Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy weekend!

Memorial Day weekend should be a calm one. My friends and I decided to take it easy after our road trip last weekend.

It was a weekend of mixed emotions for me. Saturday would have been my graduation day, but I had to postpone until August. Now I don't know if I'll have a ceremony at all. So I was bummed. But it was my friend Carolina's birthday, so my girls and I decided to drive down to a casino in Connecticut. Carolina found a dirt-cheap (but nice) hotel room online. We did a little gambling and Saturday we went to Mystic, home of Mystic Pizza. We shopped and ate at the famous restaurant and had an all-around nice time. That night I was a little depressed, and it didn't help that Laura and Reesa were constantly calling or texting their boyfriends (at least three times a day each).

I've always believed that when you're hanging out with your girls, you should focus on your girls. When I brought this up with them, they told me, "You don't understand because you're not in love." Mmm-hmm.

First of all, I maintain that even if I were in love, I'd limit it to one call a day. He'd be lucky to get that, frankly. Second of all, that's sensitive of them. Especially since I recently got my heart a little smushed at the end of the most serious relationship I've ever had. Thanks, guys. But Carolina talked me through it, and by the end of the night she and I were shimmying it off on the dance floor.

Tonight I'll watch a movie and go to bed early. Tomorrow I'm going to Target (which is like a day trip here) and tomorrow night I'll go out with my ladies. Sunday I plan to go to church and then get my work done so that I can relax all day Monday. Relaxation, Yay!

That said, it's kind of a strange "celebration." It's supposed to be a day to remember the sacrifices those who died to protect our nation. In Iowa Mom and I would go place flowers and flags on the graves of our relatives, but here it gets lost in the picnicking and the sales. It's such a serious subject and I try to keep it in mind. I hope you do, too.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I have a new niece!

Big sister Brooke, along with Mom and Dad, are happy to announce the birth of Courtney Rose Kiley.

She was born at Covenant Hospital in Waterloo, IA on Wednesday, May 17 at 7:23 a.m.

Courtney weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces and was 20 inches long.

(P.S. J.B. and Erika think she might have red hair. J.B. called me to tell me all about it, and I could hear Erika adding details in the background. It was cute.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Me vs. Trish Darrow

Last year, my best NYC friends' names were Lex and Drew. Well, there was also my crew of ladies (Madrid, Laura and Carolina), but Lex and Drew were my first real friends here. We bonded early on in our fellows training. One day Drew expressed interest in dating, but I told him I didn't feel that way about him. He replied, "We'll have to work on that." I disagreed.

But then he never acted on it, so I figured he'd realized I was right. He hadn't. I was oblivious all that year as we struggled through our teaching and grad school classes. In the meantime, he was also working on his comic book, ArchEnemies. In June Drew told me we couldn't be friends anymore. It sucked, but he was right. I miss my friend, but our friendship wasn't good for him.

Now I can't hang out with him, but I can read his web site, his comic book, and the blog of one of his comic book characters, Trish Darrow. If Trish were real, she and I would be pals. In fact, we are eerily similar. First of all, see picture above. That's me rockin' the blue hair for Halloween 2004 and Trish, who rocks the blue hair every day. Also, Trish and I both have acute senses of smell. Seriously, we've been tested! We're both 26 and living in NYC. We both love to doodle (though I only doodle on paper and don't approve of vandalism).

I adore 50% of her favorite bands (We both love The Clash, The Ramones, Green Day, Reel Big Fish Save Ferris, Evanesence, The White Stripes, Weezer, They Might Be Giants and Josie and the Pussycats). I also love 50% of her favorite movies (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Garden State).

How much is coincidence and how much is a friend stealing my personality for financial gain? You decide. Honestly, it could be mostly coincidental. If that's the case, then it really makes sense that he would like me. He invented a girl he liked, then met one a lot like her.

If he stole my personality...well, when you're writing it's natural to draw, consciously or subconsciously, from your real life experiences. And they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. You know, if Drew and I still hung out, he would probably claim that I'm stealing Trish's personality. Heh.

One way or the other, though I can no longer hang out with Drew, it's nice that I can still be entertained by his personality through his work.

P.S. At the beginning I mentioned Lex. We still hang out when she can spare the time away from her girlfriend.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Okay, I know this is not my family blog. This is the uncensored version, but I'm posting my Mother's Day tribute from Girl Out of the Country ( anyway:

One day, while flipping through the channels I saw a program on PBS called Mother Daughter Wisdom. Dr. Christiane Northrup wrote a book and gives talks on the connection between emotional health and physical health, and she had a lot of salient points on the connection between mothers and daughter and the effect that relationship has on your health.

Anyway, when the show started, I loved my mother and all the great female role models in my life. By the end of the show, I really loved my mom and my female role models. Really loved. I had to pick up my phone and call my mommy on the spot. I don't remember what Dr. Northrup said exactly...I think basically she was outlining all the ways it can mess up your health if you have a bad mommy, with a few examples of bad-mommy-having. This highlighted for me the benefits of my own good-mommy-having.

Thanks to all the smart, nurturing, brave women in my family who support me. But thanks, most of all, to my mom.

