Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Deadbeat Club

So I suck at having a blog...why did I do this again? I guess because it's nice in days like today to have a place to explain current important life events and decisions in one fell swoop, instead of having to explain myself over and over again to every individual person that asks (which usually ends up making me start questioning my choices when its far too late to change things).
In the past three months since graduating from school, I have been amazed at how much my sense of self and purpose has changed, just by not being focused on school and productivity 24/7.  At school I felt this humungous dose of pressure (which I now realize was about 99% all from myself) to be continually cranking out A's, research projects, good GRE scores, and of course, respectable graduate school plans.
Now, after a couple months of working and slowly teaching myself to enjoy a less-stressful life, I began to wonder...what's my hurry? At just barely 21 years old, I am a year and a half ahead of your typical college right out high school, four year plan.  In my rush to save money, and finish everything I started as fast as possible (I have a bad habit of seeing EVERYTHING as a competition) I missed out on a lot of time to explore and relax and have fun.
Also, in my attempt to apply to graduate schools while also finishing up my last fully-loaded semester, I was not as contemplative as I should have been in the schools I applied to.  Once acceptance letters started coming in and I began thinking about actually moving to certain locations like LA (or Pullman, eek!), or getting another degree that wouldn't really make me any more career suitable, I realized I wasn't excited about any of my potential graduate school options.  Instead, I found myself loving my current nanny position and wishing that I had applied to school counselor/psychologist programs instead.  The icing on the cake came when one of my very best and oldest friends (and current roomate) Nicole, suggested the idea of living in Seattle together at the end of the summer once our current apartment lease runs out.  For many of my friends, both from college and high school, Seattle has long ago lost it's romanticized, big city specialness. However, for me, living in the emerald city is almost equivilant on an exciting scale to me as moving to New York City (I'm serious! I'm from Idaho! We think Boise is cool!). Armed with dreams of a scrappy apartment that's suitable for a kitten (though Nicole is campaigning hard for a puppy), stopping at Pike's place for fresh veggies and flowers on the weekends, and of course, buying my first umbrella (!), I went back to my Gonzaga professors to get some final sagacious wisdom.  To be honest, one of the biggest things holding me back from declining all my graduate school offers was disapointing my personal idols and superstars-- my letter of recommendation writers.  After being so lovely in not only writing convincing letters, but also taking time to counsel me personally almost every day in the past year, I felt like I would be throwing all their hard work and investment in me right back into their faces if I ended up not doing anything.  Of course all three of them lived up to their title of being the most wonderful people in the whole world by enthusiastically telling me to follow my instincts and take some more time off being a student. With that final assurance that no bridges would be burned in not going back to the school this upcoming fall, I one by one, sent polite letters to my schools that I would not be attending any graduate schools for the upcoming year due to personal reasons (they can use their imaginations).
So that's that. No graduate school in the fall, and no going back! Part of me hates that now when people ask me what I'm doing merely working as a nanny and at a movie theater that I've been employed at since high school (which I won't even go into how depressing that thought is) with a bachelor's degree from Gonzaga, I can no longer give the excuse that I am just killing time till returning to school in the fall.  But this is good for me! I've spent the past four years pushing myself to gain the praise and love of my professors (...whatever, judge me) and it's about time that I learned how to be proud of myself without "grownups" patting me on the back daily.  Even better, I'm feeling that based on the past few months of graduated life, this next year is going to be amazing!  I'll continue to have time to read good books, learn how to cook great food, and take naps! I'm not gonna lie, it feels great to have more than 20 bucks in my bank account and the ability to pay down loans while also building up savings.  My ultimate goal before returning to school for school counseling in Fall 2011? A big trip! Preferable to Europe, or South America...but really wherever my finances will allow.  I have the rest of my life to be a grown up and develop a career, but when will I find the time again to live where I want, and do whatever makes me happy? It would have been great to figure this out before shelling out all those admissions fees, but eh, already forgotten.  So my strong desire to please others now wants to ask for understanding and forgiveness for being kind of a deadbeat right now, and to make the promise that don't worry--I'm going back to school-- just not right away.

p.s. How boring is a blogpost without pictures? So boring. So here is our next door neighbors new puppy, Hank. We love him! Cuuute!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

G-O-N-Z-A-G-A, I miss Gonzaga!

