Musing to Music

I write and I type and I click and I clank

and I listen to the beat of those keys on the plank.

And it’s all too much and I know that it’s true

that I need soft music to dim that mechanical tune.

Pandora is slowly becoming my best buddy. I was a little late to the game in discovering it, but now that I’ve come to build my custom playlists around whatever mood I could possibly be in, I just can’t begin to articulate intelligently without that smooth jazz station that I’ve come to rely upon.

  • Musicals for when I’m feeling peppy and fantastical, but also slightly depressed.
  • Country for when the sun is shining and I’m in a tractor riding mood.
  • Chumbawamba for those days I wear neon scrunchies and yearn for my 90’s childhood.
  • Disney for every single day that I want to be happy.
  • Love Songs for times that I want to envelop my feelings in sap.
  • Smooth jazz for when I’m feeling classy and ready to write the greatest works known to man.

When I listen to music I feel a vitality and energy present in my words that I’d be missing without those soulful tones. I feel ready to write, eager to express, and positively busting to shine through that traditional text and set my words alight with passion.music

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The Reblog

Some days I have nothing original to say. If you paid close enough attention, you’d realize that even on those days when I’m saying something, it doesn’t often mean much. And if you actually listen to the not much that I’m saying, you’re bound to be woefully disappointed.

Which is why I utilize the reblog.

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The reblog acknowledges that you are lazy, but also shows that you can be both lazy and caring. It does not judge you for your lack of originality, but applauds your efforts for reading and understanding the works of others more qualified (and probably more entertaining) than you. The reblog is ever kind and only increases the standard of your prized and dear website, all while making the original poster feel like a million dollars even if they don’t see one cent from their work.

So yes, some days the words that come out of my head are downright unintelligible giberty gab herbity gerb, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the schwerbity plurb of another.

Flingenclopp.

A Case of the Mondays

The Mondays of wintertime is God’s acknowledgement of myself.

I wake up to the chilled air of a Monday knowing exactly what’s in store for my toes before they reach the abrasive black and teal tiles of the shockingly frigid floor.

I shiver.

I prance over to my red and cozy slippers by the door which have been worn down to a thin layer that is barely enough to keep those black and teal tiles away from my bare skin.

I stretch.

I gather clothes from my closet, and with half opened eyes that are sticky with my night’s slumber I dress and trade my red slippers for black boots.

I yawn.

I walk across the campus in those black boots, appreciating the frosty grass and faithful squirrels who join me on this Monday ritual.

I breathe.

I continue past the residential buildings and watch as people open doors to the world as if their gentle touch could shush the tires on nearby cars.

I relax.

I admire the ears of those with steps as soft as mine, looking much prettier when not adorned with headphones.

I sigh.

I step into work and the elevator dings and the coffee is brewing and I struggle to unlock my door and an early riser talks on their phone and I wonder when my keyboard became so loud as to punish my calm with each key stroke and a printer comes to life and the trash is being collected and papers are dropped in the hallway and the unfrosted window now holds a sun fresh with the promise of an end to my muted Monday.

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered They’re Yours

50 years from now the only mail people will be familiar with will be of the “e” variety.

pig mailboxNo one will express their love of farm animals with a pink porky piggy mailbox, no one will experience the thrill of raising the little red flag on the side of the pink porky piggy mailbox, and no one will walk away from the pink porky piggy mailbox with the taste of envelope glue still on their tongue.
As a lover of all things pink piggy, I’m fighting this growing trend with paper and pen. I’ve adopted a few somewhat willing pen pals, a resolution to finally pay for some colorful stamps, and an appreciation for the wonders of the past and simple pleasures.

I cherish nothing more than reclining at my polished oak desk by the roaring fire that’s aged the pages of the classics in the nearby cramped bookshelf while dipping my quill feathered pen in the inky blue well that contains thoughts and sentiments yet unbeknownst to me. And then cramming those thoughtful sentiments into the dorm’s mailbox once I’ve taped the envelope closed after unsuccessfully licking the flap until my tongue was raw.

