Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The End Is Coming

The end of my time as a graduate student, that is. I just met with my advisor and set up my last two semesters here. This summer I'll be taking two courses, one being my Thesis Preparation course and the other, Non-Profit Organizations (Thank goodness I've already had it before. I know what I'm getting in to.)Also set up my fall schedule, the absolute final semester of classes I will have to take.

Did you hear that? That was a choir of angels ringing out their praises for upcoming end of a year and a half marathon. HALLELUJAH!

Seems to me this semester has been the hardest I've ever had--the Suzy Sunshine in me is getting a little worn for the weather. I envision this cheerleader ragged with crazy fuzzy hair, smeared make-up, sagging pom-poms, and barely enough umph (Sounds like: oo-mm-ff)to spell out a cheer. My positivity is wearing thin and my sanity is hanging by a thread.

But I'm almost there. I can do this. Not too long ago on one fine day, my sister, Sarah, sent me a wonderful reminder after a pretty frustrating week. Reading this reminder helped me reach down and find that strength to shrug off those hostile feelings of chucking my computer across the room or running down the street screaming bloody murder. We've all felt that at one point in time or another.

Anyway, thought I'd share it with you. Maybe it will help inspire some hope for anyone who is working through a particularly hard semester:

Hi Baby Sister!

I found this in my email that I am cleaning out--wow--over 5,000 emails...who does that?! :P Anywho, I found this inspiring email from a girl who was feeling pretty proud of her accomplishments and looking to that light in the tunnel, and I thought you might like to read it.

Hang on to that feeling, Baby Sister--trust me, this time that feels like it's creeping by will seem like a blink and then there you are standing in the middle of your life! It's like the last part of the roller coaster just before you tumble over the last hill...Enjoy this time--it will give you a chance to be "Just Julie"... I love you!


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008

Last night I was looking over my course check-off list while trying to set-up my schedule for next year. I read through each class required for my major and noticed each and every class I'd completed with its year and semester by it with the utmost amazed feeling.

I can remember the day I received this particular piece of paper--I sat in my advisor's office thinking "How the heck will I ever get this done in three years?!" Keep in mind my first year at OCU was spent as a theater student taking barley 14 hours a semester. Practically everything I took was counted as electives which meant I was going to cram four years (Nearly five if you didn't take massive amounts of classes) into three...thus began the first of many silent panic attacks.

If anyone knows me, they know how much I love to plan, make lists and how accomplished I feel checking each to-do off. If you really know me then you know I'm fabulous when it comes to making plans but how hard it is for me to get everything I plan finished--let's just say I plan to bite off way more than I can chew from time to time. Executing my to-do's can be a challenge within itself. Great planner, not always great about executing it all.

Looking at my course list last night I couldn't believe how much I'd finished--I'd survived every project class, written every paper and lived to tell the tale with little to no emotional scarring. I've hit major bumps in the road and tackled more over the top projects that I ever thought I could. Every horror story every upperclassman told became a reality proving their ability to tell tall tales...nothing was every as scary as it seemed before. I've successfully convinced myself I could live through two years of non-stop school finishing 18 hours spring of sophomore year into 9 hours of summer school, 21 hours in a fall semester followed by 3 over Christmas break and finishing with 19 hours in the spring. Have to tell you I didn't know if I'd make it through that year, but thanks to my stubborn nature I refused to give up.

So it's my last semester I'm planning for and you'd think I would want to quit now, be finished and burned out of everything to do with dance and school. No way--if anything this has fueled my fire to keep going and learn more. As I check off each last class I have to take, making the final preparations to finish this four year adventure I couldn't feel more pleased with myself and all I've done. I hope my fellow seniors are experiencing this same exhilarating feeling of satisfaction.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ode to Sweet Tea

On any given bright spring day, such as this lovely one, I would throw on my shades, hop in my car, crank up the tunes, and travel down to my favorite little spot, Chik-fil-a. *SIGH*

OK, so it's not exactly a quiet little place or a hole in the wall restaurant that no one knows about, but it's my place. Thinking on why I love it so much--I have no idea. That's not true, there are plenty of reasons why I love the Chik including, of course, their delicious food *drool*, but it's their tea! Oh my gosh, I get revved up and ready to go on the stuff. Except too much speeds up my speech and thought process a little too much...Things get a little crazy, ask the family.

I guess the obsession hit around high school when I started traveling back and forth between Garland and Allen for dance--that's a 30 to 45 drive depending on traffic. One way. Drive that twice a day, six days a week for three years (i.e. I never lived at home. Hmmm, much like my time at school now.). There was a Chik-fil-a down the road from the studio and one built on the way home in Garland. Then some genius built one less than 15 min from house. Add the convenience of three available spots with my love for chicken and sweet tea, really, then it's no surprise that I've loved Chik-fil-a for long.

Speaking of their sweet tea, I had to take a speech class for my gen ed requirements in under grad. I decided to take as many courses as I could at a community college 1) it was a heck of lot cheaper 2) I could live at home RENT free 3) it was the summer of Sarah's wedding.

Anyway, to make getting through some of these speeches a little less painful, I tried to find subjects I liked. What a concept. So we had to give a sales pitch on something we truly believed in, something we thought the public desperately needed in their lives. Well, I don't know about you, but I desperately need sweet tea in my life--let's be honest here, it's a necessity almost as important as peanut butter (Still have a jar that's 3/4 full for two weeks now. Progress, folks. Progress.).

For your enjoyment (and to see just how persuasive I can be) I'm including my sales pitch for Chik-fil-a's Sweet Tea. Keep in mind it was for a class--oh and yes, I did bring in tea and glasses from Chik for the class to try. Oh, I'm that good. Be sure to let me know if it made crave the beverage or actually get up to go grab a glass.

