There's got to be a

My dusty, happy little Buddha


Puppy lovin'

This is Maya.

Maya is a 1-year-old Goldendoodle. I ran into her and her owner at the park a while back and I couldn't resist taking pictures of her cause um, she's ridiculously cute.

"Hey Maya! C'mere!"

"Whoa, easy girl."

"What a good girl, Maya!"

She's pretty much a spazz.

*These pictures were taken before I got my new fun camera. So they are tinged bluish for some inexplicable reason. But they are adorable nonetheless. (Click on the pictures to see the more colorful, higher-quality views.)

These pictures make me miss a certain pupster of my own...

...and a crazy little birdie, as well.



So Friday morning, about 7:15 a.m., I stumbled out of bed and into the bathroom to take a shower. I turned on the water, and picked up my phone to play Bejeweled while I waited for the water to heat up.

You guys know what Bejeweled is, right? It's the game that looks like this:

Now, the fact that I played Bejeweled while waiting for the shower water to heat up is problematic for two reasons: 1) given my propensity for dropping my phones in liquid, this had BAD IDEA written written all over it, and 2) I'm a bit of a game addict, and I can't just stop at one game. I have.to.keep.beating.my.score.

But I started playing one game, and it was going really well.

And it kept going.

And going.

Normally, I "die" (or run out of moves) within about a minute. But this game? On this morning, when I had to be at work by 9? That game went ON AND ON AND ON.

It got to the point where I was standing there 10 minutes later still playing the same game (don't worry, I'd turned off the water so it wasn't being wasted). But I could.not.make.myself.turn.the.damn.game.off.

Finally, after about 20 minutes of playing (yeah, I have a problem. I recognize that) I realized that I should probably get in the shower. So I paused the game, hoping my phone wouldn't end the game itself while I was showering (because my phone has a mind of its own that is out to destroy me when I'm doing really well at Bejeweled).

Swear to goodness: I think that was the fastest shower I've ever had. I flew in and out to get back to Bejeweled. I'm sure if I could have seen myself, sopping wet in a towel on my bed playing Bejeweled early in the morning, I would have thrown stale Cheetos at my pathetic self. But at that moment I was so engrossed in Bejeweled that I thought of nothing else.

For thirty more minutes.

My average Bejeweled score is about 3,000.

That morning, I passed 10,000.

I passed 20,000.

I passed 30,000.

I was a flying Bejeweled beast! I was a game-playing machine! Surely the makers of Bejeweled would know of this mind-blowing scorage and swoop down and award me prizes fit for the Queen of Bejeweled!

But then, I ran out of moves.

And my game flashed a sad little "game over" sign at me.

And I sat there, pretty much dry at that point but with my hair still dripping wet, fingers about worn to the bone, exhausted.

And then I realized that I had approximately three-and-a-half minutes to get dressed, dry my hair, put on makeup, oh, and GET TO WORK.

But not before I took a picture of my valiant efforts first:


Fill in the _____

I got this from Stephany. And since it's short and requires little brain power (and I don't have enough of that brain power anyway), I thought I'd participate.

It’s not fall until the leaves change. I love that so, so, so much. And up north where I go to school, it's especially beautiful. And I really don't feel like it's fall until I have a caramel apple cider from Starbucks. Mmmmmmm.

Kelly Preston’s character in the movie For Love of the Game expresses her need to escape NYC because “Summer’s almost over, and I feel like I missed it.” What do you need to do in the waning days of summer for it to feel complete? This is...random. Well, for me, summer's not complete unless I've had my toes in the hot sand. We go visit my dad's family up in Michigan and they have a cottage on a sweet little beach. It makes me ridiculously happy.

The person I know is wrong for me but about whom I frequently think after a break-up is...y'all ain't getting that information out of me.

The US Tennis Open, one of four Grand Slam events in that sport, is currently in the quarterfinal round. If you could only attend one major sporting event what would it be?The World Series. Or maybe men's beach volleyball. Giggle.

Assuming that you write an anonymous or partially anonymous blog, by what non-physically identifying characteristics might you be identified in a bar? I'm the anti-social one in the corner playing Tetris on my phone. Or Bejeweled. I alternate to keep things fresh.

Most blogs cover some sort of niche – personal, political, dating, culinary, etc. What topic, if any, would you like to address on your blog but doesn’t fit into your niche? I'm really, really passionate about social politics. I've posted a bit about it in the past, but not much (though some would argue too much).

