Stories and Freebirds

I finally got to try the new Freebirds by USC today. I have to admit that the one in Isla Vista CANNOT be beaten in taste, but the one here was decent. I asked my friend to come along with me and luckily he agreed, which was nice because his talks are always a good addition to any outing I make. Unfortunately, our conversation wasn’t as light-hearted as it usually is. I did a lot of looking into his eyes as they diverted to the ground or other directions besides my own eyes. I saw very few smiles spread across his face. And I heard the bittersweet tone of disillusionment floating on his voice. Poor guy…

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care about him, but it’s so hard to show it. I’m not a very comforting person because when I try to be, I pull out generic “Aaaww-everything-will-be-okay” statements out of my ass in hopes that the person hearing them will feel better. But if I don’t feel better when I hear statements like those, I can’t expect others to do otherwise, right? Or maybe I have high standards when it comes to the act of comforting… Anywho, back to my friend. He’s a good person, but I don’t think a lot of people WANT to see that. They seem to base their opinion on the shabby appearance of his exterior because it’s easier than getting to know him. But underneath his worn-out clothes and terrible facial hair (I’m sorry if he ever reads this, but he does have TERRIBLE facial hair…) lies a perceptive young man that’s able to understand the world more than many people I’ve met. I hope he gets his day in the sun soon. He deserves to bask in some light.

While I’m on the topic of friends, my other close friend sent me her personal statement so I could look over it and give her a few pointers. Personal Statements… boy, howdy-doo, aren’t those fun? I gave her advice (to the best of my ability :\ ), but I hope it helps. I like looking over other people’s writings. It’s fun! She did a good job with her PS, but it needed more SPUNK, more OOMPH. More life and personality, less generalizations. After all, it’s a PERSONAL statement, right?

Today was just random and long. At the bus stop, a guy started talking to me about camel milk and in the evening, my neighbor’s brother called me to ask me on a date (I applaud him for his bravery). I tutored one of my students (An awesome senior whom I’m sure will kick ass on her college applications this year) and I ran away from a bee while a strange girl with bright red hair swatted it away from my head. Oh, and I finally signed up for NaNoWriMo. CANNOT WAIT to begin my novel… Just a few more hours left.

Well, I should get off to bed. I’m actually rather proud of me… I didn’t post a sad, disillusioned, angry rant about college loans, grad school, etc. Let’s hope it stays this way.

Mid-mid Life Crisis

Graduate school… Law school… Masters in Social Work… These things float around in my mind by the SECOND! I get no break! My mind has unleashed a series of thoughts and alternatives that flash through my brain, but they’re all too quick to capture. I can’t hold onto one and that’s all I want- one thought. One thought to equal one alternative, one plan, one goal. I just want to much, but I’ve done so little to get anything in return. I owe it to myself to stop myself from rushing into something that I could do correctly if I give myself more time.

If I apply to law school right now, I’d only have one month to study for the LSAT. One measly, putrid, silly little month. A holiday month, nevertheless! I don’t know what to do with me anymore. Here I lie in my little twin bed with the lights off at 1:42 AM because I can’t shut my mind up. That’s just wrong… I’m 22, not 45. I should be… God, who knows WHAT I should be. That’s what I keep trying to figure out. December LSAT… Good Lord, what was I thinking?

I think that ideally, if I’m absolutely serious about law school, I should get some experience under my belt this upcoming year and take the February and June LSAT’s so I’ll feel FAR more confident once the applications begin next year. I’ll be 23 then. But that’s if I’m serious about it.

I wish I could seriously just look into the future and see what lies ahead. Everywhere I turn, it seems I’m doomed by the mere fact that I am me. I’m a 20-something college grad during one of the worst recessions in the US since the Great Depression, and I have a fucking liberal arts degree!! Oh, someone just take me out of my misery already. Just… just come here and give me a meaningful job. A ray of sunshine. A glass that’s half full. A glimpse of hope. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiigh….

What do you think? What does anyone think? I just don’t want to give up… but I’m so scared that I might give up a month or a year from now. I’m afraid I’ll give in to a life of dissatisfaction, lacking any sense of fulfillment. I hate nights now. Entries like these are all they bring.

Scattered Brain

It’s 2:41 AM. What the hell am I doing up? Why am I listening to Donnie McClurkin? How do I keep myself from going nuts with all the thoughts running through my mind? When will I finish reading this article? Will I ever make a decision about my future?

