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December 10, 2009

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This is How it Is:

October 15, 2009

There will be a real update from me soon.  As for now, this is how it is.

Also?

September 30, 2009

I actually found Macintosh apples at Dominick’s yesterday.

::does a happy dance::

:D!

Yeah yeah, stupid song lyrics for a title.  Sorry to be so…undergrad.  I just really like this song and these lyrics.  So…step off.

Okay, defensive.

Anyway.  It’s been a little while.

Last Friday was a pretty awful day at work.  So, I put together publications about the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIC, right?  Well, last spring the Dean decided that he wanted an “awards issue” detailing every award won by anyone (faculty, students, staff, and alumni) in LAS in the last year.  This is a TON of awards, people.  We’re talking a fifty page single-spaced mircrosoft word list of awards.  I compiled these both from my own news archives and (mostly) from individual year-end reports from each department on what awards were won.  So I break my back with this thing all summer and finally turn it into my boss early this month.  She does some stuff with it, then turns it over to our copy editors.  They all come back after reading like ten pages being like, “Um, the facts are all wrong in this.  What the hell?”  And I was like, wtf?  I just copied and pasted from the archives and the annual reports.  It turns out that the departmental reports were all wrong.  They had confused things like UIC with U of C and flubbed award amounts.  Gah.  So, my boss was really angry with me (angry enough to possibly not hire me back for next semester D:!) and now I’ve got to play catch up with this thing, fact check all 50 pages (in addition to all my other tasks) and get it out by next week.  So I’m working my ass off.

And add my other job plus my thesis plus my poetry workshop and you’ve got a busy Julie.  A VERY busy Julie.  ::sigh::  I guess I signed myself up for this, so I can’t really complain.

In better news, Cedar Point happened this weekend.  It was a good time if nothing else because it literally physically jarred the stress out of me.  Man, I love roller coasters.  We started with the Millennium Force (I forgot how high that thing goes.  Dang!  And the view of the lake is actually beautiful.  It’s funny, on so many of the coasters I was like, oh man I’m so scared, oh man this is really high…hey, look at the pretty lake!…oh man, I’m so freaked out.  Heh.  It was kind of cool how that worked out.)  and moved on to the Mantis (and I still don’t understand that ride, who wants to stand up on a roller coaster?, it’s so uncomfortable) and then we did the Dragster.  Filth, as Vanessa (or Deeps for that matter) would say.  Filth.  This ride is supposed to imitate being in a race car.  It takes you from 0 mph to 130 mph in about four seconds (fancy hydraulics, I guess), shoots you straight up and then literally straight down and stops.  It takes like less than 20 seconds, but it is insane.  It was the kind of ride where as soon as it started, I started screaming (because jesus christ it feels scary to suddenly be moving that fast) and didn’t stop until the end, was freaked out the whole time, and as soon as it ended I was like, “That. was. AWESOME.”  It was so thrilling.  Vanessa, on the other hand, in the seat next to me, was like, “Oh my god.  Never again.”

We did a bunch of other rides, like the magnum, witch’s wheel, the spiny chairs, and other stuff.  We ate greasy food.  Did the Dragster again (much prettier at night), did the Raptor a couple times (also prettier at night and still probably my favorite ride there) and then everyone but Vanessa and I did the Power Tower (even though they all hated it) twice.  It was ridiculous.  Sarah, let out this blood curtling scream the first time that left her extremely hoarse afterward.  I’m not entirely sure why they put themselves through it…twice, but meh.  Vanessa and I were happy to watch.

I was like…really feeling my age (and I’m only 24) though.  I had a much easier time last time I went when I was 19.  This time I left with a headache and felt kinda nauseous many times.  I think that may also have been because I didn’t sleep almost at all the night before.  The whole job thing really stressed me out, and I just couldn’t relax enough to sleep very well.  I slept like a BABY after cedar point though.  I even slept in the car, which never happens.

The next day was a lazy day at Ben and Vanessa’s.  We had lunch at Bennigans (another rueben for me) and then I wrote articles and took a power nap all afternoon while Vanessa played Kingdom Hearts.  That night I took the negabus back to Chicago (really boring ride, and also an annoying seat mate who took up WAY more than his fair share of room).

And now?  Working working.  I’ve been trying to break it up with trips to the aqua center, cooking extravagant meals, and hanging out with the roomie, but really I’ve just been working a lot.  I’m really looking forward to going out with the dance girls on Thursday, just for a break.  :)

So that’ life up until now in my world.  I hope you’re all faring well.