Bahhh. It's been about three months since my last student moments at Gonzaga and the nostalgia for my alma mater never wanes beyond a dull roar.  Last Saturday, for example, I woke up and felt like giving up my right arm to be back in Spokane. Nothing sounded more perfect than waking up in my lovely apartment bedroom, getting ready to spend a day walking around downtown, eating at the food court, casually doing some hw, and going to bed in my cozy abode.  So because I heavily enjoy reminiscing, and also making lists- I think it's about time for me to list the things I miss the most about Gonzaga life. In no particular order...
-I miss living on campus, especially in Kennedy. I miss having three dryers for my clothes, the ability to visit almost all my closest friends wearing nothing but sweatpants and socks (also a shirt in case you thought I meant I enjoyed wandering the halls topless), and having really beautiful mahogany furniture. I also miss always being able to have the heat on (even though I didn't because it's bad for the Earth, but come on "free" heat for a perpetually cold girl, what could be better?), feeling safe with the door unlocked, even when I was the only one home, and also having a door to my room. That's right, my current room does not have a door-just a pink curtain. My entire apartment can hear every thing I do and every word I say.

-An obvious given...I miss free access to Gonzaga basketball games, and I (surprisingly) miss waiting hours in the cold with Karen, hand warmers and ipods in tow, fighting for our favorite excellent seats (More or less 3rd row, right across from the home bench).  I miss Zombie Nation and the we like to party song and just the general undescribable fun that happens at home games.
Front and center for College Gameday last year. Such a party
One of the many many times spent freezing, waiting in line.

-I miss Spring semester. A LOT. If I could have skipped Fall semester and had Spring semester as my last time at school without seeming like a total lunatic- I totally would have. The first day the sun comes out, every Gonzaga student does too: playing frisbee, doing homework in swimsuits, etc.  And then we just never go back inside. April's Angels, Madonnastock, Spring Bling, big musical guest (Deathcab last year...MGMT this year? confirmation?),and basically EVERYTHING worth attending happens in the spring.  It makes my heart hurt just thinking about missing it all.

Madonnastock sophomore year. It was perfect weather that year for the weekend long outdoor concert
Volunteering at the Human Society with Karen for April's Angels (snow in April lame!)

-I miss my running loop from GU, through Riverside Park, across the beautiful Spokane falls, and back again. Bellingham may have stunning running locations in every direction, but my course in Spokane has been my spot since I first started running to prepare for Bloomsday my freshman year. Can't wait to be back on my trail!
Spokane Falls in winter wonderland mode

Mandi, Kristen, and I after Bloomsday in 08. We all ran it again last year in 09. Can't wait for this year girls!

-I miss you Karen! I miss making jeopardy a priority for the past four years. I miss walking to the library in the bitter cold every night and then, of course, living there. I miss being dreadfully sarcastic, texting each other celebrity sitings (Father Spitzer! Mark Few!), and trekking daily to visit you at work just to try and fit in a 2 second conversation between customers.  I miss all our trends that came and went like Sunday movie day and Wendy's frosties almost every night (thank goodness that ended). I miss grocery shopping and weekly dinners and calling you on my room phone and being roomates and playing speed and dowloading music until 2am (remember how we used to stay up that late? for no reason? Why did we do that?) and um...I could go on forever. I should have written a blog just about all the things I miss with you, but this will have to do for now.
After Christmas lighting our room sophmore year. There is not a better set of roomates existing in this world I would have to argue

