Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tales from the Library Bathroom

So yesterday was a Debbie Downer day until I went to the library. I was hoping for something funny or great to share with you today, and thankfully I have something perfect.

On the days I have class, I go to the library to go over what we will be talking about that night. Yesterday was no exception. I made a little trip to Starbucks, and then I went to the library. I sipped my coffee and read over my notes and highlighted stuff from the text. Then nature called.

So before I make my way to my building, I decided to stop by the library bathroom. I know it seems like a weird story I shouldn't be sharing, but I promise it is totally worth it.

I go into the small, two-stall bathroom on the ground floor of the library. Two other women are already in there; one washing her hands with the precision of a heart surgeon and the other was in one of the stalls.

So I check to see if someone is in the other stall. Then the girl comes out the stall and announces to me and the other woman, who is still meticulously washing her hands, that there is no toilet paper in that stall. So she goes into the one I was investigating.

So I decide to wait my turn, and as I try not to watch the girl with crazy hand washing tactics, something happens.  The girl in the stall blows her nose once. Then twice. Then a third time. I know you wondering what is so funny.

Here's the kicker...Between the second and third nose blow, a little gas escapes (if you know what I mean).

The other girl was still washing her hands. I swear they should have been red and bleeding by then. And there I was waiting my turn like a good girl when the girl in the stall lets out a very prominent toot.

And what did I do? Tried my very hardest not to laugh. It is so childish, but it is always funny. My mom is 43 years old, and she still laughs at toots every time. While it makes you feel a little sick and uneasy, you still have to stifle a chuckle. Every time.

So I take the toot as my cue to get out of there, and I walk over to my building. This building is shaped a lot like a parking garage with open airways. But the bathroom situation is a little messed up. The even floors have the ladies rooms, and the odd floors are for the men.

So I take the elevator to the fourth floor ladies room. While I am in the bathroom stall, another girl comes in. And she blows her nose. Twice.

I come out of the stall to see that the Library Tooter is in my building in the fourth floor bathroom with me. And when I come out of the stall, we recognize each other. Let me just say, I was in shock. And she was glaring at me. I know she had to know I left the library bathroom to get away from the funny awkwardness.

It was unbelieveable. So unbelieveable that I couldn't have made it up. Things of this nature only happen to me. And there are always no witnesses...unless you want to count Washed Raw Hands from the library bathroom.

Moral: If you have to blow your nose, please try to refrain from blowing so hard that you pass gas. It just puts everyone in the bathroom waiting on the one stall in an awkward position (ex. the awkward eye contact made after such an incident has occurred). I realize gas passing is out of a person's control at some points. But just be aware.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sometimes Crying Feels Like the Best Option

I don't really know how to explain what I feel like today. But I can give you a pretty good idea.

It started last night while I was watching Will and Grace. They got into a fight, and I cried, just a few tears. Then Grace got married, and Will felt left out and stuff. Then I cried again. So the crying is in my near future. Then I drove to work this morning, and I had a whole new level of ill feelings toward the drive.

I am a commuter. So I drive with 98357925 other people from Conway into Little Rock three days a week. This morning was nothing out of the ordinary. Same amount of cars. Same amount of time spent driving. Same everything, except for the fact that my emotions were holding on by a tread.

Most mornings are just normal. Cars dodge in and out of spaces they can barely fit into to begin with, and unexpected stops are made almost every 10 minutes. Like I said today was nothing out of the ordinary. But I just wanted to cry. It's sad, but true. I am an emotional wreck for some reason.

I really hate the commute. I don't like worrying if I will make it to work on time (which I mostly always do). I think I am to the point where I need to have a good cry. All girls know what I mean when I say this. Sometimes you just have to get it out. Yesterday I didn't feel good, and I haven't been sleeping well (or not enough). I'm sorry for being a whiney girl today. But this blog serves as some kind of outlet for emotions. So here is the disclaimer*** Sometimes I will whine. Not often. But sometimes.***

Now that that is cleared up...If anyone has any advice on how to get over the mid-week blues, I am all ears.

On a happier note, my mom and I discussed my birthday cake. Let me just tell ya, this cake is going to be oh so good. Homemade chocolate cake with homemade chocolate icing...with an additional caramel drizzle to top it off. Chocolate is one of my all time favorite things, as is caramel. So I thought why not put them together to make the ultimate gooey birthday cake. I mean it's a win-win situation, at least for me.

I am getting more excited about the birthday. After 21, the birthdays just don't seems as big a deal. I just it's all down hill from there. This year I turn 23. It doesn't really seem like a big deal, but I am still thankful to see another year. But 23 doesn't sound very fun. Cause pretty soon 23 will be 25 and then 29 and then 35. Eekk!! I freak myself out when I do that. This is the last time I talk about my birthday in a negative way...No more talk of the years to come. It is just too overwhelming.

Hopefully something funny or great will happen today or tomorrow that I can share with you. I hate being a Debbie Downer, but somedays you just don't feel like being perky. Hope all is well with you guys. Until next time...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dark Days are on the Horizon

I have officially started school. And I say this because I have a syllabus for every class. So that means what little bit of a social life I did have is now over.

Going into the semester, I knew I would have to write a 20-25 page original research paper. I did not know I would have to write a 15-20 page term paper in another class. So needlesstosay, my social life is over until May.

There is one small glimmer of hope. My birthday is two weeks away. Usually by now I am so excited people can hardly stand to be around me. This year I have planned my birthday events around my school workload. It's a sad day in paradise to admit this sorry fact. But this is how I know I have gotten old.

Birthday celebration consists of: Friday, a trip to Cajun's Wraft for too many Play-de-doughs and dancing, Saturday, a day at the horse races in Hot Springs with beer and hot dogs, and Sunday, my actual birthday, a "Superbowl/Birthday extravaganza". So it should be a pretty eventful weekend. I guess homework will be designated to Friday day and Monday. I am looking forward to it.

I hope everyone else has a better looking semester than the one that is staring at me. A much needed break in the homework pace will be provided thanks to a birthday celebration. Then it is all up hill until May. I am trying to stay optimistic, but it is tough when 40 pages of work fill the days ahead. Until next time...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bookstore Blues

In an earlier post, I talked about how I love the smell of Barnes and Nobel and how it feels to go in there with all those books. I can't say I feel the same about the University bookstore.

When I got into graduate school, I was pretty excited that the University had an online book checking thingy to tell you what books you would need before you got to class on the first day. I is a pretty lame thing to be excited about, but I was so excited.

Funny story: Originally, I was only suppose to have one textbook for this semester (according to the book checking thingy). So I went before school started and bought the one book required for the semester. $145.00 for a brand new book.

I go to the first class, and she makes sure we know that there is a required book for the class...WAIT ONE MINUTE. So I had to go after that class to buy the second required book. $108.00 for a used book.

Today I open my e-mail and read a message from my professor. He says something to the effect of "The bookstore has your book in stock. It is not online so be sure you stop in and pick it up." WHAT?!?!

So I have to go today in this horrible, rainy, potentially snowy weather to get another book, which brings the total to three books (one for each class). $29.98 for the third and hopefully final book.

But I must say $29.98 sounds pretty cheap for a textbook. And with the way my bookstore luck is going, I will probably get in there and pay $100.00 or more. Hopefully, the price is right. Until next time...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Case of the Unfortunates

So far this week has been a total bust. I had high expectations of making this week a complete success. But let me tell far it has been a week of the unfortunates.

The week started off beautifully. I went to work Monday morning for three hours. But unlike most days where I just sit behind a desk and rack my brain for new story ides, I was actually out on campus participating in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

Some of our youth made and distributed hygiene kits to Little Rock's homeless. Basically it was a very successful and fulfilling Monday. But then starts the down hill spiral into the unfortunates.

Unfortuate Case No. 1:
After leaving work, I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning. The dentist found a leaky filling, which will need to be fixed ASAP.

Unfortuate Case No. 2:
School started yesterday. I signed up for an online class mixed with graduate and undergraduate students. So far that has been a bust.

We all had to meet during the time alotted for the class...which is set on the undergrad schedule. So it was an extremely difficult to figure out how to finagle my work schedule around a 9:25 time slot. Sidenote-- To add to the stress of the situation, I don't have a parking pass to park on-campus because you can park anywhere after 4 P.M.

Unfortunate Case No. 3:
The Internet was down at work all day yesterday. So needless to say, nothing got done. Everything I do requires some form of Internet usage. I was completely grounded. And stuck inside the walls of the good people's prison.

Unfortunate Case No. 4:
I already have quite a bit of homework, and I have only been to one class thus far. I have one class tonight and one tomorrow night.

Unfortunate Case No. 5:
It is suppose to snow while I am at work tomorrow. I realize a good thing could come from this, as in school being cancelled and the University shutting down early. However, that is usually not my luck. This snow will fall, and I will have to go to class at 6 P.M. Then when I get out of class at 9 P.M., I will have to drive all the way back to Conway in the dark, snowy abyss.

ONE MAJOR GREAT THING THAT HAPPENED: The beautiful ladies of Alpha Sigma Alpha's Beta Lambda chapter, my chapter, added 27 new babies to the wonderful traditions and sisterhood I experienced for my four years at UCA. Congratulations ladies!! I am oh so excited for you guys. You have made my week of unfortunates so much better. Until next time...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Good things come in small packages...and at the exact right time

The other day I wrote about the new books I bought at Barnes and Nobel. Sidenote-- I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...Amazing. But today I want to grace you with some of my musical loves. Some of them are pretty new to me, but I've found that my music taste is changing a little bit.

I still love John Mayer, Needtobreathe, Taylor Swift, Dave Matthews Band, and all the music from the 80s. For Christmas this year, my mom got me a 4-disc packet of nothing but Christmas songs. One of the songs I really loved was by Ella Fitzgerald. I loved her bluesy sound.

Yesterday while I was watching Oprah, I heard Joss Stone for the first time. Basically I was blown away. She is bluesy and soulful. So I used iTunes free listening to help me decide what songs I liked.

"Killing Time" by Joss Stone is amazing. Her voice is right on. So this morning at work, I opened my Pandora station and typed her in. All day it has been a wonderful mix of bluesy, soulful sounds. I have been so impressed. Everyone should have a listen to the Joss Stone station on Pandora.

Some songs I am into right now: (Some of these may be a little surprising)

"Killing Time" - Joss Stone
"Stay with You" - John Legend
"Down by the Water" - The Decemberists
"Valley of Tomorrow" - Needtobreathe, the Live Horses album
"Shelter" - Ray LaMontague
"Right Above It" - Lil Wayne and Drake
"I Don't Want To Be" - Gavin DeGraw (Stripped Version)
"Damn" - Novel

Mostly bluesy, soulful, sweetness...with a little bit of rap. What can I say. I love it all. Sidenote -- Taylor Swift's new cd "Speak Now" is amazing, and it has basically been in my car's cd player since I got it.

Have a listen. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to tell me what you are listening to right now. Until next time...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1/11/11: A Day of Firsts

I've never really been one of those people who are superstitious, but yesterday was a pretty strange day.

My good friend Abby had a birthday yesterday, and we decided to go eat lunch to celebrate. I've always thought of Abby as a pretty normal person, someone I can talk to and count on. But apparently, she is much more than that.

We sat down for lunch at a little cafe. We had just ordered our food when this strange man and his "colleagues" sat down at the table next to ours. He leaned over and commented on it being someone's birthday (hense, the gifts).

He then proceeded to go into a long drawn-out monologue on how Abby was the perfect number, 3. Or was it a 7. This crazy gray-haired man with a short cut "all business in the front" and flowing gray ponytail "party in the back" was a numerologist. Just a little scary to say the least.

The entire time we were there he talked to us. He was in awe of Abby and her being a 3 and the day being a 7 and that equals 10, which is really a 1, which is the ultimate perfection. Seriously--he really said all of this.

He gave us folders and hand-outs with notes and pictures. He asked us hypothectical questions and gave us "real-life" senarios to work through. All the while, we were just trying to enjoy our meal of patty melts and fries.

Evidently, this man is a regular to this cafe. He and his posse of crystal-wearing numerological enthusiasts go to the cafe all the time to use the free Wi-Fi. The poor guy who works behind the counter said people have complained about how this man never leaves them alone.

It was one of those situations where you want to tell them to back off, but you don't because you are scared they will find you and kill you. Sounds extreme, but you didn't see what I saw. If I had been in a situation safe enough to snap a photo, I would have so you could be aware of this crazy character.

Keep your eyes peeled. Nobody knows what other people are doing. And I don't want to sound paranoid, but it was pretty strange. I felt pretty weird about it all day yesterday. Oh well, just one more story for the books. Until next time...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Barnes and Nobel smells divine.

For those of you who don't know me, I am one of those bookish people. I should say I have turned into a bookish person since I started grad school. I have alway liked to read, but there is always a time in our lives where reading isn't "cool" so we pretend not to like it.

Well I am over that phase and have been for a while. Now I like reading history (U.S. History from FDR to the present), literature (but really only Jane Austen), fiction, non-fiction (biographies) and the occasional romance novel and classic children's books.

The history thing is a pretty recent development. Since I am working on a historical piece for my thesis, I feel like I need to be up on U.S. History and current affairs. Jane Austen has always been a favorite, but I really fell in love with her work during high school (and after the most recent Pride & Prejudice movie).

I love getting lost in the stories and getting to know the characters. Plus it can be relaxing.

I made a little trip to Barnes and Nobel yesterday after work. 1.) I had a gift card I wanted to look into using and 2.) I wanted to skip the horrid traffic that goes back to Conway every single day. Sidenote---I love the way that place smells. Coffee and books, two of my favorite things.

I didn't go with anything in mind, but I ran across a lot of books I am interested in reading.

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert is the sequal to Eat, Pray, Love. I loved Eat, Pray, Love, and Committed picks up where it left off. Gilbert has a unique voice. It feels like she is talking to you when you read her work. I relate to that because that is how I like to write.

Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, & Know by Alexandra Horowitz almost came home in my B&N bag. Not sure why I backed out on it, but I will probably go back and get it. She writes about how dogs are. If you have a pet you probably spend at least a small amount of time wondering what they are thinking. I know I do.

I have a black lab named Kate. I wonder all the time what she thinks when we are doing something. She has these looks that I call her "Wow, they are so stupid" and "Really?!" and "Would you just leave me alone, dang!"

I would love to get Horowitz insight into a dog's mind. Maybe see if it is anything like what I have come up with over the years. I mean she is like trained in that field, whereas, I just like to wonder about it for fun.

But I ended up leaving with Little Bee by Chris Cleave and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I have heard a lot about Larsson's series and absolutely nothing about Cleave's book.

I read the first chapters of each last night, and all I have thought about today was:

1. I can't wait to keep reading Larsson's book.
2. What has happened to Little Bee?

So we shall see. I will keep you posted on how I like the books. I feel like one will win out on the other. And to be honest, I feel like Larsson will win over Cleave...just because the main character is a journalist and there is some sort of mystery happening. Until next time...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sleep is good when you get it.

For Christmas this year I got the new iPhone 4. It does a lot of cool stuff, however, I ran into a tiny mishap that could have led to a huge upset.

Apparently iPhone 4's alarm has been on the fritz since the New Year. But me being the little naive person that I can be at times thought my new iPhone would be just fine. Wrong.

I went to bed Sunday night with the intention of waking up at 5:30 A.M. to start my morning routine so I would make it to work on time. I set two alarms since a horrible incident in college where I slept through a test..ekk!

My nightstand alarm went off twice Monday morning, but my phone alarm is the one that makes me get up. So after the second alarm went off, I guess I turned it off because I thought I would rely on the new phone.

Guess who wasn't up at 5:30 A.M. Monday morning? This girl. I hate the feeling of being rushed and stressed early in the morning (or really any time).

By the time I got up, showered, got dressed, fixed my face and hair and ate breakfast, I was already 15 minutes later than normal. Once I got outside to start my car, I was delayed even longer due to winter frost on the windshield. It was terrible.

So long story short. I didn't get much sleep last night because I was so worried about not waking up today. I probably slept 3 hours maybe. I feel terrible. Sometimes when I don't get enough sleep I feel sick and gross...which is exactly how I feel this lovely January morning.

Lack of sleep does not put you in a good mood when you have to battle Little Rock morning traffic. On the upside, my alarm did go off this morning. Thanks to a little advice from an good old friend. Hopefully I will sleep better tonight. Until next time...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ushering in the New Year

Well Christmas is over, and New Year's has passed. So basically I'm back to the ole grind. Nothing much exciting has happened. But I thought I should touch base.

I started back to work today, and let me just say, it is such a slow day. School starts back on the 18th. And that is one thing I am not looking forward to, but it will start whether I am ready or not.

I've got some big decisions to make here in the next few weeks. I don't really want to get into detail, but I will tell you how it goes after I have decided what to do.

Things to do in 2011:

1. Make the decision.
2. Make all A's.
3. Find a new church.
4. Make time for one fun thing each week.
5. Be less stressed overall.

I feel like other things will come up as the year progresses, but I just want to figure somethings out and continue to grow and change as a person. 2011 is my year for something enchanting and magically to happen. I'm not sure what area in my life that something will be, but I can just feel it.

Hope everyone had a Happy Holidays and exciting New Year's experiences. I feel like this is shaping up to be Ashten's Year-of-Change! So let's see how that works out. I'll keep you posted. Until next time...