Why Camus is Responsible for Me Missing Class, Wanting a Tattoo, and General Other Tomfoolery

Hey, Readers.
In case you were sad or missed me (optimism), I apologize for going so long without writing. The problem was that I’ve been buried under a landslide of homework, especially relating to a class I’m taking called Senior Seminar. You have to take this class to graduate from my college, and basically all you do is write a really long essay. For some reason, I decided to specially arrange mine with a different professor and choose my own topic. I then proceeded, for some reason, to go with existentialism as my topic. I have been wading through an avalanche of Albert Camus for the past week. If you know nothing of existentialism, don’t look it up. It will probably make you very depressed. I find it fascinating, but somewhat overwhelming, and I’ve been drowning in something of an existential sea lately. I just finished (mostly) a book-long essay by Camus. It was admittedly pretty rough. But I’m here now, and hopefully I’ll be able to refrain from bombarding you with Camus-esque sayings and existential despair.
There’s been a strange repertoire of thoughts jostling around in my head for the last week; today was a Tuesday and in Political Geography Hitler guy continued to astound me with his painful awkwardness, constant commenter guy tried to chat with me, and Dr. Crow told a story about how for three days in a row in 2006 he beat geese with a stick at a local park. My mind was a little bewildered after class today.
I’ve also been terribly poor lately, and with my apartment bill coming due this week I’ve been avoiding shopping like the plague, and it’s been really hard, okay. I finally gave in yesterday and went to a thrift store with my friends, and even though all I bought was a shirt for 91 cents, I still felt a little better just for having tried clothes on. Speaking of, I’m going to be putting my outfit and my cute, less-than-a-dollar shirt on my other blog, so you should definitely do me a favor and check that out. If  $0.91 isn’t a bargain, I don’t know what is. Also, I don’t know the next time I’ll be able to go shopping because, frankly, the only way I’d have the money to is if someone took pity on me:

In the same vein of wildly improbable things that will never happen, I have decided that my next post is going to be a list of either my top favorite wedding dresses that I could never afford that I’ve ever seen on the internet, or my favorite hot guys I want to marry but will never even come within a mile of. Since I wrote so much on the hopeless romance of my life, I vowed to avoid it for awhile, but I have to comment on something frustrating- why is it that every hot guy you randomly see on TV, even if they’re not that famous, all already have girlfriends or are engaged? I was watching the FA Cup this weekend, which is a soccer tournament in England where all the lower level clubs get the chance to play bigger level clubs. There’s a lot of “giant-killing” that goes in, if you’re familiar with the term, which is why I love the FA Cup. In some instances, it’d be like if the University of Oklahoma basketball team beat the OKC Thunder. Now, I’ve already noted the fact numerous times that English soccer leagues seem to have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to hot guys (strangely, especially goalies), but the FA Cup has taught me this is true even in the lower levels of English soccer. Consequently while I was watching this weekend, I saw this super hot keeper playing for the lower league team. Naturally, I creeped him… and he was engaged. Sigh. And recently my favorite club, Tottenham Hotspur, signed a 22 year old player from Germany who is terribly attractive. I checked him out… and he has a long-term girlfriend. My plan to marry someone out of the English soccer league (they will have two of my big wish list items for a potential mate, an accent and a love of soccer) is never going to work if they all ruin it by already having significant others. It’s terribly inconvenient. I’d been planning for years to set my sister up with one of our favorite single players from Tottenham, only to discover he’d gotten married behind my back and ruined my dream of a sister/brother-in-law that would provide the necessary access to all these hot, young soccer guys. It’s no wonder that I’m so accepting of this:
catmates
This was made by my brilliant best friend Skye, by the way, and I was absolutely remiss in not including it in my last post, where it would’ve been so appropriate. However, the only slight alteration I would make is to change “spouses” to “spouse.” While I have no doubt that Skye (who is like one of those girls you see in movies, aka gorgeous, smart, funny, and yet still so genuinely nice that it’s impossible to hate her even a little bit) will end up with a spouse, I have my doubts about myself. But I don’t doubt that we will end up with cats together at some point in our lives, because we are catmates (our souls are bonded with friendship and a love of cats).
And if this is not proof enough that Skye is awesome, then let me just share something with you- she gave me the password to her Amazon Prime account so I can watch the second season of Downton Abbey online, since only the first is on Netflix. (At this point, I hope you’re saying, well of course this girl likes Downton Abbey. I assure you, it was inevitable). That is true best friendship. Sadly, the overabundance of Camus I’ve been soaking in lately has rather prevented me from actually catching up on Downton, much to my frustration.
Camus is also partially the reason that I missed my first class this morning. I was up really late trying to finish the Camus book essay I mentioned (The Rebel, if you’re interested), and it took me forever. And then, to compound matters, I got sucked into the black hole of the internet and started looking at literary tattoos, a topic I find fascinating since I plan to get one soon. Long story short, I was going to get approximately four hours of sleep when I laid down for bed, but then I couldn’t sleep. I maybe got two hours total before my alarm went off at 8:15. Groggily I rolled over to look at it in a stupor before hitting the snooze button. The third time it went off, I finally picked up my phone and actually looked at it. I randomly get the forecast on my phone every day, and what to my wondering eye should appear, but the alert that we were in a TORNADO WATCH. In JANUARY. That’s just Oklahoma for you, guys. One of the most famous quotes about this place is from Oklahoman Will Rogers, about how if you don’t like the weather here, wait a minute. It’s so true. Anyway, so I noted in disbelief that we were in a tornado watch, listened to the rain absolutely hammering down outside, considered the fact that I didn’t bring my rainboots to school this week because I had no idea it was going to rain, and decided I was going back to sleep. I’m not going to class during a tornado watch. Especially when I’ve been up all night reading Camus. It’s just too much for my soul to handle.
Something else that occupied my time last night is that I….drumroll, please… PAINTED MY NAILS! You might not be impressed with this, but you should be. I never paint my nails because I’m terrible at it and my nails are usually so short there’s barely anything to paint. I can’t stand for my nails to be long, plus I have tiny hands, and these two things combined make it look like a five year old has painted her nails whenever I do it. But I actually like how it turned out:


