:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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current mood:
current mood

Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

zaterdag 30 april 2005

Well, I just finished the first of the three (possibly four) swims I'm doing this summer - one mile down the coast of Crescent Beach in St. Augustine. Or, I should say, UP the coast, since they changed the direction at the last minute due to currents and wind. It went pretty well; I got third place for my age group (Ashley Carusone, a UF swimmer, got first) and finished in 32 minutes. It wasn't the most fun in the world - we were swimming, like I said, along the coast, and not all that far out, so there were breakers and the water was really choppy; it was hard to see the buoys or even the other people around you until you were on top of them. (I've been assured that Key West will NOT be like that, thank goodness!) But it was okay; I passed a lot of people, which I was really pleased about. The only part I hated was the exit from the water - it was a beach start and finish, so we had to swim into shore, run onto the beach, and cross this blue mat which would record our time (we had transponders on our ankles). But the same current which helped us go forward also pushed us too far; most of us ended up a little ways too far up the beach and had to run back to the finish. I had been pacing this Australian guy almost the whole way - I was a little faster than he was, but I kept trying to pause and get a look at where I was in relation to the beach (I kept getting pushed every which way, and couldn't always see the shore due to the waves) so we stayed basically right beside each other the whole time. I was planning to edge him out at the end, and while we were still swimming, that worked fine, but unfortunately, when we both finally stood up and tried to run into shore (through knee-deep water), he ended up beating me. My body felt absolutely dead - jelly-legs and all - and after I stopped, all I could do was reach out my hand to the guy at the water table and gasp, "Please." I seriously thought I was going to throw up; I walked a little ways away from the crowd just in case, but it passed quickly. I would have been fine if it had been a water finish, but the whole running-through-the-surf, trying-to-beat-someone thing just didn't do it for me. Ah, well, Mr. Australia wasn't in my age group anyway. :)

In other news, Fabienne and Hanna are gone, and it's just Renate and me still here in the apartment. That suits both of us just fine; we've both been here all year and have a tighter bond with each other than with the other two, plus they were really starting to get on our nerves - whining about tiny cockroaches and so forth. Fabienne will be in the air now, and Hanna's traveling the state for a few days before coming back, getting the rest of her stuff, and flying home herself. I'll be leaving at some point tomorrow, and that's really starting to hit both me and Renate hard; she keeps saying things like "You're the best roommate I've ever had," and "Go to Lowe's and copy your keys; then you can still come in whenever you want," and "I'm gonna cry on Sunday." I think I will, too... I'm really going to miss her. We got to be really good friends as well as roommates, and after Kristen in '03 and Scott in '04, that's a really great change. I'm working on one of my little notes to her now. (For some reason, that's what I always end up doing when I have to leave someone I care about: write them a letter, part jokey - stuff we shared, etc. - and part sentimental. At camp in 2002, I had to write no less than TEN letters, there were so many great people!) But anyway, I'm glad I'll be back in this apartment in the spring.

Off to take a much-needed shower now.

zaterdag 23 april 2005

Well, I just did a short biathlon this morning - the city of Gainesville is sponsoring a series of them this summer. I've been wanting to do one like this for a while, because it's running and swimming, in that order. I'm truly a terrible runner, so anything where that's last - a standard triathlon, for example - is really difficult for me. But this was a 5k run and then an 800 meter swim, so it seemed perfect.

However, the timing was pretty bad for me physically. Like the idiot I am, I went running on Thursday for the first time in a long time - my heel has been worse than usual lately, but I got sick of waiting on it and just decided to go. Some of us from the swim team had gone weight lifting Wednesday afternoon, and when I got up on Thursday, I thought I was fine - but around mile two, I started to feel aches and pains. But I finished the run. That night, I had (an extremely light) swim practice and a game of Ultimate Frisbee - in total, enough exercise to make me really crabby and worn out - but then heard about the biathlon and wanted to do it. I woke up the next morning with sore quads, a cramped-feeling calf, and the inevitable painful heel - enough pain, especially in the calf, to be sure that it wasn't all going to be gone by the following day. But I can't be here for the rest of the biathlon series, except for possibly one in July (of the other four, two are after I leave for the Netherlands, and the other two conflict with my long-distance swims), and so I really wanted to do this one. I went to practice that night and swam just enough to get my muscles unclenched a little - 1500 meters or so - then got up at six this morning, picked up Lauren O., and drove to the westside pool for the biathlon.

