Thursday, December 31, 2009


Where is the point at which you become friends and not acquaintances? When does the word "best" begin to precede "friend"? What is the defining moment of a relationship? Why do friends who were once so close begin to drift apart until there is no way to repair their bond?

Today I realized that I am at a point in my life where I hardly identify with the group of fine young people I was so close to in high school. Rather, I have new friends with different goals and interests, and we "click," just as my old friends and i "clicked" five and a half years ago as freshmen in high school. We have all changed. We have grown apart. I don't know when this all began, but I discovered tonight that we have all experienced different things in the time we have spent in college, and that because of these varying experiences we are all very, very different people.

It's alright, though, that we have grown apart. The key is that we have grown. Growth is important in all aspects of life. As time passes and we grow older, we also grow in maturity and stature (well, for most, anyway), and into the people we were meant to be. We meet all types of people in college, stick to those who either challenge us in a way we cannot ignore or are so like us that we are convinced we were meant to be. We make many friends and many more acquaintances. We have our drinking buddies, our booty calls, our study buddies, and the brave souls who are willing to be seen with us in public under any condition. Some of these people will remain with us beyond college. Others will not. All, however, will somehow impact us. They will become the reasons we decide not to study and to party instead. They will become the reasons we meet future friends. They will be the reasons we graduate and enter the "real world." They will be the reasons we succeed and somehow maintain our sanity. These friends, like our high school friends, will also aid us in our transitions into the next chapters of our lives; the difference, however, is that these friends have similar ideals, goals, and priorities.

Looking back, I can hardly remember what happened in high school, but I will never forget the people I was with through it all. I feel as though I will be able to say the same after graduating from college. Life is not about the moments; rather, it's about the people with whom you spend those moments. Let's spend a few moments together.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Such a Sweet, Sweet Blue

They say that music frees the soul. I must agree. Music, for me, is more than a catchy beat and a bunch of nonsense the "artists" call lyrics. No, real quality music touches you. It speaks to you. It vocalizes the emotions you cannot verbalize yourself.

It was cloudy and gray one morning last week as I left my house to go to work. I made a stop at the coffee shop down the street before hopping on the highway, iced cappuccino in my gloved hand like a true New Englander. I woke up that morning with hope for a good day, but as I dealt with the morning traffic and the dark sky overhead, hope seemed to dwindle. Like usual, I had my iPod on shuffle, picking up where I left off last. A pop hit. Skip. An oldie. Skip. An old favorite. Let it play. Finally, a song by one of my favorite bands. The band, despite its three full-length CDs available both in stores and on iTunes, is not very popular, but it is quality. It's honest. It's real. It's motivating. It's uplifting. This band has both influenced and reinforced some of my beliefs. This band completely turned my mood around that day.


Man I just saw something
I'm glad that you are here.
I got to start to thinking
And seeing things so clear.
Cause now how could I forget
What she left
What happened in November
Is what I needed.
And I'm sorry, that it shows
But life ain't so bad you know.

Now the skies such a sweet blue
You made this come true.
My heart feels so new, whoa...
Its now wonderful to
See beautiful views.
Like skies that are so blue, whoa, whoa!
I'll never leave us you know!

I turn it off for this
Looks like we got what we wished.
It snowed in Texas, but you missed (the 1st time since '86)
And I can't stop thinking of how wonderful this is.
And I'm sorry, I sound glad, but why always be so sad?

Now the skies such a sweet blue
You made this come true.
My heart feels so new, whoa...
Its now wonderful to
See beautiful views.
Like skies that are so blue, whoa, whoa!

Ba Ba Ba Ba....
Ba Ba Ba Ba....

And I know that sometimes oh I might
feel alone, so broken, cold
Now I'll show that I know that

The skies such a sweet blue
You made this come true.
My heart feels so new, whoa...
Its now wonderful to
See beautiful views.
Like skies that are so blue, whoa, whoa!
I'll never leave us you know, whoa!

-Skies So Blue by The Rocket Summer

The lyrics are not ingenious, no, but they do have a good point. Life's not so bad. You know, the sky is a sweet blue most days, so there's no point in allowing the gray ones to get you down. As these thoughts entered my head, still cruising southbound on 95 , the sun began to peek around the clouds. I smiled. Oh, did I smile. The grin on my face grew as the clouds parted to allow the sun to light up the sky. In that moment, I began to recognize that there are small miracles happening around us every single day. I began to realize that it's the little things that matter most. I began to understand the sky is, indeed, a sweet, sweet blue. Nothing could shake the smile from my face that day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Print Journalism's Tragic Demise

Here in the "digital age," it rarely is a necessity that I pick up a newspaper to get the gist of what's going on in the world; after all, the news is everywhere - on the television, on my Google homepage, even on pop radio. There are times, though, that I notice the Providence Journal on the kitchen table or by the lamp in the living room and take a peek. I have come to find, much to my dismay, that both the topics and the actual writing have been on a fairly consistent downward slope with only the occasional coherent, unbiased, well-written piece. Welcome to the descent of print journalism.

