Sunday, December 9, 2012


I'm listening to songs that I associate with feelings and people.

The last night in Ohio my lover said "you never notice heartbeats until they're gone."

I'm now listening to the Knife "Heartbeats" and thinking about it. It seems like that time in a past person is so removed from the one that sits here right now. They know each will occasionally ask the other how they came to be this way...and the other is silent.

I still have to make new associations for the song "tonight" by Lykke Li. I have been listening to it a lot but have no established neural connections with it and a particular sensation.

This weekend passed in a flurry of blurry despairing conservation. Parties were had, drinks were drank, people scurried ... had sex ... laughed ... and lived through their senses for the evening. Partaking in one ritual eliminated 2500 mL of beer.

There were good times though. I played a game with myself on the computer while letting time slip cheaply by. Today I am finally fruitfully roused to activity. Running, planning lessons, pinning my lessons at the top of the board by soliciting recommendations from all the people I've helped.

Italy is staring at my countenance blankly. The question rises to my forebrain: What are you going to make of this? Is it going to be as lively and lovely as Lisbon? Will you shut yourself down and be introspective as Paris made you? What character will be using your cells to express new angst and desire? Will you earn the laughlines that are parting your cheeks from your lips? Or will you learn again that reality favors the ones who ignore it the most?

It was a holiday and I didn't manage to scoop out the joy that I had hoped. Nights one two and three were similar. I was inside. Last night I wanted to go to a rooftop party but there was a construction site that obscured my directions so I got lost.

On the plus side I have my saxophone, plans to go to a concert tonight, and plans to go to an exchange at a bar tonight as well.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


The sky is orange and rose. Crickets chirp and the locusts buzz as the frogs, one by one, join the chorus of a song I hear every night. I sit shirtless in the kitchen I mill over my salad, searching for the bits of feta to combine a perfect bite. Ginger tea sits beside it. Cooling.

The day was a long one filled with much beauty. I woke up at a late 9:00 a.m. after some sound sleep. I went to church this morning to discover that we were going to Panera for a bite and relaxed lesson. We talked about Poland, the rest of Europe, and psychology.

I came home and sieved through facebook for 10 minutes too long before heading to the Massillon recreation center. After a good shoulder, leg, and trunk workout I came home to play water volleyball with my family, Laura, Carl, and Trevor. I met him today.

It was competitive and relaxing at the same time. I don't like to keep score because John gets riled up about it but it was his birthday Friday. We gave him shouting rights. 

My nieces came over and ate a fantastic dinner with us. A thick salad with avocado, feta, and spinach, small pieces of chicken, cheesy rice with mixed vegetables. I had a Great Lakes Wright Pilsner and a sip of Janee's BRX cider. 

We sat around laughing and exchanging stories as John ate his melted birthday cake. The girls got tired and one by one people left. 

Then I dropped $75 and polished off an extended essay for an Ohio medical school. 

Last night was a thunderstorm, some refreshments in good company, and dancing in Norton. 

Before that I was in Kent with my best friends who are all doing well. Steve has a stable job, Josh and Jeff are dating girls. Mathias is in Arizona. We went to the bar and I met almost everyone I could. It was rewarding. 

Finally having my paychecks has given me more energy to go and do things. I've finished the 7th season of How I Met Your Mother and loved it. I vow to never get addicted to TV again though. It is a passive activity that gives me no energy. The series has proved useful in many ways though. 

I feel like I'm having the summer I wanted now. I'm in control and not treading water dreading tomorrows. The warehouse is its own place. I don't detest it. Once I have my $2k I'm going to cut out of there and prep lessons for next school year. That goal seems impossible considering that I'm $500 in the hole, have student loan payments, and  more applications to do.

Speaking of which...

Friday, July 13, 2012


Strolling by the muckish green pond in Emiriti Park I couldn't help being sucked into an undertow of passive contemplation. Again, there was no emotion in it. I just felt dipped in an ocean of memory washing toward and away from the shore of my present consciousness. The eager anticipation of the past 5 years dissipates into a question of the validation of my accomplishment and the desire to form new connection through shared passions. 

