Monday, November 28, 2011

Bob the Great

I'm going to take this moment to recognize someone who just made my day. Trinity people will understand who this is, and if you aren't from Trinity, take this moment to learn about a fabulous person. Let me set this up for you:

I was running errands all afternoon after class, very flustered (as usual - I wish that wasn't my default setting during the weeks before exam time), and I finally got home to check my million e-mail messages, only to read that I had to drive back to Trinity's campus (I live in a house a few minutes away) to pick up a book from the English department offices before everyone leaves, usually around 4:30. It was 4:28. Whew. I had to write a large chunk of a paper today, so this was kind of important. So I got back into Remy and zipped back over to school, where I ran (yes, I ran. I was that kid who runs on campus) to get to the faculty secretary's office where the books were waiting for me. I get to the building, run upstairs, knocked on the office door, and alas...

The door was locked. Ugh.

So I'm thinking to myself, "Anna, it's totally fine, you got this...get down what you can on can get the books tomorrow morning and somehow squeeze in time to work on it before your class...yada yada yada," knowing full well that I really did kind of need them tonight. Enter the hero of the story...

Bob Rice, Dr. Bob Rice. History professor and human being extraordinaire.

I don't even have him in class this semester, but he had noticed that I had knocked on the secretary's door and heard that there was no answer from inside. He took the time to ask me what I needed, and I explained how I had books waiting for me inside the office "but that's totally fine, I'll come back tomorrow morning!" Nope, he wouldn't let me leave without getting those books. He stopped what he was doing to help me out. He knew my name right away, told me he was excited to have me in class next semester (he had already checked and remembered that I was registered for his Russian History class in the spring), and joked that he would not want to be involved with hindering a student's reading. He went back to his office, retrieved his spare key to the office, and unlocked the door for me. I got the books, thanked him obnoxiously, and he smiled and said to have a great week. Now, instead of leaving the building completely frustrated and sans books...

I am loving life. First, I have the books I needed. Secondly, and most importantly, when someone takes a moment to cut through the hustle and bustle to help a sister out, dang it, it just gives you hope for humanity.

Did I mention that Bob Rice is blind? Oh yeah, that too. He did the whole shebang (remembering my name by my voice, my schedule, the keys, the office doors, etc.) like the pro that he is. But that's not the important part. The important part is that I now learned a little lesson that the books I'm reading tonight probably won't teach me. People like Dr. Rice have taught me that people matter and that no matter how busy you are, you always have the time to be kind.

The Latest Looks

No, I haven't ceased putting outfits together completely since the culmination of the 30 for 30 challenge, I promise! Here are a few outfits I've been wearing whilst running around Trinity's campus and even a few from the rolling hills of Wisconsin.
#1: These boots and cardigan are my faves right now. 
#2: Nerdy chic. Love the old-school stripes.
#3: 'Twas a windy day, if you can't tell.
#4: Ready for church at Grandma's house.
#5: My brother's photog debut
#6: Had to show you the detail of this awesome Anthro skirt
#7: Too late to wear white? To the labor-day-rule
I say: take that! 
#8: My favorite hairstyle of the week. About as
adventurous as I get these days. I'll be braver in the future.
#9: Ready for church at home for Thanksgiving.
Don't mind the messy room, focus on the cute dress.
#10: I got sick of setting up self-timers, apparently.
My new plaid flannel for winter. Yay. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankyou, thankyouverymuch.

Clearly I need to honor this day and talk about what I am thankful for in life, and clearly you should read the title like Elvis would say it. I mean, Thanksgiving is a fabulous holiday. There is food, family, and let's not forget Aaron Rodger's magical smile during the Packer game. But instead of going over the typical "God, Family, Friends," list on Thanksgiving this year (although I love all three!), I'm going to try and find the random stuff that I usually overlook. I've found that taking stuff for granted is never a good idea, so here is my list of the little stuff that makes each day better.

I am thankful for Pinterest,
because it gave me this photo. 
1. I am thankful for Facebook. Where else would I get the most recent dish on the latest engagements that occur each weekend? Where else would I see piknik-ed photos of the latest parties? Facebook, next time you change your layout, I will NOT complain about it in my status, I will remember to be thankful for your daily entertainment.

2. I am thankful for Trader Joe's Non Fat Frozen Yogurt. It is delicious, guilt-free, and has a starring role as my dessert just about every day. Sometime I will have to elaborate on my love for this item from the grocery store, but I'll hold you in suspense on this until a later date.

