the lost saturday books…

Not having written any interesting blog posts in some time (it’s alright, you can admit it to me), I was sitting here considering writing one about the Elizabeth Gaskell mini-series (serieses? for two of them?) that my parents and I just watched. But since the layout of WordPress has changed a bit recently, I became aware that several drafts were still filed away. Surely that was a mistake, or I had never written anything in them except a title.

Instead, I found two posts that I had started after trips to the bookstore, as a continuation of my Saturday books postings that I used to make while I was in Australia. Both of them were listed as having been written at least a year ago, so I probably wrote them during the summer, too.

I double-checked to make sure this wasn’t a post that I had published, but it had a previous version in the drafts. So, though I make mention of the movie, The Giver, not having been made yet, I think that other bookworms will still find it interesting. How funny that one of the books that I took a picture of, I brought a copy of it home from the library the other day! Maybe finding this will give me the writing “jog” that I needed, in order to get blogging again. I hope you enjoy my book musings from this long year past!

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I was getting antsy to do something or go somewhere, over the last few days. So, B&N gift card only finalized my decision to head to Greenville, where I’m pretty sure I spent well over two hours in the bookstore. Just soaking it up, drooling… you know how it goes. Because there’s nothing like looking at the books, in person, as opposed to just looking at pictures, online. Eventually, I grabbed a coffee from their Starbucks, and resisted the urge to spend money on anything in their glass display case. IMG_20140809_151703760But every trip into a bookstore starts the same… even if I have to go visit the rest room, I come back to the front, and methodically make my way through the store. First, the main display books, then the sale tables in front of the bestsellers, and then I work my way back through the store. Each one is a little different, so I don’t hit the sections in order after that. This time, I reached the new Fiction, and then wandered into the teen fiction. And for once, I was surprisingly pleased with what the store stocked and how they laid it out. Maybe it’s very different, even between the Woodruff and the Haywood B&N’s. In case any G’ville people are reading, I was on Woodruff Road. IMG_20140809_151539310I quickly realized that while I’ve raged at the “Teen Paranormal Romance” section, in the past, they didn’t have one labeled that way, this time. Teen Adventure & Fantasy, Teen Romance, and general Teen Fiction. So, while all the authors that are trying to be StephenieIMG_20140809_150501261 Meyers, Suzanne Collins, Victoria Roth, and James Dashner are scattered throughout, they weren’t as visibly obvious as previous horrible book sections that I’ve seen. So, I was able to go back to picking up books that had fascinating looking covers, taking pictures, and intending to look up descriptions of some of them when I got home.

Honestly, if I could spot one of Judy Blume’s books right under the Teen Romance sign, I figured they must have been fixing aIMG_20140809_150329495 few of their past issues. And there’s a possibility that some decent books may be buried amongst the garbage, as well. And, of course, with The Giver being made into a movie, amazing authors like Lois Lowry are on full display. That can’t be a bad thing.

Among other options, I was curious about the book The Fire Wish and what the sci-fi looking cover on a new Ann Brashares book could mean. I was rather annoyed with the final Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book, and never finished it, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a good writer. So, what could an author of a few books I enjoyed me up to next? I’ve forgotten what the blurb said, by now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go look it up later. But there is much to be said for having some amazing artwork on the cover of a new book. I’ve never been sure how they chose books in the olden day bookstores before cover designs came about.IMG_20140809_153407498_HDR

And then I made a beeline for the children’s section, to see what marvels of literature may have surfaced in there. I always find myself stepping around at least one parent and child, and given the opportunity, I’ll recommend a book to them. But I rarely get that chance, unless one of them is monologue-ing about “What do you want to read?” or “But those books never have anything exciting in them!”. I can’t imagine how any of these ideas can be possible, but I suppose if all you read is Captain Underpants, you can’t have much idea of what a good book really is, can you?

