Sunday, February 28, 2010

Snowy Toes and Frozen Hands

It's been a while. I've been insanely busy since I got back to school. I'm still busy now, in fact, but I finally thought of something to write about. The weather is always crazy here, but winter in Ithaca is seemingly endless. It could be warm one day (and by "warm" I mean 33 degrees), then drop back down to 10 degrees the next. The snow comes randomly and in varying amounts. But there are good things. In fact, if you're going to live somewhere cold and snowy, Ithaca is a pretty nice place to long as you remember your coat, hat, and gloves.

Things That Make Winter (in Ithaca) Worth It
  1. The view of Bebe Lake from the Triphammer footbridge: I keep meaning to take pictures, but I keep forgetting to, since I'm only over there when walking to/from class. It's absolutely the point where people make out on the bridge, even though it's 3am and 25 degrees outside. There are giant icicles hanging down, the frozen lake is coated in snow, surrounded by white trees, and you get to watch the water come crashing out from below the snowy surface...breathtaking. Ithaca really is gorges (sorry, had to say it).
  2. Trees: It's actually pretty rare that you see the trees at the perfect time, before the snow has fallen off of them. But walking back at 3am, the trees were so beautiful, I nearly forgot how tired I was. Unfortunately, I was too tired to dig around in my bag for my camera. I regret that now.
  3. Interesting snow sculptures: People make normal things -- igloos, snowmen -- but also some pretty interesting/phallic ones (the picture to the right is as-seen from my friend's window).
  4. Getting to drink tons of hot chocolate: I have a whole tub of hot chocolate mix in my room, as well as mini marshmallows and whipped cream. Makes my day yummy.
  5. Warm, cozy boots: I got a pair of super snuggly snow boots. However, the thing about this one is that way too many people decide that, because it's cold, they're going to wear their Uggs everywhere. But Uggs + snow = very ruined Uggs. It's uggly (though I find them pretty ugly to begin with). And aren't those things like $200? A tad costly to be worth ruining, in my opinion. Plus, I can't imagine they're very effective at keeping you warm when they're soaking wet. But anyway, Ugg rant over. Next item.
  6. Skiing: I went skiing for my second time (but my first real time because the last time was in 8th grade, and I didn't get a lesson so it was just awkward) a little over a week ago, and it was so so fun. Even my friends, who spent 2/3 of the time falling, had That occasional day of sun: Even when it's freezing cold outside, waking up in the morning and having sun pour through the windows is the best. Everything sparkles, you remember that the big gray thing above is actually blue, clouds can be's lovely. And the fact that it's so rare actually makes it even better when it does happen.
  7. Tray sledding: Presumably, this (stealing a tray from a dining hall and sledding down the hills on it) would be most Cornellians' favorite part about the winter, but due to my unfortunate frostbite accident, which is partially attributable to tray sledding, I'm a little afraid of it. Hopefully I'll enjoy it more in the future.
It's practically March (4 hours until), which is an absolutely crazy thought. February flew by. I've been so busy, I can't even remember all of the things that have happened. In just a few weeks, we have spring break, and once we get back from that, it will technically be spring. So we'll see how spring-like April actually is.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Awesometastic Stuff

I was meaning to post last week, but honestly I haven't done very much lately (ahh break), so I haven't had much to write about. I have, however, done a ton of shopping...I have no idea how I'm going to bring it all back with me. Most of the things I bought were clothes, but I also got a couple other awesome things for my room. There are lots of awesome things out there, and I wish I could buy all of them, but I don't exactly have that kind of money to waste. So here are the awesometastic things I have or wish I had. :)