A Sweet Sales Pitch

Imagine yourself lying out by the pool or sitting on your back porch swing in the middle of a summer’s day with that hot Texas sun beating down on you. It’s one of those times when you wish you had something seasonal and refreshing to drink. Most people would go for that same ol’ can of soda or they head to the neighbor’s lemonade stand where they choke down some sour concoction a five year old made. Why put yourself, and your mouth, through that mess? Soda’s leave you feeling bubbly and fizzy and usually craving something else. Lemonade will leave you with ulcers from too much citrus intensity. Water hydrates, but where’s the flavor your taste buds are screaming for? For me, I crave the refreshing taste of something timeless and different that carries a sweet flavor only found in one delicious beverage. Wouldn’t you like to quench your thirst with this decedent treat, too? Let’s take a closer look at why you should go for something different rather than for the usual drinks people go for.

Summer time is a time to enjoy oneself, not stress over little things like finding a refueling liquid. Sodas are filled with way too much sugar. Bottom line is that most carbonated drinks that people get are chock-full of extra calories and way too many sweeteners. According to Environmental Nutrition, carbonated sodas are more likely to encourage the development of different kinds of cancers. Who wants to worry about that on summer break? Some people need another source of caffeine. We all need a pick-me-up now and again, but sometimes hot coffee isn’t the beverage of choice in 98ยบ weather. Lemonade has absolutely no caffeine in it which is great for your bratty 6 year old cousin, but not so great when you are the one trying to stay energized.

Most of the time you’re one the go so a drink needs to be readily available. In order to carry on in the world today it’s almost essential to get things on the go. It has to be a drink that you can get in the mall or on the road. It also needs to be something conveniently sized that you can pick up fast without waiting for some pointless no-fat-foam-whipped thing. Needs to be something that you can get large quantities of to share with friends and family or convenient individual serving. So what is this great drink that quenches your thirst, boosts your energy and still has great taste? The solution is simple: Chick-fil-a Tea!

Chick-fil-a provides this summertime treat of exquisite tasting tea. That timeless, different flavor I’ve been chattering about? You can get it at Chick-fil-a. Their tea is by far the best! Its taste is strong and clear—you are always guaranteed to get a great cup each and every time you go. Tea seems to be a popular drink nowadays and more and more people agree. According to the Vegetarian Times sales for tea in the US are on the rise. Not only is it cool and refreshing, its distinguished taste is brewed fresh every day, according to their website! This drink tends to last longer is Chick-fil-a’s stylish Styrofoam cup that works like an insulator. You can order their tea sweetened or not, depending on your own personal preference. If unsweetened you can add Splenda or Sweet & Lo for a sweet taste, but less calories. Chick-fil-a also provides freshly squeezed lemon to add more flavor to your tea. They’ll also be happy to make you that trendy “Arnold Palmer” which is tea mixed with lemonade.

Chick-fil-a’s tea is a great substitute for any carbonated drink. Their unsweetened tea contains zero sugars while a leading soft drink can contain 50 or more grams. It also is a great substitute for caffeine. It gives you a little bit of a boost without adding in a bunch of unnecessary calories, but not overly caffeinated like those energy drinks. Tea is also better for you, especially green tea, but summer is the best time for cool drinks like ice tea. Chick-fil-a captures that Southern flare with their sweet tea. Nothing goes better with their fried chicken sandwich and lemon pie than a traditional glass of ice tea. What do people always drink when they are having lazy afternoons in the south? Those summer days are spent lazily drinking that amber colored heavenly liquid, iced tea!! Which you can enjoy in an air-conditioned restaurant or your hammock in the backyard (It’s easy to get it to go!.) Chick-fil-a tea has so many wonderful qualities and could add so much to your summer vacation.

Imagine relaxing in your home, backyard, pool-side or even in your speech class with a cool glass within reach. It’s a satisfying feeling, that liquid flowing down your gullet as you take another swallow of tea. Not just any tea either; Chick-fil-a tea! Perhaps it’s that fact that when you order from the friendly cashier they, too, know the full extent of the tea’s great taste. Maybe it’s in the way the ice cubes instantly melts as the fresh brewed tea hits the glass that makes you feel instantly cooled. Now that you know the best tea out there, let’s see where you can get it.

There’s no place like Chick-fil-a, but fortunately you can find many in the Dallas Metroplex. Hop in your car and hit the many off 75! There are eleven in Plano alone and eight in Dallas. You can’t miss them with their bright red Chicken for a “C.” Don’t forget about the cows, either—those spotted creatures will “moo-ve” you in the right direction.Once you have your location set, just go in and grab a glass! Fix up your drink any way you like it! Sweet, unsweet, lemon or lemonade—make it just the way you like it! Now just sit back, relax and enjoy the crisp taste of Chick-fil-a’s infamous tea.

Texas Monthly points out that June is National Ice Tea Month—join the rest of the nation early and grab a glass! When you’re thirsty and can’t think of something original to get, go for the one and only original Chick-fil-a tea. Boosts your energy, doesn’t overwhelm you with calories, flavors your day with a southern touch and it puts right in that summer mood. For an inexpensive thrill, you can bring a little bit of summer into your day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Dream

There's the kind of breeze blowing where the smell of fresh cut grass blows in strong and fades away, leaving a lingering hint of its presence behind. My body rocks softly back and forth while stretched out on my rope hammock. Listening to the hypnotic sounds of the chains rhythmic sway, I'm lulled to a peaceful place in my mind.

I gently close my eyes again and inhale deeply. This time I smell the hyacinths blooming next to our gunmetal gray chain link fence. Such a sweet strong fragrance comes from their delicate pink petals, it's a sure sign of the spring season. Leaving my eyes shut, I listen to all that's going around this hideaway, this secluded place, this haven on such a lazy afternoon.

