Archive for the ‘Family’ Category


Two High School Movies I’m Freakishly Excited About

July 15, 2008


I will start with the more respectable one: 

American Teen is a documentary that follows five high school students around during their senior year of high school in Indiana. It opens in limited cities (that hopefully include Boston…we’re kind of big and important here, right?) on July 25. It has the very real chance of being the first movie about high school that actually shows SOMETHING that actually happened to ANYONE in high school. I’m totes there. 

Next we have the much bigger, and yes, more shameful, event. Four days after my 22nd birthday (October 24th, to be exact), I will be standing in line surrounded by gaggles of screaming fangirls waiting to buy tickets to the best birthday present ever: HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3!

(I’ll pause a moment to allow half of you to join me in obnoxious excited dancing while the rest of you silently gag.)

Now, for those of you who don’t know me, my love affair with HSM (as those of us cool slash sad enough to talk about High School Musical enough to require a nickname for the movie call it) began with a phone call from my sister freshman year, informing me (who was without Disney Channel. Thanks for nothing free on campus cable.) that she was witnessing the greatest Disney Channel Original Movie event in years. (BEtter than Zenon: The Zequal!? I have to see this!) She thankfully taped it for me, and I first watched High School Musical (the dance-along-version) alongside my big sister, mouth agape at the sheer awful genius of it. I was instantly hooked. The cheesy music. The cheesier dialogue. (“I’m not even behind yet, and you know, I’ve been behind since kindergarden!” Oh Chad, you CRACK ME UP!) Vanessa Hudgens’ never changing baby voice. Lucas Gabreel’s always changing hats. The perfect balance of ridiculous and ridiculously serious moments. I could go on and on.

In the two years since, I’ve directed my own production of the musical (seen one-night only in Chardon, Ohio), and forced my dad to sit through the mildly less genius but still ultimately enjoyable sequal. (“Well, that’s two hours I’ll never get back.” Sorry, Dad.) I’ve become addicted to running to it’s upbeat tunes and have learned most of the dances (for said production, I swear!) 

Just when I thought the HSM franchise could give no more, I was given a glimpse of what genius still lies ahead. Lights dimming to reveal Vanessa and Zac singing soulfully to each other across a crowded gymnasium, lit only by spotlights and their super-reflective shiny hair? Check! Awkward sexual tension between my favorite brother/sister duo, despite one’s blatant homosexuality? Check! A dance in a super manly location to keep the other singing/dancing boys looking cool? Check! The ultimate teen movie staple: the intricately choreographed prom dance? Check! TEN new original songs? Check!

Obviously, I’ve imbedded the trailer that revealed all this and more below. Enjoy at your own risk, as it may induce more excited dancing or gagging. 

So, who is with me? I know my sister definitely is as she’s already predicted, “I see a homemade t-shirt clad movie campout in our future…..”


Traveling Troubles: Part Two

July 7, 2008


My last post was getting a little too lengthy, so I decided to split it up. Anyway, here goes part two:

After only three days back in Boston and still exhausted, I dragged myself out of bed at 4AM on Thursday morning to catch a train back to my parent’s house in Delaware. Aside from having to have my cab driver drop me by an ATM when I realized he didn’t take credit cards, my trip was uneventful. I never even had to share my seat, which on Amtrak trains, is quite an accomplishment. 

My mom, along with her parents (the grandparents I had seen in New York), picked me up from the station and thus began my family loaded day. While still suffering from a travel hangover, I had to get myself through dinner with my mom’s parents, my dad’s  parents (who drove in for dinner), and my own parents. It was great to see my whole family, don’t get me wrong. I love my family. It is just a lot to take when you are alone with that many adult family members. Luckily, the conversation rarely turned to me and questioning my life, although it did come up. (I learned that in order to get married, I need to treat finding a husband like a job, which I obviously am not doing. No wonder I’m alone! What wonderful insight…/end sarcasm)

The next day, all the family headed home and were quickly replaced by my parents’ friends, who all happened to be coming through town at once. In the morning, my dad’s best friend from Alabama stopped by, as he was passing through for work (I think…). It was nice to hear what his kids were up to, as I spent a lot of time with them during our five year stint in the South.

