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.

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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 Early Bird Gets the Sleep

I go to college. I hang with friends. I get homework done. I go to clubs and events. And I get a full eight hours of sleep each and every night.

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Garfield really represents a lot of my interests

I’ve often felt that I need three things out of life:

  1. A complete and completely delicious breakfast.
  2. My cat and a camera with which to take pictures of my cat.
  3. Enough sleep.

No matter what it is that I’m working on that day, I always find time to get the necessities out of the way so that when it comes to bedtime around 11 pm (outlandishly early for a rockin’ college kid, I know), I’m free to hit the hay and end the day. Some people can go on three hours of power naps, a can of Red Bull, and the sheer desire to outsmart mother nature. I am not that person. I am the person who cozies up in bed with bright tie dye covers and a pillow as fluffy as the cats I envision jumping over a fence.

While I may miss out on some parties, I never feel as though I’m missing out on a crucial college experience, as I plan my life in the daylight hours. Pretty revolutionary, right?

Yes, I go to bed early, but the relaxation and happiness that I’m granted as a result of my delightful night’s sleep is worth ten times as much as the drunken stories of arrest and evasion that most kids have to show for their early morning hours.

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…

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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Fast Cars and Family

We make it a point in our lives to hang out with friends. We always try to fit in that newest episode of The Big Bang Theory. And there is rarely a time in our lives when we opt out of the opportunity to take a vacation or road trip down to Kings Dominion.

We place such high priorities on so many silly things in our lives, and yet, family isn’t always very high on that list of things we simply must make time for.

I personally try to make a specific and conscious effort to say yes to life, and yet, I have no problem saying no to my family. Somehow, they have been excluded from my life’s aims. They are just the people whose home I share. The people whom I summarize all of my other adventures to. The people whom I just assume will be patiently awaiting my phone call or visit.

I take them for granted.

And I shouldn’t.

My family means so much to me. Having them around brightens up my day, maps my future, and enlivens my past. I am so grateful for (almost) every interaction that I have with them. And I need to start actively engaging them in my life instead of passively relating to them.

That’s why when my Dad asked me if I’d like to stop by a car show with him and my brother, I gave him a definite and resounding yes.

Yes, I would like to spend time with my father and brother and make memories that involve more than just arguments about the cleanliness of the house. Even if the only thing that I get out of this adventure is looking at some handsome cars with my family, count me in.

So when you look through these pictures, know that yes, they are simply pictures of cars; but the photographer is not simply a photographer, she is more of a daughter and more of a sister than she has been in a long while.

A Pescetarian Proposition

I don’t have any qualms about smushing a spider if it sneaks up on me in the house, but on the whole I’d say that I was an animal lover. I actually think that you’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t, what with puggles (an adorable mix between a pug and beagle) gracing the world with their cuteness.

puggle

Just recently, it was pointed out to me in a randomly life-altering article that if you wouldn’t eat your cat, why eat a chicken, or a pig, or a cow. What makes the life of a pig so different from that of a cat? Pigs are just as personable, fairly intelligent, and their oinks sound just as adorable as a soft little meow. I know that this may seems silly to some, as the differences are abundantly clear to a good portion of the population, but for me, this realization was devastating. In one brief comment, I saw that all animals lives (except perhaps spiders) were worth the exact same and were worthy of the exact same protection.

cute animals

I don’t really eat a lot of meat to begin with. I once went 2 years without eating pork, I don’t have a taste for steak, I enjoy veggie burgers, and chicken is simply an addition to many meals that can be substituted out.  For me, becoming a vegetarian would be fairly easy (though more challenging once I return to UMD). Fish/seafood, however, is not something that I could see myself giving up, both due to the particular way my mouth waters when I see it, and its nutrient content.

When it comes down to it, there are tons of reasons WHY becoming a pescetarian would suit my lifestyle:

  • Because it’s healthier
  • Because it increases energy levels
  • Because it saves money
  • Because it’s better for the planet
  • Because it’s an easy transition for me
  • Because all animals deserve to be treated humanely

But mostly, it’s the fact that if we hadn’t domesticated certain animals, they could be on our menu too. And I just couldn’t bear the thought of someone eating my cat instead of brushing her fur.

cat vs. chick

Animals are not food. They are animals. And as animals, they deserve to be loved and petted and adored and have cute and smile-inducing pictures of themselves taken. No exceptions.

snuggly pigs

An Ode to Swimming Pools

Please enjoy this silly little poem about how in love I am with swimming pools.

