Archive for June, 2001

Love – 06.20.01

Wednesday, June 20th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“Your name is part of you. There’s power in it, tied up with the way you secretly think of yourself, the truth of the way you are.”
S’reee, Deep Wizardry

Love is a complicated thing. No matter how much experience you’ve had it always manages to take you by surprise and reveal emotions you never knew you were capable of feeling. One moment you are overcome with joy that seems like it will never end and the next you are scared to death that the bubble of happiness will burst at any moment. Of course this emotional instability is a mental creation caused by an overactive imagination but sometimes it’s hard to distinguish fantasy from reality when love is involved.

It has taken many years and many boyfriends to realize that I don’t know what love is. I always thought I did but after watching the demise of my most recent relationships I began to question how much I really understood the concept. My sorority sisters have a tendency to say that their current crush is “the one” and then turn around and say the same thing about the next boy that walks into their lives. A while ago I thought my boyfriend was “the one” and I turned out to be very wrong. That didn’t make it very easy for me to imagine marrying someone when I might be wrong about him too. I stopped trusting my instincts and started using my brain instead of my heart. That strategy worked to some extent because it kept my head out of the clouds and my heart from being broken. Now that it is all over I think maybe a broken heart would have been the better way to go. Emotional attachment is a dangerous thing but not altogether a bad experience. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having my heart broken a few times and when I didn’t let it happen I may have robbed myself of an important experience. How would my personality have changed had I done things differently? I guess I’ll never know. For now I’m going to have to continue to live my life as the person I am today.

If anything is going to allow me to trust my instincts again it will have to be love. In the past I have been proactive when it comes to relationships – I asked one guy to the prom, another to my sorority formal – both became long-term boyfriends. That’s what women are encouraged to do in this “modern” time. The tactic hasn’t served me too well in the long run, however. Now that I am again in the situation to decide whether to be proactive or reactive I don’t know what to do. My instinct has told me to act on my feelings but who wants to go with an approach that has been unsuccessful in the past? I think for the time being I will choose the path of caution, not to be mistaken with passivity, in order to give myself (and my instincts) time to choose the best course of action.

I have had crushes before but nothing like this. Have you ever looked at someone and instantly known something about them is important and it concerns you? You can’t really put this “something” into words but it changes your whole outlook. It has only happened to me once and I can’t get over it. I know I have been silly about love before but I have a feeling that this isn’t just another one of those times. This is something significant. All I can say is that if life is playing a joke on me it’s extremely cruel.

P.S. I am wearing my heart on my sleeve right now and that is a little scary. No matter how sure I am about this feeling I can’t be positive that I’m not wrong again. Only time will tell. I would appreciate it if no one made fun of me if later this does turn out to be some great big cosmic joke. Making my thoughts and feelings public isn’t the easiest thing to do in this situation but it seems like the right one. I’ll learn something no matter what happens. Can you learn something? Not if you’re making fun of me!

Graduate School – 06.15.01

Friday, June 15th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul”
William Ernest Henley, “Invictus”

Thinking of graduate school makes me both excited and scared. I don’t know which emotion is the dominant one but both are very strong and overwhelming at times. When I was eighteen years old I knew I wanted to go to college away from home and the University of Florida was the ideal place – only a two-hour drive from Tallahassee for those weekend trips. Now that I am twenty-two and I consider myself an independent young female (I was tempted to use the word “woman” here but that makes me feel old) shouldn’t the issue of moving farther away from the town I was born easier to confront? It’s not. I don’t have the same options as I did when I was just starting my undergraduate studies. There are no schools in Florida that have the graduate programs I am looking for so I will have to go out of state. Georgia Tech is geographically the closest possibility and the big city of Atlanta is five hours away from my hometown by car (and with my conservative driving habits). The rest of the schools that are even a remote prospect are scattered all over the United States, except in the Southeast, so I must be resigned to the fact that I will have a major relocation for the fall 2002 semester. When I filled out my Boeing clearance papers I realized that I have moved ten times in the past ten years so the technical process isn’t what worries me. Only twice have I left the state of Florida for any period of time (California currently and last summer) and neither of those was permanent. Going to graduate school feels like leaving Florida for good. Of course I don’t what opportunities will present themselves to me in the years to come but I have to depart if I want my graduate degree and I don’t know if I will ever go back.

