Category: courage (page 1 of 2)

T-Minus 21: Holy tsunami.

Phew. 21 days, y’all. The tsunami beginneth. 

Three weeks! 

One week from today is my birthday! 

So much is happening! 

Tsunami Part 1

Driving home tonight, I hyperventilated for a minute when I realized this is my last full week of “normal” work – like: the final. Four. Days. Of. Employed. Life. For the forseeable future. And this trip is happening in 3 weeks. 21 days. It’s actually happening. 

NBD.

😑  

Endings

No matter how much I want this; no matter how much I have wanted this freedom & sabbatical & unlimited vacation days, there is something significant about the ending. 11 years of familiar, quasi-routine, in the same place with many of the same people and things. 

Buh bye. Poof. Vamoose. 

Reflections

I had dinner with one of my oldest friends tonight. We’ve always talked a lot about our hopes & dreams. There were some really good highlights – he’s soooo excited for and proud of me. I’m holding on to this outside perspective when things get rough. He also talked about, in the simplest manner, realizing that some things we adore just cannot be done for other people. 

Bada boom: for me, that’s writing. Thank you, CHo. 😉

And he totally identifies with the “what am doing with the mortgage and the job instead of The Dream?” We talked about how to get after that. It was very nice. We also ate way too much pizza & frickles. Frickles. Of course that happened! 🙂

I know I haven’t done nearly enough justice to the significance of all the meetings I’ve had with the people – the people are the significance, not all this selling shit. But I won’t be able to sit down & digest that until some of the selling is done … or maybe not even until I get to my parents’ house. Or on the road-road. It’s a lot. #tsunamis. 

The Selling Tsunami Ebbs

While I waited for him, I split up more of my possessions. I sorted out the rest of the pantry. I got the boxes out to start packing. I’m going to send one or two home so I don’t have to worry about my car overflowing. 

I’m also sorting the “sell” pile into “give to friends” “donate” “etc.” A good chunk of whatever doesn’t sell online by the end of this week will go with me to the park. Talk about a swag bag! Lol. 

The couch still needs to go. It’s a little disconcerting, but I have half a month after the 1st (when I assume people will be looking) to sell it, so … it’ll be fine.

Though I should trust there’s a reason it hasn’t sold yet … probably because right now it’s my bed. And office. And living room. Good rehearsal for #tentlife, eh? 

The Belt-Tightening Beginneth

Now that I’ve gotten all this rad sales money in … time to stop the outflow. Today I was able to request final service on Comcast (no fee was mentioned … yet … allegedly it’s $220!?) and my electricity. My gas account locked me out, so I’ll have to do that tomorrow. And I really need to renew my VA license plate registration like ASAP. 

I’ll also have to suspend my Netflix soon – aka hurry up & finish Frankie & Grace. 😢

Spotify is the one “disposable” income item I will wait til my last $10 to cancel, however 😉 

Thank bless that podcasts are free! 

I will probably listen to Up & Vanished’s latest epi as I’m falling asleep. An odd choice, I know, but ITS THAT GOOD. Though right now I’m on Doreen Virtue’s weekly video, which is hella relevant. Of course. 🙂 

Of Weather and Sleep

Sitting in the bath, writing this on my phone & trying to chill myself out before couch sleep. 

Ironic, since My Best Friend The Weather Channel ™ is still saying it’s going to be 90 this weekend. That’s nuts!! It’s 50 and rainy right now. Talked a lot about the weather in the parks with people who’ve been there. One who saw five days of chilly rain in Glacier in August; the other who saw 90 in Yosemite in August. So, basically: this week. Oy. 

I continue to see people all week. Next week will be much chiller. I’ve noted before that it’s probably good that I’m so busy right now, because I think I would stress myself out wayyyyy too much with the “wtf”s and “what ifs” and re-organizing my possessions for the umpteenth time if I was just home every night. 

But, at least there’s stuff to do other than RUMINATE. 

I know selling my bed was a big deal, but quitting my job without another … That makes it real. Things really do start to spin out of my control then (no more income that day or 14 days later, etc.) 

Not to mention I don’t need any other factors to contribute to not being able to sleep on my truncated bed/office/couch/closet/unintentional trial run situation. Le sigh 😉 

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg

You see, kids, this is when Grandma was too lazy to glue the hole in her giant air mattress that night … or clean off the clothes, coat, laptop, ExHd, etc. … thus bringing the tsunami to bed. BAD FOR SLEEP HYGIENE. Learn from my generation’s mistakes.

Good night!

Xoxo

LJP 

T-Minus 29: Getting Excited

Hey poopsies! So, holy cow, I’m leaving in “less than a month.” That shit is official.

I finally posted my bed & table & couch on CL. Like, that official.

And while I’ve been mired in the stressful air traffic controlling of selling stuff, I think I’m finally hitting the tipping point. I met for brunch this morning with a good friend who had done my trip before.That was a good choice, because listening to her tales & recommendations & how she was able to survive on the road and work in various places was really exciting. It was exciting to talk about the places I want to go, and hear highlights. As a friend said, “Remember the why!” So, as more things flow out of my house, & brain, I think I’m starting to have space for the excitement, and to be able to turn my attention the future. YAY.

As to the present: I’m off work this week. I initially requested it to give myself time to pack-sort-sell. SO GRATEFUL it worked that I had the chance to already put a car load of things in storage in MI already. That’s nothing short of a miracle, because I can’t imagine how stressed I would right now – or how effective – trying to pack or sell “it all.” Plus what if I did end up with an extra car load of stuff on May 15? That would mean I’d have to rent a car and find someone last minute to drive it to/fr MI. HA.

So, with some time freed up from that, I’m running around a fair bit with some errands, lunches with friends, that sort of thing. Honestly, it’s not much more than during the work week, just minus those pesky in-office hours. It will be a lot – it’s not like I’ll have long periods at home.  (This camping trip, with zero commitments & large swaths of TIME, is going to be a revelation.) This week will be an interesting exercise in balance, focusing on writing, going for long walks, etc. And WRITING when I can 😉 Fortunately this trip seems to have a never-ending flow of topics, and the hamster wheel hasn’t stopped for long.

I do have a fat stack of “writing” documents & papers to read through. That + my ExHDs … I will have to spend some more time on the ExHDs before I leave for my trip, as I don’t want to take three ExHDs with me!

After that, my sorting-packing-selling stuff is essentially done.  The storage run was a blessing, and I kind-of maybe don’t feel like I have a car-full of things left to take back with me??? (lies, blaspheme, sacrilege. I’m inevitably going to have to mail USPS-knows how many boxes of things home to mumsy.)

I will definitely have to continue to get rid of “the two piles.” One is still stuff I need to photograph (!!!), and another is stuff that I need to sell (c’mon, CL!) If I can sell  my bed, table, and couch, I will feel a lot better about donating some of the random items that I have left in my apartment (I mean, $ is nice & will help fund my trip, but so is not being STRESSED OUT OF MY MIIIIND.)

I also have random items I need to make decisions about – such as my pots & pans. I don’t think those are coming with me on the trip, so … donate? Try to sell?  When?

 

The part I most loathe about moving is those sorts of Sisyphean little tasks. It’d be brilliant to have everything settled out the weekend of May 6th, so that I can focus on cleaning my apartment out (another Sisyphean task!)

OK, I will attempt sleep now. 🙂

xoxox

LJP

Expenses

Ok, so, confession time: I have no idea how much this trip is going to cost.

Of course I don’t, I’ve never done such a thing before. I can guesstimate how many miles it may be & how much fuel I may need. I can guesstimate how much food I may eat, what the campsite costs might be, how much outlay I’ll need for sunscreen & bear spray.

