Category Archives: Memories

Final Memoir Piece

Today was our last day of the memoir writing seminar. Despite not really spending enough of our time in the class itself, I’m sad to leave it. I’ve been having such a good time getting to know everyone, and I am definitely enjoying the brief hiatus from reality.

Too bad I have to return from the magical land of writing tomorrow. So tragic.

The last thing we did for the seminar was read our personal memoir piece (that we’d been working on during the course of the seminar) to the rest of the group.

My piece — included below — is one of my earliest memories, when I was about two years old.

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Filed under Memories, Writing

Graduating with Distinction (and Some Street Smarts)

It was with no small measure of pride that I watched Brittany, one of my amazing roommates and a very good friend for the last three and a half years, walk across the stage this morning and receive her college diploma. She is officially a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and it is incredible to me that she has already reached this point in her life. Where did the time go?

I can still remember so much about freshman year — sitting in the hallway on edge as we waited for our sorority t-shirts (telling us which sorority we’d be a part of), suffering from unrequited crushes on upperclassmen, Tuesday lunch dates at Couch Express (best bread bowl soup ever), getting all gussied up for girls night dinners in Bricktown, painfully awkward sorority date parties, our trips to the gym at 11 p.m. (we were crazy), freaking out because we had to write a five page paper, the point system we developed to attempt escape from the Freshman Fifteen (10 pts for going to the gym, etc… you needed to earn 20 before you got to get dessert at the caf).

We came into university life all doe-eyed and ambitious, and while I think we leave with a little less naivety and unsupportable idealism, we definitely leave with the same healthy dose of ambition — grounded in reality and the successes we’ve all seen over the last four years.

I am so proud of my roommates. Not just Brittany, but all four of them. And when it’s time for the rest of us to walk across that stage, I think we’ll be ready. Like the commencement speaker at Brittany’s ceremony said today, we’ve been trained well. OU and our lives here have perfectly prepared us for that moment when we shake hands, take pictures, and hold that little square of paper that tells us we are officially ready for the real world. Gives me chills just thinking about it.

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Filed under Future Plans, Memories, Nostalgia, Senior Year

Dinner Reminiscing

A great way to not do homework and study for upcoming tests is to think about where I’ll be in a week. I will be in Arizona. I am so excited about getting to have an entire week with my mom, my sister, and my brother. I haven’t seen them since August, and we always have so much fun just spending time together and catching up.

I was thinking about this today– One of my favorite parts about being with family members is that dinner is always delightfully full of Remember-When’s. Almost every dinner hour is filled with stories and laughter (My poor brother-in-law… he usually is out of the loop on everything) and recounting all the funny things that happened to us as children.

For example, when we were very young and growing up, my mother was quite the health nut. Typical meals consisted of rice, veggies and maybe a little tofu sprinkled in, and there was almost zero sugar to be found around the house. My earliest memories of drinking pop are when the grandparents would come up to Montana to visit and, probably taking pity on us poor children, would bring bottles of Cherry Coke and chocolate milk with them.

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Filed under Humor, Memories

Chess Club and Upending the King

Every Wednesday, there is a group of guys who play chess in the library coffee shop (I’m pretty sure they’re an official student organization), and I always see them playing when I stop by to kill time and get my caffeine fix between classes. I literally can’t see a chess set without feeling the urge to play, and I kept telling myself that one of these days, when I didn’t have anything pressing to do, I’d stop and ask them if I could play a game of chess.

Yesterday was that day.

I’d just gotten my coffee, and I looked at the clock on the wall. I had about forty minutes to spare before my last class of the day. Why not finally play that game of chess?

One kid sitting there doesn’t have an opponent, so I walk up and ask if I can play. He sizes me up. I can almost hear him laughing inside. The chick thinks she can play chess, huh?
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Filed under Humor, Memories, Nostalgia, Senior Year

My Thankful List

Disclaimer: This post is uncharacteristically sappy. Reading not recommended after a hearty meal of turkey leftovers. The sentimental/tryptophan combo could be lethal.

The other day, I was cleaning up a pile of papers, and I found one of the many running lists I’d made while on shift at work last year. It was a list counting my blessings (perfect timing, with Thanksgiving right around the corner). For those of you who weren’t around for that part of my life, I used to be a cocktail waitress at a bar. It was the worst (though best paying) job I’ve ever had.

When people ask me why I quit, my standard response is that the job sucked my soul. I kinda think it’s funny to say it that way, but I guess it’s too dramatic for most people because I usually just get a blank stare from them. Anyway, while that reason is obviously an exaggeration, it wasn’t too far off at times.

The job constantly dragged me down. I was working in an environment where, in order to make money, I had to pander to/smile at/flirt with people who looked at me like I was less than them (just because I was a waitress). I wasn’t used to people treating me that way, and sometimes it was downright humiliating. To this day, I’m amazed I stuck it out for so long. If it hadn’t been for my strengthening friendship with good ol’ Lincoln, Jackson, and Franklin, I’d have quit the day after football season ended.

One day when the job was particularly bad, I flipped over one of the waitressing notepads in my apron and on the back I started a running list of all the things in my life that I was grateful for. The list started small, but by the end of the night, I had over a hundred tiny bulleted points. What started as a ‘Hail Mary’ ended up being critical to maintaing my sanity that night. Just taking the time to acknowledge my blessings did wonders to my “poor me” attitude and grumpy spirit. Because truly, I have a lot to be thankful for.