Swimming pools, oh swimming pools, what to even say?

The way I anticipate your cooling embrace all throughout the day.

It gives me chills to think of you and you light a certain spark.

Especially when I jump in and see your inflatable blow-up shark.

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My affinity for swimming pools runs deeper than an in-ground.

Especially when I noticed all the bugs you’ve sweetly drowned.

Though our time together is brief, I cherish your blue waters,

The only thing you could improve, is if you were filled with otters.

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For the joy you bring to me, swimming pool, I will always yearn,

Even when I must leave you, because your owners have returned.

Terp Thon: Dancing for the Greater Good

Last spring, I danced, laughed, cried, took pictures, sang to 90’s music, won a raffle, met the UMD soccer team, and realized how truly blessed I am. Last spring, I participated in Terp Thon, an event hosted by the University of Maryland where students pledge to remain standing (but mostly dancing) for 12 hours straight in order to raise money to benefit Children’s National Medical Center.

Last year, I signed up for this expecting to have a fun night dancing with my friends while taking some fun and colorful pictures.

This year, I’ve registered as a fully involved member on the Events committee who is dedicated to ensuring that the children and families Children’s National helps are further sustained by our fundraising efforts.

(For a full list of how revolutionary and life changing this event was for me, check out my post from last March.)

I guess over the summer I’ve forgotten how much I love helping others, and I haven’t really volunteered my time to help those in need. But, now that I’m registered for this year’s Terp Thon, I’ve recommitted myself to service and helping children put a smile on their face.

389781_10151579696395695_2051817362_n (1)I don’t think I could ever again be involved in something quite as meaningful and revolutionary as Terp Thon, and I am absolutely thrilled to continue my fundraising efforts and shake my tail feather on that dance floor one last time during my senior year of college.

That being said, *cough* you knew this was coming *cough*, if anyone would like to donate, my new and shiny donor page (with a rather lofty donation goal) is listed HERE. All I’m asking for is a dollar or two, just enough to make you realize that you’ve contributed to drastically improving someone’s life. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday.

Last year we raised over $300,000, and I'm just asking for a donation of a dollar or two

Last year we raised over $300,000 for the most inspirational kids you’ve ever met

But even better than a donation, would be a pledge to help out someone in your local community. Donate your time and efforts to a cause that you really care about, and you’re bound to make a difference.

I know that it’s easy to say you’ll get around to it, or that it’s a nice thought and you’ll do it later, but I mean right now. I’m telling you to Google volunteer opportunities near you, and actually and immediately follow through with them. You might be surprised the impact that it has on your life.

Because I was hooked on volunteering as soon as I saw the smile on Trevor’s face.

An Artscape Adventure

Every year, Baltimore, MD hosts America’s largest free arts festival, Artscape. If you can brave the heat and risk the rainy weather, you’re in for a treat and a day filled with presentations so astounding and innovative that you redefine your definition of art.

Instead of trying to do justice to the visually marvelous through mere text, I’m going to share my experience through picture and video. I’m no where near being an artist, so please forgive the camera and video quality and be sure to look for the meaning behind the screening.

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When asked what can heal our community

When asked what can heal our community: ( I wrote “enthusiasm”)

I helped pain this, can you tell?

I couldn’t believe that an event so unique had been frequenting my community for the past 30 years and I had never appreciated and experienced the artistic adventure. While some of the projects or performances were a bit trippy, I loved I only wish that I could have taken pictures of all the vendors’ shops and wares. I’d seen pictures sewn with yarn, a shockingly deep portrait of a deer, book pages fashioned into a hanging decoration, perfect woodworked animals, and concrete sculptures bursting with life.

Please, make an effort to plan your visit to Artscape either this year or next to experience emotion you’d long forgotten about. But, on the chance that you can’t make it into Baltimore, check out the local arts scene around you. It may be weird, it may be uncomfortable, it may be confusing, but if it makes you truly feel something within, then the art has served its purpose.