Life or Something Like It

Happy Singles Awareness Day

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Or, as I like to think of it,  One Month Left Until Veronica Mars Returns Day – otherwise known as Friday.

I could write an incredibly long drawn out post about why this holiday is a ridiculously trumped up holiday designed to help greeting card and candy companies make a profit (as if they don’t do well enough on Halloween, Christmas and Easter). Or, how you should be demonstrating your love for your significant other (if you have one) all year long and not just one day marked out on a calendar. However, I decided since others have already done this so well I would just share their posts with you.

First, a post from Curiata.com, which may seem a little self-serving since I write for them, but I did not write this post and I think all my issues with the holiday fairly well. Plus, you know, I want to promote the site.

The second, a post from The Bloggess. I realize some of you who read my blog may not approve of the language in the title of the post, but I loved the sentiment expressed in the post itself – love yourself, whether you have anyone to share the day with or not.

And lastly, because I love him and this video can always make me smile, here’s some dancing John Barrowman for you:

So whether you’re single or not, whether you have plans or not, try to enjoy the day.

And for my fellow Marshmallows – One Month.

Honoring Our Veterans

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Good Morning Readers!

First of all, a little business to announce. After putting your names into a hat (all three of you) and drawing them out, the winners of the Let Hope In giveaway are Matt and Tiff! I’ll be in touch with you about claiming your prizes. Hopefully the next time I run a contest there will be a little more competition.

And in honor of Veteran’s Day today, I thought I would share a short story I wrote as part of my thesis project. It’s still only a rough draft, but I thought it was appropriate for the day. This story is based on true events (and a few of my readers, if you’re related to me, may remember this day) but as I was young at the time, so some of the details may not be 100% accurate. I dedicate this to all my family members – and all of yours – who have served.

Welcome Home

Home Sweet Kenbrook

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When I was eight years old I went to summer camp for the first time. It was also my first time being away from my family for that long, I know I was more than a little homesick that week, and had many reassuring talks with my counselor, Heidi. However, over the course of that week I fell in love with the camp and for the next nearly 20 years it would become my home away from home. For almost a third of my life I spent a lot of my summers at camp, either as a camper, a “krew” member, a counselor and a volunteer (which was really just an excuse to hang out at camp). Camp was my favorite place in the world, and I couldn’t imagine my world without it. Many of my closest friends were made at camp.We’ve celebrated weddings and babies and losses together, and lived life together.

As so often happens in life, time passed by and camp has changed. There is now a completely new staff working there and to them I’m just one of the many former staff members who have served at the camp over the years. The camp itself is growing and changing and the cabins my generation of staff and campers grew up with have been torn down to make way for new recreational areas. I am not fond of change to begin with, but this one in particular is hard for me as it feels like they have torn down an important piece of my youth.

For my birthday this year my best friend donated money to the camp so that I could go up and choose a board from a cabin to keep as a souvenir of the camp I remember. This afternoon I drove up to camp, a trip I could make in my sleep, to pick out my cabin boards. As I arrived at what has been known as “Cabin Row” since the camp was built more than 60 years ago I was greeted by one of the saddest sights I could have imagined. All but two of the cabins were already torn down. Only cabins 1 and 6 remained. Six will be left standing as a memorial of the old cabins, Cabin 1 will be torn down in the morning. I was grateful we chose this afternoon to go up to camp, as the boards I wanted were from cabin 1. That was the first cabin I had ever stayed in, as well as the first cabin in which I was an assistant counselor. Cabin 1 was always my favorite cabin and I have many fond memories there. It was like coming home when I stepped inside and read over the names there. I was delighted when I was able to easily find my name on the bunk I had slept in as a junior counselor, as well as our names from teen camp in 1999 and writing from our Camp Out Night Hike back in 1995, when we snuck into cabin 1 and wrote our names with glow-in-the-dark crayon.

I took my time wandering through the cabin, looking at the names of campers and staff over the years. Many names I recognized, most I did not. It is difficult to imagine that this was the last time I will set foot in that cabin ever again. I’m going to miss Cabin Row, but I have so many good memories of that place, late night talks, staff escapades, pranks, 7:45 am meetings at the rock circles … the cabins may be gone, but I have nearly 20 years worth of memories that can’t be taken away, and I am extremely thankful for each and every one of them. I won’t say there weren’t a number of tears shed this afternoon, but I’m choosing to focus on the good memories, instead of the loss I felt upon seeing most of cabin row torn down.

