The 5 best feelings

One of the blogs I came across a little while ago listed her 5 favorite feelings.  I’ve been a little down in the dumps this weekend since I found out I’m having surgery on Tuesday, but thinking of these made me feel way better!  

  1. Riding down a hill on my bike as fast as I can
  2. Performing with my friends with 80 brass players wailing behind me
  3. Going for a night run the first day of the year that it’s warm, and laying on the ground afterwards looking at the stars
  4. Hearing a new piece of music that gets you so excited that you can’t sit still
  5. Running around like crazy outside, rolling down hills, and mountain climbing with my dad when the weather gets nice

I don’t do nearly enough of these things on a regular basis.  Hopefully this year I get to spend a lot more time outside!   What would be on your list?

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Spring?

This time of year I always can’t wait for the weather to warm up and the sun to come back out.  I think it’s a little stupid to call it “Spring Semester” when it’s winter until halfway through.  But this semester I have a lot to look forward to!

  • I’m taking some cool classes.  I’ll be teaching at an elementary school with some of my peers, learning to play brass instruments, and hopefully studying conducting with one of my musical idols.  I get to learn a little guitar, and I might take a class on national security learn about teaching general music. Also, I’ll be back in a choir for the first time in about 8 years!  
  • I’m giving my first recital.  Hopefully I’m ready!
  • I have a gym buddy.  I’ve been doing great about exercising this year so far, so hopefully I keep that up.
  • I’m back in my apartment!
  • I’m going to play some cool music this semester, and hopefully go to some neat concerts!

School starts next Wednesday, so in the meantime I’m practicing, working out, sleeping a lot, and finishing up my winter online class.  It’ll be so nice to have a real schedule again!

Friends and Family

Every year that I can remember, my dad, brother and I have gone to Texas for Christmas to spend with family.  It’s always one of the highlights of my year.  My family at home is small and somewhat dysfunctional, but my extended family is large and very close. I have about a dozen cousins ranging in age from 9 months to 28 years, aunts, uncles, in-laws (who are all great!), great-aunts and -uncles, and grandparents.  We used to meet in the small town of Abilene at my grandparents house, but now meet at an uncle’s for our annual gift exchange.  Watching the Cowboys lose :[, playing boardgames, getting clobbered at capture the flag or seven on a line, seeing who could eat the most mashed potatoes are all things that have been a part of my life forever and I never want to lose (if all of my uncles can still play balderdash for hours, then so can everyone else).  On the other side of my family, even though it is very small and lives much farther away, I don’t know what I would do without them. I am so thankful that they all always have my back through the tough times, and know how to make me laugh and smile better than anyone else.  They were infinitely more supportive than I could have imagined this year.

I learned a lot about friendship this semester, too.  There was a rather desperate point around my birthday when I realized how slim my circle of friends had become, but then I realized how much better it is that way.  I would so much rather have a couple of friends who really know and care about each other, than a lot of acquaintances and people who are just looking for more cookie cutter friends.  It’s always crazy to me that I’ve had the same best friend for 10 years now, and I am so lucky.  Even though there are some semesters where we only see each other once a week, if that, we still know everything about each other.  She always takes the time to hear me out, and when I have a problem, she always sticks with me.  She’s an encourager – she builds me up, and when I make a mistake (like the huge one that came to a point this semester), rather than deciding I wasn’t worth her time, she helped me figure out a solution to make me a better person.  Real friends don’t jump ship when hard times come by, they wait out the storm and know that their friend will do the same for them.  Others will come and go, but these friends last – cherish them! Everyone deserves someone like this in their life, and I hope someday I can be just as positive a friend as Kayla is.

Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I posted!  I didn’t write last semester because I didn’t feel like I’d made any progress, and looking back, my last few posts were not so happy either.  But it’s a new year, and I can say now that I grew more as a person in this last month than I have in a very long time.  I did some things that I’m not proud of, but I am very proud that I’ve done a lot in the last month to make some important changes, work which I plan on continuing. An early start on my resolutions, we can say.  So here they are, for 2013 :

1.  Be honest.  Did you know the average person tells 2-3 lies per minute?  I tell about that or more :/ This is hard because I had to first figure out exactly when I was dishonest.  But now that I have some triggers pinpointed, I can keep myself in check and break this bad habit.  For example, I realized that I feel awkward when I talk to an acquaintance who I want to like me, so  I try to make myself more relatable by being fake (insecure much?). And there are many other instances that I need to reel back in.  So right now, I’m working on not saying anything at all if I feel the urge to make something up.  Hopefully this will help me to be trustworthy.

