11.10.2013

Apple Taste Test 2013




Several years ago Austin and I bought several kinds of gummy bears in an attempt to discover which gummy bears were the best. We rated them in different categories, and it was a lot of fun. I’ve been wanting to do something like that again. And then this weekend, the perfect opportunity presented itself.

We were at Sprouts shopping, and they had a wide assortment of apples on sale for $0.88/lb. This was too good to pass up. So I went crazy and bought 14 varieties of apples. Most we only bought 1 or 2 apples, but some we bought more. (We bought 10 Ambrosia apples because they’re awesome and they’re not widely available.)

I wanted this to be the ultimate apple taste test. So, today we cut up and prepared the apples. We put them on paper plates and divided them up and labeled them. In retrospect, I wish we had taken pictures of the whole process. (Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda.) We then decided on categories; we rated the apples on Overall Taste, Juiciness, Sweetness, Tartness, and Hardness (I originally labeled it as Texture, but realized while writing this that Hardness is a better label for it.). In retrospect, we wished we would have a rating for Crispness as well as we quickly realized that Hardness and Crispness are not the same thing. We rated each category on a 5-point scale. Overall Taste was rated with 1 being gross and 5 being super delicious. (In other words, the higher the number, the more we liked it.) Juiciness was rated with 1 being not juicy and 5 being super juicy. Sweetness was rated with 1 being not sweet and 5 being super sweet. Tartness was rated as 1 being not tart and 5 being super tart. Hardness was rated as 1 being very soft and 5 being very hard. The ratings weren’t super scientific. We tried to do cross-comparisons between apples to keep the numbers accurate. But with so many apples, it was easy to not be 100% accurate.

To make the process more fun, I also made a homemade caramel dipping sauce. The dipping sauce was only to be used after tasting the apple raw and giving the ratings. I wish we would have done ratings on how each apple tasted with caramel. The Granny Smith was especially tasty with the caramel. (The only way I’ll eat a Granny Smith actually…with copious amounts of butter and sugar.)

The apples we tasted, in order, are as follows:
Empire, McIntosh, Pippin, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Ambrosia, Braeburn,
Rome, Granny Smith, Jazz, Cameo, Gala, Fuji, and Pink Lady.

Empire
An Empire apple is a New York-based apple. (Click on the link for more information. We’ll be linking to the Wikipedia entry for each apple.) We described the Empire as having a mild sweetness. It was also quite tart. (We realized an apple could be sweet and tart at the same time.)
Austin’s comment on the Empire: “Over exaggerated. It’s more like a territory or a settlement. Sweet, but not memorable.”

We ranked the Empire a 2.5 on overall taste, 2.5 on juiciness, 2.5 on sweetness, 3.5 on tartness, and a 3 on hardness.

McIntosh
The McIntosh was a hard, tangy apple. I thought it improved with flavor as you ate it, but it still was not a great tasting apple.
Austin’s comment: “Probably better dried, cooked, or used as kindling.”

The McIntosh received a 2 on overall taste, 2 on juiciness, 1.5 on sweetness, 3 on tartness, and 4 on hardness.

Pippin
The Pippin was like a mild Granny Smith. It was sweet and tart at the same time.
Austin’s comment: “Milder Granny Smith. Excellent with caramel. My third favorite.”

Here’s where our ratings started to diverge. Austin’s like sour/tart foods substantially more than I do. (I am a self-described sweet tooth.) I rated the Pippin as a 1 on overall taste, while Austin gave it a 4. We rated it as a 2 on juiciness, a 2 on Sweetness, 2.5 on Tartness, and a 3 on Hardness.

Jonagold
The Jonagold was very much a “meh” apple to me. It was bland and mildly sweet. 
Austin’s comment: “I don’t like Jonathan or Golden Delicious apples, but I liked this a lot.”

The Jonagold received a 2 on overall taste from me, and a 3 from Austin. It received a 4 on juiciness, a 3 on sweetness, a 1 on tartness, and a 2.5 on hardness.

Golden Delicious
The Golden Delicious is very soft, sweet, and mild. I want to try applesauce made from it. (I don’t think I ever have before.)
Austin’s comment: “Too soft and overly sweet for me. I’m not a fan.”

The Golden Delicious received a 4 on overall taste from me and a 2 from Austin. It received a 4 on juiciness, a 5 on sweetness, 0 on tartness, and 1 on hardness.