But, at the end of the day:

There’s too many variables right now to get an idea. My *goal* is to buy most of my food from the grocery store, cook most of my meals, etc. I plan to camp, drive to the camps & then as little as possible in the camps, etc.

But there’s too many what ifs: what if I want to follow the signs for The World’s Biggest Tacky Road Side Attraction Yet! ? What if I want to eat out because I’m too tired, or even – GASP – stay in a motel because I didn’t realize it was monsoon season in Mitilitiarkana? What if I get addicted to $5/day campfire wood? Y’know, the practical things.

Heck, I don’t even know how long this trip will take. [Nope, still no end date ;)] 

There is, however, one thing I *can* rely on: there is no way this trip is going to be more than my current monthly expenses in D.C.

The average rent in Washington, D.C. is $2,080/month for a 1-bedroom. (I definitely pay less than that! Wow, average? Does that include utilities or something? Shudder.)

Then you look at the BLS national Cost of Living statistics:

  • $20,194 per person per year according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (value given divided by 2.5 average household size (‘consumer unit’) – [1]
  • Of this, food ($2577), housing ($6844), cars ($3442) totals $12,863 per person

Before I get all judgy on DC rent, BLS sez:

  • $1500 of this is mortgage payments, or about 1/4 of all housing costs

::record scratches:: Wai, wha? For the whole year?!?!! That can not be right.  … Unless I’ve been living in the DC bubble for too long? Gulp. ::does the sign of the cross:: 

(here’s the most recent BLS data, for my nerds.)

Anyway, let’s move on to: Fun! This cost of living calculator says that Yellowstone is 28% cheaper than D.C. Phew! (Actually, I was hoping for even lower, somehow. But if I’m halving my rent … Maybe the difference is made up in bear spray expenditures?)

And, from Nomadic Matt – a great resource for all things budget travel:

His 116 day US Road Trip = $6,262.67 total / $53.98 per day.

His breakdown:

Accommodations: $1,036.36
Food: $3,258.23
Drinks: $438.94
Gas: $696.98
Parking: $253.00
Starbucks: $75.26
Miscellaneous (movies, toothpaste, shampoo, conferences, etc.): $170.00
Attractions: $269.40
Taxis: $41.00
Bus: $17.50
Subway: $6.00

Seems fairly spot on. I may be slightly higher on accommodations, and hopefully slightly lower on food, parking & attractions as well as misc. transpo. If I make those sort of adjustments, then yeah. (He also doesn’t include phone, insurance, car repairs, oil changes, etc. I also already have most of my supplies, minus food, but those should be factored into the long-term planning.)

With his calculations, $10,000 = ~ 28 weeks, or 7 months.

$5,000 = ~ 14 weeks, or 3.3 months

Hm, maybe those BLS statistics are looking more realistic?

I’ll keep you posted as the trip progresses, of course. Honestly, at this point, it’s looking like my escape is going to cost more (rent termination, shipping or storage, Comcast termination, other fees/expenses?) We’ll see!

His article, and some additional resources below:

How to Travel Across the United States on $50 a Day

 

USA Road Trip Budget Tips 2017

Budget: how much does a 1-month USA road trip cost?

T-Minus 42: Everything’s Going to Be Okay (A Note From The Universe)

Most of All, Remember The Why

“Stop. Breathe. It’s going to be okay.”

This may be my new, spiritual version of “stop, drop, and roll.”

I was reminded of this all weekend, and it really hit home when I got one of TUT.com’s recent Notes from the Universe. They are good reminders that there are greater forces at work out there – or just the possibilities for a different perspective – than the one rattling around in my brain. This recent one was especially relevant:

Let’s see… It’s impossible to fail. Everything works out in your favor. The elements conspire on your behalf. There are always more reasons to be happy. Millions of lives are touched by yours. Thousands have thought of you fondly. Hundreds have called you their friend. You can have anything you dream of. Things just keep getting better. And you live forever.

via: www.tut.com 

Seems like just what I need to hear right now! Maybe because I’ve been a bit in panic mode & getting weighed down in the reality and the details. As a result, I’ve been getting a lot of messages about NOT FAILING.  Not in the pressure-y way, but in the “EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY, DANGIT!!” way.  And I really like how this note builds to a crescendo, of almost infinite possibilities.

A good friend told me this weekend that among the swirl of chaos that are the details of packing and moving, I needed to remember my “why” first of all. Why I’m going on this trip. What’s motivating me, what my intentions are with it.

I will admit, it’s been hard to see the forest for the trees (and I think you can tell as much in my recent posts!) I’m scared I’m going to shed all of my stuff & then regret it, or need it back sooner than I thought, or anything that amounts to failure.

But really, any judgments, any negativity like that are

So, to remember the why: here’s just a few, for instance, and one that keeps coming back to me:

Who doesn't want to go to there? <3

Glenn Lake, Montana

photo via NPS.

Ah, everybody exhale.

Good night, peace, and love!

LJP

At least once a day planning this trip.

Image result for whack a mole
Speedo guy is about accurate in re: me fighting my brain.

The mole is my fear, and about once a day as I’m planning my trip, it pops up with this very terrifying baritone (disproportionately deep compared to its size) with: “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?” Or, in its less ladylike moments: “WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF?!!?!??!?!!”

I try to keep it locked in the back closet of my brain, but … ouchie wow wow.

The best thing I’ve read recently is from “Feel the Fear … and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers. She says (page 14):

As my confidence grew, I kept waiting for the fear to go away. Yet each time I ventured out into a new territory, I felt frightened and unsure of myself. “Well,” I told myself, “just keep putting yourself out there. Eventually the fear will go away.” It never did! One day, a lightbulb went on in my head as I suddenly realized the following “truth”:

Truth 1: The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.

As long as I continued to push out into the world, as long as I continued to stretch my capabilities, as long as I continued to take new risks in making my dreams come true, I was going to experience fear. What a revelation!”  

Amen sister!

She goes on to share four more truths about fear (page 22):

2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.

UGH. This is all the more reason to talk back to my whack-a-mole, and just do the trip. Who knows, maybe my worst fears (dead/broke/bears) will NOT be a thing.

3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out … and do it.

Chortle.

4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar territory, so is everyone else.

Empathy! This helps me remember to consider other peoples’ situation from their eyes … not just mine 🙂

5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

Dang Gina. FINE.

Yes, I don’t want to live in a feeling of helplessness any longer. Onward!

xoxo
LJP

On paying attention

The last snowstorm of winter. I’m getting off a plane, on my way home after visiting family for the weekend. Everything is delayed, so I’m not rushing. 
 
I spent the entire previous hour* indulging in my favorite past time: reading.

I’d just boarded the plane, fresh off the lunch where I’d finished giving my parents the PowerPoint presentation about my next steps – the next mile marker on the longer departure journey. 

I happen to glance down and see a brown mark in the slush on the yellow gutter of the jet bridge. 

I register what it is, smile, and keep walking. You always keep walking on the jet bridge. 
 
I get about 30 more steps before my stomach arrests my entire body. I delicately pivot against the flow of traffic and retrieve it.
 
I wrack my brain: which books had I brought on this journey? 
 
But, no, I already know: the twin to the bookmark I was cradling in my hand, trying to delicately avoid getting marked by it’s dirt, hadn’t come with me. Its clean twin that was ALSO FOUND, about a month ago, was nestled, safe and warm, inside a book called “What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question.”

That one was left on the next leg of its journey by a passenger in the backseat of my boyfriend’s car, discovered as I was getting dropped off at home, and he nonchalantly offered it to me. 
 
UHM … read it.
 
UH YEAH GUYS. OK HELLO HP/UNIVERSE/GOD. 
 
If you know how much books mean to me, if you know the things that have been in the spin cycle in my mind lately … nothing says HEY LAUREN ITS ME GOD/THE UNIVERSE/THE ALIENS …
 
… like a freaking unforgettable bookmark – twice, on my journeys home. 
 
