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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


So some of you know that I work for a Russian travel agency. It is seriously my dream job -- I get to sit at home in my pj's and write stuff all. day. long. And I get paid REAL MONEY to do this, which is, you know, a nice perk to any job.

Monday morning, I woke up to my mom flipping through Yahoo's news. She called me to the computer to show me this article. And my heart dropped.

I did a post about it on the company blog. My job over the past six months has required me to research the crap out of Russia. I am well on my way to being a certified Russia expert (if they handed out certifications for such things) and even attempted to learn the language awhile back (further proving my destiny to be unilingual). I could tell you way too many details about Moscow, St. Petersburg, Uglich, Yaroslavl, Goritsy, Kizhi Island, Siberia, and the upcoming Sochi Olympics in 2014. I have spent a lot of time flipping through Google pictures of St Basil's and the Hermitage.

All this research has made me realize just how little most of us know about Russia. It's always been "that really big European-ish country that used to be communist, right?" and most people have no clue what charoite is. This is due in part to the craziness of an oppressive government a few years back, but thanks to a lot of non-crazy people, Russia is much more open now, which is why I have a job at all.

But now this attack. Attacks like this change a lot. Or tend to. After 9/11, people got very hesitant to visit NYC, as though the entire city became a ticking time bomb of destruction. Every terrorist attack turns the victim country into a giant, flashing warning light that scares everyone away. This, though, is what I am trying to encourage people not to do.

This country is incredible. Ever since I saw the cartoon movie Anastasia as a kid, I have had a special place in my heart for it. And it is awful to think people might miss out on getting to know Russia because of gutless fear-inducers.

I know most people who read my blog aren't world travelers, so my sum-up message isn't the same as it was on the post I did for the company blog. To you, I say simply: don't let events like this control you. So many people get corralled through life by fear and miss out on so much wonder. It's not worth it. Listening to fear isn't worth it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Go over here.



Editors will be fighting over her gorgeous romantic memoir. Seriously, it'll be on shelves in NO TIME.

CONGRATS, Sam!! Three cheers for an awesome start to 2011!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ask Jeeves

Anyone else remember that website? Back before Google ruled the world, there was that little butler guy who would so politely find answers to your burning questions. I kind of miss him.

(Sidenote: I used Google to look for pictures of Ask Jeeves. IRONY.)

Anyway, not talking about Jeeves today. Today I thought I'd open the floor to a Q&A round because, ya know, I like to talk about myself. And let's face it, I am so massively dripping with AWESOME that you like to listen. So throw me your most tantalizing, ridiculous, outrageous, unanswerable questions, and I will answer them. Or throw me some serious writing-or-life related questions, and I'll answer those too.

To kick things off, I'll do a trick I do with Puppy to get her excited about playing fetch. Because, believe it or not, regular fetch isn't exciting enough. My dog is a *teeny* bit spoiled.

Okay, here goes:

on your mark...

*waves toy*

get set...

*pauses toy overhead at which point Puppy freezes in a very dog-like fashion*


*throws toy and watches as Puppy and Bloggites tear after it*

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Psychic Told Me To*

*the lesser-said sister phrase to "The Devil Made Me Do It."

I went to a psychic on Thursday

OW! Who threw the holy water?? Don't you know how DANGEROUS that stuff is?


Oh. It doesn't burn you? Um. Well then...this is awkward.

Aside from telling me I stuff I already knew (THE MOMENT I sat down, the psychic's first words to me were "Honey, you have trust issues." To which I replied "ME?? A clearly desperate, directionless 21-yr-old has TRUST ISSUES?? Shut UP!" I don't think she appreciated my commentary.) (Now that I think about it, that might explain why my reading was so full of "Leave! Leave! FLEE!" type things. Hm.), the psychic was...interesting. My expectations were way too high to begin with -- suffice to say my friends and I have been planning to do this since last fall, when we got our fortunes read at a RenFest and were absolutely certain our lives would CHANGE FOREVER. And me, being on the cusp of a new life, was desperate for someone to tell me "This is what you should do. Step 1, 2, and 3, and you'll be happy. Promise."

So I sat down in the psychic's relaxing little haven of purple sparkly fabric and bubbling rock-water fountains, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed...

Until she started, you know, talking.

Then all I could think was "Um...I'm going to do what in the next two years? With -- who? And I'm going to have money? Oh, okay, I like that. But I'm going to do what in three years? WHAT??"

Yeah, just lots of...WHAT??

And while my friends were very happy with their readings and raced home to set their Universe-instructed plans into motion, I just...didn't. According to the psychic, "the Universe" has set forth this plan for me: I will be a nomad-type-person for the next two years, moving all the time and never having a "constant person" in my life (she actually told me that lots -- yes, LOTS -- of men will come into my life, but I should let them pass over me like water. Not sure what to think about that.), and after those two years I will "nest" somewhere and go to grad school and meet someone and get married.

Firstly, I am not a nomad. I have way too many seasonal allergies to live outside in an animal-hide hut (psychic humor).

Secondly, GRAD SCHOOL?? Are you JOKING, Universe? Do you not remember how much I LOATHED LOATHED LOATHED AND DESPISED the sheer uselessness that was my UNDERGRAD DEGREE?? And how I now have a $15,000 loan that I took out to fund the first YEAR and a HALF of said adventure?? And you think I'm going to go to GRAD SCHOOL??