2. Be a better friend/family member.  This goes along with being honest, but I also need to gossip less. Like being fake, I do it when I feel uncomfortable or like I don’t belong, but that’s no excuse.  And I need to be there for the important people in my life.  I was even more high maintenance this year than usual, and I need to show my appreciation for the wonderful family and friends who took great care of me this year.

3. Practice more. And by that I mean every day, 21 hours a week. I realize there are going to be days when I only get in an hour because of classes and work, but I need to make up for it on weekends or easy days.  Taking a day off is like starting over.

4. Take care of my health. This year was miserable, but if I focus on eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep, then I’ll know I’ve done everything in my power to stay in control and it will save me stress and worry.

5. Do something worthwhile this summer. Probably getting a job at a local music store… I need $$$.  But maybe I’ll be a camp counselor or volunteer on the side.

I’m excited to get started!  Good luck and happy New Year, everyone!

One more little thing…

… I have mono.  Thank you, doctors, for realizing this two months after I caught it.  Thank you for informing me that I may feel fatigued, drowsy, achy, not hungry, and generally weak and ill.  I HAVE ALREADY FELT ALL OF THESE THINGS FOR TWO MONTHS.  Thank you, mono, for completely ruining my treatment plan and making me scrap the new medicines I was going to try for the uc and ee.

I’m pretty upset about this because school starts in about a month.  I’m supposed to move into my apartment in three weeks and classes start the week after that.  This semester is really important, because not only did I plan on taking 22 credits, I need to start preparing seriously for my recital.  However, my normal day now consists of waking up tired, walking down the stairs, resting on the couch for up to an hour because the walk made me tired, eating even though I don’t want to, reading or watching TV, taking a three hour nap, eating, maybe trying to go for a walk, and then going to bed feeling exhausted.

Obviously this lifestyle will not float on a school day, but there’s nothing I can do about it – the doctors told me to “rest’.  So I have three weeks to get completely better and no treatments available.  This is majorly stressing me out.

 People are starting to pressure me to take the semester off, but I really can’t afford that because I would lose my apartment and it might affect my scholarship.  Also, I am SO BORED of just sitting at home doing nothing!  I want to have friends again and things to do.

In other news, my family got confused about the seasons this week because all of our pumpkins from the garden were ready, and my mom decided to bake chocolate peppermint cookies.  They weren’t gluten free but they were really pretty, and I thought they would cheer up this angry post a bit.

Also, now that I have mono I can’t go help out the Crossmen for the last week of their tour like I’d been planning on.  I feel like such a disappointment.

This isn’t a cookie, but I made honey turkey legs with potatoes and tomatos and they turned out quite good!

This isn’t a cookie either; it’s a headdress Lilly made at camp. We think it’s pretty cool and Nick has already claimed it for Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, the cutest flowers I have ever received, from my teacher Tony. He’s so sweet! This really made one of my terrible days a lot smilier.

 

MORE allergies!

I had my third doctor’s appoinment on Tuesday, this time with my allergist.  She’s a very nice lady who very strangely has a lot of pictures on her desk of people that I swear I know. It was like really weird deja vu.  After pricking me a hundred times, they decided that I’m allergic to all trees, grass, ragweed, dust (all things I knew), and …….. cats.  I had a HUGE hive on the cats prick, which is weird because I’ve definitely been around cats with no adverse effects.  (To prove it, Thursday, when I was at my BFF Kayla’s house, I practically cuddled with her cat and nothing happened.  So I’m skeptical.)

The rest of the results were determined inconclusive, so I have to go back three times next week, so they can glue disks of food allergens to my body for 48 hours and see if I break out, I guess. Doesn’t that sound lovely?

