Saturday, April 29, 2006

High School Prom (Dance)

Tonight was another "formal" ballroom dance. The theme was "high school prom," and Emily and I were appropriately dressed in our formal dresses for the occasion. She wore a full-length drop-bodice gold gown. I was wearing an empire-waisted light blue ballgown. We each had about fifteen minutes to get ready for the dance, so neither of us bothered with nylons, heels, or make-up. I think we spent a combined thirty seconds on our hair even--no product whatsoever. :) Not bad for a couple of girls that looked like prom queens.

I danced ALL NIGHT. The only songs I didn't dance to were the West Coast Swing, Hustle, and Argentine Tango dances (and of course the odd things they only ever play one dance of like Viennese Waltz, Samba, Rumba, etc. that I'll never learn). I had a great time dancing with all the boys. One guy kinda creeped me out and wouldn't leave me alone for a while... spent a bit of effort avoiding him. I can't stand a clingy boy.

Nightclub Two-Step with Anthony, Kenny, David, and Aaron. Two swing dances with boys I cannot remember, plus one with Daniel. Lindy Hop with Nathaniel and Aaron. Cha cha with Derrick and Doug. Foxtrot each with Charles and Scott. Waltzes with Paul and Mike. Tango with Daniel and Doug. A few others I can't remember right now... I had a lot of fun though, and I'm super exhausted!

Have a lot to think about this week, so I'll probably post a ton, but right now I'm going to bed so I can get up in five hours for work. Wow, it's like I almost have that "social life" thingy I've wanted for so long... er... something.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A Week of Nothings

It seems like the more I try to think, the farther away I get from knowing anything. This week has been emotionally and physically challenging, as well as simply exhausting.

Monday was good. I dropped my Salsa I class because I couldn't stand going anymore. The class was not progressing fast enough, and I wasn't getting paid to teach it, so I dropped the class. Tried to take it pretty easy because I was really sore from the yard work from the weekend. Pirated some classical sheet music (I don't think it's under copyright anymore though), and sat at a piano for a couple hours Monday night until my back freaked out and wouldn't let me sit on the bench anymore. But I am working hard on some new music and enjoy it immensely.

Tuesday was dreary. I worked hard all day, went to the most boring lecture on earth, and was stood up for some ambiguous reason that evening. Went again to play the piano at school; quite possibly the best night I've had in a long time. I'm more comfortable and confident sitting at a keyboard than I have been in a long time. Finally realizing I don't suck as much as I think. :) My roommate and I were home and bored, so we each poured a single drink and watched Brokeback Mountain. I absolutely adore this movie. The film is not about gay cowboys--it is a love story, a drama, a tale of life and living for someone else. So many more words won't do it justice... take it from me: do not pass up a chance to see this movie. You will not regret it.

Wednesday was a challenge physically. We were working on some turns and spins in my nightclub two-step class, and I got dizzy. Was dancing with one of my favorite guys in class and when he stopped me at the end of a move, I was reeling. He had to ask if I was okay, and I was other than being dizzy. Finished that class and Ballroom II and went home. Emily and I drove to Albany to go shopping for a lightbulb for my desk lamp. On a side note, halogen bulbs are kinda hard to shop for! I need a 20W/12V G4 bulb... they don't exist. Argh. We came home and got ready for the dance. Went to the West Coast Swing lesson at 7pm--didn't learn anything new, hopefully I can follow WCS if a boy asks me to dance next time. The practice dance started at 8, and I sorta went downhill physically. With all the dancing and not much time to do anything else, my lightheadedness returned full force. I managed to get in a couple dances with a few nice boys (a great swing with Doug, a cha cha with Derrick, a Lindy with Aaron, a waltz with David and then one with Paul, and a tango with Daniel). Otherwise, I was sitting down trying to keep the room at a tolerable spin. Not sure if my food intake had anything to do with that, but I wasn't doing very good. Emily said I was pretty green. A friend came over at one point (I don't really remember it) and said I looked out of it. Had some food during the break and stuck it out to the end of the dance... went home and slept poorly.

Haven't been sleeping well at all lately. Still pretty sore from yardwork (and it's almost a week later), and still having a few nightmares about spiders killing me in my sleep... between family and work and school and my social life and dancing, I just haven't been sleeping well. I did blog earlier this week, but saved the post as a draft for fear that it ought not be posted (the first time I've done that too).

Thursday was good overall... I had a good day at work and a fun time in my Lindy Hop class. A friend came over for a while and we had a nice time talking. Sometime between when the friend left and we got up this morning, one of our friends toilet papered our cars. Which is strange because I was up until 2am talking with a friend online. I remember hearing voices outside, but I didn't think anything about it. oh well, no harm done. I'm off to go find out why my desk lamp freaked out last night...

And hopefully figure out why my life feels like a piece of paper I can't write on (hey, nobody ever said I was normal).

