Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Post 225: In Which I Return to Babble on about Many Unrelated Topics

Oh my. I feel like I have been on a blogging hiatus. I assure you, that was not the plan. Things are hectic (more so than usual, even) right now and it has been a challenge to find the time to blog. Especially since the things that have been happening have more to do with school and exams than with anything remotely interesting.  Nevertheless, I am back with an enormous post for you to devour.  It has been divided into Topics to make it more manageable. 

Topic 1:  What Happened in Creative Writing Class

Do you guys remember those little "flash-fiction" pieces I posted about the old gas station attendant named Neilson?  (Don't have the foggiest inclination what I'm talking about?  Click here and here for a peek into the past.)  Well.  I might have cheated a bit in Creative Writing and turned in slightly modified versions of those pieces instead of creating something new for two of our assigned exercises.  (And by might, I mean I totally did.)

I got the second one back last week with the word "outstanding" written across the top.  This compliment put an idea in my head.  Or, rather, it put me in a bold enough mood to let an idea out of my head.  I waited around after class and approached my professor (who, incidentally, is my current role model) with this previously stated idea.  This is what was said after I shared the idea:

"Does that sound completely crazy?"  I asked.

"Not at all.  I think that could really work," she replied.  "It reminds me of the novel The House on Mango Street.  Have you read that?" 

"No.  I've never read anything remotely like that.  That's why I thought it might be crazy."

"Oh, well you should definitely see that one."  She wrote down the title and author for me.

Are you guys understanding what just happened in that little conversation up there?  I think it might be a little foggy still, so I'll just spell it out now.  I'm doing something completely insane with those two pieces of flash fiction.  I'm trying to turn them into a part of something bigger. 

Dear Lord, help me.  I've fallen off the deep end and I'm afraid there's no pulling me back out.  If this goes well I will become completely consumed with it.  If it goes badly, I'll be in mourning until I think of something else.  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.  What have I done?  What am I going to be doing?  Oh bother.

This is the part where I start pleading for help and/or miracles:  If you're at all religious, pray for my sanity.  If you're Catholic, do that little cross thing.  If you're Irish, send some luck my way.  If you're Harry Potter, kindly lend me Hermione bearing the lost diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw.  If you're a novelist, send me a list of pointers.  Or, if you're none of those things but you are one of my wonderful readers, please bear with me if I'm a little scatterbrained in the near future, and be understanding if this new project becomes my first "flop."  (Which it very well might.)  Or, you know, if it does happen to become something some day...take pity; buy a copy.

I also received the feedback from my creative-nonfiction essay which I posted here earlier this month.  And by "received feedback," I mean that she read it aloud to the class. 

Flattered?  Yes. 
Slightly unnerved?  Most definitely. 
A little proud?  Of course.

The only criticism (which I completely agreed with) was terrific advice about how to fix the sloppy ending.

Topic 2:  Announcing the Traveling Notebook

Last month I received an email from my blogging friend Kess.  She told me about an amazing project sponsored by Anna of Beyond the Misty Stars.  Anna purchased a notebook and dedicated a few pages to her autobiography.  Then she mailed it on to Kess of The Passing Place, who decided to give it to me.  I've had the notebook in my possession for quite some time now, and until last Friday I couldn't think of what to say.  (I mean, how am I supposed to sum up who I am in a few pages?) 

My pages are almost complete now, and I'm planning to mail the book on to Iida of With My Head in the Clouds by Thursday.  (I've had some trouble printing the photos.)  Before I ship it off though, I want to share my pages with you.  Expect those images late Wednesday or Thursday. 

If you're interested in becoming a part of the project, email Iida.   She might send it to you next.  If she has already chose a successor, your best bet would be to contact Anna.

Topic 3:  Even More Awards

Sarita, Jon and Lexa were kind enough to send some more awards my way.  Sarita and Jon bestowed the Sunshine Award on my blog.  (This gives me a grand total of 5 Sunshine Awards.  Good heavens.  I'm flattered beyond belief.) 

Lexa passed along The Beautiful Blogger Award.  This is the first time I've received this one.  It's rules are as follows:  I must first thank the bestower of the award.  (Thanks again, Lexa!!)  Then I post the award on my blog and share seven things about myself.  (I have seven "topics" in this post.  I think that counts.)  Next I pass it on to recently discovered fantastic bloggers.  (Congratulations to Fairytale Hausfrau!  I'm new to your blog, but I'm absolutely loving it, dear.  Keep up the excellent blogging.)  Of course, I must contact the winner to acknowledge their accomplishment. (Doing that as soon as I hit the "PUBLISH POST" button...)

