Friday, September 22, 2017

The Most Stressful Time of My Life?

I keep thinking that I'm in the thick of it but then I remember the year I was 7 and how paralyzing and awful my fear of being kidnapped was. Or when I was 11 and had to deal with an impending surgery and so much more. Or when I was 17 and SO STRESSED about my senior project working out. Or adjusting to life in the dorms....or switching schools twice.

My point is, it's easy to get caught up in the stress of right now and forget all of the past stress I'm on the other side of. It's easy to long for "the good 'ole days" and forget that no days were all good. Yes, I have a ton to do. Yes, it is stressful and scary to apply to grad schools and face the unknown. Yes, I worry not just about getting everything done, but about getting it all done right. But, this too shall pass. Come Christmas, all of this will be behind me and guess what? I'm betting I'll find something new to stress about. I have to try not to do that.

I'm excited for my future, I really am. I know I don't need to go to grad school right away and I might not even end up wanting to but what I'm striving to do right now is give myself options. I don't want to feel limited or stuck.

And hey, ambition is my boyfriend right now, let's not forget ;)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Stalling

I have so much to do. Right now I'm trying to write my first short story for my fiction workshop. The professor has a lot of preferences and it's making the process difficult. I like the story but I'm having trouble rounding it out.

Not to mention two other papers and my portfolio and grad school stuff that I'm having second thoughts about.

Is it December yet?

The bright side, the air conditioning is broken in the library today so for once in my life, I am pleasantly warm. Also, my boys won their 21st game yesterday. How am I possibly going to handle the stress of tonight's potentially record breaking game??

Happy Thursday ya'll, may yours be filled with a lot more productivity than mine.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Twenty!

Guys, this is crazy awesome. I was watching the end of last nights game and just marveling at seeing history unfold. I know this team is special and now everyone will always remember them! I know I'll feel differently in November but no matter what happens in the series, we will always have this streak that will go down in the books!

Game 21 will be taking place while I'm in class and then at work. Part of me is glad that I won't be home to nervously watch but it somehow makes me more nervous too. I had a dream last night that we lost horribly. My dreams are known to be psychic BUT I also have "worst case scenario" dreams about things I'm nervous about all the time that never come to fruition. We will see.


Monday, September 11, 2017

16 Years Ago

Here's a repost of what I wrote 6 years ago, let's never forget: 

I was 7 years old. Sitting innocently in my 2nd grade classroom when the first tower was hit. The teachers did not want to scare us so they didn't tell us what was going on. Strange things happened that day though and it's amazing what a kid can pick up on. A lot of my classmates were getting taken out of school, one was pulled right from our line on our way to music class. The teachers held hushed conversations. I knew something was going on.

I just didn't know what.

When my sister and I got home my mom met us at the front door and we sat outside on the front steps. She told us a simplified version of what had happened that day. I did not understand, I don't even think I cared. It was like hearing about a story or movie where a bunch of people I didn't know died. I didn't get the magnitude of it, not for years did it hit me emotionally.

September 11th 2001 was the first major historical event that I lived through. It will be a memory that I will never forget. It's weird to think that the kids that weren't born or were babies at the time (like my little sister) never knew a world without the fear of terrorists or the war. I'm thankful that our country was somewhat peaceful for the first 7 years of my life.

For the past 5 school years in my history classes when the anniversary of the attacks comes around we watch a documentary or a TV special on the subject. When I watch these people talking about their loved ones that died or when I hear these phone conversations, actually recordings of people saying goodbye, it just gets to me. I can't imagine what was going through their minds when the realized that they had no chance, that they were going to die. The fear, the terror, the panic. I'm not brave or strong enough to even think about how I would handle that. I know that I would be praying madly and I know that the fact that I have God watching over me would help but I don't know...it's just so unimaginable.

When I think about those brave passengers that overpowered the terrorists, I'm overcome with pride for the citizens of our country. That we have people that are so willing to sacrifice themselves to save more lives. Their bravery will never be forgotten.

Lets remember, today and always. September 11th 2001

Friday, September 8, 2017

Go Tribe!

I'm an Indians fan, that may give some stuff away but I need to put it out there. GO TRIBE!

