Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Song To You

Today I was going to have a quote but then I read this, and it's too incredible for me to pass up in favor of a single line or two. So here it is.

Now usually, this is the point where I tell you about my life; where I say that I haven't been running because I've been under the weather or that I've been knitting and that I won NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row (and still working on it!), but I don't want to do that today.

I read that blog out of a whim when I saw a friend post it on facebook. And to be honest, it made me think.

Sadly, that author got some pretty accurate points in his post. And if you haven't read it by this point, go back and read it. All three pages. No I'm not kidding you. Because to be honest, I somehow understood what he was trying to say. And that's something that always puzzled me...how can people who consider themselves religious turn around and attack someone for being different? The majority of religions that I've seen or heard of all promote tolerance of others and loving those different from yourself.

I guess it hit home because I knew someone like that. We have since had a falling out and I haven't spoken with this person since high school, but I still remember. She was extremely religious (which was amusing when we had science classes together), but she seemed so opposed to those who held different beliefs than her or dressed differently.

I guess what bothered me the most was why people like that feel the need to attack others.

One of my best friends I've ever had is Buddhist.

Another one is atheist.

Still another is agnostic.

Still another is Christian.

Still another is Hindu.

But they're people. And that's what I loved about this guy's post; although he mainly deals with it surrounding homosexuals, the message is the same. It shouldn't matter if you're black, white, gay, straight, bisexual, a jock, a nerd, or polka-spotted. We're people, aren't we?

Just because you're different from me doesn't mean I love you less. My friends are like the world's craziest (and best) salad; everyone brings a different flavor and color to the mix and without them, it's just not the same. A good friend and I were chatting last night and he told me about this great date he had with a guy he knew. And you know what?

I was just as happy for him as if it were any one of my other friends.

And that's what bothered me and what I felt was pointed out in the post. The title really says it all..."I'm a Christian Unless You're Gay". Why should it matter?

Now, I was raised Catholic. I will never admit to being a great Catholic, but I believed in the core teachings. It all boils down to this for me: Be nice to others and accept everyone as they are. "Let he without sin cast the first stone" and all. Because honestly, nobody's perfect. We make mistakes and we learn from them.

Since coming to college I've made plenty of friends who are homosexual or bisexual. To me, that don't make a lick of difference; I like them for who they are. And when people have a problem with their lifestyle, I get bothered.

Why should love be regulated? It's unfair to say that just because I'm a woman and he's a man our relationship is accepted and tolerated by the majority of the world but because they're both women it's indecent. As far as I recall, nowhere in religious texts does it say that we are to deny love to anyone, nor are we to deny anyone the right to love who they will.

Sure, maybe that makes some people uncomfortable. But is giving two people permission to live their lives together going to hurt anyone else? Most likely not.

And I suppose this should have gone at the beginning of this little rant, I am not trying to offend anyone or push my views down your throats. I'm just trying to think about something that's been (and most likely will continue to be) a big issue for people today. And with that issue will come the strange sort of prejudices we see today.

"I'll be nice to you as long as you're the same as me."

But you know what the problem with that mentality is?

NOBODY IS THE SAME AS YOU. NOBODY. We are all different and beautiful and spectacular and fantastic and brilliant. So if you choose to follow that philosophy that you love people who are the same as you it's either going to be very lonely or you're friends with a bunch of good actors. Everyone has something weird about them. Some people like bad 90's pop music. Some people are secret lovers of anime. Some people are really good at lacrosse but never tell anyone. But nobody's exactly the same.

I write this from a very interesting position. I'm in college (and thusly know everything, right?), come from a nice, middle-class family in the suburbs. I don't know if I've ever been in a minority group that has been the subject of some of these prejudices. But that doesn't give me any sort of right to ignore what they're going through. It doesn't give me the right to ignore it, since ignoring it would be perpetuating the problem. But at the same time, that same position doesn't give me the authority to speak on behalf of these people.

So this whole long freakin' post you've just read is my thoughts. Only my opinion on what I thought was a very compelling and moving blog post.

And considering my last blog post was about food, I feel like I've balanced out the seriousness between the two. So you can disagree with me or agree with me or not give a damn, but you know what? I don't particularly mind.

I like you for who you are. We can agree to disagree.

Song of the Day: Winter Song by Ingrid Michaelson with Sara Bareilles

<3 Erin

Monday, October 31, 2011

FOOD

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. —--Harriet Van Horne

Well, this weekend has been busy with swing and Halloween and all. I'm currently writing this dressed as the 11th Doctor, played by Matt Smith, from Doctor Who. Yaay British TV!

But yes, I'm taking the time to say hello to ya'll! And as a gift to all of you, I have not candy, but my own recipes that I've concocted. Feel free to try them out and for the ones labeled IN BETA MODE, please let me know what you did different if you did and offer suggestions or other comments.

Heaven help us all.

Garbage Brownies

1 box brownie mix (any will do, I use Ghiardeli’s double chocolate chip)
1 bag caramels
¼- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 bag pretzels
1 bag nuts (any will do, optional)

Prepare brownie mix according to box directions. Pour half the batter into a greased 9x13 pan, bake for half recommended time for full batch. While they are cooking, combine caramels with sweetened condensed milk and melt. Remove brownies; pour half the caramel over brownies. Crush pretzels/nuts over caramel until there is an even coating. Pour rest of brownie mixture, cook for other half of time. When done, pour remaining caramel over the top and garnish with crushed pretzels/nuts. Let cool.

Epic Cookie Time

1 bag mini chocolate chips (I use Toll House since they have a good cookie recipe on the bag)
1 bag mini marshmallows
2 packs almond bark (one white chocolate, the other milk/dark)

Prepare cookie dough according to recipe on bag or your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. When cookie dough is ready, make balls with mini marshmallows at center. This part WILL be messy. Place on cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes. DO NOT LET THESE COOKIES GET CRISPY. Let cool, although I highly recommend putting them into the freezer. While they are cooling, melt the almond bark in separate bowls. Start with only a few squares, you can melt more if you need to. Once cookies are cool, dip them in the chocolate as you see fit. I have found that dipping half the cookies in the chocolate of your choosing works well if you don’t want to overload. If you don’t mind chocolate, try completely immersing the cookie in your favorite chocolate, then drizzling with the other chocolate.

THIS RECEPIE IS IN BETA MODE AND NEEDS TESTING
*** Erin's Reccomendation: Try almond bark instead of chocolate chips? Also, experiment with different doughs.

Ernie

½ gallon favorite ice cream (simple flavors such as vanilla or chocolate work best)
1 pack favorite cookies (I prefer oreos but any can be used)
Assorted toppings
1 stick butter, melted

Place between 28-30 cookies in a plastic bag and crush. If you don’t have enough to cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan, add more. Once cookies are crushed, pour in melted butter and shake until cookies have been coated. Spread this mixture at the bottom of a 9x13 pan, let freeze for 30 min. Remove from freezer and spread ice cream over crust. From here it’s a matter of preference as to what you want to add. I’ve used chocolate sauce, m&m’s, oreo crumbs…but it really depends on what you’re going for. Let freeze for an hour, then serve.


HEYOOOO, MINI TRIFLE!


2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (softened)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 pack pudding mix (any flavor)
1 pack chocolate chips/chocolate sauce
Berries/fruits of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Bet the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Fill greased muffin tins with mixture, trying to get the dough into a cup shape. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool. If need be, scoop out a better cup, saving cookie scraps for later. Prepare pudding mix according to package directions and let cool. Once cups are cool, fill with berries, chocolate chips, and pudding as desired. Top with chocolate sauce (optional)

THIS RECEPIE IS IN BETA MODE AND NEEDS TESTING
*** Erin's Recommendation: Maybe try using cake batter instead of cookie batter?