Topic 4:  The Editing of the Rules of BotM Awards

Since I cannot keep up with ANY project I start, (Does this mean my new novel-y project is doomed from the outset?) I've decided to change the rules of BotM.  I really can't keep up with finding a new and exciting blog to fuss over each month.  It isn't that there aren't plenty of them out there, or because I don't want to, because there are and I most certainly do.  It's that I am so busy trying to get this last semester of EKU over with that I can hardly breathe, toss down coffee and keep up with my own blog, let alone go on a quest to find a new one each month. 

However, I'm not ready to kick this idea into the bin just yet.  I'm just going to change one word of the title.  Instead of "Blogger of the Month" awards, I'm going to be giving out "Blogger of the Moment" awards.  The criteria for the award is the same, but the naming is now more random.  I think it actually adds to the prestige of the award.  Now you KNOW I love the blog to which I bestow the award.  There isn't any possibility of it having been a "whim" or "last minute decision."  (Makes sense, right?)  Plus, this actually increases everyone's chances of earning a BotM trophy-button because there is the slight possibility of there being multiple winners in the same month.

Anyhoo, I have selected my next BotMoment.  I will eventually get around to announcing her and giving her a trophy. In fact, I might get around to doing that sooner now that I don't have an annoying self-imposed deadline.

Topic 5:  My Dishes, Oh My Dishes...

This is more of a confession than a topic.

Since I pride myself on being honest with you guys, I feel I need to share.  Remember way back in this post how I was talking about having a system?  I was so happy about having my own apartment.  I had schedules and plans for keeping it tidy.

I succeeded in keeping up with all those schedules and plans except one.  Maybe it's best to just spit it out?

Brianne and I went a WHOLE MONTH without doing dishes.

There.  I said it.  But before you squint your face up in disgust, know that all of those dishes were pre-washed.  It isn't like they were covered in disgusting food.  Also, we were actually continuously washing them for the entire month, because we just washed them as we needed them.  And as they sat there on the counter, mocking me, they were doing so from nicely arranged and sorted stacks.  I mean, I'm not a total slob.

Does that make it a little bit better?

Topic 6:  Wrapping Up Our Nashville (Spring Break 2010) Vacation

I have a few more photos of the trip to share with you guys.  These are from our last night in Nashville at the AFI concert.  (Yes, our second time seeing them.)  Kylie and Brianne, more ardent fans, pushed their way into the front of the crowd.  Courtney and I preferred our comfortable seating in the back, far from foot-stomping and rib-elbowing. 

Photo credits for the last two images go to Courtney Spradling.  :)


Topic 7:  In Which I Announce That I Have the Most Amazing Readers in the World

And I mean that, from the very bottom of my heart.  
You guys rock.
You encourage, strengthen and flatter me, but you also keep me in check.
It's a hard balance to manage, but you do it well.
Because I don't know if I say it enough:
THANK YOU!
Yes, YOU:
Sitting there, reading these words.
Thank you.  :)
Have a wonderful week.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Attention:

This post was designed to inform you that I am not dead, and that I shall return with a post of monumental length later tonight. 

On a side note, welcome new followers!  It's splendid to return from what turned into a mini-hiatus to discover new readers.  :)  I hope you're enjoying yourselves here at [carrotspeak.]

Now, back to my job before I'm fired for ignoring my work.  (Like that would happen.  Still.  Best not to take chances.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An Ode to Uncertainty

An email I just sent to my college advisor:

Dr. Nachtwey,

I apologize for responding to your email so late. I've just claimed a slot on the adivsing worksheet. I know last semester when we met I told you that I was planning to transfer after this semester due to an international move, and I wanted you to know before our appointment that my plans have somewhat changed.

I am still moving, but because my fiance is in the military I cannot move until we are married, and because of issues with his leave, our wedding has been postponed. I'm no long sure when I'll be leaving for Germany. I had planned to be living there by the start of the fall semester so that I could transfer schools smoothly, but now it looks like there is a possibility that I may be in Kentucky until the end of this year. If this happens, I'd be willing to attend another semester here at EKU. Because of this uncertainty, it has become neccessary for me to register for classes so that I don't lose my scholarship, should I need it for another semester after all.

I know this is all very confusing, and believe me I know it's frustrating that my plans seem to change on a daily basis. Everything in my academic future is hanging on the date of my move, and the Army really couldn't care less. I have completed one semester plan for Degree Works, and noted that if I follow through with another semester at EKU, it will indeed be my last here.

Thanks so much for all your help last semester, and for your patience. I'll be seeing you next Monday at 4:00pm.
 -Carrie Chaney

If I were poor Dr. Nachtwey, and I were dealing with so many changes in one student, I'd be ready to resign.  Thankfully I am not Dr. Nachtwey, and I deal with the world flipping upside down daily.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sharing (Take 2)

I'm back in Richmond again.  My vacation didn't last nearly long enough.  They never do, do they?  Anyhoo, since I have to get back in the swing of things I thought a college-ish post might pull you guys right along with me.

