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

What to Expect When You’re Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here, and with it the wholly unrealistic expectations of peaceful family togetherness and a tasty home cooked meal.

thanksgiving

In order to have a truly enjoyable Thanksgiving and limit the amount of times your head gets banged against the wall near the festive corn and pumpkin display, certain things just need to be accepted as inevitable:

  1. Canned foods and instant recipes will abound. Who has time to make homemade cranberry sauce when the in-laws are knocking down your door and the mantle hasn’t been dusted since last Thanksgiving?
  2. Christmas will be acknowledged. Come the weekend after Thanksgiving, it’ll be December. So those boxes of Christmas decorations lurking in the corner of the living room will just be skillfully ignored.
  3. No matter how loudly you speak, Poppy will not be able to understand you. Even if you can get his hearing aid working and his attention focused, once he finally discerns the word “twerk” the conversation will self-implode.
  4. Skinny jeans will be banned from the premises. Both looking good and stuffing yourself until you pop cannot exist together. Bring the sweatpants with the mustard stains; family doesn’t judge you.
  5. Your family will judge you. Your grandmother will notice the untidy state of your hair and mother will ask if a second helping of pie is really such a good idea, and do you need that much whipped cream anyway?
  6. The pets will want in on the action. Can you really blame little Josie for jumping onto the fine china? She’s not use to you putting in any effort and just wanted a closer view of what exactly “trying” looks like.
  7. You will want to quit your job. Crescent rolls are all that matter in life.
  8. Nothing will ever change. The fruit cake will still taste like boot, you’ll still fall asleep during the football game, and the panic of the impending holiday season will upset the mound of potatoes settling in your gut.

As long as you prepare for what’s ahead, there is no reason that Thanksgiving can’t be a perfectly lovely holiday that allows you to spend time enjoying the company of others and their attempts at cooking. And when Christmas arrives, simply duck and cover.

Vamos Maryland

Despite the often dirty laundry, the meals that are of less than home-cooked quality, and the crippling loneliness at the realization that your only friends are textbooks, college also provides you with that one activity that defines your collegic life and shapes you personally.

crew tefoFor me, that refers to my time with The Crew.

IMG_2606At the University of Maryland we have a soccer team, and with that soccer team we have a Crew. A crew of loyal fans dedicated to bombarding the opposing team’s keeper with family-friendly insults, cheers regarding our eagerness to score a goal, our displeasure with the other team, and our incredulousness over the shoe color of the keeper. And then we sing and then we chant and then we hold our scarves up high, and then we practice our Spanish with a rousing round of “Vamos Maryland” and occasionally there will even be a 90’s theme featuring the song stylings of the Backstreet Boys and Train.

When you join The Crew there is always so much going on, and though you leave exhausted and partly wishing you had spent your time finishing up that Rhetorical Discourse homework, you often get so much more than you put in.

Thanks to my time spent with the crew I have:

  • Discovered that soccer is not just an introductory sport for second graders
  • Made friends that I honest-to-goodness plan on staying in contact with
  • Watched us win 2 ACC Championships
  • Overcame my fear of singing with gusto
  • Avoided drinking at Crew tailgates
  • Befriended the drunkards at Crew tailgates
  • Learned that loyalty still exists in the form of enthusiastic clapping
  • Found that I have a flair for scarves
  • Made friends that I could attend other sporting events with
  • Gotten more than enough exercise by running to switch bleachers at half
  • Attended every UMD home soccer game
  • Broken school bleachers and watched a rivalry game from the field

I may be getting a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications upon my graduation from the University of Maryland, but the scrappy and blurred photos of my soccer game attendance will always be much more valuable.

Vamos. Vamos Maryland.

Esta noche, tenemos que ganar.

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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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A Nail Night to Remember

One special night each week, in my never ending effort to spend time with friends, keep my fingers feeling pretty, and avoid homework at all costs, I host Manicure Monday in my dorm room.

