Category Archives: too much information

squirrel! or, how to question your sanity in one easy step

As anyone who’s spent multiple weeks unemployed can attest, the long stretches of free time afford you a unique opportunity to become intimately familiar with your couch. Spending so much quality time with my sofa has led me by extension to grow accustomed to the parade of wildlife visible outside the couch-adjacent sliding glass doors to our balcony.

It’s not like I spend all my ample free time idly staring out the windows (is it sounding like the lady doth protest too much?), but it’s hard not to notice the wide variety of various critters that frequent the nearby trees and telephone poles. I’ve seen cardinals (Indiana’s state bird), blue jays, chickadees, woodpeckers, carolina wrens (who do NOT, by the way, say “cheeseburger” or “teakettle,” no matter what the internet claims), and so many chipmunks — who thoroughly enjoy scampering back and forth across the balcony for seemingly no reason for hours on end — I’ve lost count.

But the animal that has me most intrigued is one that’s both familiar and mystifying: a squirrel. Now, before you start laughing at me and my fixation on a creature that most correctly write off as commonplace, boring, and annoying, consider that this specific squirrel is easily the size of a small cat — not including its mammoth tail — and therefore the largest such critter I’ve ever seen. The first time it materialized, it shook the neighboring tree branches so severely that I thought it was a much bigger animal on the prowl. I can spot it a mile away by the telephone wire vibrations it causes as it bounds along.

This squirrel has become so familiar that I’ve started to mention it to others, which is where my sanity can (and perhaps should) be called into question. When my parents came to visit last week, I almost-proudly pointed it out to my dad while we chatted out on the balcony, and just yesterday I saw it out my neighbors’ window while we were playing Mario Kart, and they smiled politely (and most likely uncomfortably) while I told them how often I spot the not-so-little guy. It wasn’t without some sheepishness that I realized that my penchant for distraction when it comes to this creature can best be compared to a lovable if dim dog.

Yes, it’s embarrassing to admit, but I’m hoping that the subsequent shame that follows this revelation about my nature-watching habits can help me shake my preoccupation with this damn animal. Sure, it’s freakishly large and amazingly ubiquitous, but in the end, it’s just a squirrel. It would do me well to continue channeling Dug and his less-than-affectionate opinion of these creatures. I don’t exactly wish this one dead, but I do wish him to stop demanding so much of my attention. After all, who else is going to spend quality time with my couch?

it’s time to move on

Technically, I’ve already moved on. As in, moved across several states (though thankfully not outside the EST timezone) to a new life as a resident of the Midwest — specifically, Bloomington, Indiana.

It all seems to have happened pretty fast, seeing as how October is right around the corner and I could swear that the last time I checked in with this blog wasn’t THAT long ago. Ah, how Major Life Changes (there those are again) and unbelievable stress can make the days and nights blur into weeks and months with the greatest of ease.

How I got from point A(lbany) to point B(loomington) is pretty straightforward: my brilliant husband got a fantastic scholarship to attend Indiana University’s law school, and we packed up our respective compact cars and headed west, arriving in our new home on August 1. But really, the entire decision-making process, including where Nick would apply, if he was even serious about going back to school, and ultimately, where we would be spending the next three years of our lives ended up taking quite a while.

While I was initially hesitant about his selection of Indiana as one of his final choice universities, it took one visit to campus in late March to earn my affection and sway my opinion. Lush greenery and endless flowering bushes and trees left no doubt about the aptness of the Bloomington moniker, and the gorgeous, sprawling campus was impressive to say the least. We were smitten, and when Nick decided that this was the place for him, I heartily agreed.

Then we moved here. From the moment we walked into our apartment’s smells-like-urine vestibule, it became apparent that we were not in Menands anymore. Fond memories of our former apartment faded away as we were faced with a cramped, hastily-slapped-together abode teeming with stains, broken fixtures, insects, and so little storage space that I wondered if it would even be possible to fit everything the yet-to-arrive moving truck was carrying. Coupling those concerns with a collection of seriously shady (and incredibly loud) neighbors — save for the awesome twosome across the hall — and we (or at least I) were seriously wondering whether we had made a mistake.

It’s been a long, slow adjustment period, and there are still some kinks we have yet to work out and many things to acclimate to in our new environment (oh, our previous kitchen’s copious cupboards, how I miss you!), but life has been steadily improving. Of course, the irony as I type this is that I am once again unemployed (as you might recall, my previous joblessness was in part the inspiration to start this blog in the first place), and suddenly find myself with all sorts of time to stew in my unhappiness (and broke-assness).

Well, as the title of this post suggests, it’s time to move on. The only way to break out of a funk is to actively try, and that’s my goal from now onward. Sure, you may catch me complaining about some recent injustice or inconvenience on occasion (ask me some time to tell you about my three trips in two weeks to the DMV BMV), and I suppose that’s to be expected. But I’m going to do my best to let the negative things roll off my back, and embrace the excitement (and, if we’re being completely honest, terror) of an entirely blank slate.

