Monday, September 5, 2011

Literary Memoir.

((To my regular readers, this is a school assignment that I chose to complete on my blog because I prefer this to just writing a paper. I am sorry for my absence. Life is so crazy!))

Literary Memoir, or My Life in Books (Kind of).

I did not start reading by myself until I was six years old.

It was the summer after kindergarten and almost everyone in my class could read by the end of the year. But don't worry, I still pretended I could read. I remember bringing a book (which will remained unnamed because I can't remember. I was five, okay?! It was pink, that's all I got) to class and "reading" it in front of my whole kindergarten class. And by reading, I mean combining my memory of how the story went when my mom read it to me with looking at the pictures and guessing what was going on in the story. I'm sure it was really close to how the actual story went and my teacher, Mrs. Stewart, probably noticed that I was completely competent and smart, or at least imaginative.

Anyway, the first book I legitimately read was Chicken Little. Okay, fine, it was some easy reader form of the story. But I remember laying with my mom, who had summers off because she taught first grade, on her bed bed in my childhood home and things finally clicking. My mom was probably convinced I was not going to bethe advanced student she had hoped since I couldn't read, couldn'ttie my shoes (mastered that in fourth grade) and did not know right from left (still struggling with that one). I remember the relief of finally being able to connect the sounds with the letters and connect the letters to flowing whole words. I turned the pages, I read the book over and over and over again. I became completely addicted.It lead to harder core books.
(Chicken Little...AKA my gateway drug)

Throughout Elementary School, I only remember a few highlights of my reading life. I absolutely, completely, positively hate hate hate hate (to this exact moment) Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. I was supposed to read it and made some stupid drawings about it and it took me like 3 months after the due date to turn in it. I refused to read that book. I actually wondered if it would be possible to sneak into my fifth grade teacher's classroom and write in a grade for that assignment and get away with not doing it. I never actually executed that awful plan, by the way.


I began a love affair with all things Roald Dahl very young. My favorites were The Witches and Matilda. I loved all things supernatural and actually believed myself to be a witch. Along those lines, I really like a book called Midnight Magic by Avi.

One of the last books that sticks out in my mind is a book called Belle Prater's Boy by Ruth White. This book has a touch of mystery and a whole lot of heart. The book centers around the young, cross-eyed, and adorable Woodrow, whose mother had recently gone missing, and his cousin Gypsy. It is a beautiful lesson in the importance of friendship, the loyalty and love of family and not judging a book by its cover. My favorite line occurs when a bully is makingfun of Woodrow's different appearance and Woodrow replies, "'Well, when God was handing out books, I thought he said looks and I said "Give me a funny one."' The complete and uttersweetness of Woodrow is enough to carry this book. So good.

I also lived in the world of Harry Potter at this time, but I think everyone else did too.

When middle school hit, I fell prey to some chick-lit. Big time. This is not to say that chick-lit does not deserve merits, but it wasn't a shining time in my reading history. Among the books I read in this time were anything written by Sarah Dessen (loved This Lullaby), Better Than Running At Night by Hillary Frank, What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones and Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

My first year of high school was a very difficult time for me. I started the year as a hardcore Christian, Sunday school teaching, middle school bible study leading, naive, middle class white female with every door open to her. I ended the year as a survivor of rape, domestic violence and a young female who had suffered through the mind numbing decision to terminate a pregnancy that was a result of surviving rape. My world had literally turned upside down, and nothing that I had reached out to hold on to, to steady myself, had crumbled.
Except books. People in the books I read had to make difficult choices too, and I did not have to explain myself to them. They talked to me and I was not forced to talk back. I got to hang back and let them chose. At this point in my life, I feel that books truly healed me.
Specifically, I remember reading Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird when trying to make my decision of what I would do with the hateful things that were happening to me. My mother was so upset, as she was a lot at this time in my life, understandably. She saw me reading TKAM in the living room, stopped and asked "How can you just sit there and read right now?" I thought about it for a moment and said "Because I know everything is going to be okay. It won't be tomorrow, and it won't be next week. It might not even be next year, but I know someday it will all be okay." I can't point to a direct part of the novel that made me feel this way, I wish I could, but it settled me. It made me peaceful. It made me realize that my whole life was not defined by right then, this misery and all-encompassing greyness was not going to be my life. I think, maybe, that in the same way Scout's lost pieces of her innocence in TKAM, as was I when I was reading it and I connected with her. Boo Radley's heroic actions and Atticus's gentle words and manner nudged my mind towards the direction of the goodness that residedin humanity while I suffered through the results of the absolute evil in humanity.
Another book that helped me get through things was a book called girlosophy by a woman named Anthea Paul. This book could basically be considered "self help" for young women, combing inspiring, unaltered photographs of real women. It emphasizes spirituality and the importance of always being one's self. It gave me new role models for the new life that I had to turn to, one that did not include the Christianity that I had leaned on before. I absolutely love this book and hope to someday share it with someone who needs it, just like I did.

