Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Magic Soda

I've been stressed out recently. I won't lie. It crept up slowly, and I didn't even really notice it until I was ordering a Big Mac in the McDonalds drive thru (I hate McDonalds) and I realized that it was my third meal at McDonalds in one day. I don't even know how I got there. I just remember that one day I meant to say "Diet Coke" and "Big Mac Meal with large fries" came out. That's about the ninth level of stress. The tenth level involves Taco Bell, is not at ALL pretty, and has only been reached once in recent history (finals week last semester.)

Turns out I AM an emotional eater. Wow. Who knew? (Shut it zlionsfan.)

Anyway, stressed. After a pretty good summer, I actually found myself avoiding the stress. I knew I had to get back to reality....but the summer was filled with other sorts of easy-to-manage stress. Not the can-completely-alter-your-future-in-a-bad-way stress. So not only was I eating, I was also burrowing my head in the sand, ostrich style. This past weekend it came to a head, and I finally got everything sorted out if not to my liking, at least as close as it can BE to my liking. Still, with everything coming to a head, my stress went from benign over-eating to periodic freak-outs and the need to incessantly discuss my options over and over and over ad nauseum. Ugh.

The boy has been patient. He waited until last night, and suggested that I try this new beverage that he found. He said that he noticed that I've been a bit stressed (understatement) and since it's called "calm" he thought it might help. It looked suspect, but I tried it. It wasn't fabulous. The conversation that the boy and I had about it went like this:

Boy: "So, how is it?"
Me: "Oh, it's okay. It's nothing fabulzzzzzzzzzz"

Seriously. That stuff put me OUT. "Calm" my rear end. "Comatose" would be more like it. That stuff must have NyQuil in it or something. It was ridiculous. I was out within 10 minutes from drinking it. Prior to drinking the soda, I was chatting about the recent fantasy football draft, loving on my dogs, and silently freaking out about how classes have started. After drinking the soda I remember nothing until I semi-woke up and stumbled to bed from the couch.

I still don't know if the boy knew what would happen when he offered me the seemingly-innocent drink... but I'm going to assume he had his suspicions*. I also don't know that the drink solved anything long term, because I'm still stressed... but at least now I'm stressed and well rested.

*my boss already asked. No, I don't know where the boy got the magic soda, but I think it should only be used for good and not evil.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Hunting (with illustrations)

I like to figure things out. Like anyone, I want to know the answers. I want to know WHY. But, unlike others (most notably, the boy,) it's not always about the knowing for me. Sometimes it's more about the finding out. It's about the searching. So I like to find random information by what I call scavenger hunts. Let me explain...

The rules are pretty dependent on the situation, but I like to ask people (friends, relatives, strangers on the street) whatever question we are discussing, and see if they have the answer. Sort of like a "shout out" on Cash Cab. I generally don't like to consult any type of reference text or the internet. I like to poll the general public.

For example, the boy and I were driving somewhere once and for fun decided to take the Friends challenge and name all 50 states. When we were successful (and pretty full of ourselves) we attempted all 50 state capitals. We got stuck on South Carolina. I had an atlas in the back (that I didn't mention to the boy) but we started calling friends and acquaintances at my suggestion. The first three calls yielded nothing, but it was still fun to call random friends, ask them a random question, and then see where the conversation led. I was enjoying myself. I didn't notice the boy getting antsy. The next call was to the boy's parents. When they didn't know the answer, I heard him ask his mom to get a map. I got upset. He ruined the game! I wanted to know the answer, of course, but I also enjoyed calling friends and family and having brief conversations about what people thought and how embarrassed we were about not really knowing. I didn't really care if I found out the answer right then. (I also got several emails the following Monday from everyone who had either looked it up or remembered in their sleep that night...) I couldn't really explain why the map was cheating, but I knew that it was. The boy thought I was crazy. After several other such "scavenger hunts" he's more resigned to my antics, but he still doesn't always like it.

I call my scavenger hunting another adorable quirk. Others might call it "one more reason why Emily is still single." I'm sure zlionsfan will use it as more proof that I am an extrovert (and not an introvert in extrovert's clothing as I am fond of claiming.) Whatever. I just think it's more about the journey than the destination sometimes.