Monday, April 24, 2006

All Tingly about JAG

I love the fact that no matter how long I am away from the show, I still get goosebumps when Harm gets into somebody's face, if he flashes that smile, or if Chegwidden disagrees with someone. I am still a fan, though the show ended a couple years ago. *sigh* my love affair continues... will I ever recover from the addiction? Hopefully not ;) I *heart* JAG.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Recital, ORELA, and Yard Work

From Friday night to Sunday night, a rundown of my awesome/dull weekend:

I ended up getting a little sleep Friday night, no thanks to the spider horror stories and ensuing nightmares. Exhaustion kicked in and I decided that I didn't care if I was eaten alive, I was going to get some sleep. So I slept on and off through the wee morning hours. Finally got up at 8am and prepped for my drive to Eugene.

My roommate graciously navigated me down to Eugene where we attended [my best friend] Matthew's senior piano recital at NWCC. He played some awesome music, and I'm so proud of him. I remember him playing for the class in 4th grade, a simple song, but I was in awe then and I'm still astounded at his talent. Parking down by UO was an adventure, as was the faulty left turn signal we encountered in a construction zone... oh fun times. I did get to see Matthew for a bit after the recital, and I bumped into our 4th grade (and favorite-of-all-time) teacher for a quick chat. Matthew: Way to go, I'm so proud of you. Congratulations on your acheivement, and have a great last few weeks!

We left Eugene and arrived back to Corvallis around 1pm. I headed to my testing site by 1:30 to begin my ORELA exam at 2pm. Four essays and 120 multiple choice questions. Completed in one hour and thirty minutes. Oh man, it was easy. I developed a serious headache and was nauseated the whole time, so it was hard to focus. Took my time, read all the questions, thought long and hard (eight nanoseconds) about each answer, and filled in a zillion little bubbles. The test seemed easy, I feel really good about it, but who knows... it may have been way harder than I thought.

Went home, puked five or six times (at least I made it home first), took a nap, made dinner... it was a quiet night for reflection. I thought long and hard about a number of things. Lots of prayer, lots of frustration. Watched a movie, went to bed. Couldn't sleep yet again; my mind wouldn't shut off. Talked to Mom for a bit on the phone, which helped, and managed to get about four hours of sleep before work today.

Work was okay. The residents are awesome and answered my many questions about life and love just like always. We lost two residents over the week, so it was a sad weekend for me, but I must move on. Lots of dancing at work, laughing, making people smile... I do my best to keep them entertained. Had some extra help too, so we were done early. Went to see Mom and Dad - long talk there, but all good. Mom gifted me a smoothie machine, so I'm not far from a daquiri (maybe virgin, maybe not... haven't decided).

Got home from work and tackled the yard. If you read below a few posts, you'll get the story about how I don't do yard work. But I pulled out the weed whacker and relearned how to operate the beast. Took me twenty minutes to start it this time, down ten from last time... and I edged the entire front yard and most of the backyard tonight. Left arm won't quit shaking. This post is taking me far too long to type. Thinking about going to play the piano, but the daquiri sounds so much better right now... yup, time for a cold one...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Arachnophobia

I am not afraid of spiders. I have an irrational, uncontrollable phobia. There is a difference. My phobia of spiders is grounded in logic--I have been bitten twice. I am only phobic of two other things, heights and dogs. Not afraid. These are true phobias which I am incapable of controlling. I am not fond of snakes or water, but those things I can control and do fine around when I know I'm not in danger. Spiders and heights terrify me to no end.

So my friend, realizing this, tried to toss me out a window earlier this week. And last night, in an odd IM conversation, he tortured me with stories of spiders in my bed. NOT FUNNY. I seem to attract spiders. I already killed two this last week (which is a huge step for me to even get that close to kill them). My phobia is debilitating and paralyzing if the threatening arachnid is large enough. I have fainted upon sight of a spider, no kidding. Telling me fictitional stories about spiders means my overactive imagination is going to go into overdrive and I won't be able to function. NOT COOL.

You may laugh, but I'm sitting here shaking. My roommate came home a while ago as this IM conversation was concluding, and he was giving me the "are you sure you don't need some Haldol or a straightjacket" look. I'm too scared to sleep, too afraid to move from this chair, reaching out to my sad bloggy for comfort. And it makes me angry. I shouldn't be afraid, but I am. I understand I'm being irrational. But this is a phobia.

I'm mad at myself for being irrational. But I'm even more angry that someone would disregard my repeated attempts to quiet him so that I may sleep soundly the night before a very important test. Teasing is one thing, but being an ass simply for the sake of being mean is pretty bad. Joke taken too far. NOT HAPPY.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Question of Femininity

Do I really strike you as fashion-conscious? Do you think I know what goes with what? I wear blue jeans and t-shirts more often than not. All of my clothes go with all of my other clothes, so when I get up in the morning I simply select a bottom and a top and walk out the door. Honestly, if it takes me longer than ten minutes to get ready, it's already a bad day. That includes poking little pieces of hydrophilic plastic in my eyes and making my bed. On the weekends, when I have to get up for work at o'dark hundred, I can be from my nice warm bed to my iced-over car in less than seven minutes. High maintenance I think NOT.