Please remember, unless I mention a book or author, particularly saying that I’ve read them, please don’t take any of these picture posts as recommendations. Do your homework, before handing a book over to your child. I’m sure you know that, but please remember I haven’t read a lot of these. But The Glass Sentence, Rooftoppers, and Marina certainly caught my eye with their covers, making me curious to know more about their stories. Can you see why?IMG_20140809_153619436

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And there it ends…. perhaps a trifle abruptly. I haven’t figured out how to find the date for when the last draft was made yet, what with the new-ish WordPress layout, as I said. I will look into the other post and see what I come up with. Perhaps it’s time for a resurrection of the Saturday books lineup. And since I’m always taking pics of interesting books, when I’m in the brick-and-mortar stores, it’s not like it would be difficult to do. If I could just make myself get in the mode again!

Here’s to new goals of writing, and hoping that you are enjoying your summer reading! Now there’s an idea… I really need to blog about what I’ve been reading, and update my book list. I hope to write again soon, and please feel free to share with me what YOU have been reading!

words are funny things…

Words are always there. But sometimes you can’t figure out how to use them. Every writer knows what this is like.

So, while my brain is so occupied with leaving my job and getting ready for a trip, the blog post that I want to write isn’t coming together. At least I know where I’m going with it. It’ll come.

But while I was NOT writing, I was going through some boxes, and found a notebook. I have a lot of those, most of which are empty. Or they have a few pages written, and then nothing else. I remembered this one, though.

I haven’t written fiction in a long time, so this was written several years ago. I had a random dream (no, I’m not Stephenie Meyer, so shut up), and it was so vivid that I tried to write it down, before I forgot it. Reading that notebook, I still haven’t forgotten that dream, or that story.

And for someone who loves fantasy and fairy tales, it’s the only decent piece of writing I’ve ever done, based on a fairy tale. Oh, I wanted to rewrite Snow White and the Huntsman, but that’s still in my head. This is on paper.

Am I going to tell you what story it was based on, and where I was going with it? No, I’m not. For me, writing fiction goes a lot deeper than my normal blogging does. That might not make sense, since I write about myself and what I do. But that is writing about what actually happened, as I saw it.

For me, writing fiction is digging deeply into myself for what I know about the world around me… and then putting what is inside of me onto paper. For all the world to see. It may look like fantasy, but it’s a part of me. From deep down, where I didn’t know I had it in me.

Like when I read that notebook.

And pardon my French, but all I could think was, “Damn, I’m a writer“. Followed immediately by, “Could I ever do that again?”

I sure hope so.

once upon a time…

Once upon a time, a young woman spent a wonderful year in Australia, working as a nanny and looking after five little girls. Before she went there, she considered the possibility of being able to travel for years and years, visiting several different countries, and taking care of children. She loved children, you see, and as she was still single (and therefore, childless), nannying seemed to be a wondrous idea. Unfortunately, she was past the cut-off age for work & holiday visas, in most countries, so Australia would be her only overseas gig.

Instead, when she returned home, she thought that she thought that she would soak up being with her family and friends again, and then find another nanny job in the United States. There were plenty of states that she still wanted to visit, and what better way to get to see them than moving there for a year at a time? During her first summer back in the U.S., she packed up her car and drove to Minnesota.

It wasn’t meant to be. She learned a lot from that trip, but two weeks later, she drove (the two day trip) home. Admittedly, she was a little down, after this “failure”. Why had it happened? Was she NOT supposed to go, or did the Lord want her to learn something from that short trip?

She began to apply for jobs again, but just like before she left for Australia, she wasn’t finding anything very high on the pay scale or any higher on the job “quality” ladder. Once, she had been a business owner  and house cleaner, and then a full-time manager of housekeeping for a camp. Now, she was ready to step up and work at the desk in a hotel (in business clothes, instead of scruffy t-shirts and shorts), or something that had nothing to do with cleaning. But with the problematic economy and a limited resume, she wasn’t finding anything.

Fortunately, she still had some good credit with a local company that she had worked with before, and was hired almost immediately. This took her to working as a cashier, at Clemson University. The pay wasn’t high, but the location was a definite improvement on her food service experience in the same company. Every week, she told herself that she would find something better, and this job would hold her over until then.

