Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Let Sunshine In

This morning I woke up with a swollen eye and a rash all over my arms and neck. Oh, the loveliness of allergy season. At least I hope it's just allergies, probably combined with stress and my predisposition to eczema as well. It's really easy to let something like that take over my day and put me in a funk for all of my waking hours. And it did start off that way today.

Luckily, the weather was beautiful. So I donned shorts and flip flops to head up to campus. That was the first thing to brighten my day, both literally and figuratively. Then my classes were a pleasure to sit through and the time went by so quickly!

I met up with my roommate, H, after class and we walked home exchanging much-needed girl talk. Sometimes it's a wonder what a little chat with a friend can do to your mood.

Now as I sit here, looking at the massive amount of work I still have to do in the next 16 days, I want to cry. 16 more days until I'm done with college classes. 16 more days until I can finally read books that I choose to read. 16 more days until I can get a full night's sleep. 16 more days. But because I let the sunshine in earlier, it's sticking with me for the rest of the day and I hope for the next 16 days as well. I really hope.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Disney Distractions

So I have a slight confession. Two actually. First, I'm a Disney-a-holic. Second, I'm trying really really hard to write a paper right now, but I turned on my Disney Pandora station and I've been sucked in. The attempt was completely innocent at the beginning. I was going to change the station to some light listening (something with no words) so I can start cruising on this research paper. But the first song that came on was "When Will My Life Begin?" from Tangled. If it had been any other song, I would've had the willpower to change it. But no. The universe decided to play that song. So now it's been nearly 30 minutes and I've enjoyed lovely music from Mulan, Enchanted, The Jungle Book, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, and more Tangled. Argh! And the only things written on my research paper are the lyrics to one of the songs.

I guess there is a third confession. I couldn't even stop at wasting my time with Disney music, but now I'm blogging. Isn't it funny how everything becomes more appealing than writing (especially research paper writing) when it's staring you in the face? I'd even rather do the dishes or sort socks or shuck corn or something else unbelievably monotonous. So now I'll try to pull myself away from the Disney music, which might be easier now that The Lion King's "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" is playing. It's my one shot to break away! Wish me luck.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I'm sitting outside in cool air, listening to birds chirp. This morning when I woke up, there was no ice on my windshield and I probably even could have ditched my winter coat for a light jacket. Basically, it is a beautiful day.

I've tried to explain the thing I'm about to say to many people in the past and the only person that has successfully understood me is my best friend, T. There are just certain times of the year (yes, times) that I can feel just as tangibly as I can feel my keyboard right now. One of those times is Halloween. I tell people that it feels like Halloween, and all I usually get is a questioning look. But I promise you it's real to me. Something just changes inside of me and it's like I have internalized the season. This is exactly the same situation for spring.

Today feels like spring, and it's not just because of the literal warmer temperature. The whole atmosphere that I stepped out into today encompasses me and softly whispers that spring is indeed here. I know that there are technically 8 more days until it's official, but my inner gauge tells me differently. So I just thought I'd let you know, even though it could be back to winter tomorrow (cursed indecisive Utah weather). This internal feeling doesn't work like the calendar. It's just as malleable as the environment I'm in. I'm just glad that I can hear the birds again.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Books, Books, Books

As much as I enjoy the advancements in technology that have yielded such innovations as the Kindle, audiobooks, and other e-readers, I still stick to the belief that there is nothing quite like reading a bound book with yellowing pages.

Nearly my whole day has been spent in reading books and I even made a voyage to the library to pick up some more. Being in rooms with book-lined walls made me sit back and think for a minute. Could anyone ever read every single book ever written? Of course not. But it is in the endeavor to try where I believe great minds are built. The library is my own personal labyrinth. It is the place where I treasure hunt. The place where I discover more about myself. The thing that scares me the most is that those opportunities won't exist for the next generation.

I feel like my whole world is wrapped up in my experiences with real, tangible books. Books that I can turn the pages of, smell the musty passed time, literally grasp at their truths. So when those cease to exist, will I? I feel like I will be shoved into the great expanse we call history, even if it happens within my lifetime. Technology is advancing so quickly, sometimes it makes me wonder if the modern world will just pick up and leave me behind, softly humming as I flip through the pages of a majestic book.

