practical ways to be overprepared

Someone should start a blog about practical ways to be overprepared . . .

Some people in this world are overprepared. These are the women who carry sewing kits, shoe polish, and peanut butter in their purses (just in case someone needs stitches, a shoe shining job, or the remedy to bubble-gum-in-the-hair at a minute’s notice). Now, I don’t know the equivalent for men. Maybe they keep four spare tires in the trunk? Or three pocket knives in their left sock alone?

But is there a moderate version of being overprepared?

I can think of at least one very familiar setting where being overprepared pays off. Exhibit A: a college cafeteria.

There are many things they’ll never tell you about college in the tour or on the website or in the nifty tri-fold brochure. One of those things is that the school cafeteria may be a dangerous firing ground daily (as is the case where I attend college). People will do everything within their power to project various objects (rolled up napkins) and uneaten food items (which may or may not be suitable for consumption) into your beverage container (aka cup).

So my example of how to be practically overprepared? Always keep a rubber band or hair thing on your person at all times.

Now, when someone uses the words “always” and “at all times” in the same sentence, it may seem needlessly redundant. Or, as in poetry, it may signify that the author is striving to bring attention and put emphasis on this instance of repetition. Such is the case here. To be overprepared, there are certain things that must always be done.

The effects of being overprepared are obviously beneficial.

Being overprepared can save a life.

getting lost experiences

Someone should start a blog about getting lost experiences . . .

Now, I might just be the perfect candidate for starting this blog. However, I can’t tell if it’s all my fault, or if it’s South Carolina’s fault.

There’s this one road, Pleasantburg Drive, that, every time I try to find, I end up getting very lost. My most recent excursion (in other words, the last time I got hopelessly lost trying to find this road) was yesterday on the way to an interview.

This road is one of many that leads to Pleasantburg Drive. Photo by my friend Lucas.

One thing I should tell you, dear reader, about roads in South Carolina (based on my limited but true-to-life experience) is that they are not always clearly marked by road signs. And even when they are, the name on the sign may be different than the name you know the road by. Roads change names in South Carolina, I tell you, and I know one road in particular that goes by three different names, plus it has a number. So if someone says, “Take Locust Hill Road,” it is the same as if the person told you to take 290 or about three other things. I tried to remember these names, but I cannot.

When I asked a friend who has lived here much longer, “Doesn’t Locust Hill change names?” he offered, “Oh, they all do.” So there you have it.

Anyways, it is still always quite an experience, and there may be a little sense to the madness. Yesterday, I decided just to keep driving. I ended up on a road I knew the name of, and although I didn’t know where it led to, I took it and drove on. Eventually, I came to the road I was trying to find – by some miracle. 

In the end, all roads lead somewhere. It was once said that all roads lead to Rome. I say that most roads (at least in Greenville) lead to Pleasantburg Drive. And few roads lead you where you’re trying to go.

how to start a backyard garden, for dummies

Someone should start a blog about how to start a backyard garden, for dummies . . .

My mom can look at a plant and tell you the name of it. “Oh, there’s some rosemary. Would you just look at those azaleas? Well, anyone can tell that that tree is a white oak, not a northern red oak. Pssh.”

A tree. I have no idea what kind it is, but my mom could tell you.

I inherited a few things from her (like my hair color and nerdiness), but a green thumb is not one of them. I know about as much about plants as I know about cars (of which my stepdad is an expert. Yea, try having a conversation with either of them about plants or cars!)

Now this is my kind of plant. It has a label!

But, that isn’t to say I wouldn’t like to know more about plants and gardening and, in fact, about cars as well, since my recent mechanic bill was something to cry about – and it was probably because I don’t know how to check basic things like oil and coolant levels. (That sounded kinda smart just then, though, didn’t it? “Coolant levels.”)

Anyways, a few recent events have sparked my interest in starting a garden when the season for it comes back around. I work at an after-school program, and the kids have Garden Club every Thursday. They get so excited and tell me what they’ve been doing and even share some of their food they’ve grown with me. I like their excitement of knowing they grew the food they’re eating.

The kids love Garden Club.

Another recent event was when my friends and I went to Sky Top Apple Orchard. Oh, the apples were delicious. We plucked them off the trees and launched them into our mouths, one juicy apple after another. It felt so primeval; it was like Eden all over again, only with clothes. I really did think how satisfying it must have been for Adam and Eve to live the way they did.

Well, I’d like to start a garden. But it would help if somebody started a blog about planting a garden, for dummies. A field guide, or sorts. Then I might have some chance at success.

things that make them laugh outloud

Someone should start a blog about things that make them laugh outloud . . .

Now, in writing this title, the inner English major screamed at me for my subject-pronoun disagreement. Everyone knows that “someone” is only one person, and thus, it is inaccurate to use “them” in referring to a single person.

But I ask you, dear reader: would you prefer my title to say “Things That Make Him or Her Laugh Outloud”? No, indeed you probably wouldn’t. I could have changed it to “Things That Make One Laugh Outloud” or “Things That Make That Person Laugh Outloud,” but it just didn’t sound right. The world’s unfair, and sometimes these grammar rules have to be broken so that we can all keep our sanity (and have nice and neat blog titles that don’t get complicated). I am sure, nonetheless, that everyone understands what I mean by saying “Things That Make Them Laugh Outloud.”

One of my roommates recently told me about her friend who would journal things that made her laugh each day. Later, when she looked back over the list, it would make her laugh again and remind her of good memories.

