Archive for December, 2010


You know that feeling of having Santa pulling his cap over your eyes until, surprise, it’s Christmas, as you go screaming towards a snow bank to hide in? Ah, gotta love the holidays……

Yes, it’s almost Christmas in Vermont (we all feel special around the holiday….after all, White Christmas is set in wonderful Vermont….”all that snow, must be lovely this time of year!”). But seriously, school just ended for me and I went from being completely overwhelmed with homework and work to neck-deep in oversocializing and “hahaha, WOW where the h*** did Christmas shopping time go!??!!” Believe me, I’ll definitely take the latter over the former, but I’m still waiting for that nice relaxation time I keep hearing about.
Every year it’s the same – I finally get done with homework, only to realize Christmas is just a stone’s throw away and right around the corner is New Year’s and then I am back to school. I scramble like an idiot trying to finish (ha! finish, more like start!) my Christmas shopping so that I won’t look like an idiot later…..or so I think 🙂 We managed to string some lights up on the porch and hang a nice winter wreath on the door, but no Christmas tree this year. I know, I know *sigh*…..it’s weird. It’s the first year of my life that we have never had a Christmas tree somewhere in our house for the holiday…..it feels a little like one more foot in the door for change.

So many things have changed over the last three years, but we always feel it the most around Christmas and every little thing we neglect to follow through on in the tradition department is one more reminder that things are not the same, nor will they ever be. On the other hand, we are all dealing with these new changes relatively well….last year the lack of spruce fur needles clogging up our sinuses for an entire month would have given us all heart attacks. This year, we can handle it. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but it’s the way we’re going out.

This month has led to a lot of wonderful memories and moments and I am cherishing every minute of non-school related fun!  Recently, I went to see Tangled, which I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD so I can buy it.  It was hilarious!  If you haven’t seen it yet, I definitely recommend it.  Henceforth, my song of the month is as follows and was the credit music for Tangled, performed by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, a Vermont based band!  Also, you can find a better video to hear the song, but this is the coolest promotional music video ever….I want a job at this studio so bad now!

The new Narnia movie also came out this month and was about as depressing as the latest Harry Potter.  I mean, I knew it wasn’t exactly a happy series, as each of the children keep leaving Narnia, but I guess I was expecting it to be a little less……morbid.  Either way, I’m still glad I saw it and I am still looking forward to the next one, with whoever they manage to get to replace Lucy and Edmund….*sigh*. 

This past Saturday was spent wallowing in book shelves, drooling over my favorite pastime.  Thanks to a wonderful Christmas gift, hours were well spent picking out books in the Northshire bookstore before getting Chinese take out and watching Serenity!  Definitely an awesome day!

Sunday was a tradition of the holidays.  My sister’s best friend came over for our once-a-year get together to make and decorate Christmas cookies, drink hot cocoa, and catch up on all of our girl talk.  We try to keep this little shindig alive every year and so far it’s one of the few ones we have actually been able to keep!

 Monday I was back at Northshire to have lunch with one of my favorite professors, as a sort of “chill out and relax” lunch.  We had homemade soup at her house, than I did some much-needed Christmas stocking stuffer shopping at the bookstore.  I got some cool stuff and am now set I think for the big day. 

Tuesday…..ah, Tuesday.  6:30 am wake up call, finished packing the car, and headed down to Maryland for a quick two-day visit for the holidays.  The car ride was long, but it was nice to see everyone again, especially since I might not see family for almost a year.  It was a tough trip though, as it was short and the 16 hours in a car were  painful 🙂 

Now, it’s Christmas eve.  My sister found a century plant in our attic that we brought back from a trip to New Mexico.  All that’s left of it is the dried out four-foot stock with some seed pods left on it.  She strung the only strand of lights we had left on it, which just happened to be pink.  Yeah, it’s a bit pathetic, but it’s what we could scrounge up and it’s something to put the presents under tomorrow morning. 

I applied to another lodge for a summer position in Alaska.  I’m still on the fence about the whole thing – I’m scared to step out of my comfort zone on one hand, but I’m also really hoping that I get the chance to go, as I know it would be the experience of a lifetime!  For now, I will just keep applying and preparing, hoping that I will get a job so I have the opportunity to choose. 

My father has to work both Christmas eve and Christmas day, which was unexpected and he does not get overtime.  It has certainly made us a little short-tempered this season, but we are all dealing with it and we’ll still make time for each other before he heads off to work. 