Leaves from above are rustling in the wind. Somewhere cars are rolling along, propelled by the drivers inside. Think they even know what kind of a day they're missing? What kind of bliss is being passed by? Leftover leaves are dancing along the back porch while Piper pads along, watching intently for the next squirrel to scurry by. I imagine her soft blond fur blowing from the easy breeze, her black nose twitches with the new scents she catches. I can almost see her big brown eyes wide with anticipation, hoping she'll finally catch the Buddy Squirrel that taunts every afternoon. Birds busily tweet as they build their nests, the ones to hold precious eggs before they hatch.

I slowly open my eyes, blinking back the beams that streak through the bright emerald leaves of the trees. Stretching my legs long, I point my toes to the tree trunk that's helping to hold my body mid air. I reach towards the sky as if trying to pull the budding branches closer to me before I collapse in my relaxed state once again. Heaving a sigh, I swing one leg over the side of hammock and push off the soft green carpet below. The swing cradles my limp body, moving back and forth in a steady beat. Back and forth. Back and forth.

A shiver ripples over my shoulders with the next breeze; the bite of winter has its last word as spring makes its grand entrance. Pulling my limbs in close, I curl up to continue swaying until my drowsy self falls back into my deepest dreams, the ones I return to day after day; they're too sweet to leave. I dream of coffee mornings with my Grandmother. I dream of ice tea afternoons with my mother. I dream of dancing in my aunt's shop and road trips across Texas highways. I dream of lazy afternoons with my beau and nights around the kitchen table with my family. I dream of walks with my golden pup and the future orange feline I already love. I dream of card games and laughing fits with close friends. I dream of the perfect chocolate chip cookie, warm out of the oven. I dream of more afternoons like this. Quiet, calm, and relaxing.

I dream.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


When you're getting ready for your day, what do you absolutely have to have to make it through in one piece?

I was thinking of that I packed my life away for another day in the, uh, in the studios. 99.9% of my time spent on campus is confined to the dance building because, duh, I'm a dance graduate major. But yesterday I had a taste of normalcy I have not known since I was a theater major. Yes, that's right--I was a theater kid for a nano second before I re-auditioned and switched to Dance Management. That's a story for another time.

Anyway, I didn't have to be at school until 12:30. I got to wear JEANS (Hey, big deal since I live in sweats. Wearing em right now. Hot stuff? More like hot mess). I got to wear this super cute turquoise sweater I just bought with all my nice matching jewelry. I did my hair, even had time to do up my makeup. The best part of it all: only had to carry one bag for the entire day. ONE BAG!

I know, the excitement just overwhelms--I can feel it through the screen! One bag is all I needed to carry my life with me. It was incredibly refreshing just not have to plan out at least two meals, pack two changes of clothes, my makeup, hair stuff, every book I bought for the semester (because yes, we do actually use them all in class), and didn't even have to pack Pomme, my laptop. Get it? "Pomme" in French is "apple" and I own a apple! Eh, I thought it was cute.

Back to the point of this afternoon rant, what is it that people need to get through the day? You would think just the basic essentials (keys, license, money, phone) would be enough, but let me tell you, my friend. It ain't. So for fun I started a list--how I love my lists--of what I bring to school to make it through the day:

Essentials (Keys, license, money, phone)
Purple To-Do List (Oh, I'd be lost without that and my Calendar)
Books for day's classes
Voice binder (depending on the day)
Ballet duds (tights, leo, warmies)
Hair Junk & Make-up bag
Extra dance clothes (because I sweat like a beast and am NOT afraid to admit that)
Phone charger (because the battery starts to run low after being here for ten hours)
Lunch & Dinner (Oh yes, I've had to pack breakfast occasionally, too)

Are you begging to see my dilemma? I look like a pack mule each and every day I enter the building. Can't really help it either because I use it all throughout the day. Best was when I had to bring props for Choreography class. In I walk with two fun-oodles (the swimming toys), a hula-hoop, stuffed animals and a couple other things. It wouldn't have surprised me if I had some change thrown at me by a passerby.

That's just how it is right now for me--or maybe it's always been like that and I'm only now recognizing the annoyances. Who knows. Who cares really. Oh boy, maybe tomorrows post will be a bit more exciting than the contents of my school bag.

Good grief.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Things That Go Beep In the Night

I'm home, right? Here on my spring break, resting, trying to get work done. Resting.

Last night, as I lay in my bed with my trusted companion snoring on the floor, I awoke to a noise. Not any noise, a repeated beeping. "Beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeebeep!" Argh! So I fwop over to turn off my phone alarm (Fwop: to roll over, throwing ones body weight into a new position out of exhaustion or irritation). Only problem is that my phone is not going off because it's five am and I don't get up at five am.

Wait a minute. Wait. A. Minute. Why is there beeping in the house at 5 am? (See, this is how my sluggish brain works if my slumber has been disturbed. It's not quick on the uptake initially).

I sit straight up, heart violently pounding, my mind reeling with all sorts of scenarios and sticks to one in particular. Someone must be in the house and they're trying to "beep" their way out! Ridiculous but it's the best I had to come up with. Throwing the covers off, I swing my legs over the side of the bed only to find my foot suddenly connected to my fuzzy puppy's head--no worries folks, she was unharmed. SHE was still sleeping, completely ignoring the beeping noise. How is that possible? How can I, a human, hear this high pitched beeping while my dog, who usually hears highly piercing noises, is sound asleep?!?

The beeping stops all together. I sit there for a moment contemplating my choices. Perhaps I have overreacted and it was Mom or Dad's phone alarm. Yeah freaking right. Perhaps the intruder is still in here and he's contemplating taking my sleeping, precious pup away! Oh no!

So I do what any young woman would do. I ran into my parents room to wake up Dad.

