Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dirt under my fingernails

I'd forgotten how much I love to get out in the yard and and do gardening. I did a little work in the garden today -- not much, but some -- so I've got dirt under my fingernails. But that's fine. It means I've gotten a little closer to nature, which is good.

By the way, I know that it's still winter over in the eastern side of the USA, but it's already spring where I am. (Or anyways, it's spring so far as the plants and I are concerned.) Below I share photographic evidence of this. I took these photos today, by the way.








Friday, February 26, 2010

A cat's prayers

I just had to share this, it's too funny. :)

Always learning something new...

Guess what I learned today? I learned that I need to be really specific when I'm navigating for someone!

I tend to be a lousy navigator, and this evening the result was that a friend of mine was making last minute lane changes and that kind of thing. So, perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised when lights started flashing behind us.

Yeah, we got pulled over by the sheriff. "Do you know where you're going?" "Did you know that your head lights aren't on?" "Have you been drinking?" He asked that question two or three times, by the way. Also, to my friend who was driving, "May I see your ID?"

He also wanted to see the car insurance info, or something like that, and it took my friend several minutes to find it. The problem was that she hadn't looked at the documents he wanted since the day she bought the car, and most of the documents she was finding were in the name of the previous owner of the car, which wasn't going to help us. It was also rather interesting when the officer asked "Is that yellow piece of paper also in the name of the previous owner? It is? Good. It's a ticket for driving under the influence."

My friend found the info he wanted to see, and everything turned out fine. He gave us a warning about the headlights (which I hadn't noticed were off, by the way...I guess I wasn't paying attention) and left.

So, that's a lesson learned. Well, two, actually. Number one, make sure your headlights are on. And secondly, the lesson that I need to really remember since I don't drive, if you're a navigator you need to know what you're doing!

What did you learn today? Whatever it was, I hope it didn't involve an encounter with your local law enforcement.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Coping with ADHD

Someone asked what I do to help me focus on homework. I've already written a post about this, but since my methods are always evolving and I'm always exploring new possibilities I'm going to write a second post about it, then go back and see what I said in my old post. I'll certainly mention things in this post that I didn't mention there, and probably vice versa as well.

*******

And, just to illustrate how much trouble focusing can be at times, I want to share a little story of an extreme case of an ADHD moment.

Juliet Marillier is a favorite author of mine. It's her "Sevenwaters" trilogy that first got me exploring Paganism (though mom says that I was a Pagan way before I read her books, was in fact born a Pagan), and as such her books will always have a special place in my heart.

So when her book "The Dark Mirror" came out a few years ago I was very excited. It was coming out in Australia and the UK a year before it was coming out in the USA, and rather than wait I payed extra to get the UK edition of it. When it finally arrived on my doorstep I was oh so happy, and started reading it almost immediately. Or anyways, I tried to.

Regardless of how excited I was about it, and how much I had anticipated it, and how delighted I was to finally have it in my hands, I could barely even read one paragraph. Seriously. My focus was that bad. I had to put it down and come back to it later.

This story is to illustrate that my ADHD moments do effect my whole life, not just how I do academically.

*******

Now, on to some of my coping methods!


1) I like to take frequent brief breaks.

2) Listening to music.

3) Listening to an audio book that I'm very familiar with. Believe it or not, this can actually help me focus on reading and writing. I'll read/write whatever I need to, while being semi-aware of what's going on in the book.

4) My new iPhone I'm getting should help me keep track of things and remember to do stuff. Ok, so it won't exactly help me focus, but I thought it worth mentioning. Besides, I think I'll have all kinds of timers on it to remind me to do things like homework. :)

5) I'm planning to talk to the ADA office at my school. My advisor has said that they should be able to help me find methods that help, and find reasonable accomodations for me. I can blog more about that as I go through the process of working with them, if anyone is curious about it.

6) Drink something with caffeine. I don't know that this actually helps me, but it's been recommended and so I do it. Sometimes.

