Reminder

Hey guys!

Just a quick reminder to please, please, please subscribe to my new blog!

You can find it here: poaditlo

Seriously it would mean the world to me!

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Goodbye and Hello

Hello faithful readers!

As you maybe can tell, we’re sort of dumping this blog.  It was a great idea, and I think it would have worked if all of my friends had wanted to write as much as me, but that’s not the case.  That’s okay though, we had a good run.

In the end, it just got to be a lot of work for Frankie and I to organize everything for eight people and get them to write their posts while doing all of our stuff as well. But do not fret (not that I think you’re fretting), I have recently made an independent blog of my own:

poaditlo

My passion is in fiction writing so my new blog is a way for me to get my writing out there, and a way to motivate me to actually write in the first place. Please, please check it out.  I would love any likes, comments, and subscriptions you can spare. You’re support means the world to me.

Have a happy New Year!

To 2016, yours truly,

Michelé

Three Things I Know

Let’s be honest, most people have a vision of what college is going to be like, whether that be raging parties every weekend or saying goodbye to sleep in place of homework.  I knew I would not be saying hello to parties and I would not be saying goodbye to sleep, but I didn’t know much else.  There wasn’t an ideal freshman year I had in my mind before starting and I think that really helped me not be disappointed with mine.

There were simple things I knew would happen:

1. I would make friends

2. I would learn things

3. College would be like nothing I’d ever experienced.

But there were also a lot of complicated things I never could have predicted:

1. School would be the easiest part of my life

2. I would sustain an injury that challenged me more than anything previously had, but which would also inspire me to change my life

3. My father would die

That’s not to say that classes were easy. First semester Logic kicked my butt (though I ended up getting a B).  Even the classes I liked were a lot of work.  College is nice because you’re in the classroom for less cumulative hours than in high school, but you get more homework, which is fine, just time consuming.  You’ve gotta know how to budget your time.  So what I’m trying to say is that classes weren’t easy, but everything else was harder. My dad died 3 days before I was supposed to have surgery, 9 days before Christmas.  I’m not trying to illicit sympathy, I’m just trying to say that it was a lot all at once.

But I made it through.  And I am better for it and stronger for it.  This year I learned that upside down A’s exist in math(so do backward E’s), that abstractions are a no-no in fiction writing, and that Martin Luther talked a lot of trash. but I also learned that I can do anything.

I was on the Dean’s list both semesters. I got a poem and a short story published in my University’s literary magazine.  I won 3rd place in a short story writing contest. I ran a 5k.  And those are only my quantifiable accomplishments.  Did freshman year go as smoothly as I hoped?  Not even close.  But it set me up to handle any bumps I’ll face in the future and, somehow, it has given me a more positive outlook.  This year was a blessing in disguise (a really good disguise).

My Surgery Struggle

Holy crap. It’s been five months since I had surgery. This post has been a long time coming, and so has the re-start of our blog.  We got a little busy there at the end of the year but now we’re back and we’re college sophomores!  Let’s kick it off!

Back in February of 2014 I was finishing my basketball season and I jumped up for a rebound and landed badly.  My left knee popped and felt all wrong. We went to the clinic and the doctor told us it was patellar tendonitis.  Looking back now, she should have ordered an MRI because:

a. popping is a huge indicator of ACL tears

b. an MRI is the only definite way to diagnose a tear

c. basketball is the highest risk sport for girls to tear their ACL

I did physical therapy for about two months and got back into sports where I found the popping had come back.  It would happen periodically, swell up, and then go away after a few days. There was nothing I could do. But on October 23rd it popped out again while I was at school.  Only this time I wasn’t playing a sport, it just buckled.  I started panicking because I knew this time was worse and I had to take the trains home.  It’s a wonder I made it without crutches.

Mom scheduled me an appointment at the sports clinic again and we saw the same doctor.  This time she ordered an MRI, but I didn’t get the results until after I was back at school.  Both my meniscus and ACL were torn, the kicker being that there was none of the regular bruising that comes with an ACL tear so they concluded I’d torn it months earlier.

While waiting to see the surgeon I slowly weened myself off the crutches because, let me tell you, they are a super b%^&$ on campus.  The surgeon explained that my meniscus was sandwiched between my knee bones and putting weight on it was doing more damage so crutches were a necessity.  There were two extra horrible things about that fact:

a. There’s nothing you can do to replace a meniscus if it’s shot

b. Why the heck did my first doctor not tell me that when she read the MRI?

