Home for the Weekend

Since I moved in February, I’ve only spent one weekend lounging at home. This weekend, I went back to my parents’ place to go dancing, which was a good time.

We started with dinner at Meloni’s, which is the best ever.

The dance was mainly couples who had taken lessons, so they knew how to do the proper steps and Paul’s obviously not home so I didn’t have a partner other than my mom, meaning I sat out and watched most of the time. That was fun enough, though. It’s neat to see what people can do. Dance has always fascinated me, and my godmother was among the couples involved.

I did get up and do some of the group lessons and dances, which were fun. I drank, ate, socialized, and had a general good time. It was nice to get out.

We did have an awkward moment when my gynecologist was there dancing with his wife. Apparently, she fell at IHOP and is suing because she hurt her hand and had to quit her job teaching home ec. Her hand didn’t seem to bother her when she was swing dancing and doing all the different turns and holds.

My mom’s 6th grade teacher also was there with his wife. She tells me they used to be really good disco dancers and would clear the desks in the room for class parties and dance. They were pretty good, from what I saw.

My godmother, Kimmie, asked how close Paul and I are to getting engaged. Truth? In about a year and a half, I would guess. She’s very excited about that, which is very nice.

Now I just have to beg him to dance with me, since he’s a shy, tall man who doesn’t dance.

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Validation

Confidence is a funny thing.

I’m still not always convinced I’m a good writer, but sometimes I get little boosts. I happen to keep getting a bunch of little ones in succession, and maybe that’s all I need right now. Maybe it’ll help me just enough, or maybe it’ll even help the rest to fall in place.

I’ve received praise from musicians and labels. My Nam blog has been linked to by a prominent Pittsburgh blogger for the third time in a year. That same blog just passed its 15,000 page view. A former professor wants me to send her pieces for an anthology and go back for a reading some day. InYourSpeakers is becoming quite successful.

Maybe I just needed to put things in perspective. Don’t get me wrong–a little support from my friends would be great, and emotionally, it’s important to me. Professionally, though, what’s more important? The fact that my friends say it’s cool or that people who know what they’re talking about say it’s good and I have a clear readership?

Oh, my God, 15,000 page views. I need to process this.

State College Sunday

Once again, I begged to stay in bed. If we’re serious about getting married someday, Paul better accept his future.

This time, I had to take him into campus because the universe does not want us to have a weekend to ourselves. He had a group project due and they needed to meet. I’d actually told him I could call off the trip up and do it a different weekend, but he wouldn’t have it. Really, he probably benefitted from the visit emotionally and mentally, and he was obviously happy I went (even though he was a bit displeased that I drove in the middle of the night).

It wasn’t terrible, though. I just had to kill a few hours at his apartment, which naturally dragged, and then we went to Pizza Hut because Pizza Hut is the most romantic place ever. And then I went home with the hopes of doing laundry but found our washer and/or dryer occupied every night until last night.

I live an exciting life.

State College Weekend

I spent most of Saturday morning in bed because that’s what I do. Paul is an early riser so it’s usually more like I’m in bed and he’s ready to start the day and I’m begging him to just let me stay in bed until I’m too hungry or have to pee too bad or have to be somewhere. Mission mostly accomplished this time.

I had to take Paul to work for a few hours. His new part-time job is yet another hangup in this long-distance business because that’s four hours normally spent together over the weekend that we don’t get now, but his shift over the summer will give him weekends off. That’ll help.

While he was there, I had to take his brother Jacob to MedExpress for an infected wisdom tooth, so I just kind of hung out and played on my phone, then took him to Wal-Mart to get his prescription. His girlfriend, Katie, met us there, and by then I had about an hour to kill back at Paul’s apartment before I had to pick him up. I spent it on the internet, as always.

After I picked him up, we went to dinner at Green Bowl, my favorite restaurant in State College ever that Paul only agrees to go to every single time I visit because I love it so much. He probably regrets ever saying, “Hey, this pace looks cool,” one of the first times I visited.

Then we went home and watched some Firefly and Cowboy Bebop.

Weekends

I ran off to State College for the weekend again.

First of all, a while back, there was this agreement of sorts that when one of us went up, we’d contact all other interested parties to se if anyone wanted to join. I intentionally didn’t do that. Why? Because I really love going by myself.

Part of it is novelty. Until I moved out, I could never go alone. My mom wouldn’t let me. And now I have the freedom to go pretty much whenever I want, and the freedom itself is a great feeling.

Second, I’m obviously going through some angsty business lately–for good reasons, I think–and I preferred the trip alone. As annoying as that drive is getting after this long, maybe I needed three hours alone on the road. I spend a lot of time at home holed up in my room, but driving with music is different.

Finally, I could go on my own terms. I could go when I wanted without having to coordinate with others or wait on them or hold them up or worry about when they had to be home. It was all me. All I wanted to do. (Maybe what I’ve been needing is some serious me time?) This also goes back to that date thing. Time with Paul is rare as it is, so I think I prefer to be able to just go, be responsible for only myself, and enjoy the weekend with him. In a way, that’s how it’s supposed to be. As fun as road trips with friends are, it’s hard to get a romantic visit out of that.

