Friday, August 31, 2012

extremely tired and incredibly sore

(a novel about my first week of junior year)

Well, I have officially survived my first week as an upperclassman! Not that I ever, you know, thought I wouldn't, but it's been a long week. The days have actually passed fairly quickly, but at the same time it seems like Sunday was eons ago.

For one thing, cross country practice has started. It's my first time on the team (actually, it's the first time I've ever been on any school team) so I was a little (a lot) nervous at first, but everyone is nice and stuff and I think it's going to be alright. We have to be there promptly at 5:50 AM, though, so we don't die of heatstroke. (Instead, we'll die of exhaustion.) JK it's not really that bad. It's only 3-4 days a week and I just have to try to go to bed a little earlier so I'm not a zombie, which hasn't been a problem yet. I am incredibly sore, though. Everywhere. The other day, I sneezed and a wave of pain hit my stomach. I do feel slightly better now. I guess that pain is a good thing because it means I'm actually working out...

And then there are the classes. I'm in 5 AP classes this year (Statistics, U.S. History, Psychology, and English, and Human Geography next semester) and one Pre-AP (Spanish). The looming threat of the AP test is slightly terrifying but other than that the classes themselves aren't awful (yet). We did an experiment in Stats today that involved taste-testing brownies, for instance. That sort of thing I can go along with. My other classes are generally less stressful: Painting, and Health, which is an online course and once I complete it, that's basically a free period. If I can just stay on top of all of that (and guitar, and NHS, and "social things", and stuff I actually want to do!!), I'll be in good shape.

Tonight is our first football game of the season and the spirited pep rally somehow convinced me that, despite my overall exhaustion, it would be a good idea to go. So I have that to look forward to tonight! I'll have all of tomorrow to stay home and watch TV, anyway. (Doctor Who comes back!)

Hope y'all had a great week and have an even better weekend!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

kansas city

Just some scenes from good old K-town, where I was for the past few days, visiting family & such. The first two days we mostly walked around downtown since my cousins had school during the day. Saturday we went to Worlds of Fun and then came back for my aunt's birthday party. It was a quick trip but lots of fun. A good way to wrap up the summer. 

Now, no more traveling for me for several months. I'm a little sad about that, but, you know, it is what it is. eeek. 

Hope you're all enjoying your last days of summer or first days of school. Stay classy, y'all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


"You can get better." It wasn't until I heard those words that I realized a) how true they are, and b) how much I needed to hear them. Because whether we're talking about running or writing, you can get better. Don't dismiss something right off the bat because you don't feel you have a natural talent for it. What is natural talent anyway: the result of good genes, of luck? Bah. From a young age we are told that some people are simply born brilliant at some things, and there's nothing we can do about it if we aren't. "Oh, I'm just not an artist," says someone who can't draw like da Vinci on a first attempt. "I'm not musical," "I clearly don't have an athletic bone in my body," "I'm just not a math person." I've probably said all those things and more in my lifetime, excusing my less-than-stellar work as the result of my not having a certain skill. Well, that's just lazy. Edison said that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. I'm inclined to think he's right.

Do you think that people who are successful are successful just because they're lucky? Maybe they had a few things in their favor, but the truth is, no matter how gifted you are at something, you still have to work hard to get anywhere. Even if you're born with the voice of an angel, if you don't do anything with it, you're not going to be a famous singer.

So if you're like me and you're afraid that all your literary ambitions are shot because you're bad at both plotting and poetry, or that you're going to fail cross-country because you can't run 5 miles without stopping, no way Jose, then don't worry. Because you can get better. It will probably be hard and you will probably want to give up and proclaim that you aren't cut out for this sort of thing, but if you want to improve, you have to keep going. I mean, I remember when I couldn't even make it a full lap around the track (1/4 of a mile) without pausing to rest. Now I can go about 2 miles without stopping. Obviously, I still have a ways to go, but it's encouraging to see that progress. Give yourself a little more credit. You can do it. You're just going to have to try a little more.

This was mostly written to comfort and encourage myself. But if anyone else found any meaning in it then I am glad. On that note...I'm almost ready to sweep the remnants of summer under the carpet and usher in fall...almost, but not quite. Before I say goodbye to this season, I have one last adventure ahead of me. I'm going to be in Kansas City from tomorrow until Sunday, the day before school starts (!). See you then, and enjoy the last days of summer!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

of birthdays and other days

So, most of the pictures from my birthday party didn't turn out, but that's okay. You can still see my cake in one happy, colorful digital shot and one very dark, grainy film shot. It had a lot of candles and was extremely delicious. (I used this recipe, for those interested! I highly recommend it.)

That was last Friday. This Friday (being yesterday) I went to my friend's sixteenth birthday party. It was downtown at a club and we had to dress up and everything. There was dancing and seeing people I hadn't seen all summer and lots of balloons. Not my natural habitat, as I said a few times last night, but I had fun. Oh, and there was cake. 

It's raining now, as I write this. It's perfect timing, actually, because it gave me the chance to go running by the lake and to the farmer's market this morning, back when it was sunny. Now the sky is dark and the trees are swaying in the wind and I hear thunder in the distance. We don't have enough of these days here, but when we do get them, you better believe I enjoy it. I think I'll go curl up with a book or some TV reruns. Adios.

