Wednesday, December 30, 2009

He drove twenty miles every day to the university where he taught and twenty miles back every night, but he said he hated the twenty-mile drive and he hated the second-rate university and he hated the morons who attended it. He hated the country and he hated the life he lived; he hated living with his mother and his idiot brother and he hated hearing about the damn dairy and the damn help and the damn broken machinery. But in spite of all he said, he never made any move to leave. He talked about Paris and Rome, but he never went even to Atlanta.
-Flannery O'Connor, "Greenleaf"

I feel like I've met this person who is never happy with his situation but does nothing to change it, and I don't ever want this to be me. Life is too short to only talk about what I think would make me happy while suffering through what is making me unhappy. I want to make the best of every situation and know that if things are bad I can work to change them, while knowing change requires action.

It's fiction, but if ever a paragraph is written about my life I hope the author won't be able to use the word hate so frequently. That's something to strive for: cutting out the hate in my biography.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Five Semesters Down, Three to Go

This has been the weirdest end to a semester ever. I don't like telling people goodbye and knowing that it's a really big farewell. I am looking so forward to going to Spain, but I wish I could have the best of both worlds and just take my American life with me. Immersion, I know.

I was thinking today about the fact that I often feel like my semesters are heavily weighted toward my English major and neglect Spanish. That's because up to this point I've mainly been taking Spanish classes with prerequisites so that I can only take one per semester. Next semester I'm worried I'll forget everything I know about English literature and come back with much-improved Spanish and no ability to write a critical analysis of a text whatsoever. I might even forget how to read books in English (highly doubtful I realize, but these things need to be considered).

The best thing about this exact moment though is how well I slept last night. I wasn't thinking about what assignment I needed to do today and I slept deeper than I have in months. I remembered what I was dreaming about, which for me is the sign of good sleep. I'm knitting and reading the things I want to read (which I was doing before, but now it doesn't stress me out). And so far I am 2 for 2 on A-'s. I hate those minuses, but I realize it could be worse.

I'm currently in limbo, moving out of my apartment to drift for a few weeks and become a squatter in Heather's wonderful new apartment. For almost a month I won't be living anywhere for a full week, but I guess it's all part of the big adventure to come. And I'll be blogging about this adventure here.

Stability is elusive, pero estoy emocionada.

Monday, December 14, 2009

¿Cómo se dice “uh oh”?

I leave for Spain in something like 26 days, and I'm freaking out about the Spanish final I have in just over an hour. It shouldn't be difficult, but reviewing has me thinking I'm going to bomb this test. What good have all my Spanish classes been if I still suck at Spanish? Oh well, at least if I fail I should have all the time in the world to make up for the things I didn't learn in this class when I get to Spain.

This time of the year is becoming very sad thanks to Spain. I'm so excited about going, but this week I've said goodbye to so many people and had to follow it up with, "See you in August." I'm not a fan. Other than the people who will graduate in May, though, I know I'll see everybody when I get back. And at least then I'll have less test anxiety for Spanish classes.

If anyone knows anybody at the Spanish consulate in Houston and can make my visa magically ready that would be awesome. That's one small (or HUGE) thing standing in the way of this trip, but it should all be worked out soon. January 9th is the big day.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Keeping it Light with the Duke Family

My brother apparently has MRSA, a.k.a. a really scary staph infection. He told me this via text message, and the conversation that followed was too representative of the Duke family not to archive here. Enjoy.

Paul: Do you know what MRSA is?
Kindall: Yes.
P: That's what's wrong with my leg.
K: Oh dear. I'm assuming you went to the doctor?
P: Yeah
K: How long should it take to get better?
P: 1-2 weeks. I'm on a lot of antibiotics.
K: Well, don't lose your leg. Although, if you do we could get you a peg and you can be a pirate!
P: Wow. Thanks.
K: I love pirates! And you know I was kidding.
(Dad, who was at home with Paul, jumps in at this point.)
D: I can't believe you want your brother to lose his leg.
K: I didn't say I wanted him to lose it! I just said if he did he would be like a pirate.
D: I'm telling your mom.
P: It hurts bad and looks like a football and I cant walk. It sucks.
K: Can you even go to school?
P: Yeah I guess.
K: Is it your driving leg? I can't remember.
P: Yeah
K: Well at least you'll get to spend time on the couch watching tv. Watch some for me.
P: Ok I'm not looking forward to that but I will
K: You could read.
P: Haha your funny
K: You could even write a book! Paul Duke is a really cool name for an author.
P: Are you high?
K: I just believe in you.
P: Ok then
K: That's what sisters are for!
P: To wish for a peg leg?
K: To believe in you.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another Year Older

I turned 21 this week and didn't feel any older or any different. I ran 10 miles today and currently feel like I'm 90. I've never been so stiff in my life, and I'm in the process of icing a knee injury. As much as it hurts, I'm so happy to have run the race. This is my second year doing the Team Nashville 10 Miler, and even though I did much worse this year than last, I had fun. I ran the whole thing with my mom, which was pleasant, and I had good friends who tagged along as well.

After the race I tried a pumpkin spice donut from Krispy Kreme, and it was everything I could have hoped for. I highly recommend them, even though I had to run 10 miles to justify eating one. But the eating doesn't stop with the donut, I guess. I'm celebrating my birthday again tonight, since so far only 3 people have been able to make it out with me. I'm looking forward to birthday cake from Sarah and time with good friends I haven't seen much lately.

School is stressful as usual, but life is good.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This breaks my heart. In my perfect little happy world it's like hate crimes don't exist. I forget there are people in the world (although deep down I know I actually know some of these people) that are capable of hurting someone for what seems to me to be a non-issue. What motivates a kid who "got straight A's in school and ran track" to participate in beating another person? Their parents didn't see it coming. The kids themselves probably never thought they were capable of killing someone. But how sad is it that someone could tell CNN, "Hate is part of our culture" and "Even otherwise decent, honorable people can be pulled into it"? What do we do about that? Don't we have bigger things to worry about than what a stranger looks like or where that person is from? What triggers a reaction to start a fight that eventually ends in death?

It all just blows my mind, and more than that, it makes me sad.

29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' 36Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."

Luke 10:25-37

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

and by all accounts you really should've died.

This past weekend was awesome with serenades from Andrew Bird and Relient K, but it proved to be a huge strain on my productivity which made the week unpleasant for a couple of days. But something has the world working in my favor, and I was given the unexpected gift of a reprieve Monday and Tuesday. Monday night my class got out super early which gave me time to work on Tuesday's assignments, and the class I was going to skip Tuesday morning was cancelled. I wasn't sure how I would make it to Wednesday, but here I am. Thank you powers that be for easing up on me.

In other news, a spider bit me and I finally had to seek medical attention Monday. I'm almost cured now, but I was really hoping for cool super hero powers to accompany the large red spot on my neck. Also, covering up a spider bite feels like covering up a hickey, and I just don't like feeling slutty when I'm not.

Tomorrow they take my wisdom teeth, so fall break will be spent medicated. We'll see if I feel like I've had a break by next week or if I just won't remember the gap between today and the return to school.

And what has me most excited/scared out of my mind because things are happening so fast? I'm going to be in Spain in less than 3 months. I can't even explain the gravity of that thought.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

10 Things I'd Rather Do

I'm back for the second time today after a month of silence; try not to overdose. I skipped my speech class thinking a) I didn't really want to go and b) I might actually do something productive, like start the paper I have due tomorrow. My intentions were good, but as usual my productivity was low. I made a Letterman-esque top 10 list of things I'd rather do than write this paper.

10. Facebook stalk. This is the fall back option, but it never seems to get old. I've really enjoyed looking at the old high school group lately and seeing who's married and who's become a parent.
9. Bake something. I've been craving chocolate, and my domestic side wants to wear an apron. Why do I need to write papers if I can cook? I'll just find a husband who makes lots of money and is willing to share it with me in exchange for dinner on the table every night. Who cares if I'm taking giant leaps backwards in the fight for women's rights?

8. Read the next Stephanie Plum novel. I got hooked on Janet Evanovich's books this summer, but school has really thrown a wrench in my progress. I'm working on Seven Up right now, and I would really like to know what's going to happen with Stephanie and Ranger.

