Teenage Dream

Music is like air to me, it’s on all the time. When I’m happy, sad, anxious, frustrated. There are certain songs that are like a time machine – I turn it on and I’m back in time, at that certain moment, feeling a certain way. Almost like when you smell specific things, and it brings you back. Evergreen trees at Christmas, the smell of the woods after rain, the salt in the air bringing you back under the bridge in South Portland, your first kiss with a guy who you never even saw coming on a hot day in the middle of May. Chlorine bringing me back to my college jobs, lifeguarding for hours and hours as the sun went down, and I was so, so happy.

Feeling The Moment by Feeder. I played it over and over and over again the summer going into my Junior year at college. My family was having a yard sale at our childhood home and I sat outside in my bathing suit and shorts, iPod on and blasting as I watched people come and go, leaving with childhood items and clothing I swore up and down didn’t mean anything to me anymore, but it did. I forgot to put on sunscreen and got the worst sunburn I had gotten in a long time. I stayed up late into the night applying layer after layer of aloe and missing him so much it hurt, even then I was going through this. I remember writing a status on Facebook about needing the ocean and a road trip, the glow of my computer screen lighting up the room in the middle of the night. Him texting me shortly afterwards telling me that visiting him would solve both of those problems, and asking me to please just talk to him for a little while longer.

Hangin’ By a Thread by Jann Arden. Probably the saddest song I have ever heard. This song was played at a dance competition that I competed in when I was seventeen in Boston. A company danced to this song with so much emotion, I sat there and cried and cried because I could literally feel the story they were telling. And every time I play it now, I’m back in that room, in front of that stage, and I’m just as mesmerized now as I was then.

Vanilla Twilight by Owl City. A friend showed me this song in college during a class called Nature of Story which was a complete joke, as our professor was at least 90 years old and taught class with his shirt completely unbuttoned. My friend had just gone through a breakup of her own, and I remember thinking that I had never seen anyone so sad before. “Drenched in vanilla twilight, I’ll sit on my front porch all night, waist deep in thoughts because when I think of you I don’t feel so alone.”

The World Spins Madly On by the Weepies. This is my favorite songs in the whole world for a lot of reasons, and I recommend it to everyone. I first heard this song during an episode of Greek when I was in High School, and during a time when my parents still had dial up internet. It took me weeks of trying to remember the lyrics before I was able to find that song, download it onto my iTunes and play it until I dreamt the lyrics in my sleep.

Use Somebody by Kings of Leon. This song played when I was in my ex boyfriends dorm room collecting my stuff on a warm day in September. I went over to meet and “talk”, I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to talk, to hear why he didn’t want to be with me, I just wanted to see him. I was wearing jean capris and a turquoise Hollister shirt, and I’m sure I looked terrible. He was down in the bathroom when this came on, and I was left with his roommate. I’ll never forgot the look he gave me as I stood there listening to this song, like he felt so, so sorry for me.

State of Grace by Taylor Swift. I can’t even put into writing how amazing it was to stand in the middle of the pouring rain at Gillette Stadium, hands in the air, my throat raw, and absolutely screaming the lyrics to this song with thousands of people as the sun went down.

Times Like These by the Foo Fighters. Because don’t we learn to love again during times like these?

Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. Too much vodka, short skirts and tank tops, hair bleached out from the sun and this song on constant repeat. My roommate and I listened to this over and over and over again for months, in the car, at the club, during Thirsty Thursdays on the front porch of our apartment. It was our soundtrack, and will forever take me back to hot, sticky Fall days when I was twenty and reckless and loving everything about life.

Sometimes I’d like to forget these things, but then I think, do I really?

I’m Feeling…75?

I’m annoyed with myself, sometimes that happens. I feel like I am kind of rotting and sitting around and going on and on with my life and nothing is happeninnnnng. I wake up at the same time every morning, go to the same job, in the same car, and come home and do the same things over, and over and over again. I even cook the same meals all the time! God, Liz, pull it together. I need more avocado in my life.

