Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New plan

I have been looking for jobs lately.  A lot.  And I have applied to many.  However, there are not THAT many out there within the field that I am looking.  I think I have already applied to all the development and grant writing jobs in the twin cities area... some even a bit outside the cities.
First step: expand my options.  What else would I be good at?  What else could lead to a position that I would like?  Where the heck do I apply?
Step one needs a little work... I know what I want to do (grant writing) but I don't know what the second option would be... and it literally could be just about anything! 
Step two: hit up all my contacts.  This one is already in process... but I am waiting til after the holidays to followup with most of them.  I know a few grant writers, a few people that work in nonprofits, and a few people that work for foundations.  At the very least, I would get more ideas of where to look for jobs, or what other types of jobs would make for good experience. 
Step three: Look in surrounding areas.  Most of the jobs that I really want, and, well, jobs in general, are in the cities... but there are a few in Duluth, or Rochester... and even though I don't really want to live in those areas, it would be temporary.

Now, these last few are my fall back plans... or secondary, if you will...
Step four: Look for jobs in other states.  The majority of nonprofit and foundation work is found in large cities... there are a lot in NY.  I will not live there.  I would not survive... but, I sure wouldn't mind living in San Francisco for awhile :)  and there are plenty of other cities that I would consider for a year or two.
Step Five: (I like this one) Move to Hawaii and work in my cousins restaurant if I can't find a job.
Step Six: (I like this one even more)  Go to Europe.  Backpack.  Work where and when I can.  Have fun.  Be poor... In Europe :)

Since my internship is now over, and I will only be working a maximum of five days a week now (instead of seven), my new 'job' is going to be job searching and applying.  I am going to make myself spend as much time doing that as I would working at the children's museum.  That's two days of work. ..  If I do that, I think that I will find a job. 
Also, to prevent myself from going crazy with boredom, I am going to start making clothes :)  My wonderful mother bought me a dress form for Christmas, and I can't wait to use it!
I know it probably sounds strange to think that I would be bored working five days a week and spending a lot of time looking for jobs... but the thing is, I got used to working my seven days a week... or even the six days with one fourteen hour day in there.  When I go from constantly doing everything to having nothing to do, I get a bit depressed.  It is easy for me to become lethargic, and get upset about being lazy.  I'm more likely to go out with friends and go climbing or snowboarding when I have to 'fit it in' somewhere in my week.  If I have everyday off... well, I don't know how that works.  It doesn't make sense, but it is just how I am.  I think I get it from my mom.  She is always doing a million things too.

I'm feeling a bit better today.  Not so pitiful.  Yesterday was just terrible because I woke up in a bad mood,and had a horrible day at work.  It's much easier to keep an even keel when I'm not in a bad mood. 

Happy New Year everyone!  This one is going to be a good one!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So, why then?

If my heart breaks everytime I think about him, if I can't stop crying, if I hurt because I know I hurt him... then why did I break up with him?
I am fully aware that this is becoming the lamest possible blog ever created, but I can't help it.  I still find myself questioning if what I did  was right.  Or if I have more of a chance of being happy.
Some days, I'm okay. 
today, I am not. 
Today, I miss my home.  I want someone to hold me and tell me it will be okay.  I want someone to kiss me goodnight.  I want to belong somewhere, to have a family, a home, a life shared with someone.
I hurt.  And I don't know what to do.
I have felt like vomiting all day, and finally broke down in tears on my way home from work.  I bawled my frickin eyes out in my car, and now I just can't seem to stop.
I know time heals, but what if I made a mistake.
I feel bad for how things ended. 
I feel bad that I left him right before the holidays when he doesn't even have family in MN. 
Part of me just wants to call him but I know I need more time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Watch out...

This will be a bit of a bitch fest pity party....

So my graduating class is having a FIVE year reunion.  Really?!  Anyway, there are a few people going who I would really like to see.  Like my wonderful friend who went to college in Seattle and I haven't seen for four years.  That would be pretty awesome.  My hesitation comes with seeing all the couples.
I don't know why or how, but everyone seems to be married and/or have kids. I certainly don't want this for my life yet, but honestly, I'm jealous. 
Thinking of all these people who are happy with families and babies and lovers shouldn't make me want to puke.. but that is my first reaction.
I'm happy that they have found things that make them happy.  I really am.
I'm not sure that seeing all of that would be the best thing for me right now. 
I had a home.  a familiy of two.  a garden. I was happy. I'm not now.

I threw all of it away, and regardless of the circumstances surrounding it, I have a hard time not missing those things.  I can't help feeling like I broke my home.  Another high school friend is getting married and I'm starting over.

I know it is stupid to be upset about this.  I'm only 23 and things will change, and I will be happy again. 
It just sucks for right now.  And I get this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach everytime I think about it.  Everytime I think about him.
Did I do the right thing? I can answer yes or no and wholeheartedly mean both.

On another note, if I haven't found a job by the end of February, I may move... to Hawaii... or Europe...

if the jobs aren't out there, I may as well live my life instead of waiting, right?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Oh the things that happen...

Just when I am deciding that things MUST get better, they get worse.  I was recently explaining to an out of touch friend what has been going on in my life lately and why I was moving.  Just in case any of you forgot it goes something like this: Crackheads. Car broken into. Crackheads. Rats. Breaking up with my boyfriend. Crackheads.
Well I guess I decided that another thing had to be added to that list, so I crashed my car.

Ok. ok.  Not entirely true.  The crash wasn't my fault.  And (thank God) no one was hurt other than being a little sore.
Different story entirely for my car... I don't even know if it is totaled yet because they are still looking up prices of parts.  They said it doesn't look good.

This all happened last Sunday when I was moving.  Yep.  All my stuff was in my car.  Luckily only a few things broke... like my laundry basket, a metal mixing bowl, a few little glass dish thingers, some art stuff, and my only plant died.  Broke right in half.  I'm SO happy that my albums and turn table were in my friends car, who was driving behind me and saw the whole thing happen.
She was so freaked out!  She pulled over right away, and the first thing I see when I look up is her running through a snow bank to see if I was okay!  :)  What a sweet friend!

Well, that last disaster was aparently what I needed to snap out of this funk.  I can't keep letting things build up.  I have to focus on the happier things in life.  And even though that is not easy, especially when I'm still in love with my ex boyfriend, it sure does pay off.
Shit happens.  I have to deal with it.

I will also admit that standing up for myself to insurance adjusters and dealing with the car mess all on my own felt amazing afterward.  For the first time, possible ever, I feel like I am okay alone.  I can take care of myself.
As much pity as I was seeking before, or maybe it wasn't pity... just some sort of understanding on at least one other persons part... I don't want any now.
It sucks about my car.  But I am taking care of it.  I am living in a safe place.  I am sleeping.  I am actively looking for jobs.
I am getting my life together, and I didn't even realize how fallen apart it really was.

I wish that I could say things between me and Jonathan were less complicated.  I am still struggling with that.  It is hard for me to get past feeling like I broke my home.

But like I said earlier, focusing on the good will help. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Falling slowly

There is this song that always reminds me of Jonathan... oddly enough, it just came on when I put my music on shuffle.  It is a song that will almost certainly make me cry evertime I hear it.  But I just don't know how to interpret it.  It can be so hopeful of fixing a relationship, or ending it to save yourself. 

I came to the house today.  I planned on packing a few things, and cleaning up some stuff.  When I walked in the door, I saw that he had started packing for me already. 

Why am I doing this?!!!!! 
I keep second guessing myself.  Hoping that just love is enough.  But I don't believe it.  I know that if I were to run back into his arms, all the same problems would still be there.  I would only be happy for so long. 
I don't know what I want in my life, in my future.  Part of me wonders where all of this even came from.

I just can't help being so incredibly sad.

When I was at work this week, I just kept thinking, I want to go home.  And then I would remember that I moved out.  I don't have a home because Jonathan was my home.  The relationship that we had and the space that we shared was our home and I broke it.

Maybe it will be fixed one day.  I'm certainly not closing any doors.  But we both need to figure out a lot of shit before that could happen.
I hope and pray that he is able to be happy in his life for him.  If we are meant to be together, we will be.  And if not, there will just be something out there better for the both of us.
It is hard for me to believe this right now, but I will just keep telling myself that it is true.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Admittedly psychosomatic

But really?? I'm starting to ask the question 'Why Me?' way too often.  I feel like when you slip and fall on the ice, and you try to get up but you just keep falling.  Luckily, I have many friends to lend me their hand.
But I just can't always convince myself to take it.  I don't want to rely on someone, anyone really, that much.  I don't want someone to have to take care of me, when I just got frustrated with feeling like I was taking care of someone.  It just seems to damn selfish.  I turn my back on someone that I love, just to make my life pathetic?  what is that all about.
really though,
more often than not (in this incredibly long weekend) I have felt like I made the right decision to move out of my house and leave my boyfriend. 
Right now is not necessarily one of those times.  I'm sad.
I don't feel like I have a home.  Yes, I could go back to the apartment, but I don't feel safe there.  The neighbors are too unpredictable, and the stress of that has been building up like an iceicle ready to fall.  Well, actually, I think it already fell.
What's with all the metaphors today?
I'm in a bit of a goofy mood.  Sad about a lot of things, stressed out about more, happy about a decent amount of things, hopeful, a bit jaded, and possibly a bit slap happy from a cocktail of antibiotics and mild sedatives.  Also just trying to not think about how itchy I am!!
So, this is a bit gross, but I have a rash... spots really.  I don't like it. I'm not sure what it is yet, but we ruled out all the basic stuff.  Now I just get to take antibiotics and wait.  Fun life, huh?

Well, I am going to work on the hopeful aspect this week...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

As frustrated as I am...

I am thankful.  I am thankful for my family.  My mom, who I can call crying ANY time of the day, and I cna fee her hugs through the phone.  My dad, who is willing to support me NO MATTER WHAT, and I am just realizing how much he would do for me.  And my sister, who understands what I am going through right now more than anyone.  She has let me lean on her.
My aunt Lori, whose kind words always put a smile on my face, and bring tears to my eyes to know just how much I am loved.  Her daughter, Brittany, who takes after her so much in showing her kindness and love to others. 
I am thankful for my friends.  I have had so many people offer me a couch or bed to sleep in until I get everything sorted out.  People who are concerned for my safety and health.  I get a million hugs a day, and I don't know if any of my friends realize how much that means to me.  Honestly, I have never felt so loved.
I am thankful for my job.  As much as I have complained about it in the past, lately it has been fun.   FUN!  My coworkers and bosses are so supportive and understanding.  I'm just so thankful that I have this job that I like, that pays me, and that gives me health insurance.  It's not my dream job, but it is more than I could ask for right now.

And the hardest one for me to say right now, is that I am thankful for Jonathan.  He has been surprisingly understanding through this whole thing.  And the last four years have meant so much to me. 
And now I have to stop, because I am bawling my eyes out, and I have to go to work...

Friday, November 19, 2010

I've started having panic attacks again.  Not as bad as before... but when it comes to panic attacks, is there really a point in measuring severity?
I had one at work yesterday.  I managed to keep it to myself even though I felt like I couldn't breath for what seemed like an hour.  It was probably twenty minutes.
The thing that really freaks me out, though, is the thought that I am turning in to my old crazy self.  I've always been terrified that I would become like that again.  And I'm showing all the signs of it happening.
I don't sleep much.  I'm losing weight like crazy. Which, as hard as it may be to believe, is not fun when it happens on accident. And my anxiety is off the charts.
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, considering all the stress I am putting myself through lately.

I guess it really is completely different from before.  The fact that I kept it under control yesterday should prove that to me.
I also feel like I have a closer network of friends this time.  I actually feel like this won't be permanent and I will be okay.
I didn't have that last time.

One day at a time, I guess.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What to do, what to do...

So here is the deal: I want out of my lease. Now.
The new neighbors, the ones who live in the studio right behind us, well, I'm pretty sure they are smoking crack every morning. 
I don't need to deal with this.
If I have one more crackhead show up in my yard and threaten me, I will go ballistic!!!!   I just can't handle it anymore.
And then, oh yes, there is more!  There are rats.  RATS!
Not in our unit, thank God!  But in the one upstairs.  Our upstairs neighbor (not the crackhead) said that he has already caught 5. FIVE!  And he let the landlord know about it a few months ago.  Nothing was done, so they can legally break their lease with no penalty.  Since the rats are not actually in our part of the house, I don't know that we can.
Oh and get this, this same guy that lives upstairs.  Yeah, he just told me that he spent a year and a half in jail.  He was a felon.  Yup.  I'm pretty sure he is still a decent guy, and he just did some stupid shit when he was younger... but shouldn't that have been mentioned to, umm I don't know, US, by our landlord when he moved in???
I live with a fucking felon and a crackhead.  These are the people in my house.  I want out!

You know, the funny thing is, is that I think it's the rats that pushed me over the edge on this one.  I could deal with crackheads... at least ones that were supposedly talked to about their behavior and threatened with eviction.. or so I was told.  And the upstairs neighbor, well he really is a nice guy.  But rats?  Rats, on top of everything else I have to worry about rats.
I don't even particularly mind rodents in general, but it's just the fact that this is where I live.  It's pretty damn low.  I can afford better.  I deserve better.
I work my ass off at two jobs, and I'm constantly searching for that other one... I have a drive in life.  I don't need to surround myself with people who so obviously don't.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Trying to figure things out.

I've been a bit awol lately.  I'm super busy with work and my internship.  I'm actually currently enjoying both of them right now.
I've been struggling a lot in my personal life right now though.  I'm doing some serious soul searching.  Realizing what I want in my life, or trying to anyway.
I've only come up with a few definitive conlusions.  Well, one really, and that is that I want to move.   
I can't tell if I'm changing, or just seeing things the way the really are.  It's probably a little bit of both.
Anyway, I just wanted you all to know that I am fine.  Just depressed and dealing with things beyond my experience.  But finding my way. Slowly.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dead bird on my doorstep

or, more like the backyard path.

Things seem to be really falling apart around here.  But the thing is, I know it's not just me.
A bunch of my friends are going through big changes, or dealing with loss in its many forms.  I'm finding it hard to stay positive. 
But on the other hand, I love my internship!  It's going really well.  I'm actually just starting a grant from scratch right now.   Exciting!  Not something that they typically let the interns do :)
I'll just keep trying to focus on the good things in life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mind FCK

It took me nearly half my work day to realize not only that it is Wednesday, but also that it is still 2010 not 2011.
I promise this isn't quite as crazy as it sounds... i save all my files as 2011 because it is our fiscal year 2011...

The IT guy can find his way around any and all the computers in the office... but he can't find an actual office.  He sent me an email response today letting me know that he couldn't find me.
I couldn't access the network drive for most of the day.

Since today IS Wednesday, that means Volleyball!  And, even better, tomorrow is my day off.  Yep.  DAY.
I haven't had one of those since two Tuesdays ago.  Or is it three?

I drank about 100 cups of coffee today.

Monday (I think) I worked at both places.  A 14 hour work day off three hours of sleep.  I thought it was Tuesday.

Last week, was it?, a guy basically told me that my degree was worthless because I am just working at a grocery store.  The same week, maybe the same day, a lady screamed at me to just "bag her damn groceries."
I don't get why I, any of us, are treated this way.  We are obviously not totally worthless because people would literally die without us.  Sometimes I think they will have a heart attack when I tell them that we are out of Mandarin Orange Chicken.  They certainly act like it is the end of the world.
Yesterday a lady asked me for about five things that we have never carried, and then got extremely angry when I told her we didn't have any of them.  She must have though she was at Whole Foods. 
And I'm the stupid one.

I can't keep my house clean.  I'm trying to finish my costume.
Luckily Jonathan really stepped up these last few weeks in keeping the house together.  I just feel bad that the only food is apples and bread. 
I keep forgetting to buy rice.

My brain feels like it is only half working.  It takes me most of my shift at the MCM to wake up.  And halfway through my shift at TJs I'm ready for bed.
I want to cut my hours.  But only one of these jobs pays me.  And it's not the one that I love going to.

I question how I used to do this all the time, you know?  And actually keep it together...  How on earth did I work fifty hours a week and go to school full time?!  I'm not working much more than that now and without the school. 

I don't think that I am happy.
I've been sick, and I haven't been sleeping in the past week.
Before that, I was sleeping.  And I got used to it.  I started to feel like a normal person, that could get a normal amount of rest.
The thing is, the less amount of sleep I get at night is the more time I spend spacing out during the day, or just trying to take a nap but being too wired.
I don't even know how much all this makes sense... I am just tired.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Book!!!!

I'm reading a new book! Finally! I haven't been reading much lately... working two jobs and only getting paid by one, along with making an extravagant Halloween costume, numerous crafts, and attempting to have a social life, I just haven't had the time!
I'm still reading Little Big. I think I mentioned before that that is a book that you need to sit down and read for hours at a time. I can't just pick it up here and there. I love it still. I just don't have the time or attention span right now.
So the other day when I was at the book store, killing time before my shift, I found one that I just couldn't resist.
My mom had told me about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society a few months ago, but I guess I had forgotten about it. Anyway, it's an epistolary novel that was written this century!!! Most books written in letters back and forth between people don't sell very well. It doesn't mean that they are not good, they just aren't a popular form of literature anymore.
So you see why I had to buy it. A new York time best seller.
It's also really nice to have a book that I can read on the bus on the way to work. I tried that a couple of times with Little Big and almost missed my stop, and then didn't want to work because I was too busy reading.
This one,though, is a bit easier to put down. It's really good, and really interesting. funny. and thoughtful. But since it is written in letters, there are more breaks.

It takes place after WWII. It's letters between a British author, her friends and publisher, and people involved in a Literary society on Guernsey island. The author has a highly amusing voice, and the literary society has a unique story to tell.

I'm not too far into it, but I think that I would recommend it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


This is the word of the day... mostly because I have both read and typed it about 100 times today...
But I will just leave you with these thoughts:
Does a philanthropist have to have money?
Just because a person donates money to a cause that helps humanity, does that make them a philanthropist?? Or do they actually have to DO something?

Just how flexible is this term?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hello again.

First of all, thank you all for sweet comments about my cousin's baby. I know she is a very strong woman, and if anyone can tackle this she can... and she has a wonderful loving husband to boot!

This past week has been my own personalized version of hell.
I thought I was going to completely lose it.

The crazy thing is, I'm kind of okay now. I just cried it all out I guess. Catharsis can be a cure in itself I guess...

There have been more and more days where I feel like I just want to crawl in a whole and disappear for a long long time. And less and less days where I smile.

Work... a grocery store! How can a grocery store be so stressful??

And, there are two people that I DO NOT LIKE. I don't necessarily have to love everyone I meet, but it is very weird for me to not get along with someone, and even weirder for me to actually strongly dislike a person. And right now, there are two. I don't even know what to think about that!

Money... enough said.

A MILLION OTHER THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I just have to let it all go. I can't control every aspect of my life, and I just have to accept that. I just have to get the energy enough to do some laundry, maybe make some food, and scrub the shower.

Yesterday, I woke up at eleven. It was my first full day off in over two weeks, and probably my last before Thanksgiving. It was a great day, and I had a lot of fun. Pretty relaxing actually. And I went to bed at eleven. I didn't take any sedatives, or drink or anything. I just went to bed. As nice as it is to be able to fall asleep naturally and not lay in bed awake for hours... it's usually a bad sign when it does happen... especially when it happens multiple times in a week. It either means I'm getting sick, or so stressed out and exhausted that my body is not getting what it needs...
Well, I know the second one is true, I just hope I'm not getting sick too.

As many great and awesome things that are happening right now (like my internship... and well, anything involving my internship) I can't help feeling like crap about my life right now. I'm broke. I'm stressed. I want to get paid for working two jobs... well I really just want to work one of them (take a guess which) and get paid for it. I want to feel safe in my house. I want my boyfriend to be happy. I want to stop feeling depressed. and anxious.

I spoke with a friend today about her alcohol problems. A few of us approached her about it... she wasn't expecting it. She was really angry at first, but after quite a few tears she said she was relieved. She was relieved that she could get help... that she could feel better... that this could be rock bottom for her--it won't get worse--or if it does it can still get better. The kind of relief that only comes from the cathartic release of everything inside. All those pent up feelings ready to burst.
I'm so happy with how the whole thing went, and that my friend took a huge step today in getting the help that she needs. She enrolled in a type of program. She asked us to help hold her accountable until she can manage more on her own.
This week has just been crazy. And I think by week I mean two weeks...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I found out today that my cousin's unborn baby has Downs Syndrome. There is no way to tell how "high functioning" the baby will be until it is born, but he or she is healthy otherwise... so that's good.
I decided to read a bit more about Down's Syndrome, because I don't know much about it...

And I came across a piece of info that just about broke my heart. It was something like 90 something percent of unborn babies diagnosed with down syndrome in the UK are aborted. I don't think that this was super recent info, but still.

Regardless of anyone's view on abortion, because I don't want to get into any arguments about that... I am a firm believer in "it's YOUR choice but don't take it lightly" even though I would personally not be able to do that... ok tangent...
I just couldn't believe the high numbers! I mean, people with downs syndrome can have a lot of problems... there is the potential for that; but so many don't.

I just cried when I read that. And then I cried for my cousin. I'm so happy that she is a loving mother who is just so happy that nothing else is wrong with her baby, and is just focused on keeping it as healthy as possible. I know that this child will be treated the same as all her other children. By her. But the world can be so mean.
and i guess that's why I'm so sad now...
Please keep my cousin and her baby in your prayers!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good:
Children's museum started today!!!! Well, sort of. I had my orientation, which basically means that I got a tour of an awesome place to play, and met a lot of really cool people!! There were about 8 other interns there... none of whom I will be working with directly... but I'm sure I will see around. I still haven't met my entire team, only two of the four. They are super nice, and were excited about me starting... which just makes me feel special :) I think it is going to be a really fun job!!!
Another great thing about it is that I love downtown. I don't think that I realized how much. It sounds kind of dumb, but one of my favorite parts of the day was going to get coffee just around the corner from work and having the barista know instantly that I was "new to the neighborhood." He knew everyone else in there, and was super friendly. And when I told him that it was my first day of an internship he gave me a free cup of coffee and wished me luck!
It was the refreshing part of my day that saved my hope in humanity.

The bad:
My car got broken into last night.
I feel like I am making such a huge deal of this, when in reality it happens all the time. And I know a bunch of people who have had this happen to them multiple times.
That doesn't make it any less of a pain in the ass.
The thing that really gets me though, is that I was hoping I wouldn't have to call the cops this week.
I know I am over-exaggerating a bit. But only a bit.
I didn't even realize how much I was bothered by this until a co-worker said how violating it can feel to have your car broken into... and I would take a car break in over crack heads pounding on my windows any day of the week. Especially now that there is nothing to steal.
I'm mostly worried about being able to afford to fix it. Money is tight this month, and I have already been saving up to get new tires, a new battery, and a transmission flush. I have insurance... and a $500 deductible. I just don't know if I can swing it. And I still don't have a clue how much it will cost.
The only thing that they took was the stereo. But in order to do so, they ripped apart my console. They didn't break the window, thank God. But the molding around the window will need to be replaced since they jimmied their way in by prying the window open.
It could be a lot worse. I know this. And I am thankful that it is not.

Needless to say, I spent the majority of the day on the phone with cops and insurance agents. And a car break in is not high priority...

The Ugly:
After this whole ordeal, I picked up a shift at the grocery store. I don't get many hours now that my availability is two days less... a bunch of corporate BS if you ask me...
But I was only there for two hours. Then I got sick. I will spare you the gory details, but they sent me home.. because I work with food.
I think, seeing as I am feeling much better now (and craving ice cream), that it was likely stress induced. A person can't go from such highs to lows to highs to lows in just a half a day without it taking a bit of tole.
The worst part, the really ugly part, is what I am scared to confront... anxiety may be getting the best of me. I've been on the extremes of anxiety before. I have done a great number of things in the past two and a half years to get it under control. I don't want to deal with this again... but I'm scared.
I have trouble sleeping. I have nightmares about people coming into our house, or Jonathan getting killed. I even woke up the other day because I could have sworn that I heard pounding and a "who's there" but there really wasn't anything. It was a dream. I can barely deal with being home alone.. which I am right now... and I don't like it. And I wouldn't even think of walking the fifty feet to my car to go somewhere else.
I hate being scared in my own home.
After the two crack heads came and went, there was only one more. A much less threatening, but still tweaking man. And that was when I was home alone. I didn't answer the door, and I hid in the bathroom hallway after he started knocking on the front window and stayed there til he went away.
I have every right to call the police whenever there is a person on this property that I do not know, and that is making me feel uncomfortable. I know this, but it doesn't feel like enough right now.
I know that this is a mix of actual fear and discomfort from stupid situations, but I also know that some of it is my panic disorder trying it's damnedest to rear it's ugly head.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Food time!!!

Don't you just LOVE the end of summer/beginning of fall?!

I love the food, the cool weather.... everything!!

I've come to realize this fall that I really enjoy eggplant. The other day, Jonathan and I had barely anything in our fridge and cupboard... so I made dinner with everything we had left. It turned out absolutely delicious!! Eggplant "cutlets" with fried zucchini, in a tomato basil sauce... which was only a little bit tomato basil, and then LOTS of goat cheese, on top of quinoa.
Another thing that is great about fall is soup :) A friend of mine at work made a delicious soup today... all TJ's products: latin style bean soup, with a can of cuban beans, and chimichuri rice. SO tasty!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Today is one of those days...

that I wish someone would read me a book.

My eyes are too swollen and bloodshot from allergies to read, and my head is too dizzy to keep all the words on the page.
I don't want to watch tv because it is too loud... but at the same time I can't hear any of the words... does that make sense?? My ears are crackly... that's really the only way I can find to describe how they feel when I get a sinus infection...
The worst part about it is that Jonathan had the stomach flu or something this weekend, and still doesn't feel well... I just hope I don't get what he has too!

I had to come home early from work today. I made it until an hour before the end of my shift... then I think I started to get a fever :(

I guess a way to look on the bright side is that I was too exhausted to even be a little stressed out by work today. Which is actually saying a lot, since we had inventory tonight and NOTHING was done on time... or even close to right. But, gotta say, other than a slight annoyance... I didn't care... and then it seemed like everything got done in an hour.

I'm just really looking forward to fall. I feel like everything will calm down a bit when it starts to get cooler outside... well work will get busier. But we will have more employees, and a one of my favorite co workers is coming back!!! And I think I will just be a bit happier because I will be able to go outside without melting, and I won't have to drink three liters of water a day to keep from having a heat stroke...

I'm only a bit melodramatic. I swear.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The best way to start a week

I just found out this morning that the grant writing internship at the Children's Museum is mine!!!! Yeah!!!!!! ok. I'm REALLY excited!!
I don't start til September though. My orientation is the 10th. So I still have to wait a bit. I wish I could just start RIGHT NOW!!!

It's an unpaid internship. But that works for me because it only requires ten hours a week. I will still have plenty of time at TJs to make my monies. AND I will benefit SO much from this internship that I feel like I should be paying them! Ok, not really.

But I am getting an opportunity to learn the grant writing process. And to even do some writing of my own. But the best part about this internship is that it is at a nonprofit educational organization. Can anyone say Dream Job??

That's probably why I got it... I couldn't help but get excited, giddy really, about working for a place like the Children's museum during the interview. :)

This, along with a very mature, big girl decision that I made last night is going to make this week FABULOUS!

I have decided that a certain issue at work should not concern me. And as angry as this person has made me, this person (in the position that they are in now) has no choice but to grow up. And this process will not concern me. I am taking myself out of the equation. My new goal at work is to stay out of it, and to not let this person get to me. It won't be easy, but it will be much easier, and less messy, than if I try to address the problem.

wow, ok that was almost too vague, but I just don't want to mention any names, or make it obvious who this person is. As I said, I am trying to avoid issues. I just had to realize that it really doesn't have anything to do with me, so I am staying out of it.
And this decision feels good! Really good.`

What a great start to the day!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday... well okay it's Saturday now.

I've calmed down a bit after the crackhead fiasco from the other day. I think it will still take some time before I am comfortable being home alone.
The thing is, I can deal with the crazies in public... but it is so different when it violates your privacy. Your home.
And I also realize that this kind of thing can happen anywhere. In fact, in one of the more upscale, 'safer' suburbs a few years ago, some friends of mine were chased by a man who then attacked their car with a 14 inch knife.
Personally I would call that a machete. But that's just me. Turns out he lived in the same apartment complex as my boyfriend... down the hall... and was high on meth.
Luckily, no one was hurt and this man realized his problem. He apologized to my boyfriend at the time and then checked into rehab. Wish that was what happened every time.

The point is, when it comes to drugs, or rather people on drugs, the situations are completely unpredictable. Moving would not likely change anything. Nothing has come of it since.

This is not to say that I am not worried that something else will happen, or that I have let my guard down.
I haven't.
My phone is always by my side. My doors and windows are locked. Short of breaking a window, no one is getting into this place unless I let them in. (or, you know, Jonathan... since he lives here too!) So really all I can do is be safe, smart, and a little more on my guard.

My nerves are just so frayed this week. Interviews make me so nervous, and the waiting around afterward to hear back from them is almost as bad.

Anyway, this is mostly just rambling...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Seriously scared right now.

Well, first of all, I think my interview went okay. There was only one question that I am unsure about, it was about computers and such... and I repel technology (don't worry, I didn't tell them that). So I am hoping to hear back from them by the beginning of next week.

After that, the excitement continued! But not in a good way.

The doorbell rang. A lot. Thank God Jonathan got it! Seriously. Don't know what would have happened if I had.
It was a medium height beefy guy, and a short fat guy that wanted their money.
According to these two men, and the other two in their car, I stole $300 from them after smoking crack in my backyard. They wanted it back.

Well, I just heard some yelling out at the front door, and tried to listen behind another door to see if something was wrong. I didn't really know they were after me until Jonathan shut the door on them, and they looked at me through the open window and said, "I can see you right there, gonna get you." And there might have been a "bitch" thrown in there somewhere but I was too busy trying not to pee my pants to notice.

This neighborhood gets a bad rap sometimes. This is the first time, though, that something scary has happened to us though. Other than some weirdos and drug addicts on the bus, I haven't felt scared. Even walking home alone at night.
But tonight, I am a bit uneasy to even sleep in my house. What if they come back?? Am I overreacting? It is just a really uncomfortable situation.

And I don't even smoke crack!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why I want to be a grant writer...

When I was volunteering at the MNIC high school I struggled to understand how these children, how any children could learn without text books. Sure, there are some subjects in which a book is not the best way to learn, but what about.. say History??
Three text books for a thirty person classroom. For a social studies class. Not okay.

Here is where I insert my extremely angry face, and opinion on the NCLB act. It is stupid. It is counterproductive. And if anyone would like to know why I feel this way... well that is for another post.

Being a grant writer would give me the opportunity to obtain funding for non profit schools. These grants that I would obtain would not solve all problems in education... in fact, they may not even help the textbook situation.

I know that a grant writer doesn't have the opportunity to change the way education is run in this country. But I feel like this could be my small way of helping balance the situation.

If the federal money is not coming in, well then it has to come from elsewhere. I would really like to be able to help with that.

Even more so, i think I would be good at it. My writing on here may be overly casual and disorganized... but it is my way of winding down. I can write professionally. In fact, I love to! I love writing research papers, and that is essentially what grant writing is. I would get to research and write and help teachers to have the necessary tools to educate their students.

That is why I want to be a grant writer.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just stuff

I think I forgot to mention in the last blog that the reason Jonathan and I argued for so long about the issue at hand is that we are both extremely stubborn and opinionated. No feelings are left hurt about the argument. It was more of a debate really.

Anyway, work has been a bit difficult to get through lately. My shoulder and neck are still killing me... but since "nothing" is wrong, I'm totally fine to work. Although, I am a bit worried because the top of my shoulder started shooting pain down my arm... hmm..
I'm also becoming increasingly frustrated with aspects of my job. And, since I am me, I become frustrated because I am frustrated with a grocery store. Lame.

I just want to find a job that I actually care about.

I'm still looking, trust me. But I think I need to broaden my career choice. Not really sure how.

The warm weather blows. Someone at work yesterday was saying that sometimes they enjoy a cloudy day to just sit inside and relax. I laughed and said I enjoy a cloudy day because I will go out and spend it in the garden or at the cliffs... doing something active and outside. It's the warm sunny days that drive me inside to sit in my giant chair next to the AC :)
Although, to be fair.. if I had a lake to swim in... I might enjoy those days a bit more. And I do get dragged out of the house by my own boredom on those days.

I am so restless yet at the same time completely exhausted lately. I have been in a funk where I'm just not getting the rest that I need.

Insomnia affects every aspect of my life. The first couple days of minimal to no sleep, I'm completely running on adrenaline. I get a spark of creativity, and therefore avoid all chores that need to be done in order to pain or draw or make a book. Shortly after that, I'm just totally drained. I have had a hard time knowing the day this week. I thought yesterday was sunday.
I can't keep things straight. There is no set series of events in my mind when I don't sleep. Things just randomly float into a place that doesn't make much sense.
I lose focus.
I lose balance. Dexterity.
My reaction time slows. I get hurt at work. I stop making sense.

Ok. I could go on about this for hours.

I'm still reading Little Big by John Crowely. It's really interesting and I like it, but it's been hard for me to read lately. He is really a fantastic writer though. The syntax is beautiful.
I actually think that I mostly like it because he writes like a British author. Does that sound too portentous?? I just mean that he writes in the same style of books that I love.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


My cousin Britt over on Unexpected Surprises posted her opinion on gay marriage and her frustrations with the controversies and arguments against it. I agree with her whole heartedly, and love that she prefaced the blog with saying that this was simply her opinion and she knew that people would agree and disagree and that it was a heated topic.
Well, her post, along with many of the comments added to it, got me a bit revved up. I started complaining about some of the arguments that christians or any strongly monotheistic believers use against homosexuality.
The main one that bothers me is the argument that it is especially wrong, not just because homosexuality is a sin, but because gay people are openly living in sin.

I actually wrote on Britt's blog that an old boyfriend had said this to me before. Well, my current boyfriend used the same argument on me.

We just finished talking about it (at three am) and we started at about 11:30.

Ok. So here is my view on homosexuality.
I find it hard to believe, or it is difficult for me to accept, that God would consider it wrong for a person to love another person regardless of his or her sex.
I had to specify that I meant romantically in love.


I started this blog last night after Jonathan and I argued about this for hours. Of course afterward, as I was venting and rehashing the issue on my own, I didn't want it to get brought up with him again. So I tried to go to bed instead of writing.

I actually didn't get up til noon today. But that is still only five hours of sleep.

And this issue is still bothering me.

I guess I really don't know where I stand on it, or if I even have a right to "have a stand" on the issue.
A gay person is just a person. I hate that there is separation. I hate that there is judgment.

This blog is now a very inconclusive thought. My intention in writing it is not to spark comments, or make anyone else as frustrated as I have been over the last day, but rather a sort of catharsis after a frustrating argument where, for me anyway, there is no answer.
As I said on Brit's post, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But that opinion should never be used to hurt another person, or judge another person.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Headache of a lifetime.

I'm clumsy. If you don't know that about me, well, you must not know me very well. Or have spent any time around me at all.
I tend to hit my head, as I have discussed before.
But I may have started a new trend of bruising my ribs. (lets hope not!)
Anyway, I have had a headache all week because of my neck... not really anything new, just really annoying and painful. And to make matters worse, I managed to mess it up a little bit more at work today.
Really hard to explain just how this happened... but basically a wine box crushed me, hitting my head, and causing me to slam into a cement post.
I thought I injured my shoulder, because, well I couldn't really move my arm or put pressure on it.
Oh yeah, this was also outside after I had broken down two pallets of wine... it's only like ninety degrees and a million percent humidity today. No problem. Let me take care of that in a half hour.

No. Bad idea. No sleep last night plus working outside in hot heat humidity lifting heavy boxes plus me being as clumsy as I am equals injury.

Anyway. Had to go to the doctor. I waited awhile, because that is what I do. I continued working. (Probably never really needed to leave) But left after a couple hours because I was so sore and my neck and head hurt so bad I couldn't work anymore. That's when the doctor told me, nope, not my shoulder... its my ribs.
Luckily I didn't break any.
But, man, I am sore!

And they completely ignored my neck! She just said she wanted to make sure ribs weren't broken, and then sent me on my way two hours later without ever really talking to me.

I think a chiropractor visit is needed for tomorrow.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I haven't been writing much. But I have been reading! Even if I don't leave a comment, I am still following many of your blogs, and enjoy reading them so much!

Everything that I have written lately has been too angry to post on here. I'm actually not entirely sure where all this anger is coming from.

One thing, i'm sure, is stress. Money issues. I'm not broke. But I'm not really able to save anything or start paying my parents back yet. I'm not always getting enough hours at work.
I don't mind some of the cost cutting things i have ddone in the last year or two. Such as, I worn't buy anything from a department store. I don't need the clothes if they are going to cost more than twenty dollars. Thrift stores and consignment stores are my new best friends. And I LOVE that. I don't want to contribute to the wasteful economy.
But what is really stressful about this whole money thing then??
Maybe it's all in my head.

The weird thing is, I don't really feel stressed out. Yet I know I am. Am I making any sense?

I also know I have been depressed lately. Not stuck in the dark gloomy days that are severe depressive episodes... just a little off.

Well that is probably also to do with trying to find a job or internship in a field that I actually care about. Maybe I am being too picky... but I just feel like I have spent long enough doing things that don't matter in the grand scheme of things, and I want that to change. I am eager for that to change. And when I see how little opportunity there is out there for people like me, it makes me scared.

The other issue is friends. I have a lot of work friends. And while I wouldn't trade these people for anything in the world, they are mostly just that--work friends. I am starting to wish that I knew more people in similar situations as I. People who really care about people. People who care about the environment, God, or really just have a passion for something.
I so often feel that my generation is apathetic and ambivilant to the direction their lives take.

I'm just at a weird middle ground in my life right now.
I'm yearning for more substance in my life. More meaningful people.

I'm not so depressed, I think. Maybe it is just sadness. Being scared.
It's the anger that I worry about. I have had too short of a temper for the last few weeks. And I'm not good at expressing it. In fact, I usually cry when I get angry because I don't yell.
I dropped Jonathan off at the train station today. He is going to visit his parents for a family reunion. It's a surprise to his mom that he is coming. I think it's sweet.
I couldn't make it. Too short of notice for work, and I can't afford it.
He has been home so often recently that it is weird for him to be away.
I have a bad feeling about all this for some reason... I don't want to write out why because it sounds stupid... but I am just going to pray that his travels will be safe.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Update on jobs and such

I finally started, I mean REALLY started, looking for those so called "real" jobs.
Well, sort of.
Today I mostly applied to unpaid internships.
These particular unpaid internships would be just fine because they would only require 10-15hrs a week. I could easily do that and work at TJ's just as often as I am now. I would actually enjoy have a bit more to do. Oddly enough, when I have a million things going on in my life, I find that I can get more things done more easily.
Well, the internships I applied for today are right up my alley, but I'm not sure I'm totally qualified for them. Apparently the whole Grant writing thing falls under Communications. Which is NOT my degree. In my cover letter, I basically explained that I am an English major with skills that would qualify me for this position...
Hopefully they read those instead of just dropping my resume because of a stupid qualification like what my degree was. :) But seriously. Grant writing is research and writing. Mostly. That is what I spent the last five years doing! And I love it. I'm good at it. And more importantly, I actually have a passion for making education better for children.

I applied at the Children's museum, which sounds super fun. And also at a Working families organization. Both organizations are centered around learning. It might not be formal classroom learning, but it is an important aspect to many kids lives. Not to mention it is a step in the right direction for me.

So, hopefully I will hear back from them soon. I will keep looking though. For internships and jobs.

Anyway. I have been reading this really good book lately, it's called Little, Big.
More about it later. I gotta go to work.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why does everything I touch fall apart??!!

No really! What the heck?
The other day I broke the lawn mower... all I did was start it, and snap... broken.
Then at work... about fifteen minutes after I got there... CRASH

I knocked over a display of wine just behind where I was going to do the tasting! I only broke about ten bottles... which really was impressive considering the mess...
and of course it was ALL OVER ME! My pants and shoes and socks were SOAKED with wine all day. Thank God it was white wine!!!!!!!!!

Today, someone at work thought it would be a good idea to stick me in the demo station... basically the kitchen. I managed to not break anything of real value... just a pair of scissors, because, well, spilled cream EVERYWHERE really isn't breaking something, right?

I just don't know where I learned how to be so dang graceful. I mean, this is a pretty normal occurrence... along with hitting my head on anything available and frequently having the possibility of a concussion. I'm talented. Really.

Anyway, just some random ramblings for the time being... I'm not nearly tired enough to sleep. I've been having the weirdest sleep schedule lately. Last night I was up til like four or five just because I wasn't tired. Then of course I sleep til noon. I think it is my body's way of dealing with the warmth... my bedroom is the coolest room in the house til after noon.

So here is something random. I've been thinking A LOT about babies! BABIES!!! I know it will be awhile before we seriously consider having one... because, well, we have no money. And I am still young. Blah blah blah. All I can think about is BABIES!!! We have been seeing so many cute little pregnant women in our store lately. Or tiny newborn babies!!! They are just sooo dang cute!!!
But I know they are a lot of work... and maybe I'm not ready for that yet... but I can still daydream, can't I? :)

well, it's been random :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Summer weather is almost always just too dang hot for me. I really am a Minnesota gal who loves her snow! Jonathan and I keep saying we need to move farther north so we don't have to deal with these inferno-like summers.
It's not all bad though. I have realized just how much I love to garden this year! I still can't believe how lucky Jonathan and I are to be able to have this cute little house at so cheap! I LOVE having a yard. I even like doing yardwork. Although... I did break the lawn mower again :(
That thing just hates me! I look at it and it falls apart, I swear! But anyway, I pulled the starter string thinger, and it started (surprisingly!) and then the string thinger just flew out! It almost hit me in the face! Well, since it started, I figured I would still mow the lawn... maybe for the last time?
I don't know how to fix a freakin lawn mower!!!!
And I think my landlord has been a bit preoccupied... we asked him to come look at a dead tree that is in the MIDDLE of our backyard, because, well, we don't want it there anymore... but that hasn't happened yet. I mean, really, it's only been two months!
He is good about more urgent things though... like when the washing machine broke, it was fixed the next day... so I really shouldn't complain :)

I pulled up a TON of weeds from the garden today. I had let it go a bit since I was sick this past week... nothing serious, but a lot of sleep was needed.
AND! I have my baby yellow heirloom tomatoes!!! So excited to eat them! I'm going to make a salad later with them and Kale from my garden too!!
One of our good friends brought over some goodies for Jonathan and I after Jon did him a favor, and included were some herb plants :) Since I already have a lot in the garden, I decided to pot them and put them on the ledge by the window in the kitchen. They smell so good! We have spicy oregano, lavender, sage, and thyme :) All the basil is outside.
Funny story about that... and my eggplants-- Before we put the fence up, the rabbits had a feast on my basil and eggplants. They ate them right down to the ground! And so I, being new to gardening, bought new plants. I bought four more eggplants, and another lemon basil, and another regular basil. Well... they all grew back!!! Or mostly anyway. I now have FOUR basil plants, and SIX eggplants!!!!
I am going to making baba ganoush like a crazy woman once those eggplants start coming in!!! And as for the basil, I am trying to think of ways to use it in more things... I will dry some of it once I can use the oven without passing out again... but for now, tonight maybe some bruschetta with basil on top as well at tomato?? Or I'll start making more pizzas...
My favorite easy cheesy pizza to make:
Use a flatbread (I always use Naan because we have it in abundance in our freezer)
fresh mozzerella balls cut in half (sometimes I get the marinated ones... yum!!!) a bit of olive oil, one tomato, sliced, and some basil.
Toss it all on there, put it in the oven til the cheese is melty and delicious, then eat!!!!!

And... I just realized I am super hungry now!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Crepes, Mini Golf. Karate Kid.

I went to bed happy last night.
The three previous days at work had been great! They reminded me of why I like my job.
I was also really excited to wake up.
It may be incredibly dorky... It IS, actually... but I was excited for breakfast. :) I made crepes for the first time EVER! I haven't even eaten a crepe since I was younger and my mom would make them at the cabin every once in awhile... but they were my favorite!! Anyway, I had some left over buttermilk from the scones that I made earlier this week ( apparently I am feeling very courageous in the kitchen lately), and I couldn't think of a better way to use it up. I made my favorite kind too--cinnamon and sugar. They were only missing a little boysenberry sauce :) I also bought more coffee (finally!), and cream so that just added to the greatness of the morning. afternoon. OK, I slept in til noon! (Did I mention yet that today was fabulous?)
After a nice slow wakeup with delicious breakfast and coffee, I played in the garden for a little while, made salsa (using jalapenos from my garden!), and then cleaned up the kitchen a bit. I know this part doesn't sound all that fun... and please don't tell my boyfriend this... but it can be a bit therapeutic to clean the kitchen. :) Ok, well really only after making delicious food.
Jonathan and I ran a few errands, made some stir fry for a late lunch, and then went to the most AWESOME put put course in the world!!!
And, sadly, I forgot what it is called. I'll mention it in a later post, because you all have to go check it out, but I am nice and cozy in front of a fan right now... it was a bit of a drive, but it is essentially a sculpture garden turned into a mini golf course! And I don't even have pictures!!! It was really a cool place. The guy likes horses. He even has a few. Along with the goats, chickens, and of course a warthog! (He was my favorite!) It's really just a place that I could spend a whole day at without getting bored. Oh, and he also has an organic garden... farm? I don't know. There were A LOT of plants.
Anyway. It was super cool! I think I will have to take some other people there, and I cannot forget my camera next time!
So then Jonathan and I rented the Karate Kid. He had wanted to see the original one. I think that I had watched it once upon a time... but come on, the movie came out before I was born! I didn't remember it. It was pretty great to make fun of those AWESOME eighties outfits though! And it really isn't a bad movie! It will be interesting to see how it was remade... but I won't see that until it comes out... is it even still in theaters??? I really have no idea. Sometimes Jonathan is my only link to the world outside of my madness :) Not having a television really cuts back on my knoledge of current events and celbrity gossip... :)

Oh, and I also tried my first bottle of Amarone (wine made from dried grapes.. not quite raisins yet though, I think) and I really didn't like it. That's right. I didn't like a bottle of wine *Gasp! I didn't even drink said bottle of wine! *Gasp!
For real though. It was too bitter, or something. I actually thought it might have been corked, because it smelled kind of vinegary... but it didn't taste anything like vinegar. Just like grossness.
So I ate a tub of icecream instead! :)

Friday, July 9, 2010


Mid-summer my face is completely freckled. I have been spending so much time outside this summer, and although I don't do well in warm weather I am remembering just how much fun summer can be.
Gardening is my new favorite pastime, and I'm really excited because we just got out first peppers! We also have a really big black raspberry bush that someone planted before we moved here. Delicious! Then, of course there is the lettuce... fresh salads everyday! YUM!

I made scones for the first time today. They turned out really well! I made a BUNCH! I'm gonna bring some to work today so I don't eat them all. It was a great recipe that I got from Jonathan's mom.

I have been reading a lot lately too. This week I got a little behind. But I am almost done with We. Which, by the way, is really interesting. It is a 1984 type novel. Dystopian. I should also mention that it was written before 1984.

Anyway. I haven't had much time for blogging. Well, mostly I just haven't felt like writing.

Work is still frustrating. I need to find another job. At least so that this one is not the only thing on my mind. But I do love having the mornings open for baking and gardening :)

Well, that is all for now.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stressed again

Work is getting to me. It is pretty crazy right now. By crazy I just mean incredibly frustrating. I need to find myself a new job. This one is great for part time. Really. But I just have to have more to think about than gossip and groceries.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Books, books, books! And camping.

I've been reading a bit lately. More than I thought I would right after reading all those Eliot novels anyway. I finished the painted bird. It became much less horrifying shortly after I wrote that last post. The ending had something reminiscent of happiness. Although, to be honest, I wasn't really satisfied with it. I'm not going to spoil anything here, so lets just say that it wasn't much of an ending.
The most interesting thing in the novel is the boy's view of the red army. The Russian soviet party.
I don't think that I had ever read anything from a favorable point of view on the Soviets. It sparked a lot of interesting conversations between Jonathan and I.

I just started a chuck palaneuk book called diary. His books are a bit notorious for being, lets say, out of the ordinary or maybe a bit shocking. I was considering taking a break from messed up books, but this one happened to be sitting next to my bed the other night when I couldn't sleep. It's pretty entertaining so far. I think this is one of his more comic ones...

Jonathan and I went camping with a friend this last weekend up to Highbridge Wisconsin. It is basically disc golf heaven! Mile upon mile of walking through beautiful country, as much disc golf as you can physically play, hundreds of woodticks (ok, maybe just ten each), and lot's of beer, and my favorite part--NIGHT GOLF!!! Night disc golf is SOOOOO much fun! You get to put little LED lights on your frisbe, and then if you are me, you get it stuck in five trees, and then have to climb them to get it down.
Pretty much, it was a blast! There were some fun people up there as well. Such as the drunken shirtless men... they were very entertaining... and drunk.
It was just so nice to be away from the city, and away from work for three days. Sleep in a tent on rock hard ground, and eat food cooked over an open fire.
I really love camping, but this was actually only my second, legitimate, time going.
We have always had a cabin. My parents bought it when I was two, and I spent the entirety of my summers there growing up. Of course my friends and I would occasionally set up a tent across the lake and stay there for the night just for fun. But a bed and home cooked meal were just a mile walk away.
A lot of people see me as outdoorsy. And they tend to be really surprised that I haven't been camping often. The truth is, I would love to. I just don't have a lot of people to go with.
I'm still waiting for that big boundary waters expedition whenever I meet someone who knows what they are doing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Can't sleep

Work was utterly exhausting today, but I still can't seem to calm my mind or relax enough to get some sleep. I have been reading that Kosinsky novel. It is so disturbing. It is horrifying, really. There are parts in it that are so terrible and disgusting that I can't get them out of my head.
There are just so many things wrong with what is happening in that book.
But I might still think it is a good book.
I think Kosinsky is trying to convey the horror that a child roaming around Eastern Europe during the second world war would have felt, seen, experienced.
Some of it really makes me want to puke, or throw the book across the room.
It is an emotionally wrenching novel.
Parts of it have made me cry.
That may be part of why I can't sleep.

I wouldn't recommend this one for anyone with a week stomach or to anyone that has a hard time erasing terrible images from their mind.
I'm determined to finish it. I'm actually almost done if I can convince myself to pick it up again.
I was going to read Kafka next... but I don't know if a dystopian novel would be the best followup to this. Maybe I need a nice relaxing, fun one in between...


It's no secret that I have gained nearly thirty pounds in the last two years... pretty much since getting my job at a grocery store. To be honest, I NEEDED to gain some weight. ( I know I know, weird for a woman to say that!) But I was too thin. Lack of sleep, working fifty hours a week, and going to school full time will do that to you I guess.
Anyway. A woman that I work with just did this detox diet thing. It's one designed by Natalia Rose called Detox 4 Women. It is, I guess, gentler and healthier than most detox diet things... eating real food and no extra time on the toilet!
But more to the point. My friend says (and looks) that she feels so much better! She has more color to her face, more energy, and just all around feels great.
Lately I have been struggling with finding enough energy to do just simple things. Since I was sick for a few months and never found out what was wrong I have been taking my vitamin B12 and D, which is supposed to help... but it's not a cure all.
I'm thinking what could be the harm in ridding my body of excess toxins?
But what I get hung up on is the "diet" aspect of it. I have never gone on a diet in my life. I'm just one of those lucky girls that has a high metabolism, and eats relatively healthy (most of the time) and since I have always been active, I have never even really tried specifically to lose weight.
I don't think that is the main point of this idea either. It would be nice to turn some fat into muscle, or maybe drop a few pounds... nothing major though. This is more about feeling better. Having energy. Feeling healthy. Actually being healthy.
The detox diet thing is for 28 days. After that, you just have some new healthy recipes and a better idea of what you should be putting in your body. Eating more raw foods, but not having to ONLY eat raw foods.
Another thing that I worry about is that I don't know if this could potentially make my weight fluctuate more... not the actual diet. Let me explain-
so most people who go on a generic diet gain the weight back after they are done. Would that happen to me? and if so, could that potentially spark a constant problem with fluctuating weight, which is something that I know many women in my family deal with. My current weight fluctuates within ten pounds every week. Could that get more severe if I start messing with my diet??
I just really don't know. I don't thing so. But I am hesitant to commit myself to 28 days.
I think I may buy the book, and then decide.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finished Heart of Darkness today..

Not gonna lie, this story confused me!
I may have been too distracted by the absolute savagery depicted of Mr. Kurtz.. but What?!!
OK. So first thing I found interesting was that it is written to sound unreliable. The narrator is not the one telling the story. He is hearing it from a person who seems to tell some tall tales.
Another thing that I found interesting was the complete lack of some information. It's true, there is a reason for it according to the story teller: he doesn't want to tell information about the trading company that he is not supposed to tell.
And (warning this is a bit of a spoiler.. even though you still won't know what is going on at this point in the story) I still don't understand why the storyteller wasn't killed by his crew. Or really why they wanted to kill him in the first place.
It was a disturbing tale, I'll give it that. It's basically about the grotesque savagery that can take place without civilization mixed with (I think) a bit of criticism about European imperialism...
And that is really all I have to say about that one.

Next on the list, Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird. I've read Being There by him, and it was a hilarious political satire. It's really short, entertaining, and easy to read, so I would recommend that one to anybody!
This one sounds really interesting though. He wrote it in 1965, and it takes place during WWII.
One thing to point out about Kosinski is that his "Being There" was quite possibly some one else's story completely. I don't know if it was ever determined for certain, but most likely he ripped of the story. He is still a great writer though. And I am excited to read something a bit more contemporary from an author that I know is decent.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hanging out with my best friend is going to make me fat

I have had a wonderful week.
A surprisingly wonderful week!
I had been feeling a bit down again lately. My back is fucked. Excuse the language. But it is. My SI joints are all flared up again, and it makes it hard to walk, stand, sit, basically-live. And I started feeling dizzy again... like I had been feeling for months. I got freaked out that it was going to last forever again.
Luckily, it hasn't. And although my back is sore and I am in constant pain, I have had some fun this week. And it's only Tuesday!!!
Yesterday, my good friend and I went out. It was her birthday a week or so ago, and I had to buy her b-day present... so we went to Half priced books.
A dangerous place for her and me!
We even found a Pink Floyd album (which I let the birthday girl have). I bought a few books for myself too!
Then we went to our favorite place for dinner- Good Earth. All natural delicious food! And every time we go there we end up eating WAY TOO MUCH! And of course have a bottle of wine :)
Well, I had a delicious pasta dish with artichokes, roasted tomatoes, and a white wine sauce, and I think she had pasta with shrimp. We skipped dessert for another glass of wine at a different bar before we went to Sex and the City.
Ok ok. It wasn't very good. But it was a fun night out with my best girl friend!!!
So, her and I had similar work schedules this week, which never happens, so we got together today too!
We ran some fun errands, like buying ballet shoes for her because she is taking an adult ballet class this summer. She danced from the time she could walk until she went to college. Her mom owns a dance studio. I'm so excited that she is doing what she loves again!!!
Then we decided to make dinner.
oh man. It was delicious!! Flatbread turned pizza with tomatoes, basil from the garden, and marinated mozzarella balls :) And of course we couldn't skip out on dessert two nights in a row.
Fudge brownie cheesecake.
I'm seriously going to gain twenty pounds if we keep hanging out like this!
But it was delicious. And a nice bottle of Canard Zin to go with it!
It was lighter than I had expected, or it started out that way. But then you get a nice vanilla-cherry flavor, with a zing of spice at the end. So delicious!

Also, I am going to start writing an order at work, which means a bit more responsibility and something a little different than what i am used to . It should be a nice change. And I am also getting to do the wine tastings again!! (in case you couldn't tell!) I am trying some new ones... but I still have to come up with three whites for tomorrow... and I'm not a big white wine drinker. In fact, I am just starting to enjoy whites. Yesterday, I had a nice Chenin Blanc from South Africa. It was from a coop. Hand picked. And I have been enjoying Sauv blancs from New Zealand's Marlborough county. Nice grapefruity crisp wines for the summer. :)
Ok, so pretty much I have been eating and drinking all week, and enjoying it SO much!
And I don't mind the rain because my garden is loving it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


When we first moved into our duplex, our upstairs neighbors were awesome. We hardly knew they were there except for the occasional run in outside, or the kitty paws pattering on the floor when it decided to run around like crazy. But even that you wouldn't usually notice. They were super nice every time I saw them.
They moved out at the end of May.
Our new neighbors... well... the guy is nice.
I'm trying so hard not to make judgments on the girl. They are probably my age. Maybe even younger.
Lets just say she did not make a good first impression. She acted bitchy and rude and stuck up the two times that I have seen her. I say it that way because we have never talked. The first time, she completely ignored me as I said hi, and her boyfriend responded. She interrupted him. And the second time, well, I think she may have said hi, but it could have also been to the person she was on the phone with, who was severely yelled at a few minutes later.
OK. So she may be really stressed about moving. She wouldn't be the first person to act a little crazy because of that. Or maybe she was having a bad day. Twice.
I am just worried because I CANNOT deal with neighbors even a fraction as bad as the ones at the old apartment. They made me hate my life. I couldn't sleep because they were always yelling or banging on the floor or something. Basically, we just couldn't live like that. And I don['t want to be reminded of them, or worse, have to deal with people like them again.
I know that I am getting a little preemptively angry here, but I am just worried.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I decided that it was time for me to read something written within the last decade or two (instead of centuries...) so I bought the book Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I bought this one because it had been recommended to me from a few different people, and with all the buzz about the play I though, why not read it?
As with most super popular contemporary novels, I have a hard time getting over the actual writing of the author. He uses the word 'but' too much. Starts sentences with it too often. Doesn't even use it correctly half of the time. I'm not that big of a stickler though. You can start a sentence with 'but.' And it probably has a lot to do with his style of writing. He still uses it way too much.
Other than that tiny picky detail, I have a few more qualms with the book. One being that it starts out like a dirty romance novel. Two being the dialogue sucks until a good fifty pages into the book. Three, I feel like he is trying so hard to make it a social allegory but it just isn't working.
What I mean by that is, when an author writes about a made up world (especially one with similar social structure, ie class) he is generally making some type of comment on the actual world that we live in. First, I though Maguire was making a comment on religion. He actually takes it in that direction for a bit. But then it just turns out to be a bunch of made up theologies to hold the plot together in a somewhat confusing way. Then I thought, maybe politics? But it all just turns out too cheesy for an actual allegory.
Do New York Times bestsellers ever contain allegories? Are books only a form of entertainment now, instead of thought provoking, inspiring or educating?

I'm being too harsh.
The book is entertaining.... once I get over my English major's qualms with the quality of writing.
But really, sometimes I feel like so many books now are just written versions of movies. And there is really nothing wrong with that. I've actually read non-canonical literature from the Victorian era, and it is so similar to the trashy romance novels only in a more conservative way.
I'm not questioning whether these books hold any immediate value, I am questioning what will be put into the cannon from our time period? Will there even be anything?

On another note, Nana is coming along slowly. I have felt the urge to read my mindless novel more often. It is somehow soothing. Relaxing. It helps me sleep to read about a sad little green girl.
Weird dreams though.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I got an A on my senior thesis.
I'm pretty happy about that, especially since I think I may be one of the few to receive that grade. ( not that I want other people to get a bad grade... it just shows how hard I worked on it)
I know it doesn't really matter... grades don't really matter, but it helps me to feel like I have accomplished something.
I don't expect that many people have read it; it is very long and boring to most, but I am very proud of it :) I worked hard on it, and it is one of the few essays that I have written and actually liked.
I kinda want to publish it. I don't even know if that is possible... but it would be pretty awesome to have it in some literary journal.
It's a pretty original thesis. Most people don't thing of John Milton and George Eliot together...
I dunno.
Any feedback?
Anyone even know how to go about publishing an essay in a journal?

I think I will have to talk to one of my old professors that I liked... or maybe suck it up and talk to the one who actually gave me the grade on it.

So, I realized that having a teacher who I don't get along with was actually very helpful in my writing. I knew he was going to refute everything that I said, and I had to be able to back up my conclusions with convincing evidence. Having someone who disagreed with me about nearly everything really challenged me to thing of things from another perspective.
He pissed me off.
I felt like he didn't even give a shit about my work or my opinions because he always negated them...
but then again, one of my favorite all time profs was one who made me cry during class for ripping apart a paper of mine, who wouldn't let me talk in class without using complete thoughts, sentences, not using the words "like" or "umm," and who was a complete portentous ass. But I learned so much from him.
Although I wouldn't put this particular teacher on the scale of porentousness or intelligence of him, I still learned a lot from him.
I don't know if it was really him I learned from, or just the situation. Either way, I'm glad for the experience.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Really Done!

OK, don't worry. This one isn't an entire essay!
I just finished up my last finals... well by just, I mean right before I went and shot some pool and drank some beers with my friend :) But I am all done! No more undergraduate courses... ever!
I'm pretty excited, and pretty much not believing that I am actually done.
I've been going to school for what seems like forever. And it will be weird to not get up early and go sit in a lecture.
Now, I think I want to learn German.

Jonathan bought me a gift card to half price books.... I can't wait to buy books!!
Is that sad?? I just graduated and I can't wait to do more academic work??
Well, doesn't matter. I think I am going to mix it up a bit though. No more Victorian... although that is soo great! Once I finish Nana, I might try some more contemporary books... maybe some dystopian novels, my boyfriend really likes those, and I liked 1984 when I read it like ten years ago. Maybe I will even buy something off the best sellers list! That would just be CRAZY!
Yep, I had some beers.
But anyway, this novel that I am reading right now, it is really entertaining! I'm not too far into it because I had to study for finals and such, but I really wanted to read it because the translator and editor of it says some really great things about it...
like, "In any appreciation of Emile Zola it is well to admit first of all that he was lacking in taste, discrimination, selection, vision, a sense of form, indeed, in almost everything we have come to deem requisite in an artist."
What a way to open a book!!!
But, Zola was amazing because of his realism. It was he who changed literature into the shocking, disgusting realistic imitation of life. I mean... that's pretty good. Anyone who likes Fight Club can admit to that :)
"Art is nature seem through temperament." Zola

The story Nana, as I gather so far, is about an actress prostitute who cannot act or sing worth a dime. But since she is so "plump" and agreeable (she can laugh at herself) she is an instant hit in the Theatre whose owner likes to call a brothel.
I can't imagine what kinds of shenanigans this little femme fatale is going to get herself into, or what the decadence that she represents will cause society...
So far, I would recommended this to anyone who has a secret love for literature about the moral decay of a society, and doesn't mind a bit of boring, translated, descriptions.
I like it so far, and will probably post more, especially if it keeps down the path is is going!!

I figure, if I keep this up, then I won't miss school so much. I can challenge myself to one book a month! Keeping it relaxed, but still providing motivation for what I love to do! :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Milton's Patriarchal Society in George Eliot's Novels
Many of George Eliot’s female characters display a struggle within the patriarchal realm of education. In Middlemarch and Mill on the Floss Eliot portrays her female characters as reliant on a specific patriarchal figure. This patriarchal figure is likely based on a large number of individuals that Eliot encountered throughout her life or through literature. One main example of this is John Milton. Milton seems to be at the root of the patriarchal figures within Eliot’s novels as shown through allusions and direct quotes. Both novels contain female characters who exhibit a passion for education similar to Eliot’s. The setting of each is a patriarchal society in which many characters express the desire to prevent furthering female education. Dorthea and Maggie are left to find their own way to obtain the education that they desire. The way in which each girl fries to find a way is by leaning on a seemingly benevolent patriarch. Dorthea turns to Casaubon, and Maggie turns to Philip and constantly struggles with reliance on her brother. Each of these male characters can be compared to Milton in some way. Although not necessarily misogynistic, these male characters are meant to represent a male dominated society in which the novels take place. Eliot's female characters tend to show a need for a benevolent patriarchal figure in order to further their education. They are not satisfied with the standard female education so they manipulate the patriarchal structure to obtain the knowledge they desire. This is likely reflective of Eliot’s own life and her own struggles in finding her place within a patriarchal society.
Beth Kowaleski-Wallace defines a benevolent patriarch as “a strong, generous father figure—selfless, wise, and competent—provides a coherent world view” (275). She adds that “the benevolent patriarch achieves his recognized status as moral guardian only upon the willing submission of his daughters to his superior 'wisdom'” (277). A benevolent patriarch is one who educates his daughters or daughter figures, but never sees them as his equals. John Milton is a prime example of this. Milton employed his daughters to read to him so that he could continue his scholarly work after his eyesight began to fail (Nardo 328). This story of Milton is not distant to Eliot. She uses it to explain a detail of her character Dorthea in Middlemarch, as well as creating a similar situation in Romola (Nardo 328). Although the specific case of Milton as a benevolent patriarch is referenced in two of her novels, Eliot reflects these patriarchal ideas as presented by Milton in her other novels as well. For example, Gwendolen in Daniel Deronda constantly struggles with her need for a man to survive in the world, and Maggie in Mill on the Floss relies almost completely on males for her education. As this is a recurrent theme in Eliot's novels, it suggests that she dealt with some difficulties herself in her patriarchal society in much of the same way as Dorthea and Maggie. Dorthea provides the most explicit example of Eliot's female character's need for a benevolent patriarch.
Dorthea's society in Middlemarch would not have been horribly different from George Eliot's when she was growing up, or even from the society in which she lived while writing the novel. The idea of higher education for females was not popular until much later in Eliot’s life if at all. Eliot provides some examples of how people would have thought in this type of patriarchal society. For example Dorthea's uncle, Mr. Brooke, does not hold a high opinion of women's intelligence; he claims, “Young ladies don't understand political economy, you know” (392; bk.1, ch.1). He also says, “I cannot let young ladies meddle with my documents. Young ladies are too flighty” (383; bk.1, ch.1). Mr. Brooke's opinion of “young ladies” is not confined to him. Many members of the society feel the same way. For example, Mr. Bulstrode says, “I like a woman who lays herself out a little more to please us” (430; bk.1, ch.10). He is indicating here that a woman should act in a certain way which is pleasing to men. Mr. Bulstrode makes this comment, as well as other comments that could be equally offending to a woman in the presence of ladies, and they don’t object. Even Dorthea's mind has become ingrained with this patriarchal ideal. She sees the world as one where women are less than men. At one point, Dorthea is convinced that there are certain things that a woman just cannot understand. While trying to learn Latin and Greek, she becomes discouraged. The narrator observes, “Dorthea herself was a little shocked and discouraged at her own stupidity, and the answers she got to some timid questions about the value of the Greek accents gave her a painful suspicion that here indeed there might be secrets not capable of explanation to a woman's reason” (414; bk.1, ch.7). While this observation upsets Dorthea, she is still willing to accept it. Also, in response to Milton's daughters not wanting to read to their father, she says, “Yes; but in the first place they were very naughty girls, else they would have been proud to minister to such a father” (413; bk.1, ch.7). In Dorthea's mind, women exist to serve men. The society in which Dorthea lives has made her to believe that in order to learn, she needs a benevolent patriarch. Without one she would have no opportunity.
Dorthea sees the need to marry because the patriarchal structure of her society has become ingrained in her mind. Her awareness of the faults within feminine knowledge, and her general disposition to serve others makes her feel the need of a benevolent patriarch. Dorthea wants Casaubon to teach her what he can. The narrator observes, “Those provinces of masculine knowledge seemed to her a standing ground from which all truth could be seen more truly” (414; bk.1, ch.7). Dorthea feels that in expanding her education with Casaubon's help, she could do more to serve others, which seems to be a prominent goal in her life. She feels the full weight of her feminine responsibility; “All the energy of Dorthea's nature went on the side of responsibility—the fulfillment of claims founded on our own deeds, such as marriage and parentage” (621; bk.4, ch.37). This expresses the norm for a woman at that time, as ingrained in them through the patriarchal structure. Dorthea feels other weights on her responsibility as well, such as helping the less fortunate or bettering the housing situation of her neighborhood in the beginning of book one. An interesting aspect to Dorthea's desire to help others is found in her initial desire to help Casaubon with his work. When Casaubon hints that Dorthea might be good at learning Greek, the narrator says, “She would not have asked Mr. Casaubon at once to teach her the languages, dreading of all things to be tiresome instead of helpful; but it was not entirely out of devotion to her future husband that she wished to know Latin and Greek” (413; bk.1, ch.7). While Dorthea does want to be helpful, and outwardly serve her husband, she is really entertaining her own desire to learn. She does not, however, express this to Mr. Casaubon because it would not have been acceptable to him. So she instead masks her passion for learning in her passion for helping others.
Her passion for education started at an early age. She was soon questioning things that she, as a female, should not have. The narrator informs the reader that “Dorthea, early troubling her elders with questions about the facts around her, had wrought herself into some independent clearness as to the historical, political reasons why eldest sons had superior rights, and why land should be entailed” (612; bk.4, ch.37). Dorthea is curious about the way the world works. This curiosity, while it would have been normal for a male, is unbecoming of a female. Even Lydgate observes that “she did not look at things from the proper feminine angle” (435; bk.1, ch.11). Since the education that Dorthea desires is not acceptable for a woman to have, she must find a benevolent patriarch who would be willing to share his knowledge; this is her idea of marriage. She thinks that “the really delightful marriage must be that where your husband was a sort of father and could teach you even Hebrew, if you wished it” (377; bk.1, ch.1). This seems to be Dorthea's principal reason for submitting to Casaubon. Although she does feel the weight of her social responsibilities, and that plays a part in her decision, she chooses Casaubon primarily because of his ability to educate her. It is Dorthea's outlook on life and marriage as patriarchal structures draws her to desire Mr. Casaubon as a husband.
Mr. Casaubon is presented as very similar to Milton, the standard for a benevolent patriarch. Eliot's comparisons of Casaubon to Milton are meant to lead the reader to believe that Casaubon is indeed as much of a patriarchal figure as Milton. He is also, along with Milton, not as benevolent as he may seem on first impression. Casaubon is explicitly compared to Milton in the very beginning of the novel. Dorthea immediately sees him “as instructive as Milton's affable archangel” (386; bk.1, ch.2). This is to reference his vast knowledge of religion. Dorthea sees his work on finding a “key to all mythologies” as reputable work in which she would be honored to be a small part of (414; bk.1, ch. 7). She looks up to him based on his education and his ability to share his knowledge with her. She offers to help him with this grand work; she says, “Could I not be preparing myself now to be more useful. . . . Could I not learn to read Latin and Greek aloud to you, as Milton's daughters did to their father, without understanding what they read?” (413; bk.1, ch.7). In this situation, Dorthea is raising her opinion of Casaubon to the level of respect that she holds for Milton, as well as demonstrating actions taken to procure an education from Casaubon. It is, however, difficult to tell Eliot's opinion on this subject. On one hand, Milton's supposed view of women could be seen as extremely misogynistic. For example, in Paradise Lost Milton depicts Eve as a “satanical, sinful monster” (Gilbert 369). If Milton were a complete misogynist, it would seem that, as an intelligent woman, Eliot would not have held him in high regard. On the other hand, some critics say that Eliot herself was influenced by Milton's work, which would suggest that she had some form of respect for him (Postlethwait 199). This ambiguity of Eliot's true opinion of such a controversial historical figure reflects her female characters' struggles with the patriarchal system of education.
Dorthea's struggles with education are self inflicted. If she were content with a conventional feminine view on life, including education, she would not have married Casaubon. She would have instead married Sir James Chettam; as her uncle points out, “Chettam was just the sort of man a woman would like” (397; bk.1, ch.4). Dorthea’s rejection of Chettam is very surprising to her uncle because he does not understand her reasons for wanting to marry Casaubon. By marrying Casaubon, Dorthea has put herself in the position of being taught by a seemingly benevolent patriarch. Dorthea first sees Mr. Casaubon as “the most interesting man she had ever seen. . . . To reconstruct a past world, doubtless with a view to the highest purposes of truth” (382; bk.1, ch.1). She sees him as serving a greater power, and as only wanting to find the truth of religion. Dorthea respects this, and assumes that such a man would want all people to hold such knowledge. As the readers of Middlemarch soon find out, Casaubon is in fact not so benevolent. This does not, however, change Dorthea's reliance on him for more than just her education, since she still looks up to him as much more intelligent than herself. She says, “He thinks with me, or rather, he thinks a whole world of which my thoughts is but a poor twopenny mirror. And his feelings too, his whole experience—what a lake compared with my little pool” (387; bk.1, ch.3). Dorthea sets herself up to believe the best of people, specifically Casaubon. With her elevated view of him, she cannot believe that he could be wrong in action or thought. She whole-heartedly relies on him. When they argue, she is the one that gives in. The narrator observes her thoughts; “Having convinced herself that Mr. Casaubon was altogether right, she recovered her equanimity” (430; bk.1, ch.10). She cannot believe herself to be right when disagreeing with Casaubon because he is her educator, her benevolent patriarch; she is blindly obedient.
As discussed briefly above, Eliot's opinion of Milton is somewhat hard to discern, as is her view on the patriarchal structure of education. It is likely that Eliot respected Milton as a writer, but this would have added to her struggle of being a female author in a patriarchal society. Milton is still considered an important author who created a modern epic. As a previous critic and current author, Eliot would have been familiar with his work and have respect for what he had accomplished. Eliot herself became a recognized author during a time when Milton's patriarchal ideals were still socially enforced. The literary world embodied this patriarchal structure. Nardo observes, “Milton was for Eliot, as for other women writers, what Harold Bloom calls 'the Great Inhibitor, the Sphinx who strangles even the strong imaginations in their cradles'” (331). This quote is suggesting that Milton, who wrote the famous Paradise Lost, created a type of misogyny aimed specifically at women writers. Although this view is somewhat argumentative, it holds that Milton did not care to fully educate his daughters (Nardo 328). Sandra M. Gilbert backs up this idea with some in-text examples of how Milton creates this educational misogyny within Paradise Lost. She says, “Milton's myth of origins, summarizing a long misogynistic tradition, confuses and intimidates literary women of the patriarchal etiology that defines a solitary Father God as the only creator of all things” (368). In this, she is claiming that Milton took the Christian creation myth a step further in creating a patriarchal society.
The society in which Eliot was raised held Christianity, along with the patriarchal story of origins, as very important. Religion was not fully socially questioned until later in Eliot's life when Darwin published his Origin of the Species. The way in which Milton emphasizes the patriarchal quality of the Christian myth is by embellishing on Eve's sinfulness. Gilbert claims, “The story that Milton . . . most notably tells to women is of course the story of women's secondness, her otherness, and how that otherness leads inexorably to her demonic anger, her sin, her fall, and her exclusion from that garden of the gods which is also, for her, the garden of poetry” (370). While Gilbert does make a bit of a leap coming to the conclusion that the Garden of Eden was the “garden of poetry” for Eve, it remains true that Eve is depicted in a negative light in Paradise Lost. Milton seems to have caused problems for women writers of every generation following him. It would have been very confusing for a female writer to have any amount of respect for Milton. However, some critics claim that Eliot was actually inspired by Milton's work.
Diana Postlethwait addresses the misogynistic view of Milton by claiming that male and female truths and levels of intelligence are different from each other; males tend to be “self-empowering” whereas females tend to “create and sustain the higher community” (199). This argument is really stating that the misogyny of Milton is irrelevant. He simply explains a difference between men and women. She also claims that Eliot embraces this concept in Middlemarch. She says that Paradise Lost was “a source of inspiration to Middlemarch” (199). She makes this claim by asserting similarities in the themes of each story. While the claims of Postlethwait differ from those of Gilbert and Nardo, all three agree that Milton had a strong influence on Eliot. This influence is likely what caused her internal struggle of accepting the patriarchal norm. Nardo says, “Eliot was herself one of Milton's many spiritual daughters who internalized a misogynistic theology that imprisoned them in male texts” (329). In this quote, Nardo really gets at Eliot's struggle which is shown through many of her female characters, mainly Dorthea, Maggie, and Gwendolen. Milton's epic, Paradise Lost, appears in Middlemarch mainly because of Eliot's internal struggle with the patriarchal society that Milton has enforced. This struggle is strongly reflected in her character Dorthea through her explicit ties to Milton, religion, and struggle for knowledge.
This particular struggle for a woman to live complacently in a patriarchal world is not unique to Eliot or her female characters. It is a struggle that is ingrained in the Christian creation myth as presented by Milton through Paradise Lost. This is a likely reason that Eliot included references and parallels to Milton within Middlemarch. The most prominent parallel that Eliot draws is between Dorthea and Eve. Postlethwait says, “Like Dorthea, Eve aspires to 'learn everything,' to acquire 'the completest knowledge,'” she continues, “Eve's sin is intellectual; by ingesting the Logos, to usurp the exclusive province of patriarchy” (202). Eve, like Dorthea, has an inquiring personality that is unsuitable for a woman of either time or society, which creates an internal struggle. In chapter twenty nine of Middlemarch, “Dorthea struggles against the Miltonic imperative of wifely submission—as her sardonic asides suggest” (Postlethwait 210). Dorthea's struggle against this imperative is reflective of Eve's actions against her ultimate benevolent patriarch.
In marriage, Postlethwait draws a very specific parallel between Middlemarch and Paradise Lost to represent the need for human love in an imperfect world. While her connection between the two literary works does show this need, it also shows wifely submission for the greater good of the society by following societal norms. Postlethwait claims, “Having conquered the claims of self, Dorthea is able to offer Casaubon the redemption of the relationship: 'She put her hand into her husband's, and they went along the broad corridor together'” (212). This is a clear representation of Milton's ending of Paradise Lost; “They hand in hand with wand'ring steps and slow, / Through Eden took the solitary way” (12.648-49). Both women in these stories have submitted to their husbands, who are also their perceived benevolent patriarchs; Eve having reconciled her sinful nature with her husband, and Dorthea having given in to her husband's hubris, which leads into the parallel of education. As discussed above, Eve and Dorthea share a desire for intellect. They both seek knowledge beyond that of their female education. Eve does this by ingesting the fruit and Dorthea by forming a relationship with Casaubon. Postlethwait draws the connection, but takes the argument no further. She claims that it was “Satan's masculine hubris that set in motion this series of tragic events” (203). She could have easily pointed out Casaubon's masculine hubris, and self-righteous nature which caused his marriage to fall apart before it even began. In this aspect, though, it is Satan that acts as Eve's benevolent patriarch. It is he who offers her the opportunity of knowledge, just as Casaubon does for Dorthea. While Middlemarch contains the most explicit examples of Milton, his work, and benevolent patriarchs, it is important to look at these aspects in Eliot's other novels as well.
Eliot's earlier novel, Mill on the Floss, is filled with a woman's struggle to live, and more specifically to learn, in a patriarchal society. Maggie Tulliver begins her childhood with a knack for learning; it is even more prominent than Dorthea's. However, she too holds the view that she needs to rely on a benevolent patriarch for her education. Her patriarchal submissions are not instilled in her by her father. In fact, he thinks that she is rather bright. He says, “I don't know I' what she's behind other folks's children; and she can read almost as well as the parson” (947; bk.1, ch.2). Rather, Maggie is influenced by the greater society's view of women's education, which is revealed to her mostly through her brother Tom. Tom is constantly making Maggie feel less than he; he is quick to point out her mistakes and tell her when she is wrong (1041; bk.2, ch.1). Tom's teacher, Mr. Stelling, is meant to represent the overall view of male educators. He would be considered a benevolent patriarch, since he represents a strong educational figure to Tom, and therefore to Maggie as well.
Mr. Stelling is not altogether against the education of women. However, he still feels that they are far below the level of intelligence of their male counterparts. When questioned by Tom about the ability of girls to understand, he says, “They can pick up a little of everything, I dare say. They've a great deal of superficial cleverness, but they couldn't go far into anything. They're quick and shallow” (1043; bk.2, ch.1). He, as an educator, would represent many educated people's views on this subject as well. It is quite clear that his opinions quickly become ingrained in Tom as well. Maggie has this desire to learn, but Tom's views do not allow it. The narrator observes Maggie's view on the matter, “It was really interesting—the Latin Grammar that Tom had said no girls could learn: and she was proud because she found it interesting” (1041; bk.2, ch.1). It is perhaps this first experience with an educator, or perhaps past experiences with society's view in general on the matter, which forces Maggie to believe that she requires a man to educate her. In either case, she shows that it has become ingrained in her mind when she says to Philip, “But you are so very clever, Philip, and you can play and sing . . .. I wish you were my brother. I'm very fond of you. And you would stay at home with me when Tom went out, and you would teach me everything” (1067; bk.2, ch.6). Since Tom is not benevolent, Maggie turns to another male figure. This is very similar to Dorthea's mindset that stimulates her desire to marry Casaubon. The main difference is that Dorthea seeks a much more father-like figure, whereas Maggie chooses a companion near her own age to desire to learn from.
Since Maggie does not search for a father figure, it does not hold that she seeks out a benevolent patriarch; rather, it suggests that Maggie has more pride than Dorthea, but is still forced by society to rely on a male counterpart. Eliot brings up this idea of pride to further differentiate men from women. Since it is said through the narrator, it suggests that this is the view of society, and not necessarily of Eliot. The narrator observes that in Tom's education, Mr. Stelling's harsh treatment of him causes him to become more like a girl because his pride is now “met with nothing but bruises and crushings” (1036; bk.2, ch.1). This comment alone provides a great deal of insight into the society in which Maggie and Tom are living. In this society, women are not supposed to be prideful. If they are, it is likely that it is wrong, and it she is deserving of punishment because she would have no reason to be proud, especially in the area of education. Tom treats Maggie in this way as well; her pride is met by abusive comments from him. Tom becomes one of Maggie's patriarchs because she is willing to submit to him. As Tom benevolently tries to support his family after his father's death, Maggie submits and gives up her desire to learn out of a sense of duty. During Maggie's reminiscence on her past wishes for Philip, the narrator observes, “But that sort of wishing had been banished along with other dreams that savored of seeking her own will” (1134; bk.5, ch.1). Maggie submitted her mind to the simple, everyday tasks, and above all to her religion. She gave up any hope of gaining more knowledge, and put it out of her mind completely. The reason that she gives for these actions is the sorrow of losing her father. However, it stands true that Maggie is submitting to the patriarchal world that she lives in.
When Maggie and Philip speak to each other years after their first meeting, Maggie tries to continue in her placid existence, but her intellectual interest has become peaked. When Philip tries to give Maggie a book, because he remembers how much she used to love to read, she says, “No, thank you,” she continues, “It would make me in love with this world again, as I used to be—it would make me long to see and know many things—it would make me long for a full life” (1149; bk.5, ch.1). Her predictions are correct. As she continues to meet with Philip, and he continues to stimulate her intellectually, she begins to feel her old passion for learning and for living again. He becomes her “tutor,” her benevolent patriarch (1167-8; bk.5, ch.4). He allows her to hope again, to dream again. Maggie thinks,
She might have books, converse, affection—she might hear tidings of the world from which her mind had not yet lost its sense of exile; and it would be a kindness to Philip too, who was pitiable—clearly not happy; and perhaps here was an opportunity indicated for making her mind more worthy of its highest service—perhaps the noblest, completest devoutness could hardly exist without some width of knowledge (1162; bk.5, ch.3).
However, this quote is much more powerful than a simple dream; it expresses how Maggie feels in this oppressive, patriarchal society. It sums up how most of Eliot's prominent female characters feel, how Eliot herself likely felt. Maggie represents Eliot in many ways. They share struggles with religion, deaths of their fathers, and most importantly is the relationships between them and their brothers. If the relationship between Maggie and her brother is, in fact, a conscious representation of the relationship between Eliot and her brother, then it can be reasonable concluded that Eliot did have an internal struggle with her patriarchal society, and her brother contributed to this struggle.
Another hint that Eliot was struggling herself with the idea of a benevolent patriarch is found in her depictions of Gwendolen in Daniel Deronda. First of all, Gwendolen is also living in a patriarchal society in which the women, as well as the men, believe. The period in which this novel takes place is more contemporary to Eliot than many of her previous novels, including Middlemarch and Mill on the Floss. Even though it takes place many years later, the misogyny found in Eliot's earlier novels is still present. The majority of misogynistic quotes in this novel come, not from the men, but from the women. It is clear that the Miltonic patriarchy is fully ingrained in their minds. For example, the Gascoigne women often depreciate themselves. Anna says, “I am not at all clever, and I never know what to say. It seems useless to say what everybody knows, and I can think of nothing else, except what papa says” (26; bk.1, ch.3). Anna does not feel worthy of speaking of anything that she can come up with on her own. She relies completely on a patriarch to even appear educated. Her mother is not much different. Mrs. Gascoigne says, “I am not a good manager by nature, but Henry has taught me” (26; bk.1, ch.3). Her mindset is that she could not possibly have ever done anything on her own, but has always had to rely on her husband to teach her. The statements of these women paint Gwendolen's uncle as a benevolent patriarch. However, Gwendolen's views begin somewhat differently.
Gwendolen is not the type of woman to give in to anyone, let alone a man. Eliot wants the reader to see her as too proud and as trying too hard to be independent, when she is really not capable of doing so. But even this strong woman feels the need to follow society's patriarchal norms. The narrator describes Gwendolen's thoughts on marriage, “But her thoughts never dwelt on marriage as the fulfillment of her ambition . . . to become a wife and wear all the domestic fetters of that condition, was on the whole a vexatious necessity.” She sees marriage as something that she has to do because of society, rather than something that she wants to do. She continues, “of course marriage was a social promotion; she could not look forward to a single life; but promotions have sometimes to be taken with bitter herbs—a peerage will not quite do instead of leadership to the man who meant to lead; and this delicate-limbed sylph of twenty meant to lead” (31; bk.1, ch.4). This is where Gwendolen becomes a much more complex character. She willingly falls into the patriarchal norms, but secretly wants to break them by being master of her husband. To the outside world, to society, she would still appear to be a normal submissive wife. This idea is reflective of the reasons that Dorthea marries Casaubon; she wants to learn things that are not socially appropriate for young ladies to learn, so she finds a husband whom she hopes will teach her. Gwendolen's idea of marriage is that she would be able to find a husband whom she could lead. Both are breaking societal norms by manipulation of the patriarchal structure.
Gwendolen’s idea of marriage does not quite work out in the way that she plans. Her decision to marry Grandcourt is convoluted by her family’s poverty. Although Gwendolen allows herself to be persuaded into this marriage that she does not fully want, the man that has true hold over her is Deronda. The narrator observes, “This hidden helplessness gave fresh force to the hold Deronda had from the first taken on her mind, as one who had an unknown standard by which he judged her” (389; bk.5, ch.35). Gwendolen’s benevolent patriarch is quite different from the female protagonists in Eliot’s other novels. The main difference is that he is actually benevolent. He does not necessarily want to take responsibility for Gwendolen, but he feels a moral obligation to help her. When Grandcourt dies and Gwendolen is burdened with guild the narrator observes Deronda; “He dreaded the weight of this woman’s soul flung upon his own with imploring dependence” (626; bk.7, ch. 56). The narrator continues, “The tremor, the childlike beseeching in these words compelled Deronda to turn his head and look at her face” (627; bk.7, ch. 56). Deronda truly cares about Gwendolen’s well being. Also in comforting Gwendolen after her husband’s death, Deronda says to her, “What I most desire at this moment is what will most help you” (631; bk.7, ch. 56). Deronda helps Gwendolen during her mourning, and does not expect anything in return.
Gwendolen, for the most part, seems in control of herself—at least in how she appears to others. However, when she is broken down by the death of her husband and the guilt she feels toward it, she turns to a benevolent patriarch. Previous to this disaster, Gwendolen does turn to Deronda for advice. She asks him, “What should you do—what should you feel if you were in my place” (408; bk.5, ch. 36). Even though Gwendolen shows signs of reliance on a patriarchal figure, she does not fully rely on one until she is put in a situation that she cannot deal with on her own. When Deronda comforts her, the narrator observes, “That grasp was an entirely new experience to Gwendolen: she had never before had from any man a sign of tenderness which her own being had needed” (627; bk.7, ch.56). Gwendolen had previously never needed a man’s comfort. Her pride prevented her from feeling that need. This addresses another difference in the benevolent patriarch. While Maggie and Dorthea utilize the patriarchal system for their benefit within the realm of education, Gwendolen seeks moral guidance and comfort. Gwendolen struggles throughout the novel, mainly at the beginning, with submitting to a patriarchal figure. She wants to break the societal norms of marriage by leading her husband rather than being led by him. She only consciously seeks a benevolent patriarch when she needs moral guidance.
Eliot herself broke many societal norms, and likely struggled in the process. As seen by her depictions of female characters in many of her novels, Eliot struggled to find her place in a patriarchal society. With the majority of her contemporaries, as well as past influential writers, being male, Eliot would have felt the stress of her patriarchal profession and education more severely. Milton is one of these past influential writers that Eliot struggles with. Eliot reflects this through the struggle of her characters Maggie, Dorthea, and Gwendolen. It is clear that Eliot personally dealt with these struggles because even if Eliot was unconscious of the effect of including Miltonic ideals in her stories, it speaks volumes to they type of life she lived. It adds to the internal struggle of her female characters in a way which allows the reader to see the reality of Eliot's life. She was a woman in the time of a patriarchal society; she did struggle with it. This is evident in the perfect understanding she has of the confusion displayed in Gwendolen, the unsatisfied thirst for knowledge in Maggie, and Dorthea's struggle to submit to her patriarch.

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