About 20 people showed up (Renate included), and the race started at 8 AM. The weather was miserable - cold and rainy - but that actually felt nice during the running. It was the only thing that felt nice, though. My legs and feet hurt all over, and I was tired beyond belief - and then there were HILLS on the course, which just about finished me off. My original goal had been to break 25 minutes, but it quickly turned into 'just don't break stride - keep running through the whole thing', which I did somehow manage to do. I kept the rest of the field within sight until about 2/3 of the way through - then, somehow, with the hills and bends, I lost them. Apparently there were actually a couple people behind me, but I never saw them. I was SO relieved to finally get to the swimming! My only regret, however, is that I didn't push myself harder on it. It felt so great to get off my aching legs and feet, get into the cool water, feel like I was actually moving forward instead of jogging in place, and do something I was good at and that didn't take so much effort, that I didn't really push myself hard. I did pass one woman, and my total time was 48 minutes (32 for the run, changeover and swim 16), which isn't really bad at all. Lauren clocked in at 44 minutes (run 28, changeover and swim 16) and I'm not sure about Renate, although I'd estimate her at around 35. She's a good runner - her normal workout is six miles - and needless to say, she can stomp everybody in the pool.

But anyway, I can always tell when workouts are doing my body more harm than good, because I lose my appetite. I haven't been hungry all day. I had cereal and a Balance bar before the event and then forced myself to eat a Lean Pocket and a cookie awhile after I got home, and am still making myself drink water, of course, but that's been the extent of it. Oh, well, I'll be going home after my math final at 15:00 and I'm sure I can find some calorie-laden stuff to eat there.

But, in other news - our team shirts are in! And they are GORGEOUS! Orange, with a green and blue alligator emblem over the left chest and then a cute little 'take your mark' graphic on the back, with a gator about to dive into a pool. And the jackets look even better - royal blue with an orange alligator and the team name in white - except that we have to wait for them to get embroidered before I can actually pick them up.

Speaking of shirts, I have been getting so much free (or cheap) clothing lately that it's ridiculous. My big score was a Gators Swimming & Diving sweatshirt, which you can't buy - you only get it if you're on the swim team. But it hung over a handrail in the O-Dome for three days - with me changing its position every day, so I could determine if someone was coming and wearing it and then just putting it back - but it never moved, so on the third day, I took it. Three days is enough of a grace period for someone being careless with their stuff. Then I got a Linguistics T-shirt with 'linguistics' spelled out in IPA ($10), and then found an abandoned blue and white microfiber jacket hanging on the Norman Field fence. Then I got a free 'Gator Intramural Champions' T-shirt, since our swim team won the intramural meet, and then our team shirts came in yesterday, and then today I got another shirt for doing the biathlon. I think I need to build an addition to my closet! :)

woensdag 20 april 2005

No one will care about this but other college students, but I'm still giggling about it, so here it is. Renate, being Renate, has just made a Wal-Mart run to buy Napoleon Dynamite, which she has been quoting endlessly for weeks. (I've never seen it, but hearing her cackle at the top of her lungs behind her bedroom door is starting to convince me that I need to.) When she came in, giddy with her purchase, starting to head up to her bedroom, I suddenly remembered a detail of the past 24 hours. Hanna has a new boyfriend - a Dutch guy who lives in our complex - and he's very nice, but lately, he spends more time in our apartment than some of us do. Also, Hanna is sort of shy and reserved about their relationship and doesn't talk about him unless we press her.

"Hey, did you get any sleep at all last night?" I asked with a grin.
"Huh?" she responded inelegantly, one foot on the stairs.
"I mean, with your... neighbor." Hanna's room is next to Renate's.
The foot came off the stairs as she sensed gossip. "No, what happened?" she asked, dropping her voice, eyes wide.
"You really didn't hear anything?"
"Was there a big fight or something?" she asked breathlessly.
"Uh, no," I said, trying not to laugh. "But I had to go turn on the air conditioner a couple of times to make some white noise. And the whole time, I was thinking, 'Poor Renate... if I can hear this in my room..."
"Ohhh," she said, catching on and grinning.