I’m constantly asking for signs, and don’t tell me this has nothing to do with herbs or gardening! Sorry, my thoughts are really all over the place tonight. Anywho, I’m constantly thinking “God… God, if you’re listening to me, PLEASE, please, please send me a sign about my future… Should I go to law school? Should I aim for an MSW? Should I do neither, just grab my bags, and run out of this town to fulfill my odd fantasy of living on my own in a tiny farm with some chickens and some pigs? What do I DO? Where do I GO? Please, God, please, please….” If he’s not annoyed with me by now, he’s a PATIENT God…

I need to build up a layer of tough, callous-like, diamond-hard skin. Because, you see, I’m so weak. I should walk around with a sign that says “HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE: Very Fragile.” I swear, I fall apart every day! And I’m tired of pulling myself up! Can’t I just stay up like a regular person? Why am I constantly battling with myself to stay hopeful and optimistic? WHAT GIVES?!

Fuck anti-depressants. I need to learn how to do life right. I know it’s not going to be easy, so why is it so hard to accept the truth? Aaaaaaaagh!!! I’m a statistic! A fucking statistic!! I’m part of the 14 percent. Yeah, you know that 14 percent of recent college grads that can’t find a damn full-time job? Finding one of those is like winning the lottery… So can you blame me? Can you really, truly blame me when I turn to higher education as an alternative to sitting around at home waiting for the next best thing to happen? I NEEEEEEED to do something. I NEEEED a sense of purpose. I’m searching high and low, all around, every minute of the day to find out why the heck I was born at this time in history, in this part of the world, with my life experiences. I’m trying!

I may sound crazy. Yeah, I am. I am crazy because I’m a product of recession, of this global warming you speak of, of this global industrialization, of this welfare society, etc. and so on, and so forth.

The herbs… the herbs dried out before they even flourished, just so you know. I’m going to let myself be inspired by the voice of gospel goodness… Donnie Mc-frickin’- Clurkin.

A Tired Mess…

I spent most of my day in the sun, but I paid no attention to my dirt patch today. After doing a few chores around the house today, Karla took Gregory (my little brother) and I to the garden nursery we didn’t catch open a few days ago. The nursery was huge and the walking path was long. When we reached the end, a few men came over to help Karla pick out a flowers. All of the flowers were absolutely stunning. The nursery’s pride and glory, however, was a small, but packed, pomegranate tree. The fruits hanging off the branches were so red! Unfortunately, it was $200. The rest of the prices weren’t as extravagant, which was a good thing for Karla. I mostly looked around, picked up a conversation with one of the customers, and fooled around with Gregory.

While I was waiting, I looked at my e-mail only to find yet another rejection from an internship I applied to earlier on. According to the message, what I wrote was nice, and what I’ve done is great, but I am not what they are looking for. Nice.

I shook it off and for the rest of the day, I focused on helping Karla plant her flowers. We were out there for a long time, even after the street lights were turned on. When we were close to finishing, I made a little mud pie like the ones I used to make when I was a kid. I stuck a flower in the middle and Karla told me to set it out to dry. Although she did most of the work, I was tired and sleepy. I crept into my room and talked to Lina, my bff, for a while. But nothing could stop me from letting myself go.

I cried.

Sometimes, I just want to walk away from this city, from people’s expectations, from my own standards and just settle down near a far away forest, in a little cottage. I’d rarely take showers… I’d grow my own food… have a chicken and a cow… I’d be set. I’d life live away as a simpleton. I’d change my name to Nadia Simpleton. But it’s not that simple. I’m tired of putting pieces of my life together to figure out what to do with myself. And it’s only been a few months!

I really need to focus my energy on something other than me. Thank GOD I have these simple things to keep me distracted. Flowers, dirt, my siblings… I’ll find my purpose soon enough.

Dirty Dirt

Yesterday, I spent a good amount of time taking out the excess dirt out of my little patch. Karla used it in the front yard for her plants and her brother helped carry the dirt over in a little, red wheelbarrow. Check it out!

Too CUTE! Must look away!

I was digging, and digging, and digging my afternoon away. Then I got the call… Yes, THE call. I didn’t get the job I interviewed for. Needless to say, I was absolutely heartbroken. There were too many hours spent on me imagining what it would be like to work at this office. But I sensed I wouldn’t be getting the position after I said my good-bye’s in the second interview. The look in their eyes said it all- “Don’t call us, we’ll call you… to tell you that someone else got the job, HA!”