Ambrosia
The Ambrosia is a sweet apple with a hint of honeyish flavor. It is delicious.
Austin’s comment: “Most aptly named of the apples. Favorite, perfect apple.”

The Ambrosia received on 4.5 on overall taste from me and a 5 from Austin. It received a 3.5 on juiciness, a 4 on sweetness, a 1.5 on tartness, and a 2 on hardness.

Braeburn
The Braeburn is a sweet, crisp apple. Before doing this taste test, I thought I didn’t like Braeburns for some reason. Turns out I like them much more than most apples.
Austin’s comment: “Better than expected. I thought they were dull, flavorless apples, but it is actually quite good.”

The Braeburn received a 4 from both of us on overall taste. It received a 2 on juiciness, a 3 on sweetness, a 1 on tartness, and a 2 on hardness.

Rome
The Rome apple has a very hard skin and so you expect it to be hard on the inside, but it actually has a very soft white flesh. It was a very disappointing apple.
Austin’s comment: “The Rome apple is gorgeous on the outside, a beautiful rich red. But the inside is bad, like a golden delicious without the charm.”

We both rated the Rome a 1 on overall taste. We don’t recommend it. It received a 0 on juiciness, a 3 on sweetness, a 1 on tartness, and a 1.5 on hardness.

Granny Smith
The Granny Smith is a familiar apple to many. The quintessential tart, hard apple. It is difficult to bite into. In my opinion, it is only good covered with sweet, sweet caramel.
Austin’s comment: “Tart and tempting.” Tempting, really? Gross.

I rated the Granny Smith a 1 on overall taste, while Austin gave it a 3.5. It received a 2 on juiciness, a 1 on sweetness, a 5 on tartness, and a 5 on hardness.

Jazz
With the name, you would think the Jazz would be snazzier. But, disappointingly, it is just your average apple, with a mild sweet flavor.
Austin’s comment: “Not as good as I remember.”
We have bought Jazz apples before, and we liked them more than we did today. I think, when you compare them with better apples, it is easy to see that it’s not that special of an apple. Don’t pay a premium price for this apple. (I discovered that a Jazz apple is a mix of Gala and Braeburn. Interesting.)

The Jazz apple received a 3 from both of us on overall taste. It received a 3 on juiciness, a 3 on sweetness, a 0 on tartness, and a 2 on hardness.

Cameo
I was disappointed with this apple. It’s an apple I would describe as “not much to write home about.” Austin’s comment: “Not a star, should only make cameos from now on.”

The Cameo received a 3 from both of us on overall taste. It received a 3 in juiciness, a 2.5 in sweetness, a 0 in tartness, and a 3 in hardness.

Gala
We’re not sure if this was a bad Gala or something, but it was less good than we were expecting. (It’s difficult to do a flavor profile from a single specimen. I eat 1–3 red delicious apples every single day and have for years, and I know from experience that the quality of the apple varies widely.)
Austin’s comment: “Good middle-of-the-road apple.”

The Gala received a 3 from me on overall taste and a 3.5 from Austin. We gave it a 2 in juiciness, a 3 in sweetness, a 0 in tartness, and a 2 in hardness.

Fuji
I always thought I hated Fuji apples, but as it turns out, I don’t. I liked it better than the Gala, which surprised me. It could have just been a bad Gala or something though. I will do a taste test again in the future comparing only Gala to Fuji. The Fuji was soft and crispy and sweet.
Austin’s comment: “Better than the Gala.”

The Fuji received a solid 3.5 from both of us in overall taste. It received a 3.5 in juiciness, a 3.5 in sweetness, a 1 in tartness, and a 2.5 in hardness.

Pink Lady
Last, but not least. I was not looking forward to this apple because Austin told me it was  a tart apple, and it looked like it wasn’t ripe. However, I am happy to report that he was completely wrong on that front. The apple was a sweet, nectary apple with a bit of a bite.
Austin’s comment: “Unique, pretty, and sweet. My second favorite.”

We both gave the Pink Lady a 4 in overall taste. We gave it a 3 in juiciness, a 4 in sweetness, a 2 in tartness, and a 3 in hardness.

Conclusions

So there you have it: Apple Taste Test 2013.