My team is currently on a 15 game winning steak, breaking their record from last year and setting a franchise record. I'm a very nervous fan, it's hard for me to watch the games when things get rough and I wanted them to beat their record SO BAD that this last week of games has been stressful for me. My mom kept calling me a "fair-weather fan" because I'll sometimes have to stop watching when we fall behind. It's not that I lose faith in the team, it's that I get sooooo anxious. It's akin to a parent not being able to watch their gymnast daughter compete. I just care too much.

Anyway, my family and I are going to the game tonight and I am praying that we can win this one too! Even if we don't, we still made history but come on, how awesome would it be to be in the stadium for win #16!

And of course, always looking ahead to that World Series which almost killed me last year.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

My Poor Neglected Blog

Confession: I love having this blog but I also hate it sometimes.

It's hard to make myself write here when I don't feel like it because I'm busy or too tired from writing for school. And then I feel guilty and it's just a big cycle.

But I won't give this space up. New plan is to try and write twice a week when I have a nice block of time at the library at school. I have so much to say and catch up on. Like my six year bloggiversary and how I was sick my entire first week of school and how E only lasted four days at college. Or, about how I left my job after five and a half years.

This year, I am realizing,  has been a year of changes. Many of them outward but I can feel myself changing too and honestly, it feels good to know that I can. A fellow blogger and member of my church family wrote the coolest novella when she turned thirty, explaining what each year of her twenties meant to her. I've decided to do the same and have been keeping track. So far I have...

20-The year I discovered my passion
21-The year that challenged me
22-The year I challenged myself
23-The year I realized I could change

I honestly can't wait (mot for the turning thirty part, I'd rather not go there yet) but for the tiem when I can look back and really reflect on what I think has been the most influential and self discovery filled time of my life.

Life right now is insanely busy, it is hard and scary. But it's chaotically wonderful and I love it.
Back soon :)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Summer Goals Revisted

Summer Goals 2017
(Accomplish at Least Half)

1. Cut my hair (X)
One of the few things I blogged about this summer. Surprisingly, I really didn't end up feeling sad or missing my hair at all. I'm no sure if I'll grow it again, we'll see. 

2. Read 5 books in preparation for the GRE/subject test(X)
This one is sort of true. I decided not to take the subject test so I didn't have to read those types of books. But I far exceeded my goal and read 8 books of varying genres! 
Books read: 
Jane Eyre
The Alchemist 
The Glass Castle
The Westing Game
Courage to Soar
The Old Man and the Sea
I Got This (To Gold and Beyond)
Lord of the Flies 

Take the GRE/subject test (X)
Really stressful, I may be taking it again in a month or so. 

Finish writing my book series, start editing (X)
I finished in the nick of time but did not start editing yet. 

Spend a lot of time outside (X)
The weather wasn't the greatest but I was outside every day that it didn't rain. I read outside before work all the time and on my days off I tried to go in the pool as much as possible. 

Save more, spend less ()
Life is expensive. 

Submit stories for publication ()
I wanted to do this but honestly didn't have time. 

Cook/bake often (X)
I cooked dinner on my days off and made cookies a few times. I'm realizing more and more that I enjoy working in the kitchen. 

Be productive with my time (X)
Yes. I was always conscious of not wasting time. I never watched TV during the day and I was always working on something. It actually got pretty exhausting. 

Continue to foster friendships (X)
It was the busies summer of my life so I didn't hang out with people as much as I would have liked though. 

Continue learning ASL (X)
I practiced what I knew more than anything. 

Enjoy it! (X)
These three and a half months were stressful and chaotic and busy but I did enjoy them. I did SO MUCH that it was hard to find time or desire to blog. However, there have been some big events that I need to document. I hope to be back to posting regularly soon and will be updating my book page today. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It's Just Hair

Today is the day I cut my hair. I've had this appointment set for well over a month so I've had plenty of time to think about it. I want to cut my hair, certainly I'm ready for a new style. And last night, as I brushed it out after a shower, I definitely wanted it gone! But I'm sentimental and as I've been growing my hair for 3 years, it's hard not to think about all that my hair has been through with me.

