I’m supposed to be cleaning my room, but I’m totally not. I’ve just uploaded some new pictures and now I’m laying in bed watching The Burning Bed on Lifetime Movie Newtork. Seriously, I don’t know what I’d do w/o Lifetime on the weekends when it’s not football season!

It’s been a long three days… but they’ve all been good! Friday itself seems like it lasted for an entire weekend. I went to lunch w/ Shel, Allan, Kate, Jen and Ty. Then Kate, Jen and I shopped till we dropped, but I was good – I only got a pair of black linen pants from the Gap. After that I had some dinner, then we all went bowling at Ghetto Lanes. The bowling alley was on Capitol Blvd. and was more ghetto than I thought it would be. It was fun, though. I bowled my highest game ever – a 92 – and dubbed myself Super Bowler Ali, although I’m nothing of the sort. Allan wiped out while rolling the ball, which was hilarious! Poor thing ended up w/ some bruises, but it was funny for the rest of us. Then we went to a bar called City Limits & that was interesting. At first it was weird for me because they played Country music and all these people were line dancing and I was like, “whoa!” because I’m NOT a country person in the least. But the music changed and things got better! Kate and I were tempted to ride the bull thingy, but we both chickened out for fear of looking like idiots. We went there because Jen, Kate’s visiting sister, likes Country music and such and also because it was Mel’s birthday. While there we ran into an ex of Shel’s (who he’s still friends w/), which was weird because the girl is bound and determined to hate me although she doesn’t know me. I introduced myself in an effort to be civil, but I know that she’s not wanting that. Personally, I like to meet the girlfriends of my guy friends. Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I think it’s probably a maturity thing. At some point, being catty w/ other girls loses its luster. But dancing was fun & watching Shel – the whitest white boy alive – was fun! After the bar, we all went to IHOP and indulged ourselves in bacon, eggs and pancakes! Mmmm…. I really love IHOP!

Yesterday I did some more shopping, and, although shocking, I was tired of shopping! But I found three great pair of pants and I was happy I dragged myself out. I spent a bit more money than I should have, but I think it’ll be ok. My mom says I deserved it! Shel, Allan and myself went to Outback and gorged ourselves silly on steak and cheesefries. It was great. After that, we all went to Sammy’s, but we were so exhausted from the previous day’s activities, that we crapped out and went home after one round of drinks and two handfuls of Chicklets! Oh yeah – and we got freaked out by a GIANT roach that intruded on our party.

Today was a bummy day. I was all into my Lifetime movie, but Shel’s mom just called and we talked for like 15 mins and now I have no idea what’s going on in the story. Yay for TiVo! I can watch it later. I really need to hang some clothes up. My room’s in complete disarray. Blah! Well, as long as I have everything clean before we leave for Pittsburgh, I’ll be happy. Five more days till we leave!!! I’m soooo excited about going home!

Ok, time to get some stuff done. No more procrastinating!!

I’m going to go to bed in a few minutes and with any luck I’ll have my first good night of sleep in months. Why’s that, you ask? Well, because I have a job. Yes, yes, it’s true – I have a job.(!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I’ve been hired by a non-profit company called Surgical Review Corporation (http://www.surgicalreview.org/) & I will be their communications lead. That means I’ll be in charge of press releases, presentations, the internet site, developing comms collateral, etc… Although it’s shocking, I’ll be doing something I’ve been trained to do! I’ll be on a probationary type thing for the first few months, and if all goes well, my official title will be Director of Communications, which is pretty exciting. And I’m really looking forward to shaping the direction of the company PR-wise. I’m so thankful that they were willing to take a chance on a young blood like me, but they said that they were looking to hire someone who would ‘grow with the company’. YAY! I can’t even describe how frustrating it is to go on interview after interview only to be told that you don’t have enough experience or qualifications, but how are you supposed to get either of those unless someone will hire you?! Sigh. Well, I start on Tuesday and I’m looking forward to it, although I’m going to kind of miss being a lazy bum. Tomorrow’s my last day of freedom before I work full-time.

I treated myself to two very cute new outfits tonight! I didn’t want to start a NEW job w/o something NEW to wear! All of you girls out there, I know you know what I mean! It was fun to shop and actually be able to BUY what I liked.

I’m definitely feeling better than I have in a long time, but the stress hasn’t been completely lifted yet. I’ve been stressed beyond belief every minute of every day for the past six months, and that’s going to take some time to get over. It’s going to take some time for me to heal and feel some self-worth again, because I’m telling you, I don’t feel much now. You’d be surprised at how much of what you think about yourself is based on what you do for a living. I mean, I would sit on the loveseat and feel like I had no PURPOSE in life. Yeah, I volunteer and yeah I have wonderful friends and family, but every day everyone either went to school or work and I felt like I was left behind the human race. I realize that probably sounds terribly dramatic, but that’s how I felt. And if I went to work – got a part time job or something – then I lost most of my unemployment benefits. I felt trapped in a way. I handled the situation well for the first two months, then it was all down hill after that. I got very depressed and reserved and that created a chasm in my relationship w/ Shel, which wasn’t good. But I have to say, he’s been a saint through this whole thing. I’m very lucky to have him, and I know it. And he knows that I know it!

