Lake House (ft. “Boat House” by Noah Gunderson)

The last few days have been spent at my sister-in-law’s family’s lake house in upstate New York. We (being myself, Mom, Heather, and her friend) headed up here on Thursday night and are leaving around noon today. It’s been fun and relaxing, though I think I’m a bit more stir crazy than her family gets here. Maybe it’s my inability to sit still that’s the problem or maybe it’s that my lovely brand-spanking-new fianc√© is five and a half hours away from me. Overall, I don’t have a lot to complain about though.

On Friday we went swimming in, or really more floating on, the lake, I got a lovely sunburn, went to a fun country store, ate a lot of steak, and played games. It was a fairly relaxing day. Yesterday was a bit more active since Heather, her step-mom, Mom, and I went to the outlets where I bought things I probably didn’t need with money I planned to save for future honeymoon purposes. Overall, a good day. This morning, we’ve mainly eaten food, which was filling, fattening, and buttery. The best kind. Later today we will head home.

I’m very excited to see Marcus as I have missed him considerably even though it’s only been a few days. I know, I’m a wimp. We’re going to look at a couple venues this week since we have to find one before the end of the summer. It will be enjoyable and stressful. I also am working at VBS this week doing crafts, which will also be enjoyable and stressful. Overall, I have plenty to be thankful for and to look forward to.

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Milestones

Well, folks, Marcus and I are officially engaged! We started dating almost five years ago in August 2009, when we were going into our junior year of high school, so it seems like it’s been coming for awhile. I’m so incredibly excited! So, partly for my own benefit because I want to remember all the details as perfectly as possible, I’ll tell you the story ūüôā¬†

So, it all started several weeks ago when Marcus began his elaborate rouse to trick me so that I wouldn’t know what he was planning. This summer, Marcus has been taking an online photography class through Grove City. For this class, he has had to take various pictures using different techniques and settings so he told me, while talking about all the other pictures he had to take, that he had to take a picture of a waterfall experimenting with exposure. He even went so far as to ask my dad and brother if they knew of any good waterfalls around (even though he had one¬†in mind already). Then this week he asked if I wanted to go to take the waterfall picture with him in New Hampshire near the camp he worked at last summer. The plan was for me to come to his house on Saturday night (last night), stay the night, and leave for New Hampshire early in the morning. We were supposed to go take the picture for his class, then go visit his friends at camp so that I could meet them, then go back down to my area to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the U.S. vs. Portugal game. That was the plan. Or so I thought.¬†

Anyway, the first couple steps went according to our (fake) plan. I had absolutely no idea at all. So we get to Sculpted Rocks waterfall after driving for about two hours and walked around for a little while. It’s really beautiful there, by the way. The rocks look like frozen waves. Anyway, after we walk around, presumably looking for the perfect angle for Marcus’s picture, I sat down on the rock, because I was tired of walking around the same giant rock over and over again. Then, things got real. Marcus says, “Okay, I guess I’ll take the picture here,” and gets out his camera bag. Then he starts opening the bag and I can tell by the smirk he’s giving me that something is going on. He says, all casually, “Oh, I seem to have left my camera at home. I did remember something else though…” and as, you can imagine, he’s now on one knee, ring in hand, and he said some lovely, sweet, corny things that are way too adorable to say here and are meant for me and my private journal, and asked me to marry him. Obviously I said yes, folks! Although, I suppose that wasn’t really a surprise at this point.¬†

But wait! There’s more! He then tells me that behind us is a diving hole that’s about 13 feet deep and says that “Since we’re taking the metaphorical plunge into marriage together, I thought we could take a literal plunge too.” Now, keep in mind, it was only about 68¬į at the time and I’m definitely afraid of heights when jumping into cold, unknown waters. Marcus said it was the perfect metaphor for marriage; I was a bit more unsure about that. After some convincing (and a trip back to the car to grab my bathing suit), we took the plunge! It was quite cold, like extraordinarily cold, but I think it was worth it ūüôā Our bedraggled engagement selfie is below. We think it came out pretty well ūüôā ¬†

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That’s also my beautiful ring in the second picture. It was originally Marcus’s great-grandmother’s engagement ring and he had it remade for me. I love it and I love my new fiance very very much. (insert content sigh here.)

Perpetual disorganization

It’s funny how I go through this every break and yet it still never ends. It’s like my belongings get bored while I’m away and multiply to pass the time. I’ve made four trips to Salvation Army to donate clothes and other things that haven’t been used for several years, but it seems like I could take several more trips provided I have the time to sort through the rubble that is my room.

As my college years are coming to a close in less than a year (terrified side note: am I really going to be a senior? Really?), I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. Some of my thoughts are the usual panic of “how am I going to get a job with a B.A. in English?” and others have to do with the anticipation of¬†having my own home/apartment and being largely independent. Don’t get me wrong, I really love my family and I treasure every moment I get to live at home with them and enjoy their company. Sometimes though, I feel ready to move on with my life. Then comes the panicked realization that I have tons of ridiculous plastic toys, childhood trinkets, and old clothes that I have hitherto been too sentimental about to give away. How ever will I have the time in this short summer to thin out the stuff?