Monday, August 13, 2012

my mind is a garden

I am a tired bird today. I lay in bed willing my eyes not to clamp shut again, willing my head not to slump against the pillow and come back up with the indentations of a crinkled sheets once more. One nap is enough for one day, I tell myself, but still my body insists otherwise, reminding me that I have been up since before the sun this morning. Running, the reason for such an early rise, tires me, but it is nothing, I dare say, compared to the toll of babysitting. Negotiating with a seven-year-old who only wants to watch TV and/or a piggyback ride while simultaneously going bankrupt in a game of Monopoly against an eight-year-old who also wants your undivided attention while also trying to make sure the pet dog is not, in fact, going to kill an innocent neighborhood cat can be quite draining. (The dog may be the most well-behaved being in the house, I'm afraid. Myself included, perhaps. I try.) No, I don't think I shall have kids for quite some time.

Anyway, that's been my life in a nutshell lately, since I got home. Babysitting, and running, and watching the Olympics in the evenings although that, sadly, is over. Lots of routine punctured by some bursts of, well, excitement, I guess-- I had my birthday party last weekend and I'll most likely post about it when I get my pictures back.

I do think that I'm happy right now, when I can push the worries of the impending year to the back of my brain. Those thoughts of school creep up and stress me out when I should be happily enjoying my summer. I could be truly happy if for those nagging worries that never fully go away. Forgive me if this is trite, but I tend to think of my mind as sort of a garden. All the worries are weeds, and while there are some that can be easily plucked out, or remedied with a slight of hand, others are more deeply rooted. You can cut off the stems, forget them for a while, but they will grow back eventually. I'm trying my best right now just to cover them up with flowers, with nice thoughts of 'living in the moment' and all that. It's going okay...but I can't help but working myself up about insanely banal things sometimes.

Like reading. When I was younger, I was something of a voracious reader. I read a lot, but more than that, I was really invested in these stories. To this day a lot of my disappointments in life stem from the fact that my life is not a novel. (I say that in all seriousness.) I have always thought of myself firstly as a reader, and then as a writer, photographer, musician, etc. etc. A lot of my identity, how I define myself, is rooted in being a reader.

So this is why it distresses me that, lately, I can't seem to get through a book. It started with school, when I didn't have 'enough time' to read regularly. But now it's the summer, and I've been going to the library and coming back with five books, only to return about three of them unfinished. I've speculated the cause of this annoying phenomenon, as I do with most things. Did my attention span somehow become shorter, due to this awful internet culture of the 21st century? Is this just something that happens when you grow up? Is that why so many adults have to put "read 25 books" on their New Years Resolutions, a number I always found to be insanely small? Am I just reading the wrong books? I don't know, but it makes me sad. It's always alarming when something that used to be a rock-solid fact is no longer true.

I hope I can get back into reading. Everyone says (and they're right) that you have to read to write. Maybe there's some correlation between my not-reading and my not-writing?

I've been wanting to write here (or anywhere, really; just write in general) for a while, but instead of forcing it, I've just been kind of waiting the dry spell out. I don't really recommend this strategy if you ever want to get anything accomplished, but sometimes I just need a break, even from the things I enjoy. I want to get in the habit of writing even when I don't feel like it, though, because, really, not being in the 'mood' for it is no excuse. If I just sit down and do it, something will come. And it may not be the best something, but it's better than nothing. I think it would be good for me.

(This was a long, disconnected post. If you actually read it, you're cool. Thanks.)

Monday, August 06, 2012

a last cabin hurrah

I've been home several days from what was probably my last time at the cabin in Truckee. My grandparents are selling it and the "for sale" sign in front was a strange and foreign sight to my eyes. I've been going there once or twice a year all my life. I've known it in hot summers and snowy Christmases, and it in turn has seen me through all seasons of my life thus far. In fourth grade, I wrote an essay on it for school (prompt: write about a favorite place) and that essay is hanging by the fireplace in the cabin. I'd use different words now, but the sentiment is still the same. It's one of the most beautiful places and it means a lot to me. I hesitate to call it a "second home" but it's full of family and traditions and lots of memories. This time, a last hurrah, was no different. The days were packed with horseback-riding, kayaking, tubing, swimming, and hiking, as well other things, like s'more-making.

When we left, I surprised myself by not getting overly emotional about it. It's bittersweet, yes, but now there are new places to look forward to. And besides, I've come to know the memories were the best things you ever had. (x)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

a million and one ways to write a blog post

I keep on trying to start this post in my head and my train of thought keeps getting derailed. I don't know what to say. I could start by saying it's August and wonder aloud, as people often do, about where the time has gone. I could mention the fact that I've been in California since the 23rd and that I'm leaving tomorrow. I could say that I'm going to be flying without parents for the first time and that though I'm sixteen years old, it still makes me slightly apprehensive. I could talk about how I'm going to be home for less than 24 hours before I leave to go camping in West Texas for the weekend. I could muse about how I've barely been home all summer, and how that makes me feel (verdict: confused, mostly, and also happy and slightly worried). I could follow that tangent and bring up the fact that I really want to go to Kansas City to see my cousins this month but my parents are still wavering about it, as the date comes closer and closer. I could talk about how there's a lot I'm still unsure about when it comes to the future, but I know it will all work out.

There's a lot of other things I could talk about, too: the Olympics, and my own athletic endeavors, and cooking dinner, and riding horses, and missing people, and Oscar Wilde, and Paris, and driving golf carts, and birthday parties, and how I actually can't wait to play guitar again, and how you notice all these new things right before you leave a place for the last time.

There's a lot I could say, actually. There're a million and one ways to write this post, but only one way, I feel, to end it. And that is by saying I can't wait until I can get back on a computer and blog here again. This iPad ain't cutting it.