I am just looking forward to a little more downtime…..I’m planning on reading. A LOT.  First off, I am making myself read some of the classics that I was never forced to read during highschool.  I know there is a reason why people have to be forced to read the “classics,” but I figure that they are there for a reason, and I should probably suffer along with everyone else.  Other than that, I am going to soak in all the “doing nothing” bits of life that I can before my last hell-bent semester of college. 

Merry Christmas, happy holiday’s, and happy New Year if I don’t get back here before than.  Remember, live for the life you have, and it will be the life that you want.  Christmas and New Year’s is the perfect time to start believin’ the mantra…….I guess I should practice what I preach, huh? 

From my home and heart to yours,

Much love this holiday season.

Everyday for the last 26 days I have taken my little erase board above my bed and found something positive to write via each letter of the alphabet. Sounds a bit childish, huh? But really, maybe that’s what each of us needs sometime – a little reminder that the things we label as childish or below our age group is often just the refresh we need in life.
I thought it would be something nice to do, both for myself and for others to read, as the year comes to a close.  That’s really the whole point isn’t it…..looking back and realizing all we have managed to accomplish in order to put the new year into perspective with perhaps a few improvements.  I enjoyed doing this more than I thought I would and I am contemplating how to continue this in some other neat ways, so I don’t have to start with the alphabet all over again…any ideas?  Either way, I will be creating a new page under this blog soon to put these up permanently, as a reminder mostly to myself of what this year has meant to me – feel free to stop by and think up your own anytime!

My Every Day ABC’s of Wisdom:

Act like the world is your book and the pages will write themselves.

Believe in the impossible and the unlikely will become plausible.

Care as though God let you in on a joke about life’s persistent questions and see how the world measures up.

“Don’t let the bastards get you down.”    -Grandpa Swenson

Every measure of success is weighed down by our own expectations and buoyed by other people’s inspiration.

For once in your life, get messy and make mistakes like Ms. Frizzle told you to – that’s the best part of life.

Greatness is not measured in quantities of pride and confidence, but rather in one’s ability to stand up against what one fears the most.

Half of life is just showing up and only ten percent of that is what you say – so just be there and listen to the music.

Illness of the heart begins with the seed of doubt.

Life is like a Jelly donut: often unappealing, frequently messy, but always worth the sticky bits.

Kite’s are for flying – the ability to unleash one’s imagination across the sky is just an added bonus – you’d do well to remember this in life.

Letting another person into your heart is one fo the hardest and simultaneously rewarding challenges of the human soul.

Making every moment count is impossible, but if you can make just one moment count every day, it will still add up to a lifetime of happiness. 

Never take a good thing for granted.  Life is all about the choices we make – some of them good, some bad, but in the end, all of them inspire us to do better.

Overlooking our failures and self-critiques is almost as difficult as letting our individual ambitions and accomplishments shine.

Peace of mind is not attained through acts of self-preservation, but in moments when the preservation of the self comes second.

Keeping Quiet only becomes a solution to a problem when you’re dead.

The three R’s of stress:

1.Relax

2.Reevaluate your situation

3.Ring someone’s freakin’ neck.

Setting yourself up to fail is easy – it’s learning to fight the urge to do so that is part of what makes us human.

Too much of anything means not enough of something else.

Using your head is one thing – making it count for something other than yourself means using the other parts God gave you.

Values depend on the person.  Morals depend on the day.

When you hit rock bottom, the only thing left to do…..is to start digging.  Then, after a while, you will realize that the energy you put into digging your own grave of wallow and self-pity is actually harder than tredding water in order to keep your head above your own pool of depression for a little while longer.  Neither analogy is pretty, but one has fewer regrets. 

EXcellence is a by-product of human self-improvement.

Yelling and complaining will only get you so far before you run out of room for the things that are actually important.

Even Zippers get stuck.

Thanksgiving – a time for being thankful that you don’t have to see your relatives that often (just kidding!).  The timing couldn’t have been better, as I had just gotten through my “project from hell” stress master event and, although I had plenty of homework to do, it provided a nice break.  The eight hour drive down was broken up nicely by a visit to my nana’s house in Little Ferry, New Jersey.  I love seeing her whenever we can and just spending time with her and Sarah, her mini poodle.  Nana always makes me sloppy joe’s – they are the best and no one makes them better.  The rest of the drive to Maryland is long and uneventful, so unfortunately the homework comes out.  Even so, it’s the beginning of time away from school so I’m happy.  That night we crash with our things, ready to just relax from the long drive and defuse a little.  The next day is Thanksgiving and we start cooking early, as we plan on having our feast at noon.  My dad and uncle pick up my grandmother from her assisted living home down the road while my sister, two aunts, and I prepare the food.  There is so much of it and all of it looks amazing, we can’t wait to eat it!  Finally, everything is ready and for once there is barely enough room for all of the family to fit around the dining room table.  We all say grace and dig in for a meal we know we will love and simultaneously regret because we will all inevitably eat too much.  The rest of the afternoon is spent being lazy because we don’t have enough energy to do anything else.  Glogg is made, trivial pursuit is pulled out of the closet, and there is plenty of talk as we all haven’t been able to gather like this in ages.  It’s overwhelming to an extent, but also wonderful in it’s abundance.  I’m still working off a cold that I caught on Sunday, and it’s not making things easier as I just about blow my brains out through my nose every five minutes (sorry about all the tissue boxes I went through aunt Jo), but it doesn’t deter me from enjoying myself. 