The rest of the conversation ("At least they stayed out of the shower this time...") doesn't need to be relayed. What does is the fact that Renate tends to crank everything up LOUD - television, radio, you name it - and that our apartment walls are - as demonstrated above - quite thin. Renate's room is, again, right next to Hanna's, and Hanna happens to be trying to sleep right now. This would be the appropriate point to insert that, along with the hilarious movie, Renate has had her typical 'dinner' of popcorn and a glass or two of red wine. Thus, her social defenses are down. Obviously, because Hanna just knocked on her door and asked very politely if she could turn the audio down.

"Is it too loud?"
"Um, yeah, just a little."
Instead of a socially accepted response along the lines of "Sorry, I'll turn it down," - our resident South African said, "O-oookay," (in that tone that means, "You're weird") and then added a very slurred, "That's not what I heard about your night last night," and shut the door.

I'm glad my door was closed, because if I had seen how red poor Hanna's face would have been, I would have burst out laughing. And I'm still giggling. Only Renate would have the nerve to say something like that, especially when she (by her own admission) didn't witness the, ahem, events at all.

Ah, the joys of college life.

dinsdag 19 april 2005

I've been doing a lot of graduate-school-focused research over the past few days, since I have to take the GRE this summer and get my applications in before the new year. I've been using petersons.com to search for schools, and after narrowing it down based on which schools have actual linguistic DEPARTMENTS (as opposed to programs) and which ones are located in a place I wouldn't mind being, here are the Big Ten I came up with.

1. University of Pittsburgh. In looking at the department specializations, this is the one I like the best. They have specializations in Teaching English as a Second Language (my current minor), Native American languages (a really hot linguistic field right now), and American Sign Language (which I've always wanted to learn). I also don't think I would have a problem getting into this school (with some of the others on this list, that might be an issue). The only problem is - you guessed it - that they don't seem to offer much financial aid, even though their tuition is $24,000. That's a problem, especially if I go for a master's, because many graduate programs will give you nothing unless you're doing a Ph.D. I'm still wavering on that. However, another cool thing is that I e-mailed the swim coach in a moment of insanity and asked what he'd look for in a walk-on swimmer, and he said he'd love to have me. I doubt graduate students are eligible for athletic scholarships, but you never know; if they are, that could help. But anyway, the bottom line is that this is my current top choice, but the age-old question of money remains.

2. Harvard. Might as well shoot for the top, hey? They only offer the Ph.D, but they would pay for essentially everything. Also, tuition drops from $30,000 (for the first two years) to $10,000 (for the second two years) and finally to $5,000. The only catch is that I'd have to do some teaching, which doesn't really appeal to me. Well, that and getting in in the first place. We'll see.

3. Yale. See above. Except that their tuition is steady at $26,000. I wouldn't be paying it, though, so that's okay.

4. Brown. This is another one which appeals to me; they have not only a Ph.D in Linguistics, but a related one in Cognitive Science (like neurolinguistics). The tuition cracks 30k, but drops to 4k after the first three years, and they seem to offer considerable aid. I would have to teach, though.

5. Georgetown. They have a much larger, older and more established program than I realized; it seems to be a staple of their Arts and Sciences college. However, they're another one like Pittsburgh - not much aid. And the tuition is even higher than Pittsburgh - almost 30k. I think I'll have to let this one go for financial reasons, but it does look appealing.

6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I didn't know they had such a good linguistics department, but apparently they do. They don't offer much aid, but since they're a state school, tuition is a lot lower than most of these others. My mentality has generally been "why go to a state school in another state when I can just stay at UF?", but I've always liked North Carolina (went to camp there for eight years) and I wouldn't necessarily be averse to going here. It can be a safety.

7. Rice. I really don't like the idea of going to school in Texas, but they offer both degrees and a lot of aid, and their tuition is middle-of-the-road ($21,000). I'll keep the option open.

