Breaking News: the News is Heartbreaking

Drugs, politics, scandal, murder, mayhem, traffic, and weather.

It’s no wonder I rarely watch the news considering the weather is the only potentially pleasant topic (and if it isn’t sunny and 80 degrees than the weather can barely be deemed an agreeable subject).

I remember waking up unnaturally early in the morning all throughout my grade school career and turning on the news and toaster as soon as I stepped downstairs to the kitchen. I probably could have slept in an extra 10 minutes if it weren’t for my partiality towards Eggo waffles with a light amount of butter and a liberal amount of cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top, and the morning news, but it was worth a bit of missed sleep to happily greet the day.

wjzWhile gulping down my waffle and trying to keep my sugary fingers limited to the area around my napkin, I would tune into WJZ channel 13 news, and aim for a level of knowledgeableness that those as young as I was rarely achieved. True, the information I was retaining was more about local stories, such as the year’s Polar Bear Plunge, interviews with local businesses regarding the effect of whatever weather pattern we were in the midst of, the Raven’s chances at bringing another championship back to Baltimore, and the musical styling’s of a particular club or charity group, but I loved greeting my city each and every morning through channel 13.

puppies and rainbowsAnd now, it saddens me to turn on the news once so full of charm and energy. Maybe society has increasingly given into the lawless ways that were once so forbidden in the past, maybe I just never noticed the doom and gloom almost ever-present on the television as a child, maybe now our society is more attune to the serious and seriously disheartening subjects, or maybe I just keep tuning in right after a happy story about rainbows that lead to puppy friendship and happily ever-afters with more rainbows.

But really.

Things have got to change people, and fast, because if I have to listen to one more story about a corrupt/cheating/drugged out politician, I may be in danger of spitting out my Eggo waffle in an almighty rage before proclaiming to the neighborhood a distaste for my negative perception of the media and then proceeding to light my house on fire (with the cat toted away to a safe location) as I gleefully watch all of my televisions melt into a dreary heap.

And that’s not a story you’d be pleased to see on the news.

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Shake My Sillies Out

When I was little I remember singing along to one of those tacky cheesy obnoxious yet catchy-as-all-get-out songs, “Shake My Sillies Out”, while wiggling around in my car seat and flailing my limbs out towards my poor brother.

However, as I’ve aged, my affinity for those tacky cheesy obnoxious yet catchy-as-all-get-out songs has far from decreased. Occasionally I find myself looking humming “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee” while strolling through by some flowers, and I’ve been known to break into a chorus of “If All the Raindrops Were Lemon Drops and Gumdrops” at the sight of a candy bag or a particularly intense rain storm. But over the past month it’s been “Shake My Sillies Out” that has really taken hold of my imagination.

Because I have a lot of things to shake out. Mostly, my worries, which are just plain silly (see, it’s a totally relatable song).

My silly worries:

  • I am worried because I once again have the winter blues.
  • I am worried because it is my last semester of college ever.
  • I am worried because I need to make more concrete plans regarding a job after this last semester of college ever.
  • I am worried because my boyfriend is delaying his summer job plans which greatly influences my summer job plans.
  • I am worried because I have not been sleeping well.
  • I am worried because I have been steadily gaining weight and ignoring exercise.
  • I am worried because my new spring internship has me starring at the computer for 8 hours a day.
  • I am worried because my cat has a bad scratch on her belly that keeps reappearing.
  • I am worried because of my brother’s lack of direction for the future.
  • I am worried because my mother has slipped into worse unhealthy habits than I have.
  • I am worried because when I go through my childhood photo albums with my father it strikes me exactly how much of my life has already gone by, and how I never truly appreciated it to the best of my capacity.

This past month I’ve done a lot of shaking, though sadly none of it counts as exercise.

But I feel better, and now I can hopefully start to sing some more age appropriate songs.

