Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm ready.

It's 50 degrees today and sunny. Since wintertime up here usually lasts about 2 1/2 months, and it has been wintry here since the first week of November, logic says that springtime should be here soon. I'm ready for springtime to be here soon. I don't think weather patterns follow any form of logic known to earth-kind, however, so I am afraid that, rather than having an early spring in 2011, I'll be having an extra-long winter. Fortunately, as I am soon-to-be-employed, this year I might possibly have the means of securing for myself a small Spring Break trip to a warmer and/or sunnier climate. In all honesty, I would be happy with sunshine, even if it was still freezing outside. I don't actually mind the cold - as long as it is either sunny from time to time, or snows with regularity. I can't stand when it's cold and cloudy and everything is just gray and dark. That is simply unacceptable - and that's almost always what it is like up here.

Of course, I really have no one to blame for my suffering except myself. I chose to go to school in The North instead of SoCal. I could have spent the last two years living in shorts and wearing a perma-tan. Instead, I've spent the last two years hiding in my apartment wrapped in every piece of clothing I own while I study, clumsily turning pages with gloved fingers. And with my recent decision to pursue my graduate degree, I have once again chosen misery over paradise. However, thanks to my awesome mother, I was recently gifted a few items that will make my life in sub-arctic Ellensburg more comfortable.

Knee socks. Check.
Convertible Gloves/Mittens. Check.
New ultra-thick, fur-lined, hooded sweatshirt. Check.

And, best of all, the greatest gift ever received on Christmas, and the one which will get the most use from here until one of us dies:


EARFLAP BEANIE!!!!! CHECK!

As all of you know by now, it's a bit windy in Ellensburg. Hoods are good for one thing only: keeping your head dry. For all other things (e.g., warmth) they are utterly useless. When you're walking along and you have a big hood on, the wind is funneled inside, which not only freezes your ears, but scoops around the back so your neck gets cold as well. Scarves help a lot with this, and though I often wear beanies, because of how small my head is, and because I wear glasses, getting them to cover my ears WITHOUT covering my eyes as well is almost always impossible. As soon as I start walking they unroll and/or shift downward in the front, and upward in the back, so that my ears are exposed and my eyes are covered. Woe is me.

BUT NOW...nothing but warmth. I wore the hell out of my beanie yesterday, I wouldn't take it off. When I got too warm, or if I couldn't hear properly, I would tie it up on top. It's the most amazing gift ever.

HOWEVER, I must say that the honorable mention will have to go to my dad's gift. Ever since I was a small child I've loved horses. Every single item anyone ever thought of getting for me was either directly horse-related, horse-themed, or was given to me with some convoluted explanation of how it could, in some way or another, serve an equestrian- or equine-related purpose. One such item - a staple in my life for most of it - was a horse calendar. Every single year from the time I was about 11 I got a big calendar with pictures of horses on it. I saved all of them, and at one point cut them up and pasted every single picture on my wall. Every square inch of wall space was covered in pictures of horses. One or two people said that it was creepy, but they were wrong. It was not creepy. It was heaven. And although my enthusiasm for the horse world waned when I realized how obnoxious and/or bitchy horse PEOPLE are, my flame for horses has not died down.

I'm 25 now, and though I am no longer a fan of "all things horsie," and am very selective about the kinds of things I like (I LOVE horses, I'm not a whore....), a few weeks ago, as I was trying to organize multiple events, I threw my phone onto the couch in exasperation. Planners are great. Phone calendars with jingly, vibratey reminders are great. But they are NOT a horse calendar. Note that it's not JUST a physical 12-month calendar that I needed. Horse calendars specifically are the best for organization, and frankly, I'm not sure how I've managed to get through the last two years without one. I made a mental note to include a horse calendar on my Christmas list, but forgot to do so. While I was shopping with mum a few weeks ago I reached for a horse-themed planner, but decided against it. It wasn't the same, and I wasn't ashamed to admit to myself that I preferred the planner with saffron swirls to the one with the positively rotund white horse on the front. And since mum had already picked out THE CUTEST little calendar for me, I had zero reason to ask for another.

So imagine my surprise - and sheer glee - when, having NOT made known my desire for a horse calendar, nor even spoken to my dad about what I wanted for Christmas this year, I began to pull back the paper from my dad's gift and caught that first glimpse of the horse-themed calendar. Actually, don't imagine, I have pictures:



I have screwed my face up painfully in order to emit the correct frequency of squeal.


My excited-smile leaves me positively mantis-like.

I think the last two photographs illustrate my excitement for my dad's gift. Not only does my face show it, but my willingness to post two of the most hideous pictures of me ever recorded (6 hours of sleep, hadn't showered in three days, hadn't even washed my face - oh, and speaking of face, aren't I pulling a hideous one?) further demonstrates my appreciation. Basically what I'm saying with these two pictures is "Pride and shame be damned, I got a horse calendar, bitch!"

So even though I know wintertime this year, having already started about a month early, will probably be dragged out well passed mid-February as it did last year, I am now ready. I'm ready for the cold weather. I'm ready for 20 hours a week of the craziest work schedule ever conceived on top of 15 credits of graduate-level courses. Christmas 2010 was a big F*CK YEAH! 2011: Bring it on!


P.S. Wait until you see pictures of the outfits Rea bought for me. Let's just say I have even more reasons to be excited for summertime!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On clothing

Dear Bra Manufacturers,

STOP PADDING A & B CUP BRAS!

Sincerely,

Irritated B-Cup

I'm a small-but-curvy woman whose relationship with clothing has been, at best, unpleasant.

"My thighs are too fat!"
"My boobs are too small!"
"My torso is too long!"
"I'm too short! "

After about a decade of hating my body, I finally realized that the problem isn't me. It's them. Clothing are not constructed to fit my body. Clothing are designed to fit "real" people who fall into one of these categories. With my height/weight/measurements, I should be a Petite Size 4. But I'm not. Petites shirts are too short and too baggy, and petite jeans/trousers are too short and too narrow along the thighs.

Any trip to the clothing store inevitably ends with me entering the fitting room with 10x the amount of clothing one is supposed to take in and leaving the store empty handed. You'd never see a guy trying on 15 boxer briefs in a fitting room and struggling to find a pair that fit. You'd never see a guy struggling to find jeans or shirts that fit, either.  Men's trousers are sold by waist and inseam - meaning a man will ALWAYS be able to find jeans that fit. Men's shirts are sold similarly. It would be a simple shift in fashion for women's clothing to be sold thus as well.

