~ m e l i s 6 2 1 ~

the imperfections are how you see the soul of a thing...



and touch

~ ~ DailyDosage

~ 03.24.06 ~~ 3:54 pm ~~

wow... been awhile. not sure why i'm logging on again, other than to see if i'm still online. no time... although sometimes it would be good to have the vent space. we shall see.

~ 02.28.04 ~~ 12:10 pm ~~

Need to finish the MP. Must get to work. But it's finally a beautiful day- the 45mph gusts have stopped and the sun is shining. And I'm stuck behind a computer doing GIS. woe is me.

~ 01.16.04 ~~ 12:33 pm ~~

Where did the year go? Well, almost a year- 11 months. Have I been that caught up in my life that I haven't had time to reflect, write, be? I guess I've been writing more on paper, at home... escaping from too much computer time, returning to graphite and tree pulp.

I'm ready to be done with this phase of my life. I'm sick of being a professional student, being lectured at, doing projects that are mere academic exercises and have no impact on the world. I'm ready to be employed. To have a semi-normal schedule that does not revolve around class and papers. To be done at the end of the day and not bring my work home. To affect change. To settle down for awhile, grow some roots, feel part of a community.

I am ready. 4 more months.

~ 02.17.03 ~~ 7:07 pm ~~

So, we are in the grips of a storm again. So much for a mild NC winter. Classes were cancelled today, due to sleet and ice. Luckily, no power outages. And nothing nearly as bad as DC, NY, and New England. We escaped from DC just before the storm hit on Saturday... while we were there it was just flurrying- accumulating on the ground but not on the roads. It was beautiful, walking through The Mall to the museums with the snow falling around us. I made the mistake (or good decision, depending on your point of view) of having a raspberry mocha before leaving the Art & Industry building, which ment that within minutes I had energy up to here [gesture of hand way above head]... everyone thought I had gone a bit nuts, running all over the sculpture garden... we should have some good pics though. hehe. I wish we had more time to play... Jenny and I will be heading back up there shortly (theoretically), since the drive really isn't that bad. Or so we say now. Friday we hit the Green Builing exhibit, which left me feeling frusturated yet hopeful... so many fabulous green ideas that have been around for awhile and no one is building them.

And Friday night... whooo, we were on fire! Out to dinner for Thai in Dupont Circle, after a mess of time trying to meet up with Alex. 3 hours later, we headed to Madame's Organ in Adams Morgan. A metro ride and a few miles in heels later, we arrived. After a drink or two (following 4 bottles of wine at dinner), the three sets of stairs in the bar was a bit much, so we headed over to Heaven & Hell. Few more drinks and I couldn't tell that my feel were killing me and I was ready to dance. And did we ever create a scene. 6 girls out having fun, not interested in picking up anyone, just wanting to dance. We had a very large audience after awhile, and the guys' attempts at dancing with us were quite humorous. 3:30am and we were ready to jet, although the bar was still hopping. I need to go dancing more often... good for the soul.


~ 02.09.03 ~~ 12:59 pm ~~

Went to the movies last night instead of the Saturday night party... it was nice, I haven't been to the movies for a month. Ah, where are the days when there was nothing I hadn't seen... Peter and I used to go almost every week last year. Now I'm lucky to go twice a semester. {sigh} Of course, we picked a cheesey fun flick... How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Even if it was a bit predictable, it was funny and it had Matthew McConaughey. Could have been the worst movie ever, but I still would have to pay $5 to watch him take his shirt off. heehee. Makes one a bit lonely for Vday though. I should be playing in DC though, so it has potential.

Work work work... back to GIS I go.