7) This term I discovered that it can help to listen to music on my iPod while I'm in class. Fortunately both of my professors were fine with me experimenting with it. :)

*******
I should also note that some of these methods can backfire. For example, music that almost always helps me focus will sometimes totally distract me, in which case I'll have to find another method to help me focus. As I said, my methods are always evolving, and I keep looking for new ways to help my concentration.

By the way, after writing the above I went back to find the old post I referred to in the beginning of this post. I don't mention anything in it that I haven't talked about in this post, but I do talk about some things in more detail.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ADHD = Demigod

I recently read "The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan, which explains that people with ADHD are are in fact demigods. I've been really struggling with ADHD recently, and rather like this explanation. So, I want to share a quote from page 88 of this glorious book.


"And the ADHD -- you're impulsive, can't sit still in the classroom. That's your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they'd keep you alive. As for the attention problems, that's because you see too much, Percy, not too little. Your senses are better than a regular mortal's. Of course the teachers want you medicated. Most of them are monsters. They don't want you seeing them for what they are."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You know you're Oregonian when...

I was thinking about my post the other day where I mentioned something that makes Oregon unique. Well, I decided to find the unofficial list of things of things that makes Oregon special and share it here, with some comments from myself. Some of the things on the list I have no idea what they're talking about, but quite a few of them I totally relate to.

By the way, this is a list that you can find easily by Googling "you know you're Oregonian when..."

*******


1. You know more than 10 ways to order coffee.

Well, yeah, what else is new? Who orders a plain coffee these days?

2. You consider that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it's not a real mountain.

Of course it's not a real mountain if it has no snow and hasn't erupted.

...ok, ok, ok...I guess I'll admit that the mountains in Montana are real mountains...I guess...

3. You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Oregon, Yakima and Willamette.

For the last time, the emphasis is on the first syllable of Oregon, not the second.

4. You are not fazed by "Today's forecast: showers followed by rain," and "Tomorrow's forecast: rain followed by showers."

What else is new?

5. You know the state flower (Mildew).

6. You feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash.

Seriously, yes.

7. You use the statement "sun break" and know what it means.

8. You know more people who own boats than air conditioners.

9. You feel overdressed wearing a suit to a nice restaurant.

Oh, yeah, I have heard that in some places people really do wear suits to nice restaurants...just not around here!

10. You stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "Walk" Signal.

11. You can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best, and Veneto's.


I'm slightly sworn off coffee for the most part at the moment, but...

I did get to where I could taste the difference between the coffee at school, my local coffee place, and Starbucks. If you really pay attention, you can sort of tell the difference between the different Starbucks places!

12. You consider swimming an indoor sport.

Except on very rare occasions, yes.

13. In winter, you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark while only working eight-hour days.

14. You never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho.


Wait, people do go camping without those things?

15. You know the difference between Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon.

16. You have no concept of humidity without precipitation.


Seriously, I was shocked to find out that you can have humidity without precipitation.

17. You know that Boring is a place and not just a state of mind.

Yep!

18. You can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food.

19. You can point to at least two volcanoes, even if you cannot see through the cloud cover.

Yep yep.

20. You notice, "The mountain is out" when it is a pretty day and you can actually see it.

And the mountain usually isn't out.

21. You put on your shorts when the temperature gets above 50, but still wear your hiking boots and parka.

22. You switch to your sandals when it gets about 60, but keep the socks on.

23. You have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain.

24. You think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists.

Truthfully, I think this is changing.

25. You buy new sunglasses every year, because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time.

I honestly don't know where my sunglasses are. I think the last time I saw them was like two years ago maybe...

26. You measure distance in hours.

I was rather amazed to learn that people don't do this in other parts of the country.

27. You often switch from "heat" to "a/c" in the same day.

28. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit under a raincoat.

Of course!

Well, ok, I don't yet, since I don't have kids, but I remember my parents making my Halloween costumes so that they would work with a rain coat!

29. You know all the important seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Raining (Spring), Road Construction (Summer), Deer & Elk season (Fall).

