Monday, October 20, 2014

I Do Not Have It Together // Guest Post!!!

You may have gathered from the title that my life is a little bit of a mess today.  I didn't shower or write a blog post, but I did manage  to get some dry shampoo into my hair and send an email to Allison, who is conveniently (for me) home sick today, and beg her to write something for me, so I guess things could be quite a bit worse!  Also, I think I'm going to FINALLY get Darnell later (from Meijer, not Petsmart mind you), so that's a plus.  That, and the fact that Allison's words are on my blog and she's actually good at blogging and pictures and a bunch of other stuff, so you're in for a treat! Here she is! //

Hi, my name is Allison and I am currently listening to Christmas music.

That fact right there probably just made about 53% of you click the little red x at the top of your browser.  But for those of you who stuck around, thanks! I promise that you won't have to read all about chestnuts roasting over an open fire, excluded reindeer, or the joys of riding in a sleigh pulled by one horse.

But first, a little more about me than what's coming out of my laptop speakers.  As I mentioned (but you probably forgot due to the fact that you're in shock because of the whole Christmas music thing . . . ) my name is Allison and I blog over at Something Beautiful!  I know Allie in real life and love being able to call her one of my best friends (awwww!). I was really excited when she asked me to guest blog since today was a #sicknotsick day for me and I definitely needed something productive to spend my time on.  More about me?  I have an extreme case of wanderlust, love a good book, am always looking for new music, and am a novice photographer.  (Read "novice photographer" as "I don't even know what half the settings are for, but I'm trying!") Also, I. Love. Fall.

Usually I only love a season when I'm not currently in it.  Like, during Michigan's eternal winters, I find myself longing for summer.  You know, the time when I don't have to either bundle on 17 layers of clothing or risk losing an arm or something to frost bite to go get the mail. But after the initial excitement of sunshine and flip-flops, I wonder why I waited all winter for it.

Not so with fall.  Even if the name of the season may suggest otherwise, it never lets me down.  (I'm so punny!) So in case the way you feel about fall is the way that I feel about summer, let me remind you why this season is so great.

|| gorgeous colors || anywhere I look, there are leaves in all shades of red, yellow, orange, and even green, still.  It's just so stinking beautiful all the time, and I love that.

|| cozy sweaters || one of my absolute, most favorite things on earth is my mini-crewneck collection.  Over the summer, I really missed getting to pull one on and warm up.  Well, thanks to fall, I'm pretty much in sweater 92% of the time and I wouldn't want it any other way. 

|| seasonal food || okay, this is cheating a little bit because seasonal food is amazing no matter the season. I love the summer strawberries, winter peppermint hot chocolate,  and spring . . . ummm . . . Easter eggs? But fall definitely takes the cake . . . the pumpkin cake that is.  My Pinterest feed is currently exploding with sweet potatoes, butternut squash, candy corn, and pumpkin variations of every baked good out there. But I'm not complaining; actually I'm repinning as fast as my Internet connection will allow me to. Oh, and who could forget the apple cider and doughnuts? 

|| fall activities! || this category gets an exclamation point because it's just so dang exciting! What other season offers visits to the apple orchard, football games, corn mazes, leaf piles, pumpkin carving, haunted houses, trick-or-treating, and Halloween parties? None? That's what I thought. 

So there you have my reasons for loving fall.  See, nothing about Christmas music at all! What'd I tell ya?  How much do you love fall? 

P.S. There was not a word about pumpkin spice lattes in there, just for the record. 

I TOLD YOU YOU'D LIKE HER! Thanks, Allison!  Be sure to hop over to her blog, Something Beautiful,  and stalk all her posts and just generally enjoy being in her blog space.  

See ya tomorrow!


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Petsmart Police // Fish Tales

Sometimes in life, you just need something to live for; something to keep you going and to make you excited to jump out of bed every morning.  For the last few weeks, the prospect of getting to have a pet fish to keep at school has been that something for me, and I'm only exaggerating a little.  From the day that my physics teacher threw out the idea,  I've been thinking about the kind of fish I want (the big cheek kind) and carefully choosing a name (Darnell).

  I patiently waited while my teacher found a tank, fixed a crack in it, let it "cure" (which I'm pretty sure was just some kind of test, because I swear that thing cured for weeks), and did the many, many other things that have to happen in order to turn a glass box into a home for fishes.   Many, many, many things.  You don't even know.

So, after weeks of waiting, the tank was finally ready and I had a free evening to head to Petsmart and pick up my new big-cheeked fish, AKA Darnell AKA my new best friend.  I had plans to meet a friend there for a regular fish buying partay, because such a momentous occasion shouldn't be experienced alone.  I was headed out the door, keys in hand, when I received a text. 

 "Ok . . . I have bad news, none of the fish have big cheeks." 

Usually, "None of the fish have big cheeks," wouldn't be incredibly devastating . . . except it was.  I had my heart set on big cheeked Darnell AND HE WASN'T THERE.  So I sat down in the doorway and bawled my eyes out in self-pity and refused to go to Petsmart.  Okay, actually we were eating dinner so we agreed to try again the next day and I stayed home and drowned my misery in garlicky chicken noodle vegetable stuff, which worked pretty well.  