Song of the Day: In One Ear by Cage the Elephant

<3 Erin

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Moment to Moment

“You breathe in and out; you breathe in and you breathe out, and you live one moment into the next moment, and then time goes by, and you find you’re able to put one foot in front of the other.” ~Gloria Vanderbilt

So once again, I cannot keep an update schedule to save my soul. I'm posting this now before I don't have time again.

It's been a crazy past couple of weeks. For those of you curious, I moved in just fine...

It was the bronchitis the following week that really killed me.

Yeah...that was fun. Took another week and a half off running because hey, I like breathing. JUST got off the various meds they had me on, and just as I'm feeling better, life slaps me in the face and says "Free time? LOL NO" and thus I have not been running.

This weekend is the Illini Swing Society's workshop, Lindypalooza, and I'm in charge of volunteers AND setting up the big Halloween Dance. Plus I've been hunting for apartments for next year, PLUS trying to get all my projects and stuff done before Thanksgiving break....

Needless to say, I'm TIRED.

Which I'm reflecting, is how I've felt pretty much since I've arrived back to school. Tired. Emotionally drained. I don't know how to fully explain it. Physically I know I'm fine, but my mind is worn out. I should know by now this is just how things work. First semester drags on and on because U of I likes to smash all the long weekends into a week-long Thanksgiving extravaganza, so we're all like zombies come November 18th, but Spring semester has a nice break right in the middle, which makes it better.

So I'm in the October slump. Or I have been since...August....

That doesn't seem right.

But I CANNOT wait to get home for Thanksgiving break. Plenty of time off, plenty of time for karate and friends and family and not doing anything but National Novel Writing Month and knitting and whatever I WANT!

But I've got to get there first. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other. I can do this, I just have to make it there.

What I need is a good 24 hours sleep, a massage, a hot bath, and then another 24 hours sleep. Considering that I'm usually only getting 6-7 hours a night (sorry mom and dad, I know you're looking at this, but I've been trying to get work done) I could really use some down time.

Which, you know...maybe I should do that now instead of writing a blog?

But in the future, keep a look out for:
~ More posts! Holy crap!
~ Updates for National Novel Writing Month
~ Progress towards running the Illinois Marathon in April
~ KNITTING. KNITTING EVERYWHERE.
~ Adventures in English Education!
~ And other general madness!

Song of the Day: Broken by Lifehouse

<3 Erin

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Departure

"There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go." - Tennessee Williams

Well, this seems like an odd place to say it, but I don't know if there is a good way to say this.

I'm moving out of my apartment.

Unfortunately it's come to my attention that one of my roommates and I are incompatible, and as such it's not fair for us to keep living the way we have been. So I'm going.

In a way, this is a good thing. Both of us will be happy in the end, and that's what really needs to matter.

But on the other hand, it's still a sad thing for me. I'm leaving the place that I've called a sort of home for the past six weeks. All my things are here and to be honest, I feel invested in this place. The landlady is very nice and I did so much work trying to find this place in the first place.

But I can't keep looking around me and moping. I've made my decision, and now I have to live by it. And so that means that I'm going.

In many ways, it still seems surreal. I've got a place to live and even have potential sub-tenants lined up, but I don't think it'll really sink in until I'm in this big, new, empty place.

And I thought moving to a dorm was hard. Now it's really most of my life that I have to re-pack into boxes and bags and move again. Just when I'm sort of comfortable. Perhaps I'm being too sentimental about a place that has been both a source of shelter and pain for me.

But it's all irrelevant. I'm going. I need to keep saying that. I'm going. No matter how crazy my moods about the whole prospect may be, I'm going. And that's all there is to it. It's a good thing, in the end. And in the end, I will be okay.

This Friday, at 3:30 PM, I will be leaving this place. This is my last blog post from here. Next you hear from me, I will be in a different place.

Song of the Day: Bluebird by Sara Bareilles

<3 Erin

Monday, September 19, 2011

Differences

"What a Teacher Makes"


He says the problem with teachers is,

"What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He reminds the other dinner guests,

"You know, it's true what they say about teachers:
That those who can, do; those who can't, teach."

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his,
And resist the urge to remind the other dinner guests that it's also true what they say about lawyers.
Because we're eating, after all, and this is polite conversation.

"I mean, you're a teacher, Taylor. Be honest. What do you make?"

And I wish he hadn't done that -
Asked me to be honest -
Because, you see, I have a policy about honesty and ass-kicking,
Which is:

If you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor,
And I can make an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

You wanna know what I make?

I make kids sit through forty minutes of study hall
in absolute silence.
No, you can not work in groups.
No, you can not ask a question, so put your hand down.
Why won't I let you go to the bathroom?
Because you're bored and you don't really have to go, do you?

You wanna know what I make?

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home at around dinner time:
"Hi, This is Mr. Mali, I hope I haven't called at a bad time.
I just wanted to talk to you about something your son did today.
He said, 'Leave the kid alone! I still cry sometimes, don't you?'
And it was the noblest act of courage that I have ever seen."

I make parents see their children for who they are
and who they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write,
And then I make them read.
I make them spell, 'definitely beautiful,' 'definitely beautiful,' 'definitely beautiful,'
Over and over again until they will never misspell either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math,
And then hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them realize that if you got this [brains],
Then you follow this [heart],
And if somebody tries to judge you based what you make, you give them this [the finger].

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:

I make a goddamn difference. What about you?


---Taylor Mali


Usually I don't give ya'll such a long quote to read, but I saw this and was instantly in love with it. As a future teacher, I know the facts.

I will not make a six figure salary. I will be content to scramble around with whatever I get.

My hours will be long and yes, I will get summers off. But those summers will be spent planning for the next class and bettering myself so my students will learn better.

Not every student in my classroom will actually want to learn from me. Some will hate me and I won't understand why. Some will just not want to learn. Others will try and no matter what I do, will not get it. They can't all win, as much as I will try.

Allow me to wax philosophical, if you will. Not that I really control you. I mean, you can stop reading this at any time.

That's nice. Free will. You can stop reading at any time and I won't be mad. I won't even know. Hell, you could think me the most abominable monster of a person you've ever met and I won't know.

See, out there is a whole world of people who have a different opinion than I do. And it's wonderful. I love it. Because some of us will agree on some levels and disagree on others, and we can still be friends. Heck, sometimes my closest, oldest friends and I don't always see eye to eye and it just makes me love them more.

Which is a silly thing in itself. I mean, sometimes we love people we are in constant conflict with. Certainly I know I have friends that I cannot agree with to save my soul, but I love them all the same. Why? Because we are compatible on some level. We have the same values. Sometimes it's the smallest thing that starts a friendship and then it just keeps blooming. Like my knitting group. We united with a love of knitting, continued with a love of theatre, and continue to share a love of various geeky things.

Isn't it fun to go back and place when and where a friendship started? Sometimes it's not where you think or it's different for the both of you. Like my friend Ashlyn. I recall meeting her in seventh grade and then our friendship just blossomed. Partly because we loved the same things and partly because we needed each other. But I know that we both remember seventh grade as a starting point. Now my friend Bobert I recall very clearly for the first time in January of 2010, although I get the feeling we've known each other for longer. I'm sure he could tell me when and where we met if we met before. And of course, there's Jim. Niether once of us can remember when we met. I swear it was elementary school, but he thinks it was middle school. All I know is that I don't recall him not hanging around (not that it's a bad thing)

Some people you've just known all your life. My friend Emma (and thus, her sister Julia and brother Jimmy) have been with me so long that for many many years I was convinced that we were actually cousins. They've just always been there.

These are the people (and many, many more who I simply don't have space to mention) that I will have with me as I go on to teach children. These are the people who make a difference in MY life who continue to influce me as I'll make a difference in someone else's life.