The weeks went by, and something strange happened. She began to find that she actually enjoyed her job. Not because of the job itself, because cashiering doesn’t call for too much skill, but because of the students and professors. Especially, the graduate students, who were closer to her age. As she also had a college professor for a father AND grandfather, and graduate students had practically lived in her home when she was growing up, she began to feel right at home with them.

But still, she knew that it wasn’t easy to make friends with people, in her position. When students only speak to you for a few minutes every day, they don’t really see you as a person, and potential friend. She wasn’t sure how to cross the line to becoming friends with them, either guys or girls. She didn’t have a lot of local friends, having lived away from Clemson for several years, so she was trying to figure out how to make some.

As she began to persist in learning the students’ names, they began to see her as a person worthy of friendship, and call her by name, in return. And as each friendship developed, she found herself less and less inclined to look for another job, though she knew she needed to. She needed to earn more, but this company was not the right place to do it. But abandoning her new acquaintances, before they really became friends… that was a hard choice to make.

Did I mention that she wrote a blog? I know, you’re stunned. At about this time, she was paying more attention to her photography skills, and began to take more pictures of flowers and buildings, instead of children (as when she was a nanny). Especially, buildings on the Clemson University campus.

This caused her to take an interest in Clemson that she had never had before, not even when her dad taught there, or when she had attended one semester there. Just like when you get a new house (or car), clean it, and place your things just so, making it your own… her wandering photography tours of Clemson were making their mark. Clemson (the city) was already home, and now the University was getting there.

She would tell you that it’s the blog’s fault, really. On some days, she would think about random topics, trying to think about what else to write about. And one day… she had a blog post idea. But she never wrote it. It would have been a fascinating post, I’m sure, but the reality was so much better. I’ll tell you about it, in a few minutes.

With the beginning of the New Year, some of her acquaintances truly became friends. And during one online conversation, she discovered that Clemson University was hiring for a job. A job that was in the same department as most of her friends. If she had never made friends at her workplace, with the students, she never would have heard about it. Because when it was finally listed online, the listing was only there for a week, and you had to be ready for it.

Her friend had thought she would be interested in this job, for herself. As thrilled as she was by this placing of confidence, she knew that she couldn’t take it. Are you wondering why? I’m still coming to that aforementioned, non-existent blog post. Instead, she told her mother about this job opening, and encouraged her to apply for it. Her mother was so much more qualified, and it was about time she worked for a place that would appreciate her that much more!

When her mother applied for it, she was certain that her mom would get the job, though no one else was certain. And then… she did get it! Why had she been so certain? It didn’t really make sense, did it?

But then again… she (the daughter, not the mother) had gone through a long process of not finding employment, after coming home from Australia, and then developing an interest in an uninteresting job. An occupation that was made interesting because of the people. And if she had never gotten to know those students, she never would have helped her mom find her new position. She marveled at how the Lord must have had that plan in place, when she returned from Australia, but of course, she didn’t know about it!

Many people were excited for her mother, after she was hired for the new position, and encouraged her daughter that “they’d find one for her, too!”. She didn’t say anything about how she could have applied for that same opportunity, but that she knew it wasn’t the right one. The Lord had other plans for her, and she’d known it for a long time.

You see, once upon a time, she thought about how much she liked to read, and especially how she read a lot of history books. And because she was always working or taking photographs on the Clemson campus, she began to think about (for a blog post), what she would major in, if she ever decided to go back to college. She had hated college, the first time, and hadn’t had any subject that she enjoyed enough to keep her there. And she knew that you did NOT need a degree to succeed in life.

But while she was thinking about this imaginary blog post… it finally hit her. If she wanted to, she COULD go back to college. She loved to read non-fiction, everything from the subject of the Founding Fathers, the writing of the Constitution, and the forming of the United States, to the Civil War and the Cold War. She spent most of her spare time reading these subjects, for fun… why wouldn’t she enjoy getting a degree in history?