I always see nail tutorials that call for nail polish that costs tons of money, but I got those two colors and topcoat from Dollar Tree for $3. I call this look “The Shimmery Mermaid.” I’m sure you’re very impressed. Also, if you’re curious as to why I have the number 11 on my hand, it’s because that was the snack count for my kids today. Because that is what working at a daycare reduces you to- writing down snack count on your hands.
The last thing I want to talk about in this post is another thing that’s really been taking up my attention lately. I found this blog on Pinterest and decided to check it out, and let me just tell you, it’s awesome. It’s a list of ways to travel cheaply, something I am incredibly committed to doing. Pretty soon I’m probably going to do a travel blog post, where I show you pictures and talk about the different amazing places I’ve been able to travel to so far in my life. But from this other blog post, I have been poring over the first entry, Work Away, which allows you to select pretty much any country you might want to go to, and then shows you job openings from people all over the world. They can range from anything; from working on a carnival in Romania to house-sitting in the Swiss Alps to lambing on a Welsh farm. The variety is amazing, and the best part is that to be on this website, you must be checked out and verified as a legitimate host, so it’s safe. I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to take one of these jobs, now it’s just a matter of finding the right one! I’m sure I’ll be talking about it more in future posts.
Well, everyone, I feel like I’ve sufficiently bored you all with a glut of random, useless details from my life to make up for my week-long absence, so I’m going to wrap it up. Please check out the new outfit post on my other blog, and also, please check out this write-up that my wonderful, talented friend Lauren did over my blogs in her online article for a local newspaper. That’s also a sign of best friendship right there, when your friends use their job to promote your hobby! Go give her some love, and check out and like her photography page as well. She’s not just a wonderful writer, she is also an unbelievably talented photographer and she took my favorite picture of me ever.

Adieu,
Sara

PS I had to go with French tonight, because that is the nationality of the great Camus (even if he was born in Algiers, he was still very, very French).

Boots and Cats presents: #Forever Alone- A Story (Mostly) in Pictures

Salutations, Readers.
Tonight, I am attempting something a little bit new- a mostly pictorial blog post, including pictures and GIFS! So bear with me if it doesn’t go completely smoothly. There’s just something about gifs that I inherently love. They’re succinct, visually arresting, and yet often with convenient lines of text to really get the point across. Also, there’s an overwhelming variety of gifs that deal with my topic today, perhaps best described using a hash tag: #ForeverAlone.
As you all may know if you’ve read my About Me thing for this blog, I am already in training to become one of the greatest Crazy Cat Ladies of all time. It’s a point I take particular pride in, because I may not be able to do anything else exceptionally well, but by god can I love me some cats. I feel that at this time, I should present some evidence. Let me introduce you to my two cats. And just a note, I don’t even have my own house yet, and I still already have two cats. Observe:

If the Honey Badger were a cat.

If the Honey Badger was a cat.


Name: Boo-Boo
Age: 15
Gender: Male
Aliases: Boo, Boodle, Boo baby, Sweet Precious Baby Boy, Best Cat Ever



Name: Finn
Age: 2
Gender: Male
Aliases: Finny, Phineas, Finn-Finn, Finky, You Are The Craziest Cat Ever

An impressive resume so far, no? But someday I hope to get to this:

My story from today only reinforced my belief in this ultimate end for me, but I’ll drop a little background on you before I go further. A year or so ago I needed to buy new cleats for indoor soccer. There’s a somewhat limited number of places to buy nice cleats around where I live; generally everyone goes to a certain three stores owned by this guy from Iran. Well, in one of the stores, I had noticed a few times when I’d been in there that a gloriously attractive foreign man was working in the store. I admit this factored somewhat into my decision of which store to go look for cleats in. I was thrilled when he helped me pick out my cleats and I proceeded to post a photo to Facebook of them, with this caption: “Got new cleats for only $15 from my crush at Soccer USA! Someday, hot foreign mystery guy, I will ask your name.”  To my excessive embarrassment, one of my friends from college, Tiffany, commented telling me she was good friends with him and had worked with him at the store. I’d had no idea; I felt like the biggest creeper ever, only made worse by the fact that Tiffany was so nice about it and even offered to give me his number haha. My intensely shy, painfully awkward soul shuddered in horror.
Fast forward to 2012, right before I’m about to go back to college my senior year, and by a series of coincidences, Tiffany ends up becoming one of my roommates and subsequently one of my best friends. Of course, the hot, foreign guy is brought up (his name is Dragan, honest to god, and he’s from Macedonia), and a running joke is established about how Tiffany is going to set us up.
Now, finally back to today. I pinky promise to you I needed some new soccer socks; I only have one pair and I’m about to start playing indoor again after being off for like a month. But it’s possible that I could have bought soccer socks somewhere else. But Tiff hadn’t seen her good friend Dragan in ages, so why not go to the old soccer store so she could say hi and I could buy my socks? Two birds with one stone, guys. We got there, he was hot as ever, and he and Tiff chatted as I pretended to look at socks but really creeped horribly. Eventually it came up in the conversation that he was going home over the summer for his sister’s wedding and Tiffany, bless her heart, says “Ah, does that mean you’re going to get married?” I waited, ears perked and with bated breath. And this is the reply I heard, “Ew, no! I’m not getting married until I’m thirty. No relationships, single is much better!”