Fast forward 24 hours to the second attempt.  We both made it to Petsmart without any break downs, (okay, that was only really an accomplishment for me) and I got right down to the business of picking out Darnell.  There weren't any huge cheek fish, but I was kind of expecting that so it didn't set me back too far.  I'm assuming that you don't really want to hear about the whole fish-picking process, so I'll just tell you that it's harder than you think because apparently some fish are jerks and like to eat their tank mates, so you can't buy them no matter how pretty they are.  I mean, you don't want all of the other fish owners to hate you.  The bottom line is that I settled on a super cool clear fish and started calling it Darnell and bonding with it.  That was my mistake. 

I had my fish all picked out and couldn't be happier, so we went and found the fish lady and asked her to please scoop Darnell out of his fish prison and send him on his way to a much happier life.  That's when the real trouble started.  The fish lady apparently wasn't parting with Darnell without a fight, because she proceeded to interrogate us.

"How big is the tank?"

"Does it have water in it?"

"Are there any other fish in there?"

"Are you ready to become a fish parent?"

"Have you ever been to jail?"

And I mean I haven't ever even been to jail, but that woman would. not. let. me. buy. THE FISH.  I was all "Can I have that super cool clear one named Darnell down at the end there?" and she was all, "NO because I don't trust you and 10 gallons of water is obviously not big enough for more than one fish are you crazy?"  At which point my memory started to become more clear and I recalled that the tank miiiiight be 20 gallons instead of 10 . . . or were there actually two tanks instead of one?  No matter what I told her, fish lady held her ground.  I mean, Darnell must have been her favorite fish out of the 500+ that she was responsible for, because she was not letting me have him.  And so we bought this buggy eyed black goldfish and I didn't get Darnell and we left.  You guys, it was so disappointing, and now all I can do about it is sit here fishless and pour my heart out.  And also warn you all to never, ever, EVER try to buy a fish from Petsmart.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Her Tragedy; Our Action // Do Something

It's the kind of thing that we don't like to think about, let alone speak of.  It's the news that sank my heart in an instant and made me so painfully award of how helpless and finite I am, and we are.  It threw a shadow over a school and showed two hundred and twenty-two students that life is so much more complicated than they ever thought or hoped it would be.

She killed herself.

The words themselves sound ugly; they talk about such a horrible tragedy, something that was never, ever meant to be.  A person who seemed to always have an uplifting word to say and who so, so many people called friend isn't supposed to just stop.  High school students were made for living, for laughing with friends and learning to drive and going to football games and dreaming about the future; those days aren't supposed to be cut short and we all know it, and I think that's why the reality of suicide sits especially uneasily with us.  We know, instinctively, that something has gone wrong in the very worst way.

She was clinically depressed, that's what they said.  That's the cut-and-dry explanation, the one that's supposed to make everything clear and wrap it all up in a neat package to be filed away so that we can go on living comfortably.  But for friends and family and anyone who's touched on what happened, that explanation isn't nearly enough, and I'm glad it's not.  I don't want to be comfortable if it involves turning a blind eye when a teenage girl is driven, for whatever reason (it doesn't matter) to take her own life.  I hope that being faced with a harsh, hard reality makes us uncomfortable enough to get involved when we see things like this going on.  

As I scroll through my Instagram and Facebook and talk to friends, I'm encouraged by the love that I see expressed for her and her family.  The support pours out to overflowing, and it's absolutely incredible.   To be completely honest, though, the paragraphs upon paragraphs of kind, kind words, and even the words I'm writing right now, also make me sick to my stomach, because they're a couple days too late.  We didn't know that she needed them, and that hurts me more still - as I watch yet another repetition of the cycle of tragedy and coping, tragedy and coping, I find myself wishing that someone would show up and break it.  It seems like I've gotten better at dealing with the aftermath, but I'm so slow to do anything that could change a situation for the better before it gets worse.  I'm good at talking, but doing is something that I'd much rather leave to someone else.   The world, as a whole, is great at talking and analyzing events; we're experts in speculation and could probably graduate with high honors from the school of  Knowing What's Going On; however, we aren't as good at paying attention to people - something has, indeed, gone wrong in the very worst way.  That's not to say that heartbreaking things can't happen under the watch of the most compassionate and attentive of people; they can and do, because life's not the way God made it to be anymore.  It is to say, though, that hurt and destruction erupt too often without our notice, and the world keeps spinning smoothly on its axis while all over things are anything but smooth.

My prayer for this situation is that it would move us to action; that we'd be unwilling to let another moment pass in which we could have done something and didn't.  I hope (and maybe this is morbid but I don't care) that she'd stick in our minds to the point that we can't help but take the very next chance to say the words we've been meaning to or do that thing that we know we should, and that because of it we change the way we act.  I want us to care to the point that her death deeply affects us, even if we didn't know her.  I don't want her life and death to be for nothing.  What I want most, and what I think really has to happen, is for us to take a long enough break from our worried discussion and endless speculation to finally do something.


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