In my creative writing class we did an exercise that was supposed to help us come up with creative non-fiction topics.  We had to make a list of random facts.  It could be facts about ourselves, facts about the world, anything, so long as it was something true.  Then we had to take the list home, choose a fact, and develop a true essay around it.  I'm sharing my essay here because I think you guys will appreciate it more than my class will, given that you know the inner workings of my mind.  I spent about thirty minutes on this, so bare in mind that it wasn't exactly the fruit of much labor.  (When the day comes that I stop using my relationship as the center point of my writing I'll eat my hat.  Figuratively, of course.  I happen to like my hat.)

My fact:
There are 1,440 minutes in a day.

My short essay:
There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Sometimes using them all up is a chore.

For approximately 480 minutes each day, I am asleep. This is usually a good thing. Sleep passes time, and I have a lot of time to kill. The problem with sleeping is that it doesn’t really dull the mind the way some people say. In fact, I’d say it heightens the productivity of the mind. In sleep, we are not bound by the conventions of everyday life. We can act on our deepest desires and instincts without the constraint of societal norms. Gravity doesn’t exist. Time is not a linear thing. Sleep is the mind’s playground, but our dreams are not always ones we’d like to have. There is no hiding in sleep. The mind unleashed shows us what we can shove aside when we are awake.

About 180 minutes are spent in a classroom. I take notes about things I won’t need to remember. I lock the information into tiny cells, stowing it away for a rainy day when I might want to impress someone with a random fact. Sometimes it is tedious work, remembering all of these things, but occupies a chunk of my day and that is key. On the mornings when I don’t want to drag myself out into the cold I simply remind myself that if I do not go I’ll only be sitting at home, alone, without a distraction. That usually does the trick.

Two hundred forty minutes are wasted away behind a desk where I make labels and folders and copy files and shred social security numbers and preserve things in lamination. In the end I have to shred the laminated things as well. There is a phone I’m supposed to answer, but in the year and a half I’ve been working behind this desk it has only rang three times. Each time I am startled. The conversations lasted approximately 30 seconds each. Each caller asked for someone named Donald. Obviously I am not Donald.

These tasks leave 540 minutes unused. It isn’t like a cell phone bill. The minutes can’t just keep rolling over until I find a day I’d like to stretch. (Wouldn’t that be lovely?) I know I won’t be getting them back, so I try to make the most of them.

I might enjoy 30 or 40 of them while diving into a book. Sometimes I take an hour or so to cook dinner for a few friends. Cooking is a project of sorts; I’m a housewife-in-training. I figure the skill will be useful soon enough, so I’ve taken to practicing. It helps me spend my minutes and it produces quite a few smiles. We laugh when things explode or burn or turn to mush, and we savor the few dishes that miraculously parade from the oven edible. (About 35 minutes could be devoted to cleaning up the dishes, but we usually put that off until there is not a single spoon left, causing this task to take 80 minutes instead.)

Recently, I adopted an orange cat I call Max. He takes up at least 180 minutes of my day. He likes to sit in my lap while I read or write or type. He thinks he’s the center of the universe, or if he isn’t, that he should be.

There are usually (but not always) about fifteen minutes when I pretend that I’m somewhere else. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes less. It always happens like this: My phone rings. I drop whatever I’m holding and run for it. I’ve been known to jump over the back of the sofa, dive under the coffee table, or even fall down the stairs in pursuit of the phone. I have obtained multiple bruises and scrapes from this enthusiasm, but none of them are ever apparent in my voice when I answer. Actually, I usually don’t notice them until after the call is over.

I say “Hello?” with an expectant smile. He says “Hi,” and I can hear that he’s happy too. For about fifteen minutes I stop feeling every inch of the 4,400 miles between us. It disappears. Instead of being surrounded by people from home (or being in the middle of the grocery or whispering in the hallway outside of a tedious class) I am far away in a place that isn’t quite familiar yet. He kicks off those tan boots and peels away that ridiculously crisp jacket and we flop down on our sofa where he uses my lap for a pillow as we swap stories about what happened in our days. No matter how things went we are happy to be together at the end of it. Even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.

Fifteen minutes.

There are fifteen minutes of my day in which I feel alive. A little basic math will tell you that those minutes only make up .01% of my daily existence. There are around 84,960 minutes left until our next reunion. About 885 of them will be spent talking with him. For the other 84,075 I’ll be a human robot, fighting the numbness that is my worst nightmare.