“There is something wonderful about a book. We can pick it up. We can heft it. We can read it. We can set it down. We can think of what we have read. It does something for us. We can share great minds, great actions, and great undertakings in the pages of a book.” -Gordon B. Hinckley

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Puzzle Pieces

We had a really fantastic writing prompt today in one of my English classes. Found Poetry. Using our phone music playlists, iPod playlists, text messages, or books, we created a poem using only the song titles or phrases from the material we were viewing. I was so impressed with how well this worked and how fun it was. I told my roommate, H, about it when I got home and she wanted to write her own! You know a prompt or assignment is good when you want to go home and work on it more for pure enjoyment!

It really is like taking puzzle pieces (bits of already existing material) and crafting them together in a new way to create your own version of the big puzzle picture. I chose my "Recently Played" playlist on my iPod and I came up with a decent poem, but I tried again when I got home and came up with this:

I learned from you to be surprised.
An ocean of memories, one by one
Lazy days, the way we were,
wishing you were somehow here again.
Only time on my own somewhere
anchor you and I fathoms below.
The truth? I'll be OK
Sunrise, Sunset

I broke up the various song titles with different colors, so you can see how they are all so separate, little puzzle pieces or distant entities, but brought together to create a bigger picture. This is definitely one of the most interesting writing prompts I've ever seen, and it's definitely going in my teaching toolbox.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pure Bliss

Do you ever have those moments when you are simply over the moon? I got some amazing news this afternoon and every 5 minutes or so, I have another mini realization that this is actually happening. I'll start giggling, chills running up my back. Constantly needing to ask myself if I'm dreaming is definitely a good sign and helps me realize how blessed I am.

I wrote my slice yesterday about recognizing the amazing little things in life. I think that was a great perspective for me to have and helps me appreciate the big things, like what happened today, even more.

Now I'm sitting in my living room, feet kicked up, with Storage Wars humming in the background. Somehow that image is the visual representation of my satisfaction with my situation at the moment. Today was a great day.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Little Things

After waking up this morning to my phone alarm energetically pumping out cutting island tones, I stumbled out of bed to get ready for the day. Monday mornings aren't my favorite thing in the world, but this morning hasn't been so terrible.

The braid in my hair turned out like I wanted it to, I got to wear my favorite scarf, I found a great parking spot on campus, climbing the seemingly mile-high stairs wasn't as laborious today, the professor that I TA for commended my grading efforts for the class's midterm, and now I'm sitting in my favorite building on campus looking out of large windows at an amazing view of snow-glazed mountains emerged in sunlight.

It truly is the little things in life that make it worth living for me. I find more happiness in my life when I learn to pay attention to things like a breeze, a smile, the sound of rain, the smell of new books, and millions of other little miracles that constantly surround me.

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." ~Robert Brault

Saturday, March 3, 2012


The past few days have been really rough. I've had papers to write and midterms to take. I've even had to grade a stack of midterms for the class I TA for. (Who knew grading could take upwards of 12 hours?! I guess I should've expected that). So I ended up pulling an almost-all-nighter to grade those on Thursday into Friday and then taking my own midterm later that afternoon, running off of 1 hour of sleep. Finally getting home last night with some dinner, I finished eating and collapsed in bed at 8:00, welcoming a chance to rest.

Unfortunately my body had different plans and I ended up getting sick in the night, which is something I dread almost more than anything. I usually go years between times when I throw up, therefore it terrifies me when it actually happens. So after spending the first morning hours of this day in the bathroom, holding back my hair with tears streaming down my face, I've decided to stay in bed for the rest of the day. Watching the sun peek through the cracks in my blinds, I'm still content holing up in here with a soft bed, pillows, and a stack of unread books. Even with nights like last night, I love days like today.


March may bring with it leprechauns, warmer weather, and basketball but it also brings a project from Two Writing Teachers: the Slice of Life challenge. The goal is to write about a little "slice" of your life and post it every day in the month of March. Already I'm a little behind, but I'm going to try to do it for the rest of the month.