Don't judge--you would have done it, too. Anyway, so I go scurrying off to my Dad's side of the bed trying to stay in control without freaking out over the fact that there is a possible intruder beeping his way in and out of our home. I poke him once without much success. Well, it would only make sense that he just didn't feel it so I shake him awake. "dad. Dad. DAD!" Good thing Dad doesn't mind having his rest interrupted.

Dad: *Dad sits his fuzzy head up--clearly where my bed head gene comes from* "Huh?"

Julie: "Dad! There's a beeping in the house."

Dad: "A wha....?"

Julie: "A BEEPING! There's a beeping in the house. Someone could be here! You have to go find it! Oh forget it, I'll go find it."

*Clearly Dad was not awake enough to process the severity of the situation as I have imagined it. Deciding to take matters into my own hands I start to storm off then turn right around and run back to Dad's side*

Julie: "PLEASE go see what the beeping is! I don't wanna!"

Just as I ran back to Dad, the beeping starts up again. This time Dad actually hears it and about that same time, Mom wakes up. She's rustling around with blankets and jabbering on about "I don't hear any beeping!" "MOM! SHHHH!!!!"

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Heroic Daddy takes off to find the bothersome beep. YAY Dad! I'll just stay behind with Mom. You know, protect the back part of the house--I'm sure my fuzzed out hair will be enough to scare off anyone. That and my morning breath.

Well, I decide I was going to put on a stiff upper lip and go follow Dad to see what the heck is going on. Here I go, putting on a brave face, going to ward off what predator lays in our house, probably trying to take off with my clean laundry. I tip toe behind Dad, into the kitchen to discover....the weather station is beeping. The weather station? It's a dang wireless weather station that tells you what's going on outside in case you live in a house without windows and doors. Why was it beeping? Who the heck knows, but I certainly thought it was an intruder. Dang.

Praise be we didn't have some crazy person eating the Girl Scout cookies in our kitchen--what would I have done? Probably thrown that dang weather station at them and taken off running and screaming like the girl I am. The mystery was solved so we trotted back to bed and as I'm telling Mom what was actually beeping, in walks the dog. Our brave, guard dog comes sleepily staggering in to find out what the commotion is all about. Yeah, Piper. I feel so safe with you.

"Come on, Piper. Time to go back to bed." And so we drifted back to sleep, the excitement over, the mysterious beeping finally turned off, and the the assurance that no intruder was going to eat our Girl Scout cookies or take our puppy. All is right in the world of the Russell Household again.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Created a mess in my room. Check.

Taken over the bathroom with all my stuff. Check.

Driven Mom crazy with various irritations--It's skill to be practiced. Check and check.

Abused the younger child privilege. Check.

Played thermostat wars with the parents. Check

Hugged the stuffings out of my family (including Piper). Check.

Ah. It's good to be home :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Am Huntress, Hear Me Roar

There has been a request, ladies and gentleman. A request to hear about my hunting experience from back in December. Are you ready? It may be a little intense for the faint of heart. It may be a little much for those who love little Bambi. So if that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, turn back now (Actually, it's truly not that bad so don't be too scared and just read about this city girl trying her hand at some outdoors activity).

Sometimes you have to laugh at what life gives you. For a good majority of my dating years I've joked with people, especially my family, how down right hysterical it would be if I ended up with an outdoors man! Bahahaha! It's funny because I'm pretty sure the camping gene skipped me somewhere in there and besides, most of my time has been spent dancing, not learning wilderness skills. Like I've always said, I support Girl Scouts by eating their cookies, not participating in the activities. Plus hunting would requires me to wear camo and I wouldn't have even been caught dead in the pink version let alone the real stuff.

Well the jokes on me because last summer I happened to fall head over heels for a my Pyro Man who is a die hard fisherman and hunter. Laugh it up, folks. It's SO funny. I'll save how Pyro Man got his name and our happy story for another time. Of course I didn't know he was such an outdoors man until after I'd already taken a shine to him *SIGH* The Reader's Digest version of this discovery goes a little something like this:

*Pyro Man requests Julie as friend on Facebook*
Julie: Oooh! Friend request from Pyro Man! Wonderful

*Julie open his facebook page and discoveries picture after picture of him fishing, him holding up deer, and tons of his boat. JUST his boat*

*Mom hears shriek from the dining room*
Julie: AHHHHH! NOO!!!!

Mom: What?! Are you OK?! What's wrong?!

Julie: MOM! He fishes! And he hunts!! OHMIGO!!!!!! He's on a fishing team! (Since when did they get a fishing team at Tech?)What am I going to do? *Sob*

*Mom proceeds to dial every family member living to spread the hysterical joke*

So I didn't really sob--other than that the story is pretty darn accurate. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect with this one. Never been hunting and the last time I went fishing I was four. That was also when I discovered that rainbow fish are indeed not rainbow colored in the least bit. Whatever idiot decided to tell a four year old that a fish was rainbow colored when it CLEARLY wasn't just did not know what kind of disappointment that would ensue. Same thing with Rainbow Iron Kids Bread--lies. That ain't rainbow colored colored either.

Back to finding my inner huntress...Aside from learning about this surprising hobby, Pyro Man and I have been able to learn quite a bit one from one another. Talking with him about all of this has shown me how much of a passion he has for hunting and fishing (I'll help you out. It's the same as me and dance. So. There ya go.). Well, I finally came around to the idea ON MY OWN that it might be neat to learn how to do some of these things. How hard can it be to hit a deer?

Oh. Girlfriend. (Or friend if you're a straight male.) Let me tell you.

Over Christmas break I headed out with my honey to "big" Brownwood, TX to learn how to hunt deer. First of all, you sit in a deer blind in the wee hours of the morning in the winter. Have I painted the picture for you yet? No? OK, you wear tons of clothing including camo bibs, eight layers of socks, shirts, thermals, hats, gloves and just when you think you're going to pass out from the heat, you put on a huge, puffy jacket because after sitting for a couple hours, everything goes numb. I mean everything. Plus, do you know how quiet you have to be? I'm not exactly the most silent person especially if I'm laughing. Even whispering is too much, for crying out loud! And moving? Forget it--you really have to stay still because the deer hear all. Geez Louise, I'm a dancer, I can't sit still unless I'm sedated.

