First Days of Classes

31 August 2010

This will be short because I have lots of reading to do.  I'm glad to be back in the swing of things during the school year. Life is much more thrilling. I can get some food on campus, I have assignments again, my friends are finally back home with me, and events are happening all around campus (movies, comedians, game nights, football season, open mic nights, etc.).  The only downsides are three: 1) the bus system, 2) dining, 3) the gym.

Why? The buses are WAY overcrowded and late. All the dining facilities are overloaded with students. Lastly, (and worst of all) the gym is unbearable. I have to wait half an hour to use a machine and there is no parking.

Though this evening I went out with a friend to pick up some fish for her aquarium.  We had a fun yet relaxing time together shopping in petsmart. It really makes me want to own an animal.  I love dogs (but know I probably don't have the time for one right now).  For the first time in my life I feel fully capable of taking on pet ownership.  Too bad it'll have to wait another two years for graduation. Ah well, I guess a lot of good things will be happening at once in 2012. Yeah.... I could do fish too but I'm not sure if I want a 'decorative pet'. They work for a lot of people but I want an animal I can hold and pet.  Yeah, I'm needy.

Any one else back to their studies?

How many pets have you owned? When did you own your first pet as an adult when you were the sole caretaker?

Things Cats Think About Humans

29 August 2010

Last night we had a successful game night at our place. Noah and I hosted, and we had some snacks and games ready for our guests.  We had as slew of people from our different groups (band, friends from home, freshman dorm friends, family, and a few new people).  I missed events like this all summer being by myself and it was great to have a lot of people swapping stories and putting their own creative twists on the games.

You can see from the above picture that we have decorated our apartment (quite nicely if I do say so myself) and we finished just yesterday actually. Perfect timing eh? I've been taking time to print off photos for all of our frames and Noah, the master of the hammer, has been hanging up nearly all of the wall decorations.

We played the game 'Things' for the majority of our time (after getting a decent half an hour of talking out of the way). If you like Apples to Apples then chances are you'll enjoy this game.  You'll get a category such as "Things Cats Think About Humans" and then you write down your own answer.  Everyone passes their answers to the Collector who reads them aloud. You take turns guessing who you think wrote which answer. Since you have creative license in this game you may be surprised at your answers (a few that I can remember for this category: meow, where is all the fur?!, you two legged morons, stopping teasing me with that red dot, that's a big scratching post, and meow - yes, again).  Of course you'll come across some categories that are a bit more... risqué. It should probably be considered an adult game.

It was great to see so many friendly faces again and I think everyone's just about ready for classes to begin. Tomorrow morning I'll be in my first class of senior year, I can't wait.

Hope you've had a marvelous weekend! Are there any board games that you play which are always a hit? I'm always open to suggestions!

Small Town, Big Feel

27 August 2010

I love my town.  It's definitely on the small side, but it's been home for the past three years and will be for another two.

Of course, all the university students are back now which creates a whole different vibe from this summer.  Suddenly there are tons of people walking the streets, bike riders in the (new) bike lanes, and there is just an excited air about the city.

I'm ready for fall, the classes, the football games, all of my friends roaming around campus, Circle K, and campus food (yes, I said food).  Fall is a great time to get back in the spirit of things and it's at our doorstep. Are there seasonal changes in your city? Do you notice an influx of people or a time when everyone seems happy or more excited?

Déjà vu

26 August 2010

Have you ever experienced the feeling of déjà vu? You know, where you feel like you've been/seen/done something before but you can't quite recall?

Once, I experienced this while visiting a friend who was dog sitting for a weekend.  She invited me over to watch a movie with her at the house (with the owner's permission of course) and throughout the night I had my first experiences with déjà vu.  Little things kept nagging at me all night.  Pieces of artwork stood out to me as if I had seen them before but, surely, I could not have been in this stranger's house in the middle of nowhere..... Eventually we went to the basement and I saw stonework vases and jugs and everything just clicked. I knew these pots - they were made and painted in a nearby city, I remembered the owner of the house telling me this.  After seeing the stone vases I remembered that Noah's mom and taken me here to do beadwork one time.  I actually had been there.

It was such an eerie feeling: as if I had been there before but feeling that I could not possibly have been.

Tonight I experienced a similar feeling but nothing quite so extreme.  I recognize an actor but couldn't place just why I recognized him.