But while finding clothing that fits me is a time-consuming irritant, finding brasierres has become such a loathsome task that I avoid it utterly. One would think that finding bras would be a little easier, as both chest and shoulder straps are adjustable. One would be wrong. With hormonal shifts, my breasts fluctuate nearly a full cup size each month, and thus I need to buy bras in multiple sizes. No problem, right? Wrong again. A & B cup bras are for "small breasted women," and therefore virtually ANY bra (other than wireless, shapeless lycra in nude or white) comes with 2" - 3" pads. And I'm not talking about the nice, jiggly gel/water/air pads, either. I'm talking padding that is firmer than floral foam. I once examined a beautiful satin and lace demi cup with padding so thick that I sincerely believe it could have doubled as a life preserver.

Are my breasts "small?" Yes, compared to my older sister's breasts - but she has a bigger band size, as well. My breasts are proportional to my body size. And even if they weren't, who the hell do clothing manufacturers think they are? Gentlemen's undergarments are NOT sold with padding, regardless of any "deficiencies" in his size. It offends me that as a small woman I struggle to find a pretty, elegant bra that ISN'T a message in fashion form telling me that my breasts are unacceptably small and that in order to be sexually desirable - or even beautiful - I need to give myself a boost.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

Well it's only the 16th and I've already gotten everything I could ever possibly have hoped for/dreamed of and then some: help moving out of my apartment, three weeks to spend in the luxurious warmth and comfort of mum's house, a job, a free education, medical coverage, all the food I can possibly force myself to eat (let's be honest, though, I don't need to force it!). Last night I went to my aunt's house to watch two hours of Psych with my cousins. My Danny is coming up tomorrow. Best of all, I've been able to pick my niece and nephew up from school three times, take them to school once, and this afternoon watched their Christmas concert with my mum. I'm giving them a few minutes to put their things away, and then we're heading downstairs to watch Hook. Is it possible for life to get any better? Honestly?

No, it can't.


But I'm sure it will.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Master's Degree in Russian History

I have been inundated with literally no comments about my last post, which leaves me with no alternative but to try to be more interesting. Since my digital camera broke, I'm not able to post amazing pictures like everyone else is. I can't even use my phone's camera, because it's awful. But I'll do what I can.

After a casual meeting with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Roxanne Easley, during which I asked a few questions about the Master's program, she instructed me to apply for Winter quarter. Long story short, I am not now only matriculated as a Master's candidate, I found out today that I have received a graduate assistantship position at the library (tuition waiver, health insurance, free access to the student health center, AND a stipend). I begin both school and work in January.

In the meantime I have moved out of 1902 North Walnut, and am temporarily storing my belongings at Katherine & Chuck's apartment (which is in a different unit of the same complex). After a rush job to move out in order to beat a blizzard, and a terrifying drive (mum spun out on the freeway going over the pass, I sobbed hysterically for the rest of the drive), I arrived in Walla Walla Saturday afternoon, where I have been happily stuffing my face with salad and getting over a reasonably benign case of strep throat. All in all, after a bit of a rough patch, the end of this year is going quite well, and I can't wait until the new year begins!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New November

Changes are afoot for Val Val up in The Burg. Details will come only after a sufficiently suspenseful time period in which my faithful blog readers can beg for details. Or something.

Hint.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pre-pre-Halloween Party at Radio Haus

First off, let me just say that as I was about to leave for the party I dropped my beloved Cannon Powershot lens-down on the carpet and it is now defunct. I can't even think about it or I'll start crying. Photo credits to Lauren!

I've never been to a Halloween party before, so to say I was excited about the Pre-pre-Halloween Party at Radio Haus (my friend Clayton's awesome pad) is a gross understatement. I plotted my costume for WEEKS and, though I was slightly disappointed with the end result (because I couldn't find a stinking silver Sharpie pen to make my mask accurate) no one at the party seemed to be. In fact, everyone absolutely flipped. Why? Because R2D2 is everybody's favorite droid!

When I initially told Clayton that I was going as R2, he was skeptical and thought it would be stupid. But I'm awesomer than your average Party Person and when he saw what I'd come up with, he personally helped me duct tape on my "feet." Everyone laughed at how silly I was (since the only white outfit I owned is the above frilly dress, I decided to just go girly and do a masquerade-type mask instead of strapping it to my head with a cotton headband!), but I can't emphasize enough how thrilled the other party people were to see R2D2. Having said that, though, they weren't nearly as thrilled to see my costume as I was to wear it (even though Clay taped the left "foot" on crooked, I kept tripping over it, nearly fell over several times trying to dance, and kept scraping other peoples' feet and ankles with them.)



That's a maskless R2 and to my immediate right is Brigid, who is amazing and confident and I'm completely in girl-love with her. She's a bio/pre-med major, and the most voluptuous, smart, witty, funny, loving girl I've ever met in my life. She brings out the best in me. Though apparently not the best faces, cos I look dumb in the above photo.... Siiiigh, Cannon!


The party was awesome, I had a blast and made lots of friends. I was planning to give a play-by-play recap, but the night was....different. I've never been social, even though I've tried to go to a few parties this year. However, last night (thanks to Brigid, and, I confess, a few shots of liquor, but really mostly thanks to Brigid) I was a completely different person. Well, really I was still Valry, only I was not a shy or insecure Valry. I was just me, and apparently just me is awesome! I only partied for about three hours, but they were the most exciting, active, fun hours of my life. A gay couple fell completely in love with me (thanks, R2!), I danced with some hot girls, some hot guys, some even hotter guys-dressed-as-girls (You may have heard about the incident involving some Freshmen Wildcats and Four Lokos: well, a whole group of people, including several men, showed up as "the Roslyn girls" looking trashy and drinking Four Lokos. Yessssssss we're a classy, reverent bunch!). I made lots of new friends, had the most delicious conversation with Brigid, hid in several rooms whilst waiting for the cops to issue a noise violation warning to our generous hosts (after which everyone was too scared to dance until we realized that the majority of the noisy kids - the minors - had fled the house when the cops showed up, and we therefore had an empty dance floor again!), and had an all-out awesome time.

By the end of the night I was so exhausted that I got sick (yes, it was exhaustion, and not alcohol - I promise!). I quite literally bolted from the house, lips tingling, limbs numb, gagging and staggering around the block away from prying eyes. I did manage to NOT throw up, though I was close enough to doing so that I'll say that I did, but that I'm so awesome I managed to throw up without throwing up! I got home and took a long shower, then went to bed. I fell asleep fairly quickly, but I was so exhausted that when I awoke randomly at 4 this morning it took me nearly two hours to go back to sleep (err...I realize that probably makes no sense, unless you too struggle to fall asleep when you're at your most tired). I got a few more hours in before getting up around noon (I'd been awake since 9:40 or so but felt too lousy to get up), and have spent the day feeling HORRIBLE. Let this be a warning to party people: Drink lots of water and eat more than two small meals during the day, otherwise you'll feel as crappy as you would with a hangover.