Tracie’s favorites: Ambrosia and a three-way tie between Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, and Braeburn
Austin’s favorites: Ambrosia, Pippin, and Pink Lady

The chart of ratings is below.



Name of Apple
Overall Taste
Juiciness
Sweetness
Tartness
Hardness
Empire
3
2.5
2.5
3.5
3
McIntosh
2
2
1.5
3
4
Pippin
1
4
2
2
2.5
3
Jonagold
2
3
4
3
1
2.5
Golden Delicious
4
2
1
5
0
1
Ambrosia
4.5
5
3.5
4
1.5
2
Braeburn
4
2
3
1
2
Rome
1
0
3
1
1.5
Granny Smith
1
3.5
2
1
5
5
Jazz
3
3
3
0
2
Cameo
3
3
2.5
0
3
Gala
3
3.5
2
3
0
2
Fuji
3.5
3.5
3.5
1
2.5
Pink Lady
4
3
4
2
3

After our taste testing, we had SEVEN CUPS of cut-up apples left. I made a monster batch of apple crisp. It is the best apple crisp ever. It contains 14 varieties of apples. We served vanilla bean frozen yogurt on top and the rest of the caramel sauce I made earlier. Yum.


Remember: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

4.25.2013

On the eve of my husband's graduation

After many, many long years and late nights, Austin is finally graduating from college. I almost can't believe it. We've been waiting for this day for so long. I can't believe it's finally here! The last several years have been very difficult for all of us. Austin has had one delay after another on his road to graduation.

Prior to his mission, Austin attended one year of college at Southern Virginia University. This was from 2000 to 2001. He got excellent grades. Then he went on his mission from 2001 to 2003. At the beginning of 2004, he moved to Utah to go to school (and to date the girl he wrote on his mission....no, it wasn't me.) He didn't get into BYU, but he did get into what was UVSC at the time. Unfortunately, UVSC did not accept his college credits from SVU. So that was a year academically wasted (not a waste in that he had great life experiences and met great people whom he is still friends with to this day).

He attended two semesters at UVSC. We met during his first semester and started dating during his second semester. He did terribly at school. He failed all but one class (mostly because he stopped attending class). He decided to focus on working and making money since clearly school wasn't working for him at this time. We dated throughout 2005. In March of 2006, we got engaged. Four months later we married. Since I was almost done with school, we decided that Austin would work while I finished school. (Though I also worked a part-time job at this time.) I graduated August 2007 and got a full-time job in October. Fall of 2007 Austin returned to school part-time. He took two night classes that semester and spring semester. He took two classes again that summer. Fall of 2008 Austin bumped up to 3/4 time, taking 3 classes for two semesters. He took one class in the summer. Then in Fall 2009, Austin returned to school full time. He has been going to school full-time continuously since then, including summers. He retook a few of the classes he failed. He lost a whole year spring semester of 2010 when Austin had to withdraw after having surgery. He had his metal prosthesis of knee and femur replaced as well as his hip removed and replaced with a metal prosthesis. So he lost that semester plus another semester to make up those credits. He took two classes that summer. Fall of 2011 Austin bumped up to five classes a semester for fall and spring and one to two classes in the summer. (Many of the classes he needed weren't offered in the summer.) Austin was supposed to graduate last year, but they changed graduation requirements on him, bumping him another semester.

So now here it...2013. Austin has been in and out of school for 13 years. All to earn a bachelor's degree. We fortunately aren't graduating with too much debt. About half the state's average. This is really fortunately considering how many years he's been in school. More than half of my student loan has already been paid off. We hope to have my student loan paid off in two years, and Austin's in five years.

I can't even tell you how surreal it is that Austin is finally graduating. I feel like I've been saying "He's got two years left" for years and years. The last few years have been particularly difficult. Austin has been working full-time (or close to it) and going to school full-time year round. He's been gone so much and not here when he's been here. The last two semesters he's practically lived in the office. Coming home to eat and then disappear to the office sometimes until 2 or 3 in the morning. This semester was particularly crazy as he was working several jobs and internships, going to class, and working on internship stuff and homework at night.

It's going to be gloriously awesome to have my husband back. You know it's been hard when my husband working full-time feels like a vacation to both of us. I love you Austin! I can't believe it's finally here! It's finally happening! We are free! The future awaits us both.

