I’m Baaaaaack

I nearly forgot my password.

It has been that long.

How are you guys? Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I been relatively quiet lately. (If we want to be precise, I have been silent since 6/02/2013.)

However, since technicality is not my thing, I shall say it has been forever and leave it at that. Much has happened during this hiatus…

You know that world peace issue – like, how we don’t have any? Solved it. Everyone needs to eat more cheesecake. Seriously, after you eat enough of that creamy goodness, you don’t feel like fightin’ nobody.

I won a Nobel prize.

I climbed Mt. Everest

I wrote seven papers in one week.

I’ll let you guess what I actually did. Hint – it was harder than climbing Mt. Everest, and more work than a Nobel Peace Prize (sidenote…does one really have to do anything worthwhile to earn that prize? Sheesh.)

In actuality, during this hiatus I have done three things:

librarian

Shushing people at work. Librarians…rocking the wire-rimmed glasses.

home

My professors either hate me or are trying to cultivate knowledge. I really think they hate me.

 

alar

I’m really trying to like mornings. This….thing does not help my self-betterment process.

 

That’s really it. Work, homework, and interrupted sleep. Gripping.

But I truly am trying to enjoy this period of my life – it’s crazy, hectic, and if I never write a paper again, I will be just fine. However, one of these fine days…

I will be done with college. And on that day, white though I may be, and Baptist though I am, I will shake a tail feather. (I tried to find a google pic for this – just no. Your mental picture will have to suffice).

Seriously, I have missed blogging. And bloggers. And reading blogs of brilliance, glimmering with shimmery, written gems…

Forgive me. College papers do not indulge purple prose. It has been far too long.

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6,000 Views & Writing; Or the Great Rikki-Tavi Rip-Off

Today, I broke the 6,000 mark for views.

(6,004 to be exact). That was kind of a big deal for me. Now, I know that many other blogs have many more readers and many more views and many more comments…

But this is my blog. And enough kind people stopped by to read, hopefully laugh, and comment to create 6,000+ views, which is mind-boggling to me.

Since seven years old, I have been scribbling poems and short stories, then shyly bringing them to my parents to critique.

Feigning indifference, I’d off-handedly hand over the precious, crinkled paper, scuffed by impatient erasings, and pretend not to watch them read it.

When they finished, I’d ask carelessly, “What did you think?”, already shuffling backwards, just in case.

“I loved it,” they’d answer, perhaps more kindly than honestly. “You are a good writer, sis.”

Proof of their kindness is my first attempt at poetry, written at age seven, and which I was convinced was at least second, if not first, cousin to Shakespeare.

“There once were two mice

Who were very bad.

Which made their family very sad.

One brother’s name was Ted,

The other’s name was Fred,

And I hate to tell you

The things that they did.

They had a sister named Jennifer

And they liked to hide and jump on her

When she came around the corner.”

There was more, which I have omitted, more from shame than mercy. My parents very obviously love me.

From there, I graduated to short stories, poetry (can I honestly call it that?!) interspersed sporadically throughout. I think my first short story was a grand rip-off of Little House on the Prairie and Rikki Tikki Tavi, having just read both of them. It was an interesting mix, but somehow it worked, especially since I was grandly ignoring the fact that a mongoose would never inhabit a prairie. Cobras, of course, have been known to travel the world, so I gleefully introduced one as an antagonist, instinctively feeling that Ricky (don’t you judge me – it’s totally different) would be bored without one.

Ricky. Not to be confused with Rikki.

Ricky. Not to be confused with Rikki.

As I grew as a writer, I still brought things to my parents, more confidently now, but still with a sense of insecurity. Would they like it? Should I have used that word? Was there one more descriptive? Less controversial? (i.e. witchery.) I held, and still hold, that such a word was needed  and was not supposed to be reminiscent of witches at all. I shall let you be the judge.

“Lilting, coaxing, pleading, teasing
The witchery of Music lures me
To an enchanted world of magic and wonder
A merry, elfin tune, ever changing, here
One moment, gone the next
Peeking ’round a corner, singing
Out, “Catch me if you can!”
I reach out longingly, stretching my
Hands toward the elusive promise of
Music – almost capturing, but not
Quite, nearly grasping but never
Totally. Then, like the will-o-the-wisp
She is, Music suddenly
Turns – and captures me.”

This is witchery - enchanted, irresistible. Apparently, this is not how my parents view it.

This is witchery – enchanted, irresistible. Apparently, this is not how my parents view it.

I ask you: did it not work? Even so, my parents remain my best, and most supportive, critics, though we still can’t agree on that word.

However, I find, especially recently, that my group of trusted critics has grown substantially, and if you are reading this – you are one.

