Tuesday, December 22, 2009

slowing down

Break has been really, really nice so far. I really haven't done much. I've just taken time to slow down and enjoy being home. My siblings and I have spent a lot more time together than in the past (I think it's because we're all tightwads right now and don't have the cash to spend). Brent and I made some pear scone-ettes. We'll probably bake something else soon. Austin and I made mistletoe bundles that we were planning to sell but haven't gotten around to (well, we tried briefly but never found the right place to sell at). The three of us all bonded watching one of our favorite TV shows last night - Metro PCS Dance Club 21. Hah.

Last night, when I was in the den with my brothers (my parents were at a party), one of my dad's best friends walked in. I love that. I love that he is welcome to walk in anytime, and feels comfortable doing so. I love that we can enjoy his company even if our parents aren't there. I walked downstairs today and saw him roaming the kitchen as I was leaving - no big deal. And anyone who knows us well enough knows that our door is always open. Maybe one day that will bite us in the butts. But for now, I like it. That's something I miss while I'm in school.

Over the break I have a lot of things I want to do and a lot of things I probably need to do. I won't end up doing the majority of these things. That's okay. I'm glad I get the chance to slow down and recharge for next semester. Hope everyone else takes the time to do the same.



P.S. Christmas is in three days.... what?? how'd it creep up on us so fast?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

the missing magic cape

Last night I got home after a long day of driving with three friends from Tennessee to Texas (a long day, but a good day - the drive really wasn't that bad, and I enjoyed the company of my friends).

It's nice to be home... have my own room, be around my family. I went out shopping and to dinner with my eldest brother tonight, Brent, and we're about to bake some pear scones. yum. he's a foodie, so I join in on the fun sometimes.

Anyway, Brent told me he found a book today and brought it to me. What was it? "The Missing MAGIC Cape," written and illustrated by Anne Fogerty. Do I have any recollection of writing this story? No. Is it amazing? Well, you'll have to read it and see for yourself:

"Welcome to Mrs. Schlender's Room"

The Missing Magic Cape by Anne Fogerty
Dedicated to My Class, family, and friends

"My Special Family"
"Old Friends are the best Friends"
"I Dedicated my book to my family, friends, and class"
"To Rattle-Snake Ave"

Hi, I'm Britney Spears and I just solved the hardest, most complicated mystery ever with my friends called "The Case of the Missing Magic Cape". Well, we just finished our 2001st mystery! I'm 39 years old and I am a Firefighter at the I.C. Fire Station. I solve mysteries for my specialty in my spare time. My friends, Mr. Athle and Anne, both have blue eyes and blond hair. Mr. Athle is a coach at Bradfield and so is Anne.

My mystery all when Anne and I went on a walk when my cellphone rang (bring bring). We stopped outside of Bradfield Elementary School in Chicago and I answered the phone. It was Mr. Athle, I said "Not another mystery is it?" He said "Actually it is. Someone took my Magic Cape and it was in my office two days ago". I said come here I'm at Bradfield Elementary School. See'ya there he said. "Bye". We began our search in the Bradfield Auditorium about 4:50 that bright sunny afternoon. We split up like a puzzle. "Hey", said Anne "I found a Magic blue wand". It's missing too. Sorry, I forgot to tell you. "We'd better keep it," I said.

"yes a cape. cool!"
"bring bring"

I decided to investigate the stage for clues."Look" behind the curtain, I see some large muddy footprints. There must have been someone in here", said Anne. We kept on searching and under some chairs I saw two thin people crawling as quiet as mice. One had a black cape on. "Let's trap them I whispered." But they were too quick and ran into the hall.


We split up to search the classrooms to see if anyone was hiding there around and searched until we discovered a scrap of black silk that looked familiar to Mr. Athle. As we were looking for clues we ran into Stacy and Annie, my two best friends and Annie had on a cape that looked familiar to.......................... MR. ATHLE!!!!!!!

"Stop, you two!!"