Then there’s my books. As I sit at my desk, typing out my silly musings, I am quite literally surrounded on three sides by books. There is a bookshelf to my left (the one with books to be read this summer, or that don’t yet have a home elsewhere), one to my right (with my favorite authors – including, but not limited to, Hemingway, O’Connor, Fitzgerald, Dickens, Faulkner, Berry, Nabokov), and another full cabinet above my desk (with Shakespeare and reference books). Not only that, but there are two and a half more bookcases¬†in the guest room filled with my books. It’s taken me years to accumulate this many books. Years of birthday and Christmas presents, English classes, and used book store binges. I know that future me might be grateful if I get rid of a few of them so that moving out in the looming future won’t consist of an entire truck load of books. But, because of my emotional attachment to these old papery friends, I cannot bring myself to part with them. So, I’ll have to get rid of other things that I care less about.

Of course, that brings me back to the problem of sorting through said other things. It’s a perpetual state of disorganization. It lets up briefly, but then more boxes come crashing down and bury my organized plans. With that, off I go to sort through more childhood memories.

[Possibly] Unrealistic Summer Goals

Well, friends, this is my first blog post. I have a couple reasons for writing this blog though none are particularly interesting or worthy of being written about. I’ll tell you about them anyway, don’t worry.¬†The reasons are as follows:

1.) To maybe, just maybe, keep myself motivated to actually do some writing this summer. I’m writing a novel this coming semester for an independent study and, ideally, I’d like to get a decent head start.

2.) To force myself to notice things about my day-to-day life that are actually worthy of noticing and remembering. A blog in a convenient place to keep those memories, whether or not anyone else reads them.

3.) To write about and remember the books I’m reading this summer. My laundry list of books to read is about 20-25 items long, so if I don’t say something about them, I might forget them. I’m on book #5 now.

4.) To take a good look at my life and what’s happening and actually give it some real thought.

5.) Last, but not least, to tell stories. Life is crazy for everyone, why not laugh, cry, and rejoice about the stories together?

Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, I have a few things I’ve set up as possibly unrealistic goals for myself this summer. Maybe if I write them down, I’ll actually try to accomplish them. Accountability, right? That’s how it’s supposed to work.

As you can probably tell by the book list that’s 20-25 books long, one of my goals is to read for fun and get ahead on some reading for the coming semester so I can enjoy my senior year some. So far, my list is:

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (Done!)
  • A Farewell to Arms¬†by Ernest Hemingway (Done!)
  • Notes from Underground¬†by Dostoevsky (Done, but I probably need to reread it anyway.)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale¬†by Margaret Atwood (Done!)
  • Cannery Row¬†by John Steinbeck (Currently reading.)
  • Heart of Darkness¬†by Joseph Conrad (Sort of dreading this currently.)
  • Beloved¬†by Toni Morrison (I’ve read this before, but not for a few years.)
  • The Tempest¬†by William Shakespeare
  • Devil on the Cross¬†by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
  • Home¬†by Marilynne Robinson
  • Housekeeping¬†by Marilynne Robinson
  • Nausea¬†by Jean-Paul Sartre
  • The Fall¬†by Albert Camus (I read this before, about four years ago.)
  • The Violent Bear it Away¬†by Flannery O’Connor
  • Children of God¬†by Mary Doria Russell (If you haven’t read¬†The Sparrow, you need to go do that. Like right now.)
  • The Fault in Our Stars¬†by John Green (I know, I know, I’m practically the last person to read this. I’ve been busy, okay?)
  • Only Revolutions¬†by Mark Z. Danielewski (His books might take awhile since they’re fairly experimental.)
  • House of Leaves¬†by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • All the King’s Men¬†by Robert Penn Warren (My favorite history professor, Dr. Edwards, suggested this to me like three years ago. I’d like to actually read it now.)
  • The Sunset Limited¬†by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Holy Ghost People¬†by Joshua Young (This was recently published by my friend’s publishing company,¬†Plays Inverse. Go check them out. They’re super cool.)
  • Lolita¬†by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Andy Catlett¬†by Wendell Berry
  • Atlas Shrugged¬†by Ayn Rand (This is where the whole “unrealistic goals” thing comes in.)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Universe¬†by Neil Gaiman (A friend suggested this awhile ago and we usually like the same books, so we’ll see.)

Oy-vey. That was only one goal for the summer. Maybe I should just lock my door, read non-stop, and hope I can finish by the time school starts again. Or I could just accept that I probably won’t finish all those books while having time for family, friends, and my lovely gentleman friend, and move on with my life.

Anyway, my second goal is to spend time everyday with God. I’d like to say that I’m great at this, but in reality, I struggle. I know I won’t get eternally damned or anything like that if I miss a day here and there, but it is something that I think is important and that I haven’t been very consistent in lately. It’s really my first goal of the summer, actually. I’m armed with my favorite Bible I was given when I graduated from 5th grade Sunday school (don’t laugh, it was an accomplishment!) and the new Flannery O’Connor Prayer Journal, which has provided insight and help to me thus far.

Next on my list, is to dance regularly. Part of my motivation is simply to keep in shape so that I don’t keel over when I start dancing again in the fall, but it’s also just because it’s something that makes me happy and relaxes me a lot.

Lastly, I’d like to be outside more (I say, as I sit in my room, typing on my computer). Whether it be for a walk, run, jump on the trampoline, horseback ride, gardening, reading, or writing, I’d just like to be outside more enjoying the sun and breeze.

Well, now that I’ve potentially bored you all with this outrageously long post, I shall go off to bring my bunny carrots and find something for lunch myself.