Saturday, December 14, 2013

Be You

   First off, I want to apologize for not writing for a while. I have been incredibly stressed and anxious about school and college and everything the future holds for me. The application essays pervade my dreams nightmares, the finals packets are piling up, and on top of it all, we are transitioning into a new school. To put it clearly, my thoughts have not been cohesive recently. 
Until today.
Everything that I have been working so tirelessly toward has come to this point: my acceptance into Boston University. Four years of sleepless nights, stressful panics, early morning study sessions, after-school practice tests, SAT and ACT rounds- it all boiled down to today.
I hate being proud and I hate showing self-righteousness but I have to say that I am pleased with myself. I no longer have to self-deprecate around others who have higher GPAs or more AP classes. I am no longer being compared to anyone else because I got accepted into my dream school, which is more than I could ask for. The pressure's off. I feel weightless.
Of course, I will continue to do my best in school because A) They can revoke my acceptance and B) I value public education and I truly love going to school [or at least the classes I enjoy.] Preparing to enter a work environment like BU is something that gives me more the reason to kick ass the rest of the semester and annihilate these upcoming final exams. 
I just love life right now. I am beyond ecstatic. Also, I've been online shopping for BU apparel, which is a little over the top. I need to study for finals. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Boston, my love

The last few days have been emotionally taxing for me, so I have turned to blogging as a release/source of happiness. In order to boost my spirits and give me the spark I need to finish this week on roughly 20 hours of sleep, I have decided to write about two of my favorite things: The city of Boston and journalism. 
Last weekend, I, along with 24 other Publications staff members, went to Boston for the annual National High School Press Association Convention. Here's the highlights of my trip to Beantown:
  • Wednesday- I slept in until we left for the trip, since my Grandpa's Shiva [Jewish mourning service] was the night before and I just could not get myself out of bed. My spirits were immediately lifted when we got to the airport and I was surrounded by people who were as excited about Boston as I was. We crashed really hard in the super fluffy hotel beds on the first night, since we were so exhausted from traveling. The beds were actually not queen size, but full so my friend Jill and I repeatedly hit one another in the face. It was hilarious/painful. 
  • Thursday- We woke up relatively early to go meet our Freedom Trail tour guide in Boston Common, the oldest public park. His legal name was Jeremiah Poope and he was SO funny. I can't even begin to describe the stories he told. Definitely worth the cold, 90 minute walk around the city. We saw Paul Revere's grave, learned about Mother Goose's origin, visited John Hancock's memorial [his body was stolen twice, so it is not buried in the cemetery with the other founding fathers], saw Samuel Adams' grave, went inside the Omni-Parker House [serves the original Boston Cream pie recipe, housed Stephen King when he stayed in room 1408, and is the primary place for Boston's guest celebrities], and stood on the corner where the Boston Massacre broke out. After Poope's tour, we all followed him on Twitter [@tourguidepoop] and parted separate ways. Some kids went on a tour of Fenway while others shopped in the Quincy Market area [myself included in the latter]. Later that night, we headed over the convention center to register for our write-off events. I met with a Herff Jones representative concerning this year's yearbook. Her positive criticism/praise gave me a whole lot of faith that I really needed. We later went to the first keynote speaker, Juliette Kayyem, a Democratic candidate running for governor of Massachusetts. She talked about the importance of writing, being a smart woman, and how to report effectively. She was inspiring and sweet and very personable for being such a huge public figure. After her speech, I met up with Anna, one of my best friends who attends Boston University [the one I stayed with only a few weeks ago]. We met for a 25 minute coffee date. It was brief but so worth it. My friends and I stayed up super late that night, talking about life and journalism. 
  • Friday- I attended a writing session about making readers laugh through true humor, taught by Kathy Craghead, a hilarious, seasoned journalism adviser. I later attend the second keynote speaker, Raney Aronson, a producer for Frontline as well as a super inspiring feminist figure. She was all about "going for it," which is appropriate, since she randomly decided to go to Southeast Asia to do some reporting during college. Raised by parents who sheltered her from any and all news in her tiny Vermont town, she was starved for media and she made a life out of it. That night, I met up with Emily Theis, who was definitely the highlight of my trip. I met Emily when she taught a very basic design class at Ball State J-Day last spring. She dropped out of college this year to fill in for a designer on maternity leave at the Boston Globe. Her spontaneity and passion is admirable. We ate spicy Thai food at a tiny little restaurant in Back Bay and talked about life, journalism, college, people, and vegetarian diets. She spoke about not being too hard on oneself, treating oneself like a human before a designer, and following ones dream even if that dream is something one knows very little about. She changed my views on the stressful Hell that is senior year of high school. She bought me dinner, so I bought her chocolate at Max Brenner [heaven on Earth]. I found myself in this strangely elated creative mental state after that night. She's such a great role model. 
  • Saturday- After a couple super idea-sparking design sessions, we headed to Newbury Street to shop and such and we ended the day with a huge group dinner at Cheers [the restaurant in which the television show was shot]. My friend consumed one and a half full bottles of ketchup with her order of fries. I had such a warm feeling being with everyone, even though our adviser was hotel room-bound with strep throat. 
  • Sunday- All great trips must come to an end, but this end was not ideal. We left at 9 am for our flight, which left at 10:45. We were supposed to land at O'Hare at around 1, but after circling the airport for 40 minutes, the runways closed due to weather and we made an emergency landing in Cleveland. Where waited. For 3 hours. We flew back to Chicago at 5:30, when we landed about 2 hours later. Because of the heavy traffic on the runway, we had to wait on the plane for an additional hour and a half. It was painful. The tweets coming from my staff were absolutely hilarious [I've never laughed harder] but eventually went from funny to desperate. We arrived home almost 10 hours after we were supposed to, and it seemed like everyone except me ditched school the next day.
I apologize for the extremely long post, so here's a visual break for you, reader. You deserve it. 
famous cemetary where many founding fathers and authors were buried