End philosophical blog post.

Song of the Day: Time of Your Life by Greenday

<3 Erin

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Time Warp

"Well, I was on my way to this gay gypsy Bar Mitzvah for the disabled, when I suddenly thought, "Gosh, the Third Reich's a bit rubbish. I think I'll kill the F├╝hrer." Who's with me?" - Melody Pond/River Song

Ah. Yes. Well. Ahem. It seems I've been a bit....absent. Since July.

Shush.

I'd like to say that I've been busy and partly that's true. But part of it was pure laziness. I was tired and had a ton to do. So why don't I start at where I left off?

I suppose the first thing to cover was the seminar in Boston. Goodness, it seems so long ago...but it was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The McKeons and I arrived early and so we were hanging around at Brandies University (if you've read the book Tuesdays With Morrie, this is where Morrie taught) and got to do a little bit of setup. Of course, because we were there early we got to meet with the heads of the organization early, Dan and Scott Cohen. Of course, the McKeons already knew them so there was much hand shaking and catching up while I tried to disappear into the wall. Surprise surprise, I can be extremely shy around black belts who I'm terrified will break my spine. But of course, this did me no good when Master Dan got a look at me. He walked over and gave me a great big hug and exclaimed how nice it was to finally meet me in person.

Needless to say, I felt right at home. Everyone was exceedingly friendly and wonderful. The first night we had a 3 hour lesson where I learned a new kata (that I sadly don't recall) and got my first experience with a bo staff! OH, and I found out that it is possible to bruise the bottoms of your feet. But it was nothing compared to the next day. From about 9 in the morning to 12 I was in the dojo, working on my kata. There were about sixty of us all told and that first day we were split; a group handpicked by Master Dan Cohen would stay up in the main dojo and practice there while the rest of the group would go down and work on the mats (falling and throws and such) until eleven, when there would be an hour of open gym before lunch.

Guess where I was? If you said down on the mats, shame on you. No, I was terrified to be put in the main dojo where it was explained that if we were up there Master Cohen either wanted to see how we were doing or we were being tested for our next belt. Strangely enough, that actually helped since beforehand Mr. McKeon had told me that they wouldn't test me at the seminar. So I then spent the next two hours practicing kata and Master Cohen was even kind enough to help me refine some of my moves. But of course, me being stubborn, I stayed the entire hour of open gym working on the same kata until it was just me, Sensei Friedman (my other Sensei. He's a doctor and was so nice the whole time, checking if my bad knee was doing all right), and Master Cohen. We ended up asking Master Cohen about the correct way to execute a technique in the kata, which he showed me and then asked if I would show him the whole thing. Before I even started, he remarked "Oh, and remember, you're always being tested."

That was not nice.

But I showed him the kata to the best of my ability, and so he asked to see another I'd been working on, which I showed off as well. Then he asked for another, higher level kata that I had to admit that I didn't know so I got to scamper off to lunch with Jim, who was kind enough to wait. He lamented that they told him that they'd been testing him and three other brown belts since they'd arrived. But our stay progressed in much the same way; wake up, eat, dojo, eat, dojo, eat,sleep, then repeat. Jim and I calculated that over the three days we were there we did 21 hours of karate on 18 hours of sleep. OW. But it was fun. I made a lot of friends.

On the last night the heads of the organization were handing out certificates of participating (WOOOO) and then they asked all the black belts to come up to the front so they could hand out rank promotions. Masters Scott and Dan would hand the certificate to the sensei of the person who was getting promoted and wouldn't you know it, the first certificate of the night was given to Mr. McKeon. I was poised on the edge of my seat, thinking to myself that this HAD to be Jim's black belt. It had to be!

So imagine my surprise when they called MY name.

I jumped up and was presented with a certificate stating that I had been promoted to the rank of Orange belt. As shocked as I was, the only thought that kept running through my head was that Mr. McKeon said they wouldn't test me! As I found out later, Master Dan Cohen had pulled Mr. McKeon aside after the first lesson to ask where I was at in my training and apparently decided to judge for himself (which apparently resulted in rank promotion?) so Mr. McKeon didn't know I was being tested either. But I sat back down and several more promotions later, one more certificate was passed to Mr. McKeon and Mr. Friedman.

I am very happy to say that as of July, I am dating a black belt. It was an awesome moment for everyone involved. And even more surprising was that when I got back, Mr. McKeon gave me his old orange belt (a huge honor for me, even if he didn't really wear the belt all that much) and Jim was given Master Stephen Dunne's belt, our old teacher.

So the next weekend was supposed to be my half marathon, but unfortunately it was so BALLS HOT that we bailed. When it's like, 90 degrees at 8 in the morning, you don't run. You just don't. Still, I'm going to keep running and in the spring I know there's a half marathon/marathon at U of I, so I'll probably run that.

So knitting. I was kinda lazy over the summer with it. I finished Bobert's Jayne Cobb hat and my sister's graduation gift, so now I've got a few projects going on at once. I'm making Jim a new scarf, since the one I made him a year ago is kinda sad looking, I'm making my sister a hat, Beth wants some gloves, and I'm finally making a hat for myself.

But the rest of my summer was spent working and getting set to move into the apartment. Which I am all moved in and while my room is kinda messy, things have been going well! Of course there have been some bumps in the road as far as roommates go, I'm still on great terms with Audrey, and we're starting to talk about a two bedroom for next year.

Classes are intense. I'm taking seventeen credit hours, so one less than last year. But the nice thing is that out of my six classes, I really like the majority of them. There's a lot of work, but I find that I don't even mind getting up for an 8AM class so much. Later this month I'll actually start going to work in a school, which is going to be AWESOME. I guess the hardest class I've got right now is Spanish because it's been a looong time since I've spoken or had to comprehend Spanish and the whole class is in the language. My first exam is this Tuesday, so let's hope that turns out.

Swing has been awesome so far. The kickoff dance was the best I've ever attended, and since I helped with making it happen, that made me really proud. Jim even showed up to escort me home like the gentleman that he is. It's new having him actually on campus but he seems to like it and we don't spend all our free time together, so we have separate lives here as well. It makes me really happy.

In about a month, Sara Bareilles is coming to the Canopy Club and I HAVE TICKETS!! I know last time I posted I said that I was going to see her at Summerfest but we were way up in the stands so we didn't have a good view. But her voice was awesome and I can't wait to see what it'll be like here!

Not much else going on. The Michigan house is nearing completion (I'm serious this time) so maybe in October I'll go up with friends.

Song of the Day: Toes by Norah Jones

<3 Erin

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Courage

"Courage is not always a loud bravado. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I'll try again tomorrow'." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Okay, so it's been a while since I updated. There's a reason for that.

Previously, my laptop has been running on Windows Vista. And by that I mean it was slow, full of viruses and bugs, and barely loping along at times. My dad and I decided that it was time to move to Windows 7, if only to get rid of some of the virus problems. Personally, I wasn't thrilled about it. I thought 7 would be just a pain to work with. But I'm all switched over and I have never been happier to be wrong. My computer is fast again, there aren't viruses on it, the internet actually loads...

So happy to be proven wrong.

But that was the main reason for me not updating. We had to completely transfer and back up all my files (There are MANY files on this computer, trust me), then move them over after installing the new OS. That took the better part of two days, then we had to get Firefox installed again and just recently we were able to install Microsoft Office again. So my computer is pretty much back to speed, but that's why you guys didn't get an update. Sorry!

A lot's been going on...where to start? Let's begin with running.