-To be nerdy, I must admit that I deeply miss my classes and my teachers.  I miss being challenged everyday and learning from amazingly inspiring professors.  I miss seminars where I probably talked way more than I should have about how much I loved Viktor Frankl or Edith Wharton. I miss feeling more at home in the library then my own apartment and hooking up my ipod to the loud speakers in the computer lab to listen to Christmas music. As much as it pains me to admit it- I miss being busy. I miss rushing from class to work to lab to hw to class to the library and finally to bed everyday-with Sarah Arpin or Karen Dooley toiling along beside me. I used to be busy from the moment I woke up to the time I went to sleep. Now almost everyday I have time to go for a run, read a book, work on my italian, watch 3 episodes of Lost, take a nap, clean my room, make an elaborate dinner, and still get 8 hours of sleep. Oh, and also write an incredibly long blog post. Who am I and what has my life become? I really need to get back to graduate school.
My research buds with Dr. Medina. Tear!

-I miss all my friends and past roomates and past memories from Gonzaga.  I miss listening to my iPod on sunny days walking home from class. I miss all the hours spent watching Friends and Sex and the City with Kristen and Erin. I miss dance parties and trips to Lake Coeur D'Alene (and of course Forever 21).  I miss seeing movies for $5 bucks on Saturday mornings and getting Taco Del Mar. I miss doing hw/tanning by Lake Arthur with Sara Z, and napping while watching Planet Earth on weekend mornings with Ceej. I miss wandering around the Logan neighborhood with 10 other girls in high-heels with no jackets in below zero weather, searching for unbusted house parties, quickly learning the lay of the land (Ermina-too far for walking, moon towers-never as good as you would hope). I miss the Cog and Sunday morning jazz band, and finals week late night breakfast, and the fact that I could usually go an entire week surviving on free food events provided by Gonzaga.
All of these reasons are why, despite living quite the charmed life here in lovely Bellingham with beautiful, fun roomies, a great job, and a cute bf, I still feel a bit Spo-homesick and wistful now and then.  Sometimes I wonder if graduating a semester early was worth it, and then I remember the thousands of dollars I saved and remember that yes, yes it was.  Gonzaga gave me a great time and a wonderful education in my time spent there, and I just hope that as I send off my loan payments once a month for the next ten years or so, I will still remember all the great times I had- and will continue to feel that every penny was worth it. 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fanaticism of Olympic proportions

Myself and the roomies at couples Olympics, the night of the opening ceremonies, sans our partners (From left: me-France, Nicole-China, Shyann-USA, and Stephanie-Canada)

When I started a blog, William told me that I would run out of things to write about quickly. I would like to say in my defense that I will ALWAYS have things to say, it's just that I'm always quite concerned about sending out silly or sappy sentimental dribble into the blogosphere which prevents me from writing about a lot of stuff that I would potentially like to say. However, tonight is the last night of the Olympics-an event that always flies by after a year and a half of waiting, and I couldn't let the whole thing go by with out saying a little something about how deeply crazy I am about the Olympics.
Everyone has things they look forward to. Summer, March Madness, Saturday morning, and LOST (cue creepy, screechy music) are a few of the things on mine (and probably everyone else's) list. But when it comes to the Olympics, it's a whole different level of obsession.
I think most of my love comes from my mother-a woman who mainly ignores any and all sports, but watches any Olympic event with rapt enthusiasm and interest. My earliest Olympic memory dates back to 1994. Only four years old, and up way past my bed time, my mom let me stay curled up in her lap to watch the entire women's figure skating event and I still remember Oksana Baiul...wearing her hideous and infamous swan outfit, win the gold medal in figure skating. Even at that young age, I remember feeling an appreciation for the Olympics-for the worldwide unity, as well as the in-house comfort they bring during their two week stay. I know you read this Mom-so shout out to you and the Olympic fervor you've passed on to me. I've now had three Olympics pass by since I moved away from home, and nothing quite brings about the homesickness like the Olympics and their infamous theme song.
Speaking of the theme song, for those who don't know much about Bellingham, you should probably be informed that it is only an hour away from Vancouver, which means that during these Olympics, besides feeling the my usual fervor for team USA, I am also now daily bombarded by Canadian tv and radio stations that first inform me it is 9 degrees Celsius (which means NOTHING TO ME) and also that Canada has to beat America in hockey or else the world will end (So basically we are all lucky that USA lost today)! Some people I know have come to the conclusion that the Canadian channels bring us better coverage of the Olympics because it's much less commercialized and biased and blah blah. However, Canada will always lose in this argument because-get this- they have no Olympic theme song! They should probably get one of those-and probably just use ours because it's the best- ASAP! What is a huge global event doing without a proper theme song? Are all other countries similarly suffering under such a travesty? This reminds me that I should probably write a blog sometime about how much I love John Williams and how he's on my "5 famous people in history you would invite to dinner" list...