The Time Timon and Pumbaa Helped Me with My Bucket List

hakuna matata

I love nothing more than singing along to a great song that just fills your heart and lifts your spirit. Even though my voice cracks and creeks while I’m singing along, I like to think that what I lack in skill I more than make up for in enthusiasm. I also like to think that my stuffed animals come alive when I’m not watching, you’re just going to have to give me a few things.

Because of my odd combination of musical love and vocal troubles, I’ve long feared and highly anticipated completing a certain item on my Pail List, karaoke.

For the past month I’ve been making and breaking plans with friends to attend Karaoke Thursday at Applebee’s until the promise of half price apps became too much for any normal college kid to resist, and they insisted on half dragging half restraining me along.

Once there, I nervously bided my time by stuffing my face with spinach dip and praying to the karaoke gods that they would be merciful. It’s a wonder my friends didn’t ditch me from the get-go.

Dear karaoke gods who art in Applebee’s, gracious by thy name. Thy at the bar, the songs be sung, in the cramped corner as it is in concert. Give us tonight our daily $3 margarita and forgive us our missed notes as we forgive those who missed notes before us. Lead us not into Queen renditions, but deliver us from Christmas tunes. Amen.”

karaoke birdDespite my pleas to the gods, I was still nervous as heck. Three of my friends openly admitted that there was not enough alcohol in the world that could get them to sing. Two of my friends were too busy cozily reminiscing to notice that they were in a public place. This left myself and three others who had to brave the microphone armed with nothing but our hopes and dreams of not being laughed or forcibly removed out of the room.

Hesitantly grabbing the sticky discolored binder full of songs, I marveled at the selection before me. I had originally planned on some sort of Billy Joel classic, but when faced with Counting Crows, Johnny Cash, and Van Morrison I was thrown for a loop. So many songs, so many choices, so many notes that I had to sneakily avoid by coughing at just the right time. My heart was hammering with nerves and enthusiasm, a deadly combination that had to be quelled before such excitement caused that spinach dip to make a reappearance.

And then I saw it.

The song that represents my past, present, and future. The song that was guaranteed to please even the most uppity of karaoke snobs. The song that jumped off the page and did the Cha Cha in front of my friends and I until we signed up on the waiting list without the least bit of hesitation.

Hakuna Matata!

What a wonderful phrase.

Hakuna Matata.

Ain’t no passing craze.

It means no worries, for the rest of your days. It’s our problem-free philosophy. Hakuna Matata!

Hakuna Matata represents most everything that I’m about. I try to appreciate each day for what it is and not worry over the little things. I pride myself on appreciating my past and making sure that it isn’t so easily forgotten. And I love bringing happiness to others while celebrating the things in life that also give me joy.

As I stood up in front of the fifty or so people packed into the Applebee’s karaoke night corner I couldn’t help but feel a calm appreciation for my life and the opportunities that I am afforded through my Pail List. As the familiar melody began and I saw heads popping up in every direction, I knew that no matter how poorly my voice performed, I was getting a standing ovation from everyone else who longed for the days of a problem free existence as exemplified by a meerkat and warthog.

timon an dpumbaa

Working on My Passion

fireman wishIn kindergarten I wanted to be a veterinarian, because I thought that all girls were vets and all boys were firefighters. I knew that my mom and dad didn’t perform either of these jobs so it’s a bit confusing on how this notion came to exist.

In fourth grade when I realized that not all animals were as friendly as my cat, I decided that I would like to be a real estate agent. We watched a lot of HGTV in my home.

In the ninth grade my mom wouldn’t lend me the necessary capital to flip a house, so I decided to settle for being a teacher. I’ve never really want to be a teacher. I’m impatient. I already want this blog post to be finished with itself.

And now, after I’ve learned that flip flops are better suited for the beach than decision making, I am stuck having no solid idea of what I’d like to be “when I grow up”, which according to my impending college graduation date, will be in a few months.