2 different schools, 2 different majors, thousands of school and work days, trips to NYC, Chicago, Florida, California and Virginia Beach. Beyond that, the ends of my hair have been with me even longer, I'll bet that I've had those ends since I graduated high school and was at my first college. Hair is just...there with you during everything. It's not like a favorite shirt that might tag along a few days of the month or your backpack that you have during school hours. My hair has been there, day and night through absolutely everything. It really is kind of like cutting off a body part.

I've been "that short girl with long blond hair" for a lot of my life. I'm in a constant state of growing and cutting my hair and since it grows so fast, it's usually long. I like having long hair because in some ways it is easier. Not to brush but to throw up in a nice tidy bun or a long braid. It looks good when I don't even do anything with it because the sheer weight wards off frizz and puffiness. The last few times I've had short hair, I've worn it mainly up because I can't wear it  natural down and I've been too lazy to straighten it. This time around, I'm really going to put some effort into styling it and making it look nice. I'm also getting some long bangs that will make my overall appearance look better when I do put my hair into a ponytail or bun.

I guess you could say I'm excited but I know I'll be sad too. I'll probably cry tonight. Having my hair through everything and then just--not, is hard! I don't like saying goodbye to anything but I've gotten better at it lately. I suppose another difficult aspect of the haircut is that I've basically figured I'll never have my hair this long again, ever. I mean it's really long, down to my waist and I just don't see myself ever taking three more years to grow it out like this again. I want to maintain a style. Plus, long hair isn't very adult and I'm trying to be more of an adult and get taken more seriously. Growing up doesn't mean growing out I guess.

So goodbye to my hair. It is currently 32 inches long (well over half my height!) and I'll be chopping off about 12-14 inches of it. I'm donating it too, for the sixth time. Time for new beginnings.

Monday, June 5, 2017

How Ambition Became My Boyfriend

I'm not (naturally) ambitious. I've written about that a lot on here, contrasting how my best friend Claire has so many big plans and dreams and all I want is to have a litter of kids and wear an apron while making dinner. Yeah that's still true.

But see, I don't have a boyfriend or an prospects so what am I supposed to do until my prayers are answered? Sit around and twiddle my thumbs? No ma'am. I realized that I feel lame and kind of like a loser among my friends who have significant others, even among some of my family. But, if I'm actively working toward a higher goal, I feel like I'm being productive and building my own life, even if it is independent of anyone else for now.

I decided somewhere during this past school year that I'm going to pursue grad school and I'm really excited. It's going to be a lot of work to just get in as I have to prepare an updated resume, write a letter of purpose and have a scholarly paper ready to submit, not to mention taking the GRE! It's a lot BUT, I'm working toward a goal and just having that makes me feel better about being single. For once in my 23 years, I really do feel ambitious and ready to take on hard things.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Summer and So Much To Do

It's taken a long time for it to actually feel like summer here and though today and tomorrow have been a nice glimpse, it doesn't look like the warmth will be here to stay until next weekend.

It was great getting to be out in the sun today though, my mood improves so much when I don't have to worry about being cold! My mom and M and I went to an outdoor art festival and it was just perfect weather for it. I'm excited to work on my tan and get my hair a bit lightened up from the sun before I chop it off in three weeks (!), post to come about that later.

Every day I pray that I'm being productive but I never feel as if I'm doing enough. This summer I have so much to do and it does stress me out. I have books to read and lines to learn for VBS, I'm trying to finish the series I've been writing and learn ASL and work two jobs! It's a lot and for once in my life I often feel like there aren't enough hours in the day. I also still want to relax a little bit because this past semester really tried me and I needed this break.

But there are things that I'm really excited about for my future that I promise to write about soon. For now I think I'm going to hit the couch and reward myself for finishing Jane Eyre by wasting time on my ipad :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Party of FIve, Round Two

Let's talk about TV...

For the past two years I've been watching new (to me) TV series on Netflix. I watched the following in this order starting from Spring 2015 to Spring 2017:

House (I did watch this while it was airing but not in order and I missed huge chunks)
Malcolm In the Middle
Gilmore Girls
Friday Night Lights
How I Met Your Mother
The Office

When I finished The Office, which by the way was great, I was unsure of what to do next. A few days later I was sitting with M and she saw that Netflix had added Party of Five! This is a very big deal. Allow me to explain.

