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Ten Years Gone

11 Sep

Ten years ago, I was fourteen and in the ninth grade in Tennessee. I was in the hallways walking from first period to second when I heard people talking about theTwinTowerscoming down. I heard a rumor about a boy – one I’d gone to elementary school with who had a knack for getting into trouble – walking around the halls pointing at random people saying, “You’re going to die, you’re going to die, you’re going to die. . . “ Even then it didn’t mean much to me; I thought it was just a rude and insensitive thing for him to say to kids who didn’t understand what was going on. I knew he was saying those things as a result of what had just happened, but I didn’t make the connection in my mind. I didn’t understand the significance of the attack, and what it could possibly mean for my family, my friends, or my town. I didn’t understand why he said any of us would die because of it.

To be completely honest, I’d never heard of theTwinTowers. The thing I remember more than anything is that school pictures were the next day, and I had an appointment to have my hair cut that afternoon. I know that’s selfish, but I was fourteen. Hardly anyone isn’t self-centered at that age. But when you’ve never lived through anything like that, and you’re not right there to see it happening in front of your eyes, it somehow doesn’t seem real. Things that happened on TV or the news didn’t happen to me, to the people I knew. They were far away, outside my bubble.

Everything just seemed like it was happening on an alternate plane. Like the world outside didn’t have anything to do with me.New YorkandWashingtonseemed so far away, so far removed from me. I was just in high school, young and naïve, and it didn’t mean anything significant to me. I only started to comprehend it when I got home and my mom was watching coverage on TV. She was furious that we’d spent our entire day at school watching the events unfold on the news. I think more than anything she had wanted to be the one to tell my and my brother what had happened. I don’t even know how James found out about it – he was only 11, and I highly doubt they watched anything about the attack at school. I don’t know that having her tell me about it would have made much of a difference in how I felt about it. I vaguely remember our teachers talking about it while we were watching the news, and I somewhat remember us talking about it as a family that night. I sensed that my parents were upset and worried about what had happened. They had lived through things like the Kennedy assassination andVietnam, so they had a better sense of disaster and tragedy.

Of course I was sorry to hear about all the innocent people that died that day – any decent human being would, except maybe that dumbass kid in the hallway. But my perception of it was that it was miles away, that I was safe, that it didn’t involve me. I’d never been toNew Yorkat that point, but I’d been toWashingtononly the year before with my mom and my brother. We saw the Pentagon every day on our train rides into the city. At that point, I didn’t have much sense about the world around me. My world consisted of what I knew at home – the life that I lived every day. Now that I live in DC, my feelings have changed somewhat. I can never relive that day – not that I’d want to. But I know now that it was bigger than myself, than the people around me. It meant more than I even knew. I had no reason for healing after September 11.

Others did, though. So many were – and still are – affected by what happened that day. There are thousands of people who aren’t with us anymore because of the terrible actions of a few. I lost nothing, but so many lost everything. Since then, I think we’ve lived in a world of fear. Fear that it will happen again, fear that we cannot control the world around us, fear that we cannot safely go anywhere. The thing that makes me the saddest, though, is the misplaced anger we as a country have put onto people who are different. We forget that it wasn’t a huge army of people that brought the towers down. It’s just like that saying how a few can ruin it for everyone. We built up prejudices and direct hatred toward people not very different from ourselves. We forget that everyone is just people.

Traveling in a post-9/11 world has probably affected me the most. Unprecedented security measures and rising costs have taken some of the enjoyment out of it. Sometimes I think we’re overreacting, but I know what can happen if we aren’t careful. It’s a delicate balance between being cautious and being fearful. There’s a quote that says: “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.” Where is the line, the balance that makes us cautious and safe, but not too afraid to live? Although I have it easy compared to those specifically targeted at security checkpoints, I cannot help but think it is a huge inconvenience for everyone. The vast majority of us just want to get where we’re going without hassle. We do want to get there safely, though. I understand the cautiousness, though; no one wants to be blamed for being lax on the one person who managed to slip through the system and cause chaos.

So, ten years later, have things returned to normal? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think there will ever be a semblance of “normal” anymore. Everything changed in that one morning. Some things for the better, some things for worse. We will never know what the world would have been like without September 11. At the Arts on Foot event yesterday, I volunteered at an event sponsored by The 9/11 Arts Project. We made dream scrolls envisioning a future after 9/11. Our hopes for the world and what it could be like. Most of the drawings and messages had messages of happiness, of hope, of unity, of peace, and of love. Those are the things most people want, I think, no matter where you go in the world. We all just want to live our lives.

We all just want to be people.

