In honor of this, my 300th post...

... I will give away some Bloggy Awards! I had so much fun giving awards at my Twiblog that I decided to do it here, too. These awards are for the top ten blogs I currently adore, in no particular order. :)

Indyeah, you gave me my very first blog award -- thank you so much! :) You inspired this award-giving bonanza of mine. Indyeah is someone I met only recently, but not a day passes that I do not visit her blog, CONSIDER IT CRASHED. Her topics range from the beauty of her homeland, India, to events occurring halfway around the world. Regardless of her theme, each of her posts are an inspiration. A true must-read. You get the "Inspiration Award" from me.


I like to think of Marc's blog, Daily Writing Practice, as my very own personal writing boot camp. Every day he presents a new writing exercise, with prompts as varied and various as dead batteries, clocks, and strange noises. I credit him for helping me get my Muse back in shape. Thanks, Marc! You get the "Intellectual Blogger Award" from me.


April has probably the best blog title I've ever seen, Mistress of Well-Intentioned Indecision. Her blog is witty, insightful, and she's a formidable writer to boot, having written a novel this past November for NaNoWriMo. (I just know I butchered that acronym. Oh well.) My hat's off to you, April, for being one of the most creative bloggers I know. You get the "Kreativ Blogger Award" from me.


ALRO is yet another blogger who wrote a novel this past November. Way to go ALRO! His blog, ALRO's Mayhem, is part fictional experimentation, part music/gaming discussion, and 100% excellent. You rock, ALRO! :) You get the "Excellent Award" from me.


Nancy Face

This blog, Nancy's Nonsense of Nothingness, is one that is sure to keep you in stitches. You are one funny woman, Nancy Face! Let me know when you decide to tour as a stand-up comedienne, because I'll be sitting front row. You get the "Funniest Blog Award" from me.

Lauren is a webmistress extraordinaire, owning not one but two (at last count) blogs. But I must give her credit for her main blog, Busy Bee Lauren. There is no topic under the sun she will not cover, nothing she is too embarrassed to discuss. The best part? Every post is utterly fascinating. I suspect she could write about static cling and still be interesting. Her blog is the awesomeness. You get the "Bees Knees Award" from me.


Hannah is one of my very favorite bloggy friends. She always leaves the sweetest comments, and her blog, Pink Chucks, is pretty sweet, too! You get the "Cat's Meow Award" from me.

I love Stacey's blog, Stace's Place, because you get the impression that the persona she puts forth in her blog is the real, genuine Stacey. She does it all -- run a full household, raise four adorable kids, plus keep up-to-date with the Twilight world. Stacey's a true renaissance woman. You get the "Fabulous Blog Award" from me.

Ann Marie
Ann Marie's blog, An Old Fashioned Girl, caters to my love of all things crafty and girly-girl. True to her blog's name, Ann Marie really is an old fashioned girl. She's got a heart of gold and a warmhearted personality that comes across in both her blog posts and her comments on other blogs. Definitely the nicest blogger I know! :) You get the "Nice Matters Award" from me.


Lala Ema
Lala, you get this award because I think your blog, My castle in Spain, is one of the best around, if not the best. It's got gorgeous pictures, gorgeous writing, pretty much everything you could ask for in a blog. I'm so happy I decided to click on it when it was featured as a Blog of Note, and I can see why you were chosen by Blogger. You get my "Best Blog Award!"
Honorable Mentions
These blogs deserve a shout-out, too! For awesomeness in the name of blogging, I bestow a garland to the following sites:

It's CATurday! :-D

When I see a LOLcat picture I like, I normally store it for safekeeping so I can post it as my LOLcat of the week. But sometimes the picture is so good, I simply can't wait until Monday...

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals


OK, I'm back! I don't know why, but that picture makes me laugh a lot. Maybe it's the cat's solemn expression, hehe. By the way, if you ever come across a LOLcat you'd like to see featured on this blog, please do send him my way. :)


I first heard about the artisan gypsywings from the Twilight Moms. They were the first ones to report last summer when Ashley Greene was spotted wearing one of her pieces, a butterfly pendant (picture at your left). I was curious, because I adore butterflies and Ashley Greene, who I think has an incredible sense of style, so I moseyed on over to her Etsy shop.

It was love at first sight!

Not only does gypsywings, AKA, Georgia create beyond-beautiful jewelry, but she is also a gifted photographer. After visiting two locations from the Twilight novel, Forks and LaPush (where she collected several sea stones to craft her rings), she took pictures like the one below:

Georgia writes about her experience taking this picture:

Recently while on a vacation with friends, I was able to visit Forks Washington and some of the other locations in the Twilight book series. Early one morning I went out and snapped this photo of the woods, while the fog was still hanging low in the air. It looks exactly as I had imagined the scenery to look as I read the books.
I have to say, it does look exactly as I imagine the scenery in Twilight to look! You can purchase this high quality photograph along with several others from her trip to Forks at her store.

Here are some more pictures of her work. Below each picture is a description of the piece from Georgia. These are all items I've ordered and am now currently awaiting with bated breath... ;)

"I shook the little golden locket into his palm. It was round with a slender vine border carved around the outside edge of the circle. Edward popped the tiny catch and looked inside. There was space for a small picture and, on the opposite side, an inscription in French.

"Do you know what this says?" he asked...

"The shopkeeper told me is said something along the lines of 'more than my own life'. Is that right?"

"Yes, he had it right."

From Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

I am a fan of art and jewelry that has meaning, and when I read this part of Breaking Dawn it really stuck with me. I LOVE what it means, More Than My Own Life. What a beautiful sentiment. It would make the perfect gift for a loved one in your life, or your favorite Twilight fan.

I handcrafted this necklace by stamping the words onto a 1 inch disk of copper. Then I made 2 small charms of copper wire, and little shimmering iridescent glass crystal beads. The beads glitter just like Bella in the sunlight after she has been changed :) The necklace is on an 18 inch copper chain.

This pendant is made from the fore wing of a Tree Nymph Butterfly (Idea Leucone). The Tree Nymph Butterfly is a black, white and yellow butterfly that also goes under the names Rice Paper Butterfly, Paper Kite Butterfly and Wood Nymph. The Tree Nymph Butterfly originates from Southeast Asia.

