Week 12 and Oh the Possibilities!

Monday and Wednesday: Nothing (I love it when classes get out early!)

Tuesday and Thursday: mix and match of chili, cheese, and various carbs (those three together are deliiiiiicious, though not particularly healthy)

There’s something about springtime that makes me happy and content. I think it’s the feeling of so much potential; things are slowly starting to blossom, summer is on its way with freedom and time, and even the weather seems to be encouraging us to go out and do something.

We still have a little bit of rain to go, but this weekend has been beautiful so far. This weekend is also Gold Nugget Days, one of three big events put on at the park near us every year. There’s a parade and an almost all day craft fair essentially in my backyard. I didn’t even spend much of my time around, I wandered around semi-awkwardly with someone I haven’t hung out with significantly in several years, absentmindedly watched part of the parade while munching on a bucket-o-fries (seriously! That thing was bigger than my head!) and then retreated to my room to read and relax. But even with my minimal participation, the day made me happy.

I guess I could complain about not being able to leave during the parade because the street was blocked off, or risking losing my parking spot to go anywhere else, or too many people being around (people have an odd compulsion to take pictures with our Jesus statue), but that all seems petty. There are actual people around, enjoying themselves, being with other people, and generally doing something other than sitting in front of a screen. I can get behind that.

We’ve been changing around here as well, getting started on some spring cleaning, so that you can actually see the floor in the pantry, and the table underneath our junk table. I think my favorite change has been finally putting up lights we got from IKEA ages ago. They’re pretty in the daylight,

and downright gorgeous at night.

(you can click for a larger image, those little thumbnails do neither the actual lights nor the 12 megapixel goodness of the pictures justice).

I officially have less than a month left of school, and plenty of finals and projects to fill that time. After monitoring how I react to stress, I’ve realized that usually only under extreme stress do I move from the freaking out stage into a very calm, relaxed state, where I just walk myself through what I have to do, and then go do it. Within the last couple weeks, I’ve jumped very quickly into the second stage, which has been quite nice. I’ve tended to get too mired down in worrying about something to actually do what I need to do.

I’d like to say that I’m just that awesome, but frankly if I was going to acclimate to stress it probably would’ve been under the much more extreme stresses I was under a couple of years ago. Maybe something with the Abbey is helping out. Maybe the promise of summer is helping me chill out more. Maybe the stack of books I want to read and projects I want to work on that are calling to me, asking me to come do something I love, make doing the stuff I don’t always care about go by easier.

(To clarify: I’m very excited to be a teacher, and I love it. But all of the busy work I have to do in between? Meh. Sure, I’ll write a 5 page lesson plan for you for a 15 minute activity, but I hope you know that when I’m a teacher it’ll be a post it note and I probably won’t ever use this method/format again.)

Alex and I had a good conversation today about my dwindling number of friends, and my feeling that I’m beginning to become a loner. Not necessarily anti-social, but the things I enjoy the most tend to either be single-person activities, or can be shared with someone else but I have no one to share it with. And…I’m okay with that.

When I was much younger, still home schooled before starting public middle school, I was a pretty weird kid. I was nearly mute to anyone not in my family, but I was cool with myself. I played with imaginary friends, and virtual friends on Neopets. I drew a lot, and pretended to cook food out of miscellaneous plants from our yard.

I went to school. I learned that those things are weird and not cool, and that to be cool I had to convince a lot of people that I was and to get them to all be my friends. Middle school was lots of heartbreak and tears for me. The first year or so of high school was a little better, and my sophomore and junior years I felt a started feeling more confident in myself, but I was still super self-conscious and frightfully needy to my friends.

Add in a couple years of college, and here we are. I feel like I’ve come, maybe not full circle, but in some sort of spiral? Like I’m back somewhere close to where I started, except it’s different because of course I have years more experience and knowledge about both myself and others.

I live in a church, not because I have to, but because I choose to and it’s good for me. I’ll graduate college before my 21st birthday. I have zero inclination to party. I devour just about any book set in front of me – yes, even textbooks. I like to knit, sew, paint, and any combination of those or others. I play Humans versus Zombies, may at some point play Dungeons and Dragons, and enjoy geeking out with my limited geek abilities. My boyfriend has predicted that before long I’ll be playing text games and programming. I sometimes get really annoyed with other people my age. And I’m pretty okay with all this.

There’s still all those old people-pleasing, self-conscious habits I have ingrained in me, but more and more I feel like there’s a decently confident core underneath, aware that I suck at some things and am pretty okay at others, and admitting that doesn’t make me incompetent or naive, just aware of myself.

I feel like I’ve gotten off topic here. And rambled on for a long time. I think I was originally going to talk about my impending loss of a longtime friendship, and that’s where me being okay with who I am came into play? I don’t remember that train of thought anymore. I also feel sleepy. I think I’m going to bed while I still feel all confident and awesome; maybe, just maybe, that self-conscious, people pleaser layer of me will be just a tad bit thinner tomorrow. We’ll see.