If you could manipulate the time space continuum and give as many as three pieces of advice to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give and to what age of you? Ages 9-18: That paper/test/project you're freaking out about? YOU WON'T REMEMBER THAT YOU GOT A "B" INSTEAD OF AN "A." Take a chill pill. Age 16: Do not. start. drinking. coffee. You will get addicted. And your teeth will get yellow. Age 20: Freaking pay attention to (notsayinghere).

How high are your walls? Who was the last person to scale them? What tools should would-be climbers have on their belt? Are we talking literal walls? Cause I'm in my dorm room and I think they're 8 feet. Regardless, they're a lot taller than I am. That's all I know.

If we're talking figurative...that'll require a lot of brain power. And I have a case study to read and a paper to write. But I'll say this: bring vodka and microwave popcorn if you're gonna scale my walls (dear LORD how euphemistic does that sound?!?).

The sexiest thing anyone can say to you (or has said to you) is...my parents read this. And if you're gonna get me to say it, you'll have to bust out the vodka and popcorn first.


Dorm room details

I got a (temporary) new camera in the mail the other day and I have been having SO MUCH FUN playing with its Macro settings :)

P.S. Did I tell you my missing box arrived? It did!!!! Here are a few of the things that were in it that I now have in my dorm room:

(P.P.S. For some reason, when the pictures get on my blog they're a bit duller and fuzzier than the original file, but if you click on the pictures to see them larger they're the way they're supposed to be.)


Connection failure

I love this school. You all know that by now. Love. this. school.

Hate this school's internet capabilities.

Like seriously. It's almost like clockwork: every 3-5 minutes around the clock the internet will go out, just unexpectedly. And it'll be down for a minute or two and then be back up again.

Just like that.

It makes it seriously hard to do things like blog, check Twitter, perhaps do some homework, and do the really important things like catch up on episodes of Mad Men.

How am I supposed to get through the week if I can't get my Sunday night dose of Don Draper? I mean, really. That's just unreasonable, people.

In other news, I'm back on the college eating system again. This is also not good. Friday night the dining hall served the most delicious Boston creme pie ever. EVER. I ate two pieces of it and I am not ashamed to say that. That's how good it was.

Of course, I paid for it later when all I could do was lie on the couch, moan, and question my intelligence. (They were big pieces. And I am a short girl. When I eat a big meal, the only place the food can go is outward in my general stomach vicinity. I was rawkin' the tummy pooch-over-the-jeans look that night.)

Oh, and then there was last night, after I made and ate almost an entire bag of microwavable popcorn and chased that with about 27 malted milk balls. Good lord in heaven: I was on the sugar high of all sugar highs. I think I bounced for about 30 minutes straight. And then collapsed on the couch.

But really, I *am* trying to eat at least kind of healthily. I ate a banana yesterday (among other things). I also put frozen yogurt on top of my brownie last night instead of soft serve. And I let some of the butter drip off my whole wheat bagel before I ate it this morning. It's the little things.

All I'm sayin' is: if I come home in December and they have to roll me through the door, so be it. A bagel a day keeps the homesick at bay.


Girls night out

(minus one girl, who had already left)
In the subway, waiting to get back to DreamSchool. Post-alfresco dinner at a sweet cafe in a town nearby where we were serenaded by an up-and-coming guitarist.

Happy Saturday.

I am so lucky.


I'm madly in love

I'm so happy, oh you guys: if only you guys could be as happy as I am at this moment.

(Here's how: take a piece of chocolate fudge cake from a world-famous bakery, and eat it with potato chips as a spoon. That'll help right there.)

But really, I couldn't be happier to be here. My friends are amazing (and my suite is awesome!!!), I love my classes, I'm head over heels for one of my professors*, work is so fun: honestly, this is the best decision I could have made, to come back here. I'm so, so grateful that my parents and sister are sacrificing (financially) so much so that I can be.

*he's a tiny old Greek guy. Seriously, he makes my day. I want him as a grandfather. Or best friend. I also would like to dress him up with a hat and scarf and take him for a walk.

I'm trying not to let any second go by wasted. Each night as we walk, the beauty of this city just astounds me. Seriously. Every. single. night. I am taken aback by the lights, the excitement, the everything. I really wish I could bottle this up and give some to each and every single one of you.

(Hmmm: if I figure out how to do that, I could sell it and make millions. Mom and dad, I've found my new career path.)

I'm busy, but not too busy. Everything is just so good. (I'm hesitant to post this, though, because I don't want to jinx myself.)

I really don't know how I got to be so lucky. Because I am. I am so lucky.


Year two begins

I am here, I am settled, and I'm so happy. I love this place and I love this school!

