Before I die, I want to . . .

First, look at this: http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2011/april/before-i-die-candy-chang

Now, look at this: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/7669043/ns/today-live_for_today/

It seems that what we assume our lives should be full of fantastic adventure and erudite epiphanies. Our concept of a fulfilled life seems to bear little to the reality of what individual people want their lives to be. Maybe as we get older, our expectations diminish. We learn to revel in a bit of sunshine or a cold drink or any number of the small delights in life.

When I was little, I wanted to visit every country in the world. I was going to graduate from high school early, finish my B.A. in three years, and be rich by the time I was 25. I was going to have a string of broken hearts behind me. I was going to publish a cogent, revolutionary novel before I left high school. I was going to be one of a kind, so that those who passed me by on the street would pause and think to themselves, "Gee-golly, that Rosemary sure is one of a kind."

Needless to say, none of these things have happened.

And if these were still my goals, I would be a glum little thing.

I've changed. I've lived, and because of that, I have new aspirations, ones that actually have a slim chance of making me happy.

Before I die, I want to spend a whole day just writing.
Before I die, I want to sing by myself in a field.
Before I die, I want to see the Northern Lights.
Before I die, I want to have have a truly selfless moment.
Before I die, I want to fall in love with someone who love me back.
Before I die, I want to feel certain.
Before I die, I want to climb a tree.
Before I die, I want to dye my hair blue (all of it).
Before I die, I want to grow up.
Before I die, I want to do a lot of things, but I don't want to be boring!



Two months to the day since I last posted. During this time, I have gotten sick, seen many movies, witness heartbreak, reestablished friendships, experimented with J-Dawgs sauce, reignited passion for music, bought a few books, and wondered where the two months went.

Two months . . . what do I have to say for myself?

I say . . . I have great friends.

It sounds trite, I know, but I find it miraculous. I haven't always had great friends, you see, and I am constantly surprised when my friends don't disappoint me. Call me a cynic, a pessimist, a drama queen, or even a teddy bear full of needles, but it's true.

It's not that I choose bad friends. I just choose flawed friends, and while generally flaws are what make a person lovable, I have a history of choosing friends with destructive flaws. I've had friends just use me to cover up how much time they've spent with their boyfriends. I've had friends ignore me for weeks at a time until they face crisis and need to talk. I've had friends steal from me. I've had friends slowly tear me down until I have no confidence left. I've had friends abruptly stop talking to me.

I'm not trying to throw a pity party. I've had good friends, too! And I was no picnic for a few years there. I was plenty messed up, which is probably why I surrounded myself with companions even more screwed up than me.

I share these examples to punctuate my point: I have great friends.

I have friends who make me homemade soup when I'm sick. I have friends who get up and drive out to my house in the morning to give me a ride if I miss my bus. I have friends that feed me when I'm too broke to eat. I have friends that drive miles and miles to see me. I have friends who love my flaws. I have friends who listen to my emotional freak-outs and accept them.

Great friends, people. Great friends.


Penny Short of a Quarter

Happy birthday to me!

Yes, I have embarked into the merciless years known as the mid-twenties. These years should herald my true independence. Graduation, employment, and car payments eagerly await me. My hair is graying and my joints are aching, but I still refuse to grow up. I rebel against the idea that just because I am 2.4 decades old, I must now be this so-called "adult." Pffffffft. Who says?

I punctuated my point by snarfing a piece of cake for breakfast.

(No, it doesn't matter that my stomach is now trying to consume every happy, healthy cell in my body. Point proven.)

In celebration of my 24th birthday, I'm sharing once more the song that defines my life. Or will, when I get around to graduating.


by Jamie Cullum

After years of expensive education,
A car full of books and anticipation,
I'm an expert on Shakespeare and that's a hell of a lot,
But the world don't need scholars as much as I thought.
Maybe I'll go traveling for a year,
Finding myself, or start a career.
I could work for the poor, though I'm hungry for fame.
We all seem so different but we're just the same.
Maybe I'll go to the gym, so I don't get fat--
Aren't things more easy, with a tight six-pack?
Who knows the answers, who do you trust?
I can't even separate love from lust...
Maybe I'll move back home and pay off my loans
Working nine to five, answering phones,
But don't make me live for Friday nights,
Drinking eight pints and getting in fights.
I don't want to get up, just let me lie in.
Leave me alone, I'm a twentysomethin'.
Maybe I'll just fall in love:
That could solve it all.
Philosophers say that that's enough,
There surely must be more.
Love ain't the answer, nor is work.
The truth eludes me so much it hurts,
But I'm still having fun and I guess that's the key.
I'm a twentysomething and I'll keep being me.


Go mbeire muid beo ar an am seo arĂ­s

Most of you are aware of my homeland's fiscal difficulties, but for those of you who don't follow world news (and let's face it--most of us don't), I'll summarize. Ireland is in trouble. I'm not referring to the latest bombing in Northern Ireland or the football losses that enraged the nation; no, I am talking about well and truly bankrupt.