I have owned one can of hairspray in my life, and I don't even own a curling iron. Until three months ago, I'd never purchased nail polish, and I only got it recently as part of a costume. I do wear a little make-up occasionally, not that anyone can even tell... it doesn't make sense to me to put on a face that isn't mine. I have one bottle of shampoo and one bottle of conditioner in the shower -- how much more do I need?

Sometimes I wonder about my femininity. I don't flounce around in pink and lace. I don't like being treated like a princess, and I'm not shy or sweet. I'm not particularly unfeminine to any degree either though. How can I define my style of femininity? I don't really know where I fit into the continuum of {Princess---Butch} because each circumstance reveals a different element in my character. Is that good? I'm worried that sometimes I'm seen as too much of one over the other when, in reality, I'm not really either. Is there a word for that? Am I a well-rounded female or the antithesis of well-rounded while not being at either end of the continuum?

I wouldn't write this down, except it has always bugged me, so it is, therefore, important.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Stress and Trying Something Different

I don't like running. I don't like being outside. I don't do bugs or the sun or water. I don't like being active, I don't like working out, and I most definitely do not like running. But I like to do things I wouldn't ordinarily do sometimes. Which explains why I get into the water, go Geocaching, and go on insane runs through the forest. Sometimes getting out of my ruts makes me feel better. Other times, I do things I ordinarily wouldn't do to just to do something different. When I get stressed mentally or emotionally, I try to work through it quickly else I stew and get even more stressed. Doing something physical ties up my hands so that my mind may work over what it needs to. Sometimes. I don't cry, or rarely at all and only over serious issues (if I'm crying, something is really wrong).

I've been kinda stressed this week, and I thought dancing would help, but it only seemed to make things worse. So I went hiking. I'm already chronically dehydrated (long story, but it's not worth telling). Six hours of dancing and a sufficiently challenging hike yesterday should have done me in, but when I got home at 10:30pm, all I wanted to do was go out and run. Don't ask me why. I'm not the genius behind my own insanity :P I seriously considered going out in the dark for a run, but somewhere between my desk and the front door I decided against it. Forced down some water and went to bed. Slept poorly. Can't focus on anything. Still stressed, even more so.

I don't know what to do. Nobody to talk to--the words don't exist, nor could anyone help even if they did. Maybe I will blog about this once I have it sorted out. Until next time... I'm going to go try something different.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Out the Window

I'm not sure if tonight was good or bad. I went dancing as usual, danced a bunch and learned some new stuff. What little Salsa I know went to poor use dancing with a guy I'm not fond of dancing with... and my nightclub steps more or less suck still. My head was just not into it tonight.

Early in the evening, Emily acquired a guy's lanyard and quickly passed it off to me. Between dances, he attempted to figure out where it was, but we were too sneaky. So he took matters into his own hands, picked Emily up, and tried to put her out a second-story window. I vainly rushed to the aid of my fearful roommate, her legs dangling in the breeze... actually, she was pretty cool with it and was holding conversation with a girl near her head. The guy and I were negotiating a truce. He eventually agreed to put my roomy down if I gave him back his precious lanyard within three minutes. Oh sure, okay, yeah...um, no. Realizing his mistake in letting Emily go, he came after me. I immediately took to the floor - it's hard to get hurt falling when you're already on the floor - and he had to wrestle me into his arms and up over the window sill where I promptly got queasy and had to hold on for dear life. I went limp, he pushed more... long story short, I agreed to give back the lanyard within another three minutes else I truly fear for my life. Three minutes passed, and I successfully negotiated a last waltz in exchange for his lanyard.

Socially awkward. To say that I'm a social moron would be a gross understatement. I don't know how to start a conversation, what to say, how to say things... I don't know what to do or when to do it... my roommates are flirty and sweet and cute--they get the boys. It is rather frustrating to be "the ugly one" most of the time. When faced with a social situation, I'd much rather be alone in the woods than with people where I have to react and respond and be something I don't want to be. For example, tonight, I know that "stealing" something from a boy is a "good" thing to do. He'll get it back eventually; it's just a bartering tool. But when it comes to knowing how far to push, how to act, how to be flirty and coy at the same time... these games I can play, but they feel really fake. Is it better to have physical contact with a boy even though he's trying to force me out a window, or is it better to simply be me? Are these petty games worth playing? I hate that I am socially inept, but there is little I can do at this point to rally against my own ineptitude, and I'm really tired of being "the ugly one." This is not a jealousy issue, rather it is a simple frustration.

Don't know if tonight was good or bad, but most of the rest of the day wasn't too good, so I'm inclined to say it wasn't a good night either. I almost went out the window!

