wishes for thieves

“wishes for thieves”

i wish them poor reception
and static on calls in a rural town
when they’re trying to call triple-A.
i wish them spam texts.

i wish them low battery
while playing angry birds.
i wish them a cracked screen.

later i wish them a dropped call
on an interview for a job they
clearly need. let their fingers slip
and by mistake send their mom
nude photos of their
small character. i wish them
auto-correct disasters.

let them think they have accepted
security in the universe
then bring them a thief
not unlike themselves.

***

If you haven’t heard:

A kid with nothing better to do and no morals or humanity stole my phone while I was eating lunch on my break at the mall on Monday. As soon as I realized what happened, I hiked my skirt up and chased after him wearing my heels – but to no avail. He had legs like a gazelle and disappeared around a corner after about half a mile. At least I made him work for it.

The worst part of this experience is that my sense of security has taken a severe blow. After all, the phone was sitting right next to me on the table – he invaded my personal space and took an item which I have next to me literally almost constantly. Yes, it is just a phone – but it is also my calendar, my email, and my book. Worst of all, he violated my trust of a common space I use on a regular basis.

The silver lining is that most everyone has been so beyond helpful – though it cost an absurd $170, insurance replaced my phone within twenty-four hours. And when that phone was malfunctioning, Apple replaced my phone without any questions, hoops, or hassle; in fact, it took me less than twenty minutes to get a brand new phone from the best Apple employee I’ve ever met (Ricardo, you’re still my hero).

I would like to give a special thanks to the police officer who helped me was incredibly competent and professional; I was a hot mess when I went to file my report, but his composed demeanor really helped calm me down. So, hats off to Officer Waldron for his attention to my mundane crime; my faith in the ultimate good of humanity was severely shaken, and your help gave me a much-need catharsis.

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university of california at berkeley

While I at first dismissed all colleges on the West Coast due to their location far from home, I’ve recently come to understand a few things. First, the majority of the best schools for Environmental Science are on the West Coast. Second, if one of the best would accept me and I like the program, why wouldn’t I go? Third, I want to live somewhere different; isn’t this the epitome of that desire? So, I’ve revisited the idea.

In summary:

The environmentally related programs offered at Berkeley are much more streamlined than those offered at URI. Granted, that means options are a little limited — but I’m the first to admit that I sometimes work better with limited options, as too many choices can become overwhelming. I am particularly interested in the Masters of Forestry and the PhD in Integrative Biology. There is a significant amount of work I would have to do to be a competitive candidate for the Integrative Biology program — but I think the program would be worth it, and I’m looking in to more information. Additionally, there’s a great student teaching program associated with the IB program, which would help address serious financial challenges.

Details:

The first program which catches my eye at Berkeley is the Masters of Forestry program. While this seems like a very boring choice (doesn’t everyone want to do something so exciting as discover new species?), I think it would be enjoyable. At the very least, I much prefer being outside to being inside, and a job in this field would certainly fit the profile. A Masters of Forestry would also create an easy path to a PhD program, if I so choose. Additionally, a forester can be employed in both urban and rural environments, so I’d have my pick of living conditions. And last but not least, those who graduate from this program are certified Foresters — in fact, it’s the only program in California which provides certification upon graduation.

The other program I would be interested in? Integrative Biology. The problem? They want a biological sciences major with research experience. Technically, they say that other degrees may apply — but realistically, that means other degrees have still taken all or the majority of the requirements to get a BS in Biology. Regardless, I’ve asked for more information on courses I might need to take if I wished to apply to this program. The second problem is that the program only accepts PhD students, which involves a certain amount of commitment — but I think if I could get accepted, it would be beyond worth the time and effort involved. This program is incredibly interdisciplinary, with focuses such as ecology and paleontology and everything in-between. And most importantly, it has a strong student teaching program, which would significantly help the financial side of things. Just saying — that would rock.

Miscellaneous Considerations:

Pro: both programs are highly rated in the country — the Forestry program is 3rd in the nation, and the Integrative Biology program is 1st.

Pro: California is beautiful, and I’d love to live somewhere new for a while.

Con: I would hate to live so far from my family — but if just for a few years? I’m sure I could manage. Just not sure my mom could (sorry mom — it’s the truth).

Con: There’s a chance I will have to do significant legwork for the Integrative Biology program — but that is my preferred program of the two, I think, based on its interdisciplinary basis and teaching program. So I just need to figure out what courses I would need to become a competitive candidate, and take those in my spare time…if I can find the time to spare, of course.

march goals: scaling back

I think one of my biggest issues with these monthly challenges right now is that I feel a little overwhelmed. Sure, I have some of the bigger challenges under control, like not drinking coke or buying clothes. But I get frustrated with some of the short-term challenges. As such, I’m scaling back a little so I can push myself harder on one or two challenges, rather than spreading myself thin.

So, the goals:

1. Research Grad Schools. I’m aiming to research another four grad schools this month. And I mean actually research them, rather than say I’ll do it and completely forget. And to hold myself to this standard, I will be posting about the Grad School of the Week each Tuesday night.

2. Exercise Regimen. This is hard, because I don’t generally exercise, which makes coming up with a plan…challenging at best. To add to the difficulty, I have two jobs which mean I go to work either between 9-10am or 12pm. I am more likely to succeed when I have a schedule, so here’s my idea:

Tues, Thurs, and Sat: If work begins in the morning, I will do sit ups, crunches, and planks. If work begins at noon, I will get up an hour early and go running.

