I'm in Denver right now, sitting at a Panera with Whitney and Melissa. I don't remember if I've mentioned this, but I'm in Colorado until next Tuesday to hang out with some of my Florence roommates. We are staying at Whitney's apartment in downtown Denver. Two more of us--Vanessa and Hannah--are still in her apartment upstairs. She doesn't have internet so we're bumming off of Panera.
It's fun being here and together again, like we haven't left each other. I had a scare with my luggage, but the airport delivered it to the apartment at one am last night. It woke me up, but I was super thankful.
We're about to tackle the day (it's mountain time and on hour behind Texas, so it's 10:30).
I'm hanging out with these people minus two (it's us in Vienna last fall, minus me who is behind the camera).
Well, my stomach did not get to feeling better last night (see last post). It in fact tortured me all night. Our plans to go to the The Cheesecake Factory and a movie were altered and instead we went home and I threw up eight times. My digestive tract attempted mutiny and tried to jump ship.
My stomach doesn't hurt anymore. I'm nibbling on some Apple Cinnamon Bread and still feeling pretty weak. But I've lived to see today.
Must have been a 24 hour bug of some sort. I hope you don't get it. And I hope and pray that Ryan and my family don't get it. Ryan was by my side through it all, by the way. And we still got to exchange Christmas presents. And it was still special.
And my stomach lives to see another day.
'Tis the day after Christmas, and my stomach hurts really bad. Sorry, I've logged on, intending to write a post, and all I can think about is how much my stomach hurts. asdkfjieenfanvc.
I bought a fish aquarium today, because one of my Christmas presents is some new friends--some fish. I'm going to get some specialty goldfish. For instance (oh man my stomach hurts):
Calico Ryukin Goldfish
Black Moor Goldfish
I'll probably include some snails and live plants too. Unfortunately I have to wait until I get back to Waco to get the aquarium started, as it would be difficult to travel with them.
Bleh, That's all I've got. I can't concentrate on this. Hopefully I feel better soon because I have a hot date tonight.
I'm in day three of my wisdom teeth recovery. I am at the peak of my swollen-ness. Exhibit A:
Curiously, it is only my left check that is noticeably swollen. Like I've gotten punched in the face.
Speaking of getting punched in the face, I watched "The Hurricane" last night with Allison.
I was a bit wary about it at first, because it is 2 and a half hours long, but by the time I realized there was only one hour left, I was actually pretty disappointed. I wanted more Hurricane. It's a good movie, with kind of three stories in one, and it keeps you riveted. I'd suggest it.
Earlier, when I meant to type "It's a good movie" I typed "It's a good morning." I figure it was a Freudian slip, because it actually is a good morning. I woke up at ten to soft piano Christmas music. Then my mom made me oatmeal. It's cold outside apparently, but I feel cozy and warm in my house. I love Christmas break. This is a such a needed one. This has been one of my hardest semesters, academically, but I've pulled through and am pretty proud. I don't think I've written so many papers or done so many presentations in one semester. And I've applied to at least one grad school, so that's something. I at least have one step into the future attempted.
I'm excited about this new day. Thanks everyone, for taking care of me. For bringing me milkshakes, making me oatmeal, watching movies with me, going to multiple restaurants in search of egg drop soup. It's good to be weak sometimes, to be reminded how much we need other people to make us strong.
I am now on the other side, sans wisdom teeth. It was not bad at all, and my recovery it going well. It actually turned out to be a really fun day. Friends and family were in and out; we watched movies and ate milkshakes and talked. I'm not super swollen. See (taken just now)
We had a Christmas movie extravaganza. We watched "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Muppet Christmas Carol," and "White Christmas" which I had not seen. I think my favorite of the three was "It's a Wonderful Life." Other Christmas movies I enjoy include but are not limited to -- "A Christmas Story" and "Love Actually." What is your favorite Christmas movie?
And Ryan was by my side the whole time, making sure I was taking my meds and taking care of me. (taken by my phone only hours after the wisdom teeth extraction)
I have really enjoyed being at home. I'm pretty much finished with my Christmas shopping, so that has taken some stress away, though I'm taking the GRE January 10th, so that adds a healthy dose of stress and keeps me occupied. I don't remember barely anything about math :/
I've been tagged. I'm supposed to tell you six interesting facts about myself and tag six other people. So here they are, whether or not they are interesting (compiled with the help of Ryan and Claire) . . .
-I'm getting my wisdom teeth out this Friday
-my middle name is katherine
-i haven't shaved my legs in seven weeks
-i have a manly "hummer" phone because i always drop my phones and break them.
-my ancestors started a town-Carmack, Yukon- and started the Gold Rush of 1890s
-i can stand on my head
And now I tag
to do the same.
I have 3 tests down and 2 to go. I'll return to Colleyville on Wednesday. See some of you there! See others of you here.
Today is dead. Yesterday was dead. Tomorrow is finals.
And yesterday I got to experience snow! Or, more accurately, a "wintery mix."
I'm studying at my kitchen table with Elise. Here is a picture of my view that I took on my phone.
I took it like two seconds ago and sent it to my laptop via bluetooth. Amazing! We are living in the future!
Elise doesn't like this picture. Sorry Elise. Life is tough and hard to understand sometimes.
So yes. Dead days. They are making me a bit stir crazy. I have a test at 9 am tomorrow and am pretty tired of studying for it. Maybe I just won't study for it anymore. We'll see.
I have made a decisive step towards my future (I went to Pei Wei tonight and a fortune cookie told me to do something like that . . . something about making decisions and being assertive. . .). I have applied for the Art Education Masters program at UNT. I sent in the application, fee, letter of intent, writing sample, transcript and all I have left is letters of recommendation and GRE scores. Phew. Applying for things isn't so bad. You just have to do it. And I did. I feel I have some momentum now and should research other grad options. That sounds like a wonderful way to procrastinate . . .
I'm at the library and have been for a couple hours. I don't usually study at the library, usually I'm at my apartment or at a coffee shop. The library is kind of nice though. Everyone is studying. We're all in this together--that is the feeling I get when studying here.
There is one more day of classes. That's madness! Kind of. Time goes fast, but we always seem to forget that. Very rarely do we reach the end of a semester and say "Man. That semester was so slow!" Nope. It's always really fast. So if it's always fast, then it's not fast, it's just normal. Fast is the quickening of a normal pace of things. I think we just don't understand time.
