Sometimes You Just Need to Take A Walk

I have been having the longest week ever. I have been super tired from running around non-stop between work and meetings. There was an evening informational session for a program that I am interested in applying to and I decided to go to it even though my gut told me not to. Within 30 minutes of being there my eyes completely glazed over and I was scanning the room for the nearest exit.  I gathered my things and decided to go for a walk. The second I stepped outside I was pleasantly surprised to see that a mini hurricane was occurring. The wind was gusting and rain was coming down in curtains. I absolutely love the rain and I felt instantly energized by being outside. I strolled around for a bit, grabbed dinner and then walked a mile home in the pouring rain. I had lots of time to clear my head and to have some downtime for the first time in a while. By the time I got home, I had received e-mails from the informational session re-capping what they talked about. It turns out that I didn’t miss anything by not being there. Whether you are at work and can’t figure out how to do something or you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, when things get tough, sometimes you just need to take a walk.

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Out with the Old, In with the New

Getting prepped to move out of my apartment has involved a lot of sorting, recycling, donating, and contemplating. When I first moved to Philly, all of my belongings fit in four suitcases. Over the past few years, I have accumulated enough things to require hiring a moving service to transport everything to my new apartment. When I first started packing, I meticulously sorted everything into “Keep, throw away, or donate” piles. By box 4, I just wanted to get packing over with so I started throwing everything into random boxes. I’ll deal with it later!

Packing has also provided me with a lot of time to think. When I first started this site, I intended for it to go in an entirely different direction. I wanted this to be a place where I can explore creativity, be inspired, and hopefully in the process inspire others. I don’t know what it was about July, but everything seemed to be going wrong. I am sure that I will look back one day and understand why all of this was happening, but for now, all I can do is move forward in full belief that tomorrow is a new day full of opportunity and exciting things. I will be back on August 1 with new content, a regular posting schedule, and perhaps a new theme (something about my current theme reminds me of cupcakes…). Off to go pick up my new keys!

This Can’t Be Real Life

Le Sigh. Let me tell you what happened to me Tuesday night.

But first, let me give you a little bit of background. I completely hate my apartment complex. If you can imagine any problem that you could have with an apartment, I have had it. I’ve had an infestation by a colony of mice, ginormous furry spiders descending on me from my ceiling, flying ants, water leaks,  dinosaur sized roaches, power outages, cabinets falling off of the walls, extremely creepy neighbors, and the icing on the cake: my kitchen ceiling caving in.  I moved to Philly sight unseen (I do NOT recommend that you do this. EVER) because I got a new job and literally had to drop everything and move there within four weeks. The apartment complex had beautiful pictures online, claimed that it was eco-friendly, and that my unit was newly renovated. In reality, they are complete slumlords that make their money off of unsuspecting people moving in that break their leases a few months later at a ridiculously high cost to high tail it out of there because of all of the craziness that occurs there.

So, back to Tuesday night. Around 10 pm I was laying on my couch watching Youtube and drifting into a really nice sleep when I started to hear a sound that was similar to static electric. I had been hearing this sound all week but could not figure out where it was coming from. My apartment is located directly over the boiler room of the apartment complex, so I figured that it was just some machine making a noise. A few minutes later, I heard a noise that was similar to in the movies when they turn an electric chair on. A really high voltage like sound.  This continued for a few seconds. Next, I started hearing popping sounds. Then there was an explosion and the lights went out.  I looked out my window and saw that my building and the building next door did not have power.  I fumbled around in the dark to find my flashlight and my shoes. When I turned on my flashlight, I realized that my apartment was quickly filling with smoke from the basement.  I grabbed my keys and my bag, a folder filled with all of my important documents, unplugged everything and ran out into the hallway. My neighbor was in the hallway as well and said that her apartment was filling with smoke too.

I went to call 911 but of course I forgot to grab my phone so I went outside and asked someone to dial 911 because there was an explosion in the basement.  All of the tenants in the apartment complex started to file outside and were sitting on the steps in front of my apartment in their pajamas and wondering what had happened. They sent five fire trucks, police, an ambulance, and a police helicopter.  I had to let the firefighters into the building to check my apartment, so I was able to go back and get my phone.  It turns out that my landlords/slumlords had all of the power lines in both buildings connected to one solitary power source in the boiler room under my apartment. With everyone running their air conditioners due to the unusually hot weather, the circuits got overloaded and literally spontaneously combusted.

