May 31st Was the Scariest Night of My Entire Life

UPDATE: This video is what we were listening to on our weather radio in our cellar. At the beginning of the video (0:05-0:08) he drives by a Taco Mayo. That Taco Mayo is in front of my neighborhood, and my house is barely two minutes from there. He stops in front of the the bank that’s on the corner of my neighborhood, and that’s the building he’s filming over during the video.

Hi again.
In my last post, I described what the May 20 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, was like for someone nearby but not affected. I have never been affected by a tornado, actually, at least not personally.
There’s even like this running joke that the town I grew up in, and the town I live in now, are protected by some Native American blessing from tornadoes. It’s almost easy to believe, because I cannot even count the number of times a tornado has been heading for my house, and then it will abruptly turn and go somewhere else, or barely miss us.
On Friday, I was even joking about this with one of my friends as we discussed how the risk for tornadoes that afternoon and evening was really serious. It was the last day in about a three day period where we were in a serious risk, the second week in a row where Oklahoma was supposed to have bad weather. We were all just grateful that, so far, we had had nothing like the week before with the May 20th tornado.
I went home to make sure we could keep an eye on the weather, and we kept hearing ominous warnings from the news that “the cap was about to break.” This meant that the conditions were about to become perfect for a supercell, which is what produces tornadoes. Finally, it did. Once that happened, things got serious really fast. I live in the central part of the state, just to the southwest of Oklahoma City. To our west, storms started building up and getting violent. Eventually a EF3 tornado broke out near El Reno, the town I was actually born in. It was particularly bad because it seemed to just be following the interstate. Most of the people who died were caught in their cars by the storm. We waited anxiously to see which way the storm would go, but it looked like it was going to go just north of us. As I stood in my yard, we could look to where the tornado was, and there was this constant growling, roaring sound coming from the clouds. Above us, hail clouds were blanketing the sky, but no hail was falling:
I thought we were going to be spared again, and my mounting anxiety began to subside.
Suddenly the storm began to shift to the southeast.
Towards us.
Then, other storms began popping up all around to our west. Very quickly, the weathermen started calling out my town’s name. And all of a sudden, things got very real. We began gathering up our most important things to take to our storm cellar right next to our driveway. Only once before had we put stuff into the cellar, but the storm had turned pretty last minute, before we had to go down. I kept waiting for someone to say, nevermind, the storm has turned. But they never did. It was actually going to happen.
I have grown up in Oklahoma, and I have grown up terrified of tornadoes. A lot of people have recurring nightmares, and I am one of them. My nightmares are always about tornadoes. I have a very staunch respect for how dangerous they are, and I get very stressed about bad weather.
As I ran around my house, I was in a state of utter panic. I was grabbing things and running them outside into the cellar then running back in. I have two cats, as you may know, and I had to get them in the cellar, too. We only have one cat carrier, and Finn has to go in it. There is no way we could carry him anywhere, because he would flip out. Unfortunately, by the time I was putting Finn in the carrier, I was nearly in tears because I was so upset, and Finn could tell. He proceeded to flip out nearly as badly as I was. I’ll go ahead and tell you now, the only injuries sustained by anyone in my family that day were the claw marks Finn left on my legs and hand. Finally, I had to wrap him in a blanket to get him in and pull it off his head only after he was inside. I hurried to take him down to the cellar as he meowed piteously a few times, and then went quiet.
I rushed back in to get Boo, who was casually sprawled on the loveseat watching the proceedings with sleepy interest. I wrapped him in a sheet, listening as I did so to the weathermen telling everyone in my town that they needed to take their tornado precautions. My sister appeared with my nana, who lives next door, and her and I went down into the cellar to wait.
The rest of my family, who don’t have quite the same anxiety as I do over tornadoes, stayed in the house to keep watching the news. I sat with my nana, holding Boo, nearly paralyzed with fear. Some of my friends started texting to make sure I was getting to safety, and I was shaking so hard I almost couldn’t text them back. Then I waited, listening to the thunder growling and the wind blowing and hoping my family would come and tell me it was all a mistake.
I don’t know if you have ever sat in a tornado shelter, but it’s not terribly pleasant. Ours is not particularly big. It’s also damp, musty, and has lots of bugs. I fixedly watched the stairs, waiting for someone to come and tell us something. I was too scared to be above ground, but too scared to sit and wait without knowing.
My sister finally came back and told me that it looked like the tornado was turning and heading towards a town just barely north of us, the town our high school is rivals with. I know a million people that live there, and I was in no way comforted by this. My sister says to wait downstairs, just to be safe. After a little while, she comes down again, bringing some more stuff, and she tells me the same thing. Suddenly filled with restless, frenetic energy, I beg her to hold Boo so I can go in the house and clean the scratches Finn gave me. As I had sat in the cellar, some of the adrenaline from earlier was wearing off, and I was beginning to feel the scratches, especially a particularly deep one on my ankle.

