Saturday, 29 November 2008

Blogging About Blogging

Yes, aren't I brilliant? I sat down to blog and thought "Hey! Why don't I just blog about... blogging. After all... Saminda did it the other day."
Why I blog... well, maybe I should say that I blog because I write so much. I enjoy letting myself write down my thoughts and having a record of the things that happen. It's a way to let my friends know what's going on. It's a way to make new friends.
I can show my writings, my photos, my struggles and my joys. And, I can update people much faster than I could over emails.
But, I suppose I ought to answer a question asked of me by several people, most recently, by Saminda.
"How do you get the blog designs?"
Well, see the little box in the upper left-hand corner? The one that says "Free Backgrounds & More @"... yeah, that one. Well, you can click on that, and it will link you here. They have lots of backgrounds, and you can make your own if you suscribe to them. However, I'm far too cheap to pay to design my own, so I went to another spot on the site. In the last link, you can find all their free backgrounds.
Then what you do: you select a genre (Floral, Christmas, Shabby Chic, Vintage, Winter, etc.) and look through their little samplers. When you find one you like, you can click on it and it'll take you to a page with just that image on it. Then, you have your blog up on another window.
Make sure your blog is in the minima background. From there, go to Layout, select "Add and Arrange Page Elements" and click on "Add a Gadget". Now you can find where to add "HTML/Java Script" and that will take you to the 'configure' part. On the page that has the image you wanted, there should be a paragraph which is the html coding for that background. You copy and paste that into the HTML/Java Script box, and then click save.
That should update the background. Hopefully I didn't just confuse you badly. Anyways, if you have any questions, just post them in the comments and I'll try to answer them.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Black Friday, Coffee-Shops, and Bach

Could you say I have an interesting mix to talk about today? Well, maybe they're not so interesting to you, but they certainly made my day different.
A few days ago, a friend asked me to go Black Friday shopping with her. I told her I'd probably go, and so, every day since, she has reminded me that I was going to get up early this morning and go shopping with her at five in the morning. Of course, I warned her that most likely, I'd sleep through my alarm and it'd do no good.
However, at three thirty, my alarm went off and I did wake up. Rather grudgingly, I got dressed and carefully made sure that I didn't have that much money with me so that I wouldn't be tempted to spend too much. Then I quietly made my way upstairs and had breakfast and a little bit of coffee. I got the car started and then I was on my way.
I got to Freddy's at about fifteen till five, and it was a little chilly out. Kels hadn't made it yet, but she called to say that she would meet me inside. At five, they opened the doors and pandemonium broke loose. People were pushing and jostling and trying to get in before everyone else, which really just slowed everything down.
It didn't really take me that long to find what I wanted, and so Kels and Kirs (another friend) and I just walked around the store admiring things and trying not to be squashed to death. After an hour, we braved the check-out lines and I got out with paying only fifty. (Yes, I did put one thing back because they'd miss-marked it but really, I still count myself as having shown some remarkable restraint. You know those orange, lime and pink socks with grinning Grinch-goblins and Santa hats and Cheshire cats were tempting me so badly... and yes, I am referring to all of that packed on just one pair of socks)
When I came home, I checked my email and then dropped off to sleep. After all... it was seven by that point and I'd been up for three and a half hours when I would have normally been resting.
At six, I left again, this time headed for Kaladi's because my violin teacher was playing there tonight and had invited me to play for half an hour with her. I was a little nervous, but I think my excitement at getting to play there formally was greater.
She and I talked for a little bit, and then she began the night with some Christmas carols. One of the regulars there asked why I had a violin with me, and then she told me to come up and join her. I was pretty sure that I was going to completely ruin the pieces.
But wonders never cease. I did alright. So, I missed a few beats on the first bit, but for the two remaining sonatas, we were flawless. I was surprised with how many people told me afterwards how impressed they were with my playing. Even the barista, who's heard me play a little before informally, told me that he was really shocked when I started because he'd never paid much attention to my music before.
After most of the evening had passed, Emily - my teacher - started playing some Bach. It made me feel very happy, because I seldom get to hear Back performed. It seemed like it was just her and I; everyone else was talking and laughing between us, but they were worlds and eras away from me and her music. And I think she knew, or at least suspected.
Bach makes everything better. I think his music helps light up the dark times. And when I'm feeling discouraged or worried, it's his music that I turn to for comfort. I was sad when she stopped playing, but it made my car ride home much nicer.
Now, as it's late, I'm going to go to bed and attempt to stop pondering about shopping, coffee and Bach. (Although, in my mind, the last two are irrevocably linked...)