Awesome/Awesomely Random Things I Own or Wish I Owned

  1. Tim Burton figurines: I got these at the Tim Burton exhibit at stainMoMA (which was awesome!). They came in 3-packs, and 2/3 were holiday gifts, so I consider that justifiable And my dorm needs some…spicing up. It’s pretty bland. So now I have…STAIN BOY! Tim Burton is a genius. Plus, the pamphlet from the museum exhibit opens up to a poster of Tim Burton drawings, so now I have a new wall decoration as well!
  2. WALL-E figures: Equally wonderful are my new WALL-E and EVE toys. While Andi is quite disheartened at their inability to hold hands easily, they are quite cute. I was intending to only get the WALL-E one…but my dad got the EVE one. My dad likes toys far more than I do. But this time, that worked to my benefit.
  3. Microbe plushie: Andi got me a stuffed sperm and egg for spermHanukkah. My sister gave me a very weird look when I showed them to her, but they’re awesome.There are also other microbes, like flu, mono, etc, at ThinkGeek (which has a zillion other awesome but often overpriced things).
  4. Aloe plant: My aloe plant hasn’t grown up yet…it’s still a fewdino little sprouts. Or at least it was when I left. But maybe when I get back it’ll be bigger. Either way, aloe plants clean the air and look cool and stuff.
  5. Dino vegetarian shirt: Bought this last weekend at Forever 21 (Andi found it, so credit goes to her). No explanation needed.
  6. Mini robo vacuum: And now I get into the things I wish I had. It cleans up little crumbs and stuff! Perfect for OCD me. And it’s so cute. :)
  7. Ice Invaders Ice Cube Tray: Because who invadersdoesn’t want little aliens invading their drinks? Unfortunately, a large ice tray would take up more than my half of the freezer.
  8. Crazy Aaron’s magnetic putty: It’s like my other awesome putties, but MAGNETIC! Metal stuff sticks to it! I am too easily amused.
  9. Mike Wazowski mug: I wanted to buy this at Disneyworld, but IMG_1394my luggage was too overstuffed, so I wouldn’t have been able to get it back easily. *sigh* There are also tons of other awesome mugs there, like the bottom half of Mickey. In general, if I could buy out the Disney store, I would…Mickey hand jar opener, ice cube tray, Mickey feet slippers (another thing I would have bought if I could transport them)…

I could probably find a hundred more random things, but you get the picture. There are lots of awesome things out there. Some of them are worth owning, others not so much. But that’s okay. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009? 2010?

I meant to post yesterday, when it was still 2009, but I was a bit busy (ie. 3 trips to the Verizon store, which ultimately resulted in getting a new phone!). 2009 was a year of drama, frustration and stress, but also happiness, fun, and change, both good and bad. I was planning on writing down my memories of 2009, but, honestly, there are too many things I'd prefer to forget. Now I am putting all that behind me and moving in to 2010. So here, in the most clichéd way possible, are my hopes and plans for 2010 (in, like always, no particular order).

Natanya's New Year's Resolutions
  1. Find an extracurricular I really enjoy: I know, the first semester of college is supposed to be hard. But as I watched everyone around me struggle academically, I realized that academics aren't my problem. Sure, it was hard (astronomy was awful), but what was harder was trying to find other things I enjoyed. I suppose I could have tried everything--clubs, parties, athletics--but most of it was unappealing. I'm a member of two clubs, but do I really enjoy them? Most of the time they feel like an extra burden. Not to say I didn't like anything I did--strangely, work (at the Annual Fund, calling alumni) has become enjoyable because I get to take my mind off everything else, because I have to be so focused, suppressing all other stresses. It's what sports used to give me. This year was the first year since 6th grade that I didn't have volleyball. It was weird. But anyway, I don't know if work really counts. I feel like I'm supposed to be finding other things I like. I'm hoping to join a publication. I don't really want to have more writing assignments (between comp lit, French and soc, I think I have enough of those...I don't need more writing obligations), but I'd like to's my goal...
  2. Post on here: I used to have a blog. And before that I had a different blog. Then I stopped posting on them. I don't want that to happen again. It would be nice to really stick with something I have no real obligation to--something that I'm not doing for college applications (not that I didn't enjoy my clubs in high school, but there was so much pressure) or for class or for someone else. Something I'm just doing for the sake of doing it.
  3. Be friendlier: I know I can be mean, but that's not actually what I'm talking about. Whenever I pass by someone I sort of know, I always wonder whether I should say hi to them, or whether they'd think I was weird for doing so. But I've realized that when someone says hi to me, that feels nice, and it probably subconsciously improves my opinion of that person. I want to be friendlier, more outgoing. Maybe it's not in my nature, but maybe it's something I can change. Silence gets lonely.
  4. Write a story: I come up with new story lines practically every week, but I'm too lazy to actually start writing. I know I said I don't want any more writing obligations, but I hoping I'll be able to treat this as something enjoyable, like it's supposed to be. I'm not planning on writing a book. Just a story. Just something complete.
  5. Read...a lot: I'm planning on taking part in the spring/summer book challenge for an online group I'm in, but it's a lot of books, especially since I already have so many books to read for school. I also want to keep up with the group's "group reads." (This month is Catch- 22 and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I'm excited to read both.) Not to mention the zillion other books on my to-read list. Hopefully I'll be able to incorporate some of those into the reading challenge.
  6. Write more letters: I wrote a couple letters (letters as in snail's no fun) to people last semester, and I want to write more this semester. Getting mail is fun. And I have a pack of 2000 animal stickers ($3 at Target? Yessss), and stickers make everything so much more fun!
  7. Get out more: I spend so much time cooped up in my room. Unfortunately, since I'm not interested in partying, "getting out more" means, for the most part, spending more money on things like movies and plays. But based on the little getting out I did towards the end of last semester, I think it's worth it. Even just watching my movies on my computer with other people would be a step in the right direction. I don't mind being alone (frankly, it's easier), but I should probably mix things up a bit (because life isn't supposed to be easy).
  8. Avoid having stupid panic reactions: My poor reactions resulted in frost bite. That was stupid. And painful. I'm going to avoid that in the future. To go with this, I want to avoid other stupid things I did this year. Make better decisions. Etc.
That's all. Now I just have to work at them... :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Things That Facilitate My Hyperorganization (aka Things I Use to Counteract My Poor Memory)

