Post 501: It’s here, it’s enough

After going to college in rural western New York, many of my peers flocked back to their big-city hometowns or left their backcountry nests behind in search of something bigger, something better.

I understood the allure — skyscrapers, busy streets, the excitement of being where things actually happen.

I wondered if it was something I wanted, too. So I applied to jobs in Buffalo (a good starting point, I thought), New York City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Tucson. I penned dozens of cover letters and adjusted my creative résumé using Adobe InDesign. I got as far as my starting point, where a local ice cream company said “thanks, but no thanks.”

I ended up in a small town that calls itself a city, nestled just below the famous Finger Lakes region in New York State.

“Why?” You might ask. To that I say “Well, why not?”

You’re talking to the girl who grew up riding her bike down one hill and up another, passing only a decrepit department store, an abandoned train depot and dusty store fronts as she huffed and puffed to the library. 

The girl who ran miles around cornfields and pastures, with one runway of a road – damn you, Wheater! – that seemed to stretch into oblivion. 

The girl who yearned for charming coffee shops, lunch spots and, at the very least, a one-screen movie theater. 

Today, all that is here. And it’s enough.

I frequent several local coffee shops and lunch spots, and I cruise down busy streets to riverfront paths on either two wheels or two legs — it doesn’t matter which. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized this place is as city as Emily gets, and riding my bike or walking downtown to a lively main street full of restaurants, ice cream shops, and trendy bars will never ever get old. 

Now when I visit home I relish in the long, empty roads dotted by farm creatures and picturesque barns. I appreciate what I had, what I have, and what will be. And today if I were to bike to the library from my parents’ house, I’d pass a coffee-shop lunch spot, the two-in-one deal I never knew I needed.

It’s today. I’m here or there, and that’s enough.

Oh, and did I mention the theater here has two screens?!?

Nick is one of my favorite photo subjects.

Dress your best for success

“Dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” my mom has drilled into my head.

It applies in everyone’s daily life; not just the working man or woman’s.

I am a student right now. It could be considered my “job,” I guess. But it’s not the one I want, per se. College is the staircase leading to where I’m going. I want to graduate and immediately find a job. Preferably one with respectable pay. (A girl can dream, right?)

Photo on 12-7-11 at 10.26 AM
Bright colors are definitely my style.

My clothing reflects my attitude. I try to mix in cute skirts, cardigans, dresses and boots for a young, professional look. Though I hated tights when my mother made me wear them to Sunday School, I love them now. They cozy up my legs during the colder months in Western New York. Heels are saved for days when I don’t feel the best; they give me a different pain to focus on.

I receive a lot of compliments on my outfits. And, let’s admit it, receiving a compliment makes everyone feel good. Wearing nice-looking clothing on days when you feel down is guaranteed to make you feel better. Countless compliments will help you keep your chin up. Tucking your sweatpants into your Uggs just doesn’t have the same effect.

I save the yoga pants and tee shirts for hungover Saturday mornings and Sundays full of homework. Those situations call for comfort. Attending classes calls for one to have some class. I like to make a good impression to professors, especially those I have never met before. Everyone should. We are all paying a lot of money to sit in those classrooms – might as well do it right.

There isn’t a dress code where my mom works. Still, she gets up every morning and showers, dabs on makeup, does her hair and pulls on a nice pantsuit, or a cute skirt and cardigan.

There isn’t a dress code at school, but I like to pretend there is. I’m dressing for the job I want.


The Lollipop

I was little. I was stupid. That’s all I can say to defend myself on this subject.

We were at the Cracker Barrel years and years ago when there was one near us, and before or after going in to eat (I can’t remember), we were looking around at all of the cool things hanging out at the gift shop. My mom and I were looking at the stand of huge, colorful lollipops and she lifted one out of its socket and asked if I wanted it.

I stupidly shook my head no. I was little. I was stupid.

I had this strange idea in my mind that little kids like myself weren’t allowed to have those giant lollipops. I must have thought there was alcohol in them or something. I couldn’t believe that my mother was offering me a lollipop – I shook my head to diminish what I thought to be her “bad” parenting.

Ever since then, I have been kicking myself for not accepting that lollipop.

So, after watching my friend Kevin run at the New York State track meet at Syracuse, we saw a sign for the Cracker Barrel. Since they have become sort of extinct in our secluded neck of the woods in Western New York, his parents decided it was a good idea to stop there for some ice cream. Instantly I exclaimed: “yes! I can finally get me a giant lollipop!” And then, of course, I had to tell them the story of The Lollipop. Well, instead of getting only ice cream we ended up having a whole huge meal (which I was totally okay with). Then Kevin and I were lollygagging around the candy section of the gift shop (with me singing “I’ll take you to the candy shop. I’ll let you lick the lollipop.“) and I picked out the identical twin to the lollipop my mom held up to me so long ago.

Two dollars and seventy-nine cents later, it became mine. I had this crazy idea that I would lick it once a day everyday to see how long it would last, but I have since decided not to do that (“then it would get all nasty,” said Kevin). Instead, it is sitting on the shelf of my desk, waiting for my tongue to begin its process of withering away into my mouth in a sugar-coated frenzy. I have yet to remove its wrapper and taste the sugary goodness within. Maybe I’ll never taste it. Who knows? Maybe I will just keep it for its sentimental value.