Since the move, I've been exploring the neighborhood more and more on my walks with the dogs. With the beautiful weather lately, our walks have gotten longer and longer. Luckily, I live within walking distance to both my alma mater and Crown Hill Cemetery,. (come find me stalkers!!) Both great places to walk dogs.

I was introduced to Crown Hill when I was in college. My then-roommate took a field trip to the highest point in Indianapolis.
When I asked where it was, she wouldn't tell me, so I set out to find it for myself. Turns out, it's the tomb of James Whitcomb Riley and it's got a GREAT view of the Indianapolis skyline. I've since returned to his grave several times with random friends and family in tow. Not only are the grounds of the cemetery beautiful, but with this view, I think it's a neat little trip to take. Now that I'm within walking distance, it's a trek that the dogs and I take regularly. The hill makes me feel like I'm actually getting a workout - Bonus! I used to always drive when I would take friends and family. Now that I'm walking more, I've stumbled upon the grave of Benjamin Harrison as well, so I was curious about the other famous people who are buried in Crown Hill. When I printed off the list, both the boy and I were most intrigued with finding the grave of John Dillinger. Originally I thought we could just search for it on our own. The boy humored me at first. I think he knew this would be short lived. Um, I'm not so good with spatial relationships. After walking though just one part of the cemetery, and then rounding a bend in the road to see yet another huge area stretching before us, I got an idea of just how large the third largest non-government cemetery (and 555 acres) really is. So I set about finding a "clue."

After rollerblading one night (I thought we could cover more ground that way) we ran into the evening security man. I struck up a conversation and asked him about Dillinger's grave. He named the road it was near. Sweet! The next day the boy and I went back with the dogs and combed the area near that road. No dice. I still thouroughly enjoyed myself - after all, it was a warm summer night, the dogs were getting exercised, we were taking what amounted to a very nice stroll.... Nothing lost, right? The boy, however, was frustrated. He wanted to find the grave NOW. We hadn't reached our goal! The horror!! On our way out that night, we saw the security guy again, and at the boy's request, I stopped to get more information as to where the grave was specifically located. The security man thought for a second and then offered to meet us the next night at 7:00 pm to take us there himself.

The boy was excited. Me? Well... I still wanted to do it myself. I mused to the boy that if only I could find a picture of the grave with some background included, maybe that would be enough. The boy was already impatient after a fruitless night of searching and said that my idea probably wouldn't work anyway.

Undeterred, I searched the next afternoon and found this:

BINGO! That was EXACTLY what I wanted. The building in the back? White with big windows? Surely I could find that. I left work at 5:00 and had the dogs with me at Crown Hill by 5:30. At first I walked along the road where I had been with the boy, but in the opposite direction. Nothing. And of course, this was one of those beastly hot days. Luckily, there are plenty of spigots for the dogs to drink from. At 6:10, I figured I was in the wrong place, and we turned back. By the time we got back to the car, I was ready to admit defeat and just meet our guide to find the grave. I hadn't really lost anything, right? I had just had a nice walk and I was pretty much ensured a peaceful evening with tired dogs. I didn't really care that I hadn't found anything...I still knew that eventually we would find the grave. But then, at the last minute, when I realized that I had a bit more time to kill, I decided to drive back along the ground that the boy and I had already covered. At that point, I saw this:

SWEET!! Since the boy and I had already covered the ground closest to the road, I took a path a bit further back and while driving past, suddenly spotted this:

I believe my exact words were, "Holy shit, I found it!" I could NOT believe it and I was ridiculously pleased with myself. The dogs didn't seem to understand the magnitude of my achievement. After several attempts to take Casey's picture with Dillinger's grave, (she was more interested in the squirrel that was tormenting Blue) I finally contented myself with the grave itself and took off to meet the boy.