Hot dawg! Or, as we call it: HP. 
 
xoxo,
LJP
 
*For fun: it was a 23 minute flight after a 19 minute de-icing and before a 17 minute taxi to the gate, after landing.

When you’re feeling your lowest, the real you is summoned

A particularly relevant and beautiful Note From The Universe today. Imagine if every flower hated itself when it was a seedling in the dark dirt, underground: 

Sometimes, when you’re feeling your lowest, Lauren, the real you is summoned.

And you understand, maybe for the first time ever, how grand you are, because you discover that vulnerable doesn’t mean powerless, scared doesn’t mean lacking in beauty, and uncertainty doesn’t mean that you’re lost.

These realizations alone will set you on a journey that will take you far beyond what you used to think of as extraordinary.

There is always a bright side,
    The Universe

Marcus Aurelius’s Guiding Principles: Meditations Book 1

As mentioned, I’ve been reading “Meditations” by Aurelius. Book 1 reads like a thank you/gratitude letter. Below, I break up the values that resonated with me by who he learned them from:

Male family members

  • decency
  • mild temper
  • modesty
  • masculinity
  • private school
  • good teachers
  • spend lavishly on good teachers

His adoptive father 

  • generosity
  •  no wavering
  • no need for honors
  • stamina and perserverance
  • ear for anyone with any proposal for the common good
  • knowing where to tighten and where to relax
  • foresight for the longer issues
  • unfussy control of the least detail
  • enjoy the comforts of life without

His mom  

  • piety
  • generosity
  • simplicity of living
  • avoid wrong-doing … and thoughts of it

Tutors and other philosophers

  • don’t pick sides in sports
  • tolerate pain
  • feel few needs
  • work with your own hands
  • mind your own business
  • ignore gossip
  • avoid empty enthusiasms
  • disbelieve ‘miracle mongers’
  • don’t be excited by animal fights
  • tolerate plain speaking
  • have an affinity for philosophy
  • listen to Baccheius, Tandasis and Marcianus; read Epicetus’s Discourses; understand Thrasea, Helvidius, Cato, Dio, Brutus
  • write essays
  • love simple furnishings
  • “wanting treatment and correction of my character”
  • avoid a taste for rhetoric, especially your own
  • use simple language
  • wear unaffected/simple clothes
  • forgive easily 
  • be the same man no matter what happens to you
  • be proof a person can “combine intensity and relaxation” 
  • have a kindly disposition
  • live life according to nature
  • practice tolerance
  • have an agreeable manner with all
  • never give the impression of anger or any other passion
  • praise without fanfare
  • wear great learning lightly 
  • don’t leap on the grammatical mistakes of others
  • to never say “I’m too busy” 
  • don’t ignore a friend’s criticism
  • work to restore a friend’s good will toward you
  • love family, truth and justice
  • equality and freedom of speech in the commonwealth
  • liberty 
  • benefience, generosity, optimism
  • confidence in affection of your friends
  • open likes and dislikes so no one needs to guess
  • self-mastery
  • good cheer in all circumstances, including illness
  • gentle, dignified
  • uncomplaining energy for what needs to be done 
  • to never be hurried or hesitant 
  • never downcast, cringing, angry or suspicious

RIP Bowie.

I went as Aladdin Sane for Halloween 2015 … Shocked to hear the news today. He was creating until his last. Here’s to the ultimate confident creative. RIP. 

Writing Exercise: The Date

10 minutes to write about 1 of 3 scenarios in Novel Writing Workshop on Wednesday. This was my piece. Handwritten, 10/15/14.

“Well?”

“Ma, I told you. He was nice.”

“I’m just asking. So, was he cute?”

Cheryl’s arm shot out, held the phone at full reach in a fist and shook it as she exhaled below, trying to compose herself. She threw herself back, feet up on the expensive yet hideous floral printed couch – another gift from her mother she despised. She returned the phone toher ear and the other hand to her forehead, clamping back impatience.

“I don’t know. He was fine. I mean, today.” And suddenly, she couldn’t stop herself, words pored out. “He ate like a pig, though. You would not believe it. Nearly lost my appetite. I mean, I could just see it in 25 years: me, two porker teenagers, and Mrs. Miller with a beard. I just couldn’t!”

She guffawed, hoping her mother would get in on the joke about the neighbor’s nephew that had happened to move to the same town as Cheryl recently.

Her mother’s voice was steely.

“My goodness, Cheryl. Mrs. Miller is a kind woman. You’d be lucky to get some of that. And we both know that looks fade. How were yours in this little picture?” she clipped, and then exhaled into the receiver. “It’s not like you’d know, though.”

“Know what, mother?” her hand was back on her forehead, bracing for whatever that could mean.

“How to keep a man that long.”

“Ah! There it is!” Cheryl roared, slamming her hand down on the flimsy Ikea table her roommate had bought.

Her mother kept talking over her.

“Well, I mean, if you want to keep going after these hulking lookers, and keep getting dumped for the next hot thing, that’s fine, if that’s what you want. I’m just trying to look out for yo-“

Cheryl paused her toothy assault on her lower lip to cut this off. “Ma! Cameron was like, a hundred years ago. And you are right! That is also porcine behavior! Whatever. All men are pigs. It’s not my fault.”

“You have no values, yet come up with ridiculous expectations. You don’t understand that this Romeo crap is never gonna happen. You have to train them. I regret ever reading you and your sister a single fairy tale! You’re just as desperate!”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, ma. You got dad wrapped around your pinkie, and it’s marital bliss.”

Her father never spoke much, and ferried himself from a job he seemed to loathe, to his wife’s to-do list, anything to keep her mom from nagging him. I feel ya, pops, Cheryl thought.

Her mother sputtered and then came out hot.

“Well, at least I wasn’t 90 before I gave my mother grandchildren!” she exploded. “I mean, would you rather that I have wisted my life away, waiting for a prince – royalty which has never visited South Rionick, New Jersey, I can assure you , or would you rather I brought you into the world?”

“Mom, I’m working on my career here! I’m trying to take care of myself so I can be free! I mean, look at Aunt Tessa. Three kids by 21, no degrees, no career, hubby leaves. She’s destitute, times are hard, step uncle Phil – her prince – is an asshole. I don’t do princes. That what you want for me?”

A concession hung between them. In the tense silence, Cheryl straightened her Vogues on the coffee table, counting higher in her head, resolving to wait her mother out.

“Well, just tell Mrs. Miller you had a good time,” her mother chirped finally.

###

New developments make for good stories and happy people

Cloudy day = 89 degrees instead of 90 = No heatwave. Eat that bastard weathermen.

Nice editor + healthy fear = her giving me her air conditioner for my room. <3!
She even let me take a half hour break on top of my lunch break to go to her apartment with her to “get it”, which turned into us walking her dog around her neighborhood and discussing journalism philosophy in a privileged heart to heart.

Also, comments the exact opposite of what I anticipated when I got in this a.m. = ROCK.

This adventure has turned out to be a very, very good one as of 7:19 p.m. Friday, June 10, 2005.

Let’s hope the rest of it follows!

Out with Jeff tonight, Hartford w/ the cool interns tmrw and then party @ Dave’s.

Rizzock.

All of my food is turning into leftovers

Giving my roommates a chance to watch something else on t.v. They were kind enough to put up with my muttering and cheers while watching Game 1 of the Finals.
If you ask, our friendship will be evaluated.
#
Speaking of friends, I <3 and miss you guys. ;-( The essay I published yesterday was my way of venting an experience that for once I didn’t feel comfortable coming back to the newsroom and sharing. I don’t know that anyone outside a newsroom could appreciate a similar experience, and I don’t want my colleagues here to think I can’t hack it. I know they wouldn’t, but I don’t know them well enough to think they would read it as anything but.
The strange thing is, I can hack it.
And mostly, it’s because of my great friends.

