Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Sidebar

You may notice I've added a "Things I want to do this Year" sidebar to this blog. I was inspired by Kelly who made a list of 101 things she wants to do in 1001 days.

I have no intention of adding to the list actual "goals", but rather little things I want to do and unfortunately just forget about. Like making and trying couscous. I always forget about that! But my friend David just told me he had couscous last night so it reminded me.

It'll be a running list. Feel free to make recommendations!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Birthday weekend

This past weekend was incredible - very full, very fun, very diverse. Friday Mike and I got all dolled up and went to Sagami, a Japanese restaurant in Collingswood that supposively has the best sushi in the region. It was amazing! We really enjoyed our food. No fake crab in my California roll but Alaskan King Crab and I also got soft shell crab roll. We also planned ahead and Mike brought some Kirin with him to drink and I brought a bottle of Gruner which is supposed to pair very well with sushi. It did.

Afterwards we went home and changed and had a drink and went to a bar not too far from home to see a swing band we like. We drank $2 PBR's and even swing danced to an Eddie and the Cruisers song I really like. Mike reminded me that was another birthday gift.

Saturday morning Mike woke me up with beautiful flowers he had picked up early in the morning at the Farmers Market and gave me my presents. Once we were awake and ready we went out for pancakes and headed to the giant Collingswood May Fair where we walked around and checked out the hundreds of cars at the Classic Car Show and checked out the crafts and jewelry. We had perfect weather.

Once we got home it was time for a nap so we slept for a few hours then got ready all over again and headed to our friends Maria and Kevin's house. Unbeknownst to me we were going to my SURPRISE party. A whole bunch of my friends were there and it was awesome. Maria had tons of food and Amy made me two cakes. Rudy picked up my favorite beer. It was awesome! We played Apples to Apples and all hung out until late.

However, this all made the 7:30 am rendezvous to go hiking the next morning a wee bit difficult. But we all made it and Sunday morning me, Mike, Rudy, Kat and Mike May headed up to the DE Water Gap. My eight mile hike to Sunfish Pond was vetoed so we opted for a much shorter hike although it was to the top of Mount Tammany, the highest point in the Gap. Lets just say we basically rock climbed for two hours to get to the top of this thing. There were times I could hardly believe what we were doing. It was awesome, difficult, beyond our skill level, exhausting, and pretty crazy altogether. I am so glad I didn't pick the route. In fact it was downright dangerous at times.

Getting down was practically just as bad but for different reasons. For some reason there were fist sized to foot sized rocks everywhere and you had to step from rock to rock (lots of them turned out to be loose) or you had to maneuver around them. This went on for two miles and the land was never flat. After a while my ankles were really hurting from the constant twisting and turning. Luckily no one rolled their ankles although we all had some close calls.

We had beautiful weather and the hike really was awesome. It was real hiking not just a walk in the woods so I was very satisfied. And we saw some amazing sights and a gorgeous waterfall that looked like something out of a movie. We all agreed to go again and also agreed to go camping. I really wanted to start getting more into the outdoorsy stuff and now I am so I am pretty happy about that.

Pictures to come.

So Sunday we fell asleep very early. Monday Mike had to go back to work and I was home so I woke up very early as a result of going to bed so early and got lots done. I was able to lay out from 1:00 - 3:00 and overall, just had a nice relaxing end to a very fun and full weekend. Turning 26 wasn't so bad after all.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was particularly good

Friday: Kicked Mike's ASS in two back to back games of Monopoly

Saturday: Took a nice bike ride around Cooper River. I only did two laps since the paved path was far too crowded with pedestrians and the traffic of the next day's rowing meet. Took a nap with Mike when he got home. We did our own thing Saturday night. Stayed up until 2:00 am by myself watching Must Love Dogs and eating ice cream out of the carton. John Cusack's worst movie.

Sunday: Mike was off - a rare treat. We had soft pretzels for breakfast and made it to an 11:15 matinée showing of Iron Man. Very good. I really enjoyed it. Went home, cleaned the house, took a nap and went out to a very early dinner. Got home and played Monopoly in the daylight for the first time ever. I lost. Cleaned the house some more.

