6 July-- Today, after waking up in the room I grew up in, with the knowledge that next year it will belong either to my sister or to whatever strangers rent the house, we met up with my dad's family before heading back to Maryland. As always, the highlight was seeing my little cousin Michael, who's almost three. I hadn't seen him since Christmas, and six months makes a lot of difference in children of that age. He's actually finally to a point where he's verbal enough that I can talk to him and be understood, and he can communicate back, which is somewhat remarkable to me. I'm not usually around small children, so it's really an interesting experience to try to understand the world from inside the head of a not-quite-three year old. He's quite certain the world revolves around him, and that if he insists on something, it'll happen. ("I need you to come with me!" "I need to blow out that candle!") If he gets hurt, he'll cry until he gets a kiss, and then suddenly what brought him to tears is irrelevant. And he'll take a pen and scribble on a piece of paper, dictating quite seriously the words he is "writing." It's amusing, but he drains so much of my energy in a few hours that I shudder to think what it would take to deal with someone like him for any length of time.
5 July-- I finally made it to Yankee Stadium today for the first time in eleven months. After years in which I'd go to twenty games a year all in this stadium, it still feels like home, despite it being my fifth ballpark of the year and probably one of two or three Yankee home games. There are just so few places on this planet that I feel comfortable and at home in. From the familiarity of the stadium itself, the music, and Bob Sheppard's voice, to escaping the constant anti-Yankee barrage-- which I don't really mind but gets tiring after a while-- by being surrounded by Yankee fans (with the notable exception of one very loud Laura beside me, booing every Yankee not named Robin Ventura), it was definitely a nice experience. It wasn't all pleasant, though. Not only did the familiarity make me miss a number of Yankees who are gone now, but the feeling of unease that's plagued me since the Yankees signed Giambi has become almost unbearable with the recent trade for Raul Mondesi. The Yankees have been my team for a long time, but I feel more and more... unclean... rooting for them as they add gaudier stars to the roster and money to the payroll. I really hate it. I've decided that both Giambi and Mondesi need to have season-ending injuries, and the sooner the better. I want to love my team, and feel good about rooting for them. I must admit, though, that even Giambi and Mondesi couldn't dampen my joy at hearing "Enter Sandman" blast through the loudspeakers and seeing Mariano Rivera come in from the bullpen to set down the Blue Jays and earn the save, or walking out of the Stadium after the victory gleefully singing "New York, New York" along with Frank Sinatra and hordes of Yankee fans. It's getting harder, but I think those pleasures will be the last to go.
4 July-- You know, I've never really thought of the Fourth of July as a particularly patriotic holiday. For me, just like Halloween is the holiday with all the candy, the Fourth of July is the holiday when you get to see fireworks. And although celebrating it this year in DC means that I am confronted with the "Yay for America!" nature of the day a bit more, which is less than thrilling for me, it also means wonderful things on the fireworks front. I'm used to parking outside the local minor league ballpark for fireworks, or if we're really ambitious, driving to one of the larger small towns nearby. But if you've never been to a fireworks display in a major city before, do it! It was amazing, a beautiful lights show with the night sky as a canvas. I lay on my back on the Mall surrounded by thousands of people, with the Washington Monument at my back and the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Monument ahead, with a perfect angle so it looked like every explosion was coming straight at us. There were plenty of my favorite kind, which leave their gold trails shimmering in the sky, as well as a set of cute ones shaped like smiley faces, spirals, and peace signs. The music wasn't too sickeningly patriotic, and included one of my favorites, the Sousa march "Stars and Stripes Forever." (And luckily, where we were sitting, our preshow concert was the army jazz band, not the mix of pop singers performing elsewhere.) The whole show was hugely impressive, and kept a smile on my face for the whole twenty minutes. It was worth the wait in the heat, especially since by the time we got out there at seven, it no longer felt like there was a hairdryer constantly pointed at your face, but was simply your run of the mill "Wow, it's hot out." Add in the apple pie and vanilla ice cream afterwards, and there's little more you can ask for.
3 July-- This evening, my family celebrated my dad's 50th birthday with an amazing dinner at this wonderful fondue restaurant. They had a burner built into the table, where a big fondue pot was simmering all through the meal. First, our server filled it with cheese, beer, and various spices, and we dipped bread, vegetables, and apples to our hearts' content as an appetizer. Then, after our salad came the main course. The server filled the fondue pot with wine, garlic, tiny bits of vegetables, and other things, and then brought out a plate of raw salmon, shrimp, and sirloin pieces, which we stuck on our fondue forks and cooked in the broth until done. And of course, the best part of the meal, dessert! We had a chocolate-marshmallow fondue, flambeed, with Oreo pieces sprinkled in it. It was so good, and so rich, as we dipped strawberries, bananas, pineapple, pound cake, brownies, and marshmallows into it. Granted, it was quite an expensive meal, but my dad loves fondue, and you only turn 50 once. And I was certainly glad to be a part of it.