Mike's Pastry, my true Boston love 

Me and Jill in the Italian Village

Our hotel view


keynote speaker gave me fun stuff to doodle about

so did Kathy Craghead

my little swaggies [roomates] at the convention dance 

Max Brenner chocolate box from my night out with Emily

$5 ice cream from the convention center

The Boston Marathon finish line where the bombs went off in April.
The memorial there was very touching.
Almost spooky.

no caption needed

cookie truck aka diet buster

cheers at Cheers! We got 10th place in the nation for our yearbook and 9th for our website!

imagine 24 kids from Indiana on a subway. Multiply the stress by 10.  Now you should have an accurate picture. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

give the locals some loving

As I head into my ninth month as a server at Tyler’s Tender Railroad Restaurant, I have begun to appreciate the quality of service that comes with a local business.
Tyler’s Tender is the cleanest, most well-kept restaurant I have ever stepped foot in, and, like many local businesses, has owners who truly care about the happiness of their customers and the quality of their service.
Similar businesses enforce a strong sense of community and keep dollars in the local economy, a breath of fresh air in the heavily franchised area Northwest Indiana has become.
Paul and Emily Petrie, owners of Tyler’s Tender, are two outstanding examples of everything hardworking business owners advocate. By spending the past several months working for them, I have come to understand the trials and tribulations of maintaining a local restaurant while learning to appreciate the love and dedication that goes into owning a family business like Tyler’s Tender.
Emily and Paul’s experience in a major fast food company drew them toward buying a franchise, but to Paul Petrie “it was counterintuitive to pay money to someone else for my work in the form of franchise fees, so we decided we were going to do our own thing.”
Inspired by their children’s love for trains and their appreciation for fine dining, Emily and Paul went forth to create a restaurant atmosphere that appeals to families like their own. The Petries wanted a place in which children could enjoy themselves while the parents could, too, have a positive dining experience.
“We tried to meld really good quality food for the adults and a really fun environment for the kids,” Paul Petrie said.
This beginning idea has fruitfully progressed into the restaurant that is now in its seventh year of business. Successful small businesses are vital to the success of the economy, meeting local needs by spotting a gap in the market and taking the risk to fill it.
Local businesses also develop personal relationships with regular customers, as I have grown to learn from the families that come into Tyler’s Tender week after week. The sense of familiarity is vital to generating the tight-knit community many towns strive to create.
Above all, local businesses need local support. Without it, they have no foundation to build off of. So as a local business enthusiast [and employee] I urge those in the community to step outside your franchised realm and try the bakery your neighbor opened or that little restaurant that has always appeared interesting to you.
Small businesses, unlike the franchises that engulf our scope, offer services that are from the heart.
“I think you are going to be far more passionate about, and put much more heart into, something that you own yourself,” Petrie said.