UPDATE:   The patch testing was pretty awful because I couldn’t sleep on my back or shower or sweat for 3 days, and, of course, it was inconclusive.  Just my luck.

Ow…..

In other news, dad and I are stripping wall paper in his living room and are now experts.  It only took us about 5 hours to really get the hang of it.  Up next we’re sanding and painting.  Dad doesn’t know this yet but after that I’m redecorating – he put tigerwood flooring down himself a couple years ago, which is cool, but doesn’t go with any of his 25 year old brown la-z-boys.  So I’m going to get a nice throw rug and convince him to buy a couch that’s not completely hideous.

Yes. Of all the tigerwood patterns out there, he chose this one. For our living room floor.

Our whole house is REALLY UGLY, so this is going to be a big project and take forever, but that’s ok.  Dad’s been talking about moving to Texas in four years when Nick is done with his undergrad, and it’s going to take me about four years to get his house in any condition to sell.  It doesn’t help that about once a year, Dad will do something crazy, like pain the foyer bright yellow.  You’re thinking, it’s probably not that bright, but really it is. It was the brightest yellow paint he could find at home depot. A lady from our church walked into our house and said “It’s like a slap in the face!”  Pretty accurate.  To make it worse, he bordered it with bright orange and Hershey’s chocolate brown.  So our house looks like a Charlie Brown theme park when you walk in.  I see that you don’t believe me so I’ll post a picture soon.

Allergens

Thursday, I went to see my GI – always thrilling.  She’s really nice, and was all hugs when I got there.  Unfortunately she doesn’t think my medicine is working right, so she’s upping the dosage, and possibly adding a steroid.  I think I’m already having enough side effects, so we’re looking at some things that are a little less abrasive, but there aren’t a lot of choices.  She also dropped the tiny little bomb that they can’t rule out Crohn’s yet….. oh.  Thanks for telling me.

I’m going to see an allergist early next week to see if they can figure out what’s causing my EE.  I never thought that I would hope to be allergic to something, but it’ll be so much easier to just avoid, say gluten (wouldn’t that be convenient) rather than continue to not know what’s wrong.  In the meantime, I had to stop taking my daily antihistamine (I KNOW that I have severe seasonal allergies) until the appointment, and I can’t stop SneezingCoughingBlowingmynoseSniffing.  It’s sad.  I couldn’t sleep, and now I have a terrible sinus headache to go with the fatigue. UGHHH why does none of my body work properly!!!!!

In other news, I finally got a new phone case!  Many of you know that I have spent the last year and a half shredding my old one… no matter how many times I dropped that ugly insipio case and a piece of it broke off, my phone never broke. But this time I decided that I’d rather it be cute:

And it matches my nails right now. How charming.

Hopefully this weekend isn’t as miserable as it appears!

Bones

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The past few days have really been a roller coaster of emotions – cliche but unfortunately true.  My stomach’s been hurting extra bad and I found out I can’t have a lot of foods, including juice, anymore.  Juice is a big part of afternoon happiness for me, so finding out that someone else has to drink the gallon of cranberry apple and two gallons of grapefruit juice that I just put in the fridge makes me pretty sad.  Also, my family had (is having) a big fight over an issue that has been going on for 4 days, and I’m sick of it.  I just want to get out of the house, but I have close to nowhere to go.

Saturday morning, I successfully made chocolate chip pancakes!  I am so proud of myself.

Real gluten-free pancakes!

Mom had a great idea…

Dessert for breakfast!

Then my mom and I went shopping for “teacher clothes” at the Limited outlet. I can’t wait to have a real job so I can dress nicely every day!

That evening, I went to Historic Ellicott City, Maryland so that Erin and I could visit the Bean Hollow, a super cute coffee and sandwich joint.  Erin’s old friend from Starbucks works there, and they had a good time catching up.

Erin’s friend does latte art!

We’re obsessed and we can’t wait to go back.  Afterwards, we walked up and down the historic street looking at antique shops.

