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This Stuff Is My Stuff

There’s been omething that’s been reverberating in my head for the past few days. It happened a few months ago, but for some reason, it’s come back and I can’t get it out of my head. Maybe writing about it will help.

When I moved my stuff from my old apartment to the house, my landlord/housemate was surprised at just how much stuff I had, and suggest-told me to get rid of some of it.

“You need to de-clutter your life.”

One of the worst phrases ever invented.

It’s my stuff, not yours. I might have a lot of it, but so do you. I love you, and I love my stuff too, but it’s not clutter if it’s my stuff.

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On Traditions, and Why We Still Need Them

So, tonight, after what seemed to be a long week, I attended an event that I can honestly say I’ve never witnessed anything similar to in my life. I’m not sure how many details I can share, but suffice it to say that it was the sorority initiation ritual for a good friend of mine.

Even though it started at 7:30, I got there around 8:10 because I couldn’t find parking. It was in a lecture hall in Humanities, and when I came in, not much was happening; people were milling around and talking. I thought I’d missed something, but at 8:30 the lights dimmed and the ceremony began. Again, I probably shouldn’t share too many details, but there was some great singing, stepping, strolling, and chanting. While my friend was performing, it made me think about all the things I like about her; her commitment, her perseverance, and her willingness to take on tough challenges. Even though I didn’t really know what was going on around me, I was enjoying it. It was loud and unfamiliar, but it meant something to somebody, actually to a lot of people since the room was about three-quarters full.

After the dramatic ceremony, the lights came up and there were a lot of hugs and kisses all around. I went up front and managed to find my friend and give her a huge hug, and congratulate her and her new sisterhood. I didn’t know what to expect, but I honestly left feeling like I was part of a new group too.

I feel like it’s things like this that we need more of in this world. I’m not talking about sorority initiation ceremonies, but things that are positive, life-affirming, and, again, mean something to someone. Rituals and traditions like these celebrate progress and look to the future while simultaneously embracing the past. They celebrate hard work and determination, both in performing and in keeping a tradition alive. It wasn’t “my” ceremony, but it was exciting and fun to witness and it really made me think. Which is why I’m writing this. Overall, though, it let me spend an hour not thinking about myself, how much I have to do, the current state of our country, and all that, and for that I am appreciative.

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Staying In and Getting Real: Current Events Roundup, Part Three, aka WHAT

I can’t believe that exactly one month and one day ago, I had the same idea for a post.

And sadly enough, it’s just as relevant.

Maybe even more so.

After the events this weekend in Sutherland Springs, this is unacceptable. I do not care who you are or where you stand, love me or hate me, but we need gun control in the United States.

Now.

There’s nothing that should need to be said, but at the same time, everything should be said. To those who lost people in Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Manhattan, anywhere that there’s ever been gun violence, if you are reading this, speak up. And if you are speaking up already, speak up more because clearly the world is not listening to what you have to say. It was a pretty productive day for me, all things considered, but I can’t help but think about all the people who will never have the chance to have another productive day, or even a lazy day, those have no more days because they are dead for no reason other than being in a specific church in Texas at a specific time and not being lucky.

People on the news are saying that this is “not the time to talk about gun control.” To that, I say…WRONG WRONG WRONG. This is the IDEAL time to talk about gun control. This is the OPTIMAL time to talk about gun control. It has been less than 48 hours since the shooting, and before everyone forgets about it for whatever reason, this is the time to talk about it. I am not an outwardly political person, I mostly mind my own business because if I didn’t, I would never stop crying, but even if I’m just screaming into the void of the Internet, maybe someone will notice me and pass the word along on their blog or to a friend in real life. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where we can speak freely about our government, and even though I am not marching to Washington or frantically dialing my Congressmen, or even bringing it up in conversations, this is my little way of adding to that conversation. Which, I repeat, should happen now, because there is not better time.

We cannot wait for things to change. We need to take charge, make good choices, and be cognizant of what is really going on in America. And for those of you who are not Americans, consider yourself lucky that your country is not going through this nonsense right now.

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Feeling Over the Rainbow with APO!

What a crazy, incredible weekend. My internal schedule is all messed up and I ate way too much, but it was the annual APO Region IX conference, and for the first time in several years, it was right here in Madison. Over 100 students and around 18 staff members from chapters all around Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota came here because there’s no place like APO (our conference theme!)

Some of the highlights from the conference for me were getting to present a panel and a workshop, going to banquet, the usual post-banquet staff hangout in the hotel, and post-con morning brunch.

My first panel of the day was one on diversity and inclusion, which I co-presented with past national president and one of my personal favorite people, Maggie Katz. We had 90 minutes and even though both of us are big talkers, we managed to only go 40 minutes before taking questions. After that, there was a lot of audience interaction, both with us presenters as each other and a lot of great ideas were exchanged. Current national president, JKO, was in attendance and told me later how much I impressed him, as did one of the students from Coe College petitioning group.

