Uncategorized

This is your starting line. This is your arena. How well you play, that’s up to you.

Not really sure what it is, but recently my heart has just felt so full. I haven’t found myself this happy in a long time. This post is just going to be a lot of jumbled thoughts all together. Nothing super noteworthy, but just reflecting and writing as things pop into my head. That’s what a blog is for, right?!

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However, I will say with all the violence and outcry that has happened in the last week or two, this quote has stuck with me:

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Trying to stay positive even though there is all sorts of negativity that surrounding me.

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Toward the end of July, I went on a first date for the first time in over a year. It couldn’t have gone better. I remember years ago, probably when I was in high school, my mom told me to make a list of the qualities that I wanted in a significant other and eventual/future husband. That list has been in my head for a really long time. I finally wrote it down, before this date and us talking even happened. I have been pleasantly surprised that he meets every detail on my list that my high school self created. I didn’t think every quality would have been met, but again, good surprise. Faith in humanity has been restored in that sense that it’s not impossible to meet someone that is more suitable for you. And that someone shouldn’t settle for someone, just because they think they won’t find someone else. There are billions of people out there in the world. I like to think that every person that wants to share their life with someone else has someone out in the world that is compatible for them. The rest of it is up to them – what I mean by that is that there has to be effort put in. A relationship is not going to magically happen for you. Do I believe in love at first sight? Probably not – is my gut answer. If I have learned anything about relationships in my 22 years of living, relationships are hard work. Whether that means friendships or any relationship for that matter. And talking to other friends about maintaining relationships, even people my age and older are still figuring out how to communicate with one another and meet the needs of the person whom they share their life with. I’m not the only one figuring things out as I go. But hey, at least I am learning. I feel like I’m 22 years old, but have figured out more than the average 22 year old…maybe that’s just me being cocky. Anyway, for the second date, we went to Silver Falls and went hiking. Originally, we planned on doing a three mile hike, but ended up doing eight since we [intelligently] didn’t look at a map before we left (Oops). I wouldn’t have wanted to get “lost” with anyone else though. I think this was the first time that I didn’t panic the moment I realized that we went the wrong way. I’ve always been afraid of getting lost and not being able to find my way back to where I need to be. I remember of always being terrified of getting lost or losing someone I am with and not being found, not really sure why. It was a really nice day, the park was packed with people hiking. It was nice to be outdoors while it wasn’t too hot. And we just took our time and enjoyed time together. 🙂

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This upcoming week is my last week of “summer” since classes start at Linfield very soon! This is going to be the first year that I have not been a student. I won’t be identifying as a college student anymore and it’s finally dawning on me that this is my gap year. For a HOT second, I was looking into Masters programs for Literature, but have decided against that. All the programs are out of state and I don’t know if I’m comfortable leaving Oregon or my family. I’m too much of a homebody and too close with my family to leave them. Even though, I like the idea of adventuring and going somewhere new; the very idea intimidates me. I intend to apply for the Masters of Arts in teaching program, but the application for that isn’t until January 2018. It will be crazy and exhausting to do the ten month program, but I hope I can get through it and get it done. I’m not really sure where I want to student teach or where I’ll end up. I know for sure that I want to stay in Oregon, I don’t really have a desire to live anywhere else. I’ve kind of crossed out the Midwest and South part of the United States to ever live in. I couldn’t live in Arizona – TOO hot! And after that massive, ridiculous heat wave we had, I don’t want to be anywhere near that heat, ever. California is way too big and scary. I could probably do Washington, but eh? I could end up really anywhere. My world seems so wide open to me right now.

The insaneness of this weekend has already begun. I don’t remember a time when Oregon ran out of gas in various places or when cars had to wait 15-30 minutes to fill up their gas tanks. Even better, I don’t remember a cautionary message about running out of groceries at the stores. I ordinarily really like people and don’t mind people visiting Oregon, but in this case…it’s too many people projected to be here at a time. I feel like there’s this joke/irony that all these outsiders are going to come where the zone of totality is going to happen and Oregon being it’s unpredictable, lovely self, it’s going to be cloudy. The forecast is changing though, so it may actually be a cloudless day. Honestly, when the whole eclipse thing came about last year probably – I thought “oh whatever, people aren’t going to come to Oregon just for the eclipse” and now, here we are. I’m going to stay as close to my house as I can. I cannot imagine the amount and influx of people that are on the coast right now. I’ve already seen SO many license plates from outside Oregon. In my head, I’m literally like “go home!” Even today, going to Safeway to pick up a few last minute groceries – there was more traffic than usual for a Friday and after lunchtime. If anyone needs me, I’ll be hanging in my apartment for the next five days until the outsiders LEAVE.