I have people who I know can turn any bad experience into a positive one, or who can cancel out a bad day with a day (or night) full of fun and laughs.
I don’t have any great friends yet here in Connecticut. I have acquaintances that are slowly moulding into friends, but we’re not there yet.
I can’t wait to come home and reunite with everyone. That’s the best thing about going away – coming home.
Don’t get me wrong. I love it here. I’ve learned more about ledes, legislation, and Connecticut way o’ life than one gal should in three weeks. That’s what I’m here for, so it’s only right that’s what happening. One day, I hope to return here, when the time is right and I’m more emotionally prepared to sever daily ties with the people I love.
But for now, I’m feeling slightly homesick for some good ol’ hugs and love.
So, this post is a shout-out to you.
You who cares enough to read this.
You who keeps me sane.
Most of all: you, who I love.
😉

‘Night guys!!! And please, don’t comment – this is for you, and I’m fiiine! I love it here, I’m going to a day of events in Hartford with a bunch of interns this weekend and for Cryin’ out Loud the Pistons are in the Finals. In fact, the only thing wrong is that my parents somehow found out I blew some of my “living expenses” on Polo. Oooops… hehe.

###

W. Rice

A man died today.

It was ironic enough that when I asked my male editor if he had anything for me to do before a night meeting, the scanner went off before he could open his mouth.
That it was a reported car fire was intriguing, considering the 90+ heat the upper right region of the U.S. has been enduring.
But even after exposure to 200+ car accidents in my short time, nothing prepared me for the scene of my first breaking news story at the Courant.
Police still are unable to name the silver compact car the man was driving. It was that smashed up.
All by a woman who was driving a Ford Explorer Sport Utility Vehicle, approximately twice the size (I’d venture three times) of his car.
He was 64.
She was 35.
He was driving on the correct side of the road.
She was not.
The accident occurred at 5:30. P.M.
She was lifted by helicopter to the nearest hospital.
He was taken in a body bag to the nearest morgue.
Who knows if he has a wife, a family, a dependent?
Who knows if she will ever face convictions on manslaughter charges?
Who was this woman, that she had this fate?
Who was this man, that he died that way?

I saw his body.

That was an accident. I didn’t know why the officers were holding up the yellow sheets, and as I walked too close to the scene, I was able to see into the spaces between them.

Those are the details that rightly never get into any story.

I found out later it took them 20 minutes and the jaws of life just to get his body out of the car and onto that road, waiting for his resting place in a body bag.
#

I will never speed again without guilt. I will never drink and drive, I will always say a prayer as I get into my car and I might consider leaving five minutes early. Always.
###

Cools even the reddest lobsters

Or so promised the ad for Vaseline… which was flown over my head by one of those crop-duster planes that trails the banners behind them.
This is my sixth or seventh encounter with a beach in my time on the East Coast, and my sixth or seventh encounter with one of those plane-driven advertisements.
I am torn on my feelings about them.
First, I’m annoyed.
Damnit, I’m at the beach, I want to relax and the only plane I want to see above me is a sight-seeing plane with the same intent, passengers who want to relax and take in the view.
Second, I’m jealous.
What a sweet job. Flying a plane all along the coastline. Just be sure our $7,500 banner doesn’t get ruined. Easy enough. Imagine the views.
But the scenery gets monotonous and the job’s just a job after awhile, right M. Pilot?
That leaves you with a noisy motor disturbing my latest Jack Lazare novel in between Harper’s Bazaars and Gatorade, slightly interrupting my tan as you cast a shadow over my beach blanket.
::Leans back in chair::
Ouuuch! Damnit! Where’s that Vaseline!? I knew I should have put more sunscreen on today.
###
On that note, this weekend, I went to the following beaches:
(saturday) Rocky Neck State Park
Ocean Beach Park
Bluff Point State Park
Harkness Memorial State Park
(sunday) Hammoneset State Park
these can be found here: http://dep.state.ct.us/stateparks/maps.htm
-You’re supposed to pay an admission charge at each one, but I skirted that by parking outside the gate and walking to each beach. (I discovered they actually call it “collegiate parking” because it’s a lot of poor college kids like me that park in these areas.) My frugality ended up being mini-hikes and it was soooo nice, because each beach is preceded by unique land, and being out in nature is what summer is all about and is precisely the anti-work. Yes weekends! Saturday’s beach-hopping was sight-seeing driven. Sunday’s beach-bumming was tan-driven and the fact that it was 91 degrees at 11 a.m. was reason enough to go. It ended up being 85… in the shade.
However.
New England, New England.
Shoreline that rivals Florida in the summer, right? Florida, where the water never gets cooler than 65 degrees.
New England, New England.
YOUR WATER IS FREEZING!!!!
Even in 90+ degree heat, I couldn’t bear to immerse more than my legs in the water, it was that cold. It was real refreshing and all, but chilly polar bears, it was frigid. I looked down the 2+ mile beach, and you didn’t see anyone further than ankle-deep in. Hehehe. Of course. Damn you, New England. Gorgeous beaches. Can we turn on the water heater now?

+bonus+ Here’s a tip for all you land-based folk not used to beach culture: Take Gatorade to the beach. That hot sun sucks you dry and you can get nauseatingly sick. (IE me on Saturday, who came home way and passed out for 14 hours because she was so hot/dehydrated.) So! take Gatorade, it does wonders for your hours at the beach. Along with Real Suntan lotion – 15+ SPF. 🙂 Lessons learned the hard ways, my friends.

+another bonus+. Thanks to bored Facebook snooping, I’ve discovered a good band: Westrin/ Mowry. Thanks, John Paul!

So after my beaching on Saturday and Sunday, I decided a hot dog was in order. The adventures of grilling and Match-Ready briquets resulted in the following conclusion: They’re a BAD IDEA. First of all, there’s a published risk of Carbon Monoxide- says so right on the bag! Then, the flame started by the briquet, which is marinated in lighter fluid, takes a friucking long time to go down – like 20 mintues. Yeah it’s bad. Screw that. Plus, it smells bad. But damnit if I eventually got my grilled hot dogs. And made the backyard smell good.

So after frying myself in more than one way, I decided to finally hit one of the five local coffeeshops (not including the Dunkin’ Donuts NE has on EVERY corner (no joke. There’s even one in the grocery store.)) with the intent to make some new friends.
Made a new friend, Dennis, who’s like 25, employed half the year, just entering community college next semester, but very, very nice. (more on him in a seperate entry where I discuss the whole “why do I attract nice people who have never heard of Lagerfeld, culture, or couture, and scare away people who have?” complex I seem to live. When I’m not exhausted and have time to delve into this.) I found a new scene at Keokola, a hep coffeeshop with local art and local kids, very Espresso Royale, very Espresso Milano, more worldly than both.
Now that I’m here and experiencing it, I’m beginning to realize it’s nice to live in a town where the majority of white people is less than 75%. It more borders 50% white, and might not be that high, except Middletown is an exact transplant of Sicily. But even the Italians speak their native language and preserve most of their original culture, so it’s a new dimension. The opportunity for different perspectives is refreshing and pushes my predominantly-white-born and bred comfort zones. It’s not that I’m racist or anything near that, it’s just that I’ve never lived where there is an abundance of skin colors and backgrounds. I think it’s great, because it offers more experiences than just the Anglo-Saxon ones I’m used to.
(Thank God.)

All right, this lobsta is hitting the sand.

Ciao and have a fab week! :O)

*Hugs and all my misses*

Deep Throat Anticlimatic

Yeah that’s meant to be sick.
—————————–

So, Deep Throat Revealed!
I really do mean it when I say, this latest event is SO anticlimatic.

