Saturday, June 30, 2012

Inspiration from Pinterest

Two of my latest projects.. Eeeeek I enjoy Pinterest way too much!


Power Outages and Other Shenanigans

So as I write this, I am actually in Microsoft Word, beginning at 10:55 pm on Friday, June 29. I am currently without power at home, with my parents. No Internet, no TV, no lights, sketchy cell phone service. It’s weird and a bit creepy. Around 9 tonight, our house’s lights flickered, and then all the power was gone. Trees outside were swaying so much, I was convinced they were going to snap and fall on so many houses, including our own. Oddly enough, there was hardly any rain in the midst of all this, and thunder and lightning have not been too prevalent, either. The most damage our block seems to have gotten is a few tree limbs down here and there. However, I’ve seen four or five rescue vehicles going up and down our street since this epic weather began almost two hours ago. For now, things seem calm.

In light of the lack of light and power, I thought that this would be a good time to make a new blog post to upload whenever the Internet graces my Mac with its presence again.

The past two weeks have kept me really busy. Sunday night, the 24th, I was finally able to begin giving John the birthday presents that I had literally been waiting weeks to unveil! That evening, I put a homemade lottery ticket on the front of my apartment door that greeted him when he got there around 7. Upon scratching it off, he learned that he had won a cake! Then, I opened up the microwave door to reveal a cake in there, made actually 3 weeks earlier! There is a long story behind this cake, and I will let the pictures below tell it. Basically, I followed a recipe online that led my mom and me compleeeetely astray.. So the first one was a total bust. The next one, though, turned out perfectly and stayed frozen at my home for about a week before I took it to Charlottesville and left it in the freezer there for a week before John got it. I am so happy with the final result, despite the inordinate amount of time it took to make it happen!

Cake Catastrophe of 2012


Cake of Champions 2012!

The following day, he got the rest of his gifts, which included a crayon melt I’d made of the rotunda, a new friendship bracelet, and a homemade birthday card. All in all, it was a successful day. That night, we watched one of the greatest movies ever, How to Train Your Dragon, which John had never seen. If you have avoided watching it because it has a strange title, stop right this minute and go rent it or find some way to see it. No spoilers, but I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Also, lots went on with UVA while I was there… I picked quite an eventful and dramatic week in the history of my school to be in Charlottesville. During much of my free time, I read both short and long articles about the ousting of President Sullivan and what should happen to Helen Dragas as Rector of Board of Visitors. Although I was disappointed that this situation happened at all, the way the UVA community reacted made me so proud of my school. There is no perfect institution, and the same can be said of the people who make it run, but I am still reeling over the way so many people spoke up for President Sullivan and got involved in some way or another. I felt really good attending two of the rallies/vigils while there. The problem at my school felt so large and impossible, but simply showing support on the Lawn was my way of doing something. I hope that the unity that has developed over this difficult time will continue into the fall and ultimately make my school a stronger and better place for future generations of students.



After spending almost a week and a half in Charlottesville, my parents drove through there on Wednesday to get me and continue driving to Richmond to visit my grandpa in his new residence and my grandma, too. The place isn’t exactly a nursing home, hospital, or senior center, but it’s kind of a combination of those three places. It’s a great facility that is only a few years old, meaning it lacks that smell that makes me never want to set foot inside similar places. Also, all the nurses, doctors, and workers there were so friendly and seemed really invested in their job.

Sadly, though, we didn’t really get to talk to my grandpa much, even though we were there for almost 4 hours. When we arrived, he was completely asleep from medicine he’d earlier taken. We did get to talk with my grandma a lot, which made me happy because I could tell she has been so stressed and worried lately. One of my favorite things about that day is the conversation we had with this awesome older man who kinda just showed up. My parents, grandma, and I were sitting around a table near drink machines when a man in a wheelchair rolled up to get a Diet Pepsi. We made pleasant conversation with him, and before long, he was cracking jokes and sharing stories with us. He was 88, but you wouldn’t have known based on how he talks and acts. The reason he’d ended up in the wheelchair is that he works at a childcare place, and recently, two little boys asked him to come outside and play soccer with them. So he did, and when he went to kick the ball, he lost balance and broke his hip. Despite that, though, he had one of the best attitudes I have ever seen. He wasn’t negative about his injury, and he was taking it day by day. And even though he was cooped up in the chair, he was as active as possible: he told us he had no idea who was playing at a ball game the following day, but he was going with other people in the facility  “just because!” He was such an inspiring and fun person to spend time with.

Grandparents and me, May 2011 

We did talk to my grandpa briefly before we left because he was somewhat awake. He kept going in and out of sleep, though, so he may not even remember that we were ever there… It was hard seeing him that way, but I wrote him a note so that there was some kind of “proof” we’d visited him and were thinking of him.

