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Getting Ready December 24, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in traveling.
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Our bags are packed and we’re ready to go.  M’s sister gave us luggage as a Christmas gift, and my bff Jess was kind enough to lend me a big bag, so we’re all set.  I can’t wait until I’m on the beach 😀

I just wanted to post a quick Merry Christmas and HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I’ll see y’all in January!

Mental Cleansing December 19, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in meee, realizations.
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I’m not sure where I read it, but they say that when the amount of things you have surpasses the amount of things you really need, you are not more happy. You are less.

I, being materialistic as hell, never got it. How can being surrounded by miscellaneous crap you forgot you bought make you unhappy?? Doesn’t everyone want their closet to rain clothes on them when they walk in? Who wouldn’t like a house with piles upon piles of stuff?

Then today I checked my bank account to budget for my upcoming trip and the bills that will be waiting for me when I get back. Just out of curiosity I added up what I’ve spent on bills and what I’ve spent on stuff that isn’t necessities for the past couple months.

My chin still hurts from when my jaw hit. the. floor.

I’m officially a wasteful idiot. Some of the purchases…hell, half of the purchases I can’t even remember. How silly is that? To be so eager to give away hard earned money? To be frivolous and then complain about not traveling? Or not having money saved?

I’ve wanted to set up the office in our house since we moved in. It’s been the dumping ground for things that we don’t have room for anywhere else. HOW RIDICULOUS DOES THAT SOUND? To have an entire ROOM that holds random crap??

Feng shui, I’m sure everyone knows by now, teaches that, in essence, a cluttered space means a cluttered mind.

And an empty wallet leaves the mind a nervous wreck to the point where you are dreading your one and only VACATION for the YEAR.

I took macroeconomics one semester, and while most of the material went over my head, the lectures about trading off- what you give up so you can get something-stuck.  (Well…they obviously didn’t “stick” so much as they echo in my brain from time to time, along with the nagging voice telling me to hop on a damn treadmill.)  Basically, you look at everything for what it can do for you in the short and long run.  If I give up this $20, I will get a sweater.  Fair enough.  ‘But sweetie, you already have 230,844 sweaters, so perhaps that $20 can be put to better use?’  My rational response?  “Yes, head.  But this one’s PINK!”

There are things that come up. Car problems, something at your house breaks, a birthday, gas prices doubling, holidays, being sick, spending $500 on books every six months, school payments, or just wanting to take a mental health day. But knowing you can’t do or fix any of those things because a) you were too dumb to save and b) you have no vacation time, sick time, or health insurance sucks. Mostly because you know you have no one to blame except yourself.

So, I am starting a mental cleansing. I am either having a yard sale, giving things away, or hauling ass to the dump. Or likely, a mixture of all three. I will be honest and unapologetic when I sort through boxes, and let logic trump sentimentality.

And I will finally force myself to leave the damn credit cards at home.

Bedrooms December 17, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in meee.
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She opens her eyes to sunshine and her mothers warm voice. She hops out of bed, eager to greet the day and put on the new dress waiting in her closet. She yanks off her footie-pj’s and carefully pulls the dress on. She twirls in front of the mirror as she studies the spin of the dress and admires how her long brown hair cascades around her in waves when she stops. She gazes into her own eyes and smiles. She overhears her parents talking about the day ahead, the usual “what would you like for dinner?” and “is it okay if I watch the game tonight?”  She walks past the shelves full of dolls and stuffed animals, past the book shelf, past her baby sisters bed quietly so as not to wake her, and picks her favorite doll off her bed and places it into the small play crib next to the window. She blows a kiss to the doll, then another to her sister and skips off to have her Special K and watch some of The Brave Little Toaster before catching the bus for school…

She runs back into bed and pretends to only now be opening her eyes, afraid of what her mother might do if she knew her daughter had already been up for a few hours, eager to find out what happened in the latest Babysitters Club book. She smiles and grabs her glasses off the pile of books on her nightstand before getting out of bed and then pushes play on her cassette deck to fill the room with the sound of Disney songs she knows she’s getting too old for. Her sister starts to sing along, and they decide on matching outfits as they both take off their matching, worn, princess nightgowns, and talk about what to do after they watch Saved by the Bell when they got home…