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks for Jhaniel. She has not only got me wishing I had eaten a jelly baby once, but also had me listening to crazy musicians just because she knew how much I loved Pachelbel.
On that note, I'm thankful for all my dear friends; here in Alaska, away at college, and all you whom I've never met, but still feel proud to call my friends.
I am thankful for all those whose blogs are on my linked-list, for being encouragement, inspiration, entertainment, and blessings in my life, whether or not you knew I was even reading your blog.
I'm giving thanks for my brother's sense of humour in calling me as soon as I woke up to tell me that he'd indeed made pies himself, and that they had been perfectly edible. All to prove that baking-ablities run in the family.
I'm thankful that Mum decided that we didn't need to make any more pies ourselves. And I'm thankful that she's healthy right now.
And of course, I am very thankful for my coffee-pot. A friend pointed out that I could be forced to drink instant coffee, and I am now extremely grateful for both our percolators. (And the very good coffee to be found in both of them right now!) Without coffee to keep me warm and cosy, winter would be almost unbearable at times.
And yes, I am thankful for the beautiful snow outside.
God has been very good to me.

Small-Town Alaska

Yesterday, there was shock and fright spread about our small little town. A friend of ours called us to make sure that none of our family was in town.
A man, a former employee of the hospital, had gone in there with an assault rifle. He opened fire, leaving one man dead and another severely wounded. Both were executives who had been over him, and probably were the ones who had fired him the day before. The director of the hospital was held up in his office.
As the man tried to flee the hospital, the cops shot him.
Things like this just don't happen in Alaska, well, not in small towns like ours. That may be why we were all so shocked to hear about it. It certainly woke me up to the fact that it's not just "some town" where "some guy shot other people"; it's another person, much like me, who has a hometown touched with sadness like ours was.
Sometimes, reality can be cold and harsh. And very sad. But, let us give thanks for those around us, our friends, our family, those alive and well, and those who have gone on. And pray for the family of the man who was shot, and the man who attacked in the first place.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Joys of Writing

Today, whilst at the store, I finally found some stationary! I was very pleased and am looking forward to writing more letters. The paper is actually just plain white (Jhaniel, rather like yours) and not at all what one thinks of as "stationary" if one is thinking something pink and flowery like the stuff used when writing thank you letters to relatives after birthdays and Christmas. (I was never very good at those.) But it was the best I could find, and really, was the only thing I've seen at the store in the eight months that I've been searching for stationary, and I am very happy to have it at last.
However, as I had already started writing two letters before getting the paper, I am afraid that my paper didn't go into use right away. I'm thinking of trying to write my brother again, but I have pretty much given up hope that he'll respond to me. Phones are more his style apparently, although I'm really fairly bad at expressing myself over them. (Writing, as you might have guessed, is my medium.)
As I finished up the letters, my computer was up, and suddenly, a chat box popped up from a friend. Well, of course, it happened to one of those whom I was writing. And as may be reasonably expected, he informed me of what was going on in his life right now... and answered about half the questions in my letter. Oh the joys of letter-writing and being shot-down by the internet, but I shall just have to tell him that it's his own fault the letter he wanted so badly is out-of-date now.
Plus, I got quite a bit of writing done and was very pleased with my progress on Jhaniel's birthday present. One of these days, it shall be finished! I feel rather silly that a two hundred (I hope) page story has taken me five months already. I'm going to have to work on my procrastination, I see.

