On Haunted Dorms

Do you believe in ghosts? This is a serious question. I do. It’s not that I’ve specifically had any poltergeist moments.

These last few weeks have been extremely strange in the suite. I moved in early for band and for a few days, I was the only person living in the building.

So the suite is set up in such a way that the elevator deposits people straight into the living space. There is a long hallway that stretches down the middle, with rooms on the side opposite the elevator. There are living rooms at both ends. The end farthest from me also has a kitchen and a dining room space. All in all, it is a decently nice place to live.

The lights in the actual rooms are mostly button lights. The lights in the hallway, though, are motion sensor. For future reference, my closet light is a button light and my room light is a switch. The button lights are not sensitive at all. In fact, they are very annoying and difficult to turn on and off.

As I was moving in, I felt uncomfortable. You know that feeling you get when you go to bed after watching a scary movie? Like something is off? It is a lot like that when I’m up there. I feel like my heart rate is faster and every noise makes me jump.

Partially because of my discomfort, I asked my friend to stay with me the first night. She didn’t say anything, but I could tell that she felt it too. We spent most of the evening in my room with the door locked and bolted. There was always music on, because neither of us could handle the sounds that we heard in the silence, specifically footsteps.

We went to sleep around midnight. My bed is on the far side of the room, closer to the windows. I have a thing about sleeping facing a wall or windows, so that’s the way I was facing, with my back to the room.

It was about ten minutes later when E said, “T, the closet light just turned on.”

We sat there for a moment. Obviously, neither of us had gotten up to turn it on. Eventually, E turned it off and we settled back to sleep. Throughout the night, the motion detecting lights in the hallway went on and off and the light shone under my door.

I promise you, we were alone in the building.

So essentially, I was freaked out enough. I went to band camp at a different location and stayed there for four or five days. When I came back, I was resigned to the fact that it was all in my head.

I stayed in the room without a roommate for a few days. There were instances when I knew that I left the bathroom door shut and it was open when I came in, or times when the closet light turned on and off. I attributed the door to a draft and figured the light was on a timer, even though it always went on and off at a different time.

One of my friends was supposed to live off campus but last minute became my roommate. The first night we were staying in our room together, we slept on the floor because our beds were covered with clothes from moving. I was at a party before coming home so I wasn’t entirely in my regular state of mind.

We were settled down to go to sleep when the closet light turned on. My friend asked me about it. I told her I thought it was on a timer, even though I knew it definitely wasn’t. She accepted this explanation. Then, intoxicated J that I was, I told her that I thought that the suite was haunted.

“Why?” she asked.

“I can’t talk about it here,” I answered. And this is the thing that I don’t remember saying, that she swears I said – “She’ll hear me. She’ll hear me if I talk about it here.”

I honestly have no recollection of telling her that. It’s true that I don’t like to talk about it in the suite, just because things happen with I do. The lights flicker more. The washing machine goes crazy. Cold spots appear.

I don’t know at this point. I’m obviously going to keep living there. It’s nothing that I can’t deal with. Have any of you felt you were living in a haunted area? Does it sound like we have a ghost on our hands?


On What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Writing

Sorry for the radio silence lately. I’ve been going through some things that happened all at once. So, what exactly have I been up to? Come, friends. Live vicariously through me for a few minutes.

  • I made a quilt.

Kind of. It’s a t-shirt quilt, and it’s really bad. So I kind of threw together t-shirts that I didn’t want to get rid of and sewed them all together, then slapped a backing on it. My parents were slightly annoyed, considering I spent a day and a half doing this instead of packing for college.

  • I actually packed for college.

And like every other girl, I packed far too much. I wasn’t supposed to have a roommate, so it was kind of acceptable, but now one of my close friends moved in with me so all of my stuff is squished to one side. I’ll figure this out eventually.

  • Then, I moved in.

Who woulda thunk it? So I set up my room, everything is wonderful, and I’m very happy with it. Then I was the only one in the building for a couple of days so I made my friend stay over because it was beyond creepy.