Mom, you gave me life, love and support. You cooked for me. You changed my diapers and did my laundry. You didn't have a nervous breakdown when I was a tiny little girl and you would wake up some mornings and I was GONE and you would have to search the farm frantically and find me up in some TREE somewhere, even though you had taken the precaution of hiding all my clothes in a dresser that was practically in your bedroom.

You believed me when I was sick, and even though my teachers told you I was a hypochondriac, you kept taking me to doctors until we found Dr. Gold and he fixed the problem.

You took me on Girls' Night Out to the movies and the symphony and to touring Broadway shows. You indulged my passion for old movies and let me watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Grease every day for a year. You gave me the theater bug by letting my haunt the Bittersweet Theater while you and your friends rehearsed.

You taught be about feminism and choice. You let me be an overachiever with a million activities and responsibilies (which, in turn, complicated your life). You told me it was okay to say "No," when people ask for help, too (even as you were trying to master that skill). You told me, at least a million times, "Be a problem solver, Erin!"

You let me cry when I needed to. You told me not to be a teacher. You were incredibly supportive when, six years later, I did become a teacher. You made it so I never even understood the saying "You can't go home again." The words "Thank you" are so inadequate, but they're all I've got. Thank you, Mom.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hot night. And ow.

I had a great weekend. I went to a "Fellows Happy Hour." Actually, the only Fellows there were me, Sara and Caroline, but some of their friends were there, too. They were really fun people. I was wearing makeup and a cute little dress and had my hair down and naturally wavy. Sara didn't recognize me at first.

"Wow! You clean up good! I was thinking, 'Who is that beautiful girl walking in here?' And then I realized it was you! Seriously. You look great."

Heh. On the one hand, she was so complimentary about how nice I looked. On the other hand, do I look that bad normally? Well, to be fair, she usually only sees me right after a hard day of teaching.

It was great to have new conversations with new people. Then I met up with Madrid, Jen, Laura, Carolina, Jenny, Reesa and Pete. We chatted and drank for a while. Then Madrid and Jen took off and the rest of us went dancing at Opal. Laura, Carolina and I stayed the longest, shimmying into the early-morning hours. We were the hottest girls in the room, though not the prettiest. You see, the Opal crowd is rather preppy. The other girls were all so concerned about their hair and makeup and manicures. We were just concerned with dancing with abandon. That attracted the men like flies! But in the end, we shooed them all away and Carolina even drove me home. Yay!

This week has gone by quickly, but the kids have been stressing me out so much I'm getting stabbing pains in my stomach. My pre-ulcer hasn't been this exacerbated in years. I've put myself on a bland diet, and I hope that will help for now. I had been thinking about staying at my school, but I guess this means I need to look for a new place to work.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

April 29 was my 26th birthday, and I had a lovely time. I spent most of the day relaxing in my apartment. I watched The Muppet Movie and cried during the finale ("Life's like a movie. Write your own ending. Keep believing. Keep pretending. We've done just what we set out to do... thanks to the lovers, the dreamers and you!") You can laugh if you want, but I've always found that scene so moving and inspiring. I'm glad I haven't outgrown it.

I fielded some birthday calls from the family, and that night I joined my best friends. Laura, Madrid, Chris and I met up at La A'nnam for supper. I didn't want to carry leftovers around, so I ate and ate and ate WAY more than usual. My friends could have warned me. The could have, but they didn't.

"I have to go to the bathroom," I said.

"No," Laura replied. "Don't go yet. I'm telling you a story."

"But I have to go to the bathroom."


"Why not? What, did you get me a cake," I joked, "because if you did, they're sure to bring it the minute I leave."

"No, we didn't get you a cake," she replied, just as a waiter carried up and adorable chocolate cake with a fudgy center and they all began to sing. So I was stuffed to the gills, but of course I had to eat it anyway! And it was fabulous.

Then Chris went home. The girls and I bought a deck of cards and met up with Carolina at Blue and Gold for some libations, conversation and card-playing fun while listening to the best jute box around.

The card game was Cat's Circle of Death, a game I've never played without having a great time. I'm not sure I'm following the rules correctly (because it's a drinking game, and it's hard to remember the rules of a game you've only ever played while under the influence of booze). Here it is as closely as I can remember: An ace means you get to make a rule. Cards 2-5 mean you take as many drinks as the card says. Cards 6-10 mean you get to "deal out" the number of drinks on the card (for example, you draw a nine and make Carolina drink three and Laura drink six). A jack is a "social," so everyone takes a drink. A queen means "questions," which we play as a round of "Never have I ever" (eg. "Never have I ever worn handcuffs," and if you have, you drink). A king means "kategories" (for example, "Types of beer" or "Beatles songs" and the first person who can't think of one drinks).

Madrid quite evilly made the rule "Any time a 9 is played, anyone whose birthday is April 29 has to buy a guy a drink and get a guy's number." By the end of the night, I was VERY popular, but I the bartender probably thought I was a total slut. You see, somehow the 9 got played SIX TIMES. I was too drunk to really call my friends on their cheating.

"But I've got four numbersh already. Did you guysh put that 9 back in the deck?"

"No, we swear," Laura replied.

"Well, then you bitchesh sent me out on a six!"

"Oops," Madrid replied. "Oh, well. Go!"

I make it home safely an woke up the next morning with a crumpled pile of numbers on my bedside table. My twenty-sixth year? So far, so good!