Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm back.

Hey everyone!  I'm back.  School is back in session, and with it, so is this blog... hopefully!

Here are a few pictures of my house... that I said I'd put up a looooong time ago:

Living Room:








More to come!

Peace,

Kelly

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Decision.

I'm going to call them meat fits.

sidenote.

AND IT WASN'T EVEN WORTH IT.

I SINNED. Big time.

Tonight, after singing "Fever" by Peggy Lee at the Living Room Lounge (karaoke night), I told my boyfriend I was hungry.  We ended up driving through the Hardee's line at 2:15 in the morning and somehow I ended up eating a BACON CHEESEBURGER.

Not only that, but when I got home I raided the fridge and attempted to eat some leftover sausage gravy... REAL LEGITIMATE sausage gravy (and a warmed biscuit) that I made for guests after the party.... and I definitely ate some.

I'm awful.  I'm a hypocrite.

I still want a pet pig.

Peace,

Kelly

Please! I need a favor!

Hey all,

First, I'm sorry I've been so absent.  I just had my housewarming party this past weekend and I finally feel like I can get back into the swing of things.  My house officially feels like a home now, and while there will always be a to do list for it, I can now breathe a bit more and enjoy the house rather than stress about fixing it up to present it to the public.

I will show pictures soon of the improvements I made to the house!

Now on to the main point of this entry: Could all of you do me a huge favor?

Kohl's is running a campaign called Kohl's Cares.  They will award $500,000 to 20 schools, and all that needs to happen is for the schools to get votes in order to be rewarded the money.  I ask this of you:  

1.Get out there and VOTE for George Washington Community School in Indianapolis, Indiana.

2. PLEASE spread the word on your personal blogs.

I'm sure you are asking why, and my answer is this: out of the kindness of your hearts.

I've taught at George Washington for two years now, and was also a student-teacher there during my last semester at Indiana University.  From the beginning, I saw how much heart there was in the school, and how much the west side Indianapolis community depends on the school for support, guidance, and success.  If the school succeeds, the community succeeds... and that is how the cycle will continue if we are able to get funding to support programs that really guide the students to better goals and opportunities.

The school has been around for generations, but closed in the 90s when crime and drugs overtook the neighborhood, and the economic situation of the west side of Indianapolis declined immensely.  After it closed, the community rallied together, and as a result, the school was reopened in the early 2000s as a "Community School."

What is a community school, you ask?  The Coalition for Community Schools defines it best:
A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone – all day, every day, evenings and weekends.
Using public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities. 
Our school is now connected directly with more than 50 organizations throughout Indianapolis that support the school in multiple ways.  In order to keep this going and growing, we need financial support.

My goal is to turn the Learning Center at GW into a fully up-to-date resource for any student who needs guidance with homework or other academic goals.  Besides updating the center with the latest technology and resources, we could also use the money to hire tutors around the clock who could be available to students in the community from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday. 

The students of this community need this more than ever.  93% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch, revealing that the average socio-economic status of the neighborhood is very low.  Our graduation rate within four years still waivers at the 50% line.  

The students are responding positively to the programs offered, and we need you help to keep the programs from dwindling away.  I want the opposite to happen... I want them to grow and grow and grow.

How cool would it be if people from all walks of life decided to pitch in and help these kids?  I'd love you, and so would they.

So please... give GW your votes!!!!  And spread the word!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Craigslist rocks.

Just got a couch delivered that I found on craigslist.  I absolutely love it.  It's vintage, it's comfy, it's curvy, and I got an awesome deal on it.  I'll eventually give it a makeover, but it's cute enough to pass in its current state for the housewarming party.  I'm in love!








Peace,

Kelly

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Hermit

Remember when it was winter and I was complaining that the reason I wasn't going outside is because it was too cold?  I'm beginning to think that was just an excuse.  I am too caught up in stuff and way too distracted by the computer.  I left the house once today, and that was to go to the post office.

So I'm going out.  Now!

Peace,
Kelly

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Indy Fab Food #1: Yats

I've decided to take a break from talking about my house and start talking about another thing I can't ever get off my mind: food.

I love where I live, and it's time to show off reasons why I'm proud of Indianapolis.  I also want to be a better supporter of local businesses and restaurants, and that is my goal with the new "Indy Fab Food" column.  Here it goes.


Indy Fab Food #1: Yats

Yats is a small Cajun Creole chain with four locations in central Indiana.  The environment is bright, festive, and very New Orleans.  Each Yats has a daily blackboard menu featuring a variety of gumbos, etoufees, and creoles.  My favorite, the chili cheese etoufee, is always in popular demand... so it's on the board every day.  It has just enough spice and makes my mouth water at the thought of it.

Besides being completely delicious, the BEST thing about this restaurant is the amount of food you get for the price.  You can get a full order of your choice for under $6.00, and it's not a meager amount.  Each order also comes with a side of buttered bread--perfect for soaking up the last bits of the meal.  Can't decide what you want?  You can also do a half-and-half deal and pleasure your palate with two of the blackboard options at once.

Are you a vegetarian?  No worries.  There are always a couple veggie options on the menu, as well as seafood for the pescetarians out there (...like me!  The chili cheese etoufee comes with scrumptious crawfish).


My new house is only a ten minute drive from Mass Ave (a.k.a. Massachusetts Avenue), where one of the Yats locations happens to be.  I got some today.  Mmmmmmm.

Coming to Indy?  Keep Yats in mind.

Happy eating,

Kelly

Magic Mom.

I don't know how my mom does it all.  She's awesome.  Here's her recent blog entry:

Peace,

Kelly

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Old and new.

Yesterday I rented a U-Haul and moved all the large furniture to the new house.  Everything else can fit in the car with a few trips, or in one trip if I borrow my parents' van.  Soooo close.  I will OFFICIALLY be moved out this week.  Goodbye renting, hello owning!

I haven't slept there yet, but when I do I think I'm going to pop open the bubbly that my realtor gave me as a gift, sit on my front porch, and enjoy the new pretty place I can call home.