Ten Things Tuesday – July 5

5 Jul

Ten things I would do if I won the lottery:

1. Pay for school. This includes both my outstanding student loans and the ones that are inevitably coming up. Between college and grad school, I feel like I’m going to be paying off these degrees for the next 30 years. And being in a generous mood, I’d also pay for my brother’s school.

2. Pay off any debt or bills that my parents have. We don’t discuss their finances – just the ones relating to me – so I don’t know what that situation is. But I can imagine that a lottery win would not hurt that bank account.

3. Buy an awesome closet. And by this I mean both kickass clothes and precise, Ikea-worthy organization. Something like this:

4. Get a different car. Mine works just fine, but it’s almost 20 years old now. The air doesn’t work the best (and with global warming on the rise, summers aren’t fun), one of the windows doesn’t always cooperate, and I have to constantly keep track of the water level in the engine. I wouldn’t want anything fancy, just something that is a little nicer and newer than what I have now. Oh, and something that at least has a CD player. I know that technology is now outdated, but I’m still stuck with just a tape player.

5. Fund Full Moon projects. Pranks are fun, but not always cheap. I’d set up some kind of account for them to ensure a bright future full of fun. And beer.

6. Take an extended trip around the world. You know, take off a couple of years and just see the whole world. At the very least, I’d take my mom to Australia, where she’s always wanted to go. 

7. Donate money to worthy causes. Like Project Have Hope and The Harry Potter Alliance.

8. Buy a beach house. As much as I love living in the mountains, I’d also like to have a small beach house somewhere, because I love the ocean.

9. Create a concert ticket fund for everyone I want to see perform live. Look for that list in a few weeks.

10. Invest and save. I’m a big spender, for sure, so of course I want to make sure some of the money is there for the future. Can’t go crazy buying everything in sight, can you?

Monday Meme

27 Jun

What’s geekier than an Internet meme quiz? Not much. Here’s one:

ARE YOU…

 1. A cuddler? Absolutely not. I like my personal space. Maybe I just haven’t found the right person to cuddle with yet.

2. A morning person? Much more than I used to be, although I still really enjoy being more of a night owl.

3. A perfectionist? Yes, most of the time.

4. An only child? No. I have a brother.

5. Catholic? No.

6. In your pajamas? Not currently.

7. Currently suffering from a broken heart? Not at the moment.

8. OK with styling other people’s hair? If by that you mean I have the desire to do it, not usually, unless it’s someone I know. If you mean do I have the skills, sadly, no.

9. Left handed? Yes, and very proud to be!

10. Addicted to Facebook? I’m ashamed to admit it, but probably so. I need to break that habit.

11. Shy around the opposite gender? Yes. I’m usually shy around anyone I don’t know, although I’m getting better about it as I get older.

 DO YOU…

 12. Bite your nails? No.

13. Get paranoid at times? Yes, I think everyone does at some time or another.

14. Currently regret something you have said? I do regret things I’ve said in the past, although nothing very recent.

15. Curse frequently when you get mad? It usually just comes out as one good, dirty word, then it’s over.

16. Enjoy country music? Hate it.

17. Enjoy jazz music? Usually when I’m studying or want to listen to something mellow without words.

18. Enjoy talking on the phone? If it’s with friends or family, I like it. If I have to call someone for work-related reasons, I don’t like that much. I feel like a bumbling idiot on the phone with people I don’t know.

19. Enjoy smoothies? Yes, who doesn’t enjoy smoothies? Especially now, in the hot summer.

20. Have a lot to learn? Everyone has a lot to learn.

21. Have a pet? Yes, I have a turtle.

22. Have a tendency to fall for the “wrong” person? If by wrong you mean “completely oblivious to my existence,” then yes. I haven’t been in abusive or bad relationships, though.

23. Have all your grandparents? No, just one.

24. Have at least one sibling? Yes, just one.

25. Have been told that you are smart? Yes, but I definitely don’t always feel that way!

26. Have a broken bone? No. I’ve only ever broken my toe once, a long time ago.

27. Have caller ID on your phone? Yes, I think almost everyone does now. That’s pretty standard, isn’t it?

 HAVE YOU…

 28. Changed a diaper? Yes, but not in a really, really long time. I was probably babysitting.

29. Changed a lot over the past year? I think I’ve gotten more confident about public speaking and starting conversations with strangers. I used to be very shy and get nervous about making presentations, but now I can do it like it’s nothing.

30. Had friends who have never seen your natural hair color? No, I used to just highlight my hair, but I haven’t done that in a long time. I like my natural color. I can’t imagine coloring it so often that you forget what color it used to be.