Let's see . . . something else interesting.
Went to Austin yesterday. Checked out some sweet contemporary art with my art history peeps. We met Patrick:
He was made in 2004 by Oliver Herring and is a collage of hundreds of photographs taken of a guy named Patrick and then glued together as a collage image of his body. Crazy! And it's a sculpture. Didn't know if that was clear or not.
I have this song in my head
It's Joanna Newsom's "Sprout and Bean."
Thanksgiving week is over and I'm back in Waco. It was a really fabulous week. It's good to be back in Waco because of my wonderful family of friends and roommates, but I have lots of school work to do. For that reason I wasn't super stoked about coming back.
But it'll get done. I always have lots of school work to do. That's life right now.
So I'm drinking black tea and eating cereal at my kitchen table. The sun just rose
And now I have to get ready and go work.
I'm sitting on my couch in watching the Thanksgiving Day parade.
A high school band from California is playing a song from West Side Story, which is pretty awesome.
It's good being home.
That's all I got.
Hello friends, family, and stalkers. The last time I posted I included a picture of me cutting Ryan's hair, and now it is almost time to cut it again! Oh dear.
His birthday was last week and we went to the Nasher Sculpture Center . . .
We did other exciting things, but that is all that I have pictures of. I took lots of pictures there. I like art. I also like feminism. Both are often times misunderstood and I find myself having to explain my interests to my friends a lot. I like it though. Today I presented in my Philosophy and the Arts class over Feminism and Postmodernism. It went pretty well; you should have been there. I'm thinking of going on a lecture circuit. People should pay to see me talk about Feminism and Postmodernism. People need to know.
This past weekend was Steppin' Out, which is a Baylor tradition which involves students' participation in service projects around Waco. Me and six of my friends did lawn work at a home for mentally impaired people (I don't know the PC term-mentally challenged? mentally handicapped? crazy people?). It was enjoyable, being outside and working. And doing it with people I enjoy to be around.
I trimmed hedges.
And now it is the week of Thanksgiving. Tomorrow I'll go back to Colleyville, where there will be food and love waiting for me. It'll be nice, but won't be without some studying. There is still a final hurdle before finals.
It's been awhile. But I'm not going to apologize. I feel like every time I write I need to apologize for how long it has been since I've written. Well, this blog is a luxury, not an obligation, so I will not apologize.
I was in poverty this weekend. For my Family: A Global Perspective class I had to do a poverty simulation through Mission Waco. So from Friday night to Sunday afternoon I lived like I was in poverty. That's all I can tell you about it. Part of the learning comes from not knowing what is going to happen, so I can't tell you what happened for fear that someone out there reading this will someday go through it and know all about it. Maybe I'll tell you if you ask me in person.
People keep asking me how it made me "feel" and I still just don't know. Last night Rachael asked me how I felt and I told her I had a headache. I don't think that's what she was looking for. I just didn't know what else to say. I'm debriefing still. I have a reflection paper about it due on Friday so hopefully I will know by then. I'll let you know.
I also took out my nose ring. We had to remove all jewelry for the poverty sim and so I took it out for the first time since last October. I had some trouble getting it back in yesterday, so i just decided to leave it out. I had it for over a year. It ran its course. No one has really even noticed, not even my roommates, so it obviously wasn't that big of a deal.
And then a nice boy came down from Dallas and made me a yummy pasta/lasagna dish for dinner.
I have a test tonight and one tomorrow morning, and as I was poor all weekend, I couldn't study for them. So I skipped my classes this morning to study. Now I'm just going to chill until my 5:45 test. I feel okay about it and just want to get it over with.
So those are some quick updates. I'm kind of tired right now and it's kind of dreary outside and I feel like that is showing up in how I'm writing today.
Here is a picture of me cutting the aforementioned boy's hair a few weekends ago. You can see my nose ring (may she rest in peace).
And now I will heat up some of his leftover pasta/lasagna dish.
I have been eating a lot healthier since I've been in college. My veggie-loving roommates have been a good influence on me. Before, I didn't even like lettuce, let alone things like tomatoes and mushrooms, but now I love most vegetables. And thanks to the World Hunger Farm I now know and love all sorts of veggies that I'd never heard of before--like swiss chard, liana beans, and kale.
All that to say that my stomach has gotten used to healthy foods. Today for lunch I went to Vitex with Rob and John and I got their famous "gut pack." My stomach is kind of mad it me for that now. It is not used such large quantities of barbecue sauce and fritos. I appreciated the Waco experience, but it's nothing something I will be eating everyday.
Vitex also has Dublin Dr. Pepper, which is amazing.
Performing at Common Grounds last night was really fun. Elise and I had good rapport on stage and charmed the audience with our banter and musical prowess. Be looking for our names on a marquee near you!
I have a headache :/ Maybe because too much Dublin DP and not enough water.
Tonight I and my roommate Elise will be performing at Common Ground's open mic night. She has a djembe and I have a guitar and tonight they will make sweet music together. Or sad music. Or angry music. Or funny music. Depending on the song. We are going to leave in like seven minutes.
The funny thing is that my voice is still not all the way back (see last post) so I'm all sexy and raspy (which reminds me of an episode of Friends. Anyone?).
It'll be good. I've done open mic there before (we get thirty whole minutes all to ourselves!) and it'll be nice to have someone else up there with me. Next time, Linh will hopefully join us, who plays piano.
Ok, gonna pack up.
I'm cold. And my lungs hurt. But here's another picture from Long Island. It's our shadows at the beach. I'm the one with my leg sticking out.
Questions? Comments? How ya feelin?
(a mustache cup in the Whaling Museum of the town of Sag Harbor)
(and we got to dip our toes in the sand a.k.a. my only picture of the whole group)
Interesting things were learned and I'm glad I went. I was ready to come back though, because it wasn't exactly restful.
Now I have a paper due next week and one this week and I'm off running.
Today is Canada's Thanksgiving, according to my Mom's blog. Good for them. Way to be, Canada.