A couple weekends from now, I will be doing a heck of a lot of driving. However, it will be well worth it in the end. Lots and lots of family time heading my way and then going right into a busy season with Linfield getting back in session, as well as my continuing nannying part-time! I’m super excited to start the Linfield job! 🙂 My brother is getting married! I picked up my groomsmaid dress a couple weeks ago and it fits perfectly. It’s the perfect length. I still gotta figure out what to do with my hair, but I’m very happy with how my dress looks! 🙂 Miraculously, I found a house right on the lake for my parents and Gabe and me to stay at. My parents were going to go camping, but due to my stepdads heart surgery, my mom didn’t think towing the trailer and getting all camping gear stuff was worth the hassle. It’s funny, I’ve never gone anywhere or done anything for Labor Day weekend, but this will be the first time that I actually have plans.

It’s been really nice to get a ton of reading in this summer. Since throughout my college career, I wasn’t able to read for enjoyment hardly ever, except for school breaks, it’s been nice to re-read books and read new books with the perspective I have now. In regards to re-reading books, there are books that I read as a middle or high schooler and I remember the plot, but it’s sort of like watching a movie multiple times: you notice something different every time you watch the movie.

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In other news: I did that DNA test last month and got results back! Super cool that it’s super accurate. It found that I prefer savory tastes, as opposed to sweet. I can smell asparagus. I do not sneeze when looking at the sunlight. I am likely lactose intolerant. I move about 13 times an hour in my sleep, which is apparently normal! I am highly likely to flush when drinking (this one is VERY true, I light up like a watermelon). I have 262 relatives in the United States. I have actually connected with a few of them, most are third and beyond distant cousins. I’m 99.8% East Asian. I am 47.1% Korean and 34.5% Japanese and nearly 10% of Chinese. A lot of the health tests they run with 23&Me are more tailored to people of European descent, surprise, surprise. Therefore, I didn’t have any DNA variants saying that I am predisposed to any of them! I only recognized three of the diseases anyway. Apparently, I’m a blessed human being! I’ve always been a pretty healthy, low-maintenance person. I’m super impressed with this test, it’s nice to know what type of East Asian I am specifically! 🙂

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This summer has been really laid back. The first nanny job I started with at the end of May didn’t pan out the way I wanted it to. [Unfortunately, I still have yet to be paid the half of what he owes me from June]. This is the first summer since I was 16 that I have not had a steady job. It’s been really nice to relax and just hang out with Maizie. Since that first nanny job, everything has pretty much fallen into place with very minor, minor hiccups. I am excited to see what the fall season has in store. Hopefully, not over 100 degree weather, cuz this Oregonian cannot handle it. Sweet summer 2017, I will miss you dearly. IMG_1354

Maizie update! She got spayed two weeks ago as of today. She’s officially over six months old. Maizie is testing boundaries and really loves chewing paper towel and paper bags. As well as fan cords (I said goodbye to not one fan, but two) and as of yesterday, my curling iron died a painful death. She’s very naturally smart. I walk her two miles in the early morning. She hasn’t gained any weight surprisingly for over a month. Hopefully, it’s just a brief plateau and she gains some weight and grows some more. However, I really like the size she is now! Maizie and her friend Frankie play really well together, which surprises me, since he’s double her size now and not even near done growing yet! He’s so fluffy and soft though.

I was right about August flying by. It does not feel like the middle of August and I’m not totally sure I’m ready for full time work to begin! Ready or not, here it comes!

Book Review, Uncategorized

BOOK REVIEW: What Made Maddy Run

By Kate Fagan

*http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12833146/instagram-account-university-pennsylvania-runner-showed-only-part-story

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This is my very first book review, so bear with me! I think this book is valuable for everyone to read. Fagan wrote an article “Split Image”* back in 2015 and with this book, she expanded upon that brilliantly written article. This case of Madison Holleran hit me, I remember the evening I found out distinctly. I had just began the winter quarter at OSU, I was a freshman. It was January 2014. I was grabbing dinner with someone and the article popped up. I was stunned. It was a short article, since it had just occurred. There wasn’t a lot of detail…yet. I told the person, “this college freshman just jumped off a building” and the response “another suicide?” This is striking, suicide has become almost normal. The individual was unfazed by what I had just told them. Perhaps, this case struck me, because it’s still being discussed three years after. And I feel like Kate Fagan took a leap of faith by investing so much time into this case and getting to know the Holleran family. Madison’s story is so raw and real. It’s really sad and devastating. It’s not an easy read by any means. Fagan mindfully points out that not talking about suicide isn’t helping the problem either, since it’s not commonly discussed since fear of copy-cats are present. Furthermore, when it’s presented on TV or in movies, it’s in a joking matter. In another instance, just recently Thirteen Reasons Why was raw as well and shed a light on chains of events that set the tone for an individual’s life. And controversially, showed the way the main character killed herself. Media was outraged and stated that there was a “spike” of internet searches concerning how to carry out suicide.

