15 September 2015

New Developments

Last time I posted, I promised more regular updates.

That was a month ago.

Oops.

So this won't be a post so much as it will be a series of updates. Let's see what I've been up to:


Studying

I have been so busy since school started again! 

It's only Week Four and I'm already behind on reading for Humanities, and Comparative Politics, and Philosophy... And add to that to the quiz and the two tests and the essay I have in store for me next week. This GPA isn't going to maintain itself, you know. I made the Dean's List last semester, and I'd like to prove to myself that it wasn't simply a fluke.

Working

Over the summer, I got Lifeguard certified on a whim. I figured it was useful knowledge to have, and having the certification opened up more opportunities for me, job-wise. It only took a weekend, and in the long run it was well worth the cost, so why the heck not?

When I got back to Reno, I checked out some of the part-time job openings the city had, as I was actually hoping to return to my old job in Youth Services. Lo and behold, there was a lifeguard position waiting for me. I applied simply because I was applying everywhere, but I did end up getting called back, so now I have the honor of guarding the lives of Reno's citizens. And hey, I get free access to city facilities.

Getting Involved

Last semester, I became a sister of Sigma Alpha Iota and I'm loving it! I love seeing my sisters every week and I'm already on three (actually, technically four) committees. 

I've also joined an on-campus group called Nevada Youth for Bernie Sanders, which works in tandem with the Washoe County Democrats for Bernie Sanders to volunteer for the campaign. We're currently working on voter registration, canvassing, and phone calling; on campus, we're going to begin tabling to register students to vote and talk to them more about voting for Bernie and volunteering for his campaign. 

Additionally, I applied for an internship with the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) and I was nominated for one of the open positions! Next week I have a meeting that should confirm my admittance as a Legislative Intern.

Becoming Health Conscious

This semester, I have a few goals regarding my lifestyle. They are as follows:
  1. Continue the exercise routine I established in physical therapy over the summer to help my knees improve.
  2. Strengthen my upper body and core, and increase my endurance.
  3. Lose weight and keep it off.
  4. Maintain a more balanced diet, i.e. more than just pasta and others carbs.
I'm also going to try to go vegetarian for a month sometime this semester, purely to challenge myself.


However, none of this means that I'm done blogging; if anything, this all means I'll just have more to blog about! I still have plenty of post ideas that I need to flesh out, whenever I have the time and/or the inspiration. And I'm hoping to expand Dilettanteish even more, becoming more active within the blogging communities I'm already a member of, and taking more control over my blog. So stay tuned, and to really keep up with me, follow me on:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

and Tumblr






10 August 2015

Career Consideration

At the end of my junior year of high school, I decided that Music Education was the right path for me; I was set on being a band director, excited to teach and influence students the way my band director had taught and influenced me and my peers.

And now, here I am, heading into my sophomore year of college, a Political Science major. How did I get here?? Let's review.

1. Editor-in-Chief (English major, a focus on [American] Literature)

...at a big name publishing house, naturally. At 16, I fantasized about having my own office on the top floor of a large building overlooking the bustling streets of a fast-paced city, having an assistant, wearing pencil skirts and blouses and sensible heels, all while being the powerful and in-control head of publications for whatever company I had graced with my presence.

2. Band Director (Music Education)

Perhaps high school, perhaps college (Dr. Augustine certainly has a nice shine to it, doesn't it?), it didn't really matter to me as long as I had my baton in one hand and a large coffee in the other. (Both necessary to making it through a long and demanding day of score study, rehearsals, paperwork, etc., etc., etc.) That lasted until I realized that I didn't want to deal with the immature and bratty students who would petition to get me fired (something that actually happened to my HS director (nothing came of it; their ridiculous claims had no grounds)), nor did I have the patience to do so.

3. Museum Curator (History, with an emphasis on Museum Studies)

Social studies has always been a bit of a strong point for me; history has always held a great deal of mystique and intrigue in my eyes. It sort of just made sense. It held the same allure as Editor-in-Chief, in a completely different field.

4. Librarian (Masters in Library Sciences/Information Studies)

I can sort of just picture myself as a librarian. However, after a bit of research, I found that my university does not offer this program and I could not find any related undergraduate programs either. But that didn't matter, because my boyfriend's father {future father-in-law? maybe.} pointed out that libraries are a bit of a dying breed, loathe as I am to admit that.

5. Campaign Manager

Where I am currently: similar to #4, picturing myself as a campaign manager (a la Jen Barker, of Parks and Recreation) sort of just clicks in my head. It feels right. I shiver with delight when I think about it. It fills me with enthusiasm. I believe I've found what I'm meant to do- but we'll see. Maybe I'll be adding a #6 to this list. 

03 August 2015

Top Five || Song Lyrics

I know I'm not the only one who uses song lyrics as captions on selfies and aesthetic photos. Personally, whenever I hear a line that strongly resonates with me, I add it to an ever-growing note on my phone (which I refer to whenever I post to Instagram). [If you follow me on insta, try to spot if/when I've used these as captions: @aveformosissima]

Of these, here are my top five.


Life has a hopeful undertone.

{ twenty one pilots - migraine }


Just a series of blurs, like I never occurred.

{ death cab for cutie - someday you will be loved }


Not sure there's a way to express what you mean to me.

{ macklemore + ryan lewis - cowboy boots }


All these broken pieces fit together to make a perfect picture of us.

{ snow patrol - the lightning strike }


Satisfaction feels like a distant memory.