I immediately got back on crutches (ugh) and scheduled surgery for November 23rd. Two days before the operation I found a sore on my leg that required antibiotics and which prohibited me from having the surgery for at least three weeks.

At that point I had to push it to December 19th and crutch around for the rest of the semester, which was really the worst part. So I finished my exams and sat at home, following all the pre-surgery instructions. When we still hadn’t gotten a call about my assigned time mom called and asked.  They said, “You’re not on the roster.”

To which my mother replied, “That’s a bunch of boo-hockey. Why not?”

Claiming we didn’t turn in the necessary forms, they omitted us from the schedule.  The screwy thing about that is how my mother specifically asked what we needed to do and the nurse said, “We can take care of it all.”

Being too late to argue about it, we just rescheduled. Again. At first they said I couldn’t come in until January 7th, which was a problem since I was supposed to be back at school by then, but mom managed to finagle them into December 29th (phew).  Even then I had to miss my first week of school, which put me pretty far behind.

But the 29th came and I FINALLY got surgery!

me

Now I have two screws in my leg. I spent a week in a machine that moved my knee for me and another month on crutches (totalling over 3 months in all). Now, entering into June, I’m five months post-surgery and going strong.  I’m still in physical therapy for another month or two, but I’m okay with that.  Rehab is a lot of work, but it’s taught me numerous valuable lessons and provided a starting line for some exciting personal developments.  What developments, you ask?  I’ll tell you next time.

Mich out.

We Need More Strawberries!

ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE TABLE: It’s been so long! We’re so sorry! We won’t make excuses though, those are pointless. We’ll just apologize for slacking and get back to it…

Hey guys! Guess who I saw!?

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Anissa!! I visited her at Dartmouth over my spring break and it was a blast!  It was one of those things you always talk about in high school and then a lot of times it just doesn’t happen.  But it did! I was there for four days and I brought her birthday gifts because she turned 19 this past Friday!

The journey was pretty long: 1.5 hours in a car then 2 on a plane and then 3 on a bus.  It was my first time flying alone which was exciting! I’m a really good traveler too so I don’t mind long trips.

While I was there she showed me all of her favorite spots on campus and took me to all the food places.  It’s a lot like Valpo in regards to size and student population and the feel, but Dartmouth’s buildings are cooler because they’re so old.

Day One I met all of Anissa’s friends, who were nice, and I had Indian food for the first time which tasted good.

Day Two I went to Chemistry class with her, which everyone thought I was crazy for. But being a Creative Writing Major I don’t have to take any of those big science lecture classes so it’s not like I sit in them everyday and get bored.  It was one and done and I wanted to get Anissa’s full college experience.  That night we went to the Dartmouth v. Princeton hockey game and I LOVED it!  I had no idea watching hockey was so fun! So I asked her if we could go again the next night and we did.  Dartmouth won both times.  This is us at the game sporting school spirit!

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Before that we took the bus to the store to get baking supplies because we like to be domestic together.  So on Day Three we made Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake with this recipe:  http://www.southyourmouth.com/2014/07/strawberry-cream-cheese-icebox-cake.html

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It was really, really good, and very rich.  Also super easy to make and nice if you want something that’s no-bake. Too bad we ate too many strawberries while we were mixing and kind of ran out at the end…

But anyway, back to Day Two.  We ended the night at a frat house (my first time at a frat!) but we didn’t go for a party, we went to see her friend perform in an A Capella show.  Opening for them was an Improv Comedy group (fun fact: it was the group Mindy Kaling was in).  Both performances were phenomenal.

It was then, at 1:00am, that I realized Anissa was about to royally screw up my sleep schedule. So I spent four days living the night life of my friend, and let me tell you, it’s exhausting.

So on Day Three we made the dessert, we went to the hockey game, and we went to see Still Alice at the movie theater.  Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her part as a mother and esteemed professor with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. It was a really emotional movie based off a book I read.   I recommend both to anyone interested in a realistic depiction of the disease.

That night we stayed up late (really late) working on our novels!  They’re technically separate novels because she has hers and I have mine, but it’s more complicated than that because they share some characters and events so we have to work on them together.  But anyway, that’s a whole different blog post for a different time.

