Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reflections on another semester – DONE.

Today, I finished the last math class I will (hopefully) ever have to take. I still feel like I just started. I did a LOT of work, but is it bad to say I feel like I haven’t learned anything? Most of the information in ALL of my classes, not only math, just went way over my head. I feel like I was shot out of a rocket and have just been flying through everything since January.

I’ve spent the last four months so distracted, I don’t know how I managed to end up with a 3.5 GPA. (For now. I still have to get through finals to know the grades that will go on my transcript.) In January and February, I was consumed with planning the trip Mike and I went on. There was a lot to do! I was searching for the cheapest possible hotel, going out every few days to search sale racks for outfits that wouldn’t make me feel like a loser (Eh, I felt and looked awkward the whole two weeks anyway), compulsively checking Accuweather for upcoming storms that never happened…and generally, I was so excited that I couldn’t stop bouncing.
I spent most of March in Kentucky. The first week of it was spent here, packing and cleaning. (Or better yet, procrastinating when I SHOULD have been packing and cleaning.)

When I got back from Barbourville, I stayed out as much as I possibly could (while mourning the temporary loss of Mike AND my babies!), sometimes just going to the mall to window shop, other times picking up things for our new apartment in Cookeville. After I got my acceptance letter to TTU, my focus shifted to schoolwork, because I want to get the best grades possible, in order to pick up a scholarship or two.

Now I’m broke, worn out, and almost done. This semester was easier to get through than the last one, but it’s still taken a lot of work to get through it with my sanity intact. I’m both nervous and excited to see what the next school year will bring! A new state, new living situation, and HOPEFULLY some new friends. I never quite understood how I got through this school year without making one new friend at school. Everyone I talk to outside of class was either found on Craigslist or someone I knew from before.

My teachers were tough this year, but they pushed me to try to move past my slacking ways (which didn’t completely happen, haha). I loved having Mrs. Whitney for both Speech and Mass Media…I never thought I’d get through a speech class and pass it (let alone end up with an A), but she made it interesting. I’ll never forget the one day I was really stressed out about money (it happens at the end of every month), and she stayed past her typical hours just to listen to me.

Mr. Soiseth’s Food Science class was mind-numbingly boring and the hour dragged on, but at least I got to have a class to write in. And his tests were easy. He was sympathetic to my missing-the-bus situation, but I still won’t miss him much.

Ms. Ellefson got me through math. I liked her, but it was weird being taught by someone who’s only 3 years older than me. It was hard to see her as a kind of “authority figure.” More than that, I’ll miss Danelle, the woman who sat next to me and always asked to see my cat pictures. She was cool, and so supportive when I told her about my crazy-impulsive school choice. I’d like to stay in touch, but most women around my parents' age don't get too much into Facebook.

There’s probably more that I can leave without looking back to. I’ll happily say goodbye to the bus creatures, though Tennessee no doubt has some creepers of its own. I won’t miss FIVE MONTHS of snow. I won’t miss the school that I’ve attended for 9 months where no one my age looked at me twice…

Summer will be a welcome break. Like I said on facebook, I’ll be BUSY. Garage sales, cleaning out my apartment, and FINALLY moving. But it’ll be nice. I’d much rather be busy packing than busy studying. And the crappy stuff (cleaning out my mom’s house, planning another bus trip, and saving money) will be easier when I remind myself of the good things to come. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bucket List!

I figure I should have this written down somewhere. :) I'm sure I'll add to it as time goes on and I see more opportunities for adventure!

- Get married
- Have a child
- Step in both oceans
- Tour a city in Canada
- Take a road trip (driving, no buses!)
- Go to a non-school-sponsored concert
- Sell a piece of art I made
- Have a speaking role in a community play
- Publish a book
- See my name in movie/TV credits (ANYWHERE!)
- Join a church
- Have a conversation with someone in a foreign language
- Spend a holiday in New York City or Chicago
- Live in my own house
- Create a successful youtube webshow
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter
- Rescue an abandoned animal
(Just realized I did this one! Sorry for forgetting you, Sobe!)
- Fly in a plane
- Be told I made a difference in someone's life.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It gets better, I promise.