This one.

This one.

As I rushed into the house, unable to bear not seeing what was happening while I was down in the cellar, I noted how ugly the sky looked, and what a bizarre color it was. The wind was whistling around me, and I was quick to get in the house. I cleaned the cuts up, but as I listened to the TV the weatherman started talking about how a new circulation was forming that looked like it would head towards my home. I pleaded with my dad to come to the cellar, and he said he would be down soon. I went back down to wait some more.
Eventually my sister and my mother joined us, and very quickly after my dad appeared. We were going to close the door. Our shelter was already in place when we bought the house we live in, and it’s pretty old. The door is partially rotted and pretty rickety. We chained it down taut to the stairs. Then, my dad placed a door that they bought on clearance in front of the stairs, and braced it with with a 2×4 against the walls. We had managed to get our weather radio on by this point, and we anxiously listened. Storms were forming everywhere, so many that the weathermen almost couldn’t keep up, and one of them was coming towards our town. In the confusion of all the storms they were trying to track, we were unsure of just exactly which part of our town it was going to hit.
Tornado shelters are very eerie. Ours has these two little holes in the ceiling that are the ventilation vents up to aboveground. It is bizarre, because it allows you to hear what is happening outside, but it is strangely muffled. We could hear the rain pick up and start hammering the metal door of the shelter. Our house is surrounded by trees, and we could hear them whipping and tossing. Things got louder and then quieter, and we had no idea what was happening. No one had mentioned my town on the weather radio in a while and I began to hope that they were wrong, and it wasn’t going to get to us.
Out of nowhere, the weathermen start talking about my town, and one of the stormchasers starts yelling that there are power flashes at a Lowe’s that was two blocks from our house, and that something is touching down on one of the roads that we live off of. Very shortly after that, the light we had plugged in downstairs goes out, and we have to turn on our lantern.
I spent three hours in that cellar. They were the most terrifying of my life. Honestly, I have never been so scared. It was mostly a haze of absolute terror for me, and I alternated between almost throwing up and almost passing out. Every time we thought about getting out, they would talk about how there was threatening rotation that could potentially hit us. Finally, as it got later and later, it seemed as though things were dying down. We kept waiting for the rain to stop pouring so we could get out, but it never did. Eventually we could stand no more, and we decided to venture out. My dad peeked out from under the lid, and to our relief he confirmed our house was still there. I was the first out, and it was pouring down rain so I was instantly drenched. There was still a little bit of light left,  and I was amazed to find a giant tree branch was blocking most of our driveway:
I rushed to the backyard, my number one concern to check on our four dogs. We have Labs, and they are big and very unruly. There is simply no way to bring them in the cellar and still have room for my family. They also would probably get in a fight. This is probably the worst part for me in regards to tornadoes hitting our house; our shelter is really secure so I was never really afraid for my life. When I got to my backyard, I couldn’t even get to my dogs, who we keep in another part of our yard, because a huge tree branch had fallen on the gate and part of the fence dividing our yard. I splashed through my already flooding backyard to an unobstructed part of the fence and started yelling for my dogs over the noise of the rain and thunder. Johnny and Cash were the first ones I saw, and finally Riley came trotting up, completely unconcerned. But I could not find Sadie anywhere. I called and called, and finally I saw her little head peek out from under our storage building where our dogs love to lay. I called for her to come for me, but she simply laid there and whimpered. I was terrified she was hurt. I had to run to the back part of my yard and squeeze through another gate we never use in order to go around and get to her.
Sadie is a very courageous dog. I would venture to say she is tougher than any of the boys, and we are pretty sure she fought a coyote or something along those lines once. When I got to my poor girl, she was shaking so hard that water was flying off of her, and she was whimpering like I’d never heard her do. I was afraid she couldn’t get out from under the building, but finally she managed to drag herself out. She was scraped up and not putting pressure on her back leg, but she was not seriously injured. I cried because I was so relieved, and I knelt there, absolutely sopping wet with rain and tears and holding Sadie, while my other dogs came and rubbed their wet, muddy bodies on me.
After I knew everyone was okay, things didn’t seem as bad. There were giant tree limbs down everywhere, and our yard was turning into a bog, but there was no serious damage. Somehow, all the tree limbs had fallen just around our cars and our house instead of on them, even though we had parked our cars under the trees to protect them from the hail. We had no power, but we had a home still.
We began carrying things up from the cellar and lighting candles in the house and changing clothes because we were soaked. My uncle, who had drove away from the storm, showed up and told us that the nearby town we thought the tornado had hit was, in fact, essentially fine. He’d stopped and picked up food for himself. We all very quickly became aware of how hungry we were since it was nearly 10pm by this point. We decided to try and drive to the town to see if we could find somewhere to eat since we had no electricity and were too hungry to just eat simple, no-heat food.
We almost did not get out of yard because it was so muddy, and we were afraid if the water got any higher on the roads that we might not be able to make it back to our house. As we drove out of our town, there was no power anywhere that we could see. It was still raining ferociously, and on the way to find a restaurant, it started hailing again, big, ugly hail that beat the roof of our car. Desperately we pulled off at a 7-Eleven and tried to wedge our car in with the mass of other cars taking shelter by the gas pumps under the structure that shielded them. Eventually the hail began to slow, and we pulled out and hurried to find somewhere to eat. We tried IHOP first, but they told us there was a nearly two hour wait. Eventually we made it to Waffle House, who were short-staffed. It tooks us nearly two hours to eat there, but it was some of the best food of my life.
When we drove back home, we decided to look around, and drove through the Lowe’s parking lot that had been reported hit. The little metal sheds and display buildings they had in the parking lot were torn to shreds, and there was debris randomly scattered about. A power line was down along the road in front of it.

