Friday, November 30, 2012

Today

Today...

at 12:26 a.m., I turned in my CS homework.

at 12:27 a.m., I started studying for my psychology quiz.

at 12:50 a.m., I stopped studying psychology to start my probability and statistics take home test.

at 12:50.01 a.m., I checked my email and found out my take home test is now due Monday.

at 12:50.02 a.m., I declared it bedtime.

at 9:15 a.m., my alarm went off for the second time, and I got out of bed, got ready for the day, and went to class.

at 11:55 a.m., I got out of CS class and had lunch with my sister.

at 3:17 p.m., I got back to my room from class.

at 4:00 p.m., I started packing.

at 5:22 p.m., I left for the airport.

at 8:00 p.m., I boarded my flight.

at 9:06 p.m., I landed in Chicago!

at 9:39 p.m., David whisked me away, and my weekend officially began :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Hell Week

Well, the end of the semester is upon us, and I am feeling the stress more than ever.  This could mean one of two things: 1) I will not be blogging very much because I don't have a lot of time to devote to non-school related things, or 2) I will be blogging all the time as a means of procrastination.  The end result: to be determined.

I have to-do lists on post-its all over  my desk, and I am so ready for this week to be done.  This is probably my first semester at Tech where I feel like I truly have a Hell Week.  I have tests and quizzes in every single one of my classes, and I'm about to explode.

So if you were having Tuesday Tea with me right now, I would outline all the things I have to do before Friday:

- My CS final homework project is due Friday (I'm coding Minesweeper, bleck).
- I have an Abstract Vector Spaces test on Thursday.
- I have a Probability & Statistics test on Friday.
- I have a psychology quiz on Friday.
- I'm singing with chorale in the holiday concert Thursday night.
- I leave for Chicago Friday night! (The one good thing to look forward to!)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Five Things that Made This Long Weekend Wonderful

This Thanksgiving was one for the books, and I had so much to be thankful for. Here are five of the things that made it so great:

5. Seeing Mannheim Steamroller in concert.  I have been listening to their music for years and years and getting to see the group in person was spectacular.  It was the perfect way to get me in the Christmas mood, and it was at the Fox Theater which is always a bonus.

4. I won a clock!  Seriously.  Field Treasure Designs was holding giveaway on their Facebook page, and I was one of the winners.  I won this clock.  And I get to pick which color I want!  So awesome and unexpected.

3. I spent awesome time with my family.  It'd been a long time since I'd slept in my own bed, and it was so nice.  I loved getting to see almost all of my sisters and spend some quality time at home with my parents.  The weekend was relaxing and fun, which was just what the doctor ordered.

2. I went to Athens for the first time.  And while I was there, I had an outrageously good time.  Also, it turns out Canadians are awesome and have the greatest sense of humor.

1. David was here for five whole days.  Even though I didn't get to spend everyday with him while he was here, this was definitely the longest period of time he's been in Atlanta since August.  I know I shouldn't wish away college, but I definitely wish the rest of this semester and the next three would go by quickly so I don't always have to be missing my guy!  Long distance is hard, but if it means being with David, then I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankfulness

Happy Thanksgiving :) I don't want to spend more time blogging today than time with my family, but I just wanted to make a list of all the things I am thankful for. I loved all the people who wrote something they were thankful for every day, so because Thanksgiving is on the 22nd, I want to catch up. Here are, in no particular order, 22 things / people / places I am thankful for.

1. The amazing Atlanta weather. The past few weeks, us Atlantans have been blessed with weather that is warm enough to walk outside without freezing, but cool enough to utilize all my favorite sweaters. It's a win-win.

2. My family. This one doesn't really need much explanation because they're so awesome. I know they will always be there for me.

3. Tea. I am grateful for the power that tea has to always transform my mood for the better.

4. David. The guy I can go to when I'm happy or sad (or any emotion in between), I would not exchange our relationship for anything.

5. The opportunity to study at a school where I am constantly challenged. As often as I complain about how difficult Georgia Tech is, I'd rather be here than somewhere where I would be bored.

