Thursday, January 19, 2006

Hold me to this

I've been thinking a lot lately about things I want to accomplish this year. Kind of like a resolution, but more like a goal with a deadline. (Labeling something as a resolution automatically sets you up for failure. i.e. the 15 pounds everyone swears off every January but never seems to lose.) So, by the end of 2006 I want to be able to say one phrase: "I've written a book." I'm not talking about a best-seller here, in fact I expect it'll be awful. I just want to get through the whole process.
Excluding any type of class paper or lab report, writing is easy and fun for me. I like the freedom and creativity spurred from writing a short story, in my journal or on this blog. But I know a book is different. It's easy to start, but takes stamina to finish. Like a marathon for the mind. So much to think about: characters, the plot, the ending, flow. You start to grow tired of the whole thing and scrap it. You doubt yourself. But I'm determined to make myself finish this year. I haven't the faintest idea what it'll be about. Will someone die? Fall in love? Battle crazy family members before shooting into outer space? Maybe. Or not. Let me know if you have any ideas and wish me luck.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Obit for a rabbit

Our family rabbit, Peppy, died this morning. He was 9 years old.
Those of you who met Peppy, or rather saw him running around our house, know he wasn't your average caged bunny. My cousin Nikki took charge of him after a friend found him in the woods. A baby smaller than the size of your palm, he'd been sprayed by a skunk and wasn't allowed back into his mother's burrow. Knowing my mom and dad were suckers for animals (we already had a dog, two guinea pigs, a parakeet and numerous fish) Nikki dropped by with the helpless bunny, and after a little bit of pleading from my brother and I, he was ours. We fed him with an eyedropper for weeks and kept him in an empty fish aquarium with a heat lamp. Later, we litter-trained him and let him have free reign of the house. I'll admit there were times I wasn't so found of Peppy, mostly in his early years when he chewed on everything and randomly peed on people and things to mark his territory. This included me and my clothes, in particular a pair of white pants I had to wear to band performances during the summer. That pair always held Peppy's yellow spotting no matter how hard my mom and I tried to scrub the stain out. We put up baby gates at the entrances of our bedrooms to limit destruction and threw out our living room couch after he chewed the bottom to pieces. But through it all, we really did love our unique pet.
Part of my mom's daily routine was giving Peppy a morning carrot and many other snacks throughout the day. All it took was a call of his name and a pat on the floor to make him come running to you for a quick rub of his ears and back. We laughed at how he cleaned himself like a cat and basked in the sun on the kitchen rug. He got along with other animals, including our lab Goldie, the dogs down the street and even our cousin's cat. And most recently, he started his retirement down south, moving to Florida with my mom in November.
He leaves reminders of his life around our Michigan house: a remote control with half the buttons chopped off, tattered edges of photo books on a shelf close to the floor and if you look hard enough behind the furniture or in the corners of the rooms, a couple pieces of woodchips displaced from his cage. He was the last one left from our once-flourishing family zoo and he'll be missed.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Swiss miss

I've decided, and booked my flight a couple days ago. I'm going to Switzerland for yet another science-writing internship at a particle physics laboratory. I'm equally excited and scared, overwhelmed by all the cities, museums and monuments I want to see and nervous about living in a foreign country by myself. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity (cliche, I know, but true.) If I hate it, I'll be back home in three months. But I'm pretty sure that won't be the case.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Two double zero six

It's happened to all of us and it's almost always awkward: running into a high school classmate who isn't one of the few you're still friends with. The way I see it, there are three ways to handle the situation.
1: This is only to be used if you and said classmate don't make direct eye contact. If you could care less about their degree, or lack thereof, their marriage, their divorce, or how many kids they've popped out in five years, pretend you don't see them. Keep talking to the person you're with, look at your cell phone like you're expecting a call, you get the idea. Chances are you've both seen each other, but with a little bit of acting, you can walk away scot-free.
2: If eye contact is made, but you'd rather walk into oncoming traffic than be nice to someone who was anything but nice to you, ignore them. But be warned that you'll look like a big jerk. It's usually better to suck it up and go for option number...
3: Say hi. Sometimes a simple one-syllable greeting and a nod will suffice. Other times, however, your meeting requires smiling, repeating "Oh my God, how are you?" while lining your face with surprise, and of course, a very awkward hug. It's a complicated process. So when I learned that more than 30 ex-South Lakers would be ringing in the new year at the same place I would be, I was a little less than excited.
To my surprise, it didn't matter. For the first time in a while, my New Year's Eve celebration was great. Yes, there were plenty of hugs, kisses on the cheek from guys who once walked right past me without a word and memory blanks. "What's her name?" Somehow, the reunion-esque atmosphere didn't damper my spirits. I was surrounded by those I really did want to hug: my three best friends and their significant others. We danced, we drank (a lot) and we numa numaed (which I'm declaring an official term). No drama, no puking, just plain fun. A perfect way to start a new year.