Posts Tagged 'Memories'

“I’m Dappled and Drowsy And Ready For Sleep”

Between work and homework and a late-wake-up-morning, and allergies (just shoot me) it’s been a long day.  But not in all a bad day; namely a tiring one.  But there is always, always a silver lining.

This morning, whilst looking for my “photo of the day,” I found myself at a loss and turned once again to knick-knacks, of which I have many.  I closed in on the image you see above.  It’s a tree, with the branches made of wire and the leaves made from stones.  There used to be more of it, but I cut off one of the branches and gave it to a friend when I was younger.  I won this knick-knack in a raffle in sixth grade, and I saved up tickets for it for months.  I wanted it so very badly.  I was bidding for it against a friend, whom I liked, but not enough to just surrender.  In this end, obviously, I got it, and I cut off one of the branches and gave it to her.  My sixth grade teacher said she brought it from Brazil (where she had lived, briefly) and I think that the idea of owning something from a different continent allured me more than anything else, though the tree is truly lovely.  As you can see in the image, it has amassed a lot of dust over the last nine years, but it’s still one of my favourite knick-knacks.  Thinking about it and it’s simplistic beauty and middle school this morning made me happy.

This evening, I looked out the window at work shortly before sunset, and the sky was marvellous.  There were huge cumulus clouds perched in the sky, and they were tinted not just one colour, but a rainbow of colours.  The upper tips of the clouds were gold, and that faded down to a soft pink.  In front of them, there were splashes of darker cirrus clouds.  It was really beautiful, and they looked that was for nearly an hour.  I wanted to kick myself for not having my camera with me.  I wonder if anyone else noticed them?

The last few minutes of a night often present themselves with the greatest challenges.  After dealing with a few people who I’d rather punch than smile at, I was able to leave and I stepped, flustered, into the sticky, humid night.  My summer coolant is the driver’s side window rolled down (something’s wonky about the passenger’s side), so I impressed upon that and tried to position myself so the headlights of the impatient driver behind me weren’t in my eyes.  Even though the humidity and the bright lights bothered me, I was comforted by the music.  Usually, I don’t have a lot of faith in my Zen’s shuffle feature (it likes to play the same few songs every two or three songs) but tonight, it was great.  It started with “Echo Park” by Ryan Cabrera, a song that reminds me of the image of standing on a ledge by the ocean and feeling the wind in my hair.  Second was “To Life” from Fiddler on the Roof.  That song has many memories attache to it, all good.  Third was “Kodachrome” by Simon and Garfunkel.  The first line of that song always makes me grin: “when I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.”  I sometimes feel that way about life in general.  Fourth, also Simon and Garfunkel, was “Feelin’ Groovy”.  The title of this entry comes from that song, as well as the telling line “slow down, you move to fast”.  A good reminder.  And as I pulled into my driveway, “Curve of the Earth” by Matt Nathanson, one of my top five favourite songs, came on.  So, after a long, flustered day… Zen- thank you for the music.

I had a peculiar dream last night that has been haunting me all day.  See, I never have recurring dreams, but I have a few very vivid recurring places and faces.  Last night’s dream was a recurring place and face.  I guess I’ve taken too many psychology classes, or maybe Inception still has me thinking about dreams… but I can’t get the images out of my head.  I can only remember glimpses, in bright, beautiful colour, and feelings.  Very few words, and definitely no “plot”.  I really enjoy dreaming because it gives me a beautiful world to escape into and harp on all day.  And, thank goodness, I rarely have nightmares.

Tonight, I hope that same dream visits me again; which it’s sunshiney neighborhood and the big grey house, the tall man with brown hair, and the fields of blueberry bushes.  In my dreams, I feel like a queen, and there’s nothing to bring me down or hold me back.  I am completely free.

Sweet Summer Camp

Tube Tug

The summer after seventh grade, I went to summer camp for the first time. I thought I was the luckiest kid in the world- I never, ever thought I would be able to go to summer camp. My family was always poor, and we couldn’t really afford it. But somehow, some way, that summer, I got to go.