So, I have booked a vacation to Florida in February an order to spice things up, and also because Maine in February is one of the worst things ever – cold, wet, too much snow. My inner nerd is coming out and I cannot wait to lay in the sun, swim, and spend SO MUCH TIME AT HOGWARTS during that week. Seriously, I cannot wait.

I’m taking a few road trips this summer, one to Acadia National Park, which is right here in Maine and is absolutely gorgeous. I’m going to spend a weekend camping, spend a day shopping in Boston, and spend a day at a theme park with friends. So this helps, that I have a bunch of things to look forward to outside of my normal routine.

I’m also looking in to planning a trip in the Fall to New York City, even if it’s just a spontaneous road trip at a crappy hotel on a long weekend in October. I’ve never been there before and I would like nothing more than to do all the touristy things, see an amazing musical, stand in the middle of Time Square and shop shop shop. I think it’s really sad that I live so close to New York and have never visited before, (unless you count a layover when I was 16, which I don’t.)

Maybe it’s the fact that my birthday is next week, and I’m not really looking forward to it. I don’t want to be 24. Just last year I was able to sing “22” by Taylor Swift at the top of my lungs when I saw her in concert at Gillette Stadium and now I’m almost 24! Which is practically 25, which is half of 50, and seriously close to 75. I’M SO OLD.

Also, I think it’s because I just landed my dream job, and to be honest it happened really fast. I had kind of accepted that this year I would spend another year working with behavior kids, and not attending IEP’s, lesson planning, and correcting papers after my brand new hour long commute. I’m thrilled, I really am, and I can’t wait to September to come. But I don’t want that to be all my life is, and I also don’t want to grow up too fast. I don’t want to run out and buy a house, with a huge yard, and spend my days cleaning baby spit up and mowing my lawn. I’m not quite there yet, I’m still young.

Patty, You Monster

So, I met a really terrible person today by the name of Patty. Patty is rude, condescending, had a real negative tone with a side of sass, and liked to interrupt me when I talk – all qualities that I do not appreciate.

You see, I met Patty today at a precise 1:04pm when I called Unitil to ask a question. For all of those people who are fortunate enough to not know what Unitil is, it’s a company that deals with heat and hot water. Also, I hate them. 

“Welcome to Unitil, Patty speaking.” She had potential, she really did.

“So, Patty I have a quick question. Why is it that you withdrew an additional $97.98 from my account today AFTER I sent you a check last week for $60.00?” 

“Well, because at one point you put your bank account information on our website when you paid online and that was how much you owed us. Also, the bill was due on the 18th.”

“Yes, Patty. But I sent you a check and you got it on the 18th. So, now my account is credited since my bill was $60, and I wouldn’t have sent you a check if I paid online too, let alone a weird amount of $97.98. I didn’t authorize that payment.”

“Yes, but now your account has a credit! Isn’t that great?”

“No.”

LISTEN, PATTY. First of all, why in the world is my bill even that high? I take fast showers, and I certainly haven’t been using heat on these sticky, one-hundred degree days. If anything I should be seeing an increase on my electric bill for my air conditioning. Why is my bill higher than it is in January? I’m getting a real negative vibe about this girl. I guess my vibes were correct because not only did she refuse to credit me back, she also didn’t have a dollop of compassion in her voice. I can think of a lot of things that I would like to do with $97.98 and none of which has anything remotely to do with heat or hot water. 

In fact, my thoughts on that certain chunk of money have a lot to do with extra large Margaritas, polka dot borders for my bulletin boards in my classroom, and trips to Fun Town Splash Town USA to ride a roller coaster.

HOW RUDE.

I’m wearing a yellow dress, Patty. Nobody is supposed to have negative vibes when they’re wearing a yellow dress. 

Electric

I think that it would be a beautiful thing to never have to work in the summers. Next summer I won’t have to, because I’ll be on a teaching salary that lasts throughout the summer. But I probably will anyways, because it’s me and I get bored easily. I love my alone time, and treasure it dearly, but I also love my time with people, making memories and telling new jokes. I don’t think I could last two and half months in a summer and spend that much time all alone.