If I manage to swing a day completely off, no matter what day it falls on, I will run in the morning (before 11am) and do sit ups, crunches, and planks in the evening.

3. Dance Focus: Always keep my elbow in sight. For whatever reason, I have always been bad at this. Thus, I’m going to work on it. The biggest difficulty here is that I am limited to practicing this when the lead chooses to lead a turn which potentially compromises the location of my elbow; in other words, I cannot choose to practice without anticipating the move (i.e., going up to a guy and asking him to lead a particular move does not necessarily help train my reaction). As such, I may not improve on this as much as I would want. Now if only I can get guys to read this and plan on secretly plan on testing me on the dance floor so that I am extra challenged this month… (hint, hint).

***
And now, the on-going challenges.
4. No more Coca-Cola. Going strong, and not wavering. Cokes after Hot Jam at Fellini’s are still allowed.
5. Pay only by cash, track spending. I have downloaded a new app which will help me track spending (yay!); however, there will be a few minor changes. In the past, I have kept an excel spreadsheet of each purchase, including the date, the amount, the location of the purchase, and the category in which it falls. Due to the nature of the app, I will not be tracking the location of the purchase; however, to compensate, I plan on keeping and filing my receipts. Now I just need to go to Wally-World to get a file folder system.
6. No more Buying Clothes. Still going strong. Soon, though, I will be using some BR rewards I earned in the past to update my wardrobe slightly (without spending my own money). This has been agreed as fair by the supreme council of my monthly challenges, otherwise known as my mom.
7. 20 Mins of Reading per Day, 5 days per week. Still going strong! Love this part of the challenge…
8. Manbattical. I want to update the masses on my thoughts about this manbattical — they have definitely been getting a little easier to understand. Plan on news by the middle of March.
***
The End. Wish me luck!!

february goals: shaky footing

The goals for February were a little more taxing than the ones for January — but regardless, I don’t think that’s an excuse for some of the challenges I had.

1. Floweruary – I wore a flower 25/29 days in February, making Floweruary a success! Granted, I did not take pictures of most of these flowers…but I promise it happened. The funny thing is that I started my new job just as Floweruary started — I wonder if my boss will notice the sudden lack of decoration?

2. Research about Grad School Programs – This only happened once, and for that, I am disappointed. I will be revisiting this challenge in March.

3. Research about Gallery Artists – This only happened twice, but I felt both went really well. As the challenge was meant to help me learn about artists, I don’t think I will revisit this challenge, despite my lack of success — but I will continue to blog about artists we’re featuring in the Gallery.

4. Exercise (Bonus) – I was on a good roll for about a week and a half (yay!)…and then I stopped entirely (well, itwasa bonus goal). I will be visiting this as a formal challenge this month.

5. Dance Focus: Look at Partner – This is hard to quantify, but I am more cognizant about looking in a specific direction while doing variations, rather than at my feet. More importantly, I’m keeping a better eye on my dance partner. Still, I don’t feel like I accomplished much…

6. No more Coca-Cola – I was successful 25/29 days as well! Three out of four slip-ups are due to extreme exhaustion (two of which were while driving). The last was a moment of weakness and a treat to myself. But other than that, I’ve been doing extremely well.

7. Pay only by Cash, Track Spending – I am half rocking out this challenge. I’ve been tracking my spending really well, but I have not been paying by cash. I really think that paying by cash would reduce my miscellaneous and “other food” expenses, though, so I plan on redoubling my efforts this month.

8. No more Buying Clothes – I am rocking out this challenge. The end. Though, I really wish I could go shop the new BR Madmen Collection…

9. 20 mins/reading, 5 days/wk – I am rocking out this challenge as well. The end.

10. Manbattical – I considered abandoning the challenge early, but I am actually doing really well. I’ve achieved a little bit of clarity and distance from the male sex. I will hopefully be gathering my thoughts on this at some point relatively soon.

***

So that’s it. Two challenges this month were near complete flops (grad schools and gallery artists). And one failed completely (exercising), and that’s sad, even though it was a bonus challenge. While I technically did well on my dance focus, I don’t feel like I accomplished much.

In need of improvement? Paying by Cash, and not drinking Coke. No matter what. Also, I could have made more effort on my Dance Focus.

The big successes? Reading, no clothes, and Floweruary.

I will post about my March Goals…tomorrow. Until then!

february financial analysis (I swear it’s short)

Well, my goal to spend less money has failed. Spectacularly. Well, not technically –technically, I spent more in January. However, January included multiple unique expenses for which I did not budget in February. And I most definitely fell outside my budget.

Lesson learned: I should still budget for one-time, unique, and semi-regular expenses. Like doctor’s appointments and oil changes in particular. In fact, those two expenses add up to exactly the amount I am over this month, give or take.

The areas I was under? Dance and Groceries. Though I would much rather have been over in groceries than under — which would indicate healthier, more affordable meals.

The areas I was over? Other Foods (other known as restaurants and snacks), Gas (not by much), and Household (which includes my oil change). The Doctor’s appointment is the item listed as “One Time.”

I would like to point out that I did record nearly every single expense I made this past month — actually, I only missed one, and for that I made a guess. I did not, however, use only cash. I’m going to work on that a little more this month, though…

I plan on Rocking Out this upcoming month. As soon as I find some motivation. (The end of the month is just so hard…)