Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jump Start on Resolutions

Things that I realize:
1. It's now December. Meaning it has been far too long since I've written anything that wasn't for academic purposes, or texting... 

2. There is one lonely month left in 2011. And 26 days until I am in Ecuador [YES was my decision ;) ] Thanks to all who gave me their advice, which I gladly followed. I'm looking forward to this new journey!

3. You all are amazing, wonderful people who I'd really like to stay in contact with, so I'm really going to make the effort to keep blogging and keep this whole thing going. Thank you to everyone who's stuck through with my struggling, infrequent blogging, you all have a special place en mi coroz√≥n ♥. 

4. Knowing I'm going to Ecuador in less than a month, I should really brush up on my spanish. 

Hellooo December!
      It feels pretty good to get my words down on a post once again. Liberating almost, when I think of how they've been reserved for Five star and Mead, scribbling down notes in the lecture halls, and banged out at ridiculous hours of the night for midterm and final papers. The end of the semester is nearing, and I think I'm in decent standing--probably not as good as last semester, but I haven't been slacking too bad or anything, I'm hoping for A's and B's, preferably more A's. 
So, a crazy little bump in the road of this thing called life.. My dad fell down and broke his ankle. You're probably thinking "what's the big deal," but being a dairy farmer, if you can't walk and do work outside, you're really kind of screwed. My dad is self-employed, and pretty much runs the whole farm himself, along with my mom, a neighbor that does chores here and there throughout the week, and of course Tom, who comes as needed. Well, my dad certainly needs him now :P. This actually happened in the beginning of November, and everyone has been pitching in to help all month. I've been coming home whenever I can in between work and school to help Tom out, because he's stuck working alone all through the week usually. The majority of my Thanksgiving break was spent milking cows and pitch-forking manure. Real relaxing.. But honestly, I'm not really complaining. It did start to wear me down, but it was good spending the time with Tom, and feeling really useful to helping my family. I probably liked the milking the best. I always sort of knew how to do it, but Tom really upgraded my education, and together we made a pretty good team. Morning milkings were rough, it took a few days to get used to waking up at 5:30 a.m., but once we did, the day felt so much longer. Today my dad went back to the doctors to get his cast off, and now he should hopefully be able to do a little work outside, but he isn't supposed to rush right back into anything, it won't completely heal until April.. It's all just been sort of a lesson of how hard my dad has to work, and has taught me a little more about sacrifice the mornings I just really wanted to sleep in, but knew the cows needed to be taken care of.

Recent explorations: Sometime at the end of October or beginning of November before this whole thing with my dad, Tom and I went on a nice hike on a mountain called Sleeping Beauty. And yes, we brought supplies for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ;).

                                                                ^^ Caught some great views of Mordor apparently, hahah.

ALRIGHTTT, now back to the title... Me, yes me, who sucks at updating my blog, and procrastinates like nobody's business, I am making my "new year" resolutions in DECEMBER.

This is mainly because I have been thinking about them already, and got the notion in my head of, "why wait?" Plus I will be in Ecuador for New Years Eve, and most likely unable to post--although I think there may be internet cafe's available certain days--but either way posting will not be easy. Also some of my resolutions involve getting ready for Ecuador, so it only makes sense to start without further ado...

*  Become as close to fluent as possible in spanish. This pertains to Ecuador obviously, because even though I don't have much time to brush up (I know some things from highschool, but ), I'd still like to kind of understand what is being said around me, and to be able to communicate back. Eventually, I'd love to go to Spain with fluency. My contemporary Latin American film class is really getting me interested in the South American countries, and understanding the language. I'm thinking of getting my hands on a Pablo Neruda poetry book to accompany me in Ecuador.

* Start going to the gym regularly, not once every couple of weeks.. My target is 3x/week, or comparable alternative exercise when I'm home, since my gym is near my college. 3x a week will be my strict plan until I leave for Ecuador, starting tomorrow. I refuse to have my beach photos be embarrassing.. :P, Hopefully planting trees all morning will help to kick my ass while I'm there too.

* Start compiling a recipe/nutrition book for myself. I've expressed this before on here, I'm a total novice at cooking. Spending most of my dinners at Tom's house has helped me improve, but it isn't often that I complete a meal from start to finish.. So I would like to get better at that, take note of what dishes are really good, what works and speeds the processes along, and eventually maybe my own twists on recipes. I feel like it will be something useful throughout my life, a good reference to look back on if I have my own family, or decide to host get togethers when I have my own home.
 Another part of this goal includes cooking more for my family.
My mom is awesome, I love her to death, but I can't stand the way she eats. Let me tell you her daily lunch, which she eats pretty much every day: a microwaved hot dog and a glass of Pepsi. When I bring it up, she admits it's strange but she doesn't mind.. "it keeps her going." We never run out of soda..especially Pepsi. We will run out of milk before we ever don't have atleast 3 of the 2 liter bottles sitting in the pantry. She's not really interested in changing her ways, and personally hates cooking, much preferring the quick n' easy microwave method. In her defense, she spends a LOT of her day outside working on the farm, and from my contributions lately, I know it is not easy work. It's tiresome, and she doesn't enjoy cooking to begin with, so of course she's going to go for the processed, quick foods.. This is why I want to step up and make meals for them myself, so they get the chance to eat good food, and hopefully stray from their current eating habits. My dad's on board with me, he "wants real food," but he's also too busy and doesn't really know much about he relies on my mom, who hates cooking. It's a vicious little cycle. I'm doing what I can to educate them, especially my dad since he cares more because his doctors are getting after him for his diet. Also I want to note that neither of my parents are obese...they do so much work that it's pretty much impossible, so I'm not worried about their appearances, just simply their health.

* Read regularly, blog OFTEN, be inspired and share what inspires me. 

There's definitely a lot I have missed out on telling you all, but that only means that I have plenty of more posts left to fill you all in. I'm back, and I think this time I really mean it--I mean it's a resolution! I never forget about Blogger, even when I'm not posting, I still can't help but to creep on everyone else, I like to try to stay somewhat up-to-date with you all, you're just all too interesting and inspiring for me not to!

Anyways, Happy December, I hope you all are doing well. I'll be playing some catch-up, starting now :).


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Where are you going, what are you doing?