After four years of study at a respected university you would think I would have a wealth of knowledge to draw from. I should be an engineer as soon as I grasp that degree in my fingers. So why don’t I feel ready for the aerospace industry yet? I have discovered that the UF aerospace engineering graduates don’t have much confidence it what they have learned by the time they graduate. In the words of one illustrious alumnus, Jenny Mindock despaired just before leaving UF, “But I don’t know anything!” That pretty much sums up the sentiment. Is it easier to understand why graduate school makes me nervous now? Feeling like you don’t know enough to intelligently relate to another student or contribute to a professor’s research is enough to scare anyone who has aspirations of beneficial graduate study. I didn’t feel this inadequacy when I started at UF. Looking back that may have been because I was so successful in high school and I was under the impression that things would always come so easily to me. I was wrong. My first two semesters of college were almost a disaster and the following six took all of my energy to avoid the same fate. Had I been challenged in high school I may have been prepared for the rigorous academic schedule of an undergraduate engineering student. Maybe now that I am familiar with the determination needed to achieve your goals I won’t have such a hard time adjusting to graduate school. This whole discourse was supposed to serve as a calming agent but I can’t say that it worked as well as I would have liked. It will be a long time before this fear dissipates and mere words will never be the means by which it happens.

I signed up to take the GRE on October 13 – four months from now and I am already nervous. To make sure that I don’t go into the test blindly I am taking a prep course from August 11 to October 7. (I am scheduled to take the GRE the weekend after the class ends so the information will be fresh in my mind.) I have never had much success with standardized tests so I can use all the help I can get. Having a great GRE score will give me a better chance of getting into highly ranked and very competitive graduate programs like Georgia Tech and Stanford. Whether or not I can ever expect to receive an outstanding score at least the prep course will make me more likely to earn is necessary to be a worthy applicant. I will know my scores as soon as I am done since it is computer-based test and that’s a rather scary prospect. At least I will be able to finish my grad school applications immediately afterwards (as long as I deem scores high enough for my purposes). I am planning to apply to most schools before I leave California in December and avoid the hassle when I am back at school. We’ll have to wait and see if this strategy serves its purpose. At least working for Boeing has its advantages in this area; I don’t have to pay for the prep course or the test!

Between now and August of next year I am going to be in a constant state of motion with very little stability. I will be here in California and working until December. Then I will go home for Christmas and spend maybe two weeks there. Then I will move back to Gainesville for only one semester. Then I will graduate! Then I will have the summer to myself – I really need to decide what I want to do with that time. Then I will go somewhere for graduate school and finally be back on an even keel. That’s more than a year from now. Looking forward is so much harder than looking back.

Old Sentiments – 06.14.01

Thursday, June 14th, 2001

The language of the heart
Is not meant to put in words
But sometimes you find a few
That fit the bill
They jump into your mind
And are gone without a trace
Leaving you to wonder
If they were real
But if in that brief time
You write down what you hear
You just might catch a glimpse
Into your soul
This window to your heart
Its shutter open wide
Sending out its light
For to behold

This is a poem I found in my paper journal (now mostly used for writing down quotes) that I wrote an February 15, 2000. It is not published in its entirety here but the main point is still represented with what I have posted. If you are wondering what the quote of the day is – you still need a quote after reading my poem?

I’ll try to post some more old poems I have written. If I can find them.

Fascinating Fiction – 06.10.01

Sunday, June 10th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“Only time will tell if we win or lose,
and who will walk beside us.”
Lionel Richie, “Angel”

I have a tendency to get caught up in stories. They simply envelop me and my captivated mind doesn’t give a thought to anything but the characters and their present circumstances. My dad and I went to see “A Knight’s Tale” while he was still in Seal Beach and I loved it (and not just because Heath Ledger is good to look at). Just before the movie started I prepared myself to get lost in this world of princesses and knights and that’s what caused me to be oblivious of the foreshadowed plot twists and eventual outcome of the tale. At one point my dad guessed what was going to happen next and I was rather taken aback since I hadn’t even given a thought to the matter. When I get engrossed in a story it’s as if I become part of it – I think only of the present since the future hasn’t been written, although the pages I haven’t gotten to reading yet suggest otherwise. I suspect every writer’s goal is to present a reader with a work that will entrance them in such a way. That makes me either a typical reader or an extraordinarily naive one! Either way it sure does make reading a book a lot of fun.

Words of Wisdom – 06.09.01

Saturday, June 9th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“The best-laid plans (on my part) are the first to fail (when the other party doesn’t know about them).”
Shrew’s News, June 10, 1999

Sometimes I surprise myself. I was reading my old diary entries from two years ago and I was astonished by some of the things I wrote. Here is something from on June 20, 1999 that I think deserves to be published a second time.

“I have come to the conclusion that I can deal with anything and this is only one little bump on the road to happiness. I have to get up, dust myself off, and start back on my way. I am old enough to accept that there are going to be problems in life and I might as well learn how to deal with any kind that might present themselves. I choose to start right here.”

That was the summer I spent half in Gainesville for summer classes, half in Tallahassee working at FSU, and it was the beginning of my relationship with Stuart. At the time of that entry I thought I was making a change that would permanently affect the outcome of my personality. Have you ever felt that way? If the answer is yes, have you ever looked back on that feeling and thought it was silly in retrospect? Fortunately this was not one of those occasions for me. Remembering the time when I wrote those words make me very proud of the choice I made and the person I have become because of it. I chose to be strong when it was the hardest option available and it makes me smile now knowing that any other decision would have been wrong. I am sure I will be making many more choices like that one throughout my life and I’ll make sure to keep the previous ones in mind when I have to face them. When faced with a new problem nothing is more comforting than a past success.