Noah and I were watching Moulin Rouge and there's a man in charge of the show called Harry Zidler.  He looked agonizingly familiar at three different points in the movie when he made a surprised/sad face.  I told Noah that I thought I had seen the actor before and by the end of the film I had figured out where. Do you see the resemblence?

He also played in the 2009 film Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince as Professor Slughorn.  Who knows, maybe this was common knowledge to everyone else but I was so happy to finally figure it out after wondering why I recognized him for half of the movie.

Have you ever experienced déjà vu? Did you ever recognize why you had that sense?

First image (Zidler) from here.
Second image (Slughorn) from here.

Dreams: Travel

24 August 2010

Have you ever felt homesick for a place you've never been?  That's how I felt when I was a sophomore in high school.  It was vaguely ridiculous.  I had a strong interest in the United Kingdom from my freshman year of high school onward.  For some reason, the history of the UK fascinated me & the country side seemed more beautiful than any I had ever seen.  Then at the end of my freshman year my band director announced a trip for some students (and some adults in the community).  Instead of a normal trip to Williamsburg, or even Orlando or New Orleans, we were going to Europe.  It would be a two and a half week trip to Scotland, England, and France.

Img from here. {London}

I was very excited. The trip would take place at the end of my sophomore year.  I ended up buying books and travel guides and reading them through.  All year long I was prepping myself, ready to see a place that I hadn't thought I would see until I was an adult on my own vacations.

Img from here. {Glasgow}

My year ('07) was the last full year to be invited (maybe half went).  Although I was lucky.  Noah's older brother was on the trip and Noah himself had been taking trombone lessons from our director. He ended up being one of four people going on the trip to play that was in a year behind mine.  Couldn't have worked out better right?

I won't forget our plane descending over Glasgow.  We didn't stay in the city for much time at all but it was the first place I set eyes on in Britain. I don't think I can put into words the way I felt at that moment.

Img from here. {Edinburgh Castle}

We stayed in Edinburgh (pronounced Ed-in-bur-uh ; I felt like an ignorant American when I found that out) for the first three days of our trip.  My biggest regret is that we didn't get to spend more time there.  Edinburgh was the place that I really want to visit on my trip; the photos of the Royal Mile and the Castle were stunning.  In our hotel it would be 10:30pm and we would still have light outside - it was incredible.

Now, much of this trip had tremendous issues that I would never repeat. Of course time assuages these memories and I'm left with mostly happy memories. Still, I'll let you know what I wouldn't do again:

  • Travel with 99 other people.  A group of 100 is hard to get on the Tube in the London Underground. 
  • Fit three different countries into a 2 1/2 week trip. We spent more time on buses than sleeping or touring. 
  • Hire terrible bus drivers. We had three separate buses. I was on the third. The first was fine, the second had no A/C, and the third (mine) had a horrid bus driver. He shattered a window, hit countless curbs, had an accident with another vehicle, got lost - causing over two hours of delay, and wouldn't accept phone calls from the other drivers trying to give directions.
  • Go to bed at 11pm to wake up at 2:30 am to drive to Dover, then take a ferry to France only to drive for another five hours to arrive at Paris. 
Of course, the up side of cramming so many sites into one trip is that you do get to see it all.  Stonehenge, Edinburgh, the Royal Mile, the London Eye, the Tower of London, the Eiffel Tower, Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey, Cambridge, and St. Paul's Cathedral.  We also visited many, many more cathedrals.  All the adults were sick of them (and most of the kids) but Noah and I enjoyed every one of them.  They were stunningly worked, absolutely breathtaking.  I explicitly remember Durham Cathedral.  I don't know, maybe we were crazy, but I couldn't get enough.  

Since we were on a musical trip we were fortunate enough to play in some of these places. Amazing Grace never sounded so pure as it did with that full ensemble in Cambridge Cathedral.  (Harry Potter also had a few scenes filmed there - yes, I did pose in those hallways and pretend I went to Hogwarts). 

I really want to go back.  It's been over five years now and all I want to do is fly back over the ocean and be in Britain.  Sometimes I think I would really like to live there after college. That'd be tremendous though.  Everyone I know is here - I wouldn't know how to go about getting a visa or a job, or establishing a place of residency.... But others have done it before me... It makes for a nice dream. 

What are your hobbies?

