Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Posted by Lara at 4:50 PM 3 comments
My sister gave birth to twins at the end of March and they are so freaking adorable that I forget to eat sometimes when I'm with them. If you know anything about me and how much I enjoy food, this is telling.

Last weekend, Papa, my beloved grandfather, got to meet his great-grandchildren for the first time, and it was even more adorable than the twins by themselves:

Okay, yes, I'm pretty cute with them too: 

The last year has been pretty baby-full for me, as a very good friend gave birth to a baby girl last July, my best friend gave birth to a baby girl in November, and my sister gave birth to twins in March. I've loved being around to help with all these babies, and in part, yes, it's got my uterus jumping a bit. That said, it's also helped me to appreciate the blessings that come with being unmarried and unmommied. I still want to get married and I want to get pregnant and become a mom, but until the time comes, I've decided to more purposefully appreciate the way my life is right now.

This is probably good news for Pakk, since the last thing any man wants is a girlfriend who's always tapping her foot and making pointed remarks about her biological clock. Honestly, I like our relationship right now, and while I'm sure I will like it if/when it takes a step forward, I can wait for the proper time.

I'll just borrow everyone else's babies until then.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Remember When I Used to be a Blogger?

Posted by Lara at 3:04 PM 5 comments
Ah, yes, I remember those days too. The good ol' days when I actually kept up a blog and told people how I felt about people and stuff happening in my life. In case you're concerned, I still do tell people those things, I just haven't been doing it via a blog. In my last post, I said, "Will I continue chronicling my life here on this blog? For now, absolutely, but there are no guarantees here at Life: The Ongoing Education, just as there are no guarantees in life itself." I suppose I meant it at the time, but clearly I didn't follow through, since there has been no chronicling since that post. Why is that? Well, there are a few different answers...

1. I was busy with other things. Like I said at the time, sometimes it's more important to live life than to write about it. I had a great summer of 2012, I enjoyed the following school year a lot, I went to Europe in the summer of 2013, and the 2013-2014 school year was one of the worst AND best of my life (worst in the first half, best in the second half). So yeah, I've had things on my plate.

2. I started a fashion blog as a way to connect with my students, and when I could manage a little bit of time for blogging, the time went there. Don't worry, though -- I was pretty bad about regularly keeping up with that one too.

3. I became much more socially active. 2011-2012 was the school year that solidified "The Girls" as a clear-cut social circle of which I played (I think) an integral part, and there were suddenly a lot more activities going on.

Me and (some of) "The Girls" in question.

In 2012-2013 we started having extended gatherings that included "The Boys," a clear group of guys we also liked to hang out with (and including one guy who ended up married to one of "The Girls"). There was a lot of fun stuff happening all of a sudden, and it seemed better to enjoy it than to document it on a blog.

So yeah, lots has been going on. And what's with this post? Is it the start of something regular again? I don't know, honestly. Part of me misses blogging and tweeting with you all. Part of me doesn't even know who "you all" includes. Part of me likes living life without an online agenda. Part of me wants a place to share my snarky one-liners. I just don't know.

Oh, and also, I have a boyfriend now. We'll call him Pakk. He is AMAZING and I am so incredibly in love that you could not even believe. So I guess if I start blogging again you'd hear lots about him.

That all said, who thinks I should come back to blogging? Who's even here to read if I do come back to blogging?

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Six Years of Life

Posted by Lara at 11:48 PM 6 comments
June 26, 2006, I published the very first post here at Life: The Ongoing Education. So, for those of you capable of doing basic math (or capable of reading the title of this post), that means this blog recently turned six years old.

June 2006

In some ways, you could say that means this blog has documented six years of my life. And in some ways that would be true. I did title it "Life: The Ongoing Education" because I meant it to be a record of my life and what I learned along the way. Reading through the posts really will tell the story of what I've lived over the past six years; it will show who has been by my side through those years, where I've been, and why it's all mattered. It's a good record, all things considered.

