Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ten on Tuesday: My Music!!

I love listening to music. I feel like this is or should be one of the biggest things that people should know about me! If you really know me, then you also know that I have what could be called a diverse taste in music, because I like almost every kind of music there is! Anyone who has ever been on a car trip with me and has listened to my iPod library knows that it is a real possibility that you'll go from listening to a calm country song to a wild rock song, just like that! I like to think that my family has played a huge role in my diverse music taste, because growing up, there was my dad who liked classic country and folk music/singer-songwriter type music (think James Taylor, Carole King, et al), my mom who liked classic rock (think Foreigner and Journey), Gina who liked 90s music the most (like Collective Soul or Third Eye Blind), and Emily who mostly preferred country music (pretty much all of it). Put all of that together, and you get me, who likes EVERYTHING!! (Except classic country...most of it is far too whiny for my liking, just saying!) Surprisingly, I do have one favorite song that I'll always love the most, but really, my favorite songs are constantly changing!

With that in mind, I think that I'll devote this week's Ten on Tuesday to ten random songs (in no order) that I am currently in love with!

1. Carry On-Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young

Ever since I fell in love with "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" as a sixth grader, I was hooked on CSNY! I can't quite pinpoint it, but there's something about the feel of the song that makes me love it so much! (See also: "You Don't Have To Cry")

2. All the People Said Amen-Matt Maher

I LOVE Matt Maher! He has a great voice, he writes his own songs, and, oh yeah, he's Catholic! What's not to love about the guy?! I recently purchased his newest CD, which is saying something in itself because I haven't bought an actual CD for myself in quite some time! This is the title track from that CD, and it is the perfect song to put you in a great mood! Love it so much! (See also: "Burning In My Soul"...Still Matt Maher, just as great!)

3. My Cherie Amour-Stevie Wonder

Told you my taste in music is random! During my week of flu quarantine, I happened to watch Silver Lining's Playbook and enjoyed it more than I thought I might, even if everyone was a royal hot mess, personality-wise. Yes, I realize that this song is the one that drove the main character, Patrick to meltdowns and flashbacks to his wife's affair, but I actually really like this song! After some long nights up studying for finals, I came to realize that I am kind of in love with Stevie Wonder's music in general when I ended up loving pretty much every song on a YouTube mix! (See also: "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing"...something about that movie & Stevie Wonder!)

4. Come With Me Now-Kongos

I don't really understand why I like this song or why it's suddenly popular (apparently it was released in 2011?), but I do and it is. Gotta love random pop songs! :) (See also: "Sing" by Ed Sheeran...still a pop song that I don't understand why I like it so much!)

5. Yellow-Coldplay

There is something about this song that makes me want to listen to it over and over and over...and over...and so on! I've realized during this past year that I love a lot! They are now in a close tie with Train as being deemed one of my favorite bands of all time. (That's something big, believe it or not, because I've actually stuck with Train for a solid four years or so...once again, still a big thing in my books!) Also, I love love songs and am hopeless romantic at heart, what a combination for someone who is waiting to see what romantic prospects might come my way...nevertheless, this song is perfect for both of those things, as is my other favorite Coldplay song (See "The Scientist"...slightly more depressing, though!)

6. Compass-Lady Antebellum

This song makes me happy, plain and simple! And it helps me remember that everything will end up alright, which is always a good thing to be reminded of! Good things! (See also: "I Want Crazy" by Hunter Hayes!)

7. Don't You (Forget About Me)-Simple Minds

I wish I could be a hipster and say that I knew/liked this song before "Pitch Perfect" made it/"The Breakfast Club" popular/relevant again, but nope, not the case! To be fair, I had heard of it and liked it, but I didn't really remember it when I would think to look it up. Also, I have a new-found love of all John Hughes movies, so, there's that... I can't decide if this song makes me feel hopeful or sad, but it works either way! (See also: "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police)


This song is undoubtedly my favorite Praise and Worship song right now! It is the perfect song to put you in a peaceful state of mind. I may or may not have listened to it on a loop during finals week studying sessions. (See the part about peaceful states of mind..) Even if you think Christian music isn't "your thing", you should really listen to this song and soak in its message. The same thing goes for Matt Maher's song from above, just trust me, you won't be disappointed!! (See also: "From The Inside Out"...It was a huge song for me during the retreat I attended in March.)