Friday is spent, well, shopping – what else?  We aren’t the type to be waiting for the place to open at 5 am, but we try to make an early start of it, before our enthusiasm wears out.  We don’t spend a lot of time shopping, but it’s fun just trying to grab a few select Christmas gifts and feel as though you are getting into the spirit of things.  Next, we have an amazing lunch out, with hand made milkshakes, the good kind that no one serves anymore.  After that, we went to Byler’s and another outlet just to check out a few other gift ideas, but mostly to just enjoy the day out. 

Saturday was amazing!  We spent the entire day out at Longwood Gardens.  They were so beautiful and definitely worth the trip if you haven’t seen them before, especially during the Christmas season.  We went early

The ultimate tree houses

 

And a Partridge family in a Tree house

enough to see all of the gardens while it was still daylight.  The gardens were beautiful, as well as the tree houses (yes I said tree houses…they were epic!), and special exhibits.  Then we ate dinner while it got dark.  It was wonderful to eat and watch as one by one, all of the lights in the gardens turned on.  All I could think of was, how the hell did these people get those lights everywhere!?!  After dinner we all walked around and watched the light and water shows.  It was freezing but so much fun.  I got as many pictures as my memory card and fingers could stand, but it was just nice to be out doing something different with family I never get to see.   

Unfortunately, it was time to head home after that, back to school and Vermont.  It didn’t feel like much of a break, as we never really stopped to relax while we were there, but we had a great time!  I’m not looking forward to going back to school, but what else is new.  At least I only have a month left of school and than I will hopefully really have a break!  ‘Til than, it’s head down and plowing through!

Christmas at Longwood Gardens

            

So, to begin with, November 20th was a special (and not to mention frighteningly horrific) kind of day.  As part of an independent study for media leadership, I created a project that would benefit the community and myself.  Through the help of WEQX and a few select other organizations and people, I was able to get three local bands to come to Green Mountain College and play in order to help raise money for the World Food Programme and collect food donations for the Poultney Food Shelf.  Three and a half months hard labor went into this project, and it finally paid! 

I won’t go into too much detail because 1) too many blood, sweat, and tears were shed in the process to be recounted and 2) frankly, it’s over therefore I am free to not give a damn.  What is most important to note however is that nothing disasterous happened on the night of and I had amazing people there to help.  We collected over two hundred dollars in money donations and about one hundred and fifty food items just in time for the holiday season.  It felt good and the bands I think had the best time.  The turn out was…..well, less than notable, but it was a tough weekend and I am just thankful that I had as many people show up as I did. 

The bands were amazing and definitly made the whole project worth it.  The Midnight Society, Loaded Mojo (filling in for Flakjacket, who had a last minute emergency….which is usually how they happen), and Slick Back Swagger were the evening’s band lineup.  All were awesome and really laid back, which was just what we were looking for.  The evening went along as planned, and I was just so happy nothing flopped 🙂  I have now written a five page paper on the event and am ready to move on, but I also hope that I get to do something like this in the future because it was a great experience for a good cause and all in all I really did have a good time when the actually night took off!  I don’t have too many pictures and the videos are just not going public because frankly their are things one just shouldn’t see…..like me dancing.  So, for those that made it, thank you so much for your support and those that didn’t will just have to check out these awesome bands for themselves! 

I ask for volunteers and I get Lazy bums....just kidding!They Had Kazoos!

They Had Kazoos!

Yes, ‘absent’ is my key word lately and frankly I’ve enjoyed it to a point. I haven’t written a blog post in months, but I had my reasons. Now, I’m trying to play catch up on many levels, including this one.  I hate to back track when it feels as though so much has happened since Thanksgiving, but for that very reason I can’t help but dig out the ol’ time machine.  So, without further a-do, please bear with my slight ramblings as I attempt to recollect my past excitements!