My hair is now about three inches shorter, falling to about my chin or a little lower than my chin (depending on the humidity). I cut it yesterday afternoon, and by that I mean that I myself cut my hair in my bathroom with my scissors. It was very exciting and spontaneous. Ryan helped, and I have some pictures that I'll post later ( I'm in the library right now). I like it though. I'm pretty proud of myself. I saved about twenty dollars and had fun doing it. I was encouraged by both India Arie and Regina Spektor. India says, "I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations-no. I am not my hair. I am not this skin. I am the soul that lives within," and Regina tells me "Maybe you should cut your own hair, cause that can be so funny. It doesn't cost any money and it always grows back (hair grows even after you're dead . . ." Thanks ladies. And thanks Ryan.
And so it is Monday.
And so I didn't go to my first class and studied instead for a test tomorrow (and wrote in my blog).
And so I need to leave now to go to my Philosophy class.
And I leave Wednesday for Long Island.
I'm at work right now and I have nothing to do. It's a pretty frustrating situation. I'm here, I showed up, there's nothing on my desk to do, and my professor isn't around to tell me anything to do. The professor I TA for is probably at lunch and the only thing I can do now is wait around for him to come back to see if he has anything for me to do. Until then here I am, writing on my blog. Thankfully I work in a cubicle so no on can see me doing this. To everyone else in the Audio Visual Resource Center in which I work, I just sound like I'm working, typing away on the computer.
I also take attendance for another professor's class. Her TA is in class, so I took her attendance taking job. The class has almost 200 students, and I walk up and down the rows, marking on my paper who is absent. It is quite a fun place of power, walking with my clipboard. When I walk by students hide their cell phones on which they are sending text messages and click out of the window on their computer on which they are playing Solitaire or looking at pictures on Facebook. I couldn't care less what they are doing, but it's fun that they think that I do care
My Mom came and surprised me in Waco today. We sat on campus and chatted and are going to get dinner together this evening. That's a fun surprise.
I'm writing a paper on Thomas Moran. He is a 19th century American landscape painter. It is largely because of his sketches and watercolors of Yellowstone that the area was set aside as our first national park. Such as
I think that's pretty interesting.
I know that's kind of belated, but I haven't written since it has been October. I feel a well wishing should be said
I haven't written much in my paper journal either, so don't feel too neglected. Instead I've been writing papers for class, journals for philosophy, notes for American Art. That sort of thing.
I've found that the first half of my week is usually pretty stressful and I frantically fly about, trying to accomplish everything. But by Wednesday, I either stop caring or I have less to do and then the rest of my week is pretty chill. That is how it has been pretty much every week.
It's so nice right now to write something I'm not going to be graded on. Not in a quantitative sense anyway. I'm sure you're still all grading and judging what I'm writing, deciding how and if you want to respond
My first round of tests is still not over. I have Contemporary Art and Philosophy and the Arts next week.
I'm wearing a ring today that I forgot I owned. It's a glass ring that I bought in Venice. Venice is famous for its glass products, and I chose a blue ring to remind me of the waters of Venice. There are also slight waves in the surface of the ring and gold flecks amidst the blue to signify waves.
Thar she is. The gold rings next to it are birthday gifts from Allison.
I should write blurbs for jewelry catalogs or something, huh?
Enough about rings; how are you?
I'll take a brief break from studying to share with you for a sec. A tombstone we studied in my American Art class had a poem on it that I like. I don't mean this to be morbid, I'm just studying for that class at this moment and . .I don't know . . I just like it. Deal with it. Sometimes I'm morbid.
"Adieu, my friend forever ever gone,
Her happy soul has put full glory on.
The tendrest ties could never her detain
But O our loss is her most happy gain.
Gentle her manners were, her tastes refined
Her speech sincere and open as her heart
Her conversation did delight impart.
Though young she listened to the voice of truth
And trod a savior’s steps in early youth.
Calm and serene she yielded up her breath
And even triumphed at the approach of death.
Sacred to the memory of Miss Mercy Jones
Who died April 7, 1805
Aged 20 years & 6 months"
And one more thing--Friday I went to an Ani Difranco concert with two of my favorite males in my life (Will and Ryan, brother and boyfriend, respectively). I have never smiled so much at a concert in my life. It is so fun to watch Ani rock out.
Okay. I guess I'll make another blog post. I haven't really felt like doing these lately. I think it's just because I've been busy doing other things. Like reading for my Philosophy class, which is really what I should be doing now. I'm at Common Grounds and I just can't concentrate on it. I couldn't at home either. I guess it's not my environment. I guess it's just me.
That sounds depressing but it's really not. I really just can't concentrate.
There are a bunch of high school girls here and they are ridiculous. They are leaving now. They wrote all over themselves with sharpies. Typical.
22 is a long way away from high school.
Ok, let's say something new and interesting. I've gotten a lot better at talking on the phone. That's not really interesting, but it's new. And I don't think I want to go to Thailand anymore. I just wanted a plan, any sort of plan, and so I latched on to that one for a week or so. But I don't want to be in Thailand for a year. I refuse to freak out about post-grad plans though. I don't want to waste my senior freaking out. I keep waiting for something to just fall out of the sky and knock me in the head and feel like the exact right thing to do. Oh yeah, I forgot I had an epiphany today. My epiphany was--of course I don't know what I want to do. Outside of school, I haven't really experienced much. How can I know what I want to do if I haven't done anything? So in my epiphany I told myself to just do something. Just try something. Unless the prefect thing happens to fall out of the sky, I'll just try other things until it feels right.
Back to Philosophy
Yes, this is my second post in one day.
My good friend Bailey once alerted me to the fact that I frequently have typos in my blog posts. I acted offended at the time, but I'm sure she is right. I even re-read my posts about three times but typos continue to sneak through. The reason I'm saying this now is I just re-read an email I sent to my Philosophy teacher earlier today:
"I have changed my mind concerning my paper topic. I was reading an article in Art News about "shock art" and now would like my paper to be trying to answer whether or now a specific piece of "shock art" is actually art, and use one more of the theories we talk about in class to define it. How does that sounds? And would the work of art I choose be the primary source?"
There are three blaring typos! And perhaps more. That's frustrating.
So I apologize for future mishaps.
I really enjoy wearing hats, but don't always have the guts to wear them. I decided today to get over it. And I'm wearing a hat. A bright red hat that I bought in Florence and wore frequently throughout Europe. I'm wearing it and you can't stop me. I'm wearing it instead of washing my hair.