Each minute of my annoyingly long day is one less left on the countdown to my next real smile. Sometimes thinking about it logically helps. At the very least it takes a few minutes to calculate it all…

Now then, a penny for your thoughts?
Ich hoffe Sie, dass alle wunderbaren Tage haben.  :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Downtown Adventures

Next up on our agenda was exploring downtown.  We found the cutest little shops in the world. 







And that last photo?  That was later last night just before we went dancing.  :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Day at the Zoo

So far this vacation has been heavenly.  I feel like my problems stayed in Kentucky and there is nothing for me to worry about here.  The four of us have spent most of the past two days shopping and relaxing by the pool, but yesterday our gloomy weather forecast was gleefully mistaken, so we ventured to the Nashville Zoo to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather.

   

    





The zebras are my favorites.  :)


The bamboo along the trail was covered in carved messages.  I found one that was rather appropriate...





All in all, it was a pretty successful trip.  The day was topped off by fabulous chinese food and another night at the pool.  I think we're planing to browse downtown today and, of course, more shopping will happen without a doubt.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wedding Update #4

Since the date has been moved from mid-summer to early fall, my colors have changed for the third and final (let's hope) time.  Now I'm decking everything out in red and cream.  I think it's beautiful and romantic and...perfect.  Below is a sample I whipped up on polyvore.


 
Red Wedding Ideas

As of this moment, the wedding is taking place on Saturday September 4, 2010, in Irvine Kentucky, at 5:00 in the evening.  Of course, that is subject to change at any time.

Also, for anyone that is interested, there might be some photos of my dress on facebook now... It's a definite possibility. :) 

(Kyle, the privacy settings have been edited so that you aren't allowed to veiw that album.  Please don't go peering around until you find a loop-hole.  I set it that way for a reason.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Awards Out the Ears

Over the past few days I've recieved three notices that I've been given an award, and by a rather hilarious coincidence, all three amazing readers nominated me for the same one.  Thanks so much Postman, Kate and Loco Yaya!  You guys are amazing!  That was convenient.  ;) 

If you guys haven't checked out the blogs of the three rock stars that gifted me this award, please do so.  They're all amazing.  Postman's blog is always full of surprises:  He's learning to be an expert pilot and a bartender, and, of course, working on a novel.  (Aren't all of us here in Blog-land working on a book of some sort?)  Kate's is the blog of a fellow military spouse.  (I can say "fellow," right?  I'm close enough...)  Loco Yaya is a rather hilarious, and self-proclaimedly (Yes.  I just made up that word.  It exists now.) sarcastic, mother of two.

The award in question is called the Sunshine Award.  It's purpose is to "celebrate the positivity and creativity of our fellow bloggers."  The rules state that I'm to pass it on to twelve other worthy writers.  Technically, maybe, I should put up 36 blogs since I got it three times in a row, but I think I'm going to bend the rules a bit.  I can get away with that, right?  Well I certainly hope so, because honestly I'm not even sure if I can even come up with a dozen.  I've give out so many awards that I've already nominated most of my favorites.  : /  With no further procrastination, here are the blogs I've come up with.  The introductions are for the most part their own, taken from their "About Me" sections.
  1. The Novelista Barista: "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons" --ts eliot-- I am a writer, a creator, a lover & a friend. I am passionate about my life and about others. I try to do the best for myself & everyone around me. I love making others smile. I love to learn new cultures and travel to 3rd world countries to see how others live their lives. I am passionate about happiness. I am inspired by art, photography & music. PURA VIDA.
  2. Art Pixie:  "I'm a 15 year old girl from Melbourne, Australia. This is a photo blog that I have opened up to post my work and other miscellaneous stuff that inspires me. The camera I use is a Canon 40d with a Canon 50mm f/1.8 & 85mm f/1.8"  (I discovered this lovely young lady through tumblr before she created her blogger account.)
  3. the best little bookshelf in texas:  "My name is Jia Tolentino and I am reviewing every book I've ever read."  (This girl says she hates Twilight, but her reviews are good enough to keep her on my Blogroll anyway, if that tells you anything.)
  4. MY MILK TOOF:  "When I was young, I placed my baby teeth under my pillow and when I woke up I'd find a shiny new quarter. But whatever happened to those little teeth? Where did they go? Would I ever see them again?  Many years later, a little tooth was standing at my door. It looked familiar. Its name was ickle. Welcome home, my milk toof!"  (This blog is written by Inhae, and it is ADORABLE.  It documents the adventures of two teeth called ickle and Lardee.  You'll have to click the link to fully understand.  One of these adventures has been published in the form of a childrens' book.)
  5. Mod Podge Rocks:  This, as you can probably guess from the title, is a blog written by Amy about crafting with Mod Podge.  It never fails to amaze me what this lady can do with a bottle of glue.  ;)
...I think that's all I've got today.  Feel free to browse the Blogroll for more amazing blogs.