IMG_1996However, while my virtual inbox continues to accumulate messages with beloved subjects such as “Dr Oz-FaT BustEr RevealeD” I’m just not receiving any letters in my physical mailbox meant for tangible letters. There is nothing more depressing than opening that off-gray squeaky door lid only to stare blankly at the off-gray empty inside. Yet the joy that one experiences when that off-gray empty inside is masked by a off-white letter is only rivaled by sitting on Santa’s lap as a four year old who knows they have a Barbie Dream House coming their way. It is that rare occurrence of actually receiving letters that keeps me looking to the mailbox, keeps me writing letters in hopes of a response, and keeps my heart permanently fixed on the pink porky piggy mailbox that I’d like to someday have a use for.

Support pigs everywhere, mail a letter today.

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Bugging Out

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Unlike with sharks, there is no classic musical interlude that warns you of an approaching creepy crawler. Without warning, you simply turn your head to the unseemly sight of too many gangly hairy spindly legs. Cue the cardio burst towards the door and the declarations to the gods above that if they slay this monstrous beast you shall present to them your first born child.

Then, right as you run up to little Timmy’s room and snatch him out of the crib to be raised Simba-style to the heavens, the bug flies out of an open window and you are left apologizing to a grumpy toddler while laughing nervously to displace the blush spreading over your cheeks.

Because it’s foolish to be afraid of bugs, and we all know it.

And yet most all of us are scared witless at the mere mention of the b-word.

And why?

  1. Because they look ugly? So do I every Monday morning. Eye-gunk can be just as disturbing as pollen-gook
  2. Because some are considered poisonous? Put down that Big Mac long enough to consider what’s really killing you.
  3. Because we don’t understand them? I don’t understand my teenage brother (though admittedly, there are times I’d like to swat him).
  4. Because of bad past experiences? Once I fell off my bike. And yet, like most functioning members of society, I am not thrown into a panic at the sight of bicycles.
  5. Because of the movies? Please, A Bug’s Life is a cinema classic that teaches you to root for the underbug.
  6. Because you suffer from arachnophobia? OK, that makes sense actually.
  7. Because others are afraid? If my mom wears corduroy overalls does that mean that I should too? (That line just caused more chills than any bug could ever have done).
  8. Because they’re tiny? Take two big steps in the opposite direction of the insect. It will now take them a month to reach you.
  9. Because they look different than us? So does absolutely every single thing on this planet. My cat looks different than me, but when she’s not hissing in my face I still love her oh so much.

singing bug

There are so many reasons to dislike bugs. And there are so many reasons why those reasons are stupid.

Let’s just hope I can remember those reasons the next time a spider crawls out from under the couch and I’m tempted to trap it under a bowl until I can reach little Timmy.

From Bucket List to Daily Gift

One day I got it in my head that I would like to run an official race before I eventually and inevitably kicked the bucket. While I had always had a rocky roady relationship with running, I was unsure where this decision would lead me and was faced with the real possibility that my Pail List would contain an item that I may never cross off.

DSCN0843Yet, earlier this summer, I did indeed get to cross off “run an official race” after completing the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K in Maryland. Despite twisting my ankle a bit I came out of the race with the feeling of glowing accomplishment and a decent time of a bit after 36 minutes.

And then I kept running.

And I compiled a workout playlist

And I bought nice shoes.

And I printed more training schedules.

And I felt good about myself.

And I learned the words to Mambo No. 5

And I kept running.

Just today I ran a 5K at the University of Maryland. My time hovered between 29:30 and 32:30 minutes. I ran the whole entire way. I smiled throughout the hills. I laughed at the twists and turns. I high-fived the volunteers. I had a beautiful time.

