Sunday, May 23, 2010

All the World's a Stage

I'm pretty sure it was Shakespeare who said, "All the world's a stage..." Okay, I am certain it was Shakespeare, from As You Like It.

I find people claim to be inspired by quotes. I love quotes. But I usually only truly feel them once or a handful of times, if the situation arises.

But right now, this quote has never inspired me more.

Technology has allowed us to keep track of people from our past. It's the most compelling thing in the world to see to whom everyone develops. Some people are slowly saving the world. Some surprise you by remaining stagnant.

In middle school I was certain that in college I would study English. I secretly wanted to be a teacher but was afraid the life would be "too normal" for me. I never really shared these aspirations. I wrote like crazy. Hundreds of pages of stories, poems, journal entries. I even had the guts to enter a short story into the annual city-wide literature fair in seventh grade, although short stories were deemed the most difficult category to place, let alone win.

Nonetheless, I knew my place.

And I won.

In a town of nearly half a million people, my hometown, I had beat every seventh and eighth grade short story entry.

It was my life's shining moment. And it proved something to others, although I was unsure of what that was at the time.

In middle school, I didn't have many friends so I spent all of my spare time learning, studying, and writing. It was one of the most productive times of my life. I had the highest grade (or a tie with multiple people) in every one of my classes. But something was missing.

I moved to a new town, went to high school, made friends, made mistakes, and changed my mind about my aspirations. I wanted to make money. I wanted to prove that I was smart.

This is where Shakespeare comes in.

The world really is a stage. We all think we're fooling everyone. Sometimes we play roles. And sometimes we're better actors than others.

A stage is merely an illusion. An appearance. People can be led to believe whatever they want to believe by a premeditated presentation.

Being an English major can lead people to believe whatever they want to believe about me. They may think I'm smart. But what's not to say I'm just a babbling idiot? Some may think I'm simple minded. But what about all of those thoughts I can only express after the fact? Does timing define "my act"?

We tend to judge people based on the things they say, the things they believe in, the way they defend themselves, and the dreams they aspire. We almost always decide ahead of time if someone's dream is feasible or far-fetched based on what we already know.

But in life everything is just an illusion. We may think someone is dressed in all the most expensive clothes only to learn that everything they buy is on sale or from Target (this is the best kind of illusion- one I wish I was more able to produce!). But in our minds, it's sometimes easier to just pretend that someone else's success isn't attainable.

We may feel put down because someone else may appear to be more successful. It may torment us into thinking that we aren't as smart as they are, even though we are all multi-faceted and intelligent in ways that others cannot be.

Sometimes the best we can do is raise our masks and await the curtains' unveiling.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Summer Blues

I feel like I've got the summer blues.

During school, there's never time to do anything, not even sleep! But now that time is in excess, I am at a loss as how to manage myself. After working all night, I end up waking groggily at 3 or 4PM to consume sugary cereal and lament my wasted day. It's too late to call up friends; I'd have to shower.

So sometimes I do laundry. And think about the things I want to do but alas, cannot. I want to scrapbook! But before I can, I must complete the scanning/burning of thousands of pictures to save them, before I cut them to pieces. Talk about OCD.

I want to just be carefree and go do things! But I feel guilty leaving my dad at home by himself to take care of the dog, do the dishes, etc. And besides, I can't truly be carefree until all of my seemingly meaningless chores are finished.

Currently Unfinished Chores I Have Yet to Cross
Off My List:
1. Get a haircut
2. Re-dye hair (now I remember why I never colored my hair before... maintenance).
3. Scan thousands of photos, organize them into discs, file them, print pictures to scrapbook, and make good use of them!
4. Find a very large box to act as my "Hope Chest." My grandmothers/mother keep giving me house-y products as if they expect my marriage to be impending before I reach the spinster age of 21. I can't contain them!
5. Clean out my boxes in the basement. Apparently I have kept every paper I ever had as a child.
6. Sell CDs to a resale shop. I've gone digital. But I hate talking to salespeople. I have a fear of confrontation.
7. Import photos/music to external hard drive.
8. Learn to exercise despite laziness.

There might be more...

But I just can't rest. And I think I need help coping! Life is going to go on despite the fact these things are not done. But once I begin a huge undertaking I simply cannot stop.


Good Eats, a show on the Food Network hosted by Alton Brown, whom I love, is currently playing. He is talking about spring water, confined aquifers, and artisan wells. I just learned about all of this is geosciences. The diagram he uses looks just like my textbook! Ah! I can't escape the elemental geosystems!