I grew up on Woodward and Bernstein. All The President’s Men in Intro to Journalism in HS changed my life.
There I am, an awkward, barely-teenager, and it is then: through the images of a story of shadowy parking garages and a president left with his head hanging in his own crookedness, I instantly know what I want to do with my life.
“I want to do that,” I thought to myself over and over, eyes wide open, watching the work, the technique, that Robby Redford and Co. portrayed, taking in every detail, all while my classmates slept.
It was in that two-hour story I found myself and my life’s work.
The ultimate in truth and justice was not found in the fucked up systems of government.
It was found in the pages and columns that monitored them.
It was found by the people who filled those pages and columns.
+Bonus+ Little did I know that their job would leave them teetering on the edge of insanity, but, hey, it’s a big world and g’damn if somebody’s thanking you yet today.
But yeah, those shadowy figures in the parking garage, the mystery, intrigue and promise of his revelation-upon-death…

Instead, the faithful disciples of this dream that DT helped fuel received as their dominant photo on the front page ends up being an elated old frog who looks like he just won publisher’s clearinghouse, instead of a poised, strong, 1973 mug -with those huge defensive glasses, of course!- that smugly says, “Yeah. I’m a motherfucking badass. I took down the president, whatever. I represented the truth.” Noooo. That’s too much to ask. Now, we get decrepid remanents of the glorious figure of old. And then there’s his daughter behind him going, “sweet, you better croak soon buddy.”
Why?
Mark W. Felt, I am calling you asap. Because I want to know why you burst the bubble. Maybe it was your own bubble of pressure and curiosity you burst. Who knows.
You were always a tattletale.

Yeah I said it. Sure, what he did was noble and hats off to him for his bravery. But after reading about all of the coverage of this event, {gracias to Romenesko http://poynter.org/column.asp?id=45}, I have to confess that I’m more than perturbed by this latest revelation-sans-explanation that one of the most notorious figures in political history has imparted on the world.
Why?

Money? Hell, I’m a journalist and let me tell you, the pay ain’t that great.

I can only hope he was dying (literally) to know what everyone thought of him and couldn’t take the possibility of never finding out.
I can empathize with that.

But if that Jane Fonda-esque daughter or sleazemonkey defense lawyer had a damn ounce of manipulation in this, so help me god, I will walk out to California and beat them both senseless.

A great secret has been spilled. It hasn’t changed a nation. It won’t shape the future. It had no powerful release. It was dumped, off one man’s shoulders, splashed on the cover of a fairly uninfluential media, on an innocuous day in June.

There needs to be more answers.
The one lesson M. Felt has imparted on the skin of this young journalist is that there is a difference between media and journalism.
Media- pop culture magazines. Broadcast journalism. CNN. (nancy grace remains below this category. she should burn in hell.) Fox News. Court TV. The list goes on.
Journalism- Newspapers. Newsmagazines such as Time and Newsweek. Some online sites, like Poynter.org, BBC.com.

Deep Throat is one of the most notorious events in journalism; we as journalists are supposed to answer the important questions, and we haven’t even asked IT: Why?

Truncated

Ho-ly crap.
It’s been a long, long week.
Sorry about not updating, my internet is weird and I’m figuring out how to work this bojankity mess. Heh.
It works like this: Imagine wiring a 1918 farmhouse with internet. And having 8 kids manage it for 5 years. There are some loops you need to work with. Literally, as in looped wires…. and blah.
So I promise I will eventually update the lower entry since I left many of you hanging, and will fill this entry in more, but here’s this week:
Monday: Work on three stories
Tuesday: One published, two held, update those two and work on another
Wednesday: Interview Police Capt. who moonlights as an actor/stars in musicals. Work on story about “brown alert” – there are bears in CT (gasp) and when this one school district spots one near a school, they call a brown alert for safety measures. Score.
Thursday: MY FIRST ALL-EDITIONS STORY RUNS!!!!! That means instead of running in just one zone, it runs all over the state of CT. YESSSS. 🙂 It’s the bear one! I ALMOST made section front was bumped by the last minute. By a story by my mentor, so I couldn’t feel too sour, haha. Two interviews today. One lasts 2 hours with the mayor of the town I’m covering. Rock. He motorcycle-tripped through Michigan in the 50s and crashed in Saginaw with a couple who worked at GM. My grandpa lived in Sags and worked at GM in the 50s. Whoa weird. Way to start out source relations tho! Find a story that turns out to be “big” and my editor said he was proud of me. Cover graduation at 8 p.m., story due at 10, turn in at 10:00:00 (maybe 00:00:01).
Tmrw: 10 a.m. murder trial sentencing (invite from C&C reporter who immediately picked up on my obsession. Hehe.) 11 a.m. interview with Town Clerk. Begin “big” story. Finish profile. 2:30 p.m. press conference (ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sidenote/Future FYI: Press Conferences scare the hell out of me. More than capitol. Actually, I see them in the same nightmares, usually on Capitol steps or lobbies. Eeeep. All of those videocameras and competition, there to see as you ask a dumbass question or f* up or show you don’t know an issue or sweat. I don’t know. Way more pressure than any other aspect of this job, even deadline. They are so unfulfilling!) Now that I read back on that, this press conference is about legislation. But it’s led by companies and chamber of Commerce ppl, not legislators. (thank god.)
So busy busy, which is GOOD. Hopefully not overwhelmed so I fuck up. Had a few flashbacks in my car as I’m driving home this week: “OH GOD, DID I SPELL THAT RIGHT?!”
###

***More info***
Jeff, my other roommate, moved in.
He’s in finance at UConn and has an internship with a mortgage company in Middletown.
Oh, and he’s hot.
🙂 Let the fantasies begin.
He has those lines on his hips. “The arrow.” Dark hair and eyes, “pools” if you will, taller than me, tan white boy skin. Seems really nice. Pretty sharp, was interrogating me about Journalism. Fortunately I can hold my own somewhat. Yay for TSN mentors and THC (omg, hahahaha) co-workers who discuss the world of J. Jrn. Whatever.

Beautiful

I was craving a song with the word “Beautiful” in it.
I suppose I do have some quirks.
Nothing as cheesy as Christina’s Beautiful. Right along the lines of Kelly Clarkson’s “Beautiful Disaster”- a gorgeous song by a girl with a gorgeous voice, a melodramatic song that is beautiful and meaningful at once.
Today was a great day. Slept in ’til my roommates smoking pot on the porch woke me up. I’m not going to lie- I love the smell and if they made a pot-scented incense, I would burn it constantly.
Didn’t smoke it tho, no worries my friends. I was tempted, but the fact that the Courant gave me a drug test before I even got hired there was a screaming-red ‘no.’
So after waking up and showering, I FINALLY CLEANED the apt. after those very messy socialites ciao-ed out. It was sooooo relieving. My landlady (who I discovered not only looks nutty but also talks to herself) came over as I was prepping to go to dinner at my editor’s and she kind of helped me clean, which was nice considering she was supposed to hire a cleaning lady and apparently, isn’t? She should pay me, that’d be nice. /dock some rent. Whatever.
So dinner with the editor was -surprise- amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He was really, really nice to me, once again proving my theory you can either work well together or be great friends outside of work, but not both. At least that has been true with all of my male coworkers. Don’t ask where you lie, I’m not playing that game.
So I made Ghiradelli brownies, at the last minute, and tried to cut them before they were cooled, making a mess out of the presentation. YES! Jk. It was embarassing. But my ed and his wife Hilarie, who also writes for the Courant (they met there! awww) were nice about it.
Wow, I just got really tired. I’m going to finish this tmrw when I can comprehend what I’m writing. Sorry guys. Good night tho.
Y’all have one too.
<3 LP Finally updated! :)
So my ed and his wife are really nice. I ended up staying at their house ’til 10 – Six hours!- after being all nervous about going.
More importantly, my ed and his wife’s friends, are friekin’ sweet.
The more they got drunk on red wine, the funnier they were. And they were very good about including me in the convo. To describe the women, think of Sex and the City. With kids. Very chic and worldly. Rock.
This one woman is friends with the publisher at the __ ___ _____ News, and she said that was my “next step” in internships. Holy hell woman, I love you.
It was a very ego-friendly night.
It was also very nice to be in a home, family setting again. Even the abundance of children made me think of all my family gatherings. Being able to sit at the adult table, while strange, is still WAY cooler than the kiddie table.
🙂