I know that I should be making the most of my time right now. Of the sunsets and sunrises, longer days and warmer nights and my feet with flip flops in them instead of winter boots. There are things that I should be doing right now an order to make the most of my time.

I should be camping! I love camping, I think it’s magical. There’s just something special about spending a few days in the wilderness, going to sleep to the sounds of birds and deer and fish jumping that makes me happy. There’s just something about no electricity, afternoons spent with your feet dangling in the water and nights in front of a crackling camp fire that make me so happy to be alive. So, why am I not doing it?

I should be visiting amusement parks! I’ve always loved the chaos of fairgrounds, amusement parks, festivals. I love the gathering of a variety of different people; blue hair, leather boots, spiked mohawks, miniskirts. People who are so unlike me, but yet more like me than I think, because we’re all in the same place, aren’t we? French fries, roller coasters that make you go upside down, rides that bring you high up into the air, leaving my flip-flops left neatly down below waiting for me. I scream and laugh and lift my hands high into the air and my feet are left dangling, and I feel electric.

I love mountaintop views, the water beautiful and sparkling and so smooth it looks like glass.

I should be hiking and sea kayaking!

I love the days after a huge storm, like tonight. The booming of thunder and the flashes of lightening and the only evidence left behind is that the world somehow got greater, greener, more alive. The smell of the wilderness left in the air, and all the rain is gone. I should be taking pictures of these nights, marking these nights with something great, a memory that will last for generations when I pass it down to my children and grandchildren.

I want to take a road trip to Boston with an iced coffee and country music and sunshine. I want to explore new areas, smell new flowers, admire towering skylines and the acres of fields in the country.

I want to stay up until the city has gone to sleep and drive around and admire the things lost between the flocks of tourists, work, life, and busy schedules. I want to smell the ocean and look at the sailboats and admire the things that so many tourists fly here to see every single summer. Why have I forgotten to look at these things?

I still have time, it’s only July. I still have time to spend a weekend in Boston, a Friday night at a drive in movie, days lost in the wilderness in the middle of Maine, sleeping under the stars and roasting marshmallows on sticks. Lucky for me, I have almost the entire month of August to do these things, and I will do these things. I will go on a roller coaster so many times I’ll feel like I need to throw up, drive all day and all night to see the beauty that the summer brings, because in the blink of an eye, it’s gone.

Hold me to it. Okay?

Autumn Leaves

I’ve been in a very weird mood lately. I love summer, everybody knows this about me. I’ve written about my love for it a million times on here – the sunshine, the smell of fresh cut grass, the warm nights. Flowers, summer dresses, catching fireflies in mason jars and the smell of the sea. 

But now all I want it Fall!

It was my ex that pointed out to me that I put all of my energy into wishing that it was the next season, midway through the previous one. I shrugged it off, but he’s right! Today I went to Target, (which is NEVER a good idea for me), and I went into shock when I realized that all of the summer stuff has been taken away and replaced with back to school materials, backpacks, and lunch boxes.

I got excited. I bought birthday paper cupcakes and candles for my bulletin board to showcase my students birthdays, brightly colored polka dot boarders, and dry erase markers. I bought plastic bins to hold my books for the literacy corner, and glitter pencils for my desk. I also bought several other things like the Cosby show on DVD, a tennis racket, and a fresh bouquet of flowers because Target is addictive and I have a problem. 

And now I have spent a majority of the afternoon being excited, but somewhat petrified, about my soon-to-be-classroom and new set of students. I want crunchy, colored leaves outside of my doorstep. I want oversized sweaters and leggings, Pumpkin flavored coffee, the smell of the crisp air outside. I want apple picking, beef stew in the crockpot, scarves, jeans with flannel shirts and coach sneakers, pumpkin carving, cinnamon flavored applesauce made from scratch. I knew that I should go into teaching even as a little girl, because midway through summer I would start organizing myself for the Fall, and setting up my day planner. The afternoons that were once spent at the pool were replaced with field hockey practices and nights on the porch completing a homework assignment. And I loved it, I still do. I love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, of brand new books, the crisp feel of new folders and notebooks and new possibilities, my name written on the top in Sharpie. Even in college, I would end my summers eagerly awaiting the beginning of classes, of the highest expectations in myself with a clean slate, in seeing my friends and the people who meant the most to me everyday again.