On Monday, Frank and I went on our first date in awhile. We went to Steak & Shake and got to talk since we really hadn't over the weekend. The sun was shining perfectly into the restaurant from my angle and everything seemed perfect to me. I wasn't worried about my agenda but I was left with a sense of emptiness. I realized the booth would seat four people perfectly: Kelsey, Ruth, Julia, and I. I expressed this sentiment with Frank. Mainly I expressed my sense about Kelsey. "I always have Kelsey but I don't have her here." I really love where I live but I realized I would probably never leave if she was here. I have Frank, my newfound friends from college, my parents, job opportunity, and sense of love for the community. "I guess with her I could just do anything."

He understood.

Then we went to see Robin Hood, which I highly recommend. Of course, History 101 all came back to me as I pointed out the characters and their personalities before they were named onscreen. I of course knew the outcome, historically as well. I love how even general education classes leave you with a sense of feeling like you know everything. Especially when you don't. (Ha).

This was the house used in one of my favorite movies of all time, My Girl.

Part of the reason I love the movie so much is because of the childhood heartache it so artfully conveys. The main character, Vada Sultenfuss, reminds me most of myself when I was a child.

She was always very smart, but in the way in that she borrowed her intelligence from what other people said. Especially when she suspected her "prostrate" to be troubling to her after hearing someone having died of prostate cancer. She said, "Once it hits your prostate, you're a goner."

She really needed validation but rarely got it, so she went in search of it in unlikely places. Her father was an undertaker and never paid her much attention. She would talk to Arthur, one of her father's employees:

"I beat Thomas J at Monopoly yesterday!"
"Good for you baby."

Then her father chimes in:
"Vada, could you leave us alone please? I'm embalming my high school wood shop teacher."

She fell in love with her fifth grade teacher, Mr. Bixler and stole $35 to take his adult summer writing class. Once a man had the group sit in a circle and told everyone to feel his aura. Vada said she didn't think she was allowed to.

She would often exaggerate and lay on the floor, refusing to eat dinner because she believed herself to be dying.

She was mean to her best friend, Thomas J even though she knew he was the only person who really understood her.

None of the girls ever wanted to play with her.

I absolutely related to her and still do, as a young adult. She was so endearing because she was longing to grow up so fast and so strongly wished to appear older. She didn't want to be placed on the same level as her peers. She wanted to marry Mr. Bixler. She was reading War and Peace "for fun." She was growing up without a mother and metaphorically without a father.

One of my favorite scenes is at the carnival with Vada, her father, and her father's new makeup artist/girlfriend, Shelly. Shelly says her cousins ate carnival food and got nephritis.

"Nephritis is a kidney disease. You don't get it from eating hot dogs," Vada quipped.

She discovers Shelly and her father to be engaged after winning a fish, and instantly drops it, surprised.

"Do you want us to get you another fish?" Shelly asks.
"NO! I don't want another fish!" Vada shouts, then pauses.
"Fish are very resilient animals you know."

My Girl is one of those movies that doesn't truly have an outstanding script, a memorable cast, or a fleet of awards to show for. But it has always held a special place in my heart. So here I share it with you now.

And now I have to go to work. Hopefully my prostate remains intact.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Things Are Better in the East

And now for the grand unveiling of my Top Ten Favorite Female Singers...
1. Grace Slick: No one gets any cooler than Grace Slick. Spanning all the way from Jefferson Airplane to Jefferson Starship to Starship, Slick stuck around. Her voice is so distinctive and I love to listen to her any time of day. She was never trained to be a singer but she is one of the most definitive voices of rock 'n roll. If I advocated the hedonistic lifestyle, I'd wish to live hers... the San Francisco psychedelic/acid rock Haight Ashbury scene, Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock, hanging with Keith Moon, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia... I think she was so gorgeous.

2. Jenny Lewis: If Grace Slick had never existed, Jenny Lewis would be the coolest female of all time. I thought I loved her when I heard Rilo Kiley. I thought I had a serious woman crush on her when I heard "Acid Tongue." But then I discovered her first solo album "Rabbit Fur Coat" and I flipped. I love her voice and I seriously recommend "Rabbit Fur Coat." It's one of my most favorite albums of all time.

3. Taylor Swift: At first I wasn't truly convinced of the Swift's greatness. But two years ago, I gave her a try and discovered that she felt all of the things I did growing up along with many of the feelings I wished to feel. "You said the way my blue eyes shined put those Georgia stars to shame that night. I said, 'That's a lie...'" Taylor Swift's world to me was worn out jeans, little black dresses, driving around in a pick-up truck, living the life. I feel like I relate a lot more to her "Fearless" album and the song "The Best Day" sometimes makes me tear up. Like Julie and I agree, if Taylor Swift wasn't famous, we would want to be her friends. (We'd be her friends while she's famous too!)