22 August 2010

Today I've been organizing my files (especially photos) and I've transferred lots of data to my external hard drive. I've cleared out a lot of space on my laptop which is great.  I've been doing a little editing on photoshop.  I really need to practice a little more.

Also, I bought a jewelry making kit so that I'll have something to do this next week.  The necklace in the above picture was very simple (only needed a few jump loops) but hopefully I'll get a little more intricate over the next week before classes start.  My guys have their videogames and I usually have photos but I've edited most of them already.  So it seems like a semi-productive hobby for the time being.

What are your hobbies? Do you spend time scrapbooking? playing a musical instrument? cooking?

It's always fun to find new activities!

Some I've enjoyed:
  • Taking photos
  • Creating stationary
  • Cooking with someone
  • Reading
  • Playing/Learning an instrument
What would you suggest?


21 August 2010

Well, I've told you that my guys would be moving in and hallelujah - they  have. The following are a few pictures of the process and hopefully I'll be putting up some of the final product soon.  Today we actually moved in a sweet couch for more seating and picked out a few more decorations.  It's coming together now. 

Plus, I'll be putting up a collage of photos sometime.... of people wearing a certain item of clothing.  I just find it hilarious. 

What's the most exciting part for you about living with people you love? I think having them around even when we're not doing anything is the best.  I can be back here typing while they're out in the living room watching tv. It's nice.

James' girlfriend was helping him move in all of his stuff.

Noah was also carrying items up the stairway.

Their bedrooms would fill up with clutter only to be organized in a matter of hours.

We're a very musical apartment. We have actually all played the flute at one point or another (and at varying levels).

Someone was pretty happy about all of it.

We walked to El Charro's down the street for a celebratory lunch.  First day everyone was moved in.

Noah and I can cook meals together now without wasting one of his on campus meals and also without having to drive back and forth.

All in all, I'm quite happy with the way things are turning out.  My sister is back in town. All of our friends are coming back into town.  It's great.  I feel as if everything has just been building towards this point. So, you guessed it - this is my reason to smile today.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

19 August 2010

Family Style

This is Noah's family.  For the majority of the week we had 18 people in the beach house.  There's one picture of all the cousins (3rd cousins included) which has 19 people without including anyone from the older generation.

Throughout the week we went sailing (fun!), watched movies, swam in the ocean, avoided the jellyfish, bought local doughnuts, and played games. 

In my next post I'll keep you up-to-date about the move-in process that's been going on around the apartment!

Fortunately, I've been able to kick back and relax this week - for the first time all summer really.  In about a week from now classes will begin at my university.  That's startling but I'm definitely ready.

My reasons to smile today are: my friends have all moved in, I'm getting to relax, we ordered netflix, I have actual food around the house, my internet is working, and one of my girlfriends is coming to visit tomorrow.

What are your reasons to smile today?

Beach in Photos

16 August 2010

These were a few scenic photos from our week at the Outer Banks.  I'll give credit where credit is due: Noah took the third photo of the sunset.  Isn't it beautiful?  (He is also the man silhouetted at the end of the dock in the first photo).  Although the beach is beautiful I'm glad to be home - especially since my guys are all moving in!  In fact, as I'm typing this, Noah is asleep on his bed in our apartment. I'm feeling pretty good.

OBX Day 1

08 August 2010

I'm using my guy's Mac to post these..... we're about to play some card games together. Have a good night all! Hopefully I'll have some more family photos by the end of the week!

Move-Ins and Vacations

The biggest reason to smile so far this weekend is probably the fact that Jake moved in on Friday afternoon! We had a great time together and began setting up his room.  We had dinner at Dave's and bought him some groceries at WalMart.

Currently I'm in the beach house in North Carolina with Noah's family.  I don't have any pictures to on his computer to put on yet but I'll try in the evenings to put up a few photos now and then.  Noah, his Uncle Joe, and I went to a local donut shop this morning to pick up 2 dozen donuts for the family.  They were extremely delicious! I liked the homemade donuts with the chocolate icing and rainbow sprinkles!

The cousins all went down to the beach together and I was a little freaked out about the ridiculous amount of jellyfish! We did eventually all swim out to the sand bar playing for a bit. Noah and I had just gotten back into shore when a lifeguard over and said we wouldn't be able to swim any more today.  There has been such a strong rip current pulling people North that has caused the lifeguards to put up a red flag. It's a bit of a disappointment but we came back and had some time in the pool. We're about to head back out to a shopping center a little further south on the island to pick up a bathing suit for me and another girl. 

