Friday, November 21, 2008

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing...

Tomorrow. Finally! I’ve been waiting so long to go back home again. And this time, not only do I get to see my family, I get to eat unbelievable amounts of food: heaps of mashed potatoes, piles of turkey, oceans of gravy, towers of cranberry sauce. Holidays are beautiful, beautiful things. But in the true spirit of the holiday (giving thanks) my post next Thursday (or possibly the day before, in order to maximize the amount of time I spend with my family on the day of), my post will simply be an enumeration of all that I am thankful for – and believe me, it’s a lot!

I must admit, here, however, that I haven’t been completely honest with you: I don’t go home tomorrow. Not home, home, anyhow. But to one of my homes: my future home. With Dennis. I’m stopping at the halfway point of my journey to stay with him at UVa because his military ball is tomorrow night! I promise to upload pictures and a synopsis of events. I’m sure I’d love to look back at it years from now. Anywho. Back on track!

Yesterday was stressful, to say the least. I went to Wal*Mart and the mall in Christiansburg to look for a semi-formal dress to wear to tomorrow’s dance. You wouldn’t believe what I found at Wal*Mart…or rather what I didn’t find. That’s right. They didn’t have a single dress! Not one! I was thoroughly disappointed considering shopping trips for me tend to be excruciatingly painful – just ask my mother! All the way over, I was hoping with all of my heart that we would walk into Wal*Mart, find the clearance rack (after all, it is Winter, now) and find that the first dress was both cute and modest. But, no. Not only did I not find a cute, modest dress. I didn’t find a much-too-revealing, ugly dress either! I didn’t find a single dress. Disappointed? Definitely. Discouraged? Somewhat. Believe me, though, not quite as discouraged as I would be a few hours later that same day. Just wait.

So after discovering Wal*Mart to be a complete bust, we moved on to the mall. Poor Jason (Nicknamed Krusty after Krusty the Clown on the Simpsons, I believe), who drove us, spent the entire hour or so walking around Dick’s Sporting Goods attempting to entertain himself. Meanwhile, Kaytlyn and I went into every single store in the mall. JC Penney (where the dresses were frumpy and overpriced despite being on clearance), Sears (where there wasn’t a single dress to be found), DEB (where all of the dresses were so short they would hardly cover the butt of a two-year-old), The Gap (where there was only one dress with the ugliest print Kaytlyn and I have ever seen), and several others with one or several of the above results. It was unbelievable! How difficult is it to sell a cute, modest dress for less than a hundred dollars? Or, simply, a cute modest dress? Kaytlyn was right when she said – “What we need is a Kohl’s!” Haha.

So, again – disappointed and discouraged, but still not the worst. On the car ride back, I wracked my brain to think of someone at Tech who had a similar body type to mine of similar height that might have a dress. I finally thought: Kyra! I immediately texted Kyra; her responding text was encouraging: she had several dresses and was willing to show me whenever I had the chance. As soon as I was back on campus, I ran over to her residence hall and followed one of the other residents in (seeing as my key wouldn’t let me in). Once I found her room, she and her roommate, Nicole, showed me the dresses they had. All of Kyra’s turned out to be summery garden party dresses. Nicole had two cute brown ones, but when I tried them on, both didn’t fit.

All three of us sat and thought of whom else I might possibly call. We ended up calling Kerry in the hope that she might have something, considering that we’re about the same height and body shape. It turned out, of course, that Kerry had absolutely nothing. Then, we settled for trying someone shorter than me – Erin. I called her and she informed me that she was still in class and would be for another two or three hours and told me to just go to her dorm room and look through her closet – so I did. She had two dresses: a purple one and a black one. I spent about an hour in front of the mirror in her room trying to get the tops of the dresses to actually be somewhat modest, imagining what a pin here or a pin there might do. No matter what I did with the purple one, though, modesty just wasn’t possible. The black one seemed a little more likely to work, although still not ideal due to the openness of the back of the dress and the unlikelihood of me actually being capable of pinning the front in an appealing fashion. In the end, I took the black one back to my room just to have it as a back up in case something better didn’t come along. This was about the height of my disappointment. I’d tried so many times by this point that I was close to giving up.

Eventually, Kimmie called me back after I texted her. She and two other girls in her suite (Ari and Cathleen) had pooled together their dresses to form a selection for me to choose from. I was overjoyed when I saw them. There were at least three that I could definitely be comfortable in (one of which would have taken a little pinning and adjusting) and finally, we four settled on the cute black one with the lacy v-neck (which I plan to wear a camisole underneath). It’s a very simple dress, but it’s perfect for the function in my opinion. I can’t begin to describe my relief to you in having this all taken care of – and for free!

