Wednesday, July 30, 2008

100 things you never knew you wanted to know

1. Since I haven’t been blogging much lately, I thought I would treat you all to a long-ass list chock full of all things Becky.
2. So for today, you get a break from the normal drivel I write.
3. I almost used the word “poppycock” in place of “drivel.”

4. I think my parents are the best parents in the world, and I’m very proud of the way they raised my brother and me.
5. They worked hard to send me to the private college I fell in love with.
6. I think that no matter what happens in the rest of my life, that’s the thing I’ll be most grateful for.
7. Did I ever tell you guys that I’m sort of in a band?
8. Yeah. I’ve been singing with my dad’s band for a little over a year now.
9. He plays the drums, and he’s really excellent.
10. I started singing with them because he said he wanted us to do something together.
11. Somewhere along the line, it stopped being something I did for him and became something I do for myself.
12. I love to sing.
13. My favorite song to sing is probably “Ave Maria.” Latin is cool.
14. My dad’s band plays mostly covers.
15. I am one hell of a cowbell player, I'll tell you that much.
16. Before I joined, there were three guitar players, one singer, and a drummer.
17. Today, there are four guitar players, three singers, a drummer, a bass player, and a keyboard player.
18. My brother once said that we’re getting to be like Doug’s band.
19. I hope someone remembers the show “Doug” and his band.

20. I also love to write.
21. Someday, I hope to write a book.
22. I have a pretty good idea for one – at least I think it’s pretty good – and I have about four chapters written.
23. I like to write poetry sometimes, too.
24. Every so often, I submit a few poems to poetry contests or publication journals.
25. I’ve never had any accepted.
26. I try to remind myself that that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a bad writer.
27. I like to think of myself as a creative person.
28. I am my most creative when I’m driving or taking a shower.
29. I keep a notebook in my car and one underneath my bed.
30. I wish there was a way to keep one in the shower.
31. I lose a lot of good ideas by not having one in there.

32. Even more than writing, I love to read.
33. I’ll read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.
34. I especially like juvenile literature. I think it’s more touching than a lot of adult literature.
35. A Wrinkle in Time, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Ella Enchanted are some of my favorites.
36. For a long time, Horton Hears a Who was my favorite book.
37. Melissa Bank is probably my favorite author.
38. I used to be ashamed of the fact that I prefer contemporary literature to the classics.
39. Now I don’t really care. I like what I like, and that's the name of that tune.
40. In the name of no longer being ashamed, I also read a lot of Stephen King, Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green, and... V.C. Andrews.
41. One of the best books I’ve ever read was Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.
42. One of the most disappointing was Picture Perfect by Jodi Piccoult.
43. The worst book I’ve read since college was I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe.
44. Incidentally, he’s not the namesake of my blog url.
45. It’s Tobias Wolfe.
46. This Boy’s Life is one of my favorite books of all time.
47. I first read it my freshman year at Saint Joe, and I’ve reread it about six times since.
48. I love to reread books over and over again.
49. My favorite book of all time is The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing.
50. I’ve read it twelve times.
51. Billy Collins is my favorite poet.
52. Here and here are two of my favorite poems written by him.
53. I use the word “favorite” a little more than I should. I'll admit it.

54. I’m a huge believer in the idea of everything and everyone being put on this earth for a reason and purpose… except when it comes to fruit flies.
55. There’s absolutely no reason or purpose for the existence, other than to bother the shit out of me.
56. Some other things that bother the shit out of me are when people pull out in front of me and drive five miles under the speed limit, capitalize every word in a sentence, use the phrase “All’s I know is…,” and place periods and commas after quotation marks.
57. I also don’t like it when people talk to me about work while I'm eating lunch at my desk.
58. But it’s much easier to think of things that I do that annoy me...
59. ...such as biting my nails, squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, and not folding my clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer.
60. I also have a bad habit of interrupting people during conversation.
61. (What does the interrupting cow say?)

62. I’d really like to travel around the world someday.
63. The fact that I’m afraid of heights and suffer from motion sickness might put an end to that idea.
64. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
65. I’d love to start with a road trip across the United States, following as much of historical Route 66 as I possibly can.
66. Since I can’t feasibly do that right now, I've been thinking about planning a few day or weekend trips to local places that I’ve never seen before.
67.I’ve always wanted to go to Louisville, Memphis, and Springfield.
68. Even though I’ve already been to St. Louis and Nashville, but I’d love to go again.
69. I know it’s cheesy, but I’d also love to take one of those 20-European-cities-in-10-days tours.
70. The places I want to see the most are Ireland, Italy(especially Rome), Paris, and Germany.