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I am so grateful for having comprised a pail list. Had I not had the courage to acknowledge what I wanted to get out of life, I would never have pushed myself as hard as I did, and I never would have discovered my love of running. Yes running, I can say it now! I love you! And it all started back when I began my first training plan and discovered my love of the treadmill with a well timed episode of Say Yes to the Dress and the rolling and gentle hills of my neighborhood and the springy track at school which makes me feel as graceful as a gazelle despite looking like an awkward antelope.

Though singing karaoke will probably not lead to me becoming a world famous singing sensation, I am quite satisfied knowing that I’ve chosen to explore such different and fulfilling areas of life with the activities/events/circumstances that preside on my Pail List.

For me, life isn’t always about having momentary bouts of fun, it’s about living each day pleasurably with a contentment that provides a sustainable happiness. That’s why I have my Pail List, and that’s why I’m grateful for my list leading me to more of life’s pleasurable moments.

Busy as a Bee

With two jobs, four clubs and organizations, a mound of homework, a fitness regimen to keep, sports to cheer for, and friends to stay in touch with, you’d think I was done saying yes to life. And you’d be as wrong as my brother trying to talk with a British accent (just plain wrong).

winnie the pooh beeIn fact, just the other day I received an email asking me if I’d like to sign up for a tour of the apiary on campus. Once I confirmed with Wikipedia that apes were not actually involved and I would get the chance to visit my bumble bee buddies, I immediately signed right up! Though I’m no where near comfortable with creepy crawly buggy critters, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for bees (possibly stemming from my love of Winnie the Pooh). In my messed up and illogical mind, bees seem to be the one type of bug that I’m actually alright to be around.

But that didn’t stop me from being nervous as heck when the time came to actually visit the bees on the roof of UMD’s dining hall. In a group, we approached four white boxes housing hundreds of hundreds of bees. After spraying them with a gas (which is not as toxic as the film Bee Movie describes, but is a simple burning pine needle mix that makes the bees calmer and less likely to sting), the box was taken a part and columns and columns of bees and bees were removed to show exactly how the world of bees worked.

Hive Tour 5Honestly, I remember very little about the intricate workings of the bee hive. I learned that the queen bee can mate with around 10 males in order to populate the entire bee hive, I learned that bees called “drones” do not have the ability to sting, and I learned that I look pretty rockin’ in a beekeeper hat. Mostly, I was too busy standing around in awe of the bees buzzing happily by me, around me, and often, even on me. I think that’s why I like bees more than other bugs (ladybugs make me happy, but I’m just learning how to tolerate butterflies); bees just seem perfectly content to work, fly, and be cheerfully yellow. And how on earth could you hate something so kind as to make honey?!

If you ever get the opportunity to visit an apiary, do it! Though I was terrified for the first 20 minutes as I watched the bees circle around our group, it was actually quite beautiful and I never felt in danger despite wearing a t-shirt and short sleeves. And even if this opportunity doesn’t present itself to you, if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation that could lead to a grand adventure and some lovely memories, think of me and say, “well, if that scaredy cat of a girl can pal around with some bees for an hour, surely I can go hang gliding over an active volcano while learning French and writing the greatest book series since Harry Potter”, or whatever it is you’d like your adventure to entail…

Writing Exercises, My Kind of a Workout

When I was in the seventh grade, I had an English teacher named Mrs. Stroloski. Mrs. Stroloski made us learn and memorize the most difficult of vocabulary words (though I was completely enamored with the word disheveled), encouraged us to read from books far overreaching our comprehension level (in my expert opinion as a middle school student), and bid us to write in cursive at all times during her class period (a skill I hadn’t put to use since the fourth grade). Aside from her gorgeous handwriting and affinity for the color purple, I was never too fond of Mrs. S.