It's HOT AS HELL. I do not run well in the heat and humidity. Which means I have to run either early in the morning or late at night. Late at night I'm usually at karate or closing for work and mornings are just hard all around. This has forced me to do my runs inside for the most part. But tonight I'm planning a five mile run at seven, then tomorrow morning I'm doing a 12 mile sunrise run. I really do mean sunrise though, since I'm leaving the house at 5AM.

I really hate myself, don't I? But that's the only time it's cool enough to run without dying of heat stroke.

But it's nice to run. I get to see lots of parts of town that I don't usually see...my favorite runs are near the lake. All the houses down there are so cute.

Often times I end up running past my karate dojo, which makes me smile. It's like I just never leave there! Karate has been going well...we only had karate one day last week since there was the annual lakeside festival which totally locked us out. Yesterday was my first day back since then, and I have to admit that I was frustrated to no end. I really seemed to hit a wall. Usually I'm able to push past it, but I don't know. I just couldn't.

I get frustrated when I can't get a move or kata just perfect and I feel I should be able to. I know I'm only a yellow belt, and I'm not expected to be perfect, but I feel like if I can get things perfect now, there will be less to correct in the future. The main problem is that I'm holding myself to standards that are too high for my rank. Sensei McKeon said he'll need to teach me Mizu No Kokuro, which translates to Mind like Water.

From what I've been able to find (thanks Google!) Mind like Water is being able to remove all other thoughts from your head and making your mind calm, smooth like an untouched body of water. Such a state will allow you to take anything that comes your way with an open mind. It's hard to anticipate an attack or make changes when you're focused on a thousand other things. Remove those distractions, and you will be able to clearly see what needs to be done. At least, that's how I'm reading it.

I'll be trying to work on that as I prepare for the seminar in a week. Just letting go of all distractions, of everything and focusing on what needs to be done.

Knitting is going well, but slowly. I'm still working on my sister's graduation present, which isn't too difficult but I just need to work on it. I've started my first project on circular needles, which is a hat for my friend Bobert. For all Firefly fans out there, the hat that Jayne wears? You know...



That hat. It's awesome. After that I'll be working on a hat for myself, and then I think I'll take the ultimate challenge of making THE SCARF.

For those unfamiliar, in the early seasons of Dr. Who, the Doctor regenerated into his fourth form, played by Tom Baker. This man then proceeded to play the Doctor for the longest stretch to date, seven years. That's unimportant. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifWhat is important was the costume. Someone on the costume team wanted him to wear a scarf, but didn't know how to knit. So they handed a bunch of yarn scraps to a woman who did know and told her to make a scarf. They never specified what it would look like though, so the woman just went to town.



That is Tom Baker, some Daleks, and the original scarf. Seriously, that thing is a beast. There are seriously whole websites dedicated to the thing and how to make your own. So that will be my project when I'm done with all my others.

I've been writing a lot more, but not as often as I usually do. I think it's something I do more during the school year. Oh well. Still getting some work done.

Lately I've been absolutely HOOKED on the game Borderlands. It won game of the year a while back, and it's not hard to see why. It's addictive and well done!

Oh yeah, and they advertised it by saying you could (and I quote) "punch a midget's leg off." No, you did not read that wrong. The game is full of crude humor, foul language, and people turning into blood fountains left and right.

I think it's AWESOME.

My fourth of July was all right. I was working from 10 to 4, which was kinda meh, but afterwards I was able to stop by my uncle's party before going to another party with Jim. Saw the fireworks at the lake on Sunday evening, and they were INCREDIBLE! I love fireworks. They're just so cool. I didn't like that we were downwind from two groups of smokers and a guy who was smoking the biggest cigar I've ever seen in my life, but there was nothing to be done about it.

On Sunday my dad, sister, and I are headed up to Summerfest to see Sara Bareilles preform with Sugarland. I've never been to a concert before, and I'm super excited. Sara is one of my favorites of all time, so this'll be AWESOME!

I'm sitting outside writing this on the screened in porch. There are birdies splashing in the bird bath. Yaaaay summer!

Raceday Countdown: 17 Days

Boston Countdown: 8 DAYS

Song of the Day: Other Side of the World by KT Tunstall

<3 Erin

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Interesting"

Wash: This landing is going to be interesting.
Mal: Define "Interesting".
Wash: Oh God, oh God, we're all going to die?"
- Serenity

Started watching Firefly. WHY WAS THIS CANCELLED?! DAMN YOU FOX! There is a special level of hell reserved for them! The level for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre! This stuff is soooooo good, but they cancelled it only after one season. DAMNATION.

This week has been kinda busy, but nothing super interesting.

Running a lot, lots of karate. I'm actually officially registered to go to Boston for the karate seminar now! I'm excited, but really nervous. I'm still frustrated by some of the things I can't quite do just yet in karate, but I'm practicing and getting better. At least, I'm trying very hard to get better.

Also, I know how to do a roundhouse kick now!

My birthday was on Sunday! Holy cow I'm old now! Or at least, no longer a teenager. Close enough, right?

Song of the Day: He Lives in You (reprise) by The Lion King Broadway Cast

<3 Erin

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dancing

"So what do you recommend to encourage affection?"
"Dancing. Even if one's partner is barely tolerable." - Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

Just watched this movie with my girl Ashlyn. Total chick flick. I promise I will never make any of my guyfriends sit through this. Ever.

But I adore this movie. It's my guilty little pleasure.

Went for a five mile run today. SORE as heck. But totally worth it. Going for three tomorrow.

Again, so sorry this is late...I've been exhausted lately trying to keep up with work and all sorts of shenanigans. ...Also just discovered that spell check knows the word "shenanigans". Which is totally awesome.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Fun encounter on the way in to work the other day! I ran into my ex-boyfriend's mother, which was nice. Although he and I haven't spoken in a long time, I still enjoy seeing her around. And I totally found out that she reads this blog! Hello Mrs. Sener!

While I'm thinking about spell check, why doesn't it recognize last names? Spell check, you so silly.

Also it has come to my attention that the video I tried to link from last week's post failed miserably. So here it is.

EPIC AWESOME BE LINKED HERE.

Otherwise not much going on. Kicking ass at work, kicking ass at running, kicking ass at karate (literally!)...overall doing really well.

Song of the Day: If It's Love by Train

Days till Birthday: FOUR

<3 Erin

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Promises

"You found me. ...But so much of me is wrong, out of place. You might be too late..."
"Hey. You know me. When I make a promise..."
"...You...keep it. I do know how to pick 'em."
"Lucky me."
- Master Chief and Cortana, Halo 3

This week a quote from a video game series that will always have a special place in my heart! This is because E3 has announced that there is a new Halo game coming out! I'm super excited. Bungie, don't let me down. Don't make your fanbase a promise if you know you can't keep it.

But I've always adored the bond between the main character, Chief, and his AI partner Cortana. They're like a couple, but it's so much more since there's no actual physical element to the relationship. Well, I suppose there is. Cortana resides in a layer in the Chief's armor and can from there interact with the suit and the Chief's biological systems. If he dies, she dies. They're tied together in that way. She supports him with data and directions and witty banter, and he's the muscle, the strength that pulls them through and saves her.

But this quote is so fantastic to me. It draws on their whole relationship...to explain, Cortana is separated from the Chief at the end of the second game. He promises that he will come back for her, to which she replies "Don't make a girl a promise...if you know you can't keep it."

Men, take note of that phrase.

At the beginning of the third game, Cortana's voice tells the gamer that she had her pick of any SPARTAN soldier she wanted, but she chose Chief. He wasn't the fastest, strongest, or smartest, but he had luck, which was something the others didn't. The idea of luck and keeping the Chief's promise to Cortana comes up again and again in Halo 3, where the Chief is fighting against the Covenant (bad guys), the Flood (REALLY BAD GUYS), and to retrieve Cortana, who is currently in a Covenant ship that's been taken over by the Flood (at this point, there is really no way it could get worse).