After a giant staff lunch at the Nitty, I presented my brand-new theater workshop. The first time I tried to present one at a regional, many years ago, I had 3 people. In March at Sectionals, I had about 13 people. This time, a whopping 21 people were interested in my course, and packed into the atrium: 13 from Wisconsin chapters, 7 from Iowa, and 1 from Minnesota. The room I was given was not conducive to moving around, so we did it in a small hallway atrium. I had my fingers crossed the whole time that no one would come yell at us, and I guess it worked. Most of the activities went over pretty well and I got great evals, despite running out of worksheets, a too-small space, and the fact that the ceiling acted like an echo chamber so I pretty much spent the whole time talking as loud as I could. I found out the day of that I only had 45 minutes, when I had planned an hour (yikes!) but ended up running about 50-55 minutes, speeding up some parts and probably skipping something here or there. No one seemed to mind. It was a little disappointing that not everyone got to perform, but about 3/4 of the participants did.

Banquet was delicious, and Maggie gave a great keynote speech. I got to catch up with Andrea, an advisor I met in Pittsburgh and came up all the way from Chicago, and then we headed back to the hotel for the usual staff hangout/eval session, which is always a highlight. We packed into this tiny hotel room, pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder, and I couldn’t help but feel so appreciative that I was in the same room as all these amazing, lovely people: Andrea, Maggie, JKO, Ginny, Stockdale, Zach, Brandon, Michelle, Ding, Kate, Kelly, Derek, Kristin, Ken, and Glen (I think that was everyone), with appearances from Eden in Texas and Natalia in Minnesota via FaceTime. The best part was when a woman knocked on the door at midnight, not because we were loud, but because she was a bridesmaid at a wedding on the other side of the hotel and needed to pee so badly that she couldn’t make it back to her room. Of course we let her in, unfortunately we didn’t catch her name so we could make her a Section Chair or award her with a DSK. We did, however, applaud as she exited the bathroom, so that counts.

It’s cliche, I know…bu there’s no place like APO.

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What’s In My Entourage

Yes, I say what, and not who. You’ll understand by the end of this post.

Hello from Memorial Library, by the way. There’s something about blogging from a desktop that is way more satisfying than a laptop or a phone. I should look into doing this more often.

I usually don’t take too long to get ready to go out. Unless it’s winter, and I need my entourage. Simply put, my entourage is everything that I’d need for the day, and if I’m leaving anytime before noon, I need to make sure I have all of these things with me. Sometimes it requires multiple trips to the car. Most often, I end up not needing the majority of the items, but it’s good knowing that they’re with me, I guess. Here’s the lineup:

Entourage Checklist

  • Wallet
  • Phone
  • Earbuds
  • Keys
  • Sunglasses
  • Backpack (usually the majority of what’s listed below is in the backpack, if it fits)
  • Notebook
  • Journal
  • Hebrew-English dictionary
  • Translation pages
  • Index cards
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Address Labels
  • Scrap paper (to wrap things in)
  • Books for research
  • Books for pleasure reading
  • Books to be finished and swapped
  • Post-it flags
  • Comb
  • Hand cream
  • Tissues
  • Bookmarks
  • Sunscreen (finally removed now that winter has arrived)
  • Change purse
  • Laptop
  • Power cord
  • Phone charger
  • Headphones for laptop
  • Gym bag (usually contains the following items)
    • Shirt
    • Extra shirt
    • Underwear
    • Gym pants
    • Towel
    • Body wash
  • Empty cloth bags for grocery shopping
  • Cloth bag with Latin shoes/extra socks
  • Cloth bag with Standard shoes/extra socks

When I roll, I roll deep.

I might be a pack rat.

 

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Misfortune Cookies

**Revisiting this post from 10/16.**

Today, I had the good fortune to step into World Market, and the first thing I saw?

A container of black and orange fortune cookies labeled “misfortune cookies.”

Naturally, I had to buy them ($6.99!) and bring them to APO meeting.

They said cute things, but what if they said something like…

 

Things Halloween Fortune Cookies Might Say:

“Are you allergic to peanuts? Whoops.”

“Haha, you’re stuck with the check!”

“You lost the game.”

“Help! I’m trapped in a fortune cookie factory!”

“Made from 100% recycled paper. Toilet paper, that is.”

“I’m boo-ten free!”

“Dare you to fart and blame it on the guy next to you.”

“You don’t even want to know your fortune. Just stuff me back in the cookie.”

“Why are you reading a tiny piece of paper? Get a life!”

“Put the cookie down, fatass.”

“Lies! All lies!”

“Come play with me.”

“Oh no you di’int.”

“I’m right behind you.”

“Don’t you know to knock first? Rude…”

“If you plant me in the ground…nothing will happen.”

“You will regret ordering the moo goo gai pan, right about…now.”

“Where’s the cream filling?”

“That’s just the way I crumble.”

“Any questions?”

Image result for david s pumpkins

Image Credit: BuzzFeed