Archive | December, 2010

This is What my Heart Looks Like:

31 Dec

I’m ready to pop the champagne corks and ring in a new year tonight…are you?

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Power Out

30 Dec

Today’s Plinky-inspired post has been quite relevant lately: what would you do with yourself during a power outage? The reason it is relevant is because the power frequently goes out at my house. I have no idea why, but on a fairly regular basis, I come into my room only to find that my clocks are all flashing incorrect times. Then there was that huge, freak storm in October which knocked our power out for days. It’s already been an unusually snowy winter here, leaving us powerless for a few hours. And then there was the day a curious squirrel blew up the transformer across the street (we know this because he was still lying at the bottom of the telephone pole an hour later). So, I’ve had to find things to do with myself in these instances, which is proving more and more challenging as I become more addicted to technology.

When the power goes out, the things you can do rely heavily on what time of day it is, and what time of the year. When it is winter and it gets dark at a ridiculously early hour, you are fairly limited on the things you can do. If you have enough flashlights or candles, you can read a book or maybe even play a board or card game, but that’s unusual. Most of the time you just have to go to bed, to sleep off the dark until you can see again in the morning. When it’s still light outside, your options are a lot more varied. You can fall back on the book reading and board gaming, but you can do other things as well. Those are my typical choices, but I also like to clean something. Like take a drawer that’s been neglected and use that electricity-free time to organize it. Or maybe to pick up that scarf I’ve been knitting for a year and haven’t finished.

Of course, you always have the option to leave the house, timing permitting. It’s a good time to call up a friend for coffee, or to see a movie. If you’re in the middle of something important, it’s nice to take your computer to Barnes and Noble or somewhere similar and finish your work. Although, having the power out is a nice excuse to unwind from all these screens we usually have thrust in our faces. Ordering pizza is always a great option, as well as going out to dinner. We have a gas stove, so we can still cook when the power is out, but it’s not fun to deal with the warm leftovers in a refrigerator that’s off.

If the power is out long enough, we must load up our soap and towels and shower at the gym. My mom and I had to exercise this option back in October, because we were smelly and out of hot water. I remember one day, in eighth grade to be exact, that the power and the water were out in the morning. Of picture day. Needless to say, I did retakes that year, and did not buy those school pictures.

Most of the time, if I’m not reading, or playing on my phone, I just sit around and think about how bored I am, and what I could do to entertain myself. Excellent use of time, no?

It’s funny how much we rely on electricity and technology during the day. Almost to the point where you don’t know what to do with yourself when you have no access to it. It really puts your powers of creative thinking to the test. It’s nice to have that reminder every once in a while that, really, we’re powerless without power. Well, obviously. But we forget what a luxury it is, that we just take it for granted.

Stuff I Want Wednesday

29 Dec

Part of my current iTunes wishlist. It’s obvious I’ve been watching both The Sing-Off and VH1’s 100 Greatest 1-Hit Wonders…

Hollaback Girl

28 Dec

I got to thinking the other day about my internship at SADAC, and wondering how they are all doing. There were so many different women in and out of the group when I was working there. Some left and came back, others came only a few times and didn’t finish. I wonder if any of them have been arrested again for anything. I wonder if any of them are still there. I hope not, just because that means they haven’t been able to stay clean and get their lives back on track. I hope that most of them have been able to graduate from the program and start their lives over.

I’d like to go back and visit again, just to see what it’s like since I’ve been gone. And to see the trouble tree that I helped to create for the class. I hope they’re still using it, and that it’s helping them. I know they had another art therapy intern last year, and I’ve been wondering if Geri has anyone there again this year. I don’t know what kind of things the second intern did with them, and it would be interesting to see how different she was than me. She’s got to be, definitely, so it would be kind of weird for someone else to be there. I feel like, even though I haven’t been there in a year and a half, that it’s my territory. It will always have a place in my heart. I was the first art therapy intern to be there, and it was my first placement.

