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I skipped two months here!

Wow, can't believe I haven't posted here since 2009! haha.

A lot has changed in the past couple of months! Well, actually, most of the changing has happened really recently. Basically, I've realized how unhappy I am and how much I need to make a change for the better. Long story short, I have decided to move back to Grand Rapids(!).

Coincidentally, two of my friends and former roommates recently had their roommate move out, so that made it really easy for me to be able to move! I have already moved some of my stuff in. It's a BEAUTIFUL apartment, and even though my bedroom's the smallest, it's still a good size, and I am SO excited about living with Emily and Angelina again! And being back "home" in Grand Rapids!!

I've lived here in Wisconsin for just about a year now, and I haven't felt like I could stay here long-term. I am excited to return to my friends and favorite places after moving back...and discovering new places and people, too.

I'll be transferring to the Target in Jenison, where I shopped a lot while I was in school. It's not official yet – still have to do a phone interview, but I can't see them rejecting me. ha. I had an interview the other day for an administrative assistant job at a great non-profit, but I don't think I did super well in the interview. I'll find out on Monday if I got the job. Apparently I was one of four "cream of the crop" applicants, so that's nice to know. If I don't get the job, I'll continue to look for something better while working at Target.

Moving is such a headache, but I'm glad I'm doing what's best for me. I'll miss Rachel and Kevin and Sox and Leo terribly, but I'm glad they'll have their house to themselves.

In other, horrible news, I found out on Wednesday morning that my 16-year-old cousin Talon passed away after a brief but difficult battle with cancer. It's still so unreal. The news story is HERE. I've never known him or his siblings very well, but did spend time with them at many family gatherings. Their family is very sweet, and it's just heart wrenching that they've had to go through this. He had only been sick since November, and they didn't know right away he had cancer. He had been receiving treatment at the children's hospital in Grand Rapids, and one of the first things I thought about when I decided to move to GR was that I'd go visit them in the hospital after I settled in. I had no idea his time was so short. The funeral was today, and a lot of our family was able to travel in for it. My cousin Laura picked my mom up on her way there, and they're staying the night. I wish I could have made it, but I probably would have been a wreck the entire time. I have cried a lot over this...even though I didn't know Talon well, he is family, and he was taken far too early. I have cried for his parents and younger siblings...I can't imagine what they're going through. ::Sigh:: It's so hard to grasp.

It makes me realize that I need to keep in better touch with my family, and let them know I love and appreciate them...because life's too short.

One of my Christmas gifts

Rachel got me the turquoise gloves I had wanted from Target! Love them.

2009: A Year in Review

I'm glad Alex had posted this a couple weeks ago, or I might have forgotten to do it this year!

2009: a year in review.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Lived in Wisconsin

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Well...I didn't make any resolutions, but I had joined up with friends in a blogging project that I failed miserably at... New Each Week. I don't plan on making any resolutions for this year, but I do plan on improving my life overall.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friends Chris and Amy had an adorable little girl this summer, named Cora. She is probably the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. I don't see or talk to Chris and Amy much, and haven't been good at keeping in touch since they moved to Texas a few years ago, but I am so happy for their growing family! You might remember that I posted about Chris and Amy's generosity 4 years ago (ha) when they gave me their Explorer after I totaled my car by hitting a deer.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. My friend Anne died in February. I can't believe I didn't write about it here, but I did post on my Blogger the night of the funeral. She was a wonderful woman from my home church, who was a huge part of the church's youth group, and she helped bring back a choir for our church's teenagers, which was so important to me growing up. She blended right in with us youngsters, and we knew how much she loved and cared about us. Her death was a huge loss for our church, and the funeral was so beautiful. Painful, but beautiful.

5. What countries did you visit?
Does Pennsylvania count? haha. Just the US.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in in previous years?
A serious full-time job. A retail job does not scream "serious" to me...I want to feel good about having achieved a Bachelors degree!!