7. Go to work for cookie day. I'm supposed to go to work after class, and I wouldn't normally be looking forward to it, but today is special. Today is cookie day. Everyone made cookies and brought them to share, and I know there are some delicious treats waiting for me at work. If that doesn't make you want to go in early, check your pulse.

6. Write a book. Being averse to paper writing doesn't mean I have something against writing all together. I've always wanted to write a novel that includes characters suspiciously similar to people I've met, but there never seems to be time. Working on the book could be good practice for that paper I'm not doing.


5. Plan a trip to Idaho. I still can't explain my fascination with this state, but I need to go and find out if I really like it. Also, I requested grad school info from Boise State, so why not take a campus visit? Of course, if I don't write this paper and fail this class my grad school prospects could be limited.

4. Truth tables. I am a self-proclaimed math hater, but for some reason I just love truth tables. Luckily my Math 1080 professor is happy to assign them for homework. I could sit for hours and just fill in T's and F's. I realize this probably says something about me and my compulsive habits, but I just like those things.

3. Listen to "Forget and Not Slow Down" on repeat. Relient K's new album comes out on October 6, but their first single is already out. I can't wait to hear the whole album. And on October 11, you'll find me at Rocketown singing along to the glory that is RK.

2. Set up my fantasy football team. I'm undefeated in one league and have a 1-1 record in the other. Week three looks promising, but there's nothing wrong with obsessing a little more about who I'm going to play and deciding if I need to negotiate a few trades.

1. Read Matt Thiessen's tweets. He doesn't just write songs well. The guy can work miracles with 140 characters. I recommend reading and following: www.twitter.com/matthewthiessen.

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Pig?

Rather than being afraid of the big bad wolf, the world is in a tizzy about the little pig--swine flu. I realize this stuff has killed people, and I'm not discounting it, but why are we becoming hysterical? Swine flu is the flu. It's a different strain, but the flu changes every year anyway, which is why we have to update the shot. The point is, why are we freaking out about it? It's just flu. Don't the crazy people realize they should have been taking the same precautions (everything in moderation of course) for years to avoid every other strain of flu which, by the way, can also kill you? Wash your hands, stay home when you're sick, and maybe get the vaccine, but feel free to continue to do these things when swine flu is no longer trendy.

Now I will probably get swine flu and die from it as punishment for my skepticism, but for real people, calm down.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Can We Stop Here for a While?

Oh, school. I've missed having my weekends to myself and not having to share them with homework. Today was less than eventful, but I am starting the semester off on the right foot by staying caught up. I also made great strides in finishing my study abroad application so that I can officially be going to Spain rather than just thinking and talking about it.

At this point it's hard to gauge what kind of free time I will have. I was hoping that dropping the honors program would have a positive impact on my leisure activities, but so far I don't have a solid read on all my classes and the amount of work that will be required. It has hit me that I'm half way finished, mostly because I'm planning to be gone next semester and therefore am on 1 of my last 3 semesters on Belmont's campus. Weird. When you break it down to number of semesters it gets a little scary because the real world is lurking behind that last one.

Speaking of the real world, I'm taking a seminar for junior English majors that's all about finding jobs. The first day of that was enough to put some fear in me. It's not really acceptable to tell people you want to work at Starbucks after they equip you to get a real job. I'm hoping those questions about the future are as hard for some of the other students to answer as they are for me. Why can't college just be a permanent thing? I just want to learn forever and never let my student loan debt come up for repayment.

The positive thing I've noticed so far: junior year is hands down the best. You know more people on campus than you will know at any other time because you know the people above and below you, for the most part your friends haven't all graduated, and for the first time you're finally comfortable with college and being yourself. I would be a junior forever if that were possible.

Here's to a new semester with its own experiences, assignments, and crises.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer Reading

Summer reading lists are always a pleasant way to pass the class-free months, and a normal person would make that list at the beginning of the summer. I, however, do not like to set myself up for failure, so for posterity's sake and possibly your reading pleasure I have compiled a list of the books I've actually read this summer that might prove helpful in the future if you prefer to work from a list rather than make your own. The links will take you to Amazon where you can read a description of the book and buy it if you just can't wait until next summer to read it. I'm not critiquing them in-depth, so don't expect a full-scale review, or even summary (that's why I linked them to Amazon). While I enjoyed some more than others, I think they're all worth reading.

The Pirates Daughter: A Novel by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
I didn't know who Errol Flynn was before this book, but that knowledge isn't necessary for full enjoyment. Read his Wikipedia page, then dig into this book. It's not about swashbuckling seamen, but it is set in Jamaica.

Ancient Highway: A Novel by Bret Lott
You get the same old Hollywood feeling from this book as Cezair-Thompson's. I've raved about Bret Lott before. I think he's wonderful, and I think you should read about these three generations so heavily impacted by the movies.

The Difference Between Women and Men: Stories by Brett Lott
I just couldn't get enough of this guy after I started reading. This is a collection of his short stories. I'm not so big on short stories because they make you think too hard when it seems like they should be so simple, but I really like the way he writes, and it's worth trying to figure out where he's going.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This book is nothing but beautiful. After I finished I wanted to read it again so I could have some more time to soak up the story.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
This one is not as plot-driven as East of Eden, but every character is fascinating. Even if you're unconcerned with his social criticism, you'll enjoy getting to meet Steinbeck's characters.

Jewel by Bret Lott
Obviously there was something about Bret Lott that kept me coming back for more. This is the one Oprah liked, but don't let that influence your decision either way! I wrote a little more about this one here.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami
Murakami keeps the brain on its toes. I really like his work even if I finish the book with a ton of questions.

The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich
These books are hilarious. I have finished the first 6 in the series so far, and I can't stop. Stephanie Plum is a female bounty hunter who hasn't quite got the job figured out yet, and the people she meets make her life (and the reader's) much more interesting.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Make sure you have an edition with the 21st chapter and read Burgess' introduction explaining its initial removal. The dialect he comes up with is difficult to read, but the book itself is very funny. It will make you think, too.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
This one disturbs me a little, but it's definitely worth a read. There's some very well-done humor as well.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I'm not into post-apocalyptic literature, so this one is not at the top of my list; however, I did enjoy this book overall, and it's a very quick read. Now I need to check out the movie.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
I don't know what I expected when my friend told me to read this book, but whatever it was I got something different. This one is a quick read, and I can't say I loved the end, but I do think it was worthwhile. This one is also a movie, and I just put it on my Netflix queue, so we'll see how that goes.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

and I'm not talking about the impending school year. It's almost time for fantasy football!

I started playing fantasy football in high school in the statistics club (if you think we did anything else with statistics you're all too confident in public education), and I fell in love. I wasn't much of a football fan until I found a way to make every single game worth watching. Whether it's my favorite team playing or not, I want to know what's going on in the entire NFL because I have a stake in how well the players are doing. Some would argue this causes fans to cheer for a specific player rather than a team and subtracts from the football-watching experience, but I say why not have a reason to watch every game? I'm sure the television networks don't hate it either.

The preseason is already under way, and I'm hoping watching football will help me survive this school year. To be honest, I'm still having trouble looking forward to classes starting; summer has just been all too comfortable.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Career-Minded

It may appear I have dropped off the blogging universe, but it's tough work reading every book I want to read before school starts. Speaking of school, it's swiftly approaching, and I'm just not ready for it. Last night I moved into my new apartment which makes summer's end seem a little more real, but I still have a couple weeks to enjoy before the next marathon semester begins. And now that I'm not in the honors program, maybe it will be more fun and less work. A girl can dream.