It was a religious camp, and I went with my youth group. I loved that group of people. The people who ran it were wonderful human beings, and they cared about each one of us as though we were their own children. I was friends with everyone there, both male and female, no matter how much older they were than me. We were like a small family, which is how any group should be.

First, each youth group was split into boys and girls (this was a religious camp remember, totally NOT co-ed) and we were put into the two separate dormitories. That year, the theme was military. Our girls were on the Navy team, and the boys of the Army (in future years we would be Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk; The Cunnighams or the Bradys). The entire week was a competition, smattered with everything from the evening activity, to daily bible verses, to daytime events. But all competition aside (the Navy won), the big deal was the End-of-Week Banquet.

The Banquet wasn’t so much a banquet as it was a barbecue. It was the only year I attended summer camp that we had one. The older girls in my youth group were absolutely determined to set me up with one of the boys – one of their brothers, in fact. I felt like Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries, the way they dolled me up. I didn’t mind being set up with Joshua; at the time, I was completely in crush with him. In the end, I think we only sat together, and we may have chattered awkwardly. It wasn’t one of those “sitting by the bonfire, sweet first kiss” kind of things (I wouldn’t get my first kiss for almost another four years).

There were other things that happened every year that made the camp awesome. There’s a game called Eniliation where everyone is on their hands and knees in the dirt and mud, trying to get a greased volleyball into a hole. And Tube Tug, which is pretty much what it sounds like; that was my favorite. The second and third year I was there, they had a mud slide and I remember competing with one of the boys from my youth group to see who could get muddier (because all freshman girls do that, right?). The last year I was there, we even had a mechanical bull.

And those are just the events. There are definitely a few people who stand out in my memory, too. Matthew, who was my pen pal for a year. Kaitlyn, who was deaf, but sung like an angel. Jessica, who was just crazy, goofy fun. Andrew, or “The Fonz”, who scared us nearly to death one night at activity when he got a concussion.

Summer camp at the Monadnock Bible Conference in Jaffrey was one of the things that kept me going through the year. Every summer, in the last week of July. If I wasn’t counting down to the next Harry Potter book, I was counting down to summer camp. In the end, not all memories are perfect. I remember being frustrated to tears with the girls I was staying with. But I wouldn’t trade a single moment for anything. Because those weeks, and with that group, I felt totally and completely accepted and loved for who I was. And I needed that feeling more than anything. It’s how every human being should treat one another, only we don’t.

If not for summer camp, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

To Infinity, and Beyond!

“When it all ends I’ll have old Buzz Lightyear to keep me company – For infinity and beyond.” ~ Tom Hanks as Woody in Toy Story 2.

Last night, I went with old friends to see Toy Story 3 at the drive-in.  I had such high expectations for the film: it scored incredibly high on Rotten Tomatoes and even some friends of mine who are extremely judgmental about movies came back from seeing it absolutely blown away.  Second sequel nothing, I was determined that the film was going to knock me right off my feet.

Guess what?  It did.  The Washington Post states Pixar as “a studio that can do no wrong” and I’m inclined to agree… at least mostly.  The only Pixar film that I wasn’t fond of was A Bug’s Life, and there was nothing wrong with it- I just didn’t like it.

There may be some minor spoilers to follow, so read at your own risk.  I’ll be careful not to ruin any bog plot twists for those who haven’t seen the movie, and are planning to.

It’s so amazing that fifteen years after the launch of Toy Story, Disney and Pixar have wrangled the entire original cast back together for not the first sequel, but the second.  The only notable exception to this is Jim Varney, who died barely a year after the release of Toy Story 2.  For those of you not familiar with actors’ names, Jim Varney voiced Slinky Dog.  Delightfully, in the third movie, Slink’s voice was wonderfully replicated by Blake Clark.  In fact, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was the same person.

There is so much that I can say about this movie; so many praises I can give it, but I’m going to limit it to some of my favorite aspects.  It’s really hard for me to write about this objectively, because I am very much still a child at heart and I love Disney movies- especially Disney Pixar.

