Portlandia Nostalgia

I’ve lived in Ohio for a more than a few months, but the longing that I feel for the state of Oregon is still as strong as ever. This couldn’t be more true after opening my old Portland Community College inbox and seeing a ton of emails; Pacific Northwest sustainability events, PCC campus talks, and Phi Theta Kappa activities. The best message was a sweet “just-reaching-out” email sent from my past mentor and Stress and Human Health course instructor.

After answering these emails at 11: 24 pm last night, I resigned myself to the fact that I might always miss Portland; like a family member you didn’t say goodbye to or an unresolved break-up.

I accepted that I needed to Mope a little. My current situation is that I attend college for free in the same state I was born in, but my heart is in a different place altogether. A place with a sh*t ton of rain clouds, cold beaches, cedar trees, food carts, and voodoo donuts. A place I can eat plants, wear flannel, and go brunching to my heart’s content.

I moped, but with that moping comes knowing that I left for valid reasons. I left for discounted college tuition and greater family bonding, as most of my blood relatives reside here in Ohio. I also left to distance myself from that “bubbly” feeling one gets when one lives in one place for too long. I needed to (literally) expand my horizons.

I’m a sad little cloud, but my brain reminds me:

“If it’s meant to be Lauren, you will be back. Oregon will still be there. Portland will still be there. The donuts will still have jam in them and mini-pretzel rods sticking out of their hearts.”

The silver lining? On New Year’s Eve (tomorrow) I get on a plane to make a 6-day trip back to Portland.

In that case, I can stop being nostalgic for a little while.

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Honestly, I Don’t Give A…

I’ve spent a long time giving a damn about what others have thought.

I won’t say that I  currently never care about how I’m percieved in other’s eyes. That’s not realistic. But compared with my past, shy self, I’ve taken a few strides.

I’ll share a few tips that have actually helped me.

  • Give yourself credit. Basically, a self-pep talk. When you complete a tedious project at work, smooth over a bumpy social situation, or ace an exam…don’t sell yourself short. Give yourself an A+. You know better than anyone else about how hard you worked, even if others tear you down by suggesting otherwise.

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  • Feel free to brag a little. Know that this isn’t an invitation to be “all that.” It is an invitation to sell yourself a little. Whether it’s at a job interview, on a scholarship application, or at a social gathering, it doesn’t hurt to share a few of your greatest exploits. It can be great for networking and also shows people that you’re a force to be reckoned with.

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  • Comfort is key. I’m no beauty guru. But I can still say with certainty that trading ‘trendy’ for ‘casual’ is a good idea (within reason). I know that when I wear my blanket-soft, blue hoodie, I give my best (non-capstone related) college presentations, make better small talk with strangers, and leave the house ready to face global warming.
  • Binge-watch Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. Nothing helps better prepare you for telling the world to talk to your hand. It only takes a few episodes of learning from Chloe. From her hooker toothbrush habits, to the jam fetish website, to her constantly badass repartee, she’s the female Johnny Bravo who can properly teach the art of not giving a f—.
  • Do your research. Confidence goes along with knowledge. College? Auditions? Opening a business? Know what to expect so you have the upper hand in your sword fights. Ask questions.
  • Buy a witty t-shirt. Whether you’re telling people that you’re a mermaid who’s working Leg Day at the gym, or you’re sporting the phrase “Wingardium Mimosa”, let your smiling toasts and cats-with-shades shirts rock it on your frame. Unless you’re wearing “Doormat, Step Here”. Plus, it’s way easier to break the ice.

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  • Appear laid-back. This may not be in the cards for your job interview, but if you sling your arm back in a booth or chair, mind science says that you look a thousand times more confident. Essentially, try to look like any situation isn’t your first rodeo.

 

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  • Pump the iron. Exercise. (This is sort of the answer to most issues in life. I swear it’s on every list.) If you are working out and feeling the “runner’s high” you’ll be a bit more deaf to the pudge-pokers and general Debbie Downers.