I sensed that Stacy and Annie had stolen the Magic Cape. "Stop, you two, did you take Mr. Athle's magic cape?" I asked. Yes, they admitted they had taken the cape. We love magic tricks. "We apologize" the ladies said. This time your free to go but nxt time you'll be in jail for 501 years!!! I said.


"whoo hoooo"


dannedelion (aka britney spears)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

new tunes

so this semester I've come across a lot of music that is new to me.... not necessarily to everyone else, but it is some good stuff. all of these artists I'm listing I most likely found out from a friend. so, I thought I'd share some of my new favorite albums, in no particular order:

ben kweller - changing horses
ben kweller made me like country. he usually does pop/alternative stuff, which is great, but this album is all country. and i guess I like it because it's not "typical" country. my favorite two tunes on this album are "sawdust man" and "gypsy rose."

balmorhea -balmorhea
this is great instrumental music. i love listening to it when I'm in a chill mood or need to study.

jenny lewis & the watson twins - rabbit fur coat
lately, I've been listening to a lot more female artists. jenny lewis is fabulous. she's also the frontwoman for the band Rilo Kiley, if you've ever heard of them. standouts on this one for me are "You Are What You Love" and "Rise Up With Fists!!!"

she & him- volume I
continuing on the female track, this is a standout album with zooey deschanel taking the lead (she's also an actress, and you've probably heard of her). m. ward produced this album and also sung on it. it has a really ole timey feel. at first, I couldn't really appreciate zooey's voice, but after a few listens it definitely got a hold on a me. they do a great cover of the beatles song "I Should've Known Better."

regina spektor - begin to hope
i just recently started listening to regina when a group in my old testament class did a presentation on her song "samson." in addition to that song, I love "On the Radio."

monsters of folk - monsters of folk
so this is actually a new album. this a SUPER group. conor oberst (bright eyes), m. ward (who is also part of she & him) , jim james (my morning jacket), and mike mogis. I love all the songs on here. every single one.

eisley - fire kite ep
anyone that knows me knows that i love eisley. they just released this ep this fall, and it has 5 songs. 2 of them are mixed tracks (but not mastered) that will be on the next album. these two tracks, "ambulance" and "the valley" are amazing - some of my favorite eisley songs ever. the other tracks are garageband demos and aren't so hot.

sufjan stevens - the BQE
this album consists of all instrumental tracks... it's actually the soundtrack for a film made about the brooklyn-queens expressway in new york. I havent seen the film yet, but the music is amazing. i mean come on, it's sufjan. who wouldn't like it?

rosie thomas & sufjan stevens - these friends of mine
I love sufjan stevens, so naturally I'd love anyone that he collaborates with. I got to see a documentary about the making of this album at a local theater which sparked my interest in rosie. she is really endearing and her passion for music is amazing. all the tracks on this album are great, but i particularly love "much farther to go" and "kite song." her christmas album is amazing as well.

the avett brothers - emotionalism
I just recently started listening to these guys. they are a great folksy band, and there's a lot of banjo, which I love. my favorite track at the moment is "paranoia in B major."

dave rawlings machine - a friend of a friend
if you wanna see real musicians, go see these guys live. they all are incredibly talented. dave rawlings is probably one of the most talented guitarists I have had the pleasure to enjoy live from just a few feet away. gillian welch also sings on this album.

beirut - gulag orkestar
this album feels really easten european. i love all the instruments. apparently the lead guy went around recording street musicians. i don't know this album really well yet, but I love listening to it.

that's it for now. thanks friends for sharing your love of particular artists with me! I'd love to hear more... I do have a ten hour drive back to texas ahead of me. happy sunday and happy studying!



p.s. if you love Christmas music and you don't have sufjan steven's "Songs for Christmas," then you're missing out. get it!