And THEN I have to get ready for the housewarming.  I've scheduled it for Saturday, July 24th... and it will help to have a deadline so I feel a bit of pressure in getting things completed.  The floors are done, the living room is painted, the dining room needs another layer of paint, and the kitchen needs another layer as well as a cabinet makeover with paint.  I also will be renailing the quarter-round to the baseboards, and then repainting the them because when I stained the floors I got a bit sloppy on the edges.  After that, I need to repaint the vents and sand down and stain the one for the dining room.  After THAT I get to decorate... that's the best part!

I'm not even going to worry too much about the yard for the housewarming party.  It is going to my project next summer, I think.  Yes, I'm going to pull weeds and clean it up a bit, but as for the big yard makeover... that can wait.

As for furniture, I'm temporarily borrowing some pieces from my sister so 1) she doesn't have to put them in storage and 2) I can wait on buying everything now.  I have her kitchen table and chairs, a small two-seater sofa for the sunroom, and her bed frame.  My grandma is now living with my parents, so I got a side table of her's, and a sofa-bed that we will put in the office.  We'll turn that room into a bedroom for hosting international students from IUPUI (as long as everything goes well) because it will give us $500 extra  a month!

I'm going to search for a corner sectional for the living room in a beige color (I'll accent with pillows, etc.).  I looked online for a rug today and found a massive discount on an 8' round white flokati rug.  Flokati rugs are made from natural wool, and this one looks so cozy for bare feet, and will add a bit of whimsy in my living room.  Here is a sample of what a flokati rug looks like (mine will be round):
I also have been looking out for a vintage-looking chandelier that I can repaint and hang in the living room.  Here is one I found on craigslist, and I'll be picking it up this week.  I will remove the shades permanently, and repaint the entire chandelier (probably the blue accent color I'm using in contrast with the orange walls):



The more I pick out what I want, the more I discover this whimsical, quirky side of my personality.  This is the first time I'll be able to really show it completely.  Owning is so much better than renting... DO IT!

Be back soon.

Peace,
Kelly

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Selflessness vs. Selfishness

Lately I've had a major battle with myself, and some of the people around me have been pulled into it.  
 
I don't know how much selfishness is appropriate, and I don't know how selfless I can be without getting walked on.  Or, is it right to let myself get walked on?  How much is too much, on either side of the equation?

I grew up afraid to ever do anything wrong or make anyone mad.  I also grew up Catholic.  I didn't even take God's name in vain until 7th grade on the playground, and I remember thinking that a bolt of lightening was going to come down and kill me at that very moment.  Besides having this constant fear of breaking the rules, I also convinced myself that I was not as important as anyone else.

There is a quote in the Bible that states, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Phillipines 2:3).  Basically, I grew up thinking that if I ever did something out of my own selfishness that I was 1) a horrible person, 2) I would go to Hell.  Plus, I ingrained an idea into my mind that to this day is hard to get out: Everyone else is better and more deserving than I am.  On the rare occasion that I did speak up or do something for myself, I'd immediately beat myself up mentally and pray constantly for forgiveness... until I felt I had punished myself enough.

I'm not sitting here blaming my Catholic upbringing.  I loved my upbringing and I loved my school and I loved my childhood.  My former religion was not the sole influence in my life, but it was one of many.  For whatever reason, a combination of factors led me to the childhood belief that it was better to shut-up, be quiet, and not cause a fuss... whether or not I was hurt or screwed over in the process.

But now it's gone to the other extreme, and I feel like lately I've been too selfish in my thoughts and actions.  Or am I just paranoid?  I DON'T KNOW!

I've rebelled so much against the idea of doing everything for everyone else, that I've become so attentive and watchful when someone doesn't go out of their way to do something for me. It's awful, and it's turning me bitter.  As much as I try not to, I practically keep a points system in my head that keeps track of how much my boyfriend does for me and how much I do for him.  It's not healthy to think that way... but at the same time, in past relationships I didn't ever speak up enough and pretty much let the other people take complete control of the relationship and the definition of it.  

I don't want that again, but I also don't want to be walked on again.  So how do I find a happy medium?  I want to be confident, strong in my convictions, proud of who I am, and treated with respect... but at the same time I still NEVER want to hurt anyone else and NEVER want to cause problems.  That is the issue right there.

I think I have to accept that if I stick to my guns and be who I want to be, there will be some people who don't like it.  I have to accept that, but that is the hardest part.  I hate hurting other people, and I hate having enemies.  

Several times in my life I've said to myself, "Screw it!  You will have enemies and that is a part of life.  Be yourself, be respectful, but be strong."  It lasts for maybe a week or a month, and then I go back to apologizing for too many things and staying out of debates for fear of offending someone.

I seem to go between two extremes that keep going back and forth: Super-defensive-watching-her-back-doing-only-what-she-wants-Kelly vs. Super-compliant-apologetic-forgiving-peacemaker-Kelly.

Maybe I just think too much.  Maybe I should just listen to this guy:
  
"Never explain--your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anways." - Elbert Hubbard.


Peace,
Kelly

Monday, May 17, 2010

Doin' stuff.

I know... where have I been, right?  Doing stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff, and having lots and lots of moods, and I decided that I'd take a break from this little place.

I have six days of school left: Tuesday-Thursday this week, and then Monday-Wednesday next week, and the kids go home on Tuesday.  Super close, and ready for summer!

I'll get my energy back when next week roles around.  In the mean time, I decided I'd like to post this article written by Elizabeth Gilbert in O magazine.  I stumbled across it tonight, after beating myself up again for a number of things I think I should be better at, and it made me feel better.  I promise you'll hear more from me when all the school crazyness wraps up.  In the meantime, read this:

Nearly all the women I know are stressing themselves sick over the pathological fear that they simply aren't doing enough with their lives. Which is crazy—absolutely flat-out bananas—because the women I know do a lot, and they do it well. My cousin Sarah, for instance, is earning her master's degree in international relations, while simultaneously working for a nonprofit that builds playgrounds at woefully underfunded public schools. Kate is staying home and raising the two most enchanting children I've ever met—while also working on a cookbook. Donna is producing Hollywood blockbusters; Stacy is running a London bank; Polly just launched an artisanal bakery...