Yep. Totally. And it's really easy to spot the people from out of town in Road Construction season, since they're all amazed at how much road construction is going on. The same is true up in Washington, by the way.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Performance

Yesterday the university chamber choir performed with the university orchestra at Marylhurst. And guess what? I'm part of the choir! I was oh so amazed to have been performing with an orchestra, and am still amazed that I got the opportunity. I guess being a music major has its perks!

We did Vilvaldi's "Gloria" songs, of which mom recorded three. I uploaded those three to YouTube, and you may view them below. They're the first things I've uploaded to YouTube.

My favorite one she recorded (and one of my top two favorites overall) is "Cum Sancto Spiritu," which unfortunately she didn't get the very beginning of or the last couple pages of it either. Oh well. Technical difficulties I guess. Those things happen.

By the way, from this whole thing I've picked up only one Latin word: miserere. Care to guess what it means? Yep, exactly what it sounds like: misery. I find it slightly amusing that that's the one word I picked up, and whose meaning was explained to us.







EDIT: I have to add, it can be sort of difficult for me to listen to these because I want to start singing along.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Great Northwest

Something happened today that I thought was funny.

I was on the MAX (our local light rail train) and there were a couple of kids with their grandparents on it. The kids were so cute, were obviously from out of town and were visiting their grandparents here, and one of their comments drew attention to one small way that the Great Northwest is different from other places.

The MAX was in downtown Portland at the time, and of course there was a lot of foot traffic. Eventually one of the children exclaimed "That guy is wearing socks with flip flops! Nobody does that!" The grandmother said "Well, you're in the Northwest now. People will do that here." And it's true. You don't see people wearing socks with flip flops every day, but it's not unheard of, and it's nothing to be amazed about. I've even done it. But the kid was disbelieving, and to my amusement continued to say "But nobody does that!"

It can be funny to hear what people from out of state say about our place. Especially since some of the things I take for granted, like wearing socks with flip flops.

What's unusual about where you live that takes travelers by surprise?

By the way, I took this photo downtown today. Specifically, I took it in Pioneer Courthouse Square, which has been described as Portland's living room (or something like that), and for good reason. It's sort of a central place, it's the heart of our transit system, and when I'm there it feels like everyone everyone everyone in Portland winds up going by there, at least occasionally. You might want to click on the photo to get a better view of the sign.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spam

To the spammer -- please, stop it. It's a waste of your time because I refuse to publish it, and it's a nuisance to me. And I doubt you actually even read my blog because your comments are only ever in Japanese or Chinese, neither of which I speak. And, I prefer not to share links to porn, which you have shared in each of your comments (three total I think) so far. I'm beginning to see a pattern.

I highly doubt you'll actually read this, but I just wanted to post this on the off chance that you might get my message, and to express my annoyance.

To everyone else -- it's not that I have anything against sometimes random comments, but this?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thingies

Note to self: Blow more bubbles, lighten up, and relax.

By the way, I am oh so glad that the bookstore at my university sells Claritin, because I forgot to take my regular allergy medication this morning. Yep, spring allergies have already begun for me!

Spring is in the air. The weather knows it, the plants know it, and whatever I'm allergic to every spring is in the air. Yes, I am very glad that my bookstore sells Claritin.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A peculiar (but nice) day

It was a rather odd day at work. I am usually busy making packets or doing something, and virtually never just sit around doing nothing. Yet today I only spent maybe an hour on packets, and the other four hours I was in work I was just sitting around watching the phone.

Well, ok, so I wasn't just sitting around watching the phone...I looked around in a thesaurus that was on the desk (ah, the things a person will do to avoid boredom), I blew bubbles a little, and then I eventually took out my novel and started reading. I considered doing homework, but I decided not to since I didn't want the phone to keep dragging me away from it.

By the way, I'm reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. le Guin. I've read it before, and it's one of my favorites. Have any of you read it, or any of le Guin's other books? I really love her Wizard of Earthsea books. Oh, and she's even local to Portland, where I live! Just think, I could randomly run into her in the grocery store or something. :) Not that I would be likely to recognize her.

