Monday, April 30, 2012

Comma Kazi

(I knew I needed a good title for a grammar and usage post - Thesaurus Rex was a close second-place candidate.)

This weekend was one of road tripping, relaxing, and concerting (yep just made up a verb). I'm starting to actually be at peace on the long road trip - some of my best thinking gets done in that sitch. The once-antsy annoying girl is growing up to be able to sit still! Yeah! The concert I went to was AWESOME. I am a complete poser because to be honest I had never heard of her before seeing her live, but it was for LIGHTS, a band with a really cool girl lead singer with glorious techy accompaniments.  She most definitely was an emo kid in high school, with black hair parted a few millimeters above her ear. That way, the resulting sweeping bangs across her face allow for dramatic, angsty head flips. She also had arms covered in tattoos. Meanwhile, I'm from Wisconsin, employ straight bangs instead of the flippy ones, with solely my eyebrow piercing for any sort of punk credibility. Even so, I think we'll be friends. Maybe LIGHTS will want to meet up with Zooey and I for our weekly Tuesday lunch dates. I'll have to pencil her in.
In addition to all that, this weekend was also one of grammar/usage chaos. I'm no expert. I'm not perfect at grammar. I still refer to eccentric infographics for semicolon usage. But some hilarious and wonderful mishaps were invading my Facebook home feed last night and I had to share a few of them:

The Your/You're mixups were ubiquitous. There was the classic "your so ignorant" (demonstrating just the opposite to be true), and yet I also found a rare "You're car is still parked here, just FYI." This one was a special find, because it is unusual for the mistaken Facebooker to add an apostrophe to the word. It's much more common for the lazy "your" to reign in every situation. But this particular individual was somewhat of an overachiever in his misuse. I give him props for that.

- Weird phrases were all over the place. My personal favorite was "I could care less." While I understand that this is used all the time, the phrase in actuality indicates the presence of some caring. You are saying the level of care present is not at rock bottom; you could still go down a level on the ladder of caring. To express extreme apathy, I think the phrase we're all going for here is "I couldn't care less," as if to say that you are at the minimum possible level of caring. I honestly could not have less caring for this situation. Some of you couldn't care less about grammar blog posts. To those, I say: 
I understand. Thank you for communicating your extreme distaste for my post in a quality fashion. Let's try to be friends despite our differing levels of caringness for grammar.

-And now, my all-time favorite of the night. A girl was trying to advertise some things she wanted to sell to anyone who was interested. Fair enough. Underneath a picture of a particular pair of black shoes, she wrote the caption: "Black Satan Shoes: $15.00" Now. I realize she probably meant that the shoes were made of satin and not of some substance related to the Lord of Darkness, but I'm not taking any risks. Satan shoes are no joke. Lucifer can keep his footwear, and I don't care what he thinks about my boycott of his products. That's that.

While I've always thought I hate these mistakes, I discovered last night that I love them. Adds a little flavor to my day. It's just two funny not too laugh, right? Your such a nice person for reading my blog, by the way. Your too kind, really. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


So many fun and cool things are happening!

First, and most importantly (haha), we won our volleyball intramural championship last night! Karley, Mel, myself, Sam, Joel, and Joey (our friends) rose to the occasion and played a really good team to take home that coveted t-shirt. I officially have 6 intramural champ t-shirts from my college career, and at least one from each of my four years. This is an important achievement in my life. I take these games WAY too seriously. I'm considering adding "intramuraler extraordinaire" to my resume as a line under "titles/certifications," but in the name of professionalism I probably will have to refrain. Maybe I'll put it on some business cards...

Secondly, check out my blog's new look! Lauren Sandberg, who is an expert at being both a human being and a graphic designer, made a super cool new header for my blog. I love it! I am also tempted to keep clicking on my blog's bookmark so I can keep seeing its makeover. Yes, it is a rectangle. And this is exciting to me.

Thirdly, I am SUPER stoked to finally be able to tell the world a little bit about what I'll be up to for the next two years! I've hinted at this before, but now it's official and I can tell you: I got placed to teach in a charter school! Anna Gesch, teacher of the youths of America. I'm not sure whether that sounds inspiring or terrifying, but it's happening either way. As you may already know, I was accepted into Teach For America in March to serve in the Chicago region. That is only the first step, however, because Chicago Public Schools are decentralized, and hiring is ultimately dependent upon the decisions of the principals who have autonomy over their schools' own hires.