9. Jumper-Third Eye Blind

This song is representative of my love for 90s music. If I had to pick a favorite era of music, I'd probably pick the 90s. I'm not sure why, but I would! So, it's a song about a guy trying to prevent a suicide, not exactly feel-good music, but I find it oddly soothing. (See also: "Under the Bridge" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, another of my favorite 90s songs!)

10. Home-Michael Buble

I have an irrational love for Michael Buble's music, if only because his music sounds kind of like old school jazz and big-band style music that I already somewhat irrationally love! He is definitely one of my new favorites, and this song is perfect! (See also: "Everything"...perfection!!!)

So, there you have it, ten (actually twenty) of my totally random favorite songs, in no 
significant order! Maybe this paints a better picture of my diverse love of music! I hope my 
list helped you find a new favorite! Now that I've shared my list, I'd love to hear what your 
random favorites are!!! :)

Have a great week, and happy listening!!!

Friday, May 16, 2014

End of the Year Fun!

Gosh, it's been a LONG time since I've posted last! So many awesome things have happened that I'm not quite sure where to begin! Honestly, I really thought that I'd be able to get myself together enough to sit down  and write something, but I guess you could say that I've been so busy being out living life to sit down and carve out some time to form coherent thoughts!

I should probably begin by talking about what's been taking up so much of my time--school. I can finally say that I am DONE with what could have been my hardest semester of college thus far. There are no words to describe how free I feel now that I'm done with everything!!!!!!! Let's just say that I didn't feel this sort of freedom over the last couple of weeks...My dead week was anything BUT dead, unless they meant that it would make me feel dead inside? I spent inordinate amounts of time in study groups during the last part of dead week and beginning of Finals week. It was a bit comical as to how the study groups dwindled as the week progressed and I had fewer and fewer people in the same classes as me.

The first test was in Modern Algebra, which I thought would be the bane of my existence and/or sanity this semester! (I literally spent 2+ hours per week in office hours to merely comprehend the homework that our professor had so much "fun" writing. We had lots of discussions with him about how he really needed to redefine the word fun, because we thought that it was anything but that...just saying.) If there was anything good about that class at all, it would probably be the fact that it was the first time I've ever gotten to know my classmates that well...see the 2+ hours of office work to explain that one! After our Modern final, there was the dreaded Combinatorics final. Modern Algebra was exhausting and time-consuming, but doable; Combinatorics was hard. Let's just say that I had a front row seat on the Struggle Bus for this class! I probably should have studied a little bit more for this final, but there came a point that keeping my sanity superceded studying. I also remembered a talk Emily had with me when I was studying for Physics a couple of years ago, and I decided against overstudying and consequently freaking myself out. We also had our History of Math final that afternoon. That class came to be a bit neglected, if only because of the fact that I had little, if any, motivation left. As far as my finals for Statistics and Teaching Methods, they were much easier. (Minus the four extremely detailed lesson plans I had to compose that took me a week to complete.)

After going to my first week of classes this semester, I knew that my grades would DEFINITELY drop this semester. Thankfully, the outcome was much less drastic than I initially envisioned...however, the Queen of the 4.0 reigns no longer! I had a good run, but all good things have to end sometime :) I ended up earning B's in Math History and Combinatorics, which were probably deserved, but I'm not upset about them by any means! I did manage to get A's in everything else, though!!! I could be the most excited about getting an A in Modern Algebra!!!!!!!!!!! I worked SO hard in that class!!! Now, to wait around to start my summer's hoping it's much less stressful!

Let's see what else has happened! I should also mention Easter weekend, because that was a blast and a half! One of my new friends from St. John's, Katie, ended up coming home with me for the weekend, as her mom lives in Ohio, she is currently car-less, and she really wanted to spend Easter with a family. It was a wonderful weekend, and I think everyone had a great time! My nephews LOVED Katie, and were possibly more excited to see her than anyone else! She loves children, so she was over-the-moon excited to get to play with them all weekend! She also enjoyed seeing our famous Creation Story and experiencing all that comes with the Bison Easter Vigil! Over Easter weekend, I found out that Andy knows how to say his alphabet...backwards. How awesome/cool/crazy is that! He told us that he could, then proceeded to rattle it off with no trouble! I LOVE it!! :) I had a great weekend getting to spend time with my family, who I haven't seen as much in recent times mostly due to work!!
Katie & I after Mass!