Often, I have written a post and then sat and stared at it. Have I clearly expressed my stance? Too clearly? Been judgmental? Wishy-washy? Is this funny? Or just silly? Did I…

Then you chime in.

Writers by nature desire an outlet for their message, for have you ever read an amazing book and simply sat for a moment, basking in the afterglow of a well-told story? Then almost instantly, you look about for someone to share the moment with, someone who will love it as you did?

That’s what this feels like. I have enjoyed thinking aloud on this blog and even more enjoyed it when you broke into my stream of consciousness, perhaps sharing a like experience, giggling over a funny event, or just saying “I like this.”

I like when you like this, so…thank you.

I appreciate you all.

Posted in Blogging, Musings, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Summer – Our Shared Past

sumer

Summertime.

You’ve taken your own sweet time this year, haven’t you? Please, I’m not trying to make you feel guilty, just stating the facts. Besides, I only mentioned it because of our past together…

I’ve missed you.

In all honesty, some of the best memories of my life were fashioned with you. Do you remember the time you took advantage of my trusting nature and subtly hinted that dirt was good to eat? You lied, but I forgave you.

Or the time we spent together, I curled up on our wooden swing, my dirty, bare foot swinging carelessly, apple clutched in one hand, half-forgotten, my eyes roving over a tale of adventure, and your beaming face peeping over my shoulder…sound familiar?

Do you remember – surely you do – the time I set out to conquer the tall, stiff-faced pine in our backyard? Noting that I needed something to mark such an accomplishment, you suggested making a flag to hang from its tamed branches. I did, you hanging over my shoulder, chuckling companionably at the heading: “Excelsior!” We celebrated together, you, I, and our banner at the (almost) very top.

Do you recall the days carelessly spent in the dazzling waves of our pool? It was really yours, since we could only bring it out when you were with us, but you kindly loaned it, smiling benevolently as we splashed, and screamed, and lounged, and savored popsicles in the cool water.

How about the time we decided to dig a hole in the back yard? I don’t think we honestly thought that one through, but about six by six feet later, we agreed that it was great fun, and spent the rest of your short life span making it bigger and better. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think we even used the conquered pine tree to rappel to the very bowels of the earth, arriving at the bottom, perhaps (in my brother’s case) missing a few belt loops, but victorious.

Do you remember all the different games we played? Kickball, baseball, soccer, basketball, football – at least until our playmates grew too large. Our mutual agreement stated that six foot was far too ginormous with which to be messing about. Tennis, we agreed, was far safer.

The trampoline – you remember, don’t you? It was the hubcap of all our play. If we needed a safe haven during tag, there it waited, a veritable bulwark in the time of storm. Bored? Not for long; the trampoline encouraged new games: frogger, crack-the-egg, blind dog, crocodile. When we, hot and breathless (but not too hot, dear), clambered onto the burning, bouncy part and turned the hose on – oh, it was sheer bliss. Slipping back and forth, water droplets streaming from our eyes, nose, and hair, we finally collapsed in individual heaps and stared up at the sky, replete and content. You enjoyed it too, I think, but in your own, quiet way.

Ah, Summertime…

I have missed you.

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Piano and Cello Guys of Awesomeness

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Diet Coke, My Mom, and Adventure: A Poem for Mother’s Day

For providing a safety net
While I spread my wings
For picking me up
When they, untested, failed.
For worrying about me
When I didn’t worry enough,

Yet exuding quiet confidence
In my ability to succeed.
For giving the gift of understanding
By nodding in all the right places
Discussing anything and everything
As the fancy led us.
For laughing at my impressions,
Making me feel ten feet tall
And requesting your favorites,
Still giggling at their brilliance.
For making life a kaleidoscope
Each new day an adventure
A simple run for a diet coke
Turning into an escape, vibrant with magic.
For making me feel like an only child
And providing siblings to share the experience
A proud light in your eyes as you claim
“Yes, they’re all ours.”
For making the word “mother”
Reminiscent of love and warmth and laughter
Giving constantly of yourself
By expending both time and peace of mind.
For making our lives richer
By the person that you are
Exemplifying the wife and mother
I desire to be, in the far and misty future.
For being our mom first,
Friend and confidant second
And our biggest cheerleader third
Mom, I love you – forever and always.

~ Allison

Posted in Humor, Love, Musings, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Testing Insanity

I-will-start-studying-soon

studying

studying-the-night-before-an-exam-7144

studying 3

studying 2

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“The Deep, Dark Secret of Male Blood Donors” – from a Woman’s Perspective

I was bleeding, and nobody tried to stop it.

Crimson life trickled slowly through my veins. I squeezed my hand cautiously, and the ebb increased, flowing like a red river over my arm, only to decrease when I eased the pressure.

My heart rate accelerated, conducting the down-beat, and a second later my pulse answered.

