10 things, college edition

it’s that time of year (fall-ish) when loads of children, teens, undergrads, grads, teachers and professors return to school and so it’s fitting that i came across this post by maureen johnson. i forwarded it to sister E because, you see folks, the youngest mumford (E) has up and gone to college. and my parents? they’re leaving for a 3 week cruise. empty nest, what?

anyways, sister E asked me to give her my own set of advice. i’m no MJ (maureen johnson OR michael jackson), but i figured i could give the college giving advice the old college try. here’s my top 10 list of things i wish i’d known before entering my freshman year in college.

(1) freshman travel in packs. everywhere. to the dining halls. to orientation meetings. to class.

it’s because none of you really know your way around campus and so when one person is going “to the quad”, you all join in. it’s fine and it’s fun and you’ll meet a lot of people that way. but it also makes you stick out. get used to hearing “FRESHMAN” yelled at you. and just know that when you holler down the hall “i’m leaving in 5 minutes for dinner,” you’ll probably get 15 people joining you. it’s the freshman mentality. embrace it because it’s okay to walk around campus as one big glob of freshman nerves, though only for that first semester.

(2) you might think this is cute:

but your roommates, suite-mates, hall-mates will not. don’t bother hanging up the poster unless you’re okay with lots of ridicule. (it took me 2 months to take mine down.)

(3) in high school, you know everyone by their first and last name. and have known some of them since kindergarten. but in college, no one has a last name.

who knows why. you just only learn their first names. even if you have four jennifer’s on your hall, they’ll all go by some variation of their first name. jen, jenn. jenny. jennyo. jennifer.

(4) frozen yogurt is delicious after any meal.

yes, even breakfast. (maybe this is just at my school. maybe this is why i gained the freshman 15.)

(5) early morning classes are the opposite of fun.

especially since college night life starts late. when you’d normally be going to bed? yeah, in college, that’s when you’re getting ready to go out. so an 8am class? it hurts. but you’re bound to have them your first semester of college because the administration scheduled them for you. after that first semester, though, you get to pick your classes and times. tip: don’t schedule any classes before 10am, noon if you can.

(6) email becomes your lifeline to both the outside world (family, HS friends) and inside the college bubble.

before i went to college, i never checked email. i don’t think i even had an account.  (yes, that makes me sound old. i swear, i’m really not.) i remember on the campus tour, the guide said something about how wired JMU was and how he checked his email 6x a day. i thought that was a lot. and in the fall of 1999, it was. but then i arrived on campus and would check it 6x an hour. prepare yourself. or, perhaps your already are? you kids with your smart phones these days. however, don’t underestimate the power of checking your mailbox. and finding a handwritten letter. or a “you’ve got a package” slip.

(7) even the best of friends would fight if forced to live in a room the size of a china cabinet, so you and your roommate who never met before moving in together? there might be some tension as you learn things you did and didn’t want/need to know about each other in the way that only living in a teeny, tiny room forces you to do. so you better learn how to communicate.

or get a good set of earphones and crank up your music so loud, it drowns out the sound of her talking. or find a friend down the hall whose room you can crash in until the storm blows over.

(8) no matter how much you were craving independence, you will miss mom and dad more than you anticipated. (or, maybe that’s just my mom and dad).

and though you may not realize it, they gave you the proper tools you need to succeed. your tool box may be unorganized and disheveled right now, but they’re all in there. it’s up to you to figure out when the situation calls for a screwdriver (the tool or the OJ variety) or a hammer.

(9) there is no alarm clock or parent or teacher to keep after you to do your homework.

you have to figure out to organize your time and stay motivated. because when kelly and lisa come in giggling and wearing winter hats and parkas on an august afternoon, it’s going to be hard to resist joining in on the shenanigans. and remember, go talk to your teachers! when you’re stuck in a freshman class with the other 900 incoming freshman, your professor won’t know that the D on your paper is because you were confused rather than you decided to party instead. go to their office hours. show them you care.