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  • Make a list. On the days that you don’t feel accomplished, make a list of the things you’ve done. Whether it’s climbing a mountain, winning an award, finishing a huge project, or meeting your favorite celebrity, write it down and read it back to yourself. If you’re feeling precocious, type it up and save it for an emotionally rainy day.

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  • Connect with the squad. Kind of self-explanatory. Call, tweet, or text the squad. Better yet, go get pizza. Strut your stuff and get the support from the people whose opinions you truly care about.

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  • Distance yourself from the hate. It’s the other part to # 9. Block your ex from calling. Don’t cross the Internet troll bridge. Overall, keep yourself away from people who bring you down. This includes family members and supposed friends. If you’re surrounded by negative vibes, it can get to you.

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  • What Would ______ Do? We all have an idol. Insert their name here and ask. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Don’t regret it later. If I’ve learned anything, it’s go for the gold. (Olympic pun intended.) Life is to short not to do or say what you feel, whether it’s studying abroad, going in for the kiss, or paying a simple compliment. While there might be consequences (it happens), you won’t be up at night wondering what might have been.

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This isn’t an all-inclusive list. If I’ve missed something important, let me know. Also, comment below on what makes your confident self tick. It could make it into a part 2…

Dear Little Things

I still have boxes under the bunk bed. And before you ask, yes…I prefer the bottom to the top bunk. I can reach under the bed and pull something random from one of those boxes. It’s because I haven’t bought a bookshelf. But I do need one. Currently all the notebooks, paperbacks, and hardbacks are scattered in the darkness, slightly waterstained from the unsealed window and the vicious thunderstorms here. At least whatever hides under there is well entertained with the damp pages and hasn’t decided to grab my ankle as a I make that crucial leap into bed after getting up in the night.

Only recently did I actually start pulling out and reading my old notebooks.

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These include the clunky multi-ringed  A.M. kindergarten drawing books that taught me my letters. Because, I did keep several. I would write about the weather, my favorite color, my Santa lists, and my pets.

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The peanut butter love has existed my whole life.

Next were the journals that I took out of my desk in the morning when my teachers told me to pick a prompt and write a few paragraphs (with each paragraph containing at least 5-6 sentences). Okay.

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Still there are more that catalog late elementary school when my mom finally let me wear lipgloss and when my crush was on Troy Bolton. It was important then for me then to include what I ate, where my family took stay-vacations to, and my friends with all our newfound drama.

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I was more hesitant to open the ones that I started later. But I did open them. I read them cover to cover.

I love(d) writing and the idea of remembering everything. But unfortunately not all the written ghosts are friendly. What started as the musings of a twelve-year-old with her birthday haul and MP3 player song list, turned into a girl recording her stories about the bullies who would trip her on the stone steps, her unrequited love on crushes she thought were out of her league, and the cataloged fears of an individual whose family photo was divvied up.

There are a number of painful memories in those notebooks, but I still want to remember them. It’s weird. Part of me is glad that I have the luxury to call up those memories.  I’ll not only need them when I’m old and senile, but also now, as I look back and figure out my life so far.

No. I don’t plan on my children and grandchildren reading these diary passages aloud to me as I age and forget. I didn’t start these journals for that purpose. I might’ve checked my grammar or added a few embellishments if that had been the goal. No. My written ghosts are my ghosts until the time that I can no longer read them to remember them anew. By that point, I will have reached a time where they no longer serve a purpose because I am no longer in need of glancing back and am content.

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Until then…

I have started keeping a short journal again to remind myself of the little things that never make their way into blog posts and other forms of social media. Like online banking challenge questions, they’ll only make sense to me. And with any luck, they’ll still make me chuckle and shed a few tears when I’m a century old.

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Cruelty-Free Community

Call it a milestone or a checked box on my bucket list. It overlaps both categories.

I attended my first vegan meetup. To clarify… it’s my first meetup of any kind.