To see photo's of this butterfly go here:

Don't worry, no butterflies were harmed in the making of this pendant. Every butterfly I use is raised on farms and collected only after they expire naturally.

This pendant is is lovely in its simplicity. The wing is so delicate looking, almost translucent. The black and white design has the slightest hint of yellow near the top. Because of its simplicity it can be worn with just about anything. Dressed down with jeans, or worn with your little black dress it will be stunning. The pendant comes on an 18 inch Sterling Plated chain so it is ready to wear!

This pendant is made from the hind wing of a Green Page Moth (Urania Leilus), also known as a Duck tail Moth. Do not worry, I did not kill this beauty to make this pendant. His wings were collected after he expired naturally. No insects were harmed in the making of this pendant! ;)

The Green Page is a day flying moth and is migratory.

See pictures, and learn about this moth here:

I am just in love with the shimmery metallic turquoise, the green and yellow splashes, and the bands of black in this pendant. And look at how the wing dips down into a long tail. I made this pendant two sided because I could not decide which side was more amazing... I mean REALLY! Look at them!


A note about Georgia's pieces:
They are each one-of-a-kind, completely handcrafted. Not everything you see above may be available for sale at the moment, but if you see something you love, both in this post and in her site, let her know in a comment on her profile that you are interested. She's very helpful to her customers and a pleasure to work with. :)

  • To learn more about Georgia, read the Twilight Moms' profile of her.
  • To buy her pretty things, visit her Etsy store.

On the subject of elevation

Have you ever read Roger Ebert's blog? You may have read his film reviews before -- his review are some of the only ones the boyf and I trust when it comes to finding out if a new movie is worthy of our time (and money!) or not.

Well, apparently he has a blog, too. The boyf clued me into this yesterday when he was discussing a particular post Ebert wrote on elevation. What is elevation? Glad you asked. Here's what Wiki has to say about it:

After several years of researching disgust, University of Virginia professor Jonathan Haidt and others studied its opposite, and the term "elevation" was coined. Elevation is a moral emotion and is pleasant. It involves a desire to act morally and do "good"; as an emotion it has a basis in biology, and can sometimes be characterized by a feeling of expansion in the chest or a tingling feeling on the skin. Haidt performed tests on subjects viewing a speech given by Barack Obama and found the politician particularly adept in inspiring this emotion in his listeners.[11]

I think it's so neat that there is a scientific reason why we feel this way. I have felt this feeling many times before, usually when I am inspired by art. It could be a song, a film, a book, or whatever, and it usually leads me to write something, anything. Most of my poetry has been created this way.

On the subject of elevation, Ebert writes:

I've been saying for years that I never cry during sad moments in the movies, only during moments about goodness. At the end of "Terms of Endearment," I didn't cry because of Debra Winger's death, but because of how she said goodbye to her sons. Now I've have discovered a scientific explanation for why I feel the way that I do, and there is even a name for my specific emotion. I wasn't seeking an explanation, and I'm not sure I really wanted one.

And, for that matter, I don't really cry, at least not in the wiping-my-eyes and blowing-my-nose fashion. What I experience is the welling up of a few tears in my eyes, a certain tightness in my throat, and a feeling of uplift: Yes, there is a good person, doing a good thing. And when the movie is over, I don't want to talk with anyone. After such movies I notice that many audience members remain in a kind of reverie. Those who break the spell by feeling compelled to say something don't have an emotional clue.

One film that really gave me that uplifting feeling was The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I truly think this is my all-time favorite movie. I struggle to accurately describe it, as its premise is insane. So I'm stealing the plot-line from "A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with."

Yep, that sounds about right. Told you it was insane. But it's also romantic and bittersweet and unforgettable. I loved it so much, the boyf even bought me The Shooting Script.

Some clips plus a trailer from this film are pasted for you below in case you've never seen it and are curious. Have there been moments in your life, or perhaps any films, books, etc. that have ever given you this feeling of elevation? I'd love to hear your opinions on this matter.


"Would You Erase Me?"

On Rain & Why "ME" Time is Necessary

Normally, I detest the rain. I have an almost cat-like abhorrence of moisture (outside of the shower, of course), hating it for the way it makes my hair frizz (which I regularly torture with blow dryer and straightening iron to remove all evidence of curl), hating it for the way it makes my skin feel sticky and clammy, hating it for the muddy puddles that dirty my pant hems. Rain = Ew.

And rain in Miami is usually not a pretty thing. The humidity is already bad enough, goodness knows. Rain just makes it that much worse.

However, there are certain days, like today, when the rain isn't that bad. There's a cold front passing through, for one, so the humidity isn't as rampant as usual. Plus something about the gray sky and chilly weather is terribly romantic. Perfect for curling up at home with a cup of coffee, like I am with my White Chocolate Mocha right now. Then the rain doesn't feel quite so oppressive.

Well, this is going to have to be a quick post because I needed to be getting ready five minutes ago. The boyf and I are going on a date, making the most of tonight because tomorrow night he's attending a bachelor party for a friend of ours who's getting married in a month.

I must confess I'm not as sad as I thought I would be at the prospect of a boyfriend-less Saturday night. Truthfully, I need the time -- to grade papers and catch up with my work, to study for some educator exams I am taking next month, and just to unwind. I'm a firm believer in "ME time." Even couples need time apart every now and then, to recharge the batteries, if you will.

Have a great weekend, everybody! Hope you enjoy some ME time, too. :-D

True Story(?): Man tries to pay bill with spider drawing.

So I had seen this some time ago, laughed A LOT, then lost it and forgot all about it until tonight. I'm glad I was able to find it again, so that I could save it here and bring you some laughs, too. Enjoy! ;) (And believe me, you will.)

Below is the complete email conversation that Adelaide man David Thorne claims he had with a utility company chasing payment of an overdue bill.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Wednesday 8 Oct 2008 12.19pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Overdue account

Dear David,
Our records indicate that your account is overdue by the amount of $233.95. If you have already made this payment please contact us within the next 7 days to confirm payment has been applied to your account and is no longer outstanding.

Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Wednesday 8 Oct 2008 12.37pm
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Overdue account

Dear Jane,
I do not have any money so am sending you this drawing I did of a spider instead. I value the drawing at $233.95 so trust that this settles the matter.

Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 10.07am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Overdue account

Dear David,
Thankyou for contacting us. Unfortunately we are unable to accept drawings as payment and your account remains in arrears of $233.95. Please contact us within the next 7 days to confirm payment has been applied to your account and is no longer outstanding.

Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 10.32am
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Overdue account

Dear Jane,
Can I have my drawing of a spider back then please.

Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 11.42am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Overdue account

Dear David,
You emailed the drawing to me. Do you want me to email it back to you?

Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 11.56am
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Overdue account

Dear Jane,

Yes please.

Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 12.14pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Overdue account


From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 10 Oct 2008 09.22am
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Whose spider is that?

Dear Jane, Are you sure this drawing of a spider is the one I sent you? This spider only has seven legs and I do not feel I would have made such an elementary mistake when I drew it.

Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Friday 10 Oct 2008 11.03am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Whose spider is that?

Dear David, Yes it is the same drawing. I copied and pasted it from the email you sent me on the 8th. David your account is still overdue by the amount of $233.95. Please make this payment as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 10 Oct 2008 11.05am
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Automated Out of Office Response

Thankyou for contacting me. I am currently away on leave, traveling through time and will be returning last week.

Regards, David.

From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 10 Oct 2008 11.08am
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Re: Whose spider is that?

Hello, I am back and have read through your emails and accept that despite missing a leg, that drawing of a spider may indeed be the one I sent you. I realise with hindsight that it is possible you rejected the drawing of a spider due to this obvious limb ommission but did not point it out in an effort to avoid hurting my feelings. As such, I am sending you a revised drawing with the correct number of legs as full payment for any amount outstanding. I trust this will bring the matter to a conclusion.

Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Monday 13 Oct 2008 2.51pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Whose spider is that?

Dear David, As I have stated, we do not accept drawings in lei of money for accounts outstanding. We accept cheque, bank cheque, money order or cash. Please make a payment this week to avoid incurring any additional fees.

Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 13 Oct 2008 3.17pm
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Whose spider is that?

I understand and will definately make a payment this week if I remember. As you have not accepted my second drawing as payment, please return the drawing to me as soon as possible. It was silly of me to assume I could provide you with something of completely no value whatsoever, waste your time and then attach such a large amount to it.

Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Tuesday 14 Oct 2008 11.18am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Whose spider is that?




Have you ever gotten a mixtape? Or am I just an old granny who still remembers what the initials VHS mean and who Duran Duran are?

Wait, on second thought, don't answer that second question.

Seriously, though, I miss getting (and making!) mixtapes. When I was in high school and college, it was a big deal if a boy made you one. It meant he liked you. Usually. It all depended on what songs he included on your tape.

I have received a few mixtapes in my time. :) I've also made some, both for my own enjoyment and for friends, and yes, even a boy or two may have received a mixtape from me.

So I was thinking that maybe this year, for Valentine's Day, I'd make the boyf a mixtape. Only it would be a mixCD because neither one of us owns a cassette recorder/player. It's a low-budget gift, I know, but times are tough and my wallet has nothing in it. Except moths, maybe.

I think at least this is a gift that shows I care, that I put some thought into it, instead of just buying whatever from wherever.

I don't know, what do you think? And do you have any song recommendations? Let me know in a comment! :)

The happy couple! This pic was taken on my 30th birthday in October '08.

Shiny Happy Laptop

I'm getting a brand new laptop computer, just ordered it from! I never would have thought you could safely order computers online, but apparently you can. My boyf's father told me so, and when I researched it online, I was overjoyed to discover this is not only true, but also kinder to my wallet -- the laptop I'm getting, a Toshiba, is normally over $700 in stores like Best Buy and the soon-to-be-defunct (sniff, sniff) Circuit City, but I got it for $679.99. Oh, and an added bonus to ordering on Amazon -- shipping is free when you select "Super Saver Shipping." It might take a little longer, but hey, I don't mind if it means paying less! Click on the picture to learn more about my new toy.

The laptop I currently own is an Acer 3613LCi. That combination of letters and numbers might mean something to you, but it really doesn't mean anything to me.

Unless it stands for "crap."

I really shouldn't be so mean to my laptop. It's not its fault that it decides to shut down and take a nap out of nowhere just because it feels like it. It's not its fault that it runs so slow and makes the simple act of typing a document or sending an e-mail an exercise in futility and frustration. It's an old laptop and was never that fancy and advanced even in its heyday.

I will still use you, my granny laptop, even when my shiny happy new laptop arrives. I'll probably take you with me to work, where you actually look good next to my in-class computer (which is practically a contemporary of Moses).

But oh, waiting for my new computer is like waiting for Christmas to come. I can't wait! :-)

LOLcat Picture of the Week

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Thank you, Ingrid, for giving me Anthony Bourdain! (Wait, that doesn't sound right...)

I came home last Friday to a very happy surprise in my mailbox... an autographed picture of Anthony Bourdain! Thank you, Ingrid! :-D Ingrid works for the Travel Channel, and she had gotten in touch with me a couple of months ago asking if I wouldn't mind writing posts about Bourdain's show, "No Reservations." As this is something I kinda sorta did anyways, I said sure. We have Ingrid to thank for the cool preview videos I get before the shows air, and now I am doubly grateful to her for this picture of Bourdain. I am one of Anthony Bourdain's biggest fans (as if you couldn't tell), both of his books and his show. Heck, I even bought his Les Halles recipe book and I can't even cook! But the boyf can, so at least he can put it to good use.

Here are some pictures of me with the picture:

Ignore the shiny monstrosity that is my pre-makeup face.

Here is a close-up so you can see his autograph. I wonder where the picture was taken?

No Reservations: Tony Goes to The Azores (Warning: Snarking present in this episode.)

This week, Tony heads to the Azores. Now if you're anything like me (Read: geography-deficient), you are probably saying to yourself, "Where are the Azores?!" Well, never fear, I've done your homework for you:
The Azores (Portuguese: Açores pronounced [ɐˈsoɾeʃ] or [ɐˈsoɾʃ]) is a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,500 km (950 mi) from Lisbon and about 3,900 km (2,400 mi) from the east coast of North America. (Source: Wikipedia)
Sounds beautiful, right? Tony is sure to be in fine form, smiling and chatting with all the locals, even carrying small infants. A good time for all.

