Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year Again?

Another year come and gone... Here are my previously unfinished New Year's "goals" from previous years.

Long-term Goals for the year 2009:
Find some way of earning income. (I have 12 piano students now, which is providing enough for me to pay for my own piano lessons, voice lessons, and theatre and dance classes. But I would like to find something that I can do on my own time... I know, I'm too picky.)

One-time projects:
Get my bookcases organized and neat. (I got closer to done, but still not as thorough as I intended to.)

So, for 2010, my goals were:


Better sleep schedule (check!)
Improve cooking (check!)
Improve singing (check!)
Improve general house cleanliness (Um... not so much. Although it's pretty clean right now!)

One-time projects:
Clean off bookcase (getting there)
Make a layered cake (nope)
Make Regency dress (I cut out... some of it...)

Now for 2011 goals:
Seriously begin cookbook recipe collection and rating.
Improve my money-management and business skills.
Keep working on helping keep the house more neat.
Keep thinking and looking for other job possibilities.

One-time projects:
FINALLY FINISH the bookcase
Finish the Regency dress

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Libraries, and How They Work

For the average person: Library use is simple. Once a week, or maybe once every two weeks if you’re a remarkably slow reader, you go to the library and get the next poorly written, ½ inch thick novel of your chosen genre. Perhaps a slimy romance, action flick or sci-fi, it really doesn’t matter. You read it (amazingly enough, since an American who doesn’t watch TV in every spare moment is rare) and return it in a timely manner. No pesky announcements about how much money you currently owe to the poor library system when you try to check out your next cheap novel masquerading as literature. No sheepish feeling as you realize that you kept a copy of one of the most ridiculously over-used plot-lines past your allotted three weeks and probably deprived 2 other people of the mind-numbing blandness contained in those tortured pages. Lighthearted and carefree, you skip home to enjoy your next piece of cotton-candy reading.

For the serious reader: Library use is difficult. First of all, they don’t have half of the books you want to read at your branch, and you have to request them. Once your book of real literature written before the days of TV and dumbed down Americans arrives, you take it home and dive in. The only problem is, no matter how fast a reader you are, you really can’t finish an unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo in less than three weeks, unless you have absolutely nothing better to do than read all day long. So the appointed due date arrives, and you try to take advantage of this convenience called “renewal.”

Can I side track for a moment? Why do they give you a due date and fines if you’re also allowed to just renew the book? Think about that as I proceed.

So you’re trying to renew your book. Since you can do that from the comfort of your own home on the internet, you take a moment from reading your wonderful piece of intelligent literature to utilize the library website. But once you click the “renew” button, you get a little red sentence announcing that you can’t renew your book because someone else has requested it! Unlike the average reader of average intelligence might, you don’t sigh and resign yourself to going to the library to return the book before you finish reading it. You resolve to finish as soon as possible, but fines or no fines, you will finish the book. After all, you can’t give up what must be the only library copy of this great work of fiction before you’ve devoured every well-phrased sentence and breathed a sigh of contentment at the satisfactory ending. Somewhere around a dollar into your fine, you start wondering how much you’re going to have to pay. So you get back onto the library website and look up the book in the handy-dandy library catalog. When you check the number of requests, and how many copies of the book are available in the system, you see that there are actually 5 checked in copies of THE EXACT SAME BOOK available to be shipped anywhere that’s desired, and you call the library to complain. “Oh, yes,” the librarian calmly informs you, “the computer program does that for some reason. If you try to renew it now, it will work.” “Great,” you say, “then can you forgive my fine?” “No, I’m sorry,” the librarian says, “I can’t do that.” You bite your tongue, hang up politely and decide that it’s worth it to buy every single piece of literature that you ever want to read in the future. And when you finally finish The Count of Monte Cristo, you go buy a copy of it, because it was just that good.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Epilogue

The inspiration of a new vacuum was all I needed to motivate me to find the carpet in our room again, and now, with a mostly tidy room and newly vacuumed floors, I can say definitely that the new vacuum is nice. It's made a few finicky noises when I ran into pieces of furniture a little too forcefully, but it recovers quickly and apparently suffers no ill effects. The extension wand for attachments is a little complicated, but allows for good variety: a nice long extension wand for reaching ceiling fans and out-of-reach corners, or a short little wand for "dusting" type uses. Emptying the receptacle is easy, and so much nicer than having to replace bags! It's very quiet for a motorized machine, and it's amazing how much dust it's able to whip out of the carpet with the "wind tunnel" effect that Dyson employs. I think this will be a long and beautiful relationship... hopefully, a happily-ever-after!


The End.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A New Beginning

Some very old, faithful readers who diligently read all of my lengthy posts from "way back when" may remember my difficulties with vacuums. There are actually three posts about it, which I will obligingly link to, under the delightful illusion that anyone might actually want to read these old posts from the "archives."

First chapter
Second chapter

I am happy to announce in this Third chapter that The Vacuum of Sauron has officially been replaced. Finally. And Sarah will not be allowed to name it. Hopefully, it will remain blissfully nameless, and therefore have no "character" to be flawed, thus enabling it to clean sufficiently with no issues.