I blame my lack of a career direction entirely on being too well-rounded of a person (it’s not a brag if it’s also a fact). I love history and anatomy and math and science and reading and music and health and theatre and technology and different cultures and writing and I’m always interested to hear what new information someone has to share on even the most foreign of topics. I have no specific topic that drives me to wake up in the morning, and even though I like any excuse to sleep in I can’t help but wishing that there were something more.

I don’t want just any ol’ job. I want the best job on the planet where I have to use that cheesy line about it “not being work” and everyone laughs but I glow on the inside knowing that it’s true and that I’m really quite happy where I am and that my life is contributing to something that I never want to leave. Also it should pay a million dollars an hour.

But where does one go to find one’s passion? I’ve been looking for a good part of my 21 years and haven’t found anything that I’d love to be involved with for the rest of my life. I’m an English and Communications double major because I like to read and I like to talk to people and because the university made me choose. I’m also involved in Terp Thon which helps the kids at Children’s National Medical Center, I loyally attend the UMD athletic events, and I’ve long been involved in sign language club and gardening. But to focus on solely one of those aspects? It wouldn’t be enough. Which leads me to believe that I haven’t found the one. The one passion that overcomes all other interests until it consumes my whole being with desire.

I know that it’s not realistic to expect such fulfillment from a job and that I’m quite spoiled to be in a position where I can afford to question what I truly want from my career, but when you’re spending the majority of your life working you don’t want to waste time with emotions of any lesser caliber than sheer joy.

I’m not willing to settle for any long-term career that I’m less than passionate about. And I’m certainly not willing to settle for any pay range less than that million dollars an hour.

So for now I’ll just have to keep searching and figure out how I can make room in my resume to express this sentiment.

My Breakfast, My Blessing

Each morning I wake up. Regardless of whether I slept well or slept poorly, no matter if my covers are scattered over the floor or in the same place as when I drifted off the night before, and whether or not I jump up at the sound of Here Comes the Sun or pretend that it doesn’t exist, I wake up with one goal in mind. Get myself some breakfast.

Without fail I joyfully eat breakfast each and every morning. I would not be alive if not for Cheerios and SKIM milk (anything other than skim just seems yucky), though I’ve been known to branch out in favor of fruit, toast, oatmeal, or eggs of the scrambled variety. Sometimes I prepare it simply in my dorm room, other times I’ll mozy on over to the diner, and occasionally I’ll have the kitchen in my home to work with.

cereal smiling

But it truly doesn’t matter where or what I eat, just as long as I can refuel myself in the morning and give myself the energy and positivity that is often the true prize from that box of Cheerios.

And if I have to wake up an extra 10 minutes earlier to ensure that I get my morning off to a happy and healthy start and I’m not a grump-a-lump for the whole day, why that’s no trouble at all.

Bucket Lists and Bombshells

There is never a convenient enough time for anything, so why ever let that be an excuse for not doing something special?

Whether it’s your deepest passion to travel to Spain despite a lack of financial stability, the willingness to go on a camping excursion though threatened by the time commitment, a craving for higher education while needing to support a family, or the desire for something as simple as wanting to dye your hair, sometimes you just convince yourself that “the time isn’t right” to follow up with your dreams.

But it is!

live unless bed

The time is always right for happiness and living and experiencing life. There is never a bad time to celebrate being alive and creating a memory to look back upon with the grandest of smiles and the happiest of recollections. Why delay what you were put on this earth to do? Live!

IMG_2849So before I could compile an even larger range of excuses as to why I can not complete one of my Pail List  items, before I graduate in the spring, before I begin a full time job, before my supposedly approaching wedding day, before my future catches up to me, I took care of item numero uno and dyed my hair blonde (“Medium Natural Blonde” which when combined with my already dark hair color translates into “Sun-Kissed Brown Cinnamon”).

