Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Random Compliation of Things I Can't Get Enough of

  1. Nutella
  2. Cheese
  3. Pasta
  4. Pesto
  5. The amazingness of Netflix Original shows
  6. How pretty Ezra Miller is
  7. How amusing I find Captain Jack Harkness
  8. Bacon (keep in mind, now, that this list is in not particular order)
  9. Surprise visits at work from friends
  10. Traveling 
  11. My goofy, lovely, heartwarming, hardworking coworkers 
  12. My boss's questions about words
  13. Post-It notes
  14. Milkshakes 
  15. The food at Aslan 
  16. Young Adult novels - dystopian ones in particular at this moment  
  17. My bay-life roommates 
  18. My sister's artwork
  19. My older brother's traveling adventures (read: living vicariously through one of my family members who makes more money than me) 
  20. My nephew's laugh 
  21. Seeing the ways that my oldest brother and his wife work really well together
  22. Gratitude that my mother never gave up her dream and found a way to have her family live overseas (I don't really know how to phrase this one but you get the point) 
  23. The little tells that my dad has that says he really likes his job 
  24. "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Panic! At The Disco
  25. Actually, a lot of songs by Panic! At The Disco
  26. The "Shut Up and Dance" movie clip video that has been taken off YouTube :( 
  27. My glorious friends 
  28. Having time enough to craft 
  29. Crafts (yes, I am making these separate things) 
  30. Long walks to Boulevard 
I was eating some ice cream with Nutella in it, and got inspired/mushy so ta-da! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Too Long of a Thought to Reasonably be a Status

I did a thing today.
Well, actually, I did many.
But this one thing in particular got me thinking.
I counted how many days left until I graduate from college.
Just in case there is anyone graduating from a Washington-quarter-system school this spring is reading and doesn't want to know, I will abstain from putting the exact count on here. I seem to be a minority in the fact that knowing exactly how many days left of something doesn't tend to stress me out.
I am presently a little stressed out. And, if I'm stressed out, so are lots of other people.
For now, I will leave them my sympathies but also say that I've got my own problems to worry about.
Namely the fact that all I really want to be doing with my spare time is crafts, going out for drinks, and planning for my future. I'll wake up in the morning and think "I'm actually going to do some job research today".
But then I go to class. Class is a problem. Well, class presents many problems.
  1. I don't remember the last time I felt fully engaged in a class.  
  2. Not feeling engaged leads to me being very tired and, sometimes, dozing off in class. 
  3. Dozing off in class lends itself to my feeling bored and thus not having much motivation.
  4. Not having much motivation means that I don't really ever want to do my homework.
  5. My homework needs to be done. 
  6. I spend a lot of time uselessly wandering the internet to procrastinate.
  7. Then I have to rush getting my homework done so I can go to bed at a semi-reasonable hours, which means that I don't get a chance to do anything that is productive but not homework. 
I spend a lot of time chiding myself, "Robyn, if you're not going to do homework right now, you could at least be looking at job stuff. Or working on that writing project. Or that crocheting project. Something that is productive somehow." But I know that technically homework should be my priority so I don't feel like I can let myself do other productive things.
This may sound a little ridiculous but, you've already read this far, so let me explain. When I get the ball rolling with a project, I don't want to stop. It is the reason why I have a few things at work that I know will only take my two minutes to do each but I wait until there's ten of them so that they can all just be done at once. A better way to say this, perhaps, is to say that if I get up the motivation to edit a chapter or research job prospects, I want to have a few hours to dedicate to that endeavor. However, with homework looming over my shoulder, it feels like I don't have the time to commit to these projects.
Then it gets to be nearly four hours of sitting around time and I get stressed out thinking about how much I could've have done and feel the instant desire to go straight to bed. Sleep is my solution for most problems I encounter.
I remember a lot of my teachers in high school saying that high school was preparing me for college. After having been at college, my contention is that high school doesn't really prepare you for college because there is so much more to college than academics. As I near the end of my college career, I worry that college hasn't really prepared me for post-college life. This is partially my doing...most students who study linguistics go on to grad school or do some sort of teaching program. I don't want to do either of those things, which begs the question: what is next for me?
I wish that I could dedicate my time to answering this question. Or, more accurately, all the little questions that lead up to this question: Should I work for a hotel? An airline? Should I take the plunge and try writing professionally? What about just working at something that will make me enough money to do the things I want to do with my life: travel, make crafts, spend time with people, write? How do I write a convincing resume? I have to do job applications again?
But, no, I have to start reading about adjective phrases, review the uses of 'estar', and diagram the rising action of short stories.
I give school the grade of A+ for its excellent job of getting in the way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Adulthood--Here I Come