Dr. William Ralph Behm [Grandpa] 1931-2013

He was the single most positive influence in my educational career. He was the man who put the book in my hand and told me to read. He was the poor child, living in a tiny apartment with a giant family, who made his way to be #1 in his class at Northwestern University. He was the smartest man I knew but also the most loving. He was not just an educator, doctor, husband, brother, or father. He was Grandpa. 
Throughout his entire life [as I knew him] he was a family man. He never went anywhere without my Grandma and they had the most amazing marriage I had ever seen. They entertained their friends with lavish dinner parties together, went antiquing together, traveled to Florida for the Winter together, and always had an amazing time. They were always laughing. They loved family time. 
When my Grandpa decided it was time to retire from the incredibly successful Orthodontia practice he built, my grandparents decided to open an antique store, to keep his hobby alive. He was always doing things he loved. He played dominoes, read stories, told jokes, ate bialy bread with disgusting fake butter, and kept lists. He was the most organized human being I think there ever was. 
My Grandpa would call me whenever something happened that he wanted me to know about. Whether it was a dog show on television that was showing the same breed as Charli, or a funny comic he saw in the newspaper that he just had to tell us about, or just to say hello and make sure school was going okay. He loved to talk about school. He was on the "fast-track" at his primary school and when I got into the "merit" program at the same age, he knew that my future was as bright as his was. I wish he was here to help me through the hellish college application process. 
My Grandpa was all about making the most out of life. When my Grandma died a couple years ago, he was so sad for a couple months but he then came to realize that my Grandma would have hated the sad man he became. Grandpa started dating Natalie, a friend from primary school, and he was rejuvenated. They traveled, saw shows, and took adorable tours of Chicago as if they were tourists [even if they both had lived there since birth]. They were supposed to get married. They were supposed to go to Paris. They were supposed to go to the fanciest New Year's Eve party in the city of Chicago. 
But my Grandpa had a stroke. A disabling stroke that left the entire right side of his body paralyzed, his speech impaired, and his love for life completely obliterated. He no longer laughed, but repeatedly threw around his lame arm in anger. His only joy was seeing us, but it made my mom sad to see him the way he was, so we visited less and less frequently. He was so upset to have his upswing cut short. He lived in this anger for two years. Until Saturday. He was set free from his suffering. He was set free to see his wife. He was set free to walk and speak and enjoy life again. I generally cringe at euphemisms about death, but I truly do see it as him being set free from his anger and suffering. He did not "pass away" or "move on". His heart stopped and his body shut down and he died at 6:30 am. Right on time. He was never late for anything. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

advice from the sophisticated one herself

Recently, I have had a handful of people who come to me in want of advice or guidance or comfort of that nature. I have never been one to be the best handler of these situations, but as of the last couple months, I really enjoy it. If you know me in person, know that I am here for you, always. If you don't, contact me please! 
For those too shy/far away to talk to me in person:


here are some photos along with little tips from me. enjoy!
celebrate good times with old friends. always make time for those who've been there since the beginning.

make new friends or connect with people you were never close with before. they might end up being your closest friends [or roomates for journalism nationals!!]

make the most of your workplace. I absolutely love every girl I work with and it makes the time go by so much faster. 

make friends in unexpected places! Robin is one of my closest friends and I met her through Best Buddies at my school. Having an extra chromosome is no barrier in our friendship. 

sometimes, you just need emergency chocolate. it's okay. accept it, eat it, and move on.

order chinese food and don't feel guilty about it. 

snapchat people who make you laugh. nothing beats opening snapchats from Nick and having your day made.

don't procrastinate. you will loathe yourself later. get 'er done. 

online shop for yourself, forget about it, and be super happy about the surprise on your doorstep! it's like your birthday, but you spend the money.  

hug a puppy. self explanatory. 

eat junk food [every once in a while] with friends. nothing makes you smile like MSG filled curly fries and the bloat as a result from pizza grease. 

