Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I passed my Praxis test.

Hallelujah. I can teach now.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Road Trip

So my awesome younger brother and I just drove across almost half the United States on Saturday and Sunday. It was a long two days.

On Day One, we drove through the entire state of New Mexico. First impressions were that it was very dry, rather level and uninteresting in most places, with small shrubs and large rocky mountains off in the distance (which, no matter how far we drove, we never reached).

I think it's safe to say that the interstates in the U.S. always take the most boring route possible. If it's interesting, it's probably still on Route 66.

After a twelve-hour drive the first day, and losing two hours from Daylights Savings Time, we arrived at our hotel in Amarillo, TX at 2:10 a.m. -- fourteen hours after leaving Tucson (we got a way later start than we would have liked).

I've never slept so well in my life. I was out.

The next morning, at our continental breakfast ...

You Texans. You would.

Then it was on to Oklahoma!

Those of you who have drive through any part of the Oklahoma/Texas panhandle know that I am not exaggerating in the slightest bit when I say that there is nothing flatter than the panhandle.

Soooooooooo flaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

There's nothing out there but fields (flat fields with nothing growing very high yet), the occasional farmhouse, and some trees which that farmer planted to protect his house from the sweeping wind (which would randomly buffet my car a foot to the left now and then as I drove through).

The second leg of the trip was uneventful and didn't take very long (only four hours or so). And once in Oklahoma City, we had a few hours to spare before I had to drop Stan off at the airport, so we got lunch and caught the tail end of a baseball game in Bricktown -- which just happened to be the Big 12 Championship game. The perfect ending to the sibling-bonding road trip.

And then naturally, to wrap up an otherwise perfect trip, we got completely lost on the way to the airport and thought for a moment that we'd miss Stan's flight. But we didn't, and all is well.

So ends the first half of my cross-country trip to my new home. Stay tuned for tales of my shenanigans in Oklahoma and the road trip to Alabama.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bought a Car


1. Press play on the YouTube video (no need to watch).
2. Then, scroll down. 

".......Aaaaaat last....

My love has come along.....

My lonely days.... are over.

... and life is like a song."

Ah, sigh. 

Life is good.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

While on the phone getting an auto insurance quote...

"Let me get this straight. You graduated from Oklahoma and are currently living in Arizona, but you're moving to Alabama next week. So why do you have a Montana area code?"


Story of my life.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dear Dr. Seuss,

Why are your graduation quotes so cheesy and yet so perfect?

I mean, there's only so much "reach for the moon and land among the stars" hubaloo that a girl can handle before the gag reflex kicks in. And yet, for some reason, you've escaped that fate. Because while a couple of your sayings have become a bit trite now ("Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."), the rest are still pretty good.

(Though, between you and me, I see through your act. Pretty sure you wrote Oh, the Places You'll Go! solely with perpetual royalties from Hallmark in mind.)

My current favorites include:

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..."

"Things may happen and often do
to people as brainy and footsy as you."


"You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know.
You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left."

Some pretty fun stuff, Mr. Seuss. Thanks for the entertainment.

A Devoted Quote Lover

P.S. I never thought about this before, but you're a doctor, right? Or have your doctorate? So you've been through many a graduation, it would seem. Speaking from experience?

Friday, May 20, 2011

College Graduation is Like a Breakup

You know those people who, when you ask them "How are you?!", they respond with a morose "Oohhhhh, you knoooowww...," instantly pulling down your happy vibes and going against social norms with a depressing answer instead of the peppy "Great. You?"

I'm becoming one of those people.

I majorly dislike those kinds of people.


But seriously. People ask me how I'm doing and if I'm excited about having graduated. And all I can say (on a good day) is that I have mixed feelings.

Because to me, graduation from college is a lot like a breakup. Of the most monumental kind.

This occurred to me the other day, and with the help of my (former... *sniff) roommate Val, we flushed this analogy out via text.

Check it.

Me: I found the perfect analogy for graduating. Graduation is like a breakup. There is a lost of nostalgia for what is gone. We can never go back to that. Not really. And while we will get over it eventually and thoughts of a better future will get us there, it sucks right now and nothing people say about it being better this way will make me happy.

Val: Yes, because it wasn't my choice to break up. And right now, I refuse to believe or think about what good the future might bring. I'm in my mourning phase. It's an essential part of a break up and there's no getting around it here either.

Me: Haha exactly! But no one gets that. In fact, they all expect me to be excited. And I definitely don't want to hear that I am better off now.

Val: Ugh  I hate that! Why would I be excited? It's almost insulting, but I don't know why. Like didn't you know I was having the time of my life these four years?

Me: Right? Why on earth would I be happy?

Val: I have no idea. Instead of "congratulations" I half expect people to say "I'm so sorry for your loss."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Post-Graduate Adventures

If I've graduated from college, can I call the rest of my life post-graduate? Or does that term only apply to people getting their masters degrees or something?