Obviously, Madison and I did not know each other. She and I were the same age, both freshmen at big schools (at the time, since I ended up transferring to Linfield). Though, she faced an immense amount of pressure as a student and an athlete. It must be a different culture on the East coast: extremely competitive and the feeling to present yourself in the BEST manner possible. The Ivy League name was going to validate her, as opposed to Lehigh, where she was actively recruited for soccer starting in her junior year. I kept track of this case, I read the ESPN article that Fagan wrote and when I found out she was in the process of writing What Made Maddy Run, I knew this was something that would be extraordinary and eye-opening for individuals my age, individuals attending college, and even parents. Back during my junior year, I was taking a deviance of sociology course and we were able to choose the topic for our expansive paper that was due at the end of the semester. I chose teen suicide and it was extremely interesting and devastating to explore how young people come to the decision, what the chain of events are, the aftermath, and the effect of their loved ones. It’s in the top five of leading causes of death for young people. And as I’ve gotten older, I’m becoming keenly more aware of suicide and I feel like individuals are progressively getting younger and younger. Just a few months ago, a twelve year old committed suicide following the end of the school year. TWELVE years old. Obviously, her case is different than Madison’s, but suicide should never be the answer.

Fagan took it upon herself to learn everything about Maddy that she could. She wanted to do what everyone else that was close to Maddy wanted to do: try to piece everything together. Here we have this beautiful, athletically inclined, intelligent, amazing human being that was just beginning her life. Fagan points out that Maddy had been successful at everything she put her mind to. She was a perfectionist and she worked hard. Fagan shines a light on college athletes (and college students in general IMO) and their fight and struggle with mental illness. College is extraordinarily demanding and exhausting and the pressure to succeed has risen undeniably. It’s not just getting good grades in classes in high school, it’s volunteering, being active in the community, being well-rounded etc. Furthermore, adding in a sport that takes so much time, as well as attending classes, studying, traveling for sports, etc. is a lot for any individual. Maddy was struggling with depression, but was determined and did not want to be seen as a quitter.

Her Instagram was filled with what many of us do on a regular basis. Making everything look “pretty” and capturing the moments where you are all smiles, but that’s really a mask. There’s a striking conversation that I have read multiple times between Maddy and her mom. Her mom sees a photo of Maddy sparkling with her beautiful smile and she says “Mom, it’s just a picture.” The age of social media has propelled young people to present the picturesque life they are living, not the mundane, everyday stuff. There are filters to make everything more dreamy and beautiful. Life isn’t like that though. Undeniably, my generation has become so engrained in technology. Yeah, it’s a great way to connect to the world. Your followers can see what you’ve been up to, but really, that’s not the truth.

On the outside, it looked like Maddy had it all. She was a successful soccer player, began track to stay in shape for soccer. Ended up falling in love with track, was recruited by many colleges and universities, but the looming idea of a brand: an Ivy League was hanging over her. The Ivy League accepted her, she withdrew her verbal commitment to Lehigh to play soccer, to instead attend the Ivy League to do cross country/track. Unfortunately, college was not all it was cracked up to be. I relate to this, even though I wasn’t an athlete. College was not my favorite time of my life so far. It was grueling, my last semester was damn near unbearable. Thankfully, the thought of suicide never occurred to me. Just the overwhelming frustration of not know what was happening, sounds a lot like what Maddy was dealing with. She had a very supportive family from what it sounds like. Through, What Made Maddy Run – it occurs to me that she gave very little bits and pieces to a few different people and none of them thought it was room for concern.

No doubt that she was struggling at Penn, but she was determined to stick it out. She researched clubs, she had a really good friend that felt the same way she did. Her personality is a lot like mine: concrete and meticulous. There was a plan and a process for everything. Her mind was always clear. Her room and her belongings, not so much. She did art, she admired quotes by famous people – things that are abstract. It’s my assumption that she convinced herself that she needed to find a concrete profession, something concrete, not abstract like writing or art. Coming from Allendale, she was used to being top of the class, top athlete. And at Penn, she was not on top anymore. She was even with everyone else and struggled with her perfectionism. Despite her great results at meets and achieving fantastic grades her first semester, she felt like she was failing. It’s clear that something was not right, she said time and time again “something isn’t right” and “it’s not normal to feel like this.” She had never exhibited symptoms of depression before, though it did exist on her dad’s side of the family. Attending Penn seemed to begin those symptoms and felt so hopeless that she couldn’t give it any more time to consume her. Her suicide was extremely sudden, as her sister suggested that some people wait months or years and battle depression for a prolonged period of time before giving up hope completely. For Madison, she felt it was better to not let it consume her and eat her alive, as well as put her family through her struggle as well. Honestly, no one could have possibly have known how Madison was feeling. She didn’t want others to carry the weight of her burden or to be aware of the seriousness of how she was feeling.