  • There was the potential in the Barbie/Ken relationship to go cheesy and predictable… but it didn’t.  At first, there are all the typical, wonderful cheesy moments that make us giggle and roll our eyes, but there’s depth there that I didn’t expect, at the least, and it was so exciting to see it.
  • The last five minutes of the movie are absolutely heart-wrenching for anyone with a soul, who ever had toys, and who ever has been a kid, or has kids of their own.
  • We meet a new character:  Bonnie.  She’s very sweet, and more than anything, reminds me of myself when I was young.  There’s a brief scene when she’s cuddled in bed with all of her toys, so many that there’s barely room for her.  That was definitely me as a child.
  • The commercials do not even begin to explain the movie.  Believe me, Sunnyside is not-so-sunny.  I love Pixar commercials because they never do the movies justice.  I’m always so much more delighted after seeing the film.
  • I really loved this one part in the movie, and if I say what part, it will be a huge spoiler, but it includes a lack of redemption and garbage and I totally thought it was going to be all over.  It is so, so hard not to spoil this, but it’s the biggest twist in the film.  Let’s just say, the biggest twist was brilliant.
  • It was a perfect ending.  Very much a passing-of-the-torch ending from Andy to Bonnie, but I don’t think we can expect a Toy Story 4.  It’s sad in a way, knowing that these old friends (animated or not) who have been with us most our lives are going to be leaving us forever… except remaining in memory.  I was five-years-old (maybe six) when the first Toy Story came out, and I remember seeing it in theatres.
  • Pixar movies are for more than entertainment.  They tell a story, teach a lesson.  The Toy Story movies have always been about loyalty and friendship.  You get to see a new level in Toy Story 3 between Andy and his mother, and it’s touching.

Spanish Buzz.

I can go into silly amounts of detail, like saying specific lines and such things, but what really made the movie come together was… everything.  The development of the characters, both new and old.  Toy Story 3 wasn’t a happy-go-lucky movie.  It wasn’t a sad movie either.  All in all, it was sweet, touching, and made me feel like a jerk for having all my old stuffed animals in storage in the basement.  I may just go home and dig out my Jessie doll.

Pixar has done it again.

Also:  For a little bit of fun, check out this page to see the Easter Eggs and shout outs thrown in the movie.  They’re a lot of fun!

“Nobody Here But Us Trees.”

Middle School lunch with Jon and Andy

“Always the innocent are the first victims…. So it has been for ages past, so it is now.” ~ J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could hide away from the world, and have it dismiss you?  Have it say, “oh, that’s okay, I guess you’re really not here.”  The title of the blog entry comes from the movie Bunny Picnic.  Another Jim Henson masterpiece, I grew up on that movie.  It was mine and my brother’s Easter movie (though we were firmly reminded that Easter had nothing to do with bunnies, that was the Roman’s bright idea).  Bunny picnic is about a colony of rabbits preparing for the biggest holiday of their year.  You follow the character Bean, a ragamuffin brown rabbit who is always breaking things.  Purposefully, the other rabbits keep sending him somewhere else- they don’t want his help, he’ll break something!  Eventually what ends up happening, is a dog ends up at the Bunny Picnic!  Everyone is terrified of the dog, and they’re all hiding, and he’s going to not only ruin their holiday, but eat them all!  Om, nom, nom!  They need to make the dog go away, so a lot of the rabbits hide in the trees, and when the dog asks if there are rabbits there, Bean and the other tree-ridden rabbits respond “Nobody here but us trees.” and the silly dog believes them.  Wouldn’t it be nice if life was just that simple?

Only the sad fact is, life isn’t that simple.  Everybody wants something of us.  One of my managers usually spends Sunday running around complaining that everyone she talks to wants something from her.  I can’t really argue with her- it’s absolutely true.  We really don’t have our own lives.  It’s funny, the idea of independence is incredibly ironic, because in order to become independent from our families and go out into the world on our own, we have to heap on a bunch of responsibility.  Suddenly we have rent to pay, car payments, insurance payments, groceries, utilities, things like that.  Those are financial commitments, and by the time that we’re done paying off things, we have measly pennies left to ourselves.  And what of time commitments?  Working forty hours a week, if you’re lucky.  If you’re like most people, you have a second job because the first doesn’t pay enough or the hours are inconsistent.  Usually you work between forty and sixty hours a week between the two jobs, just trying to make ends meet.  When you get home, you’re too exhausted for anything.  Or, if you’re like me, you try to pursue your passions in the little free time you have.  Maybe you’re part of community theatre.  Maybe you volunteer somewhere.  One way or the other, your calendar is full.  It’s to the point where spending time with friends is just another time commitment, and there’s no end in sight.  Whatever happened to recess?  Summer vacation?