Anyway, I've begun the rest of my life. Kinda. 

Not really.

Graduation weekend was full of family, graduation parties, and moving the massive amount of things out of my house (Four years ago, I started with five suitcases. Now my things barely cram into a Chevy Trailblazer).

It was a super busy, pretty fun weekend overall.

I carried the banner for my department, leading my teeny tiny graduating class of thirteen.

I got my diploma. In the picture below, I'm about to hug my favorite professor, Dr. Boyd (there's a bit of a shrug/"I made it!" going on there).

We also took SO many family pictures. So so many.

And I had a couple graduation parties, including a really nice big one with all my relatives in Tulsa. Check out the coolest cake I've possibly ever gotten.

But really, to give you the most accurate image of what my weekend looked like, it would be this...

... a lot of parties and group gatherings, everyone looking nice for special occasions, a whole bunch of family picture taking, and an adorable baby running around distracting everyone with her cuteness.

That was my weekend in a nutshell. My graduation sometimes felt like almost an afterthought in all the commotion. Which was fine with me. Left me to mourn its passing in peace.

And now I'm in Arizona for a couple weeks. The plan is to sleep for as much of the break as possible, to make up for the recent sleep deprivation of graduation week and get ready for the upcoming summer of teacher training with Teach For America.

Love in Having a Degree,

Monday, May 16, 2011

. . .

“…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903
in Letters to a Young Poet

Friday, May 13, 2011

Graduation Time!

With the roommates, waiting to go into the stadium for Commencement.

President David Boren with our keynote speaker, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

The stage at Commencement

Evangelina, Isabella, me and Stan after Commencement

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

. . .

"If success if not on your own terms -- if it looks good
to the world but does not feel good in your own
heart -- it is no success at all."

-- Anna Quindlen

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Making Picture Frames

My art teacher is awesome. Bomb dot com.

About a month ago, when we started the printmaking "unit" in my art class, I made this really cool print series as a birthday gift for my dad. But the problem was that the gift is made up of a bunch of small pieces, and I didn't want my dad to have to hang them all individually -- and risk him either not wanting to put them up because it was too much trouble or having super slanty pictures on his wall (I can just hear my dad saying "Oh yea of little faith" as I type this).

The solution? Make a picture frame structure to hold it all together. Daddy-proof! But also totally outside my area of expertise.

Art teacher to the rescue!

Over the course of two days (and a gazillion hours and counting), my teacher and I sawed, glued, air-gunned, and glued some more. And filled in all the holes with grainy "imitation wood" stuff.

Learning how to make picture frames from scrap wood = SO MUCH FUN!!!

I enjoyed wielding me some power tools. A refreshing change from my pretty subdued life.

Clamps held each side of the frame together, allowing me to align the edges perfectly
and then glue and nail gun them together.

Now the only things left for me to do are to spray paint all the frames black and make little wooden pegs to fit between the frames so they go together like puzzle pieces.

I can't wait to see the finished product. I've never made anything so substantial before, and now I really wish that I'd taken an art class before this semester. I'm addicted to the wood shop, and I'd be making all my frames for the rest of my life if I could.

Oh, that's me using a whatchoom'callit. To prove that I can actually be a handy person.

Also, please admire the snazzy new eyewear. All the cool kids have them.

Monday, May 9, 2011

If you never watch another TEDTalk video again...

Watch this one.

"Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions -- and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite."

Friday, May 6, 2011

The One in Which I Prepare to Leave College

I was flipping through a travel magazine yesterday morning while on the elliptical, and I saw this quote:

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.  ~Rabindranath Tagore

I almost cried.

I also was listening to Garth Brooks at the time, and the song "Unanswered Prayers" came on. And I almost cried.

A prompt song change followed.

Besides not being able to breathe (cuz I'm rather out of shape), the only reason I didn't cry in both instances was because I was in public. And once I start crying, I turn into an all-out heaving, sobbing snot-fest. I decided to save the other poor patrons of the treadmill from my blubbering. Besides, snot doesn't mix well with sweat.

So I saved it until I got home.

Then I replayed "Unanswered Prayers" and had a good long cry.

My third in two days.

I'm going crazy.

Or rather, I'm getting ready to graduate. And I'm trying to process that fact. Because it is a fact now. A looming, impending doom fact that will soon take me away from all I have loved so dearly in the last four years.

Oh, I know I'll be able to rebuild a home and community again. I will meet good people again. I'll grow to love them. And contrary to how it may seem lately, I am still very excited about moving to Alabama and teaching and working to change things.

And yet... there will never be anything like this experience again. No one will ever be able to replace the amazing women I have gotten to know here. I love them all, and it will hurt so much to leave them.

While talking on the phone with my mom the other day, she said that at least it actually does hurt to leave. That means you are leaving behind something good.

