Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Tears

I was in 9th grade when my emotional sensibilities kicked in. We watched "The Odyssey" in my English literature course and when Odysseus' wife, Penelope, realizes her husband has returned after 17 long years away, I wept for them. Thankfully, the lights were off in the classroom and my silent tears went mostly unnoticed by my classmates. That same year, I watched "City of Angels". And Nicolas Cage's previously unfelt pain was like my pain. He gave up everything for Meg Ryan and then she was gone. I set next to my friend since Kindergarten, Caroline, as we both tried to hide our tears. Apparently, we were saps.

But I didn't get it from any stranger: graduations, particularly important birthdays, high school dances, meaningful Christmas gifts, "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart; all produce tears from my mother's eyes. My sister and I used to make fun of her, now we embrace it. Especially since we're usually right there with her. My sister decided to make my mom a scrapbook of family photos for christmas. She started in October. I contributed scrapbooking materials, my sister's boyfriend picked out the book, and his son (my sister's semi-stepson) created his own page full of pictures and stickers. We decided weeks ago my mom would bawl like a baby when she opened it. A week or two before Christmas, she commented on this to her boyfriend's 5-year old son who responded, with alarm: "why will Cappy (Cathy) cry?". My sister told him our mom would be crying happy tears, not sad tears. But the tears came far before Christmas morning, when my mom eventually opened (and cried over) her scrapbook. Christmas Eve, she had my sister and I open identical presents. Small, silver bracelets that read"Sisters are different flowers from the same garden". A few glasses of wine in, and obviously, we were a little emotional about it.

A few times in the past couple months, I've found myself crying for no particular reason. Usually, in the car when I have nothing but my thoughts to keep me company or when an emotional song hits me, juuuust right.
Example:

But a lot of the time, I'm just thinking about all the good right now: my family, my high school friends, my college friends, my Lawrence friends, my coworkers, my job. Life isn't perfect, but I'm living it. Everyday, I'm doing what I want. I'm enjoying what I have. I'm dating someone and trying not to freak out or do that thing women do. I'm just glad I get to spend time with someone I am so grateful to have met this year who also happens to be an incredible person. Other than that, I don't want to push it.

So, there's all this good stuff? And I'm appreciating what I DO have, opposed to lamenting what I DON'T. I think that's what us humans would call happiness. And I'm thrilled to be there! May you always cry more happy tears!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

7 days to celebrate

At 330pm on Thursday, December 17, I emailed my final paper to the instructor for my grad class this semester. I felt that 50 pounds had been lifted off my shoulder. Grad school wasn't the worst idea/decision I made this year but it is definitely high on the list.

I could have used a drink that night after work but, having been knee deep in research regarding state funding of public universities, I realized I had 7 days left to get all my Christmas celebrating in. So Thursday night, I cleaned the house. My roommate and I had both been all over the place for about two weeks, so the place had been a little neglected. And I was having a guest over Friday night and thought it would be good hostessing to have the place at least LOOK clean. Friday at lunch I grabbed some wrapping paper and starter logs for my fireplace. (I ended up not needing the logs because, WEIRD, I had a GAS fireplace. Oops.) Thankfully, the man (did I mention I was having a dinner guest?!) did his thing and got the fireplace going without blowing us up. Phew.

Saturday I did some shopping, watched the KU men's basketball team win its 10th game of the year. I wasted time watching movies and re-watching the So You Think You Can Dance top 6 dances. Then I put pins in my hair, green shadow on my eyelids, gray pumps on my feet and went downtown to see a big band (18 pieces!) and drink rum and cokes (please, don't tell my dentist or periodontist!)
Today I actually worked out (for the first time since before thanksgiving), went to the grocery store and made ranchburgers.

Ohmygosh, I have free time and I'm actually getting stuff done?! And enjoying the weekend? This is what I miss out on when I'm worrying 95% of the time about grad school work.

So yeah, grad school. Officially un-enrolled. I withdrew. I'm a grad school drop out. I should still probably let the program director know, but details schmetails. I'm glad I tried it. I'm also glad that I recognize it's not something I can continue. I've had my fill of classroom learning. I want to get out there and do things. Not write 20-page papers about the crappy funding state universities receive.