Maybe it was the relief, or maybe just the comfort of my bed, but I slept really well that night. So well, in fact, that I got out of bed an hour and fifteen minutes later than I had originally set my alarm for. I love waking up in my bed here. I wake up looking out the window – at a wall of windows. The view from our window may not be perfect, but the sunlight streaming and reflecting off said windows? Beautiful. Except, perhaps, waking up next to my husband. But that’s a few years down the road. For now, the sun will have to do. :)

I showered, ate my breakfast while practicing for my math quiz, and then sauntered off to the math emporium to take my quiz. My math quiz, thank goodness, was a success! Six out of six correct. I was worried going into it, because the one last practice quiz I took before finally taking the real thing, I scored a three out of six on, which, obviously, was entirely unacceptable after the hours of studying I did the night before. I rode the bus back to campus and read Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal along the way. If you ever plan on reading that particular piece of satire, I don’t suggest you do it on a bus that’s teetering up and down hills. Reading about cannibalism isn’t the best idea when your stomach is already queasy. Believe me. I got off of the bus and walked straight to my English class (for which I was reading that particularly clever piece of literature).

English class was somewhat upsetting today, honestly. I’m so tired of people taking advantage of our poor professor who is absolutely, without a doubt, the most adorable and sweet-natured English teacher I’ve ever had. No one, except for myself (or so it would seem, considering that out of 30 kids, only I had something to say about what we read over an hour’s worth of class time) had actually read the material. She always does her best to have our assignments graded and graded fairly and to give us ample opportunities for extra credit and worthwhile grades. The least they could do is read what she assigns. On a lighter note, I finally got my first paper for her class back – I earned a 92! I’m incredibly proud of this grade. It’s my first college paper, after all! I’m going to discuss ways for me to improve with her sometime after Thanksgiving Break. I respect her advice. Thankfully, though, she and I sorted out the issue of my exam not sending through my e-mail. She believes me (as is the truth) that I completed and sent the e-mail out Thursday night, but my e-mail malfunctioned and tried to send it on an unavailable server and didn’t actually send until Saturday night. Technology drives me crazy sometimes (Says the girl who’s writing on a blog on her laptop at this very moment…)

The rest of the day has been wonderful. I went to choir practice, had ice cream with Marie, Nathaniel, and Laura, and then finally loaned my copy of Twilight to Marie like I’d promised her weeks before. Afterwards, Katie and I watched The Office and I video chatted with Dennis and watched kittens romp around in videos he sent me. I want a cat so badly, but, my dad told me that if I own a cat when I’m older, he and my mother will never visit me, since she’s allergic. Since then, Dennis and I have been looking into hypoallergenic cats. We’ll see. :)

And now, I’m sitting in the laundry room on the windowsill, baking in the heat of eighteen dryers and sixteen washers while wearing a long-sleeve shirt and corduroys. Not my smartest fashion decision. But believe me, what I wish I were wearing for comfort’s sake would not be at all appropriate for public. It’s hot! After my laundry’s done drying, I have yet to fold it and pack for my trip. This is crazy! I’m going to be so sleep deprived. Thank goodness my 9:05AM class was cancelled. :)

While folding my laundry, I was the only one in the laundry room, so I opened my laptop back up and started playing my faith sharing group playlist as loud as I wanted. Another kid came in a few minutes later while "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve was playing and he definitely started singing along. He probably didn't think I could hear him, but I definitely could. Hehe! I love spreading joy at one in the morning!

Edit: Okay, so, I get back to my room, and what do I find? Someone has SPIT on the door to my and my roommate’s door! It’s appalling. How can people be so inconsiderate and disgusting? I just don’t understand. Katie and I are so unimposing. We don’t do anything to bother anyone and yet – this. Humanity is a thing to wonder at.

I can’t wait for tomorrow!

God bless all of you and all of your tomorrows. <3

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly. :)

It's a beautiful Tuesday afternoon and, on any other Tuesday afternoon, I'd be getting ready for class. But not this Tuesday. This Tuesday I'm free to relax and make the most of the beautiful day outside. Why is all of this possible? My English class was cancelled - again. I'm new to the whole college thing, yes, but, is one class supposed to be cancelled so many times? I'm not complaining, really. After all, it's nice to have a break. :)

As I'm writing, I'm watching the snow drift in lazy circles outside my dorm room window. It started snowing early morning Sunday while Dennis and I were walking to the Church on campus. Having here already had me in a beautiful mood; the snow just made it that much better! And yes, you read that right! Dennis visited this weekend! He rode the Greyhound out to Roanoke where the boyfriend of our friend Cam's roommate picked the three of them (Cam, Dennis, and Amanda) up and drove them to campus.

While I sat on the bench outside my dorm around six in the evening, awaiting his arrival, every single boy that walked past looked like him for a split second. I was that excited. I honestly almost tackled one kid, thinking it was Dennis. Honestly, I should have my eyes checked. Haha.

When I finally did spot him (the real one! Hahaha) he was across the street from me so I had to wait to tackle him. But once he made it across, he was immediately in my arms and I in his. I'm so thankful for the technology that allows me to talk to him face to face every night on my computer, but, I'm exponentially more thankful to be able to hug him.

Needless to say it was a fantastic weekend, other than poor Dennis having to stay up late at the mercy of the people he was spending the night with and then the both of us being so tired on Saturday that our emotions were a little topsy turvy. It was so wonderful to introduce him to everyone I talk about all of the time. We watched copious amounts of Jon and Kate Plus Eight, Amelie, and several episodes of the Office that he was behind on while eating caesar salad, macaroni, and chicken sandwiches from DXpress. Yum!

He and I went out for lunch on Saturday to Backstreets and had bruschetta and a New York style pizza topped with green peppers, pepperoni, and onion. Yum! It was delicious. =) Afterwards, we stopped in at Crumb and Get It Cookie Co. (which is like Coldstone for cookies - "You know it's a rip-off when the first thing they say to you is 'It's like Coldstone...'" - Dennis. Hahaha.) where we made sugar cookies with rainbow sprinkles and chocolate cookies with Reese's Pieces. While we were waiting for our cookies to bake, we sat at one of the tables and thumbed through the "conversation starter" cards Crumb and Get It always has on the tables. We asked each other a bunch of questions such as "What's the best and worst thing about being a man/woman" and came up with some pretty silly answers to a lot of them.

When our cookies were done, I walked him around campus and showed him two of my classrooms before taking him to the Duck Pond. The Duck Pond is considered, I suppose, the most romantic place on campus. Personally, I would say it's just the most beautiful! We sat on the brick wall by the miniature waterfall and ate our cookies while talking and laughing like always. He made me laugh so hard, I cried. I've missed that. :) I accidentally snatched the largest half of one of the cookies and Dennis teased me to no end over it. I love him so much.

After a while, it began to get cold, so we returned to my dorm where we watched tv, ate pixy stix, and he babied me because my stomach felt absolutely awful. We decided later it was probably the bruschetta. Bleh. Why do the foods I love always bite me back?

We made it (with a few minor complications...whoops) to my big brother's Mixed Emotions a cappella concert, which was absolutely fantastic! I really wish I had made the group when I tried out, but, I'll keep trying. :) No hard feelings...just an overwhelming desire to be a part of it. I really hope I was right when I told Dennis that I'd like to think I could overcome my fear of being a soloist for the sake of the group. We'll see!

Speaking of Mixed Emotions, they're actually in the running for having a song ("The Luckiest") on Ben Folds' college a cappella CD. You can actually find the video here. And, it's really really rough, since it was their first day learning the song, but you can almost hear my brother singing his solo on Would You Go With Me. Just a little shameless plugging. :)

Cam spent the night with me Saturday night. I really adore her! She's so sweet and fun and open to everyone. I'm glad that even after high school is over, I'm getting the chance to know someone I should have gotten to know better back then. It's a blessing, for sure.

Sunday morning, Dennis and I went to the 10 o'clock mass at Newman Chapel where Dennis whine ( ;D ) about not knowing any of the songs. It is a bit ironic, considering that Catholic means "universal" and the intercessions during mass tend to be the same at any Catholic Church you go to...but, nope. Not Newman. We prefer to write our own. ;D Dennis likes singing along at mass, so he was an itsy bit disgruntled by that. I found it slightly amusing because I remember how overwhelmed I was my first morning singing in the choir, not knowing ANY of the intercessions. God was just reminding me not to be cocky, I suppose. :)

After Church, Dennis and I wolfed down a brunch of plain pancakes, blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, potatoes, and biscuits with jam before we whisked him off to Amanda's boyfriend's car to meet the Greyhound in Roanoke. The weekend really flew by. But I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. It was so good to have him here where I wish he could be every single day. I was grateful that we had the little time we did, though. :)

This evening at the Newman House (where the Catholic community hosts all of their events, where our priest and campus minister live, etc.) we're having our Thanksgiving Dinner and canned food drive. I'm super excited because I haven't done anything with Newman recently and I love everyone there immensely! My (last? :( ) faith sharing meeting is afterwards, too. In the middle of dinner, I should be running over to the GLC to hear Bethany and Alaina play their set for Beth's birthday with the Acoustic Cafe. I'm super excited for them! I know they'll be incredible. :)

That's all for now, lovelies! I love you all and hope your weeks are blessed! <3

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not Me Monday!

In true MckMama form, it's "Not Me Monday!" ...a half-hour past Monday's end. Haha. Oh well!

Today, I most certainly did not wake up, reset my alarm for fifteen minutes later and climb back into bed effectively making it impossible for me to make it to the chapel on time for my morning reflection. Nope, not me!

I definitely didn't absolutely freeze on the way to class because I thought my sweater was cuter than my marshmallow-bulky winter coat. Nope, not me!

I can guarantee I didn't down half of a family-sized jar of Motts Apple Sauce even after eating chicken nuggets and macaroni from DXpress. Nope, not me!

I didn't stay up past midnight after promising myself I'd be in bed by twelve. Nope, not me!

I most certainly did not take a three and a half hour nap this afternoon despite all of the hours of homework I had ahead of me. Nope, not me!

I most certainly did not have all fulfilling and perfectly amazing phone and video chat conversations with Dennis today. Nope, not me!

And I definitely didn't catch up with my very best friend while I was supposed to be doing homework. Nope! Not me!

Haha. I hope everyone's Monday was marvelous. ;D

I love you all! God bless you. <3

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quick, hurry!

I have five hours to live up to the promise I made in my last journal (over at LJ) about writing my next entry before a month's time has passed. How does this happen? How on earth did time pass me by so quickly. Before I know it, I'm going to be a grandmother. Sheesh.

Anyhow. Here we go!

A lot has happened since I last wrote. In fact, so much has happened that I honestly cannot have retained memory of every little thing. See? There's my motivation to update regularly. This journal isn't just for your benefit, but mine too. I'm going to want to be able to look back and see what was going on with me at different times of my life. So there, Kara, there's your reason. Memory's sake.

Since I can't possibly remember everything, I'll just focus on what has happened within the last week, or two, or three.

I have gotten so involved with the Catholic Church ministry here on campus and I absolutely love every minute of it. I've been part of the church choir since my first Sunday at Virginia Tech and every mass and Thursday night choir practice since then has been so rewarding for me. The people I encounter there are so loving, so full of life and a zeal for God that I can only hope to emulate. Needless to say, I think I'm on my way to finding my niche in this humongous university and I'm undeniably excited about that. In addition to getting involved with the choir, I've been involved just in general, attending talks, dinners, movie nights, and by joining a Freshman Faith-Sharing Group.

My faith sharing group is incredible. I used to not have a determined high point of my week, something I would always look forward to, but now I do. My week begins on Tuesday night at 8pm and the moment it's over, I can't wait for the next Tuesday to roll around. The friends I'm making in that group are hopefully those that God intended for me to foster deep relationships with over the next few years while I'm here. First off, there's Marybeth. She's a bundle of energy, to say the least, but she's incredible. She's so curious and passionate about growing in understanding of the faith we're trying to live and I admire that about her. Secondly, there's Megan. Megan immediately established herself as someone I could identify with--from observing the day of silence for aborted babies to her general outlook on life, enthusiasm, and optimism. Just the other night, even though we haven't known each other long, she felt comfortable enough to hug me when I was feeling more distressed and down than I ever have in my life (maybe more on that later...). I sincerely hope God has a plan for her and I to be friends for life. I already cherish her friendship only four or five weeks into knowing her. There are a lot more of them: Rebecca, Christian, Nick, Sean, Josh, Anneliese, Stephen, Brittany, Kelley. They're all so much fun and so different. I can't wait to get to know all of them even better. =)

On the subject of my recent extreme depression, I won't say much, because it has more or less passed and I don't want to recall how unpleasant it was. Basically, things just got really out of hand and both I and someone else said things we didn't mean and interpreted things one another said in the wrong way, and just pushed things way over the edge. But as with any awful thing, some good things come of them, such as: a fresh perspective, camaraderie with my brother, and the support of new friends. The really good thing is that things have more or less been smoothed out with said person and we're moving on with more respect for one another and each others' opinions.

I've read two incredible books in the last week or so: "Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship" and "Girl Talk," both of which help young Christians (the first, those pursuing marriage) and the second (Christian daughters and mothers) to live a godly life in all that they do. Obviously, for me, this is really exciting because I'd love to find myself at the end of my life and be able to honestly say that I lived for God. "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." -- 1 Corinthians 10:31 -- Good words to live by. =)

The "Girl Talk" book really excites me because it's going to be a foundation for becoming even closer to my mom. Because of everything that happened this week (with the depression and argument, and whatnot) I realized how wrong I was to not include my mother in so much more of my life than I have thus far. I really needed her this week, and in the past, but I had never realized before how much I would have needed her. For that reason, I'm going to share the book with my mom and hopefully have her read it by the time I come back for Thanksgiving Break that way we can discuss the book and really set things in motion. =) I'm so excited! If I make this happen, it'll mean that my little sisters will never have to suffer through the pain I have this week on their own. They'll have my mom on their side before they get in over their heads.

And so, it is now 12:22 at night, and I've said all that I really want to say at the moment, considering I still have some homework to do. And no, it didn't take me six hours to write this; I went to the Hokie Thursday Night Football game with my brother and his friends. So good! We beat UMD 23-13. GO HOKIES!

I love you all! Have an amazing day tomorrow. <3