2 July-- Today began with a morningful of opening constituent mail. There were some interesting letters ("Dear Senator Wellstone, My mom says I'm grounded if I don't write to you. So here goes: Give Africa food."), and plenty of boring ones, like the dozens about FDIC. But we plugged away for several hours to finally get the office caught up. And then, maybe 15 minutes after we were done, I read an article in the New York Times about how the irradiation process they use on Congressional mail may be unhealthy, and has been giving people who spend a lot of time opening letters headaches, nausea, dizziness, rashes, and other symptoms. So of course, mild hypochondriac that I am, I immediately developed a headache that wouldn't go away all afternoon.
1 July-- After starting the day in the grayest of all moods, I managed to keep myself occupied for a good part of it. I'm not sure what I'd do at work without AIM. It's nice that Eileen is conveniently several time zones ahead, so that she'll talk with me in the mornings when no one else is awake yet, and then I have Colleen to talk to all afternoon. Anyway, today involved a lot of opening constituent mail (my personal favorite: a suggestion to put the nation's nuclear waste into volcanoes), and general casualness at the office due to Congress being in recess this week. (The prospect of a three-day week is also a rather good thought.) I am feeling better than I was in the morning, though, although it's admittedly rather hard to help feeling better than that.
30 June-- I was a nice helpful daughter today, first cleaning in the morning and then helping the party to run smoothly. I found myself asking my mom for details about the special foods she was making as I helped her, trying to fix them in my mind, and I realized with wonder that the times I will watch her make these things are numbered. At some point I will have my own home and my own kitchen, and I will make caramel-coconut cake and fruit pastries for myself and my guests, while my mother will make them before I arrive and serve them to me with the other guests. It's a little odd to wrap my mind around, but it's not all that far away. In other news, I did successfully make it through the rebroadcast of the World Cup finals before discovering the result. Guests at the party, though, said that they'd been greeted by flags, car horns, and the loud cheering of "Bra-siiiiiiil!" as they traveled through DC.
29 June-- Well, today involved plenty of cleaning, scrubbing, sorting, and dusting, while watching numerous episodes of Trading Spaces. We did get out of the house for a while, though, including a trip to the library. There I returned the first two Harry Potter books and picked up the next two. However, considering that Harry Potter is a quick read, and the first two books lasted me through all of 4 one-way Metro rides so that I was out of reading by Wednesday, I grabbed War and Peace in addition. No matter what you may say about 1450-page Russian novels, one thing they can't be called is a quick read. Hopefully making my way through that will take up a fair amount of my time, something that is sorely needed right about now.
28 June-- I'm certainly glad the office observes casual Fridays, since I'm not sure I would have made it through the last day of a very long week without a heaping helping of amusing websites (this week's gem: Threebrain.com-- check out the first two links on the menu), pizza (well, that wasn't because of Friday, it was a going-away party), casual clothes, and going home "early" at 5. Now it's time to sleep, in preparation for a weekend of cleaning and celebrating my dad's 50th birthday (which isn't actually until Wednesday).
27 June-- Well, I feel a little bit better about the Pledge today, at least as far as Wellstone is concerned. We met with him again this morning, and he said that while he disagreed with the court decision, he thought it wasn't worth talking about or worrying about, and he did actually say that the speeches on the Senate floor were disgusting and made him want to vomit, which were my thoughts exactly. "I'd like to see them get this upset and excited about real and important issues," he said. We talked about a bunch of other stuff, too. Goodness, he's just such a nice guy, and our meetings with him are just the highlight of my week. I can't wait until it's my turn to shadow him for a whole day. Of course, I still have a problem with most of the other Senators as well as the masses of Americans who have responded to this in such a distasteful way. But I just have to take a deep breath and let it roll off my back. In any event, today was-- well, not a bad day.
26 June-- Today I was the most ashamed and depressed I have ever been to be working for the U.S. Senate. It all started with one of the most gutsy and great court rulings in the longest time-- that "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. It was wonderful to see that these judges were willing to stand up for what is right, in the face of tremendous political pressure. And tremendous political pressure there was. As we watched people speak on the Senate floor, I wanted to vomit and to cry. It was ridiculous. They kept saying that people's freedom to express their religion should not be infringed, and that we ought to keep America the religious country it was intended to be, referring to all of those other awful things like "in God we trust" and the way that Congress and the Supreme Court start every day talking about God. Senator Byrd said that if people didn't like it, they could just leave the country, and believe me, I wanted to. Watching the (biased, of course) news reports in the evening, I asked my mom if we could spend the rest of the summer in Canada. All in all, it was awful. I know that it would've been political suicide for Wellstone to vote against the resolution condemning it, especially since he's in a close race within months of the election, but it still was depressing. But my dad did say that he made a statement at least mildly critical of the way the Senators were acting on the floor. I don't know-- Congress depresses me, America depresses me, the human race depresses me. I'm in a slightly better mood than when I wrote this this evening, but not by a whole lot...