{ arctic monkeys - r u mine? }


And a few bonus lyrics, since I've been on hiatus since I got back to Vegas:


Nothing safe is worth the drive.

{ taylor swift - treacherous }


Now he lives inside someone he does not recognize, when he catches his reflection on accident.

{ death cab for cutie - brothers on a hotel bed }


Be the lightning in me.

{ snow patrol - the lightning strike }
[yes, i am counting it separately, because this is a three movement, fifteen-minute long song; see link above]


Baby, it couldn't have been that easy to forget about me.

{ tom petty - even the losers }


I fall apart, with all my heart.

{ lorde - tennis court }

I've had a few ideas so stayed tuned for a couple more updates in the coming weeks. My blog has been neglected for far too long.

07 May 2015

Sierra Kids Quotes

In March, I started working for the City of Reno, in a Youth Services Program called Sierra Kids: it's a before and after school program for kids whose parents have to go to work early or stay late.

This worked perfectly for me, as the shifts started around 7 and ended a little after 9 in the morning, which gave me plenty of time to get home and get to my 10 a.m. class. I'm nothing close to a "morning person," so there were many days where I considered calling in, but somehow I always mustered up the drive to roll out of bed and get to school.

Although my stint there didn't last long, I really enjoyed the opportunity and am glad I got the chance at all.

And that's not just because of the hilarious things some of the kids have said to me (which I leave you with now).


  • [Being told to listen] I can't hear because my ears aren't happy!
  • [Her mom drops her off and she walks up to our table; the first thing she says is] My grandma puts alcohol in her fudge.
  • [I suggested to a child that he should play a card game against one of the other girls in the program] But she's a stronger opponent than me!
  • It's just not easy being a kid.
  • [He raised his hand; I walked over and asked if he needed anything.] Yeah, I need to tell you something. It's a secret. [leans in closer and whispers to me] You look beautiful.
  • [In reference to being told to follow directions] I like listening, but it's weird. And if I listen, how will I see the action... on his face?
  • And it's not heart healthy, like Campbell's!
  • [Holds up a Lego] This is my puppy!
  • When I grow up, I want to be a dog.
  • I have stinky farts. They smell like a dog pooped in a house and they left it for three days.
  • [Singing to himself, while playing with a Lego man] I believe I can fly... in the sky. I believe I can fall and hurt myself. [Makes crash landing noises]
  • Dude, can you babysit my baby?
  • What's your name again? [I tell him my name.] Okay! [Leans in a gives me a hug.]
  • [Opens a Danimals yogurt drink.] Ew... somebody pooped in here.
  • [He was trying to pronounce "class" without saying "crass"] Cuhl-ASS!
  • [Walks up and hands me a blank sheet of paper] Can you make me a cootie catcher?
  • [My supervisor called one of the girls "Wise guy."] I am not a guy. [He corrects himself and calls her "Wise girl."] I am not wise.
  • A likes B, but C likes B too and now C is like really protective of B and if he finds out that A asked B out then C will hurt A, so we have to stay close to A all day and protect him.
  • [In reference to a yo-yo that they were trying to "sleep"] I can hear it snoring!
  • I just know it, I read a book about science.

01 May 2015

Roses and Pearls

Today, I will be initiated into Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music fraternity for women.

{Yes, fraternity, and not sorority.}

At first, I was a little apprehensive. Did I really want to commit myself to this? Did I want these girls to be my sisters? Did I have any time left to spend on it? Would I even be able to pass the National Exam? And I had to do a recital?? 

Oh, dear.


I missed all of the events that happened during recruitment week, aside from the very last one, which I almost didn't attend because I was nervous that it would look bad since I had been absent at every other event. Nevertheless, I attended and submitted my information, then settled in to watch the movie with the other girls.

It was Tangled, which I've seen a dozen times and am no longer so keen on, but I had fun. Something about the atmosphere in the room between all of us girls just felt so electric. I wanted more of it.

And then I was nervous that they wouldn't want me to be their sister.

Luckily for me, I have a few friends who are already members and who vouched for me. I received my invitation.


I met my Big, and again felt apprehension. What if I don't like her? What if she doesn't like me? What if it's awkward? Oh my god what did I just sign up for?

But I do like [love] her and she does like [love] me and, yes, it was awkward, but we moved past it and I can't imagine having anyone else take me through the process of becoming a sister of SAI.

As for what I signed up for, I signed up for a fellowship forged through music. I signed up for friendships created because of common interests and continued because of genuine love. I signed up for sisterhood.

I survived my recital despite my stage fright and I survived our sleepover/study night despite my lack of social prowess and I survived the National Exam despite my poor study skills.

And tonight, all of that comes to fruition and all of this becomes real.

I am bursting with excitement and with love for my fellow MITs and future sisters.


So, here's to Roses and Pearls and ΣΑΙ Girls.

I can't wait.


02 April 2015

<< The College Journey >>

Part II

I'm so incredibly excited for May to arrive. I'm so restless here, I'm so ready to spend the summer at home. It's making it hard to focus on classes, and therefore, it's a problem.

So maybe the solution is to re-visit last summer and remind myself why I decided to exile myself to Reno. (Only partly kidding.)

Let me begin by saying that I had a really fantastic senior year: I had (have) a great boyfriend, I had (have) awesome friends, I was doing well in school and found out that I was a valedictorian candidate, I was accepted to every college I'd applied to and offered tons of money to attend. I had a lot of things going for me. 

And then suddenly high school was ending and, well, I wasn't ready for that.