Fagan paints this clear picture of Madison and still questions remain that will probably be never answered. People can draw conclusions and make assumptions. Fagan eloquently points out there are several and a plethora of reasons behind suicide. It’s not a one-size-fits-all, nor a one-symptom type thing. Her family and friends still struggle with whether she had planned this out or if it was a snap decision. Though, she cleared her internet history on her computer, distanced herself from friends and family, stopped attending track practices, made her bed (which she never did), bought gifts for her family and close friends, as well as wrote a note. It had to have been planned on some level. Re-reading the article that Fagan wrote two years ago and reading this book, it strikes me that it all happened so fast.

The way Fagan shines a light on acknowledging mental health and how colleges and universities have had to improve upon their health services to fulfill students’ needs is admirable. My hope is that mental illness and suicide become less stigmatized and something that people are comfortable talking about. If someone is struggling, talk to them, support them, be there for them. Communication is so, so, so important and we can’t read peoples’ minds. I know talking to my friends this past semester concerning my anxiety was really helpful and knowing they cared got me through it. Seeking help was the best thing I could have done at the time and I wouldn’t have done it if one of my friends hadn’t pointed it out to me. I was convinced that it would go away on its own, but mental illness isn’t a cold. Sometimes, it’s debilitating.

I hope you enjoyed this! Definitely my first time doing it, but super interesting content not to share. And it was cool to write this!

Creative Writing, Uncategorized

Creative Writing Portfolio

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I took an introduction to creative writing course during my last semester of undergrad and have been contemplating sharing some of the entries that I had written. Another piece is password protected, just for my own sanity. I can control who reads it. Let me know if you’d like to. 🙂 ENJOY.

Cul-De-Sac

This cul-de-sac is where I grew up

It resembled a mini community

Families gathered together, kids played together

Riding bikes, playing with colored sidewalk chalk that never disappeared, roller blading

Swinging on the swing set kept us going for hours

 

I remember making hopscotch as far as the cul-de-sac stretched

It took an entire summer day

My neighbor and I stopped

Only because we ran out of chalk

And it was approaching dusk

 

We were all near similar ages; there was an undeniable bond

When we got older, playing tag, going on bike rides,

And playing hide and go seek were the new games

We would do holidays together: carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating, Easter egg hunts

 

Time passed and we continued to grow up together

We all went off to elementary and middle schools

Then came a moment when I realized there was more than my cul-de-sac

 

When I was 11, my parents decided to move

My next-door neighbor’s family decided to move as well

And soon enough, everyone else followed suit

After everyone moved, we all lost touch with each other

Like we were only friends with each other because we lived nearby

 

I’m standing in front of my childhood home

I haven’t visited here since I moved away over a decade ago

The house is the same color, it looks the same on the outside

I see young kids playing outside just like how I used to

 

It reminds me of the cul-de-sac friends that I made when I was young

We don’t talk anymore, but I wish them well

This cul-de-sac looks the same

But I’m grown up now

This is just one of the places that made me who I am today

 

The cul-de-sac is the place I made my first friends

I look back at it now and it’s just an unfamiliar place

I don’t recognize the people anymore

A cul-de-sac means little without the people you knew are there as well.

Now, all I have is memories

And I thank my cul-de-sac for those memories.

The Starting Line

I stand in this large city

Looking straight ahead with an open mind

Down the street, I see no unoccupied space

Around me. I realize that

There are possibilities

After I graduate, I can

Travel, Work, or find where I’m

Meant to be. It will take time.

Not being from a big city, this view is a bit intimidating.

It’s busy and loud and filled with people.

I wonder if it ever quiets down.

Where I am from, there are trees everywhere

And not every space is in use.

I imagine an apartment, finding a job

Eventually settling down,

And creating my own family.

When that time comes,

I will be prepared. My mind

Will be in a healthy space.

I am driven to find where

I am happy and content.

Optimism and my mind

Are worth something to this world.

I am young and have accomplished a lot

In my twenty plus years thus far.

I am nervous about my future,

Because so much is uncertain.

But I do not let that discourage me

From putting myself out there.

I am driven and I am a strong person.

Most of all, I want to live a life I

Can be proud of. This is my

Starting line, what I make of

This journey is up to me.

Seattle

I hopped on a train to Seattle for the break hoping to revitalize and prepare myself for the last semester of my undergraduate college career. Coming from a small hometown, I was not really sure what to expect, but having spent time in Portland, thinking buildings were large in Portland, they were nothing compared to downtown Seattle. I got off the train and hopped in a Lyft car and proceeded down the streets of Seattle to be dropped off at my hotel in the heart of downtown. The sun was setting, the air was cooling down. I felt a bit of culture shock being in an unfamiliar place and not knowing where places were. When I first planned this trip, I imagined Seattle the way it’s portrayed on Grey’s Anatomy; rainy, lit up and everybody moving a mile a minute. Even better, the picturesque landscapes will amaze me with their beauty.

The next morning, my travel buddy, Angeline and I took a walk toward the pier, but made a detour to Pike Place Market. We went to the first Starbucks created, which was packed with people. Everyone surrounded us with so much energy, way too much energy for eight in the morning. This was the first familiar place that felt most like home, they seem to be everywhere in Oregon. There I was, walking around this big city, admiring all the buildings and lights and life it had to offer. I ventured into Pike Place Market, noticing the beautiful, multi-colored flowers. The small shops that surrounded me and the smell of fish freshly caught probably the night or early morning before. I saw a full-sized octopus sprawled out across a display table. It was purple and slimy, with the sign “do not touch.” Next were pieces of bread with different types of oils and vinegars to sample. The abundant amount of colors and flavors that were offered was something like I’d never seen before, some mixed with wine or beers or just a simple soy sauce or barbecue seasoning. We made a quick stop at the gum wall, which my friend could only say “this is the grossest thing I have ever seen” and to my amazement, I was impressed that someone had the patience to take the previous gum off to start over.

Angeline and I started walking toward the pier; we didn’t realize there are about a thousand steps of stairs to go down, only to accept that we’d have to come back up them later. The stairs felt like they were never ending. Toward the middle of the stairwell, I got light headed and felt like I was going to miss a step and fall flat on my face. I stopped for a brief moment to regain my balance. Thankfully, I made it to the pier. The beautiful, decent size Ferris wheel was winding around with the light blue sky in the background. Not a raindrop in the sky, not a gray cloud that was looming toward us. The water was calm; there were ferryboats in the distance. Ferryboats remind me of Derek Shepard from Grey’s Anatomy. It almost feels like a sentimental moment for me, looking at what Derek admires most about Seattle. I could taste the mist of the water, cool and fresh. I wondered to myself how cold this water was. I could hear the birds chirping as they flew by with the rest of their flock. I took a breath of fresh air like it was the last breath I would ever take. I looked toward the city and noticed all the buildings behind me. This city was so much bigger than I imagined.

The next day, I packed my belongings making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything and made a clean sweep of my hotel room. Seattle was nothing like I could have anticipated, since I envisioned rain nonstop. I envisioned the chaotic people and an energy that was inescapable. Yet, it was just a city, a bigger city than I was used to no doubt. As I boarded my train to return home, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated. I would return to the location that I have spent the last three years at and begin again.

Uncategorized

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are

A month already? July has seriously flown by, it’s crazy. I love summertime, but I’m definitely ready for my jobs to start so I can figure out my routine for the week. I ended up resigning from the nanny job with three little boys and the one eight year old girl. The father was obscenely taking advantage of me and the commute was definitely a killer. Now, I’m just nannying for one family, whom I know pretty well, so I’m super comfortable with them. And then at the end of next month, I’ll begin working at Linfield. It occurs to me that professors are going to be confused seeing me, since they know I have graduated, but it’ll be nice to work with people I know and know what I’m doing. I learned a couple weeks ago that I will have my own office (as long as it remains vacant), which was unexpected, but exciting considering it’s only a part-time position. Since I haven’t been working nearly as much as I thought/hoped, I’ve been spending the bulk of my time with Maizie. Surprise, surprise, she is growing! I think she’s stopped growing for the moment, I’m really curious how big she will end up being! She gets spayed in a couple weeks and that will definitely be a calm, stick around weekend to keep her calm and from jumping. Hopefully, I’m able to walk her, otherwise she may be insufferable with her amount of energy. I was worried about Fourth of July and the fireworks startling her, since apparently dogs are prone to running away, because the fireworks scare them. I took Maizie to my roommate’s parent’s house for their family and friends gathering. Their neighbor has a doodle dog as well, Maizie and Lily burned so much energy and played for a straight five hours. By 9:30, she was conked out and didn’t even acknowledge that fireworks were even happening. Even better, Maizie is super social and we’ve been walking in the morning and miraculously running into a miniature labradoodle named Dimples (the grandkids named her apparently) and they play for a straight 15 minutes and then they’re exhausted. And Frankie, who is a sheep-a-doodle [that’s what I call him], is huge already! He’s going to be a big dog, not sure how long their play dates will continue. Maizie isn’t even 25 pounds yet and is six months old.

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Maizie got groomed for the first time. And she has no fluff anymore! When I saw her afterwards, I had to take a minute and realize that it was the same dog, just five inches of fluff gone. It makes her look very skinny. The groomer said she has large knees, which I hadn’t noticed, they told me that she’s going to be big, but I’m not entirely convinced. Maizie’s currently going through her toddler stage where I say a command like “come” and she looks at me like “I hear ya, but I’ll come when I’m ready.” She’s incredibly smart and training her has been very easy. Frankie’s owner recommended that I use a maze bowl (see right photo, the pink bowl) and it has slowed down her eating. It actually takes her longer than ten seconds to eat, which is a bloody miracle.

In other news, I was a victim of Amazon Prime day and there were WAY too many deals that were too good to pass up! It was a very dangerous day for me to be navigating the web. I caved and ended up purchasing a DNA/ancestry test kit called 23 and Me* and it runs 75+ health tests, as well as tells me what percentage of whatever I am. It takes 6-8 weeks to process, so I probably won’t receive results until September. I’ve always been interested to see what I am possibly prone to or “at risk for” developing. I have been asked constantly as I’ve been getting older “what is your family history about ________” and I’m like “I’m adopted, I have no idea.” I’m hoping this will tell me part of my background, since finding my birth parents is practically hopeless (< 5% success rate). One of my friends did it a couple years ago and has connected with other relatives. If I get that lucky, splendid. If not, that’s okay too. I’m just amazed that they have these DNA tests out there. I splurged and bought myself a hefty, overtly organizational planner. Super customizable and really neat looking. Now, I can plan to my little heart’s content and hopefully calm my anxiety by using this planner to my advantage to keep track of everything happening. Every day is organized by the hour, as well as a month layout as well. I could not have asked for a better planner! Definitely top of the line brand**, but no shame!

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Regarding health jazz, I feel like I’m doing fairly well. Anxiety is definitely still present, but I’m managing to tolerate it and rationalize with myself to calm myself down for the most part. Sometimes, it’s hard to control, especially in high stress situations. I feel like Maizie definitely is a comfort, just being around. She follows me everywhere. This apartment would be very empty without her, since I’m here by myself most of the time. Sleep still isn’t stellar, but I’m just used to surviving on little sleep now. My heart palpitations are still happening, not so much when I’m sitting still anymore, but always when I go to sleep. I’ll lay there for 45 minutes to over two hours, trying to fall asleep. I haven’t really found a way to stop it, which is a bit frustrating. My Fitbit Blaze has been tracking my steps and sleep and heart rate, which is really nice. My sleep quality isn’t as horrid as I thought, but the amount I sleep is so little, I’m amazed I survive this last semester of college and pulled out straight As. I have yet to hear from my cardiologist, so I’ll be calling the office on Monday I suppose. Since I’ve mentioned the heart, my stepdad woke up in the morning and was experiencing pain in his arms, chest pain and shortness of breath. My mom had to convince him to go to the emergency room, since he can be stubborn. All the while saying that he didn’t need to be there, he didn’t want to waste time, he wanted to go home. My mom, intelligently refused. My step dad was then transferred to Salem Hospital for more tests and experienced another heart attack at 2am with more severe pain than the first. We learned that afternoon that he had a 90% blockage on the left side and was essentially rushed for a quad bypass surgery, that took over four hours. I sat at the hospital with my mom, aunt, his brother and sister in law, his daughter, and his friends. While not a great reason to be together, it was nice to see everyone supporting him, even from the waiting room.

MISC. Most of my shows have resumed for the most part. The Fosters is playing with almost TOO many plot lines at the same time. I watched the premiere with Elizabeth and literally, my mind was blown. Suits is off to a rocky start for me, I’m hoping it gets better. Although, their comic relief is on point, so there’s that, I suppose. My brother and his fiance are getting married really, really soon! And my other brother and his girlfriend are able to come, it’s always super great to see them. They need to move to the West coast ASAP (wink, wink GUYS). Still debating what to do with my hair, it’s pretty long, planning on curling it…fingers crossed it stays curled all afternoon + photos. I had to go to a dress fitting to get my dress altered/hemmed. All the seamstress could talk about was how much fabric she would be taking off and how petite I was and if I wore heels, they wouldn’t have to take so much length off. Holy goodness, that dress is hecka long. When she had it all pinned, it didn’t actually look like she would be taking that much off.

August is sneaking up on me. I feel ready, but once Linfield’s academic year starts and once my schedule regulates post-summertime, I will be missing this free/down time. HA.

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It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings

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I have been graduated from college for nearly a month now and boy has my life changed. Some people are traveling, some are working, and some are just lounging. No judgment here! I keep thinking to myself that I have reading preparation to do or a paper to write (ha!). Then I remember, a) it’s summertime and b) I’m done with undergrad so I don’t actually have things I have to get done. Don’t worry, I’ve been kept plenty busy during this month! I decided against going on my graduation trip that my mom has treated me to to a later date. I was planning on going to Maui, Hawaii, but since I have Maizie, I’m too anxious to leave her with anyone, including family members. She’s still a young pup and I don’t want her to panic about her mama not coming back. I can go on my vacay some other time! That being said, Maizie is definitely growing leaps and bounds! She’s one of the most social dogs I have ever come into contact with and for a dog person, that’s saying something. I had a minor panic attack, since I have been nannying two or three times a week and being away from my apartment and Maizie, she’d experienced some separation anxiety, since she wasn’t used to being by herself. The breeders and their expansive family was homeschooled. I went to Salem Pet Supply (100% recommend for all pet needs) and talked to them about it with Maizie in tow. They suggested the thunder jacket, but those are overpriced and I didn’t want it to not work. I searched (not very hard) for a boom box to play the radio or play an old iPod, but no such luck. I resorted to leaving the television on during the day. That seems to help her and put her at ease. Her favorite show is Spongebob and I don’t blame her. Maizie is 19 weeks on Thursday! Time is definitely flying and I know I won’t be able to pick her up for a whole lot longer. As I said before, I am nannying two or three times a week for one family. It’s quite a handful to be totally honest. I started this summer envisioning myself wanting three kids, but now I think I’ll do just fine with two. I’m watching three boys under the age of three. There’s one three year old and then twins that are two. It’s definitely difficult, just to communicate with them, but for the most part they’re nice to each other. I started watching the eight year old daughter and she’s definitely low maintenance in comparison. She reminds me of me, just a bit. She told me today that she wants me to be her mom.

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I’ve been applying for jobs and one sort of just fell onto my lap! I don’t start until the end of August, but I’ll be working for Linfield in the library part-time doing more than what I was doing as a student, but the same sort of thing, so I’m pretty excited. I know everyone already and they seem to like me, which is why they’re keeping me. Additionally, I think I’ll be watching a friend of mine’s son part-time as well. Without the job offers, I’d be a little worried about where I’ll be starting in the fall job-wise, but I’ve remained calm and collected.

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Maizie and her sister, Charlie! I’m so glad that her owner, Annie and I have connected and hope to continue play dates! We’re not entirely sure they recognized each other right off the bat, but they definitely played more aggressively than Maizie has with other dogs! About a week ago, we met a sheep-a-doodle named Frankie! And the owners a young couple with a toddler. The owner gave me her number and we’ve had a play date so far! Clearly, Maizie is very playful, athletic, and agile! When I first got her at twelve weeks, she was extremely clumsy! Though, she does prance around quite a bit still! She didn’t exactly embrace the heat this past weekend, but we made do! I took her on a walk each day around 7am for over a mile and then she spent time inside. I felt bad about locking her indoors the entire day, but it was WAY too hot for her black hair! She was visibly hot. I’m in the hunt for finding a groomer to give her a summer cut. Her hair is getting longer, but I trimmed around her eyes, probably butchered it, but you can’t really tell unless you really look at her. NOW, you can see her eyes! This reminds me that I treated myself to a FitBit and I’ve never been so motivated to work out! I’m not working out seriously yet, but definitely walking almost five miles a day and knowing how many steps I taken throughout the day has been handy! As well as sleep tracking! I’ve come to the realization that I only get about five hours of sleep, it’s miraculous that I am functioning honestly. Granted, I have been sleep deprived for all of 2017, thus far. Even when I do get the opportunity to sleep in, it never happens.

In general, I feel like I’ve been doing really well. I like being on my own, I like being independent. I can tolerate being by myself, I think Maizie brings comfort to my empty apartment. Keeping busy has been good for me though, I’ve always been good with being occupied and distracted. I’ve been watching re-runs of 7th Heaven, which is a show that I used to watch as a kid. Definitely still one of my favorites and at the time, it was the longest running TV show drama. Now, that’s definitely not the case, but it was still quite popular. Also, I’d been wearing a heart monitor for a month and I’m finally done! Hopefully, my specialist can figure out what’s happening to me. It’s super uncomfortable in my chest area and I feel like my heart will be super fast or super slow. And when it’s slow, it tickles within my sternum. This generally happens when sitting still or laying down. When I’m up and moving around, I’m fine for the most part, aside from my heart racing on occasion. My FitBit measures my beats per minute, which is actually really neat.

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When we are young, the words are scattered around us. As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape

It’s been awhile since I last blogged, time sort of escaped me this semester. I have miraculously kept up in regard to demands on my last semester of undergrad. It is finally sinking in that I have one week of classes left and then finals week, then I’m done! I will have my bachelors of Arts in a few short weeks. In all honesty, there were times when college went by really slowly, but I finally found my groove and began to find my college routine. I thoroughly have enjoyed my time at Linfield, I’m glad I stumbled through all my transferring and ended up here. I am about to embark on my last finals week in a couple weeks! Whoa.

This semester has been challenging with three English classes and my sociology class. Thank goodness I only have one actual final exam, but it’s going to be analyzing literature from novels we’ve read all semester. And I have actually kept up on all eight novels. Definitely thankful that I chose a writing heavy major, I don’t have to worry about an exam killing my grade. I have three research papers to complete, but I am done with one of them, which is good, since it’s due on Thursday! It sounded daunting when I started, but I have found that once I start writing, words just start pouring out of me and it comes fairly easily to me. No wonder I chose English as a major. My sociology paper explores how marriage and divorce have changed throughout the last few decades. As a product of divorced parents, it’s a common theme. My interest was originally how it impacts children and I wasn’t really surprised by what I found. I’m happy about upper-division classes allowing students to choose their own topics based on their interests. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be nearly as interested or motivated to get research and writing done. This paper is 12-15 pages. For my Chaucer class, I’m researching the medieval idea of marriage and women’s lack of power and authority. It has been frustrating to read The Canterbury Tales and have these women characters have little to no agency. Granted, this is the 1300-1400’s. For my “final” in that class, my class of seven people are compiling a playlist to each tale that we have covered in class. This will be especially interesting, just because it’s so open-ended and free. My classmates are the absolute best and we all get along really well. I’m going to miss that class so much. My novels in the US paper is 10 pages and I’m exploring African American Masculinity which stems from The Invisible Man. I didn’t love that book, but it was fairly interesting and made me question the role of Black Masculinity. That paper isn’t due until the Thursday of finals week, so I’m not too worried. This is also the class that I have a final in, not totally stoked about that, but since I have kept up on the reading, I’m not too concerned. And I’ve been doing well on papers all semester in all my classes. I don’t have a final for my online creative writing course, but we’ve been peer reviewing and I had to write a short piece. I featured the time that my father and I got into a heated fight on Father’s Day. My classmates said it was heart-wrenching and now that I look back on it, it saddens me that I endured that now that words are on the page. It is strange to say, but it wasn’t difficult for me to write. After so many years, I feel like I am unfazed talking about anything regarding my father and the events that transpired between us.

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Last week, I got a black labradoodle puppy. Her name is Maizie and she is twelve weeks old. She’s already very attached to me, which I find surprising. I thought it would be more distressing for her to be away from her brother and sister, since she was one of the last ones to go home. I got her around lunchtime and took her to my afternoon class (with my prof’s permission), since my morning class got cancelled (great timing by the way prof!). My class adored her, she was wandering around my classroom and being super quiet. Did I mention she didn’t bark or whine until the second night? The first night, she didn’t make a peep. The second night, she whined to go out to go potty. And last night, not a single peep except scratching at her crate to go out. This was surprising, since my parents brought home an eight week old puppy back at the end of December and she cried bloody murder for hours and hours. When Maizie didn’t make a peep or fuss about going into her crate, I was very surprised. It’s been about 15 years since I have had a puppy and I don’t really remember Mauja or Kiely being puppies. I didn’t realize how much they sleep. She is either really hyper and playful or sleeping soundly. I will say the first night, I put her in her crate and got into bed and heard her breathing really fast. I googled it (what else should I have done, really?) and it said it’s normal for puppies! As well as her hiccuping throughout the next day (googled again, I mean). She didn’t have any accidents the first day either. I was like “is she actually a puppy? she’s not doing any puppy-like things” and then the second day, I figured out she’s definitely a puppy. She is a very good listener, she walks really well on the leash so far and even when she’s off the leash, she follows right by my side. Recently, she has been chewing my hair, which is actually kind of painful. As well as at nighttime, she will bark and growl at her reflection at the sliding door and my full-length mirror. I’m very happy with her 🙂 And her sister, Charlie’s puppy mom and I got into contact and we’re gonna have a play date. My curiosity wonders if they will recognize each other right away! 😉

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About two weeks ago, I moved into my first apartment with my friends! I met one of them working in the library and we became pretty fast, good friends! She loves Maizie too! I’m stoked, we get along really well! Elizabeth will be joining us in late August for the school year. I’m in love with the area, it’s so quiet and serene. It’s a really nice, small apartment complex too. Luckily, all my neighbors surrounding me have dogs too! So they understand if Maizie growls or barks briefly and likely will not get mad at me. That’s a relief honestly! To be honest, she’s SO quiet. She hardly barks or growls. And when she does, it’s maybe two barks. MAYBE.

My sleep problems have somewhat resolved. Recently, for the last few weeks anyway, my heart will flutter at nighttime and that involved chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, gasping for air. It makes it really troublesome to fall asleep. The past couple weeks, it started fluttering during the day too. Mainly, when I’m sitting still and feeling calm. It’s gotten a little better, but still happening. This past week, I got bloodwork done and that came back normal. I also did an EKG and that came back slightly abnormal. I had to wear a holter monitor (100% do not recommend), wasn’t allowed to shower for 48 hours (I broke down and washed my hair tbh). And had to wear it to sleep, super fun. NOT. I was relieved when the lock struck 4:15pm on Wednesday, I could finally take it off! My doctor called to tell me that she thought it was in my best interest to do a heart echo (just as a precaution due to the EKG results), so that’ll be happening in the next couple weeks.

My life has changed a lot already this month alone and it’s about to change some more, as soon as I get that diploma in my hands, a new chapter begins!

Blog title quote is from The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich, really enjoyed this book from my novels course this semester!