I’m already so much happier for deciding to commit to this wish of mine. I feel more confident, I feel like I’ve just returned from a delightful tropical vacation, and I feel like I’m ready to seek out some more of life’s experiences despite any obstacles that I perceive. I also feel like a model and am struggling to stop taking pictures of myself…IMG_2868IMG_2859IMG_2871

Vanity, Thy Name is Katy (Pt. 2)

One week ago, I decided to reject my reflection for a solid 7 days so as to break my horrid habit of a vanity so great that I do indeed think that song is about me.

so vain

I was fed up with constantly feeling the need to look at myself in the numerous and various reflection surfaces placed around my life in an effort to keep me continuously obsessing over the state of my hair. I had come to the conclusion that since looks were of such little importance the acknowledgement of those looks mattered just as little. I was already well aware of the struggles I would undoubtedly face while trying to use my phone without catching a glimpse of my technology-tinted profile.

Even then, I was not ready.

The week of this challenge was one of the longest weeks of my life. I actually believe that someone may have snuck in a good extra bit of hours, and this week was comprised of 9 or 10 equally unsatisfying days.

Throughout the challenge I felt nervous and agitated and upset at not being able to look in the mirror. I constantly felt the need to confirm my existence by looking at myself and being reassured that I hadn’t turned into a ghostly creature no longer capable of sustaining a physical form, I actually chose this limiting lifestyle. I even felt none of the love towards my body or my self that I assumed would come by denying my image, if anything it made me feel a bit worse, like I was so ugly that if I walked into a bank they’d turn off the cameras (ba dum tish). And even though I actively tried to avoid my reflection, I still caught glances of myself throughout the day which only fueled my anger; I would tease myself with a brief glimpse and then immediately turn away before my eyes could drink in that sorry sight of a crazy person (as only loons would attempt a challenge so ridiculous).

Here are my reasons why I will never attempt this challenge never ever never again:

  • It was frustrating and a tad painful not to be able to use the mirror to put my contacts in.
  • Hiding behind other people in Bodypump made exercising quite the chore. I want results after a workout, not to be denied looking at my awesome and newly fit body!
  • My neck hurt from looking down so much to avoid mirrors. Truthfully, I had to hide my eyes so often that it hurt.
  • No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t help but catch accidental glimpses of myself which was quite obnoxious.
  • Looking at my shadow was often the highlight of my day.
  • On the third day I had such a struggle putting in an earring that it took me an extra few minutes and a red ear before being ready for class.
  • I didn’t care as much about myself, and consequently ended up eating more and exercising a bit less.

Why I’m somewhat kind of maybe barely glad that I completed this challenge:

  • When Skyping I actually spent more time looking at the person I was having a conversation with than looking at myself in the little vanity cam they provide.
  • Getting ready in the morning was a breeze and I never really worried about outfits or jewelry choices (though I’m sure other people worried over the sake of my mental health; red shorts with a blue top, really?).
  • I look in the mirror less now, or at least think twice before I look.
  • Ummm, that’s it.

IMG_2728Honestly, I barely want to talk about this experience because I had such a negative time with it. One important thing I’ve learned is that vanity is perfectly healthy in small doses, and denying such self devotion only serves to turn you into an angry and grumpy person with funky looking hair. While it may not be so good as to pander to all of your vices, I’ve come to feel that vanity, while annoying in excess, is actually quite harmless.

Vanity, Thy Name is Katy

On average, I look in the mirror 18 times a day.

That’s not even counting the number of occasions when I catch a glimpse of my reflection in some shiny surface. Yeah, that’s not me puzzling over that artistic portrait as to fathom the creator’s intent, that’s me trying to get a glimpse of how my hair looks in a ponytail.

It’s puzzling as to why we as humans aren’t content until we’ve looked at ourselves up and down, in a full length mirror, from a side angle, with duck lips, and with a hat tipped jauntily on our heads until we realize that such a hat is too bold for our certain hair style. Do any other animals perform this ritual of self-interest? Do ducks float around on lakes so as to constantly view their watery profile? Has anyone really considered why it is birds fly into windows? Perhaps they’re simply overly anxious to confirm that their feathers are as preened as they should be. I’m also fairly certain that if you gave a monkey a camera the first thing they would do is take a selfie while hanging out in their tree house.

