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.

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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

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.

sun in window

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.

Stress Out Day

DSCN0493Last week, UMD hosted a “Stress Out Day” on the mall to help students relax, unwind, and release their stress out into the wild where it can run free and uninhibited, while never again allowed to call the shelter of a college kid’s mind home. I decided to go to this event as an excuse to hang out with my long lost buddy, Kalin, and even though it was just a silly school event, it actually helped me step back from my life and relax.

I contort myself into a mess of limbs and grimaces each Wednesday, in what others affectionately call Yoga, to achieve the feeling of calm relaxation I’m granted at the end of every session. But I never thought I could achieve the same feeling through such a carnival-like atmosphere. The event boasted a corn hole game, a wall of aspirationsDSCN0487, free sunglasses, a coloring booth, puppies (which I arrived too late for), and even a raffle for an awesome t-shirt (which I won! only slightly making up for the lack of puppies).

At one station, we were asked to write the thing that stresses us out the most, then we were told to cross it out and write something that relaxes us when we are stressed. Kalin’s answer proves why we’re friends:

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My answers throw into question why people hang out with me:

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Walking around with Kalin, enjoying the weather, and taking a break from the daily rush of life gave me the peace that an hour locked in a smelly fitness class usually provides, and I am so grateful I got to experience this peace with my fellow Terps. I love when the world expresses a sense of community!

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Crossword Puzzles

I love to read, but that doesn’t always equate to knowing how to spell something, or having random tidbits of information floating about in my head. But, for years people always asked me if I did crossword puzzles, figuring anyone who would want to read must surely complete them in pen, in a leather armchair, in front of a roaring fireplace, wearing a silk robe and smoking a pipe. No, I just like to read books, I don’t read clues to answers I’ve never heard of.

But, about a year ago my boyfriend suggested we do one to relieve our fit of boredom, and I was shamed into acknowledging his computer engineering brain was much better suited to remember an okapi is a relative of the giraffe and an epee is a sword used for fighting, than my supposedly word-savvy mind. Even though his skills were far superior to mine, I found it surprisingly fun to try and think of what letters could be placed in those tiny boxes or glowing when I remember the first name of “famous jazz musician”. Plus, after you’ve been doing it for a while, you find that they reuse a lot of the clues. Aloe is surely always mentioned as a healing lotion, and if there is even a remote possibility they are referencing snakes, asps is surely the word they’re searching for. And the clues are more clue-like than just probing you for a term. Sometimes they are puns, sometimes they look for abbreviations and sometimes you don’t realize how clever they are until you luckily find the word that fits the description and have to pretend you understood their wit the whole time.

Now I do crosswords all the time and genuinely enjoy having to figure things out and learn for myself. IMG_1756Even though I do it on the USA Today website which tells you right away if your letter is wrong, I still feel like I’ve accomplished something when I’m finished (unless it’s one of those times where I go through every letter in the alphabet before it tells me I’ve found the right one). It’s just fun to try them out and see if I can improve my time, destress, or feel good about remembering where to use the term iota. Unfortunately, my boyfriend is still much better at them than me, but that doesn’t mean I love them any less.

Stress Drinking

I have a lot of midterms coming up. Yikes! In addition, I have two papers, a business proposal, and a website design due. Double yikes! And while trying to juggle all of my academic responsibilities I still have two jobs and a steady date with the gym. But, instead of shirking away from my responsibilities, I am facing them head on with a little help from what’s in my mug.

That’s right folks, I’ve been drinking hot chocolate and plenty of it. It’s the perfect thing to lighten my mood when I’m in the middle of a theory review, or need a boost to get through those last 20 pages of The House of Mirth. I love using lists to get my work done, but those lists just don’t give me the same satisfaction as a nice steamy cup of Swiss Miss hot chocolate, stirred smoothly, and topped off with a little skim milk so it’s enough to warm me, but not too hot as to burn a hole in my tongue  Even as winter begins to leave us, this is one treat I’m going to continue indulging in until the end of the semester. Because, what makes you happier than chocolate? Actually, I really don’t know…but if I find something, I’ll write a blog about it.

Mine never look as good as this...But I'm sure it tastes just as delicious!

Mine never look as good as this…But I’m sure they taste equally delicious!