Growing up is hard. Saying goodbye to the people and places you loved is hard. I find it interesting that so soon after turning 30 I am forced to let go of one of the places that was so important who I have become today. I wonder what other unexpected surprises, good and bad, this year has in store for me.

Thirty Isn’t So Bad

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I was doing so well sticking to my resolution to post a blog at least once a week, then these last two weeks I’ve completely failed. I’m going to blame it on being back in school (even though classes just started last week).

I should be spending my morning working on my lit review for my thesis, however I’m completely stuck. I have no idea where to even begin writing. I’ve spent most of my summer working on creative writing and blogging that I’m finding it hard to get into the mindset of academic writing. Then I’ve spent the last two weeks doing mainly reading and research for this lit review and very little writing. So I’m hoping this blog post will shake something loose and help me get back in the writing frame of mind (and for that reason I apologize if this post isn’t the extremely fascinating posts you’ve come to expect from my blogs; this is mostly an warm up exercise to get the juices flowing).

Last week I turned 30. On the day I turned 30 I wasn’t actually celebrating my birthday, not because I had anything against entering my thirties (because strangely I don’t) but because I was celebrating another occasion. A friend of mine since I was 6 or 7 years old got married on my birthday. Celebrating her wedding with her and her family was much more fun than celebrating my birthday (plus, there was free food, cake, music, dancing and an open bar – WAY better than any party I could have planned for myself). It was a great way to start a year that so many people dread. I am completely fine with being 30 – especially because so far my 30th year is looking pretty awesome.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances I should have this thesis completed and finish all classes required for my Master’s degree by December, which means I will be able to graduate in May. Since I’ll technically be completed in December I am hoping that means I’ll be able to find an adjunct position (or several) somewhere for next semester. I’ll finally be able to find a job that’s within my chosen field (don’t get me wrong, I love my current job and plan to stay there as long as I can make it work while still teaching part-time).

Last night I received a text from a good friend of mine announcing that she and her boyfriend (whom I also consider a good friend) are now engaged. I am so excited for them. I have no idea whether or not that wedding will happen during my 30th year, but it’s still something to look forward to, and I look forward to hearing all about her wedding planning, etc. in the coming months.

Also coming up during my 30th year is an 18-day trip to Europe and I can’t even describe how excited I am for this trip. We’ll be spending time in Ireland (oh how I’ve missed you!), England, Scotland, Wales and I just learned last night we’ll also be spending two days in Paris. I’ve never had a strong desire to visit Paris, with the exception of the Louvre and Notre Dame, both of which are planned stops for the tour so I’m extremely excited. Traveling is by far one of my favorite things to do (honestly, I wish I could afford to just travel the world without having to work, that would be perfect) and I’m extremely thankful for being given the opportunity to go on this adventure in June.

So, 30 isn’t looking so bad. I have a lot of things to look forward to (and I’m sure there’ll be many more as time goes on) and I’ve decided to embrace this new era of my life. Thirty is going to be a good year, I can feel it.

And now that I’ve rambled on about that, I should probably try writing some of this lit review. Does anyone have a good opening sentence about genre theory and using multi-genre projects in a Freshman Composition classroom?

Season of Change

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autumn_harvest

Fall has always seemed more of a season of starting over to me than the New Year. It’s possible this is because my birthday is so close to the start of fall, or perhaps because that’s when a new school year starts. Whatever the reason, I always feel like this is the time to start over if you would like to; this is the real season of change. I just love this time of year; I love the colors, the leaves, the smells, bonfires, hoodies and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. I love Halloween and Thanksgiving. I love the excitement of starting new classes (yes, I am a nerd, deal with it) and thanks to the gorgeously mild weather we’ve been having this week, I can already feel fall coming.

You know that feeling you get when you know a change is coming? You may not even know exactly what that change is, but you can feel it coming deep in your gut. You know something is about to happen. I’ve had that feeling a lot this week and part of it may be due to the feeling of fall coming, or maybe it’s just the fact that these are the last weeks of an entire decade of my life. Next Saturday I’ll be turning 30, which all of a sudden seems like a really big deal. I usually don’t feel any older after a particular birthday (after all you’re only really a day older, not suddenly a full year older than you were the day before) but within the last month I’ve been feeling like this is a big one – once I turn 30 I will definitely be older. I won’t be in my twenties anymore. I’m going to be 30 and suddenly I feel like that means I have to be a grown up (at least, more of a grown up than I have been for the last 29 years of my life).