3. I am thankful for Redbox and Blockbuster Express. They are only a block away, super cheap, and supply me with new movies that brighten my weekdays.

4. I am thankful for Taco Tuesdays. My roommates Karyn and Susan and I seem to have fallen into this tradition this semester, and now I literally cannot wait for dinner time on Tuesday nights.

5. I am thankful for Forever21, for supplying me with cute clothes that I can afford.

6. I am thankful for my roommate/cousin/best friend Karley, because she talks in her sleep nearly every night for my general enjoyment.

7. I am thankful for Zooey Deschanel, for giving me funny episodes of New Girl on FOX each Tuesday.

8. I am thankful for G2 pens that make my notes crisp and fun to write.

9. I am thankful for the fact that I like Mondays. I can't explain why, but I am one of the lucky few that are predisposed to enjoy the first day of the school week. It's bizarre.

10. I am thankful for my little green iPod, named Hank, because he doesn't judge me when I play Open Arms by Journey for a week straight on my way to school. (And don't you judge me for that either; this is a thankfulness list, so let's keep the positive energy going.)

Now think about the little stuff that brightens your existence. And let me just say I'm also thankful for people who read my blog. I love those "me too!" moments that bring us all together. Presh.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cool Runnings

Over the last few months I have been convinced that Cross Country runners are the hardest working college athletes in existence (except for of course, JV Women's soccer players). I haven't seen more hard work, discipline, and dedication on any other team. Know what made up my mind? Attending a Cross Country meet.
Don't let those skinny legs fool you. They're legit. These guys (and girls) spend their summers running somewhere around 10 miles A DAY, and that's the offseason. Not exactly my idea of a good time. When they finally get to the season, they have to prepare for these meets where they race against OTHER skinny people who have ALSO been running 10 miles a day all summer to see who can push themselves closer to the edge without puking. Or, in many cases, they get to the edge and puke anyway. It's like they enjoy torturing themselves. I don't understand it. 
So my friends and I went to a meet to cheer on the XC team. The gun goes off, and a huge pack of runners wearing shorts of questionable lengths takes off toward a golf cart that leads the way. Nobody is wearing iPods or anything, so i'm sure they're all listening to the heavy breathing of those people gaining on them just five yards behind or so. (There was this little smug dude from another school like thirty feet in front of everyone who seemed pretty proud of himself. He led for most of the race and I had an idea to run out on the course and trip him, but I thought I'd better back off.) During the race, my friends and I are sprinting around from place to place (who knew, it's not just the Cross Country teams who have to run at a meet) to cheer them along at different points on the route. As time passes, these runners look more and more like they got punched in the stomach, but they continue somehow. 
Cheering on the (middle 3) XC girls
We finally get to the home stretch before the finish line, and while I spent the other portions of the race cheering for people to go faster, this is the point where I'm screaming for people to SLOW the heck DOWN. These guys don't look good. They're foaming at the mouth, they're groaning, their eyes are closed in pain, and I'm fairly certain a defibrillator is in the near future for most. At this point, I want to yell "IT'S NOT WORTH IT! THINK OF YOUR HEALTH!" and "YOU'VE DONE ENOUGH - JUST STOP NOW!" Thankfully, most of them don't heed my advice, keep on trucking, and make it to the finish line. Tip: Don't linger at the finish line as a spectator. Lots of vomit. Not ideal. 

Then after going through this ordeal, the runners talk about how they didn't get better than their personal record and are disappointed with their time. Um, you got dressed up in skimpy little shorts in November to go run a 5k. That's enough for me. Cross Country runners of America, I salute you. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

No-Shame November

A friend of mine, Liz Brice, has been blogging throughout this month about things that she is ashamed of in a challenge called No-Shame November. She is putting it all out there, saying what makes her ashamed, and hopefully through this process she will face her fears head on, learn something about herself, and allow others to laugh/learn along with her. I didn't take this month-long challenge myself, but I thought it'd be a good activity to devote a post to the cause. This is painfully scary for me, because I am not quite as brave as Liz in the "let it all out" department.

Well, here we are. Ready for mine?

I have a complex about my appearance. Classic stupid girl issue, I know. But it's unfortunately true.