Are questions I ask myself regularly.
The idea of traveling and seeing new places keeps circling in my mind. I even thought seriously about going somewhere for the whole spring semester (although upon further thought I realized I should start with a much shorter trip,) but then this program for 16 days of winter break in Ecuador came along. I would have never thought to go there on my own, but the guys who run it gave a presentation in my class and after that I just had to go to the meeting. It's a grassroots organization, separate from study abroad, but still affiliated with the school (Global Student Embassy if anyone's interested,) and basically a group of 25 students from my school as well as another group from California, travel with group leaders to la Bahia de Caraquez on the coast of Ecuador and work on reforesting the area. Ecuador has always been one of  the most biologically diverse places in the world but environmental degradation is starting to threaten that. A lot of deforestation happens there, and trees are being cut faser than people are re-planting them. The GSE aims to reverse some of this damage and restore Ecuador's ecosystem. Other projects include building a rainwater catchment system  to help with the town's water supply and planting gardens in an Ecuadorian school. The deal is you work on these projects from like 8am - 2 in the afternoon, then the rest of the day is yours to relax on the beach and explore. We're supposed to be spending 2-3 days in the nearest city, la Bahia de Caraquez (our camp is a little ways away from the city on an isolated beach,) and we will celebrate the New Year there. The trip goes from December 27-January 12. The itinerary says we have a few different trips, visits to museums, and hikes. One day we're supposed to be learning how to surf too. The trip costs a litte more than I'd like..$2300, which covers airfare, food, transportation, travel insurance--basically everything but souveniers and extra necessities. We don't stay in hotels, I think we might spend a night or two in a hostel that the program always uses and has pretty much privacy in, but most nights are spent camping on the beach in large tents the organization provides.
Here's where you guys come in.. I have friends who really support it, friends who are neutral, and a couple of family members who are practically begging me not to go (primarily Grandma...the news always gets her worked up, she doesn't want me traveling at ALL, anywhere..). Then I have a relative, my dad's cousin, who has traveled a lot, but usually is more into tours and sightseeing, although she has been to Africa, Ecuador(briefly and in a different area than my trip would be,) and other third-world countries. She thinks I should go somewhere "easier" first, like Ireland or England. She's worried I'll be disappointed, but I don't know.. I feel like we might have different tastes when it comes to traveling. She loves to go and see the places she's read about and seen photos of--while I like that aspect too, a larger reason for me wanting to travel is just to get a taste of somewhere different and broaden my views. But anyways, I'd like to get some of your opinions on if you think this is a good idea or not. Don't worry about offending me--I'm just trying to make my decision and I know a lot of you have traveled before :). Eventually I do want to go all over--and I REALLY want to go to Australia. My dad's cousin suggested I save my money and go there, but I'm trying to decide if Ecuador really is an opportunity worth giving up. It would definitely reflect well on my resume, there's a chance I can work out some college credits for the trip, and it could defnitely be a life-changing experience. What do you guys think? Please be honest. The financial aspect sucks, but they did mention fundraising usually being successful in the past. Here's some photos I stole from the email they sent out to applicants.
Think I should fundraise and go? Or save my money for a future trip to Europe or Australia? Honestly I'm going to Europe or Australia eventually while I'm still young and free of heavy responsibilities, but I would probably go later on if I did this trip, and if I didn't do this Ecador trip I would probably go to Europe or Australia sooner.

Straying away from life-changing decisions, things overall have been good with me. I spent most of this week with Tom, which was really nice. I don't advertise it much on here, seeing as we don't bother with the boyfriend/girlfriend titles, but we have been seeing eachother for a really long time (yes exclusively, just no title,) and it's definitely nice when we get time together during the chaos of my college career. I like to consider Tom to be my rock. Whenever the little stressors of life decide to gang up and attack me, I know I can just let myself unravel in front of him. I'm never too worried about looking stupid, and it's pretty much a sure thing that he'll find a way to make me feel better. I always look forward to taking turns reading stories out loud from A Treasury of Sherlock Holmes with him before bed, waking up past ten and making big hearty omlettes for brunch. It's not always that glamorous, sometimes I just snooze on his shoulder while he kills godknowswhat on his xbox games, but I love the time together all the same. He's suppoting the Ecuador idea, which has a certain impact on my decison as well, because I know he's got my best interest in mind. He came to a meeting with me too because he was visiting me that night--and he was sold on the whole idea of the trip. He was also there for my emotional call with my dad when he told me that my grandmother was "devastated" by the very idea of me thinking of GOING. "If you go on this trip, just know it's going to cause some serious problems back here." Pretty heavy words to hang above my head. Again, Tom was my rock after I got off the phone all teared up, trying to collect myself before I had to go to class. Tom and my mom are probably my biggest supporters of the whole idea--my mom thinks it's a good thing, she's a little worried about international travel, but she doesn't want to stand in my way if I think it's a good opportunity for me.
Anyways, Thursday and Friday I had off from school due to the Jewish holiday, so I went home with Tom Thursday. Wedneday night was a Rise Against concert(!) so we stayed in my college city instead of driving the hour back home. The crowd was so crazy, everybody moving, everybody so amped up. I even lost Tom at one point when he got separated from our group of friends---but surprisingly I was able to find him and bring him back through the sea of sweaty, rowdy concert-goers, back to our friends. I crowd surfed for the first time! Pretty awesome ;), I didn't really go far, but it was a cool feeling, those bouncers pick you up like you're a piece of lint--you feel like you weigh NOTHING. Definitely cool to feel that way.

Once we were back at home, time with the friends was in order. We had a game night playing Apples to Apples at Derek's house, which is always a blast. The next day Tom and I went to our local apple orchard with the intent to pick apples, but it was pretty pricey, so we settled for cider and of course apple cider doughnuts!!!! There was NO way I was leaving that place without a bag of those, I've been craving them ever since the temperature dropped below 75 :P. So we played with the goats a little, got our doughnuts, walked around, and then went home.
 I was lucky enough to catch this group of senior citizens checking out the goats---something about it kind of makes my heart melt, haha.
 I'm pretty much pro at getting creeper shots of Tom ;), I couldn't help it though, it was too cute.
MY WEAKNESS...... Here you see like..10 out of the dozen we purchased. Yeah, well before the evening was through I managed to pig out on 6 and a half of these bad boys, by myself. Looks like it's time for me to visit the gym again.
So I am currently at my college, by myself. How did this happen you ask? Everyone at work was requesting this weekend off for the holiday, and being a newbie, I decided not to push my luck and only asked for Wednesday-Friday off, hoping I would magically get Sunday off atleast. But alas, I'm working both days over the weekend and the rest of my suite won't be here until later on tomorrow. I'm not really complaining though, I saw a lot of my friends this week and I do need the money. Plus it gives me time to just chillax and watch things on Netflix, BLOG, and hopefully do some reading.

Have a wonderful weekend! Please feel free to give me any imput/advice you have on my traveling situation :), and don't worry about offending me, I'm trying to be totally open-minded about this whole thing.

♥ Olivia

Monday, September 5, 2011

Change of the Seasons

Summer is gone and it's been almost a month since I've updated, again! But I am pleased to at least note that a lot has happened since I last wrote a blog post. I made a trip to New York City to visit my college friends, I bid farewell to Polo Ralph Lauren (until winter break perhaps,) I went job hunting and succeeded, and I have started my sophomore year of college. Alright, it doesn't seem like much, but I've been feeling pretty busy.

This is already starting off to be an amazing year at college. My suitemates are all just so chill this semester. Last year I dormed with a group of girls from Long Island who had all carefully chosen eachother beforehand, and my roommate and I were just the extras they were stuck with, ha ha. We didn't really click with their group because they had different friends and things going on through their sorority experience, but me and my roommate basically went together like peanut butter and jelly. And we chose to be roommates again this year :). For our suitemates we chose girls we met during freshman year that we had a lot of fun with, and felt the closest to, so now we have a pretty sweet suite. Our rooms are actually smaller in this building, but we compensate by actually using our space. Our common room last year housed everyone's desk, and that was all. And if the other girls were getting ready to go out, the common room felt off limits because who wants to sit and work at their desk in a room that's blasting music with hair straighteners and blow dryers going? Needless to say I did a lot of homework on my bed last year. This year, my desk is in my room, and so are a few of the other girls', so we had room to purchase a cute futon and set up a little living room area. It's so much cozier to be able to sit out there with the girls and watch bad tv together(before them I never watched an episode of Millionaire Matchmaker or Real Housewives.) My classes are pretty good this semester too; Abnormal Psychology, Environmental Science, Childhood Development, News Writing and Reporting, and Film in Contemporary Latin America.
Cozy right? Makes it awfully hard to get up and leave the dorm though, haha.

