Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day #8069 - Book Binge

For those of you out there who once upon a time may have been English majors, the term "word vomit" is probably not something new. For those of you who weren't, allow me to elaborate. Word vomit is more or less just writing whatever is in your head on a topic, whatever random ideas whether they work together or not. This is a common occurrence among writers pulling an all-nighter, realizing that the paper assigned a few weeks ago is due in a few hours. For others this could just be a natural part of their writing process, wanting to get all their ideas down first, then moving them around and making more sense of them later via editing.

However, this weekend I've been experiencing what could best be described as a book binge - rather than writing everything down as fast as I can and hardly allowing time for anything to process, I've been having to read so quickly that there hasn't been much time to enjoy it and only taking enough time where the stories can sink in for when I need to discuss them in class this coming week. For my children's lit class, I've read three out of the four assigned novels for the week in the last few days. Two alone I read yesterday, one of which was a Newberry Honor winner and I had to sprint through it in a matter of hours. I'm about to jump into my fourth novel of the weekend, but knowing I need to metaphorically inhale it by Wednesday afternoon on top of the other homework and projects that need my attention, it just feels wrong. These authors probably spent months or maybe even years writing these books, and I'm only taking a few hours with each one before needing to move on.

I guess this is all a roundabout way of commenting on time-management, though that honestly isn't what I was going for. I make to-do lists every day and consider myself to have very strong time-management skills. Yet there are always days like today when it feels like there's still more to be done than I'll ever have time for. So yes, sometimes sprinting through tasks is a necessary evil, but we should all do the best we can to recognize that pausing is sometimes just as necessary. You don't always have to stop and smell the roses, and if there's just not enough time to stop, at least take a moment to think about how remarkable the things we take for granted actually are.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day #8067 - Smells Like Season Spirit

For the last couple of days, I've been eying the trees on my street when I drive to and from home when I'm running errands and whatnot. Early last week they still looked the same as they have all summer, but lately I've been spotting a few golden tips here or there breaking through the monotony. Finally when I went out to get the mail this morning, it felt like the change of seasons was truly upon us. Not just because more leaves are turning golden, orange, red, and rust with each passing day, but today there was finally that autumn smell.

Strange as it may sound, that smell is one of the things I miss most about being down on campus. I miss walking outside to class this time of year, wearing jeans and a hoodie with my earbuds in, feeling a cool crisp breeze in my face that carries the smell of falling leaves, football games, marching bands, and adventures to come. Of course part of me loves the fact that if fall is finally here, that means winter and regular-season hockey is right around the corner too. But I'll take the preseason for now, that's enough for me. One of the reasons I love being in the midwest so much as that we get to actually see the seasons change gradually rather than just waking up one morning and BAM! blizzards or even worse, living someplace where the weather is just the same all year round.

It's a great smell and a fun time of the year. Is it completely crazy to say that lately, I actually like going to my classes, doing my homework, and just soaking in the season? They said on the news that yesterday's temperatures were 20 degrees above normal. Here's to hoping that the weather figures out we shouldn't be wearing shorts in late September. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go out on the porch and do more of my reading homework for today (in the comfort of an old Illini sweatshirt, of course).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day #8065 - Let the Fall Begin

Happy Autumnal Equinox, readership! As is my custom on every equinox (and solstice), here is my traditional balancing an egg on its end picture for your viewing pleasure.

Celebrate safely and keep it classy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day #8058 - And Many More

Don't really have anything to blog about today readers, except here's a big shoutout to my parents - today is their 26th wedding anniversary! Woot Woot! Congrats!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day #8056 - I am a Transparent Eyeball

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who once wrote, "I become a transparent eyeball-I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me-I am part or particle of God." Sure he was one of the fathers of Transcendentalism and was completely consumed by the majesty of nature, but even in my suburban environment I still get what he's saying. Of course there are less trees here, but I like to believe I catch his drift.