Of course, it wouldn’t be professional to actually go back and visit – it’s not my place to be there anymore. It’s a closed environment, so I don’t need to be popping in and out just to say hi. But it does make me curious. For the most part, I don’t remember all the women that were in the group. There are some that really stand out to me, of course, and some specific days I won’t forget. The whole experience really had a big effect on me, and I’m not likely to forget it anytime soon.

It just goes to show that people pass in and out of your life like vanishing smoke. Some stay longer than others, some serve a short purpose and then leave. I hope I was able to have a positive effect on them, and that doing art helped them to stay on their path.

Ten Things Tuesday – December 28

28 Dec

It’s the end of the year, and as always, we’re taking a look back and a look forward at the same time. This week’s double dose of TTT is the ten best things that happened this year, and ten new goals I’m hoping to stick to in the coming year.

Ten great things about 2010:

1. Concerts. Without a doubt, this was the year of concerts for me. The year started fabulously with an excellent John Mayer show in Nashville, where I also got to spend time with Akinya. Next up was John Mayer, round two, in Charlotte – same tour, just five months later. A week after that was Paul McCartney, the most mind-blowing experience of my life (first, because he was so good, second because I was in the same room with a Beatle). Last, Jason Mraz in Greenville, which was especially memorable after having my picture taken with him dressed as a dinosaur. How many amazing concert ticket deals will I score in the next year? We’ll see!

2. Traveling. I went some pretty awesome places this year. At the beginning of the year, it was Chicago and DC for grad school interviews. There wre trips to Nashville, Charlotte, and Spartanburg throughout the year. There was an overnight “business trip” to Chattanooga. And then there was Boston – wonderful Boston with the lovely Katy. I’m itching for another road trip just thinking about it.

3. New clothes. Not that it’s something I need so much of, but my wardrobe got a healthy dose of amping up this year, thanks to my 365 challenge to take a picture of my outfits every day for a year. I haven’t always lived up to this task, but I’m always working on improving it and sticking to it. I think it’s definitely helped me to think more about what I’m wearing on a daily basis.

4. AmeriCorps. I’ve really enjoyed being a member of this. Even though it’s been pretty crazy and kept me busier than I ever imagined, it’s been very rewarding. It’s been nice to have more responsibility at the Museum, too. I’m glad to have a few more months next year to continue.

5. Yoga. My mom and I have been going regularly – in fact, over the summer, rather than actually working out, we just went to yoga. It’s been helpful in keeping us flexible and stress-free. Well, not entirely stress-free, but it’s certainly helped. It’s nice to know that, one day per week, you have an hour to just kind of zone out, regroup, and restore your energy.

6. Letting go. There are things in life you just can’t change. It’s important to recognize the ones you can change, and actually do something about it. It’s equally as important to just let go of the others and not worry about them so much, because there’s no sense causing stress for yourself about things that you can’t change.

7. Exercise. Although the second half of this year hasn’t really been my most diligent time, as far as calorie-counting and regular exercise, we’ve vowed that we’re going to get back in the habit of it. As much as I actually hate the physical act of exercise, it does make me feel better – physically and mentally.

8. Baking. The thing I like to do when I’m stressed, or bored, or find a really great recipe for something that sounds delicious. It’s inspired me to open my own cupcakery. Not that it will particularly happen, but it’s a nice dream to have. Grace is particularly interested in going into business with me, so we’ll see. It might be a great business venture to get into, although I don’t know the first thing about running a bakery. It might never come to fruition, but you never know!

9. Purging my life of excess clutter. As you may remember, I’ve recently taken up cleaning and organizing my room, which I see as the first step to moving out. I needed to take a kind of inventory of the things I had to determine the things I need. And to just generally get rid of all the extra stuff I’m really, honestly not going to use anymore. It feels good to get rid of it, and send it along to someone who needs it more than I do. I like having all my things organized and where I can get to them easily, rather than searching all through the house and the garage looking for my stuff.