Girls from all around the hall flock to the 70’s patterned furniture in the lounge to cozy up with some friendly talk and brightly colored nail polish. On occasion, we’ll thrown in a movie to make the boys wandering by feel welcome, though none can bear the smell of nail beautification polish long enough to stop in for a hello; though the fear of a feminine ambush may be what’s keeping them at bay…

Somehow, despite the noticeable lack of testosterone and funky smelling furniture that an open window just can’t sort out, I still manage to have a rockin’ time. I’ve boosted my self esteem, I’ve visually and creatively expressed my mood, and I’ve found a way to bond with the girls around me despite having no opinion to offer on whatever popular shows are playing on MTV.

I truly hope that when I get older/get money/get a place to live I host people at my home in a fashion similar to Manicure Monday, hopefully extenuating the bonding aspect of get-togethers and minimizing the smell of chemicals that we’ve grown accustomed to from nail polish.

While away at college it seems almost too easy to make and retain friends. Aside from bouts of essays and finals, all of the people I care to spend time with are easily and readily accessible to me. And I know that won’t always be the case. I really hope that I make a sincere effort in the future to host murder mystery parties, football extravaganzas, and random board game nights, to keep the spirit of life and friendship alive and kickin’.

With our 70’s furniture, I seem to live in the past. With my longing for murder mystery parties, I seem to dwell in the future. I need to stop wishing the present away and simply commit to enjoying the time at hand, mostly, at my freshly manicured hand.

By Chance, Do You Have a Time Machine That I Could Borrow?

Almost three years ago today, I was crying; downright sobbing for my Mommy and Daddy to come and rescue me from this bad bad place, and hardly breathing for fear of the unknown and the change that was now undeniably upon me. Three years ago was my first day of college here at the University of Maryland.

And now, on this anniversary of my sob-fest, my eyes are once more glossing over with tears. Because I realize that these wonderful times at my university have almost come to an end. And there is nothing I can do to get those years back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I would give to return to freshman year and reassure myself that I would find a best friend in my roommate, despite her quirky way of singing Glee and her affinity for warm room temperatures. I would tell myself that it’s OK to step out of my comfort zone, because it’s the only way in the entire world to meet new people and define yourself. Also, you know how you’ve lost a significant amount of weight for the first time in your life? KEEP IT THAT WAY AT ALL COSTS, I HAVE SEEN YOUR FUTURE AND YOUR FUTURE IS PIZZA! I would also tell freshman Katy that no one needs to study that hard for a freshman Bio class, the classes get harder, enjoy the easy ones while you’ve got em’.

IMG_0903Of course I would let sophomore-self in on some information too. I would strongly suggest making friends with the girl living next door, as she won’t be returning for a senior year. You know that job you’re considering taking at the ice cream stand? It’ll lead you towards great and silly friends, but for the love of all things UMD, don’t eat so much ice cream! (though kudos on slowing down with the pizza). Do something you bump on a log! Make an effort in more than your studies, don’t forget to live and smile and laugh and keep those tears hidden because you still miss your cat.

IMG_2058I don’t know if my present self would do so much talking junior year. The first semester, I may encourage past Katy to hit the gym every now and again, but mostly, I’d sit back and smile watching me discover my love of university soccer, find my passion for spreading awareness of domestic violence, get involved in the department of resident life and dining services, and create lasting and meaningful friendships. But I would definitely plant the idea of creating a stupendous and life-altering blog that has the possibility to reach out and touch the lives of hundreds of people, instead of scribbling on this snot rag of a journal.

[This time machine business is all assuming, of course, that if I went back in time I would find a way to reach out to my past self in a way that doesn’t interfear with the space-time continuum and cause catastrophic doom to myself and the planet as a whole. But, as I’ve passed Comm 400, I’m sure that I can manage time travel.]

As far as my last semesters go, I would absolutely love to take a trip into the future to see what awaits my senior year. Personally, I hope it involves being actively engaged in the campus community, constant exercise, a winning soccer team, a plan for my future career, a successful Terp Thon, and time spent hanging out with both old and new friends. Oh, and also good grades if I’ve got some free time on my hands.

Though, before I turn in my time machine, I’d like to take it for a spin back to my high school days to impart some wisdom onto teenage Katy. First words of wisdom, regarding that boy you’ve got a crush on…

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.

