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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sevens Up

Annabel Lee tagged me for the list of sevens below: 7 things I plan to do before I die: 1. Have a family. 2. Go back to Israel. 3. Travel to Europe (and beyond). 4. Plant a garden. 5. Watch the sun set over the ocean with someone I love. 6. Go up in a hot air balloon. 7. Make a difference in someone's life. 7 things I can do: 1. Sew. 2. Bake excellent cookies. 3. Be a good friend. 4. Drive a stick shift. 5. Calculus. 6. Spell. 7. Get ready in the morning in 20 minutes. 7 things I cannot do: 1. Drive in New York City. 2. Like tomatoes. 3. Pick out a melon (or cut them). 4. Be like everyone else. 5. Deal with closed-minded people. 6. Be a nurse - I hate needles! 7. Watch the news on television - it depresses me. 7 things that attract me to the opposite sex: 1. Intelligence. 2. Beautiful eyes. 3. Kindness. 4. A quick wit. 5. Willingness to try new things. 6. A great laugh. 7. Honesty. 7 things that I say most often: 1. Do what? 2. Awww. 3. Are you kiddding me? 4. Nuh uh. 5. Y'all. 6. Absolutely. 7. Huh? 7 celebrity crushes: 1. Brad Pitt. 2. Matthew McConaughey. 3. Jake Gyllenhaal. 4. Johnny Depp. 5. Matt Damon. 6. Richard Gere. 7. Goran Visnjic. 7 people I want to do this: I hate tagging people, so anyone who wants to consider themself tagged can feel free to do so, but one legitimate tag goes to the Princess in search of a tiara.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Unpacking Home

My house is beginning to become a home. I live in the main floor of a very cute little house, which is partially pink and partially white, with a dark brown roof. I decided sometime last week that a house with that much character needed a name. So when I was at a family Friday night and their daughter told me that I live in "the ice cream house" I decided that she was absolutely right, and the house's new name became "The Neopolitan." (For those who don't know, Neopolitan is the ice cream flavor that is strawberry, vanilla and chocolate all in one container.) So now my house feels loved and I feel like it belongs to me a bit more. The other big development in my journey towards making my apartment my home was the reunion between myself and my books. Last night I set up my bookshelf and methodically unpacked my boxes of books, going through each one. I can't tell you how happy I was to see some of them. Some of my books take me back to my childhood. The Secret Garden, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Velveteen Rabbit, Hans Christian Andersen Tales, all copies I have had since I was little, some of them pretty dog-eared at this point, having been read over and over throughout the years. I was reunited with what I call my nostalgia books, the ones I read over and over when I was a bit older that have stuck in my mind, and that I never could bring myself to get rid of. Things like Anne of Green Gables, Playing Beatie Bow, Sati and Little Women. I also found my classics that I am looking forward to reading - A Tale of Two Cities, Wuthering Heights, Walden and Watership Down. Finally, I found my Jewish books. My Stone Chumash, my machzorim, Pirkei Avos and many others. I can't tell you how much I had been missing my books. Reading has been such a huge part of my entire life; I don't know how people go to bed without a book at their side. I think back to times in my life and realize how the books I was reading at the time thread their way through my memories. Lots of Saturdays growing up were spent filled with hours spent at the library, checking out stacks of books and the anticipation of being read to sleep at night. Getting those books out of boxes and onto a shelf made me so happy. It is really starting to feel like home.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Comparison and Contrast

