Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Costumin' and Carvin'

I love Halloween. Call it pagan, call it "fall festival," call it whatever you want. I love it.


What other day out of all 365 days in a year can you dress however you want and get away with it? Eat inexcusable amounts of candy and be commended on a job well done? Ring the doorbell at complete stranger's home and ask them to smell your feet? It's all fantastic.

Really people, I held on to the chance for trick-or-treating as long as I could. Who says seniors in high school are too old for that?! Not this girl!

However, despite my love for sweets and sugar-induced comas, the candy isn't my favorite part of Halloween. I'm split between two other holiday traditions.

Costume hunting and pumpkin carving.

I love dressing up for Halloween. Some years, I start thinking about my next costume as soon as the current Halloween is over. I also love making costumes. I can't remember the last time I bought a costume-in-a-bag. In my opinion that's just taking the easy way out, plus I need WAY more material to cover my trunk junk than any store bought french maid costume could offer me.

Also, like I've said before, I'm crafty, so this is just another way I can be somewhat creative. I also love the thrill of piecing a costume together. I'll find something here, something else there... To me finding the perfect finishing touch to an original costume is like winning a marathon. (Maybe that's a bad comparison. I can't run. Oh well.)

I'm thinking about costume ideas right now, and I think I'm stuck between two. Looks like you'll have to stay tuned and see what I choose later!

My other favorite thing to do around this time of year is carve pumpkins, and I got to do that with my roommates this past weekend.

We all bought kits and stencils, and picked out the perfect pumpkins, and were ready to go.

We made a gutting station out of kitchen floor, and after cleaning out five decently huge pumpkins, our entire apartment reeked of it. We didn't mind though, it's one of those things you get used to.

So, the pumpkins were gutted and the stencils taped and marked, so we all went to work. Carving and cutting, punching out eye holes and nose holes, cleaning up crooked lines.

Finally, they all came together. For fun's sake, here's a before and after.
Really when you think about it, these traditions of costumes and carving aren't that different. Sure, one of them is a big orange fruit, but it happens. But, look at the difference between all of the pumpkins!
They are all round and orange at first, but with a little work, they beome scences or terror, faces of happiness, or even chilling creatures of the night. It's just like us when we dress up in costume. I could be a brain-munching zombie prom queen, or I could be a disco ball, but in the end i'm still me, just like that jack-o-lantern is still a pumpkin.

That's what Halloween is. It's imagination. It's creativity. It's waking up one day and saying, "You know what, I'm going to put on fake purple eyelashes, color my hair blue, and wear a bright yellow suit today," and be totally confident in your ridiculousness.

It's the chance to be anything you want to be, or to make your jack-o-lantern smile any way you want it to.

Happy Haunting!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

pressing flowers

Readers, I have been gone for what seems life forever, and i've missed writing so much. School consumes my life, and what little spare time I've been given over the last week and a half, I have used to sleep.

But isn't that the way it goes? Time is money, so don't waste it. Everything is done right here, right now. Do this, do that, as fast as you can. RSVP ASAP. No late work. Up-to-the-minute reporting. Timeliness. NO! SLEEP! TIL BROOKLYN! (reference here)

Everything we do must be done quickly and as efficiently as possible. Now, I'm not knocking timeliness and productivity for the sake of adequate and needed progress both in school and in everyday life. But...

Every now and then, we need to slow down. We should stop and smell the roses.

If you don't already know, I consider myself a crafty person. Not in a manipulative or sneaky sense, but in a much more literal one. I love arts and crafts. Hobby Lobby is one of my favorite stores, and I jump in excitement over a DIY project.

My roommate shares in this love of creativity, so we are always showing each other fun little projects we've taken on. I make collages, she paints, and so on.

Last week, we were in our kitchen admiring a bouquet of gerber daises (my favorite) that Cavner gave me for our anniversary. They were starting to wilt, so my roommate suggests a crafty alternative to just throwing the bright cheery flowers away.

"You really should press those."

I've heard of pressing flowers before, and like any crafty person, I was all for it.

So my roommate walked me through the process.
First, we cut the stems completely off.

Then we placed them between two sheets of tissue paper.

Finally, we closed the flowers into the largest book we could find in the apartment. After that, we stacked object after object on top of the book, making sure to pancake the heck out of these flowers. The end result of our efforts created a rather comical display of shelves, paint cans, and other heavy things stacked one on tp of the next in our living room.