She opens her eyes reluctantly and sits up so her mother can see her, ensuring a few more minutes of uninterrupted sleep before her mother finds out that she simply laid back down as soon as she left the room. After a few more threats of what would happen if she missed her bus, she threw off the covers and walked to the mirror, past the walls covered with posters and magazine pages of stars from her favorite shows and movies, pulling off her oversized t-shirt and shorts. She frowns as she pinches at her stomach and then frowns deeper when she sees her face reflected. She wishes her hair were a little less ordinary, that her eyes were bigger, and that her cheeks weren’t so round. She goes to her closet and wishes for clothes with brand names for the hundredth time. She tells her sister “no” a little too meanly when she comes in to ask to borrow something. She thinks about boys and love, as she often does these days, and dramatically feels like the only girl in the world without someone. She puts on makeup, hoping her mother doesn’t notice this time, and leaves her room, eager to get back and write some more…

She opens her eyes as her mother yells up the stairs and tears off her tank stop and shorts before she rushes to the shower, rushes to throw on makeup, rushes to decide what to wear. She passes the piles of books and VHS tapes, the stuffed animals stashed behind various pieces of furniture, She stops rushing only to stare at her reflection, wishing for bigger boobs, a smaller waist and butt, legs that actually separated without moving her feet apart. Still with those small set eyes…still with the long plain hair, nothing like her sisters gorgeous blond…or gorgeous body. She curses how unfair life and genetics can be. She hopes that maybe, somehow, today will be the day the finds the courage to talk to him, and bounds down the stairs before any more doubts creep in…

She opens her eyes and immediately wishes she didn’t have to go to work. She takes off her boyshorts and tank and feels like she’s playing dress up as she pulls on her thigh-high stockings, pencil skirt, button-down shirt and heels. She walks past the picture frames and candles and furniture she picked to purposely reflect the adult she was rapidly becoming, and enters her bathroom. Her sister comes in and they chat for a while before her sister has to leave for school. She glances at herself in the mirror as she puts her makeup and earrings. She sprays two pumps of perfume into the air as she walks toward her reflection, semi-pleased at what she sees. She thinks about seeing her best friend later, or maybe getting together with her latest boy as she smoothes her hair down one last time, grabs her purse and keys, and breezes out the door…

She opens her eyes and smiles as she wriggles around in her very first queen size bed in her spacious pink bedroom in her very first home away from her parents. It still feels weird that her sister is now a phone call, instead of a room, away. She subconsciously moves her hand down under the bed to find her favorite doll, the one she can’t bear to pack or throw away, but now keeps hidden from view. She feels an arm move around her waist and a warm breath against the back of her neck as a soft naked body moves against her own naked body. She continues to smile as she murmurs “good morning, love” and then tosses off the comforter, turns the tv to the news, and finds her way to her walk-in closet. She feels those comforting arms grab her as she walks by, and giggles as she’s pulled back in to her big-girl bed, in her big-girl room, in her big-girl apartment. She looks into her favorite set of eyes, returns kisses and “I love you’s” and insists on getting ready so she’s not late. She puts on her makeup and jewelry, and can’t help but grin when she sees him walk in behind her. He watches as she finishes and blurts out a “you’re beautiful” so sincere that, for the first time, she believes it. She smiles at him, then stays smiling at herself, and then to herself as she departs with yet another kiss and “love you…”

She opens her eyes and squints because of the sun that glares through the three oversized windows as the alarm blares. She climbs over him, wondering how he sleeps through it every morning, and stumbles to the bathroom. She calls for him to wake up, and bounds down the stairs to put the coffee on. She hurries back, still not quite comfortable in this house she owns that has yet to feel like home. She imagines her sister, now in her own home as well, and hopes they can catch up soon. She pulls off the satin camisole that makes her feel feminine as she notes that he’s already dressed, which means she has to hurry into her skirt, sweater, and knee-high boots. He asks her between kisses they exchange as they brush past each other in their bathroom to please pick up her books and organize her DVD’s and just throw out her tapes already because her collection is now in the hundreds. She smiles and agrees, though they both know she won’t do anything about any of it, and he will accept it and love her all the same. He hands her her favorite doll, now worn by age and love, and she places it under the pillow on her side as she tells him she has plans with friends that night, but promises to be home to make him dinner, and he tells her its fine because he was going to watch football anyway. They rush down the stairs, collect their things, and he rushes out the door. She goes to follow and pauses as she notices her reflection in the mirror next to the door when she grabs her keys. She’s surprised at the woman she sees staring back at her, remembering the little girl who twirled at her reflection as she puts on her coat and flips her hair, admiring how it still cascades around her in waves. She pulls the door closed behind her, blows him a kiss, and begins another day.