Providing some context here: During the past few months I’ve creeped on several inspiring vegan Instagram accounts. I’ve read details and drooled over many meetup pictures that included spring rolls, cheeseburgers, pizza slices, and acai bowls from vegans worldwide. The positive vibes from these meetups were fairly infectious, for lack of a better word. Also, I could hardly handle the perfectly styled picnics and food photos with the carefully positioned flower petals, scattered board games, and exotic destinations.GOALS! Am I wrong? I had to experience a meetup for myself.

By some magical coincidence, I found this site called (appropriately so), Meetup. I was able to find my plant-based people. Not only that, but I checked off some other interests to get suggestions to creative writing groups, yoga sessions, hiking trips, sketch crawls, and boating expeditions. (I’ll do a post about this platform, because Meetup has changed my life a little bit.)

To get back to the point, I RSVP’ed on Meetup to eat a buttload of vegan pizza at Paulie Gee’s Short North from 6-8pm this past Wednesday night. It wasn’t only to get great food photos, because, let me tell ya, I love me some food photography.

No. I went for the opportunity to reach out to the local vegan community and eat my way around the city I was born in.

After all, someone unknown to me, but definitely much more famous than myself, said the following:

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The meetup was (not really) hitting four birds with one stone.(Watch out birds!) It was a chance to eat pizza, meet more people in the vegan community, find my way around Columbus, and actually get out for a meetup overall. It was awesome, even if I was a bit anxious to go at first. Dude, not gonna lie, trying new things and being in new social situations is scary. No regrets whatsoever. It was worth it.

What Did I Eat?

Vegan Supreme Pizza

House Red Sauce, Garlic, Crimini Mushrooms, Red Onion, Sautéed Vegan Breadcrumbs, EVOO, Post-Oven Cashew Milk Ricotta

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There were also complementary vegan chocolate chip/cherry brownies from The Angry Baker on King Avenue in Columbus. They were a gift to our group from Paulie Gee’s manager. Damn… they were good. Moist (again, lack of a better word), packed with chippies, and better than childhood Betty Crocker brownies by a thousand-fold. My non-vegan family members agreed while sipping their ginger beers.

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Photo Credit: Kaylyn Rhoads

 

Price

Funny thing. It was $15 for a 12-inch pizza. But due to an arugula incident, I got another huge Vegan Supreme Pizza for free. The staff apologized for putting arugula on the pizza (arugula not pictured) and asked if I wanted to send the pizza back.

Ah heck no!

I know where this perfectly digestible pizza is going. Mah belly!

How Many People Were There?

Thirty people showed up. However, I think more people ended up dropping by and had plus-ones. The place was packed. Props to the staff that were working their butts off for hours to feed all of us in addition to all their usual Wednesday evening crowd. Despite the busy environment, we all got excellent pizzas and stellar service.

Menu

I’m including the menu link for just the Short North location. There’s plenty of non-vegan pizzas The verdict? Awesome combo for the Vegan Supreme. At this point, they have a lot of potential to branch out with their ingredients and truly create some groovy new combos at this location. This was exactly Paulie Gee’s plan during the meetup, as they were baking up some off-menu pizza ideas for the group. Unfortunately, I had to skedaddle before the brand spanking new slices came around. Parking meter, why?

Am I going back?

The bird says yes, and she’s bringing more friends.

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Photo Credit: Kaylyn Rhoads

 

 

 

Spread Too Thin

Question To Self: What time do you have in your schedule to rest?

Answer: 4 hours a night.

This was my allotted shut-eye time during college in the last year.

Before focusing on self-care, I was spread thinner than a tablespoon of peanut butter on a Hash House a Go Go pancake.

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Positive Side Note: I ate this. Guys. It’s the size of a pizza.