4.01.2013

Anxiety

I meant to post an update after Sunday's very depressing post. I'm actually doing okay. I wasn't at that moment, obvs. I was in the midst of an anxiety attack that day. Anxiety attacks suck. I have a lot on my plate right now, which leads to stress. Stress plus my genetically-prone-to anxiety-self = breakdown and anxiety attacks. I don't want people to think that I'm feeling like that all the time. I'm not. In general, I'm doing very well. I am happy and content a lot of the time. I have an awesome husband and wonderfully supportive friends. I just happen to be dealing with a lot of stress right now. Stress that will hopefully decrease come April when Austin finally, finally graduates.

I just snapped on Sunday because I became overwhelmed with everything. My house was extremely messy, and I just couldn't take it anymore. I screamed at Austin. I threw things. I hide in my room like an ashamed child. I cried, I vented by writing the depressive post, and Austin came and held me. Then I went into full-blown anxiety attack. For me what happens is I start hyperventilating. I feel like I can't breathe and that I'm slowly being suffocated. Then I start crying and shaking and convulsing involuntarily. It's a bit scary. The first time I had an anxiety attack I thought something was seriously wrong with me and that I was dying. This makes the anxiety attack A LOT worse. Because I knew what it was this time, I was able to keep it from spiraling. Morgan came in the room and told me that he loved me and showed me his Perry the Platypus stuffed animal wearing a Spiderman mask. It was so funny looking and unexpected, it made me laugh. My son and my husband brought me back and the anxiety attack ended. I took a shower and felt loads better.


Anxiety is often irrational. Why would a messy house cause an anxiety attack? Well, it's one of my triggers. Because of how I was raised, a messy house is a symbol of failure. And I'm a perfectionist. I don't deal with failure very well. I have issues, as they say. I've been thinking of seeing a therapist about my anxiety. I don't know if I actually will though because going to see a therapist means having the time, money, and transportation to do so. Three things I don't have a lot of right now.

***

Whoops. 3 weeks have gone by. I'm doing good folks. I have anxiety, and it sucks sometimes. But on the whole, I'm fine and dandy. I don't want to talk about htis right now, so I'll go on my merry way. I've been slacking on my blogging goal. The way to remedy that is to write about things that I want to. New post coming later today.

3.03.2013

Untitled

I am tired. So very tired. I cannot handle the tedium of life. The inescapableness of it all. Every day. The same thing, the same drudgery, the same trying to keep to get it together. It's just too much. Too MUCH. Cannot handle it. The weight, the pressure. I have snapped. Lost it. Yelling for a cathartic release. Fear. Pressure. Too much. Too much. TOO MUCH! Cannot take it anymore. I cry because I can't do it anymore. Cannot do it. Make it stop! Give my life order. Give my life sustainability. I fail at life. I am a failure. A failure. A failure. A failure. A failure. A failure. A failure. A failure. A failure. A failure. A failure. A failure. Empty tears. Empty life. Blinking cursor. Broken. I am broken. Empty and broken. Responsible for everything and nothing. The end no periods nothing. gone. broken. help?

2.07.2013

Tracie's Journal #2

Today's post, again randomly selected, is from my sophomore year of high school. This one doesn't really have deep significance, as you will soon see: (originally spelling and punctuation preserved)

Journal #18 10/19/99

"You drive me crazy---up all night."

Uggh! I feel so freakin' ugly today. I look it too. (Double Uggh!) I am TI-RED! Ooo Baby. Chemistry is the evil villain that is going to stop me from getting a scholarship. There is no way I can get an A. I'm beggin' for a B+. (or higher with a lot of hope) Why in the world did I take Honors Chemistry? I don't understand chemistry in the least. The highest I've managed to get on a test is a B+. 'Nuff 'bout chemistry. I feel loopy today. I'm not normal. I want to go galloping through the meadows garden. And froliking through fields, walking by the way, leaping over the land, jumping over the jalopies, and other stuff like that. Except I can't because I'm in class and I am WAY SORE from yesterday. I played hard-core in P.E. and I didn't stretch out so now every muscle in my body hurts when I move.

I am a pretty princess soaring through the air. I have brown hair. That I'd like to tear. (tares are bad, they make me sad, I am glad when they separate the tares from the wheat because tares are poison) I have a wand, that I wave, in a band with my hand while laughing and leaping over the land.