71. I hope that I get married someday.
72. I’d like to marry someone who will make me laugh everyday and who understands that I need quiet time in the morning.
73. Also, someone who respects my TIVO habits. (Read: Someone who won’t delete 90210 reruns.)
74. Being a Catholic, I’d want someone who wouldn’t mind a long ceremony and lots of drunk people.
75. I guess I'd also like someone who will allow me to have “Smile” by Pearl Jam as our first dance.
76. I’m pretty sure that the Pearl Jam is a non-negotiable for me.
77. So if any of you know of a single dude who might enjoy the irony of grooving to “State of Love and Trust” at his wedding, send him yonder.
78. Sometimes I think I might like to have kids one day, too.
79. I know I’d like to adopt a child… but the idea of having my own little baby is becoming more and more appealing to me.
80. Eleanor and Cecelia are my favorite girls’ names; Benjamin and James (Jamie) are my favorite boys’ names.

81. My favorite thing in the world is hugging.
82. I’m also a sucker for sappy greeting cards.
83. I have a box underneath my bed filled with cards I’ve gotten over the years.
84. I cry at the drop of a hat.
85. I have always been a spontaneous crier.
86. My family has teased me about it for years.

87. I have curly hair.
88. When I was younger, I used to cry because my mom wouldn’t let me get a perm like 1980s fashion demanded.
89. I should probably thank her for not having allowed me to ruin my life like that.
90. Now, I have a love/hate relationship with my curls… but we’re making progress.

91. I love to make people laugh.
92. I used to use it as a defense mechanism for nerves.
93. Now I just like the feeling of bringing a smile to someone’s face.
94. I really envy people with great laughs.
95. My brother has the best laugh of anyone I know.
96. I think that my own laugh is very garish.

97. I’ve been blogging for almost four years, and I’ve been meaning to do a list like this for nearly as long.
98. Sometimes I get bored reading lists on other people’s blogs.
99. Now that I’ve done my own, I feel bad about that.
100. This was sort of hard, so I hope someone made it to the end!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

is it bad that this almost made me cry a little?

(portion of an interview with Ryan Dempster from Mark DeRosa's MLBlog)

DEROSA: I'm going to set a scene for you: Kerry Wood on the mound, Game 7 of the World Series in Wrigley Field. Ground ball to second, DeRosa throws it to D-Lee, game over, Cubs are World Series champs. What happens?

DEMPSTER: Pandemonium. I'd say the top of the Budweiser building blows off. People storm the field. Huge chunks of ivy are ripped off the walls. Police cars are turned over on Addison, on Waveland, on Sheffield, and you can't walk within a 45-block radius of Wrigley Field because people will be drinking there for seven to 10 days. What a great feeling.

Bring it on, October!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

what's in a (nick)name

I watched a few reruns of The Office this weekend. One of my favorites was the one where Pam and Jim go over to Michael and Jan’s for a dinner party, and it’s super freaky because Michael and Jan keep calling each other “babe” in the most passive-aggressive act of mock-affection I’ve ever seen. On the way home, Pam and Jim pick up the trend, and it’s hilarious.

That got me thinking about stupid pet names that I hate – such as “boo” – which then got me thinking about nicknames. More specifically, those lucky enough to have cool ones. Like my dad. He’s been known as Pex since childhood. Not because he has rippling pectoral muscles or looks like Gregory Peck, but simply because he happens to share a first name with the actor.

I wrote about my friend Chappy once, and I have another friend called Smooth. There’s the kind that are obvious – a family friend who’s known as Dimps because of two very prominent dimples in his cheeks – and the kind that take some explanation, like my college friends Money and Peaches. Some origins will never really be known, such as a family friend named Walter who’s been called Rocky since before I was born. Some of my friends are just lucky enough to have names that lend themselves to cool nicknames, like Bugs, Ligda, and Filthy.

There was one kid, Robbie – who I pretended to hate but very secretly liked – who called me Sherbert (yes, with the second “r”) which his brilliant third-grade mind derived from the pronunciation of my last name. In eighth grade, I got “the Rachel” hair cut, but the hairdresser neglected to mention that with my curly hair, the cut would be less “Rachel-y” and more “vomit-y.” One day in gym as the class was running laps, I heard two girls say my hair made me look like a shaggy dog. They called me Lassie for a few weeks until they moved onto a new target.

I’ve had one cool nickname in my life, and I have a small, German woman to thank for it.