If more pictures emerge I'll post them, and will possibly give slightly more detail than I have provided above.


Another small bit of news: I've contacted the registrars and financial aid office to get myself sorted out, and if I can get my financial aid back, I'll be starting classes again in January. What a miserable two months this has been - I hope the next two are slightly less so.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Forgive you? You'll be lucky if I THREEgive you!

Hey all! I don't blog much these days, but I'm hoping to be a bit more regular (and exciting) in the future! I'm still unemployed, still out of school, still out of money, still applying for jobs. But I'm smiling, and that's progress indeed!!



I got a kick-ass care package from Casey this week that did wonders for my mood (and my belly!), so as soon as I'm done here I'm going to go put a movie on and nibble on some treats!

 I went to the thrift store today to drop off a bag of clothes and to help Katherine pick out some shirts (she was unprepared for the coldness of Ellensburg's subarctic climate!) and ended up with an adorable little hat. 


It smells like thrift store, so I need to wash it. I have needed a hat since I moved here. It is very cold here, and hoods act as a funnel for the cold air, and beanies don't have visors, so they don't protect my specs from the driving rain. People don't use umbrellas in the Pacific Northwest (because it's always so windy), and I can't stand walking with smudged glasses, or trying to dry them off when I get inside! So, I spent $3 on a hat, and I'm sure since I'll be walking everywhere once I finally get a job, it will be one of the best (and cutest) investments I've ever made.


Here's the cutest kitten I've ever seen in my life. I plan to get a kitty (or two) when I can afford food and litter. I need a little companion, have wanted a pet for years, and have decided that I'm ready to have one as soon as I am employed. Which will hopefully be soon! I'm BORED!

My Pre died a few weeks ago - well, really only the screen died, which was enormously frustrating as I couldn't read or even send texts, and have been unable to successfully transfer data because I need the screen in order to make the software work properly (stupid touchscreens!). I was panicked because I obviously cannot afford a new phone, but HAVE to have one in order to get a job. Fortunately I had an upgrade option which was TOTALLY free. I didn't have to pay for activation or even shipping. So now I have a Pixi, and I love it! The camera sucks, and it IS slightly frustrating to have had to downgrade to one that is so appallingly bad (as you can see by the picture of me in the hat - that's the best picture I've taken with it). However, I love everything else about it (more than I loved my Pre), and it was FREE. It was such a spot of good fortune, I'm so pleased with it!

Tomorrow I have a Halloween party and I couldn't be more excited! I made my costume using some old boxes and my artistic skills, and cannot wait to finish it and get pictures up. I know that no one will be as excited about it as I am, but it makes me so happy I sit around giggling just thinking about it! I'll post pictures and a play-by-play recap at some point (hopefully Saturday or Sunday)!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

When life closes a door, it opens a window for you to throw yourself out of.

Life has been a genuine hell for me over the last month and a half. Fortunately I have unbelievably supportive friends and family, and think my life is in the process of changing for the better. By this time next month I hope to be writing the happy details of my life, as I usually choose to keep the sadder stuff private. Following cousin Carisa's Gratitude Post yesterday, I'd like to add a brief list of the things I'm thankful for:

an amazing, indomitable mother

kick-ass siblings who love me and never, ever judge me

wonderfully optimistic friends who never tire of me when I'm sad, are always willing to cheer me up, and spend way more time than they should trying to help me out

a warm, dry, safe apartment to come home to

never having to worry about going without food - clean, nutritious food at that

running water (especially the heated kind)

the internet and a reliable computer

people who inspire me (Terry, Carisa) and give me hope (Jessie, Casey, Clayton, Benny, dad)

easily-accessible, affordable healthcare from driven, forward-thinking, liberal medical professionals (even if I haven't taken advantage of it in, oh, say.....10 years....lol Val needs a checkup)

a secure living environment where the biggest worry I have is being cut off by inept skateboarders and never have to plan out how I'll make it out of my apartment without being mowed down by extremists with AK-47s.

friendly, understanding strangers who can do a tough job while still exhibiting tact and humanity

Cheers to you all!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Decisions

"New" dishwasher - hooray! The other had a crack between the pump and motor, so every time I ran it there was a steady stream of water pouring out of it. Thanks to the jokers who put in the linoleum in my apartment, all water was successfully diverted away from my kitchen floor - meaning there are about 10 square feet of Garrett's bedroom that were in standing water. From the looks of things, the leak was new and now that we've had fans on in the room for about a week, I think we'll be okay. Poor Garrett has had to deal with the stinky wet-carpet smell, though. YUCK!

I got up early this morning to register for the LSAT (which will be administered on October 9th). Much to my chagrin I discovered that the deadline was not September 9th, but September 7th. I missed the stupid deadline! I knew that late registration was possible, so I didn't panic (though I was annoyed)...until I saw the late registration fee (on top of the $150 for the test): $68! HOLY CRAP that's a lot of money that I don't have! I maintained some hope and checked the law school website for their deadlines. YES!!!!!!! I don't have to take the October LSAT in order to make the application deadline! I can wait to take the December LSAT and still complete my application on time. This is good for two reasons:
1) I don't have to pay 45% more for my test.
2) I now have time to really decide if I want to go to law school. And by that of course I mean I now have time to explain to family and friends why I don't want to go!!

At the moment I'm applying to jobs in Ellensburg (everyone's been complaining about how bad the economy is, but I didn't really realize how right they were until about a week ago!), looking forward to Oktoberfest next weekend (I haven't seen my dad or Rosemary since graduation, and before that I hadn't seen them since mid-December!), and patiently waiting for classes to start. I've had many things to be grateful for this year, and have many hopes for the next. Life isn't perfect, but it's not all bad either. :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Oh Joy

I stink. Badly. I need a shower. Badly. But I can't take a shower. Because the bedroom has a puddle of standing water in it. Because a pipe is leaking. Or broken. After half an hour of frantic searching, three phone calls, and two messages, I finally made contact with human kind: Mr. Emergency Maintenance Man! Hopefully he will be here soon. We ended our call 15 minutes ago, he said he'd be here in "a few minutes" and I'm seriously exhausted after having been up since 6:30 (not that I did anything, but since I didn't get into bed until after 1 a.m.....). I'm not feeling optimistic about this situation. The linoleum in the kitchen is bubbling, it smells like crawl-space in the bedroom (which is a solid 3 feet away, since I've got a pantry and closet in between) which means the drywall is molding, and given the magnitude of the auslaufen I can't imagine it's going to be a quick fix. I don't think I should have to pay for anything (thank goodness for tenancy) but it's probably going to be a day or two of carpet removal and pipe repair. I can't even imagine....