I had my first class today--it's a class toward my major, and the professor is really cool. He's written 5 books and contributes to NPR, which makes him a pretty cool cat in my book. I've spent a lot of time catching up with my friends and just enjoying being back up in this gorgeous, exciting city again.

This year I'm living in a suite on campus. I'm in it with my 5 closest girlfriends (including my two roommates from last year), and we each have our own little room and share a kitchenette, a bathroom, and a living room. It's really, REALLY nice!

I attempted to take a few pictures of my little room because I heart it :) Please excuse the poor picture quality--some pictures are good, some pictures are bad. My camera is seriously on its last legs. Like seriously.

Here's my door:

Here's looking in my room from the hallway. And no, I didn't really clean up before I took these pictures. But I did make my bed this morning! (HAHAHA--we'll see how long that lasts!)

My armoire, bookshelf (that I just bought today--lugging that bad boy back on the subway was fun, let me tell you), and my happy wall of pictures. If you look up at the top right, that's the picture that Sam drew for me before I left. Below it to the left is the one Ben did :)

Here's my view. I overlook other students' rooms (and, um, I've already seen some things I'd rather not have. People need to remember to close their blinds, is all I'm sayin'), but if you look down on the ground there's a great pizza place.

My boring back wall--I need to get some more pictures and stuff to put up there because it's very plain and hi, I like color.

My desk. It's really plain too. A box I shipped up with a bunch of fun little knick-knacks got lost (!!!) and so my desk is all sad and lonely. The picture propped up on the back was painted by an elephant in Thailand. True story.

There you have it, my little room. I really like it. The only problem is with my bed up against the window, I wake up freezing in the morning--it's. already. cold. here.


But *happy sigh* I'm back!



While you're reading this, I'm most likely on an airplane. Or pathetically dragging my two heavy suitcases, laptop bag, and purse on the subway. Or unpacking box after box. Or something.

Point is, by the time you read this, I'll be at DreamSchool (or at least en route).


I can't believe it, either.

I really am excited about this year. I still can't believe how much easier college is than high school was. Good lord in heaven, it's SO much easier than high school.

In high school I was so sleep deprived that I'm amazed I was able to function, let alone graduate having passed all of my classes. Really: a high schooler's life is rough. For example, I was up between 5:30-6 a.m., left the house by 7 a.m., had school (7 different classes--that's a lot to think about/digest/learn/work on in one day, especially in 45-minute bursts) until 3:30ish, then either had softball practice or babysitting (or on some days, softball practice and THEN babysitting) and then finally got home.

During the day I was so tired I could hardly focus. I'd run to my car to power-nap for 20 minutes during lunch or my study hall. I chugged caffeine every morning. Every day (and I'm ashamed to admit this), I'd fall asleep in my econ class. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon, and I just couldn't keep my eyes open. I'd power-nap in class for about 5 minutes and that'd keep me up for the rest of the school day.

After such an intensely busy/focused day, the last thing you want to/can do is homework. Honestly, it took me a solid hour or more of decompressing by reading, wasting time online, talking to people, etc., to calm my brain down. Only then could I start the hours of homework that lay ahead of me.

So I'm very glad I'm not a high schooler anymore. And that a few days a week, I can sleep in past 7 a.m. (probably for the last time in my life).

I'm so ridiculously lucky. Can't wait to be back!!!


Ten things

Stephany tagged me for a 10 things meme, and while I love doing stuff like this, I can't remember what I've said and what I haven't said in memes past. So bear with me.

(Or is it bare with me? Honestly--I can *never* remember.)

1. When I was a lot younger (think 5 or 6), I would argue with my sister and our friend Lauren about what we were going to be when we grew up. For some reason, in our minds, only ONE of us could be a doctor, only ONE of us could be a nurse, and then the other was just left out.

2. My sister and I also argued over who would name their daughter Lily Rose. We thought that was the most perfect name. (It's not on either of our baby name lists anymore though.)

3. My name means "thinking of the ocean" in Greek. I absolutely love, love, love that. And I'm a pisces, so my name especially fits :)

4. I'm seriously obsessed with names. My baby names list has a lot of look-at-me-like-I'm-crazy names, and also some family names. I had a great-grandfather named Zolton (Hungarian side o' the family). That name's not on my list, but I still think it kicks a lot of derriere.

5. I'm ridiculously proud of how quickly I can change a diaper.

6. A few summers back, I interned at an advertising agency. While I was at work one day, somebody in the parking lot ripped all the political bumper stickers off of my car. I felt weirdly violated.

7. My favorite thing about me is my boobs. Really--I love 'em, drama and all. In fact, I'm hesitant to lose more weight because I don't want to lose my boobs.