My mom had watch POF when it was originally airing in the 90's. About seven (!!!) years ago we finally decided to all watch it together but the only place it was available was YouTube, in parts and sometimes the endings would be missing. It was frustrating but we watched all 6 seasons on our desktop computer in the living room over the course of 6 months. In fact, when I started this blog we had only just finished it the previous winter.

Since then, in the 7 years since we finished, M and I have talked endlessly of how we wanted to rewatch POF because that show is GREAT. But again, it was nowhere to be found and we didn't want to deal with YouTube again. Then, Amazon put it on prime which was great because we could buy an episode here and there around Thanksgiving or Christmas. M and I were actually about to just bite the bullet and split the cost and buy the entire series on prime. And then...Netflix came through.

So since the middle of April I've been working my way through POF again and it has been glorious. Not only is the show just as good (if not even better) than the first time I watched it, it is bringing back so many great memories. The hours that my mom and sister and I spent watching together that first time are so special to me. And the bulk of which was done in the summer so I feel like things have come full circle as I sit on the same leather couch as the first time, only now watching on my ipad. I look forward to the episode or two I watch every night all day. If you haven't watched Party of Five, do it!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Summer Goals! (Again)

Summer Goals 2017
(Accomplish at Least Half)

  1. Cut my hair
  2. Read 5 books in preparation for the GRE/subject test
  3. Take the GRE/subject test
  4. Finish writing my book series, start editing
  5. Spend a lot of time outside
  6. Save more, spend less
  7. Submit stories for publication
  8. Cook/bake often
  9. Be productive with my time
  10. Continue to foster friendships
  11. Continue learning ASL
  12. Enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

3/4 Isn't Too Shabby

Many moons ago, when I was 17 to be exact, the dentist told me that all four of my wisdom teeth were impacted and had no chance of coming up. She showed me the x-ray for further proof and yes, they were laying sideways beneath my gums.

Of course, the dentist then referred me to an oral surgeon and said I needed to get them (the wisdom teeth) removed in a timely manner or risk other complications. Well, me being me, I read up on wisdom teeth extractions and found that they are often unnecessary and can cause other problems. So I never went to see that oral surgeon.

Later that year, when I was 18 and moving into my dorm room, I noticed that my bottom left wisdom tooth was starting to poke through. It took a looong time to come all the way in but when it did, it was a completely normal tooth. I brought this up to my dentist and she still maintained that the other three were impacted and needed to be removed. Once again, I didn't heed her advice.

Two years later, when I was 20 and on vacation in NYC, my top left wisdom tooth all of a sudden came down, rather quickly! It was all the way in by the time I returned home. Another completely normal tooth. Again, I noted this to the dentist but over the next two years she was insistent that the other two needed to come out.

Yeah ok.

But as time went on, my bottom right tooth poked up just a tiny bit and stayed there and the top right one never did anything. Until...

Just before my 23rd birthday, my TOP right tooth came through my gums and is now in the process of coming up. It seems to be going slowly like the first one but definitely right side up.

Now, I do actually think that the bottom right is impacted for good but I'll give it a little time.  Moral of the story, do not get your wisdom teeth out in high school unless they are actually causing you issues right then. I have talked to a lot of people whose teeth came in when they were in their mid-twenties, just give them time! Dentists just want to pull and cut and make commission off of referrals to surgeons, at least mine does. Just wait it out. If I'd listened at 17 and gotten the extraction it would have been for nothing and I would have missed out on 3 extra teeth! I'm glad I did my research and didn't listen.

I'm wiser for it. ;)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I'm Back!

Recap of the last 4 months...

