So this week, I actually had to cook for myself!
Yeah, yeah, I know. It's really that big of a deal. But I've become accustomed to the on-campus dining and not having to do more than swipe my card and grab some food. But this week (because I decided to return to campus a week before it actually reopened) I had to cook everyday this week just to survive!
But I made some pretty good food. Check it out.
Monday, Jan 6
Spicy one-pot jambalaya. Andouille sausage, white rice, skinless chicken breasts, all in one big pot to create a blend of savory cajun flavor.
Tuesday, Jan 7
Bacon, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, and mustard. Along with homemade potato fries. Simple but delicious.
Wednesday, Jan 8
Easy baked tilapia flavored with fresh lemon and Italian Garlic. Along with slow cooked wild rice and broccoli mac & cheese. One of my favorite dishes.
Thursday, Jan 9
Thin noodle spaghetti with smoked sausage and savory tomato sauce. Served with a garden salad and cheesy biscuit cookies (namely because I messed up the recipe and it turned into a cookie more than a biscuit).
Friday, Jan 10
I went to the movies. My boyfriend dragged me into watching a period piece called 1917. About a series of events of two British soldiers, Schofield and Blake, when they impossible orders to race against time.
It was really good, to my surprise. But I eat at the movie. Had some nachos and gobs of popcorn.
Saturday, Jan 11
Half and half baked wings. Honey barbecue and buffalo baked in one tin and cooked alongside a cheese loaded baked potato.
Sunday, Jan 12
Lemon and garlic buttered salmon seasoned with salt and pepper and baked with brussel sprouts. Served with slow cooked wild rice and salted tomato slices.
♪This Christmas, I gave♪ up my life!
This Christmas, was the first year I actually had to grown up, being 20 now. So, not only did I have to spend actual money that I don't have (although, I suppose that is the expectation), I had to book my own flight, I had to work and still I spent a lot of time by myself.
That first week, December 8th through the 14th. A lot of people left campus. It was supposed to be finals week but nearly everyone got there's done early and by the end of the day Tuesday, everyone I knew had gone home. I spent that week, doing and redoing my hair, working out, writing, doing some volunteer work, oh, and watching an abundance of NetFlix. But for the most part, I spent nearly 8 hours by myself everyday. And don't get me wrong. I don't mind being alone. I can get a lot work done when my boyfriend isn't singing at the top of his lungs, or when my friends are pushing me to go out with them. But I was kind of used to it. And I quickly got pretty lonely... If I had known it was going to be so empty up here, I would have scheduled flight for earlier. But if I had, I would had to leave my car at the airport and spend upwards of $200 on parking. But because I decided to wait, my boyfriend's father was back in town - from Missouri where they went to see his sister graduate - and said I could leave my car at his place. His father also said that I could stay the night before the flight, in my boyfriend's old room, so I don't have to wake up at the ass crack of dawn to get there on time. His parents are so nice. I ended up getting them Christmas presents. His father is a lot like him with all the jokes and goofiness, so I got him a gag mug with yo mama jokes on it. For his mother, who LOVES to cook, I got her a cutting board. Or a cheese platter. I could be interpreted a couple ways. But I got her name inscribed into it so that it was personalized. But when I got it back, they just cut her name into it, which left gaps that food and bacteria could get stuck in. So I choose to fill it in, sand it down smooth, and add a waterproof sealant on it so that she could actually used it. It was process that took about four days, but it filled my week. I hoped they liked them.
The morning of December 16th, my boyfriend's father dropped me off at the airport to catch my 9:38am flight. But when I got on the plane, it was delayed. And delayed again. And delayed some more. I spent probably two hours on that plane, just sitting in the runway. Apparently, the guys they got to come check it were not qualified and didn't fill out the proper paperwork. They checked off a few random boxes and they had to have someone else come in and really check the plane. The plane wasn't at all qualified for takeoff! So, they made us get off and get on a different plane that left at 12. But by that point we were flying into a snow storm and I was definitely going to miss my connecting flight. So I rescheduled it 6:30, which then meant that I wasn't going to get to North Carolina until 9:30. But finally, I was back with my mom.