The landscape of my life has changed considerably since the time when I wrote that note a year ago. Aside from still being a college student and having the same core group of wonderful friends, so much of what is around me has shifted. I have a niece. My family looks different. I am hunting for post-college opportunities and preparing for living in the real world. I have been single for the longest stretch I can remember since I started dating way back in high school, and I’m loving it. I don’t have to work at a bar anymore, and instead I get to reclaim my Friday nights for friends and my Saturday mornings for painting. I’m looking at pursuing other careers besides film (though loving films will always ben ingrained in me — and if someone asked me to produce their film, I wouldn’t say no).

So that is the first thing on my Thankful List this year. I am thankful that my life is in a good place right now.

In no particular order, I am grateful for:

1. My neice Isabella and the fact that, while I may be light years away from being ready to have my own kids, someone else is not. And that particular someone (my gorgeous sister) was kind enough to grace the world with something as precious as that little bubble of light.

2. The opportunity to live in a nice house (within walking distance to campus) with my closest friends — whom I have gotten to know so much better and have appreciated so much more over the course of this semester.

3. The chance to stretch myself by working on a business team that’s creating a software company. While this isn’t a project that I would normally have pursued otherwise, I’ve really enjoyed learning what it means to belong to a start-up company. Also, I have a fun team, which one should always have if one can help it.

4. The existence of Saturday mornings, which I can fill with painting and not feel guitly about it. And I’m grateful that my roommates actually let me put my paintings up on the wall. That’s cool too.

5. Having a clear enough schedule this November to try my hand at writing a novel (and having people who support my creative whims — where would I be without you?).

6. The growing readership on my blog and the fact that I’m not just writing for my immediate family anymore (though I’ll always love you).

7. And last but not least, I’m grateful for the opportunity to write and share my Thankful List (which is considerably more fun than a New Years Resolutions list — much more positive and far less critical).

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

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Filed under Memories, Musings, Nostalgia, Senior Year

Fireworks in November!!!

Photo stolen from my friend Megan’s FB page.

Still not sure why that just happened… but that was officially THE COOLEST thing ever. Random fireworks in November? Yes please. 
    Best Firework Show I’ve Ever Seen
    Brisk, Beautiful Evening
+ The Company of a Good Friend 
An Awesome Saturday
Update: Apparently we just watched the firework show that was supposed to have gone off on the 4th of July. But since it rained on the 4th this year, they postponed the show. Until tonight. 
I love surprises!

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Filed under Loving Right Now, Memories, Senior Year

Fried Food, Football and Friends (cont’d)

Finding a good place to watch the OU/TX football game turned out to be a bit of an adventure. Our first inclination was to head to the end of the West End, to the House of Blues. Tess had heard something about it, so I figured that was recommendation enough to at least check it out.

Our wanderings took us by these awesome glasses… I want a pair!
When we got to the House of Blues, we got in some random line outside one of the front doors, which took us up to the top floor. We didn’t know where we were headed, so I kinda feel lucky that we ended up in a restaurant and not some creepy haunted floor or raunchy strip club.

The restaurant ended up being this exotic Indian food place, complete with cloth-covered walls, plush pillows around knee-high tables, and dim lighting. It was beautiful, and would be an absolute blast to go on a date or take a group of friends there. But it wasn’t exactly the football atmosphere we were looking for. After taking some pictures to document the moment, we snuck back down the elevator.

Before we left the House of Blues entirely, however, we wandered around the building’s many levels and rooms. It kinda reminded me of Dante descending through the various levels of Hell or whatnot (except that it wasn’t anything remotely like Hell). But it was fun to explore, because each room we walked through was distinctly different from the last in decorations and atmosphere… Thinks going from plush Indian carpeting to heavy-metal scream-o band. 
Finally we ended up at Hooters (classy, I know), where it was already packed. Definitely a football game atmosphere. The hostess said the wait would be anywhere between 30 minutes and four hours– depending if anyone left during the game. That was unlikely. 
We were about to give up and try somewhere else when we noticed a gap at the bar. There weren’t any seats there, but there was definitely space. So we convinced some guys to let us squeeze in next to them, pulling up tall stools from nearby tables. Randomly, Tess ended up knowing one of the guys, so we weren’t even sitting next to complete strangers either.

The game was a blast. We won, 28-20. And our seats at the bar were prime real estate — we had a perfect view of numerous TVs and all it took was flagging down the bartender to get something to eat/drink. No wait time. So naturally I took advantage of that, eating a giant burger before kick-off, followed by fried pickles during half-time. And I probably drank at least ten tall glasses of Pepsi. At least. I mean, those games last foreeeeeever.

It was pretty late by the time the game ended, and Tess and I headed back to the hotel (where the car was still parked) to wait for Brittany and Valerie. I fell asleep while we were waiting.

Once they joined us, we piled into the car and drove to Fort Worth (about 45 minutes away). We ate at this really fun mexican restaurant called Joe T. Garcia’s, which is super famous (locally) and takes up almost an entire square block. It is surrounded by a high wall, and inside it is full of fountains, overgrown plants, tall trees, and giant terracotta pots. It’s so big (and beautiful) that you could have your wedding reception on one end of the plaza, and the place could still be open for business on the other.

After dinner, we went to Billy Bob’s for some good ol’ two-stepping. I’d never done it before, but it was so so so so much fun. I LOVE DANCING!

The place itself was pretty neat. It’s all one open room (no walls), and on one end of the building was a large stage where Clint Black was playing (woot for live music!), and on the other end was an area with casino and arcade-type games. In the center of it all was a dance floor. Perfect for two-stepping.

Apparently there is place similar to Billy Bob’s in Oklahoma City that my roommate Madison has been trying to get everyone to go to for a while now. I was always pretty lukewarm about the idea, but now…. now that I know what it means to two-step (oh the spinning!), I’d be happy to spend every Friday night there. And so, with only one year left of school, I just might buckle and buy myself some cowboy boots— A girl’s gotta dance.

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Filed under Memories, Senior Year