Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Leaving Day

It's a strange feeling this morning.  It's like...  It's almost surreal.  I feel like I should be having some kind of profound thoughts, but I'm not.  I just keep thinking:  This is it.  This is it.  This is it.  And other that that, I'm a blank canvas.

My parents should be here any minute to drive me to the airport.  I have nothing left to do to prepare.  The bags are packed, the tickets are ready, and my reading materials have been selected.  All that's left between Kyle and I is one VERY long day of traveling.  I should be arriving in Germany around 4am Kentucky-time.  (Germany is six hours ahead.)  And he should be done working tomorrow's shift around eight hours after that.  So if any of you are as excited as I am, you can do some math and set your timers.  ;)

Whew.  I guess this is really it.  Lots of love guys.  The next time you hear from me (assuming I don't end up stranded in Chicago overnight due to delays again) I'll be with Kyle.

Monday, May 24, 2010

One Day

I am so excited that I'm barely capable of coherent speech. Tomorrow I'll be on my way.  :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fill in the Blanks Friday

(More participants here.)

1. One fashion trend I really regret is:  two words:  Toe.  Socks.

2. The one thing that always completes any outfit is an appropriate accessory.  Such as the silver hoops I wear on an almost daily basis.  (What can I say?  They match EVERYTHING.)

3. I would describe my personal style as um...  Typical college girl?  Except that doesn't work, because I'm not a fan of oversized hoodies or jogging pants in public.  (NOTE:  Public does not include the car.  Therefore it's perfectly acceptable to go through a drive through wearing either or both of those items.  Oh, how I love to bend my own rules.)

4. My fashion muse is Emma Watson.  Oh, how lovely it would be to look like/dress like/be this girl.

5. If I could own one designer piece of clothing it would be ...If someone were going to give me a piece of designer clothing, (because let's just be honest, that's the only way I'm ever going to acquire one) I don't think I'd even care what it was.  However, I certainly wouldn't mind having this.

6. I would love to raid the wardrobe of   ...I'd like to have a wardrobe people want to raid.  How about that?

7. Today I am wearing:  *sigh  Can this one wait until AFTER work?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Five Days

Five days. 

Five days is frustrating. 

Five days feels like...

...like a little kid shaking their gifts before Christmas.

...like the last thirty seconds before the microwave goes bing! when you're absolutely starving and don't think you can wait one. more. moment.

...like that instant in your dreams when you realize you're asleep, and no matter how hard you try you cannot escape the imaginary world.  You cannot wake up.

...like when you're pacing the halls in a hospital and there is nothing you can do to help whoever you're there to see.

...like that nagging sensation at the back of your neck when you know something has been left undone.

...like when you wear your sundresses a few weeks too early in the spring, just in hope that the sun will be inspired and suddenly decide to kick it up a few notches.

...like having one more box to unpack a month after a move.

But, in every single one of those instances, the end is in sight.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy List

Ten things that make me unbearably happy today:

1)  My heels clacking in the office this morning.

2)  My work "inbox" being completely empty since for the first time since last summer.

3)  The scale telling me I'm a full ten pounds lighter (after a few slip-ups), exactly half way to the goal weight.

4)  The insane number of compliments I've received since I had to get glasses.  (What?  You mean I forgot to tell you how I spent nineteen years of my life blind and didn't know it?)

5)  Bright red nail polish.

6)  Dad calling to ask if he could randomly take me out for dinner tonight/tomorrow.

7)  Kyle actually sorting out who is picking me up from the airport when I arrive next week.

8)  The fact that watermelons are finally popping up in the grocery again.

9)  Being nearly finished with Eat, Pray, Love.  It's probably going to make my All Time Favorite
Books List.

10) This photo:

What makes you unbearably happy today?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Eight Days

Reunion number three is eight days away and I'm all jittery.  I can't pull the brakes on the endless stream of daydreams, can't stop wondering if there is something I should be doing to prepare, can't stop feeling like it's 800 days instead of just eight.  It's like the world started spinning faster and slower at the same time. I'm wondering where the last four months went, and in the same instant feeling like today won't hurry up.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fill in the Blanks Friday

[More participants here.]

1. The very best thing about the summer is driving through the country with the windows down and smelling all the scrumptious food grilling in EVERY front yard.  :)  And the fireflies.  I like those too.

2. My first crush ever was lasted from Kindergarten through fifth grade.  Apparently I'm one for long term relationships.  Even when I'm the only one that's in it. 