8. I've recently become obsessed with birds and owls--paintings, prints, figurines, etc. I don't know why. I also wish I could afford to buy all of the cute birdie stuff on Etsy that I've found, but: college, I think, is more important.

9. For some reason, I feel I can be far more candid (and share much more information) on Twitter than on my blog. I think it's because my tweets are locked (a.k.a., private, unless I've approved you to see them). And I have this weird attitude that my blog has to be all sunshine and roses a lot of the time. I should get past that.

10. I used to NOT like dogs until we got pupster Max. I was actually dead-set against getting a dog because they were smelly, noisy, and messy. He FO SHIZZLE proved me wrong and I do believe we have the best dog EVER. (Oh! And if you want to see some ridiculously adorable puppies, go here: PUPPEHS. Note: they do use the f-bomb on the site, so semi-NSFW.)

Hopefully I haven't used any of those yet!


Mischievous sisters

This is what happens when you leave two sisters, one legally an adult and the other soclosebutnotquite, alone on a Saturday night.*

*photos taken by mah sistah.

We peel garlic.
We chop tomatoes.
We take more photos of us chopping tomatoes.
We have epic fails involving me dropping massive quantities of tomato guts all over the counter, dishwasher, floor, and myself.
We put the garlic in a pile. And take pictures of it.
We pretend we're professional chefs and put our ingredients in little bowls.
We add cashews into our tomato/tomato paste/water mixture because we're creative like that. And the recipe told us to.
We put the garlic into a heart shape. And take a picture of it.
We love fresh basil so much we take a picture of it too.
We exercise our hands. And crush garlic at the same time.
Mmmmm...freshly crushed garlic.
Oh look! We made a sort-of sauce!
We chop the fresh basil. And bend our noses down to smell it frequently.
We decide to use 2 lbs of pasta. This is a mistake, because it's so much pasta we can't eat it all, even days later, before it goes bad.
"A watched pot never boils." Oh yes it does. We watched this one, and it boiled.
We like garlic, so we put a lot of it in our olive oil to sautee.
A lot of garlic.
We're also more than obsessed with our puppy dog, so we take pictures of him too. He's looking up at me, front paw raised, tail wagging, and saying, "FEED ME."
Look at that smile. And his tail going 90 miles an hour.
We dump our tomato/tomato paste/water/cashew mixture in with our olive oil/LOTS OF GARLIC sautee. And we dip our fingers in to taste it. Don't worry, we washed them beforehand. (We also drip a little bit of sauce on the stove. Oops.)
We hold our faces close to the steam as we drain the pasta to open our pores. Not only are we making pasta, but we're opening our pores.
We fog up the camera lens, we get so close.
Then we dump everything together. It looks a bit like vomit, but smells heavenly.
Because we are fancy-fine, we add fresh basil as a garnish before we take our pasta pictures. Post-pictures, we feed the basil to our bird. She's happy.
While we clean up (because YES we did!), we have another epic fail. Well, I do. I'm slightly clumsy.
Shhhh. I just put it back in the bowl. No biggie, right?
After we do all of this, we then make incredibly long blog posts about our adventures.

Mmmmm. Pasta.


7 layer bars

Because it was asked for, here's my 7 layer bar recipe :)

1 1/2 (generous) cups of graham cracker crumbs--I use Nabisco Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 stick butter
1 can of sweetened condensed milk--I use Eagle Brand
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup finely-chopped pecans
2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips--I use Nestle, because the fancy brands of chocolate chips make the bars too rich, in my opinion :)

Get a 13x9 pan (ungreased). If you're using a glass pan, preheat the oven to 325. If otherwise, preheat to 350.

Microwave the stick of butter for 30 seconds, or until mostly melted. Combine in pan with the graham cracker crumbs. Use your hands to mix it together really well, and then pat it down on the bottom of the pan. It'll look like you don't have enough to cover the whole pan--you will. It'll be a really thin layer, and really crumbly.

Pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk evenly over the graham cracker crumbs.

Sprinkle 1 cup (save the other 1/3 for later) of coconut evenly over the sweetened condensed milk.

Sprinkle the finely chopped (seriously, finely chopped!) pecans evenly on top of the coconut.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly on top of the pecans. Yeah, it's a lot of chocolate chips :)

Finally, sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of coconut on top of the chocolate. It won't be enough to cover the entire pan, don't worry--just use it sparingly on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the coconut on top starts turning light brown (you don't want it to burn). The chocolate chips won't be fully melted, don't worry. Remove from oven, let cool, and dig in!


Boobie update

Before I get into the deets, here's the short story: everything is okay.