Day Four was when I had to go home, but we got breakfast at a cute diner called Lou’s first.  Unfortunately, there was a point in the meal where I may have tried to hit Anissa and in the process I may have knocked over my full glass of water instead. Karma I guess.

I had a great time.  It was absolutely the highlight of my 2015 year thus far and I hope to visit again in the future.  My favorite quote from the trip was from one of Anissa’s friends as she watched us bicker.  She said, “I’m a fan of this relationship.”

Me too.  I’m a fan of it too.

Buying Books Blows

Even if you’re only a freshman in college, you know the pain of buying textbooks.  All that hard earned money out the window and then you can only sell them for what feels like pennies in comparison, if you can sell them at all.  It’s especially painful if a professor tells you a book is “required” and then you only use it once. Evil schemers.

I’m here to tell you how to save as much money as possible on your college textbooks.  I read my dear friend Megan’s post from a few days ago and I think $1000 a semester for books is blasphemy.  Blasphemy! Unless you’re in 8 or 9 classes (in which case I wish you good luck) your books SHOULD NOT be that much if you use the right venues.  I admit, sometimes it takes a smidge more effort to do it my way, but if it means saving a bunch of money I’ll put the time in.

To put it into perspective, I spent around $300 dollars on my books this semester and around the same last semester.  I’m only in 5 classes right now but I had to buy 18 books which is a pretty decent amount.  Unfortunately, there are some circumstances where you’ll have no other choice but to pay over $100 dollars for a book, but a lot of times that can be avoided.  This might happen to you if:

a. the book is rare or old-last semester the textbook my French teacher wanted us to have had been out of print since the 90’s so the only place I could find it was at my University’s bookstore.

b. the book is customized for a specific course at your school-all freshman at my school are required to take a Valparaiso University designed class we call CORE which doesn’t really fit into any subject category. As a result, if I were to transfer, there’s a large chance the credits from that course wouldn’t transfer over with me.  That also means my University designed the textbook so it literally does not exist anywhere else but here.

Besides these two cases, most books can be found in numerous online and offline locations.  Of course, your University will have all those books ready for you to order with one click, but looking somewhere else can mean the biggest difference.  At first I was skeptical to buy my books on any random website that claimed “We sell and buy new and used textbooks!” But to be honest, I’ve bought from at least 4 websites and haven’t run into any problems or scams.

I stumbled across this website: http://www.slugbooks.com and holy crap do I love it.  You enter the title or ISBN (I recommend the ISBN) of the book you want to buy and it will tell you the availability of that book as well as compare prices of it on 10 different websites! Awesome, right?  Every book is different, but with the majority of mine I found that http://www.chegg.com is always the most expensive and either http://www.amazon.com or http://www.valorebooks.com is your best bet.  Shipping can seem expensive, but I did the math and still came out on top.

I don’t know if I’ve said this yet but DO NOT buy your books from your University if you can help it! To put it into some more perspective, if I had bought/rented all my books at the cheapest prices my University was offering they would have cost me $600 without shipping. I cut my spending in half! To be fair, I know I won’t always be able to do that, but it’s worth it when you can.

So! I hope something I’ve said helps you out, even just a little.  And maybe in the future your book buying experience won’t blow so much.

Mich out.

Dear Dad,

I am so angry at you.

I’m angry at you for all the things you said to me and all the things you never said to me.  I know Honesty is the best policy but sometimes I just needed to hear, “I’m proud of you.”

I’m angry at you for not being my hero.

I’m angry at you for making me grow up too fast, for treating me like a child but expecting me not to mess up like one.

I’m technically an adult now and I spent a lot of years pretending I didn’t need you, but I do. And I’m sorry if I never told you that.  I think I convinced myself I didn’t.

No matter how many times I tell people, “I’m okay.  With all his health problems we’ve kind of just been waiting for this” that doesn’t change the fact that the first thing I said when mom told me you died was, “You’re kidding.”  When she said no, I looked at Marshall and asked, “Is she kidding?”  But death is never kidding and I keep realizing that over and over at the most random and inconvenient times.

I’m angry at you for having Christmas presents for everyone in your closet.

I’m angry at you for leaving everything you have to Marshall and I, a fact which everyone won’t stop reminding us of.  “You were his pride and joy.  All of it’s yours.  You get to decide what we do with it.”  But you had so much shit a part of me just wants to burn it all because that would mean not having to face all the memories you collected.