In high school, I was a dietary aide in a hospital near my house, and my best friend Sean started working there senior year. We worked the dinner shift together, spooning out portions of flavorless food, sneaking pudding cups from the walk-in cooler, and racing the rest of the staff to see who could sanitize the fastest. One of our supervisors was a very small, very German lady named Annie. Although most of our coworkers couldn’t stand her, Sean and I liked Annie for many reasons, not least of all being her thick accent. She would stand at the end of the tray assembly line and shout out the items missing from each. “Banana!” “Soup! “Blue milk!” for two-percent.

One particularly memorable day, I had accidentally put juice on the tray of a patient who was on a liquid-restriction diet. Nearly shaking in her small frame, she shouted, “No juice!”… except with her German accent, it came out as – you guessed it – “No Jews!”

In the six years that I worked there, she could never say my name correctly and called me Bocky every single time. On my last day, she was quite a bit more saddened by my departure than I had expected, and she gave me a small gift with a card that said “Good luck, Becky – you’re a good girl.” I never knew if she had thought my name was Bocky all along and just learned she’d been using the wrong vowel the entire time, or if it really was her foreign accent that resulted in the coolest nickname of all time.

Sean relayed the story to everyone at school, and he would continue to call me Bocky for a number of years. When he came to visit me at Saint Joe, my new friends asked him why he called me Bocky, so he gladly retold the tale, resulting in several new passengers hopping aboard the Bocky Train.

Now, my mom calls me Bob. She’s actually called me Bob for years, but I’ve just recently come to appreciate it.

It started sometime in the early 90s, when Michael Jordan made the Chicago Bulls unstoppable. My brother, probably around 6 at this time, my mom, my aunt Jen, and I were at the mall looking for “Bulls Stuff,” as my brother called it, for his bedroom. My aunt and I are very close in age, which gave us a sort of camaraderie when it came to teasing Timmy. We were talking about him, making fun of something, and he started to get frustrated that no one was listening to him. He kept saying my name, trying to get me to listen or just shut up, and he finally got so upset that he squeezed his eyes shut, balled up his fists, and inhaled sharply, intending to shout my name so loud it would echo off the shop windows and kiosks. Instead of yelling “Becky,” though, in his aggravation, it came out “Bobky” with about forty exclamation points following. We laughed, he got angrier, but the name never really went away. My mom – and, for a while, my aunt – has faithfully called me Bob, Bobby, or some variation ever since. Timmy denies that this ever happened or that he had any part whatsoever in the creation of the title.

When I was living in Rensselaer, I used to save voicemails from my mom just so I could hear her cheerfully say “Hi, Bobby!” when I was feeling lonely. When I visited, she could tell my footsteps on the deck before I opened the door, and always shouted “Hey, Bob!” from where ever she was in the house. At one point, my dad even started greeting me as Bob on the phone, but I think only because it cracked me up every time he said it.

Now that I’m back at home and seeing my mom every day, she doesn’t call me anything but Bob. Yesterday, she said “Goodnight, Becky,” and we both sort of stopped in our tracks with puzzled looks on our faces, not quite registering what exactly had happened except that whatever it was, it wasn’t right.

I guess it shouldn’t matter what people call you as long as it’s meaningful. My poppy Chuck called me Rebecca; it will never feel right for anyone else to ever call me that. My dad always calls me Beck, even in emails. My grandma calls me Sweetheart, and that will always be hers. My brother has several choice names he uses when he wants to get my attention, but I'm particularly fond of Dump Face.

It’s all about the love, man.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

it's good to be back home.

Thank you, Kendra, for checking my blog 73 times in the past month and a half and making me realize how much I miss blogging. (And thanks to everyone who left me wonderful comments about coming back... and to Phil who was a total jerk about it every day.) I let this page take a backseat to the new things in my life, and for a while, it somehow felt less important now that I'm no longer living alone and starving for human interaction. But since I've been away, I have a bunch of things to write about... so maybe a break was good. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Previously, on Becky's Blog: You may remember that I recently quit my job at my alma mater located in the middle of a cornfield town in north-central Indiana and upgraded to a fancier position at Big Time University in Chicago. Recall also that I moved out of my lovely one-bedroom apartment in said sleepy cornfield town and opted to stay with my parents for an undisclosed period of time. All my beautiful things were put into storage, and I crammed myself back into the room I grew up in, a bigger bed, nicer wardrobe, and more tangible dreams keeping me company this time.