It would be difficult to pin down what I have been reading since that time in my life. I have been reading many of the classics, which was what most of my Honors and AP English courses taught. I fell in love with Fitzgerald, Steinbeck and the Brontes.

I count among my favorite books now Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, White Oleander by Janet Fitch, Atonement by Ian McEwan, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

I love reading.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's all about balance.

I feel like everyday I just try to balance. Most days it is more difficult than I think it will be.
I have noticed this materialistic attitude that I have, that I absolutely, positively hate. I have convinced myself that I need so many things.
I need a smartphone, I need new jeans, I need new bras, underwear, shoes, hair clips, jewelry.
Ugh. But then once I convince myself that I do not need things, I look at blogs and like someone's outfit, or wish I could take cool Instagram pictures on my phone and put them on my blog or I want to have the same art print for my kitchen. Blah, blah, blah.
We are so wired to always be thinking of the next things we want, when we don't even really want those things. We want the experiences that are advertised to come with those things. I want to have cool pictures of my life to share with you, and my family, and my future children and my old, old self. I want to look that cute, I want to see that art print everyday and remember its message.
It's advertising. I can't stand advertising. It tells you that you are going to become so much happier once you have your hands on that product, but it's empty. It is a completely empty promise. You will not be happier. Happiness comes only from within, not inanimate objects.
Yeah, I would love that new pair of shoes and to buy that cute dress from MODcloth, but I would rather save my money to use to experience something real. Go to Europe, go see Annie, go home, go see Denby. Go, see, do.

I have never been much of an outdoors kind of girl, but these days I find myself aching to go outside. I live in Montana for God's sake and I have gone hiking maybe five times in my whole life. Montana has two national parks, tons and tons of empty space and beautiful mountains. I just want to be outside. I want to go hiking, I want to swim in a lake, I want to camp. But I have to work 40+ hours per week and take summer classes. I feel so fenced in and unable to do what I want. Geeeeeez.

On a lighter note, I fly out Thursday to go to Minnesota and see one of my best friends, Annie, get married!!!!!! I am able to go because of the incredible generosity of her parents, who, once they found out I couldn't make it to the wedding (not enough frequent flier miles, flights out of Missoula are $600 one way to Minnesota, YUCK!) they pooled their own frequent flier miles to fly me down there. I fly out on Thursday, the wedding is on Friday and I leave on Sunday. It will be a very quick trip, but I am so exctied to see Annie and Drew, see Minnesota, see where Annie grew up, see one of my best friends get married (what? we are this old?) and to get out of the dorms for awhile! EEEEEEK!

much love TO YOU.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tiny letters.

Dear Garlic-chicken-broccoli-noodle dinner,
you are so yummy.
I can't stop eating you.

Dear Tori,
Happy Anniversary to you and Luke.
I love you so much and I am so happy that you and Luke are happy!

Dear Residence Life Office,
Please have more hours for me to work, so I can stop freaking out.

Dear banana bread,
Please make yourself.
I want to eat you so badly, but I don't have the energy to make you.

Dear Jeff's yucky stuffed up nose,
Stop being!
You are making him spit nasty loogies everywhere.
It's gross.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

um. i'm sorry.

oh hey.
Sorry I have been such a terrible, terrible blogger lately. Spring semester comes and goes so quickly, I feel like it was January, like, two days ago! I rarely had time to do anything enjoyable since February, so here I am. I am back and hoping to be regular again (not like the bowel movement type, the blogging type!)!!

Here are a few highlights from the past few months:

I went home to celebrate my 21st birthday and went to an Elton John concert with mine and Jeff's families. Sunday morning, before the concert, we baptized Jameson my handsome nephew.

(Tall one and I enjoying my first 21 year old drinks together!)

I finished my junior year with a 3.8 GPA (eff you, linguistics!), watched two of my best friends graduate and moved into the actual, long awaited apartment!! EEEEEK!
It isn't completely set up yet, but when it is there will be pictures...many, many pictures. This is making me happy, man.

I have been in my apartment for six days and am pretty settled in. My brother brought up my queen-sized bed from Billings, as well as an old couch from our basement. I am so in love with my apartment! Except for the fact that they (who are they? I don't know) shut off ALL hot water on campus, and I have been forced to shower at Jeff's house. Ick, boy showers. But I shouldn't be complaining because a lot of the summer staff for Residence Life has been showering in cold water on campus because they have no where else to go. I guess I am thankful that I had icky boy showers. Okay, wait. Icky boy showers sounds like I had showers with icky boys and that didn't happen. What I mean by icky boy showers is that I showered in the same shower as icky boys. Yep.

So, now I am working as a summer supervisor for Residence Life and there is much working involved. We work 40 hours per week and I am taking a summer class as well, soooo you know.
BUT I HAVE A KITCHEN, A KITCHEN, A KITCHEN, A KITCHEN. I went grocery shopping today and it was the most exciting thing EVER. Plus the most expensive thing ever. But I don't even care. I love, love, love my kitchen. Yay!!!!!