Thud. Ebb. Pulse.

Thud. Ebb. Pulse.

Constantly. The rhythmic melody of my life’s blood leaving my body.

I closed my eyes. And then it stopped.

“You did good, sweetie,” chirped a voice.

I opened my eyes and questioned, “That’s it?”

“Yep,” the nurse answered, her brown eyes crinkling at the corners, “you’ve finished donating. And we didn’t let you die of blood loss.”

I laughed because she was still controlling the needle. She force-fed me an apple juice that I didn’t particularly want, and then that was it.

I had donated blood for the first time.

blood-donor-bags

 

It’s something that’s been on my bucket list for awhile. Donating blood seems like donating a small part of your life, which is priceless, and really only costs you 10 minutes.

And slight trauma.

Not that I’m scared of needles, mind you. I just hate pain. Needles = pain. Not a good equation.

Therefore, I recruited my brother, who hates the sight of both needles and blood, and made him donate with me, which for some sick reason made me feel much better about the whole experience.

We walked into our church auditorium, which usually echoes with the sound of teens singing or goofing on the grand piano, and found it unnaturally hushed. Teens lay half-reclined on green stretchers, heads turned away from arms, pointedly ignoring the fact that they were bleeding. On purpose.

Veterans at this procedure joked with the nurses, asked if they could chew gum, laughed harder when told they couldn’t. “I knew that!”

My brother and I signed forms, attesting that we really wanted to do this (we didn’t). We walked to a prepping station, where we were greeted by two jovial nurses. They bantered back and forth as they rubbed strong-smelling smells on our fingers and stuck thermometers in our mouths.

“You must be nervous, honey,” laughed my brother’s nurse, as she took his pulse.

“Actually, no…” he tried to reply.

And then she slashed his finger.

My nurse crowed with laughter, as she did the same to mine. “That’s why we put the thermometers in before we do that. Then you can’t yell.”

We laughed politely. One should always laugh at the jokes of needle-wielding nurses.

The nurse led us over to a small cubicle where we were told to answer a couple questions via computer.

It was not a couple questions.

Try 500.

About the time they asked whether I had been given blood in the U.K. at any time, I figured out that the answer to any and all of these questions was “Absolutely not. No. Never.”

That decision was only solidified when they asked about blood transferals in France. Canada. Other places. (Didn’t I already say no?)

Finally, after trying to put down “No” for the question “Are you male or female?”, the torture was over.

Almost.

My brother and I sat on the green stretchers and tried to relax. A perky nurse came over and asked, “Who wants to be first?”, with a nice little upward lilt to her voice. The lilt said, “Isn’t this fun?”

My voice, when I volunteered my brother to go first, answered, “Oh, you bet.”

After slight grimacing, his needle was in, and it was my turn.

We won’t discuss this part much. Let it suffice to say that apparently my veins are “small and wiggly and move around a lot.”

Once it was in, I was given a pink ball. When I looked at it blankly (did they really expect me to play with this now?), the nurse hid a smile (not very well) and said, “Squeeze that every ten seconds, hon.” I thought this was to relax me.

It wasn’t. It was so I could squeeze out my own blood faster.

While I sat there squeezing out my own blood in a sadistic race against time, my brother’s friends, who had just finished giving blood, gathered around him. “Hey, man, how you feeling? Not gonna pass out are ya?” They shared a nervous laugh, as the nurse said in mock disapproval, “We don’t say those words around here.”

They remained standing around awkwardly, staring at Jerm, and it was then I realized something:

Men need cheerleaders when they give blood.

c

This is not a dis – it’s the cold, hard truth.

Men will not watch the needle being inserted. They don’t watch the nurse coming towards them with the needle. They don’t even look at the nurse.

Half the men turned pale half-way through, if they weren’t to begin with. They lay in helpless agony, heads in the crook of their other arm, and panted like a woman giving birth.

It was stinkin’ hilarious.

At the very end, when we survivors gathered around to share stories, gaze at blue-taped wounds, and slurp soup, we realized the absolute best part…

No, it wasn’t that we might potentially save a life.

We got one of these.

blood puff

Totally worth it.

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Musings, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Stand Me in the Corner – I Deserve It

Child-In-Corner

That’s supposed to be me in a corner. Despite the lack of a corner, and overlooking the large entourage. It’s lonely in the corner, okay?

I have been a bad blogger of late. I get that. If it makes it better, guilt has swamped me many times, and I’ve felt the tingling itch in my fingertips that can only be soothed by writing it away.

However, I must admit, at the risk of sounding very adultish and nonsensical, that there has just not been enough time in the day. Let me asplain why.

I have to sleep. It’s a failing, I know, but my symptoms when I don’t sleep scare me. So – I sleep.