I knew I was just exhausted last week so a relaxing weekend was just what the dr. ordered. Now I'm ready for a wonderful birthday weekend scheduled to kick-off Friday with a birthday dinner at Sagami in Collingswood - the best Japanese in the region. Saturday is the Collingswood car show and Saturday night we're going to a friend's house for some Apples to Apples and beer. Sunday is hiking in the DE Water Gap and Monday I'm off and will have the day to myself. It's not Disney World, but it sounds like a pretty kick-ass birthday weekend to me.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday is monopoly night - the best night

Last night I had particularly bad dreams - nightmares in fact. This is not rare for me. All my anxiety comes out in the form of awful situations in my dreams and this has been happening for many many years now.

But last night was different. I had the most beautiful baby girl. I loved her to pieces when I looked at her, but yet I was constantly leaving her home alone and finding myself surprised to see her when I got back and then I would feel this unrelenting guilt upon forgetting about her. I'd notice she needed to be changed then get distracted and leave her all alone again. I was the world's worst mother. And she really was so beautiful.

This didn't come out of nowhere and nope, I'm not pregnant nor will I be any year soon. My friends just had a beautiful baby boy, Patrick, and we went to visit him Saturday. He fell asleep in my arms. And yesterday on the way home from work I found myself wondering if I really ever want to be responsible for a human life. I never considered myself a selfish person until faced with the thought of a child.

In another segment of my nightmares I got in a brawl with someone who gives me anxiety in real life. I finally got to say everything I've wanted to say. This is just sad (pathetic). I really need to find a better way to deal with this shit. I can't keep having late night brawls in my head.

I went to yoga last night and it was the best class I've taken so far. I was a little disappointed I had the nightmares since I felt so at peace after the yoga but I guess it may have just enhanced my thoughts? I don't know. Maybe it was just a coincidence. I am quite sore today but it's that really nice soreness. My back is very sore but it's simply from keeping good posture. I feel like I got an alignment. Now if I could just try to stay straight.

It's disgusting out - dark, rainy, some flooding. But I welcome it. It's Friday and I am just so damn tired again. And I'm still on this Japanese kick so I'm going to bear the weather soon for a mile walk to get some california roll.

I'm gonna kick Mike's ass in monopoly tonight.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I got two A's this semester - one in Sociology and one in U.S. History I. I suspected I would get two A's but seeing them in black and white is very nice.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Current Events: Philadelphia

Working in Philadelphia amongst many wonderful black colleagues, you will oftentimes find yourself in enlightening discussions about race. In lieu of Sergeant Liczbinski being slain earlier this week in the line of duty and the next day's horrific police brutality, the topic of race can come up almost constantly.

Today was Liczbinski's funeral essentially next door at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. The events of the day unfolded much as they did back in November for Officer Cassidy's funeral after he was slain upon entering a Dunkin Donuts for his morning coffee. Thousands of police officers from around the tri-state area, and some from even farther, flooded the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and surrounding area. A live feed was provided from within the Cathedral.

Upon walking in to work this morning I was faced with yet again photos from the beating laid down on three black men earlier this week in all the newspapers. I carefully commented and wondered aloud to two of my black colleagues that the suspects had just shot three men. Although the beating was excessive, isn't trying to murder three people also excessive? Isn't this beating in at least some way, justified? We all felt the same way.

Well, it turns out that these three men may not have been the men that had just tried to shoot three other men on a street corner. It's much more plausible (and the investigation is still pending) that the police mistook one of the gentleman for the at-large accomplice to the Lizcbinski slaying and jumped to some terrible conclusions. The whole shooting suspect thing: a mere cover-up for a case of mistaken identity.

In talking to my two colleagues this morning, I was tremendously enlightened to what being a black parent in this city entails. Ken's son was visiting from Atlanta this week and he expressed the constant fear of his son being in town out and about while the entire Philadelphia police force looked for the at-large accomplice. He said he found himself checking in on his son hourly and couldn't sleep at night until his son was safely inside the house.