31. Had surgery? Yes, I’ve had my wisdom teeth removed.

32. Killed another person? No. And even if I had, I don’t think the internet is a wise place to go blabbing about it.

33. Had your hair cut within the last week? No.

34. Had the cops called on you? Well, sort of. It involves campus safety (so hardly “cops”) and some harmless pranking, but that’s a story for another time.

 THE LAST PERSON WHO…

35. Slept in your bed beside you? I cannot remember the last time anyone else slept in my bed. Maybe back in college when I had friends home for a weekend.

36. Saw you cry? My mom, I think. That’s been a while. I don’t usually cry, and then especially not in front of other people.

37. Went to the movies with you? Amanda.

38. You went to the mall with? Amanda, again.

39. You went out to a restaurant dinner with? My mom.

40. You talked on the phone with? Someone who called our house asking for my mom.

41. Made you laugh? A video I watched recently online.

 WOULD YOU RATHER…

 42. Pierce your nose or tongue? Nose, definitely. Although I don’t think my parents would like that at all.

43. Be serious or be funny? Funny. I’ve spent too much of my life being too serious.

44. Drink whole or skim milk? Maybe skim, although it tastes like water. Whole milk tastes like butter. Can I mix them together to make 2%?

45. McDonald’s or Wendy’s? Wendy’s, because they have frostys.

46. Punk or goth? Punk, I guess, but only if Anthony Bourdain was there, too.

 ARE YOU…

 47. Simple or complicated? Complicated, definitely.

48. Gay? Nope.

49. Hardcore? I don’t think this is a complete question.

 DO YOU PREFER… 

 50. Flowers or candy? Flowers.

51. Gray or black? Gray.

52. Color or black and white photos? It depends on the subject of the photos. Mostly I like black and white, but color is also nice.

53. Lust or love? Love, although lust is fun sometimes.

54.Sunriseor sunset? Sunset.

55. M&Ms or Skittles? Skittles.

56. Staying up late or waking up early? Staying up late, unless I have a lot of things to do the next day. Then I like to get up early and get everything finished.

57. Sun or moon? Moon. Full Moon.

58. Winter or fall? Fall, definitely. Winter is too cold, and besides, fall is just too pretty, with the gorgeous leaves and that slight crispness to the air.

59. Left or right? Left. We leftys have to stick together.

60. Having 10 acquaintances or having 2 best friends? 2 best friends.

61. Sun or rain? Sun.

62. Vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream? Chocolate. Ice cream isn’t worth eating without it.

63. Vodka or Jack? I’m sorry, I don’t understand this question. What is this “prefer” you speak of?

 ABOUT YOU…

 64. What time is it now? 4:50

65. Name? Laura the Lazy Llama

66. Nicknames: See above.

67. Where are you? At home, in our downstairs office.

68. What is your birthdate? October 27. The best day ever. There’s a Facebook group.

69. What do you want? Enough money to pay for grad school!

70. Where do you want to live?Paris.

71. How many kids do you want? 3 or 4.

72. What would you want to name a girl? Anna Sophia, Alice, Amelia. I promise I like names that don’t start with A.

73. What would you want to name a boy? Paul, Bennett, Henry.

74. Do you want to get married? Yes, someday.

75. Nervous habits: Biting the inside of my lip.

76. Are you double jointed? No.

77. Can you roll your tongue? Yes.

78. Can you raise one eyebrow? Yes, but only on one side.

79. Can you cross your eyes? Yes.

80. Do you make your bed daily? No.

81. Which shoe goes on first? Whichever one I grab. I don’t usually notice that.

82. How much money do you usually carry with you? None, it’s all about plastic.

83. What jewelry do you wear? Usually a ring and earrings. Not even that, lately.

84. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it? Twirl, the real way, with a spoon, which real Italians taught me to do.

85. Favorite ice cream? Half Baked. Or Late Night Snack. It’s a tough call.

 IN THE LAST MONTH, HAVE YOU…

 86. Had a boyfriend/girlfriend? No.

87. Bought something you didn’t need? Yes.

88. Sang in front of people? No.

89. Been kissed? No.

90. Been hugged? No.

91. Felt stupid? Yes.

92. Missed someone? Yes.

93. Gotten drunk? No.

94. Gotten high? No, not ever.

95. Danced crazy? No. Probably something to do with my answer to 93.

96. Cried? No.

Checkup

18 Jun
I found this somewhere recently on a random blog; it had been copied from some magazine. Even though I’m pretty sure it was intended as a “live your best life in 2011” list, I think it’s appropriate to post now, midyear, as a way of checking up on how well we’re doing.
 
