Thursday, 26 February 2009

Roommate Parade

I have always been fortunate with roommates. Freshman year I was assigned to live with two wonderful girls, Loris (centre) & Pearl (left). (Incidentally, this is an awful picture me. Please ignore.) We were lucky enough to get along very well, and we had a lot of silly, crazy fun. We studied, of course, but we also held impromptu dance parties, photo shoots, play doh fights, birthday extravaganzas, knitting get-togethers, and so on. Unfortunately, room 201 had the. worst. luck. ever. Somehow, about 7 people (and 1 d0g) related to my roommates died that year. It was depressing. And yet, we are all still friends! Go team!
Sophomore year, my friends Polka Dot (right), Granola (left), and I arranged to live together. It is rather unusual for sophomores to live in a triple, but we made it work quite well. We were almost never all in the room at the same time, but when we were, it was great. One of my favourite study breaks involved a beach ball, Spanish, Italian, and Chinese. The day we parted at the end of the year (I went abroad first semester, Granola and Polka Dot are abroad now), Polka Dot brought us back scones from a place in town, and we had a low-key, wonderful breakfast together. Needless to say, I miss both ladies dearly.

Then, last semester, I lived in London with a flat full of fabulous ladies. The girl on the far left of the photo below (taken in the gardens of Buckingham Palace) was my roommate. (The other girls in the photo lived in my flat too.) Again, we got along well. We bonded immediately over our dietary choices-- she's vegan and I'm vegetarian-- and just kept going from there. The whole flat really was a family, though. My roomate was the oldest daughter, the girl next to her was the twelve-year-old boy, I was the mom, and the girl on the far right was Zee, the baby. (She was the one who didn't know how to cook.) (The Dad of the family didn't come with us to Buckingham Palace.)
But despite my GREAT good fortune with roommates, I must say... my most recent roomies are certainly the quietest...! (The top picture is Piokyno and the bottom is of Bruno.)

I live in a bubble

Hello, my name is Glinda and I live in a bubble.

Oops, I guess that's not quite accurate. The bit about being Glinda (or, as this picture would suggest, Kristin Chenoweth), that is. I do live in a bubble. I call that bubble "college."

Don't get me wrong, I love college. I like learning everything I can get my hands on about psychology, and I have appreciated what all of the classes have offered me-- even the ones that may not have been my first choice. I like that the vast majority of students at my school live on campus all four years, and that everyone is in walking distance. While I get sick of it, I am nevertheless grateful for the dining hall-- they cook for me and (more importantly) wash all of the dishes.

At the end of the day, though, it's easy to forget that the world doesn't begin and end with my little campus here in southern California. If I turn in a paper (or don't) or get an A on an exam (or don't) or go out or stay in on Friday night, it doesn't really impact the rest of the world at all. Most of us are at least somewhat politically involved, but our issues are similar. We debate abortion, feminism, and so on. While I really enjoy the intellectual discourse, I still realise that the issues we deal with here are not the same as those that the whole world faces.

Study abroad is an important experience when you go to a school as small as mine, it's good to get out into the real world and come back with your experiences. I lived in Taiwan from when I was 13 until I was 17, and so my London experience was a fun comparison to that. The history really got me. My friend, Wednesday, on the other hand, went to South Africa. She worked in clinics there, and sat in on C-sections. They offered to let her assist, but she declined (wisely)(she has no training in this). She now speaks some Zulu. Another of my friends spent the semester in Denmark, another is in Spain now, and several currently reside in Italy.

It's nice being back in my little college bubble after my excursions abroad, but sometimes it does feel a little bit stifling.

*** Oh no, does this sound like I am somehow not enjoying college? No, no , no! I love it here. I am incredibly grateful to be here. I LOVE it. I'm a tour guide. I am ALL ABOUT this college. I just think that we all get very caught up in a very small world while we are here.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Identifying the weirdos: An examination of normalcy

Pardon the colon in the title. I'm a college student studying psychology. Sometimes I can't help myself.

Today I was meandering down to the theatre, getting my brain in gear for another (another) run through of the play I'm currently in. I was thinking about lines, pondering blocking, and generally getting into the spirit of the thing when I walked by the sports field. Running around were a lot of girls with nets on sticks, some of them wearing bizarre protective clothing, screaming/chattering away ("Keep moving!" "Over here!" and other things I couldn't make out) and throwing a small ball to each other. The whole purpose of the event seemed to be getting the small ball into a largish net at one end of the field. "Womanizer" was blasting out of the speakers.