I have a fear of public speaking that definitely was not relieved by a 300-strong graduating class (plus family members). My boyfriend was leaving for the summer, and we broke up. I was plagued by the idea that maybe when I'd accepted admission and declared my major that maybe I'd chosen wrong. 

I spent the summer trying to distract from the train-wreck that was my speech, the heartbreak that remained of my relationship, and the terrifying doubt that I was leaving everything I loved behind for a mistake.

I distracted myself well enough that I grew excited at the prospect of moving to Reno. I was possessed by idea of transforming myself and finding myself and moving into a new chapter of my life. Orientation got me psyched up for the semester and furnishing my apartment psyched me up to live on my own and my (ex) boyfriend's silence steeled my determination to be better off without him.

So even though we've since gotten back together and even though this apartment has disappointed me significantly and even though the academic stress has caused more than a few meltdowns, I'm going to try to approach the rest of this semester with the same enthusiasm and optimism that I had coming into the year. I'm going to try to revive the zeal I brought here with me.

And hopefully that will carry me through until I can migrate back south.

29 March 2015

Pre // Post

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Well, the honest answer there is that I don't. I haven't given much thought to where I'll be or what I'll be doing at 24 because the answers to those questions hinge so heavily on who I'll be.

But that's not exactly an answer your parents and former teachers want to hear when they ask that, so I tell them that I want to move back to Henderson (which is true) and that I want to work in local government (also true). But they're not things I want in the sense that I'm anxiously awaiting the day they become possible, laying groundwork and preparing myself for the inevitability that these things will come to pass.

I can barely imagine where I'll be in two months. Do people seriously expect me to have the next five years planned out so intricately that I'll have even a semblance of an idea as to what I'll be doing then? Why do we expect 18 year olds to have the next 60 years of their lives mapped out?

I've tried to plan my journey: terror used to overwhelm me when things didn't add up, even the minute details. But then something would change- usually within a few days- and I'd have to get back to calculating and scheming. So much of my time was spent worrying about where I would be, I didn't have any minutes to spend on enjoying where I was.

And all of that planning- where did it get me? I certainly didn't stick to any of the ideas I'd had. I learned more about myself and changed my mind and steeled my will then crumbled it again. So why was I worrying so much about getting something I might not even want the next day?

Now I've accepted that I have no clue what I'll be, and I'm okay not trying to figure it out. I've come to terms with taking things a day or a week or a month at a time and letting things unfold as they come to me- and I'm excited to see where they'll take me.

27 March 2015

<< The College Journey >>

Part I

As spring break wraps up, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the past several months. In August, I took my first solo step into the world outside my hometown. The day my parents drove back to Vegas without me was the day this adventure truly started. Like any good adventure, the road hasn't been easy.

For starters, the friend I planned on living with had to bail at the last minute due to financial reasons. So, two months before the start of the semester, I had a two bedroom/two bathroom apartment and no roommate. And housing arrangements had been long since made.

Cue Craigslist: forum for the desperate and despairing. (Luckily, I get along fantastically with the girl who responded to the ad.)

Oh, and a fun fact about this building? It sits right in between two cemeteries. I didn't know that until I got lost walking home one day and took a roundabout route that led me right past one.

The graves used to creep me out terribly, but I got over that fear when I began working on my photography final last semester.

And there's no way I could leave out the college parties. I've only been to a handful- they're definitely not my thing- but at least they didn't disappoint.

On my very first day in Reno, a friend of mine that also attends the university invited me to a party so that she could introduce me to people. I agreed and rode to the party with her group- five of us in all. While at the party, I got separated from everyone (partially my own fault- I felt a little pathetic following my friend around as though I had on a child's backpack-leash) and ended up in the backyard. That's where I learned what the term "shotgunning a beer" means.

Later, when it got colder (which I thought was ridiculous, because it was August, for Christ's sake!) I wandered back inside (and felt immediately overwhelmed by the life-sized sardine can I'd trapped myself in) and plopped myself down on the couch. Where I was almost immediately accosted by two drunk girls: they demanded my name (which I told them), asked if I was a freshman (I said yes), then said if I didn't like it then I could just leave. (They, of course, used a lot more expletives than I've included here.) Not longer after, a friend of theirs (also drunk) distracted them and somehow the three of them enthusiastically came to the conclusion that they should go climb the observatory. On campus. At least a twenty minute drive away.

The three of them ran out the door and, since I never heard about any climbing-deaths or whispers about "what happened at the observatory," I have to assume that they either didn't follow through or didn't get caught.

Another party I went to actually wasn't supposed to be a party. My section and I had planned a birthday party for the four of us who have birthdays in January, to be held at my section leader's house. Not even an hour in, we looked out the window and see the driveway, the sidewalk, and the street teeming with people. They trickled in slowly at first, but once something cracks, it shatters. The house was overrun in seconds. I left as soon as I heard, "Oh man, this is gonna be so much better than a dorm party."

And then there's tonight, where my friend invited me out for frozen yogurt and then we ended up playing Hide and Seek in the Quad for two hours.

But not all of the adventures have been quite so exciting.

I get lost frequently.

There have been several near-misses in terms of car accidents.

No, the dirt and debris on the carpet will not be magically absorbed and disappear. It will show up on your socks.

It took three months to get used to the streetlamp outside that turns on and off intermittently.

It is possible to keep pulling your clothes out of boxes instead of unpacking, but at some point you get tired of ironing t-shirts just so you don't look ridiculous.

Kitchens do not come pre-stocked with the cooking/baking staples.