I am very glad I have kept this diary for more than two years now. Not only does writing about my thoughts and feelings make me understand them better but reading about them at a later date helps me see how they have affected my life. I have changed a lot since I posted my first entry on the web and it’s good to see that they have been positive ones. So if no one ever reads any of my writing it won’t matter one bit because these accounts have been of assistance to me and that’s all I could have ever hoped for.

Money Matters – 06.07.01

Thursday, June 7th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“We need a sexier CEO.”
Boeing employee at new hire orientation

I hate money. I wouldn’t agree that it’s the root of all evil but it annoys me in so many ways. Sure money is a resource we need to make our lives enjoyable but getting and keeping it is the problem.

I just finished the Boeing travel reimbursement paperwork yesterday and I mailed it to the appropriate department for review. After tallying all of our hotel receipts, adding thirty-four dollars per day for food expenses, and figuring out allotted mileage costs the total amount that I requested was almost $2700. There is no way that I will be given that much money but I was advised to report everything in order to maximize the sum dispensed by the company. When the relocation department called me last semester I was told that the distance between Tallahassee and Seal Beach is 2260 miles and I would be given seven days to complete this trip. The fact that my travel report lists fifteen days will surely stand out to whoever looks at it. Someone will decide how much of my request is appropriate and I will find out how much that is when I get the reimbursement check in a few weeks.

Seal Beach Boeing employees are only paid every two weeks so I don’t know when I will be getting my first paycheck. It’s going to be very small considering that I only recorded twenty-four hours (the work week ends on Thursday) of the last two-week period but it’ll be something. I got a slight raise in my hourly salary since last summer and the fact that I am going to be working for more than six months guarantees that I will make more money this summer. That’s a good thing since I am planning to go to graduate school next fall and I will need every penny just to pay for it (if I don’t get some kind of financial aid). Maybe it’s because I was raised in a family where we didn’t have to worry about money but I just want the same situation for myself when I become financially independent. Having a lot of money has never been a priority for me. It does help when you want to plan a trip to Europe next summer, though.

At the new employee orientation on Monday I discovered that Boeing will pay for me to take a GRE prep course (at an accredited institution), the GRE once, and my one-credit fall class at UF. The latter two of those are not very expensive but the GRE prep course is almost one thousand dollars! I was going to pay the tuition myself since I am not the best test taker and I need to go well in order to be a strong graduate school applicant, but if the company will do that instead I will be happy about it. I did some research and I think I will be going to a Princeton Review course in Irvine starting on August 11 and ending October 7. This gives me some time to get the tuition from Boeing in advance and schedule a time for me to take the actual GRE some time after the prep course is over. I am going to try and apply to graduate programs before I leave California in December so I won’t have to deal with it when I get back to school in January.

The Los Angeles Lakes lost the first game in the NBA finals in overtime last night at the Staples Center. Fans are disappointed, of course, but are more convinced than ever that their team will come out on top. The Philadelphia 76ers were faced by a crazed crowd last night that is still remembering the Laker’s victory at home last year and demanding another just like it. We’ll have to see how it all turns out.

I am going to post an entry some time tonight I wrote on Monday. It won’t show up as the latest update because of this one but make sure to go back and read it because it is quite shocking. I’ll just leave it at that.

Local Disaster – 06.04.01

Monday, June 4th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”
Batman (the TV series)

A woman died at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Saturday. Not only did she die at the park but she died on a roller coaster. Not only did she die on a roller coaster but she died on the newest one, Goliath. Last summer I rode Goliath when it was practically brand new and, as soon as I got off, I vowed never to do so again. Using the exact words I wrote that day here is why.

“The first coaster we went on was the Goliath and I had the oddest experience. In the middle of the ride there is a spiral section and passengers experience a strong centripetal force pushing them down into their seats. Well, this continued for a few seconds and I noticed that the force was getting stronger as the ride got nearer to the ground. I blacked out. My vision just went dark for a split second and I was scared to death. After I blinked we had come out of the spiral and I could see again but I could feel my hands shaking. I have never had anything like that happen to me on a roller coaster and it was very frightening. That’s just one testament to the fact that most of the rides at Magic Mountain served as tools to scare the living daylights out of me rather than entertain.” (June 25, 2001)

The LA coroner announced yesterday that the coaster was the cause of the brain hemorrhage that killed the twenty-eight year old woman and the ride was closed indefinitely. Today, however, this report is in question. I could have confirmed that there is a large amount of force applied to the body during the ride the moment I got off it last summer. It would be very unfortunate if that force caused this death. I supposed we will know for sure sometime soon – Six Flags is anxious to reopen the roller coaster so they will try to speed up the investigation as much as possible. There is nothing that could get me back on that ride, no matter how safe it is proved to be.