She did her research on getting a history major, and what jobs can result from that type of degree. She applied to Clemson, and was accepted. She jumped through every hoop they held out for her, and they moved those hoops around a LOT, for returning students! She wrote appeals letters for several committees, and scrambled to find out what information they had forgotten to tell her. And at the moment, she is still in the final stages of getting financial aid, and waiting to register for classes (because returning students can’t register until late July).

Think about it. Over a year ago, the Lord knew that she would NOT get a job outside of Clemson, but stay there, making friends. He knew that she would begin to like the campus and the people, and that her friendships would help her mother find new employment. He knew that her reading, blogging, and photography would eventually lead her to reconsider school.

He knew this, while she was crying over her “failure” in Minnesota. Was it a failure, though, if the Lord had His hand on the situation? He knew this while she was worn out by mono, and unable to even think about finding another job. He knew it, when she was unable to afford to travel anywhere, but slowly was becoming accustomed to staying in Clemson. He always KNEW where she would go, and what He had planned for her!

~

And now that you know, I might as well switch tenses to finish the tale. Barring any problems with financial aid, I will be starting undergraduate classes, in about six weeks. I may still be a little worried about the issue of funds, but I sincerely believe that the Lord’s been leading me this whole way, all this time. So, if that is true, then money should not be a worry. He has it under control.

I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers, as I am quite nervous about starting school. I don’t have fond memories of my lone semester at Clemson, and even if it was because I was immature and overwhelmed, the memories can spring up and swamp me, at times. Also, I was serious when I said that I had to jump through hoops, as a returning student. Every time I turn around, I’ve missed some important information, or they forgot to tell me that I need to sign another paper, or write another letter to someone.

Please pray that all the necessary paperwork will come together. That even if I’m nervous, I won’t be overly worried and/or terrified. Panic attacks are NOT welcome. And please, please pray that I’m not having a mono relapse (or that I will get over it soon), because I really want to have the energy to pay attention and even enjoy what I’m doing and learning.

~

I will be very busy, over the next four years, so my blog posts may become much more infrequent, and the subject matter of both word and photo may change (again). But please hang in there, because I truly enjoy blogging, and do not intend to give it up. Perhaps you will even come to enjoy my rambling about life as a 30-something college student. At least, I hope you will!  : )

the heart & bones of a tree…

I love the bones of this tree. With no one around to observe, I finally stepped into the inner reaches of the tree branches, and “perused” to my heart’s content.DSC_0127

DSC_0128They’re repaving the neighboring parking lot, and replacing the lamp posts, so barely anyone even comes up this path, anymore. Why would you? Cars can pull up to drop things off, but most grad students have to walk from distant parking lots.DSC_0129

And so, this tree is left by its lonesome, and I can explore. I find the twists and turns of the tree limbs to have a charm all their own. They captivate me.DSC_0130

Why do the branches look so smooth, at a distance, but up close, they look like a million people have started to carve their initials… and then never finished?DSC_0131

DSC_0132And they don’t even need to carve hearts into the tree, because the tree grew its own heart. You can see for yourself.DSC_0133DSC_0135

Once inside the branches, you no longer notice or care about the leaves that grow on the outside edges. There aren’t enough of them to shelter you from the sides, though they do block out the sun, from above. Mostly.DSC_0136

DSC_0134I think that each one of these branches has a story, a reason for each scratch, twist, or turn. But I’ll never know what they are.DSC_0138DSC_0140

And so, I keep looking, for answers that aren’t there. Hidden in the heart and bones of a tree.            DSC_0142

it’s nice to be missed…

There’s an advantage to making friends, both in and around where you work. When I was away for Seabrook, I had to miss two days of work, in order to spend Friday and Monday in Charleston. Hmmmm… miss work, or get extra time to spend with your best friends? It’s a hard call, really. Yes, that means I get my paycheck docked, too, but I’ll have to survive, this time around.

It’s possible that my co-workers missed me, especially my supervisor. They did have to call in a cashier, from a different location, to work on Monday, because they were short-handed in a different department. But the thing is, my boss and my supervisor can both depend on me to do what’s needed, and don’t have to explain anything to me. There’s thankfulness in having someone who knows their job, you know?