All of the kiddos with us...yes, Andy is wearing fleece footie pajamas...gotta love his style!

Ah, yes, work. How's it going, you ask? Well, it's no quilt shop (which I'm disappointed to miss out on this summer), but it is going pretty well! For the most part, I enjoy my co-workers and sometimes I can't believe that I get paid to have as much free time as we usually have! Granted, it has its downsides, but nothing is perfect! All in all, it's a good summer job and I don't dread working, so it's all good!

Other fun stuff has happened:
About a month ago, we (St. John's people) went on a pilgrimage to the shrine at Bison! I was extremely excited to bring people to my home parish and tell them about one of my favorite places! We also visited the gravesite of Fr. Stanley Rother, the priest from Okarche who was martyred in Guatemala and is on the path to sainthood. After visiting his grave, we had supper at Eischen's, which was an experience for many of my friends who have never experienced it! There were nine of us, so we ordered four chickens and three orders of fried okra. Those of you who are familiar with Eischen's will know that that is just enough for that amount of people, especially since half of them were guys. Here's what happened as we waited for our food to arrive: Everyone constantly questioned why we ordered 4 chickens because that would be a ridiculous amount of chicken to consume. They also questioned why it was taking so long, and asked again why we had to order 4 chickens. Those of us who had been there before tried to explain, but they didn't understand til our food arrived! On a related note, there were no leftovers! Between the fact that the chickens were freshly cooked, pre-cut, and, obviously, delicious, all of their questions were answered, and they were glad that we sprung for that much food! Oh, what an experience it was bringing my friends to places I'm familiar to! Afterwards, we popped down to Yukon and went dancing at the Czech Hall, another place quite familiar to me, even if I've been there once, maybe twice? It was, again, a fun experience seeing them learn how to polka dance and eat kolaches from the concession stand! I'm not entirely sure that everyone else at Czech Hall knew what to do, having a horde of college kids come in and dance, being that mostly older people or families come regularly! Everyone had a great time, so I'm glad that we went!!
 Front Row (L-R): Katie, me, Rebecca, Erin, William
Back Row (L-R): Kevin, Anna, Ryan, Michael
What a great group :)

Funny that I mention going polka dancing, because I have actually made progress on my New Year's Resolution to become a better dancer! I have managed to go dancing in some form at least once a week over the past month or two! So far, I've learned more about two-stepping, East Coast swing dancing, the Charleston (that one was pretty rough, though) , polka dancing, and contra dancing! I always knew that I had a dancer's spirit deep within, but I never quite had the chance to build these skills growing up, especially since every JH/HS dance I ever went to did NOT include actual dancing, just bizarre grinding on others, awkward swaying to slow songs, and stereotypical line dances to hollow pop songs with little substance. If I ever end up teaching in a high school, I'd like to see to it that students could learn how to actually dance and appreciate good dancing music, as opposed to the scenes I painted earlier. If you ask me, real dancing with a partner is a highly underrated skill that needs to be brought back, including guys actually asking girls to dance. I'll get off my soapbox, I guess, but I am ecstatic to be building my dancing skills!!!

All of these great things have happened, but there are a few downsides...the first one is that my friend Heather, the missionary, was reassigned to Iowa :( I'm sad to see her go, as we have had LOTS of great times together growing in our faith and in our friendship! I know why she has to leave, but it still doesn't make it much easier. Thank goodness for modern technology, though, because I know that she's always just a call, text, or Facebook message away!! She leaves for good next week, so I think we'll still have a chance to hang out one last time before then! Side note: She took me out for my first karaoke experience the other night! I had a blast, even if everyone else at the bar was slightly sketchy :) Here's a couple of my favorite pictures of us from this year!

I sure am gonna miss her! What a blessing to have a friend like her to help me grow in my faith like she has! Love her!!!

Also, many of my good friends from church have graduated and will be moving on to bigger and better things. It's always sad to say goodbye to people who have become great friends to you, but I know that they'll all probably be back at some point during the next year for football games or just random weekends! Once again, nothing to get too terribly sad about! Disappointed, maybe, but not sad! Also, it will be slightly sad to not get to see most everyone else over the summer, for my friends with internships, jobs, etc.

