Lemons seem to be our lot in life, but sometimes I get tired of drinking lemonade. Sometimes I'd much rather have root beer, and no matter how hard I try I just can't seem to make root beer with lemons.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


They say that strangers are just friends you haven't met yet. I say that strangers are people whose insanity you haven't yet experienced.
People are crazy. This is an undeniable truth, and for some reason everyone has decided that they can let their freak flag fly freely in front of me when I've only just met them. Strangers confide in me all the time for some reason, and I must admit that this is one of the most enjoyable things about my life.
One of the best places to meet people is through your local public transportation. I must admit that this is where my newest 'friends' have come from, and some of their stories are kind of hilarious. I shall start with the most recent one.
I met Woody on Saturday, November 5 and this is sort of how it went down.
I'd had a class that day (which, by the way, is a slight injustice, considering that it was Saturday) and I was quite excited to get home where I was planning on sleeping and catching up on my Spider Solitaire. I got on the bus with the intention of staring blankly out the window until my thoughts became nothing but images attached to vague memories and emotions, but it was when I was choosing my seat that I made the fatal mistake. As I scanned the plethora of empty seats an old man caught my attention for an instant, and being the kind person that I am I gave him a friendly smile. I then chose the seat directly behind him and got ready for some nice spacing out. Unfortunately I think my smile had given Woody the wrong impression about my intentions, because he promptly turned around and made a joke about the weather.
Strangers, particularly old people, like to make jokes about the weather as their opening line. Why? For two reasons I think. Firstly, people want to start out with a joke because they think it makes them seem clever and interesting. Secondly, since they don't know you, and therefore they don't know if you have anything in common, they have to go with something everyone in your area can connect to, like the weather.
Sorry, I went off for a second. So, Woody made a joke about the weather, which I politely laughed at (because weather jokes aren't very funny or clever, but you must laugh because you know it is a joke). But Woody had an interesting habit that captured my attention and made the rest of our conversation hard to focus on. You see, when Woody talks he likes to hold his hand up to his face like he's telling you a secret, even though he is talking quite loudly, and the subject matter of his conversations are not very secretive.
Since Woody is an old man who tells unamusing weather jokes you can easily guess what our conversation was about. He proceeded to tell me stories about his grandfather who was wealthy but liked to wear coveralls and lurk suspiciously in public places, so he was often arrested and promptly set free when they realized how important he was. This, I admit, was mildly interesting, although it could have been tremendously hilarious with the right delivery. The most amusing part of our conversation was the fact that he was acting like everything he was saying was a secret when in reality it wasn't. In the end I have to say that I thought Woody was a nice old man and I wouldn't mind talking to him again. Grandfather stories are fun, and quirky people are funner (not a word, but I'm going with it)
I met Jeremy on the bus as well, sometime in September, and his story is quite interesting as well.
I was reading The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas at the time and I was very obviously not interested in talking to anyone. Or at least, I thought this was obvious. I generally don't talk to people who are reading on the bus, even if I know them, so I was surprised when I heard a voice say, "That is a really good book."
I looked up and was even more surprised to find that the person who had said this was wearing a skull shirt, baggy pants, a chain, a sideways hat, and was sporting some rather impressive facial hair. I know it is wrong to judge people, and I am sad to admit that I was pleasantly surprised that Jeremy had read the book I was reading because I wouldn't have expected it from someone who looked like him.
"Yes," I said, "I enjoy it." But I was anxious to keep reading (if you know me, you know not to bother me when I'm reading, but Jeremy didn't know me, so I guess I can't hold it against him), so I promptly turned my eyes back to the page.
"Of course," he continued, "I like The Count of Monte Cristo better, but that one is still fantastic."
I gave a mental sigh and put my book aside. Jeremy was intent on talking to me, and I try to be a classy, sociable person, so I had no choice (I sometimes curse my desire to be classy and sociable).
We talked a little bit more about Alexander Dumas but the conversation quickly evolved into a list of the reasons why Jeremy's life is unfair. Jeremy's life is unfair, I am completely on board with that statement, but listening to him talk about it was not what I wanted to be doing when I could be reading about fencing and romance instead.
Ok, so I just realized that a lot of the things I am saying may make me sound like a terrible person. I want to quickly interject and remind you that this is my happy thought of the day. I truly enjoy these strange stranger moments, and I love meeting new people, especially when they are funny, and I am sure there are plenty of people who could write amusing anecdotes about me, so if Jeremy, Woody, and Jonathan (who I will write about in a moment) are out there reading this (which I sort of doubt) I want you to know that it was a pleasure, truly to meet you, and I think you are wonderful people.
Ok, so, I was listening to Jeremy telling me about his life being unfair, which I already agreed with, but I'm not entirely sure if it is acceptable to tell a complete stranger about your criminal record, no matter how unfair it is. But it's his criminal record, he can tell anyone he wants.
The funniest part of this conversation was that I didn't actually know Jeremy's name until he had told me about his criminal record, which seems a little out of order to me.
I still see and speak to Jeremy quite often, because we ride the same bus to get home, and I like seeing him because he always has a warm greeting for me.
I didn't meet Jonathan on the bus, I met him at Scout Camp, where hilarious things happen hourly.
I worked in the Trading Post and taught Indian Lore and Sculpture at a scout camp this last summer and I love doing it so much even though the hours are long and the pay is just a little bit pathetic. One week, near the end of the summer, there was this kid named Jonathan. He came into the Trading Post on Monday that week, and yours truly was the lucky cashier who rang him up. First of all, he's an adorable kid. Very open, very happy to be wherever his is, and very positive about everything. The first thing Jonathan said to me as I typed in the prices of his items in our ancient cash register was, "You guys are so nice up here."
Since this wasn't a very personal compliment I tried to go for an appropriately impersonal response, "We try." I said with a smile.
"Yeah, I'm am just so happy right now because my dad just had surgery on his prostate cancer and he's gonna be ok. So now I'm not worried or scared, I'm just happy."
I don't understand why people share the most intimate details of their lives with me.
I was sincerely happy for him, because cancer is a scary thing, and I know what it's like to lose a loved one, so worrying about losing a loved one must be terrible and the relief of them being ok must be wonderful.
The problem with Jonathan being so open about sharing his life story with me was that we were in the middle of a huge rush in the Trading Post, and so I didn't exactly have time to listen to him tell me about his family's vacation to the Grand Canyon.
But, as I said before, his tendency towards TMI was kind of cute and he was my favorite scout that week.
Strangers are my happy thought of the day because they bring color and variety to your life. My suggestion to you would be to go out and meet someone new every day, because you never know when someone new my confuse and delight you.
Have a happy day, you deserve it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Thoughts of the Day

