Sweatpants Uniform–You Know You Want To

Ever have a morning where the world seems full of mal-intentioned, needy people out to make your life a chaotic, stress-ridden hell?  You know, when waking at the rooster’s crack of dawn leaves you feeling like you didn’t sleep a second, the shining sun is too bright for your doom and gloom mood, and your contacts are screaming blood-shot murder as they cling to your corneas.  You decided to ditch the Dunkin’ Donuts line of 12,000 people, and now you’re crashing from tea withdrawals.  And, by the way, there’s 15 more hours to go in this intensely scheduled day.  Gotta love it, right?

Couldn't resist!

When rested, I tend to be an optimistic morning person, but I realize that because of these tension-building wake-up calls, I sometimes take out my sleep-deprived, over-committed anxiety on the people who matter most.  This is the last thing I want to do!  Here’s some stress-releasing tips that work for me on even my worst days:

  1. As soon as possible, climb into your classiest gray on gray on gray on gray outfit: bulky socks, wrinkly t-shirt, “one size fits all” sweatshirt, and plain-ole ugly sweatpants.  Go all out and don gray underwear if you’re feeling ambitious.  These fashionable pieces will blend beautifully into a timeless onezie perfect for lounging.  I rocked my gray outfit around my house, and let’s be honest even in public, for 99.9% of the month after I returned from Ireland (a mourning/coping mechanism, if you will). This outfit may land you on “What Not To Wear” instead of the Best Dressed List, but it’s an extremely necessary part of every person’s wardrobe. This ensemble just screams to the world that you do not want to be bothered with and don’t care for its shenanigans.

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    My gray on gray on gray on gray. Use lint and chocolate cake stains as decorative accents when appropriate.

  2. Pick the M&Ms from the trail mix.  With school, work, and nerdy co-curriculars, I sometimes feel as if I do everything other people want me to and much less of what I want to do.  If your life is metaphorical trail mix filled with lots of things you’re supposed eat or should do, once in a while, pick around yucky pieces of dried prunes and only eat the yummy candy and raisin parts.  Most of my enjoyable energy outlets are just as nerdy as the forced pressures, like when I’m such a rebel reading a book that’s not for an assignment, or writing here instead of analyzing Macbeth.  But you, I’m sure you’re different.  Ride like the wind Bullseye and go bungee jump or something (hopefully more successfully than this), or just check out these awesome life tips.
  3. Humor in general.  People watch, have a “Seinfeld” marathon, see some Colbert clips, play the “chase the flashlight” game with your pet…   When all else fails, grab a 1,500 calorie Frappuccino and sit by the Starbucks door that looks like a “push” but is actually a “pull”.  Perch at the bottom of the Union’s prominent (need I mention steep) staircase and analyze the intense concentration with which everyone places one foot in front of the other trying not to wipe out and eat some of Pres. Flynn’s precious marble.  Write ridiculous things in your own blog while procrastinating on assignments, then realize all at once your huge, looming deadlines.  Oops, that kind of took the fun out of this.  Anyways…
  4. Make a list.  If you don’t have a planner, get one.  Now!  I mean it!  Run!  No matter how good at keeping mental lists you are, putting everything down on paper can relax your mind from having to memorize “to-dos”.  Write little things too, because when you get obsessed with lists (like I show below), even crossing off a little errand makes you feel accomplished.20120327-221209.jpg
  5. Breathe.  This is one of my more recent techniques, but boy, does it work wonders.  When I’m super stressed I get the feeling that I’m not breathing properly, which can be a form of anxiety.  Filling my lungs with some yoga-timed breaths normally calms me down, clears my head and gets me back on track for the day.  Well worth the few minutes of quiet it takes to recharge.  Check out one of my favorite websites Mind.Body.Green. for more great tips =)

“Vocabology!”

Do you have apps? iPad, iPhone, Android, etc.: everybody loves apps! There’s an app that links to the app store so you can buy or download even more apps. Words With Friends (Scrabble knockoff) and Bejeweled Blitz, Google maps and NPR News, Twitter and Youtube, Stephen Colbert and Pandora Radio… What’s not to love?

So I have this app on my iPhone, “Vocabology“. Every day at lunchtime, it gives me a notification of a few new words to learn. For everybody that sees me regularly, you may have noticed and are probably annoyed with it. Sorry. Anyway, on my list along with Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com, and Yahoo Education, I’ve selected an Urban Dictionary word, too. To anyone else that occasionally picks up some humorous literature, you know that absorbing some quiet form of comedy can often be more funny than it would be out loud, because no one around you know you’re reading something hilarious. Know what I mean? Well, if you’ve ever been on Urban Dictionary’s website you do know what I mean, and this can get comical and awkward very quickly. As a disclaimer, if you haven’t been on Urban Dictionary, chances are you’re probably surviving life just fine and have no reason to be reading its entries; therefore, you should not look it up. I’m being dead serious, and I’m warning you (This is not to promote that website, just using it as an example. Okay, keep reading).