However, there was one writing drill that she would instruct the class to complete every Friday, and thanks to this exercise, I can look back on my seventh grade English experience with a little more appreciation than most of my middle school counterparts.

strong pencilHere’s how it worked: For 5 minutes, you had to write. No stopping. No pausing. No delays. Just words and letters. Even if you couldn’t think of your next sentence, you just had to repeat the same word or the same letter until your thoughts continued to flow. Nonstop. No limits. No topics. Just you, and the constant movement of your pen writing sloppily half-forgotten cursive down on your composition notebook.

writing drillLooking back now, I can’t remember most of what I wrote as a seventh grader. I remember complementing Mrs. Stroloski on choosing the color purple to adorn the classroom, I remember talking about how excited I was that they were serving pizza in the cafeteria right after an eventful and delicious taco day, and I also vaguely remember reading A Christmas Carol in her class and expressing my love and devotion to Santa Claus. Riveting stuff, I know. I may have even used the word disheveled a time or two or ten.

But I think that’s the moment when I realized that it felt good to write. I did not like how my cursive capital letters looked, but I sure did like expressing myself through the written word.

Sometimes I still practice this drill, as it seems great for relieving writer’s block, but often, I simply reflect on my classroom experience with Mrs. S. and wonder if the other kids that she’s taught over the years still recall this activity and are able to remember what the word disheveled means.

Mood Swings

Music, dancing, laughter, reminiscing, nature, wining, dining, friends, happiness, summertime, Mood Swings.

In my never ending quest to say yes to life and experience the beautiful and intriguing world around me, I agreed to attend a wine tasting accompanied by the swinging stylings of the band, Mood Swings. Because, why not?

IMG_2390This event was hosted at the beautiful Boordy Vineyards, a historic Maryland winery that hosts tours in addition to their Saturday music nights. Even for a 20 year old who couldn’t sample the wine selections, I still had an amazing time on the back patio, with friendly people, during a magical summer night, donning a smile that just wouldn’t quit.

IMG_2396It began with a long lost neighbor and friend, and an extra ticket that their family possessed.

It went along to include winding roads, a country atmosphere, grapes fresh off the vine, and a sunset that my camera couldn’t do justice to.

It included a good ol’ fashioned gab fest with some old friends, new friends, and friendly acquaintances.IMG_2397

It got me dancing to oldies, classics, and contemporary tunes that had a splash of modern flare with a dash of old fashioned charm.

It rounded out the evening with a lack of mosquito bites, an upbeat vibe, and the promises of more memorable and happening times to come.

With a college semester fast approaching, this night was exactly what I needed to unwind, relax, and appreciate everything that this summer has given me. I am so glad that I approached this new experience with a “can-do” attitude, because if I hadn’t, I would have missed out on the simple pleasures that make life worth living, like friends, food, and swingin’ music.

Minty Fresh

The smell of mint does something to me. It tickles my nose in such a way that I can’t help but smile. I just hear the name, spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, mint, mint, mint, and I begin giggling like a school girl. When at restaurants, I load up on those after-dinner mints to a point where it’d be embarrassing to be seen with me. If you looked in my car, you’d be sure to find those dinner mints spilling out of the glove compartment whenever you’d reach inside expecting to grab a napkin. Come the holiday season, I’ll begin applying a peppermint lotion that tempts me to lick it off my fingers, and would certainly succeed if I didn’t have mint whipped cream to add on top of a steamy cup of mint hot chocolate served in a mug decked out with holly leaves (sorry, no mint mug) to distract me.

DSCN1091The other night, in an effort to complete a bucket list item and cook up some tasty and healthy recipes, I made a delicious fettuccine pistachio-mint pesto dish. Can you guess what main ingredient attracted me to this dish?

But while combing the grocery store for ingredients, I still found myself wanting for a small sprig of mint. Finally, I found some mint, but it definitely wasn’t a small sprig; instead, they had a mint plant. A whole plant producing that wonderful smell and delightful taste that has long left me cheerful! Needless to say, I bought it. The whole plant. And now it sits in a pot on our deck, and I find myself making more and more excuses to sit outside, smell my mint, and be happy.

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