I think part of me just wants the summer to hurry up because last summer was painful, and I don’t want to have to think about it anymore. I’ve spent a lot of my time this year wanting things to just speed up so that I could get rid of the “firsts”, move on from the memories that my ex and I had created, and just start over. I don’t want to celebrate my birthday this summer, like I did with him last year. I just want to ignore it and play mini golf and eat watermelon like any other day and be with the people I love and love me right back. And last year my relationship with him ended with me holding a Starbucks Pumpkin Frappuccino and spilling it all over the living room floor, and so this year, on the same date I want to get another one, sort of a symbol of cleansing. I’ve learned so much this year, and I’m happy with who I am now, and how much I have grown. I’m ready to show this new year whose boss. 

But at the same time, summer is my favorite, what I look forward to 8 months of the year. I have been swimming laps every single night at the outdoor pool, walking around the boulevard after work, laying outside re-reading my favorite books when I’m feeling stressed out and anxious and trying to forget my past. But I need to slow down, take a deep breath and appreciate the warmth outside. Because in four months, there will be snow outside again, and just the thought of that makes me sad.

Fall will come soon enough. 

The Worst Date Ever

Last night I went on a date. I was really nervous about it, I haven’t been on a date since my breakup, and I knew the night would be absolutely amazing or absolutely horrible. 

So, I dressed up in corals and golds and perfected my hair into beach waves. I almost canceled three times, finally made it out the door and then sat in my car and hyperventilated for another ten minutes. I was forced to evacuate due to my air conditioner being broken and almost suffocating to death. 

The restaurant he chose was really tiny, a hole in the wall place downtown that only seats about fifteen people max, and played fancy orchastra music throughout their speakers. Awkward. So, so awkward. These are the kinds of places that I normally love when I’m with friends or family and I want to try new foods or laugh or cry or vent. I didn’t love it last night. Only because my date apparently didn’t feel like talking. At all. He looked at the paintings on the walls, stared at his plate of Alfredo, stared at me, stared outside. But didn’t communicate with me other than a few words. At first I thought he must just have been shy, but after an hour and ten minutes of being stared at, I threw that thought out the window and instead started hoping for either the rapture or a fire alarm so that I could run away. Plus, they put actual anchovies on top of my Caesar salad, and that made me sad.

I wasn’t expecting that, and only made it worse by filling in all of the awkward silences and babbling about absolutely nothing. I’m sure I sounded ridiculous. I know this because I glanced over at our waitress in desperation and she started LAUGHING. 

We finished dinner super early, and were planning on catching a movie at 7:00 at the local theatre. It was 5:53. Luckily we had taken two different vehicles and decided to just meet each other there. I called my Dad and vented, explaining the staring, the inability to hold a conversation, and how uncomfortable I felt. “Do you need me to call you back when you get there with a fake emergency?” he asked. No, no, no. I had to be a grown up. 

I called him and explained that it wasn’t working and that I was going to go home. He took it well, and quickly hung up the phone. And then I felt like the meanest person on the planet. But he had already paid for dinner, there’s no way I could have lived with myself if I had him pay for my movie ticket too after I knew I didn’t even want to talk to him again. Plus, I know this sounds horrible, but I wasn’t physically attracted to him at all, and doesn’t that mean something?

I drove home and tried to scrub any remainder of the horrible date from my mind and shoved my coral dress at the bottom of my hamper so I don’t even have to look at it until laundry day. Then I bought myself an ice cream cone.

Acadia

Happy 238th Birthday America!

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. I love that the entire country gets to together to celebrate one special day. A lot of people 4th-of-July-Fireworks-in-Portland-Oregonchoose not to celebrate Christmas, or make a big meal on Thanksgiving with their families, but celebrating America’s birthday is different, at least for me. We should all feel lucky, privileged to be here, no matter our views on politics or the president, or current events. We should be happy, feel lucky.

