Friday, September 11, 2009

Annual Examination of the Eyes

Every year one day comes around that I look forward to almost more than any other. I could let you guess, but we might still be sitting here by the time it rolls around next year. I'll just save us both the headache and tell you...it's my visit to the eye doctor! I know, I know, you never would've guessed!

Two years ago, I was told I had to get glasses for the first time in my life. I almost hugged my optometrist! After years and years of waiting and begging, I was finally being invited (coerced) into the exclusive society known as "glasses wearers." To say I was ecstactic would be somewhat of an understatement. As I sat there, trying on all the different frames being brought to me, I saw a world of possibilities in front of me. I could be sophisticated chic, fashionably cool, or anything else I wanted! Seeing myself in glasses brought back memories of begging to have glasses as a child. I don't know why I always wanted to wear glasses so badly, but I have. In elementary school, I asked my aunt (who works in the optometrist's office - still does to this day) whether I could get glasses. After explaining that I didn't need them, she went to a drawer, pulled out a pair of former season's frames that would otherwise be discarded, and handed them to me. I proudly put them on my face, carefully slipping them over my ears and on top of the bridge of my nose. Then I looked in the mirror and smiled a wide, toothy grin from ear to ear. I was on top of the world! Through the years there are other examples of my desperation to be invited into this exclusive club, but always my efforts were futile.

But I am now officially part of this club! Some days the need for glasses becomes a hindrance. For example, walking to the gym without my glasses being unable to recognize any faces coming at me; or driving down the road, suddenly realizing I forgot my glasses at home and that is why everything is so fuzzy. But truth be told, none of these pitfalls outweigh my excitement over having glasses. After my appointment was scheduled for this year, I started to give contacts some thought. I decided I could wear contacts some days and glasses others, depending on how I felt. This consideration has since been discarded! Last Sunday, a lady at the Aveda store was putting make up under my eyes, and I could hardly keep them open as her brush came up to my eye lids. It's obvious I can't handle my eyes being touched! So now, I am awake with anticipation with what tomorrow will bring. What new frames will they have in? What frames will I choose? What will they say about me and my personality? One thing I know for sure: I will pick frames that I truly like. Before I look at the price tag to see how much of the cost my insurance will cover, I will first ask myself whether I actually like the frame! After all, life is too short to have ugly glasses!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School's back in Session

Well, it's finally here! After 17 years of school (including preschool and Kindergarten), I am starting my senior year of college. It is such a strange feeling to know that I've been in school for so long, and that I am so close to the end (well sort of). I will be graduating with a degree in Political Science and two minors: English literature and Women/Gender Studies. I recently added the Women and Gender Studies minor because I already had two classes towards it, and I have the time to finish it!

This semester, I'm taking:
  • ENH 311 - Steve Jobs
  • ENH 311 - Thomas Edison
  • ENH 311 - Carly Fiorina
  • ENH 311 - General Electric
  • ENG 200 - Reading and Writing about Literature
  • ENG 394 - Jewish American Literature 1916-present
  • FAS 331 - Marriage and Family Relationships
  • WST 377 - History of American Feminist Thought

It looks like a lot, but it's really not too taxing! The first four classes are one credit, online classes which only last 5 weeks and are staggered throughout the semester. Two have started so far, and they are very interesting! I'm learning much more about Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison than I ever thought possible! The Marriage and Family Relationships class is also online and has been very interesting so far. I'm really enjoying it, and I'm hoping to glean a lot of knowledge from it! The History of American Feminist Thought has been the most challenging personally thus far. I will update more on classes as I get into the swing of things, but for now, I have homework to turn in (in less than 1.5 hours!).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finally...An update!

Well, I know it has been a while, but here it is! The long awaited update! It has been a busy summer so far, so I may need to break this into a few posts, but I will get everything up here!

I'm taking two summer classes through Rio Salado, and they are going well. I'm taking ENH241, Literature of the US before 1860, and SPA102. Although it has taken me some time, I am settled into the classes and working on them throughout the week rather than all on the day assignments are due. :) Speaking of classes, I'm meeting with my ASU adviser today to officially declare a second minor, Women and Gender Studies.

I've also been busy scouring Savers, Goodwill and any other resale shop I find for whatever bargains come my way! Some of my favorite finds:
  • bags of ties (average 8) - scored them on Monday at Savers for a dollar a bag! I ended up with 31 ties for $4.00 (32 if you count the clip-on tie in one of them)
  • brand new skirt from Urban Outfitters - also picked it up on Monday for a dollar! It still had the tags on it from Urban Outfitters, retail $38.00
  • wooden chair - got it for a dollar at Goodwill one Thursday. Structurally it was in pretty good shape, except for the foam in the chair pad. I have recovered a couple chairs with napkins that I found at Savers for 2.00 for 4. I will post pictures of the chairs soon.
  • Men's dress shirts - I pretty much refuse to pay more than a dollar for them, since Dollar day at Savers is Monday and at Goodwill it's Thursday.
  • Twin headboard and foot board - one dollar at Goodwill! It's wooden and in great shape, and it only cost a dollar!
  • J. Crew jeans - 6 dollars at My Sister's Closet!