Title is taken from the lyrics of the Vanessa Carlton song, “Fools Like Me.”  I LOVE the whole album that song comes from (Heroes and Thieves).  It’s a weird album for me though, because I got really hooked on it during this strange, transitory period of my senior year in college and so listening to it (which I’m doing right now) brings back all kinds of weird and powerful memories for me.  I guess all the music I really like is like that–marked by the period of my life in which I discovered it or listened to it a lot.

I’ve started listening to music again, and I’m finding that listening to old favorites is what I seem to be wanting to do right now.  Today at work I went through a few of my favorites from this CD.  I also listened to my two favorites from Ben Folds University A Capella CD (Magic and Landed), and just a few randoms, like I Believe in a Thing Called Love, Umbrella,…etc.  It feels good to open up these channels again.  I wrote some poetry yesterday too, and that felt wonderful (even if it’s not my best work ever).

Yesterday.  Work was uneventful, as was my poetry workshop.  We all have to do presentations on the poetics of some poet we like.  I’m not sure what I’ll do mine on.  Maybe Emma Bolden.  She’s relatively unknown, but I just read a chapbook of hers from Dancing Girl Press, The Sad Epistles, that I thoroughly enjoyed.  We have to compare the work to our own and I think she and I write a bit similarly, though I tend to be a bit more narrative in my poetry than she does.

After that I actually went Irish dancing.  A friend of my old roommate Dave has been inviting me to various Irish dance things throughout the past year, and last night I decided to take her up on one of them since its been a while.  I met up with her and two other girls who seem to be at about my level (maybe a bit better since they all went to schools) north of Wicker Park.  They rent a dance studio and give Irish lessons, and afterward just dance around for an hour, doing more advanced stuff than they teach their students.  It felt pretty great to just put on my shoes again and do some old steps.  We learned a slip jig step together that was relatively easy (compared to some of the stuff Katie used to teach us :)!) and then did a hornpipe.  I suck at hornpipes because all we ever did in our performance group were reels (much faster and more difficult but much showier).  This hornpipe was really simple but I sucked at it and it kind of got me to thinking about how you have to learn to crawl before you can walk.  I’m not too bad at Irish, but I have all sorts of problems that girls who go to schools don’t have–I can treble very VERY fast but my turnout is horrible and I often have terrible posture.  I can’t do the slow stuff, only the fast stuff.  Because I never took the time to learn things totally correct the first time, I’m always having to go back and correct little things.  My life is kinda like that right now, I’m have to go back start from scratch.  I want to just get up and run right now, have everything be perfect, but I guess I have to do the little things right now in order to have the big things right later.  I guess I’ve always viewed living a successful life like tending a garden.  You’ve got to sow seeds before you can have plants.  You have to plan correctly, you can’t neglect things, you can’t take too many days off.  You’ve got to give each plant what it needs individually and you have to design the garden so it makes a balanced whole.  Yeah yeah, just a big metaphor.  But still, it’s helped in times like this when I’m just sort of skating along, trying to build things in soil that’s been stagnant for a while.

Anyway.  The girls there were all really nice and I’m happy to have met them.  One of them, Kelly, is a model at Elite.  When she told me I was like, dang…I’ve never met a model before.  She had just died her hair red because they needed her to have it red this season apparently.  What a lifestyle.  Anyway, she started asking me questions about my height and my size.  I told her and she was like…you know…you should really stop in at Elite one day.  Have you done any modeling?  There’s open calls.  And I was like, really?  A model telling me I should be a model?  What an enormous complement!  I don’t know if modeling would be my thing–I mean, don’t think I’d dig the whole “change your hair to whatever we say it should be” thing, and I feel like I’d be really pressured to lose weight, something I also wouldn’t want to be pressured into.  Also, I used to have some serious body image problems, and I have a bit of an issue taking part in the whole industry that helps that problem along.  I mean, if I became a model I really would probably have to lose weight to stay competitive, but honestly I’m a healthy weight now and I look just fine as I am, so why should I have to change my body to fit someone else’s idea of whats beautiful?  Plus, the idea of using my body to sell products and make money somehow seems not ok to me…maybe I’m too much of an idealist or something but it’s just how I feel.  Who knows though, feelings can change and maybe one day I will wander into Elite just to see what’ll happen.  Regardless, I was really flattered.

So anyway, after that I just chilled with Amanda–we ran into each other on the Madison bus which never seems to happen to me (I mean, having people I know hop on to the same bus I’m on), and had some good girl talk.