By all rights, every one of these clever, inventive women should be radiant with self-satisfaction. Instead, they twitch with near-constant doubt, somehow worrying that they are failing at life. Sarah worries that she should be traveling around the world instead of committing to a master's degree. Kate worries that she's wasting her education by staying home with her kids. Donna worries that she's endangering her marriage by working such long hours. Stacy worries that the capitalistic world of banking is murdering her creativity. Polly worries that her artisanal bakery might not be quite capitalistic enough. All of them worry that they need to lose 10 pounds.

It's terribly frustrating for me to witness this endless second-guessing. The problem is, I do it, too. Despite having written five books, I worry that I have not written the right kinds of books, or that perhaps I have dedicated too much of my life to writing, and have therefore neglected other aspects of my being. (Like, I could really stand to lose 10 pounds.)

So here's what I want to know: Can we lighten up a little?

As we head into this next decade, can we draft a joint resolution to drop the crazy-making expectation that we must all be perfect friends and perfect mothers and perfect workers and perfect lovers with perfect bodies who dedicate ourselves to charity and grow our own organic vegetables, at the same time that we run corporations and stand on our heads while playing the guitar with our feet?

When I look at my life and the lives of my female friends these days—with our dizzying number of opportunities and talents—I sometimes feel as though we are all mice in a giant experimental maze, scurrying around frantically, trying to find our way through. But maybe there's a good historical reason for all this overwhelming confusion. We don't have centuries of educated, autonomous female role models to imitate here (there were no women quite like us until very recently), so nobody has given us a map. As a result, we each race forth blindly into this new maze of limitless options. And the risks are steep. We make mistakes. We take sharp turns, hoping to stumble on an open path, only to bump into dead-end walls and have to back up and start all over again. We push mysterious levers, hoping to earn a reward, only to learn—whoops, that was a suffering button!
To make matters even more stressful, we constantly measure ourselves against each other's progress, which is a truly dreadful habit. My sister, Catherine, told me recently about a conversation she'd had with a sweet neighbor who—after watching Catherine spend an afternoon organizing a scavenger hunt for all the local kids—said sadly, "You're such a better mother than I will ever be." At which point, my sister grabbed her friend's hands and said, "Please. Let's not do this to each other, okay?"

No, seriously—please. Let's not.

Because it breaks my heart to know that so many amazing women are waking up at 3 o'clock in the morning and abusing themselves for not having gone to art school, or for not having learned to speak French, or for not having organized the neighborhood scavenger hunt. I fear that—if we continue this mad quest for perfection—we will all end up as stressed-out and jumpy as those stray cats who live in Dumpsters behind Chinese restaurants, forever scavenging for scraps of survival while pulling out their own hair in hypervigilant anxiety.

So let's drop it, maybe?

Let's just anticipate that we (all of us) will disappoint ourselves somehow in the decade to come. Go ahead and let it happen. Let somebody else be a better mother than you for one afternoon. Let somebody else go to art school. Let somebody else have a happy marriage, while you foolishly pick the wrong guy. (Hell, I've done it; it's survivable.) While you're at it, take the wrong job. Move to the wrong city. Lose your temper in front of the boss, quit training for that marathon, wolf down a truckload of cupcakes the day after you start your diet. Blow it all catastrophically, in fact, and then start over with good cheer. This is what we all must learn to do, for this is how maps get charted—by taking wrong turns that lead to surprising passageways that open into spectacularly unexpected new worlds. So just march on. Future generations will thank you—trust me—for showing the way, for beating brave new footpaths out of wonky old mistakes.

Fall flat on your face if you must, but please, for the sake of us all, do not stop.

Map your own life.


Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed (both Viking). 

This article was taken from here.

Hope it made you chill out.  It helped me.

Peace,

Kelly

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bright.

This past weekend I started painting the walls of my house!  When I moved in they were very neutral colors, and I definitely wanted to brighten the whole place up.

I'm really not afraid of color... in fact, I crave it.  You'll be able to tell in the before & after pictures below.

Living Room BEFORE: 

Living Room AFTER:


Dining Room BEFORE:

Dining Room AFTER (Haven't removed the tape yet):


Kitchen BEFORE:

Kitchen AFTER (not fully painted yet):

Also, here are what my floors look like now, close up:
Before this, they were all scratched up.  I sanded them down and then stained them.

And just to make you jealous (tee-hee-hee) here is a picture I took of my house when the daffodils popped up:


Still loving it!!!

Peace,

Kelly

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My wordle.

According to Wordle, this is a graphic representation of the common words that appear in my blog (more common = bigger size):


I love that some of the biggest words on the page are get, want, feel, think, and know.  They are all verbs that I use often, probably because, pretty much... I want to be all-knowing and in control, all the time.

I want to GET, as in understand, my world completely.  I know this is pretty much impossible, but I still set it as an unrealistic goal.

I WANT constantly.  I want to be happy, I want to understand, I want to be wanted, I want-I want-I want.  I guess I didn't realize I was so needy.

I THINK and FEEL constantly.  My inner thoughts are the driving force behind who I am and how I act.

And of course, I also want to KNOW everything.  And this is another unrealistic goal of mine.

It's interesting to see a visual of my reflections.  I think, overall, it's telling me that I'm spending too much time thinking about the things I want for my future (what I want, what I'll get, what I think and feel about it, what I'll know) instead of focusing on the present.

Hopefully, if I work on it, in a year from now this jumble of words will be more active and positive.  We'll see.

Peace,

Kelly

Monday, April 26, 2010

Testing.


Tomorrow my students take the second portion of the ISTEP.  If you're not from Indiana, you're probably not familiar with the term.  ISTEP = Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress.  In other words, BLEEEEGH (puke noise).

Middle school students take this test, along with practice "scrimmage" quizzes all through the year to prep for the test.  Last week, they also took an SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) test which measures their reading improvement.  When they get to high school, they will take quarterly "benchmark" tests that also measure their progress with the standards each quarter, along with the GQE (Graduation Qualifying Exam) and of course the SAT and ACT when applying to college.  Also, high school students who stay in our after school program have to take a TABE test (Test of Adult Basic Education) at the beginning, middle, and end of the year.

Aaaaaah!  Can you imagine?  I agree that some sort of standardized testing is the easiest way to measure the progress of a large amount of people quickly and efficiently.  However, I cannot help but sympathize with some of my students when they make comments about feeling more like statistics or numbers than people.  The last thing I want is for them to leave school feeling like they were just sent through some sort of factory assembly line.