While I was walking to work this morning, I passed a Chasidic man. He was wearing a white shirt, black pants. His head was mostly shaved, though he had two long, curly peyos on either side of his cheeks. He wore a black, velvet kippa on his head. There was no mistaking the fact that he was a Chasidic Jew. I had to compare myself to him a little. I am wearing a long demin skirt, a long-sleeved skirt, sneakers. I often wonder if people would know by looking at me that I am an Orthodox Jew. Yes, I dress tznius - always covering knees, elbows and collarbone (at least pretty much). But I don't feel like I dress in a way that makes me stand out as frum. The Chasidic man wasn't an unusual sight - I work down the street from a well-known Chasidic-owned business. I have gotten a few questions from my co-workers about my religious habits because of the people they see around. I was thinking this morning about the differences there are between myself and my co-workers. And the differences there are between myself and these Chasidic Jews. And I am not so sure that I am have so much more in common with the Chasidic Jews than I do with my co-workers, which is weird. I can't eat a lot of the things that my co-workers eat. Milk and meat together, shellfish, pork. Chasidic Jews can't eat a lot of the things I eat. Non-Cholov-Yisroel dairy, non-Pas-Yisroel baked goods, non-Yoshon, certain hechshers that I hold by, gebraks on Pesach. I don't dress the same way my co-workers do. I can't wear pants, or short sleeves, or low-cut necklines. But Chasidic Jews won't dress the way I do. With bare legs, wearing sandals, some of the colors I wear. Even my mindset, very different from my co-workers, is probably just as different on many topics from the Chasidic Jews I see down the street from my office. So who am I more similar to? My co-workers or the Chasidic Jews I see? The Chasidic Jews who follow the same laws that I do...but in a very different manner. The Chasidic Jews who have a common purpose - fulfilling Hashem's will. But somehow it seems that the way they go about fulfilling that same purpose is very different from the way I go about it. I am not always sure that I do have more in common with other Orthodox Jews than I do with non-Jews. Though I feel like I should.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Look Below the Surface

I've been reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I mainly love Steinbeck for the beautiful way that he uses words, but his plots are extremely compelling also. On the bus this morning, I read a passage that took me by surprise, and also dovetailed with a lot of the things that have been on my mind lately also. The passage I read was about a Chinese servant who acts like he doesn't really speak or understand much English, but the truth is that he is well-educated and can speak as well or better than most American natives. And actually, he was born in the US. He opens up with one of the other characters and has a straight conversation about the fact that he hides his real intelligence and knowledge of American culture, because people want to see what they expect. They don't, and won't, see what they don't expect to see. Because they see a Chinese man, they want someone who can't speak English or know about American culture. (FYI - The book was written and set quite a few years ago, I think that American culture has moved beyond this particular stereotype at this point.) It made me think about all the expectations we have of people based on external things. Because someone is blond, we expect them to be ditzy. Because someone dresses a certain way, we expect them to behave accordingly, whether bad or good. And often in life, we play up to these expectations, never letting our real selves through because it is too hard to fight against and break through all these expectations. We also don't completely reveal ourselves. A friend of mine was telling me about a guy that people were trying to set her up with. She knew the guy and wasn't particularly impressed with him. But he has a blog, and she read it. And apparently he revealed a lot of his real self on his blog that he didn't in person. And she liked him more through his blog than she did in person. I wonder if I am like that also. If I am more real, or less real, on my blog than I am in person. If it reflects my real self. I know that in person, it sometimes takes time to get to know me, but I think it should. People are complex and shouldn't be "gotten" in a few minutes. It makes me wonder what is lying below the surface of those I interact with, what I am missing out on. What I am seeing because it is a reflection of my expectations. And what others are missing about me.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


It's been a rough morning. I am feeling a bit out of sorts - lots of stress starting to pile up. At work, I am starting to really get into my position, and I am feeling like I have no idea what I am doing. It is a difficult feeling, because I am used to being extremely competent, and right now I feel like I don't know anything. I am a bit lonely; I haven't really met anyone yet and while I am extremely grateful that I do have a couple friends who have been wonderful to me, I still very much feel like I don't belong. And I was given a request last night that I just don't know if I can handle. So everything all together is making me feel like I am wandering in the dark, trying to feel my way through, but bumping into things at every turn. I feel like I am floundering around, sometimes able to make it to my destination, but sometimes getting really sidetracked along the way. I know that all these feelings are normal - but unfortunately that doesn't make them easy to deal with. People keep reassuring me that things will be fine, but I just want them to be fine already. One of the supervisors at work was really nice and told me that while initially he was unsure whether they hired the right person, he is very happy with their decision now and that I will be able to manage just fine. Which was really nice. A man in the bus station told me to have a good day out of the blue. I am trying to focus on these things rather than my uncertainty and distress. But I am having a hard time. Sorry for the whine, it helps a bit to get it out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Out of Control

