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Apr. 8th, 2009

mayercraft was GRREEEAAATTT... a hazy blur of a weekend, but great, nonetheless. thank god for cameras.

i'm surprised that i've talked about politics as much as i have on here, because i hate discussing that kind of stuff. but i have one more thing i need to say. it seems so obvious to me that the clear difference between modern day democrats and modern day republicans is selfishness. i know our country provides more opportunity for education and advancement than others in the world, but recently it seems to me that the abundance of options had resulted in disparities that have widened. there is no more compassion for people that are truly just down on their luck. now obviously there will always be people who find ways to abuse and cheat the system, but for the sake of someone who works hard and is genuinely struggling and needs someone to cut them a break, is it really necessary for some people to just amass more and more wealth? are we really entitled to have everything we can afford to buy? is that 16th hummer really necessary right now? we talked this week in legal aspects of planning about putting into place basic, across the board "consumption" limits with astronomical fees for wasteful practices. i think that this could potentially be something very useful in future planning, and general life.

i know that there are all sorts of social reasons why we need it, but i wish money wasn't such a big deal. our whole lives, from the second we are conceived, to the time we die, from when we wake up, to when we go to bed, are determined by the amount of money available to you. it determines the level of care and nutrition that you receive as a baby, and the quality of education you receive as a child, teenager and young adult. it amazes (and disgusts) me that in a land with SO much money and abundance of resources that there are still people living in so much poverty. i'm not trying to say that socialism is the answer, but i think we need to do a better job in our own country, and then across the world, about establishing a basic standard of living/housing and nutrition and safety in all places. it breaks my heart everytime i drive to school and see homeless army veterans begging for food and money on the offramps of 95. people that served our country and put their lives on the line, so disrespected by their own countrymen.

on mayercraft, the returners were invited to a Q&A session with John, and he mentioned that one of his top priorities in the coming months is to work on the reintegration projects of soldiers back into civilian society. he talked about how these people have been trained to think and act in a certain way, and how they are forever changed, and perhaps even scarred, for the rest of their lives about the things that they have seen and experienced in the past few years of war. that these people will need to find jobs, and reconcile their past experiences, and perhaps undergo intensive therapy with their families. the past few years won't just go away for them; they have memories that might be sad, and ugly, and undesirable, and that they have to carry with them for the rest of their lives. because they cared, and put themselves on the line, and fought for others. it made me cry to listen to him, and i was sort of embarrassed that i did, but i honestly couldn't help it. i think he touched on a level of caring for your fellow citizens that is really difficult to find in today's age of "me, me and me", and it moved me. not that he's perfect. nor that i am. but it's an important dialogue that isn't being discussed enough, and badly needs to be... i think he's one of the ones that has his head screwed on right, and that i can respect. people give him so much shit for being goofy, and acting weird and "douche-baggy" sometimes. but life is too short to be worried about whether everyone likes you. all you can worry about is whether you like yourself, and those around you and who are close to you.

so, the basics. that's what i stand for, as a planner.

on cake, and related subjects...

i love decorating cakes.

i LOVE ace of cakes.

I'M IN LOVE with geoff on ace of cakes.


love affair with miami beach...

i love the city of miami beach.

one of my friends from springfield was down on vacation, and we made plans to have lunch in south beach where she was staying. she flaked out on my way down, but i had made up my mind that i would spend the day in miami, so i went anyway. it was lovely...

first of all, every time i go, i die a little inside as i pass the houses on alton road on the right, right when you get off I-195... so beautiful. it is my goal to live in a house like that some day. so i drove around a bit, trying to figure what i would do, and eventually found a little parking lot a (tiny) block off lincoln road. i had NO idea it was so inexpensive to park in south beach, after hearing so many horror stories, and also paying a LOT when i had gone with other people. anyway, adorable, shaded, close, little parking lot, unfortunately- for me as a planner interested in MT planning- an absolute pleasure to park. so after i put my money in the meter and displayed my ticket in the dash, i skipped on over to lincoln road, and almost immediately bought an organic eggplant for a dollar from a vegetable vendor. super effin' chill. i took my time, sauntered down the road, admired jewelry, and special teas, orchids, fresh fruits. i walked in and out of the unexpectedly smooth mixture of boutique shops, chain stores, and tourist havens. i read the menus of the many restaurants, cafes and bakeries that dotted the street mall, my mouth watering at the descriptions of food, and admiring the many drink specials (and advertisements for hookah!). i watched people: children, parents, babies, teenagers, young adults, couples, friends, people alone, older people. an adorable waiter smiled and flirtatiously said, "ciao, bella." to me as i walked by, and i felt chic and beautiful in my cute little skirt, tank and flats outfit. i meandered on... as i made my way back up lincoln road on the opposite side, i passed an orchid seller, who had humongous, flowery orchids for $15. insane. i selected two, and felt even cooler toting the exotic blossoms. by this time, it was 2:30, and i was pretty hungry. i stopped at a cafe that was connected to a store called booksandbooks, and had a nice sit-down lunch alone, of a vegetarian chicken sandwich with avocado, onion and tomato with a coke. DEElish. when i was finished my sandwich, i realized i was 20 minutes over my parking limit, so i paid my bill and peaced. i enjoyed the little walk to my tucked away parking secret, sure that a parking ticket would greet me. when i got to my car, i was pleasantly surprised to find my window ticket-free. and so ended my lovely day in south beach.