Although I haven't been very consistent, I learned this morning that Online Schools put my blog on a list of 100 Best Blogs for Career-Minded Students. I never thought of myself as career-minded, but I guess if you are the things I write might be helpful (at the very least in a what-not-to-do sense). Either way, I appreciate the shoutout.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Lessons from Risky Business

Yesterday afternoon, I finally got around to watching Risky Business, and I picked up a few life lessons from young Tom Cruise:

  1. Don't trust a ho.
  2. I didn't dream big enough when my parents left me home alone.
  3. I didn't need more extra curriculars and a higher ACT/SAT score for Princeton, but I should have started running a brothel.
  4. Tom Cruise has lost all credibility (if I had any doubt).
  5. If you sink a Porsche in a lake repairs won't take long, and your brothel will more than cover the cost.
  6. Stay away from guys named Guido.
  7. My grandparents must not have loved me because I never got a huge savings bond.
  8. I don't like the name Lana.
  9. My brother isn't the only teenage boy with an abundance of idiot friends.
  10. Never trust a ho.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Like I Just Put My Brain in a Locker

I recently finished reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. It was a good read, and 600 pages felt like nothing because Murakami is nothing short of entrancing when he writes. It takes no effort to do the reading, but his books will really make you think as you try to figure out what the heck is going on.

I came across this passage that I feel sums up my frustrations at certain points in my life. I don't feel this way currently, but I'm recording this so that in the future I will have Murakami's much more eloquent words to describe my feelings:
Lately, it's really been bothering me that, I don't know, the way people work like this every day from morning to night is kind of weird. Hasn't it ever struck you as strange? I mean, all I do here is do the work that my bosses tell me to do the way they tell me to do it. I don't have to think at all. It's like I just put my brain in a locker before I start work and pick it up on the way home. I spend seven hours a day at a workbench, planting hairs into wig bases, then I eat dinner in the cafeteria, take a bath, and of course I have to sleep, like everybody else, so out of a twenty-four-hour day, the amount of free time I have is like nothing. And because I'm so tired from work, the "free time" I have I mostly spend lying around in a fog. I don't have any time to sit and think about anything. Of course, I don't have to work on weekends, but then I have to do the laundry and cleaning I've let go, and sometimes I go into town, and before I know it the weekend is over. I once made up my mind to keep a diary, but I had nothing to write, so I quit after a week. I mean, I just do the same thing over and over again, day in, day out.
I'm not so burned out right now that I feel this way, but I know I have those days when school and work have been less than intellectually stimulating and I feel like I'm caught up in this cycle, so I'm saving May Kasahara's words for those days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jewel

I just finished reading Jewel by Bret Lott. A few months ago he came to speak at Belmont, and I've just gotten around to reading his work in the last few weeks. I was impressed with Ancient Highway and a collection of his short stories, but Jewel is absolutely incredible. It is the story of a woman whose last child is born with Down's Syndrome. You see her struggling to see God working in her hardships and trying to love all of her children the best she can. She attempts to provide her daughter Brenda Kay the life the doctors tell her she will never have, and she tries to hold her family together in the process.

If and when I have a family of my own I would like to re-read this book because I don't think I can fully understand having children, wanting the best for them, and then having to let them go as they grow up. I may not be able to understand it, but Lott found the perspective to write about it. The book was written from Jewel's perspective, and all I could think was, He makes me believe a woman is writing this. I never once questioned the thought process because it was so much like a woman's. Impressive to say the least.

This book was so good, and I recommend it no matter what walk of life. Male, female, married, single, children or not this book speaks on family dynamics we've all experienced, and it gives perspective to those we have not and may never experience. Plus, it's beautifully written. Read it.

She whispered, "It happens to all of us one day," her words so quiet I had to hold my breath to hear. "Your momma and daddy leave you at some point, and then you are on your own. Everyone ends up an orphan. Even me. I been an orphan since I was born."


On a completely unrelated note, our recent Tennessee weather has been beautiful. If I were able to plan it, I wouldn't have done this well because I would think that would be asking too much. Also, 24 hours at home with the family was a blessing. It feels good to take a mini-vacation to the middle of nowhere.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Humanity

As a Tennesse Titans fan, I'm of course sad to hear about the death of Steve McNair. I, like many others here in Tennessee, think he was a great guy who did a lot for Nashville, and I had been looking forward to eating at his new restaurant in the hopes that there might be a chance to see him and some other Titans around when I went. Although I respect him, I think it's incredible that people are so quickly forgiving him for the affair that would literally be the death of him. It's not that I believe we should judge him more harshly; he was a human being who made mistakes, and he lived his life in a way that overshadowed the affair, for which I respect him. However, it makes me wonder what it is that makes him different. Most public figures would be treated differently in the same situation. We are not quick to overlook extra-marital affairs.

I'm with the people who say we should overlook it and remember him as a man who loved his wife and children, but I also hope we can remember that about other celebrities who make mistakes. We have a double standard, and it doesn't seem fair to only say nice things about McNair while we make fun of Michael Jackson postmortem (disclaimer: I do not in any way consider these two men to be in the same category) for the sketchier things he was involved in.

This case is also a reminder to me that I want to live in a way that after I die people will acknowledge my flaws (as much as I would like to claim perfection I am not delusional enough to believe I have obtained it) but celebrate my life much more so. What kind of impact do I make on the people in my life? Is it positive enough that they will forgive the negatives?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wait and See

Sometimes there are situations you just know you're meant to be in. If I get the job for which I am currently being considered, I will know it was destined to happen because I have several strikes against me.

For one thing, I already have a full-time 8-4:30 job. This employer knows that, and it's possible I will be able to work for him anyway. There is also a second job he knows nothing about, but because I schedule my own hours there I know I can omit that information and just take less hours if he decides he wants me. Of course, he would understandably be wary of hiring me seeing as I have other commitments. If he wasn't worried about me when he learned that information, I know he is skeptical now because he got my voicemail this morning where my disgruntled answering machine "Ursula" complained about having to take his message. I was not looking for a third job and therefore felt no need to change my voicemail message for potential employers, but this caught me slightly off guard. His first response was, "After hearing your message, I'm not sure I want you to call me back."

If I were to get this job, it would be a miracle. There is very little other than a recommendation from a professor working in my favor; however, if I get it I will know this job was somehow, for some reason, meant to be mine. Thankfully, I don't need this job to survive, and I don't have to weigh my decision to take it or not. If he offers, I will take it because it's just too crazy not to believe there's a plan somewhere, and if he doesn't offer I will know this is not one of those meant-to-be situations. We'll see.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Eh, Eh

My independence weekend in North Carolina could not have been better. It was so good to see Kristen again. Even though we only see each other on rare occasions, it feels like we can always pick up where we left off, and I'm so glad it works that way. I enjoyed a few days of playing video games, eating anything and everything I could find that was unique to the NC, and finding Cheerwine wherever I looked.

On top of time with Kristen, I got a good 12 hours of alone time on the car trips. It's amazing how nice 6 hours in a car can be. I had myself and my music, and it gave me a chance to air out my thoughts. Hopefully this week will be less weird than last for my mood. Also, my car got 39.75 miles per gallon on this trip--one more reason I love the Saturn.

As soon as I come down from this coffee high I'll rest up for the first full week I've worked in a while. I'm hoping good things will come from this week. I'm not expecting specifics, and it may just be the coffee talking, but I feel like it's going to be a good week. Stay tuned to see if that prophecy is correct.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

All Apologies

I don't mean to offend people, and I don't mean to be obnoxious or annoying, but I can be and do those things sometimes. To those who put up with that personality trait of mine, I'm sorry, and thanks for dealing with me. I mean well, or at least I think I do, and if that's what I think isn't that the sign that my intentions are good? I know good intentions aren't enough, but I have to ask you to bear with me. I'm not trying to, and I'll try hard not to.

Limbo

Last week's vacation was refreshing, and now I'm gearing up for a second chunk of time away from the real world. I'm leaving tomorrow to spend the holiday weekend in North Carolina with Kristen. I can't wait because it feels like it's been forever since I talked to her, and I'm also looking forward to ending this work week at 4:30 today. It will be hard to function when I get back and only work full weeks until school starts, but I'll gladly take my two half-weeks.

Since I came back to Nashville I've been in a weird mood, and I'm not sure how to describe it; it's somewhere between feeling anti-social and needy. While I can't describe it, I think the perfect remedy was a long talk last night with Jessica, who I also have not seen enough of lately. We had gyros at Mediterranean Cuisine (which could not have been more perfect), and then we spent about 3 hours at Starbucks. It was fantastic.

