Tori, Brian, and I went to P.F. Chang's for dinner.
And there was a toddler eating his noodles. What looked like his mom, his mom's friend, and his mom's friend's child-aged daughter were also at the table with him. In front of the toddler was, no lie, a portable DVD player, right in front of his face, playing the movie Cars.
Yes. Apparently, the toddler cannot practice enough patience and manners and self-control to normally dine with his family and friends. I cringe to think of that youngster as a teenager.
But seriously, world. This HAS to stop.
Anyway, just wanted to bullet some of the highlights of my summer, which will probably end up including all of my summer. Because it was that monotonous, and almost every week and weekend was exactly the same. With a few exceptions.
For the record: something that was not monotonous in my summer was my amazing Savior. He had something new for me everyday.
Here you are. The most memorable parts of my first collegiate summer (in no particular order):
- The Fant family. I babysat for these four kids all summer long, sometimes up to 40 hours a week, and loved every minute of it. Jack, Rad, Kakki, and Lauren are such amazing kids and their parents are wonderful people to work for. I am still amazed at the things those children taught me in the simplest of terms.
- River City Church. Need I say more? I was concerned about my relationship with God coming back home, mostly because the church I go to in Charlotte (City Church--actually a sister church to RCC) had been really strengthening for my faith, and my church back home, I knew, was going to leave me feeling dry. Apparently, God had been working on my parents' hearts as well, because we all started going to River City, which is exactly what I wanted to happen anyway! The results have been life changing. Every week I am blessed by the people there, by the words shared, and by the Lord's overwhelming presence in that place. My summer would not have been the same without RCC.
- Thursday nights. I don't know if that whole college group gettogether has an actual name, but, it's basically a time for college students to come together and study the Word/study the culture/fellowship/eat/laugh/etc. And, of course, this was just another part of RCC that made my summer incredible. Derek and Beth, the hosts/leaders, are so anointed and truly have a gift for connecting with our generation. I am so, so, so thankful for them, and for Thursday nights. I was humbled to be a part of that group of people. And I will be back to visit!
- AG gatherings. If you don't get it, don't ask. But seriously: I love you guys more than you know and am so thankful for your place in my life! Thanks for taking the time to cultivate a friendship that could just as easily have never happened. And I think I speak for all of us when I say that the spontaneous one was definitely the best of the summer, if not the best so far!
- Brian Eltomi. I only saw him a few times this summer, but every time was funnier than the time before. Our day in Orlando, the I-owe-you phone calls from the car, and the crazy night of Thai food and cigars were all extremely memorable. And of course, Tori was apart of all of this, because it's always Brian, Tori, and Leslie. And sometimes Brian and Tori. But I'm afraid of Brian, so Tori always has to be around to protect me. Look him up on iTunes. Now.
- Queens. Everytime I talked to someone from school (which was pretty often), I wanted instantly for us to all be together again. 3.5 months felt like a lifetime, but now it's almost over. And I cannot WAIT to see you guys again.
- Family. No, really. I actually enjoyed hanging out with them, getting to know my growing-up little brothers a little more, and having lots of spiritual conversations with my mom. And Dad and I spent lots of time laughing, of course. Because that's what we do best. I got to see my grandparents and my mom's side of a family a bit, which was nice, especially with little Cooper growing more every day. (Also, I will note that I think the reason I didn't go crazy and actually got along with my family had a lot to do with the teaching and encouragement we all were getting from RCC. Just sayin'.)
- Tori. My best friend. I really can't say anything else, because I have to get ready for Cooper's birthday party, and if I start to talk about Tori, then we will be here all day. But she is the greatest. And I adore her. And I would be lost without her.
There's more, but I'm out of time.
So here I am, saying hello.
I go back to Charlotte one week from today. Be excited with me.
I could write an entirely too long post about my summer, even though it has been, for the most part, uneventful.
But God has been doing some incredible things in my life. Ask me about them.
I also want to say that I finished the book I had to read (the freshmen's summer reading--I had to read it because I'm going to be helping them with it) a month ago. I am just so pleased with myself, because this never happens! No matter how hard I plan to read the book with plenty of time, I always end up finishing it the day we start school or whatever. But not this time. And I'm glad to say that my study habits and work habits are really improving. Not that they were ever bad; I always got my work done. But I probably wasted a lot of time and did more procrastinating than was necessary, causing more stress than was necessary. I'm getting over that. Finally. I'm getting to the point where I can work on a paper a little at a time instead of trying to write a 10+ page research paper the night before it's due. BAD IDEA. Just saying.