miami beach is perfect. it doesn't try to be anything that it isn't. it's chaotic, and yet comforting. there are extremes of reveling in wealth, and affordability (in a select few places). beautiful landscaping, bright, exciting colors, mediterranean/spanish/modern facades, walkable neighborhoods, a gorgeous beach, huge, shady trees, colorful built environment, fun and interesting people, day life, night life, vibrant, full of life. it is a place i would like to live someday, even if it's just for 6 months. in no particular order, besides the top two:

1. center city, philadelphia
2. new york
3. washington d.c.
4. portland
5. copenhagen
6. lisbon
7. miami beach
8. chicago
9. atlanta
10. boston
11. seattle
12. new orleans
12. austin
13. san francisco
14. paris
15. london
16. rome
17. dublin
18. sydney
19. vienna
20. los angeles

i really just need to find a way to be wealthy, so that i can live in every major cosmopolitan city for a year at a time, and take photographs, and publish a book of my city photographs.

unrelated, but i'm watching unfaithful on tbs (diane lane is so pretty) and i'm a little sad that cell phones have made payphones obsolete. also, insanely hot sex scenes. geez.

i'm also a little sad i had no one to go out with for a st. patrick's day beer. i also miss my dad, he loves st. patrick's day. i want to make him a card to tell him how much i enjoyed going to the st. patrick's day parade every year as a child. it's weird that i probably won't ever live with my parents again...
i went to see girl talk tonight. and though the throbs of inappropriately gyrating florida youth detracted from my experience, my life is forever changed.

for those of you who have not had the pleasure of experiencing girl talk yet, i will tell you that he is a biomedical engineer come dance/electronic/mash-up artist that takes samples of all kinds, across all genres and decades, and layers them together into his own original songs. i had heard about him from friends and friends of friends, listened to a few songs on youtube, and thought, this is kind of cool, it will be fun to see him live.

oh my god.

nothing could really have prepared me for what i experienced tonight. he came on, and did a quick round of dancing around the stage, getting everyone pumped up, and then invited the crowd to join him on stage, which i thought was really cool. unfortunately, a lot of young kids with the intention of behaving badly on stage ran up first. what can you do?

the energy in that room was insane. it was wild and chaotic, and at the same time, though i wasn't close enough for him to even notice me, i felt like i was having a close, personal moment with greg gillis. the way he hears and then takes apart songs spoke to my heart. watching him close his eyes and just feel the beat thrilled me. the way he leaned in and just clapped made me crazy. i could feel that he was up there, not to put on a killer show, per se, but just because he LOVES the music, and wants so badly to share it. my absolute favorite moments were the rare ones when he could break away from the laptop, and just was looking for someone around him to dance with.

he just wanted everyone in the room to have fun.

the only way i could have enjoyed this more is if it weren't an all ages show. the couples making out all around me, and the inappropriately dancing young girls on stage that were grabbing at him, i could have done without. i did my best to block them out.

so i came home, and like the diligent cyber stalker i am, i instantly googled him, and found a great interview conducted by this magazine called pitchfork. after reading the whole thing, i determined my favorite part was reading him talk about pop music. it was so refreshing to see that he shares my opinion on the pop vs. indie debate. because really, who cares how popular a song is, or how "cool" it is to listen to an underground indie band. a good song makes people feel something, plain and simple. being pretentious and acting "cooler than thou" because "i listen to unknown, indie artists" is so stupid to me. like something because you like it. not because no one else does.

i want to see him again. at a 21 and up show. hopefully people will behave more appropriately.

i want to jump and dance with greg gillis someday. and be his friend.