Just the other night, I read a wonderful ProJo article about the Sox-Yankees rival. Now, I'm a die-hard Sox fan, and I cannot help but be a tad biased on articles regarding the Sox, but this article was honest-to-God unbiased, researched, coherent, and written with the perfect balance of enthusiasm and technicality. The article, published on December 24, 2009, was written by Daniel Barbarisi, and I really have to hand it to him on this one. The story was about the rivalry, yes, but also the intricacies of a successful athletic franchise. He examined the pros and cons of what both teams are doing with their pitching staffs, discussing both present and future possibilities. I must admit that I was impressed by not only how balanced the information in the article was, but also how professional it sounded. I smiled to myself as I read the article, thinking that there may be a glimmer of hope for journalism after all.

Tonight, that glimmer of hope seemed to fade. In fact, I read only the first few paragraphs of another ProJo article and my heart sank. It began to sink when I read the title of the article, but as I continued to read, I could not believe I was reading the same section of the same publication that had impressed me so much just a few days prior. This article, written by Jim Donaldson published in December 28's ProJo Sports, was about another of my favorite sports teams - the New England Patriots. While the information in the article was factually correct, it was written in a way that sounded not only biased but also elementary. It made jest of the Pats' most recent opponent and was topically scattered. It talked not only about the "embarrassingly bad Jaguars," but also about the game two weeks ago, the performances of Welker and Brady, and the fan imitating Moss from the stands. It was written in a way that made me remember my middle school newspaper - chock full of quotes that didn't belong quite where they were placed, bias, and sentence fragments. The gramatical nut in me wanted to pull out a red pen and have a field day.

Despite all the evidence, I still hate to admit that print journalism is in iminent danger. Not only have newspaper sales fallen since the same articles have become available for free on the internet, but the quality of the pieces in the newspapers that, at one time, were held in high regard, has decreased to a point that may be beyond return. The men and women who pen the daily news in our local papers are no longer living up to the standards set many years ago. The worst part, though, is that I have also noticed a decline in all the things that make a written news story great outside of the printed media as well. The journals that are published only online are written again in sentence fragments and elementary English. The articles hardly give you the meat and potatoes, let alone the gravy. I must conclude from all the evidence that Americans entered not only the digital age, but the age of unintelligence. Harsh? Maybe. The truth, though, is that our standards in many areas of our culture have dropped. Someday, perhaps decades from now, the only text we read will be in text messages, with words abbreviated and often containing numbers, as our culture will have become so consumed with mass media that we will know nothing but television, radio, and internet pornography.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Panera Dates

The first time I entered a Panera Bread was sometime in high school, perhaps my sophomore year. I was there with a couple of friends, looking only for some decent food and a place to consume it. What I found was much, much more. You see, there at Panera I found my home away from home. I found my comfort zone. I found the place where I would later discuss every part of my life with a good friend. Panera became, for me and my friend Matt, our "date" spot.

Matt is, by far, the best friend a girl could ask for. We talk about everything - life, death, sex, scandal, music, movies, school - and we always can count on each other for the honest truth. Our friends often joke that we're like a married couple in the way we get along and because of how frequently we are together; thus we have adopted the comparison as our own and make it perfectly clear that although this is not a monogamous relationship, our marriage comes first. In order to maintain a healthy relationship we find ourselves on Panera Dates -usual spot, usual order, most unusual conversations. Our "dates" are unlike anything else, and, to be frank, would not be quite so incredible anywhere else. There is just something about Panera that makes the conversation flow, the problems sort themselves out, and the mac 'n' cheese taste a little better. Maybe it's the soft jazz plaing overhead; maybe it's the fire burning softly in the fireplace; maybe it's the tranquil colors and decor. Maybe, though, it's simply that it's so undeniably us. Whatever the reason, it's our Panera Dates that, in a way, have come to define our relationship.

Our relationship, much like our Panera Dates, is both complex and simple. There are the intricacies of the things we discuss and the way we relate to each other and our friends, but there are also many ways in which we just sort of are. We know that no matter what the topic, we will both give and recieve nothing but honesty. It's difficult to be untruthful in a place like Panera, which is brimming with hearty foods that taste home-made, arousing aromas of the freshly baked breads, and heartfelt conversations all around. Even looking around, removing ourselves from the equation, it's like a microcosm of the world in which we live. There are parents and children of all ages in the open areas; there are young people on legitimate dates sitting in the corners; there are old friends catching up on the sofa by the fire; there are students with textbooks spread about and business people on their laptops at the tables near the windows. Panera seems to serve all types, and in my many Panera Dates with Matt as well as lunches and dinners with other friends in the same location, I have witnessed both the kindest gestures and the cruelest of injustices. The things we have experienced together inside our favorite Panera could not possibly be duplicated - not the events, not the conversations, not the emotions, not the laughter. It is all unique. Panera is unique. Our Panera Dates are, yes, unique.