I love the parades and police officers walking down the street waving flags. Eating apple pie and ice cream, swimming, and barbecuing. I love ending the day barefoot in the grass with sparklers and fireworks in the sky.

America is great, and I haven’t even seen that much of it. But we have history, national monuments, fantastic views, Hawaiian sunsets, Autumn leaves, strawberry-picking-079Ellen Degeneres, drives through state parks in the middle of winter.Nights so cold it takes your breath away, mittened hands, and the sky so clear you feel like you must be looking at every single star. Walking through crunchy leaves, baking apple pie with my grandmother, picking out a Christmas tree in the winter, singing the National Anthem before sports games, my hand over my heart. My fingers pruning from the hours of strawberries I have put away at the kitchen table with my family, cinnamon scented candles, Pumpkin flavored iced coffee, snow angels, blasting Christmas music at 2am in the car on Black Friday, when half the time we choose not to buy anything at all and instead just like the tradition, being together. The first signs of Tulips in the springtime, the smell of the sea, the feel of sunshine on your skin after months of being so cold you felt like the world would never be warm again.

Days like this past week; hot and humid, taking breaks at the pool and driving to the nearest store to purchase water tubes to use before the sun goes down when it’s still ninety degrees outside.

Raspberry iced tea, egg Nog, the original Grinch that plays once a year, and being so, so sad when you miss it. Thunder and lightening for hours, thanking God for the silence and the time alone with just you and a brand new book.

I have some great memories, great moments that I have spent with my buddy America. I Acadiaremember one Fall day in high school when I was taking horrible classes like Algebra and Chemistry and it was absolutely gorgeous outside. I was stuck inside doing homework when my father told me to grab my work and get in the car, that we were going for a drive. We drove for hours and ended up in Bar Harbor, Maine. And I might be biased, but in Autumn, Maine sure is beautiful. I remember driving in South Dakota with my cousins and grandmother, visiting Mount Rushmore and being in complete awe of the gigantic faces of past presidents carved into a mountainside.

I remember tubing at the lake, laughing so hard my stomach hurt and clinging to the sides with everything I had, hoping not to fall off. Driving out west over dirt roads, dust following you everywhere you go. Horses in pastures, black and white and brown and running faster then you ever could an order to catch up with you. Seashells, lemonade stands, homemade tree swings, reading Harry Potter under the large maple tree in my front yard. Walking through snow drifts after I got off the school bus, and wondering if I could possibly die from the five minute walk in zero degree weather.

And sometime soon I am going to plan a trip to New York City to shower some love on Lady Liberty, to to walk through Times Square, explore one of the largest toy stores in America, and take pictures with some of the largest Christmas decorations I will ever see. I will explore the Colorado Rockies, nap on the lawn in front of the White House, hike through the rainforest in Washington state, catch fireflies beside the Grand Canyon, and get drenched standing beside Niagara Falls. I want to travel, take a road trip that lasts me months, stand beside the Golden Gate Bridge, and get my picture taken like the other 6 billion people before me have. I want to appreciate all of America, not just a little piece of it.

Because no matter what, no matter my opinion on politics or the war, I am so thankful that I live in America. I’m thankful for the soldiers who serve us, who make America a place where I want to live. And it keeps things in perspective, doesn’t it? It reminds you that it doesn’t really matter if you can’t afford a new outfit, or the latest fill-in-the-blank. That it doesn’t quite matter if you haven’t been to the movies in six months. Does it? I can just go outside, go for a walk, admire the beauty around me that I know I take for granted so often. It reminds me that the things that I obsess over, whine about, crave, that they don’t really matter. It’s small, there are bigger things to think about, to love.

And it’s funny, because whenever I leave home, go on a vacation or a road trip, or explore another area, I always get that same funny feeling in my stomach. The feeling that reminds me how lucky am I to be here, to be alive, safe, with family who love me. And I can’t help but be so incredibly thankful that I get the opportunity to watch a fireworks display tomorrow, to eat watermelon and ice cream, to wear a new sundress at a parade in the middle of the city, and go to sleep in my warm bed, in my warm apartment after a swim in the pool, and know for a fact that there is nowhere else I would rather be.