Missing Poetry in the Sun


Today, if I were home, I would have coaxed my little sister outside. We would have toted food and books onto the sunny grass, sternly warned our puppy dog away from our lunch, and laid out in the sun as long as it took our parents to realize we should be doing school. For the two springs that we knew about national poetry month, we used it as a good excuse to spend our lunch breaks outside, leisurely eating, talking, and reading poems. We sampled from Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems and selections of Frost and Keats. Just last week I read “This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams for a class – Mr. Keillor introduced me to that one. In my Creative Writing class, we’re finishing up a unit on poetry. Our reading included two chapters of poems….it was a joy to immerse myself the images, sounds, and deep thoughts. In the course of the last few weeks I’ve read authors from T. S Eliot to Langston Hughes and back again (yes, even some Tolkien). But I didn’t get to read them outside, on the grass, soaking up the sun, laughing at my little sister, and throwing food to my dog. College has its drawbacks.

What you should take from my rambling is that I’m happy for spring, I miss my little sister, and I appreciate poetry. There, I rolled all the relevant holidays into one incoherently college-fogged post. Aren’t you impressed?

 

 

Lyse Likes


First full week of the semester = finished! However, it also means I don’t have the endurance for a long, coherent post. Instead, I’m just going to share a myriad of things I have enjoyed recently.

The Iliad ~ The Frozen soundtrack (particularly applicable in below freezing weather here in the South!) ~ French ~ extra credit ~ surprise raccoons ~ quirky professors ~ chocolate ~ Thomas (his posts make me think and always strike some cord of connection) ~ yoga ~ friends who aren’t afraid to challenge me ~ short stories ~ my bed ~ scholastic bowl :D ~ jobs ~ overachievers ~ Wikipedia ~ packages (even if they’re just text books) ~ Orion

Drive-Thru for Dummies


Through a rigorous process of scientific research, I have concluded that the majority of Americans have no idea how to appropriately place an order in a fast-food drive-thru. For your convenience and education, here are some fool-proof tips.

1. If you aren’t familiar with the restaurant’s menu or you don’t know what you want, go inside. Do not sit at the drive-thru sign for 5 minutes asking the employee about every option. While working drive-thru this summer, I calculated that taking longer than 1 minute to order during rush hour will slow us down.

2. Do not leave 3 car lengths between your car and the next. Don’t even leave 3 feet. The drive-thru I worked in was easily congested and often backed up traffic on the street. Those few feet are important.

3. Speak rapidly. I can take your order literally faster than you speak. I’m not suggesting that you go auctioneer on me, but don’t make me pull teeth for your order. A particularly annoying example:

Me: Welcome to blah blah how may I serve you?

Customer: I’d like a #1.

Pause.

Me: Ok, what would you like to drink with that?

Customer: A coke.

Pause.

Me: Is there anything else I can get for you?

Customer: A #5.

Pause.

Me: Would you like the #5 8 or 12 count?

Customer: 8.

Pause.

Me: And what would you like to drink with that?

Customer: Sweet tea.

Pause.

Me: Ok, will that be all for you?

Customer: Kid’s meal, nuggets.

And so on…..(scientific, I’m telling you. I don’t make these things up.)

4. Don’t be rude. Honestly, why is this so difficult? I’m not being rude. I’m paid to be nice to you, yes, but minimum wage is a pretty low incentive for not spitting in your food. A lot of fast food workers are hard-working high school or college students. There is no reason to take your stress out on them.

5. Stop talking on your cell phone. Put it down. Turn it off. You are being incredibly rude, slowing down the line, and generally making me want to hit you. Your conversation is likely not so important that you can’t ask them for a moment to order your food and talk to the cashier.

6. Tell your passengers to be quiet. I understand that if your passenger is a screaming two year old, there is little you can do. But if you’re driving a car full of teens and you are all too busy laughing at each other to reasonably converse with me, I will also want to punch you in the face.

7. Don’t make fun of the order taker or cashier, especially if they’re trying to be nice. I try to be particularly upbeat and friendly on headset, and I have had people mock my voice. Bad idea. Also, see #4. 

8. Listen when we repeat your order. If your order was read back to you twice and then you get it and complain that you wanted the large, not the small, I will have no sympathy. We will give it to you, of course, because you’re always right, but we will complain about it as soon as you leave.

9. Don’t ask for unreasonable things and then complain about waiting. It’s fast food, not instant food. We don’t keep gallons of sweet tea on hand, so we’ll have to pour that for you by hand. We also don’t keep hundreds of nuggets on hand, so that tray will be a few minutes. Or call ahead…and it will be ready when you show up.

10. Turn off your diesel truck. It’s too loud for me to hear your order, and it’s probably making me deaf. Turn it off.

All of those are common drive-thru problems. If you are guilty, we forgive. Just get it right next time, and tell all your friends. Other drive-thru workers, feel free to add to these tips in the comments or share war stories. I genuinely love working all drive-thru positions, but it has its fair share of frustrating moments.

Unexpected Bliss


In 3rd grade, my family moved to a new homeschool group. It wasn’t very big, but there was one family with two boys who were close to my age. One was a year and a half older than me, the other a year younger. Slowly but surely, our families became closer and closer. We went on field trips together. Had art classes together. Played tennis together. They joined our church. At some point, inevitably, I developed a crush on the older boy.

That was pointless. He was always too nice for me to get a clue, but he was oblivious to my interest (obligatory aside about boys being oblivious…). Until I was about 16, I held onto my crush, even through other boyfriends. Then he got his first girlfriend. I was devastated. For two years, I barely spoke to him. I dated other people. He dated other people. Life went on.