Ok, ok, I know they were playing lacrosse. I recognise that it's a legitimate sport, and-- even more importantly-- that many people are quite involved and really enjoy it. I know it, but it still looks pretty strange to me.

You know what else looks strange? Baseball. The WHOLE GOAL is to use a stick of specially shaped wood to hit a small ball as far as possible, so that you can run in a circle only to end up back where you started. Basketball? You can't even pick up the ball and carry it. You have to bounce it constantly. Rugby? You can't even throw the ball forward. I'm not sure I see the point.

Regardless, however, of the fact that I cannot discern a real reason behind these sports, I do realise that they have great meaning for many people. They build community, friendships, and give people a common goal to strive for. Which is truly great. I love watching the kids I nanny for play sports... but that's about where my interest ends.

And so, logically, I concluded that these people were mighty peculiar. Nets on sticks? If you say so...

But then I started to think about theatre. Mere moments after I arrived, we began warming up. In sports, "warming up" is a series of stretches and small exercises (I think). In theatre, well, everything is a little different. Here are a number of things that would look very strange from an outside perspective:

- We walk around in circles, repeating "Articulatory agility is a desirable ability. Manipulating with dexterity the lips the teeth and the tip of the tongue." Each time we finish these sentences we turn, all together, and speed up.
- We dance around singing "Ooh, I feel so good like, I knew I would, ooh, I feel so good." We mean it too. And we sing it loudly.
- I spent a good portion of last semester (when I studied theatre in London) working on perfecting my meerkat. Each member of my acting class had to have an animal that had similar physical behaviours to their character. Hilary, my character, was distinctly meerkat-like. I got used to questions like, "Blythe, where is your tail?" Similarly, when being a giraffe in my movement class, I had the opportunity to ask my friend, Elyot, who was a giraffe for acting class, how to chew. It was a serious question. He demonstrated.
- I worked very very hard at being able to transition, with my scene partner, from being a giraffe into being a snail.
- I accept it as standard that one is periodically expected to wear corsets. I'm actually quite fond of them.
- I can quote, verbatim, a surprising amount of Shakespeare, but also can provide you with pieces of David Hare, Ben Jonson, Tennessee Williams, Moliere, George Bernard Shaw... and all of my theatre friends are similar.
- Our set designer left a note on the table today that said, "Floor is not sealed yet. Please be careful when dragging furniture or rolling on the floor." The bit about "rolling on the floor" was necessary.
- I really, truly, honestly struggled when I was given a Shakespearean monologue to perform that included a line with only six syllables. I spent ages wondering where the four missing syllables were, and had several very intense conversations with other actors about it.
- We are handed weapons and instructed to fight, but not hurt each other. We call it stage combat. (Yes, it is choreographed.)

Judge us. That's ok. We're in theatre, so we're a reasonably judgemental lot. But I'd just like to say, everybody else looks just as weird if you stop and think about it.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Spending the Day with a Princess

Yesterday I had the great and glorious pleasure of getting to hang out with my friend, Princess (I am SO loving the code names. Princess and I went to middle school together in Taiwan, and now go to school only about 45 minutes away from each other. My life exists in order to prove that "it's a small world after all."

So yesterday I took Annabelle (my car) and my Google directions and headed off. I did poorly. No, I didn't just do poorly. I did terribly I ended up lost in south central LA, which is not the ideal place to be lost in. After much driving around and feeling horribly confused, I finally found Princess' flat.

Apparently she didn't get the memo that college students are supposed to live in run down, possibly dingy apartments. That we have roommates, and have to walk (sometimes down thousands of steps) to do our laundry. That many of us live in dorms (and enjoy it, too!). Her apartment building has a fountain in the entrance. Her flat itself has a washing machine, a dryer, and is beautiful, clean, and spacious. There is not a poster thumbtacked to the walls to be found. Things are colour-coordinated. (Well, of course they are. She doesn't have a roommate to contend with, does she?)

If I didn't adore her so much, I would be jealous. Instead I simply tease her incessantly.

We headed out to the Century City mall, and did some serious exploring. our stops included J. Crew (of course!), various make up kiosks, and Sephora. J. Crew and I are involved in a passionate love affair, which is truly dangerous. All their clothes are so PRETTY! I am in love with every single dress to ever have come off their racks (well, almost every single dress) and am reliably a size six in pretty much everything they make. You see why this is my kind of store?