But getting back on task... ever since the Nagano Olympics in 1998, I have made it a habit to save cool pictures and articles from all the Olympics and which I then put in a box and never look at again. It's kind of ridiculous how much of this crap makes up my memory boxes in storage at home. However, on my bulletin board of favorite things (which includes a picture of a diet coke, the tag from my first pair of 7s, and my friendship bracelet from Zambia) I have the "GO WORLD" visa poster from the last summer Olympics, along with one of Morgan Freeman's little speeches about how everyone roots for athletes not because of the country they come from, but because they are human, and when they succeed, we feel their triumph and succeed with them. This may be the exact cheesy sentiment that I say I want to avoid, but I do truly feel that's exactly why the Olympics are so much more (in my opinion of course) exciting and emotional than any other sporting event out there. Of course almost every different event is interesting and intense to watch in it's own way, but it's really those heart-wrenching stories of athletes like Joannie Rochette or Alexandre Bilodeau that makes every Olympics so incredibly memorable and worth watching. Right now at the currently-happening closing ceremonies, people from all over the world are jam packed into one stadium celebrating all the Olympic athlete's hard-work together. The Olympics are ending again, I'm sure before the night is over I will cry a little bit because I always do, but really, there are only 897 days until the 2012 games in London...and yes, I definitely will be counting.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pine trees for palm trees

After two weeks of being obsessively nervous, I finally left for my interview extravaganza at University of Southern California this past Sunday. Vying for a position in their very competitive Ph.D. in Clinical Science program (Think 6 open spots out of 300 applicants), I felt stunned and pretty much just plain lucky about my interview invite. Not to mention the opportunity for a free two day trip to enjoy LA's lovely weather.
After a short but luxurious flight on Virgin America (if you have never flown with them, then seriously you should. Coach class entails huge leather seats, free wifi, crazy but comforting blue lighting? as well as your own tv screen complete with remote control and free video games. I played "Anagrama" for far too long...but that's educational right?) I arrived at LAX and was picked up by the graduate student that graciously offered to let me stay with her. I was so proud of my passenger-phobia self for not immediately curling up in a ball on the front seat while she began to magically find spaces to slide into in order to change lanes. Since she lived in the middle of downtown she equipped me with her LA tour books-which were, of course, in French (I barely met one applicant or graduate student that didn't speak a second language fluently)-and sent me to go explore on my own. After finding the Disney Concert Music Hall and not much else, I began to try and find my way back to her studio, while attempting to learn French directions at the same time. Failing at both tasks, I found myself wandering around, alone, at dark, lost, in LA, being followed by a crazy homeless man and hoping the scary man with the evil tattoos that was also near by would actually turn out to be really nice and end up saving me when my self-muttering follower eventually attacked me. Luckily I found my right street to proceed on just in time and then sprinted all the way home. Apparently I'm not as street smart as I think!
Walt Disney Music Hall
On Monday morning I met the 22 other applicants before we began our day long agenda of interviews. I was astonished to look around me and realize that besides the four lonely boy applicants, everyone else was super beautiful, friendly, and wearing gorgeous suits. As awful as it sounds...where were the weaknesses in my competition to help me feel better about myself? After making myself feel completely inadequate and insecure (always the best tactic when trying to project confidence) I stepped into my four different interviews and was relieved to find the whole experience less stress inducing then I thought. Because I'm not even sure if I'm ready to move to LA or commit to a 6 year program that is self-professed to be quite the pressure cooker, all I really wanted to walk away from these interviews with was a feeling that I didn't come across as a total fool. Thanks to my very intense preparation, which included reading every article written by my potential advisor in the past 10 years, I feel that my biggest goal was accomplished.
Despite having a generally good time on my trip, words can't express how great I felt when I finally arrived back at the airport to go home, changed out of my suit and pointy high heels into jeans and a sweatshirt. Pressure finally lifted. (Not so cool was my indulgement in Burger King that quickly resulted in a two day food poisoning episode...but that's another story...and at least I won't be tempted by fast food for a very long time.)
After touching down in Seatown and picking up my car in the rain (of course) I felt so happy to be home and so in love with Seattle as I drove through it on my way back to Bellingham. It will be a couple weeks until I find out if I made the USC cut, but even if I don't...I don't foresee being too bummed. I just have no desire to trade in pine trees and rain for palm trees and 6 years without seasons. I have become a northwest girl through and through, and I will have to think long and hard before leaving what I now feel is home.