If you haven't noticed, most of my recent posts have had the title Slice of Life: blahblahblah for the same bloggers' Slice of Life Tuesday challenges. So, I'm just posting this right now to warn you all that I'm not going to include that in the titles anymore and you can just all assume that anything I write during this month (and probably after too) will be a slice of my life. Anyway, check out the challenge on Two Writing Teachers blog and join if you'd like! Let the slicing begin.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slice of Life: Enya

It is an irrefutable fact that when I wake up at 5:00 a.m. and haven't gone to bed until after midnight the night before, I will be loopy for the rest of the day. This week is slowly killing me like...well, some kind of poison that will kill you slowly. (Don't try to Google it. I'm pretty sure, based on the links I discovered, the only other people Googling "poison that kills slowly" are murderers of some sort.) Anyway, my point is that this week is going to drive me crazy with all of the papers, tests, projects, reading, presentations, and grading that needs to get done.

In trying not to drown myself in the prospect that I might not come out in one piece at the end of this week, I decided to engage in one of my favorite pastimes at lunch today. You can call me creepy if you want, but I absolutely love to people watch. And the best place on campus to do that is the collection of brown, covered benches adjacent to the bookstore and facing the library. It's totally prime real estate, with quirky individuals constantly crossing back and forth. So I grabbed my lunch, headed over to the benches, and popped in my headphones as Enya sang floating Irish cadences over a slow synthesized percussion. Enya is the one person I can trust to push all care out of my mind and provide me with a little corner of sanity in my ever-busy life. :)

On a side note, my roommate (H) and I are in the beginning stages of starting up a blog. It's been so much fun coming up with our concept and pseudonyms, but the real beast of this process is coming up with a Blogger web address that isn't already taken. So earlier this morning I engaged in another one of my favorite pastimes: typing in possible URLs straight into the address bar. It actually becomes more of a game for me instead of just searching for the undiscovered URLs. So, just in case you were wondering... picadillycircus.blogspot.com, camerashy.blogspot.com, rainbowsandunicorns.blogspot.com, zipadeedooda.blogspot.com, ilovespongebob.blogspot.com, and canigetawhatwhat.blogspot.com are all taken. I can almost hear the collective sigh of disappointment, because I suspect those are the exact addresses you all hoped to put to use one day. The most frustrating thing is that when you finally think you've come up with the perfect name, you type it into the address bar and you get one of two things. Either it is completely untouched as no one even bothered to post one thing under it or the most recent post occurs anywhere from 2002-2004. Well... let the search continue.

So as I continue on with my day, the mad rush to complete all of my tasks and the mad search for available blog URLs, I will certainly be putting Enya to work, as she does what she does best.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Slice of Life: Valentine

Do you ever have those days where it feels like 30 different days in one? Today was one of those days for me. It went by quickly, yet felt like months had passed. Was it only this morning that I woke up in a nervous frenzy, making sure that I was looking professional for my first teaching interview ever? Oddly, yes. Nerves were definitely the first order of business for the day.

After the interview, I came home to some lovely Valentines posted on our apartment door. There's just something nostalgic about getting a paper Toy Story Valentine with Nerds taped to it, especially when they are anonymous (my roommates and I are still trying to figure out who would have left them). After downing the Nerds, it was reading, lunch, and off to campus.

I jammed out on my walk to campus (thanks iTunes), sat through my 4 hour block of classes and headed home again. Still on the run, I immediately took a friend of mine to the library and we picked up some needed reading fodder. Meeting up with my roommate there, I looked around a little more, grabbed our materials, and continued on the run.

I came home and changed into some casual clothes and started making Valentine's cookies. With just enough time to get the cookies out of the oven, it was time to change my clothes yet again to go out to dinner with my roommates. A Smashburger chocolate shake was my Valentine tonight and that worked perfectly for me!

Now is the first time all day I've been able to calm down my racing mind. Perhaps it was all the outfit changes, but I just felt like I just lived many and many days wrapped up in one. Hopefully tomorrow is a simple and normal day, but with my luck I'll hit the ground running again in the morning.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Slice of Life: Slow Motion

The moment I got home from school today and slowly set my backpack down, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
I've survived another day.