Ignore the last paragraph it's just Tracie's disease inflicting me to be weird in as many ways as I can.

Fly me to the moon and back. See what I'm talking about? I need help and I need it soon. My eyes are killing me (We should put them in jail, Ah, Ha Ha HaHa.) No, I mean they're burning and they physically hurt.

La La La Let's take up space

Signed

Tracie L M [editor's note: The journal contained my full name, but I've removed last names from my blog for privacy's sake.]
Tracie M
Tracie L M

My words of wisdom are no longer valid.

Now I have to have commentary because Austin said it doesn't count as blogging if I don't write original words. First, the quote. I am quoting Brittnee Spears' song "(You Drive Me) Crazy." It was a popular song at the time. I still rather like it. Heidi and I choreographed a step aerobic routine for it. I don't remember when exactly. Some time in high school.

I start off with self-scrutiny and hatred. I had an extremely bad body image in high school. And again with the chemistry hatred. I told you that was a constant theme in my writing. I was worried about scholarships. I did end up getting a half tuition scholarship to BYU. But that was only for my first year. Probably because I did not get high enough grades to continue the scholarship. The GPA requirements, I believe, were 3.9. And though I graduated high school with a 3.95, I did not do as well in college. (I graduated from BYU with a 3.5 GPA, which frankly, I'm pretty proud of.)
After the chemistry complaints, I go weird, which is a common thing for me. I'm kind of a weird person. I love how I crossed out meadows to write garden. My weirdness has to have alliteration, donchaknow.  I also love the whole wheat and tares thing. Dead giveaway of Mormonness.

Tracie's disease was actually a thing back then. I've forgotten about it until now. Tracie's disease was pretty much what I explained. The condition of me being Tracie, thus, me being weird.




"Fly me to the moon and back" is a lyric from a Savage Garden song. I LOVED Savage Garden in high school.

The "la la la" bit is an inside joke. I wrote it in one of my diaries when I was a preteen. I told my friends about it, and they made fun of me for it. So, every once in a while, I'd write on notes and journal entries "la la la let's take up space."

The very last line is written by Heidi. We were in the same class, and we often would switch and read each others' journals.





And there you have it. Written proof of my weirdness.

Age Game

I participated in one of those survey things on Facebook. Since FB doesn't really have the greatest long-term storage capacity, I thought I'd post it here:

Amanda Jones Goodman gave me the age of 16.

At age 16, I was

Dating: (i didn't date in high school other than to go to girls' choice dances.) One month after turning 16, I went on my first date. His name was Jake, he was a senior, and I was smitten. He treated me kindly. It was a double date for the spring fling. A friend of mine asked my older brother to be her date. I remember we went to a park to take pictures. And then I don't remember what we did. Pool? Mini golf? I just remember being nervous and so happy Jake was so nice to me. And that having my brother with me was kind of cool.

Living: with my parents in Orem

Driving: my mom's Tracker (when she let me)

Working: I was working at 5 Buck Pizza, which was my first official job. I rolled dough, answered phones, made pizza, and tried to keep pizzas from falling on the floor.

Fears: I was afraid that I'd never date or kiss a guy. And while I didn't date or kiss in high school (my first kiss was one month before i graduated, with a guy who moved out of state the very next day) and that made me sad at the time, I'm happy to report that i did eventually date and kiss several guys while in college.

Today at almost 29:

Dating: happily married to my amazing, hilarious, supportive Austin for going on 7 years. Love you!

Living: in a condo in Pleasant Grove

Driving: (when I do drive) a really crappy rundown Lancer. Looking to buy a new (to me) car this year.

Working: I've been working as an editor for WGU for 5 1/2 years, I've been a doula for 2 years, and mama to my crazy Danger Boy for 3 1/2 years. I'm hoping life gets less insane this year.

Fears: I'm afraid of not meeting my various life goals. I'm afraid Morgan will not progress. I'm afraid that life will continue to be almost more than I can bear. I'm afraid of losing friends and family. But despite my fears, I move forward as best I can.