Eventually, I grew up. I moved past my crushed adolescent heart. I missed his friendship and I regretted letting it slip. One day, out of the blue, I started talking to him. It began with Facebook chats every once in awhile. In the beginning, I initiated and carried the conversations. He was friendly enough, but not pursuing. I was not impressed with where he was in his life at that point, so I was completely uninterested in dating, but I did think he needed a friend. We both did. Over a period of 3-4 months, we began chatting on a daily basis. We exchanged opinions on books, music, politics, religion, news, society, anything we could think of. And we agreed on everything. Literally. Everything we could think of, we agreed about. Our chats turned into daily, multi-hour events. Finally, we acknowledged that we should probably at least consider dating.

That was the summer before I left for college. From any view, that is a horrible time to begin a dating relationship, especially since I attend college 6 hours away from home. But we did it anyway. Eyes open to the potential difficulties, we started dating that summer, but didn’t make it official with our families until mid-fall.

Years removed from my childhood crush, I’ve now spent a year and a half dating the man I idolized as a teenager. I am now a woman and an equal with him, more than capable of holding my own intellectually and emotionally. In a surreal twist, I am blissfully happy with a guy I wrote off years ago.

My friends are almost all single, so I hear my fair share of dating angst. I never mind listening to them, but I don’t have advice for them. I didn’t go through the normal awkwardness at the beginning of a relationship – it was one smooth step from friends to dating. We talk about everything and always have. There is no uncertainty, no confusion, no nerves over making a good impression. We are, and always have been, completely ourselves with each other, mostly because we had no reason to impress each other.

In two days, I am leaving him again, living 6 hours away for the next 4 months. I try to call him every night, but he is sadly used to me texting him that I am working late, I have homework, can I call him the next day, etc. He is infinitely patient with my schedule and incredibly supportive of my education. I find myself absolutely blown away – that I am so blessed, that I found such an amazing man, that our relationship developed so smoothly.

There are million love stories in the world, so why am I sharing mine? Because my heart is full of it. Because it amazes me. This is the closest I can come to shouting my love from the rooftops. So that people know there are still happy endings. Because it is a story to share. What is your story? Stories are to share…they connect everyone across the world, across history.

Belonging


Literally the most difficult thing about college is not knowing where I belong. I am split between home and school, without being in a place where I can actually start my own home. It’s painful. Wherever I am, I always miss the other.

But the sense of not belonging actually started long before college. I have lived my whole life in the (deep) South. I love it here. I intend to never live anywhere else (except possibly France). But I do not belong here. I love heat and humidity and Southern charm. I hate the drawl, football, and hunting. I have never been mudding. I don’t drink sweet tea. I hardly ever go to the beach. I did not spend my summers on the lake.

Part of this is my parents’ fault (not that it’s necessarily bad…). They were both born and raised in the South, but neither of them are southern either. They do not have accents. They are well-educated (my dad has almost completed his doctorate). They do not watch football, go hunting, or own any trucks. We live in the city (such as it is). They homeschooled my sisters and me (thank goodness!). So they’re definitely responsible.

Problem is, I can’t ever decide whether I am sad that I am not more southern or if it’s the best thing that ever could have happened to me. Southern culture equally enthralls and repulses me. I want to have a 4-wheeler and go mudding and learn how to shoot (well). I want to spend my summers on the lake. I want my children to hate shoes.

On the other hand, seeing guys who never wear anything but ratty jeans, t-shirts, and baseball caps makes me shudder. I want to run back to my college every time a sales associate calls me honey or sweetie instead of treating me like a self-sufficient adult. I would rather attend a Shakespeare play than a country concert. Discussions of Nascar, football, or reality TV (I’m looking at you, Duck Dynasty) are yawn-inducing when compared to dinnertime arguments about theology, engineering, music, and educational psychology and methods.

I have no answer. I do not know how to live in the South and not actually be of the South. I don’t know how to raise children this way. But I do know that I’m not willing to settle for either culture.

A Guide to Coping with Finals


Actually, the title is inaccurate. This guide also works for the weeks approaching finals.

1. Check out 5 or 6 books from the library. Fiction only, and nothing that will ever appear on your syllabi.

2. Play endless levels of *insert game here*

3. Check Facebook. And again.

4. Scroll through the geek and humor boards on Pinterest. Refresh. Repeat.

5. Write a blog post.

6. Chocolate. Always applicable. Preferably Reese’s.

7. Attend brilliant production of Little Women – The Musical. Cry. Feel sappy.

8. Listen to Little Women soundtrack. Repeat.

9. Make snowflakes to hang everywhere. It is impossible to make too many.

10. If you go to any school other than mine, watch your favorite tv shows. All of them. Rewatch.

11. Sleep.

12. Panic about your grades. Refresh the grade reports hourly in hopes that your teachers have posted the grade for that project.

There you have it! A fool-proof guide to coping with the end of school. Let me know how it works out for you. ;)

Thanksgiving


I am sitting in the sun, just a tiny bit chilly. Around my table, the leaves are falling and swirling like snow. The birds are making a racket. An upbeat Irish dance is playing on Pandora, and I am making progress on my homework. I could not ask for a better Saturday. I watched a movie last night. Slept in. Had freshly grilled brats (of the non-human type) for lunch. Good discussion with my best friend about the Christian philosophy of music – thankfully, we’re still friends! Looking forward to a few hours of work this evening, another movie, and hopefully more progress on my homework (computer program – it should only take a total of 10-12 hours).

I’m not sure I could ask for a better Saturday.