…………………………………

all by myself gif
We left pretty quickly after that, mostly because Tiffany had class but also because I was crushed. I didn’t even want to buy my socks anymore, but Tiffany was buying a shirt so I went ahead. I wanted to ask if they had any of these shirts available for purchase as well:

72 cats

It’s a rough life out there for the single ladies. Especially for those of us who prefer cats and books to flirting. And trust me, when I say I am painfully awkward around boys I like, I’m not even kidding. I once tripped a guy I liked… in college. But that’s for another day. It’s not necessarily even that I’m shy, it’s just that I am rather different and well aware of the fact. I am seriously the most boring, tame person ever. You all might think I’m over-exaggerating, but consider this. For my twenty-first birthday, do you know what I did? I ate at Red Lobster. With my family. Including my Nana, who is in her seventies. I had one drink. And then I went home. But hey, I was pretty tired, because that morning I’d gone to the zoo. For my twenty-first birthday.
But perhaps you don’t think that’s even that bad. So let’s take what I did for my eighteenth birthday…. I went polka dancing at the local Czech Hall, because we totally have one of those. Yep, polka dancing. This is why at pretty much every party I’ve ever been to in the history of ever, this is me, to some degree:

awkward darcy
Because honestly, I’d rather be at home reading a romance novel. It’s so much easier; I still get the charming love story but I can expend zero effort while cuddling with my cats. It’s really the ideal situation (and perhaps this is why I haven’t had a boyfriend since I was 16). I do go out places sometimes, and my friends always encourage me to put myself out there and talk to boys,  but it’s just so scary:

he could hear me

Trying to find a significant other just requires so much effort; it makes me want to take a nap just thinking about. Sleeping Beauty is really the smartest of the Disney princesses because she just took a nap and let the hottest Disney prince (#TeamPhillip) do all the work. That’s a game plan I can absolutely get behind. Disappointingly so far in my life, taking a nap like Aurora and reading endlessly like Belle hasn’t lured a prince in yet. I’ve tried some other methods:

Get milkshakes, they said. The boys will come, they said. #wherearetheboys?

Get milkshakes, they said. The boys will come, they said. #wherearetheboys?

 So far, however, this is the closest I’ve gotten to any interest:

camel kiss

We didn’t exactly suit. I know beggars can’t be choosers, but a girl has to have some standards. So, unless something very unexpected comes along (for example, someone like this little Romeo, except not 9 years old), I fully assume that my life is going to end up being some sort of combination of this:


Hope you guys enjoyed all the pictures/gifs and got a little bit of a kick out of how excited I am to be a Cat Lady. But it’s like my grandpa always said*, “Cats, don’t judge you; cats understand.” My ultimate goal is to get a cat named Peeta so I can say that’s who I share my bed with every night, and that’s why I’m going to be #ForeverAlone.

Valete,
Sara

PS I decided to go with Latin, because it’s as dead as my love life. According to this person, “valete” means good-bye or stay strong, which I encourage all my other single, book-loving, cat crazy comrades to do. And speaking of books, I’m going to take a moment to emphatically promote the book The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen; it’s one of the best I’ve read in the last ten years and I highly recommend it. She’s also having a contest to give away a copy of the upcoming sequel; I am on absolute tenterhooks waiting for it to come out!
Lastly, I want to encourage you to check out another blog post with gifs that I just happened to stumble upon the other day where a girl shares her experience with braces. It’s very short, but I was pretty much in tears because I was laughing so hard when I finished. It’s worth a read so check it out!

*My grandpa never said this ever in his life that I know of.