And that's why my goal as a teacher is to not just teach facts, but teach my students how to think for themselves and use their intelligence as sources of power and influence in their lives.  I want them to know that it is wonderful to be curious and wonderful to ask questions.  I want them to recognize their potential by discovering new perspectives and challenging their original views of the world.  I want them to realize the excitement that can come as a result of learning new information.  I want learning to be FUN. 

Yes, I have a ways to go.  I'm only in my second year of teaching, and I already can see how passionate teachers can burn out fast due to the many challenges we face every day.  In schools like mine, many students don't know how to be consistent and dedicated because they've never seen an adult who fits those descriptions.  Some don't know that education is a reward because they come from a line of family members who has never seen it that way.  It's tough, and in my second year I've already had to remind myself that it's going to always be difficult, but that it's worth it if I can even get a few students to find something exciting in what I teach them.

I hope that most of the teachers in our country feel this way.  There is a lot of pressure put on us to show good results on these tests, and sometimes the pressure gets so fierce that we forget why we became teachers in the first place.  Yes, it's important for them to know this information, but we also have to remember that we are shaping the minds of growing human beings, and that takes more than the memorization of facts.  

I guess what I'm saying is that I hope educators remember that although there is standardized testing which measures all our students on the same plane, each individual child needs to be given attention and taught how to see his or herself as one person with a lot of brain power.  

Does this make sense?

I didn't realize this would turn into such a preachy post, but I think I stepped up on a pedestal at some point without realizing it.  I want to clarify that I am a new teacher, still learning.  I am not nearly perfect, and there are many, many improvements to make before I become the teacher I want to be.  But these are the foundations for why I do what I do, and I hope many people in my position feel the same way.

Thanks for listening.

Peace,

Kelly



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guffaw.

I love the word "guffaw."  I haven't used it in awhile, but right now I'm doing a unit on comedy with my 8th grade English class, and it came up.  I love it.  Every time I say it or write it, I can't help but think of Goofy.

And as fate would have it, the very first video that popped up tonight when I went to search for an example of Goofy's laughter was actually an old short cartoon called "Teachers Are People."

How hilariously coincidental.  Later on in this post I was planning on talking about how I need to bring more humor into everything, especially into my job.  I find myself taking it way too seriously, even when we are studying comedy!  I get so wrapped up in the plans and the deadlines that I forget that school also needs to be enjoyed.

This clip made me laugh, and also made me realize that I am definitely not the only teacher in history to feel completely frazzled and helpless on certain days.  This clip in particular is a very accurate summary of my first year experience with teaching:




Oh Teacher Goofy, you are not alone.  I think this might be a perfect clip to show to my students so I can illustrate how humor is often created out of the everyday problems we experience in our lives.  Think they'd get it?  (By the way, I also love how much they used to get away with in cartoons: grenades, weapons in the pockets of children, kids blowing up schools... you wouldn't see that today.  Old cartoons are the best.)

Anyhoo, as a part of the unit, my students have been narrowing down what they consider to be their own sense of humor.  I've decided I'm going to do that, too.  So, in a much more uplifting post compared to my recent ones, here is a list of things that make me laugh:

  • Old cartoons and Goofy. - See above.
  • The faces people make at themselves in mirrors when they think no one is looking. - Dyke sucks in his cheeks and then denies that he was doing it.  I catch him every time.
  • Jazz hands in unfitting situations. - I have a group of kids I hang out with after school, and now every time we greet each other and say goodbye we fade away from each other with jazz hands (also known as "spirit fingers").  It's pretty random and great.
  • Funny words. - Examples: guffaw, poot, burp, pickle loaf.
  • Retro pictures. - I was a particularly fat, large-headed child who always looked confused.  Note the close-up Easter picture below:
(If ANYONE told my mom, "Oh, your baby is so cute!" I'm sure they were thinking something different.  
I look like I'm going to eat someone.)

  • Embarrassing moments - These of course are always more humorous after the fact...like, when a boy accidently pulled down my stirrup leggings in 3rd grade when he was trying to get past me on the slide.  DON'T MESS WITH THE STIRRUP LEGGINGS.  Those things were fierce.  I think he realized his mistake when he was suddenly facing my bare ass.
  • Laughter out of complete desperation - This is the best type of laughter.  It's when you are so exhausted and out of energy that all you can do is throw your hands in the air and let the ridiculousness of it all take over.  In 8th grade, my friend Ryan and I had just finished writing the graduation speech when something happened and the entire thing was deleted.  We were at school late working on it, and my mom was upstairs in her classroom doing paperwork.  We were so helpless at that point that we went crazy and started acting out a scary movie in the hallways, and then running outside to the parking lot and jumping around in a downpour of rain.  All while laughing of course.  THAT was the best.

I've experienced a lot of laughter in my life, and I experience a little more every day.  I'm very lucky.  I'll have to add more to this list later because it was a lot of fun.  Until then, adios.

By the way, what the hell is Goofy supposed to be anyway?

Peace,

Kelly


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekend update.

I've successfully sanded the floors of my house and today I am hoping to stain them!  I gave myself three weekends to do it, and this is the second, so I'm way ahead of schedule.  If I get all the staining done today, I bet I can seal it all up tomorrow.  So.. if any of you have doubted whether or not you could pull off a project like this, know you can, because I was able to.  I am NOT very handy, but this was very manageable.

I forgot to take my camera with me to get some before shots, but I have a few past pictures I took when I first was looking at the house.  I'll post them up here soon so you can see what it was pre-sand, after being sanded, and then the completed process.

I've scheduled a "painting party" on May 1st and have invited any friends who like home projects.  I'm hoping to have all the paint picked out by then, and it will be fun to blast music in the house, provide snacks and drinks, and get my house bright and colorful.

I still don't think it has fully hit me that I OWN this house.  I keep thinking it will, but until I move my bed in and sleep there the first night, not sure if it's going to feel like mine.

Other updates...

My boyfriend is going to chef school!  He'll be attending the Art Institute of Indianapolis, classes start in late summer.  I know this is going to be a perfect fit for him, and a perfect fit for me because I LOVE FOOD.  I bet it will be a battle being a vegetarian though, because I'm sure he'll learn all about the "proteins" of dishes and a lot will probably involve meat of some kind.  I'm going to rely on him to make creative alternatives for me so I can try them as he learns his skills.