wear your retainer. you'll feel better about yourself when you don't have to ask your parents for thousands of more dollars to get more dental work in the future.  a perfect smile beats any makeup.

be bffs with your siblings. who else will stick up for you when your parents are yelling about college/homework/life?

if you have the chance, order everything you can "mini." because mini grilled cheese is so much cuter than normal grilled cheese.

apply temporary tattoos to your 25 year old manager's biceps. because it's funny, that's why.

find things that make your heart sing and stare at them. I love typography. maybe you love watching hockey. whatever floats your boat. 

match with your sister so you can post cute pictures and make believe you are twins 

eat homemade Jewish cuisine when you are sad/sick/cold/tired/hungry

visit your friends at college so you can get gigantic s'more cookies from Insomnia Cookies. it'll change your life.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday I'm in love

Friday morning and I've already showered in the communal dorm bathroom, downed a vanilla chai tea at the dining hall, and gone on an all-campus tour of Boston University. While my friend is in class, I am camping out in the George Sherman Union while drinking latte #2 of today and blogging about how in love I am with this university. 
This trip has been one of independence and I couldn't be a happier prospective student. I flew from Chicago to Boston completely alone [for the first time] and have been exploring this beautiful city all day. In a city with 59 separate colleges and universities and a quarter million students, I've never felt so at home. The vibe of the city is so young and exciting and the aura of academia is one that I have been missing so much from my high school classes. Everyone here is happy and excited to learn. Even the professors are excited to teach. The class sizes are small but the impact is big. Boston alumni are some of the best leaders of the professional world. 
Also cute boys. ANYWAY.
I honestly can't think of a school that would fit me better. The city is hopping with local business and sports [THE WORLD SERIES TO BE SPECIFIC] and urban living and I just couldn't dream of anything better.
I have to get in. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

the good kind of senioritis

One of my best friends came home from school for the weekend and after I got out of school yesterday, we went to Starbucks [she is an addict, I'm an enthusiast] to catch up. We talked for hours about college and sophistication and how great higher education is. 
Needless to say, I'm ready to get out of high school.
Her excitement and enthusiasm about her gender studies classes and communication focus is invigorating. She is majoring in journalism [as I plan to] and loves every second of it. She explained to me that in college, you are always studying what you love and it makes it 100x easier to have a drive to try harder. 
My friend and I are very similar in that we are mature, very right-brained, and have a love for learning. Her new-learned excitement, feminist beliefs, and knowledge makes my itch to get out of high school even worse. I never realize just how restricting high school is until I talk to those who've gotten out. In high school, students of all different interests, learning styles, and personalities are shoved together in required classes. I love high school, don't get me wrong, but as I learn more about the opportunities that await me, I get more and more eager for a higher education.
I talked about this topic today with the teacher I aid for. We have very similar beliefs as well, and she is just as excited for my future as I am. She is always giving me pieces of feminist literature, challenging novels, and truly amazing advice. She tries daily to make my high school experience less monotonous and more educationally stimulating. It's refreshing to have such amazing women in my life to help me along, pave me the way, and excite me about all that awaits me after graduation.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Be a Wo[man]

As I may have mentioned before, I am a teacher aid for my former AP English teacher, who happens to have similar feminist views and opinions as I do. She told her class at the beginning of the hour that she was in a terrible mood and that she would not be "taking any one's bullshit" today. She has a tastefully colorful language when she is in the right mood. 
When she sat down at her desk to let the class work on their assignment, I asked her what put her in such a bad frame of mind. She expressed to me that at lunch, some other teachers were completely bulldozing over her opinions and not taking anything she said seriously. When she tried to be assertive and stand up for herself, the reaction was negative. She feels as if because she is a woman, she came off as "bitchy." If she were a man, they might have saw her action as powerful and confident. 
This got us talking about how, in 2013, views on powerful, strong woman are so backward. How woman are still being paid less [in both attention and money] and how female entertainers are just now being recognized for their music, not just the fact that they are women. How people, adult professionals in particular, could treat a co-worker with such terrible disregard. 
We took a walk after class and discussed the topic further. She told me the story about how her 11 year old daughter expressed her interest in being President, but put aside her dreams because "there can't be a girl president." My teacher told her otherwise and they moved on. That little girl has awesome dreams. She's got my vote.
I think having a positive female role model in one's life is important, because without insight from someone of your own gender, one never knows right from wrong. That little girl would go on her whole life thinking that she has no chance of breaking into a male-dominated field of work. I would go one thinking that I was alone in many of my views. Girls all over the world need to start speaking up. I'm telling you- be assertive. Be confident. If you were a man you wouldn't be scared to do so right? 
My rant for the night is over.