Monday, 24 November 2008


No, this is not a post on a very wonderful book by Madeleine L'Engle. It is instead a post about how I have been accepted at both TU and HC. Now, I'm hoping to hear from Colorado Christian University soon, but I see no reason that I won't be accepted there either, so for now, we're just going to leave it as I am accepted.
But, the deal with HC was that they have a separate school of music. And one can be accepted at HC without gaining entry to the music school. However, I recieved a letter in the mail today saying that I'd gotten into that as well.

However, and this may shock some people:


There... did you get that? No? Um...

I have decided to change my major. That's right. I'm not going to major in music. I'll definitely minor in music, because I do enjoy it so much, but that won't be the focus of my next four years. Instead, I'm going to major in Professional Writing. Yes, that is more than just journalism, though journalism does figure into it. Basically, I'd be able to work as a journalist, an editor, or for a business in their publications department. And no, this isn't the result of one week's hasty decisions. I actually have been dabbling in the idea for months... especially the last two.
So, here is my public announcement... and now I'm going to scurry off to write somemore in my notebook of that requested story I've supposed to be working on according to Theophilus' college friends. (I have, really!) And no, I don't anticipate anymore major changes, since there are very few things I'd actually consider majoring in otherwise. Being a historian just doesn't pay enough. :) And below is a photo that somewhat reminds me of myself that I saw once on Andromanche's blog - and thus had to use for this! Very striking resemblance, and even the glasses are spot on.

Friday, 21 November 2008

I'm Singing the Blues

Some of you may have figured out that I love Christmas (could be that I've mentioned it a few times!) but maybe, just perhaps, I didn't say that I like Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

So, perhaps, my being upset at finding that on December 3, TSO is playing in Denver. And a friend of mine is going. But, I was only moderately upset, although his rubbing it in didn't help much. In my turn, I played my CDs almost all day to make myself feel better.
Then, this morning, Dad called me to let me know that if I'd made my college trip a month after we had (so, the first two weeks of December) I would have been able to see TSO in Buffalo, NY.
I was very, very upset and pouted for quite sometime. So now I'm singing the Christmas blues because you know that TSO won't come to Alaska, and if they do, it'll be after I've gone to college and before I come home for Christmas vacation.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

When God Says "Come"

I first heard this video on Barbara's blog a few months ago. It's very comforting to listen to.

Completely unrelated, I'm going to give you a link to a friend of Theophilus' vlog. I listen/watch it for entertainment... at last, someone geekier than I!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Pirates of Penzance! Mum got him the hat, I got him a sword...
Super-heroes! Isn't he just adorable?
And now he's a power-ranger. Yes, I have one with his helmet on too... just this one was too stinkin' cute to pass up.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Well, Actually...

While in New York, I got to meet my four year old cousin, Josh, who is quite the little character. Also, I got to go shopping and got a very adorable chocolate coloured beanie. After a while of playing with Josh, I tossed the beanie onto his head.

Me: Awww! You look like Oliver!!!

A little while later, I put my hat back on, and then he wanted it back.

Me: But it's my hat...

Josh: Well, actually, it looks cuter on me.

Me: Oh really?

Josh: Actually, yeah.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Home Again

I arrived home late on Saturday, and will leave it to the other blog for a full account of the trip. I'll say here that I had a wonderful time, took lots of pictures and was happy/sad to leave on Saturday.
My dear friend Halleymarie house-sat for us while we were gone, and cleaned up the place wonderfully for us. (Thanks!) Most of yesterday I was out of it, very tired and trying to readjust to the time and temperature differences.
Today, I jumped right back into my usual Monday schedule, and by the end of the evening, I was exhausted.
But it is very nice to be back home again. I really have to get back on top of things: emails, the house, blogging... so, I'll try to get back to posting every day and we'll see how that goes.