At first, I wanted to sink into despair. “Woe is me,” I thought as I leaned against the dinner table. If only that call was not meant for me… I didn’t want to pick around at the dirt anymore. I didn’t want to look at it. My dad came inside and I told him the bad news. “There’s plenty of other jobs out there, mija, don’t worry. You’ll find another one.”

Easier said than done. It took me some time to gather the courage to head back out to work on my patch. But work on my patch I did… and when we finished for the day, I sat on the dirt with my sisters. With a few sticks, we drew figures and I started to feel a little better. I know I need a job, and I want to get out of the “unemployed” category so badly… So all that’s left for me to do is try and keep trying. What I wouldn’t give to know that I’ll find a career I truly love in the future….

Picture Time!

I finally took a trip down to a home improvement store! YAY ME! I didn’t spend a lot of time there, but I did get the chance to look at a few herbs for my future garden. This is what I found:

Beautiful Sage...

Strawberry! Don't really want it for my garden, but I had to take a picture of it!

Lavender, that really, did not smell like Lavender.

Baaa-aaaa-aaaah-sil.

I wish this had an odor feature so you could know how delicious this smells.

I've read this is good for making tea... yummy.

I had fun, but I had a big reality check hit me right in the face as I saw the prices. They aren’t extravagant, but I would need to invest a bit of money into this project to make it turn out the way I want it to. So far, I’ve spent 13 bucks on a weed killer and 5 bucks on garden gloves (no more blisters, yay!). My imagination ran a little wild after seeing all the things I can buy for my garden… a nice little bench, a fountain… I definitely need and want a fence- a nice, small, white picket fence. Le sigh… For now, I still have to focus on making sure all of the weeds on my patch are dead and GONE. I’ll work on that soon.

Well, here’s a picture of my little bro standing next to a fountain:

He looks so harmless here...

Oh, and ignore the dates on my pictures. I’m not traveling back from the future.

Impromptu Trips= FAIL

Today, Karla took me and the whole gang on an impromptu trip to a nursery on Rodeo Dr. Unfortunately, it was 6:40 PM and the nursery was closed. We ended up at Kenneth Hahn Park, my second favorite place in the whole, wide world. I took a few pictures and watched Michelle and Gregory play (my little siblings). Yesterday, my evening would have been productive if I would have gone for a run as I’d planned. But another unexpected trip ended up wasting my time and putting me in a shitty mood. But on the bright side, I’m happy because I got called back for a second interview today. Let’s hope I get this job!!  But I SERIOUSLY need to go out to my ditch and do something with it. My poor baby… it’s all alone.

Being Positive

I dedicated absolutely no time to my dirt patch this Labor Day weekend. It’s too early to give up, and too late to quietly back away from my project without having others think I’m a quitter. Ugh… I’m so frustrated! I have too much on my mind and I wish I could filter out my negative thoughts so I could only keep those that make me productive. Dealing with ME is what scared me most about doing this herb garden in the first place…

I’m too easily dragged down. I feel buried under the pile of old, dry grass I raked out last week. There’s a clear, healthy patch of dirt laying right in front of me, but I can’t get past the ugly mess I separated from it. My mind is too tangled with useless weeds. I need to get out of this funk.

I keep shedding old parts of my life like sunburned skin. I want to let them go, but some things just stick. I don’t want to plant anything feeling like this. I keep picturing myself setting down the seeds with a smile on my face and a heart filled with light. So far, it still feels like a black hole is swirling around in there.

Don’t ask me why. I’m still trying to figure it out myself, along with those living around me. But I don’t want what’s sucking the joy out of me to suck the life out of what I plant. In the past, I’ve said that I sincerely believe that in order for my plants to grow, I need to give them love (along with water and sun, of course 😛 ). But I also need to give them my undivided attention. If my thoughts are too involved with what’s going on inside of me, I just won’t be giving ANYTHING much attention at all.

My sister told me she wants to help me. Not with my garden, but with me. According to her, I’m too negative and I put myself down too much. I care too much about what others say, what I think they think, and I get “butt-hurt” too easily. I’m so weak. Anywho, her plan is to have me write something positive about myself each night in a notebook which she’ll check on each week. Hahaha, I don’t see this going through, but what she said rings some truth.

I have to be nicer to myself. I will be nicer to myself. I’m not a bad person. 🙂

As for my garden, I have to clear out some branches to clean out the whole thing. Karla wants to cut down an old tree trunk in the far left corner of the yard to help me make the garden a little bigger. But, I don’t know when we’ll get someone to let us borrow the machine we need to do this. We want to take a trip down to a garden nursery, so hopefully it will happen this week. I feel disillusioned, completely unwilling to even deal with anything related to my backyard, but call me Poopy McPoopypants if I don’t get this thing done… FUCK this depressive funk.