However, today as I was sitting here trying to decide what topic to blog about for you, my few but faithful and generally silent readership, I felt like a transparent eyeball. My mind was going a mile a minute in about 50 different directions, none of which were what I wanted to be focusing on (which was trying to pic a topic). My day planner, the articles I have to read, the paper I have to finish, the children's books that I just picked up from the library to read for my class next week, my back still not feeling the way it's supposed to, the pile of laundry growing on my floor - in the course of the glance around my bedroom, I felt like I was about to fall over due to the rush of "currents of the Universal Being" coming at me. Sure, stopping to smell the roses is a necessity in life, but at the same time, when is there time to get to just focus on one thing at a time?

Priorities come into consideration and so I turn to my daily to-do list for guidance. In the meantime, I should probably get to work, but not before playing with Addy who finally resembles a dog again now that she got a haircut. Enjoy the little things, but then recall Sanka from the classic film Cool Runnings: "You know what my grandfather told me? 'Get back to work!'"

Keep it classy, readers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day #8053 - The Bigger Picture

You'll have to pardon me, readership. I'm not usually one to get up on a soapbox and tell other people what they should believe or how they should live their lives. But today's a little different because there is a worthy cause which deserves the attention.

Right now, WTMX is sponsoring the 11th annual Eric & Kathy 36-Hour Radiothon for Children's Memorial Hospital and this is my 11th year listening in. Year after year, the stories they tell are heartbreaking and yet so full of hope. Hour after hour, I listen and am reminded of how blessed I am with health and that it is therefore my responsibility to help those less fortunate than myself. These children are my heroes - some of them are only hours old, yet they are already far braver than me and fighting for their lives. Medical issues like cancer are already fighting for research funding, and pediatric cancers get even less. They have tumors and cancers and challenges greater than I could ever imagine, yet these children fight day after day. Surgeries and chemo and radiation and test after test after test, yet they consider Children's their second home and continue to fight with a smile on their faces and a courage I've never known. The doctors, nurses, administration, everyone at this hospital believe in what they are doing and want nothing more than to treat these truly inspirational kids.

So I encourage you to take a half hour and listen in to 101.9 FM or on the WTMX website- the message is strong and these kids are resilient. If you're not in a position to donate money to this cause right now, then at least take a moment to take a look around and count your blessings, to appreciate what you have. These families do that every day their children are still with them. And who knows what tomorrow will bring? The radiothon ends at 6pm on Saturday, and I sincerely hope that everyone takes the time out of their busy lives to listen in and take it in - it's a cause that's worth all our time. What's more important than taking care of children? It's so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day headaches and think we've got it bad, but just think of the bigger picture.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day #8048 - Labor of Love

Hey readers, sorry for the gap-ige between posts. Can you believe that for the first time in a long while, I've actually had a bit of a social agenda the last few days? I know, it's shocking, but it was nice to get out of the house for a bit.

I'm currently sitting here at my desk trying desperately to focus on a project due for my class on Tuesday (which, in 20 short minutes will be tomorrow...eek). The task is to write a review of a picture book, so naturally during this time when I need to be concentrating on the works of others, I'm thinking more about my own feeble attempts at writing. I feel like I have a ton of stories building up inside of me, but I just can't ever seem to get them out on paper well enough to do them justice. Or perhaps these many ideas just sound better in my head.

Thank goodness I guess for this blog and my journal, because writing, like anything worth creating, is a labor of love. You have to offer up a bit of yourself in order for anything of any value to come out of it. You have to be willing to get it wrong, have other people hate it, and then try it all over again tomorrow. But in a world where failure is not an option, creativity is becoming stifled - our fear of not doing something that meets everyone's standards has finally outweighed the desire to even try at all. So here's to getting back on the horse. Here's to running everyday even though my back is still feeling off and some days I absolutely dread the walk down to the basement treadmill with my head full of anxiety about this 5K coming up because I know that when I cross the finish line, it will feel that much more awesome. And here's to the stories yet to be written, be it by me or anyone else. Time to just pick up the pen and paper, not worry about it looking great, and just letting the words fall where they may.

And in case you were wondering, yes today's title is a slight pun on the fact that tomorrow is Labor Day here in these United States of America. Celebrate safely, keep it classy, and I'll catch you on the flip side.