(10) even though you’re the low man on the totem pole, HAVE FUN.

you’re about to meet some of the most amazing people. and create some of your fondest memories. and have some sad times. and be stressed about schoolwork. but you’re living and learning and becoming an adult. there’s no better way to do that than by living on your own. (while still funded by mom and dad.)

any tips i missed? anything to add?


getting to know you. or just me.

i’ve heard that in order to really know someone, you should travel with them. and considering i’m leaving for italy in 12 days, i guess i’m about to get to know myself really well.

here’s what i know pre-solo-international trip:

i have blonde hair.

i have played, currently play, and will continue to play sports for the rest of my life. and when i get too old to play, i’ll continue to watch and support the local teams.

i am severely directionally challenged. it’s annoying. and almost unbelievable. and it appears to rub off on people when i’m with them.

i love wine. and beer. i know a lot more about beer than people originally suspect, so much so that the majority of my male coworkers ask me what they should get. at lunch. (yes, we occasionally get treated to a beverage at lunch).

i read YA books. all the time. i used to say it was for research purposes (since that’s what i write), but i can now admit that i just plain like that genre better than adult books (no, not THAT kind of adult book).

i got a new phone (droid incredible) and activated it this past weekend. i have officially joined the 21st century. it’s amazing and confusing all at once. sometimes i feel like i’m the only one of my generation who has a hard time with technology and as such, i’m learning how to use it through trial and error. mostly error and mostly, by accident. but by accident or on purpose, i feel powerful with this mini computer in my hand. and less alone. because now i can contact anyone on phone, email, text, skype, or on TWITTER. yes, folks. i can now access TWITTER on my phone. my life is complete. (wow, that’s strangely sad.)

i worry a lot. about everything. about anything. i realize it’s a waste of time. but i can’t stop. especially when it comes to this upcoming trip to italy. and as a result of all this anxious energy, i’m planning out every inch of my trip. but that can be bad because things will get knocked off schedule and i have to remember to remain flexible. (what’s italian for “go with the flow?”)

i love pizza. especially this kind.

i adore ice cream. and i’m obsessed with this cookies and cream ice cream cake from JP licks. it’s an ice cream shop local to massachusetts and honestly, one that isn’t my favorite. i’d rather go to christina’s in inman square or berryline in cambridge. but my roommate got this cake as a thank you for taking a last minute babysitting job. and let me tell you, this cake is better than dollars. (i feel like we’re in that trident commercial where the dad comes home, opens his wallet to find it empty, and asks the babysitter if he can pay her in trident layers gum. she squeals with excitement. but this cake is WAY better than gum, even trident layers). i find it weird that i like this cake so much because 95% of the cake is ice cream from JP licks, which i’ve already established isn’t my first choice. there must be some other ingredients they toss in there to make it so extraordinary. and you better believe that for every birthday party i attend from here on out, i’m bringing one of these. you know you want to invite me now, don’t you?

i write handwritten thank you notes after christmas. and my birthday. and random other times i deem thank you note worthy. my mom trained me right and, well, who doesn’t love getting a handwritten note in the mail? i know i do.

even though i crave it, i haven’t had a cup of coffee in approximately 9 months since it makes me feel sick. here’s hoping the italians put something different in their espresso because i’m about to drink it. not right this second, but you know, in approximately 12 days.

i’m the 3rd of 4 kids. and i’m the shortest. by 8 inches.

i ask a lot of questions, especially during movies. i find movies hard to follow because it’s not like a book where i can just go back and re-read. so i ask questions. to the annoyance of everyone around me. perhaps that’s why i don’t watch many movies. i don’t like being annoying, but i find it very hard to keep quiet. which is weird because it’s easy for me to be quiet at all other times of the day. except when i’m playing sports.

here’s hoping that when you add all of those ingredients together, i’m like that JP licks cake. irresistible, surprisingly so.

now you know all these fun, random, potentially boring facts about me, which means it’s your turn to tell me something about yourself, so i can get to know YOU and YOU and YOU, my dear readers.


new schedule: a dialogue

me: hold onto your hats, ladies and gents. i’ve decided to get organized.

reader: WHAT? you’re not organized?

me: well, not really. not when it comes to my blog.

reader: WHAT? how so?

me: ok, i lied. i’m organized. it’s just that i’m not consistent.

reader: ok, phew. that makes more sense. we KNEW we knew you. and you’re one organized monkey. now what’s this consistency you’re talking about?

me: i’m going to post twice a week. tuesday and friday. i’ve had a lot of fun (and have been getting way more page views) as i’ve been posting more frequently over these past few weeks. i don’t know what led to the increase in posting by me, but i did, and you read, and i like feeling all warm and fuzzy and full of viewers.

consider yourself warned.

i’m going to start posting regularly, which means you don’t have to check back haphazardly to see if i’ve added new content or if it’s still the same dreary post as the day before. although, hmmm, if i’m posting only on two days, everyone will be pushing and shoving and clamoring to get to the front of the line to read the new post. and then the blog server might go crazy. so, umm, you don’t HAVE to come only on tuesdays and fridays. you should always feel free to stop by any day of the week.