That first week wasn't eventful. My brother was still in school and my mother was still working. So, again, I spent a lot of time at home alone. I thought about maybe going out and exploring but I din't have my car. So I resorted to walking around the neighborhood. It was nice. North Carolina is a lot more humid than Arizona but at least t wasn't cold. Small victories.
The next week, my mom had off and we did a couple of different things. We went to the Christmas light, had a mini Christmas party. And I finally had a crab boil! Yum! I loved it. And, we went to Jumanji 2: Next Level.I was told repeatedly not to see it but my love of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson pulled me! And I loved it. Which is why I often ignore the opinion of other people. Well, for that and a mix of other reasons. And on Christmas morning... I slept in until noon. My brother as well. But my mom had gotten up. When I finally a woke she and I made a last minute trip to WalMart for some crab legs. Yep, we had a seafood boil for Christmas dinner! It was so delicious. Just thinking about it now is making my mouth water. Boy, I wish I took leftovers. But after dinner we finally opened the presents around 6:30. My dad got me calligraphy pen! Oh my goodness, it's so beautiful! I love it so much! And my mom got me a, well needed, printer. Let me tell you how many times I have been late to class trying to print something off last minute at the library. Now I can be later for trying to print something off last minute in my room. BABY STEPS! I got my brother a toilet light for his 3am bathroom runs. The kid seems to never sleep. And I got my mom a personalized necklace. It was a good day. I had a lot of fun.
But I would be remiss not to mention that I was immensely happy to be back in Arizona, in the arms of my boyfriend, the next day. Yep, my flight back to the AZ was the next day. There were a series of miscommunications and I left a few days earlier than I originally intended. But I did have a lot of fun. I hung out with my boyfriend and ALL of his extended family. I won't say that that it was a tad overwhelming. I will say that it was very overwhelming to meet all of his family all at once having that ask me what I was doing with my life and what I was planning. They were very nice and probably didn't have any idea how I was feeling but boy was I drained by the end of the day.
That night was fun though. We had a massive dinner and played a plethora of Christmas games and made many jokes at the expense of my boyfriend. It was a good time and I'm glad I went.
The very next Monday, though, I had to leave my boyfriend again. I had to go back to the summer camp to work. Or winter camp as it were. It was just for a week, and oh so fun. I had a lot of the same kids I had over the summer and some new ones. It was just two of us working at any given time and a lot of times just me, with ten sometimes fifteen kids but they were well behaved. They just wanted to play and talk and I did too so the week ran smoothly. Most of the time. The day after New Years, where all the kids stayed up the night before, was kind of hard. They were cranky and tired and a little hard to manage but after lunch they regained their energy. And the snowy fun resumed.
When that week ended, I decided to drive back up to campus on January 4th. I thought I had to be a work that next Monday (today) at the elementary school and I kind of wanted the Sunday to get settled in. But turns out I had another two weeks to settle in. So I stayed a few more days and left today. Now I'm back on campus. And my boyfriend decided to come up with me. But there is no one up here but us and a few other students. Classes don't resume until next week. So maybe I'll get some work done though. Maybe flesh out the cover of my next book. Hehehe!
I will say though, I did have a lot of fun in the chaos. But I'm ready to get back to a routine!
Also, I'm sorry that my post frequency has slowed down. When the last semester began, I didn't really have time to write a lot. But I'm hoping to be better this semester. Happy New Years everyone!
I think I know myself pretty well. I have had 19 (nearly 20) years to study, after all. And I know I have a fragile heart. I know when I fall, I crash. But my heart is like the last domino in the line. So many things have to fall into place within me before all of me goes crashing down. I mean, I have myself guarded up tighter than Fort Knox.
So these words have always been so hard for me to say. When I meant it anyway. When I didn't it just kind a rolled off my tongue. "Oh girl, I love you!" "I love you! You're so funny!"
But in the context in which I'm opening my heart, it always making me nauseous. Not because I didn't mean it or didn't want to say it. It's the fact that I'm actually exposing myself.
It's like your teeth. You munch and munch on them all day without a care. Then you get a cavity. At first it doesn't hurt so much. Just with sugary foods. Then with all foods. Then whenever you move your jaw. But by that point the nerve ending is exposed and you start to favor the other side of your mouth. Or if you are hygienically wise, you go to the dentist before it gets that bad.