Ireland has faced many depressions and economic disasters in the past, but I have to admit that I naively thought that the late 90s prosperity, only heightened by joining the EU in 2001, would ensure that Ireland would be safe. The economy was soaring. Foreign companies were setting up shop, investing in the country and its success. Ireland was recovering in a way it had never been able to enjoy. People weren't worried about starvation or civil war or invading forces or plague or any number of things that had been ever constant in the past. Forgive me for being so Irish, but of course it was too good to last. Ireland is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

It's not entirely their fault. True, they haven't have to support a booming economy before, but they managed well until they started losing so much foreign investing. On top of this were issues they had never had to deal with before, such as immigration, EU regulations, booming tourism, etc. They were handling it well . . . until they weren't. It's taken 3 years of steady downward spiraling for them to be a position where people are lining up to bail them out. Britian has offered the bailout, which Ireland will not take. I actually don't blame them for that. There is 700 years of festering mistrust and racism between Ireland and the UK. That aside, there is the delicate state of Northern Ireland, and by accepting British aid, Ireland would be forfeiting power over those issues. This fight has been too long, too bloody, and too painful to give it up now. The EU handout, though, is more of a possibility. True, Ireland would lose a lot of respect, possibly earning Germany's everlasting resentment (seriously, Germany has been relegated to the sugar daddy of the EU), but this is why they joined. They contributed, and now they need help. The EU is offering, but Ireland has to ask.

Ah, therein lies the rub. They have to ask for help. Many of you may have noticed through your interactions with me and other Irish that we do not like asking for help. Our pride and stubbornness is often relentless, and I'm becoming more convinced that it is a chronic condition, possibly with no cure, but even I can see that in this case, the country NEEDS to swallow its pride and ask for help. They are part of the EU. They have a responsibility to the other countries, and Spain and Portugal will also implode if the EU loses any more footing. Greece was bad enough, and I'm not even going to touch Romania and Malta (I'll leave that to Mary).

It's time to remember our roots. Our ancestors were warriors. Our forefathers struggled and survived under hellish oppression and abuse. We fought wars for independence. We lost the best of our men, women, and children to starvation, execution, slavery, famine, emigration, and alcohol, but we survived nonetheless to flourish into a member of a successful global community and a respectable country in our own right. Yes, we need help. Yes, we will have to again earn our friends' trust. Yes, we will still need to work and sacrifice. But I have no doubt we can do it, and neither did our ancestors.

Soldier's Song (Ireland's National Anthem)

We'll sing a song, a soldier's song,
With cheering rousing chorus,
As round our blazing fires we throng,
The starry heavens o'er us;
Impatient for the coming fight,
And as we wait the morning's light,
Here in the silence of the night,
We'll chant a soldier's song.

Soldiers are we , whose lives are pledged to Ireland;
Some have come from a land beyond the wave.
Sworn to be free, No more our ancient sire land
Shall shelter the despot or the slave.
Tonight we man the gap of danger
In Erin's cause, come woe or weal
'Mid cannons' roar and rifles peal,
We'll chant a soldier's song.

In valley green, on towering crag,
Our fathers fought before us,
And conquered 'neath the same old flag
That's proudly floating o'er us.
We're children of a fighting race,
That never yet has known disgrace,
And as we march, the foe to face,
We'll chant a soldier's song.


Sons of the Gael! Men of the Pale!
The long watched day is breaking;
The serried ranks of Inisfail
Shall set the Tyrant quaking.
Our camp fires now are burning low;
See in the east a silv'ry glow,
Out yonder waits the Saxon foe,
So chant a soldier's song.


No School For Me

I have a legion of teachers and students trying to convince me to teach, so I thought I'd share the reasons why I can't be a teacher.

1. Grading: It sucks. It sucks so bad. Most kids write the same essays or answers and after a while you begin to forget what words mean and why you're there and what the sun looks like . . .

2. Excuses: I swear, if I have to listen to one more excuse about how it took a kid an hour to talk to their teacher during lunch (which is of course why they showed up with a drink from Del Taco), I might just scream. Plus, they all have an excuse as to why their homework is not done or why they didn't do the journal entry that they were working on for 20 minutes. And what good to they think showing up 10 minutes before the end of school on the last day of the term will do? When you tell them too bad, they whine to the administration, who then tell you to pass the little beasts because our football team just can't loose the only player that can run in a straight line!

3. Crushes: It's creepy weird when high schoolers ask you to Homecoming or bring you an apple or sit and try to impress you with their sports prowess during lunch. #1: It's a felony, #2: they really aren't as cool as they think they are, and #3: ew.

4. Patience: I have none, and supposedly you're not allowed to yell at students. Or punch them in the face.

5. Bureaucratic BS: Administrators micromanage with no respect for the challenges of the classroom. I hate hoop-jumping.

6. Repetition: I hate repeating myself, but if I don't repeat something 6 or 7 times, no one remembers it let alone does it, but it's my fault because I didn't repeat it 8 times.

7. Angry Parents: Remember those kids who lie about stuff? They tell their parents all kinds of crap about why their failing (the truth being they don't turn stuff in) and then have their parents email the teacher about how the teacher is being unfair and has too high expectations. How to correct them without accusing their kid of being a weasel . . .

8. Co-workers: Other teachers are petty and mean and try to steal your batteries and printer paper.

9. Food: You can't buy freakin' caffeine in the vending machines and food is scarce and mediocre at best.

10. I don't wanna.