25 June-- Have you ever had one of those days where you have a running internal monologue telling you what an incompetent and awful person you are? Yeah, so I was asked to run a letter Wellstone had written to the President over to Senator Dayton's office to have him sign it so they could fax it to all the media outlets. "And hurry," they told me. I proceeded to first make the dumb mistake of thinking his office was in Dirksen 346 instead of Russell 346 (the other two Senate office buildings besides Hart, which our office is in), and seeing that he wasn't in Dirksen 346, asked someone to look up his office in their directory. They sent me to the eighth floor of Hart, which was completely random, and by the time I had it figured out, Dayton had gone to a meeting, and so we had to go over to the Capitol and wait for him to sign it. This took forever, and inconvenienced many people. And as if that wasn't enough, after I got back my boss wanted me to do something and asked me to pass the responsibility for getting a signature way over in the House buildings to someone else. The only person who would volunteer was Sophie, but she ended up having to go all the way back a second time since she wasn't clear that it had to come back instead of being left there. I had mentioned it, but she's deaf and I didn't make sure she'd understood me clearly. I wanted to smack myself for being so thoughtless and causing her that trouble. I got slightly cheered up by seeing my Yankees, a very nice stadium, and a good baseball game (even though they lost), but I'm still in one of those moods where I see nothing but the worst in myself and feel like all the bad things that have happened to me in my life have been deserved, with no chance of even making a dent in fixing all my problems and flaws.
24 June-- Well, today has been a rather interesting day. I've done quite a lot, from writing press releases ("Senator Wellstone is pleased to announce $585,000 in funding for Duluth International Airport"), to visiting the Ethiopian embassy and hearing the ambassador speak, to reading 150 pages of Harry Potter in 45 minutes on the train. I'm going to need to buy school reading soon to slow myself down! Also, something entertaining happened which I wanted to describe here, but my tired mind is not recalling it, so it will have to wait for another day. In fact, aforementioned tired mind should get some rest, along with tired body. Summer Britt has extreme difficulty making it to midnight, and it's probably better not to try.
23 June-- It was nice to get a chance to relax today and do nothing in particular. I took the opportunity to learn Free Cell on my computer and reacquaint myself with Hearts, as well as indulging in plenty of the usual spider solitaire. Lest you think my day was a completely unproductive wasteland, I should mention that I spent a whole half-hour on the first installment of my Spanish instruction CDs, which left me with the impression that this course is probably too simple for me but that-- considering how talented I am at forgetting easy things-- it will probably also be helpful. And I finished the first Harry Potter book before deciding that I ought to leave some reading for the Metro! As relaxing and unstressful as today was, though, I'm not really excited about the prospect of many more like this over the summer. It was basically a day without any substance to it.
22 June-- After starting the day by doubling the number of shirts I own that I can wear to the office with black pants, we also went grocery shopping to pick up a variety of things for lunches. (While buying lunch is nice, paying $4-5 a day for food is not sustainable.) Then, after a brief hiatus, it was off to the public library. I got a CD set for learning Spanish (I don't know how appropriate it will be for where I'm at, it said Spanish III), a sign language dictionary (one of the other interns at the office is deaf, and I want to try to learn some ASL), and the first two Harry Potter books, of which I've read 100 pages so far. Also, tonight, I watched Dr. Strangelove, which was a great movie, and Point Break (ie Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze go surfing and shoot people), which was, well, not. All in all, a fairly relaxing day. Hopefully tomorrow will involve swimming. :-)
21 June-- Just a week ago, it would be much more likely that I'd stay up until 6:30 to watch soccer than get up to watch. But today, I pulled myself out of bed at 6:30 to make it to the office in time to see (almost) all of the soccer game. It was really fun just for a bunch of the interns and some of the staff and even briefly Paul to hang out and watch the game, although it would have of course been better if we could've managed a win. [May I damn Sportscenter here for putting the England-Brazil highlights in about the 50th minute? Even the U.S. game was the 4th or 5th story. Americans...] We followed that up with a decidedly relaxed day, including exploring Engrish, which was hilarious. Anyway, after getting home and having dinner, I put a couple hours into playing around with Dreamweaver. I figure that I'm going to get my laptop to connect to the internet eventually, so I might as well get comfortable with the program and start coming up with stylistic and design ideas for my site, and I'm making some progress. But now, it's past my bedtime (that is, after midnight-- isn't that sad?), and time to sleep voluntarily before it becomes a matter beyond my choice.
20 June-- Well, this was the most politically satifying day of my internship so far. I got to first help at a press conference, and then observe a Senate hearing, on labor rights and attacks and impediments to workers' rights to unionize. It was just cool to see how Wellstone was bringing attention to this and pushing to try to see what Congress could do to help these workers. I mean, granted, they won't necessarily get anything passed, let alone something significantly helpful. But it at least felt morally good to see that the senator I'm working for was out there fighting for something I believe in. Anyway, I'll keep this short. I'm getting up very early tomorrow to watch the soccer game...
19 June-- Despite spending an hour troubleshooting my modem by myself and two hours on the phone with Dell tech support, I am still unable to dial into the Internet from my laptop and stay connected for more than two minutes. (Although this time I did manage to squeeze in the 15 June entry below, with about 10 seconds to spare before the disconnect.) Dell's going to send me a new modem; I suppose it could help, although I doubt it. I'll cross my fingers, though. Anyway, today was both a good day and a bad day at work. It had a good start, after randomly (okay, not all that randomly, we both had to be at work at 9) running into Matt at the Metro station and walking over to Hart together. Then, although I spent hours doing very tedious copying and filing, the eleven of us interns also spent more than an hour in Paul Wellstone's personal office just chatting with him. It was very cool; he was very personable and friendly. This is going to be a weekly occurence until recess starts in August (at which time we can also start wearing shorts and sandals in the office!). Anyway, now I need to get to bed earlier than I did last night, so that I won't be literally dozing off on the Metro the way I did this morning.