It's the same way for me with those words. As they become more real, the harder they are to say. So I start saying other things that imply or allude to what I'm trying to say and still get the job done. Backwards, I know.
But now I've come to like it. In this way, I know it's real. I mean, I still have trouble telling my mom I love her and I've been doing it for nearly twenty years. It just feels weird in my mouth. So when I feel this nausea - as scary as it is - I'm more incline to just say it. Because it's true. I've got only one life and it's a pretty short one so I'm not gonna waste my time not telling my truth, not telling my feelings.
Yes. It is just one phrase. Three simple words, I know. But to me it is the second most important phrase a person can say. When it's true.
I am a delicate little bird
Not to be pushed
Or I might fall
Carefully protected by his guard
I am as fragile as thin glass
Not to be dropped
Or I might shattered
Safely carried in his embrace
I am as sensitive as creaky wood
Not to be jumped on
Or I might splinter
Polished by him regularly
I am a gentle warm breeze
Not to be ignored
Or one might miss it
Laying in my comfort
I am a soft blanket
Not to be tugged
Or I might rip
Shared only with him
But to Me
He is the delicate little bird.
Fighting against the winds of a stereotype
To be a man,
To protect at night,
To provide at day.
But I can see through
His chirpings of fake laughs.
His songs of forged reassurance.
Oh, delicate little bird.
I will sing for you.
I will house you within my nest.
I will swaddle you in my warmth.
Oh, delicate little bird.
I will protect you.
I know for a lot of people school has been going on for a month already. But for me, I'm just starting into week 3. One might think that I've been coasting so far. Just chilling in the start of the year. But false. In the last two weeks I've had 9 homework assignments due, 7 quizzes, a full book to read along with 9 full length textbook chapters, and I have a job.
No rest for the wicked.
But don't mistake this for me complaining. I love it. Sure, I have a full schedule with 19 credits and a job that I go to immediately after class, and homework that I need to attend to as soon as I get back... Wait, I wasn't complaining? No, because I have only one class on Friday and I don't work on that day or the weekends so it's like I have a three day weekend every week. Plus, my friends are the raddest cats. They're not cats. They're cool dudes. And every single weekend they have something new that we need to. Something fun to break from the intensity of a lecture filled week. And it works for me. If didn't, I wouldn't be feeling so light right now.
Now don't get me wrong I do have a pretty heavy load to deal with. But I'm dealing, you know? Look at it like this. I get to have a break. I get most - if not all - of my homework done over the week so when Friday rolls around I can do whatever in the Bloody Mary I feel like doing. This morning, I pulled the doors off of my closet so I could see all of my clothes. Honestly, don't ask why I thought that was the best way to go about that. But I could. Because I have the time and energy. I just got to keep pushing myself to get where I want to be and I'll always find myself there.
That's my motto in life. "If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk then crawl. Just get to where you wanna be."
A few months ago, way back in April, my boyfriend and I went on a drive around the city. It was one of those slow laid back days where we didn't want to do anything but we didn't want to stay inside. It was getting kind of late in the day when we decided to head back to campus but the sun was still out. And on that drive back a woman started honking and rides up on us. Then she pulled around us, screaming and shaking her fist out out the window. When she saw me, shock took her face briefly before returning to anger. For a moment, I thought that maybe we cut her off, or was driving too slow. But that couldn't have been the case.
Now, what I failed to mention was that my boyfriend is a proud Trump supporter. He has the hats and the stickers and any other memorabilia he could get his hands on. Including bumper stickers. We later put together that's where the woman's sudden anger and hatred stemmed from.
Then, not even a week later, my boyfriend decided wear his MAGA hat around campus with some of his friends. It was a great accessory to his outfit, if I do say so myself. But that's beside the point. The point is that because I was holding his hand, I received a lot of disgusted, sad and even angry stares. Me, a very brown girl, with a Trump supporter. How degrading! How repulsive! How deplorable!
No, what was deplorable was a group of girls, stopping me at the salad bar to ask if I was okay, as if to suggest that I was in some undesired captive relationship. I know, it's a big step from "are you okay?" to "is he holding you hostage?" But their line of questioning would prove their intent. Questions like, "how long were you dating before he told you?" "Would did he say to make you okay with that?" "Does he let you watch the news?" Does me let me watch the news?!? How was he gonna stop me? It's not like he had me tied up a basement and sang to me about the wonders of Trump. Not to down play such situations. Except, they overplayed mine.