By a lot of accounts, I am an adult: I can vote. I can get a drink with dinner. I could go into the military if I wanted to. I could get married if the opportunity presented itself.
By my own account. I'm about half of an adult: I have a part time job (and, trust me, it's very near a miracle). I am still working towards paying my own bills and the parentals still pay all my rent. I spend most of my time doing school things.
As of this moment, the school things dominating my time are trying to figure out if the plan I've had for the past six months is actually going to work out in the end. Just a pro-tip, it's really hard to get into English classes at Western if you're not an English major. Being a Creative Writing minor, I now have to worry about whether or not I'm going to be able to get into the classes I need. Luckily, Western's professors have been historically wonderful about helping me out when they can so, for now, I just have my fingers crossed that something works out.
Don't worry, Mom, I'm registered for a full schedule. I'm just hoping my classes change over the next two weeks.
This is what I find crazy, though: up until classes start and even for five days after they start, your schedule could change completely. I remember last September there was one day where my roommate walked into her room then came out a few hours later and announced "I'm adding a French minor to my coursework." In college, it seems like things can change in the blink of an eye. I'm sure life has its own curve balls but at least I won't be changing the classes I'm taking every ten weeks. 
Before coming to college and while I've been attending school, I've heard a lot about how "you'll never be in the same place with as many of the same-age people doing roughly the same thing as you are than in college". True and, I admit, it is nice to have a standard set of questions to ask anyone I run into on campus:
  1. What's your name?
  2. What's your year?
  3. (if they are an underclassman) How are GURs going? Do you know what you'll major in?
  4. (if they are an upperclassman) What is your major? How is that going? Do you have a minor?
  5. (if they have a minor) What's your minor?
  6. (if they happen to have some departmental overlap) Have you had Professor X or Y? What did you think? I've heard a lot about Professor Z and I'm taking my first class with them this quarter. 
  7. (if they happen to have no departmental overlap) What kinds of things are you interested in within your major? What drew you to those?
  8. Do you have post-graduation plans yet? 
...I could probably go on but then I'll spoil all of my scintillating small talk questions and, really, who wants that?
Back to what I was saying, it's nice to have all of these cards to play. But I usually want something more than their academics because, let's face it, no one is just their academics. 
I don't feel like nearly enough of my life is explained when I tell people: "Oh, yeah, I'm a Linguistics major with minors in Creative Writing and Spanish." Sure, it gives a pretty good idea of the fact that I like to think about languages but it doesn't tell you anything about why or what else I like to do.
This is all a very long winded way of saying that I am very much looking forward to graduation this spring. I'm almost chomping at the bit to see what the world outside school is even like. May I point out that I have been in school for sixteen years? Sixteen years. I have no idea what the real world is like but I know I'm getting bored of this one.
I started hitting this wall probably halfway through sophomore year, this wall of "Wait, shouldn't there be something else that I'm doing?" and I'm just about to start senior year now. I'm an intelligent, attractive twenty-something with dreams of traveling the world, and finding the perfect street side cafes in which to write my novels and ordering chai tea after chai tea. I want to learn how to weld or woodwork or both. I wonder what boxing is like. Could I run a marathon? Could I walk the Pacific Crest Trail? This seems like a prime time to be exploring everything I want to explore and, yet, I'm going to be sitting behind various school desks until June...

T-minus ten months to being a real adult.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Day Alone with Granita and a Good Book

Day 1.

Day 2.

Day 1.

Day 2.

Day 1.

Day 2.

Day Off.

And repeat.