late night epiphanies

Ever since my freshman year, when I looked up to the seniors in the theater program, I wanted to be the head of some sort of organization [not necessarily theater] and have freshmen [like me at the time] really look up to me as a role model. I wanted to leave my school better than how I came into it and I was dead-set on having some sort of positive influence on others. I was never sure where I would end up exactly. Until tonight, I was pretty sure I would fail to reach my goal. I have had this feeling lately that I would make a mediocre yearbook, graduate, and be completely forgotten about. No one remembers someone who did not make an impact.
Tonight, 12 hours after I arrived at school in the morning, I was sitting at my desk, grumbling over some sort of yearbook mishap that had fallen upon me at that moment. Outside the room was a parent meeting for our upcoming trip to the NSPA/JEA convention in Boston. Some of the staffers came into our room to be with the editors and team leaders while their parents sat in on the meeting. One by one, they trickled to my desk, sat at my little "visitor" chair or on the floor or on the adjacent desk and just watched me work. I chatted with them simultaneously and it made everything better. Those kids are some of the brightest, most creative, funniest kids I've ever met and I am so honored to call them my friends. They reflect on the entire staff. I stand firm to my claim that the publications staff is truly the best and brightest group of people in the school. These kids sat and watched and learned from my work. We talked about editorship and what it takes to do the job. My advice: "It takes very little experience and very much time and effort." I told them about my very minimal journalistic training and how what you know going into the job matters much less than one thinks. They said they felt "inspired" and "happy" just chilling with me in my little corner of the classroom I call home. In their eyes, I could see the future of the yearbooks to come. I could see the determination and creativity and ingenuity. I could see a better publication. I had left a mark. I would be remembered by the kids who will take my place when I leave. My high school goal was complete. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Does the end justify the means?

I aid for one of favorite teachers' World Literature class, and not too long ago they were discussing Sophocles, one of my favorite philosophers [yes, I have a favorite philosopher.] One of Sophocles' most famous ideas is the question as to if the ends justify the means. Is the work you put in worth it in the end? Are the decisions you make now beneficial in your outcome? 
This idea was brought into mind while I was sweeping and mopping the restaurant I work at. Every night we clean until the restaurant sparkles, only to have it completely disgusting the next night. And we do it over and over again. Do the ends justify the means? The answer is yes. No customer wants to eat in a mediocre-looking restaurant with dirty floors. So that's that.
But this mindset has been much more relevant and thought-provoking in my everyday life. Every night I stay up late working on homework or designing yearbook yearbook pages. At school, I'm often sleepy and not fully 'there." I take naps after school that last hours and hours. Does the end justify the means?
I'm not sure they do. The yearbook pages I put so much time into are awful and boring. My beautiful, creative, visually exciting visions are not coming across on the page. My grades are nowhere near what I wish they would be. My college essays keep getting put off. My perfectly organized life is falling off of its axis. I feel alone in this strange whirlwind of failures, but I know I'm not. I am 109 pounds of pure anxiety.
When will the end justify the means? Maybe it's when the yearbook is published and I'm happy with how it looks. Maybe it's when I get into the college of my choice and can finally let down my guard. Maybe it's when this year is over and I never have to deal with the anxiety I find in high school. Maybe the end won't justify the means and I graduate just as frustrated and anxious as I am now. 