8. Stanford. They only offer the Ph.D, their tuition is over $31,000, and the chances of financial aid aren't as good as at some of the others... plus, they're way out in California. I think this one is getting scratched.

9. University of Texas at Austin. They offer both degrees (the M.A. and the Ph.D) and the tuition is pretty low... but once again, odd as it may sound, I really don't want to go to school in Texas, especially if it's just a lowly state school. I don't think I'll be applying here.

10. University of Florida. Obviously, they're not going to turn me away, and the costs would certainly be less, since I'd be staying in-state. As a 'continuing student', I might even be up for some extra awards. But we don't have a linguistics department here - just a 'program'. That's okay for undergrad, but for graduate work, I want something more extensive. Also, there's the usual problem of hearing the same theories and ideas as during my undergrad, since I'll be working with the same professors.

What do you guys think?

maandag 18 april 2005

Tuesday - English and its Relatives exam, and math exam. Examine my 8 choices for grad schools to see which tuition options are the least painful. Swim with Masters (=Renate) because normal practice doesn't end until 9 and my exam starts at 8:30. Hassle people about paying me back for the swimming shirt and jacket orders.

Wednesday - Last day of classes! Language and Culture exam. Lift weights with swim team since pool, for unknown reasons, is closed. Get my über-cool Linguistics shirt (with the word 'linguistics' spelled out in IPA. If you don't know what IPA is, it doesn't concern you.)

Thursday - Reading day number one. I have six classes total, three of which are giving no finals, one of which I am exempt from, and one of which I will most probably be exempt from after Tuesday's results. Therefore, I will probably do nothing today but work out and lie in the sun, not necessarily in that order.

Friday - Reading day number two. See above. Technically I have an Old English translation due today, but I will be exempt from that too if I can score an A on Tuesday's test. Also, the Germans are giving a farewell barbecue.

Saturday - Working? Who knows? I never find out until 24 hours ahead of time, no matter how many times I ask for earlier notice.

Sunday - See above.

Monday - My one and only final - Leah's. Swimming. Should be a piece of cake. My math final will also be today, should I have to take it, but hopefully I'll do so well Tuesday night that I'll be exempt.

Tuesday - Sell back all the books I don't intend to keep. Woohoo, extra cash!

Wednesday - Another 'do-nothing-but-work-out-and-lie-in-the-sun' day, I believe.

Thursday - Ditto.

Friday - Get my security deposit back, deposit it at the bank, then write a check for the exact same amount and turn it in with the rental forms to hold my spot in this complex for next spring. Sigh. Jumping through hoops, gotta love it. But it's payday, which makes me happy.

Saturday - First open-water swim! One mile down the St. Augustine coast. Cori, I promise I won't let the sharks get you.

Sunday - I move back home to Jacksonville for good. Sniff, sniff, sob. It was a really good year... I'm gonna miss my roomies. *tear* But hey - new swim team, new YMCA membership (read: gym! basketball! weights!), lots of high school friends home for the summer, and lots more time to work (=more money) ... can't go wrong there, right?

maandag 11 april 2005

I'll post about Friday's hypnotist show when I get a chance - yes, I went to a hypnotist show, and yes, I got to be a volunteer. But for the moment, I'm busy tussling with my printer, trying to get it to spit out 35 copies of a project (it decided 19 was good enough), so these random survey answers will have to do for now. My sister has posted about eight million surveys on her website, which always tempts me, but rather than bore you with all of them, I picked and chose questions. (Largely because I’m sick of questions about music - I like almost all genres and never listen to anything but my iPod's shuffle feature - and that always cuts out about half the content right there.)