6. The ability to knit. I guess I should call this one the ability to be crafty in general. It is literally saving my wallet this Christmas.

7. My chorale class this semester. Although this semester is most likely my last semester in a GT choir, I am so grateful for the experience I had over the past few months. I have felt my voice mature with the repertoire we sang, and it was great to sing with a group where I felt truly valued. An added bonus: it was rehearsal that I got to spend time with the lovely and inspiring Molly.

8. The awesome blogs I read. One of the first things I do when I wake up is check to see which blogs I follow have been updated. I am continually inspired by the blogs I read. Find out what my favorites are here.

9. David's family. From the first day I met David's family, I have always felt so welcome, even included, as part of the family. I've celebrated Christmas with them, I've been on vacation with them, and I've drunk copious amounts of wine with them.

10. My five senses.  I take these for granted every. single. day.  They are such precious gifts without even realizing it. I couldn't imaging not being able to see beautiful days like today, not being able to smell the cranberry sauce cooking on the stove, not being able to feel a kiss, not being able to hear the sound of a laugh, or not being able to taste the wonderful feast coming up in just a few short hours.

11. Food.  I am grateful for the luxury of having food to eat this afternoon--also a gift taken for granted and not thought about everyday.

12. Guitar.  I can't believe I will have been playing guitar for four years this March.  Time really flies.

13. Airplanes.  Without these suckers, I wouldn't have the opportunity to see David nearly as much as I do.  Realistically, if he had to drive twelve hours just to come spend a weekend with me, this Thanksgiving would probably be the first time seeing him since he left for Chicago back in August.

14. My friends.  I am truly surrounded by some awesome people in my life.

15. Faith.  It keeps my grounded and gives me hope for the future.

16. The people who read my blog. Y'all don't know how nice it is of you.

17. Technology. Although perhaps a little overwhelming at times, technology really does make a lot of things much easier.

18. Snail mail. I love giving and receiving letters. I think letter writing is a dying art, and I'm determined to keep it alive.

19. Traditions. Nothing says home to me like holiday traditions. Whether it's silly traditions like hanging our stockings on the mantle before going to bed on Christmas Eve or more competitive traditions like my sisters and me vying to give the best Secret Santa gift, I wouldn't change a thing.

20. Patience. Sometimes I wish I had more of this, but I'm grateful for what little I do have. Sometimes it just helps to sit down and breathe.

21. Music. I'm especially excited to start listening to Christmas music :)

22. Homes. Although I've lived in the same house my whole life, there are a lot of different places I call home. Home is not just a physical place but also a state of mind, and home is where my heart is.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Thanksgiving Week!!

Finally I am getting some time off from school. Granted I only get two extra days off and still have classes I should technically go to tomorrow, but nothing is raining on my parade now.  Should I justify not working over Thanksgiving Break?  Probably not.  But I'm planning to make the most of the festivities.

So if you were here having Tuesday Tea with me (I'm drinking a cup of Tazo Calm right now by the way), I would tell you the following things:

- David is flying in from Chicago tonight!  We have tremendous plans for the long weekend, and I can't wait :)
- I've been feeling really crafty recently.  I guess it's a good thing since it's coming right in time for Christmas, but it is a little distracting from my school work sometimes.  Must create all the things!
- I had lunch with David's sister yesterday, and it was really fun.  We went to a cool place right around the corner from Tech called Carolyn's Gourmet Cafe, and it was delicious.  I got the gyro and devoured it all while enjoying some good conversation.

Let Thanksgiving Break commence!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Pray in the Shower

Yep, you read that correctly. I pray in the shower. Matter of factly, I pray a lot of different places, but my shower prayers are probably the ones that have the most structure.  What do I pray about?  Besides pleas to the shampoo gods about my split ends?