New York City was a lot of fun too. It was in the middle of August so I can't remember all of the details, but I'll recount what I can :). We went to Coney Island, Central Park, St. Mark's Place, and saw the Metropolitan Museum. I think I was actually getting the hang of the subway system after awhile. The night we went to St. Mark's we almost saw Johnny Knoxville!! We were walking past Union Square and these guys were like "Hey! Hurry up and go to Ray's Pizza, Johnny Knoxville's over there!!" I mean yeah... maybe they were lying, but it could definitely be credible--it's NYC. I could imagine a drunk Johnny stopping in a pizza place at 1 AM, it seems pretty plausible. But once we hurried over there, there was no Knoxville in sight...sigh.
 Coney Island was pretty cool :D. I've never been to an amusement park so close to a beach before, I thought it was cool the way the structure of the rides contrasted with the beach scene. We were kind of broke that day so we only paid to go on one ride (they're like $7-8 a pop!) and we walked along the water. Of course neither Tom or I had bathing suits with us. We also saw the original Nathan's Hotdogs stand--pretty epic I suppose :P.
 This little boy was ADORABLE! I can't believe I caught him just as he was trying to join in on the fun, with dad desperately reaching to pull him back, haha. They incorporated him right into their thing though, it was so cute to watch this todler teeter after these gigantic bubbles. I must've taken like...15 pictures of him, I feel like a creep. But I couldn't help it, it was adorable.
 I found Waldo ;).
I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but one of the things Tom and I like to do together is play chess. He basically taught me everything I know--I didn't know any of the pieces or have a clue how to play before him. So it was pretty cool when we went to Union Square and came across these chess games. How it works is if you win, the other guy gives you $5.00, and if you lose, he gets your $5.00. Usually Tom's pretty boss at chess, I've only beaten him a couple of times out of all the times we've played--but that night wasn't his night :P. He said he made a silly mistake, and I can't blame him, it's a little nervewracking to play in front of and against strangers, but it was still cool to watch.
One night we devoted primarily to hookah. It was actually during Ramadan, so a lot of the hookah spots were setting up for buffets after sunset, so we had to find one that wasn't going to be so crowded. We talked forever and had a contest for who could blow the most smoke, and tried making smoke rings. The fresh fruit hookah was really good, definitely worth the few extra dollars. Again, my nights in the city are al jumbled together and I can't really remember that much, but it was definitely a good time.

Back to the present: I did a little job searching at the end of the month and landed a job at Fossil! If you aren't familiar with them they sell vintage items ranging from leather bags to really nice watches, sunglasses, and charms. I went through two interviews with different managers and filled out all of my employment paperwork, so I'm just waiting for them to give me my employee number and start me in on training :). I'm pretty excited. The brand is something that's a little more "me" than Polo, although they were great to work with, I feel like this is going to be a good experience for me.
I kind of really want one of these watches already...yupp, there goes my paycheck!

I hope everyone is doing well, I'll be catching up on blogs really soon. The transition back into fall has been busy,  but I intend on posting a lot more frequently.
♥ Olive

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Home is wherever I'm with you

For starters, my car is back on the road! It only took a day to fix, but of course managed to cost me $150.. Automobiles are quite the investment. You have to pay for little unexpected breaks like this, then there's buying gas, paying for service if you're not under your parents..the list is practically endless. My best friend actually has to pay for a new license plate because she hit a bird which somehow caused the front plate to become detached. On her way back home she went to try to retrieve it, and saw an old man crawling up from where it fell off, get in his truck, and drive off. She went to the spot where she lost it and it was gone. Apparantly the DMV pays for returned plates but charges you to replace them, so traveling grandpa must have snatched her plate.
Chicken Roast
In case I haven't made it clear in previous posts, I'm pretty inexperienced in the kitchen. A few days ago I pulled out a recipe from my "Absolute Beginner's Guide to Cooking" and decided to make a greek chicken roast. I made a trip to the grocery store, bought a fresh whole chicken, idaho potatoes, lemons, and oregano(all things that are totally uncommon in our kitchen) and got to work on it later in the evening after I got out of work. It wasn't too difficult. It's kind of fun to prepare the it morbid if I made it dance a little before I put it in the pan..?  Then I coated the chicken and the potatoes and carrots I cut up with olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and salt and pepper. Then I just let the oven work her magic. Since I started the whole project after 9:00 and finished around 11 I had to wait for lunch to know whether it was a success or not. And a success it was :).I was happy to hear that both my parents sat down and ate it for lunch together, they never eat together because my mom is a picky eater and when my dad wants to eat she has to fix something up for them, so they wind up eaing separately. I was glad to fix something they could enjoy at the same time. So atleast now there's one more thing I can feel confident that I know I can make.

Something new.

I cut my hair! I had been thinking about it for awhile, with dead ends driving me crazy. Plus my hair has been the same style/roughly the same length since like...9th grade. So Tom and I went to the hairdresser in town and got haircuts together (insert "Aww" here..haha). So I basically got it as short as she could do it without it turning out poofy, because curly hair gets poofier the shorter it gets. I'm pretty satisfied with how it turned out. It looks different when it's curly like below, but yesterday it was poofy from the humidity so I took the straightener to it. I had forgotten what a total pain in the ass it is the straighten the back of your hair.

I began this post yesterday, which was Saturday, but I never got around to finishing it until today. We went to see Cowboys and Aliens last night, which was a good movie, but I kind of ruined it for myself by having a sour mood. I think I've discovered what one of my biggest pet peeves is--- sitting on the end in a movie theater. It just makes you feel isolated if you're not sitting next to someone who's making an effort to include you in on the whispering and jokes. Plus it worked out that Tom was on the opposite end of the row, when he wanted to sit next to me. Our two friends in the middle were talking, but I couldn't hear what they were saying, and they didn't ever turn to say anything to me. And I was to grumpy to come up with anything to say to them first. I didn't want to be a pain in the ass and ask to switch the seating around since I'm like with Tom, and didn't want to be that girl who CAN'T be separated from her guy, but it would've been nice to have been able to socialize with someone. Okay that's the end of my rant, it wasn't really a big deal, it just kind of sucked.

Tonight I made steak and mashed potatoes for my parents and grandma. Other than getting a little splashed with oil from the pan when putting the steaks on, it was a pretty smooth experience. No pictures though, I was in a rush to make it when I got home from work, so by the time I finished everyone was ready to dig in.

Well the power just went out, and my laptop battery lasts for like..twenty I think this will have to be the end of my post. Maybe I'll read something by candlelight.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Let's keep this going

Hah, just to prove exactly how long I've been detached from Blogger, I just now got the "new" version of posting. Undo and redo buttons, WAY easier way to post photos(before I had to drag photos inch by inch from the top of the page ALL the way down to where I wanted them in my post)...I could get used to this ;).
 After I wrote this little opening I had my dad go outside to look at my car. The past couple of days it's been kind of struggling to start, like I put the key in the ignition, turn it, and it sputterssputterssputters until 3 seconds late it finally kicks on. So he comes outside, lifts up the hood, decides I could use an oil change. He takes it for a drive down the road and back, says it seems to be running fine, gets out, then asks if I smell gas. I smelled gas yesterday too, but I assumed it was just because I was in a parking lot, and then I guess I smelled it again later but didn't think too much of it, but I smelled it when he did too. So under the car he went, and sure enough I have a gas leak. A bad one. Apparently it's right next to the exhaust pipe too, and I don't know much about cars, but gas on or inside of a hot surface like that is never a good ending. So I am out of a vehicle for a few days, but I am glad to have not exploded while driving to work.. Very thankful for that. It makes me nervous to think if there's anything else wrong with my car.. Hopefully it's a quick and easy fix because I'm not really in the position to purchase a new car.