4. Regina Spektor: The first time I really started to like Regina Spektor was in concert last November. I hadn't really listened to her but my boyfriend and friends told me I would like her. I had a concert review to write for my History of Rock 'n Roll class so it seemed like a good idea. Regina is so soft spoken, quirky, and cute. A couple of times she messed up and followed with a swear word much to the audience's delight. Her voice and talent are so unique and each song feels like it belongs to a different genre. She's in my head a lot.

5. Alison Krauss: I've loved Alison Krauss ever since I was a little girl and she was singing primarily with Union Station. The first song of hers I remember is "When You Say Nothing at All." Through the years she just keeps producing outstanding bluegrass music. I especially love the album "New Favorite" with Union Station. I was even more ecstatic when she contributed to the "O Brother Where Art Thou" and "Cold Mountain" soundtracks. Her voice is so timeless, angelic, and distinctive.

6. Ella Fitzgerald: There is something about Ella Fitzgerald's music that instantly makes me feel classy. She inspires me to fall back into the days when elbow-length silk gloves were customary. I want to go to a swanky coffee shop just thinking about her.

7. Aretha Franklin: I am a huge lover of 60's soul music. Aretha Franklin is probably the definitive example of the 60's soul female. Her voice is so strong and can never be imitated; she is all her own. Her gospel roots only enhance her conviction to her music and those high notes! "I love you, I love you, I love you, baby I love you..."8. Billie Holiday: Every time I hear Billie Holiday I start to swoon. She is so fantastic. Like Ella, she makes me forget which era I am from for just a few wonderful minutes. There are many days I wish I could be from the 40's, dressed up in girly shoes and sweaters, dancing slowly to Billie Holiday, never wanting the night to end.

9. Judy Garland: Judy Garland almost got the shaft in 1939 when Shirley Temple was nearly given her role of Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz." Thank goodness order was restored in time. "The Wizard of Oz" wouldn't have quite been the same without her. As she grew older, her songs reached the same status as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Those are my ultimate 40's-era triad of female singers.

10. Kim Deal: Kim Deal was a member of the Pixies and later branched out with new material for The Breeders. I totally like her most for The Breeders. As my friend Ruth said, "Kim Deal is awesome because she can just scream in the middle of a song." Right on.

Monday, May 10, 2010


My grandparents have been visiting from out of town for the past few days so I have retreated into my own little family world. It's been nice. We have these big family meals for breakfast and dinner; something I'm not accustomed to. With my dad out of town for weeks at a time, my mom and I tend to fend for ourselves, especially with me in school getting home at sporadic times.

I think it's been years since we've had apple juice in the house.

On Thursday, when they arrived, we visited outdoors, enjoying our lovely backyard. I used to live close to a Nature Center growing up and every time I look outside it reminds me of my childhood and how much I want to throw on some boots and explore!

We then took my grandparents out to eat at the same restaurant we held their surprise 50th wedding anniversary. It was amazing to have close to 50 out-of-state family members make the trip down here last year to surprise them!

On Friday, my mom had to work, so my dad, grandma, and I went to Lowes in search of flowers to plant. We settled on some delicious purple, white, and peachy flowers that we hoped mom would like. My grandma and I are addicted to HGTV, so we entertained ourselves on that. When we came home, my grandpa and dog were sitting on the front porch. Apparently, we had locked them out! Then we picked up mom and did a little grocery shopping.

On Saturday, I worked until late (around 7:30 AM, haha) but came home to have dad making a huge breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, hash browns, toast, sausage, chocolate milk, cranberry juice, AND apple juice. I truly felt special. And then I crashed into sleep.

My boyfriend came over to visit after dinner and I'm pretty sure talked to my grandpa for three hours (Grandpa's a big talker). I fell asleep. By the way, the digital short with Betty White was hilarious, even though I'm not much of an SNL fan.

I have trouble sleeping on the weekends. I finally get two days off to sleep when normal people do, but instead I toss and turn until 5 AM. Somehow, the daylight signals my brain to emit tryptophan or something because that's the only time I feel like sleeping (unless I have to work of course).

Today was the last full day with the grandparents. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay awake for most of the day due to my sleep apnea from the previous night and I felt so uncomfortable, sick, and languid. I've been feeling this way for awhile so mom and grandma want me to go to the doctor. But I don't wanna! What are they going to say? Sounds like you've got a case of working at an overnight shipping industry? Prescription: graduation from college. Only then will I have relief! By the way, that's two years away.