Letter to me December 15, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in meee, realizations.
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*Yoinked this idea (a letter to my high-school-senior self) from some of my favorite bloggers*

Dear Me of 17:

Hiiiiii! It’s you at 22! And if I know you, right now you are probably watching one of your (many) (also, soon to be canceled…yea, it sucks. And, pathetically, you’re still a little sad about it. Me thinks you need more hobbies) tv shows.

A few tidbits to answer some burning questions and put your mind at ease:

you’re in college! Not as a film major as you’d hoped, but an English major. You don’t like school as much as you thought you would, but it’s improving.

You don’t like JM. Unfathomable, I know!! You never got to be with him, but did get a nice hug and goodbye at graduation. Don’t cry, don’t cry. You truly have no regrets, and even realize that you’re better off.

You will spend a lot of time with people who will end up disappointing you. You’re beginning to notice, and I beg you, DO NOT ignore these nagging doubts. You know that you should go with your gut, and believe you me, you will save yourself a lot of time and heartache if you drop those relationships.

You’re still friends with Jess. Yeah, yeah, I know you’re not surprised. You’ll savor the memories you’re forming now with her. You’ll also wish you’d spent more time with Erica, Anna and Kate. Get on that! You’ll also wish you’d spent less time with Noel. Deep down, I know you’re not surprised.

Mom and Dad are still together. I. KNOW! Things haven’t improved much, but they’re somehow still trucking. Their relationship will not always serve as a source of annoyance and fear. Someday soon you will learn from their bad example, and those lessons will help you more than they’ll ever know.

You still haven’t made it to Europe. But this is as much your fault as it is mine, because you really should have started saving by now.

You will lose faith in love. You will fall for a few guys (two you actually know right now…and no, you’ll never guess who they are), and you will have your heart broken. You will become convinced that the real thing will never happen for you, and lose all hope. And as soon as you do, your hope will be handed back to you, fully restored, by a boy who will surprise you and adore you and understand you and love you (*hint* his name starts with “M.”) He will love you so much, and make you so happy, that you will be tempted to skip through the streets, maniacally cackling between triumphant shouts about how HA! love really CAN be like it is in the movies!! You will be plagued with insecurity, pick fights because you’re jealous, and question the unquestionable. Push those doubts away, my dear, because he is a man among boys, and he is the one.

You even own a house with him! I KNOOOOW!! You can’t even imagine having financial stability of any kind right now. Come to think of it, the you that is currently me can’t really imagine it either. But somehow you own a house, and it will serve as a headache 90% of the time. But there will be moments when you are so filled with pride and accomplishment that your life doesn’t even feel like yours, and those moments will make it so. very. worth it.

Oh, but before you get the house, you will live with M’s sister. If there is any way possible to avoid this, do it. It will seem like a great idea. It will make your life hell. Trust me.

Spend loads of time with Nan. She passes away during the summer of your 22nd year, and it will break your heart and change your life. I know, I know, you’re busy with work, school and life, but seriously…you will wish you had more time, and that you used the time you had more wisely.

A few pieces of advice? I know, I know, you don’t like people telling you what to do or how to live, but you will wish you knew these things. First, save money. Even if you think you won’t need it, even if that shirt is just so cute…you will forget half of the clothes you own, and yeah…did I mention that you STILL HAVEN’T TOUCHED EUROPEAN SOIL??? Seriously…for us. Just do it.

Study harder. It will bring about much needed scholarships and financial aid that you are not receiving right now. Also, don’t take so much time off after you graduate. It will seem like a good idea, but when you’re 22 and watching friends who you graduated high school with finish college, you will kick yourself. Hard.

Write more. You’ll eventually lose inspiration, but just write. Every day. And not just in blogs.

Join a damn gym!  Or at least do a sit up every once in a while.  I’m looking back at all the time you will waste on Doritos and laying around, and I just want to smack you.  You have “the one” to get ready for!!  You have confidence just waiting to be explored.  Get off your bouncy booty!

You have a lot to look forward to kid, and a lot to be wary of. You’ve never gone wrong as long as you’ve followed your heart, but please use your head more. It will make life easier for both of us.