Well, I have to run, because I'm baking some goodies to take to Bible study tonight.
But remember this: God doesn't just love you. He adores you. And He doesn't need or want anything from you. He wants to give something to you. And he will always, always be there.
I love you all.
- Tony frikin Pierce.
- Music (Coldplay, Goo Goo Dolls, Hanalei, etc.).
- Philippa Gregory.
- Julie Kent.
- My best friend, Victoria.
- My parents (and other intellectual adults who have inspired me to be a better human being).
- The Google boys.
- Gregory Maguire/Idina Menzel/Kristin Chenoweth/Stephen Schwartz/everyone who made Wicked possible.
- The rain.
- Barnes & Noble. For getting a bookstore right.
But alas, I am a Christian. And therefore these things must always remain secondary to the rest of my life (with the exception of Tori, mis padres, and Tony, of course).
This list is just getting started.
I began my day early, waking up at 7:30 (well, I got out of bed at 8, actually) to shower and go babysit little Agnes. Agnes is the happiest baby I've ever watched, and she's a joy to be around. We had a pretty good time together, and I was lucky to spend some of my birthday with her.
After babysitting, I met Tori--my bestest best friend--at Al's Pizza for lunch. She brought me a present: a Nemo-themed goodie bag for my car, Nemo! And a poster of The Other Boleyn Girl movie. Even though the book is better, Tori pointed out. Which it is.
"So, we're having pasta for dinner tonight."
"Oh. We're having pasta now, for lunch!"
"Oh, right. We are. I didn't think about that. But we're having ice cream cake!"
"We're having the Molten Chocolate Cake for lunch."
"So we're having pasta and cake for lunch, and pasta and cake for dinner."
That was part of our lunch conversation. We got the Molten Chocolate Cake. And decided the one we got at Crisper's last week was better. Just for the record.
We left lunch and went to the nails place in the new WalMart shopping center (across from the Target, yeah, on Beach and Hodges) to get manicures. I've never had a manicure or a pedicure, so Tori got me both. It was lovely! Tori had a slightly painful experience (one of the tools cut her finger) but I thoroughly enjoyed being waited on...hand and foot. Although, I did manage to mess up my finger nail polish before we had even left the store. Whoops.
After lunch came Claire's. Yeah. Teeny Bopper Claire's. Claire's where we used to go when we were 13 and buy cheap, tacky jewelry and be attacked by pink, purple, and cubic zerconia. We went there. It was a tribute to our last year as teenagers. Not really. We actually went because I wanted to get my second ear piercing, and we decided Claire's was better than a skechy tattoo parlor. After showing my ID, signing release forms, and paying way more than I did when I was 12, I emerged with new CZ studs in my ears and a "I just got my ears pierced!" bag. Embarassing. And then, of course, I ran into someone I knew. I swear, I just turned 19.
Then we went and saw Baby Mama, which we laughed through the entire time. Also, let it be known, that as soon as a possible love interest for Tina Fey's character entered the scene, I had the entire film figured out. Baha. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are, of course, brilliant and hilarious. And why wouldn't I want to watch a movie about babies with the funniest actors ever? I used to watch Baby Geniuses for my funny baby movie kick. Now I've got this one, thank goodness.
Tori and I came back to my house only to be inundated with the smell of homemade cooking and the mad rush of a family preparing for a sister's birthday celebration. I did what I could, but they had done a darn good job of getting everything ready. And we were 45 minutes until takeoff!
Needless to say, loads and loads of my friends showed up and we had, I hope, a great time. Ate lots of pasta, talked and took pictures, demolished an ice cream cake, played a painful round of Catch Phrase (but my team won, which is the important thing), goofed off on Guitar Hero for a bit, and had a few physical fights...all without injury!
In the middle of the party, Joey called from Argentina, so I put the shindig on hold while I chatted with him for a few minutes. I couldn't believe he called me from so far away. "I don't know how much this is costing me," he laughed. So if he doesn't make it back to North America, we all know what happened. He ran out of money. And died.
Anyway, it was so fun to spend the day with my best friend and the evening with my friends and family. You guys rock my world.