They won’t stop calling. “How are you? How are you? How are you?” I’d be better if you hadn’t had a lock box with a crumpled poem I wrote when I was nine that you saved from the trash.  I’d be better if your calendar hadn’t been marked “Michy’s coming home” for the day after you died.  I’d be a whole lot better if your voice-mail from two months ago hadn’t been so different than the one from two weeks ago, because in the second one it sounds like you’re dying.

I’m angry at you for usually being the reason I cried, but also for being the person I wanted to impress the most.  It meant something when you told me I’d done a good job because you didn’t hand those out for free.

And I’m angry at you for taking almost all of my eighteen years to realize your mistakes.  I had to move to college three hours away before you owned up to your part in our broken relationship.  And when you wrote that stupid five page letter about all the good times we’d had it was almost enough to forgive everything else.  So I’m angry at you for apologizing, but more angry at you for not apologizing sooner.  For that reason I’m angry at God, because it’s a little sadistic of him to take you now, right when everything was about to change.

We used to run football patterns in your driveway for hours. You bought me my own box of cereal for your house and didn’t get angry when I ate out of yours every time.  When you got sick the first time, you would give me and Marshall money so we could run across the alley to the A&W to get dinner and we felt like grown ups.  When my knee surgery got cancelled the first time you let me cry to you.  When it got rescheduled you said you’d be there.

I’m angry at you for lying.  I’m having surgery Monday and you promised you’d be there.  You were the one who passed your knee problems on to my brother and I so I knew you would understand the frustration.  You would be there to take care of me.  For the first time in my whole life I felt like you could be something my mom couldn’t.  You even marked it on your calendar.

I’m 18 but I’m just a kid. And you had no right to leave me.

Winter Isn’t the Enemy

When people hear me say I hate summer their eyes do that bug-out-of-your-face thing you see in cartoons.  I get it, I’m the minority not the majority, but there are other people who love winter too! For example, my roommate, which is pretty lucky since we have to agree on the temperature of our room. All I can say is that the window is always open and at night it gets cold enough to keep my water bottle chilled.

I’m here to convince all you non-believers that winter isn’t so bad and that it has more to offer than just the pretty white snow.  Being from Wisconsin, and right next to the lake, no less, the Table and I get some of the worst winters there are.  If you don’t know what lake effect snow is, you’re really missing out.  It’s a beast.  Here are my reasons for loving the weather from November to March:

1. Let’s start with the obvious one: snow.

Snow! Snow! Snow!

Here are a few pictures from the winter they cancelled school on six different occasions.  The first one is of my brother peeking through a tunnel we dug on the hood of a car.  The red thing in the second one is our car.  When we opened the garage door that’s how high the snow was.  The third one has the criss-cross imprint of our fence.  We moved the fence and the snow just stayed there because it was so heavy. You can see me in the background and it was almost higher than my waist.

car snow  garage snow  fence snow

When I was little I loved to play in the snow and if I still had a pair of snow pants that fit me I would lay in it and just look at the sky.  Even if you hate everything else about winter, you can’t deny that snow is beautiful.

2. Hats, mittens, and scarves.

Besides the fact that they’re super cute, hats are so fun to wear.  I’ll admit I often wear them around the house just for fun. And I say mittens because I don’t like gloves.  The way they separate my fingers feels like they’re making them colder not warmer.  Below is a picture of a scarf I wove that I’m particularly proud of. The scarf is laying on the next item of my list.

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3. blankets, slippers, and sweatshirts.

The blanket above is special to me because I got it in North Dakota the first time on a mission trip which I now do annually.  Don’t you guys just love curling up inside with a blanket and a movie?

4. Hot Chocolate

I’m one of those people who can eat ice cream year round, but hot chocolate is seasonal.  I don’t like coffee but that can count too.  A warm drink is just ten times better when it’s cold out and you can feel it warming up your insides.  Doesn’t this picture look like it could be a Starbucks add?

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5. Seeing my breath and letting the tips of my ears get red.

I once heard someone compare seeing your breath to feeling like a dragon which I thought was funny, but I think it’s more like seeing my life.  This is evidence that I am alive, and every part of my body is buzzing with the cold.  And then you go inside and press your palms to your ears and you can feel them thaw.  I love that.