Now I wear sneakers to work and slip them off under my desk. I bring a lunch filled with healthy and fulfilling foods. And although I've traded in my semi-private office for a very-public cubicle, having my work (not to mention browser windows) on display to the entire office has helped keep me on track and accomplish more throughout the day. Thanks to books-on-tape(CD), I look forward to my two-hour commute. With the exception of yesterday, I haven't eaten fast food in almost a month. And even though I broke my ban on the stuff, I did so with a turkey sandwich on wheat from Jimmy Johns.

Five Good Things About My New Life

  • Actually enjoying getting up at 5 a.m. (sometimes 5:30 if I hit snooze overload) and getting things accomplished in the morning
  • Being in a more professional work environment (although I sure do miss wearing flip-flops to work!)
  • Having "roommates" again
  • No longer having to bring work home with me (neither physically nor mentally)
  • Having my weekends completely footloose and fancy-free

Five Things I Miss About My Old Life

  • Not having to put seventy miles on my poor car every day, five days a week
  • Having people around whom I consider friends rather than simply coworkers (with the exception of Steve, of course... but I only very loosely consider him a friend.)
  • The summer smell of the popcorn factory when the breeze hits just right in Rensselaer
  • Having friendships and personal connections to alumni
  • Busy Bee Ice Cream being right across the street (although that could arguably fit on the other list, as well).

Here are some other things you might like to know.

I work on the 17th floor of an awesome building with a beautiful view of the skyline and the sun rising on the lake. Of course, this puts me right in the heart of White Sox country, but I represent my team every chance I get. I’m proud to be one of four Cubs fans in an office of fifty employees.

I’m almost slightly worried about just how much I’m enjoying living with my parents. My mom and dad are probably the best around – they’re funny, laid back, and just downright cool – so I wasn’t expecting much of an issue there… but I’m surprised at how little we’ve gotten on each other’s nerves so far. (And I’m probably jinxing it just by mentioning the fact.) I moved in on May 12, and in that time, I can count on one hand – with a few fingers to spare – how many spats we’ve had, and even then, it’s always been over something tiny. My brother is home from school for the summer, and having the four of us back in the house is like old times. Better than old times because now we can all legally drink beer.

I’ve decided to allow myself to go out with Young Gun should the opportunity arise. (Thanks to Brandy, my colloquial nickname guru extraordinaire for dubbing my wee little friend.) I really appreciate everyone’s thoughtful comments, and I took them all to heart when considering this matter. And even though dating sucks even under the best circumstances – with someone your own age, comparable height, similar viewpoints, great musical tastes – the fact is, even though I’m hesitant to complicate an already painful situation… it’s summertime, and I want to have a fling, dammit! That being said, I don’t have high hopes for anything coming of all this talk, but it’s good to know that I have permission to move forward just in case.

For the first time in a long time, I’m excited about summer. I’ve done some awesome things so far (Local H concert, art and photography exhibits, Jersey Boys), and I have some even more awesome plans coming up, including visiting the most beautiful baby girl in the world (Hi, Isabelle!), an all-inclusive weekend extravaganza of fun and travel with Brandy (hereby referred to as “Becky in the John Weekend” for reasons I won’t explain except to say that it has NOTHING to do with a bathroom, get your minds out of the gutter), my first and probably only Cubs game of the season (when the team gets good, the tickets get expensive), Counting Crows/Maroon 5/Sara Bareilles concert, JIM GAFFIGAN show, and many more.

I didn’t post a single blog in the entire month of June (my bad…), but I did manage to change my masthead. The one I made for June just happened to be my favorite, and because I didn’t visit my blog at all, I never got to look at it. So I’m going to post it here again, to live on in the archives forever:

(And just because National Dairy Month is over doesn’t mean you should slack on your milk, kids. Or your cheese, for that matter.)

Friday, May 30, 2008

i MISS you guys!!

Hey! Remember me? Man, do I miss blogging. My new job is great, but I don't have any free time during the day like I used to at Saint Joe. I guess I can admit that I used to blog from my office all the time, now that I don't work there anymore :) Anyway, I've got a big weekend of bubble wrap, cardboard boxes, and UHauls ahead of me - guess what I'm doing?! - but I promise that as soon as that's all behind me, I'll get back to regular posting.

Here are some things to look forward to should you choose to keep the faith:

- The rocking-ness of the Local H concert last weekend.
- My lukewarm feelings and subsequent confusion at said feelings about the new Sex and the City movie.
- Musings about moving back home with my parents in my mid-twenties.
- Sitting in an hour and a half of traffic every morning to get to work versus my former three-minute commute to Saint Joe.
- And, of course, the awesome-ness of my new job.