Lawn and Other Homework

Emily and I were motivated to do some yardwork yesterday... then we realized we didn't know how to operate the lawn mower. Now before you get all bent out of shape, let me explain my side of things (Emily may have a different story). My father taught me how to do a lot of manly things like using power tools and how to cross stitch, but he never made me work in the yard. I'm not incapable of learning how to operate any machine, I simply have not had the instruction to know how (this applies to vehicles too). To say that I do not know how to do something does NOT mean I am incapable of doing it. When I purchased my super awesome weed whacker, I had to learn how to use it. LOL, that was an adventure. I had to learn what everything was, how it worked, and how to operate the contraption. It took me half an hour to get that thing pull-started the first time, partially because the weed whacker was cold/empty/brand new, and partially because I was simply not strong enough to pull hard enough to get it to work. I pulled eleven muscles that day. --- ANYWAY! We didn't get any yardwork done. But I did clean out the garage a bit and found a giant spider that tried to chase me down and kill me. I ran away. He was big... at first I thought he was a mouse! but he had too many legs. End of cleaning garage.

Yeah, that's about all I have to say right now. Kinda down on myself. Kinda really down.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Where is God?

This is the transcript to a recent chat I had with my best friend. We're kind of... music freaks... sort of... and really close friends, so we're comfortable being goofy together. We were discussing our relationships to God and where we feel God speaks to us most. Other than that, the chat speaks for itself.

Jaggy: God comes to me through my hands...
Jaggy: i know that
Matthew: ah, same here.
Matthew: I experience God the most at a piano.
Jaggy: so I play music - He talks to me when i'm *IN* a song
Matthew: :)
Matthew: I find God in church, but not all the time.
Matthew: I always find God at a piano.
Jaggy: nah, God lives in pianos
Jaggy: i know, i found Him there
Matthew: lol!
Jaggy: He said hello ;)
Jaggy: loudly
Matthew: rofl
Jaggy: He is yelling at me when I strike a minor chord
Matthew: ...but I love minor chords!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jaggy: oh they are fine and dandy
Jaggy: but they are when God is yelling at me the most
Matthew: lol
Jaggy: God doesn't like C Major
Matthew: believe it or not, that's when I experience God the most.
Jaggy: He ignores me then
Matthew: yeah, C major is boring.
Matthew: ooo oo oo!
Matthew: D major!
Jaggy: oh yeah
Matthew: no, D flat!
Jaggy: that's magic
Jaggy: Eb is good too
Matthew: ah!
Jaggy: God must like flats
Matthew: lol
Matthew: they tend to be more beautiful...
Jaggy: though D and A are good Majors for God...
Jaggy: lol, how the heck do we know what God likes?!?!?!
Matthew: lol.
Matthew: good point!
Jaggy: D Major
Matthew: good stuff.
Jaggy: Canon ;)
Matthew: oo....I like G minor!
Matthew: lol
Jaggy: G minor?!?! oh no, that's bad stuff
Jaggy: that's... hard
Matthew: lololol
Matthew: That's where I sit.
Jaggy: what is that, two flats?
Matthew: yeah...
Matthew: I like it.
Matthew: works well with me.
Jaggy: minor to Bb Major right?
Jaggy: I'm still learning theory
Matthew: yeah
Jaggy: YAY! I GOT IT RIGHT!
Matthew: lol

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Cold, Swinging, Evil Bunny, and Swearing

Happy Easter!

It has been a long, boring weekend full of both good and bad stuff. All of my friends left to go home for the weekend, so I didn't have anyone to hang out with. No problem, I was working all the time anyway. I woke up with a cold Thursday morning, but it didn't really develop until Friday. Knocked me flat. I was literally in bed most of the day. Began a medication schedule that included Aleve, 60mg pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (Extra Strength Sudafed), 2.5mg triprolindine hydrochloride (antihistamine, additive to the Sudafed), 10mg loratadine (generic Claritin for seasonal allergies), zincum gluconate, and 2 chewable Vitamin C tablets which ends up being 1600% DRI. Altogether, that's enough to effectively knock a cold into next year. I was nearly symptom free for work. Hopefully I didn't infect any of the old people... I was very careful to keep my distance and wash my hands a zillion times. Colds suck. Rather, they blow. Tee hee hee ;)

My aunt was in Lebanon on Saturday to spend some time with Grandma. Grandma is on the mend, slowly but surely, and having company was good for her. My aunt did a lot of stuff for Grandma... and I was able to take a bit of time out of my work schedule to spend with them. Heard stories about her travels, and I shared bits from my crazy life. That was really special--just Aunt Deejee and Grandma and me.

Sunday morning brought an interesting event. One of my residents had a guest for breakfast: the guest asked me about school and work and such. I ended up telling him I was taking some ballroom dancing classes. He suggested I learn how to swing dance. Hehehe, right, I'll get right on that. He told me that he taught his middle school students how to swing dance. Interesting (zzzzzzz). So I finally let the cat out of the bag, "oh, well, yeah, I can swing too." He promptly rose out of his chair and stood before me with his hands extended. I looked about, a few residents eating, but no boss to tell me to get back to work. I accepted his hands and he immediately crushed my middle fingers beneath his huge thumbs. I winced. This is not going to be fun. He began a basic rockstep, and I followed suit. He asked me if I knew any moves. Uhh.... yeah. A few. So he started to lead one or two steps, always with a basic in between. Zzzzzzzzzz. I failed to return my left hand to his right at the end of a step, so he chastized me for not following well enough. Screw you, dude, I don't like my fingers getting squished! Anyway, I dance one-handed all the time and it works just fine. He also said I need to work on allowing my hands to slide over his. Then stop holding my hand so tight! Sheesh. Short story long, I was swing dancing in the dining room with a dude who is a pushy and grabby lead. The residents clapped kindly, and I left to go wash my hands (and soul).