Yeah, not so much, according to Bourdain's blog. The source of his displeasure in this episode? A water scene, which you can see in the picture above. (Note Tony's defensive posture.) Here's what he had to say about the now infamous scene:
Water scenes - minutes of air time spent looking at me tasting water, or water dribbling out of a faucet or even water emerging from a hole in the ground as steam does not strike me as riveting entertainment. "Know thyself," the saying goes, and I just KNEW that this proposed scene was not going to hold my interest. I swiftly sent off a memo saying "KILL the water scene." Yet, weeks later, arriving in the Azores, I look down and there it was on the schedule. "Sacred Water Scene. Blowholes."
Heh. He said blowholes. Ahem, sorry about that -- you can blame my sophomoric sense of humor on the fact that I -- well, I teach sophomores.

Despite the water scene, the rest of the episode promises to be great. Here's what Ingrid thinks of it:
Some of my favorite episodes of No Reservations aren't always the well known locations, but places like The Azores, because of the food, the people, the culture and of course, Tony.
Having worked in kitchens alongside many generations of Azorean Portuguese immigrants, Tony decides it's time to find out more about their motherland and explore the culture that molded so much of New England's heritage. He hops from one island to the next while on the archipelago, dining on potatoes, pork, sausage, cabbage, shellfish, Portuguese soup and washing it all down with Gin and Tonics.

From the hot springs in Furnas on Sao Miguel to one of the most remote locations in the world on Sao Jorge, and onto the beautiful wine making region of Pico, Tony experiences the best of Azores.

I laughed out loud at many points during this episode and am convinced you will too. Simply put, it's Tony at his best. The scenery is fantastic, the food looks incredible and Tony is his rawest yet this season.
If you've never seen Bourdain at his snarky best, it is a sight to behold. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's episode. It airs at 10 PM on the Travel Channel. Here's a small taste of what to expect:

How Novel, She's Reading Again.

Have you ever loved a book as a child, and then returned to it years later, as an adult, and found that it didn't live up to your memories of it?

This has happened to me with more than one book. Now, I have always been what you'd call a voracious reader. I know that not everything is going to live up to my expectation OR my memories, but I'll read anything for the pleasure of it -- well, almost anything. Mind you, I do stop short at mathematics textbooks and instruction manuals. But I will read mystery, nonfiction, romance, Twilight (yes, I went there), you name it. Just not math and instruction manuals, 'K?

True story -- I don't leave the house without at least one novel tucked into my purse. Perhaps one of the reasons why I love the show "Gilmore Girls" so much is that I can identify with the character Rory -- she, too, always carried a book with her wherever she went.

So as a child, I viewed libraries as hallowed places. Even the humble one in my parochial school growing up, with its tattered books yellowed with age and smelling of dust, even this library was special for me. It was in this library that I came across a book written in the 1950's, which to a little girl at the time (imagine now) felt like it was centuries old. I recognized the title, 101 Dalmatians. The author had a funny name I'd never heard before: Dodie Smith. I'd seen the Disney film adaptation and was familiar with the premise -- two dalmatians must rescue their puppy children from Cruella de Vil, who kidnapped them and plans on killing them for their skins. Something about the book made me pick it up -- I remember it was a beigey, light orange color, hard-covered, and there was an illustration on the cover in pastel watercolor-like colors, of two dalmatians running down a country road. Curious, I picked the book up and thumbed my way to the first page.

I was hooked after the first paragraph:
Not long ago, there lived in London a young married couple of Dalmatian dogs named Pongo and Missis Pongo. (Missis had added Pongo's name to her own on their marriage, but was still called Missis by most people.) They were lucky enough to own a young married couple of humans named Mr. and Mrs. Dearly, who were gentle, obedient, and unusually intelligent -- almost canine at times...
Something about the author's phrasing, the way she referred to Mr. and Mrs. Dearly as being "owned" by their dalmatians, tickled my interest. I decided to check it out. Why not?

And I was eternally grateful that I did. The book was a perfect blend of humor, culture (it takes place in England), and suspense. It was the perfect book for a child. I remember curling up in bed under the covers after everyone else had gone to sleep and just reading reading reading, dying to know what would happen next, whether that devilish Cruella de Vil would get her way or whether Pongo and Missis would arrive in time and be able to escape with the puppies. It was an almost magical time, reading that book.

I'm sure you've seen the film. I have and think it's OK. As with most film adaptations, the book is leagues better. At least, it was in my memory.

Flash forward 20-something years. (Gah, I'm old. Woe.) I see the book online, at I begin to wonder if the book I loved so much as a child will live up to my memories of it. I add it to my Wish List, thinking why not, and lo and behold, it arrives for Christmas from the boyf.

I read it again this week, putting it off almost an entire month. I think I was secretly scared of being disappointed. But I wasn't. If anything, I love it more now. I think it's because I get more of the humor now, which is surprisingly high-brow for a children's book. And the chase is just as exciting, the end just as thrilling, as it was the first time I read it all those years ago.

I am such a fan of the author now, Dodie Smith, that I bought another book of hers yesterday at Barnes & Nobles. It's called I Capture the Castle. They made a small, independent (I think) film version of it, which I saw on TV and liked. I'm only a few chapters in, but so far it's marvelous.

I am so grateful for books and for possessing the ability to read, not something everyone is fortunate enough to possess. If not for my love of the written word, I don't think I'd be half as sane as I am now. ;)

I'm Tropic-Ana ... Get it? Get it? Cus I was born in the tropics, and my name is ... Oh, forget it.

Yesterday, when the newly inaugurated (how sweet it is...) President Obama and his wife were walking in the parade, Al Roker was practically jumping up and down, hoping and praying for the opportunity to get his first presidential interview (but possibly also trying to keep warm -- Washington, D.C. was really cold yesterday!).