3. This may sound really silly but I am the only person in my entire family that despises bananas.  Go figure.

4. I squeeze my toothpaste from the middle.  I'm usually in too much of a hurry in the mornings to care, and what's the point in fixing it at night if I'm just going to unevenly distribute it again the next day?

5. My absolute favorite "comfort food" is ice cream.  (I think it can cure pretty much anything, and solve almost any problem.  World leaders should sit down over ice cream and sort out global warming...)  Followed closely by pasta, pasta and more pasta.

6. A random fact about me is that I was Editor in Chief of my high school Yearbook Staff.  It's still my all time favorite accomplishment, and probably always will be. 

(We were the coolest yb staff EVER.  Just sayin.)

7. The one piece of technology that truly makes my life better and I couldn't live without is the internet.  Life without the internet would leave me miserably un-blogging. :(

[image source 1] [image 2 is mine]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Common Decency

Alright Bloggers and Bloggettes, brace yourselves. I have a rant to deliver.

There are some things in life which should be inherently understood, and one of them is common decency toward your fellow man.  The fact that Americans are privileged with "free speech" has snowballed into the ridiculous notion that it's perfectly fine to insult anyone about anything based only on your first impression of them.  I am disgusted by this.

It is not acceptable to judge human beings based on things as shallow and their race, gender, weight, hair color, sexual orientation or, God help me, their Twilight t-shirts. 

Not all blonds are stupid.
Not all women are cut out for kitchen work.
Not all respectful guys without a mullet/baggy jeans are gay.
Not all Twilight fans are retarded gothic wannabes.
Not all young mothers are uneducated.
Not all goth kids are mindless.
Not all housewives are spineless morons.
Not all muscular black men are going to grab your purse and run.
Not all single moms are out to find a man with a pay check.
Not everyone in rural areas is stuck there.
Not everyone in the city is heartless and cold.
Not everybody from a rich family is a snob.
Not everyone in a church is a saint.
Not everyone outside of it is Satan himself.

Now then.  It would be a lot easier if we could all just grow up, move on, and be civil.  There isn't a new planet for us to live on if we don't like the way things are going on this one.  The best we can do is love each other, accept what we cannot change, focus on the similarities between us, and try to leave the world with a little more happiness than there was before we were brought into it.

I mean, can you guys just do me a favor?  Could you just tell someone you love them today?  I couldn't care less who it is.  It could be your mom, your brother, your cousin, your best friend, or your neighbor.  Just say something to the effect of:  "Hey, just so you know, you're a decent human being, and I love you for it." 

Could you do that, please?  We need a little more love in the world these days.

And just because I believe people should always "practice what they preach," here you go:

You, reader, who have sat patiently through my rant:

You are beautiful.  You are unique.  There is no one in the world who is quite like you.  Every day you have the enormously powerful potential to shape the lives around you.  You have the ability to reach for exquisite dreams.  You have more strength and more courage than you realize, and I can't wait to see what you do with it.  

Whoever you are, where ever you may be, I love you.  I love you with all of my heart, and I believe in you.  Hold your head high.  Bow to no one.  Do not give in, and do not give up.

I wish you all a wonderful day, and more importantly, a life full of peace, love and joy.


Mad Tea Party 2010

Did you go to last year's Mad Tea Party?
If so, you'll remember how utterly incredible it is.
If not, you need to hop over to Vanessa's blog immediately to sign up!
Actually, you need to do that even if you DID go.

Want a preview?
Here's last year's Mad Tea Party, and here is my own celebratory post.

What are you waiting for?
It's open invitation.

I'll most certainly be there.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thirteen Days

Thirteen days feels like a short sprint through rain to the safety of a front porch.  Like stretching to reach that book on the very top shelf at the library:  rising on tiptoes, pushing yourself up, up, up, shoulder straining and fingers spread wide.  Like the last snow of winter:  the way white crystals gleam in the shadows of rocks and trees for days, refusing to give in to the warm spring air.  Like the first strained glimpse of the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Thirteen days feels so very close.  Just a liiittttllle bit further...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I have ten thousand things to tell you.

Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand
Henceforth in thy shadow. Nevermore
Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I forbore--
Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine
With pulses that beat double. What I do
And what I dream include thee, as the wine
Must taste of its own grapes. And when I sue
God for myself, He hears that name of thine,
And sees within my eyes the tears of two.
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

But instead I'll leave you with this poem, and the knowledge that we'll be together for eighteen days in just two more short weeks.  None of my problems matter at the moment.  They can wait.  Right now, as a new day begins and hope unfurls anew, let's all just smile, shall we?