I had coffee in one hand and chocolate from Belgium in the other. The ashy dark roast was perfect for a morning after a bit of the bars with my friends. There was no breakfast yesterday. 

First I went to the biology department. Being summer, I skipped by a few frantic faces scrambling to their summer quarter exams. The fact that I have different stresses now is something I muse at. Exams were harrowing but debt and time lapses are a different evil. 

First I visited my human sex and reproduction advisor for a bit. She's looking well for her age and lightened my mood with some good banter about the transition to semesters. After giving her a chocolate bar I headed to my Pre-Med advisor with another chocolate. I congratulated her on her son and asked her to send letters to a few schools. 

Randomly I saw Van driving down court. 

I met up with Badger, Dan, Eric, Sean, and a lot more people along the way. We made some good new memories out at Strouds with some pbr.

I couldn't ask for anything better. The night ended with Sean and I slamming each other with foam swords. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Last night I had a dream that I was being held captive by someone very similar to me. For some reason I was a passionate young woman who loved to paint. My captor was a strong psychiatrist with a drive to control others.

There were times that I loved him. I painted with him and talked to him but he seemed too focused on his work and the noise that he made to listen. Eventually I was hospitalized. He strapped me to the bed and cared for me. He made me sick then he cared for me.

Then he let me go. When he let me go he dug into my right arm to put a portable IV drip with beautifully colored chemicals. As I tried to forget about the confinement each color slowly drained into me and I became less of a combative person. Eventually I was serene and submitted.

Then I woke up on the opposite side of the bed, exhausted, and smiled.

It seems like this is just how things go.

I've written paris down like it was a chore. I don't think that what went on will go up until I know how I feel about everything.

Being back home has brought joy and challenge. Lazing on the river drinking yuengling with Jason on the 4th of July was serene. Having a light dinner and drinks with a cute traveler from Ohio was intriguing. Reconnecting with my best friends and watching them progress.

There was a precious moment between my two nieces where MacKayla was feeding Allison ice cream and then feeding herself alternatively. It was a nice short moment of beauty in the world to watch something so pure come out of so much chaos at this house.

I see myself differently. In the Portrait of the artist Dedalus never flew back home. I realize that these people do better when I'm around if I share positivity.

At the same time I feel like I need to chase this feeling of newness. Perhaps I have progressed in my tastes past modernism. The philosophy books hang in my room as I've abandoned that desire to contextualize every emotion in a logical framework which as a purpose. I'm not even sure if that was the goal originally.

Fromm shattered my need for any of that. I feel like he has become my doctrine.

One thing which I found difficult to swallow about Fromm is his embrace of the difference between male and female. The professor showed me how we can't classify as "male or female" because we're the same and those aren't absolute (see: sex changes and hermaphrodites).

The thing which Fromm teaches, as well as "Men are from Mars, Women from Venus", is that we shouldn't deny these differences but celebrate them.

I'm a little tired to hash this out right now. I have plenty of things to put down tomorrow after I take care of a few admin things, apply for jobs, and talk to my advisor. I'm heading to Athens.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

homesick? no. it's time.

I tried another run today. Got a full 12 minutes before I started choking up from the dust. Sat around and watched some TV and now it feels better. Listening to "Tonight" by Lykke Li and sending skype texts about tonight.

I'm trying to replay all my successes in my head. I"m trying to write something inspirational but it's difficult with all the input from reality.

This past Thursday I played chess with a cute Spanish girl. Lent a nice Ukranian a book. Learned Go. Hung out with Ian.

Last night I went out for drinks with the knitters. Then I headed home and caught up with the theatre crowd downstairs. We went to Torito, which is my favorite local bar, and I met some of the cast. Maria wasn't there.

Today I booked tickets for Versailles, the Seine river cruise, and read about the Louvre. I think I'm going to arrange my documents and give Emilio a call.

For some reason I feel like I'm doing nothing. Maybe my perception of time is distending as I get closer to the end.