As Obama and his wife came closer, Al Roker's excitement grew exponentially. As luck would have it, just as they were passing, a satellite van (irony of ironies!) passed in front of where Roker was standing behind the enclosure. Not one to be stymied by this, he started shouting at the top of his lungs: "MR. PRESIDENT!"

Obama looked right at him and smiled, and after seeing who it was, he said, and I quote: "It's warm."

Never let it be said that our new President does not have a sense of humor. True, our previous president had a sense of humor, too -- one akin to a frat boy's. But the past is the past. Time to focus on the present.

Speaking of present, I am freezing my butt off today, despite the fact that I'm wearing three layers and my heaviest coat. Yes, I'm still in Miami. It is bitter cold today. If it's in the 50's at all right now, it's the low 50's.

Some of my readers up north or in more frigid parts of the world are no doubt laughing at me right now, but let me remind you that I am a tropical baby who's never even seen snow. This is cold for me. I got a new microwave in my classroom, and I can't wait to buy some hot choc packets so I can make me some and not be so gosh darn cold.

Before I close, I just wanted to give a shout-out to my bloggy friend, Hannakin, who turns Sweet-Sixteen today! Yay, Hannahkins! Go and give her some love, why don'cha.

Today I Witnessed History in the Making

I will always remember what I was doing today at 12:00 PM.

I was teaching my AP English Language/Period 6 class. They had just finished a timed essay and I turned the volume of the television up so we could hear President-Elect Obama (now President Obama!) begin the inauguration.

When my students (barely) stifled their giggles over Obama's apparent stumble over the presidential oath, I shushed them, telling them that it showed Obama as human. Nobody is perfect, I reminded them. Then I added, "How would you feel if you had to do this in front of millions of people? Hmm...?" Yeah, they pretty much shut up after that. Later it was revealed that Chief Justice John Roberts was the one who botched the presidential oath, changing some of the words and thus throwing Obama off. I still feel the same way about this stumble - nobody's perfect. I'm not upset with Chief Justice Roberts like some over-zealous Obama fans are. It was still a momentous occasion. From now on, when parents tell their children, "Yes, dear, you can be anything you want to be when you grow up, " they will really mean it, regardless of the color of their skin. It took 400 years, but at last the principles of the Constitution, the belief that all men are created equal, is one that can finally be truly upheld.

I thought President Obama's inaugural address was one of his best speeches to date. Some may not think it was celebratory enough, but to that I say that our nation is in crisis right now. Our nation is in need of guidance, guidance that our new president can and will provide. His tone struck the right chord, and his solemnity matched the seriousness of our situation. As Obama said:
"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."
Things might look bleak right now, but I am hopeful for the future. There is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and for once I feel I can look forward to my future with optimism, not fear and uncertainty.

Yes, I will always remember what I was doing on January 20th, 2009 at 12:00 PM. What were you doing?

No Reservations: Washington, D.C.

I have some more news about "No Reservations" to report! Tonight's episode takes place in Washington, D.C. Here's what Ingrid has to say about it:
In the next episode of No Reservations, Tony heads out to explore the city of contrasts – democrat vs. republican, affluent vs. poor, visible vs. invisible. His visit to Washington D.C. doesn't stop at the U-Street Corridor, the International Spy Museum, nor the D.C. Central Kitchen – he also makes his way to hotspots in the outlying areas of Arlington and Falls Church.

The DC episode is unique for a number of reasons; he finds pleasure dining at the home of the world's greatest chili dogs (Tony agrees), where President-elect Obama just visited, digs deep into the spectrum that is D.C., home to dozens of different cultures and languages, and meets a number of interesting famous and non-famous people along the way. In my opinion, it's always great to see Tony in America, exploring cities that we all know and allowing us to see them in a different light. The best part for me – he eats my all-time favorite dish, Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs.

The all-new episode airs Monday, January 19th at 10pm on the Travel Channel.
That's today, folks! I kinda sorta cheated and saw it already on On Demand. Heh heh. But it is awesome and a must-see, so check it out! Here's sneak peak to whet your appetite:

By the way, if you're on Twitter like I am, you can follow updates from No Reservations here.

U2 Releases New Single, "Get On Your Boots"

Logged into MySpace just now (I know, I know...) and was greeted with the following lovely news:
Following its’ premiere on global radio today U2’s new single ‘Get On Your Boots’ is now playing on the band’s revamped myspace.
www. myspace. com/u2

‘Get On Your Boots’ is the first track from the band’s 12th studio album ‘No Line On The Horizon’ on Monday 2nd March 2009. Written and recorded in various locations, ‘No Line on The Horizon is their first release since the 9 million selling album ‘How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb’, released in late 2004.

Sessions for ‘No Line On The Horizon’ began last year in Fez, Morocco, and continued in the band’s own studio in Dublin, before moving to New York’s Platinum Sound Recording Studios, and finally completing at Olympic Studios in London.

The album calls on the production talents of long-time collaborators Brian Eno and Danny Lanois, with additional production by Steve Lillywhite.

‘No Line On The Horizon’ – the album released 2nd March 2009 in the UK and rest of the world except 3rd March in the US - Pre-order here.

U2 are confirmed to perform their new single on The Brits on 18th February in London.

That ear-splitting shriek you just heard? Yep, that was me. You have to understand, U2 is my band-of-the-forever. The band I've loved since I was a little girl. I confess to having a massive crush on Bono. It has a lot to do with his Irish accent, I'm not going to lie, but mostly it's his singing and his lyrics.

To see the track listing, cover art, and hear the new song, go here. I am still listening to it, still deciding whether or not I like it, but I am super excited for the new album nevertheless.

LOLcat Picture of the Week

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Into the Woods!

Last night I went to see my friend Jeannette perform in a community theater play, "Into the Woods." I'd never seen her act before, but I knew she was a fantastic singer, so I was really looking forward to this.

Watching the play made me long for the days in high school when I was in the Drama Club and acted in school productions. I have been Juliet, Dracula's bride, and a pregnant woman coping with AIDS, just to name a few. When my school decided to do musicals my senior year, I dropped out. They were doing "Grease" and I don't sing (outside of the shower). But maybe I'll look into some community theaters in my area to see if they're auditioning. It couldn't hurt!