I volunteered monthly for the Red Cross, was the Vice President of Scholarship for my Phi Theta Kappa chapter, worked in the Environmental Center at Portland Community College (PCC), had a hourly job as a dietary aide, and was The Green Initiative Fund Southeast Representative for PCC. Etc., etc.

The responsibilities continued. I wasn’t giving myself the time of day for self-care. I was slipping beneath the surface. I wanted to breathe again, but I couldn’t stop myself from saying no to new opportunities. I was drifting away from my social circle and my bed. I was drowning on a perfectly dry patch of land. I needed help, but disliked asking. I thought I could have it all. But really, it was wave after wave of responsibility.

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Being busy has always been important to me. When I was little, I actually dreamed about the day that I would have to write important papers and draft reports. As a 6-year-old, I loved having an excuse to write and stay busy. When I got older, the reality was harder to shoulder.

In college, I also happened to be surrounded by these awe-inspiring people who  excelled in project management and networking. They were students too…just like me. I felt like my actions weren’t reaching far enough and I needed to better impress. Who was I impressing though? Myself?

Based on what I experienced, I feel certain in one respect; Juggling and time management has become a symbol of status.

It seems that the busier you are in the American individualistic culture, the more successful you’re perceived. I mean, how can you be successful if you spend your day doing any one thing, or working at any one job? To be rich, powerful, and knowledgable, sleep should be at the bottom of your list. Naps? You can’t even.

This is what I thought.

I found that the things that I achieved in the past came with a buttload of stress that overshadowed everything I did. It was like walking with this raincloud on my head. I knew I was in a funk. Lacking in sleep, I think my body was aging faster on some cellular level I couldn’t consciously perceive. The late night snacking became more than just an occasional weekend splurge. It was a personal tactic to keep me from falling asleep. If I was making macaroni and cheese, I couldn’t go to bed and leave it to burn the house down. Plug in my computer and set up my station on the kitchen counter and I was stuck on wide-awake mode. Cheesy noodles included.

The pressure to study, email, write, calculate, and finish everything by the required deadlines sapped me. Burnout was real, and I was scorched by the end of the last academic year.

And if you can believe it, I was working with my Phi Theta Kappa chapter on a project that centered on self-care. Ironic stuff, right?

If there’s a few things that have changed in the last few months, it’s my habits. I say N-O to projects that I can pass on. I ask for help. I delegate with reason. I’ve sacrificed my morning to-do list to the Sleep-In gods. My alarm clock snoozes a bit more. My food stays fully clothed in the cabinets at 4 in the morning. And I take the self-care I can carry. Sure, I might not be busy enough for smoke to spout from my ears, but it allows me to live by a better mantra. You’ve heard it before. You know it. And maybe you can learn from my prior habits and make it work for you.

Quality over quantity.

While I might have to argue the pros and cons as this idea applies to peanut butter and pancakes, I will say that it does apply to a person’s workload. Being busy doesn’t equal success.

Quality over quantity.

Trust me. People notice the difference.

A Pocahontas Dilemma

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2014

I could not have been more excited to go to college. Freedom to pick classes, majors, and a future career. I was so prepared it was ridiculous. I already knew the steps that I needed to take to secure my place in medical school and how to go about researching and applying for internships. Not only that, but I was already looking at my options for specialization within my career, which was something that I wouldn’t need to worry about for at least ten years.

I left high school desiring a career in dermatology.

I entered college desiring a career in dermatology.

2016

I have finished two years of college, and reached a fork in the proverbial river of life. I could best compare it to Pocahontas’ dilemma. In the animated movie, she sings one of my all-time favorite Disney songs that details the choice she must make. She could choose the smoothest course; the path as “steady as the beating drum.” But maybe, just maybe, she could choose the more uncertain one.

In that respect, I am Pocahontas. I am finding my path. A path that is less linear and comes without my pre-planned map.

I know at this point, I am at the fork. I have just transferred colleges. I have a fresh start. With that, I have choices to reconsider. There is still time for everything to change.