But the real surprise, to me, was how many students and professors had noticed I wasn’t there. To my knowledge, they never noticed if I was gone for a day during the spring semester. That might have something to do with there being multiple cashiers, and it’s always possible I could be on my lunch break or in the restroom, when my friends came through. Now that I’m the only cashier, though, they do realize when I’m absent.

It was so pleasant to have some of my friends come in and say “Where were you yesterday!?”, right off the bat. I wasn’t even given a chance to say hello, they had to know where I’d been hiding! Such a nice feeling, knowing that your presence is wanted, and that your absence is noticed and felt.

Later, I began to wonder what different people had told the customers, about where I was. My least favorite professor asked how my time at the beach was. Last person I would ever want to know where I am, at any given time. Some of my co-workers did know I was going to the beach, because I announced it to them before I left. Just to rub it in, you know. I’m “nice” that way. Then again, I didn’t rub it in with any of the grad students, because I thought that would be unkind. So, you can try and figure out who I enjoy being around more, if you like.

The next day, a professor (one that I like) came through and said he’d heard that I’d been ill, and hoped I was feeling better. My suspicion is that my supervisor told the regulars one thing, while my replacement cashier told them that she didn’t know, and that maybe I was sick.

Not that this really matters to anyone, but for as unrewarding as my actual job is, and as unintelligent as it can make you feel (being at the bottom of the pay scale can do that to you), it is SATISFYING to know that others enjoy having you around. Familiarity is comforting and friendly. When you’re working your tail off on PhD projects and teaching summer classes to students that don’t want to be there, or working even on weekends, in order to graduate, seeing a regular friendly face can make all the difference.

I’m that friendly face. And they missed ME. That’s enough to make me happy.

facebook is for friends…

Since it’s my birthday, I suppose I should have something profound and/or brilliant to say. But I don’t. And you know what? That’s just fine.

I woke up to lots of messages from my friends, and what could be more splendid than that? And they just keep coming. We often complain about FB and its quirks, but this is one thing about FB that I love, being able to hear from 10 million friends, all in one go. Even if I do have to highlight individual messages, in order to see them all individually.  : )

It is a day that the weather report is now promising to be sunny, though originally it was going to be cloudy, so I’m waiting to see if they’re right. We have no big plans except for chicken and dumplings for dinner, and I’m going to make a pavlova. Last time, it was a meringue, I think because it didn’t have white vinegar? I forget. But this time it is GOING to be a pavlova.

But for everyone who has wished me a wonderful day, it will come true. I know it, because I’m at home with my wonderful family (ok, I wish they were ALL here), and the joys of the internet keeps me connected to my dear friends, who love me, too. It’s a nice feeling. I love you, too!

a building fascination… sirrine hall

I don’t know why writing about Sirrine Hall has been the most difficult of all my “building fascination” posts. Yes, I’ve been busy writing other things and annoyed that I’ve put it off for so long. But when I stop and peruse the pictures, I realize what the actual problem is. I have trouble comprehending this building, both with my eyes, my brain, and my camera. What is up with that?DSC_0360

DSC_0361Well, stay with me here, I’ll try and explain. Though it was built in the 1930’s, I don’t know much about Sirrine’s history, except that it’s the home to textile management and the College of Business. So, all the accounting, economics, and marketing majors. Sound boring to you? Yeah, me too. Also, I’ve read that it has 4.1 acres of space, which must mean the footprint of the building is about an acre, multiplied by four floors. If not, that building is a bigger optical illusion than I thought.DSC_0362

DSC_0363DSC_0364The first time I was there, I was wondering around campus, and happened to stop and look at the colorful brick, and get a look at the inner courtyard as a whole. But I really didn’t stop for long, and the sun was so bright that it’s difficult to SEE the walls of the building itself. Looking back at the pictures, I was frustrated that they don’t really give you a feel for the size of the place. Mostly because I can’t fit the entire building into one shot.DSC_0365