General Stats:

-Alias: Jess
-Age: 21
-Birthday/Sign: 30 Jan 1984 (Aquarius)
-Location: My bedroom in my apartment in Gainesville
-Mother and Father's Name: Claudia and Bill
-Siblings Names (if any): Catie (from whom I stole these surveys)
-Height: 5'5"
-Physical Description: Short brown hair, greenish eyes, muscular
-Mental Description: Oh dear... dare I?
-Current Mood: Hungry
-Mood 24 Hours Ago: Busy

Computer Statistics:

-Age of Your Computer: Seems ancient, but it’s only 2 years old.
-Computer Type: Compaq Presario laptop
-Software Type: Windows XP
-Most Used Word Program: Microsoft Word
-Favorite Livejournal Client: Blogger! Blogger! BLOGGER!
-Favorite File Type: .jpg or .mp3
-Internet Browser of Choice: Internet Explorer
-Messaging Program of Choice: MSN Messenger
-E-Mail Program of Choice: Gmail!!!
-Downloading Program of Choice: Kazaa Lite


-How is your self-esteem?: Really high, if I do say so myself. :)
-Bad traits you have: I can be impulsive and overzealous in setting goals for myself. I'm also so used to getting things without working very hard that I sometimes procrastinate or let things slide.
-Good traits you have: I’m friendly, very intelligent, mentally and physically strong, yet pretty easygoing.
-Worst habit(s): checking my e-mail a million times a day
-Addictions: swimming, my iPod, blogging, Discovery Health channel
-What trends annoy you most?: Heavy makeup, hair straightening, going out and getting drunk with a cross around your neck
-What are your pet peeves?: people who (a) have no desire to learn, (b) insist upon being right 100% of the time, or (c) sit around and joke about how unhealthy they are instead of doing something about it.
-Strange things you like: packing suitcases/bags, eating raw bell peppers
-Common things you like: swimming, chocolate, rainstorms

Read the following list of desired characteristics in a mate. Rank each one from 1 (highest) to 18 (lowest). Arrange them or number them in what order you feel is greatest priority.

1) Mutual attraction (love)
2) Pleasing disposition
3) Dependable character (you can rely on him/her)
4) Education and Intelligence
5) Similar political background
6) Similar religious background
7) Emotional stability and maturity
8) Good health
9) Good looks
10) Desire for home and children
11) Ambition and industriousness
12) Refinement, neatness
13) Sociability
14) Similar education (same field)
15) Good financial prospect
16) Good cook and housekeeper
17) Chastity (no prior sexual intercourse)
18) Favorable social status or rating

(Wow, Catie and I were DRASTICALLY different on those.)


3 names you go by: Jessica, Jessie, Jess
3 screen names you've had: Starz0001, Shoelace66, ShaniaTwainFan1
3 things you like about yourself: intelligence, athleticism, confidence
3 things you don't like about yourself: bum heel, big chest, inability to cook
3 parts of your heritage: German, English, Welsh
3 things that scare you: drowning, stinging bugs, growing old
3 of your everyday essentials: earrings, sport watch, bathing suit
3 things you are wearing right now: tank top, short shorts, sneakers
3 new things you want to try in the next 12 months: swimming around Key West, getting a breast reduction, and learning German, Arabic, and Swahili
3 things you want in a relationship (love is a given): best-friendship, spontaneity/fun, total honesty/trust
3 physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to you: tall, broad, good skin
3 things you just can't do: roll my tongue, do a handspring, eat just one piece of chocolate
3 of your favorite hobbies: swimming, reading, playing basketball
3 things you want to do really badly right now: finish my book, eat at Moe's, go to swim practice
3 careers you're considering: language specialist for U.S. Intelligence, author, interpreter
3 places you want to go on vacation: Africa, Australia, Spain
3 kids names: Anna, Lucy, Elizabeth
3 things you want to do before you die: travel Africa, swim the English Channel, have children

Short questions:

Do you pay any attention to the clothes that others wear? Generally no.
What color are your pajamas? A green ARMY shirt and red plaid shorts
Do you like whipped cream on your hot chocolate? Yes! And sprinkles, and marshmallows...
Do you enjoy pie? What kind? Key Lime all the way!
Are you tempted to tell gross stories at the dinner table? I’ve sure had good training from Dad.
If you could make new episodes of any TV show ever, what show would you pick? I Love Lucy! Funniest show ever made.
What's your favorite candle scent? Bath & Body Works Pumpkin (burning right now!)
What snacks do you purchase when you're going to see a movie at the theater? Usually none, but occasionally SnoCaps.
Would you say there is almost ALWAYS a jar of pickles in your fridge? Due to Renate’s pickle (and carrot, and celery...) fetish, yes.
How often do you make your bed? Only when I’m at my Jacksonville house.
How often do you eat fast food? Hardly ever, although I did indulge in Little Hall hash browns yesterday after swimming.
Do you drink milk from the bowl after eating cereal or drink the broth after eating Ramen? Neither. Salty water and funky-flavored milk... ugh.
What do you do when people ask you for change on the street? Tell them I haven’t got any. I turn down those flyer-passer-outers too. The Netherlands desensitized me to all that.
How do you feel about Bush being re-elected? I could write a book… and it would all consist of #^&$*(*%)(%I_#*^@&%#!!!!!!!!!!

Loaded questions:

If an acquaintance were to tell you that something about your personality really bothered them would you care? Why or why not?
No; they don’t know me, and chances are they’re just jealous of the confidence they sense. In my experience, sometimes others can’t handle strong, confident people; they have to ‘level the playing field’ by finding things to pick on.

What if the person were a close friend?
Yes; I can’t say I’d immediately ‘reform’, but I’d sure remember in perfect clarity what had been said. Someone once said we immediately believe and remember all the bad things about ourselves, but have difficulty accepting the good, and it’s true.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I only consider something an accomplishment if I have to work for it, and as conceited as it sounds, most things I’ve encountered so far in life (academics, sports, jobs, people skills) come pretty easily to me. But my sister’s answer, ‘surviving Stanton IB’, might qualify, and surviving a broken heart alone in a (then) completely unfamiliar country, getting the IB Diploma, writing my 4,000-word Extended Essay in Spanish and getting a perfect score... and, not to sound like a war veteran, but: getting a ‘normal’ walk back after all the medical problems I’ve had with my heel. That took more work and pain and awareness of myself than other people realize. Swimming around Key West in June may be next on the Accomplishment List.

What was the nicest thing someone has ever told you?
I don't know. It depends who said it, whatever it is; compliments generally mean more from certain people than others. When someone I truly like and admire (e.g. Leah, or my Language and Dialect professor, or Aunts P or S, or Abby, or even Renate) tells me something nice, it makes me feel great, whereas others often roll off my back. But aside from superficial ones (“Your hair looks nice,” “I like that swimsuit,” etc.) I haven’t gotten a really memorable compliment in a while.

Do you have any unusual markings (birthmarks, scars, etc.) on your body?
Oh, geez, all kinds of scars – I was a rough-and-tumble kid who grew up to play a lot of sports – you do the math. And I have a very light birthmark on my neck, but most people don’t notice it, or if they do, they just think my neck is dirty.

Do you ever take your anger out on the wrong person?
No. I’ll vent to other people sometimes, but if I’m angry at one specific person (which doesn’t happen often), I usually say it right when it happens, "You know, that really makes me angry, because..." That straightforwardness usually works; I also get a different tone of voice when I’m angry or serious which I don’t use any other time, and people notice!

How comfortable are you with disorder - do you need everything neat and tidy, or do you thrive on clutter?
I try to keep my possessions to a minimum; I don’t like clutter at all. That sounds good in theory, but the problem is, I sometimes pitch things out too soon. When I was in elementary school, Mom caught me trying to throw out a bunch of valuable old coins. She goes through my trash all the time now. :)

woensdag 6 april 2005

Random things to write about:

(1.) Apparently I won $500 in that scholarship competition I interviewed for last Friday (which, as one of my teachers said, will get me about halfway across the Atlantic in summer). I have yet to hear anything official, but she got a letter via the university's internal mail and e-mailed me to congratulate me - whereas I still knew nothing about it, so the interaction went something like, "Hey, congratulations!" "Wait a second, they haven't even told me yet, how do you know?!" But I'm glad I got something. I'm still coming up short for the semester, considering I have to pay around $4000 for University College plus another six or seven hundred (if I'm lucky!) for a plane ticket, but maybe I got one of the CLAS scholarships I applied for and haven't been notified yet. Plus I'll be earning a lot of money this summer. It'll work out.