A Spoiler Alert to Freshmen: You Know Nothing, and Children Abuse Slides

Dear Readers.
There are many things in my life that I question myself about. I go through the world, probably 68% of the time, pretty much just wingin’ it and hoping the way I think stuff will go in my head is actually how it’s going to translate into real life. As a normal human being who is completely and disappointingly lacking in superhero-esque or TV character-like powers of foresight, I don’t know that when I make a decision that it’s going to bear itself out as the correct one. My inclinations, sadly, can be incorrect and go decidedly awry.
And then there are things that I one hundred percent for sure know are true.
Two of these things came to my attention rather forcefully today. The first involves college. I can remember like it was yesterday my freshman year of college; arriving at school all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, on the verge of turning EIGHTEEN and pretty much being sure that I was a responsible, mature woman now who just had her life totally together.
It pains me now to think of that degree of intense, pathetic, sweet naivete. I thought I knew things when I started college; now I’m convinced college’s main lesson is to teach you that you don’t know anything. One of my classes where I feel the sting of this lesson keenly is in Dr. Crow’s Political Geography of the Modern World, every Tuesday and Thursday from 12 to 1:25pm. Dr. Crow is completely insane, and naturally one of the most beloved teachers on campus, including by me. You just honestly never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. From a man I am paying to teach me things, this is a quality I can respect; I like the surprising relevance and/or usefulness of whatever he’s telling us. What  I do not like about that class is that I arrive to it early. I get out of my first class at 11ish on Tuesday and Thursday; I eat lunch, and since it does not take me an hour to do it, I usually just stroll on over to class around fifteen minutes early.
Now, my college is a liberal arts college. We attract, how should I put this, interesting people. But hey, to each their own and all that, I tend to enjoy that diversity. And then, there are the times when I am subjected to soliloquies 
by kids in trench coats and round polarized glasses over the major mistakes Hitler made that caused his defeat. He actually stood up from his seat at the front of the class and gave a little mini-lecture to the approximately four of us that were there early. This guy’s voice was admiring of Hitler, I kid you not, and he sounded almost disappointed in the man, like he couldn’t quite believe someone whose mental acumen he so admired could’ve  made such fatal mistakes. Another legacy I’ve taken from college is a much deeper and even more horrifying understanding of the Holocaust, so I can’t exactly say that I was feeling too receptive to his tone. But it wasn’t just a sense of disappointment in Hitler that I felt a touch annoyed by; the kid was clearly just trying to show off his extensive World War II knowledge and prove that he was smarter than Hitler and never would’ve made such silly mistakes. I was most appreciative when one of the other people being subjected to this interrupted to say bluntly, “It’s easy to say that in hindsight.” The kid seemed completely stymied by this brilliant logic, and thankfully Dr. Crow came in almost immediately after so I didn’t really have to hear what he would’ve countered with. That was last week.
Today, Dr. Crow was on an especially crazy roll (we touched on mass serial killers at parent teacher conferences all the way to  how the world was going to turn into the plot of Mad Max), but he was saying some important and viable stuff. Of course, there’s the kid who sits in the corner who generally has an obnoxious comment to chime in with once or twice during class (there’s ALWAYS one), but he too was on a roll today. There seemed to be almost the shimmer of a heat wave in the corner he sits in today from the heat of the hostile stares directed at him. At one point during the class, he somehow managed to mention how he was a freshman taking an upper level class, and I actually said out loud to the girl in front of me, “Oh, of course he’s a freshman.”
So this is the first thing I realized today. T
he way you know for certain it’s time for you to graduate college is when you start disdainfully and grumpily talking smack under your breath about the stupid people in your class and tossing the word “freshman” around like a slur, and you subsequently feel triumphant when your assessment of them is proved right. Hitler guy is also a freshman, you might be shocked to hear. It makes me feel like some crotchety old woman who just wants to crush all that determined but often misguided confidence that seems to linger, aura-like, around underclassmen. It’s not fair, really, because there are some upperclassmen that I should probably never be left alone with, and there are equally delightful underclassmen. But as a senior in college, I know  that I actually don’t know anything, and I just want to yell out my bitter disillusionment in the form of  sayings like “You’re an idiot” and “You don’t know anything.”
This actually makes college sound very pointless and disheartening, and I didn’t have that intent at all. College is lovely; it’s very freeing realizing I don’t really know much. I mean, it’s a huge responsibility to have all the answers; now, as I’m about to graduate college, I have the whole world to go into and figure things out. So, shameless endorsement of the day, go to college because education is the bulwark of civilization, and if Dr. Crow is to be believed we need to really work on keeping up the whole civilization thing so Mel Gibson doesn’t end up the leader(?) of the world (I’ve never actually seen Mad Max).
And education leads me into my second realization of the day. As many students must, I had to get a job while I was in high school and continue it into college. Aside from approximately two years overall working in restaurants (an experience that will convince you, if nothing else, that getting an education is worth it), I have spent the majority of my laboring years working at daycares. For many people this is a horrifying prospect, but I love kids and actually enjoy (usually) my job. I’ve been working in daycare going on four years now, and it’s one of the things I’m most grateful for. Honestly, I don’t know if there’s anything else in my life that has matured me as quickly as being responsible for numerous, small, astonishingly foolish lives (it’s almost reminiscent of how I feel around some freshmen). You get it together pretty quick if you want to be a successful daycare worker. Now, one of my responsibilities at various instances through out my daycare career has been to monitor kids while they play on the playground. For instance, playgrounds tend to be accompanied by slides. One of my greatest fights as a teacher is to make sure children go down a slide properly. If you’ve never worked with kids, this seems rather silly, doesn’t it?  I mean, it’s pretty simple. You walk up the stairs, you go down the slide. Ah, but if you think this, you have clearly never worked with children.
Because kids seem to love nothing better than to climb up the slide and even, at times, to try and slide down stairs. I don’t understand it, but it is undeniable. It happens constantly. Unfortunately for me, this is, for some reason, one of my greatest pet peeves. Perhaps it’s because the function of a slide should be so incredibly simple: up stairs, down slide. And yet, no matter how many times you get onto them, they will do it WRONG over and over and over again. It makes me slightly crazy.
So, my great second realization of the day? I was taking a nap, as I do whenever humanly possible, and I actually had a nightmare (yes, a nightmare, as in I was horrified and upset during and felt very stressed out when I woke up) about a giant play structure, absolutely FILLED with slides, and all of the kids were going the wrong way on all of them. I was supposed to be monitoring this, but the kids just ignored me, and even said mean things, and I was powerless to stop them. When I woke up, I realized that I have been working in daycare for far, far too long.
These two realizations actually lead me to a third, almost overarching epiphany of the day: I may not have any idea what I’m going out into the world to do, I may be just blindly hoping that the plans I make for my future will somehow come out right, I may be shortly wingin’ it 100%.
But what I do know, for sure, is that it’s probably time for me to be done with college.

Kwaheri,
Sara

PS Okay, so I feel stupid now because I said last time that I was going to say goodbye in Kenyan, but that’s not even a language. As the Google taught my ignorant self, the national languages of Kenya are English and Swahili. My closing for today is the Swahili word for goodbye.

 

 

