized that my time with my other Grandparents may be limited as they get older.

I haven't spoken with my Mom's parents in the last two years. I haven't seen them, heard from them, at all. Their health is waining, and given that I live out of town I don't know when I'll ever speak to them again. So, I wrote them a letter. I wrote them a letter thanking them for the roles they played in my life when I was younger. I thanked them for the overnights, the day trips to the peers, the 1/2 days in kindergarten that was spent with my Grandpa in the park (I still remember this vividly- I got a McDonald's Happy Meal). I also kindly said goodbye. It could be permanent, it could be temporary, but I wanted the chance to say it before it was too late. I didn't want to look back and wish that I had told them about how they influenced me and helped me become the person I am today. I also wanted to let them know that I consider this goodbye- I don't expect them to change at the age of 75, that's just unrealistic. But I also don't need to still be hurt by their present actions.

I just think about that day in the park, the days on the pier and the carousel and smile. If I think about to day, I'll just cry.


Why don't you just communicate?!?!

>> 1.19.2010

Something I will never quite understand is why it's so impossible for people to communicate. If you're mad at someone, they ask you why, and then you shrug your shoulders and say "I'm not mad", you're an idiot. I know it's not that easy. I'm a frequent offender of the above situation. I get angry, walk away, and then maybe 10 minutes later come back and say why. But I do try and get my feelings/words out there, especially when I am given an opportunity to.

I see this whole lack of communication thing happening left and right. I was watching "Little People, Big World" last night on TLC, and BAM! their marriage is failing because of a lack of communication. It's applicable to many people, including my parents. While I was home I had to step in and navigate how they were going to bake pies. I mean seriously, you're both 50 years old and can't say "this is what I need, this is what you need, how can we make it work?". Instead, their 21 year old daughter had to come up with a plan so they could both bake their pies and get to bed at a reasonable time. This doesn't make any sense to me. Have their communication skills always been this bad, or did they figure they didn't have to work on them any more once they had kids? If you all would like to know why I am not a fan of marriage, see exhibit A (my parents). But we'll save that for another blog post.

How come it is so difficult to communicate? How come the people who communicate directly and honestly are considered a bitch for doing so? I don't quite understand it all. I wonder what the world/divorce rate/murder rate/etc would look like if we took a second to figure out if we're communicating effectively or not. I vow to do my best to communicate properly/politely/effectively/accurately, and I hope that if I'm not doing so I'll have someone near by who can call me out on it.


Paris Hilton in class

>> 1.12.2010

I must preface this post with the information that I am taking a gender studies class this term. I absolutely love it- it's filled with thought provoking questions and conversations, and very little lecturing. Now that's my kind of class.

Today we were looking back on the timeline of the feminist movement, and what it's all about. There were some very interesting points (more historical, the usual, etc) but what really got me thinking was this discussion we started about Paris Hilton. Now, I have no personal connection with Paris Hilton, I have never met her, nor do I really ever want to but I just had to bring this up in my blog.

As we were talking about Paris Hilton, one student mentioned that she has everyone doing her job for her, that she's stupid, and hurts humanity. Another student mentioned that she has perfume, but all male scientists making her perfume, and someone mentioned that it was just a name. Now, what I found fascinating about all of this is that these students were doing the same to Paris Hilton that many people do to each other, and maybe even especially towards women. If you prefer being a critic, expect to have critics come right back at you. I don't know what made my classmates think that they knew Paris Hilton well enough to judge her, her character, her business techniques, etc, but I think that whatever made them think that is the same thing that makes people feel like they can judge based on gender. Again, I have no idea what I think of feminism- I just have a whole bunch of questions, followed by more questions. But I think that when we are talking about someone, when we are judging someone, we have to expect that back in just the same way we dish it out. I'm not confident that this will change in the near future, but I hope people are aware that when we judge someone we don't know and label them just based on what the media presents or what their perception is, we're opening up the doors to allow others to do the same thing to us.


Head vs. Heart

>> 1.10.2010

Sometimes I wonder who the winner would be if my head and my heart were to get into a boxing ring. I like to believe that my heart would clearly be the winner, but after thinking about it (of course) I am not so positive. A friend of mine asked me for some relationship advice last night (not sure why, because I know I certainly need some too!)and I kept wondering if she was thinking about the situation with her head, or with her heart. Granted, maybe it's with both, but there really is this continuous battle between the two.

For me, when I think with my heart, I find myself doing things my head told me not to. My heart tells me to eat the pint of Ben & Jerry's because I love it, and my head tells me to stay away because I'll regret it later.

I wonder which one knows me best. I wonder which one I should listen to. I know everyone says "oh, follow your heart!" like its really that easy, but I am just going to put it out there and say it sure as hell isn't. I usually keep my heart locked away. It makes it a little harder to listen to, but also a little harder for it to get hurt. When I think with my heart, everything is confusing and my OCD goes into overdrive because I no longer feel like I have control. When I think with my head, everything makes sense, is logistical and almost mathematic, but at the same time I most definitely do not want to be a robot. I wonder if this battle will even itself out eventually and there will be a nice balance. I wonder if it'll be easier to listen to my heart because my head won't be as obnoxious. I also wonder if it will never balance out, if there will always be this battle, and I will constantly be wondering which one I should listen to.


How people around us can hurt or (hopefully) help

>> 1.05.2010

I am a huge believer that the people you surround yourself with makes a HUGE impact on your life.  Although right now I live with approximately 350 freshman Drexel students, so it might be better to talk about who I emotionally surround myself with.

One of my resolutions this year was to be a better friend.  I think I've already learned a little bit about what that's going to be like.  When words are genuine, when they come from the heart, you are a good friend.  When you feel like you have to lie to not hurt your friends feelings, you are not a good friend.  I know its hard to hear negative remarks about yourself (hello- I would be the girl who cried in front of her manager after she received the first piece of constructive criticism in 9 months), but sometimes they are best when they come from the people that know you best.

Paragraph 1 + Paragraph 2= in order to be a great friend, surround yourself with people you can truly be honest with, and people you trust will be honest back at you.  Girls have boyfriends and Grandma's to tell them how great they are and that even after the addition 10lb gain from the holidays, they hardly notice an extra ounce. If you think about what is important to you (example- health, career, independence, emotional intelligence, happiness), its easy to see if you are on the same page as the people around you.  THINK about it.  Is it easier to go on a diet when you are around someone who eats healthy all the time, or eats junk food all the time?  Maybe you have better will power than I, but I find myself truly drooling when my dear friend is eating junk food.  The drooling effect can be comparable to that of a not-so-great friend finally pushing you to do not-so-great things.

I think this is the hardest part of life.  It's terribly hard to find good friends.   After 4 years of college, I find myself with a select few.  I have tons of acquaintances, but the people I really let effect me- well there are about a dozen or so.  Sometimes its lonely, but at the end of the day I like it.  I like that the people in my life push me to become a better person.  And I like that (as harsh as it sounds), I've been able to successfully stop drooling at certain junk food eaters, if you know what I mean.