And it's true. I have decided that the amount of pain I am experiencing right now is directly proportional to how amazing my time in college has been. I guess I can be happy I hurt this much, because it means that I squeezed every ounce of fun, growth, and challenge out of these four years.

So I think of that butterfly quote above, and my interpretation of it (Live life to the fullest? Suck every ounce of awesomeness out of any experience you ever have?), and I am sorta heartened. Kinda.

Because while it didn't last long enough, it was perfect in every way. I can definitely say that I lived it up.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Taking Production Stills for Fellow Filmmakers

A couple filmmaker friends of mine were working on a major short film project for one of their classes a few weeks ago, and they asked me to take production stills of one of their shoots.

Per usual, I jumped at the opportunity to take pictures of something other than flowers and random objects around my house. I wanted to practice in different lighting conditions, and it was also a good chance to practice takings pictures in an environment that was out of my control.

As one of the many "deliverables" they are required to turn in for the class project, they need to turn in 300 pictures. I think, due to my overzealous picture taking, they got about 100 from this shoot alone.

I guess you can say I went a little crazy.

But I had so much fun in the process.

One challenge was that I couldn't take any pictures during the filming itself, because the sound of my camera's shutter was too loud. That's because the audio for this shoot was legit (see picture of professional sound guy with professional sound equipment above).

So most of my pictures were of the before and after prep of the film shoot. Good shots of the actors acting were hard to come by.

Overall, it was a blast. And a great learning experience.

Every time I take out my camera and mess around with the aperture and the ISO (and all those other little things to pay attention to when shooting), I learn something new. Usually learning comes from missed opportunities and blurry pictures.

Which makes sense. You learn from your mistakes, yada yada, etc. etc.

Hope someone asks me to do something like this again!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Senior Portraits

My roommate Tess asked me to take her senior portrait so she can include a photo in her graduation announcements. Always ready for an opportunity to use my camera for something cooler than snapping random pics for my blog, I was excited to help out.

It turned out to be an absolute blast. We headed over to the rose garden on campus, which is a great place to take pictures. The roses are all gorgeous and in bloom. You can kinda sorta see 'em behind Tess's beautiful face.

After having so much fun with this photo op, I'm trying to convince the rest of my roommates to let me take their senior portraits for them. Just for kicks, even though I don't think they think they need them. But they do. I have beautiful friends, and beautiful friends need to be photographed. It's like the law of nature and stuff.

Maybe if I can't find something to do with my life after this teaching thing ends in a couple years, I'll just become a professional photographer and take pictures of married couples and babies.

Love it.


That's the plan.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eleusinian and Being a Sorority Girl

Last Thursday afternoon, my sorority, Chi Omega, held a banquet (called Eleusinian) at the Stadium Club (this swanky place in the football stadium normally reserved for high rollers donors). The banquet, a soon-to-be-annual affair, was held to honor the senior pledge class for our ... awesomeness? Surviving this long as sorority girls? Something like that.

It was a nice little affair, with sundresses, pretty centerpieces, and cool senior gifts.

And while the catering food at OU has never been good (possibly one of the only things I wont miss about this place), the desert never fails to satisfy. I mean, how can it, when it's a honkin' huge piece of chocolate mousse cake? Delish.

Anywho... it was a nice little celebration to wrap up the end of our college careers as sorority women.

For those of you who know me, you know that I don't usually claim my sorority-ness. In fact, I shun sorority t-shirts like the plague and spent all of freshman, sophomore, and junior year trying to convince people that I was cool despite my sorority membership. I cared way too much what people would think of me were I to admit that I belonged to one. Which is stupid. If I cared so much about people judging me for belonging to a group, I should probably just have quit the group, right? You'd think so. But I guess that's not the way I operate.

And now I'm a senior. And seniors in sororities can basically do whatever they want -- not go to things, show up for the fun stuff, cut in line (sorry bout that one), etc. Perfect for the chronically-uninvolved sorority girl like me.

Though, in all seriousness, even though on the outside it looks like I've done everything possible to avoid my sorority while in college, I'm not entirely sad I joined a sorority. I mean, there has to be a reason I stuck with it this long. Through Chi O, I met some really good girls (whom I feel honored to be associated with) and I met my roommate and wonderful friend Madison.

I also got to live two blocks off campus in a swanky big house for a couple years, and someone cooked me my meals. I got to go to date parties and dance it up a few times a semester. All in exchange for a few Sunday evening chapters and other minor inconveniences. I really can't complain.

I'll even go as far as to say that I wouldn't take back joining my sorority for anything. It was a great experience -- something that not many people get to experience -- and at the very very very least, it'll make for some good stories.

I hope.

It'd better.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Just Watched History

I can't believe I just watched -- streaming LIVE -- Obama's address to the nation. Crazy.

History in the making.

. . .

About Me

... A few thoughts to pass the time...