Courtesy of the LEARN website. Check them out, reading like champs. 
About two weeks ago, I put on my grown-up pants, took the CTA downtown to Teach for America's Chicago offices, and joined about 100 other corps members for an interview day much akin to speed dating. I was scheduled for 6 interviews that were to last for twenty minutes each. It was madness. There were prep stations for interviews and certification tests, as well as millions (slight exaggeration) of other TFA members in suits seeking also to get hired. They range from schools in the ballpark of Duke, Harvard, and USC. I was proudly representing Trinity Christian on my own that day. I took one look around and said to myself, "Well, you're not getting hired today. At least work on your interview skills and make a friend or two!" So that's what I did. Except for on my second interview, the principal said, "Well, I wasn't planning on hiring anyone, but I want you at my school. Let's do the paperwork." Bada bing, bada boom. It was done. And honestly, it could not be a better situation for me.

I am placed at the LEARN Network of charter schools in Chicago, particularly at their Campbell Campus on the west side of the city. They are serving an at-risk population in really cool ways. (Here's their website if you're curious!) I really like the idea of the Chicago neighborhoods within a half hour of this school placement, so sorting out a living situation will be pretty soon on the "life to-do list" that is coming up. I was really hoping for a charter school as I agree with their mission and methods, and am excited by their track records of success. My principal is an unbelievable person and I am excited to see how I can learn from her enthusiasm in all that she does. I signed up two weeks ago, and yesterday I visited the location for the day as well as signed an official contract. I am going to have benefits next year. I have no idea of what that even really means, but I like to say it because it makes me sound like an adult. I still have to ask my dad what the heck the difference is between a PPO and HMO. (I'm quickly discovering that there are WAY TOO MANY ACRONYMS in the adult world. C'mon people someone make me a chart. I can't keep all this stuff straight.)

The visit was amazing. The kids are so full of energy and so are the teachers. The school rents a floor of rooms in a social services building and have covered the walls in bright pictures and fun paper everywhere. Classrooms have a co-teaching setup, so I'll be working alongside of another teacher. An ideal situation, in my opinion, for a first year newbie like myself. I'll most likely, as of this point, be assigned to second grade, but they are still sorting out where I'll end up grade level wise. To be honest, I was exhausted even just watching the teachers do their thing, so I'm fairly confident my late night habits will fall by the wayside. Or at least have to wait until the weekends for next year.

So anyway. This whole ordeal is what is sparking my latest, overwhelming feeling of God's goodness. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, I realize the next year will test me in ways I've never been tested and expose me to things I've never seen. But the idea of jumping in and using my skills to contribute to a place like this is really exciting. So if you're interested in the life of a non-education major who is teaching in urban education, stay tuned. I can feel some pretty hilarious stories coming on the horizon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

All the time?

Last week was Grandparent's Day. No, I'm not in second grade, I do actually attend Trinity Christian College, an institution of higher learning, and yes, we have Grandparent's Day. WHAT ABOUT IT, HUH?! (Sorry, I'm defensive of our little traditions, as silly as they seem to most 'normal' people.) My two cousins and I got to spend a few hours with my mom's mother, who is a wonderful person. They had a speaker at one point during the program who chose a topic that got me thinking. She was saying that times don't have to be easy in order for them to be good.

The gray haired audience had the benefit of lots of years of evidence to attest to her message. They can look back and see how everything shakes out for their ultimate good. Even my 45-year-old dad (Okay he's not that age by any means, but I'm trying to help a brotha out) told me last weekend that he has enough experience with hindsight to see this truth. The truth of how there isn't a meaningless rhythm to life; how there is a purpose behind all of those weird events that leave us asking, What on earth is going to happen to me?

I've been pondering this idea for awhile. Honestly, it's because things have been going my way for the most part in the past month or so - particularly when it comes to my future plans. Doors have been opened and things have fallen into place like I can't even believe. I truly could not have planned it better myself. (Ha, I would probably have messed it up if it were.) I can fill you in on these details soon and very soon. (!!!)

SO. Lately I've been thinking, "Wow, I am pretty blessed. Life is good. God is good.