This has had some interesting side effects. Such as, deciding I want a new wardrobe (which I can’t afford) and it’s time to clear out my closets (which was a pointless endeavor, since I talked myself out of getting rid of almost everything in there). A few weeks ago I decided I wanted a tablet and therefore purchased an iPad as an early Birthday gift. The iPad will come in extremely useful for studying and other funtions, so I do not at all regret that decision (I love it already) however, I also decided since I was turning 30 years old it was time I finally owned a Coach bag (not nearly as useful or responsible a purchase, however I did by it used off Ebay, so I still saved a lot of money). Is there such a thing as a one-third-life-crisis? Because I think I’m experiencing it.

Not only will I be turning 30 next weekend, but I will also be starting my last semester of grad school. Therefore, I need to start planning what to do next. Once again I’m faced with that same I-Have-No-Idea-What-To-Do-With-My-Life anxiety I had nearly 10 years ago when I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree. Will I be able to find a job? Will I be able to make enough money for my student loan payments? Will I FINALLY be able to move into my own apartment? (Seriously, that one is at the top of my list of priorities as soon as I can afford it.) What if I fail? What if I can’t do any of those things? What then? I had forgotten what it feels like to be nearing the end of school and realizing you have to actually DO something with the degree you’ve earned and go out into the “real world.”

However, despite all these anxieties about school and turning older I have this feeling of excitement about what’s coming. I don’t know what that is but hopefully it turns out to be something good. I recently read an article by actress Olivia Wilde in which she talks about turning 30 and gives her own advice and she closed the out with this: Saturn has now orbited the sun once since you’ve been alive; make this next go-round whatever you want it to be. Consider your baggage (bad boyfriends, job setbacks, body issues) lost by the airline of life, leaving you empty-handed at your new destination with only one choice: Go shopping … Now go—be awesome.” (You can read the rest here).

So that’s what I’ve gonna do. Unlike many who might freak out about this particular milestone of live, I’ve decided to embrace it because I have a feeling this decade may be the best one yet. It’s going to be awesome.

 

An Early Birthday Present

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This year I will be celebrating my thirtieth birthday – in just over two weeks actually. I decided in celebration of that birthday I would purchase myself a new tablet; something I had been wanting for a long time but never dared to spend the money on. However, this year I decided not to talk myself out of it and just went for it. So here I am typing my first ever blog on my new iPad. 

There are many reasons I wanted a new tablet. I wanted the convenience of having most of the functions of a computer without actually having to carry my heavy laptop around. I am not a fan of watching TV on my laptop, but I thought a smaller device (but with a larger screen than my e-reader) may be more convenient for streaming tv online. Another major reason for considering a tablet now was the announcement that Barnes & Noble would be discontinuing their line of color tablets. I own a Nook Color and really didn’t want to be stuck relying in a device no longer supported by the manufacturer. Since all my books are formatted for Nook (and I have a lot of ebooks) I didn’t want to switch to Kindle; it made more sense to go with a tablet that could run the Nook app. While Windows devices are cheaper, I chose the iPad since I hope to someday trade my Dell laptop for a Mac. 

While I’m sure ill have a lot of fun playing on here, I’m also really excited about all the productivity apps I’ve been researching. I’m currently testing out an all for my blog to see how I like it. I may be a nerd, but I’m really excited about all the things I’m going to be able to do with this device and how functional it will be. I just need to get the hang of typing with the on-screen keyboard. 

Sorry if this post was more boring than usual. It was really just way for me to experiment with the functionality of this app. If you’re still reading at this point you are a wonderful human being. 

Snapshots from Summer Camp

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I’ve begun a series of flash fiction stories to include in my thesis project; all memories from my days at summer camp, either as a camper or while I was on staff. Like most of the pieces in my thesis these are technically fictional, since I can’t really remember exact details, but they’re all based on events I remember. I thought I’d share one of these “snapshots” with you:

She stands on the tiny platform 30 feet in the air, hugging the tree and trying not to look down. Below her, anchored to the ground, the instructor looks up and calmly encourages her to let go of her fears. She slowly turns and tiptoes closer to the edge. She briefly looks down, then closes her eyes. She shakes her head and a chorus of voices shout up at her, telling her everyone else has already done it, she can do it too, it’s not as scary as it looks.

“When I count to three,” The instructor tells her. “One … Two … THREE!”

She takes a big breath, then with eyes still closed she stretches out her arms and takes a step off the platform.