september bullet points…

It’s been too long, you’ll say. Well, that is completely true. You’ll have to forgive me, because it’s going to last a while longer. But let’s review the main stuff, shall we?

  • This is my senior year. While I am kept busy (and occasionally swamped), that means that within a year, I will be a college graduate searching for a job. Which means, some sweet day, I will have time for non-school related activities. Like blogging.
  • I still take photos, but mostly post them to Instagram from my phone. My camera only tends to travel with me when I visit family, and then I try and take pics on camera AND phone, because of occasional lighting and speed issues on my phone. But my phone quality keeps improving, so it’s my go-to. Laziness? Maybe. Sometimes,  you do what you have time for.
  • The Lord has blessed me with a lot of spiritual growth this year, partly because of attending a new church. Sometimes, I want to shout for joy… and then a new school assignment “calms” me down. But my Savior has been gracious, and is working on me in the patience area, as well as the worry area. Not the same, I assure you.
  • I am enjoying my history classes, as always, as well as taking another fiction workshop. So, I spend a LOT of time reading for class, and writing assignments. Which is why most of the time, I don’t have brain space for any other kind of writing. Except, you know, on FB or on my Instagram posts.
  • What else is there? Some of you began following me because of my trip to Australia… what is it, 5 years ago now? While I keep in regular contact with my Aussie friends, I do hope that in the next year or two, I will be able to afford to go visit them, finally. And visit all the places that I didn’t get to, last time. But maybe, once I graduate, I will have time for more trips here in the U.S., too.
  • Continuing that thought, I have been on several road trips this year, mostly to the beach and PA and Virginia. To visit family and friends. But mostly, I wasn’t in a writing mood, because I’d been “schooled out” at that point. There are times when you never want to go near a computer again.
  • Along with the above JOY about knowing the Lord better this year, along with that comes a renewed interest in a few things that I’ve slacked on over the years. Playing my guitar or playing the piano. Trying new things, mostly art-related. Getting a bike, and taking some leisure skills at school, like tennis and top ropes. So, since writing and blogging still remain in my list of things I like to do, I’m more likely to do them when I’m not busy AND when I’m particularly happy/joyful about something. When worry and frustration crowd things out, the fun things slide, because… well, that’s playing with avoidance tactics, as I see it. If I’m blogging in order to avoid studying, then I’m shirking what I have to be doing. I want to keep my GPA up high, you know. 🙂
  • So, all that to say that, I’m praying for more patience and to hand over the worries, as well as to make sure I’m not slacking on my schoolwork. It’s a mixed bag when it comes time to thinking about blogging. But I’m trying to get it back into the list of things that I CAN do, when there is time and freed up brain space.
  • Thanks for hanging in there! I just thought I’d include a collage of photos from this last month, just for a bright spot in the writing blather that I’m including here. I hope you have a blessed month and the rest of the year, in case I get tied up totally with school until Christmas!

game face…

I thought my paper was due Thursday. Then I thought it was due Tuesday. So, I got up early, and worked away, trying to gather my thoughts bit by bit… and trying to not worry, as it wasn’t coming together as I wanted it to.

And the weather was wet and cold and rainy and dreary and I had to go in for only one class… one class where we had no assignments or anything required of us, in the middle of the papers. Would we arrive, in the middle of all the stress and work, and then get sent home, having walked and driven in for no reason?

12318120_10153700391259976_608714076_oSo, I put my game face on, ready to face the weather and the dreariness.

Maybe, if we were lucky, our professor would bring us candy, and it would be a party. There’s always hope, you know.

There wasn’t a party, but nothing overly stressful either. And I arrived home to work on my paper, slugging away… and then got an e-mail reminding us that the paper was due on THURSDAY.

Hallelujah, I can breathe again! Now, to put in some more work, with a clear conscience, knowing that I can easily finish this paper by Wednesday night. Sometimes, you just need to sleep on it a little more.

thinking & writing hard…

It’s almost here. The end of the semester, I mean. Which means all the deadlines are coming faster and faster. But I’m on top of it. I slammed my way through two papers, over Thanksgiving break. A good thing, too, considering that our printer broke down and I haven’t been able to get a copy (yet) for my dad to edit of my BIG ten page paper. Mom’s going to print it at work tomorrow, while we wait for the new printer to arrive on Tuesday. Who knew that we couldn’t live without printers?

On the other hand, I just realized that my “other” paper, which I thought was due on Thursday… is actually due on Tuesday. So, I’m very thankful that I had just come back with my history books from the library, when I made that discovery. My momentary panic attack subsided, and I was able to throw myself headfirst into the work. Currently, I haven’t officially started writing it, but I had the scraps of my thesis starting to shape up on paper. So, I’ll be getting up at a fairly early hour, tomorrow morning, in order to get more work done before I go to my afternoon class.