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 10th - Anne's funeral. May 14th-18th - Returned to Grand Rapids. November 14th-18th - Visiting the Denoos in Pennsylvania. December 26th - spun out on freeway.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Ohhhh this is so sad. Getting my job at Target? Oh! And buying the Focus.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not getting a better job than Target.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing too serious this year! I had the full-on stomach flu back in February, and then a mystery fluish sickness for about 24 hours in November. I don't really think I had any colds this year...maybe some sinus drainage at points. Not too shabby!

11. What was the best thing you got?
My 2002 Ford Focus!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Rachel's and Kevin's, for letting me live with them!! Candice's and Ron's, for flying me out to Pennsylvania! Chris's and Amy's, for sending me lots of tea in the mail this week.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I'm with Alex – Kanye, TOTALLY! Other than that...a person who wrote a certain recent post on my Facebook, which wasn't really a big deal but was obviously spiteful...and my own behavior.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills, gas, the Focus, food, and clothes (but really, not a whole lot went to clothes!).

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My trip to Grand Rapids in May, my trip home for the 4th of July, my purchase of the Focus, my trip to Pennsylvania, and my trip home tomorrow for Christmas/New Year's!

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Hmm. "Melody" by Kate Earl.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? wayyy more sad. It's amazing how important a social life is to one's happiness.
b) thinner or fatter? Hard to say. I haven't weighed myself in a long, long time. But I feel fatter. ha.
c) richer or poorer? Richer, in that I have a full-time job rather than 3 part-time jobs, but I have a sneaking suspicion I'm really poorer because of all my bills.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Travel, prayer

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying, staying in.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? I spent Christmas with Rachel, Kevin, Sox, and Leo. We opened presents, ate good food, and went to see The Princess and the Frog at the theatre.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Just with Sox and Leo!

22. How many one-night stands?
At least 100. Sike!

23.What was your favorite TV program?
The Biggest Loser

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone!

25. What was the best book you read?
I think the only book I read front-to-back this year was PS, I Love You.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Oren Lavie - "Her Morning Elegence" You have to see the music video, if you haven't already.

27. What did you want and get?
A Ford Focus! A party dress from Target

28. What did you want and not get?
A better job than Target. An exciting life in Madison.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Princess and the Frog...one of the only new movies I saw this year! I think the only other ones I saw in the theatre were Year One and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past...so...not too much competition there!

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 23 this year. My parents came to visit, and I spent my birthday with my entire family, which was great. My parents brought a U-Haul with my bed and papasan chair and other things I couldn't bring when I first moved here. I remember we went to a furniture store in Janesville so Rachel and Kevin could get a bed for the guest bedroom while we had the U-Haul. We went to Red Lobster for dinner, then went shopping. It was a pretty low-key day. I remember Jen from Target calling me while we were leaving the furniture store to see if I could come in to work. Nooooo way, Jose!

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Putting myself out there more since moving to Madison, finding and regularly attending a great church, staying in better contact with family and friends, find a different job

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Red and khaki.

33. What kept you sane?
Rachel, Kevin, Sox, Leo.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Daniel and Trainer Bob from The Biggest Loser. :D

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
No comment...

36. Who did you miss?
My friends and faith family in Grand Rapids, my friends from home, family, Ivy and Ebony

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Casey. I don't know how I could survive Target if he didn't work there!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
Life takes work!

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Can't think of anything right now.

40. Did you attend any concerts?
Dave Matthews Band at Alpine Valley with Eric and the Elliots.

Dec. 27th, 2009

I'm going to make this quick, since I have to get ready for work soon.

Yesterday, I was supposed to work from 1-5; I wasn't originally scheduled for this shift, but my boss had asked me if I wanted to work and I figured it was a short enough shift that I wouldn't mind it, and it'd be a little extra money.