Thirdly, this all felt very, very familiar. My friends were gabbing excitedly about their adventures while I couldn't help but flash back to a time when I was in a similar situation. Listening to people tell me what a Higher Power had planned for me. And then hating myself, my very being, when I couldn't live up to/fulfill said Higher Power's divine plan.

Before we got to the psychic, my friends and I were all so lost, so terrified of our many opportunities and the vast expanse of possibility. What were we going to DO with it all?? What could WE, mere mortals, expect to form with all this potential??

Nothing. We couldn't do anything. I couldn't do anything. What if I made the wrong decision? What if it all collapsed around me and I had no one to blame but myself? That's the biggest reason, isn't it. If some Higher Power tells us what to do, at least we have them to say "They told me to! I didn't want to!"

But do you notice how often things that "Higher Powers" tell us to do work out? Because we commit to them with our whole being. We throw every part of ourselves into them because they're "destined" and "divine." We blindly trust and believe and KNOW that they will work out.

But when we make decisions on our own, no Higher Power instructing us, well, we're just human. And humans screw up. ie: this will get screwed up too.

The psychic was right. I do have trust issues. But they extend far beyond the usual "boys suck" issues. I don't trust myself to make my own life decisions. I need some Higher Power to sit back and say "You're going to do XYZ," even if I don't WANT to do XYZ (small sidenote: I realize sometimes people SHOULD be forced to do what they don't want to do. There's a distinction to be made between the two types of "don't want to"). I let the Christian majority tell me God wanted me to be a missionary/witness/leader even though I HATED doing all of those up-front things. For years I threw myself into those things because it was SUPPOSED TO WORK OUT. God said so.

Even though I've spent my entire life asking various divinities what they want for me, I've been too afraid to ask one simple question: What do I want? Like that question might strike me dead. How DARE I have a plan. How dare a little mere mortal WANT anything. How silly.

But what do I want? I want to find a home somewhere. I want to get married. I want to NEST, goddammit, not be a nomad. I'm not nearly artsy enough to be nomadic -- nomads are those freespirits who wander around with a backpack full of granola oat bars. And I'm ALLERGIC to oats.

So even though the psychic was a ridiculously nice old lady, I have to politely tell the Universe to go bleep itself. Because, honestly, I'm tired of trying to live up to something else's expectations of me. I'm going to try this weird new thing called doing what I want to do. Whatever the hell that is.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New You

I made a decision, remember? 2011 is going to be a GOOD year. I'm not giving it any other choice. It will be good and amazing and shiny and everything 2010 and 2008 weren't. It will be mine.

Ever since I graduated in November, I've been paralyzed. Suddenly I didn't have a buffer anymore -- this was IT. The beginning of my beginning. No more school, no more waiting -- it was time to do that big, scary thing everyone's always talking about and start a LIFE somewhere. But ever since college destroyed all of my childhood hopes and dreams (thanks a lot, American Education System), I've avoided making any cut-and-dry decisions about my future for fear of -- everything. I always assumed that once I graduated everything would magically fall into place, just like I assumed that once I got into college everything would magically fall into place.

I'm starting to see a pattern in my life. Apparently you can't WAIT for things to happen. Who knew, right? This shouldn't be news to me. I blame, once again, my dangerous dependence on religion growing up. Someday I will make a psychoanalyst VERY happy.

So the past month I spent flipflopping between being crazy spontaneous in one of two ways or staying put until I figured stuff out. Staying put has become increasingly less of an option -- I've said since high school that this city kills your soul. Why I expected it to change when I moved home for college, I don't know. But it does kill your soul until you reach a point where you think it'd be okay to live in some scummy apartment next to a bunch of wailing babies and creepy old men while your greatest joy is going to Buffalo Wild Wings every Friday night. Throw in your own baby or two, and you've got the makings of every. single. person. in this city who stayed here after graduation. Throw in a lot of backstabbing, sabotaging, and high-school like drama, and you've REALLY got the makings of every single person who stayed.

For a moment...I wanted that? I heard myself admit to that being an okay option for me tonight, and it made me go -- damn. What happened to me?

Fear. Fear happened to me. Completely and utterly paralyzed me in limbo, the land of the Gray Area, the place I promised myself I'd never, ever be. I was okay with it. I accepted being, for a moment, NOTHING, being undefined and hovering and waiting for SOMEONE ELSE to define me.

This girl wouldn't have been okay with that. This girl took a leap of faith and landed an amazing job. This girl just sounded awesomely optimistic.

But staying in this place of Gray Area Limbo has turned me into someone who accepts the prospect of a dead-end city and social life as enough. Someone who is content with an "exciting weekend" of hanging at questionable bars while a bunch of 40 yr olds drink so much their lives don't seem sad.

I'm not who I want to be. And I can't pretend staying here will make me who I want to be. I want to be the girl I linked to up above. I want to be PASSIONATE and OPTIMISTIC and FIERY. I want to be a WRITER again.

So I decided today. I made a decision. Today. To be that person, and to find a place that will help me foster ME back into that person. And it'll be scary and it'll be hard and I might hate it -- but I hate me here. And saving me is worth the risk, I guess.