DSC_0366You have to get each side of the courtyard in one picture, and even then, you step back so far that it ends of looking small in the photos. It was like I wanted to “get” this building, and it was preventing me.DSC_0764

DSC_0767So, several weeks later, when I was wondering under the popcorn trees at Hunter Hall, I meandered up to Sirrine, hoping that the morning light would be more conducive to picture taking. Also, since I was more in the photo taking mode, and the students were hiding in their classes, I wandered all over the courtyard, trying to get a feel for the building, as a whole.DSC_0768

DSC_0769But then, I was struck by the trees in the courtyard, firstly, instead of the courtyard itself. I don’t know what kind of tree they are, but what disease was causing their bark to look that way? I almost felt sorry for them. I’ve never felt pity for a tree before, but whatever’s up with their bark doesn’t look comfortable at all.DSC_0771

DSC_0773The morning light was a little less distracting, as I gazed up the walls at each of the large entrances. Still, the reflections coming off the windows sends a lot of light back at you. When standing by each entrance, I wasn’t really aware of the size of the building anymore, but just in awe of the colors of the brick and the stateliness of the stonework over each arched entrance.DSC_0776

DSC_0777It was only when I turned around to look at the paths of the courtyard that I really got mixed up. My eyes were playing tricks on me, with those paths. Look for yourself. Feel like you’re looking into a funhouse mirror? The center path turns into an arrow, pointing at you, and the other two branch away like a mirror image. Even the cars and lampposts at the other end distract you into thinking you’re seeing a mirror image. DSC_0779

DSC_0781Going over to another entryway gave the same feeling, so I’m intrigued by the design of that walkway, almost more than that of the building. Of course, the design of both go hand in hand. And in the end, I find that I still don’t “get” Sirrine, nor can my head seem to comprehend the size of it. The wings of the building distract you into thinking it’s smaller than it is, and then the pattern of the sidewalk itself dizzies you. DSC_0782

DSC_0783I think I’ll have to go back, another time, just to look, but not to take pictures. Because I can’t get my camera to take in what my eyes can’t even handle. Maybe one day, I’ll get to view the courtyard from the inside of one of the upper floors. Maybe that’ll help.DSC_0785

the daffodils drowned…

When I returned from church, I could almost take pity on the poor flowers that took a beating last night. I heard it raining, but I don’t think I realized it was coming down hard until the thunderstorm woke me at 4am. That sent me hurrying downstairs to turn my computer off, just to be safe. But the daffodils had nowhere to hide. Between the early warm weather, more cold weather (and frost), and then a complete downpour, I think a few of them gave up the ghost for the year. Thankfully, there are still more that haven’t bloomed, so they’ll probably emerge for Easter weekend.

As I sit here drinking my combination of vanilla nut creme and crème brûlée coffee, I have a number of things rolling around in my head. First off, how many blog posts I need to be working on, as I just arrived back from a day in Charleston, and I took a LOT of pictures. They can’t be put all into one post, though, or you and I both will be completely overwhelmed. So, taking a hint from my “building fascination” series, and how that seemed to work, I’ll be posting a series on downtown Charleston, starting in the next few days.

While I contemplate going through my pictures, editing some more, and writing about Rainbow Row and King Street, I’m hoping that I don’t come down with anything. We arrived back from our trip to find three members of the household with varying levels of colds… and we rarely get sick, in our family. I’ve upped my echinacea intake, and I’m still trying to remember where my Vitamin C went. With Spring Break over, and starting back to work tomorrow, I don’t want to be sick. Well, I never want to be sick, but especially not if it prevents me from getting paid.

Everyone knows how much “fun” it is to get back into the swing of things, after a week of vacation, so this week will probably be both interesting and frustrating… and that’s not even considering what the students will be acting like. For the grad students that stayed in town, it will mean they don’t have to go so far to get coffee… or maybe they’ll get better coffee, with the cafe open again. For the students that went to party all week in Panama City, I’m guessing they’ll be sunburnt, grumpy, and exhausted from their week of “vacation”.