Childhood is where it’s at.  It was an age of innocence and joy.  Mum and dad fed you and clothed you, and the worst thing you had to worry about was bullies.  Your world was the playground.  When you were on those swings, you pumped as hard as you could until you reached the top and you felt your swing bounce just a little and you knew if you went much higher, you’d flip over and get hurt.  But it was the rush of the wind that made it all worthwhile.  You go through your school work because there was the promise of recess, of weekend, of summer vacation on the other side.  That made it worthwhile.  Elementary and middle school were dream worlds.  Oh yes, I said middle school.

Middle school is what you make of it.  It could be the awkward pimply hormonal stage of life, or it can be magnificent.  You wouldn’t have to pay me to go back and relive my middle school years.  I loved them.

Sixth grade I ended up with what I anticipated was going to be the worst teacher ever, and ended up to be one of my favourite teachers ever.  I ended up with none of my friends in that class, but I was at an age when I had no issues making new friends, and I ended up with Caitlyn, who to this day (goose, ten years later) is still very dear to me.  From her, I gained Jon and Andy.  And others.  In sixth grade, we were the most popular people in school.  I can’t even begin to describe all the memories.  Shutting Jon’s finger in the window (oops, teehee), listening to Andy sing the Beach Boys all the time (he’ll deny that now), signing things to Caitlyn in class one letter at a time (to this day, I still don’t know anything more than letters in Sign Language).  That’s just the tip of the ice berg.  I could honestly keep going forever, and just about sixth grade.

Seventh grade was just as good.  Some crazy person put all of us in the same homeroom (thanks Ms. Cass and Mrs. Gitchell!!!!) and I couldn’t’ve been happier.  There were always the lonely moments (I still have a grudge against my parents for letting me go to neither Nature’s Classroom nor Sergeant Camp, but I understand now that we really just couldn’t afford it).  But there was also yard-stick battles before school started, and Groovy!  The Musical, and all the little moments.  Superrally was fun, even with our vagabond group of friends.  In seventh grade I went to see the Attack of the Clones primere at 2am, and went to school for testing the next day (I’m stubborn).  I remember walking into the classroom and Jon looking up from his test and mouthing “how was it?”.  Teehee.  And of course the marriage project.  Oh, that may have been eighth grade.  Either way, it was funny.

In eighth grade someone remedied our sixth grade teachers’ kindness and put the four of us in different homerooms.  There was orienteering, which is probably the highlight of eighth grade for me.  The looming prospect of high school.  High school changes the innocent things.  I’d still rather redo high school than be in college, but nonetheless… it made everything separate.  Everyone put up walls.  We didn’t like each other- we tolerated each other.  It could have been the beginning of the end.  If we let it.  I think that I let it.

One of the rules of high school is that you start over.  It’s a bad rule.  It should be changed.  Friends in high school are sewn together by deceit and desperation.  In middle school and high school, it’s because of commonalities and genuine interest.  After you graduate high school, you laugh and reminisce about your middle school friends, but you kindly avoid and secretly dislike your high school friends.  At least, that was the case with me.  Of the few friends I made in high school, I tolerate them.  I don’t dislike all of them, but they all feel awkward.  Like a shirt that’s just a little bit too tight.  I’m much more inclined to want to reconnect with my middle school friends.

Then again, I’ve always been one to hold on to the past.  I like my concept of innocence.  I like freedom of mind and heart.  If I could get it back, I would, but the funny thing about innocence is that it’s exclusive to children.  I can be silly all I want, watch Disney movies, hang out with people younger than me.  Those things are fun and I enjoy doing them, but they won’t give me innocence back.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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