p.p.s. there are a couple of great sites I also use to find new music... pandora.com and last.fm. pandora is an internet radio station that streams new music according to the music you already like. last.fm keeps track of all of your play counts on itunes (and your ipod, when you plug it in), and will make suggestions for you based on your top play counts. it's also interesting because it will tell you what you've been listening to the most over the past week, month, three months, etc. if you click the link on the right hand side of this page that says "what i'm listening to," it will take you to my last.fm account.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

homeward bound

Fall semester is coming to a close. Only two days and three finals remain. Leaves have fallen and friends have already left. Right now I'm sitting in Bongo Java sharing a big table with two strangers. I like that. Nashville is a friendly town, and I'm going to miss it for the next month... as excited as I am to go home, I'm a bit sad that I'll be gone. Where in Dallas will I be handed a cup of pure joy and happiness when I ask for a cup of coffee?

I've resolved to not have a "set of mugs" when I have my own home.
They will all be different flavors of quirk.

A couple weeks ago I returned home for Thanksgiving. It was a jolly ole time--I got to see my family and friends I hadn't seen in months. Over the break, though, I realized how lucky I was at Belmont. Back home in Texas (!), I missed everyone that I had gotten used to seeing everyday on campus. The funny thing is we all found ourselves late night video-chatting on the eve of Thanksgiving... it wasn't planned, and the conversation wasn't particularly exciting, but it was, well, just nice.

When I began the trek to Nashville in August, the idea of college was daunting. The relationships I had formed over the past 18 years at home would never be the same. All of us would be making new friends and starting new lives. I questioned whether I would be able to find people that I could relate to at this new place.

The whole "friend" thing was a total whirlwind. I suddenly found myself surrounded by people that I felt like I had known for months, or even years. This semester definitely has not been about academics for me - it's been about relationships. Whenever you hear someone say that college was the best time of their lives, they aren't talking about the hours they spent in the library pulling all-nighters for finals. They're talking about the countless hours they spent with friends. The idea of college is crazy: it's a time where we get to live with and be surrounded by all of our friends 24/7. I expect to take a lot more away from the life experiences I have while in college than the classes I study for.

I'm thankful for every single person that has been brought into my life as my time at Belmont has just begun. I could list a million different reasons why I love each and every person. You all BML.
Cause I like where I’m livin’...
And I like what I do...
And I like what I’m seein’...
When I’m lookin’ at you...
I still like what I’m saying...
When I open my face.
I think I got the right feeling.
I think I’m in the right place.
I think I got the right feeling.
I think I’m in the right place.
-The Right Place by Monsters of Folk

I love you all, have a very Merry Christmas, and I'll miss everyone! Dallasites - I very much look forward to spending time with you all. Now it's time for me to study for those finals...



Friday, December 11, 2009

greetings, happy holidays, and anxieties about airplanes

happy holidays! Tis the season to be jolly!

Writing makes me jolly, so I have decided to start one of these doodads called a blog. It will give me a reason to write. I don't really care what I'm writing, as long as I am.

About two weeks ago, I flew home for Thanksgiving. It was a fabulous time, and I was glad I got to go back to my roots after almost a semester in school. Preparations also began for Christmas.

Christmas decorations warm my heart.

On the way back to school, I started thinking about all the annoying things that go hand in hand with flying. I love traveling. love being other places. Seeing the world. I love the part of flying that is actually "flying." You know, the part when you're in the air. I But I don't like everything that goes with it: crowds, security, dozens of lost hours, luggage issues, etc. So, on the plane ride back to Nashville I started writing a little something that turned into a lot of something, and it goes like this:

Anxieties about Airplanes: Frustrations from a Frequently Frazzled Flyer

I. Getting to the Airport

These days, airlines recommend that you arrive at the airport around two hours early for domestic flights in order to ensure you don’t miss your flight. Here’s the deal: you don’t want to be sitting at your gate two hours early but you don’t want to miss your flight by being two minutes too late. There are several factors to when you should leave for the airport, the most obvious one being how far you live from the airport. However, you must take into consideration whether you will be traveling in standstill traffic. Another important consideration? Your ride. If you’re driving, you’ll probably end up parking far away and taking a shuttle, tacking on an extra 20 minutes to your travel time. If you aren’t driving, and your friend or family member is kind enough to take you, you must ask yourself: is this person perpetually late to things? In this case, ask this person to take you earlier than you expect to leave. Then they will get there when you need to leave. Another question: how does this person drive? Would they be willing to break a few speed limits to get you to the airport on time? OR do they already take too many liberties, meaning… will you find yourself pulled over on the shoulder of the road watching the seconds tick by as your friend attempts to get themselves out of a ticket? This happened to me. Fortunately, my ride did not attempt to argue with the officer, and we moved on quickly.