I looked at my desk the other night before I left school (I'm finally done for the semester--5 whole weeks of freedom!) and it was covered in lists and sticky notes for...everything. Refill the water pitcher sticky note, grocery list, packing list, to do list...etc etc. I went through a whole sticky note pad this semester. My memory is horrible, so my life pretty much runs on sticky notes, lists, and cell phone calendar reminders...

Things I Use to Counteract My Poor Memory
  1. Sticky notes: Best invention ever. They're all over my planner, desk, notebooks, everywhere. I have different sizes, colors and designs; I ran out of my blue pad of sticky notes with the letter "N" on them, and have now moved on to neon salmon (it's not exactly neon pink...). I also have one of those mini-post-it cubes.
  2. My hand: This was of more importance in high school when my individual days were more hectic, but I still use it to remind me of certain important things. In high school I tended to use it to remind me to talk to teachers, take books out of my locker, etc. The back of my hand was covered in pen every single day.
  3. Phone calendar reminders: I have so many reminders set that I keep having to go back and deleting old ones because my phone keeps running out of memory. I often have at least 2 a day--appointments, to-do's, everything.
  4. Planner: My school lifeline. Homework, due dates, exams, club meetings, Shabbat dinners. Frequently, I have these things written on sticky notes as well. And possibly on my phone calendar. And on my hand. I'm really forgetful.
  5. Tables and schedules I make in Word: For long-term to-do lists (like for long breaks), packing lists, and (more in high school) specific schedules, I make tables in Word. Seriously. This was my packing list for winter break. The things that look like bullet points are checkboxes...because I, of course, know those random tricks in Word. :)

  6. Folders: I have both real folders and ample on my computer. The real folders are pretty normal...plenty of students use folders to hold their school stuff, though I also keep lots of other random things in folders. I'm not quite as organized in that department as I wish I was. Honestly, the whole bottom drawer of my desk at school is filled with random papers I've thrown in there because I don't have enough folders. But I'm bringing folders back with me in January and I'm going to organize that drawer!
  7. Post-it tabs: I suppose I could have combined this with the rest of my post-its, but they serve a different purpose. These post-its mark things in books. Generally, I use them for school books for my comp lit/English classes always have tons of tabs sticking out of them. Too bad I don't have a picture of that. It's kind of funny. But it's very useful when it comes to writing essays.
So those are my main things. Anddd--here is a picture of my desk, just in case you didn't believe me:

Yeah. I'm that cool.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Foods That Make My Whole Day Yummier

Last Sunday was a particularly yummy day because, not only did I get my regular giant pancake for brunch (and for the first time they weren't out of bananas to put in it!), but I got to make and eat crêpes AND I got free latkes and doughnuts (which, unfortunately, weren't very good...they were a bit hard. But it's the idea that counts). So in honor of that yumminess, here is a list of...