Well, after a morning of rushed shopping with Rachel and Kevin, I was already running late. I had to stop for gas on my way to work, so I called and let the store manager know I'd be late. I wasn't going to let myself worry about time, because the roads were a little slick. After I'd been on the freeway for about 7 miles, I noticed an SUV in the median on my left, and a truck that slid down off the road on my right. In the split-second it had taken me to notice these slide-offs, all the traffic in front of me slowed down abruptly. Without thinking, I slammed on my brakes, and immediately started drifting forward and around, spinning in the middle of the freeway. I was face-to-face with an oncoming SUV, which masterfully maneuvered out of my way and avoided its own demise, then slid backwards into the median, kitty-corner to oncoming traffic.

It is all too real to me that I very well could have died yesterday. The traffic was heavy, considering people traveling after Christmas and out shopping for deals. I sat in my car for an hour and a half waiting for the towing service I had called to arrive. I watched car after car after car either speed by or slow down to glance down at me, and prayed no one else would slide off into me.

What's amazing is that the other two vehicles that had slide off – one, a truck that slide way down into a ditch on the right side of the freeway – drove away with people and auto unscathed. And I and my Focus are fine, too. I am quite shaken up, though, and am having a hard time putting the experience out of my mind. I am not looking forward to driving to work in an hour.

I am so grateful that all the experience had cost me was a very expensive towing job ($179). I do think of today, tomorrow, and the rest of my life as a second chance, and I don't want to take anything for granted.
While I was talking to my mom on the phone today, she asked me what I want for Christmas.

Half-jokingly, I answered, "A new life."


I keep having little glimpses of what my life *could* be, but it seems so far off from where I am now.

In other news, I had to bring Sox to the vet this morning, because we noticed yesterday that he was lethargic and licking his "personal area" a lot. When we picked him up, he'd cry in pain. Poor guy! Turns out that he had a urinary blockage...stuff was so built up that he couldn't pee, had pain in his "groin," and his bladder was distended. Uggghhh I felt so bad for him! I had to leave him at the hospital so he could get a catheter and get "un-blocked." If he's able to pee well on his own tomorrow, he'll be able to come home. I cried at the vet's, 'cause the doctor said Sox could die if he didn't get treated within the next 36 hours or so. I do not want any more kitties getting sick!!!


Maybe I've been watching too much Biggest Loser lately...but I am stuck on how interested I am in their transformations, yet my life's been pretty much the same for the past 7 months.

But as I tried to nap today, I started thinking about getting my nose pierced and/or doing something different with my hair...and then later, in the shower, I thought about how I want to get a job that will let me wear my own clothes rather than a uniform, and how I want to have my "own place," and how I want to adopt a pet from the animal shelter...I want this all to happen within the next year or two. And like those inspiring contestants on The Biggest Loser, I want to take charge of my health. Now that I've finally qualified for insurance through Target, I want to go get my first physical exam in a LONG time (ha! did you read that? I WANT to get a physical!), and make sure I'm healthy or take the right steps to get healthy. Can you believe I haven't ever gotten a "female exam"? Though I know it won't be a fun experience, I am anxious to get it over with. I don't expect I'll learn of any health concerns, but you never know...and, like I said, it's been quite a while since I've been checked up.

Besides aiming for a clean bill of health, I also want to take care of my body in the sense of fitness and exercise. I am having such a hard time getting started on this. Ugh.

So...here are some of my ideas/goals for my own transformation. Here's to seeing them through!

Oh, and speaking of health...I came down with this strange flu-like sickness on Sunday, and had to call in to work. Then on Monday morning, I was still out of it and didn't have enough energy to get ready for work, so I had to call out again. I went back in on Tuesday, though still a little wiped. Everyone said I looked tired, and I was. I guess I overexerted a little bit because WOW was I sore waking up this morning!! haha...good stuff.

I just sold my Neon to someone for $500. Not more than two minutes after the new owner drove it away did I tell Kevin, "I miss my Neon!" :( I will miss it a lot, but I'm excited to get comfortable with my new Focus.