I've decided that now might be a good time to come up with a general purpose for this blog. I've actually been thinking about this for a while, and an idea came to me suddenly on day when I was writing a letter. I have this friend who is living in Japan at the moment and I write him letters whenever it strikes my fancy or whenever I happen to have time. In most of my letters I like to add a section titled: Random Happy Thoughts. This, I admit, is one of my favorite parts of writing these letters, and I don't think he really minds it either. As I was writing this section the other day I had the brilliant idea of expanding it into a blog-like genre, so here we are. From now on this blog will be entirely about happy thoughts from yours truly, and I'm pretty excited about that!
My happy thought for today is exact change. I had the blessing of being able to go to an ice cream shop today with two of my friends. This is a blessing for two reasons. Reason number one: I had time to be with my friends. Reason number two: I had money to go to an ice cream shop. Oh, the simple joys of college life!
Anyway, as I went to pay for my one scoop of 'Praline Pecan' (which is redundant, by the way) ice cream and the cashier told me that my total was $2.25 I realized the joy of having exact change. I happened to have two dollar bills and a quarter waiting patiently in my wallet at that very moment, and as I reached in and pulled them out and handed them to the cashier I recieved the glow that only a small, simple miracle can bring you.
Exact change is awesome for several reasons. Firstly, it makes your life easier. You don't have to worry about getting a ton of change back, and having to carry it around in your purse all the time. Also, paying with cash always feels a bit more honest to me, and having exact change is almost as convenient as using a debit or credit card, which is a double pro if you ask me.
Secondly, it makes the cashier's life easier. Have you ever been a cashier? I have, and I know how that moment when you're getting their change for them can feel like a millenium if you're in a hurry. You know, that moment when everything but your hands seems to go in fast-forward while your fingers fumble and shake in slow-motion? Yeah, it's not a fun feeling, especially when the person you're trying to help is being impatient about it. This is another reason why exact change is so awesome, because it completely eliminates that moment from the transaction. You give your money to the cashier, they put it in the register, moment over. Convenient, huh?
 And finally, exact change is happy because it puts the stamp of approval on your purchase. For instance, I was feeling a little bad about buying ice cream because it's unhealthy and it's a little extravagant, but having the exact change I needed for it was like divine providence saying, "Hey, it's ok to buy this ice cream. You deserve it." Having exact change is like destiny saying that this moment was meant to be, because everything worked out perfectly. That's right, that ice cream tasted better because it had the sparkle of hope for a perfect future. Everything in my life before had led up to this moment, and everything in my life after would just fall in to place because of it.
Yes, exact change made me happy today, and I hope that exact change will make you happy from now on, because when you think about it, it's pretty joyful.
Have a wonderful day. You deserve it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