18 June-- Early mornings plus long days plus spending over an hour working on site updates (thanks to the combination of a slow modem connection and having to use the slow iMac) means a tired Britt who doesn't want to take much time to write this. Today was fine. Tomorrow, perhaps, there will be more to say. Apologies for the cop-out.
17 June-- Ah, first day of work means getting up at a time I used to fall asleep (ie 7:30/6:30 Central), which is especially hard after lying awake in bed for 3 hours before sleep comes. But today was an interesting day of tours and getting my Senate ID and meeting people. And since it can't be an internship without photocopying, I spent two hours doing photocopies which involved bending down over and over again to feed paper in order to do two-sided copies. But this is overshadowed by the news that I am getting a completely unexpected $1000 stipend from the office. The people seem nice, and it should be interesting. I'll expound on the deep significance of this experience on my political and social thought whenever I figure out what it is. And while I've been waiting for my computer problems to abate before writing a new journal entry, I think I'll just go ahead with it tomorrow. Damn computer.
16 June-- Today my family and I went out for a very nice Father's Day brunch at a nice little place overlooking the Potomac. Then, after an afternoon of fighting with my laptop to try to get it to connect to the internet (I would've given it up if I hadn't succeeded in connecting twice-- for all of 5 minutes each time-- out of what must've been fifty-plus tries), my father, my sister, and I went to see Star Wars. It was enjoyable, pretty good, although of course much of the fun of it for me was in things that tied into later movies which non-Star Wars fans wouldn't've enjoyed so much. Now, I'm watching the end of the Yankee game on ESPN (and looking for Laura in the crowd!), before heading to bed. Hopefully I can fall asleep pretty early, despite getting 13 hours of sleep last night, since I have to get up at 7:30 AM tomorrow for my first day of work. Wish me luck!
15 June-- Well, while I am indeed writing this before bed on 15 June, it wonít be online until some point in the future; returning home, Iíve been greeted by the erraticness of dial-up internet access. Anyway, this morning was one of the most chaotic and frustrating in a while. I slept from about 5:30 until 9:30, having still left a lot of packing to do in the morning. After returning my library books and searching in vain for Collegeboxes people, I said goodbye to Kim and then dashed off to Mailboxes Etc. with an overflowing box of bedding and assorted things that just would not fit in my suitcases. According to the search I did, there was supposed to be a Mailboxes Etc. at the end of University Place; I didnít remember seeing one, but figured there would be. Of course, there wasnít, so I ended up carrying this bulky load several blocks. By the time I got back to PARC, threw out piles of things that just would not fit, and stuffed my things into a semi-manageable state (the key being ďsemiĒ), Iíd missed my 11:00 shuttle. Of course, as I realized while trying to lug everything I had, I couldnítíve made it to the shuttle anyway, because I couldnítíve gotten my extremely heavy and bulky luggage all the way to Hinman. I ended up somehow getting it down the stairs, then running over to the Omni Orrington to get a cab and asking the driver to head down University first to get my stuff. Once we got to OíHare, and the nicest airport employee ever helped me avoid a $100 extra suitcase charge, everything went smoothly, and Iíve been home relaxing and watching movies on TV with my sister ever since. (Although I did suddenly realize while sitting on the plane that Iíd forgotten to empty and throw out the drawer of ďfood to be thrown out if not eaten before I leaveĒóoh well.) Iím actually less depressed about being home now than I have been while anticipating it during the past weeks. But I donít necessarily expect that to last.
14 June-- The continuing erraticness of my sleep schedule makes the timing of this entry once again somewhat arbitrary, but I do what I can. From about 9:30 AM until 1:30 PM today, I was busy helping move our stuff into storage. Nine of us are sharing a storage room, so today we rented a U-Haul and moved boxes and other things over. By 1:30, when I was on my 26th hour awake, I had to come back here and conk out for awhile-- I felt guilty about not helping Jen and Katie move their stuff to their apartment after they'd helped us move our stuff to storage, but I just couldn't keep my eyes open. Anyway, I slept from 1:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon, went to dinner with Kim and her mom, and then slept again from 8 until 10:30. Since 10:30, I've been awake, packing stuff to go home, with a break from 1:30 to 3:30 to watch soccer. Now it's 5:15, and I'm going to try to sleep for a little bit. But I need to set my alarm for 7 so I can call Airport Express when they open and make sure I have a shuttle (which I should've done earlier, I know), and then go back to sleep and set it again for 9:30 so I can (hopefully) get a Collegeboxes box to pack my extra stuff in, pack said box, say goodbye to Kim at 10, bring the box to the post office, drop off my library books, check out, and catch my shuttle hopefully around 11. I'll have to wait until tomorrow night, I suppose, to get a chunk of sleep longer than a couple hours...