Pals of the Pen

I’ve always wanted a pen pal.

Ever since I was young, I’ve held an affinity for writing and a passion for connecting with other people.

The fact that we sit in traffic almost each and every day next to hundreds of people whose lives we will never know, whose circumstances we can only begin to imagine, whose hopes, dreams, and aspirations are a complete mystery to us but are also familiarly reflected in our own lives, is a truly unbelievable occurrence.

world with peopleThere are so many people in this world, and I’ve long harbored the dream to connect with those that I wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to meet. I always knew that it would be difficult to travel, and I thought that just by communicating with someone via letter, I could experience their world and live their reality. I wouldn’t have to wonder any longer what the 60 year old woman in the green Honda liked to sing to on the radio, or who the 18 year old boy was talking to with a smile on his face.

I’ve never actually had a pen pal, but this blog is getting pretty darn close to fulfilling that dream of mine. Through this post, these pieces, this site, I’ve shared my world and connected with others from all different walks of life.

I know that when I publish this post, it’ll be just like mailing a letter to my long-standing pen pal, humanity.blank letter

Murder, Mystery, Merriment

Aren't we twisted? We're smiling while our manager lays dead!

Aren’t we twisted? We’re smiling while our manager lays dead!

Over the weekend my friends joined together to celebrate summer and the murder of Bobby Ray, our manager at Wal-Mart who was found stabbed to death in the rafters of the supply room.

DSCN0833DSCN0832We examined clues, made outrageous accusations, dined on a delicious meal, and dressed in our Wal-Mart best while giggling out rhyming lines.

The aging secondary cashier, Carl Crone was having a secret affair with Wilma Beef, the deli manager. Bob Cat was drunkenly operating the forklift and continued to slur in his southern drawl. Paul Pitts (a role stunningly portrayed by your very own author) took out a million dollar life insurance policy on Bobby Ray who she was set to marry. Even newly employed Jose was living in Taylor the pharmacist’s shed!

Intrigue and suspicion plagued us throughout night. Until in a shocking twist of fate, it was revealed that the murderer was Paula Pitts!

I didn’t even suspect myself! It seemed that I had committed the perfect crime if even I was unaware that the murderous sin was conducted by me! Stupidly, when I signed the life insurance policy as Bobby Ray, my handwriting was a dead giveaway as to my future actions.

signatures of paula and bobby ray

Next time, I’ll be the one writing out the murder mystery, and rest assured, I will seek my vengeance on all of the coworkers who contributed to my new life in prison.

A Balancing Act I Don’t Intend to Lose

Come fall, I’m going to be a senior in college.

That means only one more year until I am thrust out into the real world and must find a job in order to keep my head above water. I’ve got to study harder, work longer, and put a serious and immediate effort into my career search.

Come fall, I’m going to be a senior in college.

That means only one more year that I get to spend at the place where I’ve had the best experiences of my life. I’ve got to goof around with my friends while they’re a constant presence in my life, attend UMD activities and sporting events that I’ve grown to love, and take the time to enjoy my classes.

This summer I have two unpaid part-time internships. I love both of them and they are a brilliant and consuming feature of my day. With these internships I am securing a future for myself and fostering a self-sustainable lifestyle outside of school.

This summer I have friends that I’ve made plans with. All of these plans fall on the weekend where I can horseback ride, visit Hershey Park, act out in a murder mystery dinner, and reconnect and baseball games. With these activities I am placing an unmistakable value on friendship and my personal commitment to those close to me.

I feel like this summer is going to determine the course of my life, how things play out for my senior year and beyond. If I can find a way to balance personal relationships and work (a feat that not many can successfully accomplish) I know that nothing can stand in the way of my happiness. But if I let one side overtake the other (as has happened to me in the past), I won’t be happy with how things turn out.

I’m nervous to see how things will progress, but I’m hopeful that it will be in my favor.

beautiful quote about the future

P.S.   Where my healthy lifestyle fits into this is anyone’s guess. Feel free to listen to me gripe about it HERE.