~ 02.05.03 ~~ 11:08 pm ~~

So I'm suppose to be writing this memo... have I bitched about this class yet? The assignment is completely off the topic of the class, has little information available, and is taught by the stuttering, ummming professor that drives me bananas. Dont' get me wrong, she's a sweet person, but not the best teacher. Instead I am planning my spring break trip. Too bad I don't have Valentine's Day off... and someone to share it with... Northwest has 183$ tickets to Paris. I guess speaking french would help too. I just don't know... I could fly to LA and visit Oxy buds... or NY and play in the city with Nick... or home to visit the fam... or go play in Vermont or Charleston with new friends. My finances are looking a bit better than I expected, although the leaky fuel line may blow my plans out of the water... as long as it doesn't blow my car up I will be happy.


~ 01.28.03 ~~ 10:30pm ~~

So I'm sitting here listening to the shrubbery's State of the Union Address. I should be reading my econ, but I can't be reading and listening also. Not that I've been listening carefully. I was impressed that he mentioned the environment. I, as well as many of my friends, assumed he would sidestep everything except the war issues and his new tax proposal. I guess he needs us to believe that everything is being addressed. I love that he is giving money to fund hydrogen fuel research...1.2 billion, but doesn't mention laying off our use of conventional fuels.

Am frusturated with amazon. A book I ordered 2 weeks ago has been pushed back to deliver on March 7. Jeesh. Luckily I foudn it used online, since I need it for class, NOW.

Gotta get to work. {HUGS}


~ 01.26.03 ~~ 1:35 pm ~~

Complements of my adorable poly sci prof: Frodo has failed!

I thought it was rather humorous. Although I was disturbed over break to discover that my family supports the shrubbery. How disconcerting. Back to schoolwork, having played my weekend away, first at a wine and cheese party at Josephine's, where we each had about a bottle a piece over the course of the evening. Then it was to meet new people at a policy party... which was a blast. Last night was some local bluegrass: Steep Canyon Rangers, which was excellent. Time to hit the books though.


~ 01.20.03 ~~ 8:16 pm ~~

It's been ages since I've blogged. Hope the new year has been wonderful. I had a most wonderfully unproductive relaxing weekend at the beach, followed by an interview taht only went so-so and now a bunch of work that I had forgotten about. Yay for the life of the student. Have way too much to do, but am revelling in it. Attended an amazing talk last night about tagging bluefin tuna and the policy ramifications of the work. Amazing stuff. So much to write, I don't know where to begin and don't have the time. Off to GIS.


~ 12.28.02 ~~ 12:26 am ~~

The craziness of the holiday hustle and bustle is winding down. It's hard to believe I've been home for almost a week. And yet, it feels strange this year. Maybe I've been gone too long. Maybe I'm just being selfish... I had a bit of an argument with my family tonight. They all were going out and doing their own thing, my parents to their friend's xmas party, my sister out with her friends, my brother not sure what he was up to. I had been sitting at home alone all day while they worked, and now they were going to leave me at home again, without wheels. It's times like these, when I sit at home and twiddle my thumbs, that I wonder why I come home to visit for so long. Tonight will replay itself all of next week. I ended up going to the movies by myself... Lord of the Rings, which was excellent... after getting mom to leave me her car. I would have rather sat around at home with them all.

Backtracking a bit, Christmas was good, 5 gatherings in three days. A day of shopping with grandma provided me with the rest of my present: a suit for my interviews this spring. A nice deal it was... I got the whole thing for a third of the normal price.

And before that... a week in Key West. This article is horrible... many of the details are wrong, but the general idea is correct. It was fantastic. Much better than sitting around at home while my family worked and cleaned for the holidays. I bonded a ton with the gang, particularily my car group. I ended up being the computer data organizer for the project, which was a nice responsibility but sucked nevertheless... I barely stepped foot in the garden. So sad. And no tan for any of us... even those that were outside were in the shade most of the time. We worked hard while the sun was up and played hard on Duvel Street once the sun went down. And sunsets in Mallory Square are a blast. Everyone stands around watching the sun set and claps as it sinks below the horizon. Beautiful. I'll post a picture once I get them developed. We caught a drag show and had a wonderful starlite cruise aboard the Western Union. We unoffically must have completed the Duval Street crawl over the course of the week, and spent some time in a clothing optional-body painting- rooftop bar.