Keep a mental list if you want to, but when you need that thing that you forgot because you didn't write it down, have fun calculating if you have enough money to buy gas to drive to Wal-Mart and to buy said item.

Living on my own, in a city I'd visited twice prior to moving: that's been the adventure.



21 March 2015

Motto

Noun. A short sentence or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals guiding an individual, family, or an institution.

Give up giving up.

The fifteen-year-old version of myself heard this phrase at a leadership lecture given by a high school/college-band-director-turned-motivational-speaker and ignored it in favor of his more "tangible" advice.

The next year, my sixteen-year-old self didn't attend. I'd forgotten all of his points and didn't care to try to remember. It was a low point in my history as a leader.

At seventeen, I was reminded why I loved leadership; it renewed my zeal and strengthened my determination. That year, when I heard him say those words, my ears perked up. What an interesting concept.

I liked to scrawl the sentence on pieces of notebook paper, in the margins of Calculus homework; I liked to edit photos of landscape and overlay the words in pretty fonts over trees and ships' masts and lakes. (And then post those on Instagram.)

The way those words sound together- euphonic. The ebb and flow of the syllables. I just enjoyed the music of it. Not until later did I start thinking about the meaning.

I mean, it's fairly straightforward. Give up giving up. Nothing to analyze there.

The concept is so simple, and yet in practice, I've found it to be one of the most difficult rules to follow.

I've realized just how quick I am to quit. I'm so easily discouraged. I find a task or assignment trying or frustrating, so I half-ass it because some points is better than no points and throw it away, feeling dissatisfied. I walk into lessons or lectures, already thinking up excuses or shortcuts, figuring numbers to find what the minimum amount of effort I can put in is and still maintain my GPA.

This motto is in almost complete opposition to who I am as a person. If something doesn't come easily to me, I psych myself up with try harder, it'll happen, give it some time. And then I make excuses, or I procrastinate; I avoid doing whatever it is until it's a distant memory and I'm wondering, why didn't that ever work out?

I've spent the past year trying to incorporate this phrase into my every day life and so far the only success I've had has been not giving up on trying to do so. Every goal I've worked towards in the past twelve months, both large and small, has ended with me completely forgetting about these words. Whether I achieve my ends or not, my utter lack of conviction in their attempts leaves me with an unsavory feeling. To me, not giving up includes one-hundred-percent effort.

So it's been hard, trying to live up to these words, but for some reason they're always tumbling around in my head. And even though keeping them with me throughout the past year has been the one thing I haven't given up on halfway through, it's still something. I'll hold onto that, at least.

20 March 2015

rumination

Fatigue,

but not the kind that’s cured with sleep.

Rather, the kind that comes with a weary soul.

It’s the pounding ache in your chest, in time with each thud of your heart (or maybe it is your heart). Your blood coagulates, slides torpidly through your veins. It exhausts you. You delay each breath; each expansion of your lungs takes so much out of you.

Even laying here, watching the darkness settle: the effort of keeping your eyes open is almost too much. And then the heaviness descends, suffocative, the cold penetrating your blankets. You briefly consider standing, throwing off the comforter (not that it’s done that so well), switching on the lights, but then you choke on your next breath and your heart thuds protestingly-

and you slump further into your mattress.

You can’t tell anymore if it’s the pillows or your own sadness that’s swallowing you.

15 March 2015

Top Five || TV Shows

I don't watch a lot of TV; I never really have. My roommate and I don't have cable, and when I'm at my parents' house, they've got some cooking show on more often than not. However, thanks to Netflix, I have access to an incredibly vast number of movies and series. I'm slowly catching up on every show that I didn't watch as a child (I was probably re-reading Harry Potter for the millionth time instead).

Partially due to my abundance of free time and partially due to my inclination towards procrastination, I've spent a lot of quality time with my boyfriend's Netflix account over the past year. Obviously, that qualifies me to speak on what constitutes quality television programming.

(Not really. But these are shows I really enjoyed, and I hope you do, too.)

Parks and Recreation



Hands down, my favorite show of all time— nothing I say could accurately capture the show's essence. It's silly and ridiculous, the characters are all caricatures of real life, and yet the growth and development they experience, individually and in their friendships/relationships, helps you see yourself in all of them. At first it just seems like a dumb show about building a park, but by the end, you realize it was about building a community, if you will.

Futurama

I just finished watching this, so the imprint is still fresh. Kind of a long show— 10 seasons over the course of 14 years— but every episode keeps you interested. The exposition takes you on a weird, crazy journey, and a minute later you're on a totally different adventure, having forgotten how exactly you got into this mess. Nothing's ever as cut-and-dry as it may first appear. And despite its length, it doesn't get boring or repetitive— all of its episodes are unique, and you're never able to guess what the next one will be.

Bob's Burgers

I'd seen a lot of hype on this show, but when I watched the pilot, I'll admit that I was sorely disappointed. I thought to myself, I don't like any of the characters that have appeared so far and I'm bored off my rocker. Why is this getting so popular? I gave up on it for a solid six months, until I got tired of seeing it around and not knowing the context for any of its one liners. I caved and tried watching it again and holy crap, what was freakin' wrong with me? This show was created by a genius! The characters as individuals are too outlandish to be believable, but their interactions as a family unit are entirely too true— that's part of the appeal, I think. They're so normal. They're so average. But you watch the show and go, How did they get involved with this? Why do things keep happening to them? And you keep watching hoping that maybe this time they'll catch a break (even though you know they won't).