It sounds like a really great program because they apply everything directly to the chef career and restaurant management.  The math and English classes all gear towards how you would use those skills as a chef.  We toured the building and it's very cool, and they even have a student-run restaurant where they can practice their skills.

Other updates...

So I went to someone about my anxiety/depression issues.  Last year I hit some really low points and was crying practically every day, so I ended up being recommended for Lexapro.  I've always been reluctant about medicating myself, but like I said in an earlier post, there is no reason why I shouldn't give these problems as much weight and importance as any other physical ailment.  I am pro-medication if someone reaches a point in their life when everything is negatively affected by their thought processes, and every day activities become unmanageable and stressful.  That was the point I was at.  In the mornings, driving to school, my chest would physically hurt from the stress I was feeling and I would feel my heart pounding through my chest.  It was awful.

So, yes, I took Lexapro, and it helped me immensely.  In general, everything in my life felt more manageable.  Without it, something bad would happen and I would immediately get into a mindset of thinking about every other things going wrong in my life.  But on the medicine, I didn't overthink the issue and was more rational.  I was able to step back and say, "Okay, that wasn't the best, but so what."  I didn't take things so personally and in general, was more carefree.  I felt more like myself.

You are probably wondering why I stopped.  Well, after the first school year ended, and summer came, I did want to see if I'd be okay if I wasn't in the daily work environment.  As much as I wanted to give in to the idea of taking a pill to change my brain, I still didn't want to have to rely on something to do that for me.  I'm stubborn, so I stopped taking it.  Also, as much as it made me feel better, it wasn't helping my relationship.  They say some people get the side effect of being less touchy-feely, and in general being less interested in the physical aspects of a relationship.  I was, and it was frustrating.

So I stopped taking it.  I weened off of it, and for awhile I think I was okay.  But after awhile, I noticed the things coming out of my mouth were more negative than positive.  I noticed myself whining more, and being more defensive.  Dyke and I fought more, and some of it was the fact that I took things way too personally, and also held things in and then they'd explode out of me and make a big mess.  I wanted to deny it, I kept telling myself I was strong enough to control my thought processes and change my emotions.  But I eventually realized that it was no longer negatively affecting me, but affecting the people I cared about.  I didn't want that to happen.

But I didn't want to go the same route I'd taken before, because of the side effects.  Recently, a family member of mine went in and found out they had the characteristics of Adult ADD.  My dad heard about it and told me he thought I should get assessed.  He says he's seen me have the characteristics all my life, through my constant forgetting, the continuous rush I have in doing anything in front of me, the procrastination, and the anxiety I get when all of it becomes too much.

I went in and talked to someone, and when I go through a list like that, and when I actually talk about how I live, it really does sound exhausting.  He asked me if I was able to relax, and really, not very often.  Yes, I take breaks, and yes, I sit on my arse and do nothing, but my mind is never at rest, even when I'm doing that.  I can only relax if there is absolutely nothing on my to do list, which is rare.  I always feel guilty about it.  He said, "That must be exhausting."  It is.

I played Devil's Advocate when I was in his office, and asked him, "Well, how can I be super efficient at school, and be successful and organized and get things done... but when I get home, nothing is organized and I get overwhelmed with the daily tasks outside of my job?"  He said it's because of pressure and motivation.  I'm always feeling the pressure to get things done at work, I've always got that adrenaline pumping and there is always a task to do that very moment.  At home, that rush is not the same.  Keeping up with the mundane tasks is never in-the-moment necessity, and I completely falter when it comes to doing something when it's not of immediate importance.

Again, I'll be Devil's Advocate.  I totally understand why there a number of people reading this that think, well, Kelly, I'm like that too.  No one likes the mundane tasks, and everyone feels pressure at work.  I get grumpy and take it out on people too, we all do that.  And yes, I understand that.  But again, if it gets to a point where it is holding you back from living your life, and holding you back from feeling like the YOU you know you could be if you only felt better, then I've decided I support medical treatment.

The family member who told me about the Adult ADD told me the other day over breakfast, "Kelly, ever since I got treated for this I haven't been depressed a single moment."  Because the medication calms him down, he's able to focus more and complete things without that need for the rush.  Because he's able to complete things more, he's less stressed.  Because he's less stressed, he's less depressed.  The connection with Adult ADD and depression is clear, because anxiety is a catalyst for depression.

So I'm trying an Adult ADD treatment: Adderall.  It's a small dose, and I'm going to see how it goes.  They say that you can tell if it's working right if you feel normal, and not jittery or rushed to do things.  Those who do not actually have ADD symptoms will get jittery because it's an overdose of amphetamine.  If it works right, I should feel more calm and myself than anything.  If I feel out of my element, and off, I'll know it's not for me.

I'll keep you updated on how it goes.

Also, I know there are some of you who may still be reluctant about the idea of medication... seeing it as the "easy way out" and an unnatural, inorganic option.  And part of me will always feel that way I think, but I think most of it is stubbornness.  I need to admit that I need outside help... and I do.  Really, it's about individual choice.  So I ask that you support me through this process and not condemn me for relying on something other than myself to make my life more enjoyable and manageable.

Thanks for reading this ginormous long email.  Love you all!

Peace,

Kelly

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blog Swap!

Hey everyone.  I'm Nic, from The Music Plays You.  20 Something Bloggers has put on a blog swap, and I was the one chosen to swap with Kelly.  The theme for this swap was "The best part about being a blogger..."

... well, for me, I'd have to say that my favorite part is the FREEDOM.

I've been writing for a good portion of my life, and gave it up almost completely when I entered college.  Sure, I'd have the occasional paper to do, but is that really "writing" to many of us?  I'd argue no, personally.

To me, true writing isn't something that has to be thought about, but rather just flows from the creative centers in our mind straight through our fingers, either onto paper or the keyboards that we type on.

This goes along almost perfectly with what Kelly submitted for my blog.  She talked about the release that bloggers experience, the rush and the high that comes with being able to fully express oneself at last.  Sure, you could write many of those things into a journal and get the same sort of satisfaction, but does that really get you anywhere?  With blogging, you suddenly have the same freedoms to write whatever you want, but now you're able to share that with others and allow them to offer their own insights on what you've been thinking.