Sorry, Erin. These pictures were just too good to leave out. 😛

Sunday, I decided to go to a drum corps show with my dad in Chambersburg, PA.  As you know, I had to leave tour due to illness, so I was kind of nervous about how I would feel.  I’m naturally a jealous person, but I’ve tried really hard not to be bitter about it.  Of course, that’s kind of hard when they’re now placing better than they have in 6 years, but overall I think I have the right attitude.  I was really excited to see Buck and Jules, my favorite pit techs, Nick, who is aging out on vibes (we would have gotten to stand together for 2 years in a row :[ ), and Chris, who aged out on vibes last year but now works on the souvenir truck. I surprised the Bones pit in their warmup lot, and they played some of their ensemble tunes for me.

I was really excited to see the show, and it was wonderful!  This year, it’s called “Fragile”, and in true Crossmen tradition it’s about the earth.  Once they fix a few things in the closer it’ll be really powerful!

I also saw Carolina Crown, whose show is “For the Greater Good”.  It’s really clean and entertaining, and definitely has a chance at winning.

Carolina Crown moves too fast for me to get a decent picture, I guess!

Last up was the Cadets, performing “12.25″.  The entire drum corps world had doubts about a Christmas-themed show, and it turns out the entire drum corps world was right.  It was boring, cheesy, too glittery, and you can only play so many arrangements of Carol of the Bells before everyone wants to strangle you.  And at the end of the night, it was Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” from Carolina Crown stuck in my head, not Christmas music.  Better luck next year, Cadets.

Cadets, in their starting formation… a snowflake.

I’m definitely glad I went.  I know who my real friends are and it was great to cheer for them, since I know they do the same for me.  Go Bones!

Happy Fourth!

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Today is the first 4th of July in three years that I haven’t marched in numerous parades.  It felt really weird!  Instead, I made gluten-free pancakes with my mom – or tried to.  Here was my attempt:

We decided the issue was using canola oil instead of spray for the pan, and too many chocolate chips.  Mom tried next, with much more success:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was perfect – I’m so jealous of her skills!  We’re not sure how we feel about this batter, though – it’s really potato-y.  It kind of tasted like a latke, which is fine, just weird.  It was the Bisquik brand, so next time we’re going to try making biscuits with it instead of pancakes.

 

I wasn’t the only one who had a kitchen disaster today… Nick tried grilling for the first time, and his fish ended up looking like this:

Oops.  A little overdone, and they kind of fell apart.  His burgers tasted great though! It’s probably for the best that we didn’t try grilling that corn last week… 😛

For the rest of the afternoon, we played games and watched the capital fourth, where most of my teachers played with the NSO.  Right now, I’m supposed to be (surprise!!!) studying for my final exam tomorrow, and I kind of have already started!  Go me!  x.x

On holidays, I always like to think about what I’m thankful for (even if it isn’t Thanksgiving).  I feel like once a year isn’t really enough.  So here are 4 things that I am particularly grateful for today.

1. My parents.  I’ve finally grown up enough to not only appreciate them, but really enjoy spending time with them.  I adore playing games, watching movies, shopping, trying to cook, and debating (arguing?) about philosophy with my mom.  I love biking and playing Frisbee, driving around, going out to eat (and being super regulars – more on that in another post), people watching, watching sports, and not talking but having a wonderful time with my dad – we have such a great relationship and we understand each other so well (even though he says about 1,000 words a day and I say about 10,000).  They’re the coolest, and I love that I don’t always have to share them, and they don’t always have to share me.

2. My brother. Nick is the one constant in my life, the one cheerful face at the end of every day, and the one who can annoy me the most because he keeps me humble.  I’m so glad we’re going to school together again this fall.