Gravity Falls

It's a Disney cartoon, I know, but at the same time it's ridiculously complex and, at time, gut wrenching. And it gets dark, fast. I don't know why it's even still considered appropriate for kids. Unfortunately, there's only two seasons out, but the mysteries presented will create enough curiosity to last you a lifetime (the only problem is the need for more seasons to relieve you of your curiosity).



Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

This is another short show (it was just released this year and only has one season) but, I mean, whoa. Tina Fey is one of its co-creators, so obviously it's got to be good. I really don't want to say much on it other than that— it's so short that just about anything could be a spoiler. Just trust me and go watch it (it's a Netflix Original Series).

[Welcome to a (possible? you tell me) new series, where I recommend/tell you about my Top Five XYZ. Hope you enjoyed this installment and let me know if you'd like to see more!]



12 March 2015

Sick Days

By which I am most definitely not referring to those days where you wake up congested and feverish; those days are sick days. What I'm referring to are Sick Days. Capital S, capital D.

They usually follow an extended period of stress or overworking; they're the days you're just so tired that even just thinking about all of your responsibilities makes you feel like you've just finished an intense workout. So instead...

You decide to play hooky. Ditch the responsibilities. Forget all the errands you were going to complete. You need a day to relax and if you don't take it for yourself, no one's going to give it to you.

They're the days where you sit back and go It's okay if I don't empty the dishwasher at exactly five o'clock. It's not the end of the world if I let the trash sit until tomorrow morning instead. 

If you're lucky, you're able to get away with missing class or calling into work- but sometimes that just tinges your day with worry. I've found that the best Sick Days begin right after I get home from my last Friday class, but I've had a few that happened when I was just so mentally exhausted that I couldn't even fathom making the trek to campus just for two or three classes.

I think everyone deserves to take Sick Days; I think everyone needs to take Sick Days every once in a while.

But what am I supposed to do on my Sick Day? What is there that's worth blowing off all my obligations?

Well... I'll tell you.


Some fun things your Sick Day could (and probably should) include:

  • Hit Snooze. Don't even think about it. Ignore the alarm. You need the sleep.
  • When you do (eventually) get up (it's also totally optional), stay in your pajamas. Or change into even comfier ones. Wear them all day.
  • Take a shower. Make it the perfect temperature and take everything a step at a time. Stand under the water for a while. Shampoo your hair slowly. Invest in a loofah and some luxurious body wash. 
  • Even better: run a bath. Buy one of those bath bombs that helped hatch that viral Internet meme. Turn off the lights, light some candles. Give yourself the ultimate bath experience.
  • If you'd rather not wear pajamas in broad daylight, get dressed. Wear your favorite outfit, but take your time. Admire yourself in the mirror. 
  • Put on your favorite playlist or CD and find your favorite lounge area and just be.
  • Go to your favorite store- coffee shop, book store, retail center, what have you. Sit, browse, people watch.
  • While you're there, buy yourself your favorite drink or a new sweater- anything that strikes your fancy.
  • Order in. If you don't know the good delivery in your area, try this website.
  • Get comfortable and make time for whatever your favorite hobby is.
  • Work on your craft. Whatever it may be. (For example, playing clarinet, or blogging, or singing, or knitting... anything.)
  • Make cookies. Or brownies. Or chicken soup. Whatever you're in the mood for.
  • That thing you've always kinda wanted to get into? Get into it. Find some youtube tutorials. Go buy yourself some simple supplies.
  • Call your favorite person. Just listen to their voice. Let it wash over you.

I'm taking a mini-Sick Day today. Here's how I'm spending it:


A large meat-lover's pizza, a Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino...





...and my boyfriend's Netflix account.


08 March 2015

On Intimacy

The water turns cold, and a yelp escapes my lips; I huddle under the stream, waiting for the warmth to return.

He slides the curtain back and peeks in, holding his razor in the hand not holding back the plastic, concern in his eyes, in the scrunch of his brow, the set of his mouth. I shake my head to dispel his worries, reassuring him with a smile. He reciprocates, puckers his mouth for a kiss, which I gladly deliver. He retracts; I listen to the whirr of his razor as I work a lather between my hands.

He finishes and the only sound is that of the water hitting the floor. The curtain rustles again and he steps in, flinching as the water burns his skin. I kiss it softly in apology- I like my showers sweltering. I watch as he reaches around me and turns the knob a little to the right, looking to me for permission. I nod, and step aside for him to wet his hair. 

It's an awkward dance- the tub too narrow for the both of us, the shower head too low for his towering frame. Still, the soft upward turn of his lips sends my pulse racing. I feel heat building below my stomach.

Ignoring that, I face away from him and reach for my shampoo; once I've squirted some into my palm, I feel his fingers brush against my hips. He pulls my back flush against his chest and drops kisses onto my shoulder and bicep as I wash my hair.

We dance again, exchanging places so I can rinse the soap from my hair. His blue body wash slides over his chest, and I can't help myself: I reach out and rub my fingers in sweeping circles across his collarbone, his sternum, his stomach, sliding dangerously low down his hips...

A few more ungraceful maneuvers, and then we both finish washing ourselves. Yet we remain under the water, letting it slide over us. He wraps his arms around my back and drags me to him, lowering his lips to mine. It's a soft kiss, a gentle kiss; his hands are flat on my back, pressing me into him. Our lips are closed, they move slowly. This kiss is nothing more than I love you and I love you too passing between our clasped mouths.

And yet my desire for him has never been stronger than in this moment.