Run, Rainboots, Run

Well, Gentle Readers.
I’ve got to be honest about something- and don’t worry, it has nothing to do with my eating habits- but the truth is, I hate running. I really do. It’s been inconvenient throughout my life, as I really enjoy sports and have been playing soccer since I was about three or four. Perhaps you’ve read the book Maniac Magee or even  A Separate Peace, but if you haven’t, let me brief you on a common theme in both- running. In both books (if I’m remembering correctly, since the first I read in sixth grade and the second I read sophomore year of high school), the main characters struggle with running at first, but then somehow run so much that they break through some invisible barrier and then find within them the ability to run almost endlessly, on some magical, fleet-footed plane.
From the age of three when I began soccer, until the beginning of junior year of college, when I opted not to play college soccer after going through offseason, summer workouts, and a single preseason practice, and the years of volleyball and tennis that occurred within that time frame as well, I never, ever, ever ran myself into that magical place. I never even came close. I think perhaps, somewhere in the back of my mind, I kept hoping that somehow that would happen. But let me reassure you, again, that it did not. Of course, my opinion of the short novel A Separate Peace  can be summed up quite neatly in a Facebook group I joined many years ago titled “A Separate Peace Should Be Pushed Off A Tree.” Hopefully, if you’ve read the book, you’re having a very hearty laugh right now. For those of you who, luckily, have not, let me just say that I hate the book. Strongly hate it. So perhaps it was unwise to pin my faith on something from within it.
But what, I hear you questioning, in a long-suffering voice, is the point of this? Well, it’s just this. I hate running, passionately, until I don’t. That’s stupid, and doesn’t make sense, you say, quite logically. But let me assure you, it does. And if you hate running as much as I do, I’m going to grant you this magical exception to your own rule.
Last year, a good friend of mine suggested we do something called The Color Run in Tulsa. Possibly you’ve heard of these; you run a normal race, except I don’t think it’s quite as serious as normal organized races, and periodically along the way, people throw brightly colored handfuls/packets/boxes of cornstarch on you. It sounded somewhat strange to me when I first heard it, but I watched the promo video and was absolutely hooked on the idea. I don’t know why, because there’s not really much difference from normal running other than you get covered in a dyed baking ingredient. But, as you might have read about or seen on TV, India has an entire festival dedicated to this very act, called Holi, and it is a big deal there. And, you all, there is a lot of people in India, so maybe there’s something to this crazy talk.
But back to how this pertains to me, and not hating running. Unfortunately, the deadline for The Color Run was somehow missed by myself, and I did not end up going to it, much to my disappointment. So imagine my joy when I happened to see a Facebook ad telling me about something called The Color Me Rad 5K, coming in July 2012 to OKC! Not only was it cheaper than the Tulsa run, but it was much, much closer. I tried in vain to persuade my friends to join me, but no one could or wanted to for some reason or another. My sister claimed she was too poor; one of my best friends was selfishly studying abroad in Spain for a month (how dare she take the opportunity of a lifetime, booked ages before I even knew a color run existed), and another was going to be on vacation. Truthfully, I think it was just that no one wanted anything to do with something that had the words “run” and “Oklahoma in July” in the description. Luckily, and I really do mean it was lucky, one of my oldest and dearest friends Kasey Phipps, who’s more a sister than a friend to me, gamely agreed to try the madness with me, and we signed up and committed ourselves.
Now, July started out very rough for me. My Papa died fairly unexpectedly early in the morning on July 5. It was a shock; a horrible, painful shock. And I don’t know if I would’ve be able to get through it with even a modicum of the fortitude I managed if it wasn’t for Kasey. She and her mom came over to my Nana’s that afternoon; they brought us dinner and flowers and a card. They also brought support. Most of my Papa’s family has either already passed on or lives very, very far away, so there were only a handful of us present at his funeral. Kasey was one of them. She held my hand through the service and brought a smile to my face at a very dark time. That’s why, when on July 14 we rolled up to the OKC State Fairgrounds to get ready for the run, there was no one I would rather have been with, except my Papa. What followed was one of the most deliriously fun experiences of my life. There’s simply no word for it other than “fun.” I laughed, I sprinted, I walked, I was absolutely drenched in color, and I think the same goes for Kase. We wore ponchos home so we didn’t stain her car seats. Let me just tell you something; wearing a plastic poncho in a car with black seats when it’s July in Oklahoma and you’re covered in sweat, water, and cornstarch is a disgusting prospect. No amount of A/C is going to help you. To give you an idea of what we looked like, I present to you actual photographic evidence of fun:

Our lovely sunglasses that were included with the sign-up fee.

Our lovely sunglasses that were included with the sign-up fee.

Kasey as Colorful, Poncho Marilyn Monroe

Kasey as Colorful, Poncho Marilyn Monroe

Me as Colorful... well, Colorful Something.

Me as Colorful Poncho… well, Colorful Poncho Something.

One of my favorite pictures ever, right after the race had finished.

One of my favorite pictures ever, right after the race had finished.

Let me tell you how to overcome a dislike of running- infuse color bombs, sister-friends, no actual required running, and an amazing team name like “Colors of the Wind” (IT’S MY TEAM NAME NO COPIES OKAY). If you have not done a color run, let me strongly suggest at this time that you sign up as soon as possible to do so. Speaking of, I come to the reason why color runs suddenly came to my mind this post- I SIGNED UP FOR THE 2013 COLOR ME RAD 5K YESTERDAYYYY!!!! And not only is Kasey joining me, but we’re bringing along some friends to experience the joy with us. I cannot WAIT for Rachel to do this. And, even better, the run is in May this year instead of July. So anyone reading this who was thinking, I still don’t want to be outside in July, NO EXCUSES! Sign up now, seriously. I linked it just above there, and at the beginning of the post as well, so get out there and do it. It was honestly one of the best experiences of 2012 for me by far. And, even better, a portion of the race funds go to a local charity. This run also isn’t just in Oklahoma; they’re doing them all over the country at all times of the year so any out-of-staters reading this, I encourage you to check it out and see if there’s one coming to a city near you this year. I’m not sure what The Color Run, which is done by a completely different group, is like, but the people of Color Me Rad were ridiculously nice, gave out tons of free things, and just organized an all around wonderful event. But I know there are lots of different color runs out there, and if they’re half as fun as the one I did, I really hope you’ll give it a shot.