Then you have to watch for these little suckers appear out of thin air. I want to know how they do that because you stare and strain trying to see something, anything, and then BAM! They appear, a whole group, in a clearing staring right back at you. It's the most bizarre thing I've ever experienced.

But before I would get the honor of squatting in a pop-up tent for my first hunt, I had to learn how to shoot a gun. Keep in mind that I was indeed licensed to hunt so I wasn't randomly in the great outdoors; it was all legal, folks. Guns: There's a bit of a kick with those little guys--ha, I say little--and you know, kinda fun to handle if you've never had the opportunity. Pyro Man and his dad helped me learn how to properly hold a gun (which is slightly awkward), and how to aim (again, little awkward--looking through the scope is like looking through a microscope. Ladies, you're lashes do get in the way). Even had a hand drawn target to practice my aim. Apparently moving targets are harder than a cardboard box...jury is still out on that one. Couple of tests and trials, I was ready to go.

There I sat, anxious to see a hoofed critter come trotting up to the feeder just for me to take a shot--as if. If you are ever under the impression that deer will walk up to you, present themselves on a silver platter just for you to hit, you are sadly mistaken my friend. Also, when your beau says they deliver coffee in the morning to your tent, he is also lying. Still waitin' on that coffee, by the way...

We sat. And watched. And shivered. Sat a little bit more and I began to realize just why those hunters were bound and determined to take a deer down. They make you wait so long that you really do feel the need to shoot something after a while--grant you, I am a pretty patient person, however, this was a very trying experience.

Finally Pyro Man spotted one--he must have eyes of an eagle cause I could have sworn that deer was a tree. Peering through the scope, he lined up right in my sights. Gently squeezing the trigger, I took the shot. Missed. I waited all that time and missed! Bound and determined now to nab one, we set back out a couple more times before I got lucky.

I'll spare too much gruesome details, but the short of it is my spike went down in one shot (A spike is a deer that has a genetic deficiency to where it produces unbranched antlers, essentially.). Pyro Man was just jumping up and down in the seat like a kid of Christmas, so excited while I was feeling a little stunned. Shocked I actually got one, crazy excited from the adrenaline of pulling the trigger.

Later when I went down to find my creature, I couldn't believe there lying in front of me was a deer. Can't really say I knew how I would react in this situation. Trying to imagine yourself in a situation is very different from actually being there. So many people were surprised I was going hunting, even warned me how traumatic this event would be for someone like me and couldn't see that this was something I wanted to try. Part of me had wanted to try it because I'd never had the opportunity nor had I ever really thought about it before--how could I know how I would react if I didn't try something that seemed to interest me?

In any case, there were no tears shed and I didn't blubber one bit. Actually, when Pyro Man turned his back, I knelt beside my deer, petted his soft, little head, and whispered, "I'm sorry." I've heard stories of Indian tribes giving thanks to Mother Nature and the animals for sacrificing their life--apologizing seemed to be more appropriate.

My mom's side of the family is full of fly fishermen and the rule is "You catch it, you clean it." Well, I think the same rule applies in Pyro Man's family, but they were nice enough not to make me skin my own deer. Brought back flashbacks of high school Anatomy class where we dissected cats--it really wouldn't have bothered me to help skin, I honestly just didn't want to get guts all over me. However, I did help with the packaging of the meat, got my hands dirty and all for this family affair.

What's most interesting about this whole experience was how much an individual sport it is and yet, how much of a group effort it can be as well. We all went out early in the morning or evening, wishing each other good luck as we headed in hopes of seeing something. Texts were sent back and forth from different blinds giving each other a heads up if they saw anything headed anywhere near someones spot(Ah, technology). Even when it came time to clean and package the four deer caught that one night--everyone pitched in. I learned what a sport hunting is. Seeing the challenges clearly, I have much more respect for those active sportsmen now--props to you men and women. That takes some dedication, for sure.

I know for some, the sport is a little hard to wrap the brain around for various reasons. For me, I'm so glad I took a shot at it (OK, pun intended)--I really enjoyed myself. Still have quite a bit to learn. Now, will I be making this my new favorite hobby? Probably not, but would I go again, sure! It's something totally different from my rhinestone artistic world and that's probably a good reason why I enjoyed the experience. Having something polar opposite from what I do on a daily basis is refreshing and allows me to grow a bit. Plus, it's sharing in his passion just like I've tried to share mine. He's come to a show now and seen a glimpse of my choreographic practice. He's also already agreed to learn how to dance--Boy, you're in for a treat with that one!

I suppose my next challenge will be fishing--that'll be a trip. I can hear it now, "What do you mean you want me to TOUCH the bass?!" Couldn't hardly handle having a beta fish, how on earth am I going to sit on a boat in the middle of a giant fish bowl attempting to snag un petite poisson? Good grief. The only bass I'm attached to is Big Mouth Billy Bass that sings--now that's the kind fish I'm talking about, one that entertains!

And for your enjoyment, the only proof you will ever see of me wearing camo:


"I want! I want! I want! Me, me, me! Now! Now! Now!"

Hook, anyone? OK, so maybe my wants aren't exactly meant in the childish fashion that our dear Captain Hook was referring to, but I do find myself dreaming of so many things that I want.

I want an adventure, something that will sweep me to another location for a job or even just for my own pleasure. The excitement that entails in the planning and the traveling process, even the journey to the destination itself are all equally as thrilling as the time spent at said location or event. As of right now my twin sorority sister, or Wombie as I affectionately call her, is on her way to Africa! How amazing of a trip would that be? Last summer she was able to live in California for an internship and even traveled to Italy with mother as a 50th birthday gift.