Today was a busy day at the cultural center.  I’m redesigning the Chicago Publisher’s Gallery website among other things.  I came home and sat down on the couch (feeling kinda sad, I’ll admit) and just passed out.  Not entirely sure why I was so tired, but now it’s midnight and I don’t really feel very much like going to bed.  :/.  It was a good nap though, and I woke up to cats batting around at me.  Ballet didn’t work out tonight so I just ended up hanging around, watching a bit of TV with my roommate Devin who is back in town, and relaxing.  These down times are a bit hard on me, but I’m getting through them.  I’ve just got to keep remembering to build the things I want in my life, and right now I want a solid thesis, two good jobs, a masters degree, a few hobbies to make me happy (like dance and yoga), and some good friends.  We’ll see about more later.  In any case, it’ll be nice to Irish dance every once in a while (though I have no intention, and honestly no time, to dance like I did with Leim.  I think it’ll be a nice supplement to ballet, a nice little reminder of how far I’ve come with dance already when I’m stumbling around, trying to remember to use my arms.)

I guess that’s it for now.  This weekend I’m going to Cedar Point with my friends Sarah and Vanessa and some of Sarah’s family.  I’m pretty excited.  Tomorrow is a long day of work (and maybe the aqua center for lunch?) followed by a megabus ride back to Ann Arbor for a brief night before heading down to Ohio on Saturday.

I hope you’re all doing well!

September 23, 2009

Well, it’s been about a week since my last post, so I thought I’d tell you all how I’m faring.

Most of last week passed in what now feels like a blurry haze. On Friday night I hung out with my friend Stephanie. We had a really chill evening–ate breakfast for dinner (eggs benedict!) at the Pick Me Up Cafe (which is in Wrigleyville). It was an interesting little hole-in-the-wall kind of place. The tables were all covered in weird little collages, ours featured the faces of various Sesame Street characters made out of fruit. Food was good. Afterward we went back to my place where we watched Project Runway and the cats caused Stephanie’s allergies to act up.

On Saturday I caught the Metra up to my friend Brandon’s house. He lives up in Palatine, a suburb of Chicago. On the train I read the copy of My Father’s Dragon that my friend Kyle had sent to me.  I mentioned it off hand in a conversation to him once and he stumbled across it in a used book store.  Reading it made me feel really relaxed and happy–it was one of my favorite books as a kid.  Maybe it was what jump-started my love of  fantasy/sci-fi.  Who knows?

Anyway, Brandon and I ate thai and then just relaxed in his hot tub (yes, he has an in-ground hot tub, ::jealous::) and then watched bad TV before hitting the hay early because I had to get up at like 6:30 am to get back to the city in time for my soccer game the next day.

Soccer went alright.  I still haven’t scored a goal, but I ran some people down, played some ok defense, and even stole the ball from someone once.  I’m getting better.  :)  Sunday afternoon involved a few video games, then a lot of down time.  The roommates got back into town from their sister’s (or sister-in-law’s) bachelorette party.

Monday was a sick day, but a good day.  I ended up having a fantastic conversation with my brother George about his new job and what he’s doing in his life.  He’s now working at a bakery in downtown Marquette, having left his old job at the Up Front because of bad management (and possibly other things, I don’t know).  He also just left Sweet Water Cafe to pursue the bakery job with all of his working hours.  He was sad about that (and, I mean, that’s understandable.  The Sweet Water Cafe is one of the best places to eat in Marquette, and also it was a great place to work, according to George).  All that talking of baking made me want some baked goods, so I ended up going to the store for some bread and talking with George about what we usually end up talking about–the purpose of life, what it means to be a good person, what we want to build in our lives, who we want to be.  We also bitched quite a bit about academia and dogs (I’m so sick of dogs everywhere.  Everyone and their brother in the West Loop owns like six dogs and they just take over everything.)

Anyway.  After that I went to my first ballet class at the Lou Conte dance studio (it’s not far from UIC or where I live).  The studio is associated with the Hubbard Street Dance Company, and it’s supposed to be really good.  Unfortunately for me, “beginner” in their terms means “intermediate” in mine, and the class ended up being above my level of expertise.  I think I might have to go down to “basic”, which sucks because I’ve taken basic before, but not at a studio as good as this one.  I’m also going to try a class at the Joffrey School of Ballet downtown.  I might go to my first one tomorrow night.  We shall see.

And that just leaves last night.  I worked all day (taking a break to go to the Aqua Center again, which I seem to be craving uncontrollably these days).  I got home and ate some hamburgers grilled by Craig, our boarder.  He managed to get us tickets to the Sox game through a work connection, so we drove down to the South Side to see the Sox vs. the Twins.  When we got our tickets, we noticed that we were in row 5 and got excited.  Sure enough, when we got down to our seats, we were in the FIRST ROW (which, I guess is technically the fifth?).  We were literally right behind the Sox dugout.  It was fantastic.  I’m not even that big of a fan of baseball, but it was cool to sit so close, to see all the players faces and see everything really clearly.  There were also like six home runs during the game–which was really exciting.  The Sox ended up losing, but it was neck-in-neck the whole time.  A good experience.