Well, every night while I am getting ready for bed, I pray a novena.  A novena is a type of prayer in the Catholic Church where one repetitively prays for an act of grace over a specific period of time.  In particular, I pray the 54-day rosary novena which consists of 27 days of prayer in petition of something followed by another 27 days of Thanksgiving in anticipation of the petition being answered.  So, every night, I pray a rosary for a specific petition that I established at the start of the 54 days.

The first novena that I ever prayed was back during my freshman year of college.  I started it, appropriately, on January 1, and the beginning felt like trial by error.  I couldn't remember the last time I had formally sat down to pray the rosary, and having the added pressure of having to reflect upon the Joyful, Sorrowful, or Glorious Mysteries (depending on the day) only made my prayers more flustered.  I can't tell you how many times I would start a Hail Mary and then start over because I had gotten distracted, absolutely convinced that my prayers weren't going to be heard since I couldn't recite a single prayer without having my thoughts wander.  That was when I really knew I wanted my petitions to be heard and answered, when I became OCD about getting it perfect.  Did I get any better at it?  Much better.  Do I still mess up?  Absolutely.  But I learned to relax and concentrate on the words, knowing that God doesn't expect me to be perfect so long as my heart is in the right place.

The real question: Were my prayers answered?  Honestly, you're guess is as good as mine, but I think yes.  My petition at the time was really more focused on life meaning and purpose, not something specific and tangible, so I suspect the answer to that novena is still being unfolded.  I think the more immediate effect of the novena was to bring me peace of mind, and that was valuable in and of itself.

After my first novena in 2011, I didn't pray another one until this past summer.  And when I started it on July 12, I had only one petition in mind.  David.  It was already halfway through the summer, and I knew that when August hit, he would be graduating and leaving for Chicago just a few short weeks later.  So that night in July, I sat in bed and laid down my petitions to God.  I prayed that He would help us make the most of the rest of the summer together; I prayed that He would prepare David for the transition to Chicago; and I prayed that He would help us through this difficult time of being apart, to augment our love through the distance that would separate us, and to never lose sight of the other person.  I prayed that, ususally while crying, for the next 54 days until September 3 which fatefully, coincidentally, what have you, was the day before David started his new job.

When that novena was over, I started another. And when that novena was over, I started the one that I am currently praying. I've discovered that there's nothing like ending the day by lifting my heart up in petition of things that really mean a lot to me, so it's probably safe to say that this novena won't be my last either.

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers of you, I always pray with joy."
- Philippians 1:3-4

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Truth.

"One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again."

- Henry Ford

Tuesday {Evening} Tea

I'm having a bad day. And I really don't want to talk about it. But a blog is about honesty, right? So I'm going to suck up the fact that I'm embarrassed and tell the world that I didn't pass the actuarial exam. Weeks of studying for nothing. I don't know how badly I didn't pass, but that doesn't change anything.

And on a different note, I have my computer (also known as Earl (I'm sure you can guess the inspiration for that one)) back again.  No one is still really sure of the extent to which everything happened, but after two weeks of having a barely or non-functioning computer, we have been reunited and it feels so good. After having been given a new set of innards, it's now running better than ever.

I'm excited to get in the Christmas spirit.  I have a lot of homemade gifts in mind, but I'm hesitant to post them here.  I'm pretty sure none of my sisters read this blog, but just in case, you'll find out after Christmas all the things I'm planning to make.

By the way, I want one of these. It's how I feel right now.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

January Throwback

Once upon a time back at the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about 12 things I wanted to do in 2012, and the very first thing on that list is something along the lines of finding something positive in every situation.

Easier said than done, I know.

It's so easy to get caught up in the little things that won't matter in the long run and to linger unnecessarily on the things I can't change. I frequently find myself stressing about, well, everything. What am I going to do if I don't pass the actuarial exam? What am I going to if I don't get the grades I need? When am I going to get my computer up and running again? How long are David and I going to have to do long distance?

Left unchecked, thoughts like these swirl around in my head with abandon, and it's hard to reign them back in once I've let them loose.