My bus was late this morning. When it finally did arrive, the seats were all full, so I had to stand the entire way to my stop, for over half an hour. Traffic was pretty bad, and then outside the bus station we sat outside waiting to get in, in back of another bus that just wasn't moving. So I ended up being about 15 minutes late for work, which I hate doing, especially with such a new job. And I had no control over it. While I was standing on the bus, frustrated, I tried to figure out exactly what about the situation was bothering me. Part of it was being out of control - there was absolutely nothing I could do to remedy the situation. But then I decided that the fact that I had no control should make me feel better - I couldn't help being late, it wasn't my fault. I also thought about the fact that if I were driving, I would probably be stuck in traffic as well, and I would still be late, and then I would feel like it was my fault, because I could have taken a different route or started earlier. But no,there was nothing I could do - I was at the bus stop on time, I was subject to the NJ Transit's limitations. I did the best I could. So when I finally walked into my office 15 minutes late,and the receptionist asked me how I was, I thought about giving him an earful - about how the bus was late, and I had to wait, and I hating being out of control. But I decided to spare him. Because there was nothing he could do about it either. And why should someone else have to be frustrated? It reminds me of the serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lessons from a Wedding

Please excuse all typos today - I have had very little sleep for the past few days and am trying very hard to function like a normal human being, but am not so sure I am doing a very good job. It was quite a weekend. Instead of the plans I had made to visit friends and have a relaxing Sunday and Monday, I ended up accompanying my friend who was getting married in her last minute arrangements for her wedding. It was really special spending her last night being single with her - trying to calm her down and make sure that she could enjoy her wedding. We ran around all day, pacifying family members and taking care of all the final details, and then finally took a late night swim before heading off to bed. I woke up at the crack of dawn (still half an hour later than my friend woke up) to try to soothe her nerves and jitters on the morning of the big day. She was a beautiful bride and the wedding was incredible, everything managed to come off with much simcha. I think I danced harder (my poor feet will attest to that fact) than I ever have before, and I really felt a part of the simcha, being there from the day before until almost everyone else had left. I am now convinced (even more than before) that there is a lot of reason for eloping, though I have to admit it really was awesome celebrating such a huge milestone with my friend. The other lesson I learned, and this is something that I have been picking up a lot recently, and was actually included in a d'var Torah I heard this past Shabbos, is that we all have our challenges in life, and they are different for each person. I have been very annoyed lately hearing friends complain about how rarely they receive visits from their parents, compared to siblings who have children. This is from people who speak to their parents on daily basis about just about every detail of their lives. It is hard for me to hear this kind of thing since my relationship with my family is so much more distant; I feel like these people have nothing to complain about. But then I look around and realize that while my family situation is my challenge in life, these friends of mine have their own challenges. I have many talents and gifts that Hashem bestows upon me, and some of the things that other people fight with are not a problem for me at all. It is important to keep perspective that while maybe someone else isn't struggling so much with family, they are struggling with something else. And that maybe a specific situation, while not extreme compared to my situation, is enough to really bother that other person, because they expect something different. Hashem gives each of us the challenges He knows we can handle - that has always been a powerful concept for me to keep in mind. He gives each of us the gifts and burdens that we are meant to have. So I am going to work on accepting my burdens with the knowledge that they were given for my growth, and try to learn the most I can from them.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Back to Baltimore

Wow! This week has flown by. Yesterday I had to keep reassuring myself that it was in fact Thursday already. So, in keeping with my theme of not spending a single weekend in Passaic (which I do hope to change soon), later today I am heading back to Baltimore for the weekend and a friend's wedding on Monday. It's a weird feeling. All of a sudden, I had to find a place to stay and become a guest in the community that was home just a few weeks ago. In the community where I often played the host. I have to pack up my stuff to go there, rather than to leave. I dread getting the same questions from everyone - how is it going? Did you find a job? Have you met many people? Etc. Etc. I hate feeling like I HAVE to make sure to see so many people while I am there, rather than knowing that I will be there next week to spend quality time with them. I didn't even tell a lot of people I was coming, because I knew I wasn't going to have a car while in town, so I couldn't drive around visiting those who I can't walk to see. I think what is so hard is that while I am getting adjusted to my new place, it still isn't quite home yet. And Baltimore is no longer home, so I don't feel like I have a home. When I was in college, some time after I had moved out, my family sold the house that I had lived in while in high school. I loved that house and really felt that it was home. I remember driving by that house again, and seeing the curtains that the new owners had put up, and feeling a sense of loss of home. Even though I hadn't lived there in a year or two, it was still home in my heart until I saw that it really wasn't anymore, that it was someone else's home now. So I have to apologize to Yenti Schwartz for not staying with her - but it makes me sad to even think about being in my home, but it not being home anymore. I am sure I will have a nice weekend in Baltimore, and enjoy seeing everyone who I have missed. And maybe when I come back to New Jersey, it will be a little more like home now.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