I understand that people are not really big fans of Donald Trump right now. I understand that some things that he says and does are not going to make everyone happy. But someone put him in office. A lot of people wanted him there. A lot of people want to keep him there. I might not agree with everything my boyfriend does in relations to politics but he hasn't once disrespected me, my moral standings, or my ideologies. And he isn't going around grabbing women's yahoo either.
Now, I'm not trying to sway anyone into living a life like my own or glorify dating someone with opposing views, because sometimes it's hard. But I am just asking that we just respect each other's lifestyles.
Also a co-worker of my mine, from the Lumberjack Newspaper, wrote a great article about her relationship. And another co-worker did an illustration of me and my boyfriend for the story. You can check it out and read the article, here.
You know how in those diner movies or the ones where the main character works at a diner, there's always that one guy - who's usually old - who comes in every single day and orders the exact same thing.
Yeah, that's me. I'm a regular!
You see, there's a McDonald's on my way to work. Right there, just before the turn into my workplace. It was tempting me to spend money that I don't have! How dare they taint the air with the delicious smell of hash browns!
And one day, about two weeks into working at the summer camp, I had about twenty minutes of extra time before I needed to clock in. Surprisingly there was no traffic. And looking at my clock and smelling the delicious smells, I figured that I had time for a detour. That day I went through the Drive-Thru and ordered a Bacon & Egg McGriddle hold the cheese, with hash brown and a Strawberry Milkshake. Their ice cream machine was broken - go figure - so I didn't get the milkshake. In hindsight, I guess my lactose intolerant butt should have been happy that I didn't get one. But I wasn't. Nevertheless, that day begin six more weeks of McDonald's breakfast stops, and without fail every morning til my last day of work, I went and got something. Some mornings were different than others. Like when I was heading to work straight from my boyfriend's house, I would order a small French Vanilla Latte. I hate coffee, but I was in desperate need of the caffeine. Or on days that I knew I probably wouldn't eat lunch, I'd order three hash browns. And when they fixed the machine I started getting my Strawberry Milkshakes. Which would catch up to me in no less than a hour.
I'm not sure why but I have a strange love for milk.
Anyway, because I was going so often I became pretty familiar with the morning staff. Some morning I would roll up and as I began my order they would already have it punched in. Or they knew the size of my drink if I forgot to say it. I mean I went pretty frequently and I ordered the same things almost every time, so it was bound to happen. What can I say? I'm a creature of habit.
Now I only wonder if they miss me as camp is now over and I have yet to return to McDonald's.
I went to summer camp every summer every until I was fourteen. Then my mom made me volunteer there. Well, she didn't make me. I thought I was going to get paid. I didn't.
With all that being said, those summer were the best of my life. I made friends I would have never otherwise met. I tried things I would have never otherwise known about. And I went on adventures that were once in a lifetime experiences. Each summer was a different one. Which was why I was so excited to start working at a summer camp this year. But first all, let me say working at a summer camp and playing at one are two very different experiences. Working there you get to see all the behind the scene events and running around that make a summer camp so cool. Besides the very obvious aspect of it being super stressful, it was crazy fun.