Today, I scrolled from hebdomadal to catechize to discern to Brotox. The other day, it was demarcate to adroit to insolence to The Airport Effect. Switching from words building my scholarly vocabulary to those usually classified as funny, slang, or taboo is a great way to break up the seemingly endless task of constantly learning new things. While I love learning and surround myself with people who feel the same, no one can argue that, at times, learning the same type of material in the same way doesn’t get boring. It’s why part of being a good educator is mixing up the way information is presented to make it more interesting. Having this one fun word at the end of my list is honestly a great motivator for me to keep returning to this app daily.

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This was one of my Urban Dictionary words over the weekend. Even with all the apps and instant access to the entire internet, I don't think I can fully diagnose myself with this tic. Luckily.

This great app also has options to “favorite” words to come back to later, “history” to review missed days, the choice to include languages such as Spanish and German, audio clips for proper pronunciations, and quiz features, too! Nerd status. Yay, learning!

I Love The Hunger Games!

 

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You didn’t see The Hunger Games first movie release last night?  You valued sleeping from midnight until 2:30AM instead?  Lame!

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Fortunately for you and your delicate sleep schedule, I’m a huge fan of these midnight premieres.  Fortunately for me, I have enough lovely nerds in my life to make these gatherings fun =)  While I had to bribe my friend Erin into going with me to the premiere of HP 7.1, getting friends to stay awake for this movie wasn’t quite as difficult.  Two fellow English/Education friends, Kara and Elena, and our professor Becky excitedly trooped to a mall in Springfield with plenty of time to save our seats in what soon became a crowded theater.  And we brought some sugar to keep us awake.

I love going to these late-night obsessive fan mobs!  Whether watching the reactions of bored boyfriends that were dragged to Twilight, or the groggy girlfriends coerced into Transformers, I have a scary amount of fun people watching.  But not in a creepy way, promise.

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All the nerds are totally in their element discussing the cast selected, trailers watched, scenes most anticipated, the list goes on.  Normally, these premieres are a little stressful for me, because I’m hoping that the directors stayed true to the book and created a believable, yet creative interpretation to the story.  And honestly, for the most part, I am not usually very disappointed.  This movie was no different, and the producers definitely had a thorough understanding and motivation to keep the movie as similar as possible to the book.  While books in a series aren’t always perfectly screen adaptable, because of criticism from die-hard book fans, it’s important to please them.

The cast of this movie was brilliant; each character’s attitudes, expressions, and costumes (I have some great Halloween ideas) were even better than I’d imagined!  The timing/spacing of the film was perfect, in my opinion, playing a balance between the before-arena story, and the violent excitement in the “game”.  All actors showed a convincing role, accented by fantastic wardrobes, and visually pleasing sets!  All in all, definitely one of the best book/film adaptations that I’ve seen.  For any readers, minor changes you can expect include: a change in how Katniss receives the Mockingjay pin, ie not from Madge; no tongue-less Avox that Katniss recognized on the train; no sight of the hovercraft lifting dead tributes from the arena; lack of connection that the attacking “muttations” in the arena were transformed dead tributes…  Some back stories were left out, the relationship between Katniss and Peeta seemed glanced over, Haymitch turned from a drunk to a positive supporter overnight, and the camera was distracting from shaking, but I loved it.  Even without reading the books, I feel this would still be an entertaining movie to go watch; I’d like to hear other people’s opinions too!

Hope everyone enjoys the movie!  If there’s anything I missed, I’d be happy to hear.  I didn’t go as in-depth as possible, but I mainly wanted to share all the e-cards I’d found =)  For a more critical review, click here

It’s a Beach Life For Me!

Dad and I have been taking advantage of our proximity to the beach on Anna Maria Island every single day this week!!!  It’s been fantastic with only a three-minute walk to the ocean from our motel room!  The place we’re staying is picture perfect; they have beach chairs, umbrellas, etc. for guests to use whenever they please, because they know many people come by plane without the ability to pack those things.

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We’ve also been enjoying some beautiful sunsets =)

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And made our yearly début at Ed Smith Stadium, the recently built Orioles Spring Training park, supposedly one of the most environment-friendly ball parks in the country.  I don’t know how “green” they really are, but they make a great hot dog, if that counts for anything…  We watched the O’s lose badly against the Pirates on Wednesday, and have tickets to their game on St. Paddy’s day versus the Red Sox!  I have my Ireland shirt ready to go =)

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While I don’t have to pretend this week, I have a few envious friends back in New England, but hope you’re all enjoying your break.. even if you’re not at the beach!!  Though I couldn’t be at the beach every day of my life like Dad says he could, it has definitely helped me relax and get my creativity on:

 


WORSHIP

Churches, synagogues, other places of higher power prayer,

abandoned. Today, to the beach. Towels turn,

rotate like clockwork. Chins slanted upwards,

devoted attention. Oils applied, food scrap sacrifices

given to the sand. Even the birds

caw their chanted hymns

to the sun.