But aren't those things always good? What a stupid thing to assume that all of a sudden these things started to be good! Was life no good when I was having an off day? Was life not worth living in January when I had a minor breakdown every five minutes at each glance at my planner's revelation that "GRADUATION" was penciled in and hurling at me like a freight train? Was God no good when people asked, "What are you considering for a career path?" and I coped by making some stupid joke about plans to open a grammar store with my English major? (I forget who I stole that joke from, but it's worth a laugh every time. Well I laugh at it. Therefore, it's funny.) Was God not good when I saw all those diamond ring pictures pop up on facebook and my fourth finger on my left hand was (and still is - don't get any ideas pal!) glaringly sans adornment? Was I not blessed when I felt confused about my future and where I was meant to be for the next little segment of my life?

The answer to all of these, of course, is no

I have always been blessed, life is always good, and God is always good. I have a theory that God gets sick of my aforementioned meltdowns and sometimes has to smack me over the head with good stuff just to make me shut up with all the complaints. As much experience as I have with trying to remind toddlers and little kids to stop whining, I'm not such a great role model in that department myself. Oops. 

What changes, then, is not the blessings, life, or God, but me. Or I guess, more specifically, my perspective. Too often we (well at least I do) let the junk going on around us decide whether or not things are good. God was still perfectly good on the day my Grandma died last year. Life was still good when I felt completely scared and alone that first week in Spain. I'm still blessed beyond comparison when friendships are tarnished, promises are broken, and plans don't work out. Yet I'm still like the whiny 3-year-old who can only see four inches in front of her own shoes. Here's the  problem with this: when I start qualifying the goodness of my life, blessings, and God, it makes me the one who determines all this stuff. It makes me the center of attention. And it makes me the one in charge of making it all happen. But I don't want to make it happen. I can't make it happen. Not on my own. 

So, if you ask me if God is good all the time, I will tell you yes. Because in the highs and lows, he doesn't change. The goodness of this life we live doesn't waver. 

And that, to me, makes it worth living, and living well. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yellow Fever

This weekend was a whirlwind of hilarity, hickness, and happiness.

Check out those bridesmaids - I call it "Belle Yellow"
Kayla Amison (but now Kayla Gabrielse!), one of my lifelong friends, got married on Saturday. We assembled the girls from high school (and a few others :D) for bridesmaid fun as we got to support Kayla and Ben for their big day. We spent all day together getting our hair done at the salon, milling around at the church, taking pictures through Sheboygan, and hanging out together at the reception. It was a fabulous day. Always wonderful to get back in touch with my Wisconsin friends again. 

The bride and I
Let me tell you a little something about Kayla. This chick moved up to Wisconsin from Florida as a third-grader. She weighs as much as a Chihuahua and is a gorgeous person, inside and out. She is cold all the time (not too much fat for insulation, plus that Florida girl can't get used to the winters here), insanely conservative (she'll be the one waving those Republican posters on the street corners asking you to honk for Scott Walker), and a huge goofball (she enjoys watching cheesy scary movies on Netflix, no chick flicks for her). She has been making me laugh since grade school and I cannot believe she is old or mature enough to be married. But then again, I still imagine myself as a 12-year-old watching Rocket Power while sipping Chocolate Nesquik, so what do I know about maturity? 

She is also one of the most naturally cheerful people I've ever met. She just kind of bee-bops along, bouncing joyfully from one thing to the next. I mean, look at the dresses she picked out for us to wear. Yellow is a great color to describe Kayla. If there is an anti-bridezilla, she is it. No drama, just wanting to enjoy her day and have a great time with her family and friends. When I start to take everything too seriously, people like her remind me to not worry about it, do your best, and keep on swimming. (Nemo reference, just in case my niece Sawyer is reading. I want to relate to audiences of all ages.) Ben, her husband, is also a great friend of mine from home. And he's a great guy. It was really great to see them get hitched. I'm aware that I've used "great" three times in the last three sentences. I'm a great writer. With great range. And great diction. 

Classiness while we got ready. Ooooo fancy. 
Now I'm back at Trinity, ready to start another week, sans voice, of course. Weddings have a way of just making me super high on life, so I'm starting with a little more gumption than usual. Last three weeks of college, here we go!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Art of Getting By

Channeling a little bit of Dorothy with this ensem. 
I've been kind of going nuts with the recent death of my point-and-shoot camera. She has been a loyal friend over these past three years, especially when I put her through the ringer during my semester abroad. I stuffed her in backpacks, purses, and pockets. I dropped her more than the average functional adult should drop an item. I really shouldn't be trusted with nice things. But alas, in the few weeks since she went to camera heaven (where all those family pets are frolicking right now) I haven't been able to take outfit pictures. This means that I have not all that much motivation to look cute, ever. I've been getting by without the outfit pictures, but it just doesn't work for me. You know, sort of been going for that "freshly woken up" look lately. Maybe a little too literally. I'll work on that. In the meantime, here are the last outfits taken on my late camera's card. I shall miss thee, Sony Cybershot. Thou hast served me well.