  • I went to band camp.

Ladies and gentlemen, I learned the saxophone in time! I went to band camp and did all the band things that were required of me. I have never been more attached to my chapstick. My lips are completely raw and my right arm hurts. If you question why my right arm hurts, check out Pitt Band videos and you might discover the answer.

  • I went back to college.

I moved in (again) after band camp and this time, there were actually real live people in the building.

  • I carried a TV through South Oakland at 1 AM.

I forgot my TV and all of my hangers at home. I know, I’m brilliant. Thankfully, my lovely sister brought my things for me when she moved in, so I went to collect my TV one night and then ended up walking home by myself. Don’t worry, I have pepper spray.

  • M and I broke up.

Long distance sucks, y’all.

  • I met some of the coolest people ever.

My band friends are awesome. I know, this is so geeky. Like most people going into a place where they literally knew no one, I was terrified that I wouldn’t fit in. I was pleasantly surprised. I love everyone there, and they have all been awesome. I feel like I’m a part of a whole new family. Incoming freshmen, I have some advice: join everything. Push to meet new people. The nights that you stay up for the conversations, the bonding in hoodies on porches, the laughter about old stories – these are the things that will mean the most in hard times.

I hope you all are having a great end to your summers! I’ll be around.



On Being a Lost Soul

This isn’t the post I sat down to write. I was either going to write about pennames or nostalgia but I promised myself that I would always be honest and up-front here and this is something that has really been on my mind lately.

In Boston, I felt poor and small-town. At Pitt, I feel like I’m missing out on so much of my life. I have friends and family and people that love me that I love back but I don’t think I’ve ever been completely in tune with a single one of them. There has always been something just slightly off. I can never fix that.

This issue does not just happen with people. It’s places, too. Did I love Boston? More than I can explain. Do I love Pittsburgh? It is my first home, and hopefully will be my last home. Do I feel like I completely belong in either one? No. Not now, at least.

I feel so unsettled. Scratch that – I feel like I’m settling and I honestly don’t know what to do. Do I transfer again? That would be horrific. Do I stay? Sometimes I can’t fathom going through every day like this. I work so hard and I feel like I’m in a position where I can’t make anything of myself in the future. I’m going to school and in three years I will have a piece of paper. That’s it. What does that mean? What will I do with it?

I wish that there was some way that I could know if I am where I’m supposed to be. Honestly, I wish that a divine power would point me in the right direction. Is it normal to be this confused? Is this what adulthood really is?

It’s hard for me to say if I would be happy somewhere else. I think that my generation has been raised to feel like floating garbage. I’m disposable. If I fall, someone else will take my place. The collegiate system in our country focuses so much on numbers and so little on individuals. Who am I as a person? Will I find out in my undergrad years? I hope that I do, but how will I even know? I’m so torn here. I’m in love with places that I’ve never seen. With my whole heart, I miss places that I’ve never been to.

I always thought I would be one of those people who walked onto a college campus and felt like I belonged there. Well, surprise surprise, I’m not. I feel displaced.

On Short Stories

Hi all! So I’m currently writing the next post. It’s going to need a bit more editing than usual and will be up in a couple of hours. In the meantime, I wanted to pull two short stories that are not well known and show them to you, because I think they’re beautiful.

“Kavita Through Glass”

In searching for a copy of this that would work to show you, I discovered that it is actually  included in the 2003 edition of The Best American Short Stories. I’m really happy that this is more accessible than I originally thought. I read this for a class that I took this summer.

“Alone on a New York Bound Train”

So this is from a relatively new writer. Lines that stop and make you reread them just because they are that poignant and beautiful keep bringing me back to this story. Just read it. You’ll see what I mean.

Well, I hope you enjoy these! I’ll be back later tonight. Drop a comment on which one you like better!

On Sephora

First of all, sorry that it’s been a couple of days! A lightning storm killed our modem and the internet was down for a while. It’s been rough. Luckily, we just got that fixed today, so I’m able to update!