Went scuba diving on my afternoon off.. so I'm up to date, even though I practically killed myself since I didn't notice til after the dive that my BC wasn't working, which is why I couldn't stay off the bottom. Good thing we were only in 25 feet of water.

Am still falling for Adrian, despite the fact that some of my friends find him annoying. The whole situation reminded me a bit of how it took awhile for people to warm up to Peter... when you don't know him, he can come off as obnoxious.

Am really not looking forward to going to Beaufort next year. My closest friends will be in Durham and my least favorite people will be in Beaufort. One of the girls down there with us, who is coastal, seems to have to hit on anything that is male, including my crush. She reminds me a lot of Adrienne....

The whole people situation gives me a lot of dejavu... my chi book talks about how the same situations keep reappearing in your life until you deal with them appropriately. What am I missing that I need to solve, fix, find closure?


~ 12.12.02 ~~ 2:42 pm ~~

Well, classes are done, finals are over, my freelance work is almost done (thank god), my assistantship needs a few more hours tonight, and I have a party to go to this evening. Life is pretty good. I can't wait to leave tomorrow... by three I will be on the road... Key West, here I come!!!

The semester has been rather anti-climatic though. It went by too fast, and with the storm and all, finals were just another week... I barely studied or spent time on it. My grades will reflect that, but I really don't care. It's strange for me not to care. I think I'm slowly losing my perfectionism, which is good.

Oh, I may be TAing next semester, although something tells me that I really shouldn't... I will regret it next semester, admist the mp and intern craziness. There's also another class I would like to take... grrr. How will I fit it all in?!?!

Unless my hotel has complimentary internet access, which I doubt, I will be MIA for a week at least. Wow, what will I do... no e-mail for a week. I can barely go an evening! Some major withdrawl pains are forthcoming.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Spend some time with loved ones and have a great time.



~ 12.07.02 ~~ 3:36 pm ~~

Whoo hoo! I have power again. That means light pollution, but I'll deal, considering that it means I can cook and be warm and have light.

Of course, there is always something... now my car is seriously leaking anti-freeze. Ah my poor car, needs some loving. I'll take it in on Monday hopefully.



~ 12.07.02 ~~ 12:14 am ~~

The power outage continues. Our semi-formal holiday party to celebrate the end of the year tonight became a let's all huddle in the bar, lighted by a generator, unshowered in our warmest clothes, drinking beers. It actually was more enjoyable than dressing up would have been, although I really wanted to wear my dress. I think I bonded well with a new friend tonight. And the highlight of no power, besides sleeping and showering at school, of course, is that there is no light pollution in Durham. Away from Duke, that is. It made me very happy to see Orian's bow. May have to sit outside tomorrow night... cuz we still won't have power... and refresh my star knowledge. Maybe Adrian will join me. :)

Time to head off to bed, where it is warm.


~ 12.05.02 ~~ 1:54 pm ~~

We are in the throes of an ice storm here in NC. And the state has no idea what to do; the city practically shuts down. I was scoffing yesterday, as everyone was doing shopping and running around like they wouldn't be able to survive the next two days without their week long supply of groceries. And cancelling school before it even started to snow.

The snow was nice... then it turned to freezing rain, which wasn't bad. I was still scoffing at that point- no one can drive on ice and snow. Then this morning happened. Half the state is without power and the power company is saying it will take a few days to get back on.

I stopped scoffing.

Storms here are different than in the midwest. There we get so much snow that we can't drive. Here they have ice that topples huge trees and take out power lines. My apartment is very cold currently. So I am moving into my building on campus... somehow Duke has maintained power. Warmth, light, computers to do my finals on... yeah, I think I'll stay here. And stop scoffing at the "over reaction" of the locals.

I'm deep into finals... a lot to do with no real time limit besides everything needs to be done by next Wednesday. And we all know how well I work when I have lots of time. sheesh. Time to get motivated.

Be safe, whether you have ice or not.