On a recent hike with William at Whatcom Falls Park. Gorgeous.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Purely updatical

Picture from day 2

I'm continuing to love my time in Bellingham. I got a job as a part-time nanny for now and I'm loving the family I work for. Four adorable, friendly, funny little boys and super friendly parents. I pretty much am serving as part-time mom- doing lots of laundry, dishes, and lunch cooking. The hours and pay are great, but unfortunately I still could really use either another part-time job or a switch to a full. I am already battling feelings of guilt about potentially having to leave this job, but I guess when it comes down to survival I will have to go with what is working out best for me.

One of the perks of my job- Rudy. We have become best friends (Pic. day 4)

With the beginning of the new year comes my regular uptake of my Bloomsday training regime. Fourth year as my exercise motivator! Luckily, I feel that Bellingham is the ultimate place to be a runner (which I purely pose as). Everyday it's like, should I go run on the boardwalk? Or on the interurban trail? Or around this lake? Or the other lake? Or this amazing mountain? or that enormous park? There are just beautiful and diverse locations to go in every direction. Thanks to my obsessive Criminal Minds watching I have begun to carry maize with me, which I should probably be thankful for because I used to be far too carefree in my lifestyle. However, in general I have turned into a paranoid freak. I mean I hate answering our front door because I have am just waiting for a crazy murder to pick me at random to be his next kill. Criminal Minds may have to go on haitus for me to get back to normal. Which is hard because there are usually two Criminal Minds marathons going on in any given night. What else could be as deserving of my time?
Anyways, today I went to Whatcom Falls Park for my run and it was absolutely breathtaking. I felt like I was back in the jungle around Victoria Falls. Such lush vegetation with waterfalls and mossy bridges popping up at every turn. There were so many forks leading off from my chosen trail and I am overwhelmed with the exploring possibilities. I especially can't wait to go back with my camera so that I can show how I am not exaggerating. And speaking of pictures... my ambitious goal of taking a picture everyday is kind of working out-in that I am taking a picture everyday- but I realized that making a blog for a picture everyday is extremely unrealistic for me and also kind of stupid because, I think we are all pretty aware that my life really isn't that interesting. So I will continue to post my daily picture, no matter how lame they are (which they are right now, but I think they will potentially get better), but will only write when I have the time.