Whatever is influencing me, it's got me listening to a station seeded to Poker Face on Pandora, and I'm not sure how I feel about a need for Lady Gaga in my life. Oh well, here's to being back on vacation in less than 24 hours!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ready to Vacate

How sweet it is to know I only have to work two days this week. Even sweeter is the family vacation that comes on Wednesday. I won't say I'm looking forward to spending two days at Six Flags in the heat sandwiched in-between two long car rides with my family, but I am looking forward to the family. As much as I love Nashville, I also love every interaction with the dysfunctional group of people I know and love in Gainesboro. My resolution is to look through the heat and remember who I'm with, and hopefully that will squelch complaints.

The heat makes it hard to forget it's summer time, but just like at Six Flags, I have to remember how happy I really am. I'm surrounded by people I love, I'm in a city I adore, and my life is good. Good doesn't quite do justice to my peaceful, easy feeling, but it will suffice.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Llena Mi Vida de Tu Amor

Yesterday I was feeling a little burned out and tired. After I spent the morning in church I made a quick run through the McDonald's drive through on my way to work at the mansion. When I got off work I had about an hour and a half before I was supposed to go to La Iglesia de Dios Hispana with Carlos. My heart wasn't really in it because I just wanted to sit down for a minute and not think about anything, but I had a great experience the last time I went, and I also didn't want to cancel.

It seems the coolest things happen when we aren't expecting them, and even though I went half-heartedly God showed up full-force. I have trouble figuring out in my own mind what it is about going to a church service conducted in Spanish that makes the experience so incredible; I love to hear almost anything in Spanish, but the novelty isn't the draw. Perhaps it's the fact that I am reminded God is bigger than the English language. I know what kind of impact God has on my own life, but I forget that the rest of the world was spoken into existence by a God who considers all of us his. My faith connects me to a broad range of people all over the world praising a God who understands every word and every heart. I love language and words, but language is not enough to encompass all God is, and God is not limited by language barriers.

I am limited by language, and I can't quite explain this experience in English or Spanish. What I can say is Gracias, Senor.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's Quiet . . .

. . . too quiet, perhaps?

In this case, no news is good news. I haven't been writing because things are calm on the home-front. There was some excitement today: Josh came to visit, and we waited at Grimeys so I could get tickets to see Andrew Bird at the Ryman in October! I feel somewhat like a bad friend for making him wait with me even though he's not going to the concert, but it's Andrew Bird. We also had crepes and coffee at The Perch and fit in trips to Book Man Book Woman and The Great Escape. We condensed a lot of stuff into a small amount of time, but we have shiny new (for us anyway) books and cds to show for it.

I love weekends when I'm not ruining outings by prioritizing assignments. It's 73 days until school starts, and I plan to enjoy every homework-free minute.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Sigh of Contentment

The routine of my life is still too good to believe. Every night seems to have it's small variation that's just enough to keep me from being bored; I made dinner one night this week (and with the exception of trying to cut off my finger it was a success), last night we had free root beer floats from Sonic and then watched Donnie Darko. The movie was the first of our Netflix movies, and so far we are very happy with the Netflix service. It shouldn't be so easy to get any movie we want to see within a couple of days, and for the first two weeks it's free! Pandora has also been providing endless amusement lately because like Netflix it doesn't provide instant gratification, but it comes so close. I made a Tina Turner station yesterday that has since been named Female Empowerment Radio, and today I'm listening to the glory that is 90's country.

Tonight is game night, and I'm excited about it. It seems to be turning into a different kind of thing where more people come, but it's pretty cool because the people coming tonight don't really know each other, so game night continues to serve the function of making friends.

Life is good.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

We've Only Got One-Third

Filling out my timesheet just now I realized for every three days, I work one. And as Erin pointed out, sleeping eight hours means I'm also unconscious for one-third of my life. That means I have about eight hours every day to live without working or sleeping, and that calls to mind the epic question of what am I doing with my one day out of every three? It's terrifying to think we have already spent 16 hours of every day. The lesson: budget.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Beauty of a Long Weekend

Memorial Day is Monday which means it's a long weekend for us in our new apartment. It came at a perfect time seeing as this time last week we had just gotten checked in and started the move; we finally have time now to enjoy a full day of living in this apartment and being settled.

It's amazing how much you can accomplish in a weekend when there isn't homework to do. Last night we watched 2 movies--Milk and Closer. This morning I slept a little later than usual (which means I lay restlessly in bed from about 6:30 until I finally got up at 8 because I get up too early every morning), went to Crema--a wonderful little coffee shop downtown--with Heather and Erin, and after lunch Heather and I went to the Belle Meade plantation. By 3pm, we had finished everything we had planned, and now we have the rest of the night to do nothing. This lifestyle seems too good to be true.

Everything we're doing here is being documented on our collective Summer in the City blog. With multiple blogs, we're making ourselves easily stalked this summer, but hopefully we'll be able to share some cool places in Nashville.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What a Way to Make a Living

I forgot how much I love the 9-5 (which isn't exactly what I work, but it's 8 hours either way). There is nothing better than getting up before 6 to work out, going to work, taking a lunch break, getting off and hanging out at the apartment/making dinner, and then occupying myself as I feel led until time for bed. The next day it all starts over exactly the same. The routine is fantastic. I'm feeling very settled, and I'm sure I'll make a great adult someday. I have to remember that the hectic college schedule is only temporarily avoided and that I'm going to move 4-5 times in the next year. Writing that made me feel a little sick, so I'm retreating back to the wonderful world of summer in Nashville with Erin and Heather. Let's pretend it will never end.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How a Year Changes Things


This day one year ago I wrote about the fact that I was really happy with being in Nashville, but I felt like I was lacking something. A big part of what I was wanting was a friend. I needed someone to talk to, and I needed people to see outside of work. It's amazing to see the transition happen in writing from what I was then to what I am now. I'm in exactly the same place, doing exactly the same job, but it's so different this year.

Last summer, I found the most incredible group of friends. We had a lot of fun in a very short time, and we were on the fast track to becoming close. I'm so happy to know that this summer those people are around and we can pick up somewhat where we left off. This summer is going to be very different, but I'm excited to see where those relationships lead. To those of you who fall into this group of friends, I want you to know you are an absolute answer to prayer, and if you need proof of that you can read what I wrote on May 16, 2008. Thanks for being yourselves. And to you, Amanda, we miss you. You were responsible for this random connection, and for that I'm grateful. You'll have to come visit us now that you're a married woman living in Kentucky.

We watched Mister Lonely last night, and it was the movie that made such a huge difference last year. I feel like everything last night went back to last summer but was immensely improved. It's fascinating to see how different things are going in this time, but I hope I also learn as much about myself as I did last summer in my extended silence. I'm still so happy to be in the middle of this time, and it doesn't seem like it should be so perfect.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Summertime

I woke up this morning feeling what can only be described as freedom! I just had to slip my video project (finished only with some hard work from the lovely Erin) in my teacher's mailbox, and summer became official. The weather in Nashville was perfect, and unlike the last week or so it lasted all day. I couldn't be happier to be finished, and my day was awesome because of it.

I started taking things off my walls this afternoon so I could get a jump on the packing, and I'm overall really happy that summer is here. I'm looking so forward to game nights, workouts with Heather, living with the people I love, Saturday morning pancakes, and general merriment. I also get so excited about the fact that my biggest decision and worry right now is what book to start reading next (while knowing there is no deadline for finishing it). I'm so blessed to have a job and a place to stay this summer, and I'm excited to know I have friends going in this time. It should be a very different experience from last summer.

Heather, Erin, and I will be keeping up with the things we are reading, the places we are visiting, the movies we are watching, and the fun we are having over at Summer in the City, so if you can't get enough of me, you should check that out too. We haven't gotten that completely started yet, but when we do, look out.