I've had so much fun searching racks and racks for that perfect bargain! I think part of the fun has come from seeing a great piece or fabric and knowing the potential it has! So in honor of bargain shopping, here are my tips for scoring a great deal!

  1. Go regularly! Saver's and Goodwill are systematic about what tags are a dollar on any given week. If you see a great piece one week, you can figure out when it will be on sale. Goodwill also has 50% off the entire store every other week. Also, you will get to know the cashiers and there will be a friendly, helpful face amongst the madness!
  2. Be patient! There will be lots of people, there will be screaming kids, and you will probably get run into at least twice. Know this going in, and prepare yourself to deal with it.
  3. Browse craft/home decorating websites and magazines to see the raw materials for a project you would like to try. That way if you see something that could work, you already know how you will use it! This is a good strategy for clothing as well. (if you need a list of craft websites, there are some on the left hand side of the blog - the library is also a good source of crafty books)
  4. Inspect pieces thoroughly - often little rips can be repaired and furniture can be cleaned up, but you want to know what you are getting yourself into. Also, I know for a fact Goodwill and Savers both have return policies. I don't know the details, so I would hate to spread false information, but check them out so you know whether you have a back up.
  5. Look through the jewelry counters - a lot of times you can find a great piece that you can tailor to fit your tastes. For example, I found a pair of earrings Monday that I loved the dangly part of, but I wouldn't wear them as earrings. I can take that part off and make 2 custom necklaces!

Happy thrifting everyone!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Commencement - and my reflections

I could sum up commencement in 2 words: HOT and AMAZING! But I'm not going to! If you only had 2 seconds to read this entry, then that would be the short version. However, I am not a woman of only two words.



Mom and I arrived at 2:30pm (like our tickets said). Thanks to the Alumni Association we were able to enter in the staff entrance and didn't have to wait in line at all! We found our seats, luckily on the west side of the stadium and sat down. We had taken books and sudoku, but it was much more fun to watch people! Within about an hour and a half of sitting down, we were in the shade and the entertainment portion began. There were very diverse groups, from a gospel choir to a fraternity doing a battle-like dance/something (it was very different, hard to describe!). It was almost surreal to actually be there. I loved watching the Secret Service walk around and check things out. Even in 100+ degree weather they still had their regulation dark suits on! It was obvious they were hot though!!

I personally thought Obama's speech (link to the full text of the speech) was wonderful! It was obvious that he was speaking to a group of students, and that he had tailored his message for the situation. It was very encouraging as he urged students to pursue more than a paycheck. One of my personal favorite moments of the speech was when he highlighted that politicians need to be concerned with doing the right things, even if they are unpopular, rather than the next election. This has been one of my biggest peeves for so long! Perhaps that was what has driven me to stay involved and motivated in the direction of politics. There was a time when I started to get disenchanted with the process (thank you Prof. Simon and National Security, Intelligence, & Terrorism), but I have been reminded since then that I can do something. Wednesday night was another reminder that I can do something, and that something will make a difference. So my challenge to myself is to find ways to make a little difference. Maybe it means an hour spent talking to a family member, or a note of appreciation; maybe it's on a larger scale and involves joining the fight for a cause in which I believe. Whatever it is, I am challenging myself to do a little more every day.

I am looking into my options for Spring semester and beyond. It is nerve-wracking to think about being done with my undergraduate degree in one year from now. At the same time it is super exciting! I feel as if I have the whole world before me! In times like these, I feel truly blessed. I am blessed to be where I am in life and to be born exactly how I was. I am blessed to have a wonderful family and support network. I am blessed to have all the opportunities I do, and to have been able to take advantage of previous opportunities.

One final note, as my mom and I were leaving Wednesday night we noticed people standing on the sidewalk, like they were waiting for something, along Veteran's Way. When we looked to see what they were watching, we saw roughly 10 motorcycles cops lined up. My mom figured this was the motorcade, but I wasn't convinced (yet!). Pretty soon, two Secret Service men come out, get in a car, and the motorcycle cops turn their lights on! It was the motorcade! As fast as I could, I tried to get my camera out, but I wasn't fast enough! We got to watch the entire motorcade leaving! And the best part, people were waving at the Presidential Limo, and Barack waved back!!! I was in a group getting waved at by Barack Obama! Seeing the motorcade was the icing on the cake after a great night!