I hate being a grown-up.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Heaven

Two weekends spent with Owen! He had last Sunday off so he came up Saturday night, we went to Yakima to buy him some school clothes (so fun!), then he left early Monday morning. He had this weekend off again (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and came up Friday night, and we spent the whole weekend eating good food and watching fun movies. He'd never seen the Back to the Future trilogy (say WHAT?!), so we watched those, Back to the Future, Inglourious Basterds, Kinky Boots, Waking Ned Divine, and....something else I think but I can't remember. He had to leave early this morning, but it was an amazing weekend. The best part of it was, obviously, Owen. He is such a cool friend. I've met a lot of neat people in my life, and have made a lot of friends recently, but rarely have I met someone that I felt such an instant affinity with. I feel like I've known him all my life! We get along so well, most of the credit going to him and his insanely sweet temper. He never has a negative thing to say about anybody (except advertising people, but that's another story!), and he is always happy. I learn a lot from him.

Since this is a pseudo-food blog (Awkward Spooning, get it?) here's a recap of what I ate:

Sunday, August 22nd. 
IHOP: onion rings, orange juice
Morelli's: lobster fettuccine with Italian ham and sweet peas


Saturday, August 28th
McDonald's: Southwestern Chicken Salad with crispy chicken, fries, root beer,
Taco Bell: crunchy tacos, root beer


Sunday, August 29th
The Yellow Church Cafe: tomato bisque with "heavenly loaf" garlic cheese bread, roobteer, and salad with house Mandarin vinaigrette and root beer
McDonald's: Southwestern Chicken Salad with crispy chicken, fries, root beer, Oreo McFlurry
The Valley Cafe: House salad with balsamic vinaigrette, lamb gnocchi, bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and basil. Crème brûlée.


I feel guilty for spending so much money on food - both Owen and I need to be budgeting for school, but Owen likes to spend money, I like food, and we both like to explore new places, so we just went with it. I will definitely be cooking from now on, though - even McDonald's isn't that cheap anymore!


The weather here has turned Fall-like. The sky is currently extremely menacing, it's about 60 degrees, and I'm running the heat. Summertime was not nearly long enough for me, but I will make the most of the changing seasons and not lament the lack of sun. Most of my clothes are cold-weather clothes, so now I get to wear much cuter outfits. I LOVE SCARVES! I also love food - I haven't eaten much this summer because I have no appetite when I'm hot, so I'm excited to finally "crave" things again!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Now we are starting to learn.

I'm often encouraged to dance at parties, but have never felt comfortable doing so because I didn't feel I possessed the requisite knowledge of dance moves and footwork to perform admirably in public. But that's all changed now that I have learned the skills. I will be testing these out at my next party.

p.s. "Wash the Laundry"

p.p.s. "Chernobyl Child"

p.p.p.s "Wash the Laundry - Intense"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August!

After a brief break because I hate the online social networking culture of pseudo-celebrity for maintenance, I am back online and ready to go. My Facebook and Myspace accounts will not be back online, however.

So now I will update you on the goings-on and future goings-on of my boring life while I listen to the most boring  music   known to mankind! And by boring I mean awesome!

Summer quarter is over, and I'm registered for Fall: American Foreign Relations Since 1941, French 151, and German 151 (for which I am currently wait-listed). I'll be taking French with Katherine, which is very exciting!

My friend Bennie (BENNIE! BENNIE! BENNIE and the Jeeeeeeets!) moved out of his apartment and into a house about a mile south of campus, and just before he went back to Seattle to be with his lady, he invited Garrett and me over to get acquainted with it. In a nutshell, it's going to be the new Base of Operations for our little group of friends. Lots of BBQs and formal dinner parties will take place at 408 S. Pine, I assure you.

I'm going home for the first time in months because my cousin Danny is coming up to his mum's for about a week. I do love my cousin Danny! We'll spend most of our time cooking, working on his house in Walla Walla (just a few blocks from my mum's house - I still haven't seen it!) and eating. Although the bulk of our efforts will undoubtedly go into making liege waffles (I'm going to attempt to get him to be more patient with the dough, so that it rises properly), I've requested that we attempt making croissants as well. We're both huge fans (I love them toasted and drizzled with maple frosting), but neither of us has ever attempted to make them. I intend to first get used to working with yeast by making a loaf of bread. The one "type" of food I've never attempted is bread. I can hardly believe I typed that!

I will also be attempting to make  this recipe while I'm at home in preparation for when I get back to "The Burg" because my friend Clayton   will be back from Wisconsin. (YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). We've got a date to "float  the Yak " and I imagine this date will end up the same as every other friend-couple's date with the river goes: with half of the school floating along with them.  Owen is going to try to come over from  Pullman to float it with us. I believe Katherine and Chuck and Garrett will be joining us, and I'm hoping that Ben and his lady Kalila will make it over from Seattle. If everyone is cool with it, I will probably go ahead and invite other Ellensburgers (like  Anthony ). Mum said that I could borrow her raft for it and everything! I don't think it will hold all (enter total number of people who will show up here) of us and all their beer gear, but it should at least hold me which, given how much I love being in water, is all I'm really concerned about.

August!

So after a brief break because I hate the online social networking culture of pseudo-celebrity for maintenance, I am back online and ready to go. My Facebook and Myspace accounts will not be back online, however, as I never signed into Myspace, and used Facebook for nothing but wasting time and chatting with ONE friend. So, if you would like to get a hold of me, you can go ahead and email me.

UPDATES!

Summer quarter is over, and I'm registered for Fall. I'm currently registered for American Foreign Relations Since 1941, French 151, and German 151 (for which I am currently wait-listed). I'll be taking French with Katherine, which is very exciting!

My friend Bennie (BENNIE! BENNIE! BENNIE and the Jeeeeeeets!) moved out of his apartment and into a house about a mile south of campus, and just before he went back to Seattle to be with his lady, he invited Garrett and me over to get acquainted with it. It is amazing! From the sidewalk one walks through an arched arbor lined with hedges into the front yard, which features a rose bush, two trees, and lots of little flowers on either side of the front steps. It's a gorgeous little craftsman with a fully-windowed front porch with huge storage benches and built-in armoires lining the front of the house. The inside has beautiful wood floors, wood beams on the ceiling, a fireplace AND a pellet stove, beautiful built-in desks and clothing storage, a massive kitchen with butcher block countertops, a full cellar, and the biggest back yard I've ever seen (other than my mum's) that is fully fenced (with nice cedar fencing!) and a huge garage out back. In a nutshell, it's going to be the new Base of Operations for our little group of friends. Lots of BBQs and formal dinner parties will take place at 408 S. Pine, I assure you.