It was getting pretty late by that time, so I decided to whip up some potato soup for dinner. I always have every good intention of morphing into Rachael Ray in the kitchen, but that hasn't successfully happened quite yet.

As soon as I put the soup on, my roommate came out of her room, computer in hand, with a song to show me. She argued that the song, a mellow mix of slow beats, was the perfect slow-motion-running-through-the-airport type of song. I agreed.

We became even more curious about how many good slow motion songs exist, so one of our new goals is to create a massive playlist of only the best. As my roommate started clicking through her songs to find some material for our self-appointed project, I began to act out some slow motion scenes. It's more fun and addicting than you'd think, trust me.

Amused with myself, I asked my roommate to call out some scene ideas and I began to feel like Ryan Stiles or Colin Mochrie from "Whose Line is it Anyway?" I took on the personality of a comedian, not necessarily a good one, but sufficient for my living room and a one person audience. As I acted out a baseball player hitting a home run and a distressed individual realizing they have lost their life fortune gambling, I heard some unusual noises from the stove area. My soup was boiling over and sullying our newly-cleaned stove that I spent hours scrubbing the other night. Luckily, the soup was still salvageable but my dreams of becoming Rachael Ray were dashed. Perhaps my future lies in slow motion improv acting. It's definitely an option if such a thing exists.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Slice of Life: The Soundtrack of My Life

It's like that moment when everything starts to go in slow motion... Now, don't think I'm crazy. I swear to you that it has happened. When I was in the middle of a dance competition once, the host school decided that the floor needed to be so shiny that they waxed it an indefinite number of times. Girls were dropping faster than flies and I happened to be one of them. At the moment before I hit the ground, I could hear some pretty intense "call me to the light" music and everything around me literally started to strobe before my eyes in a weird state of slow motion. I can't make this stuff up.

I began thinking about this incident today as I sat at a computer in the library. There have often been times in my life that I can almost hear the music that should be playing in the background at that particular moment, the soundtrack of my life if you will. These moments sneak up on me. It can occur in a dramatic or exciting moment, but there is no rhyme or reason to it. This morning I sat in the midst of a room full of students in the library, all abuzz with their own lives and situations; however I decided to plug into a state of isolation and erase them. In this case, I was listening to actual music. The music I began playing from the playlist entitled "Finals Study Playlist" from 8tracks.com, which my roommate so kindly got me hooked on, swept over me like a massive wave.

I was working on some basic reading and assignments for one of my classes but I might as well have been embarking on a mission to save the world. I suddenly became like Nicholas Cage in National Treasure and the urgency hit me. The slow ebb and flow of the horns, the piercing staccato of the strings, the ethereal "ahs" of the choir, and the rising rumble of the timpani called me to action.

I worked even more feverishly with the development of the music. As I finished my work, the music tapered off as well. It was time to go to class. I took out my headphones and the ambient noise of the hundreds of students around me began to seep back into my hearing. I smiled to myself, knowing the adventure I had just left behind. It's okay though, because I'll be back to it soon enough. The soundtrack of my life, while interspersed with short periods of silence, continues to play on.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Slice of Life: Supposed Clutter and Junk

One man's trash is certainly another man's treasure. I walk back from classes, my mind in a whirl. I have just spent hours and hours sitting in the same classroom on campus, figuratively sorting through piles and piles of English strategies, books, tools, mechanics, and so on. My brain feverishly continues to sort and organize the information as I walk across a spattering of ice spindling across the cold sidewalk. As I get to my car, my mind still seems cluttered and the headache starts to set in.

Getting home, I decide I need a mental break. I turn on one of my favorite shows. I always enjoy Pawn Stars and American Pickers on the History Channel, but today it will be Storage Wars. Watching "The Collector," "The Young Gun," "The Mogul," and "The Gambler" bid on piles and piles of what seems like junk, realization begins to set in as the headache subsides. There is obvious value, often thousands of dollars of value, sitting in those cluttered piles. All it takes is understanding, time, and work to turn the messy clutter into something of worth. Many would say not to bother. It's too much. It's just junk. But no, the bidders know better and now so do I.