After we balanced the paint can on top of the shelves on top of the book, I asked my roommate when they would be totally pressed.

"I'd give them about a month."

A month?! An entire month??!!! For flowers, no less! Why in the world would I wait that long for flowers? Why would I wait that long for anything??

Another thing about me is that I am a huge fan of instant gratification. If I want it, I don't really want to wait on it. But with these flowers, I'm understanding that some things are worth waiting for. Some things take time, and sometimes, those are the we remember most.

I don't know how my flowers will turn out yet. They still have to sit under those shelves for another three weeks or so. But every now and then I catch myself thinking about what next project i can use them in once they are ready. It's kind of thrilling, this waiting.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

pressure cooker.

The day after I moved into the dorms my freshman year, I was required to attend a seminar about "everything you need to know to prepare for college."

Well, if you are or ever were a college student, you know that "everything you need to know about college" will never simply fit into a two hour presentation. Or any presentation for that matter.
This is me merely hours after moving into my dorm. (Long sigh)

However I did learn one very important thing about myself that holds true at this very minute.

I am not a procrastinator. I am a "pressure cooker."

In one section of this seminar, the presenter spoke about study habits, and how all people work differently.

He talked about how some people prefer to start large assignments early, or complete things far before a deadline arrives. These people are known as "planners."

On the other side of things, he talked about those that wait until the absolute last minute to complete things. He divided this group into two subsets: the "procrastinators" and the "pressure cookers."

He defined procrastinators as people that wait until the last minute to prepare any assignment, large or small, but turn in poorly executed homework, papers, or the like. Procrastinators are sloppy, apathetic, and a little flighty.

Contre-là, he defined pressure cookers as students that wait until the eleventh hour to complete something. But unlike procrastinators, the people turn in quality work that receives good grades. Pressure cookers work well, if not better when a deadline looms near. He even went as far as to say that pressure cookers "thrive on the drama."

Just when I thought I was going to die of boredom, I heard these word come out of that man's mouth, and my entire perspective of studying changed. I always thought of myself as a procrastinator, and felt like my habits of waiting needed to be changed. However, this "pressure cooker" concept shed positive light on waiting til the last minute.

*(Note, the pressure cooker study system is not for everyone. It requires long nights and little sleep. Or, if you've gone your life thinking you were a procrastinator and in reality you aren't, now you know where you fit.)

And now that I'm actually caught in the thick of college work, it's evident now more than ever.

See, I've been at home, in the library, and all around Norman today trying to focus of a paper I wish to get done. The paper isn't due until Thursday, but getting it done would free up a lot of needed study time for the two tests I have this week.

But can I write it? Of course not.

I've tried everything. Outlines, Red Bull (which usually works miracles), taking breaks, coming to the library (which is always foolproof), but nothing is working! I have revised my thesis statement several times, and just can't get it right. It's just not working...

I know why.. That little voice is reminding me that i have plenty of time to get this thing done... Later..... Wednesday night at midnight...... that would be a GREAT time to start....

Stupid pressure cooker. Whatever... Lit Paper, we'll meet again Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The best part of wakin' up...

So I have this best friend. She is absolutely awesome, and I'll probably write more about her later.

Anyway, we have been going back and forth on Facebook, sending each other YouTube videos, songs, or just little bits of funny information. Each time I get something from her or her from me, we both hypothetically add it to our "morning routine."

So bestie, if you're reading this, I have a confession. I don't actually watch these in sequence OR in the morning.... I don't know if you have been doing this either, but I'm just letting you know.

However, I really feel like I should start.

They are all great, happy, feel good, motivating things that always manage to brighten my day, so why in the world wouldn't I start my day with happy things?! It just doesn't make sense!
I mean, look at this coffee!!! If you don't smile at this, you have a problem!

Okay getting back on track... I'm making a goal out of this morning routine... To actually do it...

But wait, dear readers! Yet, again, I would LOVE your help! I am open to suggestions!

If you have any videos, photos (taken by you or otherwise), songs, or any other things that really brighten your day, make you smile, or make you thankful for today, PLEASE send them along! I would love to have them!

But for now, I will leave you with my current playlist... Just click here, here, and here.