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Quote About Dandelions

"You fight dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of adversity."

-- Hal Borland

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Oh Hi There, College. (Part 1)

This was actually supposed to be in video form (I was going to be a famous vlogger, but alas College doesn't allow me to have the time to vlog when my room is clean and I've had a shower, both important parts of being A Successful Vlogger.)
Instead, I present you with:

Questions from the Public + Things I Thought Were Important
Part 1

  • Things College Kids Say:
    • "Have you studied for this test?" "Psh, no."
    • "Is it free?"
    • "Want to go to Wal-Mart?"
    • "Huddle House at 3am is the best!"
    • "Wait, there's homework for today?"
  • Things Professors Say:
    • "I go, "No!" and I show them my Chacos." ~ Dr. Bushhaus, referring to trying to convince people to save endangered bats.
    • "And then it peed on the side of the road and was like, "Screw you!" ~ Dr. Bushhaus, while flipping off the entire class to demonstrate a sassy Red Wolf's reaction to almost being hit by her car.
    • "Come near me and you die." ~ Dr. Smartt, threatening a wasp
    • "You need to color the butt-crack of the heart." Dr. Greenwood, referring to a fern gametophyte's archegonia.
    • "No, I'm Senora. I lost my youth getting my PhD." ~ Dra. Morin, in response to being called Senorita.
  • Things overheard in school:
    • "I was psych tested. Not for depression, but homicidal tendencies!" (Maybe not something to brag about in the cafeteria, dear.)
    • "Oh my gosh! I got to castrate a pig today!" (Perks of a redneck school, y'all.)
  • College Parties, what are they like?
    • Let's put it this way, I drove past a frat party the night after Halloween and watched a 6' tall Captain Underpants run across the street, away from the frat house.
  • Freshman 15 - is it real?
    • Yes, if you don't eat healthy and don't take care of yourself. But I actually have ended up losing weight due to stress, working out, eating healthy, and a schedule that has me walking several miles a day.
  • Funniest thing that's happened to me so far:
    • I was using my phone to write an email to a professor, inquiring about a travel-study trip to Ecuador. Instead of putting, "I am interested", my phone autocorrected the message to, "I am undressed". That could have been BAD, y'all.
  • Homeschoolers adjusting to "real school"
    • Adjusting? I'm too busy with classes and my social life to worry about adjusting.
♥ sHe

Saturday, April 6, 2013

{Simple} An Update of Confusion

March was an insane month. I traveled, partied, watched, performed, competed, got sick, and felt overwhelmed. I wrote, erased, started, finished, succeeded, and failed miserably. I also remembered that I don’t function well with that much going on in my life.
Music City at night from 20 floors up

Many of my friends are go-ers. They have schedules that barely leave room for them to breathe, they plan more in one day than I can accomplish in a week, and they just go, go, go. While I am in awe of their ability to get things done, I can’t live like that.
Yes, we own a reel push mower

You can find “Simple Living Tips” all over the internet. Pinterest has thousands, if not millions, of boards dedicated to reducing stress, clutter, and worthless things from people’s lives. And that is awesome. But the only problem is, “simple” does not have one definition.

Anna, at Pleasant View Schoolhouse (one of my favorite blogs), appears to have the most ideal and simple life anyone could ask for. But her house has knick-knacks and children and cat hair. Modernists and neat-freaks would feel cramped and overwhelmed. (I, on the other hand, would be in heaven in her house! Vintage furniture! Sewing pattern! Music!)

Rose Beerhorst lives with several artist friends and makes her living by selling hand made rugs from her studio/house that contains very little furniture. That is pretty simple, but look at how loose and free everything is. An extremely structured person would freak out in that life! (I'd love to meet Rose some day- she seems like a very interesting and motivated chiquita.)

“Simple” has to change, depending on the situation and the person.
Keep Calm and Get Tan

I need a simple, scheduled, and free life. One where, if I wake up at six o’clock, I can get everything done by three. But you know what? That doesn’t always happen, and that’s where God comes in. He knows how much I crave a tidy house, no distractions, and a checklist that is completed every day. But He also knows that I need to be more humble than that. If everything is done my way on my time, I tend to leave important-to-Him things out because they weren’t as important to me.

A life that is so scheduled it leaves no room for surprises is also a life that leaves out room for blessings. A life that checks off every box, dots every “i” and crosses every “t” is wonderful, but where is the space for pulling over on the side of the road to help a mom change a tire? Where is the time for rescuing baby squirrels, or chasing a herd of run-away dachshunds (that was crazy)? Where is time to relax and pray?

I still live at home, and so I deal with four other people’s schedules and needs. And that can drive me up the wall. But God uses that as a blessing. Because I have to bend my “needs” around to fit theirs as well, I don’t get everything done. But I also have a schedule that is just free enough that the unexpected is always squeezed in.

An afternoon driving around trying to find a place with free wifi? Sounds good.
A morning “wasted” by an extra-long run/visit with a dear friend? I’m in.
You’re sick and need someone to watch your kids for a few hours? Call me.
Or, like today while I was writing this post, my bees decide to swarm? Who-boy, let’s go.
Squirting sugar water on the swarm to keep the bees calm until a professional bee catcher could come help me

Yeah. Simple is great, but it ain’t easy.

Misting swarm #2 with sugar water
So what is your version of “simple”?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Don't Fail the Family

Let me tell you a story.

It began when my father was a little boy, when he was still catching frogs and playing well into the Summer nights. His mother was given a recipe by a girl at work, a recipe that has since become a Very Big Deal. The recipe called for apples, it called for cinnamon, it called for sugar, and it called for a cup-and-a-half of oil. Egad.