I opted for the scarf instead of the hat...whoopee!

I opted for the scarf instead of the hat…whoop de doo!

And then once we do give into temptation and look to our beautiful image, what do we see? Ourselves. Almost exactly as we were the last time we checked. What’s the point? What does it matter if I have a small bump in my hair? If my lips need more glossing will the world stop spinning? If I end up wearing that jauntily tipped hat would it really matter in the long run? Who cares what we look like?!

Well, apparently I care; based on the fact that I look at myself in the mirror around 18 times a day.

Maybe if I were prettier looking I’d understand. But seeing as I’m just regular old plain average normal Katy, what the heck is with my obsession with myself? For me to have two mirrors in my room is extravagant. To look at myself in the full length mirror in the hallway while leaving the dorm is outrageous. To go to the bathroom for any other reason than relieving oneself is simply silly; who wants to spend time in a restroom simply to enjoy the mirror? Even my phone cover can serve as a mirror. Just in case I’d like to ensure that I look my best while sending a text message (because the recipient of my message can just tell if my necklace is hanging crookedly around my neck).

IMG_2621

Why must I look so good in scarves?!

But to be fair to myself, I don’t always set out in search of a mirror. I don’t memorize the location of reflective objects around campus and take longer routes just to get a glimpse of myself. But the fact that my building has a full length mirror in the hallway should tell you something about the world. The fact that there are mirrors above almost every sink, that people carry around compacts just in case, that ever in our cars you can find mirrors above the front two seats, shows what an egoistical and vain society we really live in. I don’t necessarily want to look at my reflection so often, but the world is telling me that I must. They want me to be vain, and I’ve been all too happy to oblige.

Yet, when looking beyond my mundane exterior, you’ll find a rebel with a passion for stirring up adventure and intrigue (in addition to finding a fanatical cat lady). It is this nature that makes me not just question the role of mirrors in my life, but that also makes me desire to denounce them.

There have been many documented challenges of people swearing off the mirror for a month or two or twelve, but seeing as I’m too cheap to buy their books, I’ve decided to create a mirrorless lifestyle challenge of my own. I’ll take a guess that they’ve leaned the meaning of true beauty, internal happiness, styling hairdos without visual assistance, and societal influences on commonly accepted standards, but I’m just hoping to get a grip on reality and learn that survival is possible without knowing if I’m having a good hair day or not.

Starting today, I’m going to cover up the mirrors in my room, avoid my image while using the sink, stealthily avoid looking too closely at my phone cover, and give up admiring/critiquing my reflection altogether. I will do all of this for one week (because I’m weak). At the end of this experiment, I hope to appreciate myself and my body a little bit more and gain some real understanding as to why I can’t help but looking at myself in that glass door window at the gym.

Also, I must have looked at myself nearly 50 times today in anticipation of my mirror cleanse. Wow I’ve got some work to do.

Also also, let’s hope I last the week because I’ve just remembered the wall length mirrors in the gym’s aerobics studio…

Also also also, I’ve just put up construction paper to cover the mirrors in my room. It makes me nervous.

DSCN1400

Free Fallin’

Today, I woke up to an odd tingling throughout my body. A tingling that I hadn’t felt for many months. An unpleasant and altogether alarming sensation that bid me to raise my head from my matted and cozy pillow and look to the window and the world beyond. Though my eyes were still heavily crusted with the eye gunk that spoke to my deep sleep, there could be no mistaking what I saw. But, just to make sure, I rubbed my eyes and inched up a bit further off of the bed. Sighing, I plopped back down; yes, there was no mistaking it, I saw autumn.