Okay chill, before you freak out about the impending emotional vomit, have no fear. I'm not going to gently sob on your shoulder and listen to the Carpenters as you tell me that everything is going to be okay. I'm a tougher cookie than that. (But if you want to listen to The Carpenters on your own time, go for it. They're pure gold. I love when Chris Farley and David Spade sing that song in Tommy Boy.) It's just that I happen to think other girls are great in all shapes and sizes, yet when I apply the standards to myself, the restrictions somehow become an unrealistic ideal that Britney Spears put in my head in '99.

There are some days when I am happy with the girl looking back in the mirror and the world is a-okay.

But, more often than I'd like to admit, the girl looking back at me in the mirror has a laundry list of problems: she's too tall, she's not nearly thin enough, her butt is too big, and she could use some styling tips.

Why? It's ridiculous. And unacceptable. Because all of that stuff does not matter. It just doesn't. And while I'm not a size 0 like I used to be in the old high school days, I'm not sure that's what I even want to be anymore. I'm a size 6 and know I can pull it off if I just get out of my own head.

Here we go on the  list:

I'm ashamed that I consider myself a confident, dynamic, and intelligent person in most areas of life, and that such a trivial category as appearance is one that trips me up.

I'm ashamed that I spend WAY too much time looking in the mirror evaluating how I look in my outfits (ask my roommates...oops.) I'm ashamed that I sometimes gauge my good-looking-ness in comparison to other girls, as if there is some sort of contest going on out there in the universe. (Here's a hint: There isn't! We can ALL be awesome and nobody wins or loses. How nice.) I'm ashamed that I claim to know a God who made me to be wonderfully great, yet I don't usually act like I value the body he gave me in which to live a fabulous life.

So. What to do from here? What's my job here? I can tell you that my job is NOT to make myself into some weird sort of ridiculous stereotype. My job is to be a healthy Anna Gesch, who is as cool with herself as she is with others. My job is to love life and not get caught up in a stupid, meaningless rat race for perfection. And when I get dressed in the morning, my job is to do so because it makes me happy, shows my personality, and displays my point of view. I resolve to start doing my job in this department.

And this little resolution is not intended as a deep-sea fishing expedition for compliments. It's meant as inspiration for all of you people, guys or girls, to value who you are and have confidence in your positive attributes. It's hopefully to serve as a reminder to cut the comparison routine (for both ourselves and others) and to start living life above all that junk.

Deal? Deal. Let's do it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two to Tango

The other day, I was doing some research for a presentation in my English 356 class, Ancient Mediterranean Literature. I've told you about this class before, and let's recall how I am about 40% Grade A "Nerd." Okay maybe a little more than 40%, but that's up for debate. Stay with me.  I was researching information on Hispania, the name of the Roman colony that existed in what is modern-day Southern Spain (including my second home, Sevilla). I was looking up stuff on Seneca the Younger, the famous Roman Stoic philosopher who was born in that colony, and found a quote of Seneca's that just warmed my little heart. It actually had nothing to do with the class, and nothing to do with my presentation. But that's why it's so great: 

"A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party; there is no battle unless there be two."

Let me explain. There's history here. And it involves my Grandpa and Grandma. The former of whom is a fabulous person living in Wisconsin, and the latter of whom is a fabulous person who passed away last Spring while I was away in Spain. I happen to believe that they lived one of the best love stories of all time. Not because it was perfect by any means, but because it was real. They raised five boys and were married for 68 years through all the pleasant, scary, sad, important, mundane, and joyful days alike. 

My grandparents on one of their family road trips.
Love her outfit!
My Grandpa, the first time I hung out with him after my Grandma died, was reflecting a lot on their lives together. One comment that he made is still vividly alive in my mind. He said, "We never really fought about things. If one of us started up on an issue, the other would just shut up. You try to have an argument with just one person! Doesn't work so hot!" 

Well. For one thing, I'm not so sure that my Grandma would have agreed that they NEVER fought over ANYthing. But that's another story.

What got through to me is that they lived all those years together on a team. They were FOR the other, not against. And when one started to push, the other refused to push back. 

I think when I get to the marriage stage of life, I want to take a cue from Wilfred and Elinore on this one. I think a big part of being in love means being on the same team, the same page, and the same side. 

The first grandkid

And we're letting Seneca steal all the credit for this piece of wisdom? I've decided that I'm starting a campaign to re-credit this little nugget to my grandparents. They earned it.    

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pannadora Radio ©: The Good Mood Songs

I've done a Pannadora Radio © edition once before and I've decided to cook up another little list of favorites for your general enjoyment. Lately, an issue of hot debate has been the pre-Thanksgiving-Christmas-music-enthusiasts. Some people are jumping the gun on the Christmas music this year. While on one hand I can relate to the pure bliss that follows the sweet sounds of Nat King ColeMariah Carey, and Frank Sinatra, on the other hand I can see the maddening senselessness of hearing this song every hour, on the hour.