Toni told me of her son's experiences this week. Apparently, many times this week he had been out on the street hanging out with his friends and police would roll up, get out of their cars and stand and stare, trying to figure out if one of them was Eric Floyd, the wanted suspect. They would finally come to a conclusion that they were not who they were looking for and move on.

According to Toni, the goal of a black parent in this city is to get their child to see the age of 30, "but you don't stop worrying about them until they're 65." Ken nodded his head in agreement the entire time.

I think a lot of people are intimidated by the topic of race and especially racism. In my personal experience, my questions and curiosities are welcomed by my black colleagues. I think knowledge and understanding is key and I'm big on questions.

The conversations continued at length over the day and overall, I'm grateful to have been a part of them. Philadelphia is a difficult place. You can live here quite happily I'm sure if you maintain a level of ignorance, but being aware can make you very sad and very confused. I don't always understand why some people choose to live in a bubble and have no clue what goes on outside, but I do understand the results - a more blissful existence.

As an addendum, today I was greatly saddened and angered. Ken and I were outside when we looked over and saw a Paterson, NJ police officer urinating in the middle of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. And laughing. And the four officers with him were laughing. A homeless man walked by and mentioned to me and Ken that we should call the police. This man clearly was also angered by the spectacle (although what he said clearly has an ounce of humor).

Ken refused to look again. Ken refuses to look at police officers in general and he's explained this to me on many occasions. "Jess, if I only told you half the shit about how officers treat black men in this city!" I, however, stared. When the officer got into the car he sat and stared right back at me. Then he laughed at me and shut the door.

I was infuriated. What this man did was wrong on so many levels. The obvious: it's illegal. Secondly, children were in clear view. Thirdly, Sergeant Liczbinski's funeral procession had just traveled down the same road less than an hour beforehand. Fourthly, he was an out of town police officer. I really could go on and on.

Ken thought this behavior was typical. "Jess, I've seen cops in full uniform in alleyways with women bent over in front of them."

Great. Maybe in twenty years I'll be just as desensitized as Ken, but for now, I can be naive and ask my questions and get mad when I see an officer violate the law. This entire week has been overwhelming for this city and you can feel it in the air. It's like a black cloud has settled.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Quick and Dirty

Tonight's my last final exam for the semester - Sociology. I don't care anymore. I probably won't look at my notes again until I'm sitting in class at 7:59 waiting for my teacher to hand out the exams. I'm so ready for this semester to be over.

I don't have a free night until next Tuesday, which is mildly disappointing but I'm grateful for this sudden onslaught of having a life. But at the same time I'm looking forward to things getting back to normal. Dare I say I miss my cooking. Last night's dinner consisted of two Philadelphia soft pretzels and ghast, I've been buying my lunch everyday!

Mike is taking two ASE certification tests next Tuesday so I promised to help him study as best I can over the next few days but I feel awful that there's no time. I'll have to figure that one out.

My brother, Joey, is in town and I'm looking forward to seeing him Saturday. Going up north is becoming increasingly difficult. It's like being homeless. Every minute must be accounted for or else I end up sitting in a Starbucks reading or going to my mom's, which is great, but planned visits are much more satisfying. Having no where to go and going to my mom's brings me back to my teenage years of stewing at my mom's house because I have no where to go. It was agonizing then and I still hate the feeling now.

So Saturday I'll pop in to Rogue Comics for my Potter figures and chat with Pete for a little while and I'm trying to confirm lunch plans with some of my girlfriends. After that is beyond me. I have to eventually meet up with Joe but I don't want to get there too early seeing as I'll be there until roughly 9:00 am the following morning.

I am very ready for vacation in June.

A little chuckle

So Georgia is banning the sale of marijuana flavored lollipops called Pot Suckers. Good for them.

Thank you, Senator Doug Stoner for passing this bill in the Senate. hehe