On a side note: I'm looking for a kind young man willing to showcase a few ballroom dances with me for the residents sometime this term. Said young man must be willing to drive to Lebanon (directions provided) on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon (date TBD), and must be willing to subject himself to hugs and cheers from old people. Ballroom II experience required. Submit application and résumé via e-mail link at left.

Easter itself was uneventful. I went to my parents' house after work and had a nice homemade dinner with Mom, Dad, and Sis. Drove home, gathered up my music, and went to the MU to play the piano for a bit. Stopped to visit a friend working on campus, then home again where I managed to install new wiper blades on my car in the dark. I sat down at my compy and spied the chocolate bunny Mom gave me for the holiday. Ooooh, that bunny did not stand a chance in this house. I ate him. The whole thing. In one sitting. On top of the meds, the chocolate went down easy but stayed down hard. My heart rate and breathing rate immediately spiked, and I could tell I was having a hard time concentrating and not passing out. Note to self: do not consume possessed chocolate bunny with cold meds. Bunny sought his revenge.

I gave up swearing for Lent. No, I am not Catholic, but in the spirit of the season, my roommates suggested I participate with them. This proved challenging at first, but the last ten days were smooth sailing. Use of "crap" increased significantly, as did the occasional "damn" that slid out ("damn" doesn't count because Grandma taught it to me. If she can say it, I can say it. You don't like that rule, take it up with Grandma.) Now that I can swear freely again, I'm choosing not to renew my use of those special words. Sure, I'll use them when I need them, but there really isn't any need to swear. As long as I don't have cards in my hands, I should be fine. ;)

That's a lot of typing for a weekend I consider boring. Excuse me while I blaspheme the fucker that gave me a cold. :)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I Went Flying

Every Wednesday night brings new challenges and great fun as I practice my hard-earned dancing skills. I learn something new every week, plus all the stuff I learn in my classes, so now I know quite a bit. The hard part is applying those skills and making them look good with a partner.

Last night, I *happened* to wear the new skirt Mom bought for me over the break (last one in the store, still on a mannequin, in my size, and on sale = fate). I danced a foxtrot, a tango, a couple swing dances... the usual stuff. The night wore on nicely, some good conversation and some fun partners. The dance that made my night was the last waltz. I'm still learning a lot of the advanced moves, so it's hard for me unless I have a really good lead. A guy approached me, not a stranger--he's in one of my dance classes, and asked me to dance. Knowing how smooth he is, of course I accepted! Little did I know the dance I was in for. He's super tall, so he's able to step quite far. I'm not short by any means, and I have long legs, so I can step wherever I need to. As soon as he realized this, we were off. By off I mean... OFF. We were dancing circles around the floor, so fast. I was hanging on for dear life, but I tried to keep my feet under me so I could hold myself up. You know those movies where the dancers look like they're floating and flying around the floor... that was what we looked like. I was smiling and breathing so hard it was hard to focus, plus I was spinning around and around and getting dizzy... oh my gosh it was so much fun! I can't wait to waltz with him again.

Bad news: pulled both deltoids. again.

Food, Fashion, and Flu

Time for a few more rants and raves, because I'm feeling saucy today.

I am a Local Boyz ADDICT. If you've never eaten the Hawaiian goodness that flows forth from this Monroe Street hangout, you are missing out. Sweet shoyu chicken and rice (#5A)... oh that is good eats right there. And no fair using a fork; gotta use chopsticks. Learn. It's not hard, it just takes practice. Oh the glory of an overstuffed belly... :)

Fashion has never been my strong point. I don't keep up with the latest trends. As far as my personal style is concerned, blue jeans and a t-shirt will never go out of style. But walking across campus today, I noticed some things. First, what are these short-cropped swishy sweat pants? They look like a cross between "that-time-of-the-month pants" and a clamdigger skirt. Ooooh, fake tans... I love the greased orange glow emenating from the platinum blonde sorority girls. I hope your skin turns to leather by the time you're 30. And slippers are for HOME. I know they're comfy, and I know you're lazy, but seriously... you look stupid. Wear shoes.

Several of my friends have been sick lately, and I've been around them quite a bit. This was probably not a good idea, but I haven't been sick in a long time and my immune system is top-notch. I wash my hands at least ten times a day, not out of OCD, but just to be safe (and ALWAYS after dancing). Somehow though, I fear I have contracted a bug of some sort. Could be a cold, could be the flu... who knows where I got it... the thing that gets me though, is that I haven't done anything cool to get a bug (like kissing somebody with a cold - that's asking for it, but at least I wouldn't have gotten something positive out of it). So yeah, if I hit this with enough fluids, I still have time to knock it out in a hurry. Wish me luck. And pass the kleenexes.