I just ordered myself something really exciting, but since 2/3 of my 3 readers are good Mormon girls I can't announce what it is. I WILL say that it is green, adorable, and that I got it for half off the original price. I almost bought it two weeks ago for $73 (already hugely on sale) but decided I ought to wait until after classes were over to order it. I thought there was a chance that it would go on sale a bit more, and my patience and discipline paid off: $47.00. I'm having it shipped to mum's house, because that is where I will be when it arrives next week.

Yes, I'm going home for the first time in months because my cousin Danny is coming up to his mum's for about a week. I do love my cousin Danny! We'll probably spend most of our time cooking, working on his house in Walla Walla (just a few blocks from my mum's house - I still haven't seen it!) and eating. Although the bulk of our efforts will undoubtedly go into making liege waffles (I'm going to attempt to get him to be more patient with the dough, so that it rises properly), I've requested that we attempt making croissants as well. We're both huge fans (I love them toasted and drizzled with maple frosting), but neither of us has ever attempted to make them. I intend to first get used to working with yeast by making a loaf of bread. The one "type" of food I've never attempted is bread. I can hardly believe I typed that!

When I get back to "The Burg" my friend   Clayton   will be back from Wisconsin. (YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). We've got a date to "float  the Yak " and I imagine this date will end up the same as every other friend-couple's date with the river goes: with half of the school floating along with them.  Owen is going to try to come over from  Pullman to float it with us. I believe Katherine and Chuck and Garrett will be joining us, and I'm hoping that Ben and his lady Kalila will make it over from Seattle. If everyone is cool with it, I will probably go ahead and invite other Ellensburgers (like  Anthony ). Mum said that I could borrow her raft for it and everything! I don't think it will hold all (enter total number of people who will show up here) of us and all their beer gear, but it should at least hold me which, given how much I love being in water, is all I'm really concerned about.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Problem with Employers.


Perusing classified ads always leaves me grouchy and frustrated. Unemployment is up in this country, and there is an increasing number of people who have completely given up looking for jobs. There are many reasons for this discouragement, but I believe the number one reason is that employers don't know what they're looking for. A five-minute jaunt through the Craigslist want ads shows that the requisite qualifications for many jobs are either excessive (Does a PARALEGAL for a small law firm really need a law degree?) or inaccurately specific (Technical writers "must have a Bachelor's degree in English or a technical field such as math or engineering."). Employers must see themselves as gods in their field, and possess a kind of penis envy with competing firms. Let me break down what is wrong with both of these examples.

Paralegals are responsible for doing the bitch work in law firms (unless it is a big firm, in which case that job goes to the first and second year law associates who have to earn their $120k a year). They do need to have a solid understanding of the technical aspects of the law: filing, legal research, etc. For that reason, there are CERTIFICATION programs. These take about a year or two to complete, are available at most technical schools or community colleges, and the total cost of completing these programs is the same as getting an Associate's degree. A Juris Doctorate, on the other hand, takes three years to complete (on top of the four+ years it takes to earn the prerequisite Bachelor's degree), and even at a low-ranked state public school, the PER YEAR cost of tuition alone is roughly the same as the entire cost of the paralegal certificate. I say again, this is tuition costs alone, and hasn't factored in living costs, fees, and, of course, books (the book I bought for my business law class was the most expensive book I have ever purchased: $198). Aside from allowing Juris Doctors to work for six figures at a prestigious law firm as a practicing attorney, let's review a few other positions for which JDs are qualified:


Publishing: JDs can earn about $50,000 a year publishing legal writing. This is double the salary of a paralegal, and given the fact that some law firms expect employees - even non-attorneys - to put in about 80 hours a week, one could look at this position as paying quadruple the salary.


University teaching: Having attained a law degree, a law school graduate is now qualified to work as a professor at a college or university. Salaries start around $60,000. On a side note, if one wants to be a university professor, the JD route is the way to go. Rather than spending six - ten years working on a PhD and doing adjunct professorships, spend three years at a law school, then teach polisci. :)


Legal Consulting: Starting salary of $150,000 a year without the requirement for putting in slave-like work hours? Yes, please.


Why on earth would a person who is qualified for positions such as these want to use their overpriced education to work as an assistant in a law firm in a small town? 

Technical writers are responsible for writing textbooks, manuals, and the instructions on all of our electronics. The fact that these pieces of literature are infamously impossible to follow and horribly written (and I'm not talking about those which were originally written in a foreign language) is really all the evidence I need to support my argument. I will go ahead and add some meat to the bones, though. The problem with requiring technical writers to hold a degree in English or a "hard" science is that they aren't the most qualified candidates for the job. First of all, English majors read a lot of books - novels, poems, short stories. They don't read statistics, literature on technical subjects,  or economics. English majors read Shakespeare, they read authors from foreign countries, they read children's books. They aren't reading theses, and they aren't required to break down arguments. They take creative writing classes, and write about their opinions. Most importantly, the majority of English majors spend their undergraduate careers reading, not writing. Compare an English major's writing portfolio with that of a history major or a political science major. The latter two will have a larger, more diverse selection of writing samples, and will have spent their undergraduate careers doing research on highly specialized subjects, and then writing theses which make convincing arguments to those who are not experts in said specialized subject.


There are two problems with hiring a "hard" science major to write manuals. The first problem is that majors in the "hard" sciences (math, biology, physics, etc) are not required to write that often. The bulk of their undergraduate careers are spent working proofs and performing experiments, and building beer bongs which maximize PSI in order to inject beer into the drinker with the most efficient force (i.e. the beer should hit the drinker hard enough to shoot the alcohol directly into the stomach, but not so hard that said drinker drowns). Second, the "hard" sciences use "math" English. I'm not just referring to the hieroglyphics that terrify non-mathematical individuals and cause them to instantaneously spew out "I HATE MATH!" "Math" English is a very, very specific dialect. Any person who has ever struggled with word problems knows this...but doesn't actually know they know it. Order of Operations is not just for use in symbolic equations. When reading word problems, you must follow exactly the order in which they are written. Furthermore, "Math" English has specific phrases which have symbolic equivalents which look very different, but whose original phrases look trickily similar. "Twenty five less ten" is NOT the same as "Twenty five less than ten." The symbolic equivalents of these phrases are "25-10" and "10-25." 
The difference in the former is 15, the latter is - 15.