13 June-- In one way, I'm not being quite fair, because I typically write these entries right before I go to bed for the night, but I'm not on my way to bed for another couple hours yet. However, considering that it is now 9 AM on the 14th, I figured I ought to write this entry eventually. So I shall arbitrarily end 13 June right now, and the rest of the day can go in tonight's entry. Anyway, today/yesterday was an interesting day. There were some fun parts, like going out to dinner with Laura and Kim and their parents, and definitely drunken kickball. (We played drunks vs. sober people and kicked the drunk people's asses, although we kind of had to to maintain our dignity. But we all had fun.) There were also definitely moments in which I just wanted to curl up on my bed and cry. Anyway, from about 3 AM to 8 AM, I was busy packing and packing and packing. It never seems like I have this much stuff during the year, I just realize it when I'm moving out. Since 8, I've been lugging boxes and suitcases down. When they get back with the truck and we load the stuff on, then I can finally go to sleep. Although I really should stop by SOFO first, and drop off books at the library, and deposit checks...
12 June-- Well, my bold plan to finally write a paper that I'm really satisfied with has been at least partially achieved. When I turned in the 20-page paper for my Sixties class today, I was definitely left thinking, "I could have done better on this if I'd put more time into it." But at least it was a "That was pretty good, but I could've done better" kind of feeling, not a "Wow, I didn't put enough work into this, it should've been much better" feeling. Anyway, I followed up turning the paper in with a day and night full of very little studying for my exam tomorrow. I don't know, I just felt really burned out and sick of working on it. It's rather childish of me, really, to let hours roll by without studying for an exam for which I could use studying. But I guess I'm just childish sometimes. And in that vein, I'd like to shout, "It's not fair!" that my friends are leaving already. There needs to be more time left to spend quality time with everyone, but of course, there's not.
11 June-- The vast majority of today has been an absolutely wonderful day. I've just been in a great mood. Singing, dancing, and packing for most of the afternoon and evening (okay, the packing didn't really start until after dinner), I just felt happy for no particular reason. And then at midnight, we got a ton of PARCers out to Deering Field for a game of kickball, which was a blast, followed by running around in the sprinklers, which was even better. That was followed by studying and watching the World Cup, and then I had fun hanging out with a few drunk and non-drunk friends of mine, especially glad to spend some more time with Scott Medlock before he's gone for good. (And I'm proud of myself for not drinking a thing, especially considering what a sucker I am for anything that tastes like chocolate and mint.) All in all, it's just been a very happy day, albeit in that sense where you have "this will be over very soon!" in the back of your head. But of course, moody me, the delightful high that was today cannot last, and I'm on the brink of crying myself to sleep for no significant reason, just because I suddenly feel like it. I'm just weird like that...
10 June-- I have discovered a wonderful new way to keep myself productive, which has been stunningly effective this finals week. Basically, it involves working for long stretches of time, then interspersing that with working while watching something on TV. The watching TV part makes it an enjoyable enough break that I don't get burnt out, but at the same time, the fact that I'm still working keeps my head in my work and prevents me from being unable to settle back to work afterwards. Maybe part of why it works so well is how suited these 1:30 AM soccer matches, which I've watched just about every night since the World Cup started, are to the strategy. Soccer is a great game for this, because I can drift in and out of paying total attention, knowing that the people watching will make enough noise to let me know when there's a scoring chance. (I may miss some pretty midfield passes, but such is life.) It's interesting enough to me to be a diversion, plus I enjoy the commentary of the people around me as well. But I get a decent amount of work done while I'm watching, and I'm able to get another good hour in afterwards, too. And thus, I am somehow completely on top of the things I need to get done this week. Who'd've thunk it?
9 June-- I am pondering the ethical consequences of the fundraiser I attended today. In some ways, I feel kind of slimy, as if I've done my part to contribute to a system in which money is a part of political campaigns, which is something I'm inherently morally opposed to. Then the other part of me says, "Hey, getting Paul Wellstone re-elected to the Senate is a good cause." And honestly, while to me it's ridiculous to pay $50 to spend less than 2 minutes talking to Wellstone and Jan Schakowsky combined, in the grand scheme of things that's what's considered an "accessible" fundraiser, and supposedly Wellstone tries really hard to make his fundraisers similar to this one, casual backyard barbeque types where you only have to pay $50 to get in. And one thing he said in his speech was important, that if he loses this race it's going to make Democrats that much more cautious to run progressive candidates, and we certainly don't need any more moderate Democrats. It's a worthy cause for my money-- well, my dad's money-- to go to, I suppose. And staying home wouldn't have magically brought us public financing of elections. But I still feel somewhat uncomfortable that I let myself be a part of this system I hate so much.
8 June-- It is entirely possible that today I had my most productive day of schoolwork ever, at least in terms of percentage of the day spent working. Seriously, after getting up and getting donuts, I had settled down by 1 to start working, which continued until dinner at 6. I did spend about an hour of that time working outside, where I was less than 100% focused, but I was still working. Then, from 7:30-10, I was back to work; although part of that time was working while watching hockey, it still involved at least some work. Then I went to Norris, followed by watching the end of the first period of OT in the hockey game without my work, but promptly brought it down by 11 and continued working until about 4, when I finally finished this outline for my paper and stopped to shower. In other words, of the time I've been in the dorm today, and I was out for less than 2 1/2 hours, I've spent nearly all of it working on this paper. Even my breaks have been "working on my paper in interesting and slightly distracting settings," not "hanging out with friends chatting and then remembering I have work to do." I haven't even played a single game of spider solitaire since 3 PM, and I only played a game or two before that. All I can say is that, amazing as today was for a person such as myself, I'd be in awful shape if I hadn't put in that kind of time, considering how much is still left to do...