(2.) As T-shirt chairperson for our swim team, I'm up to 14 T-shirts and 6 jackets. I'm aiming to get to 25 shirts, because we get a pretty substantial price cut if we pass 24, and with the jackets, I'm just hoping to get it up to 12 (the minimum number to order anything at all). So if anyone's interested in a Club Alligator Swim Team shirt (orange) or jacket (blue), let me know. I just received the final designs ten minutes ago via e-mail with the changes I wanted to see, and they are GORGEOUS!!! I absolutely can't wait to see the finished products! And I'm so proud that something I came up with in my head could become a reality and look this good!

(3.) I always thought I hated swimming long-course (where the pool's set at 50 meters instead of the usual 25 yards), but today in class, we had a mock swim meet in which I swam the 50 free... in 34.7 seconds. My fastest time on short-course (25 yards) was a relay split time of 34.14 (in last Thursday's meet), which is still pretty pathetic, so I didn't think too much of it, but I got bored in class today and started doing the math to see how big the difference between yards and meters really is and what my adjusted time would be. And no matter how many times I do it, whether I use my own calculations or an online formula, it still comes out as saying that my 'real' time (since we swim in yards in America) would be 31 and change. That is RIDICULOUS! That's three full seconds faster - how is that possible? I had a good warm-up today, which definitely would have made a difference, but still, that's a lot of time to chop off. All I can think is that my flip turn is slowing me down instead of providing a boost like it's supposed to. But anyway, wow! That was the highlight of my day. Guess I better not get too used to it, though, since I'll be swimming meters over in the Netherlands in the fall and getting my clock cleaned by a bunch of fifteen-year-olds. :)

(4.) I think I'm becoming a rabbit. Between yesterday's and today's snacks, I've polished off an entire bell pepper, plus had two enormous salads (with carrots, baby tomatoes, sandwich peppers, shredded turkey, and light Caesar dressing... yum!) for dinner the past two nights. I even had a big bite of Renate's apple and didn't puke. (I usually can't stand apples.) Really... do my ears look bigger? Is my nose twitching? Is my skin getting white? Or is that from the 2/3 gallon of milk I've also polished off in the past 48 hours?

(5.) There is no #5... it just seemed wrong to end on #4. :)

maandag 4 april 2005

Hello again after a long hiatus. It's been a pretty good day - the pool got switched to long course (50 meters instead of 25 yards) for the summer season, so that changed things up a bit for class today, and then I finally got my Language and Dialect paper back (the one I did on word order in Germanic languages, specifically Dutch) and got an A. I also had a couple of good contributions to make when we were discussing the class project we're working on - it's a dialect survey that next year's class will administer to Southerners (mostly Floridians, to see 'how far south 'The South' goes down the peninsula), and we have to create questions to provoke responses including things like 'y'all' and 'might could' - things we think are sort of 'typical South'. Each person has to come up with 20 original questions, and as you can imagine, they're often pretty hard to make up. The teacher said, "Just listen to the speech of others around you, and things will jump out." Well, she was right, because I found one of mine while talking with my sister this weekend. I don't remember what she was talking about, but she tried to use the past tense of 'swell' ('swelled', obviously) but ended up saying 'swole'. I've heard this from many Southerners (with other verbs, too), and the teacher got excited about it, so I'm going to use it as one of my questions. Lethal as her exams are, I really do like that class. Anyway, then I had a free hour to sit in the sun, and then went to Language and Culture, where we all had a lively semantics debate with that professor over what constitutes 'murder' - apparently we agree that it has to be intentional, unjustified, and done by a human actor, but class ended right as we were starting to get into the specifics of whether or not the victim has to be human. "Can you murder a dog?" (resounding "Yes!", hands flying up) "What about a cockroach? (general head-shaking, "No.") "A-ha!..." ...Anyway, I think he might get into abortion on Wednesday - he said he had to give some thought to how to approach it - so I'll keep you posted. A kid went off in there the other day when we were talking about religion, arguing with the professor and stomping out, so I think he wants to prevent any future such happenings.