January
  • Stomach flu on new years day followed by the actual flu directly after D:
  • Go see a BUNCH of movies
  • Attend my friends bridal shower
  • Start my last spring semester as an undergrad
  • Celebrate Mom's birthday
  • Start watching The Office
February
  • Attend my friends wedding
  • Spend Valentines day with all of my favorite babies at work
  • Get another A on a paper!
  • Crazy unseasonably warm weather prompts outdoor walks
  • Hang with friends
March
  • Have the best spring break full of cleaning and relaxation and renewal
  • Join Easter choir again
  • Go to the Lumineers concert!
  • Claire comes home for a visit
  • My month of sinus sickness begins
  • Celebrate E's birthday
April
  • E and I prank the whole family for April Fools
  • Drop my insanely hard Logic class
  • Finish The Office
  • Find out Party of Five has FIALLY been added to Netflix and start immediately
  • Have a lovely Easter
  • My third wisdom tooth starts coming in and I'm ecstatic
  • Develop mysterious cough
  • Celebrate my 23rd (!!!) birthday
May
  • Start practice for my 3rd year in the VBS skit
  • Win an award for my short story
  • Exam week and mystery cough worsens
Mostly good times! Truly :) and it is good to be back. This is very tentative but I am *hoping* tp post every other day this summer.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Finally Writing About It Right, 11 Years Later






















Crooked



By Grace 








60 Degrees



Not like the sort of mild spring day when

my light blue jacket will do.



But like my rogue vertebrae that twist

and crush bronchial tubes and normalcy.



Not like the sort of weather I can expect on

my upcoming twelfth birthday.



But like the reason my torso abruptly

shifts to the left without warning.



Not like days spent jumping off the swing set

or flipping around on the front lawn.



But like a curve too severe to brace

or watch, or simply let be.



They will not let me be.






Appointments



I walk out of doctor’s offices

silently, without permission. I plod across short gray carpeting

and squeaky linoleum.



Past reception, to waiting rooms where my sisters look at me

questionably. Then Mom appears, stern and put-out,

grabs the hood of the sweatshirt I’ve been wearing for days

and pulls me back to where I am supposed to be.



And it is easy to ignore questions

and look in the other direction.

To be rude.

To not be me.




­Pre-op



He is next to me

           a pale infant

           beneath a cloud patterned blanket.

And Nemo swims into the open sea

          on the television against the wall

          in pre-op.



His family just dropped him off

         the nurses talk

         not quietly enough.

And I listen to them instead

         of the rated PG movie

         I’ve seen too many times.

And I listen to them instead

         of thinking about the needle in my arm

         or my immediate future.



And the machines are beeping

          and Dory gets stung by jellyfish

          as the overused DVD spins on.

Mom and Dad’s voices are seeping

          into my thoughts on how

          I did not pity the baby.

Snuggled beneath his blanket

          with no one to worry about him

          with no one to witness vulnerability








Anesthesia



The plunger pushes into the syringe

clear liquid, magic water

zips through the tubing

dutifully.

Gravity pulls it in

my veins. Where O positive blood

and anesthesia mingle

like old friends.

No count down

no goodbye

and then



nothing.



What do I think when I’m not thinking?

About x-rays

and silence in examining rooms

about things that happened.

Or apathy

and sedentary weeks

with hours of morning talk shows

and high caloric milkshakes

that will come.



My only dreamless sleep,

drug induced

blackness

a quick movement

through time.

I am myself when eyes close.



Eyes open and

my bracelet is painfully tight and

my lungs are filled and spongey and

there are tubes everywhere and

I am different in ways I cannot see.

In ways I do not yet understand.




PICU



There is a TV in the right hand corner

glowing blue and hazy

in my half-awake state.



There are tubes that twist

and intertwine with artistic

finesse.



There is Dad

and Mom

and words that are just

sound.



When I move rooms,

I call behind the caravan

of poles and people



to make sure Mom is coming too.

The Phlebotomist



Every day appearing

bright and cheery.



Taker, spiller of blood

onto my new purple blanket

that Mom bought me

for my twelfth birthday

that seemed like years ago.



The phlebotomist apologizes

In her strong accent that I cannot place.

Peroxide,

she tells me,

will take that right out.



I tell her not to worry

even though

my stained blanket

bugs me more than

the needle sticks.



Even though red

does not show up on purple.






Stephanie, the Nurse



Everyone is nice to me

but she, especially so.



She is clad in brightly patterned scrubs,

a neat French braid

and a smile that reaches her eyes.



“She’s pretty.”

I tell mom after

Stephanie has left.



Next time she pops in

Mom tells her what I said.

Stephanie the nurse smiles, laughs

thanks me.



But I am mortified,

angry at Mom for exposing

another thing I intended

to keep private.



Angrier still at myself

for not just keeping my thoughts

tucked safely in my head.