Also, I’m going to go put that paragraph as my Facebook bio. Why not? *yoink*

Edit: Drat. Went waaaay over the word limit. It’s not quite the same in condensed form, but I’ll take it.

Week 11: Anti-Zombie Punks, Organics, and Getting WoW Players to Contribute to Society

I think I may have gotten my numbering of weeks off here at some point, since I know I have a month plus finals left, but there are 17 weeks including finals in a semester. Ah well.

Monday – pasta, sausage, and cheese; apple

Tuesday – granola bar, banana

Wednesday – nothing (the joy of getting out of class early!)

Thursday (today! I’m early!) – Pulled pork sandwich, bean burrito

I’m going to go ahead and get out the bit of negativity I have right now. So, things I don’t like right now:

On the bright side, there’s all of this loveliness:

  • Garden goodness: almost all of the garden boxes for Summer and Josh’s back yard are built and filled with fertilizer, and our plot behind the sanctuary is almost completely plowed. We’ve got seeds en route, and the planting should start soon.
  • We’ve been attending various shindigs around Chico, one about permaculture and our last one about eating organically, with one next week with specifics on planting and tending gardens. Personally, whenever I’ve thought about “eating organic”, I’ve imagined going over to that overpriced section of Holiday. For whatever reason, it’d never occurred to me that it can also mean buying straight from the farmer, which leads me to…
  • We’ve been looking into CSAs (community supported agriculture), which for us would mean paying a flat rate to have a box of fresh, seasonal veggies/fruit/possibly meat delivered to us either weekly or monthly. A few examples include GRUB, Turkey Tail Farm, and our own Paradisian Sawmill Creek Farm (links to article, no main website available).
  • Unrelated to CSAs, Chico Chai makes me happy. (You had me at “I will be paying my employees a living wage, so that they aren’t constantly searching for a new job or struggling to make ends meet.”)
  • Instructions for making slipcovers, including how to put in zippers and some fancy cording, make my life much easier (in retrospect, white was definitely not a good choice in couch color). Thank you, wise internet!
  • Finding ways to take the skills a large percentage of my generation has learned and is constantly using in gaming, and turning these into projects to positively impact our world. That’s not just hypothetical, either; check out Evoke, Superstruct, and World Without Oil.
  • Out of Evoke (which, I believe, is still running) came a fantastic Kiva group. A mere 30 people have loaned money to 24 separate small groups in developing countries for a current total of over $600. I’m reminded again of the difference a small group of determined people can make.

Hm, so looking at it that way (2 annoyances in my week versus the laundry list of positive things) I find my mood improving significantly. Ah, and I almost forgot one other positive: vlogging back and forth with Heather. Good stuff.

This seems like a good note to start my weekend on.

Week 10 and the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!

This week has been…interesting. I worked five days straight, and for several days in a row felt little inclination to eat or sleep. The only thing I could think of would be that it was stress related, though I’ve felt little stress all week. Well, except for these guys hunting me on campus:

Yes, that’s right. the Zombie Apocalypse (also known as Humans Versus Zombies) came to campus this week.

Alex took part as well, for his third semester. He survived the first two games, but this time was taken out not too long after me (though to be fair, there are buildings that are much more active because more people from those subjects play – applied computer graphics, sciences, math, and computer sciences  – and he has more classes in these areas than I do.) By the way, those socks are the weapons used to stun zombies since we aren’t allowed to use nerf guns.

The humans had missions to complete throughout the week for rewards, including getting a scientist to a lab so he could cure several zombies

as well as…eating hot dogs? Yea, I don’t know, I was a zombie by this point.

Most of the missions ended up being a LOT of running (there’s no workout like the zombie apocalypse, huh?), and doing our best to  stay away from corners/bushes/other blind obstacles

in case one of these buggers popped up out of nowhere.

It was particularly interesting for me to watch how people interacted with each other throughout the week. Everyone starts off as a human, and there’s a ton of cohesion among the group – or at least on the surface. Once you get past the shouts of “Viva la resistance!” it gets obvious that everyone’s still guarded, because anything you give away about class schedule, tactics, etc, you might be giving to someone that will be a zombie within the hour.

As humans started dropping like flies, those that were converted early on are completely loyal to the zombies, while those that get tagged later tend to feel a lot of sympathy with the humans (particularly since some zombies get to be brought back to the human side, so there’s some self interest there too). I was still cheering for the humans right up until the point I found out that I can still play as a zombie today even though I’m “deceased” (that means I didn’t eat enough brains).

So, I’m going to go bake a NOT-birthday cake for a certain someone, head down to Chico with Alex to nom some brains, and come back up to play a zombie board game. That is a lot of zombie in one day.