So, someone should do a similar thing with a blog. Perhaps it would even help them evaluate what kind of humor they have (Once you break the rule once, there’s no going back, is there?) There could even be a guide included in the blog to help readers determine what kind of humor they have, also. Hmm, what could be some categories of humor?

Some of us have a silly humor. We laugh at everything, even things that are not funny to anyone else in the world. (That’s probably me.) Our friends often ask one another, “What is she laughing about now?”  

Others, you have to pry their mouths open with a crow bar if you want to see a smile.

Still others yet have that dark and sinister humor, and they laugh at no less than the mention of dead puppies or other horrors that those of us with a more simple and innocent humor would weep upon hearing.

Someone should start a blog about that.

a collection of signed things

Someone should start a blog about a collection of signed things . . .

I’ve owned a few signed things in my life: a copy of The Giver signed by Lois Lowry, a copy of Holes signed by Louis Sachar, and a few other books.

But on Saturday, I acrued my first signed poster! (That’s because I got to go to the Shane and Shane concert, plus Bethany Dillon and Freely, at Monaghan Baptist in Greenville.)

Here's the poster before it was signed. That's me at the concert.

It would be cool to read a blog about someone’s collection of signed things, or more specifically signed posters. The blog could include a little info on each concert, what it was like to meet the artist, and then be filled with concert pictures and pictures of the signed things.

As for me, this is the only signed poster I have to offer photos of:

Here's the poster after it was signed. That's my hand, holding it up to the door in my room.

Anyways, it was a very cool concert, my second “big” concert. Shane and Shane were harmonious as usual, and funny. Freely was an awesome band that I’d never heard of, and now I can’t stop hitting repeat when I listen to their song “More Beautiful.” Bethany Dillon was also solid, and even shared a new song with us.

where music comes from and the process of becoming a musician

Someone ought to start a blog about where music comes from and the process of becoming a musician . . .

How does someone become a musician? Is playing an instrument and being a musician the same thing?

From the ages of around six to thirteen, I took “official” piano lessons. Weekly meetings. Daily practices (or less frequent). Theory books. The whole nine yards. But I hated it. I never looked forward to practice. It was a forced thing.

So I quit when my mom finally let me. And I was out of piano for a year or two. When all of a sudden, something strange happened. I suddenly wanted to learn to play the piano. I wanted to be a musician.

The piano, my instrument of preference.

I started lessons again, this time with a different teacher. He was passionate, and seemed to stress practical things over theory. I loved it. I started learning chords. I started playing for fun. I started playing with the worship team and wherever I could. In that one year of lessons, I probably learned more than the whole eight years before.

One day in particular, I asked my teacher to play his favorite song. He sat down and played one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, this thriving, driving song. When he finished, he confessed that he had written the song! What?! That was one of the coolest things that’s ever happened in my music life.

I kept playing, but not long after, school work started to take over my life (aka, I went to college). But just a few months into college, I met a friend who played the piano by ear. And, once again, music jumped into my heart. Watching him sit down and play inspired me so much. I started trying to play by ear. I would just sit down, and at first it was slow coming.

Today, I can sit at the piano and just play a song that comes from, well, I don’t know where. I wish I could have tracked this transformation from being someone who plays an instrument to a musician along the way, but I can only reflect on things in retrospect.

Just this week, two different friends shared two different quotes with me about where music comes from and what being a musician is. So I leave you with them:

“Music comes from a place we don’t know. It sort of comes through the fingers and toes.” – Chris Martin

“My goal is to live the truly religious life, and express it in my music. If you live it, when you play there’s no problem because the music is part of the whole thing. To be a musician is really something. It goes very, very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am – my faith, my knowledge, my being.” – John Coltrane

ludicrous explanations for unexplainable things

Somebody should start a blog about ludicrous explanations for unexplainable things . . .

Have you ever noticed just how quickly carpets get dirtied again? Honestly.

I can wash my car inside and out, hood to trunk, and vacuum the whole carpet. I can even vacuum beneath the floor mats, even in those hard to reach places between the front seats and the center console.

The carpet at my house. It gets dirty just as quickly as the carpet in my car.

You know, I don’t believe there’s a single un-awkward method for reaching those gaps and crevices. I’m on my back, arms curving up and over, head mashed against the seat, and legs sprawled and protruding beyond the open car door. It’s an embarrassing situation, and I bet those do-it-yourself car service areas make that much less money because of it.

Anyways, after all the hustle, bustle, and awkwardness of vacuuming, it’s a mere three days (if I’m lucky) before the whole carpet is teeming with little specks of dirt and leaves and straw (What in the world? I don’t even live on a farm!) and rocks and all kind of unimaginables.

It just doesn’t make sense. I can drive everywhere by myself, not even have passengers in the back seat, and still, the whole carpet is equally dirty and nasty.

There must be some explanation, but I doubt I’ll ever discover it.

Some people say, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Well, I say, “If you can’t explain them, then make up some ludicrous explanation that will allow you to live in peace.”

So, my theory is to follow.

Carpets are kinda like children that, when neglected, will start exercising (usually) strange and inappropriate behavior until they get the attention they need. Carpets realize how easy it is to be taken for granted when you’re on the floor, underneath people’s shoes and feet all day. I mean, ever heard the expression, “Don’t let people walk all over you.” Well, carpets and mats and rugs can’t help it. That’s their job.

So, to compensate and ensure they receive the attention they need, they have mutated and developed the ability to grow dirt. Humans grow fingernails and leg hair. Carpets grow dirt. They do it for the attention; they do it because they know what it takes to survive. It’s simply a carpet conspiracy.

(This is a repost from a blog I used to keep, and the name of the entry was “Carpet Conspiracy.”)