10. Discovering new music. As a general rule, I do not find new music or artists I like as much as the ones I already know about, so I hardly see a point in finding something new. The radio stations I listen to are all classic rock stations, where the musicians are either dead or old enough to be my parents. This was the golden age for rock and roll, and I think it is, sadly, gone. The few musical discoveries I have made this year have probably come a little too late – that is, I’m definitely having to run to get a ride on the bandwagon. If the bandwagon even exists anymore. The point is, no matter how late I am in making these discoveries, I did it in my own time and on my own terms, and that makes my love even sweeter.

Now, ten things I’m hoping to accomplish/looking forward to in the new year:

1. Going to grad school. Finally. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. Especially after visitng Katy in Boston. I’ve had to put it off for a year longer than I intended, so I’ll be ecstatic to actually go this coming fall. Not to mention the fact that I’m more than ready to move out and be on my own. It’s nice being back with my parents for a while, but I’m reaching my limit. I’m ready to be an actual adult, with my own life and my own space.

2. Get a dog. This does, of course, involve moving to a place that is dog-friendly, scheduling my life to properly care for it, and finding a dog that fits that lifestyle. I worry that I will be too busy all the time with grad school – I’m sure it will take up a great deal of my time. But finding a nice dog to lounge around with me while I study or write papers will be excellent company. I’m planning on taking my turtle when I move, but he’s just not as much company as a snuggly dog.

3. Go on some dates. I seem to recall making that promise last year… Well, as you can see, it didn’t work out at all. In my line of work, I meet only dads. Not what I’m looking for. I’m not looking to settle down quite yet, but I do miss having that kind of love and support in my life. Honestly, I don’t expect to find anyone around here – I don’t really like Tennessee men for some reason – so hopefully moving to an urban area with a higher concentration of men my age will be to my benefit.

4. Make art again. I haven’t made anything new in at least a year. I’m not counting knitting or jewelry-making. We’re talking painting, collaging – all the things I love most. Part of this is because our spare room, which my dad set up to be my art room when I moved back home, was used as garage-sale storage for a long time. Now that the garage sale is over, I still can’t use the room because it’s been converted into a guest room again for my brother’s girlfriend, who is coming to visit in a few days. So, this entire month I’ve had off, I haven’t been able to paint anything because the room is put back together again. Most inconvenient. Once her visit is over, though, the bed is out, and it’s back to art studio. Hopefully I’lll find some sort of creative inspiration soon. I miss creating things.

5. Visit Mallory in Belize. She’s down there for 2 years in the Peace Corps, and it’s been so fun and interesting to read her blog about her experience. I really want to go see her, and find out more about what she’s doing. It seems like a really amazing experience. I’ve never been to South America before, and I’d love to see it. I shouldn’t save my money for this in the coming year, but I want to so badly!

6. Improve my vocabulary. This is left over from last year, and I think it’s mostly due to being around kids so much. Like, way more than I had anticipated at this time last year. I feel like I’ve kind of had to dumb down my knowledge and vocabulary in order to best communicate with the kids I’m around. I’m not saying that kids are dumb, certainly, but that their brains aren’t developed enough yet to understand some of the things I do. If I’m going to earn a Master’s degree in the next couple of years, I need to speak more like a grown up.

7. Exercise. In my never-ending quest to get in shape, this past year was definitely the most progress I’ve ever made on that goal. I lost about 40 pounds since last December, putting me at about halfway to my goal. I’ve seriously slacked off the last several months. For a while I was doing such a good job of keeping up with my nutrition and calorie intake, and exercising 4 or 5 times a week. I have to get back on this plan if I ever want to cross this goal off my list.

8. Finish the things I start. I’m notorious for starting projects and not finishing them. I’ve gotten much better about this recently, but it’s still a habit I’d like to break. For example, I have two decorative pillowcases sitting on my floor right now that I need to finish making. They’re the reused remnants of a pretty pillow I bought at Epcot Morocco that started to look a little deteriorated. They’ve been sitting on the floor, waiting to be finished, for at least two weeks. I think this need to finish things comes from the fact that I want my things organized, meaning they shouldn’t be in little piles all over my room.