  Not entirely sure what's up with the gray on the sides of the photo, I guess because it's from my crappy camera phone, but I took that of Tom and his dog Shadow when we reached the summit of the mountain on our hike the other day :). It was totally a stalker shot that he didn't know was being taken, but I feel like it captured a nice moment. I regretted not bringing my real camera up there, the view was gorgeous and my phone quite honestly did not do it justice. It was a pretty easy hike though, only took us an hour or two to get up there, then we ate our pb&j sandwiches and sat around for a little while--I'm sure we'll go back up there again and I'll get some better shots of the scenery, but I was satisfied with this photo. With the uselessness of my car, I'm sure I will be posting again pretty soon with being stranded at my house.

 Hope everyone has had a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This always happens

But perhaps this time will be different.

When I fail to keep up with my blog, I miss it. I'll think about it regularly, and of things I could write about, but the thoughts all seem to vanish when I actually have a few hours to spare to sit down and do it. I always feel like if I've been gone for a long time that I need to come back with a "really good" post to somehow make up for my absence, but then I continue to postpone it because I can't come up with anything good enough. Today I'm just going to wing it.

I think my biggest obstacle when it comes to doing anything for myself, particularly taking the time to write in this blog (or even my journal), and doing things like reading a book or watching something by myself, is that I have a problem with being left out. Sometimes I think it stems from being raised as an only child and relying so heavily on friends coming over, or going with friends, that I really treat hanging out with other people as a priority. And I am SO thankful to have the friends that I do, I don't mean to boast, but my friends are pretty awesome ;). So when somebody wants to do something just about every night, plus I'm working most days, it leaves very little time to be alone. I have no intention of isolating myself from the amazing people in my life, but lately I feel like I am on track to learning how to better manage my time and to take time for myself when I need it. For instance my best friend asked me to go shopping with her this morning at a place an hour away from home, before I have to work at 3:00. We probably would have been able to get back before 3, but I felt like what is the point of rushing? I enjoy the time I spend with her, and I enjoy it more when there isn't an expiriation time hanging above our heads, and I felt like it would give her bonding time with her younger sister who is also going. And now, I'm here blogging :), but I will happily meet her after work to go see a local concert tonight.

Alright, so I left off there yesterday, and now I'm finishing this up today :P. The local concert was a bust because apparently you have to be 21 to get into this bar--I was always under the impression that it was 18 to enter, 21 to drink, but I guess bars have their own individual policies they choose to enforce when they please... I'm really starting to believe that being 18 or older grants you no special priviledges until you turn 21. We still had fun though walking around the village with our two guy friends, killing some time seeing as we put $2.50 in the parking meter for no reason.

Today is my day off, so I'm pretty happy for that. And Tom decided to take the day off from his roofing job too, so now we get to spend it going hiking together :).

I know sometimes I really ramble on about school on here and it's a little excessive--I'm not going to do that today-- but I think I have decided that if this next year I don't fall completely in love with the psychology major and the idea of making it my life's work, then I am transferring to another school. The school I'm at now is great for psychology, but they definitely don't have what I'm looking for in the journalism department. I'm specifically looking for magazine journalism, I know the news is important, but that's not what I want to make a living from. I'd rather just be a regular consumer of the news, and specialize in an area in magazines, particularly health and wellness. I'm a pretty big fan of SELF Magazine, so working for them would be ideal as of now. So basically it's between that and continuing psychology studies, and if I transfer, right now I'm pretty sure it would be a move out to Chicago for their Columbia College school that has a magazine journalism major.

Recently I've been growing more and more concerned with health. When I was younger I was in the chubby category, I was never quite obese, but I was certainly a hefty little girl courteosy of a diet of pepsi, frozen dinners, and oreos. Back then I was too young to understand the real connection between what you fed your body, and how your body looks and functions. I was a kid, I didn't care. When I talk about this, I want to make it clear that my parents are wonderful, kind, hardworking people and I wouldn't trade them for anyone else in the world, but nutrition was something I really had to learn on my own. Being farmers food has to be quick and easy to eat because cows are a full day's work and you can't spend hours preparing a meal, you just can't. Add in the fact that my mom absolutely loathes cooking/baking/anything of that nature and my dad never had to learn because my grandma always made his food. So we would heat up frozen Schwan's chicken wings for dinner every Sunday night, our freezer stockpiled with the frozen entrees that looked like good homecooked meals from the supermarket. We would have ready-made roast beef with those powdered instant mashed potatoes, and every Tuesday after school my mom would take me to grab a bite at McDonalds on my way to my piano lesson. Once elementary school was coming to an end I started to realize how unhealthy I was and hated the way I looked. I'm thankful to say that I never suffered an eating disorder, (unless you count overeating when I was younger) and I can't imagine the difficulty of overcoming something like that for those who do go through it. I started relying on magazines for help, particularly FITNESS and occasionally others while I was younger like Seventeen and CosmoGirl. I'd like to believe they had a good influence on me because they offered nutritional information and ideas to start being active that I began to follow. I never looked at those magazines with an "I want to be skinny and perfect" attitude, it was more of an educational resource for me. A combination of cutting down my excessive portion sizes, cutting back majorly on soda, going the YMCA, and going out and doing things with my friends helped me through junior high to reach an average size that I was always content with in highschool. I'm still about that size, maybe I've gained 10-15 lbs, but I've stuck within the same range, but although I'm not overweight, I don't feel as though I'm really in shape either. My diet has improved since my childhood but it still isn't always balanced and totally nutritous. For me it isn't about pushing the needle lower on the scale or an embarassment of my pant size, it's about being all around healthier. I want to feel leaner and more toned, and I want to feel stronger as a result. I definitely don't want to be "buff" hahah, I just want to feel fit. So I recently joined a Bally's Total Fitness down where I go to school. Yes, the school has gyms that are free, but from my experience last year it kept me from getting fat, but it never really got me in shape. I think this had a lot to do with the crowdedness that usually occured unless you somehow went at the perfect time, and the smallness of the facility that made it boring to stay in for long periods. At this gym, there's a lot of room and variety from the hufe selection of strength training machines to the cardio area upstairs, then the walk-in free exercise classes that come with my membership--it just seems more worthwhile to me, and there's also that little trick that if I pay out of pocket for something, I'm more likely to use it. It even came with a free orientation with a personal trainer(and you get this once a month!) who talked to me about my fitness goals, and determined my weight and body fat percentage. Turns out I'm average, right in the middle of average with 26% body fat. I've made it my goal to get myself out of the 20's. The trainer also gave me some important information like you're supposed to use the strength training machines first, otherwise if you just hop on a treadmill or an eliptical it takes like 30 minutes or something of exercise before your body actually starts taking energy from your fat cells! And I was always the person who went on the treadmill first under this assumption that it would get my heart rate up and make my workout better, but I was wrong---machines first, cardio after is the most effective. I'm also pretty excited to participate in an exercise class like spin, kickboxing, or pilates. Since I don't start school until the end of the month and it's a little over an hour's drive away, I won't really get into a regular workout routine until then. For now I can start focusing on my diet. Because my mom always hated cooking I never learned how to make a healthy, home-cooked meal. Embarassing as it sounds, I went out and bought a book called "The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Cooking." It reminded me of one of those "...For Dummies" books, but I began leafing through it yesterday and it actually has a lot of useful information. Information that may be common knowledge to people who grew up in a kitchen, like measurement conversions, and what temperature different things bake at, and explanations of all of the various cheeses and herbs and spices. It even gives you lists of things that are useful to keep stored in your kitchen, and is full of thoroughly explained recipes. I'll try to keep you guys updated as I begin this whole cooking adventure. I'm not just doing this for myself and my own health but also for my family. I know my mom is hesitant to change her ways, she's never been concerned with diets and she's happy with eating the same thing every day( like she seriously has a microwaved hotdog and a glass of pepsi every day for lunch). She says it's weird, but she really doesn't mind it's not really my place to try to force her to do otherwise.. All I can do is start cooking and hope that maybe she'll be interested in trying something homemade and fresh. My dad on the otherhand hates all of the processed food we have, and is concerned for his diet because his doctor has been griping at him for years about his excessive sodium intake. But my dad doesn't cook either, so he just takes what's put on the table for him. Recently I've been trying to educate him about what's good and what's bad, and I've been buying substitutes for things like real deli meat instead of the pre-packaged over processed stuff we usually have. And urging him to use whipped cream cheese instead of slathering his bagels with butter, and trying to keep fresh fruit on hand. It's just difficult to be healthy in a household where oreos, pringles and pepsi are always on hand, and nobody goes out to buy fresh vegetables and healthy alternatives but me. But to me, it's worth spending the money out of my own pocket and making the trips to the grocery store to take care of my body and hopefully influence my family to do the same.

