Oh Monday

It is entirely possible I may have committed vehicular homicide of the half dozen succulents I bought this morning from a vendor downtown. (Am I being slightly dramatic? Yes. But it also makes for a better story.)

With my sophomore year job I will be living in a residence hall once more and I planned on having a fish (predetermined name is Roosevelt thanks to an unanimous vote from my friends) and a couple plants- the extend of living things other than residences allowed in dorms rooms at Oregon State. So when I got a notification that local succulent slingers Ponderosa and Thyme would be downtown, I made plans to be there and by a couple for my room. I picked up a half dozen of itsy bitsy plants with the intention of bringing them home, letting them grow over the summer with minimal watering, and then divvying them up to take with me when I return to college. Easy enough game plan, easy enough execution.

The half dozen pots were but in a Ball mason jar box so they wouldn’t slide over my car and so I could carry them. Unbeknownst to me, the six little pots did not agree with captivity and kept falling over as I gingerly carried them across the street to my car. Just in the time it took to cross the street and put them in the front seat, two of them had tipped over and been put right again just for a third to fall over once they were sitting in the front seat.
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It is also worth mentioning that I hate driving downtown. I hate stop and go traffic. I have a very strong dislike for people being bad drivers and downtown Salem does a good job attracting them.

So when I carefully pulled out of the parking spot, after waiting for on coming traffic and a nice clear gap, to be puttsing around downtown, not a half block from where I parked, some contemptible person in their little truck darts out of their spot, without even looking (I can assume, I was angry) and almost rear ends my driver side door, I panic. I hit the breaks,  befriended the horn (didn’t swear much to the approval of my mother), a little creative driving around the lovely person, and I was on my way.

This is all while I wish I had a slow motion camera in the front seat to capture this. While I hit the breaks I hear a crashing of terracotta (a horrible noise coming from inside your car), little pebbles, and dirt crashing against the glovebox before falling to the floor. Luckily for me I had just about a mile until I was home so the poor little guys didn’t have to suffer for long. I got them into a plastic box with as much dirt as I could salvage, got the broken pots taken care of and everything as back to normal as possible. Leave it to me to get distressed about killing plants in some way other than over/ under watering or too much sunlight. I have a suspicion these little guys will be okay, but my morning was a little more exciting than I would have liked for only one coffee into my day.

This evening we will have plant repotting party and everything will be right as rain. I was a little broken up this morning about the whole thing, but was in better shape than at least one of the pots. Needless to say, this Monday is almost behind me and I have a great story to tell. Now I just have to hope these plants stay alive until August so my effort isn’t for nothing.

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(Less Than) Twenty-Twenty-Four Hours To Go

I take my last college final of my freshman year tomorrow at 7:30am (a small improvement from the notion that it was actually at 7). By 9:20 I will have handed in my booklet and by noon tomorrow I will have turned in my keys to my dorm room and be officially done with my first year.

Throughout high school, college had been made into this over-hyped and dramatic experience full of constant stress and varying degrees of “adulting” from what I had read and heard from other people. I was under the impression that my freshman year of college living away from home would be the hardest thing I had ever done and would be saleable to a solo climb of Everest. But in a lot of ways, my first year of college was easier than high school. I do not have the expectation for the coming years of college, but for a first year out of the house, I could not have asked for a better year.

Fall term got off on a rocky start if for no other reason than I did not have a routine. High school had always been get up at 6:30, get ready, leave by 7, class starts at 7:30, I was there until 1:30 and then I went to work for a couple hours, came home to do homework, eat dinner, fill whatever remaining time I had before usually falling asleep by 11:30, rinse, and repeat. Fall term included an 8am class three days a week and an interesting living situation. To say they least, I was the odd sheep out and moved right after Thanksgiving into a better space. Looking back, I would have liked to have heard from an experienced college student to not judge your year by the first term/ first ten weeks, because a lot is happening, and a lot is new to you and every other freshman that is in the same position. By the start of winter term, a lot mellows out. Fall term was my least favorite. Winter term was enjoyable. Spring term kicked the pants off all notions I had of college and I cannot wait to take on the coming years of undergrad.

Yesterday I took two of my online exams and I should get official grades back next Monday. I know I pulled A’s in at least two of my classes already and the remaining three are wildcards. I’m signed up for an online class for the summer. Fall term is looking great as far as my schedule is concerned. I will start my new job in August and move into my new residence hall just before training.

If freshman year was this good, I can’t wait to see what the first summer as a college student has in store and how fall term comes together. Hats off to summer. Well, in this heat and all the sun I intend on keeping mine on. But you get the idea.

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I Don’t Always Staycation, But When I Do . . .

I have been lucky enough to travel a decent amount for a 19 year old- Two additional continents, New York, Seattle- varying degrees of travel and distances. One of my favorite things whenever I’m somewhere new is to watch the city wake up and prepare itself for the day. People delivering papers and the day’s dairy, garbage pick up before the shops open. The first breath of morning as the sun lifts itself up.

This morning I had the fortunate opportunity to see streets around my dorm in that very light when I was up at 6:30 for a 7am interview. The sunlight seemed so fragile and pristine as the day got going I could not help but think of the words of C.S. Lewis in the Magician’s Nephew as the land of Narnia was being created. The view I caught of the sun rising over the Cascades from my lowly little dorm room made me envious of those who had the time to stop watch it as I had to get on with my day and like Narnia, I felt a freshness and newness I can only associate with the Pacific Northwest.

The last time I was up hellish early was right after Valentine’s and I was trying to kill time before a ten am interview. By early, I mean I was awake at five o’clock and could not for the life of me get back to sleep so as the sky lightened I went down to the parking garage and watched the day begin from the fifth floor roof. To be honest, I guess I’m infatuated with sunrises as a metaphor for new beginnings; my dorm room is currently a mess as I organize things to pack out tomorrow afternoon. I have a lull between my last class (done at 12 noon on a Friday) and my 7am final next Thursday so I’m going home for a long weekend. In just a little over two weeks my next adventure begins. In the meantime, it’s wrapping up year one of college before my summer adventure begins and I couldn’t be more excited.

To put life in perspective, you really underestimate the size of a 12 by 14 foot dorm room until you starting boxing up everything you have amassed over the last nine months- all the spirit gear and free t-shirts the university likes to hand out, miscellaneous pieces of furniture that mysteriously ended up in your room, university specific textbooks the bookstore has no interest in buying back that you fully intend to throw in the hall’s donation bins. While I may not be at Hogwarts and I never got to be a wizard, this past year of college has been hard to beat. As of June 6th, I will have been a high school grad for a full year and I’m proud of my accomplishments. I even have a jar that I write all the things I’ve completed- whether it’s not missing a single class all term (Fall term) or working with the Pink Martini team, it’s a nice reminder that a little determination can get you lots of places.

The sun is definitely higher in the sky now than it was at 6:30 and it’s a reminder to keep going. Day after day, life goes on and each little bit deserves recognition. While I may not be able to wander around sleepy Corvallis and experience the wonders of a city coming to life, I do get to hear the campus come alive. The pieces that get the coffee shop up and running, the first people of the morning calling the elevator- little details that seem so regular here that I would be mesmerized by anywhere else in the world. I have one class today and I can tell that it’s going to be a gorgeous June day, which means any thing can happen. Only the best adventure awaits.

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Home Stretch

I am now one weekend closer to my summer and one weekend closer to being finished with my freshman year of college. One of my projects is wrapping up and it’s just a matter of one “next thing” after another until I’m done. Less than three weeks of school left, a couple finals, and a few papers stand between me June 12th.

Looking outside it would be hard to gauge that Memorial Day Weekend is at the tail end of this week. If I had to guess, I would say it’s September rolling into October instead of May inching towards June. It’s stereotypically Oregon.

I think the most notable part out of anything happening right now is that three months from now I’ll be moving back into the dorms so start my job for my sophomore year. I met with some of my fellow staff for my building this past weekend and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to work with a group of strangers in my life. This group went from “You’re a bunch of strangers, I don’t know any of your names.” to “I can’t wait to get to know you guys and I want to be August now.” Some people get excited about Christmas, I get excited about people.

The next few weeks will be one to-do list after another. I sign up for Fall Term classes on Friday next week. Meanwhile I’m waiting to get off the wait-list for a summer class. Anyone can tell you- patience is not my strong suit but the only thing I can do is wait. I’ve typed up a list of all the assignments I have to do between now and the end of the term and it’s only a matter of time before I throw numbers up on my calendar to count down the days until I’m done. I’m in the home stretch and the best things I can do are to stay on top of my homework and be proactive and try and go to bed before midnight (something that I don’t think has happened yet this term).

If I thought the days leading up to graduation were a test of my patience, high school had nothing on college. It’s time to start cracking. Being impatient and ready to be fine as long as the essays are done and there’s nothing more you can do. Which is not the case right now. Time to draw up a battle plan and take action. It’s cloudy out, which means it is the perfect weather for staying inside and doing homework. If it were sunny and warm, it would be even harder for me to focus. It’s time to start crossing things off that list.

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Smooth Seas Have Never Made Skillful Sailors

One month from today I will have my first year of college behind me. June 11th I take my last final (a wonderful 7:30 am bright and early math exam) and the 12th is anticipated move out day. One month from today I will be one quarter of the way through my collegiate education and as they say, ‘a real adult’. A real adult with a really expensive piece of paper to hang on my wall.

With thirty days to go, I have reached the point where every weekend marks one more project done and one step closer to summer. But if you happen to be the Oregon Weather Gnome responsible for the weather, today is gray with over cast skies with a nice misty Oregon rain that makes it feel like it’s October instead of June. This Saturday my team and I are executing a wine walk to benefit local businesses and the Marion-Polk Food Share. Next Friday I’m helping run a concert in one of the auditoriums for 1,200 people (Pink Martini, last I checked there about 350 tickets left so I’m very excited) to kick off my Memorial Day Weekend. Following that I will be hanging out at the student run music festival which is happening just feet from my dorm. And then it’s one weekend before Dead Week and Finals.

Smooth seas never made a skillful sailor, and I think it is safe to say I’m doing an okay job learning the ropes of college. If anything, I’m walking away with the knowledge of not judging the remainder of your first year of college based solely on Fall Term (advice I wished every single person who told about ‘Their College Advice” would have mentioned), which for those of you keeping score at home, I did not enjoy. Winter Term was better, and Spring Term is leaving me as happy as a seagull with a French fry. But without challenges throughout the year I would not have learned as much, and for that I am grateful.

You’re not going to get along with people you live with, and that’s okay. And it’s perfectly within reason that if people are making your miserable, you can do something about it. You shouldn’t have to live in an environment that makes you miserable 100% of the time. If you complain about something every day, do something to resolve it. And that’s exactly what I did. My college experience was better because of it.

I look forward to seeing the growth of where I will be a year from now, a month from being done with my sophomore year, and then the inevitable, “I’m a month away from being a college graduate,” which I know will have in due time. Maybe my next year will involve a kraken or a Siren. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll have to sail by starlight. All I know is I’m ready to leave port for open waters.

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A Post About Dads On Mother’s Day

If there is one distinct memory of my childhood I cherish more than any other, it is the fact that I was fortunate enough that both my parents read aloud to me. My mother leaned towards the Little House On The Prairie and the miscellaneous schoolbooks my sister and I brought home from the school library.

My dad on the other hand, read the Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling up to The Half-Blood Prince (The Deathly Hallows was the one book I pre-ordered for midnight release and blew through in 28 hours trying to beat spoilers. I am pretty sure my dad has not ready Book 7 yet). He was invested in a series for the long run. I remember when he bought the seven-book box set of Narnia at Border’s back when Border’s was a thing.

Reading and being read to has played a notable role in my life. From roughly ages 5 through 10, being read to every night was the best part of my day. Last night, just before Midnight, I was still up and flipping channels in my dormitory’s lounge and came across the film adaptation of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, at the point in the plot where Aslan the mighty lion appears.

Of course at five years old, I did not know that Aslan was a metaphor for Christ and the Clive Staples Lewis wrote a series of children’s stories that related to the Bible. But throughout my growing up, Lewis, Tolkien, and Rowling were my go-to writers for biography projects throughout my schooling. My sophomore year of high school, I took World Religions and did a presentation about the parallels between Christian Theology and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I have gone back to the same books that shaped my childhood over and over again, each time getting deeper level of meaning out of the story.

Last night, I had a couple tears come to my eyes while I watched the movie and thought about the countless nights and countless chapters my dad read to my sister and I growing up. It is a great treasure that I can cherish memories of my parents reading to me in my childhood. I remember the injustice my five-year-old self felt when my dad said it was bedtime immediately after the chapter in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe where the White Witch cuts off Aslan’s mane and leaves him to die. It was one of the worst times I cried in my life and my sister and I protested bed time until we won over my dad and he read us the next chapter to ensure Aslan was really okay (to this day, I hate cliff-hangers before bed more or less because of that and will finish most things to go to bed later than I should, going to bed at three am Saturday morning just to finish Season 2 of House of Cards for example).

Somewhere, my dad has a drawing I did in early elementary school of the Dawn Treader (which happens to be a ship). It’s a horrible stick figure drawing that for the longest time hung above his desk at work. Since coming to college, reading outside of class has become almost non-existent, but I think this summer will be a good time to revisit some of my childhood classics. I reread the Harry Potter series last summer before coming to college and I was surprised how much you can forget between each time you turn the page. Memorial Day weekend is coming up soon and I hope to have the time and dedication to pick up a book and spend the whole day reading. And maybe if I said pretty please, my dad would read aloud to me again.

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