I got some clothes (I don't think it can be avoided), and then we headed off for lunch. After lunch we found ourselves in Bloomingdales, heading pointedly from one make up counter to the next. Princess knows exactly what to do with make up, which products she likes, and where to get them.

I don't.

I'm a mascara-and-moisturiser kind of girl.

Sometimes I'm just a wash-my-face kind of girl.

I define the low-maintanence look.

Except, well, all that make up stuff looked pretty fun. And I would like to be good at make up, I'm just not. (I'm quite good at stage make up, actually, but that's not so helpful for the day-to-day look.) So Princess steered me over to the Bobbi Brown counter, and after being reassured by the saleswoman that they don't test on animals, I settled myself in a chair and let her teach me.

I'm no make up artist, but I now actually own make up, which is a big step up. Even more surprising, I know how to apply it to my face. AND it only takes about 10-15 minutes to make me look like I made an effort (which, you know, I did).

Today I wore my new J. Crew cardigan, jeans, and a white tank top (casual, right?). Then I added make up. My friend thought I was dressed up.

I felt smug.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

It's an effort, at least.

I do not know who reads this, thus I do not know how many of you know my stance on such things as exercise, gyms, and so on. Up until recently, my stance has been solidly: No, Thank You. I like hiking. I like bike rides. I like doing-stuff-to-have fun, not doing-stuff-to-elevate-your-heart-rate.

I've had a sort of on-again off-again relationship with running especially. It started freshman year of high school, and has been mostly "off-again" since I moved back to the US before my junior year. I picked it up again second semester last year, and pretty eagerly ditched it once I went back north for the summer. (After all, I couldn't go on my usual route. What was the use of that, then? I certainly couldn't run in my neighbourhood or-- God forbid-- on the treadmill in my basement.)

And yet...


I know I SHOULD exercise. Practically, I recognise that fact. But, I convinced myself, I do so much walking around campus! Why, that's PRACTICALLY three thirty minute sessions a week of cardio, right? (No, I know.)

So I felt guilty, but did nothing about it. Until my friend, Joanna, and I made a pact to go together. I'm not entirely sure how this happened, actually, but it did. Some of it has to do with the fact that, not being a student at my school, she cannot use our Really Fancy Gym unless a student from the college is there (that would be me). The other part if it is, well, it's a lot more fun when there is someone else there! So now we go for a bit over an hour most days. And in this time, I have made two shocking discovers:

1. I don't hate exercising or gyms, I hate treadmills. They are an instrument of torture, I am convinced. Ellipticals, however, I am fine with. Joanna and I swing ourselves along on those for ages, happily engaged in the television that is attached to each (with cable-- told you it was Fancy). I don't mind those crazy weight machines, and I even don't mind sit-ups as long as they are on yoga balls. So. It's not too bad after all. In fact, I quite like it.

2. I have 9 socks. Not 9 pairs, 9 socks. Don't believe me? I have proof. See?

Maybe this is normal for some people, but it is not normal for me. I am the Queen of Socks. I have socks in every colour and pattern imaginable. Or rather, I did. Where did they all go? Where are my flamingo socks? My blueberry socks? Where is my unicorn sock? I am absolutely, 100% confused. I'm not sure I would mind as much if it didn't mean I have to do laundry so frequently now. Normally I am a flip flop kind of girl, but one cannot wear flip flops to the gym. And so, that means that every four days I have to do laundry, in order to have unoffensive feet.

But hey. At least I don't hate the gym!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Happy birthday, Neptune!

In honour of Neptune's sixth birthday, I would like to explain why I call him Neptune. You see, this child knows more about Greek and Roman mythology than I could ever hope to learn. While some of us where reading fairytales or the Berenstein Bears as young children, he has be listening-- avidly, intently-- to mythology. He has told me in detail about Prometheus (rather helpful, actually, when a book I was reading for college alluded to the myth), can explain in detail the rather complicated relationship between Persephone and Hades, invites (nay, demands) that his poodle play Cerberus, and once, upon being handed an inflatable hammer at Chuck E. Cheese's declared, "Look, I'm Hephaestus!" One of the most amusing moments I have personally witnessed was when he found a large forked stick and charged through
the lake waist deep, identifying himself as Neptune (actually, it might have been Poseidon-- but you get the idea). I loved it.
This wonderful child keeps me laughing with his generally silly behaviour, questionable fashion sense (how many millions of times have I seen him try to wear a shirt as trousers?) and goofy ideas. He is also, in all honesty, one of the best natured, most flexible children I have ever met. We're going to the zoo? Fantastic. He loves the animals. Oh, just kidding- we're going to the science center? How great! That place is fun. Oh, new change of plans, we'll just stay home. Fabulous! Can we play hide and go seek?
We go to a children's theatre during the summer to see plays that children put on, and this theatre is right next to his school-year daycare center/old preschool. As a result, we often run into daycare field trip when we go to see the shows, and every single time, these children wave wildly and call out with great enthusiasm, "HEY NEPTUNE!! HI! HEY, LOOK! THERE'S NEPTUNE! HI NEPTUNE!" He blushes, smiles, and waves back. You know, I can't blame those other kids at all-- I always feel like cheering when I see Neptune!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