Hey, real quick - what do you guys consider an acceptable and appropriate age difference between a couple? For example... I'm 25. How much older/younger is my date allowed to be?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

and tomorrow say goodbye

Today is my last full day working for Saint Joseph's College. It's been a strange couple of weeks. It just sort of feels like everything happened so quickly, from the time I had my first phone interview with Big Time University to the day I faced my biggest fear and gave verbal notice of my resignation to my boss.

It's hard not to feel like I'm just going on vacation for a few days. This last week in the office has been filled with the creation of address books, contact sheets, and instruction manuals for whoever fills my seat. A couple times, I've had to correct myself from thinking, "Oh, I can do that next week - no big deal." Next week I will not work here anymore. I'll have two less keys on my ring and one less parking pass dangling from my rearview mirror.

I keep having to remind myself that I'm only leaving a job - not the people I've met or places I've discovered along the way. I guess it's been particularly difficult for me because Saint Joe was never just my place of employment. It's also my alma mater, but it's even more than that. It's the place where I literally discovered myself - the place where I learned about who I was, wanted to be, and am. The place where I learned the rules and the steps necessary to become the kind of person I've always wanted to be.

It's always been the home to the memories I have of the incredible people I met who accepted me as a shy, clueless freshman and embraced me as a young woman with newfound hopes and dreams and goals. Staying on as an employee after ending my work as a student felt like an extension of those memories. Every day, I pass by the apartment where I lived with three of the most remarkable women God has ever created. I eat lunch in the tree-lined Grotto where I prayed, contemplated, and relaxed countless times over four years of personal and professional stress and heartache. I walk the sidewalks of a campus where I learned the means of becoming a respectable and intelligent person.

It's been easy to remember these things because I never left. In many ways, I still feel like a student. It's been difficult, over the last three years, to remind myself that I'm no longer a student. I wonder how long I'll be reminding myself that I'm no longer an employee.

Now I'm just an alumna. I'm a face in a crowd of 10,000 alumni, all returning to their alma mater for sporting events, reunions, and award ceremonies. And I'm looking forward to living my life as a full-time Saint Joe alum, where as I've had to put that status on hold as an employee. I'm excited to come back and enjoy Homecoming with my friends instead of running myself ragged staffing all the different events of the weekend. It'll be fun to come back and see a play or football game without having to worry about taking pictures for the PR photo archive. I can hardly wait to come back in the fall and see the leaves change instead of having to miss it because I work too many hours.

I guess it's the time of the season for these bittersweet emotions, though. I worked at my last SJC Commencement last weekend, and in seven years, I've never heard such lovely and heartfelt speeches. I left the Fieldhouse that day feeling inspired, grateful, and, above all, lucky. I spent the day feeling proud of the fact that I ever had something to do with the Saint Joe community. And while I was surrounded by a couple hundred tearful graduates hugging and celebrating, I was quietly saying goodbye to the sights and sounds that I've grown to consider my own over the years, taking one last, long drink of my campus and savoring the flavor.

I'm excited for a change - really, I am. I couldn't be happier that everything worked out with Big Time University, and I'm looking forward to finding other ways that I can serve my alma mater outside of employment.

It's just the transition that's taking a little out of me. The breaking of routines and the forming of new ones. The changes.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

week eight: current coworkers (for two more days)*

50/365. Katherine (S.) P. (2005-present)
You were the very best intern I ever could have asked for, and I probably would have quit my job if not for you.

51/365. Angela (K.) D. (2007-present)
I sang at your wedding before I knew you; now you greet me by first and last name. Enjoy your new desk toy!

52/365. Kendra (I.) (2003-present)
I think you're adorable in every way, and I've really loved getting to know you through your hilarious personality. I'll miss singing with you!

53/365. Leslie (H.) (2005-present)
I used to be afraid of you. But I'm glad we got to be friends, and I'm sorry I won't sell you my stuff :)

54/365. Beth G. (2005-present)
I still can't believe we never met as students. After everything you've gone through, I admire your strength more than I can ever express.

55/365. Maureen E. (2003-present)
You may not believe me: I'm so grateful for all your leadership, guidance, and (especially) friendship. Thank you for all you've done for me.

56/365. Melanie C. (2005-present)
When I was an intern, you were the only one from "next door" who always smiled at me. Thanks for making me feel welcome.

*25x365 is posted every Tuesday... except during the month of April since I was too busy, and except for today since it is Wednesday.