Later that night, my parents’ college (in my dad’s case) slash childhood (in my mom’s case) friends, who actually introduced my parents to each other, came to stay for the night. I’d met them before, but the last time was at least 6 year ago. (Both then and now, I feel like I should thank them for my existence or something.) This was the first time, however, I’d heard some of their college stories while still in college. It was the first time I really saw how similar my dad and John are and how they could have been great friends in college, could have even been people I would have been friends with in college. It was the first time I really got to hear stories from back then and appreciate them. It was kind of weird but also kind of nice to think of my parents as people I would like even if they weren’t my parents.

The next day, we headed to Fabric Row in Philadelphia to go to a famous deli for lunch. I ate so much I felt nauseous, and again, we had an excellent time just talking and eating something called “Health Salad.” (“Do you think it’s made of health?”) Sadly, I think we cancelled out the benefits of the health salad with the eight cookies we bought on the way out. The day ended with my mom and I shopping and then coming home to watch “Michael Clayton,” (stopping every five minutes, of course, to explain what we knew and what we had yet to find out to my mom, who responded that she thinks she “lacks the mental capacity to watch movies.”) 

Sunday came way too fast, and the last place I wanted to go was the train station. I had finally resigned myself to leaving as we walked in the doors only to find my train was delayed an hour and a half. Blerg. 

Again, overwhelmed by not wanting to leave home, where I felt relaxed and happy to go back to my messy apartment where I usually feel agitated and alone, I started to cry. Lately, I feel as if I’m always on the brink of breaking down for no particular reason and when something pushes me just the tiniest bit, I crack and become a blubbering mess. Again, my parents assured me it wasn’t a big deal, which, of course, it wasn’t.

To turn the situation around, we took the opportunity to walk down the Riverwalk to a restaurant so I could eat, as I wouldn’t be getting back to Boston anytime soon. I calmed down as we ate, and my mom kept checking the status of my train. After being told it was still an hour and fifteen minutes behind, we walked back to the station, thinking we had time to spare.

When I walked in the station with my mom, we looked at the board, and my heart dropped. It seemed to say that my train was boarding right now, only an hour after it had been supposed to get in. I didn’t understand but also didn’t seem to have time to think about it. I ran up the escalator with my bags and jumped on the train just as the doors closed, thanking God I hadn’t missed it. I found a seat, briefly wondering if I had gotten on the right train, as the boards are mildly confusing about what is going on. I was reassured, however, when they announced the next stop as Philadelphia, which is always the stop after mine on the regional train. On the phone with my mom, she urged me to ask what train I was on, as the board had changed right after I ran up to the track, leading her to believe maybe it was not my train that was boarding. I blew her off, saying I was going the right way, so I wasn’t worried. 

As I settled in, we pulled in and then out of Philadelphia. As we pulled away the conductor came on the intercom stating the train number. It wasn’t mine. Of course.

Again, the tears came. Why couldn’t I just get through one simple task without making myself feel like a complete idiot? I texted my mom telling her she was right. The conductor came by, asking for tickets, and I explained to him what had happened. He didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal, telling me to just switch at the next stop as my train was behind this one by about 25 minutes, advice also given by my parents, who conceded that I wasn’t crazy: the board did make it seem like it had been my train that was boarding. 

I got off in Trenton and wandered around looking for where MY train would be coming. After asking and being given the track number by an obviously annoyed Amtrak employee, I waited on the platform, staring at the pouring rain, wondering if God too was crying about my stupidity and bad traveling luck. 

Eventually, my train came and took me back to Boston, granted a few hours later than I had anticipated. 

Now, I’m back to the grind, somehow more tired than before any of these vacations and more wary of traveling than ever.