Around 1am, our property owner showed up and let us know that everything was under control and that the power would be restored by morning. In the meantime, they had set up a Red Cross disaster center at a local school with cots and food so that we could go to sleep there and then return in the morning when the power was back on.  Well, we got to this supposed disaster center and all they had for us were some hard metal chairs and some pringles and coffee. No food and no beds. Around 4am they told us that it was safe to go home.

The whole 6 hours that this was happening, I kept saying out loud “This can’t be real life. This can’t be real life.” It was literally like a scene out of a movie. I have never had something that crazy happen to me before.  I will be moving out on Monday. I can’t take anymore of this foolishness. My new apartment is wonderful and I will share more about it when I move. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a scathing google review to write about my apartment complex.

Slow Down

I have been super busy over the past few days. As such, I have been feverishly trying to cram a lot into my evenings. Last night I found myself: 1. Watching the season premier of Big Brother (the only show that I watch on regular TV since I quit cable a few months ago), 2. Editing an essay, 3. Chatting with a friend on g-chat, 4. Listening to Pandora radio, 5. Chatting with some friends on Kakao Talk via text on my phone, 6. Looking up a recipe, 7. Surfing Facebook, 8. Eating a snack, and 9. Pondering the meaning of life, all simultaneously. I have a serious habit of multitasking. I just kept opening more and more windows on my computer and adding more unnecessary stress on myself. Finally I looked up at my clock and saw that it was really late, and I knew that I had to cook lunch for the next day and to prepare a snack.  I turned off my TV but kept my Pandora playing and continued on with my conversation with my friends as I headed to my kitchen.

I decided that spaghetti would be a quick and easy meal so I got out two pots and started boiling water in one and put the sauce and some shrimp in another.  Once I had those going, I decided to start on my snack. This particular recipe required a can of black beans. I was eager to get back to my g-chat and text conversations, so I hurriedly tried to open the lid. I successfully opened the can, but then I decided to fold the lid back so that the beans could flow easily out of the can.  I hastily grabbed onto the lid of the can. The next thing that I saw was the edge of the lid going straight into my thumb. [I could insert a really gory picture here, but I’ll spare you :-)]

 I recoiled in horror and ran to my bathroom. At first I thought that maybe I just grazed my thumb since it wasn’t bleeding, but then it started gushing blood. My bathroom looked like a crime scene. I didn’t have any bandaids, so I wrapped my thumb in several paper towels and secured them with a ponytail holder. As I sat there applying pressure to my thumb, I peered out at my kitchen to see my pot of boiling water bubbling over, spaghetti sauce splattering all over the place, and my phone buzzing all to the soundtrack of some Mariah Carey from my computer.  I had no choice but to sit there and concentrate on trying to stop the bleeding.

It took me nearly amputating my finger to realize that I needed to slow down and not try and do everything at once. I thought this was a fitting post as we head into the weekend. Take it easy! Have faith that things will work themselves out in perfect timing.

Happy Friday!

 

When It Rains, It Pours

So many things have happened in the past five days, but I have not had the opportunity to sit down and upload my pictures and write some blogs. I have attended one great concert, reunited with several of my friends from college, and took a trip to Kentucky. One major thing that happened was that ALL of my electronics decided to have meltdowns. It is funny that just a few days ago I blogged about my friend’s phone going on the fritz, and I remember thinking how grateful I was that I have never had a single problem with my phone since the day I got it.   What a difference 72 hours makes!

On July 5th, I was headed to a Coldplay concert (which I will talk about in my next blog post) and I noticed that my phone was losing its charge more quickly than it normally does. I can usually go a good 2 days without having to recharge my phone at all.  When I got back from the concert, my phone was at 1 bar. I plugged it into the charger and nothing happened. I eventually figured out that if I held the charging cord at a 45-degree angle, my phone would begin to charge. I got creative with some tape and luckily, my phone was able to charge all night.

The next day I was headed to Kentucky (I will blog on this too, soon), and I was glad that I could travel with a fully charged phone.  By the time I got back from Kentucky, my phone was again at one bar, but now, no matter what I tried, the phone would not charge. All of my pictures, my contacts, and my notes were lost forever 😦

I headed to my phone carrier’s store to get a new phone. Luckily they were able to salvage all of my contacts, but they weren’t able to recover my pictures. I ended up getting the Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate. It is a smartphone. I like it, I guess, but I am not technologically savvy at all. I didn’t get an IPod until about a year ago.  I don’t really care about having a flashy phone. As long as I can text and call people, I am good.   Maybe I will do a review on it one day if any of you are considering buying this phone.