10 Reasons I Love Bountiful Baskets

Austin and I have been participating in Bountiful Baskets, a produce co-op, for about a year now. We have loved participating in it, and here's 10 reasons why:

  1. It's affordable. It's $15 for a full basket (we split with another family, making our cost per week for the basket $7.50). The amount in the basket varies week to week, but it's still more affordable than grocery store prices.
  2. I don't have to decide upon a menu before I go grocery shopping. The produce is picked for me. I then plan my menu around that produce. This saves me a lot of time.
  3. Since our meals are planned around fruits and vegetables, we are eating more fruits and vegetables, which is healthier.
  4. We eat in season. Eating in season is better for your pocketbook and for the environment. 
  5. We eat a larger variety of fruits and vegetables. Things I have tried that I either had never tried before or would never buy on my own before Bountiful Baskets: sunchokes, persimmons, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, different varieties of apples, oranges, pears, mangoes, and melons, Brussels sprouts, butter lettuce, bok choy, water chestnuts, anaheim peppers, artichokes, pomegranates, papaya,and other fruits or vegetables I can't recall right now.
  6. It keeps me away from Walmart. Walmart has some of the cheapest prices around, but it's also a horrible organization. I like being able to avoid shopping there. 
  7. I've learned to make more things from scratch due to the add-ons. Several times a year they have an herb add-on. I get it and make pesto in bulk, as well as freeze the herbs (either plain or in butter or oil) for use throughout the year. I learned how to make freezer jam. I have made strawberry, blackberry, pear ginger, peach, plum, and strawberry kiwi freezer jam. I have been motivated to can since they sell boxes of produce for fantastic prices. I learned how to can tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, pears, peaches, pear butter, and applesauce this year. 
  8. This is related to 7. I've become a better cook. I've become better adapted at planning meals around produce and making awesome meals with everything made from scratch.
  9. I've been able to afford awesome bulk staples, like organic 100% wholegrain bread, soft white wheat berries (that I can grind myself in my blender), raw local honey, and organic olive oil.
  10. I get a surprise in my life every week. I love surprises. I love not knowing what I'm going to get each week. It makes things exciting and fresh.

    Bountiful Baskets isn't for everyone, but I foresee our family participating for a long time to come.

1.22.2013

Worry Wart

I missed last week. Dang it. I plan to post twice this week to make up for last week. I was going to write about how I almost deleted my last post. It was open and honest and raw. And I felt exposed and stupid for writing it. So I was going to delete it. But then I realized that I was only wanting to delete it because of other people. I need to be able to say what I need to say right now. For healing purposes and for the purposes of getting used to writing on a regular basis. I need this catharsis. And also, being a writer means sometimes saying things other people don't want to know/read. These feelings kept me from writing last week.

But I'm now moving forward. Onward and upward as they say.

I wanted to write today about my paranoia and anxiety that I deal with on a regular basis. This shows up in a lot of ways. I worry about things to a degree that it interferes with my daily life. I am constantly second guessing myself. I am constantly examining other people's words to me looking for hidden meanings. This all comes to a head at night. Most nights I wake up every few hours in a state of terror. I have to try so hard to sleep against the paranoia and hallucinations. Typically I'll wake up with thoughts of things like "If I look at the ceiling fan, it'll be my fault my husband dies." Most of my hallucinations revolve around death or being attacked. Usually Austin's death. Sometimes mine. And they are serious and feel so real. And they are completely irrational.

I spend many nights filled with irrational terror. I have to try really hard to tell myself it isn't real. That devils and demons aren't out to get me. That I'm not being pursued by enemies. I have trouble sleeping. Even though I KNOW it's not real, it can be difficult to fall asleep anyway. I try to think of something else and all I can think about are horrible and terrifying images.

Sometimes these events are funny. On the rare occasion that I go to bed before Austin, I have been known walk up to him and accuse him of something completely nonsensical. I am awake when this happens. I remember it clearly the next day. (I know what I said, even if I have no idea why I said it.)

This is apparently a family thing. For several members of my family, in particular my mother and one of my brothers, this is a frequent occurrence for them as well.

I wish I could make this go away because it interferes with my sleep quite a bit. And sleep is something that I need more of, not less.

Do you have trouble sleeping due to vivid and frightening thoughts and images?

1.09.2013

Tracie's Journal #1



I'm starting a new blog series called "Tracie's Journal." My sophomore and senior year of high school I was required to write in a journal for my honor's and AP English classes. I'm really grateful for this because I am a terrible journaler. Because of this requirement, I have dozens of entries into my thoughts as a teenager. I will be randomly selecting an entry from these journals to post on this here blog. I plan to give commentary on the posts, especially the ones in which important things are written.