II. In the Airport

Okay, you’re at the airport. Somehow. You made it at least forty minutes before departure, so your bag is checked on the same plane you’re flying on (after a hefty $20 fee) or you’ve decided just to carry on. Next stop? Security. You’ve managed to take off your shoes, jacket, remove your laptop from its case, and send every sort of metal thing on your body on through the x-ray dealy machine via the conveyor belt. You walked through the security stick things without a problem (and if you’re lucky, you get to go in that box thing that puffs air all over your body and gives you goosebumps). Phew.


Ding Ding Ding! You’re a lucky winner! You’ve been chosen for an additional security check. You know what this means: a TSA officer gets to run their hands all over your body to make sure they didn’t miss anything in the first security check. Oh, baby. Almost every time I travel with my family, this happens to one person. Usually my boisterous dad is the victim. I’ve been the victim several times as well. If this hasn’t happened to you, it will. They tend to select the least threatening looking people. When this happens to you, I would encourage you to make it as uncomfortable for the officer as it is for you. Just kidding. I’ve always wanted to but never do.

Once you’ve felt violated, you head to your gate. On the way, you might come close to getting hit by one of those carts that is for the “disabled only.” Secret: They aren’t only for the disabled, but for those fighting to make their plane before it leaves without them. I’ve ridden them before and it was quite a good adrenaline rush after stressing out about missing my flight.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea about me. I’ve never missed a flight—I just have come close to missing them. It’s not me: I’m a naturally timely person. I’ve just started frequently flying alone as a college student. However, that last 18 years of my life were generally spent travelling with my dad, who tends to run on the pacific time zone when our family lives in the central time zone.

Now that you’ve made it to the gate, your probably either rushing on board (if you’re late) or find yourself with some time on your hands. So, you repurchase the things you had to throw away before you entered security (liquids, namely) and sit down to relax. Once you get comfortable, you hear a lovely voice on speaker system that informs that your flight has been delayed, or worse, cancelled.

It happens to the best of us, and usually on international flights. I can recall two specific experiences.

This past summer, I traveled to Europe with thirty-seven others on a class trip. Our destination was Rome, but we were flying from DFW to Chicago and Chicago to Rome. Everything went smoothly and as planned from DFW to Chicago. The future looked bright in Chicago: we boarded a few minutes late but everything was okay. After we boarded and had gotten situated on the plane, an unexpected voice came on the speaker (voices on speakers rarely mean good news).

“We’re sorry, but they’ve found some mechanical problems with the plane, so we’re going to have to ask all passengers to exit the cabin."

Really! Really. Really? Okay, fine. All I can say is I’m glad I had thirty-some odd people to socialize with for the next five hours while we sat at the gate. The flight attendant said that they were going to get a new plane and we would board soon. Then she changed her mind, or they must have run out of airplanes at the airplane store, because she then informed us that they were going to fix the original plane. We ended up taking off for our twelve-hour plane ride about five hours after we expected on the same plane that we had previously boarded and was broken. As a result of this delay, we went straight to the Coliseum when we arrived in Rome, as we did not have time to stop at our hotel. Let’s just say we all looked pretty fine and dandy in our photos from our first day of travel.

The plane that caused all the trouble.

Friends passing time at the airport by sleeping.

Looking loverly the following day in Rome.