I started davening again. For a while now, I have had a very hard time getting myself to daven (pray) on a regular basis. I just didn't have the motivation, or the connection, to push myself to do it. Which bothered me a lot, because I used to daven every day without a problem. I used to not even think about not doing it, but once you get in a habit of something, it is easy to let it bother you less and less. But since I started my new job, I have had a 30-40 minute bus ride into the city every morning, and I decided to make use of that time to talk to Hashem. I know the bus is not the prime location to daven - I can't stand when I have to, it is not such a spiritual setting. But the fact that I am doing it is what matters to me at this point. I feel good about this new routine. Like I said, even though it is not the optimal location, and I know that I could do better, at this point, I am glad that I am taking a step forward. It's so hard sometimes to talk to someone who doesn't answer, at least not with words. But I came home yesterday stressed out, and in the mail were two pieces that I wasn't expecting, and I suddenly knew that Hashem is watching out for me and taking care of me. And while I need to work on my connection with him, and it falters sometimes, those few minutes I am spending in the morning are making a difference to me. So I am happy that I am finding it within me to daven again. And I hope it continues, and increases. It feels good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Final Warning

Yudel - If I receive one more comment on this blog from you, the alias I used above will be replaced with your full name, address and phone number. I will contact your rav, Shul, landlord, neighbors, and employer and tell them that you have been harassing me for the past year and have refused to stop despite repeated requests. Please leave me alone. Shoshana

My New Job

I started my job on Monday. It is always hard getting into a new job - acclimating yourself, learning everyone's names, finding your way around, and most of all - understanding what you are doing. I was used to being the "expert" in my last job - I knew what I was doing, I had a lot of knowledge about the subject matter, and I knew who or where to go to find answers to my questions. So it is hard to come into a completely new place and have to learn everything from scratch. Especially in my situation, where the industry I am now working in is completely different from any I have worked before. My first day, for the first half of the day, I sat there wondering if I had made the right decision about jobs. I felt like a fish out of water, and I was floundering. But then I went into my boss's office to ask her a question, and completely unrelated, she gave me a speech about how important it was to do a good job, be fair, and be nice. She told me that money is good, but how we treat our customers, employees and everyone else we come in contact with is more important. She said that the people who work in our company are all good, kind, friendly people. Then she said she thought I would fit into that well. Suddenly, I felt like I was in the right place. It is a great feeling. On my third day, I still have a ton to learn, and it is slow going. But I feel good about working here, I think it is a good environment and that I made the right decision. And that makes it easy to come to work.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Advice Requested

I am asking my blog readers for help. I have been dealing with a situation for over a year now, and have not yet managed to resolve it. Here is the story: I have a reader who began writing to me innocuously. His enthusiasm and feedback for my blog and writing was interesting and thought-provoking. I welcomed his correspondence and comments, as they led to interesting discussion. But then, things got personal. Feelings were apparently hurt when this reader's advances were not accepted. The reader started leaving angry, hurtful and inappropriate comments on my blog. I politely asked the reader to stop, several times, and it did not happen. Now, a year later, all comments left by this person are deleted, so no one out there reading would know what is going on. But I am tired of it, tired of playing a game where there is no winner. Even though this person has shrouded his true identity in a cloak of anonymity, I have managed to discover his full name, phone number, address, place of business and other personal details. He has been warned once again to leave me alone but to no avail. The harrassment has continued. So, here is where I am soliciting advice from my readers - what do you think I should do? Should I continue deleting his comments in silent protest? Should I reveal his true identity to the blogosphere, and ask my blog-friends to do so also, in perhaps discovering that I am not alone in this harrassment, or at least in hopes of deterring this person from doing the same thing to someone else? Any other suggestions? I hate trying to hurt someone, I hate striking back, or exacting revenge, but I am at my wit's end. It has gone on long enough. It is time for it to stop. What should I do?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Lakewood Reflections