Here's to another school year finished, being a junior in college, and a magnificent summer to come!

i want to play all day
and swim out in the waves
in a lagoon that has no shark to bite my legs
a perfect place
where we can all laugh out loud
with palm trees, an ocean breeze
and never any clouds
get away
far away
to a place
i can stay
feels like summertime
the sun is shining on my face
feels like summertime
i never want to leave this place
but if i can't go now
i know someday, somehow
i know you've got a place
designed for me someday
i've got a mansion there
a royal getaway
and when my work is done
you'll fly me there at last
a place that doesn't take credit cards
or lots of cash
but if i can't go now
i know someday, somehow
you will take me there
cast away my burdens
take away my cares

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Don't Stop Believin'

Summer is almost here, but there's still that big push that comes at the end. As of Tuesday, I'll be home free, but today will be mildly unpleasant. I found some refreshment this weekend, though. I went home yesterday to experience the glory that is Gainesboro's annual Poke Sallet Festival, and it was a breath of fresh air. It wasn't the festival itself, but it was the car trip with Heather Pierce and having dinner (a really good dinner) with my family. Good conversations and some time away from the dorm room and the homework were helpful, and I know it will all be over soon enough. I just have to survive until Wednesday, and then summer is in full swing. There will be moving, reading, list-making, and general merriment, and I can't wait to get all of that started.

In other news, Brett Favre is on the fence about retirement yet again. As much as I like the guy, it was weird to see him playing for New York, and I'm just not sure I could handle him going to Minnesota. With John Madden retiring and Brett Favre wearing purple, I don't know if I would recognize football. Just keep the Wrangler commercials coming, Brett, and maybe you should just work as an announcer. I would definitely watch that.

The wisdom of Journey is necessary over the next 48 hours. Most of the words are irrelevant, but the ones that stick are the ones that matter:

Just a small town girl, livin in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised in south detroit
He took the midnight train goin anywhere

A singer in a smoky room
A smell of wine and cheap perfume
For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on and on and on

Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlight people, living just to find emotion
Hiding, somewhere in the night

Working hard to get my fill,
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin' anything to roll the dice,
Just one more time
Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on

Dont stop believin'
Hold on to the feeling
Streetlight people

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I am two papers, one video, a set of reader's notes, and a 5-minute presentation from summer. Those things are somewhat stressful, but I know I'll be fine. I don't have to work anymore this week, which is awesome. I feel like all my time has been spent in class or at work this semester, so not having to do either of those makes me happy. Exactly one week from today I will once again be a full-time employee. I don't know if I'm excited about that or not. I am excited, however, about living with Heather and Erin. It's going to be a great summer, and we will be collectively blogging about it.

I've got to stop procrastinating and get to the homework, but I am excited about things to come.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

5 Useless Ways to Exercise at College

Everyone hears about the freshman 15 when they start college, but I'm a sophomore so I'm past that. Actually, from my Facebook pictures I can tell I have most definitely lost weight since freshman year. This semester I made exercise a priority, but the end here has been a little stressful and my exercise routine has suffered because of it. I thought I would do a search and see if anyone had practical tips for making time to exercise in college. I thought I might have struck gold when I came across this article: 5 Ways to Exercise at College. As promising as the title sounded, this was the most worthless article I have ever read. Here's why, reason by reason.

#1: Walk to Class
  • The idea here is that one should walk rather than drive to class. I don't know how your university is set up, but at Belmont driving to class is not really an option. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure in the normal college world you either live on campus and always walk to class or you get to campus, park a significant distance from your classes and walk. I decided to give the article the benefit of the doubt though and kept reading.
#2: Take Advantage of the Gym
  • All I can say here is, "Duh." If you aren't exercising in college, it isn't because you don't know there's a gym. It's because you don't want to use it or you feel like you don't have time. If you met the requirements to get into a university, you can probably figure this one out on your own.
#3: Walk in between Courses
  • I might call this a good idea. I don't think it's groundbreaking, and the article mentions, "If you're lucky, you [sic] college has a hiking trail or at least a walking trail." I'm not one of the lucky ones, so the trail thing isn't an option. Also, if I'm on campus I'm probably carrying books. While walking with my books may burn more calories, it's not kind to my back. I'm still not sure whether I will concede and say this was a decent tip, but I think it's the most practical one the article offers.
#4: Take Classes
  • Yes, most schools will require you to take a physical education class; however, most school require one PE, so that's only got you covered for one semester. I would love to take an extra hour long class every semester, but tuition is expensive, and I don't have hundreds of dollars per credit hour to spend on classes that won't count.
And finally,

#5: Get Involved in Sports
  • I have to quote the whole thing here because it's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard:
"Sports are a wonderful way to get scholarships and it's not too late to get involved. Try out for a sport that you enjoy. This is a wonderful way to exercise and it's a wonderful way to ensure that you have enough money to keep attending your school of choice. Not only will you get exercise at the games, but you will also be required to practice several days a week, which will also be a great workout."

Now really, if you are talented enough to play a sport at a college level, especially well enough to get a scholarship, you are not just looking for practical "walk in between classes" exercise tips. You can't just walk on to a college team because you're looking for some exercise! How the heck is this good advice for exercising in college?!

Overall, I found this article useless. If I come up with better ways to fit exercise into a college schedule that don't involve having a large savings account or major athletic talent, I'll post my own tips.

The End is Near

It's finally here--my favorite part of the semester! There are two class days left before finals, and for me at least this is the time when my life becomes most organized. It seems like now is the time when most people begin to freak out and start losing it, but for me this is always the time I start my leisure reading. The biggest perk of this part of the semester is that I now have time to do the assignments I need to do. There are no new readings and no looming projects. I know exactly what I need to do, it's a manageable amount of stuff, and they even give me dead day to work on it all. Plus, when the actual finals hit there aren't anymore classes. So rather than trying to get things done while spending several hours in class every day there is enough time to study, write papers, and finish up projects.

This is the fourth time around, and for some reason I feel like this is a phenomenon only I experience at the end of the year. I haven't quite figured out why everyone else gets stressed while this is my most relaxing time of the year. But to the stressed, this is what I recommend: take some time to chill out and forget about school. Sprinkle the homework time with some breaks to watch tv (or my personal favorite, Gilmore Girls dvds) or start reading something fun and easy (I just started the Janet Evanovich books). If you didn't learn it during the semester, you aren't going to learn it now, so don't stop sleeping in order to cram. This is the most wonderful time of the year, even though Christmas isn't involved in the spring semester. Embrace it, and realize how much extra time you have. Have a dance party. Go to Sonic. Just calm down because it's practically over. Summer is here!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Can See the Finish

Why does Christmas only come once a year whereas finals come twice? It's not even finals that are stressing me out right now, but it's that point where everything is due. Ever semester leads up to this point, and every couple of weeks at the end of a semester suck. It will all be over soon, and I will eventually move beyond page 2 of my 20-page paper (I was only on page 1 less than a half hour ago, so progress has been made). This is just the point where I need a little boost.

We're on the home stretch, and Heather and I found a little encouragement yesterday from Relient K. I'm going to keep listening to this and working away. Hopefully if you're stressed this will be helpful for you too.

I think we're going somewhere.
We're on to something good here.
Out of mind, out of state.
Trying to keep my head on straight.
I think we're going somewhere.
We're on to something good here.
There's only one thing left to do.
Drop all I have and go with you.

Somewhere back there I left my worries all behind.
My problems fell out of the back of my mind.
We're going and I'm never knowing (never knowing) where we're going.
To go back to where I was would just be wrong.
I'm pressing on.

Pressing on, all my distress is going, going, gone. (pressing on, pressing on)
And I won't sit back and take this anymore.
Cause I'm done with that, I've got one foot out the door.
And to go back where I was would just be wrong
I'm pressing on.

I think we're going somewhere.
We're on to something good here.
Out of mind, out of state.
Trying to keep my head on straight.
I think we're going somewhere.
We're on to something good here.
Adversity, we get around it.
Searched for joy, in you I found it.

Somewhere back there I left my worries all behind;
My problems fell out of the back of my mind.
We're going and I'm never knowing
(Never knowing) where we're going.
To go back to where I was would just be wrong;
I'm pressing on.

Pressing on, all my distress is going, going, gone
(Pressing on, pressing on).
And I won't sit back, and take this anymore.
'Cause I'm done with that, I've got one foot out the door.
And to go back where I was would just be wrong
I'm pressing on.