My dad's really into hunting down our family tree and brought a bunch of stuff out today to share. I was surprised at many of the things I learned! We have found not-so-distant relatives that immigrated from both England and Germany that we have recorded. I also discovered a genetic disease prevalent within my family, along with the knowledge that my grandpa's uncle totally robbed a bank and went to prison for seven months. He also had five wives. I also learned a secret about my great-grandmother that even my grandfather just learned today. I felt so proud to be a part of these moments. (I also just inherited my great grandma's china). All of this was just crazy to me. I never knew we were so... varied. None of our ancestors were ever rich and that kind of makes me proud. Look at how far we've all come. We're still not rich but we work hard and take pride in what we have. I love my family for that.

I've been feeling like I've been in a funk lately. I'm not exactly where I want to be. I want to have more faith, more knowledge, more energy, the ability to be more open and friendly with people, more forgiving of my mistakes and flaws, etc. I've especially been feeling this because of last week at work. But my grandpa said something that could've very well been pointed to me had we been in a movie or an episode of Full House.

Even though our family has a varied, and not always unblemished history, we're honest. It was something along the lines of...

"It doesn't matter what you do as long as you own up to it. He robbed a bank! That's what he'd done! There was nothing he could do to change it. Not telling the truth about it wasn't going to make it go away."

It was just a simple comment. But my stomach did that little turn when you feel something magnanimous; and that moment was to me. What has happened has happened. I can't change who I am. My integrity lies in my honesty, even if that means being a martyr in an unfair trial. I feel like God sees things like this happen and instead of plotting revenge, hopes we overcome adversity for His sake.

I love my family.

I feel like this blog not only helps you get to know me better; it helps me get to know me better too.

Here's a little bit more about me:

Favorite colors- plum and I love red & turquoise together.

Favorite foods- American, Italian, and Mexican fare. I despise Chinese food (so does the boyfriend, naturally we are meant to be together), thin crust pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut, seafood.

I dislike Carrie Underwood and John Mayer. But not for the same reasons.

I think the word "foodstuffs" is ridiculous.

Favorite bands- Obviously, The Beatles. Followed by The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Shins, Rilo Kiley, The New Pornographers, The Raconteurs, and... is it shameful to say Aly & AJ? Because I LOVE THEM. I would scream in a front row of their concert... Apparently they go by 78violet now. (These are just the essentials; there are many more, as I am an avid music lover).

Favorite things- Could it get more general? I love polka dots (white on black, not black on white), gingham, florals, plaid, arabesque, plum, dark (but not hunter) green, stained glass, the designer Sara Richardson of HGTV for designing beautiful modern country houses inspired by fabrics, Paris, light pink and black, etc. These things make my head spin.

The only two TV shows currently still airing that I keep up with are Glee and Ghost Whisperer (say what you want! I am a huge Jennifer Love Hewitt fan as guilty as I feel for admitting it).

My favorite show of all time as many of you may already know, and if you don't you probably will... GILMORE GIRLS.

All of those shows start with a G.

I love to scrapbook, (try to) take artistic photos, aspire to acquire a professional camera, creatively write, imagine, design in my head, subconsciously match, browse Pottery Barn, Pier 1, etc albeit expensive and illogical. Target is a nice alternative.

Favorite subjects- It's been English since I learned how to read. I also enjoy foreign languages (woo for a Spanish minor as of next semester!), history and science (but not the classes), and I have an irrational love of choir music. It is the most beautiful sound to me. I imagine the gates of Heaven opening to "Lux Aurumque" or "O Magnum Mysterium" (or sometimes the instrumental part of "Baba O'Reilly" at the end). Choir music gives me chills and to be a part of a choir for most of my adolescence gave me the greatest feeling of comradery and accomplishment. You work so hard, for months perfecting a song, to unveil it in three minutes. It almost makes me want to cry, imagining those nervous feelings of being on stage with the spotlights blinding me. I love to sing and I love choir!

Favorite flower- sunflower

I'm sorry if reading this was the longest post of your life. I didn't want to bog myself down with pictures this time. I just wanted to let the thoughts honestly flow. Thank you for listening.

I love My English Life.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Slow Down

Today has been my first day to myself... kind of.

I went to lunch with my friends, Sarah and Lauren. Sarah is leaving for Panama on Thursday so we were determined for the gang to reunite beforehand. Success.

My first half of college ended last Tuesday. I took my last final, headed home, and spent the entire night searching for my mother's birthday present with my dad... for the next day!

Luckily we were able to pull ourselves together in time. We went out to eat and explored our great state. Who knew there was so much beauty and history here?

We walked among church ruins. The original stones were still intact along the foundation. I could almost imagine myself walking down the aisle in period dress, people in pews to my left and right.

We also discovered markers indicating the final resting places of relatives to the 16th and 33rd presidents!

Me & my mama on her 50th birthday!

I love the beautiful simplicity of nature. The way the sun shines through the leaves of the treetops. The sporadic groupings of landscape. The scents.

Ah, it's lovely.