I'm at the SUB, moments away from my first class of the week. I didn't read for it, which isn't a big deal, and I didn't read for the class after that, which is kind of a big deal, and I'm pretty ok with that. I had a mini freak out yesterday over everything I had to do and so decided just not to do some of it. It wouldn't be the end of the world. I felt instantly better. School isn't who I am. It's an important part of my life right now, but it doesn't have to make or break it. You know?
I've been looking more into this Thailand thing. I've gotten Elise and Claire intrigued too. That would be so fun to have one or both of them there with me, if I were to go there.
I was really excited about my Philosophy and the Arts class, but now I feel more ambivalent towards the subject. Even throughout one class, I go back and forth from thinking that what we are discussing (namely, the question of how to define art) is really interesting and valuable, to thinking it is a pretentious waste of time. There is no answer. What is art? is a question that can't be successfully answered. And we talk on and on about it just to hear ourselves talk.
It is important to know what is art though, I think, so that we can know how to respond to an object. If you know you are looking at an artwork, you scrutinize it, search for its meaning, measure its beauty, which is different then say, if you were merely look at a chair. You just sit in the chair.
And I'm tired of reading about this.
Marcel Duchamp's Fountain. Duchamp bought a urinal, signed it "R.Mutt" and then put in a gallery, calling it art. It's valuable in that it forced everyone to rethink their definition of art. Is art art because the artist intends it to be? It is so because of its context within the "art world"? (Don't even get me started on the so-called "art world." I think the art world should be the whole world . . .) So it's interesting, it's just talked about a lot so I'm tired of it.
I really do enjoy the class, I'm just venting. I think mainly I'm frustrated with Philosophy students who like to hear themselves talk and who throw around names like Nietzche and Aristotle like they're candy. And then I have no idea what they are talking about.
It also feels good to complain, because then you get to feel above all the people you complain about. Which is probably why Jesus tells us to "Do everything without complaining or arguing . . ."
Speaking of me wanting the whole world to be the art world, recently I've been throwing the idea around in my mind of maybe someday teaching art in a high school setting. You know, spreading the good news of art. Art therapy is also intriguing, though I know nothing about it. Maybe that could be before or after teaching English in a Thai setting . . .?
Wow. This past week has felt like three. I've enjoyed it, but it has been long. And I'm excited for this three day weekend.
Here's me in my cubicle
I'm really important. I have a cubicle. I like the word cubicle. It's like the word cuticle, but rounder.
I enjoy having lots of time in the morning. When my alarm goes off I may not think it's a good idea, but I do as I then get to leisurely eat breakfast, get ready, perhaps write on my blog . . .?
Leisurely is a tricky word to spell. That sure doesn't look like a word.
For about ten minutes yesterday I decided that after graduation I would move to Thailand and teach English. (The head of the Gender Studies department is also really connected with Thailand and has arranged it so Baylor graduates can go over there for a year--May to March--to teach English. She is best buds with the Thai royal family.) For about ten minutes the day before I decided I would do Teach For America (Claire was talking about it). Who knows what I will decide to do today. Or next May for that matter.
My coffee is cold but I keep drinking it.
That is all.
(Hm. That could be the name of a band or song or book or something--Cold Coffee. Or this blog post. It has a nice rhythm.)
So I have had two days of classes. I find all of my classes interesting, so that is a major plus. As a reminder, I am taking
Family: A Global Prospective
Philosophy and the Arts
Intro to Gender Studies
Va bene. And I am working as a TA for an Art History professor. I started that job today, which mainly consisted of making copies and typing up attendance sheets. I wasted a lot of paper in trying to figure out the monster copy machine and wasted a lot of time trying to figure out Excel. It's cool though. I have my own cubicle with my own iMac next to Melissa's own cubicle and own iMac, and she is a pro and so I ask her important questions like how to turn my computer on. (When I was being shown my cubicle by one of the faculty members I was like "Sure! I know Macs well! I have one." And then I couldn't figure out how to turn the thing on!)
Here are some interesting facts from my Families in Global and Multicultural Perspective book:
-"1.2 billion of the world's population is absolutely poor, defined as living on less than dollar a day . . . over 900 million, or 70% of the poor are women."
-"In April 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to offer full, legal marriage to same-sex couples."
-"In most of the developing world, homosexuality is still considered a mental illness and is punishable by imprisonment and even death."
-"The US has the highest rate of lone-parent families among industrialized nations, with one third of families headed by a single parent"
Interesting stuff, no? You can now pull those facts out at parties and sound education and concerned.
I am reading The Lost Message of Jesus by Steven Chalke and it has given me some thoughts. This particular chapter deals with the idea of being "saved" and "born again." Those words tend to make me cringe a little, and I'm glad to see that they do so to Steven Chalke too. It reminds me of a time during counselor training at Sky Ranch. While waiting to train on the jet skis, one of my fellow counselors asked me how I became "saved" and I told him my schpeel. Then I asked for his. And he said "This morning, I woke up and asked God to save me." And he says he is saved everyday. And I think that is beautiful.
In this book Chalke points out that in the Bible, Jesus only uses the phrase "born-again" twice and that was within one conversation with one guy--Nicodemus. "And yet it has become the basis for one of the most confusing, misused and abused, misunderstood and despised ideas in the history of the church." The Jesus of the Bible was more interested in the ongoing process of salvation. We are already saved and are continually learning to become and act like saved people all our lives. He quotes a bishop of the Church of England who, when asked if he was saved, replied, "I have been saved, I am being saved, and one day I will be saved." Isn't that beautiful?
My room is beautiful now too. I'm not as satisfied, though, as I thought I would be now that I'm all unpacked. It's just my room. The same. I like it, but it's just a room.
Class starts tomorrow and everywhere was crazy today--church, campus, the bookstore, Wal-Mart. I quickly returned to the sanctuary of my apartment, which is where I am now, snuggled in the papasan in the corner or my room.
I'm sitting on the floor of my furniture-less room in Waco. Me and some of my gal pals painted it green yesterday, which was a lot of fun. I left some of the pink though, as you can see in this picture.
Yesterday, all four of my roommates came back (roommates=Rachael, Tinsley, Elise, and Claire)! There was much merriment, together again. We ate at Clay Pot while Elise regaled us with stories of her adventures in Italy and Lithuania, and we did the same with a our various Texan adventures. Tomorrow I will move my furniture in. I'm not looking forward to the process, but I am looking forward to being able to assemble my room and put everything away. I'm living out of a suitcase right now.