Lots has happened since my last post. Today I start a new job - and I am sorry to disappoint all my commentors, but I went for the money. There was just too big a difference in salary between the two positions (they were both in the city, so commute was not an issue), and the truth is, I decided it would be nice to be comfortable for a while. I won't be in this job forever, it is just to get me through school, and the position I chose will actually be less hours and more flexible with my schedule, so I went for it. Wish me luck! I spent the weekend in Lakewood with a friend and her family. It was an interesting experience. My friend is Sephardi, and she has quite a few loud, rambunxious brothers, which made me miss mine quite a bit. I slept better than I had the entire previous week, got all rested up for the big week ahead. While I was in Lakewood, I visited another friend of mine who lives there. In contrast to the friend I stayed with, this other friend is pretty characteristic of the typical Lakewood wife. Her husband learns in the kollel, she has two babies crawling around, they live in the basement of a house. They have very little money, but I guess they are living a Torah-true lifestyle. The problem is, I look at them, and just don't see them being especially happy. They kind of manage to get by, I think with some help from their parents, but I feel their lifestyle is more ascetic than merely simple. Their marriage, which I initially thought wonderful, has run to being more perfunct and devoid of excessive interaction. They are both exhausted from their various activities (baby-chasing for her, learning Torah until wee hours for him), and don't have time for much else. Their lives have become such that they don't have that much to share with each other, besides diapers. Maybe I am looking at it with the wrong view. I am not a big proponent of every married man learning in kollel for years upon years. I don't believe you have to live in luxury, but I think there is something to earning some kind of parnossah and supporting a family. I think parenting is a joint effort, and that children should see their fathers more than just on Shabbos. And as valuable as learning Torah is, I don't think it is a substitute for living life. I think the two go together. I want my friend to be happy. Maybe I am wrong, and she really is; maybe I am projecting how I think I would feel upon her. But I want more.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Decisions, Decisions

I never thought I would be the type to go for money. I have been interviewing like crazy, and I have two really good, viable options for jobs. The first is with a Jewish organization whose mission and purpose are outstanding. They manage to combine several of my interests - Jewish heritage and history, education, archiving information. The person I would report to is extremely sharp, very knowledgable and incredibly impressive. She speaks several different languages, feels strongly about preserving Jewish heritage and knows how to make connections and work with people. She would be a tough boss, but once I got to know her, probably very good to me. The position itself would be okay, probably a bit repetitive, and would require some extra hours. I wouldn't mind the extra hours so much because I would really believe in what I was doing. I would have all the Jewish holidays off, along with getting out early on Friday during the winter, in addition to normal vacation time. The second job is with a company who beautifies New York City. In other words, they do landscaping. My boss is an interesting woman, a little spacey. The atmosphere is extremely laid-back and casual; everyone is extremely friendly, every person who walked past me said hello when I came in for the interview. The job itself would probably keep me fairly busy; there would be a variety of things to do there. It probably wouldn't require all of my brain power, but I have to save something for blogging. I wouldn't be incredibly interesting in what the company itself does, though I do support any effort to beautify New York City - I am actually very impressed by the fact that New York works so hard to preserve its patches of green. My boss is Jewish, though not observant. She is going to really like me, and be really nice to me. I would have to use my vacation time for the Jewish holidays, and work through my lunch break in order to leave early on Fridays. The first job is the organization I would really feel good about working for (though the job itself probably wouldn't be incredibly stimulating). The second one would be okay, I probably wouldn't hate it, but it definitely wouldn't feel as meaningful. Of course, the second job is offering a much higher salary. I want to say that money is unimportant, but I do have to be able to support myself. I hate making a decision based on money. I wish there wasn't such a discrepancy between the two, because I honestly would take a slightly lower salary to have a meaningful job. But my head is telling me I can't be silly, I need to go with the green. I wish money didn't matter at all. Or that the places you felt the best about could afford to pay what the others did. What would you do?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Making new friends and meeting new people is so hard. I feel like I keep offending someone inadvertently, and I don't know how to fix it. I feel like this person is taking the things I say, and actions I make, the wrong way. I feel like she thinks I don't like her, or don't want to hang out with her, but it's not the case, I just am an independent person who doesn't want to rely on others. I hate walking on eggshells, which I feel like I am doing, and I am having to do it when I am not at my best. Some people are just so much easier to get along with than others. Some people you just really connect with, are easy-going, and don't get upset by little things. They understand when you just want to curl up in a ball and hide. That it is not a reflection on them, there are just other things going on that are interfering with your ability to be sociable. I don't know how to balance things - that elusive balance that is so hard to achieve in so many aspects of life. I feel like I am always chasing balance.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Selling Myself