Traveling Troubles

July 7, 2008


I didn’t intend to spent my last moments in both New York City and Wilmington in tears, standing before some sort of transportation device. In fact, I intended to leave happy and refreshed. That was the whole point of getting away. The Universe, again, had different plans for me, and you know how well those plans usually play out. 

Let’s start with New York. When I last left you, I was on my way to the Big Apple, happily typing away thanks to the free Wi-Fi on Bolt Bus. Sadly, that bused turned out to be 2 hours late, an early warning of what was to come. I enjoyed a mildly stress-free weekend, meeting up with my camp friend, Lindsey, and my school roomie, Jillian, all while staying with my sister. We had some nice meals (I finally fulfilled my rib craving at Wild Wood on Park Ave. that I’d had since watching hours upon hours of “Thrill of the Grill” week on Food Network) and hit up some fun bars (I recommend Beauty Bar in the East Village: $5 drinks AND Eighties music? Sold!). My annoyance (and my later problems) began to arise, however, when my sister, Stephanie, decided to spend the night in Brooklyn instead of meeting Lindsey, Jillian, and I out on the town. Thus, I was left with her keys for the night. 

Sunday morning, I said good-bye to Lindsey and met Stephanie and my grand-parents (in town for a conference) for brunch with some acquaintances of theirs who are involved in theater. (The woman is actually now an anchor on The Onion News Network!) The brunch was nice, as I love chatting with theater people. I made a great contact, and they assured Stephanie and I that our money spent buying tickets to the matinee of “Sunday in the Park with George” was well spent. 

After brunch we headed out to see said production of “Sunday in the Park,” which, as it turns out, was the LAST performance of the show! I’d sung some of the songs before, but I’d never seen the whole show (apart from various scenes from the original with Bernadette Peters that aired on PBS), so I went in with an open mind, and I was not disappointed. I wish I could compel people to go see it, but obviously I can’t. It was one of the most unique productions I have ever seen: The whole show revolves around the French painter Georges Seurat painting “A Sunday afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte,” and as he sketched on stage, his drawings and painting came alive behind him (using some new projection technology), creating both the painting and the setting of the show. It was, to say the least, magical. The performances were moving, and unexpectedly funny. Jenna Russell was amazing, and both she and Daniel Evans choked up during the final song, causing me and I’m sure the whole audience to choke up and then stand for the last five minutes of the show. The applause during the curtain call was deafening. It again made me realize how much I love theater.

But I digress…(I had to take a break from the flow of the story because the play was just that good.) when we left the theater, it was raining, causing Stephanie and I to scramble first to find a cab and then to give up and jump on the subway. (At this point I was done with subways, as Stephanie lives so far north, each time we returned to her apartment was an hour and fifteen minutes on the subway. Not. Fun.) I had to grab my bags from my grandparents and run to my bus. I, luckily,got there with time to spare, so Stephanie and my grandma said good-bye. As I stood waiting to board, flustered from the rush and feeling done with public transportation from all the subway riding, I noticed some people talking with a Bolt Bus employee about how their tickets had the wrong date on them, and they were thus having difficulty boarding the bus. It appeard to be some technical glitch with the Bolt Bus website. As I heard this, I glanced down at my ticket, just to be sure. Of course, my ticket too ahd the wrong date: the date I had come to New York not the date I was leaving. My heart dropped. I did not feel like dealing with what would happen if I missed this bus. I started to think that I would just book a ticket to my parent’s house, because this constant stress of crap happening to me was becoming too much to handle. I eased my way over to the group of angry patrons, hoping they had made enough headway that I could get on without problem. Things seemed to be heading in that direction, and then, my phone rang. 

I still had Stephanie’s keys. Not only her apartment keys so that she coudln’t get home, but her work keys, whose disappearance would cause her more than a little grief the next day. According to both my sister and my mom, I couldn’t get on the bus. At this point, I was more than annoyed. I had already been upset that Stephanie had basially abandoned me (and not for the first time) the night before, leaving me to get myself and Lindsey back to her apartment without her, but now I had to miss my bus, which I was already shaken up about the possibility of missing, to wait around for her to come get her keys.