Photo credit: Jon Watje

We then drove down the main road we live off of, and the powerlines were destroyed. About a half a mile from our street, one had even fallen on top of a car and into a flood of water on the side of the road. It was nearly midnight, and already there were brave crews working on them. We almost drove onto a downed powerline, and quickly realized we needed to get back home.

Photo credit: Jon Watje.  The road we live off of, the next day.

On the road that crosses ours in our neighborhood, we found the entire road blocked by an entire giant tree that had fallen across it. As we went to go home, a fire truck and a towing truck were arriving to try and move it.
The next day was beautiful, and we spent it cutting and dragging limbs around. I made sure and took pictures of some of the worst damage:
We are fairly certain that the tornado came right through our neighborhood, just skipping around and never fully forming. I could not sleep that evening because there were still thunderstorms coming through, and every time it thundered I got intensely stressed. We had no power, and all of our phones were dying, so it was nearly impossible to check the radar, even though there was not supposed to be anything serious. When I finally fell asleep, I kept having tornado nightmares. It was a long, rough day for all of us.
I can only say how incredibly thankful I am that we were so lucky. 14 people were killed as a result of the storms and the flooding that followed them. Our situation could have been much more tragic, and I am amazed every time I think what might have happened to us. Perhaps we truly do live in a blessed town; the tornado even tried to get us, but pulled up as it went over.
Sadly, I know that my tornado anxiety just reached a whole new level.

I want to say thank you for reading this. The past two weeks have had a profound impact on me, and I needed to write about them. Hopefully you found my story worthwhile.