Things that have been missed since I last blogged.

* 19th birthday

My wonderful friends treated me to a Japanese hibachi lunch at a place called Sushi Yoshi ;). It's so cool the way they make a performance out of the whole thing, tossing knives, making the "onion volcano," it's definitely something worth checking out if you have never been. It takes the boredom out of waiting for your food, that's for sure. Afterwards we went to see Super 8 which apparently was to distract me while some of my other friends set up a barbeque/bonfire to surprise me when I came back :). My friends know how to make me feel pretty special. Last picture is Tom and me during the barbeque party.

* Working at Polo Ralph Lauren again. I ended up working through the summer and it hasn't been a bad decision. I've needed the money and the people there are pretty fun. Retail isn't always a joy to wake up for and spend your day doing, but being in good company and not having shifts every single day has made working pretty tolerable. Except sometimes you encounter miserable customers, but you learn to brush them off. Yesterday this one old man in particular set me off. We're doing this thing where we ask if you would like to donate a dollar to cancer research, and this man says no. That's fine, I don't care if people don't donate, it's not their obligation. But this guy continues to ask what the research focuses on, and I told him it was the Pink Pony fund for Breast Cancer--and he scoffs and says "You women get enough support as it is. Why don't you focus on one of the other ones, like lung cancer." MAYBE because lung cancer is fairly preventable if you don't smoke...?!!! UGH. I just wanted to make him see how bigoted and rude he was.. but instead I gave an awkward laugh at his ignorance and continued with the sale. Yes I agree all cancers deserve attention, but I really don't think women are like getting "TOO MUCH" support, and men can also get breast cancer FYI, old grouch. And lung cancer is a terrible thing, I worry about it for my uncle who is a lifetime smoker. But what is the point of criticizing the cancer one charity chooses to support? Anyways, my last day is August 11th, and then I'll need to find a job down near my college.

* My college friends came up for a visit.

Paige, my roommate, and Madiha, also our friend that happens to live in the same part of the city as Paige, both came up north to experience a little bit of the countryside :). We showed them the lake, as well as my farm and woods, and introduced them to the concept of a bonfire. Madiha had her first real s'more and our friend Shayla treated us to a free meal at the high class restaurent she hostesses at. 3 days was definitely not long enough but I feel like we gave them a good taste and I'm sure they'll come up with me once in awhile on weekends once school starts up. Hopefully I'll be going down to the city again to spend some time in their neighborhood as well ;P.


I realize this post was a lot of information, not entirely coherent, and maybe not all that interesting.. but bear with me as I get myself back into the blogging groove---I think we are pretty well caught up to speed now, and I'll be trying to check out everyone's blogs and start commenting again. Thanks for reading, I appreciate you guys and your comments more than I know how to express!

♥ Olive

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Back Home.

Summer for me has really, officially hit the ground running ;). It was nice to go to Iowa and see family, but 9 days was a long trip, and I was happy to return to the freedom of having my car, and get back into my routine of staying out until 12 or so hanging out with my friends. In Iowa I felt pretty isolated as far as friends go, and now I barely get a minute to myself (which explains my lack of posting). This isn't a complaint, I like keeping busy, but wow, what a switch.. :P. It's starting to settle down though, I think. Everyone including myself is getting back into the summer job routine, so that makes it more difficult to get everyone together. We still manage though, just not as often.

Photos from Iowa:

Yes, my grandpa recently purchased a working SCHOOLBUS. I hope I inherit it.. ;).

A couple of weeks before I went to Iowa I went to this event called Tulipfest with Amanda. Basically it's a big festival in a park where there's a few bands playing and they have a bunch of vendors and a lot of pretty tulips and other flowers out on display. I never got around to writing about it or posting pictures, so here's making up for lost time. Cold War Kids performed there, and we got to get pretty close, maybe the second or third row from the stage.

[How's it gonna feel when summer ends, Out of money, out of friends]

Last weekend I went on an overnight excurison with Tom and his family to one of their family and friends gatherings. They call them "Sapperknackers," because Tom's dad and his friends grew up in the whole hippie era, and these are continuations of their get together's from their youth, basically, so it's a bunch of friends from highschool and their families. I think the name comes from what they called themselves when they went hiking and stuff growing up, or something. I've gotten to know most of the people there pretty well because I've gone to so many, and a lot of them are related to Tom and Julie, so I've seen them multiple times. It's pretty nice to go to these events though, since my own family is so small and we never have parties like that. It's like an extension of family. It's cool being older too because us "kids" can be more independent.

^ Which reminds me, I'd really like to ride in a hot air balloon. It just seems like it would feel cool. My uncle used to have a balloon, but of course he got out of it shortly after I came along :P, just my luck. It's just something that's on my long list of things to do.

Roadkill breaks my heart. Or worse than road kill, road-injured :/. I went for a run last night, and I saw this little black bird just chillen' in the road. As I approached it closer I noticed the blood, which is why it didn't fly away from me in the first place. The calm expression in its eyes really got to me. It's the look of the acceptance of death. I wanted so much to help it, but there wasn't much that I could do.. I finished my run, and on the way back it was still there, even though a few cars had gone in that direction. I went back to my house and decided maybe I should get my car, it was only a short ways down the road.. I thought that if it was still there, the kindest thing to do would be to put it out of its misery. But I didn't see it on my drive past, and I turned around and it had somehow dragged itself out of the road and onto the grassy shoulder. I didn't want to try to drive that close to the ditch, and I thought maybe if it could get that far, then maybe there's hope for it yet---but I imagine it's just dragging itself into the ditch to die. It's just so sad. Fortunately, I haven't really hit anything in my own car. I know I've hit those toads that flee across the country roads at night, and I might have hit a chipmunk, but I really try to avoid it. It's such an unnatural way for an animal to have to die. It happens, and most of the time the people who hit it feel terrible, and they certainly aren't to blame, but I just think alot more animals would make the trip across the road alive if the people who aren't observant or careful stepped it up a little. And if you hit an animal that you suspect is somebody's pet, do not just flee the scene.. I see cats just left for dead all of the time and I wouldn't be surprised if it happened to dogs too. Sure, plenty of them are barn cats, but it's just the considerate thing to do to stop by the nearest house and let them know.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping and started a little experiment. My dad has been hearing for years that his sodium intake is through the roof. He salts everything. Like, he doesn't even taste it to see if it needs salt or not first, he just sprinkles it on out of habit. And most of the food my mom buys is frozen or processed food that ALREADY has more salt than a person should be eating. Plus he uses salted butter on everything too.. It just makes me worried about his health. He isn't even like, "heavy-set," he's not scrawny either, but he's not really in the overweight category, because he does so much farmwork, but still. He has really bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and nothing is really being done to help it. So I bought "lite salt" which supposedly still provides the nutrient iodine, but it also has 1/3 of the sodium and less calories than regular salt, and isn't quite so harmful. So I filled up our salt shaker with that as it was getting empty. Let's see if anybody notices the difference ;). Kind of sneaky, I know.. but I really don't think him or my mom will even NOTICE the difference, and it's better for their health, his especially, with the way he uses salt in such excess. I even did a taste test first, and it tastes like salt to me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Greetings from Iowa!