So when he brings her back from the brink by fulfilling his promise and coming for her, their trust in each other is completely vindicated.

Here is the actual video of the scene from the game.


Seriously, WATCH THAT. I don't care if you don't understand everything that's going on, but pay attention to the way they interact. Oh, and the music is amazing too.

But yeah, Bungie announced the return of Chief and Cortana, which makes me a VERY happy camper.

But enough of that. I finally, FINALLY finished my project titled "Burnt Magnolias", which was a pair of fingerless gloves for my friend Ashlyn. I'm working on a hat/headband for my sister, then a hat for myself. After that, I think I'll take orders. If anyone is interested in me making something for them, please contact me and we can talk about payment and projects.

Still stuck with writer's block. Trying to force my way past it, but it's hard.

Newest episode of Dr. Who was INSANE!!! My brain blew out my ears. Not putting any more details up than that though. As River Song would say, "Spoilers."

Karate is going well and I really feel like I can actually get my orange belt this summer. I'm improving all the time, but I really need to work on my turns. If anyone is a practitioner of Sei Ren Kai and has ANY tips for how to turn in stance without destroying one's knees and ankles, I would LOVE to hear it. Specifically turning in kokutsu. Seriously, that stance is the devil.

Thinking about going to the beach tomorrow. We'll see. The water would be nice since it's like, a bajillion degrees. I might attempt to fry an egg on the sidewalk.

OH! There's a nest of baby robins outside my window. They're the cutest freaking things EVER. Except the momma. She doesn't like me. But the babies are cute. I've seen one, maybe two. Any ideas on what to call them?

Lately, I've been having a lot of really good talks with Jim. Not necessarily about anything bad or intense, but just...really good. I feel like I'm learning a lot about him as a person and we're growing closer. Which, considering how close we were before this whole dating thing is really awesome. But it's nice to sit down with friends and talk about just...anything. There aren't really boundaries, and the ones that are there are respected. More and more I'm realizing that I have a lot of friends I can do this with, but it's nice to be able to do it with a significant other. It makes me...happy. He's the Chief to my Cortana, as sappy as that is.

Song of the Day: When Will My Life Begin from the movie Tangled (which is an excellent movie and I highly recommend it to anyone)

Days till Birthday: 12

<3 Erin

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Infinity

"Because nothing in this universe happens just once, Angela. Nothing. Infinity goes in both directions. There's no unique event, no singular moment." - Bones

And once again, I'm late. I think this is becoming a horrible trend. I really really need to get better about this...but the past couple days I've been laid up sick with a nasty cold.

This quote comes from one of my favorite TV shows, Bones, but it's true. The character speaking is comforting a friend who's afraid she's lost her only chance at love, and she says that line. It's brilliant because it's true. Nothing happens just once, no matter how incredible and fantastic it may seem. Slightly pessimistic, yes, but I like the idea that no matter what, we're always getting a second chance at everything we want. Be it love or a job or whatever.

My sister is out of high school! HOLY COW! Way to go Jess!

We ran the ten mile race on Monday. I was really proud because I was sick and it was hot as hell, but we finished! My time was one hour, forty two minutes and twenty seconds. That's a ten minute mile pace on average. Oh, and I totally beat my dad and my sister! If only by a few seconds, but that felt so good. Thanks so much to Ashlyn, Jim, and Bobert for coming and meeting me at the finish, despite the fact that I was sweaty and soaked from the fire hose.

Whoever had the idea to put a hose at the end of the race was a flipping genius.

My next big run will be the half marathon in July! I'm putting off training runs until I'm recovered from this cold, but then it's back to business. July is going to be JAM-PACKED. Hopefully going to the karate seminar in Boston, which will be so cool. Plus training to get my orange belt. Jim seems confident I can get it by the time summer is out, but now I'm not so sure. I feel like there's so much I need to know that I don't.

But summer is infinite right now! There's so much to do and it's all out there for me to do! Writing, knitting, working, playing on the beach...I'm so excited.

Lately I've hit writer's block. I know where my story is supposed to go, but getting there is being a pain. If anyone has an idea for killing writer's block, I'd love to hear it.

Also, special happy birthday shoutout to my roommate Amanda! Happy birthday lovely!

Song of the Day: Feel My Love by ADELE

Days till Birthday: 17

<3 Erin

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Comprehensive

"First, I must tell you I've been the most unmitigated and comprehensive ass." - Mr. Bingley

Oh Pride and Prejudice. How I love this movie.

And once again, I'm late. I think I'll just move updates to Wednesdays since karate on Tuesdays and Thursdays completely throws me off.

OH, and speaking of karate, I've got a great story to tell. One of the students in class is a guy probably in his forties and a father of two. Nice guy, his heart is in the right place, but he can be kind of a chauvinist. Google that if you don't know what it means. At any rate, he can be kind of awkward when it comes to making comments about Jim and I, since we're in the same class and dating. So last night we were practicing self defense and I was having trouble putting on the arm bar (basically the position where it hurts your attacker and you can break the arm if need be) so Sensei was giving me some tips that I promptly practiced on Jim. Twas good times, we were all laughing and enjoying ourselves when this other student remarked something to the tune of "I'm afraid of what you two are going to do on your wedding night."

Cue jaws hitting floor, me turning bright red and wanting to sink into the floor, and Jim wanting to murder this other student.

Again, his heart is in the right place...but DUDE! Not okay. Jim spoke to him about it and hopefully that'll be the end of it. But it was...interesting to say the least.

On a happier note, there's a nest of robins outside my window! No babies that I can see, but I'm hopeful.

And on the good news track, I finally quit Steak 'n' Shake! After two years of hating it, I'm free! No more coming home smelling of shame and french fry oil, wanting to murder everyone there. This summer I'm working at Famous Footwear and I'm really enjoying myself so far. It's odd....am I supposed to enjoy my work? This is so new to me.

My sister is graduating on Saturday. It's wild...The last member of my family is graduating high school. She's headed off to Colorado for school in the fall, I'm headed back to U of I, and my brother is off to NIU. My parents are empty nesters! Holy cow! But it's weird. Only a few more years and I'll be graduating from college, making me (hopefully) the first one out of school.

Saw Clive yesterday. He almost flew into my face. Clive, way to be a total ass.

Oh, and my birthday is almost a month away! I'll no longer be a teenager! so many crazy changes...I've been on this planet almost two decades now! Wow!

Later today my friend Ashlyn is coming over. We're going to paint our nails and watch movies and draw probably. Grand times.

Song of the Day: King of Pride Rock by the Lion King Broadway cast

Days till Race: FIVE!

<3 Erin

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Little Further

"Go until it hurts. Then go a little further." - Master Stephen Dunne

My old karate master was particularly fond of this saying, especially when it came to stretching. Right now I totally know how he feels. Back to running since being sick and first time back at karate and WOW am I sore.

And tired. Which is why I've failed and made this a day late again.

But I'm home again! Busy still, but home again. I'm working at Famous Footwear and going in tomorrow to officially quit Steak 'n' Shake.

Honestly, I'm so tired and frusterated. Messed up my knitting, hit writers block....

I'm going to hope that I'll have more to talk about next Tuesday.

Song of the Day: Endless Night by The Lion King Broadway Cast

<3 Erin

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trouble

"Trouble's just the bits in-between! It's all waiting out there, Jackie. And it's brand new to me - all those planets and creatures and horizons! I haven't seen them yet, not with these eyes. And it is gonna be...fantastic!" - Tenth Doctor

Oh Doctor Who, I love you so much. This is one of my favorite quotes from the whole series.