Come to think of it, I have no idea what we’re doing at that afternoon class… maybe a German party. We didn’t have homework for Thanksgiving break, aside from working on our German paper. That’s due next week, and I haven’t started it yet, since I had more papers to write before then. But now that my UK paper will be done by Tuesday, that means I can start my German paper early, and get ahead on my studying for exams next week.

Studying for exams is no joke, but it never wipes me out in quite the way that writing papers does, because you can plan and worry, but you still have to make sure you d a really good job of backing up your arguments and get your quotes and references right. On an exam, there’s only so much preparation you can do ahead of time, and they can’t hold you to QUITE the same high standard of writing as is necessary for a paper.

But I’m getting there on the writing and all the lots and lots of thinking… some days you’re just exhausted, and it’s just all the mental work. It would be a lot more fun if I could help decorate the house for Christmas, but I’ve had to sit that out again, this year, and let my mom do that. Of course, my head has barely processed the fact that Thanksgiving happened (oh, my stomach did, don’t worry!), so my head really doesn’t quite get the idea that Christmas is almost here. How about you?

Anyway, this rambling bit of blogging is intended to help me wind down a little from my schoolwork, and maybe it’ll even keep me from having weird dreams about the subject matter which I write about. I assure you, dreaming about my history books and math and things is VERY strange. On the other hand, I think my brain really does process some more of what I studied during the day, because usually on the second day of writing, I have a better idea of HOW to write it. What looks impossible to write at 8pm one night is usually doable, sometime the next day.

So, keep me and the other exhausted students in your prayers, and I’ll plan on having some much more interesting things to talk about, after exams are over. Because truthfully, a few interesting new things HAVE been happening, and I’m looking forward to sharing them, once I figure out the whys and wherefores and what-I’m-allowed-to-say kind of things.

Have a great week, and see you after exams!

long time, no see…

Yes, school has been keeping me busy. And it will continue to do so, at least until the semester ends in April. Hopefully I’ll have found a part-time job by then, to continue to keep me busy. But for the most part, I don’t have the IMG_20140305_112211brain-space left for writing anything thoughtful on here, because I’m juggling classwork, studying, and writing/researching papers. And since I’m taking two history courses and a British Lit course, this semester, a lot of my classwork involves reading, reading, reading.

Related to that thought, you’ll be thrilled to know that I got a smartphone. Why, yes, those two actually are related. I won’t go into the details that caused me to upgrade to a phone that allows me to keep track of phone calls AND Facebook messages, but it definitely happened. This allowed me to join the world of Instagram, because now I have a phone number to sign up with. I had tried before, in order to follow some of my friends’ accounts, but it would never let me without that phone number.IMG_20140302_213726 Sigh.

And with the sudden ability to upload randomly interesting photos to Instagram, I’ve found myself sharing pictures of the books I’m reading for school. It makes me look studious.  : )  But it also gives me practice at taking a different type of photo, those snapshots that you can only take with your phone. And plenty of opportunity to yell at my phone for not focusing when I “tell it to”.

While most of my reading for British Literature is fun and interesting, because we’re concentrating on sea monsters, mermaids, and sailors, it’s not all joy. Somehow, the water theme was related to Helen Oyeyemi’s Opposite HouseIMG_20140303_090135. For those of you who have never heard of it, it was written in the genre of magical realism, and if you heard me complain last semester, I abhor magical realism. Google it, I won’t take the time to explain. While the author writes beautifully in spots, it just mostly doesn’t make sense. Sure, you read into it and analyze, but whatever happened to just writing a good straight-up story? Thankfully, we finished with it today, and will be moving on to some more normal BritLit.

On the other hand, The Eternal Paddy was quite interesting reading for Irish History, though it was a heavier read and took much longer. The author did a thorough study of Britain’s views on Ireland, as viewed from the newspapers, in the period of 1798 (right IMG_20140304_142544before Union) and 1882 (right before the Home Rule bills began). Seeing how Ireland was depicted in cartoons, as well as what the journalists wrote… it was rather fascinating. But now, we’ll be on to reading The Burning of Bridget Cleary over spring break, and while it’s a true story, I have no idea whether it will be easy reading or not.

But the main thing on my plate right now is a history project for HIST 299 (History Methodology), and I spend my spare time reading more IMG_20140227_175206studies on immigration in the South and newspapers on my hometown. That will continue to occupy my spare time, when I’m not studying for something else, until partway into April.

For the moment, I’m counting down the hours until I hit the road to go north… to see cousins in MD and friends in PA. Time to meet newborns and month old babies! Yes, and see my cousins and my best friends and anyone else I can fit in, during 6-7 days. I’m just about ready for a road trip… and don’t worry, I’m bring my real camera with me, along with my new phone.  : )  As much fun as my smartphone is, I fully acknowledge how much more awesome my Nikon is. I even took a bunch of photos of flowers, outside in a near windstorm this afternoon. Maybe I’ll get around to posting them after I get to PA.

I hope you have a marvelous week, just as I intend to!