This segues perfectly into the other thing I wanted to talk about tonight. It’s been really neat, the two major things I wanted to talk about yesterday just happened to tie together perfectly (almost as a bathrobe would tie together…. BOOM, see what I did there?). And then today I knew I wanted to talk about the color run, and I just happened to find something I really wanted to talk about too that fits in seamlessly to my running theme.
I see many things on Facebook that make me sad to live on this planet. Many of the things I see just on the internet in general make it easy to start getting really cynical about the human race. But today, Facebook brought me something that made my day just as much as knowing come May 11 I’ll be getting absolutely plastered with color and good times. I happened to read about this story. In December, Spanish runner Ivan Fernandez Anaya was running a long-distance race. He was in second place, with no real chance of catching the leader, an Olympic runner from Kenya. Suddenly, however, the leader, Abel Mutai, pulled up ten meters short of the finish, mistakenly thinking he’d already crossed the finish line. Anaya had a perfect chance to race past him, but instead slowed down, stayed behind the man, and gestured him the last ten meters to the finish line.
The story pretty much brought me to tears. I am a strong believer that showing class is more important than winning, but many professional athletes- heck, most athletes I know of, professional or not- don’t really feel the same. I’ve just always felt that, when it comes down to it, it’s just a game/race/whatever it is. I’d rather be remembered for my character than the number of wins, and it’s always nice to see someone who apparently agrees. But even more, there is just kindness here. People were apparently shouting to Mutai that he needed to keep going, but he didn’t speak any Spanish. He had no idea. Imagine how bewildering that would be; you’ve just given a race winning performance and think you get to celebrate your victory, when suddenly everyone is shouting at you and you turn around and an opponent is bearing down on you and you have no idea what is happening. But kindness obviously transcends language barriers.
I don’t have a great, philosophical point or really much more to say that the article doesn’t tell you. I just think that we should celebrate and share any and all acts of kindness and class, and I wanted you to know about it if you hadn’t heard of it already.

I’ll end on a completely different note. I don’t even know how it happened, because the internet is a black hole where I lose all sense of meaning and memory. But somehow, in the unknown amount of time I spent puttering around on my computer last night, I came across these:
raining cats and dogs wellies

I. AM. OBSESSED. These absolutely CHARMING wellies by Emma Bridgewater say “it’s raining cats and dogs,” and are accompanied by little pictures of dogs and kitties. I cannot express to you how deeply I love these. I spent probably an hour trying to find out how I could acquire a pair of these, but they are unfortunately only made in the UK and not many are produced that I can tell. The cheapest (well, really the only) place I could find them sold them for about $75, after international shipping was added. I am rather crushed by this fact. If you didn’t catch on to this from hearing  I have a bargain fashion blog dedicated to whole outfits for under $25, you might guess that I cannot afford a $75 pair of rainboots. However, as I have mentioned once or eight times, I’m about to graduate from college. And what graduation gift better says I want you to be prepared for the real, adult world than… a pair of Wellingtons? Yes, I think that certainly makes sense. To help me while splashing through life’s puddles, or something like that. I can sell that. Right. But really, where there’s a will there’s a way, and I am rather desperate to have these boots, come hell or high water, which these would be lovely to wade through in. And with that last saying I’m going to end this mish-mashed paragraph of idioms.
But hey, these totally tie into my running theme anyway. You run on your feet, and rainboots go on your feet! And, when we did the color run last year, we wore ponchos afterwards, and you wear ponchos when it rains, just like rainboots! See?! Nailed it.

Hasta luego,
Sara

PS I know I already used Spanish as one of my goodbyes, but I said “good night” then and this means “see you later,” and I felt like I just had to do a Spanish goodbye after reading that article, you know? I think I’ll do Kenyan next, though :)

The Importance of Bathrobes

Ladies (and perhaps some men?).
Do you ever play the weight game when you go to the doctor’s office? You know, when the inevitable moment comes and they make you step on the scale so they can record just how many reasons society tells us we have to hate ourselves. For me, I always mentally go through to try and find pounds that I feel justified in subtracting from my total.
For example, today I allowed myself to knock off at least ten pounds. I took off a few because I didn’t even remove my shoes; surely those are very heavy, I thought to myself, ignoring the fact that I was wearing fake Keds that are just a bit of canvas and plastic slapped together. I took away a few more pounds because I had on a very heavy sweater, and also for the big metal heart necklace I was wearing. I subtracted a little more because I had eaten lunch barely thirty minutes prior, and my stomach was stuffed full of delicious, unhealthy, heavy (probably) things. Finally, I deducted a few imaginary ounces because my phone was still in my pocket, and it’s really big and it has a thick, sturdy case.
Now, I have absolutely no desire to check the actual math behind these calculations because, 1) I am terrible at math and I hate it, and 2) I recognize, in my hearts of hearts, that I’m probably just a little heavier than I’d like to think I am. However, I’m healthy, fairly active, and finally coming to a place where I’m getting more comfortable with my body image. So I’ll happily incorrectly estimate weights in my head to soothe that ever nagging voice of society that says I should weigh approximately one hundred pounds, heedless of all factors such as height, body type, and BMI index.
As you all know if you’ve read my last two posts, I was essentially certain I was sick. I went by the local clinic today to confirm, and optimistically procure some medicines that would help end my coughing/nose running misery. The nice nurse ran through a list of symptoms to see if I had them, and when she asked me if I’d had any nausea, I was very quick and vehement to answer that I had not. I wanted to be very clear on that point. Let me explain why.
Last semester, Friday, December 7th to be exact, I had exactly one final standing between myself and Christmas Break. Unfortunately, in the wee hours of the morning, I became violently, excessively nauseated/ill. I will generously spare you the gory details, but from about five in the morning until two that afternoon, I was helpless to move more than five feet from a trash can/toilet. My mother had to drive all the way up to my college town, approximately forty-five minutes away, to get me and take me to the doctor.
As anyone who has had a stomach bug will know, your looks tend to be the very last thing on your mind at the time. That’s why I unashamedly stumbled into the doctor’s wearing a leopard bath robe with a bright red lining, sweat pants, and an extremely over-sized t-shirt. I’m not sure if my hair even qualified as being in a bun or not, because it was in such a transitional state between up and down that I find it hard to judge in retrospect.
The doctor came in and asked me some of my symptoms, and when I told him it was basically just intense, violent nausea and some dizziness, he got a certain look and began questioning me about delicate lady things (I’ll attempt to bury my meaning behind euphemisms here for you all). When he detected some irregularity within them, he asked me whether I might want to take a pregnancy test. I quickly reassured him that the irregularity was completely normal, actually, and there was absolutely no need for me to take a pregnancy test. He kept glancing at my mom, and he asked me repeatedly if I was sure. When I promised there was not even the slightest chance at all that I could be pregnant, he subsided, but I could see it in his skeptical eyes that he did not believe me.
On one hand, I can see how the circumstances would support his theory. On the other, I ROLLED UP WEARING A LEOPARD BATHROBE ACCOMPANIED BY MY MOTHER. I wanted to assure him that the only men interested in me were my cats and dogs (in a related note, the status I made over that was one of my most popular on Facebook, receiving an uplifting total of 68 likes and 21 comments. Perhaps some small recompense for being wrenchingly ill and subsequently embarrassed).
Thankfully, when I saw the doctor this time, and in the absence of my mother no less, he made no mention of pregnancy and seemed to have no memory of my previous visit. I attend an urgent care clinic right by my house instead of a regular doctor, so I think that helps blur my patient history in his mind. The whole consultation didn’t take more than five minutes, and he simply prescribed me some routine medicine for the sinus infection I had, the most common and repeated diagnosis that plagues the Rowe family.