It's testament to how good last night's play (and Jeannette) were that the boyf had to be all but dragged to go see it, and he wound up having a huge grin on his face the entire time. If you've never heard of "Into the Woods," it's a musical that reinvents beloved fairy tales such as "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Rapunzel," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Cinderella," and more.

But perhaps "reinvents" is too soft a word.

Jeannette had a big role -- she played the Baker's wife who can't conceive a child due to a curse placed on her husband's family by (who else?) a fearsome witch. In order to remove the curse, they need to procure the following four items before the clock strikes midnight on the third day: a red silken cape, a golden slipper, a lock of hair yellow as corn, and a cow white as milk.

While everyone in the cast had decent pipes, each time Jeannette took the stage, she blew them out of the water. As of yet, Jeannette hasn't been discovered by Broadway, just Boca Raton. We're trying to find out how she can get an audition for Broadway, but apparently it's as hard to find as the Holy Grail. I have hope that some day she'll get lucky and a casting scout will be in the audience and get to see her perform.

Here is a picture of Jeannette as the Baker's wife standing next to Cinderella (sorry for the blurry quality, it was taken with a mobile phone) as well as a YouTube video of the play's prologue from the Broadway version.

I am DONE!

Jumping Jehosaphat, I'm done! All six classes, graded and accounted for. All midterm exams graded and filed.

All brain cells totally annihilated, also, but man, it feels good to be done. And now I have the long weekend to look forward to. :-D

A Much Needed Break from Grading: My Thoughts on Ficlets/Ficly v. Protagonize

Tomorrow, is no more. This is the writing community I was a part of for over a year, where I wrote more in the space of 15 months than in my entire life. This is not an exaggeration -- I published over 700 ficlets on this website. A ficlet is a story of only 1,024 characters in length, which may not sound like a lot, but I poured my soul into that website, into my little stories, only to have AOL decide to let the website die after its license expired.

Kevin Lawver, the brains (and heart) behind the site has created the site Ficlets Memorial, where all the authors and their stories are thankfully kept safe. I began backing up my ficlets onto this blog like a mad woman some months back, when I first had the inkling that this might occur, but I couldn't escape the nagging worry that I'd left something behind, some orphan of a story left lonely and cold and forgotten. Now I don't have to worry. It's almost an understatement to call my feeling a relief!

I recently joined this new writing community, At first, I was ecstatic to find this new outlet. It's a lot like Ficlets, but with a few tweaks -- No more character limit! Solo stories which nobody can branch! (Thank God -- sometimes I couldn't help but feel disappointed when a story goes in a direction I don't want it to go, especially if it's somebody else's direction.)

Sure, it's missing a lot of what I loved best about, like the ability to keep your stories in draft mode before you publish them, plus the inspire feature, which allows writers to use pictures, snippets of text, quotes, etc. when the Muse decides to AWOL. But overall, I like it a lot, and Nick, editor and Protagonizer extraordinaire, is great in that he's willing to implement new features and open to suggestions for the site. Plus, I've met a lot of great new writers, many of whom have welcomed us Ficleteer refugees with open arms.

But it seems I'm going to have to make a choice. I just found out that Kevin Lawver has something new in the works: The website's up, but there's nothing much as of yet. It's just a placeholder, but I'm excited. And confused!

I know one thing for sure -- I won't be able to stay on Protagonize and dedicate myself to it 100% while doing the same at another site. It's not like having both a Facebook and a MySpace account.

Well, whatever, for now, Protagonize. In the words of my fellow Southern belle, Ms. O'Hara, tomorrow is another day.

You can read my ficlets, all of them, here at the memorial site:

This is my last ficlet, which I posted a few minutes ago on

"Closing Thoughts, My Final Ficlet"

The time has caught up with us—
Tomorrow is almost here,
And pages ripped from calendars cannot deny the truth:

This welcome home, this community
Of writers and readers, but most of all, of words,
Is closing its door one final time.

So I sit here typing these thoughts
Into that black-rimmed box I came to know so well,
Remembering stories I’ve read and authors I’ve met,

Thankful I’ve had the opportunity to grow
As both a reader and a writer.

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Pardon the lack of insightful (ha!) blog posts as of late -- we are nearing the end of a quarter at my school and grades need to be input by Friday of this week ... which also happens to be the week we give our students their Objective Midterm Exams ... shoot me now, please.

Regular blogging will be back soon, but in the meantime, please enjoy this brief commercial break:

OK, in case you didn't recognize the song, it's from the hilarious "educational" musical, Avenue Q, which I saw in Broward this past Sunday. It's like the Muppets ... on crack. Warning: not for children! So don't be taking your rugrats, like the heinous parents I saw in the theater on Sunday tugging along their kids. For shame. (Though I would've loved the heck out of it as a child, knowing me like I do. ;p)

LOLcat Picture of the Week

It was hard to pick just one this week, guys. The site's been just that good lately! :-)
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No Reservations: Venice

Did anyone see last week's episode of "No Reservations?" More than ever now, I really want to go to Mexico. Bourdain is wonderful at showcasing not just the food and locales of a particular place on his show, but also the people, the very pulse of a city and what makes it tick.

Tomorrow night's episode promises to be just as spectacular -- and yummy! Tomorrow night, Tony goes to Venice. He posted on his blog the other day about his experience shooting there:

This Monday, it's Venice. And if nothing else, one of the most beautifully photographed episodes of NO RESERVATIONS. I'm proud of the look—and hope we managed to give a sense of how delicious the everyday food of the city can be. I draw attention—for benefit of any tech and film wonks reading this—to the use of our new toy, a 35 millimeter lens—adapted to DV cameras, which gave the episode the look of a big screen movie in parts. I'm besotted by Italy lately—and this was a fun one to make.

Even in the middle of tourist season, we managed, I think, to make Venice look hauntingly empty. A single street sweeper in an otherwise deserted Piazza San Marco, backstreets populated only by Venetians, sipping their drinks and looking idly out at the world, a private world of simple good things set against a backdrop of Europe's most beautiful living museum, slowly sinking into the Adriatic. Baby softshell crabs, slowly stewed cuttlefish, cooked in its own ink, sweet and sour sardines, pastas you'd cheerfully kill your own best friend for a taste of—and the best damn risotto I've ever had.Eat first—or watching will be a torment.