There's still so much to do. I need to figure out New York to Ohio. I need to get a suitcase and figure out where I'm putting my stuff. I need to cancel my student loan payments for the next few months....transfer funds from my Spanish to American bank accounts. I gotta figure out taxes for this year and find a job for Ohio.

So I guess this is why it seems like I haven't done much. Paris is all planned out but I still need to take care of a lot. It's exactly 1 week to the hour before I see Ambre again.

Last night was a riot. I need to get in  touch with the lifters before I leave.

For now I'm reading Ochem shirtless in the kitchen. Apart from a few pounds that comes and goes week-to-week I am the most cut I've ever been. It's strange to look at myself and think, physically, I will never look this young or attractive.

I've never liked when people size that up: you're YOUNG. Stop saying that!
Stop attaching any significance to it! I have had experiences enough to stress me to gray hair. I have life in me but anyone reading this has life too. Don't use your age or situation as an excuse for not being what you want to.

I talked to a student about my travel and tenacity meeting people.
 She said "oh to be young again!"
I replied, a bit shortly, that there is no excuse for not doing it right now. Especially because she has a better sense of how to land on her feet.

I have been extremely lucky this past year.

It hit me like a ton of bricks last night. I talked to Marcos, the shy knitting guy, about missing family and getting tired of not having a good solid base of reliable friends around. He wasn't interested in talking about it. That's what I expected.

I am ready for a tame week. Planning. Saying "be right back's" and have no expectations.

Then I'm ready to put all my energy out for Paris. I'll slide into New York with light luggage and a smile on my face. Hopefully I'll know how to grab the bus home by then...soon I'll be with Josh, Sean, Jessica, Janee, Corina, and all the dogs back home. I deeply miss it.

I can do without all my friends and family...but I really kinda like them.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Lykke Li's "Tonight" is playing through the speakers of my $300 HP 2000-299WM Notebook PC. This weekend I was a bit lazy. Friday I went out with the guys from the gym. They are good people but subject to the exact same tropes and traps that I am. Bros are bros no matter what country.

We went out with the sexy lifting instructor and her creepily older boyfriend. I'm asking her out today; she suggested that we go to the bar I'm just picking. This week there's nothing holding me back from any social risks. I have a little cash, a little time, and the alternative to being hyperactively social is sitting in my room watching sitcoms and sipping Pauliner. The alternative is so appetizing that I gotta make my social life that much more awesome.

Now I'm listening to "I Know Places" by Lykki Li. I've got in the habit of pounding my mind into positivity every morning with light music. My tendency is to get angry but this catharsis sets me right. Friday night was a perfect example of medium payoff. A group of strangers felt my energy and we had a great night. Unfortunatly the set was good but the setting was bad. We partied on the street for a bit and I met people. Then we moved to the disco where no one could hear anything and we just danced awkwardly in a circle.

I still don't understand why people reason themselves into going to those places. The only excuse I can think of is "everyone is doing it."

They also need to realize that self-consciousness and social constraints are bs. For example, they sat around talking about how badly they wanted the instructor when there was a group of attractive girls around. They pulled me away from two groups of girls with whom I was chatting up and making laugh. They're good guys though. They want to throw me a "welcome back to Madrid" party this September.

One thing  that I should advise people about Spain is that they should be forewarned about the women. They are all good looking. The average is way above the average looking girl in the United States. On the flipside, you don't get the huge genetic variation that there is in the USA. They are mostly brunettes with brown eyes, a perfect ratio of amply shaped breasts, bright smiles, and sensibly large hips.

There hasn't been a Spanish girl that has floored me like the occasional woman in the USA. Maybe because there isn't as much contrast.

Speaking of contrast....

Saturday I laid around and watched TV.

Sunday I laid around and watched more TV. I got up for a few hours to cook, play saxophone, planned a few things, and ran for a half hour to compensate for being so lazy. Not a good tradeoff, but better than nothing. I also talked to Alison and Ambre.

Today I woke up , calmed myself, put on music, folded clothes, cleaned up all the water, wine, beer, and juice containers strewn around my room, watched one (the only one for today) episode of "How I Met Your Mother," ticked down some financial stuff, and drank coffee. I'm about to shower and hit the gym.