It's good to be back, and weird, and scarey, and comfortable, and the same, and different. I'm just here right now, let's just leave it at that. I don't have to label everything with an emotion. I can just be.
I had some trouble this morning paying attention to the sermon at church. My mind was preoccupied. After the sermon though, while the band was playing a David Crowder Band song--"The Glory of It All"-- people who had been hidden backstage came out one by one, each holding a handwritten cardboard sign. On the front of the sign was a short sentence of what happened in their life and/or heart before knowing Christ, and the back of the sign said how Christ changed things. It was really moving. The last one was an older woman, Julia's grandmother, whose sign first said "I committed my life to Christ 78 years ago" and the back said something like "and he has remained faithful." By the end of the "show" I was crying, and was kind of embarrassed by it, but then heard the sniffles of people around me and realized I wasn't the only one moved to tears. After the service the women's restroom was more crowded than I usually found it, with women still dabbing their eyes or reapplying makeup. It was all very moving. And it was people just simply saying what God meant to them, in black letters on a piece of cardboard.
In other news, I just took a "spiritual gift analysis." Basically it's a long quiz to assert what gifts God had has blessed me with. I have taken one before, in high school, and nowadays I'm honestly kind of wary of things like this. To quantitatively measure how God has blessed me. And also just the separating of "spiritual" gifts and "worldly" gifts. I don't like those lines. I believe God is in all my gifts and talents.
It reminds me of a poll I took a few years back. The question was "When do you like to spend time with God?" The answer choices were like "in the morning," "in the car," "in the evening," etc. I didn't like the question. I thought, "I want to spend every minute of my day with God."
Anywho, I took the Spiritual Gift test and failed. I have no spiritual gifts. Just kidding. My top two were hospitality and mercy. The hospitality one didn't surprise me, I've always enjoyed having people over to my house and such, but the mercy one did. Looking back at my life now though, I can see it. Like in the way I've never been really angry with someone. Even if I know I've been wronged or treated unfairly, I think to myself "I feel like I should be mad . . . but I'm not. Hm, weird," and go about my merry way. That's nice I guess. It's not an invitation for you people to walk all over me. I
Ok, Bailey and Will are here now so I'm going to end this.
(as in this post, not my blog in general)
I woke up this morning and realized today was not my birthday. It was a little disappointing.
But yesterday was and now I'm 22. I don't think I have ever had such a fun-packed birthday. Thanks to everyone who participated. First there was Six Flags, then food, friends, family, and presents, then Main Event, which involved bowling, pool, and the aforementioned friends. It was a fun day, like I said.
I got three CDs from my brother and I'm in the process of putting them on my computer. Right now I'm listening to the Mamma Mia! soundtrack. As if I don't have that song in my head enough. Mamma mia, here I go again . . . I like it though. Thanks Will.
I think I will enjoy my 22nd year. 22 feels good.
And wow. I just saw that I took 101 pictures yesterday. Stay tuned for some of those maybe.
This past week has added to new members to the Carmack family. Little Mac Carmack (picture stolen from my mom's blog) . . .
And Mrs. Caroline Carmack (picture stolen from Linh's facebook). . .
So good! The wedding last night was great. I haven't been to the wedding of someone I know so well, one where a lot of my friends and family were present, and it was a lot of fun. A bit on the warm side, but really nice. And I love Caroline and happy she is now apart of my family.
It's Olympics time now, which means there is always something to watch on TV. I'm watching waterpolo right now. "Watching" = having it on in the background whilst I write on my blog and what not. Hungary vs. Montenegro.
Today Rob and Caroline go to Italy! What a honeymoon.
I just learned that the most common injury in Water Polo is a ruptured ear drum.
It has been a really good past couple of days. I was worried that I would get bored when I came home, but I've been pretty entertained. I've caught up with a lot of people, gotten to know others better, been to two concerts, and yesterday, I made quiche for my family. Today is an open book and we'll see where it takes me.
Speaking of books, the biography I'm reading of Muhammad is intriguing. Muhammad sounds like a good guy. The world islam simply means to surrender and Muhammad taught that that is was people should do--simply surrender to the will of Allah. Allah simply means God, and Muhammad believed that Jews and Christians ("People of the Book") worshipped the same god as Muslims. Different people just had different din or, way of life, moral law. He was actually greatly perplexed when Jews and Christians would preach that their religion was the only true religion. Muhammad believed "it was idolatry to take pride in belonging to a particular religious tradition rather than concentrating on Allah himself." And to him, we were all related anyway, all descendants of Abraham. For sure the Islam of today is different than a lot of what Muhammad preached, just as Christianity has evolved from the time of Jesus.
It's an interesting read.
Along the same vein, I'm next going to read a book called The Lost Message of Jesus by Steven Chalke for a Sunday school class I'm going to help lead in the fall. From what a hear, the book is about looking at the teachings of Jesus outside of our Western bifocals. I'm excited. I'll let you know how it goes.
And remember how at the beginning of this post I said I was going to see where today takes me? Well, it looks like it's going to take me to Oklahoma! I'm going there with my Momma soon to see my new baby cousin, Mac. Mac Carmack. These plans were formed as this post was being written. It is a very exciting month in the life of my family, let me tell ya.
I know it hasn't even been 24 hours, but here I am again. I just have things that I want to say.
I really enjoyed church this morning. I don't quite know where that came from, I have been having trouble enjoying church lately. Today I really listened. This morning Lee talked about the importance of believing in something bigger than yourself (which is funny, because that is what my last post was about). "You'll never find the true significance of life until you find something that is more important that you." That is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. This past year I have lived more by the motto--if its right for you, its right. But I'm changing my mind (and ah man, this is in writing. The means it's real, right Melyssa?). I think what's right goes beyond what I think. It goes beyond me. There is right outside of myself. We are apart of a bigger story, written and directed by a god of love. A god who just wants us to love each other. To stop all this other stuff and love each other. To stop looking in the mirror and love each other. And God knows we can't do it without him, because he is love. We can't know him without loving each other. It's just impossible.
That's what I've been thinking about.
And Lee shared a poem. So I'll share it with you (wee! two poems in a row!)
I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me--
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire--
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.
by Edgar Lee Masters
I bet Lee shared it cause his middle name is Lee. Heh.