A skill I will soon perfect.




Walking



I will fall.



I will fall apart.

I’m sure.



Spine and

screws and

cadaver bone and

titanium

not yet settled.

And pain of any sort may be welcome

compared to this feeling of

being the puppeteer of my own

confused body.

The mix of ingredients sway

inside me and I’m so

certain with each footfall

I will fold.



I will fold in half.




Gift Shop



I note

The number of Amish people



The glass wind chimes that

ding softly

when brushed up

against.



I watch

the space ebb and flow with

nurses getting off shift.

With cheerful visitors.

With a few in wheelchairs like me



Mom buys two glass rings.

And I get,

a scar that I can’t even see,

a month off of school

and candy

that I don’t feel like

eating.






Breathing



The canula in my nose

blows tiny

puffs

of oxygen.

Though my passages,

to my hazy lungs.



It scares my sister, who is older

than me.

But I saw a character on a soap opera

wearing one once, while watching

TV with my grandma.



I am not afraid.



Because the little gifts

of air fill and soothe

my poor lungs

that are another casualty

of the bigger war.



I don’t realize how much

I need it until it comes

askew. And the air feels

warm and stagnant.



The respiratory therapists visit

six times a day.

I sit for half an hour with

the nebulizer that pumps air

that tastes like cake frosting



Mom talks to them,

Willy the night guy,

Bethany the one with freckles

and others I don’t bother

to know.



When I speak

I am told to keep my lips

firmly around the mouthpiece.



So I smile a lot

and try so hard

to show everyone that I am

a nice, good girl.




Dr. Armstrong



He lives up to his name

tall as I am tiny.

Calm and gentle,

making it hard for me to hate

him as I had so many others.



And I am lying

in the same spot as yesterday.

In my flannel pajamas

with the cartoon frogs skiing.

Even though it is May.



And he comes in,

talks to Mom. Then

puts his gigantic hand

on my forehead and I realize,



I am an origami.

Weak as paper

strong as the surgeons hands.




Going Home



On a Sunday Dad pulls our new van around to the hospital exit.

I like how the door opens on its own

I like that my sisters have allowed me a coveted seat by the window.



Home means,

my own bed

and regular food

and normal life.

But I am not sure I’m ready to live it again.



But I learn about blood oranges from Martha Stewart

and the war on terror from Good Morning America.

I watch people win dream vacations on Regis and Kelly

and roll my eyes at all of the petty arguments on The View.



And while my spine does the work of fusing and hardening

I reorient myself to the larger world first.

 

What I Had to Say Again and Again



Mom,



Please don’t

tell them.



About hours, my hours

on the operating table.



Please don’t,

show them.



The scar, my scar

and how well it is healing.



Please don’t talk about it

like it was some sort of

great bonding experience.



Like we spent a week at

a fun sleep away camp.

Like Rainbow Babies and Children

Is akin to Camp Walden

from Parent Trap

my favorite movie

that I’ve watched over

and

over since being home.



Yes we bonded

over things I want to keep

in my own mind.



Yes we bonded

in a way I never wanted.



So please,

just keep it to yourself

and I will do the same.




Laughing



One day in June I am laying on my bed with my older sister.



On top of the purple and blue and green striped blanket

with similarly colored curtains hanging around us.

I do something funny, something “So Grace

as my sister puts it.



And I laugh and

we laugh and

Mom, who is also in the room, cleaning up after the resident 7 year old,

laughs too.



And in days that follow I take walks and

sit on the back deck in the sunshine.

Drink banana milkshakes my grandma makes for me.

Write the kid’s book I’ve been working on for years.

Accompany my sister to the mall.



And like a switch that flipped, things are good again.

The smell of chlorine makes

a home in my hair.

I don’t cringe at every bump

during bike rides.

I swap my sweatshirt for a new beaded tank top,

and high sandals.



Summer is here.

Life goes on.




Scar



White etching

down

my spine.



Numb as if it

does not belong to me.

And the feeling comes back

at the top

and the bottom

but not the middle.



Because some time before

I was not numb

and some time after

I was not numb again.

But in the middle I was

numb

and some nerves

are cut too deep

to ever fully

heal.




Monday, January 2, 2017