Friday, August 20, 2010

Back To School: If I Can Ever Figure This Out, That Is

I swear, colleges make their process so damn complicated, I'm starting to wonder how anyone in this country even has a degree. I don't know if it's like this in other parts of the world, too, but I can speak for my own undergrad and say it wasn't, so right now I am beyond frustrated.

I'm sure it doesn't help that I don't know exactly what I want to study. Is there some way to merge Public Administration (w a focus in Women's Studies) w Public Policy w Social Work w International Business w International Development w Languages?

What, that doesn't exist?

Oh, and to make matters worse, here's an obstacle made just for me; I don't think any (good) university in the US will accept my Bachelor's degree bc I obtained it from a fashion-specific college, where they use a French/Syrian grading system. Therefore, GPAs and transcripts do not exist, and so, in order to get this Master's degree I would so like to have, I am terrified I might need to go get me a new BA!


The complicatedness of the system alone was enough to deter me from going back to school years ago, back when I had had enough of fashion the last time (yes, it's happened more than once over the span of my career). But now that I'm seriously considering it, now that I've taken in the idea so much that it's practically a given in my own head, now that it's been marinating in my brain for months -- well, now it's not enough to deter me, but with the added unforeseen challenges, it is enough to make me crazy.

Yesterday I researched schools for 5 minutes. Five minutes! And my brain was fried. That happens every single time I try to get somewhere with this goal. Time and again I realize why it is so much easier to stay in a miserable job than to do something new with your life. But I refuse to let that be me.

One of these days I'm gonna figure this whole thing out and laugh about how frustrated I was. Actually, what I think is gonna happen is, by some miracle-slash-sheer perseverance on my part, despite all these obstacles, I'm gonna make sure I do get accepted into a Master's program, and then I'll be super frustrated with things like exams and paper deadlines and theses and so on, that I'll wonder why I was dying to go back to school in the first place. Then I'm gonna refer back to this post and either laugh at my intuitiveness, or bawl.

Only one way to find out, I guess. I'm off to do some more research!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Silence In The Night

Perfect Moment Monday is sponsored by Weebles Wobblog and is described as "...noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." I think it's a great way to make us all more mindful of the good things that happen to us. There's always at least one perfect moment...!

First and foremost, I promise this is not gonna turn into a doggy blog. It's just that, this is a blog about what's going on in my life, and currently, Ciela is what's going on, so... I dedicate one more Perfect Moment Monday to the 50% adorable puppy, 50% lil rascal. Funny, I never used to be one of those sappy dog people. I used to make fun of those people. Yet here I am, the sappiest of them all, and well, I'm not ashamed. OK maybe a little bit when I talk to her in that singsongy voice. But only some of the time.

Anyway. Yesterday I mentioned in passing that Ciela can get a little hyper, and that sometimes she barks incessantly, especially when most humans like to go to sleep. Her normal sleeping routine is punctuated with much barking, usually when I have the nerve to go to bed myself and not take her out of the carrier to play at 2am, how rude of me. I was very concerned about how she would act in Philly, esp bc my friend R had just come back from a business trip and I knew she was overworked and overtired, and I didn't want to take away her one chance to catch up on some decent sleep over the weekend.

Turns out, I didn't even have to worry. My lil angel couldn't have been any more well-behaved; well, that night, but still! Did it have something to do with keeping her downstairs while I slept upstairs? Maybe. Could it possibly have been the treats I slipped in her bag before I slipped her in there n walked away? Perhaps.

But whatever the case may be, Friday marked the first night in 2 weeks that I got to drift off into blissful sleep without having to hear barking, ignore barking, or get out of bed to solve the barking problem. How perfect is that!

Traveling With Baby

Yes, when I say ‘baby’ here, I mean Ciela. Anyone who is not a dog person, has never raised a puppy and therefore doesn’t think a puppy is like a baby must stand kindly corrected. Because I have never felt more like a mother than in the past 2 weeks since I’ve become one. Won’t eat when you want her to? Check. Won’t go potty when it’s convenient for you? Check. Fusses when you try to give her her antibiotics or brush her teeth or clean under her eyes or or or? Check. Oh, yeah. Bites (not gently) bc she is teething/playing/doesn’t know any better? Check. Incessant barking and high-pitched yelping at the most inopportune times, like when you want to go to sleep? Cheeeck! And since we’re on the subject of sleep, let’s not forget the fact that I haven’t had a solid good night’s of it since I got her. A 6 hour block that I would previously shake my head at in distaste now seems like a faraway dream, a fantasy never to be fulfilled, something I dare not bother longing for bc I can't imagine the day Ciela will let me sleep the whole night thru.

