Perpetually Unfinished
Sunday, September 28, 2003
 
There are things that should be written about that haven't been yet, like classes and apartment living and baseball and the REM concert and politics and being a senior and The Future. If I say They will be, eventually (and they will be, eventually) does that help?

I'm tired. That keeps happening at the end of the day.
 
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Tuesday, September 23, 2003
 
Today's positive: Went to the PARC barbecue this evening, said hi to old PARCers and heard good things about the freshmen, had a delicious s'more.

Today's negative: Phone did not get hooked up, for no apparent reason. Because of this, internet did not get set up, because apparently they call first and if you don't answer, they don't show. No internet until Thursday. (Although I complained sufficiently that Comcast is waiving one of our installation fees, so that's a plus.) All three of us are currently at Norris getting our fill of internet access. Bleh.

Classes tomorrow already?!??!
 
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Monday, September 22, 2003
 
New apartment here at 2026 Maple. Yay. After tremendous effort, it is actually clean. My room is now mostly unpacked and arranged, I have groceries which are put away, I just got a cell phone, and we're using the cable modem that the subletters left until we get our own service Tuesday. This place is starting to feel like home.

I had a good weekend. The worst of the mono seems to have passed, and it was really nice to have my dad here for a couple days. Now it's time to start thinking about everything that needs to get done tomorrow and Tuesday prior to classes starting up again...
 
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Thursday, September 18, 2003
 
All flights have stopped out of DC. United flights are currently scheduled to begin again at 11 AM tomorrow. My dad's flight here from DC leaves at noon tomorrow. Fingers crossed that United knows what they're talking about with the timing. In the meantime, hopefully both my parents had a relaxing day together home from work, waiting for the rain and wind to pick up. The DC area strikes me as a bit paranoid, but hey, if it keeps my parents safe I won't complain.

Law enforcement officials said they could not force people to abandon their homes, but they issued the starkest possible warnings to frighten them into doing so. In the coastal resort of Virginia Beach, the police chief urged those staying behind to write their names on their forearms so authorities could identify their bodies and notify their next of kin.

Okay, yes, that's practical. But it's also really creepy.
 
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Tuesday, September 16, 2003
 
I'm back in Evanston. And I have mono.

This means that, basically, I sleep a lot, eat very small amounts and spend at least a half-hour beforehand figuring out what's appetizing and at least somewhat nutritious, drink water non-stop (and subsequently pee constantly), and when I'm up, worry about being the klutz I am and bumping into a random object and rupturing my spleen. Fun and exciting, really.

It's kind of ridiculous how hard it is to accomplish a short and simple list of things to do in a day, as evidenced by the fact that I've had "post new blog entry" on my to-do list every day since Thursday, and it's only today that I manage before collapsing into exhausted sleep to stick up a short entry, devoid of all the fascinating stories about me sitting on my ass in grocery store aisles pretending that I just want a really good look at what's on the bottom shelf, or the damn Searle nurse who pricked me far more than necessary.

In part it's somewhat nice to have an excuse to be lying around doing nothing; on the other hand, it's kind of annoying not to have the choice. I was kind of proud of my self-discipline this summer, where I resolved to do the dishes every night before I went to bed, and succeeded at least 90% of the time (it's true! you can ask my roommate!), but now I've just kept filling up the sink since I got here. And of course, exercising every other day is out of the question at the moment. I should be able to get more work-study done from bed even when I'm feeling icky, but somehow it doesn't happen, so maybe I need to work on pulling my work-ethic out from under the mono excuse. We'll see.

Hopefully this doesn't turn into Whining and Complaining Central over the next couple weeks, and I can find more interesting and pleasant things to talk about. I plan on it. I have things to be thankful about, like the fact that classes don't start for more than a week, or that my throat is not currently torturing me, although it has become rather annoying. But, y'know:

It's my blog
And I can whine if I want to
Whine if I want to
Whine if I want to
You would whine too, if it happened to you!