Pictures will come later, when the computer decides to cooperate with me! :)





Wednesday, May 13, 2009

School's end and other updates

Well it's been a while, since I updated, but lots of things have been happening! I started moving home last Thursday after my 7:30 am final (YUCK!). It's been pretty warm and very sunny here, so I was very tired each night. I tried to do as much as I could in my car, and borrowed my grandparents van once. It took me Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (with mom's help), but it got done! I've taken over my mom's house and everything (with the exception of what's at my grandparents) is back home. The first night I spent at home was last Thursday, and it was nice to be home. I got up and made pancakes Friday morning, and it was so much fun to be able to do something like that!

I had my last two finals on Monday, but only had to take one! I got to my Shakespeare final, and she announced that if we were happy with our grade we could get up and leave and wouldn't have to take the final. That was actually the one class I was really pleased with, so I took my grade and left! It gave me extra time to check out of my room, which went smooth, and then to study for my Spanish test. I took the Spanish final Monday night and kicked it in the butt! I'm officially going to be a senior...wow! It seems like time has flown. Well, it kind of has! :) I have two classes (at least) to take this summer and I will be completely on track then to graduate in May 2010. As of now, I'm considering studying abroad next Spring, and I need to start investigating that possibility! It would be a truly exceptional experience. Everyone I've talked to is very excited about that, and everyone who's done it never regrets it.

With moving home and finals, I haven't run since last Wednesday. I need to get back in a routine, but it will come.

Mom and I will be attending ASU commencement today! I am so excited to hear Obama and excited about this opportunity for ASU. I believe this is the first time a sitting President will ever speak at a graduation ceremony at ASU! I will definitely share an update tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Running Update

I started the Couch to 5k plan yesterday. It was truly a wonderful feeling to be back in the gym again! While I've been somewhat sore today, it is a good sore. I will be going back to the gym in the morning to do the second day of Couch to 5k!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Freeze Frame

Sunday, I took a break from homework and studying for finals to have a cup of coffee and eat a muffin, so I decided to start watching Fried Green Tomatoes which I rented from Blockbuster. When it was time to get back to work, I paused the movie. When I looked at the frozen frame, it didn't represent the movie well at all. It looked like one character was trying to take a bite out of another's shoulder. In reality, the scene was a surprise party! The scene was filled with smiles and laughs. However, just looking at the frozen frame wouldn't have represented the scene or the whole movie well at all. It's the same with life. Individual frames of our life may seem unpleasant or crazy or just plain bad. But those individual moments contribute to an entire life. Things aren't bad forever; wait for the next frame.



At the same time, a movie wouldn't be any good if it were entirely happy-go-lucky either. It would have no plot, and probably not even make it past production. The same is true of life, each and every moment of life, good or bad, contributes to our movie. It adds interest, knowledge, and contributes to the entire story. So take the good moments and the bad moments in stride, knowing they are adding to one wonderful movie!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Biggest Loser

Almost every Tuesday night at 7:00pm, you can find me in front of the TV watching The Biggest Loser (link to the show). I've never really been a faithful watcher before, but this season I got hooked! And every week, without fail, I tear up at some point during the show. One week, it was watching Mike go back and help his dad, Ron, to finish the challenge. One week, it was watching Mike donate his prize (a year's worth of free groceries) to Mandy, a mother of four or five. Through the weeks, I've seen this show bring out the best in people as I watch their lives being changed. This week, I watched Tara fit into a little black dress she had bought in London hoping to fit into someday. It was amazing to see how far she's come from her first day on the ranch. In 16 weeks, these people have all lost over 100 pounds! Yes they had access to world-class trainers and didn't have the concerns of work or family weighing them down, but that's remarkable! They have run a half marathon, and will be running a full marathon this week! That is truly inspirational to me.



After this week's show, I got to thinking, if they can do it, what's stopping me from being my healthiest? It was amazing to see the improvements in their health after 16 weeks. I came to the declaration Tuesday night that I'm going to start running again. It's amazing how much better I feel when I'm working out and eating like I should! I will be working from the Couch to 5K plan. Feel free to join me and comment with your progress!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crafty Me!

Here are the latest craft projects I've been working on!




I found this one on craftstylish. I scored the shirt at Savers for $0.99 and had a blast making it with my grandma! I did modify the pattern a bit. First, I wanted the pocket on my skirt, so we had to cut a bit higher and then stitch the sides to create a little bit of an A-line effect. Second, my belt and waistband aren't as wide as the pattern says, but it works!




This I found on Joann's website. I think my gauge was a bit off, and I used double crochets on the base rather than singles, but I love the way it turned out! I found the button at Wal-mart of all places! I was on the hunt for something vintage looking, and think the button is perfect!

My mom, grandma (probably), and I are planning to do a craft project this weekend, so I'm sure there will be more pictures come Monday!! :)



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How Grateful I am

I had an experience yesterday that made me realize how blessed I am, and I am truly grateful for that. I went to apply at In-n-Out's open interviews (along with 1000 other people). As I was standing in line, there was a cameraman from Fox 10 interviewing some of the people in line. I heard people talk about how they had been looking for jobs for so long. I heard people talk about how they've decided to go back to school because jobs are so hard to find. I heard people talk about getting up at 5:00am to go to other open interviews, just to be able to get in the door. I realized what a blessing it is that I've been given the opportunity and privilege of going to college. In the college system, higher education has become just a regular thing, and most students think that everyone goes to college after high school. Standing in line at the open interview was a reality check for me, and one that I'm grateful to have had. Now as I start to write yet another paper, I might consider it a privilege to get to write 10 pages on Mary Wollstonecraft...Well, maybe I can't go that far, but I am definitely grateful for the opportunity of college!

For the rest of the In-n-Out part: I left line yesterday after a woman came out telling how she had been there since 9:00am (it was now almost 1:00pm). I went back today, and the line was super short compared to yesterday. I still waited some, but it went much quicker than I thought it would! I also got a second interview, which went very well! I am staying positive and will know either way by Friday. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Top Ten Freshmen Year Survival Tips

As the year is coming to a close, I'd like to offer my top ten college freshmen survival tips. Not only have I survived a freshmen year, but I've also worked for two years with freshmen.

10. If you live on campus, get to know your Resident Assistant (at ASU Community Assistant) and any other staff on your floor.

9. If you live at home or off campus, investigate the resources available to commuter students (at ASU, here's the website).

8. Think of a few of your interests and search for a club along the lines of one or more of your interests.

7. If you are tired, go to sleep. I promise you will do much better work if you aren't completely sleep deprived. (I must give credit to one of the Peer Mentors I oversaw this year for this insightful advice; it's pure genius!)

6. Don't procrastinate, so you don't have to stay up all night before the assignment is due. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I promise your life will be so much easier if you start the assignment early.

5. Go to class. It sounds trivial, but you really will do much better if you go to class and pay attention.

4. While in class, don't email, im, facebook, watch sports, play games, etc. It's tempting, yes, but all the people sitting behind you will thank you if your computer screen isn't distracting them too.

3. Keep looking for scholarships throughout school. Sometimes there are scholarships specifically for upperclassmen; sometimes scholarships are available through your department. It pays to check out where the money is!

2. Go to your professor's office hours, at least once during the semester. With the impending budget cuts, class sizes are again increasing (didn't know they could get any bigger). You will thank yourself if you get to know your professors a little bit. They can provide help on upcoming papers, study suggestions for tests, and potentially letters of recommendation.

1. HAVE FUN! Most importantly, remember to relax and take a little time for yourself. College should be fun; it's kind of a transition between childhood and the real world. Take advantage of having this time!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Favorite Day

I realized yesterday that Saturdays are by far, my favorite days of the week. It's not just because I don't have school those days, or any of the typical reasons. It's because I get to spend time with my family on those days. My grandparents spend half the year in Kansas (their home) and half the year in Arizona. We have started a tradition of meeting for a meal every Saturday they are here. Of course, I often see them throughout the week, but Saturdays are the special days devoted to that meal with my grandparents. It's come to be one of the things I most look forward to during my week.

Yesterday for example, I was up early and got my oil changed (a big accomplishment). So I dropped by my mom's house and asked her if we should call grandma and grandpa to meet for breakfast. We did and it was wonderful! I showed my grandma a clutch I had crocheted, and she just marveled and oohed and aahed. My heart swelled because I could see that my grandma was proud of me. She also had show and tell! She has gotten heavily into beading, and made bracelets for my mom and I. It's so special to wear something and get a compliment on it and say, "Thanks, my grandma made it for me!" After breakfast, my mom, grandma, and I went downtown Mesa. For anyone looking for a neat outing, this would be one! As we perused a few stores and gawked at the unlimited options of yarn in The Fiber Factory, we had the most fun! After downtown, we went a couple other craft places and it was nearly 1:30pm before we went to drop my grandma off at her house. We were all hungry again, and so we had lunch with my grandparents! It was such a treat to get to spend so much time with them and just be able to enjoy the time.

My grandparents know so much about life, about my family, and about our ancestry. I am so lucky to have them close for half of the year, and to be able to email and call them the other half. I feel blessed by the love and knowledge they pour into my life.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Welcome!

I've officially decided to join the blogging world. I know, I know, I'm a bit behind, but better late than never!

I'm a student at Arizona State University studying Political Science and English Literature. Eventually I want to teach high school English and government, but at the rate jobs are being cut, I think I'll pursue a Master's first! I love life and I love living my life to the fullest! Blogs will include current happenings, current craft projects and my thoughts about life.

Enjoy!