23 is looking better...

i feel bad for writing mean things the other day. i was really on an emotional roller coaster that day. my birthday was really nice, and i'm really lucky that i had friends that were with me and planned to do something with me on my birthday...

on friday, spent the day sort of being distant. but i'm not one to hold grudges. lauren met her parents for dinner, so claire wanted to make dinner for us. we drove to target, and she bought stuff to make pasta with gorgonzola cream sauce, with roasted tomatoes and pine nuts in oil, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. it was DELICIOUS. we watched step up, the dance movie, after, and it was ridiculously perfect.

the next morning, lauren and i drove palm beach gardens to see claire's watershow, and it felt like old times. we both got inappropriately silly during the national anthem. i had to walk away from her. it was fun...

last night, jenny and angela took me out for birthday drinks at chilis. they are really nice friends. i was nervous that it might get awkward, and that we would run out of things to talk about, but it was really nice. claire came too, i picked her up from the train... i felt bad for claire that we talked about the cruise a lot, but we're all getting really excited, i think... time to start packing...

i love sundays. sunday is my absolute favorite day of the week, even on top wednesday, which is lost day. at home going to church on sundays is nice. i love sunday afternoon naps. i like sunday errands. i like sunday cooking for the week. i like taking a day to clean, do laundry, get organized, and making a plan for my week. there's something special about getting a weekly fresh start...

mmmmm... great day.

today was a great day. andi and katja from my post petroleum planning workshop exchange program stayed over our apartment last night, and this morning, katja and i went to the free saturday morning surf lessons at island water sports in deerfield beach that i found for andi months ago.

i was apprehensive, a little fearful of paddling out far, and pretty positive i wouldn't really like it, but it was AMAZING. i felt so alive bobbing around in the water on a surfboard, and so badass riding a wave, pulling myself up, even falling off the board into the water. on my third or fourth try, i was able to pull myself up for a solid fifteen seconds (which is a long-ass time when you're just gliding ON WATER)... it was SO COOL. i felt silly for living so close to the beach for the past four and half years, and only going to the beach for enviro club clean-ups. i've been to the beach for pleasure less than 10 times in the past four years, and that's sad, because i do enjoy it, and not everyone who enjoys it is so lucky to live so close. i've decided that i'm not going to live in florida for the rest of my life, so i need to take advantage of living so conveniently close to the beach.

it was cool having katja there, it was nice to have a buddy. she was really good, and very nice in helping out a first timer (she had taken a week of surf lessons once before, when she lived in spain). the surf instructors and staff were super nice too, really knowledgeable and helpful; you could tell they were just passionate about surfing. all these years, i never understood what the big deal about surfing was, but now i'm sort of itching to get back on a board. i liked how physical strenuous it was, really using my whole body.

when we came home, and after breakfast, andi started strumming on one of our guitars a few riffs of jack johnson's better together and that, coupled with the surfing, put me in a jack mood for the whole rest of the day. it was GREAT. love that jack.

anyway, the other reason it was a good day was because i ate so well all day. this morning, i made cinnamon streussel muffins from a box for the austrian and the german, and they were DELISH. i had mine with whipped cream, and made coffee to drink. lunch was sort of a low point, i had some of lauren's leftover pizza from last night, which was not really a GOOD food for me to eat, but it tasted good, with a little hot sauce. mmm. the icing on the cake was the black bean quesadilla i made for dinner. mmmmm. with salsa and sour cream, and a dr. pepper. and for dessert, i made a 30-second "banana's foster"-esque dessert: banana slices with melted caramel sauce, and a little vanilla heath crush ice cream. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. i feel so good right now. so gross, but so good.

so totally going to the gym tomorrow. i ate zero organic things today... let's see how i'm doing with the rest of my resolutions...

1. still haven't started exercising yet, first thing tomorrow morning. forrealz this time. i'm on a physical activity kick from surfing today.
2. get a cool chair for my desk - not yet
3. get (or make) a cool lamp for my bedside table. - not yet
4. finish my picture frame wall. - lots more progress made, i would say less than a quarter of wall space left. i just need to paint a few of those black 8 x 10 frames i bought
5. finish paying down credit card debt. - bah. my situation is messier than i thought. but luckily, even though i missed out on a lot of babysitting this month because of PPP workshop, i'm still making SOME progress. but i might need to ask daddy for some help.
6. get straight As. - semester is still going pretty great. my group gave a great final presentation for PPP; petra said it was the "most visionary" of the four presentations, and dr. prosperi had nothing of substance to criticize about what we had to say. and he said he liked our presentation, and that it was evident that we were the only group that did a significant amount of work since our 2nd glimpse. guess it pays to get off to a slow start. i was really angry about being left in a group with clif, who i had nothing in common with as far as how we see the world. and though he was sort of immature at times, and difficult to work with, i felt really accomplished giving that final presentation, having gone through all that struggle; balancing izabela and her sky high ideas, and clif's inability to think outside of our south florida bubble. plus, cara and my surprise ice cream party was great, even if wolfgang was a lame-o and missed it.
7. visit priya/family every two weeks. - i went to regi-acha and blossom chachi's a month ago and slept over, and made lunch for them. it was really great. made me realize even more how much i miss them in my life. i barely had time to sleep these past two weeks, so it was really realistic for me to go see them during all that, but i'm excited about having free time during spring break to go see them all.
8. make effort on doing hair and makeup everyday. - i bought a $20 hair straightener and i've been straightening my hair almost every day, and it looks fab. love love love it. make up, sometimes, which is better than never. i would say yes for all big occasions...
9. polish fingernails and toenails weekly (sundays?). - i've been doing pretty well with this. not polishing quite weekly, but pretty frequently still
10. go to church. - not a realistic goal anymore, the fort lauderdale church that i had planned to go to meets in miami now.
11. learn a new word everyday. - legal aspects of planning has been teaching me so many new words...
12. listen to a cd that i already own in its ENTIRETY - this has been tough with the cd player in my car on the fritz. SO. FRUSTRATING. maybe i should just get a new one. but i need to "replace my fuel gasket first, apparently"... $30 part, $65 labor... BAH. hate that...