Here is Journal Entry #10 from my sophomore year of high school (originally spelling and punctuation preserved):

9/23/99
"I care for them all the same way, yet they always grow differently. Just like children."
--SeaQuest

Today I am not as big as a grouch as I was last time I wrote, I am, however, much, much, MUCH more tired than last time. I'm hungry.

I went to work for the second time last night. It was not fun. I stood the entire time. I worked from 5:00 to 7:30. At 8:45 no one still hadn't come to pick me up. I was furious! Finally at 9:00 Quincy was going home and heoffered me a ride so I went with him.

I'm almost done with my chapter outline in chemistry and I'm doing better on the labs. I just need help with the stupid, piece-of-crap practice problems.

Man, I wish I was 16. I am going to be crushed if no one ever asks me out. That would hurt me, but I am preparing myself for it because I know for a fact that no one will ever ask me out. Guys are stupid and blind. I am an ugly, pathetic, fat girl with nothing to live for (school, social, and dating wise.) I am not perfect not will I ever be. There is a lot of depression about me. I try to push it out of my mind and put a smile on my face. Yet it lingers there. Why don't any guys ever show any interest in me? I can already that. You already know the answer. Sometimes I get tired of being "the happy one." Because it's all a lie. One big, fat LIE. I am NOT happy. I pretend I am. Rarely, if ever, am I truly happy. The only person who makes me happy (most of the time) is Heidi. She lifts me up when I am down. And she truly makes me laugh and forget my problems. That is why I wrote that poem for her awhile back. To tell her what she means to me. Heidi is a "gem." Hee, hee. Just thinking about Heidi and the things we've done together make me smile. And that is just what I need. Someone to make me smile and forget.
Thoughts on this entry:

The first thing you'll notice is the quote. I started off every journal entry with a quote. SeaQuest was one of my favorite shows at the time. It's clear to see that I wrote these entries very stream-of-consciousness. I wrote whatever popped into my head. I also apparently did not know how to use a comma as appropriately as I do now.

I started my first official job this year. I was 15 when I started working at 5 Buck Pizza. The work was very physical, especially for an out-of-shape, overweight teenager. I would come to work there for two years before quitting to work for my dad. I hated not being able to drive myself to work. My parents would come get me when they remembered, which led to many nights like this one waiting to picked up.

My hatred of chemistry permeates most pages of my sophomore journal. I had chemistry right before English, and journal pages were done the first 10 minutes of my English class. I often left chemistry frustrated. No class has ever made me feel as stupid as chemistry did (at the time, physics would later take the cake in college). The teacher was boring and honestly, a terrible teacher. I never understood what I was supposed to do. It was an honor's class. (Why oh why oh why did I take an honor's chemistry class?!) Amazingly, I pulled off As and Bs. This class also marked the first and one of the only times I did not get an A in a class. I got sickeningly good grades in junior high and high school. I think I cried for days when I saw the B+ on my report card.

I correctly predicted my dating life in this entry. I did not get asked out during my entire time in high school. I asked out guys for the girl's choice dances, and in this way I was able to go on dates. I do not miss this aspect of high school. While I am okay with not having lots of boyfriends in high school, I do wish that I would have been asked out for dates occasionally. I was overweight for most of high school. I also hated myself, lacked any self-confidence, and was extremely self-conscious. (This started to change in the later half of my junior year.)

While I was depressed about my looks and the lack of interest from guys, I did have a best friend. We did a lot together and actually had most of our classes together that year. I am so incredibly grateful for my friendship with Heidi. This is kind of complicated to write about because I remained best friends with Heidi from elementary school to college graduation. We then had a falling out and grew apart, which I still regard as the most painful experience of my life. We have since patched things up, though we are more acquaintances now then friends. As grateful as I am for the wonderful memories of this friendship, we had our issues to be sure. The biggest problem is I suffered from codependent patterns at the time. Patterns that I carried with me through college. I didn't know that then. It took me years to recognize the signs of codependency. If you follow the link, many of the statements under the "low self-esteem" and "compliance" patterns would describe me most of my life, especially in regards to this particular relationship. While I am happy to be free from codependent behaviors (for the most part) in my relationships now, I regret that this friendship had to extinguish in order for that to happen.

And that is the first look into Tracie as a teenager. More to come later.