Last night, I was extremely frustrated because I had blogger's block.  I couldn't think of anything to write about!  For some reason, I'd gotten it wrapped around my head that my blog had turned into a self-help meets inspirational meets get-things-done blog, and without a clear and concise topic, writing was worthless.

And then I thought... why would I do that to myself?  Why would I box myself in to a pattern in a personal blog like this, and make everything the same?  Seriously, if I keep writing all these inspirational/self-help posts, I'm just going to quit and write a book.

So I did what I do best.  I cleared the page, I put on some ambient music, and I wrote.  Not about anything in particular (well, that's not true... I had a pretty good idea for a topic), just writing from the heart and the creative centers of my brain.

And I ended up with this.

That post had absolutely no point.  It had no direction, until about halfway through when I decided running into a door would be funny.  That post was entirely done on a whim, from the seat of my pants.

And it's probably one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done.

Don't get stuck in a rut.  Don't write about just what everyone expects (or tells) you to write about.  It's your blog, right?  You're not getting paid to do it?  They're not paying to read it?  Then go nuts.

Your blog is your canvas.  You are Picasso.  Go write me some abstract stuff.

-N

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gettin' handy and gettin' sandy.

This weekend I am starting my first big home project: refinishing the hardwood floors.  I can't wait to put on those awesome see-through goggles and a guard mask.  Hot, right?

My realtor recommended a sander and he says it works so well that he actually tried to mess the floors up at one point just to see if it was possible.  He even went against the grain and it didn't leave a noticeable mistake on the floor, so I SHOULD be good. 

I think I've always had a little bit of a fear of large hardware machines, especially when I'm the one in charge of their movement.  My dad is a lawyer, and I grew up hearing about people accidently cutting their body parts off, or running over their feet, or falling on top of something sharp.  I think there was even one guy who accidently shaved part of the skin of his own arm off when he was skin shaving a pig in the slaughterhouse.  Eww.  I probably shouldn't have told you that.

I don't really know how I could injure myself, but I always have some sort of fear in the back of my mind that something will happen.  I'm going to be wearing shoes, so it's not like I'm going to sand down the surface of my foot or anything.  And I don't think it's possible to fall face first into the moving surface of a running sander machine.... but you never know.  There's a first for everything!

It reminds me of the Darwin Awards.  Ever heard of those?  Their catch phrase is: "Honoring those who improve the species... by accidently removing themselves from it!"  As tragic as it sounds, a Darwin Award is given to someone who dies in a situation that is linked to their absent-mindedness or stupidity.  For example, here's one from the website:
(11 March 1978, France) The singer Claude Francois, whose stellar career can be compared to that of Elvis Presley, popularized rock and roll music in France. One evening, he returned to his Paris apartment from a busy touring schedule, and ran a bath. While standing in the filled tub, he noticed a light bulb that wasn't straight, tried to straighten it... and was electrocuted.
Or this one, for instance:
(27 October 2009, Arkansas) Thirty-year-old Devan LeAnn of Shongaloo, Louisiana, was visiting Lake Ehrling with a male friend. Recent bouts of heavy rain had resulted in a flood of runoff water, and they decided it would be fun to take a mattress careening down the surging water in the spillway.

Unfortunately Leann was riding a foam egg-crate style mattress pad. Imagine a wet foam pad. Are you sinking yet? According to her friend, Devan LeAnn simply vanished from sight at dusk. The next morning her body was found in a tangle of trees 70 yards below the spillway.

Parents, warn your children! Wetting the bed can be deadly. 


I think I also read one where a man thought "Cruise Control" meant his RV would drive itself and he could go in the back and cook some breakfast.  I'm sure it didn't take him long to figure out that mistake.

Anyhoo, wish me luck on the project.  It will be a lot of work, but ultimately it's a reward, as long as I look as cool as this guy while I'm doing it:



Peace,

Kelly

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Laying it all out there.

I'm tired of not showing my complete self when I write this blog.  As much as I always tell myself to write the truth of everything going on in my life, there's always a part of me that wants to hide the flaws away in case someone starts to disagree with something I'm saying, or judges what I'm writing as stupid, annoying, whiny, or just wrong.   But I need to start accepting myself for who I am completely.  I've been trying to do that all my life, but it's never happened because instead of trying to make myself happy, I've tried to fit the expectations I think everyone has of me.

I almost wrote a disclaimer to apologize for writing a long, serious entry, but I'm stopping myself.  Why do I feel I need to apologize?  It's my blog!

For a good part of my life I had myself tricked.  I convinced myself that I was this relaxed, go-with-the-flow love child who could be spontaneous and carefree and not sweat the small stuff... and maybe I was that way for awhile.  But at some point, it switched and my personality was no longer matching the view I had of myself, or the view I had of the "ideal" me.

I've been a pretty anxious person all my life, and since I left home for college, I've also been on an up and down battle with depression.  There, it's out there, and I'm acknowledging it.  It's not a big deal to put it out in the open, and it's not something I should be ashamed of.  In fact, if I want to get better, the first thing I need to do is acknowledge that depression and anxiety are valid medical conditions just like any other sickness or disease.  

Even though I thought I was a relaxed person from the start, I remember having issues with anxiety as early as first grade.  One of the only memories I have from that year is staring into my completely haphazard mess of a desk and being overwhelmed and anxious, to the point of tears, that I couldn't find a worksheet we were supposed to have.  I remember the teacher telling me to calm down, that it wasn't a big deal and that she'd help me clean up my desk, but it was so hard to convince myself that it wasn't the end of the world.

I can then go through every year in school and think of multiple moments where, due to disorganization + anxiety + self-loathing I entered a state of panic about something I'd done wrong.  This includes high school as well, and continued into college when each semester I'd continually take on way too many credits because I wanted to look like a hard worker, only to have some sort of emotional breakdown in front of one of my professors because I couldn't handle the pressure.  It was this continuous pattern of getting on a natural high for being so proud of everything I could handle at once, but ultimately culminating in a burn-out due to my inability to say no and inability to acknowledge my limits.

When the anxiety hit an all time high, so would my emotions, and I think that's where the depression popped up.  People started telling me I was really defensive and overly sensitive, and that I reacted impulsively when my emotions were at a high level.  In college, I remember starting to think that all my friends were out to get me, and would sometimes get wrapped up in the paranoia so much that I'd close off from them for awhile until I was able to see the ridiculousness of it all.  I couldn't take criticism or jokes if I wasn't in the right mood, and if someone pointed out one of my flaws or something they didn't agree with, I was devastated.  I didn't see it as just one part of myself... instead my mind would jump to the conclusion that they hated every part of me, and as a result, I'd start hating every bit of myself until something was able to bring me back up again.

Early on, I developed a way to give myself short-term relief.  I discovered that a way to make myself feel better as I grew up was to start taking care of other people, and listening to their problems, and putting them first, and trying to "fix" everything wrong outside of my own existence.  I still love to do this, and it is a natural tendency for me to be empathetic with other peoples' situations, and I think that is a powerful thing to have and I value having empathy from the start.  However, I've rarely valued my own problems as serious or important as others' and it's about time I start taking care of myself.  I'm only 24, and if I don't do something soon my soul is going to become a big glob of bitterness and resentment.

That's why I'm starting to look into my issues deeper, and actually trying to get some outside help.  And I'm going to write about it on here, out in the open.  I grew up in a family that hid a lot of problems under the rug, and to this day, the elephant in the room is not fully acknowledged.  I don't want to be like that, and so as I titled this entry, I'm laying it all out there.

I'm in a good mood today, and I'm usually in a great mood at work.  But there are days that pop up every now and then, usually at home alone, when my mind turns dark, and I can't seem to get out of it.  Whether the root of the cause is general anxiety, is an attention disorder, or is simply that I've trained myself to live this way, it's time to figure it out.

Time to get busy livin', not get busy dyin'.

Thanks for reading.  I'm still going to be my goofy self on here (because that is a part of who I am), but I'm also going to start showing all of me, not just the part I want to be.  I hope you like it, but if not, instead of beating myself up for it, I'm going to work on thinking, "So what!"

Peace,

Kelly




Sunday, April 4, 2010

Movin' on up...

...to the east side!  Yes, it's official.  I am a homeowner.  I now own an adorable 1920's bungalow on the east side of Indianapolis, and it's ALL MINE.  If I could, I'd jump out of your computer screen and ask for a high five.  I suppose a congratulatory response to this entry is acceptable, as well.  =)

People are already asking me when I am going to have a housewarming party, but I haven't even started the first big makeover project: refinishing the floors.  I'm going to do that, and probably paint, before I even move in.  I'm renting the house I'm currently in until June, so it gives me plenty of time to get those things done before I move in all my stuff.  

Get ready, because I bet this blog is going to become the place where I celebrate the successes or vent about the failures of my first experience with home improvement.  You are my therapists.


Peace,

Kelly




Monday, March 22, 2010

Sloth woman.


If I don't get off my ass soon, the couch is going to form around my body and I will never again be able to fit into normal sized entry ways.  I know there are many more traumatic scenarios to fear if this sofa becomes forever attached to my backside, but not being able to fit in doorways is at the top of that list, and it will likely happen if I do not get up SOON.

But I just started this blog entry, so tough luck butt.  And I'm so coooooomfortable.  And I haven't written in a very long time (except for that tipsy blurb about sandwiches and singing).

So, everything to do with the house is going really well, and I am scheduled to close at 1 p.m. on April 1st.  I didn't think anything of it until someone asked, "You scheduled to close on a house on April Fools' Day?!"  I may have totally screwed myself over.  What if I go in and they're all like, "April Fools!  You aren't buying a house at all!!!  We made it all up!" or "April Fools!  You just bought a lifetime supply of canned tuna!" or "April Fools!  You just sold yourself to the devil!"

So, wish me luck on that endeavor.  Until I get the key to the house in my hand I am NOT going to feel 100% satisfied that I am ACTUALLY the OWNER of a HOUSE.

What else have I been doing lately?  Well, not much.  Slowly forming a permanent impression of my arse into the couch cushions... that's what.  It's awful.  I have such a lack of motivation when I'm by myself.  I never want to look like a lazy person in front of others, so at school I'm constantly go-go-go and at home when I have guests I'm never in the same room for more than ten minutes.  I move around and keep busy, and I think a lot of it is insecurity.  I hate lazy people, but here's the thing... I AM one.

My dad thinks I have Adult ADD.  But if I had Adult ADD, would I be able to sit on a couch for this long?  When I think about WHY I do it though, I think it's because when I finally get home I'm so overwhelmed by everything I need to accomplish for the rest of my awake hours that I shut down and slam myself down on a comfortable surface, never to move again until the sun goes down.  So what do you think?  Do I have it?

I'd love to hear some feedback from people who either 1) have ADD or ADHD, 2) have relationships with me and can verify or dismiss my connection with ADD or ADHD or 3) just feel like giving me their opinion even if I don't want or need it.

Here's the thing: maybe nothing is wrong with me and it's all in my head.  I think I'm slowly becoming an mental hypochondriac.  I've always wanted to know if I'm normal.  But there really is no "normal" so what is the point in forever trying to figure out if I am or not?

Alright, so my topics are going all over.  Possible a sign of ADD.  Out of curiosity I looked up the characteristics of adult ADD.  I'll comment on whether or not I think it fits a description of me:


The Adult with ADD (from www.ncsu.edu):
  • May lose things such as keys, important papers, phone numbers etc on a regular basis. 
    •  Ohmygosh YES.  Every day.  I've been through five phones in the past year I think (right, Joe?) and lose my keys at least once a day. 
  • May be forgetful in daily activities “I know there was something I was supposed to do!” or consistently forget to take out the trash, instructions from your partner, or picking the kids up from an activity.
    • Hahaha, this is hilarious.  I always forget to take out the trash.  Like, almost every week until the bins are completely full and I can't fit anymore in them and then my mind officially clicks on and says: REMINDER: TAKE OUT TRASH.
  • May consistently begin a task and not complete it. Maybe you start to cut the grass, go inside to get a drink, answer the phone, see there is a sporting event on TV, sit down and watch it and leave the lawn mower in the middle of the yard. Maybe you have a “workshop” with projects began with good intentions, all half finished.
    • I have many things started.  1) My photography business I have yet to expand.  2) A number of videos my drama students are doing that I haven't finished editing. 3) Voice recordings of my grandparents' memories that I haven't completely typed up and documented yet 4) A Tale of Two Cities which I started about two months ago and read over the same page when I get the chance and then set it down and forget about it. 4) I want to be a write but I NEVER finish stories unless it is for a grade or someone has given me a deadline.  5) I HATE routine and so I'll start the dishes, then go into the living room and vacuum in there for a bit, then move upstairs and put half my clothes away, then move to another room, etc.
  • May have a problem following conversations. Maybe your wife/girlfriend/partner talks to you and always complains that you never listen. Maybe you are always wondering when someone told you something when they say “Don’t you remember I told you about this last week.” Maybe you miss deadlines at work or hand in something irrelevant because you only heard half the conversation.
    • My friends and boyfriend can let me know about this.  Have I gotten any better?  I think I learned about active listening and now I'll say things like, "Wow" and "That's crazy" and really I'll have no idea what they are saying to me.  It's really hard for me to pay attention if there is something more important going on in my head.
  • May be difficult to motivate yourself to begin a project. “Oh sure, that sounds great, I’ll get started on it, well, maybe tomorrow!” A project that doesn’t instantly sound great and exciting may continually be placed on hold, making you look lazy. 
    • I am the queen of procrastination, but aren't we all?  I don't know many people that don't do some things last minute.  But in college, I would wait until the night before to write a ten page paper, freak myself out about it, but get an A anyways.  I work better under pressure, and I've trained myself to do so, but the problem is that now I don't know how to work when I'm NOT under pressure.
  • May have difficulty following a timed schedule. Misjudging time can create havoc in any schedule. Either you begin with an unrealistic schedule, allowing too much or too little time for each activity, or you can’t follow the schedule because you forgot about the time and just spend 3 hours on an activity that should have taken 20 minutes.
    • I tend to take on way too many tasks, and then get so overwhelmed that I panic and have a shutdown period.  I think this whole WINTER was my shutdown period at home.  At school I put so much energy into everything and it's hard to slow down, so when I get home I become Sloth Woman.  

So what do you think?  I think a lot of people could be diagnosed with ADD because I think all of us have some of these traits.  Am I an extreme case or am I just too analytical?

Let me know.

Peace,

Kelly

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life lesson #1.

After three glasses of wine I've discovered that I'm REALLY good at making sandwiches and that I'm a much better singer!

Does this happen to you?  =)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Decorating Brainstorm

Today I had a burst of creative energy, and I decided to go out and buy a sketchbook and colored pencils to get started on decorating ideas for the new house.  I still don't close until April 1st, and I'm a bit stressed about the process, and this definitely helped me get excited again.

I LOVE color, and I particularly love the energy of contrasting colors.  In this case: blue and orange.

Let me know what you think!




Peace,

Kelly

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blog neglect.

I know I've completely neglected my blog.  I've discovered something about buying a house:  It's exciting, but the process is a pain in the ARSE.

I'm trying to balance all the paperwork and deadlines for the house, along with school work, and it's put me in total shutdown mode.  My creativity is zilch at the moment.

I WILL be back.  Just give me some time.

Kelly

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pretty things to come.

This is what my street will look like in the fall!  I found it online.  Right now it's winter, so I had noooo idea up 'til now how pretty the leaves can get.


That's all for now.  I'm just excited.

Peace,

Kelly

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Long time, no blog.

I took a little blog hiatus because I've been busy.  GUESS WHY:

I'M BUYING A HOUSE!

Yes, it's official.  Remember that cute, little, yellow bungalow I showed you?  That's the one.  White picket fence and all.  Two bedroom, one bath, hardwood floors, a fireplace with built in bookshelves on both sides, a sun room, a brick patio, fenced in backyard, two car garage.  Woot woot!

I've always loved the idea of decorating, but I've never had a space to call my own.  When I move in, I can do WHATEVER I WANT with it.  I can't believe it.  I can put a hole in any wall, can paint in any color, can put in any shelving, and it's all up to me.  Yes, I know this just comes with owning a house, but it's my first one and I'm super excited.

Of course, now that I'm starting to look at designs and colors and all, I'm going AAAAH!  There are so many different ways to decorate and I'm not really sure what I'm doing yet.  All I know is that I want it to be eclectic in style.  I don't want to pick a very categorized style because I like to change things up.  I also love how a room can look if there are pieces from all over the place that some how work together with the colors, fabrics, etc.  Here are a few samples I found online:











I just love pulling bright things from every which way and getting them together for a complete look.  In each picture there are a few different patterns going on at once, and all have bright colors.  The dining room picture is a bit too much, probably due to the busy walls.  I've noticed that in most eclectic designs the walls stay a pretty neutral color so the whole room doesn't seem too overwhelming.  Hopefully that makes paint picking easy!

I think this design aesthetic will be perfect for me because 1) I love displaying trinkets I've gathered through my life, 2) I love vintage artwork/paintings/furniture, and 3) I love to thrift shop for decorating pieces.

Whiiiiich brings me to my next point.  I have not gone thrift store shopping in a LONG time, and earlier this week I got my sister out of the house and we went to a vintage clothing store, and then to three different Goodwills.  End result: 15 dresses, 4 sweaters, 2 shirts, and 7 home decor items for.... (drumroll please.....) under $100!!!  I really recommend getting out now before it warms up again because we were able to snag so many comfy, casual spring dresses.  On average I think each dress was about 4 bucks.  SPECTACULAR!

Out of the decor items for my house, I also came across something I am going to take as a sign in my quest for pet pig ownership.  When I found it in an aisle at Goodwill, I ran up to my sister very excitedly and before I even showed her she knew it was going to have something to do with my pig venture.  The pictures will suffice:





Yes, folks, it is a black decorative pig head that I am definitely going to put by the front door and hang my keys on.  I am also going to decorate him with different seasonal hats.  You think it's ridiculous?  So be it.  It's just another sign that Thurman Merman is meant to be.

And on that note, I'm out.

Peace,

Kelly