I'm starting to wear these TOMS out, so I'm thinking the next birthday wishlist
will include another pair. So stinking comfortable.
Karley's dress that I borrowed. My heels. 
These shoes make me eighty feet tall. 
Team Lindsay
Jackie had these shirts made
for Lindsay last summer. 
Love sunny days.
Hard to see, but those are corduroys. Yes.
Amazing pair of shoes my German relatives bought for me last spring. 
I go through grunge phases, okay? 
Let's break out the Nirvana. 
This weekend I go home for my friend Kayla's wedding! I'm all (spray)tanned and ready to wear her bright yellow bridesmaid dress and cannot wait to be there for her big day. Amazing that I'm old enough to have good friends getting married, right?! Yeesh. She and her fiance are a riot, and the other bridesmaids are some of my best friends as well. It's gonna be a good time. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Latest Excursions

With the end-of-year frenzy, I've been a tad neglectful of my blog just because, well, LIFE IS NUTS! I have some very exciting news that I get to go public with next week (AAHHH :D) so stay tuned for that goodness. I've still been wearing some cool outfits that I love, but alas, cannot post pictures to tell the blogosphere about them because my point-and-shoot camera is broken. Oh well. Good thing my mother has an old one that she doesn't use anymore, so I'll be picking that up next week. More outfits will be documented thereafter. In the near future I have a dear friend's wedding, more roadtrips, and lots of good times coming up. Life is moving so quickly that it's starting to make my head spin. I think I like the pace for now. It's fun. Here's an update (pictures are mostly stolen from friends) about where I've been these days.

Karley, Karyn and I drove out to Iowa to visit THE beautiful Liz
VanDrunen and other friends. Worth the 9 hour drive, fa SHO!
My car's coolant light was flashing on the ride home. It turns out
to be just a testy light, but I felt like an expert checking out the hood.
Out for lunch with Nicole and Sam, two of my Wisconsin
favorites. I can't express to you how much they make me laugh! 
A huge group of our friends over at la casa de Mel (my sasstastic
roomie) for Sunday lunch and backyard festivities.  
Five of us went out to Naperville for the night last Saturday!
As you can see, spring means being out and about, which I love. Makes me wanna haul all these fun people back to Sevilla with me! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Well I've admitted to a few obsessions before, but now I'm also realizing I have addictions. Things I can't stop even if I try. One problem I have is with orange tic tacs. I keep on popping those things. It's alarming. And noisy.

Another addiction I've had for awhile now is to these stupid little internet memes. They take one idea (I've labeled the pictures for their generic title) and run with it for lots of laughs. My roommate Lauren introduced me to the phenomenon last summer when she was scouring on a daily, nay, hourly, basis. She always knows what's cool before I do. They are all over, and you have probably seen plenty of these yourself, but I have to share a few of my favorites. They're too good not to. Beware, enter a meme website at the risk of your to-do list. They aren't conducive to accomplishing things.

First World Problems. The hardships we Americans face daily.
Philosoraptor always ponders those great questions. 
Success kid gets those lucky breaks we all dream of.
Conspiracy Keanu blows my mind again. 
Caring Husky there to lend a paw.
Karate Kyle had some awkward phases in
middle school, but he is sure to get the last laugh.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Get On My Level

For those of you not running the streets with myself and all the youths (to be read as Schmidt would read it), the title of this post corresponds to what I would say to you if you need to step it up. For example, if we're racing bigwheels in 1996 up the driveway and I beat you every time, I would now have license to yell "Get on my level!!" to you in a taunt of my superiority. Now that you know what it means, I should let you know that it has nothing to do with the topic of my post. Oops. But this post does have a lot to do with levels

I'm sitting in beautiful Cedar Grove, Wisconsin for Easter weekend for a short little calm before the storm. This is our last break before a whirlwind five weeks of classes, interviews, packing, planning, exams, and goodbyes. It's coming. Graduation. A lot of countdowns have been popping up. However many days everyone has until ________. You fill in the blank. Graduation Day, Wedding Day, First Day on the Job, Baby's Due Date, Vacation, even little weeklong countdowns to Friday Night, you name it. A lot of people are at the thresholds of significant life stages right now.