Hey, remember me? I'm that girl who writes a post once every two months saying that I need to post more often. Well, here I am again ;).

It's hard to find a balance with all of the things you love to do, and all of the obligations you know you have. One thing I am happy with myself for has been achieving my academic goal for this semester. Actually, I out-did it. In the fall I ended with a meek 2.8 gpa, and I was determined to push myself a little harder than that in the spring, setting a goal of 3.6, and last week grades were posted, and I was thrilled to see a 3.8 as my score. Hard work pays off sometimes, and now I just need to make sure I don't let it go to my head and start slacking again when I go back. With college fresh on my brain, I'll share some pretty basic things I learned from my freshman year:

* GO.TO.CLASS. This sounds pretty basic, like DUH, you have to go to class if you want to do well.. but sometimes people actually let this slip. "The class doesn't have attendance, the notes are posted on blackboard, the professor is boring, ect.ect." While you can afford to miss a day here and there, it's really in your best interest to just suck it up and go. You're paying for these classes and your professor's time, so you might as well utilize it and soak up every thing that you can. It will help, I can almost guarentee it. Sometimes attendance doesn't count for much according to the syllabus, but do you really want to miss out on freebie points for just sitting down in the classroom? You might not fare so well on your next test, and some professor actually use attendance to determine a curve on your exams. Don't screw yourself over :P.

* Find your zone. Atleast for me, it's really important that I have the right environment when I'm trying to study. For me it went like this: reading and note-taking was done sitting all comfy and lazy on my bed. (Unless my ghetto-fabulous neighbors decided to put on the Lil Wayne full blast, then I went to plan B) My second study spot was at my desk in the common room, that's where I'd usually work on my papers, provided my suitemates weren't out there listening to their music and getting prettied up for whatever middle-of-the-week party they were going to.. but after the 11:00 mark my desk was usually a safe bet. For papers I'd sacrifice the comfort of my bed so I could be forced to actually sit upright and be far enough away from my bed to do my work and not just doze off. Then for projects, or papers I just couldn't concentrate well enough in my room to do, I'd go to the library. I only went a few times, but from my experience, it forces you to get your shit done. So my advice is to just know the places you feel like you get the most accomplished, and make a habit of using those areas to get you in the zone to get your work done so you can have time to do things that are, well, fun ;).

* Take whatever extra-credit you can get! Think of it as counting, write it down in your planner as an assignment so you won't think of it as just being optional. The more points, the better, unless you're really overloaded.

*Expand your social circle. When I first got to college, I reallly kept a small circle. Like I mean it would just be me and my roommate, and our other good friend eating together every day. I love those girls, and sometimes I like it when it's just the three of us catching up, but this second semester we finally made some more friends to add to the group. We were never against making friends, we just somehow weren't meeting anyone, it was frustrating. It's nice to know more people, so if your roommate can't make it to the gym or dinner, you can text so and so, and spend time with them instead of having to go by yourself. We even made some guy friends in the end who let us hang out and smoke their hookah tobacco a couple of times towards the end of the semester. It's just cool getting to know people, and the more people you meet, the more they'll introduce you to over time. I still feel like I have a relatively small network of college friends, but meeting more people is a goal of mine, and my roommate's next year.

* Don't drink in your room. atleast not in your common room. Just don't, if you get caught and your resident director isn't feeling particularly generous, you could wind up on probation for the rest of your college career. Sometimes they WILL randomly knock on your door and do a "suite check" so be forewarned. This usually only occurs on notorious "drinking holidays" like Halloween, St. Patty's, whenever they catch wind that they should be suspiscious. Atleast have a quick plan for in case someone comes, a designated hiding spot for bottles/shot glasses, a concealed trashcan for cups and cans.. Have fun, but be smart ;).

* If you go out partying, stick with friends. It's a given, but try not to even wander off for a little bit, try to always stick by/within view of someone. I personally know a girl who wandered out of the pizza parlor or something she was at with her friends late one night, a guy started running his mouth to her, and she's not one to just sit quiet and take it, so she dished it back, and his "girls" attacked her, and the GUY kicked her in the face! It happens... It's a very sad, sickening thing, but some guys are just bottom-of-the-sewer-scum.. Luckily her friends and the police were able to break it up, but some people won't get that lucky. Some people will attack in groups, and some won't care what your gender is.. Not even if you're beautiful like this girl was, and I've had another close friend get threatened by a random guy who thought she "took his seat." Yeah, there's some real gentlemen out there.. My roommate carries pepper spray, I'm pretty happy for that.

* Buy books ahead of time! I always screw myself over this way. I wait too long to figure out what books my classes need, and thus am stuck spending an arm and a leg at the University bookstore. Amazon and are two of the sites alot of students use to buy or rent their textbooks. We also have a cool used bookstore downtown from my campus, so check into things in the area like that. And if you feel like the textbook is something you're never going to find use for again, sell it back to the bookstore after! I've made $60+ back in a semester for returning a few of my books.

* Don't be afraid.. to take classes outside of your requirements if they interest you. It's all about learning, don't just think of your education as a checklist. Don't be afraid to change your major either, I went from Journalism to Psychology already in my first year. Don't be afraid to exchange contact info with someone in your class; it's really nice to have someone to text if you miss a day and want to know what happened while you were gone, or to double-check about something the professor said. I've had to do this more than once, and it was nice having the convenience of asking another student rather than emailing the professor and waiting days, or possibly never getting a response, depending on the professor... Some are good about getting back to you, others aren't.

So, what exactly am I doing out in Middle of Nowhere, USA? Truthfully not very much. Which can be pretty nice for awhile. Some days have been busier than others with visiting with my mom's friends, this is where she grew up afterall. We went to a couple of really nice shopping areas in Nebraska the other day, where surprisingly, I didn't buy any clothes! Instead I scored a couple of nice deals on accessories including wooden and gold bangles, a good hairwrap, a couple of books at B&N (Catcher in the Rye, Sarah's Key), and I really went crazy for this one place called The Body Shop. I've never been to one in New York, but they had pretty environmentally friendly products and they advocated for creating jobs in poor economic countires. They just seemed to have a lot of good messages behind their company and were reasonably priced, so I bought a few seaweed based face products, hoping they'll help keep me looking clean and fresh for summer. I'm trying to do a lot for my health overall lately. Trying to remember sunscreen, and getting in the routine of a morning and/or evening run along with a little abs and arms workout. And trying to eat healthy. It's easy here at the house because when we went grocery shopping I was very particular about what I chose.. wheat thins, whole grain bread, strawberries, v8 strawberry banana juice, special k, ect. But it's harder when we have lunch at the diner, there aren't really any "healthy options" to speak of, so that's my indulgence, I usually have a grilled cheese and fries, but I atleast skip the salt. I'm not really trying to lose weight although if a few pounds shed I won't complain ;), but I'm really just trying to give my body the best, get somewhere close to "optimal health" although I doubt I'll ever get quite that far. I'm just trying to be more conscientious about what I'm putting into my body and how I'm keeping my body in shape and preventing health problems I don't need to have. I definitely need to tone up, my arm strength is pathetic hahah. I'd like to be a lot more active than previous summers. Tom sent me a text the other night that we're going to go running in the woods when I get home, so now that really motivates me to shape up while I'm in Iowa. I don't want to be huffing and puffing 20 ft behind him, feeling like a burden holding him up. I want it to be a good experience where I can keep up with him and we can push eachother to keep going.