7 June-- Today I found myself unexplainably overreacting to something that I shouldn't've. There is absolutely no reason that a silly joke which people wanted to play on me should bring me to the brink of tears. Oh, I definitely understand the emotions coming into play which led to me being distraught, but said emotions should never have been as strong as they somehow seemed to me at the time. Between the overall moodiness I've felt in the last month or two, and the time of the month, it's in some ways comprehensible, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Especially because it caused me to become upset at someone in a way proportionate to how I was feeling, not how things were intended, which was really not fair to that person. I've always been a person guided more by feelings than by reason, but I wish I was less swept up by feelings than I have been recently.
6 June-- [Okay, I really fail, after forgetting to write this entry last night before bed.] Yesterday, the 6th, was not quite such a productive day as I'd hoped, although I did get some stuff accomplished. I was happy about the fireside, though. We managed to have 9 of us go, despite the fact that so many people had work to do, which is really good turnout for a spring fireside. And it was fun, too. It makes me feel like less of an utter failure at my academic chair duties. If I want to continue feeling like less of a failure (okay, there's got to be a better way to phrase that), I need to start thinking of and getting in touch with people for firesides in the fall. Honestly, spring firesides are good but when you get down to them they're just extras. In the fall, firesides are going to actually be attended, and it's important that they be interesting to draw the freshmen in. So if anyone has any ideas, let me know!
5 June-- After a long start to the day at Norris (11 until 5), I had a very enjoyable communal PARC evening which reminds me of all the reasons why I'm sad summer's coming. The talent show was of course a great fun experience, a roomful of PARCers having a good time, laughing at and with eachother. (Although I must admit that I didn't quite realize what I'd gotten myself into when I volunteered to help lead the singalong of our crude version of "The Little Mermaid," since Eileen didn't want to sing and no one else knew all the words, until I was standing in front of a room of people, singing, all by myself, "Look at my breasts, aren't they pert? Even a blind man would look up my skirt." Luckily, everyone else joined in after that point.) And then afterwards a good 10 of us watched the Senegal-Denmark soccer game in the TV lounge. It was just an all-around evening of happy PARC-ness, enjoying time with people who I'm not necessarily close friends with yet who make up my community here. On the plus side, most of the people who I think of when I think of PARC will be back next year. But there will be some faces missing, and I don't want to give it up for the summer, in any event. Give it up I must, but I'll enjoy it while I've got it.
4 June-- Today I attended the last classes of my sophomore year. Granted, I still have two more papers to write, one to heavily revise, and an exam to study for, but the actual sitting in class part is over until September. I have also come to the conclusion that it will not quite cut it if I start packing my room Thursday afternoon for transport to storage the following day, even if I stay up all night. (Plus, that would make it harder to stay up all night Friday night, which will be a necessity considering that my room will be packed away by nightfall.) So I suppose I ought to intersperse cleaning and packing with writing papers over the next days. I really wish my mom were coming to help me pack like she did last year. I swear that she can fit things into half the space I pack them into. Plus, she could conveniently work on it while I was writing papers and studying for my final. But alas, this is not the case. So I must roll up my sleeves and tackle my room myself. Wish me luck; I'll need it.
3 June-- [Well, I fail. My bold strategy was to come up with a thesis statement for my paper while I was in the shower, but instead I spent the whole time composing this entry in my head. I'm tired, though, so the thesis will have to wait.] Anyhow, I've been thinking about my friendships with girls. This has come to mind because the last two nights in a row I've spent more than an hour just having some good conversations with a couple of female friends of mine. (Actually, the night before that, I spent probably almost that long talking to two more female friends of mine. But those were issue-centered and under duress, and thus not quite so pleasant, which was not the fault of the women involved.) I've really never been good with building close relationships with female friends, which is a shame because girls always seem to outnumber guys in my groups. I'd like to believe that that might be changing, although I'm not ready to jump to that conclusion yet. It'd be nice to build strong friendships with some of the women around here. Friendships with girls might not be as intense, but they seem to be a hell of a lot more stable. Meredith has been my best female friend for five years this July, despite the fact that we rarely see eachother and only talk intermittently. Yet while guys can be intense and really close good friends, they don't seem to be that good at being constant about it. I don't know if it's me or the particular series of guys I've been friends with, but it's hard sometimes. I could use some stability. Bring on the women!
2 June-- Ah, today's a better day than yesterday, for a number of reasons, which I'm not going to expound upon here because I'm tired. In fact, I'm so tired that this is going to be quite short. I must, however, eulogize our soccer season. We had a good last game of the year today, despite the score of 6-0. We played well, especially considering how short-handed we were. I really had a lot of fun with soccer this spring. I've come a long way from the week where I had to force myself to stay out on the field. I've enjoyed myself, I've gotten better, and I wish it wasn't over. I'm actually seriously looking into figuring out if there's some way I can play soccer over the summer-- my dad knows about some pick-up leagues in the area. But in any event, I'm already looking forward to next spring. I'm thinking about possibly playing floor hockey in the winter, to expand my IM horizons, but it just won't be the same.