On the phone with my mom trying to figure out how I was going to get home, as the group of disgruntled Bolt Bus riders boarded the bus, I started to cry. From exhaustion. From annoyance. From being overwhelmed at standing on a busy sidewalk of New York with a bright pink suitcase yelling at my mom that it wasn’t my fault Stephanie forgot to get her keys from me. The Bolt Bus woman came over to ask if I was getting on the  bus, and as I turned to her, face covered in tears, she must have thought I was getting news of a family member’s death. Her face changed, and she left me alone, feeling like an idiot. A crying idiot.I wasn’t worried that I wouldn’t get back, so much. I am just a person who doesn’t take a change of plans well. Added on top of everything else, this felt like a big deal. 

I dragged my bags four  blocks to Penn Station to buy a train ticket, where I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t getting into Boston until midnight and scarfed down some greasy pizza, waiting for Stephanie. When she got there, I tried not to take my anger out on her, as I greatly appreciated her waiting with me for the next hour for my train to come. I finally got on the train, calmed myself down, and fell asleep. Sadly, the train got in an hour and a half late, making it 2AM before I went to bed, allowing me only 5 hours of sleep before getting up for class at 7AM. Awesome. 

Trip number one: done. Status: much more tired than before. 

Up next: Train trips 2 and 3.


Playing Catch Up

June 17, 2008


I feel like my life has been in shambles lately. My future is hazy. My apartment is a disaster area, and I had a mid-term yesterday that has been taking up all my free-time that wasn’t aleady being taken up by marathoning Friday Night Lights with Lynn. In an effort to catch up, I think I’ll write a series of short posts on things I was going to write about, then didn’t in my abyss of ridiculousness. Hopefully, this can jump start my new plan to blog more, with shorter posts. We’ll see how this plays out.

And now the first installment of short, stupid stories with Amanda: an email exchange with my mother during work hours.

Amanda to Mom
I’ve decided that if I move home in December, I will require my own dog. To keep me busy. And to fight Sookie (my mother’s beloved 4 pound toy fox terrier) in organized battles…of cuteness. The dog would preferably come from here:  And would preferably be one of these specific dogs: (one, two, three, four, five
Yes, I have this much free time at work.
Thank you for your time,
Mom to Amanda
This is a one dog huse…sookie must rule! Although the dogs are very cute!
Amanda to Mom
See, I think that Sookie could use a friend on her level, as Chloe (my fabulous, yet sadly neglected cat) is cleary superior in intelligence and wit. Another dog could give her that.
Mom to Amanda
Maybe she would like a friend but I’m not sure that any dog would have the superior personality of sookie – friend to all
Amanda to Mom
I guess it’s true few could match her hours of charity work and her millions in charitable giving.
And that is how I spent my Friday at work. And yes, I am still determined to get that dog should I move home.

Not Bad, Not Bad At All

June 9, 2008


My weekends have been perking up the boring-ness of my weeks lately. 

This past weekend wasn’t too bad. Friday night after work, I met my friend Megan at Shaw’s, as she graciously allowed me to cook a Giada De Laurentiis meal in her kitchen since mine barely has space to microwave. We went with the intention of making butternut squash tortellini*, but Shaw’s let us down in the mildly exotic ingredients realm, we had to switch plans mid-shopping trip. We decided instead to make sword fish with spaghetti and citrus pesto* – made from scratch, thankyouverymuch – which was amazingly delicious and fun to make. (I’d been dying to grille something after watching hours upon hours of Thrill of the Grill Week on Food Network…) 

Saturday, Boston decided to become a hot and humid disaster, but being dumb and naive to the weather, my friend Josh and I decided we would walk from campus to the North End to get cupcakes at LuLu’s. Sadly, about halfway down Newbury, dehydrated and about to pass out, we decided a better idea would be Italian Ice and shade in Boston Common. Saturday night, I took Megan to see the latest musical at the theater where I work, because, who doesn’t love free theater tickets? The show as wonderful, and again, free, so a good time was had  by all.