This evening, we went to my Nana’s house, an easy task as she lives next door to us. My Nana is one of the most wonderful and loving people I have ever met; she’s also one of the hardest-working, stubborn people I know, and she’s spoiled my sister and I shamelessly for our whole lives. It’s been very hard lately, because my Papa, her husband of fifty-two years, died last July. To say she was devastated is an understatement. But, in a way I know my ornery Papa would approve of, it has helped bring us even closer to her and allowed us to spend more time together and finally, finally allowed us to make her let us spoil her back. Tonight, I ate a large, tasty dinner and two pieces of dessert pizza, and let me tell you I don’t even care and I was not the slightest bit ashamed. Do yourself a favor, if you have never had Papa Murphy’s cinnamon dessert pizza, go out right now and buy one and devour it because OHMYSWEETDELICIOUS.
Sitting on the couch by my Nana, I was feeling that food coma euphoria and, combined with the slightly drugging effects of my freshly prescribed medicines, I was getting very drowsy. It seemed only natural to lay my head down on my Nana’s lap while we watched the OKC Thunder (THUNDER UP WOOOOOO WE BEAT THE MAVS TONIGHT!!!!) game. She just brushed one hand over my hair and held my hand with the other; she was sitting in the seat on the couch that my Papa always used to sit in. I was warm and full, and she was wearing the robe she’s had since longer than I can remember, navy blue with red stitching, that I used to put on and promenade around in when I was a little girl, with the bottom dragging behind me like a wedding train because I was so small and she has always been very tall.
In that moment, I was reminded of something very important. I’ve admittedly been very stressed lately, wondering what I’m going to do with my life, both right after graduation and in the long run. I’ve experienced this sense of aimlessness and doubt that writing and the world it entails is really what I’m meant to be doing, and I’ve desperately been trying to make sense of what I’m supposed to accomplish with my life. Lying there, head in her lap, I was reminded of the plain fact that every single moment I experience is my life. There’s not some great objective or goal I have to accomplish for my life to have meaning; no particular moment in my life will last any longer or shorter than another, even if it feels like it, and I can appreciate each one for simply being what it is: my life. Maybe I don’t know for sure what every aspect of my future will look like, but I do know what right now looks like. And at that particular “right now,” my cheek registering the familiar feel of my Nana’s robe and the clasp of her soft, work-worn hand in mine, my life was a few moments of peace.
It was an important moment in the crazy commotion of my last semester of college, but also for the entirety of my life. It’s such a simple concept, but it’s easy to lose sight of. But I am trying to remember that every moment is one to be grateful for, just as I’m grateful to you for reading my blog!

Guten Abend,
Sara

PS Tonight I go with the German words for “Good evening,” a tribute to my Nana, whose maiden name was Pankratz and whose grandfather spoke German!

Cat-Lovin’, Beatboxin’, Cupcake-Gorgin’ (The Less Well-Known Journey Song)

Oh, Dear Readers.
I’ve done something that I feel so guilty over, that I had to confess it to you all.
Don’t be too alarmed, however. I didn’t break any laws (that I know of), so don’t worry I’m about to put you in a moral quandary where you wonder desperately if it’s worth reporting a random blogger to some sort of authority figure.
But it’s pretty bad. My only excuse is that, I am most definitely sick. It’s part of the reason I’m still awake at two in the morning even though I feel somewhat miserable (one of the most apt words to describe how I feel when sick). I just can’t sleep for the coughing. So, not only can I excuse it by being sick, but also because I’m sleep-deprived.
My sister, Rachel, is an early childhood education major at the same college I attend. She’s actually almost exactly five years older than me , and she already has one degree. She’s now getting a second, because she’s just that smart. Haha or in reality, because she got the wrong degree the first time and couldn’t do anything with it.
Anyway.
Well, tonight she made cupcakes for a children’s class she works with as part of one of her degree classes. She was so overwhelmed with all the things she needed to do, that she asked me to ice said cupcakes for her. I was somewhat disgruntled by this, because I have an intense, overwhelming love of dessert, and I mean-spiritedly didn’t like the thought that those kids were going to get all the cupcakes while I did all the work. For a dessert lover, making and not partaking is rather difficult. Cue the perfectly apt Zooey Deschanel/Jess from New Girl quote:
dessert

It bewilders me how people can not like dessert. It’s a running joke in my family that no matter how full I am after having eaten, I have a separate “dessert tank” that’s always ready and waiting.
Well, tonight at dinner, I was denied one of my favorite desserts, a vanilla shake from a particular restaurant. I was already feeling resentful because of this, and then my sister basically guilts me into icing her cupcakes. Can you just imagine me, in the state I was in, icing STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES without being able to eat them?
But then, miracle of miracles, my sister informs me that there’s enough for my mother and myself to each have one. I ate mine before I even started icing. But I wanted another. So it was still torturous icing those cupcakes. Then, as in a dream, my sister tells me, “Oh, I only need sixteen for my class. You can have another if you want.” I finished icing those cupcakes in record time. What followed was a very bad thing.
I ate not one, not two, but three more cupcakes. In a period of about four to five minutes.
But there, I’ve confessed it. I don’t want to remember that it happened any longer. So moving on.