And to go back where I was would just be wrong
I'm pressing on . . .
On, pressing on, all my distress is going, going, gone
(Pressing on, pressing on).
And I won't sit back and take this anymore
'Cause I'm done with that; I've got one foot out the door,
And to go back to where I was would just be wrong.
I'm pressing on.

You look down on me, but you don't look down on me at all.
You smile and laugh, and I feel the love you have for me.
I think we're going somewhere.
We're on to something good here, and we're gonna make it after all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sesame Street Made It Look Easy

I decided to be a real city-kid today, and I failed. A friend and I took the bus to the library downtown. The trip down there was fine, and I loved the library (I will be in the grand reading room next time you can't find me), but getting back was an adventure. We watched several buses pass, but none of them were the one we were waiting for. Finally, the number 2 bus was in sight, but it got to us and continued to drive. If it didn't hurt enough that we were left standing on the corner where we had been for an hour, it was worse that we recognized the driver as the same one who dropped us off earlier! The number 2 was supposed to run every 35-70 minutes, so at this point we were desperate. We hopped on a bus that took us closer to Belmont but not quite all the way. We walked the rest of the way, but we were tired and I was sunburned. I tried to embrace the city, and the city rejected me. No more riding the bus.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bye Bye, Bottled Water

Belmont University will no longer be selling bottled water in the fall because we're going green. But will this really be effective? Students drink bottled water because it's convenient. Even though they are "investigating BPA free, reusable water containers that can be provided to members of the Belmont community at a minimal cost" the fact is you have to carry those things around with you, and a lot of students just won't. Instead, people will turn to the "variety of sodas and sports drinks, including energy and vitamin waters" that will still be available on campus. Translation: they're going to drink a lot more Pepsi. They will still use bottles, but now they will have less healthy liquids in them. I understand that Belmont is trying to care, but I'm just not sold on this.

I personally have a Nalgene bottle that I try to use; however, when I forget it I like having the option of buying water. Now it looks like I'm out of luck on those days. My other real issue with this is that those bottles (and also water fountains) are going to be germ-infested. College students are not going to wash these bottles well or often. And how many of these bottles will show up without owners because college students frequently lose things?

Dear Belmont, we hosted a debate. We've been on the news. If this is a publicity stunt, can we call it off?

The Announcement
The Press Release
The F.A.Q.s

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Valediction for John Madden

John Madden is leaving football, and it makes me a little sad. His presence seemed to me to underlie every game, whether he was there or not (this includes the pro-bowls to which he wouldn't fly), and now I'm not sure what to do. It's like football won't ever be the same because I don't know it any other way than with John Madden.

Farewell, our flight-fearing football announcer.


P.S.
Don't let the fact that I was born late and only know Madden as a sportscaster detract from his incredible career pre-tv. He's a legend.

Thank You, Bret Lott, for Some Assurance of Life After Graduation

I just had the privilege of hearing novelist Bret Lott speak, and I was pretty impressed. I'm not going to tell you I've read his stuff because that would be a lie; however, I will tell you I plan to read his stuff the first chance I get. I would also advise you to check him out, even though I have not yet read him; Oprah has, and she liked him (if this makes you not want to read him, get over it and read it in spite of Oprah's endorsement).

He was really a fantastic guy, but his story about becoming a writer was what I enjoyed most. He said he never wanted to be a writer. He started out on the path to becoming a park ranger, moved to marine biology, dropped out of school and sold RC Cola, went back to school and somehow ended up with a degree in English. It's always nice to hear success stories of people who were far from having things figured out. Now, I'm a firm believer that nobody has things figured out, but sometimes I begin to question that belief because some people are really good at pretending.

I don't have a clue where I'm headed after graduation, but it's nice to know that other people came out of college doing something they love but never planned on. Life's all about the adventure!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail


I colored eggs today with my mom for the first time in a few years. My brother and I have both pretty much outgrown the ritual and are really in the phase between coloring them for ourselves and helping our own children. My mom asked if I'd be interested though, and I thought it couldn't hurt. Strangely, I think this is the first time I've witnessed the preparation process because I was always kept away until it was time for me to do the actual coloring (in order to keep the mess at a minimum). So I feel like I learned today how to set things up and what it was Mom and Grandma were doing before they called me in. My mom also pointed out the fact that because my brother didn't want to participate, this was pretty much the first time I didn't have to worry about how many I was coloring because we had to have the same number. And my dad noted this was the first time I didn't think I had to mix colors for every egg (not realizing that in the end they would all be the same color--brown). I only colored 12, but I enjoyed it and I feel like I learned a little something about my own childhood and kids in general from my older perspective and lack of actual children. It was one of those lessons you aren't really expecting, and I'm not sure I can fully articulate the things I took from it yet.

I'm all about marketing, but I do want to note that Easter is more. Don't get caught up in the eggs and the chocolate because it all came at a high price; that price bought us more than just the gimmicks.

And as an added bonus, if you want to know more about the egg and its connection to Easter, you can read this. It's not put together very smoothly, but it will give you a little more information about why the heck eggs show up this time every year. Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I've decided I want to be Miley Cyrus. I want to make a career (at a ridiculously young age) out of bad acting, poor singing, and even writing, for no good reason. If Disney would just give me a tv show, I'd be set. I'd book some studio time to start recording my album, sign the deal to make my show into a movie, and get started on my first autobiography. I'm a little older than Miley, but there's got to be a college niche.

How in the world did all of this come out of Achy Breaky Heart (with a long period of relative silence in the middle)? I just want to know whose idea signing Miley was so I can pitch myself as the next superstar. She was "just being Miley," so logically I could just be Kindall and have major success. I want to threaten to ruin Grammy winners' careers! I want to be on The View! It's obviously not that hard, so what's stopping me?!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Today Will Be a Great Day

I'm trying really hard to remain positive this morning. I know it doesn't do any good to complain about my lack of sleep, and there's not really anyone to blame for the fire alarms (at least not anyone I can complain directly to). It's also comforting to see that ResLife is working on it, and they aren't happy. Everybody's frustrated, including the director.

I'm just grumpy when I'm tired, but I'm working on it. If you run into me today, keep me accountable. I have a lot to be happy about, and I can't let this one nuisance ruin my Friday.
It just went off again. Why would the fire alarm go off three times in one night if nothing is on fire?

This is Life When You Live in a Dorm

Everything in my life seems to be working against me sleeping. This afternoon I was taking a much-needed nap after shafting sleep for homework last night. It was raining outside, which made my nap a really good one but was also the source of many problems. I woke up to my lovely RA banging on the door because Nashville was under a tornado warning. I got up, went to the first floor of my building and groggily waited out the warning. Unfortunately, the weather was still bad so I was waiting for it to happen again. We were initially under a tornado watch from that point until 2am.

Before going to bed, I decided to check the weather and see the likelihood of being awakened again for tornadoes. The best news I'd heard all day was that things had calmed down and Nashville was probably just going to see some rain for the rest of the night. But a little over an hour after I had fallen asleep (just enough time to be sleeping really well), the fire alarm started going off. For the second time today, I got out of my bed, grabbed a jacket, my phone, and my keys and headed downstairs. We waited it out in the parking garage. The alarm went off, and everybody went back inside. On the 3rd of 5 floors, the alarm began to go off again. At this point I wanted to cry. We turned around and headed back down the stairs we had just come up.

Perhaps scarier than the brief thought that the building was actually on fire, was the campus security officer "patrolling" on his bike while we were in the parking garage. I understand that campus security would want to be around, but I'm not sure what they were accomplishing by having him ride back and forth as we all listened to the deafening fire alarm. I was in a mood, and social media has consumed my life, so I took a couple of pictures of the guy on the bike. I also have a short video of our frustration. They're not high quality, but I'd like someone else to share at least a little of the aggravation. So here you go.





And now I'm off to bed. Hopefully this time I won't wake up until my alarm goes off, which is going to be all too early. And hopefully I'll also be able to remember that there were a lot worse things happening with the weather in Nashville tonight than me having to get out of bed. There was a lot of damage and a lot of flooding. When I've slept I should appreciate my good fortune.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Fail Whale

I was just reading this article from CNN about the Twitter fail whale, and I think there is a serious life lesson to be learned from the reaction of people to Twitter's growing popularity and the fact that there are so many people on the site it isn't operating smoothly.