1 June-- I am so frustrated I want to cry. I HATE it when my friends aren't happy with eachother, I HATE it when people are judging eachother unfairly and perceiving things in a slanted way because of their emotions, I HATE seeing things spiral in ways that may be unable to be fixed, and I HATE, HATE, HATE being powerless to help. But I'll still try, no matter how impossible the situations may be, but all the trying does is make me unhappier. Why can't people understand eachother the way I understand them? Why can't people love eachother the way I love them? Why can't people see the good, special, beautiful parts of eachother that I see, but instead insist on seeing the worst in eachother because of their own personal emotional hang-ups? And why oh why don't I have the power to make you see eachother like I see you? I can see the flaws in each of you and the things that upset, annoy, infuriate other people. But I love you anyway. Is it impossible for any of you to be able to do that? Maybe it is, and I'll have to accept that and walk away. But I'll walk away crying.
31 May-- Amazingly enough, I have actually been productive tonight. I got 4 pages written of the 16 I need to write this weekend. I really shouldn't pat myself on the back for it, though. We're getting towards the end of the quarter, and being productive shouldn't be something special and notable, but it instead needs to be normal and required. Especially if I'm going to have the time to really work hard and make my long paper for The Sixties something I can be proud of. I'll be really disappointed in myself if I can't do that. But to do it, I need to work on beating the lazy and procrastinatory tendencies of mine that lead me to put things off and then do sloppy work. It's honestly vaguely amazing that I wrote 4 pages tonight of a paper that's not technically due for another whole week. Perhaps this is a sign that I'm developing enough willpower to improve my work habits...
30 May-- It never ceases to amaze me how many hours I spend working on the Protest. I was at Fisk again tonight, not getting back until quarter to 2. Of course, it didn't help that I (and several others) showed up, after I expressly asked Chris what time we were meeting, at 9:30, while Chris, Mischa, and Jake didn't get there with the disk until 11. That was pretty frustrating, but I felt bad that Mischa was within earshot of most of my grumblings while Chris, who I was primarily annoyed with, stayed oblivious. Especially since it felt like Mischa and I were doing most of the actual work. Anyway, we're still not done, but hopefully it'll only take one more evening to get it done. And that evening will not be for a few days, which is bad in that it means that we won't get this issue distributed until after CAS classes end, but good in that I have this weekend open to get work done. I really, really, really want to be responsible about my work (and packing!) this quarter, and get things done and done well without stressing. Perhaps this is an unrealistic goal, but I'll shoot for it nonetheless. But spending 3-4 hours a night working on the Protest definitely hampers the effort.
29 May-- Okay, so Comiskey sells out on half-price Monday Memorial Days against the Yankees. On regular-price Wednesdays against the Yankees, they sell about 20,000 tickets. Thus my gesture of not completely scrimping on tickets in redeeming Alex's Date Auction date was for naught, since we could have bought upper deck reserve tickets for less and moved down to any of the many empty upper deck box seats. Ah, well. Still a great game. The Yankees are down 3-1 in the ninth? No matter. Just work the bases loaded (good job, Jete), get Bernie to rifle one into right to tie the score, and then when Giambi comes up, instead of a little single to knock in the go-ahead run, he'll hit a mammoth three-run homer. Ah, my Yankees. I just wish I could've seen it in the Bronx. In other news, I have developed a sudden and in all likelihood completely unfounded paranoia that I'm developing mono. This is particularly odd, since I exhibit no symptoms, other than that my throat is sore in such a slight way that I doubt I'd notice it were I not trying (but of course I do notice!). Nonetheless, I've been paying careful attention to all the feelings in my abdomen, trying to imagine what an enlarged spleen would feel like despite having not the vaguest clue where my spleen is located. I'm sure I don't have it, but if I do, I'll be able to congratulate myself for having astutely noticed the earliest signs. Now, at 3:22, with any luck, I'll get to fall asleep for the first time in almost a week without needing the handy blindfold they gave me on the plane to Israel to keep out the morning sun.
28 May-- Vive le PARC!!!!! Our soccer team notched PARC's first IM win of the year tonight-- in the playoffs! Okay, so the only "scoring" in the game was the goal they awarded us because our opponents showed up late. But we played a great game to keep them from scoring, and we actually got a couple of shots on goal, too. Plus, this means that we are now advancing to the third round of the playoffs without having scored a goal all season, which amuses me. (We had a bye in the first round.) The game was really fun, though. There was most definitely an air of urgency that hasn't been present in any other game I played, which was exciting. I think I played pretty well, too. Doubling my season target, I headed the ball for a second time (again, I'm not so good at controlling where it goes off my head, but hey, at least I gave our players more time to get into position), and I was pretty agressive and did a lot of challenging. And a little bird told me that some people were impressed by how I played, which makes me happy. ;-) Plus, I drank mass quantities of water beforehand, which led to me not feeling particularly exhausted despite the size of the field. I am really psyched about Sunday-- hopefully we can get most of our key players to make it, although there are questions right now. But even if not, it'll be fun.