I have to eat. Again, it’s a failing, and I could probably spend less time doing it, but there you have it. All the smart people have found that you die if you don’t, which didn’t seem like good odds to me. So I eat.

I have to do school. In all honesty, at times I feel I could expend with this one. Math is for the birds, facts stink…oh, but for the Literature, writing, and beauty of words, I press ever higher. Excelsior! However, on the school front, I feel as though I have reached new heights – I finished my nearly a  year and a half regime of Clepping and Dante-ing last Wednesday, May 24th, a day that shall ever remain etched in my mind as Freedom Day. I was so excited that I went to Culvers and partied it up. Like, chili cheddar fries AND custard partied it up. Be jealous.

In all honesty, finishing that part of my scholastic journey felt so odd (not that I’m complaining about its completion, mind you). But it was a routine, a schedule. A goal to shoot for – every three weeks or so, take another test. In a way, it was a comforting drudgery, and I learned so much from it. Not so much the material – Literature is my old stomping grounds, science, if scary, was a least interesting, Math…we will not discuss, and History doesn’t change overly – but it provided interesting insights to myself – Allison, who tends to procrastinate, but who likes a challenge. Allison, who is both scared and exhilarated to test, who hates to fail, and places much of her self-worth in not doing so. But if CollegePlus taught me anything, it was how to be un-phased by tests, how to be self-motivated, and most of all, how to dream big.

I learned that it’s okay, even human, to fail. It’s okay to fall short of what you desired to accomplish this week. It’s okay to second-guess yourself. Okay to be less than perfect…

And if that’s all I learned in CollegePlus (which it isn’t), I would feel I received my money’s worth. I don’t know everything, but I have the tools to unearth answers. I didn’t attend Harvard, but I have found my weaknesses and know how to compensate. Best of all, I have learned, am learning, and will continue to learn that God is still willing to use my attempts at pleasing and serving Him – and those attempts don’t have to be perfect.

Which is good. Cause I ain’t.

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Why My 10 Year Old Sister Doesn’t Believe in the Tooth Fairy

We have never been a completely skeptical family. In fact, half of us err on the side of laughable gullibility.

oragnes

This afforded my brother and I much innocent mirth – for 20 minutes.

Of course, the other half exists of die-hard skeptics, which makes for an interesting family dynamic. Even something as simple as “Hey, it’s snowing outside,” invites a debate worth of Socrates and Plato.

[Gullible one] “Hey, it’s snowing outside!”

[Skeptic] “No, it’s not.”

[Gullible one] “Um, yeah, it is.”

[Skeptic] “You said that last time, and it really wasn’t. It was sleeting.

[Gullible one] “Is there a difference?”

[Skeptic, after slight hesitation] “No. None at all. It’s all the same. Hailing, raining, snowing, sleeting…same dif. In fact, if it were to pour blue baby dinosaurs, the weather people would still label it under heavy rain.”

[Gullible one, gullibly] “Really?”

[Skeptic, no hesitation whatsoever] “Absolutely.”

We have no idea why the ratio scale of the gullible to skeptics is slowly starting to shift.

However, the entire family unites on one common topic – myths. There is no Santa Claus (sorry, kids) and definitely, beyond a doubt, positively never will be…a Tooth Fairy.

See this cute little lady? She's a fraud.

See this cute little lady? She’s a fraud.

Don’t get me wrong – we aren’t entirely jaded. We cede the possibility of Barney (who can honestly ignore a large, purple, freaky, dancing dinosaur) and confess to outlandish imaginations…but a Tooth Fairy?

We’d like to believe in her, we really would. But unfortunately, she’s been frightfully inconsistent, leaving some doubts about her reliability.

First of all, she’s never on time. On one occasion, one unnamed unfortunate waited three weeks for her to show up. Three weeks of feeling hopefully under their pillow, only to be cruelly disappointed, three weeks of shaking said pillow, hoping against hope it would clink, three weeks of searching under my bed…

Where were we? Oh yes. Tooth Fairy. Okay, she’s always late, but secondly…I thought she was supposed to be an ethereal little lady.

Puh-lease. Our Tooth Fairy blunders into doors, trips over dirty clothes, repressing a volatile “Doggone it!” and careens into our pillows. She then creeps out stealthily, cackling over yet another successful reconnaissance mission.

Last but most definitely not least, she leaves the tooth. Now to be fair, there were requests in the past that the tooth be left. After all, ten years in one’s mouth is a long time, and one might conceivably miss the chompy little rascal. However, the skeptics among us believe that if even the Tooth Fairy doesn’t want the toothwe’ve got problems. It’s in her stinkin’ job description.

These three reasons are probably what led to this:

Pardon the strong language. She's only ten.

Pardon the strong language. She’s only ten.

Take notice, Tooth Fairy.

Posted in Humor, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments