Category Archives: Senior Year

Preparing for the Apocalypse

Valerie and I ran to Target for a brief second tonight to exchange the garlic chicken she’d accidentally bought with the much more practical plain chicken that she’d intended to buy.

On the way to the frozen food section, I passed this…

Empty sandwich meat shelves.

And this…

People need them some cheese.

And this…

Only a few egg cartons left!

And this…

All the milk on one side of the fridge had been cleared out.

People are freakin’ out.
And naturally, the human being’s first reaction when faced with such dire uncertainty is to stock up on food.

Man gotta eat.

Of course, if we lose electricity, all that food will probably spoil. Unless we put it outside. Where it will freeze.

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The Epic Snow Storm of 2011

Everyone is preparing for the impending snow storm like it’s the apocalypse. It’s quite exciting. The weather man is predicting 8-12 inches of snow, which is a healthy dose of precipitation even by Montana standards.

But because Norman probably owns only one snow plow, we anticipate being stuck in our little cottage for a few days. We are stocking up on groceries and other necessities, planning meals for the next few days, and everyone is making sure that they have a working ice scraper.

Hey! Maybe that ridiculously high steeped roof of ours (which is only practical in a land full of snow) will finally come in handy.

There has already been a Facebook event created for a North vs South Greek Snow Fight for 2 p.m. tomorrow. If there is, in fact, a foot of snow, that’ll be epic. I participated in the first one last year, and running around in the snow was the best escape from cabin fever ever. Here’s to hoping the snow fight happens again this year.

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Mama V

I guess I’m turning into the mother of my little memoir class. Jordan called me Mama V today. I can’t help it. It’s my Italian coming out in me.

Well, I actually don’t think I have any Italian at all. But I’ve always loved hosting, and I’m a food pusher. These are all a stereotypical part of being an Italian, to which I very much relate.

Tonight everyone is coming over to my house and I am making them Creamy Tomato Artichoke Pasta (recipe courtesy of Pioneer Woman). I have literally made this recipe for everyone I know; it’s my want-to-impress-people meal.

And we are going to have a fire in the fire pit and enjoy the gorgeous 75 degree weather we’ve been having (for the second day in a row!).

I will also try to take some pictures of the evening to share here. I need to start practicing.

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Short Days are Frustrating

My Writing Memoirs class is a bit of a joke. Not the class itself (I love it!) but the fact that it only lasts for two and a half hours every day.

At first I thought, well maybe that’s just for the first couple days while the visiting professor catches up on her rest and relaxation. Maybe it’s a stressful time for her. Maybe she has big things to do in the evening, and so meeting with us for two and a half hours (and then individual sessions with a few each day for three hours) is just about all she can handle.

But then she let us out early today and didn’t tell us that class would resume in the evening. So once again, we’re done for the day way before any of us really want to be done.

But regardless, I’m loving the morning writing sessions. It just leaves me wanting more, because it’s such a blast. The professor will talk for a bit, but mostly she’ll give us a prompt, we’ll write for 10-15 minutes, split up into small groups and share our stories, and then go back to writing another prompt.

And the exercises are really fun. We’ve written about vivid memories and the parts of them that we don’t remember. We’ve compared people we know really well to an animal that matches their characteristics and mannerisms. We’ve created new characters with interesting ambitions. We’ve described a person close to us as if we were describing them to a person who was blind (so no physical characteristics).

All of the exercises have caused me to look at memories and familiar situations and people in an entirely new way. Because when I remember things, I naturally remember them from my specific point of view. But when I start look at a memory through the lens of what I don’t remember, I instantly notice that I don’t remember things about what other people are doing, thinking, and feeling at that time. And by trying to remember the actions and reactions of other people in my memories, it automatically adds dimension to the other characters in my story. It forces me to try to understand people (that I usually take for granted) in an entirely new way. It’s really fascinating. Try it sometime, even if you don’t write it down.

Also, thanks to this class, I am constantly remembering and processing childhood memories long after the class lets out for lunch (and for the day). I need to start writing down all these memories as they come to me so I don’t lose them again.

I just wish the class lasted all day. Or at least until five or six. I completely cleared my schedule for this weekend, and it’s beginning to turn into just one big vacation — that I can’t enjoy fully because I know, in the back of my mind, that I should be using this time to be productive.

If this week was all being spent writing, that would be completely productive enough for me. But it’s not. So I feel like I’m wasting time. That being said, I did take a deliciously long nap outside on a bench in the 75 degree weather today. That was a wonderful waste of time that I wouldn’t mind repeating every single day of my life.

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Slam Poetry in OKC

Last night after the first day of memoir writing was over, all the students in the seminar went out for dinner at Coaches, a pub-ish on Main Street. We have each $100 in Sooner Sense (1 pt = $1) to spend for the duration of the seminar (more than we really need, but no complaints), and Coaches is one of the businesses in town that honors those points. Excellent. $5.99 burgers all around, courtesy of OU.

After dinner, a few went to Orange Leaf to spend a few more of those points/dollars on soft serve ice cream. I rode back to the hotel with a few others. About halfway back, Jordan (the driver) mentioned that he was heading into OKC for a poetry slam after he dropped us off.

I almost got whiplash, my head swiveled so quickly.

Before stopping to think of the proper way of handling the situation, I asked if I could come. Practically invited myself.

I guess I’m that girl. But I didn’t care.

I have always wanted to attend a poetry slam. Since my manager this summer performed one of her pieces for our team, I’ve been fascinated with the art, intrigued by its honesty and force of self-expression. I’ve wanted to try it myself, but I don’t have the creative guts to do it. My inner critic tells me that I’d be terrible at it, so I believe it and still haven’t ever tried (though the idea comes back occasionally — to remind me that I’m a pansy, I guess).

In general I don’t care for most high brow poetry, so I don’t really seek out poetry to read on a regular basis. And when I write it, it turns in short iambic pentameter lines that all rhyme at the end. I sound like a fourth grader.

But slam poetry is incredible. I want to learn to write that. It’s honest, raw, and conveys intense emotion.

The poetry slam in OKC (really more of a reading, less of a contest) had the best atmosphere. People shouted out encouragements (“Say it, girl!”, lots of snapping, etc) after phrases that had extra zest and spring, and the general attitude was incredibly supportive. It was just a bunch of people from very diverse backgrounds appreciating and enjoying each other’s creative expressions. It was unbelievable.

It makes me want to go back every Wednesday night to be a part of that.

I’d like to try reciting/performing at least once. Maybe I’ll record myself and share it here (if I do).

To give you an idea of slam poetry (and because I think this is one of the AWESOMEST pieces of poetry I’ve ever heard), watch this. It gives me chills.

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Filed under Musings, Senior Year, Writing

It’s Official

Today I officially accepted my position as a secondary school social studies teacher in Alabama!

I’m not sure what the next two years will bring, but I couldn’t be more excited to find out. I love the idea of living in Alabama, getting a true southern twang, teaching history to high schoolers, and making a difference in someone’s life.

If I change the trajectory of even a single person’s life over the course of the next two years, I will consider my time as a teacher a huge success.

I don’t feel like I am joining Teach For America under any illusions of grandeur. I know my classroom wont be as sterile as in Freedom Writers or Precious. I don’t anticipate any moving speeches or standing ovations (though I do anticipate lots of tears — hopefully at least some being of the proud variety). And I know that I will be heading into the hardest two years I have yet to experience (though at the moment I have a difficult time imagining things more stressful/challenging than they are right now).

I am actually rather proud of myself for walking into this with my eyes open. No romanticizing things — expect maybe living in the bayou. I’m definitely shamelessly guilt of romanticizing that one. I already envision long solitary walks with my trusty camera, taking gazillions of pictures and filling my head with tons of stories set in the Deep South. I literally can’t wait to live there.

But I am thankfully empty of rosy-hued imaginings of teaching. Probably because there aren’t enough details to wrap my imagination around. I don’t know the specific grade level (could be anything from 7th to 12th), nor do I know the specific topics (could be anything from the beginning of time to the present day).

And I think lacking in grand visions of a clean-cut, perfectly attentive, adoring classroom will probably do me the most good. Let’s just hope I can keep it that way.

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Filed under Future Plans, Senior Year, Teach For America

My Life Has Been Irrevocably Altered

After about eight months of desperate longing and saving and more longing, I decided that it was officially time to purchase myself a nice camera. A real camera. A camera that takes pictures in incredible quality and has an adjustable focus and adjustable shutter speed (basically, adjustable everything).

So on Saturday, Val and I drove to Best Buy and walked to the camera section of the store. A salesman approached.

“Can I help you?”

“Yes. I want to buy that camera. Please.”

I think he was a bit taken back by my abruptness. Easiest sale he’s ever made.

But hey, when a woman knows what she wants, she knows what she wants.

Of course, then I had to send another sales guy to the back to find my sales guy because I’d accidently pointed at the wrong camera.

The salesman came back with my camera in a beautiful box.

“Do you need anything else? I would actually recommend getting a lens flare—”

“Yes, I’d like that too. Please.”

I was so excited that I was having a hard time being polite. I just wanted to hold my camera. Because it was already mine, naturally.

The human bond with her camera cannot be explained. It’s like magic. Only cooler.

The sales guy continued to hold my box while we walked up to the customer service register. I was a bit irritated that he wasn’t letting me carry it. It’s mine!

But of course, he was also helping me out. The in-store price tag read $849.99, and I was pretty darn sure that the online store price (and the price I was quoted when I called in that morning) was $798.99. And not a penny more. The sales guy was going to relay this information on to the customer service lady so that she’d give me the discount.

Which was nice of them. Except that I’m fairly positive that if I hadn’t said anything, they would have taken me for the $50. Uncool.

But they couldn’t because I didn’t let them — though they made that money back and more when I purchased a warranty package.

All in all, my price tag for the visit was just baaaaaarely under four digits. I’ve never dropped that much money on a single purchase in my entire life. My car in high school didn’t even cost that much.

The swipe of plastic that followed felt very satisfying.

And now, I am the proud owner of a beeeeeeaaaautiful, brand new Canon Rebel T2i.

Woohoo!!!

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