When I met the boy, we waited to meet the security man amidst more cars than we had ever seen at the funeral home. I'm not sure whose funeral was in progress, but he sure had a lot of friends. In that chaos, we waited until 7:10 and never saw our guide. The boy was dejected. I debated telling him what I had done, and then rationalized that he would be happier if he actually got to see the grave, right? So I pulled out my camera and showed him the picture. He didn't understand at first and then said, "You found it?"

"Damn right I did!!" I couldn't even contain my glee at this point. Surprisingly, he wasn't upset. Maybe he figured that even if the journey is what's important to me, that's okay - as long as he gets to the destination also. We'll see if that happens. For now, he was happy to find Dillinger's grave.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Brag Blog

There is no reason for this post other than to show the gratuitous cuteness of two of the three roommates I live with (sometimes known as "my babies" when I'm feeling super affectionate.) Moms get brag books that they carry in their purses. (And I do so love the pictures that they give me. Seriously. They're on my refrigerator. Keep that in mind, mothers whose sons I don't see often but who I love to pieces. (ahem, Sam, ahem) Cell phone pictures sometimes just aren't enough...)

I don't get a brag book. Plus, it would be very weird if I carried around pictures of my babies and made everyone look at them since, you know, they're not my actual babies.
[Besides, I don't want to be that person. I volunteer with that person. I am well acquainted with that person. Please kill me if I ever become that person.] But lucky for you all, I have a blog. And on this blog, I can post pictures that my supremely talented photographer friends take of my babies, and I can brag about how beautiful my babies are. [I know it's splitting hairs, but I figure that at least on a blog, you only have to read it if you want to. It's not like I'm pulling the pictures out at a party or something. Right? RIGHT??] I can also tell you that this fabulously awesome photographer captured Blue's personality perfectly in this snapshot, and I've now made it my desktop so that it makes me happy every time I change applications*. I am now sad that I never decided to take up photography and that I don't have the eye or the talent for it. However, I willingly offer up my house/dogs/car/body for her to photograph if she can promise to make me look as great as she made my dogs look. (To be fair, with me it might take a little more work in the form of girdles, makeup and creative lighting....)

Wait, you need more proof that I have a great photographer for a friend? Well, I don't know about you,
but I don't think I've ever seen quite such a beautiful profile as this one. Those eyes...those mismatched ears... I might be biased, but I think she deserves to get hit on as much as Blue does. This one doesn't capture Casey's personality as much as the one of Blue does... but unless we caught Casey snarling at a stranger and being completely bitchy, I'm not sure she would get much closer. Regardless, I'm sure she will have many more opportunites to try because I'm completely convinced that after last year's debacle, she's totally taking my Christmas picture this year. I'm still not thinking we'll be able to get Laney in it, but with Tyson MIA at least we have a shot...

Oh, and in case subtlety isn't for you, I think you should visit Ann, and visit her often. The pictures are worth it. Her talent can only grow, and if you befriend her now, maybe she'll take your picture and make you look cute too. (Ann, in the future I am totally willing to trade portraits for vet care.)

*This actually led to the following conversation today (possibly more than once.)
[spoken in baby voice] "Oh. Blue is such a good boy. GoodBoyBlue. You are such a good boy! Blue'sAGoodBoy!!"

"Are you talking to your computer?"


(muffled snicker)

"You're just jealous that you don't have a dog this adorable. [baby voice again] GoodBoyBlue..."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Antenna of Happiness

After a full day of volunteering on Saturday, I had my friend Jmac over for dinner. I made my signature dish (read: only thing I make well) of Peruvian fajitas. This is the recipe my mother taught me. [Side note: In high school, if I liked a boy, I would invite him over and have my mother make fajitas. It was sort of a closer for me. I don't think they've lost their effect on men over the years...]

Before dinner we walked the dogs. On the walk, I mentioned the lack of cable at my home. I believe Jmac's exact words were, "So wait, you don't have an antenna either? So there's nothing on your TV that isn't already on a DVD." When I nodded the affirmative, he thought for a second and said, "When we get back, let me check my car. I think I have an antenna in my trunk."

I won't get into exactly WHY there was an antenna in his trunk, but I will say that the antenna works with my TV, and I now get NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX perfectly clearly because Jmac let me keep the antenna. If I can stand the snow, I can also make out figures on the CW4. The important thing to get out of that information is the part where I mentioned that I get NBC clearly.