Gah, his writing always makes me so hungry! :D Here's a sneak-peak of the episode. Enjoy!

Protagonist's Diary

I wrote this on Protagonize as my diary entry for today. It really details what happened yesterday, but whatever. :p

January 10 - The 2009 Protagonists' Diary

Dear Diary,

No, scratch that.

Hello, self.

Eh, I don't know ... Too too. I'll try again.

The sky was the most perfect shade of blue today. I woke up with the knowledge that today would be a good day. A day for puzzle pieces to snap into place, for long-lost objects to be found, epiphanies gained.

To my utter surprise and joy, I wasn't disappointed.

Work was good -- the students were on task, they actually laughed at my corny jokes, and they asked all the right questions. Days like today make my joke of a paycheck seem (almost) worthwhile.

And I saw a great film on DVD this afternoon, this Japanese film called "Millennium Actress." It was beautiful and heart-wrenching in that way that makes you want to jump up in the middle of the movie and write. (Read: I sometimes do this, to the bemusement of the boyf.)

Speaking about writing, I got a good idea this morning in the shower (where I do my best thinking) about this story I've been stuck on for days. I thought I had lost the strand, but it wasn't lost -- it just wasn't where I expected it to be.

So all in all, it was a pretty good day. What's interesting about today is that yesterday, I was feeling a bit blue. For no reason really at all, I was prone to tears and sensitive to every little thing. I felt like a walking open sore -- everything stung, everything felt like an affront.

So I was tempted to close myself, to shut myself in today. I'm glad I didn't. I would've missed this good day.

Diary, I need to remember to be more open. To receive life as it comes. I know I can be too sensitive sometimes. There's a line from a Tori Amos song I love,"My heart is like the ocean / It gets in the way." I think I love those lyrics partly because they mirror how I see myself.

I need to stop thinking of my heart as an obstacle. I need to realize that my heart is like the ocean, not because it gets in the way, but because it collects the drops of everyday. Because it has the power to give back, to provide rivers of truth and understanding.

I will remember to guide myself by its ebb and flow from now on, no matter what tomorrow brings.

LOLcat Picture ... Just Because

Yeah, I know it's not Monday yet, and we're not due for a new LOLcat, but I saw this one just now and just had to post it...

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Isn't his expression priceless?! Coincidentally, Tasha_Noble from Protagonize posted this hilarious story today, How to Bathe Your Cat. Go nao and read it. You won't be disappointed! ;-D

These are a few of my (current) favorite things...

I did a Favorite Things post last month, and found it oodles of fun, so I'm back for more! :D

Sometimes I fall madly in love with a song and cannot stop listening to it for the life of me. I think repeat mode must have been invented personally for me. I know my iPod probably wants to strangle me by now. The song I currently can't stop listening to? "Bones" by The Editors. The boyf says they're a derivative band and unoriginal in general, but I disagree. The lead singer's voice is really intense and the guitars in their music are so driven. Here's the video for this, my current favorite-favorite song:

What, you ask, is Nutella? Oh, reader, you don't know what you've been missing... It's this hazelnut spread that makes peanut-butter seem bland by comparison. Which is saying something, because I love peanut-butter!


V for Vendetta
(the graphic novel, not the film ... although the film's a'ight.)

Blame the boyf for getting me into comic books. Because of him, I read Watchmen, which I really, really enjoyed, and subsequently became a fan of the genre as well as of Alan Moore's work. The boyf and I gifted each other with V for Vendetta (for me) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (for him) this Christmas. I'm loving what I'm reading so far of V. It's even better than the film, and I think it only makes me that much more nervous about the "Watchmen" film, which keeps getting delayed (grr).


PixelJunk Monsters
This game is seriously addictive. Like Srsly Seriously. What's that you say? You actually don't know what PixelJunk Monsters is? This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Gameplay in PixelJunk Monsters borrows similarities from various tower defense titles. The objective is to build defense towers along the enemies' path to keep them from reaching a hut, or base. Several small creatures dwell at the base. For each enemy that survives the defense towers and reaches the hut, one creature is killed. If all creatures are wiped out, the level is failed.
It's such a great feeling when you finish a level with 100% of your creatures intact. Plus I've got a bit of a competitive nature, so this feeds right into that for me! It's currently available for sale online through the Sony PS3 store. Here's a picture of what the game looks like in action:


Marguerite Sauvage

I first heard of the French artist Marguerite Sauvage because of the illustrations she made for the Nancy Drew series, which I quite enjoyed as a young girl. I think her work is so beautiful. It's like poetry in color. I love reading her blog, too, as it helps me practice my French, plus she often posts new illustrations.


You know you want it. (I know I certainly do!) I can't wait for this week to be over. It's been the longest week EVER. Probably because it was the first time I'd been to work in two weeks. I don't know. All I know is that I am going to appreciate Saturday morning for all it's worth!


Slumdog Millionaire

I saw the best movie of 2008 last night. (Yes, I am well aware that we are already in 2009, but this film came out in 2008, so ... there! :p). It's called "Slumdog Millionaire," and it's one of those life-affirming movies that makes you want to run out and grab someone and tell him something, anything. The point is that it makes you want to reach out and connect.

I don't want to give away too much, but I will say this -- the premise of the movie is brilliant. It's based on the book Q & A by Vikas Swarup, which I've never read but now plan to. The premise is this: Jamal Malik, a young man from the wrong side of the tracks, or a "slumdog," as he's termed, inexplicably gets the chance to go on the Indian version of the show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" He is arrested after correctly answering all of the questions and accused of cheating, but as his testimony proves, his very life experiences gave him the clues to each and every question he's asked.

It has elements of a fairy tale, that magical quality that allows you to suspend your belief in favor of wonder, only this fairy tale would have been written by one of the Brothers Grimm, due to the violence and devastation Salim endures as a child. In spite of the hardships he faced, though, Salim is the most painfully hopeful character I've ever encountered in a film, or a book, or a play, for that matter.