So we have a problem. We want the happiness and general atmosphere of cheer that accompanies Christmas music, but NOT the loss of sanity with too much of a good thing. I have your solution.

Behold, the Good Mood playlist. These are some songs that will guarantee you the happiness you crave. I can't help but immediately smile when one of these comes on. This should hold you over until the day after Thanksgiving when Rudolph can prance freely through the radio waves once again. 

1. You Make My Dreams Come True - Hall & Oates (check out the video below - this may be the best of them all.)
2. Dog Days are Over - Florence and the Machine (this was in my first playlist post, but it's THAT good.)
3. Feeling This - Blink 182
4. Valerie - Amy Winehouse 
5. Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield 
6. Say Hey (I Love You) - Michael Franti & Spearhead
7. Photograph - Weezer
8. Anthem Part II - Blink 182
9. 500 Miles - The Proclaimers (Scottish twin brother singing duo? Sign me up!) 
10. What I Got - Sublime
11. Annie Waits - Ben Folds (Or change this to "Anna waits" for an extra bonus)
12. George Michael - Faith
13. Separate Ways - Journey
14. Cecilia - Simon and Garfunkel
15. Baby One More Time - Britney Spears (Don't act like you don't love this one.) 
16. The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
17. Hey Ya - Outkast (Lend me some sugar. I am your neighbor.)
18. Beautiful Day - U2
19. I Believe in a Thing Called Love - The Darkness (justlistentotherhythmofmyheart!)
20. Yellow Submarine - The Beatles

You're Welcome. Go forth and be happy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Telephone Pictionary

I am going to tell you how to play one of the easiest, funnest (I am aware that's not a word but I don't care) games that is in existence. It's called Telephone Pictionary and just about anyone can play. I've played this with my roommates, larger groups of college friends, all girls, mixed guys and girls, family members, my friends' parents, pets, and more. It's fun. (It's also super CHEAP.)

1. Go get a stack of paper and cut each sheet into fourths so you you have lots of smaller squares. 
2. Go get a group of friends and/or family. Make sure they're funny, creative, and interesting. If you don't have friends and family like that, get new ones.
3. Sit in a circle around a table with lots of pens and pencils on it. This table would preferably also conveniently hold delicious snacks and drinks, but that part is optional. 

4. This is where the actual game starts, so pay attention. Give each person at the table a stack of paper with a number of papers equal to the number of people. If you have SEVEN people, each person gets a stack of SEVEN papers. If you have 45 people, each person gets a stack of 45 papers. If you are by yourself and have one person at the table, you are lame and should stop trying to play this game.
5. Write a funny or descriptive sentence on the top piece of paper in your stack. Everyone should do this. Then, at the same time, all of the stacks get passed to the LEFT. (Or the RIGHT if you want to be tricky.) You will be then receiving someone else's stack of papers with their written statement on the top.

6. Read the sentence that the last person wrote. Take that paper off the top and place it at the bottom of the stack. Now you will be DRAWING what the last SENTENCE said on the new top piece of paper.
7. Pass again. If you see a DRAWING in front of you, write a SENTENCE that describes the picture. If you see a SENTENCE, you do a DRAWING. So basically you are alternating between writing sentences and drawing pictures, until you receive your original stack of papers back.
8. Now each go in a circle and show your stack of papers in succession and see how much the statement and pictures changed. Hilarity ensues. Good times will be had by all.
9. Repeat steps 1-8.
10. You're welcome!

My sentence, and my friend's mom's drawing of it. 
My drawing, and my friend's sentence description of it. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Little Boxes

(Random title, i oldie but a goodie.)

So I was thinking. I'm kind of in this weird phase.

I am a senior in college, and let me clarify that a bit: a small, Christian college. I love this experience and have had some of the best years of my life here. Ugh, it makes me really sad to think that my time here is going to end sooner rather than later. But I digress.

In this small Christian college, it's like a different world. Don't get me wrong, it's a cool world. You have all these fun friends around you who are in the same ballpark concerning culture, faith, and background. We aren't a big, rich, party school so I'm not so worried about wearing designer clothes or trying to Jersey-Shore myself up to look cool (yes, I just made Jersey-Shore a verb). I can simply be myself, which is an awesome thing. But a certain part of this little world I've inhabited for the past 3+ years leaves me a little empty. It's the comfort zone.