Can I just say I have a newfound respect for new mothers?? I never knew it was this hard. A million props to you and a million kudos, and I hope they build monuments in your honor! And single moms (or dads) – you deserve all that x2.

Now, back to this traveling w baby. The plan is to go to Philly to visit my friend R n help her decorate her new apartment. I love stuff like that! So, I book my ticket, not even thinking to check what the bus company’s pet policy is. Most modes of transport (planes, NYC trains and buses, etc) have no problem w small dogs as long as they are in a carrier. Ciela is small. Ciela has two carriers. We are so good to go.

I pack her up and leave the house, stopping by the drug store before hopping on the train. She is barking and hyper, and strangers must think her carrier is possessed, it's jumping around so much. I grab her a new toy off the shelf, pop it in her bag to keep her busy, and head to the counter to finish my business. Her interest in the toy (read: quiet) lasts for 2 minutes, tops. While I’m standing at the register I hear “Miss, Miss!” I turn around. “You’re not allowed to have dogs in here.”

“Sorry, I didn’t know,” I lie. “I’m done, I’m leaving.”

For the millionth time, I wonder why I can’t have a dog that is quiet, or at least one that I know how to control.

We leave the store and I hear nothing but the regular sounds of a Harlem street. Sweet. I am still holding out hope that the new toy and the sweet potato treat I gave her will keep her quiet for the next 2-3 hours, but that hope is shattered as I walk to the train station and the high-pitched barking resumes. Now I'm getting worried. I call the bus company to inquire about their pet policy.

“There are no pets allowed on board.”

“But she’s small. She’s in a carrier.”

“Unfortunately, ma'am, there are no pets allowed on board”

Bastards. I stand on the corner, I debate. Cancel the trip? Take my chances? I finally figure by the time the bus leaves in over an hour she will have run herself ragged and will sleep the ride thru. I get on the train n decide if worse comes to worst, I might have to play dumb on this one. No biggie. What are they gonna do, throw me out on the side of the highway?

Usually I have no trouble out of her on the train. Today however, she has decided not only to not calm down, but to turn up the craziness to the highest level she can. I'm getting worried again. I don't want to be the annoying lady w the dog on the bus, plus now I know she's not supposed to be on there in the first place. God, I wish I just hadn't called; maybe playing dumb is easier when you really don't know, duh. I call the vet and ask if I can give her Benadryl to help her sleep; I feel bad, but I know it won’t hurt her. The vet quickly vetoes that idea w a “Nope, she’s too small.” Damn. It. Dammittohell.

I'm standing on 34th, leaning against a building, wistfully looking at this big, orange bus parked across the street. I stand there for minutes, too afraid to even get near it, to even venture to the other side, as if I have to cross No Man's Land, when all I really have to do is walk across a few lanes of traffic. What is wrong w me, I have done plenty of things against the rules before, when exactly did I become chicken-you-know-what? I think it was 20 minutes ago on the train when it was packed w people n she wouldn't quit yelping, n I became That Lady n I felt so embarrassed. Yup, I think that is when.

I call the bus company again, maybe the first guy I spoke to was wrong, sometimes they are.

"Hi, I wanted to know if I can travel on your bus w a small dog in a carrier?"

"No, pets are not allowed on board."

"Really? Well, do you have an affiliate company that does allow pets?"

"No, ma'am, we do not."

"Really, hmmm... Well, can you refund my already-purchased tickets?"

"No, ma'am, tickets are non-refundable."

"Well that's shitty."

I think I mumble a Thank You just to be kind of polite, n hang up. I figure "screw it" n boldly cross the street and even more boldly, I stand in line. I get all the way to the ticket agent and am told this is the bus to Boston. Great. I step out of that line and into another. The little barker has finally fallen asleep. If she can keep that up for 2 more hours, I'm set. But Ciela's not reliable like that, at least not yet. While maintaining my position in line, I google and call the Chinatown bus; no dogs allowed. Some other company I can't think of the name of anymore; seeing eye dogs only (gee, that's very kind of you). NJ Transit; OK as long as they're in a carrier. Woohoo! What, you only go to Trenton n then I have to transfer trains to Philly? Fine, let me just make sure.... SEPTA; also OK as long as they're in a carrier. Hallelujah! I walk away from the line, Ciela still sleeping, wondering if I made the right decision, especially since my unemployed self just flushed $23 down the toilet for a round-trip ticket I will never use, and bc the train tickets are considerably more expensive than the bus tickets. Sigh. Sanity over $23 any day, I console myself. Still, I wonder if she would have slept the whole ride thru.