9. Knock out a good portion of my reading list. I did a terrible job of sticking to this resolution last year, so it’s coming back again.

10. Detaching myself away from Facebook and living a real life. It’s kind of sad when most of what you know about your friends is found out through news feed. I have a serious addiction to Facebook that needs breaking. No time like the present to start!

The Bad Plus

27 Dec

Thank you to my old friend Eric for introducing me to The Bad Plus recently via Facebook. Most of what appears in my news feed is relatively uninteresting and uninspired, but every once in a while, a post is worth clicking on. That’s how I discovered this amazing little jazz group. I’ve been listening to them nonstop for several weeks. Haven’t heard of them? You should check them out here. And then hurry to buy their music. My particular favorites are the ones you’ll recognize from rock radio stations around the world, as well as movie soundtracks. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Movin’ Out

26 Dec

It’s been far too long since I’ve done a Plinky prompt, so I thought I’d try one out today:

You’re moving into a smaller place. You have to get rid of almost everything. What things do you keep?

Seeing as I don’t have a place of my own already, let’s just assume that I have the basic essentials – a bed and some small furniture for the bedroom, a couch and a coffee table, a bookshelf and a desk, pots and pans, cups and plates and silverware, and a kitchen table a chairs. Nothing fancy, but enough to live a decent life. Assuming those were the absolute essentials, I’d have to decide mostly about the decorations and more frivolous things. Maybe I’d need a smaller bed or a smaller couch – I could live with that downgrade.

So, as for the things I’d get rid of, probably old magazines I’ve been keeping around for art projects, some old childhood toys that I don’t really need but would have a hard time getting rid of, old school notebooks and textbooks, extra bathroom towels, beauty products I don’t use all the time or have multiples of (i.e., lotions), books I’m probably never going to read again, old art supplies and subpar paintings. The thing that would be hardest to edit would be my closet. I have a ridiculous amount of clothing, shoes, and accessories. I’m such a girl in that respect – I just love it all. I’d have to seriously edit my wardrobe into the absolute necessities – the things I couldn’t live without and could mix and match together to form many different outfits. I would keep one or two jackets and coats, because those are bulky items that take up lots of space. I’d have to go through my shoe collection, too, which would be so challenging. Having just cleaned out my closet, I can tell you that I’m already down to the shoes that are nearest and dearest to my heart – and that’s still quite a few. I’d have to get rid of quite a few purses – let’s just say a shocking amount.

As for the things I’d keep, they would be the most sentimental ones I own. My high school and college yearbooks. My most necessary art supplies and my most accomplished paintings. My large stack of recipes I’m hoping to turn into a recipe book one day. The warmest blanket in the world that sits on my bed. The vase of dried flowers from Alli’s wedding. The Eiffel Tower lamp that sat in mine and Mari’s dorm room. My most favorite books in the world that I could never give up. The awesome Beatles print I just bought. My movie collection – probably organized in a large book, without all the DVD cases. Probably anything I own from Anthropologie. Jewelry I’ve made or that was passed down through my family. My collection of beer bottle cap magnets. The shoes that remind me of shopping in Europe. The most essential kitchen tools for baking and cooking. My TV and my computer.

Living in such a small space, you’d definitely need to make room for only the most important things in your life. You’d learn the value of the things you kept and would really appreciate them more. I feel like, living basically in my room, I have just enough to fit into a small apartment or condo. I’d still need some of the bigger stuff – I don’t personally have a couch or any other living room furniture, no kitchen table, nothing to cook with or eat off of. Those are the things I’ll need here in the next few months, moving out on my own. But for now, I have my room in my parents’ house, and it’s just enough. I don’t have to make the decision about getting rid of things in order to move just yet.