Will post more later--gotta run to class.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Please Stand Up

Dear Blog Readers:

In a funny conversation today with one of my favorite dance partners, I found out that several people have come across my blog by word of mouth. I find this uniquely interesting, seeing as how I would figure most people would surf past or link directly to my blog, but this is not the case. I have a few things to say:

This blog is my space to think things through, to vent, to rant, to fume and steam, to gossip, to expound, to rave and exclaim. I don't write this for you. This is my space (not to be confused with MySpace, which sucks IMHO).

I don't receive very many comments to my dear bloggy, so if you would be so kind as to leave me a comment, just so I know that I really have readers out there... it would sort of, like, inflate my ego just a little. :) Post anonymously, post any comments about the blog, and follow these instructions:

1. name (or pseudonym)
2. location (or home planet)
3. color of shag carpet that best represents your personality

Monday, April 10, 2006

Mellowing Lessons

I am the kind of person that will hold out hope until the last shred of possibility dies. I have immeasureable faith in my fellow man, constant and unending love for people around me, no matter what they've done or who they've become. Many people have told me this is one of my greatest traits: to forgive instantly and remain loyal through anything.

This weekend, sitting in a hot tub with my cousin, I was a bit disturbed to hear that, at one point or another, she considered me unapproachable or "too smart" to talk to. That kind of hurt. I have never been unnecessarily harsh or mean to her. But my mannerisms, my demeanor, told her otherwise. She said that, most likely as a result of my relationships with the elderly, I've mellowed out in the last year or two. I don't know how true that is--but mellow is considered good in this society, and I'm generally easy-going.

How can I define "mellowing"? Where did I gain such an attribute? Can others learn this?
I'm currently in ES345, Native Americans in Oregon, and we are reading Standing Tall, the Lifeway of Kathryn Jones Harrison (Grande Ronde tribal leader). Chapter 14 recounts the way Native Americans (particularly those of the Pacific Northwest) viewed women in their society both historically and today. The most important role of any tribe did not belong to a man, rather the eldest female or most respected grandmother of the tribe. I was surprised, not because of the tradition, but because my life is oriented in a very similar way. I've often blogged about my dear grandmother. The role my grandma plays in my life is so much like the way Native American grandmothers taught their younger children. Grandma has attempted to teach me her life, her ways, her customs and traditions. I've picked up recipes (sweets!), history, culture, and a sense of resolve.

Here are a few things my grandmothers have taught me (list is not full, or in order):
  • Family history does not begin with me or my parents. Family history is all-inclusive, beginning with stories and experiences, the way the community views the family name. The most important thing in life is the esteem with which people hold you, not your money or fame or power.
  • Service and self-sacrifice. To give up one's time or energy for the benefit of another, to be humble throughout life, to serve endlessly for the sake of others, especially those who cannot do for themselves.
  • Loyalty to self, to family, and to friends. To not compromise values to fit in or make something happen.
  • Legacy. To pass on knowledge and love of life and learning. To share what you have with those that do not. To lead by example, not to lead by orders or decrees.
  • Faith. Not necessarily faith in God, but faith in myself, in the way of things, that no matter what things can always get worse and to always hope for the best.
  • The desire to cook for massive numbers of people, feasts of size immeasurable. To give food freely and without qualm at cost or time.
  • Character. To stand up for myself, to stand tall and firmly for what I believe is right. To let no one scare me. To let no man tell me what to do or who to be.
The most important thing my grandmas (all fifty of them) have taught me is simple: love, laugh, live life honestly, then love and laugh some more. If you can't laugh, fake it. Everything else will come in time.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Weekend with the Girls

I can't even begin to describe my weekend, but I must, because I feel compelled to write tonight about the weekend...

First, some family background info to make things simple: My mom has two sisters, Pam and Patti. Pam has a daughter, Stacy, and Patti has two daughters, Ashley and Savannah. My sister also attended this party. In addition to the immediate family, there were a few friends, their names evade me (I think seven or eight additional people).

Location: The Ridge at Eagle Crest, one night spent in a chalet.

We tossed my Aunt Patti a grand luau of a bachelorette party, complete with rum and a grass skirt and cheesy Hawaiian music. Aunt Pam and Mom orchestrated this whole thing - it was fun. I got to see a bunch of family I don't get to see very often. I decided on the way over the mountains that I wasn't going to drink at all this weekend. The decision ended up being wise since we needed a chauffer around the resort to shuttle people to and from parking at the Rec Center. Guests left the party around 9, then it was just family. My family is totally awesome! We're also sometimes critical of outsiders, egotistical, self-absorbed, and totally goofy.

Best moment: My mom made my sister a few mixed drinks. My sister started off tipsy, but after almost two hours in the hot tub, she was... funny drunk. Cousin Stacy joined us after a bit, and we all sat there in the warm tub talking for a long time. It was very cool - lots of honest talk about life and love and family. :)

Breakfast this morning was awesome too: Aunt Pam and Mom concocted the most incredible breakfast this morning - so much food and all so good.

Glad I went, had a great time. I'm on estrogen overload though! Where are my boys...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

To Make a Move...