But then, I stop, take a deep breath, and try to remember how blessed I am: I go to one of the best schools in the world, and even though it doesn't always feel like I belong here, so many things in my life have been changed for the better by my choosing to come here; I have one of the best boyfriends in the world, and even though we're having to do the long distance thing while I'm going to school in Atlanta and he's working hard in Chicago, I would not exchange our love for anything.

It doesn't mean it's not hard, but I know that one day, it will all be worth it.


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in all things, by prayers and petitions, and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God that transcends understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
- Phillippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Election Day

My first presidential election!

Although it is a nice luxury being close to home, I almost wish that I had to send in an absentee ballot to vote because it means that I would have voted already. That being said, even though I really didn't have the time today to be going home and standing in un-godly lines, I was determined to perform my civic duty even though it is already essentially guaranteed which candidate is going to win the Georgia vote.

So who did I vote for?? I'll never tell! ;)

But that is all you'll ever read about my view on politics. It's just not my cup of tea.

Speaking of tea though (my powers of sequeing today are overwhelming), if you were here right now joining me for Tuesday Tea, I would talk about the following things:

- I have been laptop-less since Friday. It wasn't working all last week, and Friday night the problem was found. I had a Trojan horse (yay!), and long story short, after Dell completely wiped my hard drive, they said they couldn't fix it until Tuesday (today) because they had to mail me the operating system via jump drive. So now I'm just playing a waiting game. Looks like my impossible CS homework is being put on the back burner again.
- In exactly one week, I will be taking the actuarial exam. Oh my. So the next time I will be writing Tuesday Tea, I will be done, for better or for worse.
- I wish Thanksgiving would get here already.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Arts & Crafts Show

Yesterday marked the annual arts and crafts fair that is held every year at my high school.  Dubbed Holiday Traditions because it always takes place the first weekend of November, over 240 vendors from all over the southeast come to sell their goodies.  Among the things sold are jewelry, pottery, paintings, knitted, and crocheted items, and other unique and obscure items like homemade American Girl Doll dresses and wind chimes made from kiln-flattened bottles.

I've always loved Holiday Traditions because it always puts me in the mood for Christmas and because every once in a while, I will find the perfect thing to buy someone.

This year though, I also got a new perspective that I've never gotten before.  While I was there, I drew inspiration from everything.  It was almost as if it refreshed the creative side of myself, and when I left, all I wanted to do was make things.  The good side of this is that I got a lot of ideas of things I'd like to make for people for Christmas, but on the other side of the coin, all I want to do now is knit and cross-stitch endlessly, but I don't have time to even start thinking about these things.  The end of this semester will be very welcome.

Some pictures from the fair:


A mug with feet!


Yarn bowl that my mom bought me :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

FanFiction

I have a confession to make. I used to write fan fiction. This shouldn't be a drastic revelation to some people, but to others, my nerd status might have just escalated through the roof.

When I was younger, I used to have this dream of writing a novel (still do have that dream actually--it's even on my bucket list), and for quite a long time, fan fiction was the perfect writing fix. I didn't even have to come up with my own characters! Because coming up with a decent plot and characters is half the trouble of writing a book anyways, let's be honest.

But don't think I'm ever going to tell you what my pen name was. It's almost more embarrassing than some of the stories I wrote.

I will tell you this though: 95% of the things I wrote were about everyone's favorite potions master.

Severus Snape has my heart.

One of the things I think I liked most about writing fan fiction though was that the feedback from other writers and readers of fan fiction was almost instantaneous. Nothing feels better than having someone write a review or even, on some awesome occasions, adding the story to their favorites. Instant gratification for the win.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rant

I've always been really particular about when I start celebrating Christmas. I'll admit that cold weather just makes me want to curl up in front of the fireplace while oogling the Christmas tree, but nobody ever gives Thanksgiving its due.

I think I'm also particularly angsty about it this year because I don't have time to start daydreaming about Christmas and the end of the semester until the damn actuarial exam is over. Gosh, I can't wait.

So what inspired this post? Starbucks introduced their Christmas cups today. They are kind of pretty though :)