Employers who post ads such as these probably dissuaded 1/3 of qualified potential employees from applying to their positions by inaccurately assessing their own needs. Paralegals need an understanding of legal procedures and research, good written and oral communication skills, and the flexibility to work multiple cases at once. A technical writer needs excellent written communication skills and should possess enough experience in a technical subject to be able to translate technical talk into something a non-expert can understand. These employers should be asking for candidates who possess usefully specific skills, rather than trying to screen out the truly unqualified applicants with a baseline degree cutoff. Truly unqualified applicants are going to apply anyway. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lunch

Baguette toasted with olive oil and melted Mozzarella topped with thinly sliced Roma tomato, shredded chicken, grilled onions, reduction syrup, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cilantro. 


For several weeks now I have been craving these  sandwiches but since I don't have a grill - and I lack the necessary experience to feel comfortable with my meat cooking skills - I didn't want to attempt to fake my way through the grilling by baking chicken in an oven. Baked chicken breasts? Iew. Dry! Or so I thought....

Last week I went over to my friend Ben's (B-B-B-Bennie and the JETS!) house to watch movies (we ended up playing Chuzzle for an hour, then spent the next 5 beating Peggle) and while I was there he made some chicken, in keeping with his Atkins diet. Side note - Ben has one of the nicest bodies of any man I've ever met. He's tall, well-proportioned, extremely muscular but still pulls off skinny jeans (adorably). Quite frankly, he's the most grown-up-looking manly man I know....and he wanted to make himself look like Christian Bale from The Machinist (i.e. he wanted his ribcage showing). Being the genius 21-year old college boy that he is, Bennie thought that the Atkins diet was the way to go. The problem with the Atkins diet is that, because he is an active young person and was consuming huge amounts of protein, he was putting on muscle weight. But I digress.... The point is, while I was with Ben he baked chicken breasts, seasoning them only with some garlic powder and thyme, and they were utterly delicious. I've never had such deliciously well-cooked, moist chicken in my life. Not even rotisserie chicken is as perfectly cooked as was the breast I had at Ben's.

Soooooo...... I decided I wanted to attempt to make this grilled chicken sandwich using baked chicken. SUCCESS!

For the chicken:

Place frozen chicken breasts (as many as will get eaten, plus one or two for leftovers) in a ziplock bag and douse in Italian salad dressing, a generous squeeze of lime juice, and some fresh crushed garlic. If your breasts aren't frozen, you can save a ziplock and place all ingredients directly into a glass casserole dish. Be sure the chicken is well-coated (you can bast it a few times during the cooking process). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes/until cooked. Or you can grill them. YUM!



--My breasts were slightly dry, but not as dry as I'd have expected them to be. I hadn't thawed them completely, and only baked three small breasts in a massive casserole dish. If you want perfectly baked chicken, make sure the breasts are thoroughly thawed out and that the dish is proportional to the amount of chicken - you want them to be touching, that way they stay juicy and yummy.

For the reduction syrup:
******DO NOT INHALE*****
********set up a fan to ventilate kitchen********
Place 1/2 a cup of balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan, heat on high and bring to a boil, whisking regularly. If you are using cheap balsamic vinegar, add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar. Once sugar has dissolved, reduce heat to medium and continue whisking. This process can take 10 minutes or so, depending on how thick you want your reduction. I wanted it thick, so I made sure that it LOOKED thick before I even took it off the heat. Keep in mind that due to the sugar content, it will thicken as it cools. Feel free to add a little olive oil or butter/margarine if you would like it slightly less sticky/sweet.
-- I have fairly-expensive super-sweet balsamic vinegar, so I should have skipped the brown sugar. I added a tablespoon of sweet cream salted butter, but after testing it I was afraid that I wouldn't like it, as I ultimately ended up with a tangy grape jelly syrup. My fears were put to rest as soon as I took the first bite...the flavor was so perfect I almost cried with delight.


Baguette toasted with olive oil and melted Mozzarella topped with thinly sliced Roma tomato, shredded chicken, grilled onions, reduction syrup, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cilantro. 


To assemble:
Since they are open-faced sandwiches, I assembled my sandwiches to make them structurally sound. I can't stand biting into an open-faced food product and having everything topple off. I also like my food to be visually pleasing, so I went ahead and made it look fancy.

Slice your bread* and brush/drizzle it lightly with olive oil. Toast it on 400 degrees for 3-4 minutes, then pull it out, sprinkle Mozzarella on it, then place back in the oven for about 1 minute (just enough to melt the cheese).
Top with the tomato slices, shredded chicken, and grilled onions. Once you've managed to spread the latter two evenly enough that they are relatively flat, drizzle the reduction syrup over the top. Grate a little (or a lot) of fresh Parmesan over the top (it will stay in place because it will stick to the syrup) and then add some cilantro. Although there is more than enough flavor (what with vinegar syrup, Italian dressing, and cilantro), feel free to use any seasonings you like. I went with freshly-ground sea salt.

** I normally eat this meal on Ciabatta, but couldn't find any so I went with the French bread. I think that toasted Ciabatta is much easier to eat, as each bite comes off without any sort of wiggly struggle or mouth-slicing hardness. However, any kind of bread (or even pastry) will work fine for this sandwich.

P.S. - The original recipe calls for pesto, and the other times I have made this sandwich I ate it with pesto as well. I am not a massive fan of pesto, and consequently forgot to buy some last night. This sandwich is better with pesto, though, so I highly recommend buying or making some pesto to go with it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone, a book on tape.

Links NSFW


If you are a fan of Harry Potter* and humor, and do not mind "sultry language," then boy do I have a treat for you. Dan Nealy, the genius behind this "historical" gem , recorded a humorous audio track which syncs up with the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone. I highly recommend the experience (though, if one is familiar with the film one does not necessarily need to watch it, and can instead play the audio track as "a book on tape").

* You actually don't have to be an HP fan. Garrett HATES Harry Potter, but laughed his bum off (to the point where he spent about a solid minute doubled over in seizures of guffaws) and then quoted from it all day.

P.S. I believe I have discovered the identity of my "secret admirer," and have removed that individual from my Facebook friends list. This individual is, actually, crazy.

P.P.S. If you are into period drama, I recommend you watch the 2006 version of Jane Eyre. I had never bothered watching it because I judged the actors by their appearances. Well, that's not entirely true. I'd been exposed to earlier adaptations of the story and thought it was the worst story ever published (and that the adaptations were so awful I was embarrassed to admit I'd seen them), and thus used an easy and obvious excuse not to watch the 2006 version: the actors had an ill-favored look about them which would make watching even worse than earlier versions (I got sucked into the 1983 version because of Timothy Dalton). Both lead actors were amazing, and there were some seriously steamy (but still Mommy-Daughter Date appropriate) scenes. Instantly one of my favorite costume dramas, I'd sooner watch it than Pride & Prejudice. :O

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I guess I just had it coming.