This has been my schedule since August 3. To quote a few of my coworkers, "I have no concept of what day it is anymore, I just know whether it's a day 1 or day 2." For two weeks now, I've been on staff to help incoming freshman understand the ins and outs of Western's academics as well as assist them in planning their schedule for the first quarter. Thus far, it's been equal parts rewarding and exhausting--especially since we only get one day off a week.
The Sunday night before work started, I was a bridesmaid my childhood best friend's wedding in Salem. Many thanks and thousands of boxes of Good and Plentys are owed to my father for making sure I was back home in time to get to work that first Monday morning. This past Sunday was one of my roommate's birthdays, so of course we had to celebrate.
Yesterday, however, was probably my favorite August Sunday so far.
This past spring, I found a book called "I Hunt Killers" by Barry Lyga at my local library. I devoured the thing. It was the kind of book where, when I went back to the library to pick up reading material for a trip in June, I picked up the sequel, "Game", without a second thought. Similarly to the first book, I ate up the second within 48 hours of starting it--maybe less. My brother, who was on the trip with me, was so entertained/distracted/intrigued by my outbursts at the book that the series ended up being most of the dinner conversation one night.
It's dangerous to get me started on the books I'm reading. 
Mid-July, I made another trip back to the library and found the final book of the series, "Blood of My Blood" as well as five other books. I told myself that I was going to save the Barry Lyga novel until last and until I had a day to just sit down and read, but then that day didn't come for six weeks. Being an adult and actually taking care of my responsibilities takes a lot of time away from my reading.
Lemon Granita = Success
But, with the impending due date drawing nearer, I decided to make my day off--this past Sunday--a date with this book.
Of course, I'd also been feeling homesick earlier in the week so it turned out to be a date with "Blood of my Blood" and a granita recipe I received from my mother this past Christmas.
The lemony-goodness was so tasty, I could almost believe I was sitting at Old Time Bar, crashing the Saturday morning teacher breakfast. Almost.
I tend to forget how much I enjoy days set aside to do exactly what I want--whether it be read, experiment in the kitchen, or play with my craft supplies--as opposed to the things I should do. Having a Sunday to just wake up lazily then roll over and dive right into a book was amazing. It both reminds me of weekends past and has me looking forward to weekends once I don't have homework to be concerned about doing.
I'm really big on reflection. I think it's important to know how something affected you in the past so you can know whether it's worth investing in or risking in the future. In addition to the multitude of other things I've learned so far this summer, I know that taking a day to just read and stir my slowly freezing granita is as close to a perfect Sunday as yesterday could have been for me. Now if I can just find more time in the near future to relax and do rejuvenating things, I'll be quite happy.
For now, though, I have to pack.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

My Last Day of Being 20

A year ago today, I was busy moving into my current apartment.
Two years ago today, I was chilling at my brother's place in Seattle.
Three years ago today, I don't actually remember where I was.
Honestly, that's kind of weird to be thinking about--where I was a year ago and how far I've come since then. Originally, I was planning on making this a long, semi-philosophical post about this year. But the real point of all of this can be summed up pretty succinctly:

I am proud of all that I've done this year and I am beyond excited to see what I'll accomplish in the coming year.

That said, cheers to being twenty and T-minus 2 hours and 20 minutes to being 21 :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Structured Summer?

Breaking News: I have been looking forward to this summer for months. 

Okay, maybe not the most breaking of news, but hey, still true. This summer has so many things in store. To name a few, this Thursday I'm going to see my favorite comedian; my birthday is next Friday; 4th of July plans is going to be explosive (if you'll pardon the pun); and I am going to be a bridesmaid in my oldest friend's wedding.
Mind you, those are just some of the big events.
And they're actually not the point. 
The real thought that provoked this post is "Wait a second, this will be the first summer ever where I have a place I have to be every day." Never in my life have I experienced this phenomenon. Usually, as soon as school's out, there's a mad dash to see all of my friends one more time and then we all go our separate ways for the summer. A military upbringing and a college lifestyle do not make for a lot of continuity or community in the summertime. Sure, when I was a wee tot, I spent my summers chilling around my family's house. We'd go camping, work on house projects, do pretty much whatever. But there was no structure to it really. Then we moved to Italy and spent our summers traveling. Well, we spent any expendable time we had traveling but, again, no structure in the summertime. Since coming to college, this is the the first summer where it didn't completely make sense for me to go spend the summer with my parents. I already have an apartment here and my parents are going to have a pretty transient summer. That is to say that I don't summer feel like living out of a suitcase enough to join my parents on their five week trip around the northwest corner of the US.
Basically, up until this year, summer has been this weird blob of time where I don't really actually completely have to do anything. 
That is not to say I didn't get things done but nothing was ever required.  
This summer, however, that will not be the case.
For the next six weeks, I will be in class for four hours a day, Monday through Friday. After those six weeks are up, I'm working the summer orientation programs hosted by my university. Besides a few random days off and weekends, my summer just morphed into being like every other part of my year.