I pulled the previously discarded covers up to my nose and took a few deep breaths. The chill I had previously experienced seemed to be disappearing, and a new emotion was stewing. Disappointment.

snoopy summer

With the beginning of fall comes a lack of vacations, the end of day trips to the beach, more school reading than is good for your developing eyesight, and a sun that just can’t compare to its glory days of summertime. From the moment that I looked outside through the slightly frosted window pane towards the browning leaves and dark morning sky, I knew that I wasn’t far from bidding my flip flops farewell.

These depressing trees are once again in our future...

These depressing trees are once again in our future…

The colder months have always seemed to fill me with despair (there is a reason this blog was started back in February, I am absolutely miserable during the winter months and I thought that I’d need something to keep me upbeat, positive, and positively engaged with the world). Both the fall and the winter greedily snatch away my afternoon tennis matches, make soaking up some rays a chilly impossibility, and cruelly transform the beautiful trees of the world into nothing more than a pile of grimy sticks with no aesthetic value until covered by the soft white of snow.

I did not ask for this. I never ask for this. In fact, I’ve so far removed myself from the possibility of having another couple months in the cold weather that this seasonal shift has taken me completely by surprise.

That might just be why, though in the throngs of an autumn transformation, I managed to enjoy my first fall since I foolishly longed for the days of snow and silence as a kid.

Those leaves hanging off of the tree sure do look beautiful.

When did smooth jazz become such a delight?

It’s been far too long since I’ve slide into slippers.

I never knew that the color red had so many shades.

Goodness, don’t I look cute in this scarf?

I was so shocked to find fall upon me that I forgot to compile a mental list of why I dislike this season. Instead, I was bombarded by all of the beauty and promise that fall has to offer. While my new-found affinity for this season may be short lived, I’m glad to give autumn one more chance to get into my good graces and search for the wonder behind the weather; provided it never again disrupts my sleep with its chill.

Though this signals an approaching winter, I can still appreciate its beauty while it lasts.

Though this signals an approaching winter, I can still appreciate its beauty while it lasts.

The Longest Distance

The longest distance cannot be measured with a ruler. The longest distance cannot be expressed in terms of miles, kilometers, or even something as expansive and all-consuming as light-years. The longest distance is not something tangible that can be seen, moved, altered, or touched. The longest distance exists as a result of long distance.

The longest distance is when your realize that you have to wait another week to see your significant other even though you’ve already gone two without their hug and when you make it a day without witnessing their smile it feels as though the world is a dimmer place. Casually overhearing someone pronounce the word “apricot” wrong and not having anyone to understand. Realizing that texting while waiting in the ice cream line just isn’t the same as having a conversation in person, and not even daring to go to the Italian ice line for fear of bittersweet sugar-laden flashbacks. Not knowing which details of your day are important enough to share on Skype and if the friendly cafeteria lady’s joke is worthy enough to take time away from relationship matters and as many “I love you’s” as can make up for the poor video quality. When you lose a loved one and need the solace and comfort of your significant other’s arms but have to wait until tests and schedules align just right, that’s the longest distance.

It goes beyond measurement, it goes to the core of your being. Feeling a part from the one you love.

My boyfriend and I each know what we want from life, each other….and our respective colleges. It is this hard won absolute knowledge that protects us from the usual long distance pitfalls: cheating, boredom, financial instability, a lack of trust, miscommunication, new interests, scheduling hassles, partying scandal drama, a fear of commitment.

We soar above it all knowing that no obstacle or fight or loneliness is worth giving up our relationship and our future together.

For 3 years, I’ve battled the longest distance. I’ve kept it back with postcards, candygrams, nightly Skype dates, good morning text messages, good night text messages, and the rare and highly valued visit. With 1 more year to go, I am determined to stave off the longest distance and defy the odds.

My long distance relationship has survived, my relationship has grown strong, and my heart has remained full.

When measured with love, the longest distance is no distance at all.

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