My nighttime nook (Loving this Hemingway)- Pic day 3

Friday, January 22, 2010


Yesterday I must have just been really into looking into new hobbies because besides starting a blog, I also looked into taking photography classes at Whatcom CC and decided they were far too expensive and unnecessary and so instead I just did some expert googling and found a great photography tips sight. After spending hours reading ideas about how to make me pictures better and what ISO actually is/does and blah blah blah I decided that to make my blog a little more interesting, I'm going to take a picture every single day for a year and write a little something about its part in my life. Sometimes I will try to have a neato photo (aka an attempt at artistic), and other times I'm just going to take a picture of something important in my life. Today it's my "new" Honda Accord station wagon "Speck." Speck was named after his adorable acne problem (or paint-flecking problem if you choose to view Speck not as a person, which I guess is your prerogative) and after Pee-Wee Herman's dog (That was for my mom, she loves Pee-Wee). Speck was given to me by my mom and stepdad as a Christmas/graduation present, and I must say Speck and I couldn't be happier with our betrothal. We have already spent 20+ serious road hours together and every day I just fall more and more in love. Speck has everything I could ever want or need, from an i-pod friendly tape deck, to the largest cargo space ever, which was absolutely perfect for moving all my stuff across the state and transporting furniture from Value Village into my room. Speck is only two years younger than I am and I can't wait to spend many more great gas mileage years together.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In defense of starting a blog

My immediate feeling upon creating a blog is embarrassment. Because I don't have any great reason to write a blog like my other friends who have actually exciting, worth-reading...ton (The name of my blog. Is it lame? I think its kind of funny. You know. It's my last name! and reading! together!) adventures of studying abroad or getting married, I just feel plain narcissistic in deciding to regularly put out blogging emissions into the internet atmosphere. But before you judge me too harshly, allow me to defend myself for my new hobby...

My biggest reason for having a blog is my awful to-go phone situation. It is pretty much the same as a no-phone situation. I just graduated from college, and then promptly disappeared to lovely, but distant Bellingham. Everyday I feel guilt at already losing contact with my Spokane lovers, Montana soul-mate, and of course my mom and sisters. I can't call, I am awful at texting, and I am already addicted enough to checking my email as it is. I know a blog is hardly the solution. I mean it definitely offers no two-way communication, but at least in one fell swoop I can announce any important news in my life. Which there never really is, but I am really good at making things sounds good. How great of a friend am I? " don't really care what's up with you, but thought you were probably dyinnnggg to know what is going on with me and my exciting, job-less, loser life, so I made a blog for you to follow." See narcissism may just be an un-escapable by-product of blogging.

My second, and even more selfish reason for starting a blog is my love to write and my new lack of outlets to do so. Without school constantly burning my brain from the inside out, I find myself already feeling quite worthless. A new job will probably clean this problem right up, but nonetheless, I am ready to chronicle the page-turning moments in my life- without the hassle of diary writings cramps, etc. Plus with the pressure of others being able to read my thoughts, I will avoid the awful experience of re-reading my most intimate past ideas that almost always turn out to be incredibly inane and embarrassing. Reading my journal from the 8th grade just leaves me questioning if anyone could have actually sincerely liked me at that point in my life. Probably true answer: no. So I just feel I would benefit from having some sort of audience (even imaginary) to semi-edit what I put into writing that will then be left to make me cringe for years to come.

So there you have it. Two not so very convincing reasons of my new outlet. I know my life is hardly exciting, but I also feel that graduating from college automatically means starting a new chapter in my book of life, and I think my future, older, richer self may appreciate my now current self taking the time to write down what I currently feel is quite trivial. Now it is time to start telling my tales of travel since I dropped off the face of the earth upon graduation. But for the intent of creating a cliff hanger, I will leave that task for another day. Also it's 7:30 and I not eaten dinner, which I usually NEED to have by 5:30 because I still operate off the same time divisions as 5 year olds and old people.
How are you supposed to sign off on a blog? Till next time? Thanks for stopping by? All of the above? I will sleep on this.