*lays out red carpet.*

and make sure to play nice, you guys because you know what happens if you don’t.


running diary of an aunt’s eye view

forget a bird’s eye view, the AUNT’S eye view is where it’s at. and this is what i saw from my vantage point today:

6:00 am: J&T to hospital.

mom texts, 6:55am: still waiting for the pitocin to be given. nothing since. will share any news. there’s going to be a baby today!

mom texts, 8:08am: still waiting. IV in though.

J texts, 8:17am: pitocin is in. :)

mom texts, 8:17am: pitocin is in. :)

me thinking: what’s up with the duplicate texts? the messages were exactly the same and received at exactly the same time. mom is not at hospital with J, right? this must be bending some sort of generational, space, time, ESP continuums.

J texts, 8:33 am: doctor checked. 2.5cm dilated and 90 percent effaced. she broke my water and upped the pitocin. hopefully will make some progress soon. :)

editor’s note: in order to PUSH, you have to be 10cm dilated and 100 percent effaced. but editor does NOT know how a doctor goes about breaking a woman’s water. *imagines long pointy object* *whimpers*

me thinking: ah! this is so exciting! and hopefully not too painful for J. must tell her that i’m thinking of her basically every minute.

J texts, 9:15 am: thanks :) just starting to feel contractions. Yikes!

my stomach wiggles painfully in sympathy. and empathy. and relief because i’m SO glad all i have to do is CHEER from the sidelines and not PUSH out a baby.

mom texts, 9:16 am: jen says she’s updating u.

me thinking: guess that explains the duplicate texts. mom didn’t know i was in touch with the horse’s mouth, the source, the mama to be, my sister. and why didn’t she know that? isn’t she at the hospital? must find out.

mom texts, 9:19 am: no…playing bridge.

me thinking: way to keep your eye on the prize, gram. also, you should stop texting me and focus on your cards. and self, focus on work.

me tweeting, 9:32am: @mumfusa sister J is at hospital, pitocin has been administered, and contractions are revving up. come on, baby mac! #BabyMacWhereAreYou

adriana tweeting, 9:38 am: @TheRereader @mumfusa ooo, exciting! keep us posted! i hope all goes well! #BabyMacWhereAreYou

me tweeting, 9:43 am: @mumfusa @TheRereader i know. i can barely concentrate i’m so excited!!!! #BabyMacWhereAreYou

J texts, 10:13am: at the hospital waiting for the pitocin to be started :) hopefully she won’t be too long in arriving! love to all -j&t.

me thinking: ok, mass text has been sent. i don’t need to inform anyone. but wait, what? i thought the pitocin was already in or given or administered or HUH? demands clarification from sister, as if that’s the most important thing she has to do today.

J texts, 10:19 am: pitocin is in an IV so it is a continuous dose that they up every fifteen or so mins. i am geeting (sic) about five times the original dose now to move the progress along to dilate the cervix. the contractions will get stronger and more painful the longer we go.

me thinking: i talked about being induced last night with a friend whose wife was induced. she was given the drugs at 7am and by 5pm, baby was born. asks J if this is the same time table she is expecting.

J texts, 10:21 am: yep :).

me thinking: she’s smiling now, but i don’t know if that smile will hold on as the contractions get stronger. i suppose it’s my duty as an aunt to keep the smile bright. IT’S ON.

mom texts, 10:39am: keep upping the dose. five times the original amount. contractions still every two to three mins.

me thinking: i am nervous. and excited. i don’t know if i’ve ever been this involved in a birth. and frankly, i’m still not very involved. i am a fan of an aunt’s eye view. less mess. less clean up.

me thinking: haven’t heard much lately. must bug J to see what’s happening.