22 February 2015

3° of Difference

I've lived my entire life in Henderson, NV. Growing up, we traveled quite a bit- my father's job had him on call 24/7, including weekends and holidays. And after he retired, he just liked taking family vacations. But even so, the majority of my life was spent at 36.03°N, in the Las Vegas Valley.

It was brown. That's the first thing to come to mind. From the desert floor to the mountain peaks, the most prominent feature of my hometown was the enormous variation we had of simply brown. Even things that should have luscious and green had a tinge of brown.

Winters were more windy than cold, but the summers...

Everything they tell you about a Vegas summer is true. They're hot, and they're dry. (And I love them.)

Reno, at 39°N (only three degrees further from the equator), is drastically different. For me, moving here? Well, call it a culture shock.

For one, the rain here is ridiculous. Although the difference between Henderson's annual rainfall and Reno's is negligible- only 0.47 inches- the reality of it is insane.

February Rainfall in Reno. (I don't think I have any memories of February showers in Vegas.)
And then there's the scenery.

Don't get me wrong. I think Vegas and the surrounding area is gorgeous- but to find anything resembling "nature" you'd have to venture out to Lake Mead, or Red Rock, or make the drive to Boulder City. In Reno, the Truckee River runs right through the Downtown area.

Literally. It's right there. It takes close to twenty minutes to walk from the university's campus to the riverbank. And that's if you're taking your time.

An unedited iPhone capture (taken while I was sitting on a rock in the middle of the river).

And, 180° the other way. (Heavily edited. For Instagram.)
And then there's the property my parents bought this year- four acres just outside of Lund, NV. It's halfway between Henderson and Reno and it's literally the middle of nowhere. I keep searching for Courage the Cowardly Dog.


Now that I'm out of the house, my parents visit just about every other weekend to work on it. They recently had a well dug and plumbing installed. Hooray for running water.

My dad's convinced that it's now perfectly livable. Sorry, dad, I'd beg to differ. The camper trailer that the old owners left behind (sans appliances) is not suitable for anything more than college students who can't afford a cabin (i.e., my friends and I).

A panoramic shot taken on a ridiculously windy day.

21 February 2015

College Band {& Invitations}

(My apologies for the tardiness of this post.)

After Sunday's massive post, I'll keep this one short and sweet; I'll try not to bore all of you with too much band talk.

As I mentioned, I am a member of the University of Nevada Pride of the Sierra Wolf Pack Marching Band (long title, I know; we don't actually call ourselves that every single time it comes up). I am one of 16 other tuba players in a nearly 180-strong band. 

However, I am also a member of the Nevada Wind Ensemble, where I (currently) play the clarinet. (Last semester, I played bass clarinet. It was a trying time.)

Briefly in my last post, I talked about how different high school band was from middle school band. The same holds true for college! Though it has its drawbacks, I'm glad to be where I am now. Every single student truly wants to be a part of the activity (and they'd better, considering it's close to $200/credit). It also helps that, by the time you get to college, you've picked up some skill on your instrument.

The music community I've found here is not only high-caliber, but also welcoming and open. Everyone is accepted and supported. It's the perfect environment to grow as a musician.

And now, because no post is complete without a shameless plug, I encourage anyone who happens to be in the Reno-Sparks area on February 23 to attend our upcoming concert! 
Venue: Nightingale Concert Hall, Church Fine Arts Building, University of Nevada
Date/Time: 2/23/2015, 7:30PM
Admission: $5 (Free for university students)
We'll be joined by the Symphonic Band, whose repertoire includes works from Grainger, McBeth, and Mackey.

And the Wind Ensemble will be playing:
Toccata Marziale, Ralph Vaughan Williams
Paean (Chant and Triumph), Steven Bryant
Danzón No. 2, Arturo Marquéz
#getcultured

15 February 2015

Where Words Fail

If you've checked out my bio (link here) you'll know that I play both clarinet and tuba (though I don't know if what I call "tuba playing" really counts). But that's kind of all you know on that subject.

I joined Band in 6th grade; I chose to play the clarinet (and honestly, it was because I didn't recognize any of the other instruments' names) and I've just been playing ever since. That's the boring version of this story.

I liked middle school band, but I also kind of hated it. In 8th grade, I planned on quitting and re-joining once I got to high school. My parents had other ideas. They insisted that I do band that year because the alternative I wanted wouldn't "get me into college" (because colleges look at your middle school experiences. Totally.) and because, well, they said so.

And then, when I started 9th grade, I had my first experience with marching band. To say the change was refreshing doesn't even begin to explain the sort of euphoria I felt every time I walked into class or arrived at rehearsal or competition. For some people, their happy places are scenes envisioned in their heads; for me, it was opening up my case and setting up my clarinet.

Towards the middle of my freshman year, this guy I was dating- let's name him Tony- started to get really abusive- he'd always been a little controlling, but after winter break that year, things began to spiral out of control. I'd prefer not to go into details. Suffice it to say that the longer I stayed with him, the more depressed and suicidal I became.

It was band that kept me going. 

In May 2011, my director made me co-section leader for the upcoming season. After all the auditions/interviews had been completed, I stayed after school one day and I was speaking to him. He was working on something on his office computer but at this moment, he swiveled around in his chair and said, "I'm really proud of you."

That hit me. I'd made people proud before- my parents, for instance, when I became Vice President of the National Junior Honor Society. But for some reason, my director telling me he was proud of the way I'd progressed that year really struck me. 

