Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Blue Sugar

Forgive me but I have a confession, I like the blue sugar.
I'm sorry Mr. Sweet-n-Lo, and Miss Splenda, but my love goes out to the ambiguous equal.
Normally, I wouldn't sit at my computer typing away on a Sunday night about such a seemingly senseless topic, but I need to unwind, well that and I had an experience this weekend that provoked my thoughts on the topic.
So this morning, after my daily visit to the gym, with my ipod (the new and so not broken one, I may add) blaring, and the goose bumps on my legs appearing (clearly I didn't wear pants, I mean it had to be a whopping 40 degrees this morning) I was walking home.
I passed the WaWA but didn't stop for coffee, (the last cup I got there had all the grit on the bottom)-
I passed by Starbucks but didn't stop (I thought that I would give my bursar bill a day off, haha)-
I passed by Bucks County Coffee but didn't stop (the boy sitting by the door was too cute and I couldn't dare walk in looking as post-workout nasty as I did), and then after thinking, wow, its pretty pathetic that on the upper 1/3 of campus alone there are 3 coffee shops, I arrived at my door and was eagerly anticipating my morning cup of Jo.
So I fumbled around in the kitchen, dumping gout the old filter, putting in afresh one, carefully measuring out the 5 spoons of grinds of the yummy, delicious Gevalia coffee (I know, I know...I'm a sucker for the mail order coffee, but I swear, I originally just joined the club for the free coffee pot and travel mug) and then I let it brew. I took my shower, got dressed, and went back to the kitchen--ahh, the air smelled marvelous! I grabbed my favorite mug and opened the refrigerator, problem number one: no milk- well I had soymilk, but for the little amount that I put in my coffee, I allow myself the bit of dairy and go for the skim milk...but like I said, I didn't have any. So I "borrowed" (read, stole) approximately 2 teaspoons of her milk, then I opened the cabinet and reached up into the box of equal, uh-oh two packets left. Oh well, I dumped one in and poured my coffee...instant curdles. Shit! Clearly, I wasn't in the mood for "cottage cheese" with a little bit of coffee, so I dumped it out.
Rather annoyed, I threw on my shoes and ran to Fresh Grocer for some milk. I scrambled through the extremely un-organized isles (if you have never been inside this establishment consider yourself lucky, it's the only grocery store I know of that a) didn't hire an architect when it was built hence the diagonal isles that are barely wide enough to accommodate some of the rather obese philadelphians that frequent the establishment, b) has tampons in the same isle as dried fruit, and c) has a manager that literally NEVER leaves, as in throughout the 4 years I have been at Penn, every single time I have been there (including drunken 3 am runs freshman year to the "bulk candy" section), this man is present)). With the milk in hand I hopped into the express checkout line, well I should have guessed that it wouldn't;t be speedy, as the lady in front of me bitched over not being able to use her TEN CENT coupon that expired yesterday and then proceeded to pay her $3.57 bill with dimes, nickels, and pennies. Oh vey!! Finally I checked out and sprinted back home, only to realize that forgot to buy more Equal, oh well, I only had one more cup of coffee left, after the spoiled milk incident. So I wash out the mug, pour in the milk and reach for the last packet of equal..wait, why does it feel so light?!?! Shit take 2! It's just an empty wrapper. Dear god, what is going on here? Is this a sign? Frustrated, thought about dumping the coffee down the drain, but I didn't. Instead, I went back out, but this time ran into Bucks County, thank god the cute boy was gone, but I slyly crept over to the beverage prep center and reached for the.....WHAT?!?! You have got to be kidding me, no equal? No so Sweet-n-Lo, not even any splenda? All they have is "Sugar in the Raw?" Now I am all for organic, infact that's typically what I choose, but when it comes to my coffee, all it really like is that blue delight. Seeing as I wasn't a paying customer, I didn't think I could say, "excuse me 'Mr.Barrista Man' but could I possibly have some sugar substitute for the coffee that I am NOT buying here?"
Disheartened, I left and went back home. And what do I see when I open the kitchen door, lonely cup of Jo, just sitting there, waiting for me.....
Oh well, I guess it wasn't meant to be.
I poured the coffee out, turned the coffee pot off (oh yeah, the free one), and cracked open a diet sprite.
Better luck next time???

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Seven days.
Then it's Thanksgiving break.
Welcome back to: final draft of my senior thesis, article for publication submission/independent inquiry, community intervention group project and presentation, and two exams.
Is the end in sight?

I must admit, my emotions lately have been much of a roller coaster. With thoughts of graduating and heading out into the "real world" being clouded by the options to stay here for one more year and finish my MSN with a year of full time grad school, I feel a little lost. Today, while sitting through my 7th straight hour of class (none of where the lecturers had posted notes and/or an outline to follow, I found myself day dreaming. And just where did my dreams take me? Back to preschool where I was all dressed up as Flopsy from the Peter Rabbit school play that we put on, to sitting in kindergarten art class where I was crying because Dan told me that I drew a pig nose on my self portrait, to first grade where I proudly handed out pink bubble gum jelly beans when my baby sister was born, to second grade when I got scolded for stealing a piece of gum from the candy jar, to third grade when I was devastated that my teacher didn't really believe in homework (hey, I was a little bit nerdy), to fourth grade when I got my tonsils removed, to fifth grade where I infatuated with wearing the latest apparel from Limited Too (matching scrunchie and all!!), to 6th grade where I had the tightest group of 5 friends and I walked the halls of middle school with confidence, to 7th grade where I remember the butterflies in my stomach as we played spin the bottle or went to school dances, to 8th grade where (well I actually detested 8th grade so I have no fond memories, yes- I know, it's sad), to 9th grade when our swim team won the hocking league and the TG's were created, to 10th grade where my return to school with a change in appearance prompted lots of positive attention, to 11th grade where I finally got the boy who made me feel like a princess, and to 12th grade where so much was gained in wisdom and experience, yet lost in a whirl wind of fast paced deadlines.
It's funny how selective memory works. More often than not, we remember the good and try to forget the bad, yet its the bad experiences that help build our resilience and make us who we are today. I don't know if I am going anywhere with the train of thought, but my 4th lecturer of the day today was one of the most phenomenal speakers that I have ever heard. He spoke of how to talk and interact with adolescents and emphasized four principles of building a therapeutic relationship:
1) set the stage: emphasize privacy, express honesty, explain your metholodogy/school of thinking, and remain non-judgmental
2) Shift the model of care to take the shame out of the behaviors
3) recognize that adult models of learning and teaching (i.e. lecturing) don't work on adolescents and that they actually backfire
4) realize that stress drives negative behavior and go equipped with tools to teach positive coping strategies.

WOW- powerful stuff. It just keeps me thinking, if only some of the people who I have met along the way had known these strategies...