Even though the coverage of the Olympics that I've seen has brought back horrifying memories of how bad the NBC coverage was for the LAST Olympics, this doesn't mean I don't want to watch what I can of THIS Olympics. Thanks to Jmac, now I can. Also thanks to Jmac, I am now sleep deprived. Seriously, what the hell is up with coverage for the Olympics lasting until two in the morning and beyond? I mean, some of us have to work to support ourselves. Some of us don't function well on very little sleep. Some of us are very very interested in how May-Treanor and Walsh will do in beach volleyball. (FINALS TONIGHT PEOPLE!!)

Once the Olympics glow wore off, I realized that such shows as Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, and How I Met Your Mother can be watched in Emily's apartment. My happiness simply can not be expressed. I've already stopped reading, my IQ is dropping, and my attention span is lessening. I'm totally ready for my next semester of Organic Chem now!

But so so happy...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to Purchase a Wedding Gift

Step 1: receive invitation and determine which stores the bride and groom have registered at. (There are usually nifty little cards that indicate the store's name and website. Failing that, it may be written on the back of the invitation. Failing THAT, you can always call and ask.)

Step 2: drive/walk/bike to aforementioned store. (If multiple stores, choose your favorite and go there. After all, you probably want to purchase something for yourself as well. I mean, you're already going to be there... why not take advantage? Consider it part of the "wedding expenses."

Alternate (much easier) Step 2: Log into store's website. This may be boring, but I have found it saves me a LOT of money.

Step 3: Find the inevitable kiosk where you can view and print the couple's registry. Usually near the front of the store. Look near Customer Service. If you see flying doves, or a pastel rattle, you're in the right place.

Alternate (much easier) Step 3: Click on the "wedding registry" link on the store website (usually also marked with flying doves or a pastel rattle.)

Step 4: Find the couple's wedding registry (using the bride/groom's name and state where the wedding will take place) and print it out. (I wonder if it's the "print it out" part where people get tripped up? Look, I know we're all trying to be green and all....but this is important. If worse comes to worst, you can always take the registry home with you and recycle it. (If it's more than four pages long, feel free to judge the bride and buy her a cheap gift.)

Alternate (much easier) Step 4: Search for the online registry using the bride/groom's name.

Step 5: Choose item from registry that you would like to purchase. (My choices are usually governed by budget. Some people like to find something that will make the bride think of them while using it. Don't bother. Of the brides I've polled, many can't even remember if what they're holding was a wedding gift at all, much less who gave it to them.)

Step 6: Take chosen item to the checkout counter to purchase.

Alternate (much easier) Step 6: Click on chosen item on the online registry.

Step 7: Purchase item. (Believe it or not, couples don't usually like stolen gifts. Probably because they don't get the gift receipt to exchange it with.)

Step 8*: (VERY IMPORTANT) Hand registry to cashier.

If these steps are conducted in the proper manner - particularly step 8 - situations where people may purchase duplicate items from the registry (and perhaps have to carry a large bulky blanket halfway across the continent - because it costs money to check luggage - before finding out that it must be returned because someone doesn't know "wedding present purchasing etiquitte") can be avoided. If the person who has to return their duplicate gift happens to - oh, I don't know - know the bride well, and can actually find out WHO the idiot was who doesn't know how to use a bridal registry...well...that might breed resentment and anger.

Just a guess.

I'm pretty sure the bride and groom would also appreciate if idiocy can be avoided and these simple steps are followed because - hello! - who has time to return duplicate gifts? They're on their honeymoon people!

*Note: Step 8 is only necessary if physically at the store. The neat thing about online shopping is that the gift is automatically removed from the registry, so there's no way they're getting a duplicate. Technology - makes even stupid people seem smart.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Family Affair

Where did I go? Well, this past weekend I went to California and married my cousin.

Not the sort of "married my cousin" that the less enlightened associate with the midwest (since we obviously live in the dark ages) but the sort where I got ordained on the internet (just call me Minister Emily) and conducted her marriage ceremony.