4/20 is the birthday of a couple of my friends...
but most people think of it as the national weed holiday.
It's always been kind of a sad day for me.
When I was in 6th grade, one of my first e-friends died of cancer on April 20th, 2002.
She was only 14. I was 12.
It's been 9 years.
I haven't thought about it in a long, long time,
but I had a kind of flashback when I was at the grocery store today.
(It'll all make sense in a little bit, I swear.)
...When I was 16 or 17, I had a mental breakdown that summer.
Worse than my other high school years.
My mom told me I was pretty much chronically suicidal, but I was so drugged with anti-depressants & anti-anxiety pills that I don't remember it. (Or most of high school, actually...)
I apparently passed out on the grass in the front yard.
My mom tried to wake me up by doing all kinds of stuff but nothing made me move.
It was during that time that I had the weirdest dream...
I don't remember that day at all, but I remember the dream so clearly.
I dreamed I was in this weird park...there were trees everywhere, like no tree I've ever seen anywhere I've ever lived. They were like weeping willows but with fuller leaves. There was water everywhere too, like puddles. Not mud puddles, though. The water was really clear and blue.
There was a rope swing tied to one of the trees, and Hello Kitty was swinging on it.
(Told you. Super weird.)
Then this girl that had died like 5 years earlier was hanging out with Hello Kitty, and she started talking to me.
She told me that I have to keep pushing and not give up, because there were so many good things in life that I didn't deserve to miss out on. She said there were things in life much bigger than prom or who would add me on Myspace.
I was in high school. So that's basically all that DID exist in my life at the time. I couldn't imagine anything else. I didn't think waiting would be worth it. I thought I was better off dead for a couple more years after that. I told this girl that she didn't understand. By that time I was in the hospital laying on a bed, and my mom said I was staring up at the ceiling having a conversation with someone she couldn't see. She said she didn't think I was sleeping, because my words weren't slurred at all. She says I woke up just like I had gotten up from a nap, and asked for tacos.
I think I get it now...what happened, although I still have no idea what that experience was.
Maybe that girl was my conscience projected onto another body. Who knows.
But now that I'm out of the torture chamber called high school,
and my dysfunctional family is basically not involved with my life,
I have seen so many amazing things that make me happy to be here and alive.
I wish I could tell every depressed, bullied, lonely girl who has no safe place,
that the pain doesn't last. It comes and goes, but there's more to life than that...
They've just gotta wait for it.
I got really, really close to offing myself a couple different times.
Even though there are probably still people I know who wish I had succeeded,
I'm glad I didn't get my way.

My mother and my grandma were the only people who knew about this experience, but now that I made sense of it, I don't see why I shouldn't share was quite interesting.

Oh, and here's one of my new favorite songs. Ignoring the parts about being in a famous band, this song is my life story.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

shopping on a college budget pt. 1 - food

There are plenty of reasons why I can't be eating out every day.
For one, I have an apartment to save up for...where almost all the furniture has to be bought new.

Secondly, I can't decide to work extra hours to make up for a splurge.
At the end of the month, I'm eating mac & cheese, no matter what. I suck at budgeting...
But lately I've managed to cut my grocery bill down 10-15 dollars every week, from about 50 to 35-40.

Here's how I do it. :)
- Store brands are not the enemy, but they aren't all good either. It takes a lot of experimenting to find out which brands are worth buying, and which ones are a waste. In my opinion, the Hornbachers brand of canned vegetables/fruits (Flavorite) taste exactly the same as the name brands. However, I think CashWise brand salad dressing (Food Club) tastes like garbage. In dry goods like bread, crackers, plain potato chips, etc, there is rarely a difference. Cola has tastes that vary by the brands, but fruit-flavored soda usually tastes the same everywhere, too. You can save a lot getting a couple 2 liter bottles of store brand grape soda opposed to a 12 pack of grape Crush. (I don't drink soda, so I don't buy any of it, but most people my age do...)

- Some fruits are REALLY expensive out of season. In the winter, blackberries can be as much as $4 for a tiny carton, when strawberries and oranges are half that price. Right now, I think we're in blackberry season because they're unusually cheap...we just came out of Kumquat season, I do believe. Kumquats are amazing. :)

- If you have the time, buy meat and cheese separately and make your own sandwiches. Your ingredients will last longer than a single meal, and you can mix and match the ingredients you like. Same goes for pasta salads. Deli food is EXPENSIVE, and there are lots of easy recipes online showing you how to make your own pasta salads. I like

- Buy milk in small cartons, unless you drink a lot of it. If half of it goes to waste at the end of the week, what's the use of buying a whole gallon?

- Drink fruit juice. It's cheaper than pop, and the vitamins will help boost your immune system. I learned this trick when I was living in Kentucky and I was uninsured for the better part of a year. I couldn't afford to go to the doctor, so I had to take it into my own hands to stay healthy. I'm rarely sick anymore, so something must be working. :) Lots of kids' fruit drinks also contain lots of vitamin C, even if they don't have much else for nutritional content.