3. My intelligence.  I’m smart, which makes up for my awkwardness and completely average looks.  As my mom always says, ‘it’s better to be smart than beautiful’.  I feel so unique.  And I’m acing my Ad. Psych. class right now, which makes me feel pretty good. :]

4. My health.  Let’s be honest, my health kind of sucks.  But it could be a lot worse.  I could have cancer, a deadly flesh eating virus, or Parkinson’s, but I don’t.  I have ulcerative colitis, epidermolysis bullosa simplex, and eosinophilic esophagitis.  I have some good days and more bad days; I’m exhausted and irritable and I’m in pain a lot.  But these are things that I can live with, even if I have to deal with them for the rest of my life. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, to overcome the pain, defeat the anxiety and the depression that have come back with the new diagnoses, and to find motivation to do anything, even eating and sleeping and reading, which are all things I love.  I’m still not doing a great job with any of these things. Most days I wish I had never woken up because my stomach hurts so bad and my medicine makes me groggy and stuffy.  But slowly I will figure this out and I will be SO MUCH STRONGER because of it.  I’m learning how to fight, right here.  My poor health is teaching me to be the better person – to appreciate what I have and fight for what I don’t.

Happy Fourth, everyone! What are you grateful for?

le weekend

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I did a lot of things this weekend!  Since I love lists, I’ll make one about it.

1.  On Saturday, I saw Pixar’s Brave with Lilly, Nick, and 3 of Lilly’s cute friends from school.  It was excellent!  It was cute and funny and scary and paced perfectly.  Even Nick liked it!  The music and graphics were great and all the characters were so lovable.   We’re making my mom buy that one on DVD when it comes out!  Afterwards, we all went to Uno’s for pizza and cupcakes (I had shrimp).

 

2. My mom and I went to Pier One Imports after Lilly’s party to avoid hanging out with a bunch of hyper 11-year-olds to look for stuff for my apartment next year.  We got some really cute ideas for shelving and wall coverage (I hate white walls), and bought some cute curtains!  They have elephants on them, and I love them.  Now I just need to find bedding that I like to go with them, which has so far proved impossible (I am extremely picky about interior decorating).

Yay!

2.  Erin and I went to Maiwand Kabob, the best Afghan restaurant in Columbia, for dinner on Sunday. I’ve kind of made it my mission to introduce all my friends to Maiwand Kabob – it’s just too good! It was really nice to see Erin and catch up in person, even though I pretty much talked her ear off the whole time.

3. I played Frisbee for an hour with my dad Sunday evening at Blandair park. We had so much fun – I was pretty bad but it turns out that I’m actually just a right handed frisbee thrower, even though I catch (and do everything else) left handed.  Our game improved significantly when I figured that out.  Dad is really good, so we got a pretty good workout running all over the soccer field.

4.  Monday morning, instead of reading for class, I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it – it’s short, and you can probably read it in about 2 or 3 hours.  It kind of made me sad because it made me remember all the things I hated about middle and high school, and in retrospect I was (and still am) so much like Charlie.  It’s so entrancing, though, that you can’t hate it.  Everyone go buy a copy.  Incidentally, the movie is coming out this year, and it’s directed by the author.  And Emma Watson is Sam.  So it’ll probably be worth seeing.

 

5.  Nick and I won tickets from the Baltimore Sun to see the premier of The Amazing Spider-man last night at 7 pm!  I loved it!  Now, I am an avid superhero fan, and I have seen the first trilogy of Spiderman numerous times, and I love all three.  But this was so great.  It was so different, and it was so nice to not see Tobey Macguire’s face in every scene.  In fact, I loved Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker.  He was adorable, and so awkward in the most perfect way.  He seemed so much more like a real teenager than Tobey ever did, and he was hilarious.  He actually reminded me a lot of Nick, and not just because he skates. He was just so goofy and not too hunky and I loved it.  Emma Stone was a different story. I’ve never liked her in a movie before, and although I didn’t hate her here, she didn’t do anything special.  She was just another shallow girlfriend, even though she was “top of her class” and “super smart” and “funny”, she didn’t really have much personality.  Her part wasn’t nearly as big or as consequential as Mary Jane’s, but I’m fine with that.  Oh yeah – the graphics.  WOW!! I saw it in 3D, which I normally think is overrated, but this was really well done.  And it was so much more emotionally fulfilling than the previous movies.  I really almost cried when… haha I won’t spoil it for you.  But really, it’s great.  I kinda wish I had seen it with a boy who wasn’t my brother, like Eric or someone, because it would definitely be a good date movie, and I kind of wanted to hold somebody’s hand the whole time.  Go see it.

So that was my weekend!  No power outages, no stress, just good times. How often do those come around?