Behold minister Emily.

The never-been-married minister is obviously imparting a very important piece of marital advice.

The experience? It was awesome.

Oh I wasn't awesome. Not at all. I mean, between the shaking legs, and the fingers that couldn't even hold the rings steady when passing them off to my cousin and her new husband...sheesh...and don't even get me started on how lucky I was not to cry. Still, the ceremony was awesome. Some of the best weddings I've been to have been the ones where the couple is brave enough to tailor the ceremony to fit them like a glove (hello Vanessa and Gregg!!) Those ceremonies are always the most intimate and make every member of the audience feel like they know the couple well....even if you're only a close friend of the bride or the groom individually. This ceremony was like that. I'm pretty sure that if my cousin didn't get everything she wanted out of her wedding day, then 99% of her wishes came true. I was honored to be asked to conduct the ceremony and glad I could do my part - shaking legs and all.

Highlights? Well, my mother's camcorder refused to work for the duration of the ceremony, so unfortunately (fortunately?) there will be no footage on YouTube of the auspicious event. This was the first ceremony I've been to that began with a story that took place in a "galaxy far far away." The bride walked herself in and was struggling to contain her tears from the very beginning....as were her bridesmaids. The after party included Rock Band. And the cake? Um, it was made by one of my cousin's bridesmaids. From scratch. Even the cake topper. Wanna see?

Seriously. From scratch. The flowers? Made from scratch. Not plastic. The cupcakes? Made from scratch. Very cool, yes? In her own words, she "made some motherfucking cakes." :-)

Unfortunately, aside from giving me more ideas about how I want my (possible) future wedding to go, I have no new insights on marriage from this experience. I just know that I hope I'm as obviously filled with joy as my cousin was when she walked down the aisle.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


"Oh my goodness! You get in at 11:45pm!"

"But I leave after work, mom."

"But so late! That's so late!"

"But I don't have to take Wednesday off."

"Oh. Oh. And it's about an eight hour flight..."

"Six hours if you ignore the whole time change thing."

"...so I guess that makes sense. Okay. But you don't get home until 9:53pm on Monday! You'll be so tired!"

"Yes. We're all about the cheap ticket here, mom."

"Is that why you make 50 stops on the way there and back?"

"Yep. Cheap. Ticket."

"I'm sure they would have had a non-stop flight for you."

"They did. I was looking at cheap. We're all about cheap here."

"Well, I guess we all have our priorities."

"Yes. And mine is cheap. Inexpensive. As close to zero dollars as possible."

"Are you checking a bag?"

"Are you kidding me?!"

Monday, August 04, 2008

The One Where I Screamed Like a Girl

Cockroaches. Cockroaches seriously scare me. Like immobilize me with fear. I dislike other creatures with more than 4 legs, but I can usually get over that long enough to do something to end the uncomfortable situation.* Even with the big hairy spiders.

But I startle easily. Open a door suddenly and I shriek. Tap me on the shoulder when I'm not expecting it and you'll get a full on scream. Say something vague like "Watch out" and I will duck, cover, and sound like I'm being eaten alive. (I do better with "Watch out for the spider web," or "Watch out for the big stick." Be specific people. I like to know my enemies.)

So I would like to clarify that when we were hiking on Sunday, and we came across this,
I did not scream out of fear, I screamed because I was startled. Startled. Some may have interpreted it as fear, but I assure you it was not. I was surprised.

And my unwillingness to approach the snake after it had been properly identified and we had taken many pictures....well... that was just common sense. After all, Casey didn't seem to care much about it, why should I?

What I found amazing about the whole experience were these things:

1) Stacey didn't notice the snake, and she seems to be much more frightened of them than I am. I would think her "snake radar" would be heightened when hiking in the woods. Much like my "spider radar" is on full blast in those situations.

2) Casey seriously didn't care about the snake. She saw it, sniffed it while passing, and continued on her way.

3) Upon seeing the snake, I halted mid-step and jumped backwards. I seriously immediately stopped all forward momentum and went in the opposite direction. I didn't even think such a thing was possible. I surely can't do it on the volleyball court - no matter how hard I try. Maybe I need snakes on the volleyball court?