It seems to me that the hardest times in my life are the times when I am sincerely trying to improve. This alone could make a person convert to apathy.
I suppose not trying would make things a lot easier. But I have a feeling that in the end I would only hate myself and everyone around me. Because I don't really think it's possible to be stagnant in life. You're either progressing or regressing. And usually, when you're not trying, that means you're regressing.
So does that mean all of life is one long uphill battle where you either keep climbing or roll back down to the bottom of the hill? Are we all just unfortunate hikers who climb endlessly towards a non-existant summit? Am I always going to work hard towards my goals, only to find out that I am, once again, sub-par?
Nope. I won't accept it. There has to be a better way. There has to be a way to progress without discouragement. There have to be smaller summits along the way. Places to rest when you are weary, or to celebrate when you have passed a big milestone. I am sure there are such summits in our life climbs. I am sure I will reach one soon enough. If I can just be patient with myself, and understand that I am not going to be perfect, then I am positive that things will get better. And with an attitude like that, maybe the climb itself won't be half bad either.

P.S. I must say that this particular post reminds me of a Miley Cyrus song. Which is the most discouraging thing about it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Nest

Lately I've been thinking that spring isn't ever going to really come. It just feels like every time it seems to get close a storm gets in the way and ruins everything. That seems to be the problem with both spring and love. The moment you start to hope something comes along to break your heart.
I've felt almost exactly the same about life. My soul seemed to be in a wintery rut of sorts. I couldn't seem to find a way past my icy doubts to hope for the future.
Then this morning, as I walked home, I caught sight of something that surprised me. There was a storm on the way, you could feel it in the wind, but just as I was thinking this I saw a bird flying with a long twig in it's beak. I stared in wonder for a moment. I have never seen a bird preparing a nest before. 
This is when I got to thinking. The bird, like Noah's dove, had brought me hope for a spring that I couldn't quite see at that moment. Surely if the birds know it's time to settle down then it's certainly a good time to start making some plans of my own. 
Nature it so great.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I have to say, first off, that this isn't as much a post as it is a short story I wrote last year that I really like. I hope you enjoy!

It all started with the Fritos. It was the Fritos that took the warmth of dislike and fanned it into a flame of passionate hatred.
You see, we started dating. He was relatively attractive and I was naive. I liked him, I really did, but one day we were hanging out and he had these Fritos. I love Fritos, so I went to grab some. He firmly shook his head.
"I never share my Fritos."
And from that moment on our relationship has just gone downhill. There he sat, talking and laughing with his mouth full of Fritos like he ruled the world. Crunching them with his mouth wide open, rubbing his enjoyment in my hungry face.
I know it's irrational, but I hated him.
"I never share my Fritos."? What kind of rule was that? An idiot rule, that's what.
Oh, how I hated him.
Ever since then I found more reasons to hate him. He irons his towels, and his second toe is bigger than the first, and sometimes he says I'm crazy.
That's why I went to his house today with a bag of poisoned Fritos. I just smiled, handed them too him, and said good bye.

So, that's about it. It's a really, really, short story. But I found it amusing, so hopefully you did too. Anyway, I'm off.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Perils of Dating