AKA - How Searching for a Job and Dating are the Same Since my move, I have been searching for a job. Being the Internet enthusiast that I am, I have been scouring the different big websites - Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com - along with some of the smaller Jewish sites and message boards. I can't even count how many resumes I have sent out, with quite a few calls back. But the interactions I have with those from whom I am seeking a job is so interesting. There are the recruiters and headhunters who try to shmooze you and tell you how wonderful and amazing you are - and then try to sell you on a position that is of no interest to you and pays much less than you can live off of. I worked in a headhunting office at one point, and the phoniness was more than I could swallow. Still, you never know where a job will come from, so you continue to smile and nod, and be polite while they give you advice that you don't really want. Then there are the actual interviews. For the jobs you really want. You have to get all dolled up, do your research on the position, be super-sweet and give them the answers they are looking for. In other words, you have to sell yourself. Which I have just never been incredibly comfortable with. I like being sincere, honest and authentic. When someone asks me what my weaknesses are, I hate trying to turn it around and make it into a positive. I want to tell the person, "I am not the most detail-oriented, I sometimes do things in a rush and I don't like working as part of a team, I would rather do things myself and get it done." But I can't do that in an interview. I hate getting dressed up in "professional attire" and putting on pantyhose and heels. Why does what I wear make a difference? I still have the same skills and complete the same tasks if I show up in a denim skirt (which was one of the incredible benefits to working in my last office). In dressing this way, I feel like I am not being myself, like I am putting on a show. How can a potential employer get to know what I would really be like when all they see is the facade? All of these frustrations turn up in dating as well. In first meeting someone, you are so careful to say the right thing, to impress, to not let your guard down. You try to please. You get dressed up, put on your make-up, and try to not let the person see through the veneer to your fears and insecurities inside. At least not at first, not during the initial "interview" period. But the truth is, for both job interviews and dating, you would be better off if you could be yourself, if your true strengths and weaknesses could come out, if you could let your guard down. Because then maybe you could talk reality - and discover whether things are a good fit or not. See if you could work together and create a symbiotic (wotd alert) relationship. But often it just never gets that far - you never get down to the real you, your authentic self, the relationship that could be. The pretending gets in the way. Or maybe it just wasn't meant to be in the first place. But with interviewing - and dating - I wish I could just be myself and get comfortable.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Back from Detroit

I am back in New Jersey after a weekend in Detroit where I managed to not get a Slurpee (but did enjoy some good pizza). I stayed with a friend and her family. They welcomed me with open arms, tons of food and a warm home. I have been feeling a bit off ever since my move, and my friend was there to support every minute of the weekend, with thoughtful words, hugs and just taking care of me. I have to admit to being a bit jealous of my friend and her relationship with her very close-knit, supportive family. She has a very large family, and they have an incredible relationship. Her parents are really amazing; they have encouraged their children to explore the avenues that they find interesting. They have a vast knowledge base that they love to share, and they value learning and seeking. They are unafraid of those different from them, and as my friend told me several times, they look at the whole person, not just the externals, a lesson that my friend has learned from them and teaches others on a regular basis. They teach their children to think and to dare to be themselves. In turn, their children show them an amazing amount of respect. I told my friend that I was very inspired by the way I saw her interacting with her parents. She told me that some parents make it easy to respect them. My weekend with my friend and her family gave me the push to want to work harder on myself, which is a feeling that I have been lacking lately. I just hope I can make that inspiration last.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Getting Adjusted