Thanks to everyone who made my birthday so special!
Following my babysitting job, I ran by the bank, stopped in Chik-Fil-A for some lunch, then drove quickly to meet Tori at Tinsletown where we would be watching the first available showing of Becoming Jane in Jacksonville (it came out a week ago in Orlando. The audacity!). There was a totally random bout of traffic which seriously hindered my ability to arrive with time to spare, but I parked at 12:35 and met Tori inside, who had already purchased my ticket. Katie Stuart was there with her mom (and her dad, but he watched The Bourne Supremacy), which was a lovely surprise. Anyway, we made it in the theatre in time, and even got top row seats (it was actually fairly crowded but, as I suspected, the majority of viewers were sporting silver perms and 4-inch-thick bifocals...bless 'em). Tori and I are old souls, I suppose.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film, finding many times in which I could either relate to it, or at least want to, and this would result in the welling up of the tear ducts. I could have sobbed if I had let myself. But there were other people there, and they had paid to see a movie, not hear an angst-ridden teenager cry. So I kept my wits about me.
I'm not going to discuss the movie, because then I'll tell you everything about it. But if you are a fan of Jane Austen, a fan of her novels, a fan of her novel's film adaptations, or looking for a good but unconventional romance story, then I would highly recommend it. If you aren't a fan of Jane Austen because you've never read her work, then shame on you, and I would command you to see this film.
I love this recent phenomena, so to speak, of movies about female writers. It's so fascinating to me to see how their [love] lives greatly contributed to their passionate work. Miss Potter was a wonderful film, and further enriched the beloved childhood bunny stories to which I fell asleep listening at night. After watching Becoming Jane, I would like to know why she never took the time to write her autobiography, although it seems that her letters share enough of her story to compile a biography, and her novels are certainly paralleled to many aspects of her life. So perhaps she didn't feel the need to be obvious; perhaps she wanted historians to have to search for the answers to her life. Or perhaps she never really wanted anyone to know. And perhaps...we don't.
Jane, in the film, reminds me very much of myself, as I'm sure she reminds every woman in some way or another. But I especially connected with her when she spoke of the actual definition of "irony," a word so often misused and mistreated, poor thing, and also when she referred, aloud, to the literary techniques being used in her own speech. Oh, Jane Austen. The heroine of her own life, and yet she created six of the most touchable, relatable, and passionate heroines in literature's history.
I leave you with one of my favorites quotes from the film: "...His heart will stop at the sight of you, or he doesn't deserve to live. And, yes, I am aware of the contradiction embodied in that sentence."
I remember, sometime this year during AP Literature, leaning over to Victoria and asking her if she knew why Jane Austen never married. A woman filled with so much passion and inspiration surely must desire to love and be loved and to commit to do so. The movie provided me with answers to this question. Interesting to find that her sister, Cassandra, never married either, although both came very close, and both most certainly fell in love.
Life may be a beautiful thing, but happiness is another thing entirely.
But I was recently asked if I would be interested in contributing to a public blog for my college, Queens University of Charlotte. Saying yes reminded me of my own journaling domain that I had let go due to the pressures of teenage life--which consisted of too much homework, too many friends, and too many options. Such a struggle, isn't it? Also, after exploring my blog for the first time in a year, I discovered that Tony Pierce linked to my blog (imagine that, Tony Pierce, the God of all Blogs, linked to teeny tiny insignificant me), as he had promised to do so after I posted his "How to Blog" post on my blog--but only after inserting apostrophes and bracketing out profanity. :) In his December 2006 post, he links to "The Life of an Oxymoron" as the one who "toned-down" his famous "How to Blog" post. I'll take that as a compliment. Not to mention, holy freaking crap. Tony Pierce linked me. Does anyone else realize what this means? Yeah. I have to keep writing.
At any rate, the struggles in high school are ones that I am now past, and Tony Pierce has indirectly inspired me to keep writing about my all-to-boring but dying-to-be-written life. I sit here before you boldly and excitedly looking forward to my new slate of trials that I am bound to face and have already felt tickle my face before I've even arrived on the college campus and as a writer who wants to share her story with the world...even if that consists only of Tony Pierce (whose blog is, basically, the world) who can certainly be called "My Re-inspiration." Thanks, Tony.
Now...my story. Or the parts we've missed out on over this last year.