I can’t describe the feeling, but I know that right here, right now…

I am literally changing my fate.

Everything has changed.

The excitement is palpable as I discover the opportunities waiting just around the river bend.  Hold on self, we’re steering this canoe in a new direction.

 

It’s a _____ Minute Ride

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When you add the clock‘s measurement to a roller coaster ride, there’s some added intensity. Whether the ride is 2 minutes and 20 seconds or just 17 seconds, several bodily explosions of pure adrenaline are felt from your scalp to your toenails.

It took more than 17 seconds, but I did conquer my fear of coasters.

I spent some vacation time at Cedar Point a.k.a the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” I had no idea this was true until I stood under the official sign.

Why would I decide to go to here?

Part of it had to do with my mother finally signing off on some ultra-rare vacation days and having the freedom to go on a family vacation. The other part had to do with me going someplace new. I love travel and I love seeing a bit more of planet Earth.

I found out that I actually love riding roller coasters.

Who knew?

I let a bad experience make me fearful of ever riding again. Short story: I rode a rickety coaster years ago that ended up giving me a serious migraine and partial ear ache. After that, I was always hesitant.

What I’ve learned: It doesn’t hurt to try something again. You might find that your views, tastes, and overall perspective have changed.

In any case, I thought I would give a breakdown of Cedar Point. Maybe you won’t go, will go, or have been and can share in the experience?

Here’s the short end of things in case you don’t want to read a 10-page essay comparing ticket pros and cons. I’m closing by rating the rides below, so if you get bored, scroll to the end.

 

Day of the Week

Tuesday and Wednesday

What We Purchased

  • Two-Day Tickets $90 each (x4)
  • Parking: $15 per day (x2)
  • Motel 6 Lodging: $99 per night (x3)
  • Small Icees $4 (x2)
  • Traditional Funnel Cake $7
  • Fruit, chips, Clif bars, Subway, etc.

Things We Quickly Became Aware Of

  • We needed the printed ticket confirmation letter for each person for both days.
  • A majority of people select tennis shoes as their preferred footwear, for obvious reasons.
  • The lines were not as long as Disneyland. However, line length might be dependent on the weekday. For our trip, we found that Fast Pass was sort of unnecessary.
  • There’s a colorful tram system that can take you halfway through the park.
  • We didn’t do any of the drink or meal plans and bought funnel cakes and ices in the evenings before the park closed. During the day we made trips to the car to eat the cooler goodies we brought. Park food was hella expensive. I think I saw someone having a BBQ cookout in the parking lot to save money.
  • There were some water fountains sprinkled throughout the park. Some worked, some didn’t. We didn’t buy water and we were happy to note that the water in the water fountains was actually cold.
  • Tuesdays are the “off days” for Luminosity and other park shows in mid-July/August.
  • There is a beach entrance.
  • Always get stamps before leaving the park if you plan to come back to the park later in the day.
  • Bathing suits are not allowed in the Cedar Point area. In Splash City, swimsuits are chill.
  • Take as little as possible into the park to minimize loss, theft, and unfortunate events on coasters.
  • Storage bins for riders are usually only for shoes, not purses or drinks. We just brought ourselves in the park and lived in the moment.

 

Splash City

It was stinkin’ hot. I forgot my bag of clothes at home in an “I thought you put it in the car” incident, so I had to buy a new swimsuit the day before. (Hate shopping for swimsuits.) At Splash City there are “laydown” waterslides and “tube” waterslides. These aren’t official designations for the rides. This is just how I categorize. I rode the tube slides with the individual floaty tubes provided because I don’t like water shooting up my nose on the “laydown” waterslides. Unlike Great Wolf Lodge, Splash City doesn’t have the two-person tubes. However, Splash City does have a huge waterslide with 4-person tubes.

There’s also this weird “sled” waterslide where you grab this blue foam strip, hold on tight and get lots of water in your face as you slide belly-down. It was awesome, but the water in my face was blinding.

The wait time for the water slides were surprisingly long. In the last ride, I waited a full hour, if not more. If there were a Fast Pass for the waterpark, I might have considered it. I don’t think Splash City has their ride timing down to a science. The upside was that I didn’t have to wait on the two Lazy Rivers. They were easily my favorite ride. I enjoyed the chill-factor of bobbing up and down like a pale cork in a wavy pool.

Cedar Point

Again, freakin’ hot. I wore half a bottle of sunscreen and a t-shirt to keep my shoulders from re-roasting after a previous sunny excursion. All of my belongings stayed in the car. I only slightly regretted not bringing my shades. However, I was super happy about my decision to wear tennis shoes over flip-flops, even if I did end up with a blister from all the walking.

We closed out the day’s rides (I rode most, but not all the roller coasters.) by being audience members for the Luminosity show, which involved dancers and acrobats flying through the air on floating dreamcatchers while performing iconic rock hits. There were a lot of fireworks, flames, and hoopskirts.  The Luminosity event finished with a DJ starting a nightly dance party.

Later we used the beach entrance at nightfall to attend the Beach-Glo party where there was a lot of Cupid Shufflin’ going on. I learned how to do the “running man” and touched some Great Lake water. The party concluded with some fantastic beach fireworks whose smoky shadows probably choked up the riders on the Ferris wheel. Then my sister and I ran over to catch the last few minutes of Mirror Mirror, which was the featured movie at the beach.

At that point, my feet wanted to quit their job. Since the park was closing, I let them.

 

The Rating of the Rides

  1. Top Thrill Dragster Second-tallest and third-fastest coaster in the world. However, it was my favorite coaster because of the intense adrenaline rush and the fact that I couldn’t stop smiling after riding it. The feeling can only be compared to a rocket launch into space coupled with sky-diving. I would highly advise riding this at sunset. The 45-minute wait? Who cares?
  2. Valravyn The tallest dive coaster in the world that breaks nine other records. No big deal. I waited in line for 1.25 hours for a ride that makes you wait in agony for four seconds at the plummet-point’s edge. A LOT of waiting, but the ride was amazing. (Dumb word choice, but what can you do?) I also ended up being super photogenic in the ride photo with my thumb and forefinger poised thoughtfully on my chin while smiling daintily at the camera.
  3. Millennium Force This is voted as the top coaster in the world by fans. I agree. It is, quite frankly, the perfect coaster. The dips, twists, turns, and plummet points are crafted to perfection. You could almost want to kiss the creator(s). The 45-minute wait was worth it.
  4. Gemini This is a racing coaster, so think Cars Land in Disneyland. If you don’t know that ride, then just picture a blue and a red coaster street racing, but not street racing. I loved the smooth ride despite the vintage wood structure. Oh…and I think my coaster won.
  5. Corkscrew As traditional as this coaster was, I loved it. It loops a full three times in succession and then dips into the park so that you are feet away from other park-goers. This was my first Cedar Point coaster. Not a bad way to start things off.
  6. Iron Dragon I can use the word “chill” in a sentence to describe this coaster. Because, it was. It was a nice in-between ride to split up the mega-intense roller coasters. It helped me nurse my motion headache. This one gets bonus points for having the option of virtual reality goggles. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to fill out the registration paperwork and test the aforementioned virtual reality goggles.
  7. Gatekeeper This is a heck-of-a-long ride. You don’t know how long 2 minutes and 20 seconds is until you experience it. I’m on the fence on how I felt about the length. Props to the ride for having a “right Twix”, “left Twix” thing going on with the splitting line. It’s a wing coaster by the way. And if it wasn’t obvious, it is the literal “gate keeper” of the park.
  8. Magnum XL-200 People said that you could see Canada on this ride. I was too focused on the first intense drop…and the tunnels, which make the ride intermittently reminiscent of Space Mountain at Disneyland. In other words, you spend spans of time in utter darkness where you don’t know where you’re going and think your head might possibly be cleaved off. I’m glad I’m short.
  9. Raptor I felt like the prey, which means that the coaster delivers in its promise to make you feel small and helpless. I got onboard without looking at the coaster track and had no idea what to expect. There are tons of thrilling inversions on this floorless coaster. It operated at the speed where you can just barely distinguish between up and down.
  10. Rougarou I’m really not sure what a “rougarou” is. Judging by the slash marks in the name, it’s some kind of predator. Like the raptor, it has that floorless effect and tons of inversions to make your brain dizzy. Again, I felt like the prey. The Rougarou was similar to the Raptor, but faster, which made the inversions harder for my existing motion headache to process. Was I up or down? Was it day or night? Dude, I don’t know.
  11. Blue Streak: OUCH.This shook a few shillings loose. I warned people away from this one, because no one warned me. It wasn’t just a few brain cells; I feel fairly sure that my whole brain detached from its brain stem. My sister and I had to lay down for a few minutes after this jarring ride. Blue Streak needs to retire.