With my gratitude,

A Vignette of the May 20, 2013 Tornado in Moore, Oklahoma

I know this is going to sound cliche, but it is truly strange to me how much can change in a short period of time.
I had no idea when I last posted that the next two weeks were going to be some of the craziest of my life. When last I left you, I was on the verge of going to my friend Kady’s bachelorette party. Let me just say that we now are nearly certain that I am allergic to alcohol and the doctor agreed, and I will never again drink more than a glass or two at a time (no one mistook me for a man, at least, so that’s something).
That was on a Saturday. The next day, while I was busy being violently ill in reaction to my suspected allergy, I was vaguely aware that in certain parts of Oklahoma, some pretty seriously awful tornadoes were going through my state. A few people even ended up killed. I remember as I was hazily stumbling out of the doctor’s office looking at a tv in the waiting room and being horrified by the destruction I was seeing. That was May 19.
The next day was May 20 which, if you watch national news at all, you probably know was the day that one of the worst tornadoes recorded ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, and killed 24 people.
In Oklahoma, especially in May, people are pretty used to the threat of bad weather. I have grown up with a healthy terror of tornadoes and a intimate familiarity with the steps of taking your “tornado precautions.” Even on Saturday when I was at the bachelorette party, there was risk of bad hail, and it poured down torrential rain on us for awhile. We knew that the next couple of days were high risk for tornadoes and dangerous weather. The problem with living in Oklahoma for a long time is that there’s always risks during the spring for tornadoes, and you eventually just get to the point where you’re ready for them, but try to believe that it won’t end up being too bad. If you believed that every time there was severe weather in Oklahoma it was going to be as bad as May 20, no one would live here. We would have all had heart attacks at some point and moved to Europe.
My dad is a mailman, so he gets off work pretty early in the afternoons generally. My sister and I usually wait for him to eat lunch, and we did so that Monday. We went to a local BBQ restaurant (one that I worked at last summer, as a matter of fact), thinking we had time to eat before the weather got too serious. We were still in the midst of our sandwiches when rain started pouring down. Suddenly, the tin roof of the building was pounding like a bass drum at a rock concert, and we ran to a window to watch in horror as pea to golf-ball sized hail started flinging itself down on our hapless car in the parking lot. People started running out, dodging hail madly, to get to their cars and try to find somewhere to shelter them.
We weren’t going to take that route, so we sat down and quickly finished our food. Luckily, it seemed as though the hail and rain had started letting up, so we decided to try and get to our house, which was not even five minutes away. We had barely pulled out of the parking lot when the first giant pieces of hail started thudding down on us. The truly big ones were only sporadic, thankfully, but that made them particularly startling when they did hit. I kept letting out a little scream, terrified that our window would break out before we got home. To our relief this was not the case, and we managed to get home. We shielded our cars as best we could under our trees, but they were noticeably dinged up.