I'm sure that eventually there will be more pictures from this group outing we took to Turkey Run State Park. Unfortunately, I didn't take a camera, and I haven't received many pictures from the others who did. (ahem.) Well, okay - I should clarify. I'm not all "photographer-y." I like pictures with people, so THAT'S what I'm waiting for. Stacey can post all the pretty pictures of scenery that she wants, and I'm not going to steal them :-)

It was going to be the crazy dog convention of the century, but alas, Cash was unable to attend. In his place we got to see Emma be SO HAPPY in the water, and then be SO UNHAPPY when taken out. The dogs all had a good time wearing themselves out, and there was one situation with Blue and some innertubes that I might tell you about later, but all in all I would say that Emma with her talking, her backpack, her love of the water, and her parents playing good cop/bad cop....well, she was the highlight. You should go pester her mom to post some pictures of our hike.

*"Something" includes calling the boy or the whole "live and let live" philosophy. I never said I always killed the things.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Hindsight is 20/20

So everyone needs some cheese on a random Friday, right? I found one of my favorite bloggers (Clink) earlier this year, and immediately sent a link to my friend Alisa. It was love at first blog. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we totally stole this idea and decided to do a joint post of our own...

(check out Alisa's here.)

Hola Chica!

You are eighteen years old! You just started having sex! You are on top of the world! You are about to start college in less than a month. You just started having sex!!

Let me start by saying how beautiful you are. You are not fat - shut up. You've always been beautiful. You never believe it (and during that "perm phase" maybe you had a point) but you should. I promise that eventually you will be comfortable in your own skin, but if you could start that process earlier (like now) then things will be MUCH easier down the road. Trust me.

I'm sorry to tell you - your mom is right. The university you chose is not quite the right fit for you. Don't worry - you make it work, and it actually helps you realize some things you never want to become. As a bonus, you'll escape with one or two good friends who are with you through thick and thin. I know that senior year is rough, and all you do is hate, but you did do well by choosing a liberal arts college. And a beautiful campus. And a good education. All in all, though - your mom was right. And here's the worst part - that's not the last time that's going to happen.

You are in loooooove right now. But of course you don't know it. Oh no. You think you're dating this kid who you really enjoy spending time with (not to mention having sex with) but that you're completely in control of the situation. Behold - you didn't even cry when you left him to go to college. I'm here to tell you that you're in love. You're deeply in love and the sooner you face that, the better off you are. But we'll get back to him later.

You make some missteps in college - everyone does. But good things happen too. You try to continue in colorguard (so not the same) and it takes a ridiculously long time to rid yourself of the marching band. They are persistent!! (Not to worry - by the time you're 30, that embarrassing band picture that includes you has rotated up to the top level of of the fieldhouse, and should be gone soon.) You'll meet one of your best friends over a shared love of steak night. You'll join a sorority (I know, right? Trust me, thirty-year-old Emily can't believe it either) because of this same good friend (who will then leave you high and dry in said sorority) but you'll find it in your heart to forgive her. You'll meet some great women in the sorority and you'll have some great times, though you'll eventually come away thinking that under no circumstances should that many women ever live under one roof. I would tell you to stay strong and not join, but I think that in the end, enough good came out of it that you're not entirely embarrassed to admit that indeed you are a Pi Beta Phi.

Of the women you meet your freshman year, the most persistent friend will surprise you. She will make many of the choices you don't know that you will envy later (except for that boyfriend thing. You called that one from the very beginning.) She'll end up sharing a lot of good times with you. Don't forget about her when your paths randomly separate. They will always reconnect, and you could do better about calling her every once in a while.

You're at the same university as one of your best male friends ever. He is so in love with you. You cherish him, but you'll never love him that way - though lord knows you'll try. I really really really wish I could convince you that you're meant for each other, but I know you're not, and surprisingly, you knew that too. You should trust your instincts more. You guys are still good friends, and you still cherish him. And even though he caused you all sorts of pain by telling you he chose to study abroad to get away from you, in doing so he actually introduces you to the idea of study abroad.