I saw Clive again this morning! Tried to get a picture, but he's camera shy. he was hanging around a while ago, but too far away for me to get a good picture. Silly Clive, the camera won't steal your little bee soul!

FINALLY, got back to running. After a week of being sick and coughing up a lung, I ran four miles last night. It was all right, since I'm still getting over it, but just to be running again was so good.

And after five months, I finally finished the baby blanket I've been making! I was able to give it to my cousin Lori, who loved it. Moran is such a cute baby...super smiley and happy. Twas so good to see them. I also made a headband and am starting work on my first coffee cozy. This Thursday is another knit-athon, which means that I'll be able to get more yarn to finish Ashlyn's gloves. That'll be nice. My queue looks like this: Finish Ashlyn's gloves, finish coffee cozy, start work on scarf pattern.

One final tonight! British Literature, prepare yourself for my wrath! I'm not super worried, but I'm apprehensive. I hate taking big long writing finals. They hurt my hands.

...Thought I saw Clive. Silly bee. I think he knows I want a picture of him. Maybe I'll put my plant Roberto out on the windowsill to lure him in.

But again, all my school reading is DONE. So glad for that fact. I've been reading The Mind Hunter, which is still very good. Very factual and not exactly fiction, but I've always been fascinated by crime and serial killers are especially fascinating to me.

The weather here has been really nice. Which is about time. Shorts and tank top weather is totally the way to go. Plus it means I can go read out by the pond, which is just pleasant all around. Or it was, when I still had a water bottle that worked. Mine cracked so it no longer holds water very well. Or any liquid for that matter. Which really defeats the purpose of a water bottle.

I smell like sunscreen. Hooray for summer! Wait, what do you mean that I'm technically still in school? Ehhh....

















Days (I can say DAYS now!) Till Summer: 4

Song of the Day: Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine

<3 Erin

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Heart

"There's no magic to running far or climbing Everest. Endurance is mental strength. It's all about heart." - Bear Grylls

Today's quote actually picked out by my dad! Well, this should have been yesterday's quote, but I totally forgot. That and I've been sick. As such, there is no news on the running front, since it's a particularly nasty chest cold and running generally requires breathing. So let's get down to the nitty-gritty of this past week, starting with Thursday of last week.

Thursday nights are swing dancing nights, and this past Thursday was a blast. It was the weekly dance before our big exchange, called the Champaign-Urbana Lindy Exchange (AKA CULX) so we had some new faces. The atmosphere was fun and energy was high. This lasted with me into Friday, which was interesting.

First of all, the McKeon family came down to show Megan the campus. I was really excited to see them and was happy to have the chance to show Meg my dorm. They were kind enough to bring down a bunch of food for me and to take me to dinner with them. Again, thank you SO much McKeon family! Once they'd hit the road, some girls from the knitting group invited me to go to Mexican food, but I'd already eaten.

...but hey, that doesn't mean I didn't go! I went and munched on chips and salsa. Unfortunately, while I was there drama reared it's ugly head. As some of you know I got in a bit of a disagreement a while back with a friend of mine and as such, she and her boyfriend haven't been on such good terms with me. But once I came back from Easter, we spoke and I thought we were good. In an effort to extend an olive branch, I posted on his facebook wall to congratulate him on an internship. The comments were deleted and I received a rather unpleasant text from him on the subject.

For everyone's sake, I'll leave it at that. But it really upset me and ended up kinda ruining my night. Which sucked, since the first dance of CULX was that evening with a live band! But I woke up the next morning determined to have a better day. As the evening dance drew near, drama reared its head again but I was able to put it behind me and dance from eight to midnight. It was an excellent evening.

I know that some of you will want to know what was said and the specifics of what happened, but I'll leave that for a private conversation. What was said was said, and I'm moving on from there. That's all I can do.

Sunday I woke up losing my voice, which sucked, but it was a quiet weekend. Monday evening was fun, since I went on my first bar crawl! The knitting group and I went to two bars in downtown Champaign, one called Blind Pig and the other called Radio Maria. It was a blast, since we sat around talking and knitting. Unfortunately, this did nothing for my cold, since on Tuesday I could not talk AT ALL. I was coughing up a lung and my throat was nothing but pain.

Today my voice is much better, but I'm still under the weather. Been chugging tea, sucking on Hals, and taking it easy otherwise. Last day of classes was today, which was nice. And tonight is the Allen Hall Boxer Run! Rest assured, cold or no cold, I'll be there to run. Finals begin on Friday, and then I'm home for summer!

This all leads back to the quote for today. These past weeks have been a test of endurance for me, and it's not necessarily about muscles. It's about the heart and will to keep going no matter how bad things can get. I'm so lucky to have such great friends and family to stand by me and encourage me through it all. I even got some flowers from my parents, and I LOVE them. What a great surprise. So much love goes out to my family, Ashlyn for our late night art chats, Bobert for being awesome, the entire knitting crew for assuring me that I'm not indeed crazy, Jimmy Trevor for our weekly chats, as well as Jenna, Hannah, and Audrey for great dinner company.

No sign of Clive since last week. But one of his smaller cousins hit me in the head on his way past. But I'm sure Clive is having fun wherever he is.

School reading is DONE! Holy cow! As such I've been able to start in on some non-school reading. Up first is The Mind Hunter by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker. Douglas is one of the men who began the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit and is the inspiration for a character on the TV show Criminal Minds. So far it's fascinating, but this sort of thing is up my alley.

Weeks Till Summer: 1.5

Song of the Day: It Happens by Sugarland

<3 Erin

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Favorites

"Ever try rehearsing for a live TV show? Try changing the tires on a truck while it's going sixty miles an hour and you'll get the idea." - My Favorite Year

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I feel right now. Only a week to go before finals season is upon us, so all my teachers are flipping out and throwing all these papers and projects at us at once.

Oh, and since it's sorta nice out when it's not pouring buckets down, the biggest bee on the planet has decided to start buzzing around my window. Seriously. It's like a tiny helicopter buzzing around there. Kinda terrifying.

...I think I'll name him Clive.

So while Clive is doing his damnedest to find a way in between my screen and window (I love you Clive, but seriously, stay out) allow me to inform you as to my happenings.

Running is still going well and for the first time in a long time I'm actually SORE from running. Wow! I might have something to do with the fact that I've been really bad about stretching after I run, but even so, that's kinda cool.

Knitting has been going well. I'm starting work on a hat, another glove for Ashlyn, and a design for a scarf. I want to play around with cable knitting and fun things like that. Still need to finish Morgan's blanket and I will finish it eventually! I've been really bad about it since I get frustrated. But when I'm fed up with knitting I can always draw or write or lately I've been playing some Pokemon. That's right, I'm going back to my childhood and playing some Pokemon. Which is really funny, since I'm almost twenty. Hah. But I enjoy it. There's actually strategy involved that you don't understand until you're older.

Clive, what are you doing you crazy bee? I think he's stuck. Or going to sleep.

Reading for the semester has died down considerably. I'm mostly done with all my novels, just need to finish up Sexing the Cherry which is interesting, but I'm not quite sure what to do with it just yet.

I'm just tired right now. Homework, skype chat with Jimmy, and then bedtime for Erin. I cannot get sick with finals so close.

Weeks Till Summer: 2.5

Song of the Day: Can You Feel The Love Tonight by the Broadway Cast of The Lion King

<3 Erin

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Greatness

"A great love is a lot like a good memory. When it's there...and you know it's there, but it's just out of your reach it can be all you think about. You can focus on it and try to force it but the more you do, the more you seem to push it away. But if you're patient and you hold still maybe...just maybe...it'll come to you." - Church, Red vs Blue

I adore this quote. The show itself is pretty hilarious, so this moment of seriousness really startled me at first. But it's true. When you try so hard to get something, it always seems JUST out of reach. But when you stop searching so hard for it and let it just come to you...it usually does.