I was cooking dinner with my brother tonight, when I received a notification on my phone that I had a new email. It was from one Angeline Hoyer, subject "You :D" and here it is, copied/pasted unaltered:


angeline hoyer to me
show details 9:24 PM (26 minutes ago)
i'm just dropping you a little note to tell you a few things.

1. you're not that hot. stop taking pictures of yourself. in fact, i think your forehead looks downright weird
2. the reason you've never had a boyfriend is because you're weird. also- note point #1
3. you think you're really smart. to be honest, people like you are called 'know-it-alls' aka 'annoying'
4. nobody cares about your life
5. your facade of 'i'm so cool and happy and finally figured my life out' is totally see-through.
6. i bet you're a really annoying stoner



k, that's all! toodles, mate


I was crushed and shaken (and am still shaking). I have no idea who this individual is, where this person found me (must be from here), or what I did to cross this person to warrant such an email. Apparently, since I'm a "weird," "really annoying stoner" who wears a "facade" (intended to cover up my "downright weird" forehead, but which is "totally see-through" and thus fails utterly), so I guess I just had it coming.

I should be flattered that I'm "StarStudded" enough to receive hate mail. Angeline, fuck "You :D"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Life Goes On

So my week off of school went tolerably well. I start school again on Monday. I'm only taking one class (American History through film), which brother Garrett is also taking. I am looking forward to being in classes again - yes, even having 9 days off from classes is enough to send me through withdrawals.

Speaking of withdrawals, I've been suffering serious pangs now that my new mates are gone for the summer. Ben is here and there, so I will see him from time to time over the next few weeks, but Clayton won't get back until the middle of August, and Jer won't be back until classes start up again in September. In order to keep myself busy - and pay for school - I'm attempting to get a job. It makes it tough since my car is dead, but I'll make it happen.

My summer plans have all gone out the window, since I'm sans vehicle, but I think I will be able to go visit my mate Rian in Pendleton over Independence Day Weekend. Other than that I'll probably just be here in "the Burg" studying and wasting time with Garrett (and hopefully working part time). Once Jer and Ben and Clayton are back I will be barring and dancing and floating in rivers, singing, cooking, maybe road tripping. w00t!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Final.

I just got home from my last final of my (first) undergraduate career. I put that little sucker to bed.

Of course I had another study session with my mates last night. Our intentions were honorable: we showed up at the library at 6:00 for the scheduled study session with the rest of our class. I showed up with every intention of filling in my notes and getting my essays organized. Instead, the administrator of said study group decided not to make an appearance, so I spent about two hours with David, Ben, and Jer joking around (mostly making fun of another student in the class who is, by all means, an unfortunate human being) while we occasionally tried to focus. I finally suggested we go to the bar again, since we were clearly disrupting other students with our shenanigans. We spent several more hours at The Tav, and managed to jot down a few details about the ID terms. Bar kitchens shut down at 10 apparently, so by the time I was so desperately hungry I actually wanted to buy food we were forced to leave The Tav in search of sustenance.

At Ben's suggestion we ventured across town to Saks, (with me driving Jer's huge SUV and singing to NIN when I wasn't being crooned by Jeremy's singing along to country music or porn rap) a kick-ass 24-hour diner at a truck stop. I got a club sandwich (SO good, I was SO happy) and we spent another several hours joking around and generally not studying. As we were incapable of focusing even after acquiring our feed, we met up before our final this morning for a final "prep" session. You can do the math to figure out how that went. (Awesome!)

I wanted to walk out with Jer as usual, so after I finished my final I sat around doodling for a few minutes. I needed to use the loo, however, so I decided to just hand in my final and then wait for him on the couches. After a 5-second internal debate about whether or not I wanted to wait and then go to the bathroom, I trotted down to the second floor for a quick bathroom break. I returned to the third floor, where Jeremy joined me within two minutes. As we walked out of the building (lauding ourselves for having completed our degrees), me on the left, Jer on the right, he noticed that P (P from the last post) was lurking off to my left. Looking at me. Apparently as soon as I left the room after the final P immediately got up and handed his in. I was so glad that I'd decided to tinkle instead of holding it as I normally would have! When it gets to the point where other people are noticing - and are uncomfortable with - another person's behavior I definitely have cause for concern.

So I walk tomorrow, and I'm not really looking forward to it because I hate the stress of trying to coordinate everything (both with myself and with my family), and I don't want to look like a fool in front of everyone...... But it's an accomplishment that I think I'm allowed to be proud of, so I will make the most of it.

It seems like every hour of every day gives me more reasons to be happy about staying here. I'm having a blast and learning so much about life and about myself. I'm glad I live in a time and place where I can continue my education and not sell myself short as I nearly did. How fortunate am I that, after discovering "too late" what is important I discovered an alternate route in life that gave me a second chance?

Oh....and remember Owen? He got the letter I wrote him, wrote back, and added me on Facebook. Life is so bizarro.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

hair did, possibly death

Whenever I tell people I need to get my hair did they inevitably say "Why, it looks fine?" or "No, you don't, it looks really cute." First of all, I'm pretty sure they're lying their filthy guts right out. Second, if they aren't lying it's because I've spent a good 45 minutes shellacking my hair into something resembling a presentable coiffure, so they are incapable of actually seeing what my wig looks like in its natural state.

As you may recall, I whacked all of my hair off (all of it) on New Year's Eve. As you also may recall, I have not done anything else to it since then, with the exception of getting the very ends trimmed up a little bit a few weeks ago by my marmee. Because of it's overgrown state, this is the best I could do with my hair.

But, with some polishing up and a light dusting of this magic powder

my hair now looks like this






Tada! taDA! Tada forever! Now I'm all ready to graduate on Saturday. If I can only make it through finals.....