Much love, peeps.
I promise it won't be long =)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Old movies.

So, I seriously love, love, love old movies. Usually, I see them on Turner Classic Movie Channel completely in the middle of the movie, and I have no idea what is going on, but I can't stop watching. I love everything about them. I love how stylized they are. I love how the actors speak, so deliberately and deeply. I love how they are produced and made with such quality and care.
One of my favorites is Gone With The Wind. I absolutely love Scarlett O'Hara, even though she is a royal pain in the you-know-what. She is so determined, even though her determination is often self destructive and ruthless. I love her story and I love her independence.

Mostly, though, I love her dresses.

Vivien Leigh is so beautiful and talented!

This one is my favorite. Scarlett wears it on Christmas when Ashley comes home from war.

This is the dress she wears to the bar-be-que in the beginning. So pretty!!

Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era. Can you imagine wearing dresses like this everyday? I would probably actually hate it, but they are so feminine and gorgeous!!

So, this is what I am doing with my day. Watching Gone With The Wind in the office and doing some random homework. Tomorrow I go home for birthday celebrations and Elton John! I can not wait!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Apartment!!!!

Okay guys!

Since my promotion to Head Resident, I now get to be completely OBSESSED with decorating a new aparment.

I move in on May 15th or 16th and (get this) it is an actual apartment! Not like the we're-saying-it's-an-apartment-but-really-it's-the-smallest-room-in-the-building-with-a-bathroom-attatched kind of apartment that I have now, But a real live apartment complete with kitchen, dining area, living room, bedroom, AND bathroom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My excitement can NOT be expressed. The kitchen is what I am most pumped about, if you couldn't tell. A kitchen?! A kitchen!!! OH DEAR GOD, A KITCHEN! I love, love, love, love to cook and bake and not having one seriously bums me out. The kitchen is super, ultra tiny and retro and I absolutely love it! It has an over that is about, maybe, 16 inches wide (super tiny!) and only three burners, a mini-fridge and not very much storage space. BUT WHO CARES!

To add to the fridge space, I am bringing my own mini-fridge (two mini-fridges equals one big fridge, right?). I am buying a microwave cart to put my microwave on, so that it doesn't take up more of my non-existent counter space. I am also going to put some nails in the wall next to the sink so that I can hang skillets and stuff and they won't take any of my already limited storage space.

Also, after a few days of being frustrated by trying to find a nice, used bar type of table that won't take up very much room, Jeff's brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law told me they had the perfect one and would just give it to me! It is dark wood, square and has two bar stools that come with it! Geee!!!

My parents are giving me an old loveseat and I am keeping the BFC (Big Freakin' chair) and my parents are also letting me take my queen sized bed from home!!!! I bought this duvet cover for it...

It is reversible! I think I will mostly keep it on the side without the flowers... Geez, I can not wait to move in and decorate. It is seriously one of my favorite things to do! YAY DECORATING TIME!!!!


(For some reason this blog will not stay formatted, so I am very sorry for the HUGE post without any paragraph breaks. I tried!) (I am saying this in a whisper) Hi...I'm sorry for being gone so long. Forgive me? (This, I am saying at my normal voice level...which is loud) HI!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD, FRIENDS, OH MY GOD! The day that I had been waiting for for months and months finally arrived. I had been waiting for months to find out where the directors of Residence Life were going to place me and if they were going to promote me to Head Resident. For the months that I waited, I thought of every possible thing that could happen. 1) They could make me stay Assistant Head Resident in Turner. Shit. I can't do three years here. CRAP CRAP CRAP. 2) They could ask me not to come back...I don't know why they would! I am great at my job. Gosh, what if I did something bad and didn't even know?! 3) They could put me in a huge building with a huge staff and I WOULD BE SO OVERWHELMED! 4) They could put me where I ask, but that is a long shot. When I had my "interview" for the Head Resident position, they first asked where I wanted to be. I said "I want to be Head Resident of Knowles/Turner." They all pretty much freaked out and were like "Whoa! Stepping up to the plate!" They said this because Knowles and Turner are two seperate buildings, and they are experimenting by combining the staff of each building into one. So there will be one head resident, two assistant heads and 11 RAs. Totally new and scary. All the other supervisors said they did not want anything to do with it, and I said that I wanted it. I want a challenge, I want to be the first person to try this. It is a huge responsibility and privlege to be the first person to work with this experiment. But I wanted that. On Friday, April 1st, my letter came. It said that I was being promoted to Head Resident in Turner/Knowles Halls. I. SCREAMED. MY. HEAD. OFF. What an honor. I am amazed that they are trusting me with this and I am further amazed that they listened to what I said and gave it to me. I must have done something right =) So, that being said, I was placed with two AMAZING assistant head residents, Eric and Sean. I am so, so, incredibly excited to be given this opportunity. In charge of a staff of 13? Wow. I am so happy and proud!