Look what I got in the mail yesterday!
Mail from "my" kids is always wonderful. I love how much they reflect the two kids-- Neptune's holographic Spiderman Valentine and Clover's heartshaped doilies on pink construction paper. Aren't they great?

I always found it hilarious that my dad thought what I was really cut out for was a job at Starbucks. I'll take this any day!

Monday, 16 February 2009


I'm halfway between fascinated and horrified...

Friday, 13 February 2009

Happy Birthday, Clover!

Today is Clover's 9th birthday. I can hardly believe it! I met her the January before she turned six, when she was in a class I was assistant teaching. That summer was my first as her nanny, and a more privileged position I cannot imagine. I have been incredibly fortunate to spend the last three summers (and any available school holidays in between!) with her and her brother. She is a helpful, sweet, hilarious, accident-prone, adventurous, caring, lovable, smart and a complete goof as well as an occasional drama queen. We have had so much fun together, from exploring the zoo and imagining what the elephants might be saying to playing in the ocean in Hawaii to seeing grizzly bears in Yellowstone to to meeting Mickey Mouse to playing the extraordinarily complex "Fairy Game." (Trust me, that game deserves those capital letters!)

I hope this year is wonderful for her, and I simply cannot wait to see her over spring break!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

A Tale of Few Shoes (a tragedy)

Once upon a time there was a girl who had many pairs of shoes. She had stiletto boots, flip flops, ballet flats, running shoes, a couple of pairs of Converse sneakers, and so on. There was no shortage of footware whatsoever! Then the girl travelled abroad, and did a lot of walking. Around the time she got to Rome, she realised that her beloved Converse sneakers had fallen apart, revealing a dreadful plastic piece that dug into her ankle and made her bleed... so she threw the Converse away. Both pairs.

She missed her Converse, but she was still excited to see what there was to see. She slipped on her favourite black ballet flats, and skipped off to do more adventuring. After several weeks longer, she found herself in the south of France, standing in snow. Being an avid animal-rights supporter, this girl did not own leather shoes, and thus the synthetic material her shoes were made out of was quickly saturated.

Some more trekking through France in the snow, and by the time the girl got to California, the shoes were ruined. She threw them away, and pulled out her last pair of casual flats-- her brown shoes. This was fine for a while, but clearly they were on their last legs (so to speak). Finally, a California rainstorm finished off the shoes when she found herself standing in an ankle deep puddle. So then those got thrown away.

Now, the girl is down to: 1 pair of running shoes, 1 pair of flowered ballet flats (definitely sunny weather shoes), 1 pair of white lace ballet flats, some boots and high heals, and roughly 100 pairs of (slowly disintegrating) flip flops.

A shopping trip is definitely in order.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

I wish I was a poet

I wish I was Dr. Seuss, Jack Prelutsky, or Shell Silverstein. I worshipped them as a child, especially Shel Silverstein. I loved the fun rhythm of their poems and all of the silly rhymes. So, of course, once I could write, I did. I wrote poetry.

Awful, awful, oh-god-I-hope-I-never-see-it-again type poetry. Deeping and meaningful poetry. It had symbolism, and it didn't rhyme. Actually, what was worse-- sometimes it did rhyme. Meaningfully. Painfully.

Anyways, I have moved on from that dark time in my history, but am back to writing poetry. Rhyming poetry. It's a little goofy, but it's fun.

Here's the latest.

I Wanna Llama

I wanna little llama
To be my very own
She'd come each time I whistled
She'd live with me at home

I'd name her Emma Ella Anne
Together we'd drink tea
And when I rode on her to school
Ooh, the kids would envy me!

I really wanna llama
I'd take good care of her
She'd always look so pretty
With her shiny, fluffy fur

I keep asking Mom and Dad
And they keep saying, "No."
I think that it's quite unfair
There are things that they don't know

I've planned what I will feed her
(Lollipops and greens)
And even share my dinner
(Do llamas eat green beans?)