6. But one of my favorite parts is the smell.

I could go one forever with this list: ice skating, snow days, icicles, but I always get most excited by the smell that tells me winter is coming. It’s not so much a distinct smell as it is just crisp air.  When you breathe is deeply and it smells cold and fresh.  That’s one of my favorite parts.  So for all you winter haters I hope there’s at least one thing on this list that convinced you to hate the season maybe just 1% less.  Now it’s your turn to convince me why I should like summer.

Dear DSHA: An Overdue Thank-You Note to My High School

As you guys know we all went to high school together. This is one of our fellow classmate’s stellar descriptions of what it was like.

The Little Things are Big

Dear DSHA,

Ever since I was little, my parents taught me to write a thank-you note for every gift I receive. Therefore, I figure that since I’ve received four years worth of gifts from you, it’s about time you receive a thank you from me. I have so much to be grateful for, after all.

Thank you for the handshake. As weird as that may sound to anyone unfamiliar with the unofficial 5th quality of a DSHA graduate, it really has come in handy (pun intended). From my first day on campus, I was taught that a firm handshake was the first step to achieving that confident and capable status for which we all strived. In fact, that handshake has helped to make many memorable first impressions since starting college and I have gotten an innumerable amount of comments from people about how firm my handshake is. Obviously, I…

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You Know You Spend Too Much Time Together When…

DISCLAIMER: side effects of a friendship like this may include nausea, headaches, sleep deprivation, new heights of procrastination, weird stares from regular people, disappearing money, disappearing clothes, disappearing books, bruises, and possible mental scarring.

  1. You go out in public and people think your hostility toward each other is real

Anissa: Senior year, Michelé and I were in the same physics class. Besides passing notes in class at all possible moments as if we didn’t have cell phones, we also joked around a lot. And to the outside world, our joking seems like very thinly veiled hostility. One day after class, Michelé and I were joking around and our physics teacher said, “You know, I can’t tell if you two are best friends or worst enemies.” But we are best friends, we swear. Even if it seems like we’re very close to strangling one another at all points in the day.

  1. You nickname each other after famous, dead authors and also after animals

Michelé: Anissa’s animal nickname for me is Ducky which has zero basis, she just chose it because she’s weird and I’m weird.  So then I gave her the name Quiddy which is acuter version of squid because, why not?  Really though, I prefer to call her Hemmy after Hemingway, my counterpart to that being Fitz after Fitzgerald.  We’re both writers and it works out perfectly because Hemmingway and Fitzgerald were real life friends and Hemingway wrote in shorter less descriptive sentences like Anissa and Fitzgerald wrote longer, more imagistic sentences like me.  A perfect union.

  1. When a conversation dissolves into unintelligible screams

Anissa: Once, Michelé and I were sitting on the couch in her house talking about our story (more on that later). And when we talk about our story, we get really into the spontaneous ideas that we create. So we were brainstorming and realized that we actually had to do something bad to one of our characters. We then proceeded to start screaming and making noises that didn’t make any sense other than conveying our overarching sadness. If you’ve never done this, you’re missing out on a form of communication.

  1. When their mom stops being surprised that you’re at her house because she’s accepted the fact that she now has another child‏

Michelé: My house has pretty much always been the hang out house, Anissa, however, has taken that title to a new extreme.  This past summer she literally spent every day at my house for three weeks.  My mom would walk in and say, “Hey, Anissa. You staying for dinner?”  My answer being, “Duh, she’s never allowed to leave.”

  1. When you stop keeping track of who owes who what

Anissa: Freshmen year I think we all tried to make a system of how to pay people back. And then it got ridiculous because someone asked for a quarter that someone owed her. Then we decided that it was a bit too dumb. Now we just buy and lend freely. I mean it all equals out eventually.

  1. When you make numerous plans to go into some kind of business together as adults.

Michelé: Our most successful “business” venture was freshman year when we started a band.  Oh, Whispering Loudly.  I’m really proud of that name actually.  We have over a dozen songs with full sets of lyrics and we practiced a lot.  It got hard when we got busy as upperclassmen (And the fact that only one member actually played an instrument..) but periodically we reminisce and start singing some of our own lyrics.  One of our other ideas was to open a medical practice together because we had the full package.  Three doctors, a nurse, and I was considering psychology.   I’m sure that won’t be our last crazy idea.