 
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Sunday, September 07, 2003
 
I'm hitting the road tomorrow-- catching a bus to Pittsburgh to visit my friend Meredith for a few days, then taking another bus from there to Chicago on Thursday. And in preparation for this, I've somehow managed an extraordinarly productive day, despite the fact that 5+ hours of said day was spent traveling back and forth from, and watching, an excellent Orioles game at Camden Yards.

Not only did I get all my packing done, and fit most of what I need to bring into the amount of luggage I can maneuver (although my baking pans will have to journey by mail, it seems), but I also managed to sort through several million of my mom's recipes. Now, granted, I started that task previously (which led to, among other things, last night's souffle-making attempt in which the result of my mom's and my combined effort was a "sort of" success), but there was much left to do. And while there are a fair number of recipe cards which my mom's just letting me physically take, there are many more cards, plus all the recipes I wanted from her cookbooks, that have had to be laboriously copied over. Because it seems wisest, I have been doing this on the computer, and now have a lengthy text document full of recipes.

As I observe my selections, I can't help but notice that a disproportionate number of the recipes happen to be for desserts, because there's something about dessert recipes that make my heart (or my stomach!) leap with the conviction that I'm surely going to want to eat whatever the dessert is enough to go through with the making of it. I just need to face the fact that making my own desserts will take more time, effort, and money than just buying dollar cookies or a half-gallon of ice cream for desserts, and so if/when I choose to do so, I'll be treating myself to the fun of making, eating, and sharing.

I have found a fair number of intriguing recipes (as well as a couple of familiar ones) for entrees, too, which seem like they might be good additions to "the usual" on nights when I'm up for spending more than 10 minutes making dinner. I have this image of myself picking out dinners with lengthy preparation times in order to put off starting homework, although that may very well translate into being too lazy to work that hard and instead finding ways to procrastinate that involve sitting on a couch, so we'll have to wait and see.

Au revoir; in all likelihood, the next time I post it'll be from Evanston.
 
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Friday, September 05, 2003
 
Story of my day:

Noon: I wake up groggily and slowly to the sound of the alarm clock. I check e-mail and dawdle. I start several tasks at once and get about five seconds into each, in a wonderful display of unproductivity. By the time I prepare lunch plus food to take with me, pack my backpack, and dig change out of the nooks and crannies of the apartment, I have to race out the door to catch the bus.

1:30: I get off one bus and try to transfer to the second. I realize that my mom and I have miscommunicated the address of the dentist's office. I speak to several bus drivers and try to figure out how to get where I'm going; no one knows.

1:50: I grudgingly pay for a cab to the dentist's office. I realize it was a 5 minute walk if I'd known how to get there.

2:00: The dentist tells me that even though she is my provider as of Sept. 1st, if the health plan hasn't sent them a roster with my name on it, she can't give me a cleaning and checkup. I look panicked and whine about going back to school and wisdom teeth and getting kicked off my parents' insurance. She takes a quick "complimentary" look in my mouth, tells me to get my wisdom teeth out ASAP, and writes me a referral slip to an oral surgeon.

2:45: I walk back to the Metro station/bus terminal and decide to take the bus back to the apartment for a couple hours, instead of the original plan to go straight downtown and hang out before the NFL kickoff free concert. After waiting for the bus for about 10 minutes, I realize that on my way out the door, I forgot to bring the apartment key. I decide to go straight downtown.

3:30: After walking in a circle around the Department of Agriculture because I couldn't be bothered to spend 10 seconds orienting myself, I set off to the Museum of Air and Space to kill some time. I do the obligatory point-at-the-LM-and-say-"My grandpa made that" thing and then find some exhibits I haven't seen before.

5:30: They kick me out of the Air and Space Museum into the drizzle. I call my dad, who still wants to give the free concert a try. I try to find somewhere dry to sit and eat the food I brought along-- my idea is a McDonalds or something. I walk for blocks and see nothing but various government buildings. Finally I spot a cafe in the distance, but it turns out to only be open from 10 to 3. I sit on a flowerpot under the awning, rest my tired legs, and eat.