But, like I said, I’m looking forward to a restful night of sleep – my first night w/o a giant black cloud hanging over my head.

Shel’s looking up weird stuff on Ebay.

I just got done reading and am about to head to bed, but decided to update this thing instead.

My grandfather died around 1:00pm today. I’m very sad, but more sad for him than for me. I’m sad for him because he was unable to die at home as he had wished. And I’m sad because he wanted to see me so badly and I couldn’t get up there. But I’m not sad that he’s passed away because he lead a nice, long life. It was full of people who loved him and who he loved back. So, I’m happy that he’s at peace.

I went to the US Open yesterday courtesy of a pass that Shel got me from the SBI. It was really interesting to see – I had no idea how commercialized it would be. I mean, the paraphernalia tent alone was bigger than a damn football field! It was done really well, though. Everything was completely mapped out, starting times were charted, there were people helping you do anything from try on a shirt to find a hole. Given the enormity of the event and the amount of people there, the staff did a tremendous job. And I got to see Tiger Woods adjust ‘little tiger’ and use a porta-potty. Long – but true – story! Ok, I’ll tell you a little about the porta-potty thing: Allan I were standing at some hole when Tiger hit the ball. It wasn’t a good shot, but oh well. After his partner hit, Tiger ran towards the woods. Everyone was wondering what was going on, but Allan deduced that he was going to get his ball because he shanked it. Well, Tiger ran into a porta-potty! So, a giant crowd huddled around the mobile toilet, and once Tiger emerged, the crowd erupted in cheers and chants of “Go Tiger! You the man!”. It’s gems like that that get lost in tv coverage – haha.

Back to the SBI part. I got to spend some time in the Mobile Command Unit, which was cool as hell. I was pretending that I was a government agent who got to wear a gun and fatigues – LOL. Not really, but I told the guy how I almost went to law school and wanted to go into the FBI, but he told me that it was a waste of a career and that I should join the Secret Service instead. Yeah, right. Can you imagine me as a Secret Service agent wearing funny sunglasses and wearing all black all of the time? Yeah, me neither!

So, my hair is no longer black. Both of my biological grandfathers have black hair, so I guess that’s where mine came from. Regardless, I was tired of being pale w/ dark hair, so I lightened it just a tad. It’s maybe a shade or two lighter, but I’m happy w/ it. It was my first time dying my whole head (I’ve gotten highlights before) and I had serious butterfly action going on in my stomach prior to the big event, but I’m glad that everything turned out the way I had hoped. I think that once my roots start showing, I’ll go a shade even lighter. Woo hoo! Blonde I’ll never be, but I’ll be happy to have light brown hair.

I fed Eli some left over tacos, which he loved, and some Chinese food, which he was picky about. He ate all of the chicken from the Chinese dishes, but left the rice and veggies. It’s funny that he’s a picky stray. Shel reminded me that if he were truly starving, he would have eaten everything. But, I guess I feed him well enough that he doesn’t need to eat things he doesn’t like!

I vow to figure out how to put pictures on this damn thing, and once I do, I’ll insert a picture of my darling Eli (among other things). Either that or I’ll just slap some new pictures on my picture page. One way or another, Eli’s photo will make it to the wonderful world of the Internet.

Well, big day tomorrow. Sigh, sigh, sigh. Blah, blah, blah is more like it.

1. Your name spelled backwards. Aicila

2. Where were your parents born? Both were born in Pittsburgh, PA

3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? Switch, Will Smith

4. What’s your favorite restaurant? 42nd Street Oyster Bar

5. Last time you swam in a pool? Last summer at least

6. Have you ever been in a school play? Nope

7. How many kids do you want? Three, two boys and a girl.

8. Type of music you dislike most? Country

9. Are you registered to vote? Yep, I’m a registered Democrat.

10. Do you have cable? Yeah, millions of channels

11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? No

12. Ever prank call anybody? Absolutely

13. Ever get a parking ticket? I got a speeding ticket turned into a parking ticket, so technically, yes

14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? I don’t know. Yes, but then I wonder if it’s worth risking death. But then I think, “you can be killed by simply crossing the street, so why not?”