When she mixed all of the ingredients together and baked them, it created a crumbly creation that has won over even the meanest of critics. Granny brought the cake out on special occasions, and it was always devoured. I can remember waking up to the smell of the cake in the oven, a warm scent that is forever stamped into my mind as a smell that belongs solely to her.

I love this cake. It is so valued that we keep the crumbs from the cake at Christmas in a bottle in the freezer to put on ice cream over the summer.

I would beg for the recipe, and every time she would find some way to distract me. Not on purpose, perhaps, but somehow that recipe never saw the light of day around me. Until this past Christmas, that is.

She pulled out her recipe box, “I don't even use these anymore; they're all in my head now. Here, I want you to have this.” Wide-eyed, I accepted the worn piece of paper. It had ingredients whited out, “I didn't like some of the stuff it called for, my recipe’s better.” And it had notes added in, “Just so you know what you're doing, until you learn it.”

I had it. The Apple Cake recipe was finally mine.

I framed it and hung it on my wall as soon as we got home from Christmas vacation. And I kept looking at it, thinking that I should try it, just to see if I could work the same magic that Granny can. But I never seemed to have the time or ingredients, so it hung there for months. Until yesterday.

Our neighbor rolled over in his electric wheelchair and gave us a huge bag of Red Delicious apples. The gesture was appreciated, but sadly, no one in my family likes those soft apples – we're a Jazz or Fuji family.

So I pulled my hair back and got to work.

A little of this. A little of that.

And a whole lot of that.

I put it into a well-greased bunt pan, because I don't own a tube pan like the recipe calls for.

And I let it bake, for a whole hour. Then it cooled for a half hour in its pan. I turned it over to cool on a rack. At that point it was midnight, so I called a friend to tell her happy birthday. Then I went to bed. (OK, fine. I snuck a few crumbs at that point.)

This evening, we went to my other grandmother's house for supper. I brought the un-tasted cake (except for those few crumbs.) We ate a beautiful meal of BBQ and roasted potatoes, then I brought out the cake.

My father had the first piece. I waited, holding my breath. “I am an Apple Cake connoisseur. I've been eating this cake since I was a little boy. That is an Apple Cake among Apple Cakes. Your Granny would be proud.”

Relieved I hadn't failed the family, I plopped myself down and ate a huge slice myself. And you know what? It really was amazing.

(I would share the recipe, but I think Granny would drive the hours it takes to get here and bop me on the head with her rolling pin. And if there's one lady I'm afraid of, it's my Granny.)


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Plan Your Garden

Last year, I had a garden.
It was beautiful.
I learned that you shouldn't start off with more than you can really handle. I could handle growing all of it just fine, but I had so many vegetables that 3/4 of it went to waste. I don't want that happening again this year! Plus, I will be heading off to school in the fall and won't be able to tend to the extra produce that seems to blossom overnight around October.
This year, I'm only going to grow:
  • Cucumbers (The 4 plants I grew last year produce almost 200 cucumbers!)
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin on a stick - it's actually an ornamental eggplant! (Check it out here)
  • Any flowers/herbs/misc. veggies my family wants to add in
Another thing I'll be doing is making my compost pile more productive! Composting is a branch of the soils sciences and is a lot of work.
This will be fun!
What are you doing in your garden?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thrift Shop(ping)

The Thrift Shop.
It's that magical place where kitschy meets chic. Where Grandpa's front porch rocker sits next to Aunt Ann's Chippendale. Where Gucci rubs shoulders with Walmart.
It's where hipsters shop. It's where single moms can dress their children. It's where broke young adults out on a wild, adventerous day go.
Hey there.

I Wear Your Grandpa's Clothes
I Look Incredible
Here are my Top 10 Thrifting Tips:
  1. Go in with a set budget
  2. Buy it only if you love it and you'll wear it/use more than once.
  3. Unless, of course, it's a tacky dress-up party. Then, buy away!
  4. Thrifted jewelry can be awesome! Just remember to clean it.
  5. Take hand sanitizer. You don't want to know where those stains came from, or what they are.
  6. Take a camera - you never know what crazy stuff you'll find, but don't really want to plop down the cash for. I also use photos to remember ideas for craft projects, things I might want to look for in the future, etc.
  7. If you're tired, sit on that funky couch and read a $.99 paperback. Some of the most interesting books are on those shelves.
  8. Funky PJ's for a crazy day
  9. Take a friend! This really goes for any clothes shopping. They'll be able to see things from an "outside" perspective and aren't biased by what you see in the mirror. (What you see isn't always what is really there. Just a tip from a former eating-disordered gal)
  10. If you can, go in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. Especially if you're going to a Bargain Barn kind of deal - I've seen shark feeding-frenzies on Animal Planet look less violent than what you'll find on a Saturday morning. It's scary, folks.
  11. Go to the funky ones that are a little scary. (Only if you can go with someone else!) They often have the best deals and items.
  12. Keep Thrifting! Seriously. If you don't find what you're looking for the first go-round, try again in a week.
Also - watch the video! I like it better than the origional.

♥ sHe

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Ideas: an Update

Spring is around the corner - grass is beginning to come back to life, bees are flying on the warmer days, and those determined little dandelions are budding.
I have set this blog, and its mission, to the side as I continue towards my personal of finishing school. Have no fear though; with the advent of spring, this blog shall rise again! The mission will be different, but I am keeping it a surpprise for now.

Go forth and be dandelions! I'll see you in a few months.
Aren't they cool?