Oh also, if you know of any print or online publications hiring in south central Indiana, could you let me know? Not that I’m not happy about the prospect of becoming a regular blogger again, but, uh, a sister’s gotta pay the bills.

return of the nowak

image courtesy of

I’d like to say I have some grand excuse for why I’ve been MIA for the last few weeks. Truth is, life’s just gotten in the way.

An exhilarating interview followed by crushing rejection; multiple exhausting hospital visits and the passing of a beloved grandparent; ping pong-ing across the state coupled with too many goodbyes; laptop woes — it’s been a roller coaster, and I’m just trying to hold on for dear life.

Thank God for pop culture (in addition to my amazing, supportive family and friends, natch) to pull me through.

I’ve rediscovered the healing powers of Third Eye Blind’s self-titled debut, especially when blasted at full volume. I found some wonderful new-to-me sites and heard some amazing music, which I hope to feature here in the coming days and weeks. I discovered that the lack of a functioning high-speed internet connection can reduce me to a whiny, petulant, sometimes-weepy child.

But I’ll wage any war necessary with technology (and yes, with life) in order to satiate my need to enjoy and share entertainment — weekly or otherwise.

Now, as Mark Morrison says, I’m back to run the show.

the light is leaving & it’s hard to breathe

pumpkin 2008

last year's pumpkin. my sentiments exactly.

My deepest apologies, Sparkies. I know I’ve been a delinquent blogger as of late, but the sickness that overtook me last week really reared its ugly head in recent days. I’ve been confined to the indoors, guzzling tea like it’s my job, and using more Kleenex than I care to admit.

But I shall persevere, and promise at least two new posts before the week is out. Because if the flu — or whatever this lovely ailment is — stops me, then the terrorists truly have won.

one-hit wonderful

Once again, our trivia team (this week’s moniker: Vance Refrigeration) was victorious, reclaiming the championship belt with a Game Two win at the Panorama. (Friend Rochester Trivia on Facebook for more info.)

My favorite part of Trivia Tuesday (aside from the free food & beer, courtesy of our $150 bar tab from winning six out of the last eight games) is when Billy, our affable host, sings a song and asks us to write down its title.

I own these questions.

Though I’m ashamed to know some of the tunes that Billy belts out (like that terrible, terrible Jessica Simpson song that inexplicably samples “Jack and Diane”), when it comes to winning, and thus achieving endless pride & glory, there really is no better kind of knowledge.

This week, Billy chose a track in the running for Most Nostalgia-Inducing Relic of My Youth: “Show Me Love”* by Robyn, the teenage Swedish songstress who sang her way into our hearts way back in 1997 with this one-hit wonder.

(*Incidentally, I wrote down just “Show Me” on our trivia score sheet, and this answer was still accepted. Even though the answer “Crying” was rejected for Aerosmith’s “Cryin'” several weeks ago. Not that I’m still bitter about that.)

Robyn has made a comeback in recent years, leaning more towards the electro side of her dance-pop past, and I couldn’t be happier for the woman. I showed “Show Me Love” all kinds of love back in the day; it was one of my favorite songs both from a melodic and lyrical standpoint. Those Swedes sure do know how to write a pop hook, and you better believe I was begging my diary every night for some boy to show me love, because he was the one that I ever needed.

(Question: does that lyric even make sense? “You’re the one that I ever needed.” I get what she means — and girl, I feel you — but it  just doesn’t seem grammatically correct, now does it?)

Setting aside the reminiscing and the overwhelming cheese factor — or perhaps indulging in it even more — I admit that since hearing it Tuesday night, I’ve found myself relating to “Show Me Love”‘s lyrics once more. Having recently found The One, I’m guilty of seeing myself in lots of love songs lately, picking out words and phrases that clearly describe Exactly How I Feel. And, well, as corny as it is, these sentiments pretty much sum it up:

Never thought I would find love so sweet / Never thought I would meet someone like you / Well now I’ve found you and I’ll tell you no lie / This love I’ve got for you / Could take me ’round the world.

Sixth grade me couldn’t have said it any better.

[Note: I realize what was meant to be a a quick shout-out to a once-beloved one-hit wonder has turned into a sappy love post (and another circle in my ever-growing shame spiral). As my friend Kerri would say: Vom. But I stand by my statements. This blog is about sharing, people. Or at least embarrassing myself in the most clever and witty ways possible. I think I’ve done my job.]

there’s something about “meredith”…

Fawning (v): To seek favor or attention by flattery and obsequious behavior. See: Meredith Viera’s cringe-inducingly awkward behavior on a recent episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

I’m all for double entendres and showing appreciation for fine male specimens, but dear lord woman — keep it in check! Although I suppose with a name like Meredith, these things are bound to happen:

photo courtesy of
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