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm a Sucker for a Happy Ending

Last month, Kylie, Courtney #2 (by which I mean, not Kyle's sister, but Kylie's cousin) and I went to see The Last Song in theaters.  We didn't expect much.  I'm not much of a fan of most of Nicholas Sparks' books, and movie adaptations are typically poor imitations of any plot.  That, added to the fact that Disney's Miley Cyrus portrays the protagonist was enough to make me slightly prejudiced.  But beyond that, I feel like most of Sparks' work is generic and disappointing.

However, with this movie I was pleasantly surprised.  Miley wasn't half bad.  I mean, she wasn't brilliant by any means, but it was a definite step up from Hannah Montana.  Better yet, I actually got sucked into the story.  It follows a lot of cliches and definitely couldn't be called "one of a kind," but it was real, it was believable and it had a happy(ish) ending.  That, my friends, is pretty much the criteria for a Carrie-approved movie.

So of course I had to read the book.  It was a pleasant surprise too.  Since good ol' Nick worked with the script, it follows the same basic plot as the movie, but as books always are, it was much better developed. 

Of course, the book is filled with the ocean scenery, summer love and family ties that are ever-present in a Nicholas Sparks novel.  The scene work and characters were satisfying, fleshed out just enough to feel real.  Readers follow Ronnie's first romance and coming of age, and spares us none of her struggles.  That's one of the book's redeeming qualities:  It doesn't dress up pain as if it were "honorable."  It lays it all out in black and white.

The book opens with Ronnie (short for Veronica) packing her bags to head back home to New York, talking ominously about the past summer with her mother.  The scene cuts and we are led to assume that what follows is the story of the memorable months through Ronnie's eyes, but with flashes from the perspectives of the two men in her life:  her dad and boyfriend.  The way the story jumps from character to character was refreshing, providing welcome insights into the minds of the people in our protagonist's life.  We witness Ronnie grow up during a hot North Carolina summer spent (rather reluctantly at first) with her father, years after her parents' divorce.  Her little brother is along for the ride, sprinkling childish innocence and humor throughout the novel.

Ronnie's reluctance and bitterness toward her father fade fast when she falls for the typical male lead:  tall, tan, rich and charming.  Ironically, but a bit cliche, he isn't her type at all.  Ronnie sports a shoplifting record, a purple streak in her hair, and a biting attitude.  Somehow, the opposites attract and our heroine comes to learn lessons in life, love and marine biology.  (In a series of particularly adorable scenes, the young couple work together to save a nest of sea turtle eggs.)

The real kicker in this novel comes when Ronnie discovers that her father is a terminal cancer patient.  This is the part in both movie and book that allowed the story to work its way into my heart.  The sometimes pained father-daughter dynamic was brilliantly done.  All appropriate bitterness, resentment and overwhelming love were woven together to demonstrate the beautiful power of forgiveness in a conclusion that most definitely had me reaching for the tissues.

While the book has its faults (like a couple stereotype-driven characters and a few melodramatic sub-plots) it certainly shines next to the other Sparks novels I've read.  The focus on family saved it for me, in the end.  Plus, you know, it has a decent ending.  So everybody (by which I mean me) goes home happy.  If you have some spare time this summer, you should give it a try.  It makes a nice light read.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody

In high school, our Academic Team used to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" from start to finish on every bus trip to a competition out of county. Oh, those were the days.  Approximately 25 kids on a bus shouting Queen lyrics at the top of their lungs, and not one of then hitting the right notes.  Those trips will always be some of my favorite memories. I so wish we had known about this Muppet version.  We definitely could have had some fun with this.  I mean, that's just epic.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fill in the Blanks Friday

[For more participants, click here.]

1. My favorite book growing up was The Story of Holly and Ivy.  It's heartwarming, and the illustrations are still my favorite from any children's book.  They're beautiful!  Whenever (way down the road) I have a kid (and assuming it's a girl) I'm probably going to frame some of the pictures for the nursery.  I'm dorky like that.

2. The funniest book I've ever read was My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands, by Chelsea Handler.

3. The one book that has truly changed my life is actually a series of books:  the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories.  I decided I really wanted to write while reading these.  I mean, if Nancy can track down villians, then I can make up a story.  My dream doesn't require detective tools or a death-wish.