Who knows.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


After a stressful, less-than-fun day at school, I was not looking forward to the homecoming game. At all. In my previous blog posts, I discussed my social situation [or lack thereof] and my stress of trying to have fun at this momentous event in my senior year. 
Well, tonight I learned that old friends are golden friends, and that some people are just inherently good. 
My friends from middle school are the sweetest, smartest, prettiest, kindest girls I know, and throughout high school we have kind of drifted. I explored new groups of friends and they stuck together. 
At homecoming, these girls took me in and it was as if nothing had changed. We were laughing until we cried, eating really unhealthy food, and just being the weird kids we always were. It was fantastic. I haven't acted like myself as much as I did tonight. I felt so very alive.
So my advice to you, reader, is never burn bridges. That key group of friends will always be there for you, even if months and years go by since you have talked to them. They will always be the best friends you can possibly have [in my case at least] and won't judge you for anything. Never cut connections because you never know when you will be back with those first friends, the people there for you since the beginning. 

[pictures will be posted asap, I used film that needs to be developed]

Thursday, September 19, 2013


They say you can't have too much of a good thing. I have to disagree. What if the good things cause stress and headaches and tears even though you know it will be worth it in the end?

The pressure's on.
college, work, yearbook, homework, family time, social life.
work work work.
you can't escape it because it's always hovering.
you can't sleep because you are thinking.
thinking thinking thinking.
you can't focus because every other little stress is coming down on you.
and your back hurts and you head hurts and your heart hurts because you have too much of a good thing.
there's no time.
time time time.
no time in the day to fit every little thing in. 
no time in your life to be on top of your game. 
no time for productive writing of essays.
no time to sit around and let your ideas float around on a page.
no time to get homework done early and efficiently.
no time to eat family dinner, watch family movies, or take part in the family jokes. 
no time to have friends.
I'm up late every night. Not because I'm being productive. It's because my stress migraines won't cease and my mind is a static television screen. Fuzzy and loud and full of pieces of random information. stresses. 

so here's the thing: this is not healthy. it just isn't. so I have found things that make me feel better. less stressed. more relaxed. truly at peace with myself. I urge you to do the same. 

  • go to bed earlier.
  • find something that brings you to peace within yourself [vinyasa yoga is my new obsession, an hour of freedom from myself]
  • read a book. for pleasure, not for school. My English teacher and I have been exchanging favorite books back and forth, and it's really brought me to a pleasant state of mind.
  • let things go. sometimes you just have to skip out on studying for a quiz. occasionally take a long nap. sleep in. eat ice cream if you feel like it. you'll be a happier person, I promise. 

included below are pictures of things that make me happy and stress free. take lots of pictures of happy things so when you flip through your phone you can have reasons to smile. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dr. Deen

He wore snakeskin boots and giant belt buckles. His house was full of ivory and gold and quartz. His salt and pepper hair smelled strong of cologne. His dark skin resembled our leather recliner. He always came over bearing mangoes and beautiful ceramic gifts for my sisters and I. His thick Indian accent was inimitable and his laugh was contagious. His 89 year old little body was a powerhouse. Short, stocky, and full of life, he was a successful opthomalogist. He refused to ever stop seeing patients until he was completely unable to work. He was my father's mentor, his partner, and his best friend. He started their practice decades before my father was born. He loved our family more than anything, but we were never allowed to call him "Chris." He was Dr. Deen. He was one of the first people to hold us as newborns. He danced at every Bat Mitzvah, celebrated every birthday, and never missed a beat. He had an iPhone before I did. He has never had anything alcoholic to drink. He raised his grandsons. He was definitely the coolest 89 year old around. He never stopped running. 
Until this weekend.
He wasn't feeling too well, so he checked himself into the immediate care clinic at the building in which he worked. They examined him, ran some tests, and put him in a room because he tested positive for Pneumonia. He figured it was nothing and wasn't worried at all. He tried to sleep it off and get better as soon as possible.
Now he's in the ICU and is having great trouble with his lungs.
My dad said he's not getting better. He visited Dr. Deen multiple time throughout the past couple days and I haven't seen him so sad since his own grandfather passed away. 
Seeing people like Dr. Deen grow old and sick and sad makes me feel older than ever. Dr. Deen was always around, but life is short and people pass on. I am older too. My parents are growing older. My sisters are no longer cute little kids and my biggest worries are not about petty things anymore. Dr. Deen is living proof of living life to its fullest. He teaches a good lesson to everyone about how to take every minute you have, do what you love, and be satisfied in the end. 
I am not a very spiritual person, but if you could include Dr. Deen in your prayers tonight, it'd mean a ton to my family and his.