Okay: so I got to my ultrasound appointment around 7:10 a.m. (how early did I have to wake up to be there then? That would be 5:15. Yawn.) and signed half a million forms. I was so sleepy that I even misspelled MY OWN NAME while writing my signature. I KNOW.

They took me back, and I changed into one of those flimsy waist-up hospital shirts, and there were four ties on it and I couldn't figure them out at 7:30 a.m., so I just left them untied. And clutched the shirt closed and prayed my boobies weren't going to try to escape.

At 7:40, they took me back, had me lie on my right side (it's my left breast), and squirted me up with gel. It was warm, which I wasn't expecting, but I was relieved since the rest of the office was a frickin' freezer! The ultrasound gal did a very thorough job and spent about 10 minutes looking all around.

When she was done, she told me she didn't think she had seen anything suspicious, but she was going to run the pictures by the radiologist just to be sure. About 10 minutes later, she came back and said they thought all was well--just looked like normal dense breast tissue to them.

While waiting for the breast surgeon's office to open, I got a frappucino. Lord have mercy, I haven't had one of those in FOREVER. During my junior year of high school I relied on a cup of coffee every morning to keep me awake, but I haven't drunk much coffee since then--and good lord, that frappucino had me hopping. I was bouncing off the walls in the waiting room.

Next came the breast surgeon. She came in, felt me up, and the told me that yeah, there's a new lump there. She definitely felt it, but she thought it was okay as well. She did tell me to keep an eye on it, and I'll follow up with her (again) when I come home for Christmas break.

So: all is well. Thank you so much for all your well-wishes, tweets, and emails. And to my left boob: PUH-LEAZE stop causing drama.


The Left Boob Chronicles, Part VI?

Hopefully this will be a very, very short chapter in the left boob saga. (If you're new to my blog, here's the beginning of the saga.)

Back story: for the past few weeks, I've been feeling increased discomfort in my left breast, and some weird sensations that are hard to describe, and even pain at one particular spot during self-exams.

(Age is on my side here, because the chances of someone my age having breast cancer or any other significant breast issues is small. But my maternal grandmother did have breast cancer before she was 50, which raises warning flags in the eyes of doctors.)

I called my gynecologist, got the first available appointment, and went to see her today. She found a new lump that I hadn't found, and expressed some concern over it. She seemed a bit flustered at this point, which worried me a bit--but she could have just been busy. Anyway, she went out in the hallway to call the breast surgeon, who I saw several months back to do my breast lump biopsy, to do a brief consultation.

When she came back in, she told me she wanted me to get another breast ultrasound and then to go from there to see the breast surgeon for a consult. I called the ultrasound place and they've worked me in for tomorrow morning at 7:40 (I have to get there at 7:10 a.m.).

Surprisingly, I'm still not worried about anything. I know age is on my side, and the chances of it being anything are so, so small. Still it's a bit stressful that this is happening 9 (NINE) (!!!) days before I move back up to school.

Oh, and further proof that I have the best employers ever: these appointments have disrupted my work schedule twice now and it may cut into tomorrow's hours, and still, Jen has been nothing but the best about everything. Thank you, Jen!!!

Two years

Two years ago today, I started my blog.

Honestly, I didn't think I'd keep it longer than 6 weeks or so. I'm thoroughly impressed that I've kept it up for TWO years. Sometimes I have to force myself to write every few days, other times I have more than enough to say. But I'm loving having these past two years journaled for me to look back on.

This leads me to what was going on a year ago, today. But first, I have to get mushy: to each and every one of you reading, thank you. Your comments, your emails, your tweets, and even just the number of you who stop by according to my stat counter has buoyed my spirits and I appreciate you all so much. So THANK YOU.

But, a year ago today: I was newly deposited at DreamSchool, in a new, large city almost 2,000 miles from home, and just about now I was discovering that I loved it. I've spent the past few days rereading what I wrote back then, and I'm so grateful to have those memories written down.

My goodness. I'm getting all sentimental. Pass the kleenex, k?

As I prepare to depart once more for DreamSchool, leaving behind the best nanny family in the ENTIRE world (and cringing thinking about how much bigger Coco will be when I come home for Christmas), leaving behind my own family, and having survived, well, something (there I go, being all cryptic again. I know it's annoying. I'm sorry), I'm sad but excited.

All this to say: wow. 2 years. And here's the part where I can't find anything else to say without going off on a major tangent, but I need some how to end the post, and so I cheesily raise my (imaginary) glass and say,

Here's to two more!

Or something.


Wish them well

If you could, please keep my friend Niobe, her surrogate Trish, and A&B in your thoughts and, if you feel so inclined, prayers.