The Life

I walked in the Atlantic Ocean today.
It was all I could do not to immerse myself in that vast sparkling expanse. It was the water itself that eventually would deter me – at a brisk 45 degrees, I held back.
But I walked in it. Skipped a little, just a little, in joy.
I took a two-hour roadtrip today to Rhode Island, out to Newport to be specific. It’s an Island of sorts, where the Vanderbilts, Rockefellars and others had their SUMMER “cottages.” These are the world’s largest homes by today’s standards- I can’t imagine their regular homes.
www.newportmansions.org
I took close to two rolls of pictures but don’t have them developed, and when I do, I don’t know how to work the Blogger.com photo linkup. So just go to the website. 🙂
First, I went to Brenton Point state park, a rocky expanse of shore that looks out over the Atlantic Ocean and is very natural, miles untouched by man. The “beach” is made of cliffs of rock, so you can’t go on it, but it is really pretty to look at.
A kite seller was there, and had about 50 kites displayed. Coming off the shore the wind is strong, so all 50 twinkled like individual rainbows, high above the beach.
I drove up to the mansions, which are now historically preserved. As I drove there, I passed by real mansions where people actually live now. Four stories, sometimes, covering an acre with the house alone, and all beachfront. In Rhode Island! Who’da thougt.
I walked all the historic mansions – the Breakers, Rosecliff, the Elms- and then did half of the seven-mile “Cliff Walk:” first started by the socialites of the late 1800s, it really is a walk along the ocean cliffs. It’s very very scenic, looking out on an outlet of land covered in a town full of New England cottages (the wood ones most people think of) and ending in a lighthouse. The walk looks back on the huge lawns and mansions. It leads down to a sand beach – the shore – where there is swimming and surfing.
As I said, it was a bit too cold for swimming just yet, but it was an Absolutely. Gorgeous. day – 75, sun for miles. I walked along the Grey Sand beach, down to this boardwalk, where when I sat down for a drink, a plane trailing a Capt. Morgan’s banner flew by and I thought of Laura and Lesley and all that drunken and non-alcoholic happiness. :* I thought of Innes too just a little bit and wondered how he’s doing in Thailand and if I will ever see him again like I want to.
I walked back, up “The 40 steps,” drove down Bellevue Ave. one more time, then walked all over Newport.
It is exactly how any town should be. On the water, with miles of marinas dotted with sailboats and yachts bigger than P. Diddy’s. It’s crowded with hundreds of shops, people are everywhere, saltwater scents the air, there’s blue sky forever.
It was a good way to start a summer tan.
I ate at this place right on the water, I think it was called the Landing. It was very nice, they had a second-level covered deck where I ate my first New England Clam Chowder (you people in Michigan call that powdered glue chowder?!) and had a Lobster Roll, which is just that, Lobster on a Roll. All overlooking the Newport marina with its sailboats reaching out to the Atlantic Ocean which glittered in the distance.
It was then, as I was sipping my ice water, I knew it was going to be a very good summer, and thinking on to next school year- it will be very good. 🙂
I still miss everyone back home and wish you all were there to lay out on the beach with me.

Soon enough, soon enough.

+bonus+ Tonight, I’m going to this coffeeshop with James hopefully to meet more people. Tomorrow I’m going to Andover, CT, for a soiree in the countryside with my male editor (who I thought hated me), his family and the features editor and her fam. I don’t know what to wear. Hopefully the weather’s as great as it was today!!!

HUGS!!! and misses and much love,
-LP

It’s Friday night and you’re blogging?

Well, yes.
I worked until almost eight and have this headache like what
Proly brought on by this Thunderstorm.
This thing broke around 7:15 p.m. and is the hardest-hitting bastard of a TStorm I’ve ever seen. A storm on the plains is bad, but this thing is picking up moisture from the ocean like it’s dying of dehydration.
Damn. Is this a NE’r? I must find out.
Today was an interesting day at work. It (really) was gorgeous outside so I didn’t really want to work, but I got to go in at 11 so I couldn’t complain.
I got to do a story for Greg, my slightly flamboyant/awesome co-worker who is in fact married. So He cAn claiM. That’s mean, his wife’s gotta be cool if he’s that chic.
The story kind of sucked but Greg rewrote my lead which spawned my editor to send it on without a problem. Surprisingly, they’ve had me do a lot of legislature-related stories…. even tho I suck/blow/hate Capitol. That’s been good experience although I still suck at it.
Confirmed the guy I double-bylined my first story with won a Pulitzer.
Met Jessie Hamilton, 30, very cool guy, very nice, told me there’s buzz around the office that I’m doing well which means I now want to marry him, and finally he wants to include Ben and I in Courant activities. Rock. Necessary.
Since we’re on him, Ben once again asked me to come to Yale this weekend and I tried to skirt around the subject… until he brought up his girlfriend was coming home this weekend. Ahhh. Thank god. (Poor girl.) He still weasled my phone number out of me, in front of an older co-worker. Let the office rumors begin, god save me.
As I was leaving work, got caught up in convo with a few people left about what I was doing this weekend and got a local’s guide to cool places within NE driving distance, including Mystic/Mystic River/Mystic Pizza, Rhode Island beaches, Boston/NewYork, Walden Pond, etc.
My male editor who’s been mean invited me over to his house with his fam this weekend, which was surprising. I think I’m going to try to get out of it because it would be a little awkward. For sure.
Going to Newport Beach this weekend. hahahahaha – suckas. (NB=OC for those pop culturally challenged out there) There are real mansions there, Vanderbilt and Rockefellar mansions, and I’m going to meet the owner and marry them. yes…. yes….
Scratched the earlier Cape Cod idea after discovering its a 4 hour drive one way. Boo.
Off to crash on the porch and relieve this headache.
Stay in touch.
Much love and misses,
L.P.

Second LEDE: Editors, see previous post for all details outside of work

May 23
First day
Report to Hartford. First one there. Chill in HR for too long, anxiously anticipating that first break into the real newsroom. Finally, up, up, up, fourth floor and an expanse more gorgeous than the nation’s corn belt: computers and papers and people, for as far as the eye could see, in the name of the HC and all that is glorious journalism. Tour, talk, orientate, and then off to our assignments: me, back to Middletown, for the largest bureau that will later reveal itself to include the Shore (“The ocean” in NE-er, my favorite piece of geography.)
Walk in at 10:30 a.m. My editor 1, the male bureau cheif, walks in at 11:15 a.m. Instantly know I’m going to like this job. Whilst waiting, bonded with receptionist Sylvia, 63, orig from NYC, who has a daughter named Laureen (two e’s) and is now my surrogate grandmother. 😀 <3. Bureau chief/editor 2 comes, the woman, and instantly I have two new parents. Strangely turn out like my parents: the guy will reveal himself, while a gentleman, to be very strict about all things journalism, while the woman, while enthused all the time, is very nice all around.
Get a double-byline with a willing mentor who is also a very good reporter and possible Pulitzer, I heard a whisper of that, as this bureau was honored with a 1999 Pulitzer but the authors remain anonymous after even a Google search.
The first story? Two Conn. kids, one former, were killed when their idling Sea-Doo was run over by a speeding catamaran. Driven by a powerful businessman. In a no-wake zone.
Called the Fla.-based family. It was interesting. I hate obits. I hate calling dead people’s parents and relations. I would never want that intrusion and I privately publicly apologize for our craft. I try to look at the part about honoring the dead by getting who they were into the paper. At least 15″, that is the best we can try to do for you, Mrs. X.
Found out the editorial cartoonist works in my office. Well, not really “found out,” a few of his cartoons are blown up around his desk and there’s a drawing studio along one wall of the bureau. More like saw. Met him. Very cool. Very Nate Allen in 37 years. Which is very funny.
Got assigned my own TOWN. Think the news beats on TSN rolled into one. It’s cool and keeps me kind of busy, but out here the towns are tiny, 5 minutes will take you across one. In Michigan, that’s your neighbor’s house. 😀
Go home happy