It's a Dyson, although not a Dyson "Ball" vacuum (those are so expensive just for the convenience of more range of motion!) and I hope will be a vast improvement over my past Hoover vacuum. It doesn't use bags, so already it's better. An improvement would likely mean that there would be no more posts about vacuums, as I have a tendency to blog about exasperating things and enjoy all the convenient and happy parts of my life in bloggy silence... but should it turn about to be an amazing vacuum, I will probably write something in glowing praise, which will be a satisfying epilogue to this trilogy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Life in general...

I haven't had much time for lengthy blog posts... it seems that short little things on Facebook get more response anyway. ;) But, even if it's just for myself, I like to keep some track of what's going on in my life. So, on my plate for this year:

-Teaching my 12 piano students
-Taking piano and voice myself
-Theatre and broadway dance

Some of my goals are to continue to improve my cooking, and thriftiness. To help with my money management and budgeting, I'm paying for all of my activities, buying my dad's car from him (and he's looking for a "new" car) and paying for my own personal spending from my own earnings. If I can't pay for it, I can't afford it.

I'm still trying to go to bed earlier, and get up earlier. I've also been trying to get up early enough to have a Bible study time in the morning. Abigail wrote an inspiring post about the importance of starting the day just a few days after I'd been feeling that waiting until the evening wasn't a good idea for me, and that gave me the extra nudge I needed. I can't get up and instantly start reading though, so I give myself some time to wake up so I can devote my attention to reading and prayer.

It feels weird being in something of an in-between phase; since I've graduated from high school, but am not planning on going to college. I am apprenticing with my piano teacher, learning as much as I can about teaching, and teaching my own students, focusing on some home-making skills for the future if I get married and continuing my interest in theatre arts, plus widening my musical attempts into voice. And I'm even trying to include some higher level "school" type study in. I'm excited, but also a little intimidated, since this is the first time in my life that I haven't had an "end" in sight: like the end of high school. There is no longer any sort of time-line that I can see. Suddenly, life feels bigger and more adventuresome.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This too, shall pass...

So far this year that has been coming up a lot in my thoughts. As my senior year, and the senior year of many of my friends, I've been realizing that a lot of changes are coming. It's a feeling of dread and premonition, but also of excitement and mystery. It's sad, because I can never go back, but also happy, because I am moving forward into the future with hopeful prospects.

I've been trying to enjoy every "last" moment, like my last swim meet on a team with my siblings. Actually, swimming has mostly been my only "lasts" because other than aging out, my life isn't changing much. It just feels like it is. And that's what I think has called my notice to the thought: that this moment will eventually be gone. In the day to day, something as simple as laughing with my siblings over something funny or watching a beautiful sunset while taking a family stroll down our dirt road, I'll suddenly be struck with the thought that life will not always be like this. We're growing up, getting older and changing. Eventually, we will move out, get married, have kids ourselves and eventually die. And that, for us as Christians, is only the beginning, so I won't get all depressing here.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this year has taught me to enjoy every second to the fullest. This moment will never be here again. If you knew that you had one chance to try the most decadent and delicious dessert ever; that you would get only one bite, and you'd have to live with that taste of it as your only experience of that dessert for the rest of your life, imagine how you would savor it. Now imagine every moment of your life is a new and delicious dessert, and you only get one taste. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My View of Adulthood

As a child, I thought there were three kinds of adults. The bad kind (the sort of bad grown-ups that went to prison for stealing and stuff like that), the good kind (like the Wal-Mart sticker greeters and other adults that I didn't know) and the really good kind (like my parents and their friends). I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the really good kind of adult never did wrong. If they were angry it was justly over someone else's wrong. They were completely selfless, always knew the right answer and never failed to punish me when I'd done something wrong.

Imagine my shock when I grew older and realized that there were many more wrong things that could be done than the ones I knew. There were lots of things you could do even accidentally that would make other people hurt or angry with you. The subtleties of manipulation, insults and exclusion that I began to understand were mind-blowing; almost as much as the fact that "really good" adults actually committed these wrongs. Now, as a young teenager growing toward adulthood, my view of adults had changed. I was planning on becoming the "really good" kind of adult that never did anything wrong; now that kind of adult doesn't exist. Suddenly, adulthood wasn't an arrival where you instantaneously become the kind of adult you were raised to be, but merely an extension of childhood where you are bigger and more grown-up, but still struggle with doing wrong. Eventually, you are no longer under your parents authority and are responsible for making yourself do right... and if you should happen to do something really wrong, then the police would put you in jail.

Even at 19, some of my childhood ideals are still being crushed by the pettiness of most of the adults in this world; yes, even the ones that my childhood self would have considered "really good." But all this only serves to remind me that God is the fulfillment of all my ideals of the perfect "adult." In childhood, your parent serves as the "all-knowing" governing authority; in adulthood, God is the one who reminds you to apologize for your wrongs, and loves you as His child, even through all your disobedience and childish tantrums.