J texts, 11:41am: regular contractions. haven’t been checked for dilation since the first time so don’t know progress. playing cards to pass the time. :)

me thinking: WOAH. mom’s playing cards. J’s playing cards. this kid is going to come out holding a royal flush.

me tweeting, 12:04pm: @mumfusa regular contractions happening. no other progress. mama to be and papa to be are playing cards to pass the time. #BabyMacWhereAreYou

me thinking: does J have to do the crazy breathing stuff when a contractions hits? what does a contraction feel like? what game is she playing? is she winning?

J texts, 12:12pm: no. they don’t do that anymore :) just slow controlled breathing. feels like a vise around my middle. playing up and down but not keeping score.

me tweeting, 12:35pm: @mumfusa it’s really really really really difficult to concentrate. #really #BabyMacWhereAreYou

me thinking: can J eat? does she even get hungry? must confirm.

J texts, 1:59pm: sorry for the dealy (sic) in news. contractions got rough and it was hard to text. at 3cm dilated and 100 percent effaced. got an epidural about 15 mins ago and feeling good now. :)

judging from the fact that i got that text message (which spanned 2 texts, thank you ATT to VZW) twice, i’d say she is feeling GOOD. and oh, another message!

J texts, 2:01pm: no…and i am hungry! i can eat ice chipe (sic) and lollipops only :(

me thinking: uh oh. her spelling’s getting worse AND the first frowny face. *makes sure SMILE is BIG and BRIGHT in case J can SEE all the way up the east coast.*

mom texts J’s two texts from 1:59pm. geez people. i’ve now gotten this message 3 times (read: 6 messages). *crosses fingers doesn’t go over texting allowance.*

gina tweeting, 2:00pm: @pebbleinmyshoe @mumfusa Hello, #BabyMacWhereAreYou?!

mom texts, 3:21pm: going well. jen’s napping a bit now. epidurals helping a lot. no new progression on dilation when they checked an hour ago but she’s been having really good contractions since then so hopefully we’ll see some progress.

me thinking: someone needs to define a good contraction. they all seem BAD and PAINFUL to me. especially if progression is the end result. i’m thinking good = BAD. in other news, this waiting is so not cool. every time my phone buzzes, i think THIS IS IT. but it’s not. what an emotional roller coaster. maybe i should take a nap too?

me tweeting, 3:25pm: @mumfusa it’s been about 7 hours and counting. #BabyMacWhereAreYou

me tweeting, 3:33pm: @mumfusa don’t you know i want to MEET you? and by MEET you, i mean receive a txt msg with a picture labeled with your NAME. #BabyMacWhereAreYou

me thinking: i’m so glad it’s a slow at work today because, clearly, a running blog of jen’s day of labor is a vital thing to be doing. you know, it’s just me doing my aunt duties. you’re welcome. it’s also helping with this waiting because other than THINKING and TWEETING, i don’t have any outlets. it’s just me waiting and waiting and waiting. and waiting and waiting and waiting some more. oh, did i mention that yesterday i got a postcard from MMM (in WA)? yeah, she sets the bar really high as far as nieces go. baby mac, you paying attention?

emma tweeting, 3:35pm: @ebeckman @mumfusa are you going down this weekend to meet the new niece? so exciting! can’t wait for more details!

me tweeting, 3:37pm: @mumfusa @ebeckman no. sigh. i don’t get to meet her until april 28. but then, i’ll have 3 whole days with her!!!! #BabyMacWhereAreYou

me thinking: i need to do something while i wait. i’ll tweet.

me tweeting, 4:30pm: @mumfusa @TheRereader you could go to the gym w/me. i’ll wear 1 ear bud, you wear the other. or you could watch my phone for updates #BabyMacWhereAreYou

adriana tweeting, 4:34pm: @TheRereader @mumfusa hehe :) thanks for the offer, but husband is meeting me at Hemenway. you be sure to text when there’s news! #BabyMacWhereAreYou

me thinking: it’s been awhile since the last update. but don’t want to wake a certain person up from a certain nap she’s taking. WAIT A SECOND. is baby mac sleeping now? do babies sleep during birth or, you know, the part leading up to the point where you’re squished out of the birth canal? anyways, call mom for updates. nothing. wait until 4:47pm and send text to mama and papa to be. HOW GOES IT? you know, us in the peanut gallery need to be in the know. and currently, we’re not.

mom texts, 4:48pm: slow progress. just checked her. still about 3-4cm dilated but considerable improvement in effacement.