Other news:

I'm back to using full names on this site rather than letters. If anyone has any objections, go ahead and voice them, but I think it's more interesting to read about people than initials. Plus, I know multiple Cs, As, Js, and Ms, so this will make it easier to keep track.

We got our linguistics shirts! Purple with silver Gothic lettering (rough translation: 'We all get caught up together in the tiny details and become useless.' Is there a better motto for linguistics?) Carolyn and I are wearing ours tomorrow.

I made an appointment for my Personal Fitness Profile - next week on Thursday. I'm curious to see what's changed since last semester, if anything has. In December, I did really well on the shoulder flexibility ("Uh, are you a swimmer or something?"), strength measurements, and on the bike, but the muscular endurance tests (sit-ups and push-ups) stank. My body fat percentage was on the low end of the 'normal healthy' range, so hopefully this time it'll be in the 'normal athletic' range. And I wish I could get over this 'white-coat syndrome', because I know my normal resting heart rate is about 56 bpm and my normal blood pressure is around 110/60 - both of which are in the Excellent range - but they're both usually elevated when someone else takes them.

Our girls' team came in first at the swim meet on Thursday, which is awesome, considering there were a LOT of good people swimming - all the sororities and fraternities dragged out their high school swimmers to compete for them, and the water polo and synchronized swimming teams competed, plus Abby made three or four teams out of her swim classes. So we did really well. Apparently we get T-shirts, but I haven't heard anything about those yet.

Anybody know where I can get some blank plastic luggage tags?

I have to figure out what to do about an apartment for next spring. Renate and I were talking about living together, but when she remembered I was going to be gone for the fall, she started talking about possibly living with a friend of hers from massage school (if she doesn't stay in this complex). And even if I wanted to stay in this complex, it might not be possible; since they have new ownership and are being bought out as condos, they're not planning to sign any more semester leases. Since I've been living here for an entire year, they told me they might make an exception, but because it's all become so complicated, I'm considering trying another place. Anyone have any ideas?

Amber and Sabrina want to do the Key West swim with me!!! I'm so excited! I was excited anyway, but now I'm really excited that I won't be doing it alone. Yay!

There's a movie on Lifetime tonight at nine called Odd Girl Out which I am definitely watching - I'll push everyone at practice tonight so we can get done by 20:30. I've read that book, and they use parts of it as examples during counselor training at camp - how boys fight with fists but girls fight socially, with backstabbing and rumors - but not only that, I remember it happening to me. Seventh grade was the worst year of my life. I had the usual growing-up issues which middle school is famous for, but I also had a possibly-cancerous foot to deal with, plus a little band of four girls who used to be my friends, who turned on me and made it their life's work to make me miserable. Elizabeth (my former best friend, petite with the longest hair you've ever seen), Melissa (a redhead who belonged to some religious group who believed in women having long hair and wearing only dresses), Leebie (the transfer student, a Jewish butterball with black curls who desperately wanted to fit in SOMEWHERE), and Jennifer (painfully skinny, with constant nosebleeds and lots of freckles. She didn't improve as she got older - she got suspended for drinking in high school.) At one point, most of the grade was taking sides in the 'war' between us. I remember curse words being written on my locker, multiple nasty notes shoved in there every day, and, once, a hard kick to my bandaged foot a few days after the first operation. They even had a yellow 'secret notebook' where they wrote awful things about me; I once caught a glimpse of a list titled "10 Reasons Why We DON'T LIKE JESSICA!" (I was Jessica back then.) I believe it started in earnest when I missed Elizabeth's birthday party in favor of a family trip to Disney World (the trip Mom had promised me while I was lying in the hospital - "When this is all over, we'll - I don't know - go to Disney World!"). For some reason, that struck a sour note with Liz, and she amped up the snottiness because of it. Ah, well, anyway, that's all said and done, sticks and stones and so forth, but I'm watching that movie tonight and I think Carolyn wants to come over and watch, too. She was home-schooled, so she doesn't know what she missed.

Okay - off to Publix for baby tomatoes, orange peppers, dip, turkey, DanActive, bagels, lots of milk, Lean Pockets, and, of course, the requisite dark chocolate.

P.S. Mom - Renate loves the pants - she says thanks for rescuing them. :)

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