Health:
  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  4. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
  5. Play more games.
  6. Read more books than you did in 2010.
  7. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  8. Sleep for 7 hours.
  9. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.
Personality:
  1. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  2. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  3. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  5. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
  6. Dream more while you are awake.
  7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  8. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
  9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
  10. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.  Problems  are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  13. Smile and laugh more.
  14. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
Society:
  1. Call your family often.
  2. Each day give something good to others.
  3. Forgive everyone for everything.
  4. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
  5. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  6. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  7. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
Life:
  1. Do the right thing!
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  4. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  5. The best is yet to come.
  6. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Family Ties

26 May

Plinky prompt of the day: What are your siblings like? Do you wish they were different?

I have one younger brother, named James, who is currently in pharmacy school in SC. I’ve basically been living away from him for six years, either when I was at school, or now that I’m back and he’s out of the house. He’s three-and-a-half years younger than me, which was just enough distance when we were younger to keep us into different things, have different friends, even going to different schools once I left elementary school. We’re not very close at all – in fact, we hardly talk. I’ve probably talked to him a grand total of five times this entire year so far. He doesn’t usually return my phone calls or texts, and of course he doesn’t ever call me just to say hi or to catch up. I know very little about his life, because he’s very private and doesn’t much share what he’s doing. He doesn’t even currently have a Facebook, although he has in the past. He rarely comes home, and when he does, he keeps to himself in the house or is always out with friends. He’s pretty much a mystery to me.

When we do see each other, we get along. This wasn’t always the case, though. When we were really little, we did everything together, probably because my mom stayed home after he was born. The three of us were always together, so James and I spent a lot of time together. When we got into school, though, we grew apart and fought a lot. Not an unhealthy amount, I don’t think, but he definitely became a big pest. For many years we just kind of did our own thing – he had his own friends, and I had mine, and our worlds didn’t really collide. When they did, it was sometimes explosive. Now that we’re older, though, we don’t really fight like we used to; now, we’re like strangers who have spent a lot of time together. I used to know all about him, and could probably tell you his favorite color. Now, the things I know about him are limited to this: He loves baseball, especially the Yankees. He doesn’t get along with my dad at all. He’s just finished his first year of pharmacy school, which he loves. He’s had a couple of girlfriends, but I have no idea why they broke up. He likes playing video games, doing stuff outside (sports, hiking, rafting), and he’s usually pretty quiet. That’s about it.

Growing up, I always wished I had a sister. Even sometimes in college, I wished that. Nearly every one of my close friends has a sister or two, and no brothers. With one exception, I am the only one of my good friends with a brother. All my friends seemed to have such a different relationship with their siblings than I do with mine. They would talk on the phone, come visit each other on the weekends, hang out together at home, and share many things. I don’t have that kind of relationship with my brother at all, but I wish that I did. It’s different for me, of course, because he’s a guy. They’re usually not as into those kind of relationships as girls are. It’s been really hard for me recently to see all my friends with good sibling relationships, while mine is practically nonexistant. Sometimes I feel like I’m an only child. I basically grew up without cousins, too, so now I feel like I have all these missing links in my family.

I don’t necessarily wish that he was different, but that we had a different relationship. I wish we spent more time together, had more in common, and could actually talk to each other like friends. I wish we kept in touch and did things together, but that’s just not the case. I don’t know how it will be as we get older; right now, it doesn’t look like we’ll be living anywhere close to each other for a while. I’ll be interested to see how our relationship changes in the next few years.

Checking it Twice

21 May

I’ve had quite the busy weekend. Maybe I’m actually Santa, because I’ve got my list and I’m checking it twice! I always feel so accomplished when I can cross things off my to-do list.

The things I have done this weekend:

Change my sheets (finally, it’s warm enough that I don’t need flannel anymore!)
Edit the menu for my dad’s store
Put up the piles of clothes in my room
Pick up wedding present for a friend
Call Amanda
Call Alli
Call Nikki
Go to the farmer’s market
Make salsa with veggies from said farmer’s market
Movie with Mom (Pirates 4!)
Print pictures from graduation
Buy picture frames
Schedule haircut
Watch remaining episodes of The Office
Buy deodorant

The things I still have to do this weekend:

Mail pictures to my little sisters

Can you believe how much I’ve gotten done this weekend? It’s amazing the things you can accomplish when you wake up at 8:30 in the morning, make yourself a good breakfast, and get ready for the day. As much as I like being able to sleep in, I much prefer the sense of accomplishment I get when I’ve run errands all day and been very busy. It’s been a relaxing weekend, too, despite having so many projects. They’re not stressful ones, so that’s probably why I’ve enjoyed them so much. It’s been quite lovely, I must say.

This is What my Heart Looks Like:

20 May

My beautiful little sisters, who are now officially Converse graduates!