I'm glad I have these few weeks after the farm and before school so I can debrief with myself.
A couple weeks ago we had a poetry night at the farm. We sat outside on a Sunday evening, sharing bread, cheese, wine, and poems-original and not.
Samson, an intern from Ghana, shared a poem he had written. I really appreciated his poem, so I asked for a copy of it:
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR
It is dangerous not to have what you stand for
Whether it is food or drink
Have what you stand for
Whether it is religious or intellectual belief
Have what you stand for
Whether it is singleness or marriage
Have what you stand for
Whether it is about life or death
Have what you stand for
Develop a conviction not just an opinion
Opinion is what you hold
But conviction is something that holds you
You will argue about your opinion
But you will be ready to suffer for your conviction & if necessary die for it.
Your conviction might not make you popular
Your conviction might even earn you undesirable names
So should that make you succumb?
Develop a conviction
What do you stand for?
For if you do not stand for anything
You will fall for anything
Convictions are hard to come by nowadays. I'm in the process of developing my own. I'm reading Muhammah: A Prophet For Our Time to better understand others' convictions.
So that's that.
I'm sitting on the couch in my apartment. I moved out of the farm today. I feel really weird. It's feels weird to know that my stuff isn't there anymore, that I won't be going back there later tonight. It feels uncomfortable.
I have had such a great summer. I've learned so much and met so many great people that I hope to keep in touch with. It was nice to live a different life for a little while. To step outside of normal society. There is definitely a different culture with farm people. I was thinking that when I was hanging out at a pub last night with some farm peeps and we were discussing the different methods for castrating cows and goats (rubber band or knife?). I was a apart of a similar conversation over dinner last Friday night at the farm. Dinner! It was then I learned that some cultures use their teeth to castrate their goats. A human's mouth is cleaner than any knife they have.
Anywho, yes, farm culture. Like the fact that most of the girls have hairy legs. It's not big deal at all, in fact, it's kind of expected that we don't shave our legs. That was freeing. I would once every week, at the most. And I never saw any of the farm girls put on make up. I have worn mascara maybe twice this whole summer, and that's the only make up that has touched my face.
I'm glad I did it, and I'm sad it's over.
What's next life?
So I'm not sick anymore, if you're keeping track. I haven't been for awhile; it was just a couple day sickness.
Hey, at least it was my car so I could wear a seatbelt, right mom? That was fun. I like having that many people in my car, but it's probably not as comfortable for them. That was good bonding.
I used to think of myself as more on an introvert, in the Myers-Briggs since I mean. As in I would rather be by myself when I was tired or sad or sick, but I really don't think so anymore. I like having lots of people around me. Like when I was sick last week, and I was all by myself in the Waters' apartment, I got lonely. And when I was lying in my bed, feeling sick and gross and tired, I still liked having the girls in my room around me. I didn't want to participate in the conversation, but I wanted to be in the same room as it. But I enjoy a long afternoon by myself too, but usually in a coffee shop type setting where there are still lots of people around me.
Whatever. I'm me. Introvert, extrovert, normal, insane. Whatever. I think one can be too introspective. Sometimes I need to stop looking inside myself and trying to figure myself out and instead look outside at the people around me. They matter too.
The tickle in my throat has grown and now I have a fever. Grrr. A least that means my body is fighting it, right? So most of this afternoon and evening I have been lying on the couch of our upstairs neighbors, the Waters. They are good people, constantly offering me water and hot tea. Also--they have air conditioning. We have an air conditioning unit in our bedroom, but we only turn it on at night before we sleep. Otherwise we make do with fans, which isn't bad at all. We rely too heavily on our air conditioning I think.
That tickle is feeling a little worse. Nothing really bad, I'm just feeling a little under the weather. Luckily, I didn't have to work today because I did a little extra yesterday. So I tried to sleep in, but was fully awake by 7:30. Grrr. That's ok, I like mornings. I ran errands and stuff. And I played guitar some, but didn't have much of a voice and so mainly played Bright Eyes songs. He doesn't have much of a voice either.
I have a tickle in my throat and that concerns me. I hope I'm not getting sick.
Did I mention that on Friday I was involved in fecal sampling? I will now. On Friday I participated in the collecting of fecal samples (aka poop, nanny berries, etc) from the dairy goats and then assisted in detecting parasite eggs in them via a microscope (not a telescope. if you confuse those two words, people will laugh at you). There are two collecting methods we utilized:
I'm on my friend/former roommate, Melissa's, computer (not to be confused with my current roommate Melyssa). The second Fantastic Four movie is playing and we're munching on puppy chow (as in the wonderful combination of chex, peanut butter, chocolate, butter, and powdered sugar. It's a staple with us). It's so good, but bad, because it's one of those irresistible snacks that you can't stop eating. It's ridiculous.
This movie is also ridiculous.
So I only have a week and a half at the farm left. Weird! Sad. Unbelievable. I still don't know what I'm going to do with this, with all of this new farm knowledge and world of ideas. Do I want to continue to pursue work like this? Do I just take it and stuff it into my arsenal of experiences, learn from it, and move on? Somewhere in between? I don't know. I don't usually have a plan and that has worked so far, but the real world is fast approaching. I should probably start studying for the GRE or something. Or maybe dread my hair.
There are so many paths. I wonder which one is mine.
I'm going to be 22! Eeeee.
Wherever I go, I leave fans of the television of "Felicity" in my wake. I have the seasons on DVD and this summer I brought them out to Waco. First I got my roommates hooked, and now my farm friends. I walked into our dorm living room today to find three farm guys engrossed in an episode of Felicity. Yes. The only thing is I can't find the last two seasons, so I just get people hooked, and then I get them mad at me, because they can't know how it all ends.
Yesterday was the annual honey harvest. It was a lot of fun, mainly because most everyone was involve, and because honey is yummy--espcially raw, locally grown, world hunger relief honey. Here are some picture from the day that I stole from the Beckers blog.
Will and Ryan
Melyssa and Kris
I was involved in the next step--putting the honey into jars. And I got stung on the ankle at the very end, when the bees were the angriest. We stole their livelihood. I would be too.
Isn't Amanda a good photographer?
So yesterday I finally finished making a skirt that I started working on before I left for California, under the guidance of the master seamstress--Melyssa. It's a reversable wrap skirt. Che-che-che-che-check it out.