I realized that, in my last post, perhaps I should have gave some explanation of why my blog is called, somewhat strangely, Boots and Cats. It’s not, as I’ve just realized it might appear to be, a reference to Puss in Boots in any way. Not that I don’t love an Antonio Banderas-voiced feline as much as the next person, but the reasoning is a little more obscure.
Last semester I was hanging out with some of my smart college friends, and we somehow came to be discussing how, if you say “boots and cats” very quickly, it sounds like you’re beatboxing. You can try it yourself.
In the meantime, I worked very hard to make a little video for you all of me attempting this. I unfortunately discovered you must pay for the WordPress upgrade if you want to be able to embed something like that. So next I cleverly thought, I’ll just make a YouTube video and link it. Annnnd…. Success!
Here: http://youtu.be/N5L0QWgT1n4
I apologize for the terrible quality, my repeated sniffling, and my ham-handed attempts to show you my cats. As you might have guessed, I am not proficient in the making of the videos.
Now, as to how this relates to blog naming. One of my friends, after a rather pathetic but enjoyable period of us beatboxing via this method, had a sudden epiphany and pointed out to me that it would have been the perfect name for my other blog, in which I recently had raved about how much I love to wear tall boots. I also happen to be a (proud) Crazy Cat Lady, so the cat part made perfect sense. When I decided to start a new blog, it was the obvious choice. And thus, Boots and Cats was born.

Now, it has come unpleasantly to my attention that, no matter how whimsically perfect my page theme looks to me, for some strange reason, one stray balloon lurks over the midst of my post. With some scrolling, it can be moved, but I find this very annoying. However, none of the other free WordPress themes appeal to me nearly so much. So, I put the question to you all- do you mind the balloon? Or shall I keep trying other themes? Please sound off in the comments, it would mean so very much to me. And also, I would absolutely love if anyone wanted to make a video of themselves “boots and cats” beatboxing. I would certainly proudly display it in my next post :)

Farvä´l,
Sara

PS My closing, according to this very professional-looking site I googled, supposedly is Swedish for “Farewell.” It also says the word is “outmoded, often used in a melodramatic way.” I quite liked the sound of that. I am planning on ending each post with a closing in a different language, so feel free to comment with any other language closings you may know!


And So It Begins

Heyyyy errybody.

naps

So. I thought I’d just start off straightforward with you all. I really, really, really like to sleep. Honestly, I’m afraid I’m never going to amount to anything but sleepy. It also, at times, affects my productivity. And that’s part of the reason I took so long to write my first post on here.
The second reason is, I couldn’t think of the right thing to say. This is my very first blog post; it seems like it should be something really momentous to properly celebrate the occasion. Perhaps it’s from numerous English classes and four years of being an English major. I was always taught that one of the most important things that you can do as a writer is to create a gripping, enthralling hook at the beginning of whatever you’re writing to draw people in and hold their attention.
I have been distressingly hook-less the past few days.
But eventually (tonight) I just decided I had to go for it. I’m terrifyingly nervous, for some reason, so much so that I don’t want to post this. But you have to start somewhere, and I’m going to start with just telling you a little about myself, and why I’ve decided to start this blog.
I am a senior in my last semester of college, and I admittedly am in a bit of a daze over the fact. It seems impossible to me that in a few short months, April to be exact, I will be done with the main occupation of my time since I started pre-school at the age of three. I’m about to have to be an “adult.” I cannot express to you how woefully unprepared I feel for this. I have no idea what job I want, and I have no practical experience in my degree field. This is slightly distressing to me.
Knowing this, I also know that this year is going to be one of incredible change for me, and one of the most important transitional periods of my life. Considering I want to be a writer, it just made sense to me to write about it. I want to travel, I want to try new things, I want to do something that makes me happy. I’m hoping here is the place where I can record all of the things I will hopefully be accomplishing. I honestly don’t know yet what exactly I’m going to be saying in any given post, or how often I’ll want to write, but I do know I’m excited to do this. And I hope you all will be excited to share it with me.
I don’t have too much else to say that’s terribly exciting tonight. I’m getting sick, and it’s rather cold in Oklahoma currently. I have been watching videos and pinning pins on Pinterest, wrapped up in two blankets, since I got back from work at like 5:30 (it’s 11:05 now, in case you didn’t know). I feel slightly miserable and not at all like doing anything. That’s why it’s unfortunate that, alas, I have homework still. I’m minoring in Spanish, and it’s a lot of work, you guys. Oh, the woes of a college student. But I suppose that those won’t be mine to bemoan for much longer…. So. Strange. But for now, I will bid you all good night, for I have homework to listlessly attempt to do and a bed to get sleeping in. Hopefully I’ve got a little bit of a hook in your attention, and you’ll come around for my next post. In the meantime, feel free to check out my other blog that deals with bargain fashion. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing. You can also check out my permanent about me posts if you’re interested in learning a little more… about me. Imagine that.
For now, I have mildly sick person whining to do.

Buenas noches,
Sara