May 24
First real day
Report to THC at 10:30. Talk with “Ben” until 11:30. Ben is the other intern. He’s from Yale. He’s cute, a lanky Prince William. Emphasis on the Lanky with this one, ladies. Think body of Prince (their dad… George? Why am I blanking on this? The one married to Diana? Me = Dumb.)
Moving on.
Ben’s from L.A., goes to Yale after transferring from Princeton, is a skinny Prince William. He’s also: an anthropology major, not sure why he’s in journalism, and has not done much. Begin sharpening knives, please.
Make calls til 11:45/when the guy b.c.hief comes in.
Meet with police chief, eat at an italian joint with cheap lunches, hear some strange babble behind the counter that makes me think I’ve lost it, turn around a brief, it’s all gravy. Get to know my town a little better. Find out the area is like 75% Italian. And not like, “Italian.” Like, straight up gen.1/2 immigrants from Italy. Still speak the language. oh, and btw, they’re not from Milano. They’re from Sicily. Yep. That babble? Straight up gangstazza, yo.
Downturn of the day: Still don’t have an intern-y computer. Upturn: When I get a computer I will have my own laptop and docking station. Rock on that. Go home happy.
+ Bonus + Bond with roommates over too many Hoegaardens after work. Find out a “Nor’Easter” is coming to town, ask roommates, get laughed at too much, still not sure if anyone knows what a “NE’r” is. 😕

May 25
What goes up must come down
What no reporter wants to hear: “Well, copy just called, and it seems your story is totally wrong.”
What I heard at 9:30 p.m. after working for 4 hours to turn in a story at 6 p.m.: “Well, copy just called, and it seems your story is totally wrong.”
WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!!?!!?
After crapping my pants non-stop for 10 minutes and scrambling with my limited no-internet in my PJs condition, we discover, NO, I’m not going to be instataneously fired. There was a mix-up in copy and they didn’t realize this was a folo to a breaking story about how the bill was being reevaluated and not voided.
Je-sus. THE BEST PART is that the other editor, who actually read it at 6, (this is not the one who has been rock hard and called me at 9:30), had pulled me off another fluff story for this breaking news folo, I turned it around in about 4 hours, and when she read it, she said “Yeah, it was great, i just had to make minor tweaks. I’m not worried about you anymore.”
Cha-ching.
Despite earlier words, after the call, this night really sucked even with apparent resolution to the problem. Molly and I just drank, commiserating in our isolation, while going between AI and Ashton and it all sort of helped in the end. If I’m ever in NYC I know where the Hoegaarden is.

May 26
Just kidding about that…
Today was a good day at work, despite all my fretting from the previous night. Finally got my computer. Wrote two stories, one ended up in the town briefs but shit if it ain’t in the paper and technically on Page Two, even though that’s where all the briefs go so no glory there. But I slowly inch my way forward… I think for the most part the rough parts have been bumped over and now I have to dust that off and hit it full gear. I get to look forward to next week beginning Intern Sessions in Hartford with some of the Pulitzer editors, etc. Going down to the Old Saybrook (SHORE!) satellite office next week, and shortly helping Greg, an amazing reporter who wore a blue and orange swirly-patterned Versace Sport shirt to work with his newsboy cap (how chic/appropriate) and Paris Hilton sunglasses. Slowly falling in love, which of course would happen because he’s most likely ___. And
+Bonus+ Three day weekend of sleep on my own bed and an overnight trip to anywhere with large expanses of sand and “The Worlds Best Lobster” draws near.

Ciao darling. Too much Haveli’s at too much Bl$ng makes the eyes heavy. Best damn Indian I’ve had in a while though.

On that I leave you with anything Damien Rice.

Hugs and Misses Tons,
-LP

And so it is

Hello, friends.
Come, gather ’round this roaring fire as I weave a shadow of a tale, a tale of flatlands and 15 hours and headlines that would land one Midwestern’r all the way out in a little state they call Connecticut.
It began about 5:30 a.m. last Friday, a week ago to be exact by the time you read this.
Said girl and father jumped into semi-loaded down GMC Jimmy and began a long haul out east, with a stop at the Canada side of Niagra Falls. This little lady ordered herself a beer for lunch, and it just wasn’t as cool ordering your first legal beer with ya dad there. But he was proud, so that was cool.
A long time later, landed in my charming New England house, with housemates Aaron, Emily, Molly and Jessie. For the sake of anonymity, I won’t specify, but all are Wesleyan students, and one’s from CT, one’s from Boston, one’s dad is an editor at the New Yorker and one is Richard Dreyfuss’ daughter.
Ergh, yah. Hello East Coast.
They are all really nice and fun, except they are all inhabiting rooms so I in my air mattress crash in the living room… For the next five days.
Molly and Jessie slowly shuffled out, some mix-up in landlady crazyness put us in said five days descrepancies. And the landlady, she really is batty, with looks like Mary Poppins but shorter and with modern drab clothes. Carpet bag and tea at two, no joke.
Drove all over Hartford and southern CT, down along the Shore. Gorgeous. Long Island Sound, white sand beaches and homes that no human should singly inhabit. Stopped to take some pictures in a private neighborhood lined with purple flowers and beaches and within four minutes had a cop trailing me. Stopped at “Ashley’s” for some lemonade despite the brisk 63 degrees and met Justin, an unbelievable Abercrombie model who worked at the Old Saybrook marina instead and is unfortunately also going to be a junior… in HS. Cha-…blah.
Then Sunday it was walk all over Middletown, my hometown, and Wesleyan, as the brilliants including Peter Jennings Jr. graduated in their red and black. Jealously watched them gather and say goodbye and missed home for the first time.
Rollerbladed along the CT River for exercise and drove 91 again for practice, making it to the HC in exactly 25 minutes and getting flicked off probably only once.
Grocery shopped too much and discovered “Stop and Shop” is different than “Stop and Go” and not related though they have the same logo and that “Shop” is Meijer’s, 24 hours and all, but smaller quainter and all around NewEngland. NE=NewEngland/Northeast/it’s all interchangable.
My house is three stories, white, with two levels of the same: up the steps to a common room, through to a kitchen, down a hall to a bathroom with cool tile floors, and bedrooms connecting to the kitchen and common room and wood floors to cover the whole of it. And an attic hovering above it all. The basement and attic are straight out of the Baroque period.
My room is the smallest, purposely chosen from them all for that because the lack of furniture in a small room makes it less lonely somehow than the biggest room which would be awesome furnished with two couches, a bed and shelving for a library.
My room is the coolest, though, it’s four shades of pink and purple, one for each wall, the quietest and has a window that goes to the porch.
The porch.
Where I will spend many a sunny day painting, reading and chilling.
Where we can fit a hammock.
Where it faces the south.
Where candles can line the 25′ of window sills, on one side, and the 8′ on the other, in the darkest of nights.
I can’t wait for summer. It’s like 50 today. Bordering 34 this evening. Balmy, to say the least.
I packed all summer clothes.
Thank god for grey Stop and Shop Hanes sweatshirts.
I have a three-day weekend coming up. I have an invitation from Ben to spend it at Yale with him.
He’s a dizwick.
I have Cape Cod. I have Boston. I have New York.
I have a porch.