 

 

 

 

My Idol is a Beet Farmer

Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars.

False. The nearest star is 93 million miles from the moon.

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As it happens, I was wide awake at 4 am this morning watching Tosh.0 recordings and The Office reruns. Everyone else in the house was snoring.

I love comedy. It’s my go-to form of self-care when I’m sick, stressed, sad, and dealing with insomnia. Over time, I’ve become more knowledgeable about who I like to watch/listen to, and the material I find funny. I can remember when I first started watching comedy regularly, which was pretty much the time that I started binge-watching The Office on Netflix.

Talking specifically on the topic of The Office, I was instantly drawn to the in-your-face egomaniac beet farmer, Dwight Schrute.

Dwight Schrute is my spirit animal. He’s likes beets even more than me (if that’s possible). (I love beets just about any way, except for the smooth, canned beet slices. The ridged beet slices taste better. Don’t ask me why.)

Besides beets, Dwight has had a huge effect on my life:

  • He taught me how to motivate myself. (Anytime and anywhere.)
  • He taught me how to prank others in the workplace.
  • He gave a great crash course on being parkour.
  • He provided information about facial protection during basketball games.
  • I learned the various ways to throw a birthday party and seriously maim a piñata.
  • I got the best instruction on evil facial expressions…
  • …laughs….
  • …and comebacks.

Fact: If I could meet Dwight Schrute in real life, I would go for it.

For now I’ll settle with discovering new comedians on my own time. In the past I’ve watched quite a bit of Brian Regan and Jim Gaffigan. (I’m also ready to check out the Jim Gaffigan Show.) Does anyone have any suggestions?

 

CC Image “Dwight Schrute Bucks” courtesy of methodshop.com on Flickr, made available by Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 License.

 

I’m Waiting By My Mailbox

4e969ecd-ea15-4deb-8a40-8ff09a297bafI’m currently planning on joining a book exchange system where I trade my favorite reads with others who may or may not know me. My younger sister recently started this said book exchange by liking and reposting information from her friend via Facebook. Today she received an Amazon package in the mail with a brand new book to read. I was jealous. All I get in the mail is bank account statements and items from Ohio University reminding me of my transfer checklist (insert snooze button here).

I want in on this book exchange action. Not only will I have a solution to my summer reading list being AWOL, but I also end up fulfilling an underlying need; a need for snail mail. (Wait what?)

Snail mail, specifically handwritten letters, seems to be extinct. I actually miss the handwritten letters, even though they have a tendency to be a pain in the a** sometimes. The stamps, envelopes, decent stationary, and legible handwriting. Not to mention the fact that you should make sure that your card matches the person…and the occasion.

I remember in grade school that my friends and I would send each other cards and little packages with Lisa Frank stickers and bedazzled rocks. We even had official looking ink stamps to seal the envelopes for “super spy secrecy.”