I didn't actually think it would happen, I kept messing up, but there it is. I'm excited about it.
So the farm has been getting a lot of attention. The paparazzi are out of control! You heard about that news article, well today there was a film crew here from Texas Country Reporter, which I have never heard of, but they are going to do a show about us. They kept telling us to do things over again, like walk out of doors and carry baskets. So if you're watching Texas Country Reporter and see a girl's hands carrying a basket of peppers, it was may be me.
And here is a picture of me from the aforementioned Mystery Spot, being mysterious.
If you would like closer inspection, you can click on it.
Sometimes it gets exhausting--all the worlds that this person is involved in. This summer I'm finding it's hard for me to be fully present at one place, whether it be in Waco, at the farm, in Colleyville, on an airplane. If I'm here then I'm not there and I'll be doing this but not doing that and what about after this? And it's all just social stuff, no big deal, I'm just operating on two and a half hours of sleep and feeling exhausted but I can't flippin' nap. And so everything is feeling like a big deal.
And I want everyone and everything but there is just so many of them. I've have become increasingly bad at losing things like keys and books and directions, and I think it's just because I'm never focused on one moment.
Sometimes I just want everything to stop for a moment. "I hope this old train breaks down, Then I could take a walk around, And, see what there is to see, And time is just a melody, All the people in the street, Walk as fast as their feet can take them, I just roam through town, And though my windows got a view, The frame im looking through, Seems to have no concern for me now."
But I'm back from California now and safe and clean and I had a great week.
Texas is hot. And Waco is nowhere near the ocean.
The Dallas Morning News wrote a story about us! (click here.) A couple weeks ago a young reporter stayed a night at the farm and took pictures and video and notes and now it has all come together as an article. I'm not speifically mentioned, but I am inadvertently when she says
The young farmers of World Hunger Relief don't see themselves as farmers in the traditional sense.
Yes, they have farmer's tans and sometimes wear overalls, but some also have trendy square-rimmed glasses and pierced noses. They update the egg inventory as well as a farm blog. And they have wireless Internet but no flush toilets. . . ."Originally, I was like 'Whoa, Waco? Is this going to be some kind of cult?' " said 27-year-old Will Summers, who grew up in El Paso and majored in film at the University of Texas at Austin.
But there's no Kool-Aid here, only raw goat's milk.
I'm the only one there with a nose ring, so it had to be about me. I'm famous! I'll try not let it go to my head.
And I'm still in California. Apparently its fashionable now for guys to wear high socks. They surfer guys around here all wear white, high, pulled up socks. I don't dig it.
I'd like to thank Elizabeth for letting me know that the article had printed.
Lots of stuff has been happening, but I don't really have much to say about it. I guess I don't just like reciting a list of things I have done, so unless I have something interesting to say about them, I don't feel like wasting my breathe.
This morning we're going to visit Vanessa's family. Last night we had a bonfire on the beach. And I had really good sushi at Pink Godzilla Sushi Bar. Oh! And yesterday we went to this place called the Mystery Spot. It's very mysterious--the gravity is all wiggity wack there and it causes everything to tilt at 17 degrees; branches only grow on one side of trees there; birds don't fly over it. You perception of people's height is distorted. No one knows why! There are a couple theories, one being that the spot is underneath a hole in the ozone layer. Another is that an alien spacecraft crashed there once long ago and the engines are still running, far underground. One of us theorized that the mystery spot tickets are laced with a hallucinatory drug. You should Wikipedia it. It's fascinating. We got some cool pictures of us being all tilty at it that are still trapped on my camera, but here's an old picture of tilty people.
I hope you have a mysterious day.
I am currently cursed with the inability to sleep in. Despite what my blog may tell you, it is 8 am where I am and I've been up for over an hour. Everyone else in the house is asleep. Despite me complaining about it, I actually enjoy this. I get to have some moments to myself and read, possibly blog. Va bene.
I get to say all the italian phrases that float in my head this week without bound! I usually just keep them in my head, because people wouldn't know what I'm saying. (Va bene (Ok)? Dove (Where)? Andiamo (Let's go)? Che triste (How sad)? Mangia(Eat!)? Non lo so (I don't know)?) But these people do.
I'm at Vanessa's beach house in Santa Cruz, California. I got here Saturday with Melissa. It's pretty foggy right now, but not as foggy as it was yesterday morning. It clears up later though. And it's cold. Cold! In the mornings and evenings. I haven't been cold outside in awhile. Yesterday I went into the Pacific Ocean for the first time, which is also cold. And the waves are a lot more powerful than Texan waves. Yesterday, as I was frolicking in them, one pulled me under and for a moment I couldn't tell which way was up and I couldn't get out. I had a mini freak out, but it was just for a moment.
I'm hoping to come back with a nice, more even, tan.
Wow, I had not idea people had such strong feelings about quiche! Thanks for all the support and comments.
I am celebrating my country's independence today be being independent. Hanging out with me, you know. I'm sitting in my apartment, vacated of all roommates. I've read a lot. I'm currently working my way through Achebe's Things Fall Apart and understand why it's such a classic. Later there will be fireworks and friends.
I was fooling with my Photobooth with some of my farm peeps and what we thought was going to be a picture turned into this.
So there you've met some new people in my life.
Earlier that day, we went swimming.
I cooked lunch again today. It was kind of a last minute thing-decided yesterday- and so I didn't have much time to mentally prepare. It turned out really well though. I made four quiches, all by myself! The crust and everything. They turned out really good, if I do say so myself. And I do. I just did. Here it what was in them, aside from the eggs:
1. swiss chard, onions, garlic, cheddar cheese
2. tomato, basil, dill, swiss cheese with cheddar cheese baked in the crust
3. corn, kidney beans, with pecans baked in the crust
4. tomatos, potatoes, swiss and cheddar cheese
Phew. It was fun. Quiche is easy. And there is much room for creativity.
So cooking isn't so bad. It just takes confidence and literacy.
While I was cooking, there was a group of high school kids cleaning in the building and at one point I notice two girls standing in the doorway watching me. So I say hi and they say hi back and awkwardly stand there a few moments more.
"We were wondering what you're making?"
"I'm making some quiches."
"Oh . ."
"We rotate who cooks, and today is my day. I don't cook a lot though so I'm kind of nervous, but it's fun."