To make a move, or to not make a move... yes readers, I'm asking questions again!

It all comes down to the stupid stuff, the 9th grade "yawn, stretch, reach" maneuver. Should I be the shy girl and let him make all the moves? Should I attempt to make a few myself? Do boys like girls who make moves? Does this boy like a girl who can and will make a move? AAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGG!

How do I let a guy know that I'm totally interested in him, but not seem obnoxious or obvious or desperate? I'm NOT desperate... there are lots of guys out there. I am a prize, a true prize of a girl... well-rounded, intelligent, funny, kind... I like big cities as well as small towns, being outside or inside, being lazy or being active. I'm not desperate at all. It's kind of like the denial argument... just can't win.

What can I do to let a guy know it's okay for him to make a move? Is it a word, an action, a gesture or thought? Put your arm around me, hold me, kiss me now you fool! I won't shy away, I won't think less of you, in fact, I'll probably like you more for having the courage to try to make a move (though the move itself is nice). Don't worry about being slick or smooth... if I don't like something, you'll know. I won't bite. I wouldn't allow you to get close to me if I didn't want you there. So go ahead! What are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for me to make a move? Oh dear. I don't know what to do... I'm not preprogrammed to make moves, but if I have to I will. I need to know that its okay, that you haven't relegated me to the "friend zone." Of course, you are a guy, so that means you're probably up for anything... ;) But I want the moment to be right, not forced as I am wont to do.

I don't want a relationship based on physicality... but I don't want to be "just friends." I want to fall asleep in your arms, to look across the lunch table and wonder why, out of all the girls waiting for a dance partner, why you picked me.

I'm smiling!

Updates!

Grandma is doing a bit better - I talked to Dad both last night and tonight. Grandma is having trouble being patient to let the medicine work, but once it does, she should feel better. I will see her Saturday, and I can't wait to give her a big hug.

I LOVE my Native Americans in Oregon class! History, culture, stories... every day is an adventure, and it's all right here. I'm learning and loving it, not to mention developing a very deep sense of self and respect for the tribal community. This class should be required for everyone in the whole country. Er, well, yeah. I feel this knowledge is that important.

A friend on the way over, gotta run.
It feels so good to smile again. :)

Too much dancing?

Is there a thing such as too much dancing? Well, if there is, I may have found it. I figured out that, over the course of this term, I will have over one hundred hours of dance classes and practices. Those hours do not include what time I spend practicing out of class or with my friends... so it is going to be a physically intense term.

One complaint, but it's my own fault: On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have three dance classes in a row. This wouldn't be bad, except for the fact that the classes fall right at lunchtime. Eating before them means I may get sick while spinning or dancing, and not eating before them means fatigue and ickyness. I try to drink water between classes, as well as forcing down granola bars or energy bars or whatever... this situation is not healthy. Must figure out new solution.

The good part is that I'm going to be much more confident on the dance floor by the end of the term... as it stands now, I know that I know a little, but I also know that I pretty much suck. Don't get any ideas that I have an ego... I definitely know how much I don't know every time I watch other people dance. Must learn... must try harder to become better.

So last night was the first practice dance of the term. I decided to drag out that new red shirt I blogged about earlier. I must say I garnered some very much wanted attention throughout the evening. The night began with a waltz from a boy I've wanted to dance with for quite some time. He taught me several new things; I just love his leads! From what I understand, he's younger than my (little) sister, so I'm not sure if I'd consider dating him... anyway! the night progressed beautifully. Emily was by my side for much of the evening and we talked and laughed a ton. I had a GREAT time swinging with a friend, and we were both laughing so hard when it was over... simply grand! If only I could get a massage now... this dancing is just mutilating my poor back!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Apology and Update

My apologies to my friends if I've been a bit whiny this week. It has been a difficult week, and I'm working through some stuff. Please accept this apology--I will try to remain calm and objective.

Many of you know how much I treasure my family. Nothing in my life is as important as they are. Recently, my Grandma has not been doing well. She was originally diagnosed with an infection, later thrush, and after the sixth visit to a hospital in two weeks, she has a new diagnosis (which I am not comfortable disclosing). Grandma has become a great friend in last few years, and I'm so fortunate to have had this relationship. I have done all I can physically do to make her healthy, and I'm sure doctors are doing all they can do too. I have finally reached a point where I pray to God asking that He either make her well or take her to Him. I feel so selfish, so wrong asking this... but if losing Grandma means she won't have to work to stay alive, I will let go. I will fight like hell, and it will hurt more than I can imagine, but I will let go.

School drama, boy drama... all of it takes a back seat to those who need me. I am truly sorry if I've been obnoxious or needy or whiny. Growing up is a hard thing to do.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Chats and Classes

Ah yes, the first day of my last term in college. What a day!

My day actually started very early, or rather, yesterday ended very late so I was exhausted on five hours of sleep when I awoke around 7:30 this morning to a bright, shiny sun. Seriously, what is that thing doing in the window before I want to get up!? GO AWAY!