I found myself reading this thinking, when I mess up I want people to just forgive and forget because there's something cute associated with my mistakes. It's incredible to see that for the most part the people CNN talked to were fine with the fact that Twitter can't keep up with them. Tons of people follow the fail whale's twitter, and if you read the article you'll see the guy with his new fail whale tattoo. This demonstrates that we as humans do have the capacity to be forgiving. It's almost like we're seeing the softer, more forgiving side of people many consider self-centered for the simple fact that they send quick, frequent answers to the narcissist-attracting question What are you doing? Maybe if people let us down we can start imagining the fail whale showing up and chalk it up to that person being human, recognizing our own failure as well.

This might be a little bit of a stretch, but when I think about this in terms of God and his relationship to people, myself in particular, I see the fail whale has been around for years. Instead of leaving me to deal with my own failures (a feat of which I'm incapable), God waits out the fail whale and keeps coming back. He knows it will happen again, but it doesn't deter him. Who knew Twitter could teach us something about true grace?! Being more like Jesus means waiting out the fail whale in my relationships. Like Twitter, the overall relationship is worth hanging onto, even when there are bumps in the road.

And on a less profound but still Twitter-related note, your plants can now twitter. You know you talk to them when you're alone with them, and now they can answer.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Photo Update on My Life

There aren't enough pictures on here, and I've gotten into the weird habit of taking pictures of everything I find interesting or exciting with my cell phone and immediately emailing them to myself (some day I'll have a phone that will allow me to blog as soon as I take the picture, but it's probably better for my GPA that I don't for now). Anyway, here's what's new.

Last weekend, I got to hang out with these kids at home. I had a blast, and I miss them.



























I went to see Leslie at the Curb Cafe, and she was awesome. She's super talented, and she really believes in using it to bring glory to God. She's pretty great.


In the world of all things edible, I've made some fantastic discoveries lately. If you didn't know salsa is sold in individual servings like pudding, now you do. I didn't buy any, but I was still impressed. Also, if you buy enough at Sonic, they have huge shopping-type bags to put the food in. (This bag had 4 people's food in it; it's not all mine.) So if you have a hankering (yes, hankering) for Sonic but are afraid to get too much because you don't know how you'll carry it, never fear!

I really want to take this class, and I won't be honors anymore so it might fit into my schedule and requirements. It would be my first online class and my first 8 week class. I hope it works out.

And finally, this is a small portion of what my weekend looks like. It's gonna be a blast.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blessed is the Man Whose Quiver is Full of [Children]

I read a book I received from my church right before I came to college called How to Stay Christian in College. I thought it had some valid points and practical advice, but I couldn't help questioning the author on one point. The author talked about dating and said it was important to date a person who you would consider marrying; this is something I agree with whole-heartedly. He went on to say that you should also look for someone who would make a good parent because what God wants is for us to be fruitful and multiply. He went from talking about dating to telling me that if I'm able to have children, God expects me to do so. He didn't come right out and say it, but the implication was birth control shouldn't come into the mix.

I struggled with this because I've never been really big on the kids, and I have also never felt that God expects all Christians to have children and especially not as many as they turn up with without using birth control. This also opens the door to the question, when is it alright to stop having kids? If God will provide children for the people he wants to have children, doesn't it follow that we would just have children until God quit giving them? Well these people think so. This Quiverfull movement is made up of people who think birth control is the wrong way to go. While I understand where they're coming from, I still can't believe God would want us to be irresponsible and have more children than we can handle; that is not to say that they're being irresponsible, but I could see the problem there. The truth is, economic times are hard, and it doesn't seem like the best time to start bringing unknown numbers of babies into the world. I could see where people would offer the argument that God would not give them more children than he would provide for, and I may be limiting God here, but I struggle with this idea. The alternative to using some sort of birth control would be abstinence, and I don't think that's what God wants within a marriage either.

I don't have the scripture to justify my wariness of this idea. It may be that God expects me to have as many children as he gives me and be happy about it someday when I'm married; however, until he communicates that idea to me, I can only see the terrifying side of living this way.

And the part that scares me most about that article is the idea that:

We look across the Islamic world and we see that they are outnumbering us
in their family size, and they are in many places and many countries taking
over those nations, without a jihad, just by multiplication.

and then there's this one:

If everyone starts having eight children or 12 children, imagine in three
generations what we'll be able to do,' " Joyce says. " 'We'll be able to take
over both halls of Congress, we'll be able to reclaim sinful cities like San
Francisco for the faithful, and we'll be able to wage very effective massive
boycotts against companies that are going against God's will.

Oh, dear. It's very scary to me that they are worried about outnumbering the Muslims. They want a little army to take down the devil. We've all heard about super-conservative families where the kids go bad, and if they have umpteen siblings also vying for Mom and Dad's attention it's likely at least some of these kids will rebel in a big way. Then your army is not only full of defecting soldiers, but they're also leaving with a vendetta and spreading the news that you're crazy. If you aren't a Christian, please understand that statement is not wholly representative of Christian ideas, and we aren't trying to create our own army of fanatics.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Except for Monday Which Was Never Good Anyway

I'm in the weirdest funk ever, and I'm not sure what to do with myself. Somehow I find myself completely at peace on so many levels but only because I'm using the peaceful feeling as a defense mechanism to stave off the chaos in my life. I'm not sure how it happened or why, but it's weird.

Figuring out whether or not I'm going to stay in the honors program is proving to be a difficult task. My leaning is to leave, but I don't want to make that decision without having carefully considered all my other options. I don't think I want to put the stress of studying abroad this upcoming fall on myself, and I think it would be healthier to wait until the spring. But if I've done 2 years of honors, why not finish? And then there's the fact that nobody cares if I graduated honors. We'll see.

In the weirdness, I feel like I'm a little detached from everything. So to those of you who I feel like I'm not connecting to, I apologize. I don't know what's up really, but I'm working on it. I still love you all and appreciate you.

Maybe it's a peaceful feeling, and maybe it's a numb feeling. Either way I'm finding it helpful as well as distancing, and I want to figure it out. Sorry for the rambling craziness; I wish it wasn't so representative of my mind right now.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How I Wish You Could See the Potential

the potential of you and me
it's like a book elegantly bound but
in a language that you can't read

Adding "I will possess your heart" is a little more than I think I could wish for, but I'm learning I haven't moved away from the hope that it might happen. Maybe it's just curiosity. It might just be the fact that it seems so logical. Maybe it's just because it seems like it would be fun or comfortable. I don't understand it, but I obviously haven't escaped it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Parenting: What Not to Do

There are moments in life when I think I'm so glad those aren't my parents. The most recent for me was when I read about this guy who threw his five children off a bridge. Apparently he was on crack, but I still don't understand how that happens. I don't know how old the kids were, but I can imagine that they had to watch their siblings go over first. The man was convicted, and now the question is whether or not he should get the death penalty.

My dilemma in this situation is that I don't think we have the right to decide to kill someone, even if they have killed someone else; however, I think horrible things should happen to this guy. What could possibly be done to him that could bring justice?

And how does a father, even on crack, systematically throw 5 human beings, his own children, off a bridge?! No matter how much my dad might irritate me sometimes, I'm so glad he never threw me off a bridge.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Better Record This In Case It All Ends with the Rain

The last 48 hours have been some of the best of my life. Yesterday, the weather was gorgeous and I was inspired to skip two of my three classes; I used this time to go grocery shopping. While I was at the store, I bought nothing but things that were substantial and good for me. I didn't even crave any junk food, which is really weird for me. After the grocery extravaganza, I got back to the dorm, and I felt like I needed to clean. I cleaned everything, and it looks really great. Plus, there's just something wonderful about a freshly cleaned bathroom and having everything in its place. After this crazy day of cleaning, I was slightly behind on all the school work I had intended to finish, but my stress level was way down. Today, I was still running on this organized high. I went to all my classes (two of which were held outside!), and it was great. I ate well because I have so much good food, and after work I went to a group fitness class where I had a workout that nearly killed me but feels so good now that it's finished. After that, I walked to SATCO with the lovely and wonderful Amanda, and I had a chance to actually hang out with her since it's been a while.

