Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wicked Games

The older I get, the more I find myself with an intense dislike of 'dating games'. For the life of me, I can't quite comprehend why, if two people like one another, there is almost a ritual they must go through in order to promote themselves as suitable candidates for the other's affection. Take turns initiating conversations - texts, calls. Wait at least a day in between conversations. Always have him pay. He has to be the pursuer. You must be chased. Seriously, why does it have to be so difficult? If someone doesn't understand that yes, I like to talk, and yes, I like to say hi every day, or I want to know if you're feeling better when you're sick - are they the right match for me, anyway? Why do I have to morph into this weird figment of myself, one where I am still me, but a scripted me? Ugh.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why are we here?

In tenth grade, I had a biology teacher. This was a teacher I was not particularly fond of, however, he often presented this quandary to the class - "why are we here?" It is a very profound question and one I contemplate often. Why AM I here? During high school biology, this teacher was merely using this as a platform to encourage good study habits and classroom participation. We were there to learn, make something of ourselves and continue our educations. We were preparing for adulthood and practice makes perfect (and mistakes were easier to clean up at 15 than, say, at 30). Even at such a young age, I found myself entranced by such philosophical topics. What is the meaning of my existence? What is the point of existence, at all? Also in tenth grade, I wrote my research paper (more like a thesis for me that year) on thought. I read countless works of the great thinkers: Aristotle, Socrates, Plato. Thus, I began my great era of thought...the paper, after all, was arguing that thinking is a sixth sense. Thought is not a learned behavior, nor inheritable. Thought was something we are born doing; something which we never cease. It was only natural that I constantly thought about the big questions in life. Questioning was commonplace for me - ask Mom about how I didn't believe the woodstove was hot until I tested it out for myself. Or how, no matter how many times people would tell me differently, I'd do something my way and fail miserably (I still do!). In seventh grade, I questioned the existence of God - a mortal sin for a Catholic school student - but, it wasn't without merit. Thankfully, I heeded the advice of a wise Parochial Vicar that encouraged me to 'keep it on the down low' until after Confirmation (side note - it wasn't that I didn't believe in God, necessarily, but evolution made much more logical sense for my brain; I do believe there was some semblance of a Creator at the dawn of all). So, when I reached tenth grade and was challenged with 'why are we here', I had already given this some thought. At that point in my life, I was in that particular moment to do well in school, get into the college of my dreams (which, a few short months later, I found out was Hood), and pursue something I loved (at that point, was no longer Biology). With each passing year, the answer to this question evolves and, sometimes, even changes altogether. Asking 'why am I here' to oneself at 15 will be answered nothing like it will be at 20, 25 or 30. By 20, the question was answered with the somewhat obvious, and well-rehearsed, 'I'm going to finish my degree in good standing and land the job of my dreams'. I may have finished the degree, but the Honors program will refute the 'good standing' and I landed a job; one that, at the time, was not even close to the dream. At 25, I had reached a point of security and satisfaction in my work. With almost 5 years in my position, I concluded I was happy where I was, but still missing something. It was not too long after this age when I returned to school to pursue my Master's degree. Was that why I am here? Probably not, but at the time, it seemed like to what I was being called (not intentionally using this relgious metaphor). It was at 25 when I was faced with the reality that my childhood ideas of adulthood were far-fetched, at best, and I didn't seem to be on the track to marriage and parenthood by the ripe 'old' age of 28. I had only recently moved out on my own, bought my current car and adopted a little guinea pig I named Rascal (shortly after the untimely death of Snickers, that is). If my life-long aspiration was to be a mother, why the heck hadn't I made more of an effort to promote myself toward that goal. Looking back, I wasn't anywhere near ready. I had fallen in love and had my heart torturously ripped from my chest. Part of me was so afraid to love, figuring I'd only end up heartbroken. And I didn't, for quite some time after. In the interim, I plunged fully into graduate school and revisited one of my childhood passions - soccer. Retrospectively, I wish I could have continued playing through high school and into college. This pastime is one I can't imagine my life without now and I find as many excuses as I can to bring it more prominently into my life. Oh, and I fell in love again. And yes, I lost love this time too, but in doing so, I found myself in a way that I hadn't ever quite known. There was this whole other me dwelling deep inside myself, one I had surpressed for so long. I found me. The me that is beautiful just the way I am. The me that is desireable without wearing makeup, or even clothes. There was a me that was capable of compromising my life to share with another; a me that enjoyed having someone else be a part of it. Ah, but all good things come to an end and while it was quite sad in the moment, it is what it is and it was good (again, no religious parallel intended). And now, I'm 30. And with the recent passing of Rascal - staring death, quite literally, in the face - I find myself sitting and pondering, why am I here? I had begun to think over the summer, following the completion of my Master's degree, that my life was just beginning. Yes, I said beginning. The life I have dreamed about is just beyond the threshhold...I have achieved all things personal to me - an education, financial indepdence, emotional stability, being comfortable physically - and now life is about to begin. The why I am here question is on the verge of being answered...I am thisclose to finding out. What will become of Melissa Lyn Carter? Who will she be? How will she make her mark in this life? Stay tuned. It looks to be one hell of a ride.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Goodnight, my sweet prince

In a very ironic sort of way, it's rather funny that my last post (some 2 years ago) was about Rascal and now, in this new post, Rascal will also be the topic.