Hopefully I'll be back tonight to put up some photos. Have a fun Sunday!

A Big Thank You

05 August 2010

Thanks to those of you who commented on my last post! Today was a bit of a downer (so close to Jake moving in!!!) and time has gone slowly.  We found out the samples we collected in Maryland the day I had heat exhaustion aren't even working out. Darn! Sometimes life just seems to go that way.

Fortunately, my favorite barista is at Starbucks right now as I type this (I'll go talk for a bit when I'm done typing) and I was reading your blogs and there seem to have been several good days all around! That made me happy.  To read your blogs and see the positive attitudes, well, it's definitely encouraging!

Congrats to Tillie for her wonderful new tattoo and for getting into graphics design school. She is amazing and an inspiration! She hosted the photoswap that I've told you about - I tell Noah every day on the phone that I can't wait to get my photos in the mail and see who/where they're from!

Also, Emma turned 19.  Looks like a lot of fun festivities going on over there! It's always exciting when someone has a birthday.  Who wants to party?

There were many more (some talking about trips to Maine, others about upcoming weddings - this weekend!!, even one about valuing alone time which I really needed to hear).

So today, my reason to smile is YOU. Thank you for helping to turn my evening around from places all around the world.

Image from here.

Date Days

04 August 2010

I just love getting to see Noah during the week.  Let me tell you that there are so MANY reasons to smile this week and they're actually causing time to come to a stand still because I'm so anxious for them all to arrive!

Noah came down yesterday evening and stayed until around 1pm today.  We ended up going to the gym each day, eating out for dinner (and I got my beloved mashed potatoes), "competing" on the Newly Wed Show, went to Starbucks to use the internet and grab a Carmel Apple Spice drink, woke up late, and explored some stores.

Now I just have to wait two days and then my best friend will be down for the night.  The morning after I'll be picked up by Noah and family at around 5am to head towards the Outer Banks! We'll spend a week together (and his extended family... we have somewhere around 18 people for a 14 person house - hello air mattress!), then, best of all, we'll come back home and everyone moves into the apartment!

This whole week has been moving at a snail's pace because I'm so anxious for all of these wonders to come my way.  Wow. I have a pretty good job but it's just not enough to distract me from everything else.  Although we'll be talking about my senior project soon which will be great.  I've been working for a long time now but we'll set out a goal (I love goals). We'll definitely have a minimum.  Since I'm already presenting at the VAST convention we'll probably move forward from that abstract. 

Whew! Now I need to order books, apply to grad school, and sign up/study for the Praxis II test for Earth Science Teachers. Geez! Plus, I have to schedule in the officer's retreat in Richmond in September. The officers of JMU's Circle K group are going to work together to plan out activities, fundraisers, walks, goals, etc. for our club in the 2010 and 2011 year. Did I just say 2011??? That's when I graduate from undergrad... Wow. Time has flown.

Hope you're all having a wonderful first week of August!

August Aspirations

02 August 2010

  • Outline my senior research project
  • Take care of all apartment needs
  • Have at least 7 nights spent with friends with a purpose
  • Walk some dogs and play with cats at the SPCA
  • Buy all my textbooks (
  • Thorough cleaning of the apartment
I was thinking I would like to do this one day although it's more just a "for fun" thought..... I think Noah and I would do extremely well on the Newly Wed show.  I would love to go own that show a few years in the future. 

For a Laugh

This is one of Noah's family's cats. Her name is Tigger.  On Saturday evening I drove up the interstate to see Noah and he bought lillies for me. Yes, I'm a lucky lady.

Well, apparently Tigger thinks these flowers are the most glorious tasting treat.  She was nipping at them all night! She even tore holes into a few. Noah and I took some pictures of her going at it but I wanted to put up this one because it makes me laugh every time I look at it. Hope it gives you a smile too!


01 August 2010

You know what's wonderful?

Taking time out of a summer evening to sit with your favorite person in the world, watch the fire glow, and eat smores.  Yeah. That's right.

Smores make everything in life taste good.  I'll add pictures to this at some point, but wanted to encourage you all to go build a campfire somewhere and enjoy an evening.
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