Ok, now I'm just rambling...lol I'll hush up now, and probably get ready for bed...which I do sort of need my sleep...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Depression and Valentine's Day

Here's a conversation I had earlier this evening...


Me: Wait a minute, isn't depression sometimes part of PMS?

Mom: Um, yeah...

Tall One: Even I know that!

Me: Oh, yeah, I also knew that, I'd just forgotten. Um, let's see, I've felt a bit depressed for about three days, and this is the third day of my period...


It's also also been about that long since my last blog post, I noticed.

Fun fun fun! And the especially fun bit with depression is that it takes me a few days to really realize and acknowledge what's going on with me.

It's not really bad depression. I can still laugh and smile. I went to the zoo with a friend today and enjoyed myself. I went to a bagpipe event last evening and had fun. It's just, the depression is there in the background, and it's there when I'm not busy, and...it's not fun. And it was only this evening that I really recognized and acknowledged it.

So now I'm listening to Les Miserables, and craving chocolate. lol What do you do when you're depressed?

Oh yes, and how I spent my Valentine's Day...

I didn't have any plans, but a friend of mine called and asked if I wanted to go hiking with her. I said sure thing, but we instead wound up going to the zoo. That was fun. It was a bit of money ($10.50 each!!!) but worth it, I think.

Our local zoo is really great, and does its best to mimic the environment that the animals come from. My favorite animals to see are the cats. I just love cats. :) My friend was really wanting to see the bears, but unfortunately the black bear wasn't in its cage (they had signs up about it) and the sun bear was nowhere to be seen.

Oh yes, and in an attempt to myself feel better I've been watching movie bloopers. I think I'd like to share my two favorites:





My favorite line is "There's a female presence here. All the men have felt her. No they haven't felt her..."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lions Gate Chorus

Lions Gate Chorus performed at the torch lighting ceremony for the Olympics. They're one of my favorite choruses, so I just had to share the YouTube video of them. I've written about them before here and here.

By the way, make sure to check out the horses at the end of the video. They're totally unrelated to the chorus (aside from the fact that they were also at the ceremony) but they're so cute!

Learning how to practice

I learned something about playing piano today.

I have a problem in that if I play a song too much it will inevitably fall apart. This happened to one of my audition pieces last fall, by the way. Well, today I learned that it happens because of how I practice.

When I first learn a piece I practice hands alone. Then I start doing hands together in tiny tiny chunks. As I get better I can do it in bigger and bigger chunks. Eventually I can play the whole piece.

The problem is that when I get to where I can play the whole piece, my mindset becomes "Why the heck would I play it in small chunks again, let alone hands alone?" I realized today that this just might be the source of my problem, and when I mentioned it to my piano teacher she responded emphatically that it is not a good mindset to be in.

So, I guess I need to change my approach to piano. Even when I can play a song the whole way through without a problem I still need to practice it in small chunks. And yes, perhaps even hands alone.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RANDOM Time!



In spite of my sad posts about litter and intolerance, the above video is actually what I've sort of felt like for the past several days. So, I figured I'd share it here.

And I am going to be totally totally random because...well, because that's my mindset right now.

.......

Did you know that it's already spring where I am? Or anyways, it's spring so far as I'm concerned. It's also spring so far as the plants are concerned. It's beautiful. And I've also got allergies. Fun fun fun. This is my favorite time of year, though, regardless of allergies.

.......

This morning I let my hair down briefly (it was semi-coming down already and I didn't feel like putting it back up immediately) and one of my classmates grabbed me later exclaiming over my hair. She wanted to know how long I've been growing it out, and what I use on it. So I told her that I'm experimenting with going no poo, but that I did actually use this great 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner stuff on it last Saturday. So it's been...let's see...three days since washing it and it is still looking great. Maybe I'll share a photo of it later...

.......

I bought some pop tarts this morning. I haven't had one in a while, and it was amazing the memories it brought back.