Plus I may have made a basketball connection (finally) through Craig.  He has a friend who plays co-ed in the city, so hopefully I can join the league :).

And I went home, hit the bed–had some bad dreams again :(.  And here I am at work, trying desperately to write some articles for AtLAS and to prepare myself for my poetry class.  I’d love to go to the Aqua Center again over lunch, but I didn’t bring my suit, and honestly I don’t really have time.  :/  Maybe tomorrow.

Ok, I hope you’re all doing well and I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you for your well wishes and support.  It’s helped me more than you probably know.

Tired. Sad.

September 18, 2009

Blah, I don’t want to turn this journal into a place where I whine, but…that’s all I’m feeling right now. Tired and sad. Tired of my brain being locked on one thing, sad for what I’ve lost in my life. I really don’t know what to do with myself.

Today I went to UIC’s pool for the first time on an impulse. It was a lot of fun, actually. They have this big setup with a “river” and several whirlpools with jets and bubbles that are focused on various parts of your body. It reminded me of a tiny version of this place called Thermopolis that I used to go to in France with my first host family, the Rinasses. This place was huge though, and full of “thermal water” meaning it had a bunch of minerals in it that made it good for your skin (supposedly). It was really nice and warm and it was full of rivers and pools and jets and waterfalls. It was a great place to go to relax. They also had huge steam rooms that smelled like mint (buried in these fake caves and fake egyptian-looking rooms), sauna’s, hot and cold baths, and hot rocks to lay on. It was very hoity-toity, but very nice none-the-less. We would go there on Friday evenings at the end of the week and just swim around for like two hours, then drive half an hour home and just sleep like babies. I guess UIC’s version felt a little small compared to that memory, but I still found it enjoyable and a bit relaxing. I jumped from the hot tub to the cool river to the jet baths and back to the hot tub a bunch of times. I usually really like steam rooms, but theirs was much too hot for me.

And then I tried to go downtown to work but discovered that I got there too late–my key apparently doesn’t unlock the door to my cubicle room once everyone else leaves. I had a really great conversation with a friend and then just headed home, feeling silly about the whole thing.

I keep going through these cycles of feeling ok and feeling totally not ok these days, and going home today I was in a moment of feeling really terrible. I’m so grateful for my roommate though. She made tacos for all of us–Devin is home tonight (he works out of town four days a week). Then after just chatting for a while she decided to work on project of making the walls to my room reach all the way up to the ceiling (a tall order, it requires shaping dry wall around pipes and accommodating a rounded wall. Not easy.) while I tried to feel okay, read a bit in my room, and talked with more friends.

Does this all sound pathetic? I guess I’m going through a grieving process. I just read through the stages of grief (never looked at them before) and realized I’m going through a lot of them. I’ll be okay, I think I just need to…wait. I think time just needs to work its magic on me now.

I’m realizing several things. 1. Life is hard. Sometimes you get put into unfair situations and no one is going to help you fix them. Sometimes the hardest thing to do in life is make choices when you don’t want to. I’m an indecisive person so I’m always second guessing myself, putting off making a choice, worrying over choices I’ve made…so life is very hard for me at the moment. My future is very uncertain and in fact, my desires for my future are very uncertain. 2. The fastest way to grow up is to really really want something and not get it. It teaches you to cope and teaches you about whats really important.

I know what I want to be happy. My ideal life would consist of three important parts: 1. having a job that keeps me creatively active along with hobbies that engross me and that I enjoy, 2. have a supportive and loyal group of friends that I love spending time with, and 3. having a compatible and loving partner to walk through life with. Right now I sort of have one of those (though the jobs don’t pay all THAT well) but I’m kind of missing the other two. I do have lots of loving friends, I should say, just none of them are in Chicago, which sucks.

But I think just shooting for that is a good start for me right now. Also, shooting for a bit of mental clarity and self-confidence. I’m learning, right now, that I’m strong (even when I fail. I think I’m failing a tiny bit less every day).

I think that’s all to say. I feel lonely, so I’m going to watch trashy TV with my roommates because I want the companionship. They’re watching freaking Housewives of Someplace. Hopefully I can get them to watch Project Runway after that. It starts in fifteen minutes.

Sigh. Hey life. Hey.