June 2007

But that said, it's clearly not a complete record, for better or worse. In some cases, that was my own choice. There are some things that happen in a person's life that shouldn't be shared online, with the entire world (or at least, whoever in the world decides to read it). There are aspects of my life that aren't entirely mine to share, and while I haven't been perfect about walking that line in the past - anyone remember that clusterf**k (there is no other word for it) with J*tta back in the day? Yeah, whoops on my part - but I've done it right sometimes too. Some things that have happened I just haven't wanted to relive in written form, either because they were painful, or frustrating, or just plain boring. And sometimes I've just been much too busy living life to keep up with documenting it, especially when "living life" began to include full-time teaching.

June 2008

So the record is spotty at best, but I believe it is true. I believe that it shows some ups and some downs, and that is accurate for capturing the reality of life. It shows my depression, but it also shows healing. It shows relationships in their good moments and their break-ups, it shows hirings and firings, it shows weight loss and weight gain, and it shows a hell of a lot of shoes. These things - ALL of them - are my life.

June 2009

I'm not sure how different I am now from the woman I was six years ago. Very different, and almost the same, depending on how you look at it, I suppose. And really, I think that's how it should be, right? There are parts of me that will never change, elements so fundamental to the core of my being that I would never want them to change. But on the other hand, I've changed a great deal in many ways, and that makes me proud of myself and the progress I've made. I am, day by day, becoming more and more the woman I want to be.

June 2010

I know enough about life by this point, at the ripe old age of 30, to realize that I will never be 100% "the woman I want to be." No woman ever is. (Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe somewhere in the world is a woman going, "There is not a single element about myself that I would change or want to improve. I am completely perfect." But I doubt it very seriously.) But, as I often tell myself, what matters is progress, not perfection. As long as I continue improving and growing, I will try to be content.

June 2011

Will I continue chronicling my life here on this blog? For now, absolutely, but there are no guarantees here at Life: The Ongoing Education, just as there are no guarantees in life itself. But I hope to continue updating you all here, to continue keeping this record of my life, for as long as... well, if we're being honest, for as long as I feel like it. I like being able to reflect here as I write the posts, and I like being able to look back at those reflections later. And - the biggest reason I do this instead of just journaling - I like that you all come along on the ride with me.

June 2012

Here's to six great years, and many more to come.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Posted by Lara at 12:55 AM 4 comments
I've been living in this apartment for about two years now. (Out of curiosity, how many of you were with me on this blog when I moved? Oh, my loyal readers, a.k.a. my friends.) Last summer, I considered doing a big redecoration, but instead, I got a cat.

Oh, I suppose I should take a brief moment here to update you on my adorable Three-Legged Wonder. (No, that's not his actual name, but heaven forbid one of my kiddos searches for his name on the internet and finds my blog.) He went through a period of major nervousness, where he came out only for brief moments to eat, and even then he was awfully paranoid:

Then one day, out of the blue, he came out and lay down in the middle of the floor:

Since then, he's become a nonstop cuddle-monster, at least with me:

I wuv him. (WUV, verb - similar to love, but better.)

Okay, so this summer, with my abundant free time (and no, that's not sarcasm; I literally have SO MUCH free time), I decided to finally see about doing some decorating around the apartment. This required also cleaning up around the apartment, of course, but that was a worthwhile sacrifice.

So far, my bedroom has received the lion's share of the redecorative efforts:

Over on the right, you'll see what I refer to as my "jewelry corner." I have a silver jewelry stand that I bought at an adorable boutique (if it were possible to be addicted to boutiques, I'd have joined a support group by now, because I love that store) and a jewelry organizer from Target, both on the dresser there. On the wall I hung some hooks, also from Target, from which I hang more necklaces. Beside them, you'll see a flock of birds, also from (you guessed it!) Target.

The flock of birds flows towards these shelves (from Target), on which I've placed some photos (my dad with me and my sister, my mom with me and my sister), some cards (both from J., though I chose them solely for the cute pictures that matched the color scheme), a special stuffed toy, and some Malawi souvenirs.

The shelves are a nice companion to this painting (from Target) above my bed.

In this shot you can better see my new bedding set, which, like almost everything else, comes from Target. Also on there is my Eeyore pillow pet that I bought at Disneyland; Kitty McTripod believes I bought it as a new bed for him, as he now sleeps there pretty much every night.

Moving away from my bedroom, this wall hanging comes from the previously-mentioned boutique. On each day of the week I've written myself a little note like "Smile!" or "Kick back and relax!" And hanging from the hooks are some of my loveliest pashminas. 