I feel no sense of loss or need right now. Looming on the horizon is Paris and my friend. I've grown so much it will be nice to see her and myself hanging out with her. Last summer around her I was everything that I now absolutely hate:

Supplicative, needy, uncomfortable in social situations, unsure of my sexuality, uncertain if people enjoyed my company, out of the moment and in my head, and constantly feeling the need to demonstrate my value through stories and actions...and above all I was obsessed with one girl: Her. I tried to use her at one point to make other girls jealous. I was unable to use a map and uncomfortable travelling by myself (this fact is ASTOUNDING to me now). After getting lost in 15 different cities in 4 different countries I feel like I know a few tricks to planning trips.

Then there's these:

Socialize Unabashedly
Interact Interestedly
Exist Contentedly
Present Positively
Take Lightly
Pursue Assuredly
Be Appropriately, Confidently Sexual
Set Boundaries Firmly
Irritate Slowly
Lead Capably
Live Passionately

My own personal 11 commandments. 

All this stuff I've worked really hard to change. My roommates, my lifting buddies, my coworkers, and the people I go out with have noticed the daily change. It's empowering but I'm never finished.

Today is going to be, by contrast, a great day. I'm going to wrap up some more Paris planning and prepare myself for the trip back home. I'm going into the trip with 0 expectation that the woman I'm travelling with and I will hook up. After the poor, manipulative, self-deprecating show I gave last summer I'm surprised that she even conceded to invite me to her home and spend a week in Paris.

On the flipside, there are a lot of beautiful people in the world and Paris is no exception. I'm positive that I will be out of my head and immersed in the history, culture, sightseeing, exchange of ideas, and air of liberty.

Some events that I have planned so far: Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Seine Cruise, Versailles (obviously).
Apart from that the catacombs, infamous "lock-box" toyshop, and Shakespeare Cafe are on my destination list. The food is going to be amazing. My more difficult task will be to try and learn something while I'm there. My greatest fun in Madrid has been meeting people through shared experience. I think that a week of straight sightseeing will be boring if I am not producing something.

Who knows? Maybe it will be a good kick for me to start putting together all these wonderful story fragments I've created?

Regardless, I want to meet up with someone I met in Granada and some people we met from D.C. to hang out. This will be a wonderful transition from this period of growth and self-examination in solitude back to my home where people wouldn't let me reinvent myself. With my new stories and skills I have the "excuse" to be a better person. Something which is difficult when your setting never changes.

Ok. Now I'm off to be productive. Good day!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

White Wine and Chicken

After last weekend's carbohydrate binge I have been spending 2 hours per day in the gym and eating nothing but fruit, vegetables, and light amounts of meat. This morning I boiled some pasta and added apple vinegar,  ground black pepper, garlic, onions, and just a little salt. No oil was in there.

Today I rowed for 9 minutes and ran for 32. Burned 1/2 my caloric intake for an average day. After that I turned on some social psychology podcasts and turned to the kitchen again to try something which my venezuelan roommate recommended: water while frying chicken.

I have no idea what happened inside the pot when I was frying it but the chicken was tender while I only used half the oil. I added a red bell pepper, some cabbage, garlic, onions, salt, black pepper, a bit of apple vinegar, and a big splash of Montilla Moriles sweet white wine late in the cooking. I set it on the stove top with medium heat and got on facebook for twenty minutes.

The wine went straight to the vegetables and mixed with the sweetness of the bell pepper. It stuck in the skin of the chicken. I've been reading about steroid synthesis and heard that there was a difference in the production of testosterone depending on the amount of carbohydrates we consume.

I badly miss my biochem book. In the meantime, it was a delicious meal and I'm going to run it off tomorrow. I'm in good shape despite a come-and-go gut. I oscillate between more cut that I've ever been in my life and back to my college shape. Soon I'll figure out what the best way to eat here is. Until then...I'm going to keep away from Spanish bread and try this wine, vegetables, and lightly fried chicken.

Next time I'm going to try to "planchar" as they say. That involves almost no oil. My biggest fear is salmonella so I tend to slightly overcook.