Since getting home that night, I’ve been shooting the breeze, I guess you could say. I watched Wednesday’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance, and I LOVED it (Shocker, I know.)! Thursday, I went to Jordan’s Point with Kristen to enjoy the perfect weather and water. That night, I saw Milk with Kelly, and that is another movie I would recommend to any and everyone. Harvey Milk was the first gay person elected to a public office, and the movie chronicles his life and dedicated fight for gay rights. The movie revolves around activism and hope; Milk said, “Life without hope is not worth living.”

Today, I’ve worked on more art projects for my room! I’ll post pictures later once they’re finished, but I’ve had a lot of fun with them. :)

Okay, this post… So long! I’m done for now and will try to make the next one sooner so it is more brief and has fewer topics to cover. This post only took about 45 minutes…! :O


Monday, June 18, 2012


The last few days have been packed with so many random (but good) events and happenings.

Friday was my first day leading crafts and working with "BV 2012," my church's weekly (minus a couple of Fridays) summer program with an Olympics theme to it. I arrived at 10 to begin figuring out how to make the somewhat last-minute craft we had chosen for that day, which would be an Olympic torch. Two hours later, I had the hang of my craft and went down to the fellowship hall to eat lunch with all the kids. I was so excited to be there because they, even from my first moments with them, gave off a fun vibe, and I could tell they were happy to be there, which made me happy, too.

After lunch, we sang some songs together and learned about Eric Lidell, an amazing Olympic runner from the 1920s. He refused to run the 100-meter race for the Olympic games because the event was on Sunday, his day of worship. Many of his fans were pretty disappointed in his decision because they wanted to see him bring home a victory for Britain. In the end, though, he did not let down his people because he began training for the 400-meter and ultimately won a gold for this event. His defeat was pretty impressive since many thought that he was simply not fit to run this particular race, as he had practiced for the 400-meter so little in comparison to the 100. Right before he began the race, someone slipped this Bible verse from 1 Samuel 2:30 into his hand, "Those who honor me I will honor." His story of true faith, dedication, and hard work was uplifting to hear. 

Here's a clip from the end of the movie. Pretty awesome guy, huh?

The rest of the afternoon consisted of a brief Bible study for the kids and some time in crafts with me. From 2:30 until about 4:30, we went to the city pool and had a blast swimming and playing in the water. I think I was a taxi service more than anything else since four kids kept asking for piggy back rides around the pool. They were crazy but so cute and fun. :) 

So many craft supplies!

My day was definitely a lot better than my Friday night, though. We got some bad news about my grandpa's health. He's had a couple of different types of cancer for some years now, but his health has deteriorated so much in the last six months especially. In March, my grandparents agreed to have Hospice come into their home to help take care of my grandpa and check on him in ways that my grandma simply could not. Although I knew that accepting Hospice care means an individual is terminally ill and often has little time left, I was happy and honestly surprised by how well my grandpa was doing when we saw him twice in May. He looked more frail than I've ever seen him, and he eats a lot less than he once did, but he still had a sense of humor, could walk, and was able to chat with my parents and me when we were at their home in Richmond. 

However, our last visit with them in May is the last one we will ever get to have with both of them in their home. Thursday, my grandparents went out with my aunt and uncle to a restaurant in Richmond. When they came home, my grandpa told his daughter and son-in-law to walk up the sidewalk steps to their home first because he is too nice and traditional for his own good and let them go ahead. Meanwhile, my grandma was reminding him from outside of their basement door that they normally go in that way because he would have a rail inside to get up those steps. The outdoor steps he wanted to walk up don't have a rail on either side. So while my aunt and uncle were at the entry door and my grandma at the basement door, my grandpa tried walking up the path and fell backwards down two or three steps. My family immediately called an ambulance, which arrived within 5 minutes. It took them 45 minutes to move him into the vehicle, and he was in so much pain because he broke his hip and got bruised very badly. Although the surgery to fix his hip could have been horrible and the end of his life, he did have a successful procedure on Saturday. But he will never return home and is probably going to a nursing home sometime either this week or next. I'm sad about the whole situation simply because there is not very much I can do. I am happy, though, that we were able to take good pictures all together on a visit in May so I have those memories on record and can look at those whenever. We may be visiting him sometime soon.


Since Saturday, I've spent my time doing various projects to get my mind on other things. I worked on my parents' rental property, painting and cleaning windows for the nice lady who lives there. That evening, I set up a 4th of July tree for my grandma in BV; it's basically a more patriotic spin to a Christmas tree. :p She likes having a seasonal tree in her house, and it was good to help her do that and just spend time with her for a few hours. 

In the midst of those two projects, I was also working over the weekend on a personal one for my new apartment. Although this took forever, it was worth it since it matches everything in my room pretty well. :) 

This is going to need a little more paint on the letters, but it's basically done. Yay!