Rascal passed away this evening - October 3 - around 9:30pm. Earlier today, he seemed fine and we went about what had become our new routine of morning feeding and some snacks before I left for Oktoberfest. Mind you, I have come down with one of the many colds going around and probably should have stayed home. When I returned, he was in his igloo, but that isn't entirely unusual. I got him out to play with Callie a bit while I ate, and then put him back in his house while I took a nap. When I awakened, it was pretty evident the end was near. Rascal was pretty listless and didn't want to be moved. I was torn whether to stay at home and wait for the end or go ahead and play in my soccer game, figuring he'd probably pass while I was gone.

Soccer turned out to be a horrible decision, both on the account that I played terribly thanks to the cold and all the while, wondering if I was missing the last few minutes of Rascal's life. After the game (which we did win, 4-3), I got home as safely as I could since it was, once again, raining. Upon my arrival, I was shocked to find Rascal still alive, but incredibly disheartened to find him on his last leg (quite literally). I called my mother and cried along with her as I held my little boy through his last breaths in this life. Callie sat beside us as the end came to pass and kept by my legs even as I continued to hold the little lifeless body that now best resembled a tiny little toy.

Rascal had one last trip to NanaMama and Pops' house tonight, rocking to Foo Fighters all the way. Tomorrow morning, Pops and I will decide on his final resting place and close the cover on what was a beautiful, almost 5 year, love affair with a rodent.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rascal's Cinegraphic Debut

After a little trial and error, I was able to figure out how to work the video recorder on the new camera. I was even more excited to discover it had sound. And, without further ado, Rascal stars in his first feature short. The first noise you hear will be me, then Rascal will follow suit.

Happenings of Autumn, part 2

Sorry that I have been remiss in my continuation of last Saturday's events. I had a proposal due for one of my classes, in addition to all the other regularly scheduled assignments, PLUS work, running, soccer and a social life. It's so hard to be me *sigh*. Ha.

Alas, here is the long-awaited follow up to In the Streets. After leaving Frederick, our trio headed South toward our final destination of RFK Stadium. In our limited spectator experience, we have found it much easier to travel by metro, rather than drive all the way into that part of town and secure parking (which is not cheap!). We arrived at Shady Grove station, where we loaded our SmarTrip or fare cards.

And now we settle in for our ride downtown via the red line with a change to orange or blue all the way to Stadium/Armory and hence, RFK. We arrived downtown in time to actually experience some pre-game tailgaiting, which we had been unable to do on our previous weekday ventures to the United games. First, we have to walk down to RFK and then around to Lot 8, where all the support group tailgates occur. That's Art on the far left and Colleen to his immediate right, with RFK in the background.

After a quick stop at the Barra Brava ticket trailer where we procured our tickets and received our free team scarves (it was free scarf night!), we ventured onward toward Lot 8. Little known fact about soccer fans - they wear scarves. Scarves are a big deal in European soccer and are most usually utilized in a cheering fashion, rather than wearing. But, we wore our scarves for now. As we approached Lot 8, we are greeted with lots of fanfare.

There are lots of cool little tables and things for kids and adults alike and on this occasion, even a live cover band playing all the 80s classics. We ran into Linda and her husband (Linda plays for another FWS intermediate team, the Crushers) and apparently just missed Jaime Moreno, who was venturing in and out of supporter groups to hang out (he was out of the game with an injury). It took a while, but we finally came upon the Barra Brava tailgate. We quickly directed ourselves to the community food table and enjoyed some burgers and chips.

Then, it was off to the stadium to scout out some decent seats, far from the inevitable beer throwing and possible smoke bombing. Luckily, tonight's big attraction would be tossing streamers at kickoff. That sounded much better than three days of smoke bomb-induced allergy suffering! Tonight's game actually honored many of the local children's teams before the game. This clearly explained the masses of children in soccer jerseys all over the metro!

It was really neat to see so many children who are passionate about my favorite sport, as well! Finally, it was game time. Of course, they threw streamers ahead of time. And then some. And eventually, at kickoff. So, the streamers flew!

I'm going to add a few game shots. Unfortunately, it wasn't a good night for the United and the game ended in a 3-0 loss. It was Colleen and my first experience with a DC loss, sadly. There are also a few shots from the halftime moshpit, which was more substantial than in previous games, with a higher attendance by Barra
Brava members.

Come back soon, friends, for my favorite fall happening, the Apple Harvest Festival.