Farewell, Tessa! You were good to me!


Oct. 25th, 2009

I also post on Blogger (though not nearly as often as Tumblr, or even LJ), and "follow" quite a few blogs there, some of which belong to friends of mine. A friend and former GVSU classmate, Michelle, posts a lot of entries that expose her raw emotion, and I love her for it. Reading her posts brings out the rawness in me. Currently, she's worrying a lot about her life now and her life in the future...scared and unsure, but sometimes so sure that it scares her. She's writing what I've never been able to put into words. While her story is different than mine, I relate so much to the feelings she's going through.

Once every few days, or few weeks, or whatever it happens to be, I really, really, really, really, really, really miss life as I knew it in Grand Rapids. I had no shortage of friends to be surrounded by, and no lack of faith support. Sometimes I think I was crazy to ever leave it. Sometimes I think I should go back. But sometimes I tell myself it's good I stepped out of my comfort zone, and that I should build my life up from this new place I'm at. But I am not doing so well here, if only for the fact I'm stuck at this crappy job. Part of me thinks that if I could just get a better job, I'd be much better off...but I'm skeptical to think that a new, better job (whenever I might find one) could magically make the rest of my life fall into place.

I have no social life. It sucks. Sometimes in GR, I had to make a choice between two or three different ways I could spend my social time, and I even had the option to opt out and stay home if I felt like it (which I did with relish every once in a while). Now, I don't really have a choice. When Rachel and Kevin want to go out, I'm usually too exhausted to even want to go with.

Part of me thinks it'd be fantastic to move back to Grand Rapids, but it's also a very scary thought. My biggest worry is having a job out there that would support me. I wouldn't mind so much having a crappy job at first...just need to make enough to pay bills, rent, etc. I imagine that having my friends and church back would be more than enough to overpower a crappy job. But then, I think about my friends, whom I've been away from for over 10 months now, and how they've had all that time with each other, and without me. I'm scared I'd feel left out or like I'd have to work my way back into their lives again. It scares me. I know my friends love me, and so many of them have voiced how they want me back in GR, and I know that if I mentioned this fear to them, they'd tell me I am silly...but it's a real fear to me. I chose to move away, and in some ways have alienated myself from the people I spent most of my college years with. And now I'm living with the results. Many of my friends have said they've grown apart a little because of their busy lives -- quite a few of my "posse" are married now, or working, or crazy busy with school.

::Sigh:: I agonize over big decisions (I cried the other day over my car hunting experience thus far), and this is one I'll continue agonizing over until I decide to either slap myself and say this is where I am, I'd better accept it and get to living (I thought I had accepted it...I thought wrong), or slap myself and say this is not where I'm supposed to be, get out of here and get to living.

I want these:

When I was home this past winter, my dad kept telling me I need to wear driving gloves in the winter so my hands don't freeze. I never wanted any because I didn't think I'd be comfortable driving with them, but now I change my mind: I saw these driving gloves at Target today...totally want them.

Love, love, love.

(I know they're not "specifically" driving gloves, but close enough for me.)

Writer's Block: Sick day

When you get sick, do you prefer to go it alone or be doted upon by a friend, partner, or parent? Do you usually go to work or school or stay home?

I totally want someone waiting on me hand and foot when I'm sick! :) I was spoiled growing up; Mom would do everything she could to help me, even if the only thing she could do was show me sympathy. :) Every time I'm sick, my #1 thought is, "I want my mommy!" Rachel is the same way.

When I had the flu when I was home this winter, my daddy went out of his way to by me popsicles. It made my day.

You can always know when you're loved, and by whom, but it's amplified so much when people love on you when you're sick.

If I just have a cough and congestion kind of sickness, I've always done my best to make it to class and work. But if I'm achey, feverish, nauseous, etc., I don't want to go anywhere (and they wouldn't want me there, anyway!).


Ashley Ruth

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