The pic is borrowed from one of my favorite blogs these days. Check it out.
We do these countdowns because we always are looking ahead to the next life level. Are you single? Well you must be itching to get into a relationship. Are you dating? Well then you OBVIOUSLY are considering caterers for your upcoming wedding. Married? When are the kids coming? Working? When does the big promotion come along? While planning and foresight is a necessary part of living a responsible life, maybe we could ease up a bit on the countdowns. There's too much pressure to rush forward for some sort of delusional idea that we're all in a race to the finish. What we don't talk about is that they don't hand you a trophy when you "win."

I do it too. I had my own countdown in Spain last spring. I kept track of how many more days I had left in Sevilla. I viewed it in different ways: on homesick days the countdown was a glimmer of hope to remind me that family/friends were waiting back home, on I-love-my-life days it was a reminder to cherish every second and squeeze every bit of Spanish goodness out of my time in my city. While I had fun tracking my time in Spain, maybe it wasn't such a great idea to check that number every day. It made me fixate on May 5th, 2011, my return day, all too much. Each and every day in Spain had a huge value to me, but my countdown kept me focusing on one of the many.

When you finally reach the destination of your countdown, you can always start the next. From birth until death, you will have the next life level to look forward to. But what we forget sometimes is that there are wonderful things about every stage. There are things that you might miss. After you cease to be single, you won't be able to make big choices independent of considering a significant other. After you have kids, you will never be able to have the freedom to spend money/travel/chill out with your spouse free from parenting responsibilities. After you graduate, you'll never have the luxury of free time between classes and a large group of people constantly around with whom you can pull shenanigans. The list goes on.

I could use a lesson in living within the day I'm in right now. As a compulsive lister, planner, and tell-me-what-is-going-to-happen type, I often look back and see how I missed exciting, wonderful things that were going on in every stage. The pace of my timeline of life has nothing to do with catching up or beating anyone else to the punch. It's a constant effort to live in the tension between being aware of the long-term, while always savoring the right now.

I think, now, more than ever, I have to look at where I'm standing and appreciate it for all it's worth. No need for jumping to the next level before its time. To quote a wise, wise soul: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." 

Monday, April 2, 2012


The elements of this post won't have much to do with each other besides the fact that they occurred in my presence in the last week. First things first, last weekend was the birthday of two of my favorite people in the whole world! Karley and Liz, my cousins, both turned 22. Karyn, Karley, and I made the trek to NW Iowa for a visit to the Dordt College area to celebrate this huge worldwide event. Remy was a dream to drive the whole way. (Well, Karyn and Karley may not agree with me; the lack of cruise control is a feature I don't notice anymore. I just love that car so stinkin' much. I accept him as he is. And I also am overlooking a warning light episode that caused us to pull over and pop the hood like real live professionals.) On our way, there was a sign in the sky that it was going to be a good weekend. (Okay maybe it's not a sign but whatever. I liked it. And I had a fabulous weekend. So I'm saying it was a sign.)

The next video is going to knock your socks off. Last week Wednesday our Concert Choir at Trinity (of which I am a member...why they let me in, I'm not sure) got to join in with three other choirs for one amazing concert. Rehoboth, a high school from an Indian reservation in New Mexico, Elim, a school for disabled students, and Roseland, a Chicago Christian school, all came to our chapel for a combined performance. It was SO SWEET. I honestly think that I got a taste of what heaven is going to look and sound like from that night. Here's a video of the Roseland kids singing their hearts out. 

In addition to road trips and concerts, my mother and I discussed how I spend my money. Oops. To clarify, I did in fact work last summer to make more than what warrants a $36 tax return, I just made it working for the nannying black market. If I tell you any more, I'd have to kill you.

And, to top it all off, an extremely important event happened last week. I WORE LIPSTICK. I know, I know. There were the naysayers. There were those who thought it couldn't be done. There were even those who expressed skepticism (and rightly so) that I possessed the grace and coordination to maintain lipstick on my lips without smearing it all over my face like some sort of sad Heath-Ledger-as-the-Joker impersonation. But, lo and behold, I accomplished this historical task. My quest to turn into Zooey Deschanel is starting to look attainable. Write it down folks, remember where you are right now...this is the most significant piece of news you'll receive in a long time.

Not showing teeth because I'm not confident that
there isn't lipstick on those too.