- Ramen is a staple in any college kids' diet. I make it more filling and satisfying by adding things into it. By putting mushrooms, pepperoni, or other vegetables like corn in my ramen, it feels more like a real meal than a last resort. The asian market on main street in Fargo has ramen with vegetables already in it. If you want good noodles, go there. Really.

- Keep your receipts. Lots of stores have coupons on the back of them, or hand out coupons at the same time.

- Shop around at different grocery stores to see where your favorite things are sold the cheapest. Here in Moorhead & Fargo, Hornbachers has a really good deal on chips... (2 for 3.00), CashWise has the cheapest cereal, and SunMart has the best selection of drinks. If you're carless like me, store-hopping can be difficult, but at least you'll know where to walk/bike/catch a bus to if you're struck with a craving and have little cash.

People who know me know that I'm terrible at impulse-buying and I've gotten myself into trouble spending money I don't have. You don't have to take me seriously at all...if anything else, I'm just writing this stuff down so I can remember it later. Next time I do a money saving blog, I'll write about clothes. I AM good at sale-shopping in that area! :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

a self-reflection on good news

So, I got my acceptance letter to TN Tech today.

I have mixed feelings about it.
For one, I'm ECSTATIC at the fact I can get to see what a big state school is like...
in a town where the temperature doesn't get below 0 enough days out of the year to count...
I'm happy that I'll be closer to my Nashville friends...
one of which who will live close enough to visit me after school and hopefully be my shopping buddy. :)
I'm grateful to be able to live in an apartment with more space.
With more big cities close by, maybe I'll be able to go to a concert or something
[still have never been to one that wasn't sponsored by school...]
and I'll get to visit more states and get more rubber keychains. XD
I'm a little sad though, because it just proves that this town,
which I've wanted to live in since I was a tiny child,
has failed me.
I hate to admit to myself that it IS possible to live here for 9 months and still feel so lonely.
I know it by heart though...I could get to the mall with my eyes closed. XD
It sucks that I don't even get a goodbye party this time...
Not because of money or time or anything else...
only because I don't know enough people to throw me one. :\
I'll miss the feeling you get when the snow finally melts...
when you're on a high and the world could not possibly be more beautiful.
But I suppose that's what visits are for?
I have to keep thinking of the good things...
like having my cats back!!
Instead of that general feeling I get every single time I start over...
Wondering if I'm doing the right thing,
and hoping with all my heart things will finally get better.
I rather like the anonymity of being somewhere else every year, but I know what I'd like more.
The predictability of getting up in the morning in a safe neighborhood,
stepping out the door and not being hit on by bus-creatures...
After school, going shopping or to the movies with friends who are actually REAL friends,
(not just tolerating me to cure their own boredom),
and coming back to take Lola out for a walk on her leash.
That little picture is enough to keep me going for now.

BTW, here's a couple of my favorite travel songs. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eulogy for a phone.

I found you at Walmart, just days after the tornado hit.
You were my first companion, when this was still a new town.
I'm sorry I ran over you when I first took my bike out exploring.
You were slightly damaged but recovered well.
You took a lot of abuse.
I guess it was just too much to handle anymore.
But why now? Why, I ask, did you have to die
When I had just filled you up with new minutes
and need you for important calls?
Though I'd rather not replace you, being on a fixed income
and saving everything I can for new furniture,
I know that I must.
You will not be forgotten.
Rest in pieces.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Word Vomit

I am having serious writers (bloggers?) block lately. So here's a couple more story pieces! I'm thinking this would work out better as a screenplay, since all the pictures in my mind are so much clearer than the words. We'll see.

(Part of Ari's confrontation with her dad)
“You should be grateful for all I’ve done for you! You were the first of your friends to have a digital camera or an MP3 player, and you wore the most unnecessarily expensive name brand clothes to school every day! Your life was much more privileged than those sewer rat kids could ever dream! You should thank me.”

“Buying me things doesn’t make you a good parent! For God’s sake, you kicked me out when my image didn’t meet your expectations. If the government didn’t basically save my life, I’d be homeless right now, or locked up in some institution. I’ve already been there, thanks to you. A huge chunk of my life is gone and I can’t ever get that back. Don’t you ever tell me that you gave me a good life. If anything, you took it away.”