I’m working different hours now to finish up some training, so I figured I’d leave right after work, have a god couple hours of daylight, and get there with a few hours left in the night. And of course, the one Friday night I make plans that actually kind of matter–I had a long-distance boyfriend impatiently waiting–is the one Friday night I get stuck late. Two hours late. And not just held up traveling–I was getting sleepy and I was starving. My metabolism was not made for eight-hour shifts.

Any later and I would’ve gone home in a fury and left the next morning, but I just made it so that I was late and Paul and my mother weren’t thrilled about the hour but it wasn’t terrible. I got in around midnight. They just both think I’m going to be accosted. And text me while I drive and then call when I don’t text back…because I’m driving.

I picked up dinner on my way, ate it there, we reunited, and went to sleep. I was beat, and he’s lucky I had three hours to calm me down from the fury of work or he would’ve had to deal with that.

Visiting UPG

I went back to Pitt-greensburg for the annual writer’s festival for a couple nights, which was awesome.

Just being around writers–great ones–was fantastic. I don’t get to do that anymore. Paul writes, but his focus right now is understandably school, and he’s in material science. Plus he writes fiction that borders on magical realism/sci fi/fantasy and I write memoir–when I’m not writing articles, reviews, or blogs. As a result, our writing discussions are rarely genre-specific. He doesn’t like memoir, either. However, he still gets it. He knows what I’m talking about when I say I wrote all night because I had an idea I had to see through. He knows the compelling feeling. He knows how the writer part of my brain works. Which is my entire brain.

He’s also my main support system. Other than Meri, who would frequently buy papers when I had an article in, and Terra, who would look online, Paul is the only one who shows an interest in reading my writing. That said, I don’t expect the Craigs to read about some event I had to cover that none of them have any interest in, but interest in creative nonfiction would be nice. Same goes for reviews: no one wants to read about artists they’ve never heard of, but checking out reviews I’ve done of ones they like would boost my self-esteem. Few of them read the Fayette County blog, which is getting significant attention elsewhere. In fact, they’re ironically more interested in personal blogs but seemingly to spy. Paul is the only one who asks what I’m working on. Paul and Terra are also the only ones who took any interest in when I read. Paul couldn’t come for obvious reasons and the Craigs were all in school, too, but seriously, zero interest. None. Not even a single, “Oh, I wish I could come!”

So I feel like they don’t care about what I do or take it seriously. Whenever my writing is referred to in conversation, it’s a joke about blogging or the fact that I review music. If something needs written down, I should do it because I’m the writer. And that’s why being in a room full of writers who were reading their work and sometimes talking a bit about the process meant so much to me. I forgot how comfortable and happy I’ve always felt at readings–like I belong and I chose the major I was meant to.

Now, about those awesome writers.

I went to faculty and alumni night, which always draws a big crowds and is amazing because that school has spawned some crazy talented people. Honestly, I can’t remember everyone who read. I was also late because of work and missed a lot, but I loved everyone I did get to hear. You need to be reading Adam Matcho and Lori Jakiela, who was my awesome professor. I actually finished reading her memoir, Miss New York Has Everything, the other night. I cried a little. There’s your incentive.

I went again for Jan Beatty and Peter Trachtenberg. Beatty I’ve heard and loved before. Classmates once passed around Red Sugar, kind of shocked at how blunt it was, but I loved it. Somewhere in life, I started to love women who were badasses that said whatever they wanted and would be honest about things people still don’t think women should talk about. One of these days I’m going to read Paul some Red Sugar and I can promise that he’ll strongly dislike it but will shake his head and say something like, “But I know why you love it.”

Trachtenberg, however, I’m new to. I bought one of his books on a whim. The verdict on that might be out for a while since I already have so many unread books and I have little time to read anymore. Let me put it this way: one of the best dates Paul and I ever had was used-book shopping. I spent something like $65 on both of us. Paul got a few paperbacks that were priced at half the publisher’s price. I got a few of those plus some $5 hardcovers. We carried them up to the counter in stacks and the cashier’s jaw dropped.

It was nice to go back and hang out. Jakiela’s told me that I must go back and read as well as send her something for the school’s anthology. Which means I’ve got a date with my flash drives soon.

Auctions Are Awesome

My high school used to do this auction every spring. My parents never went because my parents never went to any school function aside from musicals I was in, but my friend’s mom/my former gym teacher promoted it on Facebook and then Julie asked me if I wanted tickets to go, so I talked Brandon into going with me and we got all dressed up to spend me moneys.

I learned that I love auctions and they’re the most fun and competitive form of shopping ever, but only silent auctions. Live auctions intimidate me currently but are super fun to watch.

I wasn’t willing to spend more than the item was worth, the only exception being signed Penguins merchandise. We had some bids in for James Neal, Crosby, and Staal autographs but after being quickly outbid for a lot of money, I stopped bidding. I also couldn’t have really afforded to go much higher. I mean, Staal’s jersey went for $500 and a Crosby one went for $700 in the live auction. The cool thing is the items are all donated and go to the school.

We did win a signed Mike Green stick, calligraphy by one of the teachers, a Kindle Fire for my dad, tickets to the Carnegie Museums and Pittsburgh Public Theater, and a basket of scratch-off lottery tickets my mom ultimately won $85 on. I spent a total of $450, almost $300 of which will be paid back to me between my parents and Brandon since some of that stuff was for them.

They also had good food and music in the form of Mr. Bell’s band, The Brass Knuckles.

Good times!