My summer has a schedule.

Seriously, I have to be up in time for class at 9 and rested enough to be able to sit through 4 hours of class. Once work starts, my schedule will shift but it'll still exist. 
I have a summer schedule. 
And I'm kind of excited about it. It means that I will actually be doing things this summer. Besides doing classes and eventually working, I want to be better about working on all of my writing projects (which likely means I'll be posting here a lot more) and getting back into running. I have goals and places to be this summer. 
Well, that's one more step on the road to adulthood. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lessons from a 19 Credit Quarter

Holy cow. It's done. I am officially finished with my first (and hopefully only) 19 credit quarter. On top of that, I managed to swing straight As in all four of my classes. If I ever had any doubt that I'm good at school, this past quarter cleared it right up.
Honestly, I've been trying to sit down and write this post for a week and a half. Even now, I'm thinking about which Netflix flick will claim the next part of my evening. But, after a week and a half of decompression time, it's time to blog.
To kick this off, let me just say that this quarter was crazy. I call it my 19 credit quarter because that's how many credits I was taking officially but, for about half the quarter, I was also taking 2 credits of volunteer training. 19 + 2 = 21. 21 credits...until I was cracking under the pressure and, unfortunately, had to remove my 2 volunteering credits from my schedule. Did you know that someone in the professional college world suggests that students should spend 2 hours doing homework/studying for every 1 hour they spend in the class? 21*2 = 42. While 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything, I was dumbfounded after I did that math. 40 hours a week of homework? Every single week? On top of spending time in class? I get that I'm a student and that school is important. But I am also a human. Humans need time to do other things--like eat and sleep. And, okay, I'll be honest. I wasn't spending 40 hours a week on homework. Nor (after mid-quarter) was I spending 21 hours a week in class. And, let me tell you, things felt much more sane after that.
Contributing to how crazy this quarter felt were all of the surprises that popped up. Whenever I told anyone that I was taking 19 credits, they offered sympathy and/or empathy. For perspective, 15 is the average course load. So 19 credits is a lot, both to those who haven't done it and to those that have. After this quarter, though, 19 credits doesn't feel like such a big deal. Surprise. Now, see above. I'm good at school. I have been since kindergarten. Back then, it was because I loved it. Now, however, I think it's more force of habit. School is what I know, so it's very easy to be good at it. That said, I am surprised that I managed to pull all As. Two 300 level classes, a 400 hundred level and a Spanish language class--not actually an easy combination. It feels like (and maybe sounds like) I'm bragging but I am seriously shocked at this quarter's grades. It makes me wonder what would happen if I enjoyed a higher percentage of the work and applied myself more. Not gonna lie, I did most of my reading for these classes with this or that TV show playing in the background. Except Spanish. Focusing on Spanish anything was too hard with an English audio soundtrack in the background.
But not all surprises were academic. Eventually (perhaps inevitably), most of these surprises became situations that had to be dealt with. For this or that reason, I'm sure that the others involved wouldn't super appreciate the details of those social situations appearing here but I will say that I learned a lot about my friends--both old-ish, brand new and every where in between. I learned a lot about who values me, how they value me, and who is just completely full of it. Pro-tip for anyone who is earnestly interested in being my friend: don't tell me you want to hang out and never pull through on it. It gets really boring to hear. 
On the flip side, however, I would like to say a thing or two to my baby dragon and my live-in cat:
I am dearly pleased to have met and become friends with both of you. It was a much livelier quarter with you two in it and I am grateful for all the cuddles in addition to the experiences. I hope that you are both enjoying your respective summers but, also, hurry back. I miss you.

I guess the concise way of expressing the feeling that this quarter has left me with is, when I look back on this quarter, I can see how much it inspired me to (and sometimes demanded that I) change. Scratch that, not change, but come more into my own. You know that joke "Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she'll conquer the world"? Well, I think I found the shoes. I'm just waiting to put them on. 
Why wait? Because, for the moment, my path is planned: finish college. After that, we'll see what happens :)
I'll tell you a secret, though...I bet I'll try them on a lot more often now. 
Look out, world. I am Robyn. Here me roar.