Foods That Make My Whole Day Yummier
  1. Pancakes: The giant pancakes in the dining hall are pretty good and definitely get props for being giant (and being on plates intended for Mongolian stir fry), but the hands-down best pancakes ever are my dad's. And to think, I used to not like pancakes! I don't really like syrup, so I tend to eat either chocolate chip pancakes, or pancakes with jam on them.
  2. Challah french toast: As you can see, I love breakfast foods. I eat breakfast at all times of the day. In fact, I have frequently eaten french toast for dinner. Challah french toast is the best of all french toasts; to me, there really is nothing else. When I was younger, I didn't even know there was such thing as non-Challah french toast. Made with regular sliced bread, it's flat and boring. Challah is fluffy and delicious. (Challah by itself is also quite superior to regular bread. I like Challah with melted cheese, cream cheese, honey...)
  3. Crêpes: Obviously I cannot leave out the crêpes (and yes, the circumflex on the e is a pain in the butt, but I speak French...). Crêpes are as yummy, if not sometimes yummier, than regular pancakes. I tend to put nutella and bananas in them, but they're also delicious with lemon and sugar. Making them thin enough is tricky; it took a couple years of French projects for my friend and I to be successful. (Oh, and if a certain guy who lives across the hall from me ever reads this, remember: crêpes are indeed French, not Greek.)
  4. Gummies and Starbursts: All right, done with the breakfast foods. Gummies are a staple in my diet. Gummy bears, gummy worms, gummy name it, I love it. Right now I have gummy Scooby Doos and Looney Tunes. Starbursts are also yummy. But I just finished my bag of them and will have to remember to buy another one at the beginning of next semester!
  5. Anything from Moosewood: Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY is the best best best restaurant. Every dish is delicious and vegetarian. I'm not too crazy about vegetables, but last time I was there I had a stew that had 3 different kinds of squash in it, and I still thought it was delicious. If you're ever in Ithaca, go. (That's an imperative.) If not, buy one of their cookbooks online. My family owns 3 of them.
  6. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and/or Fat Free Reddi-Whip: Hot chocolate makes every day warm and cozy. I go through tons of it when it's cold out. My hot chocolate is really not particularly flavorful because I normally make it with water, but then I pile on the marshmallows and whipped cream (5 calories/tablespoon...I don't care that it's completely fake; I inhale the stuff) and it's deeeelicious (hmm...need to find a new word).
  7. My dad's chocolate chip mini muffins: He sent me 2 bags of them for my birthday and my friend and I finished one of them in a week (we each had one a day...we didn't pig out on them). So yummy and well-proportioned.
  8. Thanksgiving sweet potatoes or candied yams: By "Thanksgiving sweet potatoes," I mean the kind with the marshmallows on top. As you can tell, I have quite the sweet tooth. It's unfortunate, but yummy (okay, I looked up synonyms for yummy/delicious and got: tasty, mouthwatering, scrumptious, delectable, luscious, and scrummy. So sugar is scrummy.) Pretty much the only thing I really love in our dining hall is their candied yams. They're sweet (of course), starchy (I'm a potato person in general), and pretty nutritious: yams are a good source of potassium, fiber, and various vitamins. And according to a website I found, they "contain folic acid and other B vitamins which help to detoxify estrogen," which is "especially beneficial in helping women improve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome." Good to know.
  9. Julie: Because she's starchy and scrummy as well, and filled with wise knowledge of the world.
I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of right now. Had I written this post a few months ago, it would have included such foods as my dad's flank steak, filet mingon, and pulled bbq chicken. However, as of a little over a month ago, I am a vegetarian. I'll have to see how that goes over at home, where food is much tastier. In dining halls, it's all kind of gross, so it's more or less insignificant whether or not I'm eating meat. I did realize the other day, though, that Passover will be difficult, since I normally eat tons of meat at that time.

So, Bottom Line: Natanya is addicted to sugar. =/

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Things I'm Glad I Brought With Me to College

After walking into a gross smelling bathroom yesterday, I realized how grateful I am for some of the little things I brought with me--both practical items, like my Febreze, and more sentimental objects, like pictures of my friends and family. So here we go, in no particular order:

Things I'm Glad I Brought With Me to College
  1. Febreze: Bathrooms are smelly.
  2. Clorox disinfecting wipes: At the beginning of the year, one of the guys across the hall kept using our toilet while drunk, and drunk guys evidently have very poor aim. The results were pretty gross. Fortunately, that stopped after a month or so.
  3. Earplugs: Dorms are notoriously loud, and mine particularly so. It doesn't help that I'm a light sleeper and have a roommate who goes to sleep anytime between 2:30 and 6am. Unfortunately, after a while earplugs become very uncomfortable, to the point of pain. But they were nice to have in the beginning.
  4. Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty (click!): This stuff is awesome. It's like silly putty, but in a larger quantity and more fun to play with. It's great for stress reduction, putty art, and making friends--if you play with it around people, they're bound to come over and ask what the heck you're doing. I brought one variety with me, Twilight (no relation to the books...), which changes from dark purple to light blue, and my dad sent me another for my birthday called Monster Mash, which is purple and sparkly and glows in the dark. I shouldn't be having this much fun with them, but I do. It's nice to feel like a kid again sometimes.
  5. Pictures of people I love: This is pretty much a given. College is a scary world. Sure, you make friends (hopefully), but there's a big difference between a friend you've known for 4 months and one you've known for 4 years. It's nice to have constant reminder that there are people back home who love you.
  6. Fleece throw blanket: Throw blankets serve many purposes. You can use them as an extra blanket if you're too cold at night (though in my case, it's the opposite--I boil at night), snuggle under them to watch a movie, or grab them while running out the door when the fire alarm goes off at 2am (because some idiot burnt popcorn).
  7. Stuffed animals: No one's too old for stuffed animals. Especially if you're used to having pets at home sleeping on your bed every night, you'll want some stuffed animals to at least remind you of your cat/dog/guinea pig back home, since most likely the only non-human beings allowed in your room are plants and fish (and, perhaps, mold). I'm not sure whether this applies to guys (I haven't seen any stuffed animals in their rooms), but I'm certainly glad I have them. My stuffed animals also have a lot of sentimental value: I've had my stuffed bear since I was 1, my sister made me a large stuffed cat (with different colored body parts to represent each of our 4 cats at home), my best friend made me a "lucky bunny," that same best friend sent me a stuffed animal version of her university's mascot, and I have a beanie baby frog to remind me of my (now deceased, but alive when I left him) African Dwarf Frog.
  8. My pop-bead necklace: This is one of those things entirely unique to me, but I'll try to broaden it to apply to other situations. Pop beads are little plastic beads that snap together and are typically used to make DNA strands in high school biology classes. I was pretty good friends with my 9th grade biology teacher, and he let me keep my necklace of pop beads. The story's more complicated than that, but I'll stop there. The moral: bring small items that bring back good memories.
Obviously there are a thousand more things I'm glad I have, but these are ones I could have forgotten but am glad I didn't. Feel free to let me know something I should have included. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

A History of Listmaking

First off, I know "listmaking" should be a hyphenate ("list-making"), but in an effort to establish it as a real term, I am dropping the hyphen. This aggravates the grammar freak within me, but it makes life easier.

So, I don't actually know the history of listmaking. However, I do know that people have been making them for a very long time. Case in point: Sei Shonagan's Pillow Book, written during her time as court lady to Empress Teishi during the 990s and early 1000s in Heian Japan. Admittedly, I haven't actually read the whole book (blasphemy? Perhaps.), but I've read portions of it, as published in Ruth Ozeki's My Year of Meats. In fact, it was Ozeki's novel that gave me the idea of making this blog. Certainly, I've spent my whole life making lists and schedules for myself, but I figure spewing them out to the public will be a new challenge; a challenge to avoid making them boring and mundane. I'm not sure how well that will work out, but we'll see.

I suppose I should briefly introduce myself and my experience with listmaking. My name is Natanya, and I'm a college freshman (finishing up my first semester--I am in the midst of finals as I write this) planning to major in comparative literature and sociology (I really care about comp lit though; soc is more of an interest). As of now, I aspire to be either a lawyer (if I want to kill myself and possibly eventually like it) or a book editor (if I want to actually enjoy my job and not be tens of thousands of dollars in debt). But, given that I am just a freshman, I know this all could change. I consider myself very organized (at times hyper-organized), and make lists of practically everything I need to do. This is largely a result of my very poor memory--if I don't write something down, I'll never remember it. Even when I write things down I may forget to do them.

I love reading and analyzing literature (hence the comparative literature major). Lately I've spent a lot of time on the website goodreads. It's a great site. I often find myself surrounded with science majors, so it's nice to have a connection to the literature lovers of the world. I am also a Francophile, currently learning French and planning on studying abroad in France. I can't wait.

I could go on with more random things about myself, but if you're reading this (should anyone ever read this), you probably know me, so I will stop here. I can get a bit carried away when writing; I once wrote someone a 1200 word email.