Furniture and other things in the house are shifting, as my newly “jobbed” brother prepares to leave for New Hampshire, where we hope to visit in order to either ski during the winter or hike Mt. Washington in the summer. Oh, and see him, too. Now, if I could just afford the gas (or the plane tickets), I have all sorts of neat places to visit, because my brothers are living and working there (one’s in Florida, one’s in England)!

And now, I have some more photos to look through. Later!

making assumptions…

When you see someone wearing headphones, do you ever wonder what they’re listening to? One of my favorite pastimes is to put my headphones on and wonder what my co-workers (and other people) think I’m listening to. Occasionally, I find out, when they ask me random questions, during the day. It may start off with them asking if I listen to rap or hip-hop, but inevitably, they’ll ask if I listen to opera. This makes me laugh, because I listen to a bit of all three, though not as much as they think.

It works the same way with other interests of the people surrounding us. Don’t you judge what they like to read or what they like to watch, completely based on their age, how they dress, aNight-Visions-Album-Cover-Croppednd their manner of speaking? Oh, come on, you know if you hear a serious southern accent, you assume that they probably listen to country. Though I don’t know for what reason my co-worker is always surprised by my reading material, except that maybe it’s because I’m a girl. He usually catches me reading history or politics, but thinks I should be reading “normal” stuff… like a romance with Fabio on the cover, perhaps. You couldn’t pay me to read one of those, by the way.

My music playlists are always extremely random. I even have CDs that I’ve burned for car trips (previous to mp3 players) where I would visibly startle my brothers when the song changed. Well, I guess going from Lifehouse to The Kingston Trio (singing “Reuben James”) would do that. Going back and forth keeps things interesting.

Nowadays, I have two types of mixes. The one that I listen Kingston Trio nbjto when I’m on the computer, which helps to block out the sound of the television, usually has something lively that doesn’t prevent me from writing. I don’t write very well when there are words to songs, unless I’ve listened to them so often, I can ignore them. They become white noise that isn’t dull. But if I really need to concentrate, then I crank up the scores to all three Transformers movies or Pirates of the Caribbean 3. You’ll notice I said the scores, not the soundtracks. I have those, too, but the power and beauty of the music of Steve Jablonsky and Hans Zimmer…. love it.

So, while I’m blogging, right at this very moment, my music playlist includes “Mad World” (from Donnie Darko), “Primadonna” (Marina and the Diamonds), “Girl on Fire” (Alicia Keys), “My Tears are Becoming a Sea” (M83), “The Fields of Athenry” (The Dubliners), “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” (John McDermott), and a number of songs by Birdy, One Direction, Brandi Carlile, The Civil Wars, Imagine Dragons, Bryn Terfel, Adele, and Apocalyptica.

Any surprises for you there? I may have been an 80’s baby, but my music interests cover quite a range. When I was a teenager, I was borrowing my brother’s Aerosmith, Michael Jackson (just for the Free Willy song), and The Beatles CDs, as well as stealing his soundtracks to Top Gun and The Bodyguard. When he drove me to school, we always seemed to be listening to Kenny G, Aerosmith, and Boys II Men. When I got oldePrimadonna - Marina and the Diamondsr, I had some memories of “oldies” that I’d heard as a child, so I started looking up Peter, Paul, & Mary, as well as Judy Collins, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, and The Kingston Trio.

As I mentioned, I’ve always loved soundtracks. The songs tie you to the storyline in the movie, and sometimes, you like the music better than the movie. But then you become attached to certain songs and love how the meaning of the words resonate within you. I only ever saw How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days once, but how many times have I listened to the soundtrack, since then? The song “Feels Like Home” introduced me to Chantal Kreviazuk, and my cousin and I can still sing all the words together, thinking about how it feels to be with someone that is like home. You don’t need a place to be home, you need people.

My co-workers would probably be unsurprised to find that I love musicals, was raised on them, and can sing the words to most of them. I was raised right, and have no problem with singing my lungs out when I’m in the car, on a road trip. Or while cleaning a Bible Camp from top to bottom, before the campers arrive. I’ve always wonder what happens if the walls soak up enough songs… will they spill back outMI0000393560, startling people, a hundred years from now?