I feel like Saundra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping (One of my favorites!). I have a passport with absolutely no stamps in it whatsoever, only the dream of some day filling it up. At least I don't carry it around in my purse all the dang time.

Many of the undergrads are getting ready for OCU/NYC, a workshop put together by OCU alumni in the NYC region. Students go up to the Big Apple and take classes, listen to lectures from agents and working performers and have master classes with some Broadway stars. Lucky enough for me, I was able to pull funds together to go my junior year and had a great time. Learned how to ride a subway all my lonesome, what a big kid moment that was for me. I was traveling with my roomie, Karley, and one night she informed me that she was going to another class in a different part of town. Meaning I therefore had to ride the subway BY MYSELF late, late at night.

Oh. My. Stars.

First of all, I relied on Karley to lead me through the city because she'd lived there the summer before with her sister and knew her way around without much help from a map. Second, the subway terrified me--I still don't really care for it. It's crowded, underground, and every slasher movie always has someone mugged or killed in the cars. No thank you, ma'am. I think not for me. Oh, and right before she departed for her other class she told me, lovingly, "Just don't look anyone in the eye, Julie. You've got innocent eyes."

Dear, God, I'm gonna die.

But I didn't. Somehow I was able to navigate myself to the correct stop, get on the correct line to Brooklyn. I plugged in my ear buds from my iPod, no music playing of course, and re-read the same sentence of my book for the entire half hour ride home. Then I proceeded to sprint from my stop the entire five blocks or so distance to the apartment I was staying, barricaded myself in my safe haven and clutched my heart to keep it from flying out of my chest. But by golly, if I didn't make home in one piece.

Yeah, I highly doubt my future plans entail me moving to a city I run around in like a scared rabbit. I'm a tad bit of weeny plus I can't imagine living where the sky is filled with massive buildings and instead grass, it's always growing concrete. Don't get me wrong, NYC is great. I just can't imagine making my home there--in no way do I feel as if my soul was satisfied staring out my window into a sea of skyscrapers and shove my way down overcrowded streets where I can't look a person in the eye.

See this is how my thought process goes these days--I dream up something that sounds wonderfully adventurous like travel and then I branch off into some story, somehow. I blame the immense amounts of caffeine and inability to catch up on some much needed Z's. In any case, my wants go beyond the desire for an adventure and stretch into some simple things like wanting to clean my apartment or shopping for a dress. Someone please help me remember what it was like not to wear leotards, tights, and sweats 8 days a week. I meant 7. Oh for crying out loud. I need rest!

But I digress. Wants. Ah, it is only in human nature to have such wants and desires for various things, to be so glutenous in wanting more than what we have been given or worked hard for. Be it traveling to far away lands or to have a typical life of a "normal" person (Really, what is normal? I mean normal as in someone who knows what its like not live in a theater, to wear real people clothes and have an evening out with friends. But would I be satisfied in that life? Don't think so, but that's a debate for another day, I think). Or even the funds to support lavish dreams of new wardrobes or extra time to read a good book outside on a beautiful day. It's hard not to look at friends, more especially acquaintances, and wish for what they have. Can't I graduate in May, too? Can't I be making those plans, too? Why can't I be getting paid to dance like she is?

"Grass is always greener on the other side." Or is it? Sitting here on my side of the fence I have to remind myself those wants will come to be when it's time and I might be lucky enough to gain some things I hadn't anticipated. You never know what tha challenges someone else must face and what silent blessings you've been given that they don't have (Read: Family, friends, love, health, happiness, etc.). So instead of pulling a kid moment, stomping my foot and pouting in my party dress *ahem-costume-ahem* because I can't have the things I want right now, I have to change the way I see things. I forget that somewhere out there is probably someone wishing they could be standing where I am, doing what I'm doing, wishing for what I have just as I have been doing. And with that thought, I gently remind myself that tired though I may be, I wouldn't trade this life for anything.

And speaking of tired, I think I'm going to need a nap today. As my Grandmother put it "Je pas pleu an tete de an aleumet!" (I don't have the head of a match!) Or something like that...Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's the Simple Things

In honor of tech week and opening of the show, I felt I needed some extra reminders for positivity. A sampling of some of the simple things in life that add a bit of happiness to my day:

1) Hitting green lights all the way on any given destination.

2) The first two minutes I chew a piece of gum when the flavor is so strong and delicious.

3) When my crazy, fuzzy hair turns out pretty in the morning.

4) Getting a really good glass of sweet tea.

5) Getting text messages or cards in the mail!

6) Writing with some sort of gel pen in a blue or purple ink--so much fun to doodle with.

7) My favorite song playing on the radio--especially on a solo drive when I can sing as loud as I want.

8) Reading a feel good book and knowing there's another in the series I can get my hands on after I finish the first.

9) Putting on a piece of clothing or pulling up a blanket that has the lingering scent of a loved one.

10) Speaking of scent, wearing my favorite kind of perfume. Love splashing on the one I love the best before I head out the door. I think it's fun when people compliment me because I smell good--weird, but it makes my day.

11) Giving myself a perfect pedicure with the perfect polish color for my tootsies and not have made one smudge or mistake.

12) Diving into a pile of fresh laundry that's warm and sweet smelling. Seriously, dump the basket on the bed and bury your face in it--will make your day.

13) Laughing. Love to laugh loudly and freely without anyone trying to "shh" me. Giggle fits, too, where you're laughing for who-knows-what reason and you can't stop.

14) Actually hitting my estimated spending amount at the grocery store--even better, being under what I thought I would spend.

15) Waking up rested and completely happy simply because I slept well. I would like for my dance nightmares to stop, please.

16) Living in a really good day dream.