I dated Nicholas for over a year, and we parted impossibly, not wanting to say goodbye, much less leave each other. He left for University of West Florida on August 4th, the day before his 19th birthday. In our perfect world, we are going to stay friends forever. At the moment, in our tiny unexperienced world, we cannot live without each other and can scarcely even bear the thought. Getting through this time will be hard for us, but we are confident that we can make it and, as I pray, emerge as stronger individuals. I'll let you know in 10 years how it all played out. But know this: hurting each other is not an option of escape.
In addition to my "single but taken" status, I am leaving for school on Wednesday, a week from yesterday. I am terribly excited, although somewhat nervous, seeing as how I have not packed, shopped, or cleaned for the occasion. I also have not completed my Core summer reading assignment (which includes a written essay). But, such are my procrastination tendencies. And such is the reason I am telling you about my life rather than reading. Procrastination is a natural high. Or something like that.
Yesterday, my cousin's baby (whatever that makes him to me, in terms of semantics, is insignificant) was born. A healthy, strong, grey-eyed baby boy, Cooper Michael Sauls, is my favorite baby. He was 8 pound 2 ounces, 21.5 inches long, and destined to be a football player: big feet, big hands, and long legs. I think he and I are going to have a photo shoot on Monday before I leave, both as a present for his parents (whom I adore) and as a chance for me to try out some photography techniques I've always been curious about.
Today, before I went to visit little Cooper and cousin Ashley in the hospital again, I had to stop by the doctor's office for myself and get a TP Time Test...a fancy way of saying they tested me for tuberculosis. It was fascinating, actually. It's a shot, but not like the typical vaccines you receive at the doctor. They stick a needle in the middle of your forearm and inject a tiny bit of the disease into your body. When they take the needle out, there is a raised bump filled with the fluid. Pretty cool if you ask me. I watched the whole thing. I have to go back in two days, and if the area is swollen, red, or irritated in some way, it could mean I have TB. But I should be fine. The only reason I had this done is because North Carolina law requires that it be done within a year of attending school there. And I hadn't had it done sinec 1992. But I haven't been coughing up blood, so I am confident that all is well.
Perhaps there are more exciting things going on in my life to tell you about, but none of which I can currently think.
Oh, I just thought of one. Recently, there was an article published in The Charlotte Observer that included segments of interviews with both my fellow classmate, Lauren Nation, and me. You might be interested in reading it here.
I haven't written anything in a long while. Too long of a while.
I guess I haven't had the motivation or the inspiration.
There really hasn't been much to write about.
I could write about my busy life, but honestly, I'm sure we're all too busy to read about that.
I could write about my Bahamas trip, but it'd be easier to just send you to the pictures.
I could write about my best friend, Tori, but that would take way too long.
I could write about the newly Significant Other in my life, but I'd prefer just talking to you about it [him] rather than attempting to make sense of it in words.
I could write about how much I loathe summer reading, but somehow I think I'd simply be repeating what all of us have already said to each other.
Basically, there is too much to write about to write at all. If that even makes sense.
Hope you are all enjoying your last moments of summer. Feel free to call me and catch up if we haven't done so in a while; I haven't forgotten you, just been focused on other things.
Also, in the very near future, I will be posting in entry in which I compare and contrast The Last Boleyn to The Other Boleyn Girl. I was doing it in the shower, in my head, this morning. I’m very excited, so you should be too. Wee.
The summer weeks flitted by on butterfly wings for Mary Carey at King Henry’s busy court—and in his massive bed. Will Carey’s honeymoon with her had lasted but a week; this one, with the loud and laughing king, went on and on. They hunted, they rode bedecked barges up and down the Thames, they laughed and danced and sported and held hands. For Mary, it was truly the first courtship she had ever had, and she was wholly in love with being loved, if not with the effusive lover himself.
He turned to her and pulled her gently away from the willow tree. ‘But the difference, my Mary, is that I love you, and I believe you truly love me. Do you deny it?’
‘No,’ she drawled slowly as memories mingled with the griefs she had felt without him at Plashy and the joys she had felt so often with him. ‘I think I do love you, Staff, but you see…well, my life has been so confused, and I have been so unhappy with Will and His Grace and so, maybe I…’
He gave her a rough shake and she stopped speaking. ‘I asked you once if you loved Will and you said ‘I think I do.’ I told you then that if you think you do, you do not. Do you remember? I do not want you to ‘think’ you love me. I will have you and your love, lass, and you will know it is love or I might just as well marry at the king’s whim or bed some court lady who catches my moment’s fancy.’