~ 11.27.02 ~~ 12:29 pm ~~

Well, my life is slowly becoming more sane. I had my last class this morning. Now my life will be monsterous amounts of GIS work: internship, freelance, and final class project, as well as studying for two tests and finding summer internships and scholarships for next year. Anyone have connections with the Pew Commission?.... hehe.

I am very excited that Thanksgiving is here. I wish I could be with my family, but I am also happy that I have friends to share it with. There is something comforting about Thanksgiving food... it is some of my favorite. Maybe it is the stability of it all... even when I'm not at home, I still get turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

I am lucky to have a family that supports my efforts, half way around the country. I am lucky to have friends all over the country that I still keep in touch with, support, and care about. I am lucky to be making new friends here at Duke. I have much to be thankful for... remind me of that next time I start bitching about all the work I have. I chose to put myself into a masters program; self-made hell for two years. ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving!



~ 11.14.02 ~~ 11:17 pm ~~

Ah, caffine... coursing through my veins, keeping me up until the wee hours of the morning to work on my projects. I had been so good.. it had been like 3 years since I had drank any coffee... tonight I regressed and had a cup of organic sustainable counter culture coffee at a benefit for the local co-op. It was so good. Even when I was at school til 3am last week I did not resort to the coffee... it just smelled so good tonight...

ah, I guess it's not that bad. If that's what I'm worried about, life is good, or I'm ignoring other pressing issues, globally and the presentation I have tomorrow that I haven't started. sigh.

ps- Chris, you do not need a "free" dvd player... you already have one. Do I need to give you my overconsumption lecture about how American consumption is the root of all evil in the world?


~ 11.11.02 ~~ 3:47 pm ~~

Can I go to bed now? It has been a crazy week and then some. Last week I averaged 2am as a departure time from school, only to return at 8am. I finally got a chance to relax Friday night (my first in like three weeks!) and now I'm having problems motivating myself to work. Woe is me... I'd have some more me time if I could just finish up this work and be done with it... but it always drags on and on and on until it is time to turn in and only then am I finished with it.

I can't wait for the semester to be over. I need a break... burnout is fast approaching. Anna and I planned our Thanksgiving feast yesterday... we're having an assigned potluck of sorts and introducing the concept of Thanksgiving to all our exchange students. We will be serving sticky rice with the turkey, so it won't be all that traditional, but most of it will be. In case you were wondering, here's the menu:

Stuffed mushrooms

Squash Soup

Salad (pear, cranberry, gorgonzola?)

Mashed Potatoes

Wild mushroom gravy (veggie)


and Tofurkey

Apple Shallot stuffing

Wild rice

Sticky rice

Citrus maple yams

Roasted winter vegetables

Broccoli rabe

Cranberry sauce (from my secret recipe vault)

Mulled Wine

Cider (with oj and cinnamon)

Pumpkin Pie

Kentucky Mud Fudge Pie

Pecan cranberry tart (or apple)

Enough food choices for 18 people. I hope so. It will be an exercise in overconsumption.

I am really liking autumn. I think it is my favorite season. I love watching the colored leaves swirl around me as I walk to class, set to the background of the gothic west campus, all stone and gargoyles. Must remember this for when I start picking a place to live.

Going to Key West for a week after classes. Will be completing a biological inventory and hopefully bonding with my latest interest. I haven't decided if he's just really nice or if he likes me. Just thinking of him makes me smile. And no, I decided to go indepedent of the fact that he was going. :P

I should get back to work... so much for using the free lab time to do my assignment. se la vi.