17) Using every kind of goofy catch phrase I can think of like "Geez louise," "for Pete's sake," "good grief" and "dag nab it!" People look at you funny and it' so much easier to blurt those out than something inappropriate.

18) Moving, whether its stretching when I wake up, starting barre, wiggling out of excitement or dancing in the grocery line.

19) Planning. Can be for meals, study break downs, vacations, life, future, whatever. It involves list making, my purple paper, my calendar and pretty pens. Ooh reminds me I need new stationary! Yippee!!

20) Singing to people in the morning who aren't morning people. Drives 'em nuts and I love it!

One of highlights of today, my Big Sister's description of me:

"Doesn't he know you're 15% pb, 35% caffiene & 50% Cajun? :) It's the perfect storm of caffiene & genetics!"

Dear, Sister, I love you much. And I love Chick-fil-a. End of day's post.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Puppy Sister

One week from today I will be reunited with the light in my life, that sweet precious creature, Piper. Oh goodness, I cannot wait to see that golden fuzz butt! I can see her now, wiggling violently in the back of Mom and Dad's car as they pull up in my drive.

Of course, I'm talking about none other than my puppy sister, not my actual sister. Sarah will probably be working hard, enforcing rules in a courtroom. Big Sister was always enforcing rules, especially when we were little and played board games together. I could never get a break even when I gave her The Look! She apparently is the only one immune to my quivering lower lip. Dang.

Anyway, Piper is coming and I cannot wait! If anyone knows me well enough, they know I harbor a deep love for my dog like no other. I will happily argue she is the cutest pup ever to grace this green earth. Case in point:

Told ya. I call her my puppy sister because, well. I just am. She loves to steal my "toys" or shoes rather and at night, she has her side of the bed and I have mine. Although sometimes she tends to get a little mixed as to which side is hers and which is mine:

And that's cute, too...until she gets excited and wedges her bony elbow into your side. Good morning! We read together, too. Oh yes.

Although be warned, when it's time to play with the puppy, she will most certainly let you know! This dog is as big a mess head as I am--you saw the pictures of the peanut butter jar, right? Beat you didn't know she liked her ice cream, too:

(Just so you know that was an empty carton that she was lucky enough to lick clean.) The girl loves her some food. One time I came home from school just to visit family and as I chatted with a friend in the kitchen Piper came trotting her happy tail over to us.

"Well, hey there, Piper! What the heck have you got in your mouth?"

Kid you not, the dog had a chocolate chip cookie in there! I reached down to pull it from her and she staggered backwards, turning her head slightly to the side as if to say, "You can't have this!"

"Piper, what have you got?" Again, she backs her happy butt back and gives me those innocent eyes, "I don't know what you're talking about."

Smart dog, she's learned from the best when it comes to giving those innocent eyes. Think I taught her a little too well. Anyway, finally got that crumbly, stale cookie out of her mouth and asked Mom where on earth she would have gotten one (There sure as heck weren't cookies when I got in!). Apparently Piper had stolen that one from a batch Mom had made about a week prior. A WEEK! One solid week she had been hanging on to that cookie! That dog must have a stash of food somewhere in the house that we don't know about. That's pretty surprising since she's always on top things faster than a duck on a june bug. If it drops, better watch cause she will bowl you over trying to grab whatever you dropped.

She has her place by the sink when people are cooking. Leaning up against the bottom cabinets, she will plop down on the floor, throw her face straight up at you and stare while you chop away, mix, whatever. She just prays for gravity to grant her some delicious morsel from above. I'll give her this, she's pretty quick. I've heard several stories of her eating whole batches of cookies, breads, even got a hold of a ham last week. Also loves broccoli. Yup. That's my dog.

I make her out to sound like a little piglet, which she is--you should see her eat popcorn sometime--but she's capable of so many other things. She's a great runner. Beautiful. Unless you're the one watching her run out the back yard. Then it starts looking like a pretty ugly situation. All she's really doing is playing tag...or her version of it. Piper runs away, we chase her and she keeps running until we give up. Then she prances back home, happy as can be to once again be back with her people. She's a nut.

But she's my nut and I love her all the more because of that.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Food, It's What's For Dinner

I enjoy looking up recipes online oh so very much. Beginning my sophomore year when I moved into my first apartment, affectionately named the Beta Babes Apartment (a whole flock of Gamma Phi Beta's lived there, including myself, for two years). We had a stove. Glory be, we had an oven, too! Oh the possibilities!

Well, the possibilities sometimes worked out, sometimes not. I spent several years kinda testing out new things, definitely going to tried and true recipes my Mom passed down, but it wasn't until I found my perfect place that I really actually got my hands, and kitchen, messy.

Going off a friends recommendation, I have fallen in love with The Pioneer Woman. Oh, it's wonderful! Ree Drummond is her name and she has fabulous recipes and stories. Oh, I just love it! And I love to say "Oh" way too much. Oh well.

Anyway, she posts a myriad of things including photography tips, gardening, and homeschooling, none of which apply to me just yet, but I'll get to them. She does have a separate blog for other individuals to join and post their recipes. Goodness gracious, there are some good ones on her Tasty Kitchen blog!

I personally tend to gravitate towards the dessert lines of recipes--what can I say? I've got a serious sweet tooth. They're also my favorite types of things to bake. Who doesn't love a really good cookie now and again? I mean, I would love one now. Please.

While I'm drooling and salivating looking at some of these delicious items, I'm reminded all the more that weigh-in's are tomorrow. Good grief--I must be masochistic, right? Torturing myself by flipping through pages and pages of heavenly fried things, warm gooey images of cookies, and sinful pictures of cupcakes. For Pete's sake...