So here I am once again without having accomplished near the amount of homework I would have liked. However, it feels great. I feel so much more centered than I have in a really long time, and I'm not experiencing the typical stress. I love this feeling, and I'm hoping it can continue (I will be continuing eating healthy and exercising to insure that it does even if the homework takes a small hit). Those people who tell you taking care of yourself is important aren't kidding. Listen to them and you'll appreciate their advice.

I realize the weather is probably a huge factor in this, but it's been a learning experience. Tomorrow, if and when it is cold and rainy, I will hopefully remember that sometimes my mental health needs to be put above my GPA. That hurts a little to think about, but it feels so good to practice.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This Is Your Brain on Coffee

Spring break is over, I'm not done with my homework, I'm wired on coffee, and I'm addicted to Twitter. I just got TweetDeck, and I love it. I think Twitter is unhealthy, but I can't stop, and I think my Twitter and coffee habits are linked.

In an attempt to study, I've been to Panera for dinner and have now shifted to Starbucks where the plugs are free and I can steal Panera's internet until they close at 9. What I have noticed in my hyper-sensitive coffee world is that Vandy kids are a strange bunch. It's weird after being at Belmont for a while to see so many people near my age dressed like they live at a country club. They're so clean, and they're clothes are utterly wrinkle-free. While I don't look ultra-Belmont (although I do have on a v-neck today . . . oh no! I'm conforming!), I don't think I will ever come near the Vanderbilt style. But whatever.

And since I'm only rambling because I'm as addicted to blogging as I am to Twitter and the coffee has me going crazy: you should check out The Family Tree. Nate told me about them tonight, and I approve.

If there is any sort of lesson in this post, I think it would be stay away from coffee. My friends have been bombarded with facebook wall posts and @replies on twitter. I need to stop, but I just can't!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quiet Time, Coffee, Cupcakes, Spring Break!

I had almost forgotten the perks of living so far away from everything. While it’s nothing I want to go back to permanently, I really enjoy the chance to get away from everything almost daily and have time to myself. It takes an average of about 30 minutes to get anywhere from my house, and I’m typically traveling alone. This is a hassle if you ever need to do anything in a hurry, but it’s a wonderful way to have some forced quiet time. I feel like my mental state is better because I have so much time to think; I also feel like the quiet time coupled with the few things going on leave me with nothing to blog about. It's beautiful to have time to listen to an entire cd without interruption (and I've been seriously bonding with Death Cab), and it's nice to have time to process everything that's been going on for the first half of this spring semester. I've not come to any big conclusions, but I've been alone and in silence for the first time in a while, and I like it.

And on another note, one of the lovely Cookeville Starbucks employees has opened her own coffee shop, and I think you should go if you're ever in Cookeville. It's called Sweet Sallie's, and it's a bakery coupled with a coffee shop. The cupcakes are phenomenal, the coffee is great too, and it's a wonderful wonderful place to study (or blog like I'm doing right now from Sweet Sallie's). If you're not going to be in or near Cookeville any time soon, make a special trip! Bring a book and spend some time there. It's worth it. I've been mourning the fact that I can't come here on a regular basis to do homework, so I'm spending my hardcore homework day of spring break here. I'm a little shaky from the high caffeine intake, but I'll survive.

Oh, spring break.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Podcamp Nashville

I just got back from what could be one of the coolest events ever, Podcamp Nashville. It was an all-day, completely free, really cool "un-conference" where Erin and I went to sessions about podcasting, blogging, twittering, etc. I feel like I learned a lot, and it reinforced all the love I have for the internet and its limitless possibilities. I'm not sure where I fit into the wonderful world of new media, but I enjoy hanging out. It was great to see the other members of the Nashville Internet community in person and to see the different ways people are using online methods of communication. Podcamp was the perfect, if nerdy, kick-off to what is going to be (I hope) a successful spring break.
And as for podcasts, the third installment of Noise and Nuance has been recorded, and you can look forward to it being up later this week. Prepare for some really good music this month along with an exotic locale in honor of spring break.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Moderation?

As if yesterday's post did not prove to you and me both that I lack self-control, I have had that thought reinforced today. This time the problem is slightly healthier than a milkshake at least; I try to run too much. I used to hate running, but I went from one extreme to the other when my love for it developed. I ran a 10-mile race last November after which I developed a ridiculous injury that kept me from running for about 6 weeks (and made me gain a significant amount of weight). I recovered, and I was trying to take it easy, but here I am injured again because I got a little too confident last week. My mom said, "It makes you wonder if running is worth it," and this felt a little like blasphemy to me. I haven't had to stop completely (yet), but I have cut back and started some new stretches, all the while doing other cardio to retain endurance. It's just frustrating that something could seem so healthy and yet be so dangerous. It also leads me to wonder if I am eternally going to be a victim of my own compulsive behavior. Why can't I understand the concept of temperance?

The positive side of all of this: when I stopped running last time, I wanted to hit other runners with my car because they looked so happy. I didn't have that urge last night when everybody and his/her mom was running as I drove to my friend's apartment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gluttony

Tonight was an adventure to Cheeseburger Charley's followed by a movie. I really enjoyed both of these things, but my favorite part of the night (besides Jessica and Andrew of course) might also have put a damper on the fun. The wonderful ladies at the Cheeseburger Charley's in Green Hills told me I could mix milkshake flavors; this was exciting information that I quickly put into use. I had a peanut butter/banana/oreo milkshake, and it was possibly the best concoction I've ever tasted; my only complaint is that peanut butter makes it hard to drink through a straw. This brings me to the bad part: since the straw was ineffective, I drank most of the milkshake like a person would drink any other liquid. I also felt compelled to finish it because it was so good. You have to remember I also ate a cheeseburger and onion rings before this trifecta milkshake, so by the time I finished I wasn't feeling so great. To make matters worse, we decided to rent Pan's Labyrinth. While the movie was pretty cool (and in Spanish which wins me over every time) the violent parts didn't go well with the milkshake, cheeseburger, and onion rings.

I hesitate to share this information online because I feel like it merely exposes my poor judgement and lack of self-control. There are a couple of reasons I posted this anyway: first, I think you need to try a peanut butter/banana/oreo milkshake. It will change your life. Second, I recommend watching Pan's Labyrinth, but do it on an empty stomach. And finally, the sum total of all lessons I learned tonight--enjoy life, but don't let one really great thing subtract from simultaneous experiences. Take it all in, but in moderation.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fox's Donut Den

Apparently Fox's Donut Den has a pretty good reputation here in Nashville. I went there tonight, and I was impressed. I don't feel like I got the full experience because it was 7 o'clock and the choices were limited. I'm sure there were more donuts to choose from, but the two I had were really good. Since I've been blogging like a mad-woman lately, I thought I'd share.

Is This It? At Least It's a Possibility

This morning was the first time in a while that I left church satisfied. It feels like I've been looking forever, and I think I just might have found the new place for me. I haven't checked out the Sunday school yet, but I'm hopeful. It's funny that this morning I told God I was weary of this. I hate knowing that I need to be somewhere else but being unable to find that place, and I'm so tired of leaving every week knowing I still haven't found it. I'm so thankful that he gave me some hope this morning. I won't officially say the wait is over, but there is a bright spot in all of this.

When I Said Wrap It Up, I Didn't Really Mean It

It's not really anticlimactic, but I feel there is something of a letdown at the end of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. The entire book, I was waiting for the heroine to end up with the man for whom (because this novel is like the others of its time) she was destined. I couldn't go to sleep. I wouldn't get up to use the bathroom. I felt the torture of their separation to the depths of my sould. Although I love the detail, Gaskell is wordy; I was plowing through page after page waiting for the moment these two characters would finally step away from their egos and admit to each other they both wanted to be together. The problem is this: of 425 pages, only the last 1 and 1/2 tell this part of the story. I was built up for 400+ pages, and because it was written in 1855 all I got was a brief hug and some witty comments to express a love that has been developing for years in the book and hundreds of pages in my mind. The descriptions had been so vivid, and now I'm left to use my own (inadequate) imagination to flesh out the details of the ending. I'm unfulfilled.