When Tall One and I were little we always had pop tarts for breakfast. Dad would play Critter (his hand was Critter, and the middle and index fingers were Critter's legs) as Tall One and I ate. As I recall Tall One had a fondness for trying to flatten Critter...or was that just when mom was playing Critter?

I even remember that I always broke off the crust of the pop tarts.

.......

The most bizarre thing happened this morning. Realize, I have three classes back to back with the same professor. So the first class I was wide awake, but I was falling asleep in the second class, and then wide awake for the third class.

I have no idea what was going on with me. And no, the professor wasn't boring me to sleep! I had been thinking that it was my allergy medication, but the particular stuff I'm taking has never made me drowsy before and anyways I wouldn't have woken up so quickly if it were the medication.

I'm still clueless about what was going on.

.......

Have you heard of Google Wave? It's this cool new thing that Google is putting together. It hasn't been released to the public yet, but if you plead your case to them they might let you get an account. How do I know this? Tall One managed to get an account. :)

He invited mom and me onto it, so now I'm playing around with it. It's not perfect, but hey, it's a work in progress! And it's my new play toy. :) I've actually working on a school project on it, and it's crashed twice. Fortunately my work was saved when it crashed, so no worries.

The following video was in a message that I got as soon as I opened my account. You won't see the stuff the guy is pointing to because you aren't in Google Wave, but it'll give you an idea of the cool stuff Google Wave has if you're curious.

And yes, in case you haven't figured out yet, I am a fan of Google. :)




EDIT: Ok, I got the correct video of Google Wave up. I'd somehow just put up "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" again...don't ask me how...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snoozing on the bus

Sometimes when I'm tired I have trouble keeping my eyes open while I'm on the bus. I haven't had trouble with missing my stop yet...but the keyword there is "yet". So, I've found a solution, and am somewhat proud of myself: I can use the timer on my cell phone so that it will wake me up before I get to my stop.

This tired college kid is finding new ways of coping. :)


Sunday, February 7, 2010

I spy...

I spy five pieces of litter...


...and I spy more than five pieces of litter! Can you find them all?



This place is only a block from my house, and I walk by it frequently. Less than a year ago I was compelled to get in touch with some of the people in charge of things where I live and ask for it to be cleaned up. I even offered to organize the cleanup.

It got cleaned up, and now...THIS. In less than a year. I hate to make a nuisance of myself, but this is not ok. It makes me sad, it makes the spirit of land very unhappy, and, oh yeah, there's this little sign that's attached to the fence surrounding the place:



When I get sad I find that Les Miserables helps me to cheer up, so I'm sharing the first several minutes of it here. If you aren't familiar with it, I highly recommend that you check it out from your local library!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Intolerance that leaves me speechless

Something happened the other day to make me sort of sad.

I was on facebook. Well, that isn't what made me sad, but it's something that happened on facebook. Someone's status was:

Go to urbandictionary.com, type in your 1st name, copy and paste this on your status and put the 1st entry for your name under comments.


This was cool. I did it, and it was fun. In fact, the two friends of mine who also did it shared more than just the first entry, which was extra fun. The thing that made me sad was that one of my facebook friends who did it (and who I've actually met face to face just a few times) said that she wouldn't share the third entry on her facebook, but that we could look it up if we wanted to. I looked it up, and it turned out that it said that her name was slang for "lesbian."

I know she's a Right Wing Christian, but this being me I just had to ask "What's wrong with the word lesbian?" She replied "Everything's wrong with it. I do not want it on my facebook." Then she deleted my question and her reply.

I'm wasn't surprised by her response, but it still made me sad. I'm also sort of speechless. How can someone be so intolerant?

Maybe I should blow some bubbles to cheer myself up. Peace through bubbles!


And now, just for the fun of it, here's what urbandictionary.com says about my name:

1) the hottest most gorgeous chick in alaMURda (alameda for you un gangsta ppl) and i love her !!!!

sarita is my sexy woman and i love her

The next two are in the same vein. Who knew I was so hot? Number 4, and the last one, is...