Chi-town, the other CT

I just got back from Chicago today after spending the weekend there with best friend premiere, Matt(y.)
He goes to Columbia College there (in case you wanted to stalk him) and is amazing in general. We used to hang out every day of our lives until I went to stupid college. And now I see even less of him because he is a world away (if you’re taking Amtrak) in Chicago.
So I decided I MUST go before CT, or I might die.
After some drama with ticket prices and budget and such things, the prices fell from $90 to $50(the normal price) suddenly as I checked at about midnight Tuesday. Phew.
So after a luxurious train ride in, I went over to the restaurant where Matty works, Osteria Via Stato, this hott hott place. I in my jeans and polo stroll in, luggage in tow, and almost knock over 50 women in Gucci, Dior, etc. etc. YES. But it’s an awesome place, and the card-sized cheese thing I got at the bar was good. I think I’m hyponatremic from all the water I drank so Matt could keep refilling it.
Then once he got off work we went to the Hard Rock Cafe bar, which was hot except for Matt’s stalker. We didn’t get carded and drank a Long Island, two vodka and cranberries and a Lemon Drop each. And then we met Jessica Simpson’s backup dancer, Jerry. Who was hott and now has my number and Matt’s e-mail (? that’s what he wanted…) in his Blackberry. What Can I say? If he doesn’t know any Q’s or R’s last names, my name could be floating next to Jessica’s in Cyberspace. Cha-ching. Whatever.
Then Matt hopped up on stage with the DJ, his stalker, and pretended to play. I was like, EEP, cuz this is in front of the entire crowd. And next thing I know, I’m up there. Good pics from that experience! hahahaha.
Then we ditched the bar (minus paying for the drinks, that’s what stalkers are for) and hopped over to SLC, the best burger joint in the city perhaps (think Bell’s but burgers but high-class, my EL friends) and got like deliciously loaded burgers and chicken sandwiches. And crashed.
Saturday was rock. Saw Matty’s apt. avec his future roommate and all-around coolcat Lisa. She’s really fun and sweet. The apt. is amazing, like nothing I’ve seen in EL, Living room, dining room, kitchen with eating space, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, windows covering three walls and all for the price of not much more than EL. It’s sick. All in downtown Chicago. 😛
Then we went to WICKER PARK, brilliant. It’s so chic and funky and fun. We went to Bluefin, apparently rated best sushi in Chicago in 2005 by AOL, but what do they know, right? It was good. Great little restaurant and good atmosphere. Proly really fun at night but fab during the day as well. Walked around up there, then back to the APT for a break then I walked up to the Mich/Mag Mile and restrained myself from blowing my CT account in Armani, aka didn’t buy anything :(. Went in all the good stores on the Mile and back agian, bought two shirts for $11 total at H&M, like GOD I love that place, and that’s about it. Came back, went to ROCK BOTTOM and had the best meal of my LIFE – Chicken Provencal. Can’t describe it, chicken, this BREAD, veggies all in a tomato sauce, but like real tomato sauce like squeezed fresh out of the tomato. It was so f*ing good. Go, if you go to Chicago. There, VTK for Thai, and Giordano’s for REAL, ORIGINAL, Chicago deep dish, and the best damn stuff too. Then go to Osteria Via Stato for there Chocolate Cake, aka Heaven in a piece of pastry. Brilliant.
So after dinner, Matt and I hung in the dorm, we were SOOO tired it was ridic, we watched what not to wear, hahahahahahaha, then we watched 3,000 commercials about a guy who got stuck under a boulder and cut his OWN arm off GAGGGG. Each commercial said, “Could you do what he did?” with a real dramatic shot of him and in our true fashion Matt and I yelled, “NO!!!”
Then we dressed up in like half of matt’s wardrobe, aka Incognito, and raided the 7-11 downstairs AND MET ELIJAH WOOD s cousin/lookalike. That was hot. We were very Paris/Nicole dans The Simple Life at this point, it was sexy. Then we stumbled back upstairs and collapsed in bed. Brilliant.
Sunday, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and stumbled into a cab. It was all and a pair of orange “knickers.” An amazing trip and so glad I got to see my Matty before I leave forever.

Four days. 5:30 a.m. Friday. Sa-weet. We’re even driving through Skin-neck-titty. (actually said like that!) All of my summer clothes lie in two boxes, it’s so pathetic. My empty closet, I mean. Work clothes in another. Brilliant.

Time for bed, more later. Hope all is well

<3, LP

Summer contact info
May 20-August 1
Lauren J. P.
113 South Main Street
Middletown, CT, 06457

* I love letters! E-mail/IM/Blogs are fun but letters are HOT! I’ll write back too*


Since I probably won’t be back on here until I’m in CT, thought this would be a good way to leave. Have a great one! -LoJp

I <333333333333

LIFE

Scenario:

Me, upstairs, deconstructing my closet practically hobbling into the retirement home/insane asylum as I begin seriously packing for CT.
My dad, comes upstairs.
Dad: “Hey, what are you doing?”
Me: “What does it look like?” (as moody Alanis plays in background)
D: “It looks like you’re intense”
M: “You got the tense part right… What do you want?”
D: “Oh, not much.”
M: (thinking: My dad just said “Oh.” Now what?) “All right.”
D: “So this is where all the hangers went?” pointing to huge pile on floor.
M: “No,” pointing to huge pile of clothes to be hung up sitting on bed.
D: “Oh.” Starts flipping through my closet as I continue to hang stuff up/stuff stuff in boxes.
Dad pulls out my “I <3 NY" shirt. "This looks old. About time to get a new one."
M: (laughing) “There is NO WAY I’m throwing that out until I have another one.”
D: “Okay, promise to pitch it in August?”
M: “What?”
D: “Your mom and I just talked about it. We’re going to all go to New York the week after your internship.”
ME: HEAD EXPLODES WITH PURE JOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

ME.
NEW YORK.
AUGUST 1-7.

SEE YA SUCKASSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, send ya a postcard.

Life is beautiful 😀

Swing swing swing

Three bags.
It took three garbage bags, but I have cleaned out my closet.
Three bags to the Salvation Army. Rock. (Matt, if I see you wearing one of my old shirts as arm warmers I’ll laugh for life.)
My mom and I went shopping today for my internship wardrobe and brought back about three bags worth of things, so that’s all right. And I’ll swear on Freud that shopping is therapy.
***
Talked to Renee, my CT landlord, and it’s official: May 20. Call her when I cross that delicious state’s border and I’m in. My choice of bedrooms, and oh, btw, your other roommate besides Aaron? James.
James. I’ve always wanted to meet an engineering student named James. New Englander=major bonus.
Watch he’s from Arkansas.
🙂
***
I’m watching SNTC and she fell in Dior. I want to fall in Dior.
The ‘stons are getting killed. Great. Oops, they just died. 🙁
Pop culture babble, I’m leaving.
***
Four more days in this house. One, then three in Chicago then three more and I’m gone.
It’s been an up and down day, grades family shopping plans cleaning.
Going off to get some good sleep.
***

And a P.S.:
For the record, I think all this babble is me trying to channel my uber-anxiety about CT. Yup. Sorry 🙁 I’ll be there soon enough and then this will be substantial entries.
OMG this episode of SNTC is about when she first gets to Paris. Going to watch so I can pick up some lessons about leaving.

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