So in Iowa I've been practicing my endurance running on the gravel roads. The unstable ground seems like decent preparation for the woods, although the woods are going to be much steeper. I really just want to be outside and do a lot while I'm off from college and free from the confines of my dorm room. How do you guys keep active in the summer?

I'm not really sure what I want to do about employment this summer either. Lately I've been working with my old art teacher, flipping a house. I find stuff like that to be so much more fun than sitting inside a store all day. I like doing work that you can actually see yourself getting things done, you witness the progress. At my retail job, I feel like I'm just folding clothes that are going to be messed up again 20 minutes later, bugging customers who don't want to be talked to, and sweating in the limited number of work-approved outfits I own.. the same ones I wear through the winter. I guess I'm weighing my options.. but if I can work on the house flipping deal all summer, I might not have the time for a secondary job, and the house work actually pays better too with alot more flexibility. I appreciate that my previous job has kept a spot open for me while I went to college, but I want to spend my summer having fun and doing things I want to do.. If I can get away with just working for my teacher, and working enough to get by for the summer, that's what I'll do, although the idea of quitting makes me nervous. Then there's also the prospect of working at this nice hotel in the restaurant part which is what my friend is doing. She's pretty sure she can get me in, and it sounds like a good job, paying better than the one I have now, plus the opportunity for tips.. so that's an option too. I just don't want to overwhelm myself with work this summer, it passes too quickly to not enjoy it.

I kind of like doing work that gets my hands dirty. I like scraping wallpaper and getting paint splatters on my sloppy clothes. I like feeding calves, but I like it more when Tom does it along with me. I want to go hiking this summer. I want to plant a vegetable garden. I want to go to bed smelling like bonfire smoke 75% of the time and wake up atleast one morning to take a drive to the ocean on a day that just seems right. I want pictures, and pictures, and pictures so I never forget the fun and the youth I once had.

I'm so ready for summer, how about you?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Disappearing Act

On the very last minute of this Tuesday evening, I'm making a comeback. I will not guarentee for how long, because sadly, I always wind up disappearing after a few posts. I hate that I do this, but it always seems to happen. I refuse to just give up and delete this blog though. It's like that brown, dying houseplant that nobody has the heart to quit watering. I'm just going to keep watering it when I remember, let it sit in the sun, and hopefully one day it will turn a lush green again.

I'm really excited to catch up with everyone though, it's going to be a challenge, but hey, I'll embrace it. Things have just gotten so busy with my college life, as they did in my highschool life, and I see that it's really not a good excuse. I need to drill the concept of "time management" into my head. It's getting there.. I'm atleast doing well with balancing a social life and an academic life---but now I need to learn to incorporate my introverted/"me time" life into the mix..including working out. Tonight was the first time I really exercised in WEEKS, just like with blogging.. Lately I've been going home a lot. Friends have been offering me rides left and right, plus it's MAPLE SEASON!!!!!, so I've been making maple candies and cream from our own maple syrup. We're actually having a great season, which we desperately needed after last year... Last year we only made around 36 gallons of maple syrup, and this year, not even finished with the season, we've made 100 gallons. I think it could be a good idea to get some sort of website started up for it.. like, that stuff sells.. and honestly we don't charge nearly as much as most maple producers do for the same quantities and grades of syrup. So.. when I decide I have a bunch of time on my hands.. maybe I'll make a website, haha. I know I just wrote a big post last time, forever ago, about my uncertainty about my future, and lo and behold, I've gone and made it more complicated. Now I'm seriously considering going on the Psychology track. I know I sound really inconsistent. I can admit that I'm not really at all sure what I would like to spend the rest of my life doing.. But I know this, atleast. I do not want to be a reporter. It isn't me. These journalism classes I've taken so far, all news related, which should be a big DUH, but it really isn't my thing. I had an interest in doing magazines, but that wasn't really the direction my classes have been going in. Next semester I'm planning on taking a Magazine Writing course to affirm my decision.. but I took a Psych 101 class, and I think there might be something for me there.. I have always had an interest in helping people, actually I make it a priority a lot of the time.. I thought about Psychology before, but I had the idea in my head that it would be too hard, it's a "science," and I never could retain scientific information in highschool. But this class has proven to be different. I'm pretty interested, and I'm getting phenomonal(please excuse the bragging) grades in it. That's one thing I've been trying to do this semester, step up my grades. First semester I was just gliding along, doing average, on the verge of poorly. I passed everything, but not with flying colors. Now I'm realizing that even though I'm at a big university, I can still excell if I actually put forth effort. And.. if I'm paying for it, it's definitely worth the effort. I'm learning that this isn't 13th grade. But back to psych. I'm not 100% sure what I'd definitely do with it, whether I'd go all the way and get a Ph.D and open a private practice, or maybe I'd find a concentration and go into something like School Psychology. It's just another option though, I probably won't really have a solid idea of what I want to do until next year when I take more courses in it. I'm definitely more interested in the counseling side of it than the research/experimental concentration. But then again, maybe I'm really a writer. Or maybe I'm none of these future identities I try to claim. It's all just trial and error, this college thing. Oh, and I'm kind of over the last two colleges I was talking about. I still think I want to transfer after next year, but my desired location/school has changed. It's all about Champlain College in Burlington now.

I just want to take a moment here to say Rest In Peace to Sean Laflash. Last week my town lost a really great kid, much too early. He was such a polite, sweet, and respectable person. He spent his entire life in boy scouts, and was recently awarded his Eagle Scout status.. Sean had a passion for photography, and he worked hard all summer for his DSL camera.. He lived up the road from me.. I would drive by his house and wave at him nearly every day. He was a senior this year, only a grade below me. He knew how to make people laugh. He had good friends. He died doing something he loved, skiing.. He was a great kid, and it is truly a tragedy that his life was cut so short. He could have done a lot of good things.

I really want to encourage anyone who skis or snowboards, or does any sort of high action sport/activity, to please be safe, and wear a helmet. It can't always save you, but it is worth the investment in case it can. I always wear mine. Freak accidents shouldn't discourage anyone from going out and exploring their passions, but just use a little precaution. Watch your speed, wear a helmet, be aware of your surroundings..

On that note I think I will end this. In exactly a month, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, I will take my two final exams and officially be done with my first year of college ;)! That's part of the reason I made a point to post today, aside from it being waaaay past due.. I really don't want my last month of freshman year to be forgotten. I haven't even written in my journal in ages. I can't let it continue to go this way. I lose out on a lot of self reflection that way, and I espeically lose out when I don't blog, because I don't get the feedback I love from all of you. You are all really, truly dear to me. I'm sorry that I go off the radar so often, and I can't express how much it means when some of you continue to keep up with me despite my lack of good, frequent posts.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Internal Conflict

When I think about where I want to transfer to after next year I am conflicted. When I think about what kind of work I want to be doing once I get out of school I am conflicted. It's all one big self-confliction and I haven't the slightest idea how to sort it all out before it's too late.