Finally, we come to the living room. The futon cover is new, though not very different from the previous one. The painting is, yet again, from Target, but sadly has no link available.

Personally, I'm thrilled with the improvements, and I look forward to considering other decorations (I still have quite a bit of wall space to cover).

What do you think?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Indirect Flirtations

Posted by Lara at 10:50 PM 7 comments
Okay, so this may surprise no one, but I have no idea how to date.

So, let's acknowledge, from the start, that there's this boy. I like him. A lot. Like, a lot. And I really want to date him. I have no idea if it would actually work out, but I really want the opportunity to try, because I think a relationship with him has potential. He's gorgeous, tall, and a literary nerd just like me. He's witty in the same sarcastic way I am, and we make each other laugh. Am I interested? Just a bit, yeah.

The problem is what I do about it now. In a normal situation, I would attack on multiple fronts, approaching both directly and indirectly. The direct approach is clear enough, and is the one manner that has existed (I think) forever in the history of romantic relationships. This includes any communication/contact that is intentional and straightforward - phone calls, emails, texting, IMing, etc. If you see each other somewhere, like an event you're both attending, or at work (if you work together), the direct approach means actually having a face-to-face conversation. It's certainly a good way to go about starting a relationship, since once you're IN a relationship, most, if not all, of your contact should be direct with each other.

The indirect approach is something that, in most of its incarnations, has only existed for the past 10-15 years or so. Given that 15 years ago I was at prime starting-to-date age (15 years old), it makes sense that pretty much all of my dating life has included both the direct and indirect approaches. The indirect approach is a subtle, almost passive-aggressive way to reach out to the object of your affections, and it mainly revolves around social media. Putting a status message on Facebook, putting an away message on AIM, posting to Twitter, uploading photos of yourself looking as amazing as possible - all of these things are ways to remind your crush of your existence and grab his attention without having to admit that you are actively TRYING to remind him of your existence and grab his attention. It's a way to keep him thinking about you without calling attention to the fact that you want him to think about you.

Here are some examples of how I might have been doing this over the last couple weeks:

Status: "Finally finished all my grading! Now I am free to actually enjoy my summer. Who wants to hang out?"

Status: "Had a great birthday dinner last night! Thanks, friends - I felt so loved!"
Attached picture:

Status: "Enjoying my summer reading so far. Yes, I am a literary nerd. Any book recommendations for me?"

Status: "Disneyland is so fun - definitely the best place to celebrate a birthday. :)"
Attached picture: 

So you see how it works, yes? Seems clever, yes? Seems like a great way to work your way into someone's heart, yeah? But there's a problem:


This guy? He's living in the past. He does (I think) have a cell phone, but it's an old one - no smart phones here. He has email, but he uses a client that I swear no reasonable person has used since the 1990's. He does not have Facebook. Or Twitter. Or any kind of messaging system.

There is one other way to play the "indirect" game, and that is making your presence physically known. Show up places where you'll run into him and make sure you look FABULOUS. When I've had crushes on guys at work, this is a great tactic, because I see them pretty much every day - all I have to do is place myself in viewing range. When I've had crushes on people in the dance community, I make sure to doll myself up and attend plenty of dance events where we'll happen to pass by on the dance floor. Crushing on a guy at church? Look as fine as possible every Sunday. But there's a problem with this too:


This guy? I have no reason to see him unless we actively arrange to see each other. Not anymore. This strategy worked for a while, but a couple weeks ago was the last excuse I was going to have to just "bump into" him. I made great use of it, and we got a coffee date out of it, but now we're in another lull, and I'm stumped as to how to get out of it. Short of asking him outright, "Why did you stop replying to emails?" I have no way to regain his attention. And I have no idea what to do about it.

As it turns out, I don't know how to go about relationships without access to both direct AND indirect contact. With direct contact alone I feel desperate and demanding; I can't get his attention without grabbing it with both hands, and that feels like, well, it lacks a little in the subtlety department.

Sigh. No clue what to do. Help?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Writing Love on My Arms

Posted by Lara at 11:14 AM 7 comments
And it's hard to dance with the Devil on your back,
So shake him off.
                                          - "Shake it Off," Florence and the Machine

I haven't cut myself in 5 years and 7 months, but I am still a cutter at heart. There is a part of me that never goes away, and that part of me knows that cutting will provide relief from the pain, however temporary that relief might be. I have, over the past 5 years and 7 months, had many occasions of wanting to cut, but each and every time I have managed to resist. Sometimes I have managed on my own, and sometimes I have been driven to ask for help from friends. But always I have resisted.