Weigh-in's are not that bad. Truly, it's something to be aware of because my body is my instrument. Like a car, if not fueled right and taken care of, it won't go too far, then I won't get a job and then I'll just be broke. Ain't a pretty picture. I don't mind talking about weigh-in's or discussing them with people. I've had my battles, I've worked through those things--food should not be feared, nor should the scale. Just be smart, eat your veggies and jump around once in a while, you're good to go! OK, so maybe there's a bit more to it than that, but it's manageable.

However, I beg of you non-dancers, do not ask a dancer about weigh-in's or weight or anything to do with a scale while she (or he) is eating a meal. It makes a person feel like a zoo animal on display. Ooh, watch the dancer eat! (Seriously, I think dancers actually eat way more than people think--they can put it away, people!) Once that question comes up I don't even want to look at the plate in front of me. Not really fair when a person eats their rabbit food all week long so they can enjoy that juicy, greasy burger in front of them and WHAM! The joy is sucked out, the guilt is set in, and you might end up with a human flinging themselves at you from over the table. No, not really--that's just the mental image I saw right then.

On THAT note. I will continue my recipe surfing for the day, trying my darnedest to avoid the dessert area (which coincidentally spelled "STRESSED" backwards. Stress and dessert.It just goes hand in hand, doesn't it?). I will wear a brave face and not concentrate too much on that number on a scale--It's just a number. And then I'll celebrate with a delicious Chick-fil-a Salad for dinner--I might crazy and make it a FRIED chicken salad. Ooooh.

I know, nerd to the core and devout Chik-fil-a fan. Next time I try my hand at a new recipe, I'll tell you how ends. Happy National Peanut Butter Lover's Day!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Living Alone

Sitting in my apartment last night I got to thinking. It's a darn good thing I live alone at this point in time of my life. For one thing, school takes up so much time that if anyone were to be in the same space as me, I would revert back to a Procrastination Princess. I mean, seriously, I know when I go home or have people for the weekend I don't want to work--would you? Boyfriend visited this weekend and thank goodness he was so sweet as to tear himself away to the Big Bass and Pro store for a couple of hours so that I could work. He's selfless that way, what a sweetie!

No, really though, had he not physically left I would have just ignored my project all weekend long. That's horrible! I would have been in SO MUCH trouble showing up to class with nothing, nada, zip! So sitting there contemplating in the silence of my home, I began to discover several advantages and disadvantages to living along:


1) The ability to leave your shoes ANYWHERE you want! Mother jokes about me leaving "Julie Piles" around the house and I cannot tell you how many times I was in trouble for leaving shoes lying about. No more! In my house I can leave them wherever I want and yes, I trip over them I see why Mom never let me do that. Dang. She was right again.

2) Everything has it's place--according to me. I'm in control of where things are kept be it for the kitchen, my clothing organization, desk junk, whathaveyou. I often forget what my thought process was during my organizing spell and therefore forget where things are BUT it's where I put them! Hence why I have a new label maker.

3) Decoration--I got to pick out everything for decoration that I wanted in my apartment. I got the chance to create my home and I love it. I love being in my home and there isn't a thing I can complain about (with the exception of one noisy neighbor, but I'm so over'd that dude it's not even funny).

4) I can have a crazy dance party in my underwear if I want to--not that I do that too often but at least I have the option. Instead I just choreography like crazy in my living room and dining room. Neighbors must loooove that...

5) Meals are whatever I want, whenever, wherever, and on a Friday night, I have the option to watch whatever movie floats my boat.

There are so many reasons to love living alone--one of the more important ones being able to have a quiet, peaceful me moment. That can be anything from sitting in silence, enjoying the still after a hectic day, or even having a good laugh (sometimes cry) by yourself. Everyone needs that bit of "me time." In that same respect though, too many "Me Moments" aren't real fun. However, I'm putting my problem solving skills to good use and learning how to handle those not so fun moments:


1) No one to come home to--not even a fuzzy creature, but that's because I picked a beautiful place to live with a no pet policy. *SIGH*

SOLUTION: I have plants to take care of (some are still alive...)and a stuffed animal to hold. Problem (somewhat) solved.

2) No one to cook for--trust me, eating a dozen cookies on your own is not a wise decision. Sure, it sounds like the best choice you ever made in the moment and that gooey goodness is heavenly going down. Then you get hit with a heck of a stomach ache, not to mention it ain't fun to put on tights and a leo the next day.

SOLUTION: Friday/Saturday night dinners with the girls--I have Cas and Leigh Anne over for some big meal and we enjoy food, wine, dessert, wine, stories, wine...Great fun! I also send pics to my family of whatever I made--nerdy, but I can't exactly serve them a plate when we're states apart. Problem (deliciously) solved

3) No one with whom I can share (Tad bit formal, but you try not ending that sentence without a preposition! It's hard, huh?). Seriously, this is one of the hardest ones to fix. When I make a discovery, whether its a dance move or a good joke, an article, something bizarre I found I could do, whatever, I want to share with people.

SOLUTION: Web cam--my gosh, I just discovered a while back that I could video myself doing random things to show people (mainly Mom because, well, she birthed me and she knows what a goober I can be. I don't think everyone is quite ready to experience that just yet though...). YES, problem (technically) solved!

Last night I was working on choreography (I swear it was actual work!) and I was using a hula hoop for a prop. To know that at the age of 22 I can still hula hoop like a champ, whoa. That's a big deal and I had to show Mom. So I facebooked her a video of my hula hooping then using arms then moving around while hula hooping and then I ran into a wall. Totally in Julie fashion, too. As stupid as it sounds, it was nice to send her a video of me being me in my house doing what I do best, being a goober.

*I would post the video except it was through facebook and I can't seem to retrieve the link--I swear I tried. *

Really there is no disadvantage to living by oneself--sure, there may be some hiccups but as you can clearly see, there are ways around it. Including filming your self flailing about while hula hooping. Mom, you must be so proud.
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