me thinking: gah! this labor thing takes forever. and i’m not mincing any words. i’m at approximately 1405 words. in other news, dilated is hard to spell. every single time i’ve gone to type it today, i’ve tried to spell it dialated. it makes more sense, don’t you think? ho hum. i wait on.

me tweeting, 4:58pm: @mumfusa @pebbleinmyshoe still waiting. #BabyMacWhereAreYou

me tweeting, 5:00pm: @mumfusa i am still waiting & waiting & waiting. don’t worry, TWITTER. i’ll keep you posted on all the gory details (of waiting). #BabyMacWhereAreYou

me thinking: I KNOW. you’re tired of the me thinking, me tweeting posts. I KNOW. i want some bolded, texted updates too. you and me both, BLOG. you and me both.

T texts, 5:49pm: just checked again. the doctor doesn’t think she’s progressing all that fast so looking more likely that we may be going to a c-section. she’ll check again in about an hour. we’d appreciate everyone’s prayers right now. thanks.

*elliptical screeches to a halt* *gulp* *pushes back tears of worry* *continues workout, watching phone carefully. no vibrating updates.*

me thinking: yikes. this sounds serious. must call brother for another opinion. he’s been through this birthing process 3x already. brother does his duty. i hang up feeling better.

T texts, 6:50pm: so looks like we’re heading into c-section in the next hour. little miss is deciding to take the express exit. we’ll keep you updated. as always please keep the prayers coming. we love you all!

*sending thoughts of the perfect c-section down the east coast.*

mom texts, 7:24pm: heading to hospital now. jen’s having a c-section momentarily.

me thinking, dialing: hello, is everything alright?

mom/dad/sister E ALL on speaker phone reassure me everything is fine. the fetal heart monitor is fine. J is fine. it’s just that you’re only supposed to be on pitocin for 12 hours, J’s been on it (at a max dosage) all day. and her water’s been broken, baby HAS to come soon. everything will be fine. *wipes tears of worry away*

mom texts, 8:14pm: she’s here. 9lbs. 2oz. still waiting for name.

me thinking: YAY! how’s J?

mom texts, 8:19pm: J’s in recovery. we’re looking in the nursery with T.

sister E texts, 8:22pm: two very cell phoney pics arrive. (read: difficult to see). one of baby mac. and one of papa T and baby mac.

me thinking: i could really use a close up of that baby. *requests*

sister E texts, 8:24pm: can’t yet. tina (sic) good, haven’t seen J yet and i can’t see her (baby mac’s) face yet :( but T is already poking fun at her cone head.

me thinking: tina? who’s tina? baby mac is tina? nurse tina? tim with a typo? needs confirmation.

sister E texts, 8:26pm: tina is tim. typo.

me thinking: what’s the delay in introducing the name?

sister E texts, 8:27pm: surprise?

sister E texts 8:29pm: another pic of papa T and baby mac.

me thinking, squealing: AWWWW. i wish i was there. soooooooo bad.

sister E texts 8:30pm: she’s adorable :)

(side note. don’t you love when the 18 year old gets involved, the texted answers come fast and furious? where has she been all day?)

me thinking: name, name, name?

sister E texts, 8:45pm: none, none, none. :( still in the dark.

me thinking: how come no one can hold the baby? maybe it’s because J has to be the first one to hold her?

sister E texts, 8:46pm: yeah. J’s not out yet, so we can’t hold the baby. [hence the delayed introduction.]

sister E texts, 9:13pm: kaelyn rose mccarthy

mom texts, 9:24 pm: KAELYN ROSE MCCARTHY. 9lbs, 4oz. 21-1/4″. mom and baby doing well. jen had a c-section.

welcome to earth, miss kaelyn!

*round of applause for J, T, and KRM*



from O.L.D. to new

while i may be a word girl, occasionally i get a grasp on some numbers. it’s happened again, so i figured i should jump on it. here’s how those numbers break down:

(1) i’m a writer. allegedly.
(2) i need to join the 21st century.
(3) i have an “online diary” (affectionately known as the O.L.D.), but it’s time for a blog. so that’s why i’m here. however, i don’t want to lose my original writings, so i’m going to post them one by one from oldest to most current with the original “written on” dates on them…..then once those are here, i’ll add my new thoughts, musings, mumblings (oh wait, that’s only when i speak aloud), comments, concerns, interests, etc.
(4) so a great big welcome to you and me.

carry on.