(What a panic attack really feels like)
There is nothing like feeling trapped to bring out the worst in someone. I felt the color drain from my face and my heart started to race. The rain that tapped against the window seemed to be mocking me. I was desperate to escape from the warm, quiet cabin and run down the pitted gravel road until I collapsed from exhaustion. My lungs felt like they could explode, or implode, I wasn’t quite sure. I clenched my jaw to keep myself from screaming and disturbing the only ten people on the planet who treated me like an equal. A pitiful whine escaped from inside me as I slumped against the wall in the darkened entryway. I was sure the uncomfortable pounding in my chest was already disturbing the midnight silence, but if Jordan heard it, he paid no attention. Everyone was asleep but us.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring break - Continued!

the hotel with Brianna and her aunt, I spent in line. Some of the autograph lines were terribly boring, but I liked Charlie's. I must have been sitting there for an hour. "Luigi" and I talked a lot because we were next to each other in line. After a few minutes, he let go of the fake accent and talked to me normally. He signed my admission badge on one side, and Charlie Bewley signed the other side. To this day, I regret that I never found out his real name. I want to add him on Facebook! Besides Brianna, he was probably the coolest person I met there.
He should have totally entered the costume contest. XD B&I did that too. We didn't win anything, but people complimented both of us on our efforts. :)

After the autograph lines, we didn't have much time to get ready for the dance. We were *rushing.* I realized I had left my jewelry at the other hotel, and I knew Mike & his mom couldn't get it to me in time, so I had to go to the gift shop and VERY QUICKLY find replacement jewelry. The necklace I found wasn't that interesting, but I loved the earrings! Rainbow and sparkly!

At the dance, Brianna entered the centerpiece contest. She didn't place, but I think she should have. The Hillywood girls liked hers the best, I think (OMG! How could I forget? More about them later!). I wanted to enter, but I had ended up blowing so much money on clothes and photo tickets, I didn't have enough to buy art supplies! We danced some, but wanted to stick around the tables for when the guests came to talk to us. Every guest had a few minutes to let us ask them questions and stuff. I asked Jodelle if she was a fan of the books before she auditioned for the movie, and she said she was. :) I looked at Charlie more than I talked to him. XD And I'm pretty sure when Gil was there, I was still bouncing.

I didn't want to leave, because I knew the next day was Sunday and I'd have to go back to my normal, dull life. We got back to the hotel room at about 2 AM and I crashed pretty fast. The next day was really quiet and uneventful compared to Saturday. Brianna and I volunteered to hold stuff up at the auction, and we got 2 free shirts each for doing that! It was easier being on stage that time because I was wearing comfortable shoes. :)

Mike and his mom both got general admission tickets for Sunday, and I got Mike one of Gil's autograph tickets because he said he wanted one. Apparently he was joking, and didn't tell me till AFTER I spent the $20 for the ticket. When his turn came to sign, his mom went up there for him, and say that her 21 year old son wanted an autograph. XD I still laugh hysterically when I remember how awkward that was. Charlie also came back, and we had one Sunday-only speaker, Guri Weinberg. He was SO friendly, making conversation with everyone. Fame probably hasn't hit him yet. :P

After the last autographs, the convention basically shut down. I ran into the Hillywood girls (Hannah & Hillary) on their way out...they look completely different when they're not dressed up! I told them I had fun and wished them a safe trip home. I'm pretty sure I talked to their mom more than I talked to them over the weekend. Their booth was much less busy in Minneapolis. Back then, they played games with the rest of us. Not this time. It was more fun when the guys came along. Too bad funds were too low to fly them out this year!
(By the way, look up the Hillywood Show on Youtube if you don't know them. Their parodies are SO GOOD.)

I had to say goodbye to Brianna soon after. I don't remember how many times I glomped her. It was a lot though. I have "separation issues." I really do. XD We promised to Skype. :) Which we haven't yet, but we still talk on IM almost every day. Towards the end of Sunday's events, I also talked to a woman named Kristi, who I'd talked to a few times on the Facebook group, but never knew what to say when I was actually there in person. We both had to deal with long trips, though she was lucky and got to spend hers in a car. We're Facebook friends now too. :)

There are some people I talk to regularly, some I only hear from once in awhile, and some I've lost contact with. EVERYBODY I met was great, though. I don't think I met one rude person at either convention. It must just be a fandom thing...if you have something in common, there's no need to judge one another. I've met people who are old enough to be one of my parents, and people who are still in high school. Age doesn't matter. Location doesn't matter. Just that common bond is enough to keep at least an online friendship going.
Going to these events has given me more faith in humanity. I really believe there's good people everywhere. I didn't use to think that. I used to be very bitter and untrusting, and I still am to some extent, but I've learned to give people a chance instead of writing them off right away.

Brianna, Sam, Kristi, Lisa, "Luigi," Candace, Mariah, Emily, Michelle, (+ ALL the other people who were so friendly but never gave me names & Facebooks) and Lori who I haven't met yet but probably will soon (Chicago? Yes?), this goes out to you. Thank you for making my world a little brighter. :)