You go, and it is awesome. More awesome than you can possibly imagine. Truly a life changing experience.

You'll return ready to be done with rules and college and wanting to GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE ALREADY. Chill out, sister. You'll get there. And when you do, you'll wonder why you were in such a rush. Smell the roses a little more. (And could you stay away from the comfort food in the midst of all that angst? Seriously. That stuff is KILLER to work off later.)

I can use no word other than "blessed" to describe how lucky you are to stumble into your first job after college. Not for the career aspect. Nope. Even though you're 22 and you think you know it all, you're not ready for that yet. It's for the social aspect. You'll make some great and lasting friends from this job. You have no idea how much their support will mean to you. With your college and high school friends scattered to all ends of the earth, this tight social network makes your life in Indianapolis so much more fun and rewarding and you're so lucky for that.

Remember that boy you were SO in love with after high school? Yeah, well, you'll see him again. Run! Run like a scared rabbit!

Of course you don't. You're "meant to be," right? Well, I'm here to tell you that he's going to break your heart into a million pieces. This boy is going to bring you to your knees. You - who doesn't bend for anyone. I know it's hard to believe, but trust me. (Can I please please please convince you not to take him back that last time? Seriously. There's only so much you can do, Emily. Why sign up for more pain? AND DON'T GIVE HIM BACK THE RING!!! ARGH. If it helps, that last time is when he's going to be dating his future wife behind your back. Please please please stay strong!! Okay fine. You're still going to do anything for that jerk. Can I at least convince you to punch him in the nose that last time you see him? I promise you that you won't regret it, but you WILL regret not punching him.)

Um, I know you don't think you need it, but can you work on not carrying grudges? Maybe if you start now, fifty-year-old Emily has a chance to be good at forgiveness. :-)

So - shattered heart. That's the bad news. The good news is that you pick yourself up again, and you do a damned good job of it. I'm not gonna lie - it sucks and it takes a loooooooong time (and a LOOOOOOOOT of MarioKart,) but you get by with a little help from your friends (and those MarioKart skillz come in handy later on :-) When you do it (though you make some mistakes - kudos to realizing you're on a destructive path and stopping it all by yourself) you remake yourself into who you know you are, and promise to never compromise her again. See, that steel core was there all along - it just needed some reinforcing.

Along the way you meet some men, you realize that you are beautiful(ish), and you start what I consider your "real" life. No more waiting for Mr. Assface. (Um, did I mention that you may have some residual anger from this high school boyfriend? More reason to punch him when you can. Preferably before the engagement is called off. That ring could have done some damage. Sigh.) You start to grow into you and surround yourself with things that make you happy.

And while we're at this point, you know your best friend ever? That girl that is so totally going to be your maid of honor some day? The one who wears the "Be Fri" necklace to your "St Ends?" Yeah, not so much on that. You should walk away now. She lets you down when you need her most and it will break your friendship irreparably. You sever the friendship and you never look back. The ease with which you drop that relationship makes you realize that it wasn't all that great to begin with, even though you probably can't imagine life without her now.

While you're living your life, you find yourself, you eventually fall in love again, and you fill your time with many different activities that range from soccer to tutoring adults who are learning to read. Some activities stick around longer than others :-) Even though your friends think you're insane for having such a crazy schedule, it actually helps you out! While wandering aimlessly, you actually stumble into something that you love and want to dedicate your life to. I'll bet you didn't even know you had this much passion about a career, did you? Well, you do, and you find it at a point where you're strong enough to defend your decisions (unpopular as they may be) and stick to them.

How does that turn out? Well, I'm not sure. I guess we'll both have to wait to find out.

Remember to be bold and courageous. You'll always regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did. Even now, I have remarkably few regrets, so you'll do good. Even though it seems like sometimes you can't do anything right, you have love and support from so many people that you can't ever really fall far. Make sure to thank them and tell them that you love them as often as you can.

I know how you'll turn out, but I'll wish you luck anyway. (And enter one more plea to punch Mr. Assface. No? Pretty please?)

Do Good,
Old Emily