I gathered up my stuff and made it to class at 10am: HDFS313, Adolescent Development. First, no, I don't really care about this class. It is the only required class of the term. I don't want to be there, I don't want to learn the material. Just as I sat down, an old classmate sat down next to me. It has been two years since I've had a class with him, so it was nice to catch up. But he's distracting. Note to self: sit FAR from this person. Sit next to the SED413 kids from last term who are all in HDFS313 with me this term. :)

As a side note, I was challenged to consider my own adolescence. How do I feel about it now that I'm more-or-less an "adult"? I look back with fond memories and a few nightmares, but mostly it was a good time. Never had any troubles or issues, gracefully slid through puberty... actually, it doesn't seem like very long ago at all. Puberty itself took me about ten years, kind of backward (but then I get into TMI territory and I just can't do that here), and while I'm sort of a nut mentally (figuratively), I'm quite normal. I'm probably more socially awkward now than I ever was in middle school... so yeah, adolescence was a nice time where I grew and learned and loved and fought and failed and succeeded. I wonder how I will look back on my 20's...

I had an hour break between classes, so I picked up my financial aid check and sat down in the Commons to read through the first paragraph of a course packet. Was people watching more than anything. :) Was watching outside when one of my ENG495/595 classmates spied me - he came in and we had a nice talk. You should check out his blog here.

Next up, three dance classes in a row. Which means listening to the same basic syllabi three times in a row. ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz *thud* Ballroom Club seems like it will be fun - I'm stoked to learn how to Hustle later in the term. Also, my instructor has so much energy! I get a lesson in pedagogy every time I'm in class just by watching her, plus I get a dance lesson--it's like a two-for-one deal. She is also teaching my second hour of class, Ballroom II. We danced a little bit in BRII, and I was lucky enough to snag one of my favorite partners for a Tango. *swoon* He's a great dancer and good lead, not to mention adorable and funny. The third class was Salsa I. OOOH, we learned how to count to three! 1...2...8. No, I mean 5. Wait a second... seriously. "Find the beat," the teacher (a different one that the first) told us, "listen to the music and find the beat." Find the beat yourself, you crazy weirdo, you're off by half a count. This is my pet peeve in dancing classes. I can't stand being offbeat. It's hard enough that I must begin on the WRONG foot (I lead left, not right, but in dance, follows lead right) and am offstep the whole damn song, let alone being offbeat! $#@! Anyway, I was always the first one to find the beat and was bored throughout the class. Good news: another girl has these same three classes with me and we were both ready to kill, so I'm glad I'm not the only one going through this.

An agonizing seven hours since I'd eaten anything of substance, I arrived to my last class of the day, ES345, Native Americans in Oregon. The only thing I have to say is this: When you are already looking at the clock ten minutes into the first lecture of the term, it's going to be a long term.

So I came home with a massive headache and tried to lay down for a bit, but my blog and dinner beckoned. There you have it folks, the grand beginning to what will be the end. It has been a long (but mostly fun) day.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

One Little Moment

Grandma's just about the toughest person I know. She survived four kids, a husband, breast cancer, a pacemaker, and just about every childhood disease you can imagine. She's almost 90, a few years shy, and isn't doing to well right now. Doctors said this morning that she's potentially facing a knee replacement, plus she has an infection that doesn't look good.

I go to work and try to do my job while also trying to keep an eye on her every free moment... it's like I'm a grown-up or something! So while working a full shift serving breakfast to my residents AND their twelve guests this morning, Grandma decides I need to go see her for a minute. @#$%&! But whaddyagunnado? I dig deeper. I fight harder, I get the job done no matter what. By the time my break rolled around at 9am (five hours after I got up, empty stomach), I'm exhausted and shaking. Tried to get some toast in me, but I was just too tired. So I half-slept for a few minutes before getting up to work some more. Dad brought me a donut (because Dad understands that maple bars rock and so does his eldest daughter), and then he took Grandma to the hospital for the fourth or fifth time in the last two weeks. I just kept working; nothing else to do. Somehow I managed to stay one step ahead of being totally behind and finished my shift running on empty. Ran over to Mom and Dad's house to pick up my mail. Since nobody was home, I sat and played the piano for a minute. Left there and drove out Tennesee Road through farm community where Dad grew up. The grass... I can't even describe how green it is! The world smelled clean, wet, like farms and grass and rain and wood smoke and home.

After a day of total chaos and exhaustion, it felt so nice to sit down at a piano and just play. No music in front of me, only my fingers on the keys deciding which songs to play. Music is not my passion--it doesn't drive my soul. But the piano is a very integral part of my coping mechanism. I can survive without music. I can't mentally get through more than two weeks without touching those black and white keys... it clears my head to let my fingers do their work. Typing on this keyboard isn't the same. The piano is everything. Not even my flute compares. The piano is home to my head.

Between playing and driving today, I felt like I found a little bit more of that "elusive self" I've been looking so long to find. When I'm playing the piano, I'm happy. When I'm staring out into the heart of my valley, I'm happy. For a short while today, I found me where I least expected it. One of those little moments I thought I'd share...