I held onto that all summer, looking forward to the renewal of marching season and the beginning of my sophomore year. When the school year started, Tony and I started seeing each other again- though I'd successfully avoided him for months, I no longer could when we both spent hours together every day in band. Tony's abusive behavior intensified. I spent my days terrified, feeling as though I was treading through a minefield, and no matter where I stepped, I set one off. The suicidal thoughts returned, even worse.

Again, the only thing that kept me from killing myself was throwing myself into my responsibilities in band. I held sectionals every week, hounded my section members about attendance, and spent hours practicing our repertoire.

That year, at our Marching Band Banquet (held in November, after our final marching competition), I was named Most Outstanding Section Leader and my section was named Most Improved. 

Tony continued threatening and tormenting me, and small instances of physical abuse occurred, but I was clueless and desperately "in love" with him so I did nothing to escape. He'd brainwashed me into thinking I deserved it, into thinking I needed him, that I was worthless.

Until one week that spring where he was mysteriously absent. Suddenly, I was no longer constrained, attached to his hip; suddenly I was allowed to talk to the friends I'd had before he'd come into my life. That week, I also found out he'd been dating a girl at a different school for nearly a year. 

My perspective on everything changed.

When he returned, when he tried to get me back under his control, he couldn't. Knowing that my friends still liked me and knowing that he'd lied to me- I felt empowered. I slowly cut him out of my life- difficult, because he still wanted to talk to me, hang out with me, and being around him made me queasy. I tried integrating myself into the group my friends had formed in my absence- you can imagine my happiness when they accepted me with open arms. 

Now I had two happy places, both brought to me by band.

I continued working hard, and was named section leader again going into my junior year. I began taking clarinet lessons, and in December 2012, I auditioned for and made it into my county's honor band- the only person from my school to do so that year.

But even though Tony was out of the picture, I still felt residual depression. I still struggled with recognizing my worth, and I'd also begun taking more difficult classes- my grades slipped and it took much of my effort to maintain my GPA. I felt angry most of the time, and band no longer offered me a safe haven. My section was unruly and disrespectful in the fall, and in the spring I lost my place as first chair. 

I experienced a series of panic attacks and my hair was falling out in clumps; the stress was literally killing me from the inside out. The end of my junior year was not a happy one. 

I decided to switch sections and learn to play the tuba, and then I auditioned for drum major- and was appointed Assistant, meaning I'd conduct half the time and play the other. I spent the summer preparing for the upcoming season, half wanting to kill myself all the while.

Then, in July, I attended a three day clinic held at NAU with my band director and the two other drum majors. Three days spent talking solely about band and music and conducting and leadership. We talked about how to make every minute we put in to the activity matter. For me, it was almost like a spiritual journey. It was there that I completely committed myself to the idea of majoring in Music Education.

I drove home, feeling almost renewed. Not fully healed, but I felt as though I had the energy to get up and try again.

So began my senior year. I was taking three AP classes and four electives- difficult, but manageable. My band performed exceptionally well- better than that, actually. I continued my clarinet lessons. I joined choir. I made Honor Band again. I found out I was a valedictorian candidate. I did winter drumline. I was accepted to every university I applied to, offered thousands of dollars in scholarships.

Life was chaotic but harmonious.

In early January 2014, though just months previously I'd wanted nothing more than to become a band director, I rethought my choice. I decided not to major in Music Education. I nearly didn't do college band at all.

I accepted my admission to the University of Nevada. I enrolled in my classes. Band was not one of them. Things no longer felt so harmonious.

And then in June of that year, a friend of mine convinced me to contact the University's band director. I did; he successfully convinced me to commit to the University of Nevada Pride of the Sierra Wolf Pack Marching Band. In August, when I moved to Reno, I walked into the first day of band camp and looked around at the strangers around me and felt lost. But as we began rehearsal, things began to fall into place; I began to feel at home. 

When I was 11, I chose band as an elective because I wasn't much of a singer. When I was 14, it took over my life. At 18, it gave me a family in a place I'd never before been. Band has brought me joy and tears, and it has guided me through rough times and dark places. Without it, (prepare yourself for the cliche) I wouldn't be the person I am today. I might not even be around today.

Band, music, gave me an outlet for every awful and wonderful emotion I've ever felt, it lets me express things I cannot speak to.
Where words fail, music speaks. -Hans Christian Andersen

12 February 2015

Necropolis

A burial site or cemetery. From necro- death and polis- city.

City of death.


Let me back up a bit.


Last semester, I took my first photography class; I really enjoyed it, but, if I'm being honest, I didn't put as much work into it as I should have. Most of my assignments were taken, edited, and printed the day before or the day they were due; most of them were taken in my poorly lit apartment. I did well on most of them, but not as well as I would have liked.

So for my final project, I wanted to:
  • Improve my grade (obviously)
  • Take myself out of my comfort zone
  • And create something completely different than anything before.
The project was to create a seven-photo series, about anything we wanted. I set to work brainstorming.

Inspiration came from the cemetery that lies behind my apartment complex. (My complex actually sits between two cemeteries so no matter which direction I go, I have to pass one.) I thought to myself, Who builds a cemetery two blocks away from a university? I turned to Google, and was not disappointed.

It was a Hebrew cemetery, established in 1878 by the Hebrew Benevolent Society. The land has been in use since then, and is still used today; there are 410 interments.

So now I had my topic, but what did I want to communicate about it? I set about searching for cemetery/grave-related words, hoping something would spark in my mind.

And that brings us back to necropolis.

From that, I found the world of cemetery tourism- taphophilia: a passion or enjoyment of cemeteries.

And that freakin' blew my mind. People go to cemeteries simply for pleasure? Whoa. So I decided to try it. Armed with my camera, I ventured through the gates.