15. Furthest place you ever traveled? London, England

16. Do you have a garden? I tried to plant one, but nothing grew

17. What’s your favorite comic strip? Howard Huge

18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? I think I do, but I probably don’t

19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? Shower after the gym, a bath at night to de-stress
20. Best movie you’ve seen in the past month? Crash

21. Favorite pizza topping? Sausage and green peppers

22. Chips or popcorn? Popcorn all the way

23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? Brownish if I’m going for the monochromatic thing, but berry when I’m feeling girlie

24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? Um, no.

25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? LOL. No

26. Orange or Apple juice? Apple for sure

27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? On Monday I had dinner at Salsaritas with the other media relations volunteers

28. Favorite type chocolate bar? That’s a silly question for a PA girl… Hershey’s of course!

29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? 2004

30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? Probably not ever as I only eat tomatoes on tacos

31. Have you ever won a trophy? Nope, but I’ve won ribbons for journalism and equestrian riding. Strange combo, huh?

32. Are you a good cook? I’m okay at cooking some things, but I have a very small repertoire that consists of chicken, chicken, tacos, chicken, chicken, Hamburger Helper and then more chicken

33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? Absolutely

34. Ever order an article from an infomercial? No, but once my father did and we teased him about it forever. It was a dehydrator or something so he could make his own beef jerky. LOL.

35. Sprite or 7-up? I don’t have a preference as long as both have cherries

36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? Not yet, I say w/ a cringe

37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? Shel’s allergy medicine

38. Ever throw up in public? Thankfully not

39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or find true love? While I love being in love, if I had millions of dollars, can you imagine all of the animals I could save? Tempting, tempting.

40. Do you believe in love at first sight? Oh yeah, I definitely think it’s possible

41. Ever call a 1-900 number? I don’t think so

42. Can exes be friends? I think it can happen, but I don’t think it’s common

43. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? Mr. Brannan

44. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? I think I had a little bit.

45. What message is on your answering machine? “Hi, you’ve reached Ali and Shel. We can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave us a message, we’ll call you back. Thanks!”

46. What’s your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? Hands down, w/o a doubt, Sean Connery from Celebrity Jeopardy.

47. What was the name of your first pet? Maxamillion

48. What is in your purse? Chapstick, lip gloss, my wallet, pictures, a clip for my hair and some loose change

49. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? Read

50. What is one thing you are grateful for today? Air conditioning

So, I need a pair of pants w/ an inseam of 34 inches. Good to know.

I got a bit of sunburn on my shoulders. Ms. Brannan’s sister’s funeral was today and was held outside in the sweltering heat. Thank God for linen dresses. Although my dress was made of a breezy material, I was still hot as hell and my poor little white shoulders turned a lovely shade of red. Now I guess I can’t wear a tube top for a while. Oh well. Such is life.

The funeral was interesting as some of Shel’s relatives are truly weird. Like, he’s got an aunt who dresses identically to her daughter. And they wear the matching outfits at the same time. Sometimes you’ve just gotta laugh at things like that. What else can you do?

Shel’s grandfather and uncle from the other side of his family also came and braved the heat, which was nice of them. I really like his family. About a month ago his grandfather and I planted a garden full of seeds that said ‘Guaranteed to Grow’ on the package. The package lied and nothing grew. Dammit. My black thumb strikes again! Mr. Brannan was pleased w/ the few little weeds that sprouted up where beautiful flowers should have been, so I guess all was not lost!

I’ve been thinking about WVU lately and all the fun times I had there. Just a few more weeks and I’ll be back in West Virginia, Almost Heaven! LOL. Seriously, though, I’m excited to go back to Morgantown for a bit, experience all the sites and sounds of the state in which I found myself. Poor Allan – he’s going to be exposed to Morgantown and Pittsburgh all in the same day!

I need some Chapstick. I’ll list all of the places I keep lip balm so you can understand the full extent of my addiction: in my bathroom, on my night stand, in the living room table, in a kitchen drawer, in Shel’s bathroom, in every purse, on my desk and in the study. Then, there’s a tub of about 30 tubes in the utility room. I used to keep it in my car, too, but it melts and creates a gooey gloppy mess.

Ok, now I’m tired AND I need Chapstick. Not a winning combination, people. Good night, sweet dreams and all that other fun stuff!

Oh yeah – Michael Jackson verdict was read today. Not guilty. No surprise. I think he’s freaky as hell, but after reading CNN and such during the trial, it seemed obvious that the State’s case wasn’t strong enough. It’s a shame though. I sincerely hopes no one lets their child near him again, although it’s bound to happen. Idiots.

I think maybe I’ll finish my degree in law. Then I’ll have two undergraduate degrees – yay! If I had stayed at WVU to finish it up, I’d only need three more classes, so maybe I’ll check w/ NC State to see how many more they’d make me take.

I miss WVU and everyone I met there.