Since I moved here, my cat has been hiding under my bed. He is a big cat, so he doesn't fit easily under the bed, but apparently that has become preferable to facing the rest of the world. I kind of know how he feels. I haven't been hiding under my bed (because I definitely wouldn't fit!) but part of me wants to just crawl into a corner and curl up in a ball all by myself. The other part of me is wandering around a bit aimlessly, needing to get out of my new apartment and explore what is around me. Except that I don't know my way around yet, so I don't know where to go. One of my new roommates showed me around a little bit yesterday. Friends have been calling to see how I am doing. I have gotten several e-mails checking up on me. I love all the contact and really thrive on it right now. For someone who needs a good bit of alone time each day, right now I am enjoying every second of interaction. I am unpacking bit by bit, putting stuff away, finding new places for things, organizing and adjusting and putting my own touches on the place. It is weird to put personal items into an apartment that I don't see as mine yet - I still feel like a guest here. I hope it will be my home soon. I am taking inventory of the positive things here - I have an actual bathtub, and the washer and dryer is full-size, rather than a mini one in the kitchen. The apartment has beautiful hardwood floors and lots of personality. That's a few things. I needed something to look forward to, so I am off to Detroit for the weekend, where I am told there are a lot of Slurpees to be had (and I am going at the right time of year for Slurpees). When I come back, it is time to make New Jersey home. Or at least stop hiding under the bed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mixed Bag

It is amazing how you can have such mixed feelings about something. I received a call yesterday from someone who I thought was gone from my life, and part of me was really excited, relieved and happy to hear from that person. The other part of me was frustrated and annoyed that I had to deal with them again. Because there are some people in your life that are such a mixed bag - on one hand they do so much for you, but on the other, they add a lot of stress to your life. How can one person do both at once? But the truth is, the more I think about it, the more people I realize who are like that in my life. Most of the time, my friends enhance my life and make it wonderful. But there are other times, when they are going through hard times, or when they are just not acting in positive ways, when they cause me more stress than they relieve. I wonder if people feel the same way about me - probably they do, I guess.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Being A Shoulder

I went to sleep telling myself that I didn't feel as stressed or anxious as I should have, that I actually felt a bit settled in. It's now 4:45 in the morning; I have been awake for a while. I guess I was kidding myself. I have lots of stuff in my head - my unpacking, job hunting, my poor terrified cat, trying to make friends here, the concern that I will have a hard time carving my niche (I have given up on really fitting in). But what I think is keeping me up right now is a friend and her troubles. I had a long talk with her yesterday, and many things came out that I didn't know were going on. She is really struggling, and not sure what decisions she will make or what the outcome will be. I am the first person she has spoken to, and I don't know what to tell her. It scares me immensely. I know why she feels she can talk to me, but I feel like I am the wrong person, that I am not the role model she needs right now. And I can't even tell her why. I want to be there for her, to be strong, to say the right things. But I don't know what they are, and I can't lie to her and try to be something I am not. I wish I could sometimes, because maybe the words from someone who I am not would be the right ones. At least they would be better than telling her that I don't know what to tell her. I can offer her unending support and caring and friendship. But I don't know that I can offer her the right guidance, and I think she really wants some, though of course, ultimately, her decision is only up to her. I feel helpless in watching her struggle and it really hurts me, because I know what it is like to be faced with a decision. A decision where you know what the "right" thing to do is, but that is not what you want. And the road to what you want seems insurmountable. I don't know how to help, and I hate that - I want to be a good friend. Can I be a good friend if I don't know what to say?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Home Sweet New Jersey

Ok, so this is not my actual room at the moment, but this is pretty much what it looks like. I made it to New Jersey, with a few twists and turns along the way (maybe more about that later). I think you really discover who your true friends are when you move - and I have great ones! Thank you very much to everyone who helped along the way, and especially to the one person who was there from beginning to end (you know who you are). I have a lot of work to do to make it home, but I am getting there, step by step. Have a great week!