Kind of like those stories you always hear about how a boy/girl goes through bad relationships and eventually swears off finding their significant other all together (I refrain from saying the opposite sex since it would be excluding homosexuals and I love all ya'lls). And of course, just as he/she does that, the perfect companion waltzes in and sweeps him/her off their feet. You just have to be patient and wait for it. It can be hard and frusterating and maddening and speaking as someone with little to no paitence I understand that.

Trust me, some things are worth the wait.

There are some KILLER thunderstorms happening outside right now. The sky was lighting up all purple and blue...so pretty. I don't know what it is about thunderstorms that I find fascinating, but they are. Nature is insane...she can produce more electricity in a single lightning bolt than humanity ever could. Just as long as I don't get hit, I'm more than content to watch it light up the sky. Fireworks have NOTHING on this.

This week is insane. I've got five papers to work on (two re-writes, three to turn in), although I turned in one today. One down, two to go. That and I finished one of Ashlyn's gloves. It's amazing, and I have to do one more for her. I think I'll need another skein of yarn though....maybe Amazon has something.

Running has been all right. Six miles last Saturday, three yesterday...although yesterday's run wasn't fantastic. What is it about running in Champana? It seems like no matter what direction I'm going, I'm always running INTO the wind. How is that even POSSIBLE?! It shouldn't be possible, but it is. And no, I'm not going that fast, nature just hates me.

Went on an insane reading kick this evening, which is why this post is late. I started (and finished) the graphic novel Fun Home, two chapters in my history text book, a chapter in the history source book, plus twenty pages in my geology textbook. But I really needed to knock this stuff out, so I feel better about it.

This evening I had a FANTASTIC skype chat with my friend Jimmy. I spent an hour talking to him about the story that I've been working on and we worked out ideas and bounced them off each other, ironing out all the little details that most people wouldn't think about. Then he spent an hour telling me about his projects, which I always love to hear about. It's rare that I can talk to someone about what I'm working on like this, so it's always a pleasure when we're both on at the same time and can talk. We both start talking so fast because we get excited...Although I start to get loud, which I felt bad for when I realized that yes, my roommate probably DOES want to do homework tonight.

I remember years ago I promised my seventh grade English teacher that when I got a book published I would send him the first copy. Don't worry Shea, I'll get that book out there one day. I'm going to be famous, just wait and see.

Weeks Till Summer: 3

Song of the Day: F**king Perfect by P!nk

<3 Erin

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Speak

"A hero need not speak. When he is gone, the world will speak for him." - Unknown


I love this quote. I don't know where I heard it, who said it, or why I like it, but I do.

The weather is getting to be SO nice. Not quite warm enough for shorts just yet, but it's getting there. Soon though. Lots to read, lots of papers to write and re-write. I'm really enjoying most all my classes except for History. It's not that the material couldn't be interesting, it's just that my TA is really opinionated. If our opinion doesn't match hers, it's wrong. It frustrates me to no end. But I'm doing my best.

It's so hard to keep focused now. All I want to do is go outside, run, knit on the lawn, read, and write stories. Which is puzzling since all I do now is go to class, run, read, and write essays. Not too much different. I guess I'm just ready to be home. Summer is coming and I'm so close I can taste it! Not literally though, that would be funky. I suspect it would taste like sunscreen and lemonade. There's so much I want to do...spend time outside, run, for sure go to Michigan, maybe go on a road trip (that would be awesome!), go to karate, go to Boston for Karate...

And hey, even though my gloves were screwed up for a while there I fixed it! Thank you Christy, for helping so much! Now I can continue as usual. For a while there I was afraid I'd have to tear out the whole thing and start over. Crisis averted.

Running has been all right. I'm trying to set a race pace, but I keep going faster than I intend to. Which I guess is all right for now, but on long runs it's going to really suck. I did a five mile run on Saturday that was really terrible. I kept cramping up and ended up walking a decent amount. Well, I'm doing another five tomorrow. Hopefully I can redeem myself then.

I've been on such a writing kick lately. Nothing for class (of course.) but just for fun. It's really nice, but I want to focus on these papers for class and all I have bouncing around in my head are character ideas and plot twists I want to toy with. When I get home for summer I plan on spending the days outside doing awesome things and the evenings writing. Huzzah.

Summer has been on my brain all the time. Blue skies, warm weather, flowers, and the smell of the beach. There's something I really love; the smell of summer. To me, summer smells like the lake or ocean, sunscreen, bug spray, humidity, and fresh cut grass. Smell is the sense most closely tied to memory, which is pretty cool. I don't know why smell is so fascinating to me lately. I've noticed that people have a certain smell to them and everyone's smell is unique (not in a bad way!). I mean, sure, you don't think you smell but you do on a subtle level. I read somewhere that humans can subconsciously detect these smells and by using that we're attracted or not attracted to people. Wild, huh?

Weeks Till Summer: 4.5

Song of the Day: Don't Stop Believin' by Journey (And you will now have this stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome.)

<3 Erin

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wilde

Moving from flowers, I'm now on quotes.

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" ~ Oscar Wilde

We've just finished covering Wilde in our British Literature class, and I've always thought Wilde was tremendously funny. Very witty too. Hooray for the Irish!

But it's true. In a sense, we're all in a similar spot on the planet, and most of the time we scurry about looking at the ground or the things around us. But there are some who turn their gaze upwards, looking for better things.

Well, I've got about six weeks left of school and it's not getting any easier. I'm working hard with plenty of books to read and papers to write. Got a Spanish exam tomorrow, so I've been prepping for that as best I can.

My last run was kinda blah. I started feeling bad about halfway through, but I still finished about an 8 minute mile pace, which is good. Got a four mile run tomorrow, then a five mile on Saturday. Slowly, oh so slowly the mileage is moving up. I'm really enjoying running, which is good. I never thought that I would.

This week is tech week for Arsenic and Old Lace! This show has a special place in my heart since it was the first show I ever stage managed on my own. But it's funny. Really funny! If you ever get the chance to see it onstage or the movie version, I highly recommend doing so. The movie version has pretty much the entire Broadway cast, so no complaints there. If you're going to be hanging around U of I this weekend, we'll be in the Channing - Murray Foundation, 5$ to get in. Worth every penny. I'll be the one off to the side with the light board.

Warm weather again! I'm so happy. This means running outside, not wearing ten thousand layers to and from class, and of course, summer. I will almost inevitably complain about the heat/humidity once it's here, but I really do love summer. I guess I'm just a summertime kind of person!

I wish I could write more for ya'll, but I've got studying to do and it's getting late. Much love and I can't wait to see ya'll soon!

Weeks Till Summer: 5.5

Song of the Day: F**K YOU by Cee Lo Green

<3 Erin

P.S. I'm looking for beta readers for a project of mine! Any takers?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Moving Day

No, really! Erin In A Box is now updating on Tuesdays as opposed to Mondays. This is mostly due to the fact that my running schedule gives me Tuesdays off as opposed to Mondays.

So busy this week. Tests and papers to write. That and somehow I totally screwed up my knitting. I'm still trying to figure out how that happened. Really, it shouldn't be physically possible.

Running has been going well. New shoes are really helping a lot. My knees hurt a lot less and they're SO light! It makes me happy.

Been doing a lot of writing, some drawing lately. It's good to be creative again. The weather is slowly getting warmer, which is REALLY nice.