Working On My Hole

So, my friend came through after all! But I still put in a good amount of work into my ditch today. It isn’t so much a ditch as it is a big patch of dirt (but I still like calling it my ditch, or my ‘hole’). After I finished some chores around the house, I went to the backyard with my step-mom, Karla, and her brother, Jose. Remember how I said I watered the ground so the dirt would loosen up? Well, it turns out that was silly mistake. Since I watered what I had already dug up, the grass tangled itself into the dirt and it hardened up again. When Jose pointed this out, I realized I’d have to till everything again…

Luckily, for me, he was nice enough to do it for me! As he dug into the dirt, I raked out the grass and its roots. Karla shoveled out some grassy patches as well, but her attention drifted off to her avocado tree. She ended up cutting off some of its branches because she doesn’t want it to grow too high.

Although my job today wasn’t as heavy as the first day I started, I was still sweating like a fat plumber. Since I normally wear my glasses around the house, my sweat kept dripping onto the lenses. On top of being a sweaty mess, my scalp got sunburned! As much as it itches, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m starting to get attached to my little ditch. 🙂 This is what it looks like now:

I’m so proud of it! Of course, most of the work was done by others. But what makes me so proud is to see people I care about gathered around my little ditch, excited to see what will come out of this crazy idea of mine. We talk, gossip, rest, laugh, concentrate, think… It’s truly a great thing, and it’s only the beginning. Anywho, I wish I had a before and after picture to show what this area looked like before we started picking away at it, but this next picture is as close as it gets:
Yup. So, after my crazy, hole-digging morning, I hung out with an old friend and had a wonderful time. I even found an astronomy book in the street! When I came back home, I took a look at my hole (haha) and Karla brought her friend over to look at it. We talked about gardening, fruit trees, and that was pretty much my day (besides the two hours I spent with my sister laughing at funny names in the yellow pages). I don’t know what comes next for my ditch, but I’d like to start building a tiny fence for it. Even though I’m at the tip of the iguana’s tail, as Karla says, I can keep working on other things to get this garden done faster. Well, that’s all for tonight. Toodles! Oh, and here’s a dinosaur I found in mybackyard:

In the beginning…

There was dry grass. A lot of dry grass. There was also me, bored and lethargic. For a while now, I’d wanted to get my butt off the couch and in my backyard so I could DO something. You see, after finishing school (in what I consider to be a rather unorthodox manner, but that’s another story), I moved back home with my family and the rhythm of my life has changed completely. I no longer have books, tests, classes, or homework to take up my time. Deadlines are a thing of the past (sort of…) and it’s really up to me to plan things for myself. So, to cut this story short, I plan to do this- the herb garden.

We’ll focus on the specifics later. I don’t know what herbs I want yet because I’m stuck doing the crappy, not-so-fun part of creating a garden. I’m “tilling the land.” To till, in farmer terms, means to prepare the soil for the best physical condition for the crop to grow (Hey, I’m building up my vocab!). My backyard isn’t exactly up to par with your average garden. On the contrary, it’s quite dry and patchy.

There are a few things growing out there. For example, my family has a cute little avocado tree reaching out to the top of the cement wall between our house and the neighbors next door. There’s a tiny tomato plant growing to the left of the avocados, and to the far, far left, at the edge of the row of tiny trees lined up by the wall, there is sugarcane. We also have a lemon tree near the tool shed. Besides that, our backyard looks like a sci-fi movie about crop circles.

I chose the far left corner of the yard for my herb garden. My step-mom thought I was crazy when she saw me crouched down, pulling weeds in the sun. Her brother taught me how to use a hoe (tee-hee, ho…) to clear out the grass and its roots. That was tough. If I don’t have great arms by the end of all this, I’ll be extremely disappointed… I struck the ground, and pulled. Struck and pulled, struck and pulled. I felt like I was getting nowhere.

Suddenly, someone had the genius idea of watering the ground to soften up the dirt (Why didn’t anyone mention that earlier!?). And that’s where I am for now… I didn’t work on my garden (also known as my ditch) today because I’m sick and I had a job interview in the afternoon. I want to work on it today when I wake up (since it’s 12 AM and I have yet to go to bed), but… I made plans to meet up with an old friend. Unfortunately, I have no answer from his side, so it seems that I will be back in my backyard sooner than I expected. Le sigh… I’ll try to have pictures up soon. Bonne nuit!