I think I deserve a llama
I'd love her like no other
I'd much prefer a llama
(Instead, I got a brother.)

Monday, 9 February 2009

I will miss this, someday.

A few days ago I was walking across campus when I looked up at the sky. It was a bright, clear blue and I could see the sliver of moon and one star. My immediate thought was, "Oh, I'll miss this." I try to steer clear of that sort of thinking, because what is it going to change?

I have been extraordinarily lucky. I have lived in Washington, Indiana, Colorado, California, Mexico,Taiwan, and --briefly-- London. I have lived in 11-13 different homes, depending on whether or not you count dorms. I have traveled to over twenty different countries, and have learned a lot in every place I have gone. I have friends all over the world, all of whom I could not do without. Yes, I really am very priviledged.

It's just that sometimes it is easy to stop and realise that with all the amazing things I have seen and done, there are things I miss with all of those.

I miss the community of our neighbourhood in Indiana. We lived on a cul de sac complete with ice cream truck, lots of families with kids and dogs, and bike trips to the local pool.

I miss the clear air and the thick snow in Colorado. We lived on a mountain and everything was fresh and clean. When the snow fell and covered the Christmas lights you could just see a faint coloured glow; I think this may be one of the prettiest things I have ever seen.

I miss the chaos of Taiwan, the easy public transport, and-- more than anything else, ever-- the people. I don't wish we could go back in time, but I will forever be thankful for my friends there. Thank god we're still in touch.

I miss the greenery of Seattle when I am in California, and the heat and sunshine of California when I'm in Seattle. (We'll ignore the fact that is POURING RAIN outside right now...)

I miss everything about London (except, perhaps, the weather).

Someday, I will miss this.

But for now, I think I'll appreciate what I've got.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Tales of a College Fridge

**Yes, it's almost all diet soda. Except for the alcohol. And yogurt.

Light Sabers

I work for a family who has conveniently decided to have all of their birthdays in one week. For one week in February, they eat nothing but cake and ice cream (or peach-and-mango sorbet if you are Clover, who doesn't like ice cream. Weirdo.). At their house, this week looks (I imagine) like an endless parade of wrapping paper and demands for special birthday dinners.

On my end, about 1200 miles away from the proceedings, this just looks like an endless pile of birthday and Valentine cards and desperate searches for the perfect present for each kid. I emailed their mom to get some guidance, and thus began my search for the glowing blue light saber (you know, the kind the "good guys" use)(I don't know, personally, I've never seen Star Wars).

Target doesn't have glowing blue light sabers. Green, yes. Red, yes. Blue? Nope. did give me some guidance, though, and brought me to a light saber that I could spend over $200 on. Who spends more than $200 on a light saber? Who spends more than $50 on a light saber? The answer to that second one would be, well, me. I found the PERFECT light saber. It lights up. It makes swooshing sounds. It's BLUE. And so, I bought it. For $70. A bargain, I know.

Sigh. I hope Neptune enjoys his birthday present! (And, yes, I still must find something equally fabulous for Clover.)

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Long Term Relationships

I dropped my theatre major today.
I am not a theatre major anymore, just psychology. It's a weird thing to think about, as theatre has been a part of my life for such a long time. I started with theatre when I was 13 and had just moved to Taiwan. My friend there, LS, decided to audition for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and while I had no backround in such activities as theatre, I decided to try out as well. I got in, and that was it. Since then I have been in Romeo and Juliet, Little Shop of Horrors, Bugsy Malone, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, The Wiz, The Odyssey, Peter Pan, Working, The Jungle Book, Magic, The Master Builder, The Man Who Came to Dinner, The Miser, and now Twelve Angry Jurors as well as more scenes and monologues than it is possible to count.

And now I'm not a major anymore.

I feel like I've just ended a long term relationship. Theatre wasn't really making me happy anymore (or at least, the academic side wasn't), but it did for so long. For eight years, my life pretty much revolved around when rehearsal was scheduled, what play I was required to see for class, and so on. Now it doesn't. (Well, it sort of does-- I'm still in Twelve Angry Jurors, but that closes in early March.)

I would like to say that I will still be acting even though I will no longer be majoring, but that really depends on whether or not the department will cast me now. I doubt it. They like to cast majors and freshman. Maybe I'll act after college, but it seems somehow unlikely. I don't need my already-graduated friends to point out how busy post-college life is. I believe it. I love acting, but it sounds like this might be it.

And that, my friends, is a very sad thing.