In addition to my phone deciding to malfunction, my computer (Dell Inspiron) will no longer hold a charge and has random blackouts, even when it is plugged in, and my camera (Canon SD600) is now acting funny and is no longer taking quality pictures.  I have had my computer for 3 years and my camera for nearly six years. I don’t know if there is some kind of atmospheric phenomenon going on that is causing all of my electronics to go crazy, if my apartment got hit by lightening, or if it is just time for me to stop being cheap and do some much needed upgrades (It is most likely the latter. Thank you, Universe, for your “gentle” reminder.)

I guess I am in the market for a new laptop and a new digital camera. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

-Sylvia

Why I Quit Cable: The Beginning [Part 1]

I, much like the typical person, watch a lot of TV. I used to have a set schedule of the various shows that I would tune in to each week. Sunday evenings were reserved for Bravo and VH1 reality shows. I also had to have my weekly fix of Glee, The Real Housewives of…(all of the cities), The Amazing Race, The Kardashians (don’t judge me, lol), Pretty Little Liars, Basketball Wives, Love and Hip Hop, Bad Girls Club…the list goes on and on.   My life revolved around a fixed TV schedule.

 When I first moved to Philadelphia, a certain cable company, which shall remain nameless, offered me a new customer discount. I was only paying around $60 a month for both cable and Internet. This particular company is famous for is their ability to offer service with “no contract.”  This means that you can cancel your service at any time. However, the fact that there is no contract also means that they can change your rates whenever they want. 

After my new customer discount year was over, my bill started to increase steadily each month.  By February 2012 my bill hit a whopping $120 dollars for 80 digital channels and their lowest Internet speed. I called them several times to negotiate my rate, but all they tried to do was offer me free HBO for a year and a $10 a month discount.

 I was faced with a dilemma. I could take their offer of a $10 dollar a month discount, switch to another company (their cheapest package started at 99.99), or cancel my cable altogether and just keep Internet.  I had no idea how I would function without TV. What would I do with all that free time? How would I stay up do date with what is going on in the world?

I cancelled my cable in May 2012, and I can honestly say that I don’t miss it. I’m thankful that the cable company raised my rates because it shed light on something important that I was ignoring… 

Check back for Part 2 next week.

Spontaneity

Rittenhouse Park (Taken with my Instagram)

I am a planner. Not in terms of my occupation, but in terms of my mindset. I’m that annoying person who always has to know “Who, what, where, when, and why.”  I hate surprises. Not knowing is not an option for me.  It makes me quite anxious. When I go on vacation, I am not able to relax unless I have a full itinerary planned out and Google Maps directions ready to go for each destination. Yes, it is that bad.

This morning, I knew that I had to buy a dress for one of my best friend’s upcoming wedding, so I picked out several stores to visit and got ready to head out the door. Right when I was putting on my sandals, one of my friends texted me to let me know that her phone was on the fritz, and that she was wondering if I was headed to Center City (Downtown Philadelphia) so that we could meet up and so that she could get her phone fixed at the phone store. She would not be able to call me once she got to Center City since her phone was not working, so I let her know the names of the 3 stores that I would be visiting and had her write down my number so that if she was able to find a phone, she could call me. She assured me that she would would somehow find me when she got there. My friend is very much the opposite of me. She is very free-spirited and has a “go with the flow mentality.” She was confident that she would be able to find me, but I was not so sure.

I was stressing out big time. I hated not knowing how I was going to find her and how she was going to try and find me without a phone.  Long story short, she was able to borrow a phone, and ended up being in the same building that I was in. Things worked out after all! We spent hours meandering  around the city, spending entirely too much money at Macy’s, stumbling upon a huge fountain at a park, and sitting on a park bench eating water ice (It is kind of like a sno cone).

Rita’s Water Ice (Taken with my Instagram)

I guess all of this is my long winded way of saying that it doesn’t hurt to go without a plan every once in a while. In my mind, going without a plan guarantees that everything is bound to go wrong, but today proved me wrong.  I ended up having a great day and I got some shoes. (Ok, several pairs of cute shoes.)  Are you up for some adventure in your life? Throw out that to-do list and see where your day takes you. Let me know how it works out for you.

-Sylvia