My grandma wrote to me too. She would ask how I was doing, give a weather report (even though we lived 15 minutes apart), and update me on what house projects her and my gramps were working on. The stray cat hierarchy at her house was usually mentioned too. (Very Meerkat Manor-esque.) The point of my rambling is that I once got handwritten letters in regular installments from those close to me.

Flash forward to two years ago when I entered the college scene. My friend and I promised to write each other, as we were attending vastly different institutions and jumped at the chance of receiving snail mail from one another. However, technology and semester/quarter course loads made us reconsider this idea quickly.

Where does that leave me now? Where does that leave everyone else in terms of snail mail? Heck, does anyone my age write letters?

With the presumed death of written letters, I now find that I want to send and receive them more than ever. I even want a pen-pal again. (A story for another time…) I suppose this proves the saying that you miss something once it disappears. However, with Facebook book exchanges and Pass-The-Notebook-On-To-A-Stranger, handwritten correspondences (once thought to be extinct), have the potential to stay alive for future generations.

P.S. I’m seriously joining this book exchange. Updates to come.

 

For Posterity

Getting Proverbial While Fighting Bed Head

 

LaurenEditOriginal8

This morning I tried to go back to sleep, but all I could think about was how to word my first blog post. I was half asleep and had basically planned out the entire thing. It was perfect. Flash forward twelve hours to my current state, and I’ve forgotten everything. Thanks brain! Short term memory, you’ve served me well.

This morning I was also battling a serious food hangover. And before you roll your eyes, I have to assure you that, yes, food hangovers are not the stuff of legend. They are a real thing.

Basically, I woke up on the couch with no memory of falling asleep during a three-movie marathon, but pretty sure that the bag of spicy tater tots I’d consumed had been a mistake. Those super-delicious apple cinnamon pancake-vixens from the freezer were getting some side-eye as well. I then went down into the basement, to the room that I share with my sister while I’m visiting at my dad’s, and went back to sleep. I woke up later knowing I had the job of sweeping the Haunted Mansion study and staining some woodwork. I tried to complete my morning routine but somehow ended up falling asleep in the middle of the bedroom floor with my backpack as a pillow.

By the time I woke up for real, the beautifully imagined blog post was gone, and I was left with the words you see here.

Maybe there’s something poetic about the way I woke up today. Maybe it means that my perfect first blog posting can’t exist. However, that doesn’t mean that me getting up in the morning is poetic in any sense of the word. Nor is it the summer morning routine to inspire others. I didn’t wake up and make my bed, and then eat a few spoonfuls of yogurt with artfully tossed granola and oversaturated raspberries. I did, however, wake up with serious bedhead, heartburn, and a desire to write something semi-decent on a webpage.

So what is my blog all about? Not dissing YouTube morning routines. Trust me, I’ve watched my fair share! (I couldn’t even tell you why I’m so addicted to them.) Like my blog’s name might imply, I am hopelessly in love with toast. However, as I continue learning and now enter my (technically) junior year of college, I’ve realized how small my world has been for a really long time. That’s not to say that I’ve never left my house, but as a kid I always thought that I could just exist and success would come with age. I thought I knew where I was going and how to get through the Gumdrop Mountains. How wrong was I? I’m 20 now and the crux of the problem is that I’m still searching, thinking, and dreaming. Hell, college made me rethink my dead-set plans. I went out in the world, and the world introduced me to some rad stuff. Sometimes I don’t know whether to blow the world a kiss or flip it off …

In essence, my blog is a way for me to connect with other inspiring people and be a part of something bigger. I want to travel, learn, and eat some damn good vegan food along the way. However, I want to share my thoughts on school/college, food, being vegan, traveling, and essentially learning about the world around me. However, I’ll also be sharing a few mistakes I hope others can avoid. I want to think outside the proverbial toaster. I’ve spent so much time eating toast, how do I know I won’t find something more delicious once I get my butt out in the world and have the chance to try it?