27 May-- Note to self: Next time you tell yourself "Comiskey never sells out!", be sure you know what you're talking about. Comiskey did indeed sell out tonight, to the astonishment of Laura and myself as well as everyone else waiting on line to try to buy tickets. This led to us seeking out scalpers in order to get into the game. We paid $20 each for $6 seats-- I was going to try to bargain them down, but it's hard when Laura pulls out her wallet and starts to say, "No, Britt, I have money if you need any extra." The whole escapade caused me to miss part of the Yankees' 6-run first inning. (Yes, 6-run first inning. Not to be confused with their 6-run fifth inning against Boston yesterday.) Luckily, although our tickets were for the very last row in the upper deck, we snagged ourselves some good seats right behind home plate three rows back from the railing of the upper deck. So we watched the Yankees crush the White Sox, Robin Ventura at least got a sacrifice fly for Laura's sake, and the weather was much nicer than at the freezing Cubs game in April. But I still miss Yankee Stadium...
26 May-- If anyone needs any further proof that I am indeed an absurd individual, today I've been struck by an odd sense of guilt about being healthy. No, seriously. I've never been a person who gets sick very often at all. I'll usually get some sort of nasal congestion at least once a year, but that's about the extent of it. So when I see someone suffering like Colleen is right now, it strikes me as very unfair, especially since she's been sick a number of other times this year. I mean, beyond a few hours once a month (which, granted, can be very uncomfortable), I haven't had to put up with very much physical discomfort in recent memory. This offends my sense of justice, and leads me to apologize to people like Colleen because I can ingest liquids without acute pain. Of course, this also goes up at the very top of the list of things that I have absolutely no power to change.
25 May-- Ah, Dillo Day. For those not from Northwestern, Dillo Day is a day full of concerts and an excuse (as if anyone needs one) to get drunk and high; many around me promptly obliged. I didn't. Something I've learned from both the only time I was ever drunk and another time when I was almost drunk is that alcohol leads to me doing and saying things I wouldn't choose to when sober. And while sometimes inhibitions are a problem, they generally serve the useful purpose of stopping you from doing what you don't want to do, so trying to get rid of them is not really a wise move. While it's kind of fun and silly to be drinking, it's totally not worth risking saying or doing something I'll regret. So I don't want to ever get drunk again (which I decided last spring), and I need to work on being more careful to drink lightly if I do drink (new resolution for this spring). But that's just me. I don't think less of anyone who wants to get drunk occasionally (although I may as a result of things they do while drunk, or if it's something they do all the time). I find it rather amusing, in fact. As long as it's not me!
24 May-- Today, I went from running around getting sweaty and bruised on the soccer field, to getting all dressed up and heading off to a restaraunt for a fancy dinner, in all of a few hours. I fully enjoyed both very different experiences in their own ways. We played Taboo when we got back, and then Kathy tried to teach me to dance and we talked for a while. All in all, a very good day, especially considering that as of 3:45 (near-precisely 12 hours ago, by my clock) I was feeling rather out-of-sorts and unhappy. It's good that I got some fun stuff in today, since I have a lot to get done this weekend. I really, really should get some schoolwork done before I get overwhelmed with it next weekend, but at the minimum, I insist that I get all the non-schoolwork things on my to-do list taken care of. That means cleaning my room (a big job) and doing a number of Peace Project-related things. At least if I stay busy, I won't have to think about how soon the end of the year is...
23 May-- I've been really moody lately. At some points in the day, I'll feel cheerful and enjoy things like music and the weather. And then I'll suddenly feel really upset or depressed or stressed out or irritated. I just wrote a vaguely ridiculous journal entry that I couldn't've imagined writing a few hours ago, because I'm suddenly in the mood that I believe it vehemently. There are other people with problems that are so much more serious than mine that I have no excuse not to be upbeat and happy all the time. Instead, I'm stressing out about the things that I have to get done that I can't even keep track of because of how disorganized I am, and I'm being pretty emotionally unsteady. Is this too deep a paragraph for this page? I better stop.
22 May-- Well, at least the Key Event's done with. Not that I was spending excessive amounts of time on it, but it's nice not to have to worry about it anymore. Of course, I'm somewhat disappointed by the turnout, and despite what everyone else says, I feel bad that we ordered that many pizzas. Oh, well. Spring Key Events are always hard to get people excited about. But I have indeed held a Key Event this quarter. And I've also finally scheduled a fireside, so I feel better about fulfilling my academic chair duties. (I had a bad case of "Oh, this is an easy job that I don't need to do anything for" at the beginning of the quarter once I was not a philanthropy chair anymore.) Plus, I've done lots of stuff for our boat reception. And I think all of the details of that are pretty much done, save talking to the bus people. It's nice to check a few things off of my mental to-do list... especially since I'm never quite sure what's actually on the to-do list, just a pressing sense that there are things I need to do but can't remember. I need more organization in my life.
21 May-- It turned out that we didn't have a soccer game tonight, and that our playoff game will be next Tuesday instead. This actually made me happy, because it means the season will go on at least another week. We scrimmaged instead for an hour and a half. I am glad to report I am solidly winning the battle to have fun playing soccer. And I think I'm improving, too-- I was in on a lot of action tonight and made a number of good plays, plus I actually headed the ball for the first time all season! I want to keep getting better, and I want to keep having fun; I don't want the season to end. Playing soccer with PARC has been one of the best decisions I've made in a long time.