Love, (yeah, I now kinda love you!! Never thought it would happen, huh?)
K

Two weeks?! December 12, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in friends, M, The Diet.
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I finished my loathed journalism class on Monday, so I decided to reward myself with a night of nothing.  So, last night after getting off work I laid around, watched TV, read blogs and my favorite sites, and made M (a delicious, if I do say so myself) dinner.  It was nice.

But tonight it’s right back to reading and studying and writing a huge paper.  Le sigh.

On the way to work this morning I was thinking about things I need to get done, what presents to buy for whom, budgets, etc. when it hit me.  I am going to El Salvador in less than two weeks.  Less than two weeks?!  I was planning to hit the gym twice a day every day and eat nothing but fruits, veggies and lowfat dairy products until then, and I have not done a damn thing.  I also need to listen to these CD’s I bought a couple years ago to learn how to speak “conversational” spanish.  So, when I went to Target for my morning fix and bought water, yogurt, a delicious looking smoothie drink, and for lunch I’m going to buy fruit and make a fruit salad to keep in the fridge here.  I am definitely going to the gym tonight, and I’m going to play the CD’s every morning and evening on the drive home.  It’s time to get serious!

I also really need to start thinking of gifts.  I’ve been so preoccupied with school and work that I haven’t given much thought to anyone’s gift.  All I really know is that I can’t afford to give much.  I’m thinking of just making baskets for everyone.  It’s so much easier to think of little things that people might love instead of large, expensive things.  So we shall see.  I definitely want to do something special for M because he bought me the plane ticket for my gift.  He and I both know there is no way I can afford to get him something that expensive, but I want it to be special and something he’ll love.

Gotta get back to work!

Countdown December 7, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in Uncategorized.
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7 states you’ve been to.
Arizona
Maryland
Florida
Alabama
Massachusetts
New York
California

6 things you’ve done today: (in no particular order…)

begged for five more minutes of sleep to no avail
straightened my hair
sang and danced to The Beatles One to wake myself up in the car
went to Starbucks when that didn’t really work
read blogs
addressed more party invites

5 of your favorite things in no order.

love
TV
books that you wish would never end
nerds
nice pens

4 people you can tell [almost] anything to in no order..

M
Jess
Anna
my sister

3 things that make you smile.

Someone who’s cutting people off and speeding like a maniac getting pulled over
The Office
waking up in the wee hours of the morning and realizing you have hours left to sleep.

2 things you want to do before you die.
go to Europe
get married

1 one thing you can’t live with out
love

Closure December 7, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in family, home improvements, to friend or not to friend.
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Last night I had a talk with M’s sister, Karla.  A two hour, “let’s get out everything we’ve been wanting to say, even if this is really random,” talk.  I finally said “you know what, whatevs” and told her things I’ve wanted to tell her for a good two years.  That I think she’s been selfish and manipulative about things.  That she put her mom and brother in a really awkward position, and even if I did too, I never tried to make them choose like she did.  That most of the time I couldn’t stand being in the same room with her, and that’s why I spent so much time in my room.  That I busted my ass to make the house a home, and all anyone ever does is use my stuff, and never contributes or offers money, and because of it it’s hard to not feel like they’re using me.  That I felt like I was living with someone else’s family, and it was lonely.  That I was angry at her and her mom for abandoning all affection they had for me so quickly, and even if I’ve gotten past a lot of it, I’m still not over it and don’t know when I will be.

Miracle of miracles- she listened and understood.  She told me that I’ve been cold and distant, and it made living in the house miserable.  My response?   “Good.  That’s exactly what I wanted you all to be because that’s exactly what I was.”  I admitted that I went a touch overboard, and that I was rude at times and could have gone about things in a better way, but overwhelmingly I honestly feel that I was reacting to them, and I refuse to accept even half the blame.  And another miracle?  She agreed.  She said “you felt like we divorced you” and I told her that was exactly it.  She said that she wants me to feel like part of the family, and that when she talks about me, she refers to me as her sister or sister in law, and that for a long time she just didn’t understand why I was acting the way I was.  I told her that I did feel like part of the family for the first two years I was with M, and that’s why it hurt so much when they disregarded my side and my feelings.  I told her that I didn’t understand why, if family is so important, the fact that M loves me, and is happy with me, and that I’ve tried SO. DAMN. HARD. to be a good girlfriend to him means nothing unless I’m getting along with Karla.  I told her that I’m not a horrible person, and M doesn’t think I’m a horrible person, and that should count for something, right?  And she said they never thought I was a horrible person, they just didn’t understand why I was so cold.  But now she does, and she’s sorry for everything.  I told her that this conversation needed to happen before I got over my anger.  That she can’t just pretend everything is fine and expect me to do the same because I don’t work that way.  I need apologies.  I need explanations.  Sue me.  I can do the same, and admit when I’m wrong, so I need other people to suck it up and do the same.  I told her that it’s selfish of her to move out a year after we moved in because M and I cannot afford the house on our own.  She tearfully told me that she’s 30, and has dreams of having her own house.  I told her that we all have dreams, and that (no offense) but living with my boyfriends family isn’t what I thought I’d be doing at 22.  And M’s mom probably didn’t think she’d be divorced and have to rely on her kids.  But we all agreed and made the choice, and we all have to live with it.  She said she never thought of it that way, and that she’s not going anywhere without helping us until we can afford otherwise.