6:00: I arrive back at the Smithsonian Metro station where I'm meeting my dad, and discover there's actually a dry place to sit right there. I watch some peace demonstrators dressed up in pink, but when they leave I'm reduced to watching the Jews for Jesus guy. After a half-hour of watching hundreds of pamphlets go in the garbage, I decide that there should be mandatory paper-recycling bins on street corners. (Or at least around Jews for Jesus freaks.) I can hear some random patriotic chanting over the speakers on the Mall. Then a snatch of "Born in the USA." I smack myself in the forehead.

6:30: My dad arrives. We go through security. We find a not-too-muddy place to lay down our towel, close enough to see the top arch of the stage but with no chance to see anyone on it. We are given the first of our many complimentary cans of Pepsi Vanilla. Considering how much I dislike all forms of cola, it's surprisingly edible. (Drinkable? Potable?)

7:00: Good Charlotte plays. One song.

7:05: Commercials begin on the big screen in front of us. Yay NFL. Yay Pepsi Vanilla. Yay, the same commercials over and over and over again.

7:30: Mary J. Blige performs. Two songs.

7:35: Commercials. Lots. The same ones. We sit down on the towel and gripe. I ask myself why I am here, and then remind myself that I feel a lot less pathetic about having accomplished nothing all day if I have the excuse of having been out of the house.

8:00: Britney Spears comes out and does two songs. But there are fireworks, which we can actually see. This is fairly cool.

8:05: Wild guess what happens for the next approximately 25 minutes. The NFL clearly cares a whole lot about our experience here. But no one will notice on TV.

8:30: Aerosmith time! And we are lucky enough to get three whole songs! Walk This Way, Dream On, and Back in the Saddle. Only slightly marred by the 40-ish guy standing next to me who sings loudly and off-key, flails his arms in wild air drumming, and claps his hands (off the beat, too). During "Dream On." Please, stop.

9:00: Aretha Franklin sings the national anthem. We sit down and watch a quarter of the football game broadcast live on the screens, hoping to wait past the rush at the Metro station.

11:00: Home sweet home.
 
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Monday, September 01, 2003
 
Maryland. Is. Boring.

For some reason, I really want to get back in the swing of things with fall quarter. There's a voice in the back of my head that reminds me of the stupidity of this, since that's just asking for all the busyness and work and responsibility that comes with school, instead of long days and nights of computer and TV and reading for fun. But if it's stupid, it's stupid, then. I'm just tired of lazing around the apartment, feeling too sluggish to put in the hours on work-study that would be productive. (I will, though, before I leave. It's the knowledge that I have plenty of time left that leads me to put it off.)

There have been some interesting moments. I got to catch two games at Yankee Stadium last week (luckily, there was a beautiful Thursday afternoon win to make up for Tuesday night's debacle), and tonight, my parents and I drove into the city to see the National Symphony Orchestra and the U.S. Army Soldier's Chorus give a free concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol. (It was quite nice-- a variety of music, including John Williams' themes from Star Wars, Harry Potter, and ET, as well as Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever, one of my favorites.)

As we walked back from our car, we saw all the setup they're doing on the Mall for the festival the NFL's doing this week leading up to the first game of the season. The day-to-day stuff seems targeted to kids (or people who actually know who the guys giving out free autographs are), but on Thursday night there's a free concert with Good Charlotte, Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, and Aerosmith. Despite the fact that of the bunch the only one I'm interested in is Aerosmith, and it's not like I'll ever look back in regret if I never see them perform, I'm thinking I'll probably go anyway. Because, you guessed it, I'm bored, and going to the concert (and waiting on line to get through security) will at least be Something To Do.

Oh, the joys of my life.
 
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Nature attains perfection, but man never does. There is a perfect ant, a perfect bee, but man is perpetually unfinished. He is both an unfinished animal and an unfinished man. It is this incurable unfinishedness which sets man apart from other living things. For, in the attempt to finish himself, man becomes a creator. Moreover, the incurable unfinishedness keeps man perpetually immature, perpetually capable of learning and growing.
--Eric Hoffer





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