Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My Second Bachelor's

We're coming up here on my four year anniversary of living in New York. I'm going to submit to a little cliche here: the girl who moved here with two suitcases and a box seems completely unrecognizable to me today. In the past four years I taught five different grades and six different subjects to over 200 children. I traveled to Maine, Joshua Tree Desert, Colorado, North Carolina, and a few spots within a 2-hour radius of the city. I completed a masters degree. I moved to five different apartments in two boros. I learned how to be a better roommate, unfortunately through making quite a few rookie mistakes with my near and dear friend Keri. I spent way too much time on bad or just mediocre dates. I fell head over heels in love, and have remained in that state for an obnoxiously long time. I got hooked on podcasts, bad tv, and one-story. I ran a half-marathon, which was not nearly as hard as running a 4-mile run in 2-degree weather a few months afterwards. I played beach soccer, indoor soccer, and pickup soccer as much as possible. I got a literary agent, then was dropped just two months later. I dealt with what I hope is the worst personal tragedy in my lifetime, and after a bit of therapy, came out of it in one piece. I did the flying trapeze with my mom. I hosted my 14-year-old cousin for her 2-week stay in the city. I welcomed a baby niece to the world, as well as quite a few new cousins and babies of friends. I broke my nose and my scaphoid, both in ridiculous ways. I made a fool of myself more times than I want to remember right now, but I made quite a few good decisions, though, too. I got a dog that I love and obsess over. I read a countless books and stories. All in all, I've had a lot of fun.

After four years of city life, I feel as if it is time for me to graduate. The biggest difference between this "graduation" and my undergraduate graduation, is that the first time around, five very long years ago, I left my college campus feeling pretty certain about everything: the way the world works, why things happen, what I wanted to do with my life, and how the next five years of my life would pan out. Now, and probably a bit more realistically, I haven't got a clue. I can't figure out why anything really happens anymore and I don't know what I'll be doing this time next year. And as someone who can get pretty obsessed with a plan, the best thing I have thought to do is to make a list of 30 things to do before I'm 30. So now I frequently daydream about my trip to the Moab Desert, or how I'll go crazy trying to submit my first novel to publishers.

Feeding my questions about my future is the fact that June 26th will be my last day working for the New York City Department of Education, something that still somehow shocks me. In many ways I feel that a part of my spirit, and maybe even my heart, has been broken by the mess of a system that is the DOE. And even as I leave, I feel that I am giving up. It's not a great feeling, although I am excited about much of what lies ahead. I have already started my new job as an ABA therapist working in the homes of students with autism. It's early intervention, one-on-one, and so far going extremely well. It's refreshing to be able to give truly individualized care and feel that I am working with a team that is actually producing results. But all of this transition has been much more difficult than I ever would've expected.

One thing I have learned in the past four years is that the dates that are set aside for celebration (graduation , birthdays, etc.) are frequently not as worthy as other days. For example, why don't teachers who have made it through the first year in tact get a huge party? In these four years, I have grappled with questions that are much bigger and more relevant than anything I ever did in college, simply because they have a real context. I'm no longer reading life from a textbook. So, as I said before, it's time to graduate. And just like I left Columbia, Missouri after my undergraduate career, I'm ready to leave something behind and start a new chapter. I won't be leaving New York, I still love it too much. But I will be leaving the blog. Over time, I've posted fewer and fewer entries, frequently causing my Uncle Jim to think I am dead. And I am finding that the time I do have for writing I want to spend on other projects, one of which you can check out here.

So this is it, the final good-bye. Thank you for checking in here on Aisle Life over the last 400 entries. I think it might just be time to throw myself a graduation party.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


This morning I was perusing the NY Times website and came across this article. As a constant toter of the 48oz. Nalgene bottle filled with water, I was more than a little surprised that the 8-cups-of-water-a-day rule is completely unsubstantiated. What are they going to say next, An apple a day doesn't keep the doctor away?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Saw the Sign...Literally

While I have been on vacation during the past week, I have let a lot of worry overcome me. I've been stressed about work-related issues and the dog, whose "little problem" is taking far more time and energy than we ever thought it would.

Today, after being lost in Little Rock (of all places) for a little over an hour, I finally found my way back to JFK Boulevard in North Little Rock. Happy to be back in a place I recognized, I stopped by the bank. As I was leaving, I looked up to see a sign in front of a church. It said, "Worry is the misuse of imagination."

I think it's time I get a bit more imaginative.

Monday, April 21, 2008

If I Could Change the World... would wake up when I did. I'm on vacation, but I've still been up since 5:30. Even the dog isn't ready to get up. You should have seen the look she gave me. It was as if she were saying "You can't be serious" before putting her head back down and closing her eyes.

I have a list of errands I need to run today, but nothing is open yet. Library books can't be returned. Checks can't be deposited at the bank. I can't even make a few crucial phone calls.

If it were up to me, whatever makes my eyes pop open between the hours of five and six every day, would make everyone's eyes pop open at the same time. Then at least I would have someone to talk to...or at least cook breakfast for.

If you're up, give me a call.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


So the dog has officially taken over our lives. I knew how much it really took to take care of a dog...okay, maybe I didn't. Somehow that time was underestimated. Everything gets a little more complicated and suddenly my roommate and I are e-mailing, texting, and talking constantly about whether or not she's caught the frisbee, behaved well at the dog park, or pooped. It's gotten to the point that the other day, when Mona had pooped three times in one day, my roommate proudly cheered over her "hat-trick."

We have both completely fallen in love with her and all her quirks. Such as how she prefers ice cubes as a treat or nips my roommates nose to greet him after I take her on her morning walk. We do too much research on whether or not she should play tug o' war and both take the time to learn how to get a pit bull to release it's grip from her neck if, for some reason, she is ever attacked by one. So yes, it is bordering on obsessive.

But after a week, things seem to be calming down a bit and we're settling into life with a dog. Now she's snoring next to me on the couch while I survey how much shed hair is on our carpet. Definitely time to vacuum.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dog Days

So after years of daydreaming about this day, it has finally arrived. Tonight I am picking up my new dog! She's a greyhound/pointer mix named Mona and I am already in love.

Things I have already discovered about owning a dog:

(1) It is much harder to coordinate travel plans.
(2) They are expensive.
(3) The Petco selection of leashes and collars is absurdly large, bringing out the worst of my inability to make a decision on small matters.
(4) My ability to worry is much bigger than I ever knew. I feel like an overprotective, first-time parent as I research dog foods, toys, and veterinarians.

Here she is:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

That Time of Year Again

I'm so excited that it's baseball season again. Last year I made it to a measley two games. This year will definitely be different seeing that I'm sans-thesis and not working during the summer! The Mets won the opening game, and I'm ready for more!!