Friday, 14 November 2008


I would never have believed that two weeks could go so fast. However, today's my last day in New York, and Mum and I are leaving at about four thirty tomorrow morning. I'll attempt to get back into my usually posting behaviour, but the first few days back are going to go by in a crazy blurr.
I forgot to post yesterday about TWLOHA. Some of you may know about it: To Write Love On Her Arms. It wasn't official, but some people had an informal TWLOHA day. So I had "love" inked on my upper arm, along with "love" in a few other languages. Somehow or another, I forgot to take a picture of it. Maybe I'll do the same thing next week, awareness doesn't hurt.
Well, I have to pack up my bag, and then we're going over to my aunt and uncle's house for a family dinner. Which means I get to play with my little cousin (my new favourite person in the world) all afternoon. Yes, I'm taking my camera...

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

You Know You're Not In Alaska When...

Do you remember the old classic movie, The Wizard of Oz? (Dorothy: Oh no! We're not in Kansas anymore Toto!)

Well, today, I had the brief realisation: Oh my! We're not in Alaska anymore Mummy! We went shopping with my gramma, and while stopping at a little country store, Gramma pulled over to the side of the road to park. Other people did the same. That's when it hit me.

You know you're not in Alaska when people are along the side of the road and it isn't because their car broke down. Yep, that's right, my friends. These people had actually pulled over and they weren't hoping that someone would stop and help them out. I was absolutely amazed.

My keen, deeply profound observation was met with laughter from Mum and Gramma. However, it made a lasting impression on me. As in, I am still thinking about how weird it is. Yep, I'm not in AK anymore.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

In New York

Alright, I've been in New York state since Thursday, but was unable to access a computer until right now. I'll try to update more regularly, and see about posting photos from my trip.

I had a fairly nice time in TU, but when I got to HC, I had a blast. Andromanche was there as well, and everyone was really friendly.

Oh, and maybe I should mention that I found out that I have been accepted to HC and may qualify for their honours programme! And that means I could go either to London, or to the Balkans...

Such choices.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Where Cool Was Born

Early this morning, on our way to the first college we visited, I saw a sign for another small town nearby. It proclaimed itself as:
"The birth-place of cool: The town that gave America James Dean.
And Garfield too."

Well, Fairmount can keep Jimmy (I once wrote a six page report on how he and a few other stars began the modern myth of the American teen; I am not a fan of his.) for all that I care.
But, thanks Fairmount, for Garfield. You've made up to me for the other bit.

Actually, I should add what our driver said: "The birth-place of cool, Which left as soon as He got a car."
One more note, I never realized exactly how flat Indiana is. Rolling plains is right about the plains, but I'm still looking for the rolling.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Sign I Saw

While waiting for my first flight in Kenai, Mum pointed out a sign to me. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture.

Maybe you have an itch to play golf.
Maybe you have an itch to travel.
But maybe what you actually have is a rash.
- The American Association of Dermatologists.

The things I never knew...

Saturday, 1 November 2008

So Long!

Today, my piano teacher hosted a mini-recital for me to play my auditions pieces for a few people. I was so nervous that I decided to just ham around and play like I didn't care. Apparently, that worked well because no one seemed to suspect that my stomach had turned into a butterfly conservatory.
The best part was when I was done playing, everyone sat around discussing me and I got to eat cookies and drink tea. Just that makes the trials of nervousness over the trip very much worth it. And my butterflies disappeared; I suspect they got frozen.
We went shopping and got a few last things, including a new top for me to wear for my auditions. Cheers to anyone who can guess the colours. By the time we got home, I was more than ready to take a nap, but instead got turned onto apple-slicing duty. The good part of that is that the house now smells like cooked apples and cinnamon.

Well, this may be the last blog post for a while, since I leave early on Monday morning. But if we (or maybe just me!) are lucky, I'll be able to write sometime during my college visits. I'm going to definitely write once I get to my gramma's house. And since I'm going to be taking a ton of photos and will want to write all about my trip, I've decided to start a new blog!
Introducing: Daughter of December. First, it will be all about my trip and auditions, then I'll turn it over to poetry and stories, since I don't seem to get around to that on here. I probably won't update it nearly as much as this one, but feel free to check in every once in a while.

Just Too Cute

I saw this over at Mommy Life and fell in love with the little girl.

Isn't she just adorable? With that baby-doll too... wow. Such a cutie. :)
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