~ 10.21.02 ~~ 4:14 pm ~~

Where Are You Going (4.4.02)

Where are you going

With your long face pulling down

Don't hide away

You're like an ocean

That you can't see but you can smell

And the sound of waves crashing down

I am no superman

I have no reasons for you

I am no hero, oh, that's for sure

But I do know one thing

It's where you are

Is where I belong

I do know where you go

Is where I wanna be

Where are you going

Where do you go

Are you looking for answers

To questions under the stars

And if along the way

You are growing weary

You can rest with me

Until a brighter day, you're okay

I am no superman

I have no answers for you

I am no hero, oh, that's for sure

But I do know one thing

Where you are

Is where I belong

I do know where you go

Is where I wanna be

Where are you going

Where do you go

Where do you go

Where are you going

Where do you go

I am no superman

I have no answers for you

I am no hero, oh that's for sure

But I do know one thing

It's where you are

Is where I belong

I do know where you go

Is where I wanna be

Where are you going

Where do you go

Where are you going

Where -- let's go


~ 10.16.02 ~~ 12:50 pm ~~

I don't like not being in control. Not being able to comfort my friend because I'm across the country, because now they are halfway around the world. Not being there to give hugs, support, a shoulder to cry on. I want to be able to say "it's going to be alright." and have it come true. I can't even say that because I don't know if it's going to be okay... and I can't do anything except pray and send good thoughts their way.

Nothing else seems terribley important, except hearing the final outcome. But I won't hear anything for 3 or 4 days- and I can't exactly shutdown for 3 or 4 days. Life goes on, even if not all of us live.

I suppose I should fill in some details. I got home late last night to a phone message that sounded urgent, so I called up my best friend, only to hear that he's leaving for the airport in 30 minutes to fly to France. His mom is in intensive care there and the next 24 hours are the critical ones and he's flying there to be with her.

How do you comfort someone through a telephone line? How do you help pick up the pieces when your best friend's world is falling apart? I suppose I should spend these few limbo days catching up and getting ahead in my coursework, so I can fly to the west coast if needed. Sometimes life is scary. Now is one of those times.


~ 10.09.02 ~~ 9:43 pm ~~

I should be working on my economics homework and studying for a GIS test, but this evening has been a reflective one, for unknown reasons. Maybe it was my nap, or watching ED, or the depression medication commerical, or the e-mail from a far away friend this morning. All I know is that my train of thought has been lingering over this transition in my life.

I've been very optimistic thus far, assuring myself that I'm forming a good group of new friends. Reassuring my other friends that they too will find a place in their new homes across the country. But I'm realizing that time is slipping by, and while I have plenty of people that I can study with or hit the bars after lab with, there's no one yet that I can just call and chat with for hours about nothing. No one to spill my heart to when I'm sad or happy. If an outing isn't planned or a conversation doesn't happen within the walls of my school, then it doesn't happen at all. I guess this is normal. I didn't except to be able to have best friends in a matter of two months.

What's troubling is why I insist that everything is just peachy. Why I have to act so damn independant. Why I have to be the one assuring others that they will make friends and that it's easy, when it's not.

I think that if I admitted to others I would have to admit to myself that I'm not doing as well as I want to be doing. That I'm not as independant and self-sufficient as I come across as. It's like I've gone from protecting myself by being too shy to protecting myself by being too self-confident. I'm in a new city, far away from the people who care about me, the people I care about. And there's nothing I can do about that unless I give up on grad school. Fail. School, independance, life. And I don't want to fail. I don't want to give up. But I miss my friends and family.

If I admit that I'm not independant, that I can't hack it alone, then I'm not perfect, which goes against all my obsessive compulsive tendancies. And if I can't do it, how can be everyone's rock, supporting them? Someone has to be the strong one, right? But what if I need a rock?


~ 10.03.02 ~~ 9:27 am ~~

Jeez, Octobter already. I feel schmucky for not writing more. Life is so busy- I spend 12 hours a day at school (sometimes more), then come home to study and sleep. My weekends are full of field trips, studying, and playing a bit too hard to make up for my week. I need some more balance. I will write more, to get a better grasp of time and to cleanse my thought process. I will return to my yoga and meditation. It's rediculous that one of the things that could help me cope better with the choas is one of the first things to get dropped off my to-do list.

I hope it becomes fall sooner than later. It is 90 degrees and humid as all get out today. I was sweating buckets after my 15 inute walk to my building at 9am today.