I am perfectly willing to admit that I don't really enjoy being single. Not to say that I am unhappy about it, or that I let it ruin my life. But it's not really my favorite thing either.
Now we get to the dilemma. I don't know how to get out of being single because in order to be in a relationship you have to start with dating (gulp).
Come now, and let us be honest with ourselves. Dating, no matter how casual it is, is kind of a scary prospect. And not just because it has the potential of leading to some kind of commitment. With every date you have the very real possibility of running into one or all of the following unpleasant experiences.
The Awkward Silence
This particular peril generally occurs when you decide to be brave and ask that cute person in you math class that you barely know. The problem? You don't really know them and therefore don't really know if you have anything in common. These moments go something like this.
"How about that math test last week?"
"Ummm..... Good.... I guess."
Suddenly you're talking about math, and that, my friends, does not really make for a romantic first date. Unless of course you really like math. Then I guess this kind of date would be positively idyllic for you.
The Motor Mouth
If you have a firm "no cute person from math class" policy then this peril might be the one you face the most. This generally occurs when you or your date is trying to avoid The Awkward Silence
The basic idea is that one of you is talking so much, and so rapidly, that the other can't really get a word in edgewise. There are several problems with this. Firstly, one of you isn't talking. Secondly, the person talking looks stupid, self-centered, and really nervous. Thirdly, the looking stupid and feeling nervous often leads the person talking to really strange topics. These moments look something like this:
"... and that's why I've never really understood Wiccans. Anyway, that's really all I have to say about that. So, have you ever been clamming? Really? That's odd. I hear it's a messy business anyway. You know my brother? The one in Australia? Yeah, he's pretty cool...etc."
Now, I plead guilty for this particular crime. But I cry mercy as well. If you ever happen to be on a date with me, or even having a simple conversation, just shut me up. Change the subject, and talk rationally about something... well, normal.
The Unequal Attraction
This one has very little to do with the two above. This happens when you didn't really even know the asker existed until they asked you.
This situation generally reveals itself in this way:
It's the end of the night and he is bringing you to the front step. You sigh in relief. This has been the longest hour of your life.
You get to your door and you turn to each other.
"I had a fantastic time!" He says enthusiastically.
"...Me too." You reply, less enthusiastically.
Then he hugs you, and it's one of those long, drawn-out, hugs. Suddenly you realize that he actually thought this was a good date, and you're rapidly trying to think of a good excuse to avoid another one.
"So what are you doing next Saturday?" He asks hopefully.
"Oh, darn. I'm going to be waterskiing with my second cousin who just got back from his foreign exchange program in Hong Kong."
"That's too bad..." He says dejectedly, "How about the Saturday after that?"
"Oh, well, my grandma is getting surgery....etc."
Generally, in these situations, I would go with these two bits of advice. Firstly, maybe just go on the second date, and if it sucks again then you can go with my second bit of advice which is be honest. Just say, "Hey, these dates have really sucked, never talk to me again." Or something like that.

In conclusion I have one thing to say. Dating is a necessary evil. We all have to eventually go through this extremely awkward, and momentously unpleasant,  experience. But I have advice to help with that too.
First off, go into it with the idea that you genuinely want to get to know the other person. If you start thinking about the other person positively then the whole thing will go a lot better, and trust me, you'll enjoy it a whole lot more. To go along with the first one, have several very thoughtful questions planned for when you experience the awkward silence. Think of questions that will get the other person talking, not just questions that require one word answers. And if, in the end, you're really not attracted to the person, then at least you've made a pretty awesome friend.
There now, that didn't hurt so bad.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

These Are the Moments

I am now a firm believer in the ability of a single moment to change you forever. And growing up isn't a steady, even, process. You can have a short period of steady growth, followed by a random spurt, followed by one of those vital moments that changes you so much more than the other two put together.
Sometimes these moments are terrible and scary. For instance my life has been very changed since the moment I saw my brother doubled over in tears in the hospital. It was the moment that I knew my father was gone, and the moment was dark with grief and sadness.
But other times, like today, these moments are full of unspeakable joy.
I have the great priviledge of being my best friend's maid of honor in her upcoming marriage. This is kind of scary to me because it feels weird for her to be getting engaged when I still feel so young. Today I had the opportunity to go dress shopping with her. Which was fun if only because I am a girl.
After an hour of looking and trying on she emerged from the dressing room in a dress that looked just about the same as all the other dresses, at least to me. But as she stood in front of the mirrors with the lights shining on her the dress seemed to look a lot more special to me, and not because the dress really seemed that different but because I could tell that she loved it. Her joy about the dress seemed to light the dress up, as well as make her look more beautiful than any dress could ever manage.
Then I realized something. As I watched her eyes fill up with tears, and as I beamed in approval at her happiness, I decided that the only thing that really makes anyone or anything special is someone loving them. You can make anything important by loving it.
My doubts about her age and her choice slipped quietly out of my mind as I realized that she had made him special by loving him, and she felt that he had made her special by loving her. Though, I loved her first, so she has been special to me for much longer than she knows.
It's like a song lyric I have always loved. "Happiness is anyone or anything at all that's loved by you."
The thing about these moments is that the moment isn't necessarily the most important part. It's what you make of the moment that decides how much it changed you. With this moment I have decided that I am going to be more generous with the love that I give. I've got a lot to offer people. And what do I have to lose?