Thinking about it I've always kind of had this identity issue (don't worry, this isn't about to get psychotic), but I've always been torn between my farm girl roots and my curiosity for the bigger world. A Country Mouse and the City Mouse dilema if you will.
There's a simplicity to the country life that I love---there's something beautiful about deep green grass and a hard day's work and an honest living. The older I grow, the more I admire the country people. The more I appreciate the work my parents do to produce high quality milk--the more I see the injustice of how little farmers get for doing so much. My parents work 12-14 hours every day (including weekends) on the farm, all year round, yet we're just making ends meet. Seeing our struggle always kind of pushed me away from the lifestyle, "I just want to do anything but that..," get me to the city, give me tall buildings, clean structures, modern interior design. Give me a desk and an office and a steady paycheck that has no dependency on the inconsistent prices for milk/hundredweight. But now as I get older I'm drawn more to the pride of producing something, creating something of your own that can better the world somehow. I get ideas in my head of expanding our maple business, of possibly starting up some kind of other venture.. I get ideas of having a nice house out in the country with plenty of land.. If I have a family that's something I definitely want.. I can't picture myself permenantly living in a city.. It's something I would do for awhile for the experience of it, but I feel like it isn't where my roots are. So it makes me wonder where my future is headed. I always thought I was bound to be this big city girl, you know? I mean maybe.. but it's all so confusing. There's like two images of myself that I conjure up when I think about the future.
On one side I see this professional journalist. This magazine editor, or this columnist, this successful woman who's aware of the world and has a voice to speak about it. She knows the issues, she cares about the issues, and she pushes them to the surface. She conducts or contributes to meetings with big fancy posterboard with expoential growth charts and vibrant photos to be selected for the publication. She writes down story ideas and her words hit the printed press in copy, after copy, after copy. She has Starbucks in one hand and a ballpoint pen in the other, she gets down the business.
Now meet the other self, she's in the sugarhouse boiling down tree sap to make maple syrup. A lively Austrailian Shepard paces in front of her, asking for attention. Once she finishes boiling for the day she goes inside to work a little more on her novel with a cup of hot chocolate sitting on her large wooden desk. The dog sleeps beneath her feet and only stirs when the front door opens signaling that her husband is home. Maybe she's a notable author, or maybe she works for a local media outlet, but she resides in the country. There's room for dogs to run and a family to grow. She might have some livestock, maybe if she gets ambitious she'll start up a small dairy business, or maybe she'll raise puppies, or maybe her husband is a crop man. Or something else entirely, or a mixture. Whatever she does she loves the land and loves the animals, she takes care of them both. An agricultural hippie.

This is why I'm so conflicted. I see these two persons, and I don't know which path I'm supposed to take.

College I feel is a major step in either direction. Two of the schools I'm considering go hand in hand with these opposite persons. One is a media arts college in Chicago, supposed to be fantastic for gaining a media-driven education, they even have Magazine Journalism as its own independent major. Usually everything is just lumped together under the vague title of "Journalism." Great facilities, wicked cool dorm options (bathroom and kitchen in every suite), really modern look.. And they have a minor in environmental science option. Problem is, it's a big change to a humongous city--and it's 15 hours away by car. Coming home, I'd be on a plane for sure. Needless to say I wouldn't be coming home too much.

School #2 is half an hour to 45 minutes away, but in Vermont instead of New York. It's a small liberal arts college, focused on environmental sustainability. It's a close-knit community, and they do have a Communications/Journalism major, but it isn't nearly as focused as the city college, but that doesn't mean it can't be a good program. This school has Agricultural programs and a Writing program along with many environmental applications, that's its main thing afterall. It even has its own campus-run farm, where the students take on the responsibility of making sure the chores get done and the plants and livestock are taken care of. You learn about farming and how to do things like make your own cider and honey. There's a lot of chances to do things outdoors for recreation. I'm not sure if I would be better off commuting or living on campus if I went to this school..I'd kind of rather live on campus, but if the cost is greater than the gas---then it's up in the air.

I just don't know.. The city seems so interesting, but I also love the charm of a small, close-knit college full of other peace and earth-loving hippies like me. What if I try to snatch a bite of the city mouse cheese, only to be caught in the paws of the big cat? I just don't know, I feel like I'm at a crossroads. There's options beyond these two schools, but they're my top contenders at the moment, so I thought it'd be best to pair them against eachother.

There's one constant across my inconsistent string of ideas, and that's to receive a good education. Regardless of what I wind up doing, I want to always be learning, and college grants the best opportunities for that--the best intellectual environments, and I want to sieze the opportunity while I still can.

I know this was one big annoying argument with myself, so if any of you read this, I give you major credit.. Hopefully my next post will be on a different sort of topic.

OH WAIT, maybe I should let you guys know about my trip.. So I went in positive spirits, a chance to do something with my mom, and a "Farm Show" honestly didn't sound too bad to me, as I've admitted in this post, I'm kind of into that stuff. So we go late Thursday morning. We do a little shopping at the mall and go back to the hotel because we intend on going to the farm show in the morning. Hello major blizzard... It was snowing non-stop Friday, my mom was too weary to venture out in it.. So we were stuck in the hotel room, all day. I think I watched "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Shining." Perfect for being stranded in a hotel, no? So somehow I managed to survive through that, I tried to keep my complaining at a minimal, I knew my mom hadn't planned on this happening--it was right at the end of my vacation from college too.. so I really didn't want to be stuck for a day of nothing. But the next day we packed our bags, checked out of the Best Western, and headed to the Farm Show.It was pretty alright stuff. Mainly vendor booths advertising their product or services, spoke with some of them. It'd definitely be neat for someone who knew what everything was. Lots of big machinery, like huge. It was neat to be around so many "farm folk," wearing their Carhartts and boots, seeing both children and boys my own age climbing up into the tractor's to look them over. Did I mention this was all inside, thank god.. So my mom and I went around and looked at most every booth, she talked to company correspondents that she knew, we got a free buffet lunch from some friends of hers, and I bought maple cotton candy in the maple part. Although I wish it hadn't been a three-day-excursion, I'm glad I went and spent time with her, and it was a good experience to go to the show.

It was nice to come back though. I finished up visiting with friends, saw Amanda again, spent more time with Tom and Julie's family. One day, the day I was supposed to be heading back to college, Tom had the idea to go snowboarding on the hill behind his house. So much fun. It was pretty warm out too, so we were just in jeans and sweatshirts, falling down in the snow, and it didn't even feel that cold! I just got right back up, and trudged back up the mountain, it wasn't uncomfortably cold at all, it was weirdly..refreshing. I fell alot though, I have a ways to go in my snowboarding career, ha ha. Luckily the snow was deep too, so no pain. One run, I fell directly on top of the burdox bush... Smooooooth. Thankfully I had Tom to help pick the burs out of my sweatshirt. I went grocery shopping with them, and I had my own list too, and we didn't get back until 6:30 or so, and my mom wanted to take me home by 5, or I needed to find an alternative ride, she's not a night-time driver. So I decided what the hell, I'll just stay another night, because Julie offered to take me back the next day. So I went home and said my goodbyes, got a nice visit in with my grandma :). Never again after that one time, will I ever let myself be home without seeing my grandma atleast once. That time I ran out of time before I had to go back to college---guilt ate me for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week. It felt nice to have an extra night too, not to rush right back to school. Julie and I had a nice drive down here too, I wish it had been farther kind of so our conversation didn't have to end as soon as it did. I'm hoping her and Amanda will come down to hang out here this weekend, but it's undecided. But here I am now, at college once again. Procrastinating homework once again ;), but atleast I'm blogging. I hope everything is going well with all of you.