4) The cheapest person ever. Often thinks extremely discounted sales items are overpriced. Used as an adjective to describe obscenely difficult actions to save small sums of money.

Today I pulled a Sarita and 20 miles because the gas is 1 cent cheaper there.

I actually find number four sort of funny. And since Sarita is the Spanish form of Sarah (did you know that?) I also want to share the first entry for the name Sarah:

1) The name "Sarah" is translated from the Hebrew language. It means "Princess"...and rightly so!

The translation of "Sarah" is "princess"

So I guess I'm a hot princess.

Anyways, I figured that a little bit of levity would be good after talking about intolerance.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The moon

I've mentioned before that I'm trying to pay more attention to the lunar cycle. I've always felt disconnected from it, and I find it's easy to forget about the moon. Yes, go ahead and gasp in horror if you like. But it's true. I'm tuned in to the changing of the seasons, but really the only times I pay attention to the moon is if it catches my eye in the sky (hey that rhymes!) and when I start my period.

On Imbolc two days ago I was thinking about how little thought I give to the moon, and that I really ought to pay more attention to it. As I was thinking, I realized that if I do something special to mark the changing of the moon throughout its cycle that I'll have to pay attention to it. So, I decided that I'll do something special every full moon.

I'll probably just light a candle and maybe try to meditate on it, or something equally simple. Not anything fancy, but something that will get me to spend at least a minute or so thinking about it. Whatever it is it needs to be simple, because what if the full moon happens right in the middle of the school week when I'm going crazy because of a crazy schedule?

I don't think I'll need to do anything in particular for the new moon, because my period starts within a few days of it. So I already take note of the new moon to keep track of my own cycle. (If that's TMI for some people I'm sorry. But I'm talking about connecting to the moon and traditionally the woman's cycle is connected to the moon, so...yeah.)

Do you do anything special to celebrate the turning of the moon? If so, what?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mrs. B.'s cool givaway

I'm keeping this short and sweet tonight.

Mrs. B. is having a givaway for some really cool cooking stuff. I'm entering because I think it will be useful for when I move out of my parent's house (in the distant future...) so I'm getting them for my hope chest. And of course, I'm blogging about it because that means that I can get an extra entry, and am therefore more likely to win!

By the way, how many people know the term "hope chest"? I grew up with that term, but it seems that not many people are familiar with it...

Oh yes, and about my moving out...I sort of doubt that I'll be moving out anytime soon, because I'd miscalculated how much I'll be earning a month. Things sort of got mixed up in my head so I thought that I would be making per month how much I'm actually making per term. And the two numbers are quite different, as you can imagine.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Imbolc

I am such a bad Pagan.

Last night I suddenly realized "Oh my gosh! It's Imbolc!" It was late-ish and I had homework, so I decided to just think nice thoughts and leave it at that.

So I went through most of today thinking that yesterday was Imbolc. I even mentioned it to my supervisor, that I'd missed Imbolc! (We did start talking about the connection between Imbolc, St. Brighid's Day, and Groundhog Day, which was a neat conversation.)

Then I get online, and all my Pagan friends are talking about Imbolc today. So, um, I guess I got it wrong. lol

I am such a bad bad Pagan. I can't even keep my holy days straight.

So I don't know what I'll do for Imbolc. I'm thinking simple, but nice. Maybe a really nice dinner, and a fire in the fireplace? Hmm... And, of course, perhaps chatting with Brighid to find out why Spring has come so darned early where I am. Yep, that's right, it's already Spring where I live. I kid you not.

Happy Imbolc!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chocolate

There is a vending machine type thing on campus that gives a small handful of M&M's for a mere 25 cents. I've known about it for a while now, but have refrained from buying any...until now.

I finally gave in and bought some today.

Now it is probably going to take some huge restraint to not buy a small handful of M&M's every time I'm on campus after this. lol

By the way, I seem to be over whatever bug I had.

That's it for now. I figure short and sweet is the way to go when I have homework that needs to get done!