Sometimes I look at the scars on my arms, scars for which I have only myself to blame, and I remember. I remember the way it felt on my skin, I remember the way I felt in the moment, and I remember the way I felt afterwards, when the realization hit me that I would now need yet another story to explain yet another cut. Mostly when I remember it, I remember hate.

I hated myself. I hated myself on a regular basis, and when the hatred got too intense, I hurt myself. I punished myself for being so... deserving of my own hatred. When I hurt myself, I hated myself for being the kind of person who would do that kind of thing. I hated my own weakness and vulnerability. And I hated that I didn't have the willpower to stop doing it. And when it was over, I hated myself for putting myself in this position, because once again, I would have to lie to my closest friends.

In every way possible, I hated myself.

So when I see those marks, I remember that hatred, and it is painful. Do I remember other things too? Of course. I see the scars and I remember my strength in overcoming my addiction to cutting. I remember that I have friends who love me and will always support me. I remember that I can change, and I am stronger than I think. But there is no denying that I also remember hating myself.

I don't want to remember that anymore. I don't want to look at a daily reminder of how unkind I really was to myself, because in a horrible irony, remembering how hateful I was makes me hate myself all over again. While I'd love to say otherwise, I do still have moments of hating myself, in many of the same ways I used to. I have days of looking in the mirror and hearing only the voice in my head that says, "You are hideous. You are so disgusting. Nobody actually likes you. People are only nice to you because they feel sorry for you. You will always be alone because you are completely worthless." Those are the moments where I realize that I will always be a cutter, because no matter how many times I resist it, the urge always comes back.

So if I already have those days when I hate myself, how much worse is it to see a scar and remember how hateful I've been in the past, to remember what an awful person I've been to myself, to remember that deep-seated hatred? I don't need a daily reminder of it.

I need a daily reminder of love.

It is time to cover the scars, the marks of hate, with a symbol of love. The scars will never disappear, but they can exist underneath the love, behind it, faint and forgotten in the wake of something better. I will look and remember that I loved myself enough to make something new - a phoenix from the ashes of my own destruction.

It is time to write love on my arms.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

That Was a Good Episode

Posted by Lara at 7:05 PM 3 comments

Anyone out there read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller? I won't go so far as to say it's a good read - don't get me started on the myriad issues that make it a terrible read - but it is definitely an interesting read, and depending on your personality, it could be a very good read for you. Still, whether you like it or not, it has some interesting points to consider. One the book makes that happens to be one I've thought about for years is this: Is your life the kind of story people would want to watch? Are you living the kind of story people would find compelling, or would they be bored by your main character (i.e. YOU)?

Possibly because of my narcissistic nature, I've lived my life this way for a long time. Of course, for a long time, I was narcissistic enough to think people actually were watching my life all the time. This turned out to be true only in my head and nowhere else. But still, I like to think about the what-ifs of my life as a reality show, or a memoir, or a bio-pic. Now, that's not to say I've always done a good job of living out an interesting story - I've only recently, like in the last couple years, gotten better at following through on my "What if people were watching this?" and actually responding, "Well then I'd better make it interesting."

Last weekend I think I did a better job of that than usual. I slept in late, and when I eventually stirred myself from bed, I began to consider my day. For a while, I was strongly tempted to make it a lounge day - you know, the kind of day where you never get out of PJ's, and after a couple hours of watching TV you feel like it's already time for a nap. But I figured that's not very interesting, neither to me nor to the imaginary viewers of my reality show. It also doesn't create any memories, and what's the point of living a life that's not worth remembering? So I decided to create some memories. I walked downtown, had some coffee, and bought a day-pass for the train that runs up and down the area. No planned destination, just a day for adventure.

Way more fun than a lounge day, at least in my opinion. Not sure about my viewers - I haven't seen the ratings yet.


And, to end, some highlights of my work wardrobe recently:


Life: The Ongoing Education Copyright © 2012 Design by Antonia Sundrani Vinte e poucos