I finally feel what I’ve needed to feel regarding her- closure.  I relayed the conversation to M, and he seems happy that we finally had it out.  I’m happy too.

Blah December 6, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in meee, school, work.
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Work and school have been sucking the life out of me lately.  We’re having a holiday party at work, and I’ve spent the past week getting organized for it.  I even had to take some things home to work on, which is good cause I racked up some much needed hours.  But work has unfortunately left less time for studying and papers, which is MUCH needed.  I have a paper that’s already two days late and I’m still not finished, another story to write for journalism, finals next week, and literally hundreds of pages to read.  The fact that I just glanced at the clock at thought “ooh, good- its still early” when it’s 12:44 am and I need to wake up at 6 shows that I just may be losing it.

I really just want to be done with school already.  I try not to think about how if I would have just started when I was supposed to and not taken those three semesters off I would have graduated last semester.  *sigh*  Hindsight is 20/20.  Even now I think about taking another semester off just to give my mind a break.  But I know I would regret it, and it would only be putting off the inevitable.  I would love to fast-forward to five years from now just to see all this effort is even worth it.  M and I talked about school and money and what its worth this morning, and he pointed out that if you put so much effort and time and money into school, you better make sure that you get a job that makes it worthwhile.  He chose wisely, and I have no doubt whatsoever that it will pay off for him.  I, on the other hand, am full of doubts about my future career and salary.  I need to get serious about it.  And that means focusing on school right now, no matter how many late nights are needed.  But I tell ya…the number of hours I’m racking up in sleep debt is a hell of a lot higher than the amount I’ll make my first year out of college.  Le sigh…

Off to study…

The pros and cons of owning a home December 4, 2007

Posted by Sparkel in annoyances, home improvements.
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Pro: The obvious; you can paint, nail things onto the wall, do pretty much whatever you feel like as long as you fix it when you try to sell.

Con: You are responsible for anything that goes wrong. And the things that go wrong are never. cheap.

Pro: More obvious: the tax benefits, the money you hopefully accrue, the pride that comes with owning something vs. blowing money on something that will never be yours.

Con: Yeah…the whole “you’re financially responsible for everything” is worth two mentions. It really sucks.

Ever since we moved into the house, we’ve been forced to take half hot/half cold showers. As in the water will be gloriously warm for approximately three minutes, and then turn freezing and stay freezing even as you weep and corner yourself to the opposing wall and gingerly stick your body parts under one by one to rinse off soap. I’ve tried speed-showering, tried shutting off the water after I shampoo and rinse to allow the water heater to heat a few more precious gallons, and yeah…no matter what I do I find myself standing under a waterfall of what feels like ice. M doesn’t mind too much because he likes his showers to be lukewarm as is. Me? I like practically scalding hot water. For a good 15-20 minutes. I like to be able to lather/rinse/repeat, leave conditioner in to soak while I shave and soap up, and it is impossible to do all that needs to be done in under 10 minutes.

So, this morning I finally break down and try to call service people to see if there is a quick solution. They all give me the same answer: “We can replace your tank for the low low price of (enter slightly varying estimates of more than a few hundred dollars, that frankly, with still recovering from my half job month, the enormous dentist bill, the trip to El Salvador and Christmas AND bills, I just don’t have.)”

And suddenly I’m wistfully looking back at the days of my parents glorious (working) water heater that provided all the scalding water I craved, or the apartment where even if I had this problem, it would be someone else’s financial problem. It will work out. But it will suck, and leave another (albiet relatively small, considering I don’t live alone) hole in my wallet.

Money? Sucks.