Now, onto something way the heck less awesome. Last year when I was living alone I met a guy who I will refer to as P. P was tall and awkward and quiet and shy, so being the once-shy-Mormon girl that I am, I made a point to always include him in conversations and say hello whenever I saw him. We'd discussed getting together and watching movies, and while I genuinely wanted to watch movies with him, I was so busy (18 upper division history credits, as you may recall) that I didn't have time to fit him into my schedule. After the quarter ended I didn't see him again, and though he called me up, I felt a little unsure about having him over. I lived alone, and whenever I was around him I got the feeling that he might have a crush on me - and not wanting to crush him, I decided it might be best if I did not spend time with him outside of class.
PRESENT DAY: This quarter I have one class with P. He sits in the corner opposite me. At the beginning of the quarter we crossed paths as I was leaving my classes and I therefore have a rough idea that his schedule is similar to mine, but that his class (on Tuesdays/Thursdays) begins quite a while after mine ends. Slowly I began to see him more and more, and one day as I was leaving class he was walking in front of me. I'd never noticed him walking my direction before, but figured he was going to a friend's house, or had parked in the lot near the stadium (which is about a block from my apartment). This continued, and I always kept my distance because, again, I was a little uncomfortable about him mistaking my genuinely caring and friendly nature for more than that.
One day, however, he stopped to put his sweatshirt on. I could tell by the way he was walking that he was aware that I was behind him, and figured he was using it as an excuse to stop and talk to me. Since he seems shy, etc, I assumed he was just too nervous to speak to me before or after class because I am usually talking to other students. I was my usual friendly self, and we walked about 1/4 of a mile to the intersection, where he went to the right and I continued onward toward my apartment. He's an intelligent, friendly guy, so it wasn't complete torture, though I was concerned that he might ask me if I wanted to watch movies with him. A few days later, he called me up and asked me if I'd like to study for our midterm together - a phone call I never returned.
I successfully managed to evade him for most of the quarter, though he always walked in front of me and I could, again, tell that he was aware that I was behind him. I also began to see him more and more on Tuesdays and Thursdays, though he never spoke to me because I was with my mate Jer. A few weeks ago he sat next to me on the chairs as we were all waiting for class to start (and interrupted the conversation I was having with Clayton and Jeremy), and I did my best to keep my responses brief and focus my attention on my mates. For some reason it made me really uncomfortable that he sat next to me, and even more uncomfortable when last Tuesday he stopped on the sidewalk, turned around, and waited for me to catch up to him. Again, I was just my friendly self, but I was not at all comfortable. My discomfort did not wane and my radars went off when, at the intersection where we'd parted ways before, he continued on with me toward my apartment.
"What are you doing?" I asked. "Aren't you supposed to go that way?" I gestured in another direction down the street.
"Just feel like going this way today."
"You're gonna get rained on!" I said, nodding toward the heavy, black rainclouds looming to our immediate left.
"It's okay, I'm from the West Side (meaning the rainy Seattle area)."
He continued to walk with me, and I tried to remain calm and friendly, but I intentionally did not hint that my apartment complex was coming up. I waited until we were literally at the entrance, and allowed him to walk a little farther ahead before I turned abruptly, said a cool "See ya!" and nearly ran across the parking lot to my unit.
I was angry at myself for being so weirded out by this. After all, I've always been on friendly terms with P, and have not had any problem the last few weeks when Jeremy has taken me home. Some days he and I would walk to his car and he'd drive me home, other days he'd walk me part way to my apartment and we'd part ways about halfway down the road so that he could walk to the parking lot to his car.
Last Wednesday we did just that. We walked on the side of the road opposite where I usually walk, and ahead (on my usual side) I noticed P walking back toward campus. I somewhat-jokingly told Jer that I thought that P was following me, that I'd seen him around a lot more than usual, and that he regularly pretended to have an excuse to stop and talk to me. I mentioned that P had even followed me to my apartment complex. Jer encouraged me to gesticulate wildly and pretend that he and I were having a very serious conversation so as to discourage P from following through with any intention of crossing the street to talk to me. I shared with Jer that I was a bit irritated and starting to grow concerned at this point. Why was P walking back toward campus? Jer and I were leaving our building about 15 minutes later than usual because we'd made plans with some friends to meet up for a study group. I told Jer that it looked like P was doubling back over my usual route in hopes of running into me. Although I then tried to calm myself and think reasonably (perhaps P forgot his sweatshirt in the building?), Jer took me seriously enough to walk with me a little farther than usual to make sure I was safe.
Thursday, Jer and I left class immediately after it was out, and though we were at first going to walk my route down the street, I noticed P again off to my right coming toward me, alerted Jer, and we both immediately veered the other direction so that we could walk to his car instead. I was mostly irritated because I was getting kind of sick of having to avoid P (who, while nice, seems pretty interested in me while I am not at all interested in even hanging out with him), and I again just laughed it off with Jer. I immediately had forgotten all about it until Friday afternoon when Katherine and I were walking home after her class and I began relaying to her my irritation and discomfort. I told her that I had chastised myself for being hypocritical - why was it okay for one friend to walk me home but not another? Katherine told me that we had "those feelings" for a reason and not to ignore them.
As soon as she said that I answered my own question. I felt uncomfortable walking with P because he was not my friend. He was not approaching me in class to say hello, we were not exiting the building together as buddies: he was waiting for me on an empty street, and accompanying me without encouragement to my apartment.

And then I realized: Oh my God, he is following me!

I realized that I actually knew where he lived: he'd told me last year he lived in on-campus housing, and earlier this quarter I had noticed him leaving the dorms when Chuck and Katherine and I were making our way back from the park one day, dorms which were located on the completely opposite side of campus. He's been going out of his way every day, an extra 2 miles at least. OF COURSE! All the pieces started to fall into place! At the beginning of the quarter when we had first crossed paths he had been coming from the direction perpendicular to where I was walking. How many days - this quarter and all last year - had he seen me walking down the street? I had even told him - roughly - where I lived, had talked about how I lived alone!

I relayed all of this to my siblings so that they'd be on the look out, so that they'd be prepared in case P showed up at the door. Garrett told me to start taking different ways home - but I had already kind of done that by going with Jeremy. And although I can leave the L&L building from a different door, there's ultimately only one way to get to my apartment complex - and he now knows where that is. I'm trying to stay calm and be rational: It could all be a coincidence; even though he's about 6'5" and twice my mass, unless he wants to just stab me out in the open, it would be pretty hard for him to kidnap me when he's on foot; maybe he really is just a nice guy who is too shy to approach me in public. But it's a lot of very specific coincidences. He could still drag me behind a bush or car and assault me, or follow me to my apartment and try to attack me here. He's not only talked to me in public, but interrupted my conversation with others in order to do so. I'm already hyper vigilant about this kind of situation to begin with, and having enough evidence to confirm my subconscious suspicions puts me on edge! If I run into him again I may have to confront him about it. "Don't you live on the other side of campus?" "Why are you walking this direction if it adds another 2 miles?" "Maybe you should try walking around campus instead." and if he doesn't take the hint maybe I'll be a little more direct: "If you walk this direction, please do not walk with me, it makes me uncomfortable."

Totally. Creepy.