This film is labeled as a Drama/Comedy/Romance, and I think that's a good assessment, as the movie has its fair share of all three. Go see it -- you won't be disappointed. Here's the trailer in case you haven't seen it:

Align Center

Origins: Alice

I've been wanting to write the origins of each of the Cullens in "Twilight" for a while now. I never thought I'd do fan-fic, but here I am, writing a story about Alice (my favorite Cullen character -- other than Edward, of course :p). I just posted the first part in Protagonize. I have the whole story in my head, I just need to write it out. Each new installment will be featured here, so stay tuned for updates!

"I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!" - Alice in Wonderland



First there is a flash of pain, like a meteor burning across the surprised sky of my skin. Then there is a scream torn from my throat, the echo of it bouncing off the walls of my room in a peculiar fashion. I open eyes to darkness, but it is a darkness suffused in red. I thrash, trying to find the source of my pain. It lashes at my bones, swims in the rivers of vein like a poisonous snake. I claw at my arms, my legs, trying to find where this ungodly pain is coming from, to no avail. I hear a laugh in the dark, but it has a broken sound to it, like a cracked wind chime.

Now she will never be yours...

I can't tell if the voice is inside my head or out. That's the trouble with me these days -- the voices are getting harder and harder to distinguish. I choose to ignore it for the moment, having more pressing matters at hand, such as this mysterious, searing pain.

The same voice from before suddenly sounds at my ear, very close this time:

I am sorry I had to do this to you, my beloved, but there was no other way. He forced my hand.

"Make it stop, make it stop, please!" I scream, begging with this seemingly disembodied voice, begging with whomever and whatever will listen to me.

It will all be over soon, my precious dear. Just lie still.

And then I feel what seems like a thousand tiny pinpricks all over my neck, my chest, my arms. And then the pain is increased a thousand times over, until I feel my soul tugging at its root, threatening to let go. My heart races until I'm sure it will burst, my screams have gone completely super-sonic now, I'm sure, but still nobody comes to my aid. My last conscious thought is, "So this is what it's like to die."

Just before the blessed darkness takes me again, I hear the same voice again:

Sleep, my beloved, sleep. When you awaken, you shall not remember any of this...


Out from the Earth

I slipped in and out of consciousness for what felt to me like centuries. Each time I surfaced, it was to the realization that the pain was somewhat diminished. But it was still there, licking the flames that simmered in my veins from time to time, as if to remind me of its presence.

I was alone, the voice having left me for now. This made me feel desperately alone, for some reason. As if the torment was more bearable with the knowledge that I had a witness to it.

When I surfaced for the last time, I felt no pain at all. I felt strangely ... alive. But I was aware of a change. Something significant had taken place in me. But what?

I woke up in the darkness, like before. But the quality of this darkness was different. I realized I was lying on something hard, and there was the smell of earth all around me. I tried to sit up and discovered that I was locked inside a box of some type, very narrow and tight. It was padded on the inside walls with what felt like velvet.

A coffin.

"Breathe, just breathe," I told myself. But my lungs weren't paying attention, they kept greedily gulping in as much air as they could. I realized in some distant part of me that I wasn't hyperventilating like I should be, that I felt no pain, only panic, despite the fact that I was now punching the lid with my bare fists as hard as I could.

I broke through the wood on my first try.

Dirt and splinters rained down on me as I clawed my way out from the earth, out of what felt like oceans and oceans of soil, and moments later I was kneeling on the grass staring down at my newly empty grave. The remains of my coffin lay scattered around me, jagged shards of wood. I looked down at my hands, expecting my knuckles to be bruised and battered. But I didn't have even one scratch.

I stood up, amazed at how easily the movement came to me, bemused that the burning pain from before was completely gone. I looked around and saw that I was in a small graveyard behind a church. Before me lay the dark expanse of a forest. It was nighttime, and I could hear all the noises of the forest nearby, the chirrup of cicadas and the whispering brush of leaves that rustled under the feet of small animals.

There was no moon and little star-light by which to see, and yet my vision seemed somehow enhanced, as if I were seeing clearly for the first time. The glint of something caught my eye, and I saw a piece of marble half-hidden in the grass near my feet. I picked it up and saw that it was a piece of gravestone which must have been knocked off somehow. It was engraved with only one name, no surname: ALICE. I searched near where I had found it to see if I could find the rest of the stone, and maybe more clues as to who this Alice was, but I found only the crumbling, pulverized remains. I held them in the palm of my hands, watching as the wind stole them and carried them away on the night air.

A million questions bubbled at my lips, but I had no one but myself to ask them to: Did I do this? Who put me in the coffin? Why did they put me in the coffin? Who am I?

... Am I Alice?


As I stand there contemplating my situation, I feel the first cool drops of rain land on my forehead. For the first time, I realize what I am wearing -- a long, lacey white gown with matching heels. One of the heels, I notice, is missing. I am covered in dirt from head to toe, a complete disaster.

The rain is a welcome distraction. I tilt my chin up to receive it, amazed at how beautiful the rain looks in this half-light, all silvery and glistening.

Was my eyesight always this good? I can't remember anything about the time before, only an impenetrable darkness that my memory can't seem to touch.

It is while I am standing there, letting the rain wash away the dirt and debris from my body, that I receive my first vision.

It consumes me totally, blocking out everything else.

I can see a slight girl with short black hair darting down a dark alley. She is wearing pants with the cuffs rolled up. She's also wearing a white button-down shirt that is about five sizes too large for her, and it trails after her running form. She is barefoot.

She runs with a single-minded purpose, her arms swinging up and down like pistons. Is someone chasing her?

The vision expands, stretches to encompass her surroundings. I can see now that there is a man running a short distance away from her, constantly looking over his shoulder. I can see the whites of his eyes, the fear in his eyes, alive. No, she's chasing him, I realize.

As I watch, the man suddenly falls to his knees and the girl falls upon him, cradling his head in her hands like a lover. She moves in swiftly as if to kiss his neck, and the vision begins to blur, turn wavy in my mind's eye, so that I can no longer see it that clearly.

Before the vision fades, I see the girl lift her head and the man fall limp to the ground. The girl's eyes are ringed in scarlet and there is a trickle of blood running down her chin. But that's not what shocks me the most about this vision -- what shocks me is that she has my face. She is me.