Another related note: In one year (God willing) I will have graduated with my Bachelor's degree! What?!! It's really crazy to think about the fact that my life will probably be much different by then! Really though, I think it's all part of the process of going through college, because I can also say that I'm much different than I was at this time last year! (At this time last year, I was still terrified of coming to OSU and making friends!! If only I knew then what I know now!) Granted, I still plan on going on and getting my Master's degree right away, so I still won't be done with school, but regardless, I could actually get a real job if the opportunity presents itself, as I feel like it could, since I'll be certified to teach math by then, and I'm living in Oklahoma, land of few math educators...put the pieces together, and I think you see where this is going! Ahh!! Craziness!! Sometimes, I have to take a few deep breaths and remember that fretting about the future will get me nowhere, and patiently wait for everything to work itself out!

Okay, other random fun stuff to keep me from hyperventilating about my future? (Okay, I'm not really hyperventilating, but still :) )

My friend Rebecca and I have gone on some great adventures over the past month! The other day, she saw a flier on a bulletin board advertising a vintage clothing sale with all things under $20. Being that she is a dress aficionado, and she LOVES all things vintage, she was excited and invited me to join her! (As you know, I too love vintage-y things, hence my love for traditional dancing and non-modern music. Also, I'm a cheapskate when it comes to!) We planned on going to just browse, but we ended up leaving with fun new vintage pieces! I found an authentic 50's dress in mustard yellow and a fun flowery skirt! I was in LOVE :) Last week was one of our bigger adventures! At the beginning of the semester, Rebecca and I promised each other that we had to make a trip to the Savory Spice Shop, as it was one of her discoveries over Christmas Break, and I had (oddly enough) never been! The idea had somewhat fizzled out until she returned from her Spring Break trip to Europe with a French cookbook and found a recipe for cupcakes with a rose petal frosting that she was dying to make. Unfortunately, the frosting required rose syrup, which required rose water, which we couldn't find anywhere in the greater Stillwater area. Cue the Savory Spice Shop, which came to the rescue! They sold bottles of rose water, which I knew would be fresh and high-quality, as well as affordable and just the right amount, so our dreams of visiting came back into the picture! I called my friend Able, one of the owners, to double-check that they carried it, (yes, of course they did :) ), and we made plans to take a break from Finals week craziness to visit! We could have just bought it online, but where's the fun in that? We had great fun visiting and, as an added bonus, Able was working that day, so we had a great chat with him! All good things :) When we came back to Stillwater, Rebecca mosly commandeered the cupcake making, as I decided to make supper for everyone who was there. (I made the King's Hawaiian hot sandwiches and grilled PB&J sandwiches, which were a hit, surprisingly, being that they were both very simple things!)

Last bit of fun-ness: I have come to the recent realization that there is quite a lucrative food truck system that is a big deal in Stillwater! I realize that food trucks aren't by any means a new thing in general, but they are very new to me! Thanks to Fr. Stuart (the priest at St. John's), I found a new gem in the food truck system, in the great Stillwaffles truck! What are Stillwaffles, you ask? They are authentic Belgian waffles, being authentic in the fact that the food truck is operated by Belgians! Okay, well, at first, I wasn't sure what the hype was about, because, I mean, they're just waffles...until I tried them, then everything changed!! Usually when I eat pancakes or waffles, I'm all about the traditional butter and syrup topping approach. To put anything on these waffles would be a bit of blasphemy, because they're perfect as is! They're just sweet enough that you could still put syrup on them (or chocolate syrup, strawberries, whipped cream, or walnuts...all of their other topping choices), but they really don't need anything! If you're ever in Stillwater, I highly encourage you to find it, but I suggest looking up their Facebook or Twitter page, because they're constantly moving from place to place throughout the day/week! Another fun new-ish Stillwater place I discovered: Cake Crazy! (As seen in the above picture with Heather!) They have absolutely amazing cupcakes, and they were recently featured on the Food Network! It's a bit off the beaten path, but still worth it! :)

That's pretty much all of the excitement that has been happening over the past month! Granted, there are plenty of other great things happening in the background of all of this, but I think those are all stories for another time, and I'll leave it at this! Have a great week!!!!