4. If you're looking for a real "tear jerker" you should probably read My Sister's Keeper by Jodie Picoult. Keep tissues nearby.  It's a beautiful story, and comes highly reccommended, but it's heartbreaking.

5. If I could meet any author living or dead I would want to meet JK Rowling.  Sure, it's an answer that you could get from 50,000 other Potter-fans.  But who better to talk to if you want to become a successful author in the modern world?  I mean, she wrote an amazing story, and it's one that has been well loved by adults, teens, and children alike.  That's something that doesn't happen often.  Plus, I'd love to know what else she has up her sleeve.

6. The next book on my "to read" list is Eat, Pray, Love,  by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I'm six chapters into the first section.  So far I'm loving it.  The tone is rich with light sarcasm, and the plot is...well it's certainly interesting.  This is one of very few non-fiction books I've ever read and liked.  (Or at least I think I'm going to like it.)

7. If I was snowed into remote cabin in the woods and could only choose three books to bring with me I'd bring Eat, Pray, Love, since I've already started it; The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, because "snowed in" denotes that it's magically winter, by which time this one will be released; and something by Sandra Brown. Sure, her stuff doesn't exactly qualify as "Literature with a capital L," but she can sure tell a story.

The End

Today was my last day at EKU. As of 10am this morning, I am officially finished being a "traditional student." If everything goes as planned, I'll be moving my education online via UMUC next semester.

How am I feeling about this? Oh, I'm ecstatic. Finally, a step towards getting out of the good ol' USA. Those little countdowns keep ticking, bringing me closer and closer to the place I want to be.  Eighteen days until Germany, and 119 until the wedding.

Oh, and did I mention?  I'm exactly half way through my first degree.  It's a good feeling.

Still, there are things I'll miss.  Like being able to toss around literary terms on a daily basis.  And Einstein Brothers Bagels for breakfast.  And my fellow English majors, most of whom have begun to feel like old friends.  And a few choice professors.  And bumping into at least six people I know from high school every day...

However, it's totally worth it.  I'm looking forward to semesters of sleeping in, teaching myself at my own leisure, and having plenty of travel time.  And, you know, getting to move to Germany in the fall might be a plus.  Just maybe.  ;)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Does someone want to fill me in on when Hannah Montana grew wings?

This is certainly different.


The date has been set for my next trip to Germany.  I'll be seeing Kyle in twenty-one short days.  Exactly three weeks.  It's not a long wait anymore.  In fact, I told someone recently that anything under one hundred days was cake.  Turns out cake isn't always that easy.

I completely lost it today.  I was sitting on the sofa with a text book open, trying to prepare for finals, and suddenly all the weight of these last three (closer to four) lonely months came crashing down on my shoulders and before I knew what was happening I was curled up in a ball crying harder than I have in a long time.

To be perfectly honest, I don't even know what brought it on.  One minute I was fine, and the next I was right back on the same roller-coaster track, plummeting fast.  It didn't make sense, but then what about this journey has?

All I know is that I miss Kyle.  I miss him so much it hurts, and it's not just today.  It doesn't only happen when I'm crying.  I miss him all the time, for every second of every day, and it always hurts.  Occasionally it catches up to me.  Apparently even now.  Even when I'm so close to the end of one more segment of this separation.  Even when I know that each day is one day closer, and that it's a day I need to treasure because I can't get it back.  Even when all those things are true, even when the world keeps spinning and thousands of faces pass unaware, it hurts.

And each momentary lapse, each time I feel myself slide a few feet backwards, reverting into that old pattern, I feel. so. weak.  It's awful.  So eventually, I pick myself up go at the day again, trying to fight off the last bits of the sadness in which I'm drowning.
But you know, I think I'm finally starting to see things a little differently.  After approximately thirteen months dealing with the not-so-great side of the Army (by which I mean, putting up with it stealing the most important element of my life) I've realized that strength does not mean you never cry.  It doesn't mean you're not afraid.  Strength is not about being "fine."  It doesn't mean that I'm not allowed to feel to the pain.

Strength is what happens after the crying.  It's what takes that little grain of fear inside your heart and tells it to scoot over, because there has to be room for hope too.   Strength is what makes us be able to take every last drop of that sadness, and then wipe our eyes, pick ourselves up, and carry on with what must be done.  So, no matter how many times I have to stop what I'm doing and cry, I know I'll always get back up afterward.  I love him.  I love him so much, and that's what makes me strong, even when I don't want to be.

Twenty-one days.  Almost there.  Almost back.  One breath in.  A tear hear and there.  And another breath out.