i cannot wait to go to vienna. SO, SO excited. peace out, peeps.

i miss my parents...

i called home tonight when i got home from school, and my grandmother picked up and told me that my parents went out and wouldn't be home until 10:30... i was a little confused because my parents rarely go out like that... so my mom called me when they got home and told me that she and my dad went on a date tonight to celebrate valentine's day tonight instead of tomorrow (i think they're both working tomorrow)... they went to see slum dog millionaire, and then went out to dinner at an indian restaurant that they found while they were driving home... my mom ordered mango lassi on a whim and when the bill came the waiter said it was on the house:)... those crazy, wild kids. i miss them. they really are the coolest people i know... it makes me so happy that that after 26 years that they still really genuinely enjoy spending time together.

i wish i could have gone with them.
"no white, no ivory, nothing that says virgin. i have a child- the jig is up!"

miranda is my favorite...

can you stand the rain?

Status on resolutions...

1. haven't started exercising yet, due to temporary physical limitations, but definitely this week, possibly tuesday? i am eating healthy or organic foods for the most park, including lots of fruit
2. get a cool chair for my desk - not yet
3. get (or make) a cool lamp for my bedside table. - not yet
4. finish my picture frame wall. - YES! progress made, thought not completed...
5. finish paying down credit card debt. - i'm getting organized and making a financial plan for myself...
6. get straight As. - semester is off to a good start so far...
7. visit priya/family every two weeks. - watched 24 with reni-cha tonight. it was GREAT.
8. make effort on doing hair and makeup everyday. - not quite yet, but i will try for tomorrow morning.
9. polish fingernails and toenails weekly (sundays?). - not yet:(.
10. go to church. - nope.
11. learn a new word everyday. - yes! incongruous...
12. listen to/check out a new artist/band daily. - i would like to ammend this to to read "listen to a cd that i already own in its ENTIRETY." that's a little more important to me, i've realized.

i've started painting a base color on a canvas that i intended for bathroom art decor when i moved in; still debating how i should design it, but it should be finished that by this week. so yay for that. i set up my tv in my room, now that we have lauren's parents' big tv out in our living room. it's been super weird, but nice. also, i set up a wired contraption to store and display my dangly earrings, which is a nice addition to my closet. i brought to the apartment a new tapestry to use as a bed cover (from home, i bought it this past summer from urban outfitters) to give my room a fresh look for spring, and i love it. i've reorganized some parts of my room (not all, yet), but i like the way it's shaping up (6 months later, i know). also, i've finally purchased some posterboard to line my shoe rack so that i can put heels on it, like i originally intended, and i love that part of my room. it's great, now that i have a dealer named jesse in my life. a shoe dealer... get your mind out of the gutter!

i haven't made much progress on a lot of my goals, but for about a week in, out of 52, i'm ok with my progress. i'm mostly excited that i actually just finished a book that i started reading for pleasure; my friend natalie lent it to me. it's called unaccustomed earth, by jhumpa lahiri (you may remember her from such hits as the namesake). resolution 13 (though it actually has much higher priority) - read for pleasure a little bit each day...

i found this on youtube last night, and haven't really wanted to stop listening to it yet. definitely stuck in my head. when justin sings those lyrics, it's almost as if he's singing directly into my heart, i feel them so deeply. he positively amazes me. so enjoy.

new year, new goals...

happy, happy 2009.

my resolutions for the new year...

1. lose 20 pounds (exercise regularly [daily?] & and eat (mostly) all organic or all natural foods)
2. get a cool chair for my desk
3. get (or make) a cool lamp for my bedside table.
4. finish my picture frame wall.
5. finish paying down credit card debt.
6. get straight As.
7. visit priya/family every two weeks.
8. make effort on doing hair and makeup everyday.
9. polish fingernails and toenails weekly (sundays?).
10. go to church.
11. learn a new word everyday.
12. listen to/check out a new artist/band daily.

all of these goals are doable. let's see how it goes.