Tears came to her eyes, and the tiny hurt grew that always came when he spoke of bedding others. The grip of his hard hands hurt her arms. She smothered the desire to tell him how much she loved him.
His arms went strong and sure around her. ‘I love you, my golden Mary. I have always loved you.’ His voice faltered. ‘Yet I am not certain saying ‘love’ is strong enough to tell it all—all of how deeply I have felt for you over the years…’
Well, that’s it for now. I did actually enjoy the book, however much it reminded me of Philippa. I can’t wait to show you all the differences between the two author’s portrayals of the same amazing, invisible historical figure.
1) Food should be stored:
- Below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In alphabetical order from left to right.
2) If you find an insect in the produce, you should:
- Throw it away.
- Rinse produce thoroughly and cut away affected part, then serve.
- Rinse produce thoroughly and cut away affected part. Decide produce still carries the taint of death and throw it away, but not in the kitchen garbage can. Use the garbage in the garage instead. Wash your hands well, tap the counter three times to ward off death, then say your afternoon prayers.
3) Serving utensils should be:
- Stored in ice water.
- Flash-sterilized in the dishwasher.
- Anointed in the Jacuzzi.
- Oil and vinegar.
- Herbed aioli.
- Tap water.
5) The black specks in the vegetable soup are probably:
- Poppy seeds.
- Dead insects. They are totally, totally dead insects. Go wash the bowl until your hands bleed.
6) If food is dropped on the floor, you must:
- Wash it before serving.
- Throw it away.
- That depends. Where did you drop it, exactly? On the carpet? If it was on the carpet you should throw it away and go wash your hands. But if it was on the linoleum, where you saw beacon grease drip that one time, you’re going to have to throw it away, wash your hands, then wash everything you’re wearing. Shower and change into a non-contaminated outfit. This outfit will instantly become contaminated because it takes more than one shower to remove the taint of bacon. Shower again. Change into another non-contaminated outfit, and avoid the kitchen for the rest of the week.
Expound on the following statements:
- Toothpaste has calories.
- Air can be un-kosher.
- Salmonella can flourish in the balmy climes of hell.
From Jennifer Traig’s Devil in the Details “Reading Group Guide”
I found this news so sweet and optimistic, and thought it was a current event actually worth sharing.
Afghanistan's cardiac kids
By URVAKSH KARKARIA
University of Florida heart specialists will help provide free cardiac care -- valued at more than $80,000 combined -- for two Afghan children with severe heart defects who were brought to a National Guard camp.
The boys, age 2 and 7, have a history of congenital heart defects. The surgeries are scheduled to be performed at Wolfson Children's Hospital next month to improve the boys' blood oxygen levels for a better quality of life and longer life expectancies. The younger child, Azad Kofi, has a single functioning ventricle with pulmonary stenosis, which has led to severely impaired oxygen levels. The older child, Tamim Sarwari, suffers from tetralogy of Fallot, which causes chronic lack of circulation, creating clubbing of his fingers and swelling of his digits. His fingers and lips are blue.
Both children get exhausted easily and are "not as active as we would expect other children of their ages to be," said Ronald Renuart, a colonel with the Florida Army National Guard. He first saw the boys while stationed as a doctor at Camp Phoenix on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Azad was brought to the front gate of Camp Phoenix by his father, Renuart recalled. The child was blue around his lips and fingers and didn't cry a lot.
"He was breathing fast and his heart rate was rapid," said Renuart, who also is a former chief of staff at Baptist Medical Center Beaches.
There was nothing Renuart could do at the camp.
"It was a surgical problem," he said.
Expenses for the medical mission will be covered by Patrons of the Hearts, an endowment which brings children from foreign countries to Jacksonville for cardiac care. The endowment is a partnership between Wolfson, the University of Florida and Fogle Fine Art & Accessories.
Medical and surgical services for the two boys are being donated by Wolfson, while the heart specialists will donate their time and expertise.
Wolfson provides free medical care to about 10 to 12 needy children from foreign countries annually at a total cost of at least $500,000, hospital spokeswoman Vikki Mioduszewski said. Wolfson spends about $10 million annually in providing charity and uncompensated care. '