We were so incredibly lucky that day. The storm that eventually produced the horrible Moore tornado formed over the area we live, dropped that hail on us, and then moved on. We were never in fear, or really in danger. The hail storm lasted probably less than 30 minutes. We lost power briefly but had it back shortly. We spent the day watching Moore be ripped apart, as well as other towns beyond it. It was eerie listening to the weather stations because it was the most awful sense of deja vu. I was seven years old on May 3, 1999, when the worst tornado this state has ever seen ripped through Moore the first time. We were at a hockey game downtown, and I remember we had to leave it to go to a nearby  underground parking garage. We walked outside and I can still see, clear as day, what that tornado looked like. It was enormous, and nearly unbelievably black. It dominated the sky, even from miles away, looking like some sort of elemental monster.
On May 20, 2013, we followed desperately the stories of victims and the search for survivors. I cried when they talked about the schools being hit. My mother is a teacher, my sister will graduate in December with her Early Childhood Education degree, and I spent four years working in daycares. I adore children, and teachers are very close to my heart. One of the teachers from Plaza Towers Elementary is the sister of a girl I played volleyball with in middle school and high school, and for a while they did not know if she was dead or alive, though she survived.
I have talked about my best friend Kasey on here numerous times, and her family is like a second family to me. Her father, someone I consider a second father to me, is a teacher in Moore. The gym and part of his school was destroyed, and his car was totaled. Kasey had to walk two miles to get to the school to even see if he was okay, which by a miracle he and everyone else in his school were. My heart shattered on Monday night when we finally turned off the tv, with reports coming in that the death count could even be as high as 91.
The next day when we heard that the number had been reduced to 24, I could not help being thankful, though I was in no way happy. It’s just that when I watched videos of that storm and looked at the damage, it is amazing to me that more lives were not lost. And the strength and love and dignity my state showed filled my heart with pride. The support we received from the world was overwhelming, and humbling. It seemed almost strange to me, just how much people cared. I saw articles from newspapers in England and Britain talking about Oklahoma, and the Nightly News broadcast from here. When two English Premier League soccer clubs played an exhibition match in St. Louis, they teamed up with the Cardinals to raise money for children affected by the storms. They wore black armbands to honor those lost, and all stood together behind a sign that said “Together in support of Oklahoma.” It was a bit jarring; I am so used to bad weather and the destructive powers of tornadoes that it seemed strange to me that people wanted to help us. It reminded me that perhaps the only good thing to come out of the darkest of events is the wonderful, amazing people who step forth to bring light again, and that those people are everywhere.
Shortly after, one of my best friends, Stephanie, asked me to help her do laundry at a laundromat in my hometown because the water was out in all the ones by her house because of the storms. She is married to a youth pastor, my friend Gavin, and I just assumed they were gathering clothes to donate to people and they wanted to wash them. I rushed over to meet Stephanie, who had a younger girl with her that I had never seen before. Stephanie asked me to go help her bring clothes in from the car while the girl got the washing machines set up. When I got to her car and started sorting through stuff, I realized it was soaked and muddy, just covered with debris. Something clicked in my head, and I asked Stephanie, “Did that girl lose her house??” Stephanie looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “Yes, this is the stuff we could salvage when we all went out there to look.” We had about three or four bags of clothes for an entire family. Three or four bags of clothes for four people.
We carried the stuff back inside, and I suddenly did not know what to say to this girl, this fifteen year old who had lost her home not even 24 hours before. The best I could come up with was telling her how incredibly sorry I was. What amazed me was how gracious she was to me, how calm she was acting. I tried to imagine myself in the same situation, and could not imagine smiling, like this girl was doing. I realized she was wearing some of Stephanie’s clothes, and she had on an old, too-big, holey pair of Stephanie’s husband’s shoes, because Stephanie wore a smaller size and that was the best alternative they could come up with at the moment.
So we did laundry, and it was so surreal. I had to pre-wash a lot of the stuff by hand because it was so dirty with debris that it would have made everything else in the washer dirty if I didn’t. After we got all the washers loaded, I rushed back to my house (which was only about five minutes away) and quickly went through the embarrassing amount of clothes I had to see if I could find anything to give this girl. When I got back, Stephanie and I’s friend Lisa had showed up with literally her entire backseat stuffed with clothes to give, and I felt so proud to call Lisa and Stephanie my friends.
We put the stuff in the dryers at this point, and then sat down to just talk with her. She described what it was like going through what was left of her house afterwards, and she even told me how her brother was asleep when the tornado was coming because he worked nights. His girlfriend got ahold of him just barely in time, and he left about 10 minutes before the tornado destroyed their home. The whole time, she was so calm, making jokes and laughing, and I just didn’t understand how she did it. But finally she said to me, “I think I’m still in shock. I think that pretty soon it’s going to hit me, and I’m going to break down.” I didn’t even know what to say. My heart simply broke for her. I honestly wanted to cry, but if this brave girl was not, then I certainly wasn’t going to.
When the laundry was done, we folded it and divided it up according to which family member it belonged to. It was a humbling experience. Everything this family had to wear fit in three laundry baskets and a duffel bag. When it was time to go, she hugged me and thanked me so kindly for helping her, and I just felt so lacking. I wish I could have helped her more.
That Friday was Kady’s wedding, and it was beautiful and sweet and everything a wedding should be. It was a bright spot in what had been an otherwise very traumatic and heart-breaking few days. Saturday I went with my sister to one of her long-time friend’s weddings, and it was lovely as well. It helped me to remember that even in the worst of times, life goes on, and that happiness and joy come again, even when it seems impossible.
At the end of last week, I was hurting for my state, but so proud to live in it. I was amazed at the goodness of people and the peculiarities of life, yet things were getting back to normal.
But this is Oklahoma. In May. And things rarely stay normal for long.

If you would like to hear about my experiences with the tornadoes of May 31, check out my next post. This one is already way too long, and I should have written it sooner. I just didn’t feel ready to try and sum up something so monumental in a blog post, and now I have even more to tell you. I hope that you’ll want to read it.

Bless your heart,

PS “Bless your heart” is about as Okie a phrase as you can get, so it felt appropriate.

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:
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.


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).