I worked at a country club summer camp where the kids were broken up into two groups. Bigs (age 7-10) and littles (3-6). I worked with the littles mostly but occasionally with the bigs. Just depended on who was there that week. And each week had a different theme! Overall, we were looking for Tinkerbell. She had gotten lost. Again. So we were visiting all the Disney characters across the world to help us find her. The first week we went to Greece to talk to Hercules and Phil. Herc was little help. He was too busy trying to impress Megara. However Phil was able to point us the right way. So week two we find ourselves in Ireland with Merida! She sent us to Build-A-Bear so we could all get our own animal guides. Once we had our bears she was able to give directions to China to talk to Mulan. She was pretty busy saving all of China from the Huns and stuff but she did take to the time to point out Tink's path. Apparently, she saw a trail of pixie dust headed to France! So we went to Paris to talk to Remy and Alfredo, and of course have a big plate of
Ratatouille. It was weird eating with a rat but he heard that Tink was Hawaii. She headed back to the ol' US of A. We caught a plane to Kaua'i and sat down with Nani. Lilo was busy trying to keep Stitch out of trouble. It didn't work very well. But Nani heard something about Tinkbell being in London. So we jumped on another plane and wandered into Hundred Acre Wood. Christopher Robin just so happened to be there pulling Winnie the Pooh out of yet another honey jar. Fortunately for us, along with the last drop of honey at the bottom of the jar, Pooh also spotted Tinkerbell headed to Germany. So for week seven we went to talk to Rapunzel. We didn't stay. She had a lot of princess business to catch up on. (You know, from being locked in a tower for most of her life.) So Eugene - a.k.a Flynn Rider a.k.a Prince Eugene Fitzherbert - sent us to Africa. I won't lie, talking with a full grown lion was scary for some of the kids, but while we were there we got to see Simba's epic story on the big screen the day it came out! That really warmed us up to him. Then he sent us Denmark where we spoke the littlest mermaid, Princess Ariel. My my my! She truly helped us. With her aid we were able to find a map to Tink! First we had to fight off pirates and tick tock crocodiles but we were able to make to Neverland. And low and behold! There she was locked in a trunk by those pesky pirates! One of the kids told me that we should have just started here, it would saved us a lot time in hindsight. Did I mention these were really intelligent for their age. But anyway, we had finally found Tinkerbell and we threw a huge party in celebration. I was a fabulous time.
I remember when my imagination was that grand, so immersive that even now in my memory it registers as an actual fairy flying around my head. It was so beautiful to see all those kids so crazy happy and excited. All the work we did to make it happen, however physically grueling and and tiring it was, I would do it all again. Sure, my feet, back, arms, hands and anything that moved on my body ached by the end of the day. And by the end of the week all I wanted to do was sleep. Yet, just to see the glow in their eyes, I could find the energy to do it again.
Friday was my last day, and I was so sad to go. But I'm really glad I have the memories. Oh, and thanks to all my co-workers who were working just as furiously hard as I did! It's been great guys!
Until next summer!
I am currently in the process of creating a Fuck It List. Yes, you read that correctly. I said Fuck It list. It is drastically different from a Bucket List. Those are made when you’re ready to die. You know, you’ve lived your best life and there are just a few things left to be done. Like skydiving or bungee jumping.
In contrast, a Fuck It List are things that if done you could very well result in death. A very painful death. And, yes, I’m prone to injury, so is making this list the smartest thing I could do? Absolutely not. Should I do this? A resounding no. But am I going to? Undoubtedly.
So, I want to begin the list with walking through fire. Not hot coals. I mean like there’s a fire pit, ten to twenty feet long. And I just wanna walk through it, butt naked, full on Daenerys Targaryen style.
Then I wanna flip a car. You know like, in action movies when the protagonist flips their car, and it’s really bad, and really intense, and the audience is stiff holding their breath to see if they crawl out.
Yeah, I wanna do that.
Then crash a plane. Not terrorist style. More like, it’s just me and I’m flying around, feeling myself, and then I just take a nosedive into the ocean.
I can’t swim.
So I wanna wrestle a bear. Have you ever seen someone wrestle a bear?
I haven’t either.
But I’ve heard about it and I imagine that it’s really scary. Adrenaline pumping hardcore. Yeah, that’s what I’m about.
Then wrestle an alligator.
Yeah. Then race an active volcano. So the volcano erupts, right? And lava is just slipping down the side. Then there’s little ole me just there. Trying to beat the molten the lava to safety. It may sound easy because lava just kind of pulses down the mountain fairly slowly. However, there is smoke and the strain to breathe needs to be factored in. Along with the ashes and the and the increasing loss of visibility.
It’ll be a challenge.
Then I wanna race an avalanche. Which is basically the same in opposite terrain. Just the smoke and ash aren’t a problem. And the snow will be moving at a much faster rate.
Then I'm gonna disappear in a forest. You know how in horror movies. There's always that one girl who gets mad at everyone and runs off by herself. Then she's murdered immediately. I wanna try it. See what happens.
Then wrestle a lion.
And go hitchhiking. People do it all the time. Sure only 24% of people are murdered or kidnapped whilst hitchhiking. However, factor in that I am female and black and will undoubtedly be doing this in the south, that number skyrockets to 89%.