Why do I always fall for guys that are already attached? Maybe it's subconcious sabatoge, since nothing can really happen, unless I want to encourage his cheating. guh.

Guinness and oysters this weekend- my one glimmer of fun in a work filled weekend. Time to get back to my reading before class starts. The development performances of 60 Indian villages, broken down by social captital is not exactly my cup of tea. Necessary evils.


~ 09.13.02 ~~ 8:45 am ~~

Life is in warp speed lately, thus my appearance of disappearing. I can't believe I've been here for 6 weeks!!! I'm still here- but my online time revolves around e-mail and GIS labs and readings for econ class. I'm liking it though- much better than the last year of being a couch potato after 8 hours in front of a computer at work. I forgot how much I thrive on being busy- how much more I get done when I have too much to do. I'm strange that way. Off to the coast for the weekend.

Have a good one *muah*


~ 09.11.02 ~~ 10:48 am ~~

Has it been a year already? Time passes so quickly, heartbeat after heartbeat merges into the blink of an eye, and here we are, one year later. One year ago I drove to work thinking that there was an elaborate hoax being broadcast on the radio. I got to my isolated office and checked the web- no hoax. It was real. It wasn't until I ditched work to sit in the dorm lobby with other students that I was able to periodically suspend my disbelief, which would return as a protective measure everytime I saw the footage on TV. A year later and sometimes I feel like it's still not real. That I will wake up and we'll all be safe, unafraid to step on a plane.

I'm amazed at the human mind's ability to cope with these types of events. Focusing on the day to day events, my family and friends, the future. That must be how time slipped away from me, how the year snuck by as I looked forward. And I will pause and have moments of silence throughout the day, but I will also laugh and smile and hug the people around me as a way to show respect, to celebrate life; mine, yours, theirs, everyones.


~ 09.09.02 ~~ 7:40 pm ~~

There is a fire burning in the town I used to live in. Freaky. Hope it stays in the mountains and does not head into the residental parts.

Crazy right now... back to lagrangain equations and elephant contraceptives.


~ 08.26.02 ~~ 12:29 pm ~~

Ah, the first day of classes... no school supply shopping yet. Grad school is just different. All the normal junk is not required. I think I'm going to really like my classes. Well, the two that I've had already anyways. ;-)

Did not get enough sleep last night... calling to the west coast at 11pm is a bad idea. It means that I'm up way too late, since the person on the other end forgets how late is it and just keeps talking.

Then it was pouring this morning. Yes, we are having a drought and desperately need the rain. But couldn't it have poured last week when I got to park 20 yards from my building. No... so I walked a mile in the rain, because the "campus bus" never showed up. At least I had an umbrella, which I'm not going to share next time... I soaked my backpack (full of new expensive books) and the right half of my body attempting to be nice and share with an umbrellaless student. And you can't just take it away once you offer it.

New fun place to play: exchange your culinary creations. read about it, go directly to it. I will be posting shortly. Must start working on elephant contraceptive numbers... I'll explain later... once I figure it out myself


~ 08.25.02 ~~ 12:13 pm ~~

One last day of freedom to be enjoyed. Classes descend upon us tomorrow, and we lucky ducks do not get Labor Day off. I'm starting to think that classes will be a good break from orientation. Initially much more relaxing. Maybe they keep us busy all week on purpose-- so the school schedule doesn't come as such a shock.

Potluck this afternoon... got to cook again, finally. Lemon and pistachio rice pudding and a carribean sweet potato salad (noooooo mayo in it!!!). It's very nice to have people to cook for again! People are beginning to clique, which is very annoying. I'm a drifter who defies boundaries of cliques. Or so I like to think. ;-)

Oh, craziness. One of the guys in my program went to high school with me!!! I thought he looked familiar, but figured it was just a coinencidence (no I can not spell). He doesn't remember me. At all. I guess I wasn't that memorable in high school. Probably a good thing, then I can hide from people when I go home for visits.


reflections of melis6212000-2002