It was strangely peaceful. Something about the air within the fence felt different than the air without it. The headstones were all beautifully carved, particular some of the upright markers.

Yeah, I could see why a cemetery could attract a tourist. I went every day for a week and took tons of photos, eventually settling on the six I'd use for my project:

So why do people go to cemeteries?


To visit loved ones.
To admire architecture.



Cemeteries represent 
a link
between life...
...and death.

























(Note: these are my RAW images converted into JPEGS; the final product was a series of black-and-white prints which underwent some intense editing. But the black-and-white files look nothing like the prints; as such, I've decided to stick with the original photos.)

09 February 2015

{Updates}

Hello, all!

As you can see, I've changed the title and url of this blog; you can find a little explanation about it if you go here.

But why now?

Simply put, posting only my writing started to get a little constricting. (And quite frankly, it was a little boring.) I wanted a space where I could post.. well, whatever struck my fancy, really. So it didn't make much sense to call it a writing blog anymore.

Dilettanteish covers all my bases.


Plus, I like it more than Frantic Nighttime Scrawling.

So, as a thanks for bearing with me this long and enduring my impulsive housekeeping decisions, let me offer you a little photography teaser. (These are from the beginning of last semester; just trust that they'll get better as time goes on.)


["The Art Wing," Church Fine Arts Building, University of Nevada] 
["Filling the Frame," Fitzgerald Student Services Building, University of Nevada]


08 February 2015

r/j

Your lips, pressed to mine,
make me feel soft;
mold me to your body.
There is nowhere else I want to be.
Your hands, over my fingers,
make me feel small;
lace your fingers with mine.
There is nothing else I'd rather feel.
Your heartbeat, against my ear,
makes me feel quiet;
keep me close to it.
There is nothing else I need to hear.

05 February 2015

always the old way

Loneliness creeps in quietly, expertly avoiding the creaky floorboard and silencing the rusty hinge, an old acquaintance I'm not particularly fond of but can't seem to escape. It matters not that I have drawn the curtains and shut the doors, in my home as well as in my heart; he always finds a way to slither, tiptoe, and claw his way back. He takes a seat at my table, set for one, and we exchange nothing but telepathy; I greet him simply by flinging open the drapes and letting the hope and sunshine stream in. Loneliness winces- it is his Kryptonite- but says nothing. We sit in silence as dead as my soul. I am lost in my thoughts, staring out the window, keeping my focus on the brightness outside that tries valiantly to encourage me. Once, a long time ago, it could have worked, and I could have put off this meeting with Loneliness for another day. And then the clouds come, briefly covering the sun, casting the world into shadow; the sun struggles through. Until they turn into storm clouds, angry purple bruises on the face of the weeping sky, and the earth is suddenly so much darker, colder.. lonely. I glance at Loneliness, his vacant expression and taunting smile, then back outside, where my hope, my only weapon, has disappeared. Still, I try to find the beauty in this sudden storm; isn't the lining of all clouds silver? Beside me, I sense the smugness radiating off of Loneliness. This is a game, to him, one he will inevitably win. He always wins.

We sit together at my table until finally, I give up waiting for the sun, and my hope, to return and close the curtains once more. I cannot get rid of him, but still I refuse to act as a good hostess. I offer no hospitality, no refreshments, but he needs none. He feeds and thrives on my insecurities and my doubts, assuring me that I have good reason to feel this way. After all, Loneliness is my only companion. Even when someone ventures into my home and sits at my table, in the very seat occupied by Loneliness, they don't stay long. I play nicely and try so hard, wishing they would stick around to keep Loneliness at bay, and yet they never stay.. and that is when Loneliness finds me again. He is nothing, if not faithful.

We sit in the one room of this spacious home- house- that I use; all others are untouched, waiting for someone, anyone, to come and stay long enough to explore, leave their footprints in the carpet and their fingerprints on the frames and stir the dust motes from their rest and unbury old memories and create new ones. I have walked through them, on occasion, my sadness trailing behind me like my fingertips across the walls; Loneliness follows, and the pain cripples me, leaving me lost in the depths of a closet, lost in the depths of despair and I am so alone.. save for Loneliness. And so I stay in the front room at the table, welcome anyone who stops by, and wait, as always, for Loneliness to eventually return.

It is our routine, and he will always return, no matter how much I try to fight him off and delay him. One day, I will stop fighting- and I feel that day approaching. Clouds may have silver linings, but shadows don't. They weigh on my shoulders, demons on both sides, a cape sewn out of all my sorrow. One day, the storm raging outside my window will come and never leave and I will be in this house at this table with Loneliness. One day, I will lose hope. That is the ultimate victory, the one he awaits in this game we play. Cat-and-mouse. I cannot escape his grip. Or if I could, the only way out is his grand prize; I would not feel Loneliness anymore, though.. I would not feel anything. Death is not so demanding, does not take as much of a toll.

I lay my head on the table and struggle against the tears I feel coming, but not for long. I let them fall. Loneliness remains motionless, though I can feel his smirk as I silently admit defeat. He has gained the upper hand, once again, and I have given up, once again. The storm outside has moved within me; I can feel it in my shaking hands and my frantic pulse and my hiccupping sobs. It is ripping my soul to shreds. As my pain deepens and my insecurities grow stronger, so does he slowly establish his dominance over me. I have nothing left to fight with, or for. Nothing save for Loneliness, who has taken everything I have not offered to give. All I have is my broken self, and I am hardly worth the effort.