I even love an opera or two, because my grandpa loved them, and my favorite is La Boheme. But most of the time, I have no idea what they’re singing, nor am I interested (too much sap, you know). La Boheme makes me laugh because it sounds so beautiful, but the singers are yelling at each other that they’re cold, and why won’t they burn their manuscript already, so no one freezes to death?

My Fike playlist, which I also listen to when I’m walking to work, contains Smashmouth, Cowboy Troy, Imagine Dragons, Linkin Park, Train, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Nickelback, Journey, Leann Rimes, Pitbull, the Glee Cast, Marina and the Diamonds, Katy Perry, Good Charlotte, and Christian Contemporary Smash-ups. Of course, that doesn’t cover the number of artists that Glee covers, such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and many more.

So, yes, occasionally, I play that game where you imagine the looks you would receive if you blasted your playlist through the nearest stereo. Would their assumptions about you be shattered if they find you listen to the same stuff they do… or if they even like your playlist better than theirs? Find out wh5391513560194at a person listens to (or reads), and you’ll find a lot about them.

P.S. A song by One Direction just came onto my headphones. In my defense, the first I ever heard of them were several hilarious parodies on YouTube, while I was in Australia. And then, on the plane home, their album was one of those offered for free listening on the headsets. My recollection is that I had a really bad headache, so I picked them for the familiarity of the first few songs. I basically slept through the album, two or three times.

When I arrived stateside, I picked up the album, and still enjoy it, though some of the lyrics are pretty silly. I have great fun listening to “I Want” and “Up All Night”, but what’s even funnier is watching the Beatlemania that is occurring over them. Then again, they’re actually cute kids (and can sing), while Justin Bieber is a dweeb that thinks he’s cool, so he gets tattoos in order to help convince people he’s cool. Ok, there’s a rabbit trail…

call it crazy…

Ohhh, that weather. I never would’ve believed the forecast might be correct, because yesterday, it said that today’s weather would be in the 50’s. The FIFTIES! And yet, various people were telling me about the possibility of snow and freezing rain. But then, I woke up early (had to go get my paycheck, remember?) and read the forecast. Freezing drizzle, freezing rain, and sleet…. maybe with snow flurries mixed in. I looked out the window to see lots of dry ground outside, but the skies that looked like grey drifts of snow.

With that, I scrambled to get to work and then to the bank, before any rain could start to fall. After some veg-out time at Starbucks, I arrived way too early for work, but who wants to be driving on campus, if the cold stuff begins to fall? Nothing happened until late morning, and then they canceled classes. Rain and sleet began to fall, with the promise of precipitation slacking off by evening… but of course, all that  water on the ground will make for roads covered in sheets of ice.

My poor coworkers had to figure out how to get home, because the CAT (Clemson Area Transit) buses stopped running to Anderson. The ground began to turn white in a few spots, as the sleet began to pile up. And then it stopped, with almost every student (even the grad students!) clearing out of the area. After much boredom and lots of cleaning up in advance, we closed at our normal time, which was fine, because I enjoy getting paid. I had to scrape the ice off of my windshield before leaving the parking lot, which was unusual.

Before any Northerners start wondering why I’m complaining (I’m not) about our weather, as we really don’t have it that bad (oh, yes, I know what the weather’s like in PA right now), guess what the temperature’s supposed to be tomorrow? Almost 60 degrees. So, let’s just pray there are no car accidents on icy roads tonight, and tomorrow, we’ll be back to spring in January.

If the bad weather had decided to linger, my co-worker would have been introduced to what happens after an ice storm in the South… exploding pine trees. You know, when the sap freezes and the evergreens aren’t tough enough to take it, so they just burst (or something like that). And then, falling trees brings down the power lines. And that’s not even beginning to cover the fact that most people in the South don’t know how to drive in snowy or icy weather.

So, no, I’m not complaining about our weather, just presenting the notion that Southern weather is just plain crazy.