I round the corner and no sooner have I walked half a block than the little girl wakes up and decides to announce it to the whole wide world, oh so very loudly. I guess I made the right decision after all.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Moments

Perfect Moment Monday is sponsored by Weebles Wobblog and is described as "...noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." I think it's a great way to make us all more mindful of the good things that happen to us. There's always at least one perfect moment...!

Sometimes the week passes and it's so stressful and crazy, you fall into a "Woe is me, I didn't have any perfect moments to write about" mindset. But I'm sitting here thinking about this past week, and I find it hard to believe that I really can't think of one thing I would count as perfect. Well, let me take that back. It's not that I can't think of any perfect moments, it's just that none of them happened w a resounding "Aha! This is a perfect moment!" thought accompanying them. Plus I can't narrow it down to one thing that was so great it deserves the spotlight of this post. Then I realized, maybe it doesn't have to make such a huge impact, and maybe it doesn't have to be just one moment. Maybe part of the point is that, it can just be a pretty regular week, and PMM makes you look back on it and realize that a lot of it was great after all.

I'm back home in NYC, that's perfect, bc I had a rough couple weeks of traveling.

I have survived Week 1 of motherhood, that's definitely perfect, especially bc Ciela has been sick and I've been terrified I would go to check on her one day and she wouldn't be breathing. I guess losing my first puppy Kingsley earier this year is an issue I haven't quite dealt with yet. I now know that I am capable of nursing a living thing back to health, and that is Beyond Perfect.

I still have a savings account that I can go to in times of need, which has been too often since I've been back in NY, but that's Perfect and a Blessing w a capital B, bc I'd be so lost w/o my cushion.

I met up w my high school English teacher, his lovely wife (who also happens to be one of my favorite bloggers and most inspiring people I know) and their adorable, sweetheart children; funny how 12 years ago feels just like yesterday, bc I swear it was just yesterday that I was sitting in class in Aleppo with all my high school friends. Aah, the good old days! That was perfect bc, hello, it's been twelve years and it reminded me what an awesome school I went to and what wonderful people I met there that - how can I put this bluntly - 12 years after parting paths, we would all actually give a shit about catching up and keeping in contact! Guaranteed you wouldn't find that anywhere else.

I'm slowly gaining more insight into what direction I want to take my new career, post-fashion, and that's a relief bc it's been a slow and painful road to figuring that one out. What's perfect about that, besides me having some more clarity, is that I got said clarity by reading an email from the director of an organization I volunteered w 3 years ago, about their new volunteer program. One of the sentences literally jumped out at me and that was an Aha! moment. Knowing when things in your life come full circle, that's the most perfectest.

Last but not least, I was told today by someone I met several years ago here in NY just how much I've grown as a person. I mean, she gave me examples and I knew she was right bc I trust her and furthermore, I could see it myself! And that is more perfect than anything I can describe bc #1) I've grown so much as a person, and #2) I know all the years of hard work I put into bettering myself were not for nothing.

So here's to a week that, even w all its stress and worry and sleeplessness and fatigue, had more Perfect Moments than I ever thought I would be able to recognize. And recognizing that, is perfect.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Ciela Kenara

Perfect Moment Monday is sponsored by Weebles Wobblog and is described as "...noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." I think it's a great way to make us all more mindful of the good things that happen to us. There's always at least one perfect moment...!

This past weekend I went to Atlanta w Mo for her family reunion. The first day we were there was the big family picnic. Mo had brought her dog w her but he didnt have a ball to play with, so we ran to the pet store really quick. Ill spare you the ensuing battle in my head about how crazy what I was about to do was, even tho I had been looking for a long time. But, PJ went home w a ball, and I went home w a baby.

I love this photo! Meet Ciela Kenara, 12 week old Chihuahua; Ciela is from the French word ciel for sky, and Kenara is the Eastern Assyrian version of my own middle name. What can I say, she's a multi-cultural lil baby already. :)