While that was not the most fun experience, it would’ve have been much worse if I was traveling solo. I enjoyed my time with my friends. And, after I finally boarded the plane, I kindly asked the flight attendant for a pair of wings—you know, the ones they clip to their shirts. They don’t give those away today like they did in the 90s movie Heavyweights, but I still like to ask whenever I come across a friendly flight attendant that looks like they might be willing. I got lucky this time (for the first time ever): she informed me that some people make fun of her for saving her wings, but she does it anyway. She gave me two pairs straight from the 80s! While they weren’t gold, they were vintage. I gave a pair to a friend and kept one for myself. Those wings remain on my bulletin board to this date. I’m afraid that if I wear them, I will lose them.

Delayed flights I can deal with and get over pretty easily—as you can tell, a simple pair of wings turned my frown upside down that time. Cancelled flights are another matter entirely.

After Christmas one year my family traveled to the beach in Mexico for a change in scenery and a brief four-day vacation. We were flying back late one night from Puerta Vallarta to DFW when we were informed our flight was cancelled. We would have to fly back early the next day, around 5 or 6 in the morning. Which meant we could either a) find a hotel for the night or b) camp out in the airport. We chose solution b. We immediately regretted this choice (or at least I did). The closest thing to a bed in the airport was a bench. The airport was a cool 65 degrees and we lacked blankets or pillows. We tried watching movies on laptops and hanging out. I may have slept for a good half-hour or so, but because it was difficult to sleep and I didn’t feel quite comfortable sleeping in a sketchy airport in the first place, I stayed up most the night. Others on our flight had chosen to camp out for the night as well: a couple of middle-aged American women snuck behind the bar and opened a few bottles of champagne. They had the right idea.

III. On the Plane

If and when you do get on the plane, the first thing you do is throw your larger piece of carry-on luggage into the overhead compartment. For men, it’s usually as simple as that: throwing it in the overhead compartment. However for people like me, it’s a struggle. Fitting that overflowing suitcase (that I didn’t want to check because it cost money) in wheels first proves pretty difficult. Usually I enlist the help of a kind man as they can tell by the look on my face that I am incapable of wielding that large awkward rolling bag over my head in the tiny aisle that’s definitely not made for the average American.

Okay, so the bag’s up, and you’ve gotten to your row. Alas! You are one row behind the emergency exit. You were so close to getting that extra two feet of leg room. In front of you there is an 80-year-old man and his wife who have already fallen asleep amidst all the noise, a foreigner who looks like they don’t speak English, and a couple of teenagers. As you eye your fellow travelers, you ask yourself “Are these people really capable of operating the doors in the case of a real emergency?” Probably not. Are they really going to read the handout next to barf bag in the pocket in front of them that gives them further instructions on how to help passengers in case of an emergency? You know, the one that looks like a kindergartner cut and paste a plane into a picture of the ocean. You know you never read it unless you’re bored, and that’s after Sky Mall Magazine.

After directing your attention to the flight attendants in the aisles and fastening your seatbelt, you take off. Finally, you can put on your headphones and relax. It’s time to fly. Everything is going swell, until about 45 minutes in when you discover you have to go to the bathroom. You have the window seat, which is fabulous for take off and landing when you get to see all of the land around you, but not so fabulous when you want to leave your seat. The two passengers next to you are sleeping. You try holding it for another 30 minutes—but then it gets to the point where it’s an emergency. You have to wake them up. Either you wake them up directly or indirectly. You decide to cough loudly. Doesn’t work. They shift a little, and now they are blocking your way out even more. You tap their shoulder and they begrudgingly let you pass by. Whew. You get back. You sit back down. You land (if the weather is good and they don’t have to circle the airport for hours). You exit the aircraft (after the Pilot turns off the seatbelt sign). If you checked an additional bag, hopefully it wasn’t lost. You greet your ride outside the baggage claim (whether it be someone you know, or a taxi cab driver, or a rental car) and the journey there is over.

All this being said, I hope you enjoy your travels this holiday season... May they be trouble-free! As for me... well, I will be driving home.