So, now I appreciate my free time now. And my ability to seek opportunities outside of school. After this year, after what I've tried, where I failed, what I've gained, the people I've met... I'm sure both wonderful and important things will happen next year. And now, I'll have more time to savor it all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

In a perfect world

Briana: When we have our own event planning company, our hours won't start until 10 AM (because of all of the late night events we'll have of course) but we'll aim to be at the gym together by 8 AM to exercise and get coffee. (at least in my head :) )
And every night a certain someone will sing me this song:



In a perfect world. I think I'll work on it.

But right now, I took the day off from work so I could work on my paper due for class on Thursday. So, I should probably actually do some writing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 9 Challenge. Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

So, a few days late. But I'm really just being picky and choosy with this "best of 2009 blog thing". Sorry, I'm not yet a dedicated blogger!

What I learned? Sometimes you just judge people totally the wrong way and you make bad decisions. And even though you know (deep down) it's a bad decision you throw in some make-believe and it's the best thing ever. Then it changes. But you know what? The best thing about me, is that I learned from it. That I can appreciate new people for who they are and what they mean to me because you've seen your mistakes. And this is different. This is me, growing.

And then you laugh about it. And that feels REALLY good.


Also, on a completely unrelated note, is it wrong to "favorite your own tweets"? Because I've done that twice this week...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Visuals

I got a new phone a few weeks ago and have loved using the camera (5 megapixels - not too shabby!) Here's a few I've taken.

I hate that it gets dark so early, but dusk is my favorite time of day.


Blurry, but a cool image.


On West Campus.

Me on pre-Thanksgiving date night.


Lawrence's Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade yesterday:


Some of the carriages are gorgeous:


It was a VERY chilly morning:


So I got a latte while I worked on my paper for class (LOVE Henry's on 8th!)


Some new art in my mom's bedroom.


KU's men's basketball team is playing at UCLA this afternoon (lucky them, bet it's 40 degrees warmer there) so I'm going over to my friend Ryan's house to watch the game. Should actually be a good game. The last team we beat by like 60 points- it's rough being the #1 team in the country! Rock Chalk!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Coffee Shop Thoughts

Lawrence has no shortcomings when it comes to coffeeshops. And I've been to 3 today. I'm working on my paper for my ridiculous grad class. (But that's a whole other topic!)

I had to pick a current issue in higher education and write about the topic generally and how it applies to the school I profiled for my midterm (University of Iowa - Go Hawks!) The topic I picked was state funding of public higher education institutions. This, if you haven't been paying attention, has declined drastically in the past 10-15 years and is clearly an important issue surrounding state budgets currently (see: UC system, University of Kansas). I've had some good, current information to use, not that I've enjoyed writing any more, but the discovery of information part is nice.

The biggest problem with funding (and I'm generalizing here), even after a 12% cut for fiscal year 2010, is that revenues for the state are not at what were projected when the budget was created. So, more cuts necessary. But my thoughts about revenue, made me think about taxes (hopefully, increasing taxes, or cutting previously implemented tax breaks will be the next route, not cutting more spending) and how much more of the money I pay in taxes (from my pay check) goes towards the federal taxes and not state taxes. Which made me think: "if only we could distribute more money towards the state budget, rather than federal budget. Which, inevitably made me think "why can't we CHOOSE where our tax money goes?" (I guess that's what our elected officials do, but clearly THAT isn't working out great!) Not a completely brand new idea, I'm sure, but WHAT IF?! Unless there was a great threat that called for an act of war (imagine post-Septemeber 11), who would CHOOSE for their tax dollars to go towards a war? There are clearly MANY problems with this idea, but it's kind of nice to think about. Because if my state and federal governments are going to take the hundreds of dollars they do every month, I'd like it to go towards funding education at ALL levels- that should NEVER be cut. But that's just me.

Now, if only I could pump out words for my paper as quickly as I did for this blog entry.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

take a look

Peter DeWolf is a writer with a blog. He shares personal stories and short stories and poems.
Some of what he writes just really sticks. Like this one.


Also, this line from a recent blog entry:

"He loves vagueness in writing, but not in life."

Nothing has ever seemed more true.
I love finding words that I've never before read yet understand completely.