I’ve recently noticed that I’ve been developing a serious makeup obsession. I used to be perfectly happy with any drugstore variety of makeup. I watched one too many makeup tutorial videos one day (they’re soothing when I can’t sleep) and then my mall opened a Sephora and it’s been all downhill from there.

My first big splurge was on the Urban Decay Naked palette. Girls out there, have you ever tried this? It’s wonderful. Literally whatever I do looks good. It drives me nuts, actually. I went from an amateur to a pro overnight. The shadows blend beautifully and stay all day.

It’s not cheap. The palette itself is $54. That’s quite a bit to spend on makeup, right? On the bright side, it’s lasted me over a year, but still. After the palette I started buying lipsticks and liners and other cosmetics and I’m pretty much obsessed with Sephora.

So I’ve had this Naked palette and I’m in love with it. Well, there are three Naked palettes and I want them all. Of course, that’s over $150 in makeup. Besides that, Urban Decay just released a fourth palette – the Naked Smoky.

Oh, T, I thought to myself. It’s been over a year. Another palette won’t hurt amiright…

So now I have two Naked palettes. And a third one for my mom. Guys, you really don’t understand the struggle. I wear makeup because I love makeup but it is so expensive to get stuff that’s actually good. All of these people around me are wearing this fabulous makeup but how do they get the money for it? Does anyone know? Like I work full time and I think I make decent money for someone my age, but how does that even work?

Does anyone else feel me on this one? I love Sephora and Urban Decay, I just wish that things were a bit more reasonably priced. Then again, it is nice to have something to save up for without spending money willy-nilly.

Sorry that this is a crappy update. It is midnight and I just got home from work and my internet is FINALLY working. I’ll try to do a double post tomorrow (fingers crossed) to make up for lost time!

On Instruments

Hi all! So I wanted just to give you a little insight into what’s going on in my life right now.

I like to think that I’m a musician. I play instruments and read music and all that fun stuff. I was actually in marching band all through high school. Since I still feel a bit out of place at my new school, I decided to join the band there.

Oh, boy, guys. I have a lot of work cut out for me.

So in high school, I was primarily an oboist. You can’t really march an oboe. Instead, I marched the flute. In college, all of the flute players play the piccolo. I can’t play the piccolo. I don’t want to play the piccolo. Have you ever heard a piccolo? I’m not the biggest fan. Besides, in the hands of the wrong people, piccolos sound awful. I am the wrong person to handle a piccolo. It would just end badly.

Instead, I’m playing the alto sax.

A little bit of background for non-musical people: the alto sax, oboe, and piccolo, are all woodwinds. Besides a few differences, the finger patterns (what fingers you hold down to make a note) are pretty similar. So basically, I can switch instruments among the woodwind family and still have a good grip on what I’m doing finger-wise.

The main differece comes in the way you blow through the instrument to make a noise. For a flute, there is no reed. It’s kind of like an open hole that you blow across. Have you ever blown across the top of a bottle to make a noise? It’s kind of the same mechanics. So that’s how a flute works. An oboe has a double reed. This is two thin pieces of wood put together with a slim hole in the middle. By blowing through the hole with the correct pressure, you make noise. It requires a lot of… facial muscles? I suppose that’s one way to put it.

An alto sax uses a single reed and mouthpiece. This means that the reed is secured to the mouthpiece. When you put your mouth on it to play, your upper teeth rest on plastic and your lower lip presses against a wooden reed. Those are the basic mechanics.

Going from a double reed to a single reed has been really difficult for me. I’m used to covering both sets of teeth with my lips to play. I can’t do that for the alto. Besides, the breath control is completely different.

Oh, and I have three weeks to perfect it. Whoops.

Essentially, I have my work cut out for me. One of my friends is teaching me (thank God) so I’m not completely drowning. It’s going to be interesting, to say the least. We made a lot of progress today, but I still have a ways to go. Wish me luck, friends!