Let me ask you this: Do you ever feel like your comfort zone is TOO comfortable? I think for the past three years I've lived in that zone a little too easily.

But I'm starting to feel not quite as at home in that little circle anymore. It might sound weird to say this, but being comfortable now feels uncomfortable to me.
One example. Just about every time I get on Facebook, new tiny pink engagement hearts announce a wedding that's happening next summer. I love weddings. I love love. So this is exciting, both for them as people and for me as a supporter and friend. But I'm a 22-year-old girl living in that little circle, and I don't have a little pink heart on my profile in this particular year, my senior year. That makes me the exception to the rule in the small Christian college world. But I think that's alright. I think I like that small portion of me that is foreign in this little circle that I'm from.

I've skipped outside of that circle before. Spain was a huge jump out of that neat little circle. But now I've been back home again for a good chunk of time and I find myself looking at the inner walls of the circle, wondering how on earth I got back here.

And let me just say: you don't need to be across an ocean to get out of the circle. It's not about where you are living, it's about how you are living. What about seeking out people different than myself? What about places I've never explored? What about a new style I haven't tried? What about a story I haven't heard? What about LOVING life each second, even those seconds when I'm waking up and going to class, making dinner, living in my house, and writing my papers? What about looking for goodness in every moment I live? What about looking for the goodness in every person I know?

I don't think that I am content to just live in a little box made out of ticky tacky. I don't think, deep down, that any of us are. We all need something more than the safety of the circle. We need adventure, and although we each find it in different ways and places, we still need it.

And finally, the biggest comfort-zone-pusher I can think of: What about finding ways to have a heart to love people when they do not seem to deserve it? Or show love back to you?

I think that's the most daring adventure of them all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sprinkly Temptation

So I come home today and THIS is on the counter. Just sitting there. Karley put it there. And said to eat them. Donuts that are sprinkled, delicious, chocolate, and FREE?

What's a girl to do? I had no choice. The devil made me do it. And my roommate. She's evil.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

There's A Bug Going Around

Remy the Wondercar isn't doing so hot. In fact, she's a little sick. She's come down with the flu or something. And by flu, of course, I mean "a flex pipe in the catalytic converter that has rusted out." To-may-to, to-mah-to.

Yesterday was a sad day for me, as I had to hear my car's (expensive) diagnosis over the phone on my way to class. I, of course, immediately called my dad, Brian (or B-Money as we like to refer to him) who is coincidentally not just my dad, but THE Wonderdad himself, and he found a dealer back home in Wisconsin who can take care of the problem for much less money. So this weekend I'm going home as as a very nervous, naive carowner who will entrust that the bug will get fixed and back to normal.

I've gotta say, car troubles are scary. It is scary both to my wallet and self. First, to my wallet, because this car is the most valuable thing I have (not hard to do when all of your other possessions were bought at Forever21 on sale). Secondly, it's scary also because I have this little relationship going with my car. This is my first car, and I have to say, every time I get inside to drive, it just makes me happy. It's like we're friends. Maybe that's weird to you, but this is also coming from the girl who talked to her stuffed animals when she was little. I make friends with my stuff, it's no big deal. 

So here's praying that 1) Remy and I make it back to Wisconsin this weekend and 2) The car comes back brand-spankin'-new and better than ever! She's pretty spunky, so I think she'll pull through for me. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30x30 Wrap Up - It's Done!

So, in case you are just coming in now, from October 1-30 I put on my own little 30 x 30 challenge in the tradition of fashion blogger Kendi. She is really great at mixing and matching different pieces, and so I thought I'd give it a shot of my own! This is a challenge where you select 30 items of clothing (including shoes) and put together outfits with only those pieces for thirty days. While I missed a few days while visiting friends in California due to the 80 degree weather, I followed the rules completely. Here is a visual recap of all my outfits:
All in all, I'd say it was a success! Let's be real, I am definitely glad to have the rest of my closet back. Yesterday I wore a sweatshirt to class for the first time in a month. It felt good. But the challenge has definitely taught me that the possibilities are endless with just a touch of thought and creativity. If anyone is looking to do a little challenge of their own, I'll be happy to help pick out your 30 items! 

As for me, I'll put off another challenge for awhile until all my other clothes and shoes feel properly loved and appreciated. I think my beloved Sambas and track jackets were starting to develop abandonment issues.