Sunday was lazy and hot. There was an incident of me walking all the way to the gym only to discover I didn’t have my swipe card, causing me to have to walk all the way back to my apartment to get it. In the end, though, it just made me proud of my dedication to fitness. The weekend, of course, could not be complete without a mild meltdown on the phone with my mom about the state of my future – grad school plans, moving home, finding a job, bah! But I just put it out of my mind slash spend hours researching various options to make myself feel better, so as of right now, all is fine. 

Sunday ended with me going to see Josh’s roommate’s band at a bar in Allston. Besides having to pay cover (boo to that…) the show was excellent, despite my feeling not nearly hipster enough to be anywhere near this bar. 

Today it was back to the routine. Gym class. Regular class. Work tomorrow. OH WAIT! There was a major win today. My uncle brought me an AC! Greatest moment of my life…well, of that last few days at least. I couldn’t sleep last night I was so hot, so my mom reminded me my  uncle had offered to give me his extra window unit, which is now happily humming in my bedroom window. Hooray for sleeping in human temperatures. My sister, sadly, is suffering a similar fate in NYC without the help of wonderful relatives who bring you free stuff. She texted me from a McDonald’s, where she had to seek refuge from the heat. Major weather fail.

Lastly, I now think I’m close enough to begin some countdowns to exciting upcoming events, as they are the only things that are going to get me through the next two weeks when the new awkward roommate comes and Lynn and I are forced to cohabitate in my not so giant bedroom. So here goes: 

June 14: Boston Blogger’s Happy Hour

June 28: NYC Weekend Trip! (including visits with my favorite sister, Jillian, and Lindsey!)

July 2: Home to visit the family

July ??: NYC Road trip with Josh. 

Also on the horizon is Josh, Megan and I’s “Boston Tourist Day,” which includes a walk around the Freedom Trail, a Duck tour, and dinner at Top of the Hub – all things I need to do in case I am leaving Boston in December for good.

I think that is all for this rambling, unfocused post. Anyone else have any exciting plans coming up? 

*All recipes courtesy of Everyday Pasta, aka my new food bible.


Things That Are Too Boring to Blog About

June 5, 2008


1) My Politics of Education class. (And my mounting hatred of No Child Left Behind. Seriously, if I had kids, now is the time I would be pulling their asses out of public school.)

2) My job. 

3) The multitude of NPR podcasts I listen to while walking to and from said job and class. (Although, if you aren’t listening to Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me, This American Life, Fresh Air, and It’s All Politics, you are missing out on a lot of excitement and a lot of information that will help you feel superior to all those who waste their time listening to music while walking. Losers.) 

4) My working out. (Arms. So. Sore. Hate. Weights. So. Much.)

5) My excessive Food Network viewing schedule. (I do take breaks to switch over to TLC for Jon and Kate Plus 8 and  Take Home Chef, although these do not feel like much of a departure.) 

And all of these things that are too boring to blog about are pretty much my entire life right now. Jealous? 

Wait! I do have a small exciting story that is semi-related to me, but that highlights the lack of excitement in my life, as it is the most exciting story I have, and it didn’t even happen to me. Anyway, my sister got to go see David Sedaris in NYC yesterday. I was (slash am) super jealous because although he is coming to Harvard tomorrow, I cannot go see him, because they are stupid and sold tickets to the event, which are now sold out. Suck it, Harvard. My sister said he was great, so I started to think maybe I should just go stand outside the Harvard Bookstore, where they will have an audio feed, and then wait for hours to get my book signed. Better than nothing, right? I ran this by my sister, and she told me I shouldn’t get the new book signed because she may or may not have already gotten one for me. Win! I love my sister. She then told me that when she told David Sedaris about my sold-out-tickets-suck-it-Harvard situation, he said that he hates when book stores sell tickets to his events. Hah! David hates Harvard too! So I will soon have my own signed copy of David Sedaris’ new book, and I currently have the knowledge that David Sedaris feels for me. Double win! That is all.