Anyhow, this post has been waaaayy long, so I'll add more later about my adventures in my new apartment and around Charlottesville over the next few days. :)


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Busy Bee

Yesterday was so packed with projects that I can barely tell you about all of them. But actually, I really cannot tell you about them because a huuuuge portion of the day went to crafting away for John's birthday. In due time, they will be fair game for this blog, though. :)

I did, however, work on a small end table for my apartment. My grandmother went through her house and found the perfect addition for my room! It went from looking like this:

to this (2 coats of white paint later):

Painting this was surprisingly harder than I would have thought. For one, our paint was a bit tricky, since it hadn't been used in a while and had some awkward clumps and blobs within the can. I had to pick out lots of these once the furniture was painted, but in the end, it turned out pretty well. Getting in close to all of the corners and making it look neat was not an easy task, either. But now that it's done, I think it will fit right in with the rest of my white furniture.

I also was able to hang out with one of my best friends, Lynsie, and get some tasty Sweet Frog with her before she leaves to help out with freshman orientation at her college. This is awesome for her, but I am still confused... When did we stop being freshmen ourselves and become juniors in college?! Unreal.

Lynsie is a great friend, though, and let me indulge in watching part of So You Think You Can Dance while we were hanging out. I've been able to watch half of the episodes that have come on this season, and I love it just as much as ever. The producers definitely include the sweet, sad, and shocking background stories of many of the dancers to make better television, but I still fall for them every time. Last night, there was a man named Leroy Martinez who started an organization called Peacemakers, which provides kids a safe place during after school hours for creativity, especially through dance. He was a great dancer but not as skilled or trained as many of the others who appear on the show, so he unfortunately did not make it through to Vegas. Nonetheless, the show ended with me feeling like the happiest person alive because of this sweet story. I'm such a sap sometimes. 

Here's an example from a few weeks back that shows that SYTYCD knows how to tug on your heartstrings.

Oh, and then Kristen showed up while we were in the middle of watching CSI at my house. The episode got a little too intense and scary for me, so I'm glad I had their company.

Can't you see why they make everything better?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sweet summertime

What do you do when you live in a microscopically small town and wind up jobless the summer before your third year of college? How do you feel productive and accomplished when its seems like everyone you know is making bank, interning, traveling the world, and embarking into "the real world" while you're twiddling your thumbs deciding how to even spend your summer? How do you make success from an overabundance of free time?

Each of these questions has popped into my mind countless times and frustrated me no end... until very recently. A few months ago, I watched my summer plans unravel right in front of me when a job I had hoped to have during the months between my second and third year at the University of Virginia did not pan out. At the time, I was unsure of my college major (I was in the process of applying for Media Studies) and did not know where to even begin pursuing other job options. By the time I was accepted into the program for media studies, many of the summer internships related to my major for which I would have applied had already filled all of their positions. Consequently, I was very much unemployed, discouraged, and annoyed at myself for being in this predicament.

The situation only seemed to worsen when I actually came home for the summer. My hometown has fewer than 7,000 inhabitants and even fewer summer jobs available for someone my age. So after briefly (and halfheartedly) attempting to get a job in my area, I began getting desperate for ways to either make money or simply feel like I was doing something, anything, useful with my time. With the hopes of making some money, I uploaded examples of my photography onto a website that sells images for commercial purposes. I also attempted taking online surveys that pay cash. They were both pretty unsuccessful endeavors that have yet to add one dollar to my bank account.

Instead of wallowing in the summer that I was not having, though, I decided to try looking at what I did have and come up with ways to feel useful and productive in the environment around me. Since I had this attitude adjustment, I have been so much happier and have been actually enjoying my summer, even though I still have no official job. 

I'm using this blog as a way to document the events of my summer, from the occasional mundane tasks to the more exciting projects and activities I'm undertaking. Because I love writing and using digital media, this website seemed like a good way to showcase how I spent and enjoyed my summer. Here are some of the things I am currently really looking forward to:

1) Vacation Bible School is July 15th! I haven't helped in two years, but I so pumped to return and lead the music in a month!

2) 73958734 repairs, DIY projects, and planning for my new apartment in Charlottesville! Eeeek! I love that I can now bring to fruition things I pinned on Pinterest... :)

3) My church is starting an Olympics-themed program for kids six Fridays this summer. I'm helping with the crafts there as well as creating a website and documenting/filming/photographing kids being awesome. It's pretty obvious why I wanted to be a Media Studies major, I think. :)

4) OBB, or better known as Operation Boyfriend's Birthday! John turns 22 on the 25th of June, and I am diligently working to make that date a success. :) The specifics on that may stay under wraps for now, though, as I want everything to be a surprise. :) 

5) Simply spending time with my incredible friends and family that surround me on a daily basis. They always keep me going and make life that much sweeter.

This summer is shaping up to be pretty spectacular after all. :)

Basically, if you want to be happy, then be.