"Um . . what's a quiche?"
"It's kind of like a pie but with eggs and usually vegetables or something in it. I think it orginated in France. They're pretty common. I'm sure you'll run into them again."
"Oh" (They didn't seem too excited about an egg pie)
The two girls exit
Did I know what a quiche was in high school? I'd like to think I did, but maybe I didn't. Did you?
We are living in the future!
That just makes blogging one step creepier. Now complete strangers can know what I talk like. I don't really even know how I talk. It's funny how much we don't know about ourselves. I mainly talking about physically--like what my voice sounds like, how my mouth moves when I talk, mannerisms, nervous habits.
I bought the new Alanis Morissette cd and it really disappoints me. Bummer. Bummer in the summer.
Another weekend is already upon me!
I received a package yesterday. It was my first and probably only parcel of mail to receive here at the farm. It was from a special lady in my life* and contained the contacts I left at home, as well as some unexpected goodies. This included a bunch of candy. I opened the package while sitting at the lunch table with all my farm peeps and so passed the gummy worms and tootsie rolls around the table. Candy is not a usual part of our diet here at the farm, where the norm is organic produce, goat milk, black beans, and homemade ice cream, but it was welcome. So thank you, special lady.
Also in the package was a book of useless information, which I thought would be useful in the girls' composting toilet. Haha, not in the toilet, but in the room where the toilet is contained. I crack myself up. And I always enjoy some reading material when . . . during that part of my day.
Today I helped with the Village Store, which is the fair trade store at the farm. There was a bunch of stuff that just came in. It felt like Christmas, opening all the boxes and seeing all the cool stuff fairly traded from around the world. You should come visit me at the farm, if nothing else, to buy something at the store.
(the below picture has nothing to do with the Village Store, aside from the fact that it was taken down the road from it)
While the above picture was loading, I went to the bathroom and this is something I learned:
Polar bear fur is not white, it's clear. Polar bear skin is actually black. Their hair is hollow and acts like fiber optics, directing sunlight to warm their skin.
*The "special lady in my life" refers to my mother, not my female life partner, which is what I realized that sounded like when reading over this post after its publication. I don't have one of those, as I find myself to be romantically attracted to boys. Just fyi, in case there was any confusion.
I do enjoy this life. Sometimes it's physically grueling, and sometimes I get sunburned, and sometimes I get headbutted by a baby goat, but it's all good. It's enriching. Not always at the time (like with the headbutting), but afterwards, when I'm showered and resting and thinking about it, I appreciate it.
And when I'm playing. Like today, when we had a farewell tie-dye party for Scott.
I appreciated those moments while they were happening. And some of my plain garments of clothing, are now funkdefied. See, I appreciate that.
I'm at my home in Colleyville right now, just waiting for the time to come to go to church. It's been nice being home this weekend, enjoying the air conditioning, movie channels, and meat. Oh yeah, my friends and family. They are cool too. There was a bridal shower in the mix. And good music listening.
I've had some reverse culture shock though. Especially when I went to Target on Friday. There was just so much . . stuff. So much unnecessary stuff to buy to make myself feel cooler. I tried on a couple dresses but looked at the tags that said stuff like made in India," "made in Nicaragua," "made in China," and I just couldn't buy anything. I could just picture the chinese woman, getting paid a dollar a day so I could buy this discounted dress and feel cooler. I don't know if that's really the reality for all companies that offshore outsource, but it's all I can think about.
Bleh. So I just bought a CD. Fiest:
One of the summer live-in volunteers--Scott--is leaving next Wednesday. Sad. I remember going to the airport to pick him up. It was on memorial day. I wrote about it, maybe you remember it too. He wrote a post on the farm's blog that made my heart happy. Click here if you want to read it.
That rain today was wonderful, but the way.
I spent my working time today cleaning the main education building--sweeping and mopping and dusting and stuff. Things that don't usually get done around here. It sounds kind of lame, but I actually felt myself enjoying it. Not because of the actual cleaning itself, but the fact that I was cleaning a building used by so many people, used to accomplish good things, used by people I care about. You know? Also, I got to stay out of the heat for a day.
I'm listening to a lot of M. Ward this summer. Will left a cd of his in my car and I've been digging it. Here's one of my fav songs on it. It's called Chinese Translation.
I have new poll. Che-che-che check, check it out.
So weekend duty is done. And I had yesterday off because of it. I find days off to be a lot of pressure, because I feel like I should to do something that I wouldn't normally do, but I have a lot of free time anyway so there's not a lot I can't normally do. So I just did things I normally do. Like read and play guitar. I also bought some fabric, because my new friend and roommate Melyssa is going to teach me how to make a wrap skirt. It's going to be reversible. I'm stoked.
Today I spend a lot of time moving hay around and ended up looking like a person of a different ethic identity because I got so dirty by all the hay-dusties.
When it's windy, the doors in the dorm slam themselves shut a lot. It's doing it right now. It sounds like everyone is angry.
These people challenge me. Like, they really care about things. Like the state of the starving world or the evils of high-fructose corn syrup or the conservation of resources or the importance of local agriculture or fair trade or helping each other. Stuff like that.
Who can name the song that is my post title first?
I have weekend duty at the farm this weekend. Each weekend two of us farmers are to stay at the farm all weekend and attend to animals and such that need attending to. Basically, keeping things alive--milking the goats (a lot), feeding the goats, rabbits, and chickens, collecting eggs, watering some plants--things like that. So that's me this weekend.
This morning was kind of frustrating. One of the chores was to let the dry goats (as in the goats we don't milk) out to pasture and feed them, but as soon as I walked in the gate carrying my bucket of feed, all fifteen of them (including one donkey--Lollita) swarmed at me and about six got out. So I had to chase them down. It was no bueno. They ran away from me, and only by coaxing them, one-by-one, with a bucket of feed could I lure them back in. It was an ordeal.
But I'm ok. I think I'm free until this afternoon for the second round of milking. Should be good times.
And apparently an unwritten duty of the weekend people is to write in the farm's blog. That's a lot of pressure. I'll be thinking about what I want to write, that is if my fellow weekender doesn't do it himself.
That reminds me of that Saturday morning cartoon The Weekenders. Do you remember them? I liked that show. I liked Saturday mornings. Cereal and cartoons. What else does a kid need?