As for reading, I am of course devouring as many books as I can. Finished Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, and Red Mars. I adore anything by Wilde, Death of a Salesman is depressing by very good, and Red Mars was so wonderfully complex. I want to get my hands on the rest of the trilogy. I feel so bad since I got back to school from break and found that my brother had slipped in two books for me to read. I'm afraid I won't have time for free reading until summer and I've got at least four other books to get through then. Jim has lent me The Mind Hunter by John Doubglas and Mark Olshaker, I, Robot by Issac Asimov, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams, Who's Afraid of Shrodinger's Cat?, in addition to Mass Effect: Ascension and Mass Effect: Revelation both by Drew Karpyshyn.

I love you guys, but I honestly don't have time to read them! Over the summer I do plan on devouring plenty of good books though. And these are at the top of my list. Preferably on the beach in Michigan.

Got to go up and see the house this past week and it looks AWESOME! I can't wait for it to be done. Not sure when that will be, but by summer for sure. Plan on spending some long weekends up there with my friends and the Gang of course. Six weeks left till summer and I cannot wait. Plenty of relaxing, running, time in the sun, and hopefully going to the International Se Ren Kai Seminar in Boston. Waiting to hear more information about it, but I hope I can go. It would be pretty sweet.

I should be studying for my tests in History and Geology tomorrow. Please keep your fingers crossed for me! I'm going to need it.

Song of the Day: The Man Who Can't Be Moved by The Script

<3 Erin

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lavender

Okay, I have just a bit over thirty minutes to get this in before Monday ends. Technically.

Been so busy since going on break. Seeing people, date with Jim, job hunting, TRIPLE feature with Ashlyn tonight, discovered a huge stockpile of yarn this afternoon.

Ashlyn and I watched Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2, and Inception. It was awesome. Grand times were had by all.

I'm beat. Plan for the rest of the week?

Tuesday: Running with Bobert, visit CLS, turn in job applications, karate, maybe a movie.
Wednesday: Homework, making a few calls to school about things, going to class with Jim, running with Bobert
Thursday: Going to Michigan to see the house, karate
Friday: Running with Bobert, hopefully lunch with Emma, chilling with friends?
Saturday: Running with Bobert, seeing friends
Sunday: Head back to school.

Oh yeah, and I made it into the secondary education program. I'm really really excited about it, but I'm too tired to properly express it.

Song of the Day (evening?): (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay by Sara Bareilles

<3 Erin

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jasmine

NOT the Disney princess. It's a pretty white flower that grows on a climbing evergreen shrub. The plant (more commonly known as Spanish or royal jasmine) is originally from China and northern India but was brought to Europe by the Muslims when they entered Spain. It has a history of being used in teas, as an anti-depressant, to aid irritated skin, and aid with respiratory problems.

So I'm feeling much better! Only took a week to recover from that nasty cold. And just in time too. This past weekend was apparently visit Erin at school weekend! My friend Chris was passing through and my friend Hannah also stopped in! It was nice to see them, even if it was only for a little bit. Plus I got to go swing dancing this weekend for the UIUC Swing Society's "Vintage Affair" event, which was a blast. Pics are up on facebook if you want to check them out.

So far the weather is slowly improving. It's been very bipolar lately (no surprises there) but it's on the up and up. Supposedly this coming week it's going to warm up. I am SUPER excited.

Daylight savings has thrown me off, again. Curse you Daylight Savings.

Good thoughts go out to the people of Japan and all those affected by the tsunami that came after the monster 8.9 earthquake. According to the U.S. Geological survey, it's the 5th largest earthquake on record. The largest is the 9.5 off the coast of Chile in 1960. They're also saying that because of this ONE earthquake coastlines in the area closest to the epicenter jumped THIRTEEN FEET CLOSER TO THE U.S. COAST. Here are some pics from NASA of the Japan coastline before (top pic) and after (bottom pic). That's in addition to sinking Japan two feet lower, tilting the Earth's axis off by six and a half inches, and shortening the day by a few microseconds. Geology is cool man. Scary destructive, but cool. Again, good thoughts to the Japanese people right now.

So March Madness is here! Hopefully the Fighting Illini will make it a decent way through the tournament, if not to the top. Go Illini! And failing that, Go Duke.

Running is doing all right. Again, I took time off because I was sick. Bad run today, I started cramping halfway through and my ankle jumped the "Let's make this run miserable" bandwagon and started to hurt. How very inconsiderate. Soon I'll start my official training for the half marathon! Woo hoo!

So apparently I was wrong and I should know about the secondary education program at the end of March. So in the next two weeks. This sucks. I want to know!

Reading for this week is once again Red Mars and Hard Times. I'm loving Red Mars because it's so complex and interesting. I'm hating Hard Times because Dickens goes on and on...and I hate all the characters. I understand there are some people who like his work and I'm sure other works of his are fine, but I don't ever want to read them. I might implode out of boredom.

Knitting again tonight! Still working on that baby blanket and I started on the gloves for my friend Ashlyn. If you're able to see my ravelry account, the gloves for Ashlyn are titled "Burnt Magnolias" and the blanket is titled "Morgan".

FUN DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK! The new season of Doctor Who begins April 23rd. I'm so excited since I'm finally starting to get attached to Matt Smith (the new Doctor) and they filmed in the USA for once! I'll get my bow tie, fez, and sonic screwdriver!

Spring Break Countdown: Four Days!!

Song of the Day: Telphone by Lady Gaga featuring Beonce (Don't judge me. It's a fun song.)

<3 Erin

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rose

"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet..."

Oh Shakespeare. Roses have been a favorite flower of mine for a long time. They come in so many different colors and sizes. Also I've been on a Doctor Who kick and the first companion I got to know was Rose (with Nine. You never forget your first doctor!).

Remember how last week I said that school had calmed down? Oh, that was silly of me to say. I'm right back at it, with tests and papers and midterms all before the break. Honestly, it's nuts. Plus I'm going to talk to a bunch of my TA's/Professors about recent test scores so I can try and improve.

Still adjusting to the pixie cut. It's so weird...I've got super short hair now. Super short hair is cool though.

This past weekend was fun, but I got slammed with one hell of a cold. I do not approve at all. So the past few days I've been off of running, but otherwise I've been so good about it! But the weather is getting nicer. Still cold and gross (Hello typical Illinois weather, how are you?), but improving every day. Daylight hours keep getting longer and longer. I can't wait.

On the knitting front, I've finally finished my most recent project, which is my mom's scarf! Huzzah! I'm still working on a baby blanket for my cousin, which is taking longer than usual because A) it's freaking huge. 123 stitches across. B) I had to rip parts out which was annoying. C) when attempting to ball the yarn, it conspired against me to create a huge knot of doom, which took almost an hour to try and untangle. Not okay, yarn. I'm thinking up next will be a hat and of course, a pair of gloves for my friend Ashlyn. The knitting circle is talking about a bar crawl. I'm all for it, although I'll pass on the drinking. I'll just take my knitting thank you very much.

Debating making a shirt for my two races over the summer. One ten mile race in May and one half marathon in July. If I do it, what's going on the back is "Go until it hurts...then go a little farther." Thank you Master Dunne for the saying.

Finished Neuromancer last week. I thought it was good, but confusing. I had a real problem with not knowing anything about the world I was put into, which sucked. Still, a good read. Up next is Red Mars, which so far is pretty good. In the first thirty pages there's a murder, so I'm all for it.

Still waiting to hear back from the secondary education program. They did say I should know before Spring Break, so that leaves them less than two weeks to tell me. Fingers crossed!

Over all, a pretty kickin' week. On deck for this week: A paper due on Thursday, 200 pages to read in Red Mars, 200 pages to read in Hard Times by Charles Dickens, and a lot of other readings to do. That's right kids, I might have to read the majority of two novels in less than a week. And let me tell you, that text is pretty small.

Spring Break Countdown: T minus 11 days

Song of the Day: Sweet Caroline by Niel Diamond (we're getting classic this week)

<3 Erin