So.. that’s a really bad idea. I’m actually going to remove that from the list.
Then I wanna swing from one ledge to another over a chasm. You know those deep canyons that make you sick to even look down. I wanna swing over one Tarzan style.
Then I wanna swim cross the Atlantic. That’s not really all that dangerous but I can’t swim and I feel like the panic of drowning will propel me through the water so..
Then I want to go on a ride along to an active crime scene. To maybe a shoot out with a drug cartel or something. Yeah, that seems like a stupidly good idea.
Then wrestle a shark.
And that's my list. You only live once, so fuck it! Am I right?
I came to this university for the sole purpose of seeing snow. I didn’t look at the academic programs, the student atmosphere, or even the tuition costs… and that’s why I’m in debt. I literally left my toasty home to come to the freezing mountains with no preparation or forethought. I just threw my stuff in a bag and bounced. Those from southern Arizona know how sticky hot it can get in August. It’s like a sauna everywhere. So, the 80s and 75s here, were a welcomed abnormality. And for the first couple of months I was content. Well, aside from the raging homesickness, I was content.
Then winter rolled around. This year, first snow was in late November. The 28th to exact. Oh, why do I remember that day? Good question. I remember it being that day precisely because my mom had called me that morning. She had been working on convincing me to transfer to the university back home. I won’t lie, by that point I had really been considering it. I had already gotten a taste of living in a four-season city, and I was not fond of it. Moving here, allotted me the understanding that I don’t like the cold and that I find my bones freezing dangerously uncomfortable. The thing is, I was sourly unprepared for a “real winter.” I didn’t have snow boots, still don’t, or an effective jacket.
So, my mom’s call came with the advice that I should sit down with my advisor and look at the next steps to out of here. I did. But on my way there, I realized how little traction converse have. I slipped and ate it. Hard. Just outside the Student Success Center. I even cut my knee on a random piece of ice, ripping my jeans, my favorite jeans. And had my ignominy not been enough, some guy standing outside started laughing. Laughing so hard, even, he had to walk away, shaking his head in belief. I went into that meeting with a new determination… and blood streaming down my leg.
Fortunately, I was confronted with the news that I wouldn’t be able to transfer the next semester like I planned. My financial aid wouldn’t allow it. I was going to have to wait until the following fall, unless, of course, I planned on being buried in my debts instead of a coffin. So, I buckled down.
It was about a week later and it had just snowed. Again. I was walking back to my dorm from the movie theatre with a friend of mine. It was late and it was cold, and we thought we heard screaming. We had. As we rounded our street, we saw ten, maybe fifteen, dudes rolling a massive snow ball across the street to the field. We couldn’t just leave then. So, we found ourselves hanging out with them. Five of them had been friends prior to this event and we were standing outside, in the cold, for a about three hours with them. Why we didn’t just go into we were standing in front of? I don’t know. But standing there I realized that I was chatting with the guy who had mocked at me a week before. So, I confronted him.
“Hey, you’re the guy who laughed at me for eating it out outside the Student Success Center.”
He said he didn’t remember that, and even now he denies it, but I know it was him. By the end of the night we had exchanged contact info with everyone and through the rest of semester we continued to hang out with them. We found that they were not a typical group of men. In the traditional sense they are rowdy and somewhat annoying, and generally ignored the fact that some things just shouldn’t be done on a college campus. But they are also the coolest, wildest, smartest dumb shits I have ever met; and just before winter break, we had officially infiltrated their group.
Whilst on my break I found myself looking forward to my return. Don’t get me wrong, I needed the time off, but I was excited for what was in store for the next semester. Having done no research prior to applying, I pleasantly surprised to find that the writing programs here were going to serve me well. Being a Creative Writing major was looking like it going to have a large pay out. So, I was thrilled to head back and trudge through the snow again. And upon my return I saw my rowdy boys.
Which brings me to last night, when I was again, hanging out these extravagantly weird dudes. We were playing Cards Against Humanity and I’m not sure why, but I looked up at my best friend who was laughing like an idiot, at my roommate who was disappointed with her hand, and at the rest of the rambunctious group, and I regretted nothing. Even today, on this very snowy day, I’m glad I decided to come. And I’m glad I decided to stay.